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

16 - 30 September 1940

PG30273

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
16.9.1940
 
Positions of U-boats:
In operations areas:  U 47 in the west as weather reporting boat, U 65, U 99, U 48, U 100, U 29, U 58.
 
On outward passage:  U 43, 138 in the Shetlands area, U 137 on the SW coast of Norway, U 60 off Lorient, U 31, 103 off Wilhelmshaven.
 
On return passage to Lorient:  U 28, 59.
 
In Lorient:  U 32, 37, 38, 46, 61, 101, 124.
 
In Wilhelmshaven:  U 123.
 
In Kiel:  UA, U 52, 56, 57, 139.
 
In Stettin:   U 30.
 
In Danzig:  U 34.
 
 
U 58 is returning as her fuel stocks are exhausted; no successes.
 
 
U 137 has been ordered to Stavanger, at the request of Admiral Norway, to take part in a special operation against an English S/M in cooperation with A/S forces.
 
17.9.1940.
 
U 137 entered Stavanger, U 28 Lorient (In report see 18.9).
 
 
U 65 reported an inward-bound convoy in square AM 1574.  Radio Intelligence Service established that 3 steamers had been sunk, including the "City of Benares", 11,081 tons, probably by U 47.
 
18.9.1940.
 
U 32 left Lorient.
 
      During a visit to Lorient I observed that, following action by CinC Navy, the flak defenses had been reinforced.  This made itself felt during last night's attack; the English a/c were prevented from flying low.
       
      The C.O.'s of U 28, 61, 101 and 124 reported:
      U 28 encountered no traffic or patrol on the Minch sea area, but there was constant bad visibility, so that her observations cannot be taken as a basis for further decisions.  There must be traffic there.  This assumption was confirmed a few days later by other boats.  In the operations area off the North Channel this boat then sank 5 vessels, totaling 30,599 tons, in spite of bad weather and strong air activity.
      U 61, coming from the Baltic, refueled in Bergen and then operated off the North Channel.  She scored no successes, owing to bad weather, strong air activity wrong tactics and avoidable
 
 
 
- 108 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
 
engine defects.  The Commanding Officer will have to give proof of his efficiency on his next patrol.
U 101 operated off the North Channel in bad weather and visibility conditions and sank 3 vessels totaling 15,576 tons.  She was severely depth-charged once.
 
U 124 attacked an inward-bound convoy on her way out, following shadower's reports, and sank 4 vessels totaling about 28,000 tons within a few hours.  She then hauled off to the west as weather boat and encountered further traffic, but scored no successes.
 
19.9.1940.
 
U 123 left Wilhelmshaven via the Baltic for her operations area off the North Channel.
 
 
U 29 reported engine damage and is returning to Lorient.  Brest Group reported shipping movements through the English mined area in the St. George's Channel.  This report contradicts our own observations and a request was therefore made for air reconnaissance A.M. in the area S. of Ireland.  I have the impression that there can be only little traffic from the Irish Sea around Lands End into the Channel, otherwise the U-boats would have met shipping S. of Ireland on their way to and from Lorient.  Only fishing vessels have, however, been sighted there.
 
20.9.1940.
 
U 58, 59 Lorient.
 
 
U 58 on her way out from Lorient, was surprised by an English S/M type "Clyde", at night a short distance off (200 meters) and apparently unsuccessfully attacked with a torpedo.  Off the North Channel the boat was hampered by bad weather and air activity and only once managed to approach a steamer.  This attack was unsuccessful, the torpedo, set at 3 meters, ran under the target.
 
 
U 59 used up an unusually large quantity of fuel owing to continuous bad weather and was only able to operate for a few days off the North Channel without success.
 
 
U 60 has been ordered to attack along the routes to the E. coast of England off Pentland Firth.  There is constant lively traffic there.
 
 
U 137 left Stavanger, as her further retention there for a special operation cannot be justified.
 
 
U 47 made contact with an inward-bound convoy.  At the same time Radio Intelligence Service picked up enemy course instructions for a convoy coming from the west.  It was first thought that these convoys were one and the same, because the course at first reported by the boat corresponded approximately to that given by Radio Intelligence.  All boats in the vicinity were therefore ordered to attacking positions on the enemy's course which would give them a chance to contact the enemy in daylight.  Later reports from U 47 showed clearly, however, that the convoy was making a detour to the SE and the boats received orders to operate against it in accordance with shadowing reports from U 47.
 
 
 
 
- 109 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
 
U 48 was the first boat to sight the convoy and she sank 2 steamers and took over as shadower.  During the day U 99 and U 100 made successful attacks; U 65 attacked without success.  U 103, U 123 left Kiel.
 
U 59 entered Lorient.
 
 
The Italians accepted, in part only, B.d.U.'s suggestion that their boats be left in operations areas not only for a certain period ordered, but until their supplies were exhausted.  The boats are now to remain three days longer in their operations area.
 
22.9.1940.
 
U 100 was driven off by destroyers which had meanwhile reached the convoy.  This inward-bound convoy was attacked altogether by 5 boats, which were originally up to 380 miles away from the first point of sighting.  13 ships were sunk.  This success is thanks to:
 
1) early intelligence of the convoy far west when the escort was still weak.
2) correct tactical procedure of boats as shadowers and operating over a wide area.
3) favorable weather.
   
 
U 47 had already fired all her torpedoes beforehand and some of the other boats had only a few left.
 
 
Actions during the last few days have shown that the principles established in peacetime for use of radio in sight of the enemy and the training of U-boats for attacks on convoys were correct.
 
 
U 138 reported 4 steamers, totaling 29,000 tons, sunk from another convoy N. of Ireland.  This boat is returning to Lorient.
 
