Op-16-Z
Copy No. 49 of 49
 
 
S E C R E T
 
     
     
 
NAVY DEPARTMENT
 
 
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS
 
 
WASHINGTON
 
 
 
 
 
 
FINAL REPORT – G/Serial 38
 
 
 
 
REPORT ON THE
 
 
INTERROGATION OF SURVIVORS FROM U-66
 
 
SUNK 6 MAY 1944
 
     
     
  DISTRIBUTION:  
     
          BAD  
          BUORD  
          BUSHIPS  
          BUSHIPS (Code 515)  
          BUSHIPS (Code 815)  
          COMINCH (F-21)  
          COMINCH (F-4253)  
          COMINCH (F-45)  
          COMINCH (FX-40)  
          COMINCH (FX-43)  
          COMNAVEU  
          DNI (Ottawa)  
          G-2 (Col. Sweet)  
          Op-16-1 via Op-16-1-F  
          Op-16-FA-4  
          Op-16-P  
          Op-16-W  
          Op-20-G  
          Op-23-C  
          SONRD  
          Lt. Cdr. 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. (jg) R. J. Mullen (4th Fleet)  
          COMASDEVLANT  
 
        CINCLANT
 
     
  5 August 1944  
     
     

 

     
     
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
     
 
       
Page
CHAPTER I.   INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
1
       
  II.   DETAILS OF U-66
3
       
  III.   EARLY HISTORY OF U-66 UNDER ZAPP
10
       
  IV.   HISTORY OF U-66 UNDER MARKWORTH
14
       
  V.   NINTH AND LAST PATROL OF U-66
20
       
  VI.   SINKING OF U-66
24
       
  VII.   OTHER U-BOATS
27
 
     
  ANNEX  CREW LIST OF U-66 AND U.S. EQUIVALENTS OF GERMAN NAVAL RANKS  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

 

     
     
 
CHAPTER I.  INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
 
     
        On 6 May 1944 at 0436 G.C.T. U-66 under the command of Oberleutnant z. S. Gerhard Seehausen was sunk by U.S.S. BUCKLEY after a 16-minute running fight in approximate position 17.17 N. – 32.29 W.  
     
        Of the total complement of 60 officers and men 36 were picked up by BUCKLEY and later transferred to U.S.S. BLOCK ISLAND, C.T.G. 21.11.  Seehausen, the commanding officer of the U-boat, did not survive, nor two British prisoners who were aboard.  After preliminary interrogation in North Africa, the prisoners were brought to the United States for further interrogation and internment.  
     
         U-66 had a rather long and exciting history, but the most interesting episodes became known earlier and are not published for the first time in this report.  In her nine patrols under three commanders she claimed the sinking of some 200,000 tons of shipping, including five or more tankers; on her sixth patrol she laid mines at Port Castries, Santa Lucia and on her way back to Lorient in late September 1942 was refueled in the Spanish port of El Ferrol; in January 1943 on her seventh patrol she landed a French saboteur and two German sailors on the African Coast near Port Etienne.  
     
        The first two commanders, Zapp and Markworth, won the Knight’s Cross to the Iron Cross on U-66, as did the engineering officer, Olschewski.  
     
 
 
 
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        U-66 was a standard 750-ton U-boat, type IX-C, with nothing unusual or new in her equipment except for the new arrangement of the multi-unit hydrophone gear.  (See Chapter II. Details of U-66.)  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
 
 
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CHAPTER II.  DETAILS OF U-66
 
     
  TONNAGE  
     
        750-tons.  Total displacement submerged said to be 1000 tons.  
     
  TYPE  
     
        IX-C.  
     
  BUILDING YARD  
     
        Deschimag, Bremen.  Yard number thought to be 985.  
     
  FLOTILLA  
     
        2nd Flotilla, Lorient.  
     
  FIELD POST NUMBER  
     
        M-21181.  
     
  PATRON  
     
        City of Wilhelmshaven for last patrol.  Under Markworth the patron was a Naval Flak regiment at Lorient.  Under Zapp the patron was the Ritter von Epp Corps.  
     
  COVER NAME  
     
        None.  
     
  INSIGNIA  
     
        Lion’s head in a circle on a diamond-shaped background  
 
 
 
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  (chosen by Zapp from the insignia of the Ritter von Epp Corps).  
     
  DIMENSIONS  
     
 

      Standard for Type IX-C.

 
     
  COLOR  
     
        Dark gray streaks alternating with lighter streaks.  This effect lasted only 3 or 4 weeks due to the poor quality of the paint.  Below water-line, dark gray.  
     
  CONSTRUCTION  
     
        Standard for type IX-C.  The following points were mentioned:  
        (a)    Ribs approximately one meter apart in bow and stern compartments, this distance increasing gradually to two meters in the control room.  
     
        (b)    Distance from pressure-hull to upper deck one meter amidships increasing gradually to 1.5 or 1.6 meters on either side.  
     
  DIVING  
     
        (a)    Greatest depth was 200 meters when under attack by destroyers on last patrol.  Next greatest depth was 160 meters on Markworth’s second patrol.  
     
 

(b)    Crash dive to periscope depth required 40 seconds.

 
 
 
 
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  ARMAMENT  
     
        (a)    Automatic 37-mm. on Platform II, which platform had been added in Lorient late 1942.  One extra gun barrel  
     
        (b)    Two twin 2-cm. On Platform I, with 2 or 3 reserve gun barrels.  
     
        (c)    Four machine-guns, marked “Gewer 81”.  
     
        (d)    Six torpedo tubes, 4 forward and 2 aft.  
     
        (e)    On last patrol U-66 carried 17 torpedoes, as follows: Five round-nose T-5s (in tubes 3, 5 and 6 and on stern plates), five T-1s (2 in upper deck containers, 3 FAT-1 in bow compartment), seven T-3s (in tubes 1, 2, and 4, two under bow plates and two FAT-2 on stern plates).  
     
