In reply refer to Initials    

 
         and No.  
  Op-16-Z  
     
 
NAVY DEPARTMENT
 
 

OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS

 
 
WASHINGTON
 
     
     
     
 
O.N.I. 250 – G/Serial 11
 
 
 
 
REPORT ON THE
 
 

INTERROGATION OF SURVIVORS FROM U-203

 
 
SUNK ON APRIL 25, 1943
 
     
 
Lt. Kuhn
 
     
     
     
     
     
  June 12, 1943.  
     
     
     
     
 
 
     
     

 

 
 
 
 
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
 
Chapter I INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
Chapter II CREW OF U-203
Chapter III EARLY HISTORY OF U-203
Chapter IV FIRST WAR CRUISE OF U-203
Chapter V SECOND WAR CRUISE OF U-203
Chapter VI THIRD WAR CRUISE OF U-203
Chapter VII FOURTH WAR CRUISE OF U-203
Chapter VIII FIFTH WAR CRUISE OF U-203
Chapter IX SIXTH WAR CRUISE OF U-203
Chapter X SEVENTH WAR CRUISE OF U-203
Chapter XI EIGHTH WAR CRUISE OF U-203
Chapter XII NINTH WAR CRUISE OF U-203
Chapter XIII TENTH WAR CRUISE OF U-203
Chapter XIV ELEVENTH AND LAST WAR CRUISE OF U-203
Chapter XV SINKING OF U-203
Chapter XVI DETAILS OF U-203
Chapter XVII GENERAL REMARKS ON U-BOATS
Chapter XVIII U-BOAT BASES
Chapter XIX U-BOAT FLOTILLAS
Chapter XX MISCELANEOUS
   
   
Annex A CREW LIST OF U-203
   
Annex B ENTRIES IN A CHIEF MACHINIST MATE'S          DIARY AND NOTEBOOK
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Chapter I.  INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
 
 
 
 
        U-203 was discovered on the surface by a plane from HMS Biter on April 25, 1943, at about 1700Z in position 55.05 N - 42.25 W.  The plane dropped one bomb, and HMS Pathfinder immediately continued the attack and heavily depth charged the U-boat.  The boat dived and remained submerged for over an hour but the entry of water through the Diesel exhaust forced her to surface.  The Engineer Officer of U-203 opened the valves and flooded the boat after her crew had abandoned ship.  He and nine ratings were lost.  Pathfinder rescued three officers, three midshipman, and 33 ratings.
 
     
          The prisoners were brought to the United States for questioning.  Although their morale was high and they had a great deal of indoctrination in security, they eventually responded to interrogation.  This report is based largely on their statements.  
     
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- 1 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Chapter II.  CREW OF U-203
 
 
 
 
        At the time she was sunk, U-203 was carrying 49 men.  Her regular complement consisted of four officers and 42 enlisted men, but on her last patrol she had three midshipmen on board for training purposes.
 
     
          U-203 was originally commanded by the famous Kapitänleutnant* Rolf Mützelburg, who met his death on the eighth cruise of the boat.  On her last three patrols, she was commanded by Kapitänleutnant Hermann Kottmann.  
     
          Kottmann was born in Hannover in 1915.  His father was an Army officer.  Before joining the navy in 1936, Kottmann served for a time with the S.S. (Elite Guard).  After he had received his training at the Naval Academy at Mürwik, he was assigned to the Admiral Graf Spee.  He was interned with other members of her crew in Argentina when the Graf Spee was scuttled off Montevideo in 1939.  In April 1940, he escaped and made his way to Chile where he succeeded in boarding a ship which carried him across the Pacific.  He eventually reached Germany via the Trans-Siberian Railroad.  
     
          Upon arrival in Germany, Kottmann was immediately transferred to the U-boat arm.  In December 1941, Kottmann was assigned to U-203 to serve under Mützelburg who, at that time, was her captain.  Kottmann made three cruises as Executive Officer (1.W.O.) under Mützelburg, the fifth, sixth, and seventh patrols of the boat.  Late in July 1942, Kottmann was sent to Memel to take the training course for U-boat commanders.  He thus missed the eighth cruise of U-203 on which Mützelburg was accidentally killed.  Kottmann was to have received command of a new 750-ton U-boat, but Mützelburg's death  
  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  
    *  For U.S.N. equivalent of German ranks, see Annex A.  
 
 
 
- 2 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
resulted in a change of orders.  In late September or early October 1942, Kottmann was reassigned to U-203, this time as her captain.  He was on his third cruise in this capacity when U-203 was sunk and he was taken prisoner.  The day before the sinking, on April 24, 1943, he was promoted from Oberleutnant to Kapitänleutnant.
 
 
 
 
        Kottmann was one of the most unpleasant U-boat captains so far encountered.  He was arrogant, overbearing, and demanding.  It was impossible to conduct a civil conversation with him and he took advantage of every opportunity to be insulting to his questioners.  He is a fanatic Nazi and is best described as a military robot.  Any cultural or humanitarian impulse which may exist in his make-up has been completely sublimated by the political and military indoctrination to which he has been subjected.  When it was suggested to him that Germany would lose the war, he replied that if such should ever come to pass, Germany would immediately set about plotting for the day of revenge.
 
     
          Kottmann's fanaticism and repulsive personality affected the other officers who tried their best to imitate him.  They were all extremely security conscious and refused to talk on even the most inconsequential matters.  The Executive Officer (1.W.O.), Leutnant Joachim Schmidt, entered the German Navy in 1938.  In 1939, he attended the Naval Academy at Mürwik where he was a squad leader (Zugführer).  In 1940, he became a midshipman.  His subsequent history is unknown until he joined U-203 in March 1943.  
     
          The second Watch Officer (2.W.O.) was Leutnant Julius Arp of the December 1939 naval term.  In May 1941, he was assigned to U-569 commanded by Oberleutnant Hans Peter Hinsch of the 1934 naval term.  U-569 had been commissioned on May 8, 1941, and on May 27, Arp was transferred to U-82 which was commanded by Oberleutnant Siegfried Hollmann of the 1934 naval  
 
 
 
- 3 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
term.  Arp joined U-203 in May 1942.  He was to have taken the training course for U-boat commanders in the near future.
 
 
 
 
        The Engineer Officer, Oberleutnant (Ing.) Albutat of the October 1937 naval term, was killed at the sinking of U-203.  He joined the boat just before her last cruise, having previously served on U-86 under Oberleutnant Schug.
 
     
          The three midshipman, Fähnrich (Ing.( Owe Brand, and Fähnrich zur See Joachim Neander and Karl Oxfort, modeled their behavior on that of their captain.  Of the three, Brand was the only civil one.  He had a pleasant personality and had very thoughtfully kept a diary of the last cruise, which greatly aided the interrogators.  
     
          The enlisted men had been thoroughly drilled in security and had also absorbed something of the warped point of view of their officers.  Most of them had made several cruises under Mützelburg and some of the older petty officers had served on surface ships before being drafted to the U-boat arm.  They were unanimous in their admiration for Mützelburg and most of them regarded Kottmann as an efficient captain.  Due to the long and successful history of the boat, the morale of the crew was unusually high.  
     
     
     
     
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- 4 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Chapter III.  EARLY HISTORY OF U-203
 
 
 
          U-203 was a 500-ton U-boat, type VII C, built at the Germania Werft, Kiel.  She belonged to the series of boats, U-201 to U-212 assigned to this yard.  
     
          The boat was launched on January 10, 1941, and shortly thereafter, the crew began to stand by during the final phases of construction.  They were quartered in barracks near the yard.  Kapitänleutnant Rolf Mützelburg was the captain of U-203 at this time and, according to the prisoners, her Executive Officer was Leutnant Moos.  (O.N.I. Note:  Moos does not appear in the German Naval List.)  The Engineer Officer was Leutnant (Ing.) Heinz Heep.  
     
          U-203 was commissioned February 18, 1941, and immediately began the usual series of trials under supervision of the U-boats Acceptance Command (U.A.K.).  These trials lasted about three weeks during which time, the crew lived on the depot ship Hamburg.  The U-boat then sailed for the Baltic for her working up exercises.  She was attached to a torpedo-firing flotilla (Schiessflotilla) at Gotenhafen.  The trials for the Active Service Training Group (Agrufront) were held off Danzig under the supervision of Kapitänleutnant (Ing.) Gerhard Suhren).  Silent running tests were carried out by running submerged at low speed in the vicinity of a destroyer which acted as a listening post.  
     
          About May 1, 1941, U-203 returned to Kiel for final overhaul.  This lasted several weeks and it was not until early June that the U-boat was ready to sail on her first war cruise.  
 
 
 
- 5 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Chapter IV.  FIRST WAR CRUISE OF U-203
 
 
 
 
        U-203 sailed from Kiel on her first war cruise on about June 2, 1941.  She followed the usual course through the Great Belt and the Kattegat and put in at Bergen for two or three days, loading fresh water and fuel.  She then turned west and made for her operational area southeast of Greenland.  Prisoners confirmed the previous reports that four ships totaling 24,000 tons were sunk from an east bound convoy.  They stated that the convoy was unescorted.  Some of the prisoners said that the USS Texas was sighted on this cruise.
 
     
          The cruise lasted about four weeks and, late in June 1941, U-203 put in at St. Nazaire.  She was attached to the 1st Flotilla, which had its headquarters at Brest.  She remained in port only eight weeks or nine days for refueling and loading provisions and ammunition.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- 6 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Chapter V.  SECOND WAR CRUISE OF U-203
 
 
 
 
        U-203 left St. Nazaire on July 6 or 7, 1941, for her second patrol.  Several photographers from the Propaganda Company were on board during this and subsequent cruises.  The made innumerable pictures and gave enlargements to the crew.
 
