This record was kindly provided by the generous assistance of Tony Cooper


                                                                                                                 COPY No.
This book is invariably to be kept locked up when not in use and is not to be taken outside the ship or establishment for which it it issued without the express permission of the Commanding Officer
C.B.  4051 (44)
"U 374"
Interrogation of Sole Survivor
August, 1942
This report is not to be considered accurate in all respects, having been prepared before complete information was available.  It is therefore not to  be taken as historically correct.



          This book is the property of His Majesty's Government.  
          It is intended for the use of the Officers generally, and may in certain cases be communicated to persons in His Majesty's Service below the rank of Commissioned Officer who may require to be acquainted with its contents in the course of their duties.    The Officers exercising this power will be held responsible that such information is imparted with due caution and reserve.  


Attention is called to the penalties attaching to any infraction of the
Official Secrets Acts.
C.B.  4051 (44)
"U 374"
Interrogation of Sole Survivor
August, 1942
                                 ADMIRALTY, S.W.1.  
  N.I.D. 03373/42.  


          The following report is compiled from information derived from prisoners of war.  The statements made cannot always be verified; they should therefore not be accepted as facts unless they are definitely stated to be confirmed by information from other sources.  


  Introductory Remarks  
  Crew of "U 374"  
Early History of "U 374"
  Early Patrols of "U 374"  
  Last Patrol of "U-374"  
  Sinking of "U 374"  
  Other U-boats  
  "U 81"  
  "U 203"  
  "U 331"  
  "U 451"  
  "U 588"  
  General Remarks on U-boats  
  Ballast Adjustments in U-boats  
  Maximum Diving Depth of U-boats  
  Camouflage in the Mediterranean  
  Look-out System in the Mediterranean  
  U-boats in Italian Ports  
  Organisation of U-boat Command  
  Operations of Supply U-boats  
  Transport for U-boat Commanders  
  Presentation of Knight Insignia of the Iron Cross  
  Reporting on Return from Patrol  
  Six-man U-boats  
  Passage through the Straits of Gibraltar  
  Training in the German Navy  
  General Remarks  
  Training for Commissioned Rank  
  Provision of U-boat Officers  
  Training of New Entries ("Rekrutenausbildung")  
  Specialised Training  
  Training of Petty Officers  
  Training of Chief Petty Officers  
  Special Courses  
Naval Shock Troops (Marinestosstruppen")
The "Organisation Todt"
Miscellaneous Remarks
  German Naval Personnel for Norway  
  German North Sea Convoy Routes  
Branches of Lower Deck
("Laufbahnen der Kriegsmarine")
Disposition and Use of German Depôt and other Ships in Germany and Occupied Territories
Incomplete List of Crew of "U 374" (as given by Ploch)
  (C46387)                                                                                                                             B*  


        500-TON U-BOAT SUNK AT 1025 ON 12th JANUARY, 1942, IN
          POSITION 30° 50' N., AND 16° 00' E.  
          "U 374" was sunk by H.M.S. "Unbeaten" off Cape Spartivento, Italy, on 12th January, 1942.  There was only one survivor, and he, throughout the long period of interrogation, proved extremely security-conscious, being well aware of the advantage from this point of view which his solitary position gave him.  
          The extreme difficulty of interrogating him led to a number of inaccurate conclusions being drawn from time to time, chief among them which was the suggestion that his boat was "U 331," commanded by the celebrated Kapitänleutnant (Lieutenant-Commander) Freiherr von Tiesenhausen.  The knowledge that this information was incorrect led to the decision to send the prisoner finally to the United Kingdom, where it is believed a more correct version of his story has been extracted.  
          The prisoner did not arrive in the United Kingdom for interrogation until 17th July, 1942.  
          The prisoner had been previously interrogated on board "Unbeaten," and at Malta and Cairo, and it was ascertained that he had made a number of false statements, to which he confessed.  
          This prisoner had joined "U 374," his first U-boat, only in September, 1941, and consequently had little experience or knowledge of this arm.  
II.  CREW OF "U 374"
          The complement of "U 374" totalled 44, of whom, as stated above, only one survived.   
          Her commanding officer was Oberleutnant zur See (Lieutenant) Unmo von Fischel, a son of Admiral von Fischel.  Von Fischel was of the 1943 term, and in 1938 served in the Third Naval Artillery Division.  He was unmarried and aged about 25.  The von Fischel family is well known in German naval circles; Admiral Hermann von Fischel is known to hold important command on the French Channel coast.  The Admiral had, according to the prisoner, once come aboard "U 374" to visit his son while the boat lay in a German port, but this was before the prisoner had been drafted to her.  It is of interest to note that this Admiral had commanded, when Kapitänleutnant (Lieutenant-Commander), "U 65" during the 1914-1918 war.  
          The first Lieutenant was Oberleutnant zur See (Lieutenant) Bruno Jahn, of the 1936 term.  The Commanding Officer of "U 93," Oberleutnant zur See Horst Elfe, had previously described Jahn as having been born in Brandenburg and not looking more than 20 years old.  He had, said Elfe, replaced an officer named Bauer as First Lieutenant of "U 374."  
          The Engineer Officer was Leutnant (Ing.) (Engineer Sub-Lieutenant) Leonhardt of the October, 1937 term.  
          There were also a senior and a junior Midshipman on board, but no Kommandantenschüler (Commanding Officer under instruction) was carried on any of "U 374's" patrols.  
          Although the prisoner named and described several of the Petty Officers and other ratings, he was unable to give the information as to their experience in the U-boat arm, or in fact their length of service in "U 374."  The names given appear in Appendix III.  
          Prisoner stated that one Petty Officer had been dismissed his ship for inefficiency.  
          The sole survivor, Matrosengefreiter (Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class) Johannes Ploch, aged 21, was born at Ottrau in Hesse-Nassau, where his father was a yeoman farmer.  Ploch made a very good impression on his interrogators in the United Kingdom, who found him, despite his Nazi education, highly intelligent and pleasant in conversation.  In 1940, he became a conscript in the German Army, where he served some time in the artillery, but he disliked the life and took the first opportunity of volunteering for the Navy, to which he was transferred in December of that year.  He underwent the usual eight weeks' disciplinary training at Leer, after which he took a four weeks' cookery course at Neustadt.  He was then drafted to the U-boat school at Pillau, where he was trained for six months, the course lasting until September, 1941.  This was followed by a few days' leave, during which Ploch was recalled by telegram and drafted to "U 374" at Kiel.  Whilst still at Pillau, Ploch, in common with those undergoing training at the same time, was advanced from Ordinary Seaman 2nd Class to 1st Class.  The usual time for this advancement is nine to twelve months, but Ploch had then only served for seven months.   
          His action station in "U 374," both submerged and on the surface, was communication number in the bow compartment and, whilst cruising, he took duties as quartermaster or look-out.  
          No member of the crew had been decorated with the Iron Cross (1st Class), but several had received the Iron Cross (2nd Class).  
  (C 46387)                                                                                                                     B*2  


