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

          Only four rating survivors were picked up when "U 444," a 500-ton U-Boat, was sunk by H.M.S. "Harvester" and F.F.S. "Aconit" at 0015 Zone Time on 11th March, 1943, in approximate position 51° 14' N., 29° 18' W.  
          "U 444's" Captain, Oberleutnant zur See Joseph ("Sepp") Langfeld, and his officers are missing.  The total complement is believed to have numbered about forty-five men.  The four rating prisoners were not unduly security-conscious, but in each case their experience was limited.  
          "U 444" belonged to the 3rd U-Boat Flotilla, and a main feature of this report is information concerning this flotilla and its base and U-Boat shelters at La Pallice.  
          In order to present a complete picture of La Pallice, information obtained from survivors of another 3rd Flotilla U-Boat, "U 432," sunk on the same day as "U 444," has also been included in this report.  
          Information regarding new types of German torpedoes, obtained from survivors of "U 444," has been incorporated in the report of the sinking of "U 432" (C.B. 04051 (64) ).  
          Equivalents of German and Royal Naval ranks used in this report are:  
Kapitän zur See Captain.
Fregattenkapitän Senior Commander.
Korvettenkapitän Junior Commander
Kapitänleutnant Lieutenant-Commander.
Oberleutnant zur See Lieutenant.
Leutnant zur See Sub-Lieutenant.
Oberfähnrich sur See Senior Midshipman.
Fähnrich zur See Junior Midshipman
          (Ing.) after a rank denotes Engineer Officer, as  
Kapitänleutnant (Ing.) Lieutenant-Commander (E).
  (i)  Displacement  
  (ii)  Type  
          VII C.  
  (iii)  Building Yard  
          Schichau, Danzig.  
  (iv)  Armament  
          Guns.  One 88 mm. (3,46 in.) forward, for which 250 rounds were carried.  One 20 mm. (.79 in.) on bridge.  Four 12.7 mm.  (.5 in.) machine-guns as close range defence weapons.  Two Type M.P. 34 machine pistols.  
          Torpedoes.  Fourteen carried.  Stowed as follows:  
                  Four electric torpedoes in tubes forward.  
                  Four electric torpedoes in bilges forward.  
                  Two electric torpedoes suspended from slings in bow compartment.  
                  One electric torpedo on after torpedo compartment floor plates.  
                  One in tube aft.  
                  Two air torpedoes in upper deck containers aft.  
          Torpedo Tubes.  Four forward, one aft.  Tubes were modified to enable new types of torpedoes to be fired; these were, however, not embarked,  (See C.B. 04051 (64) ).  
          Torpedo Pistols.  Four-whiskered, Type G. VIIH (impact).  
  (v)  Diesels  
          Description.  Two 6-cylinder, 4 stroke with supercharger, manufactured by Germania Werft and thought to be similar to those in H.M.S. "Graph."  
  (vi)  Main Motors and Electrical Supply  
          Main Motors.  A.E.G.  Maximum rating, 280 r.p.m.  720 amps., 220 volts for 1/2 hour.  Double commutator type with commutator at either end.  Watertight up to shaft level; above that spray proof.  Journal bearings; micrometers no longer fitted.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  This possibly indicated shortage of tool-making capacity.)  
  (C49259)                                                                                                                    B**  


          Cooling.  Cooling air is cooled by water coolers supplied either from the Diesel circulating or electrically driven pumps.  
          Revolutions.  Submerged:  
60 r.p.m.
  Dead slow.
100 r.p.m.
165 r.p.m.
  Half speed.
200 r.p.m.
  Three-fifths speed.
238 r.p.m.
  Three-quarter speed.
245 r.p.m.
  Full speed.
250-280 r.p.m. Emergency speed, depending on state of batteries.
                  Diesel-electric cruising speed:  
                          240 r.p.m. on Diesel side; 140 r.p.m. on motor side only.  
          Switches.  A.E.G. contactors with three breaks in parallel.  
          Main supply Cables.  Six in parallel, jute served rubber covered (approximately 3 mm. thickness of good quality rubber), each 75 mm. squared cross section copper, to the positive and negative of each main motor.  
          Copper strip on back of switch panel.  
          W/T Suppression.  2 by 3 micro-Farad condensers across each commutator.  
          Batteries.  Lead. Acid.  Type M L.A. 800 made by Hagen of Westphalia.  Two units each of 62 cells, each unit being of 8,600 amps./hr. capacity.  Maximum discharge rate 1,440 amps.  Life estimated as three years.  
          W/T Supply.  Taken from batteries through motor generator sets.  Six-volt accumulator for supply to emergency transmitter (Not sender).  
          Electric Welding.  By discontinuing port motor and running it as motor generator set.  So arranged would supply maximum of 120 amps. at 68 volts.  
  (vii)  G.S.R.  
          Fitted with G.S.R. Metox Type R.600; an early type with a wavelength from 90 to 250 cms.  It had no improvements compared with types described in previous C.B.s  According to a Telegraphist all U-Boats in the 3rd Flotilla, to which "U 444" belonged, were fitted with Metox Type R.600.  
          W/T operators were said to be critical of the primitive manner in which D/F bearings were obtained by holding two iron bars on one side of the aerial.  (N.I.D. Note.  See C.B. 04051 (60).  Section II (vi).)  This method was considered slow and it gave aircraft plenty of time to get into attacking position.  
  (viii)  W/T Equipment  
          "U 444" carried standard W/T equipment.  
          R/T portable set removed at final adjustments.  
          Underwater telegraphy set used only near own coast.  
  (ix)  Hydrophones
          (a)  K.D.B., trainable and fitted near the bows.  
          (b)  G.H.G., multi-unit type:  fitted.  
  (x)  S.B.T.  
          Fitted in electric motor room by Deutsche Werke, Kiel.  
  (xi)  Depth Gauges  
          Three fitted; reading to 82 ft.  (25 metres), 658 ft. (200 metres) and 984 ft. (300 metres) respectively.  
  (xii)  Sounding Gear  
          "Elektrolote":  Carried.  Echo-sounder:  fitted.  
  (xiii)  R.D.F.  
          Not fitted.  
  (xiv)  Scuttling Charges  
          Three scuttling charges were supplied and placed in the following positions:  
                  One by the cooling-water inlet for the electric motors; one in the control room by the main bilge pump sea inlet; one forward alongside the torpedo tubes.  
  (xv)  Conning-tower Badges  
          During working-up a man with his tongue sticking out; the idea of the Engineer Officer.  For operations; a buck chamois.  


  (i)  "U 444" commences her Second Patrol  
          At 1200, on 1st March, 1943, "U 444" left La Pallice on her second and last patrol.  Unaccompanied by any other U-Boat, she received Sperrbrecher escort until night fell.  She passed between Ile de Ré and Ile d'Oléron.  Course for the next six days varied between 275° and 280°.  "U 444" followed no regular diving routine and submerged on occasion by day and by night.  Her G.S.R. was in operation and she dived six times in all when aircraft contacts were made.  When on the surface she invariably used Diesel-Electric propulsion.  
  (ii)  "U 444" ordered to join a Patrol Sweep  
          On about 7th March, 1943, "U 444" was ordered by signal from Admiral U-Boats to take up position in a patrol sweep, to intercept an approaching convoy.  She proceeded due west, at six knots on Diesel-electric.  The sea was calm and she was able to maintain her speed.  
  (iii)  "U 444" sights an Independently Routed Ship  
          On the night of 7th-8th March, the shadow of a fast independently routed ship was sighted.  "U 444" turned to a course of 060° to pursue.  For 2-1/2 hours she followed the ship at full speed, attaining a speed of 18 knots.  "U 444" could not, however, close sufficiently to attack, and the chase was finally abandoned.  She then resumed her westerly course and proceeded at 8-9 knots to regain her position in the sweep.  
  (iv)  "U 444's" Patrol Sweep  
          The name of this patrol sweep was not disclosed, but it was said originally to have consisted of about 19 or 20 U-Boats.  On 8th March, however, 8 or 9 U-Boats, not including "U 444," were detached to intercept another convoy.  
          On 9th March, "U 444" and the 10 or 11 U-Boats remaining in her sweep, were ordered to alter course slightly to southward to intercept the first convoy.  
  (v)  The Convoy Sighted  
          At 1304, 10th March, a U-Boat commanded by Kapitänleutnant Hunger made a first sighting signal.  At 1559, "U 444" herself reported that she had the convoy in sight.  She then took up position ahead of the convoy.  Shortly afterwards Oberleutnant zur See Trojer's U-Boat reached the convoy and later a fourth U-Boat, whose identity was unknown.  
          Hunger was described as a poor "contact keeper" for he failed to send sufficient signals.  Although not entitled to act as "contact-keeper" herself, "U 444" found it necessary to supplement such signals as were sent with others of her own.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  The convoy intercepted by this patrol sweep was H.X. 228 escorted by H.M. Ships "Harvester" (S.O.), "Escapade," "Garland," O.R.P. "Burza," "Narcissus," and F.F.S. "Roselys,"  "Aconit" and "Rénoncule."  U.S.S. "Bogue," escorted by U.S.S. "Belknap" and U.S.S. "Badger" joined at 1345, 6th March.  H/F D/F bearings were reported on 9th March at considerable distances, in a general northerly direction.  
          The first indication of U-Boat activity close to the convoy, at 0232Z/10th March, was obtained by "Escapade," in position 49° 55' N., 33° 17' W., by H/F D/F bearing 031°, and again by "Harvester" at 0740 10th March, on a bearing of 060°.  
          At 1238Z/10th March, "Bogue's" aircraft attacked a U-Boat on the port beam of the convoy.  
          Depth-charges jammed, however, and the aircraft crashed on landing.  The carrier and her escort then left the convoy.  
          As a result of this sighting "Escapade" was stationed on the port beam of the convoy during daylight.  No further H/F D/F reports were received on that day.
          At 2024 Zone time on 10th March (dusk), escorts in N.E.6 "Rénoncule" and three stragglers 20 miles on the port beam were rejoining.  When escorts were assuming their right stations, three ships were torpedoed.  "Harvester" ran down the columns to the rear where one of the ships was sinking.  
          It was intended to carry out operation "Observant" round the position of the wreck.  On the first leg an asdic contact was obtained and classified as a submarine.  This was attacked with a 14-charge pattern and it was considered a very accurate attack.  The shock of the depth-charges put the gyro-compass out of order, and on running in to carry out a hedgehog attack it was considered that it would be advisable to use this weapon with magnetic compass and the attack was abandoned; no further contact was obtained.  S.S. "Orange Leaf" was near by picking up survivors and "Aconit" was ordered to stand by her.  "Harvester" then steamed on a course of about 230° with the intention of turning after some six miles in the hope that the U-Boat, if undamaged, and thinking there were no escorts around, would surface and be picked up on R.D.F.  Just after having turned back in the convoy's course another asdic contact was obtained and this was attacked with a 14-charge pattern, but there was no evidence and the contact was not so definite as the first one.  Course was then set to rejoin the convoy at a speed of 22 knots.)  
  (C49259)                                                                                                                    B* 2  


