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View Full Version : Patrol Diary of Herbert Altmeier Part 11 (long)



paulhager
11-08-2005, 09:41 PM
13 Dec 1944
When I went to the mess this morning for breakfast, everyone was talking about a U-boat that had arrived in the early morning hours. Some claimed that the U-boat was a new type but no one could directly verify the statement €" no one had seen it with his own eyes. When their speculations were challenged, they said the guards hastily placed on the entrance to Pen 3 were proof enough.

Lippisch had the definitive word. Characteristically, he arose in the early morning hours to perform some tests on U-390 and saw the boat sailing in sometime after 0500. He declared it €œclean€, meaning that its lines were clean. It was large, too. Lippisch was surprisingly nonchalant about the whole thing. €œThere€ve been rumors,€ he said, €œNew kind of U-boat €" radical design. When they want us to know officially, they€ll tell us.€

In the afternoon, I was called to LW€s office. When I was admitted, LW was seated behind his desk talking to another officer. I wasn€t really surprised to see that the other officer was the Old Man.

The Old Man stood. €œHerbert, how very nice to see you again,€ such a warm greeting from the Old Man was surprising. We shook hands and then LW asked us to sit.

€œHeinz and I have been talking about a forthcoming mission he€s going to command and your name kept coming up in connection with it. But, I€ll let Heinz fill you in.€

The Old Man hit me with a non sequitor, €œWhat did you think of the book, Herbert?€
€œIt was very enjoyable, Sir. Even inspiring.€ He prompted me to elaborate. €œThe story aside, if we had boats like the Nautilus and fitted them with torpedo tubes, we could regain the advantage in the Atlantic.€ The Old Man turned to LW and some unspoken communication passed between them.

€œHerbert, your Commandant and I have a few more matters to resolve so let€s save our discussion until later. Meet me at Pen 3 at 1600. I€ll see the guards admit you.€ And I was dismissed. It was most curious to be called to LW€s office to deliver a book report.

When I arrived at Pen 3, the guard at the entrance saluted and, after examining my papers, dutifully admitted me. A second guard inside saluted and asked for my papers again. €œThank you, Sir. Please come with me.€ As I followed him, I got my first look at the new U-boat. Lippisch was right €" she was €œclean€. I would say €œhydrodynamic€ but it amounts to the same thing €" the boat was streamlined and was likely faster than the Type VII underwater.

The guard conducted me inside the boat and then directed me to the captain€s cabin. There, seated at the writing desk was the Old Man. €œReporting as ordered, Sir.€ He responded with his usual half-salute.

€œSo, Herbert €" tell me your first impressions of our new €˜Electroboat.€€
€œMost impressive, Sir. She looks to be fast underwater.€
€œOver 17 knots €" she€s faster submerged than running on the surface.€
€œUnbelievable!€ It was the only thing I could think to say.

The Old Man gave me a quick overview of the Type XXI Electroboat€s capabilities. In many ways, it was Verne€s Nautilus. It was designed to run submerged, snorkeling as needed. It could travel over 200 nautical miles on batteries alone.

The weapons systems were equally advanced. Hydraulic loaders cut torpedo load time down to a couple of minutes. Torpedoes could be fired from 40 meters and the sonar suite was improved, making sonar-only attacks easier to execute.

The Old Man concluded, €œOfficially, she€s the U-2501, but I like to think of her as the Nautilus.€
€œShe€s an amazing boat,€ I agreed.

I was expecting what came next. The Old Man had come to Bergen with a skeleton crew. Some of these men would stay on but he had a number of billets to fill. He needed an XO €" would I be willing to accept a demotion and take the position? €œGladly, Sir.€ We talked about the other available slots. I recommended he talk to Lippisch about taking over as Chief. €œGive him a week or two and he€ll be an expert.€ The Old Man already had a Chief lined up €" he€d been part of the skeleton crew and had the requisite Electroboat training - but said he€d talk to Lippisch. What about a Navigator? €œMy Navigator, Franz Josef von der Leyen. He€s as good as anyone you€re likely to find.€

I offered a few other names from the U-390 and then the Old Man handed me some reading material on the Electroboat and dismissed me.

