Op-16-Z
 
Copy No. 46 of 46.
 
     
 
NAVY DEPARTMENT
 
 
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS
 
 
WASHINGTON
 
 
 
 
FINAL REPORT - G/Serial 36
 
     
 
REPORT ON THE
 
 
INTERROGATION OF SURVIVORS FROM U-515
 
 
SUNK 9 APRIL 1944
 
 
AND
 
 
U-68  SUNK 10 APRIL 1944
 
 
 
  Distribution:  
  BAD (9)  
  BUORD  
  BUSHIPS  
  BUSHIPS (Code 515)  
  BUSHIPS (Code 815)  
COMINCH (F-21)
  COMINCH (F-4253)  
  COMINCH (F-45)  
  COMINCH (F-40) (2)  
  COMINCH (FX-43)  
  COMASWDEVLANT  
  COMNAVEU  
  DNI (Ottawa)  
  G-2 (Col. Sweet)  
  Op-16-1 via Op-16-1-F  
  Op-16-FA-4  
  Op-16-P  
  Op-16-1-V  
  Op-16-W  
  Op-20-C  
  Op-23-C  
  SONRD (2)  
  Lt. Comdr. V. R. Taylor  
  C.O., Naval Unit, Tracy, Calif.  
  Lt. J. I. Eiband (ComNavNaw, CSDIC, AFHQ)  
  Lt. S. R. Hatton (ComNavNaw, CSDIC, AFHQ)  
  Lt. J. T. Rugh, Jr. (JICA/ME)  
  Lt. (j.g.) R. J. Mullen (4th Fleet)  
     
  17 June 1944  
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
     
 
 
   
Page
 
   
CHAPTER
I.
  INTRODUCTION
1
 
   
 
II.
  DETAILS OF U-515
4
 
   
 
III.
  GENERAL REMARKS ON U-BOATS
10
 
   
 
IV.
 

DESCRIPTION AND SKETCHES OF  “HOHENTWIEL” RADAR”

12
 
   
 
V.
  REMARKS ON GERMAN TORPEDOES
14
 
   
 
VI.
  CREW OF U-515
18
 
   
 
VII.
  EARLY HISTORY OF U-515
23
 
   
 
VIII.
  FIRST PATROL OF U-515
25
 
   
 
IX.
  SECOND PATROL OF U-515
27
 
   
 
X.
  THIRD PATROL OF U-515
30
 
   
 
XI.
  FOURTH PATROL OF U-515
34
 
   
 
XII.
  FIFTH PATROL OF U-515
35
 
   
 
XIII.
  SIXTH AND LAST PATROL OF U-515
40
 
   
 
XIV.
  SINKING OF U-515
42
 
   
 
XV.
  HISTORY AND DETAILS OF U-68
47
 
   
 
XVI.
  OTHER U-BOATS
61
 
   
 
XVII.
  BASES
68
 
   
ANNEX A
 

CREW LIST OF U-515 AND U.S. EQUIVALENTS OF GERMAN NAVAL RANKS.

 
   
ANNEX B
 

PARTIAL CREW LIST OF U-68 AND U.S. EQUIVALENTS OF GERMAN NAVAL RANKS.

 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
CHAPTER I.  INTRODUCTION
     
          U-515 and U-68, both 750-ton U-boats, were sunk on 9 and 10 April 1944, in a coordinated air-surface action.  A third U-boat suspected in the vicinity was also attacked, but apparently escaped.  The units involved were the U.S.S. GUADALCANAL, U.S.S. PILLSBURY, U.S.S. POPE, U.S.S. CHATELAIN and aircraft of VC-58.  
     
          U-515, commanded by one of Germany’s U-boat aces, Kapitänleutnant Werner Henke, was sunk at 1512 GCT 9 April 1944 at 34.31 N - 19.29 W.  She belonged to the series of 750-ton boats numbered U-501 - U-550 built at Deutsche Werft, Finkenwerder, Hamburg.  (O.N.I. Note:  Of this series of U-boats, 26 are known sunk as of mid May 1944.)  
     
          U-515 was first sighted by VT-24 from U.S.S. GUADALCANAL at 2113 GCT 8 April 1944.  At 0027 and 0735 two depth bomb attacks were delivered by VT-23 and VT-31 (or VT-30).  Soon thereafter U.S.S. PILLSBURY, POPE and CHATELAIN made contacts and over a period of 3½ hours two hedgehog attacks were made and 82 depth-charges were dropped on the submerged U-boat.  Direct hits were scored by the destroyers when U-515 was forced to surface; in addition VT-25 delivered a successful R.P. attack several minutes prior to the sinking.  
     
          Sixteen men, including the executive officer and a midshipman, were killed.  Henke, the Engineer Officer, the second watch officer, the doctor and forty petty officers and men were rescued.  U.S.S. GUADALCANAL landed the prisoners at Norfolk 26 April 1944.  After preliminary interrogation seventeen prisoners were further questioned at a U.S. interrogation center.  
     
 
- 1 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
          U-515 was the most successful active U-boat of the 10th Flotilla.  Henke had been decorated with the Oal Leaves to the Knight’s Cross after claiming the sinking of 28 ships totaling 177,000 tons.  This total was divided among the various patrols, as follows:
     
          1st Patrol:         (8 August 1942 - about 20 October 1942)  
                                  10 ships totaling 54,000 tons.  
     
          2nd Patrol:        (7 November 1942 - 5/6 January 1943)  
                                   2 ships totaling 29,000 tons.  
     
          3rd Patrol:        (About 20 February 1943 - about 23 June 1943)  
                                  12 ships totaling 72,000 tons.  
     
          4th Patrol:         (29 August 1943 - 12 September 1943)  
                                   No ships sunk.  
     
          5th Patrol:         (1 November 1943 - 16 January 1944)  
                                   3 ships totaling 22,000 tons.  
     
          6th Patrol:         (30 March - 9 April 1944)  
                                   No ships sunk.  
     
          Features of interest in this report are:  
 
          (a)  Description and drawings of “Hohentwiel” radar set (See Chapter IV).  
     
          (b)  Remarks on German torpedoes (See Chapter V).  
     
          (c)  Account of the final attack on U-515.  This is believed to be as complete a description as has yet been obtained from prisoner sources.  (See Chapter XIV).  
     
 
- 2 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
          U-68, built at Deschimag, Seebeck, Wesermünde, belonged to the series U-64 to U-68, all of which are now sunk.  She was the oldest boat in the 2nd Flotilla and since the spring of 1943 was under the command of Oberleutnant z. S. Albert Lauzemis.
     
          U-68 was sunk by aircraft from U.S.S. GUADALCANAL at 0634 GCT 10 April 1944 in position 33.31 N. - 18.43 W.  Three airplanes delivered an accurate and coordinated attack with rockets and depth-charges which finished off the U-boat in eight minutes.  
     
          Sole survivor of the sinking was a seaman 2 cl. who had made but 2 patrols in U-68.  Consequently he was not familiar with the details of her long and active career.  He was moderately communicative under interrogation, but not well informed.  
     
          Information concerning U-68 will be found in Chapter XV.  It is a compilation of statements made by the sole survivor of U-68 and from British and U.S. held prisoners of war.  
     
           The handling of prisoners aboard U.S.S. GUADALCANAL was outstanding and the work of the interrogation officers at the interrogation center was greatly facilitated by it.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
- 3 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
CHAPTER II.  DETAILS OF U-515
     
  TONNAGE  
     
          750 tons.  
     
  TYPE  
     
          IX C.  
     
  BUILDING YARD  
     
          Deutsche Werft, Finkenwerder, Hamburg.  
     
  COMMISSIONING DATE  
     
          21 February 1942.  
     
  FLOTILLA  
     
          10th Flotilla, at Lorient.  
 
  F.P.N.  
     
          M-27488.  
     
  CALL LETTERS  
     
          X.A.P.  
     
  INSIGNIA  
     
          A mallet on a white shield.  
     
  COLOR  
     
          Whitish-Gray.  
     
  GREATEST DEPTH  
     
          About 200 meters.  
     
 
- 4 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
  DIVING TIME
     
          35 Seconds to periscope depth.  
     
  BRIDGE STRUCTURE AND ARMOR  
     
          New bridge including Platform II fitted August 1943 at Lorient.  Armor plate around forward part of bridge about 16-mm. thick.  New structure incorporated so-called “air raid shelter”.  
     
  UPPER DECK GUNS  
     
          (a)  On first 3 patrols:  One 105-mm. gun forward of conning tower;  One single 20-mm. cannon on Platform I;  One 37-mm. gun on after deck.  
     
          (b)  On 4th patrol:  One 37-mm. gun forward of bridge; Two single 20-mm cannons on Platform I;  One quadruple 20-mm. mount on Platform II.  
     
          (c)  On fifth patrol:  One 37-mm. gun forward of bridge; Two twin 20-mm. cannons on Platform I;  One twin 20-mm. cannon on Platform II.  
     
          (d)  On 6th and last patrol:  Two twin 20-mm. cannons on Platform I;  One new automatic 37-mm. gun on Platform II.  
     
  AMMUNITION  
     
          (a)  8/9,000 rounds for 20-mm. cannon.  
 
          (b)  About 2200 rounds for 37-mm. automatic gun.  
     
  PRESSURE-PROOF AMMUNITION CONTAINERS  
     
          (a)  One containing 20-mm. ammunition on the aft part of Platform I.  
     
 
- 5 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
          (b)  Three on each side of Platform II, the forward 1 on each side containing 20-mm. ammunition, the other 2 on each side 37-mm. ammunition.
     
  TORPEDO TUBES  
     
          Four forward, two aft.  
     
  TORPEDOES  
     
          Seventeen carried on last patrol.  For further details see Chapter V.  
     
  S.B.T. (Submarine Bubble Target)  
     
          Fitted.  
     
  DIESELS  
     
          Two 9-cylinder 2200 horse-power M.A.N. Diesels.  
     
  SUPERCHARGER  
     
          Büchi.  
 
  FUEL OIL  
     
          232 cm. Carried on last patrol.  (O.N.I. Note:  It is interesting to note that U-801 carried exactly the same amount of fuel oil, 232 cm. On her first patrol.  See Final Report G/Serial 33.)  
     
  LUBRICATING OIL  
     
          About three tons.  
     
 
- 6 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
  MOTORS/GENERATORS
     
          Two 500 horse-power Siemens motor generators.  
     
  SWITCHBOARD  
     
          Siemens.  
     
  CONVERTERS  
     
          (a)  One 0.3 KVA  
     
          (b)  One 1 KVA  
     
          (c)  One 6 KVA  
     
  BATTERIES  
     
          Lead-acid type, 62 cells per battery.  Capacity when new, 12,000 amp/hrs.  Highest charging temperature permitted 450 to 500 C.  
     
  COMPRESSORS  
 
          (a)  One Junkers Air Compressor  
     
          (b)  One Electric Compressor  
     
  HIGH-PRESSURE AIR  
     
          Sixteen flasks, 2 flasks per bank.  
     
  RADAR  
     
          “Hohentwiel” set fitted.  Mattress-type dipole aerial fitted on port side of bridge in place of extensible rod aerial.  For details see Chapter IV.  
     
  R.D.B. (Radar Decoy Balloons)  
     
          Carried on 5th and 6th patrols.  
     
 
- 7 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
  R.D.S. (Radar Decoy Spar Buoys)
     
          Not carried.  
     
  G.S.R. (German Search Receiver)  
     
          (a)  Wanz G-2  
     
          (b)  Borkum  
     
          (c)  Naxos  
     
  G.S.R. AERIALS  
     
          (a)  Naxos dipole aerial  
     
          (b)  Naxos improved “Fliege” aerial, fitted on wooden rod between periscopes.  (See Sketch in Chapter III, opposite page 10).  
     
          (c)  Fixed basket-type aerial fitted between periscopes.  
     
  D/F GEAR (Direction Finder)  
 
          Standard long-wave Lorenz D/F set.  
     
