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

1 - 15 July 1941

PG30292

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
1.7.
  Positions at 0800 on the 1st July:
"U 43" - off Lorient
"U 371" - off Brest
"U 71" - BF 44
"U 552" - BF 42
"U 201" - Operational area AL
"U 562" - AK 54
"U 564" - AJ 37
"U 561" - AL 12
"U 751" - BD 62
"U 559" - BD 18
"U 557" - BD 66
"U 553" - AK 56
"U 202" - AJ 53
"U 111" - BD 62
"U 108" - BD 55
"U 101" - BD 62
"U 98" - BD 57
"U 96" - AL 77
"U 95" - BF 55
"U 79" - BE 14
"U 77" - BD 27
"U 75" - BE 37
"U 66" - in the Kattegat
"U 137" - North of the Shetlands
"U 146"
"U 138" - off Gibraltar
"U 147", "U 556", "U 651" must be considered lost
"U 69" - DH 35
"U 66" - DG 20
"U 123" - DG 20
"U 103" - DG 20
"U 107" - BF 57
"U 109" - CG 17
   
  U 751 reported return passage begun.  She sank a freighter of 5,500 GRT on the 14th June, but observed no other traffic.
   
  Boats in large square BD were ordered to keep radio silence. They were to look out for a radio beacon as from 0700, since air reconnaissance was operating against the south-bound convoy.
 
   
 
  At 1050 aircraft detected the convoy and sent out a radio beacon.  They reported it in BE 1990, course 2100, medium speed.  5 boats which had fixed the radio beacon reported to B.d.U.  The point of intersection gave an approximate position of the convoy at 1100 in about BE 5143.  This position was communicated to the boats with the course of 2100 reported by aircraft.  They were to operate on the basis of this report.  The first boats could have made contact towards 1600, but nothing happened.  Either the convoy was not sighted owing to bad weather or it made an extensive avoiding movement.  This was the first occasion on which the position of a convoy reported by aircraft reconnaissance was successfully established by fixes of the U-boats.  It seems that bad deterioration in visibility prevented the boats from approaching.  Fresh air reconnaissance had to be requested for the next morning.
 
   
 
  According to a special intercept message there was a convoy at 2000 on the 30th June in AK 2650 or 2660, course 38.  The boats were informed by radio.
 
   
 
  In the Southern area U 123 and U 66 were ordered to continue their passage to the south.  U 66 was to report her position.  U 103 was to continue her return passage, if necessary requesting "Culebra".
 
   
 
  U 371 put into Brest.
 
   
 
  U 43 put into Lorient.
   
2.7.
  The boats operating against the south-bound convoy were ordered to look out for a beacon signal from aircraft reconnaissance as from 1030.  As the aircraft apparently did not find the convoy again the boats were requested to give their position.  From the resulting
                   
 
 
- 104 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  reports it was seen that boats U 79, 108, 77, 96 and 557 were in the vicinity of the supposed convoy position.  Further air reconnaissance for tomorrow morning has been requested.
 
  At 1645 U 108 contacted a west-bound convoy in BE 7176.
  From further reports of contact from U 108 I have come to the conclusion that it is not the south-bound convoy on which operations are now being made but another one probably proceeding from Gibraltar to England, since the mean course is between 300 and 3200.  U 77 requested beacon signal and reported position.  She was therefore in close proximity.  The other boats were ordered, as far as fuel supplies allowed, to operate against the convoy of U 108, as this was more certain than the south-bound one, against which the boats with less fuel were to continue to operate.
  At 2214 U 108 lost contact in BD 9362 owing to fog.  Here also the unfavorable weather spoiled a promising operation.
   
 
  U 559 reported from BE 46 return passage.  She had all her torpedoes still but her main periscope was out of order.
 
   
 
  U 561 was assigned, as operational area, square AK 4525, spacing 200 miles.
 
   
 
  U 66 reported from DG 58 having sunk 3 vessels, 16,240 GRT, in DG 60 and damaged a vessel in the course of an artillery engagement.  She has 3 pistol failures and 5 failures, cause unknown.
 
   
 
  The fresh water generator on U 109 is faulty.  She suggests that the necessary parts be dismantled from U 103, which is on return passage, stored on "Culebra" and then reinstalled on U 109.
 
   
 
  U 97 put out from St. Nazaire.
 
   
  U 331 put out from Kiel.
   
  U 552 and U 71 put into St. NAzaire.
   
