F.d.U./B.d.U.'S War Log

15 August - 15 September 1939

PG30247

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
     
    15.VIII.39.  (Kiel)
     
1200
    Telephone call from Supreme Command of the Navy (Lieut.(s.g.) Fraesdorf) saying that the officers' party for U-boat officers was to be on Saturday 19.8 and as many as possible were to be present.  Were there no orders?
     
1300
    Following steps taken:
    1)  F.O. U/B informed by telephone.
    2) Deputy S.O. of 2nd U-Flotilla, Lieut. Franz, informed.  U-28/29/33/34 can be ready by Saturday.
    3)  C.O. of U-26 informed of emergency order for North Sea.  Detailed orders received later through S.O. 6th U-Flotilla.
    4)  6th U-Flotilla ordered by radio to break off firing practice.
    5)  U-57 recalled from Pillau, U-47 from Neustadt.  U-48, with S.O. 7th U-Flotilla on board, recalled and S.O. 7th U-Flotilla informed of the North Sea emergency exercise.  He is making preparations immediately.  U-45/51 will arrive, tonight.
     
1700
    T/P from Supreme Command of the Navy received:
    a)  10 U-boats to sail 19.8 (Orders are ready and will be issued).
    b)  4 U-boats of the 2nd U-Flotilla are to sail with the above (Arranged, see 1330).
    c)  These 4 boats to be replaced by boats of the 5th U-Flotilla.
    d)  Further boats are to be made ready quickly and it is to be reported when they are ready.
    Staff officer to Eckenfoerde to see about U-42.
     
2240
    "Memel" arrived, having been recalled, with 1 G7a (T.N.: air-driven torpedo) and 15 G7e (T.N.: electric torpedo) belonging to 7th U-Flotilla on board to be handed over to boats of the 7th U-Flotilla.
     
2300
    The question of giving U-58-59 another torpedo practice with a target ship and 4 torpedo recovery vessels was considered, but the project was later abandoned as impractical in view of the general situation.
     
    16.VIII.39.
     
0230
    S.O. 6th U-Flotilla arrived and was informed of duties and situation in accordance with "emergency exercise North Sea."  He then left on board U 37 for Wilhelmshaven, with orders for U 28/29/33/34, to prepare his boats.
     
1007
    Decision by Supreme Command of the Navy:  radio service to begin 0800/19/8 German summer time.
       
       
       
   
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
     
1140
    Orders received from F.O. Scouting Forces for case WEISS.
     
1315
    Telephone call from Group West, C-in-C Group West wishes to see F.O. U/B-designate personally.
     
1400
    F.O. U/B returned from leave.  Chief of Staff handed over to F.O. U/B.
     
1500
    Arranged with Supreme Command of the Navy for U-boat radio service to begin at 0000/19/8, so that the boats can put to sea as soon as ever possible.
     
1530
    F.O. U/B arranged to see C-in-C Group West at 1730/18/8.
     
    17.VIII.39.
     
    Instructions to 2nd, 6th and 7th U-Flotillas:
     
    6th U-Flotilla to sail, with Flotilla S.O., at 0000/19/8.
    7th U-Flotilla to sail at 0000/19/8.
    4 boats of 2nd U-Flotilla to follow at first light on 19.8 or later.
     
    Station Commands will supply the boats of the 3 flotillas with 2nd watch-keeping officers.
     
1900
    During a telephone conversation with Wilhelmshaven it came out that there were not enough operational torpedoes ready.  This was immediately reported by telephone to Berlin.  See also F.O. U/B's special report on operational torpedoes, of which there are an insufficient number in spite of F.O. U/B's urging the matter for nearly 4 years.
     
    18.VIII.39.
     
0900
    S.O. 3rd U-Flotilla informed that F.O. U/B had decided to finish watchkeeping officers' torpedo-firing practice; and boats then to enter port on Friday night (18/19/8) to receive further orders.
     
1000
    After consulting with Supreme Command of the Navy the following organization was approved by Naval War Staff(1st Division):
     
   
F.O. U/B
with staff on board ERWIN WASSNER
   
F.O. U/B West  
Lieut. Comdr. Ibbeken, with Lieut. Loof (Staff office) and staff of 1st and 2nd U-Flotillas Also F.O. U/B Baltic
 
At the disposal of Commander Schomburg with staff of F.O. U/B Baltic.
 
    If case WEISS should develop into a major action, F.O. U/B would go to Wilhelmshaven with ERWIN WASSNER.
     
1130
    F.O. U/B took leave of the C.O.s of the 7th U-Flotilla, who are going into the Atlantic.
     
1430
    F.O. U/B flew to Wilhelmshaven.  Took leave of the C.Os of the 6th U-FLotilla and 4 C.O.s of the 2nd U-Flotilla who are
   
 
 
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Date
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and
Sea State, Illumination,
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    going into the Atlantic.  F.O. U/B gave personal instructions to the S.O. of the 6th U-Flotilla who is going into the Atlantic in U-37.  F.O. U/B introduced S.O. of 2nd U-Flotilla, who is taking over the duties of F.O. U/B West, to the Group Command.  F.O. U/B ordered U 31/32/35 to be in Kiel on the afternoon of 21/8 and the C.O.s to come on board ERWIN WASSNER to receive orders.  "Saar" to be in Kiel at 0700/21/8 to re-adjust mines if necessary.
     
    19.VIII.39.
     
0000
    The following sailed:
    U 45/46/47/48/52 from Kiel
    U 37/38/39/40/41 from Wilhelmshaven
    U 28/29/33/34 from Wilhelmshaven.
     
0800
    S.O. 6th U-Flotilla, in U 37 was put in tactical command.  F.O. U/B remains in operational command.)
     
0900
    S.O.s of 3rd and 5th U-Flotilla arrived for conference.  Orders were issued and the 3rd and 5th U-Flotillas instructed to be in the Rügen and Warnemünde sea areas respectively on the evening of 22/8.  Depot ships to remain at sea until Y hour.  Flotillas fitting out.  F.O. U/B took leave of S.O.s.  He did not take leave of the C.O.s of these flotillas as their duties are not so vital for the present.
     
1030
    Chief of Staff phoned the Commander of the U-boat school.  Firing practice to be continued until 26/8.  Recovery vessels to stay.  Aim to work 4 of the 7 C.O.s so that they are ready for operations by the evening of 26/8.  3 boats to continue practice 28/8-2/9.  Supreme Command of the Navy's orders "TREIBRIEMEN" and PRISENSCHEIBE" arrived too late and can only be delivered to the boats which have sailed by courier a/c by night.
     