  TRANSMITTERS  
     
          (a)  200 watt short-wave transmitter  
     
          (b)  150 watt long-wave transmitter  
     
          (c)  40 watt Emergency transmitter  
     
  RECEIVERS  
     
          (a)  “Main” Telefunken receiver  
     
          (b)  All-wave receiver  
     
  U.K. GEAR (Ultra Kurzwellen - Ultra Short Waves)  
     
          Fitted, but never used.  It was stated that the U.K. gear was to be used only upon receipt of special orders.  
     
 
- 8 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
  HYDROPHONES
     
          Multiple unit hydrophones (G.H.G.) fitted.  Made by Atlas.  
     
  ECHO Sounder  
     
          Atlas Echo Sounder fitted.  
     
  OXYGEN SUPPLY  
     
          Twelve flasks.  
     
  FRESH WATER DISTILLER  
     
          Made by Siemens.  Capacity 15 to 18 liters per hour for drinking purposes; capacity for distilled water for use in batteries about 10 liters per hour.  
     
 
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
- 9 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
CHAPTER III.  GENERAL REMARKS ON U-BOATS
     
  NEW “FLIEGE” NAXOS G.S.R. AERIAL  
     
          U-515 was fitted with a new type and improved “Fliege” Naxos G.S.R. aerial prior to sailing on her last patrol.  One of the radiomen prisoners made a drawing of the aerial which, however, was not drawn to scale.  (See Sketch).  It was stated that the oscillator in the aerial is a resonant circuit and does not contain a vacuum tube.  
     
          During the short period between U-515’s departure and sinking no radar transmissions had been picked up on this aerial, although several transmissions were intercepted while the standard “finger” Naxos aerial was in use.  
     
          The “Fliege” Naxos aerial may be mounted either in the D/F loop or between the periscopes, at the option of the U-boat’s commander.  
     
  EARLY TYPE “FLIEGE” NAXOS G.S.R. AERIAL  
     
          When a radioman prisoner was shown the drawing of the “Fliege” Naxos aerial as illustrated in Final Report G/Serial 32, he pointed out that in his opinion the “aluminum rings” were not really rings but a continuous spiral which did not extend beyond the knife edge of the detector.  He thought that the extent of this spiral could be adjusted to fit the wave length for which it was desired to set the aerial.  He stated that the dipole is 7½ mm. in diameter and 15 mm. long.  He does not believe that there is a permanent D.C. biasing voltage on the detector.  
     
 
- 10 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
  “ROTTERDAM” RADAR SET
     
          A radioman stated that copies of radar sets taken from British aircraft are now being used by the G.A.F.  It was believed that experiments are being conducted as to its suitability for U-boats.  
     
  GOLIATH TRANSMITTER  
     
          The radioman stated that aboard U-515 the Goliath radio transmitter was listened to only if messages had been missed during the daytime.  
     
  TYPE IX C U-BOATS  
     
          The Engineer officer reported that no more U-boats of the IX C type are being built now.  
     
  U-BOAT PRESSURE HULLS THICKENED  
     
          The Engineer officer believed that in the future the pressure hulls of U-boats will be thickened to withstand either greater depth or closer depth-charge attacks.  
     
  WALTERBOATS  
     
          The building program of Walterboats has been abandoned according to U-515’s Engineer officer.  The lack of rare metals required to withstand the extreme temperatures generated in internal combustion turbines was cited as the main reason.  This prisoner was also convinced that up to now German scientists have failed to solve the problem of an underwater craft with relatively high submerged speed and endurance.  
     
 
- 11 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
CHAPTER IV.
     
 
DESCRIPTION AND SKETCHES OF “HOHENTWIEL” RADAR
 
     
          Prior to sailing on her 6th and last patrol, U-515 was equipped with the new “Hohentwiel” radar set, the first U-boat to be so fitted at Lorient.  The “Hohentwiel” U-boat radar set has been adapted from the G.A.F. radar of the same name, and the set built into U-515 still incorporated some of the features which are more specifically suitable for aircraft.  For example, a switch for altitudes over or under 3,000 meters was built-in as was a motor driven remote control tuning circuit.  The sketches, opposite page, illustrate the entire installation and are self-explanatory. (Radar sketches: General Installation, Radar Transmitter, Radar Receiver)  
     
          The mattress aerial is 10 cm. Wide at its base, narrowing to 4 cm. At the top.  This construction permits search for aircraft in a more advantageous manner than if the aerial had parallel sides.  Although this set embodies a number of improvements over the old type of U-boat radar, particularly the fact that it is controlled from the radio room rather than from the control room, it is still very cumbersome and inconvenient.  For example, when the operator whishes to rotate the mattress aerial he has to send word up to the conning tower so that men on the bridge will get out of the way.  Furthermore there is no automatic locking device which aligns the aerial correctly above its housing before it is hydraulically lowered.  During an experimental search with this gear in the Bay of Biscay on U-515’s last patrol the aerial was not accurately lined up with the housing when it was lowered and as a result was  
     
 
- 12 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
  so badly damaged that the set was unusable for the balance of the patrol.
     
          “Hohentwiel” radar is built by Lorenz in Berlin.  Later models of “Hohentwiel”, of which a prisoner has seen an example, no longer incorporate any of the G.A.F. features.  The X-gear shown on Plate III is eliminated in later models.  The aerial also is to be redesigned.  When undergoing training at Ghent, Belgium, for “Hohentwiel” radar operation, he saw mattress aerials with 2 rows of 4, 6 and even 8 dipoles, but otherwise identical with the one on U-515.  The antenna on U-515 could be rotated through 360 degrees.  This was done rather slowly but continuously after due notice to the bridge watch as stated above.  Wave length on the “Hohentwiel” was believed to be variable anywhere within a length from 30 to 80 cm.  Normally, however, the wave length used is 50 cm.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
- 13 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
CHAPTER V.  REMARKS ON GERMAN TORPEDOES
     
          U-515 carried a total of 17 torpedoes on her sixth and last patrol, distributed as follows:  
     
 
Location 
Number
Type
Pistols
Bow tube #1
1
T-3
Pi-2
Bow tube #2
1
T-3
Pi-2
Bow tube #3
1
T-1 FAT I
Pi-1
Bow tube #4
1
T-1 FAT I
Pi-1
Stern tube #5
1
(One
(or two
Stern tube #6
1
(T-5's
On bow plates 
2
T-3
Pi-2
Under bow plates
4
(1) T-3
Pi-2
(3)  T-1 FAT I
Pi-1
On stern plates
3
(1) T-3a FAT II
Pi-2
(Other 2 unknown)
Upper deck containers
2
T-1
Pi-1
_____
Total
17
 
     
          On her previous patrol U-515 had a total of 15 torpedoes aboard, distributed as follows:  
     
 
Location 
Number
Type
Pistols
Bow tube #1
1
T-3
Pi-2
Bow tube #2
1
T-3
Pi-2
Bow tube #3
1
T-1 FAT I
Pi-1
Bow tube #4
1
T-3
Pi-2
Stern tube #5
1
T-5
Pi-4a
 
     
 
- 14 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
Location 
Number
Type
Pistols
Stern tube #6
1
T-3
Pi-2
On bow plates 
2
T-3
Pi-2
Under bow plates
4
(2)  T-3
Pi-2
(3)  T-1
Pi-1
(1)  T-1 FAT I
Pi-1
       
On stern plates
3
(1)  T-5
Pi-4a
(2)  T-3
Pi-2
_____
Total
15
     
  PISTOLS  
     
          Before leaving on her fifth patrol, U-515 was required, for an unknown reason, to turn in her Pi-3 Pistols (combination impact-magnetic firing pistols fitted to air-driven torpedoes) for Pi-1 pistols to be used with T-1’s and FAT-I’s.  
     
          The Pi-4a, fitted to T-5, was said to be a combination inertia-magnetic firing pistol.  
     
  TYPES OF WARHEADS  
     
          K-a:  Old T-1 warhead fitted with Pi-1 impact firing;  
     
          K-b:  Old T--2 warhead fitted with Pi-2 impact firing;  
     
 

        K-c:  New T-3 warhead fitted with Pi-2 impact-magnetic firing;

 
     
 

        K-d:  New T-1 warhead fitted with Pi-3 impact-magnetic firing.

 
     
          (Note:  K is abbreviation for “Kopf”.)  
     
          (a)  Prisoner does not believe that T-5 circles.  
 
 
- 15 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
        (b)  The SS setting may be used for a non-acoustic run, as a “Fangschuss”, a term used to signify a torpedo fired to sink a ship which has been disabled by a previous torpedo.
     
          (c)  The torpedoman’s mate believes that T-5 can be countered by means of depth-charges.  
     
          (d)  Unlike the testing of the magnetic-firing Pi-2 pistol on board the U-boat, the testing of Pi-4a (and of other pistols used with T-5)  is done only at the service stations.  
     
          (e)  On 1 occasion, U-515 kept a T-5 in a flooded tube for almost 30 hours.  
     
          (f)  U-515 carried 2 cans (containing 25 liters in each) of E.T.42 which is to oil the propeller shaft not only of T-5 but also of all electric torpedoes.  
     
          (g)  On U-515’s fifth patrol. 1 T-5 was fired against a DD; range about 1,000 meters; depth-setting between 4 and 5 meters; fired at periscope depth from stern tube; U-515 dived immediately after firing, not as a safety measure against the T-5 but because of an impending attack.  
     
          (h)  The voltage of the battery in T-5, after being charged, was said to be between 85 and 90.  
     
          (i)  According to the torpedoman’s mate, the hydrophones are being used, in conjunction with the firing of T-5’s, up to a limited U-boat depth.  He added that 25 meters was the maximum depth at which a U-boat fired all types of torpedoes.  
     
          (j)  The mate expressed his opinion that some T-5’s were not acoustically but rather magnetically steered, adding that noisemakers  
     
 
- 16 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
were entirely useless.  He had heard of the rudders of T-5 going hard over when metal was held in front of the nose.  (O.N.I. Note: Prisoner was not confused between the rudder throw at the “Spatz” test and the throw caused by the presence of a piece of metal.)
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
- 17 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
CHAPTER VI.  CREW OF U-515
     
          U-515 carried a crew of 60 officers and men on her 6th and last patrol.  Of this number 6 were officers, 17 were petty officers and 37 were enlisted men.  
     
  COMMANDING OFFICER  
     
          U-515 was commanded by Kapitänleutnant Werner Henke, of the 1933 Term, ace German U-boat commander.  He claimed the sinking of 28 ships totaling 177,000 tons.  Henke had been decorated with the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross in December 1942 and the Oak Leaves to the Knight’s Cross on 4 July 1943.  
     
          Henke proved extremely security-conscious.  He professed preference for American captivity rather than British but this fact made him no more accessible.  His interrogating officers found him sullen and embittered.  His conceit was limitless although he somewhat grudgingly gave some credit for his success to his crew.  He stated that his crew had been the best U-boat crew anywhere, anytime but also said that this was due entirely to the training he had given them.  Henke did not mention, however, that he had held up advancement for many of them in order not to lose them.  
     
          His ability to keep the crew intact is confirmed by the following figures.  Of 40 petty officers and men who survived, 16 had made all 6 patrols on U-515 and 14 of these men had not served on any other U-boat; 8 men had made 3 or more patrols on U-515; 16 had made less than 3 patrols.  Only for 5 of the 40 men was the 6th patrol the first U-boat patrol ever.  Five prisoners interrogated  
     
 
- 18 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
had made more than 10 U-boat patrols in all.
     
