5
 
     
REPORT ON INTERROGATION OF SURVIVORS FROM U.331, A 500-TON
 
U-BOAT, SUNK AT ABOUT 1430 ON 17th NOVEMBER, 1942.
 
     
 
________________
 
     
 
I.  INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
 
     
          "U 331," one of the best known U-Boats operating in the Mediterranean, was sunk at about 1430 on 17th November, 1942 in approximate position 37° 00' N., 02° 5' E.  
          This U-Boat was first attacked at 1315 on 17th November by Hudson aircraft of 500 Squadron, Coastal Command.  
          The attack so disabled the U-Boat that she was unable to dive.  Following the report of Z/500 of this squadron, H.M.S. "Wilton" was despatched from Algiers with the intention of capturing both U-Boat and crew.  
          When "Wilton" was still 10 miles from the U-Boat a Martlet was seen to make a machine-gun attack, and an Albacore from H.M.S. "Formidable" came in and before it could be prevented sank the U-Boat with a torpedo.  
          There were seventeen survivors, of which five were wounded.  The commanding officer, Kapitänleutnant von Tiesenhausen, was not available for interrogation until mid-January, 1943.  The Second Lieutenant was not available until the end of January.  
          One survivor attempted to escape from escort while at Gibraltar, and was killed.  
          The general level of security-consciousness was high.  
          Features of this report are:  
                  (1)  Account of sinking of H.M.S. "Barham" on 25th November, 1941.  (See Appendix "B.")  
                  (2)  Landing of sabotage party on North African coast on 17th November, 1941.  (See Appendix "B.")  
                  (3)  Description of Italian machine guns fitted in "U 331" and stated to be now usual for all Mediterranean U-Boats.  (See Section II (iv) and also C.B. 04051(54) Section XI (viii).)  
                  (4)  Organisation of U-Boat and other commands in Mediterranean.  (See Section VI.)  
                  (5)  General remarks on Mediterranean U-Boat tactics.  (See Section VI.)  
                  (6)  Mediterranean U-Boat situation.  (See Section VI.)  
          Statements by a German officer prisoner from the Italian blockade-runner "Cortelazzo" (5,292 gross tons, Lloyd Triestino, sunk on 1st December, 1942) and from a prisoner from "U 357" (sunk on 26th December, 1942, see C.B. 04051 (57) ), who was not available for interrogation until recently have been included in this report.  
          The following are the British equivalents for German naval ranks mentioned in this report:  
 
Admiral Admiral.
Vizeadmiral Vice-Admiral.
Konteradmiral Rear Admiral.
Kapitän zur See Captain.
Fregattenkapitän Commander (Senior Grade).
Korvettenkapitän Commander (Junior Grade).
Kapitänleutnant Lieutenant-Commander.
Oberleutnant zur See Lieutenant.
Leutnant zur See Sub-Lieutenant.
Oberfähnrich sur See Midshipman (Senior Grade).
Fähnrich zur See Midshipman (Junior Grade).
 
     
 
II.  DETAILS OF "U 331"
 
     
  (i)  Displacement  
          500 tons.  
     
  (ii)  Type  
          VII C.  (first of type from her yard).  
     
  (iii)  Builders  
          Nordseewerke, Emden.  
     
  (C48270)                                                                                                                    B* 2  
     
     

 

 
 
 
6
 
     
  (iv)  Armament
          Guns:  One 88 mm. (3.46 in.) forward.  
                     One 20 mm. (0.79 in.) on bridge.  
                     Two M.G., Type C.30 on bridge.  
                     Two M.G., Type C.34 on bridge.  
                     Two twin 12.7 mm. Breda M.G. on bridge.  
          These twin Italian 12.7 mm. (0.46 in.) guns were forward of the 20 mm. gun, on either side of the bridge.  They were on retractable mountings and were raised and lowered by rotating a handle on a fixed gun casing.  The gun itself was mounted and pivoted on a conical-shaped pedestal, which in turn was fixed to a retractable circular plate.  To lower the gun, it had to be elevated to an almost vertical position, and by means of a catch under the stock, the latter could be folded backwards so that it lay between the gun barrels.  The gun was then ready for lowering into the casing.  
          In "U 331" it is believed that the guns were lowered and raised by a system of pulleys inside the casing, but in later U-Boats this operation may be by air.  
          The guns can be raised and ready for action in 30 seconds.  
          They have an all-round arc of fire and the same range as the 20 mm. gun.  
          In order to fit these Italian guns the bridge had to be widened and lengthened as far aft as the galley hatch.  
          A ladder leading to the deck was fitted immediately abaft this extension.  
  Ammunition  
          The ammunition for the four forward machine guns was stowed inside the conning-tower.  
          Ammunition boxes contained ten clips for the 20 mm. and fifteen clips for the 12.7 mm. machine guns.  Each clip held 20-30 rounds in the following order:  two tracer bullets, one explosive bullet and one ordinary bullet.  
  Torpedoes  12 electric torpedoes.  
          No air torpedoes are carried in upper deck containers by U-Boats operating in the Mediterranean on account of the frequency of air attacks.  
          Torpedo Tubes.  Five - four forward and one aft.  
     
  (v)  Diving  
          Maximum Depth.  She was only tested to about 90 m.  (295 ft.), but her depth-gauges were marked to 200 m. (656 ft.).  Survivors said that when she sank H.M.S. "Barham" (see Appendix "B") she submerged to about 250 m.  (820 ft.)  
          Crash-Diving Time.  To 30 m. (98 ft.) in 27 seconds.  
                                            To 60 m. (197 ft.) in 60 seconds.  
     
  (vi)  Propulsion  
          (a)  Diesels.  Manufactured by G.W.:  4-stroke, 6 cylinder, developing about 1,200 h.p. without supercharger.  
          Maximum speed.  About 17 knots.  
                 Supercharger.  "Kapsel" type, directly driven from main engines.  
          (b)  Motors.  A.E.G. manufacture.  
 
60 r.p.m.
  ("Kieine Fahrt" = dead slow).
90 r.p.m.
  ("Schleichfahrt" = silent approach speed).
110 r.p.m.
  ("Langsame Fahrt" = slow speed).
160 r.p.m.
  ("Halbe Fahrt" = slow speed).
180 r.p.m.
  ("Grosse Fahrt" = three-quarters speed).
210 r.p.m.
  ("Ausserste Kraft" = full speed).
 
          Estimated speed at 210 r.p.m. - 7 knots.  
          (c)  Batteries.  Each contained 62 cells.  
     
  (vii)  Fuel  
          Capacity.  128 tons.  
          Consumption.  Slow speed on Diesel-Electric, 1.7 tons per day.  
                                  Slow speed on both Diesels 2.8-3.2 tons per day.  
     
  (viii)  Communications  
          W/T sets.  Normal equipment.  
          U/T.  Fitted.  
          V.H/F.  Fitted.  
          Extensible Aerial.  Fitted.  Usable to depths up to 15 m. (49 ft.).  
     
     

 

 
 
 
7
 
     
  (ix)  Hydrophones.  G.H.G.
          Operators found 80 metres (164 ft.) the best listening depth in the Mediterranean.  
     
  (x)  S-Grear  
          None.  
     
  (xi)  R.D.F.  
          None.  
     
  (xii)  D/F Loop  
          Carried.  
     
  (xiii)  K.D.B.  
          Carried.  
     
  (xiv)  Echo-Sounder  
          Fitted.  
     
  (xv)  Elektrolot  
          Carried.  
     
  (xvi)  S.B.T.  
          Fitted in Salamis.  
     
  (xvii)  German Search Receiver  
          Fitted in La Spezia before last patrol. This appears to have been of the "U 660" type, with central "jam-jars."  It has the same frequency range as "U 660's" set.  (See C.B. 04051(53). page 13.)  
     
  (xviii) Look-Out Platform  
        She was fitted with a portable look-out platform between the two periscopes.  
     
  (xix)  Badge  
          A serpent.  
          A donkey is the badge of the 29th Flotilla.  (See Section VI (ii).)  
     
  (xx)  Town of Adoption  
          Düsseldorf.  
     
 
III. LAST PATROL OF "U 331"
 
     
  (i)  Departure from La Spezia  
          "U 331" sailed from her berth in Bassin No. 1 at La Spezia about 1100 on 7th November, 1942.  
          It had originally been intended that she should sail about 15th November, but the sailing date had been advanced owing to the receipt of news about the projected Allied landings in North Africa.  Before sailing, Tiesenhausen told his men that Hitler had sent the Captain (S) (Mediterranean) a signal of the "do or die" variety to be issued to all boats.  He himself did not know the destination of the Allied convoys.  
          "U 331" sailed north of Corsica and then south at full speed on the surface.  Her operational area was to be in the neighbourhood of Algiers.  
     
  (ii)  Sinking of 15,000-ton ship  
          On 9th November, 1942, "U 331" approached a bay immediately to the east of Cape Matalou, at periscope depth.  There she sighted a ship described as of about 15,000 tons, thought to be a trooper, accompanied by one destroyer.  Both were stationary.  
          From periscope depth, at 800 yards, "U 331" fired a salvo of four angled torpedoes from seaward.  This was followed by three detonations.  
          She then withdrew submerged.  No D/C attack developed.  Prisoners said that when they made this attack, the echo-sounder only showed 29 metres (95 ft.) of water under their keel.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  This was the U.S. army transport "Leedstown," of 9,135 gross tons.)  
     
