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                                                                                                                 COPY No.
This book is invariably to be kept locked up when not in use and is not to be taken outside the ship or establishment for which it it issued without the express permission of the Commanding Officer.
C.B.  04051 (75)
"U 506"
Interrogation of Survivors
August, 1943
This Report is not to be considered accurate in all respects, having been prepared before complete information was available.  It is therefore not to be taken as historically correct.



          This book is the property of His Majesty's Government.  
          It is intended for the use of the recipients only, and for communication to such Officers under them (not below the rank of Commissioned Officer) who may require to be acquainted with its contents in the course of their duties.  The Officers exercising this power will be held responsible that such information is imparted with due care and caution.  


Attention is called to the penalties attaching to any infraction of the
Official Secrets Acts.
C.B.  04051 (75)
"U 506"
Interrogation of Survivors
August, 1943
  N.I.D. 05319/43.  


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


  Introductory Remarks  
  Details of "U 506"  
    (i)  Type;  (ii)  Displacement;  (iii)  Builders;  (iv)  Armament;  (v)  Diesels;  (vi) Speeds;  (vii)  Cylinder Liners;  (viii)  Electric Motors and Switchboards;  (ix)  Compressors;  (x)  G.S.R.;  (xi)  Radar;  (xii)  S.B.T.;  (xiii)  K.D.B.;  (xiv) Multi-unit Hydrophones;  (xv) W/T Aerials;  (xvi) Welding Equipment;  (xvii) Oxygen Bottles;  (xviii) Diving;  (xix) Pump Capacities;  (xx) Conning-Tower Badge;  (xxi)  Field Post Number.  
  Fifth and Last Patrol of "U 506"  
      (i) "U 506" allocated to Far East;  (ii) "U 506" prepares for Patrol;  (iii) "U 506" sails;  (iv) Aircraft are sighted;  (v) "U 533" attacked by Destroyers.    
  Sinking of "U 506"  
3, 4
  General Remarks on U-Boats  
4, 5
    (i)  Armament: (a) 105 mm. (4.14 in.); (b) 37 mm. (1.45 in.); (c) 20 mm. (0.79 in.); (d) Quadruple 20 mm; (e) Machine-guns; (f) Fire Control; (g) Tactics;  (ii) Tactics in the Bay of Biscay;  (iii) Aircraft Attack;  (iv) Aircraft Alarms;  (v) G.S.R.;  (vi) Radar;  (vii) Torpedoes;  (viii) New Switchboard;  (ix) Electric Welding;  (x) Reporting position;  (xi) U-Boat Losses;  (xii) Japanese Submarine;  (xiii) Morale.  
    France - Lorient.  
  U-Boats Proceeding to the Far East  
APPENDIX "A"  Building and Working up of "U 506"
APPENDIX "B" Previous Patrols of "U 506"  
7, 8
    (i) First Patrol;  (ii) Second Patrol;  (iii) Third Patrol;  (iv) Fourth Patrol  
APPENDIX "C"  Ships company of "U 506"  
    (i) Captain;  (ii) First Lieutenant;  (iii) Second Lieutenant;  (iv) Engineer Offerers;  (v) Surgeon Lieutenant;  (vi) War Correspondent;  (vii) General.  
APPENDIX "D"  Pump Capacities  
APPENDIX "E"  Nominal Roll of "U 506"  
  (C50076)                                                                                                                             *2  


          "U 506," a 740-ton U-Boat, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Erich Würdemann, was sunk by a U.S. Liberator operating from the Gibraltar area, on 12th July, 1943, in position 42° 25' N., 016° 30' W.  One officer and five ratings were picked up by H.M.S. "Hurricane" on 14th July, in position 42° 20'N, 013° 51'W. and later transferred to H.M.C.S. "Iroquois."  
          The five ratings were all members of the bridge-watch and no engine room personnel survived.  Technical information was, however, supplied by a Leading Stoker captured from "U 459" (sunk on 24th July, 1943), who had served in "U 506" during her first three patrols.  He also corroborated details of these patrols.  
          The Captain of "U 506", who did not survive, was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 16th March, 1943, for the alleged sinking of 17 ships, totaling 99,961 tons.  In spite of these successes his First Lieutenant severely criticised him for having missed opportunities.  
          Prisoners stated that on her last patrol, "U 506" was one of a number of U-boats bound for the Far East.  Details are included in Sections III and VII.  
          Items of particular interest in this report are:  
          (a)  U-Boat operations in the Far East.  
          (b) "U 506's" successes on previous patrols.  
          (c)  Details of U-Boat armament.  
          Equivalent of German and Royal Naval Ranks used in this report are:  
Korvettenkapitän Lieutenant-Commander.
Kapitänleutnant Lieutenant.
Oberleutnant zur See Sub-Lieutenant.
Leutnant zur See Junior Sub-Lieutenant.
Oberfähnrich zur See Midshipman.
          The suffix " der Reserve " denotes Reserve.  The suffix " Ing " denotes Engineer.  
  Type IX C.
  Displacement 740 tons.
  Builders Deutsche Werft, Hamburg.
  Armament Guns.  One 105-mm. (4.14 in.) forward; two type C.38 20-mm. (0.79 in.), one on "bandstand" and one on additional lower gun platform abaft it; two type 81 A A. machine-guns on the bridge.
              It was stated that the M.G.s 81 were twin mountings of G.A.F. type.  Rate of fire was given as:  theoretically, 1,500 rounds per barrel per minute, in practice, 1,200 rounds.  (N.I.D. Note.  This is known to be correct.)  In spite of their abnormally high rate of fire, these machine-guns were considered as unsatisfactory under naval conditions, and they were not even mounted at the time of the final attack on "U 506."  Prisoners added that they did not stand up to contact with sea water.  Before "U 506's" final patrol her superstructure was modified to the latest A.A. requirements.  The additional lower gun platform abaft the bandstand was built and the 37 mm. (1.45 in.) gun aft was removed.  It was stated that a quadruple machine-gun should have been mounted on the additional platform and not the type C.38 20 mm., but there was none available in Lorient at the time.
  (C50076)                                                                                                                              *3  


