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GJO 12-04-13 07:37 AM

In early June 1940 whilst returning to W/haven after expending all my torpedoes attacking a convoy South West of Ireland, I encountered an ASW trawler and a small merchant north west of the Orkneys - I sank the ASW Trawler with the last of my deck gun ammo and dispatched the merchant with over 300 rounds from the flack gun. I had activated the flack gun because I had been expecting a possible air attack but no planes were observed despite the calm and excellent visibility - so I decided to see if I could use it on the ship - there are no orders possible to get the flack gunner to fire on a ship so I fired the gun myself and after what seemed like an age it started to catch fire and sink slowly!

Leandros 12-05-13 12:43 PM

U-65 - IXB - Kaleu Hansen - April 291452 1943 - BE62 - Patrol 19

Departed Lorient April 051012. Back on the surface again after some hair-raising recent experiences. One diesel engine and one battery pack is out but thanks to the radar-signals from its escorts we still have track on the convoy we were just chased away from. Our radar is destroyed but that is not very important as its signals only show our position to the enemy in this situation. Still half the torpedo complement intact. Working to get ahead of it again which isn't very difficult using their radar-emitting signals as a quidance.

Things have really changed since our last patrol in these parts of the Atlantic. We have experienced our first hedgehog attacks, seemingly improved enemy sonar and radar-equipped air patrols all over the place. Our new radar warning receiver which actually makes it easier to find enemy convoys and approaching sub-hunting air patrols has saved us on several occasions. Reports on sunk U-boats are received regularly from the BDU. Not very good for morale but keeps us on our toes.

The last 5 patrols were spent on the Amerian East Coast - one long patrol actually, as we called on U-461 for resupply and repairs four times in the period lasting from June 5th '42 to Feb 7th '43. The combat results were not very impressive - 25 ships sunk, 16 of them naval. We had to call on U-461 three times for major repairs, twice both our scopes were destroyed. On Patrol 17 hull integrity was down to 46%. We sorely missed an RWR. Conditions worsened by time, on the three last patrols we sunk only 8 ships. B-24's, PBY's and TBM Avengers patrolled the area constantly. There was one positive event, though, on Patrol 17 we sunk the carrier HMS Searcher with all its 4 escorts.

Patrol 19 started relatively good with hitting a large convoy straight out from Lorient - sunk 7 ships. However, much of our resources were used for self-defense as 5 of these were escorts. The last one was particularly tiresome, a small Isles Patrol Boat. As soon as we were pushed under we were unable to sink it as we never got it outside the 400 meter arming zone of our torpedoes, it turned too narrowly. However, during this constant roundabout we were able approach an already slowed-down Granville merchant and give it a grazing shot.

Finally, we decided to make an effort to "lose" the Isles, and made it. As it retreated after having lost us we surfaced approx. 5 km. behind it and took up pursuit. It turned towards us and started fire on 4.000 meters, we reciprocated from 3.500 meters. In a running battle we were able to destroy it with only minimal damage to our own boat. Probably not a very wise decision but it was the only way to get past it to take on the rest of the convoy. As it turned out it was to little use as we soon were pushed under by constant air patrols. We lost the convoy.

After a long detour to North of the Rockalls with no results we are no back in the area we found the first convoy. Still 35% diesel left. The weather is lousy, 300-500 meters visibility - horizontal rain. Shall try to keep ahead of the convoy till we get som better weather. To easy to be jumped as it is now.

Fred

Leandros 12-05-13 05:12 PM

U-65 - IXB - Kaleu Hansen - May2nd 1943 - Lorient - Patrol 19

Finally back in Lorient with one unspent torpedo. My birthday, too! We caught up with the convoy again and were able to position us just in the middle of its track. The advance escorts passed us one on each side as we let ourselves be run over by the convoy. Quite problematic to find the targets as visibility was generally 400-500 meters. Fired torps fore and aft. When the convoy had passed two small passenger liners and one whale factory was down. For good measure we knocked out the tail escort, too - a V & W destroyer.

Then the miss. As we eased away eastwards some new powerful sonar signals were registered. Going topside there were powerful radar emissions, too. This could be the task force which had been reported the day before. Again we were able to position our boat along its advance line. The front escorts passed, impossible to see what the strong sonar signal was due to the bad visibility.

Actually, the positioning had been a little too good because we were almost run over - by a carrier! Full speed ahead and we launched a TI magnetic from the aft. It hit but did not go off! In the meantime a turn had been started to line up the single remaining forward torpedo. As soon as it was aligned we fired, the carrier was the out of sight. The torp went went astray. Another crash dive to avoid the escorts. They gave up after a couple of passes due to the extremely high seas. I called it a day and went home.