  (iii)  Ships Sighted on same Evening  
          The same evening, "U 331" surfaced and sighted one, possibly two, aircraft-carriers proceeding westward with destroyer escort.  She was, however, unable to attack owing to the high speed and zig-zagging tactics of the formation.  
          Later that night, "U 331" sighted a troop transport proceeding towards Gibraltar, escorted by one destroyer.  She could not overhaul her, owing to her speed.  
     
  (C48270)                                                                                                                       B* 3  
     
     

 

 
 
 
8
 
     
  (iv)  D/C Attack by Destroyers
          At about 1100 on Friday, 13th November, "U 331" surfaced to periscope depth to receive signals from the Captain (S) (Mediterranean).  The First Lieutenant was at the periscope and reported enemy destroyers on either beam.  Tiesenhausen satisfied himself that this was the case and promptly dived deeper.  He intended to submerge to 30 metres (98 ft.).  
          At 20 metres (66 ft.), however, a D/C attack developed and "U 331" promptly altered course.  Shortly afterwards, another twenty-five D/Cs were counted.  Survivors gained the impression that several destroyers were attacking.  
          Tiesenhausen then ordered one S.B.T. charge to be ejected, and shortly afterwards the sound of asdics ceased.  
          Half an hour later the sound of asdics was once more evident, and thirty more D/C explosions were counted.  Another S.B.T. charge was ejected.  This was followed by the detonation of another ten D/Cs, all of which sounded much fainter than previously.  The only damage caused in this attack was to the forward hydroplane motor.  Survivors said the could not say how deep their boat had dived in this attack, as all the depth-gauges but one had been disconnected.  
          This attack lasted for six or seven hours, and when "U 331" finally surfaced it was already growing dark.  
     
  (v)  Destroyer Sighting  
          In the night of 15th/16th November, "U 331" sighted one destroyer, but took no action.  "U 331" was throughout on "Freijagd"  (operating independently).  
     
 
IV.  SINKING OF "U 331"
 
     
  (i)  "U 331" Surfaces North-West of Algiers  
          At about 1300 C.E.T. on 17th November, 1942, "U 331" was proceeding westward at periscope depth north-west of Algiers.  There was no sign of enemy activity and Tiesenhausen gave the order to surface, and the boat continued at slow speed westward.  The German Search Receiver was not in position, a fact which prisoners found it difficult to excuse, other than by saying that in daytime they normally relied more on visual than other methods for spotting aircraft.  It was usually, they said, the officer of the watch's duty to mount it in position.  
     
  (ii)  Appearance of First Aircraft  
          Soon after surfacing an aircraft suddenly appeared astern out of the sun.  (N.I.D. Note.  This aircraft was "Z," of 500 Squadron, Coastal Command, on A/S patrol.  According to the pilot's report he first sighted the boat on the surface in approximate position 37° 05' N., 02° 24' W., at 1315 C.E.T.)  At this time the sea was calm; there was high cloud, visibility being about 30 miles.  Tiesenhausen said that the responsibility for not having spotted the aircraft lay with Bootsmaat Meier, the starboard quarter look-out, but other survivors blamed Bootsmaat Siebels, who had the port quarter, whence the attack came.  Siebels was on his first operational patrol.  
          It was too late, when the aircraft was spotted, for Tiesenhausen himself to sound the alarm, but it was ordered by someone else, and "U 331" started to dive.  At this moment the aircraft, attacking from 10° abaft the U-Boat's port beam from a height of 20 feet, released four Mark XI Torpex depth-charges set to shallow depth and spaced 35 feet apart.  The pilot claimed that the stick straddled, exploding on each side of the U-Boat and lifting her up in the water.  Tiesenhausen was under the impression that three "bombs" only were dropped and that they exploded 15 yards distant to port.  He at once ordered the crew to put on life-jackets in case a larger scale attack developed, necessitating abandoning ship.  
     
  (iii)  Hatch Jams and "U 331" forced to Surface  
          Tiesenhausen and others admitted that the effect of the D/Cs was terrific, causing the 88 mm. gun to be put out of action and the forward hatch to burst open and jam.  
          This resulted in a water entry in the forward compartment, which Tiesenhausen then ordered to be cleared and the forward watertight bulkhead closed.  
          The diesels were also damaged and one battery put out of action.  Tiesenhausen then switched over to the other battery and continued ahead as fast as possible.  The pressure hull was still undamaged.  
          It was alleged that one of the crew named Gotze was wounded by machine-gun fire from the aircraft, but confirmation of a machine-gun attack at this stage is not contained in the pilot's report.  The crew appeared to be under the impression that "Z/500" bore United States markings.  
     
     

 

 
 
 
9
 
     
  (iv)  Two Further Aircraft Attacks
          Two further aircraft then appeared.  These were "L" and "C," both of 500 Squadron.  Attacking from the boat's starboard quarter at 60° to track, from a height of 50 feet, "L" released four Mark XI Torpex depth-charges set to shallow and spaced 36 feet apart.  The pilot stated that No. 1 depth charge exploded on the starboard side, No. 2 against the port side and Nos. 3 and 4 over on the port side.  When spray subsided the U-Boat remained stationary on the surface.  
          Once more survivors believed that only three "bombs" were dropped.  These, they stated, wrecked all the depth-gauges and compasses and put the steering gear out of order, so that "U 331" inclined to circle.  
          Tiesenhausen then ordered all men not on duty below on to the upper deck, in case it should be necessary to abandon ship.  All were now wearing life-jackets.  
          The remaining aircraft, "C/500," now dropped a further three Mark XI Torpex depth-charges released from a height of 50 feet in an attack made from the U-Boat's port quarter at 60° to track.  The depth-charges were set at shallow depth and spaced about 38 feet apart.  At this point the U-Boat was fully surfaced and several of the crew were seen on the bridge.  No. 4 depth-charge failed to release.  The stick straddled the U-Boat and explosions were seen on either side of the conning-tower.  After the spray had settled some of the crew, presumably those who had been on the bridge, were seen in the water.  The U-Boat was still on the surface and stopped.  
          According to prisoners the depth-charges dropped in this attack blasted a number of those on deck overboard and killed a man named Niklas.   
          Another attack was then made by "Z/500" from the U-Boat's starboard quarter, in which two 100 lb. A/S bombs were released and scored near misses alongside to starboard.  
          It was now observed that the U-Boat was making attempts to man the guns, but this was prevented by machine-gun fire from the aircraft.  After this attack the U-Boat was stopped and some of the crew began to jump overboard.  Finally a white flag was waved.  
          The German version of the machine-gun attack was, as might be expected, that their men were deliberately machine-gunned in the water and that only after this did they return the fire with their own guns.  It was claimed that a white flag was not waved until a later stage.  Survivors stated that a number of the crew were wounded, including men named Wahrstadt, Fischer and Krischen.  
          "Z/500" having by this time reached her prudent limit of endurance returned to base and made a report.  The destroyer "Wilton" was then despatched from Algiers with the intention of capturing both the U-Boat and her crew and was led to the position by "X/500," who had in the meantime, re-fuelled and re-ammunitioned.  
     
  (v)  "U 331" tries to make Land  
          Concurrently, those remaining on board "U 331" had been making efforts to rescue their shipmates swimming in the water.  One of them, named Siebels, was pronounced dead after artificial respiration had been attempted.  
          By this time, as a result of the flooding of her forward compartment, "U 331" was down by the bows to the extent that her screws were practically out of the water.  Tiesenhausen gave the order to go astern on the motors, realising that this would be their only chance of escape.  
          Meanwhile, the engine-room personnel had managed to repair the Diesels so that they could be made to function at slow speed.  "U 331" therefore proceeded very slowly towards the North African coast, estimated by Tiesenhausen to be about 12 miles distant, partly on her Diesels and partly on her motors.  
          Survivors all admitted that their aim in proceeding astern towards the coast was not so much to save their lives as to make land and escape.  They were under the impression that crews from other boats had done this.  Tiesenhausen said that it was hopeless to proceed to sea as he was already so close to the coast and could not submerge.  
          It was then about 1530 C.E.T.  Tiesenhausen ordered "U 331" to be prepared for sinking and destroyed all secret documents.  He made an open signal to the Captain (S) Mediterranean informing him of the position.  
     
  (vi)  Appearance of Flying-Boat  
          A flying-boat, described by survivors as bearing U.S. markings, then made its appearance and fired warning shots.  
          It circled over "U 331" and made light signals, which prisoners said that they were unable to identify, apart from the one word "Algiers."  One man said, however, that he thought that the signal meant that a destroyer was being sent to their assistance.  
          Tiesenhausen said he signalled to the flying-boat that he was unable to dive and had surrendered, and that it was then that he ordered the white flag to be hoisted.  
          The flying-boat then flew back in the direction of land, after dropping a smoke-float.  
     
