U-37 - 2nd War Patrol

Translation by Rainer Kolbicz

Departed
Date
Arrived
Date
Days at Sea
Wilhelmshaven
5 October 1939
Wilhelmshaven
8 November 1939
35

 

Click the icon to download a KMZ file displaying the U-boat track, significant events and locations for this patrol.  You must have Google Earth loaded on your computer to view this file.  Download Google Earth here

 

Ships Hit
Date
KTB Time
Position
Ship
Tons
Nationality
Convoy
8 Oct 39
15.05
61°13.5'N, 00°08'E
VISTULA
1,018
Swedish
12 Oct 39
18.11 - 19.45
53°23'N, 14°32'W
ARIS
4,810
Greek
15 Oct 39
08.18 - 11.45
47°48'N, 17°07'W
VERMONT
5,186
French
17 Oct 39
16.31
44°48'N, 14°12'W
YORKSHIRE
10,183
British
HG 3
24 Oct 39
01.16 - 06.16
36°11'N, 07°24'W
MENIN RIDGE
2,474
British
24 Oct 39
08.00 - 09.18
36°11'N, 07°24'W
LEDBURY
3,528
British
24 Oct 39
11.19
35°30'N, 07°32'W
TAFNA
4,413
British
30 Oct 39
11.15 - 12.26
49°11'N, 11°23'W
THRASYVOULOS
3,693
Greek
     
 Total = 35,305
   
Note:  The positions in the table above and in the Google Earth patrol summary are derived from the KTB and in many cases do not match those set forth in authoritative references such as Jürgen Rohwer, Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two or the Uboat.net website.  The goal here is to present the picture relative to the U-boat and not the absolute position that the ship was attacked or sank.


 
 
           
           
           
           
         
                                                                              
 
K  r  i  e  g  s  t  a  g  e  b  u  c  h
 
---------------------------------
 
"  U  3 7  "
 
for the period from
 
                 15 September 1939 to
 
                 24 September 1939.
 
   
  15.09.1939.  
  Wilhelmshaven, Boat vacated.  
          U-boat base  
  16.09.1939 to 24.09.1939.  
  West shipyard Overhaul.  
          Wilhelmshaven  
   
          On board, 9 August 1940.  
  Kommando 2. Unterseebootsflottille.  
                                 I.V.  
                               
                         Korvettenkapitän and  
                             Flotillenchef i.V.  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
           
           
           
  © U-boat Archive 2014  - all rights reserved  
Click the flag to view the above page from the original German KTB
 
1
 
           
           
           
     
    25.09.39 Wilhelmshaven, West shipyard

Change of kommandant.  K.K. Hartmann, Chef 6. U-Flottilla takes over U-37 as Kommandant at the same time.

 
    26.09.39 -         "              " Overhaul in the shipyard, crew on leave.  
    30.09.39  
                                         
                                  Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
    01.10.39 Jade Trial run, not satisfactory due to knocking sounds from both engines.  
    Variable, gentle wind, Vis. good  
    15.15 Air raid warning, no use of the AA guns because the range was too great and own fighters were close to the enemy aircraft.  Flew on course Budjadingen-Schillig.  
                                         
                                  Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
    02.10.39 - Remaining work of the overhaul.  Repaired the knocking sounds of the engines by replacing the engine mount dampers.  
    04.10.39 Wilhelmshaven, West shipyard  
                                         
                                  Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
    05.10.39 Wilhelmshaven  
    08.00 Left shipyard.  Short trial run to Wilhelmshaven Roads.  
    14.00 Gave notice of departure to BdU, received last orders for operation.  
    14.30 EbyS 4-5, overcast, Sea 3-4, Vis. good Wilhelmshaven Roads.  Raised anchor and left for patrol.  
    16.50 After passing Wangerooge changed to war frequencies, boat is ready for emergency diving.  Set course following "Route I" as ordered.  
    20.00 AN 9573 None.  
    E 5, 4/10, very dark but clear night  
    24.00 AN 6957 None.  
    E 6, overcast, Sea 5, moonlit night, Vis. good  
                                         
                                  Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
     
           
     
Sun and Moon Data 05.10.39
 
2
 
   
   
   
   
  06.10.39 Doggerbank  
  04.00 AN 6826 None.  
  E SE 6, overcast, Sea 5, Vis. variable, rain showers  
  08.00 AN 6549 None.  
  E SE 5, overcast (rain), Sea 5, Vis. variable  
  12.00 AN 6513 Off duty crew listens to the Führer's speech to the Reichstag.  
  E SE 5, overcast, Sea 4, Vis. improving  
  14.22 Evaded an object similar to a buoy, floating mine?  
  16.00 AN 6251 None.  
  E SE 6, cloudy, Sea 5, Vis. good  
  20.00 AN 4996 Fix obtained.  Difference between dead reckoning and actual position 61°T - 6.3 nm, despite strong easterly wind  
  E SE 5-6, cloudy, Sea 5, Vis. good  
  24.00 AN 4936 None.  
  E SE 6, cloudy, Sea 5-6, Vis. good  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  07.10.39 Northern North Sea  
  00.30 AN 4936 Sighted steamer on starboard ahead on course 260°.  When closing in spotted Danish flag.  Steamer had lights set.  
  01.55   "       " Turned away on old course.  
  02.15   "       " Sighted steamer to starboard ahead far away, passed fast to port ahead of our bow.  
  03.20   "       " Both steamers out of sight.  
  04.00 AN 4667  
  EbyS 4-5, Sea 4, 8/10  
  07.10 - Sighted steamer on starboard beam, emergency dive to prevent being seen.  It is a Finnish ship on a southerly course, obviously empty.  Submerged until 08.40 hours.  
  08.40  
  08.00 AN 4623  
  E SE 4, Sea 4-5, 4-8/10 (rain)  
  09.41 -
)
Crash dive for aircraft, probably German reconnaissance plane.  
  09.51
)
 
  10.33 -
)
 
  10.41
)
 
  12.00 AN 4354  
  SEbyE 4, Sea 4, 4/10  
  15.10 - Dived for steamer, did not recognize the nationality.  
  16.34  
  16.00 AN 4239 None.  
  E SE 3, 3-4, Sea 2-3, 2/10  
  20.00 AN 2777

Course 295°.

 
  E SE 3, Sea 2-3, 2-4/10

On route to pass north of Fair Isle.  I gave up my intention to use this passage for the following reasons:

 
  1.) Since 20.00 hours the northern lights have grown stronger and are illuminating the boat brightly.  
   
   
   
Sun and Moon Data 06.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 07.10.39
 
3
 
   
   
   
   
  07.10.39 We are on the unfavorable horizon to all vessels coming from the West, South and East, making an unseen passage unlikely.  
  2.)  We would make the passage until dawn only under the most favorable conditions.  
 

Therefore came to course 0° to pass north of the Shetlands.

 
  My move is ordered by the BdU in the radio message 0007/17 on 08.10.39:  
  "To all U-boats in the North Sea from BdU:  
  1.)  Avoid the area around the Orkney Islands."  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  08.10.39 West and North of the Shetland Islands  
  00.00 AN 2639  
  SSE 3, Sea 2-3, 2/10  
  00.17 60°N Passed outbound (lambda = 0° 24.6'E).  
  04.00 AN 2169  
  SSE 3, Sea 2, 8/10  
  05.30 Sighted light on port side ahead, a Finnish steamer with lanterns set according to instructions.  Went back on old course.  Shortly thereafter sighted a suspicious light on port side abeam.  
  06.04 - Dived to wait submerged until dawn.  
  06.xx  
  07.22 - Crash dive for aircraft.  
  07.36  
  07.36 Sighted steamer while surfacing, headed towards and stopped it with a shot across its bow.  Ordered the steamer by signaling lamp to change course to northwest, but this was not understood.  At first the steamer remained stopped, but then turns at slow speed towards our boat that circled the ship at about 2000 meters; consequently fired a second shot across its bow, the steamer immediately stopped.  The master came aboard with the papers.  It is the Norwegian steamer HILDA of Trondheim, empty to the Tyne.   Steamer is released at about 09.00 hours.  To disguise our destination our boat departed on course 90°, later on 50°.  
  08.00 AN 2211  
  SSE 1-2, Sea 1, 2/10  
  09.16 - When leaving the area dived for aircraft.  A second aircraft, sighted while still on surface,  
  10.46  
   
   
Sun and Moon Data 07.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 08.10.39
 
4
 
   
   
   
   
