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

1 - 15 August 1941

PG30294

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
1.8.
  Positions:
1) In the operations area west of the North Channel:
  U 74 - AM 4111,   U 46 - AM 4511,
  U 97 - AM 4748,   U 559 - AL 6876,
  U 205 - AL 5568,   U 204 - AL 5777,
  U 565 - AL 8255,   U 372 - AL 8722,
  U 431 - AL 9726   U 401 - BE 1341,
  U 558 - BE 3185,   U 75   BE 6621.
2) In the operations area west of Gibraltar:
  U 331 - CG 91,   U 79 - CG 7816,
  U 126 - CG 7876,   U 109 - DG 87,
  U 94 - DG 85,   U 93 - DG 84,
  U 124 - DG 95.        
3)       West of Freetown:
  U 123 - EH 67.        
             
Outward bound:  U 83 - AE 85;  UU 563 - AF 87.
  Returning to base:  U 73 - BF 44;  U 561 - off Brest;  U 68 and U 141 - off Lorient;  U 66 - CG 78.
   
  In Lorient:  U 105, 43, 38, 101, 106, 557, 125, 111, 108, 562, 107, 103, UA.
  In St. Nazaire:  U 751, 77, 96, 71, 553, 552, 98, 69, 95, 203.
 
  In Brest:  U 202, 201, 564.
 
  In Kiel:  U 143.
 
  In Trondheim:  U 568, 567, 206.
 
  In Horten:  U 129.
 
   
 
  On 30th July, the 4 submarines, "U 109, 94, 93 and 124", which were originally allocated to the Southern area, turned round, and proceeded northwards.  As they should end up off Gibraltar, I arranged for them to proceed there by Aruba/Gibraltar route.  On 3.8., the submarines received orders to form a reconnaissance line from DG 6835 to DG 3835, and at 0800, to proceed on course 750 at a day's run of 180 miles.  The Naval War Staff cancelled the restrictions on attacking en route Bruno, until the 6.8, as none of our ships will be in the area during this period.
 
   
 
  U 371 in CF 7355, U 126 in CF 8565 and U 79 in CF 9855 were allocated new areas for attack until the arrival of the four southern boats.  Width 150 miles.
  
                           
 
 
- 126 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  According to a radio intercept, a convoy approaching on course 10 at 6 knots, was in BE 4875 at 2200 on 31.7.  I decided to operate against it.
 
  "U 558, 559, 204, 431, 372, 401" immediately received orders to operate against this convoy, at full speed ahead.  In a second W/T message, they were disposed in 5 degree sectors from 3500 to 200, for the approach to the convoy route, and to make a search in these sectors, assuming that the convoy was proceeding between 4.5 and 7.5 knots.
   
  Air reconnaissance was proposed for the 2.8, and U 75 received orders to act as radio beacon for the aircraft, and from 0900 on 2.8, to transmit beacon signals on the Bordeaux route - the suspected convoy route.
   
 
  U 46, 74 and 205 were moved nearer the convoy.  
 
   
 
  U 205 reported a surfaced enemy submarine in both AL 6722 and AL 5835.  
 
   
 
  U 561 put in at Brest.  U 141 put in at Lorient.  U 68 put in at Lorient.
 
   
 
  The Captains of U 203 and U 95 put in for reports.  Lt.(s.g.) Muetzelburg, the Captain of U 203, operated against the Gibraltar convoy, and sank 5 ships totaling 31,000 GRT, against overwhelming odds.
 
   
 
  Lt.(s.g.) Schreiber, the Captain of U 95, operated in the Northern area and was finally in the patrol line waiting for the north-going SL convoy.  He saw nothing apart from a very fast ship, and achieved nothing.
 
   
2.8.
  U 331 refueled in Cadiz, and was allotted CG 57 as attacking area, width 160 miles, with orders to operate against traffic putting into and out from Lisbon.
   
  At 1645 U 204 contacted the convoy in BE 1813, on course 3500.  She immediately received orders to transmit beacon signals and not to attack.  The remaining boats were to report "Yes" on establishing contact.
   
