U-74 - 2nd War Patrol

Translation by Jerry Mason with help from Robert Derencin

Departed
Date
Arrived
Date
Days at Sea
St. Nazaire
8 May 1941
Lorient
30 May 1941
23

 

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

 

Ships Hit
None
Note:  The positions in the table above and in the Google Earth patrol summary are derived from the KTB and in many cases do not match those set forth in authoritative references such as Jürgen Rohwer, Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two or the Uboat.net website.  The goal here is to present the picture relative to the U-boat and not the absolute position that the ship was attacked or sank.


 
                   
 
           
           
           
           
           
           
         
           
           
            K  r  i  e  g  s  t  a  g  e  b  u  c  h  
            = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =  
                                 of  
        U  n  t  e  r  s  e  e  b  o  o  t  e  s  "U-74"  
        = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =  
           
           
                Beginning:    12.4.1941  
                Ending:        30.5.1941  
           
           
                     
           
           
                      Kommandant:    Kapitänleutnant  K  e  n  t  r  a  t  .  
           
           
     
  Distribution: 2 x O.K.M. Skl.U.
    1 x B.d.U. Op.
    1 x B.d.U. Org.
    1 x 7. U.-Flottille
    1 x Boot
 
           
           
           
           
           
        © U-boat Archive 2014  - all rights reserved  
Click the flag to view the above page from the original German KTB
 
- 1 -
 
           
           
           
           
    1941                            Kriegstagebuch "U-74"  
    12.04.41 to      
    05.05.41 St. Nazaire Shipyard period.  
    23.04.41   Dry docked by tug.  
    27.04.41   Warped to shipyard pier by tug.  
    04.05.41   Pier side testing.  
    05.05.41   Sea trial.  
    11.25   Trim test.  Afterwards surfaced AK run.  
    12.45   Radio direction finder calibration.  
    14.50   Deperming.  
    17.15   Magnetic compass calibration.  
    06.05.41   Torpedo loading.  
    07.05.41   Provisions loading and take over the boat from the shipyard.  
    08.05.41      
    08.00 - 15.00   Taking over the boat.  
    16.00   Cast off.  
    16.25 - 16.55   Through the lock.  
                                                       
    17.05   Proceeding in convoy.  
    19.51   Test dive.  
    20.32   Surfaced.  Proceeding on various courses from the coast.  Avoided numerous fishermen during the night.  
    21.13   Crash dive for training.  
    21.40   Surfaced.  
    24.00 ENE 4, Sea 3, cloudy, bright night    
                                                       
    09.05.41      
    04.00 BF 5597 Due to favorable weather proceeded with slight course changes into the operations area.  
    08.00 BF 5739 Surface transit.  
    12.00 BF 5742 center-left edge Day's run:  Surfaced     = 219.5 nm  
      NEbyN 5-6, Sea 5, Vis. 10-15 nm                  Submerged =      3.3 nm = 222.8 nm.  
        Crash dive training.  
    16.00 BF 4928 Transit into the operations area.  
    16.20   Crash dive for training.  
    20.00 BF 4596 lower-left Transit into the operations area.  
      NNE 4-5, Sea 4, sky partially overcast, Vis. 10-15 nm    
    24.00 BF 4555 center-left edge    
      Bright moonlit night, Vis. 3-5 nm    
                                                       
           
Sun and Moon Data 08.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 09.05.41
 
- 2 -
 
           
           
           
           
    10.05.41 North Atlantic    
    04.00 BF 4434 Surface transit.  
      Wind shifting to N 3-4, Sea 4, bright moonlit night, light swell    
    07.21   Test dive.  
    08.00 BF 4175 upper-left    
      N 5, Sea 3, sky lightly cloudy, Vis. 3-4 nm    
    08.33   Surfaced.  
    11.00   On receiving Radio Message from [J 15 (Italian U-boat) handwritten] came to course 270°.  100 nm detour I accept for the 10% possibility of meeting the reported convoy.  Distance is approximately 420 nm.  
    12.00 BE 6355 Day's run:  Surfaced     = 251.3 nm  
      NW 2-3, Sea 2, Vis. good 10-15 nm                  Submerged =     5.2 nm = 266.5 nm. [typo 256.5 nm]
    16.00 BE 6237 lower-center Difference between actual and dead reckoning position after a navigation fix:  325°T, 20 nm.  Transit into operations area.  
    20.00 BE 6125 lower-center    
      Wind NW 2-3, sky partly cloudy, Sea 2, Vis. good, light swell    
    24.00 BE 5326 lower-left corner Surface transit into attack area.  
      WbyN 1, lightly cloudy, Sea 0, bright moonshine, Vis. 5-6 nm    
                                                       
