U-123 - 7th War Patrol

Translation by Rainer Kolbicz

Departed
Date
Arrived
Date
Days at Sea
Lorient
23 December 1941
Lorient
9 Febuary 1942
49

Ships Hit
Date
KTB Time
Position
Ship
Tons
Nationality
Convoy
12 Jan 42
01.49 - 02.18
41°53'N, 63°48'W
CYCLOPS
9,076
British
 
14 Jan 42
08.34 - 09.29
40°23'N, 71°16'W
NORNESS
9,577
Panamanian
 
15 Jan 42
09.41 - 09.59
40°23'N, 72°44'W
COIMBRA
6,768
British
 
19 Jan 42
05.16
36°05'N, 75°16'W
NORVANA
2,677
American
 
19 Jan 42
09.09
35°23'N, 75°16'W
CITY OF ATLANTA
5,269
American
 
19 Jan 42
10.34 - 12.44
35°29'N, 75°16'W
MALAY (damaged)
8,206
American
19 Jan 42
12.01
35°29'N, 75°16'W
CILTVAIRA
3,779
Latvian
25 Jan 42
17.57 - 20.33
35°05'N, 54°04'W
CULEBRA
3,044
British
ON 53
27 Jan 42
02.03 - 03.45
35°59'N, 50°12'W
PAN NORWAY
9,231
Norwegian
ON 56
     
 Total = 57,627
   
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.


 
 
           
           
           
           
           
           
         
           
           
     
U  1 2 3
 
     
 
     
K r i e g s t a g e b u c h        7th War Patrol
 
           
           
        Kommandant:  Kapitänleutnant  H a r d e g e n.  
        Beginning:  23  November  1941  
        Ending:  9  February  1942  
           
           
                             
        All times:  MESZ/CEST  
        All positions:  Marine Quadrant.  
                          
           
                        Copies to: 2 x O.K.M.  SK1.U.  
        1 x B.d.U.  
        1 x 2.A.d.Uboote  
        1 x 2. U.-Flotille  
        1 x Boot.  (handwritten.Original)  
    Boat made  5  x    
     
        © U-boat Archive 2014  - all rights reserved  
Click the flag to view the above page from the original German KTB
 
- 1 -
 
           
           
           
           
           
    23.11.41 Lorient Boat vacated.  
    24.11.41     " Inspection by Flotilla commander.  
    25.11.41     " Start of the shipyard period.  
    27.11.41     " 12.xx hours, boat on slipway in "Keroma" bunker.  
    15.12.41     " Boat moved from slipway to berth "B 6".  
    18.12.41     " Loaded ammunition in the morning.  
    19.12.41     " Loaded torpedoes, boat made ready.  
    20.12.41     " 09.30 hours, sea trials, dive test.  
    21.12.41     " 09.30 hours, trim test, afterwards tied up in the sea bunker.  
    22.12.41     " Loaded provisions, moved to berth "A 4".  
                                                          
           
    23.12.41     "    
    11.00   Departure from Lorient for 7th war patrol.  
    13.30   Released by escort at "Punkt II".  
    14.13   ,  
    19.24   , departed on the prescribed route. Both engines at GF.  
    21.55   Passed UA close, exchanged recognition signals.  
                                                            
           
    24.12.41      
    00.00   Steered a course on the great circle for the Nantucket lightship.  In doing so, all six contemplated patrol areas in the west are passed.  
    04.00 BF 5469    
    08.00 BF 5451    
    09.17   , Deep dive attempt.  
        At A +50 meters the water level gauge of the starboard regulating tank broke.  Because still no block valve was fitted the 7.5 cubic meters of fuel ran into the bilge of the control room.  Afterwards sea water [text illegible] was improperly fitted and did not hold tight.  
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 24.12.41
 
- 2 -
 
           
           
           
           
    24.12.41      
    10.15   , We were able to pump about 4 cubic meters of fuel by hand to the port regulating tank.  The leftover that wasn't pumped out while surfacing then had to be pumped out. Loss: 4 cubic meters. After other damage which had been done to the boat by the yard was fixed, for example the main pump and the periscope casing and some other equipment, we were ready to dive again.  
    12.00 BF 5417  NE 1-2, 10/10, Sea 1, Vis. 10 nm                                                Total:            222     nm  
                                                      Submerged:    24.5  nm  
    12.30   , U-boat Christmas in the Bay of Biscay.  Trees were placed in all compartments, decorated by the crew and provided with electrical candles.  Later the real trees were in some cases replaced by artificial trees.  After a collective ceremony and subsequent meal, the letters, packets and goody bags were distributed.  It was celebrated in the individual compartments and one could hear the old Christmas songs performed by the crew.  The war was forgotten for a few hours by this simple but impressive Christmas festival.  
    19.00   , Both engines at HF.  
    20.00 BF 4626    
    24.00 BF 4611    
                                                            
    25.12.41      
    04.00 BF 4285    
    08.00 BF 4271    
    12.00 BF 4154  NE by E 3, 9/10, Sea 2-3, Vis. 10 nm                                                 Total:           177      nm  
                                                      To date:       399      nm  
                                                        Submerged:    18      nm  
    13.00   , Crash-dive for drill.  Training under water.  
    18.45   , One engine at LF.  
    20.00 BE 6362    
    24.00 BE 6328    
                                                            
           
Sun and Moon Data 25.12.41
 
- 3 -
 
           
           
           
           
    26.12.41      
    14.00 BE 6318    
    18.00 BE 6235    
    12.00 BE 6222  E 1-2, 5/10, Sea 1, Vis. 12 nm                                                 Total:           119      nm  
                                                      To date:       518      nm  
    16.00 BE 3776                                                 Submerged:   35.5    nm  
    20.00 BE 2993    
    24.00 BE 2982    
                                                            
    27.12.41    
    04.00 BE 2948    
    08.00 BE 2867    
    12.00 BE 2854  SW 2-3, 7/10, Sea 2, Vis. 8 nm                                                 Total:           141      nm  
                                                      To date:       659      nm  
                                                      Submerged:   35.5    nm  
    15.20   , Crash-dive for drill.  Attack and trim regulation exercises.  
    16.13 BE 2765 ,  
    20.00 BE 2755    
    24.00 BE 1962    
                                                            
    28.12.41    
    04.00 BE 1928    
    08.00 BE 1918    
    12.00 BF 1837   S by W 4, 8/10, Sea 3, Vis. 8 nm                                                 Total:           137      nm  
                                                      To date:       796      nm  
    16.00 BE 1816                                                 Submerged:   36.5    nm  
    20.00 BE 1735    
    24.00 BE 1725    
                                                            
    29.12.41    
    04.00 BE 1715    
    08.00 BD 3935    
  12.00 BD 3921  SSE 6, 10/10, Sea 5, Vis. 12 nm Rain                                                 Total:           154      nm
                                                      To date:       950      nm  
    16.00 BD 3911                                                 Submerged:   36.5    nm  
    20.00 BD 3831    
    24.00 BD 3821    
                                                            
           
Sun and Moon Data 26.12.41
Sun and Moon Data 27.12.41
Sun and Moon Data 28.12.41
Sun and Moon Data 29.12.41
 
- 4 -
 
           
           
           
           
    30.12.41      
    04.00 BD 3811    
    08.00 BD 3723    
    12.00 BD 3713  Middle of a low, changing winds, rough seas, Vis. 4 nm                                                 Total:           154      nm  
                                                      To date:     1104      nm  
                                                      Submerged:   36.5    nm  
    15.03   , Attack exercise.  
    16.10 BD 2933  
    20.00 BD 2676    
    24.00 BD 2596    
                                                            
    31.12.41    
    04.00 BD 2586    
    08.00 BD 2579    
    12.00 BD 2499  In a second low, weather as above                                                 Total:           141      nm  
                                                      To date:     1245      nm  
                                                        Submerged:   41       nm  
        Photo journalist specialist leader (Artilleriemaat) Toelle broke left index finger due to a heavy swell.  A case of military accident.  
    16.00 BD  2723    
    20.00 BD 2713    
    24.00 BD 1936 Beginning of a new year in the North Atlantic.  The boat can look back on a successful year and we all go confidently into the new year in the hope of new successes, which will contribute to the end of the war.  
                                                            
