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

16 - 31 October 1941

PG30299

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
16.10.
  The following boats are in the attacking areas southeast of Greenland:
U 573, U 374, U 208, U 109.
  Boats in AK and AL which are operating on returning convoys:
  U 553, U 568, U 502, U 432, U 558, U 77, U 751, U 73, U 101.
  Boats en route to the operational area:
  U 569, U 123, U 38, U 82.
 
  West of Gibraltar:
 
  U 204, U 564, U 563, U 206, U 83, U 71.
 
  In the operational area west of Africa:
 
  U 103, U 107, U 125, U 66, U 126.
 
  Off St. Helena:  U 68.
 
  On the way back north of the Canaries:  U 108, off Lorient:  U 67.
 
  The following boats are in the operational area in the Mediterranean:
 
  U 559, U 79, U 97, U 371, U 75.
 
   
 
  U 204 reported that refueling from "Gata" had been carried out.  After this no further refueling was possible from "Gata" on account of lack of supplies.
   
  There are still only 4 boats at present off the southern tip of Greenland - a very small number for the size of the area.  With such small numbers they can only obtain hits by luck.  Therefore these boats are to carry out a reconnaissance off the Belle Isle Straits, a plan which has been under consideration for a long time.  Boats U 573, U 374, U 208 and U 109 received orders to steer to square AJ 71, day's run 120 miles.  After making a request to the Naval War Staff, permission to attack, as is general outside the blockade area, was granted in this area.
   
  U 568 gave a shadowing report at 0204 in AK 6649 on the returning convoy, which was picked up yesterday by U 553, and reported the sinking of a steamer of 4,000 GRT in the convoy.  It continued to maintain contact, U 502 and U 558 likewise reported the convoy.  U 553 made contact again at 1637 and reported the convoy in AL 4152.  The differences in reckoning of the boats are partly due to the bad weather conditions.  Orders were given that the reckoning of U 553 was to be used as a basis, when making shadowing reports and so on.  At 1744, U 553 reported the first Sunderland attached to the convoy.  It was then at about 260 West.
               
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
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Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  From then on U 553 gave exact shadowing reports, according to which the convoy was steering on a mean course of 300.  The last report on this day was at 2355 in AL 1965, course 900.  The boat added that there were at least 10 tankers, of medium and large size, in the convoy, therefore there must be a strong escort.
 
  U 125 and U 107 have sent situation reports from the Southern area, according to which they have not picked up any traffic round, or west of Freetown.  U 125 requested permission to return.  I decided that all the boats with about the same fuel reserve should proceed to the north in a patrol line, in order to increase the possibility of picking up convoy traffic.  U 103, U 107, U 66 and U 125 received orders to return to base slowly on a line between 180 30' W., and 220 10' W.
   
  It has not paid to send these boats into the Southern area.  So long as the possibilities for refueling restrict the sending of several boats into the Southern area (Capetown), this area should only be patrolled by single boats.
   
 
  Vice-Admiral Fuchs, head of K Department, was present at the Headquarters conference on the question of dockyards and dockyard workers.  These questions are among those which are causing the most trouble at the present time.  New construction has been somewhat restricted (Wilhelmshaven, Kiel) because dockers have been taken away for U-boat repairs (Western France, Salamis, Norway) and other tasks.  In spite of this, construction in repair dockyards only keeps pace with difficulty, as the numbers of front line boats are increasing.  The danger has arisen that some time the output of larger numbers of new boats will be reduced because of the extended period required by repairs.  This has already happened to some extent.  It has become necessary to request that all operational boats should only be repaired in Western France and Norway.  The requisitions have been listed again by C.-in-C. U-boats, and given to the Naval War Staff.
 
   
 
  U 67 entered Lorient. U 85 left St. Nazaire. U 202 left Brest. U 84 left Lorient.
 
   
 
17.10.
  U 553 gave a shadowing report at 0143 from square AL 1966 on a returning convoy.  It had sunk a tanker of 6,000 GRT, and had observed the light of another tanker.  U 568 gave another shadowing report and added:  1 destroyer sunk.
 
   
 
  U 553 has expended all torpedoes and requests that another boat should take over and keep contact.It sank altogether 3 freighters and 1 tanker, totaling 21,000 GRT.  It received orders to remain with the convoy and make contacting reports for the other boats.
 
   
 
  U 558 made contact with a group of stragglers.  Up to then it had sunk the single ship "Vancouver Island", a tanker and a freighter; another freighter probably sunk.
 
