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U301
12-04-2006, 10:57 PM
Hi,
Decembers short story competition is now open.
I have decided to amend the rules due to popular requests.
1] Minimum 1500 words.
2] Entries can be an episode of an on going story.
Good luck and good hunting.
KUrtz.<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

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Goose_Green
12-05-2006, 04:17 AM
Here is a section of a story I am writing at the moment. It is the beginning and about 2300 words long.

Anyway here it is, no working title yet just titled Beginnings.

The Atlantic Ocean can be a very unforgiving and desolate place whatever the season of the year or regardless of year, whether it being a time of prosperity and peace or a time of war. The ocean takes no notice of mankind and cares even less for the little and fragile objects that transits its wide and expansive body of water. With its swirling gale force winds and mountainous seas, the Atlantic is capable of dwarfing and crushing even the largest of ocean going vessels, while smashing apart those smaller vessels foolish enough to venture into the sea with minuscule effort.

Strong winds would gust and whip up the crests of waves into a dense and salty shower of spray that would obliterate any chance of visibility while at the same time caking the superstructures of maritime vessels with that corrosive and dangerous salt that would eventually begin to slowly eat away at the very steel core of the vessel. The sea itself can be far more destructive, with such thunderous and unrelenting strong seas powerful enough to beat their way at the bows of any ship, while the ship would struggle to make any headway and in any direction, and would only be marking time. A careless error in timing any change of direction could mean certain death while the cascading sea would envelope the struggling ship and cause it to capsize sending the ship?s crew to a deep and watery grave. Such punishment handed out by the ocean was not aimed exclusively at the vessel, for it would be to those unfortunate sailors onboard who would repeatedly be sent sprawling in any direction within their ship, repeatedly assaulted, knocked black and blue by the never ending assault of the pounding sea and lashing wind ? only to dream for calmer seas.

These conditions were no different now and the vessel in question although somewhat different was struggling in the heavy seas. What was different was that this vessel had the ability to escape this madness of the churning and battering water and seek the relative quiet and peace of the ocean several meters below the surface. For this vessel or boat was known worldwide as a submarine, this one in particular was known as an Unterseeboot, or more precisely U564 sailing under the flag of the German Kriegsmarine.

Six months since it?s commissioning, U564 had been to sea before but not had to endure such rough treatment it was enduring right now, bearing the scars of five days relentless mauling by the elements, the boats hull and superstructure was becoming more rusty brown in colour instead of the dark grey that it had proudly sported while leaving it?s base thousands of miles away in the sunny and charming fishing town of Brest?a somewhat distant memory.

Like many of the U-Boats being rushed into service, U564 was one of the new Type VII variants being steadily produced at many of the German ship builders in the ports on the Baltic. The Type VIIC had a greater range, could submerge or dive quicker and had the latest technology available than its predecessor variant, the Type VIIB. U564?s main mission like the rest of the U-Boat service?s mission, was to interdict as much merchant shipping as possible within the confines of the Atlantic Ocean, this being the Tonnage War that was defiantly proclaimed by the service?s commander, Admiral Dönitz.

Hundreds of cargo vessels would make their perilous way across the same expanse of ocean, either escorted in largo convoys or conduct a far more risky alternative ? to travel on their own, un-escorted. Many of these ships would leave ports and harbours along the Eastern coast of the USA and Canada and make their way towards the smallish, but defiant and under siege island of Great Britain. While at the same time scores of U-Boats would be stationed at various places within the Atlantic waiting to gobble up the slow and cumbersome cargo vessels.

U564 was presently an unwilling boat involved in a big dipper of a rollercoaster ride, soaring effortlessly over the crests of waves, while blasting through the salty spray and then literally crashing down into the cavernous troughs in between waves with a heart rending thump and smash while straining the very integrity of the hull, only to rise up and over the next wave. This simple process would repeat a few hundred times more until one lost count of how many times this boat rode the crests and troughs of the ocean?s bitter storm. However, for the unfortunate seamen aboard this small boat, conditions were far from enjoyable; they were quite simply the opposite.

On top of the tiny and cramp conning tower the brave, soaking wet and freezing cold watch crew of five men would duck, often far too late, each and every wave of salty spray and then return to their insistent observation of the area through their salt encrusted and misted up binoculars. This would last for only the briefest of moments before being warned, again often too late, of the next eye stinging salty wave of water or spray. Not only were the crewmen on top being battered about, the rigging and top deck armaments would be given equal punishment, fortunately they were ornate objects with no soft skin or feelings ? they were lumps of steel able to take whatever the ocean decided to throw at them, but still eventually susceptible to the rigors of the oceans fury.

Meanwhile, below the conning tower within the damp and cold confines of this cigar shaped boat, chaos was evident. The boat was separated into distinct sections each responsible for the full operation of the boat. Each section was partitioned with a water tight door so in effect enabling the boat to shut off any flooded areas indefinitely ? provided the bilge pumps still worked! In fact there was no safe place within the boat either! If anyone had not stepped aboard this boat before and witnessed such a raging storm and the effects it would have within the boat they would think it was pure chaos and pandemonium. However, within these dark and damp and confines of this boat there was a small glimmer of order to proceedings, a sense of normality and uniformity that only came from days at sea and experiencing such hardships together as a fighting team.

The torpedo room was the most forward section of the boat, and unfortunately for its occupants, the worst section to be in as this section suffered the most from the murderous seas as the boat made its way forward. Every moment the sea hit the bows the sailors would feel the brunt of this non stopping battering. Not only was the torpedo room the working area of the boats main armament but it was the sleeping and eating area of the junior ratings of this boat. The section contained all manner of equipment and items such as the hoists and chains for lifting and moving the torpedoes, tools, lubricants, bedding, stores and crates of food, equipment and lastly the section?s occupants ? willing or not.

If one was to enter the room from the only doorway in they would immediately see the four huge cylindrical torpedo tubes at the very front of the compartment, each tube would disappear out through the pressure hull into the outer hull until they were met by two separate doors that were operated within the torpedo room. Each tube housed their own torpedo, each torpedo ready and waiting to be unleashed at a moments notice. Either side of the compartment were the few bunks for the crewman to rest, but at this moment in time there was very little room for that as the reserve torpedoes took up much more valuable space. Above the bunks and in line with the torpedo tubes were the special hoists and chains used for lifting and moving those precious torpedoes. Space within a U-Boat was at a premium, items of food and preserves were far more important than the crewmen?s creature comforts for it was these things that allowed the boat to remain at sea for longer periods. In all, life in the torpedo room was a cramped and uncomfortable existence made significantly better after a long period of time when the food was eaten up and some action ? action that would enable those torpedoes to be fired and freeing up space after the reserves had been loaded into the tubes ? and only then could the crewmen be allowed to relax and spread out!

Relaxing and spreading out was the last thing on the crewmen?s minds at this point in time, while the U-Boat carried it?s surface rollercoaster ride the seamen would tumble out of their cots or hammocks with a resounding thump and crash, immediately followed by a chosen word of profanity or a cry of pain as they would land on something hard such as the torpedoes and equipment or something relatively soft like another crewmen, usually where the words of profanity were shouted from! In all the occupants of this compartment were being tossed about like a rag doll. The sailors would at first follow an unspoken order and attempt a return to their original resting place, only to be thrown back on to the floor in quick time. Very soon the sailors knowing this to be a futile act would instead huddle together on the wet and damp floor hanging on to each other while riding out another storm being frequently sick and feeling generally miserable.
This was not all, any item not stowed correctly such as cups, pans and plates or other eating utensils, tools or anything else for that matter would fly or clatter about the room with a resounding crash. The hoists and chains for the reloading of torpedoes held above their heads would sway and clash with each other giving the poor sailors some form of idea as to how the boat was moving through the water, if the sailors cared for that matter! Most often than not the room would be would be lit up with one or two pathetic light bulbs which would violently move in motion of the boats violent rocking and swaying casting long and violent shadows within this compartment.

To make matters worse, while sat on the damp floor of the cramped and poorly lit compartment having nothing to do but nurse their cuts and bruises they would have to sit amongst an overpowering stench of grease, oil, unwashed bodies, stale cigarette smoke, human waste and vomit. This vile smell would permeate the dank and murky atmosphere to such an extent that it only got worse as time went on. This disordered and undignified scene would often be too much for some as tempers would flare before order would be quickly restored by someone senior in rank or a quick and decisive fist to the face to shut the complaining crewman up.

While further aft of the boat you would think things would improve, unfortunately not. The next habitable section was the officers and petty officers rest areas, although the surroundings were a little more comfortable than the cramped and basic affair of the torpedo room the motion of the boat was no different. That same damp and murky feel found in the torpedo room was evident here too, made all the worse for there was more lighting here. The on duty radioman would be found sat on his chair within his small cubby hole of a room on the starboard side of the main passage way, wedging himself into his seat and holding on tightly to his desk while trying valiantly to maintain a vigilant radio watch. The off duty officers and petty officers would be curled up in the bunks bracing every lateral movement hoping not to tumble out into the narrow main passage way. Working back towards the galley the poor and overworked chef and his assistant had the worst job trying very hard to keep the cooking utensils on the relevant cooker hobs while busy trying to keep his footing at the same time. The chef was currently busy boiling hot water for coffee for the going on duty and the coming off duty watch crews and at the same time conducting a somewhat losing and futile battle in preparing the next meal for the crew of forty four sailors, who in their current condition had food far from their immediate concerns.

In the central part of the boat, the nerve centre of the entire boat conditions were no better either, in fact they were probably the wettest within the boat for the simple reason that it was exposed to the elements of the outside world. To ensure safety, the main hatch to the conning tower or bridge was left open in case the watch crew were washed away overboard or the commander was required on the bridge. So, every wave to hit the conning tower a thunderous torrent of salty, freezing cold water would gush down the main hatch way and drench any un-suspecting victim to be stood in the immediate vicinity of the hatch ladder. Usually, the water would cascade around the now wet steel plating making footing a treacherous affair. The navigator would be found hunched over his charts with his back to the hatchway and would have to desperately make his calculations while keeping a steady footing avoiding the next downpour and prevent his charts from becoming a damp mess. The commander would be usually found loitering doing very little but encouraging his charges while hanging on for dear life ? most often than not receiving a soaking himself. The chief of the boat and usually the mechanical and electrical genius of the boat would often be found keeping an eye on the depth gauges and ensuring all was well within the engine room, he too would often be a little wet ? mainly from the torrents of water repeatedly gushing down the hatch. The sailors responsible for the depth keeping of the boat would usually, if somewhat haphazardly perched on little stools, also hanging on for dear life while maintaining their duty. A couple of other crewmen would be literally hanging around this section carrying out necessary tasks while at the same trying the same futile act of staying dry.<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

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demigod151
12-05-2006, 04:26 AM
The minimum if 1500 goose. So you can go over that, right?<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

__________________________
Proud captain of U-95!
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Goose_Green
12-05-2006, 04:38 AM
Does he really want a story 20,000 words long? Only kidding I was expecting a maximum, oh well I'll put the whole lot in at 2390 words then http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

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U301
12-05-2006, 05:19 PM
Guys!
The standard is "1500 minimum"!
Its up to you to tell the story as you like.
KUrtz.<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

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U301
12-05-2006, 05:21 PM
PS.
Great story Goosegreen!
KUrtz.<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

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hueywolf123
12-05-2006, 11:07 PM
Part one,

One Last Show

It was one of those fetid, hot days. Airless, dusty and the springs in the seat made it uncomfortable. The train rattled along at a fair speed, the French countryside hurtling past the windows, and the hypnotic rhythm of the train, all conspiring to make me drowsy. The peace was soon shattered as my compartment door flew open and an SS officer had his hand out asking for my papers.
"I'm the same person I was two hours ago" I said despondently, as I handed him my ID pass
"Security" he snapped back "And do up your tunic buttons"
"No" I casually replied, taking my papers back "And I outrank you, so kindly address me properly", He grunted and stormed back into the corridor, slamming the compartment door shut again. The very same conversation had happened the previous three times, each time my buttons were undone and he didn't call me Sir. I was happy with that; at least it broke the monotony.
I slouched back into the corner of the seat, swung my legs up and shut my eyes again, in two hours it will happen again but at least I can get some sleep in beforehand.
Knocking? I looked up to see a big rotund face through the door, "Olaf" he said "here you are, good to see you again" I was surprised to see my old number one, but decided to pretend otherwise, just for laughs "What are you doing here?" I asked him "Didn't they give you a boat?"
"Yes, of course they did" he sounded a little offended. I lifted me face and smiled
"How are you Paul?" finally "good to see you again, come in and sit will you" He slid the door shut and sat down opposite me, pulling a bottle from his kit bag before sliding it under the seat. He pulled the cork from the bottle with a popping sound and handed it across. Schnapps, I downed a large mouthful and handed it back
"That'll get me moving again" I said coughing
"Ha, yes" Paul said "I've come to join you"
"And so you have"
"No, not here, on your boat" I looked at him confused, but he tapped his nose "My brother works in signals, he told me you were coming out of retirement for one more patrol, so I chased up as many of the old crew as I could" he said smugly, "I doubt anyone else would sail with you" he added smiling
"I thought those signals were top secret" I said, surprised, but not disappointed.
"They are, and still are" he said handing the bottle back
"How many have you got?" I asked, swigging from the bottle again
"Well, most of the junior ratings, all of the officers, but two of the PO's are listed as 'missing, presumed dead' so I got two others with experience, and our old boat"
"Good work, sounds like you've had some time to organise, I only got my orders three days ago"
Paul smiled, have relatives in good places is a big advantage "I knew a week ago, got the ball rolling straight away"
"Did you ask to post off your boat?"
"No, well yes, but I was on leave for three weeks, spent all last week on the phone" he took the almost empty bottle back
"and you?" he asked me
"Kiel, training new idiots in the fine art of drowning" I said
We both stretched out across each seat, and before long we were both snoring loudly

"Your table Sirs!" The voice startled us as a small bald headed man in a white jacket was clipping a long narrow wooden table between us, and fixing its single leg into place "dinner will be served shortly, may I take your empty bottle?"
"Bring us a full one please" Paul?s voice sounded raspy with sleep
"Thank you" I said and the waiter left our compartment, followed down the corridor by two more waiters holding wooden tables. We could now hear the same thing happening next door. Before too long, another waiter came in placing plates, cutlery and glasses down for each of us, then another came in with an ice bucket and a bottle of white wine. He took an opener from his waist coat and uncorked the bottle, then poured a little in each of our glasses.
A cart was wheeled up the corridor, and then another waiter appeared with a tray of cold meat cuts, a bowl of fresh salad and a platter of fruit and cheeses.
We greedily descended upon our meal, making short work of it, and then plunged into the bottle of wine as two more waiters appeared with another trolley, clearing away the mess, but we had them leave the table as it made things more comfortable. It was also somewhere to put our glasses, and play cards.
Paul reached beneath his seat, pulled a deck of cards and another bottle of schnapps from his kit, the placed them with conviction on the table
"this should be an interesting game" I said, already slurring my words
"shut up and cut the deck" said Paul
We played silently for a while, till my little friend showed up again "Papers please!" he demanded
"where do you get off at?" asked Paul
"Papers!" he snapped
"Don?t try arguing with him Paul" I said "the brainless twit has demanded mine every two hours since I got on this damn train"
The officers eyes glared, and he snatched the ID documents from us
"Look at him" I added "the only gun he's ever seen is his own" He flicked the papers back at us
"Care to join us for a drink later?" Paul asked him
"Yes, thank you" the officer answered, his voice softening "It's not my fault, just my job. I'm so sorry to be any trouble"
"We'll see you later then" said Paul, smiling. He always was good at calming impossible situations
He returned later, and the three of us drank and played cards till early morning, he wasn't really such a bad kid, just had a bad job and was making the most of it.

