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

1 - 15 February 1940

PG30257

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
   
 
1.2
          U 26 and U 37 sailed for operations in accordance with Operations Orders No. 23 and 21.  U 31 reported that she was returning.
 
 
 
2.2
          Nothing to report.
 
   
 
3.2
          U 31 entered Heligoland.
 
   
 
4.2
          U 31 left Heligoland for her operations area in accordance with Operations Order No. 23.  She had to turn back in the evening as her gyro was out of order.
 
   
 
          Ice conditions this winter make it clear that a base for U-boats in Heligoland is essential.  It is therefore particularly gratifying to B.d.U. that steps were already taken in peacetime so that there are now some facilities, though limited.  The use of Heligoland and the adjacent exercise area at present are limited by the following conditions:
 
 
1) There are only mediocre berths for U-boats in the harbor.  The structure of the harbor makes supply and refueling difficult.  There are at present no facilities for extensive repairs, docking etc.  It is difficult to get spare parts, as ice conditions make communication with the island difficult and subject to delays.  Specialist personnel have to be sent with them from Wilhelmshaven.
2) The sea area around the island is not free of enemy activity.  S/M hunts cannot be carried out in the U-boats training areas.  Danger from the air has to be accepted without it being possible to call on local defense forces.  There are not enough S/M chasers and patrol vessels.
 
   
 
          U 31 entered Wilhelmshaven from Heligoland after a passage lasting 10 hours.  She carried out her minelaying operation off Loch Ewe well.  Conditions during the whole patrol undoubtedly made it easier for her.  She did not encounter any patrol by sea or air the whole time.
 
   
 
5.2
          U 34 entered Heligoland.
 
   
 
          U 28 and U 33 left Wilhelmshaven for Heligoland to make trial runs etc., and will proceed from there to their operations areas.
 
   
 
6.2
          U 50 and U 53 sailed in accordance with Operations Order No. 23.  U 50 turned back towards evening owing to a trace of oil due to a burst pipe.
 
   
              U 34 entered Wilhelmshaven.  She carried out her minelaying
               
                              
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
   
 
  operation off Falmouth well and quickly.  She also sank a steamer of 12,000 tons.  West of North Channel she sighted 2 battleships and a cruiser steering for the North Channel, but she had no torpedoes left and would not in any case have reached firing range.  Several U-boats have observed 2 battleships in company in the area west and north of Scotland.  It seems probable that there is a permanent patrol here by a battle group of heavy ships, covering the approach to the North Sea from the Atlantic.
 
 
 
          A S/M alarm on 5.2 immediately off Heligoland made it necessary to take decisive measures for boats training there.  (see F.O. U/B West's War Log).
 
   
 
          U 29 sailed for Heligoland.
 
   
 
7.2
          U 33 left Heligoland in accordance with Operations Order No. 24.
 
   
 
8.2
          U 51 entered port, having completed her first patrol.  She had to return sooner than would have otherwise been necessary owing to a technical defect which impaired her ability to dive.  Her results are therefore small.
 
 
  Unidentified steamer
about
1,600
tons
  S.S. "Eika"
1,503
tons
   
3,103
 
          Nevertheless the Commanding Officer showed determination.  He had the right idea.  The second steamer which he sank, a Norwegian whose identity was so unrecognizable that he thought it was an English ship right up to the end, attempted to ram the U-boat when submerged.  The C.O. then made a quick decision to fire in spite of the fine inclination.  It was only when the steamer was sinking that he identified her as a neutral and saved 2 members of the drew, who were apparently the only survivors, in order to discover whether she really was a neutral ship or a camouflaged enemy.  As in a similar case some months ago in which a Danish steamer tried to ram U 3 (see F.O. U/B West's War Log), this incident proves that greatest care is necessary even with neutrals.  In this case the steamer received her first punishment.
 
   
 
9.2
          U 44 entered port.  She sank:
 
 
1) A darkened steamer
about
3,000
tons
2) Dutch S.S. "Arendskerk"
7,906
tons
   
contraband
3) Darkened steamer
about
4,200
tons
   
contraband
4) Danish S.S. "Canadian Reefer"
1,831
tons
5) S.S. "Ecatontracos Draculi"
5,329
tons
   
darkened
6) Steamer in convoy
about
6,000
tons
7) Armed steamer
"
7,000
tons
8) Steamer without markings
"
3,000
tons
   
38,266
tons
                    
                                        
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
   
 
          This is the most successful patrol so far, perfectly executed and rewarded with well-earned success.
 
        
 
          Boats which have recently been in contact with convoys all report very broad, not very deep cruising formations with small distances between ships.  The escort was in some cases over 1000 meters ahead.  In some cases the escort was close up to the convoy, around and on both wings, and the wing destroyers made circles around several ships, i.e. passed through the gaps.
 
   
 
10.2
  Operations against "Ark Royal", "Renown" and "Exeter"
 
          On 7.2 a radio intelligence report was received stating that "Ark Royal", "Renown" and "Exeter" had left freetown and that "Ark Royal" would be in a certain indicated position about 200 miles northwest of Madeira at 000/11/2, course 150, speed 22 knots.  "Renown" and "Exeter" would be about 180 miles astern of this, making 16 knots.
 
