SERIAL NO. 4
SUNK BY H.M.C.S. ASSINIBOINE
DIVISION OF NAVAL INTELLIGENCE
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS
SERIAL No. 4
FINAL REPORT ON THE
INTERROGATION OF SURVIVORS FROM
U-210 SUNK BY H. M. C. S. ASSINIBOINE
AUGUST 6, 1942
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1942
Serial No. 0248116
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 in 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 irreplaceable.
H. C. Train,
Rear Admiral, U. S. Navy,
Director of Naval Intelligence.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
||I. Introductory remarks
||II. Crew of U-210
||III. Early history of U-210
||IV. First and last war cruise of U-210
||V. Sinking of U-210
||VI. Details of U-210
||VII. Other U-boats
||VIII. U-boat flotillas.
||IX. U-boat bases
||X. U-boat trials and crew's training
||XI. General remarks on U-boats
||XII. Other ships
||XIII. Diving operations
||XIV. Miscellaneous remarks
|A (1). Translated extract from a diary recovered from a crew member of U-210.
|A (2). Translated extract from the diary of Maschinengefreiter (Fireman, 3d) Monien of U-210.
|B. List of crew of U-210.
| (a) Survivors.
| (b) Casualties
| (c) Total crew
Chapter I. INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
U-210 was sunk by H. M. C. S. Assiniboine at 1914 G. M. T. on August 6th in approximate position 54°25' N., 39°37' W. Ten survivors from U-210 were picked up by Assiniboine which subsequently received 6 more from H. M. S. Dianthus, later transferring all 16 to H. M. S. Witherington for passage to Halifax en route to the United States. Both officer survivors were among them. The prisoners were examined jointly by officers of the Royal Canadian and the United States Navies in this country.
Twenty-one survivors from U-210 landed in the United Kingdom from H. M. S. Dianthus on August 13, 1942, along with 5 survivors from U-379, sunk by Dianthus on August 9th.
Interrogation of the 16 prisoners sent to the United States was greatly facilitated by the speed with which they were brought to an interrogation center, accompanied by a qualified Canadian Naval Intelligence officer.
This report incorporates the results of interrogation conducted in the United States with the findings of a report on the interrogation of the prisoners taken to England, submitted by the Admiralty.
Several prisoners stated emphatically that U-210 was the fifth boat sunk in the same convoy attack. None of the other four has been identified.
The recovery, from prisoners now in England, of two diaries (extracts from which are appended to this report) has aided materially in substantiating information gained from prisoners' statements.
During trials, the captain of U-210 had mustered his crew and read them extracts from a document purporting to have been captured from a British agent in Germany. The object of this lesson was to impress on them the need of silence if captured, and to show them the great interest which England took in all U-boat matters.
From prisoners' statements, it appears that a number of documents of this kind have been forged and circulated to U-boat captains to help them make their crews security-conscious.
Chapter II. CREW OF U-210
The crew of U-210 consisted of 4 officers and 39 enlisted men.
The captain, Kapitänleutnant1 Rudolf Lemcke, did not survive. He was of the 1933 naval term and was an experienced destroyer officer recently transferred to the U-boat arm. U-210 is believed to have been his first command.
Prisoners stated that he had been removed from the destroyer in which he was serving at Narvik in 1940 and put in charge of a flak (A/A) battery. During this time he was broken to the rank of seaman and made to spend 3 months in the penal battalion at Hela for exercising disciplinary brutality and failing to comply with naval regulations. He had caused a member of a gun crew to be beaten in front of the entire division for falling asleep on duty, as he realized the man was very young and might be shot if subjected to court-martial. He had, therefore, taken matters into his own hands. Subsequently Lemcke served a 3 months probationary period aboard a minesweeper and was promoted to Leutnant zur See. After making one cruise with an experienced U-boat commander as commander pupil (Kommandantenschüler) he assumed command of U-210 with the rank of Oberleutnant. He was reinstated in his former rank of Kapitänleutnant on leaving Kiel for his first war cruise.
Lemcke told the story of his degradation openly to suppress exaggerated rumors. While he was admired for his frankness, it is not believed that he was highly regarded otherwise by his crew; the story was told that he drank champagne and brandy on board, and that he ordered the boat submerged on rough nights as the motion on the surface prevented him from sleeping. Several prisoners intimated, moreover, that they considered Lemcke an inexperienced commander and that he was directly responsible for the loss of his boat. His decorations included the Iron Cross, second class, the Narvik "Shield," and the Destroyer Badge. Lemcke married Frau Luise Moelck of Kiel in June 1941. A radio message announcing the birth of twins to his wife was received by U-210 about 8 days before his death.
The executive officer, Leutnant zur See Günther Göhlich, age 22, who survived, proved to [be] a fanatical Nazi, arrogant and conceited. He had all the makings of a youthful martinet and was most un-
1 For translation of all ranks see Annex 15.
popular on board. It was stated that he lost his head during the sinking and that an engine-room petty officer stood behind him with a heavy wrench, intent on murdering him as soon as the lights failed. The fact that the lights remained on appears to have saved his life. Later, while swimming about, he shouted hysterically for help, and was told disdainfully by a petty officer to "shut up." Göhlich was of the 1938 Naval Term. His interrogators regarded him as one of the worse types of prisoner.
The engineer officer, Leutnant (Ing.) Heinz Sorber, of the same naval term and age as Göhlich, was a more decent type and, apparently, a capable officer. Though previously a Party member, he told and enjoyed anti-Nazi jokes. Sorber served aboard Scharnhorst for more than a year, and had first-hand knowledge of raider tactics. He is believed to have served in U-580 under the command of Oberleutnant Hans-Günther Kuhlmann, and to have been aboard when this boat was rammed and sunk in the Baltic.
Sorber was pleasant and good-natured, but thoroughly security-minded. He was prematurely bald, having lost all his hair suddenly, he said, during his period of basic training.
The junior officer, Leutnant zur See Ernst Martin Tamm, was too young to appear in the German Navy List of 1940. He was killed in the final action.
The chief characteristics of the crew were their youth and relative inexperience. Of the 14 enlisted men brought to the United States for interrogation, 7 were under 21 years of age. Only a few had had previous U-boat experience, and a number had not even taken part in the trials of U-210.
The crew's inexperience led to a number of mishaps. On one occasion the captain, forgetting to take into account the pressure in the boat, flung open the conning tower hatch upon surfacing and was hurled onto the bridge, injuring his face and receiving scars. Another time, the Diesels were started before the main induction was opened, and the eyes of the engine-room crew protruded violently. Three men managed to open the intake just in time to avert a serious accident.
One youth, age 19, the son of an alpine guide, had left his father's home in the Tyrol only last winter to join the Navy. He used the Austrian "Grüss Gott!" address to his interrogators and still assessed the wealth of his neighbors in terms of the number of cows they possessed.
The oldest member of the crew, age 38, was a civilian diver and merchant marine sailor of many years' experience, who claimed that he had been drafted to the U-boat as an able seaman by mistake. He was extremely bitter about this error and stated that he had had no
intention of going to sea at all, much less in a U-boat. He said that while in dock he had instructed in seamanship 10 of the more youthful enlisted men, whose previous occupations included those of confectioner, farm hand, baker, and saddler.
Another junior seaman, age 18, stated that he had practically been "pressed" into service at the last moment to make up the full complement, which even then was one or two men short. This youth had been given only 6 months basic training and had never before been on any sort of ship.
During trials, the executive officer took photographs of the ship's company lined up on deck. An enlisted man sent one of the photographs home, whereupon a flotilla order arrived some days later calling attention to this violation of security and ordering the man punished.
The physical condition of the crew varied. Marked debility was encountered in some of the men, while others were robust.
In addition to Lemcke and Tamm, four men were killed in the final action.
Chapter III. EARLY HISTORY OF U-210
U-210 was a 500-ton U-boat, type VII C, built by the Germaniawerft, Kiel. She was the tenth boat in the series U-201 to U-212.
It is not known when U-210 was laid down. She was launched December 23, 1941. During that month engine-room personnel began to arrive at the yard to stand by the boat in the final phases of construction. At the time, they were housed in a depot ship named Holtenau; later they were transferred to the depot ship Ubena, a former Woermann passenger liner. They saw the New Year in on board Holtenau with much revelry.
It was intended that she would be commissioned 3 weeks after the launching, but this was delayed owing to a decision to give prior consideration to the completion of U-218, a boat from the same yard, to which reference is made in chapter VII.
On January 28, the first trimming trial was carried out, and by February 17 the boat was virtually completed. The crew finally came on board on February 20 and U-210 was commissioned the next day. For this ceremony she came to the Tirpitz Pier, and a luncheon was held on board the depot ship St. Louis, at which were present Kapitänleutnant Oskar Moehle, C. O. of the 5th U-boat Flotilla to which U-210 had been assigned, Kapitänleutnant Berndt Klug, captain of the E-boat S-27, in which one of U-210's ship's company had previously served, and other more senior officers. The celebration continued throughout the night.
On February 24, U-210 entered the Kiel pressure dock, where she was tested to withstand a pressure of 90 meters depth, and tested blowing tanks with Diesels. Next day she started her routine engine, search gear (S-Gerät), and other trials under the U-boats Acceptance Commission (U. A. K.). These continued until ice conditions made movement impossible.
