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

1 - 15 March 1940

PG30259

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
   
 
1.3
          Nothing to report.
 
 
 
2.3
          U 50 entered port.  She sank:
 
 
1) Steamer without markings in Zone A
about
3,500
tons
2) Steamer type "Christine Maersk", Zone A
"
5,200
tons
3) Tanker
"
8,300
tons
4) Darkened steamer west of the Herbrides
"
5,000
tons
5)         "        "        "     west of Finisterre
"
4,000
tons
6) Tanker from a convoy west of Finisterre
"
1,000
tons
   
36,000
tons
 
          Excellent work for this boat's first patrol.
 
   
 
          Countermeasures are being prepared against an expected English operation extending into the Bight.  U 52, who is to sail today for her operations area, will be kept back in a waiting position west of the declared area.  For details see F.O. U/B West's War Log.
 
   
 
3.3
          In a radio message U 33 reported, among other things, 3 premature detonations.  This type of torpedo failure became less frequent for a while, but increased again after the torpedoes had been demagnetized.  It is notable that premature detonations are far more numerous with some boats than with others.  U 50 had only one during her whole patrol out of 12 torpedoes fired, while U 32 had 50% prematures, barely 8 days after leaving port, with a total of 6 torpedoes.  
 
   
 
          U 52 has been ordered to continue on her passage.
 
   
 
4.3
          Enemy news service reports an attack by a U-boat on a convoy southwest of Spain.  If this report is correct, this can only be U 54.  There has been no news of her since she left port.
 
   
 
5.3
          B.d.U. attended a conference at Supreme Command of the Navy, in which further instructions were given for the coming operations.
 
   
 
          U 29 reported that she had carried out her minelaying operation in the inner position.  Particularly good results are expected from this.
 
   
 
6.3
          U 38 and U 52 will both be kept back in the areas they have now reached, so that they can, if necessary, be used in the impending operations.
       
 
7.3
          The operations planned call for an extensive concentration of all available boats.  U 38 has therefore been withdrawn to the sea area north of Scotland.  Only U 28 and U 32 will remain in their old operations areas to carry out their minelaying.  U 29 is on return passage.
                          
                                        
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
   
 
8.3
          Nothing to report.
 
 
 
9.3
          Nothing to report.
 
   
 
10.3
          U 28 reported that she had carried out her minelaying operation in the main position in accordance with Operations Order No. 22.
 
   
 
11.3
          U 38 and U 52 have been allocated operations areas on the Norwegian coast.  (see Appendix 1 to War Log).
 
   
 
          U 31 did not return from her trial runs in the Schilling Roads.  Search showed that she had sunk near Black Buoy No. 12, after an attack by an English A/C.  (Details of this accident are set out in Appendix 2 to War Log).
 
          It is particularly regrettable that a boat should have been lost by enemy action in the immediate vicinity of her own base, inside our own barrage defenses.  Losses of this kind should be avoidable.
 
          This is the second time that an enemy A/C has flown very low over the Schilling Roads and attacked U-boats.
 
          We must have sufficient AA defenses for the approach route on the Jade so that at least the enemy is prevented from flying low undisturbed.
 
          B.d.U. has made demands accordingly.
 
   
 
          U 30, U 34, U 46, U 47, U 49, U 51 sailed for their operations areas (see App. 1).
 
   
 
12.3
          U 32 reported that she had carried out her minelaying operation.  (Operations Order No. 26).  This minefield closes the gap left beside the field laid by U 30 and is therefore likely to produce good results.
 
   
 
  U 29 entered port.  She carried out her minelaying operation (Operations Order No. 22) very well, and in addition sank by torpedo:
     
1) Darkened steamer
about
5,000
tons
2) S.S. "Pacific Reliance"
6,717
tons
3) S.S. "San Florentino"
12,842
tons
   
24,559
tons
 
   
 
13.3
          U 43 and U 44 sailed in accordance with Operations Order North Sea/Atlantic No. 1  (see Appendix 1).
 
   
 
14.3
          Preliminary regulations have been framed for the AA protection of all U-boats entering and leaving port and on trials.  A minesweeper or patrol vessel will accompany every U-boat in the area which is particularly dangerous (outside the protection of
                 
                                  
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
   
 
  Wilhelmshaven as far as the 30 meter line).
 