1130
    Fleet Command had not yet been informed of the new organization of F.O. U/B and was so informed by telephone.
     
1300
    F.O. U/B and staff transshipped from "HECHT" to "ERWIN WASSNER".
     
1500
    F.O. U/B West instructed to convey all F.O. U/B's orders on secret grid charts to the Group Command and also to inform them that 4 U-boats will arrive on 30/8 at the disposal of Group West (U 36, 1, 3 and 4).
     
    20.VIII.39
     
0930
    S.O. 1st U-Flotilla, returning from journey abroad, received instructions and began fitting out.
     
    Supreme Command of the Navy was requested to convey to F.O. U/B any observations of U-boats made by English a/c.
     
    21.VIII.39
     
    The following will be ready to fit out:
   
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
    U 50        evening of 21/8
    U 27        evening of 22/8
    U 26        evening of 32/8
    U 53        evening of 26/8
     
    F.O. U/B enquired whether all boats at readiness were to be sent out or if it would not be better to keep some as relief's or operational reserve.  Supreme Command of the Navy decided that all U-boats were to be used.  The decision was received in the afternoon, times of sailing were to be reported.
     
1000
    Code word "ELEPHANT" received with additions "SCHWEDEN 1, 2, 3" for F.O. U/B.  This last order is only a preparatory order, as cleared up by telephone.  C.O.s of Hela boats were ordered to supply and will be instructed by F.O. U/B personally as to their duties.  They will take over torpedoes at night, will sail at 0400/22/8 and are then to take over TM's  (T.N.: torpedo-tube mines) and report.
     
    Situation as at 21.8
     
    I.)  General
            1)  Fitting out has gone according to plan, except for operational torpedoes (see page 3).  The excessive number of orders and code-words have been a disadvantage.  Preliminary plans were thought out in detail and to cover all eventualities, but code-words are liable to be forgotten when it comes to carrying out.This causes worry and confusion . Transmission of instructions has also been unreliable.  For instance, F.O. U/B did not receive the highly important order "to be at readiness on the evening of 22/8" until 24 hours too late, and then only verbally.  If peacetime organization differs from that on mobilization, the peacetime method of transmitting orders must be kept until new conditions are properly established.
            2)  Everything possibly was done to keep the preparations secret (e.g. by informing the S.O.s personally, breaking off current exercises to give priority to F.O. U/B's exercises etc.).  The mobilization of so many units can never be kept absolutely secret.  But, although the enemy can discover that something is happening, he cannot form any clear idea.
            3)  The very confident attitude of the crews deserves special mention.  In my opinion it is a sign that the broad masses of the people have great faith in the government.
    II.  Operational Situation
            1)  The number of U-boats at present in the Baltic seems adequate.  The development of the political situation with Russia will make it possible later to release boats of the 3rd and 5th U-Flotillas to reinforce the numbers in the North Sea.
            2)  The North Sea patrols planned can start as soon as the 1st U-Flotilla has fitted out.  I consider Group West's complaint that the Northern Sector of the North Sea is insufficiently defended is justified.  I therefore, intend to hasten the training of 4 of the 7 school boats so that they can be at the disposal of Group West from 30.8.
     
     
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
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Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
            3)  The Atlantic boats are on their way to their positions.  I am of the opinion that the convoy system will not come into full effect in the first days of the war.  Even if the government were to order it at once, there would still be many single ships on the sea routes until it had got started.  The important thing is to catch these ships at once.  A flotilla C.O. has been sent with the boats and it is intended later to send a second S.O.  Thus the boats can always be divided into a N. and S. Group, each under a tactical commander and under the operational command of F.O. U/B.
            4)  My plans have all been restricted by lack of boats.  The situation is:  by the evening of 21/8:
      7 U-boats of the 1st U-Flotilla ready with Group West
      4                "         2nd        "       on their way to the Atlantic
      3                "         2nd        "                "                        Baltic
      4                "          5th        "                "                "
      5                "          6th        "                "                "      Atlantic
      5                "          7th        "                "                "
       
      Total 35 U-boats.
       
      During the period up to 30.8 the following will be ready and some on their way:
       
      1 U-boat of the 2nd U-Flotilla (U30) sailing 0300/22/8 for the Atlantic
      1 U-boat of the 2nd U-Flotilla (U 27) sailing evening of 23/8 for the Atlantic.
      1 U-boat of the 2nd U-Flotilla (U26) ready by midday 26.8.
      1 U-boat of the 7th U-FLotilla (U53) sailing 1200/29/8 for the Atlantic.
      4 U-boats of the U-boat School (36/1/2/3/4) at disposal of Group West from 30.8.
       
      Total 8 boats.
       
              These are all the U-boats we can count on.  (We cannot count on the following 9 boats:  U 2, U 8, U 10 of the U-boat school, U 42, 51 long dockyard periods, U 49, 60, 61 with U-boats trials Group and U 11 with Communications Experimental Department).
              In order to occupy the positions, which are not many, without a break with the minimum of boats I would need a further 43 boats and an additional 43 boats which, as experience shows, would be in dock undergoing overhaul.
              Thus, for a war of some length, 130 U-boats should be necessary.
              Even then I would have no reserves, so that I could send out 3 or 4 boats from home against a worthwhile transport reported by the intelligence service.  Also there are not enough boats for the Atlantic and none for remote sea areas.
       
     
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
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Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
            Therefore, the minimum requirement to be aimed at 300 U-boats.
     
      22.VIII.39.
       
0700     "ERWIN WASSNER" sailed from Kiel to Swinemünde with F.O. U/B.  Non-agression pact (see also situation review).
      U 30 sailed at 0300 (Operations Order Atlantic No. 2), will operate with U 27 at the N. entrance to the Irish Sea.  This was reported to Supreme Command of the Navy, also:
      U 27 - ready at 1200/23/8
      U 53 - ready at 1200/29/8
      U 26 - to be reported later.  Boat is starting working up with her new C.O. (Lieut. (s.g.) Ewerth) on 23.8.
       
1500     Hela U-boats reported fitting-out completed.
       
1930     "ERWIN WASSNER" entered Swinemuende.
       
2230     Instruction by telephone from Group Command:  "Operation FRITZ cancelled.  Written confirmation follows."
      The following radio message was made immediately to the 3rd U-Flotilla:  "Operation FRITZ cancelled.  On receipt of code-word only operation IRMGARD is to be carried out by U 22.  Remaining boats of 3rd U-Flotilla are to remain in the Rügen area until further orders."  F.O. U/B
      A radio intelligence report of a cruiser and 8 steamers in the central North Sea points to convoys having been formed.
      Commander Schomburg, with F.O. U/B Baltic's staff, took over Headquarters WALFISCH.
      U 26 is expected to be ready to sail by 28.8.
       