    11.05.41 North Atlantic    
    04.00 BE 5226 lower-right corner    
      Westerly wind 1, Sea flat, very bright night    
    07.45   Test dive.  
    08.00 BE 5135 left edge lower    
    08.05   Surfaced.  
    08.15   Smoke cloud ahead to starboard.  Maintained contact.  Several smoke trails and shortly masts in sight.  Could this be the convoy from J 15?  
    12.00 BE 5158 lower-center Day's run:  Surfaced     = 323.7 nm  
      SSE 2-3, Sea 1-2, overcast sky, Vis, 10-15 nm                  Submerged =     1.0 nm = 324.7 nm.  
    16.00 BE 5413 In the course of the day determined course and speed and maneuvered ahead for day attack.  
      SSE 4-5, Sea 3-4, cloudy, Vis. changing greatly 5-8 nm, medium swell  
      Course 190°, speed 8-9 knots.  
      Unfortunately, it is freshening more and more.  When diving at 16.33 hours Sea State is 3-4, swell slowly becoming stronger.  
        Convoy is barely seen, because swell and rough sea has become much stronger.  
           
Sun and Moon Data 10.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 11.05.41
 
- 3 -
 
           
           
           
    continued      
    11.05.41 North Atlantic Convoy runs in echelon line abreast, inner 2-3 steamers in a group together, zigzag independently, ahead 1 destroyer as sweeper.  
        It is the first submerged attack of the boat.  The boat can just be held at LF.  Boat frequently cuts under.  The attack is complicated by yawing and zig zagging points of the independent group.   Although I occasionally extend the periscope out to 2 meters, I never have a full all around view because of the ever increasing wave crests.  
    18.55 and 18.56   Tube I and II were shot as independently aimed shots on 2 steamers each of 5000 tons.  Speed is certain, target angle is carefully determined.  Nothing sighted.  
    09.03   Also the third single shot from tube IV at 19.03 hours brings no success.  
        Because the data was determined for all 3 shots with extreme care, I can explain the misses only as underruns.  
        Steamers had an estimated draft from 4-5 meters.  Half loaded.  
   

 

20.00

 

BE 5415 lower-left

After the 3rd shot I turned on left wing steamer.  Shortly after the shot the boat broke the surface of the water, however, was successfully brought with AK and all-hands-maneuver [all men to the bow] quickly submerged again.  The enemy had apparently not seen anything.  
        Intention: reload submerged and initiate a new attack.  
    20.50   On surfacing at 20.50 hours the intention had to be given up, because swell by SbyE were so heavy that pursuit was hopeless.  Additionally, visibility has become much worse.  
    21.27   Transit to the attack area is resumed again.  It is a pity that no visible success occurred, however both the depth control parties and I learned allot during this first underwater attack of the boat.  
    24.00 BE 4391 upper-right corner Course 320°.  
      SE 5, Sea 5, Vis. changing 1-2 nm, foggy dark night    
                                                       
    12.05.41 North Atlantic Transit to operations area.  Course 320°.  
    04.00 BE 1979 lower-center    
      SE 4, Sea 3-4, fog and rain, cloud height 100-200 meters, Vis. bad 1000 meters, dark night    
           
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 11.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 12.05.41
 
- 4 -
 
           
           
           
    continued      
    12.05.41 North Atlantic    
    08.00 BE 1837 center    
      Rain, Vis, changing    
    12.00 BE 1548 center-right Surface transit.  Course 320°.  
      ESE 4-5, Sea 5, overcast, Vis. 1-2 nm Day's run:  Surfaced     = 217.5 nm  
                       Submerged =   14.5 nm = 232.0 nm.  
    16.00 BE 1186 center-left Course 320°.  
      EbyS 4, Sea 3, rain, Vis. 1 nm, medium swell    
    20.00 BE 1115 center-left Course 320°.  
      E 5, Sea 5, rain, cloud height 100 meters, Vis. bad up to 1000 meters, medium-heavy swell    
    22.56   Test dive.  
    23.36   Surfaced.  Transit continued.  Course 320°.  
    24.00 AL 7791 right edge    
      E 4, Sea 4, overcast, dark night, Vis. 1 nm, light swell    
                                                       
    13.05.41      
    04.00 AL 7478 center-left Surface transit.  
      Wind abating, Sea 2-3, occasional rain, foggy, Vis. 1 nm    
    08.00 AK 9629 center Transit into the attack area.  Course 320°.  
      Wind shifting to E 2, Sea 2-3, fog, overcast sky, light swell, Vis. 500 meters    
    12.00 AK 9347 upper-left Day's run:  Surfaced     = 284 nm  
                         Submerged =   2.5 nm = 286.5 nm.  
        Course 320°.  
    16.00 AK 9223 lower-left Transit into the operations area, course 315°.  
      NE 3, Sea 2-3, overcast, misty, Vis. 3-8 nm    
    20.00 AK 6859 lower-center Difference between dead reckoning and actual position after a navigation fix:  90°T, 24 nm.  
      Vis. 6-10 nm  
    24.00 AK 6815 lower-right corner Course 315°.  
      NE 3, Sea 2, overcast, Vis. 10-15 nm    
                                                       
