“The U-505’s Service History before Capture: The Many War Patrols of Peter Zschech,” by S.M. O’Connor


      Peter Zschech (1918-1943) was the second Commanding Officer (C.O.) of the U-505, of which there were only three.  [Note that Rear Admiral Daniel V. Gallery (1901-1977), who commanded the task group that captured the U-505, spelt his name “Cszhech” in Twenty Million Tons Under the Sea.]  His men suspected Zschech suffered from Halsschmerzen (sore throat) that could only be cured by winning the Ritterkreuz (Knight’s Cross) of the Iron Cross.[1]  Instead of becoming a U-boat ace, though, Zschech is remembered now as the only U-boat commander known to have killed himself while aboard his own boat.  The greatest contributing factor is believed to have been sabotage carried out by the French dockyard workers at Lorient, which forced him to bring the U-505 back into port on a regular basis and allowed the British Royal Navy to attack the U-505 three times before the United States Navy captured her.

On Tuesday, September 15, 1942, Oberleutnant zur See (Lieutenant Junior Grade) Peter Zschech, formerly Executive Officer (X.O.) of the U-124, relieved Kapitänleutnant (Captain-Lieutenant) Axel-Olaf Löwe of command of the U-505.[2]  [Admiral Gallery more vaguely stated “Kapitän Leutnant Cszhech relieved Löwe early in October, 1942.”[3]]  Zschech was nine years younger than Löwe and two years younger than the old X.O., Oberleutant zur See Herbert Nollau (1916-1968).[4]  He had made a fine Executive Officer of the U-124, and great things were expected of him when he assumed command of the U-505.[5]  He had seen more action than the U-505 crew as the U-124 had sunk more ships in one two-week-long period than the U-505 had over the course of two war cruises.[6]  According to Admiral Gallery, many of the problems with the U-505 and her crew can be traced to Zschech.[7]  However, he also noted that the U-505 had “nothing but bad luck” after she sank the Roamar (when Löwe was in command).[8]

Peter Zschech was born on Tuesday, October 1, 1918 in Constantinople,[9] which the Republic of Turkey officially requested foreigners to refer to as Istanbul in 1930.  His father, Dr. Bernhard Zschech, had been a naval surgeon stationed there during the First Great World War (1914-1918), as part of the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy) forces that aided the Second Reich’s Central Power ally, the Ottoman Turkish Empire.[10]  He had been the youngest of the 560 members of the Naval Academy class of 1936.[11]  Zschech graduated in 82nd place amongst 350 executive officers in his class (the other 200 cadets being engineering officers, medical officers, weapons officers, and administrators).[12]  Zschech was an officer cadet a little over half as long as Löwe.  Whereas the Class of 1928 had spent fifty-four months as officer cadets before they received their commissions, the Class of 1936 spent thirty months as cadets.[13]  Zschech served at the war front aboard two destroyers: the Hermann Schömann from July of 1939 to April of 1940 and the Friederich Ihn from April to October of 1940.[14]

It was in October of 1940 that Zschech transferred to the Unterseebootswaffe (Submarine Fleet).[15]   Upon completion of his submarine training, he became an instructor at the torpedo school at Marineschule Mürwik (Naval Academy Mürwik), which is located on a hill that overlooks the Flensburg Fjord (also known as the Flensburg Firth), [16] which is the westernmost inlet of the Baltic Sea.  A colleague, Mathias Brünig, later recounted in an interview conducted at the Museum of Science and Industry by (now former) U-505 Curator Keith Gill that Zschech emerged as a natural leader in his class, and the commander of the training flotilla “gave Peter free reign to do what he wanted.”[17]

Subsequently, Zschech joined the crew of U-124 as the Second Watch Officer in August of 1941, under the command of Kapitänleutnant Johann Mohr (1916-1943), who built on the successful foundation of the U-124’s first commandant, Wilhelm Schulz.[18]  Zschech served aboard the U-124 for one patrol as Second Watch Officer and three patrols as First Watch Officer.[19]  [To be First Watch Officer aboard a German U-boat was to be the second-in-command aboard that U-boat and therefore the equivalent of an Executive Officer aboard a U.S. Navy or U.S. Coast Guard vessel.] Over the course of those four patrols, the U-124 sank the H.M.S. Dunedin, a British light cruiser; a Free French corvette; twenty merchant vessels that totaled almost 90,000 tons; torpedoed three other merchantmen; and helped rescue survivors of the German surface raider Atlantis, which was an auxiliary cruiser, and the supply ship Python.[20][21]  As First Watch Officer, Zschech had undertaken the surface torpedo attacks.[22]  He had helped the U-124 become the third-most successful U-boat of the Second Great World War.[23]

Hans Göbeler later recounted in his autobiography that Zschech was “Young, handsome, and cultured, he appeared to be a perfect example of the new breed of U-boat commander that the Propaganda Ministry liked to portray in magazines and films.  Rumored to be the son of an admiral, Zschech came to our boat with the highest of reputations… Our first impression of him was that he was intelligent, self-confident, but a little aloof… like an aristocrat.  Almost immediately, however, we found out that his aloofness hid an explosive temper.  His sudden fits of anger and general moodiness contrasted sharply with Löwe’s calm approach to command.”[24]

According to Göbeler, most of the U-505 crewmen remained optimistic, but many were angered and mystified by Zschech’s order that the crew undergo infantry training[25] (as if they were soldiers instead of sailors). They were issued brand-new Mauser Karabiner 98k rifles – the standard-issue bolt-action rifle of the Wehrmacht – and learnt infantry tactics.[26]  Zschech likely would have done this to instill military discipline because he seems to have been dissatisfied with the way (other) German submarine commandants were tolerant of lax discipline amongst submariners as long as they performed their duties well.  It would have been puzzling if he had done it as a team-building exercise because after two war patrols (and three operational patrols as a whole, for some of them) they were already a tight-knit group.  It was a prescient measure, though, because at war’s end the Kriegsmarine did use sailors who were not at sea as soldiers to help the defend the Fatherland from the Red Army, which sought bloody retaliation for Nazi Germany’s brutal conquest of much of the Soviet Union’s European territory.

U-boat commanders had the discretionary power to bring one or two men from former commands with them,[27] and much as the boat’s third commander Harald Lange would later see to the transfer from a naval base hospital of Pharmacist’s Mate Otto Dietz (whom he had known on the U-180) to the U-505 in 1943,[28] Zschech saw to the transfer of his friend Thilo Bode (1918-2014) from the U-124 to the U-505 in 1942.[29]  [Note that Decker spelt Bode’s first name “Tilo.”[30]]  Bode had been part of the class of 1936 and he was a little older than Zschech.[31]  They had been close friends before the war.[32] Zschech also saw to the transfer of two boatswain’s mates from the U-124, one of whom, Hannes Bockelmann, transferred back to the U-124, as a result of which he died while aboard her.[33]

Paterson noted, “Goebeler, in his compelling autobiography of his time as a Maschinenobergefreiter aboard U-505, makes clear his own strong dislike of both Zschech and Bode, and believed their friendly relationship and inability to relate well to the men made it difficult on the crew and hurt morale.”[34]  Göbeler implied that Zschech and Bode were homosexual lovers, but readers of Steel Boat, Iron Hearts should be skeptical about these claims as they were not substantiated by other men who served aboard the U-505 and if they had openly carried on as he stated they would have run afoul of the Military Police and the Gestapo and likely gotten themselves killed.  [The Nazis were eugenicists who mass-murdered mentally and physically handicapped Germans, homosexual Germans, Gypsies, and Jews to “purify” the German gene pool.]  Göbeler wrote, “Bode was Zschech’s close personal friend and had graduated with him in the naval officer class of 1936.  Right from the beginning he seemed very arrogant.  His attitude was one of utter contempt toward us, and he even refused to introduce himself to his new crew!  The nature of his ‘friendship’ with Zschech also began to make us a bit uncomfortable.  Bode and Zschech would spend long hours alone together and would sometimes hold hand sin the presence of the crew.  I had deep misgivings regarding our new Exec right from the beginning, but most of the crew remained optimistic that any problems would be worked-out during our next patrol.”[35]

In the context of relating that Bode and Förster were the only men on the U-505 at whom Zschech did not yell, Göbeler wrote, “The first was our Executive Officer, whose ‘personal’ relationship with Zschech overrode professional considerations.  The second exception was our Chief Engineering Officer Förster.  He technically outranked Zschech, though as skipper, Zschech was still in command of the boat.  In deference to his rank and mechanical expertise, Zschech left Förster pretty much alone, at least in the beginning.  As for the rest of us, we began praying to heaven that Zschech would prove as bothersome to the enemy as he was to his own crew.”[36]  Paterson wrote, “This aspect of the relationship between Peter Zschech and Thilo Bode remains extremely conjectural with no evidence to support it other than Hans Goebeler’s recorded opinion.”[37]

Oberleutnant zur See (Ingenieur) Josef Hauser joined the crew of the U-505.[38] Hauser was only twenty-two years old and Thilo Bode later recounted in an interview conducted by U-505 Curator Keith Gill in Munich on April 18, 1999 that Hauser looked more like a boy scout than a naval officer.[39]   Hauser was younger than two of the N.C.O. machinists who were under his command.[40]  A preoccupation with his own beard led to Hauser being called der Waschbär (“the Raccoon”).[41]  On Thursday, October 22, 1942, Hauser officially became Chief Engineer of the U-505.[42]  Erich Altsellmeier, an engineering midshipman, also joined the crew of the U-505.[43]

Hauser was the second Nazi Party member to become an officer of the U-505. He had been only twelve years old when Hitler came to power.  Like virtually all other German and Austrian boys (including the future Pope Benedict XVI) he had been part of the Hitler Youth, but Hauser chose as an eighteen-year-old engineering student at Zweibrücken to join the N.S.D.A.P. as member #6,956,390 in September of 1938, so he was a real Nazi.[44]  [Membership in the Hitler Youth became mandatory in December of 1936.[45]]  By contrast, Wolfgang Schiller belonged to a Hitler Youth unit whose members were pledged to join the Nazi Party upon graduation, so his father, a member of the Catholic Center Party (which the Nazi Party banned, along with all other political parties, to create a one-party state) transferred him to another Hitler Youth unit to avoid automatic induction into the N.S.D.A.P.[46]