       
       
       
       
       
     
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
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Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
    Situation on 23.8
     
      Operational Control
              F.O. U/B will exercise operational control as F.O. U/B (Naval War Staff) and F.O. U/B Baltic.  Commander Schomburg is at the disposal of F.O. U/B and will take over as F.O. U/B Baltic when F.O. U/B is in the North Sea.
              Lieut. Commander Ibbeken has taken over the duties of F.O. U/B West.
              Lieut.(s.g.) Sobe is in charge in Kiel of duties and fitting out of boats which are not yet operational.
       
      Distribution of Boats
             The following are on their way to the Atlantic:
              2nd U-Flotilla:  U 28/29/30/33/34
              6th U-Flotilla:  U 37/38/39/40/41
              7th U-Flotilla:  U 45/46/47/48/52
       
              U 27/26/53 will sail shortly.
       
              Thus all the boats available for the Atlantic have sailed and they cannot be relieved.  If the situation continues as at present, or if war breaks out, the boats will begin to dribble back by about the middle of September.  Naval War Staff planned to recall the boats before their time and thus get a second wave, but I do not agree with this, as too much time is lost on the long outward and inward-bound passages.  These long passages are due to the order to proceed around the Faroes, on which Naval War Staff has insisted contrary to F.O. U/B's intentions.
              The S.O. of the 6th U-Flotilla is in U-37.  Later he can take over tactical command if necessary if the situation makes it necessary to change the operations order.
     
     
         North Sea:   1st U-Flotilla.
     
  Baltic: 3rd U-Flotilla, 5th U-Flotilla and U 31/32/35.   
    3 boats of the U-boat school:  U 5/6/7.
    Under training at U-boat school:  
    1. Wave:  U 1/5/4/36
    2. Wave:  U 2/8/10
    Undergoing trials:  U 60/61/49/42.
    Not at war readiness:  U 25/51/11.
       
      23.VIII.39.
             
A.M.     After the non-aggression pact with Russia, some boats are likely to be released from the Baltic.
       
      On the orders of Naval War Staff reconnaissance of the Gulf of Finland and off Gotland has been cancelled for case WEISS.  One boat is to remain off the Irmon Straits, however, and one off Lipau.  (Naval War Staff Most Secret 1796/39).
       
     
 
 
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Date
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and
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Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
    At about the same time the order was given to apply "Transport exercise LUEBECK" to Danzig Bay only.  This releases:  U 12/16/20/24 and 56.  If "Transport exercise LUEBECK" is over by Y day for case WEISS U 14 and 18 will also be free.
    The boats will be sent to Wilhelmshaven at the disposal of F.O. U/B West.  F.O. U/B arranged by telephone with F.O. U/B West (Lieut. Loof) to use the remaining boats for the North Sea as follows:
      3rd U-Flotilla:  Operation against English bases, after reconnaissance.
      5th U-Flotilla:  to relieve 1st U-Flotilla for operation "ULLA".
      U 1/3/4:  operation North of the declared area.
      S.O. 5th U-Flotilla is going to Kiel to relieve S.O. 7th U-Flotilla when the later goes to the Atlantic.
       
P.M.     Operations order No. 3 Atlantic for U 28 and U 53 drafted.
      U 53 with Lieut.(s.g.) Sobe off the North entrance to the Irish Sea, outer position, U 28 to take over the inner operations area from U 37.
      When these boats arrive there will be a flotilla S.O. North and South and if a new disposition is made they can take over tactical command.  For the present however, boats are to operate individually.
       
2300     U 27 sailed.  Reported to Supreme Command of the Navy.  S.O. 7th U-Flotilla has arranged for U 49/60/61/51 to do firing practice from 28.8 or 4.9 to 9.9.  These boats will not be operational yet, however as they are still on trials and under training and U 51 has to undergo alterations lasting 3 months.
       
      24.VIII.39.
       
0430     Preparation period for case WEISS began, see F.O. U/B Baltic's War Log.
       
1100     F.O. U/B telephoned Lieut.(s.g.) Fraesdorf, Naval War Staff (1st Division).  F.O. suggested relinquishing the Turkish S/M Batiray and speeding up new construction.  Naval War Staff (1st Division) replied that no obvious preparations were to be made at present, but preliminary steps could be taken towards manning the S/M.
       
1200     F.O. U/B's Chief of Staff telephoned Lieut(s.g.) Fraesdorf.  F.O. U/B wished to find out if S.S. "Ammerland" (ex-"August Schulze") could still be sent to Spain with supplies of arms and ammunition.  Naval War Staff (1st Division) replied that "Ammerland" was under repair.  Repairs would be hastened as far as possible.  Decision as to her sailing would depend on the situation.
      F.O. U/B further requested that, when danger zones were declared, the area at present occupied by U-boats should not
     
 
 
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Date
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    be reduced.  The boundaries of danger zones 200 miles West of England, as planned in the war game of 1938/39 were not sufficient.
    Naval War Staff (1st Division)(Fraesdorf) replied at 1700 that the danger zones had not yet been fixed and that F.O. U/B's wishes would be taken into account as far as possible.
       
1553     Atlantic boats informed that England and Poland are mobilizing and that the non-aggression pact had been signed.  This radio message was not passed on in Supreme Command of the Navy, as, according to Lieut. Commander Reinicke, Naval War Staff (1st Division), Atlantic forces would be informed by Supreme Command of the Navy and not before 25.8.
      I do not agree with this.  F.O. U/B must be able to give his boats general information as well as just the dry bones of orders if good relations are to be maintained between him and his subordinates.
       
2100     The boundaries of the G.A.F.'s operations areas in accordance with Supreme Command of the Navy's Most Secret 173/39 of 19.8, means canceling the mining operations planned for Calais and Dover.  F.O. U/B suggested using boats which become available because of this in the same way as the 3rd U-Flotilla.  It will be necessary for them to re-equip with torpedoes.  LOOFF said that the boats should sail tonight and it was therefore, proposed to exchange boats of the 1st and 3rd Flotillas.  F.O. U/B agreed.
      LOOFF informed that the 3rd U-Flotilla was not as far out as F.O. U/B had suggested.
       
      25.VIII.39.
       
0130     Code-word "Special Command ULLA" received.  Re-transmitted with "emergency" priority at 0140 to Naval Communications Officers Wilhelmshaven, List, Borkum, info. F.O. U/B West.
       
0400     The following sailed by order of F.O. U/B West:
      U 13, 15, 17, 21, 23, 12, 16, 20, 24, 56, 58, 59.
      Apparently therefore, F.O. U/B West exchanged U 9 and U 19 for boats of the 3rd Flotilla.
       
