- 5 -
 
INTERROGATION OF OBERLEUTNANT ZUR SEE (LIEUTENANT) KÖHLER
 
                1st LIEUTENANT OF "U 451," A 500-TON U-BOAT, ATTACKED AT
 
 
                ABOUT 0400 ON 21st DECEMBER, 1941, OFF CAPE SPARTEL.
 
 
 
 
___________
 
 
 
 
I.  INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
 
 
 
          This report contains material derived from the interrogation of the 1st Lieutenant of "U 451," as well as extraneous matter obtained from survivors of "U 433" and "U 95."  The term "extraneous matter" in this connection indicated material not immediately connected with the early history, cruises, sinking and manning of the U-boats concerned.  The decision to incorporate all such extraneous matter relating to "U 451, "U 433" and "U 95" in one report is based largely on the consideration that these three U-boats were all disposed of in the vicinity of Gibraltar, having just entered or attempted to enter the Mediterranean through the Straits of Gibraltar.  
          It should be borne in mind, however, that no conclusive evidence is available to show beyond doubt that "U 451" has actually been sunk.  Köhler, the 1st Lieutenant, who was captured, describes her chances of having escaped as "Fifty-fifty."  
 
 
 
II.  CREW OF "U 451"
 
 
 
          A full list of known members of the crew of "U 451" is given in Appendix I to this report.  This list was obtained from documents captured from "U 570" in August, 1941, and may therefore have undergone some alteration.  The names of the second officer of the watch and of the Engineer Officer are not, however, known at present.  The complement of "U 451" totalled 43, of whom probably 4 were officers, 15 chief petty officers and petty officers and 24 were ratings.  It is interesting to note that all these 24 ratings were enrolled in 1940, thus again appearing to support the view that the German naval authorities are being forced to rely more and more on inexperienced ratings with which to man the U-boat arm.  Chief petty officers and petty officers, however, appear to have had the necessary experience for the proper execution of their duties.  
          The only prisoner captured from "U 451," who may be the sole survivor, is Oberleutnant zur See (Lieutenant) Walker Köhler, of the 1935 term.  Born in Lübeck, Köhler has been connected all his life with the sea, and his brother is also in the German Navy, an Oberleutnant (V), in a shore appointment connected with supplies.  Köhler did not give the impression of being a particularly obstinate type, but it was evident that he was extremely security-conscious, even to the extent of refusing to give names of his brother officers in "U 451."  
          In 1938, as a Sub-Lieutenant, he served in the battleship "Scharnhorst," and was probably in this ship after the outbreak of war.  He had been decorated with the Iron Cross, 2nd Class, in the early months of the war and had been present at the sinking of H.M.S. "Rawalpindi" and of H.M.S. "Glorious."  He did not appear in the least disturbed at the possible loss of his shipmates in "U 451."  As the period of interrogation progressed, he seemed to be convincing himself that there was, after all, a very good chance of "U 451" having escaped and having returned to her base.  
          The commanding officer of "U 451" was Kapitänleutnant (Lieutenant-Commander) Hoffmann, probably Günther Hoffmann, who was described by Köhler as being very popular with his shipmates.  
     
 
III.  EARLY HISTORY OF "U 451"
 
 
 
          "U 451" was a 500-ton U-boat, Type VIIC, built at the Deutsche Werke, Kiel.  The sole prisoner captured from this U-boat, the 1sr Lieutenant, refused to disclose when "U 451" was laid down or launched, but it is known from other sources that she was commissioned on 3rd May, 1941.  No information regarding her trials was forthcoming during interrogation.  She was attached to the 3rd U-boat Flotilla.  
     
 
(C44019)                                                                                                                                *3
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
- 6 -
 
 
          No coherent account of "U 451's" first war cruises could be obtained, but from disjointed statements made by the prisoner about his U-boat adventures it would appear that in mid-summer she was based at Kirkenes, in Northern Norway, and operated in the White Sea against Russian shipping.  The prisoner related that he was present in a U-boat (very possibly "U 451") when a Russian destroyer was sunk in the White Sea.  He alleged that a large merchant vessel was first sighted on this occasion and an attempt was made to overhaul her.  The merchant vessel saw the submarine approaching and, turning away, made off at an emergency speed of 17 or 18 knots.  The U-boat's Commander, who was at the periscope remarked to those about him:  "All right, let her go - there's another coming on behind!"  According to the prisoner the U-boat submerged as the second ship approached and a torpedo was fired, the Commander commenting:  "It's only a small 1,500 ship."  A moment later, however, he changed his mind, and shouted: "Boys, that was a destroyer!"  
          The prisoner stated that life was quite enjoyable in Kirkenes where there were frequent drinking bouts in the house of the local political Commissar.  Girls, 18 to 20 years of age, who belonged to a local Norwegian voluntary labor organisation were obliged to provide entertainment at these parties, which frequently continued throughout the night.  
          The prisoner was not impressed with the officials at the Kirkenes base and remarked that on one occasion, when he went to order some more potash cartridges for air cleansing purposes, he was asked whether he needed them to shoot with.  
          The prisoner alleged that he also took part in a cruise off the Bristol Channel, where a fast 13,000-ton freighter was encountered at night.  The moon was obscured and visibility nil; the stern tube was fired, which missed.  The merchant vessel then escaped at an estimated speed of 18 knots.  It could neither be ascertained when this incident occurred, nor whether "U 451" was the U-boat involved.  
     
