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Aces_High_2
04-12-2005, 12:00 PM
What a difference a patrol makes!,

The reflections of a Grauer Wolf, an extract from the war diaries of Ritterkreuztrager Kapitanleutnant Von Aces.

Kammeraden,

After our close encounter with death on the last patrol, the ill-fated "Patrol 13" I wondered what patrol fourteen had in store. We slipped our moorings in the early hours of the morning as the band struck up Muss I denn, a cheery little number infinitely more spiritually uplifting than Duetschland Uber Alles. Thanks to an excellent mod by those chaps over at the Ninth Flotilla who had provided some much needed new sheet music for the band. We slipped out into the port in pitch blackness and I ordered the helmsman to steer straight between the two lighthouses that marked the entrance to the estuary. Once out in the open sea I ordered the navigation officer to set course for our patrol square just to the South West of Devon and Cornwall. As seemed to have been the case on recent missions we arrived at night and we plotted a zigzag search pattern. After a few hours one of the eagle-eyed watch crew spotted smoke on the horizon at about 6 1/2 kilometres, an un-escorted enemy merchant vessel. Learning from previous experience I decided not to rely on the cover of darkness and to close the range to about 1 1/2 kilometres on the surface and then dive to periscope depth to avoid detection and make a torpedo attack at about one kilometre range. We successfully closed the range without detection and, at one kilometre, I gave the order to fire tubes one and two, "Fuer Eins, Fuer Zwei", the torpedo man replied "Fuer Eins - Los, Fuer Zwei - Los". I watched through the attack periscope, would they spot the torpedo tracks ?, would they take evasive measures ?". Slowly the hands moved on the stop watch and then a huge bang followed a few seconds later by a second explosion. It seemed a little superfluous when one of my crewman reported torpedo impacts as I watched the whole episode through the periscope. The merchantman was on fire from stem to stern and numerous secondary explosions wracked the ship casting earie multi-coloured, ghostly reflections on the water until she eventually slipped below the waves. I grabbed my Leica camera and pressed the lens to the periscope eyepiece and below is that photograph.

http://www.leigh-kemp.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Silent_Hunter/Patrol_14_Torpedo_Hit.jpg

We continued our patrol and a few hours later we spotted another merchant ship at about four kilometres range. This time I decided to dive to periscope depth immediately and we closed the range to under one kilometre before I gave the order to fire two more of our precious torpedoes. Again to my amazement both torpedoes struck home and there ensued a replay of our earlier sinking. With only one torpedo remaining we continued to conduct a search of our designated patrol area but found no more targets so I ordered the Navigation officer to plot a course for home. Unlike our previous mission, the voyage home was blissfully un-eventful. Arriving off of the coast at Brest at sunrise we cruised up the channel leading to the port and I ordered the Radio man to put on some of my favourite gramophone records. To the strains of that beautiful ballad "J'Attendrai" (the Captain of Das Boot's favourite) and various Marlene Dietrich recordings we cruised into the port basin and again my trusty Leica was at hand to record the events. One could even smell the salt spray and hear the seagulls as the bow of our boat bobbed up and down on the gentle swell, the beautiful sunrise casting reflections on the water.

http://www.leigh-kemp.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Silent_Hunter/Patrol_14_Arriving_home1.jpg

http://www.leigh-kemp.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Silent_Hunter/Patrol_14_Arriving_home.jpg

