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

1 - 15 February 1941


Position, Wind, Weather
Sea State, Illumination,
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
  Position of the U-boats at 0800:
1. In the operations area W. of the North Channel:
  U 48 AM 15 and 16
  U 106 AL 38, AM 17 and 18
  U 94 AL 03, AM 19 and 01
  U 167 AL 28 and 37 and 02 and 39
  U 103 AL 61 to 63
  U 52 AL 64 to 66
  U 93 AM 41 and 42 and 44 and 45
  U 101 AL 68 and 69 and AM 47
  U 123 as weather boat between 220 W. and 250 W., S. of 56 0 N.
2. On outward passage:  U 96 BF 4270.
3. In Lorient:  U 37, 38, 43, 47, 65, 95, 99, 105, 124.
  In Kiel:  UA, U 46, U 108
4. Expected to be ready for operations by 15.2:  U 37, 43, 73, 46, 69, 47, 95, 108.
5. Italian boats:
On return passage: In the Operations Area:
J 25 - BF 9340 J 16 - AL 9130
J   9 - BF 4640 J 20 - AL 6830
J   6 - BE 3990 J 10 - AL 6190
  J   7 - CF 5550
  In Bordeaux:  J 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27.
B.d.U. returned from leave.
      It seems possible that training will have to stop in the Baltic, owing to ice conditions.  I have decided in this case to send the boats which are fit for operations to sea for one patrol.
  Contrary to first impressions, from observations made by U 65 in the Southern area, it seems that this area is after all promising for U-boat operations.  U 37, whose sailing has been delayed for several days, has received orders to fit out for this area.  I intend to send other large boats there if circumstances warrant.  
  Nothing to report.
  U 107 made contact with an outward-bound convoy in square AL 0264 in the evening.  U 123, 52, 103 and 96 were ordered to operate against it and U 94 and 101 if their positions permitted.  U 107 shadowed and sank a 5,000 ton steamer.  The convoy dispersed shortly after
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Position, Wind, Weather
Sea State, Illumination,
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
midnight.  Non other boats sighted it.  All those operating were ordered to return to their attack areas it they had no chance of making contact with a ship by afternoon.
There was a new U-boat warning on the convoy's mean course and it may therefore be concluded that another steamer was sunk, probably after the convoy had dispersed.  U 106 reported by short signal that she was starting on her return passage.
For reasons as yet unexplained U 43's Diesel and main engine rooms flooded during last night.  She will probably not be at war readiness for several months.  (the boat is at Lorient).
Nothing to report.
U 106, on her return passage, reported sinking 2 steamers totaling 12,000 GRT.
S.S. "Maplecourt" was attacked by a U-boat.  Probably U 93.
Nothing to report.
U 73 left Heligoland for the operations area.
Towards 1100 U 37 made contact with a convoy in square CG 8527, which, according to an agent's report, left Gibraltar on February 6.  She was ordered to attack, also to shadow and report, so as possibly to bring up other forces even though there were no U-boats in the vicinity.  Group Command West was asked whether there was any question of Hipper operating (she was in a neighboring sea area); the reply was no.  If however, the boat manages to shadow until morning it may be possible for aircraft to operate.  This is likely to be successful in so far as aircraft have never yet appeared here.  It is intended to use 5 aircraft.  Weather conditions are favorable.  The boat is still shadowing and reported that the convoy consisted of 18 steamers, 1 destroyer, 1 gunboat.  It was steering a westerly course at slow speed.
A U-boat warning was given on the convoy's main course, indicating that U 37 had probably been observed.  Attempts will be made to bring the aircraft to the convoy by means of beacon-signals transmitted from the boat in addition to shadower's reports.
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Position, Wind, Weather
Sea State, Illumination,
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
Towards 1700 all 5 aircraft had reached the convoy.  4 aircraft damaged 9 steamers totaling 45,500 GRT, some of them apparently severely.  The results of the fifth aircraft are not yet known:  Great importance is attached to this first success of an operation by aircraft brought to the enemy by a U-boat, not only because of the tonnage damaged, but also because it proves for the first time that even at this early stage co-operation between U-boats and G.A.F. can lead to considerable success.
It is hoped that U 37 will be able to take advantage of the situation brought about by the air attack.
