U-BOAT SINKING/H.M.S. FINDHORN/INDIAN OCEAN
"Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altar."
This call and spur to the faithful servants of Truth and Justice was quoted by Churchill in his first broadcast as Prime Minister to the British people on the BBC - May 19, 1940, London.
D.S.M. in orig. box to E.R.A.3. J.G.
This is the patrol area of the Far East Monsun boats during 1943 - 1945.
HMS Findhorn (K 301)
Frigate of the River class
Oblt. Burkhard Heusinger von Waldegg
Born on 27
May, 1920 in Berlin-Schneberg.
By mid January 1943 the Anglo-American naval blockade of Germany had reduced, step by step, the stocks of those strategical materials the German were already short of (namely rubber, tungsten, molibden, copper, vegetal substances, quinine and some kinds of oils) and which were absolutely necessary to carry on the war. All these goods, uncommon in Europe and whose production was rather difficult, were on the contrary largely available in the Asiatic regions conquered by the Japanese during the war. The Indonesian Archipelago, the large and rich former Dutch colony, invaded by the Japanese in the spring of 1942 after a rapid aeronaval offensive, could supply Germany and the Asis countries with the strategical materials they needed on condition that they were able to build ships fit for a voyage out and home on a very long and dangerous course.
Since the beginning of the war several German vessels had managed to break the British naval blockade. Seventeen voyages had been made from 1940 to 1943 in order to connect the Japanese ports to the French basis of Brest and Bordeaux occupied by the Germans who had therefore been able to supply themselves with 104,600 tons of various goods and rare materials, The above figure, though not modest if related to the number of ship employed and to the difficulties met during the course, accounts only for 46% of the goods which had been forwarded from Japan. Twenty out of the thirty-seven German vessels employed to break the blockade had been intercepted, captured or sunk by the British fleet. The remaining 17 ships had managed to transport to Europe less than half of the 87,450 tons of rare rubber, 98,500 tons of copra and edible oils, 15,950 tons of non-ferrous metals and 24,475 tons of various goods (textiles, foodstuff, tea, coffee and pharmaceutical products such as opium and quinine) shipped from the Far East. n order to get an amount of precious goods a little over 100,000 tons, Germany had lost more than 50% of her ships and crews: a price which was estimated too high by Admiral Reader, commander in chief of the German fleet in those days. reassuring that experience, Reader thought it was necessary to workout a new and safer transport technique, which could reduce losses. However, several months were needed before a new plan was conceived by the Kriegsmarine so deeply concerned with a very hard military situation which kept it engaged on several fronts.
The problem of linking Europe with the Far East solved early in 1943 by Admiral Doenitz, the commander in chief of the German Submarine fleet. Doenitz suggested that U-boats having a long operating range should be employed, after being made suitable for transporting goods, to replace surface crafts which had proved unfit for such a mission. His U-boats, having a higher tonnage, had obtained good results in the Indian Ocean since 1942 by sinking several British ships. Thus the Admiral felt he could grant, though recommending a good deal of caution, a regular linking service between the French basis and the ones held by the Japanese in Batavia and Penang (Indonesia). According to Doenitz the inferior capacity of cargo submarines would have been balanced by a reduction of risk. Moreover a new fact had occurred in Germany by the end of January. Hitler had got a report from the Ministry of Industry which assured the discovery of new techniques enabling the production of a certain amount of synthetic rubber sufficient to meet, though at a very high cost, the national requirements. Since they were no more compelled to carry large quantities of rubber (the bulkiest and most required raw material till then) Doenitz's cargo U-boats were suitable for stowing a great deal of rare products (150 to 200 tons).