14 Dec 1944
Lippisch met with the Old Man today. According to Lippisch they spoke briefly and the Old Man gave him a stack of manuals to read and said they€d talk again in a week. We agreed the Old Man is probably going to give him the equivalent of an oral exam €" if he passes the Old Man will pick him up.

Nakszynski already knew I was leaving U-390 when I caught up with him. He pumped me for what I knew about who my replacement might be. I told him I wasn€t privy to such things but that, if asked, I would have no difficulty in recommending he take over as Captain.

16 Dec 1944
BdU selected Nakszynski to captain the U-390. He came to my office to thank me for my recommendation. €œBdU never consulted me but, in any case, congratulations.€ We shook hands. I€ll formally turn the boat over to him on Monday.

18 Dec 1944
We kept the change of command ceremony short. I told the men their achievement in sinking Escort Carriers €" three was more than the rest of the Kriegsmarine combined €" was already the stuff of legend. €œTry and get a couple more for your new Captain,€ I said. €œJust two, mind you. Any more and BdU may begin to realize how unimportant we captains really are.€

Schmidt came up to me afterwards to say that our big attack in the Ardennes had been making gains. The BBC was reporting American prisoners taken by our forces in the first rush had been €œmassacred€. €œEnemy propaganda,€ was my comment.

20 Dec 1944
The Old Man picked Lippisch as Chief. When the Old Man told me, he said Lippisch €œexceeded all expectations.€

The officers for U-2501 are now set. Half are from the U-390: me as XO; Lippisch as Chief; and, von der Leyen as Navigator. Two were part of the skeleton crew: Udo Hartenstein €" Weapons Officer/Torpedo Room; Reiner Mayer €" Engineering/Second Weapons Officer. On LW€s recommendation, the Old Man added Adolf Kramm as First Watch Officer.

22 Dec 1944
I worked much of the day in Pen 3. Lippisch is now spending his every waking hour there. He told me about the new Mark II electric LuTs we€ll be getting for the U-2501. He prefers the steam versions because of their range. I countered that the electrics were harder to detect and, besides, we may find it easier to get close in the new boat.

The Old Man was on hand much of the day as well. At one point he asked me to comment on the conning tower art: a small white compass cross. €œI assume, Sir, that it represents the four cardinal directions. It says our hunting grounds are anywhere in the Seven Seas.€
€œVery good, Altmeier,€ he smiled. €œThat is essentially the message I wanted to convey. But it wasn€t my first choice. I had a phrase in mind.€ His manner indicated he wanted me to guess.
€œ€Mobilis in Mobile€?€
€œExactly so. It was deemed too obtrusive, alas.€

25 Dec 1944
I attended Christmas Mass at midnight. Saw several members of the U-390 crew there.

It€s hard not to become reflective today, my second Christmas while in the service of the Fatherland. I€ve assiduously avoided thinking about anything other than the task at hand. Learning about a new boat (particularly an engineering marvel like the U-2501), getting to know a new crew, preparing for the upcoming mission €" these things have kept me diverted. So much so, I haven€t written in Yvette€s Journal since I became XO.

Unbidden thoughts nevertheless intrude. If you can€t win should you keep fighting? There is no dishonor in surrender if the terms are reasonable. But our enemies are demanding €œunconditional surrender€ €" no terms are being offered. A victor dictating harsh terms I can comprehend but no terms at all? We are being told, €œSurrender and throw yourselves on our mercy.€ It€s absurd and insulting: absurd because €œmercy€ is not found in the Bolshevik€s lexicon; insulting because we are deemed to be utterly contemptible €" without honor. When surrender is worse than fighting on, then a man€s only rational course is to fight. Perhaps if we inflict enough pain on our enemies they will see reason and offer terms. Then this madness can end.