  08.10.39 is apparently searching close to the released steamer, flying low over the water back and forth and after some time drops several bombs far away from our boat.  Columns of water are seen clearly through the periscope.  
  Surfaced after the aircraft and steamer were out of sight.  
  10.55 Shortly after dived for another aircraft.  
  11.15 Aircraft out of sight, surfaced again.  
  12.00 AF 7974  
  As above  
  12.30 Sighted column of smoke on starboard abeam, went on collision course.  
  13.03 Dived, while submerged spotted a second steamer.  
  14.05 AF 7974 Surfaced close to the first spotted steamer and stopped it with a shot across its bow (for more information see prize report of steamer VISTULA - attachment 1).  
  φ = 61° 13.5'N  
  λ =   0°   08.0'E  
  15.05 Sank steamer VISTULA of Gothenburg/Sweden by gunfire. The sighted second steamer went out of sight during the sinking with a course to the southeast, he was obviously steaming towards Southern Norway coming from the Atlantic around the Shetlands.  
  16.00 AF 7865 Course 310°.  
  SE 1-2, Sea 1, 7/10  
  16.30 Came to course 270° after passing North Unst, the northern tip of the Shetlands.  
  20.00 AF 7845 None.  
  SE 1-2, Sea 1-2, 8/10  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  09.10.39 West of the Shetlands  
  00.00 AF 7794 None.  
  SE 4-5, Sea 3-4, 2/10  
  04.00 AM 1138 None.  
  SE 4-5, 3-4/10 (rain), Vis. variable, rain showers  
  07.47 AM 1173 Dived for a bigger vessel and aircraft, sighted on opposite course.  Ship is identified as a battleship, probably of the ROYAL SOVEREIGN class and set up an attack.  Due to high seas could not keep the boat at periscope depth, it moves between a depth of 12 and 18 meters.  The enemy is visible only for short moments as the periscope is awash for several minutes, despite moving at high speed on a favorable course athwart to the seas.  On other courses the variation in depth was even greater.  Made all tubes I to VI ready for a submerged shot.  The enemy apparently noticed nothing, he approached with a slight zigzag course at about 12 to 15 knots.  At a distance of about 2500 meters  
  SE 6-7, cloudy, Sea 5-6, light mist  
  φ = 60° 17'N  
  λ =   4°  23'W  
   
Sun and Moon Data 08.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 09.10.39
 
5
 
   
   
   
   
  09.10.39 and a target angle of 20°, estimated during one short observation, I ordered all tubes ready and tracking.  
  approximately 08.35

After about 2 minutes the boat was back at periscope depth, but not high enough to be able to see the whole horizon, in fact waves washed over the periscope again and again; I ordered "Higher!"  As the outlook became clear again I could not see the enemy anymore, only during a second panorama sweep I recognized him at an angle of 180° at a distance of 4000 meters.  Apparently he had heard the boat, at a distance of about 2000 meters and turned away.

 
  When setting up the attack I was aware of the disadvantage of the high speed.  Several attempts had shown that it was impossible to keep the depth when slower, even at the high speed the planes had to be moved from hard to hard. The only hope was that the listening gear of the enemy was out of order, but the hope was illusionary.  To exploit all opportunities we continued on the observed general course (115°) of the enemy, but in the meantime out batteries were running so low that we could only continue for half an hour at high speed.  
  09.21

Surfaced.  The enemy was still in sight on the horizon, leaving at high speed on a course of about 60°.

 
  The weather has spoiled a favorable opportunity for a success. When will an unescorted battleship come so close again or did the enemy count on the impossibility of a submerged attack due to the bad weather?  In the meantime it gets windier.  
  12.00 AM 3295 It is very wet on the bridge, the binoculars can not be used very well.  
  SSE 8, Sea 6-7, (rain), overcast, rain showers  
  16.00 AM 3272, west of the Shetlands  
  SSE 8, Sea 8, cloudy, rain showers  
  16.55 AM 3271 Crash dive for vessel, apparently destroyer, later identified as cruiser of the C class. To keep the depth is even more difficult than in the morning. Once the boat was thrown to the surface and remained there for 1½ minutes despite both engines on full speed ahead, while the cruiser was in sight about 5500 meters away at 60°.  Under these circumstances we had to give up the attack.  I went to a deeper depth and silent run, as far as it was possible, to avoid being picked up by its listening gear, and was not located.  
    φ = 59 ° 58'N  
  λ =   6°  22'W  
  19.19 Surfaced.  It is a dark night and I continued the journey.  In the meantime the weather became worse, waves sweeping over the conning tower and so much water is entering the boat through the air vents that the main pump has to run constantly.  Radioed twice to BdU:   "Lively warship traffic on ENE courses 80 nm northwest of the Orkney Islands.   Due to  
           
           
   
Sun and Moon Data 09.10.39
 
6
 
   
   
   
   
  09.10.39 high seas, attacks on ROYAL SOVEREIGN ship in the morning and on C-cruiser in the afternoon not carried out."  
  20.00 AM 3333, Northwest of the Herbrides Small movements to avoid illuminated vessels.  The weather does not permit the use of weapons.  It was a day of great disappointments.  
  SSE 8-9, cloudy, Sea 7, Vis. medium, very dark  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  10.10.39 West of the Herbrides  
  00.00 AM 3325 None.  
  SSE 8-9, 7/10, Vis. medium, very dark  
  04.00 AM 2439 No special events.  Exceptionally bad weather, no use of weapons possible.  Bridge watch is strapped down.  
  ESE 8-10., Sea 7-8, cloudy  
  08.00 AM 2458 None.  
  ESE 10, Sea 8, overcast  
  12.00 AM 2616  
  EbyS 8, Sea 8, overcast  
  13.49 - Dived to regulate the torpedoes at a depth of 30 meters.  
  17.35  
  16.00 AM 2642  
  Submerged  
  20.00 AM 2671 The conning tower hatch must be closed.  The watch is strapped down.  
  E 7-8, Sea 6-7, overcast, confused sea, very dark  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  11.10.39 Northwest of Ireland  
  00.00 AM 2735 None.  
  E 10-11, Sea 9, overcast, heavy rain squalls, unusually dark  
  04.00 AM 2759 None.  
  ESE 5-6, Sea 6, 6/10  
  08.00 AM 2924 None.  
  ESE 4-5, Sea 4, overcast (rain)  
  12.00 AM 2941 Position fix, correction of 19 nm at 333°.  
  ESE 6-7, Sea 6, 9/10 (rain)  
  16.00 AM 0195 None.  
  EbyS 7, Sea 6, 8/10  
  17.00 - Dive exercises.  
  18.15  
  20.00 AM 4315  
  SSE 4, Sea 3-4, 5/10  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
   
Sun and Moon Data 09.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 10.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 11.10.39
 
7
 
   
   
   
   
  12.10.39 West of Ireland  
  00.00 AM 4296 None.  
  EbyS 4, Sea 3, 5/10 (rain)  
  04.00 AM 4553 None.  
  N 3, Sea 3, 2/10 (rain)  
  08.00 AM 4821 None.  
  N 3, Sea 3, 3/10  
  12.00 AM 4848 None.  
  NNW 5-6, Sea 4-5, 8/10 (rain)  
  16.00 AM 7217 None.  
  WNW 4, Sea 3, 5/10  
  about  
  16.30 Sighted steamer in the east almost at 0°.  
  16.38

Submerged and headed towards the steamer.

