Military history

JUNE PATROLS TO THE AMERICAS

Dönitz scheduled thirty-five patrols to all Atlantic areas in June: twenty-four Type VIIs and eleven Type IXs. Twenty-seven boats were to continue the campaign in American waters. The other eight—all VIIs—were to sail late in the month to cadre new packs in the eastern and south Atlantic.

The June boats were to be supported by four U-tankers: von Wilamowitz-Mollendorf’s Type XIV U-459 and Werner Schmidt’s Type XB minelayer U-116, making second voyages; and the two new Type XIVs U-460 and U-461.

Two of the Type VIIs sailing to the Americas in June were hit and disabled by Coastal Command aircraft in the Bay of Biscay:

• On June 5, a Sunderland of the Royal Australian Air Force Squadron 10, based in southern England and piloted by S.R.C. Wood, straddled the veteran U-71, commanded by Walter Flachsenberg, with eight shallow-set Torpex depth charges, then raked it with 2,000 rounds of machine-gun fire, killing one of the crew. A Focke-Wulf Condor on patrol in the area attacked the Sunderland, wounding two airmen. German PT boats raced out to escort U-71 into La Pallice. Repaired quickly, the boat resailed a week later, on June 11.

• On June 15, an Allied aircraft attacked the U-214, commanded by Günther Reeder, age twenty-six. She was another Type VIID minelayer, temporarily assigned to torpedo operations, that had sailed from Germany in May. Although the boat incurred “heavy” damage, the OKM diarist recorded, she managed to limp back to France on June 17. Repairs delayed her sailing to the first week in August.

• The attacks on these outbound as well as the inbound boats in the Bay of Biscay infuriated Dönitz. He complained bitterly in his diary that owing to the unavailability of German aircraft, the Bay of Biscay had become a “playground” for British aircraft. It was “sad and very depressing” for the U-boat crews to realize that Germany had provided “no forces whatever” to protect U-boats in the Bay of Biscay or to escort damaged boats into port, leaving them vulnerable to repeated British aircraft attacks and forcing them to creep in and out of the bay mostly submerged.

Dönitz iterated long-standing requests through official channels for aircraft protection. When these again failed to get results, on July 2 he flew to confer face-to-face with Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goring at his headquarters in East Prussia. Goring explained that up to now the Luftwaffe had sent every available aircraft to the Soviet Union or to the Mediterranean Basin. Nonetheless, he conceded the necessity for U-boat protection in the Bay of Biscay and personally ordered that twenty-four more JU-88s be assigned to the Luftwaffe Atlantic command.

As the other VIIs prepared to embark for the Americas, reliable Axis agents in Tangier reported the sailing of Homebound Gibraltar 84. Following the disastrous loss of Ritterkreuz holder Engelbert Endrass in U-567 and four other boats to the heavily escorted convoy Homebound Gibraltar 76 in December 1941, Dönitz had prohibited attacks on inbound or outbound Gibraltar convoys. However, believing that after a layoff of six months, a sudden pack attack might find the escorts thinned out and unalert, Dönitz directed that nine of the most experienced Type VIIs bound to the Americas were to divert to attack convoy Homebound Gibraltar 84, then refuel from a U-tanker and proceed westward. A successful attack would satisfy those at the OKM and elsewhere who insisted that the Type VIIs be utilized to interdict shipping closer to the battlefields.

This very special pack was named Endrass to honor his memory and to avenge his loss to a Gibraltar convoy. Five of the nine boats, including U-552, commanded by the reigning “ace,” Erich Topp, and Flachsenberg’s resailing U-71, were among the most experienced boats in the Atlantic force. Two were transfers from the Arctic command: Ernst Vogelsang in U-132, who had sunk the treasury-class Coast Guard cutter Alexander Hamilton off Iceland in January and in so doing had incurred severe battle damage, and Rudolf Schendel in U-134, who had only just arrived in the Atlantic. Two other boats were green: Dietrich Lohmann, age thirty-two, in the new U-89, fresh from Germany, and Werner-Karl Schulz, age thirty-one, in the new U-437, who had escorted the blockade runner Münsterland into France but had yet to make a full war patrol.