28 Dec 1944
I€m going to devote this entry to some information about the three new officers.

Lieutenant Udo Hartenstein is 26 and married €" one child. He€s had seven missions, mostly in Type IX€s. He received training in Electroboat weapons, especially the hydraulic torpedo loaders. He will probably divide his time between the weapons station and the torpedo room. Like Von Augsburg, Hartenstein is a Party member. There the similarity ends. Hartenstein knows his job and performs it reasonably well. Another difference is that even though Von Augsburg was a Party member his interest was purely for purposes of career advancement. Hartenstein, in contrast, is genuinely political €" a true €œParty Man.€ At best politics is boring. At worst it is a vehicle for mediocre men to rise above their abilities.

Jr. Lieutenant Reiner Mayer is 22, married, with one child. He has four missions, all in Type VIIC€s. He also went through the Electroboat school, training in propulsion and weapons. Mayer will back up Hartenstein as Weapons Officer and oversee the engine rooms. He€s short - a shade over 170 €" but muscular. He has several sets of dumbbells that he exercises with at every opportunity, including when on duty. The other day he was reading a manual, holding it with one hand while hoisting a 20 kilo dumbbell with the other. Mayer is an inveterate joker €" he seems to know every version of every joke ever told, going back to the Roman Empire. He€s his own best audience but his laugh is infectious. I expect he€ll keep the men in the engine rooms entertained.

Rounding out the officers is Lieutenant Adolf Kramm. He€s 24, unmarried, and has six missions on VIIC€s. In addition to being an experienced Watch Officer, he€s also a medic. Kramm is one of the taller men €" around 180. His black hair is prematurely graying, which gives him an air of dignity and wisdom. As to whether he possesses these qualities in reality I can€t at this point say because my contact with him has been rather limited. My guess is that a Watch Officer on an Electroboat will not have a lot to do if we stay submerged as much as I expect. I€ll need to come up with other duty €" probably other training as well.

2 Jan 1945
Final torpedo loading is complete. The Electroboat carries 23: 6 loaded in the tubes and 17 stored internally. No more surfacing to transfer torpedoes from external boxes.

3 Jan 1945
The Old Man allowed me to take us out. At 0858, we pulled away from the dock and sailed into the placid waters of Bergen harbor.
http://tinypic.com/feh2za.jpg

Von der Leyen doesn€t seem to fidget anymore but the pencil twirling I first observed when he came to my office about his Inger problem is now a habit. When he is bored or preoccupied, out comes a pencil. He seems to not be aware he€s doing it.

Von der Leyen signaled his boredom with our passage along the fjords by spending most of the time twirling away.

The pencil twirling trick is actually rather difficult to do. I was unable to manage it after several tries and finally gave up.


4 Jan 1945
Yesterday evening, after our mission orders had been decoded, the Old Man directed von der Leyen to chart a course to our patrol zone that would take us between the Faroes and the Shetlands. These days, the normal route to the North Atlantic passes between Iceland and the Faroes. The southern route was deemed to be too dangerous back in 1943 because it was so heavily patrolled by enemy air and surface units. The Old Man was confident that the Electroboat would be up to the challenge and, besides, the southern route would shave more than a day off our transit time.

Despite the supposed hazards, our only contact thus far was a warship the SO picked up in grid square AF75 a little before 2200. We tracked it for 20 minutes or so before it zigged off to the west and away.

7 Jan 1945
I was awakened this morning at 0515 and told that a merchant had been detected. The Old Man had directed that unless warships or a convoy were detected, I should handle stragglers or unescorted merchants.

I saw upon entering the control room that Mayer was at the helm and Hartenstein was attempting unsuccessfully to figure out the course. I took over and showed him how to translate the bearing information into rough estimates. With Hartenstein watching I both conned the ship and navigated. I decided to let von der Leyen sleep.

In short order, a second merchant was detected. Once we were close enough to start pinging the targets, I let Hartenstein take over plotting their course.

The attack was elementary. A C2 cargo vessel was leading a small Coastal Merchant. I fed target data on the Coastal to Hartenstein, who had switched to the Weapons Station. I allowed the TDC to compute that attack €" I used a gyro angle 0 shot with 2 FaT€s on the C2.

The Coastal registered the first hit, followed less than a half-minute later by two hits on the C2.
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Both vessels sank at 0633, within seconds of each other.