In 1943 the German war industry had divoured almost all the stocks of materials and strategic goods so that the shortage of tungsten, molibden (metals used to produce special steel) pewter, copper, vegetal fibers and quinine had become permanent. As a consequence there was the urgent need to employ the U-boats in order to face, at least in part, the supplying of the raw materials which were not available in occupied Europe. To solve the situation in a satisfactory way, on February 20th 1943, admiral Doenitz brought Hitler's attention on a plan for building 200 submarines mod. XX which had been specially conceived for carrying goods. These new vessels were totally unarmed but could contain in their holds an 800 ton cargo and had been built to have a fuel-distance of 13,000 miles at a speed of 11 knots. Hitler, at first, approved the plan and gave the order to build 199 submarines (from U-1601 to U-1800) but, as the war situation got worse and the consistence of Atlantic submarine fleet was reduced by increasing losses, the FЭhrer put off the plan supporting the production of a modern fighting model (U-XXI). At the same time, Hitler asked admiral Doenitz to find a cheaper solution to the Far East transport problem. Unwilling to remove from the operation theatre some good fighting vessels, admiral Doenitz turned to Italy and proposed an agreement to Mussolini himself in order to exchange a number of submarines. Seven Italian ocean-going U-boats whose base was at Betasom (Bordeaux) were, according to Doenitz, too large and unfit for modern fighting techniques but they could still be converted into cargo ships. Mussolini accepted the proposal and within few months seven Italian vessels were sent to the yards for a total refitting.
In the second half of May 1943, as soon as the hulls had been thoroughly refitted, the first Italian cargo submarine sailed from Bordeaux soon followed by some more (*), all awaited by a tragic doom. Two of them, in fact, (the Tazzoli and the Barbarigo) disappeared in the sea, soon after leaving, probably sunk by allied aero naval forces, while the Giuliani and the Torelli, caught by the armistice of September 8th, when they were still in Malayan port of call, were seized by German naval forces operating in that base.
The apparent misfortune of the Italian submarines gave, however, a good opportunity to the Japanese who could recover from the captured ships 355 tons of strategic materials shipped from Germany, that is 55% of the total cargo. On the contrary the 377 tons of rubber and the 184 tons of pewter which had already been stowed in the holds of the three Italian ships never got to Germany because the Germans didn't feel like using such worn out means of transport.
Towards spring 1943 the German navy could begin to rely on a good deal of new ocean-going submarines. They had a large fuel-range and were fit for linking Europe to the Far East without calling at ports. The vessels belonged to the IXD2 whose first models, deriving from the IXC series, had been put into service since the autumn 1942. Thus Doenitz decided to utilize a certain number of them. After their hulls had been modified in order to carry, in case of need, 315 tons of materials, the first submarines were ready for the long voyage in the spring 1943. In July of the same year the U-501 reached Penang where, in the meantime, Fregatten KapitДn Wilhelm Dommes (former commander of the U-178) had been appointed by Doenitz to the direction of the first south base for German submarines operating in the Indian Ocean. Dommes, who was a very good officer, made more efficient the activity of this faraway Kriegsmarine outpost trying to keep good relations with the harsh Japanese allied who always showed little sense of camradeship giving negligible help to the German officers work. Dommes had few means but he had a risky venture in mind. In fact he wanted to employ the U-boats coming from France not only to transport goods but also to practice privateering, on their return voyage, against the numerous and undisturbed Anglo-American convoys which needed to cross the Indian Ocean.
If he had managed to give a hard and unexpected blow to the allied traffic, the Anglo-Americans would have been forced to move to that sector lots of aeronaval crafts that had, till then, harassed the U-boats operating in the Atlantic. Admiral Doenitz as soon as he was informed about the plan, agreed to it and decided, in the meanwhile, to send to Penang 15 crafts of different models. The U-177, 196, 198, 852, 859, 860, 861, 863, 871 followed by IX D2 510, by IXC 537, 843 and by VII F 059, and 1062 sailed from Bordeaux and from Brest between January and June 1943. As a result of the increased air and naval control operated by the Anglo-Americans and South Africans 8 vessels were lost during the crossing to the East. However the 7 submarines succeeded in reaching Malaysia were able to unload a fairly good quantity of materials urgently required by Tokyo i.e. precious metals, industrial equipments, precision machinery, aircraft engines (even jet engines) and project of new military crafts, submarines included. The German ships were immediately provided with fuel, water, goodstuff and stowed with the usual products the German industry greatly needed. In these difficult conditions, with a limited number of vessels, short of torpedoes and relying only on the insufficient Japanese protection, Dommes flotilla began, in echelon, the return voyage in the hope of sinking some isolated enemy ships. Unfortunately things went in a different way and all the skill of German commanders was necessary to do the crossing towards the French Atlantic coast. In that period, in fact, the patrolling of the American aeronaval forces equipped with sophisticated sonar and radar plants had greatly increased even in the Indian Ocean. The first submarines wich got to Bordeaux by mid June 1944 were the U-178 (Dommes ship handed over in Penang to KapitДnleutnant Spahr) and Korvetten KapitДn Ludden's U-118. Reassured by the success he had obtained Dommes sent five more cargo U-boats VI to Europe. One of the first crafts, soon after sailing from Penang, had to rush back to the port because of a serious average while the other four were to face a beautiful voyage. During the summer 1944 the Allies, after landing in Normandy in June, had occupied the base of Bordeaux and almost all the French Atlantic coast depriving Germany of her safest naval bases on the Atlantic. The commanders of the German crafts, as they arrived in the Gulf of Biscay after an eventful crossing, had no choice left but had northwards, circumnavigate Great Britain and try to reach the distant Norwegian port of Bergen and then make for Hamburg: all that under the constant fire of the Allied planes and ships. Only one out of the five ships which took part in the enterprise reached the Scandinavian port early in April 1945, while the others were sunk or seized. However also the only surviving ship was going to meet her doom before getting back to Germany. In fact after leaving Bergen on April 5th she was intercepted on 9th by English planes in the Kattegat Strait and sunk with all her precious freight.