Ooh, I long for the new homing torpedoes!

Fred

Leandros 12-06-13 12:06 PM

U-65 - IXB - Kaleu Hansen - Aug 29th 1943 - Biscaya - Patrol 21

Left Lorient this morning for square AM39 - southern point of the Hebrides. With the enemy's improved resources this seems like a suicide mission. Departing Lorient on a south-westerly course to avoid enemy air patrols it was only a few hours out that we were approached by one. Happily, our RWR discovered it in good time. Proceeding submerged for a couple of hours now.

Patrol 20 ended in a minor disaster. The assigned patrol area was on the American east coast - just south-east of Halifax. We slow-boated along the Atlantic to save fuel - found three small merchants with our radar along the way and finished them all off with the deck gun.

As soon as we entered the patrol area a large, fast, east-bound convoy was reported. I set up an intercepting course and soon we detected the radar-emission signals from its escorts. After having got up in front of it I decided to continue ahead to deeper water, and the dark, before attacking.

Then the miss. Among the many radar signals an approaching aircraft was not detected and we were jumped by a Hudson. Before we got under it hit close to us with several bombs. The boat survived but both periscopes, sonar and radar were destroyed. During the present conditions I saw no other possibility than to return to base.

We were lucky to receive some of the new Falke torpedoes for the present mission. That shall be interesting.

Fred

Leandros 12-06-13 05:27 PM

1 Attachment(s)
U-65 - IXB - Kaleu Hansen - Sep. 040442 1943 - Lorient - Patrol 21
Just arrived back in Lorient. As so often before we bumped into a convoy enroute to our mission area - just south-west of the Bristol Channel approaches. After having received a report on its approximate whereabouts we soon picked up the radar-emissions of its escorts and used the signals to work up ahead of it, its course was north-east.

With 4 Falke homing torpedoes we felt relatively safe and as usual after our first torpedo firing on a merchant it evolved into a self-defense fight. The Falkes are wonderful if you know how to use them. Within a short time 5 escorts were knocked out with 3 Falkes (the fourth and a couple of conventional ones went astray due to mishandling on my side) and 2 TI's.

After that there was a long chase after the convoy. On three occasions we were up to get ahead of it again and load down the spare torps. Twice we were forced under by approaching aircrafts. Thank you, RWR!

As can be seen by the attached patrol log we used a lot of torps but also saved a lot of time not having to go to the assigned patrol area which would probably have turned into a mousetrap.

Hope to get more Falkes for next trip. It was actually one of those which slowed down the Ceramic liner we sunk. It was my intention to fire a TIII on another far-out ship but fired the Falke in error. On its way it hooked up to the liner.

Fred

Leandros 12-06-13 08:07 PM

2 Attachment(s)
U-65 - IXB - Kaleu Hansen - Nov 111217 1943 - AK63 - Patrol 22
Left Lorient on Nov 3rd for the assigned mission area - somewhere south of a line between Greenland and Iceland. The area has been crawling with task forces - at one time four different were reported almost simultaneously.

Only one Falke was available for this mission.

This is probably not very wise but we are tracking a slow one west of us which is heading west. It obviously has a carrier in it as we have been overflown by Avengers and Wildcats on several occasions. Coastal Command is active, too. Were just overflown by a nasty-looking B-24 with Leigh light and air-to-surface rockets.

Pictures attached....The hunt goes on.

Fred

Leandros 12-06-13 08:48 PM

1 Attachment(s)
U-65 - IXB - Kaleu Hansen - Nov 121208 1943 - North Atlantic - Patrol 22
Large convoy approaching from west. Wish us luck!

Fred


VONHARRIS 12-07-13 12:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leandros (Post 2148927)
U-65 - IXB - Kaleu Hansen - Nov 121208 1943 - North Atlantic - Patrol 22
Large convoy approaching from west. Wish us luck!

Fred


Happy hunting Commander.
Sink them all!

Leandros 12-07-13 11:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VONHARRIS (Post 2148956)
Happy hunting Commander.
Sink them all!

Thank you - Hals und Beinbruch für Führer und Vaterland and all that! Drei schnaps und ein bier and we're on to it.....!