     
          Prisoners confirmed the details of this cruise as given by Mützelburg in his broadcast interview of August 4, 1941.  The U-boat attacked a convoy in the Bay of Biscay and succeeded in sinking five merchant ships, totaling 31,000 tons, and a British destroyer.  The attack was made submerged by day and U-203 was in turn severely depth charged but no damage was sustained.  One prisoner estimated that seventy depth charges were dropped.  
     
          On returning to St. Nazaire through the Bay of Biscay, U-203 sighted a two-motored plane which was mistaken for German.  The plane was flying a parallel opposite course and suddenly turned and attacked the U-boat from astern.  Four bombs were dropped, but all were wide of the mark.  
     
          U-203 reached St. Nazaire early in August 1941, with all her torpedoes gone and most of her oil expended.  She remained there for over six weeks.  During this period, her Warrant Quartermaster (Obersteuermann), Haupt, received his commission as ensign and became the second watch officer of the boat.  The prisoners stated that he was then about 30 years of age.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- 7 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Chapter VI.  THIRD WAR CRUISE OF U-203
 
 
 
 
        The third patrol of U-203 was her shortest.  She left St. Nazaire in mid-September 1941, for the North Atlantic.  She was out only a few days when a convoy was sighted and attacked.  A tanker and a freighter totaling about 20,000 tons were sunk, and two more ships were hit.  U-203 had fired ten of her eleven torpedoes.  She was ineffectually attacked by an escort vessel which dropped about 20 depth charges.
 
     
          The cruise ended early in October 1941, when U-203 put in at Brest for the first time.  Her early return was laid to the depletion of her supply of torpedoes.  
     
          She remained in port for about a month before sailing on her next patrol.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- 8 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Chapter VII.  FOURTH WAR CRUISE OF U-203
 
 
 
 
        The fourth war cruise of U-203 began in early November 1941, when she sailed from Brest for her operational area in the North Atlantic.  The prisoners vigorously denied that 50,000 tons were sunk on this patrol as had been claimed in a German radio broadcast of November 23, 1941.  They stated that four torpedoes were fired and three or four hits were scored on a convoy but the results could not be observed on account of fog.  The cruise lasted about 20 days and U-203 returned to Brest late in November 1941.
 
     
          U-203 remained in Brest until after Christmas 1941.  Before sailing on her next cruise, Kottmann joined the boat as her Executive Officer.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- 9 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Chapter VIII.  FIFTH WAR CRUISE OF U-203
 
 
 
 
        U-203 left Brest on December 28, 1941, on her fifth war cruise.  There was no agreement among the prisoners as to the location of her operational area - some saying that the boat was north of the Azores while others believed her to have been off the coast of Newfoundland.  All of them stated that two freighters, totaling 13,000 tons, and an escort vessel were sunk, and that ten torpedoes were fired.
 
     
          On this cruise a large turtle was seen swimming near the U-boat.  One of the men stunned it with a hand grenade and then dived in after the creature.  He succeeded in hauling it aboard but only after being severely bitten.  The turtle was taken below and put in a tank in the motor compartment.  It kept spitting blood, however, so it was brought on deck and shot in the neck.  The flesh was removed and that night, the crew enjoyed turtle soup.  The shell was brought back to Germany as a souvenir and later, the red turtle was adopted as the device of the boat.  
     
          U-203 returned to Brest about January 20, 1942, and remained there for about a month.  Toward the end of January, about fifteen members of the crew were invited to Essen, the patron city of the U-boat.  There they took part in a celebration in honor of their captain, Mützelburg, who had recently been awarded the Knights Insignia of the Iron Cross.  The men were met and greeted by the mayor and leading citizens of the town and were entertained at an official dinner.  There was dancing and a floor show, and much beer was consumed.  The men remained in Essen for three days of sight-seeing.  One of the prisoners spoke of having been taken into an abandoned coal mine, some 800 meters deep, which had been converted into a museum.  
 
 
 
 
 
- 10 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Chapter IX.  SIXTH WAR CRUISE OF U-203
 
 
 
 
        Late in February 1942, U-203 sailed from Brest on her sixth patrol and headed for her operational area off Cape Hatteras.  The prisoners stated that this cruise was the boat's most successful one.  All eleven of her torpedoes were fired and five vessels totaling 41,000 tons were sunk.  These were described as three tankers of 13,000 tons, 10,000 tons, and 8,000 tons and two freighters of 5,000 tons each.  One of the tankers was loaded with gasoline which exploded instantly upon being hit.  A second tanker was described as being in ballast.  She was hit with two torpedoes but failed to sink.  The U-boat surfaced and sank her with artillery fire.  Just as the tanker disappeared beneath the surface, U-203 was attacked by two aircraft.  The U-boat replied with anti-aircraft fire and then attempted to dive.  The conning tower hatch could not be closed, however, because of being jammed by an empty shell from the 2 cm. gun.  Mützelburg re-surfaced, removed the shell, closed the hatch, and escaped submerged without sustaining damage.
 
     
          The prisoners stated that once on this patrol the boat was so close to New York that the crew was able to see the sky line through the periscope.  The boat was attacked several times by destroyers but all attacks were described as being poorly conducted.  After having been out five weeks, U-203 was met by a supply U-boat and oil was taken over.  
     
          U-203 returned to Brest the end of April 1942, and remained in port about a month.  At this time, Leutnant Arp joined the boat as Second Watch Officer.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- 11 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Chapter X.  SEVENTH WAR CRUISE OF U-203
 
 
 
          On her seventh war cruise, U-203 again fired all of her torpedoes and sank five ships.  She left Brest late in May or early in June, 1942 and headed for Trinidad.  While on her way to her operational area, U-203 sighted and stopped a Portuguese freighter.  In accordance with orders the freighter sent over the First Officer to the U-boat.  The papers described the cargo as coal.  Not being entirely satisfied, Mützelburg ordered Kottmann and two men to search the ship.  They boarded her and ordered the hatches open only to discover that the cargo actually was coal.  They forced the crew of the merchantman to shovel coal for almost an hour but could discover no contraband hidden beneath it.  When Kottmann returned to the U-boat there was much joking about the hard labor forced on the crew of the freighter.  (O.N.I. Note:  This may have been the freighter, Cunena which was stopped by a U-boat in position 360 45' N., 640 33' W. on June 7, 1942.)  
     
          The prisoners stated that on this as on other patrols, Mützelburg tried to limit his attacks to vessels sailing out of convoy and that he often let small ships alone, reserving his torpedoes for larger game.  They also stated that they were always delighted to find empty life boats in the Trinidad area as these often contained chocolate which was a great rarity on board the U-boat.  
     
          The following ships were identified by the prisoners as having been sunk on this cruise:  
     
          Scottsburg, 8001 tons, sunk in 110 48' N., 630 06' W. on June 14, 1942.  
          Putney Hill, 5216 tons, sunk in 240 20' N., 630 16' W. on June 26, 1942.  
 
 
 
- 12 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
        Sam Houston, 7116 tons, sunk in 190 21' N., 620 22' W. on June 28, 1942.
 
 
        Cape Verde, 6914 tons, sunk in 110 32' N., 620 17' W. on July 9, 1942.
 
 
        Stanvac Palembang, 10013 tons, sunk in 110 28' N, 600 23' W. on July 11, 1942.
 
     
          One of the prisoners gave a graphic description of the sinking of the Sam Houston which was on her maiden voyage, in ballast.  Mützelburg allowed Kottmann to take command of the boat.  The Executive Officer maneuvered the U-boat in a position much closer to the target than was Mützelburg's practice.  The Captain became nervous and ordered Kottmann to fire.  Kottmann, however, waited until he was still closer and finally gave the order to fire.  Several torpedoes hit but the tanker failed to sink.  The U-boat then surfaced and opened fire with her 88 mm. deck gun after the crew of the tanker had abandoned ship.  Mützelburg ordered his entire crew on deck to watch the sinking of the vessel.  The shooting was wild, and Kottmann, having once been gunnery officer on the Graf Spee, manned the gun himself and sank the tanker.  The Master and Engineer Officer of the Sam Houston were brought aboard the U-boat.  The Engineer Officer was described as having been enormously fat and one of the prisoners said that he got wedged in the conning tower hatch when attempting to go below.  
     
          On another occasion, an American sailor was rescued and brought aboard the U-boat.  He was given cigarettes and later put in a life boat.  He expressed surprise at being so well treated.  
     
          On her seventh cruise, U-203 received the largest number of depth charges in her entire history.  The attack lasted about two hours, and the prisoners estimate that about 80 depth charges were dropped.  The lights went out and some of the valves started to leak, but there was no serious  
 
 
 
- 13 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
entry of water.  The U-boat used her S.B.T. to good advantage and finally eluded the destroyers.
 
 
 
 
        According to one prisoner, U-203 was met by a supply U-boat on this cruise, but this statement was not confirmed.
 