  (C48270)                                                                                                                         B* 4  
     
     

 

 
 
 
10
 
     
  (vii)  Torpedoing of "U 331"
          "U 331" then abandoned all attempts to make land, as her propellers were practically exposed.  The ship's company tended their wounded and "U 331" remained stopped.  Some of the men tried to make rafts out of sections of the deck covering, their rubber dinghies having been destroyed by blast from the depth-charges.  
          Shortly afterwards, a further "United States" bomber made its appearance, accompanied by one Spitfire, and circled "U 331" several times.  Several other British and United States aircraft also appeared.  Some survivors said there were 15 or 20 of these.    
          At this moment, although the white flag was still in position, "U 331" started up her Diesels once more.  This made a loud noise, especially as the propellers were more than half out of the water, the exhaust plainly visible.  Several survivors said the responsibility for this action lay with an E.R.A., who acted without orders, but Tiesenhausen insisted that he had himself ordered this and it was therefore his responsibility.  
          Apparently observing this, a Martlet (described as a Spitfire by prisoners) flew towards "U 331" from port and machine-gunned her.  Its gunfire penetrated "U 331's" conning-tower, killing some and wounding others.  Some sprang into the water in alarm.  Tiesenhausen and his Second Lieutenant, Leutnant zur See Hartwig, were on the bridge and were both wounded.  
          What survivors described as a biplane then approached them from starboard and fired a torpedo.  The torpedo-track was clearly evident and Tiesenhausen ordered hard-a-starboard, but it was too late.  (N.I.D. Note.  This was an Albacore aircraft from H.M.S. "Formidable," which later reported that one 18 in. Torpedo Mark XII*, Duplex pistol , set to 12 ft., speed 40 knots, was released 700 yards from the U-Boat.  The U-Boat disappeared after the explosion of the torpedo and a second explosion was observed under water and wreckage was seen.)  
          The torpedo struck "U 331" on her starboard side, killing 32 men who were still below.  The remainder were thrown into the water and some were rescued by what they described as a United States flying-boat which alighted nearby.  When they recovered their senses, there was no sign of their boat except wreckage and oil.  
          The attacks by the Martlet and the Albacore were observed aboard "Wilton" who was, however, still some 10 miles away and was not in time to prevent the final torpedoing.  
          A Walrus flying-boat then appeared on the scene picked up the survivors, about nine in number, endeavoured to take off but fond that her cargo was too heavy.  She accordingly put some of the men back in the water and took off with the remainder.  Those left swimming were picked up by "Wilton."  Prisoners said that the destroyer searched for a long period for further survivors, but found none.  A man named Karls was brought on board dead.  
          Prisoners, especially Tiesenhausen, were all very bitter at what they termed the unfair action of the "United States" bombers in machine-gunning their shipmates swimming in the water.  They all admitted, however, that the aircraft which fired at them when they later started up their Diesels was quite justified in doing so.  (N.I.D. Note.  There is no evidence that any United States aircraft were concerned in these attacks.)  
     
 
V.  MEDITERRANEAN U-BOAT SITUATION
 
     
  (i)  Some of the Boats believed Operating in November, 1942  
 
"U 73"
  (Oberleutnant zur See Deckert).
"U 77"
  (C.O. unknown.  Formerly Kapitänleutnant Schonder).
"U 81"
  (Kapitänleutnant Fritz Guggenberger).
"U 83"
  (Kapitänleutnant Hans Werner Kraus).
"U 97"
  (C.O. unknown.  Formerly Kapitänleutnant Udo Heilmann).
"U 205"
  (C.O. unknown.  Formerly Kapitänleutnant Reschke).
"U 431"
  (Kapitänleutnant Dornmes).
"U 561"
  (C.O. unknown.  Formerly Kapitänleutnant Bartels).
"U 565"
  (Oberleutnant zur See Franken )
"U 605"
  (Kapitänleutnant Herbert Victor Schütze).
U-Boat commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Heinz Schomburg.
U-Boat commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Kelbling.
 
     
  (ii)  Boats known to have been Lost in Mediterranean.  
 
"U 75"
  (Kapitänleutnant Ringelmann)  (28.12.41).
"U 79"
  (Kapitänleutnant Kaufmann)  (23.12.41).
"U 95"
  (Kapitänleutnant Schreiber)  (28.11.41).
"U 331"
  (Kapitänleutnant Freiherr von Tiesenhausen)  (17.11.42).
"U 372"
  (Kapitänleutnant Heinz Joachim Neumann)  (4.8.42).
"U 374"
  (Oberleutnant zur See von Fischel)  (12.1.42).
"U 433"
  (Oberleutnant zur See Ey)  (16.11.41).
 
     
     

 

 
 
 
11
 
     
 
"U 557"
  (Kapitänleutnant Paulssen)  (17.12.41).
"U 559"
  (Kapitänleutnant Hans Heidtmann)  (30.10.42).
"U 568"
  (Kapitänleutnant Joachim Preuss)  (28.5.42).
"U 595"
  (Kapitänleutnant Quaet-Faslem)  (14.11.42).
"U 652"
  (Kapitänleutnant Fraatz)  (June/July, 1942).
"U 660"
  (Oberleutnant zur See Baur)  (12.11.42).
U-Boat commanded by Kapitänleutnant Diggins (Oct./Nov., 1942).
     
  (iii)  General  
          Though some prisoners exaggerate greatly in their favour, it does not appear from a collation of prisoners' statements that more than about 40 U-Boats have entered the Mediterranean since the war began and up to the time of "U 331's" sinking.  
          It is believed that, in addition to those mentioned in (ii) above, some four or five may have been sunk without trace.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  The above lists are not comprehensive.  Over 20 U-Boats are believed to be in the Mediterranean.  Some of the Commanding Officers mentioned may have been relieved.)  
     
 
VI.  GENERAL REMARKS ON U-BOATS IN MEDITERRANEAN
 
     
  (i)  Captain (S), Mediterranean  
          The Captain (S), Mediterranean, is Kapitän zur See Kreisch, of the 1914 term, who was promoted Captain on 1st April, 1939.  His H.Q. are at Rome, in the same building as the "Deutsches Marine Kommando," and his duties are the operational control of all U-Boats in the Mediterranean.  His title is "Führer der Unterseeboote," generally shortened to "F.d.U."  His predecessor in office was Korvettenkapitän Victor Oehrn, captured on 13th July, 1942, on the North African coast while on land reconnaissance.  (See also C.B. 04051 (54), page 16.)  
     
  (ii)  Mediterranean U-Boat Flotillas  
          Since the dissolution of the 23rd U-Boat flotilla at Salamis early in 1942, there has been only one U-Boat flotilla in the Mediterranean.  This is the 29th, based on La Spezia.  The Senior Officer is Kapitänleutnant Fritz Frauenheim.  
          Just prior to the North African operations, five new U-Boats arrived, and another ten were expected.  
     
  (iii)  Mediterranean U-Boat Bases  
          (a)  Cagliari (Southern Sardinia).  Tiesenhausen said that he had visited Admiral Fricke (Chief of Operations Division of Naval Staff) in Berlin shortly before sailing on his last patrol.  He urged on him the necessity of the Mediterranean U-Boats being allotted another base near enough to their operational areas, where they might refuel, or where they could lie until conditions justified a sortie.  He urged that Cagliari should be opened as such a base.  
          (b)  Messina.  It is customary for U-Boats desiring to make minor repairs to do so at Messina.  
          (c)  Pola.  Pola is extensively used by U-Boats requiring a lengthy refit.  It is not used operationally.  
          (d)  Philippeville.  Tiesenhausen said that when he was last in Berlin, he had urged on Admiral Fricke the desirability of acquiring Philippeville as an advanced U-Boat base (see also under Cagliari above).  Fricke had replied, however, that the political difficulties involved were too great.  
          (e)  Salamis.  As far as survivors knew, Salamis was still being used as a base for effecting minor repairs.  
     
  (iv)  German Naval Organisation in Mediterranean  
          (a)  Command.  Vizeadmiral Weichold, of the 1911 term, is in command of the German Naval H.Q. at Rome.  His duties are to control the entire German naval situation in the Mediterranean, including vessels employed on the North African Coast.  In practice, however, the Captain (S) (Mediterranean) operates almost entirely independently of Weichold.  
          (b)  Captain (S) Mediterranean.  See above.  
          (c)  Sea Transport Officer.  The "Seetransportchef" (Sea Transport Officer) is Konteradmiral Horstmann, of the 1913 term, whose offices are in the same building as those of Weichold and Kreisch.  He is said to have the most exacting duty of all officers, since he is responsible for the transport of all supplies to the Afrika Corps.  One of his staff officers is named Korvettenkapitän (Ing.) Wagner.  Horstmann maintains an organisation at all Italian ports.  
          (d)  Fuel Supply Officer.  Vizeadmiral Weichold also has the duty of keeping the Italian Navy supplied with as much fuel from Germany as possible.  He maintains a special officer on his staff for this purpose, named Kapitan zur See (Ing.) Graef.  
     