        (f)      Two machine pistols and 7 Mauser 7.65 pistols.  
     
        (g)    40 to 50 hand grenades, said to have a firing-delay of only 3 or 4 seconds as against 7 or 8 seconds in earlier types.  
     
        (h)    Until last patrol U-66 had a 105-mm. gun forward.  
     
 

AMMUNITION

 
     
        (a)    1,000 rounds for 37-mm.  
     
        (b)    4,000 rounds for 20-mm.  
     
        (c)    About 9,000 rounds for M.G. 81.  
     
        (d)    About 400 rounds for machine pistols and about 400 for Mausers  
 
 
 
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  SCUTTLING CHARGES  
     
        Four cans carried but never were set, and had not been changed, at least not since 1942.  Carried in bow compartment usually, but during overhaul locked in forward head.  Intended for setting in bow compartment, radio room, control room, and stern compartment respectively.  
     
  S.B.T. (Submarine Bubble Target)  
     
        Four boxes of charges carried for the “7th Tube”.  Not highly thought of on U-66 and not used.  
     
  D.C.P.  (Depth Charge Plotter)  
     
        Unknown to prisoners.  
     
 

R.D.B. OR APHRODITE (Radar Decoy Balloons)

 
     
        About 60 carried.  Customary to release one after sending a radio message.  Used during the attack that led to the sinking of U-66.  Under supervision of the supernumerary watch officer, Steinhilber.  Not carried on earlier patrols.  
     
  R.D.S. OR THETIS (Radar Decoy Spar Buoys)  
     
        About 12 carried.  All used in bay of Biscay on way out.  Under supervision of the supernumerary watch officer, Steinhilber.  
 
 
 
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  CONTACT-KEEPER SMOKE BUOYS OR “FUHBOS”  
     
        Only on last patrol.  Three or four carried, each in a black box.  
     
  PROPULSION  
     
        (a)    Diesels.  2 M.A.N. 9-cylinder Diesels, developing 2250 to 2400 H.P. with superchargers.  Emergency speed is given as 18 to 19 knots at 475 to 490 R.P.M.  
     
        (b)    No auxiliary Diesels.  
     
        (c)    No “Schnorckel” intake for use of Diesels at periscope depth.  
     
        (d)    A Buchi supercharger for each Diesel.  Made at or at least assembled by M.A.N.  
     
        (e)    Diesel oil.  Said by several prisoners to be Jugoslavian oil.  Specific gravity 0.87.  Capacity 230 cubic meters carried on last patrol.  Consumption per day on one engine 1 to 1½ cubic meters.  
     
        (f)      Lubricating oil.  About 10 cubic meters.  Type “ZDM 7”.  Not of best quality, possibly some oil from coal mixed in with natural oil.  
     
        (g)    Motors/Generators.  Siemens.  Emergency speed given as 7 knots at 280 R.P.M.  
     
  COMPRESSORS  
     
        One standard Junkers compressor and one standard E-compressor.  No spares carried.  
 
 
 
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  RADIO AND SOUND EQUIPMENT  
     
        (a)    Atlas G.H.G., multi-unit hydrophone gear fitted.  New type with the 48 units arranged on a shelf (“Balkon”) forward of the keel, under the bow.  Gave much more accurate bearings than old type.  All Lorient U-boats were expected to get this improvement.  
     
        (b)    Radar.  Gema FuMG fitted before last patrol.  Said to be satisfactory but never used on patrol.  
     
        (c)    G.S.R. Equipment.  Naxos with “finger” aerial.  Borkum.  Wanz G-2, which broke down on the first day of the last patrol.  In October 1942 U-66 had been one of the very first boats to be fitted with G.S.R. having at that time the diamond-shaped wooden aerial, turned by hand.  
     
        (d)    Ultra short wave gear.  “UK Gerät", a new set was fitted for last patrol.  
     
        (e)    200-watt short-wave transmitted.  
     
         (f)      200-watt special long-range, short-wave transmitter fitted.  “F.K.W.” With separate remote control panel (E.B.G.).  
     
        (g)    150-watt long-wave transmitter fitted.  
     
        (h)    40-watt emergency transmitter fitted.  
     
        (i)      “Main” receiver fitted.  
     
        (j)      Elag 10/12 receiver fitted.  Only on last patrol.  
     
 
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        (k)    Naxos aerial.  Standard Naxos aerial with single dipole fitted.  
     
        (l)      Basket-type aerial for Wanz and Borkum fitted.  
     
        (m)  Cross-type aerial (Biskaya Kreuz) carried in reserve on last patrol.  
     
  SOUNDING GEAR  
     
        (a)    Atlas Echolot fitted in control room.  Broke down at beginning of last patrol.  
     
        (b)    Elektrolot.  100 charges carried.  Used only 5 or 6 times on last patrol.  
     
  GYRO-COMPASS  
     
        Anschütz gyro-compass fitted.  
 
 
 
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CHAPTER III.  EARLY HISTORY OF U-66 UNDER ZAPP
 
     
  COMMISSIONING AND TRIALS  
     
        The crew of U-66 began gathering at the Deschimag Yards, Bremen, in November and December 1940 to stand by during the final stages of construction.  The commissioning was on or about 1 January 1941, and two or three days later she departed Bremen.  During the rest of January, February, and until late March U-66 underwent the usual trials and exercises in the Baltic.  From late March until late April the final overhaul was made at the Oderwerke, Settin.  On 28 April U-66 arrived in Kiel to be made ready for her first patrol.  
     