     
          Shortly before the end of the patrol, on July 15, 1942, Mützelburg was notified that he had been awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knights Cross.  U-203 returned to Brest late in July and stayed in port for about a month.  Kottmann was detached and sent to the U-boat commanders school.  His place as Executive Officer was taken by Leutnant Hans Seidel.  Mützelburg and Kapitänleutnant Adalbert Schnee, Captain of U-201, were flown to Hitler's headquarters behind the Russian Front where they were given the Oak Leaves by Hitler himself.  The prisoners stated that Mützelburg was never a confirmed Nazi and that this honor did nothing to change his political attitude.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- 14 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Chapter XI.  EIGHTH WAR CRUISE OF U-203
 
 
 
 
        On August 28, 1942, U-203 sailed from Brest on what was to be Mützelburg's last patrol.  Upon making the first dive in the Bay of Biscay, it was discovered that one of the valves in the bottom of the pressure hull had been fastened with only two screws instead of the usual six.  This was quickly rectified while under way.  According to one prisoner, sabotage was suspected.
 
     
          The U-boat had been out about two weeks when the fatal accident occurred to her captain.  In the neighborhood of the Azores, the boat hove to on the surface and officers and men went swimming and played games.  During the course of a game of "Follow the Leader", Mützelburg dived overboard from the bridge and struck his head against the pressure hull.  A few hours later he died, without regaining consciousness.  The next day, U-203 was met by a supply U-boat whose doctor examined the body.  He stated that if Mützelburg could have had proper medical attention immediately after the accident, he would have lived.  Prisoners stated that the doctor was a jovial Bavarian who had the bad taste to joke and make merry at the time.  Mützelburg's body was sewn in a canvas sack and a formal burial at sea was held.  The supply boat stood by to fire a salute in Mützelburg's honor.  
     
          Leutnant Seidel, the Executive Officer, took command of U-203 and brought her back to Brest, arriving there September 18, 1942.  According to one prisoner, he rammed the dock while attempting to berth the boat, slightly damaging her.  The crew was shocked to learn that there was a rumor in Brest that the crew of U-203 had mutinied and had thrown Mützelburg overboard.  This may have been started inadvertently by the crew members themselves, who jokingly  
 
 
 
- 15 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
said, "On this cruise we only sank the captain".
 
 
 
 
        While in Brest, the crew of U-203 was given leave.  The Executive Officer Seidel, and the Engineer Officer Heep were transferred.  Kottmann was assigned to the boat as Captain, Leutnant Röttger of the April 1937 naval term became her Executive Officer, and Leutnant (Ing.) Dörrlodt, her Engineer Officer.  The boat lay in Brest for about two weeks when orders were received to sail.  The crew was summoned by telegram and U-203 made ready for her next patrol.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- 16 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Chapter XII.  NINTH WAR CRUISE OF U-203
 
 
 
 
        The ninth war cruise of U-203 was Kottmann's first as commanding officer.  The U-boat left Brest early in October, 1942, and sailed directly to her operational area between the Azores and the Canary Islands.  Three ships in convoy were attacked on this cruise.  Two were freighters totaling 13,000 tons.  (O.N.I. Note:  One of these was probably the Nagpore, sunk on October 27, 1942, about 150 miles west of the Canary Islands.)  The this was described as a "Q-ship" of seven or eight thousand tons.  The U-boat fired at a range of 2,000 meters with a depth setting of four meters and the prisoners believed that a hit was scored.  A torpedoman stated that five torpedoes in all were fired.  U-203 herself was attacked by escort vessels but no damage to the U-boat resulted.
 
     
          Prisoners stated that on this cruise they frequently went swimming.  Once they were forced to throw hand grenades in the water to drive off sharks.  After this they maintained a look-out and repeated the process whenever necessary.  
     
          On November 7, 1942, the cruise ended but, since repair facilities at Brest were overcrowded, U-203 put in at Lorient.  She proceeded to the mouth of the River Scorff and tied up alongside the right bank in front of the former French naval building where the crew was quartered.  Later she was moved to Keroman, where she followed the usual procedure -- entering the dry-dock and then being moved by conveyor to the open transfer table and thence into the work bunker.  
     
          Although U-203 was still attached to the 1st Flotilla, the commanding officer of the 10th Flotilla at Lorient, Kapitänleutnant Günther Kuhnke, honored  
 
 
 
- 17 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
the crew by presenting six of its members with the Iron Cross First Class.
 
 
 
 
        U-203 remained in Lorient until early December, 1942, when she was moved to her former berth at the mouth of the Scorff where she loaded oil, torpedoes, and provisions in preparation for her next cruise.
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- 18 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Chapter XIII.  TENTH WAR CRUISE OF U-203
 
 
 
 
        On December 6, 1942, U-203 sailed from Lorient and headed for her patrol area west of Iceland.  Throughout the entire cruise the sea was so heavy that the bridge watch had to be lashed to the conning tower.  Added to this, the U-boat experienced trouble with her Diesels and, toward the end of the cruise, was able to use only one engine.
 
     
          On this patrol, the U-boat was one of a group which participated in an attack on a convoy.  Kottmann fire four of five torpedoes but, due to the heavy sea, they all breached and no hits were scored.  
     
          With her oil supply depleted and her Diesels in poor condition, U-203 returned to her home port of Brest on January 7, 1943.  Within sight of the outer harbor, the U-boat ran aground on a rock.  Panic ensued in the forward torpedo room and the men rushed for their life belts.  Some prisoners attributed this accident to a failure to sound often enough, while other thought that it was due to the echo sounding gear being out of order.  The U-boat was able to back off the rock but her keel and port rudder were somewhat damaged.  Due to the damage to her rudder, she was forced to steer an erratic course but was able to make port under her own power.  
     
          The U-boat was put in drydock for thorough overhaul.  The damage to the keel and rudder was repaired, and her Diesels were completely rebuilt.  The crew was given long leave and the captain took advantage of the delay by going to Hirschegg with his wife for winter sports.  The Engineer Officer, Dörrlodt, was transferred from the boat at this time, and Oberleutnant (Ing.) Albutat was assigned to take his place.  The Executive Officer, Röttger, also left U-203  
 
 
 
- 19 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
and Leutnant Joachim Schmidt took over his duties.
 
 
 
 
        U-203 remained in drydock for almost three months and it was not until early April, 1943 that she was ready to sail again.  On April 2, the day before her departure, Brest was attacked by Allied aircraft but the U-boat suffered no damage.
 
     
     
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- 20 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Chapter XIV.  ELEVENTH AND LAST WAR CRUISE OF U-203
 
 
 
 
        On April 3, 1943, at 1600Z, U-203 sailed from Brest accompanied by a mine sweeper and a mine destructor vessel.  As she was leaving, an aircraft attack was in progress and she proceeded at full speed, following a zigzag course.  The passage through the Bay of Biscay was made submerged by day and on the surface at night.  On April 8 at about 1800Z the Queen Elizabeth was sighted in position 470 03' N., 230 29' W.  Prisoners stated that due to the speed of the passenger ship, the heavy sea and poor visibility, the U-boat made no attempt to attack her.
 
     
          At about this time, U-203 intercepted the signal from Korvettenkapitän Otto von Bülow, captain ofU-404, regarding his attack on the USS Ranger.  Prisoners stated that von Bülow did not say that he sank the Ranger (as was asserted in the official German radio broadcast) but merely claimed to have scored several hits on her.  
     
          On April 11, 1943, U-203 was in approximate position 540 N., 530 W. when she received a signal to join an attack on an east-bound convoy.  (O.N.I. Note:  This was probably HX 232.)  The following day the convoy was sighted at 0500 but air coverage forced the U-boat to submerge and she was unable to keep contact.  
     
          On April 13, U-203 was in approximate position 520 N., 400 W. and on April 16, in 540 N., 470 W.  On the 16th of April, she joined a patrol line (Verpostenstreife) off Newfoundland.  
     
          On April 21, U-203 was ordered to join a wolf-pack known as "Gruppe Specht", in an attack on a Greenland convoy.  According to the prisoners,  
 
 
 
- 21 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
other U-boats in this group were commanded by Bëhl, Längerich, Geissler, Claus von Trotha, and Uphoff (O.N.I. Note:  It is believed that Uphoff commands U-84).  Prisoners stated that most of these boats belonged to the 1st Flotilla.
 
 
 
 
        At 0600Z on April 22, 1943, U-203 was depth charged by a destroyer.  On the following day at 0200Z a corvette was sighted in approximate position 550 N., 460 W.  Kottmann decided to attempt to torpedo the corvette rather than attack her with his deck gun.  Two torpedoes were fired but the depth settings were too deep and they passed beneath their target.  The corvette obtained a sound contact on U-203 and dropped several depth charges which failed to take effect.
 
     
          On April 24, U-203 was in position 530 45' N., 440 33' W.  It was on this day that Kottmann received notification that he had been promoted to Kapitänleutnant.  
     
          On Easter Sunday, April 25, 1943, U-203 sighted HMS Biter which, with several destroyers, was acting as escort for two west-bound convoys, ONS 4 and ON 179.  With the thought of von Bülow's claim of sinking the Ranger fresh in his mind, Kottmann maneuvered his boat in position to attack the carrier.  The caps of the torpedo tubes were open and Kottmann was so concerned with concentrating on his target that he failed to see a plane from the Biter, which sighted the U-boat.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- 22 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Chapter XV.  SINKING OF U-203
 
 
 
 
        At about 1700Z on April 25, 1943 a plane from HMS Biter sighted U-203 on the surface and dropped one bomb.  HMS Pathfinder, one of the destroyers which was escorting the carrier, immediately took up the attack.  The U-boat had been caught completely by surprise and was forced to dive so quickly that the Diesel exhaust valve was not properly closed.  Water began to enter the Diesel compartment, and Kottmann was afraid to take the boat below 60 maters.  Pathfinder continued to attack vigorously, and prisoners estimated that over 40 depth charges were dropped.  The S.B.T. was out of order and could not be used.  Instruments were broken by the attack, but the lights remained on.  Water continued to flow through the exhaust valve and finally reached the motor compartment, making the boat very heavy by the stern.  All available members of the crew were ordered forward in a vain effort to regain trim.  In spite of the fact that the destroyer was so close that the noise of her propellers could be heard by all in the U-boat, Kottmann decided to surface.
 