 
 
15.3
          U 41 and U 53 declared missing with effect from 15.3.
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
                                            (signed):  Dönitz
 
                                                   Rear Admiral and B.d.U.
 
   
 
   
 
 
Appendix to B.d.U.'s War Log
 
 
Incident U 31        12/13 March 1940
Towards
   
1615
          Telephone call from Group Department A4, stating that there were rumors in Jever that an English A/C had attacked a U-boat in the Schilling Roads.
 
          It was confirmed with the flotillas that all U-boats which had put to sea for exercises had returned to port, except U 31.  This boat was to have been back by afternoon and had passed Schilling on her way in at 1150.  
 
          Telephoned the Adjutant of the fighter squadron in Jever:
 
 
1) Request to F.O.I.C. North Sea Defenses for vessels.  He made 2 S/M chasers of the 12th S/M Chaser Flotilla. available.
2) Request to F.O.I.C. coast for vessels (He sent harbor defense boats).
3) "Saar", in Heligoland, was ordered to proceed to the scene of distress, to have her boats ready to search for survivors, to detect the place by means of echo-ranging gear and have her anchors, emergency air plant, compartment ventilation and divers ready.
4) U 30, lying in the lock ready to sail, was ordered to search at the scene of distress and to call with S/T.
5) Lieut. Commander Sorbe was ordered to come over immediately from Kiel and take charge of the salvage operations.  He could arrive by 0200.  2nd Flotilla to arrange for a Chief Engineer who is familiar with this type of boat and a medical officer to accompany him.
6) Dockyard was requested to get salvage material from Bugsier Shipping Company.
7) Group Command, F.O.I.C. North Sea Defense, F.O.I.C. Coast informed by telephone.
 
          Meanwhile "Ruestringen" entered port.  The scene of distress was fixed off Black Buoy No. 12.  "Saar", U 30 and F.O.I.C. North Sea Defenses informed.
   
      
 
   
  
    
                 
                                  
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
   
1800
          8)  U 31 asked for her position.  No reply.  U 30 left.  
 
 
1830
          "Saar" left Heligoland.
 
   
 
          Meanwhile the personnel of the steamer had been interrogated (Appendix 1) and a report received from the sergeant from Wangerooge (See Appendix 1a) .  Neither gave a clear idea of what had happened.  A boat which was near by had only heard an explosion (U 21).
 
   
1945
          Report from No. 12 S/M Chaser Flotilla which had found the scene of distress.  There was an echo and oil rising up.  (Appendix 2).  F.O.I.C. North Sea Defenses was requested to give orders to the vessels, to watch the scene of distress especially for survivors.
 
   
2030
          U 30 reported a patch of oil and knocking noises (Appendix 3).
 
   
 
          F.O.I.C. North Sea Defenses informed us that in the course of the night at least 4 minesweepers would arrive at the scene of distress to search and primarily to provide Flak defense.
 
   
 
          Dockyard informed us that Messrs. Friese and Sperrling were being sent to the scene of distress immediately at the request of B.d.U. U-boat Acceptance Command (Commander Bräutigam) was also requested to send a representative.
 
   
2150
          Radio message made to Saar and U 30 (Appendix 4) informing them,
 
 
1) that salvage vessels "Kraft" and "Wille" would arrive towards 0300 or 0400,
2) that Lieut. Commander Sobe was arriving in charge of salvage operations, with Messrs. Friese and Sperrling,
3) that a minesweeping flotilla was arriving to guard the position and provide Flak defense.
U 30 was then to continue on her passage and report.
 
   
2147
          Radio message to Saar and U 30:  Until Lieut. Commander Sobe arrives C.O. of "Saar" is in charge of salvage.  (Appendix 4a).
 
   
 
          S.O. 12th S/M Chaser Flotilla reported that he had formed a close screen around the scene of distress, including U 30, and that knocking noises had been heard (see Appendix 5).  There were then at the scene of distress giving assistance:  "Saar", 12th S/M Chaser Flotilla with 9 boats, 11th S/M Chaser Flotilla with 2 boats, U 30.  A short report was made to Supreme Command of the Navy etc., on findings so far and steps taken (see Appendix 6).
 