During March long leave was given to both watches.
It was not until April 7, after the ice had melted, that U-210 resumed her trials. The first of these was a trimming trial. The next day she embarked dummy torpedoes for testing tubes. On April 9, after firing these dummy torpedoes, she was depermed. The next day she had to go into drydock, having damaged her starboard propeller through ramming.
On April 11 and 13 she carried out minelaying exercises, with dummy torpedo mines, off Möltenort, and on the 14th did final trimming tests.
On April 15 she adjusted her compass and tested her main shafts for silent running. On the 10th she tried her radio equipment and made tests for noises when submerged.
On April 18 U-210 did gunnery and engine trials; on the 20th, Hitler's birthday, a day's leave was granted. The next day she entered the Germania yard for a number of repairs to her aerial and jumping wires.
On April 23 she executed her final acceptance trials, and passed out of the hands of the U-boats Acceptance Commission.
While stationed at Kiel, she was attached to the 5th Flotilla, under Kapitänleutnant Oskar Moehle.
On April 24 U-210 sailed for Danzig, where she made fast at 1700 on the next day. On the way she ran into an ice floe and damaged her bow ice protector. Prisoners stated that U-210's trials in the Baltic had been delayed on account of severe ice conditions.
While in Danzig she was under the control of the U-boat Training Group (U-boots Ausbildungs Gruppe). She spent 6 days beginning April 26 in short sea trips in the vicinity to test her seaworthiness in heavy weather, once visiting Gotenhafen and once Hela.
On May 1 she made her first crash dive. This passed off successfully, a depth of 30 meters being reached in 41 seconds. The next day she sailed for 4 hours continuously at emergency speed, and on May 3 left for Gotenhafen for torpedo-firing tests under the Torpedo Testing Command (Torpedo-Erprobungskommando). She made three tests that day and four the next.
On May 5, she proceeded to Hela for the Agru-Front (Ausbildungsgruppe Front, Active Service Training Group).
On May 6 an engineer officer was taken on board for instruction, and was followed by others almost daily until May 16, Kapitänleutnant (Ing.) Teichmann, of the 20th U-boat Flotilla staff at Pillau, also came on board.
U-210 remained in harbor at Hela until May 17. On May 18 she went through further Agru-Front tests, and on May 20 dived to 100 meters for the first time. On May 21 she carried out more Agru-Front exercises, aircraft making practice attacks on her. No bombs were actually dropped. The final Agru-Front trials were made on May 26.
The greatest depth attained in the trials was 165 meters, at which depth she showed signs of strain. The captain ordered this dive, as he considered the guaranteed depth of 100 meters inadequate.
On the 26th, U-210 proceeded to the 26th Flotilla at Pillau, and on May 27 did a subcaliber shoot with her 8.8-cm. gun, using 3.7-cm. shells, and also fired her 20-cm. guns. A captured document dated May 28, reports the loss of an enlisted man's cap during gunnery exercises. Prisoners stated that on that day they practiced gunnery with moving targets. The nights of May 27, 28, and 29 were spent in Pillau. On May 30, the boat went to Danzig, returning on June 1 to Pillau, where she immediately took on torpedoes and put to sea for torpedo-firing exercises with Korvettenkapitän (Lieutenant Commander) von Stockhausen, from the Pillau school, on board. These exercises included a dummy attack on a convoy, out of which she was supposed to have sunk three ships. This period is referred to as "Kommandantenschiessen" (C. O.'s torpedo firing). At 2030 on June 7, U-210 arrived back in Danzig and von Stockhausen disembarked. Lemcke went on leave to Hamburg for 2 days.
While at Danzig, another boat came alongside U-210 too fast and put her hydroplanes into U-210's propeller. U-210, therefore, went into drydock, and on June 10, after fitting a new port propeller, she proceeded to Gotenhafen. The next day she sailed on another convoy attack exercise. This marked the start of her "Taktische Übungen" (Tactical exercises). By 1800 she had closed and attacked the convoy. She followed it throughout the night and attacked it again at 1400 the next day, and at 0200 on June 13. Two hours later she returned to Gotenhafen, remaining there until 1400, when she put to sea with an instructor, Kapitänleutnant Klaus Korth, on board, making contact with the convoy again at 1600. During the following night she continued to practice attacks on it. She then purposely lost touch with it and spent the whole of June 14 trying to reestablish contact 20 miles off the Swedish coast, in very rough weather.
Contact was not made again until 2200 on June 15. At 2300, Korth transferred to a freighter, and at 2350 U-210 renewed her attacks until 0200 the next day. On June 16 heavy weather was again experienced. The whole of that day was spent in further convoy-attack exercises. This time she was attacked by aircraft and destroyers. This was the most strenuous part of the whole series of convoy attack exercises, especially as U-210 was forced to remain submerged for a long period. At 1130, to the relief of the crew, the exercise ended and she made Gotenhafen at 0400 on June 19.
The same day she left again for Rönne, on the Danish island of Bornholm, arriving there at 0400 on June 20. That day U-210's ship's company played the local radio station at football, and had
an opportunity of buying soap, candy, and cakes to take away with them. At 1800 she cast off for silent running tests (Unterwasser Horchfahrt) of her electric motors with the shore listening station, diving from 2030 to 0130 next day. She reached Kiel at 1900, and made fast alongside the depot ship Cap Arcona at 0013 on June 22.
The same day she moved to the Tirpitz Pier at 1130, and on June 23 she returned to the Germania yards for final overhaul (Restarbeiten).
Here repairs were made to her echo-ranging gear. Her indicator buoys (Rettungsbojen) were removed, being considered too easily released by depth charges to be taken on an operational patrol. Her crew were given leave in watches. As U-210 had been passed for war service by the U-boats Acceptance Commission, a small device was painted on the after side of her coning tower. This consisted of a white German eagle, encircled by a wreath and surmounting a submerging U-boat which bore the word "Frontreif" (Ready for War).
On July 13 she embarked ammunition at the arsenal, on the 15th torpedoes, on the 16th dry stores, and on the 17th supplies of perishable victuals. Kapitänleutnant Klaus Korth, who had been on board during part of her trials, came to wish the ship's company good luck, and made a short speech. "My friends," he said, "you can be proud of yourselves. You have the privilege of sailing on patrol, but we must stay behind. You are now under the direct command of the B. d. U. (Admiral Commanding U-Boats). You are one of his grey moths that dot the ocean. We wish you the very best of luck." Then all present sang the "England Lied." U-210 was formally discharged from the 5th Flotilla and was ready for sea.
During her trials, U-210 practiced the transfer of torpedoes from her upper deck into the boat, both by day and by night. This was a very difficult operation, even in a calm sea, since the water kept pouring in through her forward hatch as each wave broke.
Oiling at sea from a supply U-boat (Zubringerboot) was also practiced, U-210 using her own fuel lines.
Leutnant zur See Fabrizius was carried in U-210 as third watch-keeping officer until shortly before she sailed, when he was appointed to a new U-boat as executive officer. He already had experience in U-boats. He was not relieved by another officer, the senior chief petty officer taking over his watchkeeping duties.
Chapter IV. FIRST AND LAST WAR CRUISE OF U-210
U-210 sailed from Kiel on her first and last war cruise on Saturday, July 18, 1942, at 0700.2 She was bound for American waters and, eventually, for Brest, where she was to join the 9th U-boat Flotilla. She carried 129 tons of fuel.
At 1020 she turned north with her escort, stated by a majority of prisoners to have comprised a "brand new" 740-ton U-boat and one of 500 tons, as well as an "R" boat (Räumboot) which served as a minesweeper. Neither of the U-boats in question has been identified although two survivors thought that their Captains were von Trotha and Staudinger. The 500-tonner was stated to be traveling toward the Arctic. Some prisoners asserted that one or two merchant ships also joined company. The sea was calm and there were intermittent showers. U-210 entered the Kattegat through the Great Belt.
The Skagerrak was crossed on July 19, U-210 and two other U-boats putting into Christiansand at 2300. The sea had been moderate and a Swedish minesweeper had been sighted. In Christiansand she tied up to a pier to take on fresh drinking water. She received a small amount of oil, stated by a machinist to have been only 2 or 3 tons, from a tanker which drew alongside. From Kiel to Christiansand she had used both Diesels, proceeding only on the surface.
The next morning, July 20, at 0600, U-210 set out to the northward, accompanied by the 740-ton U-boat and another escort vessel. She proceeded up the Norwegian coast, just in sight of land and constantly covered by aircraft patrols. Shortly after leaving Christiansand, she dived for practice. When at 40 meters the boat struck an uncharted rock, in spite of the fact that the echo-sounder recorded 60 meters, seemingly allowing adequate clearance below. Both motors were put full astern and she came off safely. No serious damage, except to the cap of the upper port bow torpedo tube (No. 2) was inflicted, and U-210 was able to proceed normally. (ONI Note: It is believed that the accident was occasioned by an inaccurate recording on the echo-sounding device. This instrument is known to have proved faulty in the case of other U-boats.)
