SECRET
 
Attention is called to the penalties attaching to any infraction of the
 
Official Secrets Acts.
 
     
     
     
     
 
C.B. 04051 (76)
 
   
   
   
 
"U 135"
 
 
 
 
Interrogation of Survivors
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
November, 1943
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
     
     
     
     
  NAVAL INTELLIGENCE DIVISION,  
             ADMIRALTY, S.W.1.  
     
  N.I.D. 05533/43.  
     
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
iii
 
 
CONTENTS
 
 
______
 
     
 
      Page
I. Introductory Remarks
1
  (i) General;  (ii)  Commanding Officer;  (iii)  1st Lieutenant;  (iv)  2nd Lieutenant;  (v)  Engineer Officer;  (vi)  Medical Officer.
     
II. Details of "U 135"
2
  (i) Type;  (ii)  Displacement;  (iii)  Builders;  (iv)  Armament:  (a) Guns,  (b)  Torpedo Tubes,  (c)  Torpedoes,  (d)  Pistols,  (e)  Loading of Tubes,  (f)  Stowage of Spare Torpedoes and Pistols,  (g)  Computer (Fruit Machine);  (v)  Propulsion:  (a)  Diesels,  (b)  Main Motors,  (c)  Switchboards,  (d)  Batteries;  (vi)  G.S.R.;  (vii)  Radar;  (viii)  W/T Equipment;  (ix)  Multi-Unit Hydrophones;  (x)  R.D.B.;  (xi)  S.B.T.;  (xii)  Rubber Dinghies;  (xiii)  Infra-red Apparatus ("Seehund");  (Xiv)  Camouflage;  (xv)  Diving Performance;  (xvi)  Depth-Charge Explosion Plotting Gear;  (xvii)Badge;  (xviii)  Naval Postal Address;  (xix)  Flotilla.
     
III. Seventh and Last Patrol of "U 135"
4
     
IV. Sinking of "U 135"
5
     
V. General Remarks on U-boats
6
  A. Procedure:  (i)  Bay of Biscay;  (ii)  Diving Depths;  (iii)  Tactics of Attack;  (iv)  British Escorts;  (v)  Attack by Halifax Aircraft.
  B. Equipment:  (i)  Aircraft;  (ii)  D/F Buoys;  (iii)  Didymium Filters;  (iv)  Fuel Oil;  (v)  Gunnery;  (vi)  Infra-Red;  (vii)  Meteorological Buoys;  (viii)  Night-glasses;  (ix)  Pressure Hull;  (x)  Rubber Coverings;  (xi)  S.B.T.;  (xii)  Switchboard;  (xiii)  740-tonners;  (xiv)  Vision Pills;  (xv)  U-boats with Turbine Propulsion.
     
VI. Surface Vessels
9
     
VII. Bases, Shore Establishments, Training, etc.
9
  A. France:  (i)  Bordeaux;  (ii)  Lorient;  (iii)  St. Nazaire.
  B. Germany:  (i)  Lochstätte Camp;  (ii)  Oberndorf an Neckar;  (iii)  Pillau.
     
VIII. Communications, etc.
10
  (i) British Asdic;  (ii)  S.S.T.
     
IX. Torpedoes and Pistols
10
  (i) Air Torpedoes:  Type G.7a (21-in.)-Type T.1;  (ii)  Electric Torpedoes:  Type G.7e (21-in.)-Type T.2 and T.3;  (iii)  "Curly" Torpedo;  (iv)  New Types;  (vi)  Pistols:  (a)  G.7H (Pi. 1)-Impact Pistol,  (b)  Pi. 2-Impact and Magnetic Pistol;  (vii)  Tactics;  (viii)  Deck Containers for Torpedoes.
     
X. Miscellaneous
11
  (i) Damage at Cologne by R.A.F.;  (ii)  Detention Barracks, Halle;  (iii)  Italian U-boats;  (iv)  Victualling;  (v)  Officers' Improper Conduct;  (vi)  Sabotage;  (vii)  Venereal Disease.
     
___________
     
APPENDIX "A"  Early History of "U 135"
13
     
APPENDIX "B"  Previous Patrols of "U 135"
13
  (i) General;  (ii)  First Patrol;  (iii)  Second Patrol;  (iv)  Third Patrol;  (v)  Fourth Patrol;  (vi)  Fifth Patrol;  (vii)  Sixth Patrol.
     
APPENDIX "C"  Nominal Roll of "U 135"
15
  (i) Survivors;  (ii)  Casualties;  (iii)  Total Crew.
 
     
  (C50948)                                                                                                                                 B*  
     
 
 

 

 
 
 
1
 
 
 
 
REPORT  ON  INTERROGATION  OF  SURVIVORS  FROM  "U 135"  A  500-TON  U-BOAT  SUNK  AT  1201  ON  15th  JULY,  1943
 
___________________
 
     
 
I.  INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
 
     
  (i)  General  
          "U 135" a 500-ton U-boat commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Otto Luther, was sunk at 1201 on 15th July, 1943 in position 280 20' N., 130 17' W., by H.M.S. "Mignonette," assisted by H.M. Ships "Rochester" and "Balsam."  The commanding officer, the three other officers and thirty-seven ratings were rescued;  five ratings did not survive.  
          Two months elapsed between the capture of these prisoners and their arrival at a detailed interrogation centre.  The ship's company was security-conscious, and their morale was in general high, apparently scarcely affected by recent Axis reverses.  
          Prisoners from "U 135 claimed to have sunk 35,000 tons of shipping in her two years' service.  
          "U 135" had very poor equipment judged by the standards at present obtaining in the U-boat arm.  Had "U 135" successfully completed her seventh patrol she would have been withdrawn from operational duties and employed as a school-boat.  
     
  (ii)  Commanding Officer  
          Oberleutnant zur See Otto Luther, a regular officer, twenty-five years of age and of the 1937B term was both despised and disliked by his ship's company; he was badly thought of by the S.O. of the flotilla.  He was an excessive martinet in disciplinary matters and entirely unsuited to the intimate and democratic conditions of U-boat life although he had made seven previous patrols in U-boats.  This was his first patrol as Commanding Officer.  Until "U 135" was hunted, on the day of her sinking, his conversation turned frequently on the desirability of becoming involved in an action.  His men always said that he would either get the Ritterkreuz or lose the boat before he had completed four patrols.  When the action began and proved to be a tough one, he decided to abandon a boat which was still seaworthy, and he was the first man to jump overboard.  His life-jacket would not inflate and he attempted, unsuccessfully, to knock unconscious a petty officer who was swimming near him, with a view to procuring a life-jacket, visibly in working order.  
          He had once stated that if he ever shot down an aircraft, he would not take any prisoners.  
     
  (iii)  First Lieutenant  
          Leutnant zur See Joachim Albrecht von Holleuffer, twenty-two years old, is a regular officer of the 1939B term.  He was a conceited, ill-mannered, ignorant, unpopular fool.  He was incapable of making the simplest navigational entry on a chart without help from someone else.  
     
  (iv)  Second Lieutenant  
          Leutnant zur See Helmut Karstens, aged twenty years, was a regular officer of the 1940 term.  This officer was popular with his men and considered efficient.  He remained on board "U 135" to the last, and directed the evacuation of all the ship's company.  
          This officer made an unfavorable impression with his British captors, which is presumably to be ascribed to the fact that he made no secret of his political views, which were ardently National Socialist.  He had been in the U-boat arm for a year and a half, and had previously served in torpedo boats.  His father, Kapitan zur See Karstens, had commanded a destroyer flotilla at the Battle of Jutland.  
     
