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Interesting info on battle of the Atlantic

Discussion in 'Atlantic Naval Conflict' started by Kai-Petri, Mar 28, 2003.

  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    http://home.earthlink.net/~nbrass1/4enigma.htm

    Not knowing that the British had lost him, Admiral Lütjens assumed they knew where he was. He transmitted a coded message detailing his shortage of fuel and that his destination was France. The code used was not readable by BP, but the length of transmission afforded plenty of time to obtain RDF fixes on his position; however, the report was somehow mishandled, and British forces went searching in the wrong direction.

    A cardinal rule in sending coded messages is never to transmit the same text in two different ciphers.In a response to an inquiry from Luftwaffe Chief of Staff General Hans Jeschonnek, who may have had a relative on board Bismarck, the message was repeated in the Luftwaffe cipher, which the British could read.

    :confused:

    One of the last messages from the Bismarck read:

    KRKRX FLOTT ENCHE FANAN OKMM XXTOR PEDOT REFFE RACHT ERAUS XSCHI FFMAN OEVRI ERUNF AEHIG XWIRK AEMPF ENBIS ZURLE TZTEN GRANA TEXES LEBED ERFUE HRERX

    "Commander-in-Chief Fleet to Naval Headquarters: Torpedo hit right aft. Ship unmaneuverable. We fight to the last shell. Long live the Führer"
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Explanation on the May 1944 ramming order for 1st U-flotilla by FdU West KzS Hans-Rudolf Rösing:

    As mentioned in Herbert A. Werner "Iron coffins"

    http://www.uboatwar.net/1ufram.htm
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The Norwegian Operation and the Torpedo Crisis
    by Nickolay Nedelchev

    http://uboat.net/articles/?article=23

    One of the less popular stories about the elite German U-Bootwaffe is the torpedo crisis of late 1939 -- early 1940. Although this was the period during which some of the most outstanding U-boat successes were scored, it was full of bitter disappointments and equally resounding misses as well.

    It is a common notion among those interested in the U-boat war that the magnetic firing pistol of the German torpedoes was the 'cause of all evil.' This, however, is only partially true. For the most part, the magnetic pistol malfunctioned against capital warships, or so it seemed. This topic will receive further coverage as our story unfolds.

    The first case of torpedo failure took place very early in the war. On September 17 Kapitänleutenant Glattes of U-39 spotted the HMS Ark Royal in his patrol area and was able to close in on her unnoticed. And there occurred the first major disappointment of the U-boat war. Glattes fired a salvo of three torpedoes with magnetic pistols at the carrier, all of which exploded prematurely. Worse yet, the failed attack revealed the boat's position to the escort and the destroyers quickly sank U-39. The crew, fortunately, was saved.

    This particular case did not cause alarm, because it was a rather isolated one. Just two days later Otto Schuhart of U-29 sighted the HMS Courageous in the same vicinity. Drawing upon his own bad experience with magnetic pistols, Schuhart used three fish with impact detonation that all exploded properly. The proud carrier sank within minutes. The first major engagement between U-boats and British warships, therefore, turned out to be a resounding German success. Carriers were not to appear in those waters again for another four years.

    Another isolated instance occurred after Prien's feat in Scapa Flow. As a result of the ignominious loss of the Royal Oak, the British Admiralty decided to evacuate the base. The probable new destinations for the Home Fleet were Loch Ewe (on the west coast of Scotland), Firth of Forth and Firth of Clyde. Also capital ship activity was to be expected in the sea north-west of the Orkneys, or so sensed Dönitz. Accordingly, he dispatched U-56 and U-59 to that latter area with the intention to keep up the pace of the offensive against the Home Fleet's capital warships.

    The Admiral was proven once again correct. On October 30th Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Zahn of U-56 sighted in his area a truly juicy formation: the battleships Rodney, Nelson, the battle cruiser Hood (later blasted by the Bismarck) and a dozen destroyers. With great daring and skill, Zahn eluded the destroyer screen and struck Nelson with a salvo of three. The impact pistol torpedoes clearly slammed against the ship's hull and…simply fell apart. The commander was so depressed by this misfortune for which he was not to blame in the least that Dönitz took him off active duty for a while.