8 Jan 1945
We reached our patrol zone, BE34, in the early morning hours.

Late morning, we were cruising at depth 50 along a southern leg of von der Leyen€s intricate search pattern. I had the con and the Old Man was examining von der Leyen€s handiwork at the chart table. Our Navigator stood by, twirling his thick lead mechanical pencil. Watching von der Leyen, I almost expected him to withdraw a second pencil from his pocket case and begin simultaneously twirling it with his left hand. This speculation was interrupted by our ever alert SO who had detected a merchant approaching from the west.

I turned to investigate. One merchant eventually became two heading east €" there were no escorts. The enemy had obviously gotten complacent.

My targets this time were a Coastal Merchant followed by a Liberty Cargo. I hit the trailing ship with a two torpedo spread and the leader with a single. Both ships were damaged but neither sank. It eventually required four more torpedoes to dispatch them.
http://tinypic.com/fejj1j.jpg

9 Jan 1945
After completing 24 hours in our patrols zone, BdU released us to hunt at our discretion. AL37 had been good to us in the past. On my recommendation the Old Man had von der Leyen plot a course there.

10 Jan 1945
Rain and fog hit yesterday evening. We€ve nonetheless been making good time €" we run at standard when on our electrics and seas are moderate so it is possible to snorkel.

13 Jan 1945
The rain turned into a gale this morning. Heavy seas make snorkeling impossible. We have to surface to charge batteries.

We€ve been patrolling AL37 to no profit the past two days. The Old Man now wants to head east

14 Jan 1945
We reached AM15 after midnight. The rain had stopped and visibility was excellent. Seas, however, were still rough.

At 0130, I had barely fallen asleep when the SO picked up a warship at long range. Lippisch had the con and sent Kramm to get me. As I got up from my bunk, I could feel the floor beginning to tilt €" we had been snorkeling and Lippisch was taking the boat down so the SO could listen better.

Shortly after I entered the control room, the SO picked up a second warship. I sent Kramm to get the Old Man.

The Old Man entered the control room 10 minutes later. I reported we had two contacts - speed fast. They had made a couple of minor course changes but their base course was due south. We were on an intercept course, standard speed. Thanking me, the Old Man took the con.

We had a good angle and easily got into ambush position. The Old Man took us to periscope depth for a look. He was able to make out both warships: a River followed by a C Type. Von der Leyen was now at the chart table and the Old Man provided him range and bearing information, then ordered Tubes V and VI flooded. He was preparing to fire the Wrens.

A minute later, another range and bearing check. Von der Leyen and I came to the same answer: 25 knots. The Old Man nodded. I€m sure his eyeball estimate was close to the same number. €œSecure from attack. Starboard 90, ahead one-third. Make your depth 40.€ Apparently the tactical situation was not favorable for a Wren shot. Saving the Wrens for higher value targets may have been a consideration as well. The Old Man returned the con to me and retired. When the escorts had cleared the area, I resumed our base course and turned the con over to Lippisch.

We were still in AM15 when the SO detected two more unescorted merchants just after noon. I maneuvered into attack position using sonar but planned on making the actual attack visually. In the event, when Kramm and I raised the scopes, he spotted several aircraft passing some distance off our stern. As he did a 360, he saw four or five more in the vicinity. The shot was already set up so I executed it and dove to 50. Both torpedoes hit.
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This got the attention of the aircraft which, in frustration, roiled the surface with their bombs for the next five or ten minutes.
http://tinypic.com/fejn9j.jpg

15 Jan 1945
Yesterday and today we reversed course and headed west. As I write this at 1000, we are in AL38.

We detected a convoy at 2100 on my watch. I had dived the boat to 25 meters after snorkeling and the SO announced he had a warship contact. I turned to investigate and, presently, the SO reported merchants on the same general bearing.

By the time the Old Man arrived in the control room, I could tell him we were stalking a large, westbound convoy. €œVery good, Number One. I€ll take the con now.€ Captain€s prerogative but I was more than a little disappointed. In retrospect, I shouldn€t have been. Had I made the attack, I would have missed the innovative tactics he employed €" tactics made possible by the speed and stealth of our Electroboat.