    01.01.42    
    04.00 BD 1926    
    08.00 BD 1919    
    12.00 BD 1839  S by W 3-4, 5/10, Sea 3, Vis. 18 nm                                                 Total:           126      nm  
                                                      To date:     1371     nm  
    16.00 BD 1853                                                 Submerged:   41       nm  
    20.00 BD 1845    
    24.00 BD 1843    
                                                            
Sun and Moon Data 30.12.41
Sun and Moon Data 31.12.41
Sun and Moon Data 01.01.42
 
- 5 -
 
           
           
           
           
    02.01.42      
    04.00 BD 1763    
    08.00 BD 1756    
    12.00 BD 1775  N 5, 10/10, Sea 4, Vis. 4 nm                                                Total:           132      nm  
                                                      To date:     1503     nm  
                                                        Submerged:   41       nm  
        Radio message from BdU: DIMITRIOS INGLESSIS (5275 GRT) in BC 4335 is requesting a tug due to rudder failure. Attack allowed if not further away than 150 nm.  Our distance 360 nm.  
    16.00 BC 3969    
    20.00 BC 3983  N by W 7, 6/10, Sea 6-7, Vis. 6 nm    
         
    24.00 BC 3976    
                                                            
    03.01.42    
    04.00 BC 3898    
    08.00 BC 6222    
    12.00 BC 6215  N by E 0-1, 5/10, Sea 1, Vis 12 nm                                                Total:           126      nm  
                                                      To date:     1629     nm  
                                                        Submerged:   41       nm  
    13.58   , Crash-dive for drill.  
    14.16   .  
    16.00 BC 6138    
    17.45   Radio message: DIMITRIOS will meet salvage vessel from Halifax in the afternoon on 5 January.  This makes it possible to reach her without losing too much time and fuel.  
    18.00 SE 2, 5/10, Sea 2, Vis. 15 nm Course 270°, both engines at 300 revolutions.  Listening to the 600 meter frequency.  At 19.45 hours SOS heard from DIMITRIOS "Lost rudder, need help immediately, approximate position 48°39'N/48°21'W."  
    20.00 BC 6143 Steered for BC 1957 on course 283°  
    24.00 BC 5361    
                                                            
    04.01.42    
    0400 BC 5236    
    0800 [text illegible]    
           
Sun and Moon Data 02.01.42
Sun and Moon Data 03.01.42
 
- 6 -
 
           
           
           
           
    04.01.42      
    12.00 BC 2789  SW 2, Fog, Sea 2, Vis. 1/2 nm                                                 Total:           236       nm  
                                                      To date:     1865       nm  
                                                        Submerged:   42       nm  
    15.30   Steamer asked for bearing.  I found him at 31°, St. Johns at 72.5°, his position is therefore BC 2746 on course 31°.  Unsuccessfully searched in BC 27 and 51.  Patchy fog. Visibility 10 nm, then heavy fog with 200 meters visibility.  Steamer does not use radio, St. Johns talks with rescue tug FOUNDATION FRANKLIN.  Thanks to bearing of St. Johns and Cape Race I constantly have exact positions.  
    20.00 BC 5124    
    24.00    
                                                            
    05.01.42      
    04.00 BC 2783    
    04.45   Steamer sends bearing signals for tug.  I have him at 236°, went to course 236°.  The whole day many conversations on the 600 meter frequency.  Due to the heavy fog, visibility 200 to 300 meters.  Underway at cruising speed.  Course lies in my line of approach.  They arrange different frequencies to take bearings, which I listen to.  The bearings from St. Johns, Cape Race and my own location show a very big triangle.  Use my own bearing to get on a better course.  Steamer reports that he is near Virgin Rocks.  Tug expected to be with him at 22.00 hours.  Detailed communications about the method of towing etc.  A second vessel asks for bearing signals as well.  About 22.00 hours I will be there and intend an attack with artillery when the tug is alongside.  
    08.00 BC 5113    
    12.00 BC 4339  Calm, Fog, Sea 0, Vis 100m                                                 Total:           162       nm  
                                                      To date:     2027       nm  
                                                        Submerged:   42       nm  
    16.00 BC 4356    
    20.00 BC 4615 Steamer was ordered to give two blasts on the whistle.  
    22.56   Heard foghorn ahead.  
    23.30 [text illegible]    
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 04.01.42
Sun and Moon Data 05.01.42
 
- 7 -
 
           
           
           
           
    05.01.42      
        Suddenly two faint lights in sight. These have to be from the steamer and tug.  Furthermore two foghorns heard, so there are four vessels assembled here.  
    00.26   Observe a big shadow at 100 meters which I assume to be the steamer that sends Morse code by a lamp.  The other light passes and I recognize a high seas tug with two funnels.  
        I want to get alongside the shadow for an artillery attack, but the tug continues and we detect another light.  Radio message from steamer: "Welcome, you are in sight."  Assume that the other light is also a salvage tug and want to wait until I can clearly see who is around here.  Especially as the fourth vessel was only heard and not seen.  Went a bit away to wait for the tugs to go alongside.  
        Suddenly the fog lifts and the moonlight shines through. Visibility changes to 1000 meters and then 2 nm.  Now I can see that the shadow that I had been alongside at 100 meters distance is a big destroyer and the fourth vessel is also a destroyer.  The tug lies alongside the DIMITRIOS to pass the tow line.  It would have been a lively surprise if I had attacked the destroyer with gunfire.  My position was unfavorable so despite of being ready I could not fire torpedoes and above all I had to get away from the light of the full moon.  
    01.42   The tow convoy gets underway on a course of 300° towards St. Johns.  
                                                            
    06.01.42      
        Now I am behind and have to overtake them first.  Both destroyers are following astern. When planning my attack I had to consider the following: Despite the bright full moon night it was too dark for a submerged attack.  For a surfaced attack I would have to attack a destroyer first, because the tow convoy is too slow to escape and the second destroyer would then perhaps flee.  For this purpose a torpedo spread would have been necessary and due to the bright night have to be fired from a great distance with success being doubtful. In regard to my special orders the use of so many torpedoes was in this case for once not justified.  If I just approach DIMITRIOS again, a hit would be certain, but I would then have to deal with two destroyers which just had to see us in this visibility [text illegible]  
           
Sun and Moon Data 06.01.42
 
- 8 -
 
           
           
           
           
    06.01.42      
      In addition, after torpedoing the steamer the destroyers would not have another task and could engage us for a long time.  I decided to overtake the tow convoy, his course was known, and to fire a single torpedo from a long distance with reliable data.  Then I would have enough time to escape.  
    02.43 I turned for the attack when suddenly heavy fog set in and I lost the tow convoy when the visibility dropped to about 100 to 200 meters.  I now ran towards the last bearing in the hope to stumbling over them and firing immediately.  I did not find him again in the fog.  
    05.00 Turned back towards the ordered CB 60 at cruising speed.  Basically my behavior was certainly wrong.  If it was justifiable in regards to our special orders can only be determined in the next weeks.  I did not lose time, but I expended 6 cubic meters of fuel.  
    08.00 BC 4822    
    12.00 BC 4843  S by E 3, 10/10, Sea 2, Vis. 1/2 nm, Fog                                                 Total:          199.0    nm  
                                                      To date:    2226       nm  
                                                        Submerged:   42       nm  
    16.00 BC 4871    
    20.00 BC 7132    
    24.00 BC 7153    
                                                            
    07.01.42    
    04.00 BC 7181    
    08.00 BC 7178    
    12.00 BB 9639  WNW 1-2, 9/10, Sea 2, Vis. 3 nm                                                Total:           132       nm  
                                                      To date:    2358       nm  
                                                        Submerged:   42       nm  
    16.00 BB 9661  W by N 4, 9/10, Sea 3, Vis. 15 nm    
    17.07   , Shifted and flushed diving tank 7.  
    18.59       
    19.05    
    19.20       
    20.00 BB 9657  W 7, 8/10, Sea 6, Vis. 18 nm    
    24.00 BB 9675     
                                                            
    08.01.42    
    04.00 BB 9579    
    08.00 [text illegible]    
           
Sun and Moon Data 07.01.42
Sun and Moon Data 08.01.42
 
- 9 -
 
           
           
           
           
    08.01.42      
    16.00 BB 9757 Course 250° due to bad weather.  
    20.00 BB 9772  NE 5-6, 10/10, Sea 5, Vis. 0 nm, driving snow    
    24.00 BB 8995                                                     
         