Hans Göbeler’s antipathy toward Josef Hauser was about as great as that toward Zschech and Bode.   “This swaggering, baby-faced engineering officer acted as though he knew everything about a U-boat, but it was immediately apparent that he knew almost nothing.  Our Chief Engineering Officer Fritz Förster had to teach Hauser virtually everything about his job.  On one of the first crash dives Hauser supervised, he came close to killing us all by diving U-505’s nose into the sea floor.  Only quick action by Förster saved us from certain doom.”[47]

Göbeler went on to negatively contrast Zschech, Bode, and Hauser with Löwe and the officers who were holdovers from his command.  “The officers acted as though fear was a better motivator than respect.  How different this was from Löwe, who always said that on a submarine, rank mattered nothing compared to how well a person did his job!”[48]


      Of course, anyone who has served in the military knows that a new commander always tries to ‘shake things up’ in his unit… to establish his authority… In the case of these three new officers, however, we thought they were going way too far.  Even… Förster and Stolzenburg agreed.  Our new skipper and his friends seemed to resent any advice from our old officers, even when presented in the most… deferential manner.[49]


The U-505 also gained two new petty officers before this operational patrol, one a diesel engine specialist and the other an electric motor specialist, both of whom came straight to the U-505 from Submarine School.[50]  Göbeler recalled they both demanded that the men salute them inside the U-boat corridor, and tried to win Zschech’s favor by having the men go through infantry drills and calisthenics during the patrol.[51]  “Luckily for everyone concerned, once we got our revenge [back in Lorient], they fit in perfectly with the rest of the crew.”[52]

The U-505 went on her third war cruise (and fourth operational patrol) from October 4, 1942 to December 12, 1942.[53]  The sendoff was more raucous than usual due to the popularity of Zschech.[54]  The operational area, once again, was the Caribbean Sea.[55]  At six o’clock in the evening on Sunday, October 4, 1942, the U-505 left Lorient.[56]  On this occasion, as the U-505 transited out of Lorient, the non-essential crew had to don lifejackets, assemble on the Upper Deck, and kneel until the U-505 cleared Lorient’s breakwaters because a few weeks previously another U-boat had sunk when she struck a mine.[57]   Even though she had sunk in only about three-three feet of water, only two crewmembers had survived, apparently because the shock wave had broken the backs of many of those submariners.[58] Göbeler, who was busy in the Control Room during the transit out of Lorient, was a little generous with the use of the word we when he wrote, “Furthermore, we were required to kneel, because it was believed this precaution would prevent our legs from being driven into our spines by the concussion.”[59]

This time, when the U-505 set out, she was equipped with a FuMB 1 (Funkmess Beobachtungs-Gerät 1), more commonly known as a Metox, a machine that detected radar pulses that bounced off a U-boat’s hull, which would warn the submariners of an airplane’s approach.[60]  This machine was manufactured by Metox-Grandin in Paris.[61]  It was used with a hand-cranked wire-strung wooden cruciform antenna called a Biscay Cross, which Göbeler later compared to police radar detectors.[62]  Fortunately for the Allies, and unfortunately for the Germans, Allied radar detection machines could detect Metox emissions.[63]

When the crewmen on watch began tossing off the ceremonial garlands before they lost sight of land, as was traditional, Kapitänleutnant Peter Zschech ordered the men to leave the garlands in place.[64]  As Stolzenburg protested it was customary for the men of the U-505 to throw the garlands overboard before they lost sight of land, Zschech yelled, “Kapitänleutnant Löwe is no longer in command of this boat!  This is my boat and I am the only who gives orders from now on.  I want everybody to understand that!”[65]  Many of the crewmen later traced the feeling Zschech brought them bad luck back to this incident.[66]  In general, Zschech, unlike Löwe, paid no respect to naval traditions or superstitions that were supposed to bring a U-boat good luck.[67]

The U-505 was bound for Trinidad, off the coast of Venezuela, in the Caribbean Sea.[68]  According to Göbeler, they only found this out when the BdU sent them a radio-telegram three days into the operational patrol on the night of Wednesday, October 7, 1942.[69]

The portside diesel engine failed on Thursday, October 8, 1942.[70]  Initially, the U-505 stayed deep underwater while the crew repaired the engine, but after the soundman heard an explosion and propeller noises to the west, Zschech took her up to periscope depth.[71]   He saw nothing, but the U-505 received a radio message from another U-boat that about fifty nautical miles away to the west there was a small convoy.[72]   The men were frustrated they could not join in the attack while the soundman heard additional explosions.[73]   Göbeler later claimed none of them really believed it, but some of them began to blame the bad luck on Zschech having prohibited them from discarding the garlands before they lost sight of the coast of Brittany.[74]  Given that both engines had just been overhauled, men began to speculate on whether the portside engine failure should be blamed on a defective part or sabotage by French dockyard workers.[75]

By Thursday, October 15, 1942, the fresh food that had not been consumed yet was already starting to go bad.  On that day, Göbeler had to pick “rotten potatoes out of the bags of provisions that still littered virtually every spare inch of the control room.  The stench of the black mushy potatoes mixed with the aroma of rotten eggs, diesel fumes, exhaust gas, and bilge water to create a hellish perfume I shall never forget.”[76]

Significantly, the chief engineer, Kapitänleutnant Fritz Förster remained with the U-505 for only eighteen days of the outbound U-boat’s first patrol under Zschech before he transferred to the inbound U-514 and headed back to Lorient on Thursday, October 22, 1942.[77]  [Förster returned to his native Krefeld, Rhineland-Westphalia, northwest of Düsseldorf, after the war and went to work as an engineer for a manufacturing company.[78]]  According to Göbeler, the U-505 received a radio-telegram message on Tuesday, October 20, 1942 that Förster was to return to Lorient aboard the U-514, and when the two U-boats rendezvoused for the transfer on October 20th.[79]

However, according to Mulligan, Förster had only been on the U-505 up to that point to train his replacement, Oberleutnant zur See (Ingenieur) Josef Hauser.[80]   Be that as it may, Göbeler recalled, “Förster’s departure was an emotional one, though none of us dared to make the full depth of our feelings known to Zschech’s clique of officers.”[81]

Zschech ran his crew through drills incessantly, but never seemed satisfied by their increased speed and proficiency.[82]  Göbeler was one of the men who sometimes had to perform waiter duties in the Officers’ Wardroom.[83]  It aggravated him how often they sent meals back to the Galley, as if they were in a restaurant and how crewmen who played the role of waiter had to stand at attention while they ate.[84]  Twice he found himself “in the bowls of the boat cleaning out the bilge” because he had stood at attention with insufficient rigidity while the officers ate or similar infractions.[85]   The seaman who acted as waiter, and, occasionally, cook Toni Kern would miss meals.[86]

While they were in the Central Atlantic, Zschech had Löwe’s emblem, a lion rampant holding an axe, blotted out, Admiral Gallery later explained.[87]  According to Göbeler, Zschech replaced the lion rampant holding an axe with Olympic Rings – a reference to Zschech having been part of the Naval Academy Class of 1936 – on the front of the Conning Tower and added larger axes (without lions) on the sides of the Conning Tower as a concession to the men as a show of continuity from the first skipper to the second.[88]  To view a picture of the U-505 Conning Tower with Zschech’s enlarged axe, see page 11 of Kriegsmarine U-boats 1939-45, Volume 2, by Gordon Williamson.

The U-505 arrived in her operational area off the coast of Trinidad on Sunday, November 1, 1942.[89]  She was supposed to hunt fuel tankers in the strait between Venezuela and Trinidad, with a focus on fuel tankers as they departed the Orinoco River.[90]  Once again, conditions aboard the U-505 were akin to a sauna.[91]  One of Göbeler’s favorite pastimes in this period was to secretly gaze in marvel (from the Control Room) through the open hatch into the Officer’s Wardroom where Hauser reportedly preen in front of a mirror for hours, trying to shape his beard to look correct and striking authoritative poses.[92]  [Even if it is true that Hauser spent an inordinate amount of time grooming and attempting to strike dynamic poses like Mussolini and Hitler, it seems unlikely that Zschech (or any other submarine commander) would tolerate the chief engineering officer doing so for hours on end on a front-line submarine in wartime.]  According to Göbeler, “The Raccoon loved to punish crewmen for even the slightest of infractions by subtracting days from their next furlough.”[93]

By comparison, Bode’s favorite punishment to dole out, according to Göbeler, “was to assign us to long periods of extra watch duty, often for doing nothing more than humming a tune while working.”[94]  Göbeler stated, “The Exec always spoke to us in a very nasty tone, continually belittling us as lazy and incompetent.”[95]

The U-505 encountered dolphins, again, and a school of hundreds of flying fish, which some of the men interpreted as a good omen, but a lack of targets led the BdU to order the U-505 to move closer to Barbados.[96]  Meanwhile, Metox alerts caused frequent crash dives to avoid Allied warplanes.[97]  Many of the men who worked with the engines were becoming ill, but Zschech would not relent about only allowing two men at a time on the Upper Deck to get fresh air.[98]  According to Göbeler, the crew found it humorous when the radioman who doubled as a medic examined the men with a magnifying glass in search of crabs they might have contracted during sex with prostitutes.[99]   Most of them were pest-free, but some of the men were infected and had to be treated.[100]

About midnight on Saturday, November 7, 1943, the U-505 began to chase a target and Göbeler ended up assisting Chief Navigator Alfred Reinig, who was using a sextant for celestial navigation, by writing down the minutes and seconds of the stars as Reinig shouted down their positions.[101]  Around 4:00 a.m., on having fired two torpedoes that went too fast and missed, the U-505 fired two torpedoes into, and sank, the freighter SS Ocean Justice, a British steamship with a cargo of 600 tons of manganese ore, at a point east of Trinidad.[102]  [Note that due to the difference between the U-505’s observance of Berlin Mean Time and the Ocean Justice’s observance of a local time zone, as far as the C.O. and crew of the U-505 were concerned, they sank the Ocean Justice on November 7th, but as far as the survivors of the Ocean Justice were concerned, they had been attacked on November 6th.[103]]   Zschech made no attempt to render aid to the survivors, which struck Göbeler as “heartless.”[104] Gallery observed, after he read the U-505 War Diary, that “Cszhech was a lot more cold-blooded about survivors than Löwe had been.”[105]  According to Göbeler and Mulligan, all fifty-four crewmen, including nine British gunners, survived the attack,[106] however, according to Paterson, two men died.[107]  Paterson further stated the H.M.S. Pimpernel rescued the survivors and conveyed them to Santiago de Cuba.[108]

