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

1 - 15 April 1941

PG30286

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
1.4.
  Positions at 0800:
1) Operations area W. of North Channel:
  U 48 - square AK 22 to 33
  U 69 and 98 - square AK 26 to 36
  U 46 - square AK 28 to 38
  U 74 - square AK 39 to AL 19
  U 97 - On passage to square AK 63 to AL 42 - in AL 4885
  U 73 - On passage to AK 39 to AL 19 (in company with U 74) in AL 4835
  U 94 - AL 8285 - orders to steer for AK 02
  U 101 - AL 8115 - orders to steer for AK 02
  U 76 - AE 8535 - orders to steer for AL 15.
  Also U 551, of whom there has been no news for some time.
2) Operations area W. of Freetown:
  U 124 - square ET
  U 106 - square ER 90 on passage to ET
  U 105 - square ER 80, still supplying
  U 107 - on passage to square BF 75.
3) Expected to be ready for operations by April 15:
  U 103, 108, 52, 38, 123, 75, 110, 65, UA, 553, 71, 93.
4) Italian boats:
  In Bordeaux/La Pallice:  J 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27.
  In operations areas:  J   1 - square DU 17
                                       J 24 - square CG 25
  On passage:  J 1 - square BF 5890 (passage south, Cape Verde to Freetown).
   
  U 76 made contact with a convoy on a W. course at 0856 in square AE 8535.  The other boats are at least 400 miles away.  If they were to operate against this convoy they would be returning to an area from which I had withdrawn them because I suspected that anti-submarine activity there was too strong.  I do not therefore intend to attack this convoy until it is in the vicinity of the present attack areas.  Everything will thus depend on maintaining contact.  U 76 has orders to do her utmost to shadow, but not to attack by day.  Her main task is to keep in contact.  At 1532 she reported from AE 8511 that she had lost the convoy and at 2212 added that she had been forced to dive from 1100 to 2000 by sailing vessels and trawlers.  She had last seen the enemy at 1100 on a N.W. course.  She is to press on.
   
  U 103 left Lorient, but had to return to port owing to Diesel defects.
 
   
 
2.4.
  U 48 reported that she was returning owing to fuel shortage.  She still has one stern torpedo.  She has so far sunk 5 steamers totaling 35,304 GRT and possibly one further 6,000 tonner.
        
                                       
 
 
- 45 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  U 76 did not regain contact with the convoy.  I then decided to use all boats in the northern area to pick it up.  They were disposed in a line at right angles to the convoy's presumed direction of advance, in such a way as to give the best chance of picking it up by day, assuming its speed to be between 7 and 12 knots.  The attack areas are:
  U 46 - AD 7931   U 73 - AD 8747
  U 98 - AK 2227   U 97 - AK 2269
  U 101 - AK 2435   U 48 - AK 3349
  U 69 - AK 3543   U 74 - AK 3597
  Depth 10 miles.
   
  U 76 is to make for square AK 32.
   
 
  U 106 reported sinking of a 5,000 GRT steamer, U 124 that of Umona (3,760 GRT).  Both boats added situation and traffic reports, which showed that traffic is distributed over the whole area between 200 and 280 W.
 
   
 
  At 2112 U 74 sighted an inward bound convoy in AK 3588.  U 69 was nearby and requested beacon-signals.   The shadowing boat was forbidden to attack so that the others, almost all of which were near enough to reach the convoy tonight, could be brought up.  Boats which reach the convoy are to report the fact by short signal.
 
   
 
3.4.
  Reports were received at regular intervals from U 74 until 0320 and then stopped.  U 97 was the only boat to report:  "am at the convoy".  At 0336 U 74 was given permission to attack.  Radio intelligence showed that 4 ships totaling 29,000 GRT had been torpedoed.  At 0630 U 74 reported:  convoy scattered in AK 3689.  1/4 fuel stocks.  No torpedoes below decks.  Damaged one 12 - 15,000 GRT steamer.  Latter still proceeding at 1 knot.  This may be the S.S. Worcestershire, 11,402 GRT, reported by Radio Intelligence as torpedoed.
 