 
IV.  LAST WAR CRUISE OF "U 451"
 
     
          Köhler stated that "U 451" left Kiel on her last war cruise on 25th November, 1941.  She proceeded to the Atlantic and, having had no success, put into Lorient, where she remained for one and a half days, presumably to complete with oil.  According to the 1st Lieutenant, "U 451" now received orders to proceed to the Mediterranean.  She proceeded south and, when off the coast of Portugal, received a signal giving the position of a British cruiser.  "U 451" decided to lie in wait for this ship, but apparently made a bad miscalculation, for Köhler alleged that they later heard that the cruiser had passed thirty miles to the westward of them.  The prisoner remarked that it was just as well that they had missed the cruiser, as they had been informed that 60 German prisoners of war were on board.  "U 451" continued her course towards Gibraltar and was attacked by an aircraft as she was attempting to pass through the Straits.  
          (N.I.D. Note:  The name of this cruiser has not been identified.)  
     
V.  ATTACK ON "U 451"
     
          According to the prisoner "U 451" was attempting the passage of the Straits on the surface in the early morning of 21st December, 1941.  Köhler was on the bridge with three ratings.  "U 451" was proceeding at full speed and the noise from her Diesel exhausts drowned the roar of an approaching aeroplane, until it was too late.  The first the prisoner saw of the plane was at the moment when it released a bomb.  This bomb fell ahead of the U-Boat and burst beneath it.  Water poured through the conning tower hatch and the three ratings managed to enter the boat, but Köhler was unable to follow suit before the hatch was closed.  He stated that the U-boat then sank bows down.  The prisoner flung himself into the water and swam for an hour and a half before he was picked up by "Myosotis."  
          The report from the Swordfish aircraft of 812 Squadron responsible for this attack describes how "U 451" was first detected by A.S.V. at a range of 3-1/2 miles and about 18 miles N.W. of Cape Spartel.  The Swordfish closed the contact and sighted the U-Boat on the surface steering to the eastward.  Three depth charges were dropped ahead of the U-Boat and across her bows.  The centre  
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
- 7 -
 
   
  depth charge of the stick, set at 25 feet, exploded immediately under the U-Boat, which was not seen again.  The details of the U-Boat's disappearance could not be observed as "U 451" was enveloped in the spray of the depth-charge explosions.  Two large oil patches were seen, each 300 yards in diameter.
          The 1st Lieutenant of "U 451" was unable to express a definite opinion as to whether his boat was destroyed, but his correspondence indicates that he considered himself to be the sole survivor.  
     
 
VI.  "STAR TURN" U-BOAT COMMANDERS
 
     
          The following is a list of the more successful U-Boat Commanders who have been awarded the Knight Insignia of the Iron Cross and "Oak Leaves":  
 
                                                                                                                                        
Name.
Rank.
Date of award of "Ritter-kreuz."
Date of award of "Oak Leaves."
Remarks.
_________________________________________________________________________
Prien, Günther Korvettenkapitän
17.10.39
21.10.40
Lost in "U 47," on 8.3.41.
Schultze, Herbert Korvettenkapitän
2.3.40
13.6.41
 
Schuhart, Otto Korvettenkapitän
18.5.40
---
 
Rollmann, Wilhelm Korvettenkapitän
2.8.40
---
 
Kretschmer, Otto Korvettenkapitän
8.8.40
12.11.40 awarded "Swords to Oak Leaves" on 7.1.42.
P.W. from "U 99," 17.3.14.
Lemp, Fritz-Julius Kapitänleutnant
21.8.40
---
Lost in "U 110," 9.5.41.
Liebe, Heinrich Korvettenkapitän
22.8.40
15.6.41
 
Hartmann, Werner Korvettenkapitän
2.9.40
---
 
Rösing, Hans Korvettenkapitän
3.9.40
---
 
Frauenheim, Fritz Korvettenkapitän
5.9.40
---
 
Endrass, Engelbert Kapitänleutnant
10.9.40
15.6.41
 
Kuhnke, Heinrich Korvettenkapitän
20.9.40
---
 
Schepke, Joachim Korvettenkapitän
26.9.40
20.12.40
Lost in U 100," 17.3.41.
Jenisch, Hans Kapitänleutnant
10.10.40
---
P/W from "U 32," 30.10.40.
Bleichrodt, Heinrich Korvettenkapitän
29.10.40
---
 