     
          When U-203 reached the surface at about 1830Z, Pathfinder was so near that the prisoners feared she would ram them.  Kottmann was the first to reach the deck through the conning tower hatch.  The rest of the crew followed him and only the Engineer Officer, Albutat, remained below to open the vents to flood the boat.  There were nine other casualties due either to the very cold temperature of the water or to the fact that the men leapt into the water before properly inflating their life belts.  Pathfinder rescued three officers, three midshipmen, and thirty-three ratings.  
 
 
 
- 23 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Chapter XVI.  DETAILS OF U-203
 
 
 
 
TONNAGE.
 
     
          500 tons.  
     
  TYPE.  
     
          VII C.  
     
  BUILDING YARD.  
     
          Germania Werft, Kiel.  
 
 
 
FLOTILLA.
 
 
 
 
        Although based on St. Nazaire during her first three cruises (May 1941 to October 1941), U-203 was always attached to the 1st Flotilla which had its headquarters at Brest.
 
 
 
 
DIESELS.
 
 
 
 
        G.W. (Germania Werft).  The Diesels, being old, could only develop a maximum of about 400 r.p.m. which produced an emergency speed (3 x A.K.) of about 16 knots.  At full speed (A.K.), 13 to 14 knots were made.
 
 
 
 
ELECTRIC MOTORS.
 
 
 
 
        Siemens Halske.
 
 
 
 
ARMAMENT.
 
 
 
 
        Four bow tubes. The stern tube, normal to the VII C type U-boat had not been built into the boat.
 
 
 
 
        One 88 m. deck gun was carried forward.  The 20 mm. anti-aircraft gun on the bridge was said to be of new design with twice as much fire power
 
 
 
 
- 24 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
as the older type.  Although some prisoners described it as a "Revolverkanon" they denied that it was fed by belt or drum.  Several trustworthy prisoners said that the ammunition was fed from a magazine holding 20 rounds.  The tracer ammunition was described as being of a type that illuminates some distance after having left the muzzle in order to conceal the source of fire.  The muzzle flash was said to be particularly well concealed.  The shells were kept in boxes and were fitted into the magazines while under way, usually in the proportion of two H.E. to one tracer.
 
 
 
 
TORPEDOES.
 
     
          Only 11 torpedoes were carried, four in the tubes, six in the forward compartment, and one in an upper deck container.  On all but the last cruise, ten of these were electric and one an air torpedo.  On the last cruise (April 3 to April 25, 1943), four new type "convoy" torpedoes, described as zig-zag torpedoes, were carried.    
     
  G.S.R.  
     
          Fitted.  The Metox set was used.  It was described as having two dials, one graduated from 0 to 100, and the other, from 0 to 30.  The antenna was mounted on an arm attached to the periscope housing and was known as "Kreuz des Ostens" or "Biskaya Kreuz".    
     
  RADAR.  
     
          Not fitted.  
 
 
 
S.B.T.
 
 
 
 
        Fitted.  The ammunition was contained in fine wire mesh bags.
 
 
 
 
G.H.G.
 
 
 
 
        Fitted.
 
 
 
 
- 25 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
K.D.B.
 
 
 
 
        Not fitted.
 
     
  DEMOLITION CHARGES.  
     
          Dynamite for demolition was carried.  
     
  FUEL CAPACITY.  
     
          About 100 tons.  
     
  FRESH WATER.  
 
 
 
        The distiller produced 12 to 14 liters an hour.  The total fresh water capacity was 1,000 to 1,200 liters.
 
 
 
 
CALL LETTERS.
 
 
 
 
        UIL
 
 
 
 
WATCHES.
 
 
 
 
        Five watches were kept daily:  0800 to 1200, 1200 to 1600, 1600 to 2000, 2000 to 0200, and 0200 to 0800.
 
 
 
 
F.P.N.
 
 
 
 
        36449.
 
 
 
 
CONNING TOWER DEVICE.
 
 
 
 
        The coat of arms of Essen, patron city of U-203, was painted on the front of the conning tower.  Below it, Kottmann's device, the Olympic rings, was painted.  It was stated that these rings indicate a 1936 naval term captain.  On the starboard side of the conning tower was a red turtle.
 
 
 
 
UNIFORM DEVICES.
 
 
 
 
        Crew members who had completed two cruises under Mützelburg were
 
 
 
 
- 26 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
permitted to wear a metal U-boat insignia consisting of a silhouette of a U-boat, about three inches long.  On the last five cruises, all crew members wore an enameled replica of the coat of arms of Essen on their caps.
 
 
 
 
NICKNAME.
 
     
          In Brest, U-203 was known among U-boat men as "Zirkus Kottmann".  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- 27 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Chapter XVII.  GENERAL REMARKS ON U-BOATS
 
 
 
 
"CONVOY" TORPEDOES.
 
     
          A prisoner stated that the new "convoy" torpedoes are propelled by air and in appearance are almost identical with the normal air torpedo.  They have four-bladed propellers and are distinguished from the other torpedoes by a green stripe painted on their tails.  They also have an additional setting-gear which is about 12 inches aft of the gyro-angle and depth-setting gears.  This additional device consists of a spindle and wheel which govern the angle of turn in the course which the torpedo follows.  The wheel is only partially visible through a slot in the side of the torpedo.  The prisoner stated that the wheel had red and green stripes and that he could see only three numbers:  80, 100, and 120.  This seems to indicate that there is a 200 differential in the setting of the course.  
     
          Another prisoner, however, described the "convoy" torpedo as follows:  At the end of a straight run, which has been pre-set, the torpedo makes a 180-degree turn of 200 meters and returns parallel to the point from which it had been fired.  Five runs are made, each being of equal length.  The torpedo always sinks at the end of its fifth run (regardless of the length of any of the runs).  The gear can be set so that the first turn of 180 degrees is either to the right or to the left.  All turns are of 180 degrees and will automatically alternate right and left.  The speed of the torpedo is said to be always 36 knots.  No new setting gear has been added to the tubes, and the setting of the special gear which controls the direction of the first turn (right of left) is made before loading the torpedo into the tube.  
 
 
 
- 28-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
  TORPEDO-MINE.  
     
          A new magnetic mine war head, which is available, although it has not yet been furnished to U-boats, is to be used on the convoy torpedo.  This torpedo (with the magnetic war head) will not sink at the end of its run; instead, it will become a short-lived, bi-polar magnetic mine.  
     
  SCUTTLING.  
     
          It was said that two special scuttling valves are opened when a U-boat is about to be abandoned.  One valve is between the forward torpedo tubes; the other, under the electric motors.  Controls for the valves are said to be directly at the valves themselves.  The first stream of water to enter the U-boat is small; the stream gradually increases in size so that at the end of ten minutes the U-boat will suddenly sink.  
     
  G.S.R.  
     
          A rating said that he had taken a ten-day course of instruction in the operation of G.S.R.  The course was given at the Westminster Hotel at Le Touquet.  After this brief course, the prisoner stated that he was able to obtain the bearing of signals within 10 to 15 degrees.  He was trained on the Metox set and wa aquatinted with no other make.  He said that at Le Touquet, the students practiced on signals from a British land station.  He described the procedure of operation as follows:  The large dial (graduated from 0 to 100) is turned until the signal is heard.  The small dial (graduated from 0 to 30) is then tuned until the maximum intensity is received.  The antenna is then rotated by hand to determine the bearing.  On U-boats, however, the antenna is rarely rotated and the boat dives immediately after receiving the signal.  He said that signals from aircraft have a fluctuating  
 
 
 
- 29-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
     
  tone while those from ships or land stations have a steadier tone.  It was difficult for him to distinguish between signals from land stations and from ships.  
     
  SUPPLY U-BOATS.  
     
          A prisoner whose reliability is open to question, stated that new 3,000 ton supply U-boats are being built.  These boats, he said, are equipped with very complete workshops.  He stated that as yet (April, 1943) none has been put into operation.  
     
  PERISCOPES.  
     
          A midshipman stated that a liquid similar in appearance to glue is used to coat the outer lenses of periscopes to prevent water from adhering.  Anti-fog preparation is also used on the ocular of the periscope.  He said that the two main difficulties encountered are oil films adhering to outer lenses when surfacing in oil covered waters, and the entry of water through the packings in the periscope glans.  
     
  BOOBY TRAPS.  
     
          A prisoner stated that he had heard of booby traps consisting of lines running from the control room to a switch on the pistols of the torpedoes as a device against boarding parties.  If the lines are tripped, a circuit closes and detonates the torpedoes.  U-203 did not carry such an apparatus.  
     
  SICKNESS.  
     
          On cruises in tropical waters, U-boat crews get a kind of heat rash in the form of white blisters under the skin.  When these break and perspiration gets into the lesions, great discomfort results.  
 
 
 
- 30-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
  DIVING SUITS.  
     
          The German Navy is said to have developed a new diving suit made of articulated alloy steel parts of 5 mm. thickness and capable of being used at great depths.  
     
  SMALL U-BOATS.  
     
          The 250 ton U-boats are now known as "Filzbienen" (Drones).  
     
  ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUNS.  
     
