Op-16-F-9
 
 
Preliminary Report of Interrogation of Survivors
 
 
from a German U-boat sunk by U.S.C.G. ICARUS
 
 
in position 34.12.05 N.,  76.35 W.
 
 
at 1714 EWT on May 9, 1942.
 
     
 
May 21, 1942.
 
     
  Number:        U-352  
     
  Size:              500 tons.  
     
  Type:            VII c.  
     
  Commander:  Kapitanleutnant Hellmut Rathke.  
     
  Conning Tower Device:  Coat of Arms of Town Flensburg.  
     
  Built:            Flensburg.  
     
  Flotilla:         Probably 7th if no "USA Flotilla" has been organized.  
     
  Base of Operations:  St. Nazaire.  
     
  Officers:  Klt. H. Rathke, Oblt.(Ing) Teetz (x), Lt.z.See Ernst (x), Lt.z.See (Anwärter) Oskar Bernhard, Fähnrich z.See Ernst Kammerer.  
     
  Crew:        4 officers and 42 men of which 2 officers and 12 men dead.  (List of crew and deceased members appended).  
     
 
Early History of U-352
 
     
          Course of instruction for crew during final phases of construction during June, July, August, and September, 1941.  Life saving gear stamped by markers with date, 15 August, 1941.  Date of commissioning, in October 1941.  Trials with U-boat Acceptance Commission mid-October to mid-November.  During this time U-352 was based on Kiel and made one trip to Gotenhafen returning to Kiel and then to Flensburg where U-352 went into dock for adjustments on or about 28 November 1941.  
     
          Members of the crew had "staggered" periods of leave throughout December, the last to depart returning on or about 29 December, 1941, to Flensburg.  One member received punishment which involved detention on board and loss of leave for getting drunk and being "adrift" on shore.  
 
 
 
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Op-16-F-9
 
U-352 - Cont'd.
     
 
1st War Cruise
 
     
          It appeared probable that U-352 left Flensburg on or about 20 January 1942, and may well have called at Trondheim or some other Norwegian port for final exercises before proceeding to the Atlantic although there is no conformation of this apart from Norwegian money in the pockets of survivors.  She arrived in St. Nazaire on approximately 5 March 1942.  One prisoner stated she had sunk nothing en route but this statement need not necessarily be correct.  More leave was granted to the crew during their stay in St. Nazaire, two members returning to Germany to be married.  At this time the crew were accommodated in the U-boatmen's home.  Left St. Nazaire towards middle of April.  
     
 
2nd War Cruise
 
     
          Were out just over three weeks when sunk.  Proceeded surfaced and submerged.  Frequently sighted aircraft, and once (on May 7, 1942) about two days before sinking, were bombed with two bombs dropped by an a/c.  Two prisoners stated that U-352 sunk nothing at all.  Crew were most reticent about movements but denied sighting USA coast on any occasion.  Radio concerts were permitted on board and Jazz music - of which they were fond - was relayed over the ship's loud speakers from USA stations.  Food was good.  Fresh meat, vegetables and canned fruit being typical dinner.  A small quantity of alcohol was permitted.  Crew were allowed to take sun baths in small numbers.  
     
 
Sinking
 
     
          It appeared that on sighting ICARUS, "Action Stations" was sounded and the crew went to their posts.  Rathke maneuvered into position at periscope depth and fired one bow torpedo.  Shortly after, an explosion was heard.  According to the Commander the torpedo (believed to have been electric) appears to have dived to the bottom and exploded on contact.  This may have thrown up the mud seen by ICARUS.  Rathke's next move was to submerge until he grounded his U-boat approximately beneath the position of the torpedo explosion.  In doing this he may have hoped to avoid anti-sub detecting devices and/or to escape the full effect of depth charges.  The grounding of U-boats in shallow waters may be the required avoiding action prescribed by Admiral U-boats.  
     
 
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Op-16-F-9
 
U-352 - Cont'd.
     
 
Sinking - Cont'd.
 
     
          Prisoners stated that the next thing heard was a hail of depth charges, some of which were extremely close.  There is strong evidence to support the belief that the principal damage caused within the U-boat was the failure of the electric motors.  At least part of the lighting equipment fused.  Gauges and glasses were smashed in the control room and deck was littered with broken fragments.  Lockers were burst open and crockery and other loose gear shattered and flung about the boat.  The crew were bruised and shaken.  A major leak was denied and there appeared to have been no development of chlorine gas.  
     
          Rathke then decided to destroy the boat and ordered all men to put on lungs and lifejackets.  He then blew the tanks, and as U-352 surfaced the command was given to abandon ship.  There was little doubt that scuttling charges were set and detonated as members of the crew admit hearing two muffled explosions while swimming.  All men suffered severely from headache when rescued - a state of affairs which they attributed to the sudden surfacing of the U-boat.  One man was cut by the jagged edge of U-352's bridge fairwater which was already under fire from ICARUS.  The U-boat's gunner stated that they intended to man the 2 cm A/A/ gun on surfacing but were speedily dissuaded by the accurate fire of ICARUS.  
     
 
Details of U-352
 
     
          U-352 was similar in every respect to U-570 captured by the British and renamed H.M.S. GRAPH (a full description of which has already been published).  No additional details of interest was brought to light during interrogation.  
     
 
Raid on St. Nazaire
 
     
          U-352 is believed to have been present in St. Nazaire during the March 27 raid by British Commando forces but those of the crew who were not on leave were quartered in a U-boatmen's "Home" some way from the docks at the time.  Many of the prisoners admitted reading or hearing of the raid but all, without exception, obstinately refused to divulge any information concerning the damage done.  Interrogators were left with the impression that prisoners had been required to swear an additional oath of secrecy before leaving St. Nazaire.  One prisoner stated that he would undoubtedly be stood against a wall and shot on returning to Germany should it ever become known that he had given away any information.  
     
 
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Op-16-F-9
 
U-352 - Cont'd.
     
 
Raid on St. Nazaire - Cont'd.
 
     
          One prisoner stated that there had been no damage in the town but some damage in the harbor area.  He stated he believed that the main lock gates were undamaged but that the British destroyer had exploded.  
     
          The majority of those few prisoners who were persuaded to say as much as a word concerning the raid repeated the German propaganda story that the raid was beaten off before any damage was done.  Two prisoners grudgingly acknowledged that the raid was a "most daring attack".  
     
 
Other U-boats
 
     
          From prisoners statements there is some reason to believe that another U-boat was in the area when U-352 was sunk.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
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