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

1 - 15 October 1941

PG30298

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
1. October
  The following boats are in the North Atlantic:

U 4431, U 562, U 564, U 575, U 83, U 71.

  En route there:
  U 206 in the Bay of Biscay.  U 374, U 208, U 502 coming from home.  
  U 204, U 129 and U 79 on escort duties in the Mid-Atlantic.   After carrying out these tasks, U 204 is to go to the north, U 129 into the Southern area, and U 79 to the Mediterranean.
  The following are on the way back:  U 372, U 94, U 565, U 556, U 205, U 373, U 572.
 
  In the South, the following boats are in the operational area west of Freetown:  U 107, U 108, U 66, U 68, U 125, U 103.  On the way out: U 126, and on the way back:  U 67 and U 111.
 
  The following are operating in the Mediterranean:  U 371, U 559, U 97, U 331, U 75.
 
   
 
  U 372 made contact again with a convoy steering S.W., but then it lost the convoy, had to break off pursuit towards evening on account of lack of fuel, and had to start the return journey.
 
   
 
  U 565 reported that it was returning, no traffic (between the Herbrides and the Faroes).
 
   
 
  U 124 entered Lorient.  U 69 entered St. Nazaire.
 
   
 
2. October
  U 94 reported that she had sunk the tanker "San Florentino" (12,000 GRT) in AK 8429.  Air reconnaissance found a convoy steering 2700 at 1240 in AL 6262.  The aircraft reported about 20 steamers from 10,000 to 20,000 GRT, 6 guard boats, 4 destroyers.  It appeared at first as if this convoy were going to America and not Gibraltar, on account of the size of the ships and the courses observed.  On its return flight a second aircraft picked up the convoy again at 1500 and reported it in AL 6283 with course 2000.  Both positions have been given to the boats, which received orders to operate on this convoy.  Air reconnaissance has been detailed for tomorrow in the area concerned.
   
  U 572, U 205 have entered Lorient.  U 373 has entered Brest.
   
3. October
  THe convoy was picked up again by air reconnaissance towards midday.  D/F bearings were reported from 7 boats, which gave a fairly exact position for the convoy in AL 8240 at 1200.  Mean course since yesterday is S.W.  U 83 is fairly close to the convoy position and can still keep contact today.
   
  According to an aircraft report the convoy consists of 25 merchant ships, 4 guard boats, 4 destroyers, 1 cruiser and 1 aircraft carrier.  Air reconnaissance is again detailed for the 4th October.
           
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  U 431 sank steamer 5,000 GRT in AJ 9683.
 
  U 67 reported that it had carried out the refueling of U 68.  It continues its return passage.
   
4. October
  During the night no contact was made with the convoy going to the south.  Air reconnaissance picked up the convoy again and reported its position in AL 8836 at 1500.
   
 
  5 boats are now operating on the convoy.  They were instructed to search in different sectors, on courses of 1700 to 2200 from the position of the convoy reported from the air.  Renewed air reconnaissance is fixed for the 5th October.
 
   
 
  U 129, which was an escort for the U-boat supply ship "Kota Pinang" and which was cruising in the Atlantic together with this ship, reported that the "Kota Pinang" was sunk from a distance by shell-fire from a cruiser of the Belfast Class in BE 7722.  It has saved the entire crew (119 men) and has started on return to base.  Its diving capacity is restricted by this additional load of men.  It has been arranged with the Naval War Staff to hand over this crew in Ferrol, as it is not justifiable for U 129 to pass through the Bay of Biscay under the circumstances.  U 129 received orders to do this.
 
   
 
  U 101 left St. Nazaire.  U 563 left Brest.
 
   
 
5. October
  U 431 made contact with an enemy convoy consisting of 2 ships escorted by 3 destroyers on a S.W. course, in BD 2647 at 0130.  U 372 is in the neighborhood and requests a beacon signal.
 
   
 
  U 431 continues to give further shadowing reports.
 
   
  The operation against the convoy going to Gibraltar is being continued.  U 204, which reported that it had carried out a special task (convoy Rio Grande) has been included in this operation, as it reported its position as being in the neighborhood in which the convoy is supposed to be.  The operation against the formation of transport ships which was reported by U 431, ended unsuccessfully, as U 431 as well as U 372 had to set out for base on account of fuel.  U 562's limited supply of fuel did not permit a commitment against the convoy.  It receives freedom of action in AM, with orders to carry out attacks near the northwest coast of Ireland, where, on account of certain observations, enemy traffic is suspected.
   
  U 552 entered St. Nazaire.  U 109 left Lorient.
   
6. October
  The operation against the convoy going south is continuing.  Air reconnaissance, however, has still produced no results.
             
