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Serial No. 1




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O.N.I. 251-G/ SERIAL  NO.1









ON NOVEMBER 21, 1942



[US Navy Department Seal]







Captain Johann Prahm comes aboard U.S.S. Milwaukee






Serial No. 0340016


(O.N.I.251 SERIES)



 January 28,1943.

1. The O.N.I. 251 Series--Post-Mortems on Enemy Ships--consists of intelligence obtained from the sinking or capture of enemy surface vessels. In content and treatment it is similar to the O.N.I. 250 Series--Post-Mortems on Enemy Submarines--and in this earlier series the suffix G, I, or J indicates whether the ship is German, Italian or Japanese.

2. In preparing this series, 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 to the ship under discussion and its personnel, it is in effect the intelligence which has been gathered in the course of belligerant operations connected with the subject vessel.

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 invited to the fact that the intelligence contained in this series must be 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 irreplacable.



Captain, U.S. Navy,

                                                                 Acting Director of Naval Intelligence.




Chapter            I.             Introductory remarks                                                   1 
  II.  Crew of Anneliese Essberger       2 
  III.  Early history of Anneliese Essberger       6 
  IV.  Cruise from Kobe to Bordeaux       7 
   V.  Anneliese Essberger at Bordeaux        8 
  VI.  Last voyage of Anneliese Essberger     10 
  VII.  Sinking of Anneliese Essberger     13 
  VIII.  Tactics and Strategy     17 
  IX.  Technical details of Anneliese Essberger     22 
   X.  Other ships     26 
  XI.  Bases     30 
  XII.  Training     35 
  XIII.  Miscellaneous remarks     36
  (a)  List of crew of Anneliese Essberger     37 
  (b)  Gun crews muster rolls     39 
  (c)  Translation from documents of Anneliese Essberger     41 
  (d)  List of dek materials used and in stock     42 
  (e)  List of equipment taken by U.S.S. Sommers     45 



    Sixty-two German prisoners, including a naval warrant officer and 22 enlisted men, were captured following the scuttling of the freighter Anneliese Essberger, (5,173 tons), after her interception on November 21, 1942, by U.S.S. Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Somers in position 00.54 N.--22.34 W.

    No lives were lost as the crew of the German freighter abandoned ship after exploding detonating charges in the engine room and magazine and firing the bridge, chart room, and other parts of the vessel.

    By the time a boarding party reached the ship, she was fiercely ablaze and on the point of foundering.

     Survivors were picked up and landed at Recife, Brazil, where, owing to transport difficulties, they were handed over to the custody of Brazilian authorities. Expert interrogators were flown from the United States to Recife and interrogation of the prisoners began within a week of their capture. This report is the result of the "on the spot" interrogations carried out by arrangement with the Brazilian authorities. A shorter time than usual was necessarily spent in studying each individual prisoner.

    The first problem was to establish whether Anneliese Essberger, after 13 months in a German-occupied port, was sailing as a blockade runner or as a supply ship for U-boats and armed raiders. Proof was easily and immediately obtained that she could not, herself, have been acting as a raider. As interrogation proceeded little evidence was obtained that she was primarily intended to act as a supply ship, although it was established that she could have parted with a moderate tonnage of Diesel oil and a quantity of provisions had an emergency arisen. Interrogators were finally convinced that the story volunteered, with variations, by the majority of the crew was true; namely, that she was running the blockade from Bordeaux to Kobe (Japan) with a general cargo and with the final object of bringing a cargo of crude rubber back to Germany. This theory is supported by the fact that Anneliese Essberger had already made one wartime passage from Kobe to Bordeaux with a cargo of between five and six thousand tons of crude rubber.





    The crew of Anneliese Essberger consisted of 12 Merchant Marine officers, a ship's doctor, 26 merchant seamen, with one naval warrant officer and 22 naval enlisted men. Of the naval party 19 enlisted men under the directions of the warrant officer manned the ship's defensive armament; 3, 2 with pharmacists ratings, were placed at the disposal of the doctor; and 1 , a seaman, 2 cl. (Radio), was appointed to the ship's 2 merchant marine radio officers.

    As regards the naval personnel it was encouraging to note that in experience, ability, and efficiency they probably represented by far the worst batch of prisoners yet captured in this war. It transpired that no single man had previously seen active service in anything more warlike than a converted fishing boat. Their commander, Oberfeldwebel (Warrant Officer) Erich Viktor Betz, aged 28, had seen some peacetime service in the cruiser Leipzig, but with the advent of war had been drafted to Wilhemshaven where he had remained until the autumn of this year, as an instructor at the Naval Gunnery School. He had joined the Navy in 1932 and physically and mentally was of superior type, with some of the qualities of leadership. His deportment during interrogation was polite and correct, but he was determined not to reveal anything of real intelligence value. He was at a loss to explain why he had not previously been sent to sea. His pocketbook, which contained religious emblems and a lengthy prayer in his own handwriting, exhorting deliverance from the perils of the sea, suggested that he was a devout Roman Catholic. This contrasted strangely with certificates renouncing the Christian Church found in the pockets of some of the other prisoners.

    The balance of the enlisted men were either fresh recruits, or men who had remained stranded with their original Manning Divisions far beyond the time normally allowed them for initial recruit training and long after their more talented comrades had passed on to more useful service. They had been employed in bomb damage clearance squads and in one or two cases as guards at railway stations and other strategic points.

    One man had seen some service in Brest harbor with a flotilla of converted fishing boats equipped with smoke-screen apparatus and another had wielded a boat hook on a pinnace used to ferry soldiers from the harborside at Brest to antiaircraft batteries mounted along the Mole. One of the seamen pharmacists had served for a short period on the hospital ship Stuttgart in the Baltic Sea and up the Norwegian coast.

Naval complement of the Anneliese Essberger

Naval complement of the Anneliese Essberger



ning of the present war and had won the Iron Cross Second Class during the Polish campaign, when he was assisted in clearing a crossroads for advancing German troops. He had subsequently been transferred back to the Merchant Marine, Anneliese Essberger being his first wartime ship.

    The remainder of the ship's officers were typical merchant seamen of no more than average ability.

    The Ship's Doctor, Leo Hoffman, age 33, was another encouraging example of the difficulties Germany is now apparently encountering in manning ships with suitable men. He is a gynecologist and children's doctor and had a practice in suburban Berlin. He had applied to the German Medical Council for war duty and had been drafted by them to Anneliese Essberger. The remaining merchant seamen were a sheepish, ill-conditioned, and unintelligent party of men. Comparatively few had been with Anneliese Essberger on her last dash from Kobe to Bordeaux. Of the rest, some had served on other sizeable merchantmen, but a large number had been drafted from the small coastal craft, tugs, ferry, and fishing boats.

    The general standard of health was low. One man who had contracted syphilis in Bordeaux had been sent to sea  with his cure half completed. Many others had suffered from venereal diseases, stomach ulcers, rupture, oil-rash, and other complaints, while one man possessed a certificate showing that he had recently been examined for suspected tuberculosis.

    The youngest members of the crew were four boys of 15, one of whom was still 14 when he first joined the ship  at the end of October, 1942.

    There appeared to be a homosexual trend among some of the merchant seamen and captured diaries contained such entries as: "Erwin laid my picture in his bunk last night."

    A large number of health certificates among captured effects showed that the crew had made prolonged and exhaustive use of the official brothel facilities in Bordeaux.



    Anneliese Essberger (5,173 gross tons), was built by the Deutsche Werft A.G.Finkenwerder, Hamburg, for the John T. Essberger Line. She was completed in 1935 and registered at Hamburg. Up to the outbreak of war she had cruised extensively around the Americas and in the Far East, following a tramp routine, taking on and shipping a variety of cargoes whenever and wherever opportunity offered. She visited innumerable ports, and prisoners who had been on board during that period were excusably vague as to her exact movements.

     Anneliese Essberger is known to have been in Bremen in the spring of 1938 and in Quebec in June of that year. In April 1939, she left Rotterdam on her last peacteime voyage, touching at Canadian and United States east coast ports and making her way to Vancouver by way of the Panama Canal. At Vancouer she took on a cargo of wood which she had delivered at Shanghai. She had not long left Shang-hai, east-bound, when the war broke out, and following the broadcast instructions of the German Naval Operations  Directorate she proceeded to the most suitable neutral port which in her case was Kobe, Japan.

