U-552 - 9th War Patrol

Translation by Christine Hillmann

Departed
Date
Arrived
Date
Days at Sea
St. Nazaire
9 June 1942
St. Nazaire
19 June 1942
11

 

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

Ships Attacked
Date
KTB Time
Position
Ship
Tons
Nationality
Convoy
15 June 42
00.58 - 00.59
43°18'N, 17°38'W
ETRIB
1,943
British
HG-84
15 June 42
00.58 - 00.59
43°18'N, 17°38'W
PELAYO
1,346
British
HG-84
15 June 42
00.58 - 00.59
43°18'N, 17°38'W
SLEMDAL
7,374
Norwegian
HG-84
15 June 42
04.32 - 04.34
43°41'N, 18°12'W
THURSO
2,436
British
HG-84
15 June 42
04.32 - 04.34
43°42'N, 18°12'W
CITY OF OXFORD
  2,759
British
HG-84
     
 Total = 15,858
   
Note:  The positions in the table above and in the Google Earth patrol summary are derived from the KTB and in many cases do not match those set forth in authoritative references such as Jürgen Rohwer, Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two or the Uboat.net website.  The goal here is to present the picture relative to the U-boat and not the absolute position that the ship was attacked or sank.


 
 
           
           
           
           
                                              Copy No. 5  
           
         
           
     
K r i e g s t a g b u c h
 
     
des
 
     
U n t e r s e e b o o t e s "U 5 5 2"
 
           
           
        Commander:  Kapitänleutnant T o p p  
        Beginning:     27.04.1942  
        Ending:         19.06.1942  
           
        All times:  MESZ/CEST  
        All positions:  Marine Quadrant.  
                          
                        Copies to:    
        7th U-boat Flotilla                  Copy No. 1  
        BdU op                                     "      "     2  
        BdU org                                    "      "     3  
        O.K.M                                      "      "     4 + 5  
           
     
Attachments:
   
      1 Route chart for copy No.                    1 - 5  
      excerpt of the Radio log Copy No.    4 - 5  
      10 Torpedo firing logs    "       "       1 - 2  
      1 combat sketch    "       "       1  
      General Radio log    "       "       1  
                
           
           
        © U-boat Archive 2014  - all rights reserved  
Click the flag to view the above page from the original German KTB
 
- 1 -
 
           
           
           
           
    27.04.42 Shipyard period Arrived in port.  
    28.04.42   Shipyard conference.  Delivered artillery ammunition. Unloaded.  Unshipped periscopes.  
    29.04.42   Moved to shipyard.  Overhaul.  Start repair work in shipyard.  
    30.04.42   Docked.  
    01.05.42 -   Work on the Diesel engines and diving equipment.  
    06.05.42      
    07.05.42   Cut out an area of the pressure hull measuring ½ square meter on port side forward for removing torpedo tube I.  
    08.05.42   Removed torpedo tube I.  
    14.05.42   Replaced torpedo tube.  
    15.05.42   Sealing and welding of the pressure hull.  Final adjustments on the Diesel engines and diving equipment.  
    to    
    21.05.42      
    22.05.42   Undocked.  
    23.05.42  

Replaced periscopes.  Finished overhaul of Diesel engines.

 
    to      
    01.06.42   Loaded fuel oil.  
    02.06.42   Engine trials.  
    03.06.42  

Loaded lubricating oil.  Practice torpedoes taken on board.

 
    04.06.42      
    08.00-   Test run, interrupted because the port Diesel clutch is inoperative.  
    11.00    
    14.00   Yard trimming test, practice torpedo-firing and gunnery exercises.  
    05.06.42   Repeated test run.  
    14.00-   Calibrated radio direction finding equipment.  
    19.00      
    20.00-  

Loaded torpedoes aft.  Removed outboard Diesel exhaust valves.

 
    21.00    
    06.06.42  

Loaded torpedoes forward.  Loaded ammunition.  Unshiped attack periscope.

 
    14.00   Replaced Diesel exhaust valves.  
    16.00   Replaced attack periscope.  
    17.00-   Continued replacing attack periscope.  
    19.00      
    07.06.42      
    08.00   Compensation.  Afterwards battery charging.  
    08.06.42   Loaded provisions.  Loaded remainder of the fuel oil.  
    09.06.42  

Loaded fresh provisions.   Departure.