                         
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  The boat was bombed and has only a limited diving capacity.  This boat received orders to remain close to the convoy, and to make contacting reports.  It gave the last shadowing report at 1930 that the convoy was in square AL 0272 on an easterly course.  After that, contact with the convoy was broken off.  U 568 lost sight of it in AL 0249 and U 101 reported smoke plumes in AL 0245.  U 558, U 553 set out for base.  An attempt must now be made to find the convoy again, by planning an operation.  The boats received orders, in case no contact had been established before darkness, to continue the search in the sector 750 - 1050, starting at the last reported enemy position.  They were then to go to the west on a wide-zig-zag course to meet the convoy, starting from the 7.5 miles point.  U 502 reported that it could not carry out this disposition order because it was too far away.  It had been driven off by aircraft and was in square AL 5137.  On the 7th October it succeeded in hitting the "Svend Fogn" (14,795 GRT).
 
  The next Gibraltar convoy was expected to leave port on the 17th October.  I decided not only to await the convoy during the course of the first day, but also to carry out an attack with all boats directly after the convoy has passed Tarifa.  I ordered that the area S.E. of Cape Trafalgar was to be the waiting position for U 206, U 563, and U 564, and Cape Spartel the waiting position for U 204, U 71 and U 83.  The boats received orders to try to remain unnoticed when approaching, and to be submerged by day in the waiting position.  If the boats succeed in remaining unnoticed, it will be easy to succeed in picking up the convoy in the night directly after it has left port - perhaps thereby the boats can take full advantage of the carelessness in the convoy during the first hours and the fact that it would not be properly organized.
   
18.10.
  U 101 reported escort vessels and destroyers at 0235 in AL 3942 and later in AL 3951.  It is possible that this is the rear escort of the convoy, which is apparently running on a straight course to the North Channel.  The boat added that it had sunk a destroyer and had been driven off.
   
 
  U 432 reported at 0132 from square AL 2755.  It had therefore likewise moved away and could not reach the ordered position in it sector.  It sank 3 ships in the convoy totaling 25,000 GRT, among them 1 tanker of 12,000 GRT.
 
   
 
  The report from U 101 was the last clue to the position of the convoy.  The boats received orders to continue the search from square AL 3951 in the sector 700 to 1100.
 
   
 
  At 1130 U 77 made contact with a convoy group in AL 0353, course 1000, a little later (14.46 hours) U 432 likewise reported a group in AL 3955, which however was established as a patrol group, according to later reports from U 558 and U 751 which agreed. The
     
                                 
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  boats received orders not to attack this patrol group.  U 77 was driven off from this group which was reported and lost contact.
 
  Apart from the fact that the increased enemy traffic as a result of better weather was perhaps not taken sufficiently into consideration, even the increase in air reconnaissance has now become very noticeable when approaching England.  Obviously it is not yet possible for boats to maintain contact for long.
   
  According to American press reports, the American destroyer "Knarnley" (Kearney) was torpedoed on the forenoon of the 17th October in the area where the convoy battle took place.  On orders from the Naval War Staff, the boats which sank or attacked the destroyer were requested to report whether it could have been an American destroyer.  According to reports from the boats it was a British destroyer.  A reply containing this information (B.d.U. G 5662, Iu.II Ang) was sent to the Naval War Staff.
   
 
  Because of the present situation it is not out of the question however that changes will be made even in the strictest orders and executive regulations.  U 108 (on its way back from the Southern area, in DJ 10 approximately) received orders to operate on the Gibraltar convoy which was expected, if its fuel supply permitted.
 
   
 
  U 559 (Mediterranean boat) reported that it was on its way back.  It has expended all torpedoes, 1 vessel was sunk, 1 monitor (according to the Radio Intercept Service it was probably a gun boat) was damaged by a torpedo.
 
   
 
  U 571 left Kiel.  U 93 left St. Nazaire. U 203 left Brest.
 
   
 
19.10.
  Contact was not made again with the convoy west of the North Channel.  The boats received orders to move away to the west, and to report what fuel and torpedoes they had remaining.  According to reports all the boats in this Group, except U 553 and U 558 which are returning, still have sufficient fuel and torpedoes to be able to be included in a disposition for the next attack.  The operation against this convoy can be considered as finished.  9 boats were set onto the convoy.  Of these, 5 boats were successful, the other 4 were driven off by the escorts.  These 5 boats sank 6 freighters, 3 tankers, and 2 destroyers.  2 freighters were torpedoed.
 
   
 
  Of the boats which are operating at the moment in the North Atlantic, 3 groups will be formed into a new disposition.
 