 

      The officers for the first two patrols were: C.O. Korvettenkapitän Richard Zapp; executive officer Oberleutnant z. S. Achilles; second watch officer Oberleutnant z. S. Makowski; engineer officer Oberleutnant (Ing.) Gahl; Fähnrich z. S. Bernbeck.

 
     
  FIRST PATROL  
     
        When U-66 was almost ready to depart on her first patrol, it was discovered that she was leaving oil traces.  After the necessary repairs had been made and a number of trial runs in Kiel harbor had proved satisfactory, the first patrol was begun in late May 1941.  Her operational area was in the Northwest Approaches, and there was no intervening stop at a Norwegian port.  
     
        In the Rosengarten area there was an air attack that could have been serious for the U-boat.  A new untrained lookout failed to see the approaching plane, and the commanding officer  
 
 
 
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  was off duty.  Two depth-charges that were dropped, however, fell wide of the mark, and U-66 continued her patrol apparently undamaged.  
     
        Shortly after reaching her operational area, U-66 in some unexplained fashion lost the caps of her forward torpedo tubes; even the arms had broken off.  Some water entry resulted, and Zapp was finally persuaded to cut his patrol short and proceed to his operational base with the 2nd Flotilla at Lorient.  The date of arrival was given as late June 1941, the patrol having lasted only about 4 weeks.  There were no attacks nor sinkings to report.  
     
  SECOND PATROL  
     
        After 3 or 4 weeks in Lorient U-66 on 21 July 1941 put to sea for her second patrol.  Her operational area this time was given as the South Atlantic, off the coast of Africa.  Of the four ships claimed sunk, the name of one was said to be ST. AMSEL; at least one of the others was a tanker.  One of the ships was finished off with gun fire after a torpedo hit and failed to sink it.  The four ships totaled about 25,000 tons.  Off Dakar there was once an air raid alarm on board, but no attack developed.  U-66 returned to Lorient about mid August 1941 after another very short patrol.  The vents were giving trouble and had to be repaired.  
     
  THIRD PATROL  
     
        During the two weeks or so at base, some of the officers and a very few of the crew were given leave.  The second watch  
 
 
 
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  officer Makowski was relieved by Leutnant z. S. Sammler for the third and forth patrols.  An officer with a career in Naval Artillery, Oberleutnant M. A. Schmidt, joined the boat for the third patrol as supernumerary watch officer.  
     
        U-66 left Lorient 28 August 1941 to operate in the South Atlantic off South America.  This 11-week patrol met with only limited success.  One ship of about 8,000 tons was sunk on or about 10 October more than 300 miles off the Coast of Brazil.  It was stated that 5 or 6 torpedoes were used in sinking this ship.  U-66 returned to Lorient in mid November 1941.  
     
  FOURTH PATROL  
     
        For the fourth patrol the executive officer Achilles was relieved by Oberleutnant z. S. Siebold and Leutnant (Ing.) Olschewski joined the boat as prospective engineering officer.  Leaving Lorient 25 December 1941, U-66 proceeded to the Cape Hatteras area, there to join U-123 under Hardegen in operations against the relatively unprotected shipping along the American coast.  Six ships totaling 60,000 tons were claimed sunk by U-66.  She returned to Lorient 10 February 1942 with only one or two torpedoes left over.  
     
  FIFTH PATROL  
     
         U-66 left Lorient for her fifth patrol 21 March 1942 and had as her operational area the Caribbean.  Seven ships totaling 49,000 tons were said to have been sunk, and the U-boat  
 
 
 
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  returned to her base 27 May having used up about 20 of her 25 torpedoes; 10 had been carried in the upper deck containers on this patrol.  Late in April, Zapp had been notified by radio of the awarding to him of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.  His total sinkings were assessed at 142,000 tons.  
     
        On this patrol the second watch officer Sammler was relieved by Herbig, who on the eighth and ninth patrols became the executive officer.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
 
 
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CHAPTER IV.  HISTORY OF U-66 UNDER MARKWORTH
 
     
  SIXTH PATROL  
     
        The commanding officer Zapp was relieved for the sixth, seventh, and eighth patrols by Kapitänleutnant Fritz Markworth.  The departure date for the sixth patrol was given as 24 June 1942, and the operational area was again the Caribbean.  
     
        Before beginning her normal operations, U-66 this time had a special mission (Sonderunternehmung): the laying of 6 T.B.M. mines at Port Castries, Santa Lucia.  The first three weeks the mines were carried on the floor-plates of the bow compartment.  On the day before the mines were laid, torpedo tubes 3 and 4 were emptied and then filled with three mines each.  This took place submerged.  The port was entered at noon the next day and the mines were laid 30 to 40 meters apart with the U-boat at periscope depth.  As she began backing out of the harbor, still at periscope depth, it was seen that the harbor nets began closing.  
     
        During the remainder of July and most of August U-66 succeeded in sinking eight or nine ships totaling about 50,000 tons, one a tanker of 10,000 tons, one a tanker of 12,000 tons and one a Swedish freighter of 10,000 tons.  The polish-born captain of one of the American ships sunk was made prisoner and taken along to Lorient.  
     
 

      About two or three weeks out of Lorient U-66 met a supply U-boat said to be commanded by Neumann and requested 25

 
     
     
     
     
 
 
 
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  cubic meters of fuel, the minimum needed for making her base, and provisions for two weeks.  Only later it was discovered that 16 or18 cubic meters of fuel had actually been supplied, the rest being seawater.  The U-boat therefore, ordered by control to proceed to El Ferrol for further supplies.  
     
        On 25 September 1942 U-66 proceeded underwater at 1 to 1½ knots from dawn until 1000 German Summer Time.  She then lay on the bottom of a bay near El Ferrol at a depth of about 80 feet until complete darkness at 2300.  At that hour she surfaced and proceeded at 7 or 8 knots for a full hour or more until reaching the tanker GEORG ALBRECHT, which appeared to be 150 meters from the nearest land.  She tied up on the port or seaward-side of the tanker prior to 0100 on 26 September.  
     