 
                                                                
    09.06.42      
    19.45   At Lock St. Nazaire.  
    20.00   Taken over by Sperrbecher.  
    22.25   At point N 1.  
    22.30-   Trim test to 60 meters water depth.  
    -22.40      
    24.00 BF 6466  ENbyN 3-4, Sea 3, sky overcast, rain, Vis. medium-good Day's run:  surfaced 30.5 nm, submerged 0.7 nm.  
                                                                
Sun and Moon Data 09.06.42
 
- 2 -
 
           
           
           
           
    10.06.42      
    04.00 BF 6726  NNE 3, Sea 2-3, sky overcast, rain, Vis. medium-good    
    06.33-   Trim test.  
    07.23      
    08.00 BF 6718  NE 4, sky overcast, Vis. Medium-good, slight swell    
    11.16 BF 5838 Practice crash-dive.  Continued submerged.  
    16.08   Surfaced.  
    16.24   Practice crash-dive.  
    16.40   Surfaced.  
    17.18  

To Müntzelburg and Topp:

 
        Square DE 10.  Boat's supply and operation in the Caribbean is intended.  
    20.00 BF 5817  NEbyE 4, Sea 3-4, sky overcast, Vis. medium-good    
    24.00 BF 5727  NEbyE 3, Sea 2-3, sky overcast, slight swell Day's run:  surfaced 167 nm, submerged 11.3 nm.  
                                                                
    11.06.42    
    04.00 BF 5741  NE 4, Sea 3, sky overcast, rain squalls    
    07.07   Crash dive for aircraft, apparently a Bristol Blenheim that came out of the fog.  On the second run dropped badly placed aerial bombs.  
    08.30   Surfaced.  
    10.08 BF 4952

Crash dive for unseen aircraft.

 
        Continued submerged.  
    16.12 BF 4943  NNE 2-3, Sea 1-2, sky broken, good visibility

Surfaced.

 
    16.24  

From Topp:

 
        07.00 hours aerial bombs square BF 4961.  
    20.00 BF 4864  SE 2, Sea 1-2, sky overcast, Vis. good, slight swell    
    24.00 BF 4848  SW 2-3, Sea 2, sky overcast,  Vis. moderate-medium, long swell Day's run:  surfaced 132 nm, submerged 8 nm.  
                                                                
    12.06.42    
    04.00 BF 4767  NNE 6, Sea 5-6, sky overcast, rain, Vis. medium    
           
Sun and Moon Data 10.06.42
Sun and Moon Data 11.06.42
Sun and Moon Data 12.06.42
 
- 3 -
 
           
           
           
           
    12.06.42      
    08.00 BF 4773  NbyE 6, Sea 5-6, sky overcast, Vis. medium-good    
    09.36 BF 4772

Crash dive on sighting a corvette that suddenly appeared on the hazy horizon.  At periscope depth. Corvette on course 0°, slow speed.  No chance of delivering an attack.

 
    11.00   Surfaced.  
    12.00 BE 6993  NNW 5-6, Sea 5, sky broken, Vis. medium, misty    
    16.00 BE 6986  NNW 5, Sea 4, sky overcast, Vis. medium    
    17.58  

To Lohmann:  U-437, Topp, Heydemann, Vogelsang steer for square CF 32 at cruising speed.  Further details follow.

 
        1.)  Lohmann, U-437, Topp, Vogelsang, Heydemann take up position in patrol line extending from CF 3184 to 3394, on 14 June.  Depth 20 nm.  
        2.)  .....  
        3.)  Boats form Group Endraß.  
        4.)  Surprise attack against lightly escorted Gibraltar - England convoy which sailed on 9 June.  Continuous own air reconnaissance of the convoy.  
    20.00 BE 9234  NW 4-5, Sea 4, sky few, Vis. good    
    24.00 BE 9257  NW 4, Sea 3-4, sky few, Vis. good

Corrected position after a fix 251°, 32 nm.

