German submarine U-58 (1938)
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German submarine U-58 was a Type IIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine that served in the Second World War. She was produced by Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel. Ordered on 17 June 1937, she was laid down on 29 September as yard number 257. She was launched on 12 October 1938 and commissioned on 4 February 1939 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Herbert Kuppisch.
|Ordered:||17 June 1937|
|Builder:||Deutsche Werke AG, Kiel|
|Laid down:||29 September 1937|
|Launched:||12 October 1938|
|Commissioned:||4 February 1939|
|Fate:||Scuttled at Kiel, 3 May 1945|
|Class and type:||IIC|
|Height:||8.40 m (27 ft 7 in)|
|Draught:||3.82 m (12 ft 6 in)|
|Test depth:||80 m (260 ft)|
|Complement:||3 officers, 22 men|
|Victories:||Seven ships sunk, total 24,549 GRT|
German Type IIC submarines were enlarged versions of the original Type IIs. U-58 had a displacement of 291 tonnes (286 long tons) when at the surface and 341 tonnes (336 long tons) while submerged. Officially, the standard tonnage was 250 long tons (250 t), however. The U-boat had a total length of 43.90 m (144 ft 0 in), a pressure hull length of 29.60 m (97 ft 1 in), a beam of 4.08 m (13 ft 5 in), a height of 8.40 m (27 ft 7 in), and a draught of 3.82 m (12 ft 6 in). The submarine was powered by two MWM RS 127 S four-stroke, six-cylinder diesel engines of 700 metric horsepower (510 kW; 690 shp) for cruising, two Siemens-Schuckert PG VV 322/36 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 410 metric horsepower (300 kW; 400 shp) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 0.85 m (3 ft) propellers. The boat was capable of operating at depths of up to 80–150 metres (260–490 ft).
The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7 knots (13 km/h; 8.1 mph). When submerged, the boat could operate for 35–42 nautical miles (65–78 km; 40–48 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 3,800 nautical miles (7,000 km; 4,400 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph). U-58 was fitted with three 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes at the bow, five torpedoes or up to twelve Type A torpedo mines, and a 2 cm (0.79 in) anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of 25.
U-58 was initially assigned to the 5th U-boat Flotilla during her training period, until 31 December 1939, when she was re-assigned to the 1st U-boat Flotilla for a front-line combat role. U-58 carried out twelve war patrols, sinking seven ships for a total 24,549 gross register tons (GRT).
U-58, along with U-57, were both used for testing a new flooding valve schnorchel head during August 1943, that Deutsche Werke had constructed in June. For the test the schnorchel replaced the aft periscope. The initial trial was successful and a collapsible schnorchel forward of the bridge was envisaged for Type VIIC boats.
First, second and third patrolsEdit
U-58's first three patrols, completed during her workup and training period, were uneventful cruises in the North Sea. No ships were attacked during this period.
The submarine's luck changed for the better on New Year's Day 1940. The (neutral) Swedish steam merchant ship Lars Magnus Trozelli (1,951 GRT) was hit with a single torpedo and sunk at. Two days later the 2,475-ton Svartön, also Swedish flagged, was sunk at while traveling with convoy HN-6.
Fifth and sixth patrolsEdit
U-58's fifth patrol was really only a six-day transit from Kiel to Wilhelmshaven. Her sixth patrol began from the latter port on 27 January 1940. On 3 February, at 09.36 hours, the only success of this patrol occurred when the small (815 ton) Estonian merchantman Reet was sunk with a single torpedo. Two previous shots earlier in the day had missed their mark (02.15 and 04.52 hours respectively). There were no survivors.
An eighth patrol into the North Sea was U-58's most successful in terms of tonnage destroyed, however all 8,401 tons credited for this patrol comprised a single ship, the British Boom Defense Vessel HMS Astronomer, which was sunk at by three torpedo hits (two of which were coups de grâce). 101 of the 105 souls aboard survived to be picked up by other Royal Navy vessels.
The veteran submarine's ninth patrol saw her headed for a new home port in Lorient, France. Command was assumed by Oblt.z.S. Heinrich Schonder, who remained in charge of the boat for the rest of her career. Along the way, the 1,591 GRT Norwegian steam merchant Gyda was sunk by a single torpedo. This was a rather bold attack, given that the ship was being escorted by a Sunderland flying boat, a well known U-boat killer. The merchant vessel sank in less than a minute at .
Departing Lorient on 29 July 1940, U-58 headed north toward Ireland, where she sank the 4,360-ton Greek merchant ship Pindos (a straggler from convoy SL-40), on 4 August with two torpedoes. The ship capsized to port before sinking at; however, 29 of the 32 crew escaped in lifeboats. The patrol terminated at Lorient on 12 August 1940.
The U-boat's eleventh patrol was uneventful and she was transferred to a new home port, Bergen in Norway. En route, she attacked and sank the 4,956-ton British merchantman Confield, a straggler from convoy HX 76. Although not sunk by the torpedo hit, the abandoned derelict was later shelled and sunk by the British sloop Weston.
U-58 departed Bergen on 14 October 1940 for her final patrol, a transit back to Kiel. There she was transferred to the 22nd U-boat flotilla for service as a training boat. She remained in this role under various commanders for the rest of the war. She was eventually scuttled at Kiel on 3 May 1945 to keep her out of the hands of the advancing Allies. The wreck was subsequently raised and broken up for scrap.
Summary of raiding historyEdit
|Date||Ship||Nationality||Tonnage[Note 1]||Fate and location|
|1 January 1940||Lars Magnus Trozelli||Sweden||1,951||Sunk at|
|3 January 1940||Svartön||Sweden||2,475||Sunk at|
|3 February 1940||Reet||Estonia||815||Sunk|
|1 June 1940||HMS Astronomer||Royal Navy||8,401||Sunk at|
|18 July 1940||Gyda||Norway||1,591||Sunk at|
|4 August 1940||Pindos||Greece||4,360||Sunk at|
|8 October 1940||Confield||United Kingdom||4,956||Sunk|
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