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  The boats received orders in the afternoon to continue to operate against the convoy, whose speed of advance was from 4 to 6 knots.  The boats were to be evenly spread in N.S. lines between 180 and 230 West.
 
  U 129 reported that it had handed over the ship-wrecked men of the "Kota Pinang" to a Spanish tug.
   
  U 101 put into St. Nazaire because its W/T gear was out of order.
   
 
  U 553 left St. Nazaire.
 
   
 
7. October
  Search for the south-bound convoy continues.
 
   
 
  A former Norwegian whaler "Svend Fogn" was torpedoed in AL 2129.
 
   
 
  U 68 received orders to proceed to St. Helena via Ascension Island, and to operate there.
 
   
 
  U 565 entered Lorient.
 
   
8. October
  In order to pick up the convoy going south, the boats committed to the task are to be disposed at the first light on a front which corresponds to the position of the convoy, if it is assumed that its highest speed is 5.5 knots (about 430 N.).  The boats received orders to run counter to the convoy, in lines, on a zig-zag course.  Before this came into complete effect the convoy was picked up by air reconnaissance.  According to the cross bearing of the beacon signals, the result is a position a little north of the center of U-boat positions in BE 7689.  U 83 made contact at 1750 and reported the convoy in BE 7919 on a southerly course.  The contact was lost when darkness fell, on account of thick squalls and hail.  According to messages coming in, 3 more boats were in the immediate neighborhood.  One of them, U 71 glimpsed it about midnight.
   
  U 129 entered Lorient.
   
9. October
  The operation against the south-bound convoy is continuing.  The air reconnaissance committed to the task had no successes on account of the very unfavorable weather conditions.  As from 0900 hours on the 10th October, the boats received orders to be in the sector 1300 to 1800 from the last certain enemy position, which was in BE 7976 at 0100 hours on the 9th October.  They were to be on the arc that would be reached by the enemy traveling at speed of 5.5 knots, and they were to run counter to the convoy.
   
  U 126 made contact for a short time with one of the groups of 4 steamers protected by destroyers.  It lost them when darkness fell.  According to a still unconfirmed report, 44 men of a German U-boat crew have been landed in
         
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  Gibraltar.  They are said to belong to a large U-boat which was sunk by a trawler.  It is not out of the question that this is U 111.
 
  UA put in to Lorient on account of an oil trace.
   
  U 575 entered St. Nazaire.
   
 
  U 94 entered Bergen.
 
   
 
  U 568 left St. Nazaire.
 
   
 
10. October
  An aircraft made contact with a south-bound convoy at 1305 and sent beacon signals.  According to the pilot it must be assumed that the position of the convoy at 1330 was in the northern half of CF 3810.  That means the convoy has proceeded from the last reported position on a more easterly course, and at a greater speed than was supposed.
 
   
 
  The boats, which were in various sectors and had been assigned to attack the convoy, are west of it at a distance of 100 miles or more.  Latest bearings give a further position in CF 3819 at 1515.
 
   
 
  The boats have been advised to reckon that the mean course of the convoy is 1200 and the speed of advance is 5 to 6.5 knots.   According to this they are to be from 0900 on the 11th October, on a line (CG 4113 to CF 6392), which is as far as the convoy could have reached at a speed of 6.5 knots.  If the convoy has not been picked up by then, the boats are to continue the search on courses of 1100 to 1350 after the key-word has been passed.  Our own air reconnaissance will be in the area of the convoy from 1000.
 
   
  According to the requirements of the Naval War Staff, it is ordered that U 564 is to be refueled by "Gata" on or after the 13th October.
   
  U 83 reported in the evening that it had sunk a large floating crane.  In any case it was a very important vessel to the enemy.
   
  U 573, U 374, U 208 which were in the North Atlantic were ordered to operate in the attacking areas southeast of Greenland.
   
  U 502, U 109, U 553 and U 568 received orders to steer to AK 43, in order to be able to join up later with this disposition.
   
      U 126 sank a steamer of 8,000 GRT in the convoy which it reported.
       
      U 67 and U 111 were asked to report position.
       
      U 67 reported that it was in the same square as the south-bound convoy, it has therefore apparently operated on it.  U 111 did not report.  There must be some
     
     
                 
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  connection between this and yesterday's radio intercept report about the destruction of a U-boat, and part of the crew being taken prisoner.  It must be considered lost.
 