  U 107 put into Lorient.
   
  The Commanding Officer of U 43, Lt. Lüth, came in to give his report.The boat sighted little during the whole course of the operation, the weather often being very unfavorable.  Sunk:  2 steamers and 1 sailing vessel, 9,950 GRT.
   
      The Commanding Officer of U 552, Lt. Topp, came in to give his report.  This efficient Commanding Officer carried out a successful operation in the difficult operational area of the North Channel outlet, and sank 3 vessels, 25,548 GRT.  A series of torpedo failures prevented the success from being any greater.
       
 
3.7.
  The south-bound convoy was not detected today either.  Attempts must be made at least to detect the convoy reported by U 123 by a loose disposition in front of its probable direction of advance.
 
 
         
 
 
- 105 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  The following new operational areas were ordered:
U 95
- BE 75
UA
- BD 95  
U 97
- BD 75
U 98
- BD 85  
   
  U 77 reported having searched between BD 6844 and BD 6592, without success, for the convoy reported by U 108 on the 2nd July.  Returning.
   
  U 137 has started on return passage.  She still has all her torpedoes, there being no traffic in the operational area.  This return passage is very premature. It is surprising as the boat has only been at sea for 14 days.  The Commanding Officer will be asked to give a reason for it.
 
   
 
  U 69 sank in DH 19 a 5,000 ton ship (4 guns, 6 Flak machine guns) with artillery.
 
   
 
  For U 103 refueling is planned from "Culebra" in the night of 5th - 6th July.
 
  The exchange of parts through "Culebra" has been ordered.  U 109 is to operate in the Azores area until next new moon.
 
   
 
  The Commanding Officer of U 107, Lt. Hessler, came in to give his report:  The boat sank, during operations lasting from 29th March to 2nd July on the African coast 11 steamers, 2 tankers and 1 auxiliary cruiser - 90,793 GRT.  This was an outstanding achievement on the part of the Commanding Officer and crew.  It should be noted particularly that, apart from two, all the ships had their name boards covered.
 
   
 
  The Commanding Officer of U 71, Lt. Flachsenberg, found himself in a very difficult situation through depth-charge pursuit, during this first operation, owing to his inexperience, but managed to come through it by calm, courageous and decisive action (he surfaced and withdrew under artillery fire).
 
   
  The Commanding Officer of U 371, Lt. Driver, at the beginning of his first operation used up the fuel supplies of the boat very quickly by unnecessarily high speed, so that in the decisive moment when pursuing a convoy, he had to return owing to fuel shortage.  This mistake has been accredited to experience.  Sink:  2 ships - 17,000 tons.
   
  U 75 put into St. Nazaire.
   
4.7.
  U 108 has started on return passage.  She sank 32 ships, 11,848 GRT.  Nothing further to report.
   
  The Commanding Officer of U 75. Lt. Ringelmann, came in to give his report.  Nothing special to note.
  Sunk:  3 vessels, 18,256 GRT.
       
      U 137 put into Bergen.
       
 
 
- 106 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  U 101 put into Lorient.
 
5.7.
  New operational areas have been ordered for the following:
 
U 68
- AJ 3780
U 97
- BD 7550  
U 564
- AK 7730
     
   
  U 79 reported from BF 5443 3 suspicious ships (steamers and war ship) in sight, course south.  The enemy was lost from sight again soon.
 
   
 
  U 96 sank a south-bound, escorted steamer of 12,000 GRT in BD 9419, and heard a hit on a second steamer.  Extensive damage from depth charges.  Return passage begun.
 
   
 
  The Commanding Officer of U 101, Lt. Mengersen, came in to give his report.  The boat sighted little and had very bad weather.  Otherwise a well-carried out operation.
 
  Sunk:  2 steamers, 12,751 GRT.
 
   
 
  U 751 and U 559 put into St. Nazaire.
 
   
 
  U 79 put into Lorient.
 
   
  U 126 put out from Kiel.
   
6.7.
  U 74 was ordered to take up position of U 96, which was returning on account of depth-charge damage.
   
  U 143 put out from Bergen.  U 103 reported refueling carried out from "Culebra".
   
  The Commanding Officer of U 559, Lt. Heidtmann, came in to give his report.  The boat had been sent into the Denmark Straits on instructions from the Naval War Staff.  Here her periscope became bent in the ice and she was sent for operations in the southern part of the operational area - only fit for night attacks - sighted little and sank nothing.
   