Oehrn, Victor Korvettenkapitän
29.10.40
---
 
Lüth, Wolfgang Kapitänleutnant
29.10.40
---
 
Suhren, Reinhard Oberleutnant zur See
10.11.40
3.1.43
 
Schütze, Victor Korvettenkapitän
16.12.40
15.7.41
 
von Stockhausen, Hans-Gerrit Korvettenkapitän
20.1.41
---
 
Moehle, Oskar Kapitänleutnant
28.2.41
---
 
Lehmann-Willenbrock, Heinrich Korvettenkapitän
28.2.41
2.1.42
 
Oesten, Jürgen Kapitänleutnant
2.4.41
---
 
Schultz, Wilhelm Kapitänleutnant
8.4.41
---
 
Kuppisch, Herbert Kapitänleutnant
25.5.41
---
 
Wohlfarth, Herbert Kapitänleutnant
25.5.41
---
P/W from "U 556," 27.6.41
Schewe, Georg Kapitänleutnant
25.5.41
---
 
Korth, Claus Kapitänleutnant
3.6.41
---
 
Hessler, Günther Korvettenkapitän
30.6.41
---
 
Topp, Erich Kapitänleutnant
4.7.41
---
 
Metzler, Jost Korvettenkapitän
1.8.41
---
 
Schnee, Adalbert Kapitänleutnant
10.9.41
---
 
Mützelburg, Rolf Kapitänleutnant
23.11.41
---
 
Mengersen, Kapitänleutnant
23.11.41
---
 
Guggenberger, Kapitänleutnant
23.11.41
---
 
Scholtz, Kapitänleutnant
20.12.41
---
 
Kentrat, Kapitänleutnant
7.1.42
---
 
Bigalk, Kapitänleutnant
7.1.42
---
 
Gysae, Kapitänleutnant
7.1.42
---
 
von Tiesenhausen, Freiherr Kapitänleutnant
27.1.42
---
 
_________________________________________________________________________
 
  (C44019)                                                                                                                                *4  
     
 
 

 

 
 
 
- 8 -
 
   
 
VII.  OTHER U-BOATS
     
  (i)  Location of U-Boats at certain dates from statements made by various prisoners  
     
 
Boat.
Date.
Location.
_____________________________________________________________
"U 61" October, 1941 Attached to U-Boat School, Pillau.
"U 62" October, 1941 Attached to U-Boat School, Pillau.
"U 96" October, 1941 St. Nazaire.
"U 205" October, 1941 Based on and Italian port.
"U 552" November, 1941 St. Nazaire.  Badge:  Red Devil.
"U 557" November, 1941 Mediterranean.
"U 567" 9th November, 1941 Left St. Nazaire with "U 433."
____________________________________________________________
 
     
  (ii)  "U 34"  
     
          A prisoner from "U 95" stated that he had made three war cruises in "U 34," when commanded by Kapitänleutnant (Lieutenant-Commander) Wilhelm Rollmann.  His first cruise commenced from Wilhelmshaven towards the end of 1940 and was of three to four weeks' duration, returning to Lorient for Christmas leave.  During this cruise they had proceeded north of the Shetlands and had sunk one ship of 6,000 tons, which was sailing independently.  
          His second cruise commenced early in January, 1941, and lasted four weeks.  No mines, but 12 or 13 torpedoes were carried.  About the middle of January, 1941, three steamers, totalling 25.000 tons, were sunk from a convoy, other U-Boats co-operating.  "U 34" returned to Lorient for a full month before sailing again about the middle of March, 1941.  This cruise lasted four weeks and was barren of results.  
          "U 34" is known to have co-operated with "U 30" taking part in the Norwegian operations in April, 1940.  
          It was confirmed that "U 34" had been transferred to the U-Boat Training Flotilla early in 1941.  
     
  (iii)  "U 57"  
     
          A prisoner from "U 433" stated that he served in "U 57" from spring, 1940, until September, 1940, during which time he made three cruises in the North Atlantic, sinking six or seven ships, totalling 50,000 tons; more than half being sunk out of convoys.  He added that, with Topp, who was then a Lieutenant, in command, this boat was sunk towards the end of 1940, off the entrance to the Kiel Canal at Brünsbüttel, as a result of a collision with a Norwegian ship.  Six of the crew were drowned, but the boat, which was a 250-tonner, Type IIC, was subsequently raised and is probably now used for training.  
          (N.I.D. Note:  It had been previously stated that Kapitänleutnant (Lieutenant-Commander) Klaus Korth was in command at this time.  See C.B. 4051 (21).)  
     