  (C48270)                                                                                                                             B**  
     
     

 

 
 
 
12
 
     
  (v)  Mediterranean W/T Routine
          Rome and Salamis are the two Mediterranean W/T stations to which U-Boats listen for orders.  These stations work an "I" method routine with Salamis as control.  Series numbers are used.  
          Regular transmission periods begin five times daily, of which three are 1100, 1500 and 2100.  To receive, boats must surface, at least to aerial depth.  (N.I.D. Note.  The routines mentioned are probably the Berlin transmissions on VL/F, repeating traffic previously made on H/F by Rome and Salamis.  
     
  (vi)  Mediterranean Tactics  
          Tiesenhausen said that it was virtually impossible to carry out the tactics normally applied in the Atlantic in the Mediterranean, owing to the confined space.  It was now more usual, he added, for boats to be given an operational area, generally somewhat restricted, to proceed there and to act according to their commanding officer's discretion.  
          Other prisoners said that most boats waited in what was known in tactics as a "Lauerstellung."  This involved waiting submerged and listening with hydrophones for any approaching target.  They added that "Vorpostenstreifen" (Patrol sweeps) were occasionally formed, but never consisted of more than five boats.  
     
  (vii)  Dangers Peculiar to Mediterranean  
          Tiesenhausen mentioned the following disadvantages peculiar to the Mediterranean:  
          (a)  The large bow wave made on the surface in calm weather.  He believed this could be seen for miles.  
          (b)  Enemy aircraft.  He regarded these as a far greater danger than surface craft, with which he felt relatively safe.  He realised, however, that the efficacy of aircraft in confined waters such as those of the Mediterranean cut both ways; it might mean that surfaced U-Boats could be easily detected, but it also meant that Allied shipping movements could be constantly and accurately observed.  
          (c)  The shorter seas in the Mediterranean are, he said more of a strain to a U-Boat than the longer Atlantic seas.  
          (d)  The lighter nights in the Mediterranean are a great strain on a U-Boat's ship's company.  
     
  (viii)  Co-operation with Aircraft  
          U-Boats in the Mediterranean do not normally communicate direct with aircraft.  They rely principally on them, however, for information regarding convoy movements.  The aircraft communicate these direct to the Captain (S) Mediterranean, who passes them on to the U-Boats concerned.  One man said that much of this reconnaissance was done by Ju.88s based at or near Messina.  
     
  (ix)  British Submarine Patrols  
          Tiesenhausen expressed considerable apprehension regarding British submarines in the Mediterranean.  He was under the impression that the British maintained a permanent submarine patrol in the neighborhood of the Island of Ustica.  
     
  (x)  Time-keeping in the Mediterranean  
          Tiesenhausen said that between 1st October and 31st April, German U-Boats in the Mediterranean set their chronometers to Central European Time (M.E.Z.), which he said was one hour ahead of G.M.T.  Between 1st May and 30th September, the chronometers are set to German Summer Time (D.S.Z.), which he said is one hour ahead of Central European Time and therefore two hours ahead of G.M.T.  
     
  (xi)  Need for U-Boat Surface Search Gear  
          Tiesenhausen said that he had often spent the entire night searching for targets which he knew to be in the vicinity without finding one.  This was a defect which could obviously be remedied by fitting some kind of surface search gear.  He had accordingly proceeded to Berlin and Kiel in the latter half of 1942, to put forward such a request.  All that he had received as a result of his visit was a German search receiver, of which he had no high opinion.  
     
  (xii)  Opinion of German Search Receiver  
          Tiesenhausen thought that the German search receiver, as fitted to his boat, was of little practical value.  Firstly, it rarely functioned properly.  Secondly, the long cable that had to be connected to the aerial seriously hindered crash-diving, as it and the aerial had first to be stowed below.  He regarded the whole apparatus as provisional  
     
  (xiii)  Torpedoes in Mediterranean  
          One of the disadvantages of firing any kind of torpedo in the Mediterranean is that the high phosphorescence of the water betrays its course very easily.  
     
     

 

 
 
 
13
 
     
 
VII.  GENERAL REMARKS ON U-BOATS
     
  (i)  Avoiding Action against Aircraft  
          It is usual when diving to avoid aircraft attack for a U-Boat to turn towards the attacking machine.  
     
  (ii)  Yellow Pennants  
          A U-Boat entering or leaving port flying a yellow pennant indicates that she is about to engage upon, or has been engaged upon, special duties, such as minelaying.  
     
  (iii)  Sea Trials  
          Each time that a U-Boat leaves a yard after repairs, etc., she does one day's sea trial.  
     
  (iv)  750-ton Minelaying U-Boats  
          One man said that he saw a 750-ton minelaying U-Boat at Pillau in January, 1942, when he was allowed to inspect her.  She had six mine-shafts between the control room and the P.O.'s mess, three on either side.  Her yard sign was a red square with a diagonal white stripe.  
     
  (v)  1,200-ton U-Boats  
          A rating who had inspected one, said that 1,200-ton U-boats were fitted with two different seta of engines.  Some fit a six-cylinder G.W. engine for each shaft, abaft which is coupled a four-cylinder engine; others a nine-cylinder with a six-cylinder engine abaft it.  The former arrangement gives 2,200 h.p. per shaft, and the latter 3,600 h.p.  No decision has yet been taken regarding which is to become standard.  It is thought possible that both arrangements may be retained.  
     
  (vi)  New Type 20 mm. (.79 in.) Ammunition  
          A rating from "U 517" (sunk 21st November, 1942) said that she was the first boat to carry a new type of 20 mm. ammunition.  Rounds were slightly longer than usual and much more sensitive to percussion.  
     
  (vii)  Nickel Batteries  
           Some prisoners thought that nickel batteries were to be fitted to U-Boats to replace the older type lead battery.  
          A German Transocean Agency report of 8th January, 1943, mentions the replacement of lead batteries, which weigh from 16 to 20 tons, by nickel batteries, with a saving of weight of one nineteenth.  
          The reduced weight, it was claimed, resulted in a greater surface speed.  
          It added that the nickel is being obtained from Scandinavia.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  The nickel-iron type of alkaline battery, in place of lead-acid battery, was previously used in the U.S. Navy but was abandoned in favor of the lead type.  The advantages of using nickel have probably been deliberately been overstated and, if adopted, it is more likely on account of difficulties of supply rather than improvement in performance.  The whole lead battery of 124 cells weighs about 55 to 60 tons of which the lead content is about 45 tons.)  
     
  (viii)  Depth-Gauges at Silent Approach  
          It was customary in "U 331," when at silent approach and consequently when there was a risk of D/C attack, to disconnect all depth-gauges except that in the control room nearest the coxswain.  The object of this was to preserve the gauges from unnecessary damage in the event of an attack developing.  
     
 
VIII.  SURFACE SHIPS
 
     
  (i)  "Leipzig"  
          The officers of the 6,000-ton light cruiser "Leipzig" at October, 1942, included the following:  
                  Captain:  Kapitan zur See Winter (retired after service in 1914-18 war).  
                  Commander:  Fregattenkapitän Joachim Asmus, of the 1921 term.  
                  Other Officers:  Oberleutnant zur See König, of the October, 1937 term; Oberleutnant zur See Winter, of the October, 1938, term.  
          In September, 1941, the cruisers "Leipzig" and "Emden" bombarded Oesel Island.  Otherwise "Leipzig" was used largely as a training ship between April, 1941, and October, 1942.  
     
  (ii)  "Admiral von Tirpitz"  
          Tiesenhausen related how, when he visited Berlin in autumn, 1942, Admiral Fricke told him that it would become necessary to order the 45,000-ton battleship "Admiral von Tirpitz" home from Norway because of shortage of fuel.  
     
     
     

 

 
 
 
14
 
     
  (iii)  "Rex"
          Tiesenhausen said that the Italian liner "Rex" (51,062 gross tons) was being converted in Italy into an aircraft carrier.  
     
  (iv)  Hanomag E-Boat  
          Tiesenhausen described a semi-sumersible craft which he had seen building at Kiel.  He said it consisted of a cigar-shaped hull under water, resembling a U-Boat.  This was topped by a narrower superstructure, on top of which was built a form of look-out for the captain.  This look-out was all that could be seen above water.  Tiesenhausen did not know the purpose of such a craft.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  He was probably referring to a type of Hanomag E-Boat.  Although this type of craft has been reported as building for more than a year, it has never been located by reconnaissance or met with on service.)  
     
 
IX.  BASES, TRAINING ESTABLISHMENTS, ETC.
 
     
 
A.  Germany
 
     
  (i)  Bremen  
          The A.G. Weser at Bremen was said to be building two-man U-Boats before the war.  
     
  (ii)  Danzig  
          Danzig is the base of the 8th U-Boat Flotilla, known as the "Schiessflottille." All boat working up are attached to this flotilla for a short time in order to put in torpedo-firing practice.  
     
  (iii)  Memel  
          Memel is the base of the 24th U-Boat Flotilla.  It is a "Schiessflottille" for the instruction of future commanding officers in torpedo-firing.  It was commanded in September, 1941, by Kapitänleutnant (Ing.) Baumgarten, of the 1926 term.  Boats working up do not normally proceed to this flotilla.  
          On 1st June, 1941, the 24th Flotilla proceeded to Hopla Fjord, near Trondheim, owing to the danger of the Russian war, but returned in September, 1941.  
          Boats attached to this flotilla in September, 1941, were Type II D 300-tonners of the series "U 137-151" and a number of old 500-tonners, including "U 28," "U 29," "U 30" and "U 34," also "U 554," "U 555" and "U 560."  The last three were only fitted with two operative torpedo tubes forward.  
     