        Using a single oil-hose from the tanker, the U-boat took on about 15 cubic meters of Diesel oil in the next 1½ hours, also a small quantity of apples and canned fruit.  A fireman 3 cl. named Ehrlichmann, who was very sick, was transferred to the tanker.  After recovering from a stomach operation, he turned up in Lorient again before the next patrol.  About 3/4 of the U-boat crew went aboard the tanker for food and drink.  
     
        About 0400 U-66 turned out to sea; proceeding on the surface at 12 knots.  An hour or more later she submerged and proceeded towards Lorient, arriving about 4 days later at 0800.  
     
  SEVENTH PATROL  
     
        An attempt was made to begin a patrol on 9 November 1942  
 
 
 
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  but the second day out a material failure caused water to enter the boat on diving.  The electric motors and batteries were flooded and some chlorine gas was generated.  On her way back to base U-66 was attacked by aircraft using searchlights.  In spite of being unable to dive the U-boat was not damaged by any of the six to eight depth-charges and returned to Lorient 11 November at 2100.  During the through overhaul of the boat most of the crew were sent to take a training course in anti-aircraft near Bordeaux.  The second gun platform was built in at this time, although the 105-mm. gun forward of the conning tower was not removed until after the eighth patrol.  The executive officer for the seventh patrol was Oberleutnant I. R. Wedemeyer.  
     
        The seventh patrol began 7 January 1943 late in the afternoon.  U-66 proceeded the first night on the surface, diving at daybreak.  From then on the practice was to surface only for 3 or 4 hours each night to recharge the batteries.  After about a week the U-boat passed to the east of the Azores and shortly thereafter sighted a group of Allied warships headed for Gibraltar or Casablanca.  The effort to catch up with them for an attack proved unsuccessful.  
     
        The French saboteur Jean Marie Lallart, who had come aboard immediately before sailing, was put into a rubber boat with two German ratings 20 January 1943.  Upon nearing the shore the boat overturned; and instead of returning to the U-boat, the two ratings were captured by the French and taken to Port Etiene, where the French authorities took charge.  
 
 
 
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        U-66 continued on her patrol and sighted a west-bound convoy about 1200 on 22 January after Control had radioed the probable course.  On the evening of 23 January it was stated that a destroyer was sunk with two torpedo hits, and a freighter probably sunk with a spread of four torpedoes.  a straggler from the convoy was claimed sunk shortly after 1400 on 27 February, the 4,300-ton English ship ST MARGARET.  The ship’s captain was taken aboard and turned over to the U-boat commanded by Schnoor when the latter U-boat supplied U-66 about two days later with provisions and 35 cubic meters of oil.  In the remaining weeks of the patrol one convoy was sighted west of the Azores but not attacked since the destroyers kept them down.  The seventh patrol ended with return to Lorient about 25 March 1943.  Hostile planes were sighted frequently in the Bay of Biscay, but the U-boat avoided attack by diving in each case.  
     
  EIGHTH PATROL  
     
        When Leutnant z. S. Herbig (later Oberleutnant z. S. ) became executive officer of U-66, relieving Wedemeyer, a new second watch officer was assigned to the boat, Oberleutnant Schütze, a reservist.  The U-boat left Lorient 27 April 1943 but had to return because the Diesels were filling the boat with fumes and had to be repacked.  
     
        The eighth patrol finally began 29 April 1943 at 1800.  Two 500-ton U-boats, one based usually at Brest and the other at St. Nazaire, left with U-66.  The operational area was the American  
 
 
 
- 17 -
 
     
     

 

     
     
  coast between Florida and Charleston.  The first two weeks the U-boat proceeded submerged as much as possible.  After passing the Azores, however, it was considered safe to continue on course 2700 on the surface.  
     
        In early June a tanker of 7,500 tons, on a course for Charleston, was sunk off Florida at about 1600 (German Summer Time).  An airship was seen hovering over the area, and the U-boat remained submerged until nightfall without being attacked.  U-66 then moved eastward and late June or early July sank a second tanker, of 9,000 tons, at about noon (local time) with two torpedoes.  This was said to have been off Florida.  About a week later a third tanker was attacked with a spread of three torpedoes but did not sink; in fact the U-boat was fired upon and had to dive.  
     
        In mid July U-66 began her trip back to base.  South of Bermuda the strong air coverage kept her submerged most of the time.  On 3 August at 2018 (German Summer Time), when nearing the Azores, the U-boat was heavily attacked by two carrier-based planes.  The second watch officer Schütze and nine others were said to have been killed, the commanding officer Markworth and several others were wounded.  Markworth had been notified a week earlier of the awarding to him of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.  
     
        On 6 August U-66 met U-117 under Neumann and received perhaps 10 cubic meters of fuel and provisions.  The executive  
 
 
 
- 18 -
 
     
     

 

     
     
  officer of  U-117, Frercks, and the doctor came aboard U-66.  The supplying of oil had to be interrupted when a carrier-based plane attacked.  A 3rd class radioman from U-66 states that U-117 was subsequently sunk, and the only survivors were the two who had been kept aboard U-66.  The rest of the return trip was uneventful, and U-66 arrived at Lorient 1 September 1943.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
 
 
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CHAPTER V.  NINTH AND LAST PATROL OF U-66
 
     
        Oberleutnant z. S. Gerhard Seehausen relieved Markworth as commanding officer of U-66 after the eighth patrol, and Oberleutnant z. S. Ketelsen succeeded Schütze as second watch officer.  A reservist, Oberleutnant D. R. Steinhilber, joined the boat as supernumerary watch officer and presumably would later have become executive officer had U-66 not been sunk.  
     
