Military history


Eight Type IXs, including three new arrivals from Germany, sailed to the Americas in May. Four had made prior patrols to the Americas but one of them, U-129, had a new skipper, replacing Ritterkreuz holder Nikolaus Clausen. The other veteran, U-68, had made three prior patrols to Freetown and the South Atlantic.

Dönitz intended that the first two IXs to sail in May, U-158 and U-504—both experienced boats—were to patrol off the mouth of the Mississippi River. However, there was a mixup in the issuance of the orders. As a result, Erich Rostin in U-158 patrolled the north end of the Yucatan Channel and Fritz Poske in U-504 patrolled the south end of the Yucatan Channel, and the mouth of the Mississippi River was left unthreatened temporarily.

South of the Yucatan Channel, the very senior (crew of 1923) thirty-seven-year-old Fritz Poske in U-504 sank a small British freighter on May 29. Then, it seemed, all traffic ceased and eleven frustrating days passed before it resumed. After that, in the week from June 8 to June 14, Poske sank five more freighters, bringing his total to six for about 20,000 tons. He then returned to France without refueling, completing a voyage of sixty-seven days.

While en route to his assigned area north of the Yucatan Channel, Erich Rostin in U-158 sank three ships: two in the mid-Atlantic (one the 8,100-ton British tanker Darina) and one south of Cuba. After passing north through the Yucatan Channel into the Gulf of Mexico, between June 4 and June 7, Rostin sank three more freighters. When the mixup in orders was discovered, Rostin was directed to patrol the mouth of the Mississippi River, to which, belatedly, U-67, U-129, and the new U-157 were also headed. Arriving first, Rostin in U-158 sank two big tankers, the 13,500-ton Panamanian Sheherazade and the aged (1918) 8,200-ton American Cities Service Toledo (83,000 barrels of crude oil) on June 11 and 12.

On his course to the Mississippi River via the Old Bahama Channel and the Straits of Florida, Wolf Henne, age thirty-six, in the new U-157 found and sank a 6,400-ton American tanker, Hagan, which was loaded with molasses. Upon learning of this loss, the commander of the Gulf Sea Frontier, James Kauffman, directed all available forces to “hunt this submarine to exhaustion and destroy it.”

An Army Air Forces B-18 picked up U-157 on ASV radar at first light on June 11. Closing to two miles, the aircrew saw U-157 on the surface and attacked, passing over the boat at 900 feet, but the attack failed when the bomb-bay doors malfunctioned. Making a diving turn, the B-18 came in a second time at 300 feet, but by then U-157 was nearly under. The plane dropped four Mark XVII depth charges set for twenty-five feet. All charges detonated, but the outcome was unknown. An hour and a half later a Pan American Airways commercial airliner saw the U-boat on the surface. But still later that morning, three other Army aircraft could not find her.

An armada of ASW vessels sailed from the schools in Key West and Miami. The Key West group, composed of nine ships, included the four-stack destroyers Dahlgren and Noa, and the 165-foot Coast Guard cutters Thetis and Triton. The Miami group was composed of five PCs, reinforced by the four-stack destroyer Greer, which joined it on June 12. All fifteen vessels converged in the Florida Straits between Key West and Havana.

The American air and sea forces hunted U-157 relentlessly for forty-eight hours, June 11 to June 13. On the night of June 12-13, radar-equipped Army Air Forces B-18s reestablished contact with the U-boat. At dawn on June 13, Kauffman directed the Key West group to the site and recalled the Miami group. At about 4:00 P.M., the 165-foot Coast Guard cutter Thetis got a “strong” sonar contact. Her captain, Nelson C. McCormick, who had earlier commanded a sister ship, Dione, off Cape Hatteras, carried out an immediate and skillful attack, dropping ten depth charges in two runs, which brought up huge air bubbles and oil. The destroyer Noa, the 165-foot Coast Guard cutter Triton, and three other vessels converged on Thetis and dropped twenty-two more depth charges at the oil slick.

