Monday, December 18, 2006

Cruising the Atlantic in Search of Foul Weather

3 July 1942
4:15 local time
Rough seas and rain make for perfect sailing conditions lately. Two years ago I would have hoped to climb up the ladder to be greeted by sunshine. That dream has been dashed by the constant Allied air patrols of late. At least I'm blessed with a diligent watch crew who can give us enough time to get under cover of the sea when the Sunderlands and Hurricanes come diving upon us. For now we must find as much enjoyment in the rolling swells as is possible.

15:00 local time
We picked up a single warship contact just after 13:00 today. Being in shallow waters with nowhere to hide I decided not to engage, especially with air cover at the ready.

4 July 1942
4:23 local time
A beautiful morning, for anyone but an u-boat crew. The relatively warm summer breeze and calm seas are some relief to yesterday's rough ride, but there is always the constant nagging feeling of being spotted. We're keeping pace at a pretty good clip, 12 knots, so we can get under cover quickly. Today I'm also going to test our new radar system; the rough seas revealed a weakness with the exterior mounting that would cause it to blow out fuses every time a wave overtook the conning tower! We know the Brits can track our signals, but at the same time it can give us a greater warning and every second counts.

22:41 local time
A medium size destroyer was spotted heading directly for us at 4000 meters and closing fast. It may have been luck, but my guess would be that they picked up our radar signal. I quickly fired off a torpedo and dove. He evaded our torpedo and proceeded to lay down a string of depth charges near by. Luckily we had time to maneuver our of the area and he was not about to find us again. Bruno had spotted her at 4000 meters while there was no sign on the radar; some things just can't be replaced so easily.

5 July 1942
0018 local time
We picked up a tip from HQ on radio that a large convoy is heading in our direction. I've set a course to try to intercept them. With only two remaining torpedoes we'll have to see what damage we can do.

5:37 local time
We found the convoy in the still clear weather just before 2:00 and waited for them to draw near. They had a single destroyer out front wallowing back and forth as a picket. I lined up to be able to fire on the lead as well as the column of cargo ships directly behind. Luck wasn't in it. The first eel missed the destroyer and failed to find another target behind and the second struck a troop transport on the bow, but failed to even check her progress. With the perfectly clear weather, and the addition of deck guns on several of the merchants, we had no option other than to slip away silently. An hour later a pair of Sunderlands came in and dropped some depth charges in a few areas; apparently hoping for a lucky shot, but nothing close to us. We're running on the surface now to recharge our batteries and air out the cabins while we can.

23:20 local time
I've set a course to intercept a lone ship off the Irish coast. If the weather holds out, and she is not a large warship, we can use the deck gun. Hopefully we can avoid the air patrols long enough to close with her and get an ID.

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