   
2245
          "Saar" and U 30 were ordered to inform the sunk boat that vessels were waiting to pick up any persons surfacing (see Appendix 7).  Further interrogation of the mate of the steamer Ruestringen elicited the fact that he had heard a dull explosion and that a column of water had crashed over the U-boat, which was at periscope depth.  The boat's bows then surfaced and she sank stern first. (See Appendix 1 and 8).
 
   
2350
          Situation report from "Saar".  "Saar", S/M chasers 121, 127, 117, 113, A, B, C and U 30 were at anchor at the scene of distress.  Searching operations continued.
                 
                                  
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
12/13
   
0500
          "Saar" reported that a boat had arrived with Friese and Sperrling, the Flotilla Engineer of the 2nd U-Flotilla, Lieut.(s.g.) School and a medical officer.  U 30 proceeded.  At 0230, "Saar" had given the signal to leave the U-boat and ordered ship's boats to stand by to pick up.  NOthing happened as a result of this.  Later it was stated that there had probably been a mistake about the knocking noises heard.
 
 
1000
          At the request of Captain Bräutigam, Chief Diver Bastian was sent to the scene of distress with the salvage tug "Hermes" from the Navy Dockyard.
 
   
1125
          A situation report was received from Lieut. Commander Sobe, Officer in Charge of salvage operations (Appendix 9).  The diver had found the boat but had been unable to establish any details during the short time that the water remained calm.  No answer was received to knocking signals.  At the same time he requested the services of Salvage Inspector Meier of the Bugsier Company.  Meier was informed through Navy Dockyard Hamburg and set out as soon as possible.
 
   
 
          On the orders of F.O.I.C. East Frisian Coast, the Captain, mate and helmsman of the steamer "Ruestringen", which is under his command, were again interrogated by a Naval lawyer.  These persons then made far more detailed statements than they had to the officer of the coastwise shipping control station.  (See Appendix 10).  Details were briefly as follows:
 
          The A/C dived at the steamer "Ruestringen" from a 200 meter high cloud base with her engines shut off, and then, suddenly, at a height of about 30 meters, made a sharp turn towards the submerged U-boat.  The English A/C dropped bombs on the U-boat, which was proceeding at periscope depth.  After the hit, the boat's bows surfaced for a short time and she then sank immediately, stern heavy by 450.  From "Ruestringen" a second U-boat was soon sighted steering an approximate course for the scene of distress.  The ship's officers assumed that this boat had seen the whole incident and would do everything necessary, and they therefore took no further action and proceeded on their way.  For the same reason they did not report what happened to anyone in Wilhelmshaven, so that finally the first information was received through Jever.
Towards
   
1830
          Officer in Charge of salvage operations made a further situation report.  The boat was lost when the tidal stream turned and was only found again later by sounding.  No further signs of life were heard.
 
   
 
          The attack in the Shilling Roads was reported in the evening news from Daventry, adding that a hit was observed between the conning tower and the foreship and that the boat had probably sunk.  Later the English radio stated that the English A/C had seen the German U-boat just as she was surfacing.
 
   
2400
          Officer in Charge of salvage operations informed that Inspector Meier of the Bugsier Company was on his way to "Saar" and that B.d.U. would come to the scene of distress on 13.3.  At the same time a report was received that the diver had fixed a buoy to the conning tower and that the boat had a heavy list to starboard.
         
                
 
   
                 
                                  
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
   
 
          Enquires of the Flotillas elicited the fact that the U-boat observed surfacing by "Ruestringen" must have been U 21 which was in the vicinity at the time.  The Commanding Officer's remarks are set out in the attached report (see Appendix 11).
 
 
1700
          The situation was reported by T/P to Supreme Command of the Navy, Fleet, Group West.  (B.d.U. Most Secret 500).
 