  (v)  Engineer Officer  
          Oberleutnant (Ing.) Diedrich Stölting, aged thirty-one years, was an ex-merchant service engineer officer of weak personality.  He adapted his views to those of the Commanding Officer.  This propensity extended even to detail.  A typical instance was that he would inform the braggart Oberleutnant Luther that there was plenty of fuel, when the supply was exactly the same figure at which he used to tell the latter's cowardly predecessor, Oberleutnant Schütt, that there was almost none left, so that an attack would be impossible.  He was the only officer prisoner who had stood by during building.  He did not, however, remain in "U 135" after commissioning and rejoined after she had completed her first operational patrol.  
     
  (vi)  Medical Officer  
          All boats, leaving France at present, are intended to carry a medical officer.  This is due to the large increase in the number of casualties incurred by the new policy of remaining surfaced to engage aircraft.  "U 135" however carried no medical officer.  
     
          Important ratings who stood by during building included one E.R.A., one Acting Petty Officer Telegraphist and one Chief Petty Officer (Navigational duties).  
     
  (C50948)                                                                                                                              B*2  
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
2
     
          The average age of the officers was twenty-five, that of the ratings twenty-three and a half.  Almost all were volunteers for the Navy, but only about half had volunteered for the U-boat arm.  Four ratings had previously served in both other U-boats and surface craft, three had served only in other U-boats and four in surface craft only.  Two had served in U-boat depot ships.  For the remainder of the ship's company "U 135" was their first sea-going experience.  The average number of patrols made in "U 135" by the hands on board at the time of the sinking was higher than usual, working out at about four.  One rating had done all seven patrols and had never been to a submarine school at all before joining "U 135."  
          The ratings, during their time in H.M.S. "Rochester," refused to do odd jobs for their officers; they spent as much of their time as possible sleeping.  During this period in H.M. Ships, the officers behaved correctly, the petty officers were surly and indolent and the junior ratings were cheerful and industrious.  The relations between officers and petty officers in "U 135" were not of the best.  
          Leutnant zur See von Kohenlade, the First Lieutenant on "U 135's" sixth patrol, was the only officer since the departure of Kapitänleutnant Praetorius who invested himself in the welfare of the ratings, inspecting their billets ashore, etc.  The hands were convinced he would never make a second patrol with them because "The flotilla S.O. preferred officers who made no fuss."  Leutnant zur See von Kohenlade took energetic action if he thought the men were being unfairly treated.  The prophecy came true, he made only one patrol in "U 135."  
          The great majority of the ship's company had by no means lost faith in the possibility of Germany's ultimate victory; as for the fraction that had, it would be wrong to assume that more than a half were politically opposed to the doctrines of National Socialism.  A percentage of those who believe in Germany's victory on arrival in this country, lose this belief with the passage of time.  
     
          Corresponding German and Royal Navy Rank equivalents used in this report are:  
 
Kapitän zur See
-
Captain.
Fregattenkapitän
-
Commander.
Korvettenkapitän
-
Lieutenant-Commander.
Kapitänleutnant
-
Lieutenant.
Oberleutnant zur See
-
Sub-Lieutenant.
Leutnant zur See
-
Junior Sub-Lieutenant.
Oberfähnrich zur See
-
Senior Midshipman.
Fähnrich zur See
-
Junior Midshipman.
Marinestabsarzt
-
Surgeon-Lieutenant.
 
          The suffix (Ing.) after a rank in place of "zur See" denotes Engineer Officer thus, Oberleutnant (Ing.) = Sub.Lieutenant (E).  The suffix "der Reserve" denotes a Reserve Officer.  
     
 
___________________
 
     
 
II.  DETAILS OF "U 135"
 
     
 
(i) Type VII C.  (General construction and equipment similar to H.M.S. "Graph.")
 
(ii) Displacement 500 tons.
     
(iii) Builders Vulkanwerft, Vegesack.
     
(iv) Armament (a)  Guns. - One 88-mm.  (3.46-in.) forward.
    Four M.G. 34 on bridge.
    One 20-mm. (0.79-in.) on bandstand
    No lower bandstand.
    Prisoners had not heard of retractable mountings.
    (b)  Torpedo Tubes. - Four bow, one stern.
    (c)  Torpedoes. - (See also Section IX).
    Fourteen torpedoes carried in all comprising five G.7a "Curlies," six T.2(G.7e) and three T.3(G.7e).  No G.7e "Curlies" were carried.
    (d)  Pistols. - Probably eleven G.7H (Pi.1) and three Pi.2; although it is possible that a spare G.7H was carried.
    (e)  Loading of Tubes. - Loading was as follows:
    Bow tubes I and IV.- G.7a "Curlies" with G.7H pistols.
    Bow tubes II and III.- T.2(G.7e) with G.7H pistols.
    Stern tube V.-T.3 (G.7e) with Pi.2 pistol.  (N.I.D. Note:  This may be normal loading).
 
     
  (C40948)                                                                                                                               B*3  
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
3
     
 
    (f)  Stowage of Torpedoes and Pistols.-  Spare torpedoes were stowed as follows:  One T.3 in the motor room bilges aft, and all other torpedoes forward.  The pistols were stowed in the wardroom control room, magazine and oilskin locker.  One rating stated that "Fang-torpedoes" were carried, but no confirmation of this statement could be obtained.  (See C.B. 04051 (85), page 4.)
    (g)  Computer (Fruit Machine).-  A torpedo artificer stated that "U 135" was fitted with the standard old type computer (Rechenmaschine) and he did not know of any newer or better type.  (N.I.D. Note:  Previous prisoners have mentioned a new and improved type.)  He described its size as about 30 in. by 24 in.  He said that although he had once repaired the machine and changed one of the motors which had burnt out, he had never received any proper instruction about this gear.  The electric supply was from a special converter with output at 55 volts, 50 cycles.  The computer itself contained several motors, the exact number of which was not remembered, interconnected by the usual differential gears; it was situated in the conning-tower and operated by a specially trained rating, who had no other job at action stations.  He received estimated range, enemy speed and bearing from either the Commanding Officer or the Torpedo Officer and then made the necessary adjustments on the computer.  In the torpedo compartment there was a receiver (Torpedoschusswinkelempfänger), but the adjustment on the torpedo was done automatically, the receiver only serving to give a check on whether the installation was functioning.
 
(v) Propulsion (a)  Diesels.-  M.A.N. 6-cylinder (original engines still in use).
    (b)  Main Motors.- B.B.C.  Maximum rating at full speed = 1,200 ampères.
    (c)  Switchboards.-  B.B.C.
    (d)  Batteries.-  Total capacity 18,000 to 20,000 ampère-hours.  (62 cells per battery.)
     
(vi) G.S.R. Metox type R.600 with Magic Eye visual indicator and Southern Cross type aerial.  The aerial could be trained from below decks and had to be unshipped before diving.  After the sixth patrol the new basket type aerial was fitted, and was said to have given good results.  "U 135" had no automatic scanner (Wellenanzeiger).
    G.S.R. equipment is now made in Germany, no new gear being manufactured by Metox or Grandin.  "U 135" had no oscillograph and had not been supplied with a magic eye.  One Leading Telegraphist had taken a Magic Eye from an ordinary Telefunken radio set and incorporated it into the G.S.R.  This was alleged to have had some success in picking up contacts from enemy aircraft.
     
(vii) Radar None.
     
(viii) W/T Equipment The following W/T equipment was carried:
      (a)  200-watt H/F transmitter.
      (b)  150-watt L/F M/F transmitter.
      (c)  40-watt H/F emergency transmitter.
      (d)  H/F receiver.
      (e)  L/F receiver.
      (f)  All-wave receiver.
      (g)  Broadcast radio receiver (Radione) in wardroom.
      (h)  Broadcast radio receiver (Telefunken) in W/T cabin.
     
(ix) Multi-unit Hydrophones Fitted.
     
(x) R.D.B. None.
     