          The feelings of U-515’s crew toward their commander were mixed.  Some admired his personality, others held his extreme strictness against him.  The surviving officers, although admitting his ability, acknowledged his frightful conceit.  It seems that ashore Henke was particularly disliked and few in the 10th Flotilla and on the staff of the Admiral U-boats could forgive his boundless ambition and egotism.  Politically he had few convictions, but he attempted to pass off the present German situation as “only temporarily bad”.  Henke stated that new devices and weapons such as radar and the automatic 37-mm. gun would soon bring about more successful U-boat patrols  
     
  OFFICERS ON FIRST PATROL  
     
 
Executive officer: Oberleutnant Hasshagen
   
Second watch officer: Leutnant Sauerberg
   
Engineer officer: Oberleutnant (Ing.) Mahnken
 
     
          Oberleutnant Hasshagen, not listed in the German Navy List, was U-515’s executive watch officer on her first 2 patrols.  He left U-515 sometime in January 1943.  (O.N.I. Note: Hasshagen is now believed to command a 750-ton U-boat based at Lorient.)  
     
          Leutnant Ernst Sauerberg (of the December 1939 Term) came aboard U-515 as second watch officer and after 2 patrols was promoted to executive officer.  He was relieved probably in July 1943.  
     
          Oberleutnant (Ing.) Georg Mahnken (of the 1937-B Term) was U-515’s engineer officer for 5 patrols.  He was highly thought  
     
 
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of by most of U-515’s crew.
     
  OFFICERS ON SECOND PATROL  
     
          No change in officers.  
     
  OFFICERS ON THIRD PATROL  
     
 
Executive officer: Leutnant Sauerberg
   
Second watch officer: Leutnant Niameyer
   
Engineer officer: Oberleutnant (Ing.) Mahnken
 
     
          Leutnant Peter Niemeyer (of the December 1939 Term) came aboard as second watch officer when Leutnant Sauerberg was promoted to executive officer.  Niemeyer was made executive officer on the next patrol and left U-515 after the fifth patrol.  
     
  OFFICERS ON FOURTH PATROL  
     
 
Executive officer: Oberleutnant Niemeyer
   
Second watch officer: Leutnant Harmeln
   
Engineer officer:  Oberleutnant (Ing.) Mahnken
 
     
          Leutnant Harmeln, who is not listed in the German Navy List, succeeded Oberleutnant Niemeyer as second watch officer.  
     
  OFFICERS ON FIFTH PATROL  
     
 
Executive officer: Oberleutnant Niemeyer
   
Second watch officer: Oberleutnant Hans Schultz
   
Engineer officer: Oberleutnant (Ing.) Mahnken
   
Engineer officer under instructions: Leutnant (Ing.) Günther Altenburger
   
Doctor: Stabsarzt Erdmann Priewe
 
 
 
- 20 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
        Oberleutnant Hans Schultz (of the 1939-B Term) replaced Leutnant Harmeln as second watch officer.  Schultz was not available for interrogation because of a bone infection resulting from a wound inflicted at the sinking of U-515.  His career previous to the joining of U-515 is unknown.  Aboard, he was stated to have been on unfriendly terms with his commander.
     
          Leutnant (Ing.) Günther Altenburger had made 10 patrols in U-43 under Korvettenkapitän Lüth and 2 patrols in U-652 commanded by Kapitänleutnant Fraatz as engine room rating and machinist.  He was then promoted officer and iin October 1943 was assigned to U-515 to relieve Mahnken.  Altenburger made U-515’s fifth patrol nominally as “Konfirmand” (engineer officer under instruction) but actually his ability and knowledge gave him at least an equal standing with Mahnken.  It was because of his ability that U-515 was able to continue her fifth patrol after a long and precise depth-charge attack early on that patrol.  
     
          Altenburger had been recommended for the award of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.  Had the sixth patrol of U-515 been completed successfully he most certainly would have received the decoration.  The reasons for the award were said to have been twofold:  (a) Altenburger had done a splendid job in effecting repairs to U-515 after severe damage on the fifth patrol; (b) he had more than 500 days of sea duty aboard U-boats and the award of the Knight’s Cross to a lower deck promotion would have boosted morale particularly in engine room personnel.  
     
 
- 21 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
OFFICERS ON SIXTH AND LAST PATROL
     
 
Executive officer: Oberleutnant Benz
   
Second watch officer: Oberleutnant Schultz
   
Engineer officer: Leutnant (Ing.) Altenburger
   
Doctor: Marineoberassistenzarzt Jörg Jensen
   
Midshipman: Oberfähnrich Dohrmann
 
     
          Oberleutnant Benz succeeded Oberleutnant Niemeyer on U-515’s sixth and last patrol.  He was a casualty at the sinking.  Benz is not listed in the G.N.I. and nothing whatever is known about him.  
     
          The doctor, Marineoberassistenzarzt Jörg Jensen, was a pleasant type, well liked by the crew.  He had made his first U-boat patrol in U-801 (Final Report G/Serial 33). He had been awarded the Iron Cross 1st class.  
     
          Oberfähnrich Dohrmann, a casualty, was the third watch officer aboard U-515.  (O.N.I. Note:  Two Dohrmanns, Paul and Gerhardt, are listed in the German Navy List; both belong to the May 1941 Term.)  
     
  PETTY OFFICERS  
     
          All of the petty officers on U-515 were experienced men.  They were cooperative and greatly lacking in security.  
     
  ENLISTED MEN  
     
          Almost all men talked freely.  They were glad to look forward to periods of less excitement than the always dangerous patrols under Henke.  
     
 
     
     
 
- 22 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
CHAPTER VII.  EARLY HISTORY OF U-515
     
  LAUNCHING  
     
          The dates of the keel-laying and of the launching of U-515 are unknown.  It is believed, however, that the U-boat was launched late December 1941.  
     
  COMMISSIONING  
     
          U-515 was commissioned 21 February 1942 at the Deutsche Werft, Finkenwerder, Hamburg.  
     
  U.A.K. TRIALS  
     
          Because of the heavy ice conditions in the Elbe River, U-515 did not sail for Kiel until late March 1942.  She probably started the trials under the U-boat Acceptance Commission at Kiel in the early days of April 1942, completing them successfully in about a month.  
     
  BALTIC TRIALS  
     
          After stopping over at Rönne for listening tests about 1 May 1942, U-515 proceeded to Danzig and from there to Gotenhafen where she engaged in torpedo firing practice.  U-515 then was subjected to the trials of the Active Service Training Group at Hela.  During the course of these tests, the clutches became extremely noisy.  Therefore, instead of returning to Gotenhafen for tactical exercises, she was ordered to Stettin for immediate repairs.  U-515 arrived at Stettin about 1 June 1942 and remained at the Oder-Werke  
     
 
- 23 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
about one month.  While at Stettin, and for the balance of her trials and exercises in the Baltic, she was attached to the 4th Flotilla.
     
  TACTICAL EXERCISES  
     
          Early in July, U-515 sailed for Gotenhafen and was included in the next group of U-boats doing their tactical exercises.  These lasted about 10 days.  Upon completion of the exercises, U-515 returned to the Oder-Werke, Settin, for final overhaul and preparation for the first patrol.  
     
  PREPARATIONS FOR FIRST PATROL  
     
          For reasons unknown the first patrol of U-515 started from Stettin instead of from Kiel, as is usual.  She was fully provisioned and took over her full complement of torpedoes.  She was ready to leave Stettin early in August 1942.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
- 24 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
CHAPTER VIII.  FIRST PATROL OF U-515
     
  DEPARTURE  
     
          U-515 left on her first patrol on 8 August 1942 from Stettin.  She called at Kiel for three days, topping up with oil and water.  U-515 left Kiel about 11 August 1942 in company with two other 750-ton U-boats.  (O.N.I. Note:  U-512 left Kiel on her first and last patrol 11 August 1942.)  After stopping over for one night at Kristiansand she proceeded through the Rosengarten and headed for her operational area.  
     
  SINKINGS  
     
          It is believed that U-515 sank her first ship soon after arrival in the operational area assigned to her, namely off Trinidad.  During the next two weeks, she claimed the sinking of 10 ships, totaling about 54,000 tons.  The 6 ships definitely identified as having been sunk by U-515 are the following:  
     
          STANVAC MELBOURNE, Panamanian tanker, 10,013 tons, torpedoed and sunk 12 September 1942, at 10.30 N. - 60.20 W.  
     
          WOENSDRECHT, Dutch tanker, 4,668 tons, torpedoed and sunk 12 September 1942, at 10.27 N. - 60.17 W.  
     
          OCEAN VANGUARD, British freighter, 7,174 tons, torpedoed and sunk 13 September 1942, at 10.43 N. - 60.11 W.  
     
          MAE, U.S. freighter, 5,607 tons, torpedoed, shelled and sunk 17 September 1942, at 08.03 N. - 58.13 W.  
     
 
- 25 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
          REEDPOOL, British freighter, 4,838 tons, torpedoed and sunk 20 September 1942, 08.58 N. - 57.34 W.  The captain of REEDPOOL was taken prisoner aboard U-515.
     
          LINDVANGEN, Norwegian freighter, 2,412 tons, torpedoed and sunk 23 September 1942, at 09.20 N. - 60.10 W.  
     
          Prisoners claimed the sinking of 4 other ships.  One of them was said to have been SENTA, Norwegian freighter, of about 3,500 tons.  (O.N.I. Note:  None of these ships could be identified positively.)  Nine ships were sunk in approximate area 100 N - 600 W. during the period of 12 and 16 September 1942.  In addition to those identified above there were HARBOROUGH, KIOTE, NIMBA, SORHOLT, WICHITA and COMMERCIAL TRADER.  (See chart of identified sinkings on U-515's first patrol)  
     
  RETURN TO BASE  
     
          A prisoner stated that U-515 continued to range along the South American coast in search of shipping, reaching a latitude of about 060 N.  After her initial successes, however, no further sinkings were claimed and U-515 returned to her assigned base at Lorient on about 20 October 1942.  She was attached to the 10th Flotilla.  
     
 

PREPARATIONS FOR SECOND PATROL

 
     
          U-515 had not suffered any damage on her first patrol and consequently her layover at Lorient was of short duration and she was ready for her second patrol early in November 1942.  
     
     
     
- 26 -
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
CHAPTER IX.  SECOND PATROL OF U-515
     
  DEPARTURE  
     
          U-515 sailed from Lorient on her second patrol on 7 November 1942 for the African coast.  
     
  U-515 CLAIMS SINKING OF CRUISER AND DESTROYER  
     
          U-515 claimed to have sunk a cruiser of the BIRMINGHAM class, as well as a destroyer, during the night of 11 to 12 November 1942.  Prisoners were quite certain that they had sunk the destroyer with one torpedo, and it was also their opinion that they had sunk the cruiser, although they did not actually see her sink.  About 5 or 6 torpedoes were fired in all.  During and after the attack, U-515 was depth-charged, but the damage was such that it could be repaired without much effort.  (O.N.I. Note:  The “cruiser” sunk by U-515 was in all probability H.M.S. HECLA, British depot ship, which was torpedoed first at 2315 G.M.T. 11 November 1942, and which sank at 0116 12 November 1942 in approximate position 35.41 N. - 09.54 W.  Five torpedoes struck H.M.S. HECLA before she keeled over.  H.M.S. MARNE, British destroyer, was torpedoed at 0105 12 November 1942, but was towed into Gibraltar.  It is probable that depth charge attacks carried out by H.M.S. VENOMOUS during and after the attack on HECLA and MARNE were made on U-515.  For further details on this attack, see C.B. 04050/43 (1).)  
     
  U-515 REMAINS IN AREA  
     
          After her successful attacks, U-515 remained in the general vicinity for several days without attacking any further shipping.  
     
 
- 27 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
SINKING OF CERAMIC
     
          U-515 now set course for mid-North Atlantic, apparently operating independently.  On the afternoon of 6 December 1942, she sighted a large passenger ship and after pursuing her for several hours fired 1 torpedo which hit.  Although the ship was immediately abandoned U-515 rescued only 1 survivor; prisoners claimed the foul weather did not permit further rescue operations.  The prisoner taken aboard U-515 stated that the ship was the S.S. CERAMIC, 18713 tons.  After the passengers and crew had left the ship, U-515 fired another torpedo which quickly sank her.  (O.N.I. Note:  S.S. CERAMIC was torpedoed and sunk the night of 6/7 December 1942, at about 40.30 N. - 40.20 W.)  (See chart of identified sinkings on U-515's second patrol)  
     
  The sinking of the CERAMIC brought the total tonnage claimed on this patrol to about 29,000 tons, and after reporting the sinking to Control, Henke was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.  
     