   
  1st Group, consisting of 4 boats, which were told to proceed to approach square AJ 71 (Belle Isle Straits) on the 16th October, and did not operate on the convoy shadowed by U 553, like the rest of the patrol line S.E. of Greenland.  They now remain approximately in the vicinity of this square.
   
  2nd Group, boats which have recently come into the operational area.
                 
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  3rd Group, consisting of boats which fought the convoy shadowed by U 553.
 
  I decided on the following disposition:
  Group 1 (cover name: Group "Mordbrenner" - consisting of boats U 374, U 573, U 208, U 109) is directly off the Belle Isle Straits in order to pick up an enemy passing through as quickly as possible.
  Groups 2 and 3 (cover names Group "Schlagetod" with boats U 569, U 123, U 38, U 82, U 202, U 84, U 203, U 93, U 85 and Group "Reissewolf" with boats: U 77, U 73, U 75, U 568, U 502, U 101, U 432) in an approximately S.E. direction between Greenland and Newfoundland.   In this area favorable weather conditions should prevail at this season.  Group 2 is to take up position from AJ 5195 to AJ 6915, it therefore cuts the steamer route from Cape Race to the southern tip of Greenland.  Group 3 is to take up position from AK 4875 to AK 8745, cutting the Great Circle from Cape Race to the North Channel, a route which, according to the latest observations, was used frequently by single ships and convoys.
   
 
  By disposing 4 boats directly at the entrance of the Belle Isle Straits, I hope to avoid allowing traffic to go from there directly to the north, without being picked up.  I also hope to be able to act with the boats of Group 2 on reports from Group 1, and think I can keep an eye on a relatively large area with Groups 2 and 3.
 
   
 
  Again today the Gibraltar convoy did not leave port. U 206 sank a 6,000 GRT steamer in CG 9567, therefore it must have been right in the Straits of Gibraltar.  It reported also that large fires were observed to the west.  According to this another boat must have shot and hit a vessel.  Gratifying as this success was, it naturally made trouble in the area through which the convoy must pass when leaving port.  The order to "remain unnoticed" was not successfully carried out because of the sinkings which took place there during the last few days.  It would not have been justified to forbid attacks on the convoy altogether, because of possible future successes.  This sinking, and other sinkings of a destroyer and a patrol vessel during the preceding days proved, however, that boats can still operate right in the immediate vicinity of the Straits.
 
   
 
20.10.
  While en route to the new attacking area, U 84 made contact with a convoy course N.E. in BE 1556 at 1601.  Then it reported a little later that only 4 very fast vessels were concerned.  In that case, it would not pay to allow both Groups (Reissewolf and Schlagetod) to operate on it.  The boats of Group Schlagetod received orders to operate on the formation only if they were in a position where they had a good chance of success.  The remaining boats were to continue to proceed to the ordered patrol lines.
 
   
 
  U 71 (off Gibraltar) has moved away to the S.W. on account of an A/s hunt.  Again the Gibraltar convoy did not leave port during the course of today.  The
   
                             
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  boats are still remaining in their waiting positions.  They are to move away to the S.W. as far as necessary, in the case of heavy A/s activities.  U 206 received orders to carry out refueling from "Gata" on the night of 21st to 22nd October.
 
  According to a Radio Intercept report, the British tanker "British Mariner" (6,996 GRT) was torpedoed in square ET 61 off Freetown.  This could only concern U 126, which must have been in this area.
   
  U 559 entered Salamis.
   
 
  U 577 left Kiel.
 
   
 
21.10.
  U 84 lost contact with the formation which it reported yesterday.  It reported the last convoy position as BE 2168 at 0257.  It fired a three-fan shot, one of which possibly hit a vessel.  U 123 sighted the formation again about 0500, was driven off, made contact again with the convoy, and sank the British transport ship "Aurania" (13,984 GRT).  The boat took one prisoner.  The boats continued their passage to the west.
 
   
 
  U 123 made contact with another convoy, course 30, in BE 2123 at 1624.  It consisted of 22 ships and 3 destroyers.  Speed 7 knots.
 
  Group "Schlagetod" (new group of boats) received orders to operate on this convoy.  Group "Reissewolf" (boats from the convoy shadowed by U 553) is to proceed to the ordered patrol lines, U 85 and U 93 (on the way out) are to operate on the convoy if they are in a favorable position.
 
  U 203 requested a beacon signal, and soon after at 1830 reported the convoy in AL 9791.  Contact was maintained right up to midnight and was then broken off.  The last convoy position was reported by U 82 at 2351 in AL 9816.
 
  The boats received orders to continue to operate on the convoy in the mean line of advance.  G.A.F. reconnaissance against the convoy has been detailed for the 22nd October.
 