The convoy sailed from Gibraltar on June 9. Composed of twenty merchant ships, it was escorted by Johnny Walker’s famous Escort Group 36, which had been reduced temporarily to four vessels: Walker’s sloop Stork and three corvettes. The convoy included one fighter-catapult ship, Empire Morns, equipped with one Hurricane to counterattack German aircraft. A rescue vessel, Copeland, fitted with Huff Duff, brought up the rear. On June 11, three escorted merchant ships from Lisbon joined the convoy, but those escorts proceeded to other assignments.

Attentive Focke-Wulf Condors tailed the three ships from Lisbon and reported the linkup with convoy Homebound Gibraltar 84. Responding to these accurate signals on the afternoon of June 14, Erich Topp in U-552 made contact with the convoy and brought up other Condors and three U-boats of group Endrass: Vogelsang in U-132 and the two green skippers, Lohmann in U-89 and Schulz in U-437.

The rescue ship Copeland DFed Topp’s signals and alerted Johnny Walker in Stork, who went to battle stations promptly and directed Empire Morn to launch its Hurricane to drive off the German planes. The Hurricane carried out its mission, then ditched alongside Stork, which recovered the pilot. Meanwhile Stork arid the corvette Gardenia had found Vogelsang in U-132 astern of the convoy. In a relentless, well-conducted series of attacks, Stork and Gardenia dropped 110 depth charges near U-132, severely damaging the boat and forcing it to fall out and back. At about that same time the corvettes Marigold and Convolvulus found and attacked Lohmann in U-89 and Schulz in U-437, forcing them off as well. Lohmann later reported he was hunted and depth-charged for thirty-one hours.

That night, while Walker’s four escorts were chasing other boats, Topp in U-552 moved in to attack. He shot a full salvo of five torpedoes (four bow, one stem) from about 3,000 yards. Two torpedoes missed or malfunctioned, but the other three hit and sank three different ships: two British freighters, Etrib and Pelayo, for 3,300 tons, and the 7,400-ton Norwegian tanker Slemdal. In the ensuing chaos Topp hauled off, reloaded his tubes, and eased back for a second attack. Again he fired a full salvo of five torpedoes. Again two missed or malfunctioned, Topp reported, and the other three hit. But he was mistaken; only two of the five hit and detonated, sinking two more British freighters for 5,200 tons: City of Oxford and Thurso.

During the next day, June 15, five or more boats of group Endrass made contact with the convoy. Still hanging on, Topp loaded his last two torpedoes in his bow tubes for a daylight submerged attack, but he could not get around Walker’s aggressive escorts to shoot. One escort caught Topp and dropped eight depth charges close to the boat, cracking a fuel-ballast tank and causing other serious damage. Another escort caught Walter Flachsenberg in U-71. The depth charges forced Flachsenberg to abort with battle damage for the second time in June. Only one other of the nine group Endrass boats was able to mount an attack: Günther Heydemann in U-575. He fired a full bow salvo at overlapping targets, but all four torpedoes missed or malfunctioned.

Commencing June 16, the British powerfully reinforced convoy Homebound Gibraltar 84 with surface ships and long-range aircraft. The destroyer Wild Swan and two frigates, Spey and Rother, joined temporarily, until the arrival of Lancaster and B-24 Liberator heavy bombers and Catalina flying boats from southern England. On June 17 Dönitz sent a flight of a dozen of the newly acquired JU-88s to assist the U-boats, but the German pilots mistook a fleet of Spanish fishing trawlers, amidst which the destroyer Wild Swan was cruising, for the convoy. Wild Swan claimed four JU-88 kills before the dive bombers sank her and four trawlers. The destroyer Vansittart rescued 133 survivors of Wild Swan and eleven Spanish fishermen.

As Homebound Gibraltar 84 inched closer to the British Isles, Coastal Command added medium-range Hudsons to the air coverage. Altogether thirty-six different aircraft flew out from England to Walker’s assistance. In the face of this air saturation, Dönitz canceled the operations of group Endrass. Flachsenberg in U-71 and Topp in U-552 returned to France for battle repairs and replenishment. Upon arrival, Flachsenberg left the boat for other duties. Although U-132 was badly damaged, Vogelsang, who had been worked over badly in two successive Atlantic outings, resisted orders to return to France.