    09.01.42    
    04.00 CB 3333  NW 6-7, 10/10. Sea 5-6, Vis. 100m, Snow    
    08.00 CB 3325    
    12.00 CB 3318  NW 5, 9/10, Sea 4, Vis. 1 nm                                                 Total:           124       nm  
                                                      To date:     2597       nm  
    16.00 CB 3262                                                 Submerged:   50        nm  
    20.00 CB 3259  NW 3, 8/10, Sea 3, Vis. 8nm Evaded a two-masted sailing schooner of approximately 600 GRT on the surface.  Its course 30°.  
    21.01   , Test dive.  
    21.23    
    24.00 CB 3285 We were ordered to the attack area off New York by radio message.  Set course towards it.  Estimated date of arrival is 13 January.  
                                                            
    10.01.42    
    04.00 CB 3511  
    08.00 CB 3428    
    12.00 CB 2669  SSW 2, 10/10, Sea 1, Vis. 3 nm                                               Total:           183      nm  
                                                    To date:     2939      nm  
    16.00 CB 2684                                               Submerged:   51.5     nm  
    20.00 CB 2883  SSW 6, 10/10, Sea 5, Vis. 8 nm    
    24.00 CB  2827  WSW 2, 10/10, Sea 2, Vis. 1 nm, driving snow                                                     
         
    11.01.42    
    04.00 CB 2765    
    08.00 CB 2781    
    12.00 CB 4332  WNW 4-5, 9/10, Sea 4, Vis. 2 nm                                                Total:           183       nm  
      Course 270°                            To date:     2939      nm  
                                                      Submerged:   51.5     nm  
     

Surveillance of the 600 and 800 meter frequencies in this area is very rewarding due to the heavy traffic there.  We get information about the steamers and their fix checks by bearings from coast stations.  For example yesterday evening the NIKOLINA MATKOVIC sent in

 
      [text illegible]    
           
Sun and Moon Data 09.01.42
Sun and Moon Data 10.01.42
Sun and Moon Data 11.01.42
 
- 10 -
 
           
           
           
           
    11.01.42      
        Additionally several steamers asked for bearings off Halifax, New York and Nantucket when inbound for the harbors.  
    16.00 CB 4322  NW 2, 8/10, Sea 2, Vis. 10 nm    
    16.35   Sighted cloud of smoke at 30° to starboard.  Headed towards it.  After one hour recognized a high funnel and two double masts on the fore deck.  Steamer's course is north-east.  Judging from ship pictures it has to be a steamer of the Holt Shipping Company (Blue Funnel Line), because for example the funnel is higher than the mast.  These steamers and all other English and American ships with double masts are about 10,000 GRT or more, so I am allowed to attack.  I am astern and have to overtake.  
    20.00 CB 1961 Steamer on course 38° for Sydney.  Seems to zigzagging slightly.  Speed 9 knots.  
    24.00 CB 2471  NW 2, 5/10, Sea 1-2, Vis. 3 nm Ahead of him.  Dusk.  
                                                            
    12.01.42      
    00.00   Running towards him.  It gets very dark and misty.  I could see him for a long time because of the bright evening sky. The distance gets too great.  Two times I turn on parallel course when reaching a target angle of 90° and overtake him again because the distance is about 3000 meters.  During the third approach the estimated distance is still 1500 meters.  
    01.49 CB 1663  SW 2, 6/10, Sea 2, Vis. 2 nm

With good data I fire a G7a torpedo from tube III.  Target angle 85° and enemy speed 9 knots.  Aimed at the leading edge of the funnel, but the electrical firing mechanism failed and the shot was fired manually 3 seconds later.  Hit after 96 seconds behind the funnel.  Dark explosion plume, light fiery glow.  Settles by the stern.  Steamer uses radio.  Opened fire with the MG C30, but the distance was too great to for its use.  CYCLOPS (9076 GRT), indeed of

 
      [text illegible]  
           
           
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 12.01.42
 
- 11 -
 
           
           
           
           
    12.01.42      
      lifeboats, after some time, a part of the crew re-boarded the vessel, because the steamer did not sink.  Astern she has a gun of about 105 mm.  The steamer is still using the radio and the same destroyer (name NERK) which had been with DIMITRIOS is called from Halifax so I don't want to wait until the steamer sinks.  Due to the swell and because his gun is manned an artillery attack is not possible.  Firing a coup de grace from a distance of 600 meters at the port side aiming for the bridge.  
    02.18 One G7a torpedo fired from tube V.  Very high black-white explosion plume.  Depth on both shots 3.5 meters.  Steamer was heavily loaded.  He breaks in two, bow pointing skyward.  
    02.23 Steamer sank.  Shortly afterwards two very strong, metallic detonations heard.  Strong shocks in the whole boat.  Sounds like depth charges in immediate vicinity.  Seems too strong to me to be a boiler explosion.  It was the 25th steamer hit by U-123.  Course 220°.  Both engines at 300 revolutions.  I have lost a lot of time and have to hurry to be in the patrol area on 13 January.  
    04.00 CB 1667    
    08.00 CB 1913    
    12.00 CB 1941  W by S 3-4, 9/10, Sea 3, Vis. 2 nm                                               Total:           217        nm  
    14.00 Course 250°                           To date:     3156       nm  
                                                      Submerged:   51.5     nm  
    17.40   Test dive.  
    18.12        
    18.50 CB 1877 Sighted drifting submerged wreck.  
    19.00   Course 270°  
    20.00 CB 1798    
    24.00 CB 1779 Our fix (the first in 3 days) shows a shift of 25 nm to 79°, so the correct position of CYCLOPS was CB 2424.  
                                                            
    13.01.42      
    04.00 CB 1782    
    08.00 CA 3993    
    12.00 CA 3972  W 3-4, 9/10, Sea 3-4, Vis. 2 nm                                              Total:           223       nm  
                                                    To date:     3379      nm  
                                                      Submerged:   55       nm  
    15.27   Evaded a two-masted sailing vessel with auxiliary engine on starboard on the surface.  
    16.00   , [text illegible]  
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 13.01.42
 
- 12 -
 
           
           
           
           
    13.01.42      
    20.00 CA 3876  
    21.37   Crash-dive for aircraft, same type, course 130°.  
    23.12   , I deliberately stayed so long under water because the use of the periscope is restricted in this swell and I want to remain unseen.  Can not reach my patrol area until tonight, due to the high seas.  I can't run faster than both engines at HF.  
    24.00 CA 3871  NW 4, 2/10, Sea 4, Vis. 10 nm    
                                                            
    14.01.42      
    04.00 CA 3782    
    04.48                                                  Light to starboard. Probably the Montauk lighthouse.  Weather has calmed down.  Good visibility.  Glow from the direction of New York and the cities on the Narragansett Bay. Seems that they are not darkened.  There are only a few lights visible in the North, which are only sporadically seen and not really detected.  
    07.24 Light on port side.  Head towards it!  Soon recognized as big tanker that is leaving port on the peacetime course 96°.  Shows all lights.  Observed a speed of 10 knots from a distance of 4000 meters.  
    08.34

CA 3775  NW 1, 1/10, Sea 1, Vis. 3 nm

Turned towards it and fired two torpedoes with target angle 60°, distances 800 and 700 meters, to sink it immediately.  Aimed at bridge and aft mast.  The first torpedo malfunctioned perhaps ran too deep - it was set on 4 meters.  The second hit exactly underneath the aft mast after about 45 seconds.  Heavy detonation. 50 meter high column of fire, 200 meter high black mushroom cloud.  Settled a bit aft, slight list to starboard.  Does not burn.  Steamer sends on short wave 41 meters "SOS, hit by torpedo or mine, 40 nm west of Nantucket lightship."NORNESS (9577 GRT)  
    08.53 Coup de grace, G7e torpedo from tube V.  Depth 3 meters.  Hit after 107 seconds underneath the bridge.  Again very strong detonation, high column of fire, which collapses, above it again a 200 meter high mushroom cloud.  Impressive view against the bright starlit sky.  Tanker now lies on even keel again.  Does not sink.  
    09.10 Coup de grace G7e torpedo from tube IV.  Failed!  Depth setting 3 meters.  No impact heard.  Probably ran too deep.  Distance = 2000 meters.  Missing a stopped target is not possible.  Now I have to sacrifice a fifth torpedo,  
      [text illegible]    
           
