U-123 - 8th War Patrol

Translation by Rainer Kolbicz

Departed
Date
Arrived
Date
Days at Sea
Lorient
2 March 1942
Lorient
2 May 1942
62

Ships Hit
Date
KTB Time
Position
Ship
Tons
Nationality
Convoy
22 Mar 42
17.56
37°23'N, 61°48'W
MUSKOGEE
7,034
American
 
24 Mar 42
01.57 - 03.41
36°53'N, 63°56'W
EMPIRE STEEL
8,138
British
 
27 Mar 42
02.37 - 04.29
35°47'N, 70°04'W
USS ATIK (AK 101)
3,209
American
 
2 Apr 42
07.18 - 07.55
34°05'N, 76°20'W
LIEBRE (damaged)
7,057
American
 
8 Apr 42
07.52
31°17'N, 80°59'W
OKLAHOMA (damaged)
9,264
American
 
8 Apr 42
08.44
31°18'N, 81°01'W
ESSO BATON Rouge(damaged)
7,989
American
9 Apr 42
07.16
30°53'N, 81°08'W
ESPARTA
3,365
American
 
11 Apr 42
04.22 - 04.53
30°23'N, 81°08'W
GULFAMERICA
8,081
American
 
13 Apr 42
05.11
28°35'N, 80°19'W
LESLIE
2,609
American
 
13 Apr 42
07.45 - 09.00
28°21'N, 80°22'W
KORSHOLM
2,647
Swedish
17 Apr 42
03.55 - 05.23
33°59'N, 69°56'W
ALCOA GUIDE
4,834
American
     
 Total = 64,227
   
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.
 
           
     
8th War Patrol.
 
           
      Kommandant:  Kapitänleutnant  H a r d e g e n.  
        Beginning:  10.  February 1942.  
        Ending    :     2.  May       1942.  
           
        All times:  MESZ/CEST  
        All positions:  Marine Quadrant.  
                             
               
                          
                        Copies to: 2 x O.K.M.  
        1 x B.d.U.  
        1 x 2.A.d.Uboote  
        1 x 2. U.-Flotille  
                         
             
     
        © U-boat Archive 2014  - all rights reserved  
Click the flag to view the above page from the original German KTB
 
- 1 -
 
           
           
           
           
    10.02.42.
Lorient
Boat vacated, moved to berth "B 6".  In the afternoon inspection by the flotilla commander, afterwards evening with beer.  
    11.02.42
"
In the morning on the slipway in "Keroman" bunker.  Start of the shipyard period.  
    23.02.42
"
In the afternoon moved the boat from slipway to berth "A 4."  
    25.02.42
"
Loaded ammunition and made boat ready  
    26.02.42
"
End of the shipyard period. Loaded torpedoes.  Dive test.  
    27.02.42
"
Loaded provisions.  
    28.02.42
Degaussing, trim test, in the evening tied up in the sea bunker.  
    01.03.42   Finished fitting out.  
                                                            
    02.03.42      
    19.30   Departure from Lorient for 8th war patrol.  On board Ltn.(Ing.) Mertens as LI trainee.  
    20.30   Anchored off Kernevel due to dense fog.  Went in dinghy ashore to get permission to leave during the full moon tonight with escort if the fog lifts.  
    22.10   Hoisted anchor, picked up by escort.  
    23.05   Arrived at "Point L II" with Sperrbrecher.  
    23.50   Released by escort, departed on the prescribed route.  
                                                            
    03.03.42   Evaded a large number of fishing trawlers and sailing vessels on the way.  Observed a very beautiful total lunar eclipse with good visibility of all phases.  
    08.55   , continued submerged.  
                                                         Total:           141   nm  
    12.00                                                   Submerged:    12   nm  
    19.57   ,steered a course close to the great circle for Cape Hatteras, but more to the south to avoid the expected bad weather front off the Grand Banks.  I first steered for CC 35 on the great circle.  
                                                            
           
Sun and Moon Data 03.03.42
 
- 2 -
 
           
           
           
           
    04.03.42      
    08.00 BF 4914    
    10.12   , continued submerged.  
    12.00 BF 4826                                                 Total:           157     nm  
                                                        To date:       298      nm  
                                                        Submerged:    48      nm  
    20.03 BF 4815  W by N 2, 3/10, Sea 1, Vis. 5 nm    
    24.00 BF 4735    
                                                            
    05.03.42      
    04.00 BF 4724    
    08.00 BF 4714    
    12.00 BE 6931  SE 2-3, 7/10, Sea 2, Vis. 10 nm, long swell                                                 Total:           110     nm  
                                                      To date:       408      nm  
                                                        Submerged:    80      nm  
    16.00 BE 6681    
    20.00 BE 6674    
    24.00 BE 6586    
                                                            
    06.03.42      
    04.00 BE 6579    
    08.00 BE 6498    
    12.00 BE 6772  SSE 1, 6/10, Sea 1, Vis. 18 nm                                                 Total:            143     nm  
                                                      To date:        551     nm  
                                                        Submerged:    82     nm  
    11.16   , Crash-dive for drill. Deep dive test to A +20 meters.  Nothing wrong.  
    11.46    
   

16.00

BE 5936    
    20.00 BE 5916    
    24.00 BE 5834    
                                                            
    07.03.42      
    04.00 BE 5815    
    08.00 BE 5729    
  12.00 BE 5718  SE 5, 8/10, Sea 4, Vis. 12 nm                                                Total:            208      nm
                                                      To date:        759     nm  
                                                        Submerged:    82     nm  
    16.00 BE 4938    
    20.00 BE 4928    
    24.00 BE 4918    
                                                            
    08.03.42      
    04.00 BE 4862    
    08.00 BE 4851    
    12.00 BE 4841  W 1-2, 2/10, Sea 1, Vis. 15 nm, long swell                                                 Total:            132      nm  
                                                      To date:        891     nm  
                                                        Submerged:    82     nm  
    16.00 BE 4761    
    20.00 BE 4741    
    24.00 BD 6964    
                                                            
Sun and Moon Data 04.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 05.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 06.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 07.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 08.03.42
 
- 3 -
 
           
           
           
           
    09.03.42      
    04.00 BD 6954    
    08.00 BD 6947    
    12.00 BD 6858  S by W 2, 5/10, Sea 1, Vis. 12 nm, Swell                                                 Total:            137     nm  
                                                      To date:       1028    nm  
                                                        Submerged:    82     nm  
    16.00 BD 6793    
    20.00 BD 6784    
    24.00 BD 5998    
                                                            
    10.03.42      
    04.00 BD 8313    
    08.00 BD 8234    
    12.00 BD 8219  WNW 1, 1/10, Sea 0-1, Vis. 15 nm                                                Total:            209     nm  
                                                      To date:       1237    nm  
                                                        Submerged:    82     nm  
    15.13   , Crash-dive for drill.  
    15.40    
    16.00 BD 8165 A giant tortoise alongside, all attempts to catch it failed.  
    20.00 BD 8149    
    24.00 BD 7393    
                                                            
    11.03.42      
    04.00 BD 7386    
    08.00 BD 7379    
    12.00 BD 7533  WNW 5, 7/10, Sea 3-4, Vis. 10 nm                                                Total:            173     nm  
                                                      To date:       1410    nm  
                                                        Submerged:    84     nm  
    16.00 BD 7529    
    20.00 BD 7551    
    24.00 BD 7466    
                                                            
    12.03.42      
    04.00 BD 7459    
  08.00 BD 7473  
    12.00 BC 9696  W 6-7, 9/10, Sea 6, Vis. 8 nm                                                Total:            130    nm  
                                                      To date:       1540    nm  
                                                        Submerged:    84     nm  
    16.00 BC 9689    
    20.00 BC 9913    
    24.00 BC 9911    
                                                            
    13.03.42      
    04.00 BC 9834    
    08.00 BC 9827    
    12.00 BC 9845  NNW 8, 10/10, Sea 7, Vis. 8 nm                                                Total:            120    nm  
                                                      To date:       1660    nm  
                                                        Submerged:    84     nm  
    16.00 BC 9765    
    20.00 BC 9783    
    24.00 CD 2229 Kept a more southerly course due to the weather and to get out of the Gulf Stream, which is running against us.  
                                                            
Sun and Moon Data 09.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 10.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 11.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 12.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 13.03.42
 
- 4 -
 
           
           
           
           
    14.03.42      
    04.00 CD 2254    
    08.00 CD 2247    
    12.00 CD 2194  WNW 7, 8/10, Sea 6-7, Vis. 16 nm                                                 Total:            120    nm  
                                                      To date:       1780    nm  
    16.00 CD 2421                                                 Submerged:    84     nm  
    20.00 CD 2414    
    24.00 CD 2417                                                     
         
    15.03.42    
    04.00 CD 1662    
    08.00 CD 1659    
    12.00 CD 1673  NW by W 7, 8/10, Sea 6-7, Vis. 8 nm                                                 Total:            108    nm  
                                                      To date:       1888    nm  
    16.00 CD 1674                                                 Submerged:    84     nm  
    20.00 CD 1832    
    24.00 CD 1824                                                     
         
    16.03.42    
    04.00 CD 1818  NW 5, 5/10, Sea 5, Vis. 12 nm    
    08.00 CD 1765    
    12.00 CD 1759  NW 3, 9/10, Sea 3, Vis. 8 nm                                                 Total:              98    nm  
                                                      To date:       1986    nm  
    16.00 CD 1776                                                 Submerged:    84     nm  
    20.00 CD 3999    
    21.53   , test dive  
    22.13    
    24.00 CC 6348  N 1, 6/10, Sea 1, Vis. 5 nm, Swell                                                     
         
    17.03.42    
  04.00 CC 6295  
    08.00 CC 6525    
    12.00 CC 6467  S by E 1, 6/10, Sea 1, Vis. 10 nm                                                 Total:            139     nm  
                                                      To date:       2125     nm  
    16.00 CC 6476                                                 Submerged:    86.3    nm  
    20.00 CC 5699    
    24.00 CC 5925  NE 4, 9/10, Sea 3, Vis. 5 nm                                                     
         
    18.03.42    
    04.00 CC 5914    
    08.00 CC 5829    
    12.00 CC 5843  NW 1-2, 1/10, Sea 1, Vis. 10 nm                                                 Total:            144    nm  
                                                      To date:       2269    nm  
    16.00 CC 5762                                                 Submerged:    86.3    nm  
    20.00 CC 5754    
    24.00 CC 5747  SW 4, 10/10, Sea 3, Vis. 5 nm                                                     
         
    19.03.42    
    04.00 CC 4967    
    08.00 CC 4973    
    12.00  M.E.Z. CC 4893                                                 Total:            134    nm  
      S by W 5, 10/10, Sea 4-5, Vis. 8 nm                                                 To date:       2403    nm  
                                                      Submerged:    86.3    nm  
        Set shipboard clocks back 4 hours.  From now on the times in the KTB are M.E.Z. - 4 hours.  
    1200  1600 CC 4886   ship's time    
           

Note: At 1200 in the original KTB the ship's clocks were set back four hours to match the time zone of the patrol area.   These times were later crossed out and CET/MEZ time was written in ink.
Sun and Moon Data 14.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 15.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 16.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 17.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 18.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 19.03.42
 
- 5 -
 
           
           
           
           
    19.03.42      
    16.00  20.00 CC 4876  SSW 8, 10/10, Sea 6-7, Vis. 4 nm    
    20.00  24.00 CC 4796    
    24.00  04.00 CC 4786    
                                                            
           
    20.03.42      
    04.00  08.00 CC 4776    
    08.00  12.00 CB 6995 Tanker DAVILA reports surfaced U-boat on the 600 meter frequency.  Distance 60 nm.  
    12.00  16.00 CB 6985  WNW 4, 5/10, Sea 3-4, Vis 12 nm

DAVILA reports that she is attacked by U-boat.  There are 2 to 3 emergency messages daily from tankers on the 600 meter frequency.