Johnny Walker had lost five of twenty-three ships in his convoy, yet he was commended for thwarting with very slim forces what might easily have become a massacre. For Dönitz, the outcome was a sharp disappointment. Of the nine skippers in group Endrass, only one, Erich Topp, had inflicted any real damage on the enemy: five confirmed ships sunk for 15,858 tons. Dönitz blamed the lack of success on the unexpected appearance of the very-long-range land-based aircraft (Lancasters and Liberators) and the failure of the JU-88s to counter them. However, shipboard Type 271 radar and Huff Duff (about which Dönitz knew nothing), aircraft radar, and shallow-set Torpex depth charges were also important ASW measures working against the Germans.

As planned, the seven remaining Type VIIs of group Endrass refueled from the U-tankers and proceeded to American waters. Six other Type VIIs sailed independently to the Americas in June, for a total of thirteen. The independents included one Ritterkreuz holder, Rolf Mützelburg in U-203.

Kerneval directed two of the thirteen VIIs en route to the Americas to begin their patrols in Canadian waters. Ernst Vogelsang in U-132 was to emulate Thurmann in U-553 and penetrate the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The green skipper, Fritz Hoeckner, age twenty-nine, in the new Type VIID minelayer U-215 was to patrol near Cape Sable. Both boats reached Canadian waters on about July 1.

At this time convoys AT 17A-AT 17B sailed from New York and Halifax. Composed of nine troopships, the combined convoys were escorted by Task Force 37 (the battleship Texas, the cruiser Philadelphia, and fourteen American destroyers), which sailed all the way across to the British Isles. Four of the destroyers went on to Scapa Flow to replace other American ships leaving the British Home Fleet: Emmons, Hambleton, Macomb, and Rodman.

Neither U-132 nor U-215 had any contact with troopship convoy AT 17A-AT 17B, but Hoeckner in U-215 drew first blood, a fatal encounter for the boat and crew, as it turned out. On July 3, his twenty-fifth day at sea, while south of Cape Sable, he found the thinly escorted Boston-Halifax convoy BX 2. He attacked and sank the 7,200-ton American Liberty ship Alexander Macomb, but one of the escorts fixed and counterattacked U-215 with depth charges. The Allies gave credit for the kill to the British ASW trawler Le Tigre. There were no survivors from U-215.

Vogelsang in U-132 ran right through the Cabot Strait into the Gulf of St. Lawrence on July 1. Crossing the gulf on a northwest course, he rounded the Gaspe Peninsula and boldly entered the mouth of the St. Lawrence River at Cap-Chat. There he waited for a Quebec-Sydney convoy. In the early hours of July 6, he found one (Number 15) in bright moonlight and fired a full salvo of five torpedoes. Three missed or malfunctioned, but the other two hit and sank two freighters for about 6,000 tons. After a fast reload, Vogelsang mounted a second attack and sank another freighter for 4,300 tons. One of the Canadian escorts, the minesweeper Drummondville, counterattacked U-132, drove her under, and pum-meled her with close depth charges, but inexplicably failed to persist in the attack. As a result, Vogelsang escaped downriver into the gulf and got away to make urgent repairs. His bold attack on Quebec’s “doorstep” caused yet another outburst of indignation within the Canadian government, but the losses were withheld from the public.

Vogelsang patrolled the Gulf of St. Lawrence for two more weeks, but it was tough going. During the day the skies were dense with Allied aircraft, many on training nights. At night fog rolled in and obscured visibility. Finally, on the afternoon of July 20, while submerged off Cap-de-la-Madeleine in the St. Lawrence estuary, Vogelsang found another Quebec-Sydney convoy (Number 19). He fired a two-torpedo fan at the 4,400-ton British freighter Frederika Lensen. One missed or malfunctioned but the other hit. Frantic efforts to salvage the ship failed; she broke amidships and foundered. Allied air and surface forces again botched the counterattack and Vogelsang ran back through the Cabot Strait to open seas. His successes in the St. Lawrence River and the gulf (four ships) were twice those of Thurmann in U-553 (two ships), and they encouraged Dönitz to plan other forays to the area, regardless of the risks.

Five VIIs patrolled the United States East Coast from Cape Cod to Cape Lookout. On the way, two skippers, Kurt Diggins, age twenty-eight, in the new U-458 and the veteran Hans Oestermann in U-754 sank freighters in mid-ocean. However, all five VIIs reported a dearth of traffic (now sailing in convoy) and heavy ASW measures.