The train jolted to a stop, I heard a thud and straightened up, and I could not see Paul but could hear him grunting from under the table.
Through the window I could see the morning was already hot, the dusty platform looked almost deserted
"Good morning gentlemen" came a voice. It was the young SS officer "we're here, I've already woken your men, and I've called ahead and arranged transport for you"
"Good morning Werner" I said "Thank you for that, very kind of you"
Paul was sliding back up into the seat, his jacket dusty from the floor, his face grey with the hangover. He reached into his kit and pulled out another bottle. Handing it up to Werner "Yes, thank you. You have saved us a long march into the town. Take this for tonight"
"Thank you Sir" Werner replied, taking the bottle "It is refreshing to know there are still good people" and with that, he snapped a quick salute, turned on his heels and marched off down the corridor.
I reached up to the overhead baggage rack and grabbed my kit as Paul pulled his out from under his seat and we walked out into the corridor. Making our way to the carriage exit I could hear some familiar voices.
We jumped out onto the platform and into the hot sunlight, making me realise just how hung-over I felt.
"Kaleun!" came another voice "Good to see you Olaf" I turned and saw my engineer "My, you look like you really tied one on last night" he said
"Bert, how are you?" I answered "Schnapps does it every time"
As I looked up the platform, I could see enlisted men in full Kreigsmarine dress uniform, falling in on the platform, all looking familiar, my old crew. Dusty, my CPO was busy barking orders at them as I wandered up "Leave them alone for Gods sake" I said smiling
"Sir" dusty replied "You know what they can be like"
"Yes, dismiss them and tell them to wait around in the car park, we have transport arriving soon" this brought some grunts of approval from the men and Dusty dismissed them.
As we all walked through to the car park, I could see two covered trucks pulling up. They ground to a halt and the lead driver put his head out of the window
"Kaleun Olaf Frenssen ?" he asked "Of U-52?"
"Yes" I answered "you must be our ride" and with that, we piled into the two trucks. Officers in the front, NCOs and enlisted men in the back
"To the pens please" I said "and don't spare the horses"
"Not a problem Sir" said the burly Corporal "I have to return these to the motor pool on base, so I can take you to the dockside if you like"
"That would be fine, thank you"
Silently we endured the bone jarring drive into Lorient, and I found myself needing the mensroom. Every bounce, every pot hole served to remind me that I had not taken my morning pee yet and it was now demanding an audience.
"Can you pull over for a second?" I asked
"Certainly Sir" The corporal answered
I jumped out, slapped the back of the truck "Piss stop!" I called to the men, and within seconds they came running out of the backs of both trucks as we lined the grassy verge.
Just then, a staff car drove by. It was carrying a flag rank officer. Without stopping, I turned my head and saluted as the officers face looked on disgustedly at an entire ships company lined up and relieving themselves on the side of the road. The men all laughed and whistled at the car, and the officer had his driver speed up the looked away with a red face.
As I climbed back into the truck, the corporal looked at me "You might be in a little trouble Sir" he said "That was the base commander"
"We'll soon know" I answered "But don't you worry, you were obeying my orders" I continued, feeling that he was concerned about being punished.

As we pulled up at the main gate, I got down and took my orders and ID papers from my pocket. Paul got down from the second truck doing much the same as a haggard looking Warrant officer wandered over to us. He held out his hand and silently took our papers, the turned and went back into the guard house. He picked up the telephone receiver and hung it up again not long after. He handed back our papers "The Commandant is waiting for you at dock three East, proceed immediately Sir"
We climbed back into the trucks, "how far from here?" I asked the corporal
"Next to the motor pool entrance Sir" he said ?We?ll be there in a moment"
The dockyard had that familiar smell of salt, rust and sweat, along with seagull sounds and the occasional diesel boat chugging along. Every so often I could hear men?s voices and orders being shouted, interspersed by the gentle lapping of waves against the dock walls. The sunlight was hot, and the reflected light from the harbour waters was turning everything a soft yellow. The truck lurched to a stop "we're here Sir"
"Thank you Corporal" I said, and got out onto the dock "hurry men, fall in, we don't have all day" I shouted as both trucks slowly moved off. I could see the Commandant walking toward us, his face looking stern, and his uniform with too much starch. Paul called the men to attention, as I turned and saluted the approaching officer.
He didn't return my salute, walking past me to the crew ?what a disgrace!" he mumbled to me on his way.
"You have all disgraced the uniform you wear!" he shouted at the men "just because your Kaleun is an imbecile, I don't expect you to follow his example. You are all confined to base" He then turned to me "And I'll see you in my office, Now!"
I had Paul take the men over to the boat to stow their gear, the to the quarter masters to officially post in, while I made my way to the base wardroom.
I was met at the door by a small Adjutant, elderly with horn rimmed glasses and comb-over hair, "Can I help you Kaleun?" he asked
"Yes, I'm here to see the Commandant"
"You have an appointment?"
"No, he insisted upon my visiting"
"Very well, wait in there" he directed me to a large waiting room, wood paneled walls, leather bound books, glass topped tables, pot plants by the floor to ceiling windows and a large fireplace at one end near a large door. Everything in here was big, cold and felt quite lonely in comparison to the boat.
The large door swung open, and Lieutenant zer sea came out, "The commandant will see you now" he said, and I walked passed him through the doorway
"just be polite and agree Sir, he's all bluff and wind" the Lieutenant said as I went past him. I saw the young man had a large scar around his scalp, and walked with a pronounced limp, he also wore the U-boat badge and an iron cross. As we made our way down a very large hall I asked him "What boat?"
"432 Sir" he said
"What happened to you?"
"I was on the bridge during an air attack, six months later, I'm here looking after the senile 'Elite' like the commandant"
"Any chance of sea?"
"no, not any more, artificial foot" he said
"That?s bad luck"
He opened another large door and called out "Kaleun Olaf Frenssen!"
"Come!" came the Commandants voice "leave us and shut the door" he snapped. With that the young Lieutenant saluted and left the room, shutting the door behind him.
"well?" the commandant said "can you explain your disgusting display?" he continued "In broad daylight, the French must think of us as animals, surely their livestock is better behaved"
"In all due respect Sir, If you hadn't happened past us, you wouldn't have known"
"but I did 'happen' past you" he thundered at me? who knows who else would have if I didn't"
"What?s done is done Sir" I said "Do you want an apology? I don't understand why it is treated so seriously"
"Because!" he shouted "We are officers, we do not behave like common thugs or idiots"
"I have a boat to make ready for sea Sir, I really don't think..." He cut me off
"That?s just it, you don't think!" he paused, then "Get out of my sight, not another peep from you, you dine on your boat. Get ready for sea then go." he looked up at me "Anything else Kaleun? Go, dismiss, and get out of my office!"
I saluted and turned on my heels, not side on, but turned my back to him, then walked off deliberately thrusting my hands into my pockets
"Get out of here!" I heard him call from behind his desk. I slammed the door shut and wandered back out into the sunlight, chuckling to myself. Why do they use these old fools as base Commandants? I asked myself, they are so easy to bait, they take themselves too serious.

I entered the doorway into the pens, and was greeted by Bert, behind him were two PO's I did not recognise, "Ok, Sir, PO Wilhelm Engineering, and PO Stav also Engineering, they are our new crewmen" Both men saluted
"How many patrols?" I asked them
"Six Sir" they answered "both from U-525"
"One number too many" I said to them, "welcome aboard, please trace all systems and hand them to Bert, you have two days"
"yes Sir" and they marched back to the boat.
Bert and I went to the requisitions office to submit our request for victuals and armaments, the returned to the boat. By now, my headache had reached epic proportions and the bosun?s shrill pipe as I walked down the gangway didn't help. I turned and saluted, climbed up into the tower, then dropped down the hatch into the boat - my old familiar boat.
"Can somebody call Doc please?" I asked, and climbed through into the ward room.
The cook, and ships medic 'Doc' came through "Sir?" he asked
"We are to remain onboard till sea, send several men over to victuals and requisition enough food for five days, and bring me some aspirin please. I'll be in my bunk"
Smiling, Doc answered "Yes Sir, back very soon"
"Paul" I said, "take over for a few hours" Paul agreed and I climbed into my bunk, Doc appeared with the aspirin and a sleeping draught both of which I downed and before long was in a dreamless, deep sleep

The boat began to rumble as I swung my legs around onto the deck plates. I pulled back the green curtains and looked out to the wardroom table. Standing up I then walked through forward to the head, not busy, good.
By now the ships diesels were starting to hum nicely, the throbbing had given way to a stead thrumming beneath my feet and I walked back past the wardroom and climbed through into the control room.
"There you are" said Paul "I was wondering if you would ever wake up"
"How long was I asleep for?"
"About one full day" he said ?We are already prepared for sea"
"no good, we must wait for our orders first" I said ?have the men run a full check of all systems"
"done, and we are provisioned" Paul remarked "and before you say anything, we have double checked"
"Ok, good, have Wilbur phone BdU, informing them of our readiness, awaiting orders"
"Yes Sir, message ready, just waiting for your say-so" said the radio man, Wilbur
He returned, telling me a signal will be sent to base command before too long, lunch was now ready and I went back to the wardroom with my other officers as Wilbur went to the PO's mess.

"A Signal Sir? Wilbur said, handing an envelope through the control room hatch. Bert turned and took it from him, thanked him and handed it across the table to me. It was sealed and across the top was stamped 'Top Secret'. Ignoring that, I opened it where I was seated and read aloud,
"To U-52, from BdU, stop. Proceed 1600hrs today stop, Patrol grid GD30 stop, intercept convoy from Halifax stop, Find freighter 'Atlantean' stop, must be destroyed stop."
Across the table I could see faces looking in amazement, I continued "Rendezvous milkcow, position CF12 stop, will only wait two days in grid stop, from 12th May 1600 stop" I looked up again, "that gives us five days to find the cow, I suppose they'll update us on the convoy position" I turned back to Wilbur, "was this radioed?"
"no sir, cyphired to Command, the dispatched to us under guard"
"Ok, off you go, not a word to anyone, understand?"
"yes Sir"
"That goes for all of you too" I addressed the officers around me "not one word to anybody"
My mind was already reeling with the navigation required to meet a cow in a giant ocean, let alone to appear right on queue for one particular ship in one particular convoy at one specific time. No wonder they allowed my entire old crew back, this was going to require miracles, something of which I was distinctly lacking.

7th May, 1942, 1600GMT,
"All cleared for harbour stations Sir" Paul said
"Very good number one, away all lines, take her out the bridge is yours" I smiled, clapping his shoulder and jumped back down the hatch just as daylight was sweeping across the bridge and the boat slipped silently out from under her pen. No band this time, no fan fare, no waving rental crowd of disloyal locals being forced at gunpoint to throw flowers. Just before my head went through the hatch "Paul? put an AA gunner up here, a sunny afternoon like this" and down I went.
In the control room, I went across to Henry at the nav station and put a cross on our first grid point, "when we get out, take a sun shot, then plot us to here, give the distance to Bert, I need to know our maximum speed to that location"
"Yes Sir" Henry said and started with his slide rule and pencil. I went with Bert to the engineroom and we checked engine actual against gauge readings in order to spot any faults.
"What is that layout?" I asked Bert, pointing to the new inlet manifold configuration
"We have superchargers" Bert shouted back above the noise "an extra 20% horsepower from each engine" he was looking like a proud mother showing off her first born
"Very good" I shouted "As long as it doesn't eat too much, we should be ok"
We went aft into the motor room, checking the clutch mechanisms, the hydraulic pumps, the auxiliary pumps and the high pressure compressor
"how do the motors look?" I asked the PO electrician
"very good Sir, they were completely overhauled, new battery bank too"
"Good, very good? I said, "can you have some boys start checking the telegraph links and fuse boards?"
"On to it now Sir" he said "They've already started"
I nodded in appreciation, and Bert and I went further aft into the torpedo room to check the steering gear and auxiliary compressor. We heard the engines speed up and felt the 52 lurch forward. "We must be near the mouth of the channel" I said
"not much traffic today Sir" commented Bert.
I hoped they wouldn't clear all channel traffic for us, as that would make it obvious to the underground that we were going somewhere special, surely the Commandant wasn't that stupid. We were only three hours flight from England, coastal command could have somebody here in fifteen minutes if they are over the western end of the channel. That idiot Commandant, I'll make it clear in our first signal what he did, BdU can stick a rocket up him for that.
"Lets go up forward and start there Bert" I said, and off we went.

The evening meal was cold meat cuts and salad, followed by a shot of schnapps each and a mug of coffee. We adjourned to the bridge and sat around in the wintergarden, enjoying a smoke and the feel of the soft cool breeze on our faces. The sun was slowly sinking before us, and a soft blue graduated to a deep dark directly overhead, interspersed with twinkling stars "My favourite time of the day" I lamented, lighting my pipe "We now have a full evening on the surface, how fast can we go before dawn and still not deplete our fuel stock too severely"
Bert looked up from behind his cigar, "about 16kts Olaf, not too much more, we need enough to search for our cow in case she's not there", I nodded and said "Well, we can always divert to the Canaries and load up at the 'Corrientes' as a last resort, all is not lost"
We sat silently for a while; enjoying our evening?s relaxation before the darkness completely closed around us "Paul, how clear was the channel?" I asked my number one
"No other shipping traffic at all Sir" replied Paul? I thought it was strange"
"Yes, write a report on it, and hand it to me, you have one hour"
"very good Sir" Paul answered, and he disappeared down the hatch.
"Jonas" I said to the watch officer "Keep a sharp eye tonight, lieutenant. No nodding off now and have me woken if you even suspect something"
"Yes Sir" and with that, I climbed through the hatch, down through the tower and into the control room.

