Subject:  Report on U-546 (draft)  
     
 
Number: U-546.
   
Call letters: Paula.
   
Type: IX C .
   
Tonnage: 750 t.
   
Commanding Officer: Paul Just Kptl.  1937 B Crew.
   
Builders: Deutsche Werft Finkenwerder, Hamburg.
   
Commissioned: 3 June 1943.
   
Armament: Two twin 20 mm. guns on platroem I.  One 37 mm. automatic gun on platform II.
   
Torpedoes: On second patrol boat carried 16 Torps.  On last patrol boat carried:  14 Torps.  In detail:
  4 - T5 after Torp. Room
  2 - T5 forw. Torp. Room
  1 - T3    "       "         "
  7 - LUT "       "         "
  Pistols carried for T5 P4C, for the rest P3.  Number of tubes as Type calls for.  Fire-control system ordinary.  F A T setting gear fitted.  No tubes on top deck fitted.
   
Diesels: M.A.N. Type with mechanical supercharger.
   
Motors: Siemens - Type.
   
Switchboard: Siemens - Type.
   
Schnorchel: Head and top of trunk covered with gray rubber, crossed by ridges approximately 5 mm high.
   
G.S.R. Two Runddipole with Hela-amplifier.  One on the bridge, one on top of Schnorchel.
  Naxos with Tunis antenna, Fliege and Muecke was fitted.
  Tuned by hand, operated by headphone either from bridge or Conning tower.  Watch stood in C.T.
  Borkum.
   
Radar: Hohentwiel mounted on bridge. (used without success)
   
Radio equipment: 200 Watt F.K.W. transmitter
  L/F transmitter
  40 Watt emergency - transmitter
 
     
     

 

     

   
  (Continued)  
     
 
Radio equipment: One "Koeln" receiver (an improved Main receiver with a better Trannschaerfe)
  D.F. receiver Type Lorenz with ring-frame antenna.
   
Hydrophones: G.H.G. Atlas Type multi-unit.
   
Complement: Fifty nine crewmembers including one officer under instruction, a WI (second engineer) a second Obersteuermann one acted as III WO.
  No doctor was carried, but a pharmacists mate acted as such.
 
     
  Early history:  After the U-546 was commissioned on the 3 June 1943 at the Finkenwerder Werft in Hamburg she went to Kiel for 2 weeks U.A.K. training, during which period the boat made its silent run at Sönderborg.  From Kiel the boat proceeded to Danzig for further U.A.C. training.  On this trip the U-546 visited shortly the 4th flotilla at Stettin to which she was attached at that time.  
  After having completed its U.A.K. and U.A.C. training the U-546 went to Hela Agru. Front for a 6 weeks training period.  At the end of this training trouble developed on the Junkers air compressor and the boat went shortly to Danzig Holm-Yard for repairs and returned thereafter to Hela to repeat the alarm dives.  When the U-546 had completed her training at Hela, she went to Pillau for approximately two weeks and to Liebau for another week to participate together with the U-945 and the U-547 and two Italian named 7C type boats in the Schiessflotilla, training.  Thereafter followed the tactical training for the U-546 in the Baltic, lasting about 10-14 days.  Having completed this training period the U-546 returned to Gotenhafen Navy Yard for minor repairs and then proceeded to Hamburg for final overhaul.  During the final overhaul which lasted till the end of November 1943 the 2nd platform was widened and a 37 mm gun was mounted there.  After the U-546 had been overhauled she proceeded to Kiel U.A.K. and from there to Hela for four days to carry out some alarm dives following the new established trim conditions after widening the 2nd platform.  To complete her training the U-546 went from Hela to Swinemünde for a few days to practice her A.A. guns.  In the meantime some trouble had developed again with the Ju-compressor which required its exchange.  This was done at Stettin Navy Yard simultaneously with equipping the boat for the first patrol.  From Stettin the U-546 proceeded to Kiel to take more supplies aboard ship before leaving Kiel on 22 January 1944 for her first patrol.  
     
     

 

     

   
  FIRST PATROL:  Having left Kiel the U-546 went with an escort to Kristiansand, where she spent 3 days in taking fuel and last provisions.  The U-546 left Kristiansand on 28 January 1944 and took course through the Iceland passage to the area of operations assigned to her in the North Atlantic, participated in the "Schillaufstelleng".  On 14 Feb 44 the boat was attacked by a Sunderland with bombs and machine guns without causing any damage to the boat.  One member of the gun crew, however was killed.  Shortly after this engagement the U-546 operated in the Iceland area as weather-boat until the middle of April, when she was ordered back to Lorient.  On her way to Lorient across the Atlantic the U-546 neither sighted anything nor was interfered with.  Upon entering the Bay of Biscay, however her Naxos went out of order and the U-546 underwent three surprise attacks by aircraft.  The first time the U-546 was attacked, at night by a Mosquito bomber, when she was unable to dive, because of damage to her electric motors, caused by negligence.  She defended herself with machine guns and shot the attacker down, sustaining no damage.  The following night she was attacked again by aircraft with searchlights; but no bombs were dropped.  During the third attack by aircraft four to six bombs were dropped which did not cause any damage.  Thereafter, the U-546 did not encounter any attacks by aircraft until her arrival at Lorient on 25 Apr 44.  
     
