Built by Deutsche Werft in Hamburg, Germany. Laid down February 21, 1941 with yard number 307. Launched September 22, 1941. Commissioned December 8, 1941 into the Kriegsmarine as U-511 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Friedrich Steinhoff. Afterwards, conducted training with the 4th U-boat Flotilla.
In May 1942, U-511 was used for testing deck mounted Wurfkörper 42 30cm (12") artillery rockets while surfaced or from a depth of 12m / 39'. The rockets were not accurate and the racks had a negative effect on handling and the project was abandoned.
On September 1, 1943 attached to the 10th U-boat Flotilla and conducted four war patrols, two under the command of Steinhoff and two under the command of Kapitänleutnant Fritz Schneewind. In total U-511 sank five ships totaling 41,373 tons and damaging one of 8,773 tons.
On September 16, 1943 transferred to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and redesignated RO-500.
During September 1945 at Maizuru Navy Base when surrendered to the Allies. On October 10, 1945 officially removed from the Navy List. On October 13, 1945 at Maizuru with surrendered submarines I-121, I-201, I-202, RO-18 and RO-68.
On April 30, 1946 scuttled by the U. S. Navy (USN) into the Gulf of Maizuru off Japan.
During 2018, an expedition lead by the Society La Plongee for Deep Sea Technology discovered this submarine in Wakasa Bay off Kyoto Prefecture. Also discovered was I-121.
Combined Fleet - IJN Submarine RO-500 (Ex-U-511)
Asahi Shimbun "U-boat given to Japan during WWII found in sea after 72 years" July 3, 2018
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November 16, 2018