(xi) S.B.T. Fitted abaft the starboard electric motor.  Held to be of considerable efficacy.
     
(xii) Rubber Dinghies One large and four small carried.
     
(xiii) Infra-red Apparatus (Seehund.") Not carried.  (See C.B. 04051 (84).  Section V, page 6.)
 
     
  (C40948)                                                                                                                               B*3  
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
4
 
     
 
(xiv) Camouflage No anti-infra-red camouflage paint had ever been applied to "U 135."  (See C.B. 04051 (84), page 4.)
 
(xv) Diving Performance With a well-trained crew, "U 135" could dive to 165 ft. in 23 seconds.  With her crew, at the time of sinking, she took 38 seconds to reach this depth.
     
(xvi) Depth-Charge Explosion Plotting Gear Not carried.  (N.I.D. Note:  Prisoners from "U 615" interrogated in U.S.A., gave some details of this gear, known as "Wabo-Ortungs Gerät.)
     
(xvii) Badge "U 135" wore no individual device, but only the badge common to all boats of the 7th Flotilla, i.e., Prien's Snorting Bull of Scapa Flow.
     
(xviii) Naval Postal Address M.00150.
     
(xix) Flotilla 7th, based on St. Nazaire.  Said to consist of about 25 boats.
 
     
 
___________________
 
     
 
III.  SEVENTH AND LAST PATROL OF "U 135"
 
 
(All times used in this report are D.B.S.T.)
 
     
          Though "U 135" was a St. Nazaire boat, she had returned after her penultimate patrol to Lorient for refitting.  
          "U 135" left Lorient for her seventh and last operational patrol at about 1430 on 7th June, 1943.  A 740-ton U-boat commanded by Kapitänleutnant Staats and a 500-ton U-boat commanded by Kapitänleutnant Friedrichs were in company.  Prisoners stated that the former boat was "U 508."  Formation consisted of one Sperrbrecher followed by the three U-boats in line ahead.  The S.O. was Staats, a holder of the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross, whose boat took station about a cable's length astern of the Sperrbrecher; then followed Friedrichs' boat and last of all "U 135," in close formation.  Air escort was provided by six Junkers 88's of V/K G.40.  Three of these remained close at hand, within between two and seven miles of "U 135" and exchanged recognition signals by the cartridge of the day.  The other three aircraft formed an outer ring, sweeping further away from the U-boat, and not visible to her.  
          Before escort parted company, "U 135" exercised deep diving, so as to ensure that nothing had been damaged by sabotage.  
          At no time did "U 135" sail along the Spanish coast.  In the daytime she proceeded surfaced and did not sight any hostile aircraft although three G.S.R. contacts were made.  Each night at about 2200, "U 135" submerged; she surfaced again between 0800 and 0900 the following morning.  Escort ceases at an arbitrary point called "Kern," which is at the 100 fathom line.  The general direction appeared to suggest that course was being shaped for the Canary Islands.  Some days after sailing a signal was received warning against the use of the Telefunken radio receiver because the re-radiation could be detected.  
          The diving routine above was maintained up to the fifth day, when submerging ceased.  
          On 12th June, 1943, two T.2 torpedoes with G.7H pistols were fired at a range of about 5,500 metres (6,000 yards) at a single 9,000-ton ship, estimated to be doing 18 knots.  A leading seaman torpedoman stated that there was little hope of scoring a hit at this range, but that the commanding officer appeared afraid to approach any closer.  No hit was scored.  
          Friedrichs' boat was detached to operate in the Caribbean, whilst "U 508" remained with "U 135" with orders to operate off Las Palmas.  The duties of these two U-boats were to patrol just outside the three-mile limit and observe the movements of shipping.  "U 135" had the western zone, amongst the actual Canary Islands, while "U 508" swept north and south between the eastern fringe of the islands and the African coast.  Spanish vessels were seen leaving and entering harbour, and one British freighter was also seen to enter.  "U 135" patrolled for three days, hoping the freighter would come out, but finally gave up hope.  The U-boats generally submerged by day and surfaced at night, patrolling around the islands.  On one occasion "U 135" ignored the three-mile limit and entered the harbour of Santa Cruz, surfaced, during daylight, "so as to listen to the music ashore."  
          In the neighborhood of the Azores about 400 bales of raw rubber were seen floating in the sea; about ten of these were recovered and brought inboard.  
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
5
 
 
          Throughout her last patrol up to the time of her sinking, "U 135" had not been attacked, but on the 13th July Allied aircraft were sighted, the number of which increased during the next two days.  At every contact "U 135" dived and remained submerged for one hour, then surfaced again.  Observing this routine, aircraft were so numerous during the night 14/15th July, that the U-boat seldom had a complete hour on the surface.  The captain was warned by the G.S.R. operator that this indicated that a convoy was in the vicinity.  Although orders had been received from Control to attack independently routed ships only, and to leave convoys alone, "U 135" felt secure in attacking Convoy O.S.51 on the 15th July, because other U-boats were not far away.  Further incentives to do so lay in the fact that the U-boat was due to return to base in seven days' time and that she had sunk nothing for over a year.  A petty officer telegraphist reporting all these aircraft contacts advised the commanding officer to lie in wait for the convoy which was bound to be approaching.  The commanding officer disregarded this warning and continued his course, being forced to remain submerged.  
          When "U 135" reached periscope depth she found herself right in the midst of the convoy.  Prisoners estimated the convoy as consisting of thirty merchantmen escorted by corvettes and one destroyer.  After carefully maneuvering "U 135" attacked s.s. "Twickenham" at 1020, firing two normal electric torpedoes (from bow tubes Nos. II and III) and one with magnetic pistol from the stern tube, all at periscope depth.  One of these scored a hit at a range estimated at 900 yards.  Prisoners' estimates of the range differ considerably.  The torpedo fired from aft was a hot run in the tube and had to be expelled with the aid of the mine expulsion gear at a pressure of 3,000 lbs/in.2 instead of 240 lbs/in.2.  Air bubbles ensued which it was thought, betrayed "U 135's" position to her pursuers.  (N.I.D. Note:  The bow of s.s. "Twickenham," British, 4,762 gross tons, was blown off and No. 1 hold flooded.  A fire broke out, but was brought under control.  The ship did not sink, but proceeded to Dakar under her own steam, screened by H.M.S. "Fandango."  There were no casualties.)  
     
 
___________________
 
     
 