  U 204 made shadower reports, but added that this depended entirely on hydrophone watches as the visibility in the operational area was 1/2 mile, owing to fog.  At 2020, U 559 reported the convoy in BE 1529, course N.E.
  U 372 requested beacon signals, and must therefore be in the vicinity.
   
  It is not quite clear why the boats established no visual contact in spite of continuous hydrophone observations.  Moreover, according to information received from radio intercepts and dead reckoning based on the first shadower report, the convoy speed increased considerably.  Thus, the suspicion arose that the boats might have been mistaken with their hydrophone observation, and that in reality, have contacted a faster A/s band or something similar.  U 204 received orders to make every effort to obtain visual contact.  The most
       
 
 
- 127 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  recent position of the convoy reported by U 204 is BE 1531, course N.E.  U 123 reported no traffic in the Southern area, and moved her operational area to DG.
 
  U 71, 77, 96, 751 put out from St. Nazaire.
   
  U 43 put out from Lorient.
   
 
  The Captains of U 561 and 141 put in to make reports.
 
   
 
  Lt Bartels, the Captain of U 561, sank 2 ships, including one large tanker, in the Gibraltar convoy, 16,000 GRT in all.  This was the first time U 561 had gone into action against the enemy.
 
   
 
  Lt. Schueler operated very skillfully in the action off the Scilly Isles and in the North Channel.  After sinking 3 ships totaling 21,000 GRT, he escaped a severe depth charge attack by his correct and skillful conduct.
 
   
 
3.8.
  At 0130 hours, U 204 reported the convoy in BE 1298 and transmitted continuous shadower reports until 0625.  U 431, 205 and 558 reported "Yes", i.e. they have established contact.  U 75 requested beacon signals.  U 205 reported 4 A/s ships in BE 1383 at 0955.
 
   
 
  The latest shadower reports were made during the early hours.  Thus contact has apparently ceased, as the boats are making no reports in spite of ordered to report immediately on establishing visual or hydrophone contact with the enemy.
 
   
  At 1142, U 558 again reported the convoy in BE 2412, course N.E.  If this report is correct, the convoy must be further south than was calculated from the last hydrophone observations.  From this it looks as though U 204 had been taken in by an A/s group.
   
  After 1400, U 372, U 401, U 565 and U 559 reported "Yes", and have consequently established contact with the convoy.
   
  Air reconnaissance contacted the convoy at 1510, and transmitted beacon signals.  The fix variations are again very considerable (Air position, AL 8884).
   
  U 558 made two more shadower reports, according to which, the enemy was in BE 2188 at 1450.
       
  At 1550, U 565 reported the convoy in BE 2184, course 800.  U 97 had to stop following the convoy and return to base owing to lack of fuel.  The boat arrived without incident and without sighting any traffic. This shows that English single ship traffic has decreased again during recent weeks and has been amalgamated into convoys.  Stress must again be laid on the ultimate aim of
       
 
 
- 128 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  submarine warfare, namely, to locate and attack convoys.
 
  Further shadower reports came in from U 204 and U 558.  Later, U 204 was driven off, U 372 requested beacon signals, U 46 reported "Yes".
   
  The following W/T message was transmitted to these boats at midnight.  "This night is decisive, go in and attack!  You are more numerous and stronger than the enemy.  Always report contact".
   
 
  U 105 put out from Lorient.
 
   
 
  U 568 and U 129 put out from Trondheim.
 
   
 
4.8.
  At 0312, U 204 reported patrol forces in AL 9875.  No further shadower reports have been received, and contact appears to have ceased.  The boats were ordered to transmit position reports.
 
  The following reported:
 
  U 558, 431, 559, 75, 83.  U 204 and U 74 added a weather report. Rain over the area, visibility 100 meters.  U 565 requested permission to return to base owing to loud noises and because she was only partly clear for submerging.
 
