PART  I
 
     
     
     
     
 
"U 301"
 
 
 
 
Interrogation
 
 
 
 
of
 
 
 
 
Sole Survivor
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  (C49377)                                                                                                                               B*3  
     
     
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
2
 
 
 
 
REPORT  ON  INTERROGATION  OF  THE  SOLE  SURVIVOR  FROM  "U 301, " A  500-TON  U-BOAT,  SUNK  AT  0834  ZONE  TIME   ON  21st  JANUARY,  1943.
 
___________________
 
     
 
I.  INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
 
     
          "U 301" (Kapitänleutnant Willy-Roderich Körner) was sunk at 0834 zone time on 21st January, 1943, by H.M. Submarine "P. 212" in approximately 410 27' N., 070 04' E.  
          There was only one survivor, a midshipman named Fähnrich zur See Wilhelm Rahn, who had only joined the boat a few days before her last patrol.  Rahn's knowledge was necessarily limited, and, though his early security consciousness became less as interrogation proceeded, he was unable to supply much information.  
          The main features of this report are:  
                  (1)  Details of the "Magic Eye" as fitted to G.S.R. (Section VI (ii) ).  
                  (2)  Remarks on "Curly" torpedoes.  (Section VI (i) and C.B. 04051 (64) ).  
          The following are the British equivalents of German Naval ranks used in this report:  
 
Kapitän zur See
-
Captain.
Kapitänleutnant
-
Lieutenant.
Leutnant zur See
-
Junior Sub-Lieutenant.
Oberfähnrich zur See
-
Senior Midshipman.
Fähnrich zur See
-
Junior Midshipman.
 
          The suffix "der Reserve" indicates a Reserve Officer and "Ing." an Engineer Officer.  
     
 
II.  DETAILS OF "U 301"
 
     
  (i)  Displacement  
          500 tons.  
     
  (ii)  Type  
          VII C  
     
  (iii)  Builders  
          Not known.  
     
  (iv)  Armament  
          Guns.  One 88-mm. (3.46 in.) forward.  One 20 mm. (0.79 in.) on bridge.  Several M.G.s.  
          She had been fitted with two 12.7 mm Breda mountings (see C.B. 04051 (56)    Section II (iv) ).  The Breda guns had originally been mounted, though later landed.  
          Torpedo Tubes.  Four forward.  One aft.  
          Torpedoes.  12 believed carried.  None in upper-deck containers.  Some fitted with "curly" mechanism.  
     
  (v)  Radar  
          None.  
     
  (vi)  German Search Receiver  
          Provisional U-boat type aerial.  Receiver set, Type R.600A.  (See Section VI (ii).)  
     
  (vii)  S.B.T.  
          Fitted.  
     
  (viii)  Hydrophones  
          Multiple Unit (G.H.G.).  
 
 
  (ix)  Communications  
          Normal W/T installation.  
     
  (x)  Propulsion  
          Details unknown.  
     
  (xi)  Adoption  
          Details unknown.  
     
  (xii)  Badge  
          A U-boat surmounted by a spread-eagle.  Not painted on boat: only worn on ship's company's caps.  
     
     

 

 
 
 
 
 
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III.  LAST PATROL OF "U 301"
 
     
          "U 301" sailed alone on her last patrol from La Spezia about 1600 on 20th January, 1943.  As the weather was misty at the time of her departure, no escort was provided.  
          Soon after leaving La Spezia, she made a practice dive to about 30 metres (98 ft.).  This only lasted a few minutes.  She also dropped a number of hand-grenades to warn off any British submarines.  She then set course to pass around the northern extremity of Corsica, after which she turned south.  
          Apart from her one practice dive outside La Spezia, she proceeded on the surface until the time of her sinking.  She sailed throughout at full speed.  
          About 0200 on 21st January, 1943, she received information from base of an Allied convoy having sailed from Gibraltar in the direction of Algiers and was ordered to intercept it.  Her Captain ordered her to increase speed.  Rahn explained that normally it was forbidden to proceed on the surface during daylight hours in the Mediterranean, but his Captain had this time taken the risk, as he felt that he would never be able to contact the convoy otherwise.  
     
 
IV.  SINKING OF "U 301"
 
     
          At 0800 zone time on 21st January, 1943, Rahn came on watch, taking over the port bow lookout sector.  With him were Leutnant zur See Dettmer, a Petty Officer and a seaman.  "U 301" was on course 2100, proceeding at about 15 knots.  It was raining slightly, but the shower soon passed over and visibility then became good.  The sea was slight, described as Force 2 to 3.    
          The next thing that Rahn remembered was a tremendous explosion to starboard, after which he lost consciousness until her was rescued by a British submarine, whose number he later learned was "P. 212."  
          (N.I.D. Note:  At 0834 zone time on 21st January, 1943, H.M. Submarine "P. 212" hit a U-boat with three torpedoes in 410 27' N., 070 04' E.  She then picked up one survivor.)  
          Rahn was not at first aware of his boat having sunk and frequently asked in captivity whether there were other survivors.  He said he had been told on board "P. 212" that three torpedoes had struck his U-boat; on hearing this he presumed that she had certainly sunk and that he was probably the only survivor.  He added that there was another man blown clear of the boat, but that he was later found to be dead.  
          He was mainly relieved that the torpedo which first hit his boat had not struck her in his lookout sector.  
     
 
V.  SURFACE SHIPS
 
     
  "Nürnberg"  
          The cruiser "Nürnberg" was commanded from July, 1941, to January, 1942, by Kapitan zur See von Studnitz, 1915 term.  Rahn, who served in her, stated that during all that period she remained in the Baltic.  
     