          "U 374" was a 500-ton boat of the VII "C" type.  She was built at the Kriegsmarinewerft in Kiel, and was of the series "U 371" to "U 386."  The exact date of her commissioning is uncertain.  As it is known that "U 373" was commissioned on 22nd May, 1941, it seems probable that "U 374" was in the hands of the U-Boat Acceptance Command at Kiel at the same time as "U 574."  The latter boat is known to have been accommodated in the "Sierra Cordoba."  
          The usual period of working-up in the Baltic area followed the acceptance of "U 374" and much of this was done in company with "U 574" off Danzig.  Some repairs were effected in Danzig itself.  By September, 1941, "U 374" was ready to proceed on her first operational patrol.  
          It will be noted that Ploch did not join "U 374" until September, 1941, after the working-up period had been completed.   
          Throughout all her patrols she carried twelve electric and two air torpedoes, the latter stowed on deck, never being fired.  
          The prisoner had no knowledge of any anti-asdic device, previously ascertained as being fitted in "U 93."  
          "U 374" carried out two patrols before that on which she was sunk.  These were:  
                  1.  From Kiel to Brest.  
                  2.  From Brest to La Spezia.  
          1.  On her first patrol she sailed from Kiel, probably on the evening of 21st or 22nd September, 1941.  She was escorted out of Kiel by a patrol boat and prisoner stated that there was another U-boat with them, though he did not know her number.  "U 374" made the passage of the Kattegat and Skagerrak on the surface and entered Kristiansand S. early one morning.  There she lay alongside a Sperrbrecher (Mine-bumper), awaiting her escort.  In the evening of the same day, she proceeded to sea once more, again in company with another U-boat and escorted by two patrol vessels.  
          After leaving Kristiansand S., "U 374" made the passage of the North Sea mostly on the surface.  One evening, at about 2000, she met a fishing vessel which replied when von Fischel challenged her by Aldis.  Prisoner did not know the contents of these signals, but said that von Fischel then turned to his men with the remark "Everything is all right,"  Ploch received the impression that the fishing vessel was friendly and was there to report the movements of enemy surface craft or aircraft.  
          The fishing vessel was described by prisoner as having a Meier-form bow; two masts; brown deck; black hull; thin smoke-stack; single-island bridge; gaff on the after-mast; twin-davits forward (unlike German fishing vessels that have them aft), and was thought to be between 60 and 100 G.R.T.  
          The fishing vessel was stated to have been met on the outward passage, probably just before they entered the minefields (possibly just inside them).  
          (N.I.D. Note.  It should be borne in mind that Ploch has, during all his interrogations prior to arriving in England, lied circumstantially and vividly, and that he may not have changed his habits entirely.)  
          "U 374" passed between the Faeroes and the Shetlands on a straight course, submerged at a depth of about 45 metres (148 ft.).  She was said to have been navigated on this occasion by "Echosounder."  No search gear was admitted to have been employed, for detection of mines, or other purposes.  
          "U 364" then made direct for her patrol area off the Canadian coast, in the neighbourhood of which she spent about 14 days, at one time coming within sight of St. John's (Newfoundland).  Most of this part of the patrol was made on the surface and no aircraft were sighted.  Whilst on patrol in Canadian waters, unsuccessful separate attacks were made by night on two westbound ships, each of some 12,000 tons, five torpedoes in all being fired.  While still in the area, however, "U 374" claimed to have sunk a 6,000-ton ship with two torpedoes.  This attack was also made on the surface at night.  
          On her way back to European waters, she sighted and reported a convoy.  Whilst manoeuvering to attack she was detected by the escorting craft, which attacked her with six depth charges about an hour after "U 374" first sighted the convoy.  "U 374" suffered some slight damage to her engines as a result of this attack and broke off the engagement.  This patrol had lasted 49 days when she eventually entered the harbour of Brest about 10th November, 1941.  
          While in Brest "U 374" landed her remaining seven torpedoes and embarked a fresh outfit.  She stayed for rather less than three weeks in Brest and was guarded night and day by a duty watch of three men.  Most of the ship's company were given 14 days' leave.  Whilst in dock, a layer of soft metal, superimposed on rubber padding, was fitted beneath the hydroplane motors in order to reduce noise.  This, it was stated, was fitted to all German U-boats lying in Brest at this time.  
          It may here be noted that Ploch, who spent several days in "Unbeaten" after "U 374" was sunk, remarked on the exceptionally noiseless operation of "Unbeaten's" hydroplanes in comparison with the creaking noise made by those in his own boat.  
          Most of "U 374's" time in Brest was spent in the U-boat shelters and some of it in dry dock.  Those members of her crew who were not on guard or on leave were accommodated in the U-boat hostel outside of town.  


          "U 374" was attached to the 1st U-boat Flotilla from the date of her leaving Kiel until her departure from Brest.  There was one British air raid on the port while she was there.  
          Prisoner did not remember the number of the other U-boat in the same shelter at Brest, but thought she was a 500-tonner.  Among the badges carried by other boats there at this time he remembered one depicting a globe, and another a polar bear.  
          2.  "U 374" sailed from Brest towards the end of November, 1941, on her second patrol, the object of which was to make the Italian port of La Spezia, her intended future home.  "U 374" shaped course for the Straits of Gibraltar, which she intended to pass through by hugging the African side, just on the edge of the British patrolled area.  "U 374" passed through the Straits on a very dark night in the early days of December, 1941, on the surface.  On her way through the Straits, she claimed to have sunk by torpedo two ships, believed by the prisoner to have been destroyers.  One ship, he said, sank some 10 minutes after the other.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  It is possible that these vessels were the armed trawlers "Rosabelle" and "Lady Shirley," which were sunk without survivors some time during the first ten days in December, 1941.)  
          "U 374" was stated to have been heavily engaged by several British ships during this encounter and to have returned their fire, after which she dived and lay submerged in the region of the Straits for some time.  
          Whilst it seems reasonably certain that "U 374" attempted to make the passage on the surface on the African side, the prisoner's account of the action should be accepted with reserve.  
          At some unknown time after surfacing, "U 374" developed engine trouble and proceeded direct to La Spezia at reduced speed.  She spent four days in harbour at La Spezia while the defects were made good.  Here two torpedoes were embarked to replace those used in the attack in the Straits of Gibraltar; they were both of German manufacture.  
          During interrogation regarding this patrol, Ploch confirmed that Spain had been very useful to the U-boats.  
          "U 374" sailed from La Spezia on her last patrol about 11th December, 1941, with the object of harrying Allied shipping off the North African coast.  On this patrol, she only carried one of the original boatswain's mates, by name of Klinke.  Of the other two, one had fallen foul of von Fischel and been dismissed the ship, while the other had contacted venereal disease.  Another German U-boat entered La Spezia just as "U 374" was sailing.  
          "U 374" proceeded directly to the Straits of Messina, which she made in four or five days, and thereafter patrolled off the North African coast.  Christmas was spent at sea.  It would seem that "U 374" had an uneventful patrol until about 8th January, 1942, when she sighted a British convoy proceeding in the direction of Mersa Matruh from Benghazi.   
          Ploch was on watch at the time (it was in the forenoon) and claims to have been the first to sight the smoke from the convoy astern of them.  He immediately reported this to his captain.  
          Some hours were spent manoeuvering into a position favourable for attack.  It seems that the convoy was on the U-boat's starboard beam and that it was von Fischel's intention, after selecting his target, to dive in a position just ahead of it and wait for it to come level before attacking.  During this period frequent aircraft alarms were sounded, but apparently "U 374" was not detected by the British forces until about 1600.  She was then just preparing to dive deeper and wait the oncoming convoy, when she realised she had been detected by three British destroyers.  
          "U 374" then dived to the greatest depth she ever attained, stated to be 187 metres (613 ft.).  Von Fischel, realising he could do nothing further, went to his bunk to lay down.  In the course of the next two hours, six depth-charge attacks were carried out on the U-boat, during which about 40 charges were dropped.  Some of these exploded just astern of the boat and the concussion threw her slightly forward.  All charges were stated to have exploded above the boat and each of them caused damage.  There is no doubt that the damage sustained during these attacks was considerable.  Ploch mentioned, for instance, that the wireless and depth gauges were thrown completely out of action and that the torpedoes were no longer capable of being fired.  The charges that exploded astern of the U-boat caused leakages in the stuffing boxes on both propeller shafts.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  This may have been the hunt by H.M.S. "Legion" and D.S. "Isaac Sweers" in 32° 04' N., 26° 40' E., between 1700B/8 and 2000B/8; 43 depth charges were dropped in this hunt, set to explode at depths varying between 150 and 385 ft.  It seems probable, therefore, that all these charges did, in fact, cause damage to "U 374, " the depth of 613 ft. is an exaggeration.  The result of this attack was assessed as "U-boat probably slightly damaged.")  
          That night when the attack was over, "U 374" surfaced and set course for Messina for repairs.  
          Shortly after midnight on 9th January, 1942, H.M.S. "Unbeaten," who had been in the eastern position of a patrol line consisting of H.M.S. "Thrasher," O.R.P. "Sokol" and herself in the Gulf of Taranto, was ordered to the area south of the Straits of Messina.  She established patrol west of Spartivento from the morning of 10th January, 1942.  
  (C 46387)                                                                                                                     B*3  