   
 
  According to a Radio Intercept report, the ships in Gibraltar have been forbidden to leave port on account of danger from U-boats.  U 83 reported that it saw 2 aircraft carriers and several destroyers, course N.W. in CG 9495.  It added:  1 hit probable.  It is not clear from this whether it succeeded in hitting an aircraft carrier or a destroyer.
   
  U 79 reported from the Mediterranean that it was on its way back as it had expended all torpedoes.  Apparently (the W/T message was picked up slightly corrupt) it torpedoed the monitor "Terror" in square CP 6797, besides that it sank another vessel.  It reported: otherwise all shots missed.
   
  According to this report and the short reports which have been submitted by U 331 and U 559 the situation in the
               
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  Mediterranean seems to be somewhat as follows:  The supplies to Tobruk were carried out by vessels with a very shallow draught (lighters, dumb barges, etc.), which were escorted by torpedo boats and escort vessels.  It is not possible to torpedo vessels like these with the torpedoes which are available (except when shooting with surface runners).
 
  It seems questionable whether the aim of the operation, namely stopping supply traffic to Tobruk, will be accomplished in this manner, and whether it would not be more efficacious to operate in the Eastern Mediterranean off Alexandria, Beirut, etc. (see B.d.U. Gkdos 2950 of 15/10/41) with all boats (at present there are 2 boats off Alexandria.
   
  U 126 reported that it torpedoed in ET 6111 one of the 2 tankers which were sighted.  The torpedoes fired at the 2nd tanker were failures (this report must concern the torpedoing of the "British Mariner".  This had already been learned yesterday in a Radio Intercept report).  The boat also reported heavy traffic in the Freetown area.
   
 
  In a second W/T/ message U 126 reported sinking an American steamer of 7,500 GRT.  THe steamer was steering on a zig-zag course, and was proceeding direct to Freetown.  The American markings were only recognized after the torpedo was fired.
 
   
 
  U 108 entered Lorient.
 
   
 
  U 106 left Lorient.
 
   
 
  UA left Lorient for the Southern area.
 
   
 
22.10.
  The convoy reported yesterday by U 123, was picked up towards midday by air reconnaissance.  The aircraft reported it in AL 9599 and gave beacon signals.  The plotting of these beacon signals did not give the convoy's position clearly.  The boats received the message - position at 1400 approximately AL 9930 or AL 9960, course E.
 
  The beacon signal reports improved later, so that a position could be taken for 1730 hours in the lower half of AL 9930.
  The convoy had therefore changed its course which was determined yesterday, and making use of the bad weather which was prevailing in the area, (wind S.E. strength 7) had apparently turned off in order to escape the boats.  U 85 and U 203 reported that they had moved away to the west on account of the weather, as they considered it hopeless to push on.  U 202 suspected that the enemy was on a northeasterly course and gave chase.
  As no contact had been made by evening, the boats were permitted to move away to the west, and continue their passage to the previously ordered patrol lines.
                   
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  According to an Intelligence report the expected Gibraltar convoy was starting about 1600. It was to pass Tarifa about 1945, and Cape Spartel about 2025.  The boats of the Breslau group were informed of this by codeword.  This serves to call attention to the excellent work of the Commanding Officer in Spain.  A direct attack on this convoy was only possible because of the certainty that I had received reliable reports on the time the convoy was leaving port, what ships it consisted of, and when it was to pass Tarifa.  Today again, as is the rule, these reports came in prompt and complete.
 
  U 129 had to turn back and put into Lorient again, because of damage to coupling.
   
  U 68 reported (on request) from the Southern area, that it had not found any traffic round Ascension or on the way to St. Helena.  It sank a steamer 8,000 GRT off St. Helena last night.  The boat is permitted to operate as far as the Whale Bay area, as far as remaining fuel allows, but has been ordered not to cross the 250 South line.
   
 
  U 371 reported that it was returning from the Mediterranean, no successes.
 
   
 
  U 553 entered St. Nazaire
 
   
 
  U 74 left St. Nazaire.
 
   
 
  U 113 left Kiel.
 
   
 
23.10.
  The rest of the boats have also moved away from the convoy which was steering from the west of Ireland on the way home.  The boats are proceeding to the west to the ordered patrol lines, except U 432, which cannot proceed further to the west on account of the fuel situation and the state of its engines.  It received orders to proceed to the south and, as far as possible, to operate on the convoy leaving Gibraltar.
 
   
  U 82 sank 2 ships in the convoy totaling 10,000 GRT.
  The result of the operation on this convoy was disappointing, as it seemed to be very promising at the beginning.  The reason seemed to lie in the bad weather conditions.
   
