View Full Version : Patrol Report - Lt. Van Helsing

07-11-2005, 09:58 PM
I was nearing the end of a long patrol. My crew had just finished their first run and we had sunk 10 merchants and 2 warships. With only 5 fish in my boat in the forward compartment, I received word of a large, slow convoy south of my position. Even though I was over 100KM from its' location, I put the boat in Full Speed Ahead and headed for an intersection.

The intersecting worked well as I had almost 24 hours to pick my point of attack, and I estimated that the time of attack would be 9:10 the next morning. I had as much of my crew and many of my officers rest throughout the trip to be fresh for our encounter.

The watch had picked up a ship to the north -- but it was only 8:50. I did not move, but instead chose to dive to remain hidden. The last thing I needed was a feeble, English merchant radioing my position.

As the reports came closer, my SO reported that the screws sounded as if it were a small war ship. We did some meneuvering to get a good view of it and found it was a Corvette. If this was the only escort, I could well have a feast out here.

My positioning happened to be excellant, as the corvette passed north of us and soon the SO reported more and more screws. They came into sight at 9:08. (I have to remember to punish my Navigator for such poor math) We began our move northward to determine the best and biggest ships to hit.

My men rotated watch on the periscope when I was not on it. Working with my SO and WO we soon found that the prescious English goods were being cowards hiding among neutral ships. My weapons officer and I made a 10 Mark bet that we could sink no neutrals but most of the big-time ships.

Coming closest to me were a small merchant and two C2 ships. I set my depth to insure that the two C2's would get a nice surprise beneath their keels. But I wanted something more than this small merchant. Then I saw it. Across the field, just past a neutral, was a beautiful C2. Three shots - one keel depth. I set my marks and (working with my WO) we carefully laid out each torpedo path and I executed each shot.

With periscope down we dove 10 Meters and headed west away from our current position, then north into the pack of ships. Torpedo impacts were reported with 2 of the three torpedoes, but the loud pinging of the Corvette began within seconds of the explosions.

We remainded deep for at least 15 minutes, but as the ships spread, we found ourselves in the middle of the pack. With the Corvette making a sweep away from us to the east, we slipped back up to periscope depth.

Mein Gott im Himmel, my periscope was staring at the side of the Corvette as it passed just a few meters away from us. As I watched it pass, I spun around to examine the field. I saw one C2 with its' tail deep in the water but not sinking quickly. But I saw something juicier, a T2 tanker. I locked on him and fired my last loaded torpedo then dove once again. This one was well placed as he exploded to kingdom come. There was little sinking sounds from him after that explosion.

We remained low, skirting detection from the Corvette crew, as my torpedo team kept working to get that last torpedo loaded. A few times the explosion of "cans" made me nervous. We also did not have much time left to be certain that we could hit anything. But hit one we did. We went up, fired, and went down so fast that I could not even tell you now what we fired at. But my WO assured me it was the enemy ships, and my SO reported a torpedo impact.

It took us many days to sneak through the English channel. We only knew at that time that we had sunk one ship and crippled one. But upon arrival home, we were told that air reports saw three more ships sink before reaching home port. 5 torpedoes and 4 sinkings. I hope to meet that Corvette captain once again. I may have a gift for him.

07-24-2005, 01:41 PM
After a month's rest, my crew and I returned to our second patrol. We were assigned a quadrant on the Atlantic Ocean side and I had decided that we would also attack one of the ports. So on our journey around Northern England, we did not pursue any contacts for sinkage. It was just as well I had decided such as the weather had worsened tremendously since we had returned to Kiel in October.

As we came down the western side of England, however, a lone C2 Cargo ship was too tasty a treat to forgoe. Due to the heavy chop, we positioned ourselve in his path and decided to go with a shallow launch with impact detonators activated. He must have just left port, as our topedoe caused such an explosion as to cut the ship in half! The secondary explosives indicated that he may have been hauling munitions or fuel for the Allied Command. Only small pieces of the ship ever saw the bottom of the channel. We surfaced, broke out the bratwurst to celebrate, and continued towards our destiny.

CONVOY! The radioman was so excited we could hardly understand him at the time. We were in good position from the looks of it and we headed down for an intercept. We had encountered a convoy with only a single, small escort so we could have a good time.

As the ships came into range we dropped to periscope depth, silent running, and a speed of only 3 knots. For the next half hour or so we carefully mapped out each ship type, the port of call for each ship, and quickly identified our most wanted targets.

