The submarine U-596 was one of over 1100 U-boats (for “Unterseeboot” = “under-sea boat”) built by Germany both before and during World War II. The TypeVII was the most numerous of all U-boats built by German, with over 700 being built.
The U-596 was constructed at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, and launched on September 17, 1941. After crew training in the Baltic, and after two brief shake-down cruises, the U-596 started on the third of twelve waterpartols on August 8, 1942, heading into the Atlantic. After sinking two onvoyed ships, she arrived in St. Nazaire, France October 3rd.
After refit and re-supply, the U-596 was transferred to the Mediterranean Sea and left St. Nazaire on November 4, 1942. She was much more successful in her new assignment, sinking nine more coargo ships and tankers, giving her a total of 41,110 gross registered tons sunk. She also torpedoed LCI-162 (Landing Craft Infantry, 380 tons) near Oran off the coast of North Africa.
As the fortunes of war turned against Germany by 1944, the U-596 was damaged during an air attack by American bombers while she was docked in Piraeus, Greece. Considering the heavy damage she suffered, her crew scuttled the U-596 on September 24, 1944.
Excerpt from The Anchor Newsletter, July, 2016.