U-541 surrendering on 11 May 1945
|Ordered:||5 June 1941|
|Builder:||Deutsche Werft, Hamburg|
|Laid down:||5 June 1942|
|Launched:||5 January 1943|
|Commissioned:||24 March 1943|
|Fate:||Surrendered, 12 May 1945 at Gibraltar; transferred to Lisahally in Northern Ireland. Sunk, January 1946|
|Class and type:||Type IXC/40 submarine|
|Height:||9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)|
|Draught:||4.67 m (15 ft 4 in)|
|Test depth:||230 m (750 ft)|
|Complement:||4 officers, 44 enlisted|
|Identification codes:||M 51 083|
|Victories:||One ship sunk, (2,140 GRT).|
She was laid down at the Deutsche Werft (yard) in Hamburg as yard number 362 on 5 May 1942, launched on 5 January 1943 and commissioned on 24 March with Kapitänleutnant Kurt Petersen (Crew 36) in command.
U-541 began her service career with training as part of the 4th U-boat Flotilla from 24 March 1943. She was re-assigned to the 10th flotilla for operations on 1 November, then the 33rd flotilla on 1 November 1944.
She carried out four patrols and sank one ship. She was a member of four wolfpacks.
German Type IXC/40 submarines were slightly larger than the original Type IXCs. U-541 had a displacement of 1,144 tonnes (1,126 long tons) when at the surface and 1,257 tonnes (1,237 long tons) while submerged. The U-boat had a total length of 76.76 m (251 ft 10 in), a pressure hull length of 58.75 m (192 ft 9 in), a beam of 6.86 m (22 ft 6 in), a height of 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in), and a draught of 4.67 m (15 ft 4 in). The submarine was powered by two MAN M 9 V 40/46 supercharged four-stroke, nine-cylinder diesel engines producing a total of 4,400 metric horsepower (3,240 kW; 4,340 shp) for use while surfaced, two Siemens-Schuckert 2 GU 345/34 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 1,000 shaft horsepower (1,010 PS; 750 kW) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 1.92 m (6 ft) propellers. The boat was capable of operating at depths of up to 230 metres (750 ft).
The submarine had a maximum surface speed of 18.3 knots (33.9 km/h; 21.1 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7.3 knots (13.5 km/h; 8.4 mph). When submerged, the boat could operate for 63 nautical miles (117 km; 72 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 13,850 nautical miles (25,650 km; 15,940 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-541 was fitted with six 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and two at the stern), 22 torpedoes, one 10.5 cm (4.13 in) SK C/32 naval gun, 180 rounds, and a 3.7 cm (1.5 in) SK C/30 as well as a 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of forty-eight.
She entered Lorient, on the French Atlantic coast, on 9 January 1944.
2nd and 3rd patrols
For her second foray, U-541 headed toward the eastern seaboard of North America.
The boat was preparing to attack a convoy while on the surface in the Gulf of St. Lawrence when HMCS Norsyd opened fire; U-541 was forced to dive. She was then hunted for two days by four frigates, a minesweeper and aircraft of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), but escaped.
On 26 May 1944, on its way from Lisbon (departure 16 May 1944) to Port Richmond, Philadelphia, USA (arrival 30 May 1944), the Serpa Pinto was stopped in the mid-Atlantic by the U-541. The U-boat's captain ordered the Serpa Pinto's crew and passengers to abandon the ship in the lifeboats, and requested permission from Kriegsmarine headquarters to torpedo the ship. The passengers and crew, with the exception of the captain who decided to remain on board whatever the German decision, duly left the ship in the lifeboats. There they were forced to wait all night while the German U-boat awaited a reply to its request. By dawn an answer had arrived from Admiral Karl Dönitz, who refused permission to sink the ship. The U-boat then departed the area and the lifeboats returned to the ship. The ship's doctor, a cooker and a 15 months child drowned during this incident. Two military-aged Americans were taken in the submarine.
Her last patrol began in Horten Naval Base in Norway on 7 April 1945. It ended with her surrender in Gibraltar on 12 May 1945.
U-541 took part in four wolfpacks, namely.
- Coronel (4–8 December 1943)
- Coronel 2 (8–14 December 1943)
- Coronel 3 (14–17 December 1943)
- Borkum (18–26 December 1943)
Summary of raiding history
|3 September 1944||Livingston||United Kingdom||2,140||Sunk|
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- Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). Deutsche U-Boot-Verluste von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 [German U-boat losses from September 1939 to May 1945]. Der U-Boot-Krieg (in German). IV. Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn: Mittler. ISBN 3-8132-0514-2.
- Gröner, Erich; Jung, Dieter; Maass, Martin (1991). U-boats and Mine Warfare Vessels. German Warships 1815–1945. 2. Translated by Thomas, Keith; Magowan, Rachel. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-593-4.
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