 
                                                       Total:             140   nm  
                                                       To date:       2543    nm  
                                                       Submerged:   86.3    nm  
    16.00  20.00 CB 6955    
    20.00  24.00 CB 6948    
    20.28  00.28   To port the bridge of a sunken ship drifts past.  Possibly from DAVILA?  
    24.00  04.00 CB 6892    
                                                            
           
    21.03.42      
    04.00  08.00 CB 6885    
    08.00  12.00 CB 6878    
    12.00  16.00 CB 9132                                                 Total:             120    nm  
                                                        To date:       2663    nm  
                                                        Submerged:    86.3   nm  
    16.00  20.00 CB 9122    
    20.00  24.00 CB 9128    
    24.00  04.00 CB 9142    
                                                            
           
    22.03.42      
    04.00  08.00 CB 8362    
    08.00  12.00 CB 8355    
    09.27  13.27   , Crash-dive for drill!   Shifted and flushed fuel oil/ballast tank 7.  
    10.35  14.35       
    10.38  14.38           
    10.47  14.47      , while looking around from the bridge I suddenly saw a strong column of smoke to port ahead.  Turned towards it and soon recognized masts and the funnel of a tanker on general course 345°.  Our Sunday roast!  Overtook and measured speed at 7 knots.  Apparently he is zigzagging to 15° on each side, but it is also possible that he is just running ahead of the sea and is swerving so wide because the man at the rudder is not paying attention.  
  12.00  16.00 CB 8342  S by W 4, 10/10, Sea 3-4, Vis. 12 nm                                                 Total:             132    nm
                                                      To date:       2795    nm  
                                                        Submerged:    91.5   nm  
        Because the wind gets stronger and the sea is already 4-5, I have to attack quickly and I am not able to determine the speed accurately.  
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 20.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 21.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 22.03.42
 
- 6 -
 
           
           
           
           
    22.03.42      
    13.06  17.06 and ran towards it.  Approached for a stern attack and fired one Ato set to run at a depth of 3 meters.  Turned away so that the torpedo is running athwart to the sea.  The swell was increasing and the boat was difficult to handle.  Tanker was coming closer quickly, that's why I set enemy speed to 8.5 knots.  At target angle 60° the boat dipped too deep for a long time.  I had set "Lage laufend" when the target angle was 0°.  Now everything went very fast due to the target being very close, less than 500 meters.  Besides that he was apparently turning away or was swerving again to 15° to starboard, because I saw him at target angle 100° when the periscope surfaced for a short time.  The boat dipped down again and I could only see both mast tips when I fired, aiming at the middle of the ship.  Large angle of about 60°.  
    13.56  17.56 CB 8314 After 18 seconds a short, clear, metallic impact.  Not actually a detonation, which should have been heard from this close distance.  Already assumed a dud.  But when the periscope surfaced again I saw a dark black plume collapse behind the stern.  He must have been hit deep in the engine room, because the stern is already deep in the water.  
     

SSW 6, 10/10, Sea 5, Vis. 10 nm

MUSKOGEE (7034 GRT)

 
       
    14.02  18.02 Surfaced immediately.  When I climbed out of the conning tower hatch, the stern was already submerged.  The bow is rising more and more and sinks at a steep angle after 16 minutes.  He was fully loaded with heavy crude oil.  Did not burn.  Because he sank so fast I thought that he was only about 5000 GRT.  But the questioning of the crew and name tags on the lifejackets shows it was MUSKOGEE (7034 GRT), built in 1913.  That's why he sank so fast.  Continued on old course.  We are allowed to hunt freely from Cape Hatteras to Key West.  
    14.12  18.12  
    16.00  20.00 CB 8239    
    20.00  24.00 CB 8253    
    24.00  04.00 CB 8245    
                                                            
    23.03.42      
    04.00  08.00 CB 8166    
    08.00  12.00 CB 8158    
    12.00  16.00 CB 8187  SSW 4, 7/10, Sea 3, Vis. 12 nm                                             Total:             122.5    nm  
                                                   To date:       2917.5    nm  
    16.00  20.00 CB 8411                                              Submerged:     95        nm  
    18.23  22.23  

Sighted mast tips on port side ahead out of a rain squall. Turned towards it and soon recognized a tanker.  He is zigzagging irregularly and wide from 3° up to 8° around course 45°.  I am ahead of his general course.

 
           
Sun and Moon Data 22.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 23.03.42
 
- 7 -
 
           
           
           
           
    23.03.42      
      He seems to run about 10.5 knots. Before dusk he was on course 90° for 1½ hours.  At nightfall he turned to 0°, after ½ hour to course 30°.  Had difficulties staying in contact.  A cunning fellow.  Every time I try to approach him he turns away.  Bright moonlit night with thunderstorms.  Eventually I am able to attack with a big rain squall behind me that covers the moon for a short time.  It is a very modern motor tanker with short masts and a low big funnel.  Similar to NORNESS and I estimate about 9500 GRT.  
    21.57  01.57 CB 8172  SW by W 4, 4/10, Sea 3-4, Vis. 6 nm From a distance of 500 to 600 meters I fire one Ato from the bow, depth 3 meters, enemy speed 10.5 knots, target angle 70°.   When the hydrophone operator reported that the torpedo was running I turned hard to starboard.   A miss was not possible from this close distance.  Nothing happened. Report from bow room: tube runner!  Due to a misunderstanding the boat had already turned too far to fire a prepared second torpedo on target angle 80° or 90°.  I continue the hard turn to fire an also prepared stern torpedo.  I was now showing my broadside to the tanker from a distance of 300 meters, so he finally saw me and turned away to starboard, target angle 180°.  Ordered: Stop and secure.  After some time it is reported that the torpedo was fired from tube V.  The crewman had fired it manually on his own because he was waiting for the order to fire and believed he heard it in the speaking tube.  He did not look at the communication apparatus.  The torpedo was heading to anywhere.  The tube runner had moved ¼ m in the tube and was jettisoned with the mine discharge.  It became a "dead man".  Examination of the tube showed that an edge of the retaining pin was sheered away and the opening lever was scrubbed bare.  The tube remains empty.  It is hard when during a difficult attack everything goes well on the bridge and then old, experienced crewmen make preventable mistakes and cut the boat out of an easy victory.  Tanker is sending a U-boat warning.  Position 10 nm south of our dead reckoning position.  It is the EMPIRE STEEL (8150 GRT), built in 1941.  This showed again that one tends to overestimate tankers at night because they don't have as many features as freighters.  Had one gun of 8,8 cm aft and one 6 cm gun with protective shield on each side of the funnel forward.  There were machine guns and spotlights at the side of the bridge.  Everything modern, not makeshift.  Overtaking again.  The thunderstorm is over and now I am standing before the bright horizon with the moon.  Due to his zigzagging I get ahead and on the other side.  
           
Sun and Moon Data 23.03.42
 
- 8 -
 
           
           
           
           
    23.03.42      
      I almost lost him in the dark horizon due to his wild turns. He now runs at 12 knots and is zigzagging for his life. Because I had seen his particularly strong armament and he now pays attention, I can't get as close and decide to fire a spread of two torpedoes from a greater distance.  
    23.01  03.01 CB 8173  W by S 3-4, 8/10, Sea 3, Vis 1-2 nm, thunderstorm Fired torpedo spread. Distance 900 meters, target angle 75°, enemy speed 12 knots.  Stayed on straight course to not reveal us by turning.  Then he turns away hard to port, slows down and is manning the guns.  It is amazing in this case that he had not already manned them to give us a hot welcome.  I turn hard away at AK.  There - after 61 seconds - hit ahead of the foremost mast.  High, dark explosion plume and shortly thereafter the whole tanker seems to blow up.  He had a load of gasoline in the forepart.  Several explosions followed and we saw a sea of flames, which one observes rarely.  Just when we believed that he sank he used the radio.  Oops!  After 5 minutes we can see that he is still afloat on an even keel.  The bow is burning very fiercely and the upper deck and superstructure aft is burnt, but due to the fire-extinguishing system the blaze is concentrated on the forepart of the ship.  The fuel tanks aft are not burning and the wind is pushing the flames away from the ship.  A lesson for us that not every "exploded" tanker is lost.  We all would have sworn to find not a single piece of the wreck.  But in this case the men in the water and the lifeboats could have re-boarded the tanker after the fire in the bow burned out and continued the voyage with the probably intact engines.  
    23.41  03.41

Fired six rounds from the deck gun into the engine room.  That was enough to flood it and the ship now settled aft slowly.  Then set the aft fuel tanks on fire with 3 rounds.  Now the whole ship is burning fiercely and the sinking was hastened.

 
                                                            
    24.03.42   Apparently he had loaded diesel oil aft and his ammunition is detonating constantly.  It is amazing that he did not fire a single shot from his cannons and machine guns during the attack, even when they were for sure manned.  Bad lookout and bad training on the guns.  
    0252  06.52   Tanker is capsizing to port.  The bow is rising and protruding steeply 20 meters out of the water, burning fiercely.  
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 23.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 24.03.42
 
- 9 -
 
           
           
           
         
    24.03.42 The hole from the torpedo is quite visible. It is about 15 meters from the bow and the side plates are ripped open from the keel to the railing.  
    05.56  0956 EMPIRE STEEL (8150 GRT) This one is tough and only sinks completely after 5 hours.  The oil keeps burning on the surface of the water for some time.  Continued on old course 260°.  
    0800  12.00 CB 7393    
    10.27  14.27     Crash-dive for flying boat.  
    12.00  16.00 CB 7394  W 7-8, 8/10, Sea 6-7, Vis. 8 nm                                             Total:             129.5   nm  
                                                   To date:       3047     nm  
                                                     Submerged:    101     nm  
        Because the weather is coming against us we are faster under water, so I decide to continue submerged.  
    16.00  20.00 CB 7384  WNW 5, 9/10, Sea 4-5, Vis 10 nm  
    19.20  23.20 Ahead a column of smoke in sight.  Run towards it at 300 revolutions.  Could not go faster due to the heavy seas.  After 1 hour nothing to see.  Heavy thunderstorm clouds.  At dusk broke off fruitless search.  
    20.00  24.00 CB 7627  WNW 4, 9/10, Sea 3-4, Vis. 5 nm                                                     
    24.00  04.00 CB 7617  
    25.03.42      
    04.00  08.00 CB 7553    
    08.00  12.00 CB 7545    
    12.00  16.00 CB 7435  WNW 4, 9/10, Sea 3, Vis. 12 nm                                             Total:             120     nm  
                                                   To date:       3167    nm  
    16.00  20.00 CB 7482                                              Submerged:   116.5  nm  
    20.00  24.00 CB 7475                                                     
    24.00  04.00 CA 9695  
    26.03.42      
    04.00  08.00 CA 9665    
    08.00  12.00 CA 9674    
    12.00  16.00 CB 9594                                             Total:             136     nm  
                                                     To date:       3303    nm  
    16.00  20.00 CA 9576                                              Submerged:   116.5  nm  
    19.03  23.03 Sighted clouds of smoke to starboard abeam.  Turned towards it, first assumed a convoy because often 6 to 7 single smoke clouds with great gaps were visible on the horizon.  Later it proved to be a single steamer which frequently released very heavy smoke columns that were driven away by the wind.  He steered a straight course on 215°.  
           
