U-571

Factual error: Depth charges explode at a distance of some 10 meters from the boat without any fatal effect. In reality fatal (i.e. destroying) distance was some 50 meters. (00:06:00)

3
Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: The second sentence is in error. Hull-rupture maximum distance is approximately FIVE meters. K-gun DISPERSION range was selectable from the attacking DD or DE: (1) Mk-6 at 50, 75, and 120 yards, (2) Mk-9 at 60, 90, and 150 yards. Citation: http://uboat.net/allies/technical/depth_charges.htm states "The pressure hull of the U-boat was strong enough to withstand anything but a charge exploding 10 or 20 feet from its hull.", and http://www.math.iitb.ac.in/~manishk/msc_project/OR-Notes-Mirror/OR-Notes/mscmga.ms.ic.ac.uk/jeb/or/intro.html states "As mentioned above the standard 250lb depth charge was believed to have a lethal radius of only 5-6 metres."

3

I have seen German sources which suggest any depth charge going off closer than 100 meters would be instantly deadly. I don't know where those sites you cite get their info from, but descriptions of battles from the era of from a submariner's perspective make it look extremely unlikely that bombs of the stats which you describe would have been an effective weapon at all.

Doc Premium member

100 metres is 330ft. If depth charges were that effective, the Battle of the Atlantic would have been won in days. Escort ships used to drop ten charges in a pattern to sandwich the sub when they exploded.

Factual error: The "German" airplane which spots the crew before the destroyer scene is actually a Fiat G59 - a post-war two-seat training development of the G55 Centauro fighter. It is powered by a Rolls Royce Merlin engine.

1

Continuity mistake: After the melee with the destroyer above the surface, they attempt to dive and travel under the keel of the destroyer to escape the deck guns. As the camera is going underwater, the destroyer can be seen, but when the camera is below the surface, its keel cannot be seen.

Phil Watts
3

Factual error: When Tyler asks Tank "what's the status of the torpedo tube?" His hand is on the periscope tube and it spins freely That tube has many seals on it and is stiffer then that.

2

Continuity mistake: As the submarine is preparing to leave the dock in one of the movie's first scenes, Bill Paxton, the commander is standing on the top part of the sub. A seaman is walking in Bill Paxton's direction and the camera is at a distance. As the camera zooms in the man walking should have been in the frame under Mr. Paxton but he just disappeared. (00:20:20)

2

Continuity mistake: When the German destroyer is with U-571, look at the ship. Notice in the first shots there are 2 gun turrets on either side. Yet in the later shots during the final battle there's only one turret. In addition, right before the turrets are shown turning to fire, look at the ship again - they are already aimed at the U-boat. I guess the Germans felt the need to do this two times.

Revealing mistake: At the end of the movie, when the aft torpedo blows up the ship, the pieces that fly into the air hit the water and there is no splash. Obviously computer generated.

Revealing mistake: When the U-571's crew member starts firing the MG-34 at the survivors in the rowboat, you can see the ammo belt is all blanks.

Grumpy Scot

Continuity mistake: When Tyler is unhandcuffing Tank and Mazzola's body is lying beside him, in the long shot of the scene, it looks like Tank and Mazzola are a few feet away from each other. But in the overhead shot, they're right beside each other. (01:09:20)

Audio problem: When they spot the long range plane circling the U boat Mazzola starts yelling saying, "Do something Rabbit." A quick shot later you notice that he is still talking but his mouth is not moving. (01:06:00)

Other mistake: There is a scene where Eddie, the mess steward, is taunting the German prisoners while writing numbers on their chests. Watch his writing hand as he's working on 11. He makes an awful lot of strokes, including several horizontal ones. You can see from the next guy, 12, that Eddie's ones are just simple vertical lines, so there's no reason for him to have spent so much time writing on 11's chest. Except that it gave him time to say his whole line. (00:45:40)

2

Revealing mistake: The German destroyer is actually an old converted minesweeper.

Badbird
2

Character mistake: Near the beginning of the film, when Tyler calls the crew of the S-33 to quarters, look at the guy two back from Mazzola, on the far right. He has his hands clasped behind his back while he's supposed to be at attention. When Tyler says "At ease," he realizes his mistake, drops his hands to his sides where they're supposed to be, then clasps them behind his back again as he stands at ease.

Factual error: The yard set has a red and white stop sign. Stop signs during WWII were yellow with black letters (00:12:30)

Grumpy Scot

Factual error: Shortly after the crew of the S33 are forced to take to the U571 and destroy the German Supply Submarine Tyler announces that they will try to sail to Greenland or Land's End (England). From their mid-Atlantic position they would, therefore, need to sail east. In the next scene the submarine is seen on the surface sailing from left to right across the screen with the sun on the other side of them. Since from the North Atlantic the sun would always be to the south this must mean they are sailing west, away from Greenland and England and towards the United States. (00:57:05 - 00:59:25)

Continuity mistake: In both scenes when the sub is being depth charged, how come the lights keep coming on even though you see them blowing out?

Audio problem: When the U-boat captain is called onto deck,he orders his machine gunner to fire at the sailors who are rowing towards them. As soon as he fires the ammo belt gets used up straight away, however the sound of the gun carries on for a short while longer. (00:27:50)

Continuity mistake: When the plane flies over the U-571, an overhead shot shows Tyler and Mazzola looking up at the plane while Trigger and Rabbit wave from beside the deck gun. Then Tyler orders the men to wave at the plane.

1

Continuity mistake: When Mazzola is shot in the engine room he takes down the German, first he has hold of the German by the neck, then the collar, then the neck, then the collar again. (01:08:35)

1

Character mistake: After accurately depth charging U-571, the German destroyer crew suddenly turns out to be almost comically and unrealistically incompetent at the end of the movie. Not only do they barely hit U-571 with their guns, but they also can't keep up with the sub. But even with both submarine diesel engines running flank speed (of which U-571 only has one badly damaged engine operational), a common WWII destroyer would easily be twice as fast as a Type VII U-boat. The destroyer could swiftly close the distance and could either ram U-571 or cross the sub's wake to bring all its weapons to bear and make it more difficult to get hit by the sub. Of course the destroyer doesn't do that but stays perfectly in U-571's wake for an easy kill shot from its stern tube. In reality, it was considered an incredible feat to sink a destroyer with a torpedo, since they were agile at full speed, could easily dodge torpedoes and had shallow draft. This destroyer crew however, seems actively trying to get killed.

1

Lieutenant Andrew Tyler: What the hell are you doing, huh? This is not a God damn democracy.

More quotes from U-571

Trivia: Matthew McConaughey didn't like his character's background, so he asked that it be changed from the original, not being promoted because he was a drunk, to basically never making a decision that might cost someone their life.

David Robertson
More trivia for U-571

Question: At first we learn that Tyler is not getting his own submarine, but then a few scenes later and he's being fired from the navy. What happened?

Answer: Technically he's not getting fired, but Dahlgren did not recommend Tyler for his own command, and he won't get a promotion without Dahlgren's recommendation. Therefore, Tyler's only choices are to keep being an executive officer (which is possible but not what he wants, not to mention Tyler feels betrayed by Dahlgren and isn't sure he wants to continue working with him), or leave the navy entirely.

Aerinah
More questions & answers from U-571

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.