Sun and Moon Data 14.01.42
 
- 13 -
 
           
           
           
           
    14.01.42      
    09.29   Coup de grace G7e torpedo from tube II.  Depth 3 meters. Hit in the engine room after 26 seconds.  The same view as in the first two hits.  
    09.33   Tanker sinks.  He was heavily loaded.  The stern hits the bottom at 70 meters, the bow protrudes about 30 meters vertically from the sea.  An interesting menace to navigation, which surely has to be dispersed by the Americans.  Continued towards Ambrose Channel.  
    12.00 CA 2995  SW 2, 1/10, Sea 1, Vis. 4 nm                                               Total:           184      nm  
                                                    To date:     3563      nm  
                                                      Submerged:   67       nm  
    13.15   Lights on starboard abeam.  Towards it!  Unfortunately the sun rises behind us, so that we are visible in the bright morning sky.  Soon two steamer lights can be seen.  They help to estimate the situation.  Maybe it just works.  
    13.28   .  Running at GF. on course 0°.  Steamer on course 96°, target angle 30°.  I manage to get ahead of him and approach for a stern shot.  From a distance of 400 to 500 meters I recognize the Spanish ISLA DE TENERIFE (5115 GRT). Pity!  
    14.00   Course 230°.   I set off a bit.  Submerged during day.  Will get closer again the following night.  
    16.00 CA 5321    
    19.51 CA 5327   Course 320°.  
    24.00 CA 2896    
                                                            
           
    15.01.42      
                                                        My intent is to operate on the inbound and outbound routes towards the Fire Island lightship and further on towards Ambrose lightship.  Water depths there are under 20 meters.  Made boat ready to scuttle without delay.  
    01.30 Heard announcement by the Navy Department, Washington in American broadcast that a tanker was probably torpedoed by a U-boat 60 nm south of Block Island.  Shipping is warned.  This was repeated later on the 600 meter frequency.  At 05.00 hours received radio message from BdU: "According to xB-report, at 15.30 hours on 14.01. an unknown tanker was sinking in CA 3770.  Crew in the lifeboats.  1 minesweeper, 1 patrol craft, 1 destroyer and 3 aircraft sent to assist."  This shows me that his emergency message on the 41 meter frequency was not heard by the coastal stations and the wreck had been sighted at daylight.  
           
Sun and Moon Data 15.01.42
 
- 14 -
 
           
           
           
           
    15.01.42      
    01.44   Steamer DAYROSE (4113 GRT) sends SSS on the 600 meter frequency.  Near Cape Race.  
    03.09   A light ahead.  Probably the Fire Island lightship.  Set course towards it.  
    04.00   According to dead reckoning the lightship should be nearby.  Light still ahead on the horizon.  Has to be a flashing light on land.  Here are many small pilot tugs or fishing trawlers which I evade.  About 6 of them observed with lights set.  There seem to be no mines in the area because the vessels are cruising on different courses.  I advance further.  
    04.56   Ahead land in sight.  Many lights visible.  Seems to be a suburb of New York, whose bright glow is clearly seen on the horizon.  Distance from the center of the city about 30 miles.  The Ambrose lightship is also not on station.  Have 11 meters of water under the keel.  It must not get much shallower, because I would not be able to get the conning tower under water.  Again many fishing and pilot vessels in the area, assume that mine and net barrages were only brought out in the inner entrance from Sandy Hook to Rockaway Beach.  Hoped to find steamers here, but apparently the shipping was stopped for the moment.  
    05.00   On course 100°. Search again on the East-West routes, perhaps an inbound vessel will appear.  Again swarms of tugs, pilot and fishing vessels.  
    08.00 CA 2895    
    08.40   Steamer lights to starboard.  There is actually someone leaving, again on the peacetime course.  Approached a big tanker again.  At 3000 meters distance measured speed of 10-11 knots.  Overtaken until target angle was 0°, his course 96°.  Moved to one side, turned towards it, a textbook approach with known course and speed.  The steamer lights help to judge the situation.  
    09.41 CA 2896  WS 4, 5/10, Sea 3, Vis. 2 nm

Single shot, G7e torpedo from tube I.  Target angle 95°, distance 800 meters, depth 2.5 meters due to heavy seas.  Aimed for bridge.  Again heavily loaded.  After 58 seconds hit aft of bridge.  The effect was stunning.  A fierce detonation, a column of fire rose over 200 meters high and the whole sky was as bright as day.  For many seconds the sea and horizon around us was clearly visible.  Compared to this the NORNESS was just mediocre fireworks.

 
       
           
Sun and Moon Data 16.01.42
 
- 15 -
 
           
           
           
           
    15.01.42      
        The bridge was burning and it was therefore not possible to use the radio.  He seems bigger than NORNESS, especially the superstructure on the stern. Amazingly long. He is surely 10,000 GRT.  Now quickly a coup de grace to prevent being disturbed, because this fiery glow has to be seen from New York.  
    09.59   Forewarned by the experiences yesterday he got a clean coup de grace from tube V in the stern underneath the funnel.  Hit after 45 seconds.  This was good because he had a gun aft where flashlights could be seen.  We were clearly visible to him due to the fire aboard.  Heavy detonation, high columns of fire, black mushroom cloud.  Settles fast by the stern and sinks.  
    10.04   Stern hits the bottom at 54 meters.  This time, the bow protrudes from the first mast at an angle of about 30° out of the water.  These are some pretty buoys we are leaving for the Yankees in the harbor approaches as replacement for the lightships.  Departed on course 180°.  
    12.00 CA 5233  SW 5, 9/10, Sea 4, Vis. 2 nm                                               Total:           183      nm  
                                                    To date:     3746      nm  
                                                      Submerged:   87.5    nm  
    12.24   A fishing trawler to starboard.  I decide again to stay submerged during the day due to an overcast sky and heavy seas which restrict the use of the periscopes.  Underway to be on the North-South routes off the coast of New Jersey the next night.  The East-West routes are warned for now.  
    14.10   at dawn, course 230°.  
    16.00 CA 5262    
    20.00 CA 5264    
    23.23    
    24.00 CA 5259  W by S 4, 4/10, Sea 3, Vis. 3 nm    
                                                            
    16.01.42      
    00.01   , Crash-dive for aircraft that came out of the haze on port side.  4 aircraft bombs to starboard.  They were badly aimed.  The Yankees have much to learn.  
    00.42   , [text illegible]  
           
Sun and Moon Data 16.01.42
 
- 16 -
 
           
           
           
           
    16.01.42      
        Sandy Hook was declared as a danger zone from 15 to 31 January by Hydro New York.  Because I was sighted by the aircraft on a westerly course and its radio message alerted the shipping, I decide to head south to the Delaware Bay to operate on the peacetime course of 193° from the Barnegat lightship and not north towards New York.  According to a message on the 600 meter frequency the Barnegat and Five Fathom Bank lightships were replaced by light buoys and their identification codes were published.  Reached the position of the Five Fathom Bank lightship.  Water depth is 8 meters under keel.  Searched on the routes Cape Hatteras to New York and Delaware Bay.  Nothing sighted except fishing trawlers.  
    04.00 CA 5515    
    08.00 CA 5455    
    12.00 CA 5728  W by S 3-4, 2/10, Sea 3, Vis. 3 nm                                               Total:           162      nm  
                                                    To date:      3908      nm  
                                                      Submerged:   117     nm  
    13.45   Ran off to the 100-meter line.  
    17.00 CA 5739  Dived. Grounded boat at A +25 meters.  Heard fast screw noises as well as depth sounding pulses which were heard in the whole boat. (100 pulses per minute).  A clear, hard tone, possibly an Asdic, also possible that a steamer tries to find the channel.  But this is unlikely at day and good visibility and it ran for 10 minutes, then short pauses.  
    23.43   Heard a distant detonation.  
                                                            
           
           
    00.42   , Went again to the Five Fathom Bank and searched the same routes as yesterday.  
    02.00   Star shells on starboard abeam.  Ahead searchlights from the direction of Cape Henlopen.  Villages on the coast brightly lit.  
    04.00 CA 5723 Again sighted few lights of smaller vessels.  
    06.35   Shadow on port side, silhouette of a destroyer.  
        [text illegible]  
           