  (iv)  "U 71"  
     
          A prisoner from "U 95" stated that "U 71" had failed to sink any ships during her last three cruises.  This boat, believed to be commanded by Kapitänleutnant Flachsenberg, was further stated to have fired a salvo of four torpedoes at six destroyers without result.  
     
  (v)  "U 74"  
     
          A German communiqué of 7th January, 1942, stated that Kapitänleutnant Kentrat had sunk nine enemy merchant vessels and had torpedoed four others, the sinking of which could not be observed owing to the action of the escorting war vessels.  
     
 
 

 

 
 
 
- 9 -
 
 
  (vi)  "U 101"
     
          The Knight Insignia of the Iron cross was awarded on 23rd November, 1941, to Kapitänleutnant Mengersen, the commanding officer of "U 101."  It was stated that he had sunk 19 armed enemy ships of a total tonnage of 128,271 g.r.t., in addition to one destroyer.  
     
  (vii)  "U 108"  
     
          On 7th January, 1942, the Knight Insignia of the Iron Cross was awarded to Korvettenkapitän Scholtz, in command of "U 108."  He was stated to have sunk 11 armed merchant ships, totalling 74,893 tons.  His latest successes were gained when attacking a convoy, strongly protected by Destroyers, Patrol Vessels and an Aircraft Carrier.  He followed the convoy for six days and succeeded in sinking two ships and torpedoing one other.  
          (N.I.D. Note:  This appears to be the homeward-bound convoy, H.G.76, which reached the United Kingdom, having been attacked continuously for several days, during which the following U-Boats were sunk:  "U 131" on 17th December, "U 434" on 19th December and "U 574" on 19th December, 1941.)  
          Several prisoners from these boats seemed convinced that Scholtz's boat had also been sunk during this attack.  But this belief seems to have only been due to the fact that "U 108" had not replied to signals sent out by the Vice-Admiral commanding U-Boats.  
     
  (viii)  "U 123"  
     
          A German communiqué, dated 24th January, 1942, stated that Kapitänleutnant Hardegen, operating with other U-Boats off the North American and Canadian coasts, had sunk 18 merchant ships of a total tonnage of 125,000 tons.  Hardegen himself had sunk eight of these, totalling 53,000 tons, among which were three tankers off New York.  
     
  (ix)  "U 124"  
     
          On 26th November, 1941, the German Government announced that a U-Boat under the command of Kapitänleutnant Mohr had sunk in the Atlantic a British Cruiser of the "Dragon" class.  Mohr is believed to be in command of "U 124."  A later communiqué, dated 14th January, 1942, stated that this ship was H.M.S. "Dunedin."  The cruise on which this ship was sunk was mentioned as being the 13th expedition of this boat.  
     
  (x)  "U 137"  
     
          A prisoner from "U 433" had served with Kapitänleutnant Wohlfarth in "U 137" up to January, 1941.  Wohlfarth later commanded "U 556," which boat was sunk on 27th June, 1941 (See C.B. 4051 (26) ).  
          During one of the cruises in "U 137," Wohlfarth attacked three Destroyers - this attack was described as suicidal; however, he was able to escape and return to harbour in spite of damage.  Three of the crew became hysterical during this attack, when it was alleged, as many as 160 depth charges were dropped, and one petty officer had to be tied to his bunk.  It was stated that on account of the experience the whole crew became nervous and panicky.  The presence of mind of one man saved the boat.  
     
  (xi)  "U 203"  
     
          On 23rd November, 1941, the German radio announced that the Knight Insignia of the Iron Cross had been awarded to Kapitänleutnant Mützelburg, believed to be in command of "U 203."  He was reported to have sunk 11 armed enemy merchant vessels, totalling 75,000 tons, also a British Destroyer and had torpedoed four more ships.  
          A further broadcast on 25th November, 1941, stated that this officer had carried out four successful operations against the enemy.  On the first of these he is said to have sunk four large merchant ships out of a convoy on its way from the United States to Great Britain.  On the second operation he sank five merchant  
     
 
 

 

 
 
 
- 10 -
 
 
  vessels and one Destroyer.  This success was reported in a German broadcast on 4th August, 1941.  On the third operations he is said to have sunk two merchant ships and to have torpedoed an additional two ships.  It was claimed that on the fourth and most recent cruise he had sunk 50,000 tons of shipping, thus bringing his total sinkings up to 180,000 tons and one Destroyer.  
     