 
      Day's run:  surfaced 189 nm, submerged 4.28 nm.  
                                                                
    13.06.42   Underway to take station in patrol line.  
    04.00 BE 9512  SW 2, Sea 1, sky overcast, Vis. good    
    10.39  

To Group Endraß :

 
        1.)  .....  
        2.)  No passage announcement needed, today at midnight change to "'Ireland"'- circuit.  
        3)  From now on keep radio silence, except for important tactical messages.  
    12.00 BE 8489  SEbyS 4, Sea 3-4, sky overcast, Vis. good, slight swell    
    16.00 BE 9743  E 4, Sea 3, mist, rain    
    16.31   Practice crash-dive.  
    17.28   Surfaced.  
    19.21  

To Group Endraß:

 
        Convoy presumably consists of 21 ships of 1300 to 7000 GRT, totaling 70,000 GRT.  Names known, escort: 5-6 vessels, including 4 corvettes, no information about destroyers.  
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 13.06.42
 
- 4 -
 
           
           
           
           
    13.06.42      
    20.00 BE 9774  NE 5-6, Sea 4-5, sky overcast, Vis. medium-good, mist    
    23.35  

To Group Endraß:

 
        Own aircraft in the reconnaissance area from 10.00 hours. Bearing-reception on the 367 KHz = 817 meters.  Report bearings immediately, see operation order No 211, cipher 2.  
    24.00 CF 3315  NE 3, Sea 2-3, rain, mist, Vis. medium Day's run:  surfaced 171 nm, submerged 2.9 nm.  
                                                                
           
    14.06.42      
    04.00 CF 3266  NE 5, Sea 4, sky overcast, misty, Vis. medium-bad    
    08.00 CF 3295  NE 4, Sea 3-4, sky overcast Occupied ordered position in patrol line.  
    08.32   Practice crash-dive.  
    08.44   Surfaced.  
    10.29   Crash dive for an aircraft on southwesterly course, apparently a Condor.  
    10.37   Surfaced.  
    12.00 CF 3286  NE 3, Sea 2, sky overcast, Vis. very good    
    13.40   Picked up bearing signals from two aircraft at 214° and 223°.  Averaging to 218°.  
    13.46  

Short signal:

 
        My position is CF 3286, aircraft bearing 218°.  U-552  
        Received two more bearing-reports.  Bearing differences. Own fix inaccurate.  For two days no astronomical fix available.  Therefore proceeding at maximum speed according to own bearings and on the assumption that the convoy will follow northerly course.  
    14.30   Smoke clouds in sight.  
    15.06  

Radio message:

 
        Enemy convoy sighted in square 3248, northerly course.  
        Own Condor sighted, flying at high altitude above the convoy, another aircraft is flying at very low altitude behind the convoy.  
    15.31  

To Group Endraß:

 
        1.)  ....  
        2.)  The convoy's presumed position is square CF 3280 according to uncertain bearing taken at 13.30 hours.  
    15.18   1.)  Air reconnaissance reports convoy on a course of 315°  
        2.)  ....  
        3.)  Boats operate according to own data.  Report immediately own bearings.  
    15.23  

To Topp:

 
        Send weather report immediately.  
           
Sun and Moon Data 14.06.42
 
- 5 -
 
           
           
           
           
    14.06.42      
    15.41   According to air reconnaissance convoy consists of 22 ships, 4 escort-vessels, speed 7.5 - 8 knots.  
    15.59  

To Group Endraß:

 
        All boats are to operate according to message from Topp at maximum speed.  
        Shadowing the convoy proves to be not very difficult because the vessels are making much smoke.  The masts cannot be seen because the escort forces are steering far outside and often make wide sweeps for reconnaissance, making it difficult to evade them.  
        There are no escort vessels covering the starboard side because, as we find out later, they are hunting U-boats on the port side.  
    16.00 CF 8971  NEbyN 4, Sea 3, sky overcast, Vis. good    
    16.23  

Sent weather report by short signal:

 
        43°N, 17°W, rising, 1030 mb, + 16° E, NE 3-4, altostratus, visibility over 10 nm, slight swell from NE.  
        Two boats report contact.  
    16.55  

From Topp:

 
        Holding contact on a corvette ahead and to starboard of convoy, square 3241, course 335°.  
    17.10  