Patrolling off Cape Lookout in the early hours of July 11, the veteran Hans-Dieter Heinicke in U-576 found a northbound convoy. When he reported it to Kerneval, he was told to attack and to bring up any other boats in the area. A likely helping hand was the veteran Siegfried von Forstner in U-402, who was just then closing on Cape Hatteras. Heinicke trailed the convoy north toward Cape Hatteras, but he later reported he had lost contact before he could shoot and therefore he could not vector in any other boats. Von Forstner in U-402 and Heinicke in U-576 took up independent stations off Cape Hatteras.

Over the next forty-eight hours, July 12 to 14, four aircraft patrolling Cape Hatteras reported attacks on U-boats. On July 12 a Coast Guard plane, piloted by E. B. Ing, straddled a U-boat with two 325-pound depth charges from an altitude of 200 feet. The next day an Army Air Forces B-17 Flying Fortress, piloted by A. H. Tuttle, also flying at 200 feet, straddled a U-boat with six depth charges. On July 14 two Navy aircraft, piloted by William R. Jemison and George L. Schein, dropped four shallow-set Mark XVII depth charges on a U-boat from low altitude. All four aircraft reported probable or certain kills or heavy damage.

So far it has not been possible to ascertain which planes hit which U-boats. On July 13, Heinicke in U-576 reported to Kerneval that he had incurred damage from aircraft bombs and was “attempting repairs.” The next day, July 14, Heinicke reported he could not make repairs and that he was aborting the patrol. Also on July 14, von Forstner in U-402 reported he had been heavily bombed and depth-charged and that as a result he had had a battery explosion. In response, Kerneval ordered von Forstner to make repairs in an area 360 miles due east of Hatteras, beyond range of most ASW aircraft.

In the late afternoon of July 15, Heinicke in U-576, perhaps limping homeward, came upon another convoy off Cape Hatteras. Merely a few hours out from Norfolk, it was the southbound KS 520, comprised of nineteen merchant ships. The convoy was escorted by seven surface craft, including the American four-stack destroyers Ellis and McCormick, and the on-loan British corvette Spry* (equipped with Type 271 centimetric-wavelength radar and the first Hedgehog to be developed by the British), the 165-foot Coast Guard cutter Triton, a blimp, and several aircraft. Perhaps brooding over his failure to attack the convoy he had found earlier off Cape Lookout, Heinicke elected to attack this one, even though his boat was seriously damaged and unstable.

Heinicke set up on three ships and probably fired a full bow salvo. His torpedoes sank the 2,100-ton Nicaraguan freighter Bluefields and damaged two big American ships: the 8,300-ton freighter Chilore and the 11,100-ton tanker J. A. Mowinckel. The two damaged ships ran due west to beach, but in so doing they plowed into the Hatteras defensive minefield. Chilore was wrecked beyond repair, but Mowinckel was salvaged and eventually returned to service. The Navy tug Keshena, attempting to rescue Chilore, also hit a mine and sank.

Upon firing the torpedoes, U-576 destabilized and broached close astern of the American merchant ship Unicoi. Her Armed Guard crew, commanded by M. K. Ames, on full alert at the 5” stern gun, opened fire on U-576 and claimed a solid hit on the conning tower. At about the same time, two Navy aircraft of Patrol Squadron 9, piloted by Frank C. Lewis and Charles D. Webb, straddled U-576 with two Mark XVII depth charges set for fifty feet. The boat sank in deep water with no survivors.

There were four other VIIs then in the vicinity of or closing on Cape Hatteras: Dietrich Lohmann in the new U-89, Siegfried von Forstner in the damaged U-402, Kurt Diggins in the new U-458, and Hans Oestermann in U-754. Believing (incorrectly) that the Type VIID minelayer U-215 and (correctly) that Degen’s U-701 had been sunk at Hatteras, and that U-402 and U-576 had been badly damaged at Hatteras (but unaware of U-576’s loss), Dönitz concluded that the meager successes did not justify the risks and losses. Therefore, on July 19, he directed the damaged U-402 to abort to France and the U-89, U-458, and U-754 to shift from American to Canadian waters, southeast of Halifax, joining Vogelsang in U-132, then exiting the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The withdrawal of these four VIIs from the United States East Coast marked the end of the intense six-month U-boat campaign in those waters.