   
 
  U 74 was ordered to shadow this ship.  All other boats were to continue to operate along the convoy's mean course E.  Boats which were near the valuable damaged ship and were operating against it were to report the fact by short signal.  I then intended to detail one boat to sink her, so that not more than one would be withdrawn from the pursuit of the convoy.  At 0810 U 46 reported that her ability to dive was restricted.  Her total results:  5 steamers, totaling 31,027 GRT, 3 of them from the convoy.
 
   
 
  U 74 could not shadow any longer owing to lack of fuel.  U 69 was the only boat to report:  am in the vicinity of the damaged ship.
 
   
  Short signal from U 97:  have 1/3 of my fuel stocks remaining.
   
  U 73, 76, 94, 98 and 101 were therefore the only boats still available for further operation.  Of these, U 98 has been at sea the longest.  These boats were still under orders to pursue the convoy.
                 
 
 
- 46 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  U 69 was short of fuel and apparently still searching for the damaged ship.
 
  U 46, 48, 74 were on return passage.
   
  At 2123 U 94 made contact with the convoy and reported regularly.  There must have been several others in the vicinity and U 94 was therefore forbidden to attack before 2400 or until another boat attacked.  On 2.4 U 73 sank 4 ships from the convoy, totaling 30,000 GRT.  She was driven off after a hydrophone hunt.
   
 
  U 52, 103, 108 left Lorient for their operations areas, U 103 south, the other two north.
 
   
 
  U 108 has special orders to attack the enemy warships which our own surface forces have observed in the Denmark Straits.
 
   
 
  U 105 reported:  supply carried out.
 
   
 
4.4.
  U 94 apparently lost contact at 0420.  I did not think it would be wise to let the boats press on much further; it was likely that strong anti-submarine forces would soon arrive after 2 nights of attacks.
 
   
 
  The boats were therefore ordered to occupy the following attack areas if they were not actually in contact with the enemy:
 
  U 94 - AK 23 to 33
  U 76 - AK 26 to 36
  U 101 and U 69 - AK 28 to 38
  U 73 and U 98 - AK 39 to AL 19
  U 97 - AK 63 to 42.
   
  Then U 94 sighted the convoy again at 0741 in AL 2731.  Boats were ordered to make position and success reports.  Their presence is known to the enemy, and I had to know where they were in order to plan further operations.  U 74, 48, 46 were on return passage.  U 69 and 97 had very little fuel and had to be counted out for further operations.
  At midday the situation was:
  U 98 - AL 2373, operating against the convoy
      U 76 - AL 2586, operating against the convoy
      U 101 - AK 66 - out of range of the convoy.
       
      The southern boats were allocated the following attack area:
      U 124 - patrolling off ET 29 south of 0830 N.
      U 105 and 106 north of this and patrolling ET 25.  All boats E of 200 W.
       
      According to all reports received so far the success of the attack on the convoy was as follows:
       
 
 
- 47 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  Sunk:
1. U 46   British Reliance    
7,000 GRT
2. U 46   Aldenpool    
4,313 GRT
3. U 46  
?
  about
6,000 GRT
4. U 73  
?
   
5. U 73  
?
   
30,000 GRT
6. U 73  
?
   
7. U 73  
?
   
8. U 94  
?
  about
5,000 GRT
9. U 98   Welcome    
5,122 GRT
10. U 98   Helle    
2,467 GRT
11. U 74  
?
   
20,000 GRT
12. U 74  
?
   
      12 ships    
79,902 GRT
           
U 74 also damaged S.S. Worcestershire, 11,402 GRT.  The boats further reported the following sinkings during the last few days, apart from the attack on the convoy:
1. U 46   Swedish S.S. Castor  
8,714 GRT
2. U 46  
?
   
5,000 GRT
3. U 98  
?
   
8,000 GRT
4. U 76   Daphne    
1,939 GRT
      4 ships    
23,653 GRT
   
  In the afternoon Radio Intelligence Service reported the torpedoing of S.S. Athenic, 5,351 GRT.
   
  Another steamer, S.S. Brazil, 8,130 GRT, was attacked west of the North Channel, probably by U 97.
 
   
 
5.4.
  U 69 and U 97 started on their return passage.
 
   
 
  U 69 sank 2 ships totaling 14,500 GRT, including one tanker of 7,500 GRT from U 74's convoy.  U 97 has sunk 21,000 GRT altogether.
 