     Anneliese Essberger was laid up in Kobe for 21 months, including a short period in dry dock to have her bottom scraped. By June 1941 a considerable number of her crew had taken advantage of facilities provided by the German Consul in Kobe and had returned to Germany via the Trans-Siberian Railway. They joined German seamen from other laid-up ships and made the journey in parties of as many as 60 strong.

     In May 1941 word came to Captan Prahm that Anneliese Essberger was required to run the blockade back to Germany. The ship's complement was made up to full strength with seamen from other laid-up ships including Havenstein, Ramses, and Augsburg.

     A cargo of between five and six thousand tons of crude rubber was taken on board. No armament was mounted for this passage.



     Anneliese Essberger left Kobe at the end of June 1941 and arrived at Bordeaux on September 21, 1941. According to prisoners, the passage was made eastward around Cape Horn and was entirely uneventful. On the few occasions mast tops or smoke plumes were sighted on the horizon, Prahm turned his ship away and made off at her best speed , following instructions to avoid  contact with all shipping of whatever nationality.

     Prisoners were unanimous in stating emphatically that no armed raiders, supply ships, or U-boats were met on this voyage, and as there were no means of proving anything to the contrary, this statement had to be accepted.

     It was also claimed that rigid radio silence was maintained, but this again was almost impossible to check, as neither of the two radio officers captured had taken part in this cruise.

     Arriving in Bordeaux the crew was either paid off or sent on leave and Anneliese Essberger laid up through the winter months.




     In the early months of 1942, Anneliese Essberger went into dock for an extensive overhaul which included a number of engine repairs. When this work was completed she came under the control of the commander of the German Naval Base at Bordeaux, stated by all prisoners to be a Konteradmiral (Rear Admiral) Mensche (ONI Note: An admiral of this name does not appear in any German Navy list of active officers back to the year 1935). It is probable that at this time Anneliese Essberger first received the 'nom de guerre' Herstein, which she is known to have carried for some time before leaving Bordeaux on her last cruise. It was apparent from the statements of prisoners that great efforts are made at Bordeaux to conceal the real identity of blockade runners and supply ships in that port, in order to confuse enemy agents, and that changes of name are part of that policy.

     In May 1942 Anneliese Essberger's crew was again mustered, and the ship was instructed to accompany a second supply ship, or blockade runner, to sea. On this occasion Anneliese Essberger's role was that of decoy ship and once clear of the Gironde estuary she proceeded ostentatiously northward to LaPallice in the hope that she would attract the attention of patrolling enemy aircraft to herself, while the true blockade runner slipped through unobserved to the west. It was believed that this ruse had succeeded.

    After remaining 3 days at La Pallice Anneliese Essberger put back to Bordeaux, and while out of sight of land the ship was repainted in patches of blue, black, and gray camouflage. When she again moored at Bordeaux, it was hoped that she would be mistaken for a newly arrived and different vessel. This manuever was again repeated in June with the difference that on the return trip form La Pallice the ship was repainted in black and gray zebra stripes. Prisoners stated that to maintain the air of mystery as to Bordeaux shipping movements they were constantly being instructed to change moorings in the harbor.

     It appeared that, during the long periods of inactivity of the ship, the crew did not live on board but in a kindergarten which has been converted into a Seamen's Home in the Bordeaux suburb of Bassens. There were frequent cinema shows and concerts at the Home which were intended to act as a counterattraction to the pleasures of the red light district where, in spite of official supervision, contamination



of the houses by Italian U-boat crews cost Anneliese Essberger casualties of one case of syphilis and several for gonorrhea. 

    Preparation of Anneliese Essberger for her next major voyage proceeded in leisurely fashion. In August space between-decks over Hold No. 4 was converted into one large and two smaller cabins holding 12, 4 and 4 men respectively. Vegetable oil tanks in hold No. 3 were adapted as Diesel oil bunkers.

    In September, as the first naval ratings arrived, the ship's armament was mounted and the necessary constructional stiffening carried out. At this time, naval prisoners said, Konteradmiral Mensche paid frequent visits to the ship to satisfy himself that this work was being correctly done.

    In October Anneliese Essberger was moved to the quayside at Bassens where her cargo was taken on board. During the loading an incident ocurred which illustrates the rigid security measures in force at Bordeaux. Two cases with no markings as to contents or destination were roughly handled, possibly with intent, by French stevedores, as they were being taken on board, so that they broke open, revealing in the one case red powder, and in the other, bicycle parts. The ship's carpenter, who offered to repair the cases, was at once warned off and told that it was strictly forbidden for any member of the crew to tamper with the cargo. The work of repairing the cases was later carried out by the special men sent from shore.

    Details of the cargo are given in Chapter IX, Technical Details of Anneliese Essberger.

    At this time Captain Prahm paid a short visit to Berlin to obtain his detailed sailing orders from the German Operations Directorate.

     Loading was completed by the third week in October and on October 25, Anneliese Essberger made a false start, again to throw foreign agents off the scent. She sailed down to the mouth of the estuary and then returned to a different part of the river. At the beginning of November Konteradmiral Mensche came on board to inspect the naval party. He delivered a short address in which he exhorted each man to do his duty and to be particularly careful to keep his mouth shut if captured.

     The merchant seamen, who were now again at full strength, had signed articles for a "lengthy voyage of unknown duration," and had each been given a certificate stating: "The bearer does not belong either to the German army or to a German militia or volunteer corps, but is to be considered as a person who follows the armed forces without directly belonging thereto, as laid down in Article 81 of the Geneva Convention dated July 27, 1929, regarding the treatment of prisoners of war."

     Captured documents show that in spite of these certificates a number of the merchant seamen were later assigned to guns' crews.



[ONI NOTE: Interrogation results in this chapter have been supplemented by deductions from faint pencil markings on captured charts and from the third officer's notebook, where impressions had been left after the first 10 pages, containing the actual writing, had been torn out. It was possible, by special treatment, to obtain a number of positions and times from the notebook, but the complete accuracy of this reconstruction of the voyage cannot be guaranteed.] 

     According to a captured document and to prisoners' statements, Anneliese Essberger finally sailed from Bordeaux on November 1942. The vessel cast off all lines at 1340; the voyage began at 1350; the pilot was taken on at 1145 and dropped at 1945 at Buoy No.11 (ONI NOTE: Believed to be at Royan, in the mouth of the Gironde River). The time of departure (1340) was confirmed by interrogation, with the added observation that this was in order to reach the Bay of Biscay at dusk. A mine-destructor ship ("sperrbrecher") and a patrol boat preceded the vessel down the river.

     From the mouth of the Gironde, Anneliese Essberger's course was approximately west and then southwest to position (believed to have been taken at 1200 on November 6th) 45.02 N.--05.45 W.

     On November 6th, between 1000 and 1400, the vessel was subjected to air attack. General quarters was sounded by signaling by Morse Code the letter "F" for "Flieger" (Aircraft) over the ship's loudspeakers. Prisoners stated that they were first sighted by a Liberator bomber which dropped 8 bombs, and later by a Whitley which made two attacks, dropping first two bombs and later, one.

     All guns were used to counter the attacks, including the 105 mm. aft, which fired barrages of high explosive and shrapnel shells. It was believed that the Whitley was damaged by a shell from the 105 mm. No direct hits were sustained by Anneliese Essberger, but a near miss is stated to have jarred the propeller shaft causing a slight reduction in speed.

     At dusk on this day, a submarine was sighted on the horizon. This was thought to be British, judging be her silhouette and by the fact that she did not flash a recognition signal, which, there is some reason to believe, should have been the Morse letters "MS". This sighting caused an alteration of course which is revealed in the chart markings as : 45.00 N.--06.47 W. to 45.07 N. --06.23 W. to 44.46 N.--06.23 W. , from which position the vessel resumed her course. These markings are timed at 1625, 1845, and 1915 respectively. A later position shows the vessel on an almost true westerly course at 44.47 N. --09.18



W. It is thought that this position was fixed by a D/F bearing from Lorient (Ile de Groix). On November 7th, at 1400, there was another attack, this time by a Sunderland aircraft which allegedly dropped 8 bombs and one depth charge, scoring no hits and no uncomfortably near misses.

