|Ordered:||16 January 1940|
|Builder:||Blohm & Voss, Hamburg|
|Laid down:||31 October 1940|
|Launched:||6 August 1941|
|Commissioned:||2 October 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk by a US aircraft, July 1943|
|Class and type:||Type VIIC submarine|
|Height:||9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)|
|Draught:||4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)|
|Complement:||4 officers, 40–56 enlisted|
The boat was sunk by depth charges from a US aircraft, in July 1943.
German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-590 had a displacement of 769 tonnes (757 long tons) when at the surface and 871 tonnes (857 long tons) while submerged. She had a total length of 67.10 m (220 ft 2 in), a pressure hull length of 50.50 m (165 ft 8 in), a beam of 6.20 m (20 ft 4 in), a height of 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in), and a draught of 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in). The submarine was powered by two Germaniawerft F46 four-stroke, six-cylinder supercharged diesel engines producing a total of 2,800 to 3,200 metric horsepower (2,060 to 2,350 kW; 2,760 to 3,160 shp) for use while surfaced, two Brown, Boveri & Cie GG UB 720/8 double-acting electric motors producing a total of 750 metric horsepower (550 kW; 740 shp) for use while submerged. She had two shafts and two 1.23 m (4 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 17.7 knots (32.8 km/h; 20.4 mph) and a maximum submerged speed of 7.6 knots (14.1 km/h; 8.7 mph). When submerged, the boat could operate for 80 nautical miles (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph); when surfaced, she could travel 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph). U-590 was fitted with five 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (four fitted at the bow and one at the stern), fourteen torpedoes, one 8.8 cm (3.46 in) SK C/35 naval gun, 220 rounds, and a 2 cm (0.79 in) C/30 anti-aircraft gun. The boat had a complement of between forty-four and sixty.
She served with the 6th U-boat Flotilla from 2 October 1941 for training and stayed with that organization for operations from 1 April 1942 until her loss.
1st and 2nd patrols
U-590's first patrol was from Kiel on 4 April 1942. She headed for the Atlantic Ocean via the gap separating the Faroe and Shetland Islands. The boat arrived in St. Nazaire (from where she would be based for the rest of her career), in occupied France on the 17th.
Her second sortie was to mid-Atlantic but was relatively uneventful.
U-590 left St. Nazaire on 11 August 1942 for what was, at 106 days, her longest patrol. By the 28th she had still not left the Bay of Biscay. The boat headed west on 1 September. She steamed south, so that on 14 September she was off Western Sahara. She reached the most southerly point of the patrol (off Sierra Leone and Liberia), on 9 October. The return journey saw her southeast of the Cape Verde Islands on 1 November. She returned to St. Nazaire without any success on 24 November.
The boat had left St. Nazaire on 31 January 1943, but it was not until 11 March that she encountered and damaged the Jamaica Producer. Although believed sunk, the ship managed to reach port; she was repaired and returned to service in May 1943. This ship survived the war.
Eleven days later (21 March), a crew member broke an arm in mid-Atlantic.
5th patrol and loss
The submarine sank the Pelotaslóide near the mouth of the Amazon in Brazil on 4 July 1943. The ship had been waiting for tugs before entering Salinas.
U-590 took part in six wolfpacks, namely.
- Hecht (8 May - 18 June 1942)
- Blücher (14–20 August 1942)
- Iltis (6–23 September 1942)
- Neuland (8–13 March 1943)
- Dränger (14–20 March 1943)
- Seewolf (21–30 March 1943)
Summary of raiding history
|11 March 1943||Jamaica Producer||United Kingdom||5,464||Damaged|
|4 July 1943||Pelotaslóide||Brazil||5,228||Sunk|
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