  RETURN TO BASE  
     
          U-515 continued to cruise west of the Azores for about a week.  Thereafter she set course for Lorient where she arrived about 5 or 6 January 1943.  The U-boat received a tumultuous welcome and her captain was well on his way to becoming the most successful U-boat commander of the 10th Flotilla.  
     
  PREPARATIONS FOR THIRD PATROL  
     
          By this time some repairs had become necessary and U-515  
     
 
- 28 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
remained in dock until about mid-February 1943, when preparations for the next patrol had been completed.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
- 29 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
CHAPTER X.  THIRD PATROL OF U-515
     
  DEPARTURE  
     
          U-515 sailed from Lorient about 20 February 1943.  Prisoners generally spoke of her operational area as being off West Africa and the Gold Coast. But it is believed that she was first assigned an operational area in mid-North Atlantic and only from there proceeded to the above mentioned area.  
     
  SINKING OF CALIFORNIA STAR  
     
          The first ship sunk by U-515 on this patrol was S.S. CALIFORNIA STAR, British freighter, 8,300 tons, which was torpedoed and sunk 4 March 1943, at 42.32 N. - 37.44 W.  The 2nd quartermaster of CALIFORNIA STAR was taken prisoner aboard U-515.  (O.N.I. Note:  In the final report on U-172, G/Serial 29, a ship claimed sunk by U-172 4 March 1943 was identified erroneously as S.S. CALIFORNIA STAR.)  
     
  U-515 OPERATES IN GROUP  
     
          Prisoners knew that U-515 was operating with other U-boats while in the North Atlantic but were unable to identify any of the near-by U-boats.  (O.N.I. Note:  It is believed that U-515 belonged to a group which included U-513, U-410, U-172 and a boat commanded by Kapitänleutnant Keller.  These boats are believed to have followed and attacked Convoy U.G.S.-6.)  
     
  SECOND SINKING  
     
          The next ship claimed sunk by U-515 could not be identified.  
     
 
- 30 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
She was reportedly accompanied by corvette or destroyer escort.  The attack probably took place on U-515’s way from mid-North Atlantic to the West African Coast, about 20 March 1943.
     
  MEETING WITH U-RASCH  
     
          Toward the end of March U-515 met a 750-ton U-boat commanded by Kapitänleutnant Rasch.  The prisoner from CALIFORNIA STAR was transferred to U-Rasch which was returning from patrol and on her way to base.  U-515 received about 30 cubic meters of oil and then continued her patrol.  
     
  U-515 IS ATTACKED BY AIRPLANES  
     
          U-515 was attacked off Freetown by airplanes identified by prisoners as Catalinas.  Twelve bombs were counted in all and it was stated that the planes were fought off with the single-barrel 20-mm. cannon.  Hits were obtained on a plane.  No damage resulted from the bombs dropped by the airplanes, and U-515 submerged soon after the attack.  (O.N.I. Note:  Two R.A.F. Catalinas, D & B of Squadron 207, attacked a submarine 29 April 1943 in positions 08.51 N. - 14.35 W. and 08.34 N. - 14.24 W.  A/A fire was experienced.)  
     
  U-515 ATTACKS CONVOY T.S. 37  
     
          Soon thereafter U-515 attacked a convoy off Freetown and nine ships were claimed sunk during a period of less than 12 hours.  The prisoners were unable to identify the ships.  (O.N.I. Note:  Convoy T.S.37 was attacked during the night of 30 April to 1 May 1943  
     
 
- 31 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
and the following 7 ships were sunk:  KOTA TJANDI, Dutch freighter, 7,295 tons, torpedoed 2055 - 30 April 1943; BANDAR SHAPOUR, British freighter, 5,236 tons, torpedoed 2057 - 30 April 1943;  CORABELLA, British freighter, 5,682 tons, torpedoed 2058 - 30 April 1943;  NAGINA, British freighter, 6,551 tons, torpedoed 2100 - 30 April 1943; MOKAMBO, Belgian freighter, 4,996 tons, torpedoed 0328 - 1 May 1943; this ship was taken in tow 2 May 1943, but sank the following day in sight of Freetown;  CITY OF SINGAPORE, British freighter, 6,555 tons, torpedoed 0330 - 1 May 1943;  CLAN MAC PHERSON, British freighter, 6,940 tons, torpedoed 0345 - 1 May 1943.  The 4 ships sunk 30 April 1943 were torpedoed at about 07.15 N. - 13.49 W; the three ships sunk 1 May 1943 were torpedoed in approximate position 07.50 N. - 14.14 W.)
     
          During and after the attack on the convoy, some depth-charges were dropped, but none of them were close enough even to cause the crew any discomfort.  
     
  MEETING WITH U-460  
     
          A few days later, U-515 met a supply boat commanded by Oberleutnant Schnoor.  (O.N.I. Note: Schnoor is believed to command U-460.)  Fuel oil and four torpedoes were supplied by U-460 and as usual the doctor carried in the supply U-boat came aboard U-515.  Henke, as well as his officers and some of the men visited aboard U-460.  A machinist of U-515 who had been caught stealing provisions and coffee with the intention of selling them upon return to base was transferred to U-460.  The crew later learned that he had been court-martialed and had received a long jail sentence.  
     
 
- 32 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
SINKING OF CORNEVILLE
     
          U-515 continued her southeasterly course and about a week later sank CORNEVILLE.  (O.N.I. Note:  CORNVILLE, Norwegian freighter, 4,544 tons, was torpedoed and sunk 9 May 1943 at 04.50 N. - 01.10 W.)  This was the last sinking claimed by U-515 on her third patrol.  The total tonnage reported to Control as sunk was 72,000 tons.  (O.N.I. Note:  Actually about 62,000 tons.)  (See chart of identified sinkings on U-515's third patrol)  
     
  RETURN TO BASE  
     
           U-515 crossed the Equator and it was believed that her southernmost position had been about 040 South.  She then shaped course for her base and after a leisurely trip, arrived at Lorient about 23 June 1943.  
     
          All crew members were given liberal leaves and many of them were decorated with the Iron Cross, 2nd Class.  Henke was awarded one Oak Leaves to the Knights Cross 4 July 1943.  
     
  PREPARATIONS FOR FORTH PATROL  
     
          Extended repairs were necessary after this patrol, which had lasted about eighteen weeks, and U-515 was not ready for her forth patrol until the end of August 1943.  
     
 
- 33 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
CHAPTER XI.  FORTH PATROL OF U-515
     
  DEPARTURE  
     
          U-515 left on her forth patrol 29 August 1943.  Her operational area was to have been off West Africa.  
     
  ATTACK BY CONVOY ESCORT  
     
          When U-515 was off the Azores about one week after leaving Lorient she sighted a convoy and preparations to attack were made.  However, before she could approach close enough the U-boat was detected and heavily depth-charged by one of the convoy’s escorts.  One of the diving tanks was torn, cells in both batteries were cracked and it was found that U-515 left an oil trace.  The damage was sufficiently severe to necessitate return to base.  (O.N.I. Note:  This was probably the attack delivered by H.M.S. TAVY at 2147 5 September 1943 at 38.33 N. - 18.03 W.)  
     
  RETURN TO BASE  
     
          U-515 returned to Lorient without being attacked further and docked 12 September 1943.  
     
  PREPARATIONS FOR NEXT PATROL  
     
          The repairs took about six weeks and after the necessary trials U-515 was ready to leave on her next patrol by the end of October 1943.  
     
 
- 34 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
CHAPTER XIII.  FIFTH PATROL OF U-515
     
  DEPARTURE FROM LORIENT  
     
          U-515 left Lorient 1 November 1943 in company with U-508, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Staats.  Both U-boats put into St. Nazaire where two T-5 torpedoes were embarked by U-515.  Presumably U-508 also took over some T-5 torpedoes.  
     
  DEPARTURE FROM ST. NAZAIRE  
     
          U-515 and U-508 left St. Nazaire 9 November 1943 and after passing through the Bay of Biscay joined a group of U-boats patrolling between the Azores and the Portuguese Coast.  Prisoners from U-515 believed that this was one of the GROUPS SCHILL and identified several of the U-boats known to have belonged to these groups.  It was stated that U-172 commanded by Kapitänleutnant Emmermann was a member of one of the groups.  Prisoners reported that U-508, which occupied a position close to U-515 was sunk about one week after leaving St. Nazaire.  (O.N.I. Note:  This confirms information previously obtained from P/W sources.)  
     
  U-515 IS HEAVILY DEPTH-CHARGED  
     
          About eight days after sailing from St. Nazaire U-515 sighted a north-bound convoy.  Before she could get into attacking position she sighted escorting aircraft and submerged.  Surfacing shortly thereafter she sighted three destroyers.  U-515 fired a T-5 torpedo from her stern tube.  A second torpedo was fired soon after, but neither of the two apparently found its mark.  Following  
     
 
- 35 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
the firing of the torpedo U-515 was heavily depth-charged over a period of several hours.  One of the main ballast and reserve fuel oil tanks and the stern buoyancy tank were torn; several battery cells were cracked, the main switchboard was damaged as was the forward hydroplane motor.  The clutches developed noises and many of the upper-deck oil connections were loose, causing oil traces to be left.  Furthermore, the outboard valves of the Diesel air intake and outlet, as well as the exhaust valves, were damaged.  The inner valves were still holding, but the depth to which U-515 could dive was limited.  Also the water in the Diesel air intake and outlet valves made depth control difficult; this was aggravated by the fact that a pipeline through one or several regulating tanks was loosened and the tanks could not maintain pressure.  (O.N.I. Note:  On or about 18 November1943 several attacks were made by destroyers escorting Convoy S.L.-139/M.K.S.30.  One of the attacks on U-515 may have been made by H.M.S. EXE which dropped 4 depth-charge series and made one hedgehog attack starting at 1107 Z and continuing until 1209 Z, at 39.34 N. - 19.42 W.  An oil patch was sighted between the third and forth attack and throughout the hunt the blowing of tanks was heard.  The hedgehog attackwas believed to have been made on S.B.T.)
     
  REPAIRS  
     
          Within U-515 the situation was almost hopeless.  The batteries were low and the air supply was almost exhausted.  It was stated that if U-515 had been forced to remain under water for  
     
 

- 36 -

 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
another one or two hours, she would have had to surface.  Fortunately for the boat the depth-charge attacks stopped in time and she was able to surface well aft of the convoy.  Henke consulted both of his engineer officers.  Leutnant (Ing.) Altenburger, who was being broken in on this patrol, stated that in his opinion the damage could be repaired at sea.  Although her regular engineer officer, Oberleutnant (Ing.) Mahnken advised return to base, U-515’s commander, always willing to take a chance, ordered repairs to be effected.  About two days later, when U-515 was in the neighborhood of the Canary Islands, the crew rigged a tarpaulin under the protection of which the diving tank and the stern buoyancy tank were welded.  At the same time repairs within the boat were continued and by about 22 November 1943 U-515 was again considered seaworthy.  It was unanimously stated that the damage suffered on this patrol was by far greater than that which forced U-515 to return to her base on the proceeding patrol.  The credit went mainly to the incoming engineer officer.
     
  U-515 PROCEEDS TO OPERATIONAL AREA  
     
          U-515 now sailed along the West African Coast and proceeded into the Gulf of Guinea.  On 17 December 1943 while surfaced at night she fired two torpedoes at a freighter which sank within about a quarter of an hour.  (O.N.I. Note:  KINGSWOOD, British freighter, 5,080 tons, was torpedoed and sunk 17 December 1943 at 05.57 N. - 01.43 E.)  
     
