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

1 - 15 November 1940



Position, Wind, Weather
Sea State, Illumination,
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
  Positions of U-boats at 0800 1 November:
In the operations area:
  U 28 - AM 29
  U 31 - AM 43
  U 32 - AM 46
  U 124 - AL 26 as weather boat.
  Italian U-boats:
  J 6 - AL 27
  J 16 - AL 29
  J 25 - AL 52
  J 15 - AL 65
  J 2 - AL 38
  J 10 - AL 03
  Outward passage:  U 99 - BF 42 to relieve U 124 as weather boat.
  J 7 - AL 99
  J 5, J7 left the Ginonde
  5 Italian U-boats on their way to the Atlantic are still in the Mediterranean
  On return Passage:  None of our own boats, the following Italian:
J 4, 12, 21, 22 in the area N.W. of Spain.
      The following will be ready for operations by the middle of November.
      3 November: U 43, 93, 100, 103, Lorient and St. Nazaire.
      13 November: U 123 Lorient
      Approximately 14 November U 104 Wilhelmshaven.
      At the suggestion of B.d.U. the Ops. area for the Italian U-boats have been changed.  They will patrol at the latitude of the North Channel in an E-W direction corresponding approximately to the movements of our own boats.   There will be no dividing line, but our U-boats have orders to concentrate their activity in the E.
      U 124 reported a total of 28,813 tons sunk.  She has 1 stern torpedo left.  She is to remain as weather boat until U 99 arrives.
      An Italian U-boat made contact with a group of 10 - 20 steamers without escort in square 3995 AL.  The report did not give their courses and contact was apparently lost again.  Our own boats could not therefore be directed to operate.
  The Italian U-boats reported that the steamers were steering S.E. too late.  The only value of this report lies in the fact that it indicated that there is traffic in this area.
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Position, Wind, Weather
Sea State, Illumination,
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
  U 28, 31 and 32 were ordered to make a situation report by short signal.
U 28 reported: no traffic.
  U 29 left Brest for the operations area.
  U 47 and U 137 left Lorient for the Operations area.
  U 31 and U 32 have not yet made situation reports as ordered.  One Italian U-boat Malespina, on her return passage, has also been asked to report the situation.  I must have an idea of the traffic situation in the area at present occupied by U-boats.
  According to an a/c and a radio intelligence report there are at present 2 convoys in the area W of Ireland.  There are no details of course and speed.  The U-boat cannot therefore be directed to operate but the reports confirm that there is traffic in this area, as was supposed.
  U 99 reported sinking:
  Laurentic 18,724 tons
  Patroclus 11,314     "
  Casanare 5,376     "
  Total 35,414 tons.
  Another great success for this boat.  Her C.O. has now sunk 217,198 and is the second to pass the 200,000 tons mark.  He was awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knights Cross the same day.
   U 31 and U 32 have still not made their situation reports as ordered another signal has been made to them.  I am beginning to be worried about these boats.  Enemy reports do not give any clue with regard to them.
  At 1530 U 99 contact with an inward-bound convoy of 30 ships including several tankers, in square AL 6918.  Escort 6 gunboats.  Contact was lost for a time but was re-established just before dark and maintained until morning.  During the night U 28 reported her position in the vicinity of the convoy.  She must have operated therefore and there is a chance that she may have attacked.  
J 6 "Malaspina" reported a second convoy in square 8899 AL at 1630.  She gave contradictory details of course in various messages.  No clear idea could be formed of the convoy's movements, until its identity "OG 45" was established by radio intelligence.  "Outward" Gibraltar and outward-bound convoy.  The boat was sighted by day 6 miles off according to a radio intelligence report:  she probably did not get close up to the convoy therefore.  Contact was lost at dusk and not regained.
  Passage report from U 29 from BF 18.
      U 138 left Lorient to operate W. of the North Channel.
  The Italian F.O. U-boat Rear Admiral PAPONA, visited B.d.U. to discuss:
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Position, Wind, Weather
Sea State, Illumination,
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
    1. All questions of cooperation.
  2. What measure could be taken to make it easier for the Italians to get accustomed to war conditions in the Atlantic.
    I adopted the following basic attitude.
    A. The main object must be to do as much damage as possible to England.
    B. I intend to achieve this aim as follows:
      1. General operational control, allocation of operation areas, and decisions as to methods of cooperation must remain in my hands.
      2. Within the framework of this essential unified supreme control the Italian F.O. U-boats should have as much independence and responsibility as possible.  The Italian U-boats should not only be made to feel that they are controlled by Italians, but they should also in fact be so controlled.
      3. The Italians will have to learn tactical procedure from us.  Experience hitherto and these already permit a final assessment to be made - show that this is an indispensable condition if they are to be more successful.  They must also, conform to our tactical methods so as to make cooperation possible.  Taking their character into account, I think this can best be achieved by showing what they lack in such a way that they realize it of their own accord and themselves accept our experiences instead of having our ways forced upon them rudely and suddenly.
    C. 1. In order to give them the benefit of our experiences the available Commanding Officers are now being sent out to GDYNIA for a short course and to take part in tactical training.