 
  When coming closer identified as Greek ARIS (4810 GRT), it is apparently empty, but is suspicious due to its cleanness and its presence in this area.  She must be investigated.  
  18.00 Surfaced.  The weather just permits the manning of the deck gun.  
  18.11 Set signal "Send a boat" and to emphasize this fired a shot across its bow.  Steamer does not react and we do not see him stop.  It is reported to me that he uses his radio on the 600 meter frequency, reporting being under attack by a U-boat.  
  18.20 Fired a round into the funnel, the crew abandoned ship in the boats and no other radio message was sent.  After they left fired one G7a torpedo set at 2 meters depth at the ship, but it passed underneath because it was unable to hold the depth. The rounds fired into the waterline are not able to sink the ship due to the swell.  The use of a boarding party was not possible because of darkness, the weather and the shell damage to the steamer.  
  19.45 Unavoidably we had to use another torpedo that was fired with a depth setting of 0 meters, which caused the ship to sink.  
  20.34 AM 7241

Questioning of the master showed:

 
  Latitude   =  53° 23'N Longitude = 14° 32'W 1.)  Had brought war material from the USA to Scotland, but the cargo had been loaded before outbreak of war.  
  2.)  Had not followed our signal because it was not understood.  
  3.)  No excuse for not stopping after our first shot.  
  4.)  Radio operator used radio without orders to do so.  
  20.00  
   
Sun and Moon Data 12.10.39
 
8
 
   
   
   
   
  12.10.39  
  20.00 AM 7241 Took two lifeboats in tow, cast them off about 80 nm off the coast at dawn.  
  WNW 3-4, Sea 3, 8/10  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  13.10.39 Southwest of Ireland  
  00.00 AM 7258 None.  
  WNW 3, Sea 2-3, 5/10  
  04.00 AM 7611  
  NW 3, Sea 2, 7/10  
  05.43 Released both boats of ARIS after giving them the course.  
  08.00 AM 7563 None.  
  WNW 3, Sea 2-3, 4/10  
  12.00 AM 7585 None.  
  NW 3, Sea 2-3, 3/10  
  16.00 AM 7842 None.  
  NW 3, Sea 2, 7/10  
  20.00 AM 7792 None.  
  WbyN 2-3, Sea 2, 9/10

Today we received the following radio message (0942/13/86):

 
 

"To all Atlantic U-boats for Chef 6. U-Flottilla from BdU:  Leave it to you to order the move to station "Black" if weather does not permit operations on station "Yellow"."

 
 

I do not use this option because:

 
  1.)  I have not yet arrived at this position.  
  2.)  The weather is getting better.  
  3.)  I expect a good prospect for success due to the favorable area close to the entrance of the English Channel.  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  14.10.39 On Station "Yellow A"  
  00.00 AM 7776 None.  
  WNW 4, Sea 3, overcast (rain)  
  04.00 BE 3145  
  WNW 3, Sea 2, 7/10  
  07.00 Entered the ordered area of operation ("Yellow A").  
  08.00 BE 2632 None.  
  N 3-4, Sea 3, overcast  
   
Sun and Moon Data 12.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 13.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 14.10.39
 
9
 
   
   
   
   
  14.10.39  
  12.00 BE 2656 None.  
  N 4-5, Sea 4, 5-8/10, (rain)  
  16.00 BE 2689 None.  
  NNE 4, Sea 3, 6/10  
  16.31 - Test dive and exercises.  
  17.17  
  20.00 BE 2928 None.  
  NNW 2-3, Sea 2-3, 6/10-overcast  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  15.10.39 South of Position "Yellow A"  
  00.00 BE 2954 None.  
  NNW 3, Sea 2, 6/10  
  04.00 BE 2984 None.  
  NbyW 2-3, Sea 2, 7/10  
  07.29 BE 5343, South of the operations area Yellow A Sighted steamer to the southeast, turned towards to stop it. Steamer tries to escape and sends radio messages on 600 meter frequency.  French Steamer VERMONT.  
  NNW 2-3, cloudy-overcast, Sea 2, Vis. good  
  08.18 First shot across the bow, steamer does not stop.  
  08.24 Second shot across the bow, steamer raises the French flag and hastily launches lifeboats, one of them swamps and several men end up in the water.  Papers were handed over (for more information see the prize report).  
  08.37 Boarding party went on board, but the scuttling charges did not explode, so I fired one G7a torpedo set to a depth of 1 meter because we had already lost enough time and there was still the possibility that the destruction of the ship would be interrupted.  
   
  11.45 BE 5349 Hastened the sinking by firing a few rounds from the 10.5 cm deck gun, the steamer sank by the stern (5186 GRT).  
  phi = 47° 48'N  
  lambda = 17° 07'W  
  12.00 BE 5349 None.  
  NNW 3-4, Sea 3, 6/10  
  16.00 BE 5348 About 16.00 and 16.30 hours columns of smoke were reported which disappeared when coming closer.  Apparently they were water spouts.  
  NNE 2, Sea 2, 5/10  
  17.26 - Test dive and exercises.  
  17.40  
  20.00 BE 5348 None.  
  N 2-3, Sea 2, 6/10  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
   
Sun and Moon Data 14.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 15.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 16.10.39
 
10
 
   
   
   
   
  16.10.39 South of Station Yellow A  
  00.00 BE 5379 None.  
  NE 3, Sea 2-3, 6/10 (rain)  
  04.00 BE 5348 None.  
  NNE 4-5, Sea 3-4, 5/10  
  08.00 BE 5379 None.  
  NNE 4-5, Sea 3-4, 5/10  
  12.00 BE 5651 None.  
  NE 6, Sea 5, 1/10  
  14.13 - Dived to regulate the torpedoes.  
  15.37  
  16.00 BE 5686 None.  
  ENE 5, Sea 4-5, 9/10  
  20.00 BE 5961 None.  
  ENE 5, Sea 4, 5/10  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  17.10.39 Northeast of Cape Finisterre  
  00.00 BE 5998 None.  
  NE 5, Sea 4, 5/10  
  04.00 BE 9147 None.  
  E 4, Sea 3, 7/10  
  05.13

Sighted steamer with set lights.  Followed it on the dark horizon and ordered the steamer to stop by the signaling lamp.  The first officer arrived with the papers - assessment:

 
  1.)  Danish steamer ARGENTINA from Buenos Aires - Montevideo - Santos - Las Palmas - Copenhagen going north around the Shetlands.  
  2.)  No contraband aboard:  Neutral ship with neutral cargo and neutral destination.  
  07.32 Released steamer.  
  08.00 BE 9149 None.  
  E 3, Sea 2-3, 5/10  
  10.00 Operated on convoy report from U-46.  
  12.00 BE 9186  
  ESE 4, Sea 3, 3/10  
  15.30 BE 9274 Convoy in sight as planned at an acute angle.  
  EbyN 3-4, Sea 3, 3/10, a little haze on the horizon  
   
   
Sun and Moon Data 16.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 17.10.39
 
11
 
   
   
   
   
  17.10.39  
  15.35 Dived and set up attack.  Convoy consists of about 14 steamers in four columns, escorted by 4 to 6 destroyers.  The steamers are all big, hardly one under 5000 GRT.  My intention is to attack from the south, out of the sun, first firing the stern and then the bow torpedoes.  The plan does not work as the ships turn and I find myself in the middle of the convoy.  
  16.31 BE 9272 Fire a double shot from both stern torpedo tubes at the first steamer of a column in the middle (4 masts, long funnel, painted grey, heavily laden, probably YORKSHIRE (10200 grt), LANCASHIRE (9500 GRT) or OXFORDSHIRE (8600 GRT)).  After 30 and 35 seconds there were two heavy detonations.  The attempt to attack with the bow torpedoes is unsuccessful as the periscope gets awash and the boat is not under control fast enough, thus I went deeper to avoid being rammed and passed under the main convoy to the north.  After about 8 minutes heard the first series of depth charges, followed by others during the next 20 minutes, in all 40 - 50 charges.  They were all dropped quite far away, while our boat was running silent at a depth of 70 meters.  
  phi = 44° 48'N  
  lambda = 14° 12'W  
  17.00 According to hydrophone bearings we have passed the convoy and I steered the boat to a more shallow depth. Unusual and unpleasant purring and rumbling noises are heard in the boat at a depth of about 30 meters which are unexplainable and prompt me to get back to the old depth quickly.  
  17.30 Went to periscope depth.  At the sinking position - about 3 nm away - are three destroyers, apparently picking up survivors.  The convoy is scattered, from east over south to northwest, everywhere there are steamer's columns of smoke visible.  At a distance of about 8000 meters is a tanker on which I operate submerged, but I can't get closer because it turns away on a zigzag course to the north, as do two other steamers while the other steamers apparently regroup in the southeast close to the destroyers.  
  18.17 Because the steamers leaving northwards looked big and valuable I decided to chase them after surfacing. Unfortunately the closest one was soon identified as American INDEPENDENCE HALL as he set lights and rescued survivors of a ship sunk by U-46.  
  18.55 As we had no time to spare and to get away from the destroyers I passed very close to the American and chased the other two steamers, which had been lost from sight at about 0°.  
  19.35 Exchange of recognition signals with U-46, short conversation by megaphone.  U-46 still has the tanker in sight, that's why I ordered him to chase it while I continue more to the west but without success.  The steamers seemed to be very fast, at least 14 knots.  
  20.00 BE 9219  
  NE 3-4, Sea 3, 2/10  
   