1025     U 9 and U 19 sailed at 1000.
       
1636     Following verbal instructions from Group Command, code-word for Y time case WEISS communicated to boats.
       
1800     Instructions by telephone from Supreme Command of the Navy to use U 26 and 53 with TMB's against English troop embarkation ports.  Discussion of this question was postponed until the next day because at
       
2018     Y order was cancelled.
      For details see F.O. U/B Baltic's War Log.
       
2155     Provisional orders were given to prepare TMB's for U 26 and U 53.
       
      26.VIII.39.
       
     
Use of TMB's in the English Channel.
   
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
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Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
            Contrary to 1938 plans, it was not intended to use TMB's in the English Channel now.
            Last year it was intended to use U-boats mainly against enemy forces of war because at the time, with the few boats available, no success could be expected against enemy merchant shipping.  The use of TBM's off harbors where there was strong anti-S/M activity could be considered because, as things then stood, there would have been a certain element of surprise.
              In accordance with Supreme Command of the Navy's instructions, U-boats have now been disposed against enemy merchant shipping only.  There were too few boats available to permit splitting them up and using some against merchant shipping and some against forces of war and troop transports in the Channel at the same time.
              The element of surprise will be lacking this year.  Well-trained anti-S/M forces must be expected to be in action already when U-boats arrive at the position where mines are to be laid.
              Portsmouth, Portland, Plymouth and Falmouth are possible ports off which mines could be laid.  Falmouth is ruled out as it is not sufficiently important.
              In the main depths of 20-30 meters (effective at 30 meters against ships of 8000 tons, displacement and above) off all harbors are only found immediately off the entrance, though off Portland and the entrances to the Needles channel there are 20-30 meters outside the 3 mile zone.  It is presumed that mine-laying will be permitted outside this zone.
              Anti-S/M activity is likely to be strong everywhere, especially off Portland where the A/S school is.  Nevertheless it should be possible to get the mines to the required position.
              Portland and Portsmouth are within the area reserved to the G.A.F.  According to Supreme Command of the Navy, however, this does not matter.  This leads one to wonder what point there is making the delimitation at all.  In any case, U-boats cannot operate in an area where a/c have already laid mines.
              U-boat warfare must at all times be concentrated against merchant shipping.  For this reason it was planned to send out the S.O. of the 7th U-Flotilla in U 53, so that later 2 groups could be found under the respective tactical commands of the S.O.s of the 6th and 7th Flotillas.  I regard this as more important than mine-lays in the channel.  Supreme Command of the Navy has agreed to my proposal to use U 26 only with TM's for this reason.
       
      Result:  after repairing a leak in a tank and fitting out, U 26 will sail in accordance with operations order Atlantic No. 4.  She will approach North of England (at 14 knots she could reach her waiting position in the West Channel in about 5 days).  Operation: to lay mines off the Spithead Roads, the Needles, Portland, Plymouth or in the Bristol Channel.  The place of laying will be decided later.
       
      U 53, with S.O. 7th U-Flotilla, will join the Atlantic boats as planned.  Supreme Command of the Navy has accepted F.O. U/B's proposal not to use this boat with TM's.
       
      27.VII.39.
       
       
     
 
 
- 10 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
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and
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2030
    Supreme Command of the Navy, Naval War Staff (3rd Division) requested to confirm that Atlantic U-boats have been informed that peacetime cypher memorands are still in force, despite X time.
     
      28.VIII.39.
       
              At present, although all boats at all available are being used, there are not enough operational boats and the time has come to reconsider the question of new construction.  It is intended to request Supreme Command of the Navy to do everything possible to speed up new construction.  Only Supreme Command of the Navy can deal with purely constructional questions.
       
1130     Chief of Staff discussed the question of communications to U-boats with Lieut.(s.g.) Fraesdorf.  It was decided:
     
1)     As F.O. U/B (Naval War Staff) is in a different place from Naval War Staff, Berlin will inform the Atlantic boats direct of the political situation and the results of radio intelligence service.  Information which has so far been sent to the boats will be forwarded to F.O. U/B in collected form and further information will be passed to him currently.
2) F.O. U/B may, at his discretion, pass other information to U-boats and inform Naval War Staff at the same time.
3) The transmission of operational orders is the concern of F.O. U/B alone.
  A satisfactory solution has thus been reached.  It remains to be seen in what form the results of radio intelligence of English merchant shipping, contained in Supreme Command of the Navy, Chief Radio Intelligence Depts. 2801 and Naval Communications Officer Kiel's secret 2830 B, will be transmitted to the Atlantic boats.  The report that English merchant ships are not to use the normal routes shows that the wide loose disposition of U-boats was right.
       
1700     Telephone conversation Lieut. Fraesdorf with Chief of Staff:  the question of using another boat with TMB's against English troop embarkation ports is to be reconsidered.
      The following possibilities were considered:
     
U 53  I consider the job of embarking the S.O. 7th U-Flotilla as possible tactical commander more important than using the boat with TMB's.  Also, the boat already has her operations order, and if this is altered, it would give the impression of indecision at high level.
U 36 C.O. and crew have had no TM training.  The C.O. has so far only been C.O. in the U-boat school and has not the necessary experience for such a difficult task.  It would not be a good thing to change the C.O. and put Lieut.(s.g.) Schütze in command.  The present C.O. has worked up with his boat, and Lieut. Schütze, who has so far only commanded a small boat, would have to work up with the boat and practice torpedo firing and laying TMs.  The principle of putting an officer in command to suit the task
     
 
 
- 11 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
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  should not be accepted; the task must rather be suited to the abilities of the C.O. and boat combined.
U 59 This boat cannot be used for the task as her radius of action is only just adequate for an outward passage of 10 miles and a return passage of 8 miles, but leaves no margin of reserve for the operations area.  In my opinion therefore, the following are possible alternatives:
 
1) To use boats already in the Atlantic with torpedoes on troop transport routes in the Channel.  Those boats are already in the vicinity of the operations area.
2) To withdraw one of the 2nd U-Flotilla boats, operating in the Baltic (U 31, 32, 35) and use this for the Channel operation.  The channel operation is more important than the one intended with these boats off Hela.  I consider that 2 boats are sufficient to close the route off Hela in view of the few Polish forces.  U 32 should be the one to be withdrawn, as she is not being used to patrol off Hela and her patrol off the light buoy can be cancelled without altering the remaining operations orders.
     
1745     Captain Fricke informed of my views by telephone.  The proposal to let U 53 sail with S.O. 7th U-Flotilla on 29.8 as planned was approved.  Decision as to detaching one of the 3 boats U 31, 32, 35 will be made later.
       