  (xii)  "U 331"  
     
          The German radio reported on 28th November, 1941, that a U-boat under the command of Freiherr von Tisenhausen had attacked a British Battleship off Sollom and had scored a direct hit with one torpedo.  
          On 16th December, 1941, von Tisenhausen himself came to the microphone and described this attack as follows:  "Three Battleships were sighted, disposed quarterly to port, screened on each side by four Destroyers.  The U-Boat slipped through this screen on each side by four Destroyers.  The U-Boat slipped through this screen and attacked the second Battleship, diving immediately afterwards.  In spite of heavy depth charging the U-Boat returned unscathed."   
          Von Tisenhausen was awarded the Knight Insignia of the Iron Cross ("Ritterkreuz") for this exploit on 27th January, 1942.  
          (N.I.D. Note:  This Battleship was H.M.S. "Barham.")  
     
  (xiii)  "U 371"  
     
          On 16th December, 1941, it was officially announced by Germany that Oberleutnant zur See (Lieutenant) Driver sank a British Cruiser of the "Leander" class off Alexandria, subsequently claimed by Germany to be the "Neptune."  Driver is believed to be in command of "U 371."  
          (N.I.D. Note:  "Galatea" was sunk by torpedo at 2359, 14th December, 1941, off Ras El Tin Light.  "Neptune" was sink by mine off Tripoli.)  
     
  (xiv)  "U 552"  
     
          One of the crew of "U 552," under the command of Kapitänleutnant Topp, broadcast on 4th November, 1941.  It was then stated that the sinkings of the U-Boat had been 22 ships, totalling 133,000 tons.  
     
  (xv)  "U 751"  
 
          On 24th December, 1941, an official German announcement stated that the British Aircraft Carrier "Unicorn" (in reality this was H.M.S. "Audacity") had been sunk by Kapitänleutnant Bigalk, believed to be in command of "U 751."  Several broadcasts were made describing this attack and on 30th December, 1941, Bigalk himself came to the microphone.  From this talk it appears that "U 751" had been at sea for only eight days when the Aircraft Carrier was sunk, so that she must have left harbour on or about the 11th December, 1941.  
          Bigalk was awarded the Knight Insignia of the Iron Cross on 7th January, 1942, in recognition of this success.  
     
  (xvi)  "U.A."  
     
          This U-Boat, originally built for Turkey by the Germania Yard Kiel, was stated to have been fitted with Danish Diesels, giving a speed of 22 knots.  A radius of action of 20,000 miles was claimed.  This boat was formerly commanded by Cohausz, who now commands the U-boat Flotilla at Brest.  
          During a recent cruise, which was stated to have had a duration of 10 weeks, no sinkings were claimed and the boat had returned home in need or repair.  
          It was stated that the "U.A." is a so called"Ostboot" and under normal conditions can operated for a period of eight months without having to undergo a refit.  
          It was confirmed that Exkermann now commands "U.A."  
     
  (xvii)  New Type of U-Boats  
     
          A prisoner from "U 433," who had been in Danzig when this U-boat was under construction there, stated that a new type of U-Boat, of approximately 200 tons, is being built at the Schichanwerft, Danzig.  This prisoner stated that he had been on board one of the boats, which had no stern tubes.  
     
     

 

 
 
 
- 11 -
 
 
 
VII.  U-BOAT LOSSES
     
  (i)  "U 63"  
     
          The loss of "U 63" was confirmed.  It was stated that von Stochhausen had made three cruises in this boat and had sunk 100,000 tons.  Von Stockhausen went sick and was relieved by Kapitänleutnant Hoppe, who was lost in this boat in April, 1941.  
          (N.I.D. Note:  It is not known to what cause the loss of "U 63" is attributable).  
          Von Stockhausen is stated now to be an instructor at some Norwegian port.  
     
  (ii)  "U 73"  
     
          There appears to be no truth in the report that "U 73," under the command of Rosenbaum, had been captured by the Russians.  
     
  (iii)  "U 401"  
     
          On 2nd December, 1941, the obituary notice of Kapitänleutnant Gero Zimmermann appeared in the German press.  This officer belongs to the 1929 term.  On the outbreak of war he was Intelligence Officer at Swinemünde.  
          In July, 1941, von Mullenheim Rechberg, prisoner of war from the "Bismark." said that Gero Zimmermann was in Danzig and had recently taken command of a U-boat there.  
          The series "U 401" to "U 416" 500-ton boats, Type VIIC, are under construction at Danzig.  One prisoner stated that he thought Zimmermann had been in command of "U 401," and that she had been lost some time during the summer of 1941.  This boat is known to have been commissioned in April, 1941.  
          It is possible that this is the U-boat sunk by H.M.S. "Hydrangea" and "Campanula" on 3rd August, 1941.  
     