     A fix at 0630, on November 7th, reveals the ship to have been at 44.47 N.--09.40 W. The noon position of the vessel was 44.47 N.--11.52 W., making the 24-hour run from the previous day's noon position approximately 330 miles. Further positions for the 7th of November are indicated as 44.54 N. --13.35 W. (1830), 45.00 N.--15.20 W. (2400).

     For the 8th of November, the following positions are indicated: 45.00--16.55 W. (0600(?)), 45.00 N. --18.05 W. (1200), 44 45 N.--19.00 W. (1800(?)), 44.45 N.--22.30 W. (2400 (?)).

     For the 9th of November, the following positions are given: 44.45 N. --23.15 W. and 44.50 N. --26.30 W.

     From the notebook of the third officer, additional positions were established. This notebook had the first 10 pages torn out, but it was possible to decipher impressions of positions left on the first remaining page. These, while not always clear, are definite enough to establish that the vessel continued her westerly course to a point northwest of the Azores before heading south. The notebook contained several positons for this area, which reads as follows:

                                                      43.58 N.--31.51 W.

                                                          .59 N--  .43 W.

                                                       43.39 N. --32.40 W.

                                                                     .39 W.

                                                        43.3? N. --

                                                        42.52 N.--

                                                        44.47 N. --36.35 W.

These positions are believed to be in the order as shown. About 10 days out, a twin-funneled merchant vessel was sighted hull down on the horizon, by the masthead lookout. According to instructions, Anneliese Essberger at once turned away and fled for some hours before returning to her original course.

     No indications have been obtained as to the actual positions of Anneliese Essberger from the last position shown above until shortly before her sinking. In the third officer's diary, there is a pencil entry of the position 01.00 N. --23.00 W. This position is to the northwest of the position

of her sinking and falls approximately upon one of the two lines drawn on a chart (German Admiralty No. 384) of the South Atlantic taken from prisoners. This position is likewise marked on the chart. On the chart, the courses on which are described in detail in Chapter IX, Tactics and Strategy (b), two apparently alternate routes are shown: the one, skirting the coat of South America; the 


other, down the African Coast, proceeding around the Cape of Good Hope. It was established during interrogation that the majority of prisoners believed that the intended course of their vessel from Bordeaux to Kobe (Japan) was to be around Cape Horn. However, it is indicated by the chart and by the position of the sinking that the vessel may have had orders to proceed around the Cape of Good Hope.

     On November 20, the day before sinking, an aircraft was sighted which was believed to be a commercial Clipper. It is believed by prisoners that their position was betrayed by this aircraft, since it was heard transmitting radio signals in code shortly after it was sighted.

     All prisoners were emphatic that throughout their cruise they kept no rendezvous with any other German vessel. The only time when Anneliese Essberger was stopped on the high seas was one short interval of 15 minutes to change an oil jet.


      At 0516 G.C.T., on November 21, 1942, Task Group 23.2, consisting of Milwaukee (Commander Cruiser Division Two), flagship, Cincinnati and Somers, were in latitude 01.00 N., longitude 22.00 W. ; on base course 269 degrees T. speed 11 knots, proceeding toward point of origin for the day's search, latitude 01.00 N. longitude 23.00 W. ; order of ships from ahead: Somers, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, zigzagging in accordance with approved plan, conducting operations in search for blockade runners. Visibility was excellent with diffused moonlight, wind was from 140 degrees T., force four.

     According to Milwaukee's report, at 0532, Cincinnati reported a Radar contact bearing 302 degrees T., distance 22,000 yards and at 0533 advised that target was a surface ship. At 0538, a ship, which proved later to be Anneliese Essberger, was sighted from Milwaukee by high-position lookout on bearing 309 degrees T., and at a distance of 17,800 yards, obtained by FC Radar. At 0540 crews went to General Quarters. By 0546 the range of the strange ship had closed to 14,600 yards. At 0551, the Task Group Commander ordered an emergency turn of all ships to the right to course 315 degrees T., and immediately thereafter directed Somers to investigate the strange ship whose course at the time was estimated to be 095 degrees T. The Task Group Commander then directed a column movement of the cruisers to the left to 090 degrees T. in order to parallel the strange ship's course. At 0600  Milawaukee challenged the ship with AA. The ship replied with call letters L-J-P-V, the international call of steamship Skjelbred, a Norwegian freighter. At this time, the strange ship appeared to have changed course to 160 degrees T. The strange ship was then called with the appropriate Allied secret identifcation signal to which there was no reply. At 0638, course of Milwaukee and Cincinnati was 090 degrees T,. and cruisers were zigzagging, speed having been increased to 18 knots. At this time Somers and the strange ship bore about 080 degrees T. The strange ship now altered course to approximately 030 degrees T., and headed toward a small rain squall. At 0651, at a distance of about 4 miles smoke and flame were observed coming from the strange ship''s superstructure and almost simultaneously Somers reported that the ship was afire and  was lowering boats. At 0656, the first of 3 heavy explosions was observed on the freighter; one forward, one just abaft the deck house, and one aft. The explosion aft was tremenedous and hurled wreckage 100-200 feet feet in the air.


Snking of Anneliese Essberger


     Prisoners from the ship later stated that their captain had been anxious ever since they had been sighted by the commercial aircraft on the previous day. No drastic alteration of course had, however, been made.

     According to prisoners, preparataions for abandoning ship were made as soon as the cruisers were sighted at about 0550 G.C.T. on November 21, 1942. When challenged with AA at 0600 by Milwaukee, reply was made by with the international call of the Norwegian freighter Skjelbred, in accordance with sealed orders which Captain Prahm had received in Berlin during his visit to the German Operations Directorate. Following these instructions Prahm also ordered that the Norwegian flag be broken at the mast head. These subterfuges were performed less with the object of escaping interception and more in the hope of gaining time for the collection and destruction of secret documents and codes. The chief radio officer stated that he had been previously instructed to send out a radio signal should Anneliese Essberger be intercepted, but in point of fact he was so occupied with other work that he had no time to get the set in operation. It is doubtful whether this statement can be accepted, as a full hour elapsed from the time of sighting the cruisers to the final scuttling of the vessel. 

     At about 0640, when it became apparent that the ship was doomed  to either sinking or capture, piles of inflammable material which had been hurriedly prepared were ignited and the crew ordered into the boats. The captain, the first officer, the chief engineering officer, and the naval warrant officer remained behind to explode scuttling charges in the engine room and in the after hold. It appeared that the Merchant Marine officers attended to the engine room charges and the naval warrant officer to the hold, where firing of the scuttling charge caused the major explosion observed from the cruisers. At 0700 the German merchant Swastika flag was raised at the mainmast and the Norwegian flag hauled down. The final act of the officers before abandoning ship was to put a revolver bullet through a dog, belonging to one of the seamen, which had travelled on the ship as mascot. It was apparently thoought by the senior officers that they might not be picked up by the cruisers and this explains why charts, which proved in plotting the ship's final cruise, were taken into the boats.

     Following the explosions aboard Anneliese Essberger, group commander directed the cruisers to act independently and maneuver to avoid submarines, Cincinnati to go northward, Milwaukee to southward of the ship. Cruisers were also ordered to send a salvage party, immediately thereafter. The freighter was now observed to be settling by the stern. Heavy black smoke appeared coming from the funnel and superstructure. At 0709 a boat from Somers was observed


alongside. Steam and smoke could be seen coming from the forward and after holds, and flames had spread throughout the bridge. Explosions had apparently blown the bottom out of the target, most effectively in the after hold, as the ship was sinking rapidly by the stern. The armed boat party, which had picked up one of Essberger's junior officers from one of the survivors' boats to act as guide, went alongside the sinking vessel. Two officers  and six men of the party were able to step onto the main deck from the whaleboat, since there were only 4 1/2 feet of freeboard on the sinking vessel at this time. Search forward was prevented by heat from the fire in the forward hold. The after hold and the engineering spaces were likewise burning fiercely. One officer, however, was able to reach the bulletin board and rip off the ship's Watch, Quarter, and Station Bill. The other boarding officer obtained an officer's notebook and several propaganda booklets from an officer's room. At 0714 G.C.T. the armed boat party was ordered to leave  the ship, at which time the freeboard at the stern was only a foot and a half. The party took along the Swastika, a Norwegian flag, a machine gun and ammunition, and a 4-inch high explosive shell, as well as clothing snaps from the cargo.