  
 
     
 
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COPY
 
Officer in Charge Coastwise Shipping Control Station Wilhelmshaven
Wilhelmshaven, 11 March 1940
Reg. No. Secret 135/40.
To:  B.d.U.'s Staff for Lieut. Commander Godt, Songwarden.
        Attached is the report from the Captain of the steamer "City of Ruestringen", and the interrogations of the mate Franz and seaman Fellensick.
(signed): Koehne
Sub-Lieut.
for Officer-in-Charge
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COPY
Wilhelmshaven, 11 March 1940.
Report
        I cannot give any information on the incident, as I was below decks first then, having my dinner.
        When I returned to the bridge at about 1220; the mate Franz told me what he had seen.
        I did not take any action, as there was another U-boat near by and we were also too far off by the time I got back to the bridge.  We were about 2 miles below York Buoy, it was fairly misty.  We have no radio on board.  I did not take any action in Wangerooge either, as I thought that the other U-boat would already have reported the incident.
        I do not know if any passengers were on deck at the time.
(signed):  Ammermann
Captain.
 
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COPY
Wilhelmshaven, 11 March 1940
Interrogation.
        At 1205 I relieved the helmsman of the steamer "Ruestringen".  The mate drew my attention to the U-boat periscope on our starboard side about 8 meters away.  The periscope would have been just astern when an A/C bore down upon us from the port side, flying very low,
 
 
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(about 25 meters), and made a sudden curve towards the U-boat.  The 2 engines were shut off, I had to attend to my course, then I suddenly heard a dull explosion and, on looking astern, I saw a column of water.  The mate sent me below to call the captain, but I did not find him, he had already gone to the bridge.  The A/C had rings under its wings.  When the explosion occurred, a second U-boat surfaced quickly to starboard, about 4 meters off, and steered for the first boat.  The A/C flew away and disappeared in the fog.
                                                                                                  (signed): Karl Fellensick,
                                                                                                                  Seaman.
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COPY
Wilhelmshaven, 11 March 1940.
Interrogation
        On 11 March 1940, towards 1210, I as mate of the steamer "Ruestringen" on passage to Wangerooge, observed a U-boat periscope about 2 miles down-Jade from the York wreck on the starboard side about 4 points abaft the beam.  I suddenly heard a dull explosion and saw a column of water rise.  An A/C was flying low, about 30 meters, over the U-boat, apparently with its engines shut off and made off in the direction of Butjadinger Land.  It was misty.  A second U-boat, which was submerged nearby to starboard, surfaced and made for the spot.  When I saw the second U-boat was making for the position, I maintained course and speed (course N 15 deg. W speed about 10 knots) and informed the captain, who took over control of the ship.  The A/C was twin-engined.  It had rings as markings.  There were no service personnel on deck during the incident, only an official and a civilian.
                                                                                       (signed): E. Franz
                                                                         Mate of the steamer "City of Ruestringen"
                                                                                        (signed): Koehne
                                                                                                      Sub-Lieut.
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Appendix 1a
COPY
Teleprint to:  B.d.U. Wilhelmshaven for Admiral Dönitz.
Report of Sergeant Hoffmann of the Wangerooge Fighter Group.
        At 1045/11  March 1940 the steamer Ruestringen left Wilhelmshaven for Wangerooge.  After an hour and a half I went from the upper deck to the 'tween deck and I saw an A/C of a type unfamiliar to me astern on the horizon about 2-3 km away.  I walked along the 'tween deck on the port side and to the right, about 1 1/2 to 2 km away I saw a ship which I believed to be a U-boat sinking away over the stern.  About one third of the ship was above water.  I watched for some time and saw nothing further.  Later a number of the crew asked me if I had seen that a U-boat had been bombed by an A/C.  I did not answer.  I asked 2 civilians, who were with me on the upper deck for nearly 2 1/2 hours, if they had seen anything.  One of them said he thought an A/C had approached very close to "Ruestringen", then turned away and attacked a U-boat.  He claimed to have seen for
 
 
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certain that the A/C dropped a bomb which hit the U-boat aft of the conning tower.  The U-boat sank.  The civilians claimed shortly after to have seen the periscope of a second U-boat.   I asked them if they had identified the A/C and they said that they had seen the English markings quite clearly under the wings.  The A/C disappeared in the direction of Jade Bay.  They knew nothing further about the incident.  While I was talking to the civilians the Captain appeared and told us to go below, so that I should not be recognized as a service man.  The captain said:  "Otherwise we'll get it in the neck too."  We obeyed, and the Captain continued on his course.
                                                                                         Wangerooge Fighter Group.
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Appendix 2
SECRET
Cyphered Radio Message 11.3.40
F.O.I.C. North Sea Defenses.
S.O. S-boats.
        Your radio message 1658:  Am at scene of distress with an echo-ranging group.  Echo and rising oil, request orders.
                                                                                  S.O. 12th S/M Chaser Flotilla.
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Appendix 3
COPY
Emergency.        MSG 1717        11.3.2025
T/P to:        B.d.U. West
        Large patch of oil near scene of distress, knocking noises, no S/T., dark, foggy.  Consider therefore that assistance of many vessels, boats, searchlights, also divers and medical officer essential.
                                                                         U 30.        Naval Signal Station Schillig 1113.
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Appendix 4
COPY
Radio message Secret Emergency
To:  "Saar", U 30
 