Short signal:

 
        Contact keeper is asked for bearing signals.  
    17.32   U-437 requests bearing signals from the contact keeper.  U-437  
    17.50  

Sent bearing signal:

 
        220°, distance 10 nm.  
    19.22  

From Topp:

 
        Reliable position fix, convoy is in square 3211, 340°.  
    20.00 BE 8971  NE 2-3, Sea 2, sky broken, Vis. very good    
    20.23  

To Group Endraß:

 
        Convoy's position in square 3211 given by Topp at 19.05 hours is presumed to be correct.   Lohmann and Vogelsang correct position accordingly.  
    20.46  

Short signal:

 
        Convoy's position is in square BE 8974, course 0°.  U-552  
    21.20   Confirmation of short signal message.  
    21.47   Boats Group Endraß report immediately on establishing contact.  Take every opportunity to attack.  Even knock the corvettes out of action.  
    22.39  

Short signal:

 
        Convoy in BE 8947, 350°.  U-552  
    23.05      
    24.00 BE 8917  NNE 2, Sea 1, sky overcast, Vis. good Day's run:  surfaced 147.5 nm, submerged 0.75 nm.  
     

Corrected position after a fix 228° 8.1 nm,

 
                                                     319° 18.9 nm,  
                                                     139° 24.8 nm.  
                                                                
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 14.06.42
 
- 6 -
 
           
           
           
           
    15.06.42      
    00.00 BE 8917  NNE 2, Sea 1, sky overcast, Vis. good, slight swell

At battle stations.  Very dark and misty night, phosphorescent sea.  I'm positioned on the starboard side of the convoy.  The outlines of the vessels can hardly be seen in this misty weather.  On the other hand the bright water doesn't permit us to approach very close.  The vessel's wakes can be seen clearly.  Apparently two or three columns.  Irregularly spaced.  Wild chaotic steering.  That makes my intention to rapidly fire one shot after the other more difficult.  I choose the largest freighter.

 
    00.58 BE 8839

Fired torpedo tube I at two overlapped freighters of about 4,000 GRT.

 
        Firing-data:  
                Enemy speed:  8 knots  
                Target angle:  Green 80°  
                Range:  2,000 meters  
                Depth:  3 meters  
                Torpedo run:  3 minutes 32 seconds = 3200 meters  
        Hit. Vessel listed heavily.  
    00.58.32 sec.  

Fired torpedo tube II at the same group of freighters.

 
        Same firing-data.  
        Torpedo run:  3 minutes 3 seconds = 2700 meters  
        Hit.  
    00.58.52 sec.  

Fired torpedo tube III at a third freighter.

 
        Same firing-data.  
        Became a circle-runner.  
    00.59.22 sec.  

Fired torpedo tube IV at a tanker, as far I could see, of about 5 - 6000 GRT the largest vessel in the convoy.

 
        Same firing-data.  
        Torpedo run: 2 minutes 33 seconds = 2400 meters  
        Hit forward.  Bow settled rapidly deeper.  Under the glare of the flares it can be observed that the foredeck is slightly awash.  
    01.07  

Fired torpedo tube V at a freighter which had stopped.

 
        Fixed firing angle 180°.  
        Missed.  
        Already after the first hit an amazing fireworks begin.  All vessels fire light rockets, whose brightly burning flares illuminate the vicinity like daylight.  Star shells are shot likewise.  Complete confusion takes place in the convoy.  
        I turn off due to two corvettes and return approaching slowly.  
        The fireworks last for about half an hour then expire suddenly.  
        Continue shadowing the convoy.  
        Prior to the first attack the reserve torpedoes were ready for reloading.  At 04.00 hours all tubes were reported clear.  
    02.35   While approaching the convoy, we spot a shadow running at high speed that grows bigger.  
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 15.06.42
 
- 7 -
 
           
           
           
           
    15.06.42      
       

The destroyer takes up pursuit.

