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

16 - 31 January 1941


Position, Wind, Weather
Sea State, Illumination,
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
  Position of the U-boats at 0800:
1. In area West of North Channel:
  U 106 - weather boat in AL 10 and 20 and 30 South 60 North, Eastward 250 West.
  U   93 - AL 52 and 61
  U   38 - AL 55 and 64
  U 105 - AL 67 and 68
  U 124 - AL 92 and 93
  Further East-West line with focal point at 150 West level with following grid positions:
  U   94 - AM 44
  U   96 - AM 41
2.  Putting out:
  U 123 about BF 45.  
3.  In Lorient:  U 37, 43, 47, 52, 65, 95, 99, 101, 103.
   In Kiel:  U 46, 48, 100, 107, UA.
4. Probably ready for operations 1 February:
  U 103, 48, 101, 107, 37, possibly U 46 by end of January.
5) Italian U-boat in operational areas:
  J   6 - AL 28
  J 21 - AL 02
  J 18 - AL 93
   Returning to port:
  J   8 - BE 66
  J 24 - Off the Gironde
   Putting out:  J 9 to AL 39.
   In Bordeaux:  J 1, 2, 3, 10, 7, 11, 12, 15, 23, 27, 25, 19, 16, 14, 20, 22, 26, 17.
  U 96 reported sinking steamer "Oropesa" (14,118 tons).  About 1300 hours the aircraft reconnaissance operating in the N. area found a convoy of 30 - 40 ships on West course and sank a medium steamer therefrom.
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Position, Wind, Weather
Sea State, Illumination,
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
The following are the only boats which can be considered for operations on account of the fuel situation:
U 96 - AM 0180;  U 94 - AM 44;  U 106 - AL 01;  U 93 - AL 65 (presumably).
The boats are in a very favorable position.
The following conditions are against operations:
1. There has been only one single enemy sighting made so far and contact cannot be kept.
2. The single course report received allows only general conclusions as to the course of the convoy.  In favor of operations are:
  1. The conclusion that boats will be in position farther north within the next few days.
  2. The constant possibility of picking up the convoy.
  3. The fact that no targets have been picked up so far in this area.
Operation will be ordered and U 96 will be ordered to seek contact at once.
U 106, 94, 93 are to take up attack positions in AL 3620, 3680, 3850.
Aircraft reconnaissance is planned for the 17th, using one aircraft in the area east of these positions.
In order to enlarge the aircraft's radius of operation it is to return to Brest rather than Bordeaux.
U 93 reported after dusk that her position was still farther S.W.   Since she received AL 29 and 02 as her new attack areas, whereas U 96 received orders to occupy U 93's position in AL 3850 in case no contact was made.
News of the sinking of the steamer "Almeda Star" can only be associated with U 96 and we must conclude that this boat was in AM 1678 at 0700 hours.
Through later reports from the boat it is presumed that she has fired all her torpedoes and received orders to return via pre-arranged areas so she could act as observer for other U-boats.
Intercepts of last night report the steamer "Zealandik" (8,443 T) torpedoed in AL 2672.  U 106 is believed to be responsible.  After aircraft were unable to find the convoy in the prescribed area, U 94 and U 106 received orders to search to the N.E. at cruising
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Position, Wind, Weather
Sea State, Illumination,
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
speed.  Since no success was met up until dusk, the operation against the convoy was called off and eventually positions were ordered in the attack area 60 as follows:
U 106 - AM 11 and 12;  U 94 - AM 14 and 23;  U 93 - AL 22,31, 32 (in position approximately 18 January);  U 123 - AL 24, 33, 34 (in position approximately 20 January).
At 2345 hours an Italian U-boat reported convoy at 1700 hours in AL 6827, course 2500.  Owing to her late arrival and apparent loss of contact, it does not seem likely that operations by boats in the vicinity stand much chance of success.  
U 38 reports being on return passage.  Has sunk 2 steamers of 8,600 tons.  Heavy depth-charge damage.
U 124 returning as reported by short signal.  Otherwise nothing new.
No special reports.
Air reconnaissance reports 2 convoys, one of which is just off the North Channel about to enter port.  No U-boats nearby.  Therefore no operation possible.  A second convoy in AL 6850, course 600, putting in.  Aircraft is giving bearing reports.  U 105 has been informed, being the only boat in the area.  She made contact herself with an outbound convoy at 1520 hours in AL 6850 but lost contact later.  She reports it impossible to use weapons because of weather conditions.  Whether the aircraft led the U-boat to the enemy and to what extent this was done can only be established upon the return of the U-boat to base.
New information indicates that the enemy is more successful now than at the beginning of the war in taking bearings on radio reports and short weather reports of U-boats.  This surmise must be given the most careful attention.  In view of the small number of craft in areas where U-boats concentrate, bearing signals reveal that the enemy is by-passing attack areas.  It is noteworthy that:
1) In all cases we make sure that radio is used only when it is important in an operational sense.  All other radio messages, position reports, etc., are to be transmitted only when an exact bearing on the U-boat no longer matters, that is to say, when her presence has been discovered by other means.
2) Weather boats are to be so used that the other boats will not be jeopardized.
U 103 left Lorient for her operational area.