          A prisoner stated that the old U-boats are not fitted with new double barrel mountings.  Instead, they have a new 20 mm. Mauser which has more fire power than the old 20 mm. gun.  
     
  PATRON CITIES.  
     
          A prisoner stated that when members of a U-boat crew visit the patron city of the boat, they are given special passes.  These passes entitle them to free hotel accommodations and free meals in restaurants.  The bills are paid by the city.  
     
  *DIESEL ENGINES.  
     
          An engine room petty officer stated that the standard G.W. and M.A.N. 6-cylinder 4-cycle single-acting Diesels develop from 950 to 1350 H.P.  He said that the new German Diesels are fitted with cast steel crank shafts.  Bearings are still of the same material as formerly and probably not of aluminum alloy as was stated by one of the midshipmen.  According to the latter, cylinder head breakage is caused by overheating and by some structural defect of design of the head and improper pattern of cooling water.  These difficulties have not been overcome.  The use of vanes on cylinder heads has been discontinued.  
  __________________________________________________________________________  
    *  For an account of routine repairs at sea, see Annex B.  
 
 
 
- 31-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
          The midshipman said that it is the policy of the German Navy to stay with proven Diesels and not to introduce complicated propulsion machinery beyond the capacity of the personnel to operate.  
     
          In present U-boat Diesels (M.A.N. and G.W. 6-cylinder, 4-cycle, single-acting), at extreme emergency speed (s x A.K.) the r.p.m. are 480 to 500 and the exhaust temperature is about 5000 Celsius.  At this temperature, no difficulty is encountered with the vanes of the Büchi supercharger burning out.  Further, at high speeds, there is a close numerical identity between the number of r.p.m. and the number of degrees Celsius of the exhaust temperature.  
     
          The main Diesel clutches on G.W. engines are o the lined conical type and are operated pneumatically.  For emergency hand operation, a hand wheel turning a worm gear, engages or disengages the clutch through additional levers and rods, with about 20 to 30 turns of the hand wheel.  
     
          The outboard exhaust pipe valves are of the seated "plate" (Teller) type.  The outboard side of the "plate" is fitted with a crown gear.  When grinding is necessary to remove corrosion or pitting caused by sea water striking the hot valve, an air motor mounted next to the valve is engaged with this gear, turning the plate and reseating it.  At sea, this is performed about every two weeks and the operation requires about 15 to 20 minutes.  The grinding is done with complete rotary motion, and not oscillating motion as is the case with grinding valves on the Diesels.  
     
  SUPERCHARGERS.  
     
          G.W. Diesels use the geared centrifugal supercharger (Mechanisches Gebläse) while M.A.N. use the exhaust turbo-supercharger (Büchi Gebläse).  The dish type friction clutch with pressure springs is used.  Asbestos woven linings  
 
 
 
- 32-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
  are used in the stern part.  The liner discs for the face of the stern part come ready cut.  The lining for the peripheral part of this member comes in rolls.  The asbestos is fiber weave with copper wires and is riveted with copper or aluminum rivets.  
     
          It is the practice on U-boats to cut in superchargers at engine speeds of 300 r/p/m and up.  
     
  COMPRESSORS.  
     
          The Junkers crankless compressor is now so dependable that electrically driven compressors are only infrequently used.  The exhaust is lead into the main Diesel exhaust line and muffler.  
     
  DIESEL FUEL.*  
     
          According to the prisoners, Diesel oil is much lighter in color and specific gravity than formerly; but it is still called Rumanian gas oil.  One prisoner stated that it was a synthetic oil.  Some difficulty with overheating had been encountered, causing cylinder head breakage.  
     
  LUBRICATING OILS.  
     
          A prisoner stated that the Leunawerke has done research in the field of synthetic lubricating and hydraulic oils.  He said that oils produced for use by the Navy are far from satisfactory.  In the hydraulically steered Voith-Schneider propellers, great difficulty is encountered with the synthetic hydraulic oils dissolving packings.  Petroleum base oils, he considers, are more satisfactory.  
     
          Another prisoner described the Messer Filtrier Apparat, used to filter lubricating oils.  It consists of wire screen plates.  As dirt accumulates, a screw is turned, shoving the plates down and forcing the dirt into  
  __________________________________________________________________________  
    *  For table of oil consumption, see Annex B.  
 
 
 
- 33-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
  a receiver.  He said that a centrifugal oil separator is also used.  
     
  LARGE U-BOATS.  
     
          One prisoner stated that he had seen a large new type U-boat known as the "U-Kreuzer".  He said that this type had two deck guns forward, mounted one behind the other, and one aft.  They were all the same caliber and may have been as large as 15 cm.  There was a double barreled A.A. gun on the platform abaft the bridge and four machine guns on the bridge.  The conning tower was described as larger than that on other U-boats.  A chamber forward of the conning tower gave direct access to the forward guns.  
     
  S-BOATS.  
     
          Drop streamlining is being approached in the design of S-boats.  The new S-boats have stepped bottoms.  S-boats use gasoline for fuel but a prisoner has seen or heard of an S-boat using double-acting high speed Diesels.  Mercedes-Benz is building a V-type gasoline S-boat motor.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
 
 
- 34-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Chapter XVIII.  U-BOAT BASES
 
     
  BREDA.  
     
          In October 1941, the third company of the Ship's Manning Division at Breda was reported to have been commanded by Kapitänleutnant Schäfer.  
     
  BREST.  
     
          Unless otherwise indicated, the following information is as of spring 1943.  
     
          The 1st Flotilla was commanded by Korvettenkapitän Cohausz during the fall and winter of 1941-1942.  In March 1942, he was succeeded by Korvettenkapitän Werner Winter who was reported to be a strict disciplinarian but well liked by the men under his command.  
     
          The Headquarters and all shore installations of the 1st Flotilla are located entirely within the French Naval School, near the southwest corner of the Rade Abri at the head of the West Mole.  The Headquarters are in the center of the facade of the building, facing the water, and are flanked by the officers' quarters on the southwest, and by the warrant officers' quarters on the northeast.  To the rear are the administrative offices.  Kitchen and mess halls are in the southerly unit, connecting the front and rear blocks of the building.  Opposite, is the canteen which also connects these blocks.  The other rambling buildings house the crew.  The hospital unit is to the northeast and is unconnected with the main building.  
     
          Prisoners confirmed that the 9th Flotilla Headquarters are located in the center of the town.  
     
          It was stated that the reinforced concrete U-boat shelters are fitted with steel gates, 4.75 inches thick.  The gates are electrically operated and  
 
 
 
- 35-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
  are closed as soon as a boat is berthed.  A defense boom and net, marked with buoys, stretches in front of the entire length of the bunkers, some fifty meters from their entrance.  
     
          All workshops are located in the shelters, which are high enough to permit the removal of the periscope.  The work is done by uniformed technicians, presumably trained by the building yards.  Frenchmen worked on the docks but were not permitted on board the boats.  It was reported that torpedoes were stored in the shelters and loaded from a small floating platform.  Fuel was pumped directly into the boats from underground tanks.  
     
          Several prisoners said that the boats numbers were painted on placards and hung on the conning towers during the period that the boats lay in the shelters.  
     
          All prisoners were agreed that damage to the base by aircraft attack was negligible,a direct hit penetrating no more than about two feet in the eleven foot thick roof of the shelter.  
     
          A row of barrage balloons stretches along the West Mole in front of the shelters.  
     
          Most of the recreational activities of the 1st Flotilla were concentrated at Flotilla Headquarters.  The men had a motion picture theatre in the building and tended to patronize their own canteen.  Farewell parties for officers and men of departing U-boats were held there.  Among the French cafes, it was stated that Mimi's was very popular.  
     
          Official brothels were numbered 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6.  Number 4 had been bombed out of action, and number 7 is reserved for Frenchmen.  There is a separate house for officers.  Prices varied from 30 to 60 francs.  
     
  GOTENHAFEN.  
     
          It was stated that the approaches to Gotenhafen had been mined by  
 
 
 
- 36-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
  the Russians.  
     
  STRALSUND.  
     
          In early 1941, Fregattenkapitän Schüler was reported to be commanding officer of the 11th Ships's Manning Division in Stralsund.  In August, 1941, Kapitänleutnant Steffen commanded its 3rd company.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
 
 
- 37-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Chapter XIX.  U-BOAT TRAINING
 
     
          A prisoner said that enlisted men qualify to become petty officers by going to the P.O. school (Maatenschule) for six months.  There are two schools, one for seamen at Friedrichsort near Kiel, and the other for technicians at Wesermünde.  After two years of service as a P.O. (Maat), all men are automatically qualified to become C.P.O.'s (Obermaate).  The next promotion, to non-commissioned warrant officer (Feldwebel), it is on recommendation of the captain of commanding officer of the flotilla.  The ranks of Steurmann, Maschinist, Funkmeister, and Bootsmaan are in this category.  
     
          Before becoming a commissioned warrant officer (Oberfeldwebel) a school must again be attended.  The only such school known to the prisoner is at Kiel.  The ranks in this category are Obersteuermann, Obermachinist, Oberbootsmann, Oberfunkmeister, and Obermechaniker.  Men having these ranks are entitled to wear the Portspee.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
 
 
- 38-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
  Chapter XX.  MISCELLANEOUS  
     
          A prisoner stated that the broadcast, Kameradschafts Deinst, was not listened to by the men on U-203.  Several crew members stated that they listened to broadcasts by Gustav Siegfried Eins, both at home and at sea.  They stated that these broadcasts could be clearly heard, even after being several days at sea, and that Mützelburg was greatly amused by them.  
     