Sun and Moon Data 16.01.42
Sun and Moon Data 17.01.42
 
- 17 -
 
           
           
           
           
    17.01.42      
    08.00 CA 5497    
    12.00 CA 5756                                               Total:           140     nm  
                                                      To date:      4048    nm  
                                                      Submerged:   124    nm  
      Starboard ahead a light.  Go for it!  After a short time I can recognize a freighter of approximately 4000 GRT. 4 hatches, heavily loaded.  He only shows a lamp on the first mast and darkened position lights. Course 13°, speed 11 knots.  Unfortunately dawn is breaking. While overtaking I get a bit too close.  On the spur of the moment I cross his bow at a distance of 600 meters, prepare the last stern torpedo and get myself into the dark horizon.  
    13.01 CA 5756  NW 2, 0/10, Sea 1-2, Vis. 5 nm Fired stern torpedo.  Target angle 90°, distance 750 meters.  Running time 57 seconds.  A very heavy detonation, strong, dark black smoke plume.  Hit bridge.  The steamer sinks immediately.  As the smoke from the detonation cleared, only the masts were still visible above the water, and shortly thereafter sank.  Water depth of 45 meters.  I depart at maximum speed eastwards because the day is dawning and I need some more water under our keel during the day.  Due to calm seas and a cloudless sky I decide to stay on the surface to reach Cape Hatteras fast where according to radio messages the shipping crosses.  
    14.58    Crash-dive for flying boat, type "Consolidated".  
    16.09 CA 5769    
    16.51      , Crash-dive for flying boat.  
    18.43    
    20.00 CA 5799    
    20.29   , Crash-dive for land based aircraft.  
    21.14    
    22.11 S 1, 0/10, Sea 0-1, Vis. 15 nm , Crash-dive for flying boat.  
    24.00 CA 8135    
                                                            
    18.01.42    
    00.10    
    0020       , Crash-dive for aircraft.  
    01.18        Course west to the route Cape Hatteras – New York, to sail towards the Cape on it.  
    02.00   20° to port a destroyer.  Evaded to starboard.  
    04.00 CA 8165    
           
Sun and Moon Data 17.01.42
Sun and Moon Data 18.01.42
 
- 18 -
 
           
           
           
           
    18.01.42      
    08.35   A bright fiery flame port side ahead. Shortly thereafter heard two torpedo detonations.  This has to be U-66.  The 600 meter frequency is now busy because many steamers have seen the flames burning for 45 minutes and are reporting this. ELISABETH LENSEN seems to be nearby, I take a bearing and approach her on course 180°.  
    12.00 CA 8471  SW 2, 6/10, Sea 1, Vis. 3 nm                                               Total:           216      nm  
                                                    To date:      4264    nm  
                                                      Submerged:   154    nm  
    12.10   A shadow to port.  I assume that it is ELISABETH LENSEN.  But I soon see a big tanker.  Annoying that the day is dawning.  Try to approach him, but it seems that he has seen us because he turns away to port.  Now I can see a big darkened tanker approaching the other head on.  So it is possible that he just evaded the other tanker.  Two steamer lights to starboard in sight.  What a pity to have 3 big ships in sight at dawn without getting closer.  Maneuver to perhaps sink the outbound tanker.  
    13.09     I could not attack.  That was bad luck.  But the area seems to be rich with targets and if he has not seen me, there will be enough other steamers here tomorrow.  Set course 90° towards deeper water.  
    16.05   Grounded boat at A +25 meters.  
                                                            
           
    19.01.42      
    00.46   , According to hydrophone reports there are still many steamers running along.  I want to get close to the shore and wait directly off Cape Hatteras.  Again a starlit sky and calm seas.  It should be possible to use my remaining 5 torpedoes there.  
    03.04  

A light to starboard.  Go for it!  Freighter of approximately 4000 GRT.  4 hatches, heavily loaded.  Speed 9-10 knots.  Overtaken and due to the bright night

 
        [text illegible]  
           
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 19.01.42
 
- 19 -
 
           
           
           
           
    19.01.42      
        and controlled his course of 0°.  Overtaken on his starboard side at maximum speed.  We are now close to a light buoy north-west of the Wimble Shoal buoy.  3 steamers come towards us.  I hope to catch them afterwards.  I now get so close that, even if he spots me, he can't avoid me anymore.  
    05.16 CA 7668  SSE 2, 1/10, Sea 1, Vis. 4 nm Fired from a distance of 450 meters.  Target angle 90°, enemy speed 9 knots.  After 30 seconds hit aft of funnel.  Heavy detonation.  Steamer settles aft fast.  Stern hits bottom, the bow is visible at a steep angle from the first mast. Chased the others at maximum speed.  
    05.42   Light to starboard.  I let the others go and operate on this new target because I am ahead of it.  
    06.23   The light proves to be a small coastal steamer, so I let him go.  The channel is marked by light buoys, which the steamers keep on their port side so I decided to follow the buoys and soon see a light starboard ahead.  Turned towards it. A steamer of about 4000 GRT.   4hatches.  Speed measured at 10 knots.  The situation was clear.  I had his course because he was navigating along the buoys.  At the Wimble Shoal buoy he turns to 180° so I fall back.  Soon I am ahead again and turn towards him to catch up before the Cape because there he will be able to turn away to starboard again.  Water depth 7-8 meters.  I want to obtain guaranteed hits with the last 3 torpedoes so I move closer.  
    09.09 CA 7962

Fired torpedo at a distance of 250 meters.  Target angle 90°. Due to the shallow water I set depth at 2 meters to prevent the torpedo from hitting the bottom.  Torpedo jumps twice out of the water, becomes a surface runner and hits aft.  Good that I was that close otherwise the surface runner would have missed astern.  Very heavy detonation after 15 seconds.  On the bridge one could hear the whistling of debris flying past and falling all around the boat into the water.  Steamer settles fast by the stern, heavy list to port.  While I do a victory lap, the steamer capsizes to port with the funnel and masts hitting the water.  He lies on the bottom with the stern under water and the bow protruding out of the water.   Behind me are several lights, so I head north to get the steamers between me and the well lit coast which can be clearly seen.  I see 5 vessels in a long line with their lights on.  The foremost I recognize as

 
        [text illegible]  
           
Sun and Moon Data 19.01.42
 
- 20 -
 
           
           
           
           
    19.01.42      
        no torpedo, but I still have a deck gun.  On battle stations for artillery attack, deck gun ready!  I position myself directly in his wake.  The other 4 steamers sufficiently away (distance 2000 meters).  I want to get closer from astern and ambush him when passing.  
    10.34   Open fire!  Everything works fantastically, at least 6 hits aft in the engine room.  Tanker stops and burns.  Now I recognize that he is even bigger, about 4000 GRT.  He has a slight list to port and because he is on fire I believe he has enough for now and decide to attack the other steamers with torpedoes.  Try to overtake a freighter, 6000 GRT, but his speed is14-15 knots and I barely get ahead.  Another one approaches me head-on on a course to the north.  I'm changing target and try to get closer, but this one is also too fast and because the day is dawning soon I will not be able to fire on him before dawn.  But I have others to choose from.   My tanker reports by a radio message that he is still burning after being attacked by a U-boat with artillery and the "I. Naval Station" should be notified.  It was the MALAY (8207 GRT).  I never would have guessed that he is so big.  Well, then my last torpedo should be his coup de grace.  First another shot on a freighter of 5000 GRT, which is running towards me at 9 knots and I am ahead.  One diesel engine broke down due to a rupture of the cooling water tube, so I continue with the other engine on maximum speed.  
    12.00 CA 7938

Fired torpedo.  Distance 450 meters, target angle 90°, enemy speed 9 knots.  Hit aft of funnel and he breaks in two.  He has had enough.  Water depth 10 meters.  He was heavily loaded.  With this one the boat has exceeded the 200,000 tons barrier and I my 100,000 tons.  Now fast to MALAY, which managed to extinguish the fire and reported by radio message that she was operational again.  Set off in the approximate direction by instinct.  We were lucky.  Soon we noticed the smell of a ship burning.  Followed the smell and saw two shadows stopped ahead.  Go for it!  Shortly before we arrive the tanker proceeds on course 340° in the direction of Norfolk.  The other steamer CITY OF DELHI (7443 GRT) is recovering a lifeboat.  I could easily fire on this stopped steamer, but it annoyed me that the tanker was underway again and I wanted to spoil his joy over it.  Besides that he was more valuable.  While I chased after him, the last torpedoed steamer fires bright white star shells.

