submarines

Feb

6

1942

Torpedo attack on a convoy in mid-Atlantic

6th February 1942: U-boat wolf pack makes torpedo attack on a convoy in mid-Atlantic

Another explosion and the tanker on the starboard stern received hers. The Lieutenant had remained on the stern gun to personally take charge in the event the sub might appear. Among the faces of the crew were some puzzling looks as we all watched with eagerness to fight if we had to. Five minutes later all was quiet, until another ship – which happened to be a Liberty – was hit as the flares pierced the sky once more.

Feb

2

1942

The unpopular U-boat officers from U-581

It was said of him that on one occasion, when a British destroyer had been sighted, he had excused himself with the remark: “I’ve got to go to the lavatory for a moment,” despite the entreaties of his junior officers to take offensive action. When he returned the destroyer was not in a favourable position for attack. Such lack of enthusiasm had a depressing effect on his crew, who were not slow to show their dislike of returning to port with no pennants flying, whereas other U-Boats would usually fly several, one for each ship claimed sunk.

Jan

25

1942

U-boat versus merchantman in mid Atlantic gun duel

25th January 1942: U-boat versus merchantman in the Atlantic – Hardegen’s U-123 sinks British ship CULEBRA with deck gun

Deck gun ready and opened fire. The first shots hit the stern, then one each under the bridge and in the engine room. Steamer mans the gun and fires. The firing pin of our MG C30 is broken, so we fired with the deck gun at his gun. Several hits underneath, but he continues to fire until a direct hit struck the pivot. Gun crew out of action, the barrel can’t be moved anymore. We received 5 hits, which did not penetrate the pressure hull. Because they hit very low, I assume that they fell short, burst on the surface and only the splinters hit our hull. Some shots passed between conning tower and deck gun, one could hear them whistling past.

Jan

17

1942

U-Boats move to the U.S. east coast

Fired stern torpedo. Target angle 90°, distance 750 meters. Running time 57 seconds. A very heavy detonation, strong, dark black smoke plume. Hit bridge. The steamer sinks immediately. As the smoke from the detonation cleared, only the masts were still visible above the water, and shortly thereafter sank. Water depth of 45 meters. I depart at maximum speed eastwards because the day is dawning and I need some more water under our keel during the day.

Jan

2

1942

A U-boat commander hunts for his first kill

Slowly the outline of a tanker revealed itself still too far away to get in a shot. Behind me the sky was black and overcast, but the air was cold and clear, and by chance the moon came out of the clouds. I turned at maximum speed towards the tanker, offering her a slim silhouette – and then I had her about 400 metres in front of me.

Dec

17

December 1941

The first and last cruise of U-boat U-131

The renewed lease of life which “U 131” had brought for herself by this success was short. Her best speed, even if she could maintain it, was not enough to out distance the destroyers and, at seven miles range, “Exmoor,” “Blankney” and “Stanley” opened fire, the former making particularly excellent shooting. “Stork” opened fire about five minutes later. Baumann now recognized that his position was hopeless. His one effective gun at such range was trained forward and could not be brought to bear without a disastrous alteration of course.

Dec

2

December 1940

HMS Forfar sunk by Kretschmer’s U-99

Two minutes later the 5th and last torpedo struck, again on the Port side. This was the final blow as the ship broke in two owing to the after magazine blowing sky-high. She was well down by the stern now and I remember the ghastly cracklings as the after end bent inwards crushing the decks like matchwood. She heeled quickly over on her Sta’b’d side, the after end disappeared, and as she settled, she turned right over and sank slowly and steadily by the stern.

Nov

16

November 1941

U-433 sunk by HMS Marigold

All of a sudden there was a terrific sound of propellers to starboard. The devil had been lying in wait quite close to us, with engines stopped. We put our nose down to dive again, and she came directly over us. We could hear her propellers inside the boat – we weren’t very deep and she probably saw our wake. She then dropped depth charges. They were terribly close.

Oct

4

October 1941

U-111 sunk and crew captured

The petty officer manning “U 111’s” machine gun on the bridge had fired fifty rounds at this juncture, and was firing the second clip of ammunition handed to him by Kleinschmidt himself, when the latter, together with Rösing and Fuchs, was killed by a direct hit on the conning tower; the above petty officer was the only man left alive on the bridge out of the eight who had been there.

Sep

10

September 1941

HMCS Moose Jaw sinks U-501

I managed to go alongside the submarine, starboard side to, and called on her to surrender. To my surprise, I saw a man make a magnificent leap from the submarine’s deck into our waist, and the remainder of her crew move to do likewise. Not being prepared to repel boarders at that moment, I sheered off. The submarine altered across my bows and I rammed her, increasing to 185 revolutions to do so, and altering course in order to hit her forward diving rudders, so as to prevent her submerging.