          At 1013 on 12th January, 1942, in position 37° 50' N., 16° 00' E., hydrophone effect bearing 065° was heard and two minutes later "U 374" was sighted proceeding at about 11 knots and bearing 080° at a range of 1,800 yards.  "Unbeaten," whose course was then 340°, turned at full speed to get on to an attacking course and at 1023 fired a salvo of four Mark VIII torpedoes on a 123° track angle at a range of 1,200 yards.  The torpedoes were individually aimed, an "A" salvo being fired.  Two hits were heard, one minute five seconds and one minute ten seconds respectively after firing.  
          Ploch said that he had just come off watch and had come up on to the bridge where he was standing in front of von Fischel.  Suddenly there was a huge explosion on their starboard side and he was flung into the water.  His first impression was that his boat had struck a mine and it was not until he was swimming in the water that he noticed the conning tower of a submarine and realised that his boat had been torpedoed.  "U 374," he added, sank almost at once, and the only trace of her was oil and wooden slats from the upper deck.   
          At 1037, "Unbeaten" surfaced and picked up Ploch.  Although the sea was 43 and wind W., Force 5, it only took four minutes to get the man on board over the fore-planes and to dive again.   
          As this action took place only four miles from the Italian coast, "Unbeaten" immediately proceeded southwards to clear the area.  
          Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, commented: "The attack was brilliantly executed and it is of great interest to note that the target was discovered by asdic despite the bad weather conditions prevailing, a most creditable performance on the part of the asdic operator.  The whole attack only lasted 10 minutes and, apart from the fact that in rough weather a small target such as a U-boat might well have been unobserved or seen too late for attack, the two minutes warning given by asdic was probably vital in enabling "Unbeaten" to get round to a firing position."  
  (i)  "U 81"  
          Ploch said that the U-boat commanded by Oberleutnant zur See (Lieutenant) Fritz Guggenberger was attached to the same Flotilla at La Spezia as "U 374" and was there with "U 374."  It is known from other sources that Guggenberger is in command of "U 81" and that he is responsible for the sinking of H.M.S. "Ark Royal."  On 8th May 1942, Calais Radio announced that the Duke of Aosta had awarded Italian decorations to Guggenberger at an Italian naval base.  
          "U 81's" conning tower badge was stated to be a shield bearing the Knight Insignia of the Iron Cross together with a torpedo and a wreath of oak leaves.  
  (ii)  "U 203"  
          From other sources it became known that "U 203," commanded by Kapitänleutnant (Lieutenant-Commander) Rolf Mützelburg, returned from a cruise in Canadian waters just prior to 18th May, 1942.  It was learned that Mützelburg's officers included Leutnant zur See (Sub-Lieutenant) Hans Jürgen Haupt, as First Lieutenant, and Leutnant (Ing.) (Engineer Sub-Lieutenant) Heep as Engineer Officer.  
  (iii)  "U 31"  
          According to the prisoner, the U-boat commanded by Kapitänleutnant (Lieutenant-Commander) Freiherr von Tiesenhausen and known to be "U 331" had on an occasion prior to the sinking of "U 374" succeeded in landing a sabotage party on the coast of North Africa.  They had blown up a stretch of railway between Mersa Matruh and Bardia.  On a later occasion a similar mission was attempted during which five Germans were captured.  These prisoners were later in contact with Ploch in Cairo.  "U 331" according to Ploch, carried a badge representing a dark green and white rattlesnake with a red tongue.  
  (iv)  "U 451"  
          The interrogation of Oberleutnant zur See (Lieutenant) Walter Köhler (see C.B.4051 (38)), First Lieutenant of "U 451," a 500-ton boat attacked by Swordfish aircraft on 21st December, 1941, off Cape Spartel, left in doubt whether this boat had been sunk or had been able to escape.  
          An obituary notice in the "Kieler Neueste Nachrichten" of 20th/21st June, 1942, announced the death in action at sea of Kapitänleutnant (Lieutenant-Commander) Eberhard Hoffmann, holder of the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class and the U-boat badge, at age of 29.  
          According to records, this officer of the 1933 term, served in the German Air Force in 1938 and may have been commanding officer of "U 19," a school-boat, in 1940.  
          It is not definitely known which U-boat he may later have commanded, but it may be assumed that he was in command of "U 451" when attacked, as only one Hoffmann is known to have been a commanding officer in U-boats.  
          It is, therefore, considered that the obituary notice corroborates the sinking of this U-Boat, as there is no evidence to show that Günther Hoffmann (mentioned in C.B. 4051 (38) as the possible commanding officer) has served in U-boats.  
  (v)  "U 558"  
          A report by the master of the s.s. "Margot" (4,545 tons) regarding the sinking of his vessel on 23rd May, 1942, described the U-boat which was responsible as bearing a badge representing two white fighting cocks and gave the Captain's name as Vogel.  "U 588" is known to bear this badge and to be commanded by Kapitänleutnant (Lieutenant-Commander) Viktor Vogel.  


  (i)  Italy  
          La Spezia.  Prisoner confirmed that the 29th U-boat Flotilla was based on La Spezia.  He said he did not, however, know the name of the Senior Officer of this Flotilla.  
  (ii)  France  
          Brest.  The degaussing range at Brest was described as 300 metres (984 ft.) long.  Degaussing of a U-boat, stated prisoner, required from half to three-quarters of an hour.  
          St. Nazaire.  It became known from other sources that the 6th U-boat Flotilla was located at St. Nazaire but its Senior Officer is not known.  
  (iii)  Germany  
          Kiel.  From another prisoner particulars of certain harbour installations in the Kiel area as at September, 1941, were obtained.  Buildings to the west of Wik Harbour originally used as barracks were stated to have been converted for use as an Artillery School and to be equipped with the latest weapons for training.  
          The Kiel degaussing range was said to be situated at the eastern exit of the most northerly lock of the Kaiser Wilhelm canal.  U-boats travelled at about eight knots while on the range and passed between two lines of buoys approximately 15 metres (49 ft.) apart.  Six or seven runs were always necessary, as the calibration was never sufficiently exact with one run.  Boats did not turn at the end of each run, but went astern one way and ahead at the other.  Calibration was always done under Diesel power.  
          Dry dock No. IV in the South Dockyard (Admiralty Chart No. 696) was roofed over with wood and contained very secret apparatus, the nature of which was not disclosed.  This dock was never in fact used as a dry dock and prisoner thought that machinery was tested there.  
          At the exit from the Inner Dockyard Basin was said to be situated a pressure dock ("Wasserdruckdock") used for pressure testing of U-boats by the Acceptance Command.  This dock was stated to be in the form of a large tunnel, similar in shape to a pressure hull of a submarine and made of steel.  It was capable of holding two large U-boats alongside of one another.  U-boats enter the dock under their own power and the dock is then closed at the northern end.  Water is then pumped into the dock until the pressure inside is equal to that of sea water at a depth of 90 metres (295 ft.).  Telephone connections lead from the interior of the U-boat out of the dock and both pressure hull and instruments are tested at all depths up to 90 metres.  
          This was said to be the first occasion on which a U-boat's pressure hull is subjected to pressure.  It was not usual for the builders to make such tests.  
          It was stated that on one occasion water was pumped into the dock resulting in a pressure as at 100 metres (328 ft.) depth, but the dock was unable to stand the strain and fractured.  
  (i)  Ballast Adjustments in U-boats  
          Two prisoners from 500-ton U-boats have stated independently that water was usually pumped out from the ballast tanks after diving to about 70 metres (229 ft.), though sometimes this was not done until a depth of 80 metres (262 ft.) had been reached, and on one occasion it was delayed until 90 metres (295 ft.) had been attained.  The actual depth at which this took place depended on the density of the water and the loading of the U-boat.  There would appear to be no fixed ruling in this respect.  
          In the case of "U 574," (500 tons) on reaching a depth of 100 metres (328 ft.) it would be normal for one ton of water to have been pumped out.  Below this depth, 25 litres (about 55 lbs.) from both the forward and the after tanks would be pumped out for every further 10 metres (32.8 ft.) of depth.  
          Another prisoner stated that, in the process of achieving a substantial depth from one of 70 metres (229 ft.), it would be quite normal for 600 litres (about 1,300 lbs) to be pumped out.  
          On reaching a depth of 200 metres (656 ft.) at the time of the sinking of "U 574," the Engineer Officer gave orders that no more water should be pumped out, but let water into the boat from the diving tanks, so that they could be filled with air.  On this occasion, when at a depth of 250 metres (820 ft.), it was stated that there was two feet of water above the deck-plates in the control room.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  It is believed from information obtained in the Autumn of 1940 that about one ton of water had to be pumped out, as a fixed routine, when diving from the surface to a depth of 50-60 metres (164-196 ft.)).  
  (ii)  Maximum Diving Depth of U-Boats  
          The survivor from "U 374" said that he knew of U-boats having dived to a depth of 260 metres (853 ft.).  Another prisoner, also from a 500-ton U-boat, said that he thought 230 metres (754 ft.) was the maximum depth to which his boat could be taken, and that it would not be considered safe to go as deep as 850 ft.  
          The prisoner from "U 374" stated that in the event of their being attacked it was usual for his boat to dive to about 150 metres (492 ft.) but when crash diving from aircraft they generally went to 40-60 metres (131-196 ft.).  
  (C 46387)                                                                                                                     B*4  