 
        I turn off at utmost speed.  
        The destroyer, at a range of 1500 meters, drops depth charges in his wake and then turns away.  
        Marine phosphorescence apparently is not noticeable when showing narrow silhouette.  
    03.41  

Short signal:

 
        Bearing signals requested from the contact keeper.  U-84  
    04.00 BE 8589  NNE 2, Sea 1, sky overcast, Vis. medium    
    04.06  

Radio signal:

 
        Convoy in sight. BE 8831, course 300°.  U-552  
    04.10  

Sent bearing signals.

 
        240°, distance 3 nm.  
        A destroyer protects the starboard side.  I set up for the attack even while still in sight of the destroyer.  Again the same principle:  Shooting as many torpedoes as possible at different targets in quick succession.  
    04.32  

Fired torpedo tube I at two overlapping freighters.

 
        Surface-runner.  
        Enemy's speed:  8 knots  
        Target angle:  Green 80°  
        Range:  2000 meters  
        Depth:  3 meters  
    04.32.18 sec.  

Fired torpedo tube II at a freighter.

 
        Same firing-data.  
        Torpedo run:  1 minutes 32 seconds = 1400 meters.  
        A hit.  High black explosion plume.  
    04.32.45 sec.  

Fired torpedo tube III at two overlapping freighters, one of which traveled to the second column.

 
        Same firing-data.  
        Torpedo run:  1 minutes 55 seconds = 1700 meters.  
        A hit.  Slight detonation flame.  
        Explosion only a little earlier than torpedo from tube IV, which had been fired a considerable time later.  
    04.34  

Fired torpedo tube IV at a freighter.

 
        I'm forced to shoot on a sharp angle because a destroyer is approaching.  
        Enemy's speed:  8 knots  
        Target angle :  Green 40°  
        Range:  1000 meters  
        Depth:  3 meters  
        Torpedo run:  45 seconds = 700 meters.  
        A hit.  Steamer listed rapidly.  
    04.36.15 sec.  

I turn off and fire a torpedo from tube V at a stopped freighter.

 
        Fixed firing angle 180°.  
        Missed.  Both times the torpedoes fired from tube V were misses.  
        Coming about takes too much time, giving our opponent enough time to think.  In doing so he generally makes the right decision and alters course.  
        On firing multiple shots, it's best to avoid shots from tube V.  
    03.50   Uphoff requests bearing signals from the contact keeper.  
           
Sun and Moon Data 15.06.42
 
- 8 -
 
           
           
           
    15.06.42      
    04.45  

Sent bearing signal.

 
        240°, distance 3 nm.  
        After the hits the same fireworks.  
        By showing a narrow silhouette in the light of the flares I'm not seen.  
        The glare of the flares hardly reaches our boat because I had turned off at full speed.  
        Keeping contact.  
    04.56  

Group Endraß:

 
        Own air reconnaissance in the area from 11.00 hours on. Bearing-reception on 443 KHz.  Report bearings immediately.  Alternative wavelength 367 KHz.  
        The last two Etos are reloaded at 05.45 hours.  
        Approaching for attack.  The horizon already becomes bright.  
    05.36   Attempt to attack fails.  The destroyer is now on alert and I'm driven off.  
    06.08   As soon as the destroyer shows her broadside, I attempt to attack again.  The destroyer again turns toward me.  During the third attempt the same occurred.  
    06.32  

Forced to dive in the presence of the destroyer because it becomes too bright.

 
        Attempt an underwater attack.  I give up, distance is too great.  I see eleven steamers, one destroyer.  A twelfth steamer follows, also too distant.  
        The thirteenth steamer, a trawler-like vessel of 500 GRT, in ballast, is the last vessel in the convoy.  Not worthwhile to fire a torpedo at her.  
    07.30   Flying boat sighted through the periscope.  
    08.00 BE 8573    
    08.20 quick dive "V and W"-class destroyer approaches the convoy from southwesterly course.  Observed through the periscope that the destroyer dropped out of sight.  
    08.38   Surfaced.  
    08.41   Crash dive for a flying boat which turns toward us.  
    09.04  

Surfaced.

 
        Short signal:  
        Convoy in BE 8545, course 300°.  U-552  
    09.08   Crash dive for a flying-boat.  
    09.30   Surfaced.  Pressed on at high speed.  
    09.40  

From Topp:

 
        At 08.00 hours counted 13 vessels, two destroyers, one flying boat.  
    09.55  

A U-boat at 180° true on parallel course.

