Serial No. 7
Scuttled and Sunk Off
Cape Khamis, Algeria
Division of Naval Intelligence
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS
SERIAL No. 7
REPORT ON THE
INTERROGATION OF SURVIVORS
FROM U-595 GROUNDED AND SCUTTLED
OFF CAPE KHAMIS, ALGERIA
NOVEMBER 14, 1942
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1943
Serial No. 02488110
O. N. I. 250 SERIES
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations,
Washington, October 25, 1942.
1. The O. N. I. 250 Series - Post-Mortems on Enemy Submarines - consist of intelligence obtained from the sinking or capture of enemy submarines. The suffix G, I, or J indicates whether the submarine is German, Italian, or Japanese.
2. In preparing this series of pamphlets, of which it is hoped there will be many, all information considered to be of value or interest to the naval service is included. While all the material does not relate directly to enemy submarine operations and personnel, it is in effect the intelligence which has been gathered in the course of antisubmarine operations.
3. This publication, like those which are to follow, is Confidential. Many of the data were formerly classified as Secret. But, the classification has been lowered in order that the service at large may benefit from the information collected and presented herein. While no accountability is required, attention is incited to the fact that the intelligence contained in this series must he safeguarded in accordance with the strict and literal interpretation of its classification. The information compiled in this series can be of too great assistance in our operations at sea to hazard the loss of a source at once so important and so irreplaceable.
H. C. Train,
Rear Admiral, U. S. Navy,
Director of Naval Intelligence.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|Chapter I. Introductory remarks
|II. Crew of U-595
|III. Early history of U-595
|IV. First war cruise
|V. Second war cruise
|VI. Third and last war cruise
|VII. Sinking of U-595
|VIII. Details of U-595
|IX. Other U-boats
|X. General remarks on U-boats
|XI. U-boat bases
|XII. U-boat training
|XIII. U-boat flotillas
|Annex A. Crew list of U-595
|Chapter I. INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
U-595 was caught on the surface and attacked by British aircraft in the Mediterranean, off Cape Tones, northeast of Oran, Algeria, on the morning of November 14, 1942. Upon diving and finding herself unable to stay submerged because of the damage sustained, she surfaced and made for land. After a run of about 4 hours under constant air attack, she ran aground and was scuttled off Cape Khamis, about 70 miles northeast of Oran.
The entire complement escaped from the U-boat and survives. One rating became separated from his companions and was picked up by a British destroyer and taken to England; 4 officers and 40 men swam ashore. On their way inland they met a French officer, to whom they surrendered their arms under the impression that he was an ally. He took them to the nearby village of Picard, fed them, and assigned them to a large garrison room in which they went to sleep guarded by French colonial soldiers. They were awakened at about midnight to find themselves surrounded by a United States Army tank unit. They were made United States prisoners and the next day were taken to Oran. Here they were put aboard a United States Army transport for transfer to the United States, and they arrived in this country on November 30, 1942.
In the matter of security the crew of U-595 gave ample evidence of thorough indoctrination both during training and at the hands of their officers. Their morale, however, was not too high in all cases, and it was eventually possible to elicit a considerable amount of information. The interrogation was aided materially by the capture of the diary of Leutnant zur See 1 von Horstig, which he foolishly retained on his person after mutilating it only slightly. Numerous letters and photographs, as well as many small personal articles, were found on both officers and men. The interrogation was conducted and this account written without the aid of action reports, none of which was available at the time.
The case of U-595 is particularly interesting as it is probably the first naval victory won by the United States Army Tank Corps in this or any other war.
1 For translation of ranks and ratings in U-595, see Annex A.
Chapter II. CREW OF U-595
The complement of U-595 consisted of 4 officers and 41 enlisted men, all of whom survived.
U-595 was commanded by Kapitänleutnant Jürgen Quaet-Faslem. He is 29 years old and belongs to the naval term of 1934. He was formerly attached to the Air Force, having served in that branch from his midshipman days. However, like many others, he had recently transferred to the U-boat Arm, and U-595 was his first command. He is married and the father of two children, and lives on an estate (Rittergut) near Weimar in Thuringia. He once complained to a friend that during the first year of his marriage he had seen his wife only 2 weeks.
Quaet-Faslem was among the less pleasant of the U-boat captains so far encountered. He was bitter, taciturn, and barely civil, and the hatred in his eyes was apparent to all who talked to him. All attempts at conversation with him were futile. He seemed sunk in grief and gloom, and interrogators got the impression that he was reproaching himself for the loss of his boat and its incomplete destruction. The impression that this might be the case was strengthened by occasional frank accusations and more frequent veiled insinuations by his crew about his carelessness, inefficiency, and cowardice.
The next ranking officer aboard U-595 was the Engineer Officer, Oberleutnant (Ing.) Emmerich Freiherr von Mirbach. Von Mirbach is 24 years old and is a native of Berlin. He entered the Navy as an engineering cadet in 1937. In 1938 he was serving aboard the Schleswig-Holstein, on which he made cruises to Central America, the Azores, and England, and on May 1, 1940, he was commissioned as Ensign for engineering duties only (Leutnant (Ing.)). He is a younger cousin of Goetz Freiherr von Mirbach, celebrated torpedo boat (S-Boot) commander who wears the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for allegedly sinking a destroyer and three large armed merchant vessels in the English Channel. Von Mirbach was affable and only moderately security conscious. He was, however, disliked by most of the crew, some of whom called him a martinet. He was prevented from unbending more than he did by the dominance of his commanding officer.