IV.  SINKING OF "U 135"
 
     
          Immediately after s.s. "Twickenham" had been torpedoed the hunt of "U 135" began.  A destroyer was contacted closing in and "U 135" went down to 300 ft.  At this depth the after tube, which had given trouble during the firing, was observed to be damaged.  Nevertheless "U 135" now went to 620 ft., at which she sustained her first depth-charge attack.  These initial patterns were estimated by prisoners to have been set at about 500/550 ft.; they did considerable damage, several lights failed, one depth gauge was put out of action as well as the entire W/T installations.  The cap of the after tube was not completely water tight and water began to enter by it.  After this attack "U 135" dived deeper.  
          "Before leaving Lorient, "U 135's" after tube was removed, necessitating the pressure hull aft having a hole burnt through just above the motor room.  When the tube was replaced, this part of the pressure hull was replaced by riveting instead of being welded.  On reaching a depth of 800 ft., this riveted joint began to leak and water sprayed on the switchboard.  Water had entered in sufficient quantity to make the boat down by the stern.  Proper trim was never recovered and it was thought that a succeeding depth-charge attack, which had put ballast tank III out of order, had contributed to this condition.  This next attack also fractured a waterpipe near the trimming controls on the control room causing a further serious leak.  Adequate repairs were not possible while submerged.  
          It was now decided to surface.  The motors were still running, and the boat still down by the stern.  The engineer officer had great difficulty in making the boat surface.  On blowing she rose from 850 ft. to 620 ft. but sank again to 720.  This again occurred at the next attempt.  Eventually ballast tank III was assumed to be damaged, and ballast tank V only was used.  "U 135" now started to surface, but was still more down by the stern than ever.  At 230 ft. they received their last pattern of depth-charges, which did not appreciably add to the damage.  Water was so deep in the motor room that it covered the air intake for cooling the motors and had flooded through into the Diesel room.  "U 135" was brought up by using her motors set at utmost speed, where they remained on surfacing.  "U 135" surfaced bows first, then found an even keel.  When she broke surface, and the commanding officer saw a destroyer and three corvettes closing to attack, he immediately gave the order to abandon ship, and jumped overboard forthwith followed at once by his first lieutenant.  These two officers were the two first in the water.  
          As a consequence of having surfaced with the motors at "utmost speed" the boat had way on after surfacing and was leaving a considerable wake.  Prisoners state that this may have caused the British forces to imagine that the U-boat was going to continue the action.  A U.S. Catalina in the vicinity dropped some bombs and H.M. Ships "Rochester," "Balsam" and "Mignonette" opened fire with their armament.  
         The commanding officer's order to abandon ship had not been heard throughout the U-boat, and her guns' crew tried to close up at their mounting; they were shot down in the attempt and the gun itself was also evidently shot away.  
          During the attacks the ship's company became very excited, some completely losing their nerve, including the commanding officer who gave none of the usual orders in such circumstances, nor answered requests made to him for such orders.  When he was already swimming in the water the commanding officer gave the command "Entluftung ziehen" ("open vents") to which no one paid  
     
  (C50948)                                                                                                                               B*4  
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
6
 
 
  any attention.  The seamen ratings had begun to abandon ship before the stokers had realized that any order to do so had been given and the latter might have been lost with the boat had not a petty officer ordered them all on deck.  
          (N.I.D. Note:  H.M.S. Mignonette" sank "U 135" by ramming at right angles 15ft. abaft the conning-tower at 1201.  H.M.S. "Mignonette" suffered damage to her bow.  No member of "U 135" ship's company was still on board at the time of the ramming.)  
          Owing to damage to the W/T gear it was not possible for "U 135" to make a signal to Control reporting her condition.  The scuttling charge, which was in the control room, was not fired and it was the general opinion of the ship's company that the sole cause of the sinking was the ramming, before which the boat was still in a fit condition to be saved.  Since the ramming occurred after the commanding officer had jumped overboard, many ratings felt he abandoned the ship before there was any adequate justification for so doing, and that he should be forced to stand trial for cowardice.  It seems however, doubtful whether "U 135" could have made a French Atlantic port with her trimming system defective.  
          The Catalina is alleged by the survivors to have machine-gunned them and the boat while they were already in the water.  
          Prisoners' estimates as to the total number of depth-charges dropped varied from 40 to 90.  (N.I.D. Note:  Depth-charge expenditure was as follows:  "Balsam" 20,  "Mignonette" 10, "Rochester" 40, total 70.)  
          Prisoners put the maximum depth reached by "U 135" during the hunt at figures ranging from 885 to 950 ft., and the maximum depth setting of the depth-charges at 620 ft.  
          Six pills had been ejected from S.B.T. before the sinking of  "U 135."  The prisoners were picked up by all three H.M. ships and brought to Freetown, where they arrived on 23rd July.  They were accommodated in barracks there until the 26th August, when they left in H.M. Ships "Resolution" and "Revenge," arriving in the U.K. on 10th September.  
          Prisoners felt that had Kapitänleutnant Praetorius still been in command during the fatal action, "U 135" would have reached base again.  (See Appendices "A" and "B.")  
     
 
___________________
 
     
 
V.  GENERAL REMARKS ON U-BOATS
 
     
          (N.I.D. Note:  It should be appreciated that this information dates from the first week of June, 1943, and is not thought now to obtain.)  
     
  A.  PROCEDURE  
  (i)  Bay of Biscay  
          U-boats leaving French bases generally proceed in line ahead immediately astern of the mine sweepers.  The dispersal point for boats sailing from Lorient is Point "Kern" at the 100-fathom line.  If there are more than three U-boats in all, two boats is the maximum number astern of each minesweeper.  This order exists because once the third boat in line astern of a minesweeper was destroyed by a mine.  The first boat must not be more than 50 yards astern of the minesweeper and not more than 50 yards ahead of the second U-boat.  These orders must be strictly observed.  It was not thought that any special sweeping was carried out prior to the departure of a U-boat; but sweeping is carried out regularly, especially when aircraft have been reported.  Ju. 52 aircraft, fitted with magnetic sweeping gear, sweep regularly from a base near Nantes.  
          When in the Bay, the group takes its orders from the senior commanding officer, who signals visually when to dive.  He then submerges to a depth of 130 ft., the next boat in line to a depth of 200 ft., the next one after that to 130 ft. and so on.  The speed is "Schleichfahrt" (Silent speed), which differs with each boat and is never more than about 90 revolutions for 500-ton U-boats.  When proceeding at "Schleichfahrt" there would be considerable danger of collision owing to the varying speeds attained with telegraphs at "dead slow."  
          It is on account of this danger of collision that the differing depths for successive U-boats are ordered.  
          The senior officer of the group is empowered to order other depths than the usual ones already mentioned.  
          The multi-unit hydrophones give very unsatisfactory results when proceeding at "Schleichfahrt" and accordingly S.S.T. must be used instead for inter-communication.  
          "Schleichfahrt" (literally = "creeping speed") is that speed at which the least noise is made.  
          A boat may, by exception, signal by S.S.T. "Läufe höhere Fahrt um zu peilen" (= "increase speed to check position").  When the increased motor noises are heard and the boat which signaled assures herself that she is in station, she then signals "Nochmals Schleichfahrt" (= "resume silent speed").  
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
7
 
 
          In June, 1943, Grand Admiral Dönitz issued orders relating to procedure in the Bay when enemy aircraft are sighted; these are to be obeyed most scrupulously.  On sighting enemy aircraft, the boat must dive if the commanding officer believes that he can reach 260 ft. before the aircraft will be in a position to attack, if not, he must remain on the surface and fight it out with his A/A armament.  In the case of groups this decision is made by the senior commanding officer (Rottenführer).  
          The deadly effect of aircraft in the Bay caused a change of policy in the spring (1943).  Then U-boats were ordered, by the new policy, to proceed through the Bay submerged at night and on the surface in daytime.  
     
  (ii)  Diving Depths  
          There are two normal diving depths, one known as "first depth" (130 ft), and the other called "great depth" (200/260 ft.).  
          For normal evasive action in the event of aircraft attack, U-boats dive to "first depth"; in the case of a Sunderland, however, they go to "great depth" on account of the large number of depth-charges carried.  "Great depth" is also used if surprised and not engaging aircraft; it being felt that "first depth" would offer neither concealment nor adequate protection.  
          The basic depth is Anton or "A" which is 100 m. (about 345 ft.).  Depths are alluded to as Anton plus or minus so many meters.  (At depths over 690 ft., the term 2A + X would be used.)  
     
  (iii)  Tactics of Attack  
          When a convoy is sighted, Control forms one pack around the contact keeper; if available another pack is ordered on a certain course at a certain speed so calculated as to enable this second pack to carry out an attack on the flank.  Should there be a third pack it might be given a different course and speed causing it to overtake the convoy for which it lies in wait.  
          Only when all available dispositions have been made as advantageously as possible does Control signal for the attack to commence.  If there is no prospect of reinforcing the first contact U-boat, this boat may be allowed to attack alone.  
     