    14.05.41      
    04.00 AK 6495 lower-left corner Transit into the attack area.  
      NNE 2, Sea 1-2, from 01.00 hours to 03.30 hours dark night, Vis. good 3-6 nm    
    05.30 AK 6455 A U-boat in sight to starboard.  While avoiding  
           
Sun and Moon Data 12.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 13.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 14.05.41
 
- 5 -
 
           
           
           
    continued      
    14.05.41 North Atlantic    
        to port a steamer sighted ahead to port.  Visibility now about 5000 to 6000 meters.  Too bright for surface attack.  
    08.00 AK 6463 While diving for underwater attack the boat falls to 25 meters and does not come quickly enough to attack depth.  
      NE 2-3, Sea 2, overcast sky, Vis. 10-15 nm, 1028 mb  
      Surfaced.  Ran behind the steamer until 08.00 hours at AK.  Steamer runs about 16-18 knots.  Although he zig zags, he is slowly lost from sight.  
        Recognition signals exchanged with a U-boat which is quickly lost from sight.  
        Transit into operations area continued.  
    12.00 AK 6416 Day's run:  Surfaced     = 216.2 nm  
      NE 3, Sea 2, overcast sky, light swell, Vis. good, 1030 mb                  Submerged =     0.4 nm = 216.6 nm.  
    16.00 AK 5396 center-right edge Back and forth in the attack area.  Difference between dead reckoning and actual position 16 nm.  
    20.00 AK 6417 center-left edge    
      E 2, light seas, partial overcast, Vis. good    
    24.00 AK 6415 center In operations area.  
                                                       
    15.05.41      
    00.15   On Radio Message from B.d.U. transit into new attack area.  Course 215°.  
    04.00 AK 5691 center-right Transit to ordered operations area.  
      SE 2, Sea 1, overcast, misty, very dark night, Vis. up to 500 meters    
    08.00 AK 5927 Course 215°.  
      SSE 2, Sea 1, overcast, dark night    
    12.00 AK 5929 lower-left Day's run:  Surfaced  = 196 nm.  
      SSE 1, Sea 1, overcast, Vis. good, 10-25 nm    
    16.00 AK 5948 center-right In operations area.  
      W 1, Sea 1, overcast, Vis. good, light swell    
    20.00 AK 8252 upper-center Difference between dead reckoning and actual position after a navigation fix: 238°T, 15 nm.  
    21.44   Crash dive for training.  
    22.15   Surfaced.  Continued transit.  
    24.00 AK 8196    
      WbyS 2, Sea 2, overcast, Vis. good    
                                                       
    16.05.41      
    04.00 AK 8437 Course 208°.  
      WSW 1, Sea 1, overcast, dark night, Vis. up to 1000 meters    
           
Sun and Moon Data 14.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 15.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 16.05.41
 
- 6 -
 
           
           
           
    continued      
    16.05.41 North Atlantic    
    08.00 AK 8485 Course 208°.  
      SW 2, Sea 1, dark night, Vis. changing    
    10.16   Dived.  
    12.00 AK 8467 Day's run:  Surfaced     = 174.2 nm  
                         Submerged =     3.5 nm = 177.7 nm.  
    12.17   Surfaced.  
    13.30 to 16.30   Crash dive for training and education duty.  
    16.00 AK 8476    
    20.00 AK 8476 In operations area.  
      WSW 2, Sea 1, overcast, clear Vis. clear good    
    22.30   3 destroyers come in sight from the east, apparently in transit formation.  Dived to let the destroyers pass ahead at about 1500 meters, They are American destroyers of the "DUNLAP"-Class, course SW, speed 12 knots.  
    24.00 AK 8485 upper right corner After the destroyers passed from sight at 23.50 hours a battleship also came in sight from the east.  On approaching recognized the American battleship "New York", also course SW.  Speed 8 knots.  I let him pass at about 3500 meters and then surfaced.  
                                                       
    17.05.41      
        The battleship, has still set no lights, is still easily distinguished in the twilight.  Range = about 12000 meters.  I run behind with port KF.  
        After approximately 3/4 hour floodlight lights ahead, then 3 vessels set lights.  Night exercises of the American formation later pass out of sight, after it has extinguished lights again.  
        Radio Message to B.d.U. concerning the sighting in attack area.  
    04.00 AK 8485 In operations area.  
      SW 1, light Sea and light swells, dark night, Vis. up to 1 nm    
    08.00 AK 8485    
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 16.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 17.05.41
 
- 7 -
 
           
           
           
    continued      
    17.05.41 North Atlantic    
    12.00 AK 8488 In operations area.  
      SW 0-1, light sea state and slight swell, Vis. 10-15 nm Day's run:  Surfaced     = 92.5 nm  
                       Submerged =    8.4 nm = 100.9 nm.  
    12.30 - 13.45   Torpedo transfer from the over deck containers.  Especially favorable weather, entire time very low swell.  
        No Sea State.  
    14.49 - 16.00   Test dive and depth control training.  
    16.00 AK 8482    
      SW 1, slight swell, somewhat misty, Vis. 5-10 nm    
    20.00 AK 8485 center In ordered patrol line.  
      SSW 2, light Sea, fog, Vis. bad up to 500 meters    
    20.22 - 23.00   Crash dive for training.  
        Proceeding submerged due to fog.  
    23.03   Surfaced.  
    24.00 AK 8485    
      S 1, light Sea, overcast, Vis. heavily changing 3-4 nm    
                                                       