The Executive Officer (1 W. O.) was Leutnant zur See Friedrich Kaiser, 22 years old, native of Sinn bei Wiesbaden. He entered the Navy in 1938 as a cadet, became a midshipman (Fähnrich zur See)
at the end of 1939, and had probably not been an ensign long. His home is on Adolf Hitler Street, and he is a citizen worthy of that name.
The Second Watch Officer (2 W. O.) was Leutnant zur See Horst Eberhard von Horstig, of Hamburg. He is the son of Major General Ritter von Horstig. He is only 21 years old and is not mentioned in the 1940 German Navy List. Little was learned about him, for he was adamantly security conscious in spite of his indiscretion in allowing his diary to be captured. He was probably also quite ineffective otherwise as an officer, for he forgot to take aboard the charges for the S. B. T. as U-595 left for her last cruise, and it was from his lookout sector that the attacking plane approached without being detected. He was not well thought of by those of the crew who would speak of their officers.
The crew of U-595 consisted of 15 petty officers and 20 enlisted men. It was a better trained and more experienced crew than some that have been encountered recently. The petty officers had all had a number of years of service and impressed interrogators as knowing their business. The men had, with two or three exceptions, joined the Navy in 1941, most of them late in the year, but even they seemed to be comparatively mature U-boat men. Their average age was just over 20 years.
Chapter III. EARLY HISTORY OF U-595
U-595 was a 500-ton U-boat, type VII-C, built at the Blohm and Voss yard at Hamburg. She belonged to a large series of boats, U-551 to U-623, assigned to Blohm and Voss.
It could not be ascertained when U-595 was laid down. She was launched about September 9, 1941. At the time of the launching and shortly thereafter, the machinists and technical personnel arrived to stand by the boat during the final phases of construction. The seamen arrived later. During this period the crew was housed in barracks adjoining the yard. An entry in the diary of Leutnant von Horstig gives September 20 as the date of arrival. A prisoner stated that Kapitänleutnant Quaet-Faslem took over command of the boat 2 weeks before the commissioning.
U-595 was commissioned on November 6, 1941. According to the statement of one prisoner, she was scheduled to leave Hamburg for Kiel on November 9, but was forced to postpone her sailing for 24 hours because of the heavy damage inflicted on storehouses and the railroad station by the British aircraft attacks which occurred on November 5, 6, and 7.
On November 10, U-595 sailed for Kiel. According to von Horstig's diary, she had been assigned to the 8th Flotilla on November 6. Under the supervision of the U-boat Acceptance Command (U. A. K.), she remained for about 10 days, undergoing the usual pressure dock tests, motor speed, and other trials. The crew lived on a depot ship while in Kiel.
U-595 sailed from Kiel for the eastern Baltic on November 25, arriving at Danzig at 1500 GMT, the following day. She remained in port until December 3 and then underwent a further series of trials in the Bay of Danzig. These included surface torpedo firing practice conducted by the executive officer (Torpedoschiessen) and maximum speed and mileage tests. From December 12 to December 22, the boat was at Hela performing exercises under control of the Active Service Training Group (Agru-Front). She was not given the usual device indicating readiness for war (Frontreifabzeichen) at this time. Some of the prisoners were scornful of this device, saying that it was placed on the conning towers of U-boats only at the whim of their commanders.
Since the town of Hela offered but little diversion for the crew, U-595 crossed the Bay of Danzig and put in at Königsberg for the holidays. On January 2, 1942, she proceeded to Gotenhafen where
she was assigned to the 22d Flotilla as a schoolboat. This unusual event has not been satisfactorily explained and may indicate a change of practice. One prisoner said that U-595 was used for this purpose in order to give new U-boat personnel an opportunity for training on a modern boat.
U-595 was frozen in at the pier in Gotenhafen from January 14 to March 28. Even during the months that U-595 was held fast by the ice, she continued to serve as a schoolboat, with new trainees coming aboard weekly. Prisoners stated that steam heat was supplied to the boat from the pier. During this period some of the crew were given leave. The boat remained in use as a training vessel until she was released from this service toward the end of May. According to prisoners' statements, on returning to Gotenhafen after one of the training cruises in April, the boat rammed a small coastal vessel, the Jaegersberg. No damage was sustained.
On June 1, U-595 was reassigned to the 8th Flotilla and resumed her trials. On the first day out Seaman, 2 cl. Günther Hoppe fell overboard and all attempts to rescue him failed (cf. Chapter XIV). An inquest was held soon thereafter and one rating was required to testify, causing him to miss the boat and to rejoin it later at Hamburg.
According to the prisoners, the last trials of U-595 were supervised by Korvettenkapitän (Lieutenant Commander) Werner Hartmann of the naval term of 1921. Commanding officer's torpedo practice (Kommandantenschiessen) was carried on in the Bay of Danzig, the crew was drilled in taking down torpedoes from upper deck containers, and underwater sound trials were run by night off Könne.
According to an entry in von Horstig's diary, the tactical exercises began on June 12. Prisoners stated that they lasted about 10 days and that 10 U-boats took part. Von Horstig lists these boats as being U-177, U-179, U-210, U-259, U-411, U-517, U-605, U-609, and U-660. The dates for the tactical exercises were confirmed by prisoners from U-210, U-517, and U-660. During this period mock attacks were made on convoys of freighters and destroyers. One prisoner stated that these exercises were a great annoyance to both crew and training officers. He said that on several occasions the Diesels failed to function properly and that once when the boat surfaced, she was far too close to a destroyer for comfort.
