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

16 - 31 October 1940

PG30275

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
16.10
 
Position of U-boats:
In operations area:  U 37, 38, 48, 93, 101, 103, 123, 124, Malaspina.
 
On passage to operations area:  U 46, 47, 99, 28, 100, 65 (to Freetown), Dandolo, Barlarigo, Otaria.
 
On return passage to Lorient:  U 137, 138, 43.
 
On return passage home:  U 58, 59.
 
In Kiel:  UA.
 
 
U 103 is returning, having used all her torpedoes.  She has sunk 5 steamers totaling 31,000 GRT.
 
 
U 93 is shadowing an outward-bound convoy.  For the present only U 38 can operate against it.
 
17.10
 
Towards 0300 U 48 made contact with an inward-bound convoy in square AL 3380 (25 ships, 3 gun boats).
 
The order was given:  Attack the convoy reported by U 48  
  This order could not be carried out by:  U 38, 93 because of enemy action elsewhere (U 93's convoy).  U 28, 47, which are still too far away.  U 124 which as weather boat, is too far west.
 
U 46, 99, 100, 101, 123 operated against the convoy.
 
U 48 attacked but soon lost contact and was forced to dive.  No further reports were received and towards midday Operations Control gave the order "continue to operate against the convoy reported, general direction of advance 1200, 8 knots".  Towards 1800 a report was received from U 48 giving the last observed position of the convoy at 0930, which was further N, than hitherto reported, and its course which was also further north and could obviously only be steered for a time.
  This must have confused the boats.  They were therefore ordered to form patrol line by 0800/18 which will be at right angles to the most probable direction of advance and should intercept the convoy in the morning.  U 46, 100, 101 and 123 can reach their positions but not U 28 and 99.
 
 
U 93 is still shadowing the outward-bound convoy.
 
 
18.10
  Not until midday was a report received from U 38, according to which at 0200 the convoy was after all further north than expected.  It remains to be explained why U 38 did not report earlier and did not pursue.
 
 
   
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
 
There is a danger now that the convoy would skirt the patrol line to the north.  At 1500 the boats were ordered to operate in accordance with U 38's last report and were given the position by dead reckoning, at 1400.  This order was hardly carried out however, because at 1800 U 101 made contact and brought up the other boats.
 
U 93 lost her convoy, but soon sighted another outward-bound one, which she shadowed and which U 124 and Malaspina were able to attack.  U 93's reports were transmitted to Bordeaux currently.
 
 
U 43 sighted a submerged enemy S/M on her way into Lorient.  This boat operated W of England after short repairs in Bergen.  During a patrol lasting five weeks she sank only one medium-sized steamer.  The Commanding Officer, who had a good peace-time training, is apparently past his job and will be relieved.  His previous patrol was also unsatisfactory.
 
19.10
 
The convoy first reported by U 48 then by U 38 and U 101 was attacked by U 46, 99, 101 and 123.
 
The following were sunk according to reports from the boats:
 
17.10 U 48 3 ships
21,000
tons:
18/19.10 U 46 4 ships
21,000
   "
  U 99 7 ships
45,000
   "
  U 100 3 ships
14,000
   "
  U 101 8 ships
51,000
   "
  U 123 5 ships
44,000
   "
    30 ships
196,000
tons.
 
 
U 99, 101, and 123 started on their return passage having used all their torpedoes.
 
 
U 47 sighted another inward-bound convoy in the morning in square AL 0243 and shadowed.  U 46 and 100 from the last convoy should be able to operate against it, U 38 and 48 from the north, and U 28 which should have arrived in the operations area meanwhile.
 
 
U 93 shadowed the outward-bound convoy until evening but no other boats managed to attack.  She lost contact in about 300 W.
 
 
U 103 entered Lorient.  As a subsidiary operations, she laid weather buoys and the sunk 6 vessels totaling about 35,986 tons.
 
 
U 31 left Lorient.
 
 
20.10
  The following ships were sunk during the night from U 47's convoy:
     
U 38 2 ships 13,000 GRT    
 
 
 
   
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
 
U 46 3 ships
23,000
GRT
 
U 47 8 ships
50,500
   "
 
U 48 1 ship
7,000
   "
 
U 100 3 ships
19,600
   "
 
  17 ships
113,100
GRT
 
By joint attack during the last 3 days 7 U-boats with 300 men have sunk 47 ships totaling about 310,000 GRT.  A colossal success.
 
Conclusions:
 
1) The operations prove that the principle of which the development of U-boat tactics and training has been based since 1935, namely that of countering concentration in convoys with a concentration of U-boats, attacks, was right.  This concentration has been made possible by the development of communications since the World War.
2) Such operations can only be carried out with Commanding Officers and crews which are thoroughly trained for them.  It follows that there must be extensive and long training in wide sea areas.  This training would not be possible if we did not have the Baltic Sea free of enemy interference.
3) Such operations can only be carried out if there are enough U-boats in the operations area.  In this war this is so far only been the case from time to time.
4) The more U-boats there are in operations area the more frequently such operations will be possible.
5) Also, if there were more boats, the English supply routes would not be left free of U-boats after such attacks because, as today nearly all the boats have to return because they have used all their torpedoes.
6) Successes such as in these operations can not always be expected.  BAd weather and other circumstances can sometimes ruin every chance.
 
The main thing however will always be the ability of the C.O.
 
 
U 31 reported that she was again fired upon on leaving Lorient.  
 
 
After the great success in the attacks on the 2 convoys, most of the boats have no torpedoes left and are proceeding to Lorient (U 47, 99, 100, 103, 123, 38, 101).
 
