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

16 - 31 December 1939

PG30254

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
16.12.
          The U-boat operation in support of "Graf Spee" has been cancelled.  Apparently political considerations make it necessary to decide the pocket battleship's fate sooner.
       
            U 29 and U 38 entered port.
              U 29 has had an unfortunate patrol.  The boat sank nothing and did not carry out her minelaying operation.  The C.O. obviously made the mistake of thinking all activity of enemy patrol vessels and suspicious craft was directed specifically against his boat, so he did not achieve anything.  He will be given a similar operation next time in order to overcome this mistake.
 
          U 38 sank:
 
 
  1) S.S. "Thomas Walton"
4,500
tons
  2) S.S. "Garonfalia"
4,700
tons
  3) S.S. "Bredford"
4,000
tons
     
13,200
tons
 
          She observed lively neutral single traffic on the Norwegian coast.  No convoys or English warships seen.  Little traffic off Kola Bay, medium patrol.  Adequate lighting from aurora borealis.
 
   
17.12.
          U 47 entered port.:
 
          She sank:
 
 
  1) Unidentified steamer
about  12,000
tons
  2) tanker (Norway)
"      10,000
tons
  3) tanker (Holland)
"        9,000
tons
     
about  31,000
tons
 
          She also scored one certain hit on a London class cruiser east of the Shetlands on 28.11.  Apparently however, the cruiser did not sink. This was a good patrol.  There is nothing in particular to say about it.
 
   
18.12.
          U 28 entered port.
 
          She carried out her minelaying operation off Swansea well.  She also sank:
 
 
  1) tanker "Sliedrecht"
5,130
tons
  2) steamer from convoy
    presumably "Royston Grange"
5,144
tons
     
10,274
tons
 
   
19.12.
          U 25 and U 46 sailed.  Originally U 46 should have put to sea earlier, but her sailing had to be postponed owing to engine trouble.  Both boats are going to the sea area off the west coast of Portugal.
                 
                                  
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
          U 48 has reached the North Sea via the Fair Isle Passage, and thus there are no German U-boats in the Atlantic.  A concentration of about 15 boats can however, be expected in January and February.
       
20.12.           U 48 entered port, she sank:
     
  1) tanker "Gustav Reuter"
6,336
tons
  2) S.S. "Navasota"
8,795
tons
  3) tanker "San Alberto"
7,397
tons
  4) S.S. "Germaine"
5,217
tons
     
27,745
tons
 
          This is the C.O.'s third successful patrol.  He has sunk 80,380 tons since the beginning of the war.
 
   
 
          U 25 reported a bad leak of oil from one tank.  The boat has only made one short patrol since the beginning of the war and has been in the dockyard the rest of the time.  Now she has to break off and return to the dockyard again.
 
   
21.12.
          U 25 entered port and docked.  U 46 is the only Atlantic boat still at sea.
 
   
22.12.
          Nothing to report.
 
   
23.12.
          The reason for the oil leak in U 25 has not yet been discovered.  All the external fuel tanks will have to be hydraulically tested, which will take until about December 30.
       
 
          Damage caused by D/C's in U 43 inspected.  Damage to plating of bow-caps - this could be improved.  Damage to one external fuel tank, aft of the conning tower, to starboard - as far as can be gathered in retrospect, D/C exploded about 3 meters away.Skin plating dented, several small holes, a few cracks.  Pressure hull shows no effects of the explosion.  Supports of upper deck containers for torpedoes bent.  General impression:  material and construction of this type of boat stood up remarkably well.  This impression is confirmed by the experience of the commanding officer, who says that the boat was absolutely pressure-tight at depths far exceeding normal maximum diving depths.
 
   
 
  U 30 sailed.
 
   
24.12.
          Weather report from U 26 - position west of the Herbrides.
 
   
 
          Conference with Admiral Superintendent of the Dockyard.
     
  1) It was agreed on 15.12 that U 28 and U 29 could also be repaired in the West dockyard, as there was no lack of skilled labor.
               
                              
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  2) In actual fact it appears that there is not enough skilled labor to deal with the boats already in the dockyard.  U 32, 30 have been delayed.  Mr. SPERLING (West's dockyard's request for skilled workmen was not conceded by the main dockyard).  B.d.U. himself therefore transferred U 28 and U 29 to Hamburg (Deutsche Werft and Stuelken), so as not to overburden the West dockyard any more.
  3) Admiral Superintendent gave assurances that he would see to it that the West dockyard got the necessary labor.
     
25.12.           Nothing to report.
     
26.12.
          Radio Intelligence Service fixed the position of a convoy on the west coast of Portugal.  U 46 informed.
   
27.12.
          Sailing of U 32 again delayed.  Exhaust valve leaky.
   
28.12.
          U 32 at last ready towards evening.  Sailed in accordance with Operations Order No. 16.
   
29.12.
          U 30 reported an attack on a battleship of the Repulse class on the 28th northwest of the Herbrides.  She fired 4 torpedoes and scored one probable hit.  According to Radio Intelligence, this is "Barham".  She could however, still make 12 knots and probably proceeded to the Clyde.  Shortly after U 30 reported that she had sunk a patrol vessel by gunfire.  She has only one torpedo left.
   
30.12.
          U 25 will not sail for at least another day.  There are still traces of oil.
   
          Enemy news service gave a description of the sinking of a German U-boat off the west coast of Spain.  No date given.  If this is not an old report, it can only refer to U 46, the last direct news of which was received on the 24th (weather report from west of Ireland).  Several sighting reports of 28th and 29th appear to refer to this boat.
   
31.12.
  U 25 sailed. Weather forecast indicates a very cold spell.  The Kaiser Wilhelm Canal and the entrances to the Baltic may be expected to freeze up.  If this is so, U-boat warfare will probably be affected.
   
                                       (signed):  Dönitz
                                                         Rear Admiral and B.d.U.
                              
 
 
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