      The following was radioed to Atlantic forces:
      Secret German mobilization
      Position of English cruiser Ajax
      Closing of Mediterranean to English merchant shipping
      British Admiralty control of English merchant shipping
      Use of old and new grid charts.
      Wartime cypher material not to come into force etc.
      Amendment to Communications order of 19.8
       
      Therefore, the important information on the darkening of English merchant ships and their avoidance of the normal routes has not been transmitted.  It is intended to wait and see whether Berlin transmits this information by 29.8, otherwise F.O. U/B will do so.
       
2212     The following further information has been radioed to Atlantic forces:
      25.8 situation still uncertain, no hostilities, continue on passage.
      26.8 possibility of negotiations, instructions to merchant shipping to put into German or neutral ports.
       
      29.VIII.39.
       
0900     A II requested Naval War Staff (3rd Division) (Lieut. Comdr. Lucan) to inform boats of the "Areas" mentioned in Admiralty Instructions.  This was agreed, provided they were known in Berlin.
   
 
 
- 12 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
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and
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Events
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1200
    U 26 and U 53 (with S.O. 7th U-Flotilla) sailed
   
1350     Lieut.(s.g.) Fraesdorf telephoned Naval War Staff's decision that no other boat was to be sent to the Channel.
       
      Atlantic U-boats have received a detailed review of the political situation with Naval War Staff (1st Division's) Most Secret 5802.
       
1530     Supreme Command of the Navy's Most Secret 3812 received, on the subject of oil and provisions.  If the present state of emergency continues the supply of dry provisions will be of first importance.  It is doubtful if this can be gotten in Spain.  I consider it necessary to send these provisions there either by air or by camouflaged ships.
      Supreme Command of the Navy has ordered that oil be transferred by funnel and a 45 mm. hose.  At the moment the boats have 60 mm. hose and adjustment for 90 mm.  As it is necessary to supply with oil in one night as quickly as possible hose of a larger diameter than 45 mm. must be provided.
       
      30.VIII.39.
       
1305     The information supplies to U-boats on 29.8 is incomplete insofar as the important reports on the darkening of ships and diversion from the ordinary shipping routes were not passed on by Supreme Command of the Navy.  The boats were therefore informed by F.O. U/B in radio message T.O.O. 1305.  There were numerous telephone conversations between F.O. U/B and Naval War Staff about the use of a further boat in the Channel, the organization of supplies of provisions and oil and the question of the incomplete information sent to U-boats.  The question therefore arises if F.O. U/B (Naval War Staff) should not be located nearer to Naval War Staff.  It will be considered further.
       
      Atlantic U-boats were informed of the sailing of U 26, 27, 30 and 53 in radio message T.O.O. 1308.
       
      31.VIII.39
       
A.M.     Now that the Polish destroyers have sailed (see F.O. U/B Baltic's War Log) the duties of the SALTZWEDEL boats in the Baltic are redundant.  It was therefore, decided with Naval War Staff by telephone and confirmed in writing:
     
1) that F.O. U/B should proceed to Wilhelmshaven as F.O. U/B West and F.O. U/B (Naval War Staff) and
2) that U 31, 32, 35 should be allocated to F.O. U/B (Naval War Staff).
       
1500     F.O. U/B left for Wilhelmshaven with 2 staff officers.
       
1700     Arrived Wilhelmshaven and took over duties of F.O. U/B West.
     
F.O. U/B
West's War Log will be kept separately.
       
1830     Supreme Command of the Navy radioed Atlantic boats as follows in message T.O.O. 1743.
       
       
 
 
- 13 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
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and
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1) Start of hostilities against Poland 0445/1/9.
2) Attitude of Western powers uncertain.
3) No attacks against English etc. forces, except in self defense or by special order.
4) Boats to remain in waiting positions for the present.
     
      1.IX.1939.
       
A.M.     The Atlantic boats will have to leave their operations area when their fuel stocks are used up, on approximately the following dates:
              2nd U-Flotilla to leave 15.9 home by 24.9
              6th U-Flotilla        "       19.9        "       3.10
              7th U-Flotilla        "       26.9        "       5.10
      These dates can only be estimated.  It cannot be foreseen how long it will take to overhaul boats when they get back.  It will probably be about 3 weeks.  There will therefore, be a big gap from the middle of September.  At present U 31, 32, 35 are available as reserves.  I intend to keep U 31 and 32 back for the present and to recall U 26 as soon as she has completed her minelay, so that there will be at least something, at hand to relieve Atlantic boats.
      U 35 will be used for minelaying in the Channel.  Then 2 of the positions planned can be fouled.  U 2, 8, 10 are to remain in Neustadt for training engineer officers in particular.  This was decided after discussion with the Commander of the U-boat school.  Supreme Command of the Navy approves. U 10 will be exchanged with one of the small boats U 1, 6 when opportunity occurs.
      In Most Secret 172 S.O. only I have set out my views on the development of the U-boat Arm and submitted them to Fleet Command. It is true that the memorandum is based on the assumption that there will not now be a war with England; but if it should come to such a war the requirements set out here for the development of the U-boat Arm would be even more important.
       
      2.IX.1939.
       
              Radio intelligence reports show that there is a rendezvous for inward-bound steamers in the Bristol Channel.  This seems to point to there being no protection for merchant shipping as yet further out to sea.  It is not possible to bring the boats up yet, as on the orders of Naval War Staff, they may not leave their waiting positions.
       
      Supreme Command of the Navy abandoned the idea of using the recovery vessels at present with the U-boat school as S/M chasers under Group Baltic, after I had made representations.  The vessels are urgently needed in Neustadt for training.
       
      3.IX.1939.    -    Outbreak of War with England.
       
              Naval War Staff made the following radio message to Atlantic forces at 1256:  hostilities with England with immediate effect.  In order to avoid confusion with the order given on 31.8, radio
       
       
       
 
 
- 14 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
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and
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    message T.O.O. 1550 was made from here:  "Open hostilities against England immediately, do not wait to be attacked first."  In radio message T.O.O. 1400 Naval War Staff ordered:  "U-boats to make war on merchant shipping in accordance with operations order."  This should exclude any misunderstanding, as the operations order expressly orders war against merchant shipping in accordance with prize law.
   
1513     U 26 received orders for minelay off Portland, disregarding the 3-mile limit.  Radio intelligence reports transport traffic from Portland and Weymouth is said to be a base for east bound steamers.  Supreme Command of the Navy informed the boats of the steamer rendezvous in the Bristol Channel.  They have not been ordered to take action, as it is not known in what positions they have been waiting.
       