 
           
Sun and Moon Data 19.01.42
 
- 21 -
 
           
           
           
           
    19.01.42      
        I’m almost parallel to MALAY. Something is still burning underneath the deck, but he makes 11 knots.  That is stunning.  And then he sees me against the bright morning sky.  He illuminates me with a spotlight, sends "UD" and turns away hard to port.  I turn to starboard.  Directly ahead of me is another steamer.  In this case he will get the torpedo. Then the MALAY turns back.  Of course, otherwise he would sail right into the coast.  
    12.44

CA 7938  SSE 2, 2/10, Sea 1, Vis. 5 nm

I turn hard to port and fire my last torpedo while turning.  After 28 seconds a fierce detonation.  Hit just ahead of engine room.  Blame yourself for sending a hasty report of about being operational.  We are monitoring the 600 meter frequency.  But now both engines are at maximum speed.  The unusable diesel engine was ready again by welding the ruptured tube.  Course 90°.  It is already fairly bright, but in 10 meters of water diving is not possible.  Still there are many steamers around here.  A big tanker is running ahead of me, a giant on the port side.  They of course see me, but this does not help.  The giant turns towards us and tries to ram.  This idea had not occurred to me.  I thought he would just run away.  Distance 400 meters.  Diesel engines on emergency speed.  Water depth 20 meters.  This is too shallow to crash-dive from maximum speed, he will ram us.  It was the Norwegian KOSMOS II (16,966 GRT).  This one we would have enjoyed sinking too.  From his radio messages we know that he first believed that we were chasing him, but then he chased us because he thought that there was "something wrong" with us.  Without submarine experience he could not know that we are not able to crash-dive in 20 meters of water.  Very slowly the distance increases and after 2 hours he gives up because he is in ballast and could not keep up the high speed with empty tanks.  We bluff him with a northerly course, which he immediate reports.  Furthermore he sends the exact position and bearing signals.  At 13.20 hours, aircraft took off.  In this visibility we should see them in time.  After he turned away and got out of sight I change course to 160°.  All the time the MALAY sent: "SOS sinking rapidly, next ship please hurry, torpedoed, sinking."  He sends frantically "hurry, hurry next ship."  Two men were killed and two others badly injured.  Therefore we can count him as completely destroyed.  The night of the long knives was over.  A beat of the drum with 8 ships, among them 3 tanker with 53,060 GRT. [text illegible]  
           
Sun and Moon Data 19.01.42
 
- 22 -
 
           
           
           
           
    19.01.42      
        and tonight instead of me with 10 to 20 U-boats present.  I believe everyone would have had enough targets.  I had seen about 20 steamers, some of them with lights and additionally a few colliers.  All en route close to the shore.  All lights were burning, admittedly darkened, so that they were only visible from 2-3 nm.  That's why U-66 got the impression on the 18th that everything is darkened around here.  The surveillance of the 600 meter frequency proved itself, since I knew about the withdrawal of the lightships and knew the identification signals of the buoys.  Moreover I had a good overview about the shipping concentration and situation from the radio messages by taking a bearing on the steamers.  However, after the first sinkings the shipping was reduced sharply.  For example, the whole private telegram communication of sea-faring Jews stopped completely.  
    15.02 SSW 4, 2/10, Sea 3-4, Vis. 12 nm   Crash-dive - the aircraft arrives.  
                                                      Total:           158      nm  
                                                      To date:      4422    nm  
                                                      Submerged:   157    nm  
    16.00 CA 8727    
    20.00 CA 8755    
    24.00 CA 8786 Course 110°.  
                                                            
    20.01.42      
    00.35   , Steered towards the Bermudas to determine the shipping situation there since I have enough fuel left for this reconnaissance.  Reported successes to the BdU.  Received answer: "To the Paukenschläger Hardegen.  Bravo! Very well drummed."  
    04.00 DC 2113    
    08.00 DC 2163    
    12.00 DC 2291  SSW 3-4, 9/10, Sea 3-4, Vis. 3 nm                                               Total:            200    nm  
                                                    To date:      4628    nm  
                                                      Submerged:   189    nm  
    16.00 DC 2379    
    20.00 [text illegible]    
    24.00 [text illegible]    
           
Sun and Moon Data 20.01.42
 
- 23 -
 
           
           
           
           
    21.01.42      
    04.00 DC 3545    
    08.00 DC 3592    
    12.00 DC 3688  NW 2, 9/10, Sea 1, Vis. 3 nm                                              Total:             239    nm  
                                                    To date:      4867    nm  
    16.00 DD 1714                                               Submerged:   189    nm  
    20.00 DD 1756  SW 1, 8/10, Sea 1, Vis. 12 nm, heavy swell    
    24.00 DD 1768                                                     
         
    22.01.42      
      Rounded the Bermudas on a southerly course.  There was a buoy with a flashing light on the Plantagenet Bank.  Fired star shells twice in the direction of Hamilton harbor which illuminated the whole area as bright as day.  The entrances in the south and north of the island group were guarded by barriers of strong searchlights.  The navigation lights were off.  For example the Mount Hill lighthouse was seen silhouetted against the bright night sky when passing the south-east coast of the island at a distance of 2 nm.  Some small flashing buoys lay in the entrance to Hamilton harbor.  The towns of Hamilton, St. George and other villages were not darkened.  One could see single villas or hotels on the coast, as well as the radio station.  In the bright night all details could be seen on land.  Could not find any signs of mine barrages, meaning no special markers or guards.  Possibly the barrages lie in the inner entry close to the searchlights.  No surveillance or shipping observed.  There is a strong tidal current here, up to 1.5 knots.  U-boats have to navigate accurately here!  
    04.00 DD 1887  SW 3, 5/10, Sea 2, Vis. 3-4    
    08.00 DD 1894  SW 1, 2/10, Sea 1, Vis. 4 nm    
    12.00 DD 1949                                              Total:             239    nm  
        Course 70°.                           To date:      5206     nm  
    16.00 DD 1963                                               Submerged:   189    nm  
    20.00 DD 2722    
    24.00 DD 2495  W 5, 7/10, Sea 4, Vis. 12 nm                                                     
         
    23.01.42      
    04.00 DD 2573    
    08.00 DD 2556    
    12.00 DD 2618  W 2, 9/10, Sea 1, Vis. 3 nm                                               Total:             182    nm  
                                                    To date:      5388    nm  
                                                      Submerged:   189    nm  
           
Sun and Moon Data 21.01.42
Sun and Moon Data 22.01.42
Sun and Moon Data 23.01.42
 
- 24 -
 
           
           
           
           
    12.57    Crash-dive for drill.  
    13.19   ,  Cleaned the deck gun.  
    16.00 DD 2625    
    20.00 DD 2398  NNW 2-3, 9/10, Sea 2, Vis. 20 nm    
    24.00 DD 3173                                                     
         
    24.01.42    
    04.00 DD 3168    
    08.00 DD 3241    
    12.00 DD 3228  NNW 2-3, 4/10, Sea 2, Vis. 4 nm                                              Total:             154    nm  
                                                    To date:      5542    nm  
                                                      Submerged:   190    nm  
    16.00 DD 3233 Just now heard the special announcement about the U-boat successes off America in which our boat was mentioned by name.  
    17.40   Received radio message announcing the award of the Knights Cross to the commander of U-123.  In a formal ceremony in the control room, a Knights Cross, hand made by the crew, which has the 16 ships totaling 110,209 GRT on its back, was awarded to me.  
    20.00

CC 7787  WNW 4, 3/10, Sea 3, Vis. 15 nm

   
    24.00 CC 7789                                                     
         
    25.01.42      
    04.00 CC 7872    
    08.00 CC 7865    
    12.00 CC 7927                                              Total:             192    nm  
                                                      To date:      5734    nm  
                                                      Submerged:   190    nm  
    14.31   40° to starboard a steamer in sight.  Our Sunday roast.  His course 220°, speed 9 knots.  Overtaken, let him have it!  
    16.00 CC 7953  SW 4, 7/10, Sea 4, Vis. 12 nm Rain showers    
    17.02      We are ahead, running towards it.  It is a small steamer with a frame around the bow for the use of minesweeping equipment.  Heavily loaded, with deck cargo in crates.  
        [text illegible]  
Sun and Moon Data 24.01.42
Sun and Moon Data 25.01.42
 