      2. Italian Commanding Officers have made long trips in our U-boats.
        It is also intended to carry out tactical exercises for boats in Bordeaux in southern Biscay, under the direction of the Liaison Officer (Lieut. Commander ROSING) in an advisory capacity, as this should be the quickest way of giving the C.O.'s the experience which they lack.  The risk to the U-boats from enemy action will have to be accepted.  The danger is only slight in this area and the training even if short can be expected to give a distinct advantage.
  Radio Intelligence Service reported that the convoy sighted by Malaspina had dispersed and was making for a new assembly point P.M. on the 6th.
    In the afternoon U 99 regained contact with her convoy of the previous day.  She lost it again some hours later and reported all torpedoes used:  one tanker.  She was ordered to return.
    It remains to be seen what extent Italian U-boats
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Position, Wind, Weather
Sea State, Illumination,
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
    operated against this convoy.
    U 29 has been detailed to relieve U 124 as weather boat.
    U 28 operated against U 99's convoy, 3 misses.
    Enemy news service announced the sinking of 2 German U-boats, including the boat which sank the "Empress of Britain" (i.e. U 32).  Part of the crew of the latter is said to have been rescued.
    U 28 was then allocated the whole area W. of the North Channel as ops. area.
    I suspect that the enemy is again sending out A/S groups.  Increased precautions are necessary and these precautions must cover the use of radio.  The boats have been given orders accordingly.
  W. of the U-boats operations area "Scheer" attacked several steamers, probably a convoy.  Apart from their great immediate effect, from my point of view such actions, especially in the vicinity of the U-boats' ops. areas should mean:
  1.  Less anti-S/M activity.
  2.  Increased prospects of attacking warships.
  U 28 reported that she was returning owing to lack of fuel.  She has apparently only sunk one medium-sized steamer.  
  U 65 reported by short signal that she would not be at the rendezvous with "Nordmark" before 11 - 14 November.  Reception conditions were good in her ops. area.
  U 138 made her passage report on her way out to the operations area.  Otherwise nothing to report.
  U 29 has reached her position for weather reporting.  U 124 is relieved and will return.
  U 43 and U 103 left Lorient for the operations area.  U 43 returned to port the same day because of technical defects.
  Ops. areas allocated for boats which have sailed or which will now sail.  
  Disposition W of the North Channel:  the small boats (U 137, 138) patrolling E-W immediately off the entrance to the Channel, the large boats N and S of this, concentrating off 160 W.  
  The object of this broad disposition is to establish what routes shipping is following at the moment, as there has been little information on this subject for for some time.  It is intended to concentrate all large boats when a clear idea has been formed.  
  Our a/c attacked the "Empress of Japan" W. of Ireland.  An attempt to operated U-boats against the
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Position, Wind, Weather
Sea State, Illumination,
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
  damaged warship failed because details of course and speed were not obtained from the a/c in time.
  U 43 left Lorient for the operations areas, but had to turn back again in the evening because of an oil trace and other defects discovered while test-diving to great depths.  Delays such as this must be expected as long as no thorough trial runs can be made at the end of a period in the dockyard.
  U 65 reported that she had supplied from the supply ship.  She was probably sighted by civil a/c.  Air routes will therefore have to be taken into consideration when determining the rendezvous.  The boat reported nothing of successes or traffic.
  B.d.U. Ops. Department moved to Kerneval near Lorient.  Control was taken over by this establishment at 0900.
  U 104 left Kiel via the Baltic for the operations area.
  U 137 and 138 ordered to make situation reports by short signal.  From their reports I hope to get an idea of the main direction of traffic from the North Channel.  Both boats reported their position, but U 138 only:  no traffic.
  U 124 entered Lorient.  She was mainly stationed in the remote weather-reporting area, but nevertheless sank 5 steamers totaling 28,813 tons.  A very well executed patrol which requires no further comment.
  Weather reports from boats detailed for this show that on the whole weather conditions have become calmer, W. of the North Channel.  USe of armament at least still seems possible.  Although visibility was reported good, the boats stationed there have not found any traffic, which fact they reported in turn by short signal.
  U 123 left Lorient for the operations area.
  U 93 and U 100 were ordered to concentrate further E. to 90 W.  There can be no doubt that a large part of the enemy traffic makes for the North Channel. If no shipping approaches from the W. it must be coming from the SW or N.  The order given to U 93 and U 100 is intended to provide reconnaissance of the northern route.  
In accordance with their small experience, 2 Italian U-boats which sailed recently, will occupy remote ops. area on the SW route.
  I also decided to let all boats W of 150 (including the Italians) report daily by short signal.  The risk of their giving away their position can be regarded as slight, and I have hopes these reports will provide some clue as to the best disposition to be made.  Only an incomplete picture can of course be formed, as there are very few boats, to cover a
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Position, Wind, Weather
Sea State, Illumination,
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
    very wide sea area and each of them can only cover a small section at a time.  I therefore consider it extremely desireable, if at all possible, to fly air reconnaissance of the relevant sea areas.  This is the most effective means of supporting U-boat operations.  Group Commands North and West have suitable a/c available.  I made a request to both Group Commands for:
1. Air reconnaissance in the area NW of Scotland.
2. Air reconnaissance of the SW route in the area between 520 30' N and 540 30' N between 120 W and 180 W.
    This request is covered by a requirement made by Naval War Staff to the Group Commands.
    U 28 entered Wilhelmshaven.
                                    (Signed):  Dönitz.
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