F.d.U./B.d.U.'S War Log

16 - 30 September 1941

PG30297

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
16.9.
  U 94, on the outward passage, reported the sinking of two steamers of 11,375 GRT in AK 6761.  3 isolated steamers have been sunk in the same area within two days therefore.  The boat reported in this connection that all the steamers steered the same general course (SW).  It appears that there are still outward bound convoys which disperse after passing the narrow rendezvous area.
 
  As the attack on U 85's convoy must be considered at an end, it is intended to form a new concentration with the boats still able to remain in the operational area for a time, and the outward bound boats, in the area S.E. of Greenland.
   
  U 74, U 94, U 576, U 372, U 373, U 552, U 69, U 562 and U 572 received orders to form a patrol channel from AD 9564 to AJ 3986.
   
 
  These boats are to patrol up and down in these lines at economical cruising speed.  The disposition is planned for the 18 to 19 September.
 
   
 
  Although previous attempts to intercept the enemy by means of shore controlled U-boat operations has in many cases been unsuccessful, and judging from experience alone, by far the greatest number of convoys are sighted more or less accidentally by boats in passage.  This fact can on no account be considered a hard and fast rule.  The reasons for non-interception and non-sighting of the convoy from fixed dispositions, must be presumed to lie in the fact that the enemy has information on the areas of these dispositions, obtained by methods as yet undiscovered by us.  There is not a shadow of a doubt that such fixed dispositions of U-boats provide the best conditions, both for the fixing and the actual attacking of the enemy, providing the areas of those dispositions are kept secret from him.
 
   
 
  The measures recently put into operation for this purpose, i.e., restrictions in the number of personnel informed of U-boat operations, as far as is practicable.  Cyphering of the grid indicators and the limiting of knowledge of the key to departments to which this knowledge is indispensable, justify the assumption that the enemy is unable to gain any information on U-boat dispositions from the Communications Service.  I have decided this time also, therefore, to form the available boats into a group, and to dispose them in pre-arranged positions in a narrow area.  With regard to the choice of area, considerable attention must be paid to possible enemy air reconnaissance.  Areas usually covered by them, are less suited to the formation of U-boat concentrations, in that the enemy has the possibility of by-passing them.  Only short-term concentrations have any point in such areas, and then only when a certain enemy target is expected.  If a fairly long waiting period is anticipated, it appears advisable to withdraw to areas so far away that even in the event of a long wait there is no danger of being discovered by the enemy himself.  The areas S.E. of Greenland appears particularly favorable for this purpose.
 
   
 
  U 564 put out of Brest, U 124 put out of Lorient, on operations.
   
                             
 
 
- 163 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  U 371 put out of Brest for the Mediterranean.
 
  U 553 put into St. Nazaire and U 558 put into Brest.
   
17.9.
  U 98 gained contact with a homeward bound convoy in AM 2476 at 0008.  The boat sank two steamers sailing in it and then lost contact in the fog.  Pursuit was without success.  Otherwise nothing of interest.
   
 
  U 202 put into Brest.
 
   
 
18.9.
  U 66 - South boat - reported absence of traffic in the grid EQ 37.  The report implied that the boat had sighted nothing on its entire outward passage between 30 and 400 West.  The remaining South boats apparently also saw nothing of the enemy.  In order to settle the question as to whether the enemy has transferred his traffic to the Pan-American zone, U 66 has been given the task of reconnoitering as far as the South American coast.
 
   
 
  According to Radio Intercept Service and aerial reconnaissance, there was an outward bound convoy in AM 4593 at 1015.
 
   
 
  Operations did not appear promising owing to the long range, probably only one boat is in a position to operate.  The boats were therefore only given general instructions.
 
   
 
  U 201 has put out of Brest.
 
   
  U 79, U 82, U 652 have put into Lorient, U 85 has put into St. Nazaire.
   
19.9.
  U 565 and U 98 have been in operation against the convoy reported yesterday by aerial reconnaissance.  Neither contacted it.  U 98 began the return passage owing to the fuel situation.
   
  U 564 encountered a group of 6 escort vessels on a course of 1800 in AL 9374.  A sign that the English also navigate this area.  U 443 reports return passage.  Apart from traffic in Swedish waters, nothing was sighted.  
   
  U 371 on the outward passage to the Mediterranean, encountered the north bound convoy reported by Italian U-boats, in CG 7645.  No further messages have been received from this area. U 371 has been ordered not to undertake any protracted operations in the Atlantic.  
   