Sun and Moon Data 24.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 25.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 26.03.42
 
- 10 -
 
           
           
           
           
    26.03.42      
        This proved to be the US steamer CAROLYN (3209 GRT) which was deployed as a U-boat trap.  He is an oil burner, so he had to make the smoke artificially to attract U-boats.  At nightfall he reduced the smoke and suddenly started to zigzag.  
    20.00  24.00 CA 9812 First we were suspicious, but when approaching for a night attack on the surface we recognized it as an ordinary freighter and the mistrust dwindled.  He had a low, straight normal stern and a flat forecastle.  No superstructure and the like could be seen that implied any armament.  In the middle a big island like normal passenger/cargo freighters.  At the most we should have noticed the higher superstructure aft of the funnel.  The moon was well hidden behind clouds.  
    22.37  02.37 CA 9578  N 3, 9/10, Sea 2-3, Vis. 4 nm Fired one Eto from tube II.  Target angle 90°, enemy speed 10 knots, depth 3 meters, distance 650 meters.  Hit ahead of the bridge.  He caught fire there and settles by the bow with a list to port.  He sends name and position.  After firing I turned away to starboard and passed behind the stern.  One lifeboat was launched, a second is hanging in the davits.  The situation seemed to be pretty clear then, even now nothing suspicious could be seen.  I have the feeling that he is still underway at dead slow speed because the distance is suddenly decreasing.  Turn away to starboard.  Now he also turns to starboard until reaching a target angle of 90°.  I continue to turn hard, when suddenly amidships covers and tarpaulin drop down and he opens fire with at least one gun and two 20 mm machine guns.  Fortunately the shots of the gun first fell short and then missed sideways.  The impacts were clearly seen.  The 20 mm hit the bridge and whistled unpleasantly around our heads.  Immediately ran off at AK, which inadvertently brought us the advantage that the smoke from the diesel engines covered us.  I then see big lumps flying through the air.  Shortly thereafter there were heavy detonations which shook the whole boat severely.  Assume torpedo hit.  Batten down all hatches.  Then I saw high water columns and now realized that he fired depth charges from throwers towards us.  Like a raw recruit I fell for a heavily armed U-boat trap.  With the first burst of gunfire F.z.See Holzer was wounded and it was difficult to get him through the conning tower hatch.  
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 26.03.42
 
- 11 -
 
           
           
           
           
    26.03.42      
        Because of this and the many hits I heard and depth charges I was not able to crash-dive immediately but had to wait until I knew that the boat was tight.  Soon we were out of range and he ceased fire.  Except for Holzer no one was wounded and a low pressure test showed that the pressure hull was intact.  We were incredibly lucky.  Eight 20 mm hits were counted on the bridge the next day.  After we were out of range I went below deck and saw that the condition of F.z.See Holzer was hopeless.  A 20 mm round detonated in his right thigh, ripped open the flesh from the hip joint to the knee and partially removed it.  One could not see if the bone had been shattered.  The leg was only hanging on small flaps of skin.  We bound off the leg.  We could only wrap a towel around the big wound because we had not enough dressing material for such injuries.  It was immediately clear that such an injury could not be treated even by a doctor under the circumstances aboard a U-boat.  We were many days from the next neutral harbor, so I took the decision to make it as easy as possible for him and injected a substantial dose of morphine.  Holzer acted bravely in an exemplary manner. For one hour he was conscious, without a single word of complaint despite being in unbearable pain as he told us after being asked.  About 24.00 04.00 hours he lost consciousness.  
                                                            
    27.03.42   The CAROLYN seemed to have a floating cargo because she did not sink.  I decided to attack submerged.  She lay stopped and the crew re-boarded her.  
    00.29  04.29 CA 9578 I fired a coup de grace from tube I into the engine room.  Hit after 24 seconds.  The bow settled until the bridge submerged.  The stern rose with the screw out of the water and with a list to port.  The crew again abandoned ship in the lifeboats.  Ran off submerged.  
    01.27  05.27   ,  The steamer remained in the same position as in the last observation through the periscope.  
    01.50  05.50   Heavy detonations, either boiler or depth charges or ammunition.  Afterwards the CAROLYN was gone, debris were not visible.  During the submerged attack F.z.See Holzer passed on quietly.  We have all lost a good comrade. About 04.00 08.00 hours we buried him at sea after a short ceremony.  
           
Sun and Moon Data 27.03.42
 
- 12 -
 
           
           
           
           
    27.03.42      
        He found his watery grave at 35°38' N/70°14' W.  
    04.00  08.00 CA 9811 Continued on old course 270°  
    08.00  12.00 CA 9722    
    12.00  16.00 CA 8933  NE 2-3, 6/10, Sea 2, Vis. 15 nm                                             Total:             153     nm  
                                                   To date:       3456    nm  
                                                     Submerged:   124  nm  
           
    16.00  20.00 CA 8919    
    19.00  23.30     Crash-dive for a big land-based aircraft.  
    19.54  23.54       
    20.00  24.00 CA 8838    
    22.00  02.00   Start to reload two Atos from upper deck.  
    24.00  04.00 CA 8861  ENE 2-3, 3/10, Sea 2, Vis. 5 nm    
                                                            
           
    28.03.42      
    00.11  04.11   Finished reloading. We were lucky because the wind has gotten stronger now.  
    04.00  08.00 CA 8842    
    08.00  12.00 CA 8753  E by S 7-8, 10/10, Sea 6-7, Vis. 1 nm    
    09.34  13.34   , due to bad weather and continued submerged.  
    12.00  16.00 CA 8751                                             Total:             172     nm  
                                                     To date:       3628     nm  
                                                     Submerged:   135.5   nm  
           
    16.00  20.00 CA 8743    
    20.00  24.00 CA 8718    
    21.12  01.12 SE 3, 2/10, Sea 2-3, Vis. 5 nm, strong swell , fix shows very big shift to the north due to the Gulf Stream.  Headed for a point 15 nm east of Diamond Shoals.  
    24.00  04.00 CA8488    
                                                            
           
    29.03.42      
    04.00  08.00 CA 8723    
    08.00  12.00 CA 8725    
    10.41  14.41   , stayed submerged during the day.  
    12.00  16.00 CA 8719                                              Total:              93   nm  
                                                     To date:       3721   nm  
                                                   Submerged:   173.5 nm
           
    21.06  01.06    
    22.41  02.41 NW by N 4, 6/10, Sea 4, Vis. 3 nm, high swell Sighted a tanker on course 345°.  Measured his speed at 11 knots.  Due to the heavy swell the use of weapons was almost impossible.  To overtake him we had to run against the sea at high speed, we could barely stand on the bridge due to the waves.  Nevertheless we tried it because the attack course will be athwart to the sea.  
    23.34  03.34   Sighted a vessel with lights showing starboard abreast which soon disappears behind us.  
    24.00  04.00 CA 8714                                                     
         
           
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 27.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 28.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 29.03.42
 
- 13 -
 
           
           
           
           
    30.03.42 Shortly before turning for attack the moon broke through the clouds for a short time and shined on us from behind, so that the stern wake and the bow waves running over the conning tower were lit up brightly against the dark horizon.  Assume that the tanker saw us or became suspicious because when I turned he changed course to about 30°.  The distance now was too close for a bow attack, so I crossed ahead of his bow for a stern attack.  Remained almost stopped in the swell with one engine at KF and let him run into my line of fire.  Clear situation, good data.  
    00.34 04.34 CA 8711  NNW 4-5, 8/10, Sea 4, Vis. 3 nm, high swell Fired torpedo from tube VI.  Target angle 90°, enemy speed 11 knots, depth 3 meters, distance 700 to 800 meters. (In the UZO about 2/3 of the tanker is visible.).  He seemed not to expect us on this side because he kept his steady course.  Saw a gun on the forecastle.  Missed!  According to the hydrophone bearing the Eto did not run on a straight course, was a gyro malfunction.  Also possible that the heavy swell, which hit the boat hard, threw it off course or it touched the bottom at a depth of 30 meters after launching and was deflected.  The torpedo was not going off course at a fixed angle, but was traveling on a curved course.  The bearing went from 180° slowly to 100°.  After 6330 meters the torpedo detonated when it hit the bottom.  A disadvantage of the new detonator in shallow waters.  That way the tanker got his suspicion confirmed and reported after ½ hour a U-boat warning with position.  It was the SOCONY-VACUUM (9511 GRT).  Pity!  He can do 13 knots, but against this sea he would not make more than 11 knots.  The data was collected correctly and because he did not turn away, the torpedo would have hit even by misestimating the speed by ±2 knots and the target angle by 40°.  To the contrary, if he ran faster every angle other than 90° would become more favorable.  Overtaking again was hopeless due to the bad weather.  We got wet to no purpose.  The bright full moon nights and the ongoing bad weather are hampering the patrol considerably.  
    08.10  12.10   The Cape Hatteras lighthouse is in sight.  An old acquaintance from our last patrol.  
    08.50  12.50     Crash-dive for a small patrol vessel, which emerges suddenly out of the mist.  Went to 25 meters depth.  Left area at periscope depth.  
    09.58  03.58   Laid boat on the bottom at A -10 meters.  
    12.00 16.00 CA 7993                                              Total:              93   nm  
                                                     To date:       3814   nm  
                                                     Submerged:   199   nm  
           
Sun and Moon Data 30.03.42
 
- 14 -
 
           
           
           
           
    30.03.42      
      While on the bottom heard 6 steamers.  
    21.45  01.45 , position fix according to the Cape Hatteras lighthouse.  About 3-4000 meters towards the coast a submarine surfaced with extended periscope.  Soon out of sight due to the darkness. Probably one of ours.  Steered for buoy 14 off Cape Lookout.  
    24.00  04.00 CA 7997  S by W 2, 1/10, Sea 1, Vis. 8 nm, bright full moon                                                     
    31.03.42    
    04.00  08.00 DC 1224    
    04.45  08.45 Directly ahead a shadow.  Target angle 0°.  Ran across the course and recognized a freighter of about 6500 GRT.  He is heading on course 57° towards the new point 15 nm east of Diamond Shoals.  With the favorable conditions of the swell and visibility the speed could be measured at 11 knots.  Overtaken to target angle 0°.  
    07.22  11.22 , for attack, stern approach.  Because it is dawn it was almost a daylight attack and the fixed periscope could be used.  
    07.57  11.57 CA 7997  SW 3, 1/10, Sea 2, Vis. 8 nm Fired torpedo from tube V.  Target angle 90°, enemy speed 11 knots, depth 3 meters, distance 800 meters. (The enemy  
      at angle 90° filled about ½ of the periscope field of vision with 1.5x magnification and about half was visible with 6x magnification - a length of about 120 m).  A miss was not possible in this textbook approach with exact data.  Nevertheless nothing happened.  The hydrophone bearing showed an incorrect angle of over 20-30°.  An explanation for this second gyro malfunction was not found, also not in the control of the remaining torpedoes. In this case the torpedo steered incorrectly on a constant angle.  Probably again deflected by hitting the bottom after launching.  It was a beautiful Passenger/Cargo freighter, heavily loaded.  Overtaking again during daylight is only a waste of fuel and is not promising due to the proximity of the coast and the expected air and sea surveillance.  Departed from the course.  
    10.07  14.07   Laid boat on the bottom at A -20 meters.  
    12.00  16.00 DC 1223                                              Total:              81    nm  
                                                     To date:       3895   nm  
                                                     Submerged:   207    nm  
    21.34  01.34    
    24.00  04.00 DC 1224    
                                                            
    01.04.42      
    04.05  08.05 DC 1244  N by E 3, 1/10, Sea 2-3, Vis. 8 nm

Ahead a shadow. It is a small coast guard cutter of about 1500 tons, which is running exactly on course 57° at 11 knots.

