KTB History and Project Goal  
 
KTB History
          U-boat's maintained a working war diary in pen and ink which was assembled, typed out and copied when the boat returned from patrol.  The war diary (Kriegstagebücher or KTB for short) was one of a number of separate logs maintained aboard the boat.  Others were maintained for navigation, supply, radio (including the Funkkladde), armament, weather (for example Barographenstreifen) and several for engineering (including the KTB Maschine - a list of defects to be made good when the boat returned to port, and the Tauchtagebuch - a log of the trim of the boat which was updated as stores, fuel and weapons were used up).  Copies of the typed war diary, along with track charts (Wegekarte) and torpedo firing reports (Schussmeldung), a collation of radio messages and other attachments were sent to the Naval High Command, BdU Operations and Administration and to the Flotilla.   See BdU War Order 501 below for his instructions on keeping the war diary.  
     
 

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Standing War Order 501 (1943) - Keeping of War Diaries
 
   
          The KTBs are available for research today because Grand Admiral Dönitz ordered the Kriegsmarine archives to be preserved and allowed them to be seized intact by the Allies.  The documents were taken to London where they were microfilmed by the US Navy Office of Naval Intelligence.  Beginning in 1955 the originals were returned to Germany where they are held at the Bundesarchiv-Abt. Militärarchiv in Freiburg.  The US Navy turned over its microfilm collection of Kriegsmarine records to the US National Archives where they are maintained today.  
     
 
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Excerpt from "Guides to the Microfilmed Records of the German Navy, 1850-1945: No. 2  -  Records Relating to U-boat Warfare, 1939-1945"

National Archives and Records Administration, Washington: 1985

Bundesarchiv-Abt. Militärarchiv in Freiburg
U.S. National Archives
 
     
Project Goal
        The purpose of the U-boat Archive website is to enable the reader to share the joy of visiting an Archive and working with the original documents.  The goal is to present material in as close to a realistic form as possible given the limitations of the web.  With bandwidth cost coming down it is reasonable to ask why not scan and post documents just as they are found in the archive.  In many cases the documents are in such poor condition that it is difficult and sometimes impossible to make out the text.  Another reason for not posting scanned documents is that they are not searchable in that form.  To overcome these challenges the documents are transcribed and formatted it to look as much like the original as possible.  In the case of German documents, the goal is to transform the German text to English as if by magic, leaving as much of the look of the original as possible.  
        As a rule, notes and explanations are kept to a minimum.  It is hoped the user will explore the archive and that the documents and photographs will spur further reading and research.  The website is a companion not a competition to other fine and expansive websites like Uboat.net and Ubootwaffe.net and to the many U-boat related books.  To separate notes and explanations from wartime documents, notes and comments are in Arial font and wartime documents are in Times New Roman or what ever font most closely matches the original.
          The KTB Notes pages began as notes for the group involved in translating the KTBs and preparing them for the website.  They have grown with the project into a series of "articles" intended to help the reader understand the content and language of KTBs.  The articles present information that is not readily available elsewhere.  They refer the reader to other websites or to WWII era documents on this website for background information on U-boat technology and operations.   Each article has a Vocabulary section listing nautical, tactical and technical words which may be helpful to others trying to translate a KTB.  All the vocabulary sections have been combined into one long list arranged alphabetically.  
     
 
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