  (iv)  Pillau  
          The 26th U-Boat Flotilla based on Pillau is commanded by Korvettenkapitän Hans Gerrit von Stockhausen, of the 1926 term, formerly of "U 65."  New U-Boats practising torpedo firing are often attached to it.  It was rumoured in May, 1942, that the flotilla was to be disbanded, but it was still in being in August, 1942.  
          The 21st U-Boat Flotilla, based on Pillau, is commanded by Korvettenkapitän Büchel, of the 1925 term.  It is a school-boat flotilla, and is directly controlled by the 1st U-Boats Training Division, also based on Pillau.  The celebrated Kapitänleutnant Schuhart is also attached to this flotilla.  He has his headquarters in the depôt-ship "Pretoria."  
          The senior officer of the 1st U-Boats Training Division is Kapitan zur See Schmidt (as at February 1942).  The 1st Section of the Division is for officers, C.P.O.s and P.O.s, accommodated in "Pretoria," and the 2nd is for ratings who are accommodated in "Robert Ley."  
          The 1st section is commanded by Korvettenkapitän (Ing.) der Reserve Giloi, who also commands its 1st Company, which is for midshipmen.  (All information as at February, 1942.)  
     
 
B.  Greece
 
     
  Salamis  
          The 23rd U-Boat Flotilla formerly at Salamis under the command of Kapitänleutnant Fritz Frauenheim, has been dissolved since the early part of 1942.  
          The senior officer in command of the port early in 1942 was Kapitänleutnant der Reserve Hornjak.  He has since died.  A Kapitänleutnant Zahn was also formerly stationed there.  
     
 
C.  Italy
 
     
  (i)  La Spezia (see also C.B. 04051(54), page 14)  
          The officer commanding the Drafting Depot at La Spezia is named Kapitänleutnant Mehl.  (N.I.D. Note.  This may be Mehl of the 1933 term.)  
          The administrative offices of the 29th U-Boat Flotilla are in a former barracks opposite Bassin No. 1 to port on entering the inner harbour.  
     
     

 

 
 
 
15
 
     
          There is a boom at the entrance to the outer harbour, opening outward and moored to the western shore.  It is operated by a tug.  There is also a boom between the breakwater and Santa Maria Point, opening inward and pivoting on the point.  It is also operated by a tug.
          The senior officer of the 29th U-Boat Flotilla prior to Frauenheim's appointment was named Korvettenkapitän Edouard Becker, who served with distinction in U-Boats in the last war and was recalled to active service in September, 1939.  On relinquishing his appointment at La Spezia, he was given an important shore post in France.  
          Other officers of the drafting depot are Oberleutnant zur See Sürenhagen, of the 1936 term, and Oberleutnant (Ing.) Hockner.  
     
  (ii)  Messina  
          There are facilities at Messina for U-Boats to effect minor repairs.  Labour is all Italian.  There are no dry dock facilities.  
     
  (iii)  Pola  
          Pola is used as a repair base for U-Boats.  The number there at one time is not thought to be large.  
     
  (iv)  Rome  
          Headquarters of Vizeadmiral Weichold, of the 1911 term, German Naval C.-in-C., Mediterranean.  Has five staff officers.  
          Headquarters of Konteradmiral Horstmann, of the 1913 term, Naval Transport Officer (Mediterranean).  Korvettenkapitän (ing.) Wagner is on his staff.  
          Headquarters of Kapitan zur See Kreisch, of the 1914 term, Captain (S) Mediterranean.  
          Headquarters of Kapitan zur See (ing.) Greaf, German Fuel Officer for the Mediterranean.  
          All these officers are accommodated in the same building.  
     
  (v)  Trieste  
          Trieste is the Italian port whence most supplies are shipped to Greece.  It is also a centre for the transshipment overland of oil from Germany to Italy, largely for the consumption of the Italian navy.  An officer formerly stationed there admitted that the German troops had had to be withdrawn owing to their unpopularity.  The same officer added that the Italians are so apprehensive of Trieste being bombed that they are now trying to divert all traffic to Venice.  
     
 
D.  Poland
 
     
  Gdynia  
          The 25th U-Boat Flotilla based on Gdynia moved to Lo Fjord, near Trondheim, on 1st June, 1941, but returned to Gdynia at the end of September, 1941.  It is said to be a tactical training flotilla.  
          The 22nd U-Boat Flotilla based on Gdynia is a school-boat flotilla administered by the 2nd U-Boats Training Division at Gdynia.  
     
 
X.  MISCELLANEOUS REMARKS
 
     
  (i)  Espionage in Mediterranean  
          Tiesenhausen said his sources of convoy information in the Mediterranean had always been very reliable.  The Axis had agents in Algeria who constantly reported convoy movements to the German Naval Attaché at Madrid.  These agents reported faithfully every event at Gibraltar.  
     
  (ii)  Possible Evacuation of Afrika Korps  
          Tiesenhausen said that, in the event of the Afrika Korps having to be evacuated, it might be possible to do so, given sufficient air support.  He added that the French ships recently seized by Germany had been requisitioned with this purpose in mind.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

 

 
 
 
16
 
     
 
APPENDIX "A"
 
 
 
EARLY HISTORY OF "U 331"
 
     
  (i)  Launching  
          "U 331" was launched from the yards of the Nordseewerke, Emden, towards the end of October, 1940.  
     
  (ii)  Commissioning  
          She commissioned at the end of March, 1941.  
     
  (iii)  Working-up, Final Adjustments, etc.  
           Working-up lasted until 1st June, 1941.  She returned to the Nordseewerke, Emden, for final adjustments which lasted about one month.  She then proceeded to Kiel for fitting-out before sailing on her first patrol.  
     
 
________________
 
     
 
APPENDIX "B"
 
 
 
 
PREVIOUS PATROLS OF "U 331"
 
     
  (i)  First Patrol  
          "U 331" sailed from Kiel on her first patrol early in July, 1941.  She called at a Norwegian port, believed to be Kristiansand S., to top up with fuel.  As far as survivors were aware, she proceeded through the Rosengarten into the Atlantic.  
          Her operational area was off Cape St. Vincent.  Here she joined a patrol line of boats and remained in position for some weeks without, however, making frequent sightings.  On only one occasion did she make an attack, firing a salvo of four torpedoes, all of which missed.  On one occasion she met another U-Boat, which came alongside to exchange mail, and in so doing damaged "U 331's" No. 1 diving tank.  
          In mid-August, 1941, "U 331" made Lorient, where she was attached to the 2nd U-Boat Flotilla.  
          Her officers were:  
 
Captain   Oberleutnant zur See von Tiesenhausen.
1st Lieutenant   Oberleutnant zur See Franken.
2nd Lieutenant   Lieutenant zur See Koch.
Engineer Officer   Oberleutnant (Ing.) Wintermann.
 
     
  (ii)  Second Patrol  
          (a)  Departure from Lorient.  "U 331" left Lorient on her second patrol at the end of September, 1941.  She proceeded across the Bay of Biscay, partly submerged and partly surfaced.  It is not clear when she received her orders to enter the Mediterranean, though this probably occurred on passage.  
          (b)  Passage of Straits of Gibraltar.  She passed through the Straits of Gibraltar alone one night in early October.  One man said the passage began late in the afternoon, when "U 331" submerged.  She remained submerged until early the following morning, when she surfaced, only to submerge again as daylight broke and remain so until well clear of the Straits.  Tiesenhausen said he was not attacked at any time during the passage.  
          (c)  Attack by T.I.Cs.  "U 331" proceeded direct to her area of operations in the Eastern Mediterranean.  While between Sollum and Alexandria she was attacked by what prisoners described as T.I.Cs.  Two of the men were wounded, one fatally.  He was buried at sea four hours later.  
          "U 331" then proceeded immediately to Salamis, her new base, where she was attached to the 23rd U-Boat Flotilla (Senior Officer Kapitänleutnant Fritz Franenheim).  She arrived at Salamis at the end of October, 1941.  
     
  (iii)  Third Patrol  
          (a)  Departure from Salamis.  "U 331" sailed from Salamis on her third patrol at 1900 on 12th November, 1941.  Before sailing she embarked a sabotage party, which Tiesenhausen had been ordered to land at a given point on the North African coast, its mission being to destroy a section of British railway line.  He was then to wait for them and bring them back to Salamis.  The embarkation of the sabotage party had been kept secret from "U 331's" ship's company until the last minute.  The party brought its own rubber dinghy, in which it was to be landed.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  The party consisted of:  
                  Leutnant Josef Kiefer, 17th Co., 2nd Batallion Lehrregiment Brandenburg (in command).  
                  Feldwebel Adolf Risch, 1st Co., 1st Battalion Lehrregiment Brandenburg.  
                  Obergefreiter Werner Schoeler, 5th Co., 3rd Battalion Lehrregiment Brandenburg.  
                  Gefreiter, Josef von der Lahr, 5th Co., 3rd Battalion Lehrregiment Brandenburg.  
                  Pionier Josef Handrischik, 5th Co., 3rd Battalion Lehrregiment Brandenburg.  
                  Pionier Otto Pralle, 5th Co., 3rd Battalion Lehrregiment Brandenburg.  
                  Pionier Hermann Boebs, 5th Co. 3rd Battalion Lehrregiment Brandenburg.  
          At the beginning of August, 1941, these seven men were sent to the H.Q. of the Lehrregiment Brandenburg at Berlin, and practised for a week laying demolition charges beneath a railway line.  They drew tropical kit.  On 28th August they left Berlin by air for Athens, where they reported to Hauptmann Schiffbager, an officer attached to Abwehr II (Secret Service) at Athens.  
          They attempted to leave Athens on 31st August by air, but their Do.24 crashed into the quay and the attempt was abandoned.  They were then instructed to embark in "U 331" on 12th November.)  
     