Göbeler bemoaned, “Looking back with the advantage of hindsight, it is clear that the Allies were aware of our every move.  We didn’t fully realize it at the time, but the entire tide of the war in the Atlantic had turned decisively against our U-boats.  First of all, the build-up of enemy forces had made our previous tactics totally ineffective.  Gone were the days when we could maneuver primarily on the surface and dive only when conducting an attack or escaping.  The Metox device still warned us in time to avoid most air attacks, but once we were forced underwater, our speed was insufficient to catch all but the slowest of ships…”[109]

Over the course of November 9th and 10th, the crew noted that the Metox was malfunctioning.[110]  On Monday, November 9th, 1942, Chief Navigator Reinig made a point of wishing Göbeler a happy nineteenth birthday, which caused Göbeler to be filled with homesickness, but led to others wishing him well and to the officers placing him on the bridge for an hour so he could get fresh air.[111]

Göbeler later recalled that at midday on November 10th when the U-505 was finally able to surface for a prolonged period without being beset by Allied warplanes, Stolzenburg was suspicious, all the more so because cloud cover made it easier to attack the sub from the air.[112]  Löwe had called a heavy cloud cover and a calm sea “perfect air attack weather.”[113] Consequently, Stolzenburg wanted to double the number of men on watch on the bridge and adjust the trim so the U-boat could dive quicker, and advised Zschech accordingly.[114]  However, Zschech was not inclined to heed his advice and castigated him when Stolzenburg cited what Löwe would have done under these weather conditions.[115]  According to Admiral Gallery, Zschech argued, “With more lookouts it would take us longer to submerge – and we now have Metox.”[116]  Then around 3:14 in the afternoon, the crewmen of the U-505 heard contradictory alarms.[117]  One signaled an emergency dive, and the other was to man the anti-aircraft guns.[118]  Göbler could hear the roar of airplane engines and knew it had to be terribly close for him to hear it over the sound generated by the U-505’s own diesel engines.[119]

At 10:14 a.m. on Wednesday, November 10, 1942, a two-engine Hudson bomber in Royal Air Force Squadron 53 attacked the U-505, dropping four depth charges, one of which scored a direct hit on the 3.7 centimeter deck gun, according to Admiral Gallery.[120]  [The five-hour-long time discrepancy between when Admiral Gallery reckoned the attack occurred in his reconstruction of events and when Göbeler recalled it happened is explicable because of a difference in which time zone was being observed.  The U-505 was observing Berlin Time.  However, Admiral Gallery drew his information from the U-505’s own War Diary, so this explanation of the difference in the two different times recorded for the attack requires that Gallery translated the time recorded for the attack in the U-505 War Diary to Trinidad Time.]        The pilot was Australian Flight Sergeant R.R. Sillcock, who had damaged the U-155 and U-173 in previous attacks since August.[121]  The explosion that resulted from the destruction of the loaded deck gun badly damaged the U-boat and wounded Second Watch Officer Gottfried Stolzenburg and another crewman.[122]  [Note that other sources state two of the submariners were wounded, but Göbeler wrote about four wounded Germans.]  Decker recalled that Stolzenburg “had been hit in the back.”[123]  According to Mulligan, Stolzenburg “suffered head wounds, broken ribs, and a punctured lung.”[124]   The pressure hull had been punctured, the portside diesel engine was a loss, and the outer fuel tanks (between the pressure hull and the outer hull) on the portside leaked.[125]  The German submariners found the ruins of the U-505’s anti-aircraft guns, and the deck aft of the Conning Tower “was a junk heap of bent jagged plates and twisted pipes all tangled up in a rat’s nest of twisted metal,” as Gallery described it after he read the U-505 War Diary.[126]

Göbeler recalled, “It felt as if a giant fist had slammed the boat into the water.”[127]   Three more explosions followed the first.[128]  Göbeler wrote, “Our boat’s steel hull rang like a cathedral bell from the concussions.  This time the shock waves pushed our boat upward, sending anyone still standing after the first blast sailing through the air.”[129]  According to Göbeler, a petty officer he never identified by name who had been on the bridge was knocked by the first explosion into the Conning Tower and then knocked by the subsequent explosions into the Control Room, where he fell on his head in front of Göbeler.[130]  The lights went out and the air was filled with smoke.[131]  Göbeler likened the scene inside the U-505 to (the depiction of Hell in) Dante’s Inferno and related he felt an “animalistic desire” to escape and was uncertain if he should attribute the fact he did not flee for his life to his training, professional pride, or a desire not to be branded a coward, but, he noted, “None of us deserted our post.”[132]  The crewmen in the Control Room could hear men in the back shout there was a hole in the pressure hull.[133]  Seawater rushed in, filled the diesel engine bilge, and flooded the Engine Room.[134]   The depth meter showed the U-505 was sinking.[135]

According to Decker, when Zschech reached the Bridge, he saw the wounded Stolzenburg.[136]  “It looked as if a bulldozer had run over the deck – twisted steel, crumpled sheet metal, broken and twisted pipelines.  Sections of the false hull [meaning the outer hull] had disappeared.  The 37mm anti-aircraft cannon had been blown overboard.  And from behind the ship streamed an ever widening ribbon of a thick black substance.  The bombs had split open our fuel tanks.”[137]

Göbeler gave a more extreme description of these events.  In his narrative, Zschech climbed up the ladders from the Control Room, through the Conning Tower, to stand on the Bridge, and was so shaken by what he saw that he gave the command to abandon ship.[138]  Diesel Chief Petty Officer Otto Fricke stormed into the Control Room and exclaimed, “Well, you can do what you want, but the technical crew is staying on board to keep her afloat!”[139]  Chastened, Zschech replied, “All right then, do what you can,” but by then Fricke was gone.[140]  The crew filled the hull breach with a rubber sheet, reinforced with a piece of wood.[141]  Göbeler recalled, “Luckily, the main pump was still working, so despite numerous leaks all along the length of the port diesel engine, the water gradually stopped rising in the engine room.  By switching the air supply for the starboard diesel [engine] to the interior of the boat, Fricke was able to suck the suffocating smoke out of the boat.”[142]

When that emergency repair work was done inside the pressure hull, Göbeler stated men went on deck and saw what had caused their skipper to order them to abandon ship earlier.[143]  “The wooden planks of the upper deck aft of the conning tower looked as if a bulldozer had plowed across them.  In the center of the damage, an enormous hole gaped half way across the entire topside hull of the boat, exposing a jumble of smashed and broken equipment below.  Our 37mm anti-aircraft gun had been blown completely overboard by the force of the blasts, its mounting bolts sheered off as cleanly cut by a razor.  Fully half of the steel side plates of the conning tower were either gone or hanging limply, clanging against each other in time with the gentle rocking of the waves.  One depth charge (or bomb at that point we weren’t sure which) had exploded on the pressurized tubes where the spare torpedoes were stored, completely destroying one of the torpedoes except for the warhead section.  If that torpedo warhead had gone off, none of us would have survived.”[144]


      Despite the enormous damage to the conning tower, Leutnant (Ensign) Stolzenburg and the other two men standing watch on the bridge were still alive.  They were laying unconscious on the bridge deck, drenched in seawater and their own blood.  Stolzenburg was badly wounded and bleeding heavily from shrapnel wounds in his head and back.[145]


The Hudson was too close to the U-boat when it attacked and crashed into the sea with loss of all life – Sillcock and his crew of four airmen – on the plane.[146]   On deck, three German outlooks saw the bodies of the two R.A.F. airmen floating, facedown, on the surface of the ocean, as well as their two badly injured comrades on the deck in Admiral Gallery’s reconstruction of events.[147]  Decker wrote, “Zschech looked hurriedly upward.  Why no further attack?  We were defenseless; unable to dive.  Then he saw why.  Off to starboard drifted part of the plane’s fuselage, and on our foredeck lay a section of a bright yellow wing.  Below, we discovered that the after bulkhead of the engine room had buckled; the water had come from our fresh water cooling pipes, smashed in by a huge dent in the pressure hull over the port diesel [engine].”[148]

Göbeler reported they saw one airman’s body floating on a fragment of an airplane wing and when it sank it took the body with it.[149]  Years later, Göbeler learnt the pilot was Australian Flight Sergeant Ronald Sillcock, the plane was a two-engine bomber, a Lockheed Hudson (Number PZ/L) with the British Coastal Command’s #53 Squadron out of Trinidad’s Edinburgh airfield, when he read Gaylord Kelshall’s book The U-boat War in the Caribbean.[150]

Göbeler paid tribute to Sillcock, whom he described as “a veteran Australian aviator generally considered the top submarine hunter in #53 Squadron.”[151]


      Sillcock and his seasoned multinational aircrew had already scored hits against two other U-boats in recent weeks.  In one attack, he heavily damaged Kapitänleutnant Piening’s U-155 off the coast of Martinique.  Just a few days later, Sillcock once again demonstrated his superb bombing accuracy by attacking and nearly sinking Schweichel’s U-173.  It was said that Sillcock, using the Hudson’s unique depth charge spreading device to maximum effectiveness, had never missed a target.[152]

The Flight Sergeant fabulous success was based on a bombing tactic he personally developed, one that neatly turned our increasing reliance on the Metox radar warning device to his advantage.  Over the course of several days… Sillcock would repeatedly patrol the suspected location of a U-boat using his ASV airborne search radar turned on, pinpointing the sub’s position, but not attacking.  This lulled the sub into a false sense of security by leading it to believe that its Metox would be 100% reliable in warning of any plane in the vicinity.  Then, when cloudy conditions limited the ability of German lookouts to spot the approach of his aircraft, Sillcock would patrol the boat’s location with his radar turned off.  Once his lookouts… spotted the U-boat, Sillcock would dive out of the sun with his engines feathered, silently and invisibly gliding down towards his target like a giant hawk.  At the last minute, he would turn his engines on again, drop his bomb load, and pull out of the dive.[153]