  U 71 made contact at 0030 in CG 9585 with the convoy which left Gibraltar yesterday afternoon.  A little later U 564 and U 206 also reported it.The convoy was steering on a mean course of approximately 2700.  The boats maintained contact during the whole day.  This was a noteworthy performance, not to be expected in this area which is within the range of aircraft operating from Gibraltar, and in face of a strong convoy escort (10 escort vessels, 3 destroyers).
   
  The last position report on that day came from U 564, CG 8835, at 2114.  Air reconnaissance did not find the convoy in spite of the several shadowing reports which were transmitted by the U-boats.  This fact is in
           
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  opposition to past experience, where it has often been found that aircraft are more reliable in finding a convoy in a large area.  It shows however how dependent air reconnaissance is on the weather for results.
 
  U 129 entered port again because of damage to its diesel engine.
   
  U 79 entered Salamis.
   
 
24.10.
  U 71 reported the Gibraltar convoy on a northerly course at 0151 in CG 8827.  First, U 564 reported the convoy again in CG 8492 at 0659.  Then shortly after that it reported that it had fired all torpedoes, and had scored 5 hits on a steamer of about 5,000 GRT.  U 563 also reported that it had sunk a steamer in the convoy.
 
  After these reports were sent, contact was broken off.  Reconnaissance aircraft were the first to pick up the convoy again and it was reported at 1110 in CG 7699 or CG 8444 (reported by a second aircraft).
 
  The D/F bearings which were reported were hardly any use.
 
  U 564 reported at 1432 that it agreed with the statement of the aircraft and with its bearing on the convoy position in CG 8456 at 1300.  At 1632 it reported that the convoy position at 1530 was in CG 7398, but that it was not exact.
 
  As no boat had made contact, the boats received orders to continue the search in the sector from 2950 to 3250, starting from the position reported at 1300 by U 564.
 
  The three Italian boats which were in the vicinity were included in the searching operation in this area.
 
  U 71 reported an escorting destroyer in CG 7359 at 2314, a clue that the convoy was probably inside the sector where the search was ordered.
 
   
 
  A special W/T organization came into force from 0800 on the 25th October for Mediterranean boats.  At the same time the boats were to change over to the operational command of the 23rd U-boat Flotilla, which directs the operations in the Mediterranean under the directions of Group Command South.  The events in the Mediterranean will no longer be dealt with in the War Diary of the C-in-C U-boats.
 
   
  The Admiral second-in-command U-boats announced that in the future the fact must be taken into account that boats which have been newly commissioned are only to come to the front 4 months after commissioning (up to now the average was 3 months).  Two main reasons have influenced the making of this decision:
   
 
1) The fact that the boats which are being completed now are no longer as well-built as they were formerly, and that therefore, longer periods will be necessary for the final work; but this cannot be executed with satisfactory speed because of dockers proves to be a
                 
 
 
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Date
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and
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Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
 
  quite vital factor in the conducting of submarine warfare, and a source of danger to the effectiveness of this warfare.
2) Of the thousand torpedo recovery vessels, which are nominally at our disposal, actually only about 1/3 are seaworthy, because they are old and out of date.  This difficult situation in connection with the torpedo recovery vessels means that, in training flotillas, the gunnery training of the men qualifying as Commanding Officers will have to be substantially shortened, and therefore the final shooting practice of new boats cannot be executed in the desired short space of time.
 
25.10.
  U 204 (Breslau Group) did not report, though it was called several times.  It was in the waiting position off Cape Spartel, in an area where, according to reports from U 71 and U 83, an A/S hunt was being carried out.  It must be considered lost.
   
  The Gibraltar convoy was picked up by air reconnaissance.  According to the report of the aircraft and the plotting of the bearings, it was in square CG 7150 at 1500 on a westerly to northwesterly course.  The convoy has therefore been steering since yesterday on a more southerly course than was supposed, so that the boats are to the north of it.  It is hardly possible to make contact before dark.
   
 
  U 71 reported an escorting Sunderland flying over square CG 4788 at 1854.  The convoy must be in the vicinity.
 
   
 
  As no contact was made before dark, the boats received orders to continue the search in the sector 2800 - 3300, starting from the convoy position at 1500 in square CG 7155.
 
   
 
  The patrol line S.E. of Greenland, formed by Group "Reissewolf", has been moved a little to the S.E. (from AK 7296 to BD 1325).  It is intended thereby to pick up the ON-convoy which according to Radio Intercept reports, is supposed to be in this area.
 