The two U-boats and their escort appear to have parted company later that day, with Bergen abeam. After that, U-210 proceeded
1 All time quoted is German Summer Time, which is kept on U-Boats.
alone, cruising for the most part on the surface at slow speed (langsame Fahrt) on Diesel-electric. (See ch. VI.) This procedure was maintained throughout the entire duration of the patrol except for routine dives and evasion of enemy attacks. She traveled north along the Norwegian coast to a point between latitudes 62° and 63° N., where course was altered to 300°. According to one diary, the Faeroes were abeam to port on July 22.
Upon reaching a point on a line with the center of the east coast of Iceland (65° N.), she turned south to 220%deg;, holding this course through the "Rosengarten." This shallow patch of water was crossed at half speed on both Diesels, and survivors sighted drifting mines in the area. This part of the passage was made in daylight on July 23 or 24. (The diaries are here in conflict as to dates and hours.)
While in the "Rosengarten" U-210 received a message from another U-boat, the sense of which was not known by the crew.
On July 25, at about 1800, U-210 sighted an enemy patrol vessel, and dived at once to avoid detection, remaining submerged until 0300 the next day. This was probably the occasion on which her crew heard "pinging," followed soon afterward by depth charge explosions.
These were very distant, and some survivors thought they might have been intended for the 740-tonner, which they believed was still in the vicinity.
Throughout July 25 and 26 there were constant aircraft alarms, causing U-210 to proceed much of the time submerged dead slow.
Bombs from what survivors thought was a Sunderland once fell close to her, but at no time did she sustain damage.
Having negotiated the mine fields, she set course for Central America. There was a rumor on board that U-210 and other boats were to take one of the Bahama Islands, hoist the German flag, and use it as a base for operations against convoys. Others said their destination was the Gulf of Mexico.
On July 27 it was found that the Junkers compressor was out of order, and this took three days to repair, the electric compressors being used meanwhile. A piston had seized owing to water having entered through a loose joint.
The whole of July 28, U-210 remained on her same course.
On one of the last days of July a radio message was received from the Kiel U-boat station informing Lemcke of the birth of twins, a boy and a girl, to his wife. In celebration each man of the crew received two bottles of beer, one for each child.
At 1000 on July 29, while steering 216°, U-210 sighted a westbound convoy proceeding toward Newfoundland. (Admiralty note: This was Convoy O. N. 115.) She immediately signaled this to the B. d. U. who ordered her not to attack until other boats had joined her.
She remained as contact-keeper throughout the day, but lost contact at 0200 on the 30th, only to reestablish it at 0830 the same day.
At 1220, however, she lost touch once more, renewing contact about 0930 on July 31. By then four U-boats were stated to be shadowing the convoy, with a fifth expected the next day. One of these was believed to be under Kapitänleutnant Reinhard (Teddy) Suhren, a brother of the Suhren who had boarded U-210 at the Agru-Front. Another was thought to be commanded by Kapitänleutnant Topp and a third by Kapitänleutnant Mengersen. In all, seven or eight boats were expected to arrive to attack this convoy. On July 31, U-210 was sighted by an escorting destroyer and submerged, then being attacked with depth charges, many of which fell close but did no great damage. (Admiralty note: Several U-boats were shadowing O. N. 115 during the morning of 31st. One was sighted at 0836 by H. M. C. S. Skeena and then dived. A series of attacks was carried out by H. M. C. S. Skeena and Wetaskiwin, and at 1317 Wetaskiwin picked up wreckage and human remains. It is possible that U-210 was the U-boat sighted and that the wreckage came from another U-boat also submerged in the same area.)
This attack caused U-210 to lose contact temporarily with the convoy. She cruised southward in search of it in heavy weather, but on August 3 altered course toward Greenland, proceeding dead slow. She was being homed back on to the convoy by other U-boats. Lemcke was disturbed regarding the amount of fuel used.
U-210 regained contact with this convoy on August 3, when she joined six other U-boats shadowing it. At 0200 on August 4, the U-boat commanded by Kapitänleutnant Topp attacked, sinking two ships. Survivors knew it was this boat, as they had intercepted a signal from Topp to the B. d. U. At the time this happened, considerable activity took place, guns and rockets being fired and searchlights played. Survivor's all thought, however, that Topp had been so badly rammed by one of the escorts that he had set course for home. (Admiralty note: At about 0400 Belgian Soldier, E. S. Walden, and Loch Katrine were sunk in 45° 42' N., 47° 13' W. H. M. S. Sackville endeavored to ram and dropped a pattern on a U-boat immediately after she dived. It is possible that Topp's U-boat was the cause of the sinkings and the victim of Sackville's attack.)
On August 4, fog set in and at 0830 U-210 lost contact with this convoy for the last time. She then proceeded northward dead slow. On August 6, Lemcke received a radio message ordering him to make for another convoy. According to the engineer officer, U-210 put about on a course of 70&ddeg; and at 1930 another U-boat was sighted off the starboard beam. The lookout watch on the bridge at this time
consisted of Lemcke (relieving Tamm) starboard bow, Ensmann starboard quarter, Trost port quarter, and Christensen port bow.
Visibility had been poor throughout the day, with patches of fog, but it had now cleared sufficiently for the two U-boats to see each other distinctly. According to both Trost and Ensmann, the other U-boat started morsing a message by signal lamp and Lemcke called down into the conning tower for his own lamp. This was handed up and plugged in by Mycke who was helmsman at the time. Trost, as signalman, was given the lamp and told to stand by to send a message, but when he tried to switch on the lamp it failed to work. This infuriated Lemcke, who roundly scolded the bridge watch, finally ordering them back to their lookout positions. Lemcke then seized a pair of signaling flags and himself semaphored to the other U-boat.
Trost stated that for a few seconds he took his eyes off his own quarter to try to decipher the message being sent to them. All he caught was the one word "destroyers." In his own words, he commented: "That was quite enough for me!" He then kept rigid watch on his own sector. Ensmann could only say that he thought the message contained something about the position of a convoy, as well as a destroyer warning. He added that the other U-boat slowly drew ahead of their beam and passed obliquely across their bows.
Mycke stated that when he was relieved half an hour later he had been steering a course of 70° throughout his watch.
An engine-room man who was told to repair the signaling lamp stated that when he took it to pieces he found it rusty and full of water, and that this had undoubtedly caused a short circuit.
A number of prisoners were of the impression that destroyers had seen the flash of the other U-boat's signaling lamp and that this had led to their detection and destruction some 50 minutes later, although the commanding officer of Assiniboine appears not to have seen any signaling.
Chapter V. SINKING OF U-210
At 1325 on August 6, in a patch of clear weather, H. M. C. S. Assiniboine, forming part of the escort of S. C. 94 from Halifax to the United Kingdom, sighted a conning tower bearing 30° range 6 miles. At 1338 she fired three salvos, before the last of which the U-boat altered course to port and dived. It has been positively established by survivors' statements that this boat was not U-210. Assiniboine arrived in the vicinity of this U-boat's diving position at 1357 and altered course to 330°, this being the estimated course of the U-boat before she dived. Assiniboine then carried out a box sweep in the area, at 1418 firing a pattern of depth charges set at 100 to 225 feet, but with no evident results, and continued to sweep in the presumed track of this U-boat.
At 1912 Assiniboine sighted a conning tower bearing 120° at 2,000 yards retiring at full speed into the fog. At 2036, with visibility about 2,000 yards, she established a Radar contact bearing 270°. Almost immediately she sighted U-210, stopped. Then U-210 went ahead at full speed and altered course to starboard, disappearing into the fog after Assiniboine had fired one round. Assiniboine, hearing H. E. at this time bearing 300°, increased speed, but misjudged the distance she had run and, thinking she had passed the U-boat's position, altered to 345°, the target's estimated course. She then realized her mistake, and altered course back to 190°. Visibility was then 600 to 800 yards.
At 2000 the bridge watch was relieved aboard U-210, the following men coming on duty: Quartermaster Holst, Coxswain Krumm, Monbach, and Meetz. Mueller relieved Mycke at the helm. Mueller is believed to have stood alone in the conning tower at this time. As none of the bridge watch survived the following action, accounts of the sinking of U-210 are limited to his statements and those of men below decks.
According to Mueller, fog closed around the U-boat as the watch was relieved and Lemcke, thinking that U-210 was safely hidden, came below to eat his supper. A few minutes later Mueller heard confused sounds of shouting and firing above, and Lemcke and Tamm passed him on the way to the bridge. General alarm was sounded throughout the U-boat, by buzzers in the forward compartments and by flickering green and red lights in the engine room, as the crew were eating their evening meal.
Assiniboine takes a scalp.
At 2050 Assiniboine gained another Radar contact at 035° on the starboard bow, range 1,200 yards. She closed it at full speed and about 1 minute later sighted U-210, still on the surface. She closed to ram at full speed, having first housed the dome and prepared a 50-foot depth-charge pattern.
Both vessels opened fire and for about 25 minutes a furious action ensued at almost point-blank range. U-210 took a constant evading action, and Assiniboine was forced to go full astern on the inside engine to prevent U-210 getting inside her turning circle, which the U-boat seemed to be trying to do. During some of this action the two vessels were so close that Assiniboine's company could see Lemcke on U-210's bridge bending down to pass wheel orders.
Aboard U-210 no effort was made to dive immediately nor could anyone reach the 8.8-cm. gun, but fire from Assiniboine was returned by Holst, manning the 2-cm. gun at a range of approximately 200 yards. Explosive bullets were used and started a second-degree fire in Assiniboine's forecastle, spreading aft almost to the bridge.