Paul wandered into the wardroom with a sheet of paper in his hand, "here Sir" he said handing it to me "the report"
"thank you Paul" I said, and went into the radio room with Wilbur, "draught a short version, then report away on time, no contacts 2030hrs WNW, U-52. Send the whole thing, harbour report also"
"Yes Sir, very good Sir" Wilbur turned to his desk and started notating the report for signal.
It was my shift in the control room, and I relieved Bert and sent him to bed. Henry was still at the nav station, and calculating off his latest star sighting, he was taking them by the hour, checking and re-checking his plots. While the weather was holding, I had no intention to slow him, as when the weather breaks it will be mostly guess work.
"Sir" said Henry "It seems there is a strong current running not quite parallel to our course, if we alter slightly, we can make better headway with less fuel"
I walked across to the table, "how did you figure that?" I asked him. He showed me his sighting tables against actual position in comparison to preferred position, it all looked feasible. "Very good Henry" I said "Steer left 5 degrees for 1 minute, then zero rudder"
"Aye Aye Sir" said the helmsman ?five degrees port" then one minute later "rudder zero, Sir"
Slowly we started making better ground; on the same revolutions we were now doing eighteen knots. Now 2300hrs, still five more hours to daybreak, and at this speed we should be able to move beyond the reach of coastal command before dawn. Hopefully there won't be any fleet carriers within range that will be our Achilles heel.
"Signal Sir" called Wilbur
"Bring it here" I asked "Wake the cypher officer"
Willie sat at the wardroom table with the Enigma and the signal, before long he'd decoded the message and handed it to me
'BdU to U52stop, have diverted milkcow to CF30 stop, harbour traffic worrying stop, be alert stop, good luck stop'
"Well that proves it" I said aloud "Lorient base commander is an idiot, confirmed by the BdU" I sighed, then "lets hope it hasn't alerted too many. Wilbur, radio silence from here, we receive only"
"Yes Sir" he answered. It now seemed like we were sailing into a lion?s mouth, who knew of our mission? Who would be chasing us? It was damned certain to me, that they would soon be scouring the oceans for us, and it wouldn't be long before they put two and two together. We had no time to loose, no time to spare.
"All ahead flank!"<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l239/Huey_Wolf/Huey.jpg
You can judge the character of a man by the condition of those around him.
http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l239/Huey_Wolf/december.jpg

hueywolf123
12-05-2006, 11:09 PM
Part 2 (because it would not allow full story on one entry)

I woke to Bert?s voice shouting orders, the sounds of hatches slamming shut, and hull vents opening. Daybreak and we were heading under "make depth 60m" Bert said
"Aye Aye Sir" said helm
Doc brought me through a mug of hot coffee, and Willie gave me the daily watch orders to sign. I wandered into the control room and went across to the nav station,
"our position?" I asked Henry
Henry pointed to a spot on the map, good, I thought, out of aircover
"Speed Bert?"
"6kts Sir"
"Make it 2kts Bert, rig for silent"
"All hands, rig for silent!, all off watch crew to their bunks, set speed 2 kts, remain on current heading" Bert had whipped them into gear, we were back as our old team again, everything like clockwork. All would be fine, as long as they didn't find us we would be Ok.
I could hear the water running through the deck grates on the conning tower now. I wondered how long until we were to contact our cow and looked at the charts again, roughly another two days of playing whales. With the US set to enter the fray, I decided to start testing our AA gunners on the American silhouettes supplied to us by the BdU. One of them reminded me how it was nice to know your killer before he had his way, and that made me realise just how these boys had stopped wondering if and only wondered when. Two more days till we sent one short range signal, at the designated time, hoping they would hear it.
Most of the crew were sleeping when lunch arrived, and we decided to have a newsletter, printed daily and posted in the control room. All crew could submit, and the cypher officer selected the better articles and jokes. There was no need to vet for obscene material that was going to be submitted whatever we did, we just took out the real perverted stuff, and the rest was fine.

As we surfaced that evening, another signal came through
'U-52, Three destroyers tailing stop, suggest caution stop, do not signal cow stop, they will signal you stop, good luck stop'
Not what I wanted to hear, now we'll have to run with a very shallow freeboard for fast escape, ?Bert, set depth 7m" I said "Both ahead full, Henry, a series of star shots, see if we still have that current"
"Yes Sir" Henry grabbed his sextant, and ran up the ladder, 45mins later he popped back down, scribbled some readings and went straight up again. He repeated this three times, and then said "Let?s alter back to our original heading, that?s how the current is bearing Sir"
"Very good Henry, control is yours, I'm going up for a smoke" It was common practice to light your smoke of choice inside the conning tower before heading out, also, cupping your hand around your cigarette, pipe, or cigar to prevent any light giving you away. Due to the circumstances however, we now smoked inside the tower, leaving the bridge hatch open. I had packed my pipe and was happily lighting it
"Alarm!" The bell started ringing, men dropped almost on top of me; I urged them down further and closed the hatch, securing it with a turn of the handle. The watch officer was last down "It looked like a destroyer Sir, hard to make out with all the mist, port 195, about 3000m" he dropped into the control room and I followed
"Secure for silent Henry, they may not have seen us, 30m depth"
"Yes Sir" he answered ?All hands rig for silent, both ahead 2kts, torpedo crews to your stations, damage parties at stand by" He smiled at me; he knew what I was thinking.
Hans, was by no means a smart man, nor were his eyes very good, but his hearing ability was uncanny. He had manned the hydrophone as soon as the alarm was called
"enemy warship, now on bearing 180 Sir" he whispered "slowing down"
"Henry, bring her to periscope depth, Bert, take over, Henry back to the nav table and get ready" Both men silently resumed there roles as I climbed back into the tower and lifted the scope. I trod on my pipe and felt it break, damn, but never lost my direction. Aligning it to 175 stb, I whispered down the voice pipe "Flood tube 5, open tube cap" I said as the lens popped above the surface. I caught sight of a light cruiser, with spotlights ablaze, they knew we were here. I whispered my input to the WO
"Solution ready Sir" he whispered back
"Thank you Zol set her shallow magnetic"
?Already done Sir"
I lifted the scope again, repeated my input, solution confirmed, on my mark "Los!" I called, and the stern of the little boat lifted as the deadly fish swam at her prey. Dropping the scope once more I called out, "90m depth please" and jumped down into the control room.
The explosion shook the boat, a hit, and a big hit at that, followed by a series of continuing explosions, then a sound like a rail yard, twisting metal and pounding noises
"The boilers have blown" someone whispered
"The signal said three" I said "And that was no destroyer. What?s our battery life now?"
?Good Sir"
"Ok, we'll stay down a couple of hours, both ahead standard" I turned to my WO, "Good shooting Zol" as I clapped him on his shoulder "Tell your boys to leave the reload till we come back up again"
"Yes Sir" he said "We'll bring that one in from outside too if the weather lets us"

Two hours later, I tapped Hans on his shoulder "Anything?"
"Nothing sir" he said, "A whale I think, but nothing else"
I jumped onto the observation scope and called for periscope depth, and a slower speed. As the head of the scope broke the surface, I did a full 360 sweep, then back again. Nothing, "Ok, Bert, both ahead full, surface, watch crew stand by with goggles" I thought again "Oh, and a flak gunner too please" he would be an insurance policy.
The fresh air rushed in as the hatch popped open, followed by a splash of water and the five watch men jumped above with binoculars.
"Eyes peeled behind us Willie!" I called to him and went to find the remains of my pipe
"It's fixable", said Bert "I'll have one of my boys do it right away" he walked off to the forward accommodation. When he came back, he was followed by a young enlisted engineer "I'll have it good as new Sir" he said happily, and headed aft
About half an hour had passed when Zol and six very sweaty men made their way through the control room and out through the tower, complete with block and tackle
"The stern outer fish?" I called after him
His voice echoed back "should only take half an hour, stern tube already loaded"
A master of efficiency was Zol, always looking for better ways to work more effectively, always timing things but never bullying the men in his work teams. Those men had a respect for him and his methods; they liked the way he allowed them to voice opinions and how he took advice as well as giving it.
"What?s the weather like out there?" I asked Willie through the voice pipe
"Calm, no wind, just a little swell"
"Ok, Bert. Both ahead slow till they've got that fish inside" I ordered, then went back to the wardroom. On the way, I met Hans going up for a smoke, reminding him to smoke in the tower, not on the bridge.
Moments later I was called back to the bridge. Hans had his smoke and came out for some fresh air, sitting in silence apart from the occasional grinding noise from the aft torpedo crew; his ears caught a distant sound. Calling everybody for silence, Willie summoned me and asked Hans to listen again.
I climbed out onto the bridge, looked to Willie, who nodded toward Hans. His eyes screwed tightly shut, turning his head slowly, he lifted his left hand and pointed aft, port, 200 degrees roughly. "Ok, down you go Hans, good work" I told him "Zol?" I called softly "How much longer?"
"Just closing the hatch now Sir"
"Make it good and tight Zol, this could get hairy".
I jumped back down into the tower and waited, Zol and his men dropped past me with their lifting gear and when they had gone I called up to the bridge "we're going under for a sound check, you coming with us?"
"Clear the bridge" Willie said to the watch crew. As the last one dropped down and dogged the hatch, I called through the voice pipe, "Periscope depth. Bert"
A hissing sound as the hull valves opened to the sea was all I heard, and then I felt us descending. I lifted the scope and turned it to 200 degrees, switched magnification, and there they were, three Flower class destroyers. One listening and two in a zigzag search pattern, the usual style. Their range was about 7000m just now; I owe Hans a beer for this, and plenty of time for the attack. I had the helm steer us to port 160, moving as slow as we were, we would be on their port beam by the time we completed the arc.
"Flood all forward tubes, open bow caps" I whispered down the voice pipe, doing the noisy things while we were still far enough away would maintain our element of surprise. I kept the scope down until we reached the point of attack, they had spotlights going and seeing us now would seal our fate.
It seemed like hours, then "Zero position Sir" said Henry, and with that, I zeroed the scope bearing, then lifted it as fast as I could. Oh my god, I thought, this was perfect. Two had slowed almost to a stop, one was still zinging. One each for the slow pokes, a spread of two for the hot head. We input all data into the tdc, and then I lifted the scope to confirm. All was good, all four tubes emptied, and we started ahead slow again. The range was 1500m upon firing, so at ahead slow, steer Starboard 15, we should pop up on their other side to finish off with our stern tube if anything missed, while they'll be looking to where we were. We set depth to 30m, and waited.

There were a series of violent crashes in front of us to our port quarter, then another, then another, followed by screeching metallic sounds. More explosions "Second position Sir" said Henry. We came up to periscope depth and I wound the scope back to 180, lifted it quickly.
"All three!" I shouted, "We hit all three!" I turned and saw Zol behind me and I gave him a look
"Two slipping under, one damaged Sir"
"Ok, back to your post, we'll finish her off" He jumped back down and waited, ordering the stern tube flooded and cap open.
I looked back through the scope, no wake on the damaged ship, very low to stern. I called my input to Zol, "Solution ready Sir"
"Fire when ready" I said, no drama here, we were now condemning three ships companies to death as they wouldn't last very long out here away from shipping lanes and even further from land. I felt the stern lift slightly "Torpedo in the water" said Zol and before too long there was another crash.
I looked through the scope again to see the stern of the last ship up out of the water and hundreds of heads bobbing around amongst the wreckage. It was tempting now to surface, but these ships will be missed. The Admiralty in London would have been in close contact, and now they know we are here, or will do in a couple of days.
"Henry" I said climbing back down "Steer us back on course, Bert, take her up, both ahead full" The compressor hissed as it blew the hull tanks clear and as the bridge cleared the water, the diesels kicked in, shaking the boat and pushing us forward. The bridge hatch popped open, and the watch crew clambered out as fast as they could. Behind us, we could see the last flicker of flames from the destroyer?s stern, still poking up out of the water, then with a blast of spray it too slipped under to join her sisters. Darkness descended once again, and the rhythm of the boat seemed to be guided by the thrumming engines. We had hit four warships in 24hrs, a big score, but had most probably given ourselves away. If it had not been for the Commandants stupidity in giving us a clear channel, we would have laid low and let them pass, no chance now. We were betrayed by our own Commandant, and now, by our own hands.

Apart from the occasional aircraft sighting, nothing happened for the next two days. The aircraft we figured, were no threat as they were leaving con trails, and therefore too high to see us. It was a very clear morning, and Henry had advised me we were now at CF30, so we had cut engines to conserve fuel and were waiting for our signal.
At 1000hrs, it came. We were to proceed to CF3013, contact expected at 1200hrs GMT.
With both ahead standard, we lurched forward on our new heading. The lull in activity had allowed Zol to reload all forward tubes and bring all foward spares inside; he had also reloaded the stern tube, meaning we had no aft spare. I called one of our AA gunners up and had him at the flack gun. All eyes were straining, staring across the vast ocean and then, there she was. A signal light was blinking at us "Answer yes, U-52" I said to the watch officer. He blinked his signal lamp back at the other boat.
"Starboard to Starboard" Willie said
"Ok, hold her on this heading, both ahead slow"
Hans came up with a bag of mail to send home, and before long, we were alongside. A paynter was shot across us and we ragged the line in and secured it to a midship bollard. A second one came over, this got secured to the tower and on it was the fuel hose. We commenced refueling lead by Bert, as Zol was busy setting up the load arm on the tower for taking on fish. The watch crew was to remain vigilant, as were the AA gunners on each boat. An officer was hauled between boats and landed on our deck, passing me a yellow envelope "Your final orders" he gasped "Good luck" and with that, they hauled him back across.
Within the hour it was done, we had also taken on extra rations and bottles of beer and apple juice. The cow was heading straight back to Lorient, so hopefully our letters will get home.
"Henry" I said "set us a course for GD30, we have an Atlantean to catch"

In the wardroom, I sat on my bunk and opened the envelope. It contained a signal, giving me the time the convoy will be at the said coordinates, and a silhouette of the ship plus a description. These last two items were all I'd disclose to the men. There was also a brief explanation as to why that particular ship was so important, apparently the allied nations were experimenting with a new explosive, the chemical required were manufactured only in the US and these were on board this ship.
We were another five days from our target, so I chose to put the silhouette up in the control room where we could all see it, along with it's description. I discussed at length with Henry, exactly where we would need to be for the best chance of achieving our goal.
Our daily news was becoming a hit with the crew, some of the jokes were worse than those in Christmas bon bons, some were disgusting, but every now and then there was an absolute classic. There was also some poetry, same as the jokes, but then someone came up with a competition and needed some starters. It was to see who could make their way from the forward torpedo room, to the aft torpedo room, tube to tube, without once touching the deck. They were to be watched by two followers, and the two followers were not allowed to compete. I stepped in on this one, only when we were submerged, or in good weather and it was not to disrupt the running of the boat. The first serious injury would end the competition then and there, but this would relieve the boredom and allow the men some exercise and to blow off a little steam. I was to award the fastest, one bottle of beer.