These attacks without doubt destroyed U-157, with the loss of all hands. Thetis and the other vessels found not only great quantities of oil but also two pairs of trousers, a small tube of oil made in Germany, and pieces of deck grating and other wood. The Army Air Forces rightfully claimed part credit for the kill, as did Noa and Triton and several other vessels, but Kauffman gave sole credit to McCormick in Thetis. Dönitz was unaware of the loss for a number of days.

The other two IXs en route to the mouth of the Mississippi River, U-67 and U-129, were several days behind U-157 and had no hint of her loss either. Passing through the Florida Straits on June 16, Günther Müller-Stockheim in U-67 sank a 2,200-ton Nicaraguan freighter very close to the site of the U-157 loss. Two nights later, on June 18, the new skipper of U-129, Hans-Ludwig Witt, age thirty-two, who had put down two big freighters in the mid-Atlantic, sank a 3,500-ton American freighter in the west end of the Old Bahama Channel. The following day Witt encountered—and reported—two convoys in the Straits of Florida. However, as there were no other U-boats nearby to help Witt, who was a green skipper, Dönitz forbade him to attack or even shadow these convoys.

Still unaware that U-157 was lost, Kerneval suddenly realized that its revised orders had directed four boats to the mouth of the Mississippi River. To relieve this dangerous congestion, Kerneval directed Witt’s U-129 and Rostin’s U-158 to patrol the coast of Mexico—Germany’s newest enemy—from the Yucatan Channel to Tampico, Mexico’s principal oil port. Only Müller-Stöckheim’s U-67 and Henne’s (lost) U-157 were to patrol the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Both Rostin and Witt found good hunting in Mexican waters. In the week June 17 to June 23, Rostin in U-158 sank four more ships, including the Norwegian tanker Moira, 1,600 tons, bringing his total for this patrol to an astonishing twelve confirmed ships (four tankers) for 61,200 tons. This was the best patrol by any boat to the Americas and it earned Rostin a Ritterkreuz, awarded by radio on June 28.* The new skipper, Witt, in U-129 sank five more ships, including two Mexican tankers: the 7,000-ton Tuxpan and the 2,000-ton Las Choapas.

Homebound, all torpedoes expended, Rostin in U-158 encountered the 4,000-ton Latvian freighter Everalda in the open ocean midway between North Carolina and the island of Bermuda. He stopped the ship with his deck gun, took the captain and “one Spaniard” prisoner, and sent a party on board to capture her secret papers and scuttle her. This sinking, which Rostin reported by radio, raised his confirmed score for this patrol to a record thirteen ships for 65,108 tons.

Rostin’s report of this latest sinking and the capture of two prisoners and secret documents went to Kerneval at about noon, June 30. Several British DF installations, including one on the island of Bermuda merely 130 miles to the southeast, picked up Rostin’s transmissions and plotted a fix. Bermuda then relayed the U-boat’s position to an aircraft of the American Navy’s Bermuda-based Patrol Squadron 74, equipped with Mariner flying boats. A Mariner pilot, Richard E. Schreder, turned immediately toward the estimated position of the U-boat. After a run of merely fifty miles, he found U-158 cruising on the surface. He could see “about fifteen men” lounging on deck, sunning themselves, an inexplicably careless lapse so close to Bermuda. Schreder attacked, dropping two demolition bombs that missed, and two Mark XVII depth charges with shallow settings. One of the latter hit the boat’s bridge and wedged in the superstructure, the aircrew reported. When Rostin dived to escape, it apparently detonated, fatally damaging U-158, which sank with no survivors.

Unaware of the loss, when U-158 did not appear for resupply from a U-tanker northeast of Bermuda, Dönitz assumed Rostin had had an engine and/or a radio failure. Hoping for the best, he directed the U-tanker to stand by at the rendezvous during certain hours for a full week. All other boats were to keep an eye out for U-158. When the facts were learned after the war, it was to be remarked that Rostin had enjoyed his Ritterkreuz for only two days.