Naval War Staff has extended the operations are to the north and the attack areas of all boats W. of the North Channel are being transferred accordingly:  U 107 - square AE 79 and 87;  U 48 - square AE 88 and 89 and 97;  U 96 - square AL 32 and AM 11;  U 103 - square AL 33 and 34;  U 101 square AM 12 and 21;  U 52 - square AM 13 and 14;  U 93 - square AM 15 to 18;  U 94 - square AL 35 to 38.
U 123 will remain in her present area as weather boat.
It can be taken for certain that there is also traffic in the north.  As little has been sighted in the old operations area during the last few weeks the amount of traffic in the north is at least not likely to be any less.
U 37 was again ordered to attack the convoy and to report only if this was possible in addition to making an attack.  She lost contact temporarily, but regained it again in the afternoon.  The boat's reports were not altogether clear.  She reported "still 9 steamers" and was then ordered in the evening to attack and "sink the remaining 9 steamers".
U 37 lost contact at midnight, but pressed on. She reported 4 steamers sunk and one probably sunk, total 21,500 GRT.  She also reported 6 unexplained electric torpedo misses, which cannot be investigated in detail until she returns.
Contrary to their original intentions, Group Command West decided to operate Hipper against the convoy after all.  U 37 received orders to search again and when contact was made to make beacon-signals every 2 hours, without however imparing her own chances of attack.  According to K.G.40's preliminary report the beacon-signals during the aircraft attack were very satisfactory.  The U-boat's signals were heard by the aircraft at a distance of 150 miles and for this reason alone the aircraft continued their approach flight beyond the actual limit of their range.
The bearing was accurate to within 20 degrees at a range of 80 miles.  These results are very good indeed, especially as peace-time experiments on these lines had been a total
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Position, Wind, Weather
Sea State, Illumination,
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
U 48 reported from her attack area at 2133 one battle cruiser and one light cruiser with escort in AE 8896.  Unfortunately the boat seems to have been sighted according to radio intelligence.
Another radio intelligence report of 0330 (SSS from S.S. Jamaica Producer) spoke of a U-boat sighted in AM 2459.  Actually there should not be a U-boat there.  But it is impossible that a boat took action on U 48's report and arrived thus far east.  It is regrettable that the enemy has obtained information of the transfer of the boats north.  On the other hand a radio intelligence report of an aircraft attack on a U-boat in square AM 1989 cannot be explained.
U 73 reported passing 62 degrees north on her way out.
U 147 is delayed in Cuxhaven owing to fog.
U 69 is on passage through the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal.
These are the first boats whose training has either had to be abandoned completely or curtailed owing to ice conditions.  As the ice became much worse very suddenly it was only possible to get some of the boats out of the Baltic to Kiel, and some of these suffered considerable damage in consequence.  3 operational boats and a number of training boats have had to stay in the Baltic as the western Baltic is blocked by ice.
At the request of Group Command West U 37 was ordered to continue the search for the lost convoy E. of 20 degrees W.
U 73 has been given an attack area N. of the other boats.
Air reconnaissance by KG 40 from Bordeaux can only cover the SE corner of the present U-boat disposition, even if the aircraft return to Stavanger or Aalborg.  It can therefore really only provide information on the traffic situation in the southern sector, at present only occupied by Italian boats.  Immediate co-operation with our own boats is not possible.  This state of affairs is unsatisfactory.  There are considerable difficulties involved in the transfer of the whole Group to Stavanger and Aalborg and the advantages to be gained by such a move are outweighed by considerable disadvantages which would result. The matter must be discussed with the Commanding Officer of the Group as soon as possible.
  The results achieved by the U-boats during the last few weeks are unsatisfactory.  This can no longer be attributed purely to the bad weather. poor visibility and long hours of darkness and there is reason to suspect that the English have rerouted their traffic to a considerable extent.  They can only have diverted it north.  For this reason the boats were transferred north, but even this move has not proved entirely satisfactory.  I have therefore decided to transfer the boats' attack areas another 50 miles to the north.  The whole area between Iceland and the northern approach to the Minch will then be covered.  This means that the approach routes from
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Position, Wind, Weather
Sea State, Illumination,
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
the west to the North Channel are temporarily unoccupied.  Towards midday HIpper encountered a convoy (presumably U 37's) in CF 80 and apparently annihilated it.  Thus, for the first time in Naval History, a combined operation between U-boats, aircraft and surface forces has reached a successful conclusion.  As counter-operations on the part of the English are to be expected, U 37 has been allocated an attack area in CF 20, 30, 50, 60 E. of 20 degrees.  She will then have to return to Lorient as she will have used all her torpedoes and she will not be able to carry out the intended operation in the Freetown area.