The next four days saw men clambering up bulkheads, swinging hand over hand from the pipe work. All of them seemed to come unglued at the aft pressure door of the control room. One of the followers was banned after being caught kicking a crate across under a friend, who then demanded his bribe be paid back. After a while, several men mastered this elusive hatchway. The next hurdle was the engine room, the cylinder heads were out of bounds because if we went under, they would cool and allow everybody easy passage, but on the surface they were too hot to touch. The other hazard in there was the on watch Stokers, who had no sense of humour when it came to work. This was due mainly to their workplace being an almost constant 50 degrees Celsius, very uncomfortable and very dangerous, but they agreed to let them travel down the starboard side of the hull.
In the moor room, The PO electrician was worried about somebody cooking themselves by grabbing the wrong hand hold and made them all wear rubber gloves. This was seen as an extra challenge and was taken on with enthusiasm. By the end of the fourth day, Somebody made it, soon followed by several more. Suddenly it had become a race, and the times were becoming quite fast, but the overall record is now held by a Stoker named Lars. A giant, strapping boy, and nobody are brave enough to challenge him or his record.

On the morning of the fifth day, Henry went up to the bridge to take a sun shot for a position as close to exact as he could manage, Marking it on his chart, I compared it to the coordinates on the orders, we were very close now, but it was still only 1011hrs, and the convoy was not due until 1600hrs. I decided to practice our diving, get our times faster, practice our torpedo drill and when surfacing, see how fast our gun crews can get into position.
The weather was good, too good for an unseen attack. It would be easy to run along the convoys intended course and wait where it would be night when we contacted them, but what if they diverted course before reaching us? At least if we wait where the coordinates told us, if we missed it wouldn't be on our heads. We circled the position at a radius of 3km, practicing as many drills as we could; we even practiced abandon ship - just in case.
Lunch was eaten in silence, we all felt apprehensive about this convoy attack, how many escorts? What speed? Where would the Atlantean be? I made up my mind on a spread of three at our intended, save one bow and the stern as insurance or for a finish off.

We ate our evening meal early, at 1500, and then we all retired to action stations. Henry took one last sun shot and moved us to a position that would have us on the starboard beam of the convoy, about 1500m from their line of course, well inside the flanking destroyer (if there was one) but far enough from the closest column to get a shot away if it was there.
We went to periscope depth, ahead 2kts and waited. Hans was the first to speak "Merchant vessel, bearing 270, long range" he whispered "lots of them"
"Any destroyers?" I asked him
"I can't hear any Sir". I climbed into the tower and raised the scope, turning it to 270 and adjusting the focus, I could see smoke columns in the distance. Still a long way off, but heading straight for us. We appeared in the right place, but over this distance, a couple of degrees could have us too far or near at the correct time.

1525, CG30, May 17th 1942.
A little ahead of time, but there they were three columns of eight ships, only two escorts, one at each end. We were now 800m from the closest column and had stopped; the Atlantean looked to be the seventh ship, centre column. A look at the silhouette, a read of the description, yes, that's the one. I shouted my TDC input to Zol, no use running silent here, the escorts won't hear us through this lot. A spread of three, two shallow, one magnetic and one impact, the last deep magnetic. This should give us a confirmed sinking.
We waited until the gap appeared in front of us again, and we could hear the throbbing merchant engines through our hull from the first column. I lifted the scope again, and there was the gap "solution ready Sir" came the shout, "los!" I shouted back, and we turned five degrees to port as we dove to 30m, both ahead full. I dropped the scope and jumped back down into the control room.
The first explosion shook us, looking at the stop-watch I realized in horror, that it was too soon for impact "those damn magnetic triggers" I said. A few moments later a second detonation was heard, much more promising. The third impact was felt, but it was a long way off, it didn't feel right and by now we'd reach the other side of the convoy. "Come to periscope depth Bert" I said and swung the observation scope to point aft. We slowed back to two knots I lifted the scope for a look "Well, we got the Atlantean, and two others. One from the first column and one from the third" I looked up at Bert "not a faulty fish after all" I had Zol prepare tube five and gave him my input. This would be easy now, as the Atlantean was not moving. Tube five fired, I dropped the scope and turned to Zol "Well, this has been.......

The lights went out; the noise was incredibly loud, men screaming as the boat almost rolled over to port. I landed in the small of Henries back, he against his nav station, and Bert on top of me, followed by the hydroplane operators. As the boat tried to right itself, the conning tower bounced of something and we heeled back again. The destroyer, I thought, I'd forgotten about it. "We?ve been rammed!" I shouted "when we right, all hands to escape gear!? The destroyer?s props were now using our bridge as a drum, beating out their rhythm against the steel. More crashing sounds, then the destroyer had passed over us. We came up straight again and Henry bolted up into the conning tower "No holes Sir!" he called, as escape vests were being tossed out to the crew. Everybody had returned to their station "30m Bert" I said. I wanted to know what was happening, where the destroyer was going, and how deep we could manage.
Hans was beckoning me over to his hydrophone shack, when I got there, he handed me his ear phones, "what do you think Sir?" he asked "I can hear her engines, but no propeller sounds, just a loud whining, sloshing sound"
I listened intently, then "She's damaged her screws" I sad smiling "Quickly! Zol! get those tubes reloaded!" I ran back into the control room "Bert, back to periscope depth" this was a lucky break.
Through all the excitement, we had missed the fact that our last fish had hit home, but not where we wanted to. It had taken out the screws and rudder from the Atlantean, but confusing the issue was a floating gun platform very nearby. No more observation periscope, no more attack periscope, and perhaps a very badly damaged bridge. We would have to take out the destroyer first, but without any sight, we'd have to do it surfaced.
"Blow ballast, both ahead full, steer 320, Uzo to the bridge"

I had intended to surface at the stern quarter of the destroyer, as she could not bring her big guns to bear on us from that angle, but her AA guns still posed a very real threat. Another question was, the Atlantean, in all the excitement, we had lost contact with her. She too, was dead in the water, but had the goods been transferred across to another ship?
As we broached the surface, the hatch was released and we flew out onto the bridge. Zol quickly fastened the Uzo to it's mount that, thankfully, had not been damaged, but everything else was a mess. I ordered our AA gunner to train fire on the Destroyers AA's to keep them honest, and before long, armour piercing shells were whizzing about us. Zol stood firm, sighting, shouting input to Henry through the voice pipe. The 52 lifted slightly as another fish went on it's way, Zol started telling me the destroyer would shut up soon when a shell broke through the tower and hit his shoulder. We quickly lifted him down the hatch, calling for Doc as another shell belted it's way through the steel, I looked over to our AA gunner and noticed he'd slumped over his gun.
I jumped up, unclipping him from the weapon and passing him to the others, I quickly swung the 20mm to bear on the offending guns and let loose a string of fire that saw two men fall from the emplacement, and another run for cover.
Just then the destroyer was hidden behind a sheet of spray and fire, the foretop swayed and the second stack came crashing down across her deck. She rolled lazily onto her side and within minutes, had slid under with a minimal fuss. We looked around, no Atlantean! Where had she gone?
Willie tapped my shoulder, pointing off to the distance "Sir, Two freighters, looks like one is under tow"
"Rudder steer port 15" I called, but the voice pipe was now unserviceable, Willie had relayed it through the hatch "Rudder zero, both ahead flank!" and again Willie repeated through the hatch.
I swung the Uzo sight to bear on our intended, still 5000m off, and they looked to be doing eight knots roughly. "We?ll have them in about 10 minutes" I said to Willie "have somebody go forward and get an estimation on loading for two tubes" Willie nodded and began barking orders down the hatch. Before too long, a head appeared
"Tubes one and two loaded Sir" he said "The EO has stepped in on the TDC, and we've set up a voice relay". A good crew, I thought, a very good crew.

We were now 2000m from our target, a third tube had been loaded and the freighter under tow was holding a steady course. I decided upon a three fish spread, one degrees between as we were still closing, all deep, all magnetic as the Atlantean was almost stern on.
I called my input, relayed, and then back with "Solution ready"
I reconfirmed, "Solution ready"
"Fire all three" I said
"torpedoes in the water" Willie said
"All stop"
It felt like ages before impact, and when it happened, it was like slow motion. Her stern lifted with a creaking, grinding sound, then came back down as two more hit. The stern then rolled over and disappeared as the bow started dropping back. We could see men on the tow ship running in panic to the tow lines, throwing the slackened ones over, and cutting the taught lines. The tow ships stern was getting lower and she was loosing headway, the a sound like a gun-shot as the last tow rope snapped, and the tow ship shot foward as the Atlantean Slipped silently beneath the surface.
The men on the deck of the tow ship stood motionless, staring at us, but I was in no mind to take them. We had already exceeded our orders by five warships and was certain someone will come looking for us.
It was 700km extra to Lorient than to the Corrientes that was moored at the Canary Islands, and with two seriously wounded crew, I was not about to waste any time getting them to help, "Let's hope they make it" I said to Paul "At least they have a surgeon on board"
"Yes, but I wonder if that ship will be missed before we get there? Paul replied
"Both ahead full" I ordered, "Steer 230, Here we go" and the 52 limped forward again, damaged but not deterred.

Well, hope you enjoyed it, let me know. thanks for reading it<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l239/Huey_Wolf/Huey.jpg
You can judge the character of a man by the condition of those around him.
http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l239/Huey_Wolf/december.jpg

Realjambo
12-06-2006, 12:56 AM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/clap.gif That was great Huey - well worth waiting for! Well done.<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

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U301
12-06-2006, 06:19 AM
Woooaah,
Too cool, I'm never gonna win this competition. Lol.
KUrtz.<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

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Otto99
12-10-2006, 11:54 AM
Originally posted by U301:
Hi,
Decembers short story competition is now open.
I have decided to amend the rules due to popular requests.
1] Minimum 1500 words.
2] Entries can be an episode of an on going story.
Good luck and good hunting.
KUrtz.
To U301, Where do I post my short story?

klcarroll
12-10-2006, 01:14 PM
Hueywolf123;

I don't know how the others feel, ....but I think I've just read December's winning story.

Well done!!!!

hueywolf123
12-10-2006, 01:20 PM
Otto99, just hit 'reply' on this thread, and put your story there. I usually type it on word, or word pad, copy, then open the reply and paste.
Good luck, hope to read it soon<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l239/Huey_Wolf/Huey.jpg
You can judge the character of a man by the condition of those around him.
http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l239/Huey_Wolf/december.jpg

Realjambo
12-10-2006, 01:36 PM
What's the cut off date for entries again? is it the 15th?<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

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geezerjo09
12-10-2006, 02:30 PM
Good story wolf, but just a tad unrealistic to my liking. I dont know if your captain had an automatic solution finder on his sub or if his torpedoes were laser guided, but the were sure as hell efficient!!! I also find it weird that he sunk a whooping 5 destroyers and only 1 merchant or wait, are the destroyers acting as canon foder? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/59.gif Nice story though.

Otto99
12-10-2006, 04:42 PM
Well, here?s my attempt at writing. And yes, it?s only one chapter in a much larger story, but I thought I?d throw it out there and allow the forum members to gauge the writing style. Any constructive criticisms would be appreciated.