 
        Flying boat approaches, I always show the smallest silhouette and move at LF.  
        I'm not seen.  
    10.23   Smoke clouds at 10° true.  Presumably a convoy.  Head toward it at high speed.  
    10.40   Flying boat passes out of sight on a course for Gibraltar.  
    11.20  

To Group Endraß:

 
        Report immediately and continuously if successes are scored.  
    11.35  

From Topp:

 
        Contact lost.  Five freighters, one tanker torpedoed.  One circle-runner, one surface-runner, two misses.  
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 15.06.42
 
- 9 -
 
           
           
           
           
    15.06.42      
    12.00 BE 8542  ESE 5, Sea 4, sky overcast, Vis. good Morse message to U-boat.  I believe to have made contact with the convoy.  
        Ahead of me the masts of a steamer and a destroyer.  
        Suddenly the destroyer hauls rapidly out of formation and holds course toward me at high speed.  
        It seems that he has seen me.  
    12.20  

From BdU:

 
        Bravo, Topp!  
    12.21

Crash dive for destroyer.  By day, when sighted, diving early enough to have time to escape underwater is fundamental. 

 
        Depth-charges explode at a great distance.   I believe I'm safe.  
    13.24  

At periscope depth.

 
        A destroyer approaches from dead ahead at a distance of 800 meters.  Our boat's noises are very loud.  Apparently heard.  No active sonar impulses.  
        The destroyer creeps slowly nearer, I'm diving deeper.  The destroyer increases speed; I rapidly submerge to a greater depth.  At depth A +40 meters six well aimed depth charges.  Slight damage.  Dropping down to depth A +90 meters.  
        The destroyer turns off on a course of 300°, which means toward the old convoy route.  
    14.41   Surfaced.  
    15.37  

To Group Endraß:

 
        At 13.00 hours air reconnaissance reports a convoy, 13 vessels, two probable destroyers, one escort-vessel, course 0°.  
    15.47  

From Topp:

 
        Forced underwater.  Situation report requested.  
    16.00 BE 8514  ESE 5, sky overcast, Sea 4-5, Vis. good    
    16.15  

To Group Endraß:

 
        1.)  Convoy's position at 13.00 hours possibly only in square 8510 or 8520.  
        2.)  Boats are to report position immediately.  
        Confirmation by assembly report .  
    16.56  

Short signal:

 
        My position is BE 8514.  U-552  
    17.41  

Radio message:

 
        Enemy convoy sighted in BE 8282.  U-71  
        Operating according to this report.  
    17.56   Ordered send weather report immediately.  
    18.06  

Short signal:

 
        Requesting bearing signal from contact keeper.  U-552  
    18.35  

Weather report by short signal:

 
        45°N, 19°W, decreasing, 1030 mb, plus 15°, SE 1-2, bright to cloudy, visibility 10 nm, cluttering seas.  
    18.40  

Uphoff reports convoy in BE 8277, northerly course. Considerably different from position given by U-71.

 
    19.33  

Reported position referred to in serial number 145 in its correct form must be BE 8259.

 
        This corrected position seems to me to be correct.  Operating on it.  
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 15.06.42
 
- 10 -
 
           
           
           
           
    15.06.42      
    20.00 BE 8246  SEbyE 4, Sea 3, sky overcast, Vis. very good    
    20.07  

Radio signal:

 
        Enemy convoy sighted in BE 8299.  U-575  
        This position is somewhat different from that reported by Uphoff, 27 nm to southeast.  I continue operation accordingly message from Uphoff.  
        There are still no bearing signals given even though three boats are maintaining contact once again  
    20.10  

Short signal:

 
        Requesting bearing signal from contact keeper.  U-552  
    21.11  

From Uphoff:

 
        Constantly forced to submerge by air surveillance.  Convoy's last known position is BE 8265.  
    21.24   One boat sends bearing signals.  161°, distance 8 nm.  
    21.47  

Reported positions of the convoy uncertain due to differences in fix.