  SECOND PATROL:  At Lorient the crew of the U-546 went on leave after the boat was docked.  The boat was overhauled and the Schnorchel was fitted.  This lasted until early June 1044.  On 15 Jun 44 the U-546 left Lorient for the Second patrol, she had to return after a few days, however, because the Schnorchel could not be hoisted.  On 26 Jun 44 the U-546 left Lorient finally with the destination of the African Gold Coast assigned to her as area of operations, which area she never reached because she had to return to Germany after the Invasion of Normandy, instead of to Lorient, and therefore had to stretch her supplies.  On 20 Jul 44 the U-546 sighted and attacked at daylight with one torpedo a carrier, without success, after which attack she was depth-charged for three hours.  The position was southeast of the Azores half-way to Gibraltar.  The U-546 then proceeded to Cape Verde where she operated for about four weeks attacking a convoy with a spread of three torpedoes, scoring no hits.  The U-546 returned then to the North Atlantic, touching Norway to Flensburg, arriving there 25 Nov 44.  Significant is the exceptionally long time of 150 days a boat of this type had been on patrol without refueling, yet having 30 cubic tons of fuel left over upon return to port.  This was achieved according to the C.O. by floating submerged for days on water-layers with all engines stopped.  
     
  THIRD PATROL:  At Flensburg the U-546 remained 14 days before she could go to Kiel to begin with the overhaul, which lasted till early March 1945, because of the damage constantly being done to the yards by air-raids.  On 10 Mar 45 the U-546 left Kiel for her third and last patrol, going first to Horten, departing thence for Kristiansand on 16 Mar 45, arriving in Kristiansand 18 Mar 45.  Test-runs for Schnorchel and radar were carried out in Kristiansand, and supplies and fuel were topped off.  Having left Kristiansand on 21 Mar 45 the U-546 took course through the Faroere passage proceeding submerged with the Schnorchel, under orders to patrol the North Atlantic with six other boats (Bode, Bernadelli, Bartsch, Offermann), course west.  She surfaced for the first time in the night of 7-8 April for 8 hours.  Hereafter she surfaced almost every night for 3 hours to charge her batteries.  The group of six boats later was disbanded and each boat was ordered to operate on its own off the  
     
     

 

     

   
  American coast.  On 16 Apr 45 a carrier and two DE's were sighted, one of which DE's was attacked, without success.  After that the U-546 encountered much more activity from radar devices, until she sighted on 24 Apr 45 the same carrier group again.  Between 16 and 24 Apr 45 she received the last message to report fuel consumption.  Having sighted the carried group again, the U-546 decided to attack, but waited for the group to come closer, to a more favorable position for attack.  She was compelled to begin the attack ahead of time, when one of the DE's turned toward her, in the morning of 24 Apr 45, with a T-5; submerging after the firing of the torpedo, she heard a detonation.  Shortly thereafter the U-546 was depth-charged until the evening, when she was so heavily damaged that she was unable to stay submerged or even make headway.  The U-546 surfaced and was abandoned by her crew and sank shortly after.  33 crew-members were picked up as survivors.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

 

     

   
  Op-16-Z  
     
 
CREW LIST OF U-546
 
     
 
Name Rank or Rate U.S. Equivalent
     
JUST, Paul Kapitänleutnant Lieutenant
KLUGT, Bertram Kapitänleutnant Lieutenant
SCHONEICH, Peter Oberleutnant Lieutenant (jg)
BEHNKE, Walter Obersteuermann Quartermaster of Warrant Rank
REIMERS, Kurt Obermaschinist Machinist
BAHNSEN, Sievert Obermaschinist Machinist
DECKERT, Gerhard Bootsmaat Coxswain
EISERMANN, Paul Funkmaat Radioman 3cl
GASEYK, Waldmar Maschinenobermaat Machinist Mate 2cl
VETTER, Ulrich Maschinenmaat Fireman 1cl
MÜLLER, Georg Maschinenmaat Fireman 1cl
PFEIFER, Kurt Maschinenmaat Fireman 1cl
RUDNICK, Heinz Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl
GRUBER, Otto Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl
SCHIFFMANN, Jan-Gerd Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl
ELEND, Walter Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl
RUTH, Walter Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl
BENN, Johannes Funkobergefreiter Seaman 1cl
NAU, Alexander Funkobergefreiter Seaman 1cl
TRIEMER, Herbert Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl
BERGER, Josef Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl
THALER, Walter Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl
REDMANN, Carl Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl
RITTNER, Herbert Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl
HERBERT, Heinz Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl
HUTTNY, Georg Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl
RUSTMEYER, Hans Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl
TRINIES, Otto Franz Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl
SETTNICK, Gerhard Mechanikerobergefreiter Seaman 1cl
JOTH, Horst Maschinengefreiter Fireman 3cl
MÄDLER, Gunther Maschinengefreiter Fireman 3cl
MUEGGE, Gunther Maschinengefreiter Fireman 3cl
WEIMANN, Ludwig Maschinenmaat Fireman 1cl
 
     
     
     

 


 

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