  At 0700, U 204 again contacted the convoy in AL 9818, course 600.  Contact was maintained during the entire day, and shadower reports were transmitted by various boats.  The Air Reconnaissance contacted the convoy at 1258.  At 1851, U 431 reported the convoy in AL 9668, and almost at once U 372 transmitted a shadower report in AL 9623.  It is impossible to judge whether this means a mistake has been made with the bearing or whether the convoy has split up.  At the same time, U 565 while returning to base, as she was not clear for submerging, reported another convoy in BE 2269, course N.N.W.  U 71, 77, 96, 751 and 43, which had put out on 2.8, were in a very favorable position to attack this convoy.  U 565 received orders to make every effort to remain and report contacts.  The Air Reconnaissance was allocated to this convoy on 5.8.  At 1818 U 565 reported that she had been forced to submerge by patrol vessels, one Diesel had been out of action for 14 hours, and she was returning to base.
 
   
 
  No further messages were received concerning either the former or the latter convoy.
   
  U 126 reported no traffic.
   
  As, according to a radio intercept, we must reckon with a convoy putting out from Gibraltar within the next few days, boats to the west of Gibraltar received orders to proceed eastwards at cruising speed.  U 124 to U 109 should increase their day's run to 240 miles in order to arrive off Gibraltar at the given time.
               
 
 
- 129 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
5.8.
  U 431 reported that both her Diesels were out of order, and that she had succeeded in repairing one but not the other.  No contact.  She was ordered to return to base.
 
  At 0500, U 83 made contact with the convoy in AM 7185.  The sea area through which the convoy is now proceeding is becoming more and more unfavorable for the submarines owing to the proximity of the coast.  Constant air patrols by shore-based aircraft must be expected during clear moonlit nights and sometimes even during normal nights.
   
  G.A.F. Listening Service showed that several formations were flown.  Boats in unfavorable positions and which have no contact should proceed towards the west.  The boats were requested to give positions, results, state of fuel and torpedoes, in order to give a rough impression of the existing position.
   
 
  The following information was gained from reports received:
 
 
U 372 - 1 steamer, 5,000 GRT, sunk.
    1 steamer, 7,500 GRT, burnt out.
    1 steamer, unconfirmed.
U 204 - 1 steamer, 14,000 GRT, direct hit.
U 74 - 1 steamer, 8,000 GRT, torpedoed.
    3 steamers each 8,000 - 10,000 GRT, hit.
U 75 - 2 steamers, 12,000 GRT, sunk.
 
  These sinking reports are not entirely reliable.  Further observations were apparently impossible, as the enemy defences came into action.  We can calculate that:  4 steamers, 24,500 GRT were sunk, 6 steamers were torpedoed.
 
  The actual results can only be obtained when the boats return to base.
 
   
 
  The other boats, U 558, 83, 46, 559, 431, 205 were beaten off and forced to submerge, by the strong patrol and destroyer escort and by the air escort attached to the convoy at night.  They reported no results.  U 401 has not reported since 1429 on 3.8.
 
  The operation against this convoy can be considered as ended.  It shows that although most of the boats were quite inexperienced they achieved successes, in spite of very heavy escort by surface forces and aircraft, and in spite of the unfavorable sea area (close off shore) and poor weather.  The probable loss of one boat (401) is inevitable in an operation such as this.
 
   
 
  According to a priority radio intercept message, the north-going convoy was in BE 7925 at 2000 on 4.8.
 
  I decided to operate against it, and for this purpose, concentrated all the available boats in the northerly area into the northern half of grid square BE.  Air reconnaissance for the next day is to be allocated to the suspected convoy position.  Further, operational orders can only be issued when position and course data has been confirmed by the Air Forces.
                       
 
 
- 130 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  U 563 and 568, outward bound from home bases are to be kept back in the area south of Iceland, until further operations are clear.
 
  The following attacking areas were allocated to the boats west of Gibraltar, until the convoy expected puts out:
 
U 371
- CG 4633,   U 124 - CG 4833.
U 79
- CG 5572,   U 331 - CG 5755.
U 93
- CG 8464,   U 94 - CG 8858.
U 126
- DJ 1239,   U 109 - DJ 1542.
  Width 60 miles.
   
 
  U 558 was ordered to return to base to disembark a very ill man.
 