  (iii)  Camouflage in the Mediterranean  
          It was alleged that U-boats operating in the Mediterranean were camouflaged with alternate broad diagonal stripes of dark green and light grey.  
  (iv)  Look-out System in the Mediterranean  
          It was said to be usual while a U-boat was on the surface in the Mediterranean for the quartermaster to relieve the after look-out every hour and vice versa.  In the same way, the petty officer on duty on the bridge relieved the petty officer on duty in the control room every hour.  As already recorded for other waters, there are four look-outs on the bridge with an additional man at sunset and sunrise.  
  (v)  U-Boats in Italian Ports  
          The survivor from "U 374" said that Italians did not usually board German U-boats in Italian ports.  He added that he liked what he had seen of the Italians, though he admitted that he had never observed them in action.  
  (vi)  Organisation of U-boat Command  
          An officer from "U 581" stated that certain administrative changes had been made in the office of Admiral U-boats.  Whereas formerly this appointment was divided into two sections - Operation and Organisation - this arrangement has been superseded by appointing Admiral Dönitz to be Admiral U-boats and Rear-Admiral von Friedeburg to the post of Second Admiral U-boats.  Rear-Admiral von Friedeburg's duties were connected solely with provision of crews and material for U-boats, whereas Admiral Dönitz function was to operate them.  
  (vii)  Operations of Supply U-boats  
          Supply U-boats, often referred to as "Zubringerboote" or "Versorgungsboote," were admitted by an experienced Chief Petty Officer from "U 581" to be operating off the American coast.  He did not think, however, that they carried any spare torpedoes, being solely fuel carriers.  The statement referring to torpedoes should be treated with reserve.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  The existence of supply U-boats is now established.)  
  (viii)  Transport for U-boat Commanders  
          Several prisoners of all ranks said that U-boat commanding officers when stationed at a base in occupied territory always had cars placed at their disposal for private purposes with unlimited petrol.  Motor coach tours were arranged for the crews in the locality.  
  (ix)  Presentation of Knight Insignia of the Iron Cross  
          An officer from "U 581" gave a description of the method of presenting the Knight Insignia of the Iron Cross to an officer.  The recommendation for the award had to be made through Admiral Dönitz, the Admiral U-boats, to Grand Admiral Raeder.  If the latter approved, he would forward the decoration to Admiral Dönitz, whose practice it was to hand it to the recipient at an informal luncheon.  The Cross itself was engraved "Im Auftrag des Führer verleihe ich dem . . . . . recipient's name) . . . . das Ritterkreuz zum Eisenen Kreuz, (signed) Raeder."  ("On behalf of the Führer I award to . . . .  the Knight's Insignai of the Iron Cross.")  
          It has recently become known that the Führer has ordered that each recommendation for this decoration be accompanied by a photograph of the prospective recipient.  These photographs are for scrutiny by the Führer personally.  
  (x)  Reporting on Return from a Patrol  
          According to an officer prisoner from "U 581," every U-boat commanding officer on returning from an Atlantic patrol to a base in occupied France is ordered first to report to the Senior Officer of his Flotilla, and then personally to Admiral Donitz, who, it was stated, has his headquarters in a chateau on the outskirts of Lorient.  
  (xi)  Six-man U-boats  
          A petty officer from "U 93" said that six-man U-boats with one torpedo tube were being built in Kiel in circumstances of great secrecy.  It is not known what degree of reliability can be placed on this statement.  
  (xii)  Passage through Straits of Gibraltar  
          A Chief Petty Officer from "U 581" said that it was sometimes the case that U-boats, desirous of passing through the Straits of Gibraltar at night on the surface when unaccompanied, would lie off the Spanish-African coast until British corvettes swept the area with their searchlights.  They would then imitate this process with signal lamps, pretending themselves to be British units, and then proceed at full speed through the Straits.  
  (i)  General Remarks  
          Recent interrogations - and information from other sources - suggest that the German Navy trained approximately 80,000 recruits during 1941.  This figure may sound excessive when compared with Germany's limited number of warships, but it must be borne in mind that it includes personnel trained for coastal defence ("Küstenartillerie").  Naval shock troops ("Marinestosstruppen"), who are stationed throughout Germany and the occupied territories, are not included in the above estimate.  


          It is difficult to gauge accurately the numbers trained for commissioned rank, since many commissions are now being granted to men who have served on the lower deck.  It is known, however, that some 2,000 officer cadets are accepted annually for training.  Many commissions are also granted to suitable men of good education as coastal artillery officers.  (Marineartilleris, usually abbreviated M.A.))  
          Enlistment in the German Navy is on a voluntary basis until the age of 18.  After then, however, a man called to the colours may not even decide for himself which of the three services he would like to join.  He is accordingly detailed where required and into whatever branch thought fit.  It is perhaps for this reason that most Germans find it to their advantage to volunteer before being conscripted, and almost every recently captured prisoner is found to have done this and is consequently able to state that he joined the navy as a volunteer.  
          There is an undoubted shortage of trained petty officers, especially in the technical branches.  It is possible to become a petty officer after one year's sea training, provided that the necessary technical background is possessed.  Many of the older men, who have done 10 to 15 years' sea service and have looked forward to a comfortable job ashore, have found themselves, much to their indignation, retained on the active list.  
          Prisoners have often expressed astonishment at the comparative maturity of British naval personnel.  They seldom realise that this is due to the lack of conscription in Germany between 1918 and 1935, resulting in a later hurried effort to train younger and inexperienced men.  
          The general impression gained from conversation with prisoners is that they realise that Germany could not hope, in the limited time available to her, to build capital ships to compare with the other first-rate powers, and has, therefore, to resort to the construction of a large number of well-armed fast craft, not taking long to build and requiring small complements.  German warships are usually over manned in order to give sea experience to as many officers and ratings as possible.  
          The Germans have done their utmost to make the U-boat arm sound an attractive career and have instigated several intensive propaganda drives throughout Germany, advertising the special leave facilities, attractive rates of pay and undoubtedly excellent victualling in this arm.  Of late, there has been evidence of severe competition from the E-Boat service, which if finding increasing popularity as it expands.  
          Once in the U-Boat service, a man cannot transfer to any other class of ship.  If he is wounded, he will be found employment in a submarine depôt ship or in a shore establishment of the U-Boat service; but he can never avoid the "U" which prefixes his serial number for the whole of his naval career.  
          Generally speaking, the length of most courses has been drastically cut to meet war-time conditions.  It is no uncommon thing for a course, which before the war lasted a year, nowadays to take only three months to complete.  Complaints among the senior petty officers are therefore frequent that the present day young recruits are lacking in all practical experience and proper technical knowledge.  
  (ii)  Training for Commissioned Rank  
          In the German Navy, the periods into which training for commissioned rank are divided may be roughly expressed as follows:  
                  (a)  New Entry Training.  
                  (b)  Initial Sea Time.  
                  (c)  General Naval Training Course.  
                  (d)  Second Sea Time.  
          (aNew Entry Training.  An officer recruit selected for the executive branch usually joins at the age of 18 at Stralsund.  Most of these recruits are volunteers.  Here, rated as ordinary seaman, he undergoes a six months course in general seamanship.  It is possible that since the war began this course has been slightly shortened.  During this training the candidate is closely watched, great importance being placed on his "officer-like qualities."  Before the war it was customary to reject one-third of all candidates presenting themselves, but since the war began this proportion has naturally been greatly reduced.  It is now probable that only the commission of serious offenses would cause rejection.  
          During the whole of this training period the trainee holds the rank of "Seekadett" (Cadet Rating).  It was estimated that about 1,000 such cadet ratings undergo training at one time, thus producing some 2,000 potential officers annually.  
          (bInitial Sea Time.  Cadet ratings having completed their course at Stralsund are sent to sea for a year, usually in smaller types of craft, in order to gain the maximum experience.  After six months at sea they are normally promoted Fähnrich (Junior Midshipman).  During this initial sea time they never serve in U-boats, irrespective of whether or not they have applied to join this branch of the service.  (It was stated that about one-quarter of the Midshipman entered volunteer for the U-Boat arm.  
          (cGeneral Naval Training Course.  When a Junior Midshipman has completed his initial sea time, he is sent on a comprehensive naval training course at Flensburg-Mürwik.  During the latter part of this course, he may specialise in certain subjects which are thought likely to be of use to him in the class of ship in which he is next most likely to serve.  