Lemcke was blamed posthumously by his men for not submerging at once, but the volume of smoke pouring from the destroyer apparently led him to believe that he had damaged her considerably, and encouraged him to prolong the action. Prisoners also stated that he felt he could escape on the surface through the protecting fog, if need be.
Assiniboine's first hits damaged one of U-210's port trimming tanks. The bridge was then struck by machine gun bullets. Holst was shot through the neck and killed outright, and Krumm was badly wounded. An instant later Assiniboine scored a direct hit with her 4.7 gun on the conning tower, the shell making a shambles of the bridge.
A prisoner stated that Lemcke was literally blown to pieces, and that Krumm, lying wounded, was virtually decapitated. It is assumed that Tamm also suffered a violent death.
Mueller believed that a body was flung against the torpedo firing mechanism, releasing an unset torpedo. Between them prisoners counted three more direct hits: One through the forward torpedo tubes, another which carried away the deck covering between the 8.8-cm. gun and the forward torpedo hatch - neither causing leaks in the pressure hull - and one aft which smashed the screws, water entering the boat. The boat was down by the stern, the electric motors had caught fire, and the round hitting the conning tower had severely damaged the Diesel air-intake.
During the action an attempt was also made to fire one torpedo.
The tube's crew was told to stand by, but the order was never given.
With the conning tower practically demolished, Sorber, the engineer officer, now attempted to dive U-210. As the boat submerged, she
was rammed to starboard by Assiniboine abaft the conning tower and over the galley hatch (Kombüsenluke). U-210 descended to a depth of 18 meters. Water was flooding into the boat through the damaged Diesel air-intake, and through the battered stern. The electric motors had failed and everything breakable within the boat had been shattered.
Sorber gave the order to blow tanks and abandon ship, under the misapprehension that Göhlich, who had received superficial cuts, was too badly injured to make the ultimate decision. Sorber later reproached himself for surfacing and surrendering as he believed, upon subsequent reflection, that he might have been able to escape submerged. On surfacing, it was found that the water in the air-intake prevented the Diesels from being started and, according to survivors, U-210 remained stopped and slightly down by the stern. Assiniboine rammed again aft as U-210 surfaced, firing a shallow pattern of depth charges as she passed. The C. O. of the destroyer stated that the U-boat then sank by the head in 2 minutes.
Mueller stated that he stayed at his post until he heard the order. "Blow tanks; stand by life jackets!" He then left the helm as his life jacket was in the forward torpedo compartment and the men had been told never to take any but their own. He clambered through to the bow compartment, where he found a number of men abandoning ship through the forward torpedo hatch. Water was flooding through the hatch as he followed them. The majority of the engine-room personnel thought they were trapped when they found, first, that the galley hatch was jammed, and then, that they could not move the conning tower hatch which had become jammed by the direct hit on the bridge. Through their combined exertions they finally got the conning tower hatch open. The last man out of the control room stated that water was well over his boots there as he left.
When all were mustered, the engineer officer and one of the control room petty officers apparently went below, opened flooding valve 5 and put an explosive charge in the periscope shaft. There is a special opening in the shaft inside the boat for this purpose. The radio men threw overboard a number of secret papers, or burned them with incendiary leaflets. They also smashed the radio equipment with a hammer. Sorber himself denied that he had done anything more than open the seacocks before leaving the boat, as the last man out.
U-210 sank at 2114, H. M. S. Dianthus appearing out of the fog in time to see her go under. Although at the time of her sinking her after aerial was out of action and her Morse key broken, the chief radioman said he was able to send a signal reporting her sinking. Although this signal was much under power, he was sure that if B. d. U. did not receive it, one of the other U-boats in the vicinity did.
One survivor said that the radioman told them afterward that he had not been able to send any signals.
In view of the tremendous punishment taken by U-210 it is remarkable that the entire crew below decks escaped with their lives. Some survivors believed that, as the boat did not sink immediately, she could have been captured and towed to port. Little reliance can be placed in such opinions, however, in view of the high degree of confusion which attended the sinking, and in view of the fact that the second ramming undoubtedly left U-210 in an immediate sinking condition.
Dianthus made two depth-charge attacks on an unknown submarine earlier in the day, but no survivors from U-210 remembered hearing either of them.
Chapter VI. DETAILS OF U-210
U-210 was a 500-ton boat, type VII C, similar to U-570 captured by the British and renamed H. M. S. Graph. She was built at the Germaniawerft, Kiel.
The diesels were built by MWM (Motorenwerke Mannheim) under Krupp patents.
The electric motors were AEG (Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft).
Prisoners from U-210 said they carried three acoustic torpedoes, as well as two air (in upper deck containers) and nine electric torpedoes. The acoustic torpedoes were said to have an acoustic membrane behind the contact pistol, but otherwise to be identical with other ordinary torpedoes.
A prisoner stated that U-210 departed with 129 tons of oil, and that she had about 70 tons when sunk, of which 30 tons would have been used for the return journey.
U-210 had no device painted on her when she was sunk, but prisoners stated that officers had selected as a conning tower device a red crayfish with thick pincers.
U-210 was fitted with Q. C. Gear ("S Gerät") and hydrophones.
U-210 carried no Radar.
U-210's engineer officer had once managed to crash-dive her in 27 seconds. The normal crash-diving angle, according to prisoners, is 20°. On sighting an aircraft, U-210 generally crash-dived to about 30 meters, and altered course. U-210 was emphatically stated, however, to have survived a crash-diving angle of 55°.
U-210 carried an echo-sounder. (Sec chap. IV.)
Diesel-Electric Procedure. (See Admiralty's CB 4051 (31) page 11.)
Prisoners said that the Diesel-Electric procedure is now generally used by U-boats in trans-Atlantic passage, with considerable saving of fuel.
The dummy torpedoes fired by U-210 at Kiel are very light, and have no means of self-propulsion. The only purpose of firing them is to see that the tube functions properly.
Minelaying During Working-Up.
The mines with which U-210 practiced at Kiel while working-up were dummies. She took no mines on patrol.
Indicator Buoys ("Rettungsbojen").
Two are carried until a U-boat leaves on war patrol. They are fitted outside the pressure hull and are released by levers under air-pressure from inside the pressure hull. The levers are in the petty officers' and chief petty officers' quarters respectively.
The buoys are ochre-colored and have telephone connections. According to one prisoner, it is only in recent months that they have not been taken on patrol.
Bow Ice Protector ("Eisschütz").
U-210 carried a bow protector against ice when working-up in the Baltic. This was a light metal sheath mounted on wood and secured over the bow on to the deck. It is said to have been about 2 meters deep and to have extended the same distance on either side of the bow.
Search Gear Neutralizer.
Prisoners admitted that U-210 carried a Search Gear Neutralizer ("S-Gerät Vertilger," also known more popularly to Germans as "Pillenwerfer," "Pillenschmeisser," or just plain "Pillen"). Two prisoners questioned in the United States said that the apparatus was on the starboard side of the electric motor room, somewhat abaft of the refrigerator. They stated that the tube was round, that it stood about 5 feet above the floor plates, that it projected into the boat about 9 to 12 inches from the side of the hull, and that it had an outside diameter of 12 to 18 inches. Prisoners stated that the Pillenwerfer was operated only by officers (presumably the engineer officer).
Information from prisoners interrogated in England conflicts in some small details with the foregoing. There it was stated that the Pillenwerfer was located on the port side of the electric motor room, next to the gyro fuse box.
A prisoner from another U-boat described the action of the Pillenwerfer as follows:
The piston is in a withdrawn position when the tube is filled. As the piston is pushed forward the pills are expelled one at a time, until the piston is pushed completely in. The pressure cap (at the outboard end of the tube) then is closed and the piston withdrawn. The breech is opened and, after the tube is wiped, the tube is ready for reloading. The prisoner seemed positive that there would be no water in the tube after the pills had all been expelled.
Chapter VII. OTHER U-BOATS
One prisoner stated that he had served on U-9 from the autumn of 1940 until October 1941. She was then a school boat in the Baltic under (he command of Kapitänleutnant Joachim Deecke, based first at Memel and then at Pillau. (Admiralty Note: She was commanded at the beginning of the war by Kapitänleutnant Mathes, and by Oberleutnant zur See Lueth in mid-1940. It is possible that Deecke took over in autumn 1940.)
In February 1940, the commanding officer of U-59 was Kapitänleutnant Joachim Matz, the executive officer, Oberleutnant zur See Hasenschaar and the engineer officer, Leutnant (Ing.) Heine. She made seven patrols between February and July 1940, as follows:
1. From Wilhelmshaven to Kiel.
2. From Kiel to Bergen.
3. From Bergen.
4. From Bergen to Lorient in June, sinking about 17,000 tons of shipping, all sailing independently.
5. From Lorient, in June 1910, returning there the same month and sinking nothing.
6. From Lorient, sinking 28,000 tons from one convoy and entering the St. George's Channel.
7. From Lorient to Kiel, where she arrived in November 1940. She sank two independent freighters, one of 7,000 tons.
U-59 was then sent to join the 22nd U-boat Flotilla at Gotenhafen where Kapitänleutnant Freiherr von Forstner took command of her.