Sun and Moon Data 17.10.39
 
12
 
   
   
   
   
  17.10.39 I knew that the main body of the convoy was still south and east of me, so at 21.00 hours I ordered the Atlantic boats to form a patrol line to get in contact again.  Radio message at 21.20 hours to U-45, U-48, U-42, U-37 and U-46:  
  "Form patrol line from 6677 to 9334 in grid BE at 06.00 hours, 240°, 9 knots."   
                                             Flottillenchef.  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  18.10.39 North of Cape Finisterre  
  00.00 BE 9232  
  ENE 4, Sea 3, 9/10  
  03.15

U-48 gained contact again, to be sure I ordered all boats to operate on this enemy.  Radio message at 04.30 hours to U-45, U-48, U-42 and U-46:

 
  "Operate on the enemy reported by U-48."   
                                       Flotilla Commander.  
  U-37 operates on the continually good contact reports. Unfortunately the position fix of the morning shows an unexplainable difference.  Correction of 28 nm at 240°, now U-37 is astern of the enemy instead of port side ahead.  
  07.00 BE 6839 However at dawn sighted on port side ahead columns of smoke from several steamers.  Soon we realized that they were stragglers from the convoy that tried to rejoin.  We headed for them at high speed.  
  NE 4-5, Sea 4, 2/10  
  About 07.30 The steamer began sending SOS signals on the 600 meter frequency, but due to the swell we can not use our low mounted deck gun yet.  The boat has to get closer first to use the deck gun effectively at a lower speed, this will be possible at about 07.50 hours.  It is therefore ordered:   "Deck gun crew should get ready, wait below in readiness of a dive!"  
  07.45 Destroyers appeared out of the dark horizon in the west, and soon opened fire with guns of about 12 cm from a great distance of about 12 km.  The impacts fell short at first, but as they fell closer the boat dived and went to 30 meters depth.  
  07.47 Silent run.  
  08.05 A destroyer passes over the boat and stops nearby, the anticipated depth charges did not come.  
           
   
Sun and Moon Data 17.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 18.10.39
 
13
 
   
   
   
   
  18.10.39 Some time later about 12 depth charges were dropped with pauses in between at great distance.  However the destroyers stayed in the area, later together with aircraft, and kept the boat submerged.  
  10.54 - BE 6839 Surfaced, immediately afterwards aircraft appeared and forced us to dive.  
  11.05  
  13.00

Surfaced, observed the last destroyers and aircraft disappearing to the northeast.

 
 

Realizing that we were now in the zone of heavy surveillance at the entrance of the English Channel - 300 nm away from Brest - and to reach the convoy after losing another 5 hours is no longer possible, I decided to leave for station "Black".

 
 

This first day of combat taught me the following:

 
 
1.)
The depth keeping is not yet fully adequate in every situation during the use of the torpedo weapon in combat.  Conclusion:  In future the convoy must be attacked from outside.  This form of attack is very unfavorable if there are only G7a torpedoes available, with those one should choose a firing position within the convoy where the swirls of the propeller and the movements of the steamers will support the escape of the boat.  
 
2.)
The earlier navigational error is unexplained.  I had full confidence in the navigator due to previous experiences and after checking the fix obtained by astronomical observation myself.  
 
3.)
After this convoy had lost three steamers the move of the operational area seems to be reasonable.  
 
4.)
The location devices of the British seem not to be fully ready for combat yet.  
 
5.)
The convoy yesterday made changes of course by moving each column, but the ships steamed badly in the wake line, at least one of them was always at angle 0°.  Most of the destroyers were aft, it is possible that the convoy carried out a reverse movement because instead steaming on a northeasterly course it was steering on a westerly course.  
 
6.)
The strange purring noises in the boat possibly came from minesweeping gear towed by independent steamers.  
  18.10.39  
  16.00 BE 6883 None.  
  ENE 3, Sea 2-3, 5/10  
  20.00 BE 9261 None.  
  NE 3, Sea 2-3  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  19.10.39 Northeast of Cape Finisterre  
  00.00 BE 9291 None.  
  ENE 2, Sea 2-3, 9/10 (rain)  
  04.00 BE 9535 None.  
  NbyE 3-4, Sea 2-3, 7/10  
  08.00 BE 9565 Two contact reports from U-46, but they were not enough to carry out a hunt.  That's why I did not run at high speed at the beginning, but rather moved at average speed until evening.  Because we did not spot anything until dusk I went back to cruising speed.  
  NE 4-5, Sea 3, 6/10  
  12.00 BE 9677  
  NE 5, Sea 4, 8/10  
  16.00 BE 9984 As it was the case on 17 October one should send signals on the same frequency after the first contact reports  
  NE 4-5, Sea 3, 2/10  
  20.00 CG 1358  
  NNE 4-5, Sea 3, 2/10  
   
Sun and Moon Data 18.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 19.10.39
 
14
 
   
   
   
   
  19.10.39 (18.28 meters), which other U-boats can only hear.  I therefore ordered U-46 to stay on the old frequency to prevent delays due to re-routing over very low frequency.  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  20.10.39 West Coast of Portugal  
  00.00 CG 1634 None.  
  NE 3-4, Sea 3, 8/10  
  04.00 CG 2474 None.  
  NNE 3, Sea 2, 5/10  
  08.00 CG 2718 None.  
  NE 0-1, Sea 0, blue sky  
  12.00 CG 2784 None.  
  SW 0-1, Sea 0, blue sky  
  15.30 - CG 5124 Sighted sailing vessel in southwest and headed towards it.  It is the schooner LUISA of Santander with salt from Cadiz to Corunna.  Released.  
  16.27  
  16.00 CG 5124  
  WbyN 1, Sea 0, blue sky  
  20.00 CG 5185 None.  
  NNE 1, Sea 0-1, 1/10                                      
   
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  21.10.39 Portuguese West Coast  
  00.00 CG 5461  
  NE 1, Sea 0-1, 4/10  
  04.00 CG 5495 During the morning stopped the Danish steamer FREDENSBORG, loaded with phosphates from Safi (Morocco) to Fredericia.  
  NE 2-3, Sea 1-2, 6/10  
  08.00 CG 5841  
  NNE 3-4, Sea 2-3, light swell, 6/10  
  12.00 CG 5848  
  NNE 4-5, Sea 3-4, 1/10  
  13.52 Crash dive for French destroyer, which remains nearby for about one hour and runs around the boat in a great circle.  Its draft is too shallow for a torpedo attack (ENSEIGNE GABOLDE class).  
  16.00 CG 5975  
  NNE 4-5, Sea 3, 6/10  
  20.00 CG 8214  
  NE 5-6, Sea 4-5, 9/10                                      
   
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  22.10.39 West of the Strait of Gibraltar  
  00.00 CG 8246

Passed Cape St. Vincent at a distance of about 30 nm.

 
  N 5, Sea 4-5, blue sky Because we have not yet receive reports about the time of departure of Gibraltar convoys from our B-Dienst I want to occupy a position directly off the Strait of Gibraltar for observations.  On the way I reconnoiter the routes of the unescorted enemy steamers.  
  04.00 CG 8286  
  NbyE 4-5, Sea 3-4, 1/10  
  08.00 CG 8374  
  N 4, Sea 3, 4/10  
  12.00 CG 8378  
  N 3, Sea 2, 1/10  
  16.00 CG 8621  
  WNW 3, Sea 2, 6/10  
  20.00 CG 8395 In the north we only met small neutral steamers on the direct route from Cape St. Vincent to Gibraltar, further to the south only a few steamers were sighted which were all recognized as small coasters, except one that remained unclear.  
  NW 1-2, Sea 1, 5/10  
   
Sun and Moon Data 20.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 21.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 22.10.39
 
15
 
   
   
   
   
  22.10.39 I refrained from stopping this steamer because I did not want to give away my presence in this new and potentially rewarding operational area by a possibly unsuccessful inspection.  Surveillance of this area is only slight, apparently only aircraft.  
  07.36 - Dived for steamers and aircraft.  
  10.18  
  10.53 -     "               "                  "  
  11.36  
  13.16 -     "               "                  "  
  14.38  
  17.40 -     "               "                  "  
  18.40  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  23.10.39 West entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar  
  00.00 CG 9421  
  WNW 2, Sea 1-2, 9/10 (rain)  
  04.00 CG 9517  
  W 2, Sea 1, 7/10 (rain)  
  06.10 - Dived.  Kept boat in position to observe the traffic in the Strait of Gibraltar from north-northeast to Cape Trafalgar over to southeast to Cape Spartel.  
  11.14  
  08.00 CG 9545 Assessment:  In the north close to the Spanish coast a few steamers sighted, as far as identifiable, only small neutral vessels that pass Cape Trafalgar quite close are identifiable.  
  W 1-2, Sea 1, 6/10  
  12.00 CG 9582  
  W 2, Sea 0-1, 8/10  
  16.00 CG 9585                          SSW 2-3, Sea 1-2, 5/10

We were passed in the middle of the Strait at a very close distance by two impressive Italian ships:  REX (51,000 GRT) and MONTELLO.  I had set up attacks on them because at first they looked like warships.