  (iv)  British Escorts  
          During the return of the prisoners to the United Kingdom on board H.M.S. "Resolution," the C.O. of "U 135" stated that he admired the British corvettes and destroyers in that they did not remain stationary very long.  Had he been attacking this convoy, he stated that he would have chosen one of the battleships as his target, although he would fire at as many targets as possible so as to cause confusion.  
     
  (v)  Attack by Halifax Aircraft  
          The commanding officer of "U 135" had once, when in another U-boat, been attacked by a Halifax.  He stated that he had found no difficulty in avoiding the bombs and that he considered Halifaxes much too awkward for the job.  
     
  B.  EQUIPMENT  
  (i)  Aircraft  
          A 740-ton U-boat, commanded by Schneewind ("U 511"), was mentioned as having an aircraft.  (N.I.D. Note:  Possibly a roter kite.)  
     
  (ii)  D/F Buoys  
          The P.O. Telegraphist of "U 135" stated that on 9th or 10th July, 1943, a general order was issued by Control giving the code abbreviations of "D/F/ buoy, dropped, bearing X degrees, etc., etc."  The prisoner assumed that U-boats would carry a special type of buoy with a W/T transmitter which the commanding officer would stream on sighting a convoy.  In order to form a pack, the other boats could then D/F the buoy thus obviating the need for signals from boat to boat.  
          (N.I.D. Note:  There is probably confusion here between buoys known in the German navy as contact-keeper buoys (Fühlungshalterboje), abbreviation and code name "Fubo," and those generally alluded to as "swan" (Schwan).  The latter have a radio transmitter which is thought to operate for about six hours, and they are dropped by aircraft ahead of a convoy on its presumed course, at a point which the aircraft assume the convoy will reach in six hours time.  The former are reported to be a visual device, releasing a firework some time after streaming.  
          Another prisoner stated that this "swan" gear is supplied to all boats now leaving Kiel.  
     
  (iii)  Didymium Filters  
          Didymium filters with Zeiss binoculars were stated to be used chiefly in the tropics, where they gave much better vision, especially where there was a certain amount of mirage over the sea.  Under such conditions the increase in the clarity of vision was sometimes startling.  
          The leading seaman who gave this information had no knowledge of their having any use but for enhancing visibility, and stated emphatically that he had never known of their use in connection with any system of signaling.  
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
8
 
 
  (iv)  Fuel Oil  
         "U 135" once had French oil fuel supplied to her; when proceeding on the surface it caused her to emit a column of smoke "like a merchantman."  
     
  (v)  Gunnery  
          The breech-block of the 37-mm. (1.46-in.) mounting was described as fully automatic, whereas that of the 105-mm. (4.14-in.) was semi-automatic.  
     
  (vi)  Infra-red  
          Anti-infra-red paint was described as equally effective by day or night.  
          The prisoner seemed to think that when the "Seehund" or similar infra-red location apparatus is used the ship or plane itself is not seen, but only the exhaust fumes, and that the anti-infra-red camouflage paint "deflected" whatever infra-red location gear was used as soon as the ship so painted is detected.  He added that if an aircraft dropped bombs on a protectively-coated U-boat by infra-red D/F contact alone, the coating would cause the bombs to miss by a few hundred yards.  
          (N.I.D. Note:  Such paint would be equally effective by day and night but the prisoner's views are without foundation; they probably represent morale-raising rumors.  See C.B. 04051 (84), page 4, where previous reference to this type of paint was made.)  
     
  (vii)  Meteorological Buoys  
          These are stated to be supplied to all boats leaving Kiel.  (N.I.D. Note:  This is probably exaggerated.)  
     
  (viii)  Night glasses  
          In "U 135" members of night watches would put on their ordinary sun glasses five minutes before going up, so as to accustom themselves to the dark.  
          (N.I.D. Note:  The U-boat arm has also special red-lensed glasses for this purpose, which most boats have been supplied with.  "U 135" had not received any.)  
     
  (ix)  Pressure Hull  
          In petty officers' circles it is rumored that the Germans are endeavoring to build a new type of pressure hull which will permit diving to 300 m. (about 1,000 ft.).  The prisoner who gave this information stated that he had been down to 780 ft. in a Danzig built boat and was surprised she had stood up to it.  
     
  (x)  Rubber Coverings  
          A prisoner considered that the trials carried out at the Germania Werft, in Kiel, with U-boats sheathes with rubber are attempts to lessen the effect of detection by asdic.  
          (N.I.D. Note:  The commanding officer of "U 523" also alluded to these rubber coatings made of some special rubber manufactured by I.G. Farben.  Before the first trial boat had ben so sheathed, one German naval officer is said to have visited I.G. Farben, who had prepared an experimental room lined with this rubber.  The guest and officials of the firm were speaking when suddenly the door was closed, after which they allegedly could not hear one another's words.  When in service, it was stated, the rubber comes off after about four weeks, owing to the action of the sea water, and the many holes and cuts in the rubber which are necessary.  It was added that this coating reduces speed and that the trials were to be discontinued.  
          (See also C.B. 04051 (50), page 12;  C.B. 04051 (60), page 15;  C.B. 04051 (72), page 12;  C.B. 04051 (80), page 10.)  
     
  (xi)  S.B.T.  
          Could not be operated at depths greater then 600 ft.  
     
  (xii)  Switchboard  
          The "Neustadt" switchboard was described by a rating whose station was in the motor room.  
          It is smaller than usual switchboards, avoiding the necessity of walking about; the front "bulges outwards."  Prisoners spoke highly of this type.  
          This switchboard is manufactured by Siemens and is an improved B.B.C. design.  
     
  (xiii)  740-tonners  
          The method of entering a 740-tonner was thought inferior to that employed in a 500-tonner; firstly, because one does not enter directly into the control room, and secondly, because the hatch cover closes from aft forward, instead of in the reverse direction.  
     
  (xiv)  Vision Pills  
          Pills are issued to facilitate vision at night, by dilating the pupil.  They are taken an hour before going on watch.  The greater power of sight begins to become noticeable one hour after taking; the effect wears off in three or four hours.  
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
9
 
 
 
 
(xv)  U-boats with Turbine Propulsion
          One chief stoker alluded to a turbine, consuming a mixture of oil and oxygen, about to be mass-produced for U-boats.  
          Another prisoner stated that this problem had already been under consideration as early as 1935.  (N.I.D. Note:  Prisoners' statements respecting trials of experimental U-boats employing, inter alia, boilers, turbines and new fuel, have been previously recorded in C.B.'s 04051 (63), page 5, 04051 (70), page 7, and 04051 (79), page 6.)  
     
 
___________________
 
     
 
VI.  SURFACE VESSELS
 
     
  (i)  A.M.C. No. 36  
          An 8,000-ton merchantman, built by Blom and Voss for the Hapag Line.  This vessel, under the command of Fregattenkapitän (now Kapitän zur See) Weyher, had sunk 100,000 tons of shipping by August, 1941, during which month she entered Bordeaux.  
          A.M.C. No. 36 has returned to Germany where she is now used as a school ship.  (N.I.D. Note:  For further information about A.M.C. 36, ex "Neumark," see Weekly Intelligence Report, Raider Supplement 2, Part III, pages 7/9, Raider A, issued 30th October, 1942.)  
     
  (ii)  Cruisers  
          A cruiser which was completing at Lorient is said to have been completely destroyed by 1,000 kilogram (one ton) bombs dropped by U.S. aircraft.  
     
  (iii)  Destroyers  
          The following particulars respecting the "Seetier" Class destroyers were given:  
                  Main Armament.  150-mm. (5.9-in.;  three guns aft and two forward.  
                  (N.I.D. NoteSee C.B. 04051 (81), pages 11 and 12.  It is considered that the main armament is 5.91-in.  The disposition is correct.)  
                  Boilers.  Wagner Benson, operating at about 800 lbs./sq. in.  
          Z.23  
                  Z.23 carried four spare torpedoes stowed on the upper deck just forward of the wardroom.  (N.I.D. NoteSee C.B. 04051 (81), page 12.)  
                  One destroyer, class unspecified, is stated to be now under construction at Bordeaux.  
     