  Armament contd. Sights.  Ring and bead for all guns.
      Ammunition.  There were about 150 105-mm. shells on board, stowed in metal cases under the floor plates in the control room.  One prisoner said these were a new type of phosphorous incendiary shell, carried for the first time on her last patrol.
              The ammunition for the M.G.s 81was in 200/250 round boxes, disintegrating and belt-fed.  (N.I.D. Note.  This is the normal G.A.F. type.)  It was claimed that, for convenience, the belyts were split into two and fed into each of the twin guns, 100/125 rounds each side simultaneously.
      Armour Protection.  Before her final patrol, "U 506's" bridge fairing was armour-plated.  Two screen doors were built in between the bridge and the "bandstand."  There was a space between the "doors" and the deck in order to lessen water resistance.
      Torpedoes.  On her last patrol she probably carried 21.  There were said to be twelve air torpedoes, six in upper deck containers and six in the tubes, and nine electric torpedoes, six forward and three aft.
      Pistols. Pi. 2 type were fitted to the twelve air torpedoes.  G. 7H were fitter to the nine electric torpedoes.  (N.I.D. Note.  This statement is doubtful and there is some reason to believe that the information is transposed.)
  Diesels Two 9-cylinder M.A.N. with "Büchi" superchargers.  (Exhaust gas turbine.)
  Speeds The First Lieutenant said that "U 506" had attained a speed of 18.5 knots while working up in the Baltic.  On patrol she had just reached 17 knots.
  Cylinder Liners The officer added that after each patrol it was necessary to fit a new cylinder liner as one always seemed to be damaged.
  Electric Motors and Switchboards A.E.G.
  Compressors One Junkers free piston, and one electrically-driven compressor.
  G.S.R. Two Metox receivers carried, one fitted with "magic eye" tuning indicator.  One drum-shaped aerial fitted to port side of bridge structure.  One "Southern Cross" type aerial carried as spare.
  Radar Not fitted.
  S.B.T. Fitted in stern compartment "heads."
  K.D.B. Not fitted.
  Multi-Unit Hydrophones Fitted.
  W/T Aerials Extensible rod type and jumping wire.
  Welding Equipment Both gas and electric.  One acetylene bottle carried inside the U-Boat and one in the bridge structure.
  Oxygen Bottle Two groups of four bottles carried inside the U-Boat.
  Diving It was stated that "U 506's" best diving times were 23 seconds to 20 metres (65-1/2 ft.) and 34 seconds to 40 metres (131 ft.).  (N.I.D. Note.  It is thought that this is too fast for a 740-ton U-Boat.)
  Pump Capacities See Appendix "D."  These details were given in a note-book captured from a "U 528" prisoner and apply in general to 740-ton U-Boats of type IX C.
  Conning Tower Badge "Hummel" of Hamburg.  (This is the symbol of a water-carrier always connected with Hamburg, as for example, John Bull with England, and Marianne with France.)
  Field Post Number M. 18699.


  (i)  "U 506" Allocated to the Far East  
          When "U 506" left Lorient in her fifth and last patrol, her ship's company knew that they were to proceed to the Far East.  They had been told that they were to be away for nine to twelve months and believed they were bound for Singapore, with a possible subsequent visit to Japan.  Prisoners stated that "U 506" was one of ten of twelve U-Boats, which would leave French Atlantic bases at two- to three-weekly intervals, to form a flotilla in Far Eastern waters.  "U 506" was to operate off Madagascar and was expected to reach her destination in about 18 weeks.  "U 511" had left about 10th May, 1943, and was operating in the area of Madagascar by the first week in July.  (See Section VII.)  
  (ii)  "U 506" Prepares for Patrol  
          Before sailing, "U 506" had undergone a refit in Lorient.  Her superstructure had been modified to meet the requirements of latest U-Boat A.A. tactics, but otherwise no major alterations had been carried out.  Her gun's crew had attended the A.A. course at Mimizan (see C.B. 04051 (68) ) and the whole ship's company had had two to three weeks' leave.  She was provisioned for 18 weeks and took on board 240 tons of fuel.  Tropical kit was carried.  In addition to her normal complement, she had on board a surgeon and a war correspondent.  The latter had brought with him two large and heavy bags, containing a cine-camera, 14,000 ft. of film and his own electric accumulator.  
          It was understood the the U-Boat would be refueled by a supply U-Boat, probably in the vicinity of the Cape of Good Hope.  
  (iii)  "U 506 Sails  
          "U 506" slipped her moorings in the Scorff U-Boat shelters about midday on 6th July, 1943.  She was covered with flowers and as one survivor aptly remarked:  "Looked like the grave she was, in fact, to be." Cheering crowds lined the quay and some were heard to sing out "Keep your chins up when the aircraft come."  
          She proceeded in company with "U 533" also bound for Japan, and picked up her escort in the entrance of the harbor, probably in the Narrows opposite Port Louis.  
          A Sperrbrecher preceded the two U-Boats to the 50-fathom line and they were escorted until dusk on 6th July, by four minesweepers.  It was explained that these minesweepers were acting entirely as A.A. escort and did not have their sweeps out.  One prisoner said that some U-Boats are now escorted by a destroyer instead of minesweepers.  
  (iv)  Aircraft are Sighted  
          From the afternoon of 7th July, one aircraft was sighted each day and one day three were sighted.  On each occasion "U 506" crash dived to a depth of not less than 80 metres (262 ft.).  In the Bay of Biscay both U-Boats proceeded surfaced by day and submerged by night.  
  (v)  "U 533" attacked by Destroyers  
          One afternoon, when in a position about 80 nm north of Cape Ortegal, "U 506" sighted three destroyers.  She immediately submerged.  Survivors did not know whether "U 533" also submerged, but they believe that she had been attacked and sunk by the destroyers.  They did not see her again.  One prisoner said this occurred on 10th July.  (N.I.D. Note.  It is not possible to connect this incident with any known attack.  There is no confirmation that "U 533" has been sunk.  There is a vague possibility that the incident was an attack by "Balsam" and a minesweeper p.m. 9th July in approximate position 44° 50'N., 13° 09' W., but it is considered unlikely.)  No attack on "U 506" developed and she proceeded alone and without incident until 12th July.  
          At 1400/12th July, 1943, "U 506" surfaced in order to charge her batteries for an hour.  She then had 12,000 amp./hours left in the batteries according to the First Lieutenant.  He remarked that, as was typical of his Captain's indecision and prognostication, they remained surfaced for considerably longer than the intended hour.  
          The weather was very misty and visibility was only 500 to 1,000 yards.  G.S.R. was manned.  
          "U 506" was proceeding with full buoyancy on one diesel.  There were two watches, two officers and six ratings, on the bridge.  The First Lieutenant was about to order his watch below and later remarked on the small margin of chance which had saved him.  
          At 1545 an aircraft dived almost vertically out of the mist and was only sighted when about 400 yards to starboard of the U-Boat.  It immediately opened fire with machine-guns and before Würdemann's order to reply could be carried out it dropped six bombs from a height of about 30 ft.  One Leading Seaman said he had noticed that the aircraft slightly altered course so as to attack about  
  (C50076)                                                                                                                              *4  


