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

1 - 15 March 1941

PG30284

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
 
1.3.
  In Operational area:
 
 
a) U 70, 108, 552, 95 in operations areas between 590 and 620 and between 140 and 170 30'.
b) U 99 and U 147 receive the following operations areas as from 1.3:
  U 99 40 seamile wide channels south of the boats given above.
  U 47 area west of Rockall Bank.
c) U 97 as weather boat between 220 and 250 south of 580 N.
d) U 147 between Shetlands and Faroes.
On outward passage in Operational Area:
a) U 37 to the north, approximately grid BF 41.
b) UA in the North Sea.
c) U 74 in Bergen, where it is practicing for a few days.
d) U 105, 124 and 106 on outward passage to supply Culebra.
On return passage:
 U 46 to St. Nazaire, U 69 and U 107 are putting in to Lorient.
 
Very few boats will be ready for action in March:  U 100 on about 5.3., U 48 on 15.3., U 52 on 21.3., in addition, the boats frozen up in the Baltic, U 76, U 98 and U 110 which can now be brought through to Kiel.
 
 
 
Naval War Staff have agreed to the south boats extending the operational area south of 300 N to 250 W.  They have received orders to proceed to the south on 210 to 220 after replenishment of supplies which is planned for 3, 4 and 5.3.  Traffic is presumed to be here, and this is born out by a new intelligence report.
 
 
 
2.3.
 
One of the two aircraft detailed for reconnaissance to the N. returning to Stavanger, reported a convoy at 1030 in AM 2920 (inexact).  The course was given as west, only after further enquiry.  The position was improved by the report of a bombed steamer in AM 2991.  This position was assumed to be correct.
            
         
                       
 
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
 
The convoy should be intercepted by the boats early in the morning.  U 70, 108, 552, 95, 99, 47 are to take up reconnaissance lines from AL 3794 to 6259, at 1000.  2 Italian boats are to extend the flanks.  In this way, assuming a convoy speed of 9 knots, and if the course lies between 2500 and 2900, the boats will be ahead of the convoy.
 
Air reconnaissance by 3 aircraft at 1000, between 1510 and 1645 W.  The boats received orders to report position and D/F direction on picking up aircraft beacon signals, and only to operate when ordered to do so.  (Experiences of 20.2 and report U 96 of 28.2.).
 
 
U 37 is detailed as weather boat and informed of the traffic confirmed in AL 42 and 51 by U 123.  U 97 received orders, therefore, to return (the boat has only upper deck torpedoes).
 
 
3.3.
 
Aerial reconnaissance saw nothing of the convoy.  It is questionable which position the aircraft has in fact reached, with the uncertain fix.  It is still possible that the area to the south of the reconnaissance lines is covered.  It is also possible that the convoy carried out an evasive movement after the air attack on 2.3 probably followed by one to the north.  The reconnaissance lines were transferred 10 seamiles on a northerly course, when the possibility of this had been confirmed on a request for a weather report.  The reconnaissance lines are to proceed until 2400 and then remain stationary as patrol lines in order to exhaust the possibilities of the situation up to dawn on 4.3 and until the appearance of air reconnaissance.  It is still possible owing to weather conditions, that the convoy has not passed the longitude of the patrol lines.  The situation strengthens suspicion to a conviction, that the convoys react to air attacks by greatly altering course - a course which must have seemed obvious to the English, with the development of cooperation between aircraft and U-boat.
 
 
 
 
In this connection, therefore, KG 40 is only to attack isolated vessels, convoys though are to be shadowed if possible unobserved, and not attacked.  A lamentable, but necessary restriction.  It remains to be seen how such questions should be decided after the statement of the "Fliegerführer Atlantic" under C-in-C G.A.F.  Whether an unobserved shadowing is altogether possible with the large Condor aircraft also remains to be seen.
 
 
 
 
U 552 reported heavy traffic from AM 12 and 21, U 147 between Minch and Faroe Bank.  After carrying out convoy operations this locality will again be occupied.
 
 
 
 
U 69, 107 and 73 report on their operations.  U 69 (3 ships of 25,956 tons) and U 107 (4 ships of 21,000 tons) have achieved very encouraging results for a first operation.  U 73 (1 ship of 6,500 tons) was temporarily stationed below Iceland but encountered only fishing craft and coastal sailing vessels.
   