   
 
  U 66 put into Lorient.
 
   
 
  U 206 put out from Trondheim.
 
   
 
  U 567 put out from Trondheim.
 
   
 
6.8.
  U 43, 71, 77, 96, 751, 83, 75, 46, 205, 559, 204 were disposed in a double patrol line on about 490 N. from 160 - 220 W., to intercept the convoy.
 
   
  U 401 and U 372 remained north of this attacking area but with no other limits.
   
  The convoy expected from Gibraltar was in a position 440 N., 210 W. at 2000 on 4.8.  The boats were informed of this.  We must now wait for one of the boats to make contact.
   
  The following attacking areas were allocated to boats recently arrived in the operational area:
 
U 129 - AL 2682)  
U 206 - AL 1356) width, 100 miles
U 567 - AE 7777)  
   
  Boats west of Gibraltar were ordered to occupy the following attacking areas on receipt of the codeword "Advance".
     
U 93 - CG 8665,   U 94 - CG 8965.
U 75 - CG 8295,   U 371 - CG 5755.
U 124 - CG 8198,   U 331 - CG 8815.
U 126 - DJ 1239,   U 109 - DJ 2125.
      Width 40 miles.
      From that time on, freedom to attack was only given for convoys and particularly valuable single ships.
       
      U 565 put into Brest.
      U 38 put out from Lorient.
  
  
           
 
 
- 131 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
7.8.
  None of the boats in BE have established contact with the north-going convoy.  According to dead reckoning, the convoy must have passed our disposition.  Consequently all boats in BE, except U 372, 74, 401, 75 and 205, received orders to proceed northwards after dark on course 3050, at cruising speed, should no contact be made with the enemy.  U 74 and U 372 were allowed freedom to maneuver owing to the state of their fuel.
 
  U 401 was again requested for a position report.
   
  U 75 and U 205 are to proceed towards ship 36 and accompany her until she is taken over by the destroyer escort.  They were given orders to wait for ship 36 in CD 68 and CE 11, as from the 15.8.
   
 
  U 558 put into Brest.
 
  U 501 put out from Trondheim.
 
  U 553 and U 73 put out from St. Nazaire.
 
  U 101 put out from Lorient.
 
   
 
8.8.
  According to priority radio intercept, a convoy in AL 9223 or AL 9132 was proceeding between course 1400 and 2000, at 2000 on 7.8.  Her speed was estimated at 6 knots.  I decided to put the boats now en route for the N.W. into operation against this convoy.
 
   
 
  U 43, 71, 77, 96, 751, 83, 105, 46, 372, 559, 204 and 38 received orders to operate against the convoy in NS patrols of equal width, between longitudes 220 W. and 160 W.  The submarines are to begin the search for the convoy position, if possible at the first light, assuming that the convoy is proceeding at 7 knots, and then proceed on a northerly course towards the position the convoy would occupy if proceeding at 4 knots.  They are then to search back to the south.
 
   
 
  Air reconnaissance was proposed for the 9.8., for the sea area in question, and 4 FW 200 were allocated.  At 1945, U 93 reported a battle cruiser, a troop transport and 2 destroyers in CG 8423, on W. course.  At 2025 she lost sight of the enemy, then proceeding on N.W. course.
   
  U 97 put in to St. Nazaire.
   
9.8.
  During the afternoon information was received from the German agent in Gibraltar, via the G.I.S. head station at Paris, that the convoy started to sail at 1500.  At 1600, the last ship had passed Europa Point.
   
  As the convoy put out during the afternoon, and not in the morning as had been expected, the attacking areas of some of the boats had
           
 
 
- 132 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  to be correspondingly altered, to enable them to attack the convoy during the hours of daylight.
U 79 to occupy CG 8688, U 93 - CG 8935, U 94 - CG 8993, U 109 - DJ 2215.
  The submarines must reach the areas by the first light.
   
  U 371 is allocated CG 8251 as attacking area.
   
 
  The two Italian submarines, I 7 and I 2 are in grid squares CG 8544 and DJ 1389.
 
