|Ordered:||16 January 1940|
|Builder:||Blohm & Voss, Hamburg|
|Laid down:||30 October 1940|
|Launched:||20 August 1941|
|Commissioned:||9 October 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk 30 July 1943 in the South Atlantic near Pernambuco in position , by depth charges from a US Lockheed Ventura aircraft.|
|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|
German submarine U-591 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine for service during World War II. She was laid down on 30 October 1940 by Blohm & Voss, Hamburg as yard number 567, launched on 20 August 1941 and commissioned on 9 October 1941 under Kapitänleutnant Hans-Jürgen Zetzsche.
German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-591 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-591 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.
The boat's service began on 9 October 1941 with training, followed by active service as part of the 6th U-boat Flotilla. She was transferred to the 11th Flotilla on 1 July 1942 for active service in the North Atlantic operating out of Bergen. The following year, on 1 June 1943, she transferred to 9th Flotilla operating of Brest, France.
In 4 patrols she sank four merchant ships, for a total of 19,932 gross register tons (GRT), plus one merchant ship damaged.
U-591 took part in nine wolfpacks, namely
- Schlei (21 January – 12 February 1942)
- Bums (6–10 April 1942)
- Greif (14–29 May 1942)
- Nebelkönig (27 July – 13 August 1942)
- Ungestüm (11–30 December 1942)
- Sturmbock (21–26 February 1943)
- Wildfang (26 February – 5 March 1943)
- Westmark (6–11 March 1943)
- Seewolf (21–30 March 1943)
Convoy ONS 154
The first victim of Convoy ONS 154 was the 5,701-GRT Norwegian freighter Norse King, the second in column eleven, on 28 December 1942. U-591 torpedo hit her at 20:04. Badly damaged, Norse King attempted to limp to the Azores but was found by U-435 and sent to the bottom.
U-591’s second success was the badly damaged and abandoned 4,871-GRT United Africa Company freighter Zarian with a single torpedo, although she missed the Baron Cochrane
Convoy SC 121
Having recently returned to sea after a long recovery from gunshot wounds, Hans-Jürgen Zetzsche was on target with Convoy SC 121 when he sighted the Empire Impala, hove-to picking up survivors from the torpedoed Egyptian, on 7 March 1943. Of the combined crew of 80 men, from both Egyptian and Empire Impala, only 3 survived.
Summary of raiding history
|21 December 1942||Montreal City||United Kingdom||3,066||Sunk|
|28 December 1942||Norse King||Norway||5,701||Damaged|
|29 December 1942||Zarian||United Kingdom||4,871||Sunk|
|7 March 1943||Empire Impala||United Kingdom||6,116||Sunk|
|8 March 1943||Vojvoda Putnik||Yugoslavia||5,879||Sunk|
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- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-591". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (1999). German U-boat commanders of World War II : a biographical dictionary. Translated by Brooks, Geoffrey. London, Annapolis, Md: Greenhill Books, Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-186-6.
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- Sharpe, Peter (1998). U-Boat Fact File. Great Britain: Midland Publishing. ISBN 1-85780-072-9.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-591". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 29 December 2014.