  20° - 30° up-track. The first two bombs fell in the water on the starboard beam, the third hit the deck forward and the other three exploded aft.  The Captain started to give the order to crash-dive.  Seeming to realise in that instant that it was useless, he called for a life-jacket.  "There are none," came the reply.  He started to go down the conning-tower hatch to find one, but seeing water rising to his waist, he again ascended to the bridge and jumped into the sea.  The First Lieutenant remembered seeing one of the diesels break through the pressure hull to the upper deck before he was blown into the water.  The U-Boat sank within 30 seconds of the first sighting of the aircraft, her bows rising steeply before she slid under.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  A U.S. Liberator operating from the Gibraltar are attacked a U-Boat in position 42° 25' N., 016° 30' W. at 1339Z, 12th July, 1943.  Seven depth-charges were dropped from a height of 35 ft.  They straddled the U-Boat just abaft the conning-tower.  The U-Boat sank stern first, with the bow rising steeply.  Survivors were observed swimming in the oil slick.  The aircraft returned and dropped a rubber dinghy.  There were eight men in the water.)  One leading seaman, who had had his leg torn off, gave up swimming and drowned.  Of the remaining seven, only two of the officers were without life-jackets.  Two ratings held up their Captain, but he told them he would only drag them down with him and finally persuaded then to leave him.  He was not seen again.  
          After about an hour the rest found the dinghy and climbed aboard.  
          The set course for Spain.  For two days and two nights they pulled turn and turn about.  Many aircraft were sighted, on one occasion a formation of five Ju.88s., but none were close enough to signal.  They lived on the chocolate and fresh water found in the dinghy.  
          On the third day, survivors sighted an aircraft and fired a flare.  They believed that a signal from this aircraft finally brought H.M.S. "Hurricane" to their rescue.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  During the evening of 14th July, H.M.S. "Hurricane" picked up U-Boat survivors in position 42° 20' N., 013° 51' W.  During the course of 15th July these prisoners were transferred to H.M.C.S. "Iroquois."  They were landed in the U.K. on 17th July.)  
  (i)  Armament  
          Prisoners made statements on various type of guns, as follows:  
(a) 105-mm. (4.14 in.):  Range 15 kms. (about 16,000 yards).  In surface ships range is 20 kms. (about 21,000 yards).
(b) 37-mm. (1.45 in.):  Range 8 kms. (about 8,700 yards).  It was maintained that the 37-mm. is not being mounted in newly built 740-ton U-Boats.
  A new type of 37-mm fed by means of a clip mounted above the breech was mentioned.  One prisoner had seen a twin 37-mm mounted in one U-Boat.
(c) 20-mm. (0.79 in.):  Range 3 kms.  (about 3.280 yards).  Rate of fire theoretically 400 rounds a minute, in practice 200.  It was stated that one extra 20-mm, type C.38 was kept below decks in "U-506," so that on surfacing at least one gun could be loaded.  When making a normal dive they took one 20-mm. below and cleaned it, in order to have two serviceable 20-mms. on resurfacing.
(d) Quadruple 20-mm.:  Fitted with four magazines per barrel and 52 rounds per magazine.  These guns have a shield, with a cut-out portion to allow for the ring and bead sight.  One prisoner said that the quadruple 20-mm. is to become a standard fitting on the additional "bandstand" of all U-boats.  He had seen a 740-ton U-Boat in Lorient with one already mounted.  There is some indication that the quadruple 20-mm., is fitted with some form of course/speed sight and one prisoner claimed that once the target speed is set, it is only necessary to watch the line and keep the target in the centre of the sight.
(e) Machine-guns:  One prisoner said that objects resembling bollards observed on the "bandstands" of some U-Boats in aerial photographs are single retractable machine-guns.
          There was much criticism of type 81, said to be fitted on trial in "U 506."  (See Section II.)
(f) Fire Control:  It was stated that permission to fire is given by the Captain or Officer of the Watch.  The prisoner claimed, however, that the men manning the guns were sufficiently trained to use their own judgment and that there is no concerted fire control.  This policy appears to vary in different U-Boats.
(g) Tactics:  One prisoner volunteered the information that if an aircraft attacked from dead ahead, the U-Boat could only turn into a position where one of the 20-mm. guns could be brought to bear, or alternatively use her bridge machine-guns.


