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  1. Silent Hunters: German U-boat Commanders Of World War II
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  3. Silent Hunters: German U-boat Commanders of World War II - Theodore P. Savas - Google книги

Guarded optimism ruled the day, even as the German Navy knew it was once more the underdog compared to the Royal Navy and had. And so. Since most aspects of this struggle have been told, written down and made the subject of documentaries, motion pictures and television programs, from both the Allied and the Axis points-of-view, a thousand times over. Not a year goes by without major new. First, it presents in considerable detail the stories of six German U-boat commanders whose extraordinary wartime records.

Cremer or Henke have enjoyed over the years. Secondly, besides adding breadth to our knowledge of the U-boat war the essays in this collection add much needed depth and context. They replace bleak and blank stereotypes. Such limitations largely fall away. Moreover, these essays were written by experts—every one a published and respected author in the field of German naval history in general and the relentless U-boat war in particular. German strategic interest in the Indian Ocean was, in any case, still concentrated on the tanker and merchant ship routes in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Aden, so no immediate action was taken on Ludden's recommendations.

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Silent Hunters: German U-boat Commanders Of World War II

The Japanese, however, still found themselves hard pressed in the Pacific and continued to request even greater German cooperation. The Head of the Japanese Naval Mission in Berlin, Vice Admiral Abe, made several personal representations to Donitz asking for more U-boats and suggesting the expansion of their operations to include the Australian area.

With the improvement of Allied defences in the western Indian Ocean making targets more difficult. Donitz finally agreed to the Japanese request. After initial consultation with Penang he released the following message on 14 September They are to sail when ready for war. Make use of Japanese knowledge of the traffic and defence situation.

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Pich was one of the most experienced of the Far Eastern commanders, having first arrived in Penang in November But Timm, had already demonstrated his professionalism, sinking one ship in the South Atlantic and another four in the Mozambique Channel on the voyage out. Donitz understood that the Australian operation would primarily be for the benefit of the Japanese, but to show further German commitment told Vice Admiral Abe on 26 September that three submarines would now be scheduled to operate in the Australian area. The preparations required for a sortie of three submarines to Australia were not insignificant.

Skilled manpower was scarce and being far from home, spare parts were almost impossible to obtain. The Far East bases were also critically short of torpedoes and those that were available had often deteriorated in the tropical conditions. Many of these torpedoes ran slow, increasing the likelihood of a failed attack. In late September, each of the Australian-bound U-boats was ordered to embark 14 torpedoes.

Silent Hunters: German U-boat Commanders of World War II - Theodore P. Savas - Google книги

Only half the full outfit of a Type IX, but a large proportion of available stocks. A further difficulty for the Germans was a lack of recent intelligence.


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Despite BdU's suggestion, the Japanese had not operated in Australian waters for over a year. They thus had little idea of the traffic and defence situation, particularly off the West Australian coast where the Germans intended to concentrate. Allied forces had no comparable intelligence problems. Unknown to both the Germans and the Japanese, their secret communications had been thoroughly compromised.

Just five days after BdU had given approval for the mission, westbound Allied shipping was instructed to be routed well dispersed and pass not less than miles south of Cape Leeuwin. Air patrols were also increased and additional anti-submarine vessels were transferred from Darwin to Fremantle. Of far more danger to the U-boats, however, were patrolling allied submarines. U became the first of the assigned U-boats to sail, leaving Djakarta at on 5 October The U-boat was initially programmed to conduct a one-day surface passage to Surabaya to complete battery trials.

Following normal procedures to safeguard the movements of a friendly submarine, local Japanese units were alerted by signal to the precise details of U 's departure and arrival times, intended course and speed. Though there was little time left to arrange an en-counter, the Dutch submarine Zwaardvisch was on patrol nearby and ordered to attempt an intercept. She had left Fremantle for her second Far Eastern patrol on 26 September and six days later passed through the Lombok Strait.

Shortly after dawn on 6 October, with Zwaardvisch off the north coast of Java at periscope depth, Goosens sighted U on a steady easterly course at 14 knots. The Dutch submarine was well positioned for an attack and 11 minutes after the sighting he fired a fan of six torpedoes. Aboard U the weapons were seen seconds before impact and much too late to take avoiding action. Two torpedoes hit. One pierced the U-boat's pressure hull but failed to detonate, the second exploded in the forward torpedo room.

Immediate shutting of the watertight doors failed to slow the flooding and U sank rapidly by the bows with the loss of 23 men. Zwaardvisch surfaced shortly afterwards and five of the survivors, including Pich, were recovered for interrogation. The remaining survivors were put on a native fishing vessel for return to Japanese territory.

Pich was unable to explain why he had been caught unawares, but one of his men blamed the Japanese, complaining that they never started anti-submarine air searches before The Japanese found nothing and Zwaardvisch returned safely to Fremantle on 26 October, having sunk or damaged another four enemy ships.


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  6. Despite this failure and other similar losses, there appears to have been little extra effort put into improving anti-submarine defences by the Japanese. Indeed, Berlin advised Dommes that it might actually be safer for U-boats to proceed independently rather than in the company of a Japanese escort. The Australian operation remained the principal offensive mission planned for the Far East and obviously remained important, both for keeping the U-boats effectively employed and as a show of practical support for the Japanese.

    The next U-boat ready to depart, U , sailed from Surabaya on 9 November for a series of diving tests. If the tests were successful, she was then under orders to pass along the eastern coast of Bali and proceed outward bound for operations off Darwin and northwest Australia. Japanese units were again alerted to the presence of a friendly submarine. In Darwin on 6 November, the US submarines Flounder, Guavina and Bashaw received patrol orders that organised them into a coordinated search and attack group.

    Commander J Stevens, commanding Flounder, was the senior officer. The following day all three boats departed for their allocated areas. On the morning of 10 November, Stevens ordered his submarine to submerge in a position north of Lombok Strait. Flounder's patrol report completes the story:. Torpedoes were set to run at 8 feet. There was a tremendous explosion and the whole target was obscured by smoke and flame.

    The sinking took only 20 seconds and had occurred one mile from the advised position. There were no survivors from U 's crew of 58 men. Flounder went on to sink one other ship on that patrol, eventually securing in Fremantle on 13 December. After her arrival in the Far East, U had spent seven weeks undergoing refit in Singapore and 10 days in Djakarta, allowing the crew time for a short period of recuperation in the mountains.

    Expecting the other U-boats to be operating in the west, Timm instead planned to take his boat along the shipping routes to the south and east of Australia. Fortune was with U and for a change insufficient departure details were available for allied submarines to arrange an intercept. KarlFriedrich Merten and the Prussian Tradition.

    Battle in the Caribbean and the Death of U Siegerjustiz and the Peleus Affair. Editors Preface. The company was sold to an East coast publisher in