     From Milwaukee it was now observed that flames were enveloping the entire superstructure of the freighter which was rapidly sinking by the stern. By 0715 flames had died down somewhat, but the stern was almost under water. Four boats of survivors were observed about a thousand yards from their ship, two other boats or rafts farther away and empty. At 0726, the stern of the freighter went under  and she heeled over to port. At exactly 0728, the ship sank by the stern in position latitude 00.54 N., longitude 22.34 W. At 0742 Somers was directed to remain in the vicinity of the survivors in the event of an attempt by an enemy submarine to approach the scene of the sinking. Milwaukee and Cincinnati then proceeded to carry out a previously arranged aircraft search. At 0845, four planes were catapulted and Milwaukee and Cincinnati proceeded on patrol on course 230 degrees T., at 15 knots. At 1116, cruisers turned and headed back on course 052 degrees T. Planes were recovered at 1315, at which time Somers was sighted and Milwaukee headed for life boats, which had hoisted sail, to pick up prisoners. At 1505, the first boat of prisoners came alongside and personnel were taken aboard. At the same time Somers sent a boat alongside with various articles salvaged by her boarding party, including a muster roll and an abandon ship bill for the German motorship Anneliese Essberger. A total of 62 officers and men, 23 of the German navy, were received on board and this number was later found, by interrogation, to account for all hands aboard the ship. 



General Remarks 

     The bulk of the evidence obtained from interrogation of prisoners tends to prove that Anneliese Essberger was first and foremost a blockade runner. At the same time, as she was scheduled to pass through areas where U-boats might be encountered on patrols far

Anneliese Essberger survivors aboard U.S.S. Milwaukee

from their bases, it was probably considered expedient by the German Operations Directorate to provide her with ample fuel and food, so that she could be summoned to part with a certain amount of both if an emergency arose. It was established that the captain's instructions were to avoid contact with all other shipping, and to make off at full speed as soon as anything suspicious  was sighted on the horizon.

     Prisoners were under the impression that U-boats along their route had been warned of their appearance and their course. The captain was apparently warned that if anything forced him off his set course he was to make every effort to return it as soon as possible.





     That Anneliese Essberger carried only half her capacity of cargo was attributed by prisoners to the fact that the German Operations Directorate considered it safer to distribute available cargo over a number of ships rather than to run the risk of losing a full cargo on one ship. In this connection it was emphasized that goods shipped from Germany to Japan were merely token cargoes, carried for purposes of showing the flag, and that the real object of blockade-running was to bring valuable cargoes, crude rubber in the case of this vessel, back to Germany.

     It was expected by some members of the crew that their cruise to Japan and back would take approximately 6 months. 


     The following four German Admiralty Charts were recovered from prisoners:

            No. 516   Cape Verde to Perambuco,

            No. 384 General Chart of South Atlantic,

            No. 292 General Chart from England to Africa,

            No. 239 General Chart of the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay. 

Each chart bore a stamp stating that it has been checked by the German Naval Hydrographic Section,  Wilhelmshaven, on January 1, 1942. In view of this fact, it may be presumed that pencil markings on the captured charts relate to Anneliese Esberger's last cruise. Notices in black and red on the charts forbade any correction in pencil, and officers were referred to "Nachrichten für Seefahrer" (Notices to Mariners).

     Chart No. 239 reveals the following markings:

Dates and Times             
Positions                              Fixes and Remarks                                              
(A)     6/11  45.02 N-05.45 W  Course line to an estimated position from 03.00 W - 45.00N 
(B)  1         (1625)  45.00 N-06.47 W  Course line between each of these points in order.  Course 
       2.       (1845)  45.07 N-06.23 W     is reversed from west to east between points 1 and 2 
       3.       (1915)  44.46 N-06.23 W     Probable date 6/11. 
(C)  44.47 N-09.18 W  Course due west from position B (3).  Apparent radio bearing from Lorient (Ile de Groix) determines this position.  No data or time indicated. 
(D)      (630)  44.47 N-09.40 W  Course due west from position C.  Probable date 6/12. 
(E)   7/11  44.47 N-11.52 W.  Fix at 45.08 N-12.55 W.  Fix lines in this area 

   The following marginal calculations are also to be seen on this chart

9--33       64             KK 96              9h 55 10              43.6         9         42       /50               
  52       13                         15 
0  146  116        83    258  42    35 



Chart No. 292 reveals the following posiyions and markings:

Dates and Times                                         
7/11  Position E of Chart No. 239 (44:47 N-11:52 W 
                      (183?)        44:54 N-13:35 W 
                      (2400)        45:00 N-15:20 W 
8/11               (0600)        45:00 N-16:55 W 
                     (1200)        45:00 N-18:05 W 
                     (1800)        44:45 N-19:00 W 
                     (2400)        44:45 N-22:30 W 
9/11        44:45 N-23;15 W 
                     (1200)        44:50 N-26:30 W 

Chart No. 516 bears four references to "Nachrichten für Seefahrer" in the area of the Cape Verde Islands. These are:

    "N.f. S. 2-494" just west of Santo Antão Island

    "N.f. S. 42-436" just north of São Nicolau Island

    "N.f. S. 42-1248" just north of Fogo Island

    "N.f. S. 42-1249" just north of Fogo Island 

     The recurring "42" in these serial numbers suggests that corrections have been made following the reception of intelligence from this area during the year 1942.

     Chart No. 384 reveals the following markings:

              Position: 00.54 N. --22.30 W. (close to the position of sinking).

              Two lines are also drawn :

              Line A: along the South American Coast from a point northeast of the mouth of the

                          Amazon to a point east of Buenos Aires.

                 From: 05.00 N. --45.00 W., the line runs east-southeast to 01.00 N. --29.00 W.

                 (St. Paul Rocks), and thence due south to its end at 40.00 S. --29.00 W.

              Line B: along the African coast.

                 From a probable point southwest of the Azores, the line runs southeast to 05.00 S.

                 --15.00 W., then due south past Ascension Island to 11.00 S. --15.00 W., then  

                 southeast to 40.00 S.--05.00 E. The line then continues due east past the Cape of

                 Good Hope.


     These lines are considered to be alternate courses or to mark the limits of safety between which a ship might pass without danger from land-based patrol aircraft.  

Wireless and Communications 

     Anneliese Essberger's two Merchant Marine radio officers were instructed  to keep strict radio silence at sea, and only to break it if attacked. The senior radio officer denied that he had, in fact, transmitted any signals at all, even at the time of sinking, as the ship was abandoned too quickly for him to get the set in operation. There is


some reason to doubt this remark as fully an hour elapsed at the sinking from the first sighting of the cruisers until final scuttling.

     Watch was kept on Norddeich short wavelengths but only two messages were received of interest to the ship, these being weather reports in the Biscay area. Concerts from German stations were relayed over the ship's loudspeakers.

    The senior radio officer asserted that he was responsible for encoding and decoding messages. He added that the one seaman, 2 cl. (Radio) on board did nothing more than clear up the cabin and scrub the deck. 


     No elaborate attempt was made to diguise Anneliese Essberger for her last cruise. According to her crew the superstructure was unaltered, and the 105 mm. gun  aft left exposed to give the ship the appearance of an Allied merchantman. For a brief period, when intercepted, the captain endeavored to pass the ship off as the Norwegian Skjelbred, and a Norwegian flag, which had remained furled since leaving Bordeaux, was borken, later to be replaced by the German Naval flag when it was obvious that the true identity of the ship had been detected.

     At the time of interception the ship was painted medium gray with light gray superstructure.

     In May 1942 she had been painted in blue, black, and gray patches of camouflage, and in June 1942 in black and gray zebra stripes. This was part of the general policy laid down by the "Kriegsmarinedienststelle Bordeaux" (Bordeaux Naval Command) which requires merchant ships in the port to repaint  frequently, change moorings about the harbor and make false starts down the river, in the hope of confusing enemy agents and baffling air reconnaissance.