          A freighter carrying rubber and American made tires was captured in the Far East and brought to a French port.  So urgent was the need for tires by the German army that these were rushed to the Renault works in Paris and immediately mounted on tireless vehicles.  Just a few hours after the vehicles left the plant, the bombing of March 3-4, 1942, took place.  
     
          It was said that there was a group of four U-boat captains who were Dönitz' special friends and were the only ones allowed to address him with the familiar "Du".  He called them, "die vier Assen" (the Four Aces).  They were Korvettenkapitän Reinhard ("Teddy") Suhren and Topp, and Kapitänleutnant Mützelburg and Schnee.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
 
 
- 39-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Annex A.  CREW LIST OF U-203
 
     
 
 
Name
Rank
U.S.N. equivalent
Age
       
  Kottmann, Hermann Kapitänleutnant Lieutenant
28
* Albutat Oberleutnant (Ing.) Lieut.(jg) Engineering duties only
  Schmidt, Joachim Leutnant z.S. Ensign
23
  Arp, Julius Leutnant z.S. Ensign
22
  Brand, Uwe Fähnrich (Ing.) Midshipman
20
  Neander, Joachim Fähnrich z.S. Midshipman
20
  Oxfort, Karl Fähnrich z.S. Midshipman
18
* Heyn Obersteuermann Warrant quartermaster
  Pucha, Walter Obermaschinist Warrant machinist
26
* Neukirchon Obermaschinist Warrant machinist
  Barkenhagen, Gerhard Bootsmaat Coxswain
22
  Böhm, Gerhard Bootsmaat Coxswain
24
  Gernhardt, Theodor Bootsmaat Coxswain
21
  Breckmann, Wilhelm Obermaschinenmaat Machinist's mate 2cl
23
  Richter, Erwin Obermaschinenmaat Machinist's mate 2cl
24
  Schubert, Karl Oberfunkmaat Radioman 2cl
23
* Büsing Maschinenmaat Fireman 1cl
  Krummbach, Günter Maschinenmaat Fireman 1cl
22
  Reichmann, Rudolf Maschinenmaat Fireman 1cl
22
* Tiefenthaler Maschinenmaat Fireman 1cl
  Karsch, Herbert Funkmaat Radioman 3cl
22
* Gräbnitz Mechanikermaat Torpedoman's mate 3cl
  Weber, Georg Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl
20
  Wolf, Peter Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl
22
  Beyer, Gerhard Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl
19
  Genter, Fritz Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl
21
  Hesse, Gerhard Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl
20
* Hoffmann, Willy Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl
* Heske Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl
  Kuntze, Herbert Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl
20
  Schutte, Werner Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl
22
* Witte, Ewald Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl
  Zöllner, Heinz Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl
20
  Wilbertz, Wilfried Funkobergefreiter Seaman 1cl
20
* Schäffer Verwaltungsobergefreiter Store keeper 2cl
  Gossow, Helmut Matrosengefreiter Seaman 2cl
19
  Greinachar, Alfred Matrosengefreiter Seaman 2cl
19
  Löschen, Hermann Matrosengefreiter Seaman 2cl
19
  Löwenkamp, Hans Matrosengefreiter Seaman 2cl
21
  Neissen, Reinhard Matrosengefreiter Seaman 2cl
19
  Rabenau, Wilhelm Matrosengefreiter Seaman 2cl
19
  Rydzy, Gerhard Matrosengefreiter Seaman 2cl
19
  Drulla, Franz Maschinengefreiter Fireman 3cl
20
  Harte, Werner Maschinengefreiter Fireman 3cl
19
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
Name
Rank
U.S.N. equivalent
Age
       
  Jonhs, Karl Maschinengefreiter Fireman 3cl
20
  Nahorn, Erich Maschinengefreiter Fireman 3cl
20
  Schonhold, Alfonz Maschinengefreiter Fireman 3cl
20
  Grunewald, Helmut Mechanikergefreiter Seaman 2cl
20
  Schafer, Walter Funkgefreiter Seaman 2cl
20
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
 
     
    *  Denotes casualties.  
     
 
Summary of Crew
 
     
 
Officers . . . . . . . . . . . .
4
Midshipmen . . . . . . . . .
3
Petty Officers . . . . . . . .
15
Other ranks . . . . . . . . . .
27
                Total . . . . . . .
49
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Annex B
 
     
 
Entries in a Chief Machinist Mate's Diary and Notebook
 
     
  Fuel Oil Supply  
     
 
Bunker in Pressure Hull #1.   37.9  cu. meters
Bunker in Pressure Hull #2.   32.8   "       "
Diving tank #2  Port   11.3   "       "
Diving tank #2  Starboard   11.3   "       "
Diving tank #4  Port   13.3   "       "
Diving tank #4  Starboard   13.3   "       "
Trimming tank  Port   4.725  cu. Meters
Trimming tank  Starboard   4.725   "      "
Gravity tank   0.7       "      "
 
     
  Lubricating Oil Supply  
 
 
 
Motor oil supply tank #1   3.27  cu. meters
Motor oil supply tank #2   3.23   "       "
Motor oil sump tank  Port   0.8     "       "
Motor oil sump tank    Starboard   0.8     "       "
Dirty oil tank   0.79   "       "
 
     
  ONI note:  It may be presumed that the above tables show the amounts of fuel and lubricating oil carried by U-203 on the patrol preceding the last.  
     
 
Treibölverbräuche
 
 
( Fuel oil consumption )
 
     
 
Fahrstufe
S/M/Std
U/Min
L/Std
M3/tag
M3/100SM
( rate of speed )
(NM/Hr.)
(Rev/M)
(liter/Hr.)
cu.meter/day
Cu. Meter/100 miles
_________________________________________________________________________
           
I KFV          
Diesel-Elec 7.5 250/150 100 2.4 1.333
           
LFV          10 275 165 3.96 1.65
HFV          10.4 350 342 8.228 3.300
2xHFV 14 400 540 13.-- 3.8
GFV          15.5 445 595 14.18 3.845
2x GV          
AKV          
Diesel-elec  6.7 240/150 78.5 1.784 1.170
                             
Diesel-elec 4.3 240/150 95.25 2.286 2.380
_________________________________________________________________________
 
     
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
     
 
( Fuel oil consumption tables from other page of same diary )
 
     
 
Fahrstufe
S/M/Std
U/Min
L/Std
M3/tag
M3/100SM
( rate of speed )
(NM/Hr.)
(Rev/M)
(liter/Hr.)
cu.meter/day
Cu. Meter/100 miles
_________________________________________________________________________
           
I KFV   180      
Diesel-Elec 6 240/150 90 2.3 1.3-1.6
           
LFV          10.5 300 220 5.28 2.09
HFV         11-12 350 333.3  300 8.-- 3.030  2.6 -3
2xHFV 14 390 400 9.6 3.70
GFV          14 450 520     670 12.40 3.571
2x GV   460      
AKV   470      
Diesel-elec  8 340/160 190 4.56 2.375
                             
HFV 13 350 290 6.96  
_________________________________________________________________________
 
     
 
Entries covering repairs made at sea and to be made at base. 
 
 
From a Chief Machinist Mate's diary and notebook
 
     
 
December 7 Both supercharger clutches slipping.  Engines so not attain full speed.
   
December 8 Both Diesel clutches are hard to disengage.  Only with higher air pressure (11 atmospheres).
   
December 8 1 fuel pump replaced on starboard #4 on account of broken spring.
  On starboard engine tension screw sheared on chain driving fuel supplying pump by reason of bolt sheering on split sprocket on camshaft and key stripped.
  On Port engine heads were already off screws.  Put in new screw and re-adjusted chains loosely.
   
December 9 Starboard 1 new exhaust valve fitted, spring broken.  Wire brushes.
   
December 13 One fuel pump replaced Port VI.  Tightened up intake and exhaust valve cylinder heads.  Adjusted rollers loosely.
   
December 14 Replaced fuel pump Port VI.  Set back port supercharger.  Outboard circulating pump on starboard engine repacked.  No packing in it.  Replaced tension spring on intake valve of Port VI.
   
December 15 Port inboard cooling water pump repacked.
   
December 16 Put in new gaskets in both bends leading to port air chamber.
  Adjusted rods of supercharger clutch.
   
December 18 Replaced ring gasket on intake valve Port IV.  Order new ones.
  Lined up lever for lifting off push rod.
  Bearings need rebushing.
  Line up push rod ! ! !
   
December 18 Replaced exhaust valve Port VI.  Bushing had been driven out.  Lubrication had been pinched off.  Recondition inboard and outboard exhaust line flap valves.  Grind or renew intake and exhaust valves and rebush valve bushings (sic).  Recondition vibration dampers.  Port to 60 turn, line up starboard.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
     
 
  Overhaul both Diesel clutches, unclutch and clutch only with raised pressure.  Overhaul all fuel pumps and fuel valves.
  Overhaul both superchargers, clutches and _______ and overhaul clutching and unclutching mechanism.
  Recondition all main and crank bearings, overhauling same.  Pull all pistons, check piston rings, gage grooves and pistons likewise cylinder liners.
  Recondition and overhaul cooling water pumps, knocking heavily.
  Pressure test (?) or renew cooling water lines in engine room, overhaul governor booster starboard, supercharger port leaks a lot of oil.  Take up front side (clanking noise).  Recondition both vibration dampers.  Overhaul both blowing out connections.
   
December 20 Regulated rods of starboard supercharger.  Welded guides (?)
  Gauged driving mechanism (main and crank bearing clearances) on both engines.  "Dusted" rubber ring on cylinder liner starboard 5.
   
