Unterseeboot 573

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German submarine U-573 was a Type VIIC U-boat built for the German Kriegsmarine for service during World War II.

Her keel was laid down 8 June 1940 by Blohm + Voss of Hamburg. She was commissioned on 5 June 1941 with Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Heinsohn (*12 February 1910-6 May 1943*) in command. Heinsohn commanded her for her entire career in the Kriegsmarine. In May 1941 Heinsohn had arranged that the city of Landeck in Tyrol adopted the submarine within the then popular sponsorship programmme (Patenschaftsprogramm), organising gifts and holidays for the crew, earning her the honorary name U-573 Landeck.[1]

U-573 conducted four war patrols, sinking one ship, the Norwegian Hellen on 21 December 1941, displacing 5,289 tons and with all her 41 men rescued.[2]

On 29 April 1942, northwest of Algiers, U-573 was attacked with depth charges by Lockheed Hudsons of No. 233 Squadron RAF. Seriously damaged, she limped north to Spain, arriving in Cartagena on 2 May. International agreements allowed ships in neutral ports 24 hours to make emergency repairs before they were to be interned. The Spanish authorities granted U-573 a three-month period for repairs, which prompted several strong protests from the British Embassy in Madrid. On 19 May Heinsohn flew from Madrid to Stuttgart, then travelling to Berlin, in order to discuss the further proceeding with the Kriegsmarine. On 28 May he returned by train via Hendaye to Spain. Realizing that even three months would not be enough to repair the boat, the Kriegsmarine sold the boat to Spain for 1.5 million Reichsmark. On 2 August 1942, at 10 am, (one day before the three-month period was to expire), the Spanish navy commissioned the boat as the Spanish submarine G-7.

U-573's crew suffered no casualties during her career in the Kriegsmarine. The crew had been interned in Cartagena and was gradually released in groups of two to three men. The last five members of the crew left with Kptlt. Heinsohn, who returned to the Kriegsmarinearsenal in Gdynia, then German-annexed Poland, on 13 February 1943. In March he was ordered to Brest, then German-occupied France to take command of U-438, and died with all his crew two months later.

G-7's repairs were completed in 1947. In 1958 Arca-Filmproduktion GmbH rented G-7 to take the partially fictitious movie U 47 – Kapitänleutnant Prien, partially based on his patrol to Scapa Flow, where he sank HMS Royal Oak.[3]

In 1961 G-7 was renamed S-01, and she served the Spanish Navy until 1970.

One other U-boat was interred in Spain during World War II: U-760.

See Also: List of U-boats


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