                             
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
4.3.
  The Condor returning from Stavanger reported a convoy putting out in AM 2554, course 3000 at 0900.  The composition is the same as that of the convoy of 2.3.  It is possible that this is the same convoy, which, owing to the especially unfavorable weather conditions, has been lying practically hove to.
 
  The convoy cannot now be reached before darkness.  The available boats, including UA 70, 47, 99, 95 and 108 and 552 are to be in patrol lines from AL 3122 to 3585 at 1000 on 5.3. and on a course of 1150 and a speed of 10 knots run across the convoy which with a speed of 9 knots must be ahead of the patrol channels.  A Italian boat is on the southern flank.
   
  U 46 put into St. Nazaire, has had no contact with the enemy, U 147 has begun return passage to Germany.
   
 
  U 124 has carried out supply from Culebra.
 
   
 
5.3.
  U 74 has put out of Bergen for the operational area.
 
   
 
  U 105 has carried out supplying from Culebra.  U 95 reported by W/T from the center of the ordered patrol lines, having fired torpedoes and sunk tonnage amounting to 27,000 tons.  The sending of this superfluous W/T message from the patrol channel was an extremely clumsy mistake, when the boat was not already with certainty observed by the enemy.
 
   
 
  The reconnaissance lines did not bring any success up to the hours of darkness.  Up to now than, all attempts to operate on aircraft reports have remained without success, (except in the case U 73 and U 96 on 22.2.1941).  The reasons are as follows:
 
 
a) Insufficient reliability of aircraft positions.  A deviation of 70 seamiles on 20.2. must be attributed to the D/Fing of U 96.  In addition, it may be suspected that on this, and the days following, the aircraft positions were incorrect, the radio interception reports correct.
b) With the former method, the aircraft reports only gave one position, and the course given might only be that steered at the time.
c) For the most part, the U-boats detailed for operations could not intercept the target until the next day.  During this long interval the first report will have decreased in reliability.  Also, the uncertainty resulting from this cannot be compensated for, even by the operation of a wide U-boat rake.
  
                           
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
 
  Another method of c0-operation must therefore be found in order to obtain a more exact position and course of the target from the reports of several U-boats in succession.  Until this has been tried out there will be no more U-boat operations undertaken on aircraft reports.  In spite of this, aircraft reconnaissance is important in the area not covered by U-boats.
   
 Ordered for Bomber Squadron 40's operations:
a) Routine flights daily, with at least two aircraft if possible, reconnaissance west and northwest of Ireland.
b) Take off at intervals of 1 to 2 hours on the same flying route.
c) Convoys are the target.  These are to be reported as quickly as possible (for the time being course and speed).  Contact is to be maintained as long as fuel supply allows.
d) The second, and all following aircraft fly to the convoy reported by the previous aircraft and make their own complete reconnaissance report according to paragraph c).  The report of the first aircraft can be checked by that of the second.  Each aircraft must therefore report according to his own navigation, regardless of the report sent by his predecessor.
e) Convoys may be attacked until further notice.
 
  The various short wave D/F stations will be detailed to take bearings on the reporting aircraft to check the position reports.
   
  The boats were assigned to the following new operational areas:
 
U 70 and U 99, lines in the vicinity of AM 11
U 47 lines in the vicinity of AM 13
U 108 lines in the vicinity of AM 15
U 552 West of Rockall Bank
 
  These are the areas in which according to the latest report the most traffic may be expected.
 
   
 
  U 95 received orders to return.
 
   
 
6.3.
  U 95 reported that yesterday, instead of proceeding on a course of 1150, speed 15 knots, from the patrol lines, it remained there.  That the convoy escaped through the resulting gap, is not entirely out of the question, but very unlikely.
     
                                 
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  U 106 has carried out replenishment of supplies.  The supplying of three boats in Culebra apparently went without a hitch.
 
  The three boats in the south received orders to proceed to the south on 20, 21 and 220, thereby raking the presumed main traffic route.
   
  Of the boats in the north, U 108 started upon the return passage;  it has sunk 2 ships of altogether 12,061 tons.  U 74 is assigned to the operational area north of the remaining boats;  U 37, formerly weather boat, is to occupy U 108's area, UA is to be weather boat.
   
 
7.3.
  The commanding officer of U 97, Lieutenant Heilmann, reported on putting in.  His boat sank 2 ships of 16,000 tons reported by U 552 on 23.2, also damaged a tanker of 11,000 tons;  apart from this though, there were again 5 entirely inexplicable failures.
 