Fred

Leandros 12-07-13 05:50 PM

U-65 - IXB - Kaleu Hansen - Jan. 3rd 1944 - North Atlantic - Patrol 23

Left Lorient yesterday morning on our way north to the AK grid again. Patrol 22 became another misere. We had a fat convoy nicely lined up but I fell for the temptation to take out the lead escort as it was passing us on a straight course on a distance of 1.000 meters. The TIII was a dud and the Buckley turned at us. In the following swirling match we fired a Falke on it, too, but it didn't catch on. In the meantime a River class escort arrived and eventually a Flower corvette snuck up on us from behind and dropped a couple of D/C's right on us. Took out both periscopes so that was that. Crash dived to 150 meters. The boat didn't like that so we had to go up a little. Due to the crash dive it was very difficult to keep at a constant depth on lowest speed. Had to boost the speed intermittingly to keep it steady. Don't know how many D/C's they dropped but they kept on for quite a while. Finally got outside the circle by going full speed and using the Bold 2 decoys.
This is getting difficult. Got 1 Falke and some of the new FAT torpedoes.

Fred


Leandros 12-08-13 10:41 AM

1 Attachment(s)
U-65 - IXB - Kaleu Hansen - Jan. 100910 1944 - AK18 - Patrol 23

Found a medium-sized westbound convoy. Used its radar-emissions to work up ahead of it but let it too close before diving so was discovered. 4 escorts converged on us. Decided to fight it out on periscope depth as very bad experience from the recent lucky deep escapes.

The three first ones approached us in nice order and we hit them one by one with forward deflection shots on 4-500 meter range using TIII II's on magnetic. Side-stepped the fourth one with a decoy and gave it a TI aft shot on magnetic. It stopped after being decoyed and let us get out beyond 400 meters - and a nice firing opportunity.

Have got the first merchant in sight now but also an escort on the convoy's port side. 4 torps left.


Fred

Leandros 12-08-13 12:22 PM

1 Attachment(s)
U-65 - IXB - Kaleu Hansen - Jan. 101455 1944 - AK18 - Patrol 23

Finally relatively safe. Fired one torp at a large merchant but could never confirm it sunk as a Flower corvette was already on us when I sent off the torp. Could have fired more torps on merchants but decided I needed what I had for self-defense. I was correct! First we were chased down but after having loaded what torps were ready I went up again. There were three escorts quite close and one approaching. Well, look at the score sheet when we are back in port - if we get there. This is getting tougher and tougher.

After we came loose from the convoy with no torps left we surfaced, but could soon see that another one was after us again - approx. 4 NM away, he had us on hos his radar, obviously. We had surfaced too soon! As we had nothing to defend ourselves with this time I right away went to periscope depth and snuck off on stealth speed perpendicular to our earlier course. As it came closer we stopped engines and lay still just below the surface. Luckily, it never discovered us but dropped a lot of things on the spot we had been when we dived, hedgehogs, too. After 6-7 passes, one quite close to us, it went back to the convoy. I gave it a few hours before we surfaced again.

Now the long way home. Filing a report again when, if, we get there.

Fred

P.S.: Ref. the status report a couple of escorts were also laying still (damaged) in the water when we left the area. Could not verify their destiny.



nataraj 12-08-13 12:32 PM

Large - yes, neutral - hmmmm
 
the radio message sounded promising: "Large neutral convoy". 200+ km away: Nope, too far. But ... the convoy found me - hours later, early morning, same message but closer. Still on its course. I decided to lie low and take a peek, maybe shadow during the day and attack at night.

This is what the sonar officer told me when the convoy was about 8km away:

http://imageshack.us/a/img837/1656/u1cy.jpg

Large, indeed. But - four warships ? come on, this is only my fourth patrol. I can handle one destroyer with luck, but four?. While I waited for the convoy to pass, I took a peek:
http://imageshack.us/a/img21/6093/ybg8.jpg

A closer look at the "lead" ship (hm, first row, third from right. Why "lead" ship?)
http://imageshack.us/a/img196/1725/2n2i.jpg
Must have been the lead ship, because it has a Greek flag. The only other (hm, is carrying tanks compatible with neutral status?) "neutral" ship was another Small Merchant with a Norwegian flag way back in the convoy.

The juicy rest:
1 Large Merchant, 1 Ore Carrier, 1 Whale Factory, 3 Medium Cargo, 12 more medium merchants, and four warships (1 V&W, 1 A&B, 2 J&K destroyers) ... all of them British. "Neutral Convoy", my a**.

I'm beginning to see the point in "sink em all" ...