   
 
  U 558 entered Brest.  U 552 left St. Nazaire.  U 567 left St. Nazaire.
 
   
 
26.10.
  U 83 made contact at 0037 with 3 destroyers in CF 6959.  At 0115 it reported the convoy in CF 6958.  U 83 continued to maintain contact and reported at 0530 that it had sunk 1 passenger steamer and 2 freighters in the convoy.  She had expended all torpedoes, but still stayed near the convoy, as long as the state of fuel permitted.
 
   
  At 0553 U 563 requested a beacon signal and reported at 0839, that it had sunk a destroyer of the AJ class in CF 6918.
   
  U 564 continued to maintain contact with the convoy.  The last report was at 2331 in square CF 6174, course 3400.  It added that the convoy had made no headway for 70 minutes.
                 
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  About 1500 U 83 and U 71 reported that they were on the way back.  The latter was depth-charged for 7 hours after a four fan shot on a destroyer which missed.  The boat had no success.  
 
  Boats in the North Atlantic continued in their attempt to pick up the outward bound ON-convoy.  For this purpose the patrol lines (Group "Reissewolf") were moved 60 miles in the direction 1450, in order still to be able to pick up the convoy on a more southerly course.  In order to prevent the convoy from getting through during the night, the boats are to set out, when it gets dark on a course of 2150, speed, as far as weather conditions permit, up to 7 knots, and so run along the same route it is presumed the convoy will take.  On the 27th October after it gets light, the boats are then to return to the positions from which they started.
   
  In the Southern area boats U 103, 107, 66 and 125, which were on their way back to the north, received orders to dispose their reconnaissance lines 50 miles further to the west.  The boats will thus get further into the area in which, according to radio intercept reports, the last observations were made, and through which the course instructions led.
   
 
  U 402 left Kiel.
 
   
 
27.10.
  The boats continued to operate on the Gibraltar convoy.  U 564 reported the convoy at 0025 in CF 6171 course N., and led U 563 to it by beacon signals.  U 563 went into action and scored 3 hits on 2 steamers.  It gave continuous shadowing reports, the last one at 2300 in CF 2841.  U 4564 reloaded 1 upper deck torpedo and scored another hit with that on a steamer, the sinking of which was confirmed by U 563.  U 432 requested a beacon signal from the shadower, therefore it must be close to the convoy.
 
   
 
  At 1704 U 74 made contact with a convoy steering on a S.W. course in AL 7473.  It was not clear which convoy this concerned.  It could have been an OS-convoy, likewise however it could have been the expected ON-convoy, which then, it is true, must have been 3 days late, and must have steered quite far to the south.  U 74 continued to maintain contact till about 2300, then it lost contact.
 
   
 
  Group "Reissewolf" was ordered to operate on this convoy.  After contact was broken off the boats were told to carry on the search, starting from the last reported enemy position (at 2255 in AL 7473) on the mean course of the convoy from 2050 to 2750.  The operation of this convoy did not appear very promising at first.  THe convoy was proceeding at a relatively high speed, the boats were far off, the weather was unfavorable.  In spite of that the operation had to be attempted.  In view of the small number of targets which were available, the operation could not be given up on account of unfavorable conditions, which might have changed for the better at any time.
 
   
 
  U 129 left LOrient for the Southern area.
 
   
  U 96 left St. Nazaire.
                     
 
 
- 190 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
28.10.
  U 432, which was coming from the north, was also led up to the convoy by U 564 and 563, which were still shadowing the convoy tenaciously.  This action led to the sinking of 2 ships.
Therefore the boats which were near the convoy besides U 564, which however, had no more torpedoes, were U 563 with an air-driven torpedo and U 432 with 3 electric torpedoes.
  Last shadowing report was from U 564 at 2323 in BE 7945.
   
  The convoy which was reported yesterday by U 74 was picked up again by U 568 in square BD 2682 at 2043.  The convoy was steering 240.  U 77 and U 73 requested beacon signals, which however did not result in any successes, as at 2115 contact had already been broken again in a visibility of 500 meters.The boats received orders to continue the search in the sector 2100 - 2550 from the last enemy position.
   
 
  The attacking disposition of the 4 boats of the "Mordbrenner" Group has not brought any results.  Apparently no traffic was running through the Belle Isle Straits.  I decided to move the boats a little further to the south.  They received orders to steer for square BC 47.  
 
   
 
  U 206 entered St. Nazaire.
 
   
 
29.10.
  The boats continued to maintain contact with the Gibraltar convoy.  U 432 and U 563 attacked, unfortunately without success.  By then all three boats had expended all torpedoes.  They received orders to set out on return to base.
 