Though the military situation was worsening in the autumn 1944, two more submarines sailed from Saint-Nazaire (still in German hands) directed to Penang. The two crafts, the U-195 (mod IX D1) and the U-219 (mod U-XB did a terrible six months crossing arriving at the Indonesian base in January 1945. Soon after their arrival the Japanese military authorities invited the commaner in chief of the German base Dommes to have his ships moved to Djakarta (Java), together with the other six which were already at anchor, as Penang had become too unsafe because of the more and more frequent raids of the allied planes. From the base of Djakarta some submarines of Dommes'flotilla operated even in the Australian vicinities. Particularly, the Korvetten KapitДn Timm's U-862 left the base on November 17th 1944 and - sailing along the coast - reached the east coast of Australia, where it sunk on December 25th the cargo ship Robert J. Walker, 100 miles north of Gabo Island. Instead of coming back following the same route, Timm preferred to continue southbound through the Tasman Sea and circumnavigated the whole Australian continent, arriving in the Indian Ocean. While doing his long way back to Djakarta, he got the chance to sink the motor vessel Peter Silvester. The U-862 was the only German craft to violate the Pacific Ocean.
The commander of the German garrison asked and obtained that Eick's men took part in the defense of Saint-Nazaire. The stronghold attacked by numerous American columns surrended on May 11th and, owing to a mocking destiny, lots of sailors - survived to a thousand dangers - fell on the field of this desperate battle. Just in those days KapitДnleutnant Oesten's U-861 which had also left penang by the end of January berthed at the wharves in the Norwegian port of Trondheim when, on March 8th, she was cut off when Germany surrended.
fate was to strike Korvetten KapitДn Junker's U-532 which had also sailed from Penang soon after
the U-861. Caught by the end of the hostilities
while he was off the Irish coast, Junker committed
himself to the Allies in a port of the island. At
several thousand miles' distance the tragedy of the last
German submarine belonging to kapitan Wilhelm Dommes'
legendary South Flotilla was going to end. We are on the
eve of Hitler surrendering. In the isolated and half
destroyed base of Djakarta, bombed over and over agin by
the Allies, Dommes and a handful of officers and sailors
who had taken shelter there with KapitДnleutnant Schneewind's (oddly he was born in Djakarta in 1917) U-183 started a desperate enterprise. He embarked on
the submarine as many men as he cold find among the
ground staff coming from the former base of Penang then,
after refuelling eith the scanty stocks allowed by the
Japanese, Schneewind went out to sea at dusk on April
21st. Dommes, without the knowledge of the Japanese, had
not loaded a single gram of material in order to leave
more room to his sailors and at the end he decides to
remain on the island with a few men. Only twenty-four
hours after leaving, ad dawn, on the 23rd the U-183 ( stil sailing on the surface ) is torpedoed and split
into two parts by the American submarine Besugo that lays in ambush at the mouth of the Sunda Strait.
U-boat relics are the most rare of all Third-Reich items from U-Boat 198.