  (ii)  Tactics in the Bay of Biscay  
          It was stated by one prisoner that the former order to U-Boats in the Bay of Biscay to proceed in groups and not to submerge when attacked by aircraft, had been canceled.  He said that on one occasion a group of four or five U-Boats reached port with not one member of their guns' crews or look-outs alive.  U-Boats are now instructed to proceed independently and only remain on the surface as long as defense is considered possible.  (N.I.D. Note.  There is no confirmation of this order which should at present be treated with reserve.)  
  (iii)  Aircraft Attack  
          There is an order from C.-in-C. U-Boats, probably dating from March, 1943, that all U-Boats diving on account of air attack, must go to a depth of at least 300 feet.  
          The First Lieutenant of "U 506" said he would rather be attacked by a cruiser then by an aircraft.  
  (iv)  Aircraft Alarms  
          The First Lieutenant of "U 506" mentioned a new aircraft alarm signal.  This was to include something like " A A A " for attack by one aircraft or " B B B " for attack by two aircraft, and the U-Boat's position.  
  (v)  G.S.R.  
          The First Lieutenant of "U 506" was impressed by the fact that although his G.S.R. was manned at the time of the sinking, no contact had been picked up.  He maintained that under the prevailing weather conditions the aircraft must have detected him in order to dive straight to the attack.  He concluded that either we had some new apparatus or his P.O. Telegraphist, in whom he had little confidence, had been asleep.  
  (vi)  Radar  
          One Leading Seaman said that he had seen U-Boats fitted with Radar.  He described the aerial as having a mattress type reflector and being fitted in place of the extensible W/T aerial ("Stabamtenne").  He said it was on the port side, retracting into the bridge fairing.  It could be extended to the height of the D/F aerial.  He gave the length at about 150 cm. (59 in.) and the height as 70 cm. (27-1/2 in.)  
  (vii)  Torpedoes  
          A new type of torpedo was mentioned.  It was described as both smaller in diameter and shorter in length then the present ones and was said to be rather faster, with greater explosive power.  It would only be carried by new U-Boats with new torpedo tubes.  Tubes would be modified in old U-Boats.  It was thought that future 740-ton U-Boats might possibly have six bow torpedo tubes of the new type.  (N.I.D. Note.  There is no confirmation of a new smaller type of torpedo.)  
  (viii)  New Switchboard  
          It was stated that a new type of switchboard by Siemens is already fitted in "U 505."  This is now installed above the electric motors, takes up much less space and can be operated by one man alone.  
  (ix)  Electric Welding  
          It was stated that for electric welding one electric cable is run as a motor generator and is not driven by the diesel.  
  (x)  Reporting Position  
          It was believed by one prisoner that "U 506" would have reported to Control on 14th July, that she was safely through the Bay of Biscay.  He thought that on that day Control would signal for her position and on receiving no reply would again ask on the 15th, 16th and 17th.  From then on they would ask again at end of July, in mid-August and at the end of August and finally at the beginning of September.  They would then presume her to be lost.  
  (xi)  U-Boat Losses  
          One prisoner estimated that only three out of every ten U-Boats which sail never return.  
  (xii)  Japanese Submarine  
          Prisoners corroborated that the Japanese submarine which visited Lorient during the latter half of 1942, had been sunk.  She was mined, they said, just off Singapore.  
  (xiii)  Morale  
          It was stated that morale in the Lorient U-Boat base was bad.  Whereas formerly new drafts shows enthusiasm and keenness to join their U-Boats, they now invented every possible excuse and trivial sickness to avoid it.  


          The First Lieutenant of "U 506" said that his men had been accommodated in two different places in Lorient.  Firstly at the headquarters of the 2nd U-Boat Flotilla.  This was in woods outside Lorient, beside a small lake, in which they had been able to bathe.  However, a great many 2nd flotilla U-Boats came in and there was no more room for the "U 506" ship's company.  
          They were accordingly transferred to the air raid shelters in Lorient where the accommodation was appalling.  The whole ship's company lived in one medium sized room and there was so little space that during the day seabags had to be put on the bunks.  Air conditioning was bad and the light continually went out.  
          He remarked how incomparably worse off were the 10th flotilla then the second.  It was planned to build new barracks for the 10th and they were to be ready in May, but in July they had hardly been started and he thought they would be lucky if they were ready by July, 1944.  
          At Lorient all officers of the 10th flotilla were accommodated in a two-story concrete building, each officer having a small cabin, with bunk, wash-basin and chair.  Air and light conditions were as bad as those for the ratings.  Water, of which there was plenty, was quite undrinkable.  
          A Leading Seaman stated that there was a great deal of building going on in Lorient.  The harbor cranes were being repaired and shelter walls made even thicker.  All this was barricaded off so that no one might see what was going on.  
          It was stated that ten or twelve U-Boats were to proceed from the 2nd and 10th U-Boat flotillas at Lorient to the Far East.  Prisoners believed they might be based on Singapore and would subsequently proceed to Japan.  The First Lieutenant of "U 506" stated the whole operation had been planned by Kapitänleutnant Herbert Kuppisch.  (N.I.D. Note.  This officer was Captain of "U 94" until August, 1942, see ONI 250-G, Serial No. 5.  He is known recently to have been appointed to the German Admiralty in Berlin.)  
          "U 511" commanded by Kapitänleutnant Ulrich Schneewind, sailed from Lorient on 10th May, 1043.  She carried only six torpedoes in her tubes and her orders were to proceed directly to the Far Ease.  All ballast had been landed from the U-Boat and in its place small black bottles which resembled compressed air bottles had been embarked.  The crew had their No. 1 uniforms on board.  Four of the ship's company were left behind, according to one prisoner, to make room for four Japanese officers.  An UFA film operator was also carried.  
          Schneewind was First Lieutenant in "U 506" during her first three patrols.  He underwent a ten weeks' commanding officer's course before taking over "U 511."  It was thought that he had been chosen to be the first to go to Japan because his parents lived there.  The Japanese Ambassador was present when "U 511" sailed.  She was escorted through the Bay of Biscay by a destroyer and thence to the latitude of Gibraltar by aircraft.  "U 511's" patrol was to last 14 months.  She was refuelled in early June in the vicinity of Cape Town by "U 460," commanded by Oberleutnant zur See der Reserve Schnoor.  Prisoners stated that she had sunk one ship towards the end of June, and one Leading Seaman said she had already sunk three.  It was also claimed that she had signalled base on 4th July, that she was in the latitude of Madagascar and expected to be in Japanese controlled waters within three weeks.  
          Other U-Boats from the 10th flotilla said to be allocated to the Far East were "U 509," "U 514," "U 516" and "U 533."  
          "U 509," was said to be commanded by Kapitänleutnant Witte and to be leaving shortly by the route taken by "U 506."  
          "U 523," previously detailed for the Far East, was said to have had to return shortly after sailing owing to damage to her engines.  "U 514" took her place.  
          "U 516" was previously commanded by Korvettenkapitän Heinrich Liebe.  This U-Boat was to have been over taken by Kuppisch (see paragraph 1), but he was apparently recalled to the German Admiralty, and Kapitänleutnant Tilleszen assumed command.  The First Lieutenant of "U 506" had a very poor opinion of Tilleszen, describing him as a typical "big-ship officer" and he added that the war correspondent who sailed in "U 506" had transferred from "U 516" when he heard that Tilleszen was to take command.  
          According to one prisoner "U 516" was to sail from Lorient on 7th July, 1943.  
          One prisoner thought Kuppisch had taken command of another U-Boat and would shortly arrive in the Far East to become S.O. of the flotilla there.  
          "U 533" sailed from Lorient with "U 506" on 6th July, 1943, and is believed to have been sunk (see Section III).  
          It was stated that these U-Boats were scheduled to sail at intervals of 10-14 days.  The 2nd flotilla U-Boats would proceed as soon as those detailed from the 10th flotilla had sailed.  
          One prisoner remarked that in September they could expect to hear of the successes of German U-Boats in the Indian Ocean.  