  (iv)  "U 557"  
     
          The German High Command announced on 16th December, 1941, that a U-boat under the command of Kapitänleutnant Otto Paulssen had attacked  a British cruiser formation in the Eastern Mediterranean off Alexandria and sunk by torpedo a British cruiser, which broke in two after a violent explosion and went down within a few minutes.  
          (N.I.D. Note:  H.M.S. "Galatea" was sunk by torpedo at 2359/14th December, 1941, off Ras el Tin Light.  A British cruiser of the "Leander" class was also claimed by Germany on 18th December to have been sunk by Oberleutnant zur See Driver, who is believed to command "U 371.")  
          On 13th January, 1942, the International Red Cross at Geneva enquired whether Ottokar Paulssen, Kapitänleutnant in command of a U-boat in the Mediterranean, was a prisoner of war.  
          This officer has been stated to have been in command of "U 557."  It would appear, therefore, that this boat was lost with its entire crew on some date in December after 16th.  This brings the total number of U-boats sunk in December, 1941, up to eight.  
     
  (v)  Two Boats Unknown  
     
          Two unknown U-boats were stated by prisoners of war to have been lost during exercises in the Baltic during November, 1941.  
     
          (a)  A U-Boat under the command of Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Ratsch.  Prisoners state that this U-Boat had been rammed during the night by another U-Boat under the command of Korvettenkapitän Wilfried Reichmann while exercising in the Baltic.  Search was made for survivors, but nothing had been found except for two empty life-saving jackets.  The bows of Reichmann's boat had been bent at right angles.  
          The obituary notice of Heinrich Ratsch appeared in the German press on 29th November, 1941.  
          From prisoner of war correspondence it appears that Ratsch commissioned a new U-Boat during the summer of 1941.  
     
 
 

 

 
 
 
- 12 -
 
 
          (b)  A U-Boat under the command of Kapitänleutnant Hannes Kuhlmann was rammed by the "Hamburg," so prisoners of war stated, whilst carrying out night-firing practice in the Baltic.  Oberleutnant zur See Klaus Heyda, brother of Wolfgang Heyda, prisoner of war from "U 434," was among the casualties.  Kuhlmann and some of the crew were picked up after having been some hours in the water.  The U-Boat sank with the remainder of the crew.
                  Kuhlmann had last been heard of on 29th August, 1941, when he was in Hamburg.  The number of his boat has not yet been ascertained.  
     
 
IX.  GENERAL REMARKS ON U-BOATS
 
     
  (i)  Tactics  
     
          A prisoner from "U 433" stated that U-Boats were afraid of corvettes as their camouflage makes them appear at a distance like large vessels.  The speed of the corvettes was appreciated and likewise the efficiency of their Asdics.  
          It was confirmed that U-Boats have orders to dive whenever aircraft is sighted and that these orders are strictly observed.  
     
  (ii)  Organisation  
     
          It was stated that the newly created Western Mediterranean U-Boat Command was to be known as "Mittelmeer West" (Western Mediterranean), and that the flotilla, based on an Italian port, possibly Spezia, would be the 27th or 29th and was commanded by Schroeder.  
          The other Mediterranean U-Boat command was stated to be known as "Mittelmeer Ost" (Eastern Mediterranean), and based on a Greek port.  The number of the flotilla based here was said to be the 26th, under Kapitänleutnant Frauenheim, who has been credited with sinking a total of 161,000 tons and has been decorated with the Knight Insignia of the Iron Cross ("Ritterkreuz").  
     
  (iii)  Chief Quartermasters in U-Boats  
     
          The Chief Quartermaster of "U 433" kept a watch as officer of the watch and, in addition, assisted the Captain with the navigation.  He claimed to have a good knowledge of navigational instruments and charts.  
     
  (iv)  Scuttling Charges  
     
          A prisoner from "U 95" stated that scuttling charges for U-Boats were timed to detonate 30 seconds after ignition.  
     
  (v)  Aircraft Reconnaissance  
     
          The U-Boat Command was stated to have five Focke-Wulf aircraft, manned by naval pilots, continuously at its disposal.  These aircraft locate the convoys and signal the position continuously.  U-Boats are informed if any of these naval reconnaissance aircraft are shot down.  
     
  (vi)  Diving Tests  
     
          Prisoners stated that a routine diving test was carried out daily, usually in the forenoon and that it was generally arranged in conjunction with the exercising of "action stations."  
     
  (vii)  Fighter Escort  
     
          A prisoner stated that a U-Boat had sailed from St. Nazaire shortly before the departure of "U 433."  This other U-Boat was hit by an aircraft bomb when some 40 miles out and had to return to port.  All U-Boats are, inconsequence, now to receive fighter escort on sailing.  
     
 
 

 

 
 
 
- 13 -
 
   
  (viii)  Mines
     
          A prisoner, speaking of non-contact mines, mentioned that an improved type had been put into service.  This mine was stated to be very dangerous to lay and could actually be detonated by the vibrations set up by the human voice.  Several different kinds of firing gear were said to be used in this new type mine.  
     