 
 

Only noticed surveillance at daylight.   In my opinion it should be possible without much difficulty to let the U-boats know the departure times of the Gibraltar convoys.  It is an unnecessary effort to let a U-boat observe the Strait of Gibraltar if one untrained person in Algeciras could do the same.  On the other side the assessment and tracking of a convoy is most likely guaranteed if an observer is directly in front of the harbor of departure.  I think it is advisable to remain here for a few days instead of waging a trade war according to the prize rules in a more distant area.

 
  12.26 - 13.59 Crash dived for steamers.  
  14.37 - 18.08     "        "               "  
  18.08 Surfaced and planned to steer courses towards the moon or away from it in expectation of a bright moonlit night.  
  20.00 CG 9581  
  S 2-3, Sea 1, 8/10  
   
   
Sun and Moon Data 22.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 23.10.39
 
16
 
   
   
   
   
  23.10.39  
  22.16

Sighted a blacked-out vessel coming out of the Strait of Gibraltar on a course south of the general steamer routes to the west.

 
 

Shortly beforehand we received the radio message 2042/23/75: 

 
  "On 22 October a convoy consisting of 20 steamers will leave westwards." - with this I consider my task done, which had to be carried out with great restraint and passivity and decide to be more active further away from Gibraltar.  
  The blacked-out vessel appeared to me to be an auxiliary warship, painted grey with a very well disciplined blackout and apparently a gun on the stern.  I decided therefore to sink the steamer without warning with a torpedo.  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  24.10.39 West entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar  
  00.00 CG 9581  
  SbyW 2, Sea 1, 8/10  
  01.16 Missed with a submerged torpedo shot, apparently passed underneath.  
  04.00 CG 9467  
  S 2, Sea 1, 5/10  
  06.16 Second submerged torpedo shot at dawn.  10 seconds after the hit only a column of smoke was left from the steamer, which broke apart and sank like a stone.  While circling the sinking position we noticed three survivors clinging to floating debris.  Apparently one of them was making a more or less intact boat ready, which had probably been prepared for such incidents.  It was fitted with a buoy, carrying a bright light that burned over one hour.  The name of the steamer could not be recognized at first.  Later inquiries showed MAINEDGE or something like that.  
  08.00 CG 9454                             Not observed (submerged) The circumstances described below did not allow us a thorough investigation.  While leaving the sinking position a new steamer comes in sight from an easterly direction.  She is identified as LEDBURY, completely painted black.  Close to me he suddenly makes a hard change of course towards me and I see the crew running around on deck, that's why I fire two torpedoes at him that miss due to further turns of the steamer.  Our boat then went to a greater depth.  While taking the next panoramic view the steamer is spotted again about 2000 meters away, she launched a lifeboat which seems to pick up the survivors of the sunken steamer, while the ship steered zigzag courses nearby.  I surfaced and fired a shot across her bow because no armament could be seen. As result he immediately uses his radio  
           
   
Sun and Moon Data 23.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 24.10.39
 
17
 
   
   
   
   
  24.10.39 and reports sighting us, which is confirmed by Gibraltar and some other radio stations.  Consequently I opened fire with the deck gun.   
  09.18

The steamer sinks after 34 rounds.  While passing the lifeboat I told them that I was forced to open fire because they used the radio, otherwise I would have allowed them enough time to abandon the steamer in an orderly fashion.  In this boat were two or three survivors from the first ship sunk, who shouted the name mentioned above but we are not sure if we understood them correctly.  After my position - about 60 nm off Gibraltar - was now known it was deemed correct to leave this area and we went at high speed towards the southwest.  It was now most beautiful summer weather with bright sunshine, a sea like glass and low swell.  To my joy we soon spotted the masts and funnel of a remarkable tanker on our new course, steering east and I immediately went to a collision course (about SE).  The tanker apparently received the U-boat warning on the bridge as he turned around and left to the west, so I began to chase him at full speed.

 
  09.47 Crash dive for aircraft.  I have to give up the chase because the aircraft remains in the area for some time.  
  about 10.30 The coast is clear.  A panoramic view shows that another steamer is closing me, seems to be a little bigger than LEDBURY.  While getting closer we spot two guns in open mounts on its stern.  As an aircraft is close to him I decide to fire a torpedo without warning.  Because only one bow torpedo tube is ready I have to fire a single shot from a very long distance.  I estimate the distance at 2500 meters, the speed 10 knots and the angle 90°.  
  11.19 Fired one torpedo, as no detonation was observed after three minutes I angrily told the crew that it was a miss but still watched the steamer.  After 3 minutes 58 seconds (about 3500 meters) I observed a hit amidships.  The steamer broke in two and sank in the middle, the masts moving towards each other but remained afloat and turned towards me.  
  11.35 Close to the steamer I spotted an aircraft and a conspicuous big boat which I first thought to be a lifeboat.  Due to the plane I went down to a depth of 30 meters, where the hydrophone operator reported that motor boats were approaching us from the direction of the steamer.  I immediately went to 80 meters and silent run.  After the hydrophone operator reported that the motor boats stopped from time to time to listen I ordered the hydrophone switched off.  
  12.00 CG 9449  
  Not observed (submerged)  
           
   
Sun and Moon Data 24.10.39
 
18
 
   
   
   
   
  24.10.39  
  11.47 - 12.12 At intervals of 3 to 5 minutes we receive depth charges in series up to four, for a total of 13.  Some of them are directly over the boat, apparently only to a depth of 60 meters.  Once our boat sinks to 105 meters.  Pumping out water by compressed air is not noticed.  Not a sound is to be heard within the boat.  At 12.30 hours we begin to sigh with relief after no depth charges were dropped for 20 minutes.  I decided to remain submerged at this depth and run silent until 17.30 hours.  The hydrophone remains switched off because we still hear suspicious noises even without the device.  Everyone lies down and sleeps.  
  16.37 - 1647 Nothing disrupts the silence until three series of depth charges explodes close to us, hitting the boat hard that was now steering at a bit higher depth.  I went back to 90 to 95 meters.  This attack was particularly unpleasant after a break of 4 ½ hours.  
  18.22 - 18.29 Again at short intervals two series of depth charges close to us.  Because it must be night now and these depth charges did not detonate as close to us as the last ones I believed that we were not heard or located, but apparently showed a trace of oil or air bubbles.  
  19.00 I now steered an extra large curve to the south after steering constantly to northeast and northwest. In the meantime the air in the boat was so bad that we had to breathe through the potash filters.  
  20.00 CG 8972

 
  Not observed (submerged)  
  We considered the following:  
 
1.)
Silent run is possible until early tomorrow morning.  
 
2.)
The area is now under surveillance, which would have been very difficult for a boat unable to dive quickly.  
 
3.)
The crew is exemplary in their attitude, no one makes the impression of being depressed in our unfavorable situation.  
 
4.)
Every chance to escape from here must be exploited.  
 
5.)
If moving away on a big curve is working, then I am about 5 nm from the attack position at 21.30 hours, this seems to be enough to not be seen, even on a bright moonlit night.  
 
6.)
The possibility of being welcomed with all available weapons on the surface must be taken into account.  
 

Decision:

 
 
1.)
At 21.30 hours, surfacing on silent run, blowing out all tanks as soon as the conning tower breaks the surface.  Open the conning tower hatch, man the deck and anti-aircraft gun and start the diesel engines.  
 
2.)
The crew dons escape lungs.  
 
3.)
The radio operator prepared the following radio message:  "Scuttled boat! Heil Hitler! Hartmann".  This radio message should be sent at highest strength if I were to give the order to abandon ship.  
  21.35 After I believed everything was prepared I gave the order to surface.  
  21.45

Opened the conning tower hatch.  I noticed that it was a bright moonlit night and the air was a bit hazy, but no enemy in sight. At high speed

 
   
   
Sun and Moon Data 24.10.39
 
19
 
   
   
   
   
  24.10.39 we left the area in a southwesterly direction.  The weapons were kept ready for immediate use.  
  The deck gun was out of action:  The breech plug had failed due to the pressure of the water at a depth of 100 meters and it was pushed firmly into the loading space.  We could not repair it during the night.  
 

