|Ordered||25 Sep 1939|
|Laid down||6 Jan 1940||Blohm & Voss, Hamburg (werk 533)|
|Launched||22 Dec 1940|
|Commissioned||13 Feb 1941||Oblt. Ottokar Paulshen|
|Successes||6 ships sunk, total tonnage 31,729 GRT|
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 5,220 tons
Sank at 2144hrs on 16 Dec, 1941 in the Mediterranean west of Crete, in position 35.31N, 23.19E, after ramming by the Italian torpedo boat Orione. 43 dead (all hands lost).
On 9 December, 1941 U-557 left Messina for her last patrol. Six days later she sank the British cruiser HMS Galatea off the Egyptian coast. The U-boat headed back the same day for the base of the 23rd flotilla at Salamis.
At 1806hrs on 16 December, U-557 sent a short radio signal indicating that she was 18 hours from port. At 1800hrs on the same day, the Italian torpedo boat Orione left the Cretan port of Suda. The commander had no knowledge that a German U-boat was in the area of Crete, and he did not receive any information to this effect during his patrol.
When the Italian commander saw a submarine at 2144hrs, heading in a northerly direction, he decided to ram it, supposing it to be British. U-557 sank immediately with all hands; the now-damaged Italian torpedo boat headed back to base.
During the investigation of this incident, it was realized that word about U-557's location had reached the Italian Navy first at 2200hrs or later. The position of the incident was given by the Italian commander as 35.31N, 23.19E.
General notes on this boat
During the training in the Baltic Sea, the boat had a diving accident and got stuck on the bottom and one man lost his like, his name was Eckstein.
Men lost from U-boats
Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-557 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.