          Prisoners said that "U 444" was not concerned in this early attack, nor had been depth-charged.  Langfeld, they added, was intent on sinking only large ships and he therefore missed a number of firing chances at smaller targets.  He spent some time trying to maneuvre "U 444" into the middle of the convoy without success.  At 1015, 11th March, when "U 444" was surfaced, Langfeld sighted a satisfactory ship ahead.  So engrossed was he in the preparations for achieving his first success that he had eyes for nothing but his target.  The suspense also affected the bridge look-outs who turned from their sectors to watch the course of events.  It thus came about that a destroyer approaching from astern was first sighted when he was a mere 500 yards distant.  
          As soon as the destroyer was seen all thought of attack was abandoned.  The look-outs tumbled down into the Control Room followed by Langfeld shouting "Alarm ! Alarm !"  The U-boat at once crash dived.  A prisoner said that he then turned to a P.O. telegraphist and said "Herr Funkmaat !  You might just as well make your will !"  The P.O. telegraphist remarked:  "Look at the old man, he is in a terrible state of nerves !"  
          (N.I.D. Note.  At about 1001 "Harvester" was again in contact with the convoy.  At 0115 on 11th March in position 51° 14' N., 29° 18' W. a second attack developed, apparently synchronised from either beam, two ships being torpedoed.  As "Harvester" was taking up station on the starboard beam, an R.D.F. echo was obtained on about Green 60, 1,000 yards.  Course was altered towards and very soon a white wake and shape of a conning-tower were seen.  The U-Boat could not have been more than 300 or 400 yards away when she dived and a 14-charge pattern was dropped in the swirl by eye.)  
          The first depth-charges fell when "U 444" had reached a depth of approximately 120 feet and was still diving.  Prisoners said that all the charges exploded above the U-Boat and this saved her from immediate destruction.  Damage, however, was severe.  The lighting failed and an inrush of water, which could only be plugged with the greatest difficulty, entering the forward W.C.  Water was also entering aft owing to a leak in the cooling system in the motor compartment.  The motor switch-board caught fire and flames could only be got under control with CO2 equipment.  The bilge pumps were damaged and a large variety of instruments smashed.  
          Survivors said that the morale of many of the men at this time was deplorable, and that senior as well as junior ratings were trembling and weeping with fear.  Diehl, the Second Lieutenant, left his post in the bow compartment and came rushing into the Control Room, tears streaming down his face, and said:  "The depth gauge in the forward compartment is smashed."  A boatswain's mate, named Seehausen, who had nine previous patrols to his credit, lost all self control.  
          As "U 444" was bow-heavy the crew was ordered aft, but it was then judged that there was little chance of saving the U-Boat and the order was given to surface.  Prisoners said that on breaking surface "U 444" proceeded on Diesels for five to ten minutes.  Destroyers were bearing down on them, however, and as it was obvious that they could not escape being rammed the order to abandon ship was given.  
          According to a P.O. telegraphist, the wireless transmitter was still in order, although the receiver was wrecked.  He managed to make a signal reporting their sinking condition before he left the U-Boat.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  After dropping her depth-charges, "Harvester" had carried out a sweep with asdics and R.D.F., and in a very short while R.D.F. echoes had obtained a bearing about Red 70, 1,200 yards.  Course was altered towards and speed increased, the the U-Boat was sighted on the surface.  Fire was opened with 4.7 in. and Oerlikons and speed increased with  intention of ramming.  The U-Boat was taking violent evasive action, and on two occasions attempts to ram resulted in the U-Boat, caught in the beam of the 10 in. signal projectors, passing down "Harvester's" side about 20 yards away.  Eventually, when the U-Boat tried to cross "Harvester's" bows from starboard to port, she was fully illuminated in the light of the signal projectors and, at a speed of about 27 knots, she was rammed abaft the conning-tower.  Men were already climbing out of the conning-tower and jumping into the sea before the actual impact.  The ram was at about an angle of 90° and the shock severe.  The U-Boat scraped down "Harvester's" bottom and came to rest entangled under the stern.  
          In "Harvester" flooding had started in the forward compartment and all water-tight doors and hatches had been closed.  Efforts were made to get rid of the U-Boat by working the engines, but she remained firm under "Harvester's" stern, bumping and scraping in the movements of the sea.  There were Germans in the water, shouting for help.  The U-Boat appeared to be lying on her side, sticking out she from under the stern, and "Harvester" went ahead.  The U-Boat appeared to be sticking out of the water at an angle of about 40° and well down, right up to the conning-tower.  Just before getting clear one survivor was picked up.  There was no time to pick up any others although there were many in the water.  Very shortly afterwards a loud underwater explosion was heard which so damaged "Harvester's" port engine that it was put out of action.  After some three or four minutes, firing was seen fine on the port quarter, "Aconit" was known to be close by R.D.F.    
          "Aconit" reported that at 0135 Zone time on 11th March, she sighted "Harvester" stopped, bearing 110°, range 550 yards, and altered course to avoid.  A minute later she sighted a U-Boat proceeding at slow speed, bearing Red 70°, range 300 yards, inclination 110 right.  Wheel was put hard over to port in order to ram, at the same time fire was opened with Oerlikon, the target being illuminated with searchlight.  At 0137 Zone time "Aconit" rammed the U-Boat amidships, and in passing over her five depth-charges were dropped set to shallow.  Speed at the time of ramming was 180 revs., which was reduced to 115 revs. as the result of ramming.  Immediately after ramming, shouts of "Hilfe !" were heard and four Germans were picked up.)  


          Thus of the total complement of "U 444" only five ratings, one of whom later died, were taken prisoners.  Those who were saved could give little information as to the fate of the officers, except that the Engineer Officer was one of the first to leave the U-Boat and that he may possibly have shot himself in the water.  Langfeld is believed to have been killed by gunfire on the bridge.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  C.B. 04051(64) will contain further information on the attack on Convoy H.X.228, and describe the sinking of "U 431" and the loss of the "Harvester.")  
  (i)  Experimental Fuel  
          A stoker said that he had heard of a new fuel, looking like glycerine, which was some sort of low explosive and gave very little exhaust.  This was being tried out experimentally in a U-Boat with Diesels and no electrical drive.  He mentions Maybach as the makers of these engines.  Trials had taken place at both Danzig and Kiel.  A speed of 28 knots was claimed.  He also spoke of the Deutsche Werke, Kiel, having experimented with this fuel in E-Boats.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  No confirmation of this information has been received and it is considered improbable.)  
  (ii)  Submerging after G.S.R. Contact  
          U-Boats dive after a G.S.R. contact at the discretion of the Officer of the Watch.  Dives are generally not more than half an hour in good visibility and about three-quarters of an hour in bad visibility.  
          Personnel trained at Le Tonquet are warned that British aircraft will switch off their R.D.F. after getting a contact and will make a dead-reckoning approach.  U-Boat personnel are therefore warned that if they get a clear contact which suddenly disappears, they are to regard it as highly dangerous.  
          They are also instructed that British aircrews, after switching off their R.D.F.will make a dead reckoning approach and then switch on again, having lowered the power of the transmission in the hope of deluding the G.S.R. operator into the belief that the aircraft is flying away, or is flying parallel with the U-Boat.  
          A prisoner said that G.S.R. operators do not claim to estimate range accurately, but that there is now a system of reporting Strength 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 G.S.R. contact to the Officer of the Watch.  The bridge watch are then expected to intensify their look-out.  
          An aircraft giving a Strength 2 or Strength 3 contact is reckoned as just coming over the horizon, whereas Strength 4 or 5 is regarded as highly dangerous, with the aircraft within attacking range.  In such circumstances a U-Boat will normally dive.  
          It is not customary to increase speed or alter course after a dive following a G.S.R. contact.  
          If an aircraft is so close that an attack is imminent and the U-Boat has no time to dive safely, orders are to remain surfaced and engage the aircraft.  
  (iii)  G.S.R. near a Convoy  
          A telegraphist maintained that G.S.R. is intensely operated in the vicinity of a convoy when the U-Boat is hear enough to be able to make an attack.  Reliance is not solely placed on the bridge watch.  The prisoner asserted that only an hour to an hour and a half before "U 444" was actually sunk, he picked up a contact on, he believed, wavelength 134 cm., which he presumed was the destroyer which sank them, or another destroyer.  He had previously picked up the same contact earlier in the night.     
          He also alleged that the G.S.R. aerial and cable jammed while the crew were hauling it clear, in order to close the hatch, added five seconds to their diving time and was a contributory cause of their being sunk.  
  (iv)  G.S.R. and Submerged Passage through Bay of Biscay
          On "U 444's" first patrol the G.S.R. became useless during the U-Boat's return to base through the Bay of Biscay.  Consequently they submerged, even at night, as they felt that they had no means of detecting aircraft first in view if British A.S.V.  The G.S.R. was faulty owing to a broken part, for which there was no spare.  
  (v)  Special Explosive Charge for G.S.R.  
          It is believed that a demolition charge can be fitted to the G.S.R. in the event of capture seeming likely.  
  (vi)  G.S.R. Training  
          A Telegraphist said that "U 444's" W/T personnel left on their first patrol with only elementary knowledge of G.S.R., having been given merely a short lecture explaining its operation.  Prior to the second patrol the prisoner was sent to Le Touquet for a short course.  The course was 35 strong and included C.P.O. Telegraphists who were to be detailed to instruct the personnel of each flotilla.  
  (C49259)                                                                                                                    B**3  