It seems probable that the U-boat commanded by Korvettenkapitän Zahn returned from a long cruise off the Canadian coast on or about April 20, 1942, and stayed in St. Nazaire until shortly after June 20. He probably commands U-69.
From other sources it became known that Kapitänleutnant Rosenbaum was on leave with his wife at Krummhübel in the first half of June 1942. He is believed to command U-73, stationed in the Mediterranean.
From other sources it became known that Kapitänleutnant Heilmann was in Hamburg at the end of May or early in June 1942. He is believed to command U-97.
A petty officer prisoner stated that he had joined U-123 at Lorient in the early summer of 1941 when she was under the command of Kapitänleutnant Moehle. He made one cruise under Moehle, returning to Lorient where the U-boat was taken over by Kapitänleutnant Hardegen. With Hardegen, he made one trip to the South Atlantic and somewhere off Africa they sank two or three ships from a convoy. They also sank one ship traveling alone. On the latter occasion Hardegen, speaking English, attempted to interrogate survivors when they had got into their boats, but they refused to give him any information. Nevertheless, Hardegen provisioned them and told them the best course to steer.
This prisoner also stated that U-123 carried a "Reichsverwundetenabzeichen" (State Wound Badge) as conning tower device. This signified that the U-boat had been damaged in action but had reached her base. This prisoner made only one cruise with Hardegen.
On April 14, 1942, Reuter quoted a German announcement that, in successes in the Atlantic, the U-boat commanded by Hardegen had particularly distinguished herself.
On April 24, Luxembourg radio announced the award of the Oak Leaves to the "Ritterkreuz" to Hardegen, who claimed to have sunk over 200,000 tons.
On May 7, Hardegen spoke over the Luxembourg radio, saying he had just returned from his second cruise to America, having sunk 80,000 tons, including a Q-ship. He had been in command of his present boat for a year.
On May 10, Hardegen again spoke on the Luxembourg radio, saying that his boat was the first to operate in American waters. On his second cruise he worked his way south, from Cape Hatteras down to Florida. On the homeward passage he used his one remaining torpedo - his fiftieth - on a freighter. On this cruise he sank 10 ships, totaling over 70,000 tons.
On May 18, he was interviewed over the Calais radio. He said he flew 11 white pennants (indicating merchant ships sunk) on return from his latest patrol. Five of these were represented in paint on his U-boat's gun, one of 3,000, one of 4.800, one of 7,000, one of 8,000, and one of 9,200 tons.
There have been no further claims for him since that date.
There were, according to other sources, various official receptions for Hardegen in German ports at the end of May 1942.
From other sources it became known that Kapitänleutnant Philipp Schueler was at sea on June 15, 1942. He was then believed in command of U-141.
From other sources it was established that Kapitänleutnant Erwin Kostin was at sea on February 9, April 1, and June 5, 1942. He is thought to command U-158.
On March 18, the official German News Agency announced that German submarines had sunk five enemy merchant ships, totaling 41,000 tons and a coastal patrol vessel of the U. S. Navy off the American coast, the U-boat commanded by Kostin particularly distinguishing herself.
On May 26, Calais radio broadcast a talk by Kostin in which he said he had just returned from a raiding patrol in the Atlantic and had sunk 44,000 tons and one coastal vessel. He said he shadowed the convoy for two days before he got his first tanker. It was Kostin's first patrol in command of a U-boat. He had previously commanded a minesweeper for 4 years and had been decorated for minesweeping.
He had learned English while at school and in the merchant service.
On June 25, the official German News Agency announced that in the Atlantic successes published the previous day the U-boat commanded by Kostin had distinguished herself. These successes were the sinking of twenty enemy merchant ships totaling 102,000 tons, and one escort vessel, all out of protected convoys in the Atlantic and in coastal waters of North and Central America. Four more ships, it added, were known to have been damaged by torpedoes.
On July 9, radio Luxembourg announced that the "Ritterkreuz" had been awarded to Kostin. It explained that he had sunk fifteen enemy ships of 98,000 tons and a coastal patrol vessel. He had done all this on two patrols off the North American coast.
(ONI note: Information has recently come to hand which makes it appear probable that Rostin has been lost with his boat.)
U-211 was completed shortly after U-210 and apparently participated with U-210 in certain trials in the Baltic. She was at Danzig in May 1942, is commanded by an Oberleutnant zur See, and is said to have a new type of Radar antenna, mounted on the fore part of the bridge just above the lower dodge. About 1 1/2 metres by 30 cm. of casing had to be cut away to make room for it. (See sketch.)
Conning Tower of 500-Ton U-Boat.
(ONI note: The existence of this Radar antenna has not yet been confirmed by other information.)
U-217 is a minelayer. Built by the Germaniawerft, Kiel, she is a modified 500-ton type VII C boat, commanded by an Oberleutnant zur See. She left on her first patrol about July 11, 1942. She is fitted with six vertical mine shafts in single line immediately abaft her conning tower. They have a casing about 80 cm. high and 3 m. long abutting directly on to the after end of the conning tower. Each shaft contains 3 mines, which are expelled downward through the boat by oil pressure. The hull is said to be slightly longer than usual in 500-tonners, so as to provide space for the shafts. Prisoners believe the mines are intended to be laid ahead of convoys and outside harbors. She carried the usual outfit of torpedoes and tubes.
U-218 is identical with U-217 and was built at the same yard. She is believed to have sailed from Kiel on her first patrol about July 11, 1942.
The sole survivor from U-335, a sister ship, said that U-333 was lost. This boat is known to be commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Cremer. On May 11, 1942, the official German News Agency announced that U-boats operating in the Caribbean Sea, in the Gulf of Mexico, and off the American coast had sunk 21 merchantmen totaling 118,000 tons. Cremer's boat had particularly distinguished herself, sinking 4 large ships totaling 35,000 tons, despite herself having received damage.
The "Kieler Neueste Nachrichten" of June 3, 1942, writing of this cruise of Cremer's, said that the boat was still in the Bay of Biscay when she was attacked by a British bomber, suffering some damage.
This was repaired at sea. Cremer decided to continue the cruise, though diving was difficult while crossing the Atlantic, because of repairs being effected under way. While off the American coast, she sighted a large tanker, followed her for a whole day and then attacked, submerged, in bright moonlight. The periscope jammed, however, and when it was finally freed, Cremer saw the tanker making right for his boat. The tanker rammed his bow and severely damaged the U-boat with her screw. Cremer abandoned his attack on the tanker and surfaced to repair considerable damage. The conning tower was practically shaved off, the periscope bent to 70° and the radio direction finding gear carried away. Nevertheless, he repaired much of the damage by welding and later, despite two of his torpedo tubes being out of order, sank a 12,000-ton tanker, a 10,000-ton tanker and a 6,000-ton freighter.
The next day the U-boat was depth-charged by a U. S. destroyer for many hours. She managed, however, to escape that night and sent her last torpedo into a 6,000-ton passenger ship soon afterward. For these exploits, Cremer was awarded the "Ritterkreuz" on June 8, 1942. The newspaper added that his total sinkings then amounted to 59,500 tons.
The sole survivor of U-335 said that U-334 was attacked in error by a Junkers 88 in the Arctic, and was towed back to port by another U-boat.
A prisoner stated that Loeser, listed as an Oberleutnant of the 1935 term in the 1940 German Navy List, and believed to command U-373, probably with the rank of Kapitänleutnant, had made three cruises without sinking anything. The prisoner said that Loeser had been "stupid" enough to radio a message to the B. d. U. that he had fired torpedoes at a boat and missed. Loeser was stated to have earned the Iron Cross, first class, as second watch officer under Korvettenkapitän Hartmann, with whom he was presumed to have made five or six cruises.
U-410, a 500-ton type VII C boat, built at the Danziger Werft, was launched early in February 1942. She is commanded by Korvettenkapitän Sturm, of the 1925 term, aged about 40. He is believed popular with his crew. The executive officer is Leutnant zur See Koenig, promoted from Oberfähnrich (Senior Midshipman) in Feb-
ruary 1942. U-410 was frozen up in Danzig during February and March 1942.
U-411 was still on the stocks at Danziger Werft when U-410 was frozen in.
From other sources it became known that Kapitänleutnant Axel Loewe was at sea on June 8, 1942. He is in command of U-505.
Prisoners stated Kapitänleutnant Erich Topp (believed to command U-552 participated with several other U-boats in the attack on the west-bound convoy against which U-210 served as contact boat late in July 1942. According to prisoners, Topp sank two boats from the convoy before he was rammed and forced to turn back immediately to Brest.
On August 24, Luxemburg radio broadcast an interview with the chief radioman of Topp's boat in which he described how his transmitter had broken down, how he had to rig up an emergency set, and how he finally managed to pass an urgent signal on it. This may be the message referred to above. The chief radioman also described how he sank a 10,000-ton tanker with his last torpedo on this patrol.
Two days later, Topp himself spoke over the Calais radio. He was introduced as having sunk 35,000 tons of shipping on his latest patrol. Topp then said that he had sunk 206,000 tons to date. He continued: "On August 17, after finishing my seventeenth patrol, I am the 17th member of the German armed forces to be awarded the Swords to the Oak leaves of the 'Ritterkreuz.' This time I was in the North Atlantic. At times the weather was very bad, it rained and rained, and when we came across the convoy, I often lost sight of the ships while getting into position to fire. You know, experience helps a lot and I always managed to contact the convoys again. During one attack I was right among the steamers, after slipping past the corvettes."