          As these positions are very far away and there is yet no indication of what port they are making for, I consider that it would be premature for the boats to take action on this report from the positions they have at present reached.  The Chief Radio Intelligence station today expressed the view that a channel port was probably the port of destination, but this still does not alter my opinion.  In order to be able to act on further details, more exact details from the Radio Intelligence Service, I decided however, to keep back the boats in the area south of Ireland off the Channel approach.  U 26, 37 and 48 received orders accordingly, although it is not certain that these boats have actually reached this position.  It is doubtful if U 26 and U 37 have got so far, and it is not known if U 48 has completed her minelaying operation.  It must also be remembered that the C.O. of U 26 has had little experience and ought not, if possible, to be faced with the difficult task of operating against warships on his first patrol.
 
   
 
11.2
          U 29 left Heligoland in accordance with Operations Order No. 22.
 
   
 
          After U 25's successful supply operation, cover name "Moro", U 41 has now been ordered to supply in the same way.  This boat has been west of Vigo for the last few days in order to make use of chances of attacking enemy patrol vessels and thus make it easier for our own merchant ships to leave the port.  So far no results of her activity are known.  Most of the steamers have sailed however, and the operation can therefore be regarded as completed.
 
   
 
          U 48 reported that she had carried out her minelaying operation in the main position and had also sunk the Dutch S.S. "Burgendyk" in accordance with prize law.
 
   
 
12.2
          U 54 sailed in accordance with Operations Order No. 25.  
 
   
 
          Radio Intelligence Service has reports of the sinking of a U-boat in the Clyde.  If this is correct, it can only be U 33.  But the report's are not so definite that hope of the boat's only having been seen need be abandoned.
                 
                                  
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
   
 
          C-in-C Navy visited Headquarters West.  B.d.U. briefed him on the situation and future intentions.
 
 
 
  Operation against "Ark Royal" etc.
 
          A fresh Radio Intelligence report on Ark Royal gives the A/C carrier's exact position for 0900/12/2 with her escort of 4 destroyers.  According to this, she has altered course.  Assuming that she is still making 22 knots, she can be expected to pass the Channel-approach about the morning of 13.2.  There is further confirmation of the suspicion that she is making for the Channel.  Although the exact positions of the U-boats were not known, I decided to operate the boats kept back in this area against her.  It was known that U 48 is west of the Channel again and it could therefore be assumed that U 26 and U 37 will have arrived there by now at the latest.  On the morning of 12.2 they were allocated operations areas in the Channel approach.  Shortly after this order was given U 48 reported a convoy on a westerly course.  As she was in contact with the enemy and possibly about to score a success, I did not think it right to interfere with her operations.  U 37 also made a radio message.  She was in a favorable position for an attack on "Ark Royal".  Nothing was known of U 26's position.  During the night however, she also made a radio message.  She was a long way off and could not make sufficient speed against the heavy sea to reach her position in time.  Meanwhile U 48 had lost the convoy.
 
   
 
13.2
  Operations against "Ark Royal" etc.
 
          On the morning of 13.2 the situation was:
 
  U 37 presumably in position
 
  U 48 also in position, or in the immediate vicinity.
 
  U 26 a long way off, making little headway against the sea.
 
          I gave the following order:
 
          "U 37 and U 48 to make every effort to take up the attacking position ordered.  Only particularly valuable targets are to be attacked until boats are dismissed from this position.
 
          U 26 will occupy an attack area......"  (an area corresponding to her present position).  This was necessary, because she could no longer reach her position and was then in danger of using up her fuel for nothing.
 
          At midday a radio message was received from U 48 which, from the position given, showed that she had tried to regain contact with the convoy.  She pursued it so far to the west and was then such a long way from the Channel approach (340 miles) that she was unlikely to be able to get back there inside 2 days (wind E 7).
 
          This action by the C.O. of U 48 will have to be thoroughly investigated when he gets back.  It was already doubtful whether he should have been left with the convoy, but when he had lost contact and received new orders, he should never have allowed himself to be lured so far west that in the end he could not carry out these orders.
                   
                                      
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
   
 
14.2
          Reports have been received of several steamers sunk in the sea area south of Ireland, including a 12,000 tonner.
 
 
 
15.2
          "Ark Royal", "Renown" and "Exeter" have arrived at the Channel ports.  U 37 therefore required new orders.  She was ordered to proceed to the west coast of Spain with U 26 and to act there as tactical leader of the group U 26, U 37, U 50, U 53, U 54 and perhaps later also U 41.
 
   
 
          According to a radio intelligence report a convoy is to be west of Porto on 17.2 and the nearest boats, U 26, U 37 and U 53 will will first be operated against this.  U 29 has been kept off the North Channel because of the "Nordmark" operation which is to take place within the next days.  (see F.O. U/B West's War Log).
 