CHAPTER 4: HEIRS OF THE FUTURE

Bodies: twisted and contorted in death. The hollow burned out shells of buildings. The day spent treating the wounded and comforting the dying. Sarah Vaas had spent the morning at the Behfor Rail junction and the later part of the afternoon into evening at the Hospital in Wiesbaden.
The muscles in her extremities burned with fatigue as she placed herself more comfortably on the seat next to her elder Sister. The long ride home being the end of a consuming day.
The rail station was the hub for transporting war material from Bavaria, and the eastern regions of southern Russia, for the Nazi war machine and had become a priority for Allied bombers and had been pummeled the previous night. And as with many of the Allied bombing runs there was collateral damage. Homes and families, grouped in the suburbs bordering the Station, were added to the casualty list.
Ten months had past sense Sarah Vaas had last ventured to such sites and the horrors of the war were brought afresh to the forefront of her life once more.
?I can?t believe you Sister, Little Sarah Ann is not even a year old and already your back at it.? The older Stella told Sarah as they sat in the rear seat of the family car on the way back to Sarah?s home.
Her head lolled gently as the vehicle?s suspension met with imperfections in the road. With eyes lids resting heavily, Her coat soiled with grime, she murmured a reply.
?Stell please, I?m too tired for this conversation.? Her voice a hush.
?It?s dangerous going to those places. You could be killed. Why won?t you come back and stay with Father and myself and get out of this area. ?
?I?m a nurse, there?s a war on, where else should I be? Nice and sheltered away from my home, our people, from everything.? Sarah said and pulled the coat more snugly, embracing the mounting fatigue.
? What, did father send you to fetch me away??
?No, this was all me Sister.?
?Didn?t think you?d find the time.?
?Right now, men can wait.?
?Stell, I?m not going back with you. You and Father will have to manage. You shouldn?t have come for me?
?I could never count on you to be sensible.? Stella said, viewing her sister?s deshelved appearance with smug distain. ?Run off and marry a Sailor, Live in a shack. You?re a beautiful women, Sarah, Beautiful and intelligent. You could have anything you want. Any man you want. And you settle for...for THIS.? Stella looked briefly in the direction of the family driver.
?Ernst, Go ahead and try to explain, maybe you can get through to her.?
Ernst opened his mouth, and was promptly cut off by Stella, ?I do not understand you Sarah, Why can?t you be reasonable??
?These are not reasonable times Stella. Our nation, as you probably already know, is at war.? Sarah sighed. ?And it?s not a shack, it?s a cottage and it?s my home. And Peter is much more than a sailor he?s my husband and the commander of an Unterseeboot. And I?d wish you?d stop criticizing me, my husband and our lives.?
The driver pulled onto a clearing in front of Sarah?s home, shutting the engine off. Stella placed a gentle hand on her Sister?s knee.
?I don?t mean to sound critical, but I know you. You care too much. Too much for people you do not know, for strangers, your better then this. I just don?t understand you.?
Sarah raised her head, pulling the capote firmly close to her body against the night air as she reached for the door's handle, then paused.
?You never could, Stell. You can?t care too much for people. Our nation?s coming unraveled. I can?t stay back all nestled away, safe out of reach under your or father?s wing while this happens.?
As she leaned forward to step outside Stella placed a restraining hand on Sarah?s arm.
?Sarah please, what if something happens to you? What if you?re killed? What do I tell little Sarah Ann when she wants to know what happened to her mother; that she valued strangers more than her own flesh and blood, more than her own child??
Sarah sat motionless for a time gazing at the front of her home. She could see young Kristen, The thirteen year old who had sat for Anna, looking out from the curtains. Then for the first time during the long jaunt home Sarah turned to meet her Sister?s stare in the shadows.
?Nothing is going to happen to me, but if it were. I am sure Peter would explain that I would not be cocooned amid silk sheets and silver fancies while our people were ravaged: of our responsibility toward others. That life is precious. And sometimes one must risk all to save what is precious. And I know Peter would not fail to mention that if something did happen to me that I would have left behind the two persons in my life that I hold most precious of all.?
Sarah took a long breath and completed, ?Go home Stell, give father my love.? And left the vehicle.
Taking a couple of strides along the inlayed stone walk with Sarah, The driver paused and asked,
?You look very tired, are you going to be alright??
?Fine Ernst, I?ll be fine?
?Give Peter my regards when you see him, and kiss little Anna for me?
?I will.? She replied and turned toward the house.
?And Frau Vaas, ?
Sarah turned. ?Yes Ernst.?
?I will pray for your safety and that of your husband. He is a good man. I can tell such things.?
She walked over to the aged chauffeur. She?d known him all her life.
?Thanks for your concern. If only the rest of the family saw things through our eyes.? She said, sweeping loose strands of hair from her eyes with the back of her palm,
?This conflict will not last forever and when it is over I will bring Anna to visit.?
?I would like that.?
?Good night Ernst, Kristen will be out shortly.? Sarah said, as she inclined her heels slightly and kissed him on the cheek.
?Good night to you, Frau Vass. And I will wait? He said and walked around vehicle and took his place behind the wheel.
The exhaust vapor clung low to the earth as the automobile sat idle in lieu of an additional passenger.
As Sarah approached the door she was greeted by Kristen.
?I?m glad to see you?re alright Sarah, I was getting worried.?
?A long day, Kristen. Little Anna?? She said as the two walked in.
?She tried to stay up of course but fell asleep an hour ago.? The Sitter answered as Sarah draped her coat over a chair.
?I want to thank you again for coming over. Ernst is waiting outside; He?ll give you a ride home.?
Anticipating a drive home Kristen was placing on her coat. The young girl exited the home and briskly made her way to the awaiting auto. She lived only three hundred meters down and had helped Sarah on many occasions.
Sarah watched as the auto drove away and disappeared into the darkness. She let the curtain fall and strolled to the bedroom, there on the far corner was Ann lying inside the crib. In the soft light of the candle, Sarah bent and kissed the child.
The war, won or lost, wouldn?t matter. Sarah knew it would be the youth of Germany, Sarah Ann?s generation, which would reform a new world, a world that would be for this younger generation. Little Ann, along with the rest of humanity?s posterity, were to be the heirs of this future.
?I wish I knew what that future held.? She whispered, pulling a blanket gently higher over the child.
Sarah walked back into the living room, unbuttoning her blouse as she sat on an upholstered chair. Her legs burned with fatigued. Letting her hair down she sat, eyes closed, and allowed her mind to distance itself from the day. Sarah?s head slowly rolled to the side as her eyes cracked opened. She saw the portrait on the end table, her wedding picture, taken two years earlier.
Sarah fought back the sensation to weep and settled back into the chair closed her eyes and allowed her mind to wonder of things other than what were. She thought of the special times and intimate moments they had spent together. And the times they would spend together again as a family after his return and the rest of theirs lives together and longed for Peter?s return. For her husband?s gentle embrace; soft spoken word. She wanted him near, now and forever or if only for this moment. But this she knew was impossible; He was at sea fighting his own war.
Sarah surrendered those thoughts and desires for another day. And as the portrait declined to rest flat on her lap, Sarah succumbed to the fatigue and loneliness and slipped deeply into sleep.
************************************************** ************************
North Atlantic: 50 meters below the surface
The interior of the U-boat was an uncomfortable 60 degrees. The smell: A confection of body odor, diesel fumes and due to a failed valve in the boats only useable head: the scent of human waste, together of which produced a blend which seared the nostrils.
The Sub?s commander, KorvettenKapitan Peter Vaas, sat in his cabin and updated the boat?s log.
The brevity of the entries did little to convey the plight of U-136. They had shadowed the British outbound convoy OS 2635 for half a day. Other U-Boats, converging on this caravan of the sea, directed via radio signals from B.d.U. headquarters in Berlin, assembled a picket line along the convoy?s route. In place, the Grey Wolves had begun their attack, which lasted on and off for 48 hours.
U-136 had engaged in mid attack, after the momentum and command structure of the convoy had been thrown into chaos, and managed to claim one merchant ship sunk and another damaged. After which the Boat sought the precarious safety of the deep with enemy destroyers in pursuit.
After Fifteen hours, numerous depth charge attacks and course and depth changes the boat and crew gained the advantage and crept away.
Vaas placed the pen down, took off his peaked cap and raked his hair back, with a growing tiredness eating away at mind and body he twisted his waist. There, immediately across from his cabin, through the drawn curtain he looked over to soundman Luther Fritz.
?Anything?? Vass Asked.
?No, Herr Keleu, I think we?ve lost him.? Fritz replied
?That?s Good.? He nodded
Twenty minutes and no contact with the enemy Destroyer which had lingered behind the convoy.
Redirecting his attention again, Vaas reached into his pocket and removed a watch, One Sarah had bought for him after little Sarah Ann was born and given to him some months before as a incentive, an added reminder of what awaited him at home, he depressed the bar and the case sprung open. He ignored the time and focused his attention on the black and white photograph set beneath crystal opposite the dial.
During quiet times he?d studied the picture intently, the lighting of the image. The contrast of highlights and shadows cast upon Sarah?s face gave depth and definition to her cheeks and long silken blond hair. The joy in the eyes of the sixth month old infant she held propped in her arm. Within these nominations there were times Peter could sense Sarah?s fragrance; could feel the warmth of his new born in his arms. Away from home the watch became a representation. It had become a link to a present yet separated from: a special gift indeed.
Through the corner of his eye Vaas caught the sudden motion of Fritz raising an arm to his head set. Placing the watch in his trousers, he stood.
?Fritz??? He said, now standing adjacent to his soundman.
With Headset draped over mussed and greasy hair the wiry man remained silent; concentrating on sounds carried through the water and detected by the boats hydrophone equipment. Then tilting his head upward responded,
?An explosion, Herr Keleu. Bearing Two Ten.?
?Depth charges?? Vaas questioned.
?No, not depth charges, Just a single explosion, very distant. No other noises. ?Maybe that merchant ship?? Fritz added, referring to the ship U-136 had crippled during their initial attack.
?Possible.? Peter said resting a hand on the operators shoulder, ?but whether it is or not we?re running out of time. Keep me abreast of anything else.? He said turning toward the control room a few steps away.
Vaas entered the control room of the boat, located below the conning tower. When the boat was submerged all attacks were carried out within the cramp confine of this compartment.
He found himself flanked by a dozen crewmen, some at their stations others leaning on the bulkheads for support and yet others squatting on their haunches. All of which were waiting, anticipating their Commander?s entrance and a course of action. Vaas immediately found the boats chief engineer or Ell-ee, Johan Hepp, standing directly behind the steersmen.
?What do we look like, Ellee??
?Main compass is now working. The Attack periscope housing is still filled with water, the lens or gasket must have failed but the flooding is manageable. The batteries, however, are critical at less than two hundred amps, Herr Keleu. About thirty minutes left at current speed.?
Hepp didn?t mention the condition of the torpedo tubes and Vaas didn?t inquire. Both knew with the attack periscope flooded and out of commission their patrol had effectively ended. Only one task would remain and that was to get home.
Vaas turned to address the stares of his crew.
?The cripple may have exploded, as you heard Fritz say before. But we cannot confirm that and therefore cannot take credit for another kill. One merchant sunk another wounded. And a patrol total of four ships. Still, not a bad tally for these times. And with our periscope destroyed there nothing more we can accomplish now except making our way back to Kiel.?
Back home: clean sheets, clean clothes and clean air. The spirits of those present had risen.
?And now the bad news....? One crewman remarked, followed briefly by the sedate chuckles of his companions.
The recent patrols had been earmarked with a mixture of both curse and blessings. Managing to pass thru destruction?s veil numerous times had had a telling affect on the nerves of the crew. Far behind were the Happy Times of ?41. Times of adventure and success, before Allied technology and tactics began overtaking their own.
The room was quiet save for the soft hum of the electric motors and trickles of water falling sporadically onto the metal floor from the damaged housing of the periscope. Vaas stroked his beard slowly as he began,
?Our batteries will be depleted in less than half an hour forcing us top side. We?ve expended our compressed air. So once we?re up, until we have charged our batteries and filled the tanks we cannot submerge. After we have surfaced, if the boat is attacked and force down, we?ll be unable to maneuver or surface.? He stopped and pondered how to continue. The following discourse would break new ground for himself and his crew.
?Herr Keleu, Maybe with the merchant ship sunk, the Destroyer has moved back toward the Convoy, maybe it?s no longer there.? A crewman suggested
?We can?t make that assumption. He could be out there just out of range of our hydrophones. And as we?ve experienced before, the enemy has very powerful surface radar. Even twenty kilometers away he could see us, and close that distance in less than an hour. And I do not intend to match a surfaced U-Boat against a Destroyer.?
Machinist mate Itkes cleared his throat and asked, ?What are we suppose to do then, if we can?t stay submerged and the Destroyer is still out there and turns to attack??
Vaas met the young man?s stare and replied simply with,
?Number One??
With arms unfolding, undaunted by the sudden recognition, First Watch Officer Erich Tolle lifted himself from the chart table he had leaned against and stated,
?We surrender.? It was the only logical alternative
The two men were one year apart at the naval academy. And shortly after Tolle had been transferred to U-136 as the new Third Watch Officer, several patrols before, they had discovered a belated commonality. Both had grown up, literally, in the same town; their home a few kilometers apart and had never met before being assigned together. An immediate bonding had sprung and an enduring friendship followed.
Tolle was the Best Man at his commander?s wedding.
The stares of the crew having shifted from their commander to the executive officer now turned back to Vaas.
?That?s right, we surrender.? He reiterated
?With out a fight...nothing?? a crewman said.
?Seeing that we do not have the luxury of time an explanation will have to wait. Those are my intentions. Number One prepare the Watch. Chief, begin driving the boat toward the surface. ?
The Boat began the slow ascent toward the surface pausing briefly at periscope depth for the commander to view the surface conditions through the Sky periscope.
As the waves crashed against the emerging sub, Hepp, focused on the depth indicator announced, ?Conning tower clear.?
With the sound of the waves receding the Watch crew, already waiting on the rungs below the tower hatch, surged upwards.
On the bridge Tolle and another crewman, Wallenbrock, hurriedly assemble the FuMB 1 radar array. Approximately 20 inches long and having the form of a kite, the array was affixed to a bracket welded around the periscope stanchion and would be oscillated by hand. The flimsy construction was indicative of the haste by which it was produced and delivered into service.
In the control room, Vaas stood behind Fritz as he twisted in his seat to power up the base unit for the FuMB 1 radar detection apparatus: a system capable of intercepting radar emissions in the 1.3 to 2.6 meter wavelength.
?Cable down.? Came the yell through a tower hatch still cascading water. The electrical conduit plummeted down to the floor and was quickly retrieved and fastened in the base. Fritz then powered up the Oscilloscope; A cathode tube monitor. Any contact with an enemy's search radar would manifest itself as a variation or disturbance within the vertical white line drawn across the screen. Working in unison with the FuMB detector was its PRF in conjunction with the boats PA system. Any threat of detection posed to U-136 by allied radar, be it by sea or air, could be heard throughout the ship audibly as well as visually.
There was a short spike on the monitor and Fritz, working by verbal relay with Tolle on the bridge found the strongest signal bearing.
A low pitch whine was heard throughout the boat.
?Your hunch was correct Herr Keleu.? Fritz stated without turning toward Vass. Knowing that the Destroyer was still out there; merchant ships didn?t carry radar equipment.
?The range?? Vass asked and rested an affirming hand on Luther?s shoulder
?By the strength of the pitch of the PRF and these pulses I?d say approximately twenty five kilometers or so.? Fritz replied, the agitation and tension visual. Seventeen hours and it wasn?t over yet.
?Keep me informed of any fluctuation in the signal.? Vaas added as he turned.
Then addressing those present, ?My guess is that the Destroyer lingered in the area to help that Merchant we hit. I think that was the explosion Fritz picked up. And it is my belief now that he is picking up survivors.?
Peter turned toward the ship?s Third watch officer, Heinz Kurski, and with a nod the ensign exited the control room. The junior officer would, rather discretely, order the distribution of escape apparatus.
?And he can see us. My only question,? Peter began, almost rhetorically, ?is whether that Destroyer?s skipper is a Man of Conscience or a Captain of War.?