    Between October 1939 and March 1st 1940 the U-Bootwaffe practically encircled Britain with mines, laying thousands at every more important British port. Captain Roskill, the leading Allied historian of the Naval War during WWII and an author whom Dönitz himself repeatedly quotes in his memoirs, points to a figure of some 115 ships of 400,000 GRT lost to mines in less than 6 months from the beginning of the war. The mines, for a while, became by far more reliable than the defective torpedoes. The mining operations proves so successful that the Thames estuary itself was for a while crammed with ship wreckage. The same lucky Nelson, whom fate spared form Zahn's daring attack, hit a mine off Loch Ewe and, with its hull ripped open, almost sank.

    The real torpedo crisis unfolded during Operation Weserübung - the largest amphibious operation in German history, the invasion of Norway. Assisting the surface vessels of the Kriegsmarine and standing guard against interference from the Royal Navy were 8 tactical groups of submarines, comprising a high percentage of the operational strength of the U-Bootwaffe as of April 1940. Those included coastal boats (type II A through D), but also the bigger, ocean-going type (VII A through C).

    Thus deployed, the U-Bootwaffe was in position to intercept any British expeditionary force and severely cripple it. However, in fact it failed to do so, and the reason was largely defective magnetic and impact pistols. Here are some of the most notable examples:

    On April 15 Gunther Prien of U-47 arrived at Bydgenfjord and spotted three large British transports (some 30,000 GRT each) and several smaller ones disembarking troops in fishing boats. Immediately the Raging Bull fired 8 torpedoes with impact pistols at the stationary and overlapping targets, but all of them missed. This could have been a major disaster for the BEF and a valuable help for the outnumbered mountain troops defending Narvik.

    The previous day, Kapitänleutnant Herbert Schultze of U-48 (the boat that was to become the most successful vessel of the Kriegsmarine with 312,000 tons sunk over almost 6 years) had attacked the Jutland-veteran battleship Warspite without success near Westfjord.

    Again on April 19th Gunther Prien closed in on the Warspite and lobbed in a salvo of two. Those, too, were failures, which robbed the Kriegsmarine of a much-needed respite. The second stage of Operation Hartmuth was hardly going well, with British troops closing in on Narvik and the Royal Navy inflicting heavy losses on German warships as well as on troop and supply freighters.

    The next day Prien sighted a convoy south-west of Westfjord, but refrained from attacking because he had lost all faith in his torpedoes. Upon his return he was so infuriated that the told Dönitz: "Herr Admiral, I could hardly be expected to fight with a dummy rifle"

    The Admiral vehemently set out to track down the reasons for the torpedo disaster and to lend a helping hand to his daring and talented men as fast as possible. After an emergency conference with representatives of Naval High Command and the Torpedo Department, Dönitz concluded that magnetic interference form the fjords did, after all, affect the magnetic torpedoes. It was also found that the essential problem with the impact-pistol torpedo Mark G7e was that its depth-keeping gear ran off base, causing the torpedo to run 6 feet deeper than set depth and simply pass beneath its target. Thus, writes Dönitz, "we found ourselves equipped with a torpedo that refused to function in northern waters either with contact or with magnetic pistols." The compromise decision was to use magnetic firing (Mark G7a) except when near to fjords, where the magnetic pull was considerable and often caused premature detonations.

    A commission was set up in mid-April to investigate the case thoroughly. The commission came out with a comprehensive report in late July, which placed a considerable blame on the Torpedo Department. The TD, it was found, had supplied the boats with the new magnetic firing pistol with four-blade propellers before it had undergone the necessary trials. Consequently, the personnel of the Torpedo Experimental Institute responsible for that SNAFU were court-martialed and sentenced to prison terms.