     It was established that while in Bordeaux Anneliesse Essberger was given the name  M/V Herstein and possibly that of Sperrbrecher 149 (Mine Destructor Vessel 149), as the address M/V Herstein-Sperrbrecher 149 was found in the diary of one of the merchant seamen. The name Sperrbrecher 149, as it related to Anneliese Essberger, can hardly have been more than a disguise, for it is unlikely  that the vessel would have been converted to a mine destructor and then back to a cargo ship.

     The impression was given that the change of names only related to the time at Bordeaux for the prisoners cheerfully admitted that the ship was Anneliese Essberger but only reluctantlyt hat she ever had been known as Herstein.

     The name Anneliese Essberger is stated to have been on engine identification plates and was evident, although painted over, on a lifeboat picked up by U.S.S. Omaha, on November 24, 1942 in the


approximate position of sinking. It is possible that the name Herstein was used only when repairs were being carried  out and while the ship was being loaded by foreign workmen.

Recognition Signals 

     It was stated that recognition signals were changed at least every few days, but few details could be obtained about them. On the evening of November 6, 1942, when a submarine was sighted some miles away, the captain took fright and fled, deciding that it was an enemy craft, as according to one prisoner, he had not been challenged with the Morse letters "MS". It is possible that "MS" was the recognition signal of that day. Some scribblings on the back of a beer-hall bill taken from a Merchant Marine officer probably refer to recognition signals at some stage of Anneliese Essberger's last voyage, but no help could be obtained from the officer in deciphering them. The scribblings read as follows:

        "Anruf G

        Antwort X

        ES-Patrone 7 (3W 3R)



This could read: 

        "Challenge: G

        Answer: X

        Recognition Signal (ES=Erkennungs Signal)

        Cartridge  (3 White 3 Red)." 

It is not known what the words "Biber" and "Moosbuch" refer to.




(a) Description and dimensions (supplemented by details from "Lloyd's Register").

     Anneliese Essberger was a cargo vessel of 5,173 tons, built in 1935 at the Deutsche Werft, Finkenwerder, Hamburg, and owned by John T. Essberger. In peacetime her port of registry was Hamburg; she flew the German flag, and her pre-war call letters were DJQC.

     Her description and dimensions from the latest "Lloyd's Register" are as follows:

         Gross tonnage: 5,173 tons

         Under deck: 4,657 tons

         Net: 3,052 tons

         Description: 1 deck, 2nd deck in number 3 hold, and machinery space; longitudinal framing

          in double bottom; strengthened for navigation in ice; shell, decks, and inner bottom partly

          electrically welded; cruiser stern; cellular construction of double bottom, 362 feet, 1, 288     


          Length: 418.5'

          Breadth: 57.2'

          Width: 25.3'

    Poop 25 feet; forecastle and bridge 383 feet; flat keel.

     While in Bordeaux after her return from Kobe, Anneliese Essberger underwent repairs and alterations. These consisted of the construction of extra accommodations between decks for naval personnel and conversion of a cargo tank for additional fuel stowage. Between decks two 4-man cabins and one 12-man cabin for ratings were built amidships over hold No. 4. Extra cabins were constructed off the centercastle. A vegetable oil tank in hold No. 3, of 1,200 metric tons capacity, was converted to a fuel tank.

    The vessel's cruising speed was 12 knots, with a maximum of 13 knots.

(b) Armament.

     Anneliese Essberger carried one 105-mm. gun mounted aft, uncamouflaged. This was manned by a gun crew of 7 men and, in addition, 6 merchant seamen supply numbers and 1 seaman pharmacist were ordered to stand by the gun crew. Two or three men were permanently on watch at this gun.




     Two 22-mm. AA. guns were mounted on the port side and two starboard, one at each corner of the centercastle. Three men each were assigned to the former, and three and four to the latter two.

     In addition there were four light machine guns of 1934 model. Two of these were located on the fantail and two were in the vicinity of the bridge. There were stanchions along the rail for more machine guns. The machine guns had splinter shields. A machine gun platform on the mainmast, covered with black canvas, is mentioned in the boarding report.

    Seven men were assigned for the transportation of ammunition. It was stated that ample ammunition was carried, and that the supply was not unduly depleted by the actions with enemy aircraft on November 6 and 7, 1942. In these engagements about 50 shells were fired by the 105 mm. gun.

     Five demolition charges, stated to be about 1 foot square, were fitted in the engine room and one in the magazine.

(c) Range finder.

    For use with the 105 mm. gun the vessel carried a portable Zeiss 0.7 m. range finder which was said to be accurate up to 6 or 7 km. and which was calibrated up to 10 km.

(d) Ammunition.

     High explosive, semi-armor-piercing, and shrapnel shells were carried for the 105-mm. gun.

(e) Torpedoes and mines.

     It was not established that the vessel carried torpedoes or mines, and this is considered extremely unlikely.

(f) Magazines.

     The magazine was aft at the waterline.

(g) Ammunition hoists.

     There was one ammunition hoist from the magazine aft to the 105 mm. gun.

(h) Degaussing.

     The vessel was fitted with degaussing cables at Bordeaux.

(i) Fire extinguishing system.

    A CO2 system was installed for fire extinguishing.

(j) Smoke screen.

     The vessel carried apparatus for smoke screen purposes. They were stated not to have been used.


(k) Other equipment.

     The vessel was equipped with a direction finder and echo-sounding device.

(l) Engines.

    The power unit consisted of two MAN Diesel engines, each of 2,000 h.p., driving a single screw through gears. The engines were variously stated to be capable of from 200 to 220 revolutions per minute, geared down by reduction gears to from 70 to 92 r.p.m. "Lloyd's Register" states that the 2 oil engines were sheathed with wood, and the single reduction gear was fitted between the main engines with the screw shafting geared to the screw shaft. They were of 12 cylinders, 20 1/2"--27 9/16", and had a nominal horsepower of 885.

     Electrical machinery on the vessel was built by Garbe and Lahmeyer.

(m) Fuel.

     The regular bunkers carried 900 tons of fuel oil which was supplemented by the reserves kept in the converted vegetable oil tank of 1,200 metric tons. The total fuel capacity of the vessel was thus 2,100 tons. Daily oil consumption was said to range from 13 to 15 tons.

(n) Cargo.

     Anneliese Essberger was stated to have been carrying 2,000 to 4,000 tons of cargo, which is less than half of her estimated carrying capacity. It was repeatedly stated that the vessel was not fully laden and only half full in every hold. According to the boarding report, however, this does not seem to bear out with respect to the after hold, which was stated to have been loaded to within 5 feet of the top. The cargo consisted chiefly of dyestuffs and machine parts. The former were said to be stored in cases or sacks. An estimate of the cargo may be gained from the following tabulation of hold contents:

      Hold No. 1: Sacks.

      Hold No. 2: Machine parts in cases of 4 cu. m.

      Hold No. 3: Vegetable oil tank used for fuel oil.

      Hold No. 4: Crates with powder. Potatoes and dry stores.

      Hold  No. 5: Sacks and cases. According to the boarding report, also some acid which was 


    The presence of dyestuffs in the cargo was substantiated by repeated statements. Furthermore, one of the crates in hold No. 4 was said to have broken open and spilled red powder in the hold. Green stains from leakage were also mentioned. Bicycle pedals and parts were frequently mentioned as cargo, and also fire clay molds, cement, and composition buttons. Samples of medicine made by Schering and Co., Berlin (sleeping powder, glandular powder, etc.), coils of 2" wire rope, and drums and boxes of paint pigments are also noted in the boarding report.


     The majority of cases were said to have been of the dimensions 4 1/2 by 2 by 2 feet. Two heavy cases of machinery, as well as large, smooth sacks which were lowered one at a time, were also spoken of.

     Six 30-gallon drums of acid are mentioned in the boarding report as being stowed on the port quarter. It is suggested that these may have been for the production of a smoke screen.

(o) Refuelling hoses.

    It is stated that extra lengths of 8-inch oil hose were carried, allegedly for possible refuelling of U-Boats. Three-inch water transfer sections were also carried.

(p) Provisions.

    It is asserted that supplies adequate for 10 months were carried. Details of these provisions include 2 pigs which were being fattened for consumption, 2 casks of wine, and a large supply of beer which was stored on deck; 80 sacks of flour and the usual enormous quantity of potatoes were also carried. There was also a large stock of medical stores.