          Two days later, PHEMIUS was sunk with two torpedoes and her radioman was taken prisoner aboard U-515.  (O.N.I. Note:  PHEMIUS,  
     
 
- 37 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
British freighter, 7,406 tons, was torpedoed and sunk 19 December 1943 at 05.01 N. - 00.17 W.  She was in convoy S.T.- 77.)
     
          U-515 was on her way to base when she again fired two torpedoes and sank another ship on Christmas Eve, 1943.  (O.N.I. Note:  DUMANA, British freighter, 8,327 tons, was torpedoed and sunk 24 December 1943 at 04.26 N. - 06.50 W. while in convoy S.T.L.-8.)  One of the escorts dropped depth-charges, but they were nowhere near U-515 and no damage was suffered.  (See chart of identified sinkings on U-515's fifth patrol)  
     
  REPAIRS WHILE EN ROUTE TO BASE  
     
          The welded seam on the stern buoyancy tank broke when U-515 was on her way to base.  It was stated that this had not come about through any counter-attacks but that the natural vibrations of the U-boat had loosened it.  It was, therefore, decided to re-weld the seam.  U-515 approached the southernmost island of the Cape Verde Islands, and within territorial waters re-welded the seam on New Year’s Eve night.  The stretch of coast along which U-515 was hove to was devoid of any houses.  The repairs took about three to four hours.  
     
  RETURN TO BASE  
     
          U-515 then set course for Lorient where she arrived 16 January 1944 after an uneventful passage.  Her escort into port consisted of two mine destructor vessels.  However, just before entering the port of Lorient two Mosquito bombers were seen but were driven off by fire from the twin 20-mm. cannons.  Henke claimed the sinking of 22,000 tons of Allied shipping on this patrol.  
     
 

- 38 -

 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
PREPARATIONS FOR NEXT PATROL
     
          After extensive repairs and the fitting of new batteries U-515 was again ready to leave Lorient by the end of March 1944.  The departure date had been set for 28 March, but at the last minute the rudder motor failed and had to be repaired.  The sailing was delayed for one day.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
- 39 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
     
 
CHAPTER XIII.  SIXTH AND LAST PATROL OF U-515
     
  DEPARTURE  
     
          U-515 left Lorient 30, March 1944, accompanied by several minesweepers.  Her prospective operational area was not known and some prisoners thought that it might again be off the West African Coast, whereas others mentioned an area off Recife, Brazil.  U-515 passed through the Bay of Biscay submerged, surfacing only at night for about 4 to 5 hours to charge her batteries.  
     
  USE OF RADAR DECOY BALLOONS  
     
          It was stated that radar decoy balloons were released every night while in the Bay of Biscay.  Apparently no effort was made to use radar decoy balloons just before diving.  
     
  MESSAGE TO CONTROL  
     
          When U-515 passed 200 West she reported this as well as her fuel supply to Control.  This was the only signal sent on U-515’s last patrol.  
     
  EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE SINKING OF U-515  
     
          About midnight (German summer time) 8 April 1944. the bridge watch sighted a carrier based airplane, which however, dropped no bombs.  As soon as the airplane was out of sight U-515 submerged.  (O.N.I. Note: This was probably the sighting made by VT-24, 2113 at 34.54 N. - 19.19 W.)  
     
          U-515 surfaced about an hour later and soon after was attacked by another carrier-based airplane which dropped 2 bombs  
     
 
- 40 -
 
     
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
  without causing any damage to the U-boat.  U-515 used her new 37-mm. automatic gun for the first time without, however, claiming any hits.  VT-23 dropped 2 depth bombs at 0027 GCT 9 April 1944 at 34.49 N. - 19.19 W.  The pilot reported that the U-boat showed a white light.)  The engineer officer of U-515 believed that the pilot may have seen light from the control room or a flashlight used in the conning tower.
 
 
 
SECOND AIRPLANE ATTACK
 
 
 
 
        U-515 remained submerged until 0900 (German summer time) when her commander, for unexplained reasons, decided to surface.  Shortly thereafter another carrier-based plane approached and dropped 2 depth-charges, which, although they were quite close to the stern, exploded without damaging the U-boat.  U-515 promptly submerged after having again used her 37-mm. automatic gun.  (O.N.I. Note:  VT-31 dropped two depth bombs at 0735 GCT, 9 April 1944, at 34.38 N. - 19.39 W.  A/A fire encountered.)
 
 
 
 
        By now all within the U-boat were aware of the fact that it was the commander’s intention to attack the carrier if at all possible.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
- 41 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
CHAPTER XIV.  SINKING OF U-515
 
 
 
U-515 IS DISCOVERED
 
 
 
 
        About 1 hour after the airplane attack fast propeller beats were heard within U-515.  Prisoners stated that they then heard noises similar to those made by a circular saw.  The engineer officer said that he had the feeling as if the entire U-boat was made to vibrate and that this might have been the result of some new detection device.  The hunting vessels were heard to reduce speed.  The ping of sonar and “Knalloten” (possibly explosive sound ranging) was now heard.  The latter was described as a dropping of some explosive charge onto the U-boat, thereby probably giving the exact depth to the hunting ships.
 
 
 
 
FIRST DEPTH CHARGE SERIES
 
 
 
 
        Soon thereafter a destroyer was heard to make her run-in and a well placed series of about 8 depth-charges exploded near the U-boat.  Lights failed temporarily, but the negligible damage caused by this series was easily repaired.  Several more or less well-placed series of depth-charges followed, but so far the U-boat had not suffered badly.  Destroyers were heard to stop, then start again.  Finally the propeller noises vanished.
 
 
 
 
U-515’s OIL TRACE BELIEVED DISCOVERED
 
 
 
 
        The relief was only temporary, however, and about half an hour later the destroyers were heard directly over the U-boat.  Again the sonar ping was clearly heard throughout the U-boat.  The
 
 
 
 
- 42 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
engineer officer was of the opinion that at this point the oil trace which U-515 was known to leave had been discovered, thus accounting for the closeness of the following depth-charge series.  Ever since leaving Lorient attempts had been made to locate a small oil leak from a forward fuel oil bunker.  Henke, counting on his habitual luck, had refused to turn around earlier, particularly as no one aboard was keen to pass through the Bay of Biscay any oftener than necessary.  It was intended to use the oil from the suspected bunker until it was entirely empty thereby eliminating the oil trace.
 
 
 
WATER AND OIL ENTRY AFT
 
 
 
 
        The next series of depth-charges caused a water entry of about a thumb’s thickness in the stern torpedo compartment.  At the same time a pipe carrying lubricating oil was torn off the pressure hull.  The leak in the stern torpedo compartment could not be located immediately, but trim and buoyancy were maintained by pumping of the regulating tanks.  The next depth-charge series caused entry of fuel oil into the stern torpedo compartment when a pipe line leading in from an outboard fuel oil bunker burst.  Efforts were made to control both the water and the oil entry, but it was recognized that unless the depth-charging either stopped of became less accurate the counter-measures were in vain.  The main ballast pump could not obtain suction as U-515 was too heavy by the stern; neither could the regulating tanks cope with the position of the boat which now was more than 200 down by the stern.
 
 
 
 
- 43 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
STERN TORPEDO COMPARTMENT CLOSED OFF
 
 
 
        The next depth-charge series loosened the plugs which had at least partially controlled the water and oil entries.  Water and oil rose above the floor plates.  The U-boat’s buoyancy could not be maintained as means of pumping were exhausted.  All depth gages were broken and only the tendency of the boat either to rise or to fall could be observed.  The engineer officer now decided to close off the stern torpedo compartment as the only means of saving the boat and the crew.  This ended the use of the S.B.T. from which several series of pills had been spasmodically ejected.
 
 
 
 
ELECTRIC MOTOR COMPARTMENT FLOODED
 
 
 
 
        Shaken by the preceding explosions a stuffing box bolt broke in the bulkhead between the stern torpedo compartment and the electric motor compartment.  Water and oil entered.  U-515 was now about 300 down by the stern and could be held only by increasing to “Half Speed”.  All available crew members were sent forward.  The depth of the boat was close to 200 meters.  The engineer officer ordered main ballast tank No. 1 blown, thereby giving temporary relief.  It soon was apparent, however, that the tank was ripped.  U-515’s stern sank again to a 300 angle.
 
 
 
 
U-515 IS FORCED TO SURFACE
 
 
 
 
        No more thought was given to evasive action.  One after another the stern fuel oil bunkers were blown and slowly the U-boat returned to an even keel.  Water continued to rise in the electric motor compartment and, flowing through the boat, made the U-boat
 
 
 
 
- 44 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
heavy by the bow.  This was aggravated by the fact that the air in the rising aft part of the U-boat expanded.  U-515 now rose and as the blown bunkers could not be vented, the ascent was rapid.  She was about 450 down by the bow.  The main ballast tank amidships and the forward main ballast tank were blown and U-515 surfaced.
 
 
 
U-515 IS ABANDONED
 
 
 
 
        Henke was the first to open the conning tower hatch.  Observing 3 destroyers in the immediate vicinity, he accepted defeat and gave the final order to abandon ship.
 
 
 
 
U-515 SINKS IN FLAMES
 
 
 
 
        Soon thereafter direct hits from destroyers set the bridge aflame and another direct hit forward accelerated the sinking of U-515 on which the vents had all been opened.  Survivors felt 2 heavy underwater explosions several minutes after U-515 had sunk.  Sixteen crew members were lost from the combined fire of destroyers and airplanes; 44 survivors were taken aboard by the attacking destroyers and later transferred to U.S.S. GUADALCANAL.
 
 
 
 
ACTION REPORT
 
 
 
 
        At 0812 GCT 9 April 1944, U.S.S. CHATELAIN made contact.  U.S.S. PILLSBURY AND FLAHERTY proceeded ahead of U.S.S. GUADALCANAL.  At 0813 PILLSBURY fired hedgehog and 2 explosions were observed, bringing up debris.  (O.N.I. Note:  It is probably that this attack was made on a yet unidentified U-boat.)  At 1133 U.S.S. POPE obtained sound contact and fired hedgehogs at 1157 and 1205.  At 1214 POPE
 
 
 
 
- 45 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
dropped 11 depth-charges followed by 13 depth-charges at 1234 and by 13 depth-charges at 1307.  At 1310 U.S.S. CHATELAIN obtained contact.  At 1320 U.S.S. POPE dropped 13 depth-charges followed by series of 7 depth-charges at 1343, 1357 and 1411.  Thereafter contact was lost.  At about 1455, after several questionable contacts, CHATELAIN regained contact and fired 11 depth-charges in 2 groups just as the U-boat was beginning to surface.  At 1505, the U-boat surfaced within about 150 yards of CHATELAIN’S starboard quarter and CHATELAIN opened fire.  At 1506 VT-25 made R.P. attack and VF-6 and VF-9 strafed the U-boat while the crew was abandoning her.  At 1508 U.S.S. FLAHERTY opened fire.  At 1509 CHATELAIN obtained a direct hit on the conning tower, starting a large fire.  The U-boat sank bow first at 1512 GCT at 34.31 N. - 19.29 W.
 
 
 
REMARKS
 
 
 
 
        None of the prisoners interrogated had any reaction to the firing of R.P.’s.  Some stated that the airplanes dropped bombs, but apparently everyone was too busy abandoning ship to observe closely any hits on the U-boat.  It was stated that the fire which broke out on the bridge was due to the ignition of the hydrogen bottles on Platform I.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

- 46 -

 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
CHAPTER XV.  HISTORY AND DETAILS OF U-68
 
 
 
I.  DETAILS OF U-68
 
 
 
 
        (a) DISPLACEMENT
 
 
 
 
               750 tons.
 
 
 
 
       (b) TYPE
 
 
 
 
                IX A.
 
 
 
 
        (c) BUILDING YARD
 
 
 
 
                Deschimag, Seebeck, Wesermuende.
 