1752     Supreme Command of the Navy made the following to F.O. U/B and Atlantic boats:  "France considers herself at war with Germany from 1700.  Boats are to take no hostile action against merchant ships for the present, except in self defense."
      This order means that, in war against merchant shipping according to prize law, French ships and cargoes must be released.  It will not however be possible to avoid stopping French ships, because the nationality of a ship cannot be recognized for certain until she has been examined.
       
      4.IX.1939.
       
              Atlantic boats are informed of forces reported in their areas as they arise.  But the information is so inaccurate that it will not be of any practical use.
              As soon as the new rendezvous for merchant ships in the Bristol Channel became known U 26 was ordered, in radio message 0930 to operate against this.  I do not intend to make any extensive changes in the dispositions for the present.  As long as the convoy system is not complete and the war against merchant shipping is to be conducted according to prize law, the present disposition is correct.
       
1035     The sinking of the English SS "Athenia" became known through radio intelligence and broadcasts.  There is no precise information as to the position of sinking.
       
1100     C-in-C Navy at headquarters.  Short discussion on the situation and on my memorandum on U-boat construction.
       
      The orders so far given were checked again after the sinking of the Athenia.  It is inconceivable that they could be misinterpreted.  Nevertheless, in order to make absolutely certain, radio message 1655 was made, to call boats' attention once more to the war against merchant shipping in accordance with prize law:  "Operations orders para. VIa remains in force for the war against merchant shipping."
       
2353     Radio message from Naval War Staff to all U-boats:  "By the Fuehrer's orders no hostile action is to be taken for the present against passenger ships, even if in convoy."
       
      There is no definition of the term passenger ship.  Nor do I think that it could be defined in any way which would be of practical assistance to C.O.s.
       
 
 
- 15 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
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and
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    5.IX.1939.
   
      Convoy assembly points in the Bristol Channel are still being transmitted to boats.  Radio intelligence does not show any success on the part of U 28, which is operating against these rendezvous.
       
1700     U 32 sailed in accordance with operations order Atlantic No. 5.  I intend to let the boat proceed through the Channel for a minelaying operation off Portsmouth.  It is true that instructions have been issued to English merchant shipping that the Straits of Dover, outside the Downs, can only be passed at own risk.  There are also various reports of buoys off Warne lightship and East Goodwin lightship, but so far no reports or warnings of minefields.  In these circumstances I think it would be wrong to exclude the Channel route.  U-boats passed through the Channel even in 1918.
       
      Radio intelligence service reports that S.S. "Bosnia" and "Browning" have been sunk. - probably by U 48 or U 47.
       
2050     A radio intelligence report mentions mines in the Straits of Dover for the first time.  Therefore I think it is better for U 32 to sail around the North of England.  U 17 must now be near the Downs; it is best to wait for her report before sending U 31 and 35 through the Channel.  U 32 was given orders accordingly.
       
      6.IX.1939.
       
              Naval War Staff made the following radio message T.O.O. 1748:  "The situation with France is still not clear.  No hostile action is to be taken against French units, including merchant ships, except in self defense.  Merchant ships identified as French are not to be stopped.  Avoid incidents with France at all costs."
              So the French Merchant ships are to be treated better than the neutrals:
              There are several radio intelligence reports which point to the introduction of the convoy system.  Assembly ports Milford and Plymouth.  No clear picture can be expected after only 3 days at war.  The boats will also not be able to report much now.  I intend however, to let a few boats radio reports in a few day's time.
              Radio intelligence service has picked up numerous U-boat positions, mainly in Biscay (U47).  Many of these are probably duplicated.  If the war against merchant shipping is to be fought according to prize law it is unavoidable that the boats' positions will be revealed.
              There are very many obviously fake reports, which show that there is a wide-spread U-boat scare.
              There have been numerous telephone conversations with Naval War Staff on the subjects of U-boats in the Atlantic and the development of the U-boat Arm, since C-in-C was here.
              The boats which are out at present will have to return during the second half of September, except U 26 and 53.
              Then only 26, 53 and 31, 32 and 35 will be out.  IF there are to be boats in the Atlantic again by the first half of October, the 6th and 7th Flotillas, or at least one of them, must be recalled
       
 
 
- 16 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
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    immediately.  These could then sail again at the beginning of October; it is doubtful whether the 2nd Flotilla could put to sea again so soon if they were recalled as their boats would probably need a longer overhaul.
            I am making an official journey to Berlin on 7.9 to discuss this question and also the basic problem of whether U-boats are to be used primarily against merchant shipping or naval forces.
       
      7.IX.1939.
       
     
Withdrawal of Boats from the Atlantic
       
              The first thing to be decided is whether the Atlantic boats are to operate against merchant shipping or against English Naval forces.  Real success against naval forces can only be expected if lured out of the ports into the open sea.  Our surface forces are so weak that they can hardly effect this.  It is conceivable that the main body of the English fleet, believed to be in Scapa, could be driven out by air attacks.  But air attacks are not policy at the moment.It was therefore decided, in accordance with my proposal, to continue to use the boats against merchant shipping.
              With an even distribution there would be about 6-8 boats out at a time.Only chance successes can be achieved with those.  I consider it better to alternate periods of few boats at sea with periods of as many as possible and then score one large success in one place, for instance the destruction of a whole convoy.
              In order to achieve this the ebb and flow of U-boats must be made to correspond as far as possible with the ebb and flow of merchant shipping.  It is doubtful whether reconnaissance will make this possible later on.  At the present moment however, judging by information available to Supreme Command of the Navy and the comparatively few successes reported by the radio intelligence service, merchant shipping traffic is at a low level; presumably stocks were brought up during the emergency period and preparations are now being made for a convoy service.  It is to be assumed that traffic will rise again about the beginning of October.
              It was therefore, proposed to recall the 6th and 7th U-Flotillas and the proposal was approved by Naval War Staff.  The order was given in radio message 1902/7/9.
              The remaining boats will be re-distributed over the main areas:
              U 30 and U 27 areas U and V off the North entrance to the Irish Sea.
              U 28 Area C
              U 29 Area E
              U 33 Area J
              U 34 Area F
              U 53 Area B
              Although there has so far been no information of successes off the North entrance to the Irish Sea, I do not want to leave this area entirely unoccupied.
       
      8.IX.1939.
       
              In order to make use of the return passage for purposes of reconnaissance of the sea area Iceland-Shetlands-Norway, the boats
       
 
 
- 17 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
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  have been ordered in radio message 1445 to make the following routes:
            a)  Between Iceland and the Faroes:
     
  North third U 45
  center third U 46
  South third U 48/52
              b)  Between the Faroes and the Shetlands:
     
  North third U 47/37
  center third U 38/41
  South third U 39/40
              c)  Between the Shetlands and Norway:
     
  West third U 37, 38, 39, 41
  center third U 40, 45, 46
  East third U 47, 48, 52.
       