     

 

 
 
 
17
 
     
          (b)  Disembarkation of Sabotage Party.  On arrival off the given point on the North African coast, the sabotage party was duly landed.  One of "U 331's" complement, Matrosengefreiter Wolfgang Eberta, Tiesenhausen's servant, being detailed to assist the navigation of the rubber dinghy and wait until the party re-embarked.
          (N.I.D. Note.  On the night of 17th November, after waiting off shore for twenty-four hours owing to the heavy sea, "U 331" approached to within one mile of the coast at a point between Ras Gibeisa and Ras el Schaqiq, where demolition charges were to be placed beneath the coastal railway line.  The party then boarded the rubber dinghy and proceeded towards shore.  Their equipment consisted of:  
 
1 light machine-gun,
5 machine pistols,
9 stick hand grenades,
2 Very pistols,
1 signalling lamp,
4 pairs field-glasses,
3 compasses,
3 knapsacks,
3 demolition mines (later captured).
  Meat,
  Biscuits,
  British money.
 
          A wireless transmitter was left behind, as it was considered too clumsy and heavy.  It consisted of a laryngeal microphone enabling softly-voiced sounds to be transmitted.  
          It was agreed that "U 331" should return to the same position on the following night, where she would fire a green Very light to indicate her presence.  The party was to fire red Very lights.  
          The sabotage party landed safely and set about its work, leaving two men to stand by the dinghy.  These two were later surprised by sentries but they overpowered them.  
          The following night, the party tried to re-embark.  The dinghy, however, capsized in the surf, the gear was lost and the Very cartridges were put out of action by the sea water.  The party therefore returned to the shore, where they were all captured a few hours later.  Ebertz was found to be wearing a British army shirt with von Tiesenhausen's name.  The mission was named "Operation HAI")  
          "U 331" waited all during the night of 18th November for the party to make themselves known, but at daybreak she abandoned hope and proceeded towards Sollum.   
          (c)  Sinking of H.M.S. "Barham."  Between 18th and 25th November "U 331" patrolled off the North African coast in the neighbourhood of Sollum and Mersa Matrub.   
          About 1800 on 25th November, "U 331" was proceeding at periscope depth on an easterly course off Sollum, when her hydrophone operator picked up H.E.  He reported this to Tiesenhausen, who passed it on to the ship's company.  Nothing was visible.  "U 331" then submerged to about 50 metres (164 ft.) considered the best depth for H.E. listening - so as to check up on the sounds.  She later came to periscope depth and Tiesenhausen sighted a formation of three battleships, which he identified as "Queen Elizabeth," "Barham" and "Valiant" closing him in line ahead and screened by eight destroyers.  The whole formation was about 20° on the port bow.  
          Tiesenhausen then decided at all costs to attack the leading battleship of the three.  He penetrated the inshore destroyer screen, proceeding between the two leading destroyers at periscope depth.  He then, however, found himself too close to "Queen Elizabeth" to be able to fire effectively and decided to attack "Barham," the second ship in the line.  He accordingly fired a salvo of four torpedoes at her from periscope depth.  This was immediately followed by three detonations, one torpedo missing astern.  Survivors were not unanimous in estimating the range of "Barham" when they fired, estimates varying between 350 and 800 yards.  
          As soon as she had fired her torpedoes "U 331's" forepart broke surface.  (N.I.D. Note.  This was clearly observed from the British ships.)  It was not until all available hands had been rushed into the bow compartment that she again submerged, 45 seconds later.  Tiesenhausen then dived below "Valiant" and went to a great depth, constantly altering course.  No S.B.T. was fitted at that time.  Survivors were not unanimous regarding the depth to which they submerged.  They all said, however, that it was well below 200 metres (656 ft.).  They were sure of this, because the depth-gauge was marked to 200 metres and the needle reached this point only starting to record a lesser depth some minutes after the tanks had begun to be blown.  
          No depth-charge attack developed for an hour after "U 331" had submerged and none of the charges then fired detonated close enough to do any damage.  
          Tiesenhausen attributed the tardiness in launching a depth-charge attack firstly to the general confusion caused by so many vessels being present, thus adding to the difficulty of locating him, secondly to the fact that he had dived so quickly, and thirdly to so many destroyers being engaged in rescuing survivors from "Barham."  
          He attributed his good luck in not being fired on by "Valiant" when he broke surface to his being too close to her.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  On 28th November, 1941, the German radio reported that a U-Boat commanded by Tiesenhausen had attacked a British battleship off Sollum scoring a direct hit with one torpedo.)  
          (d)  Return to Salamis.  "U 331" then immediately returned to her base at Salamis, which she made on 4th December.  
          The ship's company were given leave in watches.  
          Tiesenhausen was at this time quite unaware whether he had sunk "Barham" or not.  He went to Berlin on leave and found the German Admiralty equally in the dark.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  On 16th December, 1941. Tiesenhausen broadcast a description of the attack over the German radio.)  
     
  (iv)  Fourth Patrol  
          "U 331" sailed on her fourth patrol on 14th January, 1942, from Salamis.  Her area of operation was off Tobruk.  On arrival she lay on the mud and could not be moved until all torpedoes had been fired (without pistols) and a quantity of oil pumped overboard.  
          Off the North African coast she rescued five Italian airmen who had fallen into the sea.  One of them was an officer said to be named Marino Marini.  
     
     

 

 
 
 
18
 
     
          It was on this patrol that "U 331's" ship's company learned that "Barham" had, after all, been sunk, and much jubilation ensued.  (N.I.D. Note.  On 27th January, 1942, the British Admiralty issued the following communiqué to the Press:  "The Board of Admiralty regrets to announce that H.M.S. "Barham" (Captain G. C. Cooke, R.N.), flying the flag of Vice-Admiral H. D. Pridham-Wippell, K.C.R., C.V.O., Second-in-Command of the Mediterranean Fleet, has been sunk.
          "Vice-Admiral Pridham-Wiplell is safe, but Captain Cooke lost his life.  
          "H.M.S. "Barham" was sunk 25th November, 1941.  The next of kin of casualties were informed, but the loss of the ship was not announced, since it was clear at that time that the enemy did not know that she had been sunk, and it was important to make certain dispositions before the loss of this ship was made public.  
          "The German radio has from time to time, made statements with the obvious intention of endeavouring to discover whether a battleship of the "Queen Elizabeth" class, which they claimed to have hit with torpedoes, had in fact sunk.  
          "This information has been denied to the enemy for the reason given above, but as it is clear that they are now aware that H.M.S. "Barham" was sunk, her loss can be announced."  
          Later the same day the German radio announced that the Ritterkreuz had been awarded to von Tiesenhausen for this exploit.)  
          "U 331" made La Spezia on 21st February, 1942.  
          Soon after arrival Tiesenhausen was awarded the Ritterkreuz, and various members of his ship's company received other decorations.  
          The ship's company then went on leave in watches.  
     