An officer prisoner said that Topp and Endrass were very good friends and at one time shared a villa in La Baule, where they held wild parties with wine and women. He said that Topp and Endrass were intimate with the same girl friend in Paris, a singer. The prisoner stated that on the occasion of one party at the La Baule villa, Endrass had himself photographed lying on a table banked with flowers, as if he were dead and lying in state. (ONI note: Kapitänleutnant Endrass, now dead, commanded U-567, sunk December 21, 1941.)
Some prisoners admitted the possibility that Kapitänleutnant Reinhard Suhren, believed to command U-564, was part of the "wolf pack" which attacked the convoy with which U-210 made contact in late July 1942.
A 1,600-ton minelayer U-boat described by prisoners as U-624 was fitting out at the Germania yards in June 1942. She damaged a tube while working up. She had 18 vertical shafts carrying 3 mines each, making 54 mines in all. She has 2 forward torpedo tubes and no stern tubes. There is a double deck for the crew's quarters.
(Admiralty note: Large U-boats, approximately 290 feet long and 27 feet maximum beam, are known to be building at the Germaniawerft, Kiel, and a report Graded C. 3. states that they are minelayers. The reported number - U-624 - is not believed correct and may refer to the yard number.)
1,000-1,600-Ton Supply U-Boats.
A number of prisoners admitted seeing new 1,000-ton and 1,600-ton U-boats in Kiel, presumably during the construction of U-210. One prisoner said he had seen one cruising off Kiel. Supply boats of this type are known as Z-boats (Zubringerboote) or, more popularly, as "Milchkuehe" (milk cows). They were said to carry two 3.7-cm. guns, one forward and one abaft the conning tower, and to have no torpedo tubes.
Enlisted men who claimed friends on board supply U-boats said that the command of such craft was usually given to older and more experienced officers. They were generally not well-known personalities and wore few decorations; they were chosen more for caution and dependability than for courage and initiative. These "Milchkuehe" are intended to stay at sea for as much as 6 months.
A 750-ton mine-laying U-boat was built in Kiel in June 1941 and did diving trials with U-574. She has a double row of about 12 mine shafts abaft the conning tower and 8 or 10 shafts arranged unevenly on either side amidships. Each shaft, prisoners think, contains 2 mines. She had projections on either side of her hull resembling saddle tanks. Her armament is as follows: One 10.5-cm. gun forward, one 3.7-cm. twin mounting aft and two 30-caliber machine guns on her bridge.
Her executive officer, an Oberleutnant zur See Kandzior, is said to have claimed that she could stay at sea for up to 3 months. She has no torpedo tubes.
(Admiralty and ONI note: This is the first report of 750-ton U-boats with mine shafts. Pending confirmation this report should be accepted with reserve.)
A prisoner stated that Kapitänleutnant Henke, of the 1933 naval term, was given command of a 740-ton U-boat. It was stated further that Henke once was A. W. O. L. in Berlin for more than a week, while transferring from artillery school (Schiffsartilleriesehule) in Kiel to Pillau. He was said to have been transferred out of the U-boat service at that time as a punishment.
From other sources it would appear that the U-boat commanded by Kapitänleutnant Hopman returned from a cruise at the end of May or very early in June.
From other sources it became known that Kapitänleutnant Rosenbaum, of U-73, met Kapitänleutnant Horrer while on leave at Krummhübel early in June 1942.
From other sources it became known that the U-boat commanded by Kapitänleutnant Koelle returned from her first operational cruise on or about May 22, 1942.
Some prisoners admitted the possibility that Kapitänleutnant Mengersen was one of the "wolf pack" participating in the attack on the convoy for which U-210 had served as contact boat late in July 1942 but none would confirm that fact definitely. At that time Mengersen was believed to command U-101, although an officer prisoner stated that Mengersen recently was given a "brand new" U-boat. Another prisoner stated that Mengersen has a cousin who is a member of the general staff of the Führer's headquarters (Führerhauptquartier). (ONI note: This cousin may have been Ritter von Schobert, who was killed in Rumania in October 1941 when an airplane in which he was riding exploded. At that time, sabotage was mentioned.)
A prisoner claimed that Korvettenkapitän Herbert Schultze had been reduced to the rank of ordinary seaman for refusing to go to sea again as commander of a U-boat, but there was no confirmation of this allegation. Schultze was serving at Kiel in some capacity late in 1941.
An officer prisoner stated that shortly after U-210 left Kiel in mid-July, Korvettenkapitän Sobe was due to leave Kiel for an operational cruise in the North Atlantic as commander of a 750-ton U-boat.
Several prisoners admitted seeing in Kiel a U-boat bearing the conning tower device of a leaping wolf. This boat appears to have been in Kiel as late as July 1942.
H. M. S. Seal.
A fireman said that H. M. S. Seal, the British submarine captured by the Germans, is now known as U. B. 3. An officer prisoner from U-581 said, however, that she was known as U. E. and that the U. B. series are the ex-Norwegian boats. Another prisoner said that the German aircraft which captured her captain carried Swedish markings.
Chapter VIII. U-BOAT FLOTILLAS
Prisoners stated that U-210 had belonged to the 5th U-boat Flotilla, a "school flotilla" based on Kiel, and including boats of different tonnage. During this time Kapitänleutnant Oskar Moehle (described as "a little man wearing a Knight's Cross") served as chief of the flotilla. It was hinted that this was a temporary appointment as Moehle would shortly assume command of a "Frontboot" (Combat U-boat). One prisoner alleged that Moehle had, in fact, already been succeeded by another holder of the Knight's Insignia of the Iron Cross.
It has been established that the assignment of U-210 to the 5th U-boat Flotilla was also temporary, and that Lemcke had been ordered to terminate his first war cruise at Brest, where his boat would have joined the 9th U-boat Flotilla.
25th Flottilla. - A prisoner said that the 25th U-boat Flotilla, previously at Memel, is now at Trondheim.
Chapter IX. U-BOAT BASES
According to a prisoner's statement, there appear to be two ports at Hela - one, the naval base (Kriegshafen), and the other, the former fishing port (Fischereihafen). The fishing harbor has now been converted to war uses and is employed as a base for R-boats, converted trawlers, and tugs. Whereas Hela is not a regular U-boat base, boats sometimes put in there for brief visits during their trials in the eastern Baltic, as in the case of U-210.
It was stated that U-boat crews and officers no longer lived at La Baule in as large numbers as previously because of increasingly frequent R. A. F. raids. The largest hotel, facing the beach, had been used as a hospital, but had now been abandoned, and the hospital moved to Nantes.
It was stated that one of the most popular haunts of U-boat men in Lorient was the "Dancing Bar."
The U-boat school there, which for a time was superseded by those at Pillau and Gotenhafen, is believed to be again active. A number of the crew of U-210 who had entered the Navy in recent months apparently received their submarine training there. Most of these enlisted men were at the Neustadt school for about 3 months.
A prisoner stated that four or five building slips in the Germaniawerft, Kiel, had been destroyed in a major R. A. F. raid on Kiel, but that they had been rebuilt rapidly. He contended that these yards are hard to hit because they lie in the approach area (to Kiel) and are usually passed before the objective is properly lined up in the bombsight. The attack in question was that in 1941 in which the depot ship Hamburg was burned out. Scharnhorst and a small cruiser were lying in dock at the time.
The radio message received on board U-210 announcing the birth of twins to Lemcke's wife was believed by prisoners to have emanated from Kiel - either from the base of the 5th Flotilla, or from the office of Kapitän zur See von Friedeburg. Von Friedeburg holds the
temporary rank of his office, which is that of "Zweiter Admiral der Ostsee" (Second in Command of Baltic Sea Operations), and is head of the Department of U-boat Organization, based on Kiel.
At Roenne, to the west of Bornholm Island, there is a shore listening post which tests all U-boats during their working up for electric motor noises. This procedure generally takes a few hours.
Chapter X. U-BOAT TRIALS AND CREWS' TRAINING
Security training is now given a greater importance in the German Navy than ever before. At wireless schools, for instance, trainees are not allowed to divulge what they have been taught by one instructor if asked by another in a subsequent lecture. The following story illustrates the importance attached to this aspect of the war in Germany.
Two enlisted men undergoing training were due to be awarded the Iron Cross, First Class, and the whole establishment was assembled for the ceremony. The captain making the award asked, "Ordinary Seaman So-and-So, what did you do to earn this decoration?" "I don't know, sir," was the prompt reply. The captain then asked him further questions about the award, to all of which he replied, "I don't know, sir." The second man behaved in just the same way. It later turned out that they had been sworn to silence and had told no one of what they had done. That evening the captain made a speech at a celebration party saying, "My boys, you saw how both these men answered 'I don't know' to all my questions. If any of you should ever be taken prisoner, that's exactly how to behave." The captain's instructions, in many cases, have been observed to the letter.
It was stated that U-boats are no longer allowed to be adopted by towns.
Acoustic Torpedo Experiments.
Experiments are being made with acoustic torpedoes, partly because the British are suspected of using them. This suspicion is due to the large number of instances where British torpedoes have hit the after part of the target - as in the case of Bismarck. This causes the German authorities to think that British torpedoes are guided by propeller noises.