After completing her exercises, U-595 put in to Kiel on her way to Hamburg for final overhaul (Restarbeiten). According to von Horstig's diary, work started on June 21 and lasted about a month. Some of the crew were granted leave, while the rest stood by the boat, living on a depot ship.
About July 20, U-595 once more sailed for Kiel. She remained there for 3 days, loading fuel, provisions, and torpedoes for her first war cruise.
Chapter IV. FIRST WAR CRUISE
U-595 left Kiel for her first war cruise on Thursday, July 23, 1942. She was in the company of a 1600-ton supply U-boat said to be commanded by an Oberleutnant Vogel. (ONI Note: It is possible that this is Kapitänleutnant (Lieutenant) Viktor Vogel, who was previously thought to command U-588, but who may have been transferred. This boat had an octopus painted on its c/t. The boats proceeded through the Great Belt and the Kattegat to Kristiansand, where they arrived on July 24, and spent the night. Some of the crew went ashore to the sailors' home (Marineheim), others stood watch on board.
U-595 sailed from Kristiansand at 0700 on July 25. still in company with the supply U-boat. They parted company at night, U-595 continuing north and the other turning west, U-595 passed through the "rose garden" ("Der Rosengarten"), the shoal between Iceland and the Faeroes, and proceeded to her operational area in the North Atlantic. About a week after leaving Kristiansand orders were received from Admiral Dönitz, in command of U-boats (B. d. U.), proceed to attack a convoy. U-595 joined other U-boats in shadowing the convoy, and about a week after receipt of the order she took an active part in the action against it. The convoy concerned was probably S. C. 94 east-bound from Halifax to the United Kingdom, and U-595's attack was probably a part of the concerted action against this convoy which resulted in the sinking of U-210 on August 6 by H. M. C. S. Assiniboine and of U-379 on August 9 by H. M. S. Dianthus. (Cf. O. N. I. 250-G, Serial No. 4, and C. B. 4051 (47).)
U-595 did not escape unscathed herself from this action. She too suffered a depth-charge attack by a destroyer, being caught on the surface and forced to crash-dive. This attack was stated by most prisoners to have done no damage, but by others to have caused injury to the forward part of the boat, and to have broken instrument glasses, etc. Shortly thereafter she delivered a surface attack on a destroyer, at about 800 meters, firing a spread of three torpedoes, and diving immediately. This was about August 9, at night. It was believed on board, though not definitely known, that a hit had been obtained. However, the last of these three torpedoes stuck in the tube. While numerous prisoners admitted this accident, only one would give any details. According to his story the pistol of the torpedo had not been properly locked in place. It came off and fouled the forward hydroplanes so that they would move only within an angle
of 10° up or down. The compressed-air chamber in the tail piece of the torpedo exploded and damaged the after end of the tube, so that the boat could not have dived even if the hydroplanes had been working properly. This damage was reported and she was ordered to proceed to her base, being forced to make the entire run on the surface according to the above account, but according to others being quite able to dive when necessary.
On August 1, during her patrol, U-595 had been assigned to the 9th U-boat Flotilla, under the command of Korvettenkapitä n Lehmann-Willenbrock, at Brest. At some point on the cruise, trouble developed in the Diesels. It was corrected, and one rating, according to his story, received the Iron Cross, 2d class, for his part in the repairs. After successfully evading several a/c attacks en route, she reached Brest to end her first war cruise on August 17, 1942.
U-595 was berthed in a U-boat shelter the whole time she lay at Brest. The torpedo was removed from the tube, the tube and the hydroplanes were repaired, and the Diesels were overhauled. According to one prisoner there were about 20 other U-boats in Brest at the time, and Admiral Dönitz, the Commander of U-boats, came aboard U-595. Crew members got no leave, but lived in new barracks about 10 minutes by bus from the shelters. U-595 remained in Brest until September 9, 1942.
Chapter V. SECOND WAR CRUISE
U-595's second war cruise was completely ineffective. She left Brest on September 9 for her operational area in the North Atlantic. After several weeks of inactivity she is said to have sighted a heavily laden troop transport, estimated by prisoners at 25,000 tons, proceeding eastward escorted by eight destroyers and three corvettes. The time was early afternoon, according to one prisoner. She spent some time maneuvering for an attack, but could not cope with the ship's great speed and zig-zag course in the high seas that prevailed. She was finally driven off by one of the destroyers, whose depth charge attack, however, was otherwise harmless. (ONI Note: No such incident has been reported or identified by American authorities.)
At 0500 the next day another mishap occurred on U-595. A main electric cable running from the batteries to the electric motors was soaked in bilge water and burned out underneath the control room, generating noxious fumes in the boat. Most of the prisoners thought that this was caused by the large amount of water the boat had shipped through the conning tower hatch the day before. One thought that the insulation of the cable had been worn through by some insecurely fixed piece of machinery. At any rate, the electric motors and the pumps were out of commission and U-595 had to make another premature start for home. She could not dive and had to run on the surface for the time being, but, according to most of the testimony, temporary repairs were effected and the pumps recirculated, so that she crash-dived when attacked by aircraft in the Bay of Biscay one morning shortly before she arrived at Brest. The return trip was marked also by a meeting on October 1 with another U-boat, thought to be U-566. The boats passed close aboard but did not stop, according to prisoners.