   
 
  No messages were received from the boats which are waiting in patrol lines for the south-going convoy, and the Air Reconnaissance has observed nothing owing to fog in the area.  The boats are now proceeding in their patrol lines with the south-going convoy.  We must hope to make contact with better visibility. 
 
   
 
  The Captains of U 97, 558 and 565 put in to make reports.
 
   
 
  Lt.(s.g.) Heilmann, the Captain of U 97, did not locate anything in his operational area, and did not make any contact with the enemy while occupying the positions laid down in the orders, in the various patrol lines.
 
   
 
  Lt.(s.g.) Krech, the Captain of U 558, was forced to break off the operation early on, in order to disembark a midshipman (j.g.) who was very ill.  He had established contact with the north-going convoy, but was unable to achieve anything, owing to the strong escort forces.
 
   
  Lt.(j.g.) Jebsen, the Captain of U 565, made his first patrol with this boat.  Apart from one steamer, he did not observe any single ship traffic in his operational area.  He had no success against the north-going convoy because of its strong escort, or against the convoy he himself reported, as one of his engines was out of order.
   
  U 84 put out from Bergen.
   
10.8.
  None of the boats operating against the south-going convoy, made any contact.  I decided on a submarine disposition in the North area, as we have had no boats there on active service for some time, and have obtained information of various convoys in this area through radio intercepts.
   
  All the boats subsequently received orders to proceed on course 3350 at cruising speed.
   
      U 372 was allowed freedom to maneuver.
       
      At 1417, U 79 reported the convoy coming from Gibraltar, in CG 8661, and was ordered to report contact but not to attack.  At 1500 she reported the convoy in CG 8626, course 2900, speed 6 knots, and at 1510 she reported that destroyers had forced her away.
  
  
           
 
 
- 133 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  The Air Reconnaissance in this area consisting of 2 aircraft, has seen nothing in spite of good visibility.
 
  As neither U 79 nor any of the other boats made any contact during the afternoon, the boats were disposed in single sectors to search for the convoy.
  Boats are operating against the convoy on the following courses:
  I 7 and U 93 on 3180 to 3040;  U 331 and U 94 on 3040 to 2900;  U 124 and U 109 on 2900 to 2760;  U 126 and U 72 on 2760 to 2620.
   
 
  The boats are to get to their sectors as quickly as possible and should wait in the area which the convoy will reach if proceeding at 8 knots.  The boats are then to proceed towards the convoy searching in legs.
 
   
 
  U 371 should be in a position between CG 5843 and Cape Espichel, by the first light.
 
   
 
  Tomorrow's Air Reconnaissance will be in the operational area at 1000.
 
   
 
11.8.
  U 501 which is en route for the operational area from home, reported a north-going convoy in AE 8782.  As no further messages were received and we have no boats in the vicinity, it is impossible to operate against this convoy.
 
   
 
  U 563 reported damage to engines, in AL 17.  No traffic observed.
 
   
  At 0030, U 93 reported searching for the convoy on mean courses 2400 to 2900 without success.
  At 1136 she reported that at 0800 the convoy was in CG 8226 enroute for Lisbon.  The submarine herself had been forced to submerge for the last 4 hours by an A/s group.
  The boats received orders to operate against this convoy at full speed ahead.
   
  At 1200, the Air Reconnaissance reported a convoy in CG 8511 on course 3000, and added: position very rough.
  This bearing varied by 57 miles from the one reported by U 93, and it was therefore assumed that the convoy had split up.  At 1400 U 331 reported that she had proceeded on course 2100 from CG 8132, following information on the convoy route transmitted by a Condor aircraft.  In this case the aircraft would have had to have transmitted a message and a beacon signal.  As this did not occur, we assume the aircraft flew over the submarine by chance and that this was misconstrued by the submarine.  U 331 received orders to operate against the convoy contacted by U 94.
           
 
 
- 134 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  At 151, U 94 made contact in CG 5876.  The convoy was proceeding on a westerly course at slow speed.
 