  (i)  Building and Working Up of "U 506"  
          "U 506" was commissioned at Deutsche Werft, Hamburg, in September, 1941.  In late September, she proceeded to Kiel for trails with the U-Boat Acceptance Command and subsequently carried out normal exercises in the Baltic.  During this period, "U 506" was continually in trouble, and on one occasion she rammed an anchored destroyer, sustaining considerable damage.  
          In December, 1941, she returned to Hamburg for final overhaul.  On passage she grounded on a sand bank in the Elbe, just as an air raid was starting, and was obliged to spend an extremely uncomfortable night there.  (N.I.D. Note.  There was a light attack on the Hamburg area, by aircraft unable to reach their primary target, on the night of 22nd/23rd December, 1941.)  "U 506" entered Hamburg the next morning.  
          Shortly after Christmas, 1941, the U-Boat became frozen in.  It took five tugs and a small floating dock a good fortnight to tow her through the ice to open water.  As a result she had to enter the U-Boat shelters at Heligoland for repairs which lasted until the end of February, 1942.  
Previous Patrols of "U 506"
  (i)  First Patrol  
          "U 506" sailed from Heligoland on her first patrol about 2nd March, 1942.  It was intended that she should operate off the American coast, but her orders were cancelled and she was recalled.  On passage to base she received a signal from the U-Boat commanded by Korvettenkapitän Schacht, reporting a convoy, but she failed to make contact, and proceeded, without further incident, to Lorient.  She arrived there about 20th March, 1942, and joined the 10th U-Boat flotilla.  
  (ii)  Second Patrol  
          "U 506" left Lorient on 6th April, 1942, and proceeded across the Atlantic to the Bahamas.  Land was first sighted towards evening and as darkness fell, she shaped course between two islands and into the Florida Strait.  
          The U-Boat under Korvettenkapitän Schacht and "U 506" were the first German U-Boats to enter the Gulf of Mexico (N.I.D. Note.  The Gulf of Mexico was first mentioned in a German communiqué of 11th May, 1942, when sinkings were claimed.)  
          The First Lieutenant of "U 506" stated that throughout the week or ten days they spent in the area, they remained submerged by day and only surfaced at night.  The heat was intense.  It was impossible to cook in the U-Boat while submerged, so that food, mostly consisting of rice and gruel, was cooked at night and eaten cold during the day.  
          "U 506" considered herself lucky compared with those who later operated in the same area, as patrolling by aircraft and A/S vessels was then not extensive.  Whenever aircraft were sighted, she dive to 300 feet and she was only attacked once.  A bomb scored a near miss damaging one of the after torpedo tubes and rendering it unservicable for the rest of the patrol.  G.S.R. had not yet been fitted in the U-Boat.  
          "U 506" and the U-Boat under Schacht made four attempts to rendezvous, but this was never achieved.  Each time it was found that either aircraft or A/S vessels were in the vicinity.  Once "U 506" was about to surface having sighted what she took to be Schacht's U-Boat, when the captain realised it was a P.C. boat at some 2,000-3,000 yards distance.  The U-Boat remained at periscope depth for an hour and then dived to about 60 ft. for a further hour.  She was undetected and when she surfaced the P.C. boat had gone.  
          "U 506" Sinks Six Tankers.  The first Lieutenant stated that "U 506" operated between New Orleans and Tampico and claimed the sinking in that area of six tankers.  (N.I.D. Note.  It has only been possible to identify three tankers attacked in this area, which may have been the victims of "U 506."  These are:  
          (a)  "Aurora," 7,050 tons, torpedoed in position 28° 35' N., 090° 00' W.  She did not sink and entered New Orleans on 15th May.  
          (b)  "Virginia"  10,731 tons, torpedoed and sunk in position 28° 53' N., 089° 29' W.  
          (c)  "Gulftenn"  8,862 tons, torpedoed and sunk in position 28° 29' N., 089° 17' W.  
          A German communiqué of 22nd May, announcing sinkings in the Gulf of Mexico, stated that the U-Boat under the command of Würdemann had particularly distinguished herself.)  
          "U 506" Sinks Two Freighters.  The sinking of two freighters in this are was also claimed but prisoners gave no details.  
         "U 506" expended all her torpedoes on these ships.  Prisoners believed that more than one of them was sailing in ballast.  The First Lieutenant gave an account  of one attack, which it has been impossible to identify, on three tankers sailing in line abreast.  He said that two of them were 8,000 tonners and the third of 10,000 tons.  They were sailing close inshore at some distance from the U-Boat.  They sank one, the torpedo striking aft, the second was hit but was able subsequently to beach herself, and the third escaped.  
          Prisoners told how Schacht, who was lying in wait outside a harbor, fired two torpedoes at a freighter; the first scored a hit, but the second missed and blew up the harbor mole.  
          "U 506" Sinks Two freighters by Gunfire.  "U 506" also claimed the sinkings on this patrol of two freighters by gunfire.  One prisoner alleged that these "successes" were off Florida, after the U-Boat had left the Gulf of Mexico.  According to the first Lieutenant, the first of about 4,500 tons was attacked at night at some 3,000 yards' distance, with the 105 mm. (4.14 in.) gun.  The freighter, which was said to be carrying motor vehicles, returned the fire.  She was finally sunk after about 100 rounds from the U-Boat.  
          Two days later the second freighter was sighted, again at night.  Contrary to his captain's orders, the First Lieutenant closed from 3,000 yards to 1,600 yards.  The ship was sunk after 35 rounds from the 105 mm. gun, as well as a few rounds from the 20 mm. (0.79 in.).  
          (N.I.D. Note.  It has been impossible to identify these two ships.)  
          On passage to base "U 106" was refuelled by another 740-ton U-Boat.  The starboard Diesel caused considerable trouble, the cylinder head having cracked.  She entered port on 15th June, 1942, and was wildly acclaimed for her "successes".  The captain became known as the "tanker cracker" of the flotilla.  He claimed a total tonnage of 59,000.  