Experiences:

 
 

I believe that the last steamer was a Q-ship, fitted with bigger motor boats - similar to our patrol vessels - or working tactically close with them to immediately attack a submerged U-boat with depth charges after firing a torpedo.  An aircraft was supporting this task force.  My assumptions are based on the following observations:

 
 
1.)
Very conspicuous display of guns on the stern.  They should keep an U-boat from attacking with the deck gun.  
 
2.)
Extraordinary fast appearance of the motor boats very close to the steamer immediately after the hit - they probably stood ready on deck or were hidden leeward behind the steamer.  
 
3.)
After the signal from LEDBURY all other steamers in sight - about three - were leaving the area, only this one kept heading towards me to be attacked.  
 
4.)
Ship had cargo that floats, otherwise it would have sunk faster.  This hit amidships - close to the funnel - was perhaps the most unpleasant for him and has taken him out of action for a long time if it did not sink against all expectations.  
 
5.)
The steamer immediately turned towards me after the hit.  
 
6.)
All measures on the steamer showed orderliness.  
 
7.)
Steamer was working together with an aircraft.  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  25.10.39 West of the Strait of Gibraltar  
  00.00 CG 8931 Fuel reserves are down to 60 cbm.  
  W 1, Sea 0, 4/10  
  04.00 CG 8833 It shows that the estimate of having 30 cbm for patrolling area "Black" was too optimistic.  I can't blame the LI for this because the fuel tanks can not be measured very accurately and the true capacity is only known after using up the fuel. Now I have enough reserves to carry out some hunting.  I have four torpedoes in the boat, but we have no solution yet for reloading the torpedoes in the upper deck containers.  The next suitable night will be used for that.  I planned my return journey along the assumed convoy routes - about 40 nm away from the neutral coasts - with the most economical cruising speed.  
  ENE 3-4, Sea 3, 7/10  
  07.00 - 09.20 Works carried out on the upper deck, fixing the deck gun and exhaust valves.  
  08.00 CG 8589  
  N 3-4, Sea 2-3, 7/10  
  09.30 - 13.00 Dived to reload the torpedo tubes, afterwards the boat is ready for combat again: deck gun is working again, minor damage on the upper deck has been repaired and four torpedo tubes are loaded.  
  12.00 CG 8589  
  Not observed (submerged)  
  15.45 Sighted several columns of smoke to the west.  When getting  
   
Sun and Moon Data 24.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 25.10.39
 
20
 
   
   
   
   
  25.10.39  
  15.45 closer recognized two fishing trawlers.  The great visibility and excessive smoke from both of them led me to assume a convoy.  
  16.00 CG 8559

Received radio message 1413/90/849 from U-46:

 
  N 4, Sea 3, 2/10 "Sighted enemy in CG 5271!"  
  Unfortunately I am about 200 nm behind it, seems to be the convoy that left Gibraltar on 22 October and apparently passed south of me.  The report of its departure had only reached me at night on 23 October.  
  17.24 - 18.20 Dived for steamer, it is a medium American passenger ship on a westerly course.  
  20.00 CG 8528  
  N 3-4, Sea 2, 1/10  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  26.10.39 West Coast of Portugal  
  00.00 CG 8287 Like yesterday we are following the coast at a distance of about 40 nm and met no traffic.  That's why I decide to get close enough to the coast to be able to observe the traffic within territorial waters.  
  N 5, Sea 4-5, blue sky  
  04.00 CG 8246  
  NNE 4-5, Sea 3-4, 1/10  
  08.00 CG 8215  
  NbyE 4, blue sky, Sea 2, light swell  
  12.00 CG 5859  
  NbyW 4-5, Sea 4, blue sky  
  15.07 - 18.13 During the afternoon I remained submerged off Cape Espichel for some hours, only one fishing trawler is spotted.  
  16.00 CG 5839  
  NbyW 4-5, Sea 3, 1/10  
  20.00 CG 5831 The evening watch observed - as far as it was possible to identify - neutral steamers off Lisbon and Cape Roca.  
  NbyW 4-5, Sea 3, 1/10  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  27.10.39 West Coast of Portugal  
  00.00 CG 5557 Remained close to the coast until reaching the Berlengas Islands, headed more out to the sea and at noon went to 10° to patrol a larger area off the coast, but only very few vessels are sighted.  
  NbyW 5, Sea 5, 7/10  
  04.00 CG 5521  
  N 5, Sea 4, overcast  
  08.00 CG 5246  
  N 5-6, Sea 4-5, 6/10  
  12.00 CG 2879 The weather would prevent us from stopping and examining a steamer according to the prize rules today.  To use the deck gun is impossible, even that the torpedoes are holding  
  N 7, Sea 5, 3-9/10  
  16.00 CG 2846  
  N 6, Sea 5, 4/10  
   
   
Sun and Moon Data 25.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 26.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 27.10.39
 
21
 
   
   
   
   
  27.10.39  
  20.00 CG 2821

the correct depth is in question.  It would only be possible to sink ships with a deep draught without warning.

 
  N 4, Sea 3-4, 2/10 The fuel reserves and the current state of the weather with wind from north with heavy seas and swell worries me.  I will have to avoid longer, fuel consuming, hunts after steamers and head home on the shortest route at an economical cruising speed.  To get fuel close to the operational area does not seem possible.  
  With revolutions for 9 knots (220 revolutions) we achieve an average speed of only 6.5 knots, that means apart from losing about 10% due to the deterioration of the shape of the boat (missing panels and covers) the heavy seas and swell from ahead costs us another 18%.  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  28.10.39 NW-corner of Spain  
  00.00 CG 2555 As the day before only minor traffic is noticed at night close to the coast.  
  NbyW 4, Sea 3-4, 2/10  
  04.00 CG 2286 In the morning we head again towards single clouds of smoke, but in most cases they are fishing trawlers and small coastal vessels.  
  NbyW 2-3, Sea 1-2, light swell  
  08.00 CG 2228

 
  NbyW 2-3, Sea 2, 8/10  
  09.30 Sighted several clouds of smoke.  
  12.00 BF 7882

Heading towards them shows:

 
  NbyW 0-1, 8/10 1.)  Apparently several steamers running together on a course of about 50° and at average speed, close to the Spanish territorial waters.  
  2.)  Due to our fuel reserves it is not possible to get ahead or shadow them any longer.  Frequent rain squalls are making this difficult anyway.  
  3.)  Because it is possible that U-25 is nearby I send a contact report in radio message 1109/28/71:  
  "Sighted several clouds of smoke in BF 7891, average speed, course northeast."  
                                                   U-37.  
  Clouds of smoke are lost to sight in the hazy horizon. Radio message 1215/28/72:  
  "Have lost contact in BF 7869!"  
                                                   U-37.  
  13.00 Boat begins return voyage.  
  Sighted new clouds of smoke astern.  Despite stopping and diving they do not get closer while remaining on the same bearing, they are probably from  
           
           
   
Sun and Moon Data 27.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 28.10.39
 
22
 
   
   
   
   
  28.10.39 fishing vessels.  
  16.00 BF 7824 The fuel issue is burdensome, if the weather became a bit more unfavorable we would have no reserves left worth mentioning.  
  WSW 2, Sea 1-2, overcast  
  20.00 BF 7549 Lucky for us the weather is calmer, that's why we are underway at 8 knots again.  
  NE 1-2, Sea 1, overcast (rain)  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  29.10.39 Bay of Biscay  
  00.00 BF 7278  
  S 1-2, Sea 0, overcast (rain)  
  04.00 BF 7139  
  E 5, Sea 3, overcast  
  08.00 BF 4759 Nothing particular, no vessels in sight.  
  ESE 4-5, Sea 3-4, overcast (rain)  
  12.00 BF 4728  
  ENE 7, Sea 5, 7/10  
  16.00 BF 4457  
  NEbyE 5-6, Sea 4-5, 4/10  
  20.00 BF 4416  
  NNE 4-5, Sea 3-4, 7/10  
  Confused seas                                      
   