 
U 124, 46 and 28 are the only boats left in the operations area and U 46 has only 2 stern torpedoes left so that it is useless to keep her back any longer.  She will only remain for another 2 days.  U 124 will act as weather boat N of 560 22 N in square AL 23 to 26, U 28 will act as weather boat off Rockall Bank.  The Italian U-boats which have meanwhile arrived in the operations area will be sent 100 seamiles further E.  They will than be in the area in which our own boats picked up several convoys and which is at present estimated to be promising.
 
21.10
 
Group Command West has been requested to lay barrages to protect
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
 
the approach routes to Lorient against S/M attack and minelayers.
22.10
 
U 37, 99 entered Lorient.
 
 
U 37 sank 6 steamers in her operations area off the North Channel, totaling 31,545 tons.
 
 
U 99 sank 6 ships during the night 19/20.10, totaling 38,606 tons.  Her whole patrol only lasted 9 days.
 
23.10
 
U 47, 100, 123 entered Lorient.
 
 
U 47 shadowed the convoy she sighted excellently, so that U 48, 38, 100 and 46 reached it, some of them from a long way off.  U 47 herself sank 8 ships totaling about 50,500 GRT within a few hours during the night.  Her patrol also only lasted 9 days.  U 100 operated against 2 convoys (U 48 and U 47) and sank or severely damaged 5 ships totaling 38,365 tons, including one independently-routed vessel.
 
 
U 123 made her first patrol from home.  She first encountered independently-routed ships and sank 3.  She then sank 3 more steamers from the convoy reported by U 48.  Total results:  6 ships totaling 40,943 tons.  
 
 
U 32 left Lorient.
 
24.10
 
U 38, 101 entered Lorient.
 
 
Now that U 31 has arrived in the operations area, U 28 is to operate north and U 31 south of 570 30' N.
 
 
  U 48 has arrived in the sea area SW of Norway.  Scheer is to pass through here on about 26.10 and S/M's are suspected in the vicinity.  Group Command North had therefore ordered an intensive anti-S/M hunt by aircraft and surface forces for today.  U 48 has been withdrawn to the NW and she is only to proceed south by night provided she can be 30 miles south of Scheer's intended route by morning.
 
   
 
25.10
  U 93 entered St. Nazaire.
 
   
 
  U 46 reported that she had been hit by a bomb in square 4394.  One man seriously wounded, boat unable to dive and able to proceed with one engine only.  She was ordered to go to Kristiansand, which is the nearest port (135 miles).  Group Command North will provide fighter protection by 2 aircraft and escort by 2 S/M chasers.
 
   
 
  B.d.U. reported to the Führer on U-boat operations from 17 - 20 October (attacks on convoys in the Rockall Bank area) and on general questions affecting U-boat warfare.
 
   
 
26.9
  U 46 entered Kristiansand.  She left again with escort for Kiel via the Baltic approaches, having landed a seriously-wounded man who has now died.  
       
 
  A successful air attack was made A.M. on "Empress of Britain", 42,000 tons.  Radio Intelligence and air reconnaissance confirmed
 
   
 
 
- 122 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
 
that the ship was on fire and unable to proceed.  Radio Intelligence established that extensive rescue operations had been started.  Ship's position was AM 5455 and U-boats were informed.  U 32 is nearest.
27.10
 
U 28, 31, 32 are to patrol in an E-W direction W of the North Channel, concentrating in the E.  The Italian U-boats Finzi, Bagnolini, Barrico which are on their way out, will take up positions W of this, between 150 and 200 W.  They can reach their positions on about the 29th.  There are 4 further Italian U-boats at about the same latitude W of 200 W.  This disposition means that the German boats have more difficult positions in the E while the Italian boats are much further away, certainly outside the range of air reconnaissance by shore based a/c.
 
 
U 31 sighted an outward-bound convoy towards midday in square 6335 AL.
 
 
The Italian F.O. U-boats was informed and ordered the 4 Italian U-boats already in the ops. area once to operate against it.  No further reports were received, and U 31 was asked if she was still shadowing.  She replied not.  The Italian boats nevertheless continued.
 
 
Report by C.O. of U 38 his boat sank 5 steamers totaling 36,225 GRT.  Nothing special to note on this patrol.  Report by C.O. of U 101:  his boat sank 9 steamers totaling 47,779 tons.  8 of them from a convoy, and also badly damaged a 3,5oo ton steamer.  This were very good patrols in which the Commanding Officers made determined use of every chance they had against the convoy.
 
28.10
 
U 32 reported that she has sunk the "Empress of Britain"
 
 
Group Command West requested that a boat be made available as the escort for Ship 21 returning with damaged engines, which last night reported her position in square 6441 BE via Italian U-boat.  U 29 was the only boat in the vicinity and was given orders accordingly.  A radio message from U 29 indicates that the rendezvous is not likely to take place before dawn on 29.10. because the boat has engine trouble and the weather is apparently very bad.
 
29.10
 
U 29 reported by short signals that she could not make contact with Ship 21 before 2300.  It is doubtful whether she will succeed by night.
 
 
U 104's date of operational readiness has been postponed by 9 days.
 
30.10
 
Weather and situation reports from boat show that there has been very bad weather for several days in the sea area W of the North Channel.  It will certainly affect the success of U-boat operations.  The operations area for the weather boat U 124 has been extended E. as far as 160 W.
 
      U 99 left Lorient for an operations area W of the North Channel.
       
 
31.10
  U 29 entered Brest according to plan as escort for Ship 21.  She will probably leave on November 2nd after refueling.
       
                                        (Signed):  DÖNITZ
       
 
 
 
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