 
 
 
        (d) COMMISSIONED
 
 
 
 
               Early in 1941.
 
 
 
 
        (e) COMPLEMENT
 
 
 
 
               55 or 56 on last patrol.  No doctor carried.
 
 
 
 
        (f) FLOTILLA
 
 
 
 
                2nd, at Lorient.
 
 
 
 
        (g) INSIGNIA
 
 
 
 
                (1)  2nd Flotilla Insignia - a U-boat transfixed by a shaft of lightning (“Siegesrune”).
 
 
 
                  (2)  White ace of clubs within 2 angles.  
     
          (h) CALL LETTERS  
     
                  UCV  
     
          (i) ARMAMENT  
     
          Guns  
     
 
                One automatic 37-mm. gun on Platform II.
 
     
                  Two twin 20-mm. cannon on Platform I.  
     
                  Demountable machine guns.  
     
 

- 47 -

 
     
     

 

 
 
 
 
 
         Ammunition
 
 
 
                1000 rounds of 37-mm. ammunition were stated to have been carried.
 
 
 
 
        Torpedo Tubes
 
 
 
 
                Four (4) bow, two (2) stern.
 
 
 
 
        Torpedoes
 
 
 
 
                Twelve (12) stated to have been carried on last patrol, including 3 T-5, and an indeterminate number of T-3 FAT II.  Distribution of the 12 torpedoes was given as follows:
 
 
 
 
                Four (4) in forward tubes.
 
 
 
 
                Two (2) on forward floor plates.
 
 
 
 
                Two (2) in stern tubes.
 
 
 
 
                One (1) on stern floor plates.
 
 
 
 
                Three (3) in deck containers.
 
 
 
 
                It was further stated that the 3 T-5 torpedoes were all carried in the stern compartment, but the sole survivor is not considered to have been well informed in this regard.
 
 
 
 
                (O.N.I. Note:  The 3 air flasks recovered from U-68 after her sinking were believed to have been those housed in the upper deck containers.)
 
 
 
 
        (j) PROPULSION
 
 
 
 
                Diesels - M.A.N.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
                Electric Motors/Generators - Siemens
 
 
 
                Switchboards - Siemens
 
 
 
 
        (k) RADAR
 
 
 
 
                Fitted.  Stated to have been used only on penultimate patrol.  Extensible mattress type antenna in housing on bridge fairing, port side.
 
 
 
 
        (l) G.S.R. (German Search Receiver)
 
 
 
 
                The sole survivor indicated that fixed dipole, “Fliege” and “finger” type antennae were fitted for the final patrol (O.N.I. Note:  It is presumed that standard Wanz G-2 and Naxos equipment was carried).
 
 
 
 
                A Metox R-600 set with cross type aerial was carried on the penultimate patrol.
 
 
 
 
                The “Fliege” antenna was not mounted at the time of the sinking.
 
 
 
 
        (m) S.B.T. (Submarine Bubble Target)
 
 
 
 
                Fitted.
 
 
 
 
        (n) R.D.B. (Radar Decoy Balloons)
 
 
 
 
                Carried; used on penultimate patrol on 2 occasions.
 
 
 
 
        (o) HYDROPHONES
 
 
 
 
                G.H.G.
 
 
 
 
II.  EARLY HISTORY AND PREVIOUS PATROLS OF U-68
 
 
 
 
        The survivor believed that U-68 had made 10 patrols prior to his arrival on board.  The exact number of patrols made by the
 
 
 
 

- 49 -

 
     
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
U-boat, however, remains undetermined.  Knowledge of incidents occurring on previous patrols has been gained from various sources, and a rough chronology established.
 
 
 
        (a) EARLY HISTORY
 
 
 
 
                The original complement of U-68 reported in the autumn of 1940 to stand by during construction.  The U-boat was commissioned early in 1941 by Kapitänleutnant Karl Freidrich Merten, of the 1926 Naval Term, who subsequently won the Knight’s Cross and the Oak Leaves for brilliant accomplishments as her commanding officer.  No record of her Baltic trials is at hand.  (O.N.I. Note:  Merten was promoted to Korvettenkapitän on 1 April 1941.
 
 
 
 
        (b) FIRST PATROL
 
 
 
 
                Stated to have been of three weeks’ duration, Kiel to Lorient; the sinking of a corvette was claimed.  Summer 1941.
 
 
 
 
        (c) SECOND PATROL
 
 
 
 
                Left Lorient about 1 September 1941, and operated in the South Atlantic.  Four or five merchantmen totaling 42,000 tons were claimed sunk.  Several of these are believed to have been attacked en route to the South Atlantic.  Ten torpedoes were fired at ships in a convoy outward bound from Gibraltar, and 25,000 tons claimed in this attack.  U-68 rendezvoused with U-111 off the Cape Verde Islands and with U-67 off the French Moroccan Coast to take over fuel and torpedoes late in September 1941.  (O.N.I. Note:  For a detailed account of these meetings and the engagement of U-67, U-68 and U-111 with H. M. Submarine
 
 
 
 
- 50 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
“CLYDE”, see C.B.4051(32), U-111, November, 1941.)
 
 
 
                U-68 rendezvoused with RAIDER 16 in the South Atlantic about 17 November 1941 and received fuel and provisions.  The meeting was stated to have occurred about 5 days before RAIDER 16 was sunk.  (O.N.I. Note:  RAIDER 16 was sunk on 22 November 1941 in position 04.13 S. - 18.43 W. by H.M.S. DEVONSHIRE.)
 
 
 
 
                En route to Lorient, U-68 sighted a life boat from RAIDER 16; Merten picked up a U.S. medical officer prisoner of war and 25 German naval ratings, whom he took to St. Nazaire, where U-68 arrived on 24 December 1941.  The U-boat subsequently returned to Lorient.
 
 
 
 
                Officers of U-68 at this time were:
 
 
 
 
Commanding Officer
-
Merten.
 
 
Executive officer
-
Kapitanleutnant Augas Maus, of the 1934 Naval Term.  (O.N.I. Note: Maus, now a prisoner of war, was commanding officer of U-185, sunk 24 August 1943 by aircraft from U.S.S. Core.)
 
 
Second watch officer
-
Lauzemis.
     
Engineer officer
-
Kapitänleutnant (Ing.) Bernhard Klaunig, of the 1933 Naval Term.
 
 
 
 
        (d) THIRD PATROL
 
 
 
 
                No information concerning the activities of U-68 in the period January - May 1942 is available.  It is possible that 2 patrols, rather than 1, were made in this interval.
 
 
 
 
- 51 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
        (e) FORTH PATROL
 
 
 
                It was stated that U-68 left Lorient in May 1942 in company with U-159 for a patrol in the Caribbean.  Merten arrived in his operational area in Mid June, and radioed the Commander in Chief U-boats that he had sunk 3 ships, the ARDENVOHR, SURREY and PORT MONTREAL, north of Colon on his first day in the area.  (O.N.I. Note:  The British freighters, ARDENVOHR, of 5025 tons, SURREY, of 8581 tons, and PORT MONTREAL, of 5582 tons, were torpedoed and sunk between 0030 and 0515 EWT on 10 June 1942 in approximate position 120 N. - 800 W.)
 
 
 
 
                On 23 June 1942, while still in the Caribbean, Merten received word that he had been awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross for his exploits in the South Atlantic and the Caribbean.  It is not known when U-68 returned to Lorient.
 
 
 
 
        (f) FIFTH PATROL
 
 
 
 
                It is believed that U-68 left Lorient on 19 August 1942, in company with U-124, U-156, U-159 and U-172 on a patrol to the Capetown area planned as a joint operation and based on information concerning Capetown shipping and harbor defenses gained from captured documents (See G/Serial 29, U-172).
 
 
 
 
                The enterprise was highly successful in that a large amount of Allied shipping was sunk by the U-boats involved.  The extent of Merten’s success remains undetermined, but he was awarded the Oak Leaves to the K.C.I.C. while still at sea in November 1942 for the sinking of 191,000 tons of enemy shipping.  It is believed that 60,000 tons were claimed by Merten for this patrol.  On the
 
 
 
 
- 52 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
return to Lorient, U-68 rendezvous with U-513 west of the Azores, in the area 400 N. - 350 W. and transferred to U-513 certain spare parts (See G/Serial 18, U-513).  U-68 was stated to have reached Lorient just before Christmas, 1942.
 
 
 
        (g) SIXTH PATROL
 
 
 
 
                U-68 left Lorient late in January or early in February 1943 to join patrol lines being formed in the North Atlantic to intercept Allied convoys.  She was stated to have participated in the fierce, running battle fought by Convoy O.N. 166 against a large wolf-pack off Newfoundland in the 3rd week of February, during which 12 Allied ships were torpedoed, and to have belonged to GRUPPE WILDFANG and GRUPPE STEINBOCK (See C.B.04051(64), U-432).  U-68 returned to Lorient in March 1943; Merten claimed 28,000 tons of shipping sunk on this patrol, and was relieved of his command by Lauzemis, his erstwhile 2nd watch officer.  (O.N.I. Note:  Lauzemis is believed to have left U-8 to attend Prospective U-boat Commanding Officers’ School, and to have assumed command of U-139, a Baltic School boat, in the Spring of 1942, retaining this command until he relieved Merten in the Spring of 1943).
 
 
 
 
        (h) SEVENTH PATROL
 
 
 
 
                U-68 proceeded again to the North Atlantic on her first patrol under Lauzemis’ command.  She was stated to have joined GRUPPE DONAU II and to have participated in the prolonged attack on Westbound Convoy O.N.S.5 in the area 530 N. - 440 W.  In the course of attacks from 1 - 10 May 1943 11 ships totaling 50,000 tons were sunk.  (O.N.I. Note:  The German Radio claimed the
 
 
 
 
- 53 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
sinking of 32 ships totaling 150,000 tons from these attacks.)  It is not known what part U-68 played in the sinkings, nor when she returned to base.
 
 
 
        (i) EIGHTH PATROL
 
 
 
 
                There is no clear information regarding U-68’s next patrol.  She was stated to have left Lorient on 2 August 1943 but to have returned 2 days later because of a bad oil leak.  She is believed to have put to sea again before the end of August.  The sole survivor stated that, when U-68 was 4 days out from Lorient on the patrol which preceded his coming to the U-boat, she had been attacked by aircraft in the Bay of Biscay.  Not only was the U-boat so damaged as to necessitate an immediate return to port, but Lauzemis, his 2nd watch officer, and his quartermaster were all wounded by the planes’ machine gun fire.  Lauzemis’ jaw was broken and, upon the U-boat’s return to Lorient, he petitioned the Commander in Chief U-boats in writing to hold U-68 for him in the event that the U-boat became ready for sea prior to his own recovery.
 
 
 
 
III.  PENULTIMATE PATROL
 
 
 
 
                U-68 was stated to have left Lorient on her penultimate patrol during the first week of October 1943, in company with U-505, U-103, and 2 other U-boats.  Officers on this patrol were:
 
 
 
 
Commanding Officer
-
Lauzemis.
 
 
Executive officer
-
Leutnant z. S. Ekkehard Scherraus, of the October 1938 Naval Term.
 
 
Second watch officer
-
Oberleutnant z. S. Walter Meyer (possibly of the October 1937 Naval Term).
 
 
 
 
- 54 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
Engineer officer
-
Oberleutnant (Ing.) Franz Volmari, of the October 1939 Naval Term
 
 
A doctor was carried.
 
 
 
 
                U-68 proceeded to an operational area in the South Atlantic, close to the West African Coast.  The first ship claimed sunk on this patrol was a 4,000 ton tanker.  The ship was sighted in daylight about 4 weeks after U-68 had left Lorient, proceeding in ballast at an estimated speed of 12 knots, in the latitude of Monrovia.  Three torpedoes were fired at the tanker at night, a spread of 2 followed by a single “Fangschuss”.  Lauzemis was stated to have spoken with the survivors.  (O.N.I. Note:  The British freighter, NEW COLUMBIA, of 6,574 tons, was torpedoed at 2030 GMT on 31 October 1943 in position 04.25 N. - 05.03 E.  She was proceeding at 11 knots; the first torpedo struck the No 1 hold on the port side.  Ship was abandoned at once.  At 2100 a second torpedo hit and the ship sank instantly.  The U-boat surfaced and ordered a lifeboat alongside.  Survivors were questioned by the U-boat’s officers.)
 