Müller-Stockheim in U-67 arrived off the mouth of the Mississippi River on June 19. Inasmuch as Henne in U-157 had been sunk off Key West and U-129 and U-158 had been sent to patrol the Mexican coastline, Müller-Stöckheim had this rich territory all to himself for a time. Ranging the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas, in the three weeks from June 20 to July 13, Müller-Stöckheim attacked six tankers. He sank four and damaged two* and also sank a 2,200-ton freighter, making his confirmed sinkings for the patrol six ships for 30,000 tons. After a protracted voyage home on one engine, and a refueling, he reached France on August 8, having been at sea eighty-one days.

Returning from the Mexican coast, the new skipper Witt in U-129 patrolled the Yucatan Channel, going south to Honduras then back north to the Gulf of Mexico. He sank three more ships, including the 6,300-ton Russian tanker Tuapse. On July 21 he finally commenced the long slow journey home on one engine. His claimed and confirmed sinkings for his first patrol as skipper were impressive indeed: eleven ships (three tankers) for about 41,500 tons. He was out for ninety-four days.

Three IXs of the May group patrolled to the Panama Canal area: Karl-Friedrich Merten in U-68, Helmut Witte in the new U-159, and Carl Emmermann in the new U-172. Upon sailing, Merten in U-68 received orders to help escort the blockade runner Münsterland into Bordeaux. He made contact with the vessel and another escort, U-437, in the southwestern reaches of the Bay of Biscay on May 15, but Allied aircraft spoiled the rendezvous. Merten was forced to sneak into El Ferrol, Spain, to repair an exhaust valve; Münsterland went on to Bordeaux alone, U-437 to St. Nazaire. Moored alongside the “interned” German vessel Max Albrecht, Merten completed repairs, topped off his fuel tanks, and resailed U-68 after a few hours.

While en route to the Caribbean, both of these new IXs encountered Allied ships in mid-ocean, sailing alone. Witte in U-159 claimed sinking five for 26,200 tons, but only three for 14,600 tons were confirmed, including the 2,600-ton British tanker Montenol. Emmermann in U-172 sank three for 17,900 tons, including the 9,000-ton British tanker Athelknight. These two boats—and Merten in U-68—reached the Trinidad area during the first week in June. On June 5 and 6 Merten sank two big tankers, the 6,700-ton American L. J. Drake and the 13,000-ton Panamanian C. O. Stillman.

The three boats proceeded west to Panama. On the way, Witte in U-159 attacked by gun two sailing ships, the Brazilian Paracury and the 150-ton Honduran Sally. He left both with decks awash and, he thought, doomed, but the crew of the 265-ton Paracury reboarded and saved her. Near Curasao and Aruba, on June 7, Witte sank a 3,400-ton American freighter. Not far away, on June 8, Emmermann in U-172 sank a 1,700-ton American freighter.

The three boats were deployed along the sea-lanes leading to Panama by June 10. That day the most important American warship formation to reach Panama in months must have passed close to all three: the carrier Wasp, the new battleship North Carolina, the cruisers Quincy and San Juan, and seven destroyers. These warships were bound for the Pacific to reinforce Operation Watchtower—the proposed Allied capture of Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Florida islands in the Solomon Island chain.

That night Merten in U-68 spotted two big heavily laden freighters inbound to Panama. He eased in close and fired five torpedoes. Two missed but two hit the 5,000-ton British freighter Ardenvohr, which sank quickly, and one hit the 8,600-ton British freighter Surrey, which sank slowly. Noting that the crew of Surrey had hauled away the lifeboats in great haste, Merten’s curiosity was aroused. He fished out and queried a lone survivor who had been left behind. He informed Merten that Surrey, which finally sank beneath the waves, was loaded with 5,000 tons of dynamite!