  (iii)  Third Patrol  
          "U 506" remained about three weeks in port and was probably fitted with G.S.R.  She sailed on her third patrol at the beginning of July.  Her area of operation was off the West Coast of Africa, where she claimed the sinking of five freighters, totalling 30,000 tons, and the torpedoing of one more ship.  
          Sinking of S.S. "Laconia."  In September, 1942, she received a signal informing her of the sinking of the S.S. "Laconia" by the U-Boat under Kapitänleutnant Hartenstein.  (N.I.D. Note.  S.S. "Laconia," 19,650 tons on Government Service, was torpedoed and sunk in position 05° 05'S., 011° 38' W., on 12th September, 1942).  "U 506" proceeded to the scene of action.  She took on board eight British women, two children and a few Italians, who had been prisoners in British hands.  Further Italians lined the decks of the U-Boat and other survivors made up four boat-loads, and were taken in tow.  
          For three days, "U 506" proceeded with women and children in the Ward Room and Italians everywhere else.  Three times a day hot coffee was served to about 200 people.  The Engineer Officer acted as interpreter.  
          Other U-Boats which also carried out rescue work were those under the command of Hartenstein and Schacht.  
          According to "U 506's" First Lieutenant, Hartenstein insisted on signalling on the 300 metre wavelength requesting that the area should be declared neutral in order that the U-Boats might bring survivors to safety.  He flew the Red Cross.  A few hours later, American and British aircraft arrived.  They exchanged signals.  He said that one aircraft then dropped two bombs, both of which missed.  The attack was reported to Control and orders were received that the boats were to be cast off.  "U 506" made ready to dive.  Those on deck were ordered below and others were transferred to the boats, greatly overcrowding them.  Three hours later an aircraft appeared and she crash dived.  Two bombs exploded when they were at 130 ft.  There was no panic on board, and in recounting the story to his British captors, the First Lieutenant paid tribute to the courage of the British women.  Their calm, he said kept even the Italians quiet.  
          A few days later "U 506" met French warships and the survivors were handed over.  
          "U 506" Sinks M.V. "Siam II."  It was stated that one of the ships sunk by the U-Boat on this patrol was the former Danish ship "Siam."  (N.I.D. Note.  The M.V. "Siam II." 6,637 tons, was torpedoes at 2105 A.T.S. on 30th September, in position 03° 03' S., 015° 31' W.)  
          Grossi Sinks a Battleship.  The First Lieutenant stated that "U 506" was within 100 miles when Grossi, captain of the Italian submarine "Barbarigo," sank a U.S. battleship.  (N.I.D. Note.  A special Italian communiqué dated 7th October, 1942, claimed that at 0234 Italian (Rome) time on that day, Grossi had scored four hits on a U.S. battleship of the "Mississippi" class and left her sinking.  The position was give as 02° 15' N., 014° 25' W.  This claim is entirely without foundation and it is believed that the only warship in the area at that time was a corvette, who, in fact, reported an attack by four torpedoes, all of which missed.)  
          "U 506" is Refuelled.  Before returning to base, "U 506" took over 35-40 tons of fuel from "U 459," commanded by Korvettenkapitän von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf.  (N.I.D. Note.  This U-Boat was sunk on 24th July, 1943.)  The weather was bad, with squalls reaching force 5 and heavy seas.  "U 506's" First Lieutenant described the operation as a wonderful piece of seamanship on part of the supply boat.  Both U-Boats proceeded very slowly against the sea and the oil was transferred through a small diameter hose.  
          "U 506" arrived in Lorient about 5th November, 1942.  
          "U 506" in Dock.  The crew had at least two weeks leave while "U 506" was docked and minor repairs carried out.  During basin trials when the First Lieutenant was in command, it was ascertained that the propellers had been reversed on their shafts; much confusion resulted before this error was discovered.  
  (iv)  Fourth Patrol  
         "U 506" sailed from Lorient on 14th December, 1942.  The passage to her patrol area off South Africa took about seven weeks, and on arrival she was refuelled by "U 459" under Korvettenkapitän von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf.  Together with the U-Boat commanded by Kapitänleutnant George Lassen, she awaited "U 459."  Supplying of "U 506" started at about 0900 and lasted until 1400 or 1500.  She took rather more than 100 tons of fuel and some provisions.  "U 459" also supplied her with new electric motor bearings.  
          "U 506" patrolled for about six weeks off Cape Agulhas, proceeding as far East as Port Elizabeth.  During this whole period she was never attacked by aircraft.  She made one attempt to attack a convoy, but in spite of timely warning on hydrophones, the captain decided too late to come to periscope depth, and then found that although surrounded by ships, the air escort was too heavy for him to attempt an attack. "U 506" was subsequently detected and depth-charged by destroyers for four hours.  
          On one occasion she picked up a contact on her G.S.R., which she identified as land-based Radar.  She submerged and retired.  
          She claimed the sinking of only two ships, totalling 10,000 tons.  The first of these, an American according to one prisoner, was attacked at the end of February or beginning of March, 1943.  This ship was about 35 miles south of Port Elizabeth when the U-Boat fired four torpedoes at her.  She broke in two and the explosion blew wreckage in all directions.  One piece of metal hit and damaged "U 506's" periscope and another struck her port screw.  (N.I.D. Note.  It has not been possible to identify this ship.)  
          On account of the damage, "U 506" was obliged to retire to less frequented waters to carry out repairs.  For a week she lay stopped about 300 miles south of Cape Town, while ratings in escape apparatus were sent down to work on the port shaft.  
          Subsequently returning to her area of operation, "U 506" sank the second ship.  She was a 4,500 tonner loaded with rice and salt.  The first torpedo struck aft, but her speed was only reduced by two knots and she continued to zigzag.  A further torpedo stopped her and "U 506" surfaced to finish her off with some 100 rounds of gunfire.  Prisoners said this ship was attacked about 120 nm from the South African Coast.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  It seems probable that this ship was the Norwegian "Tabor," 4,768 tons, sunk by two torpedoes and shelled in position 37° 30' S, 023° 15' E. at 0340 on 9th March, 1943.)  
          On passage to base, "U 506" was again refuelled by the U-Boat commanded by Korvettenkapitän Hans Werner Neumann just north of the Equator.  She took over 25 tons of fuel and some provisions.  During the operation clumsiness of Newmann holed one of "U 506's" external tanks with her hydroplane.  Prisoners commented on the clumsiness of Newmann in comparison to the efficiency of von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf.  
          "U 506" entered Lorient on 8th May, 1943, with fourteen unused torpedoes.  


