U-572 under Heinz Hirsacker Bermuda patrol April 1942

U-572          Hirsacker     3-Apr-1942 15 days

Kapitänleutnant Heinz Hirsacker brought is command, U-572 on a relatively long patrol north of Bermuda between the 3rdand 26th of April, 1942 – totaling 15 days. The patrol entered the Bermuda area on the third of April, and the following day the British tanker Ensis of 6,207 tons, which was just damaged by gunfire and 20 millimeter shells. The patrol started off of Newfoundland then went south between Bermuda and the mainland.

For over two weeks the submarine patrolled northwest of Bermuda. During that time she sank the Panamanian Desert Light of 2,368 tons on the 16th, off Virginia, followed by the British Empire Dryden of 7,164 tons north northwest of Bermuda on the 20th. The U-tanker U-459 refueled U-572, according to Wynn on the 23rd of April, but realistically more like the first week of May, as it occurred 500 miles northeast of the island and on the 23rd the sub was just north of Bermuda. This patrol began for the 3rd U-boat Flotilla on the 14thof March 1942 in Brest and ended there on the 14th of May.

Hirsacker was born in 1914 and was a member of the Crew of 1934. He received the U-boat War Badge of 1939. In his early career he served aboard U-36 in 1937 and then U-64 under Schulz and later aboard U-124 under the same command. He took over U-572 in May 1941. Following a number of lackluster patrols and one in which he fabricated the log and remained submerged most of the time, Hirsacker was court-martialed in Paris while being re-assigned to destroyers Hans Lody and Z-33. Found guilty of cowardice and sentenced to death, Hirsacker chose to take his own life instead, which he did on April 24, 1943.

Over six patrols and 267 patrol days he sank 3 ships of 14,813 tons and damaged another of 6,207 for a total of 21,020 tons, all of them in early to mid 1942 and three of them on this patrol.


SOURCES: Gudmundur Helgason, Rainer Kolbicz, www.uboat.net, 2013, Kenneth Wynn, U-boat Operations of the Second World War, Volume 1 and Volume 2, 1997, R. Busch, and H.-J. Röll, German U-boat Commanders of World War II, 1988, Franz Kurowski, Knights Cross Holders of the U-boat Service