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U - 505 Personal Diary
Anonymous author, possibly Oberfunkmaat (Signalman First Class) Gottfried Fischer


Related Resource:
Documents Captured on German Submarine U-505


Cover and back of the U-505 personal journal. The journal measures 14.5 cm. in height by 10.5 cm in width. Pages 31 through 41 are blank.   Cover and back of the U-505 personal journal. The journal measures 14.5 cm. in height by 10.5 cm in width. Pages 31 through 41 are blank.



 1st leaf of U-505 journal, all entries are crossed out.  

Becker UO 13707/41S
Wilhelm UN 4514/41KS
Kraus UO 38927/42S
Huse UN 29367/41S
Knöss UO 4705/38S
Blau UN 15433/40S

Leave papers for Duhme
Huse's serial number
Disbursement list for 2nd U-Flotilla
Becker's home address
Travel orders for Mi[...]
Lt. Leuschke (radio)

Mess strength on 4 February :
4 officers
2 senior petty officers
10 petty officers
27 enlisted men
43 [total]


   2nd and 3rd leaves of U-505 journal , all entries are crossed out.
Mess strength 5 Feb. 44
4 officers
1 senior petty officer
9 petty officers
27 enlisted men
total: 41 men
------
Mess strength 7 Feb. 44
3 officers
1 senior petty officer
7 petty officers
21 enlisted men
total: 32 men
------
--on 8.2.44
1 officer
1 senior petty officer
7 petty officers
21 enlisted men
total: 30 men
------
-- 9.2.44
1 officer
1 senior petty officer
8 petty officers
20 enlisted men
-------
  Leave:
Becker 13.2.-23.2.
Kraus 13.2.-23.2.
Duhme 4.2.-14.2.
Sauer 7.2.-17.2.
CPO Möller 5.2.-13.2.
Wenz 13.2.-23.2.
Weinhold 2.2.-14.2.
Reh 2.2.-14.2.
Holdenried 2.2.-14.2.
Gauder 11.2.??-26.2.
Schiller 2.2.-12.2.
Hänemann 2.2.-12.2.
Kalbitz 2.2.-12.2.
Lau, Engelbarth, Schubert,
Krug 2.2.-12.2.




 4th and 5th leaves of U-505 journal, all entries are crossed out.
S. Jahn - 23 Jan. ‚44
end of confinement (Kiel)
-------
Laundry:
1 mechanics rig
1 undershirt
1 drawers
-------
 

Harbour watch 5.2.-6.2.
Weber
Brakmann
Brall
Baumert
Schmidt
Kahlmann
petty officer of the watch: PO 1st cl. Michael

6.2.-7.2.

petty officer of the watch: petty officer mechanic engineering

mess strength 10.2.43 [should be 44]
3 officers
1 senior petty officer
7 petty officers
20 enlisted men
total: 31 men



 6th & 7th leaves of U-505 journal, all entries are crossed out, all of the following entries until the beginning of the numbered pages have been made by a different person.

Mess strength 11 Feb. 44

2 officers
1 senior petty officer
7 petty officers
18 enlisted men
total: 29 men
---------
Mess strength 12.2.44

2 officers
1 senior petty officer
7 petty officers
18 enlisted men
total: 29 men
---------
Mess strength 13.2.44

2 officers
1 senior petty officer
7 petty officers
20 enlisted men
total: 30 men
---------
Mess strength 14.2.44

2 officers
2 senior petty officers
12 petty officers
26 enlisted men
total: 42 men

 

[7th leaf - all of the following entries until the beginning of the numbered pages have been made by a different person]

Harbour watch 16.-17.II.

PO(ME) [...]
Engelbarth
Senft
Juritza
Baumert
[...]
Wilm

17.II.-18.II.
PO(ME) Reh
[...]
Ratzmann
Duhme
Visser
Schubert
Kalbitz



 8th & 9th leaves of U-505 journal, all entries have been crossed out.

18-19.II.
PO(ME) Holdenried
Weber
Hännemann
Krug
Gäbler
[...]
Dauer

19.-20.II.
Boatswain's Mate Weinhold
Fehlich
[...]
Wilm
Engelbarth
Senft
Nietze
Juritza

 

20.-21.II.
Leading Radioman Fischer
Baumert
Duhme
Visser
Schubert
Schmidt
Kalbitz
[...]