Sadly for Sillcock and his crew, this time his aim was too perfect.  The direct hit on our aft deck directed the force of the depth charge’s blast upward, blowing his aircraft to pieces.  His tactics had worked perfectly, but the sub-hunting ace became a victim of his own skill.[154]


Initially, the U-505 was unable to dive.[155]  An oil slick trailed behind the U-505 because one of the fuel bunkers had ruptured.[156]  To repair the pressure hull breach, a group of crewmen from the Control Room that included Göbeler used an acetylene torch to cut away damaged plates from the deck and Conning Tower, bent the scrap metal in the appropriate shape with sledgehammers, and then with power from one of the electric motors arc-welded the steel patches over the hole in the pressure hull.[157]  Their efforts to repair the fuel tank rupture were unsuccessful and the U-505 continued to leak fuel.[158]  One of the diesel engine muffles needed to be remounted and there were both water intakes and exhaust valves that had to be freed.[159] These makeshift repairs undertaken during the night allowed for limited diving capability.[160]

According to Decker, “The engine gang started repairs on the broken water pipes, while the deck crew cleared off as much as they could topside.  They found the pressure lockers for our two spare torpedoes split wide open.  They jettisoned the torpedoes.  We flanged over the hole in the pressure hull but couldn’t get the other diesel [engine] working.”[161]

While they were repairing the U-505’s Upper Deck, the men gathered “several pieces of bright yellow Duraluminum from Sillcock’s aircraft scattered on our deck” and the machinist used the scrap metal to make tiny war axes the men could affix to their hats.[162]  Göbeler explained, “This was in no way a demonstration of disrespect for the crew of the aircraft that had nearly killed us.  Like so many men during World War II, they had to pay with their lives for doing their duty for their country.  We respected them for that, and indeed, were filled with great admiration for their skill and courage.”[163]  Unlike the Saint Christopher’s medal that Jeanette had given him, Göbeler still had his axe when he wrote Steel Boats, Iron Hearts.[164]

In Admiral Gallery’s reconstruction of events, the U-505 rendezvoused with the U-105 to receive morphine.[165]  However, according to Göbeler, after the U-505 surfaced to send a message to the BdU, the BdU directed the U-505 to rendezvous with the U-154, which took place at 6:20 p.m. on November 13th, as a result of which the U-505 received twenty ampules of morphine.[166]  Göbeler helped remove damaged torpedoes from their storage tubes under the planks of the Upper Deck.[167]  One torpedo had been blown into two pieces while others had hundreds of holes and cracks.[168]  The submariners had to use block and tackle to hoist every damaged torpedo from storage and then throw it overboard.[169]

Göbeler noted, “Adding insult to injury, Zschech and his bosom buddy Bode continued their abusive behavior toward us.  But we crewmen were happy to discover that during this time of emergency, each one of us had particular talents and skills that we could apply to our tasks.  As each assignment was completed, we felt prouder and prouder of ourselves.  It was as if we were fighting four enemies: the sea, the British, the damaged machinery, and our own officers… and we were beating them all!”[170]

On Sunday, November 22, 1942, the U-505 rendezvoused with U-462, a milchkuh under the command of Leutnant zur See Bruno Vowe (1904-1978), which was already servicing the U-68 and U-332, to take on fuel, spare parts, food, and transfer Second Watch Officer Gottfried Stolzenburg, who had been badly wounded in the British bomber’s ill-fated attack, to the U-462 to receive medical treatment and eventually return to Germany.[171]  [Göbeler was part of a group that was supposed to load provisions into food lockers, and they availed themselves of the opportunity to steal hard salami and knockwurst which they squirreled away in hiding places in the Control Room to snack on later.[172]  This occurred with the connivance of the U-505’s cook, Toni, who appropriated food intended for officers, including whole truffles and goose liver paté.[173]  For the rest of the voyage, the Control Room and Diesel Engine Room crewmen would silently communicate with each other when it was safe to have one of these snacks beyond the prying eyes of officers.[174]]  Note that according to Decker, this occurred on November 28, 1942 and on that that same day they were able to get the portside diesel engine working again.[175]

The U-505 also received spare parts from the U-68.[176]  Leutnant zur See Knoke came aboard to replace Stolzenburg for the return to base.[177]  That same day, engineering midshipman Erich Altesellmeier was promoted to leutnant.[178]  Leutnant Altesellmeier later became Chief Engineer of the U-377 and died when the U-377 sank in January of 1944.[179]

As they returned to base, the U-505 chased a freighter and fired six torpedoes, none of which made contact, according to Admiral Gallery and Dr. Mulligan.[180]  Some of the crewmen even later claimed to U.S. Naval Intelligence (after Gallery captured the U-505) that one of the torpedoes had circled back on the U-505 and left a dent, which they saw she was in dry-dock in Lorient undergoing repairs.[181]  [This is possible, if the torpedo slammed into the U-505 but the detonator failed, yet it is also possible that this damage was done by one of the Allied bombs that exploded around the U-505.[182]]  According to Decker, on the afternoon of November 28, 1942, the U-505 wasted four torpedoes in two surface attacks on a single ship with no hits, and the following night they overshot when they fired a torpedo at a second ship.[183]


The next night we spotted a ship aft, just where the others had come up from.  A ghost ship, we began to think.  This time Zschech made a long shot.  We waited and counted the seconds.  A thud came all right, but against our own hull!  A circular run or perhaps the enemy?  All stations reported ‘Clear.’  It had been a dud.  ‘That’s enough for this trip!’ exclaimed our Captain.[184]


As per usual, Göbeler gave a more detailed and colorful version of events.

According to Göbeler, on November 23rd, Zschech spotted a freighter and gave chase but with only one working diesel engine the U-505 could not keep up, yet because of a change in course the freighter made before midnight the U-505 was able to close in for the kill.[185]  However, due to diving tanks leaks, the U-505 could not keep steadily at periscope depth.[186]   Zschech faulted the Engineering Officer and continued to chase the freighter until the batteries were nearly exhausted, at which point Zschech told his men to stand down.[187]   The next night, the U-505 chased a 6,000-ton freighter and Zschech fired two torpedoes at long range, but they missed.[188]    The mechanics concluded the torpedo gyros had been damaged in Sillcock’s air attack on the U-505. [189]    Undeterred, Zschech ordered the engine run at full speed and ignored the diesel crew when they pleaded with him to slow down lest the engine blow a piston and strand them in the middle of the Atlantic.[190]    Not quite one hour later, Zschech fired a torpedo 4,000 meters from the target (when Göbeler believed Löwe would not have fired a torpedo at a target more than 1,500 meters away).[191]  To Göbeler, Zschech had become like Captain Ahab of the whaleship Pequod obsessed with killing the white whale to the detriment of everything else in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick.[192]  The telltale clang of one metal object striking another told the submariners the torpedo Zschech fired had circled back and struck the U-505.[193]  Once its motor stopped running, it then sank into the ocean depths before it exploded. [194]

Zschech feared other torpedoes might be circling the U-505 and as a precaution dove deeper, but an exhaust valve that had been damaged in the air attack stuck in the open position, as a result of which one of the U-505’s buoyancy tanks flooded.[195]   The U-505 began an uncontrolled dive that could have ended in the deaths of everyone aboard her.[196]  Göbeler wrote, “We sank to a dangerous depth before we were finally able to pull our boat’s bow up and power our way back to the surface with electric motors.  Our double brush with death finally shook Zschech out of his blood lust.  We gave up the fruitless chase of the freighter and resumed a course for home.  Zschech went to sulk in his cabin, the wind completely taken out of his sails.”

According to Göbeler, they surfaced the next day to assess the damage the torpedo had done to the U-505 and could not find any damage to the outer hull, but later when the U-505 was in dry dock back in Lorient they found a dent.[197]  Göbeler believed other submarines had been struck by their own torpedoes during the war but the U-505 may have been the only one to survive the experience.[198]

On Monday, November 30, 1942, the U-505 rendezvoused with another milchkuh, the U-461, to receive replacement radar detector equipment and medical supplies, according to Mulligan.[199]  Göbeler did not mention those items, but did relate the U-461 transferred to the U-505 a new antenna cross for the U-505’s Metox device and a sailor who had caught a venereal disease in Lorient.[200]  The doctor who had transferred from the U-462 to the U-505 quarantined this sailor for the rest of the voyage, which in practice meant he had to spend the next eleven days in the Forward Torpedo Room’s washroom.[201]

The U-505 passed through a cold front on Thursday, December 3, 1942.[202]  At this point, the submariners were acclimated to the warm waters of the Caribbean and found it necessary to wrap towels around their midsections.[203]  On or around December 5th, someone noticed a dent in the pressure hull left by Sillcock’s air attack was caving inward.[204]  Every time the U-boat dove, the dent would bend in farther.[205]  The understandably anxious submariners began to pray they would not have to dive deeper than forty or fifty meters beneath the surface.[206]  The submariners took heart when a sailor who had received a scalp wound in the air attack was able to take his first unassisted walk around this time, but the petty officer who had fallen on the deck in front of Göbeler during the air attack remained bedridden.[207]

At eight o’clock in the morning on Saturday, December 12, 1942, the U-505 met her escort and after two-and-a-half hours arrived at the pier at Lorient, the most badly damaged U-boat ever to return to port.[208]  The submariners could hear the cries of dismay from the crowd of hundreds of people at the pier to greet them: the musicians from the military band, soldiers, nurses, and shipyard workers.[209]  Several hundred more people soon appeared to gawk.[210]  Thus ended a sixty-nine-day-long patrol.[211]  The 2nd Flotilla staff officers led the throng of spectators in three cheers for the U-505.[212]

According to Göbeler, at that point, Zschech stepped forward to formally greet Korvettenkapitän Viktor Schütz, “U-505 reporting back from war patrol.”[213]  Schütze replied, “Glad you made it home!  Hail to the crew of U-505.” [214]  The crewmen then shouted with one voice, “Hail, Herr Korvettenkapitän!” [215]   Angered that Schütz had acknowledged his men (rather than him), Zschech whirled around and hissed that they were dismissed.[216] The crewmen cheered and while most of them were able to go back inside the U-505, retrieve their bags, and go get showers in the barracks, a few of them had to remain aboard to secure machinery before they were relieved by the Flotilla Reserve.[217]  According to Decker, “The whole 2nd Flotilla staff came aboard, and after Zschech made his report, we all heard the Flotilla engineer remark, ‘This is the most damaged boat ever to come back under its own power.’”[218]