The following will arrive tonight:
1) Salvage vessels "Wille" and "Kraft" towards 0300 or 0400.
2) Lieut. Commander Sobe as Officer-in-Charge of salvage operations and Friese and Sperrling, construction engineers.
3) Minesweeping flotillas for Flak defense and searching.  U 30 is to proceed on her way and report, as soon as the construction engineers have arrived and the scene of loss handed over to Saar.        B.d.U.
 
 
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Appendix 4a
COPY
Secret.       Radio message to Saar, U 30.
        C.O. Saar will take charge of salvage operations until Lieut. Commander Sobe arrives, about 0400/12/3.        B.d.U.
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Appendix 5.
COPY
T/P        Emergency        MUW        0827        11.3.        2140.
To:  Supreme Command of the Navy
Repeated TM 2:  Group Command North
                               F.O.I.C. E. Frisian Coast
                               F.O.I.C. North Sea Defenses
                               Wilhelmshaven Dockyard
Most Secret
        U 31 sank in the Schilling Roads off No. 12 buoy on 11 March.  Salvage work begun.  Boat found.  2 corpses sighted in the vicinity.  Knocking noises in the boat.  Discoveries so far:
        Last report from boat on passing Shillig at 1150.  Members of the crew and passengers of the steamer "Ruestringen" saw an English A/C drop a bomb on a U-boat at about 1210.  Low cloud base, bad visibility.  Boat apparently hit.  The steamer continued on her passage without investigating.        B.d.U.
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Appendix 7
COPY
Secret        To Saar, U 30.
        Inform U 31 that any persons escaping will be picked up for certain.        B.d.U.
 
 
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Appendix 8
COPY
Officer-in-Charge Coastwise Shipping Control Station Wilhelmshaven
Wilhelmshaven, 11 March 1940.
Reg. No. secret 135/40.
To:  B.d.U.'s Staff for Lieut. Commander Godt, Songwarden.
        Further to my Reg. No. Secret 135/4 of 11.3.1940, 3 further documents are submitted, attached.
                                                                                      (signed): Koehne
                                                                                                     Sub-Lieut.
                                                                                      for Officer-in-Charge.
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COPY
Wilhelmshaven, 11 March 1940
        When questioned, the mate Ewin Franz made the following additional statement:
        I did not see a bomb dropped.  I heard a dull explosion and saw a column of water crash over the U-boat's stern.  The bows of the boat were above the water and sank.
                                                                                      (signed):  E. Franz, Mate.
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COPY
Wilhelmshaven, 11 March 1940
        When questioned, the seaman Karl Fellensick made the following statement:
        I was helmsman at the time in question.  I did not see a bomb dropped.  I heard an explosion and saw a column of water.  I did not observe a hit.  I then saw nothing more of the U-boat or the A/C.  I had to pay attention to my course.
                                                                                      (signed):  Karl Fellensick.
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COPY
Wilhelmshaven, 11 March 1940
        When questioned the Captain of the steamer "City of Ruestringen" said:
        I neither heard a noise nor an A/C, as I was below deck at the time in question.
                                                                                      (signed):  U. Ammermann.
 