Three Hours had passed and the pitch radiating from PRF and the boats speakers had since dissipated. As Tolle would say: the fair Lady smiles once again.
Hepp, at forty one, was the oldest on board. A seasoned veteran with an intuitive understanding of the construction of his boat now stood in the doorway of the Captain?s cabin.
?The compressed air tanks are fully charged Herr Keleu, Batteries are at three quarters.? The husky engineer reported and added, ?Any other orders??
Sitting on the bunk, a leg propped on the thin mattress, his movements measured and steady, Vaas placed the watch back in his pocket.
?No Ellee, I think we?re alright for now. We?ll steer due East until dawn, then pull the plug and,? Vaas offering a wary smile finished, ? give ourselves a well needed rest.?
?Yes, Herr Keleu.? Hepp replied and turned to leave, then hesitated and came about.
?Herr Keleu, May I say something??
?Certainly chief, what is it?? His Commander said, leaning more comfortably on the bunk, hands locked behind his head.
?The Captain of that Destroyer?.?
?Yes.?
?Will probably be reprimanded for allowing us to escape.?
?If he is honest in his log, more than likely, yes.?
?Whether or not. Do you believe he was justified??
Vaas, his head propped by a forearm, thought a moment then deliberately ran a hand over his face.
?Sometimes a difficult call to make, Ellee, between duty and conscience. A soul doesn?t survive long in these elements. And a man should only commit himself to the things he can live with and let God be the judge. We both know those men he saved tonight appreciated that decision. I for one am thankful.?
?What would you have done, Her Keleu, If you had been him.?
Vaas looked down momentarily then up.
?That will be all Chief.?
?Yes Herr Keleu.? He replied and left.
Hepp felt no rebuff. It was just a question and a just question, but all men had the right to the privacy of there own thoughts and he respected his superior?s reply.
A few minutes later Vaas appeared in the control room. Looking over to Third Watch Officer Heinz Kurski, he asked,
?Any change in the over cast??
?No, cloud ceiling is lifting, but no star field.? The boat?s navigator said.
For the last twenty hours the sub?s position was recorded by dead reckoning; monitoring speed and course changes, but Vaas wanted something concrete before lying low for the duration of the coming day.
?Be prepared to take a reading if it clears. Chief, I?m going up-top for a bit.?
After asking and receiving permission to come up, Vaas emerged on the bridge and immediately turned in the direction of Tolle, Who was standing at the crown of the tower over looking the forward deck.
?How are we looking Number One?? Vaas questioned, his voice amplified against a combination of a strong head wind and the sub?s forward momentum
?Manageable, Herr Keleu. Seas picking up slightly; two to four. New front moving in. Cloud ceiling two hundred meters and rising. Wind: twelve to fifteen knots.? Tolle stated. The outside elements combined with the boats surfaced speed of fifteen knots, At times the bridge crew were fighting a thirty mile a hour head wind. Refreshing compared to the stench they had been subjected to.
?Otherwise Herr Keleu, all is calm.?
After this long travail they were reassuring words.
?Looks as if the Lady is continuing to smile on us.? Tolle continued.
The ?Lady? as it were, was Providence. Neither Officer believed in luck, but both had seen too many of their counterparts, some very skilled and experienced being caught on the wrong side of fate and listed as: ?Over due and presumed lost.?
As Tolle had divined on past occasions, No harm can be brought to bear against a ship, when the fair Lady of Providence turns her eyes favorably upon her master.
Vaas wasn?t certain if he ascribed to his Officer?s definition of chance events, but one thing was certain, they were returning home after a seventh patrol when most didn?t survive their first.
?It would appear that way.? Vaas replied.
Both men tuned away as their faces were suddenly peppered with a salty spray.
Peter turned aft and saw the rest of the Watch, most of which were splayed in and around the antiaircraft mounts. Hugging the sides of the bridge as they spied with their binoculars the surrounding seas, good men, he thought, all.
Tolle, wiping the irritating film from numbed cheeks leaned toward his commander. ?I know I should have said this before, but? but twice I thought I saw Marlene Dietrich floating on a wave. The hair, the curves, very convincing, except, she had two hairy legs.? He expressed, holding up the fifty power Zeise binoculars in mock confirmation, ?You should bring this up to the men, Herr Keleu, I think the Americans are trying to goad us into jumping ship. This is most serious?
Vaas couldn?t help but smile.
?I?ll try to work that into the log, Number One.? he said.
The whipping of the wind deprived the rest of the bridge crew the humor save for the boat?s cook, Muller, whose job it was during watch to slowly oscillate the FuMB Arial by hand; He was laughing, although he had heard the recital before.
************************************************** **************
Sarah awoke with a start, a feeling of dread overwhelming her. She stood, forgetting about the portrait she had fallen asleep with. The frame hit he floor with a sharp clash of breaking glass. Sarah ignored it and quickly made her way to the bedroom, still half asleep. Clutching her blouse against a mounting constriction in her chest, the mother leaned over the child. Little Sarah Ann slept peacefully, undisturbed by the sudden noise.
She turned and went back into the other room. Something was wrong. and Sarah fought against her own imaginations. The oppression she felt was not a stranger. She had felt it before; on the eave of her Mother?s passing and when Peter?s boat had come under attack on a previous patrol. She was well acquainted with that foreboding presence.
A wife alone, Sarah sat and meditated in prayer.
After her husband?s return from that patrol; he wouldn?t speak of what happen, but a wife could see it. She had heard that there been deaths aboard. He refused to discuss the matter; not wanting to encumber his wife. Ending simply with a subtle kiss on the forehead; a soft reassuring embrace that all would be fine. Sarah never told him about the premonition.
She took the Bible from the stand and opened it to Psalms and began reading. A motion of habit, prayer was all she had.

********************************************
?Permission to come up??
?Granted.?
Vaas and Tolle both watched as Kursky pulled himself onto the Bridge.
?The star fix will have to wait.? Vaas stated.
He looked forward, Eastward, an illuminating aura cutting at the horizon through the mist. ?It?ll be sun rise soon. We?ll try again this evening.?
Tolle, offered a suggestion, ?Herr Kaleu, We could probably ride this cloud cover for ano?.?
?Silence!? Vaas snapped.
Tolle stopped in mid sentence.
Vass?s hand sprang up with mute connotation. His word snatched the attention of all on the Bridge. He looked toward the FuMB array, ears straining.
The sound had passed with the moment, a dull roar carried against the breeze: A distant thunder clap, the passing howl of a mischievous wind? In an instant the Watch endeavored to discern the cause of their Commander?s behavior.
Muller, appearing to be made of granite, continued to traverse the detection array with such discipline one would have believed, an ill fated turn from left to right would cause the boat to disintegrate. Shnelling, located on the far side of the wintergarten opposite Muller, lowered his binoculars and almost imperceptibly moved toward the centralized C/38 2cm twin mounted machine gun.
Immediately the sound reemerged and in that moment their thoughts of concern turned to fear as the sound, that now recognizable drone was instantaneously followed by a pair of descending lights as the B-24 VLR Liberator dropped beneath the cloud ceiling several hundred yards astern.
The Liberator was a heavy bomber and redesigned with the internal bomb racks removed in exchange for enlarged fuel capacity. And were produced toward one end; to traverse the sea lanes and kill U-Boats.
Facing directly aft, Vaas looked toward the FuMb array with betrayal. Tolle, his expression smitten with bitterness stood stock still at the realization of his conceit; the dilution of protection; the fair Lady had departed. U-136 was alone.
Seeking the safety of the deep was not tenable; a veteran crew could crash dive the boat in thirty seconds this however was compounded by the disassembly of the detection array and cables. There simply wasn?t enough time.
Sarah?, Peter wrenched around and pulled his face to the voice tube and a simultaneous declaration of orders ensued,
?ALARM, AIRPLANE SIGHTED?! Vaas declared..
Tolle shouted, ?BATTLE SURFACE; AA GUNS?.
Vaas yelled through the voice pipe, LEFT FULL RUDDER, CUT OUT PORTSIDE ENGINE, STARBOARD ENGINE AHEAD FULL!? A desperate attempt to steer clear.
The men on the bridge scrambled to their stations. Shnelling, already behind the 3.8 cm cannon, was supported by Muller who slammed a magazine home as the gunner pulled back the trigger bar.
The bomber, now at five hundred yards, banked slightly and aligned itself to fly directly over the length of the submarine.
Below deck, at the sound of the klaxon, the atmosphere was one of frantic discipline. On duty personnel rushed to their battle stations. Those on their bunks off duty leisurely reading, writing letters, or dosing, sprung forward.
Luther Fritz sat dumbfounded before monitor at the white line; constant and unyielding, strung across the oscilloscope; according to this the skies were clear.
The 3.8 cm cannon opened up sending a torrent of shells and tracer rounds skyward and was followed by Weller on the 2 cm gun located on the lower tiered Turm 1 gun platform directly behind the wintergarten.
Tolle as the targeting officer saw the angle of his gunner?s fire yelled,
?Nein Nein, Not the spotlights, the cockpit, the cockpit. Shoot between the lights, between.?! With the Bomber?s form indistinguishable against the gray backdrop, they retrained the guns toward the center of the Liberator?s 50,000 candle power Leigh lights suspended under each wing.
Then the guns fell silent. The B-24 was over head and beyond the elevation of the boat?s defenses. The crews spun their mounts to reacquire.
Above and at an altitude of fifty meters, the 110 foot wing span of the Liberator enveloped the sky. The thunderous drone of the four fifty-two hundred horse power Pratt and Whitney radial engines consumed all other sounds with a penetrating resonance which shook the sailors beneath.
Through the glow of its own search light Vaas could see the bomber?s silhouette over head and distinguish the cylindrical free falling canisters beneath the under carriage
?Wasserbombs dropped!? Peter yelled through the open hatch as the aircraft?s rear turret suddenly came alive with cannon fire.
The aircraft?s fifty caliber rounds rained down. Spouts of water traced their way toward and up the Boat. Vaas, struck in the forehead with shrapnel, spun and dropped to one knee.
Inertia had carried the depth bombs packed with Torpex explosive a further 30 meters to starboard where the first of the stick of six splashed down. Below deck, Fritz whipped off his earphones and yelled, ?Depth charges in the water?!
Events had taken on the surreal. Time slowed; as when sight and senses excel beyond that of the corporeal, and with a hand draped across the wound and one eye, Peter looked up in time to see the death of a friend.
Muller had already dropped to the deck plating. Just outside arms reach, his leg in an unnatural angle, his knee shattered his screams of anguish muted by the battle.
Tolle was being driven back against the bridge railing as round after round perforated his body. The horror culminating as Tolle?s Sohwester was blown from his head in a mixture of fabric and blood. His lifeless trunk collapsed and fell between the railings onto the deck below.
The Depth charges reached their preset depth of fifty meters and detonated.
The waters convulsed violently. Concussions slammed into the U-Boat in tandem. Vaas could feel the boat surge beneath him. Plumes of water rose up dwarfing the stricken boat and dispersed, cascading the bridge with an icy deluge of seawater as the submarine began to list. Peter pulled himself up and watched the enemy bomber recede from sight then turned to notice the bow was down in the water.
************************************************** **************
The dawn was approaching as Sarah sat motionless. Too tired to read further, muscles strained from a sleepless night, a thin bead of sweat on her brow. She placed the Bible down and went into the room with her daughter. After kissing little Sarah Ann, one last time, she laid on the bed next to the crib. Her thoughts: only of her husband and another consuming day.

tuddley3
12-10-2006, 08:39 PM
I'm getting the feeling this month will be very impressive, such as the Screenshot comp, gets better every month http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

http://i101.photobucket.com/albums/m65/tuddley3/SH3%20Sigs/SubsimForumSigGWXUBWA.jpg
Proud Member Of The Kreigsmarine 4th Flotilla (http://4thflotilla.proboards49.com/index.cgi) LuS Strelow's Personnel File (http://www.geocities.com/cowboy_todd68/temporarypreviewfile.html?1168682938890/Strelow.html?1168517823046)
Community Manual (http://www.communitymanuals.com/shiii/index.php?title=Main_Page)
VikingGrandad's JSGME Instructions (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/9091085392/m/3461029123)
Tuddley's FileFront Page (http://hosted.filefront.com/Tuddley3) - Includes Randomization Pack with Intro Screens & Pinup Girls ! ! !

schwarze_Katze
12-10-2006, 11:53 PM
Wow....the stories so far are GOOD! I've enjoyed every one.

What sucks is every time I revisit my "work-in-progress" it takes on more and more life and delays me finishing it. Ahh, the life of an amateur writer. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

U301
12-12-2006, 02:01 PM
The cut off date for all entries for December is Sunday 17th @ 00.00GMT.
Because of the Festive Season the guys will be away or doing other things so I wiil count the votes and declare a winner on the 5th January 2007, as if we all don't know who that is going to be! Right Huey??
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/touche.gif
KUrtz<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

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Realjambo
12-12-2006, 02:08 PM
Some great stuff here guys. I'm really enjoying it. Here is my entry for December. Best of luck everyone!

"Wired Differently"

I tried to take in everything at once, like a movie camera lens ? recording everything it took in. I didn?t want to miss a single detail. What people were wearing, where they where going. The bags they carried and the shopping they had managed to attain, all weaving around the tram lines and cyclists. The sounds of the few cars and the trams with their ding ding bells as they made their stops. General bustle. This was life. People going about their business. Some hurried and flustered, while others dawdled with time on their hands. Birds sang and looped in the sky above the plaza.

Idyllic. You?d never believe we were at war. I absorbed everything I could for this was the perfect moment, in isolation, without a care ? just watching the world go by.

?You?re doing it again? an irritated voice said. I was brought back to my senses. I placed my coffee cup back onto the saucer atop the red and white checked linen table cloth.

?I?m sorry, you are right. But it?s times like this that I have to remember, to take with me?

?We still have this evening, tonight and, er, the morning tomorrow. She hesitated over the ?morning tomorrow? part. You said you?ll be home for Christmas ? and that?ll soon come. Don?t worry. Let?s make the most of the time we have? she said, squeezing my hand.

Elena was right of course. I was due to sail in two days time and here I was sat in the town centre plaza drinking coffee with her at an outside café table, my attention distracted and my mind wandering.

?Take me dancing tonight! Let?s dance! Like we used to!? she urged. Her grip on my hand tightened.

?Yes, let?s do that. We?ll eat out somewhere around here probably, and then we?ll dance? I sighed.

She raised her palm to my cheek and pulled my face round to meet her gaze and said, ?They wouldn?t have put him in charge if they weren?t confident of his abilities, come on Henrik, we?ve been through this before, stop worrying.?

?He?s a madman! His reputation has spread like wildfire around all the U-Boat bases Elena! He takes crazy chances, doesn?t submerge until the very last second, and that?s only if he absolutely has to! He thinks he?s a Viking Warrior and no one can touch him. I have a bad feeling about this one. It?s a one way patrol! We?re not coming back, the man is suicidal!? I pleaded in my defence.

?So he?s your new Kaleun. Kaleun ? Commander of U-73. Fact. Nothing before, or after that matters Henrik? Elena lectured as she leaned in towards me over the table. Her bright blue eyes wide and angry.

We?d had this conversation many times since I learnt of Klaus Dieter Konrad?s transfer to U-73 as Kaleun to replace Manfred Lukas who had been struck down with appendicitis and nearly died had we not decided to return to St. Nazaire when we did on our previous patrol. Confined to his bunk for a week, as we made best headway across the Bay of Biscay dodging air patrols and DD?s. He got so bad, doubled up in pain, writhing in agony he became almost incoherent and began speaking in a gabbling nonsense - we actually discussed whether we could do the operation ourselves and had asked the galley to discretely sharpen some knives in preparation. Thankfully, we transferred him to the base hospital in time but his recovery would take longer than BDU desired and he was transferred out of active duty.

That night I danced with as much vigour and flair as I could muster, as if to make amends for my morose and distant persona during our last full day together. Sleep didn?t feature much either when we got back. The next morning came and the familiar routine kicked in. We didn?t linger over goodbyes. Elena tried hard at handling these departures, but I knew she cried inside ? as I did, it?s fair to say. It was all a front on both our parts but it helped to make the goodbye a little easier. I deliberately avoided a window seat on the train so not to have to wave to her as the carriages were hauled out of the station. The image of her stood on the platform waving might linger too long in my memory and I wanted to remember the scene before me at that table in the plaza where we sat drinking coffee and watching the world go by instead.