Göbeler was disappointed not to see Jeanette’s face in the crowd.[219]    He found on his journey to the barracks that the vessels that escorted the U-505 to Lorient had been armed specifically to repel an attack from the air foreshadowed the condition of the port-city.[220]   Everywhere, he saw craters and burnt-out buildings.[221]  Later that afternoon, when the U-505 crewmen assembled for the usual banquet, they found pristine tablecloths lined with the customary display of beer, cognac, and liqueurs, but due to wartime food rationing there was less variety and quantity of food was noticeably less than the feast they had been offered after their first war patrol.[222]   After an hour of drinking, the mail was distributed and many of the men received bad news about losses incurred in Allied air raids on German cities or brothers and uncles who were known to have died in battle or were missing in action.[223]   Soon, the drunken submariners began to sing bitter songs and the 2nd U-boat Flotilla staff officers discretely departed and the U-505’s officers followed suit.[224]

The next morning, when a boatswain’s mate whistled for the U-505 crewmen to awake, they hurled pillows and shoes at him but they were dressed by the time he arrived with his commander.[225]  Zschech apprised the men after they ate breakfast that half of them would go on furlough and the rest would help the shipyard workers repair the U-505 and undergo infantry drills.[226]  Prior to departing for their U-boat the crew saw the petty officer who had landed on his head in front of Göbeler, who remained deaf and confused.[227]  Göbeler noted that Zschech neither thanked the poor fellow nor bade farewell.[228]  They never saw him again.[229]

Göbeler was part of a group of Control Room crewmen who went to the U-505 by way of a longboat and found she was not yet in dry-dock.[230]    The Chief Engineer of the 2nd U-boat Flotilla was aboard her with other officials to assess the damage from Sillcock’s air attack and produced a report that concluded the U-505 was the most badly damaged U-boat to make it back to port under her own power, a record the U-505 held for the rest of the war.[231]

Zschech was disinclined to give enlisted men an award higher than the Iron Cross, Second Class, and was not willing to give even that award to several men (including Göbeler) whom Löwe had recommended should receive it on the previous war patrol.[232]  After he gave out a handful of Iron Crosses to his favorites, Zschech handed out a larger number of the U-Bootkampfabzeichen (Submarine Combat Badge), a golden badge that was accompanied by an Urkunde (certificate) signed by Admiral Dönitz.[233]  Göbeler noted that his comrades who kept their U-Bootkampfabzeichen and Urkunde with them on the U-505 lost them to American souvenir- hunters when the U-505 was captured, but because he had sent his original badge and award certificate back to his parents, he still had them as of the time he wrote his memoirs.[234]  He further recalled that Bode ruined the ceremony by berating the Electric Motor Mate for having a slovenly appearance, but the man remained at attention, refusing to be goaded into saying or doing something that would end his career, until Bode grew bored and allowed him to return to the formation.[235]  “From then on, everyone in the crew made a point of giving the Exec the cold shoulder.”[236]

Admiral Dönitz wrote a commendation letter to the crew of the U-505.[237]  The staff of Admiral Dönitz added a comment to the War Diary of the U-505.  “Mission broken off because of extremely heavy bomb damage… The air attack came as a surprise without warning from the Metox.  The electronic detection device must never lead to relaxation of the lookouts on the bridge.”[238]


The toughness and stamina of the Commandant who tried to attack despite his heavily damaged boat should be specially mentioned.[239]


On this cruise, the U-505 went 10,876 nautical miles: 10,250 nautical miles surfaced (94.2%) and 626 submerged (5.8%), a ratio of sixteen to one, whereas Löwe had a ratio of having traveled forty times as far surfaced as he had submerged on his first cruise and twenty-five times as far surfaced as he had submerged on his second cruise.[240]  This was a sign that while the Axis Powers were still winning the war, the Allies were doing better.[241]  Stolzenberg survived to command the training U-boats U-11 and U-554 and at war’s end was Commandant of the U-2543, one of the advanced Type XXI U-boats.[242]

From Sunday, December 13, 1942 and Wednesday, June 30, 1943, the U-505 underwent major repairs and reconstruction of the bridge platform to accommodate a new battery of anti-aircraft guns.[243] The U-505’s pressure hull needed thirty-six square meters (118.11 square feet) of plating, her portside diesel engine needed to be rebuilt, and she needed to undergo extensive repairs to her interior.[244]  It was while boat was being repaired that her Conning Tower underwent the Turm 4 conversion.[245] This was the replacement of one 37mm (3.7cm) Flak and one 20mm (2cm) Flak with the Wintergarten (“winter-garden”), which had two platforms supporting a total of three Flak guns (two 20mm and one 37mm).  In early 1943, the size of the crew increased from fifty men to fifty-two and the composition of the crew changed because the two midshipmen and one of the chief petty officers departed, the number of petty officers increased from twelve to thirteen, and the number of non-rated enlisted men increased from twenty-eight to thirty-two.[246] Later in the year, from the late summer to the autumn of 1943, each Type IX-C U-boat gained around ten crewmen, including additional radiomen and gunners to operate the anti-aircraft guns.[247]

With Zschech as C.O., the relationship between the officers and crewmen of the U-505 was much more formal than it had been under Löwe, and Mulligan speculated this was “reinforced by the submarine’s protracted stay in port to undergo repairs and refitting.”[248]  According to Göbeler, Zschech was arrogant, insisted the men observe formalities in the Officers’ Wardroom, was frequently angry with the men, and had them run extra drills.[249]   Once, he commanded a dirty, perspiring torpedoman who was trying to get through the Officers’ Wardroom, “Get your filthy carcass out of the officers’ quarters!”[250]  In an interview U-505 Curator Keith Gill conducted at the M.S.I. in 1999, Machinist’s Mate Karl Spengler recalled, “Zschech was not an officer you could talk to, instead he just gave orders…I suspect he had it in for us petty officers, because of some bad experiences he’d had as a midshipman.”[251]

In December of 1942, Oberleutant zur See Paul Meyer transferred onto the U-505 to become Second Watch Officer.[252]  Born in Zoppot (now Sopot), a resort town in Eastern Pomerania (which is now in Poland), Meyer was not a Naval Academy graduate, but rather had risen up through the ranks.[253]  He enlisted in the Kriegsmarine in 1936 and served aboard a commerce raider that captured an Allied vessel and brought it back to Germany, after which he received an officer’s commission.[254]  According to Göbeler, “We liked Meyer from the start.  He had originally served as Navigation Chief Petty Officer on an auxiliary cruiser, where he had been promoted to officer rank for his bravery in action.”[255]  Subsequently, he served aboard the destroyer Z30 for eight months, after which he underwent U-boat training.[256]  The enlisted men identified with him because he had started out as an enlisted man.[257]  Göbeler noted, “His experience as an enlisted man made him relate to us more as a comrade than as a superior…  Meyer, on his own initiative, discarded the infantry drills in favor of team sports.  This was a much more enjoyable way for us to get our physical conditioning.  Before long, Paul Meyer was the most popular officer on board.”[258]

Göbeler recollected that after the awards ceremony on December 13th the crew was given liberty to enter the town, with a curfew of ten o’clock, but the men had no intention of being back by then. They were confident they could still use secret methods of entering and exiting the base unbeknownst to the guards they had learnt earlier and took the precaution of placing helmets, rolled-up clothes, and shoes under the blankets in their bunks to make it look like they were back in bed on time. Once off base, they saw whole neighborhoods of Lorient had been reduced to rubble in British air raids, but were relieved to find the entertainment district was untouched.  Göbeler was bitterly disappointed when he arrived at the brothel and had been drinking for some time to find out that Jeanette had quit without notice and left town.  His friends convinced him to go with another prostitute… When Göbeler’s group left the brothel, Lorient came under an another air attack, but the drunken submariners did not immediately seek out a bomb shelter as any sensible person would have done until they reached the town square and realized a 37mm anti-aircraft gun atop a six story building was firing back.[259]

It dawned on the submariners in the square for such a small flak gun to be firing back, the planes had to be very close indeed and they tried to enter the bomb shelter in the square, which could hold hundreds of people.  They raced down twenty stairs only to see they were too late as the iron door closed in front of them.  The only thing Göbeler and the other submariners could do was curl up in the stairwell that led down to the bomb shelter. After four or five blasts, they pounded on the door to be let in, and when they realized the people within were unmoved by their pleas, they fled to the building with the flak gun in the hope that bombers would veer around it.[260]

They passed stunned and disoriented survivors in the square on their way to the building, where they found one of the explosions had blown the doors inward.  They were halfway up the stairs when another wave of bombers hit the area, they could hear the anti-aircraft gun firing at planes, and then they felt as well as heard a bomb score a direct hit on the gun.  One of the building’s exterior walls collapsed.  Göbeler and his friend Willi made it to the roof and found only one of the gunners was still alive, though badly injured.  The others had simply disappeared. They either had been blown to pieces or blown off the building. Hans and Willi carried the gunner down the stairs, but when they reached the ground floor, Willi dropped the man’s legs. Göbeler turned to see his friend was frozen in terror at the sight of a large, unexploded bomb. They knew the British sometimes dropped bombs that on first inspection appeared to be duds but were actually time bombs, so they expeditiously carried the injured gunner out of the building.[261]

With his next observation, Göbeler gave readers interesting insight into how and many other Germans perceived the war.  “On the way, we passed an old Catholic church.  Twenty minutes ago it had been a beautiful landmark, one of my favorites in all of Lorient.  Now it was nothing but a smoking shell of a building.  It angered me that nothing was to be left sacred in this war.  I cursed the unholy alliance between the British capitalists and the Russian communists, whose brutal determination to conquer Germany and incorporate it into their empires was bringing such destruction to Europe.”[262]

Hans and Willi handed the injured gunner over to the medic at the bomb shelter and made their way back to base.  Göbeler likened the landscape to a medieval paintings that depicted Hell. The streets were cratered, buildings were on fire, sirens wailed, and women and children cried out, while Military Policemen attempted and failed to restore order.  Families piled their remaining worldly possessions into horse-drawn carts and left town, something the British Government had urged them to do weeks earlier in pamphlets the R.A.F. dropped on the town. “We were surprised to find the harbor area totally undamaged.  Apparently, the bombing attack had not been targeted at our U-boat base at all.  Rather, the British seemed to be deliberately taking aim at the civilian population of Lorient, presumably to deprive us of our shipyard workforce.”[263]