    On January 30, the crew of U-94 made a little extra effort and conducted an on-board examination of their torpedoes amidst the Atlantic. They thus discovered an excess pressure in the torpedoes' balance chambers, where the hydrostatic valve controlling the depth at which the 'fish' ran was located. When they radioed back their findings, the Inspector of the Torpedo Department ordered a check on board all submarines in port. Half of the torpedoes were found to have the same problem, and the mystery of the torpedoes' deeper-than-set-depth run was finally fathomed. The results of this and later investigations were summed up into a Memorandum by Grand Admiral Raeder on Feb 9, 1942.

    But what was this higher pressure in the chambers due to? According to Dönitz's memoirs, the higher than normative pressure (the normative was atmospheric) in the chambers was due to the "frequent releases of compressed air which are essential when [the boat] [is] proceeding submerged" (92). During long periods of submersion, a considerable excess pressure thus accumulated. One can't help asking, hadn't the constructors foreseen such a problem? They had, indeed. Normally, no excess pressure should have accrued. However, many balance chambers were found not to be airtight - they had leaks.

    . After the final computations were made, it was found that between 30 and 35 % of the torpedo attacks during the Norwegian campaign had been failures.

    In December 1942, well into the war, a new, improved magnetic pistol was introduced which also functioned on contact. It proved very efficient. Until then, writes Dönitz, "the effectiveness of our torpedoes was no greater than it had been during the First World War"

    Later into the war, in an analysis of torpedo performance in the period January-June 1942 (Paukenschlag and the apex of U-boat activity in American waters - the richest single harvest of the whole war), it was estimated that only 40% of the ships had been sunk by a single torpedo during that period, while the rest had either required two or more, or had escaped after one or multiple hits. In light of the more than two million tons of shipping actually sunk (a third were tankers), it is easy to imagine what could have been the outcome had the U-boats been armed with the weapon they really needed.

    :eek:
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Nicknames of U-boat commanders

    "Adi" Schnee Adalbert Schnee, commander of U-201 & U-2511
    "Ajax" Bleichrodt Heinrich Bleichrodt, commander of U-48 & U-109
    "Ali" Cremer Peter Erich Cremer, commander of U-333.
    "Bertl" Endrass Engelbert Endrass, Commander of U-46 and U-567.
    "Grosse Löwe" Karl Dönitz BdU (The Big Lion).
    "Päckchen" Wohlfahrt Herbert Wohlfarth, commander of U-556.
    "Parzival" Herbert Wohlfarth, commander of U-556.
    "Prientje"- "Prienchen" Günther Prien, commander of U-47.
    "Recke" Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock, commander of U-96.
    "Scherry Brandi" Albrecht Brandi, commander of U-617 & U-967.
    "Schweigsame Otto" Otto Kretschmer, commander of U-99 (Silent Otto).
    "Tüte" Timm Heinrich Timm, commander of U-251 & U-862.
    "Teddy" Suhren Reinhardt Suhren, commander of U-564.
    "Vati" Schultze Herbert Schultze, commander of U-48 (Daddy Schultze).
    "Wilde Moritz" Georg von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, commander of U-459 (Wild Moritz).

    http://uboat.net/special/nicknames.htm
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    [​IMG]

    Summary by Larry Goodell: Depth charge attack on U-boat by PBY5-A of VP83 (soon to be VP107). Aircraft is 83-P-2 on an earlier attack before the sinking of U-164. The boat may be U-507 sunk by Ludwig. Photo taken through tunnel hatch.

    http://www.navylib.com/U507.htm

    :eek:
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    [​IMG]

    At the end of 1945 Britain had in its possession 110 German U-boats, based at Loch Ryan, Scotland and Lisahally, Northern Ireland. The British Government made a decision that all these boats were to be sunk by various means in deep water. Some say this was meant to be a terrible retribution for the damage that U-boats had done to the Allies. Orders issued on 14th November 1945 outlined the fate of these vessels and "Operation Deadlight" began.

    Those vessels that were to be scuttled had explosive charges placed in the forward and aft torpedo tubes and various hatches. These were to be detonated by use of a physically set fuse, or in the event that men were unable to board, an electrical fuse, detonated by the towing ship. The other U-boats where to be sunk by aircraft, gunfire, torpedoes and the then top-secret "Squid" ship-to-ship missile.