      U 557 has put into Lorient, U 81 and U 432 into Brest.
       
 
20.9.
  U 565 is assigned the northern half of the grid AM concentrating on the east.
  
  
           
 
 
- 164 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  U 124 established contact with a south bound convoy in BE 1553 at 0920.  Unfortunately, with the exception of U 124 there are no other boats in the vicinity.  U 124 continued to maintain continuous contact and reported this for the last time at 2253 in BE 1897 on a course of 1500.  Aerial reconnaissance is arranged for this convoy tomorrow.
 
  Towards evening, U 74, which belongs to the group "Brandenburg" reported in a fairly long wireless message, that it had been in contact with a convoy since 18.9 and from AD 9781.  The boat assumed the convoy's position to be AD 7827 at 0400 this morning.  As all its torpedoes have been expended, the boat is on the return passage and reported from a position 590 22' N. that it had no W/T contact with the Control Station.  Contact had been handed over to other boats, and four ships from the convoy of altogether about 26,000 GRT, had been sunk.  At present, it is not clear which of the boats are operating, or have operated on the convoy.  U 74 has assumed the duties of relay, and the boats concerned have been requested to report the last observation and position.  U 111 sank the steamer "Cingalese Prince" of 8474 GRT, in FD 45.
   
  U 203 put out of St. Nazaire, U 204 put out of Brest for the North Atlantic, U 559 and U 97 put out of St. Nazaire en route for the Mediterranean.  U 561, U 105 and U 95 have put into Lorient.
   
 
21.9.
  The following boats have reported from U 74's convoy:  U 373, which is unable to continue operations owing to fuel shortage, U 94, requesting contact reports, and U 562, which reported that there had been no further contact reports from the boats.
 
   
 
  Boats belonging to the Group "Brandenburg" have been ordered to continue the search if they are sufficiently near to the convoy to make it worth while.  The remaining boats are to return to their operational areas.
 
   
 
  U 552 reported having discontinued the search after 30 hours, that it had sunk a freighter and two tankers of altogether 22,000 GRT another was probably sunk.  The boat has freedom of movement.  The area between the Herbrides and Faroes is given as promising.
 
   
 
  U 124 has so far sunk 2 tankers sailing in the south bound Gibraltar convoy.  It reported the convoy at 0000 in BE 4232 on an easterly course.  Later contact was lost.  Aerial reconnaissance detailed for operations against this convoy, attacked isolated tankers sailing in BE 4566 and 4529.  The convoy had apparently dispersed.  U 201 also reported being in contact with four craft, course 1800, in BE 4863.  At 0807 U 107 gained contact with a convoy on a course of 350, in DT 5618.  This consisted of 8 steamers and 4 destroyers.  The three boats U 67, U 68 and U 103 reported their position on request.  Only U 68 in DT 32 is fairly near the convoy.  The other two boats are further to the north.  U 107 sent further contact reports and at 2157 U 68 reported "am attacking convoy".
 
   
 
  U 569 put into St. Nazaire.
 
                         
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
22.9.
  Towards 0050, U 201 reported sinking three of the four steamers of altogether 14,000 GRT reported yesterday, from U 124's convoy.  One steamer and one escort vessel escaped.  U 124 reported later having maintained contact with the group of steamers shot up by U 201, the convoy is now considered to have dispersed.
 
  Both boats have received instructions to proceed further to the south at economical cruising speed in order to be in a position to operate on the north bound convoy reported by the Italian boats. None of the Italian boats are in contact at present.  It was assumed, however, that the air reconnaissance again intercepted the convoy.  As it transpired during the day that the aircraft had not rediscovered the convoy, both boats were ordered to return to the north, as operations on this convoy were unlikely to succeed without a contact report.
   
  Contact with the north-bound convoy reported by U 107 was maintained by U 68, U 107 and later by U 103.  U 107 reported 4 misses, this boat withdrew slightly in order to carry out the necessary engine repairs.  At 1545, U 68 reported having sunk two steamers in the convoy of altogether 15,000 GRT and damaged one of 6,000 GRT.
   
 
  The last contact report from U 103 was at 2000 from the grid DG 9951, 325 degrees.
 
   
 
  Boats belonging to the Group "Brandenburg" were disposed in a patrol channel extending from the southern tip of Greenland in a south-easterly direction.  The boats then, are stationed in positions from AD 95 to AD 89 and are to patrol these lines according to instructions.  The following boats belong to this group:
 
  U 94, 372, 562, 431, 564, 575, 69, 373, 572.
 