  (iv)  Escort Vessels  
          New escort vessels (Geleitboote) are said to be in operation from Lorient and Bordeaux, and three more under construction at the latter port.  
     
 
___________________
 
     
 
VII.  BASES, SHORE ESTABLISHMENTS, TRAINING, ETC.
 
     
  A.  FRANCE  
  (i)  Bordeaux  
          A prisoner stated that in November, 1942, a British glider landed near Bordeaux, and the entire base personnel was turned out to search for the crew, none of whom were found although the burnt-out glider was discovered.  
          A merchantman later blew up in Bordeaux harbour; this was alleged to be the work of the men who arrived in the glider.  
          One more U-boat shelter is to be built in Bordeaux.  Prisoners thought that in the event of an invasion these shelters could be used as a nuclei of defence.  
     
  (ii)  Lorient  
          Whenever possible U-boat crews are transferred from Kerneval to barracks situated at Lelande(?) about 15 km. (10 miles) from Lorient.  Immediately before sailing a U-boat proceeds to the Hundius shelter in Lorient for final preparations.  
          More shelters for U-boats are to be built at Lorient.  (N.I.D. Note:  The rest camps referred to above are probably those at Kersalo, near Pont Scorff.)  
     
  (iii)  St. Nazaire  
          U-boats leave St. Nazaire between 1100 and 1700; certainly no later as it is not desired to open the booms after dusk.  
          In the St. Nazaire U-boat personnel pool the existing arrangements suggest that 100 is the average number aimed at.  Actually this figure is always considerably exceeded.  
          When heavy air-raids occur, U-boat crews are evacuated 15 miles from the town.  
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
10
 
 
  B.  GERMANY  
  (i)  Lochstätte Camp  
          This is near Itzehoe.  A prisoner stated that this is the largest ammunition dump in Germany and has never yet been attacked from the air.  At least 4,000 men are working in this camp which is said to be very well camouflaged and dispersed.  
     
  (ii)  Oberndorf am Neckar  
          One prisoner had been employed before his entry into the service at the Mauser works in this town.  Machine tools, mainly overhaul, were the sole concern of this establishment, which employed 15,000 hands and had its own apprentice training scheme.  The works were said to be very well equipped.  
     
  (iii)  Pillau  
          2nd U-boat Training Division;  Korvettenkapitän Neumann, commanding the 5th company, was relieved in June, 1942, by Korvettenkapitän Hesse.  
     
 
___________________
 
     
 
VIII.  COMMUNICATIONS, ETC.
 
     
  (i)  British Asdic  
          A lieutenant in the German navy estimated the effective range of British asdic at about 4,000 metres (4,375 yards).  
     
  (ii)  S.S.T.  
          (N.I.D. Note:  This information dates from June, 1943, and is not thought now to obtain.)  
          S.S.T. (known in Germany as U/T, which was not previously employed on operational patrols, is now (June, 1943) compulsory in the Bay of Biscay.  Reference hereto has already been made in Section V.A(i) of this report; from time to time U-boats in groups in the Bay of Biscay are obliged to ask by S.S.T. for positions of other boats.  
          One of the most frequent needs is a request from a boat ahead to increase speed so that the sound of the motors can be picked up on the multi-unit hydrophones.  
     
 
___________________
 
     
 
IX.  TORPEDOES AND PISTOLS
 
     
          Some details of the torpedoes in use in the German U-boat arm were given in C.B. 04051 (64), pages 9-10.  The following information, compiled from statements made by survivors of "U 135", "U 468" and "U 523," amplifies and in certain minor respects corrects, the information already given.  
     
  (i)  Air Torpedoes:  Type G.7a (21-in.)  Type T.1  
          These torpedoes are still identical with those air torpedoes found in H.M.S. "Graph."  It is possible that the majority of later manufacture are now fitted with "Curly" mechanism (see below).  There is no evidence that the maximum range has been increased.  These torpedoes are always fitted with G.7H (Pi.1) impact pistols.  (N.I.D. Note:  The range of "Graph's" air torpedoes is 15,300 yards at 30 knots.  Range may have been slightly increased but 17,000 yards at 30 knots may be taken as an outside range.)  
     
  (ii)  Electric Torpedoes:  Type G.7e  (21-in.)  Types T.2 and T.3  
          Type T.2.  These torpedoes are identical with those electric torpedoes found in H.M.S. "Graph."  Despite constant rumors of a longer ranged electric torpedo, this does not appear to have yet been introduced.  (N.I.D. Note:  In air torpedoes, the counter gear is graduated up to 17,000 m., and in the electric ones to 12,000 m.  These graduations are in fact no indication of their maximum ranges.  "Graph's" G.7e torpedoes had only one setting, namely 30 knots to 5,400 yards)  These torpedoes are always fitted with G.7H (Pi.1) impact pistols.  
          Type T.3.  These torpedoes are similar to T.2, but have modifications to enable the new German magnetic pistol, Pi.2, to be used in them.  The only outward difference is a plug contact in the head designed to engage with contacts in the pistol.  The range of the torpedoes, and the servicing routines, are precisely the same as for T.2.  
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
11
 
 
  (iii)  "Curly" Torpedo  
          As mentioned above it is possible that the majority of G.7a air torpedoes of later manufacture are fitted with "Curly" mechanism, and the description already given is corroborated.  The minimum straight run before "Curly" mechanism engages is said to be 2,500 m. (2,734 yards).  
          The mechanism itself is contained in a small sealed unit, about the size of a cricket ball, fitted near the gyroscope.  It appears to contain an arrangement of four cams which serve to actuate the rudders and disengage the gyro.  
     
  (iv)  New Types  
          (a)  "Electric Curly."  In addition to the normal version of the "Curly," mention has frequently been made of an "Electric Curly."  This was said to be an electric torpedo fitted with a standard "Curly" mechanism.  
          (b)  Acoustically Steered Torpedoes.  A torpedo rating stated that he had seen one in the torpedo workshops at St. Nazaire.  The head was covered with a tarpaulin, but the tail was "Flume" type, which is characteristic of German electric torpedoes.  Other reports suggest that this torpedo should be in general use shortly and that they might be expected to hit near the stern of a ship.    
     
  (v)  Further New Types  
          Mention has been made by officer prisoners of:  
                  (a)  A torpedo with the camouflage name of "Zaunkonig" (Wren).  No details are known.  
                  (b)  A torpedo smaller in diameter than those at present in service and with increased speed.  
                  (c)  An electric torpedo with both "Curly" mechanism and acoustic steering for use against escort vessels.  This torpedo is possibly that same as (a).  
     
  (vi)  Pistols  
          (a)  G.7H  (Pi.1) Impact Pistol.  This has been the standard impact nose pistol since the abandonment of the early magnetic pistol.  It has four whiskers, and is identical with those found in H.M.S. "Graph."  It is used in normal air torpedoes, "Curlies" and T.2.  Serial numbers are in the 20,000, 30,000, 50,000 and 80,000 series.  
          (b)  Pi.2  Impact and Magnetic Pistol.  This pistol has a body length about twice that of the Pi.1 and a plug to engage with the fitting in the torpedo head.  It has four whiskers.  If used in rough weather, premature explosions are liable to occur.  It is fired even by ships fitted with G.G.  This pistol can only be used in T.3 torpedoes.  (N.I.D. Note:  It is probable that this pistol is an adaption of the Italian SIC pistol, and depends on a magnetic field produced by the torpedo being disturbed by the iron in the ship.)  
          Serial numbers lie in the 40,000 series.  
     