Now came a decision, would I actually attempt to manually dock the boat ?. Sure the mooring channel looked big enough when we left but how tricky would it be ?. In the last but one of my photographs you can see the look of bewilderment on the face of one of our watch crew. "Are you going to actually dock the boat Herr Kaleun ?", "Yes" I replied, "But Herr Kaleun you usually hit the escape key and auto dock" he stuttered in amazement. "Yes but I feel lucky today, what could go wrong on such a beautiful morning as this?" trying not to show the nervousness in my voice at the same time my finger hovering over the escape key. How easy it would be to hit the key?, I might crash into one of the walls and wreck the boat, at the very best they'd probably shoot me and I had the responsibility for all those crewmen's lives. How ironic would it be if I sank the boat on returning from my greatest career triumph?. The die was cast, the decision made and I turned slowly and calmly to my nervous sailor and re-assured him that, as a boy, I had never missed an episode of the Englander radio comedy program 'Das Navy Lark' http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif and that I had learned much from those immortal words "Left-hand down a bit Mr Phillips sir!!". Somehow I don't think he found the information very re-assuring and, if the truth be told, neither did I !. I manouvered the boat to line up with the entrance to the mooring and slowly inched my way in nervously watching either side for clearance. Then an alarming thought crossed my mind, how the hell do you stop a u-boat ?. Yes one can order the engines to stop but then there's the boat's momentum and, even though we weren't moving very fast, a u-boat doesn't have brakes and can't just stop on a pfennig. As we approached the end wall I desperately ordered the engines to be put in reverse and, in the end, we ended up grazing the harbour wall resulting in a few dents and chipped paintwork. I think I got away with it and nobody noticed, the sound of the impact being covered by the band's forceful re-rendition of Muss I denn and the cheering of the flower-throwing crowd and so ended our fourteenth patrol.

http://www.leigh-kemp.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Silent_Hunter/Patrol_14_Docking_at_Brest.jpg

http://www.leigh-kemp.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Silent_Hunter/Patrol_14_Docked.jpg

On returning to headquarters I learned that I had been given command of a Type VII u-boat. Unlike our Type II boat the new boat was a lot bigger, with nearly twice as many crew, armed with five torpedo tubes and about three times the number of torpedoes. Excited as I was with the news and despite my ambition to command one of these boats, I felt a twinge of sadness when saying goodbye to U-140. What a great little boat she was and how many times had this sturdy little craft held together in the face of enemy attack and brought us safely back to port, goodbye faithful friend.

The adventure continues....

From the pen of Kapitanleutnant Von Aces, 1st U-boat Flotilla, Brest, France, January 1941. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Aces_High_2
04-12-2005, 12:00 PM
What a difference a patrol makes!,

The reflections of a Grauer Wolf, an extract from the war diaries of Ritterkreuztrager Kapitanleutnant Von Aces.

Kammeraden,

After our close encounter with death on the last patrol, the ill-fated "Patrol 13" I wondered what patrol fourteen had in store. We slipped our moorings in the early hours of the morning as the band struck up Muss I denn, a cheery little number infinitely more spiritually uplifting than Duetschland Uber Alles. Thanks to an excellent mod by those chaps over at the Ninth Flotilla who had provided some much needed new sheet music for the band. We slipped out into the port in pitch blackness and I ordered the helmsman to steer straight between the two lighthouses that marked the entrance to the estuary. Once out in the open sea I ordered the navigation officer to set course for our patrol square just to the South West of Devon and Cornwall. As seemed to have been the case on recent missions we arrived at night and we plotted a zigzag search pattern. After a few hours one of the eagle-eyed watch crew spotted smoke on the horizon at about 6 1/2 kilometres, an un-escorted enemy merchant vessel. Learning from previous experience I decided not to rely on the cover of darkness and to close the range to about 1 1/2 kilometres on the surface and then dive to periscope depth to avoid detection and make a torpedo attack at about one kilometre range. We successfully closed the range without detection and, at one kilometre, I gave the order to fire tubes one and two, "Fuer Eins, Fuer Zwei", the torpedo man replied "Fuer Eins - Los, Fuer Zwei - Los". I watched through the attack periscope, would they spot the torpedo tracks ?, would they take evasive measures ?". Slowly the hands moved on the stop watch and then a huge bang followed a few seconds later by a second explosion. It seemed a little superfluous when one of my crewman reported torpedo impacts as I watched the whole episode through the periscope. The merchantman was on fire from stem to stern and numerous secondary explosions wracked the ship casting earie multi-coloured, ghostly reflections on the water until she eventually slipped below the waves. I grabbed my Leica camera and pressed the lens to the periscope eyepiece and below is that photograph.