21.-22.II
PO(ME) Scharf
Rahlmann
Lüdecke
Hännemann
Schiller
Laun
Gäbler



 10th & 11th leaves of U-505 journal, all entries have been crossed out.

22.-23.
PO(ME) Reh
Dauer
Engelbarth
Krug
Wilm
Schmidt
Laun
Juritza

23.-24.
PO(ME) Galli
Schubert
Lüdecke
Kalbitz
Duhme
Juritza
Jahn

 

Flour, coffee, butter, baking soda, milk,
honey, fat, coffee-concentrate, cheese, biscuits,
oil, milk powder, bacon.

Boatswain's mate Weinhold
Gauder
Brall
Becker
Kraus
Baumert
Wenz

Harbour watch on 2.III.44: [...]
[...] on 7.III. until 0800
Harbour watch on 13.III.-14.III.44


[Numbered Pages:]

 Pages 1 & 2 of the U-505 journal.

Page 1

Communications/Signals Department

1. G.H.G. [group hydrophone] defective
2. Fu.M.G. [electronic threat receiver] and tuner defective
3. Fu.M.G. dipole aerial damaged
4. 1 KVA [1kW] transformer inoperable
5. 40 W transmitter: 100 V direct current indicator lamp burned out
6. Echo sounder indicator pegged at 5m
[...]

 

Page 2

[...]

16.3.44 Sailed [from] Brest 1830 hrs. 235° until 24.3.44, then 210° -- 25.3.-- 180° [continued on page 6]



 Pages 3 & 4 of the U-505 journal.

 Page 3

[out of chronological sequence]

Refit period -- to do:

Order:
Special audio phones for G.H.G.
------
Check for broken [vacuum] tubes
------
Improve ventilation for radio shack
------
2 vacuum tube lamps for echo sounder; Wieckmann-type fuses, 600mA; 6 Amp.-fuses; 200 V mains unit, echo sounder; gramophone needle.

 

Page 4

[out of chronological sequence]

For leave.

4 flasks of Eau de Cologne, small
4 [...]
2 [...]
3 bottles Auxol-hair tonic
1 (can) Nivea-creme
3 Wigbert

Shirts (silk)



 Pages 4 & 5 of the U-505 journal.

Page 5

[out of chronological sequence]

Ask Bubi for the poem that Chief Petty Officer Heidgen presented during the comms department party the other day. [see pages 44 and 46] 

 

 Page 6

14th day
It is fourteen days today that we departed from the base. Throughout the entire period we have seen neither the sky nor the sun. The days go by slowly. We have finally crossed the dangerous area of maximum air threat - the Bay of Biscay. Hence was our transit: we hardly had time to breathe some fresh air and charge our batteries, and down below we went again. For the past 3 days we have been experiencing rough seas, sea state 3-6, high swell and wind. The crockery is flying all around the inside of the boat, and an escape breathing apparatus



 Pages 7 & 8 of the U-505 journal.

Page 7

nearly hit my head. It is a relief to submerge in this kind of weather. Miraculously, even though we had pudding, apple compote and other sweets, everything stayed inside me. Small wonder, after all, our ancestors were all seafarers!!

April 1st
Tonight, while we ran on the surface, the sea was exceptionally vicious. Sea state 6-7. The boat rolls and pitches even at depths of 7 - 20 metres [22 - 63ft]. And then we sit (or rather stand) in our radio room and monitor our equipment, and fret whether the enemy has already detected us. It is tiresome work. We are on a south-westerly heading of 120°.
 

 

Page 8

The warmer climate is already beginning to make itself felt. How is it going to get once we cross the equator in a few of days?

April 3rd
Mom's birthday. It's 1230h and I've just wolfed down a cutlet, which would not have gone down well had we been on the surface. What are you having today? A decent birthday dinner, I hope. Grüne Klösse [literally: green dumplings; a regional German specialty]. We were treated with fresh rolls today, as if to mark the occasion. 3 per person. Have the flowers I have asked for been delivered? We've spent the past two nights on the surface. During that time, with the heavy sea going,



 Pages 9 & 10 of the U-505 journal.