U-595 reached Brest to end her second war cruise on October 6, delivering up all of her torpedoes. She immediately went into drydock for repairs. Some members of the crew got leave and returned to Germany on a special train (Soldatenzug). U-boat badges were distributed to certain ratings on October 12, and a few Iron Crosses, 2d class, were awarded by Admiral Dönitz in person.
Chapter VI. THIRD AND LAST WAR CRUISE
U-595 got off to a bad start on her third and last war cruise. Just as she was about to cast off. it was discovered that Leutnant von Horstig had forgotten the charges for the S. B. T. He rushed on to the pier to try to borrow some from other U-boats lying nearby, but was unable to do so. Prisoners stated that the captain was furious over the bad impression they had made on departure and gave the whole crew a severe dressing down.
U-595 left the harbor of Brest accompanied by a mine sweeper. Her destination was an operational area in the western Mediterranean. Prisoners stated that the boat followed a course through the Bay of Biscay some 30 or 40 miles from the coasts of Spain and Portugal. On November 7, U-595 passed through the Straits of Gibraltar. The prisoners were very security conscious about this aspect of the voyage but the evidence seems to indicate that the passage was made by night on the surface. One prisoner spoke of a watch having been stationed on the bridge at the time of the passage and said that a British aircraft carrier was sighted. No attempt was made to attack her.
According to an entry in von Horstig's diary, on November 9. U-595 was assigned to the 29th Flotilla based on La Spezia (Italy ). Orders for this assignment must have been received by radio from the Admiral in Command of U-boats (B. d. U.). Several prisoners spoke of radio communication with other U-boats in the Mediterranean. Once they saw a red signal flare of a vessel in distress but. being unable to determine her nationality, they made no attempt, to come to her aid and turned off their course to avoid taking risks.
Prisoners stated that 2 days before U-595 was sunk, she made an attack by night on an empty transport, just north of Oran. Three torpedoes were fired and two of them were described as hits. The U-boat immediately submerged and was attacked by depth charges but no damage was sustained. The crew was under the impression that the transport sank. She was described as being a ship of about 6,000 tons although one prisoner placed the tonnage at 12,000. (ONI Note: This may have been the British S. S. Browning, 5,332 tons, sunk off Oran on November 13.)
On November 14, at about 0745 GMT, U-595 was running on the surface when she was attacked by British aircraft. Prisoners were at a loss to explain why she was on the surface at this time as, heretofore, the captain had been careful to submerge at dawn. One prisoner laid it to the rashness of the captain.
Chapter VII. SINKING OF U-595
This chapter on the sinking of U-595 is based entirely on statements made by prisoners, since at the time of writing no action report was at hand.
At 0745 GMT on November 14, while the second watch officer, von Horstig, had gone below to relieve himself. U-595 was attacked by a British aircraft off Cape Tenes, Algeria. Four bombs were dropped. According to prisoners two fell close on either side of the bow, one fell several yards astern, and one hit the deck and bounced off into the water before exploding. The boat dived immediately after the attack but considerable damage had been sustained. Glass on the instruments was broken, the main lighting system failed, fuses were jarred from place, fire broke out in the electric-motor room damaging the pumping system, a vent was dislocated and water seeped into the stern. Lockers were broken open and food was strewn about. A hasty inspection showed that the entire electrical system was not functioning properly. A prisoner stated that one motor still operated but failed to give sufficient speed to maintain trim. The ship became heavy by the stern and, after having been submerged for about 20 minutes, was forced to surface.
Upon breaking surface, U-595 was immediately attacked by four planes. The engineering officer estimated that she could remain afloat about 2 to 3 hours, and the captain decided to make for the African coast. His plan was to run close to land, put most of the crew ashore, and then with a skeleton crew aboard, make for deep water where he intended to scuttle his boat. The run for shore lasted about 4 hours and during much of the time the boat was under attack by aircraft. Prisoners stated that 14 planes joined the attack but claimed that the boat sustained no further damage. According to one account, the 20 mm. antiaircraft gun on the bridge was manned by a rating, while officers and petty officers sought shelter behind the cowling of the conning tower. The captain let go a steady barrage of advice at the gunner who finally, in exasperation, shouted, "If you're so damned brave, come out here and help me with the ammunition." The executive officer, Kaiser, eventually did come to his aid. Prisoners stated that they held their fire until the planes were within 200 meters. They claimed to have bit two four-motored bombers whose engines were seen burning.
During the run for shore, neither the magnetic compass nor the gyro compass was functioning properly. The echo sounding device was used constantly but failed to give a recording until suddenly 8 meters was registered. The captain then ordered the U-595 hard to starboard just as she ran aground, about 70 miles northeast of Oran in the vicinity of Cape Khamis.
Prisoners stated that the captain then went to his locker, pinned his iron cross on his breast, wrapped the ship's flag about his neck, and gave the order to abandon ship, adding, "Every man for himself." The rubber boat was broken out, the crew gathered a few personal belongings, donned life jackets and jumped into the sea. While the crew was in the water, the engineering officer, Oberleutnant (Ing.) von Mirbach set the scuttling charges. Prisoners stated that seven charges were set in the control room, the radio room, the motors, and the Diesel room as well as in the magazine. All charges exploded simultaneously. While some of the crew were in the water, and others were already on shore, prisoners noticed a destroyer approaching and said that she fired four rounds.
The entire complement of U-595 gathered on shore except for one rating, who, having become separated from the rest, was picked up by the destroyer. The crew had walked inland a few hundred yards when they were seen by a British aircraft. The pilot dropped a note to the crew written partly in Italian and partly in German which read: "Halt, or I'll spray you with machine guns." Upon failing to halt, the crew was machine gunned by the plane. No casualties resulted.