    Operation Deadlight's D-Day was to be 25th November 1945 and would continue until 12th February 1946. The U-boats were to be towed to an area approximately 120 miles northwest of Ireland known as Position ZZ. Due to the onset of winter gales and unsuitable towing vessels, 57 U-boats never made it to Position ZZ.

    U3514 (Type VIIc) was the last U-boat to be sunk in Operation Deadlight. On the morning of Tuesday 12th February HMS Loch Arkaig sent five 4'' shells towards U-514. Only one shell hit the casting forward of the conning tower. She then straffed the U-3514 with close range weapons, but the U-3514 was still afloat. HMS Loch Arkaig then fired six "Shark projectiles". Two hit amidships and one ricocheted off the conning tower without exploding. The commander of HMS Arkaig ordered the ship to break away and prepare for another run using "Squid" missiles. Whist the Arkaig was getting into a reasonable attacking position, the bows of U-3514 began to sink. She hung there vertically for a moment, then slid underwater. HMS Arkaig finally loss contact with the U-boat at 600 feet. U-3514 had, in her last action, demonstrated many of the reasons why the Allies had found it so difficult to deal with the U-boat menace during WWII.

    In the late nineties an approach was made to the British Ministry of Defence for salvage rights on the Operation Deadlight U-boats by a firm who planned to raise up to a hundred of them. Because the wrecks were constructed in the pre-atomic age, they contain metals which are not radioactively tainted and which are therefore valuable for certain research purposes. No salvage award was made due to objections from Russia and the USA, and it is now probable that the U-boats will remain under the sea.

    http://www.operationdeadlight.co.uk/history.htm
     
  7. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    http://www.sid-ss.net/mil/lueth-1.htm

    Things to do on a mission:

    Chess and skat tournaments are easy to arrange.

    The score of each round is announced over the loud-speaker or through the ship’s paper. The first couple of times everybody is enthusiastic, but later that becomes boring. Too, and you have to think up something new again.

    There are the celebrations and holidays, which can be arranged in a nice manner. At Christmas time candles or fir wreaths made of twisted towels and green colored toilet paper were lit in every room.

    Christmas baking lasted for two weeks, and everybody was permitted to nibble a little just like at home.

    On Christmas Eve a home-made Santa Claus, who wears only a bed sheet in the tropics, stands in the festively decorated bow compartment and presents every man with some candy and a book with a dedication.

    The off-duty watch officer will know that the ship is diving when they hear the diving march: "We’ll do it all right, we’ll do it all right, we’ll get the thing done yet." (Wir schaffen ea schon, wir schaffen es schon, wir werden das Ding schon dreb’n"), which we play for the chief engineer while he is regulating the trim.

    When we are about to surface we signal the watch to get ready with the march "Today we shove off into the blue sea" ("Heut stechen vir ins blaue Meer").

    If we sight whales, or even a dead whale floating around with an enormous oil trail, or life boats, or if there is a thunderstorm, or when a St. Elmo’s light or an aurora borealis can be seen, the crew is bailed topside one by one, if possible, to let them share the experience.

    Before the start of a mission it is important to see to it that enough books come on board. The library should consist of an intelligent mixture of good and lighter books, for a sailor likes to read when he lies on his bunk.

    We also arranged other competitions, singing for instance. Everyone had to sing a song through the microphone, and the entire crew gave grades like in school. The first prize was a free watch which the captain had to take over.

    The second prize for a seaman was to start the Diesel engine, or for a machinist to come to the bridge and direct the ship instead of the captain. We also arranged a real strength exhibition like in the Olympic Games, complete with radio reporting and close-packed spectators. A heavy weight was attached to the end of a rope hanging from a stick fifty centimeters long. This weight had to be lifted by turning the stick until the rope was completely wound around it.