As if on cue, the dynamite somehow exploded. The force of the blast lifted U-68 completely out of the water and slammed her down so hard that Merten thought the boat had been torpedoed. The crash temporarily knocked out the two diesels and the gyro compass, and smashed gauges and crockery throughout the boat.

While Merten was below surveying the damage, the bridge reported yet another ship. After the engineer got the diesels back on the line, Merten commenced a long stern chase. When he saw that he could not overtake the vessel before daylight, he shot one torpedo from extreme range. It hit, sinking the 5,900-ton British freighter Port Montreal, also bound for the Pacific with war matériel. Upon receiving Merten’s sinking report to then—five ships (three tankers) for 40,000 tons—Dönitz awarded him a Ritterkreuz.*

Over the next two days, June 11 to 13, Witte in U-159 went into action very close to Panama. He attacked and claimed sinking four freighters for 28,700 tons. Three of the four for 18,600 tons (one British, two American) were later confirmed, but there was no record of the other. Counting earlier overclaims in this patrol, Witte reported that he had sunk nine ships for about 53,000 tons. His confirmed score to this point was six ships for 43,300 tons. Having exhausted his torpedo supply, Witte withdrew easterly to the Aruba-Curagao area, as did Merten in U-68.

The assaults by Merten and Witte—six ships sunk in three days—humiliated the Panama Sea Frontier. In response, the naval commander, Clifford van Hook, organized a “killer group,” composed of two destroyers (the modern Edison and the four-stack Barry), sundry smaller craft, and Catalinas. The Army Air Forces beefed up land-based ASW units. While these forces were in play, June 14 to June 18, Carl Emmermann in U-172 sank four ships for 12,800 tons immediately off Panama, including, by gun, the 125-ton British sailing schooner Dutch Princess and the 2,000-ton American tanker Motorex. Intensified air patrols, improved control of shipping, and a spell of bad weather spoiled Emmermann’s hunting, restricting him to a second gun attack on a sailing schooner, the 35-ton Colombian vessel Resolute.*

While patrolling near Aruba and Curaçao, Merten in U-68 and Witte in U-159 sank two more ships each. Both of Merten’s victims were tankers. One was the 2,500-ton Panamanian Arriaga; awkwardly, the other was the 9,200-ton Vichy French Frimaire, under Portuguese charter, for which the OKM had specifically requested safe passage. When officers at the OKM learned the Frimaire had been sunk, they were furious, but Dönitz defended Merten—his most recent Ritterkreuz winner—who insisted the ship had no Vichy or Portuguese markings. The two sinkings raised Merten’s confirmed score for the patrol to seven ships (four tankers) for about 51,000 tons. Witte’s two victims were small freighters, both sunk by deck gun.

Homebound, Witte in U-159 and Emmermann in U-172 each sank another ship. Lacking torpedoes, Witte stopped the 9,600-ton American tanker E. J. Sadler with his bridge-mounted antiaircraft guns, then put a party on board to scuttle. The sinking of Sadlerraised Witte’s confirmed score to ten ships (two tankers) for about 50,000 tons. Emmermann stopped the 8,400-ton American freighter Santa Rita with his last torpedo and likewise put a party on board to scuttle. He also took the captain prisoner and directed the demolition party to ransack the ship for anything useful. They returned with extremely valuable charts and documents that revealed Allied shipping routes and the location of the minefields in Cape Town, South Africa, and at some other ports. The sinking of Santa Rita raised Emmermann’s confirmed score to ten ships (two tankers) for 40,800 tons, counting the two sailing schooners.

While Witte in U-159 was inbound in the Bay of Biscay, on the night of July 11-12, a Wellington of Coastal Command’s 172 Squadron, fitted with ASV radar and a Leigh Light, found the boat and attacked. Witte ordered his bridge gunners to shoot out the light, but they were blinded by its glare. The aircraft dropped four 250-pound depth charges that shook the boat severely and caused a great deal of minor damage, but nothing fatal. The pilot was the American serving in the RAF, Wiley B. Howell, who seven nights earlier had hit and sunk Jürgen von Rosenstiel’s Type IXC U-502 with the loss of all hands.