Further inland, the crew of U-595 met a French officer with a detachment of men and, believing them to be their allies, surrendered. A landing party from the British destroyer was later informed of this surrender and, satisfied with the disposition of the prisoners, returned to its ship.
Chapter VIII. DETAILS OF U-595
Tonnage.- 500 tons.
Type. - VII-C.
Building yard. - Blohm & Voss, Hamburg.
Flotilla. - According to an entry in Leutnant v. Horstig's diary, U-595 was attached to the 8th Flotilla, during her trials beginning November 6, 1941. On January 2, 1942, she was assigned to the 22d Flotilla at Gotenhafen while being used as a schoolboat but returned on June 1 to the 8th Flotilla until she joined the 9th Flotilla, based on Brest, on August 1, 1942. U-595 received word on November 9, 1942, that henceforth she was to be attached to the 29th Flotilla, based on La Spezia. to which she was to proceed at the end of the cruise.
Diesel engines. - G-W, stated to have 1,400 to 1,420 horsepower each.
Electric motors. - Braun & Boveri Co.-Stated to have 430 horsepower each.
S. B. T. - U-595 was equipped with S. B. T. (cf. O. N. I. 250-G Serial No. 4). It was said that the boxes containing charges for the S. B. T. are kept aft and are tin-lined.
Device. - A blue sawfish painted on the conning tower. This device was peculiar to U-595, not a flotilla device. It was put on for the last cruise.
Torpedoes. - Capacity 14. Twelve were carried on last cruise. (It is stated that no torpedoes are carried in deck containers in the Mediterranean.)
Paint. - This was not changed from the North Atlantic cruises but remained light gray.
Echo-sounder. - There is considerable evidence for believing that the echo-sounder was intermittently out of order during U-595's last run.
Watches. - The usual watch consisted of 4 hours on, 8 hours off, alternately. The Diesel room watch was said to be on a schedule of 6 hours on, 6 hours off.
Ammunition. - U-595 had to use antiaircraft ammunition sparingly on the last cruise, letting planes come within 200 meters before firing, according to one prisoner.
Fresh water distilling unit. - One liter per hour was produced by the fresh water distilling unit according to one prisoner. The average for a 12-hour day was 10 liters.
Fresh water. - A prisoner who had been cook on board said the cook may use 120 liters of water a day. There was still plenty of water for the rest of the crew.
K. D. F. (listening gear). - None carried.
Chapter IX. OTHER U-BOATS
Unless otherwise noted the material in this chapter is based on prisoners' statements and has not been confirmed elsewhere.
The device on U-9 was said to be the Iron Cross, 1st Class.
A prisoner stated that U-124 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Johann Mohr had a negro's head for its device.
A prisoner confirmed the sinking of U-144 under the command of Kapitänleutnant von Mittelstaedt.
The sinking of U-213 under the command of Oberleutnant von Varendorff was confirmed.
U-253 was stated to be commanded by a Kapitänleutnant Friedrichs. (ONI Note: This is probably Kapitänleutnant Adolf Friedrichs of the 1935 term who is known to have served previously as junior officer on U-74.) One prisoner gave Friedrich's boat as U-233, but U-253 seems more likely.
The device on U-437 was described as a humorous drawing of a man with a tall hat, long legs, and very large shoes.
It was stated that Korvettenkapitän Reinhard "Teddy" Suhren's boat was in Brest when U-595 left on October 31, 1942, and that her device was a white elephant. (ONI Note: Suhren is believed to command U-564.)
U-592 was said to have a man carrying two buckets from a yoke as its device. Underneath is written "Hummel-Hummel." (ONI Note: Kapitänleutnant Bonn of the 1933 term is thought to be in command of U-592.) It was stated that U-592 had not sunk anything on its cruises in the Arctic Ocean. She suffered a broken cylinder in a Diesel engine and came to Blohm & Voss, Hamburg, for repair while U-595 was there.
U-593 was stated to be commanded by Oberleutnant Brünning. (ONI Note: This is probably Oberleutnant Brünning of the 1934 term.)
It was reported that U-594's device was a seated figure of a rabbit holding a gun.
U-596 was stated to be commanded by a Kapitänleutnant Jahn and to be based on Lorient. (ONI Note: This is probably Kapitä nlentnant Günther Jahn of the 1931 term.) Her device was formerly a die with three spots when she had another crew, but it has been removed.
It was stated that Oberleutnant (Ing.) Poida was serving on U-601 and that this U-boat's device was the coat of arms of Hamburg. She was also stated to have one red and one yellow stripe around the C/T. (ONI Note: This is probably Oberleutnant (Ing.) Poida of the 1938 term.)
A prisoner, who had stood by during the final stages of construction of U-755 and remained with her during the first cruise, gave the following information about this boat:
1. Early History
U-755 is a 500-ton, type VII-C boat built by the Kriegsmarine Werft, Wilhelmshaven, and is under the command of Kapitänleutnant Göing, a young and popular officer of the 1934 naval term. When the prisoner reported for duty in September 1941 the boat had already been launched. The final constructional indoctrination (Baubelehrung) lasted 6 weeks, from mid-September until November 4, when she was commissioned. Soon afterwards she proceeded to Kiel for the U-boat Acceptance Command (U-Boots Abnahme Kommando, U. A. K.) trials which lasted from about November 10 to November 24; during this time the boat was tested to an equivalent of 80 meters depth in the pressure dock (Druckdock).
