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I was fortunate to have had a pleasant Saturday afternoon with Ernst Schmidt, former U-boat officer and Captain.  We met at my favorite marina in Fox Lake for several hours, and Ernst was able to fill me in on quite a few details pertaining to this research.  It was quite enlightening.

Have also had the pleasure another really dedicated U-boat researcher, David Simpson, from Miami.  We actually met on the phone, but Dave is really into the history of the U-boat service and we have had many extensive telephone conversations over the past few weeks.  Sadly, however Dave reports that friends of his have been diving the only known U-boas off our coast (U-85, U-352, and U-853) and they are all in pretty bad shape from the ravages of time and salt water.  Dave says that some of the pressure hulls are already rusted through in some places.  That is defiantly not good news for those of us who would bring some of these great grey sharks to the surface for placement in a museum.  Thoughts, anyone?

Dave would like to ask anyone who reads this newsletter if they know which U-boat used as its symbol, a small anchor.  Anyone know?  Please let me know and I’ll pass it on to Dave.

We have a trifle more on the possible U-boat carrying Uranium from Germany to Japan.  Our contact in the National Archives tells me that a couple of people have been researching the Archives for information on this incident.  I have to drop him a note and ask what, if anything, these researchers have found.  Will let you know in the next issue.

On the possible U-boat off the west coast of Florida; there is really no doubt that this U-boat does indeed exist in that area, but there is considerable doubt that it is Kuhlman’s U-166 drifting along beneath the waves…..even though the newspaper article specifically says that the boat was identified as that boat.  Doesn’t seem feasibly that something weighing in excess of a thousand tons and full of holes, loaded with seawater, could drift 40 feet…..much less 400 miles.  The laws of physics just don’t allow for that.  But I feel confident that we will be in a position to say for sure within the next few years.  We want to go for an eyeball look ourselves.

We have not heard back from Hans Gobeler (from U-505) about the possibility of bases in the Caribbean, but we understand that Hans is moving to Lorient, France.  We should hear something soon.  Ernst Schmidt, however, has added his thoughts to this – and they are that U-boats got no help on this side of the ocean.

So far, everyone connected with the Kriegsmarine in one way or another, has stated flatly that no bases existed on this side of the ocean in any manor…..and I do indeed believe them.  I believe that they might not know of the existence of these spots, I certainly do not feel that anyone is trying to cover something up.  But I also know that the lady who had been with the OSS did in fact see these places; I was personally on one such island and talked to people who had worked there during the war years; Charles Higham has researched this subject thoroughly and he too has found evidence that assistance bases did exist.  I guess the best way to explain this was that the Kriegsmarine officers and men did not know everything that the German Navy was doing – it would be impossible.  I was in the US Air Force for four years and what I knew about the Air Force’s global plans was about zip.

So far, we have had some positive feedback on the possibilities of assisting the U-505 make it to their reunion here in Chicago for the 40th anniversary of the capture of that boat, via Lufthansa.  We are pursuing further with that airline, hoping to have something a bit more concrete as we go along.

We have heard from our fundraiser out in California, but things there are at somewhat of a stand still as Bob’s wife is gravely ill and we can certainly understand the situation this causes for Bob.  Our prayers go out to Bob and his wife that this problem will be solved quickly and his wife should recover.

We seem to be receiving good fortune, as the chap who writes that column in SKIN DIVER magazine called “WRECK FACTS” and he’ll mention what we are attempting to do with the U-boats.  Perhaps this might bring us some $$$ that we can use for exploration.

We are in contact with a fellow in Los Angeles who claims to have located a Japanese I-class submarine somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.  He is trying to gather up enough $$$$ to raise this boat and put it on display in Los Angeles.  I think it’s going to be a long tow across the open Pacific with and old I-boat in tow.  He has the locations of 162 Japanese submarines sunk across the Pacific, and wants to trade these positions to us for the positions of 162 sunken German U-boats.  We will go into this one very carefully.

In addition to the information on famous former commanders of each U-boat, supplied by our British representative Christopher Lowe, Mr. Lowe is also supplying data on what ships were sink by each U-boat.  Thanks, Christopher, we all will enjoy this additional bit of information.

And DID YOU KNOW (thanks to Ernst Schmidt)……..that the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to U-boat commanders for sinking at least 100,000 tons of merchant ships or for sinking one capitol navy ship (was in KTB#6) but further, that the Oak Leaves to the Iron Cross was awarded U-boat commanders for sinking at least 200,000 tons?  The most highly decorated U-boat commanders were Luth and Brandy, each receiving the Knights Cross to the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Cross Swords, and diamonds.  And after receiving such a tremendous honor, it was really such a shame the way Luth finally ended his life.