 
        Whoever has contact send beacon signals according to plan. Monitor wavelengths to avoid simultaneous reports by various boats; report convoy's position when based on accurate fix.  
        Beacon signals lie in the line of approach according to dead reckoning.  
    22.58   Constantly forced to submerge by Boeing bombers. Convoy's position at 20.00 hours in square 8229. Flachsenberg  
    23.18   Boeing bomber in sight ahead, fountains of the bomb's impacts are clearly visible.  
    23.50   Bomber heads away on course for England.  
    24.00 BE 5892  SEbyE, 3-4, Sea 3, sky broken clouds Day's run:  surfaced 269.4 nm, submerged 15.3 nm.  
     

Corrected position after a fix 179°, 25.6 nm.

 
                                                                
    16.06.42      
    01.50  

To Group Endraß:

 
        From 11.00 hours on air reconnaissance in the sea area, bearing-reception on the 367 KHz frequency.  Alternative wavelength 443 KHz.  Report bearings immediately.  
        Bright night, good visibility, good for searching for the convoy, unfavorable for attack.  
    02.22  

U-84 reports convoy in BE 5979.

 
        In case the boat didn't receive instructions to send bearing signals because it was forced to submerge, I repeat my request once again.  
    02.30  

Short signal:

 
        Requested bearing signals from the contact keeper.  
    02.32   Shortly afterwards smoke clouds in sight at starboard, the convoy is ahead of me.  
    02.40  

To battle stations!

 
        Formation and course first not recognizable.  
        Some vessels are lying straight, others at an angle.  
        A little later recognized:  line-abreast formation, northerly course.  
        Approaching the starboard flank.  
    02.44   Contact made with convoy.  U-552  
           
Sun and Moon Data 16.06.42
 
- 11 -
 
           
           
           
           
    16.06.42      
    02.47  

The starboard flank ship turns around.  As a precaution I turn off, I believe it's possible that I have been sighted from a range of about 5000 meters.

 
        The shadow of a destroyer grows bigger.  
        I turn away at 3 x AK.  
    02.59   The destroyer fires bright flares which illuminate the sky directly above me. It's as bright as day. The destroyer is also quite visible. Shoots sharply. Impacts in our wake at a distance of 200 meters.  
    03.00  

Crash dive!

 
        Underwater I turn 90° to port and steer off at GF.  Go to depth A +40 meters.  After 3 minutes at LF.  
        The destroyer is clearly audible.  High revolutions.  Bearing established.  The destroyer passes over the boat and drops eight depth charges.  Strong shocks.  Several failures.  No water entry.  Main damage, as turns out later, is a cracked ballast tank IV.  
        A second high-speed vessel comes into sight.  Both are moving silently.  Search noises become audible, as if a broom passes over the pressure hull.  The destroyer approaches, passes over the boat and takes soundings or bearings.  Dull echo can be heard very well.  The destroyer passes over the boat several times, and then turns away.  She's not heard anymore.  
    03.43  

Moved to periscope depth.

 
        Nothing to be seen through the periscope, it's too dark.  
    04.20  

Surfaced.

 
        At a distance of 3000 meters lies a stopped destroyer showing broadside, slowly turns toward us.  
    04.22  

Crash dive!

 
        Again to depth A +20 meters.  
        A high-speed vessel passes on portside.  
        Then silence again.  
    05.00   Moved to periscope depth.  
    05.27  

Surfaced.  Very strong smell of oil.

 
     

Both pressure water valves for ballast tank IV sprang open.  Although we already used 1 cbm from each fuel tank, oil came out, apparently from leaky head boxes.  As turns out on the following day, the oil trace is still present.  Assumption is that the fuel tank has ruptured.  On the following night oil was transferred into the regulating fuel tanks and the torpedo compensating tanks in order to leave no oil trace while crossing the heavily aircraft patrolled Biscay area.

 
    05.30   Star shells at 150° true, apparently from a detached escort vessel.  
        Move forward on course 0°, on which the convoy moved out of audio range.  
    05.50   Smoke trails sighted.  
    06.12  

From Topp:

 
        Depth-charged during attempt to attack.  Very clear night.  Well secured formation line.  
    06.43  

A U-boat at 230° true.

