|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 October 1943 in the North Atlantic west of Leixoes, in position 41.12N, 09.31W, after being badly damaged by six depth charges from a British Wellington aircraft (179 Sqn RAF/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 and other events
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 Wellington Mk.XII (RAF Sqn 172/R, pilot Sgt Alex Coumbis) launched a Leigh Light 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 hrs, 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 a naval escort. (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 (483 km) 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 B-25 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 a Mariner 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 hrs, 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 caused no damage. The Germans again misidentified the attacker as a Mitchell and scored several AA hits after it passed over the boat, causing the burning aircraft to crash at a distance of some 1200m. All five aircrew were lost.
U-566 then made for the crash site, having sighted a rubber dinghy, but before it was reached another Ventura (VB-126 USN, pilot Lt J.R. Smith) from NAS Quonset and a PBM Mariner flying boat (VB-211 USN, pilot Lt E.C. Scully) from Elizabeth City arrived at the scene. The U-boat fired at the aircraft (misidentified as a Mitchell and a Lerwick), and then dived at 18.29 hrs. The Ventura immediately dropped four depth charges. The depth charges detonated without effect, but U-566 was forced to surface by a malfunctioning diving tank and manned the AA guns again. The Mariner was hit as it made several passes while its eight depth charges hung up, until the emergency release was used. At the same time, the U-boat submerged accidentally, the commander closing the conning tower hatch from the bridge and clinging to the periscope standard until the LI brought the boat to the surface again. The II.WO and seven crew were swept overboard, but were rescued within 20 minutes, during which the replacement crew on the AA guns fought off a strafing run by the Ventura at 19.08 hrs. U-566 subsequently dived and escaped with only minor damage from gunfire, having shot down two aircraft and damaged two others in one day. One of the crew was wounded in the left hand during the last strafing attack while four men, including the commander and I.WO, suffered burst eardrums from their involuntary dive.(Sources: KTB U-566, vpnavy.com)
24 Oct 1943
The sinking of U-566
01.27 hrs, west of Leixoes, Portugal: Wellington bomber HF132 (RAF sqdn 179/A, pilot Sgt Donald Mervin Conrish, RCAF) made a Leigh Light approach after locating U-566 on radar. Despite some flak damage to the tail, the aircraft (misidentified as a Catalina) dropped six depth charges which detonated either side of the stern, destroying the rudder and bending a drive shaft, leaving U-566 disabled and 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 the boat at 04.30 hrs. The entire crew of 49 were rescued within five hours by the Spanish trawler Fina about 30 nautical miles (56 km) from the Spanish coast, and landed in Corunna later that day. They were allowed to leave Spain by train in civilian clothes on 28 October and arrived in Brest three days later. U-556s crew subsequently took over U-1007. Most of them survived the war, and in 1970 they met the crew of the aircraft that sank U-566. The pilot had received an immediate award of a DFM for the action.(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 entries for this boat. See the emblem page for this boat or view emblems individually below.
Wolf of Capitol
Tree on White Shield
Coat of Arms of Lindau