        Four patrol vessels accompanied the U-boat as far as Ile de Croix, when on Sunday 16 January 1944 at 1700 U-66 began her ninth and last patrol.  She proceeded on course 2700 at a speed of 12 to 14 knots and did not dive until dawn the next day.  During the passage of the Bay of Biscay only one plane was seen, and U-66 dived without being attacked.  
     
        After keeping course 2700 for almost two weeks, course was altered to 2200 until passing the Azores in late January.  In this area likewise only one plane was seen, and this time U-66 continued without diving.  After the Azores a course of 1200 to 1300 was maintained for several weeks.  Off Dakar a rather large convoy was sighted headed for Dakar.  A plane and a destroyer drove the U-boat away from the convoy, although one T-5 torpedo was fired at the destroyer without noticeable effect.  U-66 dived to 120 meters and moved off slowly to the west.  
     
        Late in February a second convoy of 10 to 12 ships was sighted and attacked.  First a freighter of 5,000 tons exploded when one of two torpedoes hit, and a few seconds later a second  
 
 
 
- 20 -
 
     
     

 

     
     
  freighter of 5,000 tons was hit.  Again U-66 dived to 120 meters as the depth-charges from 3 or 4 destroyers began to explode.  In all there were 53 depth-charges.  The damage, though not serious, included broken lights and fuses and some damage to one of the T-5 electric torpedoes (O.N.I. Note: One was, no doubt, MV SILVERMAPLE, a British freighter sunk by torpedo 26 February 1944 in position 04.44 N. – 03.20 W.)  
     
        U-66 continued to patrol in her operational area between Cape Palmas and Lagos.  A ship of 7,500 tons, not in convoy, was claimed sunk one night with two air torpedoes.  Shortly thereafter another independently routed freighter, JOHN HOLT, was sunk, again at night and with two air torpedoes.  She sank in five minutes or less.  The master of the ship, Hime, and an agent of the John Holt Co. named Eliot were taken prisoner aboard the U-boat and were later lost in the sinking.  (O.N.I. Note: SS JOHN HOLT was torpedoed in 03.56 N. – 07.36 E. on 5 March 1944 and sank four minutes later.)  
     
        About two weeks later a 7,500 ton tanker was attacked with three torpedoes but apparently not sunk.  U-66 lay on the bottom at a depth of 80 to 100 meters for about 6 hours and then proceeded west.  Early in April a convoy bound for Lagos was sighted off Cape Palmas but not attacked.  (It was stated by prisoners that U-66 never had luck except on Saturdays or Sundays.)  
 
 
 
- 21 -
 
     
     

 

     
     
  U-66 had only five or six torpedoes left and was beginning to run short of fuel and provisions.  
     
        Late in April, the engineer officer, Olschewski was notified by radio of the awarding of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.  
     
        It had been arranged for U-66 to meet the U-boat commanded by Studt at dawn 26 April in approximate position 180 North – 350 West.  At about that time it was noticed on U-66 that an attack was going on nearby; 6 to 8 depth-charges were heard.  At 0300 German Summer Time U-66 sent a message to Control: “At rendezvous today at 0900.  Supplying impossible.  Flares seen.  Noises of a sinking heard. ------fuel and 8 days’ provisions.  Am moving off”.  
     
        On 28 April the following answer was received: “Henke at rendezvous so and so by 1 May.  If not met, then report.”  (O.N.I. Note: U-515 under Henke had been sunk 9 April.)  On 2 or 3 May at 0200 to 0300 U-66 reported as follows:  “Henke not met.”  The following day the following message was sent out by Control: “Lauzemis and Lüdden go immediately to Seehausen and supply minimum needs of fuel and provisions.  Rendezvous------.”  
     
 

      On 6 May at 0515: “Being attacked by plane.”

 
     
        On 6 May at 0518: “Lüdden not met.  Supplying impossible since (we have been) D/F’d constantly since the 26th.  Attempted attack on carrier.  Mid Atlantic worse than Biscay.  Suggest rendezvous------.  Still 20 cubic meters of fuel, 8 days’ provisions.”  
 
 
 
- 22 -
 
     
     

 

     
     
        On 6 May at 0615: “Plane keeping in touch.”  
     
        On 6 May at 0622: “Being attacked by destroyer.”  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
 
 
- 23 -
 
     
     

 

     
     
 
 
     
     

 

     
     
 
CHAPTER VI.  SINKING OF U-66
 
     
        On 5 May 1944, U.S.S. BLOCK ISLAND of Task Group 21.11 obtained a strong radar contact at 2222 GCT while on anti-submarine search at approximately 16.46 N. – 32.29 W.  A destroyer escort of the Task Group, U.S.S. BUCKLEY, was detached to investigate the contact assisted by planes from the carrier.  No contact was made, however, until 6 May at 0330 GCT when a TBM1-C, adapted for all night patrol operations by removal of all armament, obtained a radar contact and shortly thereafter sighted U-66 fully surfaced.  A killer group was dispatched from the carrier and the TBM1-C homed BUCKLEY, then about 20 miles distant, to the U-boat.  The planes arrived on the scene only after BUCKLEY and the U-boat had closed and were thus unable to take part in the engagement.  
     
        Upon receiving the report of the sighting by the TBM1C, BUCKLEY increased speed to flank, maintaining this speed for 45 minutes while being homed by the plane to the spot where the U-boat was still surfaced.  BUCKLEY obtained radar contact on U-66 at 0345 at 14,000 yards.  Flank speed was maintained and the BUCKLEY closed the submarine up the path of the moon.  
     
        The U-boat came into full view silhouetted against the moon at 4,000 yards range.  Maintaining flank speed, course was so altered as to bring the submarine dead ahead.  Just after this alteration of course a torpedo wake was reported starboard of BUCKLEY.  At 0419 the U-boat opened fire with machine gun.  
     