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Appendix 9
COPY
 
T/P:        Emergency.        B.d.U. West        1045/12/3
Secret.        Urgent.
        Boat found, depth 17 meters.  On an even keel with a list to starboard.  One diver has been down.  No reply to knocking signals.  State of watertightness and damage not yet established.  Next diving operation 1500.  It is then intended to lift her with vessels from the Bugsier company.  Both lifting vessels are here.
                                                                                      S.O. Tactical U-Flotilla and Dockyard.
                                                                                              Naval Signal Station Schillig 1206 U.
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Appendix 10
COPY
Present:
Naval Lawyer Kannengiesser
Naval Inspector of Law Barthel
as Archives official
Wilhelmshaven, 12 March 1940
There appeared:
1)  Ammermann
        My name is Uke, I am Captain of the steamer "City of Ruestringen".  I am 57 years old, Protestant. I cannot make any statement on the incident from personal observation, as I was below deck at the time in question.  I did not receive a report until I returned to the bridge at about 1220.  The Mate Franz then told me that an A/C with rings had previously flown over the steamer, had then turned away and made for 2 U-boats which were nearby.  One of these U-boats was submerged.  The A/C had dropped a bomb on this one.  He had also heard an explosion.  He also thought that the second U-boat had gone to the assistance of the first.  For this reason he did not inform me.
        I had seen the surfaced U-boat through the cabin porthole on the starboard beam while I was having my dinner.  It was about 300 meters away.  This would have been shortly after 1200, but I cannot be certain of the time.  I happened to look out to see if it was getting mistier, so I did not pay any attention to the U-boat.  I imagined that she was making trial runs there.  I think she was on approximately the same course as I was, but I cannot be sure of this either.
        When I had finished my dinner I returned to the bridge.  THere the mate told me at once what happened. I asked him why he had not informed me.  He replied that he had sent the helmsman Fellensick to find me.  The latter got to the cabin after I had left it by another way, as it afterwards turned out.
 
 
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        When I got to the bridge it was about 1220.  I looked for the place in question, but could see nothing because of mist.  I did not hear anything further either.
        As the mate had told me that there had been a second U-boat in the vicinity, and 10 minutes had already passed, I took no further action.  The sea was also quite calm, so I thought that the second U-boat would manage alone.  When I arrived at Wangerooge, I did not make a report, because I assumed that the U-boat would already have requested assistance.
        I have traced my ship's course in red on the accompanying chart.  If I altered my course, this was not because I was afraid we would be bombed ourselves.  I never thought of such a thing.
        When I returned to Wilhelmshaven I did not report anything of my own accord.  The question only arose when Sub-Lieut. Koehne asked me if I had seen anything of U-boats.
        While I was on my way to the bridge, someone said something to me about A/C and U-boats.  I do not know who it was. Some time or other I also ordered all hands below, as I was afraid we might be attacked from the air.  I think this was shortly after the mate reported the incident to me.
                                                                                      (signed):  U. Ammermann.
Wilhelmshaven, 12 March 1940
2)  There appeared:
        The Mate Franz.
        Mt Christian name is Erwin, I am 26 years old, Protestant, mate in "Ruestringen".
        On 11 March I took over the watch shortly before 1200.  We were steering for No. 13 buoy.  Ar 1200 I altered course to N. 150 W.  Towards 1205 I saw a periscope on the starboard beam, 2-250 meters away.  In my opinion the U-boat was stationary, I did not see any feather on the periscope.  I continued to observe the U-boat but in between whiles I paid attention to my course.  Then I suddenly heard a dull explosion.  I looked around and made the following observation:
        Bearing about 1350, about 1000 meters away there was a U-boat down by the stern.  Bows and jumping wire could be clearly seen.  The bows were about 2 meters above water.  I had the impression that the U-boat was at an angle of 450.  Her stern was underwater.  The sea around the U-boat was foamy and white.  I did not see the conning tower, I thought it was underwater.  It was only then that I saw the A/C.  It was coming from the east and flying in the direction of our stern.  When it was over the stern, it turned away and flew towards the U-boat.  It was painted with camouflage.  The rings could be seen quite clearly.
        At the same time a second U-boat surfaced bearing about 250 at a distance of 40 - 60 meters.  The C.O. entered the conning tower and she immediately steered for the first boat.  I sent the helmsman Fellensick for the Captain and took the wheel myself.  When the Captain arrived on the bridge the first U-boat had already disappeared.  I did not myself see the first U-boat sink.  The second U-boat
 