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  30.10.39 S-W of Ireland  
  00.00 BF 4148  
  NbyW 4-5, Sea 3-4, 8/10 (rain)  
  04.00 BF 1778  
  NE 5, Sea 4, overcast (rain)  
  08.00 BF 1742  
  NEbyN 5-6, Sea 4-5, 5/10  
  11.15 Sighted steamer ahead.  Headed towards it.  Despite the bad weather I ordered it to stop and hand over papers by signals because the steamer looks suspicious, he has Greek markings.  
  11.35 Papers are aboard, they show that it is steamer THRASYVOULUS, Greek, with 5701 tons of Cardiff coal from Bristol Channel to Halifax.  A neutral ship with cargo destined for the enemy.  
  12.00 BF 1711 Steamer is of 3693 GRT.  We give the crew time to abandon ship.  
  NE 8-10, Sea 7, 6/10  
  12.12 phi = 49° 11'N Steamer hit by torpedo.  
  12.26 lambda = 11° 23'W Steamer sinks by the bow.  The Greek lifeboats make a sufficiently safe impression on me.  To help the fellows in the heavy seas I send SOS signals with the Greek call sign.  
  16.00 BF 1447  
  NE 8-10, Sea 7, overcast (rain)  
  20.00 BE 3633 The weather is worsening.  The boat is only underway at only 6 knots.  
  NEbyE 6-7, Sea 5-6, overcast (rain)  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
           
           
   
Sun and Moon Data 28.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 29.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 30.10.39
 
23
 
   
   
   
   
  31.10.39 West of Ireland  
  00.00 BE 3369 Today it is reported to me that one of the outer fuel tanks is leaking.  This tank was empty after 10 instead of 17 cbm. Seems the leak was caused by the depth charges on 24 October and caused the afore mentioned trail of oil.  Under these circumstances the fuel situation is even more of a burden.  If the outer port fuel tank is holding at least 10 cbm and the weather does not run against us with wind and waves we will reach one of the bases in the North Sea by cruising at the most economical speed.  To return to Kiel is now no longer possible without refueling.  
  ENE 7, Sea 7, 8/10 (rain)  
  04.00 BE 3332  
  ENE 6, 6-7, Sea 5-6, 8/10  
  08.00 AM 7964  
  ENE 4-5, Sea 3-4, 5/10  
  12.00 AM 7694  
  NE 6-7, Sea 6, overcast  
  16.00 AM 7637  
  ENE 5, Sea 4, overcast  
  20.00 AM 7392 The weather has calmed down a bit, the boat is rolling badly because a pretty high swell is coming from east.  To save distance I closely follow the Irish coast.  Sighted no vessels except one steamer far away at night, steaming on a southwesterly course.  
  EbyN 4-5, Sea 3-4, overcast  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  01.11.39 NW of Ireland  
  00.00 AM 7336  
  EbyS 7, Sea 6, overcast  
  04.00 AM 5771 None.  
  E 5-6, Sea 4, overcast  
  08.00 AM 5713  
  E 5-6, Sea 4-5, overcast  
  11.27 -

Crash dive for drill.

 
  11.39 While surfacing spotted a steamer on collision course out of the darker horizon in the west.  Stopped the steamer, results of investigation:  Norwegian steamer HAVMØY of Oslo with paper and sulfite to Genoa, Italy.  
  12.00 AM 5443  
  EbyS 4-5, Sea 4, 8/10  
  12.35 Released steamer.  
  16.00 AM 5187  
  ESE 5-6, Sea 4-5, 8/10  
  20.00 AM 5154  
  E 5-6, Sea 4-5, overcast  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  02.11.39 Off St. Kilda  
  00.00 AM 2998  
  ESE 7-8, Sea 7, overcast (rain)  
  04.00 AM 0241  
  ESE 4-5, Sea 3-4, overcast  
  08.00 AM 2849  
  ESE 3-4, Sea 2, E-swell, overcast  
  12.00 AM 2822  
  ESE 3-4, Sea 2, E-swell, overcast  
   
   
Sun and Moon Data 31.10.39
Sun and Moon Data 01.11.39
Sun and Moon Data 02.11.39
 
24
 
   
   
   
   
  02.11.39  
  12.17 Dived for steamer, apparently here is a patrol line of armed trawlers in a direction of about northwest from St. Kilda. We observed two fishing trawlers that carried out similar movements at a distance of about 12 to 15 nm.  
  16.00 AM 2689  
  SE 2-3, Sea 2-3, 7/10  
  16.10 Surfaced.  Continued voyage at dusk, the trawlers are still in sight.  
  20.00 AM 3547  
  ESE 2-3, Sea 2, overcast  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  03.11.39 NW of the Orkney Islands  
  00.00 AM 3525  
  SE 3, Sea 2-3, light E-swell  
  04.00 AM 3393  
  SEbyS 4, Sea 3, 7/10  
  08.00 AM 3442  
  SEbyE 6-7, Sea 5, blue sky  
  09.07 Dived for fishing trawler.  
  10.22 Surfaced, because nothing is heard anymore and nothing is in sight during a panoramic view, but there are high seas.  Shortly after surfacing we sighted two fishing trawlers starboard astern apparently working together.  Because the weather was worsening I hoped to get away on the surface without being noticed by the trawlers and left, showing them only my stern.  Shortly before they were out of sight a monoplane appeared next to us.  
  10.40 Crash dive!  Already at periscope depth a bomb detonated close to the boat, at 25 meters depth a second very close.  Some light bulbs were destroyed and we sustained some minor damage (cover of compass dropped down, fuses cut out).  Boat stays submerged until dusk to give the crew some rest. In my opinion the late discovery of the aircraft was caused by overtired lookouts, as the weather has been unfavorable for several days.  Wind and waves hit the boat from the side and cause very hard movements that kept everyone from restful sleep.  Spray hits the watch on the bridge continually, making the use of binoculars difficult and the eyes burn from the salty water.  Because the weather situation prevents any successful use of the weapons I think it is correct to stay submerged during the day in this well guarded area and to continue at darkness.  
  12.00 AM 3427 It is remarkable that the British air force is still flying in this bad weather and furthermore is able to bring its bombs close to the target.  
  SEbyE 8, Sea 5, overcast  
   
Sun and Moon Data 02.11.39
Sun and Moon Data 03.11.39
 
25
 
   
   
   
   
  03.11.39  
  16.00 AM 3426 At the suggestion of the LI we tried to save fuel by changing the speed to HF, it was expected that the boat is not slowed down as much by the seas at a higher speed.  
  Submerged  
  20.00 AM 3296 This assumption proved to be wrong, that's why we changed back to diesel electric propulsion.  
  ESE 8-9, Sea 7-8, overcast  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  04.11.39 North North Sea off the Shetland Islands  
  00.00 AN 1152  
  ESE 8, Sea 8, overcast  
  04.00 AN 1212 Fuel reserves are down to 20 cbm, that means we can continue on diesel electric for five days (revolutions for 9 knots).  
  SEbyS 6-7, Sea 6, overcast  
  08.00 AF 7792 At the moment the boat is only making 6 to 6.5 knots against the seas, under these circumstances we can just reach home.  
  SEbyS 7-8, Sea 6-7, overcast  
  11.00 Crash dive for aircraft, which apparently did not notice the boat.  
  12.00 AF 7873 Due to the weather the boat stays submerged until dusk - the crew rests.  
  SE 8-10, Sea 9, overcast (rain)  
  17.05 Surfaced.  
  Radio message 1345/62, 1407/63 to U-34, U-37, U-46, U-61 from BdU:  
  "1)  German prize CITY OF FLINT in Haugesund released by Norway.  Commander of prize crew interned.  It is desired to capture her again, if this is not possible order a course and escort.  Do not sink her.  
  2)  U-61 wait off Sletta.  
  3)  U-34, U-37 and U-46 with regard of state of fuel pass off Utvär on return voyage."  
  16.00 AF 7881 Our fuel reserves do not allow such a detour, furthermore the use of weapons is not possible in this weather at the moment and the boat will not be able to enforce its orders during a capture (can not man the deck gun, can not steer high speeds against the seas). In the evening some unsuspicious vessels are sighted in the darkness close to the Norwegian coast.  
  Submerged  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
           
   
Sun and Moon Data 03.11.39
Sun and Moon Data 04.11.39
 
26
 
   
   
   
   
  05.11.39 Northern North Sea  
  00.00 AN 2211 Nothing in sight from a Bergen convoy.  Today as well high swell and seas are preventing a promising use of the weapons.  
  SEbyS 8, 7, overcast  
  04.00 AN 2227, SE 8-10, Sea 7, overcast (rain)  
  08.00 AN 2265
Received radio message 1235/76 ssd
"To U-34, U-37 and U-61 from BdU:
"1) Recapture of prize CITY OF FLINT is tangible. The ship is presumably still in Bergen.
2) U-34 and U-37 stay off Utvär as long as fuel reserves permit.
3) U-61 waits off the Korsfjord."