        BUCKLEY commenced firing at 0420, range 2,100 yards.  
 
 
 
- 24 -
 
     
     

 

     
     
  The very first salvo from 3-inch guns scored a direct hit on the submarine’s forecastle just forward of the conning tower.  Prisoners from U-66 stated that this salvo knocked out their deck gun.  Thereupon the commanding officer of U-66 gave the order to abandon ship.  This order apparently was not carried out immediately for machine gun fire was still directed against the onrushing BUCKLEY.  
     
        At 0422 BUCKLEY ceased fire momentarily. A torpedo wake was reported on the starboard bow and the rudder was put over right full.  With the submarine again directly up-moon, fire was resumed by BUCKLEY at 0422.  Hits from 20-mm. shells were observed on the U-boat’s conning tower. After which all fire from the submarine ceased, except for intermittent short bursts.  Although the U-boat continued to maneuver at about 18 knots, range was closed rapidly.  Further gunfire from BUCKLEY caused a fire to break out on the U-boat’s bridge, burning with increasing intensity until snuffed out by a direct 3-inch hit.  
     
        At 0428 BUCKLEY rammed U-66 riding up on the forecastle of the U-boat and staying there.  Personnel from U-66 clambered up onto BUCKLEY’S forecastle with their hands raised.  Several of these men were killed by small arms before it was realized they were surrendering.  Hand-to-hand engagements took place but fortunately BUCKLEY’S only casualty was a man who bruised his fist knocking one of the enemy over the side.  
     
        At 0430 BUCKLEY backed off to avoid being boarded by too  
 
 
 
- 25 -
 
     
     

 

     
     
  many of the enemy.  U-66 drew ahead rapidly to port maintaining a speed of about 18 knots.  Intense fire from BUCKLEY raked the U-boat as range was once more closed at flank speed.  
     
        At 0435 the U-boat, still making 18 knots, veered sharply towards BUCKLEY.  Attempts were made to steer clear but BUCKLEY was struck a glancing blow and the U-boat rode under the forward engine room.  This caused U-66 to roll over to an angle of 600 while she slowly drew off with her bow under BUCKLEY on the starboard side.  
     
        By 0436 the U-boat was clear of BUCKLEY.  Still making about 15 knots she then disappeared under the surface with the conning tower and forward hatches open and fire blazing from them.  At 0439 underwater explosions were heard and U-66 was finally destroyed in position 17.17 N. – 32.29 W.  
     
        During the next three hours BUCKLEY picked up 36 survivors, including four officers.  
     
        Interrogation of prisoners from U-66 revealed further that a message concerning the attack and abandoning of U-66 was sent to Control and acknowledged by the latter.  
 
 
 
- 26 -
 
     
     

 

     
     
 
CHAPTER VII.  OTHER U-BOATS
 
     
  U 37 U-37 was sunk at Narvik but was later raised.  35 – 37 men, including her commanding officer Werner Hartman (later commander of U-198) were saved.  (O.N.I. Note: This incident happened probably in the Spring of 1940.)  
       
  U 43 U-43 commanded by Schwantke (Kapitänleutnant Hans Joachim Schwantke of the 1936 naval term), was reported to have left Lorient on a patrol in August 1943.  She was believed to have been lost mid October 1943.  Her insignia was described as a star with three chevrons underneath.  
       
  U 103 Prisoners stated that Markworth (Kapitänleutnant Freidrich Markworth, later commander of U-66) had served as Executive Officer in U-103.  
                    
  U 105 It was stated that in summer 1942 Schuch, who was then commanding officer of U-154, took over U-105 and transferred to her most of U-154’s crew.  Schuch was described as a very cautious and unsuccessful commander.  U-105 was damaged in an air raid on Lorient in February 1943.  Prisoners believed that U-105 was lost in August or September 1943.  (O.N.I. Note: Previous information that the commanding officer and the crew of U-156 took over U-105 appears to be incorrect.)  
 
 
 
- 27 -
 
     
     

 

     
     
  U 106 U-106 was believed to have been sunk by a Sunderland in the Bay of Biscay, mid June 1943.  Possibly about 30 of the crew were saved by two T-boats and taken to Brest.  They were later sent to Lorient, given leave and eventually assigned to new U-boats.  
                    
  U 107 U-107 under Gelhaus (Kapitänleutnant Harold Gelhaus of the 1935 term, who is no longer U-107’s commander) returned to Lorient in October 1943 after an eight week patrol, claiming the sinking of 15-20,000 tons.  She left again in November 1943 and returned on 9 January 1944.  Prisoners believed that U-107 often makes short patrols and serves as radio relay boat (Funkwiederholer) between other U-boats and Control.  
       
  U 109 Insignia of U-109 was said to have been the Heroes’ Monument of Labo, on a shield.  U-109 was a 2nd Flotilla boat.  Left Lorient under the command of Schramm (Kapitänleutnant Joachim Schramm) 27 April 1943.  Was lost in the Bay of Biscay between 23 and 25 May 1943.  
       
  U 117 U-117, commanded by Korvettenkapitän Neumann was supplying U-66 with oil when she was attacked and sunk.  U-117’s executive officer Frerks and the doctor, who were on board U-66 during the refueling, were the only survivors of U-117.  Prisoners gave the date of the sinking as 6 August 1943.  
 
 
 
- 28 -
 
     
     

 

     
     
  U 123 Insignia: A four leafed clover (not Frog and Edelweiss previously reported, which may have been carried on earlier patrols).  Sailed from Lorient 8 or 9 January 1944 for Dakar area.  Late in February U-66 intercepted and later repeated to Control a weak short signal from U-123 stating that she would be needing fuel.  U-123 was supplied by U-Studt early in April and returned to Lorient at the end of that month.  Sometime in March U-123 fired a T-5 at a troop transport, but missed.  Prisoners believed that U-123 was possibly one of the U-boats which carried an agent in the summer of 1943 when she operated in the Caribbean area.  
                    