In all, eight Type LXs sailed to the Americas in May. One, Wolf Henne in the new U-157, who sank one ship, had been lost attempting to enter the Gulf of Mexico. The other seven, including two new boats, Witte in U-159 and Emmermann in U-172, turned in record-breaking returns. Not counting the three sailing ships sunk by Witte and Emmermann, these eight IXs sank sixty-one ships for 304,000 tons: an average of 7.6 ships for 38,000 tons per boat per patrol. Counting the truncated voyages of the two lost boats, U-157, sunk in the Florida Straits, and U-158, sunk near Bermuda, the May IXs spent 517 days at sea.

The outstanding returns of the IXs that sailed in May to the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico helped offset the diminishing returns of the Type VIIs on the United States East Coast, most of which had carried out special missions. The combined total sinkings of the May boats (including the sailing schooners, trawlers, and the other vessels sunk by gun and mines) was eighty-four ships of 407,000 tons. This was an overall average of 5.25 ships of 25,437 tons per boat per patrol. In return, three U-boats were lost: the IXs U-157 and U-158 and the VII U-701.

* Upon the outbreak of the war in 1939, the Normandie, which made her first Atlantic crossing in 1935, was “interned” in New York. After Pearl Harbor, she was “seized” by the United States government for conversion to a troop transport, to be christened Lafayette. On February 9, 1942, while undergoing conversion by 2,500 workers of Todd Shipyards, Inc., she caught fire. The thirty-six units of the New York fire department (including three fireboats) that responded to the alarm pumped 839,000 gallons of water into the ship, causing it to capsize at the dock. A prodigious salvage effort ensued, but Normandie was too far gone. She was sold for scrap in 1946. Sabotage was suspected but never proven.

* Implying that all Axis forces were not only keeping pace with new construction, but also cutting into the basic tonnage by 200,000 to 300,000 tons per month. The estimate of sinkings was very nearly accurate. According to Admiralty figures, in April 1942, Allied merchant-ship losses to all causes were 132 ships for 674,457 tons. Axis submarines (German, Italian, Japanese) accounted for seventy-four ships for 431,664 tons.

* One week earlier, on May 7, Hitler had appointed his crony and erstwhile architect, Albert Speer, as Minister of Armament and War Production, replacing Fritz Todt, who was killed in a plane crash. Speer, who attended the May 14 meeting with Raeder and Dönitz, also heartily endorsed the step-up in U-boat production and suggested that the necessary copper might be obtained by cannibalizing middle- and low-tension electric transmission lines throughout Europe. As an additional measure, the Germans stripped bells from churches all over Europe.

* In all, the Japanese lost seventy-seven aircraft and 1,074 men; the Americans lost sixty-six aircraft and 543 men.

* Long Island and a new destroyer, Aaron Ward, reached the Pacific in late May. Wasp, North Carolina, the cruisers Quincy and San Juan, and six modern destroyers entered the Pacific via the Panama Canal on June 10. The destroyers were Lang, Stack, Sterett, Wilson, and the new Buchanan and Farenholt.

* The Type XB minelayer was the largest U-boat built by Germany in the war. It was 295 feet long and displaced about 1,700 tons. It could carry sixty-six SMA mines and the mooring gear: eighteen in six silos in the bow compartment and forty-eight in external canisters. For defensive purposes, it was fitted with two stern torpedo tubes and carried five internal reloads. In a resupply role, the XB could be fitted with eight topside torpedo canisters.

* To Aviles, Spain, where the boat ran aground. When she resailed, two Sunderlands of RAAF Squadron 10, piloted by Thomas A. Egerton and E. St. C. Yeoman, dropped fifteen depth charges and hounded her into Santander, Spain, where she was “interned.” A month later she “escaped” and limped into Bordeaux.

* Perhaps because a minelayer was employed, some historians have written incorrectly that U-213’s special mission was to lay mines.