Since U 65 returned it has, however, been seen that:
The unsuccessful period of 4 weeks in December, which led to U 37 and 65's patrols being broken off, was not due to lack of traffic but to the conduct of the boat which had moved away to the west to supply again without reporting this.  The traffic situation off Freetown was favorable throughout and the results of the patrol were good compared with present successes off the North Channel.
Now that U 37 will have to return, I have decided to send the next large boats which are ready, U 105 (21.2), U 124 (23.2) and U 106 (25.2) to the southern area.  They can supply off Moro, Culebra and from Nordmark, though Nordmark has only sufficient torpedoes for one boat.
After a long interval enemy submarines have again been observed off Brest.
C-in-C G.A.F. believes that there are mines off the S.W. corner of Ireland.  This was suspected once before, and boats were then ordered to remain outside the 200-meter line.
All available KG 40 aircraft are being used to fly reconnaissance for the return of Hipper, which means foregoing our own reconnaissance for the next few days.
U 93 and 101 reported that they were starting on their return passage.  U 93 has bomb damage.  U 101's reasons remain to be seen.  She only left port on 24.1.
A discussion with the Commanding Officer of I/KG 40 showed that a transfer of the Group is not possible at present, and cannot be effected before the Spring.  A request has however, been made via KG 40 for the development of Stavanger and Rennes so that there will be better facilities available.
The 10,000 ton tanker Arthur F. Corvin reported from AL 3248 that she had been torpedoed.  This must have been the work of U 103.  This and one other radio intelligence report of a steamer in AL 2177 prove that there is traffic in the area N. of 60 degrees now occupied. 
U 93 entered port A.M.  U 69 left Heligoland for the operations area.  U 147 left for Bergen.
      U 108, 46 and 552 are to leave Wilhelmshaven, Cuxhaven and Brunsbüttel respectively for Heligoland.  As all
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Position, Wind, Weather
Sea State, Illumination,
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
Sperrbrechers are out of action they will have to sail without mine escort in spite of the grave doubts felt.  They should get through safely provided there are no further incursions by aircraft. 
U 37 is to be left in her attack area in CF 30.  Operations by the British appear to be still in progress (Force H leaving Gibraltar).
According to Radio Intelligence a steamer has been torpedoed in AL 6519 and another successfully attacked by KG 40 in AM 4496.
Also according to Radio Intelligence, 2 British aircraft reported convoys in AE 8733 and 8973.  These are probably one and the same convoy and the aircraft have made errors in their positions, as in each case 25 ships and 1 escort ship were reported.  The reports were however, so late and inaccurate that the boats could not be ordered to operate.
There is no further information on Force H and the British Home Fleet.  U 37 has therefore been ordered to return to Lorient.  After one more short patrol this boat will have to return home for a complete overhaul.
U 94 reported that she was starting on her return passage, having sunk 3 steamers of 19,000 tons, otherwise nothing sighted.  This boat was S.W. and N.W. of the Rockhall Bank for about 4 weeks.  This is therefore a further indication that there is now very little traffic in these areas which were previously so good.
The sailing of U 46, 108 and 552 has been delayed again until 16.2, owing to difficulties in obtaining escort.  The boats are in Heligoland.
The necessity for boats to proceed submerged by day in the North Sea has been emphasized again by an air attack on a convoy in the Heligoland Bight.
The Commanding Officer of U 93 reported on his patrol.  Apart from the convoy on 28.1. and S.S. Dione reported by aircraft, the boat only sighted one steamer and one light.
Total results:
From the convoy 1 steamer
  1 tanker
tons (Walker)
  1 steamer
      She heard the beacon-signals of the aircraft shadowing the outward-bound convoy on 28.1, but, while operating against this convoy, she encountered another inward-bound one at night, attacked this later and brought up U 106 and apparently one other boat.
                              (Signed):  DÖNITZ
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