  The boats shadowed the convoy tenaciously in dogged pursuit, and this, together with the air reconnaissance which always managed to pick up the convoy again, has meant that all the boats which were at my disposal came to the attack.
 
  The reports of the boats on this convoy comprised:
 
  U 564 - 6 hits on 6 steamers
 
  U 563 - 1 steamer and 1 destroyer sunk
 
              - 3 hits on 2 steamers
  U 83 - 1 passenger steamer and 2 freighters sunk
  U 432 - 2 steamers sunk.
  U 206 and U 71 had to break off early in the operation on account of lack of fuel.
  U 204 is missing.
   
  At 1020 U 77 made contact in BD 2758 with the westward bound convoy.  The convoy was steering on a S.W. course.  U 77 received orders to make shadowing reports but not to attack; the convoy was picked up by the most westerly boat of the "Reissewolf" Group, so the rest of the boats needed a longer time to approach, considering the high speed of advance of the convoy of from 10 to 12 knots, and contact had to be safely maintained till then.
           
 
 
- 191 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  The convoy consists of 20 large ships, nothing is known as yet of the escort.
Contact was maintained by U 77 during the whole day.  U 73 and U 751 likewise approached the convoy about 2000.  The boats received permission to attack.
   
  As no traffic had been observed off the Belle Isle Straits, according to the situation report of the boats, the 4 boats of the "Mordbrenner" Group were ordered to the following new attacking areas:
 
U 573 - BC 4485,   U 208 - BB 6665,
U 374 - BB 6368,   U 109 - BB 6955,
  All 80 miles wide.
 
  Permission to attack in these areas south of the Newfoundland Bank was requested, and the Naval War Staff granted permission.
 
   
 
  U 201 left Brest.
 
   
 
  U 98 left St. Nazaire.
 
   
 
30.10.
  At 0015 U 106 also made contact with the westbound convoy.
 
  U 77 and later U 74 once again maintained contact during the whole day.  The convoy was steering on a course of 2500 with a speed of 10-12 knots.  U 74 reported 4 destroyers acting as escorts.  It heard depth-charges exploding continuously.  In the course of the late afternoon and evening U 568, U 751, U 106, U 73, U 77 and U 502 made reports. U 568 could not continue the pursuit any longer on account of lack of fuel and had to set out on return to base.  The rest of the boats reported that they had been forced under water because they were being hunted with hydrophones, and depth-charged.  Therefore the escort of the convoy must have been considerably stronger than 4, which was the number of destroyers reported.  U 106 and U 73 received orders to push on, taking into consideration their position and the state of their fuel.  U 751 and U 77 because of the state of their fuel and their position astern of the convoy were no longer in the position to make contact again, as the speed of advance of the convoy was 10-12 knots.  They were assigned attacking areas in BD 1418 and BD 1482, as an extension to the patrol lines ordered for the "Stosstrupp" Group.
 
   
 
  U 502 requested permission to return on account of damage to its diesel engine and unexplained loss of fuel.
   
  U 106 sank a tanker in the convoy, the only boat to achieve success.  It also sank a single ship, altogether
                   
 
 
- 192 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  13,000 GRT.  At 2235 U 74 was driven off from the convoy in BC 6582 but pressed on.
 
  Group "Schlagetod" received orders to proceed to the south and to form a new patrol line from AJ 8115 to AJ 9571.  U 123 was released and was sent to patrol the Belle Isle Straits in the square AH 9820.  U 571, U 577 and U 123, which were among the boats coming from home, and U 567, U 552 and U 96 from among the boats leaving ports in Western France, were formed into a new patrol line (Group "Stosstrupp"), which lay to the S.E. at an obtuse angle to the other patrol line of Group "Schlagetod" (from AJ 9821 to BC 3395).  These measures were intended to have the following effect:
 
1) Pick up traffic running further to the south.  Also by stationing U 123 in the Belle Isle Straits and the "Mordbrenner" Group east of Cape Race and Cape St. Johns, the possibility of going round the patrol line in the north appeared to be lessened.
2) Pick up traffic closer to the suspected area of concentration.
3) The boats could work together with the "Mordbrenner" Group.
   
  At 1830 U 81, which was in BF 1887 on its way out, reported that it was returning as it was unable to dive.  At 1559 it was attacked by British aircraft.  Messages by the British aircraft about U 81 were picked up by the Radio Intercepting Service.  The attempt to get fighter protection for U 81 dod not come off, as the distance was too great for fighter aircraft.  There was not a single heavy fighter at my disposal on the whole coast of Western France.  The only help came from the boats U 201 and U 98 which were in the vicinity and were ordered to go to U 81.  U 81 succeeded in escaping and doing repairs which made it capable of diving again.  It received orders to put into Brest.
 
