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

1 - 15 September 1940

PG30272

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
1.9.1940.
 
Distribution of U-boats:
In the Atlantic Operations Area:  U 28, 32, 38, 46, 56, 60, 65, 101, 124.
 
On outward passage from home:  U 61 in the North Sea, U 47 W. of the Orkneys.
 
On return passage home:   U 57.
 
On return passage to Lorient:  U 59, 100.
 
In Lorient:  U 48, 58, 99, 37.
 
In the Baltic:  U 31.
 
In Wilhelmshaven:  U 29, 30, 43.
 
In Kiel:  U 52, 62, UA.
 
In Danzig:  U 34.
 
 
U 100 entered Lorient.  This boat operated off the North Channel into the sea area of the Rockall Bank and sank 7 vessels totaling about 43,000 tons, 5 of them from a convoy.  As nearly all boats so far, U 100 suffered from bad weather and bad visibility.
 
 
Commanding Officer of U 37 made a personal report of his last patrol:  Strong patrol, especially by a/c in the area NW of the Orkneys.  2 bow tubes were damaged by bombs and the boat proceeded to Lorient to repair.  She then scored good successes fairly far west and the Commanding Officer here showed particularly good ability and determination.  Total results:  1 destroyer and 7 steamers totaling about 36,381 tons.  Commanding Officer of U 48 reported personally on his last patrol:  No particular experiences.  7 vessels totaling about 46,170 tons sunk within 10 days off the North Channel.
 
 
U 61 entered Bergen to refuel.
 
 
U 32 reported the sinking of "Scythia", 19,761 tons, from a strongly escorted convoy.  U 56 reported a heavy westerly swell, which prevented this small boat from shadowing a convoy, let alone getting ahead.
 
 
Radio intelligence analysis shows that U-boats in the operations area have been particularly successful during the last days.  Today alone 5 sinkings were reported, including 2 steamers of over 15,000 tons each.
       
 
2.9.1940.
  U 58 left Lorient and sighted an enemy S/M in square BF 6177.  U 29 left Wilhelmshaven, U 61 Bergen.
       
      U 124, 65, 47 and 101 are to operate against the SC 2 convoy.  U 101 reported that she still had 6 torpedoes left and more than half of her fuel.  Contact is to be made before the convoy is picked up by the inward escort.  According to reckoning the convoy should be in square AL 0216 at midday on 6.9.  One U-boat will be stationed at this point and the others in quaterline astern of her, so that a certain depth is achieved and a total breadth of 40 miles covered.  It can then be expected that, if the convoy proceeds according to
    
    
         
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
 
plan, all boats will be able to attack, and if it deviates from the rendezvous, at least one boat.  Boats are to keep radio silence except for convoy reports.  U 124 is to continue with her scheduled weather reports for the present, mines have been detected SW of Pen March at depths below 100 meters.  Boats have been warned accordingly.  The danger from mines and S/M's along the approach route to Lorient has increased.
3.9.1940.
 
U 38 and U 59 entered Lorient.
   
   
U 38 suffered considerably from air activity and bad weather in her operations area off the North Channel and W. of the Herbrides.  She sank 3 vessels totaling 19-20,000 tons.  U 59 attacked 3 vessels from an outward bound convoy on her way to her operations area and hit one tanker of 12,000 tons and 2 freighters of 7,000 and 10,000 tons respectively.  Only one freighter (10,000 tons) was observed to sink, but the sinking of the other 2 is likely from the Commanding Officer's report.
   
   
U 46 reported a total of 51,507 tons sunk, including probably the auxiliary cruiser "Dunvegan Castle" (15,007 tons).  She is starting on her return passage to Lorient.
 
 
U 28 reported on continued bad weather.  She sank 2 steamers totaling 27,000 tons and observed traffic in considerable strength approaching the North Channel from square AM 5382 to 5241.
 
   
U 32 is returning to Lorient.
   
   
U 57 was rammed towards 0300, when entering the Brunsbüttel lock, by the Norwegian S.S. "Rona" and sank immediately.  6 men are missing.  It is not yet established for certain where the fault lay, but apparently it was with the Norwegian, which made a signal of one short and then after all turned towards the boat.  I have requested the relevant authorities to see that U-boats are not hindered when locking in and out and that all other traffic is stopped at these times.  I received the following impression from a short stay in Lorient:  
   
1) The accommodation for the flotilla requires improvement, necessary work is in hand.  Conditions for the ratings should be very good in Lorient, with the rest hostel in Quiberon.
2) Danger from mines and S/M's is great and will require constant strong defense forces.
3) Flak defenses must also be regarded as inadequate after the last attacks.  5 English a/c were able to fly as low as 300 meters over the dockyard and drop 10 bombs which fell in the immediate vicinity of the U-boats. There is a distinct gap in the defenses to the N and NE of Lorient which the English use to fly in.  A third heavy flak battery will have to be stationed there.  But above all there is a lack of light guns in the dockyard itself against low-flying a/c.  These conditions will have to be improved.
        