The next day I met in person our new Kaleun for the first time at the Officer?s pre-patrol briefing. A wiry short man, young, reminded me of a racehorse jockey, with cropped blonde hair and blue-grey eyes. His conversation was clipped, he avoided eye contact and he seemed a troubled fellow, as if his mind was worrying over an issue far more important than meeting and getting to know his Officers.

A day later and we are at sea, leaving the seagulls of Wilhelmshaven behind us. Konrad, the new Kaleun has done little to make himself acquainted with his new crew. Whispers were shared in dark corners, and in the noisy engine room, stolen conversations, ?He?s pretty highly strung isn?t he!?, ?He needs to calm down a bit eh?? and as for the rage he exploded into when soup was spilt in his lap one evening meal time, well, the junior ratings who bought us officers our meals were now terrified of him. Not a good start at all.

The first few days hadn?t allayed my fears about our new Kaleun. U-73 ploughed on, cruising at night on the surface, and spending far too much time topside as daybreak rose each day. It was a relatively short run, some would say, out of Wilhelmshaven to patrol grid AN 73 to catch the merchants coming into Southend on the South East coast of Britain.

As we neared our patrol grid, the mood on the boat became more serious. We now had the added threat of Coastal patrols and air cover that could be called upon with ease and surely be swift to arrive from the airfields in East Anglia. That evening I?d learn more about Konrad than I would ever need to had I known him a lifetime.

The rest of the officers and I sat huddled next to each other, Konrad taking his place at the head of the table.

?Gentlemen, you are familiar with our patrol grid, as ordered by BDU, and it?s proximity to Southend Harbour??

We all nodded in agreement.

?We have arrived at our allotted patrol square, as you all know?

We nodded again. I became worried.

?We aren?t staying in our square. We are leaving? Konrad said. A soup spoon further down clanged onto the table.

All eyes turned and looked down the table towards Konrad. Appetites were instantly lost.

?He took a deep breath, his chest seemingly to swell with pride. With a half smile he announced:

?Gentlemen, we are going into Southend. Tonight? A colleague choked and spluttered out his sip of coffee from his cup.

Stony silence ensued as his small cold eyes scanned round all of us. Someone had to say something.

?But?. BDU approved?? proffered Klaus, the Chief Engineer.

?BDU owes me! ?now make the boat ready in all aspects, we don?t have long? he spat.

?What do we tell the crew? They are bound to ask? the Chief asked nervously.

?You tell them that their Kaleun?s time for glory has come? he answered ominously, motioning us all to leave the table, finished or not.

I checked the watch rota and was relieved to see the Chief and I were up next. We stood in the cool night air in silence. I felt for the mouthpiece of the voice pipe that allowed communication with the control room below, took off my scarf and plugged it into the brass opening. Gently I dropped the hatch down so not to make a noise. Now we were alone.

?What did he mean then Chief? ?BDU owes me?? What?s going on?? I knew he had contacts; his sister in law worked in the personnel department at Wilhelmshaven. Perhaps he knew something.

The Chief rested his hands on the rolled edge of the tower rail and sighed, looking out towards the horizon.

?Henrik, we?re all wired differently. Similar, but slightly differently and I?m afraid, I think, my worst fears have been confirmed?

The Chief went on to explain that before leaving port, he?d enjoyed a pre ? sailing farewell meal with his wife, and her sister. Late into the evening, he had joked with his sister in law about the port gossip and teased her that given she has access on a daily basis to classified personnel files, that she must have some juicy secrets. He also explained how she had gone quiet and withdrawn for the rest of the meal. Later, his sister in law had took him aside and told him in confidence to be wary of his new Kaleun. He was a live wire, and indeed ?wired differently?

?Worst fears? What do you know Chief? Please tell me!? I implored, aware my voice had got louder.

?Kaleun Konrad?s last boat sunk 31,000 tonnes in a single patrol ? a convoy Liverpool bound. He expected the Iron Cross First Class at least, given the tonnage ? he?s an ambitious young Kaleun, and talented?

?Good, I?m glad we?re under a talented young new Kaleun, sounds like he deserved the medal? I reasoned.

The Chief turned to me, ?Except he didn?t get it. He boat was jumped by air patrol whilst reloading external torp?s. Eight men went down on the deck before he eventually gave the order to submerge. Eight experienced men, the fittest, most seasoned, quickest men he had, All machine gunned. Because some of his previous crew voiced concerns back at port over the time it took for him to order the Crash Dive, and together with his passing out file report, BDU decided to withhold any medals ? Konrad was apoplectic with rage?

?Why didn?t he crash dive at the first Alarm call?? I asked.

?I asked the very same question Henrik. Let me tell you this, I know through my sister-in-law, his Flotilla Training Commander?s comments in his file before he passed out of training were, and I?ll never forget this: ?Ambitious, keen to prove himself, tenacious, bordering on dangerous ? nothing a good depth charging won?t temper?

?Dear God! I knew my instinct was right! Elena said I was worrying over nothing, that BDU wouldn?t have put him in command of another U-Boat if they didn?t have confidence in him. He?s clearly tricked them! And now out on a personal crusade to prove himself worthy!?

?Calm down, maybe he has learnt his lesson. There?s no denying he is good. 31,000 tonnes in a single patrol? And he?s only 28 years old. We?ll have to see. We?re all wired differently Henrik as I said?

?It takes ?Targets of opportunity? to a whole new level Chief! He?s taking us all with him to attack an enemy harbour? For what? To prove a point to BDU that he deserved the medal? ? to make up for the crew he lost?? I shook my head and ran my hand through my hair.

The Chief opened his mouth to say something but stopped when the hatch was pushed up from below allowing a dim red light to haze up from the Control Tower as it flipped open.

?You guys deaf up there? New orders! We?re submerging and turning into land! We?ve been shouting up the voice pipe for ten minutes you cloth eared fools!?

I turned to face the silhouetted figure in the hatch, and reached behind me for my scarf that I'd stuffed into the voice pipe. Taking a long breath of fresh sea air, I reluctantly followed the Chief down the ladder, wondering if I?d ever get to climb up it again. We were turning in towards Southend Harbour.

To be Continued.

Otto99
12-13-2006, 01:43 PM
All very good stories, But I'm wondering how do you cast a 'vote' for a particular story. And no matter who wins, keep the stories coming, don't leave us hanging.

Good luck and good hunting.

Realjambo
12-13-2006, 02:14 PM
But I'm wondering how do you cast a 'vote' for a particular story

Welcome Otto99. After the submissions deadline - midnight on the 17th December, Kurtz will put up a voting thread, and you just have to click on the voting button for the particular story you liked best.<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

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U301
12-14-2006, 06:31 AM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/10.gif
Bump!
Do not forget to post your entries before the competition closes on the 17th December!
KUrtz.<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

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U301
12-17-2006, 06:40 AM
Last few hours guys to post your entries for this months competition!
The competition closes today, 17th December at 00.00GMT.
Good luck to all the guys who entered.
KUrtz.<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

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U301
12-17-2006, 04:56 PM
December's competition is now closed.
Another month of outstanding contributions by all the contestants.
Good luck to you all in the voting!
KUrtz.<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

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Bonesattack
12-21-2006, 06:02 AM
Originally posted by hueywolf123:
Part 2 (because it would not allow full story on one entry)

I woke to Bert?s voice shouting orders, the sounds of hatches slamming shut, and hull vents opening. Daybreak and we were heading under "make depth 60m" Bert said
"Aye Aye Sir" said helm
Doc brought me through a mug of hot coffee, and Willie gave me the daily watch orders to sign. I wandered into the control room and went across to the nav station,
"our position?" I asked Henry
Henry pointed to a spot on the map, good, I thought, out of aircover
"Speed Bert?"
"6kts Sir"
"Make it 2kts Bert, rig for silent"
"All hands, rig for silent!, all off watch crew to their bunks, set speed 2 kts, remain on current heading" Bert had whipped them into gear, we were back as our old team again, everything like clockwork. All would be fine, as long as they didn't find us we would be Ok.
I could hear the water running through the deck grates on the conning tower now. I wondered how long until we were to contact our cow and looked at the charts again, roughly another two days of playing whales. With the US set to enter the fray, I decided to start testing our AA gunners on the American silhouettes supplied to us by the BdU. One of them reminded me how it was nice to know your killer before he had his way, and that made me realise just how these boys had stopped wondering if and only wondered when. Two more days till we sent one short range signal, at the designated time, hoping they would hear it.
Most of the crew were sleeping when lunch arrived, and we decided to have a newsletter, printed daily and posted in the control room. All crew could submit, and the cypher officer selected the better articles and jokes. There was no need to vet for obscene material that was going to be submitted whatever we did, we just took out the real perverted stuff, and the rest was fine.

As we surfaced that evening, another signal came through
'U-52, Three destroyers tailing stop, suggest caution stop, do not signal cow stop, they will signal you stop, good luck stop'
Not what I wanted to hear, now we'll have to run with a very shallow freeboard for fast escape, ?Bert, set depth 7m" I said "Both ahead full, Henry, a series of star shots, see if we still have that current"
"Yes Sir" Henry grabbed his sextant, and ran up the ladder, 45mins later he popped back down, scribbled some readings and went straight up again. He repeated this three times, and then said "Let?s alter back to our original heading, that?s how the current is bearing Sir"
"Very good Henry, control is yours, I'm going up for a smoke" It was common practice to light your smoke of choice inside the conning tower before heading out, also, cupping your hand around your cigarette, pipe, or cigar to prevent any light giving you away. Due to the cir***stances however, we now smoked inside the tower, leaving the bridge hatch open. I had packed my pipe and was happily lighting it
"Alarm!" The bell started ringing, men dropped almost on top of me; I urged them down further and closed the hatch, securing it with a turn of the handle. The watch officer was last down "It looked like a destroyer Sir, hard to make out with all the mist, port 195, about 3000m" he dropped into the control room and I followed
"Secure for silent Henry, they may not have seen us, 30m depth"
"Yes Sir" he answered ?All hands rig for silent, both ahead 2kts, torpedo crews to your stations, damage parties at stand by" He smiled at me; he knew what I was thinking.
Hans, was by no means a smart man, nor were his eyes very good, but his hearing ability was uncanny. He had manned the hydrophone as soon as the alarm was called
"enemy warship, now on bearing 180 Sir" he whispered "slowing down"
"Henry, bring her to periscope depth, Bert, take over, Henry back to the nav table and get ready" Both men silently resumed there roles as I climbed back into the tower and lifted the scope. I trod on my pipe and felt it break, damn, but never lost my direction. Aligning it to 175 stb, I whispered down the voice pipe "Flood tube 5, open tube cap" I said as the lens popped above the surface. I caught sight of a light cruiser, with spotlights ablaze, they knew we were here. I whispered my input to the WO
"Solution ready Sir" he whispered back
"Thank you Zol set her shallow magnetic"
?Already done Sir"
I lifted the scope again, repeated my input, solution confirmed, on my mark "Los!" I called, and the stern of the little boat lifted as the deadly fish swam at her prey. Dropping the scope once more I called out, "90m depth please" and jumped down into the control room.
The explosion shook the boat, a hit, and a big hit at that, followed by a series of continuing explosions, then a sound like a rail yard, twisting metal and pounding noises
"The boilers have blown" someone whispered
"The signal said three" I said "And that was no destroyer. What?s our battery life now?"
?Good Sir"
"Ok, we'll stay down a couple of hours, both ahead standard" I turned to my WO, "Good shooting Zol" as I clapped him on his shoulder "Tell your boys to leave the reload till we come back up again"
"Yes Sir" he said "We'll bring that one in from outside too if the weather lets us"

Two hours later, I tapped Hans on his shoulder "Anything?"
"Nothing sir" he said, "A whale I think, but nothing else"
I jumped onto the observation scope and called for periscope depth, and a slower speed. As the head of the scope broke the surface, I did a full 360 sweep, then back again. Nothing, "Ok, Bert, both ahead full, surface, watch crew stand by with goggles" I thought again "Oh, and a flak gunner too please" he would be an insurance policy.
The fresh air rushed in as the hatch popped open, followed by a splash of water and the five watch men jumped above with binoculars.
"Eyes peeled behind us Willie!" I called to him and went to find the remains of my pipe
"It's fixable", said Bert "I'll have one of my boys do it right away" he walked off to the forward accommodation. When he came back, he was followed by a young enlisted engineer "I'll have it good as new Sir" he said happily, and headed aft
About half an hour had passed when Zol and six very sweaty men made their way through the control room and out through the tower, complete with block and tackle
"The stern outer fish?" I called after him
His voice echoed back "should only take half an hour, stern tube already loaded"
A master of efficiency was Zol, always looking for better ways to work more effectively, always timing things but never bullying the men in his work teams. Those men had a respect for him and his methods; they liked the way he allowed them to voice opinions and how he took advice as well as giving it.
"What?s the weather like out there?" I asked Willie through the voice pipe
"Calm, no wind, just a little swell"
"Ok, Bert. Both ahead slow till they've got that fish inside" I ordered, then went back to the wardroom. On the way, I met Hans going up for a smoke, reminding him to smoke in the tower, not on the bridge.
Moments later I was called back to the bridge. Hans had his smoke and came out for some fresh air, sitting in silence apart from the occasional grinding noise from the aft torpedo crew; his ears caught a distant sound. Calling everybody for silence, Willie summoned me and asked Hans to listen again.
I climbed out onto the bridge, looked to Willie, who nodded toward Hans. His eyes screwed tightly shut, turning his head slowly, he lifted his left hand and pointed aft, port, 200 degrees roughly. "Ok, down you go Hans, good work" I told him "Zol?" I called softly "How much longer?"
"Just closing the hatch now Sir"
"Make it good and tight Zol, this could get hairy".
I jumped back down into the tower and waited, Zol and his men dropped past me with their lifting gear and when they had gone I called up to the bridge "we're going under for a sound check, you coming with us?"
"Clear the bridge" Willie said to the watch crew. As the last one dropped down and dogged the hatch, I called through the voice pipe, "Periscope depth. Bert"
A hissing sound as the hull valves opened to the sea was all I heard, and then I felt us descending. I lifted the scope and turned it to 200 degrees, switched magnification, and there they were, three Flower class destroyers. One listening and two in a zigzag search pattern, the usual style. Their range was about 7000m just now; I owe Hans a beer for this, and plenty of time for the attack. I had the helm steer us to port 160, moving as slow as we were, we would be on their port beam by the time we completed the arc.
"Flood all forward tubes, open bow caps" I whispered down the voice pipe, doing the noisy things while we were still far enough away would maintain our element of surprise. I kept the scope down until we reached the point of attack, they had spotlights going and seeing us now would seal our fate.
It seemed like hours, then "Zero position Sir" said Henry, and with that, I zeroed the scope bearing, then lifted it as fast as I could. Oh my god, I thought, this was perfect. Two had slowed almost to a stop, one was still zinging. One each for the slow pokes, a spread of two for the hot head. We input all data into the tdc, and then I lifted the scope to confirm. All was good, all four tubes emptied, and we started ahead slow again. The range was 1500m upon firing, so at ahead slow, steer Starboard 15, we should pop up on their other side to finish off with our stern tube if anything missed, while they'll be looking to where we were. We set depth to 30m, and waited.