  U 124 In the spring of 1943, U-124’s commanding officer, went to Berlin where he was offered a position on the Staff of Commander-in-Chief U-boats.  However, he declined and returned to his boat on 21 March 1943.  He was lost with his boat on the next patrol in April 1943.  It was rumored that U-124 shot down two planes during the fatal attack  
       
  U 126 U-126 was reported missing since March 1943.  She did not return from her first patrol under Kietz (Oberleutnant z. S. Siegfried Kietz of the 1937A term).  
       
  U 129 U-129, commanded by von Harpe was said to have left  
     
 
- 29 -
 
     
     

 

     
     
    Lorient for mid Atlantic late March or early April 1944.  Offermann, the present commander of U-518, had served as executive officer under von Harpe on U-129 before receiving his own boat.  
                    
  U 130 Prisoners believed that U-130 sank a freighter from one convoy and six tankers from another off the Azores before she herself was sunk early in March 1943.  
       
  U 154 U-154 was commanded by Schuch, who was succeeded by Kusch (Oberleutnant z. S. Oskar Heinz Kusch of 1937A term).  Her present commander was said to be Oberleutnant Gemeiner (Gerth Gemeiner of 1937B term).  During a patrol which lasted from September to Christmas 1943, U-154 claimed the sinking of 20,000 tons along the Brazilian coast.  According to prisoners U-154 left Lorient for the Caribbean early in February 1944 and was on her way back in April.  
       
  U 155 A 10th Flotilla boat.  Returned to Lorient 18 or 19 November 1943 with a damaged conning tower, claiming the sinking of two or three ships off the U.S. coast.  
       
  U 156 U-156, commanded by Hartenstein, was said to have been lost while operating in the Caribbean.  
       
  U 170 Said to be a 10th Flotilla boat.  
 
 
 
- 30 -
 
     
     

 

     
     
  U 188 Believed lost.  She was en route from the Far East early in May 1944, and was to supply U-66 with fuel on 3 May 1944 but did not arrive at the rendezvous.  Prisoners stated that U-188 was a 10th Flotilla boat and had 39,000 tons to her credit.  
                    
  U 190 A 750-ton Type IX-C U-boat commanded by Wintermeyer (since the spring of 1943).  U-190 was to leave Lorient sometime between late March and early May 1944 for the African coast, Lagos area with two Lorient-based U-boats.  Up to the time of U-66’s sinking (6 May 1944) U-190 did not claim any successes.  
       
  U 191 A 750-ton, Type IX-C boat lost in 1943.  
       
  U 507 Prisoners confirmed the loss of U-507 under Korvettenkapitän Schacht.  She was a 10th Flotilla boat.  
       
  U 509 Reported lost.  
       
  U 510 U-510 was said to be a 10th Flotilla boat.  
       
  U 518 Offermann, the present commanding officer of U-518, succeeded Wissmann in the fall of 1943.  U-518 left her base (2nd Flotilla, Lorient) between 24 and 26 January 1944.  Her operational area was said to have been the Caribbean and the approaches to the Panama Canal.  She was credited with the sinking of one tanker on this patrol.  
 
 
 
- 31 -
 
     
     

 

     
     
  U 520 It was stated that U-520, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Schneider (Herbert Schneider of the 1934 term), was sunk by depth charges during a convoy attack in mid Atlantic 24 February 1943.  There were no survivors.  U-66 was in the vicinity at the time.  (O.N.I. Note: Other sources reported Schneider missing since 24 February 1943.)  
                    
  U 530 Prisoners stated that late in 1943 U-530, under Lange, was operating in the Caribbean.  In February 1944 she was on another patrol.  A radio report on convoy routes, air coverage, etc., sent by U-530, was relayed by Control to other boats.  
       
  U 537 Attached to the 10th Flotilla.  
       
  U 539 Prisoners stated that on a recent patrol (late 1943 or early 1944) U-539 was attacked by aircraft 17 times.  It is believed one or two of the attackers were shot down.  
       
  U 541 A Type IX-C boat, commanded by Petersen (Kapitänleutnant Kurt Petersen of the 1936 term).  U-541 arrived in Lorient late 1943 after having sunk three destroyers on her way through the Bay of Biscay.  According to U-66’s radio intercepts, U-541 was operating along the American coast in February and March 1944.  
       
  U 543 U-543 was attacked in mid Atlantic between 11 and 15 April 1944.  She was to have been supplied by U-Studt.  
 
 
 
- 32 -
 
     
     

 

     
     
    Her commander is Kapitänleutnant Hellriegel and she is attached to the 10th Flotilla.  
                    
  U 618 U-618 was at Lorient as a “guest boat” in the fall of 1943.  
       
  U 709 Built by Stulkenwerft, Hamburg and commissioned early in August 1942.  U-709 was reported at Danzig late December 1942.  
       
  U 710 Buitl by Stulkenwerft, Hamburg.  U-707, U-708, U-709, U-710 and U-711 were observed in Hamburg in August 1942.  U-710, whose commander was identified as Freiherr von Carlowitz, was believed lost during the first half of 1943.  
       
  U 802 U-802 was reported to be a 750-ton, Type IX-C boat built by Deschimag (apparently Deschimag, Seebeck, Bremerhaven).  She was in Germany in the spring of 1943.  Later she was attached to the 2nd Flotilla at Lorient.  
       
  U 842 Apparently U-842 was to have been attached to the 2nd Flotilla but was lost on her first patrol.  She never reached Lorient and was listed there as missing.  
       