This is a really exceptional piece of WWII history, probably made in a Kriegsmarine machine shop. We have never seen a finer and more historically important German nautical item that has such great historical provenance. The item belonged to the now-deceased machinist's mate Rudy Schnell, who was a member of the crew of the U-198, whose sailing motto was 'Westward Ho!' written in English. See the book Embleme Wafer Malings-Deutscher U-Boote 1939-1945 by Koehler. On page 87 the trifork insignia for the U-98 is clearly shown with its English motto or Vorwort. On page 88 it has a description of the history and exploits of U-198, for instance, the sinking of the British Frigate Findhorn and the Indian frigate Godavari, the captain was Kapitan Zur See Werner Hartmann. The Indian Ocean seemed to be the hunting grounds for these wolf-pack boats. The box measures 5 ╫ X 6 ╫ inches across its top and a little over one inch deep. The ornamentation of the box is incredible as can be seen in the pictures. Rudy's initials are riveted in the left-lower corner, while U-198 is shown in the left top.
The idea of stationing German U-boats in Penang or Sabang for operations in the Indian Ocean was first proposed by the Japanese in December 1942. As no supplies were available at either location the idea was turned down (although a number of U-cruisers from the first wave operated around the Cape at the time).
The idea was raised again in the spring 1943. Additionally, the Japanese requested 2 U-boats to be handed over for copying. Although Doenitz saw no point in such a handover, it was decided to give a type IXC boat.
As long as targets were available in the Atlantic, Doenitz considered sending U-boats on a large scale to the Far East as unprofitable. However, on 5 April, 1943 it was decided to send U-178 to Penang to establish the naval base there. U-511 sailed soon after to be eventually given to the Japanese in return for rubber:
commander: Kptlt. Fritz Schneewind
sailed: France 10/05/43
returned: Kure 7/08/43
It is also reported that U-511 arrived at Penang around 17 July, 1943 as the first German U-boat to enter the base (before U-178).
U-511 scored some success while on the passage to Japan. The boat carried Vice-Admiral Nomura (the Japanese Naval Attache) and in September 1943 was recommissioned as RO-500. U-511's crew was to be a spare crew for the boats which were later to operate from the Japanese-held bases.
After the May 1943 crisis it was decided to look for less strongly defended areas and the idea of sending boats to the Far East was finally approved. Indian Ocean was the only region with almost peace-time shipping arrangement and still with U-boats radius of action.
As the result arrangements were made to replenish U-cruisers still operating around the Cape and to send a new wave of boats for the attack in the Arabian Sea. The latter was scheduled for the end of September 1943 - right after the monsoon period. Because of this the group was named Monsun. The group was to sail in June 1943 at the latest.
3.2 The first wave of Monsun boats
9 type IXC and 2 type IXD/2 boats were scheduled for the attack in the Arabian Sea and sailed as group Monsun:
(boat; commander; sailed; returned)
U-200; Kptlt. Heinrich Schoder; Norway 11/06/43; sunk 24/06/43
U-188; Kptlt. Siegfried Ludden; France 30/06/43; Penang 31/10/43
U-168; Kptlt. Helmuth Pich; France 3/07/43; Penang 11/11/43
U-509; Kptlt. Werner Witte; France 3/07/43; sunk 15/07/43
U-514; Kptlt. Hans-Jurgen Auffermann; France 3/07/43; sunk 8/07/43
U-532; Frgkpt. Ottoheinrich Junker; France 3/07/43; Penang 31/10/43
U-183; Krvkpt. Heinrich Schafer; France 07/43; Penang 27/10/43
U-506; Kptlt. Erich Wurdemann; France 6/07/43; sunk 12/07/43
U-533;; Kptlt. Helmut Hennig; France 6/07/43; sunk 16/10/43
U-516 Kptlt. Hans-Rutger Tillessen; France 8/07/43; France 23/08/43
U-847; Kptlt. Herbert Kuppish; Norway 29/07/43 sunk 27/08/43
Initially U-462 was assigned to the group for refuelling some 300 miles east of St Paul's Rock. A second replenishment was scheduled south of Mauritius from a surface tanker. However, U-462 did not break through the Bay of Biscay in 2 attempts being damaged by aircraft and returned for long repairs on 6/07/43. As most of the Monsun boats were already on the way another tanker, U-487 was assigned but she was sunk on 13 July, 1943 without refuelling Monsun boats.
