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

1 - 15 January 1940

PG30255

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
   
 
Group Headquarters West
   
 
1.1
          During January the following boats will become ready:
   
Date
Boat
Intended Operation
* 6.1
 
U 44
  West of Spain and Portugal.  Torpedoes
11.1
 
U 34
  Falmouth.  TMC
15.1
 
U 31
  Loch Ewe.  TMC
20.1
 
U 41
  West of Spain and Portugal.  Torpedoes
22.1
 
U 37
          "        "        "
22.1
 
U 48
  Not yet decided.
24.1
 
U 29
  Bristol Channel.  TMB
*24.1
 
U 55
  West of Spain and Portugal.  Torpedoes
25.1
 
U 28
  Portsmouth.  TMB
*25.1
 
U 54
  West of Spain and Portugal.  Torpedoes
*31.1
 
U 51
          "        "        "
 
  *New boats or change of C.O.
 
   
 
  General considerations for operation:
 
 
1) New boats with new C.O.'s will be used as torpedo carriers to get them used to war conditions.  Operations areas chosen dependent on radius of action and expected weather conditions.
2) Long nights to be used for as many nine-laying operations as possible, but restricted to the main enemy, England.  Another point in favor of mining operations for boats with small radius of action is the fact that in winter weather conditions in the operations areas which they can reach are often such that they cannot take offensive action.  In general, reasons for mining operations are:
  1. the fact that the sooner the operations are carried out the less opposition may be expected.
  2. the fact that at the moment the enemy has no defense against ground mines and those are therefore largely effective at present.
 
          For these reasons I intend also to use large boats for this if necessary.  Furthermore, boats fitted with mines, are not a total loss to torpedo warfare, as they only carry one full load of mines in the bow tubes.  Reloading mines does not appear to be expedient and in many cases is not even possible.
 
          Weather conditions make it necessary to look ahead and take steps to get the U-boats in and out through the river estuaries which are freezing up and through the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal.  Ice situation discussed with Station North.  I consider that all the available means of one waterway should be centralized under one authority, which would see that
 
 
a) the waterway was kept open all the time
b) that tug assistance and escort are available when U-boats have to pass through.
               
                              
 
 
- 73 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
          The matter is being discussed between Chief of Staff B.d.U. and Staff Officer Station North and agreement will be reached.
       
            U 25 again reports a trace of oil.  She will have to turn back.
       
 
          Naval War Staff has extended the orders for the conduct of the war against merchant shipping, as far as Greek ships are concerned.
 
   
 
2.1
          U 46 reported that she was returning, as one main engine was out of order.
 
          In her case it has been shown that the enemy's sinking reports are not very reliable unless they contain definite statements of prisoners taken.
 
   
 
          The following agreement has been reached on the ice situation:
 
          Station North will request Supreme Command of the Navy for the old battleships to give assistance with ice on the Elbe, where conditions are most difficult especially off Brunsbüttel.  F.O.I.C. North Frisia has been put in charge of ice-breaking on the Elbe, and Naval dockyard with ice-breaking on the Jade.  Station Baltic has taken similar steps for the Baltic independently.
 
          Thus everything possible appears to have been done to prevent a hold-up in U-boat warfare through ice conditions for as long as possible.
 
   
 
3.1
          According to dead reckoning U 30 is now in the Irish Sea.  She may be expected to carry out the operation within the next days.
 
   
 
4.1
          Nothing to report.
 
   
 
          Group Command has requested B.d.U. to name a suitable time for a combined operation by surface forces and U-boats about the end of January.
 
          Reckoning that the boats will need about 7 days for the outward passage, as far as can be seen at present the 30th would be the earliest possible date for the first day of the operation.
 
   
 
5.1
          U 32 off the Clyde, according to dead reckoning.  Nothing to report.
       
 
6.1
          U 44 sailed for her operations area in accordance with Operations Order No. 18.
               
                              
 
 
- 74 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
   
 
7.1
          Nothing to report.
 
 
 
8.1
          U 32 reports that she cannot carry out her minelaying operation off the Clyde.  She has observed fixed listening stations and encountered strong patrols.  She has not apparently succeeded in penetrating into the inner firth.
 
          She also reports traffic observed close inshore south of Ailsa Craig Island, at water depths at which mines could be laid.  She suggested making this alternative position and has been given orders to carry out the operation there.
 
          Until I hear the Commanding Officer's verbal report I shall not be satisfied that the first operation was really impossible.
 
   
 
9.1
          C-in-C Navy visited headquarters.  Made a report to him on the state of the U-boat war and future intentions.
 
   
 
10.1
          U 46 entered port.  She only sank one 3,000 ton steamer, then fired several misses and failures and received numerous D/C's.
 
          In spite of the small result, the C.O. cannot be accused of slackness.  He went to it, but his firing skill apparently requires perfecting.  I have decided to give the boat a period of firing practice before her next patrol.
 
   
 
          U 30 reported that she had completed her operation off Liverpool.  This is very good work and will certainly lead to success.
 
   
 
          U 32 reported that she had carried out her operation in the alternative position.  She has been allocated an operations area off the east coast of England further remaining torpedoes.
 
   
 
11.1
          U 34 sailed in accordance with Operations Order No. 19.  Ice conditions are gradually becoming more difficult.  Boats can no longer make trial runs in the Jade.  These have to be carried out off Heligoland.  Boats are piloted in and out by Sperrbrecher and 2 tugs.
 
          Boats are also protecting their sensitive bow-caps by a wooden shoe which is brought out while proceeding through ice.
 
   
 
12.1
          Nothing to report.
       
 
13.1
          U 25 sailed in accordance with Operations Order No. 18.  Naval War Staff has extended the orders for the conduct of the war in certain areas.  U 44, which should at present be southwest of Ireland,
                      
                                    
 
 
- 75 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
   
 
  has been ordered to remain off the western approach to the Channel for a few days, and then proceed to the west coast of Spain at about the same time as U 25.
 
 
 
14.1
          Nothing to report.
 
   
 
15.1
          Nothing to report.
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
                                       (signed):  Dönitz
 
                                                     Rear Admiral
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
               
                              
 
 
- 76 -
 
     

 


 

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