  (vii)  New Type German Asdic  
          A prisoner claimed to have seen a new short-range S-Gear (German asdic) made by Siemens.  It has dial adjustment in two settings:  80-300 and 300-1,000 metres.  Frequency of the note used is 800 cycles per second.  
          It was alleged that this S-Gear was on trial in a few U-Boats, one of which was lost by betraying its position through its use.  
          Trials are now being made with short-range inaudible S-Gear.  
  (viii)  W/T Routine  
          Homing Signals.  A Telegraphist said that "contact-keepers," when in the immediate vicinity of a convoy, transmitted "Viktor-Viktor" from the 20th to the 25th and the 50th to the 55th minute past the hour.  The prisoner claimed this wa a system newly introduced in January, 1943.  
          When homing signals are sent, frequencies are different for the following periods:  0800-1200, 1200-1400, 1400-1800 (?).  1800 (?)-2200, 2200-0800.  The prisoner said he did not know the wavelength of these signals, but said that they were always made on low frequency.  
  (ix)  Aircraft Reports by U-Boats  
          A Telegraphist said that U-Boats report the presence, arrival, and departure of aircraft escorting a convoy, and that all U-Boats report the presence of aircraft in or near the Atlantic "Gap."  This is irrespective of whether they are "contact-keeper" or not.  He added that this report may be delayed owing to the U-Boat being compelled to dive and to avoid the aircraft, but that the reason for diving would be reported to Admiral U-Boats on surfacing.  
  (x)  Detection by Aircraft  
          A prisoner claimed that when off the coast of Ireland on her first patrol "U 444" regularly expected aircraft attacks punctually between 1400 and 1430, especially the latter time.  These aircraft arrived with remarkable punctuality.  
  (xi)  Lichtenstein Apparatus A/C Aerials  
          A prisoner from the blockade-runner "Germania" (see C.B. 04051 (59) ) said that the Lichtenstein apparatus, used as A.S.V., by German aircraft (the Ju.99 was specifically mentioned), enables the wavelength to be changed in the air, the object being to give surface forces the impression that they are being A.S.V.'d by a destroyer, so that the look-out is concentrated on expected surface forces.  In the meantime the aircraft changes to airborne wavelength and thereby obtains surprise.  
          This is done by altering the effective length of the aerials by means of a sliding "muff," which insulates a portion of the aerial, leaving a shorter length available for immediate use.  
          The prisoner also claimed that the technique of reducing volume as the aircraft approached the target, with the object of giving any possible Search Receiver Operator the impression that the contact was flying away, is already being used.  
  (xii)  1,600-ton U-Boats.  
          A prisoner claimed that 1,600-ton U-Boats are all supply U-Boats and none have torpedo tubes.  He had seen two at Kiel; work on the deck was still proceeding.  He believed that special torpedo containers were fitted over the saddle tanks and to each side of the conning tower.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  Boats of about 1,600 tons, which are probably minelayers and probably have torpedo armament, are believed to exist.)
  (xiii)  1,200-ton U-Boats  
          A prisoner claimed to have seen a 1,200-ton U-Boat commanded by Kapitänleutnant Lüth at Danzig in the autumn of 1942.  
          Armament.  One 105 mm. (4.4 in.) gun forward; one 20 mm. (.79 in.) gun on conning-tower platform; one 37 mm. (1.46 in.) aft.  It was stated that 27 torpedoes were carried.  
          Another prisoner said that 1,200-ton U-Boats were really of 1,600-ton surface displacement; 1,200-ton U-Boats had M.A.N. Diesels and not G.W. Diesels, which were gradually going out of use.  
  (xiv)  Minelaying U-Boats  
          Larger type minelaying U-Boats were said by one prisoner to have six mine shafts forward and six on each side of the conning-tower above the saddle tanks.  
  (xv)  Daimler-Benz Engines in U-Boats  
          It was alleged that trials have recently been made with a U-Boat fitted with Daimler-Benz engines.  


  (xvi)  Bilge Pumps  
          Present type bilge pumps will work against a head of 393 ft. (120 m.) maximum, but at that depth they cannot eject fast enough to cope with a leak as thick as a man's thumb.  A new type is being developed which will make it possible to get rid of water against much greater heads, thus enabling U-Boats to dive deeper.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  Leutnant zur See Danckworth, sole survivor of "U 224," said that he thought the new type pump would eject against a head of 492 ft. (150 m.).)  
  (xvii) Diving Depths  
          A stoker said that the maximum diving depth of a U-Boat was at the discretion of her captain and varied from U-Boat to U-Boat according to the depth at which weeping became excessive.  This occurred at 492 ft. (150 m) in "U 444," but a more normal figure was 780 ft. (240 m.).  He had heard of U-Boats which could submerge as deep as 982 ft. (300 m.).  
  (xviii)  Exercise Dives  
          According to one prisoner, it was customary for "U 444" to dive to about 200 ft. every day when on patrol.  This dive was an exercise one, and generally took place in the early morning.  
  (xix)  Duration Submerged  
          The longest period "U 444" remained submerged was for 12 to 14 hours on one occasion in the Bay of Biscay.  Air was cleansed by potash cartridges.  Prisoners had never heard of lithium hydrogen being used for this purpose.  
  (xx)  Wiping of U-Boats  
          Wiping of U-Boats takes place in the Kiel Canal Lock, cables being looped across the lock itself, so that a U-Boat can pass over them.  A high frequency alternating current is used.  
  (xxi)  Action Stations  
          A telegraphist said that he was kept at his action station for 24 hours before the sinking of "U 444."  He added that, if necessary, he might have had to remain closed up an indefinite time without relief.  On such occasions the men were given caffeine tablets, which were powerful enough to keep them awake for 48 hours at a stretch.  
  (xxii)  Colour of Paint on Inside of U-Boat Bridges  
          The insides of U-Boat bridges are painted green to allow for maximum relief of strain on the eyes of look-outs.  
  (xxiii)  Substitution of Extra Fuel Tanks for Upper Deck Torpedo Containers
          A prisoner claimed that extra fuel tanks have replaced upper deck torpedo containers in some 500-tonners and that he had actually seen a U-Boat so fitted at Kiel.  
  (xxiv)  Cessation of 500-ton U-Boat Building  
          A stoker claimed that Germany is giving up the construction of 500-ton U-Boats and will not replace those sunk.  Emphasis is to be on 740 and 1,200-ton U-Boats, "which can almost take the place of a small cruiser."  The prisoner added that it had now been realized that the ship's company must be more comfortable to withstand the hardships of the longer cruises now contemplated.  
           (N.I.D. Note.  This may be correct as a forecast, but the proportion of 500-ton U-Boats building has not changed at present.)  
  (xxv)  Admiral Dönitz  
          It was said that Admiral Dönitz had made a point of inspecting each U-Boat Division Training Class at the commencement of instruction.   
  (xxvi)  U-Boat Losses  
          A prisoner said that, of the total losses of German U-Boats, 20 percent had been caused by the stupidity or ignorance of the crews and not by enemy action.  
  (xxvii)  Damage to U-Boat Bases in Occupied France  
          A prisoner said that, when he was in La Pallice between the 12th and 13th February, 1943, a 500-ton U-Boat docked alongside "U 444."  This U-Boat was described as a "guest" U-Boat from Brest.  He added that the presence of a Brest-based U-Boat in La Pallice was most likely due to bombardment, and that either further repairs had been rendered impossible at Brest or that the U-Boat had been damaged there during raids.  
  (xxviii)  Personnel  
          A prisoner said that, when he was in La Pallice in February, 1943, he had heard of a recent order of Admiral Dönitz that the entire German Navy was to be combed for men fit to serve in U-Boats.  This was to include Supply Assistants and Writers.  He thought that the big surface units would not be affected before the smaller craft, especially Minesweeping Flotillas, which had already been thoroughly combed through and possibly reduced in numbers.  
  (C49259)                                                                                                                    B**4  


  (xxix)  Passage of Straits of Gibraltar  
          A prisoner alleged that some U-Boats had reached the Mediterranean from the Atlantic by passing through the Straits of Gibraltar under the cover of Spanish merchant ships, by arrangement with the Spanish authorities.  
         (N.I.D. Note.  There is no confirmation of this.)  
  (xxx)  Raiders and U-Boats  
          It was the opinion of prisoners that no more raiders would be sent to sea now that Germany had sufficient U-Boats.  Raiders were considered uneconomical in comparison with a large type U-Boat.  
  (xxxi)  27th U-Boat Flotilla  
          This Flotilla at Pillau, carries out tactical exercises in the Baltic.  Newly commissioned boats about to carry out tactical exercises join this Flotilla temporarily.  The convoys assembled for target purposes for these exercises were under the control of a merchant navy Commodore.  The attacking U-Boats are under the orders of a Captain (S) who sails in the Senior U-Boat.  
  (xxxii)  Diving Time  
          A prisoner said that an A/A/ twin gun platform added abaft the bridge of more recent 500-ton U-Boats adds between five and eight seconds to the U-Boat's best diving time.  Owing to its shape, the additional platform was a very dangerous place in rough weather.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  The addition of an A/A gun platform abaft the conning-tower is confirmed.)  
  (xxxiii)  Electric Torpedoes  
          A prisoner said that the only modification to electric torpedoes he knew was that since G7H pistils had been fitted, water resistance had been increased in comparison with earlier types.  The brushes on the electric motors had been reset to maintain 30 knots and consequently the range of the torpedo had been reduced.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  The G7H impact pistol had been in general use since 1941.  See also C.A.F.O. 659/43.)  
  (xxxiv)  Distilled Water and Sulphuric Acid for U-Boats  
          The necessity of topping up batteries with distilled water varies according to the operational area of a U-Boat.  It was said that the level in the batteries goes down about 1 mm. daily in the Mediterranean and correspondingly less in the North Atlantic, where a U-Boat will not have to top up her batteries until her return to base, unless the patrol lasts more then sixty days.  
          About 100 gallons of distilled water are carried by each U-Boat.  The water is carried in light metal, square-shaped, containers, which are stowed near the electric motors.  To add 30 mm. yo each of the 62 cells of each battery, approximately 50 gallons of distilled water are required.  
          It was said that the distilled water content in each cell must not fall below the level of the plates and when topped up should reach 60 mm. above the plates.  
          U-Boats expect to lose 20 mm. monthly in the process of drawing off gas which forms whenever the batteries are charged. 
         A very superficial test of the distilled water is occasionally carried out by taste or by litmus paper.  
          Sulphuric acid is not carried in U-Boats in extra containers, all necessary filling being done at base.  For small batteries the mixture is one part H2SO4 to eighteen parts distilled water, and in the U-Boat batteries one part to twenty parts distilled water.  
          Water for the French bases is distilled at Paris.  
          In Norway there is a small plant at Bergen, and both Gdynia and Pillau have their own plants.  
          Distilled water for La Pallice comes by rail from Paris in 12-gallon carboys.  These are stowed in Pen No. 7 of the shelters.  They are dealt with by French dockyard workers under the supervision of a German Petty officer.  There are always about 150 to 200 carboys in the shelter and access is easy, no signature being required.  
          Normally not more than one or two carboys (10-20 gallons) of sulphuric acid would be kept in stock.  That used for auxiliary batteries is only handled by the electrical section of the yard personnel, because the batteries are taken to the workshop for topping up, and the electrical personnel are mostly German, as they have constantly to board U-Boats.  
  (i)  "Graf Zeppelin"  
          A prisoner claimed that he knew one of the dock engineers who had been working on the aircraft carrier "Graf Zeppelin" at Kiel.  During the early part of "U 444's" trials his friend took him over the carrier.  The flight deck was being relaid one deck lower, to improve stability, and he was tool that the carrier was to be rebuilt according to Japanese design with funnels below the flight deck.   
          (N.I.D. Note.  This might be true, but it seems unlikely at this stage.  The report is also not supported by photographic evidence.  See also C.B. 04051(62), Section VI.)  
          The "Graf Zeppelin" was to have had seven main water-tight compartments, each sub-divided.  She is now to have more.  
          It is planned to build in her engines and funnel aft.  