(q) Field post number.

     The ship's code field post number was given by prisoners as F.P.N. 08088.


Italian Submarine "Barbarigo."

     Prisoners stated that a submarine commanded by Capitano di Fregata (Commander) Enzo Grossi, returned to Bordeaux from a war cruise "towards the end of October" (1942). (ONI NOTE: Grossi is believed to command the 941-ton submarine Barbarigo). Members of the crew of Anneliese Essberger  took photographs of the Italian submarine as it sailed past them, in the Garonne, flying two victory pennants of white letters on red ground, one of which allegedly signified that Grossi had just sunk a second U.S.A battleship. (ONI NOTE: A special Italian communique of May 22, 1942, claimed that Grossi in Barbarigo had sunk a U.S.A. battleship of the Maryland class off the coast of the island of Fernando Noronha. A second special Italian communique dated October 7, 1942, claimed: "Early this morning, at 0234 Italian (Rome) time, at Latitude 2 degrees, 15 minutes north and Longitude 14 degrees, 25 minutes west, namely in the Atlantic about 330 miles southeast of Freetown, West Africa, the submarine  Barbrigo, with Commander Enzo Grossi in command, attacked a United States battleship of the Mississippi type which sailed at course 150 degrees and a speed of 13 knots. The battleship was hit at the bow by four torpedoes and was seen sinking." Both these claims are utterly without foundation).

     The vainglorious Grossi, who had alraedy earned promotion following his first "success" was lavishly feted on his return to Bordeaux in October, where he was greeted by Ambassador Dino Alfieri, Rear Admiral Mensche and other high Itlaian and German dignitaries and naval officers. In the course of these celebrations a visit was paid on October 27 to the Seamen's Home at Bordeaux-Bassens, where further pictures were taken by the crew of Anneliese Essberger who also clamored for autographs. Grossi appears to have told his story well, for all prisoners firmly believed his claims. 

S.S. "Stuttgart."

     According to a prisoner, this former Norddeutscher Lloyd 13,400-ton passenger steamer has now been converted to a hospital ship and has been operating up and down the Norwegian coast and up the Gulf of Finland. She has lain at different times at Swinemünde and Gotenhafen.


Italian Submarine


S.S. "Der Deutsche."

     A prisoner who had served as butcher on this 11,400-ton Norddeutscher Lloyd passenger steamer stated that when he left her at the middle of August 1942 she was lying at Danzig and is serving as a floating barracks for naval listed men. Previously she had been reported at Kiel. 

S.S. "Deutschland."

    A number of prisoners had served on this former 21,000-ton Hapag passenger steamer now used as a naval floating barracks for enlisted men at Danzig. 

M/V "Elsa Essberger."

     A number of prisoners, including the captain, admitted seeing this ship, a sister ship of Anneliese Essberger, in  Bordeaux during their stay there, and one prisoner claimed that she was still there at the beginning of November 1942. 


     This ship, described  as a 6,500-ton tanker, was stated by a prisoner who had served on her, to be employed in carrying fuel up the Norwegian coast. The prisoner left Jaspis in September 1941 but he was confident that she was still afloat. 


     One prisoner alleged that this tanker (formerly the Norwegian Storstad) was now employed in carrying fuel up the Norwegian coast.The prisoner stated that she was sailed back to Germany from Bordeaux during the 1941, passing with escort through the English Channel. (ONI NOTE: Storstad was captured by Raider 33 in the Indian Ocean September 15, 1940. She was renamed Passat by the raider, and used as an auxiliary to lay mines in Australian waters. After rendezvous with other  raiders, and the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer, she was sent back to Bordeaux carrying approximately 400 prisoners and a quantity of captured cargo. She made the passage safely, arriving in Bordeaux on or about December 18, 1940). 

S.S. "Havenstein."

     This 8,000-ton Hapag steamer was laid up in Darien, Manchukuo, at the beginning of war. Some members of her crew joined Anneliese Essberger in June 1941 at Kobe, for her dash home to Bordeaux. 

S. S. "Augsburg."

     A prisoner stated that this former Norddeutscher Lloyd steamer, 6,500 tons, was sold by Germany to the Japanese in February 1941. Augsburg, built in 1915, is a coal-burning ship, and it was realized that this being so, it would be impossible for her to run the blockade


back to Germany. The prisoner implied that other German coal-burning ships, of which he did not know the names, had also been sold to the Japanese for the same reason. 

S.S. "Hagen."

     A prisoner believed that this 5,900-ton steamer, on which he had served, is now plying in the Baltic between Germany and Sweden. 

RO. 236.

      A prisoner claimed that he had served on a 6,000-ton merchant vessel, now known as RO. 236 between March and May 1941 when the ship was employed in carrying iron ore from Swedish and Finnish ports to Emden. 

F. 88.

    A prisoner alleged that in June 1941 he had shipped aboard a new 8,000-ton merchant vessel which set out from Germany to run the blockade through the English channel. This ship was known as F.88. She put in to Le Havre where the prisoner left the ship, having been wounded in an air raid. 

Sailing Ship "Kapitän Hilgendorf."

     This sailing ship, which is anchored in the Ahmburg Southwest harbor, is used to train 14-and 15-year old boys for the German merchant navy. The cabin boys' class lasts 4 1/2 weeks.

Chapter XI. BASES


     The Kriegsmarinedienststelle (German Navy District Command) at Bordeaux is stated to be under the charge of Konteradmiral Mensche who appears to control all merchant shipping movements within the port. That he is a man of some resource and ingenuity is shown by the security maneuvers which all ships in the harbor are forced to undergo, and which are described in Chapter VIII, Tactics and Strategy.

   It appears that naval ratings destined for blockade runners are drafted to the Kriegsmarinedienststelle, Bordeaux, some days, or even weeks, before sailing and are given quarters in the town until they finally join their ships. There is no good reason to believe that the quarters for naval ratings are adjacent to, if not identical with, those arranged for merchant seamen.

     The Merchant Seamen's Home is in a kindergarten formerly known as the "Ecole Enfantine" in the suburb of Bassens, on the road to Lormont. Photographs taken from prisoners show both naval enlisted men and merchant seamen in this home. Classrooms have been converted into dormitories, and a large garage has been converted into a recreation room and cinema.

     Ever since the establishment of an Italian submarine base at Bordeaux, the brothel district of the city has been known as a hotbed of venereal disease and the appended pamphlet, taken from a prisoner, shows that the situation in this respect is causing the German authorities some concern.


Interior of Seamen's Home Bordeaux-Bassens; Alfieri, RADM Mensche and Adm (unknown)

Captured instructions for visiting brothels for Armed Forces in Bordeaux



City Physician of Bordeaux.


       In the area of the City of Bordeaux the following following medically inspected brothels are licensed for petty officers and ratings (enlisted personnel).

      "Josette", Rue Castelnau-d'Auros Number 12.

       "Lily", Rue Castelnau-d'Auros Number 14.

       "Jane", Rue Castelnau-d'Auros Number 20.

       "Perron", Rue des Glacières Number 52.

       "Moulin Rouge", Rue de Galles Number 39.

       "Sultana", Rue de Galles Number 40.

       "Etoile", Rue de Galles Number 40.

       "Glaces", Rue de Galles Number 44.

       "Montmartre", Rue de Galles Number 49.

       "Lido", Rue de Belleyme Number 54.

       "Simone", Rue Langlois Number 29. 

                      The brothels are open from 1300 to 2300 o'clock. 

     The three first mentioned brothels may also be visited by civilian auxiliaries of the German Armed Forces, Visits to other brothels are forbidden.

     Admission to the brothels for the Armed Forces is allowed only upon presentation of a prophylaxis certificate which may be obtained by presenting one's identification card at one of the prophylactic stations located in the vicinity of the brothels. These are:

        Rue Castelnau-d'Auros Number 15

        Rue du Chateau-d'Eau Number 67

        Rue Dalon Number 52

    These prophylactic stations are open from 1300 to 2400 o'clock.

    In spite of medical inspection it is possible that inmates of brothels may be venerally infected. Therefore sexual intersourse without condom (rubber protector) is prohibited. Beware of mouth infections!