 
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was still in sight when the Captain came onto the bridge.  It passed us at a distance of about 50 -60 meters.  The Captain took command, while I sent everybody below, so that we should not be attacked ourselves.
        As the second U-boat surfaced so suddenly and the C.O. appeared in the conning tower so quickly even though the boat was not yet completely surfaced, I assumed that she was going to the assistance of the other U-boat.  I must however, admit that she did not steer immediately for the scene of distress.  We did not inform this U-boat of the incident, because we assumed that she had observed it herself.  We did not alter course and we proceeded on to Wangerooge.  We did not make any report there.
        The incident was also observed by a dockyard official and a civilian besides the helmsman and myself.  I do not know their names, but they could be found out.  They thought that we should make a signal.  I said that this was not possible because we had no radio on board.  I also spoke of the matter with a G.A.F. Sergeant who had been told of the incident by the civilians.
        The second U-boat was a 250 tonner.
Wilhelmshaven, 12 March 1940
3)  There appeared:
        Seaman Fellensick
        My name is Karl, I am 30 years old, Protestant, working in the steamer "Ruestringen".
        I fell in as helmsman at 1205.  Shortly afterwards I drew the mate's attention to a periscope, which was passing close to us on the starboard beam.  I do not know if the U-boat was on the starboard quarter the mate drew my attention to an a/c which was approaching us midships at about mast height with its engines off.  It approached from port.  The mate thought it was English.  When I was close up to the ship it turned away and made for the periscope, which was now astern.  Immediately after that I heard an explosion.  I turned around and saw a column of water astern of our ship.  The A/C disappeared immediately in the fog.  I myself paid attention to the course and did not see the effect of the bomb.  Immediately afterwards a second U-boat surfaced on the starboard beam.  Then the mate sent me to the Captain.  When I returned to the bridge, the Captain was already there.  Both men were talking about the incident.  The Captain would not at first believe that a bomb had been dropped, because he had heard no explosion.  Nothing was said about our heaving to.
        The column of water was at most 2 ship's lengths astern, a good 100-200 meters.
 
        Then mate Franz and seaman Fellensick were brought together, but seaman Fellensick stuck to his statement even when confronted with that of the mate Franz then said:
        It is possible that I made a mistake and that the a/c actually approached from the port side and then dropped the bomb.
 
 
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Appendix 11
COPY
Songwarden 13 March 1940
To:  B.d.U.     Songwarden.
Report
        I was in the Schillig Roads at midday on 11.3 with my boat for practice runs submerged.  Towards 1210 I was submerged at periscope depth off N. Buoy.  I saw the steamer "Ruestringen" on my starboard bow, inclination 10, distance about 8000-1000 meters.  Periscope observation was very difficult, as the periscope was very stiff and the eyepiece was constantly blurred by rain.  At about 1210 I heard an explosion, which was different from the detonation of a D/C or a torpedo familiar to me.  It sounded rather like a sounding-device exploding on the pressure hull.  The distance was 4-600 meters, I immediately gave the order to blow and vent to the conning tower.  I proceeded on an inward course on main engines, then changed over to Diesels at high speed and blew.  I passed the steamer "Ruestringen" at a distance off of about 200 meters.  When the tanks were blown I reduced to slow speed and then to very slow speed when I saw a streak of foam about 200 to port 800 meters off. I observed that it was a U-boat periscope flying a red flag.  The boat appeared to be on an outward course at high speed and to be keeping very good depth, as the length of the periscope visible remained the same all the time.  I turned towards the periscope and reduced speed, and approached to within about 80 meters of the periscope.  I also gave the order to man the S/T.  The position of the submerged boat was about 1/2 a mile to a mile off York wreck-marking buoy, bearing 2400.  As I could not see anything unusual and the boat appeared to be proceeding calmly submerged, I turned away and entered port.
        While I was proceeding submerged my multi-unit hydrophones were manned and I received constant hydrophone reports of the steamer "Ruestringen".  No hydrophone bearing of a U-boat was reported to me.
        Now that I have heard what happened, I think the boat must have bottomed with her periscope extended and that the streak of foam must have been caused by the incoming current.  I did not see any oil patches, or anything else which might have indicated distress.  Until I entered port I thought that the explosion must have been due to the fact that the steamer "Ruestringen" was working with explosive sounding-devices.  I never thought of a bomb; visibility being so bad, I did not observe an A/C.
                                                                                      (signed):  Stiebler
                                                                                                     Lieut.(s.g.)
                                                                                      Commanding U 21.
 
 
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