          She originally took a maximum of sixty planes on board, and it is now hoped that she will carry from seventy-two to eighty.  
          The prisoner could give no accurate information as to the types of aircraft to be carried, but he had heard rumours that these were to be Me.109T's and Stuka T's.  Some of the ship's company have already been drafted to her.  The prisoner thought that the carrier would finally be ready early in 1944.  
  (ii)  "Gneisenau"  
          The same prisoner said that he had also been shown over "Gneisenau."  He remembered clearly that his engineer friend told him that the ship was to be lengthened by 78 ft.  
          He was told that "Gneisenau" would not be ready for sea until the end of 1943, owing to the bomb damage done to her in a night raid on Kiel in March, 1942.  She was to have six 15-in. guns fitted in place of her nine 11 in. guns.  There were to be two twin 15 in. turrets forward and one 15 in. turret aft.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  This statement corroborated similar statements which appeared in C.B.s 04051(51), page 24 and 04051(55), page 20.  Air photographs confirm that the entire ship's main armament is completely removed.)  
  (iii)  E-Boat "S.37"  
          Said to have been lost in October, 1940, by mine.  The body of Senior Midshipman Heinz Schlösser, belonging to this boat, was washed ashore on the Danish coast.  
  (i)  La Pallice  
          (N.I.D. Note.  This section also contains information obtained from prisoners from "U 432," sunk on 3rd March, 1943.  Both "U 444" and "U 432" were based on La Pallice and it was considered that a more complete picture could be given if the statements of survivors from the two U-Boats were combined in one report.)  
          (a)  Berthing Capacity (Original Shelter)  
                  The U-Boat shelter at La Pallice, situated at the eastern end of the Basin, consists of seven pens.  (See Plan "C," shaded portion north-east corner of Bassin.)  
                  Pens Nos. I and II (No. I being the northernmost pen) are wet docks, the remaining five are dry docks.  
                  Each of the two wet docks can hold three U-Boats, two beam to beam and a third interposed between them.  
                  It has been seen, when a large number of U-Boats were at the Base, that as many as four U-Boats have lain together in one wet dock.  In that case the two outer U-Boats lay slanting with their sterns across the dock pier heads, projecting, to a certain extent, outside the shelter.
                  (N.I.D. Note.  This has never been seen in air photographs.)  
                  Three 500-ton U-Boats can, however be comfortably accommodated and van be reprovisioned, loaded with torpedoes and refuelled in any one wet pen.  Then three U-Boats are in a wet pen together, the bows of the centre U-Boat are approximately level with the conning-towers of the other two, while her conning-tower is just forward of the sterns of the two others.  
                  One 1,200-ton U-Boat can be berthed in any of the seven pens, and a 1,600-ton Italian U-Boat was reported by prisoners as docked in a dry pen early in 1943.  
                  The seven completed ones can hold a maximum of eleven U-Boats, in which case six would be 500-ton U-Boats in the two wet docks.  
                  All the pens as high enough to enable periscopes to be unshipped within them.  
          (b)  Dimensions and Thicknesses  
Overall length (along the line of the pens)  
522 ft.
Overall width  
433 ft.
Length of pens  
317 ft.
Width of double pens above W.L.
66 ft.
        Do. below W.L.
56 ft.
Width of single pens above W.L.
46 ft.
        Do. below W.L.
36 ft.
Height of building above H.W.L. overall
56 ft.
        Do. internal
44 ft.
Thickness of concrete Roof
11ft. 5 in.
        Do. Outside walls
8 ft. 3 in.
Thicknesses of partitions are in following three sizes. 4 ft. 11 in., 6 ft. a in., 4 ft. 1 in.
Thickness of foundations Outside walls
18 ft.
        Do. Partitions
13 ft. 1 in. and 16 ft.
                (According to the thicknesses of the walls built on top of them.)


                  It will be seen that over half the length of the shelter is taken up by the pens.  East of them, and within the shelter, runs a passage from north to south, wide enough for lorries to pass back and forth.  
                  There is an entrance door at either end of the passage and a smaller door on the north side of the shelter leading into the main electrical power house.  (See "U" Plan "C.")  
          (c)  Southern Extension  
                  Work is being carried out on the construction of three new pens adjoining the south side of the shelter.  It is intended to remove the ground west of these pens, making the Basin a rectangle.  The old wall on the north side of the ground now being excavated is a strong quay wall and will probably be retained.  The new block contains three pens, Nos. VIII, IX and X, of which VII and IX are dry docks and X is a wet dock containing 2-3 U-Boats.  Thus this extension when completed, will hold five additional U-Boats, bringing the total capacity at La Pallice shelter to 16 U-Boats.  
                  One prisoner said that the three new pens are definitely for 1,200-ton U-Boats and possibly for two 1,200-ton U-Boats, since he thought that the building of three new pens for three U-Boats only would be a waste of time.  
                  Should two 1,200 ton U-Boats line in a pen together, one would probably be a little abaft the other.  
                  It was generally thought by prisoners that the concrete roof over the three new pens, which is now complete (April, 1943), it three metres thicker than the old shelter roof; the later is to be built up to the same level.  
                  It has not been thought necessary to strengthen the main shelter structure for this addition, since the outer walls are already three to four metres thick, and far stronger than is necessary to support the present roof.  
                  The wall between the old and new shelters is the old stone wall of the quay and will be removed when the new pens are completed.  
                  The interior of the shelters is not very noisy, there being only the hum of machines and occasional hammering to be heard.  
          (d)  Workshops.  (See Plan "A" and Plan "D.")  
                  On the east side of the central passage-way and occupying the remaining length of the shelter, are the workshops.  These are built on the old quay level and consist of two storeys.  They can be numbered 1-7 from North to South, since they continue the line of the seven pens.  
                  Each workshop section consists of two storeys.  The upper storey is about half the height of the lower.  There are ordinary doors, possibly in a line, through the middle of the upper storey walls.  At the end of each upper storey workshop is a small storehouse for miscellaneous material.  
                  The two storeys of the workshops stand on the east side of the central passage, and, having no doors on the west side, the interior of the workshops is to a certain extent visible from the central passage, so that men standing in the passage can talk or shout to men standing in the workshops.  
          No. VII Workshop  
                  The guard room is on the ground floor.  
                  The radio repair shop is on the first floor.  In the radio repair shop, a prisoner said that he saw about twelve men working.  
          No. VI Workshop  
                  The ground floor of No. VI workshop is the torpedo room.  There are no doors leading out of it into neighbouring workshops.  About twenty men work on the ground floor of No. VI workshop.  On the first floor is the shop for the torpedo tubes and the "Feuerleit" (Fire Control) workshop; about twenty men are employed here.  At the back of the first floor a small wooden stairway leading to the Leather Working Shop and Carpenters' Shop, were in all ten men are employed (some French) and one girl.  
          No. V Workshop  
                  The ground floor is the machine shop, possibly about twenty-five men work in here.  
          No. IV Workshop  
                  On the ground floor is the welding plant.  About ten men are employed.  There is an opening (no door) into the machine shop of the fifth workshop.  The periscope workshop is probably on the first floor of No. IV workshop.
                  No. III workshop, No. II workshop - see Plan "A" for layout.  
          No. I Workshop  
                  No. I workshop contains the electric power plant (see Plan A2 and "U" Plan "C").  This is an isolated block containing two U-Boat Diesel engines and two transformers.  High up on the north wall of this block are some small openings, like windows, probably connected with ventilation of the Diesel engines.  This block containing the electric power supply is probably cut off by a wall from the rest of No. I workshop.  Normally current is carried overland by masts from and E.N.E. direction to the auxiliary electric power station (See "A" Plan "C").  It passes through this station and continues underground into the shelter electric power station, or passes through transformers in the auxiliary power station.  


                  Should the shelter electric power station be out of use, the shelter can be supplied from the auxiliary power station.  
                  In part of the No. I Workshop, near the central passage, (see Plan "A") is the electric switch gear.  This was only being built in mid-February, 1943.  Should this be destroyed, the auxiliary power station can act as electric switch centre for the whole shelter.  
                  U-Boats while in dock get their lighting from the shelter source.  
          (e)  Cranes  (See Plan "D.")  
                  All the pens are the same height.  The electric crane servicing each pen runs between the walls of that pen from the western end right back over the central passage, and is available as far as about half way through the workshops.  
                  The cranes are used for torpedo servicing and periscope lifting.  
                  There is no transverse crane running north and south.  
                  The new Diesel engines which were built into "U 432" in La Pallice were fitted with the help of a huge crane outside in the harbour.  The work was definitely not done in the shelter.  
          (f)  The Pens  
                  The dry pens are all of the same width and length, i.e., about 12 metres across and about 95 metres long (long enough to allow five metres' space between a U-Boat's bows and the rear wall and 15 to 20 metres between the stern and the western end of the wall).  
                  The wet pens are about 18 metres broad.  
                  Nos. I and II pens are wet.  
                  A prisoner said that he saw drop doors being fixed in the dry pens and noted that they were too wide to fall below the level of the wet pen piers.  The construction of doors for the wet pens had barely begun (mid-February, 1943), but he thought that the same would apply in the case of the wet pens and that also the rise and fall of the basin water-level would allow a certain gap beneath the dropped doors.  
                  The dry pens are fitted with metal caissons which can be placed into position by flooding.  Each dry pen has alternative positions for the slots to take the caissons.  A prisoner suggested that the alternative positions for the slots in the dry pen piers are perhaps explained by the fact that the caissons were placed in the inner slots for a 500-ton U-Boat.  This may therefore point to the outer slots being used for a bigger U-Boat.  The cement block upon which the caisson rests would make no difference as the underpart of a U-Boat is, of course, curved.  
                  Two prisoners said that they had seen ordinary double lock doors (of the swing back type) used in the dry docks, and are of the opinion that if two doors are placed at the end of each dry dock, either they must be of small dimensions, or consist of one ordinary door and one caisson.  At night, with no drop doors fitted in the dry pens, it is possible to see work going on inside with binoculars from the western end of the basin.  
                  One prisoner said that since mid-February, 1943, when there appeared to have been a sabotage scare in the shelter, a search-light sweeps the basin and the shelter front about every five minutes.  This search-light was alleged to stand near the S.W. corner of the basin.  Other prisoners said that they had neither heard nor seen anything of the search-light.  
                  The pens are divided underwater by solid walls 4.50 metres thick, upon which are built the upper walls which support the roof of the shelter.  The ends of these walls are square.  
                  Rising from the centre of the broad lower walls are narrower walls of two metres in width which support the roof.  The upper walls being narrower than those upon which they are standing, it is possible for workmen to walk along the small platform left by the wide surface of the lower wall.  
                  The lower wall also projects out beyond the top wall, enabling one to follow the platform round into the next pen.  (See Plan "E.")  
                  In the upper wall are several openings, the westernmost opening being smaller than the remainder.  Through these openings one can look across the whole line of pens.  The openings are about two to three metres apart.  
                  Referring to Plan "E," opening number two contains a small rotary pump, which works the mechanism inside the thick lower wall, for pumping out the leakage water which seeps in when the pen os "dry."  
          In opening number three stands a second larger pump - used for pumping the main water out of the pen when the caisson has been sunk into place.  This latter pump takes two to three hours to empty the pen.  
          (g)  Dry Docking and the Caissons.
                  It was believed by prisoners that a U-Boat could only be dry-docked at high tide.  The water level within the basin falls and rises about 1.50 to 2.00 metres.  
                  (N.I.D. Note.  The shelters being in a locked basin this sounds incredible.  It must be supposed that the main locks are damaged and allow the water level in the basin to fluctuate.  The effect of the low tide on the dry-docking procedure would be (a) to prevent the caisson from floating enough to be maneuverable and (b) to prevent a U-Boat from clearing with her keel the cement block upon which the caisson rests.  This cement block is about 3.00 metres in depth.)  
                  A prisoner said that about 1.50 metres projected above the dry pen floor and about 1.50 metres was embedded in the ground.  