     If sexual intercourse in indulged in at a brothel, the name of the brothel and of the partner is to be entered on the prophylaxis cerificate before departure. After intercourse the visitor must immediately visit a prophylaxis station, where a prophylactic will be administered to him. Visitors to brothels are to retain the right-hand portion of their prophylaxis certificate for at least a month. In case of infection they must report immeidately to the medical authorities  Treatment by french physicians is prohibited.

     Complaints against brothels for the Armed Forces must be lodges at the business office of the City Physician of Bordeaux, Rue du Temple Number 21.


    Sexual relations with French street women is very dangerous, since they are venereally infected almost without exception. If any of the personnel of the Armed forces has sexual relations outside the licensed brothels, it is his duty to determine the name and address of his consort so that in case of infection the woman spreading it can be taken into custody.

    All cases of venereal disease whose source lies in Bordeaux are to be reported to the City Physician of Bordeaux, Rue du Temple Number 21.

    (Note: Page 4 of this pamphlet is filled with a map showing the location of the brothels in Bordeaux, as well as the location of the prophylactic stations.)


    One naval enlisted man stated that during the presence of the battle-cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in Brest he was allocated to a special smoke-screen flotilla of 60 converted fishing boats, each of which had a smoke producing apparatus on board. These boats were employed during night air-raids. They were stationed about the harbor each evening in positions which depended upon the prevailing wind of the day. They were not used during the day. This flotilla was gradually reduced after the departure of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau from Brest, in January, 1942, and in October, 1942, when he was drafted to Anneliese Essberger, not more than 10 of the fishing boats remained.

Rijnsburg (Holland)

    A naval prisoner stated that for some months of this year he had been stationed in a Naval Supplied Department (Marineverpflegungs-amt) situated in a castle at Rijnsburg, between Leiden and The Hague. He believed this to be the largest Naval Supplies Department in the Holland area.

Hasselt (Belgium)

    A naval prisoner said that he had received some of his training in a Manning Division newly established at Hasselt in Belgium.


Prisoners stated that hotels and boarding houses at Arcachon, some 35 miles southwest of Bordeaux, have been commandeered by the German Navy and are used as rest and recreation centers for naval enlisted men and merchant seamen.


One naval prisoner, a seaman 2 cl. (Radio), who had been trained at the signal school at Aurich, states that the speed of Morse signalling required for enlisted men’s ratings was as follows:

        Funkgefreiter (Seaman, 2 class-Radio) 80 letters sending and receiving per minute.                                                                         

        Funkobergefrieiter (Seaman, 1st class-Radio) 100 letters sending and receiving per minute.                                                             

        Funkmaat (Radioman, 3rd class) 110 letters sending and receiving per minute.                                                                            

        These standards are believed to be rather lower than the rates required in the German Navy at the beginning of war.                                             



    The following account of an attack on a U-boat in the Caribbean Sea, written by a German war correspondent who claims to have taken part in the cruise, appeared October 25, 1942, in a Borbeauxnewspaper, “Gegen Engeland”, printed for the benefit of German and Italian sailors at that base. 


Propaganda Correspondent-With the Navy.

     (The Correspondent, who took part in this undertaking, describes a sudden attack by aircraft).

     “Enemy aircraft astern! We watch it as it skims the horizon and disappears in the low-hanging clouds. We are in the Caribbean Sea. Last night we had surfaced after a daylong underwater cruise, in order to refresh ourselves in the current of fresh air which sweeps through the boat. It is shortly before change of watches. The men off watch are sitting in the forecastle eating, or lying in their bunks. Suddenly the alarm bells ring and the green lights flash on: Alarm! The aeroplane has circled under cover of the clouds and suddenly shoots into view. The bomb doors are open. Submerge? No, it is already too late! The bombs are dropping, one, two, three! They fall to port and we count the explosions. Out of our bunks! Instinctively we duck the glance upward; for generally more bombs are dropped. The alarm bells ring again and the green lights flash on once more. Now we submerge. The aircraft drops its fourth bomb exactly over the boat, which appears to leap forward. The lights go out; there is a tinkle of broken glass, pocket torches flicker eerily around, water hisses as it spurts into the Control Room. There--- what’s that? The hydroplanes jam. We are down by the stern and rise slowly. Cases, pots, plates, canned goods clatter through the boat. Somehow we manage to hold the boat. But there is still the sound of water and the boat is still down by the stern.

     “The Commander stands in the Control Room and gives his orders like a general on the battlefield * * * (page torn).

    * * * calm and composed each at his action station. Signs of the attack can be read in every face, and the hands of some of us are trembling. Suddenly the loudspeaker crackles. Someone has put on a gramaphone record: Zarah Leander sings: “That won’t keep the world from turning”. Two of the crew stand beside a pile of glass splinters. One of them, holding an unbroken rum bottle in his hand, says: “The rum bottle must be made of steel”! The Commander passes. A smile flickers over his stern features. He knows that his men are of the right material.”



List of crew of Anneliese Essberger


Age       Rank or Career                               U.S.N. Equivalent                 
Betz, Erich Viktor  28  Oberfdeldwebel  Warrant officer. 
Drechsel, Gerhard  19  Sanitatsunterofizier  Chief pharmacist's mate. 
Gemkow, Rudolf  31  Bootsmaat  Coxswain. 
Leibrand, Heinz  22  Feuerwerkersmaat  Gunner's mate. 
Brotzmann, Siegfried  20  Matrosenobergefreiter  Seaman 1 cl. 
Hammer, Werner  21  Matrosenobergefreiter
Seaman 1 cl.
Zinke, Paul  20  Matrosenobergefreiter
Seaman 1 cl.
Beckmann, Heinz  21  Matrosengefreiter  Seaman 2 cl. 
Gottsche, Peter  20  Matrosengefreiter  Seaman 2 cl. 
Grieger, Friedrich  20  Mastrosengefreiter  Seaman 2 cl. 
Hochwald, Heinz  20  Matrosengefreiter  Seaman 2 cl. 
Kieffer, Josef  18  Matrosengefreiter  Seaman 2 cl. 
Kruse, August  21  Matrosengefreiter  Seaman 2 cl. 
Neestendiedrich, Heinrich  21  Matrosengefreiter  Seaman 2 cl. 
Pieper, Fredrich  20  Matrosengefreiter  Seaman 2 cl. 
Pohl, Franz  20  Matrosengefreiter  Seaman 2 cl. 
Salewski, Albert  18  Matrosengefreiter  Seaman 2 cl. 
Schlumpberger, Walter  19  Matrosengefreiter  Seaman 2 cl. 
Reisewitz, Edmund  23  Matrosengegreiter  Seaman 2 cl. 
Trimpler, Wolfgang  21  Mechanikersgefreiter  Seaman 2 cl. 
Marziniak, Johannes  19  Funkgefreiter  Seaman 2 cl. 
Eisenhammer, Herbert  19  Sanitatsgefrieter  Seaman 2 cl. 

Fuchs, Josef
19  Matrose  Apprentice seaman. 




Name                                                    Age               Rank or areer                                                        
Prahm, Johann  49  Captain. 
Koch, Helmut  31  First officer. 
Wietholter, Georg  29  Second officer. 
Nitzschner, Werner  22  Third officer. 
Friesecke, Adalbert  21  Fourth officer. 
Dolata, Max  51  Chief engineer. 
Hartung, Wilhelm  35  Second engineer. 
Milkowski, Walter  34  Third engineer. 
Grossman, Wilhelm  27  Fourth engineer. 
Bruns, Karl  26  Fifth engineer. 
Klepper, Otto  25  Chief radio officer. 
Neuwald, Gunther  25  Second radio officer. 
Hofmann, Leo  33  Ship's doctor. 
Rohmeier, Vinzenz  39  Bo'sun's mate. 
Schmidt, Otto  36  Fireman. 
Schoning, Bruno  19  Steward. 
Kruse, Walter  37  Storekeeper. 
Schmidt, Oswald  33  Oiler. 
Wachowski, Kurt  23  Oiler. 
Hadamek,Hermann  22  Wiper. 
Rohleder, Wilhelm  30  Wiper. 
Kruger, Artur  35  Greaser. 
Schwark, Josef  39  Greaser. 
Ballenberg, Heinz  20  Seaman. 
Dreja, Reinhold  22  Seaman. 
Fink, Alfred  29  Seaman. 
Hoff, Heinrich  21  Seaman. 
Volsch, Ernst  23  Seaman. 
Schmidt, Willi  22  Seaman. 
Lonzynski, Herbert  30  Carpenter. 
Steinhausen, Hans  35  Cook 
Ahrens, Walter  39  Baker. 
Wolters, Gerhard  20  Butcher. 
Weinsheimer, Herbert  17  Mess boy. 
Rauen, Anton  15  Cabin boy. 
Dutsch, Willi  15  Deck boy. 
Lubeck, Herbert  15  Deck boy. 
Luck, Gerhard  16  Deck boy. 
Plettenbacher, Otto  17   Deck boy. 