Report to the BdU as we can not carry out this order due to our fuel reserves.  Own radio message 1330/78 to BdU:

"I am in AN 2392.  Fuel reserves 14 cbm. We can only reach home on shortest route with most economical speed."

Concerning this one has to note that the cruising chart compiled by the U-boat trial group shows a completely different picture.  They list for 9 knots = 240 and 200 revolutions with loading 150 A electricity for 100 kg/h.  In fact we need 145 kg/h in seas of force 6 from ahead, while only making 6 to 7 knots.  That means in unfavorable weather we use 45% more fuel while the speed is reduced from 9 to 6 knots = 33%, whereby about 10% is caused by missing torpedo hatches.

Less fuel would be used at lower revolutions, but if the speed is reduced by seas the range would be reduced a lot more than by diesel electric propulsion with 240/200 revolutions.
 
  SE 7-8, Sea 6, overcast  
  12.00 AN 2373  
  SE 8, Sea 6-7, overcast  
  16.00 AN 2826  
  SE 7-8, Sea 6, overcast  
  20.00 AN 2866  
  SSE 6-7, Sea 6, overcast  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  06.11.39 Central North Sea, Skagerrak  
  00.00 AN 2979 The distance from the last terrestrial fix to the barrage is about 135 nm.  Luckily in the afternoon the cloud cover opens so we are able to get an exact fix of our position.  The radio bearings are not accurate enough.  The naval radio station Borkum is noticeable because her bearing signals are bad, the signals are too short and the pauses too long.  
  SSE 6, Sea 5, overcast  
  04.00 AN 3152  
  SE by E 7-8, Sea 5-6, 1/10  
  08.00 AN 3186  
  SEbyE 8-9, Sea 7-8, overcast  
  12.00 AN 3453  
  SW 6, Sea 3, overcast (rain)  
  16.00 AN 3494  
  SW 6, Sea 5, 6/10  
  20.00 AN 3737 Observed steamers off the Skagerrak but only those with easterly courses.  
  S 5-6, Sea 4-5, 1/10  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
   
Sun and Moon Data 05.11.39
Sun and Moon Data 06.11.39
 
27
 
   
   
   
   
  07.11.39 North Sea Mined Area  
  00.00 AN 6313 Passed through the mine warning area on route "Blue 12".  
  SSW 3, Sea 3, 2/10  
  04.00 AN 6329  
  SW 3-4, Sea 3, medium swell, 1/10  
  08.00 AN 6398  
  SbyW 4-5, Sea 3-4, overcast  
  08.45 Exchanged recognition signals with patrol vessel V-206.  
  10.00 Exchanged recognition signals with patrol vessels V-208 and V-207.  
  12.00 AN 6663 Submerged and laid on the bottom.  Instructed the crew about secrecy.  
  SSW 4, Sea 3, overcast  
  16.00 AN 6663, on the bottom  
  20.00 AN 9378  
  S 5-6, Sea 4-5, overcast (rain)  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
  08.11.39 Entrance to Wilhelmshaven  
  00.00 AN 9543  
  SbyE 4, Sea 2, overcast (rain), very dark night  
  02.30 Sighted lighthouse of Norderney.  
  03.34 Exchanged recognition signals with blacked-out vessel.  
  04.00 AN 9588  
  S 3-4, Sea 2, 9/10  
  08.00 AN 9677  
  S 3-4, Sea 2, 6/10  
  09.13 Moored at entrance III in Wilhelmshaven.  BdU comes aboard to welcome us.  
  09.34 Cast off from the lock.  
  09.58 Moored in the U-boat base.  
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
 
General experiences and proposals.
 
  Question of leadership:  
 
1.)
The flotilla commander Atlantic has to be continually informed from headquarters which boats are absent, otherwise the boats can not be ordered to chase a reported convoy with prospect of success (17 October).  
 
2.)
It should be the target to relay B-Dienst reports about enemy movements faster to the U-boats.  The departure of the Gibraltar convoy on 22 October only became known to the U-boats during the night of 23/24 October.  
 
Communication:  
 
1.)
It is necessary that all frequencies needed during a patrol must be available for all U-boats to send and receive, otherwise failures while providing contact reports are inevitable (U-46 on 17 and 19 October)  
 
2.)
It should be determined if it is possible to provide the radio messages on very long wave and short wave with the same serial number in the interest of the radio operators.  
   
Sun and Moon Data 07.11.39
Sun and Moon Data 08.11.39
 
28
 
   
   
   
   
 
3.)
After the first depth charges were out of order, respectively only of limited use: GHG and echo sounder.  
 
4.)
Due to its own noises the KDB is not ready for use.  The engine to turn the device should be replaced by an installation to turn it manually, otherwise the device should be removed.  
 
5.)
The sources of electricity for the GHG (1.5 and 6 KVA) are too loud to be used on silent run.  A remedy seems to be possible by using a smaller special transformer for this device, which could be running without making own noises.  
 
6.)
The installation for radio bearings is not working correctly, despite exact tuning and accurate maintenance and has to be considered not ready for use.  It was not possible to enter the German Bight using only the radio bearings.  
 

Navigation:

 
 
1.)
We were so insecure to enter the mine warning area in hazy weather that a pilot service through the mine field seems to be necessary.  
 
2.)
The number of binoculars aboard has to be increased to at least 12, because some of them are temporarily out of order due to wetness.  The waterproof Leitz binoculars are not suited for use at night.  
 

Boat construction:

 
 
1.)
The deflector at the conning tower has proved itself.  It is advisable to reinforce the upper deflector and to lengthen it to the back.  
 
2.)
The hatches and its fasteners on the upper deck are still inadequate for the heavy seas encountered during patrols in the Atlantic.  
 
3.)
The dinghy is not suited in its current form and stowage, a robust rubber dinghy would be more practical.  It could be stowed in a special container on upper deck (forward rope container).  
 

Torpedo weapon:

 
 
1.)
The TRw-transformer has failed again despite being fully usable after the overhaul in the shipyard, it was out of order after the slightest variation of the load.  It is necessary to fit a new transformer.  
 
2.)
The fuses for the torpedo data computer are generally useless, they have to be replaced constantly because they blow on one side.  
 
3.)
There have to be more replacement parts for the torpedo tubes aboard during patrols in distant areas.  A special request will be made.  
 

Artillery:

 
 
1.)
The plug for the loading chamber of the 10.5 cm gun has to be more robust.  
 
2.)
The following constant malfunctions of the MG C/30 have to be fixed:  After moving backwards the moveable parts are not gliding back to their positions because there is too much salt in it after sea water entered only once.  
 
3.)
The lashing for the MG C/30 has to be reinforced.  
 

Machinery:

 
 

See report of the LI.

 
 

Speed measures and distances travelled:

 
 

Cruising speed at 10 knots: 6 days 15 hours 36 minutes = 1596 nm

 
 

Cruising speed at 9 knots: 21 days 14 hours 58 minutes = 4670.7 nm

 
 

Chasing speed at 12 knots: 2 days 5 hours 33 minutes = 642.6 nm

 
 

Chasing speed at 14 knots: 4 hours 35 minutes = 64.25 nm

 
 

Chasing speed at 15 knots: 2 hours 32 minutes = 38.0 nm

 
 

Submerged speed about 2.5 knots: 3 days 1 hour 46 minutes = 64.4 nm

 
   
                                       
                                Korvettenkapitän and Kommandant.  
   

  Appendices to U-37's KTB - click on the text at left to proceed to the documents
   
Report 1 Prize report for "VISTULA"
Report 2 Prize report for "ARIS"
Report 3 Prize report for "VERMONT"
Report 4 Prize report for "THRASUVOULOS"
   
Report 5 Report on convoy operation 17-18 October 1939
   
Chart Track chart of entire patrol - 5 October to 8 November 1939
   
Sketch 1 Combat Sketch of action against convoy 17 October 1939 from 17.00 - 19.00 hours resulting in the sinking of "YORKSHIRE"
Sketch 2 Combat Sketch of action against convoy on 17 and 18 October 1938


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