Page 9

I was unable to eat anything at all. [...] It is always lunch I have to skip, because we've turned the day into night and vice versa. So, when it is noon at home, we're submerged and we call it midnight over here. Due to the heavy seas, which meet us head on, we've made only slow progress. Even though we run on the surface 12 hours every day. Our area of operations is still unknown, we don't know whether we're bound for America or Africa. The mystery should be solved within the next few days, once we get our instructions by wireless.

Easter Sunday, 2100hrs
We have just finished our coffee break.

 

Page 10

Plum Cakes were made to celebrate the holiday. In spite of the Sunday feeling the atmosphere is a bit tense. The officers and senior petty officers had butter cream with their pastry. And I thought there were supposed to be no exceptions on a U-boat on combat patrol. 3 days ago we rendezvoused with U-123. Since it was on its way back, they took on board everybody's letters to their families. Since two days our threat receiver is down. Trouble shooting. To wrap up the day I spent nearly 4 hours repairing [the equipment] and sweating.



 Pages 11 & 12 of the U-505 journal.

Page 11

We have been on a 180° heading for a few days now. The sea has calmed down but the heat has become more intense.

14 April
It is 4 weeks today that we've left base. What a thankless task, and we have got another 3 months to go. We have been assigned our area of operations by wireless today. The West-African Gold Coast. We're on a heading of 210° with the Cape Verdes Islands just on our beam. Unfortunately we're not going anywhere close to the equator. I would have loved to take part in a crossing the line ceremony, even though I'm certain that Neptune would not

 

Page 12

have shown any mercy with us. Fortunately, we were able to fix our threat receiver again - after 4 long night shifts. Rations have been reduced drastically. We have already gone three evenings without sausage. They say that provisions have to last for a total of 17 weeks, even though we only took on provisions (including fresh groceries) for 14 weeks. That's how it is being a poor U-Boots-Schwein, as they call us. Yesterday we logged our 200th hour of surface transit during this patrol.

15 April
All quiet, course 240°. On the wireless we caught part of the armed forces' situation report. We heard about the air raids on central Germany. I hope everything is



 Pages 13 & 14 of the U-505 journal.

Page 13

all right back home. Our position is 14° North, another 10 days until we reach the area of operations. Sea state: 3-4.

17 April
Yesterday we had the first passive sonar contact since a long time. Periscope depth. However, the swell is to heavy to see anything. It was at mid-day, about 1300h. Today, in the course of the afternoon we picked up detonations at a very great distance from the boat. Probably flak or light bombs.

25 April
We've reached our area of operations. It took us 5 weeks to get here. The age of the boat is telling again. The door on one of the torpedo tubes does not close properly.

 

Page 14

Of all things this has to happen now and here. Yesterday the echo sounder broke down. Just our luck. Repaired it and fitted new neon lighting-tube. For a few days now we have been "enjoying" the tropical heat. Everybody is perspiring freely. Even in the bunks it takes only a few minutes until everything is soaked wet. From sweat, mind you! Water temperature is 29° C [84° F]. The temperature inside the boat is 35-40° C [95-105° F]. And this is only the beginning. The heat is so intense that I sometimes wish I could shed my skin.

30 April 1944
The heat is so unbearable that I'm not really in the mood to write anything. I avoid all unnecessary movement within the boat.



 Pages 15 & 16 of the U-505 journal.

Page 15

Thus I spend most of my off-watch time in my soaked-through bunk. The day before yesterday we sighted our first steamer. After a very swiftly executed interception maneuvre, the ship turned out to be a neutral Portuguese. He was lit up like a Christmas tree.

3 May 1944
The day before yesterday I had my second glimpse of daylight through the periscope since we left base. The first time, 8 days ago - it was about 1800 - it had been a brilliant day. My eyes hurt from the unaccustomed brightness. We've reached 3° north latitude, and only a  

 

Page 16

mere 200 nm separate us from the equator. We won't get there, though. Instead, we'll hang around close to the shore and prey on passing steamers. Unfortunately, with the exception of the neutral ship, nobody has done us the favour to show up yet. Just now we've gone up to periscope depth again to survey the area. We're at 7 - 20m again [periscope depth] and the Commanding Officer announces over the intercom that anybody who wishes to see two young sharks should come to the bridge. Indeed, when I looked through the periscope



 Pages 17 & 18 of the U-505 journal.