                  He inferred that the U-Boat keel would not clear the 1.50 metre cement block for the following reason:  The permanent blocks used for dry-docking a U-Boat stand about 1 metre high.  The water level of the dock must be lowered 2.0 to 2.5 metres by pumping, in order to enable the keel to rest on the blocks.  
                  At low tide the U-Boat keel is already near the blocks and the cement block is 50 cm. higher than they are, making it impossible for the U-Boat to clear the cement.  
                  The buoyancy of the lock door is so arranged that the door only rises about 40-50 cm. from its sunken position to its floating position, and if the basin water level is low tide level, this will not take place.  
                  When the caissons of the pens are not in position, they are moored near the end of the lower wall of the pen.  When a U-Boat had been brought into the pen and it is desired to close the caisson, workmen climb to the top of the caisson, which is then maneuvered into its correct position over the slots into which it must sink.  The workmen standing on top of the caisson, protected from falling by railings, operate valves on the top of the caisson and these flood and sink it on to the concrete block, the specially shaped keys fitting into the slots.  The pen is then pumped dry and the water is drained from the caisson through a drain on the inner side.  A 500-ton U-Boat would then be about 1.0 metre below the level of the pier.  
                  In order to raise and remove a caisson, the dry pen is flooded.  The pen gradually fills and so raises the caisson about 30-40 cm., the height needed for swinging it free of the slots.  
                  The keys on either side of the caisson are so made that the key enters the slot from the inner side on one end of the caisson and from the outer side on the other end, so that it is easily removed, once it is floating, by a strong twisting moment.  When floating, about 3.0-3.50 metres of the caisson are above water level.  When a U-Boat has been dry-docked, the upper drop door is lowered to meet the caisson.  Work is then carried on inside the pen by electric-light.  
          (h)  Entrance Doors to Shelters from Land  
          The Main North Door Entrance  
                  The main north door is about six metres broad and six metres high, with a balcony and sand-bag breastworks above made of cement.  The balcony just out from the shelter wall about six metres, and the whole depth of the entrance porch is also about six metres.  Therefore when the door is opened it does not jut out beyond the porch walls.  The guard consists of twelve men in all, from the "Marine Watch Kompanie," working alternate twenty-four hours in two parties of six men.  During twenty-four hours these six men share three shifts.  Probably the watch changes at 1400 hours.  There is probably only one dock policeman, who sleeps all night in a small room inside the porch on the east side.  His chief work is to control passes.  The "Watch Kompanie" wear steel helmets and dark blue uniforms, and carry a gas mask and a rifle.  The dock policeman carries a revolver and probably a gas mask, and he wears a lighter blue uniform with silver epaulettes and silver buttons.  
                  At night a small door opens in the side of the big door for those coming in and out.  
                  A prisoner once saw the big door being opened by a winding process, by one man on the right hand side, inside, in the early morning.  He did not think it took too long.  Another prisoner said that the big door took a good four or five minutes to open and shut, and that there is no remote control.  
                  At the Eastern end of the north wall there is a two-wing iron door leading into the eastward projection of the No. I Workshop.  This door is only used by workmen occupied with the electric power supply plant.  At the south end of the central passage is a big steel door similar to the north entrance door.  This is always shut, as work on the new pens is being carried out nearby.  
          (i)  Passes  
                  Upon the arrival of the Chatelaillon workman's train at about 0730 hours and of the "U-Train" from La Rochelle at about 0830 hours, passes are controlled at the north door.  At this hour the big door is almost wide open and the small door is not being used.  The guards controlling the passes stand inside the door on the right and left-hand side.  Everybody must have a pass to enter the shelter.  Some of the workmen wear civilian clothes.  
          (j)  Fuelling of U-Boats  
                  U-Boats are fuelled at the shelters by a small tender carrying about 500 to 600 tons.  
          (k)  Torpedoes  
                  It was said that torpedoes were brought from the Flotilla Torpedo depôt at Chatelaillon to the main north door of the shelter in lorries driven by marine drivers.  The lorries are driven down the central passage of the shelter and are unloaded by the crane belonging to the pen containing a U-Boat in need of torpedoes.  Prisoners said that they thought that six is the absolute maximum of torpedoes carried by each lorry, but the usual number seemed to be three in a row, carried on cradles.  A number of prisoners said that there was a torpedo store within the shelter to meet normal requirements, but other prisoners, considered more reliable, said that this was not the case.  There are 800 to 1,000 technical workmen at Chatelaillon, which is about 30 kms, south of La Pallice.  
          (l)  Distilled Water  
                  A prisoner said that he had seen distilled water being filled into large bottles from small lighters which brought it into the pens.  
                  The bottles used were large, padded with straw and held in basket-like metal containers.  


                  It was stated that distilled water is stored in carboys in the shelter.  One prisoner said that the carboys each hold 60 litres.  The estimated number of carboys at any one time in La Pallice was about 150.  The check was very superficial.  Water for the Bases in France was distilled near Paris.  It was brought to the U-Boat base by rail.  
                  At the south end of the shelter near No. VII Workshop, behind railings, stood at least 150 carboys which had been filled from a tanker.  
          (m)  88 mm. U-Boat Guns  
                  These are always removed by lorries from the docked U-Boat for overhaul.  
          (n)  The Bassin Lock  
                  The bridge across the old lock can be moved across to the south bank when necessary.  This old lock leaks a good deal and may account for the falling of the basin water level previously reported.  One prisoner did not think that this change of water level affected the working of the dry pen caissons.  (See N.I.D. Note in para (g) above.)  
          (o)  Floating Cement Blocks  
                  Prisoners who were last at La Pallice in mid-February, 1943, can offer no explanation of the floating cement blocks seen near the moles.  One prisoner thought that the mole-heads of the outer harbour were certainly joined by a boom at night.  
          (p)  Defences of the shelters  
                  Prisoners said the heavy machine guns were mounted on top of the shelter.  One prisoner said that in the event of an air-raid alarm, the shelter doors are opened, the 20 mm. guns in the U-Boats manned and the entrance to the shelter guarded by machine guns.  There was a permanent watch in each U-Boat of four ratings and two P.O.s who formed the close range defence weapons party in the case of an alarm.  
                  Another prisoner thought that the field of fire from U-Boats in the pens wa so restricted that it was more likely that the doors were lowered incase of a red warning.  
          (q)  Guards in the Wet and Dry Pen  
                  Wet Pen Guards  
                  The watch changes at 1400 daily.  The guard strength consists in all of three ratings and two P.O.s per boat.  If there are three boats in the wet pen then there are, in all, nine ratings and six P.O.s sharing the watch.  
                  A reliable prisoner stated that only one machine gun is permanently ready for action in each boat.  This source states further that in day time only the three sentries each with a "machine pistol" are at their stations, and also in the case of a day-time red warning.  No guards in the wet pens carry gas masks.  
                  Dry Pen Guards  
                  One prisoner stated that when a boat is afloat in a dry pen the guard strength consists in all of three ratings and two P.O.s (one P.O. being a technician).  One sentry does a two-hour trick on the pier, on the side to which the boat's gangway runs.  He has a "machine pistol."  It may here be noted that these sentries in the wet and dry pens, unless possibly if they are seamen, have had no practice with revolvers of "machine pistols."  A reliable prisoner stated that a U-Boat very seldom is floating all night in a dry pen and therefore the above-mentioned guard of three ratings and two P.O.s in a dry dock very seldom occurred, if at all.  When the U-Boat is lying dry-docked, there is a maximum watch of six ratings and one P.O. (technician or seaman), and very often the guard only consists of four ratings and one P.O. in all.  The man on the pier is "Posten vorm Boot" and had a "machine pistol."  The other sentry below is "Posten Dock," either with a 7.6 mm. revolver, and possibly six to nine rounds, or, as often is the case, with another "machine pistol."  Sometimes reservists are used if men are scarce.  
                  For yellow and red warnings, all U-Boat hatches are closed, in the case of floating U-Boats.  The order holds for dry dock boats also, but in many cases this would be pointless.  
                  Dry pen guards never carry gas masks.  
                  One prisoner said that in La Rochelle, in the summer of 1942, he experienced a practice alarm.  The patrol went through the streets and into the cafes, sending all U-Boat crews to the Prien Gelände to take the omnibus to La Pallice.  When they arrived the practice was over.  He heard also, while in the Prien Gelände in August, 1942, that bombs had been dropped near the shelter, and that all people standing near had run inside the shelter for cover.  Prisoners had never experienced a defence practice in the shelter, and had never heard an alarm bell in the shelter.  A reliable prisoner said that the general public may not use the shelter in air raids except in cases where the individual can show a pass.  
          (r)  The Main North-South Gangway  
                  Sentries are to be seen on their boats in the main gangway and they also stand at the entrance to the Wet and Dry Docks from time to time.  This main gangway guard consists in all of twenty-four men working in three watches - four men to a watch.  The twenty-four men consist of twelve Marine Watch Kompagnie and twelve Dock Police.  Six Watch-Kompagnie plus six Dock Police to alternate twenty-four hours, they are then sharing three watches.  They work in pairs (as each set of four consists of two Watch Kompagnie and two Dock Police).  Guard is probably changed near No. VII Workshop.  The new guard arrives by the Main North Door, whence the old guard depart.  They carry rifles and gas-masks.  The Dock Police probably cary revolvers and no rifles.  
                  Guard room and sleeping quarters, chiefly for the Dock Police, are inside No. VII Workshop.  