As a result of a heavy Allied air raid that devastated Lorient on Thursday, January 14, 1943, Admiral Dönitz moved the residences of the U-boat crews from Lorient to Lager Lemp outside of town, according to Mulligan.[264]  [Note that Göbeler recounted these events in his memories, but, while he did not give a date for the air raid that reduced the U-boat crew barracks to rubble, he did imply it occurred over the night of Monday, December 14, 1942 and Admiral Dönitz moved the men to Lager Lemp on Tuesday, December 15, 1942.[265]]  Göbeler described Lager Lemp as “a former physical rehabilitation camp about eight kilometers east of Lorient.”[266] During this period, the U-505 crewmen (who were not on furlough) would commute by bus between Lager Lemp, where they slept and ate, and the naval base at Lorient, where they helped prepare the U-505 for her next war patrol.[267]

By this point, the U-505 was undergoing repairs at the Keroman docks.[268]  Since the longboats went exclusively to the submarine pens, Hans and Willi chose to walk to the Keroman repair docks, and their route took them through what remained of Lorient.[269]   While they were en route to the repair docks, they sought shelter in a cemetery during an air raid.[270]  From a brass plaque on an exposed casket, they could read they were in the presence of a former frigate captain, which they found unnerving, so they ran to the U-boat bunkers, where they felt safe under seven-meter-thick roofs.[271]   They slept that night aboard the U-505, but spent the next month sleeping and dining at Lager Lemp, which became home to crewmen from both the 2nd and 10th U-boat Flotillas.[272]   Göbeler recalled the submariners shivered their first night at Lager Lemp because their wool blankets had burnt in the air raid at the navy base.[273]  The first time the U-505 crewmen came back to Lager Lemp to eat lunch they found the base had been covered with camouflage nets to mislead Allied airmen.[274]

The community known in Breton as Pont-Skorf and in French as Pont-Scorff [which Göbeler misspelt “Pont Scorf”], which lies on the River Scorff, was the only town near Lager Lemp.[275]  Göbeler noted that he spent more time at the U-bootsheim at Lager Lemp than he had at Lorient because the small community of Pont Scorf lacked the entertainment district like Lorient’s.[276]  Heer (German Army) soldiers garrisoned in the area resented the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) men because they were competition for the small number of local French girls and the U-boat recreation center offered luxurious not available to soldiers.[277]    The submariners could eat gourmet food, drinks wines and liqueurs, watch movies, listen to concerts, and dance with Breton girls.[278]  In time, the submariners began to invite soldiers to the U-bootsheim.[279]  Soon, French merchants who sold scarves, silk stockings, champagne and liqueurs, and books that featured cheesecake pictures of glamor models set up shop around Lager Lemp and prostitutes showed up as well.[280]

At Lager Lemp, there were no bomb shelters.  Instead, the submariners were expected to hide in slit trenches during air raids.[281]    During one such air raid, Göbeler recalled, the men discovered there was a place where they could make a tunnel under the perimeter fence so they could sneak out of the base at night.[282]  “From then on, we were free to make unauthorized forays into town whenever we wished.”[283]  [Notice this is a matter of lust overriding common sense.  They compromised the security of the base.  For the sake of being able to carouse in taverns and cavort with prostitutes without the knowledge of the Military Police, they dug a tunnel under the fence that could just as easily have been used by the French Resistance or Allied commandos.]  “Some of our crew mates, for some strange reason, never liked to leave the barracks.  While we were out on one of our late night expeditions, they would arrange our bed sheets to create the impression we were asleep in our bunks.  The payment demanded for such consideration?  Make a complete report to them of all experiences, including the tiniest, most sordid detail.  I could never understand why they didn’t just go out and experience these things firsthand for themselves.”[284]

Göbeler also recounted that the U-505 crewmen found out from 10th Flotilla men there was a Breton farmer who sold calvados  (apple cider brandy traditionally made in Normandy, Maine, and Brittany) to Germans behind his wife’s back.[285]  [Naturally, Göbeler likened calvados to schnapps.  It is also like Somerset Cider Brandy, which is made from apples grown in England’s Somerset County.]  Best of all, for the submariners, the farmer accepted Renten Marks.[286]

By year’s end, the Conning Tower of the U-505 had been removed, as had damaged parts of the hull, with the result that to Göbeler she looked “like one of those cut-away display models used for training.”  During his free time, Göbeler collected scrap metal for him and his colleagues to make handmade souvenirs while at sea, such as U-505 axes.  He explicated at this point in his book that the insignia and medals on the uniforms of submariners were fashioned out of either aluminum or brass because these metals “would not rust at sea and were poor conductors of electricity.  It wouldn’t do to cause an electrical short with one’s cap insignia!”[287]

Increasingly, Göbeler spent time in the Breton community of Hennebont, which he found had all the charm of Lorient, bur where he ran into fewer of his fellow sailors.  He particularly liked the castle.  The submariners who spent their free time in Hennebont had to be careful, though, because French Resistance fighters sometimes ambushed submariners on the road from Lager Lemp to Hennebont.  Rather than avoiding Hennebont, in response the submariners began to walk cross country through fields.  Occasionally, as a result, parties of submariners took French Resistance fighters unawares.[288]

Around Christmas, a group of high-ranking German military and paramilitary officers visited the U-505 in the course of inspecting Atlantic defenses.  The group was led by Heer (German Army) Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (1891-1944), who had gained fame as commanding officer of the Afrika Korps (Africa Corps), and Luftwaffe (German Air Force) General Adolf Galland (1912-1996), who had gained fame as an ace fighter pilot. The delegation included representatives from virtually every branch of the Wehrmacht services as well as the Waffen-SS including Fallschirmjägers (paratroopers) and Panzers (tanks).  Göbeler was not able to overhear much of what Generalfeldmarshall (Field Marshal) Rommel said, but could see him nod his head several times at damage Sillcock’s air attack had wrought on the U-505 before the Desert Fox wished the crew of the U-505 good luck and led the delegation away.[289]

By January of 1943, Göbeler recounted, most civilians had evacuated Lorient.  The Luftwaffe aided in increasing the level of camouflage for Lager Lemp with reconnaissance flights overhead that revealed flaws. During daytime air raids on Lager Lemp were not as common as nighttime air raids, but when they occurred the submariners could see (from their trenches) Luftwaffe fighter planes try to knock the Allied bombers out of the sky before they released their payloads but bombers always got through. To make it harder for bombers to find the submariners while they commuted in buses between Lager Lemp and the naval base at Lorient, German air defense units generated huge smoke screens.[290]

While Göbeler was on furlough, he saw the damage that Allied air raids had wrought on Germany. He spent the first two weeks of his furlough with his parents in Bottendorf.  He noted that neighbors visited with gifts of foodstuffs for him or to bring back to his crewmates and that these gifts may seem modest to readers but anyone who has lived through wartime food rationing would appreciate these gifts were sacrificial. Göbeler spent a lot of time in taverns in the town of Frankenburg, which dismayed his mother, but his father defended him.  On one of these trips, Göbeler reconnected with the blonde daughter of a neighboring farmer, whom he had not seen in two years.  He took her to do some sightseeing in Vienna, but when he brought her back to Frankenburg they had a long conversation about their futures.    “I liked her very much, but given the dismal chances of survival for us U-boat crewmen, I didn’t feel it was fair for me to promise anything permanent.”  He spent the final two days of his furlough with his parents, but procrastinated and when he arrived at the train station in Frankenburg he discovered the train to Frankfurt had been cancelled.  Thus, he would miss the train to Paris, be late returning to Lorient, and be placed in the brig for three days.  Göbeler’s father was a railway official and intervened on his behalf.   An old steam locomotive took him to Marburg, where a train waited for three minutes after its scheduled departure so he could board and ride to Frankfurt.[291]

From the 10th to the 26th of February, 1943, the entire U-505 crew was on leave in Schliersee, Bavaria, a lakeside town that was the sponsor town of the U-505, and the U-boat recreation facility at the resort town of Bad Wiessee,[292] both towns in the Landkries (administrative district) of Miesbach of the Regierungsbezirk (province) of Upper Bavaria in the Free State of Bavaria, a Federal State of Germany.  Göbeler explained Bad Wiessee was an Alpine ski resort and Hotel Wolf was a U-boot-Sportheim “renowned for its luxurious accommodations.”[293]

Upon their return to base, the U-505 crewmen saw the whole Conning Tower and 105mm deck gun were gone.  Decker commented, “There would be no more surface artillery attacks.”[294]  In front of the new Conning Tower in place of the deck gun was a four-barreled 20mm anti-aircraft gun.[295]  Behind the Conning Tower was a platform called a Wintergarten (Winter Garden) that accommodated two twin-barreled 20mm guns.[296]  Under the outer hull, dockworkers had “riveted and welded” thirty-six-square-meters of plating to the pressure hull.[297]  A “quieter, more powerful” electric motor had replaced one of the original units.[298]

The longer they were in port, the less money the U-505 crewmen had to spend, but the crewmen of other U-boats treated them out to dinners and drinks.[299]  In March of 1943, Göbeler went with the same group that had gotten in trouble before to the anti-aircraft gunnery school the Germans had built at the seaside community of Mimizan, Aquitaine in southern France.[300]  While they were en route to Mimizan, they had a five-hour-long stopover in the port-city of Bordeaux, which was another French city where the Kriegsmarine had built a submarine base.[301]  In the Sailor’s Quarter, they ran across submariners who had formerly been in Lorient and had only returned to Bordeaux the previous week and thus had ready money and offered to pay for drinks for the group of U-505 men.[302]  Military Policemen showed up and literally threw them on the train.[303]

By March of 1943, eight of the U-505’s crewmen were married and four of them had children.[304]  On Thursday, April 1, 1943, Oberleutnant zur See Peter Zschech was promoted to Kapitänleutnant (Captain-Lieutenant, the equivalent of a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy).[305]  Göbeler stated by May of 1943 the repairs to the U-505 were nearly complete and she had a new silhouette.[306]  The U-505 also gained new a type of “torpedoes that could be programmed to run in predetermined patterns,” as well as “new radio and sound detection devices,” which necessitated some of the men taking courses on how to operate and maintain the machines.[307]

