U 575

Sinking report

Report of the commandant OLtzS Boehmer and I. WO Lt. Gramlow


At March 13th, 1944 shortly after midnight in the Atlantic, north of the Azores ca. 75 miles from the convoy ON.227, attacked a Wellington B of the British 172. Sq. and a Fortress R of the British 206 Sq. and constrained us to dipping. U 575 were shopworned.

At the morning of the 13., after the turn up, we was attacked from the „Fortress“ J of the  Brit. 220. Sq. and a „Avenger“ of thecalled to come „US-Task-Group 21.11“ with the US air craft carrier USS BOGUE (US-Sq. VC-95) and against constrained to dipping.  Ca. 14.00 h came the escort destroyers HOBSON, HAVERFIELD, JANSSEN, WILLIS and SWENNING combined with the Canadian  frigate PRINCE RUPERT, which to the  convoy escort group C.3 of the  ON.227 owned, on the theatre on.  HAVERFIELD and PRINCE RUPERT attacked promptly with depth charges and Hedgehog.

Than came HOBSON besides, during HAVERFIELD and PRINCE RUPERT in a distance from ca. one mile to stay contact, attacked HOBSON now between the war ships with depth charges. Now begins a 7hours hunting. 

The last two rounds were direct hits.  After some machinery stopped to function and a fire started in the E-machine, we had to surface after the last round, which was a direct hit, as the boat showed her course in the water through oil leaking out by plane attack, and second the boat threatened to sink in the rear.  Assumption that the boat cannot be saved.  Through unexplainable circumstances it has not been possible to save the men from the machine.  Probably all men suffocated in the smoke.  To show that the boat was unable to fight, the order was given to raise the arms.  Probably this sign has not been seen by the attacking destroyers and airplanes, because all of a sudden airplanes and destroyers began to fire from all arms and weapons, although the crew was on the way to leave the boat.  Some men were killed by shrapnel in the water instantly, which is to be objected very much, since from a short distance now one simply had to see the men jumping into the water.  The cause of this fact and explanation of this action cannot be discussed here.  The boat sank after attack from all weapons 10 minutes after emerging.  Touching was the sight of our good old loyal boat, when it began to sink as a silhouette in the red-golden rays of the sun.  In spite of that last defeat how proud can the seaman be, as he knows, that my boat took us close to the enemies, gave us marvelous success, and that must console us over the painful loss. Position 46°18´N/27°34´W  Grid square: BD6816



U 575 while the sinking under attack, any men of the crew already swimming (to recognize as little points in the water), photo taken from the Avenger


U 575 under fire. Photo taken from attacked USS Haverfield

Sinking Report

Report of the Wellington B 172 Sq.

Report I.WO Lt. Gramlow Sinking/PoW

Summary of the Interrogation Report (O.N.I.)


        At about 1400 on 13 March 1944, U-575 was proceeding submerged, when suddenly, without warning, two or three bombs dropped by aircraft exploded over the boat.  No damage was done, but the crew were puzzled as to how the U-boat had been located.  It was at this time that they began to suspect that they were leaving an oil-trace as a result of the aircraft attack suffered the previous night.

        At about 1500, U-575 began to pick up propeller noises on her hydrophones.  Within an hour a depth-charge attack began.  The first patterns were not well-placed, but as the afternoon went on, the charges began falling closer and closer.  For some time no damage at all was done.  Only minor damages -- all easily repaired -- occurred until the last pattern of charges exploded.  During this time U-575's Captain took his boat to various depths, none of them unusually great.

        Shortly after 1800, U-575 was at 180 meters, apparently bearing up well under her second prolonged depth-charge attack in one week.  Then suddenly a pattern of charges exploded so close to the U-boat that its effects were devastating.  The lights were blown out, all instruments were smashed, water was leaking through the port propeller-shaft, and the U-boat was well down by the stern.  The Captain felt -- unjustifiably, according to some of the more experienced ratings -- that all was lost and gave the order to blow tanks and run the motors at flank speed.  The U-boat was by now so far down by the stern that she responded only very slowly.  At last she began to rise very gradually.  The motors now began to heat up rapidly and, it was stated, began to burn.  When the U-boat had finally risen to a depth of about 80 meters, she suddenly shot up to the surface, breaking surface almost perpendicularly.  Immediately thereafter came the order from topside to abandon ship.  The crew were told to come out with their hands held up over their heads in token of surrender, as the destroyers had opened fire as soon as the U-boat surfaced.  Three planes were flying about and dropped five or six bombs, but were not using their guns.  All but about four of the crew came safely through the conning tower and jumped into the water.  The Engineer officer stayed behind intending to scuttle the U-boat.  All of the crew who took to the water had life-preservers.  No rafts or rubber-boats were taken overboard.  About twenty of the men were wounded and some were killed by gun fire in the brief time that they were on deck before taking to the water or while they were attempting to swim to safety.  U-575 stayed afloat for about ten minutes, then sank out of sight.  None of the survivors realized that rockets were used to sink their U-boat.

        (O.N.I. Note:  See Chapter I for a description of the sinking from the Allied point of view.)


Taken from the Fortress 206 R (at18.30 h at 13.3.), here is the fatal oil-trace good to see.


Here taken at 18.34 h from the Fortress 200 J.

USS Bogue CVE 9

USS Bogue CVE 9

USS Haverfield DE 393


USS Haverfield in Pearl Harbor

USS DE 396 Janssen

USS Hobson DD 464

Bristol-class/2.433 GRT length: 106,17m width: 11m power: 50.000 WPS/36,5 Kn. Armed: 5 x 12,7 cm, 6 x 12,7 mm MG, zehn Torpedo tubes, crew: 250

HMCS Prince Rupert

USS DE 395 Willis

Edsall-class (FMR)

Haverfield, Swenning, Janssen, Willis

1.627 tons

length:  93,27 m

width:  1,15m

power: 6.000 PS

armed: 3 x 7,6 cm, 2 x 4 cm, 10 x 2cm

                     three Torpedo tubes

crew: 186


Wellington RAF


Fortress of the Coastel Commando


detailed informations in German available

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