U-200 was sunk south-west of Iceland while on the outward passage on 24 June, 1943. While in transit U-514 was sunk on 8/07/43, U-506 was sunk on 12/07/43 and U-509 on 15/07/43 - all by aircraft.
After the massacre of U-tankers in the summer 1943 emergency fuelling arrangements were needed for U-boats concentrated around the Azores (including Monsun boats).
It was decided to replenish Monsun boats by employing type IXC boats: U-155 and U-160. U-160 was initially diverted to transfer fuel to U-487 (which was short on fuel after numerous refuelling) but arrived too late and was sunk on 14/07/43 - a day after U-487. Eventually U-516 of the Monsun boats was diverted on emergency refuelling duties. The refuelling of the remaining Monsun boats took place 600 miles WNW of Cape Verde Islands between 21/07 and 27/07/43. U-155 transferred fuel to U-183, U-188 and U-168 while U-516 refuelled U-532 and U-533. Both boats came back to France in August 1943.
U-847 was damaged by ice in the Denmark Strait headed for France but it was decided to use her as a tanker. Between 12/08 and 24/08/43 she refuelled the following boats: U-66, U-415, U-230, U-653, U-257, U-172 and U-508. U-847 was a rather inexperienced boat on her first was cruise (having only sailed from Germany to Norway 6/07 - 20/07/43). An excessive use of radio was reported by commanders of refuelled boats. U-847 was sunk by aircraft on 27 Aug, 1943.
Of the initial 11 Monsun U-boats 4 were destroyed in transit and 2 diverted on emergency refuelling duties (1 of which sunk) so effectively only 5 boats managed to break through: U-168, U-183, U-188, U-532 and U-533. They reached the Indian Ocean without further trouble. Between 11/09 and 13/09/43 they took on fuel from the surface tanker Brake, sent from Penang. The rendezvous took place 450 miles south of Mauritius without incident. Meanwhile the Japanese already started operating in the Arabian Sea (August 1943) and certain arrangements were made to avoid incidents between U-boats and Japanese submarines (attacks on other submarines strictly forbidden). Eventually the Monsun boats were allocated as follows:
U-168 off Bombay (sank 1 ship)
U-183 between Seychelles and the African Coast
U-188 Gulf of Oman (sank 3 ships, also convoy attack)
U-532 south and west coast of India (sank 5 ships)
U-533 Gulf of Aden (lost there)
U-188 experienced torpedo failures due to the hot climate affecting torpedo batteries. All the remaining 4 Monsun boats (after the loss of U-533) entered Penang by the beginning of November 1943. The commanders of U-168 and U-183 had been affected by the strain of the long voyage and the commander of U-183 was later replaced by Kptlt. Fritz Schneewind of U-511.
3.3 Further Monsun operations
After sending the first wave of Monsun boats it was decided to send further boats to make up for the loses of the first wave:
U-219; Krvkpt. Walter Burghagen; Norway 22/10/43; France 1/01/44
U-510; Kptlt. Alfred Eick France; 3/11/43; Penang 5/04/44
U-848; Krvkpt. Wilhelm Rollman; Germany 18/09/43; sunk 5/11/43
U-849; Kptlt. Heinz-Otto Schultze; Germany 2/10/43; sunk 25/11/43
U-850; Krvkpt. Klaus Ewerth; Germany 18/11/43; sunk 20/12/43
U-219 was due to lay mines off Cape Town and Colombo but was recalled as a tanker. U-848 and U-849 were destroyed off Ascension while U-850 off the Azores - all by aircraft. U-510 refuelled from U-219 and reached the Indian Ocean where in February and March 1944 she scored hits.
While in the Indian Ocean U-510 joined the boats operating from Penang:
U-178; Kptlt. Wilhelm Spahr; Penang 27/11/43; France 24/05/44
U-532; Frgkpt. Ottoheinrich Junker; Penang 4/01/44; Penang 19/04/44
U-188; Kptlt. Siegfried Ludden; Penang 9/01/44; France 19/06/44
U-168; Kptlt. Helmuth Pich; Penang 7/02/44; Jakarta 24/03/44
U-183; Kptlt. Fritz Schneewind; Penang 10/02/44; Penang 21/03/44
The first boat to operate from Penang was U-178, later joined by 4 Monsun boats and U-510 coming from France. U-178 and U-510 refuelled from the surface tanker Charlotte Schliemann on 28 Jan, 1944 stationed 100 miles south-east of Mauritius. U-510 achieved some success in the Indian Ocean. She attacked convoy PA-69 on 23 Feb, 1944 in the Gulf of Aden and scored hits.