          (dSecond Sea Time.  As soon as the period of training at Flensburg-Mürwik is completed, the Midshipman goes to sea again.  He has, however, only a limited choice of ships, though this time it is possible that he may be sent to join a U-Boat.  It would seem that the authorities usually do their best to appoint junior officers at this stage of their careers to the larger surface units.  This stage of training lasts for nine months, in the latter three of which the trainee is normally promoted to "Oberfähnrich (Senior Midshipman).  When the second sea service has been completed, the trainee receives his commission as Leutnant zur See (Sub-Lieutenant).  
  (iii)  Provision of U-boat Officers  
          (aGeneral.  As soon as  Midshipman becomes a Sub-Lieutenant he is likely, if he has spent his second sea time in U-Boats, to be appointed as a watch-keeping officer in the same branch of the service.  Rare cases have been known of senior Chief Petty Officers having been temporarily made First Officers of the Watch in a U-boat, thus holding an executively senior position to a commissioned but inexperienced officer.  In cases where an officer transfers from surface ships to U-Boats it is usual for him to spend six months at a U-Boat school, or he may be appointed Second Officer of the Watch to gain sea experience  
          (bTraining of U-Boat Commanding Officers.  An officer has completed at least one year as First Lieutenant in a U-Boat becomes eligible for training as a U-Boat Commanding Officer.  The youngest Commanding Officer yet captured, however, was 24 years old.  It seems probable that the authorities are selecting officers to train as U-Boat commanders who have served previously in other types of vessel, and then completed a year as First Lieutenant in a U-Boat; or are recruiting officers directly from surface units as U-Boat Commanding Officers.  There is conclusive evidence that many naval officers who were seconded to the Air Force during the large-scale attacks of 1940 are now being returned to the Navy, thus reversing the trend of eighteen months ago.  These officers appear to receive a large degree of preference in the distribution of U-Boat commands.  
          (cU-Boat Schools.  Prospective U-Boat Commanding Officers who have no previous U-Boat experience are sent to one of the two U-Boat schools at Pillau and Gdynia for a period of eight  weeks, which includes four weeks' school-boat training followed by four weeks' theoretical instruction.  This course can also be taken by Oberfähnrich (Senior Midshipmen), Reserve Officers, Engineer Officers, and Senior Chief Petty Officers.  If a prospective U-Boat Commander has already done his course, he need not repeat it.  Irrespective, however, of whether or not he has undergone such a course, he is next sent to the U-Boat Commanding Officers' School ("Kommandantenschüle") at Gdynia for two to three months.  
          (d)  U-Boat Torpedo Firing Course.  Prospective U-Boat Commanding Officers, other than those who have already served as First Lieutenants, are sent before taking over their commands to the Torpedo Control School at Flensburg, known as the "Unterwasser Torpedo Leitanlage" course.  This course is also usually taken by officers who are destined to act as First Lieutenants in U-Boats, with the object of ensuring that there are two officers on board who are conversant with under-water firing before being left solely to the Commanding Officer.  This course, which is regarded as of an advanced type, usually lasts for about three months.  
          (eU-Boat Torpedo Firing Flotilla at Gdynia.  Having completed their final torpedo firing course, prospective U-Boat commanders undergo further training with the special Torpedo-firing U-Boat Flotilla at Gdynia for a period of eight weeks.  The only other officers who attended this course are U-Boat Engineer officers.  It is believed that this is the 22nd U-Boat Flotilla.  Having thus completed his practical experience, a prospective U-Boat Captain is ready to stand by the constructional period of his first command.  
          (fU-Boat Commanders' Training Cruise.  After he has completed his training, the prospective Commander can volunteer for what is known as he "Konfirmandenfahrt," or training cruise as a supernumerary.  It is left to the officer's discretion as to whether or not he proceeds on such a cruise, but it is found in practice that nearly all would-be Commanders without previous operational U-boat experience do so, in fact, avail themselves of such an opportunity.  During this cruise the prospective Commanding Officer, who is then known as a "Kommandantenschüler" (Commanding Officer under instruction) has no duties in the boat other than to observe what is taking place.  Only one such cruise is normally made.  
  (iv)  Training of New Entries ("Rekrutenausbildung")  
          (aGeneral.  The training of recruits for the German Navy takes place at some 15 different establishments in various parts of Germany and the occupied territories.  On enlistment, generally at the age of about 18, new entries undergo preliminary disciplinary training ("Rekrutenausbildung"), varying in length between eight weeks in the case of technical personnel and eight to twelve weeks in the case of seamen.  Such trainees are drafted to training establishments, which are generally under the command of a Captain.  Here they are formed into companies (Kompanien").  each averaging 200 men and commanded either by active or reserve Commanders, Lieutenant-Commanders and Lieutenants.  These companies are again subdivided into platoons ("Züge") of approximately 50 men each, sometimes commanded by junior officers awaiting draft, or by Chief Petty Officers.  
          As soon as a rating arrives at his training establishment, his qualifications and standard of intelligence are noted and he is detailed for one of the 17 branches ("Laufbahnen") of the German Navy (see Appendix I).  Particular note is taken of possible future telegraphists and torpedo ratings, and, to a minor extent, of other technical personnel.  To other branches, men are allocated as required and cannot express any preference.  


          (bManning Depôts.  Preliminary naval disciplinary training is know to take place at the following manning depôts:  
Manning Depots.
Number of Complaints.
Number of Manning Divisions (Schiffslammabteilung)
Boderkesa (Holland)
Four (800 men)
10th (?)
8 weeks' training course.
Six (1,200 men)
8 weeks' training.  These recruits mostly join the U-boat arm via Pillau or Gdynia U-boat schools.
Breda (Holland)
Six (1,200 men)
8 weeks' training.  Under Kapitan zur See von Stockhausen.
10th (?)
8 weeks training course.
Six (1,200 men)
8 weeks' training course.  Most modern barracks in Germany.  Under Kapitan zur See Schroeder.
Five (1,200 men)
8-10 weeks' training course for coastal artillery, minesweepers and small craft.
Four (800 men)
8 weeks' training course.
Eight (1,600 men)
8-10 weeks' training course.  Most Austrians are trained there
Four (800 men)
8-12 weeks' training course, including hydrophone course.
Four (800 men)
1st and 3rd
8 weeks' training course.
Leer Six (1,200 men)
8 weeks' training course.
Roosendahl (Holland) Five (1,000 men)
8 weeks' training course.
Sammitz Five (1,000 men)
8-12 weeks' training course, including gunlayers' course for 2 cm., 3.7 cm. and 8.8 cm. weapons.
Stralsund Ten (2,000 men)
7th, 9th and 11th
8-12 weeks' training course.
Tidefeld Eight (1,600 men)
8 weeks' training course.  Commanding Officer is Kapitan sur See Strauss.
Wilhelmshaven Ten (2,000 men)
4th and 6th
8 weeks' training course.  Twenty-five per cent go to Schillig Gunnery School, 15 per cent. to Medical Service and balance to ships, mostly U-boats via Pillau or Gdynia.
  Note.  From the above list it was estimated that about 80,000 recruits were trained annually in the above-mentioned depôts, observing that a prisoner stated that normal 8 weeks' course was repeated five times a year.  
          (cOfficial Numbers of German Naval Personnel.  A simplified system of official numbers (Stammrollennummern) was introduced in December, 1941, to take effect from 1st January, 1942.  It only applies, however, to entries after that date, and the old system remains in force for previous entries.  
          Old System.  Typical numbers which may be taken as examples are:  
N 1329/37 S and O 151/41 T.
                  1.  All entries into the Navy are divided between depôts (Stamm-marineteile) of the Admiral Commanding the Baltic and the Admiral Commanding the North Sea, and bear a distinguishing letter either ( (Ostsee) or N (Nordsee), accordingly.  
                  2.  1329 and 151 are the serial numbers of the individuals (Jahrgangsnummer).  
                  3.  37 and 41 are the years of entry (Einstellungsjahrgang), viz.: 1937 and 1941.  
                  4.  The letters after the numbers refer to the branch of the service to which the man belongs (Ausbildungszeichen).  The following are known:  
S stands for Seemännische (Seaman branch)
T stands for Technische (Technical)
KS stands for Küstenschule (Coastal school)
KT stands for (not known, possibly Kustentechnische - Coastal Technical).
ES stands for Ersatzseemännische (Reserve Seaman branch)
ET stands for Ersatztechnische (Reserve Technical branch)
E stands for Ersatz (Reserve)
  U-Boat personnel are understood to have the letter U prefixed to the O or N.  
          New System:  
                  1.  O and N are retained as before.  
                  2.  The letters after the name disappear as a general rule.  Conscripts (Dienstpflichtige), however, bear the letter D.  
                  3.  Naval recruits, continuous service volunteers (Flottenrekruten), (Ungedienende Freiwillige) and all members of the shore establishments (Küstendienst) are given uneven numbers by the Baltic Station and even numbers by the North Sea Station, e.g.:  
O 101/42,  N 102/42,  O 103/42 D.