Conventional tactics decree that you maneuver the boat to a spot from which to conduct your attack and then wait. This spot must typically be far enough away that you can elude the escorts while still having a reasonable shot at your target €" or targets, as the case may be. Disdaining convention, the Old Man came at the convoy head on, depth 40, speed slow. It€s important to remember that €œslow€ for the Electroboat, is a noisy, battery draining, flank speed for a Type VIIC like U-390.

The Old Man took us to periscope depth. Seas were heavy but visibility was excellent €" he was obviously going to make a visual attack. He picked out his reference ship and called out the range and bearing for von der Leyen, now at the chart table and twirling his mechanical pencil in anticipation. A minute later and the Old Man gave him a second data point. The Old Man had maintained course and speed. This simplified the computational task for von der Leyen, who quickly gave him the target solution.

The Old Man popped the scope for another quick look and then called out torpedo settings. He had two targets and, from the depth settings, I could tell that one was a large tanker. The other was probably a medium tanker but the depth setting was a half-meter deeper than usual €" the Old Man was no doubt going to be shooting under intervening columns. The Old Man allocated three torpedoes to each target: a T3, a LuT Mark II, and a Wren. Since Wrens have a tendency to go hunting on their own, I assumed the Old Man intended that they add to the general post-attack confusion on the part of the enemy escorts.

€œPort 90 degrees.€ The Old Man turned for his final attack run. He popped the scope and fired the first spread. He swiveled the scope and, after a few seconds, fired the second. €œStarboard 90 degrees. Dive €" make your depth 200.€

The first two explosions were early. The Old Man cursed €" he€d probably hit a large cargo ship in the adjacent column.
http://tinypic.com/fehs8k.jpg

€œAhead one-third, release decoy.€ The Old Man was back to his normal tactics except that, instead of turning away from the convoy, we were speeding down its flank and would soon be behind it.

There were secondary explosions from whatever the Old Man hit and we didn€t need the SO to tell us that it was going down. Over the next couple of minutes two more hits were registered. Whether from Wrens or pattern runners, we couldn€t tell.

As the escorts ran to our decoy, the Old Man executed a slow 180-degree starboard turn to reacquire the convoy and look for stragglers from the delayed hits.
http://tinypic.com/fehstd.jpg

Whatever damage they may have inflicted proved insufficient to slow anything down. The Old Man broke off the pursuit and we snorkeled away to the NE.
http://tinypic.com/fehrpw.jpg

16 Jan 1945
Fuel had reached 50% and we were down to 5 torpedoes, so the Old Man ordered von der Leyen to plot a course that would begin taking us in the direction of home.

I got to conduct another attack on two unescorted merchants. We had reached grid square AM11. The merchants were detected by hydrophone and by 1700 I was maneuvering the boat for the attack. At 1740 I made a visual attack and both spreads hit the targets: two C2 cargo vessels. One heeled over and sank within five minutes €" the other exploded.
http://tinypic.com/fejpf5.jpg

Now down to one Wren, the Old Man ordered return to base following the €œsouthern route€ at best speed.

19 Jan 1945
Two days ago, the Old Man refrained from going after a target because we were too close to enemy patrol areas and he wanted to keep the Wren for defensive purposes. When we encountered a solitary Liberty Cargo just before sunset today, he changed this policy. We were in AF49 and within range of such limited air cover as the Luftwaffe can still provide. He asked, €œDo you think you can kill it?€ €œI€d like to try, Sir,€ was my answer.

I got into position and fired the Wren at 1000 meters. It hit well back under the stern €" not a kill shot but one leaving it dead in the water.
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We left the area and I reported the vessel€s location to BdU.

20 Jan 1945
We entered Byfjord at 2015 for the final run to Bergen.
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We docked at 2138.

