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View Full Version : Introducing Detlef Koch



ILikePortillos
11-11-2005, 09:18 AM
Alright, I've got my new career started and have my new avtar and signature. I've written a little more detailed description this time, but I'm not sure how often I can do this. It's TIME CONSUMING! Anyway, here goes:

A quick note: The avtar image attached to this post is not representative of Captain Koch. It is more representative of Portillos. That said, read on.

When Detlef Koch arrived at the 7th Flotilla naval base in St. Nazaire, France, the mood was somber. Less than a week had passed since the British had pulled off a daring raid, leaving the dry dock destroyed, and many casualties in their wake. Teams of laborers converged on the site, scrambling to make repairs under the watchful eye of the Kriegsmarine. Anywhere you looked you'd find those involved in the cleanup and repair. The raid was all anyone talked about. Some told stories of heroism, increasing in grandeur as they were passed along, gradually becoming epic sagas.

Koch was no stranger to Navy life. He had joined in 1935 and had served aboard U-75 in the Mediterranean until it was sunk near Alexandria in the previous year. He was not only a consummate sailor he was a born leader. Even when he was low in rank, he liked to organize those around him into efficient teams. After being recovered from the wreck of U-75, he was sent back to Kiel for naval training. This time he was being trained to command, having worked his way up through the ranks over the years.

When U-653 was commissioned in St. Nazaire on the 1st of April 1942 it was bittersweet. The banquet celebration had all the trimmings of a traditional U-Boat send-off, but the atmosphere on the base was tense. The crew of 48 (including the Captain) feasted, but there wasn€t the usual sense of jubilation among the attendees. Everyone in the crew was new to the area, and they didn€t want to appear disrespectful to those around them who had been affected by the recent attack.

When Koch first sat down at his new desk, in his new office, he immediately got to work on what he felt he would need to prepare the crew and boat for action. His first order of business was to pick up the phone and request that an acquaintance of his be enlisted as an officer. The man, Hugo Baumann, was a torpedo man aboard U-75 and had recently been certified as a Watch Officer as well. This would compliment the crew with five officers. Koch was not only a good leader, he was also friendly, and he knew the politics involved in U-Boat command. His request was accepted and two days later his old friend walked into base and onto the roster.

The Captain€s next job was to make a final inspection of the boat and make suggestions for improvements. The German engineers had been very busy since the beginning of the war. They had created many devices to aid in the survival and success of U-Boats in every theater. After doing much research on what was available, Koch decided to request that the batteries be upgraded from the standard version, to a quicker-charging type. He also requested that the boat be affixed with new radar technology, enabling them to €œsee€ ships ahead of them much sooner than they would otherwise, giving them greater tactical advantage and safety. His final request was for a new device that was a decoy of sorts, in that it attempted to confuse the enemy by offering another ASDIC detectable object.

These requests were no short order. It took all of the pull Koch could muster to secure what he wanted, leaving him with virtually nothing to bargain for should he need a favor in the future. With the upgrades being installed on the boat, the new date for the maiden voyage of U-653 was to be the 8th of April. Each day, the Captain would drop by the pen to see how his requests were being implemented. On the 6th, just over a day before they were to leave, he was present when the boat was being loaded with torpedoes. He was amazed to find out that included in his arsenal would be a new type of guided torpedo, capable of tracking targets by the sound they made. A marvel of German engineering, he thought! Only, the idea of the torpedo being released into the ocean, then come back and track the sub that launched it was a thought he had a hard time dismissing.

During the evening of March 7, the crew assembled inside the pen and stood at attention for their patrol inspection. There would be no brass band. There would be no cheering crowd to see them off. The recent attack and bombings at the base had convinced naval commanders that the newly commissioned boats should be kept within the pens until patrol. This would not only keep them safe, but it would keep from advertising their presence to the enemy. The new Type VII-Cs were not only awesome weapons of the sea, but they were attractive targets as well.

As the Captain inspected the ranks, he gave a speech. He told the men of great danger at sea. He was a first-hand witness to the skill of the British Royal Navy. He had seen the horrors of depth charge attacks. He knew the tension that gripped even the most senior officers when enemy vessels were hunting their boat. But he also learned a great deal during these ordeals. He learned that men had great courage under stress. He learned battle tactics. He had a sense for when the enemy had the upper hand, and when they were vulnerable. He assured his men that they were his number one priority, that he wouldn€t needlessly risk their lives in the pursuit of excellence. Their safety would be carefully considered before, during, and after any attack. He closed his speech with a prayer, and a salute.

The crew went to work loading the boat with their possessions. Many of them were new recruits, so they didn€t yet have an appreciation for a new boat, or how that boat was at its best at the beginning of a patrol. The smell of oil and the sea were heavy, but the really foul smells had yet to penetrate the hold. The provisions were fresh. The crew was excited. They were well shaven and clean.

Captain Koch was strong but fair. He had a knack for being authoritative, but also approachable and friendly, not an easy accomplishment. He was the second oldest of the crew at 28. Only his chief radio officer Karl Creutz was older at 30. The rest of the crew was between the ages of 19 and 25, with the average age being 22.

Below deck the crew was efficient. They worked quickly to prepare their quarters and stations with all of their necessities. They had spent a good amount of time on the train together from Frankfurt to St. Nazaire, so they were familiar with each other. Only the Captain, who came straight from his home in Aachen, and Officer Baumann, the late arrival, were exceptions.

The boat was readied, and at 02:30 on March 8 Captain Detlef Koch gave the order to move ahead slow. U-653 was now on her maiden voyage. Her orders were to proceed to a point in the Bay of Biscay and await further instruction. The night was clear and cool. There was a layer of frost on the ground, and the city of St. Nazaire appeared to be asleep. This was the safest time to leave.

Captain Koch referred to his map of the base. He studied the layout of mines and sub nets. He maneuvered the boat into a position behind an escort vessel, given the task of seeing them out of the harbor. U-653 was on her first patrol.

WilhelmSchulz
11-11-2005, 10:03 AM
Good luck. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

Chrystine
11-11-2005, 11:27 AM
*

Very nicely written & told, ILPortillos.
Indeed, good luck & good hunting€¦

Best,
~ C.

*

weedle2005
11-11-2005, 01:58 PM
Good luck and may the fortune for sinking enemy ships be on your side.

HW3
11-11-2005, 03:10 PM
Good luck!

WilhelmSchulz
11-11-2005, 04:26 PM
I liked your old AVATAR better.

Baldricks_Mate
11-11-2005, 06:34 PM
Good hunting!

If not, may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead.

Los!

The_Silent_O
11-11-2005, 09:27 PM
Join us again next week, for another chapter in the life of.. The Continental.

I can only imagine Detlef "Continental" Koch, plying his trade on those exquisite French Girls in St Naiziare!!!

WilhelmSchulz
11-11-2005, 11:20 PM
Hey O. I just realized why you got Otto on your AVATAR. He was known as Silent Otto. Right?