While it appeared that we would be north of the convoy, the ship in direction of the ships placed them north of us. Perfect for taking out the pair of C2 cargoes near us. We also realized that a solution was opening up for a clear shot on the T2 tanker as well. Three fish in the water, farthest to closest, and we dove and ran towards the back of the pack. We were hoping that this would not only hide our position, but put us in good placing for their next change of direction.

When the timers ticked off, we got good reports of torpedoe contacts, and reports of what sounded like at least two sinkings. Just shortly after that the directionaly change began and the escort was moving in a direction away from us. The Motherlandt had given us a blessing.

Bringing up the scope I began my search of ships. We had lost our relationship of identified ships and locations, so we quickly had to reidentify as quickly as possible. I saw the one C2 with it's tail low in the water and smoke billowing from below. Based on prior experience I decided to leave it for a slow sinking. We quickly plotted targets for our last bow torpedoe and our aft topedoe and then dove as deeply as possible.

Two fish, two sinkings and I was happy enough to head on our original heading. Let the Corvette explain to his superiors how he lost 5 ships. Our original plan was to move through the channel between Ireland and England, but we changed plans and skirted the western edge of Ireland to keep to deeper waters. With no fish available for awhile, I wanted to avoid any warship contacts. I assigned my tired men to both fore and aft topedoe bays and began the reloading of our torpedoes.

Two hours later it proved our decision to be a poor one. We received a radio report that a second convoy was moving toward Liverpool. I think I would have prefered the safer convoy attack over the riskier port attack, but we were out of position now to make a good attack. We some well-held cursing beneath my breath, I ordered my crew to maintain course.

Again our patrol was uneventful even though we were near a known shipping lane and convoy route. But we did get plenty of time to rest and it gave me time to plan which port to attack.

We headed for the English Channel and positioned our approach to hit Portland. Our approach by surface was uneventful (suprisingly so) and after some minor warship avoidance we soon were positioned to enter Portland. We got close to the port entrance and could neither see nor hear any warships in the area. Taking a chance, we came up to the surface and entered the port. We soon came to find out why there was no protectors in the area: several ships were burning in their moorings from an earlier attack.

Our risky entry was not to no avail at all, as a T2 Tanker had anchored in the bay and we soon dispatched it with our guns. (our luck continued with us as the weather had quieted as we entered the bay!) Heading out to the northern port exit, we found two ships that had run during the bombing raid and soon they too were at the bottom of the bay. Our exit took us away from an oncoming warship and we left them a sunken merchant ship as a farewell present before returning to our exit from the English channel.

With no ammo and only one torpedoe on board, we decided that our trip was now at an end. We headed back to port for restocking an another assignment. I recieved a promotion and two medals for my accomplishments. Even though we later discovered that a tugboat recued our 'lame duck' C2 cargo ship (the one we thought would surely sink in the convoy attack) we had sunk almost 80K tons of ships and one definitely damaged ship. While on shore leave, I took my crew to one of our beirgardens and had steak and alt beir for celebration.

08-09-2005, 05:15 PM
As we left for our third patrol the crew excitedly talked of our successful port attack. After some discussion over coffee with my officers, we decided to hit the most successful port for us: Hartlepool. We took our journey across the North Sea with one or two small targets of opportunity and moved out into the large hole off the coast of the port. We listened for the movements of the ships and tried to slip into the harbor at a point in time when the warships were heading away from the port.

Our timing was impecable and we were soon in position for approach. However, as we moved towards the opening we heard a merchant moving out of the port and away. By making good time and surfacing at the last moment, we successfully took down a coastal merchant.

We turned and headed into the harbor, but found that a warship of unknown type had seen us and was moving in our direction. I waited until we were just within the entrance to avoid sub nets, then dove and took a hard turn into the harbor interior. We waited inside the harbor wall waiting for the ship to move into the harbor.....and soon we saw our quarry, a V&W class destroyer. I observed him make several depth charge hits at the entrance then enter the harbor proper. It took only a single torpedoe into his side to cause a wonderful fireworks show, and several gun rounds to sink all of the ships within the harbor.

We successfully left the harbor on the surface, dove to a comfortable depth, and headed on our route around the northern end of England to approach our patrol zone. With a few targets of opportunity sent to the ocean floor, we were soon heading south towards the Irish Sea.