    Whoever could raise and lower the weight more often was the winner. I tell you these things in such detail only to show you that there is an infinite variety of possibilities on board to arrange an hour of fun now and then for the crew. We also held a lying contest, and everybody had to tell the story over the loud-speaker that he would tell at home at his father’s beer table, at least as exaggerated as Muenchausen.

    To make the men remember the ship’s doctor’s instructions on hygiene we arranged a poetry competition. Everyone had to compose four to eight line verses which expressed in a humorous way what the doctor had said. We also held a drawing contest. The entries had to be drawings of funny incidents on board.

    :eek:
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    http://uboat.net/allies/technical/rockets.htm

    The first U-boat hit by an UP ( Unrotated Projectile ) i.e. a rocket was U-752, which was damaged on 23 May 1943 by a Swordfish of 819 Sqn, based on the escort carrier HMS Archer. The U-boat was then attacked by a Wildcat and subsequently scuttled by its crew.


    The 5in HVAR (High Velocity Aircraft Rocket)was better known as "Holy Moses".

    [​IMG]

    A rocket-equipped Mosquito aircraft attacking a German U-boat in the Kattegat on April 9, 1945.

    :eek:
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    And:

    'Moses', the traditional name in the German Navy for the youngest crew member....

    Not a very aryan theme for Kriegsmarine, is it...???

    :eek: :rolleyes: ;)
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Each new intake of officer cadets in the Kriegsmarine (German Navy 1935-1945) was known as "crews". This was normally one such crew a year but closer to the war and esp. during the war the crews became more numerous.

    http://uboat.net/men/training/crews.htm

    For example:

    Crew VI/42
    This was the last Kriegsmarine crew that had U-boat officers in its ranks, also known as the Skagerak-Crew. Its members became officers very late in the war (December 1944).
    Among its members were the founder of the U-Boot-Archiv, Horst Bredow and the famous historian and author Prof. Dr. Jürgen Rohwer.
     
  12. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    It bites that you now have to pay to see the good stuff but--I can understand their charging to view it. "Guns" has done one heck of a great job in providing this site and the pay is worth having almost unlimited access to this info.

    I just checked the maps that show where uboats were lost and noticed that both U 47 and U 571 were not listed.

    They were lost in an area not very far from each other. It was in or near the Cape Farewell area according to the losses map at the Uboat Memorial in Moltenort.
     
  13. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Operation Kiebitz, a plan to have Otto Kretschmer (U-99), Horst Elfe (U-93), Hans Ey (U-433) and Hans Joachim Knebel-Döberitz (IWO U-99) escape and picked up by a U-boat was developed in 1942 and executed in September 1943. The successful escape of Korvettenkapitän Otto Kretschmer, the top U-boat ace of WWII, would be sensational. However, the plan was foiled when the tunnels were discovered just days before the planed mass escape. Elfe and Knebel-Döberitz then conceived a daring plan for an escape. Wolfgang Heyda was selected and made an escape via the electric wires over the barbed wire fence with a trolley whose parts were scavenged from window sashes. He then traveled 1400 km to Maisonnette Point, New Brunswick on the Baie de Chaleur where he was to be picked up by a U-boat. Heyda would have little trouble making his way across Canada, as his forged papers were impeccable. He also spoke excellent English having studied English Literature at the University of Exeter in England prior to joining the Reichsmarine. Heyda was captured on the beach and the Canadians were waiting for U-536 with three corvettes, five Bangor minesweepers and a task force of Fairmiles. Heyda was taken to the Maisonnette Point lighthouse where Lieutenant Commander Desmond Piers of the Canadian navy commanded the operation. The commander of U-536, Kapitänleutnant Rolf Schauenburg, evaded the attacking ships and made it safely into the Atlantic. Heyda was sent back to the Bowmanville POW camp where he served 28 days detention for his escape attempt. U-536 was sunk by HMCS Snowberry, HMCS Calgary, and the frigate HMS Nene on 20 November 1943 and Schauenburg one of 17 survivors of a crew of 55 was sent to a POW camp in Canada where he would eventually hear the tale of Heyda's escape and capture. Heyda was released as a POW on 6 May 1947 and would die tragically in Kiel, Germany on 21 August 1947 from polio.