  (ix)  Badges  
     
          All U-Boats of the St. Nazaire Flotilla (7th) were stated to have Prien's Snorting Bull ("Steer of Scapa Flow") as badge.  
     
 
X.  MISCELLANEOUS REMARKS
 
     
  (i)  German Auxiliary Cruisers  
     
          A boatswain's mate from "U 433" stated that German auxiliary cruisers sailed under the British merchant flag and if stopped by a British warship, they had orders to withhold their fire until the British ship had stopped and was lowering her boats.  He stated that the "Sydney" had been sunk in this manner and that German commanders had received orders to carry out this procedure.  
     
  (ii)  Invasion Fleet  
     
          A prisoner from "U 433," who was in Le Harve in September, 1940, stated that he then observed an invasion fleet, partially inside and partially outside the harbour.  The fleet consisted of 75 ships each of about 8,000 tons and capable of transporting a total of 100,000 men.  This prisoner added that on the night before the invasion was to take place the ships were bombed and five were sunk.  
     
  (iii)  Interrogation of British Prisoners  
     
          Korvettenkapitän Rösing, who had commanded "U 48" some time during the latter part of 1940, was said to be now the Security Officer at Bordeaux.  This officer had also commanded the U-boat Flotilla at Kiel, in which capacity he had interrogated British and Allied prisoners, including the commanding officer of H.M.S. "Seal."  Rösing had informed some of "U 433's" crew that "Seal's" Commander had been most communicative and he warned this crew not to do likewise if captured.  
     
  (iv)  Italian Submarine "Giuliani"  
     
          It was confirmed that an Italian submarine had been based on Gotenhafen.   
          (N.I.D. Note:  This submarine is the Italian "Giuliani," which is known to be used for training Italian officers under German instruction.  See C.B.4093(8).)  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
 

 

 
 
 
- 14 -
 
 
 
APPENDIX  I
 
 
 
___________
 
 
 
 
List of some of the Crew of "U 451"
 
 
 
 
Name.
Rank.
English Equivalent.
 
Hoffmann, Kapitänleutnant Lieutenant-Commander (Commanding Officer).  
Köhler Oberleutnant zur See Lieutenant (1st Lieutenant).  
                                                                                                                                          
     
Year of Entry.
Boevers, Obermaschinist Chief Mechanician, 1st Class
1933
Riedel, Obermaschinist Chief Mechanician, 1st Class
1929
Kaack, Obersteuermann Chief Q.M., 1st Class
1932
Rasmann, Bootsmannsmaat Boatswain's Mate, 2nd Class
1937
Gersdorf, Bootsmannsmaat Boatswain's Mate, 2nd Class
1938
Bartel, Bootsmannsmaat Boatswain's Mate, 2nd Class
1936
Brandt, Maschinenmaat Mechanician, 2nd Class
1938
Fasshauer, Maschinenmaat Mechanician, 2nd Class
1938
Weindel, Maschinenmaat Mechanician, 2nd Class
1937
Schnidt, Maschinenmaat Mechanician, 2nd Class
1938
Staubermann, Maschinenmaat Mechanician, 2nd Class
1938
Gerner, Maschinenmaat Mechanician, 2nd Class
1939
Hoeppner, Funkmaat P.O. Telegraphist, 2nd Class
1938
Ullrich, Funkmaat P.O. Telegraphist, 2nd Class
1938
Ocker, Mechanikersmaat P.O. Artificer, 2nd Class
1938
Rittersen, Funkobergefreiter Telegraphist
1939
Humpert, Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class
1940
Dobberstein, Erwin Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class
1940
Dose, Wilhelm Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class
1940
Eilts, Georg Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class
1940
Hanstein, Heinrich Matrosengefreiter Ordinary Seaman, 1st Class
1940
Heldt, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
1940
Janz, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
1940
Koenig, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
1940
Kurztusch, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
1940
Leisten, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
1940
Michel, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
1940
Panhofer, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
1940
Kuhndoerfer, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
1940
Seifert, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
1940
Scheer, Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
1940
Schmahl Maschinengefreiter Stoker, 2nd Class
1940
Hugh, Funkgefreiter Ordinary Telegraphist, 1st Class
1940
Adamski, Mechanikergefreiter Artificer, 2nd Class
1940
Berude, Mechanikergefreiter Artificer, 2nd Class
1940
Bornowski Matrose Ordinary Seaman, 2nd Class
1940
Schelofke Matrose Ordinary Seaman, 2nd Class
1940
Thiele, Matrose Ordinary Seaman, 2nd Class
1940
Schaedlich, Matrose Ordinary Seaman, 2nd Class
1940
 
 
 
 
Total:  41.
 