       
                    
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
 
Taken as a whole, Lorient base is entirely suitable, and extremely valuable, but it will hardly be able to take more than 10-15 boats at a time for repairs.  Even this number means accumulation which is a great disadvantage as long as air attacks can still be expected.  It is necessary to obtain further bases on the Atlantic coast for the new U-boat flotillas.   U 99 left Lorient
4.9.1940.
 
U 29 will have to put into Bergen, as her attack periscope was sticking.  U 124 is, on the orders of Naval War Staff, to continue to act only as weather boat, and there are therefore only 3 boats available for operation against the SC 2 convoy.  Their disposition:
 
        U 47 in AL 0216, on the convoy's probable course
 
        U 65 in AL 2858 and U 101 in AL 3777.
 
5.9.1940.
 
U 29 entered Bergen to repair attack periscope.  As U 99 and U 58 cannot arrive in time to operate against the SC convoy, they have been ordered to operate off the North Channel in squares 52 and 53.  There will then be 3 boats in this area, U 56, 58, 99 and U 61 is off the Minch.  These boats may encounter sections of SC 2, which can be expected in these areas on 8/9.9.
 
 
CinC Navy visited headquarters and I reported to him on the present U-boat situation and plans for operation Seelöwe.  The Grand Admiral gave orders that he himself would decide the date for breaking off training.  I called attention to the urgent need for increased Flak defenses for Lorient base.  CinC agreed and will give the necessary orders.
 
6.9.1940.
 
U 60 entered Lorient.
 
 
U 65 made contact with convoy SC 2 as planned.  Unfortunately weather conditions prevented use of armament for the present; there was a W. wind force 8 and bad visibility.
 
7.9.1940.
 
U 47 made contact and lost it again, as did also U 65.  In spite of the bad weather U-boats greatly hampered by a/c.
 
8.9.1940.
 
U 32 entered Lorient.
 
 
U 47 and 65 regained contact.  U 47 had some success for certain.
 
 
9.9.1940.
  U 43 left Wilhelmshaven.  The weather buoys were not fully serviceable when she left and they will be given to the next boat to sail, U 103.
       
      U 101 is returning to Lorient owing to engine defects.
     
     
           
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
 
U 99 and U 47 again made contact with the Canada convoy SC 2.  5 steamers totaling 34,300 tons were sunk from this convoy between 7-9.9, in spite of unfavorable weather conditions.  U 124 reported damage to her bow caps and requires dockyard assistance.  She will be relieved as weather boat, so that weather reports will be made from the areas 550 - 600 N, 200 - 250 W and 550 - 600 N, 70 - 150 W.
 
Boats will be redisposed when the SC 2 convoy has passed, the NW-SE lines will be retained.
 
10.9.1940.
 
U 138 left Kiel for the Atlantic via the Baltic without refueling in Bergen.
 
 
U 43 reported that there had been 6 loud explosions a few hundred meters away from the boat in square AN 3812.  Group North is going to have the sea area searched for mines by minesweeping forces.  Boats have been instructed to avoid square 3810.
 
11.9.1940.
 
U 100 left Lorient.
 
 
U 29 left Bergen.
 
 
U 56 entered Bergen.  This boat unsuccessfully attacked a London class cruiser NW of the Herbrides, although the range was only 12 hectometers.
 
12.9.1940.
 
U 43 entered Bergen to repair leaks in the air intake and one torpedo tube.
 
 
U 61 started on her return passage; she had no success.  3 of the Italian Atlantic U-boats have now arrived in Bordeaux, 9 others are in their operations area or on their way from their home port to Bordeaux.  For the latter I recommend operation against the ore and timber import traffic from Spain and Portugal to England.
 
 
2 S/M chasers have arrived in Lorient and have been detailed by B.d.U. to carry out A/S operations off Lorient. They have been allocated a hunt area S. of Pen March for the present and this area is closed to U-boats.
 
 
13.9.1940.
  Nothing to report.
       
 
14.9.1940.
  U 137 left Kiel via the Baltic for direct passage to her operations area off the North Channel.
       
      The Italians have acted on my suggestion and will operate 3 boats off the Spanish and Portuguese coasts.
 
 
   
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
 
The Commanding Officer of the Italian U-boat "Malaspina", Commander LEONI, made a verbal report of his patrol.  He was ar sea for 38 days and sank 2 ships totaling 27,000 tons.  The after hydroplane jammed when the boat was crash diving away from a destroyer in the Straits of Gibraltar and this unpleasant emergency was ably handled.  After a night attack he dived too soon and therefore did not observe the result; success was doubtful.  On the whole there is nothing to criticize in this patrol.
15.9.1940.
 
U 43 left Bergen after completing repairs.
 
 
U 61 entered Lorient, U 56 Kiel.
 
 
U 59 reported that she was returning.She has apparently had no success.
 
 
U 48 attacked and split up a convoy inward-bound off the North Channel.
 
 
It is suspected that the enemy has laid mines in the North Sea between 570 30' N and 580 N and 4 to 50 E. also in squares 4830, 4840, 4860 and I have therefore given orders that for the present all boats, including those from Wilhelmshaven, are to leave via the Baltic.  The safety offered by the escort outweighs the disadvantage of the delay.
 
 
 
 
                                         (Signed):  Dönitz
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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