|Ordered||24 Oct 1939|
|Laid down||8 Jun 1940||Blohm & Voss, Hamburg (werk 549)|
|Launched||17 Apr 1941|
|Commissioned||5 Jun 1941||Kptlt. Heinrich Heinsohn|
|Successes||1 ship sunk, total tonnage 5,289 GRT|
On 1 May, 1942, badly damaged by depth charges from a British Hudson aircraft (Sqdn. 233/M) in the Mediterranean north-west of Tenes in approx. position 37.00N, 01.00E.
Interned at Cartagena, Spain on 2 May 1942. Sold to Spain on 2 Aug, 1942. Became the Spanish submarine G 7. In service until May 1970.1 dead and 43 survivors.
U-573 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
Mordbrenner (16 Oct 1941 - 3 Nov 1941)
Attacks on this boat and other events
1 May 1942
15.56 hrs, approx. 40 miles north-west of Ténès, Algeria: British Hudson bomber AM735 (RAF Sqdn 233/M, pilot: Sgt Brent) on patrol from Gibraltar dropped three 250lb depth charges on the boat. Two were seen to explode very close on the starboard side aft, lifting the stern out of the water as the boat dived. U-573 was then seen to resurface close to a large patch of oil with about ten men standing on the bridge and raising their hands in surrender. The pilot felt it was not justified to strafe the U-boat as the crew did not man the AA guns, but the assessment of Coastal Command was that he should have machine-gunned the crew because there were no surface vessels nearby to accept the surrender. The aircraft circled the area until it was low on fuel, returning to base at 16.20 hrs.
U-573 was left severely damaged, with one electric motor and both diesel engines out of order, both batteries damaged, leaks in the diving and ballast tanks on the starboard side and a large dent in the pressure hull at the stern. On receiving a distress call from U-573, the FdU ordered the nearby U-74 and U-375 to assist, and Italian submarines Emo and Mocenigo also joined the rescue operation. The Allies sent aircraft from Gibraltar and detached HMS Wishart and HMS Wrestler from a group of five destroyers on A/S patrol east of Gibraltar to intercept the crippled U-boat. The commander of U-573 at first thought he would have to scuttle the boat, but the engineers managed to restart one of the electric motors to move slowly northwards. The radio was also initially out of action, and U-573 was unable to report her position to rendezvous with her rescuers. On the morning of the 2nd May, SKL ordered her to proceed to Cartagena in neutral Spain, where U-573 arrived at 11.36 hrs. Allied forces searching for U-573 located and sank U-74 shortly afterwards.(Sources: Norman Franks, ADM 199/1782)
1 recorded attack on this boat.
General notes on this boat
1 May 1942.
On 1 May 1942 U-573 was bombed and seriously damaged by a Hudson aircraft northwest of Ténès, Algeria. The SKL ordered the boat to make for neutral Spain. U-573 arrived at Cartagena the following day, and the Spanish authorities conceded a three month period for repair. This was very irregular, a period of this length not being allowed under international regulations, and for this reason the British embassy in Madrid made several strong protests to the Spanish ministry of foreign affairs.
S-01, former U-573, in Barcelona harbor during a protocol visit.
Finally, after several meetings, the Kriegsmarine sold U-573 minus torpedoes to the Armada (Spanish Navy) for 1.5 million Reichsmarks. At 10.00 hours on 2 August the Spanish Navy took possession of the boat as submarine G 7, and the Spanish flag was raised in a very simple ceremony just one day before the end of the concession period.
S-01 on Cartagena's slipway number 2 during regular maintenance
This was a very good solution for both parties, because it was not possible to repair the boat in the period granted. After repairs were completed, she entered service in 1947 and was renamed S-01 on 25 June 1961. In May 1970, the boat was decommissioned and auctioned for 3,334,751 Pesetas (about $26,500). Despite efforts to preserve her as a museum, the former U-573 was broken up for scrap.
* The crew of U-573 was repatriated from Spain in small groups through January and February 1943. Kptlt. Heinsohn returned to Germany with the last group in March, where he took over command of U-438, in which he perished with all his crew on 6 May.
See also U-boats Interned in Spain.
2 May 1970. On 2 May 1970 the ex U-573, last WW2 U-boat still in service, as Spanish submarine S-01 (G-7 until June 15 1961), was decommissioned. Besides her service in the navy, the Spanish admiralty had also loaned her to appear in film productions, most famously as U-47 in the German film of the same name.
Men lost from U-boats
Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-573 did not suffer any casualties (we know of) until the time of her loss.