Page 17

I saw two of those cute animals that had somehow latched on to the 2cm gun and were fooling around, enjoying a free ride. What a nice diversion!

7 May
Middle of the tour!
A few minutes ago the CO announced over the loudspeaker that we have completed half of our war patrol. He stressed that it wasn't easy for anyone to hang around in these waters, hugging the coast and waiting for the eventual enemy vessel to appear. 

 

Page 18

The day before yesterday the bridge ordered all communications equipment to be switched off because of a severe thunderstorm. Almost instantly the CO ordered the leading radioman [petty officer] of the watch to strip to his trousers and come up onto the conning tower. And so, on 4 May in the evening between 2200 and 2230, I stood outside on the conning tower for the very first time on this patrol. I breathed the fresh and humid air of Africa and let the rain wash down my body. What a feast!! The patrol is winding down now. In 14 days we will leave our area of operations and



 Pages 19 & 20 of the U-505 journal.

Page 19

begin our journey home.

 12 May 1944
We're standing in closer to shore again. We had ventured further out during the moonlit nights. The day before yesterday we spotted a steamer while running at periscope depth. We planned to intercept him with flank speed on the surface after dawn and put a torpedo into him. Unfortunately we were forced under water by a destroyer or something even bigger. Else there's nothing new to report. I've got a nice little inflammation on my thumb, which I believe

 

Page 20

needs to be punctured.

15 May 1944
Sent of our situation report by wireless this morning at 0100h. The signal was received well with good strength. Not bad, given the distance between the African west coast and Germany. And considering how small our U-boat transmitter is. I split my scalp on a metal ventilator during a crash dive. Well, these things happen. 6 more days until we begin our journey back home. Thus we could be back end of June or early July.



 Pages 21 & 22 of the U-505 journal.

Page 21

19 May
The heat inside the boat is unbearable. Sweat is pouring down my body as I write. In the radio room it never gets below 38° C [100° F]. The stale and fetid air makes it all even worse. We have only one consolation: in 5 - 6 days the heat will become less. The day after tomorrow we will head back home.

22 May
Birthday greetings for my dear brother. Today we twice spotted a light on the horizon. Unfortunately, we could not shoot, because they were neutral Spaniards [continued on page 26].

 

Page 22

[out of chronological sequence]

Pay 20.2.-29.2.44 18.-
Postage allowance (Flotilla): 55.-
Allowance 200.-
Postage allowance (at home) 50.-
------
323.-
On leave ticket 50.-
------
373.-
Pay (10.-20.3.44) 18.-
Postage allowance (Flotilla) 55.-
------
446 RM



 Pages 23 & 24 of the U-505 journal.

Page 23

[blank]
 

 

Page 24

[out of chronological sequence]

29. II. 44

For spirits 67.-
Shoe polish 00.75
Spectacles 25.-
Shoe polish, hair net,
fishing line, cigarettes,
tobacco 13.25
Cigarettes, spirits, other 12.50
Beer, wine,
1 bottle of Cognac 30.-
2 sweaters, white 90.-
farewell party? 35.-
Food, wine, beer 6.-
Cigarettes 3.-
1 umbrella 40.-
Cigarettes, Cognac,
watch repair 35.-
-------
Expenses: 357.50
Funds: 446.-
-------
Remaining funds 110.50



 Pages 25 & 26 of the U-505 journal.

Page 25

[blank]
 

 

Page 26

23 May
Today we finally set course for home. I had a contact [on the threat receiver] at around 0400 today. Submerged. We surfaced again after 1 ½ hours and immediately picked up a radar emission. Submerged again. After that: 2 acoustic contacts. Probably a Hunter-Killer-Group made up of destroyers and patrol craft. Periscope depth. Propeller noise faded after one hour. Continued transit.