The four VIIs that gathered in Canadian waters had mixed success. Off Halifax, Vogelsang in U-132 sank the 6,700-ton British freighter Pacific Pioneer, bringing his total for the patrol to five ships for 21,400 tons, and earning him high praise. Diggins in U-458 sank the 4,900-ton British tanker Arletta. Oestermann in U-754 sank the 260-ton American trawler Ebb by gun, killing five fishermen and wounding seven. Lohmann in U-89 found a convoy south of Cape Sable and set up on a fat tanker, but an escort “ruined” his attack. He shot two torpedoes at the escort, a “destroyer,” but they missed or malfunctioned. Several days later he sank the 54-ton Canadian fishing trawler Lucille M by gun. Her eleven survivors reported that Lohmann expressed regret over the sinking, but said he “was under orders and had to obey.” That trawler was the only vessel Lohmann sank on his 77-day patrol to America.

The Canadian military historian, W.A.B. Douglas, has established that within a period of one week, July 30 to August 5, Hudsons of Canadian squadrons 11 and 113, capitalizing on a new land-based Huff Duff network, found and hit all four of these boats. Pilots W. Graham and N. E. Small attacked U-89 on July 30 and August 5, respectively. Small also attacked U-754 and U-458 on July 31 and August 2, respectively. Pilot G. T. Sayre attacked U-132 on July 31.

Small’s hit on Oestermann in U-754 on July 31 was a fatal blow. Flying at 3,000 feet in good weather, he saw U-754 running on the surface three miles distant. As Small dived to attack, Oestermann’s bridge watch belatedly caught sight of the Hudson and scrambled for the conning-tower hatch, but it was too late to get deep. Small dropped four depth charges that fell close, then circled the area for almost an hour. Presently, U-754’s conning tower reappeared and Small machine-gunned it. A still-unexplained “heavy explosion” broke the surface of the water. Later, some ships found a large oil slick and debris. The U-754 sank with the loss of all hands in 360 feet of water, the first U-boat to fall victim to a Canadian aircraft.

While homebound on August 16 in the Bay of Biscay, Lohmann in U-89 was hit for the third time by Allied aircraft. The attacker was a B-24 Liberator of British Squadron 120, piloted by Squadron Leader Terence M. Bulloch. The depth charges fell wide and did not cause fatal damage. Although this attack failed, Bulloch went on to become the leading U-boat killer in the RAF. One of his copilots, Bryan W. Turnbull, a New Zealander, also became a noted U-boat killer.

The other six VIIs that sailed to the Americas in June patrolled independently in southern areas from Florida to Trinidad. The July heat and humidity were nearly unbearable, ruining much of the food and drinking water. The men were felled by painful boils and rashes. Steadily improving Allied ASW and the initiation of convoying in the Gulf of Mexico and then the Caribbean Sea frustrated the hunters.

• Horst Uphoff in the veteran U-84, who sank a 6,600-ton Norwegian freighter while he was inbound to American waters, patrolled the Straits of Florida, opposite Havana. On July 7 he reported “strong” air and surface ASW forces day and night in the straits and speculated (correctly) that the aircraft patrolling at night were equipped with ASV radar. Urging him on, Kerneval scolded: “There is no confirmation of radar” in use anywhere on the United States coastline(I). In a spirited effort, from July 13 to July 26, Uphoff sank a 6,000-ton American freighter and a 1,600-ton Honduran freighter, damaged the 7,200-ton American freighter William Cullen Bryant, and missed another freighter with his last two torpedoes.

• While approaching the north Florida coast on July 5, Rudolf Schendel in U-134, the recent transfer from the Arctic, met a Swedish neutral, Venezia. When he queried Kerneval for instructions, he was told to sink her. He fired a salvo of two torpedoes, but both missed and the ship got away. When he reported no traffic off Georgia or Florida, Kerneval ordered him to patrol the mouth of the Mississippi River, going there via the Straits of Florida. Harassed by “heavy” aircraft ASW patrols, Schendel prowled the Gulf Coast for a full week, July 19 to July 26, but he again saw no ships. After withdrawing from the gulf through the Straits of Florida on July 27, he came upon a convoy in the Old Bahama Channel, but air escorts forced him off, thwarting an attack. A week later, while patrolling the Windward Passage, Schendel reported sinking an American “destroyer,” but it was not confirmed. Perhaps overcome by the severity of the climate, on August 6, Schendel reported himself too ill to continue and U-134 returned to France, having sunk no ships during her eighty-four-day patrol.