December 21 Separated oil port and starboard.  Port 2.27 (cu. meters) Starboard 2.26 (cu. meters)
   
December 22 Separated oil port 1.5 (cu. meters) starboard 2.3 (cu. meters).
  Overhauled spare fuel pump.  Both port cooling water pumps repacked.
   
December 23 Checked oil overflow port supercharger (have it enlarged).
  Checked lubrication bleeders (/) on port engine for leaks.  Starboard same.
   
December 24 Cleaned oil screens on the suction intake port sump tank.
   
December 27 Set back port supercharger.  Can't throw out starboard Diesel clutch.
   
December 27 Overhaul starting lever lock.
   
December 28         (blank)
   
January 1 Packed outboard starboard cooling water pump.  (Renew 2 screws - lateral play in bearings -)  Replaced explosion cover (?) on starboard 6.  Clean fuel oil tanks 1i (inboard) 2i (inboard) likewise lubricating oil sump and supply tank and dirty oil tank.
  Overhaul pressure gauge 2i (control room).  Overhaul pressure water safety valve (control room).  Doesn't blow off.  Overhaul pressure gauge - blowing.  (control room).
   
January 2 Replaced injector nozzle starboard 5.  Replaced exhaust valve starboard 3.  Spring broken.
   
January 3 Replaced exhaust valve starboard 2.  Head stud (?) nut off.
  Tightened all head stud (?) nuts.  Tightened up port 4 lubrication bleeder (?).
  Pull cylinder liner Port 4.
  Exhaust collecting leaks in rear of port 4.
  Check over separator to see if 50 mm.
  Tighten starboard head stud (?) nuts.
  Tighten up port exhaust collection line.
  Tighten up starboard cooling water line.
 
     
  ONI Note:  These repair items are considered routine, but are included in this report in order to reflect the every-day operating conditions in the engine room of a U-boat.  It should be borne in mind, however, that U-203 had never been given a general overhaul prior to diary entry dates.  The boat  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
  was commissioned in January 1941.  In January 1943 a general overhaul was started.  The items noted were corrected.  A Machinist's Mate from U-203 stated the general overhauls were usually made yearly, but in the case of U-203 this could be postponed due to an older and more experienced engine room crew servicing and repairing the propulsion machinery efficiently while at sea.  Only minor overhauls were effected while at bases.  
     
 
Triebwerks Kontrolle  23. 4. 43
 
 
Driving mechanism ( main crank bearing clearances ) check, April 23, 1943
 
 
Clearances in millimeters.
 
     
   
     
 
Diesel Pressure Table at 350 R.P.M.
 
 
January 3, 1942, 0300 to 0400
 
     
   
     
  Notations below tables:  
          Mean indicated pressure - with supercharging  
                  Should be:  10.9 Kg. cm2 (at ?)        Is:_______________  
     
                  Ignition pressure with supercharging  63 Kg. cm2  (at ?)  
                  Compression        "             "            38/39 Kg. cm 2  (at ?)  
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
OTHER U-BOATS
 
     
          The following U-boats were stated to be attached to the training center at Pillau as school boats during the summer and fall of 1941:  U-2, U-3, U-4, U-5, U-10, U-18, and U-72.  This confirms previous information.  
     
 
U-3         One prisoner from U-203 had served on U-3 in Pillau in the period from February to December, 1942.  This boat was attached to the School Flotilla, and was under the command of Lt. Loller of the 1938 term.  U-3 had previously been reported sunk in Kiel Bay.
   
U-72         One prisoner has served in U-72 from February to August, 1942, when it was attached to the School Flotilla at Pillau.  In May, 1942 Kapitänleutnant Meer, a reserve officer, was relieved of this command, and the successor to Meer has since been relieved of command of U-72.
   
U-86         Oberleutnant Schug was confirmed as commander of U-86, attached to the 1st Flotilla at Brest.  This boat under Schug, referred to at the base as "Schug's marionettes", has made seven or eight cruises.
   
          The engineer officer of U-86 is Oberleutnant (Ing.) Dörrlodt, who was previously on U-203.  Before the last cruise of U-203, engineer officers were exchanged with U-86; i.e. Oberleutnant (Ing.) Albutat came to U-203 and Dörrlodt went to U-86.
   
          On one occasion when Schug was approaching a vessel for a torpedo attack he is reputed to have said, "Dar ist zu stark bewaffnet - wer ernährt
 
 
 
 
-1-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
  meine Frau und Kinder?"  (She is too heavily armed - who is going to support my wife and children?)
   
          The device of U-86 was stated to be a red wolf with the tail between its legs.
   
U-116         U-116, a mine laying U-boat, at one time was under the command of Korvettenkapitän von Schmidt.  After this command von Schmidt was transferred to Plön as commanding officer of a replacement company.
   
U-201         Kapitänleutnant Schnee, former commander of U-201, has been succeeded by Oberleutnant Rosenburg of the 1936 class.  One prisoner stated that U-201 was reported lost while under Rosenburg's command.  This boat was assigned to the 1st Flotilla at Brest.
   
          Schnee's device was a snowman and the Coat of Arms of Remscheid.
   
U-202         U-202, formerly under command of Kapitänleutnant Linder (of Long Island saboteur fame), was reported definitely not lost.  One prisoner stated she was in Brest shortly before U-203 left on her last cruise.
   
          Linder was taken ill and relinquished his command to Oberleutnant Poser, known familiarly as "Marquis Posa".
   
U-213         A prisoner who had seen von Varenderff's boat. U-213, (now reported lost), stated that the boats of his series are longer than the 500 ton, class VII C boats, and he was even under the impression that she was a 750 ton boat for this reason.  He said the boat had a series of five or six mine shafts
 
 
 
 
- 2-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
  abaft the conning tower and that the conning tower itself was different from that on other boats in that the after part below the after gun platform had been widened to provide continuous streamlining, as otherwise the hump of the mine shaft would have been an obstacle to underwater navigation.  He said the mine shafts extended from the conning tower to the galley hatch.
   
U-256         The device of U-Loewe is two lions fighting an airplane.  U-Loewe is reported to have shot down an airplane.  This boat is probably U-256, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Odo Loewe of the 1934 naval term.
   
U-435         U-435, commanded by Klt. Strelow, was reported to belong to the 1st Flotilla.
   
U-509         Binas (not in the German Naval List) was reported to be Executive Officer of U-509.    
   
U-558         Kapitänleutnant Günther Krech, believed to be commanding officer of U-558, is still assigned to the 1st Flotilla.  The Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross that Krech received in September, 1942, was awarded upon sinking 130,000 tons, instead of at the customary 100,000 tons.
   
U-566         U-566 formerly under the command of Kapitänleutnant Dietrich Borchert, also belonged to the 1st Flotilla.  One prisoner stated that Oberleutnant Remus had succeeded Borchert; another prisoner stated that U-566 was commanded by Kapitänleutnant Horst Uphoff.  However it is fairly definite that Remus was
 
 
 
 
- 3-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
  relieved of his command because of ill health, which raises the possibility that Borchert was succeeded by Remus, and that Uphoff followed Remus as commander of U-566.  Previous reports stated that Uphoff commanded U-84.
   
          Uphoff was seen in Brest with his boat in January or February, 1943.  She is referred to as Uphoff's "Bunte Bühne" (Uphoff Variety Show).  It was stated that Uphoff was soon to receive the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross.
   
U-582         U-582 commanded by Korvettenkapitän Werner Schulte was commissioned in late summer 1941.  The U-boat Acceptance Command trials were held during September.  During her tactical exercises she was rammed by another U-boat and sustained slight damage forward on the starboard side.  About this same time she helped in rescuing survivors from another U-boat which also had been rammed.
   
          She left on her first cruise December 10, proceeding through the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal, presumably into the North Atlantic.  This cruise lasted about ten days only, when the boat put into Trondheim with the permission of the Admiral of U-boats.  She avoided action with three British destroyers, but was damaged when attacked by a corvette.  Repairs were affected in Trondheim.
   
          On the second cruise she sank a 6000 ton vessel near St. Johns, Newfoundland.  She sighted a Swedish, a Portuguese, and a Red Cross vessel, but claimed no further sinkings.  She returned to Brest about the middle of February and remained there four or five weeks.
   
          On the third cruise U-582 operated off Cape Hatteras and returned to Brest on May 31, 1942.  (Whitsunday.)
 
 
 
 
- 4-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
          U-582 left on the fourth cruise late in June, 1942 and was gone seven weeks.  Thirty-two thousand tons were claimed on this trip, including four vessels of about 8000 tons each and one munitions vessel.  Near the coast of Africa her Executive Officer fired two torpedoes at a ship which did not sink.  He then fired 160 rounds of AA, one hundred of which were hits.  Then he and the Quartermaster boarded the ship and sank it with scuttling charges.  They took on board the U-boat the captain and engineer officer, one of whom was called Brown.  An American flag was carried home as a souvenir of this encounter.  On this cruise U-582 also sank the HONOLULAN.  (O.N.I. Note:  This vessel was sunk with two torpedoes on July 22, 1942, at 18.41N - 22.12W.)
   
          Leutnant Rossmann of the October 1937 Naval term was reported to be Schulte's Executive Officer.
   
U-584         Kapitänleutnant Joachim Deecke, whose boat belonged to the 1st Flotilla, is colloquially referred to at the base as "Schlachrschiff Deecke" (Battleship Deecke).  He was said to have fired on a destroyer with his 2 cm. gun and escaped.  (O.N.I. Note:  Deecke is believed to command U-584, reported lost.)
 
