|Ordered:||16 January 1940|
|Builder:||Blohm & Voss, Hamburg|
|Laid down:||4 January 1941|
|Launched:||17 September 1941|
|Commissioned:||13 November 1941|
|Fate:||Scuttled on 24 September 1944 in the Mediterranean|
|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-596 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine for service during World War II. She was laid down on 4 January 1941 by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg as yard number 572, launched on 17 September 1941 and commissioned on 13 November under Kapitänleutnant Gunter Jahn. He was replaced on 28 July 1943 by Oberleutnant zur See Victor-Whilhelm Noon who was superseded by Oblt.z.S. Hans Kolbus in July 1944.
German Type VIIC submarines were preceded by the shorter Type VIIB submarines. U-596 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-596 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.
In twelve patrols she sank twelve ships, including one warship for a total of 41,411 GRT.
Her first patrol saw her depart Bergen on 8 August 1942, cross the North Sea and move through the gap between Iceland and the Faroe Islands into the Atlantic. There she sank the Suecia with a torpedo on 16 August, having first checked the ships' papers. She also sank the Empire Hartebeeste on 20 September, but was attacked by HNoMS Potentilla and HMS Viscount on 24 August. No damage was sustained. U-596 lost a man overboard on 30 August in mid-Atlantic. The boat then docked at St. Nazaire in occupied France on 3 October.
Her next foray from St. Nazaire took the U-boat as part of group 'Delphin' to La Spezia in northern Italy. Her route involved passing the heavily defended Strait of Gibraltar, which she successfully accomplished in the darkness during the period of the new moon from 8–10 November 1942.
3rd and 4th patrols
Her fourth foray yielded some reward. Between Algiers and Oran she damaged Fort Norman and Empire Standard, both on 9 March 1943.
5th and 6th patrols
Her fifth outing, in the same area as her third and fourth patrols, was rewarded with the sinking of the Fort a la Corne west of Algiers on 30 March 1943.
Her home port was moved from La Spezia to Pola in Croatia; she sailed from there on her sixth patrol, but it was uneventful.
7th and 8th patrols
During her eighth patrol, she sank Marit off the Libyan coast on 4 October, but was attacked by the British corvette HMS Gloxina. Although slightly damaged, the U-boat escaped.
9th, 10th and 11th patrols
U-596 departed Pola on 30 November but it was not until many days later that she sank the Troop Transport Cap Padaran off Cape Spartivento in Italy on 9 December. She returned to Pola on 28 December 1943.
Another unsuccessful patrol passed between 12 February and 11 March 1944.
The boat barely left the Adriatic for patrol number eleven.
What turned out to be the last complete patrol by a U-boat in the Mediterranean began with U-596's departure from Pola on 29 July 1944. Her route was to the Gulf of Sirte on the Libyan coast. Her arrival at Salamis in Greece was followed by the USAAF (United States Army Air Forces) bombing the port on 29 September (USAAF records say the 25th). The boat was sufficiently damaged that the crew were forced to abandon her and join the general retreat through Athens.
Summary of raiding history
|16 August 1942||Suecia||Sweden||4,966||Sunk|
|20 September 1942||Empire Hartebeeste||United Kingdom||5,676||Sunk|
|7 February 1943||HMS LCI (L) 162||Royal Navy||246||Sunk|
|9 March 1943||Empire Standard||United Kingdom||7,047||Damaged|
|30 March 1943||Fort Norman||United Kingdom||7,133||Damaged|
|30 March 1943||Fort a la Corne||United Kingdom||7,133||Sunk|
|30 March 1943||Hallanger||Norway||9,551||Sunk|
|20 August 1943||El Sayeda||Egypt||68||Sunk|
|21 August 1943||Lily||British Mandate for Palestine||132||Sunk|
|21 August 1943||Namaz||United Kingdom||50||Sunk|
|21 August 1943||Panikos||United Kingdom||21||Sunk|
|30 August 1943||Nagwa||Egypt||183||Sunk|
|7 September 1943||Hamidieh||Egypt||80||Sunk|
|4 October 1943||Marit||Norway||5,542||Sunk|
|9 December 1943||Cap Padaran||United Kingdom||8,009||Sunk|
- 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.
- 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.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type VIIC boat U-596". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 29 December 2014.