   
 
  According to reckoning, U 371 should pass through the Straits of Gibraltar today.
 
   
 
  U 84 has put into Lorient.
 
   
 
23.9.
  At 1000, the Italian U-boat I 8 reestablished contact with the north bound convoy and sent continuous contact messages.  U 201 and U 124 are both to operate on this convoy.  Aerial reconnaissance for the area in question, is planned for tomorrow.
   
  U 204 and U 109 were detailed to act as escort for the outward bound steamer "Rio Grande".  U 109 was forced to put in again owing to engine trouble.  U 204 met the "Rio Grande" and accompanied this vessel on the outward passage.
   
  Contact with the convoy west of Africa is still being maintained.  U 103 reports having sunk a 7,000 GRT steamer, 2 further steamers of altogether 11,000 GRT were possibly sunk, and a 6,000 GRT steamer
               
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  was torpedoed.  4 escorted steamers disappeared from sight to the west.  U 68 missed with a double spread fired at a destroyer and there after concentrated on a damaged freighter.  On the way to this the boat sighted a tanker in DG 9925, but was not able to remain in the area owing to the necessity of recharging the batteries.  U 67 established contact with the convoy at 1400, and sent continuous contact messages which later were also picked up by U 107.  The convoy proceeded on courses between 0 and 450 to the north.  According to U 67's report it consists of three to four escorted steamers.
 
  U 205 put out of Lorient.
   
  U 43 put into Lorient.
   
 
24.9.
  The north bound convoy was intercepted by aerial reconnaissance at 1345, and reported as being in BE 7648.  Two sinking, and one burning merchant ship were observed.  Up to this time, only one Italian boat can have fired, as our own boats were not as far as this, obvious from D/f bearings.  U 124, U 201 and U 203 obtained bearings on the aircraft in contact with the convoy, from this, the convoy's position was presumed to be in BE 7550.  The boats continued operations on the convoy.  U 203, which is proceeding to the north, reported that it also was engaged in operations on the convoy.  Air reconnaissance too, is to take part on the 25.9.THe convoy west of Africa was attacked by U 67, and U 107 during the night.
 
   
 
  U 67 sank a freighter of 7,000 GRT, but was then beaten off and had various engine troubles.
 
   
 
  U 107 reported having sunk a tanker of 13,000 GRT and possibly sank 2 ships of 8,000 likewise 5,000 GRT.  A small steamer escaped with the escort (4 destroyers, 3 escort vessels).
 
   
 
  Operations on this convoy may therefore be considered at an end.  Four boats attacked, and altogether the following ships were sunk:
 
  5 ships - 42000 GRT - sunk for certain.
 
  4 ships - 24,000 GRT - possibly sunk.
 
  2 ships - 12,000 GRT - damaged.
   
  With the exception of the small steamer observed by U 107 then, the entire convoy was wiped out.
   
  The boats in the Southern area were allocated new operational areas:  U 103, U 107, U 66 and U 125 were disposed in E.W. channels between 3 and 110 N.W. of Freetown, with concentration in the east.  U 108 received a line from Cape Verde to St. Pauls Rocks.  This disposition was decided upon as a result of a radio intercept report, according to which enemy merchant shipping (isolated vessels sailing at a speed of over 11 knots) has been ordered to proceed to the north and south between Cape Verde and St. Pauls Rocks.  Ships sailing at a speed of less than 11 knots are to make for Freetown in order to join a convoy there.
               
 
 
- 167 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  U 67 and U 68 are assigned the operational area around St. Helen at a depth of 400 sea miles.  At the suggestion of U 68, the acoustic torpedoes on board the homeward bound U 111, are to be transferred to the former.  Assembly point should be in grid EJ 1696 on 27.9.
 
  U 559 and U 97 should pass through the Straits of Gibraltar during the night of the 27.9 according to plan.
   
  U 126 has put out of Lorient for the Atlantic, U 331 en route for the Mediterranean.
   
 
25.9.
  U 124 contacted a cruiser at 0453 and reported the north-bound convoy in BE 4782 at 0800, on a course of 315 degrees.  A tanker of 12,000 GRT was sunk.  U 203 requested bearing beacon signals.  U 124 and later U 203 sent continuous contact messages.  Last convoy position was given at 2115 in BE 4184, course 100.
 
   
 
  Aerial reconnaissance for this area is to be put into operation tomorrow.  U 565 reported bombs and location from AM 1421.  Nothing sighted except patrol.  U 69, 572, and U 373, all of which belong to the group "Brandenburg", report having started the return passage.
 