 The St. Lawrence River, an outlet of the Great Lakes, is about 750 miles long. By means of an aged system of locks and canals, shallow-draft ships less than 270 feet long could navigate its entire length. During World War II, big oceangoing ships could only go upriver about halfway, to the cities of Quebec and Montreal.

* “Langbein-Haskins” was the first German agent to reach the Americas by submarine, but he apparently double-crossed the Abwehr. He buried his uniform and the radio near the beach and made his way to Montreal. A month later, on June 19, 1942, he resettled in Ottawa. On November 1, 1944, he turned himself in to Canadian authorities, who put him in an internment camp for the rest of the war. Canadian counterintelligence officers concluded that “Langbein-Haskins” never engaged in espionage. He merely lived well in Ottawa on Abwehr money until it ran out.

* Gary Gentile wrote that Vogel gave the survivors of both ships rum and cigarettes, but refused a request from Margot’s captain to tow the lifeboats to shore.

* In May and June 1942, U-boats in American waters sank over a dozen small sailing vessels and fishing trawlers by gun. American submarines in Japanese waters routinely sank fishing trawlers for the same reasons.

 At the time of the award, his confirmed score—all on U-432—was nineteen ships sunk for 68,900 tons, including the three trawlers.

 Bristol, Broome, Cole, Dallas, Dickerson, Du Pont, Ellis, Herbert, Lea, Ludlow, MacLeish, McCormick, Roper, Semmes, Simpson, Woolsey.

* Not counting escort vessels. As related, von Forstner in U-402 sank the converted yacht Cythera off Cape Fear, May 2. On May 11, Günther Krech in the VII U-558 sank the British ASW trawler Bedfordshire off Cape Lookout, with the loss of all thirty-seven crewmen. Six bodies were recovered and four were buried on Ocracoke Island in a plot deeded to the British government.

 Skottland, Plow City, Margot, Persephone.

* The U-352 was rediscovered in 1975 by American salvage and sport divers. Many have dived on her over the years since and have entered her sand-filled interior, retrieving many artifacts.

* Fourteen of her crew died in the sinking, but sixty-two others were rescued by Catalinas and by the four-stack destroyer Hamilton.

 For details of U-753 in the Gulf of Mexico.

* Unescorted gulf shipping assembled for the escorted trip up the East Coast in an artificially created anchorage near Key West, protected by a field of 3,460 mines. On April 26, the four-stack destroyer Sturtevant struck one of the mines and sank, with the loss of fifteen men.

*Samuel Eliot Morison wrote that Schacht also shouted apologies and good luck to the fifty survivors. All were rescued by the 125-foot Coast Guard cutter Boutwell.

*Halo was loaded with 63,000 barrels of crude oil. According to Jürgen Rohwer, she had been hit and damaged by two other U-boats earlier in the year: U-130 and U-126.

* At the time of the award, Winter’s confirmed sinkings in three patrols were fifteen ships for 79,302 tons. Under Viktor Schütze and Winter, U-103 had sunk forty-three confirmed ships for about 228,000 tons, ranking her, at that time, the third most successful U-boat fter U-48 and U-99.

* Torpedoes in the Gulf (1995).

 On May 25, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia dimmed out New York City. By that time, there were very few U-boats in the area, operating too far offshore to take advantage of the glow, even if that were possible.

* The American Esso Houston, 7,700 tons, and three British, Athelempress, 8,900 tons; British Colony, 6,900 tons; Beth, 6,900 tons.

* An American ship towed Blakeley to the nearby island of St. Lucia, where Washington had established air and naval bases. Blakeley was fitted with a new bow and returned to service in September 1942.

* Onetime merchant seaman Heyse stated in a document for submission in defense of Dönitz at Nuremberg that he gave “dry bread and rum” to all the survivors of the Norwegian tanker South Africa, assisted survivors of the American freighter Polybius into lifeboats, and took aboard the captain of the American freighter West Ira, who later sent Heyse a Christmas card recalling his “nice time” on U-128 during the voyage to France.