  U 79 again reported at 1532 from CG 8480, and is comparatively clear for action again after a heavy depth charge attack.  Oil tracks.  The Captain must decide for himself if it is necessary to return to base.
   
  At 1703, U 94 reported another shadower message from CG 5871, course 2950.
   
 
  At 1805, from the Northern area, U 568 reported a convoy in AE 8753 on N.W. course, medium speed.  This is probably the same convoy which U 501 has already reported this morning.  U 568 was given freedom to attack and ordered to maintain further contact.  At 2005 she again reported the convoy in AE 8725.  The following revised attacking areas were allocated:  U 559 - AL 6250, U 83 - AL 6550, U 204 - AL 6850, width 54 miles.
 
   
 
  There are no restrictions on attacks in an easterly direction beyond the attacking areas.  U 501 - AD 8889, U 84 - AK 3267, width 40 miles.
 
   
 
  Boats west of Gibraltar received orders that if no contact was made with the enemy, to remain in a certain area which the convoy would reach about dawn, if proceeding at about 8 knots from the last position reported. This area lies on both sides of the former mean course of the enemy, 3100 (from 2800 - 3400).
 
  2 Italian submarines were sent out as reinforcements.  The boats are to proceed towards the convoy searching in their sectors.
 
   
 
  U 569 and U 82 put out from Trondheim.
 
  U 202 put out from Brest.
 
  U 106 put out from Lorient.
  U 431 put in to St. Nazaire.
   
12.8.
  U 568 sank a corvette, maintained contact until 1840 and then lost it altogether.
   
  At 0100, U 331 sighted the Gibraltar convoy in CG 5712, maintained contact until 0410 and then lost apparently because of decreasing visibility.  The boats were then ordered to push on, and to operate, acting on the last report on the enemy.  As however, contact was not resumed after daylight, a new diverging search patrol was sent out.
   
  The afternoon air reconnaissance, contacted the convoy at 1830, and according to cross bearings of their beacon signals, the convoy was in CG 4556, course 3000.  Various boats were in the immediate vicinity.  At 1219, U 123 reported the convoy in CG 4551.  The next day showed that this submarine came up from the Southern area and joined in with the Gibraltar operation.  She had observed nothing during recent weeks in the Southern area, and hoped to achieve something here.
         
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  At 0754, U 129 sighted a convoy in AL 2219, course west.  U 206, 563 and 567, which were in the vicinity, were ordered to operate against it.  The group of 10 boats in the south, which were proceeding N.W. at economical cruising speed, were told to increase speed.  Further operations depend on contact and maintaining contact with the convoy.  When U 129 lost contact at 1319, the 4 boats operating against the convoy were deflected away on a S.W. mean course.
 
  Just before midnight last night, U 206 contacted another convoy in AL 1311, course west.She soon lost contact, however, and received orders to operate on the enemy report sent by U 129 (see above).  Thus 4 convoys were being attacked at the same time by submarines, although at times only only one submarine was operating against 3 of them.  As, at the end of the second year of war, conditions in shadowing convoys have become more difficult, a state of affairs not improved by the inexperience of our many young Captains, there seems little chance of our maintaining contact long enough to make an attack possible.  3-4 times the number of submarines that there were a year ago, are necessary now owing to the far stronger air and surface escorts.
   
  The location of 4 convoys at one time in different areas on the same day, illustrates the volume of English traffic and also proves the necessity of the greatest possible concentration of forces.  In spite of the large number of submarines there are today, there are too few to scatter around, and one is liable not to be able to maintain contacts if more are made than such weak forces are able to cope with.
   
 
  The Captain of U 431 put in to make a report.
 
  First operation.  Fired at and missed two fast ships.  Took part in an attack against a convoy (SL convoy on 2-5 August), otherwise nothing was observed.  The way in which the Captain tackled his job, leads one to expect more success from his next operation.  
 
   
 
  Outward bound for the operational area:
 
  U 125 from Lorient.
 
  Returning to base:  U 94.
 
   
 
  U 123 was driven off by destroyers.  Another diverging search patrol was detailed for the second half of the night in case contact was entirely broken off.
 