    18.05.41 North Atlantic    
    04.00 AK 8485 In ordered patrol line.  
      SbyW 1, Sea 0, overcast, misty, Vis. moderate.    
    08.00 AK 8485    
      S 2, Sea 1, overcast    
    12.00 AK 8485 Day's run:  Surfaced     = 150 nm  
      S 2, Sea 2, overcast, rain, Vis. heavily changing 4-8 nm                  Submerged =     6 nm = 156 nm.  
    16.00 AK 8489    
      SE 2-3, Sea 2, overcast, misty, Vis. 5 nm    
    19.15 - 19.37   Test dive.  
    20.00 AK 8431    
      SSW 3, Sea 2-3, overcast, misty, Vis. moderate    
    20.55   Proceeding submerged due to fog.  
    24.00 AK 8486    
                                                       
           
Sun and Moon Data 17.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 18.05.41
 
- 8 -
 
           
           
           
           
    19.05.41 North Atlantic    
    02.00   Surfaced.  
    02.30   Due to fog continued to proceed submerged.  
    04.00 AK 8485    
    04.09   Surfaced.  
    04.14   Due to fog continued to proceed submerged.  
    06.03   Surfaced.  Continued on the surface in the patrol line.  
    08.00 AK 8457    
      SW 2-3, Sea 2-3, cloudy, Vis. changing 2-5 nm    
    12.00 AK 8731 In ordered patrol line.  
      SWbyW 2-3, Sea 2, cloudy, misty, Vis. changing 2-10 nm Day's run:  Surfaced     = 128.2 nm  
                       Submerged =   15.6 nm = 143.8 nm.  
    16.00 AK 8449    
    20.00 AK 8437 On Radio Message report U-94 came to northerly course and am operating on convoy.  
      SSW 2-3, Sea 2, overcast, misty, Vis. changing 2-6 nm  
    24.00 AK 8137 lower-left corner Course 0°.  Operating on U-94 convoy.  
      Rain, Vis, heavily changing    
                                                       
    20.05.41      
    04.00 AK 5734 Operating on U-94 convoy.  Course 0°.  
      SW 4, Sea 4, medium swell, overcast, dark night, Vis. changing heavily by fog 1/2 - 1 nm    
    08.00 AK 5434    
    12.00 AK 5122 Day's run:  Surfaced  = 307 nm.  
      SW 5-6, Sea 4, overcast, medium swell, Vis. 5-10 nm Operating on convoy.  
    16.00 AK 0154 Course 350°.  Operating on U-94 convoy.  
      WSW 5, Sea 4-5, overcast, medium to heavy swell, Vis. 8-10 nm    
    19.38   Test dive.  
    20.00 AK 1873    
      WSW 4-5, Sea 4, overcast, Vis. changing up to 8 nm    
    20.04   Surfaced.  Operating on convoy.  
    24.00 AK 1731 Course 300°.  
      W 3, Sea 2-3, medium swell, Vis. 5-10 nm    
                                                       
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 19.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 20.05.41
 
- 9 -
 
           
           
           
           
    21.05.41 North Atlantic    
    04.00 AJ 3366 Operating on U-94 convoy.  
      NW 3, Sea 2-3, overcast, rain, Vis. heavily changing, dark night    
    08.00 AJ 3323    
    08.30   Smoke cloud ahead.  Two high masts were distinguished.  To starboard ahead the mast of a vessel (escort?) was distinguished.  On approaching it was determined that a large tanker lies ahead with a smoke cloud.  The vessel to starboard approaches at high speed on the same course as the tanker.  I want to approach the tanker for surface attack, the speed is very slow.  At GF, then at AK I attempt to approach.  Vessel to starboard is apparently a large gun boat, opens fire at about 8000 meters.  The first hits are short, the rest good.  
    10.50                           1.        - 800  
                                2.        - 600  
                                3.        - 200  
                                4.        - 30?  
    11.01   I crash dive at a distance of 5000 meters from the gun boat which approaches at high speed, in order not to endanger the boat uselessly and to attack submerged.  Distance to the tanker is still about 3000 meters.  I prepare to shoot at a range of about 1000 meters, because the gun boat approaches me at target angle 0°.  Due to the quite heavy swell and Sea State, I see him at only about 600 meters.  Periscope was always kept under the surface.  Depth keeping was good.  He probably saw me by gulls which continually flew over the periscope.  
        I order:  "Go deep quickly".  
    11.35   The first set of depth charges (4) come at depth about 25 meters.  Very well placed.  Boat shakes heavily.   
        Damage at the first depth charge attack to the equipment.  
    11.45  

I go deep.  The next 10 depth charges fall at about depth 90 meters.  There were only three vessels detected (sound bearings) probably destroyers.  Asdic and sounding gear.  The 3 vessels work very well.  In spite of all attempts, the boat only rarely gets away from the sound device which I always put astern.  At the start of the two other vessels I turn away at high trip.  In spite of all attempts all depth charge attacks are well placed, a total of 10 with approximately 125 depth charges, well to very well placed.