 The crew of Scottsburg was rescued by another American freighter, the 6,000-ton Kahuku, which, however, was sunk two days later by Bauer in U-126. Bauer rescued a twice-sunk Scottsburg survivor, Archie Gibbs. Four days later, Bauer put Gibbs on board a small Venezuelan vessel, which made port, and Gibbs had an amazing story to tell.

* This last American MOEF, A-3, was usually composed of two of the five Atlantic-based Treasury-class Coast Guard cutters (Campbell, Ingham, Spencer, Bibb, or Duane) and up to six Canadian corvettes.

* See Appendix 14.

 Guantánamo Bay is an American naval base and anchorage on the eastern extremity of Cuba, facing the Windward Passage.

* The total “overland” deliveries of oil rose nearly fivefold from 203,000 barrels a day in January 1942 to 956,000 barrels a day in June 1942. In the same period, deliveries by ocean tankers fell sixfold, from 1.3 million barrels a day to 226,000 barrels a day.

* Those at the fronts deployed, by Winn’s guesstimates, as follows: 125 in the Atlantic force, 35 in the Mediterranean force, 15 in the Arctic force, the rest in Germany. The actual deployment was 86 in the Atlantic force, 21 in the Mediterranean, and 21 in the Arctic.

* King’s italics.

* This group, codenamed Halpro, bombed the Ploesti oil fields, becoming the first Army Air Forces planes to strike a strategic target in Europe.

* Plus U-96, which had sailed in late April to a nearby area to escort the blockade runner Portland into France, but could not find her.

* The Allies developed a similar device, known as a Submarine Bubble Target (SBT).

* Excluding Mohr’s U-124, which was due for a long overhaul. While the boat was shifting pens during this refit, Allied aircraft bombed and damaged her, delaying her return to combat to mid-November.

* Georg J. Dasch (leader), Heinrich H. Heinck, Richard Quirin, and Ernest P. Burger. Only the last traveled under his real name.

 Edward J. Kerling (leader), Herbert Haupt, Werner Thiel, and Hermann Neubauer. Only Haupt traveled under his real name.

* U-461, commanded by Wolf Stiebler, age thirty-four, which sailed from France June 21. The other was U-460, commanded by Friedrich Schafer, age forty-nine, which sailed from France on June 7.

* Owing to imprecise or erroneous position reports from the Hudson and others, the Navy could not find U-701 for salvage purposes. In 1989, sport divers found her on the bottom, lying on her starboard side. The divers confirmed severe damage to the stern. They contacted Degen and assured him the remains of the crew would not be disturbed.

*At the time of the award, Rostin’s claimed sinkings were nineteen ships for about 112,000 tons. His confirmed sinkings were sixteen ships for about 90,400 tons.

 In his two patrols to the Americas, Erich Rostin, virtually unknown in Germany, sank seventeen confirmed ships for 94,342 tons. In his two patrols to the Americas, Reinhard Hardegen in U-123, a national hero, sank fifteen confirmed ships for 81,661 tons, plus the two ships that were salvaged. Rostin’s two-patrol record was not exceeded by any other boat.

* The tankers sunk were three Americans—Raleigh Warner, 3,700 tons; Benjamin Brewster, 6,000 tons; and R. W. Gallagher, 8,000 tons—and one British, Empire Mica, 8,000 tons. The tankers damaged were the Norwegian Nortind, 8,200 tons, and the American Paul H. Harwood, 6,600 tons.

* At the time of the award, Merten’s confirmed score was sixteen ships for 102,234 tons.

* Naval historian Samuel Eliot Morison wrote: “The U-boat machine-gunned women and children passengers at point blank range.” If true, it was doubtless unintentional, one of several unfortunate instances when lifeboats or survivors may have drifted into the gunfire. The episode was not introduced as evidence at Dönitz’s trial at Nuremberg.

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