On leaving Kiel for Rönne, on the island of Bornholm, U-755 was rammed by a Danish steamer and was forced to return to Kiel for repairs which lasted for about a week. It was not until December 10 that she finally arrived at Rö nne for silent running tests; she remained there for 10 days before proceeding to Danzig. Christmas was spent in Danzig and U-755 made a short trip to Kiel between then and December 31 when she arrived in Flensburg.
Early in January she went to Gotenhafen for torpedo firing trials under the Torpedo Testing Command (Torpedo Erprobungs Kommando, T. E. K.) after which she ran over a measured mile between there and Danzig, before proceeding to Hela for Active Service
Training Group trials (Ausbildungs Gruppe Front, "Agru-front"). These were completed before January 20 when U-755 found herself frozen in near Königsberg. After the successful completion of the trials she received the Ready for War (Frontreif) emblem.
When the ice had melted she proceeded to Pillau in April for Commanding Officer's Torpedo Firing (Kommandantenschiessen) and thence to Gotenhafen for tactical exercises (Taktische Übungen) in May or dune 1942; thereafter she returned to Könisgberg for final overhaul (Restarbeiten).
It appears that U-755's trials were duplicated to some extent. She is said to have returned to Gotenhafen for further exercises after her overhaul (Restarbeiten) and thence to have proceeded to Kiel via Eckernförde where she went through torpedo firing trials under the Torpedo Testing Command (T. E. K.) for a second time. On arrival in Kiel she spent a few days embarking stores and ammunition before sailing on her first patrol.
2. First Patrol
U-755 sailed from Kiel on August 5 and proceeded through the. Great Belt, the Kattegat, and Skaggerak to Kristiansand. She remained only one night for the purpose of taking on fuel and then continued to the North Atlantic by way of the straits between Iceland and the Faeroes, which she passed on the surface using Diesel-electric. Her objective was an area off Newfoundland but at no time did she operate in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. While they were in the vicinity of Newfoundland, they listened to dance music from a radio station in Schenectady. One ship, thought to have been an American "auxiliary cruiser" of approximately 7,000 tons, was sunk after they had been out about 6 weeks, three torpedoes being fired. She is stated to have been traveling alone. (ONI Note: The auxiliary cruiser may have been the British ship Ocean Vagabond, 7,174 tons, sailing in convoy homeward bound and torpedoed September 29, 10 miles east by south of St. John's, Newfoundland. She succeeded in reaching port.) U-755 refueled at sea in the daytime through a hose from a supply U-boat (Versorgungsboot or Milchkuh), wider than a regular U-boat but carrying only two 37 mm. guns and having no torpedo tubes. On account of a storm she was forced to slip the tow. Fueling was completed a few days later after the storm had abated. Provisions and torpedoes were also taken aboard.
Four convoys were sighted but only one was attacked. It consisted of four ships escorted by two destroyers and several airplanes. The convoy was reported to the Commander of U-boats (B. d. U.) sometime in mid-September by U-755 and it was expected that other U-boats would join her, but, as far as the prisoner knew. U-755 was the only boat which attacked at this time. She fired four torpedoes, all of which missed. The destroyers dropped 70 depth charges during
the course of 9 hours, without damaging U-755, which managed to escape by skillful use of the STB and by diving to over 200 meters before the first charges exploded. According to the prisoner a radio message was subsequently intercepted stating that three ships out of this convoy had been sunk, their tonnages being 19,000, 10,000, and 5,000, respectively.
U-755 was at no time attacked by aircraft during this patrol and after 64 days at sea she entered Brest early on October 7. When U-595 sailed on her last patrol on October 31, U-755 was still in Brest where she was attached to the 9th Flotilla.
3. Details of U-755
U-755 was painted gray and bore on her conning tower the inscription "Es geht weiter" on a square white field. The prisoner stated that during firing exercises, the supervising officers would invariably find that the firing was not up to standard and they would have to start again. "Es geht weiter" (Here we go again) became the boat's nickname.
She was equipped with S. B. T.
Her officers were said to be as follows: Kapitänlentnant Göing, commanding officer; Lieutenant zur See Blischke, executive officer; Leutnant zur See Cristans, 2d officer; Oberleutnant (Ing.) Hartmann, engineer officer.
(ONI Note: Blischke and Hartmann are both listed in the German Navy List as belonging to the 1937 (B) term. Cristans is not otherwise known.)
The following senior petty officers were also said to have served in U-755: Obersteuermann Klug, Bootsmann Grosser, Obermaschinenmaat Pempe, Obermaschinenmaat Münster.
The device on the C/T of U-756 was said to be the coat of arms of Danzig with "Los geht's" (We're off!) written underneath.
One of the prisoners had seen the boat commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Ingels. This may be the boat used in a film about U-boats, possibly a propaganda film, which ran for 6 weeks in Gotenhafen. It was also shown at Neustadt according to a prisoner who was there at the time.
An officer named Wolf was stated to be in command of a U-boat with a wolf's head on its C/T. (ONI Note: On November 3, 1942, at 2.30 N., 16.50 W. the S. S. Dagomha was torpedoed by a U-boat with a large and well-painted wolf's head on the port side of the C/T.)
BLACK SEA U-BOATS.
It was stated that the 250- to 300-ton U-boats sent to the Black Sea were carried by rail and reassembled at their destination. Everything that was mounted on the hull, including the conning tower, was dismantled to facilitate transportation.
Prisoners believed that Germany is building submarines of over 2,000 tons. One prisoner remarked that they go to the bottom just as fast as the small ones.