 
    12.00 AJ 3255 Day's run:  Surfaced     = 279.8nm  
                         Submerged =    3.5 nm = 283.3 nm.  
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 21.05.41
 
- 10 -
 
           
           
           
    continued      
    21.05.41 North Atlantic    
        An aircraft also seems to participate.  Detonation at a position difference - course betraying -.  
        The third attack lies especially close.  Depth = 60 meters.  
    11.10   From then on I hold between depth = 70 and depth = 90 meters.  Once I am for a short time at depth = 95 meters.  
        Attack:  Begins at 11.10 hours.  
        Last attack 15.20 hours.  
        For my entirely young crew this first depth charge attack was a great ordeal.  Boat and crew proved themselves very well.  The appearing faults were continually removed, and attempted by all means to keep the boat operable.  
        Most unpleasant fault: the emergency vent valve in the control room broke off 3 of 5 bolts.  Supported firmly only little water entered.  
        Stupidest fault:  The forward Marcks life buoy container leaked and water entered the boat via the forward W.C.  Bulkhead from W.C. was jammed, so that quite a lot of water entered.  
        The fault was eliminated by opening the bulkhead.  
    15.30   At last, I succeeded at 15.30 hours to creep away from the sound bearings of the enemy.  Unfortunately, I can no longer think about an attack on the tanker.  First some peace for the crew, after the most important faults were removed.  
    16.00 AJ 3246    
    20.00 AJ 3285    
    24.00 AJ 3523    
                                                       
    22.05.41      
    04.00 AJ 3259    
    04.13   With darkness at about 04.00 on 22 May I surface.  
        Clear visibility.  About 05.00 and 06.00 hours star shell firing in the direction of the previous day.  I ran off on southerly courses.  
    08.00 AJ 3657    
      W 3-4, Sea 3, overcast, medium swell, Vis. 8-10 nm    
    12.00 AJ 3936 Day's run:  Surfaced     = 71 nm  
      W 3-4, Sea 3, cloudy, Vis. changing, medium swell                  Submerged = 54.3 nm = 125.3 nm.  
        When on 22 May at about 11.00 hours the gnawed forward Marcks lifebuoy rose with quite a bang, so that this would not happen again, it was disassembled into small parts, which I let them throw overboard.  
           
Sun and Moon Data 21.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 22.05.41
 
- 11 -
 
           
           
           
    continued      
    22.05.41 North Atlantic    
    16.00 AK 1972 Return transit 150°.  
      WSW 4, Sea 3-4, cloudy, medium swell, Vis. changing 5-8 nm    
    19.37   Test dive.  
    19.59   Surfaced.  
    20.00 AK 4328 Return transit course 140°.  
      SW 4-5, Sea 4, overcast, Vis. changing heavily in rain, medium swell    
    24.00 AK 4399 Return transit course 140°.  
      WbyS 4-5, Sea 4, misty, overcast, Vis. 3-6 nm, medium swell    
                                                       
    23.05.41 North Atlantic    
    04.00 AK 5455 Return transit course 140°.  
    08.00 AK 5817    
      WSW 3-4, Sea 3-4, overcast, rain, Vis. changing heavily, medium swell    
    12.00 AK 5897 Day's run:  Surfaced     = 257.7 nm  
      WSW 3-4, Sea 3-4, overcast, Vis. 3-8 nm                  Submerged =        1 nm = 258.7 nm.  
      Return transit course 140°.  
    16.00 AK 8293 Return transit course 130°.  
      SW 3-4, Sea 3-4, overcast, Vis. 5-8 nm, heavy swell    
    20.00 AK 8629 Return transit course 130°.  
      SWbyS 3, Sea 2-3, overcast, Vis. 6-10 nm, light swell    
    24.00 AK 9475 Return transit course 130°.  
      SE 1-2, light swell, fog, Vis. 1/2 nm    
                                                       
    24.05.41      
    02.25 S 1-2, Sea 1, light swell, overcast, fog, Vis. bad up to 300 meters Dived due to fog.  Proceeding submerged.  
    04.00 AK 9474 Proceeding submerged course 130°.  
    05.30 to 07.30   Sound bearings, probably convoy and presumably a northerly course.  Due to fog not determined.  Sound gear only partially operable.  
    08.00 AK 9729 Proceeding submerged.  Course 130°.  
    11.27   Surfaced.  Continued return transit.  
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 22.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 23.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 24.05.41
 