The Type II-D was improved over the Type II-C with the addition of saddle tanks for increased radius.  Initially used for coastal patrol, later relegated to training.

Only 16 Type II-D boats were built.
                Displacement:       314/364 tons
                Dimensions:          144 x 16 x 12 ¾ feet
                Power:                    Twin shaft diesel/electric motors      700/410   BHP/SHP
                Speed:                    12 ¾….7 ¼ knots
                Fuel Capacity:       38 tons
                Range:                    3,500/56 miles @ 12/4 knots
                Torpedoes:            Three tubes fwd. only (21 inch)
                Guns:                      Single 20mm A.A. gun
                Crew:                      25

You’ll note that the displacement went up from 291/341 to 314/364, and the fuel capacity went from 23 tons to 38, making the substantial increase in the operational radius.

U-18        Type II-B               Built by Deutsche Werke (Kiel), launched December 7, 1935.  Fleige, U-18 was scuttled, possibly blown up, by her own crew.  U-18 was salvaged by the Russians and used for training.  U-18 was scrapped in 1960.  This was one of the Type II boats that were transported to the Black Sea and operated from Turkish ports until they were all scuttled on September 10, 1944….this one off Constanza.  Former famous commanders include: Mengersen who went to U-101 and U-607; Linder who went on to U-202 (he put the saboteurs ashore at Ammaganset, Long Island, New York); Vogelsang who went on to U-132; and von Rosenberg-Gruszynski who went on to U-384.

U-19        Type II-B               Built by Deutsche Werke (Kiel), launched December 21, 1935.  This was another of the Black Sea boats that were scuttled by their crews on September 10, 1944 off the Turkish coast.  Positions for these Black Sea bats are not known.  Commander of U-19 when she was scuttled was Oberleutnant Willy Ohlenburg.  Famous former commanders include: Schepke (I think we all know that name) who went to U-100; Lohmeyer who went to U-138 and U-651; and Shendel who went to U-134 (one of the boats Houben claimed to have been on) and U-2509.

I think perhaps a word or to is in order here about Herr Houben.  After I learned that he was never on any of the boats he claimed and was not even in the Kriegsmarine, I related this information to him.  When I published KTB #4, I felt that is was only right that I send a copy to Houben, since I mentioned him in it.  I sent it to his company…and it was returned marked “Moved – box closed”.  I have tried to phone Houben several times over the past week or so…the phone at his company has been disconnected.  What a strange way for someone to act.

U-20        Type II-B               Built by Deutsche Werke (Kiel), launched January 14, 1936.  Another of the Black Sea boats, scuttled on September 10, 1944 off the Turkish coast.  Commander when scuttled was Oberleutnant Karl Grafen.  Former famous commanders include: Moehle who went to U-123; Driver who went to U-23, U-145, and U-371; Zetzsche who went to U-560 and U-591; Paulshen who went to U-557; Strater who went to U-83 and U-614; and Nolke who went to U-263.

U-21        Type II-B               Built by Deutsche Werke (Kiel), launched July 13, 1936.  Under Oberleutnant Wolfgang Schwarzkopf, this boat was decommissioned at Neustadt on August 5, 1944 then scrapped in February1945 at Danzig.  Former famous commanders include: Lohse who went to U-585; Herbschelb who went to U-354; and Dohler who went to U-606.  U-21 sank 1 Norwegian, 2 Swedish, 1 Danish, 1 Yugoslavian, and 2 British ships and damaged HMS BELFAST.

U-22        Type II-B               Built by Deutsche Werke (Kiel), launched July 29, 1936.  On April 25, 1940, U-22 struck a mine coming through the Skagerrak and went down with all hands.  Killed in this sinking was the commander, Kapitaenleutnant Karl-Henrich Jenisch, brother of Hans Jenisch, commander of U-32.  Former commanders of U-22 include Winter, who went to U-103 and then became Commander of “U-float I” where he indirectly saved the life of Ernst Schmidt.  U-22 sank 4 British, 1 Swedish, and 2 Danish ships.

U-23        Type II-B               Built by Deutsche Werke (Kiel), launched August 28, 1936.  Under Oberleutnant Rudolf Arendt, U-23 was scuttled off the Turkish coast in the Black Sea September 10, 1944.  Former famous commanders include: Kretschmer who went to U-99, Driver who went to U-371, Beduhn who went to U-25; Reichenback-Klinke who went to U-217; and Wahlen who went to U-2514 and U-2541.  U-23 san k 3 British, 2 Danish, 2 Norwegian, and 5 Russian Navy ships – and damaged 1 transport.

                                                               That’s it for this KTB….see you in a month.

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