The size of Penang flotilla was limited to 5 U-boats due to the dockyard capacity. The Monsun boats were so short of torpedoes that U-532, U-188 and U-183 were ordered to embark strategic materials and come home via the patrol areas in the Indian Ocean.
U-532 was also to refuel from Charlotte Schliemann but bad weather prevented that on 11 Feb, 1944 when 950 miles east of Madagascar. The tanker was then detected by the Allied while refueling U-532 and forced to scuttle. 41 survivors were captured by the British destroyer HMS Relentless and others rescued by U-532. She later was under depth-charge attacks for 3 days.
U-178 transferred some fuel to U-532 on 26 Feb, 1944 and left for France. U-178 was later attacked by aircraft on 8 March, 1944 off the Cape of Good Hope but survived. She was later to meet the eastbound transport UIT-22 but the latter was sunk by aircraft on 11 March, 1944. She arrived at Bordeaux, France with engines almost out of order.
The remaining 5 boats (4 Monsun from Penang and U-510) carried on operations. Another refuelling was scheduled from the tanker Brake in March 1944. This time U-532, U-188 and U-168 searched the area for some time before. On 12/03/44 U-188 and U-532 refuelled but bad weather again interrupted the operation. Later during the day Brake was detected and forced to scuttle. The survivors were rescued by U-168. The boats had to share fuel among themselves. Eventually U-168, U-532 and U-183 were forced to stay in the Far East due to the fuel shortage. Only U-188 could proceed back to Europe where she was paid off.
3.4 More boats sent to the Far East
One of the reasons for disappointing results was the quality and quantity of torpedoes available at Penang. They were derived from German armed merchant cruisers and blockade-runners and suffered badly from the long storage in the tropics. To make up for this special torpedo transports of type VIIF were sent with torpedoes and spares. Also further operational boats were systematically sent to the Far East:
U-177; Kptlt. Heinz Buchholz; France 2/01/44; sunk 6/02/44
U-1062; Oblt. Karl Albrecht; Bergen 3/01/44; Penang 19/04/44
U-852; Kptlt. Heinz-Wilhelm Eck; Kiel 18/01/44; sunk 3/04/44
U-1059; Oblt. Gter Leupold; Norway 12/02/44; sunk 19/03/44
U-843; Kptlt. Oskar Herwartz; France 19/02/44; Jakarta 11/06/44
U-801; Kptlt. Hans-Joachim Brans; France 26/02/44; sunk 16/03/44
U-851; Krvkpt. Hannes Weingrtner; France 26/02/44; sunk 03/44
U-181; Frgkpt. Kurt Freiwald; France 16/03/44; Penang 8/08/44
U-196; Krvkpt. Eitel-Friedrich Kentrat; France 16/03/44; Penang 10/08/44
U-537; Kptlt. Peter Schrewe; France 25/03/44; Jakarta 2/08/44
U-859; Kptlt. Johann Jebsen; Kiel 4/04/44; sunk 23/09/44
U-860; Frgkpt. Paul Buchel; Kiel 11/04/44; sunk 15/06/44
U-198; Oblt. Burkhard Heusinger v. Waldegg; France 20/04/44; sunk 12/08/44
U-861; Kptlt. Jrgen Oesten; Kiel 20/04/44; Penang 22/09/44
U-490; Oblt. Wilhelm Gerlach; Norway 6/05/44; sunk 12/06/44
U-862; Kptlt. Heinrich Timm; Norway 3/06/44; Penang 9/09/44
U-863; Kptlt. Dietrich von der Esch; Norway 26/07/44; sunk 29/09/44
U-180; Oblt. Rolf Riesen; France 20/08/44 sunk; 22/08/44
U-195; Oblt. Friedrich Steinfeldt; France 20/08/44; Jakarta 28/12/44
U-219; Krvkpt. Walter Burghagen; France 23/08/44; Jakarta 11/12/44
U-871; Kptlt. Erwin Ganzer ;Norway 31/08/44; sunk 26/09/44
U-864; Krvkpt. Ralf-Reimar Wolfram ;Bergen 5/02/45; sunk 9/02/45
U-234; Kptlt. Johann-Heinrich Fehler; 1/04/45; surrendered
U-852 sank the Greek ship Peleus on 13/03/44 and survivors were machine-gunned in the water. The commander and officers of U-852 were later captured and after a trial sentenced to death. This was the only proven case of machine-gunning survivors by a German U-boat.