Before the U-505 departed Lorient on her next war patrol, Göbeler later recalled, Jeanette found him again on the streets of Lorient.[308]  She explained she was in danger from the Maquis (French Resistance) and had to leave Lorient for her own safety.[309]    She was moved he still had the Saint Christopher medal she had given him.[310]   They spent the night together and she gave him some cigarettes to smoke on his next war cruise and they never saw each other again.[311]

Well before the U-505 departed on her next war cruise, the crewmen moved from their barracks at Lager Lemp to their bunks aboard the U-505.[312]  By the end of June, 1943, the U-505 was ready to go out to sea again.[313]  She retained only one-third of her original crewmen, the rest having been disbursed amongst other U-boats whilst she was under repair.[314]  Half of those men had died in battle.[315]  Of the original crew members that were still assigned to the U-505, four were the “leading chief petty officers and a dozen were plank owners who had put her in commission.”[316]  There had been 100% turnover of the officers.[317]  The crew of the U-505 went through the usual round of visits to bars and brothels the night of Wednesday, June 30, 1943, and, if anything, were wilder than was their custom because they knew the odds were against their return when they departed the next day.[318]  Decker commented, “During those months in port the enemy made heavy air raids on Lorient in an attempt to knock out the 2nd and 10th U-Flotillas and U-Boat pens.  But we heard of their luck in another area of activity.  During April, May, and June ninety of our boats failed to return.  This was getting to be a suicidal trade we were following.”[319]

Between July and September of 1943, due to sabotage by French dockyard workers, the U-505 departed Lorient six times only to abort missions because mechanical problems had to be repaired or the Allies easily tracked down the U-505 and damaged her, which also required repairs, with the result that she only spent thirty-two days at sea.[320]  Naturally, this had a deleterious impact on the morale of Zschech and his crew.[321]  The U-505 became known as a Werftbock (“drydock goat”).[322]  Of the twenty-seven IX-C U-boats in the 2nd U-boat Flotilla in early March of 1943, the Allies had sunk thirteen by early August.[323]  One of them was the U-124, the U-boat on which Zschech had been First Watch Officer, and when she sank all hands fell with her.[324]

According to Admiral Gallery, on Thursday, July 1, 1943, the U-505 left Lorient on what was supposed to be a ninety-day-long cruise that would have taken her to the Azores, only to return on July 2nd when she developed a leak on her first test dive of the cruise to have repairs performed for many minor defects and one major problem that would take a long time to remedy at sea but could be done quickly in the dockyard.[325]  The major problem was a jammed valve on a ballast tank, according to Admiral Gallery.[326]

Decker recalled, “At the two hundred meter line we made our test dive, a real experiment for us.  At 150 meters everything was fine.  At 180, however, a sharp snap rang through the hull.  We surfaced immediately, and found that the main induction in the conning tower had burst.  We had to go back to port.”[327]

The U-505 left again on July 3rd.[328]   Some of Zschech’s boys visited the bars and brothels again the night beforehand.[329]  This time, the U-505 set with four other U-boats under escort by seven torpedo boats that could provide some anti-aircraft protection until the U-boats reached water sufficiently deep to be able to submerge.[330]  Zschech crept along the Bay of Biscay toward Cape Finisterre in Galicia on the west coast of Spain, with only 20% of the time spent at the surface.[331] During this war cruise, the U-505 was attacked twice.  The first time, she was attached by aircraft on the afternoon of Thursday, July 8, 1943.[332]  The Metox and soundman’s equipment were rendered inoperable, but there was no serious structural damage.[333]  Zschech began to suspect that the U-505 was leaking oil.[334]  Later that same day, around 8:00 p.m., the U-505 came under attack by three destroyers dropping depth charges off Cape Finisterre.[335]  Zschech escaped by using decoys.[336]  Zschech ascended to periscope depth and confirmed he was leaving a trail of oil.[337]  He stuck close by the coasts of Spain and France on the return trip to port, arriving on July 14th.[338]  During this war cruise, the U-505 had experienced trouble with the Metox, hydrophones, and radio.[339]

Grand Admiral Dönitz had stressed to U-boat commanders the importance of bringing their crews back alive (rather than trying to go out in a blaze of glory) so they could man the new submarines that were in production.[340]  These were the Type XXI and Type XXIII U-boats, which had large electric storage batteries and could reach high speeds even while submerged, as well as the aforementioned A.I.P. submarines invented by Walther.[341]  The A.I.P. U-boats were the first true submarines that could be underwater for extended periods of time as opposed to submersible vessels that had to regularly return to the surface.[342]  These advanced submarines, rockets, and jetfighters were the “wonder weapons” with which the Nazi Party and German military leadership kept promising German soldiers, sailors, and airmen, as well as the civilian population, the Third Reich would prevail when the tide of war had clearly shifted in favor of the Allies. Fortunately, the wonder weapons came too late in the war to make a difference.


Göbeler’s Version of the 4th War Cruise


Göbeler seems to have conflated the fourth and fifth war cruises in his memory.  His recollection was that on July 1st the U-505 moved from a dry dock to a wet dock inside the submarine bunkers, the torpedoes arrived on flatboats, and the men used block and tackle to lower torpedoes into the Fore and Aft Torpedo Rooms via loading hatches.[343]  Then provisions arrived by the truckload and were lowered onto the Upper Deck with a crane.[344]  The provisions were stored away according to a plan.[345]   Next, the men loaded the 20mm ammunition, which was easier to store away than the 105mm ammunition had been in former days.[346]  To test the pressure hull’s integrity, the crewmen closed all of the hatches and valves, and ran an air compressor to create a partial vacuum, and monitored a barometer to ascertain whether there were any air leaks.[347]  There were none, so, on July 2nd, the U-505 backed into a wet slip and went through demagnetization.[348]  That night, the men attended a banquet and drank down their privates stores of alcoholic beverages.[349]  To compensate for this debauchery, the U-505’s crewmen were allowed to sleep in late, they boarded a bus at Lager Lemp at 10:30 a.m., and she left port with a departure ceremony that was a subdued affair.[350]  In place of a martial band were a few accordion players.[351]  Officers from the 2nd U-boat Flotilla and a crowd of roughly fifty well-wishers bid the U-505 adieu.[352]  Göbeler noted, “In the past three months, no less than 90 boats had failed to return!  Since our entire U-boat fleet consisted of only a few hundred frontline boats, these were staggering losses.”[353]On this voyage, Göbeler brought along “several dozen lemons” to stave off scurvy.[354]  The U-505 went out to sea in the company of four other U-boats: the U-168, the U-183, and the U-514, and the U-533.[355]  While six men worked inside the U-505, the rest were kneeling on the Upper Deck in case she struck a mine. [356]   A force of seven minesweepers escorted the five U-boats out to sea.[357]  In the middle of the night, the U-505’s diesel engines stopped functioning and she came to a stop while the other U-boats continued.[358]   If this had happened during daylight hours, the U-505 would have been unable to escape an Allied air attack.[359]  One minesweeper remained with the U-505 to supply air cover whilst the submariners carried out repairs until they got the engines running again, which took about ninety minutes.[360]  By the time the U-505 arrived at what should have been the departure point a few hours later, which had the codename Punkt Kern (“Point Core”), the minesweepers had all returned to base lest they come under air attack during the early morning hours.[361]

Thus, the U-505 was alone when the crew tested her capacity to make a deep dive.[362]   They began with a dive to forty meters.[363]   Initially, everything was fine, but within half an hour, the starboard propeller’s shaft seal sprung a leak.[364]  Instead of heading back to port, Zschech decided they would establish forty meters was the U-505’s new maximum depth for the remainder of the voyage and hope they could fix the leak.[365]  A short time later, the Metox’s reflector short-circuited.[366]  In other words, within the course of a few hours, three different systems began to break down.


      We were not alone in our mechanical difficulties.  Around noon the next day, we received a FT from U-533 reporting that one of her exhaust valves was not functioning.  Their problem could not be repaired at sea, so that evening U-533 was recalled to Lorient.  We immediately suspected sabotage from the dock workers.  In an effort to reduce the chances of sabotage, virtually all of the men working on U-boats were Volkdeutsch, ethnically-German residents of Poland and other Eastern European countries.   It was disconcerting to imagine that, if it was sabotage, our own ethnic brethren were the ones plotting our demise.[367]


The U-505 transited the Bay of Biscay while submerged, for the most part, because constant flights by R.A.F. bombers between the U.K. and the Rock of Gibraltar turned the Bay of Biscay into what the German submariners called Der Slebstmordstrecke (“The Suicide Stretch”) according to Decker or the Selbstmord Biskaya (“Biscay Suicide Stretch”) according to Göbeler.[368]  On Wednesday, July 7, 1943, the U-505 passed a flotilla of Portuguese fishing boats.[369]  The Second Republic of Portugal was neutral during the Second Great World War but the Germans assumed there were British spies ready with radios to report the position of U-boats embedded in Portuguese fishing fleets, so the U-505 steered clear of these vessels.[370]

Göbeler recalled, “That evening, our GHG underwater listening device went out of commission… Grumbling that we were the victims of a well-coordinated program of sabotage began to dominate our off-duty conversations… With each malfunction, Zschech’s behavior became more erratic, alternating between morose introversion and sadistic outbursts of aggression.”[371]