 
           
Sun and Moon Data 31.03.42
Sun and Moon Data 01.04.42
 
- 15 -
 
           
           
           
           
      Due to the shallow water depth of about 20 meters I had to give up a submerged attack.  Furthermore it was not clear if he is equipped with Asdic or hydrophone.  
    05.32  09.32 Light and whistle buoy 14 of Cape Lookout and position buoy 100 meters abeam.  Ahead on steamer route one patrol vessel.  Fishing trawler with gun on forecastle.  Evaded.  
    05.56  09.56    
    09.16  13.16   Laid boat on the bottom. Depth A -20 meters.  
    12.00  16.00 DC 1199                                             Total:              62.5     nm  
                                                     To date:       3957.5   nm  
                                                     Submerged:   209       nm  
    21.28  01.28    
    21.31  01.31   , Crash-dive for aircraft of the evening patrol.  
    22.05  02.05       
    23.24  03.24   Port side ahead freighter in sight.  Zigzagging wide around course 60°. Overtaken.  
    24.00  04.00 DC 1194                                                     
         
    02.04.42    
    01.42  05.42   Directly ahead a shadow, target angle 0°.  I was not far enough ahead of the freighter to dive for an attack.  Was exactly between two lights and due to the bright moonlit night had no other choice but to let the freighter of about 6000 GRT go and to operate against the new unknown shadow. His course was 230°.  Because the size of the shadow was increasing fast I assumed a speed of 12 knots.  When he turned on course 210° I dived for a submerged bow attack.   This approach must been jinxed.  Mechanical portion of the night periscope failed: fixed side.  Communication apparatus failed, then everything ready again.  Now the whole system fails.  Everything set on fixed angles.  System clear again.  Then the mechanics failed again and stayed on fixed side.  In the meantime the shadow turned back, that's why we came too close.  Turned boat around for stern attack.  Now one can recognize a tanker which is approaching slower than thought so I set enemy speed at 11 knots.  The distance was close, about 500 meters. (On low magnification and target angle 90° the whole field of view was filled.)  Because he came into the line of fire quickly and the boat could not turn fast enough the fixed side had to be changed several times.  
    03.18  07.18 DC 1196  NW by N 1, 0/10, Sea 0-1, Vis. 5 nm Fired torpedo from tube VI on target angle 100°.  It seemed to me that the enemy speed was even slower I aimed for the aft mast.  But then the electrical firing mechanism failed too and the torpedo was launched 3 seconds later manually.  
           
Sun and Moon Data 01.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 02.04.42
 
- 16 -
 
           
           
           
           
    02.04.42      
        The line of the sight was at the funnel. Because it was a big angle right away I felt it would miss and ordered the men to prepare an artillery attack.  However the torpedo steered the correct angle and after 40 seconds the man at the hydrophone reported that the sound of the torpedo stopped without an impact being heard.  It was exactly at the firing distance.  An analysis showed that the torpedo would have hit.  According to Gröner it is the tanker LIEBRE (7057 GRT) which is running 10 knots.  All the mistakes, like the wrong enemy speed, the target angle which should have been more obtuse and the parallax error from an incorrect distance estimate would shift the impact point more ahead.  The aiming point aft and the delay on firing would have had a favorable effect for us.  Because the man at the hydrophone could hear the torpedoes of the other misses until the end of their run but in this case heard nothing after 40 seconds, I assumed that the tanker is equipped with nets.  It is probably rigging mounted on top and below with spars, which would cause virtually no speed reduction.  It has the advantage of giving way so that the new pistol with the gripper inclined back slipped off without detonating and the torpedo was then caught in the net by the screws.  
    03.21  07.21   , Opened fire from a distance of 2500 meters.  A hit on the bridge detonates the ready and signal ammunition.  Strong effect on the target, the detonation was clearly heard and felt in the boat.  The bridge is burning.  After hits in the engine room he stopped and released steam.  Several hits in the forepart of the ship and its tanks, several hits in the aft tanks and engine room.  The tanker was burning over the whole ship with bright flames.  Because the tanker was en route in ballast we fired many more rounds into the waterline, especially the engine room, to flood him.  I want to dive to hasten the sinking with a coup de grace.  Because the tanker used its radio I can't stay very long here 10 nm south of Cape Lookout buoy 14.  While bringing the empty cartridges back into the boat a shadow is sighted right behind us with brightly lit up bow wave.  Shadow is very small and actually only visible due to the bow wave.  
    03.55  07.55   Crash-dive.  I think I will be able to fire a torpedo before he arrives.  I assume that the patrol vessel will take more notice of the tanker than of us, which later proved to be correct. (The thoughts about the torpedo net only occurred afterwards.)  At great speed go for it!  After 5 minutes I want to fire, but we were overrun  
           
Sun and Moon Data 02.04.42
 
- 17 -
 
           
           
           
           
    02.04.42      
        directly from astern, a depth charge detonates behind our stern and through the periscope I see a few meters beside me a submarine chaser similar to the Argo class, which had passed over us at high speed and was now turning hard.  Of course he had seen our periscope in the completely calm sea.  Because they were beginners who could not aim better at a water depth of 30 meters there was virtually no damage.  Probably he wanted to ram us which would have been bad for his ship's bottom.  Because he is turning towards us and I see men preparing other depth charges on the stern, I retract the periscope and depart at a depth of 20 meters.  With all the fuss about the submarine chaser I forgot to say "fire torpedo".  We are again overrun, but nothing happens.  The retraction of the periscope is apparently enough for the other commander to accept as proof of the destruction of a U-boat.  Your fault!  It seems that he does not have a listening or detection device, because he only keeps circling the stopped tanker.  Because I have to expect other patrol vessels, I ran off further.  For one hour I still saw flames blazing.  After 1½ hours 3 fires were barely visible at the horizon.  
    05.47  09.47   , nothing to see, in the bright moonlight the glow of fire is no longer visible.  It is difficult to say how bad the damage is because he was sailing in ballast.  Engine room, bridge, tanks and accommodation rooms have taken hits and furthermore were badly damaged by the fire.  To what extent he will flood due to the hits in the waterline and settle to the bottom is difficult to tell, but it is possible as I know from my own experiences with tankers.  Nobody will have much joy with him.  Departed southwards along the 200-meter line.  
    09.17  13.17   , laid boat on the bottom at A -10 meters.  
    12.00  16.00 DC 1434                                              Total:              93.5 nm  
                                                     To date:       4051    nm  
                                                     Submerged:   222.5  nm  
    22.01  02.01 SW 1-2, 1/10, Sea 1, Vis. 4 nm  
    24.00  04.00 DC 1428    
                                                            
    03.04.42      
    00.03  04.03   Ahead a broad shadow. Suddenly he turns and comes closer with high bow wave.  I became suspicious and retreated first. Later it turned out that it was a very fast running tanker, over 12 knots, which is zigzagging heavily.  Partially over 80°. General course 50°.  
           
Sun and Moon Data 02.04.42
 
- 18 -
 
           
           
           
           
    03.04.42      
      Unfortunately I am so far behind him due to my maneuver that I am not able to attack.  I still plan to save fuel until the nights have a few hours of darkness.  Ran towards southwest to reach the night routes south of Charleston.  
    04.00  08.00 DC 1455    
    08.00  12.00 DC 1476    
    09.31  13.31   , laid boat on the bottom, depth A -10 meters.  
    12.00  16.00 DC 1472                                              Total:              77     nm  
                                                     To date:       4128    nm  
                                                     Submerged:   227.5  nm  
    22.57  02.57 SW 2, 1/10, Sea 1-2, Vis. 2 nm , Sent situation report as radio message in 3 parts on 3 different frequencies with favorable receiving conditions on 53 meters, 35 meters and 38 meters.  
    24.00  04.00 DB 3696                                                     
         
    04.04.42    
    04.00  08.00 DB 3931    
    08.00  12.00 DB 3927    
    09.37  13.37   , laid boat on the bottom, depth A -10 meters.  
    12.00  16.00 DB 3919                                              Total:              61   nm  
                                                     To date:       4189  nm  
                                                     Submerged:   235  nm  
    21.47  01.47 SW 2, 1/10, Sea 1, Vis. 8 nm , continued to the southwest on the 100-meter line.  
    24.00  04.00 DB 3941                                                     
         
    05.04.42    
    04.00  08.00 DB 3892    
    08.00  12.00 DB 3888 Easter Sunday  
    10.58  14.58 SW2, 1/10, Sea 1, Vis. 4 nm , laid boat on the bottom, depth A -30 meters.  
      Shortly before diving received radio message: "Hardegen immediately report situation!"  We are amazed that not one of our 3 radio messages was heard on one of the frequencies.  Even not heard garbled.  Because the receiving conditions are very bad during the day, we have to wait until this evening.  
    1200  16.00 DB 6213                                             Total:              73     nm  
                                                     To date:       4262    nm  
                                                     Submerged:   236    nm  
    21.00  01.00 SW 1, 1/10, Sea 1, Vis. 8 nm , Radio message sent again with very good receiving conditions on the same frequencies near 36 meters.  First part received, second part garbled received, third part not heard.  
    24.00  04.00 DB 6133                                                     
         
           
Sun and Moon Data 03.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 04.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 05.04.42
 
- 19 -
 
           
           
           
           
    06.04.42      
    04.00  08.00 DB 6161 Continued close to the coast southwards.  
    08.00  12.00 DB 6182    
    08.48  12.48 wind still, 1/10, Sea 0, Vis. 2 nm , laid boat on the bottom, depth A -42 meters.  
    12.00  16.00 DB 6183                                             Total:              83      nm  
                                                     To date:       4345    nm  
                                                     Submerged:   237    nm  
    21.30  01.30 Wind still, 0/10, Sea 0, Vis. 10 nm , Sent second and third part of radio message again.  Third part received, second part not.  Continued close to the coast  
      from light to light, which were lit as in peacetime.  Now we have several hours of dark night, but no shipping.  Assume that the ships in the area stay in harbors during the nights or dropped anchor at the coast.  However on the last two days no shipping was heard during the day, it seems to stop completely from time to time.  
    23.30  01.30 Longer searchlight exercises at the bomb firing range off Ossabaw Sound.  All navigational lights for aircraft are lit at the position mentioned in British reports.  
    24.00  04.00 DB 6173                                                     
         
    07.04.42      
    04.00  08.00 DB 6411    
    08.00  12.00 DB 6472    
    08.53  12.53   , laid the boat on the bottom, depth A -53 meters.  
    12.00  16.00 DB 6475                                             Total:              92      nm  
                                                     To date:       4437    nm  
                                                     Submerged:   238     nm  
    21.51  01.51 SW 1, 1/10, Sea 0-1, Vis. 8 nm , Because I assume that the ships are staying in the harbors during the nights or lay at anchor in the roadsteads, I  
      decided to take a look along the roadstead of Jacksonville near the St. Johns River lightship.  
                                                            
    08.04.42    
    00.30  04.30 Close to the head of the north pier, where berths for ships should be.  No ship visible.  All lights are lit up as in peacetime.  The lightship has a very bright light and is disturbing.  No ship tied up at the inner part of the pier.  There seems to be an airfield south of the pier (later confirmed by aircraft flying from there) because the higher buildings have red warning lights and many red lights on the ground indicate landing lights.  The coast is clearly visible.  The beach resorts south of the pier are brightly illuminated.  
    00.50  04.50 Close to the lightship a shadow at 0°.  At last!   A northbound steamer.  
           