- 12 -
 
           
           
           
    continued      
    24.05.41      
    12.00 AK 9765 upper-left corner Day's run:  Surfaced     = 170.6 nm  
      WSW 1-2, Sea 1, light swell, gusty, Vis. 20-30 nm                  Submerged =   13.2 nm = 183.8 nm.  
    16.00 BD 3122 lower-center Difference between dead reckoning and actual position 240°T, 8 nm.  
      WbyN 1-2, Sea 1, light swell, misty, rain, Vis. 10-15 nm  
    20.00 BD 3275 Return transit to Lorient.  Course 130°.  
      W 3, Sea 3-4, overcast, Vis. good 10-15 nm    
    24.00 BD 3569 upper-center Return transit.  
                                                       
    25.05.41      
    04.00 BD 3929 upper-right corner Return transit Lorient.  
      W 3, Sea 3-4, dark night, Vis. 1-2 nm    
    08.00 BE 1773 lower-right    
      WNW 4-5, Sea 5, overcast, Vis. 1-2 nm    
    12.00 BE 4242 upper-left Day's run:  Surfaced     = 342.7 nm  
      NW 4-5, Sea 5, overcast, Vis. 5-10 nm On Radio Message from B.d.U. proceeding to new attack area.  Course 100°.  
    16.00 BE 4341 Course 90°.  
      NW 5, Sea 5, overcast, Vis. 10-15 nm Difference between dead reckoning and actual position after a navigation fix:  256°T, 30 nm.  
    20.00 BE 4345 center Transit into operations area.  
    24.00 BE 5145 center Surface transit course 90°.  
      NW 4-5, Sea 5, overcast, Vis. 8-12 nm, medium swell    
                                                       
    26.05.41      
    04.00 BE 5244 center Course 90°.  
      WNW 5, Sea 5, overcast, dark night, Vis. 1-2 nm, medium swell    
    08.00 BE 5266 Surface transit, course 90°.  
      NNW 5, Sea 5, overcast, medium swell, Vis. 5-10 nm    
    12.00 BE 5353 Surface transit, course 90°.  
      Very gusty, Vis. changing 8-12 nm, medium-high swells Day's run:  Surfaced     = 291 nm  
                       Submerged =   0.5 nm = 291.5 nm.  
    16.00 BE 5364    
      WNW 5, Sea 5, overcast, Vis. 10-15 nm    
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 24.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 25.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 26.05.41
 
- 13 -
 
           
           
           
    continued      
    26.05.41 North Atlantic    
    17.13   Crash dive for approaching aircraft.  
    18.32   Surfaced.  
    20.00 BE 5356 On Radio Message from B.d.U. came to course 98° and then 105°.  
      NW 5, Sea 5, heavy swell, Vis. changing  
    24.00 BE 6148 center    
      WNW 3, Sea 4-5, overcast, Vis. changing 8-12 nm    
                                                       
    27.05.41      
    00.05   Artillery firing about 40° degrees to port.  
    01.45   Thereafter star shells.  
    02.58   Held on.  
    04.00 BE 6155 In the ordered square very dark night with heavily changing visibility.  Frequent rain squalls.  Wind freshens more and more.  Swells become much higher.  From time to time still some firing and star shells.  With course 250° and 50° I try to approach closer.  Against the swell I can hardly go and above all the bridge is continually under water, so that no observation is possible.  
      WNW 4, Sea 4-5, overcast, dark night, Vis. 1-2 nm, high swells  
        For a moment at about 04.30 hours on the opposite side of BISMARCK (I suppose that BISMARCK is located in the direction of the star shells) at approximately 8000-10000 meters a silhouette is seen. (of large cruisers or a battleship with sharp or blunt target angle).  I turn 20° to close, however, immediately lost sight again with the changing visibility.  
        Stay on this side now to attack oncoming enemies from here.  It is a terrible night.  With this swell no torpedo can run.  U-556 must be in my vicinity.  I receive now and again bearing signals of U-556, from BISMARCK nothing.  Additionally, I make the same observations as U-556 reports.  
    04.30   About 04.30 hours again three powerful detonations felt in the boat, one of them particularly violent.  
    04.33   Shooting is seen again one more time bearing 290°T.  
    06.30   At about 06.30 hours optical communications with a U-boat, which hands over contact on BISMARCK bearing 270°T.  
        I can only start up to 250° against the still higher growing swells from approximately 300° and 320°.  
    07.26   I must crash dive for 2 vessels (1 cruiser and 1 destroyer), with target angle 0° from 180°T in approximately 5000 meters from a rain squall.   At the same time, continual sound bearings are taken with the however not fully  
           
Sun and Moon Data 26.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 27.05.41
 
- 14 -
 
           
           
           
    continued      
    27.05.41   operable G.H.G.  
   