  (vii)  Tactics  
          No new tactics have been reported for normal attacks.  Much thought, however, is being given to the problem of counter-attacking hunting and escort vessels, and one officer from "U 607" mentioned that a tendency had been noticed on the part of our craft to start their hunt from the swirl left by the U-boat when diving and that this offered possibilities for offensive action.  
     
  (viii)  Deck Containers for Torpedoes  
          These are now being removed from most boats, as nowadays all torpedoes are but rarely fired and opportunities for striking down torpedoes from deck containers are negligible.  
     
 
___________________
 
     
 
X.  MISCELLANEOUS
 
     
  (i)  Damage at Cologne by R.A.F.  
          The cathedral was said to be gravely damaged.  A bomb entered obliquely and burst inside.  The windows were blown out, but the framework of the building being strong did not suffer much.  It was mentioned that the damage is much greater when seen from within than when seen from without.  
     
  (ii)  Detention Barracks, Halle  
          One prisoner had spent a year in this penal establishment for being absent without leave for 30 hours.  He had been refused compassionate leave which he required, and consequently proceeded home on his own initiative in civilian clothing.  The daily routine was very severe, including heavy manual labor, and work in a neighboring factory, which was an hour's march distant.  In addition the victualling was very bad.  
          The camp was commanded by an army colonel and included members of all three services.  
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
12
 
 
  (iii)  Italian U-boats  
          Some Italian U-boats had been scheduled to leave French ports on 20th July, but the German authorities had not allowed them to sail.  
     
  (iv)  Victualling  
          Still excellent for U-boat men;  tea, coffee, sugar, butter, meat and cigarettes all un rationed.  On long patrols health is impaired by lack of fresh fruit and vegetables, causing receding gums and loose teeth.  Supplies of fresh fruit and vegetables gave out after about four weeks.  If lemons were available they were supplied.  
     
  (v)  Officers' Improper Conduct  
          When the ship's company of "U 135" were accommodated in Freetown they were defrauded of their cigarettes.  The British authorities issued the whole cigarette ration to the officers, who redistributed them in the proportion of seven cigarettes per officer to every one per rating.  
     
  (vi)  Sabotage  
          Sabotage in German occupied French ports is practiced chiefly by Frenchmen.  On one occasion when "U 135" was to sail (13th May, 1943), she made a practice dive, during which defects occurred which were attributed to sabotage by dockyard workmen.  Officers had heard of other cases of sabotage in Bordeaux.  
          (N.I.D. Note:  "U 454" is thought to have been sabotaged in Bordeaux.)  
          Frenchmen serving in fleet oilers were stated also to have sabotaged German U-boats.  
     
  (vii)  Venereal Disease  
          One prisoner ex "U 135" had contracted syphilis as a result of patronizing an unauthorized brothel in St. Nazaire in August, 1942.  He remained in Paris in hospital until January, 1943, and was in consequence punished by stoppage of leave and nine months loss of seniority.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
13
 
 
 
APPENDIX "A"  EARLY HISTORY OF "U 135"
 
     
          "U 135" was built at the Vulkanwerft, Vegesack and probably commissioned in June 1941, with Oberleutnant zur See Praetorius in command.  
          In August "U 135" went to Danzig; she put into Kiel in September, 1941, and returned there in December.  
          At the end of December, 1941, "U 135" sailed on her first operational patrol.  
     
 
___________________
 
     
 
APPENDIX "B"  PREVIOUS PATROLS OF "U 135"
 
     
  (i)  General  
          "U 135" had made six patrols prior to the one on which she was sunk; of these the first four were with Kapitänleutnant Praetorius in command, and the last two with Oberleutnant zur See Schütt.  Oberleutnant zur See Lüther only assumed command a few days before she sailed on her last patrol.  
          Kapitänleutnant Praetorius, a regular naval officer of the 1934 term, was very efficient and one of the most esteemed C.O.s in the U-boat arm.  He was very friendly to all his men and treated them in a humane manner.   
          When ashore he would lead all his ship's company in a group to the local brothel.  He would also participate in bouts of alcoholic excess with his men, breaking up the fittings of bars and restaurants.  
     
 
(ii) First Patrol
    Officers Commanding Officer:  Kapitänleutnant Praetorius.
      First Lieutenant:  Oberleutnant zur See Techand.
      Second Lieutenant:  Oberleutnant zur See Schütt.
      Engineer Officer:  Oberleutnant (Ing.) Nielsen.
    Departure 24th December, 1941, from Kiel.
    Area Proceeded to Norway and thence between Shetlands and Faeroes into the Atlantic.
    Sinkings One U.S. merchantmen of about 5,000 tons off Newfoundland.  (N.I.D. Note:  The Panamanian "Frial Rock" (5,441 tons) sunk in about 450 30' N., 500 40' W., at 0900/13th January, 1942, may have been sunk by "U 135.")
    Return 1st February, 1942, to St. Nazaire.
    Duration Forty days.
       
(iii) Second Patrol
    Officers Commanding Officer:  Kapitänleutnant Praetorius.
      First Lieutenant:  Oberleutnant zur See Techand.
      Second Lieutenant:  Oberleutnant zur See Schütt.
      Engineer Officer:  Oberleutnant (Ing.) Stölting.
    Departure 22nd February, 1942, from St. Nazaire.
    Area North Atlantic.  A special extra look-out was detailed solely to watch for drifting mines.
    Sinkings Nil.
    Return 3rd April, 1942, to Brest.
    Duration Forty-one days.
       
(iv) Third Patrol
    Officers As for second patrol
    Departure 9th May, 1942, from Brest.
    Area East coast of U.S.A. (near Cape Hatteras).
    Sinkings One tanker and one freighter, totaling 15,000 tons.  Also stopped two passenger ships, but allowed them to proceed.  One of these was the "Argentina" a large white-painted vessel.  (N.I.D. Note:  The Norwegian M.V. "Pleasantville" (4,549 tons) was sunk in about 340 N., 680 W., at 1950/7th June 1942, and the U.S. Tanker "William Rockefeller" (14,054 tons) was sunk in about 350 N., 750 W., at 1145/28th June, 1942.  It is not certain if these sinkings can be attributed to "U 135."
    Return 17th July, 1942, to St. Nazaire.
    Duration 70 days.
      N.B. Oberleutnant Techland left after this patrol to take over a command of his own.
       
(v) Fourth Patrol
    Officers Commanding Officer:  Kapitänleutnant Praetorius.
      First Lieutenant:  Oberleutnant zur See Schütt.
      Second Lieutenant:  Leutnant zur See von Davidson.
      Engineer Officer:  Oberleutnant (Ing.) Stölting.
    Departure 9th August, 1942
    Area South Atlantic.  On the Second day out two men lost their lives by gunfire from attacking aircraft. .
    Sinkings Nil.
    Return 3rd October, 1942, to St. Nazaire.
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
14
 
 
 
(v) Fourth Patrol continued
    Duration 70 days.
      Kapitänleutnant Praetorius relinquished his command on 3rd November, 1942, owing to ill-health.
      (N.I.D. Note:  This officer is now an instructor at the tactical trials, carried out near Hel and Gdynia.)  He was succeeded by Oberleutnant zur See der Reserve Schütt, a reserve officer, who was looked upon as a pleasant personality, but too cowardly to command a U-boat.  His seamanship was extremely poor; he use to require from three to four hours to tie up when he first took over "U 135."  When a convoy was announced in the vicinity, he would eagerly search for a pretext justifying immediate return to base.  Although he was frequently vaguely "ill" when at sea, it was rumored that the heart trouble which caused him to leave "U 135" just before her seventh and last patrol was probably bogus.
       