 
        Maintaining contact following the smoke trails.  
    07.18  

Short signal:

 
        Convoy's position is BE 5836.  U-552  
    08.00 BE 5839  NEbyE 2, Sea 1, sky broken, Vis, very good,    
    11.30   A Condor is flying over the convoy.  
           
Sun and Moon Data 16.06.42
 
- 12 -
 
           
           
           
           
    16.06.42      
    11.55  

Short signal:

 
        Convoy's position is BE 5658.  
    12.00 BE 5673  SEbyE 3, Sea 2-3, sky few, Vis. very good    
    12.17   In addition to the Condor an enemy flying boat is over the convoy.  
        Shadowing the convoy continuously proves to be good. The boat isn't pressed underwater.  
    12.22  

Group Endraß:

 
        Abort operation, continue passage on westerly course. Report position and fuel stock immediately.  Topp Start homeward passage to St. Nazaire.  
    16.00 BE 6471  SEbyE 2, Sea 1-2, sky few, Vis. very good

 

 
    20.00 BE 6496  ENE 0, Sea 0, sky few, Vis. very good

On homeward passage.

 
    24.00 BE 6589  E 0, Sea 0, nearly sky broken, Vis. good Day's run:  submerged 255.7 nm, submerged 8.6 nm.  
                                                                
    17.06.42      
    04.00 BE 6922  E 0, Sea 0, sky overcast, Vis. bad    
    08.00 BF 4721  E 0, Sea 0, sky overcast, Vis. good    
    12.00 BF 4815  WNW 1, Sea 0, sky broken

Dived on sighting two trawlers on northerly course.

 
    15.10   Surfaced.  
    16.00 BF 4834  ENE 1, Sea 0-1, sky broken, Vis. good    
    17.47  

Short signal:

 
        I'm 36 hours off reception harbor.  U-552  
    18.18   Topp is to arrive off St. Nazaire at 05.45 hours on 19 June  
    18.24   Escort awaits U-552 at 06.00 hours on 19 June at point N 1.  
                                                        From 7th U-boat Flotilla  
    18.56  

Crash dive on sighting two trawlers on a course of 320°, high speed.

 
        Observed them through the periscope passing at a distance of 300 meters.  They are flying the Spanish flag and have nets thrown out.  
    20.20 BF 4927  NNW 1, Sea 0-1, sky scattered, Vis. very good

Surfaced.

 
    24.00 BF 5718  NNW 1, Sea 0-1, sky scattered, Vis. very good Day's run:  surfaced 265.8 nm, submerged 29.2 nm.  
                                                                
           
Sun and Moon Data 17.06.42
 
- 13 -
 
           
           
           
           
    18.06.42      
    04.00 BF 5763  NNW 1, Sea 0-1, sky scattered, Vis. good Submerged for underwater run.  
    07.00 BF 5856 Surfaced in order to ventilate the boat and take bearings on the sun.  
    13.49 ENE 1, Sea 0-1, sky scattered,    
    14.24 BF 5864  ENE 3, Sea 1-2, sky scattered, Vis. very good    
    19.51 +   Surfaced to take bearings on the sun and submerged for underwater run.  
    20.21      
    22.54 BF 5845  NW 3-4, Sea 2-3, sky scattered, Vis. very good    
    24.00 BF 6742  NW 3-4, Sea 2-3, sky scattered, Vis. very good Day's run: surfaced 11.76 nm, submerged 29.79 nm.  
                                                                
    19.06.42      
    04.00 BF 6492  NW 2, Sea 1-2, sky clear, Vis. good    
    06.00   Picked up by escort.  Point N 1.  
    09.00  

Entered port St. Nazaire.

 
        Day's run:  surfaced 74.5 nm  
           
                                                                
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 18.06.42
Sun and Moon Data 19.06.42

 

 
 
     
     
     
 

Commentary of the BdU on the KTB of "U-552" from 27.04.42 to 19.06.1942

 
     
 

 

 
 

The excellent convoy operation brought a great success in the shortest time to the commander, who again proved his considerable ability.  The sinking of five ships from this convoy was confirmed by a prisoner statement.

 
     
     
     
     
   

Signed in draft: Dönitz

 
    Validized:  
 
          
                                                                              Lieutenant and Adjutant  
     
     
     


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