   
 
  U 74 put in to St. Nazaire.
   
  U 125 put out from Lorient.
   
13.8.
  U 123 reported at 0000:  driven off again by the destroyers.  Pressed on.  At 0115 an Italian submarine sighted the convoy in CG 4439, course 3000.  On receipt of this information, the diverging search patrol was detailed to this position and narrowed down to 2900 - 3100.  U 331 made visual contact with the enemy in CG 4155, course 3100 at 0638, and then at 1002, reported
               
 
 
- 136 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  that she had been driven under water from 0730 to 0930, but was pressing on now.
 
  Although we succeeded this time in closing in on the enemy, no more reports were received until the afternoon, in spite of the fact that several boats must have been in the immediate vicinity this time.  We must take into consideration the possibility of the enemy being in possession of surface location apparatus, which enable them to send out destroyers to drive off submarines approaching the convoy before these have made contact.  The submarines were given instructions on how best to avoid this surface location.  
  According to air reconnaissance reports, there was a cruiser among the units escorting the convoy, perhaps for this purpose.  There was certainly a general impression that there were heavy difficulties in the way of establishing contact with this convoy.  
  At 1230, a message was received from an Italian submarine, that she had lost visual contact with the convoy at 1230 in CG 4172.  Last course, 3200.
  At 1630, the Air Reconnaissance made contact.  Bearings were received from 3 boats, which placed the convoy in CF 6322.  No reports were received from the other 4 boats, which must all be in the vicinity of the convoy, and they have apparently been forced to submerge.  2 of the boats which took the bearings on the aircraft beacon signals, are in the immediate vicinity.  None of them succeeded in making contact.  The two boats soon reported that they had been driven off by destroyers.  No messages were received from the third submarine.  It looks as though the escort is guarding the convoy particularly skillfully.  We must try and first attack the escort itself.  The boats were give orders on no account to spare the torpedoes, and in spite of meager chances of success, to try and attack the escort itself with fan shots.  If possible a simultaneous attack by several boats would be the best way to split up the escort.  If it does not seem possible to conduct the tactics of such an attack from here, at least the seeds of success can be sewn from here, by stipulating a certain time on which the communal attack should be made.  Orders were issued for the attempt to be made on the following night.  
 
   
 
  An Italian submarine reported, somewhat delayed, the convoy position for 2000.  No further messages were received.  
 
   
 
  U 331 and 109 returned to base.  
 
   
 
  A new diverging search patrol was to go out from the last enemy position.
 
   
 
  The boats operating against the convoy located by U 129, received orders to search the area in which it should be according to dead reckoning, each within a certain radius from their own positions.  If this operation met with success by the evening of the 14th a new allocation of attacking areas south of Iceland and east of Greenland, will be made.  As the northerly traffic has not been attacked for some time, I intend to concentrate all the available boats in this area.  The exact positions of the attacking areas will be fixed, bearing in mind the visibility conditions between Iceland and Greenland.
 
   
 
  U 372 put into Brest.
                       
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
14.8.
  The convoy was again reported in CF 3943, by an Italian submarine, and then contacted continually all day either by aircraft or submarines.
 
  U 123 and 124 reported the convoy position on W/T.  THe W/T messages were as follows:
   
  To B.d.U.
  At 2000, the convoy was on course 300, in CF 3986, with escorts close in and at a distance, by day and by night.  The enemy also have searchlights in blacked out search positions, to orientate the outer destroyers and mislead the submarines, as when these had been transmitted, destroyers went out on exploratory sweeps.  No contact in grid square 3966.  Lä 1-2 70 cubic meters.  Sighted Sunderland attached to convoy.
 
                                                                U 124
 
   
      To B.d.U.
      Convoy sighted at 1645 in grid square CF 6327, good fix obtained by Condor to the north of convoy according to morse message.  4 hours heavy depth charge activity.  Am able to proceed at 15 knots, pressing on, CF 3987.
                                                                    Hardegen.
       