  U 843 Said to be attached to the 2nd Flotilla, Lorient.  
       
  U 847 U-847, commanded by Kuppisch, supplied U-66 with oil and took from the later a fresh water pump.  This rendezvous took place about 20 August 1943.  U-847 was sunk by aircraft about 10 days later.  
 
 
 
- 33 -
 
     
     

 

     
     
 
U-BOAT IDENTIFIED BY COMMANDER
 
     
  U-BÜFFEL Insignia: A buffalo.  U-Büffel is a St. Nazaire based U-boat, but was at Lorient as a “guest boat”.  Prisoners believed she was to have left on a patrol about 20 January 1944.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
 
 
- 34 -
 
     
     

 

     
     
 

ANNEX:          CREW LIST OF U-66 AND U.S. EQUIV-

 ALENTS OF GERMAN NAVAL RANKS.

 
     
 
Name Rank or Rating U.S.N. Equivalent Age
       
  Korvettenkapitän Lieu, Commander  
  Kapitänleutnant Lieutenant  
  Fänrich Midshipman, active duty  
       
SURVIVORS      
Herbig, Klaus Oberleutnant z. S. Lieutenant (j.g.) 22
Ketelsen, Richard Oberleutnant z. S. Lieutenant (j.g.) 32
Olschewski, Georg Oberleutnant (Ing.) Lt. (j.g.), Engineering Duties 35
Flintsch, Ludwig Leutnant (Ing.) d. R. Ensign, Engineering Duties 22
Fröhlich, Werner Stabsobersteuermann Chief Warrant Quartermaster 30
Hon, Richard Obersteuermann Warrant Quartermaster 26
Landvoight, Walter Obermaschinist-E Machinist 27
Terinde, Bernhard Obermaschinist-D Machinist 27
Degener-Böning, Karl Oberfunkmaat Radioman 2cl. 25
Hartman, Werner Obermaschinemaat Machinist’s Mate 2cl. 26
Loch, Wolff Sanitatsmaat Pharmacist’s Mate 27
Pasedag, Werner Funkmaat Radioman 3cl. 23
Grölz, Georg Maschinenmaat-E Fireman 1cl. 24
Nirnberger, Franz Maschinenmaat-E Fireman 1cl. 22
Drewek, Walter Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 21
Fickel, Kurt Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 21
Haller, Heinrich Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 21
Nosch, Vinzenz Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 22
Illing, Helmut Mechanikerobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. (Torpedoes) 23
Klaus, Anton Maschinenobergefreiter-D Fireman 2cl. 21
Koch, Horst Maschinenobergefreiter-D Fireman 2cl. 23
Schmidt, Günther Maschinenobergefreiter-D Fireman 2cl. 20
Hahner, Willi Maschinenobergefreiter-E Fireman 2cl. 20
Lehmann, Heinz Maschinenobergefreiter-E Fireman 2cl. 21
Löser, Helmut Maschinenobergefreiter-E Fireman 2cl. 21
Schöneck, Harry Funkobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. (Radio) 21
Melmuka, Gottlieb Funkgefreiter Seaman 2cl. (Radio) 20
Brode, Kurt Mechanikergefreiter Seaman 2cl. (Torpedoes) 19
Burian, Leonhard Matrosengefreiter Seaman 2cl. 22
Künkel, Helmuth Matrosengefreiter Seaman 2cl. 21
Buttgereit, Fritz Maschinengefreiter-E Fireman 3cl. 20
Gaiser, Roland Maschinengefreiter-E Fireman 3cl. 21
Hoffmann, Hans Maschinengefreiter-D Fireman 3cl. 19
Rautenberg, Helmuth Maschinengefreiter-D Fireman 3cl. 19
Angerstein, Helmuth Matrose IV – Funker Apprentice Seaman (Radio) 20
Teuscher, Herbert Matrose II – Masch. Apprentice Seaman 20
 
     
     

 

     
     
 
Name Rank or Rating U.S.N. Equivalent Approx. Age
       
CASUALTIES      
Seehausen, Gerhard Oberleutnant z. S. Lieutenant (j.g.) 26
Steinhilber, Oberleutnant d. R. Lt. (j.g.) Reservist 33
Stotmeister, Günther Obermechanikersmaat Torpedoman’s Mate 2cl. 27
Schubert, Walter Obermaschinenmaat-D Machinist’s Mate 2cl. 25
Weissbach, Helmuth Maschinenmaat-D Fireman 1cl. 23
Scholz, Gerhard Maschinenmaat-E Fireman 1cl. 24
Riesenbeck, Reinhold Maschinemnaat-D Fireman 1cl. 21
Friedrich, Günter Bootsmaat Coxswain 23
Gaisen, Peter Bootsmaat Coxswain 22
Schönknecht, Günter Bootsmaat Coxswain 24
Linder, Artillerieobergefreiter Seaman 2cl. (Artillery) 20
Jeuschede, Karl-Heinz Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl. 21
Ehrlichmann, Helmut Maschinenobergefreiter Fireman 2cl. 23
Reinfeld, Werner Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 21
Stumpp, Albert Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 21
Mildenberger, August Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 21
Dreyer, Heinz Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 23
Gutzmar, Heinrich Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 21
Jahn, Rudi Matrosenobergefreiter Seaman 1cl. 21
Hansen, Willi Maschinengefreiter-D Fireman 3cl. 23
Maier, Maschinengefreiter-D Fireman 3cl. 20
Ronge, Alfred Maschinengefreiter-D Fireman 3cl.  
Scholz, Willibald Mechanikergefreiter Seaman 3cl. (Torpedoes) 19
Sündermann, Heinz Matrose I Apprentice Seaman 20
 
     
  (Ing.) denotes Engineering Duties only.  
     

 

 

 


 

 

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