  Ship's Company of "U 506"  
          The complement of "U 506" consisted of 55, of whom only one officer and five ratings survived.  A Surgeon Lieutenant, a war correspondent and an extra engineer officer were carried on her last patrol.  
  (i)  Captain  
         The Captain, Kapitänleutnant Erich Würdemann, who did not survive, was 29 years of age.  He joined the Navy in 1933 and had served in destroyers until November, 1940, when he entered the U-Boat arm.  He underwent training as a prospective U-Boat Captain, but it is not known in what U-Boat he made his instructional patrol.  He had commanded "U 506" since her commissioning in September, 1941.  
          The Ritterkruez was awarded to Würdemann on 16th March, 1943, for sinking 17 merchant ships, totalling 99,961 tons and torpedoing one more.  The citation, with which his First Lieutenant appeared heartily to disagree, added:  "He is an exemplary commander, who recognized his possibilities, both in single campaigns and in convoy battles and always made use of these possibilities, to the last shell."  He seldom spoke to his junior officers and never discussed his plans with them; only during a lengthly depth-charge attack, did he once despairingly plead for advice.  The First Lieutenant criticised him, too, for missing many an opportunity to attack.  He maliciously added that he was a bundle of nerves, looked quite 40 years old and had false teeth.  Whenever he gave an order from the bridge through the conning-tower hatch, his words were accompanied by three falling teeth and the order to return them.  When ashore his life was a gay round of wine and women.  
          He was not, however. unpopular with the ship's company, and the fact that his ratings supported him in the water shows they were not ill-disposed towards him.  Finally he unselfishly insisted on being left to drown in order that they might save themselves.  
  (ii)  First Lieutenant  
          Oberleutnant zur See Hans Schult, the First Lieutenant, was aged 23 and had joined the Navy in October, 1938.  He was the only officer to survive.  As a cadet he served in "Emden" for one year.  As a midshipman he did courses at the Naval College, Flensburg, Mürwik and underwent further training at the Mining and Boom Defense School.  He then served in "Schleswig Holstein" until the summer of 1940.  When Oberfähnrich he was transferred to a patrol boat as First Lieutenant and operated in the Channel.  On 1st November, 1940, he joined the U-Boat arm and did courses at Swinemünde.  
          Schult stood by the building of "U 506" and had made all five patrols in her.  During the first three patrols he was Second Lieutenant, the First Lieutenant being Oberleutnant zur See Schneewind (see Section VII).  For the fourth and fifth patrols he served as First Lieutenant.  He expected to take over the U-Boat as Captain on her next patrol.  
          Interrogators found him pleasant to talk to, but security conscious.  He has imbibed fairly thoroughly the Nazi ideals, and had an extreme dislike of the Jews.  He was probably a capable officer.  
  (iii)  Second Lieutenant  
          The Second Lieutenant was Oberleutnant zur See Taphorn.  He had served 14 years in the merchant navy and "U 506" was his first U-Boat.  He joined for her fourth patrol.  During the war he had served as training officer in the sailing ship "Deutschland" and for two years in an A/S vessel based on Norway.  The First Lieutenant described him as a "good chap."  
         He appears to have been extremely unpopular with the ratings.  One Petty Officer had a particular grudge against him for ordering that the 43 magazines of 20 mm. ammunition, should have each shell removed, greased and reloaded every day.  
  (iv)  Engineer Officers  
          Kapitänleutnant (Ing.) Jürgen Glassow was of the 1935 term.  In 1938 he was attached to the 7th Manning Division at Stralsund.  He had studied for his engineering degree, but had been failed.  He stood by the building of "U 506" and made all five patrols.  
          On the last patrol he had been ordered to remain in charge until through the Bay of Biscay and then hand over to the junior engineer officer and return in another U-Boat.  These orders, were, however, cancelled and he was told to remain on board for the entire patrol.  The Lower Deck thought that he was to become F.E.O. at the Far Eastern base.  
          Little is known of Leutnant (Ing.) Küneke, who was carried as Engineer Officer for training.  His name does not appear in the 1940 German Navy List.  
  (v)  Surgeon Lieutenant  
          The name of Oberstabsartz Dr. Langeberg does not appear in the Navy Lists.  He joined "U 506" for the last patrol.  One rating recalled a superstition that it was bad luck to carry a surgeon in a U-Boat.  
  (vi)  War Correspondent  
          Leutnant Reike of the Propaganda Company had already made patrols in Italian submarines.  He was to accompany "U 506" to the Far East and make a film on the way.  
  (vii)  General  
          Survivors gave the impression that "U 506" was a happy ship.  With the exception of adverse comments about the Second Lieutenant there was little or no criticism of the officers.  It was stated that on the last patrol an almost entirely new ship's company was carried.  
          The Leading Seaman who survived had been in U-Boats since June, 1940, and had served in "U 566" under Kapitänleutnant Dietrich Borcherdt.  He joined "U 506" for her third patrol.  He was intelligent and not unduly security conscious.  
          The remaining four ratings were not intelligent.  Only one was security conscious, but the others were unreliable and ignorant; one proved to be a consummate liar.  