Service on the antiaircraft and machine guns:

For the 105 mm. Gun

Coxswain, Gemkow (N).1

Seaman 2 cl., Gōttsche (N).

Seaman 1 cl., Zinke (N).

Seaman 2 cl., Pieper (N).

Seaman, 2 cl., Reisewitz (N).

Seaman 1 cl., Brōtzmann (N).

Seaman, Fink (M).1

Seaman 2 cl. (mechanician), Trimpler (N).

Deck Boy, Plettenbacher (M).

Greaser, Krüger (M).

Oiler, Wachowski (M).

Wiper, Rohleder (M).

Seaman 2 cl. (Pharmacist), Eisenhammer (N).


For the 2 cm., Port No. I

Seaman 2 cl., Kiefer (N).

Seaman 2 cl., Hochwald (N).

Apprentice Seaman, Fuchs (N).


For the 2 cm., Starboard No. I

Seaman 2 cl., Grieger (N).

Seaman 1 cl., Hammer (N).

Seaman 2 cl., Pohl (N).


For the 2 cm., Port No. II

Seaman 2 cl., Beckmann.

Seaman 2 cl., Salewski.

(?)           (?)           Thaler.2


1 The bracketed letters “N” and “M” signify, respectively, Naval and Merchant Marine Personnel.

2 This crew member was not among the crew taken into custody.



For the 2 cm., Starboard No. II

                              Seaman 2 cl., Kruse (N).

                              Seaman 2 cl., Neestendiedrich (N).

                              Seaman, Schmidt (M).

                              Seaman, Ballenberg (M).

               For the transport of ammunition, the following crew members are assigned:

                              Steward, Schōning (M).

                              Baker, Ahrens (M).

                              Butcher, Wolters (M).

                              Deck Boy, Dütsch (M).

                              Deck Boy, Lübeck (M).

                              Cabin Boys, Rauen (M).

                              Mess Boy, Weinsheimer (M).


Translation From Documents off Anneliese Essberger 


               In case of boat maneuvers, the letter “B” (_. . .) will be sounded over the alarm system and the ship’s siren. The entire crew will go at once to the boat deck or afterdeck, as the case may be, and put on life preservers without waiting for orders, in order then to stand by the boats. The command to put out the boats and to abandon ship will be given from the bridge to the boat captains or their substitutes. 


    In case of aircraft alarm, the letter “F” (. . _ .) will be given over the alarm system and the ship’s siren. The antiaircraft crew will hasten to its guns. The personnel assigned to ammunition transport will hasten to their station. All unassigned personnel will remain in the messes designated for them. 



    In case of a man overboard, interrupted tones will be sounded on the alarm system and on the ship’s siren. The rescue crew will repair to the boatdeck and put on life preservers without waiting for orders. 


    In case of fire on the ship, extended tones will be sounded on the alarm system and on the ship’s siren. The fire combat troop will assemble before the CO2 station on the boatdeck.



John T. Essberger                                                 Original and 1st                                           From No. 22

               Hamburg                                            Carbon to Shipfirm



               For The Period From_July 1__ To _October 31     1942.

                                             Requisition of Goods For ________ Months.


SHIP _ _ _ _ _”HERSTEIN”    

                    The list of materials used and in stock is to be sent in every two months, two copies,

that is to say, for January/February, March/April, etc. All accessions of good are

to be covered by means of this list. Wherever items are not covered by this form, use

black spaces. In the column “BALANCE” all stock on hand must be entered. – This list

serves also as a requisition. The column “REQUISTION” is to be filled out only when

a new fitting-out is due. Indicate exact measurements for the requisition, if need

be add sketches or samples. At the same time send in Form No. 8 for inventory needs.

UNIT            STOCK       ACCESSIONS    USED        BALANCE          REQUISITION 

Rope, From 4" down

Manila         "  Size 

Meters        220   
"                 "   "           
"                 "   "        220   
"                 "   "        440   
"                 "   "        440   


  (Untarred) 2 1/2  " 

  440    220   
" (Tarred)    3"      "    440       
"                3 1/2"  "    440       
Flagline      1"       "    440       


     (Tarred)       "         " 


Reef Tackle

  (1 cable 220 m.) 3/4" 


Reef Tackle

  (1 cable 220 m.)    7/8  " 


Reef Tackle

  (1 cable 220 m.)   1" 


Tie Wires

   (1 hank - 5 kg.)  1/4  " 


Tie Wires

    (1 hank - 5 kg.)   3/8" 


Tie Wires

   (1 hank - 5 kg.)  1/2" 




ANNEX D (Continued)

Gray for Deck  kg.    200       
Paper Napkins  Pieces    100       
Pitch  kg.           
Petroleum    100       
Sawdust  Sacks    10       
Seekaschutz (2)  Tubes           
Gummischutz (2)  Pieces           
Clamps for Tank-washing Tube           
Lump Coal for Stove  Tons           
Coke No. for Heating Quarters 



Briquettes for Heating Quarters  kg.           
Hammer Handles  Pieces           
"              "    "           
"              "           
Rungs for Pilot's Ladder           
Rungs for Pilot's Ladder, Long           
Joiners' Glue  kg.         
Toilet Paper  Rolls    100       
Wax  kg.         
Waste (Tow)    30       

Litmus Paper for

 Testing Watrer 

Batches  Pckges.         
Fire-Clay  kg.    50       
Closet Brushes  Pieces         
Polishing Wax  Cans         
Furniture Brush  Pieces         
Bucket Enameled         

____________, _______194______


___________     ____________

                                             Captain                1st Officer


ANNEX D (Continued)


Marline (large)

 (1 coil = 350 g.) 

kg.          8       


 (1 coil = 250 g.) 


Sail-Twine 2-ply

 (1 coil = 200 g.) 


  "            3-ply

 (1 coil = 200 g.) 

  "           2       

Spun Twine

 (1 hank - 5 kg.) 

  "          10       

Tarred Twine

 (1 coil - 200 g.) 

  "            1       

Sailcloth and


Tarpaulin 100 cm. Wide

 (1 Roll = 100 m.) 


Tarpaulin (Tarred)

 ( Roll = 100 m.) 


Sailcloth, 61 cm. Wide

 (1 Roll = 35 m.) 

Life Belt Cloth    "           

Tape for Life

Belt Cloth 

  "        85   

Paint And


Material (For

Hold & Outboard):


kg.       100       
Patent Color No. I   "           
"          "      No. II   "           
"          "      No. III   "           
"          "      No. IIIa   "           
Apexlor   "           
Red Lead, Ready-mixed   "       100       
Woermann-Gray, Ready-mixed   "       500       
Black, Ready-mixed   "         50       
Red Lead, Dry         200    30   
Paste for Deck Paint:             
   Blue   kg.         10    10   
   Brown   "         25       
White Lead   "       100       
Chrome Yellow   "         
Yellow Ocher   "           


List of Equipment taken by the U.S.S. SOMERS



Sextant - Complete with eye filter and box

Boat Compass - 5" with box (#16451)

Boat Compass - 5" with box (#17112)

German Helmet

2 Kerosene Hand Lanterns

1 Chronometer (German)

2 Celluloid Traingles (450)) (German)

4 German Navigation Books and Trig. tables

Rust proof snap fasteners

4 Packs - Medical

1 Pack - Progynon (female hormones)

13 Packs - Veramon (menstrual powder)

German Merchant Flag

Norwegian Merchant Flag

Machine Gun and Stand (German)

21 Life Preservers


Cartridges, 30 Cal. 2 Containers

Boat, Collapsible

Bellows for Boat and plugs.





Published: Fri Nov 15 07:24:06 EST 2019