List of all U-boats




Ordered16 Oct 1939
Laid down28 Feb 1940 Blohm & Voss, Hamburg (werk 537)
Launched23 Jan 1941
Commissioned13 Mar 1941 Kptlt. Robert Bartels
13 Mar 1941 - 5 Sep 1942  Kptlt. Robert Bartels (German Cross in Gold)
5 Sep 1942 - 18 Jun 1943  Kptlt. Heinz Schomburg
19 Jun 1943 - 12 Jul 1943  Oblt. Fritz Henning (German Cross in Gold)
15 patrols
13 Mar 1941-1 Jun 1941  1. Flottille (training)
1 Jun 1941-31 Jan 1942  1. Flottille (active service)
1 Feb 1942-12 Jul 1943  23. Flottille (active service)
Successes5 ships sunk, total tonnage 17,146 GRT
1 ship damaged, total tonnage 4,043 GRT
1 ship a total loss, total tonnage 5,062 GRT

Sunk on 12 July 1943 in the Strait of Messina, in position 38.16N, 15.39E, by a torpedo from the British motor torpedo boat HMS MTB-81. 42 dead and 5 survivors.

Loss position

See the 7 ships hit by U-561 - View the 15 war patrols

Wolfpack operations

U-561 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
   Bosemüller (28 Aug 1941 - 2 Sep 1941)
   Seewolf (2 Sep 1941 - 15 Sep 1941)

Attacks on this boat and other events

15 Jul 1942
Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down: British B-24 Liberator Mk.II AL566 (159 Sqdn RAF, pilot W/O W.S. Pottie)

22.07 hrs, ENE of Port Said, Egypt: After firing at the aircraft (misidentified as a Sunderland) with the 20mm flak guns as it approached, the Germans observed hits on the aircraft, which passed over the boat without dropping bombs. U-561 then dived, but was again attacked on surfacing at 23.15 hrs. Again scoring further hits with the flak guns, the Germans watched as the aircraft caught fire, jettisoned its bomb load and crashed into the sea. All seven aircrew died. (Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)

1 recorded attack on this boat.

Men lost from U-boats

Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-561 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.

U-boat Emblems

We have 3 emblem entries for this boat. See the emblem page for this boat or view emblems individually below.


Coat of Arms of Wuppertal

Torpedo and Palm Tree

Media links

U-Boat Operations of the Second World War - Vol 2

Wynn, Kenneth

German U-Boat Losses During World War II

Niestle, Axel

Hitler's U-boat War, Vol II

Blair, Clay

Hitler's U-boat War

Blair, Clay