              There is still no news of U 26.  There is however no reason to worry, as the operation may have been delayed for a variety of reasons.
       
1200     U 31 and 35 sailed according to operations order No. 6 they are to occupy:
      U 31 Area C East of 90 West.
      U 35 Area F East of 70 West.
      It is probable, however, that, when they arrive, the boats which put to sea first (U 28, 29, 33, 34) will have to start on their return passage.
      New positions will therefore have to be ordered for U 26 and 32, and U 53, 27, and 30 which are remaining at sea.
       
      According to reports from U 17, which has returned from a mining operation in the Downs, there is no reason to suppose that the Channel is not passable.  U 31 and U 35 have therefore, been ordered to proceed through the Channel and to report their observations of the situation there as opportunity arises.
       
      The results of the conferences on the development of the U-boat Arm are as follows:
      When C-in-C Navy visited Headquarters West I gave him a short expose of my memorandum and emphasized the necessity of setting up a U-boat Department. C-in-C Navy said that large scale U-boat construction was planned and that he intended to put a head of Department in charge of this.
      On the 4.9 C-in-C Navy's adjutant rang up and said that C-in-C had read my memorandum.  He did not however, in any circumstances wish F.O. U/B to take over this commitment of Supreme Command of the Navy.  C-in-C requested my views on the question of putting Rear-Admiral ARNAULD at the head of a U-boat Department to be formed.  I replied that I would give my answer next day, as the fitting of such a post would have very widespread consequences.
      I decided:
       
 
 
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    It is right that I myself should take over the commitment of developing the U-boat Arm, as head of the Department.  It is wrong in itself for the active service officer, who has directed the training of the branch from the Start, who knows the officers and ratings and what they can do and is known by them, to abandon the control of the Arm branch at the very moment when this training is being put to the test.  It is also possible that in the future in a crisis, or if it is necessary to increase personnel to a large extent, the most experienced officer would be required to endeavor to maintain morale and the standard of training of the branch at its proper level.
    On the other hand, it is a fact that the operational activities of the branch in its present state will soon be practically non-existent and control of it therefore superfluous unless we succeed in building up quickly a numerically strong and effective U-boat Arm
      The task of creating this force must therefore be regarded as the most important for the future of U-boats.  It is therefore only right that the most experienced officer, who knows what the operational requirements are, should be entrusted with this task.
      A large-scale U-boat construction program will certainly be launched by C-in-C Navy personally, but its practical execution, involving questions and difficulties arising daily in all spheres, requires initiative in detail from an officer in charge of it and nothing can be done without a thorough specialist knowledge.
      On 5.9 therefore, I explained my views to Chief of Staff Naval War Staff (Rear Admiral Schniewind) in a long telephone conversation, in the presence of Captain von Friedeburg.  Admiral Schniewind said that he would submit my views to C-in-C Navy, who was returning from Swinemuende in the afternoon.
      Admiral Schniewind rang me up on the evening of the 5th:
      C-in-C Navy had said that in his opinion the present F.O. U/B could not be spared from the front line.  Admiral Schniewind also said that C-in-C Navy intended that the U-boat Department to be in practice subordinate to F.O. U/B who would state his requirements, which the U-boat Department would have to fulfil as they stood.
      I told Admiral Schniewind that I did not think it possible to exert this influence from below and that effective and uniform control could only be exercised from the top, i.e. from Berlin.  Admiral Schniewind said that the matter had not yet been decided and I would in any case have another chance to state my opinion.
      On the same day I told Captain Netzband when he rang up that I thought I should be head of the U-boat Department.
      On 6.9 it became apparent that I would have to fly to Naval War Staff as soon as possible, to discuss operational questions.
      When I was in Berlin on 7.9 I set out my reasons for thinking
   
       
 
 
- 19 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
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    that I should become head of the U-boat Department in detail to:
   
1) The head of Naval War Staff (1st Division), Captain Fricke, in the presence of Commander Wagner and Lieut.(s.g.) Fraesdorf.  Captain Fricke and his officers were at first opposed to my making this appointment, because he considered my presence in the front line necessary, for the same reasons as I myself stated earlier; but he could not oppose my arguments and in the end agreed with me.
2) Chief of Staff, Naval War Staff, Rear Admiral Schniewind.  He agreed to submit my reasons to C-in-C Navy in the evening, when the latter was expected back from the Fuehrer.  I requested in any case to have a personal interview with C-in-C Navy before a decision was reached.
      On 8.9 Rear Admiral Schniewind telephoned:  C-in-C Navy did not wish me to come to Berlin.  C-in-C would give me his reasons for his decision that I should remain in my present position in a personal letter.  Captain Siemens had been appointed head of the U-boat Department.
     
      10.IX.1939.
       
      In radio message 0604 Naval War Staff gave the following instructions in regard to French ships:
      "Enemy convoys may be attacked North of the latitude of Brest even if they are escorted by French or French and English forces.  U-boats are not to take action against passenger ships even if under escort."
       
1120     An extract from intelligence gained by Supreme Command of the Armed Forces from London broadcasts was received via Lieut. Fraesdorf, according to which a German U-boat laying mines had been successfully attacked.  On the same day (8.9) the Paris transmitter had stated that attacks on German U-boats were continuing and had been successful in at least one case.
      It is remarkable that this information did not reach F.O. U/B until today, with 2 days delay.
      This report must concern U 28, as there are no other boats on minelaying operations at present. To clear up the situation U 26 was ordered to report her position.  Even if this is not answered there is still no reason to give up all hope.  The boat may have been attacked while laying mines and so damaged that she cannot transmit.  In any case I have ordered strictest secrecy for the present.
      U 26 had a lot of secret material on board, including a
      complete set of cypher material.  In F.O. U/B's Most Secret 146 C.O.  of 16.8.39 boats were ordered to land all their superfluous cypher material.  They were not ordered to land their cypher material so that the uses of the boats would not be restricted.  If this boat really was lost while minelaying cypher material may have fallen into enemy hands.  This risk is run in all minelaying operations which of necessity have to be carried out in shallow water.
       