  (v)  Fifth Patrol  
          (a)  Departure from La Spezia.  On 4th April, 1942, "U 331" sailed from La Spezia on her fifth patrol.  Apart from the Captain, the officers were then:  
                  1st Lieutenant:  Leutnant zur See Koch.  
                  2nd Lieutenant:  Leutnant zur See Kühne.  
                  3rd Lieutenant:  Oberfähnrich zur See Hartwig  
                  Engineer Officer:  Oberleutnant (Ing.) Siegert.  
  Hartwig had returned to his old boat after undergoing a course at the Pillau U-Boat Training School.  
          "U 331" passed through the Straits of Messina and made her way to the neighbourhood of Beirut harbour.  On passage, while off Crete, she was attacked by an aircraft in daylight.  She submerged and three bombs exploded, all too distant to effect any damage.  She surfaced an hour later and the aircraft had disappeared.   
          (b)  Operations off Beirut.  "U 331" arrived off Beirut in the afternoon of 8th April and lay on the bottom so as not to attract attention.  
          At 2200 she surfaced and patrolled off the harbour entrance.  During the night she sank two sailing-ships leaving the harbour.  From survivors' statements, it seems that she sank the first of these without warning, in case she might be armed and put up resistance, but in the latter, the crew were allowed to abandon ship before sinking.  Tiesenhausen said he suspected both ships were carrying oil cargoes.  
          At 0600 on 9th April, "U 331" submerged to periscope depth and spent the whole day patrolling outside the harbour entrance.  Survivors said they could clearly recognise the traffic on shore.  The echo-sounder often showed very shallow depths below her keel.  During the day she sighted one large sailing-ship, but did not fire for fear of betraying her own position.  
          In the evening of 9th April, while "U 331" was still on patrol in the same position, survivors sighted a large column of fire to westward.  They intercepted a signal from Kapitänleutnant Gruggenberger ("U 81") to the Captain (S) Mediterranean reporting the sinking just previously of an enemy tanker.  
          At dawn on 10th April, "U 331" submerged to periscope depth and fired one torpedo at a freighter alongside the pier.  This hit the freighter aft, but she did not sink.  "U 331" then left the harbour.  
          The same night she sighted a freighter leaving the harbour and fired one torpedo at her, but this missed.  
          "U 331" remained off Beirut for several more days, during which period she intercepted signals from Gruggenberger reporting the sinking of nine sailing-ships, two tankers and one ship believed to be an escort vessel of some kind.  
          Tiesenhausen was dissatisfied with his targets outside Beirut and decided to extend his patrol further to sea.  He planned, however, to return to Beirut about 16th April and shell the electricity works, which seemed to him to promise a fair target.  All survivors were amazed at the lack of defences at Beirut.  
          Some survivors said they had laid mines off Beirut, but it was not possible to obtain a unanimous version of this story.  
          (c)  Sailing-ship Sunk off Cypress.  On 15th April, "U 331" sighted a sailing-ship between Cyprus and Beirut and attacked her with gunfire from her 88 mm.  One man, however, injured his hand, resulting in the loss of his little finger.  Tiesenhausen therefore decided to put back to Salamis to land him.  
          (d)  Encounter with Aircraft.  Between Cyprus and Crete "U 331" sighted an aircraft and dived, but no attack developed.  She surfaced an hour later.  
          (e)  Arrival at Salamis.  On 19th April "U 331" arrived at Salamis and lay at the pier off Paloukia, near the dockyards of the Salamis Strait.  Here she was given a fresh coat of paint.  On 20th April, her ship's company celebrated Hitler's birthday.  
          Leutnant zur See Koch left "U 331" at this stage.  
          S.B.T. gear was built in while at Salamis.  
     
  (vi)  Sixth Patrol  
          (a)  Departure from Salamis.  "U 331" sailed from Salamis on her sixth patrol on 9th May.  She was alone.  She proceeded direct to her operational area off Mersa Matruh, leaving Gaudon Island to port.  For some days she sighted nothing.  Her officers were now.:  
                  Captain:  Kapitänleutnant Tiesenhausen.  
                  1st Lieutenant:  Leutnant zur See Kühne.  
                  2nd Lieutenant:  Leutnant zur See Hartwig  
                  Engineer Officer:  Oberleutnant (Ing.) Streubel.  
     
     

 

 
 
 
19
 
     
          (b)  Successful Attack on Convoy.  At 1000 on 19th May, while patrolling off Mersa Matruh, "U 331" received a signal from the Captain (S) reporting an eastbound convoy, and Tiesenhausen sighted it at 1400.  He decided, however, that the air escort was too strong for a daylight attack.  During the afternoon he lost touch with the convoy, but received a further signal from Captain (S) that evening, giving its position and course.
          The same night he fixed the convoy's position as five miles to starboard, and at 0205 ship's time, on 20th May, he attacked it from the north, firing three angled torpedoes from the surface at the second merchantman in the column nearest to him.  Members of "U 331's" ship's company then heard two explosions.  
          Survivors say that "U 331" originally meant to attack the first ship in the nearest column, but that the convoy had evidently sensed danger, for it immediately increased speed.  The result was that "U 331's torpedoes were finally aimed at the second ship.  (N.I.D. Note.  The ship sunk was the British "Eocene," of 4,716 gross tons.)  
          (c)  Depth-charge Attack on "U 331."  "U 331" immediately submerged without waiting to see whether the ship sank, and altered course 35 to port as she did so.  There were then four depth-charge explosions, all fairly close.  Some panic took place on board and the gear for blowing Tank 5 was broken.  
          Tiesenhausen then ordered one S.B.T. charge to be released, but the sound of asdics was heard shortly afterwards, closely followed by the explosion of a further eight depth-charges.  He then released one more S.B.T. charge, after which no further depth-charge explosions were heard.  
          (d)  Return to Base.  On surfacing about 0800, Tiesenhausen decided, as the boat was no longer able to crash-dive efficiently, to make Massina, where he could effect the necessary repairs.  
          On 23rd May he entered Messina harbour and made fast at the pier, opposite the Via Zuncle.  Some of the ship's company were accommodated in barracks and others remained on board.  
          While at Messina survivors saw "U 568" (Kapitänleutnant Jochim Preuss).  
          "U 331" also refuelled from a tanker which came alongside.  
     
  (vii)  Seventh Patrol  
          (a)  Departure from Messina.  "U 331" sailed from Messina at 1700 on 25th May on her seventh patrol.  Owing to having spent more than 24 hours in port, she was permitted to count her next sortie as a separate patrol.  
          She was escorted by one Italian destroyer until well to the south of the Straits of Messina.  
          (b)  Patrol off Mersa Matruh.  "U 331's" orders were to patrol off Mersa Matruh, and she proceeded there at full speed on the surface.  
          On 27th May she arrived off Mersa Matruh, having sighted nothing en route and encountered no aircraft.  During the next few days she patrolled the area between Mersa Matruh and Tobruk.  
          (c)  Attack on T.L.Cs.  While patrolling between Mersa Matruh and Tobruk, "U 331" sighted three T.L.Cs. very close to the shore.  She fired a salvo of three torpedoes at them, with depth setting nil, and heard two explosions.  Owing to the shallows in this area it was considered too dangerous to wait and observe results.  
          (d)  Diesel Trouble Forces Return to Base.  Shortly after this event "U 331" developed trouble in one of her Diesels, due, according to survivors, to having proceeded too long at full speed.  On 12th June she accordingly returned to La Spezia via the Straits of Messina.  She arrived at La Spezia on 16th June.  Prisoners said that this patrol had been notable for the number of aircraft alarms, there being sometimes as many as 14 or 15 in one day.  
          While at La Spezia the ship's company went on leave in three overlapping watches of 18 days each, many going to Düsseldorf, the boat's town of adoption, where they were fêted.  
          The boat was painted, the Diesel repaired, new batteries were fitted, new fitting were installed in the bow compartment and the twin 12.7 mm. machine-guns and their housings were fitted.  Two additional seamen to man these guns were embarked and the remainder of the seamen were given instruction in these weapons.  
     
  (viii)  Eighth Patrol  
          (a)  Departure from La Spezia.  "U 331" sailed from La Spezia on her eighth patrol on 5th August, 1942.  She was escorted by one Italian destroyer until reaching a position described as "Point "C," a few hours out to sea, and was in company with "U 73" (Kapitänleutnant Rosenbaum).  She then set course to the north of Corsica on the surface at full speed.  In addition to her normal complement, she carried two midshipmen, Brings and Bartels, for training.  
          (b)  Attack by Aircraft.  On 8th or 9th August "U 331" sighted the Balearic Islands on her starboard beam.  The same day she was attacked by an aircraft which appeared off her starboard bow, dropping three bombs, none of which fell close enough to do any damage.  Survivors said that the new seamen were on watch and failed to spot the machine in time.  "U 331" immediately submerged on the orders of the First Lieutenant, but Tiesenhausen countermanded these and ordered her to surface and man the guns.  
          "U 331" returned the aircraft's fire with her new 12.7 mm. guns, but failed to bring it down.  Two of her ship's company, Leutnant zur See Kühne and a seaman P.O. were wounded, and Tiesenhausen decided to put back to La Spezia and land them.  Survivors identified the aircraft from photographs as a Lerwik.  They were very disappointed at having to return as they thus missed taking part in the attack on the aircraft-carrier "Eagle" on 17th August, when "U 73" sank her.  
          (N.I.D. Note.  Hudson "A" of 233 Squadron attacked a U-Boat in position 38° 26' N., 02° 00' E. at 1900 on 8th August, 1942.)  
          (c)  Call at La Spezia.  On the morning of 12th August "U 331" arrived at La Spezia, where she lay at her accustomed berth, landed her wounded, refuelled from an oiler that came alongside and at 2330 sailed.  She again set course for the Belearics via the north of Corsica.  
          (d)  Remainder of Patrol.  The remainder of this patrol was relatively uneventful.  On one occasion "U 331" sighted mastheads of a cruiser and a destroyer, but was unable to attack owing to the presence of aircraft.  Survivors said they believed they formed part of an escort in a Gibraltar bound convoy.  
          She also sighted a number of french Ships proceeding to or from Algiers, but took no action regarding them.  
          She also sighted three Swedish ships and was preparing to attack when Tiesenhausen thought it advisable to ask the Captain (S) for instructions.  The information he received was that they were genuine Swedish ships proceeding to Greece for relief purposes and should not be attacked.  
          On 15th September "U 331" returned to La Spezia.  
          The ship's company were again given leave in watches.  It was arranged that Tiesenhausen should go on a lecture tour of German towns as propaganda for the navy, but this tour never in fact materialized.  
          German Search Receiver was fitted during this overhaul prior to her ninth and last patrol.  
     
