-Log of Klaus Kerr
-U-73 - Based at Loriant-Dec. 11, 1942
This morning we leave port for our 18th patrol.
Lieutenant Totenhagen has plotted a course for Grid DO97 using common convoy
lanes used by the UK and US. Hopefully the extra time that this envolves will
Lieutenant Carlewitz has informed me that the crew is in great shape. I trust
his judgement on such matters. Some may say his youth is a detrament, but this
trait and his high spirits endear him to the crew. They openly speak to him
about subjects that they would not with me.-Dec. 13, 1942
Grid BE6. Warship heard on sonar at very long range, We've decided not to engage
but continue our current course. British air patrols the area regularly and
could be upon us within an hour if we are spotted.
-Dec. 16, 1942
Mr. Totenhagen has notified me that we have made our turn south along the shipping
lanes, perhaps daylight will shine upon our quarry.-Dec 18, 1942
Currently South East of the Azores. I cannot sleep. The seas have been rough, we
have had a fruitless run so far, and I fear my crews morale may start to suffer.
Carlewitz tells me they are restless. My Officers keep me level headed, and I have
grown to appreciate thier honesty over the last two years. I am thankful for thier
presence. I can only hope our turn to the west in a few days will prove to be more
bountiful.-Dec. 21, 1942
Awoken by my radio man, WO Hugo. A contact report from BdU has a merchant 12 nautical
miles to our east heading nothbound. Plotting intecept.
-Dec. 22, 1942
We are in position.
Engaged a C2 and a C3. One miss and one hit on each. We are currently shadowing
them. The C3 in rear took bow hit and it is digging hard into the crests...it may
not last long. The C2 is currently on fire. Both are travelling at reducded speed.
One more torpedo strikes the C2 midship and it erupts into an inferno. Within a
minute the C3s screw is out of the water, sumberging the front half. The heavy sea
quickly swallowed the vessel.
Report radioed in to BdU.
Our western turn has been made. Heavy seas persist and has become far too rough for
surface travel. This will slow our progress to our grid.
-Dec 24, 1942
Sound Contacts at long range, radar seems to indicate multiple ships. Changing
course to intercept.
Multiple contacs confirmed much closer than previously thought. Submerging.
We have stumbled upon unescorted convoy. 2 sunk, and many are on fire. 2 Aft torps
left with no way to access the external stores. We will follow them to take note of
which may sink on thier own. Hoping the storm breaks soon.
After earlier hit, Aft torpedo strike on troop carrier has it listing badly. Aft
torpedo shot at an obviously disabled tanker, no result.....blast this weather.
I will follow them into the straights of Gilbralter if I have to.
Parascope check reveals the troop transport is no longer with us.
The convoy must have made a turn during the dawn hours after we had surfaced to
recharge. We still have very faint readings on the hydrophone. Making course
correction and searching with radar.
Targets reaquired...though I do not find any thrill in it. I feel as I may turn
around this evening or the morning before the crew begins to mumur 'Ahab', as if
thier exhaustion would permit more than a mumur. It has been a long night. This
weather is far too rough to have men out on the deck to restock our torpedos.
I've already lost one sailor too many in my career.
I'm letting the men get some well deserved rest, down to skeleton crew
I've radioed in a report in the hope that someone may be able to them before they
reach the straights.
After 1200km, with no let up in the weather, I've turned back to follow the original
course. Songs on the grammphone, a good meal, and a good nights sleep lay ahead with
thoughts of our families back home. Merry Christmas.-Dec. 30, 1942
Fighting the wind and rain has forced me to take a more direct route to our grid
due to fuel concerns. A week of rest has done all the men well...including myself.
Still looking forward to the opportunity to bring the external stores below.-Jan. 1, 1943
A new year brings new hope-Jan. 5, 1943
We have arrived in our assigned patrol grid. We have no signs of vessels in the
area. We will plot a search pattern and hope for the best.-Jan. 6, 1943
Search pattern completed with no contacts. I intend to move us west to Peurto Rico.
Still looking for a break in the weather.-Jan. 9, 1943
Weather has broken. The vacation for the men is over. We have started to bring weapon
We have finished the tranfer below and have plotted a course towards the St. Lawrence
seaway where the hunting is always good. With reduced speed, we should have the fuel
left for the chase if the need arises...and we hope it does.-Jan. 18, 1943
Radio traffic indicates a contact 200km to our NE. The coordination between my engineers,
Mr. Friedrichs and Mr. Witte, is impeccible...our motors growl with a purposful tone.
We race to catch them. -Jan. 19, 1943
Merchant ship was located and destroyed.-Jan. 21, 1943
Mr. Hugo has recieved report of large convoy 200km ahead of our current position...
it seems the hunt is on. -Jan. 22, 1943.
An updated report has us closing fast. We are estimating contact by midday.
First radar contacts made. I have informed Mr. Hugo to shut the radar down, so
that we may not be detected. We are closing much faster than expected.
Mr. Carlewitz has spotted a warship on the horizon. Our radar warning device has
gone off as well. We will run submerged at this point. It, may be a long day.
Our presence was detected early. Currently running silent and disengaging from
the escorts. We must get ahead of the convoy.
The sun has arisen with us on the surface of a placid sea, which is helping us
make good time at flanking the convoy.-Jan. 23, 1943
Dispatched a small merchant overnight with deck gun, and have reaquired the convoy.
We are moving closer and will lie in wait.
After a blistering battle, 6 merchants and 2 warships have been sunk. One merchant
now flounders with her bow lowering by the minute...but we have paid a heavy price.
Our boat is damaged and more heartbreaking is the loss of 3 men. All three killed
by a shell landing just forward of the deck gun as they were manning it.
*Seaman Axel Bauer
*Chief Seaman AXel Albrecht
*Warrant Officer Wilhem Barsch
All three men have served with me throughout this war, and were all well liked. I have
dicussed it with my officers and will have thier burial at dawn tommorow.
Our damage control team is currently making light repairs to get us on our way.
We are out of ammunition and have decided to make for home.
Radioed our intentions into BdU.-Jan. 24, 1943
Our dead have been buried at sea.Feb. 1, 1943
After an thankfully uneventful week at sea, we are within an hour from home. We are all
tired and long to see our loved ones. As I write this, I hear cheers from the men. The
Watch can see the light houses of Lorient. I feel I may join them.