As we were moving in towards the Irish Sea we recieved a notice of a large convoy and we were in position to hit it. Unfortunately, we had to chase it a little bit to get ready for an attack. Though we were quite a distance away, we failed to see the patrol boat protecting the convoy until it had seen us. I took a head-on run towards the ship and planned to see what explosive shells would do to this Armed Trawler, but when I ordered the guncrew to open fire, they reported we were out of ammo.

I quickly had no other choice than to set an under-keel shot with a torpedoe and waited until the last possible moment to fire it. The timing was excellant and the torpedoe killed the ship. We watched with astonishment as the hulk slowly drifted past us and began sinking as we pushed past it. This let us pick and choose our targets while comfortably on the surface. We cleaned a C2 Cargo ship, a T2 tanker a coastal and local merchant. But the largest ships were all neutral country flagged ships.

We continued on our route into the Irish Sea, hoping we would recieve another report of a convoy. However we never got such word. But we did have a good hunting of individual cargoe ships and after our patrol we returned with over 84,000 tons sunk.

08-14-2005, 04:16 PM
Our 4th patrol was unusual. We did not encounter any convoys. We did not hit on any big runs. And we did not raid a port. Instead we had a constant stream of move, wait, get report, chase, kill. Alot of single ships were encountered this time, but it seems that the British have begun using a new ship: the C3 class Cargo ship. It was generally uneventful, but we had a good number of ships sunk -- especially the C3 catagory. We returned to port only to find that we would strangely be posted off the Finish coast our next time out. Odd.

08-29-2005, 09:48 PM
Gert Dobbert. He was a young man on my crew who had been with me ever since our first patrol. As I sat with coffee he asked if he could join me. He spoke for quite awhile that he wanted to be the best gunner in the UBoat crews and asked if I could help him grow in that area.

I found his enthusiasm a sign of what I felt was the perfect UBoat crewman and I knew that he was waiting for a promotion. So I decided to give him his head.

We finished our patrol off the coast of Norway and found the trip to be quite strange. More Norwegian warships were spotted and I thought it strange that we should patrol off a neutral coast. But once the patrol was done we had our free hand to do anything at all that we wanted to.

I headed straight across to the North of Scapa Flow and immediately got a report of an enemy ship just south of us. We headed down and sank the Coastal Merchant then returned to our trip. But soon we were attacked by bi-wing fighters. THIS FAR FROM ENGLAND!!!???

Dobbert was ordered to the guns and he quickly proved his worth as he shot down both planes in a row! With the ship back on course and no more planes in sight we went below to celebrate with ribs and sauerkraut. We would have to wait until we got back to port and make a trip to the brauhaus to properly celebrate with bier.

As we continued our patrol and got closer to the coast we had one or two planes try to turn us. But Dobbert either dropped them into the sea or gave them second thoughts about coming close to us. Soon we had no more planes and only ships to seak.

As we came around the northern cape and down the western edge of England, we had another increase in planes. I was on the bridge at the time and Dobbert said he could handle them. I had the helm execute diversive paths to keep the bombers from getting us. Unfortunately, one of our turns turned us too close to a bomb and we had rear damage. It was not too bad until I got a crew report of 'Man Down on the Deck'. It was Dobbert.

We got Dobbert below deck and fortunately he was just wounded. So I moved him into the bunks and had the doctor tend to his wounds as we dove beneath the surface to avoid any further damage from the bombers.

A few days later and a few cargo ships down, Dobbert was back up and walking. His wounds were not as bad as they first looked. We had several more encounters and he handled the planes like an expert.

A week later we were pursuing a C3 Cargo ship and placed men on the guns. Dobbert jumped at manning the forward gun and led the others as a well orchestrated team. Several shots had been fired at the C3 when the planes arrived. We had a new member on the flak gun but he was not a Dobbert and a bomb hit right on our forward deck. The heat of battle kept me engaged with the crew, as we avoided the planes and continued shooting the C3, we dove once the C3 was reported as going down. It was then that I learned of Dobberts' death.

I had him carefully wrapped and placed in the rear torpedo compartment. I think I visited him once or twice during the remainder of our trip down and back up the western coast. We left many ships in the sea with almost 70,000 tons sunk but it was Dobbert who had gotten us 25 enemy items downed as he had shot down about 7 planes.

Upon return to port the crew got together and drank a toast to our lost. I then raised another to Dobbert, the best gunner in the UBoat crews.