   
 
  U 433 has put into St. Nazaire.
 
   
 
26.9.
  Two reports of successes were received towards morning from the boats operating on the Gibraltar convoy.  U 124 sank two freighters of 11,000 GRT.  U 203 a tanker of 12,000 GRT, and one freighter of 8,000 GRT.  Two further torpedo hits were observed.
 
   
 
  Contact was lost towards morning.
 
   
  U 205, proceeding to Group "Brandenburg", was also detailed to operate on this convoy.
   
  Air reconnaissance intercepted the convoy and sent bearing signals.
   
  According to the bearings reported by the boats, the convoy position was presumed to be in BE 4320 at 1500.  Aircraft reported in this connection: course 900.  U 203 reestablished contact at 1625 and shortly afterwards U 124 also.  U 205 requested beacon signals from the contact boat, but must also have been in the immediate vicinity.  The last convoy position was given by U 124 at 2359 in BE 2715, the course was still East.  Presumably the convoy was making for the southern tip of Ireland, bound for the St. Georges Channel.  U 124 added that it had sunk a 3,000 GRT steamer.  Aerial reconnaissance is again planned for early tomorrow morning against this convoy.
   
  The patrol line S.E. of Greenland has become considerably shorter as many boats have begun the return passage, and the boats intended as reinforcement are retarded by the Gibraltar convoy.  This attenuated formation promises only small likelihood of success.
         
 
 
- 168 -
 
     

 

     
 
 
 
Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  a deeper disposition of the few boats, with greater freedom of movement to the north and south, appears more favorable.
 
  The Group "Brandenburg", consisting of the following boats U 94, U 372, U 562, U 431, U 564 and U 575 were ordered to occupy the north-south lines from approximately 450 West to 340 West.  The southerly boundary is the latitude 540 North.  There is no northerly boundary.
   
  U 74 and U 98 have put into St. Nazaire.
   
 
27.9.
  Contact was still being maintained with the Gibraltar convoy.  Both U 203 and 124 reported having expended their torpedoes.  They were instructed to remain with the convoy in order to keep in contact for U 205.  U 201 sank 2 freighter of altogether 8,000 GRT, an escort vessel was probably sunk.  At 1059, U 205 also established contact and reported the convoy in BE 2812.  The air reconnaissance also sent beacon signals but these however, did not need to be checked as the boats themselves were in contact.  Further contact messages were also received.  U 203 and U 205 had been forced to submerge some time previously.  U 201 sent the last message, in which this boat reported having sunk two more ships of altogether 8,000 GRT.  At 2344 the convoy was in BE 2379, course 60.  U 201 had also used all its torpedoes.  Six steamers and six escort vessels were observed as the remnants of the convoy.
 
   
 
  The boats belonging to Group "Goben" (Mediterranean boats), were informed of various enemy shipping movements in the Mediterranean.
 
   
 
  U 66 reported having sunk a 12,000 GRT tanker in FK.
 
   
 
  U 573 put out of Kiel, U 129 out of Lorient.
 
   
 
  U 75 has put out of St. Nazaire for the Mediterranean.
 
   
28.9.
  U 124 and U 203 continued to maintain contact with the convoy.  U 201 must also have been in the vicinity.  None of these boats have any torpedoes left.  One boat is sufficient to maintain contact for U 205, U 203 is detailed for this task.
   
  U 124 and U 201 were ordered to return.  Both boats reported the total results of their operations.  U 124:  3 tankers, 3 steamers - 44,000 GRT, 1 steamer - 5,000 GRT possibly sunk.  U 201:  10 hits, 7 steamers - 30,000 GRT, 1 escort craft possibly sunk.  U 124 put out on 16.9 and U 201 on 18.9.  These boats have therefore achieved great success in a short time.
   
  Air reconnaissance intercepted the convoy towards midday and sent beacon signals.  Only U 201 reported bearing.  According to an aircraft report at 1346 the convoy position was in BE 3199.
             
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  U 203 reestablished contact at 1632.
 
  There was no confirmation from U 205 of being in the convoy area.  As this was the last night on which the convoy could be attacked, orders were given to break off operations at dawn.  U 203 was to begin the return passage, U 205 was to make for grid AK 58.
   
  U 552 reported from grid AM 3380 that there was no traffic and that it was returning via the North Channel.
   