  The traffic situation in the operational area west of Africa is extremely confused and unsatisfactory.  After the U-boat successes in the Freetown area in Spring, the English have apparently moved their traffic to another route to the west.  Having regard to our own ships and forces, the U-boats were not given permission to operate there at first.  Even after permission was granted to 4 boats, they only had very slight success - 2 steamers.  The Naval War Staff assumes that the only passage for all fast ships from the south is still through the West Atlantic.  But as the large area offered so many possibilities, which the English utilized fully for evasion and for changing their routes, it appears that it is hardly possible to pick up these single fast ships.  (It is forbidden to attack in the American Safety Zone).
   
  Sending the boats to the east has also brought no results.  The traffic situation must have completely changed.  A convoy is believed to be leaving Freetown between the 12th and 14th October.  If the attempt to pick it up also brings no results, then consideration will be given to the breaking off of operations in the south.  The boats which are being used there are badly needed in the north, all the more so because boats have also been taken away from there for other theaters of operation.  At the beginning of October the actual situation was as follows:
  There were:  
 
      4 boats in the area of operations in the North Atlantic
 
      9 boats in the area of operations in the South Atlantic
 
  As opposed to that there were:
 
      9 boats returning to base
 
      4 boats approaching the area
 
      3 boats on convoy tasks
 
      6 boats in the Mediterranean
 
      3 boats in the North Sea
 
  This splitting up of forces has made it obvious that it is scarcely possible to find targets with only a few boats in the North Atlantic.
 
  There are no possibilities of counter balancing this by operations in the Mediterranean and the North Sea. In both these areas the traffic is made up of the smallest types of craft, which are difficult to attack and to hit.  Success is accordingly slight.  It must be emphasized repeatedly that the enemy today can no longer be found and successfully attacked by small numbers of boats.  In September, on the contrary, there was a weakening instead of a strengthening of forces in the main operational area:  The effect of sending 5 new boats to the front was nullified by the fact that 3 were lost and 2 small boats were given over for training purposes. The transfer of boats to the Mediterranean and the North Sea therefore only took place at the expense of operations in the Atlantic.  U 371 reported that it had been hit in a gunnery action, and had sustained losses and damage.
                       
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  It set out on return to base.  A German boat entered Salamis for the first time.
 
11. October
  Neither the air reconnaissance nor any of the boats made contact with the Gibraltar convoy.  From 1200 hours boats of the "Breslau" group proceeded on courses between 110 and 135 in order to continue the search for the convoy.  According to several reports U 83 suspected the convoy to be in the NO.   It heard depth charges exploding there, and sighted aircraft.  U 206 as well suspected that the convoy was in the NO.
   
  By reason of these reports I decided to dispose the boats for tomorrow morning in a patrol line (CG 5118 to CG 4683) which will pick up the enemy on an easterly course.  Renewed air reconnaissance is to be expected in the area from 1100.
   
 
  U 331 entered Salamis.
 
   
 
  U 751, U 191, U 77, U 73 left St. Nazaire.  U 432, U 558 left Brest.
 
   
 
12. October
  U 562 reported that it was returning to base.  It had freedom of action west of the North Channel at the end of the operation, but it did not locate any traffic.  It sank a ship of 5,000 GRT in AD 78, and in AK 27 it sank a ship of 10,000 GRT with catapult aircraft.  
 
   
 
  No contact has been made yet with the convoy steering to Gibraltar.  It has not been picked up by air reconnaissance either.
 
   
 
  The boats received orders to proceed to the S.E. at cruising speed from 1100 hours.  As no contact was made, even by taking these measures, I decided to allow the boats to proceed to the south at a high cruising speed, to a line from CG 8134 to CG 7665, in order, by so doing, to cut the possible convoy course.  Tomorrow morning they are then to be in a patrol line from CG 8371 to CG 8812 (in a southwesterly direction from Cape St. Vincent) and they are to await the convoy there.   
 
   
  At 1705 U 563 made contact with the convoy in CG 5514.  It was however forced under water by an aircraft, so that it lost sight of the convoy to the south.
   
  The three boats U 563, U 564, U 206 searched to the south parallel to the coast at distances of 10, 20 and 30 miles from the coast.  The other boats received corresponding orders to join in and take part.  In case this search is also unsuccessful, a patrol line is to be made from CG 8347 to CG 8573.
   
  U 83 sank the Portuguese steamer "Cortereal" (2,044 GRT) which was loaded with contraband goods.
   
  U 431 entered St. Nazaire.
       
  U 569 left St. Nazaire.
       
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
13. October
  The operations on the convoy which were assigned during the day met with no success.  An aircraft carrier with 2 destroyers, course 1850, was sighted in CG 8347.  At 1005 U 563 made contact with a convoy in CG 8296.  U 206 reported Portuguese steam trawlers in the same area.  This gives rise to a doubt as to the accuracy of the report from U 563.
 