 
VI.  GENERAL REMARKS
 
     
  (i)  "Curly" Torpedoes  
          Rahn said that he was given instruction in the operation of "curly" torpedoes in the torpedo depot at La Spezia between October, 1942, and January, 1943.  
          The firing position, he said, was always astern of the convoy, with the torpedo altering course to port and starboard after completing the initial straight run away from the U-boat.  (See C.B. 04051 (64).)  
     
  (ii)  German Search Receiver  
          The German Search Receiver Metox R.600A. receiver set fitted in "U 301" differed from the R.600 type in two ways:  
          Firstly, it carried a second oscillator, which, if switched on, had the effect of improving the clarity and volume of the sound harmonics.  
          Secondly, it was fitted with a device known as "The Magic Eye" ("Das Magische Auge").  This consisted of three electrodes giving visual indication on a small indicator placed either top centre or top right centre of the receiving panel.  In size and appearance, this device appeared to be similar to a "Bendix" type visual tuning indicator.  On obtaining a contact, the operator would tune until a ray of light in the indicator exactly fitted into a superimposed pattern in the shape of a Maltese cross; when it fitted perfectly, it could be assumed that tuning was dead on the transmitting beam.   
          (N.I.D. Note:  "The Magic Eye" appears to be in use as a visual indicator and tuning device.  When a perfect Maltese cross is formed it is a visual indication that the receiver is correctly adjusted and that tuning is accurate.)  
     
  (iii)  29th U-boat Flotilla  
          The badge of the 29th U-boat Flotilla based on La Spezia is a donkey.  This was chosen owing to the number of donkeys seen at Salamis, where the flotilla was formerly based.  
     
  (iv)  Rescue of Survivors  
          Rahn said that a new order had recently been issued that U-boats should, whenever possible, take prisoners from among survivors of vessels sunk.  
     
  (C49377)                                                                                                                               B*4  
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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VII.  U-BOATS OF THE 29th FLOTILLA
 
     
          Rahn gave the following list of some of the U-boats attached to the 29th Flotilla based on La Spezia in January, 1943:  
 
"U 77" (ex Kapitänleutnant Schonder) (believed since sunk.)
"U 83" (ex Kapitänleutnant Hans-Werner Kraus and ex Kapitänleutnant Bürgel).
"U 97" (ex Kapitänleutnant Heilmann)
"U 359"  
"U 375" (Kapitänleutnant Könenkamp).
"U 384"  
"U 596" (Kapitänleutnant Günther Jahn).
"U 602" (Kapitänleutnant Philipp Schüler).
"U 605" (Kapitänleutnant Herbert Viktor Schütze).
"U 755" (Kapitänleutnant Göing)
 
          (The above list should be compared with that given in C.B. 04051 (56), Section V.)  
     
 
___________________
 
     
 
APPENDIX "A"
 
     
 
EARLY HISTORY OF "U 301"
 
     
          The sole survivor knew nothing of the early history of this boat, other than that he had heard she commissioned early in 1942.  
     
 
APPENDIX "B"
 
 
 
 
PREVIOUS PATROLS OF "U 301"
 
     
          Rahn stated that "U 301" had done one previous patrol in the Mediterranean, but knew no details of it.  
          (N.I.D. Note:  If the prisoner's information regarding the date of her commissioning be correct, it is improbable that "U 301" did more than one patrol in the Mediterranean before her last and one, or perhaps two, in the Atlantic prior to that.  It is probable that one of the Atlantic patrols may have consisted of her passage from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean.)  
          On her previous Atlantic patrols, she was stated to have sunk six ships aggregating 40,000 tons.  
     
 
APPENDIX "C"
 
 
 
 
SHIP'S COMPANY OF "U 301"
 
     
  (i)  Captain  
          The captain was Kapitänleutnant Willy-Roderich Körner, 1935 term.  He had formerly been a W/T specialist.  He was promoted Oberleutnant zur See on 1st October, 1939, and Kapitänleutnant shortly before his last patrol.  
     
  (ii)  First Lieutenant  
          The First Lieutenant was Leutnant zur See der Reserve Albers.  This officer had formerly served in the merchant navy.  
     
  (iii)  Second Lieutenant  
          The Second Lieutenant was Leutnant zur See Dettmer, who had only recently been commissioned after serving as an Oberfähnrich zur See.  
     
  (iv)  Engineer Officer  
          The Engineer Officer was Leutnant (Ing.) Schultze-Jenisch.  Nothing is known of him except that he came from Berlin.  
     
  (v)  Midshipman  
          The midshipman and sole survivor was named Fähnrich zur See Wilhelm Rahn.  Aged 19, he had belonged to the Hitler Jugend movement for four years before joining the German Navy on 1st April, 1941, in Stralsund, where he underwent three months' initial training.  He then served in the cruiser "Nürnberg" until 15th January, 1942, when he proceeded for instruction to the Naval College in Berlin, this being followed by an eight-day aircraft recognition course at Flensburg-Mürwik, where he next did a fourteen-day W/T course.  
          After a week's leave, he was ordered in October, 1942, to La Spezia, where he joined the personnel pool.  On 28th December, 1942, he was formally appointed to "U 301," but did not in fact join until a day or two before sailing on 20th January, 1943.  He was due to be promoted Oberfähnrich zur See after this patrol.  
          Rahn was a pleasant type of young German, not interested in any political movement, but fully conscious of his responsibilities as a member of the German armed forces.  
          He was at first extremely security-conscious and it took some time partly to overcome this tendency.  
     
  (vi)  General  
          "U-301's" complement at the time of her sinking totaled 48.  Rahn expressed himself as pleased with the friendly relations prevailing between officers and men.  He had a high opinion of his officers.  
 
 
 
 

 


 

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