      The Commanding Officer of U 751, Lt. Bigalk, utilized all operational possibilities which arose during his first trip.  Sunk:  1 steamer - 5,500 GRT.
       
      The Commanding Officer of U 79, Lt. Kaufmann. came in to give his report.  Kaufmann was on his first operation with the boat, during which difficult situations were experienced for a new boat while making attacks on the N.E. convoy.  These situations were skillfully and efficiently handled by the Commanding Officer.  Sunk:  1 steamer - 1,524 GRT.  1 tanker, 10,356 tons ("Tibia") torpedoed.
   
   
             
 
 
- 107 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
7.7.
  Air reconnaissance sighted at 0730 in AM 4266 an outward-bound convoy, course 2600.  This report was given to the boats and strong air reconnaissance requested in this area for tomorrow morning.  
 
  U 331 has been assigned as operational area, square BD 2423.
   
  West of Gibraltar an Italian U-boat sighted an outward-bound convoy at 1600 in CG 8856, course 2050.  U 103, which should be in the vicinity, was informed regarding this convoy.
   
 
  The Commanding Officer of U 108, Lt. Scholz, came in to give his report.  This was a well-carried out and successful operation.  In all 7 ships were sunk, 38,188 GRT.
 
   
 
  U 111, Commanding Officer, Lt. Kleinschmidt, has made his first operation.  Owing to refueling carried out from tanker "Belchen", the boat was able to remain at sea for 9 weeks in all.  She was mostly in a position very far to the west, and carried out reconnaissance of the Belle Isle Straits and off Cape Roer amongst other things.  Chances of success, therefore, were restricted very much for a time.  Apart from this, she had a great deal of fog and poor visibility.  In view of these facts, and considering that it was the first operation by the boat and the Commanding Officer, the total result of 2 ships sunk - 14,500 GRT, is quite satisfactory.
 
   
 
  U 77 put into St. Nazaire.
 
   
 
  U 111 and U 108 put into Lorient.
 
   
 
8.7.
  U 565 left Drontheim for long-distance patrol.
 
   
  U 69 put into St. Nazaire.
   
9.7.
  The following reports were received from boats:
   
  U 557 has started on return passage.  She had 70% fog and only sank an 8,000 GRT vessel.  Her last position was in area BE.
   
  U 109 has been in the Azores area for 7 days but observed no traffic apart from an auxiliary ship which she chased without success.
   
      U 564 reported from the area S.E. of Greenland that she had sighted nothing for 4 days.
       
      U 373 and U 401 put out from Drontheim, for long-distance patrol.
       
      U 96 put into St. Nazaire.
       
      U 558, Lt. Krech, put into Brest from operations against the enemy.
 
 
         
 
 
- 108 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  This was the first operation by boat and Commanding Officer.  Apart from one steamer in a heavy storm no further merchant ships were sighted.  No results.  It is not possible to judge the Commanding Officer on the basis of this operation.
 
  The Naval War Staff has left to the discretion of B.d.U., further operations by the 3 small U-boats which were sent in for action in the area of the Shetlands in connection with the operations against Russia.  Only U 143 of these boats is at present in the operational area.  She has been given freedom of operation in the area west of the North Channel.
   
  U 96 put into St. Nazaire.
   
 
  U 558 put into Brest.
 
   
 
  U 401 and 372 put out from Drontheim.
 
   
 
10.7.
  U 553 is returning.  She has sighted nothing in the last few days.
 
   
 
  U 431 put out from Drontheim, U 203 put out from St. Nazaire for long-distance patrol.  
 
   
 
  The time during which, in agreement with the Naval War Staff, our own boats were allowed to operate between 470 30' N and 420 N. (route A) expires on the 13th July at midnight.  The U-boats at present in this area have, therefore, been ordered to take up the following new operational areas by 13th July at midnight:
 
  U 74 - square BD 4465;  U 95 - square BD 1619;  U 97 - square BC 9215;  U 98 - square BD 3493.
   
  U 126 and 565, proceeding out from home waters, have been assigned as operational areas the following:
  U 126 - AK 9735;  U 565 - BC 3645.  Spacing for all 200 miles.
   
  Air reconnaissance reported an incoming convoy in AM 4270, course 700.
   
  U 124 put out from Lorient for operations against the enemy.
   
      U 146 put into Bergen.
       
      U 203 put out from St. Nazaire.
       
