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#4547418 - 12/06/20 10:02 PM U-100 - fifth patrol  
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33lima Offline
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33lima  Offline
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Belfast, NI
It's mid-December 1940 and our next patrol is to a new stomping ground, further south - grid square CF32, roughly the latitude of the north-western tip of Spain.

[Linked Image]

It's an early evening departure, with the usual send-off.

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Yes, that looks like nearly a full moon, doesn't it?

[Linked Image]

We're soon clear of our berth...

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...then increasing revolutions and turning west.

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Even before we're clear of the long breakwater to port and the pens to starboard, the bridge watch is fully alert. That's how I like it!

[Linked Image]

I waste no time and plot a course out to our patrol area, culminating in my usual north-south zig-zag search pattern.

[Linked Image]

Enemy surface and air activity in the Bay of Biscay has been negligible, so I stay on the surface the whole way out, being rewarded with good weather and no interference from the Tommies. That also is how I Iike it.

[Linked Image]

We're off to a good start, at any rate!

...to be continued!

Last edited by 33lima; 12/06/20 10:04 PM.
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#4547544 - 12/07/20 05:57 PM Re: U-100 - fifth patrol [Re: 33lima]  
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33lima Offline
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33lima  Offline
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Conditions remain calm and clear as afternoon slips into evening...

[Linked Image]

...and the watery winter sun dips down towards the western horizon.

[Linked Image]

A slight haze apart, the sea and skies all around remain empty as we plough south-west on the long leg towards grid square CF32.

[Linked Image]

Day finally slips into night.

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We reach our patrol area, but the Tommies seem unwilling to join us.

[Linked Image]

Is this going to be our first uneventful patrol?

...to be continued!

Last edited by 33lima; 12/07/20 05:58 PM.
#4547554 - 12/07/20 06:15 PM Re: U-100 - fifth patrol [Re: 33lima]  
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33lima Offline
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33lima  Offline
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Eventually, a contact is reported well to the north-west. We still haven't completed our minimum 24 hours in CF32, so I decide to stick with my mission, for now.

[Linked Image]

By the time darkness has fallen again, so has the barometer.

[Linked Image]

U-100 is soon pitching and rolling in the Atlantic swell.

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All around, the dark horizon remains obstinately empty as we plough onwards in our monotonous search pattern.

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By daybreak, conditions are no better, although visibility is obviously better than in darkness.

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The hours slip by and still...nothing!

[Linked Image]

By now, I've completed my minimum time in CF32. I decide to switch from a north-south zig-zag, to a flatter one from east to west. Maybe most of the traffic in this region is on north-south sealanes running to and from western and southern Africa, rather than across the Atlantic.

[Linked Image]

Sure enough, a few hours after darkness falls, there's a contact, reportedly close by and heading east-north-east. At last, we're in business!

[Linked Image]

...to be continued!

Last edited by 33lima; 12/07/20 06:17 PM.
#4547567 - 12/07/20 06:49 PM Re: U-100 - fifth patrol [Re: 33lima]  
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33lima Offline
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33lima  Offline
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After what develops into a long stern chase at maximum revolutions...there she is!

[Linked Image]

In fact, there's two of them - a small tanker out in front, with a large steamer astern.

[Linked Image]

They're on a steady course, so I take a chance at a medium range shot at each of them...

[Linked Image]

...and get two misses! There's no reaction from the Tommies, so I fire Tube Three as we close in on the freighter.

[Linked Image]

Another miss! I should have been patient and gone for a beam shot, in these turbulent conditions.

[Linked Image]

Fortunately, neither ship is armed. I'm soon overhauling the by now zig-zagging freighter to starboard...

[Linked Image]

...which sets me up nicely for a shot with the stern tube. This time, there's no mistake!

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She refuses to go down, though. I have one eel left in the forward tubes, and it's clearly time to use it!

...to be continued!

#4547578 - 12/07/20 07:10 PM Re: U-100 - fifth patrol [Re: 33lima]  
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33lima Offline
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33lima  Offline
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Belfast, NI
I order a tight, fast turn to starboard.

[Linked Image]

For my target this time, I take the small tanker. I get a hit from a range so close her zig-zags can't save her.

[Linked Image]

I break away across her bows. It's not as dangerous as it looks, as I'm doing around 17 Knots, to her six or seven...and that was before I put a torpedo into her.

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The burning tanker loses way...

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...and this time, one hit is enough.

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I report the contact to BdU. Now I just need to wait for my empty torpedo tubes to be reloaded, before I can have another crack at that big steamer.

...to be continued!