   
 
  The following attack areas were ordered for boats remaining in the operations area:
 
  U 76 - square AD 84 to 86
 
  U 101 - square AD 87 to 89
 
  U 73 - square AK 31 to AL 11
 
  UU 98 - AK 33 to AL 13
   
  U 94 was ordered to occupy the area NW of Ireland to attack the warships observed there.  (U 108, on outward passage, has the same orders).
   
  Naval War Staff has ordered 2 U-boats to be sent off Rio to cover the sailing of the minelayer Lech lying there with valuable cargo.  As she will have to leave by the end of April there are only 2 possible boats.
               
 
 
- 48 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  U 105 and 106 have been ordered to supply immediately from Nordmark and then proceed south.  I consider the U-boat's task of getting the ship out is difficult and not certain to be successful.  The disadvantage of sending boats to this remote area lies in the fact that it means scattering our few available forces.  It means that the Freetown Groups will be broken up.  There will only be one boat there (I 124) until the beginning of May.  The same thing is happening at present in the northern area owing to the withdrawal of U 94 and U 108 for attacks on warships N.W. of Ireland.  These tasks will probably result in less tonnage sunk and I am bound to call attention to this fact, although I cannot foresee from here in how far this will be balanced by the advantages gained if the other undertakings, especially that off Rio, are successful.
 
6.4.
  Nothing to report.
   
7.4.
  The G.A.F. observed a convoy in square AM 3159, course 310 degrees. I requested that reconnaissance be flown during the next few days in order to obtain data for a later U-boat operation.  It is not however expected that this can be carried out, as the aircraft would have to take off from Stavanger and return there and so far this has never been possible.
   
 
  U 52 has been allocated an attack area from square AK 33 to AL 13.  U 98 is there at present, but is likely to leave any day now.  U 552 left St. Nazaire for the operations area W. of the North Channel.
 
   
 
8.4.
  U 94 has been ordered to make a protracted return passage as she has only one electric torpedo left below decks.  She has sunk another 5,580 GRT steamer and torpedoed a 15,000 tonner.
 
   
 
  On the orders of Naval War Staff 2 boats have again been detailed for weather reporting for the G.A.F.
 
   
 
  B.d.U. had a conference in Paris with C-in-C Fleet on the possibilities of U-boat support for battleship operations.
 
   
 
  U 48 entered St. Nazaire.
 
   
9.4.
  U 107 reported 3 steamers totaling 17,000 GRT sunk.
  Radio Intelligence indicates that another steamer (Duffield - 8,500 GRT) has been torpedoed and this can only be attributed to U 107.  
   
  U 98 started on her return passage.
   
  U 106 reported supply carried out.
           
 
 
- 49 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  The operations area for boats S.W. of Iceland has been extended to 340 W. owing to a report from U 94 of heavy traffic W. of the attack areas of the other boats.
 
  U 38 left Lorient for the southern area.
   
  Report from the C.O. of U 48 (Lieut. (s.g.) Schulze):  This officer has made another excellent patrol, sinking 6 ships totaling 40,330 GRT.
   
 
10.4.
  U 123 left Lorient, U 75 Kiel, both for the NOrth Channel operations area.  U 46 and U 97 entered St. Nazaire.
 
   
 
  Otherwise nothing to report.
 
   
 
11.4.
  U 103 has been ordered to continue south between 170 W. and 240 W.  Numerous sightings of fishing vessels etc. point to a considerable amount of enemy traffic here.
 
   
 
  Report from the C.O. of U 46 (Lieut. (j.g.) Endrass):  Good patrol.  The Commanding Officer acted ably and made full use of his opportunities.  Results:  5 steamers totaling 32,340 GRT.
 
   
 
  Report from the C.O. of U 97 (Hellmann):  This young officer has many opportunities to attack, some of which he did not understand how to exploit.  Nevertheless, the total results, 3 ships totaling 21,028 GRT, are satisfactory for such an inexperienced boat:
 
   
  U 74 entered St. Nazaire, U 69 Lorient.
   
12.4.
  U 124 reported heavy traffic.  She is W. of Freetown.  
   
  U 65 left Lorient, U 95 and 96 St. Nazaire for the northern area.
   