- 25 -
 
           
           
           
           
    25.01.42      
        one gun, about 50 mm with protective shield.  
    17.57 CC 7982  SW 3-4, 3/10, Sea 3, Vis. 15 nm , about 600 meters behind him.  Deck gun ready and opened fire.  The first shots hit the stern, then one each under the bridge and in the engine room.  Steamer mans the gun and fires.  The firing pin of our MG C30 is broken, so we fired with the deck gun at his gun.  Several hits underneath, but he continues to fire until a direct hit struck the pivot.  Gun crew out of action, the barrel can't be moved anymore.  
        We received 5 hits, which did not penetrate the pressure hull.  Because they hit very low, I assume that they fell short, burst on the surface and only the splinters hit our hull.  Some shots passed between conning tower and deck gun, one could hear them whistling past.  
        Ship is releasing steam, bridge is burning and the crew is abandoning ship in the lifeboats.  Strangely they did not release the two big rafts that are intact on great slipways over the foremost and rearmost hatches.  Perhaps because they were on the side we fired on.  
        Replaced the firing pin of the 20 mm AA gun.  We fire a single shot into the scenery to test the weapon.  This shot exploded in the barrel, apparently due to a defect in manufacture of the round.  Premature detonation.  Special leader Art.Mt. Toelle is unfortunately hit by shrapnel on the back of his head and fell to the deck bleeding badly.  MtrOGfr. Vonderschen has a 5 cm flesh wound on the left thigh, which is harmless.  Not the fault of anyone. Vonderschen belonged to the AA gun crew, Toelle was standing near the aft periscope taking photos of the burning steamer.  We were firing to right aft. Toelle lost very much blood and had to vomit several times  
        The steamer was only able to send "SSS" without name and position.  We approach the lifeboats and the first officer told us that the ship was CULEBRA (3044 GRT) from Liverpool loaded with "general cargo".  There is water in the boats and the survivors only have one bucket with shrapnel holes in it.  We provide them with several buckets and provisions for a few days consisting of bread, lard and sausages and additionally a knife to open the canned food.  They have enough water.  Gave them the exact position and the course to the Bermudas.  The [text illegible]  
           
Sun and Moon Data 25.01.42
 
- 26 -
 
           
           
           
           
    25.01.42      
        were swimming in the water and will be picked up by the boats.  On the CULEBRA the signal munitions on the bridge and the ready ammunition for the gun now detonates.  Funny looking fireworks with parachute rockets.  Bridge collapses.  We are shooting holes into the waterline aft.  As the stern settles, the deck cargo shifts and we detect aircraft.  Wings with a blue-white-red cockade and yellow ring around it, fuselages and tail assemblies.  An inflated tire of a landing gear floats on the water.  And the gentlemen call this "general cargo" !!  Made a few more holes in the after part.  Stern sinks, the bow rises and then our ninth steamer sank.  Course 70°, both engines at HF.  
    20.33 CC  7982    
      SW 3, 1/10, Sea 2-3, Vis. 15 nm    
    24.00 CC 8744    
                                                            
    26.01.42.      
    04.00 CC 8753    
    08.00 CC 8817    
    12.00 CC 8822  WSW 1, 3/10, Sea 1, Vis. 6 nm                                              Total:             178    nm  
                                                    To date:      5911    nm  
                                                      Submerged:   194    nm  
    13.01   , Test dive.  
    13.31    
    16.00 CC 8599    
    20.00 CC 8681  S 1, 3/10, Sea 1, Vis. 15 nm    
    24.00 CC 8667    
                                                            
    27.01.42.      
    00.30                                                   A shadow to starboard, which is soon recognized as a tanker, course 220°, speed 9-10 knots.  I overtake and approach from ahead.  In this bright moonlight only impudence wins and the trust that his lookouts are inferior to ours.  Otherwise he has to see us for I am running at high speed to get closer fast.  We must make a decision because a light is seen on the horizon.  Subsequently I see a big gun on the stern.  I ordered all guns, 105 mm, 37 mm and 20 mm manned, [text illegible]  
           
Sun and Moon Data 26.01.42
 
- 27 -
 
           
           
           
           
    27.01.42.      
    02.03 CC 8691  SSE 1, 1/10, Sea 1, Vis. 5 nm bright moon Commence the battle from a distance of 2500 meters as crossing action, turning behind his stern to fire from the side. Already the third salvo is on target.  Good and fast.   
   

   

Several hits in the engine room and funnel set the stern on fire.  There is a flash on the bridge.  We get hits on our bridge, which did not penetrate because they hit at a very acute angle.  His shots fell short most of the time.  Ordered deck gun to be aimed at the bridge and the IIWO soon found the target.  Distance now 1000 meters.  When the bridge caught fire I turned away sharply to not show my broadside and waited.  Tanker stops and launches lifeboats.  Radioed position, it's the tanker PAN NORWAY (9231 GRT) sailing in ballast.  
        While bringing the empty cartridges back into the boat one accidentally fell from the bridge through to the control room and hit the MaschOGfr. Bastl in the face and he suffered a split upper lip and lost several teeth.  A case of military accident.  
        After it became clear that the tanker was abandoned, I closed to 250 meters and shot holes into the waterline with the 105 mm gun.  The aft gun on the tanker was a 120 mm gun on a high, strong pivot and a well built platform.  According to the survivors it could not be manned due our fire hitting the stern.  There were two machine guns of about 20 mm with protective shields on the bridge which were manned but the gun crews were hit when our first rounds struck the bridge and the guns had to be abandoned.  
        The tanker sent Morse code by a signal light but we could not read it.  We thought that he was capitulating and waited nearby until all men abandoned ship in the lifeboats.  After the 105 mm ran out of ammunition we continued to fire into the hull with the 37 mm.  He already settled aft with a heavy list to port.  
    03.45   Tanker sank capsizing by the stern.  The forward part of the ship is drifting bottom up.  Fired more holes into it until out of ammunition.  The forward part of the ship is now slowly rising and moves up and down, 40 meters high.  In this position it dances a long time up and down  
        [text illegible]  
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 26.01.42
 
- 28 -
 
           
           
           
           
    27.01.42.      
        and settles a bit. A funny view, scary illuminated by burning oil floating on the sea.  
    03.58   Tanker sank. The light mentioned above turned out to be a neutral steamer, which waited at a distance of 3 nm.  We approached him and to our amazement he ran away.  We chased after him at maximum speed and ordered him to stop with the signal light, which he did.  It was the Greek MOUNT AETNA, underway under the Swiss flag.  Went alongside and ordered him to pick up survivors.  She followed us to two lifeboats, which we had met earlier, and picked up the men in them.  
        Then back to the sinking position.  Here we found a man drifting in the water and picked him up.  The interrogation proved to be difficult because he was wounded by a splinter, exhausted after several hours in the water and spoke only Norwegian.  His statements: They were surprised by the war in an English harbor and forced by England to sail for them.  The captain was an Englishman and the crew Norwegian.  They had been in Halifax from England and were en route to Aruba.  As we told him that neither position or course corresponds to this he said that they were out here due to the U-boat danger.  They did not see us.  After some hits there was apparently some sort of panic aboard.  He made it to a lifeboat.  The people beat each other for a place and he fell overboard after a "comrade" had hit him hard in the face, they then left him behind.  All front teeth were smashed.  He was lucky to be found by us and was deeply grateful.  
        Now we saw that the Swiss ship already turned away.  We stopped him again with the signal light and transferred the man.  He had taken aboard 29 men and the Norwegians had told the master that the whole crew was there.  We knew that he had 51 crew members aboard.  It became clear that the Norwegians feared being torpedoed again by us on the MOUNT AETNA and induced the master to leave.  We had seen other survivors between debris at the sinking position.  We asked the master to turn around and to rescue them too, which he did.  He thanked us warmly for not sinking his ship  
        [text illegible]  
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 27.01.42
 
- 29 -
 
           
           
           
           