 
 
 
                Several weeks later, in mid November, U-68 was refueled by U-Schnoor, a 1600 ton supply U-boat (O.N.I. Note:  Schnoor is believed to command U-461).  The operation was stated to have taken place somewhat South of the Equator.  U-68 took on oil and provisions and remained with U-Schnoor about 4 hours.
 
 
 
 
                The survivor stated that, at the end of November, two 8,000 ton freighters were sunk south of the Equator in the course of a single daylight attack.  A spread of 4 torpedoes was fired at the 2 targets simultaneously.  The first freighter broke in half and sank
 
 
 
 
- 55 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
within 5 minutes, the second freighter sinking 10 minutes later.  Lauzemis was stated to have hailed the ship’s boats and conversed with survivors.  (O.N.I. Note:  There is no record of any comparable incident.)
 
 
 
                Early in December, after U-68 had begun the return voyage to Lorient, a 4-5000 ton ship was attacked at night somewhat north of the Equator.  It was stated that 2 torpedo hits were registered, that the ship sank swiftly and that no survivors were seen.  (O.N.I. Note:  The French passenger-cargo ship FORT DE VAUX, of 5,186 tons, was torpedoed at 2318 GCT on 29 November 1943 in position 06.32 N. - 12.20 W.  and sank 37 minutes later.  A single torpedo struck on the port side, but a second torpedo was believed to have passed astern.  The U-boat surfaced after the attack and left at full speed on a course of 0600 W.  The FORT DE VAUX was probably sunk by U-68.
 
 
 
 
                The survivor stated that the U-boat returned to Lorient on 24 December 1943.  Several outboard tanks had been damaged by an aircraft attack in the Bay of Biscay, and U-68 safely made port largely through the ingenuity of the Engineer Officer, who had contrived to maintain trim through elaborate calculations.  He was later awarded the German Cross in Gold for this feat.  Lauzemis received the same decoration.
 
 
 
 
                The survivor stated that Radar Decoy Balloons had been used on several occasions during this patrol after the sinking of ships, and believed that 5 torpedoes had been brought back to Lorient.  During the long period of overhaul - occasioned presumably by damage sustained in the Bay of Biscay aircraft attack - U-68
 
 
 
 
- 56 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
had 3 deck torpedo containers removed, and received the new 37 mm. gun.  Scherraus, the Executive Officer, was relieved because of illness, and was replaced by Meyer, the 2nd officer.
 
 
 
IV.  FINAL PATROL
 
 
 
 
                U-68 left Lorient on 26 March 1944 for her final patrol.  Her officers were:
 
 
 
 
Commanding Officer
-
Lauzemis.
 
 
Executive officer
-
Meyer.
 
 
II. watch officer
-
Oberleutnant z. S. Keller.
 
 
Engineer officer
-
Volmari.
 
 
 
 
                Tropical kit was stated to have been issued to the crew.  U-68 was escorted by a Sperrbrecher and a minesweeper into the Bay of Biscay; the original escort broke off in the Bay and a destroyer came up to remain with the U-boat until Cape Finisterre was passed.
 
 
 
 
                Approximately 12 hours after the destroyer put about, U-68 was attacked by a twin-engined aircraft.  She fought the plane off with her guns and was not damaged.  (O.N.I. Note:  There is no record of a comparable attack in this area at this time.)
 
 
 
 
                The sole survivor stated that there were no further attacks on or by U-68 prior to the action which led to her sinking.  She proceeded toward the South Atlantic and was stated to have been on course 2100 for 48 hours prior to the final action.
 
 
 
 
                The survivor maintained that, 3 days before U-68 was sunk, Control had radioed that an American escort carrier was in her immediate vicinity.  The carrier was described as a 12,000 ton ship, with a complement of 1100 men and an escort of 4 destroyers.
 
 
 
 
- 57 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
                During the night of 9/10 April, the survivor was off watch and asleep in the forward torpedo compartment.  He was awakened by the sound of distant depth charge explosions which were attributed to an attack on another U-boat in the area.  In this connection, the survivor stated that a “number” of U-boats were operating nearby.  (O.N.I. Note:  Aircraft VT-30 from U.S.S. GUADALCANAL sighted a surfaced U-boat at 0359 GCT on 10 April in position 33.40 N. - 18.39 W. and attacked with rockets and depth bombs.  Result of this attack was inconclusive, but it is believed that the U-boat attacked was not U-68.)
 
 
 
V.  SINKING OF U-68
 
 
 
 
                The survivor stated that U-68 was proceeding fully surfaced early on the morning of 10 April when a lookout reported the approach of enemy aircraft.  The deck guns were ordered manned and the survivor took his station at the 37 mm. gun, which he served.  In the ensuing action, 200 rounds were fired from this gun but, in the general confusion, the survivor could not ascertain what damage was done to the U-boat or to the planes.  He recalled 4 distinct attacks, a strafing run from astern, and an attack by a plane crossing the U-boat from the starboard beam.  He did not know how many planes attacked U-68 at this time.  Suddenly, the siren was sounded for a crash dive.  The survivor helped secure the 37 mm. gun and then noticed that one of the gunners had been wounded.  He struggled forward with the wounded man,
 
 
 
 
- 58 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
attempting to bring him into the boat.  As they approached the conning tower hatch, it was slammed shut and the U-boat began to submerge.  In a moment, the 2 men were in the water, pulled under by the suction, but clear of the boat.  The survivor, whose life jacket had been punctured by bullets and was comparatively ineffective, remained with the wounded man for some time.  The latter, wounded in the stomach and leg, had turned very pale and was unconscious.  The sole survivor stated that 2 planes came over after he had been in the water for a few minutes and dropped more depth charges; finally, one of the planes dropped a rubber boat.  The survivor lost consciousness shortly thereafter from the effort of supporting himself and the wounded man in the water.
 
 
 
VI.  ACTION REPORT
 
 
 
 
                (O.N.I. Note:  Following is a digest of the action reported by the attacking aircraft.)
 
 
 
 
                At 0626 GCT, 10 April, aircraft VT-24 from U.S.S. GUADALANAL, searching in the area of the contact made by plane VT-30 earlier in the morning, sighted a U-boat in position 33.25 N. - 18.59 W.  The U-boat, observed in moonlight fully surfaced, opened fire during the plane’s approach for a rocket attack.  Eight rockets were fired in 4 burst of 2 rockets each.  The pilot reported several direct hits, but could not observe damage to the U-boat.  Circling to the left after the rocket attack, VT-24 delivered a depth bomb attack from the U-boat’s starboard quarter, through heavy A/A fire.  Two mark 47 depth bombs were dropped from 350 feet, the explosions straddling the U-boat abaft the conning tower.  The U-boat slowed
 
 
 
 
- 59 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
immediately and left a heavy oil slick in its wake.
 
 
 
                At 0629, plane VF-4 from U.S.S. GUADALCANAL made a strafing run from the U-boat’s starboard beam, and at 0630 plane VT-22 delivered a rocket attack from dead ahead of the U-boat, firing 8 rockets at close range.  All A/A fire from the U-boat had ceased.  It was estimated that 4 of the rockets were direct hits.  At 0631, VF-4 again strafed the U-boat.  At 0634, after the U-boat had submerged, VT-22 dropped depth bombs.  The drop was very close and was followed by a large underwater disturbance, an enormous air bubble and green slick.
 
 
 
 
                Three hours later, the sole survivor and a corpse were taken aboard an escort vessel, and 3 torpedo air flasks were recovered.  Additional debris, including cork, cloth, food, a canvas bag, a sofa pillow, a leather jacket, and human remains were observed floating in the oil at the scene.
 
 
 
 
- 60 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
CHAPTER XVI.  OTHER U-BOATS
 
 
 
U-103         U-103 left Lorient 22 July 1943, but had to return the following day because of leaking valves.  She then left Lorient 18 August 1943 for an operational area off Freetown.  The patrol lasted 16 weeks, but no sinkings were claimed.  It was stated that she was supplied twice, once by a supply U-boat commanded by Oberleutnant Schnoor, the second time, early December 1943, by a U-boat commanded by Korvettenkapitän Burghagen.  (O.N.I. Note:  Schnoor is believed to have commanded U-40 which was reported sunk, probably early October 1943.)  While on this patrol, U-103 stopped ANGOLA, a Portuguese steamer of 7,884 tons, to transfer a crew member who had developed tuberculosis.  An Italian counsel aboard ANGOLA donated 3500 cigarettes to U-103’s crew.
   
          The officers of U-103 were stated to have been Kapitänleutnant G. A. Janssen, Executive Officer Oberleutnant Wermuth (of the October 1939 Term), second watch officer Leutnant Fritz, Engineer Officer Oberleutnant (Ing.) Varmers (not listed in G.N.L.).
   
U-106         The commander of U-106, Oberleutnant Damerow and 22 of his crew were stated to have been rescued when U-106 sank in the Bay of Biscay summer 1943.  (O.N.I. Note:  Previous information indicated that Damerow was a casualty at the sinking, but that the Executive Officer was saved.)
 
 
 
 
- 61 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
U-160          U-160 was commissioned late 1941.  Her first patrol, which lasted 8 to 10 weeks, began in March 1942.  In her operational area off the North American Coast she claimed the sinking of 50,000 tons.  The second patrol took her to the north coast of South America.  While on this patrol she sank a ship loaded with rice, from which 3 prisoners, a British captain, a Norwegian captain and a New Zealand radioman, were taken prisoners.  The patrol lasted from 10 to 12 weeks.  The operational area on the third patrol was again off Trinidad and U-160 returned just before Christmas 1942, having been out between 12 and 14 weeks.  The forth patrol started 6 January 1943 and took U-160 into the Indian Ocean.  The total tonnage claimed sunk was 71,000 tons.  U-160 returned to her base end of May 1943.
   
          Her commander up to that time, Kapitänleutnant Lassen, relinquished his command on account of ill health and was succeeded by Oberleutnant von Pommer-Esche.  U-160 was sunk on the first patrol under her new commander in July 1943.  (O.N.I. Note:  Gerd von Pommer-Esche belongs to the April 1937 Term.
   
U-161         It was stated that Korvettenkapitän Achilles commanded U-161 when she was sunk summer 1943.  (O.N.I Note:  Achilles has been reported missing since 8 October 1943, but it was believed that he had left U-161.)
 
 
 
- 62 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
U-170         Left Lorient on patrol mid February 1944.
   
U-221         Commissioned May 1942 at which time her officers were:  Commander - Kapitänleutnant Hans Trojer, executive officer - Oberleutnant Adolf Gundlach (October 1939 Term), engineer officer - Oberleutnant (Ing.) Karl Kolbig (Kriegsoffizier October 1937 Term).  U-221 left on her first patrol in September 1942.  The sinking of 9 or 10 ships of a total of about 50,000 tons was claimed.  U-221 returned to St. Nazaire in early November 1942.  It was on this patrol that U-221 rammed and sank U-254.  Because of damage suffered she returned to St. Nazaire about 20 December 1942.  Prior to the ramming of U-254, she claimed the sinking of about 30,000 tons, including S.S.VESTFOLD.  (O.N.I. Note:  VESTFOLD, Panamanian tanker, 14,547 tons, was torpedoed and presumed sunk 17 January 1943, at about 61.30 N. - 29.10 W.)
   
U-508         U-508 was commissioned in the fall of 1941.  Her officers were Commander - Kapitänleutnant Georg Staats, executive officer - Oberleutnant Erich Mäder, second watch officer - Leutnant Friedrich Altmeier (October 1938 Term), engineer officer - Oberleutnant (Ing.) Gerhard Reuter (1936 Term).
   