                  4.  Recruits in Laufbahnen (see Appendix I) XIV, XV and XVIII, (Marienartillerie, Kraftfahrer and Flugmelde), receive their numbers similarly with the letter K added, e.g.:  
N 52/42 K.
                  5.  The Marinestammregiment Beveloo (Belgium) believed to be Marinestosstruppen) keep their previous system, numbers and suffixed letters, but the letters M St. R are substituted for O and N., e.g.:  
M St. R 30100 S.
                  6.  On being moved from one depôt to the other the letter of the new station is prefixed to the letter of the old.  On return to the original depôt the new letter is once more dropped.  This applies to pre-1942 numbers as well, e.g.:  
ON 951/41 S.
                  7.  Identification discs (Erkennungsmarken) are in future to bear the word "Kriegsmarine" for all members of the Navy, with the official number and the letter for the blood group of the man, e.g.:  
202/42 K
202/42 K
  The owner's name will apparently not be shown.  
          (dDrafting Depots.  Ratings who have completed their preliminary disciplinary training and all seaman awaiting draft are sent to a "Durchgangskompanie" (Drafting Depot), where they receive refresher courses.  It is estimated that about 15,000 men are distributed in the following drafting depôts:  
          Bergen, Copenhagen, Danzig, Fischerhude, Flensburg, Gdynia, Den Haag, Kiel, Memel, Rendsburg, Pillau, Plön, Wangeroog, Wilhelmshaven.  
          In addition, there is a special drafting depôt at Neustadt for U-Boat crews only.  The discipline here is said to be less rigid than in other establishments.  At this depôt facilities exist for men to take special courses, which include cookery.  
          Ratings detailed for the specialised branches undergo further training of a technical nature before being drafted to sea.  
  (v)  Specialised Training  
          (aTelegraphists.  A man to be trained as a telegraphist is sent on a six months' course at Gdynia, Kiel, Wilhelmshaven, Flensburg-Mürwik, Stralsund or Wesermünde.  The school which used to be situated at Aurich has been incorporated into that at Flensburg.  The telegraphist is trained not only in W/T but also in hydrophone listening and receives instruction in the use of search gear.  Sometimes the latter part of the course takes place at Flensburg, regardless of where it has begun.  Less successful trainees are sent to a special school at Borkum before being sent to sea.  
          (bSignalmen.  There would appear to be a very small proportion of signalmen in the German Navy.  They are all believed to be trained at Flensburg for a period of eight weeks.  
          (cStokers.  Men training as stokers proceed after their preliminary training to Kiel, Stettin, Warnemünde or Wesermünde for engine-room instruction.  The establishments at Kiel and Wesermünde are the largest of this kind.  A rating undergoes various courses such as "Electrical No. 3" (E.3), or "Motor No. 3" (Mo.3), according to whether he is destined to become an electrical or Diesel stoker.  The duration of such courses is about eight weeks, and in the case of U-Boat ratings they are usually followed by two weeks spent in one of the factories which assemble Diesel engines.  
          (dTorpedo ratings.  Men who have been selected for training as torpedo ratings are usually sent on a course at either Kiel, Bremen, Travemünde, Memel, Eckenförde, Pillau, Gdynia, or Warnemünde.  The average duration of these courses in 1941 was eight weeks.  
          (eU-boat Personnel.  The specialised training of U-boat personnel is carried out, according to prisoners, at either of the two main U-Boat schools at Pillau or Gdynia.  At Pillau the school is conducted in the training ship "Robert Ley" and in a shore establishment; the ship is stated to produce some 2,000 trained men annually and the shore establishment about 1,000 in the same period.  The training ship "Wilhelm Gustoff" is employed as the U-Boat school in Gdynia and is stated to train 2,000 men annually for this arm.  Accordingly at the above-mentioned schools alone a total of some 5,000 men are trained annually.  
          (fS-Boat Personnel.  Training of ratings for the S-Boat service has been stated by prisoners to be usually of short duration and petty officers from these boats have remarked on the lack of seamanlike qualities in their crews.  
          It was stated that large numbers of ratings were trained for S-Boats and smaller craft at Libau, where five companies (1,000 men) were under training.  


  (vi)  Training of Petty Officers  
          (aSeaman Petty Officers.  It was usual before the war for a rating to have to wait some three or four years before being selected to become a petty officer.  After this, he would have to undergo courses lasting six months before being advanced.  Nowadays, however, the special course of field training, which those selected to become petty officers are calling on to undergo at Gluckstadt or Kiel, only takes eight weeks.  Following this, a petty officer must undergo some technical course of about eight weeks' duration and generally consisting of gunnery training or torpedo instruction.  The present total training period for potential petty officers is, therefore, only four months.  It is possible nowadays for a rating with special qualifications to be recommended for promotion to petty officer after one year's sea service.  
          (bPetty Officer Telegraphists.  Petty officer telegraphists usually undergo their eight weeks' preliminary field training at either Kiel or Flensburg.  This is followed by an eight weeks' purely theoretical W/T course at Flensburg.  Further practical training of no specific duration takes place either at Flensburg or in one of the depôt ships.  
          (cStoker Petty Officers.  Stoker petty officer candidates are usually sent to receive their preliminary field training at Wesermünde.  Afterwards they either stay there or proceed to Kiel, Stettin or Wesermünde to take amongst other "Electrical Course No. 2" (E.2) or "Motor Course No. 2" (Mo.2), depending on the type of machinery in which they are specialising.  The length of these last-named courses has been considerably reduced.  
          (dTorpedo Gunner's Mates.  After undergoing his further field training course of eight weeks, a prospective torpedo gunner's mate usually goes to one of the torpedo schools for a short refresher course.  It is not thought that any further training is considered necessary in this branch.  
  (vii)  Training of Chief Petty Officers  
          (aTorpedo and Telegraphist Petty Officers.  Torpedo and telegraphist petty officers are promoted to chief petty officers according to seniority, or for distinguishing themselves in action.  Before the war, it was necessary to serve for 12 years before becoming eligible for such promotion.  Men so promoted do not have to qualify by undergoing any further training, unless they wish to transfer to another branch or to receive commissioned rank.  
          (bChief Stoker Petty Officers.  Stoker petty officers from the U-Boat arm training to become chief stoker petty officers usually undergo at Kiel or Wesermünde an advanced motor or electrical course, known as "Motor Course No. 1 (Mo. 1) and "Electrical Course No. 1 (E.1) respectively.  The duration of this course is believed still to be six months.  It seems to have achieved a large measure of popularity, is of a high standard and carries extra pay with it.  Men who have so qualified stand a very good chance of being granted commissioned rank, as there is at the present moment a great shortage of engineer officers in the German Navy.  
  (viii)  Special Courses  
          (aGunnery.  The Gunlayer's Course No. 3 ("Geschützfuhrer 3" - G.F.3) lasts for eight weeks and includes instruction in 8.8 cm. and 10.5 cm. guns.  It is mainly intended for U-Boat ratings and petty officers.  
          The Gunlayer's Course No. 2 ("Geschützfuhrer 2" - G.F.2) lasts for eight weeks and includes instruction in all anti-aircraft weapons of a calibre below 10.5 cm.  It also includes instruction in single, double and quadruple mountings.  
          (bDiving Course.  The diving course is usually undergone by men in the Shipwright branch.  It includes instruction in deep-sea diving and under-water welding.  It takes place at Kiel and is believed to last for one year.  
          (cMining Course.  Before the war, seamen could take a general mining course lasting for six months, after which they were known as "Sperrvormänner," but retained their grading as seamen.  Since the outbreak of the war, however, this process has been abolished and ratings known as "Sperrmanner" introduced instead.  The training of these men is confined to an eight weeks' course at Cuxhaven in one special subject and they do not, as before, receive general instruction in mining matters.  
          "Sperrmechaniker" (mine artificers), who previously underwent a nine months' general course at Cuxhaven, are now only trained for six months.  On promotion to the rank of chief petty officer, in this branch, no further training is undergone.  If a "Sperrmechaniker" has completed his course just prior to promotion to petty officer, he will probably be merely required to take a short refresher course, though the possibility exists that this, too, has been abolished.  
          "Sperrmeister," or chief petty officers in the mining branch do one year's course at Cuxhaven or Kiel, after which they are never sent to sea again, but are usually placed in charge of shore depôts.  
          Most officers in this branch are promoted from the lower deck.  
          (dTorpedo Recovery.  Ratings and petty officers are often sent on an eight weeks' course in torpedo recovery at Flensburg.  
          (eTorpedo Control.  There is a special course at Flensburg, attended mostly by U-Boat seamen petty officers, which lasts for eight weeks and deals with under-water torpedo-firing mechanism.  