   
 
  As therefore no help could be given to this boat, it only escaped further aircraft attacks through luck and quick repairs on board.  This state of affairs must be altered, especially as aircraft attacks on outward and inward bound U-boats have greatly increased during the last period.  This U-boat route must be actually attracting the British aircraft.An improvement in the situation can be achieved through heavy fighter aircraft, whose removal to the west coast has been proposed by the Naval War Staff.
 
   
 
  U 103, U 107, U 66 and U 125 which were coming to the Northern area from the south, received N.S. lines in the attacking area in the latitude of the northern third of DH along square DG 36, DH 14, DH 15 and DH 16.  They were to wait there for the SL-convoy which was expected in about 5 days, also they were to operate on the tanker traffic from Gibraltar to Central America.
 
   
 
  U 69 left St. Nazaire.
 
  U 124 left Lorient.
 
  U 572 left Lorient.
 
  U 373 left Brest.
 
  U 332 left Kiel.
                       
 
 
- 193 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
31.10.
  U 74 made contact again in BC 5961 at 1025 with the convoy steering west.
As the convoy had kept to its course of 250, the boats of the "Mordbrenner" Group came into a favorable position.  They received orders to form a patrol line from BC 7555 to BC 4885, in order to wait for the convoy there.
  U 74 maintained contact during the whole day (it has already followed the convoy for over 1,000 miles).  Under these circumstances there is the chance (if U 74 can maintain contact during the night also) of bringing the 4 "Mordbrenner" boats up to the convoy during the coming night.  The boats received orders to operate directly on the convoy.
  Shortly after that U 73 reported its position in BC 5919, about 100 miles behind the present convoy position.  It had pursued a fast single ship and therefore had not advanced.  It was hopeless for the boat to go on.  It received orders to return.  U 106 also reported its position quite near U 73.  It received an approach square in the vicinity of the "Stosstrupp" Group in order to join the group there.
   
  U 74 and the 4 boats of the "Mordbrenner" Group were now the only ones which were still operating on the convoy.  U 74 reported at 2340:  Contact has been broken, but the boat is pressing on.
 
  All 5 boats received orders to operate at first on a mean course of 2500.  If this brought no results, they were to continue the search in the sectors from 2400 to 2600.
 
   
 
  At 0534 U 552 reported a convoy in AK 9973, which was running on a northerly course with a speed of 10 knots.  U 567, U 96 and U 101 (which was on the way back) were in the vicinity.  They were ordered to operate on the convoy.
 
  U 552 maintained contact till about 1800.  From 1858 U 567 gave shadowing reports, according to which the convoy was proceeding on a course of 900 at about 2100.  It was therefore running into range of our air reconnaissance, which will be set on to this convoy on the 1st November.
 
   
 
  While operating on the convoy shadowed by U 552, U 96 picked up another convoy in AL 7898 which was steering on a course of 2400.  No U-boats, except 3 Italian ones, were in the vicinity of this convoy.  At that time U 568 and U 502, which were both on the way back to base, were the only ships which were in its estimated direction of advance.  U 77 and U 751 were somewhat to the north of it.  These 4 boats received orders to operate on the convoy, provided however that U 96 could maintain contact.  
    
                               
 
 
- 194 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  An Italian submarine, J 15, likewise made contact with a convoy in AL 8744 at 2100.  This must be the convoy picked up by U 96, therefore one or other of the submarines must have made an error in fixing the position.
 
  U 81, which was attacked by British aircraft while it was in the Bay of Biscay yesterday and unable to dive, reported at 0100 that it was able to dive again.
   
  U 125 - a boat from the Southern area - reported that it was returning on account of lack of provisions.  The boat operated in Mid-Atlantic between South America and Freetown, at a time when there was very little traffic, and it found none.  It returned from an almost 90 day long cruise without having had any success.  
   
 
  U 81 entered Brest again on account of damage to the motor.
 
   
 
  U 83 entered Brest.
 
   
 
  U 71 entered St. Nazaire.
 
   
 
  On orders from Naval War Staff, another boat - U 578 which was on its way out - had to be detailed for an operation in the North Sea.  As a result of this 4 boats at the present time have been nominated for this area - U 132, 576, 578, 752 - boats which are very much needed in the Atlantic, as well as those which were formerly operating there and are now being repaired.
 
   
 
   
 
                                 (Signed):  DÖNITZ.
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
       
 
 
- 194a -
 
     

 


 

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