30 May
We've spent the Whitsuntide holiday more or less happily. One of our leading seamen has proven his



 Pages 27 & 28 of the U-505 journal.

Page 27

talent as a baker by producing a little cake for each of us. He used empty tin cans as forms. Otherwise the holidays were like every other day at sea. No radio, no music from the record player, no light, and very little air. Today was a particularly dismal day. Within minutes of [...] surfacing during the evening hours we picked up radar emissions. We had no choice but to go down again. We went through that routine four times. In the end we remained on the surface and manned the anti-aircraft guns. After  

 

Page 28

a short while we picked up a second radar emission. Submerged again. Probably a surface anti-submarine group working together with aircraft. Now we tried out something which, I believe, is not commonly done. At a distance of about 100nm from the shore, shortly after noon, we surfaced and raced eastward, away from the radar emissions, for half an hour. The enemy was certainly unprepared for this, because we remained undetected. Now the CO wants to continue the transit under water throughout the entire 31st of May, and surface again only



 Pages 29 & 30 of the U-505 journal.

Page 29

in the small hours of the 1st of June. Therefore we are conserving air and electricity. All off-duty personnel are confined to their bunks. Even so we will be gasping for air during last few hours. It really is a comforting thought that we'll be back home in 4-5 weeks. I can't wait to see the sights of green forests and gardens again, of which we have been deprived for so long.

Sunday, 4 June 1944
Forenoon, 1100h. Submerged. I hope that we are through the worst of it. We spent 4 hours

 

Page 30

on the surface today, and we'll try to remain on the surface the entire night tomorrow. We had to conserve air during the past few days, because every time we only had a few minutes on the surface. 10 contacts in 4 days is quite a lot. We are at latitude 22° north.

[end of chronological narrative]


Pages 31 through 41 are blank.

 Page 42 of the U-505 journal.
   

 Page 42

Transmission of situation report on 15 May 44 on QOA "Pi" beginning on 0045 (Afrika II).
Very poor conditions. Transmission was garbled and only partially received.



 Pages 43 & 44 of the U-505 journal.

Page 43

canteen debts until 14.3.44:
64,80
-------
Pick up wrist watch in Brest
-------
Tubes for French radio
-------
Have briefcase made by yard
-------
Write to Werner Puszkat in Aurich [Germany]
-------
Performance evaluation, physical fitness test, driver's licence
-------
Buy coat from master-at-arms
-------
Buy baby clothes (depending on [the next] letter)
------- 

 

Page 44 [poem referred to on page 5]

And now somebody of a higher class/
Who is indispensable and of great mass/
His name has nothing to do/
With a race-car driver of the same name/
On shore he blows the most charming lullabies/
Those with musical ears [...]/
On board he is one of the best/
When the boat makes ready for sea one can see him run/
He carries the crates day and night/
He brought an entire operating room/
And if someone has a painful throat/ [continued on p. 46]



 Pages 45 & 46 of the U-505 journal.

Page 45

Quimper 325,5 kHz
Samer 16 305 kHz
March codeword [...] VI.
April codeword[...] I.
-------
- M 55963 - Boatswain Hans Jank
-------
Andrea Bastard
Yard operator - 687 - Brest
-------
Kptlt. [Lt.Cdr.]
von Mirbach
commanding officer 9th S-Flotilla
- M 55963 -
------- 

 

Page 46

he takes a look an tells you:/
"Wrap a scarf around it/
Around the front and back/
Then put a shawl around it/
And if it get worse, come back."



 Last leaf of the U-505 journal.
[Last leaf, unnumbered, entries crossed out;
see original for column of numbers.]
   

Acknowledgements and Notes:

Translation of diary from the German courtesy of Dirk Steffen, a former German Navy officer, and graduate of the American Military University.

The author of the document is most likely Oberfunkmaat (Signalman First Class) Gottfried Fischer -- the only U-505 sailor killed during the battle leading to the capture of the submarine. This identification is based upon an entry of 7 May 1944 in which the author refers to himself as the leading radio man (see diary page 10). At that time, the leading radio man aboard U-505 was Fischer. Identification of the probable author was made by Dave Kohnen who is the U-505 Exhibit Developer at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois.


30 September 2005