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German submarine U-590
Name: U-590
Ordered: 16 January 1940
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Yard number: 566
Laid down: 31 October 1940
Launched: 6 August 1941
Commissioned: 2 October 1941
Fate: Sunk by a US aircraft, July 1943[1]
General characteristics
Type: Type VIIC submarine
Displacement: 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced
871 t (857 long tons) submerged
Length: 67.1 m (220 ft 2 in) o/a
50.5 m (165 ft 8 in) pressure hull
Beam: 6.2 m (20 ft 4 in) o/a
4.7 m (15 ft 5 in) pressure hull
Draft: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Propulsion: 2 × supercharged Germaniawerft 6-cylinder 4-stroke M6V 40/46 diesel engines, totalling 2,800–3,200 bhp (2,100–2,400 kW). Max rpm: 470-490
2 × electric motors, totalling 750 shp (560 kW) and max rpm: 296.
Speed: 17.7 knots (20.4 mph; 32.8 km/h) surfaced
7.6 knots (8.7 mph; 14.1 km/h) submerged
Range: 15,170 km (8,190 nmi) at 10 kn (19 km/h) surfaced
150 km (81 nmi) at 4 kn (7.4 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 44–52 officers and ratings
Armament: • 5 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four bow, one stern)
• 14 × G7e torpedoes or 26 TMA mines
• 1 × C35 88mm gun/L45 deck gun (220 rounds)
• Various AA guns
Service record[2]
Part of: 6th U-boat Flotilla
(2 October 1941–1 April 1942)
6th U-boat Flotilla
(1 April 1942–9 July 1943)
Commanders: Heinrich Müller-Edzards
(2 October 1941–7 June 1943)
Oblt. Werner Kruer
(8 June–9 July 1943
Operations: 1st patrol:
4–17 April 1942
2nd patrol:
3 May–25 June 1942
3rd patrol:
11 August–24 November 1942
4th patrol:
31 January–12 April 1943
5th patrol:
8 June–9 July 1943
Victories: One ship sunk, 5,228 GRT;
one ship damaged - 5,464 GRT

German submarine U-590 was a Type VIIC U-boat of the Nazi German Kriegsmarine during World War II.

She carried out five patrols, was a member of six wolfpacks, sank one ship of 5,228 GRT and damaged one other of 5,464 GRT.

The boat was sunk by depth charges from a US aircraft, in July 1943.

Service history

The submarine was laid down on 31 October 1940 at Blohm & Voss, Hamburg as 'werk' 566, launched on 6 August 1941 and commissioned on 2 October under the command of Heinrich Müller-Edzards.

She served with the 6th U-boat Flotilla from 2 October 1941 for training and stayed with that organization for operations from 1 April 1942 until her loss.

1st and 2nd patrols

U-590's first patrol was from Kiel on 4 April 1942. She headed for the Atlantic Ocean via the 'gap' separating the Faroe and Shetland Islands. The boat arrived in St. Nazaire (from where she would be based for the rest of her career), in occupied France on the 17th.

Her second sortie was to mid-Atlantic but was relatively uneventful.

3rd patrol

U-590 left St. Nazaire on 11 August 1942 for what was, at 106 days, her longest patrol. By the 28th she had still not left the Bay of Biscay. The boat headed west on 1 September. She steamed south, so that on 14 September she was off Western Sahara. She reached the most southerly point of the patrol (off Sierra Leone and Liberia), on 9 October. The return journey saw her southeast of the Cape Verde Islands on 1 November. She returned to St. Nazaire without any success on 24 November.

4th patrol

The boat had left St. Nazaire on 31 January 1943, but it was not until 11 March that she encountered and damaged the Jamaica Producer. Although believed sunk, the ship managed to reach port; she was repaired and returned to service in May 1943. This ship survived the war.

Eleven days later (21 March), a crew member broke an arm in mid-Atlantic.

5th patrol and loss

The submarine sank the Pelotaslóide near the mouth of the Amazon in Brazil on 4 July 1943. The ship had been waiting for tugs before entering Salinasdisambiguation needed.

U-590 was sunk by depth charges dropped from a US PBY Catalina amphibian on 9 July 1943 near the Amazon Estuary. Forty-five men died with U-590; there were no survivors.

Summary of raiding history

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
11 March 1943 Jamaica Producer  United Kingdom 5,464 Damaged
4 July 1943 Pelotaslóide  Brazil 5,228 Sunk


  1. Kemp, Paul: U-Boats Destroyed - German Submarine Losses in the World Wars, 1997, Arms & Armour, ISBN 1-85409-515-3, p. 129
  2. "The Type VIIC boat U-589 - German U-boats of WWII -". Retrieved 13 October 2012. 

See also

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