The Real U-571

During her career—between the 1st of August, 1941 (when she began active duty) and the 28th of January, 1944 (when she was lost)—the real U-571 attacked seven ships which either sank or were a total loss. She was part of "The U-boat Campaign that Almost Broke Britain."

She also damaged an eighth vessel, the American tanker MS Pennsylvania Sun (which was repaired and returned to service).

U-571 was a Type VIIC submarine with four officers and and between 40-52 enlisted men. Traveling along the water’s surface, she could make 17.7 knots (32.8 km/h; 20.4 mph). Submerged, she could travel at 7.6 knots (14.1 km/h; 8.7 mph).

Her maximum test depth was 220 meters (720 feet). She carried fourteen torpedoes (or 26 TMA mines) and had a total of five torpedo tubes (four at the bow, one at the stern) which each measured 53.3 cm (21 inches).

She also had one deck gun, measuring 8.8 cm (3.46 inches)—like the one aboard the German minesweeper Hansestadt Danzig—and various anti-aircraft guns.

As U-571 was making her way west of Ireland—on January 28, 1944—she was spotted by an Australian crew flying a Short Sunderland Mk III (a flying boat patrol bomber). The plane—EK577 'D'—was from the No. 461 RAAF Squadron, based at RAF Pembroke Dock, in Wales.

At the time the Aussies spotted her, U-571 was positioned at 52.41N, 14.27W. The Sunderland crew successfully attacked U-571, destroying her with depth charges. Aboard the doomed vessel were 52 submariners.

Flight Lt. R.D. Lucas, the aircraft captain, reported that most members of the U-boat crew were able to successfully abandon ship. However, the extremely cold water of the North Atlantic took a toll, causing all of the crew members to die of hypothermia.

This image reportedly depicts the real U-571. Click on it for a better view.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5154stories and lessons created

Original Release: Mar 11, 2016

Updated Last Revision: Jun 02, 2016

Media Credits

This image, by John Herzog, reportedly depicts the real U-571. It is online via Wikimedia Commons.


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"The Real U-571" AwesomeStories.com. Mar 11, 2016. Dec 19, 2018.
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