|Ordered||24 Oct 1939|
|Laid down||30 Mar 1940||Blohm & Voss, Hamburg (werk 542)|
|Launched||20 Feb 1941|
|Commissioned||17 Apr 1941||Kptlt. Dietrich Borchert|
|Successes||6 ships sunk, total tonnage 38,092 GRT|
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 2,265 tons
Scuttled on 24 Oct, 1943 in the North Atlantic west of Leixoes, in position 41.12N, 09.31W, after being damaged by 6 depth charges from a British Wellington aircraft (Sqdn. 179/A). 49 survivors (no casualties).
U-566 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
Pfadfinder (21 May 1942 - 27 May 1942)
Blücher (14 Aug 1942 - 28 Aug 1942)
Natter (2 Nov 1942 - 8 Nov 1942)
Westwall (8 Nov 1942 - 22 Nov 1942)
Neptun (18 Feb 1943 - 3 Mar 1943)
Westmark (6 Mar 1943 - 11 Mar 1943)
Attacks on this boat
3 Sep 1941
The boat was attacked by an unidentified Soviet submarine off Kildin Island. U-566 escaped unharmed. (Sources: Polmar, N and Noot, J.)
17 Nov 1942
08.56 hrs, west of Gibraltar: U-566 attempted to evade an attack from British Hudson Mk.III FH240 (RAF Sqn 233/U, pilot Sgt Eric H. Smith) by diving. The aircraft dropped four depth charges just ahead of the wash and subseqently observed a large patch of oil on the surface. U-566 escaped with damage to the bow planes and an untraceable oil leak which forced her to operate further away from the coast during the rest of the patrol. (Sources: Franks)
26 Apr 1943
22.44 hrs, Bay of Biscay: after locating the outbound boat on radar, a Leigh Light equipped Wellington Mk.XII (RAF Sqn 172/R, pilot Sgt Alex Coumbis) launched an attack from off the port bow. U-566 dived immediately, but an accurate salvo of six depth charges which straddled the bows caused severe damage, including a leak in the forends and a damaged diving tank. At 23.55 hrs, the damage forced the U-boat to surface, unable to dive. Approaches by another Wellington (RAF Sqn172/M) were held off with flak. After exchanging fire with U-566, the aircraft left to return to base at 00.27 hours, having used up its depth charges on an unsuccessful attack on U-103 earlier. U-566 had to break off the patrol and later returned to port escorted by four Ju88 aircraft and naval vessels. (Sources: Franks, KTBs, ADM199/1784)
7 Aug 1943
Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down:American PV-1 Ventura BuNo 29916 (VB-128 USN, pilot Lt F.C. Cross)
13.22 hrs, 300 miles east of Cape Charles VA: the boat was located by radar and attacked by the PV-1 from NAS New York. The aircraft was hit by flak on the approach, but dropped four depth charges, which turned out to be duds. U-566 misidentified the attacker as a Mitchell, recording that it left with the starboard engine on fire. Despite being wounded, Lt Cross managed to ditch the plane successfully, but afterwards died in the water, while the other two crewmen were rescued later that day by another flying boat.(Sources: KTB U-566, vpnavy.com)
7 Aug 1943
Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down:American PV-1 Ventura BuNo 29909 (VB-128 USN, pilot Lt Joseph M. George)
At 18.15 hours, the boat was attacked by a second PV-1 from NAS New York and again replied with AA fire. One of the four depth charges dropped actually hit U-566 and bounced off before exploding, but causing no damage. The Germans again misidentified the attacker as Mitchell and scored several AA hits after it passed over the boat, causing the burning aircraft to crash in a distance of about 1200 meters. All five crewmen were lost.
U-566 then headed for the crash site because a rubber dinghy was sighted, but before it was reached another Ventura (VB-126 USN, pilot Lt J.R. Smith) based on NAS Quonset and a PBM Mariner (VB-211 USN, pilot Lt E.C. Scully) from Elizabeth City arrived at the scene. The U-boat fired at the aircraft, misidentified as Mitchell and Lerwick and then dived at 18.29 hours. The Ventura immediately attacked and dropped four depth charges that caused no damage. However, U-566 had to surface again due to a malfunction of a diving tank, manned the AA guns and damaged the Mariner that made several passes because its eight depth charges hung up until the emergency release was used. Suddenly the U-boat accidentally dived, the commander closing the conning tower hatch from the bridge and clinging to the periscope until the LI brought the boat to the surface again. The II.WO and seven crewmen had been swept overboard and were picked up within 20 minutes, while the replacement crew on the AA guns fought off a strafing run by the Ventura at 19.08 hours. U-566 subsequently dived and escaped only slightly damaged by gunfire after having shot down two aircraft and damaged two more during one day. One crew member had been wounded at the left hand during the last strafing attack while four men, including the commander and I.WO, suffered ruptured eardrums.(Sources: KTB U-566, vpnavy.com)
24 Oct 1943
The sinking of U-566
At 01.27 hours, the boat was attacked by the Leigh Light equipped Wellington HF132 (179 Sqn RAF/A, pilot Sgt Donald Mervin Conrish, RCAF) after being located by radar west of Leixoes. AA fire caused slight damage to the tail of the aircraft (misidentified by the Germans as Catalina), but it dropped six depth charges that detonated on both sides of the stern. The explosion destroyed the rudder and bent the driving shaft, disabling the U-boat and leaving her unable to dive. The aircraft circled the area for three hours until it was low on fuel and had to leave. Hornkohl then ordered the crew to abandon ship in rubber dinghies and scuttled U-566 at 04.30 hours. After five hours all 49 men were picked up by the Spanish trawler Fina about 30 nautical miles from the coast and landed in Corunna later that day. On 28 October, the Germans were allowed to leave Spain in civilian clothes by train and arrived back in Brest after three days. The crew later took over U-1007 and most of them survived the war, meeting the crew of the aircraft that had sunk U-566 in 1970. The pilot had received an immediate DFM for his attack.(Sources: Franks, Ritschel)
6 recorded attacks 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-566 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.
We have 4 emblem entry for this boat! See the emblem page for this boat or view each one below.