(vi) Fifth Patrol
    Officers Commanding Officer:  Oberleutnant zur See Schütt.
      First Lieutenant:  Oberleutnant zur See von Davidson.
      Second Lieutenant:  Ober Fähnrich Karstens.
      Engineer Officer:  Oberleutnant (Ing.) Stölting.
      Commanding Officer undergoing Training:  Oberleutnant zur See Borchert.
    Departure 21st November, 1942, from St. Nazaire.
    Area Middle of North Atlantic.  Sighted two eastbound convoys, but did not attack.  Operated also off Labrador for the purpose of making meteorological observations.
    Sinkings Nil.
    Return 26th December 1942.
    Duration 36 days.
       
(vii) Sixth Patrol
    Officers Commanding Officer:  Oberleutnant zur See Schütt.
      First Lieutenant:  Leutnant zur See von Kohenlade
      Second Lieutenant:  Ober Fähnrich Karstens.
      Engineer Officer:  Oberleutnant (Ing.) Stölting.
      (Note:  The three executive officers were all promoted during this patrol.)
    Departure 20th January, 1943, from St. Nazaire.
    Area North Atlantic.
 
          Account of Patrol.  Early during the patrol, "U 135" was attacked by a four-engined aircraft, but escaped by diving.  She later chased an independent-routed freighter in the North Atlantic but did not manage to attack.  
          In February, "U 135" was present during the attack on a Murmansk convoy.  "U 135" was unlucky and was heavily attacked by three destroyers and forced 60 miles away from the convoy.  The U-boats present were in four groups:  
            (a)  "Gruppe Draufgänger"  consisting of about 30 boats.  
            (b)  "Gruppe Pfeil"  consisting of about 17 boats.  
            (c)  "Gruppe Panzer"  consisting of about 13 boats.  
            (d)  "Gruppe Kraft"  consisting of number unknown.  
          The first contact-keeper was Kapitänleutnant Rudloff and the last contact-keeper Kapitänleutnant Freiherr von Forstner ("U 402").  The latter sank between 43,000 and 56,000 tons expending all his torpedoes.  He was nevertheless instructed by Control to remain as contact-keeper.  
          The Groups "Draufgänger" and "Pfeil" and the individual U-boats, "U 402" and that of Kapitänleutnant Lohmann, were especially congratulated for their part in the engagement by Grand Admiral Dönitz, who also administered a sharp rebuke to other boats which had failed to contact the convoy in accordance with instructions.  
          Other boats which took part in this operation were U-Kruschka, U-Weber and U-Struckmeier.  
          (N.I.D. Note:  The last named officer is thought to command "U 608."  
          At the very end of February, "U 135" met "U 460" and received from her about 30 tons of fuel.  She also transferred to "U 460" a sick rating for return to France.  
          In early March, "U 135" contacted another convoy out of which 38 vessels, totaling 220,000 tons were alleged to have been sunk.  Again "U 135" had no luck.  
 
    Sinkings Nil.
    Return 15th March, 1943, to Lorient.
    Duration 54 days.
 
          At Lorient repairs were carried out to the Diesels.  
          One prisoner believed that the patrols during which "U 135" sank nothing were not in vain, as "U 135" had, this prisoner thought, reported the sighting of convoys to Control.  
          (N.I.D. Note:  It is possible that the hands were told that this was the operational role of their boat so that they would not be dissatisfied with their apparent lack of success.)  
          On 18th May, 1943, some days before "U 135" was due to leave for her seventh patrol, Oberleutnant zur See Schütt relinquished his command on account of heart trouble.  
     
 
___________________
 
 
 
     
     
 
 

 

 
 
 
15
 
 
 
APPENDIX "C"  NOMINAL ROLL OF "U 135"
 
     
  (i)  Survivors:  
     
Name.
Rank.
English Equivalent.
Born.
Luther, Otto Oberleutnant zur See Sub-Lieutenant
18. 9.18
Holleuffer, Joachim Leutnant zur See Junior Sub-Lieutenant
20. 3.21
                   Albrecht von    
Karstens, Helmut Leutnant zur See Junior Sub-Lieutenant
29.11.22
Stölting, Diedrich Oberleutnant (Ing.) Sub-Lieutenant (E)
2.11.11
König, Willy Obermaschinist Chief Stoker and Chief E.R.A., 1st or 2nd Class
13. 2.16
Neumann, Fritz Obermaschinist Chief Stoker and Chief E.R.A., 1st or 2nd Class
1. 8.13
Lutzelschwab, Eduard Obersteuermann C.P.O. (Navigation)
10. 8.12
Greiss, Josef Obermaschinenmaat Acting Stoker P.O. and E.R.A., 4th Class
22. 1.18
Seiser, Günther Oberfunkmaat Acting P.O. Telegraphist
11. 4.19
Meyer, Edmund Oberfunkmaat Acting P.O. Telegraphist
28. 5.22
Stoll, Helmut Bootsmannsmaat Leading Seaman
16.11.21
Büttner, Werner Bootsmannsmaat Leading Seaman
16. 1.20
Hein, Fritz Bootsmannsmaat Leading Seaman
31. 8.19
Schoppelrey, Karl Maschinenmaat Leading Stoker and E.R.A., 5th Class
25.12.18
Füllgraf, Kurt Maschinenmaat Leading Stoker and E.R.A., 5th Class
12. 4.19
Junghardt, Heinz Maschinenmaat Leading Stoker and E.R.A., 5th Class
14. 6.19
Zacharias, Paul Maschinenmaat Leading Stoker and E.R.A., 5th Class
2. 8.18
Hornemann, Heinz Maschinenmaat Leading Stoker and E.R.A., 5th Class
7. 1.20
Bölle, Helmu Mechanikersmaat Leading Seaman (L.T.O.)
18. 3.22
Treptow, Max Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman
29. 9.17
Grube, Bernhard Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman
2.12.23
Pichel, Gerhard Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman
2.11.23
Pawlus, Michael Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman
6. 7.19
Amft, Robert Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman
24. 4.21
Reinig, Johann Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman
3.10.20
Peters, Hans Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman
29. 9.20
Brasche, Gerhard Maschineobergefreiter Stoker, 1st Class
9. 5.22
Dreiling, Heim Maschineobergefreiter Stoker, 1st Class
12. 7.21
Papke, Günther Maschineobergefreiter Stoker, 1st Class
28. 5.23
Weisser, Albert Funkobergefreiter Telegraphist
19.12.21
Zehl, Heinz Funkobergefreiter Telegraphist
14. 6.24
Böhm, Johannes Mechanikerobergefreiter Able Seaman (S.T.)
13.11.23
Scharf, Heinz Matrosengefreiter Able Seaman
26. 1.25
Langer, Paul Matrosengefreiter Able Seaman
22.12.23
Egli, Erwin Matrosengefreiter Able Seaman
30. 3.20
Tietke, Herbert Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 1st Class
18. 7.22
Wildenhain, Siegfried Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 1st Class
9. 3.24
Maier, Karl Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 1st Class
5. 2. 24
Hase, Ernst Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 1st Class
27. 5.23
Toperzer, Walther Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 1st Class
28. 8.21
Gutzeit, Georg Matrose II Stoker, 2nd Class
17.9.16
     
 
Officers
4
Chief and Petty Officers
6
Men
31
 
41
 
     
  (ii)  Casualties:  
     
Name.
Rank.
English Equivalent.
 
Scholz, Mechanike P.O. (Torpedo Gunner's Mate).  
Hause, Maschinenobergefreiter Stoker, 1st Class.
Diederichs, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 1st Class.
Gazaret, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 1st Class.
Bauer, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 1st Class.
     
 
Officers
-
Chief and Petty Officers
1
Men
4
 
5
 
     
  (iii)  Total Crew:  
     
 
Officers
4
Chief and Petty Officers
7
Men
35
 
46
 
     
 
(C50948)    500  12/43
 
 
 

 


 

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