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Documentary Histories

War Diary of U-61


(Concerning torpedoing of U.S.S. CASSIN)


and time


Weather, etc.




10:00 a.m.

Square 017

Epsilon 1

15 mi. S of Hook

Point. NW 3-5

Submerged attack on tramp steamer of 2000-3000 tons. On account of high swell, steaming at periscope depth is difficult. Probably the periscope was seen once. Steamer runs on very sharp zigzag course.

10:55 a.m.


Stern shot at 500 meters range. Missed. Immediately after firing, steamer turned away. Very large track angle. Abandoned steamer. Continued cruise to westward.

2:15 p.m.


Crash dive before a four-mast destroyer. Since the destroyer must pass very close, made attack. G.7.D. (translator’s note: indicates type of torpedo.)

2:50 p.m.


Stern shot. Hit after 40 seconds (750 meter run of torpedo). After a further 16 seconds, two heavy detonations are a greater range. Probably depth charges of the destroyer. Hit is definite as the run of the torpedo was followed by the sound operator from firing to the hit. Since I assume that the destroyer will sink at once, I intend to surface. Ran out periscope for observation. The destroyer, making heavy smoke, lies stopped at about 1000 meters range, but suddenly gets underway again and turns toward the submarine. Therefore I assume that the hit is uncertain and submerge to 20 meters for a short time. However, according to the observation of others, the hit is definite.


Again took periscope depth. Destroyer again lies stopped about 1000 meters abeam. Wind and sea have increased. Unobserved observation through periscope difficult. Everytime when th[e] periscope is run farther out the destroyer hea[ds] for the periscope. Therefore it was impossible to get off a second shot. All guns on the destroyer are manned. Apparently the hit must hav[e] been aft because no men are to be seen on deck there, but probably it was aft of the engine room, since at least one engine appears to be in commission.

3:30 p.m.


A second destroyer in sight which heads for the torpedoed destroyer. The steaming at periscope depth becomes more and more difficult since the sea is increasing. Once the submarine came up high out of the water. Electrical depth steering fails. Submerged to over 30 meters, steering by hand and headed away.

4:40 p.m.


Again at periscope depth. Nothing in sight. Surfaced. According to intercepted enemy radio signals the torpedoed destroyer had the radio call “c a 8”. Signals from her were heard until midnight.



Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B, Destroyer Ships Files: CASSIN.

Footnote 1: Kaptänleutenant (Lt. Cmdr.) Victor Dieckmann.

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