  U 563 in reply to a query referring to this, reported that it had seen 12 clouds of smoke.  Moreover it shares the suspicion of U 204, based on traffic observed in the territorial waters, that the convoy had dispersed and that the ships were continuing their journey in territorial waters.  However, all this is merely conjecture, with no verification.  Air reconnaissance also has no success.  It is only possible to operate on the convoy now if it is still in the open sea.  The boats have been allotted the attacking areas west of Gibraltar, in which they are to be from 0900 on the 14th October.  U 564 broke off the operation on account of lack of fuel.  It has gone to be refueled from "Gata".
   
  The boats U 109 and U 502, which have recently come into the operational area, have been included in the attacking disposition S.E. of Greenland.
   
 
  U 559 (a Mediterranean boat) reported in answer to a request for the situation in the operational area.  On two nights it sighted traffic in the square CO 6779, it fired 7 shots which missed, and was bombed by a German aircraft.
 
   
 
  A boat in the South (signature not decipherable) reported a convoy, course 170, speed 10 knots in ET 1330.  The boat itself has been driven off by an attack by destroyers.  This convoy was apparently making for Freetown.  The boats which are there have a chance to attack.
 
   
 
  U 85 entered St. Nazaire, U 372 entered Brest.
 
   
 
14. October
  According to a radio intercept message, the convoy, on which we have been operating since the 2nd October, has entered Gibraltar.  According to this reliable report the convoy must have traveled at 7.8 knots since the last time it was picked up by a boat - by U 71 at 0100 on the 9th October.  This speed does not agree with the speed calculated up to now, which was about 5 knots.  As all the operations on the convoy were not calculated for such an unusually high speed, the boats were, in fact, traveling behind the convoy.
 
   
 
  The boats are now west of the Straits of Gibraltar.  It is not possible on account of fuel to send the boats which are now off Gibraltar to another operational area.  I intend to have them operate on the convoy leaving Gibraltar on or after the 17th October.  The boats received orders to move away.  U 71 and U 83 are to operate during this period on the traffic along the
 
                         
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  African coast, U 204 is to operate on the traffic in the direction of Madeira, U 206 and U 563 have been allotted the area round Cape Vincent as an attacking area, U 564 is to remain off Huewa and likewise to operate on traffic in the direction of Madeira.  In reply to a query from U 204, its refueling from "Gata" has been fixed for the 15/16 October.
 
  U 206 reported that it had sunk a large English destroyer in CG 9593, therefore it must have been right in the Straits of Gibraltar.  U 83 reported A/s hunt by destroyers and aircraft.  Probably as a result of sinking the destroyer.  U 553 and U 568 have been assigned as attacking areas AK 55 and AK 59, which is the area inside the patrol lines S.E. of Greenland.  After applying to the Naval War Staff, U 68 was permitted to extend its attacking area round St. Helena to a width of 400 miles, as, according to radio intercept reports, steamers have had directions to go on courses which lie outside the present attacking area (a width of 200 miles).
   
  U 123, U 38, U 82 have left Lorient.
   
 
15.  October
  U 564 reported:  Refueling from "Gata" has been carried out.
 
   
 
  U 553 was at the southerly wing of the patrol line which was disposed to the S.E. of Greenland.  At 0830 it made contact with a convoy entering the area.  It reported the convoy with course 700, speed 7 knots.  28 ships.  U 568 was in the immediate vicinity of the position from which this message was sent, U 502 to the north, and U 432 and U 558 to the south.  The boats could be at the convoy within 24 hours.  They received orders to operate on the convoy.  The boats U 77, U 101, U 751, U 73, which were enroute to the operational area were ordered at first to proceed to the north at a low cruising speed, but then, when U 553 and later U 568 as well continued to maintain contact, they were likewise set on to the convoy at high speed.  U 553 sent a report in addition to a shadowing report that it had already sunk 2 freighters totaling 11,000 GRT and had probably sunk another ship (4,000 GRT).  Contact was maintained during the whole day.  The convoy proceeded east after that with a mean course of 400.
 
   
 
  According to a radio intercept report, a steamer (9,179 GRT) formerly called "Weser" now called "Vancouver Island" was hit by two torpedoes.  U 432 or U 558 are the only boats which are in this area and could be concerned.
 
   
 
  The traffic situation in the Southern area is not clear.  The convoy which was expected to leave Freetown has not been picked up.  The boats are now searching to the west as ordered, in an attempt to find the traffic.
 
   
 
  U 126, which has recently come into the operational area, received orders to operate west of Freetown, and to push on to the east along the African coast to Takoradi and Lagos.
 
   
  U 562 entered Brest.
       
                                        (Signed):  DÖNITZ.
                     
 
 
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