Leandros 12-08-13 05:49 PM

2 Attachment(s)
U-65 - IXB - Kaleu Hansen - Mar. 011329 1944 - DQ39 - Patrol 24

Left Lorient February 17th morning enroute for grid EE71 - south of Barbados.

As so often before we dumped into an enemy convoy outside the north-western corner of Spain. See attached Status Report. Included in that is also a tanker we hit - our radar detected it in mid-Atlantic.

On our way we have called on U-488 in grid DF67. They were almost exactly in our track and were very happy to receive mail and a few commodities and spares. We did not take on anything but expect to call on her for refuelling on our way back.

On return of Patrol 23 I was chastised by the deputy Befehlshaber U-boote for not being aggressive enough. I had used too many torps on self-defense and too few on enemy merchants!

As things have developed, in my opinion, the only hope is to establish combined units with special escort hunters with a full complement of homing torpedoes so that the other boats can do their "work" without too much interference. These units must be trained together and have short-wave communication even when submerged.

Anyway, the boss decided to send me across the Atlantic to the sunny Caribbean where I might make better use of my torpedoes. Suits me fine....:hmmm:....

Afraid I made some stupid decisions while in Lorient. A lot of new equipment was available, among them Schnorkel, the new 20 mm Vierling AA automatic cannon and an improved radar warning receiver. I was able to get these but used up all my goodwill in the process. Thinking about it now I should rather have gone for the new Tarnmatte, the Bold 3 decoy and a couple of more Falke or Zaunkønings. But, they were fed up with me by then. They thought I was very ungrateful, and expressed it.

The Schnorkel seems to be a nice device but has its obvious weaknesses. If you use it during day the trailing wave can be seen even better than a periscope's. It cannot be used in the vicinity of escorts as the diesels give off much more sound than the E-motors. If the enemy's radar development continues it won't be long before they can detect both the Schnorkel and the periscope in the dark. If you are discovered by radar-equipped aircraft they can see the wake even in the dark with their new powerful Leigh lights. Come to think of it, using the Schnorkel/diesels could be a fine way to attract escorts for the use of homing torpedoes. Staying below with a 12 knot speed possibility needs the escort to use enough power to attract the torpedo.

Around a convoy without an escort should be fine, though. At least in the dark.

Fred

the dark knight 12-08-13 07:12 PM

U-123 Type IXB, July 5, 1940

Grid square AM-14. It is near dusk and a calm flat sea. We just weathered a 2 day storm that burned more fuel than we really wanted to. As we were on a heading of 270, my 1st WO cries 'warship spotted!'. I race to the conning tower and see a British Black swan in front of us, about 8000m dead ahead. I watch him for a bit, and notice it is heading north, then south, then north again. What are the odds of this being a lone ship? I linger longer than I felt comfortable, worrying we could be spotted in this glass smooth sea. Then, out of the haze, the first line of the convoy appears. I order a dive to 14m, rig for silent running, 100 rpm's on the electric motors. The hydrophone operator reports the 20 ship convoy is headed strait for us, with a heading of 090. I order a turn to port, to bearing 000. Once we reach this heading, I order all stop and men to man the torpedo rooms and damage control. I raise the periscope briefly, and pick out 2 medium tankers for the bow to get, and a whale factory ship for the stern tubes. We wait in silence as the black swan and her convoy pass over head. I raise the scope, we are dead center of the convoy. I quickly launch my forward tubes and stern tubes at their targets, and come out of silent running. 700m to the target...... and all 4 bow tubes miss. They fail to detonate. :/\\!! But, the whale factory ship has both a magnetic and contact torpedo's hit! I hold my breath, and keep the scope on a constant swivel checking for the escorts (there were 8, 4 swans, 4 hunt I's) and they are coming my way. 2 bow tubes were reloaded and one stern. I set all to contact and fire what I have. one at the whale factory, and both medium tankers. All 3 hit, and both tankers explode! The whale factory keeps plowing ahead though. Looks like she might get away...... I had one more torpedo load in the bow, so I fire it into a granville freighter. And.... impact! The granville starts sinking by the stern. The swans are closing fast..... Rig for silent running, 100 rpm's, dive to 100m, heading 300. after 15 minutes, we hear bulkheads groaning..... it was the whale factory ship! We creep away silently and clean without a single depth charge being dropped. The swans never detected us!

Headed for Brodeaux, as BDU says it is available for resupply. 1 granville, 2 medium tankers, and a whale factory ship. Not a bad haul (and yes, I alerted BDU to the presence of the convoy, but never was asked to shadow). Being low on fuel, I can not afford to follow the convoy for another attack.


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