 
U 46 left St Nazaire after short repairs in dock.
 
23.9.1940.
 
U 47 reported a total success of 6 steamers totaling 40,250 tons and one freighter, 4,000 tons, damaged.  She is returning to Lorient.
 
24.9.1940.
 
U 37, 61 left Lorient.
 
      U 29 shadowed an outward-bound convoy and brought up U 31 and U 43.  No successes have been reported either by the boats or by Radio Intelligence (U 31 reported a miss only).
       
      During the next few days there will be up to 10 boats operating off the North Channel and it is suspected that the convoys are now passing S. of Rockall Bank.  I have therefore decided on a new form of disposition which will extend further to the west and will be narrower in a N-S direction.  2 boats will be far to the west (including one weather boat) approximately at 230 W; 5-6
   
   
       
 
 
- 110 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
 
medium and large boats, which have sufficient speed to operate over long stretches and haul ahead, will be between 190 and 120 W and 2 small boats immediately off the North Channel.
 
Our own catapult ship "Ostmark" was torpedoed off Belle Isle and minefields have been detected near Pen March.  I have therefore given orders for boats leaving Atlantic ports to make a passage report by short signal when passing 100 W so as to be certain that they have got through the danger area.
 
25.9.1940.
 
U 38 left Lorient.
 
 
U 48, 65, 99, 100 left Lorient.
 
 
All these boats operated from Lorient off the North Channel and some very successfully.  They all attacked the convoy on 20, 21 and 22.9.
 
 
Successes: U 48 9 steamers totaling 51,896 tons and the gunboat Dundee.
  U 65 2 steamers totaling 12,200 tons, several regrettable misses.
  U 99 9 steamers totaling 25,498 tons and 2 steamers of unknown tonnage.
  U 100 3 tankers, 5 steamers totaling 61,300 tons within 3 hours on 22.9.
 
26.9.1940
 
U 137 reported 4 steamers attacked from convoy:  2 sunk, 1 on fire, 1 probably sunk.
 
 
U 32 reported 4 steamers sunk totaling 23,735 tons.
 
 
U 29 was in contact with a convoy.  Wrong squares were given in the first reports and no other boat succeeded in attacking.
 
U 29 herself had to break off the pursuit owing to engine defects.
 
 
U 47, U 138 entered Lorient.
       
      U 47 did excellent work off the North Channel and as weather boat W. of Rockall and as shadower.  She sank 6 steamers totaling about 40,250 tons and brought all the other boats up to the convoy.
       
      U 138, immediately off the North Channel, sank or severely damaged 4 steamers totaling 29,000 tons.  U 138 was attacked with a 4-fan by a submerged S/M , on her way into Lorient.  Later both boats were unsuccessfully attacked by an a/c.  I am therefore forced to ask for fighter escort for inward-bound boats in the future, so that on the one hand enemy S/M's are forced to dive before our own U-boats arrive and on the other there is some defense against enemy a/c.  This requirement cannot be met at the moment, however, as there are not enough a/c.  Group Command will support my request for bases for Naval a/c on the Atlantic coast.
  
  
     
 
 
- 111 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
27.9.1940.
 
U 46 has had to start on her return passage because of jamming of the hydrophones.  She reported at the same time 2 freighters sunk.
 
There was an air attack on Lorient.  There was damage to military installations, but several U-boat men and personnel belonging to shore stations were killed or wounded.
 
28.9.1940.
 
Nothing to report.
 
29.9.1940.
 
U 46 entered St. Nazaire.
 
 
U 137 entered Lorient.
 
 
U 32 shadowed an outward-bound convoy and attacked.
 
30.9.1940.
 
U 31 and U 38 each reported an outward-bound convoy.  U 31 last contact during the night after she had been fired upon by an enemy S/M which apparently formed part of the escort.  U 38 also lost contact without bringing up another boat.  
 
 
Visit to F.O. Italian Atlantic boats, Rear-Admiral PARONA, in Bordeaux.
 
Apart from a general exchange of views, the main object of the visit was to discuss the operation of the Italian U-boats shortly to leave Bordeaux.  These, and other boats leaving Bordeaux later, will be controlled from there while boats sailing from Italian ports are controlled from Rome.  The general impression received was that the Italians were very ready to cooperate and willing to accept control by B.d.U., especially in view of our greater experience of war.  The Italians, on the other hand, appear to be sadly lacking in war experience.  I therefore consider, the first patrols of boats leaving Italy for the Azores, where there should not be much enemy A/S activity, as good training.
 
The aim will be later to operate the Italians in the more promising, but increasingly strongly defended northern areas.
 
The first 3 boats will leave Bordeaux on about 5 October.
 
They are to operate as follows:
 
They will be disposed SW of our own boats off the North Channel in approximately the following areas:
     
a) square AL 18 and AL 01 and W. of this
b) S. of these boats as far as the line square 5451 to 7147
c) AL 55 and AL 58 and W. of this as far as the dividing line between c) and b).
      The weather boat's area will be reduced accordingly.  The Italian U-boats will attack on making contact with the enemy and
      
      
            
 
 
- 112 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
 
will shadow even if this leads them into the German boat's areas.  Enemy reports will be made to Bordeaux and transmitted on from there by T/P to Paris.  They are expected to take an hour.  The Italians are equipped with our recognition signals and there are no misgivings therefore on either side about operating German and Italian boats in the same area.  The German boats will be given large-scale silhouettes of the Italian U-boats, as confusion is more likely between Italian and English than between German and English S/M's.  Operation in the Freetown sea area is under consideration for the large Italian boats.
 
 
                                    (Signed):  Dönitz.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- 113 -
 
     

 


 

Click the icons to view the associated records

Return to the B.d.U. KTB/War Standing Orders page