http://www.leigh-kemp.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Silent_Hunter/Patrol_14_Torpedo_Hit.jpg

We continued our patrol and a few hours later we spotted another merchant ship at about four kilometres range. This time I decided to dive to periscope depth immediately and we closed the range to under one kilometre before I gave the order to fire two more of our precious torpedoes. Again to my amazement both torpedoes struck home and there ensued a replay of our earlier sinking. With only one torpedo remaining we continued to conduct a search of our designated patrol area but found no more targets so I ordered the Navigation officer to plot a course for home. Unlike our previous mission, the voyage home was blissfully un-eventful. Arriving off of the coast at Brest at sunrise we cruised up the channel leading to the port and I ordered the Radio man to put on some of my favourite gramophone records. To the strains of that beautiful ballad "J'Attendrai" (the Captain of Das Boot's favourite) and various Marlene Dietrich recordings we cruised into the port basin and again my trusty Leica was at hand to record the events. One could even smell the salt spray and hear the seagulls as the bow of our boat bobbed up and down on the gentle swell, the beautiful sunrise casting reflections on the water.

http://www.leigh-kemp.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Silent_Hunter/Patrol_14_Arriving_home1.jpg

http://www.leigh-kemp.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Silent_Hunter/Patrol_14_Arriving_home.jpg

Now came a decision, would I actually attempt to manually dock the boat ?. Sure the mooring channel looked big enough when we left but how tricky would it be ?. In the last but one of my photographs you can see the look of bewilderment on the face of one of our watch crew. "Are you going to actually dock the boat Herr Kaleun ?", "Yes" I replied, "But Herr Kaleun you usually hit the escape key and auto dock" he stuttered in amazement. "Yes but I feel lucky today, what could go wrong on such a beautiful morning as this?" trying not to show the nervousness in my voice at the same time my finger hovering over the escape key. How easy it would be to hit the key?, I might crash into one of the walls and wreck the boat, at the very best they'd probably shoot me and I had the responsibility for all those crewmen's lives. How ironic would it be if I sank the boat on returning from my greatest career triumph?. The die was cast, the decision made and I turned slowly and calmly to my nervous sailor and re-assured him that, as a boy, I had never missed an episode of the Englander radio comedy program 'Das Navy Lark' http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif and that I had learned much from those immortal words "Left-hand down a bit Mr Phillips sir!!". Somehow I don't think he found the information very re-assuring and, if the truth be told, neither did I !. I manouvered the boat to line up with the entrance to the mooring and slowly inched my way in nervously watching either side for clearance. Then an alarming thought crossed my mind, how the hell do you stop a u-boat ?. Yes one can order the engines to stop but then there's the boat's momentum and, even though we weren't moving very fast, a u-boat doesn't have brakes and can't just stop on a pfennig. As we approached the end wall I desperately ordered the engines to be put in reverse and, in the end, we ended up grazing the harbour wall resulting in a few dents and chipped paintwork. I think I got away with it and nobody noticed, the sound of the impact being covered by the band's forceful re-rendition of Muss I denn and the cheering of the flower-throwing crowd and so ended our fourteenth patrol.

http://www.leigh-kemp.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Silent_Hunter/Patrol_14_Docking_at_Brest.jpg

http://www.leigh-kemp.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Silent_Hunter/Patrol_14_Docked.jpg

On returning to headquarters I learned that I had been given command of a Type VII u-boat. Unlike our Type II boat the new boat was a lot bigger, with nearly twice as many crew, armed with five torpedo tubes and about three times the number of torpedoes. Excited as I was with the news and despite my ambition to command one of these boats, I felt a twinge of sadness when saying goodbye to U-140. What a great little boat she was and how many times had this sturdy little craft held together in the face of enemy attack and brought us safely back to port, goodbye faithful friend.

The adventure continues....

From the pen of Kapitanleutnant Von Aces, 1st U-boat Flotilla, Brest, France, January 1941. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif