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Text Box:   Major Items In This Issue
Interview with Captain OTTO KRETSCHMER
History of U-223 & USS MARLIN
Loss of the ANTILLA
PETER’s PERISCOPE
Members on Eternal Patrol
“Patrols” in Germany, Austria and Poland!
Vom Seeflieger zum U-Bootfahrer
Diving With “Dex” – more great sea stories
Special on U-73 from Dr. LOUIS HIGGINS

  

TM

 

“Yesterday’s Enemies are

     Today’s Friends”

 

KTB #182  The Official History Publication of the U-Bootwaffe

Here are some random samples of how Sharkhunters has grown over the years.

 

        

               KTB #72                                 KTB #81                           KTB #90                               KTB #105

 

         

           KTB #120                             KTB #133                             KTB #150                             KTB #166

Twenty-Two years………………..Thanks to all for a great 22 years!

Written & Copyrighted by Harry Cooper

Founded   -   February  1983

SHARKHUNTERS INT’L,  Inc.

P.  O.  Box  1539  Hernando,  FL  34442

Phone  (352) 637-2917

FAX  (352) 637-6289

sharkhunters@earthlink.net

 

KASSLER  BANK

BLZ 520 900 00              KTNMR 157 0814 03

Volume 23     Feb/Mar 2005        Number  2

ISSN  1046-7335

Publisher/Editor                                         Harry Cooper

Administrative Assistant                         Kaycee Cooper

Document Coordinator                   Sean Cooper

Secretary                                              Meaghan Cooper

Business Consultant                            ‘Surfer Dude Jay’

Legal Consultants                                       Paul  Lawton

                                                                 Jeffrey Green

Researchers                                             Brian Orlando

Translators       (German)                             Walter Kern

                        (Russian)                       Anna Abramova

                        (Spanish)                  Norberto Ferradaz            

Far Eastern Correspondent                  Yoya Kawamura

Videographer                                                  Bud Dana

 

SHARKHUNTERS purpose is submarine history - its collection, preservation and dissemination without politics, prejudice or propaganda.  To that end this Magazine is dedicated.  The KTB Magazine of SHARKHUNTERS is published ten times annually.

Subscription is by Membership                                   $50.00 per year.

______________________________________

SHARKHUNTERS

Advisory Board

    

     BOB PANAZZE (457-1988)................................................2005

     CAPTAIN PETER CHELEMEDOS (3619-1994)............2005

     MAJOR LOU MARI (536-1988)........................................2006

     PETER HANSEN (251-LIFE-1987)..................................2006

     DETLEV ZIMMERMANN (247-LIFE-1987)..................2007

     BRIAN ORLANDO (807-1988)..........................................2007

     JOE BURGES (605-A/LIFE-1988) ...................................2008

     EMILIE CALDWELL-STEWART (2480-1992) ....….....2008

     BILL OLSEN (2431-LIFE-1992) ………………………..2009

     Major RICHARD SMITH (1213-LIFE-1989 ……….…..2009

     Oblt. GÜNTHER HEINRICH (1945-LIFE-1991) …….. 2010

                Skipper of U-960; last U-Boat through Gibraltar.

     WILLIAM  NAPIER  (2290-C/LIFE-1992) ……………. 2010

     MYRON  BLAHY (5432-1997) …….…………………… 2010

     JOHN BUCK (3884-LIFE-1994)………………………... 2011

    Captain ‘HAI’ MASSMANN (4522-LIFE-1995) ……….. 2011

    TILMAN HESS (5817-LIFE-1999)……………………… 2011

    DAVID MOBLEY (417-LIFE-1987) ……………………. 2012

    DAVID SAVADYGA (1020-LIFE-1989) ……………….. 2012

    STEVE  SHOCK  (2213-A/LIFE-1992)…………………. 2013

    MATT HALL (6187-2000)…………………………………2013

    HAROLD GAY (286-1987) ……………………………… 2013

 

Conning Tower and hat emblems by

GEORG HÖGEL (240-LIFE-1987)


 

The President’s Column

 

 

Another Milestone; 22 Years!

 

WOW!  Twenty-two years ago, on 2 February 1983, the first little one-page letter was sent, photocopied, to about six people.  From that humble beginning, Sharkhunters has grown to nearly 7,000 Members in 71 countries around the globe.  The sun is always shining over some of our Members – somewhere in the world.

 

Over these passing years, I have had to honor and pleasure of knowing some of the finest people imaginable – I have been in the homes of Erich Topp, Otto Kretschmer, Hans-Georg Hess, Reinhard Hardegen, Gerd Dietrich, Paul Brasack, Helmut Witte and so many more it is impossible to list all.  I have had as guests in my own home RADM Gene Fluckey (the most decorated USN submariner EVER), Anatoliy Smal (former Chief of Intelligence of the Soviet Navy); Major General Pyotr Barabolya (Soviet Navy); Joe Enright (sank the biggest ship ever sunk by a submarine and again, so many more it is impossible to remember.  Over the years in many countries, we have met so many great people, it makes the job (which I do without salary) the greatest job in the world!

 

Patrol” in South Germany and Austria

The details have all been gathered and our 2005 “Patrol” in South Germany and Austria is firm!  So you may say that you have already been with us on this “Patrol”, but you really were not.  There are so many new and unique things we have added to this “Patrol”, some is the same – but some is very different.  The details of this “Patrol” are on the website already.  Go to our website then click on TOURS.  All the details are there, and we welcome you on our bus.  Don’t wait – we expect a lot of people.

 

Patrol” in North Germany and Poland

HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983) was in Germany recently after putting the final touches on our 2005 “Patrol” in North Germany with Berlin and Poland, and this 2005 “Patrol” will have some great surprises and new places to visit – places of history.

 

Our Members who have enjoyed our “Patrols” in Germany, Austria and Poland (and elsewhere) know that a Sharkhunters “Patrol” is unique in all the world – the veterans themselves are there to visit with us and they take us places not even known to many people and so, they cannot been visited by any other groups.  We anticipate that these two 2005 “Patrols” to Germany, Austria and Poland will fill up quickly.  We can only take 40 people on each, due to bus and hotel accommodations.  Don’t be late!

 

 


 

The Way It Was

Kriegsmarine

1994 Interview with OTTO KRETSCHMER (122-+-1985)

 


 

This is an interview with OTTO KRETSCHMER (122-+-1985) in 1994.  Sadly, he was killed in 1998 in a strange accident.  He and his wife were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on a river cruise on the Donau River near München and as they were going below, OTTO slipped and fell headfirst down the stairs, striking his head.  This happened on 3 August and he never regained consciousness, and he passed away on 5 August.  He was truly a fine man.

___________________________

 

SHARKHUNTERS:           What about the “Happy Times”?

OTTO:                  Well, first of all, you were talking about the “Happy Times” because we were the first ones who were to probe the defenses of enemy, and this was not a happy time because 50% of our forces perished during this time.  I remember I went for the first time into the Atlantic Ocean, I found out that before me there were six submarines sent into the Atlantic and three were sunk.  50% losses!  So this is called the “Happy Time”, I don’t know why. 

       And also we had trained during peacetime and we had to find out whether the peacetime tactics were any good for war, which they were not so this was not a happy time at all and also we were sent with U-23, sent into the Firth of the Orkneys and the Firth of Forth and was laying mines on the entrances of harbors etc……this was not a happy time.  And I remember with U-23 for instance, I when I had to drop to the bottom – my engineer came to me and showed me parts out of the motor of the diesel engines!  Only 50 meters, and so with this sort of thing, we had to go to war and so this was not at all a happy time.

       So we had to find out new tactics and probe the defenses of the enemy so the “Happy Time” had been invented by PK (Propaganda Kompanie) in Germany.  They first spoke of the “Happy Times” and they asked, what can we tell us about it.  We had so many losses at the beginning of the war because it was not a happy time.

 

SHARKHUNTERS:           You mention that the tactics you had been trained in before the war did not did not apply.

 

 

OTTO:                  Well, it was good basis of course, because you could do anything but we had to go – because they had the ASDIC and not yet all of them had the radar – some of them did not, and we had to switch over to night surface attacks.  Well, not all of them did because they stuck to the peacetime tactics.  I was one who did (change tactics) as otherwise I couldn’t achieve anything and this of course was not like peacetime when you see a target and attack.  When I see a target, I want to attack at night and it was just morning, I would have to go around and wait until it’s dark.  I remember coming back from my patrol, I said for such and such reasons, I always tell them I want to help win the war and not sticking to anything which I do not think practicable.

 

SHARKHUNTERS:  What did you think about the United States?

 

OTTO:                  I have to wait – it will be a long war because the United States will come in somehow and also when it was Christmas 1940, Dönitz said he wanted me at the submarine school to tell the new students how the tactics have been developed.  I said no, that I want to carry on – I want to be in Admiralty waters with my boat, but still – things were different then.

 

SHARKHUNTERS:           We are very interested in your opinion of Admiral Dönitz and I’d be very curious about your opinion of his as a tactician, as a leader and as a strategist.

 

OTTO:                  Dönitz was the best naval commander I have ever met.  He was a real leader of the submarine service, also of the people, of the captains and I think everybody always had in mind, it was true for me, when fighting the enemy, what would Dönitz say?  If you do something which is contrary to his mind, you will have to explain it to him.  I did quite a lot, I must say, which differed from peacetime tactics, but I was always successful in convincing him that this was the right way for me to do that.  He, of course, had quite a lot of new people coming into the submarine service and they had to be trained, and time for doing that was very short and to do that, there were only a few.

     (continued on page 29)                                                        PAGE 3

 

 

Happy Birthday

 

Members celebrating their birthdays in February include:

 

1st            RODNEY  DAVIS  (5318-A/LIFE-1997)

2nd           RICH  McGEE  (4656-1996)

6th            BOB  PANAZZE  (457-1988)  Advisory Board

7th            PETER  MURPHY  (6725-2003)

10th         MICHAEL  deCOLIGNY  (3732-1994)

15th         PAUL  ADAMS  (5520-LIFE-1998)

20th         LARRY  KAGAN  (5053-1996)

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY from our International Family of more than 6,900 Members in 71 countries, and we wish you MANY MORE!

 

 

CLASSIFIED AD

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U-Boat Cap Devices

www.uboatemblems.com

androsh47@aol.com

____________________________

 

Classified ads work!  At just a buck per word, you’ll reach thousands of interested people.  Give it a try.

 

 

20 Years Ago in our KTB

 

KTB #16 was the most difficult KTB I ever had to do and it came on the heels of the most devastating time in my life.

My son Harry Cooper, Jr. was my only child and he was my whole world, and he was killed, so KTB #16 was not so easy to do and of course, there wasn’t much other than statistics on the four pages.  I had raised him as a single father from the time he was an infant.  He was a young man of 20, on his own in the world with a job and an apartment, a car and a pet kitten.

 

It was twenty years ago – but it really was just yesterday.  I’m leaving the rest of this column blank in memory of the life that didn’t make it to the normal finish line and hope you’ll understand.

 

 

 

 

15 Years Ago in our KTB

 

We began KTB #47 with some reminiscing over what we thought was a long history of Sharkhunters.  Okay, Sharkhunters was all of seven years old at the time and we thought that was a lot but here we are now, celebrating our 22nd Anniversary – WOW!  At the time KTB #47 was published, we had Members in 14 countries and we thought that was a lot.  We restated two policies;

1.       Anything that anyone told us in confidence will never be revealed.  Photos that are sent here with the request they not be published will go in the file with our thanks, but not be published;

2.       Names and addresses (and phone numbers) will not be given to anyone for any reason under any circumstances.

 

There was some temptation at this stage – I was offered a job back in Chicago as National Vice President of Sales and Marketing but I turned it down to continue the work at Sharkhunters.  OTTO GIESE (45-+-1984) thought I was crazy and my wife looked at the letter with the job offer for a very long time.  No, today nobody in Sharkhunters receives a salary at all – it is all volunteer.

 

Sadly, one of our Members terminated his Membership because he did not like another Member.  They didn’t live near each other, never saw or communicated with each other – but the one decided that he had to drop out because he didn’t like the other.  The really ironic twist to this is that they both served on the same U-Boat!

 

Captain REINHARD HARDEGEN (102-LIFE-1985) sent us a hand signed copy of a very rare book – it is a book that he wrote in Germany just after his two successful patrols in American waters.  It is kept in a locked bookcase.

 

RON PAVELKA (123-1985) was trying to gather information on the U-Boat sunk off the southern California coast.  Nope, no World War II German U-Boats were sunk there but there apparently is a World War I German U-Boat there.  Two of six German U-Boats taken by the Allies at the end of WW I were brought to the west coast of the United States and used in Liberty Bond drives after the war was over and then scuttled off the coast there.  So far, to our knowledge, they have not been located.

 

We had a major scare at this time – our new son, SEAN COOPER (½-LIFE-1987) had a problem and had to be rushed to the hospital where he spent two weeks.  Thanks God, it all turned out okay and he is in great shape today…..but it was scary!

GÜNTER DIETRICH (339-+-1987) remembers getting out of the POW camp and he was standing in line behind ERICH TOPP (118-LIFE-1985).  He remembered it clearly since TOPP got 80 marks while he, an enlisted man, only got 40 marks.  DIETRICH played a major role in helping LEON deGRELLE (1835-+-1991) pictured here, escape from Copenhagen to Norway where he got other transportation out of Europe.

 

KTB #47 was just 16 pages long and done on a typewriter – state of the art at the time!


 

U-Boat History

U-223, the Boat that Sank the “Four Chaplains

 


 

EDITOR NOTE – we realize that many of our Members were born much later than World War II, and so we wish to put forth a little background.  When the troopship LEOPOLD was sunk, there was huge loss of life and among the victims were four Army Chaplains and they gave their life jackets to soldiers who did not have any.  At the time, the newspapers came out with artist paintings of the four Chaplains, stoically standing – arm in arm – at the rail of the ship, awaiting their fate.  It was a very selfless act for these men, and great propaganda for the Allied press.  Here is the story of U-233, the boat that sank the “Four Chaplains”.

__________________________

 

U-223

 

Type:                           VII-C

Built by:                      Germania Werft (Kiel)

Launched:                   16 April 1942

Commissioned:           6 June 1942

Feldpost Nr:                M01671

Sunk:                           30 March 1944

Sunk by:                      Royal Navy destroyers:
 LaFOREY and TUMULT

       with destroyer escorts:

BLENCATHRA & HAMBLEDON

Location sunk:                        NE of Palermo

Position sunk:              38º 48’N x 14º 10’E

(24 men lost)

The first Skipper of U-223 was Kapitänleutnant Jürgen Wächter who commanded this boat from 6 June 1942 until January 1944 when he took command of U-2503 and was killed when that boat was lost.  The second and last commander of U-223 was Oberleutnant zur See Peter Gerlach from Jan. 1944 until the boat was lost.

 

U-223 was attached to the 8th U-Bootflottille based in Danzig for sea trials then to the 6th in St. Nazaire & finally to the 29th in LaSpezia on the Italian coast.  The conning tower emblem of U-223 indicates they thought their life was a crapshoot.

 

From January through September 1942, U-223 had several war patrols in the North Atlantic and on 12 May, she was rammed by an enemy destroyer and two crewmen were lost overboard – one was picked up by U-359.  In September of 1943, U-223 broke through Gibraltar to the Italian base at LaSpezia and operated in the Mediterranean including against the Allied landing fleet off Anzio.  27 crewmen were captured.

 

This boat is probably best known for sinking the troopship SS DORCHESTER on which were the famous “Four Chaplains”.

 

 

SHIPS SUNK by U-223 under WÄCHTER

03.02.43     DORCHESTER  Amer stmr       5,649 GRT

Wächter claimed another ship sunk and one damaged but in fact, two torpedoes his DORCHESTER and all others missed.

23.02.43     WINKLER          Pana tnkr         6,907 GRT

WINKLER was damaged by a FAT shot of U-628 and finished by U-223.

2.10.43     STANMORE         Brit stmr          4,970 GRT

Wächter claimed this ship was 10,000 GRT and that he damaged another steamer of 8,000 GRT and a destroyer.  Only STANMORE was hit.

04.12.43     unknown              destroyer         unknown

Wächter claimed a hit on a destroyer but the detonation he heard was end of run detonation after almost 13 minutes.

 

SHIPS SUNK by U-223 under GERLACH

25.01.44     unknown              unknown         unknown

Gerlach claimed a hit on a corvette but the detonation he heard was end of run detonation after more than 13 minutes.

28.01.44     unknown              unknown         unknown

Gerlach claimed a hit on a destroyer but the detonation he heard was end of run detonation after more than 14 minutes.

29.01.44     unknown              unknown         unknown

Gerlach claimed a hit and sinking of an LCF but there was no confirmation.

30.01.44     unknown              unknown         unknown

Gerlach fired a three torpedo spread and heard three detonations, and he claimed a hit on two LSTs and a destroyer.  No confirmation.

 

SHIPS DAMAGED by U-223 under WÄCHTER

11.12.43     HMS CUCKMERE        Brit Frig 1,300 GRT

Was towed into port but was never repaired.

(continued next page)                                                              PAGE 5

 

The History of U-223           (continued)

 

From notes given us by Captain BOB THEW (333-+-1987):

 

(First source) “During an attack on SC. 129 she was caught on the surface by the British destroyer HESPERUS who forced her under and plastered her with depth charges.    Damaged, her commanding officer elected to fight it out on the surface.  She surfaced and was attacked by gunfire from the destroyer as well as shallow-set depth charges.  Despite this, she got her engines running and tried to torpedo the destroyer and when that missed, tried to ram her.

 

HESPERUS then lightly rammed her, rolling her over on her beams end.  The commanding officer of U-223 then decided to abandon ship and mustered the crew on deck.  One man was washed overboard and another jumped, thinking the order had been given.  Seeing this, the destroyer thought that the submarine was sinking and being abandoned, so she broke off action and headed back to the convoy. One of the men washed overboard was rescued several hours later by another submarine and returned to port.

 

U-223 managed to make enough repairs to get underway the next afternoon and arrived back at St. Nazaire 12 days later.”

___________________________

 

From another source, BOB reports:

“On 22 January 1943, she helped form the “Haudegen” Group southeast of Greenland and on 2 February she attacked Convoy SG.19 and sank one transport of 5,649 tons.  She was reformed into the “Taifun” Group on 15 February and on the 22nd she made brief contact with Convoy ON.166 before being driven off, but a short time later she sank two ships totaling 13,316 tons that had been damaged by other submarines.

 

On 26 April she joined the “Amsel” Group in the central North Atlantic but with no success.  Then on 10 May she became part of the “Elbe 2” Group and attacked Convoy SC.129 on the night of 11/12 December and was lucky to escape.

 

Sometime before September she was transferred to the Mediterranean and on 2 October she sank one ship of 4,970 tons off the Algerian coast.  On 4 December she missed targets in the same area and then on the 11th she attacked convoy KMS.34 and damaged the British frigate CUCKMERE so badly that it was written off as a total loss.

 

On 25 January 1944, she operated against the Allied landings at Anzio and missed several targets.  On 29 March she was sunk off Sicily by three British destroyers but not before she sank the British destroyer LAFOREY.”

________________________

 

There is a lot of information on SS DORCHESTER.  Here we read the basics:

 

This ship was built in 1926, owned by Merchants-Miner Trans. Co. and operated by Agwilines under Master Hans Danielsen.  Her armament consisted of one 4-inch and one 3-inch deck gun and four 20mm automatic guns; was making 10 knots and drew 20 feet with cargo of 1,069 tons of general cargo, mail, lumber – & troops.

 

(continued next page)

 

 

Happy Birthday

 

Members celebrating their birthdays in March include:

 

1st            PHIL  BRAUN  (2229-2000)

2nd           “TorpedomanMIKE AMMANN  (424-1988)

3rd           BETH  SCHIMOLER  (129-C-1985)

3rd           DAVID  M.  BICKFORD  (5495-1998)

3rd           JACK  MYERS  (5581-1998)

4th            DENNIS  DODD  (3838-1994)

6th            HERBERT  PENNINGTON  (6744-2003)

USAF Veteran, Vietnam era

8th            HANS  SPYKER  (759-1988) U-Bootfahrer

8th            RICHARD  BERLO  (5780-1999)

9th            MIKE  LUEKEN  (58-1984)

9th            STEVE  TOMAN  (70-1984)

9th            FRANK  DIETZ  (1583-1990)

13th         HEINZ  HOCH  (222-1986)

13th         RADM  EVGENI  ALEKSEEV  (2549-1992)

Main Staff, Soviet Navy (Ret)

15th         HERBERT  MATSEN  (5683-1998)

17th         ANDREW  BABAJKO  (3506-1994)

He rode USS DOGFISH, USS SPIKEFISH and USS THREADFIN

18th         KK REINHARD  HARDEGEN  (102-LIFE-1985)

                                Skipper of U-147 and U-123

                                Knights Cross with Oak Leaf

18th         Sgt. Major KEN  ROUSE  (1252-1989)  US Army (Ret)

18th         ADM. VITALI  IVANOV  (2530-1992)

                                Commandant, Russian Naval Academy (Ret.)

19th         LARRY  HAGENAH  (1232-C/LIFE-1989)

21st          GEORGE  E.  BROWN  (3078-LIFE-1993)

25th         LEONARD  PORTZLINE  (1094-1989)

26th         CDR NORMAN  BENEDICT  (3797-LIFE-1994)

30th         BUD  DANA  (245-A/LIFE-1987) Videographer and one

     of the worlds leading experts on tunnels and bunkers.

31st          WOLDEMAR  TRIEBEL  (197-LIFE-1986)

                                I.W.O. aboard U-978

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY from our International Family of more than 6,900 Members in 71 countries, and we wish you MANY MORE!

 

 

Membership PRIDE!

 

FRED FAITH (1456-1990) is a veteran of the US Navy ‘Armed Guard’ and as you see by his Membership Number, he has been aboard for a very long time.  He writes:

 

“I have been receiving your KTBs for a very long time and enjoy every one of them.  I keep them and when I look for something to read, I take one down and go over it all over again.”

 

Thanks FRED.  Member’s comments and suggestions are always welcome, and we generally print them.

 

 

 

The History of U-223           (continued)

 

She sailed from St. John’s towards Greenland.  U-223 attacked, firing five torpedoes in single shots.  DORCHESTER was hit starboard side at the machinery spaces, which killed the engines and caused the ship to swing to starboard as she slowed.  Within three minutes, the Skipper ordered the ship abandoned but because the engines were destroyed, he did not have enough steam to blast the whistle the requisite number of times.  Three of the fourteen lifeboats were destroyed.

 

Coast Guard cutters ESCANABA (WPG-77) and COMMANCHE (WPG-75) immediately began to pick up survivors.  Rescue swimmers from ESCANABA were in the water right away to pull injured men to safety.  ESCANABA rescued 51 survivors and COMMANCHE pulled another 41 to safety.

 

Four officers, 98 crewmen, 15 Armed Guards and 558 troops were lost, including the four Chaplains.

_______________________

 

ED HOBART (1812-1991) sent us a sheet of “Four Chaplains” stamps.  The stamps were issued in 1948 in memory of these brave men who gave their lifejackets to soldiers who did not have theirs, and the chaplains were lost with the ship.  ED also wrote:

“I am proud to be a Member of Sharkhunters.  Every issue of the KTB is extremely interesting and full of good articles.  Congratulations on a truly interesting and unique publication”

________________________

 

Thanks to BILL FRANCE (3386-1994), we have a lot of documentation from this action, including a full roster of the personnel aboard DORCHESTER.  This had been classified ‘SECRET’ but the files were downgraded some years ago.  Here is another report which went from Lt. (jg) William Arpaia to Vice Chief of Naval Operations via Port Director, Third Naval District.  It reads:

 

“1.  In accordance with reference (a) the following is submitted

I was assigned to the U.S.A.T. DORCHESTER on 21 January 1943.  Boarded the vessel at Pier 11, Staten Island and relieved Lt. (jg) McLeod at 1800.

     Took charge of the gun grew, which consisted of 18 gunners, 3 signalmen and two radiomen.  The vessel got underway on 22 January 1943 in a 64 ship convoy, quite heavily escorted with destroyers and corvettes.  The U.S.A.T. DORCHESTER was assigned position 23 in this convoy.  Before we arrived at St. Johns, Newfoundland, the main body of the convoy broke off and columns 1 and 2 steamed into St. Johns.  We arrived in St. Johns on the evening of either January 27th or 28th.  We remained there one day and got underway on January 29th around 1700.  the U.S.A.T. DORCHESTER maintained position 21 in a three-ship convoy, which consisted of BISCAYA, position 31 and the LUTZ, position 11.  The DORCHESTER was the Convoy Commodore.  The escorts consisted of the TAMPA, a heavy coast guard cutter and the ESCANABA and the COMANCHE lighter cutters.  The COMANCHE patrolled a position about 2000 yards forward of the convoy on the port bow.  The ESCANABA patrolled a position about 2000 yards forward of the convoy on the starboard bow.  The TAMPA  maintained a continuous forward position from starboard to port and from port to starboard diagonally.

This position of all three merchant ships and of the three escort vessels was maintained up until 2455 February 3, 1943 at which time the U.S.A.T. DORCHESTER was torpedoed.

 

Up until 1530 of February 2, 1943 there had been no incidents and no indications that there were enemy submarines in the vicinity.  However, at 1530 of February 2, 1943 the TAMPA, which was the escort commander, blinked a message to the DORCHESTER stating that “an enemy submarine is estimated in the vicinity.”  This message was immediately relayed by the DORCHESTER to the LUTZ and the ESCANABA.

 

As Armed Guard Commander, I immediately buzzed out the gun crew and battle stations were maintained up to 1830.  All of the ready boxes were opened, the breech on the 3”-50 gun forward was opened, the 20mm guns were cocked and magazine tension was cranked up to 60 lb. pressure.  The entire and complete crew was held in immediate readiness for instant and prompt action.  I consulted with the Master, Captain Danielsen.  I put all of my confidential publications in a sheet metal perforated box, together with his, which he had in his cabinet.  The crew was instructed in the event a wake was observed, that without orders from me they should immediately open fire on the 20mm guns, lay a barrage of gunfire well forward of the wake into the water, and that in the event a torpedo did hit and no submarine was visible or no wake was observed, that then in that event they should fire the 20mm guns from the direction from which the torpedo came.

 

I consulted with Captain Krecker who had charge of the Army troops.  He was told that he should not alarm the enlisted men, but that they should be advised to go to bed fully clothed and with their life jackets on.  Before we left New York I had consulted with Captain Krecker on all of the details relative to our voyage and we had agreed not to permit any troops on deck.  We also made arrangements that the Army should maintain a continuous series of lookouts consisting of 17 men.  I continuously maintained 4 of my men of lookout at the key positions forward and aft at the phones.  After having received warning of the submarine the army agreed to double their lookouts so that from 1530 on they maintained 34 lookouts continuously high and low.  These lookouts had been instructed by me personally in the form of a lecture as to what to look for and how to make their reports to the bridge.  Also the Army maintained a black out detail and I had a Petty Officer of the watch continuously on duty, who also checked on the lookouts, checked the magazines every half hour and maintained and enforced a continuous and strict blackout detail.

 

After 1830 I kept half of my crew constantly at the guns and the other half were fully clothes in their quarters, ready for immediate combat action.  I maintained one 20mm gun on the port side and one on the starboard side continuously cocked, at which time alternately the other two 20mm guns would be cocked. 

 

Magazine tension was maintained at 60 lb.  My crew from 1830 onward maintained a watch and watch on condition II operation with instructions to immediately train the guns in the direction from which any periscope, wake or submarine is reported noticed or observed and to even open fire in the event I was not instantly on the scene at the time.  I kept continually conferring with the Master.  The convoy was making 10 knots per hour.  The Captain advised that if we were not torpedoed by 2400 that we had nothing to fear by reason of the fact that we would be in iceberg area where submarines cannot operate.  In fact, the lookouts had been instructed to look for icebergs among other things.

(continued next page)

 

The History of U-223           (continued)

 

About 2415 I retired to my cabin to get some rest after having checked all of the guns and all of the lookouts personally.  At 2455 a torpedo hit the DORCHESTER forward of the beam on the starboard side.  Evidentially the torpedo was pretty far under water as it did not make too loud a noise.  However, immediately the engines ceased to function, all of the lights went out on the ship and it listed to starboard to about a 30º degree angle.  None of the lookouts reported having seen or heard anything other than a swishing sound almost immediately prior to the explosion.  Instantly pandemonium broke loose.  The Army troops started to throw life rafts overboard and started to leave the ship.  Booth the 4” and the 3” guns were loaded.  One of the gunners on the #3 20mm gun on the starboard side had been blown out of the gun circle onto the gunwale and into the water.  By reason of the fact that the ship listed immediately, it was impossible to operate any of the guns.  The bridge was unable to give a fixed red light because of the fact that the electricity was cut of.  A fog whistle was sounded 6 times and another series of 6 blasts was started when the steam gave out.  No white rockets were fired.  The DORCHESTER immediately became lit up with red lights and flashlights.  The red lights were attached to many of the life preservers.  The flashlights were owned and used by the Army personnel and some of the civilians aboard.

 

The Master was on the flying bridge when I last saw him.  I asked him if he had disposed of the confidential publications.  He said that he had not, and that I should do so.  I immediately went into his cabin and personally threw all the confidential papers overboard from the starboard side in the perforated sheet metal box.  I asked the Captain if he saw anything and he said that he didn’t.  He remained on the flying bridge and to all intents and purposes did not probably realize that the ship was going to sink.  After becoming certainly convinced that to open fire would be futile and that the ship was sinking and listing rapidly, I gave orders to the entire gun crew forward and aft to abandon ship.

 

I abandoned ship from the port side on the beam in a doughnut raft.  Eight to ten of the gun crew were with me but most of them fended for themselves.  McCoy and McMinn, Seamen First Class, after a doughnut raft had been thrown overboard and after we descended and were standing on the listed vessel, discovered that some soldiers had taken our raft.  Both McCoy and McMinn were entirely on their own and with the ship sinking under them volunteered to climb up to topside and get another raft, which they did, and which they threw down.  I then dove into the water, got into the raft and held it for them and they both got in as well as Taylor, S1/c.  It seemed that McCoy and McMinn displayed a dash of courage which certainly deserves some commendation.

 

There were 921 people on the ship, of whom 227 were saved.  The COMANCHE and the ESCANABA picked up in excess of 100 survivors each.  The TAMPA went on, and escorted the LUTZ and the BISCAYA into Greenland.  I had 23 men in my gun crew, 14 of whom died.

 

Ralph L. Taylor, S1/c died in our raft.  We did everything we possibly could to keep him alive.  We were in the raft for 6 hours and 15 minutes and due to the cold water we were practically unable to move at the time we were picked up.

(continued next page)

 

 

Happy Birthday

 

Members celebrating their birthdays in April include:

6th            HELMUT  WITTE  (4238-1995)  Skipper of U-159, RK

7th            Major RICHARD  SMITH  (1213-1989)  Racer, pilot

7th            JAMES  L.  M.  BARRY  (2194-1992)  USN submariner

15th         WALTER  GIBB  (395-1987)  Merchant Marine veteran

16th         LEON  MILLER  (1895-1991)

17th         JOHN  KAMMERER  (653-LIFE-1988)  He rode USS

      BARB (SSN 596); our first Advisory Board Member.

18th         VADM  VALERI  GRISHANOV  (2537-1992)

Chief of Soviet Baltic Fleet (Ret)

19th         EDDIE  PHILLIPS  (220-A/LIFE-1986)  Adventurer,

                                Advisory Board Member

21st          MIKE  TORRESON  (371-1987)

21st          THOMAS  FLURCHICK  (2032-1991)

22nd         Fleet Admiral VLADIMIR  CHERNAVIN  (2240-1992)

The last CNO of the Soviet Fleet, decorated with the 32 Point Brilliant Star and Hero of the Soviet Union (twice)

23rd         Col.  WILHELM  HÖHN  (789-1988)  US Army (Ret)

26th         PETER  PETERSEN  (1133-1989)  He rode U-518

27th         HERMANN  HOFFMANN  (1365-1990)  C.O. U-172

29th         THEODORE  CAHILL  (6751-2003)  USN submariner

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY from our International Family of more than 6,900 Members in 71 countries, and we wish you MANY MORE!

____________________________

 

Missed Your Birthday?

 

If your birthday is not mentioned in this section, it is only because you didn’t tell us when it is.  No, it is not on your Membership application as some think – we only know your birthday when you give us the information, and we’ll be glad to list your birthday.

 

 

Who is this?

 

There is no prize and you don’t need to send your answers to us here at HQ.  The answer will be in KTB #183 next month.

 

This photo was handed in person to HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983) by GERD DIETRICH (5923-1999) in December of 2004.  he took this photo himself on 2 June 1987.

 

Okay, enough hints….

 

 

 

 

The History of U-223           (continued)

 

Fortunately, I had a package of morphine syrettes in my shirt pocket, which I carried on my person all the time.  After we were in the raft for about two hours, McCoy was able, by tearing my pocket, to give himself an injection.  He also gave me an injection and McMinn an injection.  I believe that the effects of the morphine kept us alive and made it possible to resist the severity of the weather.  At that time Taylor had already died.  He lost his mind before dying.  We were picked up by the COMANCHE and taken into Bluie West I, Greenland.  We arrived there at about 0200 hours 4 February 1942.  At the time we were torpedoed we were 140 miles from our ultimate destination Bluie West I, Greenland and about 80 miles from the mouth of the Fiord.  I have no immediate information as to what percentage of the merchant marine were saved.  I believe there were in excess of 500 Army troops on board as well as some Navy and Coast Guard passengers.  There were about 150 civilians.  I understand that about 42 of the civilians were saved.

 

After we were hit the LUTZ and the BISCAYA collided.  I am given to understand that the LUTZ was intending to swing back to the scene of the disaster in order to pick up survivors.  In so doing it collided with the BISCAYA and was damaged considerably on the starboard side.  I am unfamiliar with the extent of the damage, if any, caused to the BISCAYA.  Either the ESCANABA or the COMANCHE fired a salvo of star flares about 45 minutes after we were torpedoed.

 

All of the survivors were landed at Bluie West I and afforded hospitalization and medical care by the Army Base Hospital.

 

The Master, Captain Danielson was very cooperative and willing to follow any suggestions and recommendations relating to convoy procedure.  I can honestly state that full cooperation was received from all of the merchant marine officers – also the Army afforded me their fullest cooperation.

 

Nobody saw the submarine.  My best judgment, relying upon my sense of hearing, would be that the torpedo came from a forward position, hit forward of the beam on the starboard side, went upwards and aft.  It did not come through the port side.  It evidentially hit the refrigeration system since there was a strong ammonia odor which permeated throughout the entire vessel.  I am not able to say with any degree of certainty as to whether the torpedo may have been of a type or kind which had gas.

 

My gun crew acted with the utmost efficiency and gave me their entire and absolute cooperation and were with me one hundred percent.  They would have gone down with the ship had I not given them orders to abandon.  I am certain that all of them left the ship and those who died did so either from the explosion or because they were unable to get to a raft or life boat.  Several of the life boats were unable to be lowered as they were shattered by the explosion.  Some of them which were lowered immediately became swamped.  That afternoon the Captain held General Quarters as to abandon ship procedure.  The day prior to the torpedoing I had held target practice and had expended 5 rounds of ammunition with the 3” gun forward and an entire magazine in each of the four 20mm guns.  The 4” gun aft was in perfect operating condition.  The guns were all maintained and kept in the best of condition.

 

We were not given orders from the Escort Commander to institute zig-zag operations at the time we were advised that an enemy submarine was in the vicinity.  Had we been given such orders the Master would certainly have followed them for, as hereinbefore stated, he was very cooperative.

 

The ESCANABA, which was on our starboard side and forward of the convoy was not equipped with radar.  We did not receive air coverage, which we expected when we were informed that an enemy submarine was in the vicinity.  I was later informed that there were three enemy submarines in the vicinity and that a pack of them, consisting of twenty-one, were somewhere in the area.  I was also further advised that the Army Air Corps sank a submarine which was on the surface and which was following the remainder of the convoy into Greenland.  I was further given to understand that one of the escort vessels got a pip on his radar, which indicated an object on the surface astern of the convoy heading away from it.  The LUTZ, which was on our port side, was a coal burner and the ship smoked continuously night and day from the time we left St. Johns.  It left a continuous black streak of smoke which was noticeable even in the black of night.  At the time we were torpedoed, the water was relatively calm, however, there were no stars and no moonlight.  It was very dark.

 

I might mention that the fixed red lights on the life preservers proved to be very beneficial in saving lives.  It was observed and, from my own personal experience, it seemed that those who had the most clothes on were better able to withstand the shocks of exposure even though their clothes got wet.  All of the survivors who kept their shoes on, even though the feet were submerged in the water, had less ill effects from exposure than those who did not have their shoes on.

 

The box rafts appeared to be most effective – even better than the lifeboats.  However, the two on the port side did not slide off when released because of the fact that the vessel had listed to starboard.

________________________

 

In Memory of the Four Chaplains

 

Here is the extract from the award of the posthumous Distinguished Service Cross medals given:

 

“By direction of the President, a Distinguished Service Cross was awarded posthumously by the War Department to the following named officers for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an enemy of the United States.  On the night of 3 February 1943 a loaded troop transport was torpedoed without warning by an enemy submarine in the North Atlantic and began to sink rapidly.  In the resulting confusion and darkness some men found themselves without life jackets and others became helpless through fear and the dread of plunging into the freezing water.  These officers moved about the deck, heroically and calmly, encouraging the men and assisting them to abandon ship.  After the available supply of life jackets was exhausted they gave up their own and remained aboard the ship and went down with it, offering words of encouragement and prayers to the last.  To Chaplains (First Lieutenant)

     George L. Fox

     Alexander D. Goode

     Clark V. Poling

     John P. Washington

 

This is a long history and it will be continued in KTB #183 next month.

 

God Created Submariners

 

ROLF ROSELLEN (2985-LIFE-1993) sent this on to us.  This story was told by RADM Jay Donnelly in Des Moines and lifted from the Illinois Scope Newsletter.

 

In the beginning was the word and the word was God and all else was darkness and void and without form, so God created the heavens and the earth.  He created the sun and the moon and the stars so that the light might pierce the darkness.  And the earth, God divided between the land and the sea and these he filled with many assorted creatures.

 

And the dark, smelly creatures that inhabited the land, God called ARMY and dressed them accordingly like trees and bushes.

 

And the flighty creatures of the air, He called AIR FORCE and these He clothes in uniforms of light blue to match the sky.

 

And the creatures who sailed on the surface of the sea, God called SKIMMERS.  Then with a twinkle in His eye and a sense of humor that only He could have, God gave them big grey targets to sail aboard.  He gave them many splendid uniforms to wear.  He gave them many wonderful and exotic places to visit.  He gave them pen and paper so they could write home every week.  He gave them afternoons off, movies and ice cream makes and He gave them a laundry to keep their splendid uniforms clean.  When you are God, you tend to get carried away…….

 

And on the 7th day, God rested but on the 8th day, God looked down on the earth and He was not happy.  So he thought about His labors and in His infinite wisdom, God created a divine creature which He called a SUBMARINER.

 

And the SUBMARINERS that He created in His own image were to be of the deep, and to them He gave the Dolphin insignia.  He gave them black Messengers of Death to roam the depths of the seas, waging war against the forces of Satan and evil!  He gave them submarine pay so they might entertain the ladies on Saturday nights and impress the Hell out of the SKIMMERS.

 

At the end of the 8th day, God looked down on the earth and saw that all was good, but still God was not happy.  In the course of His labors He had forgotten one thing.  He Himself did not have a submarine Dolphin.  He thought about it and He thought about it and finally satisfied Himself, knowing that not just anybody could be a SUBMARINER.

 

 

eKTB A Huge Success!

 

MARK ‘SWEDE’ ERICKSON (5233-LIFE-1999) wrote this:

“I was able to download the eKTB.  The online KTB is fantastic!  You did a terrific job.  Thanks again.”

 

CARTER MANIERRE (6352-2001) sent us this message:

       “I too really like the eKTB.”

 

What about you?  Isn’t it time that you changed over to the eKTB?  Doesn’t cost anything.  Details further on in this issue.

10 Years Ago in our KTB

 

In KTB #87, we continued with the interview with ERICH TOPP (118-LIFE-1985) as well as an excellent piece by CHARLES GUNDERSEN (205-C-1986) about diesel engines for American submarines.  We enjoyed having Members in just 36 countries at that time.  Naturally, there was PETER’s PAGE (now called THRU PETER’S PERISCOPE by PETER HANSEN (251-LIFE-1987) and we talked about the Soviet submarines that were up for sale since the evaporation of the Soviet Union.

 

We also talked about Operation URSULA, the operation in which the U-Bootwaffe, in a highly secret campaign, helped Franco in his Spanish Civil War.  Nobody knew of this until the details were in our KTB Magazine.  It was quite a story!

 

There was more in our Intelligence Page on the American Senate committee investigating Standard Oil for selling to Germany, Italy, Japan and everyone else in the war – all the way to the end of World War II.  A lot of surprises there.

 

There was still information on the Royal Navy submarines from Captain VICTOR HAWKINS (1364-+-1990) and we were running an essay by Großadmiral Karl Dönitz on the “Conduct of the War at Sea”.  KTB #87 was only 28 pages long and done on a typewriter.  We have sure changed in ten years.

 

 

Membership PRIDE!

 

K. T. MEDLINGER (6277-2001) recently moved and with his change of address, he wrote:

 

“Please update your records so that I will not miss any of the KTB, as I really enjoy those magazines.”

 

 

LUCIO Has the Answers

 

Here is the information from LUCIO MICHAELIS (1485-1990):

 

“Concerning the questions on page 8 of KTB #179,

 

1.        Großadmiral Karl Dönitz was a recipient of the Gold Party Badge.

  1. Generaloberst Alfred Jodl was awarded the Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub (Knights Cross with Oak Leaf) on 10 May 1945 for his excellent (under the circumstances) superb negotiations of the unconditional surrender of 7 May in Rheims.”

 

It is our Members who add details to make our history come alive.  Anyone who has answers or researched stories, please send them here.  Photos will help if you have them, and we’ll return them.

 

 


 

Patrol” in Southern Germany and Austria

Monday 12 through Thursday 22 September 2005

     

We were so warmly welcomed by our friends, the veterans and officials in this beautiful area and they asked us to plan a return this year so they could live this experience again.  We have booked the rooms, the arrangements are made – and the Sharkhunters return!

 


 

HIGH POINTS of this “Patrol” include:

 

Nürnberg              The Name Says it All

 

We visit the famous places of the beginning of the Reich – the Zeppelinfeld (photo above – right) the huge Congress Hall built like the Coliseum in Rome but much larger, we are in Room 600 at the Palace of Justice where the ‘War Crimes’ trials were held, we enjoy a special tour of a superb museum founded and operated by our friend MICHAEL KAISER (6166-2000) – and underground bunkers whose very existence is known to a mere handful.

 

 

MICHAEL in his Museum   The ‘Sausage King’ & his ‘trainers’

 

Naturally, we enjoy the special Nürnberger sausages and perhaps we can see a new Sharkhunters record for consumption.  STEVE RIHA (2937-1993) has the Sharkhunters record with 42 sausages! 

 

Naturally, is not required that anyone attempt to break this record because these sausages, although quite tiny, are very rich.  While the spirit might be willing, the tummy soon is saying, “STOP!”  As always, Sharkhunters will pay for the dinner for anyone who sets the new Sharkhunters record to become the new ‘Sausage King’.

 

 

As always, we are the honored guests high atop Ulrich’s Mountain (Ulrichsberg) for the impressive Ulrichsbergfest in which the fallen warriors of all nations are remembered.  It is extremely impressive!

 

 

Left photo - The ladies selling ‘Korn’ on the mountain and the money goes to the veterans.  Right photo – The veterans will be there to visit with us again.  Will you be there?

 

We enjoy an afternoon on a private estate with hundreds of vets of all branches of the Wehrmacht and there are usually veterans from other nations that fought in World War II as well. (photo left)

 

 

One evening is spent with veterans of other branches of the Wehrmacht including Gebirgsjäger and other branches.  This is definitely NOT open to the casual traveler, but our friends there have extended a very special invitation to us.

 

You might wish to log onto our website then go to TOURS and look there.  Much more information is available plus more photos.  You may also go to our PREVIOUS TOURS and look at all the “Patrols” we have enjoyed in Germany and Austria over the years and you will see that this is the chance of a lifetime to actually LIVE history yourself.

 

Don’t be left out – we can take only 40, so register quickly.

More of our “Patrol” next page                                            PAGE 11


 

Patrol” in Southern Germany and Austria

Monday 12 through Thursday 22 September 2005

 


 

Our Hotel on the Obersalzberg

 

Our very special hotel on the Obersalzberg is a three centuries old Bavarian gasthaus owned by our dear friend INGRID SCHARFENBERG (3308-A/LIFE-1993).  During World War II, this was the HQ for Hitler’s personal guard since his home was immediately next door to the hotel.

 

 

   The hotel in 1941                    The hotel today

 

 

The hotel hasn’t changed from 1939 when Eva Braun entertained her friends there to the way it is today.

 

When you walk the courtyard of the hotel, on the road in front, in the driveway or on the hillside – you’ll be walking in the footsteps of history.  When you turn in for the night – you’ll wonder who slept in this room 65 years ago.  When you are enjoying the fun in the dayroom, will you think of the officers who took their schnapps in that same room seven decades ago? Is your imagination up to it?

____________________________

 

The Eagle’s Nest

 

This was the rest house that Martin Bormann had built for Hitler’s 50th birthday.  We will be there – in the elevator that can carry 40 people and made of highly burnished copper; by the massive fireplace of Italian marble sent by Mussolini; through the historic rooms where the guards ate, where Eva Braun and her friends had to take their meals away from the men who were discussing….who knows what they talked about?

 

We will enjoy our lunch here, high atop Kehlstein Mountain and we can look for mile and miles in all directions – all the way to the famed castle at Salzburg, Austria!  Naturally, souvenirs are available here in the gift shops.  Photos of the elevator entrance and the view from the mountaintop are top of next column.

 

PAGE 12

 

     Elevator entrance               View from the top

___________________________

 

Bunkers Beneath our Hotel!

 

The mountain was shot through and though with tunnels – from the homes of Hitler, Bormann, Göring and Speer – from the hotel in which we stay and other buildings in the area.  Most have been destroyed by the German Government but the ones under our hotel are still there, and we will tour them as much as we wish.

_____________________________

 

München – Where it began

 

       Feldherrenhalle                   Oktoberfest!

 

We tour the many famous historic places in München by bus and on foot, and we will take a few minutes to have a beer in the room where the famous ‘Beer Hall Putsch’ began.  Of course, there is the world renowned Oktoberfest and we are there for an entire day

 

Your low tour price of $1,943 includes:

·         All hotels (based on double occupancy)

($550 for single room supplement)

·         All transportation aboard our deluxe motorcoach

·         All breakfasts

·         Entry to all places listed

·         All meetings with the veterans

 

Naturally, there will be much more than space allows here.  Any questions?  Just call for the answers but don’t wait too long – we expect this “Patrol” to fill quickly.

 

 


 

U-Boat History

Special from Dr. LOUIS J. HIGGINS (6599-2002)

 


 

This is the continuation of the article sent by Dr. LOUIS J. HIGGINS (6599-2002).  Excellent article………

_____________________________

 

When Admiral Dönitz heard of the ongoing battle, he ordered all U-Boats then in the area to offer any assistance possible.  U-73 had sighted the Bismarck on the night of 26 May but lost track of her in the bad weather and heavy destroyer activity in the area.  In an attempt to save the war diary of the Bismarck, the Captain ordered that the papers be flown off the ship in one of the Arado float planes and brought to shore in France.  However, the catapult was unserviceable.

 

Dönitz then ordered the U-556 to pick up the diary, but U-556 was so low on fuel that it would not have been able to make the trip.

 

Then the U-74 was ordered to take over the task but never reached the Bismarck.  After the Bismarck sank, HMS DORSETSHIRE stopped to pick up survivors, but sudden reports of a U-Boat in the area caused the British ship to speed off, leaving hundreds of German sailors in the water.  It is unknown whether the U-Boat sighted was U-73 or not, inadvertently being the cause of so many German deaths.  U-73 returned to port with no claims of ships sunk or damaged.

 

Of the 2,200 crewmen on the Bismarck, only 85 were picked up by HMS DORSETSHIRE, 25 rescued by the destroyer HMS MAORI, 3 were picked up by U-74 and two others in a rubber dinghy were saved by the German weather ship Sachsenwald.

 

Fourth Patrol:

Ordered into the North Atlantic, U-73 left St. Nazaire on 29 July 1941 but aborted due to engine trouble and returned to port 2 August 1941.

 

 

 

FIFTH PATROL:

Left St. Nazaire 7 August 1941 for the North Atlantic; deployed to an area off Iceland, U-73 was severely depth charged by aircraft from British Coastal Command.  Badly damaged, U-73 had to abort and returned to port on 7 September 1941.

 

SIXTH PATROL:

Assigned to Wolf Pack Reiss, U-73 left France 11 October 1941 for the North Atlantic.  The pack chased outbound Convoy North 28 but with no ships sunk or damaged.  U-73 had to return to port at St. Nazaire because of low fuel on 11 November 1941.

 

When Mussolini declared war on Great Britain in 1940, his forces in North Africa became embroiled in a war for which they were completely unprepared.  In the spring of 1941, Hitler, in an effort to help his ally, sent General Erwin Rommel with German troops who were to become known as the Afrika Korps.

 

British planes and naval units played havoc with Rommel’s supply lines so that Hitler ordered Dönitz to send U-Boats into the Mediterranean in the fall of 1941.  Much against his will, Dönitz, who felt that the Atlantic was the area best suited for his boats, complied and sent six boats in September of 1941.

 

The U-Boat men were not overly enthusiastic because of the difficulty of passing through the Straits of Gibraltar which were heavily patrolled by British ships and planes and the fact that the Straits were only eight miles wide at their narrowest point.  In addition to this, the Mediterranean was like a large lake, surrounded by land from which land based planes could patrol.  Fairly constant bright sunny days made it almost imperative that the U-Boat remain submerged during the daylight hours.

 

(continued next page)

 

PAGE 13

The Story of U-73          (continued)

 

Another feature of the water was; whereas in the Atlantic a U-Boat was almost impossible to be seen when submerged at periscope depth - in the Mediterranean, a sub could be seen from an overhead plane at a depth of 45 to 50 feet.  The heavy phosphorescence of the water at night stirred up by the U-Boat’s propellers could easily give away a boat’s position as well as show the track of a torpedo in the water.

 

EDITOR NOTE – This phosphorescence is the result of minute organisms in the water called pyrophotoplankton (we think) and when they are disturbed, they glow like a firefly.  When I lived on my boat in the Caribbean, it was an interesting sight to flush the head with outside seawater at night, and have the whole thing blazing brightly with a bluish-green fire.  When anything disturbs them, they glow with a tremendous intensity.

 

SEVENTH PATROL:

On 4 January 1942, U-73 left St. Nazaire into the Mediterranean, passed uneventfully through the Straits on 14 January 1942 and arrived at La Spezia, Italy on 12 February 1942.  Later that month while assigned to the 29th U-Boat Flotilla, U-73 claimed to have sunk the destroyer HMS Gurkha or HMS Jaguar and damaging the frigate HMS Heythrop.  These sinkings were denied by the British.

 

EDITOR NOTEHMS GURKHA was sunk on 17 January by U-133 (Hesse); HMS HEYTHROP was actually sunk on 20 March but by U-652 (Fraatz) and HMS JAGUAR was sunk on 26 March also by U-652 (Fraatz).

 

EIGHTH PATROL:

Left La Spezia on 6 March 1942 and aborted, returning to port on 26 March.

 

NINTH PATROL:

On 8 April, U-73 left port to patrol the central Mediterranean.  Discovered by allied planes, she was attacked and straddled by four bombs or depth charges.  The damage sustained forced her to return to La Spezia where she was out of action for four months to undergo extensive repairs.

 

Returning to duty on 4 August 1942, U-73 spotted (on 11 August) the Malta bound convoy ‘Pedestal’ about 580 miles from Malta where she attacked the 22,600 ton British aircraft carrier HMS EAGLE which was ferrying planes to beleaguered forces on Malta.

 

Closing to within 500 yards, U-73 fired her four bow torpedoes, all of which struck the carrier on the port side.  The Eagle sank within ten minutes with the loss of life of 160 British sailors plus all the aircraft she was carrying.  U-73 immediately went deep and sat out a severe depth charging.

 

(continued next page)

 

5 YEARS AGO in our KTB

 

 

This photo was taken at the “Celebrate History” in San Francisco a few years ago.  HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983) on the left,  Konteradmiral ERICH TOPP (188-LIFE-1985) in the center and KEITH OLSZEWSKI (4645-1996) on the right.

 

This issue contained the memories of Knights Cross holder JÜRGEN OESTEN (1681-1990); a report about the prisoners from U-66 aboard USS BLOCK ISLAND; the Modeler’s Corner by ROGER BESAW (4229-1995); the story on the railroading of Admiral Kimmel and Major General Short began and DON ANGEL ALCAZAR de VELASCO (158-+-1985) was telling his story of intrigue – and about who really did escape Germany.

 

RAPHAEL MORENO (4948-1996) sent articles from a newspaper in Argentina that indicated the Argentinean Navy had found a scuttled German U-Boat in their waters.  When we spoke with an Admiral of their Navy for a week, he kept saying that this was all top secret.  After a week went past, his reply was “What U-Boat?

 

EDITOR NOTE – the trail went cold then, but over the past six months or so, much more information has come to light about this situation.  We are following up and will inform Members when we have something definite.

 

At that time, there were some 5,000 Members in 67 countries.  Today there are nearly 7,000 Members in 71 countries.

The Story of U-73          (continued)

 

Upon hearing of the sinking, Hitler immediately awarded Captain Rosenbaum the Knights Cross.  Although this award was usually given only when a U-Boat captain sank over 100,000 tons, the importance of this sinking was a special event which merited the medal.  The crew was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class.

 

EDITOR NOTE – Actually, in the early stages of the war, the requirements for the Knights Cross was EITHER sinking 100,000 tons of merchant shipping or one capitol ship such as a battleship, aircraft carrier, cruiser etc.

 

When U-73 returned to La Spezia, Captain Rosenbaum was promoted Commander (Korvettenkapitän) and sent to command the U-Boat forces in the Black Sea.  On 10 September 1942, the I.W.O., Lt. Horst Deckert, was promoted to Captain of the U-73 at the age of 23, making him one of the youngest U-Boat Captain at that time.

 

EDITOR NOTE – Rosenbaum was killed in a plane crash 10 May 1944.

 

Horst Deckert was born in Hannover Germany on 11 October 1918 and entered the German Navy in the ‘Crew’ or class of 1937a.  In training, he opted for U-Boat service and upon graduation, was assigned to the U-73 as II.W.O. until July 1941 at which time he was transferred and promoted to captain of the U-8 which was at that time, a training vessel.  He held this position until May 1942 and was re-assigned to U-73 as I.W.O. in August 1941.  Following the sinking of HMS Eagle, Deckert was promoted to captain of the U-73 on 10 September 1942.  He must have been a very competent officer because the I.W.O. was seldom promoted to captain of the same boat on which he served as I.W.O.

 

On 25 October 1942, U-73 and other boats were ordered into the Western Mediterranean to attack the aircraft carrier HMS Furious, which was carrying aircraft to Malta.  The ever-vigilant escorts and patrol planes drove off all the attackers without any damage to the carrier or her escorts.

 

On 7 November 1942, U-73 tried repeatedly to attack large troop transports which were part of the invasion fleet from “Operation Torch” making landings at Oran and Algiers.  Again patrol planes and escorts drove her off before she could inflict any damage to the invasion force.

 

On 10 November 1942, U-73 sighted the British battleship HMS Rodney moving rapidly ahead.  At a distance of over 5,000 yards, Captain Deckert fired a fan or four torpedoes at the fast moving ship – all of which missed.  A stinging rebuke from Admiral Dönitz for wasting four torpedoes at such extreme range was all that Deckert received for his efforts.

 

On 11 November, in company with U-205 and U-755, he attacked shipping near Algiers but all three were driven off by escorts.

 

On 14 November, U-73 attacked and torpedoed the British tanker SS Lalande but did not sink her.  Escorts depth charged and damaged her so that she had to return to La Spezia for repairs where she remained for the rest of November and December.

In January 1943, patrolling the Oran-Algiers area, Captain Deckert sighted and sank the U.S. Liberty Ship Arthur Middleton.  About this time, owing to the fact that allied aircraft bases in North Africa brought La Spezia into closer range for allied bombers, the German 29th U-Boat Flotilla transferred its operational headquarters to Toulon, France.  This resulted in fewer U-Boat sorties at this period.

 

On 21 June 1943, the British SS Brinkburn (1,598 tons) was sunk by U-73 while patrolling off of Oran.

 

A week later on 27 June, the Royal Navy tanker Abbeydale (8,299 tons) was torpedoed and damaged.

 

Several uneventful patrols intervened until 2 November when U-73 torpedoed and sank the French SS Mont Visto (4,531 tons).  On 19 November, Captain Deckert was awarded the German Cross in Gold for his exploits.  On 4 December 1943, U-73 left Toulon on her final patrol.

 

December 16th 1943 dawned bright and clear in Oran harbor, an ideal day for patrolling aircraft as ceiling and visibility were both unlimited.  The sea was fairly calm, with long slow swells and no whitecaps to help hide the wake of a submarine periscope gliding through the water – hardly ideal conditions for patrolling subs to sneak up on an unsuspecting ship.  On board the Liberty Ship John S. Copley, everyone was busy preparing to get underway.  Watches were being set and deck hands were checking the numerous wire cables snugging down the deck cargo of landing craft.  The number of cables criss-crossing the deck made it difficult to make one’s way forward or aft on the main deck.  The usual amount of scuttlebutt was bandied about by the crew…… landing craft were to be brought to England for the coming invasion; the ship was headed for the Pacific for the Marines island hopping and of course, the truth was that the ship was stateside bound – not in time for Christmas, but home was home.

 

As the breakwater was left behind, pennants one and three were hoisted on the signal halyards denoting the ship’s position in the convoy it was about to join, GUS.24 (Gibraltar to US).  At 1516 hours, the serenity of the afternoon was shattered by a terrific blast as a torpedo slammed into the starboard side of the Copley.

 

(continued next page)

 

 

eKTB a HUGE Success!

 

More and more Members are going for the advantages of having their KTB Magazine come right to their computer as a PDF file.

 

The KTB arrived immediately, thus saving several weeks of waiting for the printing and the post office to deliver the KTB.  If there are any special promotions, Members receiving their eKTB have a time advantage to take advantage of such specials.

 

Read on – details how you can receive your KTB at your computer are further on in this issue.

 

The Story of U-73 (continued)

 

The torpedo exploded in number three hold about twelve feet forward of the engine room bulkhead.  The ship slewed to starboard, slowing down as the engines were stopped.  General Quarters bells were ringing and the ship’s whistle was stridently blaring – pandemonium!  Guns were hastily manned and the port side lifeboats were lowered.

 

One Armed Guard seaman, Raymond Edward Barlow of Methuen, Massachusetts was injured when he was blown off his watch station on the bridge to the boat deck below.  He was the sole casualty of the attack.  At the signal halyard, a limp Number One pennant sadly drooped – the Number One pennant inadvertently signifying “Torpedo Attach – Starboard”.

 

Retribution was swift.  Escorts patrolling in the van of the convoy plus additional escorts raced out of the French naval base at Mers El Kabir aided by aircraft from the airfield outside Oran, and they were actively searching for the sub.  Soon the destroyers USS Woolsey (DD 437) commanded by CDR H. R. Wier, and USS Trippe (DD 403) commanded by LCDR C. M. Dalton, had gotten contact with U-73.  Leaving the other escorts Niblack, Ludlow and Edison to watch over the convoy, Woolsey and Trippe subjected the sub to repeated depth charge attacks.

 

Finally, after one particularly savage attack, U-73 was driven to the surface, her hull cracked and badly leaking.  Not content with giving up easily, Captain Deckert and his crew manned the 40mm deck gun and 20mm machine guns on the bridge, trying in vain to fight it out with the two destroyers.  Both the Trippe and the Woolsey raked the U-Boat with machine gun and five inch .38 cannon fire.  When several of the German gunners had been killed, the Captain of the U-73 and its crew, after setting scuttling charges, took to their life rafts.

 

EDITOR NOTE – Scuttling charges?????

 

The Woolsey and Trippe picked up Deckert and thirty-three other crew members, including 2 wounded men and a doctor.  Seventeen German sailors were killed.  The survivors were brought to Oran.

 

Thus after three years and some sixteen war patrols, U-73 met her ultimate fate.  She had sunk or damaged twelve ships totaling 88,398 tons of allied shipping.  When one considers that only 25 U-Boats attacked more than 20 ships, 36 boats sank or damaged more than 20 ships and only 320 U-Boats accounted for the bulk of Allied losses, it would appear that U-73 had done her share for the German war effort.  Coincidentally, some 850 U-Boats appear not to have sunk or damaged any Allied vessels.

 

EDITOR NOTE – It is the accepted rule of thumb that on both sides, about 10% of the submarines accounted for 90% of enemy losses and also some 10% of the fighter pilots accounted for 90% of enemy planes shot down.  The ‘fortunes of war’ sometimes focus on one fighter over another, giving the opportunities for battle.

 

(This story concluded further on in this issue.)

 

HOT MAIL

 

With this new electronic age, we are able to communicate immediately with our Members at the click of a button, and we can send breaking news to you immediately – you won’t even have to wait for your KTB Magazine.  The KTB of course, will have all the details of a story but the main topic, the headline, will come to you instantly.

 

This doesn’t cost anything – it is a service we provide to our Members.  Just send us your email address with your name and the comment that you want to be added to the HOT MAIL list.  It’s that easy, and you’ll get breaking news instantly.  Welcome to the 21st Century and the Internet age.

 

If you are already receiving our HOT MAIL messages, please do not send us your email address.

 

 

AUTOMATIC

DUES RENEWAL

 

The Automatic Dues Renewal Program, which has been in effect since the early part of 2002, is well received by our Members.  It saves the time and the headaches of having to fill out a form each year, sticking it into the envelope, licking the flap – and then hunting up a stamp.

 

For our Members with credit card numbers on file – there is nothing for you to do.  When your dues are due, they are just charged to your account and your Membership is renewed for another year – it is THAT simple!  When you see the charge appear on your statement, send us an email, a FAX or call to let us know which FREE audio CD you want for your renewal, and it will be sent to you immediately.  Which audio CD do you want?  Look on our website for the list.  They sell for $15 each plus shipping, but one is yours FREE when you renew your Membership.

 

If you have been a Member for five or more consecutive years, you may also select any of the great Sharkhunters videotapes IN ADDITION TO the audio CD.  Let us know your selection & the videotape too will be sent, also FREE.

 

Members love this program.  Do we have your credit card information?  If not, just send it here and you are on the list for simple automatic renewal.  Cancel anytime you wish.

 

 


 

thru PETER’s PERISCOPE

 

PETER HANSEN (251-LIFE-1987) spent time working for the Abwehr (the German Secret Service) during World War II.  His information is known to a mere handful of people.  He gives this secret information only to Sharkhunters.

 


 

Here we continue with some of the specific information pertinent to various U-Boat Skippers available nowhere else.

___________________________

 

Wolfgang Hermann became a Korvettenkapitän on the 1st of August 1942.  Hermann was a naval communications and publicity officer until March of 1941 when he underwent U-Boat training in the Baltic followed by three months of U-Boat commander training ending in January of 1942.  Thereafter Hermann was appointed as prospective commander of U-662, a Type VII-C U-Boat still in the final stages of construction, which he commissioned on the 9th of April 1942 and commanded through the 14th of February 1943.

 

After all the customary trials, tests and exercises in the Baltic Sea, U-662 left Kiel on the 22nd of September 1942 on her first war patrol, reaching Lorient, France on the 18th of November 1942.

 

U-662 left Lorient again on the 19th of December 1942 and went to her actual base homeport Saint Nazaire on the 7th of February 1943 when Hermann was replaced as commander of U-662 and transferred to the Naval High Command in Berlin as communications director, filling that position through January of 1944.  Hermann actually sunk one steamer already previously torpedoed by U-591, giving the floating wreck the coup de grace, but was not allocated any actual sinking credit.

 

From Feb. ‘44 to the end of the war, Hermann commanded several mine barrier detonating ships including mine barrier buster #11.

________________________________

 

Hans-Joachim Rahmlow became Kapitänleutnant on the 1st of June 1937 and remained the most senior Kapitänleutnant in the naval ranking list because, as previously reported in detail, Rahmlow, who had only commanded shore based naval gunnery units until March of 1940 when he was ordered to take U-Boat training in the Baltic which lasted through September of 1940.

 

Rahmlow served for a month as understudy commander (Kommandantenschüler) aboard U-48 while she was in port between war patrols.  Rahmlow then commanded the Type II coastal boat U-58 in the Baltic for four months before he was transferred as prospective commander of U-570 in Hamburg which he commissioned on the 15th of May 1941.

 

EDITOR NOTE – When an officer of a higher rank was going to learn the details of command, he was put aboard another boats as Kommandantenschüler rather than I.W.O.

 

Rahmlow should have never been given command of a U-Boat much less kept on as commander after the various Baltic sea trials, tests and exercises BECAUSE he lacked seamanship, became seasick with even very slight seas and simply was incapable to lead and direct a crew of men.

 

Most of the men who had any ability and experience requested and secured other assignments, as Rahmlow was an awful commander and nobody could understand how U-570 passed the Agru Front exercises at all.  Through these requests for transfers and other assignments, U-570 had a third-class tripulation which included the officers.  Rahmlow surrendered U-570 on her first war patrol to British airplanes on 27 August 1941, which radioed for surface ships to take over U-570.  The rest of this capture was already reported some time ago in earlier issues of this publication.

 

EDITOR NOTE – Rahmlow was probably responsible for the loss of more U-Boats and more U-Fahrer than any other man in WW II.

______________________________

 

Werner Hartenstein became a Korvettenkapitän on the 1st of June 1942.  Hartenstein had been a commander of various torpedo boats until February of 1941.  He undertook U-Boat training in the Baltic from March through August of 1941, which included schooling and training for prospective U-Boat commanders.

 

Thereafter Hartenstein took over U-156, still in the final stages of construction, a Type IX-C U-Boat of the largest type, and commissioned U-156 on the 4th of September 1941, leading her through the string of trials, tests and exercises that were required in the Baltic Sea to get U-Boats ready for operations.  On the 24th of December 1941, U-156 departed from Kiel on her first war patrol, a transfer voyage to Lorient, France.  Thereafter U-156 made three long war patrols under Werner Hartenstein’s command in the Caribbean Sea and the South Atlantic.

 

On the fifth war patrol, after U-156 had left Lorient on the 16th of January 1943, she was sunk with all hands on 8 March 1943 east of Barbados by a Catalina aircraft commanded by Lt. J. E. Dryden.

 

EDITOR NOTE – The Catalina crew saw several men in the water after the boat went down, and they dropped life rafts to them but by the time a surface search reached the scene, all were gone.

 

Hartenstein had sunk on his operations, twenty confirmed ships with together 100,747 tons, was awarded the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross and placed in position #29 of the confirmed commanders sinking list.  This made Werner Hartenstein one of the true “ACES” – that is, those 30 U-Boat commanders, all of whom sunk 100,000 confirmed tons of shipping or more.

 

(continued next page)

 

PAGE 17

 

PETER’s PERISCOPE   (continued)

 

Amongst the ships sunk on the 12th of September 1942 was the British passenger liner LACONIA with 19,695 gross tons, operating as troop transport and prisoner of war transporter.  Because that particular sinking in the South Atlantic off the coast of West Africa turned into one of the most spectacular sinkings in the entire war, all the details are reported hereafter what concerns the American operations against U-156, which was kept secret for many, many years.

 

However – before furnishing that entire text lateron, I would like to talk about another officer of the Crew (class) 1928 whom very few people knew and even fewer still remember, namely Korvettenkapitän Alfred Kranzfelder.  He had one of the highest IQs of both his class as well as naval officers in general.

 

Kranzfelder had become an international relations specialist and admiralty staff officer at the OKM, the Naval High Command in Berlin and was involved for several years with all international and foreign matters and needs of the German Navy, which included the evaluation of such matters upon naval actions, undertakings and operations in international waters.  After the war started, Alfred Kranzfelder gradually also took over looking after foreign prisoners of war, as their numbers were initially quite small but grew with the length of the war and additional nationalities were captured.  Kranzfelder also dealt with the various diplomatic representatives including those of the protective powers for these different prisoners of war and their relations in the prisoner of war camps that were operated by the German Navy.  Prisoners of war who were members of foreign armies or air forces were not placed into naval custody, but others operated by the German Army or Luftwaffe (Air Force) separately.

 

Apart from a demanding schedule dealing with the diplomatic representatives in Berlin, Kranzfelder also handled the relations with the International Red Cross agencies and sub-organizations.  This called for a constantly increasing mountain of paperwork in addition to talking with these different diplomatic representatives, which usually also included the foreign naval or military attachés.

 

Due to these international connections, Kranzfelder occasionally became involved in matters of secrecy and, if required, passed these along to the Naval Abwehr coordinators in Berlin or elsewhere especially if this called for assistance in PoW matters and cases including early repatriation of gravely wounded or serious sickness situations.  Kranzfelder was respected and known for the clarity of his reports and decisions.

 

Since 1938, Kranzfelder had become acquainted with those army circles which opposed the Hitler regime and the Nazi policies increasingly particularly those pushed by Himmler and Göring that were more and more frequently imposed upon the German armed forces.  Over the years, Alfred Kranzfelder had gained the full confidence and the trust of these higher Army circles and he was gradually absorbed by them as a respected, serious and unrelenting opponent of the Hitler regime.

 

Kranzfelder, due to his international connections, had become one of the first German officers who was convinced that only the total elimination of Hitler, Himmler and Göring plus a few other top Nazis, would allow a successful overthrow of the Hitler and SS regimes, to end the terrible war before Germany was bombed to pieces and millions more people would be needlessly slaughtered.

(continued next page)

 

Loss of the ANTILLA

 

This is sent to us by CHARLES EVERETT (2187-1992) and he translated it from the Amerika Woche newspaper.

 

Off the shores of Aruba lies the remains of the ANTILLA which was sunk in the World War.  A few hundred meters off the coast of Aruba in shallow water rests the remains of the German freighter ANTILLA.  Like man made islands, the rusting steel from one mast and bridge area protrude out of the water and provide a quiet peaceful resting place for swarms of seagulls and pelicans

       The freighter ANTILLA only had a short lifespan.  In 1939 the ANTILLA, a 133-meter long ship, was produced by the Hamburg Finkerwarder shipyard and was commissioned.  It sank on the 11th of May 1940 outside the harbor of Orangeburg, the capital of the island of Aruba, which at that time belonged to the colonial possessions of Holland.

       Aruba lies some 30 kilometers north of Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea. In the 15th century, Spanish explorers discovered this beautiful tropical paradise.  During the Dutch-Spanish conflict, Holland set up a naval facility on the island.  After the defeat of Spain by England, the island changed ownership for a brief period.  After the defeat of Napoleon in 1814, the Vienna Congress (a coalition of winning powers) redrew the borders of Europe.  The result was that Aruba was ceded to the Dutch Crown as well as the islands of Bonaire, St. Marten, St. Eustatius and Saba which form the Dutch Antilles Island Chain.

       In the First and Second World Wars, this heavenly island all of a sudden played an important part in the delivery of essential war materials.  In the First World War, Aruba delivered Calcium Phosphate (Guano) which can be used as an artificial fertilizer and explosive powder.  In the Second World War Aruba played an important part in the delivery of petroleum to the Allies, which were fighting the Axis Powers.  Aruba delivered some 8% of the petroleum used by the Allies.

       It was this reason that the waters around Aruba became an operational area for the German U-Boat & other naval units whose objective was to destroy the Allied tankers operating in this area.

       Beginning of May 1940 as Europe was experiencing numerous military matters, the German freighter ANTILLES was anchored in the water outside of Aruba.  On the 10th of May, Fallshirmjäger (German paratroops) take Rotterdam and The Hague.  The Maginot Line is bypassed by General von Rundstedt’s Army, which pushed through Holland and Belgium into France.  Queen Wilhelmina flees from Holland to England.  Four days later the Dutch Army capitulates. The war has broken out between Holland and Germany and several thousand miles away, the peaceful island of Aruba is brought into the war.

       Having no information as to the escalating military conditions in Europe, the German freighter ANTILLA sits in Dutch territorial waters.  A hastily assembled Dutch fleet encircles the ANTILLA.

       The Dutch authorities issue a 24 hour ultimatum – an ultimatum which the commander of ANTILLA, Captain Schmidt, reacts to.  He will scuttle his ship!  As Captain Schmidt and the 46 crew members proceed away from the ship in lifeboats, various detonations rip the middle of the ship apart.  The ANTILLA sank.

       A few days after their capture, Captain Schmidt and the crew are transported to the PoW camp on Bonaire.  On the way there, the crew pass the remains of their once proud ship.  It is a great irony of the Second World War and in history that a German ship was commissioned with the name ANTILLA and then sunk in the far distance in an island group in the Dutch Antilles.

 

PETER’s PERISCOPE   (continued)

Karl Dönitz had pushed the German Navy steadily closer and closer to the Hitler regime and its ideas, intentions and political interests because Karl Dönitz admired Hitler increasingly more as the war turned increasingly total.  Although Dönitz disliked some of the fulltime Nazi Party functionaries and their incompetence in many ways, apart from their borderline moral behavior.  Consequently the Army plotters against the Hitler regime had correctly concluded that they could never count on Dönitz or the German Navy for any active support of their plans and actions.

 

Therefore, Alfred Kranzfelder was instructed to keep an close eye on Karl Dönitz and his whereabouts whenever possible, thereby hoping to eventually isolate Dönitz and his camarilla of Yes Men at least for a period of time once the Hitler regime was finally overthrown by the plotters.  Naturally, this was almost an impossibility for one single man who had an extremely heavy work schedule to handle.

 

After the attempt by Colonel Claus Schenk Count von Stauffenberg failed to kill Hitler on the 20th of July 1944 at Hitler’s headquarters, the ‘Wolfsschanze’ near Rastenburg in East Prussia, it became impossible to hide the activities of Alfred Kranzfelder and he was immediately arrested by the Gestapo.  It indicates his importance that Kranzfelder was included in the first group of marshals and generals who were dragged before the infamous Volksgericht (People’s Court)” and sentenced to death by this purely political court inspired by Stalin’s special courts in Soviet Russia in the thirties.  Alfred Kranzfelder was the only lower ranked officer condemned by this show court at the direct demand of Gestapo Müller and Heinrich Himmler jointly.  This attests his importance in the overthrow movement.

 

Dönitz had immediately arranged to kick out Alfred Kranzfelder from the Navy and remove him from the active officers ranking list at the same time…to make it possible to bring Alfred Kranzfelder before this political court and into the first show trial because he now was viewed as a civilian and could be hanged without delay or appeal because as a naval officer, Alfred Kranzfelder would have been entitled to be judged by a naval officers military court.  While this would have made little difference in the end, during that time in history Kranzfelder would have been shot, in my experience, instead of hanged – that is the end result would have been the same however for his surviving family this would have made some legal and official difference in the long run in certain respects.

EDITOR NOTE – In these special hangings for those who tried to kill Hitler, they were not hanged in the normal manner.  Instead, they had piano wire wrapped around their necks then hoisted and the wire looped around a hook and the men were lowered.  The end result was that they were more or less garroted.  Movies were shot as they dangled on the end of the wire, perhaps as a message that it isn’t wise to try further assassinations.

 

It is rather significant that Alfred Kranzfelder is today practically an unknown officer and person for the German Federal Navy and the various political groups in power.

More from PETER in KTB #183 next month.

Eichenlaubträger

During World War II, only 29 of these were awarded to men of the U-Bootwaffe……Großadmiral Dönitz and 28 Skippers.

The 4th Oak Leaf was awarded to Kapitänleutnant HEINRICH LIEBE (1670-+-1990), Skipper of U-38.  The award was made on 10 June 1941.  After the war, LIEBE was in the Soviet portion of Germany and they Soviet Navy demanded that he train Soviet submariners.  He refused, and so was not allowed to have any kind of decent work - he could only do menial labor.

The 5th Oak Leaf was awarded to Oberleutnant zur See Engelbert Endrass, Skipper of U-46 and U-567.  The award was made 10 June 1941.  As I.W.O. on U-47, he was instrumental in sinking the Royal Navy battleship HMS ROYAL OAK in Scapa Flow.

 

    

 

 

The 6th Oak Leaf was awarded to Kapitänleutnant HERBERT SCHULTZE (191-+-1986), Skipper of U-48.  The award was made 12 June 1941.

 

This award was not handed out freely.  In the early stages of the war, it required sinking of two capitol ships (battleships, cruisers, aircraft carriers etc.) or a combined tonnage total of 200,000 tons of shipping.  Naturally, there were exceptions to this rule depending on a great many factors.

____________________________

 

We need a list of all the USN recipients of the Navy Cross.  We would appreciate it if someone would help out here.  Thanks.

 

 


 

  On Eternal Patrol  

Over the years and especially as the age of the veterans increase, more and more are leaving us.  We list them here and remember them in our hearts.  They are listed in the order of their Membership Number.

 


 

ALBERT ROHDE (9-1983)

 

Albert Rohde was radioman aboard U-957 and also U-2551 under the same Skipper, Gerd Schaar.  He became an American citizen shortly after the war, and lived in a suburb of Chicago.

____________________________

 

ERNST SCHMIDT   (10-1983)

Ernst was II. W. O. on board U-345 then with the same C.O., aboard U-821.  It was Ernst who designed the conning tower emblems for both boats seen above.  He was luckily transferred off U-821 and sent to Commander's School but the boat did not return from her next mission.  In Commander's School, he was roommate with Hans-Georg Hess (125-LIFE-1985).

 

____________________________

 

GOTTFRIED KÖNIG  (14-1983)

 

Kapitänleutnant König was I.W.O. on U-181 under the famed Wolfgang Lüth on their voyage of more than 220 days.

____________________________

 

K-F MERTEN   (23-1984)

 

Kapitän Merten was born 15 August 1908 in Posen and he was in the Naval Class 1926.  His only U-Boat command was U-68, but he was highly successful with that boat, sinking some 29 ships with a total of 180,869 gross tons.


When just a Leutnant zur See, he was Gunnery Officer aboard the cruiser KÖNIGSBERG then he was posted to T-157.  Later he was commanding officer of the escort vessel F-7 and then became Cadet Training Officer aboard the old coal burner SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN but he wanted service in the U-Bootwaffe.

 

PAGE 20

Early on in 1940 he volunteered for the U-Bootwaffe and later sailed aboard U-38 under Heinrich Liebe (1670-1990) as Kommandantenschüler (Commander in Training).  Upon completing his training, he commissioned the Type IX-C long range U-68 at her AG Weser building yards in Bremen on 11 February 1941.  He commanded this boat on five very successful war patrols.  One of his most notable accomplishments was commanding the rescue effort that brought many U-Boats together in the South Atlantic to rescue the survivors of the raiders PYTHON and ATLANTIS after their crews scuttled the ships.  Under Merten's command, several U-Boats literally towed the lifeboats all the way back to the French ports.


Merten later was posted to command the 26th U-Bootflottille at Pillau and lateron, he commanded the 24th U-Bootflottille at Memel.  He was instrumental in the safe evacuation of some 50,000 civilian inhabitants and 6,000 Hitler Youth out of Memel at the Red Army was closing in.


After the war, he evaded the conquering Allies until October 1948 when he was arrested and brought before the Primaire Tribunal in France.  The French hatred of the Germans notwithstanding, Merten was released in March 1949.


Captain Merten was with us for our 2nd Sharkhunters Convention when he joined us in Hamburg and spent the day riding the harbor tour with our group, signing autographs etc.  Captain Merten also sent us some combat films taken of his boat and from his boat, which we converted into videotape H-8 for our Members.  In a letter to Sharkhunters in the late 1980's, Captain Merten said that he would help Sharkhunters to his utmost because he wanted us to keep the history of his comrades alive and historically correct.

_____________________________

 

JIM LOCKWOOD   (31-1984)

 

Jim was born around the turn of the last century in Rockford, Illinois - about 45 miles NW of the city of Chicago.  He had a love of the water and in the late 1920's, sat for some 20 minutes at the bottom of the Rockford Boy's Club swimming pool, breathing from an air bottle he had stuffed into a rucksack - and that was the beginning of SCUBA technology.


He became very wealthy in later life and donated much to his native town of Rockford, including a large city park.

 


 

Patrol” in Northern Germany and Poland

Saturday 24 September Friday 7 October 2005

We stay in nice hotels with massive breakfasts and we see the harbor where BISMARCK was built.

     

We go into the secret, hidden command bunker of Großadmiral Karl Dönitz outside Berlin, off limits to most.  In Kiel, we visit the German Navy Memorial and tour through the only Type VII-C left in the world and we visit the U-Boat Memorial where Sharkhunters has sent more than $6,500 in past years.


 

 

HIGH POINTS of this “Patrol” include:

     Brandenburg Gate

     Checkpoint Charlie

     Allied Troop Museum

     Berlin Wall

     The spot where von Stauffenberg was shot

     the place of the book burning

     the Command bunker of Karl Dönitz

     Caecilianhof (Potsdam)

     The home and bunker complex of Goebbels

     Bunkers and Flak tower

 

Remember – these are only the high points.  There isn’t enough room to list everything and remember, we’ll be meeting with many veterans along the way and they’re happy to sign autographs.

 

Hamburg

 

We enjoy a special tour of the magnificent private museum of Peter Tamm, probably the most impressive naval museum in the world where, among other tremendously rare items, you’ll see the Admiralstab of Erich Raeder, Karl Dönitz as well as uniforms of the Kaiser and the great admirals of Germany’s Navy.

 

www.sharkhunters.com

 

And while in Hamburg, we lay flowers on the grave of Großadmiral Karl Dönitz (photo right) then we meet for lunch with friends and veterans from the area.

 

Off to

Berlin

 

Our deluxe motorcoach departs Hamburg for our hotel in Berlin, Germany’s historic capital city where we visit places not open to the ordinary tourist – but Sharkhunters are welcome in places where others are not.  In Berlin, we will:

 

For the serious shopper – Berlin is one of the most

cosmopolitan cities in Europe – in the world, for that matter.  We will spend time in the most famous and most exclusive – and the most expensive shops in this old city – the KDW.  We will visit bookshops that feature excellent books on the Third Reich that we could not find anywhere else.  There will be shopping tours for those wanting to go.  Shop till you drop – or relax at anything else you wish to do.  The choice is yours.

 

PAGE 21


 

Patrol” in Northern Germany and Poland


 

In Berlin

As already mentioned, there are so many really interesting things to do – places to see and visit, people to meet and share experiences with…..just too much to put here, but there is more on the website.  Here are a couple places we will visit:

 

     Brandenburg Gate          the Reichstag

 

POLAND on the Oder River

The town of Küstrin hasn’t changed since the Red Army massed here for the great artillery and armor battle with the remnants of the Wehrmacht and crossed the Oder River bound for Berlin.

 

No houses are standing – no shops or churches…..only basements.  This is a testament to the ferocity of the battle that raged here sixty years ago.  We will walk the streets with no houses, go down into the crypt beneath the remains of the castle – we will live that day in history in 1945 when the curtain was closing on the Reich.

 

More History……….

We have a special tour of eerie Wewelsburg Castle where Heinrich Himmler tried to resurrect the Knights of the Teutonic Order and we are in the special crypt where young SS officers took their oath (photo below left) and we enjoy lunch in a former SS officers club.  The Hitler Youth Cellar is exactly as it was in the war years – and we have our lunch there in the Hitler Youth Cellar! (below rt.)

   

 

1 (866) 258-2188        sharkhunters@earthlink.net

Alte Tante Ju’ & the ‘Butcher Bird

We visit a fully restored Ju 52 that was one of those in the Norway Action.  She landed on a frozen lake and was unable to take off, so with the spring thaws, she and her sisters broke through and sank.  Some years ago, she was salvaged and restored to her original condition.  There are many other planes to see at this museum.

 

ALTE TANTE JU             the BUTCHER BIRD

We visit the famed Luftwaffe Museum and have it to ourselves.  Our guides, usually Luftwaffe veterans, take us through this beautiful museum and we are encouraged to climb the ladders and take photos inside the cockpits of the beautifully restored Me 109 and the FW 190 that Göring called the ‘Butcher Bird’.

 

We enjoy a special Sharkhunters only tour of the U-Boat Archives that works so closely with us. Its founder and curator says that only his archive and Sharkhunters tell the history of the U-Bootwaffe honestly.  All others, in his words, are ‘nonsense makers’.

 

      the Archives                    Dönitz’ Bunker

 

We visit U-2540, the only Type XXI ‘Electro-Boot’ in the world.

Your low tour price of $1,993 includes:

·         All hotels (based on double occupancy)

($600 for single room supplement)

·         All transportation aboard our deluxe motorcoach

·         All breakfasts

·         Entry to all places listed

·         All meetings with the veterans

 

Naturally, there will be much more than space allows here.  Any questions?  Just call for the answers but don’t wait too long – we expect this “Patrol” to fill quickly.


 

The Silent Service

USS MARLIN  (SS 205)

 


 

Built by:                                                Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

Design:                                   Government

Keel laid:                               28 May 1940

Launched:                            29 January 1941

Sponsor:                                                Mrs. J. D. Wainwright

Commissioned:                    1 August 1941

First Skipper:                        Lt. George A. Sharp

 

There is no combat history for USS MARLIN because she was never in combat.  She was a training submarine but not to train submariners – she was used to train ASW surface ships in ASW tactics.  In short – she was a target for American destroyers that were training.  George A. Sharp was her only Skipper.

 

She was decommissioned on 9 November 1945 and on 29 March 1946, was sold to Boston Metal in Baltimore, MD for scrap.  It appears that this boat was not scrapped but rather ended up in Freedom Park in East Omaha, Nebraska – a long way from the sea.

___________________________

 

Both USS MACKEREL (SS 204) and USS MARLIN (SS 205) were built to similar specifications:

·         Length  238’ 11”

·         Beam      21’ 8”

·         Draft       12’ 1”

·         Displacement 825/1,179 tons

·         Power  (diesel)………….. 3,360 hp

Engines in SS 204 by EB; in SS 205 by Alco

                            (electric)………..    1,500 hp  (120 cells

Motors in SS 204 by Electro-Dynamic; in SS 205 by GE

·         Speed (diesel)……………..16 knots

           (electric)…………..   9 knots

·         Bunkers……….. 29,000 gallons

·         Range………………..unknown

·         Tubes…………..six 21” tubes

(carried 12 torpedoes)

·         Deck gun……… single 3”/50 cal

·         Automatic guns…… two .50 cal and two .30 cal.

·         Depth of dive – 250 feet

·         Complement – 4 officers, 34 men

 

 

Which Schütze?

 

CARL JEPPESEN (4745-1995) has acquired a pair of U-Boat binoculars with the name ‘Schütze’ and ‘Ost’ scratched into them.  There were two Skippers and six Watch Officers with this name.  He would like to know to which Schütze they belonged, so if any Member can tell us FOR CERTAIN, please contact us at HQ.

 

 

American Submarine

Quiz from KTB #181

 

Did you know the answers to the questions in KTB #181?

 

The Galloping Ghost of the Japanese coast was USS TRIGGER (SS 237).  There is a fantastic poem in the book ‘Submarine’ written by Captain NED’ BEACH (1163-+-1989) about this boat and we will reprint it when we profile USS TRIGGER.

 

The Galloping Ghost of the China coast was USS BARB (SS 220) under command of our friend RADM GENE FLUCKEY (2169-LIFE-1992).  Did you know this bit of submarine history?

 

 

Mysterious Japanese Submarine

on San Telmo Island?

 

BARRY MONROE (4775-1996) stumbled onto a website that speaks of a “mysterious Japanese submarine” on San Telmo Island (in the Pearl Islands – Perlas Archipelago) and he would like to have some input from anyone who knows of this submarine.  In the website, the question first was asked if there was a Japanese submarine there, secondly – why was it there – and finally, if it was there…..what became of the crew?

 

BARRY supplied photos of the alleged Japanese submarine – but was it Japanese?  If so, what was a small Japanese submarine doing off the Panama Canal on the Pacific Ocean side and how did it get there?  They certainly did not have the range by themselves and we do not know of any Japanese mini-submarines brought by the big I-Boats and launched in those waters.

 

So who can help BARRY with his questions?

·         Is this really a Japanese mini-submarine?

·         What was its mission?

·         How did it get there?

·         What became of the crew?

 

Your factual answers will be appreciated – thanks in advance.

_____________________________

 

All questions are all given serious consideration and answers are supplied where at all possible.

PAGE 23

 

 


 

BULLETIN  BOARD


 

 


 

JOHN CENTURONI (5882-1999) sent this off the Internet.  It is purported to be a letter from an officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN.  According to the text, the officer is using the pseudonym of Ed Stanton.  Judge for yourself.

 

It has been three weeks since my ship, the USS Abraham Lincoln, arrived off the Sumatran coast to aid the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami that ravaged their coastline.  I'd like to say that this has been a rewarding experience for us, but it has not.  Instead, it has been a frustrating and needlessly dangerous exercise made even more difficult by the Indonesian government and a traveling circus of so-called aid workers who have invaded our spaces.

 

What really irritated me was a scene I witnessed in the Lincoln's wardroom a few days ago.  I went in for breakfast as I usually do, expecting to see the usual crowd of ship's company officers in khakis and air wing aviators in flight suits, drinking coffee and exchanging rumors about when our ongoing humanitarian mission in Sumatra is going to end.

 

What I saw instead was a mob of civilians sitting around like they owned the place.  They wore various colored vests with logos on the back including Save The Children, World Health Organization and the dreaded baby blue vest of the United Nations.  Mixed in with this crowd were a bunch of reporters, cameramen and Indonesian military officers in uniform.  They all carried cameras, sunglasses & fanny packs like tourists on their way to Disneyland.


My warship had been transformed into a floating hotel for a bunch of trifling do-gooders overnight.  As I went through the breakfast line, I overheard one of the U.N. strap-hangers, a longhaired guy with a beard, make a sarcastic comment to one of our food servers.  He said something along the lines of "Nice china, really makes me feel special," in reference to the fact that we were eating off of paper plates that day.  It was all I could do to keep from jerking him off his feet and choking him, because I knew that the reason we were eating off paper plates was to save dishwashing water so that we would have more water to send ashore and save lives plus the fact he had no business being there in the first place.

 

My attitude towards these unwanted no-loads grew steadily worse that day as I learned more from one of our junior officers who was assigned to escort a group of them.  It turns out that they had come to Indonesia to "assess the damage" from the Dec. 26 tsunami.


Well, they could have turned on any TV in the world and seen that the damage was total devastation.  When they got to Sumatra with no plan, no logistics support and no five-star hotels to stay in, they threw themselves on the mercy of the U.S. Navy which, unfortunately, took them in.  I guess our senior brass was hoping for some good PR since this was about the time that the U.N. was calling the United States "stingy" with our relief donations.

 

As a result of having to host these people, our severely over-tasked SH-60 Seahawk helos, which were carrying tons of food and water every day to the most inaccessible places in and around Banda Aceh, are now used in great part to ferry these "relief workers"

 

PAGE 24

from place to place every day and bring them back to their guest bedrooms on the Lincoln at night.  Despite their avowed dedication to helping the victims, these relief workers will not spend the night in-country and have made us their guardians by default.


When our wardroom treasurer approached the leader of the relief group and asked him who was paying the mess bill for all the meals they ate, the fellow replied, "We aren't paying, you can try to bill the U.N. if you want to."


In addition to the relief workers, we routinely get tasked with hauling around reporters and various low-level "VIPs," which further wastes valuable helo lift that could be used to carry supplies.  We had to dedicate two helos and a C-2 cargo plane for America-hater Dan Rather and his entourage of door holders and briefcase carriers from CBS News.  Another camera crew was from MTV.  Doubt we'll get any good PR from them, since the cable channel is banned in Muslim countries.  We also had to dedicate a helo and crew to fly around the vice mayor of Phoenix, Ariz., one day.  Everyone wants in on the action.


As for the Indonesian officers, while their job is apparently to encourage our leaving as soon as possible, all they seem to do in the meantime is smoke cigarettes.  They want our money and our help but they don't want their population to see that Americans are doing far more for them in two weeks than their own government has ever done or will ever do for them.

 
To add a kick in the face to the USA and the Lincoln, the Indonesian government announced it would not allow us to use their airspace for routine training and flight proficiency operations while we are saving the lives of their people, some of whom are wearing Osama bin Ladin T-shirts as they grab at our food and water.  The ship has to steam out into international waters to launch and recover jets, which makes our helos have to fly longer distances and burn more fuel.


What is even worse than trying to help people who totally reject everything we stand for is that our combat readiness has suffered for it.  An aircraft carrier is an instrument of national policy and the big stick she carries is her air wing.  An air wing has a set of very demanding skills and they are highly perishable.  We train hard every day at sea to conduct actual air strikes, air defense, maritime surveillance, close air support and many other missions not to mention taking off and landing on a ship at sea.


Our safety regulations state that if a pilot does not get a night carrier landing every seven days, he has to be re-qualified to land on the ship.  Today we have pilots who have now been over 25 days without a trap due to being unable to use Indonesian airspace to train.  Normally it is when we are at sea that our readiness is at its very peak.  Thanks to the Indonesian government, we have to waive our own safety rules just to get our pilots off the deck.


In other words, the longer we stay here helping these people, the more dangerous it gets for us to operate.  We have already lost one helicopter, which crashed in Banda Aceh while taking sailors ashore to unload supplies from the C-130s.  There were no relief workers on that one.                (continued next page)

From the Carrier USS LINCOLN

 

I'm all for helping the less fortunate, but it is time to give this mission to somebody other than the U.S. Navy.  Our ship was supposed to be home on Feb. 3 and now we have no idea how long we will be here.  American taxpayers are spending millions per day to keep this ship at sea and getting no training value out of it.  As a result, we’ll come home in a lower state of readiness than we left due to the lack of flying while supporting the tsunami relief effort.


I hope we get some good PR in the Muslim world out of it.  After all, this is Americans saving the lives of Muslims.  I doubt it.

____________________________


JUEL EDWARDS (1648-2001) quickly points out that Ed Stanton was the name of President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of War.  As we cautioned at the beginning of this piece – read carefully and judge for yourself.

 

JOHN – thanks for sending it on to us.

 

 

71 Countries

 

We continue with the list of countries in which there are Members of Sharkhunters.  We list only the name and Membership Number of the first Member in each country for obvious reasons.

 

#            COUNTRY       MEMBER

26.          South Africa         SUB. WARDROOM (1425-1990)

27.          Columbia              Dr. LUCIO MICHAELIS (1485-1990)

28.          Singapore              CHIA SENG CHEE (1555-1990)

29.          Monte Carlo         Dr CLAUDE PALLANCA (1560-1990)

30.          Poland                   JOSEF SKATECKI (1566-1990)

 

Thanks again to ART AYDELOTTE (787-C/LIFE-1988) for suggesting that we get this list back into the KTB.  Remember, the sun never sets on Sharkhunters Members around the world.

 

 

What is YOUR email?

 

Remember we ask that question in each issue of our KTB Magazine right now and the simple reason – we send out HOT MAIL messages almost daily with news from the submarine world.

 

It doesn’t cost you anything and you will get up to the minute news as it happens.  Don’t wait – send us your email address to our email address which is    sharkhunters@earthlink.net    and tell us that you want to be included in the daily HOT MAIL messages.  You will begin to receive these updates – FREE!

 

Naturally, if you’re already receiving these HOT MAIL messages it is not necessary to send us another email.

Historic New Videotape

Moonwalk

The First Man on the Moon?  Did the United States actually place a man on the moon?  Or was it merely Hollywood?


At the time of the moon shots, the Cold War was at its height and a major coup such as landing a man on the moon would have great value, so this became a war of images.  On this videotape, brought from a German source, you’ll listen to interviews of those who were there - who would know what is truth and what is fiction.


According to this tape, Walt Disney was consulted and his studios used in part.  Stanley Kubrick was the man to pull it all together.  We watch President Richard Nixon rehearsing a speech he would have to make if the men did land on the moon and failed to return.


General Alexander Haig came up with the plan to fake the actual moon landing in a Hollywood movie set, and Donald Rumsfeld brought it to Nixon.  He agreed, and they went into rapid production – according to the interviews on this tape.

 

When handed the slip of paper on which was written:

       "One small step for man;
         One giant leap for mankind!
"

Astronaut Neal Armstrong's comment was,                  

"Who wrote that crap?"


As the astronauts walked to the launch pad that morning, he was heard on his helmet radio if he could have a window seat, where was the duty free shop, what was the in flight movie and what were they serving for dinner.  Glaring errors are pointed out in the film of the moon landing along with some hilarious chat on the helmet radios of the men on the moon - nothing you’d expect two men making the first footprints on the moon would be saying.

 

There are interviews with:

Christiane Kubrick       Godfrey Hoffman, CIA          Jan Harlan

    Fahrouk Elbaz, NASA       David Scott - Apollo 15 astronaut

          Jack Torrence          Buzz Aldrin - astronaut       Lois Aldrin

Eve Kendall, Nixon's Secretary     David Bowman, NASA Houston

     Richard Helms – CIA      General Vernon Walters – CIA

      Dimitri Muffley - CIA/KGB     Ambrose Chapel - CIA

and the most revealing information comes from interviews with:
Donald Rumsfeld,  General Alexander Haig,  Henry Kissinger and Lawrence Eagleberger.  Many of the production crew that worked on the production met with strange - and sudden - deaths, including General Vernon Walters, CIA.


Did Americans walk on the moon or was this just a very expensive Hollywood production made to fool the world and the Soviets in particular?  Look at the film and you decide.  The interviews are spoken in English.


Order Tape H-155      Only $30     (plus $5 S/H)


 

Scuttlebutt from SANTOS

Another Submarine Story from JAMES SANTOS (4896-A/LIFE-1996)

 


 

This story comes through JAMES SANTOS from a submarine sailor named Paul Wittmer who served as a member of the US crew who brought I-401 to Pearl Harbor from Japan after the war.  He also made war patrols on USS TINOSA (SS-283) and later served on USS GROUPER (SS-214).

___________________________

 

Time and circumstances dictated a different adventure for those who left TINOSA after the 10th patrol.  We missed the experiences of the 11th run into the Sea of Japan, through the minefields, but fate had us slated to visit strange lands, and be among strange people on board the most unusual submarines of their time.


TINOSA pulled into Guam after a short 10th patrol and some of us rotated into the relief crews on board the USS PROTEUS.  Pace of life was different, more work!  Boats were being refitted around the clock using three shifts whenever possible.  On occasion we were permitted a day at camp Dealy but we had to work for the privilege.  After a few months we heard about some new bombs that were dropped on Japan.  Within a week the news came that the Japanese capitulated.  There was great excitement throughout the harbor that lasted for days.  We, on board PROTEUS loaded stores and made ready for sea ... in a hurry.

 

For the next few weeks at Guam and other places, many ships were homeward bound with men who had accumulated enough points to be processed for discharge.  They were going home, and those in the regular Navy, like myself, were staying.


The Third Fleet sailed north and PROTEUS was among this armada.  That sight alone was most impressive.  We anchored in Tokyo Bay in line with the battleship MISSOURI and Mount Fujiyama.  On the evening before the official signing of the surrender documents (on board the MISSOURI), we, on PROTEUS were privileged to witness the sun setting directly behind Mount Fujiyama with the battleship MISSOURI in the foreground - a grand and fitting finale.

 

About this time, three of the largest submarines in the world, I-14, I-400 and I-401 were encouraged, with the assistance of armed prize crews, to put into Tokyo Bay.  Eventually they would tie up alongside the tender PROTEUS complete with their Japanese crews and pets.  The prize crews were selected from the available men in the relief crews and would be assigned to each of the three I boats.  Some of the former TINOSA men that I can recall as prize crewmen were Warner Cross, Don Pierson, Herb Citrin, Clyde Gallardy, Steve Hovanic, and myself.

On the bridge of I-400 on patrol

 

I-401 was boarded at sea by SEGUNDO.  One of these two large boats had to be encouraged and boarded at the entrance to the bay because the Japanese balked at bringing their boat into Tokyo Bay,

 

PAGE 26

not their homeport.  I remember this well because I was one of the boarding party.  We received an urgent message about the refusal of this I-boat to enter the bay & on board PROTEUS assignments and orders were issued hurriedly.  We were to don our undress blues with watch caps and board a destroyer.  That destroyer poured the coals on and it was the fastest trip I had ever experienced on board any Naval vessel.

 

I-400 on patrol

 

Battle stations were called and all guns were trained on the Japanese submarine.  We were loaded into motor whaleboats and boarded at the stern.  We went below and made our way through the boat, stationing ourselves at various points hoping all the time that no one on the destroyer got excited and started shooting.  This show of force convinced the Japanese that we were intent on bringing the boat into Tokyo Bay.  Engines were started and we got underway.  At first all three boats were moored or anchored off the PROTEUS, later the Japanese boats were brought alongside the tender.  No planes, torpedoes or ammo was on board when we boarded.  There was a rumor the captain had committed suicide but this is not confirmed.

 

EDITOR NOTE – The Skipper, Tatsunosuke Arrizumi, had earlier been Skipper of I-8 and under his orders, terrible atrocities were committed on survivors, some of who survived to tell the tale.  He knew that he would be tried as a war criminal and executed, and so the suicide – but WAS it a suicide?  His body was not found on the boat and one dark night before arriving Tokyo, the boat passed very near to a point of land on the Japanese coast.  Some theorize that he jumped ship and swam ashore, never to be found.

 

Our assignments were to learn how to operate these monstrous boats.  All of us had gone through the qualification ritual on board the American boats, so we had an understanding of how to go about tracing systems, making sketches and learning enough to operate the equipment.  These boats were vastly different from American fleet type submarines.  The cross-connected piping systems gave us fits because we could pump virtually any liquid with any pump by means of the various manifolds connecting all systems.  We had fuel oil in the drinking water and on one occasion, very rapidly pumped hundreds of gallons of engine room bilges into one of the sleeping compartments, using the largest pump on board.                         (continued next page)

Scuttlebutt                (continued)

 

I recall one of the Americans was sleeping in this compartment, heard the noise of water and awoke to see his sea bag floating by his eyes.  The language and markings used on the various valves and controls at first was confusing.  Interpreter's descriptions did not make sense and did not help us to any great extent. We learned, often the hard way, what each control, valve or lever meant.

 

I-400 being captured

 

I-400 and I-401 were the largest of the three boats.  Each carried three aircraft within a sealed hanger on the main deck.  Launching equipment as well as a recovery crane were part of the system.  It had been said that these vessels were designed to bomb the Panama Canal as one of their missions – they never carried out this task.  The displacement was 5,500 tons and they drew about 27 or 29 feet of water, (as much as a battleship) and required the assistance of tugs to come into port.

 

There were two torpedo rooms forward with 4 tubes in each room.  The forward rooms were upper and lower.  There were no tubes aft.  The main section of the boat was built on the principle of two hulls side by side, port and starboard, with all the usual compartments and doors connecting all rooms both fore and aft as well as port and starboard.  All the doors were round, not elongated as on board American boats.  There were four main engines, about 3,000 horsepower each, alongside each other in the two main engine rooms.  These were coupled through reduction gears and clutches to the two main shafts & were capable of driving the boats at 23 knots surfaced. We tested them. There were two auxiliary engines with generators forward of the starboard engine room.

 

I-400 running on the surface

 

The Japanese normally carried a crew in excess of 180 men, probably over 200 on each of the larger boats.  The exodus of Americans leaving the Pacific left us with an allotment of 40 men assigned to each of these boats.  At first we directed the Japanese crewmen to clean up the boats and apply new paint as required, which was practically everywhere.  We learned all we could from the original crews and eventually they too were released to go to their homes.

 

We made trial runs with our 40 man crew and became more familiar with the operation of these boats.  We were getting more confident all the time.  Orders were received to go to Sasebo in Southern Japan.  This we did through quite a storm.  The boat rode remarkably smooth even in rough seas due primarily to the double hull construction.  This was a requirement for launching aircraft.

 

I-401 – Note the large crane on the foredeck

 

I recall the engine room watches had to be set at 6 hours on duty with 2 hours off during this three-day storm period.  The normal watch for engineering personnel was set at 6 hours on with 6 hours off duty.  I also recall the waves washing over the engine exhausts during the storm, causing the main engine cylinder pressure relief valves to pop.  With these large diesels it sounded like 40mm guns going off in the engine rooms.

 

At Sasebo, we tied up alongside the tender EURALIE.  It was at this Naval Base where we saw a variety of Japanese fleet type submarines of the I-class.  One of these boats was the 1-58 commanded by Mochitsura Hashimoto, IJN.  This is mentioned because the I-58 by an incredible series of circumstances was the boat that sank the USS INDIANAPOLIS that had carried the atom bomb on a record breaking run from California to Pearl then on to Tinian for subsequent loading on the B-29 bomber Enola Gay.

 

I-400 and I-401 dockside.  The airplane hangars are readily visible.

 

The Japanese captain Hashimoto, in his early WW II days, was torpedo officer on board I-24.  On Saturday night, December 6, 1941, 1-24 surfaced off Waikiki with 27 other Japanese submarines, five of which were engaged in launching midget submarines and 1-24 launched her midget.  Eventually Hashimoto commanded 1-58 and after several patrols he placed his boat at a crossroads of Allied traffic.  After the Indianapolis completed its bomb transport mission, it took a path which ran into I-58's area. 

 

On July 16th both ships left different ports (the same day).  These two vessels were to meet on July 30, 1945 and the outcome was disastrous for the INDIANAPOLIS and 1200 men.

 

New Videotape of History

 

STRENG GEHEIM! TOP SECRET!

This is the first look at the super-secret 212 Class Air-Independent German Submarine, said to be the most modern non-nuclear submarine in the world.

 


This tape was smuggled out of Germany at the beginning of 2005 and on this tape, we see the newest, most modern non-nuclear submarine in the world - the German 212 Class air-independent submarine capable of running engines at depths of 1,000 feet (or more) and able to remain submerged for weeks at a time.


On this tape we see the first of the 212 Class, U-31, on sea trials operating with a frigate.  There are views from the shore, by divers around the boat underwater and all through the boat - compartment by compartment and there is a thorough look inside the CIC (central control room) with views of all the high-tech equipment and displays.  There is even a look at the one item on a submarine that is always forbidden - the propeller!


There is a comparison between U-31, the newest 212 Class long-range boat to be built and U-30, the last of the old 206 Alpha Class coastal boats.  These 212 Class boats are extremely modern; streamlined, ultra-quiet and able to remain submerged for weeks at a time.  All these qualities make for a super-submarine.


Order Tape H-156        Only $30       (plus $5 S/H)

 

 

Scuttlebutt                (continued)

 

The details and history of the sinking of the INDIANAPOLIS is vividly described in the book "Abandon Ship" by Richard F. Newcomb, published by Henry Holt and Co., N.Y. 1958, 1959.  Also see "Submarines of WW II", London: Arms and Armour Press 1977, this book is by Erminio Bagnasco and has many illustrations, photos and diagrams.

 

The typical fleet type Japanese boat was of the I-58 class, about 355 feet overall and displaced 2,140 tons.  With a cruising speed of 14 knots and a maximum of 17 knots on the surface, she carried 19 torpedoes with 6 tubes forward.

The torpedoes were oxygen fueled and wakeless, with a speed of 48 knots at 5,500 meters and at 42 knots the range was nearly 5 miles.  This was a 24" diameter fish with a 1,210 pound explosive. The original construction had a hanger for an airplane but later variants were constructed to allow room on deck for Kaiten torpedoes.  The Kaiten torpedo was manned and steered by the underwater counterpart of the Kamikaze pilot.  None of these were used against the INDIANAPOLIS.

 

EDITOR NOTE – While the official record does indicate that no Kaitens were used against USS INDIANAPOLIS, Captain EDWARD BEACH (1163-+-1989) stated that I-58 did indeed use them in this action.  Captain BEACH and the Japanese Skipper, late in life a Shinto Priest, became good friends and that is how the correct story was told.

 

This boat was described as having many noisy rats that would gnaw through the rice sacks and scurry about the vessel.


While in Japan, we had occasions to go ashore on liberty parties however at the time, there wasn't much point.  The cities were in rubble, still digging out dead bodies, and the countryside smelled pretty badly, especially as you got close to a village.  Much of our time was spent close to the tender or the Naval bases.

 

It was winter at Sasebo and cold with overcast days and we were glad to leave for warmer places.  We sailed to Guam in a group of three ex-Japanese submarines with a rescue vessel along for company.  By this time we were able to drive the boats and control them pretty good with our American crews.

 

We tied up at Guam sometime in November or December and did not stay too long.  I think it was less than a week or so.  We rapidly wore out our welcome with our recently acquired habits of collecting souvenirs from the wrong places - items such as a jeep were stowed in the hanger with our motor launch and sailboat.  They wouldn’t let us sail until we gave up the water cooler.  There was no way to hide the taste of brackish oily water without chilling.  Christmas was celebrated early at Guam as is customary when sailing prior to a holiday.  We left for points eastward.

 

On the way we made a stop at an Island called Eniwetok.  We know that I-14 had some sort of a problem with one of their main engines enroute.  The rescue vessel's motor whaleboat transferred a vibration damper at sea from I-401 to I-14.  I recall proceeding at reduced speed for awhile.  Eventually we made it to Pearl Harbor.

 

It was after dark when we sailed into Pearl - all three boats in line running on engines.  We were the second boat with I-400 directly behind us.  The Squadron Commander, H. Cassidy, was in the lead boat all ready for the fanfare, news reporters, bands and greetings that were prepared.  Then our starboard main engine started to pound, we had to shut down and fast…..but there was that 1-400 right behind us!  I remember this because I was in charge of the starboard engine room.  Getting word to the bridge was something else and convincing the O.D. that I had to shut down was another.  Finally the bridge signaled to shift to batteries.  This was done with an increase in the screw RPM's and I-401 merrily sailed right past I-14.  Naturally the Squadron C.O. had a few choice words to say over the radios we carried.

(continued next page)

 

OTTO KRETSCHMER  (continued)

 

OTTO (continued):            Dönitz had to switch over to a different sort of operational control, telling them from his control station more than he needed to tell us older submariners.

       But this was something difficult for us because we had to use more communications and also telling questions and needing answers by submarines at sea.  This of course, was playing into the hands of British Intelligence.  This would play into the hands of the British Intelligence Service.  They could use their direction finder.  They could also, which we did not know for certain, maybe read our signals etc.  I, for myself, knew more about the Royal Navy because, as a midshipman, I went in for interpreter’s examination which was quite easy for me because before joining the Navy I had been one year in British university – but I had to read in the Naval Academy, I had to read all books on World War I of British authors and there was one book which had told me that the British Intelligence knew everything about the movement of submarines in World War I.  They could not read all the signals but there are some ways of how you put things in the short signals etc. etc. and I told myself as a midshipman, if I went to war, I would not use any communications myself – only when told to do so.

KRETSCHMER on receiving the dedication document for the first ever playing of the Kretschmer Marsch.  The flowers were handed to him by Fraulein von Ribbentrop.

 

Now in World War II, I was told to do so right from the beginning but our tactics in the beginning were what we like to call mission tactics so that submarines at sea does not only obey all orders coming from Operational Control.  Operational Control only gives directions but no orders and that’s how we started the war.  But soon the development came so that Operational Control ordered – and to be able to do that, Operations Control must know what the battlefield was like and what the submarines in that battlefield were like – how many torpedoes they had, how much fuel they had, what the weather was like etc.

     And so all these submarines were asked to give information to Operations Control and this was a lot of traffic, radio traffic that was known by British Intelligence – where they took their bearings, they knew where every boat was and so it was quite easier for the enemy to react and circumvent our submarines.  I did not like to do all this, which was required from Operations Control, and when I returned from one patrol, I was asked by Dönitz whether or not I was not inclined to obey orders.  I said – not all of them.  I am a fighting instrument and I have got a mission and I know what to do and there are also regulations which be followed and it is not necessary I am told by orders what to do at sea.  I was quite successful at convincing him, but he said that he could not allow this for all the newcomers.

 

(continued next page)

 

Scuttlebutt                (continued)

 

I-401 was first to dock with I-14 tied up alongside and I-400 outboard.  This was more convenient; now we could get our Jeep onto the dock easier.  Our main engine had lost one of the very large nuts used to hold the crank bearing together.  Two of us cut through about 3" of steel with a hand hacksaw within the crankcase to remove the bent crankbolt and have another made.


These boats remained tied up at Pearl for a few months, awaiting disposition.  Finally their fates were sealed by a military tribunal ... take them out and sink them.

 

The concept of large, relatively high-speed submarines had been demonstrated.  The concept of an additional rudder topside was noted (probably a first for a submarine).  A relatively thick coating, over 1/2" of a soft material, had been applied to all the topside hull, hanger and conning tower surfaces.  Later it was found that this material effectively reduced the amplitude of radar images of a searching vessel.

 

EDITOR NOTE – Rubber coatings were tried with some German U-Boats, called Alberich for a character in German mythology who had a magic coat that would make him invisible when he wore it.

 

The internal design arrangement of the various systems, equipment and tanks was different when compared to the standards of an American fleet type boat.  The hulls were of a riveted construction.  Tools such as chain hoists and wrenches bent or broke at the hands of the American crews.  In some respects the machinery was crude but effective such as voice tubes connected the conning tower and control room to various compartments.

 

The high-pressure air compressors were very good pieces of equipment.  High-pressure air flasks were installed within the pressure hull and the fresh water tanks were outside the pressure hull, next to the fuel oil tanks. The torpedo tubes were substantially larger in diameter, (about 24") than the American fish.  The topside armament was most impressive for a submarine.

 

When these boats were first boarded by Americans, the rodents (pet rats) were tame enough to eat out of your hands or would tolerate petting.  Garbage was seldom dumped, (probably never on patrol)…..it just piled up.  The Japanese must have had serious shortages of paint.  Much of the internal equipment was coated with rust.  As a matter of fact, during the clean up process we had to show the Japanese how to use a paintbrush rather than apply paint with a crumpled rag - probably a shortage of brushes also.

 

Each crewman carried his belongings in a sea chest made of wood with rope handles.  These chests were stored in the sleeping compartments such as the after room.  The galley was equipped with large electric kettles mounted on gimbals for cooking the rice, etc.  There may have been a range also but I do not recall.  There was no sit down mess area as we knew it.  There was a table outside the galley, which usually had a fish and a tin of something (perhaps octopus) for snacks.  When one of the Japanese wanted a bite to eat he would cut off a piece of fish and munch on it, maggots and all.

(continued next page)

OTTO KRETSCHMER  (continued)

 

There was a development during the war which I have not experienced myself but everything was later ordered.  When the submarines had assembled around the convoy, they had to make a signal ‘I am here’ with the short signal and then Operations Control would give the order – attack!  This would have been very bad for me because I was the only submarine which went into the convoy and so when all the others would shoot their spreads and salvoes from outside the convoy, they would reach me and sink me right from the beginning, so I could not have followed this tactic.  I would be – I don’t know what I would have done.  Anyway, I would very likely would have tried to be very early there and sent my torpedoes from inside the convoy and then wait until the others have arrived.

 

SHARKHUNTERS:           You were famous for penetrating the convoy screen and getting very close to your target.  Would you describe for us a typical convoy action from your prospective.  You would first sight the convoy – would you shadow before you attacked?  What sort of operations would that entail.

 

Indienstellung (commissioning of U-99).  Kretschmer is second from the right.

 

OTTO:                  When I approached a convoy which had been shadowed, then it was quite simple.  During the night, find out where the escorts were.  That was very easy and I go to penetrate the screen on the surface, and I got in.  And of course I knew, or expected really, all of them would come across the ocean already, that they were tired and also the merchant ships in the convoy, they were tired, and they would not be on the alert all the time and so, the point was to try to think what the enemy was thinking and then make decisions.

 

So I went into the convoy and was able to pick out the best targets, the largest ships, the tankers for instance, and shoot from short distance only one torpedo.  A well hit torpedo at point blank range, and so it saves torpedoes and if the ships did not sink, normally they don’t, it takes them at least one hour until all the holds are full of water and they sink so I could wait for an hour and leave the convoy, and astern of the convoy, find my targets which were not sinking.  Some had been hit and sunk immediately and these I was able to sink by gunfire, so I spared torpedoes and so was able to sink more ships in one patrol than other submarines.

 

(continued next page)

Scuttlebutt                (continued)

 

We built a long wooden table against a bulkhead in the galley area.  A long bench, somewhat like a picnic bench, was attached to the mess table.  This was on board 1-401; I do not know what the others did on their respective boats.  The officers quarters were quite elaborate, with much use of varnished wood paneling and trim - like something out of Jules Verne.

 

These boats were gas fumigated at least two times during the cleaning up process and this caused some problems.  The creatures would die within the (paper) insulation behind the wooden panels in places like the radio room, etc.  Also they would clog the bilge strainers.  The stench was pervasive and stayed with us all the time we were aboard.  Even on liberty at Pearl, we didn't detect it, but by our odor, waitresses immediately noticed that we were off one of the I-boats.  Talk about the Charley Brown comic strip character known as "Pigpen"!  That stench must have got into our skins.

 

The sanitary facilities (toilets in particular) were unique.  These were Eastern type throughout the boat and they took some getting used to because quite unlike Western facilities, these units required a squatting position (no seats) somewhat like a slit trench.  Due to the plumbing and valves, these units were raised off the deck by about 20" or so.  There was just no chance to do any reading.

 

Each unit was equipped with a stone crock, mounted on the bulkhead, with a supply of water for washing.  The crock was only big enough for one hand!  There was no paper until we introduced it.  When using the facility you were obliged to step up and firmly plant both feet astride the footpads.  Assuming and maintaining the proper position on board a rolling and pitching ship at sea was solved by the Japanese designers.  They installed a convenient handrail at each facility, secured to the bulkhead.

 

There were no shower facilities on board any of these boats.  Bucket baths or a water hose on deck was utilized when we were denied use of submarine tender or shore-based facilities.  We had complaints while at the dock at Guam about the naked men taking a bath out in the open on the main decks of those Japanese Subs.

 

There was a period of time back at Yokosuka when the PROTEUS and the relief crews had to relieve the Marines at the Naval Base.  The Marines had been there three days, later on we found out why they were anxious to be relieved.  We were armed with carbines, some food and water and were put ashore on the sub base to stand watch at the piers and buildings.  The only thing we noted on the piers was the rats.  They sounded like buffalos running on a dark night!  We arranged to stay in an office building and slept on top of some desks - we found some straw mats to put on the desks first.

 

It became quite apparent we were not to get any rest - something kept biting us about the body.  The place was infested with fleas!  The mats were suspect.  Late the next day, back to the tender and we were relieved.  The first thing after leaving the launch and on the deck of the PROTEUS, we were fumigated by the trusty corpsmen.  Well that did it - it made the little buggers real angry so by the time each man got below and to his locker to get ready for a shower, he was practically stripped.  Can you picture a bunch of naked men picking fleas off one another, like something you would see at the zoo.  The regular ships company did not appreciate this at all.

(continued next page)

OTTO KRETSCHMER  (continued)

 

SHARKHUNTERS:   I know when you were commander of U-23 you had a battle with a British destroyer.  Describe that please?

 

OTTO:                  It was not a battle – what I told you about the “Happy Times”, we had the worst torpedoes in the world, which did not work – also the firing device, which was magnetic, you had to undershoot the target and then it was supposed to break the keel plate and so go down immediately.  This, they just would not do.  They would not explode that deep, 50% of all were duds that did not explode at all.  Some exploded earlier or later, at the end of the run – all sorts of things they but just not what they were supposed to and this was a very unhappy time at the beginning of the war and also when we were ordered not to use the magnetic firing mechanism but to fire on impact, then we found out that our torpedoes were running too deep and there was no impact – at least not for destroyers…..maybe for a deep draft tanker or large ships, but not for destroyers.

Destroyers were quite safe and the only destroyer I was able to sink was HMS DARING when I had seen in the North Sea in a convoy from the north going south to maybe to the river mouth of the Thames, I was very close to the convoy and to the DARING, shots came at me and in the dark I could see the blue lights on the deck of the destroyer and it was very close.  The only thing I could do was dive and before diving, firing a torpedo and ordering only the angle I had in mind, there was no firing device or firing director, telling the angle and hoping the torpedo would hit.  It did.

       At that time, British convoys in the North Sea, had one submarine with them and then I said there must be some submarine, went around, came to the surface and looked for the submarine and there it was – and there was the same angle, and I shot at the submarine without success.  Those were lucky people on board.  I thought at the time, thanks goodness it didn’t hit.

       Regarding DARING, afterwards I found out that they lost almost all the complement.  I don’t know why.  Maybe when I came to the surface, I saw the destroyer still on the surface but half under water already and listing heavily, but I don’t know why they lost so many people.  I can’t say.  Maybe the convoy went on and nobody rescued them.

 

SHARKHUNTERS:           If it were your job to choose men who will command U-Boats during the war, what qualities would you look for; what qualities do you think were most important for a U-Boat Skipper to have?

 

OTTO:                  A U-Boat Skipper must be a daring, upright, chivalrous personality.  This will do.  And of course, they must show some leadership.  Leadership is a matter of course.  I can tell you something.  Have you read the book “U-Boat Killer” by Donald MacIntyre?  On page 43 it says:

Admiral records of interrogation by Intelligence Officer etc. it says, the crew of U-99 gave the impression of having attained a higher degree of efficiency than any other U-Boat crew interrogated so far.  For the first time, there was no criticism of officers – for the first time.  It was ’41.  On the contrary, a marked degree of loyalty and admiration for their captain was expressed by the men.  He was less of a Nazi fanatic than expected.

 

When I read for the first time – incredible!  I thought in every submarine crew it was the same as mine.

 

SHARKHUNTERS:           You of course, were friends with a number of very famous U-Boat Skippers of that crew who were there at the start of the war.  I understand there was an incident when Günther Prien and you were both shelling the same derelict, abandoned merchant vessel.  Do you remember that incident?  You had disabled the ship and you were going to sink it with gunfire and Prien said his crew needed gunnery practice and asked if you would object if they fired at the ship.

(continued next page)

 

Scuttlebutt                (continued)

 

While the PROTEUS was at anchor near the Yokosuka Naval Base, an old coal fired steam driven tugboat was acquired.  An old time Navy Chief was put in charge of the engine room and firebox.  The machinery was brass and polished to sparkle.  The tug was a small harbor tug with a tall stack - sort of unusual looking.  It was dubbed, "Gruesome Eva" and this name was painted on the vessel.

 

The tug was used for ferry service and for liberty parties to some of the more distant cities.  A former TINOSA man was assigned to this tug and he had earlier decided to change from seaman to fireman, he liked the idea of working on engines.  His job was to stoke the firebox under supervision of the old Chief.  I remember him remarking that the coals had to lay just right in that firebox in order to suit the Chief.

 

There were other small boats that were acquired and used for various and sundry errands in and about the harbor.  A crew had been assigned to round up the small two-man submarines and tow them all back to the sub base - many sunk on the way, others sunk at the piers.  These two man-boats were being assembled in some of the caverns hewed out of the mountains in and around the sub base.  Actually these hills were honeycombed with underground caverns and tunnels.


Unlike some of the prize crews that took over the German boats after WW II, we did not dive these vessels.  We had our hands full keeping them afloat and operating with our 40 man crews.

 

For me, this was the most interesting time of my six years in the Navy.  It was different!  Later I went to New London and served on board USS GROUPER which did school boat duty and other things.  The last six months I transferred to the Sub School Staff and taught submarine escape at the tank - cleanest job on the base.

____________________________

 

This is great reading JIM – thanks!

 

OTTO KRETSCHMER  (continued)

 

OTTO:                  Oh yes, I remember.  This was the same convoy when I went around – I approached the convoy which was being shadowed by Prien in U-47, I immediately fired at one ship on arriving there and found out that the weather was unfortunate because the moon or the Northern Lights – I don’t remember what it was – anyway, I had to change around to the other side of the convoy and then go astern of the convoy and there was Prien, and I told my watch on the bridge, now I go and frighten Prien.  He doesn’t know that I am there.  He must have heard the detonations of a torpedo but of course, he doesn’t know that I am changing from one side to the other and would be approaching him.

 

 Of course, I had the narrow silhouette always and he had the broad side so then we saw him on the surface, following the convoy slowly with the speed of the convoy and then I made the recognition signal with a tiny Morse lamp.  Nothing happened.  Again and again then suddenly, we saw him putting the rudder hard astarboard

Attaching the famed           and getting away.  So I found out

Golden Horseshoe          afterwards; it took some time getting

 

Prien on the bridge  - he was not on the bridge.  If Prien had been on the bridge of course, he would have acted differently and so we talked about it later and he said that the bridge watch was really frightened, so he would stay on the bridge because he knew that other submarines were approaching the convoy too.

       So on the other side of the convoy, I had the opportunity to sink another ship – to fire on another ship.  One was the BARON BLYTHSWOOD, I can tell you what happened to it.  It sank immediately - it had iron ore on board; and broke in two somehow and the ship just disappeared.

       Then there was another ship which had laden timber or something like that, was coming from east Atlantic timber – and it wouldn’t sink.  Now I said wait until the morning and then take it by gunfire.  And morning came, and here came Prien.

       I was firing at this ship and he asked me through the megaphone – he was very close – whether I allowed him to practice his gun crew with a few shots at the target.  And of course, I said you can do that and they did – but without hitting the ship with one shell!  I found out that he was very angry and stopped shooting, then went on behind the Atlantic convoy.

EDITOR NOTE – That ship was the 5,156 ton British steamer SS ELMBANK.  U-99 fired a total of 88 rounds from their deck gun, but the ship would not sink so the coup de grace torpedo was fired by U-99.

 

I was not able to sink the ship with gunfire and had to send another torpedo – twice, two torpedoes!  One exploded before hitting the ship, the other did so and then the ship sank.  In Germany, they have records of every torpedo fired at every ship saying that this ship so and so has been sunk by torpedo from U-99 and by gunfire from U-99 and U-47.  Now I told the records keeper that this is not true…..U-47 didn’t hit the ship.  Of course, Prien is dead and he can’t say anything about it.

 

 

Maybe you don’t know how Prien and his U-47 perished.  Nobody knows.  I will tell you.

___________________________

 

This taped 1994 interview with OTTO KRETSCHMER is rather long, so we will break it here.  there is already a lot of great history in the tape – but there is much more to come, including how U-47 really came to be sunk.  It was not HMS WOLVERINE as the history books tell.  Who did it?  That piece of history and much more will be in KTB #183 next month.  You may have the tape now.  Just order Tape H-56 OTTO KRETSCHMER, only $30 (plus $5 shipping).

 

Remember – in KTB #183 OTTO tells us the real cause of the loss of Günther Prien and his U-47.  HINT – it was not the destroyer HMS WOLVERINE as history recorded.  That is being changed officially.

 

(continued next month in KTB #183)

 

 

Empty Seats – but not many!

 

Have you booked space for one or both of our Germany “Patrols” this year?  Some two dozen already have – don’t be left out!


 

vom Seeflieger zum U-Bootfahrer

(from Naval Aviator to Submariner)

Not all fliers went on to be combat pilots in the war…

 


 

We continue with the data from CHUCK MYLES (1068-1989) on the U-Boat Skippers who were once fliers.

_____________________________

 

Georg von Rabenau, born 3 July 1916 at Stassfurf-Leopoldshall and was in Naval Class 1936.

·         Observer training, Aircraft Weapons School Bug/Rügen

Island October 1938 to October 1939;

·         Observer 1./Küstenfliegergruppe 506 Aug. ‘39 – Apr. ‘40;

·         Küstenfliegergruppe 806 May to December 1940;

·         U-Boat training January to May 1941;

·         Baubelehrung June and July 1941;

·         I.W.O. U-504 July 1941 to July 1942;

·         U-Boat Cdr’s Course, 24th U-Bootflottille Aug 1942;

·         Instructor 2.ULS September to December 1942;

·         Commander of U-528 from 17 Dec. ‘42 to 11 May ‘43;

·         Promoted to Kapitänleutnant in prison 1 August 1943;

·         POW from 11 May 1943 to 22 May 1946;

_____________________________

 

Hellmuth-Bert Richard, born 2 March 1917 at Hildesheim and was in Naval Class 1936.

·         Seconded to Luftwaffe October 1938 to December 1940;

·         Promoted to Oberleutnant zur See 1 October 1940;

·         U-Boat training January to May 1941;

·         Baubelehrung May and June 1941;

·         I.W.O. on U-453 June 1941 to February 1942;

·         U-Cdr’s Course 2.UAA and 24th U-Bootflottille from 

March to May 1942;

·         Baubelehrung 7.KLA May and June 1942;

·         Commander U-446 from 20 June to 21 September 1942;

 

Richard was lost with his boat when it struck a mine and went down in the Bay of Danzig on 21 September 1942.

___________________________

 

Hubert Rieger, born 26 May 1920 at Maring by Augsburg and was in Naval Class 1939 XII.

·         Promoted to Oberleutnant zur See 1 December 1943;

·         Luftwaffe then U-Boat training, finished May 1944;

·         Commander of U-4 May 1944 to 9 July 1944;

·         1.ULD August to December 1944;

·         2. ULD December 1944 to March 1945;

·         Naval Training Battalion 313 from March 1945 to end.

_____________________________

 

Helmut Rottger, born 15 December 1918 at the German colony of Southwest Africa and was in Naval Class 1937a.

·         Seconded to Luftwaffe October 1939 to February 1942;

·         U-Boat training March to September 1942;

·         I.W.O. U-203 September 1942 to January 1943;

·         Courses with 26th U-Flottille and 8.KLA Jan. to Mar. ‘43;

·         Promoted to Kapitänleutnant 1 April 1944;

·         Commander U-715 from 17 March 1943 to 13 June 1944.

 

Rottger was killed when his boat was lost 13 June 1944.

Hermann Rossmann, born 23 July 1918 at Durrenebersdorf and was in Naval Class 1937b.

·         Seconded to Luftwaffe Dec. 1939 to Dec. 1940;

·         U-Boat training January to June 1941;

·         Baubelehrung July and August 1941;

·         Promoted to Oberleutnant zur See 1 April 1942;

·         I.W.O. on U-582 from August 1941 to May 1942;

·         U-Cdr’s Course June and July 1942;

·         Commander of U-52 from 25 July 1942 - 31 March 1943;

·         Commander of U-273 from 1 April 1943 to 19 May 1943.

 

Rossmann and the entire crew were lost when the boat was sunk by 269 Squadron, Royal Air Force on 19 May 1943.

___________________________

 

Werner Sausmikat, born 7 October 1917 at Günthen and was in Naval Class 1937b.

·         Seconded to Luftwaffe December 1939 to February 1943;

·         Naval High Command East and U-Boat Training

February to August 1943;

·         I.W.O. on U-371 August 1943 to February 1944;

·         Commander U-56 from 28 February to 30 June 1944;

·         Commander U-1103 from 3 July to 8 October 1944;

·         Promoted to Kapitänleutnant 1 January 1945;

·         Commander of U-774 from 9 Oct. 1944 to 8 April 1945.

 

Sausmikat and his entire crew were lost on 8 April 1945 when they were sunk by the destroyers HMS CALDER and HMS BENTINK.

___________________________

 

Ludwig Schaafhausen, born 30 November 1917 at Kiel and was in Naval Class 1937a.

·         Seconded to Luftwaffe September 1939 to January 1940;

·         Bordfliegerstaffel 5./196 during that time;

·         Naval High Command East February 1942;

·         U-Boat Training March 1942 to March 1943;

·         I.W.O. aboard U-565 from March to August 1943;

·         U-Boat Cdr’s Course 2.UAA and 24th U-Bootflottille

August and September 1943

·         U-Cdr’s Torpedo Course 54 at this time;

·         Baubelehrung 1.KLA September and October 1943;

·         Promoted to Kapitänleutnant 1 September 1944;

·         Cdr of U-369 from 15 October 1943 to 15 April 1945;

____________________________

 

Many thanks to CHUCK for this great bit of research, which will continue in KTB #183 next month.  But what about YOU?  Do some research into this fascinating subject and submit it here for publication.  Photos make the story even more interesting.

 

 

Did you ever realize that when the enemy was in range – so were you?

 

PAGE 33

 


 

Meeting Our Members


 

6490-2001     AARON  BURLEY           US

(Photo right)

6521-2002     GREG  HESTER              US

6522-2002    MARTIN FERNANDEZ  US

6523-2002     JOE FRANCE                    US

Graduated USAF pilot training class of 53-G and served in Korea, Texas, Philippines, Germany, Italy, Hawaii, North Carolina, Nevada, Mississippi and Florida and he retired at the rank of Lt. Colonel.  Love your “I.D.” cards, JOE.

6524-2002            Capt. DON WEAVER                                       US

6525-2002            JEB  STEWART                                                US

6526-2002            RALPH  HEINRICH                                         US

6527-2002            JOHN  CORDES                                                US

6528-2002            CHRISTIAN  HAIG                                           US

6529-2002            MIKE  KLINGENSMITH                               US

MIKE’s father and HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983) knew each other from many years ago, when they both were racers at the same drag strip outside Chicago.

6530-2002            Capt. ROSS  PORTER                                      US

6531-2002            ROBERT  CHEVERETTE                             US

6532-2002            GARY  EFFERNEY                                          US

6533-2002            JOHN  BENTLY                                                US

6534-2002            JOHN  SYMONS                                                US

6535-2002            DON  ANDREWS                                               US

6536-2002            JOHN  FOSTER                                 US

6537-2002            BARRY  WINNINGHAM                 US

6538-2002            JOHN  GRIMM                                                  US

6539-2002            TOM  FRENCH                                                  US

6540-2002     TIM  ROBERTS             US

TIM (photo right) is a steel worker and a grad of Penn State.  He loves history and he says he loves good beer (he’ll fit right in with this group), good conversation and camaraderie.  There have been many veterans in his family including his uncle who is a Bronze Star and Valor winner and who fought in the “bulge” and received two Purple Hearts – and his father who fought in the Korean War.  His heroes include Robert E. Lee, Thomas J. Jackson, George Washington as well as his uncle and his father.

6541-2002            JAY  LANGFITT                                               US

6542-2002            MICHAEL  WALSH                                         US

6543-2002            JUDITH  NOFTI                                                US

6544-2002            ED  FINCH                                                          US

6545-2002            LARRY  CRUMMETT                                     US

6546-2002            ROGER  LYNGKLIP                                       US

6547-2002            BUTCH  deFAZIO                                             US

6548-2002            CHRISTOPHER  HIRTLER                          US

6549-2002            TERRY  KINSELLA                                         US

6550-2002            DAVID  KASTNER                                            US

Remember – if YOUR Membership Number is above #6550, please send us a little note about yourself so our Members can ‘meet’ you.  If you have a photo, send it along.  We’ll scan it and return it to you undamaged.  Don’t be a “one-liner”.

 

PAGE  34

GRANT

WRITER

 

As you read in KTB #181 last month, now that we have our tax exempt status 501 (c) (3) from the I.R.S., we need to approach the various Government agencies that give grants so that we may bring in some much needed money for our research.

 

Anyone who is experienced in grant writing, please contact us immediately and let’s move forward with this research.  Thanks in advance.

 

 

From the Other Side

by Oblt ERNST SCHMIDT (10-+-1983)

 

Did you know…..

 

…..on 13 Nov. 1941, U-81 under ‘FRITZ’ GUGGENBERGER (269-+-1987) sank the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS ARK ROYAL?  It listed more and more for twelve hours until it sank and all but one man were saved in that time.

 

…..on 25 November 1941, U-331 under HANS Freiherr von TIESSENHAUSEN (268-1987) hit the battleship HMS BARHAM with a spread of torpedoes in the eastern Mediterranean which caused the ship to immediately capsize and explode when the magazines blew.  859 men died in that action, the one and only battleship sunk on the high seas by German U-Boats.

 

…..On 14 December 1941, U-557 sank the Royal Navy cruiser HMS GALATEA off the harbor at Alexandria?

 

There will be more of this interesting history in KTB #183 next month, thanks to a veteran who has gone on “Eternal Patrol

 

 


 

Diving with DEX

Submarine Stories from DEX ARMSTRONG (6909-2004)

 


 

How’d you like the stories from DEX in last month’s KTB?  He sure has a talent for story telling, doesn’t he?  His writing puts you right on the boat alongside him, and you see the humor and indeed, you see the real men aboard the boats.  Here’s another.

____________________________

 

The Take from a Trash Dumper

 

It is hard to imagine in this day and age, with all the high visibility of our submarine force, that there was a time when we were a ‘silent service.’ It wasn’t necessarily by design.  It was just that nobody gave a damn.  It was a time when boat ser­vice officers didn’t spend a whole lot of time in ‘high collar whites’ and raghats could be found topside on a summer day in a red lead spattered T-shirt, cut-off dungarees with high top tennis shoes, or Mammy Yokums.  The Marlboro behind the ear was optional.

 

There was no public relations problem because the only public we were having relations with were barmaids and professional ladies.  The Navy kept the raggedy-ass smokeboat navy out of sight.  Nobody ever wrote anything about post-war diesel service.

 

It was a time when the world’s attention was totally focused on the ‘gee whiz’ nuclear Navy.  No­body gave a damn about a bunch of idiots riding obsolete boats that didn’t have a Chinaman’s chance in hell of surfacing at the North Pole.

 

Considering the negative focus and scrutiny of our undersea Naval force today, being out of sight may not be a bad thing.

 

The shame of it is that 99.9% of our subma­rine operations are uneventful, highly orchestrated and professionally executed operations.  The sad thing is that the high-visibility course that the Navy has adapted to ‘sell’ our need for state-of-the-art submarines includes having our great command­ers chauffeuring gaggles of visiting businessmen to and from the ocean depths.

 

On the old smokeboats, we never had to wade around knee-deep in goofy tourists in our control rooms.  We were not plagued by distraction.  We did our jobs and left an unheralded, unparalleled record of trouble-free operation.

 

We were proud.  We were lighthearted.  It WAS a pride-filled life.  We were not blessed with the level of technology that came later.  Most of what has been automated in the boats of today was done manually and required your constant attention.  When you were at diving stations, you kept the boat at depth.  You sat on a padded metal locker and spent hours holding a wheel the diameter of a bicycle wheel and watching a depth gauge.

 

When you got good, you could actually feel the sea reacting to the fine adjustment of your movement of the planes.  You could anticipate the reaction to your movements & keep the boat within a foot of your ordered depth.  I have diffi­culty imagining it any other way.  I can close my eyes and still feel the sea through my hands.

We had to jackass our torpedoes into the tubes - had to run them in by hand.  Wrestling the big monsters took sweat and muscle, not to mention some of the most original cussing ever conjured up in the mind of man.  Don’t feel sorry for us, for it is a loss of something that made us what we were…..a team; a bunch of shirtless, sweat-soaked sonuvabitches cussing and running fish into the tubes.  It was a tough time, but it was a good time - actually, the best time. You were part of a crew - not just any ‘crew,’ but a gahdam family of under­sea brothers bound by a concept and a tradition.  You were needed.  The ship needed you, the skip­per needed us all.  Even the ‘lowly’ lookouts (aka ‘trash dumper’ material, remember?) were the ‘eyes’ of the boat when we ran on the surface.  When it came down to the final analysis, you eyeballed everything – contacts, surface conditions and targets.  We had good eyes.

 

We weren’t slaves to our equipment.  We didn’t sit around playing nursemaid to technology.  If it didn’t work, we took over and did it manually.  That is what good submariners were trained to do.  It is what separated a qualified man from trained mon­keys.

 

We were it - one crew.  Nobody took over our boats when we came in.  When the old girl went to sea, we were there.  The same names, same faces, same officers forward.  If someone failed to main­tain a system or piece of equipment, the Chief of the Boat knew precisely what butt to put his boot into when ass-kicking time rolled around.

 

Those were great days…..didn’t know it then, that came later; much later.  We knew that the nuclear boats represented progress but we didn’t think much about it.  At nineteen, I’m not sure it’s possible to understand the concept of ‘future’, ‘mor­tality’ or ‘finite tomorrows.’

 

We could see the future of submarining float­ing in the after nest; the big, fat black monsters getting all of the attention.  High speed, deep-diving ugliness rapidly sending our smokeboat fleet up the river to the scrapyard.  To us, nuke boats were like elephants.  They were big as hell, uglier than sin and none of us had any idea what went on in­side of the damn things.  They were just there.

 

In the ensuing years, I have never really con­nected with the nuclear Navy, probably because I haven’t got the knowledge to make the connection.  I share no common experience with what came after.  If the Wright brothers met John Glenn in a bar and got to talking, once they got past the dy­namics of lift, I don’t know that they would have a helluva lot to talk about.  The folks who write history swept diesel boat accomplishments from ’45 to ’70 under the rug and moved on to the sexy stuff.

 

We were too busy punching holes in the ocean and fixing up the ‘hole-puncher’ to notice.

____________________________

 

This excellent piece of submarine lore continues on the next page.

 

PAGE 35

 

BOOK REVIEW

by DICK COLE (204-1985)

“Ultra at Sea”

by John Winton

 

Hardbound edition published by William Morrow, New York in 1988 containing 207 pages, 14 photographs.

 

How the British code breaking efforts affected the Allied naval strategy in World War II is discussed at length in this book.  An excellent background resource that also contains a great deal of specific information on U-Boats.

 

 

Peacetime Submarine Disasters

(from the beginning through 1971)

by CHESTER L. SOMMERS (5569-1998)

 

In 1913, only one submarine was lost by accident.

 

10 December 1913, the 320 ton British submarine C-14 was lost between Drake’s Island and Devil’s Point in Plymouth Sound.  She was running surfaced in squadron formation when she was rammed by Government Hopper No. 27 and went down in 72 feet of water.  Fortunately all 20 men were saved, none were lost.  The boat was later salvaged.

 

Below is the running tally of submarines lost in peacetime which is updated monthly as we continue to look at peacetime disasters.

 

France – 10           England – 7          Russia – 3             Germany – 1

Italy – 1                 Japan – 1              USA - 1

 

If anyone has the data of submarines lost in peacetime after 1971, please let us know.  Thanks.

 

Diving with DEX                          (cont’d)

 

So when an old smokeboat sailor who never made the transition to nuke reads about all the monkey business going on with the nuclear navy, he has no point of reference - only a sadness that the reputation of the force he loved has been tar­nished and the wizards who are at the helm of the public relations effort don’t seem to be that gahdam they flush it.  Somebody needs to tell the subma­rine force commanders to just flush the gahdam things.  The public doesn’t have to see everything.

 

And last - quit trying to market submarine de­fense value.  The nation has been sold.  In fact, with the saturation of ‘Mr. Boomer Goes to Sea’ TV programming lately, the public relations effort may go sour and bring on boredom…..but, what the hell.

 

You know what the advice of a trash dumper’s worth?  A hundred twenty-four bucks a month plus sub, sea & foreign duty pay.

____________________________

 

This great stuff from DEX will be featured again in KTB #183 next month.  Any other Members are encouraged to also write.

A “New” Corvette

 

Some of our Members know that HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983) has a great love of speed which he enjoyed greatly some years ago when he drove stock cars on the major tracks around the United States and a few years ago, he got a vintage Corvette sports car practically for free.  He has renovated this car and it is really beautiful and of course, fun to drive.

 

Well, MARIANNE BIZAK (5637-1998) knew of his love for the Corvette & she sent him a beautifully crafted model 1953 Corvette that is perfect in every detail.  The hood opens to reveal the old “Blue Flame” six-cylinder engine; the doors open and when the steering wheel is turned – so go the tires.

 

It is really beautiful and MARIANNE – thanks much!

 

 

Tax Free

Donations

 

Please remember – we now have a tax-free exempt status for all donations to the Sharkhunters International Submarine Research Institute and all donations to the Institute are tax-deductible from your taxes.  Naturally, you must check with your accountant to see what is the best to you, but we are accepting donations now.  Let us know by email, FAX or snail mail what you wish to donate and we will send you the simple instructions.  What can you donate?  You may donate - ANYTHING!

 

That’s right – anything at all of value.  Naturally, cash is a great thing to donate and that can be check, money order or credit card.  Books, artifacts, uniforms, maps – use your imagination.  Your donation doesn’t have to have anything at all to do with WW II history – anything that can be turned into cash is also welcome.

 

For instance – one Member donated a 38 foot yacht to the Boy Scouts.  They’ll sell it and put the money into their operating fund.

 

Members may also put a codicil into their will and give something to the Sharkhunters Institute – but check with your accountant.

 

Anyone who donates anything will receive the newsletter from the Institute, which is merely an accounting of funds in and funds spent as well as operations planned for the Institute’s research.

 

No donation is too large – none is too small.  We hope that YOU will help move this important Institute forward.  Thanks!

 


 

Feuerland   (Fireland)

 


 

Or as it appears on the maps of South America – Tierra del Fuego which translated means “Land of Fire”.  There is a great deal of history of German naval activity in that area from both World Wars and with both “black” and normal combat U-Boats and ships which means boats that were on record and those that were not.

 

Some years ago we revealed the German maps and hiding places (known as U-Plätze or unknown places) around the southern tip of South America where ships and submarines could hide from the eyes of Allied warships.  A very specific route was mapped out by (then) Leutnant zur See Wilhelm Canaris on board the cruiser DRESDEN in World War I.  There were specific details on a great many hidden coves, bays and out of the way places where ships and boats could hide.  There were instructions on how to enter, from what direction were the prevailing winds, how far was any civilization, distance to steamer routes, height of surrounding trees, the quality of the bottom for anchoring etc. This route was retraced in 1938 by the old coal burning linienschiff SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN and changes were made to update the information.

 

As we reported in KTB #181 last month, we are closing in on some very high-impact history from that area but we are still getting our ducks in a row, getting it all sorted out, before we make any announcements.

 

What follows is a translation by Prof. Dr. RENEE von WORDE (1344-1990) of some of the secret documents we obtained from that same S.E.I.G. Agent we mentioned in KTB #181 last month.

____________________________

 

Secret

1.          This is a state secret by the spirit of law by paragraph 88 of the Empire Criminal Code.

2.          Passing on only sealed, by post service as certified mail.

3.   The receiver is responsible for keeping it under lock & key.

 

This is a secret part according to the spirit of law by paragraph 88 of the Empire Criminal Code (version 24, April 1934).  In case of misuse there will be a punishment according to this law if there are no other laws in force.

 

The following entry is made in the map of the first picture I.K.

 

U-Plätze May 1939 – 1941   Based on PG 32896  Case GE 904

 

The following U-Plätze are in Fireland:

 

I.  Spot:  Fireland (Isla Clarence)

1.       Name of the bay or spot very good!  Unknown, not mentioned in the map

2.       Geographic area.     54º 13’S x 71º 45’W

3.       What chart or handbook to use.  Map D 714, handbook of the Magellan Straits 1930 and postscript 1939.

4.       Instructions for sailing, head on and entrances.  Take Cockburn Channel in SO Dyneley.  From there a deep bay is stretched over to the north (see map).  The bay is not mentioned in the seamaps.

5.       Can you see the spot from sea?  No.

6.       Is there a town nearby or can you see a town from the anchorage?  No.

7.       Is there a government building nearby?  No.

8.       Where is the closest telegraph station?  Can you see the anchorage from there?  Punta Arenas.

9.       Does the anchorage have space for several ships?  Space for one squadron.

10.    Water depth – bottom of anchorage, current?  Water depth is 25 – 40 meters; bottom of anchorage is mud.

11.    Protection for heavy seas and dunes?  Is it possible that the vessels anchor sideways?  Well protected; sideways possible.

12.    Traffic?  Which shipping lines?  How Often?  None.

 

II.  Spot:  Fireland (Isla Santa Jones)

1.       Name of the bay or spot?  Good, unknown, not mentioned in the map, entrance mentioned.

2.       Geographic area?  53º 55’S x 73º 15’W

3.       What chart or handbook to use?  Map D714, handbook of the Magellan Straits 1930 and postscript 1939.

4.       Instructions for sailing, head on & entrance from sea?  From the entrance mentioned in the map, further see plan.

5.       Can you see the spot from sea?  No.

6.       Is there a town nearby or can you see a town from anchorage?  No, the seal hunters don’t come here.

7.       Is there a government building nearby?  No

8.       Where is the closest telegraph station?  Can you see the anchorage from there?  Punta Arenas.

9.       Does the anchorage have space for several ships?  Three to four ships.

10.    Water depth and bottom of anchorage, current?  Water depth 30 – 40 meters; bottom of anchorage mud; not really any current; mainly south west winds.

11.    Protection for heavy seas and dunes; is it possible that the vessels anchor on the sideways?  Well protected, sideways possible.

12.    Traffic?  Which shipping lines?  How often?  None, no traffic.

____________________________

 

Fascinating stuff, isn’t it?  We learned that when GRAF SPEE was battered in her running battle with the cruisers HMS AJAX, HMS ACHILLES and HMS EXETER she requested permission to run for one of these hidden harbors but Naval High Command refused, fearing that the British ships might follow her and learn about these secret places, so she went into Montevideo and met her fate.  But where was her supply ship, ALTMARK?  She disappeared for some months before she reappeared on the world’s oceans.  Was she holed up in one of the U-Plätze making repairs or possibly just letting the Royal Navy cruisers leave the area?

 

Entrances to these U-Plätze were marked with a stone pyramid some two meters tall. Our S.E.I.G. Agent Be595 who followed this story found one such pyramid and took it all apart.  In the middle he found a black cube with the swastika on each face………  More on this in KTB #183 next month.

 

PAGE 37


 

 


 

Little Known Submarine (and

Naval) Historical Facts

 

This section is for your own information – please do not send the answers here to HQ – they will be in KTB #183 next month.

 

341.    From December 7th 1941, The U.S. Navy added twenty-one aircraft carriers, six battleships, nearly 130 more submarines, seventy escort carriers and many additional ships in all categories;

342.    The Kriegsmarine had one aircraft carrier, the GRAF ZEPPELIN under construction but she was not finished.  At the end of the war, the Soviets took her over and loaded her upper decks with Type XXI sections and a great deal of other war booty, making her extremely unstable.  While under tow back to a Soviet port, they ran into rough weather – the carrier capsized and sank.

343.    In the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Japanese Force C under Admiral Nishimura lost six of her seven ships from the attack of the USN Seventh Fleet ships which included USS WEST VIRGINIA, USS TENNESSEE, USS CALIFORNIA, USS MARYLAND and USS PENNSYLVALIA – all Pearl Harbor survivors.  They formed a battle line at the entrance to Surigao Straits.

344.    John F. Kennedy’s commanding officer of the PT boats in the Solomon Islands was John Mitchell – later to be Attorney General of the USA under Richard Nixon.

345.    The co-author of the official report on the lost of PT-109 was Lt. Byron White, once known as “Whizzer” White in his college football days and later under President John F. Kennedy, he was known as Supreme Court Justice White.

 

We are running out of room in this issue, so the trivia will continue in KTB #183 next month.

 

PAGE 38

Membership PRIDE!

 

As we see by his Membership Number, ALEKSANDR MITROFANOV (5526-1998) has been a Member for a long time.  He wrote some time ago and said:

 

“I am proud to join the team of such famous people as Kretschmer, Chernavin and others.”

 

ALEKSANDR served in the Soviet Navy and so knows of both our CHERNAVIN Members.  He refers naturally to OTTO KRETSCHMER (122-+-1985), the top submarine Skipper of any navy in World War II – to Fleet Admiral VLADIMIR CHERNAVIN (2240-1992), the last Supreme Commander of the Soviet Navy – and to Rear Admiral LEV DAVIDOVICH CHERNAVIN (4973-1996), the last ComSub of the Soviet Navy.

______________________________

 

Professor Doctor Frau RENEE von WÖRDE (887-1988) emailed:

 

“Stay well so you can continue the good and important work that you are doing.  Thank God for Sharkhunters – there are too few around today that want to tell the honest history.”

_____________________________

 

Gene Gibbons isn’t even a Member, but he emailed:

 

“I just love your website and your organization – it’s simply incredible!!!

 

Feel free to send comments – we like to know what our Members think – your comments and suggestions are always welcome.

 

Visitors at HQ

 

Our friend LARS SUNN PEDERSEN (3782-1994) and his daughter Christina visited our HQ in January, all the way from Denmark.  It was a lot warmer here than in Denmark.

 

 

 

Membership PRIDE!

 

We had not heard from LEN BAUER (1526-1990) for quite some time and we were worries, so we dropped a note to him to make sure all was well, he replied:

 

“I am not ready to ‘jump ship’ or request permission to leave the boat.  Sharkhunters to me is like a family, conveying the spirit of the ‘crew’ to all Members.  I am retired now and have once again become an active radio amateur.  Through ‘Ham’ radio, I’ve flown the Sharkhunters banner.”

 

Any ‘Ham’ operators in Sharkhunters can reach LEN at KI4BFN.

_____________________________

 

And from K. T. MEDLINGER (6277-2001) we received this,

 

“Since I joined this fantastic organization and during my four years of renewals, I failed to order my free CDs.  Am I still entitled to them?”

 

He is probably listening to his free CDs as you read this.

Foreign Members

Save Money!

 

That’s right – if you live outside North America, you know that we were forced to raise the annual dues about three years ago because the cost of mailing the monthly KTB Magazine jumped from $1.87 to mail it to anywhere in the world – was raised to a whopping $4.00 or more!!!  That is just plain robbery, but we had no choice and had to accept it – not then, we didn’t.

 

But now we do.  If you have a computer and are on the Internet, you may choose to receive your KTB via the Internet AND save money.  If you choose to receive the eKTB via the Internet, then your annual dues are the same as for our Members in the USA.

 

Just send us an email with your name, your correct email address and tell us that you wish to receive your monthly eKTB over the Internet at your own computer – and we’ll make the change AND your annual dues will drop to the same as Members in the USA.

 

 

More Membership PRIDE!

 

TIM ROBERTS (6540-2002) recently wrote:

 

“Dear Harry and all friends at Sharkhunters.  I just received my latest issue of the KTB and sat down with a good Beck’s Bier to properly enjoy it.  I have enjoyed immensely my tenure with Sharkhunters.  Keeping alive this history as well as making sure the truth is known is vital; Sharkhunters role in this is vital as well.  A superb job is being done there.  Keep it up.

 

Your words echo my own – so many of these men are leaving us now as time marches on.  Every day I scan my hometown newspaper and note each passing of a WW II vet.  These men lived history – literally.  I look forward to each and every KTB and will always be a Member.  Now I am going to finish my beer, perhaps pour another, listen to Bach and relax with my KTB.  Thanks!”

 

TIM’s biography appears in this issue with his photo under Meeting Our Members.  And TIM – thanks for the kind words.

_____________________________

 

Member’s Page Coming

 

We have suggested this before – a “letters to the Editor” page.  It was largely never used in the past, but we are asking for your input for this page. Send your comments & suggestions; we’ll print them

 


 

Get Your Monthly eKTB Magazine via Internet!

 

When did you get your latest KTB?  When did the Members who receive the eKTB get theirs?  There are delays that cannot be helped with the printed KTB, whereas those who receive theirs over the Internet have no delays.

 

For example – let’s just say that an issue was finished on the computer 1 January.  Those who receive the eKTB will have theirs on 1 January and any color photos etc. in the eKTB will appear on their computer in color.  And the eKTB is much easier to archive – just download to disc or hard drive and it is saved forever.  No paper!

 

But then we must take the “hard copy” of the KTB to the print shop – that is on the 2nd of January.  The printing shop requires a minimum of one week to print all the pages that will become the KTB.  Now we are at best, on the 8th of January.  Then the printed pages must be taken to the school that prepares the KTB.  They also require a minimum of one week to put the pages together, staple and fold the finished KTB magazine and then put it into the envelope and seal it.  Then it comes back to the office where we put on all the address labels, which only requires one day but we are now figuratively at the 17th of January if all is going at best speed.  Then the big headache – the KTB goes to the post office for mailing and once into the system, it can take as long as THREE WEEKS more to be delivered to the Member’s door, and that is approximately the 10th of February by the time it is in your hands.

 

If you have email and if you would like your eKTB to come to you instantly, just send us an email and tell us that you want your eKTB via email rather than by the post and include your email address.  We will make it happen for you, and there is no additional cost for this…..it is a service for our Members.

 

 

Coming to Germany, Austria, Poland etc. with Sharkhunters this Year?

 

You have read about the fantastic time we have had on these “Patrols” in the past and this year will be even more interesting – will you be part of this history?  Fill out the reservation form below, clip it out and mail it in with your deposit of $300 per person per tour and guarantee your place on our 2005 “Patrol(s)”.  Any questions, just call or email us.  We’ll be happy to answer.

 

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 

 

Name ___________________________________________  Address ____________________________________

 

 

City _________________________________ State _________ ZIP ______________ Phone _________________

 

 

Which “Patrol” (circle one)    South Germany & Austria      North Germany & Poland         BOTH PATROLS

                                                            (page 11)                                               (page 21)

 

Including you – how many people _____________   Enclose (circle one) CHECK             CREDIT CARD

 

 

Credit Card (circle one)   VISA         MasterCard     Discover                                  Exp Date ____/  ____

 

 

Card # ____  ____  ____  ____/  ____  ____  ____  ____/  ____  ____  ____  ____/  ____  ____  ____  ____  

 

 

We will charge your card $300 deposit per person or you may enclose check or money order in that amount.




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