According to one prisoner the series of 500-ton U-boats equipped with mineshafts and built by Germania in Kiel is numbered from 212 to 218, not from 213 to 218 as previously believed.
A prisoner stated that supply U-boats are designed for the refueling and supplying of 500-ton U-boats as it is assumed that 750-tonners carry enough fuel, provisions, and torpedoes for a full war cruise. A U-boat will signal the Commander of U-boats (B. d. U.) asking for refueling facilities and is informed where a supply boat may be contacted. To refuel, the 500-tonner is taken in tow by the larger boat and picks up the end of the hose which is in the water. The hose is filled with air to make it buoyant and has buoys at intervals so that it is easy to pick up. The end is attached to the oil intake, and a rating stands by to release it in case of an attack. The prisoner stated further that mooring alongside the supply boat had been found too dangerous.
Chapter X. GENERAL REMARKS ON U-BOATS
Acoustic torpedoes. - A prisoner stated that he had heard of recent experiments with acoustic torpedoes, and that he expected them to be in use in the near future.
Armament. - It was stated that U-boats have four light Mark C34 machine guns which may be mounted like heavier ones. They are air-cooled and have as great a range as the heavier model.
Crew distribution. - was said by a prisoner that it was customary while at Brest for one-third of the crew to be on watch, one-third to be on leave in France, and one-third to be at home on leave.
Devices. - According to one prisoner almost all the conning tower devices representing coats of arms are those of cities; very few if any are family arms. The device is often the coat of arms of the patron city.
S. H. T. - The charge for the S. B. T. was described by a prisoner as a metal mesh cloth bag that is very limp. When extended it is about 5 inches long and 3 1/2 inches in diameter, but it collapses when put down. Others are said to be made exactly like a can with ends of wire material like a sieve. Six charges are put into the S. B. T. at a time, it was stated.
Promotions. - Promotions up to the rating of Seaman 1cl (Obergefreiter) are automatic on the basis of length of service but afterwards on the basis of achievement and capacity. An apprentice seaman (Matrose) is advanced to Seaman 2cl (Gefreiter) after 9 months.
Punishments. - A prisoner stated that while his boat was in Kiel, he stole a petty officer's coat to wear during a pleasant evening ashore. He was not identified as the offender until almost a year later when his boat was at Brest. He was given 4 days in the brig and transferred to another U-boat.
Reporting. - According to one prisoner U-boats always report their arrival in the operational square to which they have been assigned to the Commander of U-boats (B. d. U.), closing the message with the commander's name only.
Sighting convoys. - A prisoner said that upon sighting a convoy in his operational square a U-boat commander immediately informs the Commander of U-boats. Admiral Dönitz in turn gets in touch with selected boats and tells them that a boat (designated by its call letters) has sighted a convoy in its square. When the Admiral has been informed by all the other boats that they are stalking the convoy, a
general order comes through: "Attack!" and then each boat is on her own.
Target preference. - Apparently a U-boat man considers it easiest to sink an aircraft carrier and, with increasing difficulty, a troop transport, destroyer, cruiser, and battleship.
U-boat medal. - Eligibility for the U-boat medal (U-Bootsabzeiehen) depends on the actual number of days spent on war cruises rather than on the number of cruises made, according to a prisoner.
U-boat test certificates. - A prisoner stated that for each separate test of the U-boat Acceptance Command (U-Boots Abnahme Kommando, U. A. K.), the captain receives an individual certificate asserting that he has successfully completed that particular test.
Radio stations. - According to a prisoner's statement, the Commander of U-boats has his own radio station, with transmitting and receiving equipment, in Paris. All radio communication between this station and U-boats at sea is monitored by the Erich Wassner, a ship which lies at anchor in Kiel near the Fliegerbrücke. (ONI Note: This is a 3,866-ton vessel, and was formerly the Gran Canaria.) The Erich Wassner, in turn, originates special news broadcasts.
Chapter XI. U-BOAT BASES
It was reported by one prisoner that he had seen no 750-ton U-boats in Brest.
Pressure-proof gates were said to be placed on U-boat shelters. When the gates are open, the shelters are used as slips, and when closed they may be used as drydocks. Two boats are housed afloat in a shelter. According to one prisoner, there is a clearance of 10 meters at the entrance to the shelter.
The buildings utilized in Brest were all said to be new with good barracks for officers and men of the U-boat flotillas near the center of the city. The canteen is located in the building used for housing stores (Wirtschaftsgebäude).
The recreation home used by the crews of U-boats at Brest is a large chateau called Chateauneuf, said to be located about 80 kilometers from Brest.
A prisoner said he got only German beer in Brest. There was no regular evening for a beer party, but the men were given a glass of beer in their dirty clothes when they first went ashore. Dancing at the recreation center (U-Heim) in Brest was omitted, contrary to the practice at Lorient.
A popular haunt in Brest is said to be the Cafe Moderne.
According to prisoners' statements some of the trainees at Glückstadt are radio operators. They are required to attend the Mates' School (Maatschule), which a prisoner called the Mate Factory (Maatfabrik). There are said to be four companies, some of which have as many as 400 men. They may start with 500 men, but after the first few days, 100 are eliminated. Three weeks later there is further weeding of the ranks.
The name of one of the two depot ships at Hela, according to several prisoners, is the Odin, a passenger steamer of about 2,000 tons. (ONI Note: This ship has not been identified by this name.) The other depot ship is an old vessel without motors. No one slept aboard these ships, but ashore, chiefly in barracks.