      To B.d.U.
      Condor gave away the convoy position to the submarines, by circling round the escort.  Decoy for the destroyers.  Both Diesels temporarily out of order.  Leakage of lubricating oil.  CF 3976.
                                                                    Hardegen.
       
      These messages show how difficult it must have been for the submarines to operate.  The picture is completed by the messages transmitted previously by U 109 and 331, which are as follows:
       
 
  To B.d.U.
 
  Returning to base.  Thick trails of oil, and, when submerged, air bubbles, increasing daily.  Individual tank H.P. blow valve 8 and 1, and exhaust conduit not working.  Both hydrophone gears out of action.  70 cubic meters, all torpedoes. 
 
                                                                U 109
 
   
 
  To B.d.U.
 
  Returning to base, grid square CG 4141, 20 cubic meters.  Electric compressor working "Junkers" out of action.  No contact.  Driven off 3 times.  "Condor" bearing 3090 at 1617.  North to east 4, cloudy, visibility good, 1025 millibars.
 
                                                               U 331
 
   
  The air reconnaissance only sighted one single steamer, which was attacked from the air, reported name and position.  She belongs to the convoy outward bound from Gibraltar.  It seems likely that she dropped out, and that the convoy itself is not far off.
                    
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  As the position of this ship is the only one we have, diverging search patrols were sent out between 2800 and 3400, starting from there, and air reconnaissance for the 15.8 is detailed to cover the same area. U 93 and U 123 broke off, owing to a temporary engine breakdown.  U 371, U 126 and U 124 also took a part periodically in the search for the convoy.  The following boats put out to search for the enemy:  U 111 from Lorient;  U 201 from Brest.
 
  Report made by the Captain of U 74:
  For several weeks, the boat was in various attacking areas in the central North Atlantic, without seeing anything.  She then gradually proceeded further east via various dispositions, and took part in the attack on 2 August against the SL convoy reported by a radio intercept.In this attack, the submarine definitely torpedoed one 8,000 GRT steamer, and probably torpedoed 3 others.
   
  Report made by the Captain of U 431:
 
  First operation of both submarine and the Captain. Spent several weeks in the central North Atlantic area, mainly south east of Greenland, occupying attacking areas, often with very poor visibility.  Altogether saw only two fast single ships.  Then proceeded further east, where she took part in several operations against convoys.  She only actually sighted one convoy and did not fire.  Engines several times out of order.
 
   
 
  Report made by the Captain of U 371:
 
  First operation of both the submarine and the Captain. Several weeks in the central North Atlantic, without sighting any enemy traffic.  Visibility often poor.  At the beginning of August, took part in several operations in the area S.W. of the Porcupine Bank.  Made contacts with the SL convoy from 3 - 5.8.  Destroyed 2 steamers totaling 12,500 GRT in a well-designed and skillful night attack.
 
   
 
  All three reports show clearly the altered state of traffic in the operational area during recent months.  Scarcity of single ship traffic, exceptions proceeding very fast.  Convoys very heavily escorted with heavy air patrols escorting them as far out as possible.
 
   
 
  U 111 put out from Lorient.
 
   
 
  U 201 put out from Brest.
   
15.8.
  The new measures taken against the Gibraltar convoys were a failure.  Even the air reconnaissance achieved no results.  Presumably the convoy did not proceed on mean course N.W., but either went N. or far off to the W.
   
  In the first instance, it is hopeless for the boats to operate
               
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  because of the width of the area in which the convoy might be, and the distance the boats would have to cross to its possible position.  On the other hand, it might be possible to attack if it has gone to the west.  While U 93, returning to base because of damage caused by an aircraft bomb, was reporting, the other 4 boats were disposed in line from CF 2725 to CF 2245 for the afternoon, and in line from CF 1623 - CE 3692 for the 16.8.  If the convoy is not contacted by these boats, the operation is to be broken off, as the state of fuel of all the boats, except U 124, is insufficient for further operations.
 
  U 371 also returned to base, and her place was taken by an Italian submarine.  A second boat was detailed to proceed to the S.W. to elongate the patrol line.
   
   
                                           (signed):  DÖNITZ.
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
       
 
 
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