21 Jan 1945
I heard today that the U-390 was lost on 15 January in grid square AM26. A Sunderland caught her snorkeling, severely damaged the bow torpedo room, and forced her to the surface. While trying to effect repairs, she was attacked again two hours later by three PBYs. Her FLAK gunners destroyed the first plane but not before it had released its bombs. One struck the diesel engine compartment, knocking out both engines and killing or injuring the entire engine room crew. Although the gunners were able to drive off the other two planes the diesels were damaged beyond repair and the pressure hull compromised, making diving impossible. Nakszynski radioed a final message to BdU (from which this account derived), ordered abandon ship, and set the scuttling charges. It is presumed the survivors have been captured by the enemy.

22 Jan 1945
The Old Man called me to his office this afternoon to tell me that he was returning to Germany. Our just completed mission was to be his last. He explained, €œMy orders were to test the boat under combat conditions and to find and train a replacement Captain €" you. Congratulations, Herbert.€ I wasn€t surprised. I knew the Old Man well enough by now to understand how he operates. I was probably one of several men he was considering to command the U-2501. Once it had been confirmed that U-390 had sunk two CVE€s, he decided on me.

€œOne other thing,€ he added. €œYour Commandant and I agreed after your Escort Carrier victories that he would recommend you for a promotion. That promotion has come through: you are now Lieutenant Commander Herbert Altmeier. Again, Congratulations.€ He extended his hand and we shook. €œIncidentally, you€ll be happy to know that you are the youngest man ever to achieve the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the U-boat arm. If the war goes another year, I daresay you€ll make Admiral and outrank me€

I wanted to celebrate my promotion and new command but realized there was no one with whom I wanted to celebrate. Willi is in Germany. I don€t dislike von der Leyen but he isn€t a friend. Lippisch and I are comrades on the boat but everything is business between us €" we have no social relationship. Still, he is the closest to a friend of any person I know in Bergen so I asked him if he would help me celebrate. He said, sure, but wanted to make it 2000 instead of 1900.

I was on my third beer when Lippisch showed up. We drank some toasts and switched to akavit. At some point we began talking about U-390 €" I don€t remember which one of us brought it up. Lippisch said that at least most of them survived. How did he know, I asked €" maybe an enemy destroyer showed up and machine gunned the lot of them. I told him about the parachutist I shot with the 37 mm. We couldn€t take him aboard and there was no one around to rescue him. He was going to die horribly. Lippisch said I did him a favor. D*** right, I said. Then I started feeling sick. Weird sick €" like I couldn€t breathe. It felt like being in a U-boat with bad air. My heart was beating very fast, too. I apologized to Lippisch, told him I€d had too much to drink.

I don€t feel drunk now but I have a blistering headache. I can€t sleep €" every time I shut my eyes my mind starts racing.

23 Jan 1945
I thought I€d feel better when I woke up €" I don€t. At first, just lying in bed, I felt normal enough. I began thinking about heading over to the pens and I realized that the headache was starting again. My heart is beating very fast again also. I must have influenza €" I can€t tell if I€m feverish and I have no thermometer to check.

I€m back from the clinic €" no fever. The doctor said I needed to rest and gave me some sort of soporific.

I went over to LW€s office €" asked him if I could start my two weeks leave tomorrow. He approved my request. I was very uncomfortable in his office. The longer I was there the worse it got. LW was trying to find some form to sign and I felt like screaming at him to hurry up. What€s wrong with me?

24 Jan 1945
I went to see Father Peter. I told him what had been happening to me the last couple of days. I was afraid to go back to the doctor €" afraid the doctor would say I was losing my mind and beach me. I had come to him because I didn€t know anyone else I could talk to.

He was no help. He told me I was grieving over all of my lost comrades. I screamed something at him like, €œThis isn€t grief €" it€s insanity€ or something close. He was unfazed by my outburst and I immediately apologized. I was embarrassed and humiliated. He asked me about my wife. €œI don€t know. Dead maybe. I don€t know.€ We talked some more. Prayed. He told me to come back and he would €œcounsel€ me.

25 Jan 1945
I was supposed to go back and see Father Peter today. I didn€t.

Last night when I got to my quarters I almost threw Yvette€s Journal in the stove. It seems pointless to keep writing in it €" why have it at all? I decided I should save it after all the work I put into it.

26 Jan 1945
The headaches are more or less constant but kind of dull.

I need to get away from people for a while.