 
  U 67, which is on the way to an assembly point for the purpose of transferring a sick man to U 111, reported hearing two explosions in EJ 1695, close to the ordered meeting place in the Tarafal Bay, at 0630.  U-boat, presumably English, was rammed, U 67 remained undamaged.  Instructions regarding the meeting were requested.  The following was B.d.U.'s intention:  U 68 was to be supplied with torpedoes by U 111 during the night of 27/28.9 in Tarafal Bay in the Cape Verde Islands.  In the following night the sick man was to be put aboard U 111 from U 67.  It was not clear why U 67 was already at the assembly point on the first night.  In any case, the two explosions heard gave rise to great anxiety on behalf of both U 111 and U 68.  The following wireless message was sent in this connection:  "Warning of U-boats.  Withdraw to the open sea.  U 68 and U 111 are to send position reports."  A message was received from U 111 at 1139 as follows:  English U-boat "Clyde" or "Triton" and a silhouette in the left center of EJ 1696, after observed handing over of torpedoes.  Forced to submerge, two torpedo detonations heard.  Request return passage without sick man."
 
  The boat was instructed to begin the return passage immediately.
 
  At 1256, U 67 reported:  "Nose buckled, bow-caps 1-3 out of action".  The boat was unable to effect repairs with the available materials, and was therefore ordered to return.  Both boats (U 67 and U 111), were instructed to give details of the meeting with the English boat, and of the last sighting of U 67.  U 68 also reported eventually requested replenishment of supplies from U 67 and suggested the right edge of grid EK 70, for this.  The fear therefore, that one of the German boats had been torpedoed by the English submarine, proved groundless.  It is more likely that our cypher material is compromised or that there has been a breach of security.  It appears improbable that an English submarine would be in such an isolated area by accident.  The Naval War Staff is therefore taking the necessary steps to safeguard cypher material.
 
   
 
  Grid DU 8769 was ordered as rendezvous for U 67 and U 68.
 
  The boats were requested to report the possible time.
 
   
 
  U 79 has put out of Lorient for the Mediterranean.
 
   
 
29.9.
  U 205 did not again approach the convoy.  The boat was bombed and was forced to withdraw to the west to carry out repairs.  An aircraft with American markings was observed with the convoy.  Engine trouble
                       
 
 
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Date
Position, Wind, Weather
 
and
Sea State, Illumination,
Events
Time
Air Pressure, Moonlight etc.
 
 
 
 
  was later reported, and permission was requested and granted for the return passage.  Operations on this convoy may therefore be considered at an end.
 
  The boats U 124, U 201, 203 together achieved the following:
  18 ships of altogether 62,000 GRT were sunk.
  1 escort vessel was probably sunk.
  2 ships were damaged.
 
  The estimated tonnage will have to be checked with the Commanders, as it does not agree with the size of the ships sailing in this convoy according to radio intercept messages however, is not entirely conclusive, as it must be assumed that the enemy does not allow the particularly valuable ships, tankers transport ships etc, to wait at the general assembly point, but that they join the convoy at the last moment, and therefore, do not appear in the radio intercept messages.
 
   
 
  U 94 (from Group "Brandenburg") reports return passage.  This boat is proceeding to home waters for a complete overhaul.
 
   
 
  The 2nd October has been ordered for the rendezvous U 67/U 68.
 
   
 
  U 71 has put out of St. Nazaire, U 374, U 208, U 502 have put out of Kiel.
 
   
 
30.9.
  The few boats belonging to the Group "Brandenburg" have been in the area S.E. of Greenland since 22 September without having sighted anything.  I have therefore decided to change the operational area and to dispose the boats in the area to the west of Ireland.
 
   
  The operational areas to the south and southeast of Greenland are not to be reoccupied until the arrival of numerous boats on about the 10 October.
   
  U 372, proceeding in this operational area, gained contact with a S.W. bound convoy in AJ 6567.  This was the most westerly boat in the group, and therefore very unfavorably placed.  The other boats were ordered to report their position if operations appeared promising.  Only U 431 reported from AK 48.  U 372 sent further contact messages but contact was lost during the night.  This convoy therefore sailed through the area previously occupied by the boats.  Proof that only chance encounters are possible with six boats in such an extensive area.
   
  U 331 must have passed through the Straits of Gibraltar last night.  There are now 4 boats in the Mediterranean:  U 371, already in the operational area, U 97 and U 559 in the Straits of Messina, and U 331 which must have by now passed through the Straits of Gibraltar.
   
  U 201 and U 206 have put into Brest.  U 206 has put out of St. Nazaire.
   
       
                                    (Signed):  DÖNITZ.
  
  
           
 
 
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