    On the Canadian side, Operation Pointe Maisonnette put in place by the Navy and by the Army sought to apprehend these escaped German prisoners of war and seize the submarine sent to recover them.

    http://uboat.net/books/item/67

    http://www.mnq-nmq.org/english/vivez/impacts/operation.htm
     
  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  15. Herr Kaleun

    Herr Kaleun Member

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    Kai...

    One more nickname for you.

    "Count Dracula"--Hans Trojer, called this by his comrades because he was born in Transylvania and bears a resemblance to Stoker's vampire.
     
  16. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Actually legacy of Kain is one of my favourite PS2 themes...

    [​IMG]

    ;)
     
  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    U-47

    [​IMG]

    http://u47.chez.tiscali.fr/page2ang.html

    [​IMG]

    Return of patrol on July 1940

    The flags of victory were placed according to a chronological order:
    " 5800 " for Balmoralwood sunk on June 14; " 12100 " for San Fernando sunk on June 21; " 7000 " for an unknown vessel (in fact, it was not sunk); " 5640 " for the Empire Toucan sunk on June 29; " 2775 " for Cathrine sunk on June 24; " 4000 " for Lenda sunk on June 29; " 2580 " for Leticia sunk on June 29; " 7000 " for another unknown vessel (nonsunk in fact); " 2201 " for Georgios Kyriakides sunk on June 30; " 15501 " for Arandora Star sunk on July 2.

    More on the site mentioned earlier!
     
  18. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    U-107

    http://uboat.net/boats/u107.htm

    U-107 under Kptlt. Günther Hessler put out from Lorient, France at 19:30 on 29 March, 1941 for what would become the most successful patrol of the entire war against allied merchant shipping.

    Her operational area was around the Canary Islands and nearby Freetown where she sank 14 ships for a total of 86,699 tons, starting with the British merchant SS Eskdene which required some 2 torpedoes and 104 rounds from the heavy 105mm fast firing deck cannon. The largest ship sunk during that patrol was the British Calchas of 10,305 tons. On 1 June, 1941 they sank the British U-boat-trap Alfred Jones of 5,013 tons.

    On 3 and 4 of May U-107 refuelled from the German support ship Nordmark. There they also met U-105. Five days later they took on board 14 torpedoes and some food, fuel and water from the support ship Egerland. The boat returned to Lorient on 2 July 1941.

    Kptlt. Hessler married Karl Dönitz's daughter, Ursula, in November 1937. At that time Hessler was serving on the torpedo boats but in April 1940 he joined the U-boat force. Because Hessler was his son-in-law Dönitz had trouble giving Hessler his deserved Knights Cross and eventually Grand Admiral Raeder signed the papers.

    [​IMG]

    Lieutnant Hessler


    The most successful patrols:

    http://uboat.net/ops/top_patrols.htm
     
  19. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    On Midget submarine operations:

    http://uboat.net/ops/midget.htm

    Biber (Beaver) and Molch (Salamander)

    From January through April 1945 the Molch and Biber midget boats went out on 102 sorties, lost 70 of their own and only sank 7 small ships for a total of 491 tons and damaged 2 for 15,516 tons.

    Seehund (Seal)

    From January through April 1945 the Seehund boats went out on 142 sorties, lost 35 of their own and only sank 8 ships for a total of 17,301 tons and damaged 3 for 18,384 tons.

    --------

    The Seehund proved to be relatively immune to depth charges as its light weight simply tossed it around without much damage resulting (can't have been too much fun for the operators though!)

    :eek: :eek: :confused:
     
  20. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Kai, can you access the old posting on the Seehunds that I posted.....a web page from München last year or so. There is a book written on the boat and crews via that web-site and the German author has been seeking assistance for an author to translate the book into English. do beleive that Stevin has put in a bid for this months ago but have not heard if he has been contacted.....Stevin ?

    Still trying to get the new updated monster PC unit up to significant speed so some things off this ww2 site are not accessible to me yet.

    ~E
     

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