     
 
U-BARTELS         One prisoner sailed with Korvettenkapitän Robert Bartels when he was commander of U-561 in March 1942.  In the vicinity of the Azores Bartels sank two freighters and one American tanker, totaling 35,000 tons.  The same prisoner stated that Bartels sank 30,000 tons in the Mediterranean just before Christmas 1942.  (O.N.I. Note:  This statement should be treated with reserve
 
 
 
 
- 5-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
  since, from other reliable sources, it is believed that by Christmas 1942, Bartels had command of a new large boat, and was not operating in the Mediterrean.)  Bartels has the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross.
   
          Oberleutnant Derkamp (not listed in the German Naval List) was reported to have been Bartel's Executive Officer on one cruise.  Schepp, (also not in the German Naval List), was said to have served as Bartel's second watch officer.
   
U-FIEDLER Leutnant Fiedler, the present commander of Reinhard Suhren's boat, thought to be U-564 of the 1st Flotilla, is reported to be referred to as "Keffeehaus Fiedler".  It was stated that Fiedler had failed to make any sinkings since Suhren gave up this command.  U-Fiedler was seen in Brest just before U-203 sailed on her last cruise on April 3, 1943.
   
U-GEISSLER         This boat, belonging to the 1st Flotilla, is referred to as "Geissler's Schnelle Truppen" (Geissler's crack troops), which may be an expression of Geissler's reputed strictness with his crew.  Kapitänleutnant Johannes Geissler is of the 1934 naval term.  During the last of three cruises this boat claimed no sinkings, according to prisoners' statements.  Her number is said to be over 600.
   
U-HASENSCHAR         A boat commanded by Oberleutnant Rasenschar was reported to belong to the 1st Flotilla.
   
U-HUNGER         Kapitänleutnant Hunger of the 1st Flotilla was seen by a prisoner leaving Brest on a cruise early in 1943.
 
 
 
 
- 6-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
U-LÄNGERICH         Längerich (not in the German Naval List) was reported to be in command of a U-boat.
   
U-OESTERMANN           Kapitänleutnant Oestermann was reported seen in Brest just prior to U-203's sailing on April 3, 1943.  He was very drunk at the time.  (O.N.I. Note:  This contradicts a previous report that Oestermann commanded U-754 when she was sunk off the United States coast in the early part of 1942.)
   
U-RATLOFF         Ratloff was reported to be a new commander in Brest who sank 30,000 tons on his first cruise.  (O.N.I. Note:  This name does not appear in the German Naval List, and it is possible that the informer was referring to Kapitänleutnant Rudloff, who has, however, been an active commander for some time, and was reported to have been at St. Nazaire early February 1943.)
 
     
 
U-BOAT COMMUNICATIONS
 
     
 
CALL-SIGNS         U-203's call sign was UIL which agrees with previous information.  It was impossible to get any definite information about the use by boats of call signs.  One man admitted that they might be used in relay procedure.  It was understood, however, that there are no call-signs concealed in the text, as distinct from Address Groups which in the nature of things often have to be included.  U-boats may always transmit if the channel is clear without calling any other boat or station.  Control will always automatically take down every signal on its frequency.
 
 
 
 
- 7-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
ENIGMA         Whether in Enigma or any other type of signal the clear text is handed to the operator for enciphering.  All the radio ratings were agreed that no type of signal is ever re-enciphered.  The clear text is typed on the machine and is then ready for sending.
   
          The impression was given that the Kenngruppen (the first two groups which are always repeated at the end) are not used to set the machine, the setting being changed automatically at the correct time and the TOO being therefore of great importance.  It appears probable that these groups are coded and contain a priority if required.  The most important evidence of priority, however, lies in the type of signal, --Alpha, Beta, and Enigma messages being given priority in that order.  no priority is visible until some part of the signal has been de-coded.
   
          The signature was definitely stated not to be in the Kenngruppen.  Prisoners suggested that the signature sometimes took the form of the boat's number and other consisted of the Commanding Officer's name.  They stated that it is not an invariable rule always to include the boat's position in every signal.
   
          All the prisoners state that it is not possible to say what the average length of a signal reporting a convoy would be, since the amount of information as to the composition of the escort and convoy varies greatly.  Generally speaking an average of 20-30 groups might be approximately correct.  After a successful attack the result must be reported, but it is left to the Commanding Officer's discretion when to do so.
   
          The Commanding Officer's permission is required in order to start transmitting.  Apart from this fact a signal will always be sent as soon after
 
 
 
 
- 8-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
  it has been originated as the operator can manage.  Prisoners said that the Commanding Officer himself inserts the TOO, and states what type of signal he wishes to have sent.
   
          All prisoners were agreed that all signals are coded on the Enigma machine, whatever their type, and books are not used.
   
WW (WILLI) SIGNAL Two prisoners gave no evidence of disagreement with the assumption made towards these signals by interrogators that they are purely weather signals.  By various indications, however, they confirmed the correctness of this assumption.  The impression was given that they are always weather signals.  These signals always consist of four groups; formerly they consisted of three.  Prisoners stated that the change was made to allow a new category of information to be inserted.  The data given includes wind direction and strength, and atmospheric pressure.  It was not possible to discover what each of the categories is but it was said that they never vary and that each WW signal contains the same information.  They do not contain a position.
   
          The signals are only sent on request, generally at night.  The number of reports requested in a day varies considerably.  Operators only have a chance to estimate the number on their own frequency and state that often none at all is ordered on one particular frequency on a single day.  It is not only boats returning home which are ordered to make such signals.
   
          Prisoners ridiculed the idea that WW signals ever consist of seven groups and end with a two-letter group.  Only Beta signals ever end with a two letter group and WW signals always consist of four groups.
   
ALPHA SIGNALS The three-figure group at the beginning is in no way particular to
 
 
 
 
- 9-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
  one U-boat.  The impression was given that these signals are used only for the sake of priority and speed of sending.
   
FREQUENCIES         Before sailing a U-boat is fully informed of the schedules in force consisting of the Schaltung (group of frequencies) and the frequencies used within it at various times.  A boat always remains on the same Schaltung until ordered to change to another.  She will use the appropriate frequency for the time of day within that Schaltung.  At any one time all the boats operating on the same Schaltung, which corresponds roughly to a large geographic area, will be on the same frequency for both reception and transmitting.  There is never a choice of the frequency for reception, but if, for any reason, difficulty is experienced in clearing an outgoing signal from a boat to the shore, the operator may with permission of the Commanding Officer switch to another Schaltung and use the frequency which is appropriate to this new Schaltung at that time.
   
          The frequency Schedule is sometimes changed when a boat is at sea and notification is received by signal.  This in fact happened during U-203's last patrol (April 3 to April 25), but in the normal course of events and unless a particular reason occurs for altering the schedules they continue in force or are changed according to a fixed scheme which is known before departure on patrol.
   
          Evidence from U-203 and many other U-boats goes strongly to show that while ultra high frequency is carried by U-boats when on trials and working up in the Baltics, it is invariably removed before going out on patrol.
   
          The frequency indicators given by Ottawa appear to be correct.  Prisoners volunteered the information that on her last patrol U-203 used
 
 
 
 
- 10-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
  inter alin PF and SA which are both listed as being amongst the Series A.
   
CONTROL         When a signal is made by control to a U-boat at sea requiring an answer, control will transmit that signal for the correct number of times under the "schema" in use, whether the U-boat has replied in the meanwhile or not.  When possible the answer will be sent immediately on receipt of the signal requesting it.
   
          While it used to be true that some signals carried three serial numbers (Leitnummer) this is never done any longer.  Prisoners would not say what significance signals with several serial numbers used to have but all stated that it would not require much intelligence to figure it out for oneself.
   
          JIA' is the control for the "Küstenkurzwelle" (Coastal short wave) and is possibly near Paris.  It uses serial numbers from 001 - 100.
   
MISCELLANEOUS         U-boats do not listen to allied frequencies or to 500 kcs.  They sometimes, however, hit upon the secret station Gustav Eins by mistake.
   
          It was stated that one boat never sends signals for several others in a group.
   
          A good operator should be able to change from one frequency to another when transmitting in about five minutes.
   
          Two Enigma machines are carried on board, only one being used at a time.
   
          The maximum power input to the final stage (Endanodenstrom) in a 500 or 650 ton U-boat's transmitter is 1500 watts.
 
 
 
 
- 11-
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
         No trouble is said to be encountered with the DC high voltage supply and a hum does not develop in the transmitter.
   
          It is not the practice in U-boats to listen to the "Kameradeschafts-dienst".
   
          It is at the discretion of the operator whether or not he starts a Beta signal with Vs.
   
RADIO OPERATORS         All medium sized U-boats, as far as is known, carry a complement of four operators, generally two senior and two junior.  The seniors must have taken petty-officers' courses and are to that extent, greater experts in handling the equipment.  All four, however, can and usually do transmit.  They are always in two watches, one senior and one junior being on watch at the same time.
   
          Operators are often recognizable by their "fists" and apparently no great effort is made in school or otherwise to discourage the development of a fist.  U-boats invariably use an ordinary key and not a "bug".  Prisoners do not themselves know how they slow down the sending of a Beta signal, but are inclined to think that the reduction in speed is a combination of lengthening the dashes and the intervals.
   
          The senior operators on board have sufficient knowledge to make repairs to a transmitter at sea and, in fact, often have to do so when a boat is damaged.  All radio equipment is overhauled by base personnel every time a boat returns from patrol.
   
   
   
   
   
   
 
 
 
 
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