Pump Capacities
          The following pump capacities at periscope depth (6 metres or 20 ft.) for a 740-ton U-Boat were given in a captured note-book:  
Max, Working Head.
Main bilge pump (connected in parallel). 120/130 m3/hr. (4,238/4,591 cu.ft./hr 10/40 m. (33/131 ft.).
Main Bilge pump (connected in series). 40 m³/hr. (1,413 cu.ft./hr.) 105 m. (344 ft.)
Auxiliary bilge pumps 1 and 2 15/17.2 m³/hr. (530/607 cu. ft./hr.) 30/50 m. (98/164 ft.)
Auxiliary bilge and trimming pump 18/20 m³/hr. (636/706 cu.ft./hr.) 105 m. (344 ft.)
    Revs./Min Pressure.
Main telemotor pump (screw pump). 102 litres/min. (abt. 22 gals./min.) 1,600 90 Kg. per cm² (1,280 lbs./
Emergency telemotor pump (screw pump). 60 litres/min. (abt. 13 gals./min. 1,800 90 Kg. per cm² (1,280 lbs./
Telemotor engine (?) spindle pump: H.P./German rating): 10.8. 115 litres/min. (abt. 25 gals./min. 1,500 90 Kg. per cm² (1,280 lbs./
Periscope motor (Drehmotor) (?): H.P. (German rating): 2.8. 30 litres/min. (abt. 6 gals./min.) 17,00 90 Kg. per cm² (1,280 lbs./


Nominal Roll of "U 506"
          (i)  Survivors:  
English Equivalent.
Schult, Hans Oberleutnant zur See Sub-Lieutenant 16.11.19
Wiezorock, Karl Bootsmannsmaat Leading Seaman 16.  8.18
Schirmacher, Alfred Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman 26.  3.22
Legler, Helmut Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman 28.  3.21
Weigang, Kurt Matrosengefreiter Able Seaman 19.12.23
Pawel, Otto Matrosengefreiter Able Seaman 12.  8.22
Officers . .
Chief and Petty Officers . .
Men . .
          (ii)  Casualties:  
English Equivalent.
Würdemann, Erich Kapitänleutnant Lieutenant.
Glascow, Kapitänleutnant (Ing.) Lieutenant (E).
Langeberg, Dr. Oberstabsartz Surgeon Lieutenant.
Taphorn, Oberleutnant zur See Sub-Lieutenant.
Küneke, Leutnant (Ing.) Junior Sun-Lieutenant (E).
Reike, Leutnant Junior Sub-Lieutenant (P.K. Official).
Röhler, Martin Obermaschinist Chief Stoker and Chief Engine Room Artificer, 1st or 2nd Class.
Mann, Obermaschinist Chief Stoker and Chief Engine Room Artificer, 1st or 2nd Class.
Bereiter, Walter Obersteuermann C.P.O. (Navigation).
Marzewski, Karl Oberbootsmannsmaat Acting P.O. (Seaman's Branch).
Rütten, Albert Oberbootsmannsmaat Acting P.O. (Seaman's Branch).
Kkinner, Joseph Obermaschinenmaat Acting P.O. and Chief Engine Room Artificer 4th Class.
Harms, Ernst Obermaschinenmaat Acting P.O. and Chief Engine Room Artificer 4th Class.
Moser, Jakob Obermaschinenmaat Acting P.O. and Chief Engine Room Artificer 4th Class.
Wäschenfelder Maschinenmaat Leading Stoker and Engine Room Artificer, 5th Class.
Jendrush, Heinz Maschinenmaat Leading Stoker and Engine Room Artificer, 5th Class.
Mak, Maschinenmaat Leading Stoker and Engine Room Artificer, 5th Class.
Hirsch, Johann Maschinenmaat Leading Stoker and Engine Room Artificer, 5th Class.
Müller, Heinz Funkmaat Leading Telegraphist.
Winger, Heinz Funkmaat Leading Telegraphist.
Grams, Ernst Mechanikersmaat Ordnance Artificer, 5th Class.
Eikhoff, Fritz Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman.
Christmann, Ernst Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman.
Harger, Hermann Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman.
Thoms, Karl Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman.
Carl, Werner Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman.
Garner, Teodor Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman.
Becker, Erich Maschinenobergefreiter Stoker, 1st Class.
Gödicki, Hans Maschinenobergefreiter Stoker, 1st Class.
Sutmar, Walter Maschinenobergefreiter Stoker, 1st Class.
Michels, Willy Maschinenobergefreiter Stoker, 1st Class.
Michels, Adolf Maschinenobergefreiter Stoker, 1st Class.
Markgraf, Christian Maschinenobergefreiter Stoker, 1st Class.
Ansmann, Bruno Maschinenobergefreiter Stoker, 1st Class.
Baus, Helmouth Maschinenobergefreiter Stoker, 1st Class.
Martin, Heinz Maschinenobergefreiter Stoker, 1st Class.
Hofmann, Herman Maschinenobergefreiter Stoker, 1st Class.
Schurger, Karl Maschinenobergefreiter Stoker, 1st Class.
Korte, Alfred Maschinenobergefreiter Stoker, 1st Class.
Eberhardt, Otto Funkobergefreiter Telegraphist.
Schmitz, Matrosengefreiter Able Seaman (Cook).
Geiger, Kurt Matrosengefreiter Able Seaman.
Rameil, Adolf Maschinengefreiter Stoker 1st Class.
Mauch, Werner Maschinengefreiter Stoker 1st Class.
Thienelt, Joseph Maschinengefreiter Stoker 1st Class.
Bales, Hans Funkgefreiter Telegraphist.
Grodeck, Günther Mechanikergefreiter Able Seaman.
Marr, Werner Mechanikergefreiter Able Seaman.
Brunner, Alfred Mechanikergefreiter Able Seaman.
Officers . .
Chief and Petty Officers . .
Men . .
          (iii)  Total Crew:  
Officers . .
Chief and Petty Officers . .
Men . .
  (C50076)    500 9/43  



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