 

09.22

 

WNW 7, Sea 6-7, overcast, Vis. changing 8-12 nm, heavy swell

From 09.00 to 09.40 continual heavy and medium detonations are heard to port.  I steer submerged northerly course to the area to gain distance against the swell.  On surfacing at 09.22 nothing is seen.  I held the detonations for bombs our reported combat formation.  (It must have been the final combat of the BISMARCK)  
     
    12.00 BE 6156 Day's run:  Surfaced     = 181.7 nm  
      WNW 7, Sea 7-8, overcast, heavy squalls, rain, very heavy swells                  Submerged =     6.5 nm = 188.2 nm.  
      Retrieving the BISMARCK's K.T.B. can no longer be carried out.  By Radio Message to B.d.U. I report my last observations on the possible sinking of BISMARCK.   
    16.00 BE 6147 Began the search for survivors, however, always in the hope of seeing BISMARCK.  
      Weather situation unchanged  
    19.30 -20.20   3 survivors were found in a dinghy and taken on board.  Transfer is quite difficult in the swell and sea.  
        The names of the 3 survivors:  
        Matr.-Gefr. Herzog,  
        Matr.-Gefr. Manthey,  
        Matr.-Gefr. Hoentzsch,  
        Herzog has a light flesh wound in the left leg.  
   

20.20

20.00

 

BE 6142 center-right

Just as the last man is being stowed in the conning tower hatch, an aircraft passed to starboard.  Waited it out, it flew off astern.  
     
      NW 6-7, Sea 6, overcast, Vis. changing 5-10 nm, heavy swell These 3 belonged to medium anti-aircraft defense, they abandoned ship at 08.00 hours apparently with the entire upper deck staff (anti-aircraft operations) because of the bombardment begun since about 06.30 hours by "KING GEORGE", heavy cruisers and destroyers on the order:  
        "Secure phones!  Ready in life jackets".  
   

 

24.00

 

BE 6181

Quite exhausted, I gave the 3 some peace, so that I will receive correct information from them. With the prevailing NW-wind 6-7 I accept approximately 1-2 nm drift speed and continue searching accordingly.  
      NW 6, Sea 6, overcast, Vis. changing, heavy swell  
                                                     
    28.05.41      
    00.45   At about 00.45 hours strong oil smell is perceived.  
    03.00   At about 03.00 hours a red star is seen astern (still below the horizon according to information of the W.O.).  
           
Sun and Moon Data 27.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 28.05.41
 
- 15 -
 
           
           
           
    continued      
    28.05.41 Bay of Biscay    
        This message is not received by me, because I am exhausted.  It is a pity, perhaps we could still have saved some companions.  
    04.00 BE 6141 Further search is without success.  Bearing signals are given according to orders.  On B.d.U. orders from 07.30 hours I am positioned in square 5330 center to search with U-48 and U-73 from 08.00 hours on general course 140° and 6 knots.  
      NW 3-4, Sea 5-6, overcast, medium swell, dark night, Vis. 1-2 nm  
    08.00 BE 5335 center Because both other boats are not in sight up to 08.30 hours and also from sinking of BISMARCK nothing is seen, I must accept I have not found the correct sinking location (was missed due to the swell, sea, wind).  
      NW 5, Sea 5-6, cloudy, medium swell, Vis. good, 8-12 nm  
        Proceed at HF on general course, to lose no time.  The position of U-48 and U-73 was not known by me and in these swells and sea every minute counts for those swimming in the water.  
        Believe that according to night observations (oil smell and red star) sinking location is approximately 5 nm more to the southeast than up to now supposed.  
   

 

 

10.55

  Radio Message from U-48 concerning corpses and wreckage in BE 6141 strengthens my assumption.  I go towards 6141.  Meanwhile a navigation correction of 8 nm, 270°T was determined.  Recognition Signals are exchanged with a Condor aircraft by Recognition Signal Cartridge.  
    12.00 BE 6152 Day's run:  Surfaced     = 169 nm  
      NW 3, Sea 3-4, overcast, medium swell, Vis. 10-15 nm                  Submerged =   --  
    12.30   Fishing trawler SACHENWALD in sight abeam to starboard.  Does not answer searchlight call, so I continue to search to lose no time.  
    16.00 BE 6145 From 13.00 hours in square BE 6145 NW-corner corpses and wreckage sighted.  
      NW 2-3, Sea 3, gusty, overcast, Vis. 8-12 nm, light swell  
      Because U-48 is in the south corner of BE 6141 and "SACHSENWALD" is now also to the north of me, I go in zig zags slowly to the southeast and sight up to  about 17.00 hours individual corpses, boards and rafts.  
    20.00 BE 6184  
      NW 2-3, Sea 2-3, rain, overcast, Vis. 10-15 nm At about 20.00 hours I go again on a NW-course, because for about 2 hours nothing more is sighted.  At about 23.00 hours in BE 6142 corpses and cutter parts were sighted.  
    24.00 BE 6117 At about 24.00 hours I go at 2 x HF on course 135°, in accordance with Radio Message orders from B.d.U. to start return transit.  About 30-40 corpses were sighted.  Nearly all bobbing up and down in life jackets, however with  
      NW 2, Sea 2, overcast, light swell, Vis. 2-4 nm  
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 28.05.41
 