          (fMusicians' Course.  Prospective musicians are trained at Glückstadt for one year before joining a naval band.  
          (gSick Bay Attendants.  Sick Bay attendants are trained at either Kiel or Wilhelmshaven for one year before being sent to a naval hospital or drafted to sea.  
          (hMotor Transport.  Naval drivers are trained at either Kiel, Wilhelmshaven or Glückstadt.  
          (iHydrophone Listening.  Hydrophone listening courses for prospective telegraphists are taken at Flensburg and last for eight weeks.  These courses are taken in conjunction with qualifying courses in W/T and Search Gear.  
          Several prisoners have spoken of late, generally with respect tinged with dislike, of the "Marinestosstruppen" (naval shock troops) which are stated to be now becoming a familiar sight in all harbours under German control.  
          These troops were originally constituted early in 1940, from men who had finished their terms of punishment in the notorious Hela camp, a full description of which has been given in C.B. 4051 (39).  Since imprisonment in the Hela camp for more than six months automatically involves a reduction to civilian status, all men enrolled as Marinestosstruppen from Hela were and still are those who served sentences of shorter duration.  Enlistment in this special body is not, however, confined to those who have served in Hela.  Many of the men joining the corps are drawn from those who have served one of the several more or less severe detention sentences which are common in the German Navy.  A typical case was quoted by one prisoner.  A friend of his was returning drunk one night to his ship and got mixed up in a fight with the driver of a tramcar on which he was traveling.  He was taken into custody by a posse of naval police who happened to be passing, condemned to a period of detention and is said to be now serving in the Marinestosstruppen in the port of Delfzyl.  Latterly it would appear that substantial numbers of men, who have not necessarily committed any offence, have been drafted to this organisation.  
          The Marinestosstruppen were originally formed at Glückstadt where, early in 1940, two companies totalling 300 men were recruited under the command of Kapitänleutnant (Lieutenant-Commander) Wernicke, who had previously served on the staff of the Admiral Commanding North Sea and in the battleship "Deutschland."  This officer was responsible for training the men sent to him from Hela and elsewhere and is said to be still employed on these duties at Glückstadt.  
          The initial training given to the 300 men who formed the nucleus of the organisation was continued until December, 1940, when both companies were transferred to Delfzyl, where they immediately took up their duties.  (N.I.D. Note.  It has been reported that large numbers of naval recruits for this corps are now sent from Germany for initial training at Beverloo (Belgium).  The training they receive suggests that they become, after completing the course, equivalent to naval commandos.)  
          The present functions of the Marinestosstruppen are primarily of a disciplinary character.  They are called on to suppress any civil commotion or attempts at sabotage which may take place in their area, to keep order among naval ratings and to assist the movements of merchant shipping in and out of harbours, as well as to keep ships and crews under observation while in harbour.  In order fully to carry out these duties, patrols of these troops are sent out on to the streets, especially at night, and it is their task to keep a watchful eye on places frequented by naval ranks, including railway stations, restaurants, brothels and all places of amusement.  
          While on patrol, it is customary for these troops to wear on their right arm a white armlet bearing the letters Z.B.V. embroidered in gold.  These stand for "Zu Besonderer Verwendung" (Allocated to Special Duties).  
          The uniform worn by the Marienstosstruppen is identical in all respects to that worn by other branches of the German Navy, as also are their ranks and rates of pay.  
          Apart from their present disciplinary function, the Marinestosstruppen are universally regarded as the front-line troops to be used in the event of an invasion of England.  Their unusually tough character, as well as the hardening training they have received at Glückstadt, are calculated to render them particularly suitable for this purpose.  Their instruction is said to include a thorough training in the handling of landing craft, together with strenuous exercises such as swimming across rivers in full kit.  
          It is estimated that about 100,000 Marinestosstruppen exist at the present time, stationed in Germany and occupied territories.  It is the opinion of many prisoners that the German authorities intend still further to expand this force, though it is not known to what dimensions.  
          Owing to the exhausting nature of this training and the social stigma that membership of the Marinestosstruppen was formerly inclined to carry with it, it is not usual for men to volunteer for this particular branch of the German Navy, although it is open to them to do so if they wish.  The Marinestosstruppen themselves are still unpopular with other branches of the Navy, who are inclined to regard them as little better than criminals in uniform, through their effectiveness as a disciplinary medium is generally admitted.  
          The men are mostly in their twenties and have a very tough appearance.  They are destined mainly for shore duties and never put to sea for any length of time.  They are usually accommodated in barracks; at Brest, for instance, they are said to occupy the barracks close to the Arsenal.  In some ports, however, they are housed in other types of buildings, as a Delfzyl, where they are said to be billeted in a converted villa.  


          The importance to the German Navy of the Organisation Todt (commonly referred to by the initials O.T.) has of late become more and more marked.  This is largely due to the construction of U-Boat shelters and other large-scale works in the various French and other bases, a task whose implementation is exclusively in the hands of this organisation, which which prisoners have been in close contact.  
          Created some years before the war by the late Dr. Todt for the construction of the great Autobahnen (arterial roads) and recently taken over on the latter's death by Dr. Speer, the organisation has been variously estimated from 500,000 to over 1,000,000 men, of which groups of about 3,000 or more each are known to be working on construction in naval bases in the occupied territories and elsewhere.  
          It should be noted that there is no full military discipline in the organisation, which is almost of a purely labour character.  The only resemblance the force has to a military organisation is that its members wear a kind of uniform and that they are not permitted to leave at will.  
          Most of the men making up the force are 35 years of age or more, since the German authorities only encourage older men to join it, reserving nearly all men of military age for the combatant services.  There are, however, a few cases of younger men having been drafted to it on account of their technical qualifications.  
          The uniform worn by its components is of a simple khaki-coloured design, with a yellow swastika armband worn on the left arm.  A khaki-coloured forage cap is also worn.  
          There are no officers in the organisation, but its higher ranks are generally dignified with the title of Baurat (Constructional Advisor), Ingenieur (Engineer), or some other similar civilian appellation.  They exercise ordinary civilian disciplinary control over their men, and the only distinction in their uniform is that their caps are graced with a silver edging.  Most such leaders in the organisation are drawn from older men who have passed some university or technical high school course in construction or engineering.  
          Men of the organisation sent abroad on duty are accommodated in barracks or billets provided for them near the scene of their work and are not allowed to take their wives and families with them.  
          Contact between the German Navy and the Organisation Todt is maintained through a class of naval officials who form a link between the naval authorities proper and all civilian technical organisations.  They are commonly referred to as "Silberlinge" (Silverlings) by reason of their wearing silver stripes on their sleeves instead of the gold braid that is worn by naval officers.  These "Silberlinge" hold naval rank and are entitled to the courtesies that go with it.  The general feeling in the German Navy, however, is that they are pari passu somewhat inferior to full naval officers of equal rank.  
          When engaged on naval work abroad, it is usual for the Organisation Todt not to rely exclusively on German workers and to employ quite a number of local men, all of whom, of course, are subject to German supervision.  
          The pay and living conditions to which O.T. men are entitled approximate to those accorded to workmen at home.  
          It has been stated that the O.T. must be regarded as part of the Armed Forces and that it has earned the title "Bauwaffe der deutschen Wehrmacht" - "Construction Weapon of the German Armed Forces."  
  (i)  German Naval Personnel for Norway  
          A prisoner from the Germanpatrol boat "Foehn" which had been stationed at Bergen, stated that the German authorities were in the habit of using the Sassnitz-Trellborg ferry route for transporting naval personnel to Norway.  He had himself travelled by this route when drafted to Bergen, the Norwegian railway coaches employed being shipped in the Swedish ferry-boat at Sassnitz and not being unsealed until they had entered Norwegian territory.  He and all with him wore uniform.  
  (ii)  German North Sea Convoy Routes  
          German convoy routes in the North Sea were stated to begin at a point some 28 miles W.N.W. from Cuxhaven and to proceed outside the Frisian Islands in a westerly direction.  It would seem from statements made that a large number of ships, especially of smaller tonnage, leave the convoy and proceed to Delfzyl, while the remainder continue to hug the coast down channel.  It is usual for westbound convoys to assemble off Cuxhaven at dawn, the assembly point being marked by a buoy, known as Bouy A, described as black in colour and having a fixed all-round light.  This light is red on some nights and white on others.  Shipping joining the convoy from Wilhelmshaven makes rendezvous with that from Cuxhaven at this buoy.  It is not clear whether that part of the convoy bound for Delfzyl passes through the Wester Ems or the Oster Ems, but it is assumed from statements made that either route may be used depending on conditions prevailing at the time.  The convoy usually takes about 24 hours to make the entrance to the River Ems from buoy A, thus ensuring arrival in the hours of daylight.  
          The size of the average convoy in either direction is not thought to be large.  It is believed rarely to exceed five ships and never more than nine.  The escort is stated to be normally provided by patrol boats ("Vospostenboote") armed with a 5.5 cm. (2.16 in.) A.A. gun forward, a single 2 cm. (.78 in.) gun aft and a machine gun on either beam.  As a general rule one such patrol boat was said to precede the convoy, one followed it and there was occasionally one on either beam.  It was stated that, for some time past, no air protection had been given these convoys.  
        Smaller ships of the Dutch schuyt type, were usually encouraged to sail independently, in which case they were normally provided with one German guard, acting as signalman.  Most of the vessels convoyed were Dutch, Danish or Norwegian, with occasional Swedes.  