     

 

 
 
 
20
 
     
 
APPENDIX "C"
 
 
 
COMPLEMENT OF "U 331"
 
     
  (i)  Composition  
          "U 331's" complement was 49.  This consisted of five officers, three chief petty officers, 12 petty officers and 29 other ratings.  There were 17 survivors, five of them badly wounded.  
     
  (ii)  Captain  
          The captain was Kapitänleutnant Freiberr hans-Dietrich von Tiesenhausen, of the 1934 term.  He was born in Riga, where his father was an architect.  The family was evicted in the troubles following the Great War and came to settle in the Mark of Bradenburg.  Before joining the navy, Tiesenhausen worked for a short time as a stone mason's apprentice.  
          In 1934 Tiesenhausen entered the Navy and did six months' recruit training course at Stralsund, after which he joined the sailing training ship "Gorch Fock" as a cadet.  This was followed by a world cruise in the cruiser "Karlsruhe," after which he proceeded to the Naval College at Flensburg as a midshipman.  This was followed by two more periods of sea-time in the cruiser "Nürnberg," interspersed with return visits to the Flensburg college, until he was commissioned on 1st April, 1939.  He was then appointed to be adjutant of the 5th Naval Ordnance Department, which post he filled at outbreak of war.  
          Early in 1940 he volunteered for U-Boats and was appointed to the U-Boat training school at Neustadt.  He then served a short time in "U 93" then commanded by Kapitänleutnant Klaus Korth, before proceeding on his first operational patrol as First Lieutenant to Kapitänleutnant Otto Kretschmer on "U 99."  He left "U 99" towards the end of 1940 and, after the usual training for the post of commanding officer, was given command of "U 331" early in 1941.  
          He wore the Ritterkreuz, awarded for the sinking of H.M.S. "Barham" (see narrative), and the Italian silver medal for bravery.  
          Survivors said he was due for another command after what proved to be his last patrol.  
          Tiesenhausen was most anxious that the British should believe he had really sunk "Barham."  He said he had read extracts from the British press in Germany in which it was stated that although Tiesenhausen had been decorated for this exploit, it was really another who had accomplished this sinking.  
     
  (iii)  First Lieutenant  
          Oberleutnant zur See Friedrich Karl Nehls, of the April, 1937 term,was First Lieutenant in "U 331" since mid-August, 1942.  He had then joined her in La Spezia to replace Leutnant zur See Kühne, who had just been wounded in an engagement with an aircraft.  Nehls had previously bee Second Lieutenant in "U 652" (Kapitänleutnant Fraatz) (see Section V)  
     
  (iv)  Second Lieutenant  
          The Second Lieutenant was Leutnant zur See Erwin Alfred Klaus Hartwig, of the October, 1938 term.  He had been to sea in "U 331" on her first patrol in July, 1941, while he was still a midshipman.  After this patrol, however, he had left to undergo a course at the U-Boat school.  He rejoined "U 331" in time for her fifth patrol in April, 1942.  He was commissioned at Salamis on 20th May, dating retrospectively from 1st January, 1942.  
     
  (v)  Engineer Officer  
          The Engineer Officer was Leutnant (Ing.) Graf von Hardenberg.  It was his second patrol in "U 331," his first operational U-Boat.  He made his first patrol in "U 331" as an Engineer Officer under Instruction with the then Engineer Officer, Oberleutnant (Ing.) Streubel, the latter had left to stand by Tiesenhausen's new boat.  
          Prior to Oberleutnant (Ing.) Streubel, the Engineer Officer was named Oberleutnant (Ing.) Siegert and before him Oberleutnant (Ing.) Wintermann.  
     
  (vi)  Midshipman  
          The midshipman was Oberfähnrich zur See Franz Stanrel.  He joined the German Navy at Stralsund in September, 1940, undergoing a three months' course of recruit training.  He then underwent courses at the Naval College at Flensburg-Mürwik and served some time thereafter in patrol boats in the English Channel.  Further courses at the Naval College at Flensburg were followed by training at the U-Boat School at Pillau.  He was promoted Oberfähnrich zur See in June, 1942, and was due to be commissioned very shortly.  
          This was his first patrol in "U 331," which was his first operational U-Boat.  On commissioning he was to have remained on board "U 331" as Second Lieutenant, with Hartwig promoted to First Lieutenant and Nehls appointed elsewhere.  
     
  (vii)  Morale and Experience  
          The morale on board "U 331" was very satisfactory.  Tiesenhausen appears to have been a popular captain and the men were glad to serve under such a well-known figure as the man who had sunk "Barham."  The other officers , too, seem to have been popular, with the exception of Leutnant zur See Kühne, who was disliked because of his tendency to bully and for what was regarded as an almost criminal inefficiency on watch.  All were glad when he left and Nehls replaced him.  
          Tiesenhausen placed great emphasis on the importance of efficient watch-keeping, in view of the great danger from aircraft in the Mediterranean.  With this end in view, he did his best to retain those men with him whom he had got to know and to trust.  Despite this, the Drafting Depôt at La Spezia insisted on 14 new ratings being embarked before "U 331's" last patrol, 12 to replace old hands required elsewhere, and two as supernumeraries for experience.  
          The result was that many of the ratings were altogether without experience of U-Boats.  Of the remainder, however, all had some experience and some had much.  It would seem, therefore, that "U 331's" ship's company at the time of her sinking was more experienced than is normal in U-Boats at present.  All the W/T personnel had served for more than two patrols.  
     
     

 

 
 
 
21
 
     
 
APPENDIX "D"
 
 
 
 
Ship's Company of "U 331"
 
     
 
(i)  Survivors:
 
 
 
Name.
Rank.
English Equivalent.
Born.
von Tiesenhausen, Freiberr Hans Dietrich Kapitänleutnant Lieutenant-Commander
22.  2.13
Nehls, Friedrich Karl Oberleutnant zur See Lieutenant
4.  4.17
Hartwig, Erwin Alfred Claus Leutnant zur See Sub-Lieutenant
24.  6.21
Stanzel, Franz Karl Oberfähnrich zur See Senior Midshipman
4.  8.23
Brunsbach, Hans Obermaschinist Chief Mechanician, 1st Class
31.  5.17
Wagener, Hugo Obermechanikersmaat P.O. Artificer, 1st Class
16.  8.18
Helbig, Werner Maschinenmaat Mechanician, 2nd Class
21.  3.21
Bernot, Wilhelm Funkmaat P.O. Telegraphist, 2nd Class
31.  1.17
Koslowski, Bruno Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman
15.  7.20
Herb, Fritz Maschinenobergefreiter Stoker, 1st Class
16.  7.20
Seyda, August Funkobergefreiter Telegraphist
27.  3.20
Fischer, Manfred Funkobergefreiter Telegraphist
21.  1.22
Fuhrmann, Hermann Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class
2.  9.23
Zizikowski, Fritz Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class
30.  7.24
Deltow, Hans Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
19.  1.21
Günther, Rudi Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
24.12.22
Brings, Hermann Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
23.  4.23
 
 
 
Officers . .
4
Chief and Petty Officers . .
4
Men . .
9
        Total  
17
 
     
  (ii)  Casualties:  
Graf von Hardenberg Oberleutnant (Ing.) Leutnant (E).
Weber, Erich Obermaschinist Chief Mechanician, 1st Class.
Stemmer, Eugen Obersteuermann Chief Q.M., 1st Class.
Gensch, Obermaschinenmaat Mechanician, 1st Class.
Krischer, Oberfunkmaat P.O. Telegraphist, 1st Class.
Meier, Max Bootsmannsmaat Boatswain's Mate, 2nd Class.
Siebelds, Bootsmannsmaat Boatswain's Mate, 2nd Class.
Warstat, Bootsmannsmaat Boatswain's Mate, 2nd Class.
Flossner, Maschinenmaat Mechanician, 2nd Class.
Koal, Maschinenmaat Mechanician, 2nd Class.
Strieber, Walter Maschinenmaat Mechanician, 2nd Class.
Götze, Maschinenmaat Mechanician, 2nd Class.
Mattert, Ernst Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman.
Gier, Bernhardt Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman.
Hintereder, Karl Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman.
Engelhaupt, Walter Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman.
Tyrtania, Matrosenobergefreiter Able Seaman.
Wagner, Mechanikerobergefreiter Artificer, 1st Class.
Nagelhoff, Fritz Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class.
Arvidson, Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class.
Fliss, Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class.
Seedorf, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class.
Laiter, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class.
Zielinski, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class.
Bieneck, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class.
Rudeck, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class.
Szcesny, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class.
Peiseler, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class.
Weisner, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class.
Niklas, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class.
Richter, Mechanikergefreiter Artificer, 2nd Class.
Vogel, Mechanikergefreiter Artificer, 2nd Class.
     
Officers . .
1
Chief and Petty Officers . .
11
Men . .
20
        Total  
32
     
  (iii)  Total Crew:  
     
 
Officers . .
5
Chief and Petty Officers . .
15
Men . .
29
        Total  
49
 
     
     
  (C48270)  423  4/43  
     
     

 


 

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