Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Cruising the Bay of Biscay

11 August 1942
2019 local time
Bay of Biscay

Four Hurricanes came in for an attack run during the twilight hours. We managed to shoot one down and damage another this time, but retreating underwater is still our best defense, though we only have forty meters of clearance under the boat. Hopefully the quick report we sent off will alert some destroyers in the area.

12 August 1942
5:26 local time
We are nearing the drop-off from the shelf to deep Atlantic waters. I find some comfort in having plenty if diving room, but the larger swells are already slowing our cruising speed. I'm not too worried about our timetable being thrown off though, with only 1000km left to reach our patrol zone fuel and provisions are less critical during this patrol.

22:53 local time
A Sunderland came out of nowhere and dropped a close spread of depth charges! Just as the boat was settling into a severely raked angle for a crash dive a second wave of explosions rocked us. Once it was clear enough to surface we took stock of our damage: radio antenna and radar mast destroyed, flak 2 is a mess beyond repair, flak 1 repairable and the deck gun needs some minor work. The tower itself also took heavy damage; thank God nobody was up there! Fortunately both periscopes are fully operational and no leaks.

The crew is on deck working on repairs right now; it is good to have dark nights again even if it slows their progress. A pair of aircraft were spotted off in the distance just after 2100, but they didn't see us. Hopefully that luck keeps up with us this cruise.

13 August 1942
9:03 local time
Repairs have been completed, at least those which we can perform at sea. The seas are rough, but the sky is clear and a warm wind is blowing; a nice change after our last few patrols into the north Atlantic! We haven't picked up any traffic yet, though we are approaching the convoy lanes as those coming up from the Southern latitudes and Mediteranean.

14 August 1942
11:38 local time
This morning I stayed on deck for a few extra hours taking in the fresh, warm air. We haven't seen an Allied air patrol in over a day! The crew is much more relaxed this time out, despite the close call we had the other day. It's refreshing to see them recharged, but I don't want to see them get too lax in their duties. I had a quick conference with the other officers about drumming up some small projects to keep the boat in top shape and the crew on their toes.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Patrol Number Four

11 August 1942
8:42 local time
U-588 has just left the docks at Brest and I have turned the task of navigating out to see to Lt. Totenhagen. The weather is perfect for a slow cruise along the French countryside, though it will be to our disadvantage once we are out from under the protection of the destroyers guarding the port. Our leave spent cleaning out the boat and assisting the dock workers with hull maintenance, but we still found time soak up some sunshine and breathe in the warm, fresh air. Those are luxuries I already miss not an hour into my fourth cruise.

Patrol 3 Stats

Patrol # 3
29 June to 14 July 1942
33293 tons of merchant shipping sunk

Jurgen trompetespieler was promoted to Lt. Commander
Herman Sander (watch crew) was promoted to Chief Seaman
Axel Thomsen promoted to Chief Seaman
Georg Rausch earned his Radioman qualification

Sunday, December 31, 2006

The End of the Cruise and the Return to Port

11 July 1942
9:38 local time
The constant patrols, by both air and sea, have made for a slow go; not to mention I have no torpedoes left and the seas are too heavy for any chance of using the deck gun. The destroyers have been easy to slip past, but it is the Sunderlands that scare me. Their radar detection sets lead them right to us in the somewhat clear weather and we have had a few close calls with their depth charge drops! I can tell the crew is getting a bit shaken and worn out by the monotony of running under the surface all day and the frequent crash dives during the half-light of the night while trying to charge our batteries.

12 July 1942
6:03 local time
Rain! Oh sweet rain! The reprieve from air cover has allowed us to stay on the surface and make a run for home at full speed. If this weather holds, and we do not run into too many surface patrols, we should be back in Brest within two days. The mood of the crew is definitely more upbeat today and the level of tension has subsided.

13 July 1942
8:51 local time
We passed the sou'west tip of Ireland during the night and are cruising across the English Channel towards France now. We should be coming up on a group of three type 34 destroyers soon. They are on station to provide the returning u-boats air cover and to warn of any approaching British ships.

13 July 1942
21:37 local time
We will be pulling into our berth shortly. I already feel a great sense of relief being under the protection of the base defenses and not out there alone on the Atlantic.