          (s)  The Workshop Guards  
                    The workshops are patrolled by sentries.  In all eighteen men of the Marine Watch-Kompagnie form this guard.  This means that nine men undertaken alternate twenty-four hours, sharing three watches, each man doing a two-hour watch.  
          (t)  The Marine Watch-Kompagnie  
                  A reliable prisoner said that the Marine Watch-Kompagnie is divided into two parties:  
                          (A)  The Watch-Kompagnie belonging to the 3rd U-Boat Flotilla.  
                          (B)  The Watch-Kompagnie not belonging to the 3rd U-Boat Flotilla and permanently guarding shelter area.  
                  (A)  These men are accommodated in the Prien Gelände.  They guard the 3rd U-Boat Flotilla headquarters (see "P" on Plan "C") and the sheds full of U-Boat material and gear.  
                  (B)  These guards can be further divided into two parties:  
                          (a)  About twenty-five men who are permanent shelter guards.  They are responsible for the main north door, main gangway, and workshops, and also for the entrances into the shelter area, which is palisaded off from the rest of La Pallice (see Plan "C.")  They work usually in company with one or two dock police.  The latter are distinguishable by a lighter blue uniform.  
                          (b)  The remainder, who are off duty, have to be present at all alarms, and must always be ready to help on such occasions.  They are known as "Bereitschafts Wache" or "Guard standing by" and they understand fireman's duties.  In addition there are the twelve men who are permanent "Brandwache" or "Fireguard."  Six of these latter do alternate twenty-four hours.  Two men do a two-hour watch together throughout the shelter.  On a yellow air raid alarm, the two extra men standing by to strengthen the fire guard patrol, and an A.R.P. fire party, formed out of the "Bereitschafts Wache," stands by also.  These extra men only actually patrol upon a red air raid warning.  
                  The whole of this "B" section of the wach Kompagnie are accomodated in barracks somewhere inside the shelter area.  Each entrance gate of the shelter area is guarded by one of the "B" section Wach Kompagnie plus one dock policeman.  
                  A prisoner thought that all watches change at 1400, and this is, to a certain extent, borne out by the usual arrival of "new guards" at about 1330.  The same man reckoned that, on an ordinary working day until 1800, about 700 workers (all nationalities), not counting U-Boat crews, are occupied in the shelter.  He thought at at night about 120 are occupied in the shalter.  One prisoner said that the day workers amount to 300-500 at the most, and that 100-200 maximum as occupied in the shelter at night.  
          (u)  The Torpedo Room Guard  
                  The ground floor of No. VI Workshop is the Torpedo Room.  Three Wach-Kompagnie men share the guard of this room.  At night one man is always on guard in the Torpedo Room.  He is armed with a revolver and he belongs to the Wach-Kompagnie, Section A (see above).  He does four hours' guard at a stretch and  is allowed the privilege of reading and smoking.  He is also a torpedo technician and works in the daytime in the Torpedo Room.  The three men share their three shifts during the night, starting at 1800.  These three men are accommodated in the barracks of the "Torpedo Kommando" ("Y" on Plan "C").  
                  It is possible that there is a man on guard in the daytime in front of the Main Electric Power House ("U," Plan "C"), but there is certainly no guard there at night (according to a reliable source).  
          (v)  Infantry Guards  
                  It was said that as many as ten men (infantry) sit on the main entrance balcony at night.  As many as twenty infantrymen have been seen marching through the main gangway, and it is thought that they are on guard somewhere in the shelter.  The whole area of the lock is also heavily guarded by infantry.  
          (w)  Yellow and Red Warning  
                  At night a yellow warning is noticeable because all lights go out in the shelter.  If a red warning follows, then sirens are heard.  In the daytime the yellow warning is not announced, and the red warning is given by siren.  
          (x)  Net Defence  
                  The net barrier, presumably an anti-torpedo net, lies at night about 3 metres away from the front of the shelter.  It is removed in the daytime, the northern end being drawn back.  It is closed usually at about 1800 when most of the day workers finish work.  
          (y)  Working Hours in the Shelter  
                  U-Boats' ships' companies accommodated in the Prien Gelände at La Rochelle used to catch a train at 0800, known as the U-Zug," just outside the camp, on the single railway line which links La Rochelle to La Pallice.  The train was somewhat irregular in its time of arrival at the station in La Pallice, on the north side of the basin.  Those going to work in the shelter alighted at the station ("O," Plan "C"), and then walked back a little way to the north entrance door of the shelter.  The train from Chatelaillon with German and French dock and shelter workers stops at the Prien Gelände Halt at 0700.  In the early morning the north entrance door is only partly open (enough for two men to pass abreast).  It is opened wide later for lorries to pass through.


                  Ratings used to return to their La Rochelle camp in the evening and usually took a train at 1600 from the station.  The shelter workers usually took the 1800 or had a lorry to take them.  (The above train times refer to autumn 1942-early 1943.  One prisoner suggested a little before the exact hour mentioned, in each case.)  
                  Technical workers from the shelters, numbering 800-1,000, live at Chatelaillon.  French firms working in the docks at La Pallice came under Organization Todt.  
          (z)  Bombing Possibilities  
                  One prisoner asked:  "Why are you so fond of bombing U-Boat pens after they have been completed instead of whilst they are undergoing completion, at which time they are most vulnerable?"  He declared that a successful attack while the pens were being built would set the whole organization back a year.  
                  Much Moroccan labour is employed by French firms working under Organization Todt.  
                  Prisoners admitted that damage could be done to the two wet pens by dropping a bomb very close in front of them.  Also by means of torpedoes, when the anti-torpedo nets have once been smashed through.  
                  They pointed out that the roof of the three new pens was expected to be completed by the end of April, 1943.  One prisoner said that heavy damage to the one and only working lock at the closed end of the basin would affect the water level in the basin, thus rendering the dry docking system useless.  (See N.I.D. Note in para. (g) above.)  
                  Prisoners admitted that a new lock is being built in the old south docks at the south-western end of the basin, and several prisoners are of the opinion that a shelter roof is being built over it.  
A. Auxiliary electric power station.
B. These big sheds are concrete built and together form the G.I.V. and V.I.V. (i.e., Geratelagerverwaltung and Verbrauchsstofflagerverwaltung, respectively).  More than one prisoner stated that the eastern one of these two sheds is a store for paint, chalk, red liquid for gage readings, vaseline, stationary, electric light bulbs, etc., and that in the other one various utensils, batteries for lamps, etc., were stored.
C. These sheds serve as the maintenance shop for U-Boat guns.
D. 50 m. long shed, marked with "F."  Distilled water on first floor, oil and benzine below.
E. U-Boat store.  All spare parts for U-Boats in shelter basin; of vital importance to U-Boats in La Pallice.  Prisoners say they contain 35-40 compartments, each with complete interior equipment and spares for one U-Boat.  All smaller but vital spare parts normally carried on patrol are stored here while U-Boats are in dock.  Wooden building.  
F. A small steep rail track leads from the sand quarries to this long shed, which is a sand dump essential for cement-making in connection with the construction of the shelter roof.
G. There is considerable quantity of oil and grease stored here.
H. Light Flak.
J. Road closed since early November, 1942 - pass needed to get through here.
K. Area being deepened within old quay wall (quay wall will probably be retained).
L. Bath and lavatory block.
M. Organization Todt canteen or A.E.G. store shed.  Wooden building.
N. Rest shelter naval guards.  About 25 men accommodated here (as opposed to 150 shelter army guards).
O. Station building for small line from La Rochelle (Prien Gelände).
P. Headquarters of the 3rd U-Boat Flotilla.
Q. Store house being built.
R. Organization Todt canteen.
S. Two old main line railway carriages, used for electric switch gear for working basin lock.
T. Two electric lock gates (near one closed in December, 1942, photo).
U. Main electrical power house, with two U-Boat diesels and two transformers.
V. Possibly an electrical power station.
W. Dockyard staff offices.
Y. Torpedo command barracks.