Branches of Lower Deck
(Laufbahnen der Kriegsmarine)
English Equivalent.
I.   Bootsmanns- Seamen
II.   Maschinen- Stokers
III. S Schiffssteuermanns- Coxswains (selected from I):-
          (a)  Coxswain (for ships).
III. TUM Bootssteuermanns-     (b)  Coxswain (motor boats).
III. V Vermessungesteuermanns-     (c)  Coxswain (Surveying).
IV. Sig Signal     (a)  Signalmen.
IV. Fx Funk-     (b)  W/T.
IV. Fs Fernschreib-     (c)  Teleprinters.
IV. FB Funk-Beobachter-     (d)  W/T Liaison with other services.
V.   Zimmermanns- Shipwrights.
VI.   Feuerwerker- Gunner's Mate.
VII. A Art. Mechaniker- (a)  Gunnery Artificers.
VII. T Torp. Mechaniker- (b)  Torpedo Artificer.
VII. Spr Sperr-Mechaniker- (c)  Mines and Depth-Charge Artificer.
VIII.   (Not yet allocated)  
IX Va Verw.Schreiber- Administrative (Writers).
IX. Sv Sachverwalter- Supply (Writers).
IX. Vp Verpflegungs- Victualling (Writers).
X.   Schreiber- Writers.
XI.   Sänitats- S.B.A.s.
XII.   Musik Bandsmen.
XIII.   Hauptfeldwebel- C.P.O. instructors in barracks.
XIV.   Marienartillerie- Coastal Artillery.
XV.   Kraftfahr- Motor Transport.
XVI.   Laufb. fur das Wehrersatzwesen- Recruiting (C.P.O.s and P.O.s unfit for sea).
XVII. A Art. Waffenwart- (a)  Gunnery Equipment.
XVII. Spr Sperr-Waffenwart- (b)  Mines Equipment.
XVIII.   Flugmelder- Aircraft Reporters.


Disposition and Use of German Depot and other Ships in Germany and Occupied Territories
  Note.  Disposition and use of some of the under-mentioned ships alter according to Naval requirements.  
  The dates in brackets indicate date of latest report.  
Bordeaux "Usaramo," depôt ship (April, 1942).
Cuxhaven "Claus Horn," depôt ship for minesweeping crews (May, 1942).
  "Camilla Horn," depôt ship for minesweeping crews (May, 1942).
  "Helgoland," personnel pool for minesweepers (May, 1942).
  "Pitea," at "Alte Liebe" jetty, depôt ship (May, 1942).
Danzig "Iberia" depôt ship for U-Boat crews (September, 1942).
  "Hamburg," depôt ship for U-Boat crews (September, 1942).
  "Memel," torpedo depôt and tactical exercise ship ?
  "Deutschland" (March, 1942).
Flensburg "Patria" (May, 1942).
Gdynia "Cap Arcona," U-Boat depôt ship (March, 1942).
  "Wilhelm Gustoff," training ship for U-Boat personnel (2,000 annually) (March, 1942).
  "Hansa," U-Boat depôt ship ?
  "Ahrensburg" ?
  "Lech," tactical exercise ship and quarters for Staff Officers (September, 1941).
  "Oceana" (March, 1942).
  "Wilhelm Bauer," tactical exercise ship, officers' quarters and practical instruction for P.O.s.  
  "Nordstern," tactical exercise ship (September, 1941).
  "Erwin Wassner," tactical exercise ship and U-Boat staff (September, 1941).
  "Isar," U-Boat depôt ship (March, 1942).
Hamburg "General Artigas," depôt ship for constructional training and staff. (April, 1942).
  "Sierra Cordoba," depôt ship (May, 1941).
  "Hein Godenwind," headquarters of constructional training staff. (May, 1941).
  "Herzogin Elisabeth," merchant navy training ship for boys (September, 1941).
Horten ? "Soerlandet" depôt ship for U-Boat crews (July, 1941).
  ? "Brabant," 3,500 tons, Admiral Commanding and Naval Staff (July, 1941).
Kiel "Berlin" (officially advertised as hospital ship). Pro tem. 5th Naval Gunnery School, for theoretical gunnery instruction. (October, 1941).
  "Ubena," U-boat depôt ship (April, 1942).
  "Amarzon," (U-Boat Acceptance Command). ?
  "Waldemar Kophamel," ?
  "Milwaukee," depôt ship for officers only (January, 1942).
  "Monte Sarmiento," U-Boat depôt ship (burnt out) (October, 1941).
  "Najade," U-Boat tender (October, 1941).
  "St. Louis" (April, 1942).
  "Archeron," (U-Boat Acceptance Command) (May, 1941).
  "Schwalbe," (U-Boat Acceptance Command) (May, 1941).
  "Donau," ammunition ship (June, 1942).
  "Der Deutsche," depôt ship (JUne, 1942).
Königsberg "Gravenstein," gunnery training ship (September, 1941).
  "Eisbär," gunnery training ship (End, 1941).
Lo Fjord "Black Prince," U-Boat depôt ship.  (Reported returned to Baltic - since destroyed by fire) (October, 1941).
  ? "Neisse." ?
  ? "Herta." ?
Lorient "Mousson," U-Boat depôt ship (January, 1942).
Memel "Nordland," depôt ship ?
Oslo "Orion," U-Boat depôt ship ?
Pillau "Robert Ley," training ship for U-Boat personnel (Men do not sleep aboard) (Beginning 1942).
  "Pretoria," U-Boat school (Beginning 1942).
  "Saar," depôt ship ?
  "Swakopmund," depôt ship for U-Boats ex 26th Flotilla (December, 1941).
  "Kamerun," depôt and repair ship for U-Boats. (September, 1941).
  "Knurrhahn," depôt ship of 22nd U-Boat Flotilla ?
Quiberon ? "Jules Verne" ?
Stralsund "Horst Wessel," training ship under sail ?
Swinemünde "New York," depôt ship for U-Boats.  ? at Danzig (September, 1941).
  "Monte Rosa," depôt ship ?
  "General Osario," 5th Naval Gunnery School, practical gunnery instruction. (October, 1941).
  "Drache," naval gunnery vessel ?
  ? "Altona," naval gunnery vessel ?
Travemünde "Wadai," depôt and torpedo firing ship (October, 1941).
Trondheim "Huaskaran." U-Boat depôt and repair ship (February, 1942).
Warnemünde ? "Nassau," depôt and torpedo practice ship for U-Boats (End, 1941).
Wilhelmshaven ? "Usanbora," U-Boat depôt ship (March, 1940).
  ? "Ayra," U-Boat tender (Beginning 1941).


Incomplete List of Crew of "U 374"
(as given by Ploch)
  (i)  Survivor  
English Equivalent.
Ploch, Johannes Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman (1st Class)
  (ii)  Casualties  
English Equivalent.
von Fischel Oberleutnant zur See Lieutenant (Commanding Officer)
Jahn, Bruno Oberleutnant zur See Lieutenant
Leonhardtt Leutnant (Ing.) Engineer Sub-Lieutenant
-- Oberfähnrich Senior Midshipman
-- Fähnrich Junior Midshipman
Beck Obersteuermann Chief Quartermaster (1st Class
Klinke Bootsmann Chief Boatswain's Mate (2nd Class)
Henig Funkmaat P.O. Telegraphist (2nd Class)
Henfeld Mechanikermaat P.O. Artificer (2nd Class)
Huetling Mechanikerobergefreiter (?) Artificer (1st Class)
and 32 other ratings      
  (iii)  Total crew  
  (C 46387)     425       9/42  



Click the icons to view the associated records

Return to the British Interrogation Reports page