ENCLOSURE "C" TO S.O.(I). GIBRALTAR"S R.S. 69/36/24 of 27 February, 1944
 
 
                              REPORT OF INTEROGATION OF COMMANDING OFFICER OF
 
 
                                                    GERMAN U-BOAT "U-761".
 
 
                              DESTROYED BY H.M.S. "ANTHONY" IN STRAITS OF
 
 
                              GIBRALTAR, 24th FEBRUARY, 1944.________________________
 
     
 
Commanding Officer.                                                            Interrogator.
 
 
 
 
OberLt. z.See Horst GEIDER.                                             T/Lieut. J.V.STEELE, R.N.V.R.
 
 
        German Navy.                                                                       H.M.S. "ANTHONY".
 
 
 
 
        The following is a reasonably verbatim record of the conversation between the Commanding Officer of the U-boat and the Interrogator.
 
 
 
 
        The intention is to take immediate and full advantage of the condition of the survivors, and thereby collect any information which might be divulged on the subject of German torpedoes, and in particular the acoustic homing torpedo.
 
 
 
 
        The prisoner spoke in broken English, but was quite understandable, and in the course of preliminary conversation, mentioned that he had once lived in Haywards Heath, Sussex, his home town being STUTTGART.
 
 
 
 
Prisoner. Please ask your Doctor to see this man, he is in great pain.
 
Int. Yes, he will be with you shortly.  What are his injuries ?
 
Prisoner. His stomach, I think.  The bombs from your aircraft fell very close to him in the water.
(Silence for some moments.)
 
Int. The Surgeon will be along any minute now.  He is attending to your wounded on the upper deck.
 
Prisoner. I cannot understand what your aircraft were doing.
 
Int. Why ?
 
Prisoner. They would see that my crew were jumping into the water and that there was no hope of escape, yet they opened fire with their machine guns.
 
Int. Do you think that was unreasonable ?
 
Prisoner. Yes, it must have killed a lot of my crew unless the other destroyer picked them up.  How many were saved ?
 
Int. How was it that you were not killed yourself ?  You must have been close to the submarine when the planes opened fire.
 
Prisoner. I had made sure that all my crew were out of the ship and was inside the conning tower when the first burst came.
 
Int. Well, don't you think that explains a lot ?
 
Prisoner. I do not understand you.
 
Int. Surely you remember the positions of your submarine, the other destroyer and this ship when the pilot opened fire ?
 
Prisoner. Yes, they were . . . (Prisoner drew sketch which was correct, and which is attached.)
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
Page 2.
 
 
Int. Do you really think that the pilot of the aircraft was such a fool as to allow anyone to remain in the conning tower whilst the ships were in these positions ?
 
Prisoner. You mean . . . (silence)
 
Int. Yes, you might have fired your bow tubes at us.
 
Prisoner. I could not do so.
 
Int. Well, I was on the bridge of this ship at the time, and I could see no reason why not.  I think the pilot did the right thing.
 
Prisoner. You are wrong.  I could not fire my torpedoes if i had tried.  Your first big attack completely smashed the . . . (here the Prisoner used a German term which could not be translated, but which quite clearly meant the firing mechanism.)
 
Int. We were not to know that.  Anyway, you might have fired your midship tubes.
 
Prisoner. Midship?  You mean . . . (here the Prisoner used another German term which was not understood, but made his meaning clear by adding to the sketch.)
 
Int. Yes, the tubes on either side of your conning tower.
 
Prisoner. Mt ship was not fitted that way.  It is foolish to think I would have fired my torpedoes as the chance of hitting you was too small.
 
Int. I'm afraid I cannot believe that.  I have seen too many torpedoes and have a great respect for them.  I think you might easily have fired them.  We were right to take every precaution, and the Pilot thought so too.  Do you think that a stationary destroyer is an easy target ?
 
Prisoner. You do not understand torpedoes.
 
Int. I suppose not, but I still think you might easily have fired one at us. 
(Prisoner seemed to take exception to this remark.)
 
Prisoner. Are you suggesting that I surrendered ?
 
Int. I am only saying what I think I would have done.
 
Prisoner. That is foolish.  If I had fired my bow tubes at you the torpedoes would have missed you.
 
Int. What a very poor shoot you must be.
 
Prisoner. Look, you were there . . . I was here . . . (Pointing to sketch) if I fired, torpedo would run like this . . . (Draw in track of torpedo as shown in sketch.)
 
Int. No, you would have set it to run straight.
 
Prisoner. No, I could not do that.
 
Int. In any case it would have turned towards the ship when it passed near us.
 
Prisoner. You said that you were stopped, so how could it have done so.  I saw your engines were stopped when I started towards you.
 
Int. Well, I suppose you must consider yourself lucky.
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
Page 3.
 
 
Prisoner. That is just as you look at it, bad luck for me, good for you.  I am lucky to have been saved.  My men think so too.  How many have been picked up by the other destroyer ?
 
Int. I do not know yet.
 
Prisoner. All my crew left the ship alive, but your bombs did a lot of harm.  This man is badly hurt.
 
Int. I know.  The surgeon is dressing the other casualty.
 
LATER.
 
Int. Are your men better now ?
 
Prisoner. Yes thank you.  They look quite happy about things.
 
Int. That is the end of the war for them.
 
Prisoner. They are glad to have been picked up
 
Int. Did they not think we would stop and pick them up ?
 
Prisoner. Oh yes, but I was glad to see your boat.  (Looked at watch).
 
Int. Quite a lot has happened in a very short time.
 
Prisoner. Yes, I did not expect this.
 
Int. What did you expect us to do with you ?
 
Prisoner. No, I mean I did not expect your attack.
 
Int. Didn't you hear us ?
 
Prisoner. I thought you were a long way off, the first thing I heard was a slight bump a long way off.  Then later your big attack came.
 
__________________________________________
 
 
 
 
        The conversation recorded here was completed over a period of about one hour, during which time the Prisoner gradually recovered his confidence.  He talked fairly easily, and seemed quite at a loss to understand why the aircraft had added to the attack.
 
 
 
 
                                                                                    (Signed)  J.V. STEELE.
 
 
                                                                                        T/Lieutenant. R.V.N.R.
 
 
                                                                                        H.M.S. "ANTHONY".  24.2.44.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


 

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