     
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     

 

 
 
 
- 15 -
 
 
 
APPENDIX  II
 
 
 
_______
 
     
  Translation of an account by a Bootsmannsmaat (Boatswain's Mate, 2nd Class) on the departure of "U 95" from Lorient on her seventh and last War Cruise, 16th November, 1941.  
     
          "It was just such another day as so many we had experienced.  The evening before there had been the usual good-bye parties, which usually end in the majority of the crew becoming helplessly drunk.  Anyone who knows the life of a U-boat man in a French harbour will certainly understand this.  Although we always have time on our hands while our boat is in dock everything is inevitably left till the last day.  Suitcases have to be given up, quarters cleaned, fresh provisions taken on board, letters written, medical examinations undergone, and so on.  In the meantime everyone brings their personal possessions on board.  Everybody knows how cramped space is aboard a U-boat, but nevertheless many people would be astonished at the amount of 'private treasures' smuggled into the ship - photos of every sort and size, all kinds of French scent, souvenirs, necklets, rings, etc.  Each man has a talisman.  When everything is finished the crew fall in to be numbered off and are then dismissed.  All must be on board one hour before sailing.  The short interval is generally filled with saying good-bye to friends.  The over-thirsty ones stop for a 'quick one' on their way to the ship.  
     
          For some days we had been noticing much that seemed strange to us.  What actually was so no one know, but something was different, the rumors which went the rounds of the ship hinted at something mysterious.  We did not remain long in suspense; as soon as we cast off the Commander made something known to us.  It was wretched weather.  Thick mist and drizzling rain, which naturally did little to raise our spirits.  A band was playing farewell tunes.  All the dockers who had been on board during our long stay in port were standing on the jetty together with many of our comrades.  Naturally the fair sex was well represented.  We received flowers as a parting gift.  The Chief of the Flotilla spoke a few heartening words, and our Commander then went to say 'Good-bye.'  Two boats were leaving at the same time.  As we had the outside berth we had to cast off first.  We waited for the other boat to cast off and then increased speed in line ahead, passing the crowds assembled on the pier.  The noise of our Diesels nearly drowns the 'Hurrahs' from the pier, but we answered with three cheers, upon which the band played 'We're sailing against England.'  Almost immediately we were swallowed up in the mist.  
     
          Scarcely were we away when the fun started.  The escort which should have accompanied us out was naturally not there, she had gone to meet an incoming boat.  After half an hour the U-boat hove in sight, of course without the escort.  We lay with stopped engines.  Haven't you seen the escort? our Commander sang out.  'Yes!  She'll be up soon.'  Slowly the dusk deepened and the Commander wanted to drop anchor for the night, if the escort did not arrive shortly.  'Vessel off the starboard bow,' shouted the look-out.  The escort came in sight.  Our Diesels started up again and we were off.  After two hours we dropped the escort.  The signalman reported a message from the escort to our Commander:  'My escort finished.  Wish you and crew good voyage, much success.'  We replied: 'Many thanks.'  
     
          Those who were not on watch were grouped on the bridge.  The weather had slightly improved.  It was now pitch dark.  'Escort out of sight,' cried the look-out.  As soon as we dropped the escort we increased to full speed ahead, in order to get well clear of the coast and through the mine-field.  For a while we stayed on the bridge finishing our cigarettes, then we, too, climbed down into the boat.  My duties from now on were merely to be the watch on deck.  An officer and a petty officer forward, and two ratings aft.  I had just gone down to the petty officers' mess when a voice came over the loud speaker: 'From to-day we belong to the 2-(?) U-Boat Flotilla:  Operational Area, Western Mediterranean:  Base, Spezia in Italy.'  There was a sudden hush.  Then there was hubbub.  'Why?'  'What's it all about?'  'What's the idea?' and so on.  It gradually dawned on me what it meant.  We must pass through the Straits of Gibraltar.  'Well, it looks as if we're going to have a little swimming to do,' said the 2nd Petty Officer Telegraphist.  He was off watch, as I was.  My watch was at 0400.  'If other boats have got through, we shall manage it too,' I said.  'Hm, I should feel a good deal better, if we were already there.'  With this last remark he swung himself into his bunk and drew the curtain.  
     
          It was some time before I fell properly asleep, a good deal of talking was still going on.  Thoughts kept racing through my mind; for some time I allowed them full rein.  Then I pulled myself together sharply:  at 0400 the night would be over and it was already 2300.  The happy days in port were over and we were again out on a war cruise, and keen wits were required.  One small mistake, something small left undone and disaster might follow.  
     
          On the way to Gibraltar . . . "  
     
                                                                                                                       (The end.)  
     
  (C44019)  325  2/42  
     
 
 

 


 

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