Chapter XII. U-BOAT TRAINING
Escape drill. - Escape drill takes place at Pillau, according to prisoners, at first in a swimming pool 3 meters deep, then in a tank, not very deep either, simulating a control room and conning tower. One of the prisoners said he entered the water four times with lead weights, remaining 5 minutes the first time and 10 minutes the second and third times.
Final construction. - A prisoner stated that when standing by for the final phases of construction (Baubelehrung) of a U-boat being built at Wilhelmshaven, the crew followed the following routine: Technical studies on shore; naval procedure; 2 hours a day on boat for direct instruction, where seamen learn about the hydroplanes, trimming, and flooding; special instructions for the technical ratings in their various specialties.
U-boat school (Gotenhafen). - The whole crew is said to sail with the schoolboat in addition to the officer candidates and students carried. Officer candidates spend 1 week on board the schoolboat, 1 week ashore at school, and then another week on the boat during the training period. Enlisted men are aboard only 1 week.
Experienced men. - There are written orders that each commanding officer must relinquish three to four men after each cruise. If he does not do this voluntarily, 50 percent of his men may be taken away after two or three trips. A prisoner said that the flotillas are dependent upon this procedure to assure an adequate supply of trained U-boat men. These remarks confirm the statements made about Oberleutnant Otto Ites's success in retaining a larger number of experienced men on U-94, contrary to the usual custom (cf. O. N. I. 250-G, Serial No. 5).
Chapter XIII. U-BOAT FLOTILLAS
Korvettenkapitän Otto von Bülow was stated to be chief of the 1st Flotilla based on Brest.
Korvettenkapitän Wilhelm Rollmann was said to be chief of the 5th Flotilla based on Kiel. (ONI Note: Rollmann was previously believed to be in command of the 22nd Flotilla at Gotenhafen).
A prisoner stated that Korvettenkapitän Hans Eckermann is in command of the 8th Flotilla, which is probably at Gotenhafen, as Eckermann has been known to be stationed there for more than a year.
Korvettenkapitän Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock was stated to be chief of the 9th Flotilla, also based on Brest. At the end of October there were about 20 U-boats of the 1st and 9th Flotillas in the shelters together at Brest, according to prisoners.
The 27th Flotilla was said to be used for tactical exercises. (ONI Note: Previous information indicated that the 26th Flotilla was used for this purpose, but it is not likely that the 26th and 27th Flotillas are assigned to tactical exercises. Both are based on Pillau.)
Prisoners had heard of the following flotilla numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 29. (ONI Note: There has been no evidence for the existence of the 14th and 15th Flotillas heretofore, but the 28th Flotilla, not mentioned above, is thought to be based on Pillau.)
Chapter XIV: MISCELLANEOUS
The pages for June 10-13, 1942, in Leutnant von Horstig's diary show an interesting entry. Horstig refers to the fatal accident which occurred to Seaman 2 cl. Günther Hoppe of U-595 who had fallen overboard some days earlier during artillery practice and had drowned in spite of efforts to rescue him. Horstig then drafts a letter to the High Command requesting the release of Seaman Hoppe's brother Gerhard from service in the Afrika Korps. He gives as reasons for his request the fact that Gerhard is now the sole survivor of three brothers, the eldest having been killed in Russia, and that the father who is a gardener and a veteran of the last war has begged for the release of his remaining son because he is unable to carry on without him.
A prisoner stated that a leave train for German service men leaves France daily, proceeding directly up the coast to pick up troops. The train goes north through Germany as far as Kiel.
A prisoner from Düsseldorf frankly stated that the whole city has been very badly damaged by the air raids of the United Nations.
Germans are not permitted to dance because it is too gay (zu lustig) one prisoner said.
Annex A. CREW LIST OF U-595
SUMMARY OF CREW
||U. S. N. equivalent
||R. N. equivalent
||Lieut . Commander.
|Mirbach, Emmerich, Freiherr von.
||Lieut. (j. g.) Engineering duties only.
||Leutnant zur See
|Horstig, Horst Eberhard von.
||Leutnant zur See
|Schwarz, Georg Max-Josef
||Chief petty officer.
||Chief E R. A.
|Zimmermann, Siegfried Georg.
||Chief E R. A.
|Oehme, Siegfried Kurt
||Machinist's mate, 2cl
|Durst, Fritz Ernst Heinrich.
||Machinist's mate, 2cl
|Bohg, Willy Walter
|Brill, Erich Johannes
||P. O. telegr.
|Peters, Theo Hermann
||P. O. telegr.
|Mädel, Wilhelm Werner
||Stoker P. O.
|Heidlindemann, Erich Hermann.
||Stoker P. O.
|Heder, Herbert Paul
||Stoker P. O.
|Drossel, Heinz Kurt Bernhard.
||Stoker P. O.
||Torpedoman's mate, 3cl
||T. G. M.
|Bunge, Franz Richard Martin.
|Briesemeister, Herbert Günther.
|Garthe, Walter Ernst Heinrich
|Säuberlich, Heinz Richard Bernhard.
|Schmieder, Helmut Max
|Abeling, Karl Friedrich
|Dressier, Paul Gustav
|Brans, Bernhard Friedrich Heinrich.
|Charmier-Glischinski, Heinz Herman Hans Wilhelm von.
|Degelmann, Max Johann
|Halm, Heinz Werner
|Lorenz, Gerhard Fritz
|Nölker, Walter Ewald
|Vogt, Hans Josef