There were a series of violent crashes in front of us to our port quarter, then another, then another, followed by screeching metallic sounds. More explosions "Second position Sir" said Henry. We came up to periscope depth and I wound the scope back to 180, lifted it quickly.
"All three!" I shouted, "We hit all three!" I turned and saw Zol behind me and I gave him a look
"Two slipping under, one damaged Sir"
"Ok, back to your post, we'll finish her off" He jumped back down and waited, ordering the stern tube flooded and cap open.
I looked back through the scope, no wake on the damaged ship, very low to stern. I called my input to Zol, "Solution ready Sir"
"Fire when ready" I said, no drama here, we were now condemning three ships companies to death as they wouldn't last very long out here away from shipping lanes and even further from land. I felt the stern lift slightly "Torpedo in the water" said Zol and before too long there was another crash.
I looked through the scope again to see the stern of the last ship up out of the water and hundreds of heads bobbing around amongst the wreckage. It was tempting now to surface, but these ships will be missed. The Admiralty in London would have been in close contact, and now they know we are here, or will do in a couple of days.
"Henry" I said climbing back down "Steer us back on course, Bert, take her up, both ahead full" The compressor hissed as it blew the hull tanks clear and as the bridge cleared the water, the diesels kicked in, shaking the boat and pushing us forward. The bridge hatch popped open, and the watch crew clambered out as fast as they could. Behind us, we could see the last flicker of flames from the destroyer?s stern, still poking up out of the water, then with a blast of spray it too slipped under to join her sisters. Darkness descended once again, and the rhythm of the boat seemed to be guided by the thrumming engines. We had hit four warships in 24hrs, a big score, but had most probably given ourselves away. If it had not been for the Commandants stupidity in giving us a clear channel, we would have laid low and let them pass, no chance now. We were betrayed by our own Commandant, and now, by our own hands.

Apart from the occasional aircraft sighting, nothing happened for the next two days. The aircraft we figured, were no threat as they were leaving con trails, and therefore too high to see us. It was a very clear morning, and Henry had advised me we were now at CF30, so we had cut engines to conserve fuel and were waiting for our signal.
At 1000hrs, it came. We were to proceed to CF3013, contact expected at 1200hrs GMT.
With both ahead standard, we lurched forward on our new heading. The lull in activity had allowed Zol to reload all forward tubes and bring all foward spares inside; he had also reloaded the stern tube, meaning we had no aft spare. I called one of our AA gunners up and had him at the flack gun. All eyes were straining, staring across the vast ocean and then, there she was. A signal light was blinking at us "Answer yes, U-52" I said to the watch officer. He blinked his signal lamp back at the other boat.
"Starboard to Starboard" Willie said
"Ok, hold her on this heading, both ahead slow"
Hans came up with a bag of mail to send home, and before long, we were alongside. A paynter was shot across us and we ragged the line in and secured it to a midship bollard. A second one came over, this got secured to the tower and on it was the fuel hose. We commenced refueling lead by Bert, as Zol was busy setting up the load arm on the tower for taking on fish. The watch crew was to remain vigilant, as were the AA gunners on each boat. An officer was hauled between boats and landed on our deck, passing me a yellow envelope "Your final orders" he gasped "Good luck" and with that, they hauled him back across.
Within the hour it was done, we had also taken on extra rations and bottles of beer and apple juice. The cow was heading straight back to Lorient, so hopefully our letters will get home.
"Henry" I said "set us a course for GD30, we have an Atlantean to catch"

In the wardroom, I sat on my bunk and opened the envelope. It contained a signal, giving me the time the convoy will be at the said coordinates, and a silhouette of the ship plus a description. These last two items were all I'd disclose to the men. There was also a brief explanation as to why that particular ship was so important, apparently the allied nations were experimenting with a new explosive, the chemical required were manufactured only in the US and these were on board this ship.
We were another five days from our target, so I chose to put the silhouette up in the control room where we could all see it, along with it's description. I discussed at length with Henry, exactly where we would need to be for the best chance of achieving our goal.
Our daily news was becoming a hit with the crew, some of the jokes were worse than those in Christmas bon bons, some were disgusting, but every now and then there was an absolute classic. There was also some poetry, same as the jokes, but then someone came up with a competition and needed some starters. It was to see who could make their way from the forward torpedo room, to the aft torpedo room, tube to tube, without once touching the deck. They were to be watched by two followers, and the two followers were not allowed to compete. I stepped in on this one, only when we were submerged, or in good weather and it was not to disrupt the running of the boat. The first serious injury would end the competition then and there, but this would relieve the boredom and allow the men some exercise and to blow off a little steam. I was to award the fastest, one bottle of beer.

The next four days saw men clambering up bulkheads, swinging hand over hand from the pipe work. All of them seemed to come unglued at the aft pressure door of the control room. One of the followers was banned after being caught kicking a crate across under a friend, who then demanded his bribe be paid back. After a while, several men mastered this elusive hatchway. The next hurdle was the engine room, the cylinder heads were out of bounds because if we went under, they would cool and allow everybody easy passage, but on the surface they were too hot to touch. The other hazard in there was the on watch Stokers, who had no sense of humour when it came to work. This was due mainly to their workplace being an almost constant 50 degrees Celsius, very uncomfortable and very dangerous, but they agreed to let them travel down the starboard side of the hull.
In the moor room, The PO electrician was worried about somebody cooking themselves by grabbing the wrong hand hold and made them all wear rubber gloves. This was seen as an extra challenge and was taken on with enthusiasm. By the end of the fourth day, Somebody made it, soon followed by several more. Suddenly it had become a race, and the times were becoming quite fast, but the overall record is now held by a Stoker named Lars. A giant, strapping boy, and nobody are brave enough to challenge him or his record.

On the morning of the fifth day, Henry went up to the bridge to take a sun shot for a position as close to exact as he could manage, Marking it on his chart, I compared it to the coordinates on the orders, we were very close now, but it was still only 1011hrs, and the convoy was not due until 1600hrs. I decided to practice our diving, get our times faster, practice our torpedo drill and when surfacing, see how fast our gun crews can get into position.
The weather was good, too good for an unseen attack. It would be easy to run along the convoys intended course and wait where it would be night when we contacted them, but what if they diverted course before reaching us? At least if we wait where the coordinates told us, if we missed it wouldn't be on our heads. We circled the position at a radius of 3km, practicing as many drills as we could; we even practiced abandon ship - just in case.
Lunch was eaten in silence, we all felt apprehensive about this convoy attack, how many escorts? What speed? Where would the Atlantean be? I made up my mind on a spread of three at our intended, save one bow and the stern as insurance or for a finish off.

We ate our evening meal early, at 1500, and then we all retired to action stations. Henry took one last sun shot and moved us to a position that would have us on the starboard beam of the convoy, about 1500m from their line of course, well inside the flanking destroyer (if there was one) but far enough from the closest column to get a shot away if it was there.
We went to periscope depth, ahead 2kts and waited. Hans was the first to speak "Merchant vessel, bearing 270, long range" he whispered "lots of them"
"Any destroyers?" I asked him
"I can't hear any Sir". I climbed into the tower and raised the scope, turning it to 270 and adjusting the focus, I could see smoke columns in the distance. Still a long way off, but heading straight for us. We appeared in the right place, but over this distance, a couple of degrees could have us too far or near at the correct time.

1525, CG30, May 17th 1942.
A little ahead of time, but there they were three columns of eight ships, only two escorts, one at each end. We were now 800m from the closest column and had stopped; the Atlantean looked to be the seventh ship, centre column. A look at the silhouette, a read of the description, yes, that's the one. I shouted my TDC input to Zol, no use running silent here, the escorts won't hear us through this lot. A spread of three, two shallow, one magnetic and one impact, the last deep magnetic. This should give us a confirmed sinking.
We waited until the gap appeared in front of us again, and we could hear the throbbing merchant engines through our hull from the first column. I lifted the scope again, and there was the gap "solution ready Sir" came the shout, "los!" I shouted back, and we turned five degrees to port as we dove to 30m, both ahead full. I dropped the scope and jumped back down into the control room.
The first explosion shook us, looking at the stop-watch I realized in horror, that it was too soon for impact "those damn magnetic triggers" I said. A few moments later a second detonation was heard, much more promising. The third impact was felt, but it was a long way off, it didn't feel right and by now we'd reach the other side of the convoy. "Come to periscope depth Bert" I said and swung the observation scope to point aft. We slowed back to two knots I lifted the scope for a look "Well, we got the Atlantean, and two others. One from the first column and one from the third" I looked up at Bert "not a faulty fish after all" I had Zol prepare tube five and gave him my input. This would be easy now, as the Atlantean was not moving. Tube five fired, I dropped the scope and turned to Zol "Well, this has been.......

The lights went out; the noise was incredibly loud, men screaming as the boat almost rolled over to port. I landed in the small of Henries back, he against his nav station, and Bert on top of me, followed by the hydroplane operators. As the boat tried to right itself, the conning tower bounced of something and we heeled back again. The destroyer, I thought, I'd forgotten about it. "We?ve been rammed!" I shouted "when we right, all hands to escape gear!? The destroyer?s props were now using our bridge as a drum, beating out their rhythm against the steel. More crashing sounds, then the destroyer had passed over us. We came up straight again and Henry bolted up into the conning tower "No holes Sir!" he called, as escape vests were being tossed out to the crew. Everybody had returned to their station "30m Bert" I said. I wanted to know what was happening, where the destroyer was going, and how deep we could manage.
Hans was beckoning me over to his hydrophone shack, when I got there, he handed me his ear phones, "what do you think Sir?" he asked "I can hear her engines, but no propeller sounds, just a loud whining, sloshing sound"
I listened intently, then "She's damaged her screws" I sad smiling "Quickly! Zol! get those tubes reloaded!" I ran back into the control room "Bert, back to periscope depth" this was a lucky break.
Through all the excitement, we had missed the fact that our last fish had hit home, but not where we wanted to. It had taken out the screws and rudder from the Atlantean, but confusing the issue was a floating gun platform very nearby. No more observation periscope, no more attack periscope, and perhaps a very badly damaged bridge. We would have to take out the destroyer first, but without any sight, we'd have to do it surfaced.
"Blow ballast, both ahead full, steer 320, Uzo to the bridge"

I had intended to surface at the stern quarter of the destroyer, as she could not bring her big guns to bear on us from that angle, but her AA guns still posed a very real threat. Another question was, the Atlantean, in all the excitement, we had lost contact with her. She too, was dead in the water, but had the goods been transferred across to another ship?
As we broached the surface, the hatch was released and we flew out onto the bridge. Zol quickly fastened the Uzo to it's mount that, thankfully, had not been damaged, but everything else was a mess. I ordered our AA gunner to train fire on the Destroyers AA's to keep them honest, and before long, armour piercing shells were whizzing about us. Zol stood firm, sighting, shouting input to Henry through the voice pipe. The 52 lifted slightly as another fish went on it's way, Zol started telling me the destroyer would shut up soon when a shell broke through the tower and hit his shoulder. We quickly lifted him down the hatch, calling for Doc as another shell belted it's way through the steel, I looked over to our AA gunner and noticed he'd slumped over his gun.
I jumped up, unclipping him from the weapon and passing him to the others, I quickly swung the 20mm to bear on the offending guns and let loose a string of fire that saw two men fall from the emplacement, and another run for cover.
Just then the destroyer was hidden behind a sheet of spray and fire, the foretop swayed and the second stack came crashing down across her deck. She rolled lazily onto her side and within minutes, had slid under with a minimal fuss. We looked around, no Atlantean! Where had she gone?
Willie tapped my shoulder, pointing off to the distance "Sir, Two freighters, looks like one is under tow"
"Rudder steer port 15" I called, but the voice pipe was now unserviceable, Willie had relayed it through the hatch "Rudder zero, both ahead flank!" and again Willie repeated through the hatch.
I swung the Uzo sight to bear on our intended, still 5000m off, and they looked to be doing eight knots roughly. "We?ll have them in about 10 minutes" I said to Willie "have somebody go forward and get an estimation on loading for two tubes" Willie nodded and began barking orders down the hatch. Before too long, a head appeared
"Tubes one and two loaded Sir" he said "The EO has stepped in on the TDC, and we've set up a voice relay". A good crew, I thought, a very good crew.

We were now 2000m from our target, a third tube had been loaded and the freighter under tow was holding a steady course. I decided upon a three fish spread, one degrees between as we were still closing, all deep, all magnetic as the Atlantean was almost stern on.
I called my input, relayed, and then back with "Solution ready"
I reconfirmed, "Solution ready"
"Fire all three" I said
"torpedoes in the water" Willie said
"All stop"
It felt like ages before impact, and when it happened, it was like slow motion. Her stern lifted with a creaking, grinding sound, then came back down as two more hit. The stern then rolled over and disappeared as the bow started dropping back. We could see men on the tow ship running in panic to the tow lines, throwing the slackened ones over, and cutting the taught lines. The tow ships stern was getting lower and she was loosing headway, the a sound like a gun-shot as the last tow rope snapped, and the tow ship shot foward as the Atlantean Slipped silently beneath the surface.
The men on the deck of the tow ship stood motionless, staring at us, but I was in no mind to take them. We had already exceeded our orders by five warships and was certain someone will come looking for us.
It was 700km extra to Lorient than to the Corrientes that was moored at the Canary Islands, and with two seriously wounded crew, I was not about to waste any time getting them to help, "Let's hope they make it" I said to Paul "At least they have a surgeon on board"
"Yes, but I wonder if that ship will be missed before we get there? Paul replied
"Both ahead full" I ordered, "Steer 230, Here we go" and the 52 limped forward again, damaged but not deterred.

Well, hope you enjoyed it, let me know. thanks for reading it

Wow...

You've got me leaning forward on the edge of my seat!

What a fantastic story.....I wanna get home & play sh3

Congratulations in advance Huey!!

Even if I had a story I wouldnt submit it after reading yours!

Great stuf!

U301
12-21-2006, 06:28 AM
Bonesattack,
Decembers competition is now closed so your entry will not be counted!
You can use it in Januarys competition.
KUrtz.<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

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