          La Pallice is the base of the Third U-Boat Flotilla.  This consists of about forty U-Boats, of which number one-third are said to be refitting in dock at any given time.  
          As they arrive from patrol, each U-Boat is given a letter of the alphabet, by which she is known until she is again ready for sea.  It was said that "A" for "Auton" was a 500-tonner which had been heavily bombed and depth-charged off Gibraltar and had been laid up at La Pallice since the summer of 1942.  Since the arrival of "A" for :Auton" the letters of the alphabet had been gone through three times up to the end of February, 1943, i.e. about 78 U-Boats had used the base in that period.  
          The S.O. of the 3rd Flotilla is Korvettenkapitän Richard Zapp, who succeeded Kapitänleutnant von Reiche at the end of 1942.  Von Reiche had succeeded Korvettenkapitän Herbert ("Vati") Schultze.  
          Staff Officers at present include:  
Chief of Staff Korvettenkapitän Frielinghaus.
Signals Officer and Intelligence Officer Oberleutnant Zur See Pietruska (promoted from lower deck).
Administrative Officer Kapitänleutnant (V) Schwartz.
Flotilla Engineer Kapitänleutnant (Ing.) Ebell.
Paymaster Kapitänleutnant (V) Böge.
C.B. Officer Korvettenkapitän Seifertitz.
          (a)  Prisoners said that the U-Boat base at La Pallice is being enlarged to enable U-Boats from other bases to be accommodated there.  U-Boats from Lorient, Brest and St. Nazaire liked to go there to avoid air-raid risks.  There had been very little damage at La Pallice.  
          (b)  To enter and leave the base, all U-Boats are compelled to pass through a lock.  Prisoners were astonished that, to their knowledge, no attempt had been made to bomb the lock gates.  They said that if the lock were destroyed the whole base would be out of commission until it was repaired.  
          It was said that another lock was now being built alongside the original one and would be twice as wide as the latter.  
          A prisoner pointed out that the lock, shelters and railway line lie in a straight line.  A stick of bombs dropped on this line would be the best way of causing damage to the base.  
          (c)  Each torpedo which is disembarked after a patrol is transported first to the torpedo depôt at Chatelaillon for further checking.  New and reconditioned torpedoes are supplied from Kiel to Chatelaillon and thence to the U-Boat shelters at La Pallice.  
          Technicians from the La Pallice shelters, numbering 300-1,000 men, live at Chatelaillon.  
          A detailed description of the location of the torpedo depôt at Chatelaillon, which supplies the 3rd Flotilla, appeared in C.B. 04051(52), page 32.  
          (d)  Outward-bound U-Boats are usually escorted for four to five hours by minesweepers; inbound U-Boats by minesweepers and a "Sperrbrecher."  
  (ii)  La Rochelle  
          Personnel of 3rd Flotilla U-Boats are quartered at La Rochelle.  There is accommodation for officers in a former hotel now known as "Haus Schepke" (named after Kapitänleutnant Joachim Schepke, who lost his life in "U 100") and for ratings in a large complex of barracks known as the "Prien Gelände."  In the Prien Gelände, former barracks for French Moroccan troops, each separate block has been renamed after a member of the crew of "U 47," commanded by Korvettenkapitän Günther Prien up to her sinking with all hands in March, 1941.  
          The Prien Gelände is situated to the north of the town of La Rochelle, on the north-easterly side of the old northern fortifications, just off the map on Plan 31, C.B.1804.  It is probably near the main Paris-La Rochelle road, and not far from the Place Verdun.  
          The 2nd and 5th U-Boat Personnel Reserve Companies are housed in the Prien Gelände.  The 2nd Company was described by prisoners as being, in reality, a Guard Company.  The 5th Company is the U-Boat Personnel Reserve Company proper.  One prisoner who was attached to the 5th company in the winter of 1942/43 said that at that time it consisted of about fifty men, all attached to the 3rd Flotilla.  He added that, owing to sickness and disciplinary action taken against members of various U-Boat crews, the Personnel Reserve was constantly being called upon to provide replacements.  The 5th Company was largely composed of men who had undergone temporary arrest, or who had contracted venereal disease and had missed the sailing of their own U-Boats.
          A certain amount of supplementary training was given men based in the Prien Gelände.  Then were organised games in the afternoons.  
          Ratings were taken to and from La Pallice and La Rochelle by train, and occasionally by omnibusses which left La Pallice from the Place d'Armes.  A prisoner said that on one occasion saboteurs removed part of the railway line, but that the damage was discovered before the arrival of a train.  Since this incident Frenchmen have been ordered to occupy the front carriages of all trains passing over the line.  


          It was said that Major Graf of the G.A.F. and his "Staffel" arrived at La Pallice early in February, 1942, and were using the aerodrome to be seen on the right-hand side of the train, about half-way between La Rochelle and La Pallice.  
  (iii)  Bordeaux  
          A prisoner confirmed that 1,600-ton supply U-Boats are based on Bordeaux and added that he had heard from a friend that three 1,200-ton U-Boats were also based there.  Korvettenkapitän Werner Hartmann was said to be Commander of the Bordeaux U-Boat Flotilla, which was the 12th.  
  (iv)  Le Touquet  
          A Telegraphist said that when he was drafted to Le Touquet to take an R.D.F. course, he was billeted in the Hotel Westminster.  
          Le Touqet is now also a headquarters for the training of long-range teleprinter operators.  This work was now being done almost exclusively by women.  The teleprinters were particularly in use for communications with the Russian Front.  
  (v)  Lorient  
          It has been realised by the Germans that mistakes had been made in the construction of the U-Boat Shelters at Lorient in that they could not provide their own power if the normal power were cut off.  
  (i)  Hagen (Westphalia)  
          A prisoner said that the factory which produces all U-Boat batteries is at Hagen, Westphalia.  The prisoner was convinced that if this factory were knocked out, U-Boat production would be crippled until such time as an alternative producer could be organised.  
  (ii)  Kiel  
          It was said that U-Boats were tested to an equivalent depth of 325 ft. in the pressure dock at Kiel.  
  (i)  M.E. 109T
         A prisoner had seen a Me. 109, designation "T" for "Traeger" (aircraft carrier), being modified at the Fieseler Works at Kassel under the supervision of Dr. Messerschmidt.  This aircraft was intended for use from aircraft carriers.  The intention was that this carrier-borne fighter should also be able to carry bombs, and it was to have a greater powered engine than usual.  There had been talk that a B.M.W. engine would be installed, but the prisoner was not certain on this point.  
  (ii)  Spotted Fever at Gdynia  
          It was said that between Christmas, 1941, and January, 1942, there were few cases of spotted fever among trainees of the 2nd U-Boat Training Division at Gdynia.  No epidemic developed, however, and training was not appreciably interrupted.  
  (iii)  Naval Infantry Division  
          A prisoner claimed to have a friend in a Naval Infantry Division.  His uniform was field grey, with yellow wings on the right breast and yellow flashes on the left arm.  The Naval Division was formed from naval new entries who were not needed for essentially naval duties.  The Division was trained in military warfare and knew nothing of seamanship.  The Division in question had been sent to Russia.  
  (iv)  Kapitänleutnant zur See Godt  
          Kapitan zur See Godt, Chief of Staff to Admiral U-Boats, is now also senior Staff Officer, Operations.  He was said to be an exceedingly clever man.  Recently he had often signed his name to operational signals.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  This officer was promoted to Rear-Admiral on 1st March, 1943, and is believed to be carrying out the duties of B.d.U. (F.O.(S) ) under Dönitz.)  
  (v)  Sabotage  
          It was said that shortly before Christmas, 1942, a member of a U-Boat's crew was caught with explosive charges in his tool-box which he was carrying into the shelters at La Pallice.  All tool boxes are inspected at the doors, however, and he was discovered and presumably shot.  It was added that two foreigners, possibly Englishmen, were said to have entered the shelters at about the same time dressed in German Naval officers' uniforms.  They were later caught in Paris.  In autumn, 1942, a torpedo exploded inside a U-Boat at either Lorient or St. Nazaire.  This was said to be sabotage.  


  (i)  Building of "U 444"  
          "U 444" was built by the Schichau Yards, Danzig.  None of the prisoners knew when she was laid down or launched, but a stoker said that when he was drafted at the end of April, 1942, to Danzig, to stand by the final stages of "U 444's" construction, she was already launched.  At that time "U 443," "U 445," "U 446" and "U 447" were all building at the Schichau Yard.  
          As the complement began to arrive at Danzig they were quartered in a building formerly a Polish Post Office and now known as the 7th Warship Training Division.  This building stands at a point where the Vistula forks to form Holm Island.  A week before commissioning the ship's company were moved to the depôt ship "Hamburg" and for a few days after commissioning to "Iberia."   
  (ii)  Commissioning and Acceptance Trials  
          "U 444" was commissioned on 9th May, 1942.  Basin trials, and trials by the U-Boats' Acceptance Command (U.A.K.) were completed at Danzig, the latter by approximately 24th May.  
  (iii)  Silent Running Trials  
          In the last week of May, "U 444" proceeded alone to Bornholm Island for Silent Running trials off Rönne.  These lasted two days.  
  (iv)  "Agru Front"  
          "U 444" returned from Rönne to Danzig and proceeded thence to Hel where she arrived on, or about, 1st June, 1942.  At Hel "U 444" spent about six weeks on "Agru-Front" exercises.  During this time Kapitänleutnant (Ing.) Mueller, second in command of the "Agru-Front" Organisation, was frequently on board.  Exercises completed, "U 444" returned to Danzig.  
  (v)  Torpedo Firing Trials  
          One prisoner said that he joined "U 444" in Danzig on 9th July, 1942.  They left almost immediately for Pillau for torpedo firing practice.  This lasted for 16 days, "U 444" then again returned to Danzig.  
  (vi)  "U 444" acts as School-boat  
          On or about 25th July, "U 444" proceeded from Danzig to Gdynia where she was attached to the 22nd U-Boat Flotilla and temporarily became a school-boat.  During the next two months a number of prospective U-Boat Commanders and young prospective U-Boat Engineer Officers received training on board.  Towards the end of September, "U 444" once more returned to Danzig.  
  (vii)  Tactical Exercises; Ramming of "U 612"  
          Having reprovisioned, "U 444" put back to Gdynia for tactical exercises under the supervision of Korvettenkapitän Hartmann.  These exercises lasted 14 days, and were terminated when "U 444" rammed another U-Boat when submerged.  This other U-Boat, prisoners said, was "U 612" commanded by an elderly officer who had been promoted from the lower deck.  "U 612" was struck fairly between the Diesel and motor rooms and sank in about 20 fathoms of water.  It was said that all but two of the complement escaped and that "U 612" was later raised and towed to Danzig.  The only damage to "U 444" was stove in bows.  A telegraphist said that "U 612" was responsible for the accident as she was out of position.  
          Following the collision "U 444" returned to Danzig for repairs and final adjustments.  
  (viii)  Final Adjustments  
          As the Schichau Yards were unable to take her, "U 444" proceeded on 12th October to Kiel where she was taken in hand by the Deutsche Werke.  Final adjustments included modification to the torpedo tubes enabling the firing of new types of torpedoes, none of which, however, were later embarked.  (See C.B. 04051 (64).)  "U 444" was pronounced ready for her first patrol on, or about, 10th December and was then moved to Kiel-Wik to embark provisions and torpedoes.  It was originally planned that "U 444" should leave Kiel on her first patrol on 15th December, in company with two other U-Boats, one of which, a prisoner said, was commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Keller, but trouble with a Junkers compressor developed delaying "U 444's" departure for two days.  