- 16 -
 
           
           
           
    continued      
    28.05.41      
        the head sagged through the lifejacket in the water.  
        Meanwhile, the weather has abated slowly, the swell becomes much quieter. As if nature was satisfied with her work of destruction.  
        The 27th and 28th of May 1941 will always be a bitter memory for me.  
        Powerless and with bound hands we stood against the provoked forces of nature without being able to help our brave "BISMARCK".  
        (On 29 May 4 years ago was the bombing attack on the "DEUTSCHLAND" at Ibiza).  
                                                       
    29.05.41      
    04.00 BE 6431 center Return transit to Lorient.  Course 135°.  
      NW 1-2, Sea 1-2, light swell, sky partially overcast, Vis. 2-4 nm    
    08.00 BE 6543 Return transit.  
      NW 1-2, Sea 1, light swell, Vis. good 8-12 nm    
    09.45   Crash dive for aircraft.  
        Boat descends with large down angle (25°) to depth = 25 meters, and then settles further to depth = 55 meters.  Only caught by blowing main ballast tank V, I and III and brought up slowly.  
        With the crash dive the starboard diesel clutch failed to disengage which also could not be moved by hand.  
        Starboard shaft was thereby out of service for submerged cruise.  The sluggishness of the vent for main ballast tank 5 (caused by the depth charge attack) became unpleasantly noticeable.  
    09.55   Surfaced.  
    11.36 - 12.01   Test dive.  
    12.00 BE 6592 Day's run:  Surfaced     = 263.5 nm  
      NNW 1-2, Sea 1, light swell, sunshine, Vis. 15-20 nm                  Submerged =   0.5 nm = 264.0 nm.  
      Return transit continued.  
    16.00 BE 6683 right edge Return transit 90°.  
      NNW 1-2, swell 1, lightly cloudy, Vis. good 15-20 nm    
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 28.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 29.05.41
 
- 17 -
 
           
           
           
    continued      
    29.05.41 Bay of Biscay    
    20.00 BF 4731 Return transit Lorient.  
      Weather unchanged    
    24.00 BF 4823 Return transit 90°.  
      NNW 1-2, light swell, Vis. good    
                                                       
    30.05.41      
    04.00 BF 4921 Return transit  
      N 1-2, Sea 1, overcast, Vis. 2-4 nm    
    07.45   Due to the running over of the forward battery the boat is temporarily not clear to dive.  
        Radio Message to B.d.U.:  
        Special air lookout posted, MG C 30 and light machine guns ready.  
    08.00 BF 5712 Return transit.  
      WNW 1-2, Sea 0-2, cloudy, Vis. clear 15-20 nm Radio Message from B.d.U. go shortly according to 2nd Radio Message (request shortest route).  
    11.45   2nd Radio Message from B.d.U. concerning new entrance route.  
    12.00 BF 5496 lower-right Boat is again conditionally ready for dive after pumping battery bilge, suctioning the 8 damaged cells in the forward battery, filling again with distilled water and after continuous ventilating of the boat.  
      WNW 2, swell 1-2, sky partly cloudy, Vis. good  
        Port E-motor was proven by short submerged cruise at 2 x HF without damage.  
    14.00   2 patrol vessels bearing 120°T.  
    15.30   1 fishing trawler bearing 0°T.  
    15.35   Transmitter I bearing 37.0°T.  
    16.00 BF 5526 2 vessels bearing 50°T.  
    16.35   Transmitter 1 bearing 38°T.  
    16.39   2 vessels in sight bearing 130°T.  
    16.40   One buoy with French flag (beneath it 1 red flag) passed.  
    17.20 BF 5534 5-fan from a U-boat avoided (passed to starboard at about 20-50 meters)  
    17.26   5 torpedo detonations heard. (at end of the run)  
    17.27   Enemy U-boat surfaced shortly.  
    18.10   1 vessel bearing 60°T.  
    18.20   1 vessel bearing 70°T.  
    19.15   1 vessel bearing 90°T.  
    20.00 5 nm south of L 2    
    21.00   Entered Lorient in mine convoy.  
    23.00 Lorient Made fast Lorient U-boat base, berth A 2.  
                                                       
           
Sun and Moon Data 29.05.41
Sun and Moon Data 30.05.41

Appendices to U-74's KTB - click on the text at left to proceed to the documents
ChartA Track chart covering entire war patrol                8 - 31 May 1941
ChartB Track chart of BISMARCK Operation                      16 May 20.00 - 29 May 04.00
   
Torpedo Torpedo firing reports
   
Radio Excerpt of Officer-Only Radio Log
   
Report Statement of BISMARCK Survivors

 
 
     
 
Transcript!
 
     
                                                                                                                          U-74  
     
 
Comments of the B.d.U.:
 
 

                                 

 
 
Nothing to note.
 
 

 

 
 
 
   

For the Befehlshaber der Unterseeboote

 
    The Chief of Operations.  
       
 
         signed Gode  
     
          8000 GRT.  
     
     
     
 


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