   
 
  U 47 contacted a north-bound convoy in AM 1452 on the evening of 6.3., and maintained contact until 0440.  U 99, 70 and UA were detailed to operate on the convoy, also U 37, although this boat was however, some distance away.  Only U 70 reported on request that it had come up to the convoy.  Further reports are lacking for the time being.  U 70 and U 47 have not replied to their call up.
 
   
 
  Torpedoed according to Radio Intelligence report:
 
 
at 0747 Athelbeach 6,568 tons (twice torpedoed)
at 0632 Mydrecht 7,493 tons  
at 0604 Delilian 6,423 tons  
 
   
 
  Towards 2200, UA presumably contacted the same convoy in AL 3153 and reported again at 0025.  U 37 requested D/F signals, and must also be in the vicinity.  No other messages have come in, but the steamer "Empire Attendance", however, was torpedoed nearby.
 
   
 
  According to a position report, U 99 is not in the convoy area, but probably further to the east, where it has presumably sunk the whale factory "Terje Viken" of 20,638 tons, which reported sinking after torpedo attack.
   
  U 74 intercepted a S.E. bound convoy in AE 8945 at 0246 on 8.3.  U 99 was detailed to operate on this.  The last message from U 74 on this convoy was originated at 1106, presumably the boat was subsequently forced to submerge.
   
  At 1410 a message was received from the Fleet reporting a convoy on a northerly course in DT 90.  The Fleet units i.e. Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, are maintaining contact apparently without attacking owing to the presence of an enemy battleship.  For the boats U 124, U 105, U 106,
               
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  still to the north proceeding to the south, this is a particularly favorable situation.  They must be able to approach, and should, if possible, attack the battleship in order to give our ships the chance to attack.
 
8.3.
  U 124 and U 105 report that they are up with the battleship's convoy and U 124 later reported having sunk 5 ships of altogether 33,000 tons.  In the evening a message was received from U 106 reporting that it was still further to the north.  The battleships reported that they were withdrawing to the west, after enemy movements were indicated from Radio Interception reports.  Contact was broken off.
   
  U 74 reported the convoy putting in far to the north, attacks were not observed.
   
 
  UA reported the sinking of a steamer sailing in the convoy U 47/UA, also considerable damage after depth-charge attack, the boat, however is able to carry out its duties.  There is no point in pursuing this convoy further; UA and U 37 receive operational areas between 59 and 620 N.  Reports have not come in from U 70 and U 47.
 
   
 
  On the request of the Naval War Staff, U 552 and U 95 are to be disposed 300 seamiles northwest and southwest of the Northern Channel as weather boats, in preparation for air attacks during the full-moon period between 10 and 20.3;  a considerable "freezing" of forces for this subsidiary purpose.
 
   
 
9.3.
  U 74 reports having lost contact.  U 74 and U 99 receive operations areas between 59 and 620 with U 37, while UA is to be withdrawn further to the west.  For the time being therefore the operations in the north have come to a standstill.  U 70 and U 47 were again requested to send a situation report in the evening, but without result.  Both boats are causing great anxiety, as they have not yet replied to the request made on the evening of the 7th.  There is still hope that this silence is only due to W/T breakdown, especially in the case of U 47, which had already experienced a breakdown on this trip.
 
   
 
  Of the south boats, U 105 reports the sinking of a steamer of 10,000 tons.  A further search with such small forces seemed pointless after the withdrawal of the battleships.  U 124, which has used most torpedoes, is to replenish supplies from Ship 41 in position Red on 16.3;  U 105 and 106 are to proceed for the time being to the Freetown area.
   
                             
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
10.3.
  U 147 put into Heligoland.  U 552 is to start upon its return passage in 48 hours.  UA is to take over as weather boat.
 
  An incomplete short signal giving position was picked up, but not repeated on request.  This could possibly have been originated by U 70, more likely by U 47.
   
  Reichs Minister Todt is in Lorient.  In addition to previous plans, shelter berths are to be constructed in La Pallice and the necessary permission is to be obtained from O.K.M.  For one thing these are necessary because in the course of the summer, the repair facilities in St. Nazaire, Lorient and Brest will be absolutely exhausted.  La Pallice can provide space for the simultaneous repair of 9 to 10 boats.  Apart from this I propose the fullest possible development of Lorient which according to experts has a capacity of 30, Brest and St. Nazaire 20 boats each.  Shelter berths are also proposed for the NOrwegian bases Bergen and Trondheim, there are no difficulties as regards the Organization Todt.
   
