U-Boat War Patrol: The Hidden Photographic Diary of U-564
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This unique account charts the complete story of a single U-boat patrol through the summer of 1942 based around a remarkable collection of photographs that were ‘liberated’ from a concrete U-boat pen in Brest at the end of the war and which had, until recently, remained hidden in a shoe box. The boat in question, U-564, carried the famous three black cat motif of Reinhard ‘Teddy’ Suhren who, along with Prien and Kretschmer, was one of the top U-boat commanders during the battles of the Atlantic.
This remarkable book provides unique access into both the day-to-day life of a
U-boat at sea and into the detailed workings of the Kriegsmarine. Through the successes and trials of U-564 the reader is transported to that vast and watery battlefield that was perhaps the most significant theater of the Second World War.
forty-six men to one toilet (in the bow half) is not enough! The biggest problem was the bread. We placed it into a hammock so that plenty of air could get to it, but after a while it used to go stale and [the loaves] looked like rabbits because they were covered in mildew. We just removed as much of it as possible and then ate it. When all the fresh food was used up, we turned to tinned food. On the whole, our provisions were very good; in fact we had everything – except it all tasted of
apparatus. Whilst we are all at sixes and sevens, the patrolling escorts are closing in at top speed, with fire in their bellies.16 Overhead, HMS Gorleston and Wellington charged forward and prepared to attack. The British were unaware of the drama taking place aboard their enemy, but believed the U-boat to have been making heavy way in what had become a short, steep sea with brief squalls of rain – a perspective revealed in the Report of Proceedings later written about the action:
strongly rubber-coated inside, 18.2 cm in diameter: rubber has been proved not to get eaten away) fixed to a manila rope has proved successful before now in transferring diesel to U 107. Tanker and boat could then, with this equipment and without any special lugging cable, travel in formation at 50m diagonally and about 50-100m abeam. The increased pumping time would then appear to be more than compensated for by the reduction in time spent setting up and dismantling, as well as the quicker
to ribbons with his blistering wit. Teddy was not among those to earn Prien’s disapproval, however, and he thrived. While aboard U 47, he absorbed the unorthodox nature of successful submarine command from one of Germany’s legendary fighting men, also forming a strong bond of friendship with the friendly, quiet – and equally short in stature – Engelbert ‘Bertl’ Endrass, Prien’s IWO. Oberleutnant zur See Suhren and his crew stand to attention on the stern deck of U 564 during the boat’s
few more hours under the blankets!’ So off we marched and made the most of it. The whole of Berlin got clouded over. About 6 a.m. we shut the Jockey bar from inside and then carried on. We didn’t get a great deal of sleep. Then, at 1400 hours, breakfast started. The Admiral’s staff smirked near us, and Raeder kept gasping for air so as not to be completely overcome by the intoxicating fumes as we were sitting not too far from him. Later, during a conversation over coffee and cognac, I could see