  Report from the C.O. of U 74 (Kentrath):  This new boat carried out a patrol the final results of which are wholly satisfactory in spite of the difficult conditions often encountered and the Commanding Officer's lack of experience.  3 ships totaling 14,500 tons.
       
      Report from U 69 (Metzler):  2 ships totaling 14,500 GRT.  The Commanding Officer had no luck on this patrol.  By comparison with what the boat sighted the results are meager, due to technical defects, torpedo failures and the fact that the Commanding Officer did not always act for the best.
       
      From the reports of all boats which have recently entered port it can be seen that the idea that there was a strong patrol in the northern area was not correct.  Some of the boats encountered
         
 
 
- 50 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  very few patrolling forces, although of course enemy anti-submarine activity as a whole has increased considerably as compared with 6 months ago, especially in the coastal areas.
 
13.4.
  U 108 has orders to search the sea area W. of Iceland and report the results.
   
  U 105 and 106 are being detained in square FK for the present as the expected date for the special operation is the 28th of April and the boats must not come too close to Rio if the ban on attacks within the USA Neutrality Zone, at present still in force, should be lifted, Naval War Staff holds out the prospect of this within the immediate future.  The boats S.W. of Iceland have been ordered to make a traffic report so that, now that they have been in the area for 5 days, an idea may be formed of the situation there.
   
 
14.4.
  No reply was received from U 76.  The remaining boats reported medium traffic (1 ship within the last 2 days).  U 101 pursued 5 independently-routed ships; apparently a convoy had dispersed in the vicinity.  U 108 reported the sinking of a 10,000-ton auxiliary cruiser.   U 108 observed no other traffic.  Her task is thus completed.  She has been included in the disposition of the other boats and has been allocated AD 75 and AD 86 as attack area.  U 76 should be there too but she has not replied to an order to report her position (last report from her was on April 4).
 
   
 
  U 124 started on her return passage owing to fuel shortage.  She has sunk another ship (unidentified, about 7,000 GRT).  The lifting of the ban on attacks in the U.S.A. Neutrality Zone for U 105 and U 106 cannot be counted on.  Naval War Staff advised B.d.U. to carry out the operation with one boat only.  I therefore decided to withdraw U 105 back into the area W. of Freetown.  U 106 was given permission to operate outside the Neutrality Zone during the long time which she has to wait before the minelayer Lech sails.  She reported however that she could not do this, apparently because of fuel and lubricating oil.  The whole operation has miscarried.  First of all it was to be carried out before the new moon (26 April) and now it is not to take place until 28th April.  This means a useless period of waiting for the boats which they could have spent more profitably in the operations area off Freetown.In addition, they cannot be given freedom to attack enemy ships outside the scope of their escort duty for Lech, although originally assurances were received from Naval War Staff that this would be allowed.They have therefore not only been withdrawn from a good area for several weeks, but they will have been a total loss to the war against merchant shipping during this time and their long passage will make demands on their engines which will eventually mean a longer period repairing when they return. 
 
   
 
  UA left Lorient for the southern area.
     
                                 
 
 
- 51 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  U 553 and U 141 left Brunsbüttel for the area west of the North Channel.
 
  U 98 entered Lorient.  This was the first patrol both for the boat and the C.O. (Gysae).  Success 4 steamers totaling 21,000 GRT, a wholly satisfactory result.
   
15.4.
  U 110 left Lorient for the northern area.
   
 
  New attack areas were ordered for boats in the northern area and on their way out:
 
  Patrolling E - W:
 
  U 76 and U 108 - square AD 76 to AD 85
 
  U 101 - square AD 87 to AD 89
 
  U 73 - square AK 31 to AL 11
 
  U 52 - square AK 34 to AL 14
 
  U 552 - square AK 36 to AL 16.
 
  Patrolling N - S:
 
  U 96 - square AE 72 to AE 78
 
  U 95 - square AL 22 to AL 26.
  This disposition means that the forces available at present are concentrated considerably in the N.W.  Observations of traffic however indicate that most of the shipping is in the north.  It is intended to use the Italian boats south of our own disposition and have the area S.W. of the North Channel, which is not covered by the boats, reconnoitered by the G.A.F.
   
   
                                          (signed):  DÖNITZ.
   
   
   
   
       
 
 
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