       
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
    U 32 is at present on her way to lay mines off Portsmouth.  Even if U 26 is lost I see no reason to cancel this operation.  The possible success is worth the risk.  The danger of cypher material falling into enemy hands must, however, be avoided.  For this reason I requested Naval War Staff's approval to operate the boat in the Bristol Channel, where there is less danger, rather than off Portsmouth.  Naval War Staff agreed and U 32 was ordered by radio message 1822 to carry out her operation South of 510 27 mins., so as to exclude what are believed to be the most dangerous places.
    Future boats on minelaying operations will only carry the most essential secret documents and cypher material.  This means that they will have to make directly for the laying position and return immediately when the operation has been carried out.  They will not receive the signals made to the other boats in Naval Enigma but only the ones essential for themselves, encyphered according to A.F.B. (T.N.: hand code system).
      After the order had been made to U 32, Naval War Staff ordered that all non-essential secret material held in U 32 was to be destroyed before the operation.  U 32 was given an order accordingly, with details.  There was thus no longer any reason to carry out the operation in the Bristol Channel rather than off Portsmouth.  However, I refrained from altering the orders again.
   
2350     English warning to shipping received, via Chief Radio Intelligence Department:  "The Shambles are to be passed to the south."  This confirms that U 26 was the boat attacked.  She sailed on 29.8.  She was supplied for 6 weeks, i.e. until about the 10th October.  Nothing further can be done therefore until the middle of October.
       
      11.IX.1939.
       
              Radio intelligence report of the sinking of S.S. Firby (4683 BRT) in square 1366 AM West of the Faroes.  This success should have a very strong effect, as so far U-boats have not appeared in this area.  Radio intelligence reports of convoys are coming in in increasing numbers.  The rendezvous in the Bristol Channel are still being transmitted to the boats.  Otherwise there is no clear picture.
      In radio message 2230 U 31, which should be West of the Channel on the 12th or 13th, was ordered to proceed to area East off the Bristol Channel, and U 35 and 34 East and West of 70 West in area F off the Channel.
      Discussed the organization and duties of the U-boat party at Supreme Command of the Navy with Captain Siemens, the future head of the U-boat department and Commander Hüffmeyer.
       
      12.IX.1939.
       
              Atlantic boats on return passage were ordered to report when off Norderney or Abelö.  The boats should not be approaching the line Shetlands-Iceland.  Little heard so far from U 30.  In radio message 0950 she was ordered to make a situation report.
       
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
2115
                      U 30 reported in radio message 1451 "weather and visibility conditions unfavorable.  Little traffic.  S.S. "Blairlogie" sunk.".  It will not now be possible for this boat to come up into the Channel, her fuel stocks are not sufficient.  The other boats of the first series - U 28, 29, 35, 34 - will also soon have exhausted theirs.  They were therefore ordered:  
2300
    "When fuel is used up return North of the Shetlands.  Chance to attack warships West of the Orkneys.  U 30 to transfer operations area to position V if possible."
   
2310     Returning boats were given instructions on the approach routes to Kiel and Wilhelmshaven.
       
      13.IX.1939.
       
0007     U 26 reported operation carried out in position BF 1828.  Boat seems to have carried out her operation with determination despite anti-S/M activity.  Radio message:  "Well done!"  Boat was ordered to operate in are F.
       
0835     Radio message to Atlantic boats, informing them of warning to shipping along the line Dungeness - Downs and mines off St. Catherine's lightship.  U 35 reported that she had abandoned the attempt to break through the Channel.  It is assumed that U 31 got through.
      Details of return passage of Atlantic boats passed to Group Baltic, F.O.I.C. Baltic defenses and F.O. U/B Baltic.
       
2030     U 26, 34, 35, given freedom of action to attack in the whole of area F.  This sea area is big enough for it.
      Now that the 6th and 7th U-Flotillas have left, the distribution is as follows:
     
  U 30, U 27 off the North Channel in areas U and V.
  U 30 also has permission to attack in area V.
  U 53: Area B.
  U 28, 31, 32 Area C off the Bristol Channel.
  U 29 Area B, West of the Channel.
  U 26, 34, 35 Area F, West of the Channel (inside).
  U 33 Area J (Biscay).
      Revised list of contraband received in Naval War Staff's secret 6035.  An extract was transmitted to Atlantic boats.
       
      14.IX.1939.
       
              Analysis of sinkings known through radio intelligence shows that most of them were in U 29's area  Radio message 0930 was therefore made to U 55:  "Extension to operations area seems promising and is recommended."
       
A.M.     Conference with Admiral Superintendent of Dockyard on the torpedo situation.  Dockyard had stated that all G7e issued were adapted for angled shots.  U-boats were accordingly informed on 7.9.  Then, on the evening of the 13th, the dockyard informed us by T/P that gyro-angling gear had been fitted, but the tails had not been adapted.  These mistakes must not occur.  It remains to be seen whether this has caused misses.
      90 degree angled shots were cancelled.
       
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
P.M.
    Radio Intelligence Service reports that the steamers Vancouver City, British Influence and Faned Head have been sunk; tonnage sunk has thus passed the 100,000 sunk mark.
     
      15.IX.1939.
   
              U 31 reported in radio message 0700:  "Convoy in square 1253, main course 2400, speed 10 knots."  That is off the Bristol Channel.  This is the first clear report of a convoy.  The boats in the neighboring areas U 34, 29, 53, should now operate against the convoy - they may have luck.  I have dinned it into the C.O.s again and again that they must not let such chances go by.  It is not possible to do anything from this end.In any case the boats must now be nearly at the end of their fuel.  If only there were more boats at sea now!  Nevertheless I still think it was right to recall the boats - without then there would be a complete lack of U-boats by the beginning of October, and by then there should be more traffic.
              So U 31 got through the Channel and had different experiences than U 35.  This shows that it is possible to pass through the Channel, even if not in all circumstances as is shown in the case of U 35.  I do not intend to use the Channel as the normal route.
              In the course of the day U 46, 47 put into Kiel, U 37 into Wilhelmshaven.
             U 47 reports that she has sunk:
     
  S.S. Bosnia 2407 BRT 3200 tons Sulphur
  Rio Claro 4086 BRT 4777 tons mixed cargo
  Gartavon 1777 BRT 2900 tons ore
              The boat was in her operations area for 4 days (3 - 7.9) after the outbreak of war.  A very nice beginning.  U 37 and 46 no success - bad luck.  Further details will have to be gathered from the C.O.'s reports.  The disposition of the next series of boats is under constant consideration; they must destroy a convoy.
       
2500     The Belgian S.S. Alex von Opstal is said to have been torpedoed by a U-boat near the Shambles.  Her position is within the area fouled by U 26.  Numerous radio intelligence reports received point to an increase in convoy traffic.  Since 13.9 no more steamer rendezvous have been published in the Bristol Channel.  This also points to the convoy system being perfected.
      Towards evening U 45 entered Kiel.  No success, as her position seems to have been outside the areas frequented by shipping.
       
                              (signed):  Dönitz
                                                Captain
                                                B.d.U
       
       
 
 
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