The "Agru Front."
The "Agru Front" (short for "Ausbildungsgruppe Front" - literally Training Group) is the name given to that part of a U-boat's trials when officers come on board daily and try to provoke as much confusion as possible in order to test the commanding officer's initiative and to give the ship's company as much experience as possible
in dealing with emergencies which they may meet on an operational patrol.
The "Agru Front" is at Hela and is under the command of Kapitänleutnant (Ing.) Gerd Suhren, of the 1938 term, a brother of Kapitänleutnant Reinhard (Teddy) Suhren of U-564.
Suhren came on hoard U-210 on four or five occasions, generally bringing a petty officer with him, and they put the boat through her paces. This organization is known familiarly among U-boat men as the "Fifth Column."
Survivors believed that only inexperienced commanders have to go the "Agru Front."
During U-210's participation in the "Agru Front," the boat crash-dived on one occasion at full speed, supposedly with the hydroplanes out of action. Control of the boat was lost as she dived at a 55° angle, and was only regained at the last moment. Lemcke was badly shaken by this experience and poured himself out a liberal tot of rum.
It was stated by members of the crew of U-210 that the transfer of oil at sea from a supply U-boat (Zubringerboot) is practiced regularly in the course of tactical exercises off Gotenhafen. Each fighting U-boat uses its own pipe line.
The "guest cruise" made by all prospective U-boat commanders on a boat in active service was stated to be known as their "confirmation cruise" (Konfirmandenfahrt).
A prisoner stated that all U-boat seamen were now instructed in, and expected to learn, the operation of the hydroplanes (Tiefenruder).
U-Boat Trials and Working Up.
The normal schedule of U-boat trials and working up is as follows:
1. Leave the building yard after preliminary trials.
2. Proceed to Kiel.
3. Pressure dock tests.
4. About a fortnight's U-boat Acceptance Command trials in -
(b) Trimming and diving.
(c) Torpedo tube testing with dummy mines and torpedoes.
(d) Compass adjustment.
(e) Silent running tests (Geräuschprüfung).
(h) Final trimming test.
During this period the boat is also wiped (depermed).
5. Proceed to Danzig to "U-boats Ausbildungsgruppe" (U-boat Training Group). Generally about 8 days. Mainly consists of more exact engine trials, such as determining the number of revolutions at given speeds over measured distances.
6. Proceed to Gotenhafen for torpedo tests under "Torpedo-Erprobungskommando" - (Torpedo Testing Commission). Two or 3 days.
7. Proceed to Hela for "Agru Front" (see above).
8. Proceed to Pillau for commanding officer's torpedo-firing. Generally about 10 days.
9. Tactical trials in Baltic for 5 or 6 days. These are generally supervised by the "Taktische Uebung" Group at Pillau, which is responsible for working up.
10. Visit to Roenne, Bornholm, for silent motor tests. 1 day.
11. Return to Kiel for final overhaul.
12. Embark torpedoes, provisions, etc.. for first patrol.
Chapter XI. GENERAL REMARKS ON U-BOATS
An officer prisoner from another boat stated that the "Stammquota" (tonnage score) had now been raised and that it was no longer possible for a U-boat commander to receive the Iron Cross, first class, for sinking 20,000 tons of shipping, as heretofore, or to be mentioned in a German High Command communique for sinking 30,000 tons. He implied that the B. d. U. would now award the Iron Cross, first class, to a U-boat commander sinking 40,000 tons, or four ships under difficult circumstances, and that the High Command would base its awards in relation to the difficulty, as well as the success, of the operation.
A prisoner stated that the 740-ton U-boat which accompanied U-210 to Christiansand and beyond carried 23 torpedoes, 15 in the boat and 8 in the upper deck containers. He emphasized the difficulty of bringing torpedoes housed in outside containers into the boat, and expressed doubt as to the validity of carrying so many extra torpedoes which, in all likelihood, would never be used.
When U-210 was sunk the crew had just sat down to a supper of ham, pickles, bread and butter, and tea with lemon. It was stated that a rich supply of bread, sausages, chickens, fruit, and other foods "which we couldn't even get at home before the war" went down with the boat.
There is every indication, from prisoners' remarks, that the standard of foods carried on board remains relatively high.
Prisoners were well aware of the fate that had overtaken U-570 (now H. M. S. Graph). They had heard her executive officer, Oberleutnant zur See Bernhardt Berndt, had been forced by his brother officers virtually to commit suicide by escaping from his prisoner of war camp in England. They seemed to think this quite a natural fate and regarded all of U-570's officers as traitors to their fatherland.
Routes Into the Atlantic.
Prisoners said that U-boats enter the Atlantic -
(a) between Iceland and the Faroes, or
(b) between the Faroes and the Shetlands.
The route between Greenland and Iceland is used only by U-boats based in North Norway.
Though most ratings are unaware of the existence of British mine fields between the Faroes and Iceland, the more responsible C. P. O.'s and P. O.'s know very well what they are doing when they undertake this passage.
They say, however, that, provided the U-boat keeps to the surface, there is very little danger of her running against a mine. The British, they argue, have to lay their mines a good 30 meters below the surface to prevent them breaking away in stormy weather.
The "Rosengarten" (rose garden) is the name given on pre-war German charts to the comparatively shallow patch between the Faroes and Iceland in approximate position 63° 30' N., 13° 30' W. Many U-boat survivors know that they have crossed it.
The contraction of venereal disease in the German Navy is now regarded as "cowardice before the enemy." It renders the sufferer liable to court martial, instead of only 3 days' detention as previously. The result is that few men come forward to confess the truth and the number of sufferers from this complaint in the U-boat service has risen correspondingly. This has been confirmed by medical officers examining prisoners of war on arrival in the United Kingdom.
The reason for making venereal disease a court-martial offense is said by prisoners to be the ease with which those who did not wish to sail could contract it in French ports.
Volunteers for the U-Boat Service.
Though it is true that many men still volunteer genuinely for the U-boat service, there is much evidence of compulsion. One man said that at a transit base volunteers for U-boat service were called for from a group of 80 men. Thirty-five stepped forward, but it was necessary to order all except a handful to do likewise until the required number was reached.
There is no evidence that volunteers are being sought from the Army, but survivors say that there are some ex-Air Force men in the U-boat service who bitterly regret having made the change.
A number of men have volunteered for the U-boat arm in preference to the alternative of compulsory service in Russia.
Commissionings From the Germania Yards, Kiel.
All U-boats built by the Germaniawerft are commissioned on Saturdays.
Chapter XII. OTHER SHIPS
Sorber, the engineer officer, served aboard Scharnhorst for over a year as an officer candidate. He stated that, in an unspecified action, Scharnhorst received a direct hit which blew off half her stern; the action was so bloody that as long as 10 weeks afterward, while major repairs were being effected in drydock, a horrible stench still pervaded the after part of the ship, and fragments of flesh and bone were still being removed from the wreckage.
Sorber further stated that Scharnhorst at one time sighted a strongly protected convoy whose escort included H. M. S. Barham and/or H. M. S. Dunedin and that, instead of attacking, the German man-of-war made off at full speed, being under strict orders not to attack well-guarded convoys. Scharnhorst's mission, instead, was to scour the Atlantic, launching sudden and unexpected attacks on isolated merchantmen, acting as a kind of ghost ship (Spukschiff).
Sorber left no doubt as to the periodic use of Scharnhorst as a raider. He stated that raiders' cruises were unlimited and that, aside from ships converted for this purpose, he believed there were also ships especially built as raiders. Sorber contended that all raiders were heavily armed, could outgun destroyers and hold their own with cruisers. As an example, he cited a raider which was damaged in an encounter with a cruiser but escaped. He stated that raiders carried depth charges and that, if circumstances permitted, both raiders and U-boats would pick up and eat fish killed by the explosion of depth charges.
A prisoner stated that he had been drafted to the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer and had been on board during the 6 months "Spanienreise" (Spanish cruise) during the Civil War in 1937, at which time the Scheer was commanded by Kapitän zur See (Captain) Ciliax. (ONI note: Ciliax was commissioned rear admiral in 1939 and brought Scharnhorst and Gneisenau through the English Channel on their flight from Brest early in 1942.)
A petty officer prisoner stated that he had served aboard the battleship Tirpitz from October 1940 to April 1941. During this period,
which encompassed the final phases of construction, the commissioning in February, and a series of trials in the Baltic, Tirpitz was under the command of Kapitän zur See (Captain) Karl Topp.
A petty officer prisoner stated that he had served on Hitler's personal dispatch boat, Aviso Grille, from 1935 until 1939. This boat was stated to have been commanded at one time by Korvettenkapitän Albrecht.
Confirmation has been obtained of the loss of the destroyer Bruno Heinemann, which was stated to have been sunk by air attack. (ONI note: According to information received from the Admiralty, corpses believed to be from this ship were washed up off the Thames Estuary at the end of March 1942.)
Torpedo Boat T.5.
This boat was stated to have been bombed and sunk during a raid on Cherbourg in August 1940.
S-Boats (Motor Torpedo Boats).
In July 1942 there were three Hanomags in Kiel. These were stated to be S-boats with pressure hulls. No further details are available at present.