    27.01.42.      
    05.56 Back on course 70°.  Everyone stood at the railing, waved and wished us a good home coming.  Let’s hope that they tell this at home and effectively dampen the atrocity propaganda about us.  
    08.00 CC 8669    
    12.00 CC 9453  E 1, 7/10, Sea 2, Vis. 8 nm                                              Total:             117    nm  
                                                    To date:      6028    nm  
                                                      Submerged:   195    nm  
        Based on our report of success our boat gets a "Bravo" from the BdU on this patrol for the second time.  
    16.00 CC 9439    
    20.00 CC 9525  ENE 2, 2/10, Sea 1-2, Vis. 15 nm    
    24.00 CC 9377                                                     
         
    28.01.42      
    00.03   A shadow 80° to starboard.  Headed towards it and recognized a big freighter again on course 220°.  I have to let him go because I only have ammunition for the rifles left.  
    04.00 CC 9367    
    08.00 CD 7151    
    12.00 CD 7214  W 3, 3/10, Sea 2, Vis. 12 nm                                              Total:             196    nm  
                                                    To date:      6219    nm  
                                                      Submerged:   195    nm  
        Because the condition of Toelle is still serious and the rendezvous point for escorting the steamer SPREEWALD is nearby, steering course 60° towards it to get a doctor aboard.  Have orders to wait at the point until 24.00 hours on 1 February.  
    16.00 CD 4886    
    20.00 CD 4942    
    24.00 CD 4932                                                     
         
    29.01.42      
    04.00 CD 5472    
    08.00 CD 5456    
    12.00 CD  5439  NNW 2, 2-3, 9/10, Sea 2, Vis. 12 nm                                              Total:             190    nm  
                                                    To date:      6409    nm  
                                                      Submerged:   195     nm  
           
Sun and Moon Data 28.01.42
Sun and Moon Data 29.01.42
 
- 30 -
 
           
           
           
    30.01.42      
    04.00 CD 5328    
    08.00 CD 3777    
    11.31 CD 3755 At position. Heydemann not in view.  
    12.42
SW 1, 9/10, Sea 1, Vis. 15 nm, swell
, Test dive.                          Total:            204     nm  
                                                    To date:      6613    nm  
    13.12                                              Submerged:   195    nm  
    17.00   Course 90° for 3 nm to a better position after obtaining a fix. There we stopped again and waited.  
                                                            
    31.01.42      
    11.54 SSE 4, 10/10, Sea 3-4, Vis. variable due to rain showers 3-10 nm Ahead Heydemann in sight.  Alongside to exchange experiences.  He has been here for 3 days.  At 22.30 hours yesterday evening he saw a wake and heard diesel engine noises.  I lay stopped with no equipment running so I assume he heard an enemy submarine.  We are forming a patrol line and are waiting for SPREEWALD.  
    19.00   According to radio message the SPREEWALD was torpedoed today in BE 7142 at 17.00 hours.  Set course towards it to participate in the search for survivors.  
    24.00   Course 70°  
                                                            
    01.02.42      
    04.00 CD 3812    
    08.00 CD 3589    
    12.00 CD 3671                                              Total:              88     nm  
                                                      To date:      6701    nm  
    16.00 CD 3657  SSE 3, 10/10, Sea 3, Vis. 7 nm, Rain                                               Submerged:   196    nm  
    20.00 CD 3665    
    24.00 CE 1419 Ordered by radio message to head for the sinking position. Can arrive there at dawn on 04 February.  
                                                            
    02.02.42    
    04.00   [text illegible]  
           
Sun and Moon Data 30.01.42
Sun and Moon Data 31.01.42
Sun and Moon Data 01.02.42
 
- 31 -
 
           
           
           
           
    08.00 CE 1285    
    12.00 CE 1347  S by E 4, 9/10, Sea 3-4, Vis. 10 nm                                              Total:              181     nm  
                                                    To date:      6882      nm  
    16.00 CE 1361                                               Submerged:   196     nm  
    20.00 CE 2113    
    24.00 BD 8866                                                     
         
    03.02.42    
    04.00 BD 8925    
    08.00 BD 9477    
    12.00 BD 9483  ESE 2, 6/10, Sea 2, Vis. 12 nm                                               Total:              212     nm  
                                                    To date:      7094      nm  
                                                      Submerged:   196     nm  
    16.00 BD 9545    
    20.00 BD 9537    
    24.00 BD 9377 Can not follow order of Schuch to take station in a patrol line because the position is 195 nm from the position I can reach tomorrow morning.  Can only run at 7 knots due to fuel shortage.  Condition of Toelle gets a little better.  
                                                            
    04.02.42      
    04.00 BD 9381    
    08.00 BD 9364    
    12.00 BE 7117  E 2, 6/10, Sea 2, Vis. 18 nm                                               Total:             178     nm  
                                                    To date:      7272      nm  
                                                      Submerged:   196     nm  
    16.00 BE 7121    
    20.00 BE 7133    
    24.00 BE 7222    
                                                            
    05.02.42      
    04.00 BE 7233    
    08.00 BE 7313    
                                                       Total:             152    nm  
                        [text illegible]  
Sun and Moon Data 02.02.42
Sun and Moon Data 03.02.42
Sun and Moon Data 04.02.42
Sun and Moon Data 05.02.42
 
- 32 -
 
           
           
           
           
    05.02.42      
    16.00 BE 8113    
    18.08     Test dive.  
    18.20    
    20.00 BE 8132    
    24.00 BE 8223                                                     
         
    06.02.42    
    04.00 BE 8313    
    08.00 BE 8332    
    12.00 BE 6787  NE by N 5, 5/10, Sea 3-4, Vis. 10 nm                                               Total:             152    nm  
                                                    To date:      7424      nm  
    16.00 BE 6793                                               Submerged:   196     nm u.w.  
    20.00 BE 6882    
    24.00 BE 6869                                                     
         
    07.02.42    
    04.00 BE 6954    
    08.00 BE 6963    
    12.00 BF 4729  ENE 1, 9/10, Sea 1, Vis. 12 nm                                               Total:             221     nm  
                                                    To date:      7863       nm  
                                                      Submerged:   198    nm u.w.  
    12.39     Crash-dive for flying boat.   Heard in broadcast that 40 survivors of PAN NORWAY were landed in Lisbon.  
    16.00 BF 4739    
    xx.x1 BF 4818  
    24.00 BF 4835                                                     
         
    08.02.42    
    04.00 BF 4923    
    08.00 BF 5713    
    12.00 BF 5732  ENE 4, 9/10, Sea 4, Vis. 10 nm                                              Total:             214    nm  
                                                    To date:      8077    nm  
                                                    Submerged:   226    nm u.w.
    12.11     Continued submerged.  
    16.00 BF 5812    
    20.00 BF 5822  
    24.00 BF 6711                                                     
         
Sun and Moon Data 06.02.42
Sun and Moon Data 07.02.42
Sun and Moon Data 08.02.42
Sun and Moon Data 09.02.42
 
- 33 -
 
           
           
           
           
    09.02.42   Inbound in corridor "Tannennadel" to "Cederland".  Because I had no fix for 3 days and the bearing from "Sender II" was unreliable, I was not in the corridor as we noticed afterwards.  Arrived 3 hours too late at "Punkt II" due to fuel shortage.  
    1500 Lorient

Moored at berth "A 3" with exhausted batteries and only 80 liters of fuel.  Greeting by the BdU and award of Knights Cross to commander.

 
           
        Total travelled:  8277 nm  
                    of which  256 nm under water.  
           
        Successes:    10 ships    66,135 GRT.  
           
                                                            
                                                          Lieutenant-Commander  
                                                          and Kommandant "U 123".  
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 09.02.42

Appendices to U-123's KTB - click on the text at left to proceed to the documents
Chart A Track chart covering entire war patrol                23 December 1941 to 8 February 1942
Chart B Combat sketch for the period 13-17 January 1942
Chart C Combat sketch for the period 18-19 January 1942

 
 
     
     
     
 

Commentary of the BdU to the KTB of U-123 from 23.11.41 to 09.02.42

 
     
 

 

 
 
                Very well thought-out and executed patrol - a brilliant success. 
                The commander has taken full advantage of the first appearance off the coast of North America by his dash and tenacity.
 
     
     
     
     
   

Signed in draft: Dönitz

 
    Validized:  
 
          
                                                                              Leutnant z.S. and Adjutant  
     
     
 


Click the icons to view the associated records

Return to the U-boat KTB page