   
 
          U 53 reported that she had sunk 30,000 tons.
 
   
 
                                          (signed):  Dönitz
 
   
 
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Appendix to B.d.U. Naval War Staff's War Log
 
 
MOST SECRET
 
 
Operations against "Ark Royal", "Renown" and "Exeter"
 
   
 
 
1) 2020/7/2 radio intelligence report:
  A/C carrier"Ark Royal" will be in square DH 1359, course 150, speed 22 knots at 257/10/2.  Battleship "Renown" and heavy cruiser "Exeter" will be in square DH 4377, course 30, speed 16 knots at 0011/11/2.
2) 1720/9/2 radio intelligence report:
  A/C carrier "Ark Royal" is expected to be in the area of the western approach to the Channel on 13/2, and heavy cruiser "Exeter" on 14.2.  The units are expected to proceed to Portsmouth or Davenport.  The destroyers "Diamond" and "Dainty" are probably with the ships mentioned.
3) 1100/10/2 T/P from Naval War Staff to B.d.U.:
  Radio Intelligence Service's exact information on the homeward passage of "Ark Royal", "Renown" and "Exeter" appear promising for a mass operation of Atlantic boats at the western approach to the Channel.
4) 1725/10/2 radio message to U 26:
  Operations area for U 26 until further orders is: square 3000 BE right half and square 1000 BF left half.
5) 1750/10/2 radio message to U 37 and U 48:
  Operations area for U 37 for the present is off the Channel approach east of 90 west and south of 490 20 mins. north.  U 48 will be north of this line.
                 
                                  
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
   
 
 
6) 8050/12/2 radio intelligence report:
  French patrol vessels were informed early on 12/2 by Admiral West that English A/C carrier "Ark Royal" would be in square 9191 at 0900/12/2 GMT.
7) 0900/12/2 radio intelligence report:
  Additional to radio intelligence report 0845: there are English destroyers with "Ark Royal".
8) 0915/12/2 radio message from U 37:
  Enemy destroyer and suspicious ship in sight.  Enemy is steering a westerly course, making high speed, square 1737 BF.
9) 0920/12/2 radio message to U 26, U 37, U 48:
  Proceed to channel approach between Start Point and Quessant.
10) 0945/12/2 radio message to U 26, U 37, U 48:
  Take up attacking position along the line Lizard Head-Los Sept Isles, U 48 north of 490 40 mins. north, U 26 south of 490 18 mins. north, U 37 in the center "Ark Royal" is expected to pass eastbound early on 13/2, "Renown" and "Exeter" early on 14/2.
11) Midday 12/2 received from U 48:
  Enemy convoy 490 55 mins. north, 090 36 mins. west, course 2600, speed 9 knots.  There followed the following radio messages with T.O.O. as given:
  1307: 490 59 mins. north, 090 56 mins. west, course 2600, speed 8 knots.
  1359: 400 58 mins. north, 090 53 mins. wets, course 2650, speed 8 knots.
  1501: 490 58 mins. north, 100 06 mins. west, course 2500, speed 8 knots.
  1730: 490 56 mins. north, 100 48 mins. west, course 2600, 9 knots.
  1755: Contact lost.  Last position observed:
  490 55 mins. north, 100 54 mins. west.
12) 2132/12/2 radio message to U 26, U 37, U 48:
  "Ark Royal" was in 450 north, 150 west at 0900/12/2, speed so far 22 knots.  Expected port of destination Portsmouth.
13) 2350/12/2 radio message from U 26:
 
1) Position 3592 BE, can only make 7 knots owing to weather.
2) 3 premature detonators.
14) 0819/13/2 radio message to U 26, U 37, U 48:
  U 37 and U 48 make every effort to take up attacking position ordered.  Until boats are dismissed from this position only particularly valuable targets are to be attacked. U 26 to occupy square 3000 BE right half and square 1000 BE left half as attack area.
 
 
                 
                                 
               
                              
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
   
 
 
15) 1215/13/2 radio message from U 48:
  Position 49 03 N., 14 35 W. wind E7, 65 cbm. remaining, 3 electric torpedoes, 2 air-driven torpedoes ready.  S/M chaser croup 4950 N., 11 25 W.  No secret grid chart on board.
16) 1440/13/2 radio message to U 26, U 48:
  U 26 to operate north of 400 30 mins. north, U 48 south of the line.
17) 2209/14/2 radio message to U 26 and U 53:
  Proceed on to area "ROT".  U 53 was in 500 50 mins. north, 140 30 mins. west at 1900.
18) 0015/15/2 radio message to U 37:
  Move off to operations area in accordance with Operations Order IV, b).
19) 0550/16/2 radio intelligence report:
  By 15/2 A/C carrier "Ark Royal" was in Portsmouth and had probably been there since the evening of 13/2.  Battle cruiser )T.N.: sic) "Renown" and heavy cruiser "Exeter" entered Plymouth at 0800/15/2 GMT.  Destroyer "Here" arrived at Portsmouth towards 1630/15/2 GMT.
 
 
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
               
                              
 
 
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