      U 431 put out from Drontheim.
       
 
11.7.
  U 124 had to return owing to engine trouble.
       
      U 98 reported 2 vessels sunk, 10,842 GRT, in the area CE 10.  Nothing further to report.
       
 
 
- 109 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  U 557 put into Lorient.
 
12.7.
  U 201 encountered no traffic in square AM 40, and is moving her operational area.  She has been given freedom of action to search for targets with her remaining fuel supplies.  Up to now she has not fired a torpedo.
   
  U 66 has arrived in the Freetown area.  She did not detect any further traffic in the area of Cape Verden.
   
 
  U 103 put into Lorient.
 
   
 
  U 94 put out from St. Nazaire.
 
   
 
  U 93 put out from St. Nazaire.
 
   
 
13.7.
  The following new operational area were ordered:
 
  U 203 - BE 1555;  U 431 - AK 4756;  U 372 - AJ 5559;  U 401 - AJ 9855;  spacing 200 miles.
 
   
 
  UA reported from the Southern area, she had sighted neither traffic nor air patrol since the 1st July off Freetown and on the 200 m. line.  She has started on return passage.
   
  The Commanding Officers of U 69, 96, 557 and 103 came in to give their reports.
   
  The Commanding Officer of U 69, Lt. Metzler, carried out an operation in the south with a boat type VII.  He carried out with caution and great skill the very difficult task of laying mines in Takoradi and Lagos, so that the British Admiralty was forced to close both harbors.  Apart from this he sank 6 ships, 36,224 GRT.
   
  Lt. Lehmann, the Commanding Officer of U 96, had to break off operations prematurely owing to leakages in the exhaust valves and one diving fuel tank, caused by depth-charges.  He sank a 12,000 GRT steamer and torpedoed a further one of 5,000 GRT.
   
  The Commanding Officer of U 557, Lt. Paulssen, was on the first operation with his boat.  He had much bad weather and fog, and sighted little.  There was little success from the operation apart from the 8,000 GRT steamer which was sunk.
       
      Lt. Cdr. Schütze, the Commanding Officer of U 103, sank 13 ships, 67,717 GRT, on this southern operation.  Unfortunately, amongst these was the Italian vessel "Ernani" which was reported but did not correspond in appearance to the facts given in the report.  Schütze will leave command of the U 103 after this operation and become Senior Officer of the 4th U-Flotilla.
    
    
               
 
 
- 110 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
14.7.
  U 202 reported from AJ 3927.  She still has all her torpedoes and observed no traffic.
 
  The following operational areas will be taken up:
 
U 431
- AD 9845 spacing 300 miles,
U 97
- AK 4756 spacing 200 miles,
   
  U 141 put out from Lorient.
 
   
 
  U 143 put into Bergen.
 
   
 
15.7.
  U 201 is returning.  The boat has been assigned an unlimited operational area since 29th June and has sighted nothing.  The problem of finding the enemy is always the most difficult one.  Only when the number of boats is larger and there are more of them to keep a look-out, will the situation become more favorable.  It is right to dispose the boats in such a manner that further boats can benefit from one report.  I shall, therefore, assemble more closely those boats which are at present loosely disposed.  The intermediate areas, therefore, will become somewhat narrower and cooperation after sighting perhaps better.  As regarding finding the enemy the narrow disposition will hardly be of any practical advantage, since the areas surveyed by the boats do not alter as the enemy may be expected anywhere and it is the same whether the boats are disposed a bit more loosely or closer together.  The 4 boats in square AL should be in a good position for the south-bound traffic and should to a certain extent also, intercept the S.W. traffic from and to the North Channel.  Apart from this, they are in a favorable position in case of any air reconnaissance report to keep further contacts there.
 
   
 
  The following operational area have been ordered:
 
 
U 372
- AJ 2950;
U 431
- AJ 3850;
U 565
- AK 7550;
U 331
- AK 8150;
U 562
- BD 2550;
U 561
- BD 3450;
U 98
- AL 8750;
U 203
- AL 7250;
U 401
- AJ 6650 ;
U 68
- AK 4550;
U 74
- AK 8750;
U 126
- AK 8950;
U 564
- BD 5350;
U 97
- AL 7750;
U 95
- AL 8250;
   
 
   
 
  U 124 put out from Lorient.
 
   
  U 125 put out from Kiel.
   
   
                           (Signed):  DÖNITZ
   
             
 
 
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