Sun and Moon Data 06.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 07.04.42
 
- 20 -
 
           
           
           
           
    08.04.42      
        We are well ahead of him.  As we move to the side we sighted a big, wide shadow to starboard.  A big southbound tanker.  The temptation to operate on him is great because we know that it is a tanker.  When I round his stern we see the broadside of the first shadow and recognize it as a tanker.  Because he has to be fully loaded we operate on this one.  We were rewarded because soon another shadow emerges behind him, another tanker.  This must give us a double kill.  While overtaking him he shortly shows dimmed steamer and navigational lights.  We first have to attack the faster one and wait for the reaction of the other.  The torpedoes were all pulled out of the tubes, the rudder locks set on 20 minus 3 because the water is very shallow here, 14 meters and gyro malfunctions might be caused by the torpedoes hitting the bottom after launching.  Our tanker is very fast at least 11.5 to 13 knots at the most.  We want to fire with 11.5 knots estimated target speed and aim ahead of the bridge.  This will be to our advantage if he runs faster because the hit would be more aft.  This happened.  The first approach failed because the distance was too great, 2000 meters.  Turned away to overtake by running 1½ hours at AK.  It is relatively bright with strong glowing seas, so we have to be very careful not to show our bow wave.  The second tanker gets out of sight behind us.  We know their courses because they are heading from buoy to buoy.  The second tanker is even on the inner side of the route.  
    03.52  07.52 DB 6177   S 1, 1/10, Sea 0-1, Vis. 3 nm Turned to attack, fired torpedo from tube I.  Ato, target angle 70°, distance 500 meters, enemy speed 11.5 knots, depth 3 meters.  I almost stopped with one engine at KF.  After 22 seconds hit almost exactly aft in the engine room.  The tanker immediately settled by the stern and hit the bottom.  He does not use the radio.  Type "Esso Balboa" of about 9500 GRT.  Modern motor tanker, so he was running at 13 knots.  He was probably loaded with crude oil because he was not burning.  The second tanker probably noticed nothing.  Ran towards him.  
    04.07  08.07   Soon sighted a shadow off the Burnswick buoy.  There he is! But he is now closer to the coast, so he has noticed the attack and has continued as close to the coast as possible.  Well, we can get even closer.  It is good to be off the coast because the moon is rising now and we have a dark horizon behind us with the forests as background.  Now he will have to turn back to course 25° due to the water depth of 11 meters.  And he does it.  We are back on the level of the first attack position, where many lights are floating in the water.  
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 08.04.42
 
- 21 -
 
           
           
           
           
    08.04.42      
      Probably everyone is looking at the tanker wreck and is glad that they are not him and nobody is watching their port side.  They could not know that we had seen them earlier and are operating on them.  They probably assume the U-boat to be with the other tanker.  Running alongside for some time, we determine that he is running 2 knots slower.  We set enemy speed at 10 knots and are aiming at the same point again.  Turned towards it.  The tanker is now exactly in the bright moonlight as a beautiful, clear silhouette.  
    04.44  08.44 DB 6177  SSE 0-1, 1/10, Sea 1, Vis. 4 nm, moonlight Fired Eto from tube II, distance 800 meters, target angle 90°, depth 3 meters.  After 60 seconds hit again exactly in  
      the engine room.  Seems we are specializing in tankers now because this is the 10th we sank with our boat.  This time a heavy detonation with high flames and mushroom cloud.  Again he does not use the radio.  An especially long vessel.  At a distance of 900 meters only 2/3 of him fit in the UZO.  Carried camouflage paint, so it was possibly a fleet oiler.  He seemed to be bigger than the first one and is not estimated too large at 10,500 GRT.  Type similar to W.B. WALKER.  We headed back to our first wreck, laying about 4 nm away and it was quite visible.  Stern lies on the bottom.  Only the funnel, bridge and bow were protruding out of the water.  
    05.00  09.00 We fired some rounds from the deck gun into the bow and the bridge, to hole the forepart of the ship and to let him sink further.  Caught fire.  Total loss!  Now back to the other tanker.  
    05.33  09.33 We see that an attack with gunfire would be a waste, because he lies completely on the bottom in 13 meters of water.  Aft the upper part of the funnel and some air intakes were visible, ahead the bridge and the bow.  
    06.00  10.00 The whole upper deck is now under water.  Departed on course 150°.  
    06.40  10.40   , laid the boat on the bottom, depth A -52 meters.  
    12.00  16.00 DB 6446                                              Total:             140     nm  
                                                     To date:       4577     nm  
                                                     Submerged:   240     nm  
    21.58  01.58   , headed to the St. Johns River lightship.  
                                                            
           
    09.04.42      
    01.20  05.20 Shortly sighted some lights crossing close to the lightship.  Probably steamers that are showing lights for a short time.  Later it turned out that it was cars on the coast and they were to irritate us often here.  
    01.35  05.35 Sighted a northbound shadow and overtook.  Fast running freighter.  Measured speed at 12 knots.  
    03.16  07.16 DB 5663   S 2, 1/10, Sea 1, Vis. 3 nm

Fired torpedo from tube I on target angle 85°, enemy speed 12 knots, depth 3 meters, distance 500 meters.

 
           
Sun and Moon Data 08.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 09.04.42
 
- 22 -
 
           
           
           
           
    09.04.42      
      After 43 seconds hit under aft mast.  Dark explosion plume, faint fiery glow.  It is the banana steamer ESPARTA (3365 GRT).  It has been rebuilt with oil firing and was now running at 13 knots, as we heard from his radio messages.  Soon his stern hits the bottom too and is submerged up to the funnel.  The forepart of the ship is protruding obliquely out of the water.  He is continuously firing red emergency signals and white stars.  First we estimated him larger because he has a flush deck of 101 meters length, 7 meters depth and almost no superstructure.  Even if he is small, it was a valuable refrigerator ship.  Went back on course south.  
    05.21  09.00   At 30° sighted a northbound shadow.  The attack must be done quickly because the moon is rising.  His speed must be at least 12.5 knots, his exact course was known to us.  When I approach the first steamer is again firing a red emergency signal.  The new steamer is turning towards it and I have to turn away because he gets too close.  Soon he changes back to his old course.  I have to approach him directly in the moonlight.  We have to try this because the firing data is good and he does not pay attention.  I fire one fast Ato at the target in case he turns away.  I lay almost completely stopped with one engine at KF and let him run into my line of fire.  Very bright glowing seas, that’s why I am not allowed to move.  Now we recognize a modern steamer with a bow of the "Maier"-type.  Despite this favorable form of bow he has a high bow wave, so we set the speed at 13 knots.  He has 6 hatches and double king posts between the bridge and the foremost mast.  
    06.00  10.00 DB 6444  S by E 2, 2/10, Sea 1, Vis. 4 nm Fired Ato from tube II, target angle 72°, enemy speed 13 knots, depth 3 meters, distance 400 meters.  Because the distance became too short I had to fire from a sharp angle.  Unfortunately the torpedo malfunctioned.  With a loud howling it jumped out of the water just before the bow and then went in a steep angle into the mud and hit the bottom.  One could clearly see the swirl, but no bubble trail.  This is the danger in these shallow waters, depth 12 meters.  In deeper water it would have been a sure-fire method.  Because I was passing close behind his stern he finally saw me, turned hard away and then sent many radio messages.  Name: HPVW, a Panamanian vessel.  We could not establish his name.  It was not possible to overtake again due to the moonlight.  Pity!  Headed towards deeper water to the southeast.  
    09.24  13.24     Crash-dive for aircraft.  A big Clipper behind us.  I assume civilian airliner because nothing happened and they will not use flying boats to patrol the coastal waters.  Laid boat on the bottom, depth A -52 meters.  
           
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 09.04.42
 
- 23 -
 
           
           
           
           
    09.04.42      
    12.00  16.00 DB 6724                                              Total:             104    nm  
                                                     To date:       4681    nm  
                                                     Submerged:   251     nm  
    19.47  23.47   Raised boat from the bottom and continued submerged on course 230°.  
    21.58  01.58 SSE 3-4, 3/10, Sea 3, Vis. 6 nm , headed for St. Augustine lighthouse.  
                                                            
           
    10.04.42      
    01.20  05.20 On course 165°.  Running parallel to the coast at a distance of 3 nm.  There everything is brightly illuminated.  An aircraft is following the coast with position lights set.  
    02.58  06.58 Sighted a northbound shadow ahead.  Turned away to overtake.  The visibility is very bad.  No horizon.  He can be easily seen by the light from the St. Augustine lighthouse.  Freighter of about 5000 GRT.  5 hatches and smaller masts between bridge and foremost mast.  We lost sight of him during overtaking due to the bad visibility.  Because we know his course and measured his speed at 12.5 knots, we turned when we were ahead on the calculated target angle of 30°.  He could not evade to port because of the coast.  Visibility was now only 1000 meters and we did not locate him.  Suddenly we saw the shadow, but he already passed us at an angle of 120°.  Overtaken again at AK.  Now always remaining in visual contact, despite the very bright glowing seas at this high speed.  Passed a southbound tanker.  This one we would have gotten if the first approach would have worked.  Now we had to stay with this one.  Turned towards it and laid with one engine at KF to let him come closer.  But the distance now gets very short and I have to turn due the danger of ramming.  At that low speed the boat turns badly.  
    05.09  09.09 DB 5933  S by E 3, 10/10, Sea 2-3, Vis. 1/2 nm We always changed the target angle because we knew his exact course and fired one torpedo at target angle 32°.  Now we see that we were considerably closer than we thought.  We had trouble getting clear of the side of the ship and passed at about 10 meters distance.  There he saw us.  But he was certainly as terrified as we were, because he was suddenly showing his navigational lights and light on the bridge.  He must have been frightened.  The firing distance was less than 100 meters.  If the torpedo had detonated it would have ended badly for us.  Steamer now turns hard away.  If his lookout had been better he could have easily rammed us.  The miss was completely our fault this time.  We misestimated the distances completely under these conditions  
           