#4547583 - 12/07/20 07:23 PM Re: U-100 - fifth patrol [Re: 33lima]  
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33lima Offline
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33lima  Offline
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Belfast, NI
The sinking tanker is left astern...

[Linked Image]

...and I come around after the freighter, struggling but still afloat and moving after my single torpedo strike on her.

[Linked Image]

It takes another fifteen minutes before stern tube and the first of the bow tubes are reloaded, so meanwhile I circle around my helpless victim. Taking care not to risk getting run down in the process, naturally.

[Linked Image]

Tube 1 is finally ready, so it's time to make my move. I close in so as to attack from close under her starboard bows...

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...turning away to port after firing. A hit!

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She still won't go down, though! The stern tube is also ready so it's high time to let fly with that one, too.

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Got her at last! The freighter's back breaks soon after the torpedo strike. Finally!

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I have the radio operator send in another report, so that BdU will know what we're doing and where we're doing it. So far, the switch to cover north-south sealanes seems to be working!

...to be continued!

Last edited by 33lima; 12/07/20 07:24 PM.
#4547663 - 12/08/20 12:38 PM Re: U-100 - fifth patrol [Re: 33lima]  
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33lima Offline
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33lima  Offline
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Belfast, NI
I quickly set up a new east-west search pattern, this time closer to the Iberian coastline.

[Linked Image]

Unfortunately, there's no let up in the weather, which I daresay is not untypical for what is now early January

[Linked Image]

Daylight brings no improvement.

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What it does bring is a contact, like the others steaming north-north-east. After a high speed run on the diesels, she's soon picked up in the U-bar Zeil Optik - it's another large freighter.

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After getting within 3,000 meters, I decide to hit the cellar and make a submerged attack. It'll take a lot longer to get into a firing position, but at least I'll be able to do so unseen and without provoking a zig-zag.

[Linked Image]

With the electric motors flat out, I'm making between 7 and 8 knots. The target is doing 6, so it's going to be slow.

[Linked Image]

All the while, my boat is pitching up and down in the heavy swell.

[Linked Image]

At times, the conning tower is breaking the surface, so I order us down a few meters, just enough to keep the periscope usable.

[Linked Image]

My attack goes badly awry. I waste two torpedoes firing at acute angles from nearly dead astern.

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The target starts evasive action. They must have spotted the torpedo tracks - or perhaps they saw my periscope wake or even the tower breaking the surface again - that looks like it, astern of the freighter.

[Linked Image]

This isn't going at all well - I seem to have lost my touch, today!

...to be continued!

Last edited by 33lima; 12/08/20 01:03 PM.
#4547664 - 12/08/20 12:52 PM Re: U-100 - fifth patrol [Re: 33lima]  
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33lima Offline
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33lima  Offline
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Belfast, NI
This is very frustrating. The sea state rules out use of my deck or even AA guns, and the freighter is steaming on unharmed. Another torpedo, fired from a less acute angle, seems sure to hit but either doesn't detonate, or runs underneath her. Either way the Tommies, are getting off scot free.

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By this time, the stress and strain is telling on the crew, most of whom are in need of a rest.

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I come back up to the surface; they know we're here so there's no advantage in staying below.

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I fire another bow torpedo at point blank range...

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...but even that has no effect!

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I'm so frustrated I could ram the beggar. But of course, that could only end badly for U-100.

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By now I have only the two external reloads left, which cannot be got inside the boat in anything like the current conditions. Nothing else for it - time to go home.

[Linked Image]

The freighter pitches and rolls but it looks like she, too, is homeward bound - and likely to make it unmolested. I send a contact report anyway, in case someone else can do the honours.

[Linked Image]

...to be continued!

#4547681 - 12/08/20 03:13 PM Re: U-100 - fifth patrol [Re: 33lima]  
Joined: Sep 2010
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33lima Offline
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33lima  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,038
Belfast, NI
The freighter gradually falls away to port...

[Linked Image]

...leaving U-100 battling through the swell headed north-east, back towards France.

[Linked Image]

It's dark when we reach calmer coastal waters and begin the run-in to port.

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Soon, the dim but familiar harbour lights of Brest are in sight up ahead.

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The enthusiasm of the quayside welcoming committee and the strains of the national anthem from the band are reminders that despite a frustrating final encounter, our fifth patrol has not been entirely unsuccessful.

[Linked Image]

Poor shooting didn't help but combined with bad weather and slim pickings, we have come home with just two ships and slightly over ten thousand tons under our belt. But there are compensations - as well as some promotions, qualifications and awards that I quickly hand out amongst my crew, I find the skipper has now earned his Knight's Cross!

[Linked Image]

All in all, not a bad start to 1941!


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