I hiked to the summit of Haugavarden today. It took an extra hour because of the snow along the path. When I reached the top, I was hot and sweaty so I dropped my hood and unzipped my coat. I turned and faced into the cold wind €" stood that way until I started to chill. For the first time in days the headache was gone and I felt €¦ normal.

I went to the base to have my new dress uniform tailored €" took my badges and ribbons so that they could be attached. I regret I put my medals on board the U-390. They€re at the bottom of the Atlantic now.

The headache came back at the tailor€s. He kept fiddling and dithering €" I was rather short with him. He said I could pick up the uniform tomorrow. Why not now? He had a number of uniforms he had to do first. €œHow many of the owners do I outrank?€ He got the message €" he said come back in an hour.

This evening I went back to Ole€s. Had a couple of glasses of akavit and then went for a walk. The cold air seems to help.

27 Jan 1945
I sought out von der Leyen. Asked him if he wanted to go out for a drink. I could tell he was surprised but he quickly agreed. €œWear your dress uniform.€

We started out at Ole€s and then went to the Berliner. The Berliner has fallen on hard times. The performers are a middle-aged man who flats all his high notes and a middle-aged woman with too wide a vibrato. Probably husband-and-wife expatriates. All the other acts must have gone back to Germany. The club was mostly deserted, which was just as well.

I asked von der Leyen what he€d heard from Inger. Nothing. Did he know how to contact her? Of course, he said.

€œSo, you think you are over her?€
€œYes, I guess I am,€ he responded.
€œI€m glad to hear it.€

I finally asked him for her address and phone number €" he looked at me curiously but gave them to me. Then I contrived to end the evening, telling him I needed to go for a walk to clear my head.

Inger wasn€t at her apartment when I got there €" I left a note:


Meet me at Ole€s tomorrow at 1700 €" I€ll take you to dinner. Dress up.
Lieutenant Commander Herbert Altmeier

Putting my rank down wouldn€t hurt.

28 Jan 1945
I don€t know if I want to keep my date. I read what I wrote in the journal last night €" I was such an idiot. In any case, I have all day to decide.

I threw away the soporific. The one night I used it I woke up in the morning with a worse hangover than I ever got from drink.

I tried unsuccessfully to nap. I got up, put on my dress uniform and lay back down on the bed. Still couldn€t nap. Got up at 1600 and decided to go for a walk. Before leaving, I took off my wedding ring and put it in the dresser drawer next to the P-38.

I didn€t purposely walk to Ole€s but that€s where I ended up at 15 of. I had a couple of shots of akavit to kill time. At 5 after I became aware she was late. At 10 after I began to worry she wouldn€t show up. At 15 after I was angry. €œHow dare the b**** stand me up.€ I strode out the door and ran €" literally €" into Inger.

€œLieutenant Commander! How nice see you.€ She flashed a dazzling smile. I offered my arm and took her back to my table.
€œLieutenant Commander €" you wanted see me?€
€œYes, I do. And call me Herbert.€
€œYou not Lieutenant Commander?€ She said it with mock solicitude €" and then flashed that smile again. I realized she had been teasing me.

I called the waiter over and asked Inger if she wanted a drink. €œAkavit,€ she said. I held up two fingers for the waiter and he turned and walked to the bar. While I was ordering, Inger had taken my left hand in hers. She noticed the indentation on my ring finger.

€œWhat happened your woman?€
€œDead. I think she is dead.€
€œHerbert, I so sad for you.€ And she was. Her eyes began to tear and she patted my hand. Seeing her tears, I began to cry. It was a release I€d needed for days, maybe weeks €" I don€t know how long.

The only restaurant I knew was the Berliner so I suggested we go there. When we got outside she took my hand and that€s the way we walked: hand-in-hand. Every now and then she€d give a little squeeze I could feel through our gloves and I€d give a little squeeze back. Before, I had seen Inger as a predator €" a barracuda. Now I realized that was a façade. She was actually caring and nurturing, sweet and attentive. A rich and powerful man might pay a considerable sum of money for nothing more than her company for a few hours.