A prisoner stated that U-210 exchanged Morse signals with a patrol ship about 40 miles off the Norwegian coast, on a line with Bergen and the Shetlands. The prisoner implied that the ship involved was on permanent patrol in this area.
Chapter XIII. DIVING OPERATIONS
Mycke, a seaman, spoke freely of diving, which had been his civilian occupation. He had done a considerable amount of diving in both the Baltic and the North Sea which he said were very clear, enabling one to see more than 200 feet at a depth of 130 to 175 feet. Mycke placed the maximum depth to which he had ever descended at 156 feet (26 fathoms), and maintained that this was considered a great depth in German diving operations. He had been given 90 minutes for the descent and 2 hours for the ascent, and was allowed to remain on the bottom only 20 minutes for inspection purposes, being forbidden to work at that depth. He claimed that 100 feet was the greatest depth which could be attained with hand pumps.
On one occasion 80 pounds of dynamite exploded over half a mile away while he was on the bottom, causing his legs to swell so painfully that he could not walk for 2 weeks.
In peacetime, Mycke stated, buoys with telephone gear are released from sunken U-boats - but not in wartime.
Civilian diving pay, he concluded, was good - 300 marks ($120) monthly, with 5 marks ($2) bonus for each hour of diving. Pay was not scaled in relation to depth, however.
Chapter XIV. MISCELLANEOUS REMARKS
One prisoner stated that, in his opinion, at least 1 U-boat is lost each week, and that at least 100 have been lost in all. None of the prisoners seemed particularly surprised at the story that 5 boats were lost from the group in which they were operating. It was also clear that many of the survivors had been drafted for U-boat service without choice, and that several had entered the service most unwillingly.
There is every reason to believe, however, that the crew of U-210, as a whole, base their beliefs and hopes on Nazi propaganda. Several prisoners were of the opinion that England would be crushed before the end of 1943, and that Germany and the United States would then come to terms, particularly as America would sue for peace as soon as she learned that she was "fighting only for the Jews."
The same prisoners claimed that all Germans knew of the discovery in some French archives of a secret document drawn up by Jews calling for sterilization of all Germans in the event of an allied victory. They seemed personally frightened of the consequences of Germany losing the war.
The bombing of German cities was generally belittled, prisoners decrying the "poor aim" of the attacking airmen. It was stated that movies of the German bombing of London were shown everywhere as visual proof of "retaliation" for English bombing of Germany.
One prisoner expressed surprise at the large number of guards assigned to his camp in America. In Germany, he said, 150 to 200 prisoners of war are controlled by 3 or 4 guards, and groups of prisoners are frequently taken to a bar in the custody of a single guard.
Most units of the Marine Hitler Jugend (Hitler's Naval Scouts) were stated to be active in inland German cities situated on rivers.
An officer prisoner from another boat stated that he had been told that many children were developing heart disease as a result of intensive exercise with the Hitler Youth. In this connection he recalled a discussion aboard Hitler's yacht, Aviso Grille, between the high-ranking Nazis Dietrich and von Witzky, in the presence of Hitler's personal physician, Dr. Brandt, and the party officials Beutner and Schaub. The doctor affirmed that many children had contracted heart
trouble because they were obliged to undertake strenuous marches and that, instead of having a mother's care, were called upon at the age of 10 to participate in military drill. The doctor insisted that this was an established medical finding, which infuriated Dietrich to the point that he dared anyone present to report the facts to Hitler. Apparently no one had the courage to do so.
The same prisoner recalled a cruise to Heligoland aboard the Aviso Grille during which General von Blomberg went ashore and bought up all the lobsters on the island. Later a sumptuous dinner was served on board, each guest consuming three huge lobsters.
Bombing of Essen.
A prisoner who lived in Essen stated that he received leave at the end of June 1942 and returned home just after an R. A. F. air raid. The damage he saw included the wrecking of the administration buildings of a colliery by a land mine whose blast had also leveled a tall powerhouse chimney. A large number of private houses near the Krupp works were smashed. A bread factory was gutted.
ANNEX A (1)
EXTRACT FROM U-210 DIARY
18 July: 0700 left for operational patrol. 1020 with escort westward. Passage of Great Belt. Sea 2-3. Rain showers.
19 July: Passage of Skagerrak, sea 3-4. 1050 entered Kristiansand. Took on fuel and drinking water.
20 July: 0600 sailed. We dive and ram a rock at 40 meters depth. Torpedo tube No. 2 damaged. Along the Norwegian coast to Hjelteness (?) possibly 60°23'15" N., 5°10'48" E. in Hjeltefjord).
21 July: We * * * course on Iceland * * *.
22 July: Faeroe Islands abeam.
23 July: It is very cold. Iceland abeam. We set course southwards.
24 July: Through rose gardens ("Rosengarten") in North Atlantic. It is now a bit warmer.
25 July: We have had a continual alarm and have not been able to surface. The whole control room is under water. We have been depth charged and bombed, but it has been too far away to harm us.
26 July: We have again been spotted by aircraft and again been bombed. Silent approach.
27 July: We set course towards Bermuda (Central America). Filling pipe, high pressure valve out of order. Wireless compressor out of order, but later repaired.
28 July: Still the same course.
29 July: 1000 convoy sighted. We are following it.
30 July: 0200 convoy lost. 0830 found again. Contact keeper. 1020 convoy lost.
31 July: We continue to search and find it at 0930. 4 ships are still with the convoy. At 5:00 a. m. we lose it again.
1 August: (Mostly illegible) * * * water and shutters ready * * *.
2 August: We again proceed southward as our convoy is in that direction. It is very cold with high seas.
3 August: Again proceeding southward at three-quarter speed both. But it is too misty and we have to alter course as it is impossible to find the convoy. Slow speed northwards.
END OF DIARY
ANNEX A (2)
EXTRACT FROM DIARY OF MASCHINENGEFREITER MONIEN OF U-210
17 Dec., 41: Drafted from 4th Company of 2nd U-boat Instructional Division to the 1st Constructional Training Company at Kiel-Gaarden. U-boats Germania Yard.
23 Dec., 41: Our boat launched from the Germania Yard, Kiel-Garden.
21 Feb., 42: Boat commissioned. Celebration.
24 April: Left Kiel 0800.
25 April: Arrived at Danzig in the evening, 2000.
4 May: Left Danzig for Gdynia.
5 May: Left Gdynia for Hela.
25 May: Trials in Baltic completed. Ready for operations.
20 May: Left Hela 1600, proceeded Pillau for torpedo trials. Arrived 1915.
27-29 May: In Pillau.
30 May: In Danzig.
1 June: Torpedo firing flotilla. Again in Pillau.
6 June: Period with torpedo firing flotilla completed.
7 June: Proceeded to Danzig at midday.
8 June: In Danzig.
10 June: In dock, left in the evening for tactical trials at Gdynia.
11-18 June: Tactical exercises.
19 June: Tactical exercises completed. Left 1400 for Rönne.
20 June: Arrived at 0430. Left in evening for exercises.
21 June: Exercises completed at midday. Left 1900 for Kiel.
22 June: Arrived in Kiel at 1130. Time in Baltic completed.
13 July: Proceeded on trial.
14 July: Fitting out.
15 July: Torpedoes and ammunition taken over.
16 July: Preserve supplies taken over.
17 July: Fresh supplies taken over.
18 July: Left 0700 for operational patrol.
19 July: Entered Kristiansand at 2300.
20 July: Left again at 0600.
22 July: Operational patrol. Left Bergen on starboard beam.
23 July: Passed Faeroes, through minefields ("Rose Garden").
24 July: Frequent air attacks.
25 July: Patrol boat sighted, 1/2 speed ahead (?).
20 July: Air attacks, proceeding at reduced speed.
30 July: First wisp of smoke sighted. We are contact keeper.
31 July: We are being hunted. Three-quarter speed. Destroyer. We come through in spite of great danger.
3 August: Monday to Tuesday night the first attack. Topp sinks 2 ships. We come 7.
4 August: Did not fire owing to sudden fog. It has gone. We are continuing to shadow. Operation (?) off Newfoundland bank, North America.
List of crew of "U-210"
||R. N. Equivalent
|Göhlich, Günther 1
||Leutnant zur See
|Sorber, Heinz 1
||Ensign (eng. duties only).
|Stiem, Willi 1.
|Subke, Richard 1
||Bo'sun's Mate, 2d
||P. O. Artificer, 2cl
||P. O. Telegr., 2d
|Schmutz, Hans 1
|Trost, Werner 1
|Mycke, Johann 1
|Heckmann, Adolf 1
||Ord. Seaman, 1cl
||Ord. Telegr., 1cl
|Ackemann, Fritz 1
|Lietzke, Friederich 1
|Ensmann, Martin 1
||Ord. Seaman, 2cl.
|Mueller, Karl 1
|Fuchs, Stephan 1
|Friedrich, Alfred 1
|Schuell, Alfons 1
|Other ranks 24
1 These 16 survivors were interrogated in the United States. The balance of the crew was questioned at the C. S. D. I. C. in England.
List of crew of "U-210" - Continued
||R. N. Equivalent
|Tamm, Ernst Marlin
||Leutnant zur See
||Chief Qm., 1cl
||Bo'sun's Mate, 2cl
||Ord. Seaman, 1cl
|Petty officers 2
|Other ranks 2
(c) TOTAL CREW