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Position, Wind, Weather
Sea State, Illumination,
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
U 38, 96, 124 putting in.  All three boats were badly hindered by poor weather in their attack areas.  In every case bad visibility prohibited making contact with the enemy.  The successes scored by both boats were correspondingly small - U 38, 2 vessels totaling 8,700 GRT, and U 124, 1 vessel of 5,500 GRT.  U 96 had unusual luck, in that 2 large steamers sailing alone came in range and were sunk - "Almeda Star" and "Oropesa" total 29,054 tons.
The boats are not to be blamed for their small success in view of the fact that their opportunities were so limited.
Now that surface operations have commenced, it is necessary to recall boats from the northern area.  Boundaries will be more closely defined by High Command in combined operations.  The new operation sets Rockhall Bank as the next focal point.  In case enemy routes are still not clear, these boats will move southward, even at the cost of sacrificing concentration for greater width of patrol area.
Attack areas:  U 93 - AM 15 and 16;  U 106 - AM 17 and 18;  U 94 - AM 19 and 01;  U 123 - AL 30 within the declared blockade area (the boat stationed to the west so that it can act as weather boat when U 105 returns).
U 52 left Lorient for her operational area.
U 101 left Lorient for her operational area.  Otherwise nothing new.
Nothing of special interest.
U 48 and U 107 put out from Heligoland for their operational areas.  
Attack areas for U 103 - AL 62 and 63, also AM 41.
Air reconnaissance carried out daily by 2 aircraft in the following areas:
1) Area N. of Ireland, westward of Herbrides.
2) Area W.N.W. of Ireland.  They located a single steamer W. of Ireland and attacked her with some success.
      In order to clear up the possibilities of direct co-operation between U-boats and aircraft a bearing test was carried out between an aircraft and U 10?
      Purpose:  To establish whether it is possible for a U-boat to take bearings on aircraft in the Atlantic
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Position, Wind, Weather
Sea State, Illumination,
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
and whether the intended frequency is suitable.  The test turned out positive.  The U-boat signaled that she could take bearings.
Aircraft will be ordered to send bearing signals as soon as they have reported a convoy contacted.  Rapid transmission of orders to cover D/F frequencies will be secured.
For the near future it is further proposed:
1) To make a single reconnaissance in the area W. of North Channel with as many aircraft as possible.  However the number of aircraft operating is to be kept so that normal reconnaissance will not be interrupted for the next few days.
2) Reconnaissance of area N. and N.W. of Herbrides with 1 aircraft every 2 days, using Stavanger as the return base.
U 52 has been allocated AL 65 and 66 and AM 44 as attack areas.
U 101 has been allocated AL 69, AM 47 and 48 as attack areas.  Otherwise nothing new.
U 105 reports returning to port, having sunk 2 steamers of total 11,500 tons.
U 123 acting as new weather boat.  
Projected aircraft reconnaissance is being carried out with 5 aircraft.  1 aircraft made contact with an outbound convoy at 1100 hours.  At first its position was not clear.  It was only established after several hours had elapsed by means of prolonged inquiries which were rendered more difficult by bad receiving conditions and apparent lack of training in radio procedure, as well as on the basis of an S.O.S. from the attacked vessel which was received in the meantime, and which appeared to be only temporarily attached to the convoy.  This placed the convoy in a probable position of AM 5150 at 1100 hours, course 2700.  All boats apart from weather boats were given orders to operate against the convoy.  Aircraft reconnaissance will be sent against the convoy on 29 January.
At 0245 hours U 93 made contact with an incoming convoy in AM 4124.  Boats will be detailed to attack this convoy.  Contact was broken at 0730 hours in AM 4134 and was not picked up again by the aircraft.  At 1030 hours, U 93 reported no contact.  2 steamers, 1 tanker total 20,000 tons sunk by U 93.  Boats ordered to operate against the convoy course in spite of loss of contact.  Should no contact with enemy be established by nightfall, it is proposed to redistribute the boats since further success in the vicinity of the coast is not likely.
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Position, Wind, Weather
Sea State, Illumination,
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
No further contact was established.  Following attack areas were ordered:
U 48 - AM 15 and 16;  U 106 - AL 38, AM 17 and 18;  U 94 - AL 03, AM 19 and 01;  U 107 - AL 28, 37, 02, 39;  U 103 - AL 61 to 63;  U 52 - AL 64 to 66;  U 93 - AM 41, 42, 44, 45;  U 101 - AL 68, 69, AM 47.
Group North proposed to B.d.U. that U 48 and U 107, both on return passage, be sent to act as long range reconnaissance for surface craft in the area between Ireland - Faroes.  This proposition was turned down since experience in this area shows small success possibilities due to the expanse of the area, the long hours of darkness and bad weather.
Air reconnaissance reported an incoming convoy in AL 6369 at 1300 hours.  The boats were not able to make contact.  They were ordered to return to their attack areas by dark.  In this way it was certain that the area in question would be covered the next day.  Operations on the basis of a single enemy message, whose position could not be exactly determined promises only slight chance of success over a protracted period.
U 105 putting in.  During her 5 weeks patrol she sank 2 steamers total 11,843 tons.  The new boat with an experienced Captain (Lt. Schewe) completed her first war cruise.Had enemy movements been greater, the success of this boat would have mounted in proportion.
                              (signed):  Dönitz
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