Sun and Moon Data 10.04.42
 
- 24 -
 
           
           
           
           
    10.04.42      
      of visibilty.  The torpedo did not work correctly.   After running for 750 meters (48.4 seconds) it detonated.  With a water depth of 17 meters it could not have hit the bottom unless this torpedo was also not running at the correct depth.  With a set depth of 2½ m it passed underneath the steamer when launched because no impact was heard.  We observed a fiery glow and a black explosion plume, which is not really possible when hitting the bottom.  Probably it hit a wreck or something else.  Departed to the southeast.  
    08.03  12.03   Sighted a stopped freighter to port, which is smoking badly and is showing lights on the bow and stern. Suspicious, we take a look at him from a distance of 3000 meters.  When I want to approach him he proceeds towards the north.  We can't chase him because the dawn is near.  Perhaps he just had trouble with the rudder or the engines.  He should have appeared ½ hour earlier.  
    08.45  12.45   , because a freighter comes in sight right behind us and dawn is breaking. Laid boat on the bottom, depth A -52 meters.  
    12.00  16.00 DB 6743                                             Total:             105.5    nm  
                                                     To date:       4786.5    nm  
                                                     Submerged:   259.5     nm  
    20.00  24.00 Raised boat from the bottom and continued submerged to St. Augustine, to be on the routes at dawn.  
    21.52  01.52 Heard northbound freighter.  
    22.09  02.09 Surfaced when periscope observation showed that he is far enough away and it is already getting darker.  However we are behind him.  At the coast every detail is visible.  Trees, houses, lighthouse, radio station, etc. are seen.  Then we see a northbound tanker closer to the coast.  We first thought that there were two ships, but soon noticed that the superstructure and masts belong to one ship.  At dusk ran towards it.  We were a good distance ahead. Measured speed at 12.5 knots.  We waited until it was completely dark and then attacked.  We fired 4 nm off the brightly illuminated beach resort of Jacksonville Beach , about 5 nm south of St. Johns River lightship.  
                                                            
    11.04.42    
    00.22  04.22 DB 5699  NW 2, 3/10, Sea 1, Vis. 3 nm Fired torpedo from tube I, target angle 121°, enemy speed 12.5 knots, distance 2000 meters, depth 3 meters.  The tanker was very big.  That's why we stayed away.  Due to the glowing seas we could not increase speed.  Turned with him and fired at an obtuse angle, because with this sure-fire data and the length of the target such a wide shot has to be risked.  The Eto could be clearly seen, like all torpedoes are seen here.  
           
Sun and Moon Data 10.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 11.04.42
 
- 25 -
 
           
           
           
           
    11.04.42      
        The time hangs heavy in our hands, there - after 177 seconds - a hit under the aft mast.  We had aimed for the bridge due to the great target angle, he was therefore running faster.  Like a giant torch the whole area was lit up as bright as day.  A rare spectacle for all swimmers who are probably right now taking dinner.  It was the biggest tanker we have ever seen.  Type exactly like SHEHERAZADE, only having the aft mast in the middle of the tank there.  His length must have been over 160 meters, because at an angle of 90° he filled ¾ of the UZO field of vision.  Broke just ahead of the engine room.  Probably he already hit the bottom in the shallow water.  Now quickly finishing the work.  With artillery scored a large number of hits in the engine room, to flood her.  Then set the remaining tanks and the bridge on fire.  He burned tremendously and we had to hurry to get out of the bright fiery glow.  At an estimate of 12,500 GRT he is for sure not overestimated.  Grey paint.  
    00.53  04.53   Departed on course 165°.  After one hour at a distance of 12 nm the boat was still illuminated from the blaze.  It formed big clouds that shined red and then the leaking oil caught fire on the surface of the water.  One could read on the bridge so bright was it at this distance.  
    01.46  05.46   One star shell close to the tanker.  Now it begins.  Aircraft continually dropped flares and star shells were fired from the sea which were a bit darker.  One could often see 3 aircraft at the same time with position lights lit.  We stopped the engines to remain unseen.  The aircraft now no longer drop them near the tanker but follow the steamer route to the south.  
    02.20  06.20   Sighted northbound freighter.  Can not attack due to the aircraft.  
    02.50  06.50 . Sighted one tanker and one freighter northbound.  We pass between them.  An immediate attack is not possible because they only come into sight in this visibility when they are already abeam and I can not overtake northwards.  There is trouble brewing.  They can not see us.  Then another aircraft arrives and drops a flare directly before us and is then approaching us directly.  
    02.56  06.56     Crash-dive and hit the bottom at 20 meters depth.  Stayed there.  
    03.17  08.17       , we hear the steamer EVELYN send a U-boat sighting report on the 600 meter frequency with our exact position.  He  
           
Sun and Moon Data 11.04.42
 
- 26 -
 
           
           
           
           
    11.04.42      
      must have seen us near the flare because he was not too far away.  Now it is time to get out of here and I depart towards the open sea.  
    03.45  07.45   Sighted a northbound freighter.  I can not attack northbound ships because there still are these uncomfortable flares.  
    04.06  08.06   Sighted a suspicious shadow to port.  Does not look like a freighter.  It is stopped or at dead slow speed northwards.  The blaze of the tanker gets slowly out of sight after 3 hours.  We are 27 nm away and only a reddish sky is visible.  
    04.15  08.15   Sighted a southbound shadow to starboard, it is closing from behind.  This one I can attack.  While I turn towards it again an aircraft drops a flare fairly close behind us.  We are brightly illuminated.  I observe how a second aircraft suddenly sends Morse signals to the ship, which we had seen as a suspicious shadow to port.  One can see him now more clearly and it seems to be a destroyer.  He sends a longer message by Morse signals back.  Not possible to read.  Aircraft is answering with a lamp.  The flare is still burning when I see an aircraft without lights on the starboard side.  I stop and hope that he does not notice us.  Suddenly he turns over the left wing and is approaching us.  
    04.25  08.25 NW 3, 3/10, Sea 2, Vis. 2 nm No crash-dive was ever as fast as this one.  .  When I was entering the conning tower hatch he was almost over us, a single-engined low wing aircraft, similar to the He70.  At a depth of 20 meters we already hit the mud.  No aircraft bombs, despite that he must have seen us.  At the bearing to the shadow fast screw noises are heard.  Creep speed on course 120° to get in "deeper" water (30 meters).  Underway at 18 meters.  Screw noises get louder behind us.  
    05.17  09.17   Clearly destroyer screws.  The fellow is running right over us, which does not sound melodic and drops 6 depth charges.   The boat is badly shaken, people are falling down.  Practically everything fails.  Everywhere it is whizzing and swooshing.  Prepare the underwater escape lungs.  There the destroyer is back again.  We are lying on the bottom now at a depth of 22 meters.  Have turned off everything that was still running.  We can hear him with our ears anyway.  Despite the destroyer passing again exactly over us we wait in vain for depth charges.  We have to be loosing air somewhere, then we hear bubbles outside.  Later it turns out that all end valves sprang open and the air was escaping there.  The conning tower hatch also sprang open but closed itself again.  The boat seems to be water tight.  For over one hour the destroyer is continually passing over us, then he slowly gets more inexact and finally departs.  No Asdic!  
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 11.04.42
 
- 27 -
 
           
           
           
           
    11.04.42      
      It is astounding that in both cases of depth charge attacks in shallow waters the enemy was not tougher.  He only had to drop a series at the old position, which must have been known to him due to our lost air and we would have been forced to abandon ship.  We almost started the destruction of the secret material.  Also that he did not lay stopped nearby to wait for the cap of the commander as proof is simply unbelievable.  At daylight he could have located the boat exactly.  It shows how inexperienced the defense is.  He probably thought we were destroyed when he saw the air bubbles and heard no more sounds.  For good measure he then passed one hour over us and for sure looked at the many air bubbles as a proof of our destruction.  
    07.10  11.10   , one half of the batteries are ready again, the other half was repaired later by fixing the battery automatic switch.  The dive planes and rudder were also ready again.  Both screws are banging already at creep speed and are very noisy.  One diesel engine also broke down.  When we tried to blow the tanks we could only blow 7 and 5 on starboard with diesel fuel, the other with air.  8 could not be blown, the air is escaping upwards, equally 1 is venting.  But in the calm seas the boat is swimming well on 5 and 7.  Because all head valves are awry and are difficult to move we are not fully ready for crash-diving.  Furthermore we need a lot of air to surface and blow the tanks.  Bad weather on the return journey would be unpleasant, as long as 8 and 1 are flooding.  The venting valves must have been awry because after one week they pulled themselves back in and 1 became tight and 8 was only flooding up to the planes gland seals, which were open.  
        Behind us many more flares.  We run off for 1½ hours until dawn and then laid the boat on the bottom at the depth of A -50 meters.  As for the performance of the destroyer one can only say: Your fault!  The very strong glowing seas are probably the solution to the puzzle.  In the shallow water the aircraft must have seen us clearly and could follow us, like we had seen the Etos and directed the destroyer until he saw us himself. Otherwise the precise approach can not be explained.  
    12.00  16.00 DB 6781                                             Total:               98     nm  
                                                     To date:       4884     nm  
                                                     Submerged:   273     nm  
    23.00  03.00   , the electrical system was ready again.  As we were breathing the fresh night air again, the aftermath was almost  
           
Sun and Moon Data 11.04.42
 
- 28 -
 
           
           
           
           
      forgotten and I only had one thought: 1 torpedo and 90 rounds ammunition have to do their duty.  This night we were underway southwards away from the route and we repaired and welded the diesel engine.  In the calm seas the boat is swimming well on 5 and 7 and attacks are possible.  
                                                            
    12.04.42    
    01.10  05.10   A 2-engined aircraft without position lights passed directly over us at low altitude.  One could only see it after hearing it.  Too late to crash-dive, probably it was a coincidence and he did not see us because he flew along.  On the steamer route we frequently see flares again.  
    08.25  12.25   , laid the boat on the bottom, depth A +20 meters.  
    12.00  16.00 DB 9168                                              Total:               66     nm  
                                                     To date:       4950     nm  
                                                     Submerged:   280     nm  
    20.00  24.00   Raised the boat from the bottom and headed submerged towards Cape Canaveral .  
    22.09  02.09 NW 2-3, 0/10, Sea 2, Vis. 2-3 nm  
    23.26  03.26

 

Sighted northbound combined passenger/cargo steamer of about 5500 GRT.  I would have preferred a tanker for my last torpedo, which is in addition the 50th torpedo I will fire as commander.  Overtaken, if we passed up this golden opportunity we would tempt fate.  
                                                            
    13.04.42    
      During the approach it is a bit difficult to get the distance correct due the visibility conditions.  Turned away several times and overtook at a short distance.  
    01.11  05.11 2 miles south of Hetzel Shoal buoy Fired torpedo from tube IV, target angle 94°, enemy speed 8 knots, distance 600 meters.  After 40 seconds hit in the engine room.  Weak fiery glow, dark high explosion plume.  Soon settles aft.  Has a strong list to starboard.  Was heavily loaded.  He settles fast due to the water depth of 31 meters here and after 15 minutes only the bow up to the foremost mast and the upper part of the bridge are still above water.  Furthermore he seems to capsize to starboard.  Because it is early and the torpedo attack will not be noticed soon, I head southwards to look for cannon fodder on the steamer route.  As long as I can shoot and have fuel, to be out of torpedoes is no reason for the return journey in this fruitful area.  We did not take full advantage of every chance for attack.  
           