Not all the boats were equipped with schnorkel. Those equipped include: U-180, U-195, U-219, U-863, U-864, U-234.
U-198 reached the Indian Ocean, scored some hits but was sunk by A/S vessels with aircraft assistance. U-859 also survived the Atlantic passage and the Indian Ocean patrol where she scored hits but was sunk by a British submarine off Penang.
U-843 was damaged by aircraft in the Atlantic but reached Penang.
U-859 was torpedoed by an Allied submarine off Penang after a 6 month patrol when she scored hits.
U-180 and U-195 were the only type IXD/1 boats with unreliable experimental fast-running diesel engines. They were completely converted to transports with new diesels. Together with U-219, a minelayer also adapted as a transport, they sailed as a part of the evacuation from French ports. They were bound for the Far East. U-180 was mined but the others reached Jakarta.
U-490 was sent to the Far East to make up for the loss of supply ships in the Indian Ocean.
U-861 initially operated off the Brazilian coast.
U-537 was refuelled by U-183 around 25/06/44.
Of the boats listed above U-852, U-198, U-181, U-537, U-196, U-862, U-861 and U-859 scored hits. The sinkings in the Indian Ocean started on 1/04/44 and ceased in September 1944 when all the boats were either in port or destroyed. The peak moment came in July and August 1944.
It can be seen that the effort was gradually shifted from combat missions to transport missions. Some of the boats were even permanently converted to transports like U-180, U-195, U-219, U-234 and others. How important the transport missions were can be judged from the fact that even in the spring 1945 U-boats were still sailing to the Far East. Some of them with interesting cargoes indeed - like well-known U-234. U-874 and U-875 were loading some 170 tons of mercury, lead and optical glass but never left European waters.
3.5 Operations from Penang
Very few patrols with the intention to return back to the Far East bases were attempted by the Monsun boats. U-168, U-183 and U-532 all made a patrol early in 1944 but in fact U-183 and U-532 were intended to sail to Europe. Further actions include:
U-183; Kptlt. Fritz Schneewind; Penang 17/05/44; Penang 7/07/44
U-181; Frgkpt. Kurt Freiwald; Penang 19/10/44; Jakarta 5/01/45
U-862;Krvkpt. Heinrich Timm; Jakarta 18/11/44; Jakarta 15/02/45
U-183 operated off the south coast of India. Around 25 June, 1944 she refuelled eastbound U-537. She sank just 1 ship. U-181 sank 1 ship (and arrived at Penang according to the evacuation orders given meanwhile to the Far East U-boat flotilla.
U-862 operated in the Pacific off Australia and actually penetrated Sydney harbour and sank the 7180-ton American steamer Robert J. Walker of 160-miles of the Australian coast on 24 Dec, 1944. U-862 was the only U-boat to operate in the Pacific.
Numerous wartime documents reveal that the British, and especially Rodger Winn, discouraged the Americans from overtly using special intelligence to coordinate hunter-killer attacks against U-tankers and U-boats, such as in the capture of U-505. Like many of his superiors at the Admiralty, Winn worried that the Germans might realize that their codes and ciphers were compromised.
Throughout World War II, German naval leaders used radio communications extensively to maintain constant contact with the forces at sea. As a result, Allied radio intercept stations had almost constant access to the flow of signals being transmitted between U-boats and shore-based headquarters. At far left, a signalsman monitors the "Afrika II" Communication Circuit in the main radio transmitting and receiving center in the Commander of U-Boats headquarters near Lorient in occupied France.
Britain had 54
serviceable submarines at the outbreak of WWII, including 12 H and L class boats
which were of 1914-1918 vintage and of riveted construction. The H class boats
were used operationally in 1940 but were withdrawn soon afterwards, following
two early losses in the Bay of Biscay. An emergency submarine building programme
was instigated and 164 boats were contructed in UK yards during the war.
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