• The old hand Helmut Möhlmann in U-571 also patrolled the Straits of Florida, overlapping part of the time with Uphoff in U-84. On July 7 he found a convoy and sank the 8,100-ton British freighter Umtata. The next night Möhlmann stopped the 9,800-ton American tanker J. A. Moffett, Jr. with two torpedoes, then demolished her with twenty rounds from his deck gun. Salvage vessels towed Moffett to port but she was beyond saving. The very next night, July 9, Möhlmann sank a 1,100-ton Honduran freighter. Six days later he shot a full bow salvo at what he claimed to be a zigzagging freighter of 15,000 tons, but which turned out to be the 11,400-ton American tanker Pennsylvania Sun. She also made it to port and eventually returned to service. Homebound on July 20, Möhlmann encountered a huge “two funnel” ocean liner, but it was moving too fast to pursue.

• Werner-Karl Schulz in the U-437, embarked on his first full combat patrol, was directed to begin his hunt in the area south of the Yucatan Channel to Panama. Going via the Windward Passage and the south coast of Cuba, Schulz found no traffic. After a frustrating and useless week, Kerneval ordered Schulz to retrace his course and patrol the Windward Passage and surrounding areas. On July 17 he found a convoy but his attack was foiled by air and surface escorts. Finally he was able to shoot two torpedoes at two different large freighters from extreme range. He claimed hits on both vessels, but they could not be confirmed. On July 20 Schulz found a big “ocean liner” at which he fired three torpedoes. He claimed two hits but this success could not be confirmed either, and a Catalina thwarted a second attack. Later that same day Schulz fired four single torpedoes at a formation of ships in convoy, but all malfunctioned or missed, making a total of nine futile shots. Like Schendel in U-134, Schulz returned to France without having sunk a single ship.

• Sailing independently from France in the veteran U-203, the Ritterkreuz holder Rolf Mützelburg, who had patrolled off Cape Hatteras in April, set off for the Trinidad area. On the way there, on June 26 and 28, he sank by torpedo and gun three freighters totalling 16,000 tons. Near Trinidad on July 7 and 11, he sank a 7,000-ton British freighter by torpedo and the 10,000-ton Panamanian tanker Stanvac Palembang by torpedo and gun. Having exhausted his torpedoes and gun ammunition to sink five confirmed ships (one tanker) for 33,000 tons, Mützelburg set a course for France.

In tonnage sunk, Mützelburg’s was the third best Type VII patrol to America after Erich Topp in U-552 (40,000 tons) and Walter Flachsenberg in U-71 (39,000 tons). Furthermore, these sinkings raised Mützelburg’s total claims to 200,000 tons, qualifying him for Oak Leaves to his Ritterkreuz. Dönitz bestowed this honor on Mützelburg by radio on July 15.* As was the custom, Hitler was to later present Mützelburg the Oak Leaves. Although he could have had almost any job he wanted, he elected to remain skipper of U-203.

• Günther Heydemann in the veteran U-575 also patrolled the eastern Caribbean near Trinidad. As a member of group Endrass he had shot four torpedoes (for no hits) in the battle with convoy Homebound Gibraltar 84, so he had to husband his weapons. He entered his area via Mona Passage, separating the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, and there sank a 2,700-ton American freighter by torpedo. Near Trinidad, on July 9, he sank a 5,300-ton British freighter by torpedo and gun. That success and a sinking by Mützelburg in U-203 on the same day apparently froze traffic in the eastern Caribbean temporarily. Heydemann saw nothing for the next nine days. The tedium was finally relieved on July 17 when U-575 came upon a group of five freighters, but Heydemann botched the attack, wasting two more precious torpedoes. The next day, July 18, he fired his last torpedoes to damage the 13,000-ton British tanker San Gaspar, and sank two British sailing ships by gun off Caracas, Venezuela.

The returns from the thirteen VIIs that reached the Americas in June were only so-so: twenty-seven ships for 124,000 tons, an average of two ships for 9,500 tons per boat per patrol. Two skippers, Vogelsang in U-132 off Canada and Mützelburg in U-203 off Trinidad, accounted for about one-third of the total: ten ships for 54,000 tons. Three of these thirteen VIIs sank no ships. Three were lost: Hoeck-ner’s Type VIID minelayer U-215 and Oestermann’s U-754 in Canadian waters and Heinicke’s U-576 off Cape Hatteras. Another boat, von Forstner’s U-402, was badly damaged and nearly lost.

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