Sun and Moon Data 12.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 13.04.42
 
- 29 -
 
           
           
           
           
    13.04.42      
    02.30  07.30 We were soon rewarded.  Shadow to port.  Prepared for artillery attack!  It is a loaded northbound tanker of about 8000 GRT.  A bit overtaken and then approached in a dog leg curve.  
    03.45  08.45 Opened fire from a distance of 1000 meters on target angle 110°.  The first hits struck the bridge which is especially big and now literally blows up.  He turns to starboard and the distance gets shorter fast and hit after hit struck the waterline.  Due to the danger of ramming I have to turn hard away and approach again from the other side.  
  Type: Bow, bridge and masts like SAN JORGE, stern like GULFPRIDE resp. LARISTAN

The crew abandoned ship in the lifeboats, which are drifting ahead.  On the aft mast he set a flag signal: international "Nan", one pennant red - yellow - red resp. red - white - red striped horizontal, international "Uncle".  This signal could not be decoded, because the pennant does not exist and furthermore not the combination: flag- pennant - flag.  Perhaps it is a national signal or he made a mistake in the rush and just left the signal standing, because N U or N D U would make sense.  First: Fire in the passenger or crew accommodation rooms, the other: Shells.  The engine room is now holed methodically.  Additionally several hits strike the waterline of the tanks, neatly spread over the whole length.  He burns furiously.  When a badly smoking shadow came into sight behind us we departed, because the tanker can be counted as destroyed.  We now only have the shells in the ready ammunition locker on the upper deck left, which gets its name from the fact that they are never "ready" but have to be extracted in a troublesome manner with pincers etc.  We do this work in the next days and store the shells below deck, where they are "ready" faster.  The flames are clearly visible up to 17 nm away.

 
     

At 06.46 10.46 hours, at a distance of about 29 nm, the fiery glow on the horizon vanishes. On this patrol we sank or destroyed

 
         
     

10 ships totaling 74,815 GRT

 
         
     

and therefore surpassed the successes of our last record patrol. U-123 has 300,141 GRT and reached as the second German submarine in this war the 300,000 grt tonnage limit. Radio message to the BdU:

 
           
     

 

"Seven tankers for whom the bell tolls.  
        The U-boat trap sank slower.  
        Two freighters lay with them on bottom.  
        Sunk by the Drumbeater!"  
           
        Commenced return journey!  
           
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 13.04.42
 
- 30 -
 
           
           
           
           
    13.04.42      
    08.00  12.00 DB 9279 Course 0° in Gulfstream.  
    12.00  16.00 DB 9243  NE 3, 3/10, Sea 2, Vis. 12 nm                                              Total:            126     nm  
                                                   To date:      5077     nm  
                                                     Submerged:  289     nm  
           
    16.00  20.00 DB 6873    
    20.00  24.00 DB 6816 Sent situation report and exact message about successes.  
    24.00  04.00 DB 6552    
                                                            
           
    14.04.42      
    01.30  05.30   New course 55°.  
    04.00  08.00 DB 6297    
    08.00  12.00 DB 6348    
    12.00  16.00 DB 6329  E 2, 0/10, Sea 1, Vis. 15 nm                                             Total:            190    nm  
                                                   To date:      5267     nm  
                                                     Submerged:  289     nm  
           
        Received radio message: "To Hardegen, Bravo!  This was a beat of the drum as well. Commander."  
           
    14.25  18.25 DB 6336 To starboard 2 to 3 big tankers with an escort of a 4-funneled destroyer ahead.  Course 45°, speed 12 knots.  I have to retreat.  Because the other boats are submerged during the day and communication with our homeland is only possible at night, I did not report them until that night.  
    16.00  20.00 DC 1774    
    20.00  24.00 DC 1755    
    24.00  04.00 DC 1739    
                                                            
           
    15.04.42      
    04.00  08.00 DC 1587    
    08.00  12.00 DC 1591    
    12.00  16.00 DC 1293  E 0-1, 0/10, Sea 0-1, Vis. 20 nm                                              Total:            194    nm  
                                                   To date:      5461     nm  
                                                     Submerged:  289     nm  
           
    16.00  20.00 DC 1354    
    20.00  24.00 DC 1355    
    24.00  04.00 DC 2113    
                                                            
           
    16.04.42      
    04.00  08.00 DC 2131    
    08.00  12.00 DC 2213 Received radio message: "To U-123, commander and crew are expressed my particular appreciation for the new big success.  Supreme Commander."  
       
    12.00  16.00 DC 2235  SE 1-2, 0/10, Sea 1, Vis. 20 nm                                             Total:            181    nm  
                                                   To date:      5642     nm  
                                                     Submerged:  289     nm  
    12.48  16.48   Sighted an empty lifeboat on port side abeam.  
    16.00  20.00 DC 2319    
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 14.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 15.04.42
 
- 31 -
 
           
           
           
           
    16.04.42      
    17.44  21.44   Sighted a column of smoke at 80°.  
    17.51  21.51   Sighted on port side at 350° two masts and one funnel, which are emerging over the horizon fast.  I have to evade to the south.  If the column of smoke ahead has a southwesterly course it will come towards me anyway.  So we wait.  I still have 29 shells for the 10.5 cm of which 8 rounds are however wet and also plenty of 3.7 cm and 2 cm ammunition.  
    18.04  22.04   Sighted a column of smoke at 130°, which however is soon out of sight again.  Shortly thereafter sighted a column of smoke at 170°, which was this time probably the spout of a whale.  These have deceived us often in this area.  I now noticed that the steamer is steering about 160° and the first, very strong and suspiciously smoky, column of smoke is also steering 160 - 150°.  I am between both of them and decide to attack the freighter I am ahead of.  Overtaken until reaching the target angle 0°.  The badly smoking steamer ahead maintains the distance.  The third column of smoke could have taken a course to the northeast and probably passed. So this is still a well traveled shipping crossing.  I'm now running ahead of the freighter and wait for the evening.  
    20.00  24.00 DC 2361    
    20.44  00.44   , It is ½ hour before dusk.  I want to take a proper look at him through the periscope at daylight and then attack with artillery at night. I look at him carefully from 300 meters distance.  It is a freighter of about 5000 GRT.  I can not detect any armament, at most he has machine guns.  The derricks are tied up to the masts.  There is a lot of loading equipment which makes the upper deck confusing.  On the upper deck there are big steam boilers, painted yellow, additionally there are trucks as deck cargo. A lucrative target.  I have to shell carefully to sink him with this little ammunition. I follow at GF to let the distance not get too great.  
    22.11  02.11   , It is quite dark and until I have overtaken again we can prepare the artillery calmly.  I approach him as in a torpedo attack from ahead.  When I have him at target angle 60° right ahead I stop and let him run into my line of fire.  
    23.55  03.55 DC 3179  SW 2, 0-3/10, Sea 1-2, Vis. 3 nm At target angle 90° and from a distance of 400 meters I order the 10.5 cm to open fire.  10 rounds of incendiary ammunition are fired into the bridge and engine room.  8 hits.  
    17.04.42 Then I turned away to port and fired at the upper deck with the 2 cm and 3.7 cm.  Ran off and waited.  He turns hard towards us, but soon I notice that his rudder is jammed hard to starboard and he is now circling like a humming top.  The engine was still running at full speed  
           
           
Sun and Moon Data 16.04.42
 
- 32 -
 
           
           
           
           
    17.04.42      
      of about 11 knots.  He is burning underneath the bridge and because he is turning the wind pushes the fire in all directions and it is spreading quickly.  He sends a radio message, but without position: "POINT BRAVA (4834 GRT) from Norfolk to Destrelan on Guadeloupe.  Master injured, crew abandon ship."  Good to know that.  New approach, now on the closest distance, 3 rounds of 10.5 cm into the waterline of the engine room, when turning away again fired with 3.7 cm and 2 cm into the waterline.  The result is that he is now circling to port.  Approaching this circling ship is not easy because I have to stay on the outer arc, you never know if there is after all a deception behind it.  During the next approach he finally stops.  Now I wait for the fire to do its duty.  Of the big boilers he has 4 aft and 4 ahead atop of the hatches.  Later they floated free.  They seemed to be gasoline tanks for fuel stations which are buried in the ground.  Steamer has a list to starboard. I am now always passing close to him and fire every time 3 rounds of 10.5 cm into the waterline, followed by the 3,7 cm and 2 cm. In between I wait and see.  The bridge had already collapsed as the starboard reeling submerged.  I change to the port side and hole him with the same method.  This finishes him off.  He capsizes to starboard and sinks with the bow rising steeply.  
    01.23  05.23  

All 8 tanks are floating on the water.  It was over surprisingly fast.  27 rounds of 10.5 cm, 86 rounds of 3.7 cm and 120 rounds of 2 cm.  It proved itself to fire economically and to wait and see in between.  Now we have

 
       
11 ships totaling 79,649 GRT
 
        destroyed and can continue our return journey on course 60° with satisfaction.  
    04.00  08.00 DC 3183    
    08.00  12.00 DC 3163    
    12.00  16.00 DC 3224  NE 2, 10/10, Sea 1, Vis. 10 nm                                              Total:            191    nm  
                                                   To date:      5833     nm  
    16.00  20.00 DC 3222                                              Submerged:  296     nm  
    20.00  24.00 CA 9995    
    21.04  01.04   , dive test.  
    21.40  01.40        
    24.00  04.00 CB 7749                                                     
         
    18.04.42    
    04.00  08.00 CB 7753    
    08.00  12.00 CB 7736    
    12.00  16.00 CB 7584  WSW 2, 9/10, Sea 2, Vis. 10 nm                                              Total:            156    nm  
                                                   To date:      5989     nm  
                                                     Submerged:  299     nm  
           
Sun and Moon Data 17.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 18.04.42
 
- 33 -
 
           
           
           
           
    18.04.42      
    16.00  20.00 CB 7568    
    20.00  24.00 CB 7642    
    24.00  04.00 CB 7626    
                                                            
    19.04.42      
    04.00  08.00 CB 7633    
    08.00  12.00 CB 8184    
    12.00  16.00 CB 8168  SSW 3, 10/10, Sea                                              Total:            156    nm  
      2, Vis. 10 nm                                              To date:      6145     nm  
    16.00  20.00 CB 8251                                              Submerged:  299     nm  
    20.00  24.00 CB 8311    
    24.00  04.00 CB 5983    
                                                            
    20.04.42      
    04.00  08.00 CB 6742    
    08.00  12.00 CB 6735    
    12.00  16.00 CB 6584  NNW 2, 6/10, Sea                                              Total:            224     nm  
      1, Vis. 12 nm                                              To date:      6389     nm  
    16.00  20.00 CB 6569                                              Submerged:  299     nm  
    20.00  24.00 CB 6629    
    24.00  04.00 CC 4197    
                                                            