           She left on her first patrol about May 1942 and operated in the South Atlantic.  She claimed the sinking
 
 
 
- 63 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
  of 1 steamer.  U-508 returned to Lorient about August 1942.  The second patrol of U-508 began in October 1942, but was cut short by an aircraft attack in the Bay of Biscay which resulted in U-508’s leaving an oil trace.  The U-boat returned to port about 1 week later.  Oberleutnant Mäder left U-508 to take the commanding officers’ course and was replaced by Oberleutnant Gert Dultgen (October 1937 Term).
   
          U-508 left on her third patrol early February 1943 and claimed the sinking of 8 ships totaling 56,000 tons.  She operated in the South or Southwest Atlantic.  She returned to Lorient after 10 weeks, badly damaged.  Oberleutnant Dultgen left U-508 and Altmeier was promoted to executive officer.  He was succeeded as second watch officer by Leutnant Buchholz.  (O.N.I. Note:  Probably Helmut Buchholz of the October 1940 Term.)
   
          U-508 left on her forth patrol probably June 1943 and operated between Brazil and the West African Coast.  She claimed the sinking of 3 steamers totaling 26,000 tons.  From this patrol she returned to Lorient in September 1943.
   
          U-508 left on her last patrol from Lorient on 1 November 1943 in company with U-515.  After calling at St. Nazaire, both boats left there 9 November 1943.  U-508 was reported sunk about 1 week later, probably while operating in one of the GROUPS SCHILL.
   
U-516         Reported to have been in Lorient when U-515 left
 
 
 
- 64 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
  on her last patrol 30 March 1944.
   
U-521         Commissioned 2 June 1942 at which time her executive officer was Oberleutnant Damerow (later commanding officer of U-106); her second watch officer was Oberleutnant Schepuka.  On her first patrol, the sinking of 9 ships and a destroyer was claimed.  She arrived at Lorient 8 December 1942 and was attached to the 2nd Flotilla.  (O.N.I. Note:  The above confirms in general information contained in Final Report-G/Serial 14.)
   
U-537         U-537 was in Lorient when U-515 left on her last patrol 30 March 1944.  She is commanded by Kapitänleutnant Peter Schrewe.
   
U-541         U-541, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Petersen, was believed to have left Lorient on Patrol early March 1944.
   
U-543         U-543, commanded by Oberleutnant Hellriegel, was stated to have left Lorient either a few days prior to or several days later than U-515.  (U-515 left on her last patrol 30 March 1944.)  U-543 is equipped with extensible Diesel air intake and exhaust (Schnorckel).
   
U-563         U-563 left on her first patrol from Kiel 31 July 1941.  She arrived at Brest mid September 1941 and was attached to the 1st Flotilla.  No sinkings were claimed on this patrol.  The second patrol began early October 1941 and U-563
 
 
 
- 65 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
  operated off Gibraltar.  With the sinking of 5 ships and a destroyer, 30,000 tons in all were claimed.  The U-boat returned to Brest mid November 1941.  The officers on the first 2 patrols were Commander - Kapitänleutnant Klaus Bargsten; executive officer - Kapitänleutnant (then Oberleutnant) Kurt Petersen; second watch officer - Leutnant Gunther Ruppelt (of the 1937-B Term); engineer officer - Oberleutnant (Ing.) Helmut Henning (of the 1936 Term).
   
          On her third patrol U-563 left Brest 26 November 1941.  She was attacked by an airplane 1 December and was forced to return to Lorient running only on the surface.  She arrived at Lorient on 5 December 1941 from where she left mid January 1942, proceeding via Bergen and Helgoland to Hamburg for a complete refit and repairs to the pressure hull.
   
          The officers on this patrol were executive officer - Oberleutnant d.R. Mannesmann.  (O.N.I. Note:  The above confirms information contained in Chapter III, G/Serial 14 patrols made by U-563.)
 
 
 
- 66 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
  U-BOATS IDENTIFIED BY COMMANDERS  
     
 
U-GEMEINER         A U-boat stated to be commanded by Oberleutnant Gerth Gemeiner (of the 1937-B Term) was reported to have left Lorient shortly before 30 March 1944.  The U-boat belonged to the 10th Flotilla and was believed to be a fairly new boat.
   
U-MOHS             It was believed that Oberleutnant Heinz Dieter Mohs (1937-B Term) was in command of a Hamburg built U-boat and that he may be lost as no more news was received from him after he left on his first patrol summer 1943.
 
 
 
OTHER U-BOATS
 
 
 
 
        A Japanese U-boat of about 2600 tons, fitted with an airplane, arrived at Lorient early 1944.  It was stated to have carried passengers and crew totaling about 180.  Mercury and rubber were part of the cargo brought to Lorient by this boat.  Prisoners stated that the Japanese U-boat had left Lorient early March 1944.
 
 
 
     
     
     
     
     
 
- 67 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
CHAPTER XVII.  BASES
 
 
 
BAD SCHWELBACH
 
 
 
 
        A Navy rest home is located at Bad Schwalbach (near Wiesbaden).
 
 
 
 
BREST (also other channel ports)
 
 
 
 
        It was stated that the shore-based torpedo batteries at Brest and other channel ports, as well as possibly those in Norwegian fjords, use the old G7v torpedo.
 
 
 
 
GOTENHAFEN
 
 
 
 
        The 22nd U-boat Flotilla is stated to be commanded by Korvettenkapitän Lüth.  On his staff is Kapitänleutnant Pratorius.
 
 
 
 
        The 27th Flotilla is commanded by Korvettenkapitän Reinhart (Teddy) Suhren.  Among his staff are Kapitänleutnants Korth, Bleichrodt and Ernst Bauer.
 
 
 
 
        (The above information is as of January 1944.)
 
 
 
 
KIEL
 
 
 
 
        The factory of Hagenuk was reported completely destroyed by aerial bombs.  This was cited as the main reason for the delay in fitting U-boats with fixed and permanent Naxos G.S.R. aerials.
 
 
 
 
RADAR COURSES
 
 
 
 
        Courses for the new “Hohentwiel” radar set are held at Ghent; “Gema” radar courses are taught at Den Haan.
 
 
 
 
- 68 -
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
  ANNEX A. CREW LIST OF U-515 AND U. S. EQUIVALENTS OF GERMAN NAVAL RANKS  
         
  Name Rank U.S. Equivalent Age
         
    Korvettenkapitän Lieutenant Commander  
(1) Henke, Werner Kapitänleutnant Lieutenant 35
* Benz Oberleutnant z. S. Lieutenant (j.g.)  
  Schultz, Hans Oberleutnant z. S. Lieutenant (j.g.) 22
  Altenburger, Günther Leutnant (Ing.) Ensign 30
* Dohrmann, Oberfähnrich  Midshipman  
(2) Jensen, Jörg Oberassistenzarzt Lieutenant (j.g.) 28
  Heimann, Ernst Obersteuermann Quartermaster (Warrant Rank)  27
  Lamprecht, Heinrich Oberbootsmannsmaat Boatswain’s Mate 2cl. 30
  Bäckerra, Georg Bootsmannsmaat Coxswain 25
  Stephani, Peter Bootsmannsmaat Coxswain 24
  Becker, Hubertus Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 21
  Bölke, Herbert Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 22
  Bräuer, Franz Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 21
  Busse, Erich Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 22
  Dewald, Herbert Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 21
  Hahn, Hans Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 23
* Hartmann Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl.  
  Herfort, Günther Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 24
  Lasar, Rudolf Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 23
  Oppelt, Karl Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 23
* Raksch Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl.  
  Röse, Eernst Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 22
  Wantzke Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl.  
* Pantelmann Matrosengefreiter Seaman 2cl.  
  Halder, Josef Stabsobermaschinist Chief machinist 32
* Bruss, Obermaschinist Machinist  
  Stabwasser, Hans Obermaschinenmaat Machinist’s Mate 2cl. 24
  Wegemann, Theodor Obermaschinenmaat Machinist’s Mate 2cl. 26
  Alten, Erich Maschinenmaat Fireman 1cl. 20
  Bloch, Werner Maschinenmaat Fireman 1cl. 23
  Fellinger, Josef Maschinenmaat Fireman 1cl. 23
  Rettenbeck, Georg Maschinenmaat Fireman 1cl. 22
  Simon, Edmond Maschinenmaat Fireman 1cl. 24
* Brandl, Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl.  
  Brandt, Hermann Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl. 23
  Dymini, Heinz Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl. 22
  Eckert, Günter Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl. 23
  Fehling, Gerhardt Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl. 20
  Göbel, Alfred Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl. 21
  Hanisch, Kurt Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl. 21
  Kaspers, Helmut Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl. 23
* Kloth, Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl.  
  Lipke, Kurt Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl. 23
  Scharnhorst, Heinrich Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl. 20
* Belau, Maschinengefreiter Fireman 3cl.  
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
  Name Rank U.S. Equivalent Age
         
  Grossman, Fritz Maschinengefreiter Fireman 3cl. 19
* Nolte, Maschinengefreiter Fireman 3cl.  
  Ottenberg, Alfred Maschinengefreiter Fireman 3cl. 19
  Salewsky, Willy Maschinengefreiter Fireman 3cl. 21
  Deussen, Bruno Mechanikermaat Torpedoman’s Mate 3cl. 26
  Taubert, Rolf Mechanikermaat Torpedoman’s Mate 3cl. 22
  Zschumme, Rubolf  Mechanikerhauptgefreiter Seaman 1cl. 26
* Neidhardt Mechanikergefreiter Seaman 2cl.  
  Rasche, Werner Mechanikergefreiter Seaman 2cl. 22
* Schwalto, Mechanikergefreiter Seaman 2cl.  
  Heinemann, Wilhelm Oberfunkmaat Radioman 2cl. 26
* Virnau Funkmaat Radioman 3cl.  
* Labach Funkobergefreiter Seaman 1cl.  
  Schneider, Alexander Funkobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 20
* Wankmuller Funkgefreiter Seaman 2cl.  
         
 
 
 
* Denotes casualty.
(Ing.) Denotes engineering duties only.
(1) Reportedly promoted to Korvettenkapitän 20 April 1944.
(2) Medical Corps.
  Average age of petty officers: 25 yrs.
  Average age of enlisted men: 22 yrs.
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
  ANNEX B. PARTIAL CREW LIST OF U-68 AND U. S. EQUIVALENTS OF GERMAN NAVAL RANKS  
         
  Name Rank U.S. Equivalent Age
         
  Lauzemis, Albert Oberleutnant z. S. Lieutenant (jg)  
  Mayer Oberleutnant z. S. Lieutenant (jg)  
  Keller Oberleutnant z. S. Lieutenant (jg)  
  Volmari Oberleutnant (Ing.) Lieutenant (jg)  
  Wille, Rolf or Hans Obersteuermann Quartermaster (Warrant Rank)  
  Veit Obermaschinist Machinist  
  Hussing Obermaschinist Machinist  
  Butke, Walter Oberbootsmaat Boatswain’s Mate 2cl.  
  Kult, Wilhelm Bootsmaat Coxswain  
  Vogelsang Bootsmaat Coxswain  
  Krahe, Hans Oberfunkmaat Radioman 2cl.  
  Penner Oberfunkmaat Radioman 2cl.  
  Heldt Mechanikermaat Torpedoman’s Mate 3cl.  
  Janske Obersanitätsmaat Pharmacist’s Mate  
  Eichel Obermaschinenmaat Machinist’s Mate 2cl.  
  Lerdt Obermaschinenmaat  Machinist’s Mate 2cl.  
  Paulig Obermaschinenmaat Machinist’s Mate 2cl.  
  Warner Obermaschinenmaat Machinist’s Mate 2cl.  
* Kastrup, Hans Matrosengefreiter Seaman 2cl.  19
         
         
* Denotes survivor.      
(Ing.) Denotes engineering duties only.    
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


 

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