  (i)  "U 444" sails on her First Patrol  
          "U 444" sailed from Kiel at 0800 on 17th December, 1942.  She was accompanied by any other U-Boat and proceeded alone to the Great Belt where she was met by a Sperrbrecher who led her through the German minefields.  Sperrbrecher and U-Boat put in to Kristiansand S. at 2300 on 18th December.  
  (ii)  Kristiansand S. to Egersund  
          "U 444" topped up with fuel at Kristiansand S. from a tanker and at 0900, on the morning of 19th December, she sailed for Egersund, arriving the same evening.  At Egersund she disembarked one electric torpedo.  This was the torpedo in the upper port bow tube, which had been rendered useless by a short circuit caused by damage to a battery.  The torpedo was returned to Germany by a patrol boat.  
  (iii)  Egersund to the Rosengarten  
          "U 444" left Egersund at 1200 on 20th December, without her Sperrbrecher escort.  After hugging the coast of Norway to a point off Bergen, she altered course to N.N.W.  This course was followed up to about the 64th parallel, the voyage being comparatively uneventful except for the sighting of a British destroyer on the night of 23rd/24th December.  Seas were heavy and "U 444" could not manoeuver into a suitable firing position so she submerged for safety.  Allowing for bad weather and submerging, "U 444" had so far been able to maintain an average speed of 6 knots.  
  (iv)  Passage of the Rosengarten  
          Having reached latitude 64° N., "U 444" altered course to pass through the centre of the Rosengarten.  At this point her G.S.R. failed owing to a burnt out transformer.  After attempts to repair it had proved in vain, Admiral U-Boats was informed of the mishap on or about 26th/27th December.  
  (v)  First Patrol Sweep; "Group Falke"  
          Soon after passing the Rosengarten "U 444" received orders to form up in a patrol sweep with other U-Boats.  It took "U 444" one day to reach her patrol area.  The U-Boats concerned in this sweep varied between 15 and 20 in number and were known as "Group Falke."  The purpose of forming Group Falke was to intercept two convoys, one bound north-east, apparently for Russia.  The U-Boats proceeded on one course for about four or five days and then put about on a reciprocal course.  Boats were ordered to proceed at five to six knots Diesel-Electric, but owing to heavy seas not more than three to four knots could be maintained.  A prisoner said that only one ship was sunk by the whole of "Group Falke," this, an independently routed 10,000-tonner, which was sunk by Oberleutnant zur See Rosenberg in "U 382."  
  (vi)  "U 444" joins "Group Landsknecht"  
          After rather more than two weeks in Group Falke, "U 444" and other U-Boats were disbanded.  Those which remained, some having previously been detached, were formed into Group Landsknecht in approximately the same position as Group Falke.
          From about 10th January until 23rd/24th January, "U 444" remained in Group Landsknecht (see C.B. 04051 (60).  A Telegraphist said that at various times U-Boats commanded by the following officers took part in the sweep.  Krueger, Eckhardt, Muennkh ("U 187," sunk 4.2.43 by H.M.S. "Vimy," see C.B. 04051 (60), Tinschert, Zeichert, Zitsewitz, Borchers, Mahnke, Mumm, Heydemann, Rudloff, Soden, Thurmann, Geissler, Rosenberg, Hacklander, Franzius, von Hartmann, Hunger, Trojer with Willamowitz-Mollendorff and Wolfbauer in supply U-Boats.  
          During this time one convoy was reported but no ship was sighted.  
  (vii)  "U 444" Ordered Home  
          On or about 24th January, "U 444" received orders to proceed to La Pallice.  While in both Falke and Landsknecht Groups, "U 444" had been tuned to the "Diana" wavelength; for her homeward passage she was tuned to the Coastal wavelength (Küstenschaltung).  While tuned on the "Diana" wavelength "U 444) had picked up signals from two other U-Boats.  
          "U 444's" G.S.R. being out of action, she had had to rely on visual sighting of aircraft.  She had had about 25 sightings in all, the majority believed to have been of U.S.A. aircraft as she was well across the Atlantic at the time.  On one occasion it was alleged that the dived to a depth of 650 ft., but no attack developed.  The only aircraft attack observed by "U 444" was on her nearest neighbor.  The bombing was rated by prisoners as a near miss.  
          Particular care was exercised during the homeward passage in the Bay of Biscay.  Aircraft sightings were fairly frequent here but on each occasion "U 444" was able to dive before she herself was sighted.  She proceeded through the Bay on the surface by day and submerged at night.  
          Prisoners said that at 0900 on 3rd February, "U 444" rendezvoused with a Sperrbrecher and "U 382" (Oberleutnant zur See Rosenberg), who had also completed his first patrol, having taken part in the same sweep as "U 444," at a point about 40 miles off La Pallice.  The code name of this point was "Pitz" (mushroom).  A prisoner said that similar rendezvous positions are known by the names of vegetables.  The Sperrbrecher and the two U-Boats proceeded at six knots to La Pallice where they arrived at 1730.  The ships' companies of "U 444" and "U 382" were accommodated in the Prien barracks in the Gottfried Bauer block (named after a member of Prien's crew).  "U 444" was berthed within the U-Boat shelters in Wet Dock No. 1 (see Section VII), alongside "U 432" and one other unknown U-Boat.  She was later moved for a short time to No. 3 Dock and then returned to No. 1 where she lay next to a U-Boat commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Forster.  Minor repairs and adjustments were made to "U 444" which were not completed until the end of the month.  During this time the ship's company received staggered periods of leave by watches.  On about 25th February, "U 444" was refuelled from a lighter outside the shelter and torpedoes were also embarked in the open.  


          The complement of "U 444" is believed to have consisted of 45 men, of whom only four ratings survived.  
  (i)  Captain  
          Little is known about Oberleutnant zur See Joseph "Sepp" Langfeld, "U 444's" Commanding Officer.  He joined the German Navy in April, 1937, but survivors could give no details of his naval career prior to his taking over "U 444."  
          Prisoners said that he was an efficient officer and a strict disciplinarian.  Even at sea he would punish his men for petty offenses by making them do 20 "knees-bend" at a time, with a heavy iron weight in each hand.  
          His conduct during his sole attack on a convoy suggested that he was a level-headed man, who was unwilling to waste torpedoes on small ships when restraint and extra concentration might win him a bigger prize.  At the same time his singleness of purpose proved his undoing, for so intent was he on his attack that he failed to notice the approach of the destroyers which sank him.  
          A prisoner said that he was a very much of a materialist.  One of his sayings was:  "The war ought to last longer, it's our best chance of making good money."  
          Langfeld was a Bavarian, his home being in the mountain village of Garmisch.  It was said that he had recently become engaged and was to be married on return from the patrol on which he was killed.  
  (ii)  First Lieutenant  
          Leutnant zur See Hans Joachim Geissler, the First Lieutenant, was the son of a German General.  His home was at Hanover.  Geissler had served as First Lieutenant in Raider "23" ("Cairo"), but had left this ship before she sailed from Kiel in April, 1942.  He had been a watch-keeping officer in the destroyer "Friedrich Eckoldt" until the beginning of 1941.  
          According to prisoners, Geissler was due to leave "U 444" had she returned to her base; after a short period of training he was to have received command of a new U-Boat.  He was described as a Nazi, but not an aggressive one.  
  (iii)  Second Lieutenant  
          None of the survivors knew much about Leutnant zur See Diehl, the Second Lieutenant.  He was a new officer whom they thought to be "harmless" and rather weak.  He joined the Navy in October, 1938.  
  (iv)  Engineer Officer  
          Oberleutnant (Ing.) Paul Schrode, the Engineer Officer, does not appear to have been very popular.  He was described as narrow-minded, and he incited Langfeld to meet out punishments for small offences.
          Schrode joined the Navy in 1938.  He was a native of Ulm.  His father was a Post Office Inspector.  
  (v)  General  
          "U 444" would appear to have been a fairly smart ship.  Morale, when on patrol, was good and there was no evidence that the fighting efficiency of the ship's company had been impaired by recent German reverses.  
          The behavior of the four rating survivors after capture was, however, markedly different from that of other U-Boat crews captured earlier in the war.  Three, at least, seemed anxious to ingratiate themselves with their captors and were eager to deny any close association with the Nazi Party.  
          A stoker said that he had never represented the Nazi opinion and from the start of the war he had been convinced that Germany was bound to lose.  He ridiculed dictatorships and thought that democracy was undoubtedly more favorable for the ordinary citizen.  He said that, in spite of superb armed forces and efficient Party control, there was no backbone behind the Nazi system.  There had been more backbone behind the Kaiser's rule when in 1914 Germany had had an even greater chance of winning a war but had nevertheless failed.  He said that the Nazi leaders were swine and deserved what they got.  
          He thought that many people in Germany were of his opinion, but the Party organisation had made mutiny or revolt impossible.  
          Another stoker said that the rising figure of casualties was becoming increasingly evident in Germany.  He mentioned a friend of his on board who had lost one brother before Stalingrad and another in an Air Force dive bomber.  With the death of his friend in "U 444" the entire male side of that family had been wiped out.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  Prisoners attitude in captivity must not be taken to indicate a lower fighting morale.)  
          The following letter, in English, was addressed to the Interrogating Officer by a survivor of "U 444":  
                  "My gentleman !  
                          "My comrade has to morrow birthday.  I will him a joy to make.  When it then possible is, the for ten cigarettes something cake to give, I thank you then.  It can also puddng to be, who we by the lunch to obtain.  This should like he to be fond of.  When it then possible is, give you me him to morrow morning.  When it then not possible is, I thank you then for the treeter."  
          It was possible to grant the above request.  


Ship's Company of "U 444 "
(i)  Survivors:
English Equivalent.
Görs, Wilhelm Maschinenmaat Stoker P.O.
[Last name illegible] Walter Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
Wengefeld, Gerhard Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
Spitz, Rudolf Funkgefreiter Ordinary Telegraphist, 1st Class
Officers . .
Chief and Petty Officers . .
Men . .
  (ii)  Casualties:  
English Equivalent.
Langfeld, Sepp Oberleutnant zur See Lieutenant
Geissler, Hans Joachim Leutnant zur See Sub-Lieutenant
Diehl, Leutnant zur See Sub-Lieutenant
Schrode, Paul Leutnant (Ing.) Sub-Lieutenant (E)
Henkel Obersteuermann Chief Q.M., 1st Class
Ehrhard, Obermaschinist Chief E.R.A.
Wenderoth, Obermaschinist Chief E.R.A.
Meyer, Bootsmannsmaat Boatswain's Mate, 2nd Class
Wimmer, Bootsmannsmaat Boatswain's Mate, 2nd Class
Seehausen, Bootsmannsmaat Boatswain's Mate, 2nd Class
Lange, Maschinenmaat Stoker P.O.
Wellner, Maschinenmaat Stoker P.O.
Schmidt, Maschinenmaat Stoker P.O.
Knak, Maschinenmaat Stoker P.O.
Reder, Maschinenmaat Stoker P.O.
Jahn, Funkmaat P.O. Telegraphist, 2nd Class
Karbowski Funkmaat P.O. Telegraphist, 2nd Class
Reintke Mechanikersmaat P.O. Artificer, 2nd Class
Naujack Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class
Fleischhacker Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class
Fürsattel Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class
Pluzynski Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class
Eule Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class
Richter Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class
Marx Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class
Schaper Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class
Funk Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class
Wilke Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class
Skell Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
Schmidt Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
Höpfner Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
Müller Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
Adam Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
Menne Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
Reiss Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
Trinklein Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
Pferner Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
Schröder Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
Weigelt Mechanikergefreiter Artificer, 2nd Class
Voigt Mechanikergefreiter Artificer, 2nd Class
Friedrich Funkgast (?) W/T Rating (?)
Officers . .
Chief and Petty Officers . .
Men . .
  (iii)  Total Crew:  
Officers . .
Chief and Petty Officers . .
Men . .
  (C49259)  406  8/43  



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