    21.04.42      
    04.00  08.00 CC 4257    
    08.00  12.00 CC 4263    
    12.00  16.00 CC 4323  E by S 5, 10/10, Sea 4, Vis. 6 nm                                              Total:            222    nm  
                                                   To date:      6591     nm  
    16.00  20.00 CC 5112                                              Submerged:  299     nm  
    20.00  24.00 CC 2794    
    24.00  04.00 CC 2857    
                                                        
    22.04.42      
    04.00  08.00 CC 2941    
    08.00  12.00 CC 2934    
    12.00  16.00 CC 3487  SW 2, 9/10, Sea 2, Vis. 10 nm                                              Total:            210    nm  
                                                   To date:      6801     nm  
    16.00  20.00 CC 3493                                              Submerged:  299     nm  
    20.00  24.00 CC 3556    
    24.00  04.00 CC 3616    
                                                            
    23.04.42      
    04.00  08.00 CD 1177    
    08.00  12.00 CD 1191    
    12.00  16.00 CD 1245  W by S 5, 9/10, Sea 5, Vis. 11 nm                                              Total:            223    nm  
                                                   To date:      7024     nm  
    16.00  20.00 CD 1265                                              Submerged:  299     nm  
    17.00  21.0 For the first time U-123 received a radio message from the Fuehrer.  The oak leaves had been awarded to the commander.  The joy was great everywhere, we all have fought for it  
           
Sun and Moon Data 19.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 20.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 21.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 22.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 23.04.42
 
- 34 -
 
           
           
           
      together.   In a formal ceremony in the control room a handmade iron cross with oak leaves was awarded to me.  
    20.00  24.00 CD 1328    
    24.00  04.00 CD 2112                                                     
    24.04.42    
    04.00  08.00 BC 9798    
    08.00  12.00 BC 9857    
    12.00  16.00 BC 9867  Ship's time = 16.00 D.G.Z.   NNW 6, 9/10, Sea 5-6, Vis. 8 nm                                             Total:            214    nm  
                                                   To date:      7238     nm  
                                                   Submerged:  299     nm  
       

The shipboard clock was set ahead again on DGZ.

 
        From now on the times in the KTB are DGZ again.  
    20.00 BC 9943    
    24.00 BC 9938                                                     
    25.04.42    
    04.00 BD 7724    
    08.00 BD 7732    
    12.00 BD 7587  N by W 6, 8/10, Sea 6, Vis. 8 nm                                              Total:            177     nm  
                                                   To date:      7415     nm  
                                                     Submerged:  299     nm  
    16.00 BD 7597    
    20.00 BD 7676    
    24.00 BD 7691                                                     
    26.04.42    
    04.00 BD 8473    
    08.00 BD 8468    
    12.00 BD 8549  NE 2-3, 4/10, Sea 2, Vis. 10 nm, NE Swell                                              Total:            200     nm  
                                                   To date:      7615     nm  
                                                     Submerged:  299     nm  
    16.00 BD 8567 Ordered by radio message to meet U-107 in BE 7188 at 14.00 hours on 28 April to hand over the "Address Book".  Because I will arrive there 12 hours earlier, I suggest a new rendezvous point in BE 7289 at 10.00 hours.  
  19.01   , dive test.
    19.28    
    20.00 BD 8646    
    24.00 BD 8665                                                     
    27.04.42    
    04.00 BD 9451    
    08.00 BD 9462    
    12.00 BD 9527  NE 1, 3/10, Sea 1, Vis. 10 nm                                              Total:            206    nm  
                                                   To date:      7821     nm  
                                                     Submerged:  300      nm  
    16.00 BD 9537    
    20.00 BD 9619    
    24.00 BD 9635                                                     
    28.04.42    
    04.00 BE 7421    
    08.00 BE 7511    
    10.00 ESE 1, 7/10, Sea 0-1, Vis. 10 nm NE Swell I am 6 nm west of the rendezvous point.  
    11.00 Arrived at rendezvous point and send bearing signals because nothing in sight. U-107 reports that he found us at 300°.  Head towards him at 120°.  
    11.50   U-107 in sight.  
    12.00 BE 7289 ESE 0-1, 8/10, Sea 0-1, Vis. 12 nm, NE swell                                              Total:             239    nm  
                                                   To date:      8060     nm  
                                                     Submerged:  300      nm  
    12.30   Lying abeam of U-107 we planned to hand over the "Address Book" by heaving line in a purpose-built canister, but U-107 launches a rubber dinghy to hand over one box of eggs by way of thanks for it.  
Sun and Moon Data 24.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 25.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 26.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 27.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 28.04.42
 
- 35 -
 
           
           
           
           
    28.04.42      
      With that he did the proper thing for us shortly before arriving.  After receiving mail and informing him about our newest experiences off the USA we proceeded homewards.  
    12.45   Course 85°. Both diesel engines at 300 revolutions.  
    13.02   U-107 out of sight.  
    16.00 BE 7379    
    20.00 BE 7397    
    24.00 BE 8176    
                                                            
    29.04.42      
    04.00 BE 8194    
    08.00 BE 8272    
    12.00 BE 8291  S by W 2-3, 9/10, Sea 2, Vis. 12 nm                                             Total:             194     nm  
                                                   To date:      8254     nm  
                                                     Submerged:  300      nm  
    16.00 BE 8348    
    20.00 BE 8367    
    24.00 BE 9146    
                                                            
    30.04.42      
    04.00 BE 9162    
    08.00 BE 9219    
    12.00 BE 9235  S 1, 10/10, Sea 1, Vis. 2 nm, Fog, Swell                                             Total:             214     nm  
                                                   To date:      8468     nm  
                                                     Submerged:  300      nm  
    16.00 BE 6988    
    20.00 BF 4776    
    24.00 BF 4768    
                                                            
    1.05.42      
    02.40 Sighted on starboard abeam two fishing trawlers with lamps in keel line, course north.  
    04.00 BF 4852    
    07.40   Crash-dive for 3 big aircraft ahead, course southwest, possibly own.  
    10.10      , continued on the surface because we don't have to fear surprise attacks by aircraft under the blue sky and to obtain many position fixes to reach the exact location of the corridor.  This is more important due to the mine situation.  
    12.00 BF 4925                                              Total:             235    nm  
                                                   To date:      8703     nm
                                                     Submerged:  310      nm  
    15.50   Sighted to starboard two fishing trawlers on a course of 350°.  
    18.07   Sighted one He115 ahead, course southwest.  Exchanged recognition signals.  
    19.30   Sighted on port side abeam one aircraft far away.  
    23.00   Arrived on the outer point for corridor "Bogenlampe".  
                                                            
    2.05.42      
    07.00   Arrived at "Point II".  
    07.30   Meet the escort.  
    10.50  

Moored in Lorient.

 
                                                     Total:             215    nm  
                                                     To date:      8818     nm  
                                                     Submerged:  310      nm  
                                                            
Sun and Moon Data 29.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 30.04.42
Sun and Moon Data 01.05.42
 
- 36 -
 
           
           
           
           
           
     

Particular experiences

 
         
     

As on the last patrol the continuous surveillance of the 600 meter frequency after passing 55°  West proved to be the most important aid for successful operations.  Daily several emergency messages from steamers were heard.  They were not attacked in every case, often they just reported U-boat sightings or they saw ghosts like a "suspicious vessel" or "mysterious light".  But each time with position and often with course and speed.  If all positions are recorded on a map, one could get a good overview of the main shipping routes.  When I followed them a ship arrived for sure.  One could even do probability calculations on how many tankers a freighter will follow, etc.  According to my calculations I still had to encounter during the last night, when all torpedoes had been fired, two northbound ships with 1 tanker among them and one southbound ship.  So I remained there and destroyed the northbound tanker with artillery and then sighted the southbound ship too.  Luck and coincidence play a part, but it stills strengthens self-confidence and one does not require uncertain and fuel consuming hunts during the day.  Incidentally some torpedoed ships were recorded with names which were not mentioned in the success reports of the other boats, because they were probably destroyed in submerged attacks.  Therefore the data collected on the 600 meter frequency can be analyzed with good results.

 
     

The often strong air and frequent sea surveillance should not be overestimated as to their fighting capacity, because at the moment they are almost completely untrained.  The small submarine chaser motor boats are unpleasant because they have such a low silhouette that they are often not visible through the periscope though.  On the surface one can see them due to the bow wave, but not due their shadow.  Should they learn to get closer at slow speed unseen, they could become dangerous.  In my opinion the very strong glowing sea off the coast of Florida is most dangerous for the U-boat.  If one has to dive in shallow waters, i.e. within the 20-meter line, for aircraft or destroyer and departs at periscope depth, the phenomena appears on the screws and in swirls at the guns, like on the Eto.  The glowing seas give away the position to the aircraft and the destroyer.  I did not notice any Asdic, but there were good listening conditions and I believe that the Americans use the hydrophone well.  That's why I deem it best to run a short distance away from the diving spot and then lay the boat on the bottom as a "dead man".  For sure it is odd to lie on the bottom at 20 or 22 meters depth and to let submarine chasers and destroyers pass right overhead.  One has to keep one's nerves.

 
     

 

 
           
           
           
           
           
           
 
- 37 -
 
           
           
           
           
           
           
     

We are superior in each case.  Two examples showed that the enemy is not tough and departs as soon he does not hear or see something.  Then just rise from the bottom and leave on the surface.

 
      The opportunity to lie on the bottom allows you to operate in the area for a long time.  If one proceeds submerged in the evening to reach the steamer routes at dusk, you don't have to wait long for the steamers.  It is easy to obtain firing data because the exact courses and therefore the target angle are known, especially if the steamer is between the U-boat and the coast.  The speed is measured quickly by steaming parallel to him for about 4000 meters and adjusting your own speed to his.  Type and size are easy to determine because the silhouettes are clearly seen in the lights on the coast and the navigational lights.  Then overtake at AK and turn towards it.  This means one hour at AK at most.  If the distance is still too great, turn away again and overtake once more.  It's worth it every time.  One can afford to only fire dead sure shots.  Full confidence in your own invisibility is important.  The enemy is not paying attention very well.  I could make two attacks on the surface in calm seas and in the moonlight without being seen from 500 meters distance.  A miss is hardly possible this way and the enemy can not evade a torpedo at this distance.  This way I used not more than 2 cbm of fuel daily and when I started my return journey after exactly 6 weeks from Cape Canaveral, it would have been possible to provide 15 – 20 cbm to other boats, despite having a type IXB.  Because a milkcow opened a competing company, I returned home with both engines at HF, in the end at 300 revolutions and saved us 1 week of the return journey.  
           
           
                                                            
           
           
           
           
           
           
           

Appendices to U-123's KTB - click on the text at left to proceed to the documents
Chart A Combat sketch for the period 3-28 March 1942
Chart B Combat sketch for the period 31 March - 4 April 1942
Chart C Combat sketch for the period 4-14 April 1942

 
 
     
     
 

Commentary of the BdU to the KTB of U-123

 
 
from 02.03.42 to 05.05.42
 
     
 

 

 
 
                Excellently executed patrol.
 
                With the total commitment of his boat the commander has achieved with exemplary courage an outstanding success, which is to date unparalleled without torpedo resupply.
 
     
     
     
 

 

 
     
                                                                          Signed in draft: Dönitz  
                                                                          For validity:  
 
          
                                                                              Leutnant z.S and Adjutant  
     
     
     


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