 
11.3.
  It is apparent from U 147's short message that traffic proceeds from the Minch via grid 2265 to the west.  U 74 and 99, both of which are in this area have been informed accordingly.
 
   
 
12.3.
  U 108 has put into Lorient.
 
   
 
  UA was forced to begin the return passage owing to depth charge damage;  U 37 has taken over as weather boat.  The fantastic position therefore arises whereby of 4 boats stationed in the northern operational area (U 74, 99, 37, 95) two are detailed for weather service and therefore at a great disadvantage while one of these is even at sea without torpedoes exclusively for meteorological work.  U 70 and 47 are not taken into consideration here.
 
   
 
  U 37 sighted 3 destroyers in its operational area.
 
   
 
  The supplying of U 124 has been postponed to 15.3.  U 105 and 106 are to be supplied on about 25.3.  It is hoped that before then at least the 13 torpedoes on Ship 41 can be taken off, at present this is not possible.
 
   
13.3.
  U 98 has put out from Brunsbüttel for the operational area.  U 551 has put into Bergen to carry out several exercises.
                     
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  before putting out on operations.  Otherwise nothing to report.
 
14.3.
  U 110 has received the the area between 620 30' N. and 590 N. and between 190 and 230 W.; penetration as far as the coast of Iceland is left to this boat.
   
  As relief for the south weather boat U 95, presumably leaving on 15 March.  U 74 has received orders to proceed to this area and to send weather reports from 000 on 16th.
   
 
15.3.
 
I. In operational area:
  a) Northwest of Northern Channel:
    U 110 between 620 30' N. and 590 N. and between 190 and 230 W.
    U 74 line between 610 48' N. and 600 54' N., east of 200 W.
    U 99 south of this to 600 N., east of 200 W.
    U 37 between 580 N. and 600 N. and between 13 and 200 W., at the same time northerly weather boat.
    U 95 southern half of grid AL as southerly weather boat.  
    Outward bound:
    U 100 - AF 7580;  U 98 - AN 3110
    On return passage:
    UA - BE 2300;  U 552 - BF 4550.
  b) In southern area:
    Southward bound, roughly:
    U 105 - ES 33;  U 106 - EK 71 and U 124 - ER 56; also presumably, position intended for supplying.
  c) In Lorient:  U 38, 43, 52, 65, 69, 73, 93, 94, 97, 101, 103, 107, 108, 123.
    In St. Nazaire:  U 46 (proposes to put out on 15.3);  U 48;  U 96.
         
                                         
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
 
  d) Probably ready for action up to the 1st April:
    U 46, 48, 69, 551, 97, 52, 101, 73, 107, 94, 103 and U 76, recently arrived from home waters.
  e) Italian U-boats:
    In operational areas:
   
J 17
-
AL 2650
J 26
-
AL 2890
J 27
-
AL 6230
J 23
-
AL 6270
J 22
-
AL 6810
J 19
-
AL 9120
J   2
-
GF 3450
    In Bordeaux/Pauillac:
    U 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 20, 24, 25, 14.
 
  Operational area assigned:
  U 100 the area between 6 and 100 W. and between 58 and 620 N.
  U 147 has confirmed heavy traffic in this area, above all on the line grid AM 3395 - AM 2265, and from here to the west.
   
 
  U 99, in addition to the area preciously allocated, an east to west channel 54 seamiles wide, to the north and south of it.
 
   
 
  The Naval War Staff has announced that weather reporting by two boats (N.W. and S.W. of the Northern Channel) will probably be necessary up to the 20th March.
 
   
 
  U 106 established contact with a convoy on a northerly course in grid EK 7473 at 2110.  It may be presumed, from a U-boat warning sent at 1600 in EK 7710, that an attack had already taken place.  The boat received instructions to direct U 105 (in the vicinity) to the scene of action.  Contact was maintained throughout the day.
 
   
 
  Ship 41 reported the transfer, owing to the weather conditions, of U 124's supply area to grid ER 89.
 
   
 
  U 110 contacted a convoy putting in in grid AE 7983, course 90 degrees at 2353.
 
   
  U 46 put out of St. Nazaire for the operational area.
   
   
                     (signed):  DÖNITZ.
   
             
 
 
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