Over dinner I asked her about von der Leyen. I didn€t understand the attraction. €œHe treat me like €¦ goddess €¦ he worship. But, he young boy so it charming, not €¦,€ and she groped for a word. She motioned for the waiter and said something in Norwegian. €œObsessive,€ he said. She continued, €œCute like young boy €" innocent €" and not obsessive like grown man.€ I translated this as such attentions from a man would be excessive €" evidence of obsession €" but were endearing from a young man or €œboy€ as she would have it.

€œI grow tired of Franz. Too much worship. But I attract to you from start.€ She leaned over to, I thought, kiss me on the cheek. Instead, she nibbled my earlobe. It was electric €" no woman had ever done that to me before.

I walked her to her apartment. I was going to say goodnight. We embraced. I could sense the warmth beneath her coat. I started to pull away and then we kissed €" her lips were icy but her breath hot and rapid.

This time I did pull away and started saying, €œI€m sorry.€ Over and over, €œI€m sorry.€
She looked at my display, not with consternation or even revulsion as I expected, but rather with understanding and acceptance. I took off my glove and ran the back of my hand along the curve of her cheek.

€œGoodnight, Inger.€ I turned and began walking away.
From behind me, very softly, €œGoodnight, Herbert.€

paulhager
11-08-2005, 09:45 PM
Here is the complete list of episodes to date:

<UL TYPE=SQUARE>
<LI>Episode 1 (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/857101043/m/2141067563)
<LI>Episode 2 (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/857101043/m/9141086663)
<LI>Episode 3 (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/857101043/m/7411026763)
<LI>Episode 4 (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/857101043/m/6311026763)
<LI>Episode 5a (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/857101043/m/2041009763)
<LI>Episode 5b (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/857101043/m/9351068963)
<LI>Episode 6 (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/857101043/m/7461079073)
<LI>Episode 7a (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/857101043/m/3701021273)
<LI>Episode 7b (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/857101043/m/8601021273)
<LI>Episode 8 (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/857101043/m/6151017273)
<LI>Episode 9 (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/857101043/m/1391066373)
<LI>Episode 10 (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/857101043/m/2461072473)
[/list]

Tigerboat
11-09-2005, 03:06 AM
Hartenstein, in contrast, is genuinely political €" a true €œParty Man.€


I'll bet he's going to be trouble....

Baldricks_Mate
11-09-2005, 12:16 PM
Nary a twist out of place!

Great stuff.

WilhelmSchulz
11-09-2005, 01:17 PM
Originally posted by Tigerboat:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Hartenstein, in contrast, is genuinely political €" a true €œParty Man.€


I'll bet he's going to be trouble.... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>A Zampolit! KILL HIM!!!

btw Congrats on the XXI. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

WilhelmSchulz
11-09-2005, 01:33 PM
Instead she nibbled at my earlobe.
Kinky. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif But you are dealing with a "Pro" here. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif(If I renember corectly.)

Ive missed to much of this. Have you thought about geting this published???

U-48-Kapitan
11-09-2005, 02:56 PM
For some reason this sounds like the last one.

WilhelmSchulz
11-09-2005, 03:16 PM
He still has 5 months left if hr dont die on us.

paulhager
11-09-2005, 04:32 PM
Thank you for your comments. Remember, if you've missed an episode, links to all of them are listed above.

To U-48-Kapitan
I suppose you're referring to the continuing role of Inger in the narrative. To be honest, it's a bit of a surprise to me as well. For what it's worth, I've seen men and women in real life engage in the most amazing death spirals when the opposite sex is involved.

Some men are very attractive to women; some women are very attractive to men. Usually such people leave a wake of destruction behind that somehow leaves them unaffected.

To WilhelmSchulz
Regarding Inger as a "pro" - let's just say she is well-practiced.

To Tigerboat
Re: Hartenstein. Maybe, maybe not.

WilhelmSchulz
11-09-2005, 04:45 PM
To U-48-Kaptian

To Wilhelm Schulz
A. I dont think I told anyone about my new U-Boat #.
B. Why refer to me 2 septrate ways???