The U-505 lost contact with the U-514 when the U-505 crew discovered her radio antenna would not deploy and was stuck where it was stored and they were unable to establish visual contact.[372]  They were able to repair both it and the FuMB Metox, but the U-505 came under air attack while off Cape Finisterre even though she was submerged forty meters beneath the surface, so the airmen had spotted the U-505 while she was eighteen feet beneath the surface and if she had not dove deeper to forty meters just before six explosions the U-505 crew would likely have died.[373]  The U-505 crew fired a BOLD canister to mislead the airmen into thinking they had sunk the U-505 and the ruse seemed to work, but Zschech concluded the U-505 was leaking fuel and the airplane had followed an oil slick, so he determined they should head back to Lorient to undergo repairs.[374]  At eight o’clock that night, he dove to forty meters and changed course to return to base, but Allied destroyers that must have been alerted by the airplane first dropped bombs over the U-505. [375]  Shortly thereafter, the crew could hear the approach of destroyers that must have been alerted to the U-505’s position by the plane, followed by the splash of nine depth charges being dropped.[376]  Then they felt the shock wave of explosions.[377]  Göbeler noted that submariners always looked upward during such attacks even though the thing they feared most was a depth charge that exploded beneath their submarine, so he found it irrational, but, he too, looked up.[378]  Ten minutes passed and then the destroyers returned to drop nine more depth charges before they went away.[379]  Göbeler reported that the men who could see Zschech’s face during the attack later whispered to the others based on his expression they thought he had a death wish.[380]  They speculated, according to Göbeler, that Zschech may have wanted to join his Naval Academy friends who had died in action.[381]  Göbeler was lying in his bunk in an effort to conserve oxygen when the destroyers returned for a third attack with nine more depth charges.[382]  The U-505 fired two more BOLD canisters and slipped away in silence.  About an hour later, Zschech rose to periscope depth and could see three warships approximately 3,000 meters away on the U-505’s portside.[383]    One of the warships was larger than the others and may have been a Birmingham-class cruiser.[384]  Zschech left the area as quickly as their electric motors would allow.[385]  The worst report from a damage control party was that the underwater telegraph was down. [386]  The U-505 surfaced off the coast of La Coruna[387] that evening and used the diesel engines to run full-speed at the surface all night.[388]    She hugged the Atlantic coastline of Spain, running three nautical miles off the shoreline, and then submerged at dawn.[389]  After two hours of cruising underwater, Zschech came back up to periscope depth and his men could hear him curse when he discovered “a huge wedge of shimmering, rainbow-colored diesel fuel was trailing our boat as far as the eye could see.”[390]  Zschech retreated to his cabin in silence.[391]  For several days, the U-505 ran at full-speed, surfaced at night, and more slowly, submerged during the day, and occasionally rested on the seafloor near the shore.[392]  In stormy weather, the officers frequently risked running at the surface for most of the transit of the Bay of Biscay.[393]  During the afternoon of Sunday, July 11, 1943, the U-505 received an underwater telegraph message, but because the machine was malfunctioning they could not decipher it.[394]  That night, while the U-505 was surfaced, she received a message from Western U-boat Command that ordered the U-505 to be at Punkt Kern to rendezvous with her escort.[395]   The crew had twenty-four hours to get the U-505 back to Punkt Kern in time for the designated rendezvous.[396]  The U-505 arrived on time, but just as the men on watch on the bridge saw two escort ships come into view they also sotted two Allied airplanes approach from the east at an altitude of 300 meters.[397]   The Metox gave no alarm. [398]  The U-505 made a crash dive to escape and the submariners wondered if the escorts were des00d when they heard explosions but when the U-505 surfaced twenty minutes later they could k see the minesweepers were intact and proceeded to Lorient together.[399]  The Metox again gave no alarm when a bomber that dropped mines out of the sky swept down on the U-505 at 1:30 a.m.[400]  The U-505 gunners responded with the U-boat’s 20mm flak guns and the warplane broke off the attack.[401]  Soon afterward, a German surface ship, a blockade-runner, joined the U-505 and the minesweepers.[402]  The U-505 slipped into the Skorff Bunker before sunrise.[403]


      The morning after our arrival, the Flotilla Engineer and a large contingent of high-ranking shipyard officials conducted a careful inspection of our boat.  They found that nearly all the seals four our air relief valves, diving tanks, battery cells, and fuel bunkers were totally corroded.  This explained the fuel leak that nearly cost us our lives.  At first, the shipyard staff insisted that the materials sent to them by the manufacturers were defective, but they were later forced to admit this was not true.  Their final, reluctant conclusion was that someone had poured battery acid on the seals.[404]

Several other boats had complained about mysterious failures of equipment, too.  Some of them, undoubtedly, were just cases of bad luck.  But there were many irrefutable instances of sabotage.  One boat found sugar in the lube oils.  Another found a dead dog poisoning its drinking water tank.  Many of the boats had cans of foodstuffs explode from botulism or improperly sealed lids.  Of course, these were mere annoyances compared to some of the more serious instances of sabotage, such as magnetic bombs attached to hulls.  As scattered rumors of sabotage segued into ironclad certainty, stern security measures began to be taken.[405]


During this two-week-long period while the U-505 underwent repairs in July of 1943, the four-barreled 20mm flak gun was replaced with a single-barreled Oerlikon 37mm (1.457”) automatic canon.[406]  [Note both the Allies and the Axis Powers used Oerlikon guns.[407]  They were manufactured by Werkzeug Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon at Oerlikon, Switzerland and by other companies under license.[408]]  A few of the men took technical courses while the rest helped repair the U-505.[409] Göbeler objected to one author’s assessment “that the Sillcock bombing incident had crushed our morale during this period.  He implied that our fighting spirit had been shattered by the experience and that the technical failures we experienced were a flimsy excuse to return to Lorient and avoid combat.”[410]



In the dockyard, from the 14th to the 31st of July, 1943, more than the troubles Zschech knew about had to be addressed as sabotage was uncovered.[411]  A corrosive substance had eaten away all of the rubber gaskets on the ventilation and emergency vent valves of the ballast tanks.[412]

Further, someone had drilled a hole that had the circumference of a pencil in an underwater oil tank.[413]  Two new batteries were installed.[414]  Something else that would have weighed heavily on Zschech’s mind at this time is that more and more of his friends and comrades in the Unterseebootswaffe were getting killed or captured at sea.  In July, thirty-seven U-boats failed to return to base.[415]  Fourteen of them were sunk in the Bay of Biscay.[416]  The commanders of all those boats were friends of Zschech.[417]  Between April and August of 1943, a minimum of twenty-four officers from the Class of 1936 were either killed or captured while they commanded U-boats.[418]  Surely his boat was not the only one being sabotaged.

The sixth, seventh, and eighth war cruises each lasted two days.  During these aborted war cruises, the U-boat made strange knocking sounds when diving beneath fifty meters.[419]  On August 1st, the U-505 departed, only to return on the 2nd.[420]  Decker recalled that before they departed on Sunday, August 1, 1943, they learnt the U-124 had been sunk with the loss of Johann Mohr (1916-1943), a Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves winner, and his entire crew.[421]  [Note that Decker misspelt Johann Mohr’s first name “Johan.”]  “Zschech, who knew them all, seemed pretty glum on the way out.”[422]  Decker noted, “On the deep dive water came in.  Back to port again went the U-505.  This time the engineers found a hollow sweat seam in the pressure hull, and even some seams calked with oakum.  Was this sabotage?  Most of the dockworkers were Frenchmen.”[423]

Göbeler recalled the U-505 left in the company of the U-68, U-523, and U-123.[424]  When the U-505 dove to a depth of forty meters, there were no problems, but at a depth of fifty meters, they “heard a loud metallic crack, followed by a succession of more cracking sounds” and could not find the source of the sounds. [425]  Beyond the strange knocking sounds, the submariners could also hear water entering, yet found no leaks, Admiral Gallery related.[426]  At a depth of sixty meters, Göbeler recounted they heard a hissing sound followed by a gurgling sound.[427]  They surfaced, checked the pressurized tubes that held the spare torpedoes under the Upper Deck and found nothing, so they dove again to a depth of sixty meters.[428]  This time, they heard a bang astern of (behind) the Control Room on the U-boat’s starboard side.[429]  After Zschech conferred with the Engineering Officer, he decided to return to port.[430]  [This other officer whom Göbeler did not identify by name would likely have been Hauser, whom he consistently denigrated.]  The U-505 underwent a thorough examination, from the 3rd through the 13th of August, 1943, but the cause of the problem was not identified.[431]  According to Göbeler, the shipyard engineers initially could not locate leaks, but took the opportunity to install a FuG Naxos, which was supposed to be better than the Metox device, aboard the U-505.[432]


Vindication was sweet when the shipyard engineers sheepishly reported that they had indeed found evidence of sabotage: hollow sweat seams in the newly repaired areas of the pressure hull.  Instead of solidly welded seams, they found strips of oakum (a sort of oil-soaked rope instead of caulking) had been placed in between the plate joints.  The oakum was then covered with a thin cover of solder to hide the sabotage.  With the joints in our pressure hull thus weakened, a deep dive would have meant instant death.  Over the next two weeks, the damage was repaired.  Every inch of every welding seam was given a minute inspection before we were given the go-ahead for another patrol.[433]



In Admiral Gallery’s reconstruction of events, on August 15th, the U-505 departed, only to return on the 16th.[434]  On this cruise, when the submariners heard the knocking sound, Zschech dove deeper and when they surfaced they discovered “the main air injection was crushed in and was full of water.”[435]  Mulligan noted, “[O]n [the] first deep practice dive cracking noises return and a tear develops in the air-intake mast, forcing returning to base.”[436]  According to Decker, “the valve on the main induction buckled and filled the line with sea water.”[437]

According to Göbeler, the U-505 set out after nightfall on August 14th with the U-68 and took a test dive to a depth of fifty meters when 200 meters offshore, and everything was fine, but at a depth of sixty meters they heard a crash followed by a gurgling sound.[438]  “The air intake foot valve began vibrating madly as the gurgling sound became much louder.” [439]  After he conferred with the Engineering Officer, Zschech gave the order for the U-505 to surface.[440]   “Once on the surface, we discovered that the air intake duct was crushed flat and torn.”[441]  The U-68 crew sent the U-505 crew a message that their U-boat was also experiencing technical difficulties and the U-505 returned to port.[442]  Before sunset, a twin-engine bomber swept down toward the U-505, and the flak gunners prepared to shoot it down, but recognized it was a Luftwaffe warplane in the nick of time.[443]


      Some writers have suggested we crewmen believed we were being haunted by Sillcock’s ghost, or Löwe’s sailing ship, or even the flowers.  Again, these speculations are without basis.  True, sailors are generally a superstitious lot, but in the end one is forced to be a realist – a romantic dreamer or a superstitious fool wouldn’t last long at sea, especially during wartime.  No, we had no doubt as to the source of these particular troubles.[444]

Another untruth writers have spread about U-505’s crew during this period is that we were the objects of laughter and ridicule by other boats’ crews.  This is also false.  Almost every boat in the Flotilla was experiencing sabotage of some sort or another, no one blamed us for these technical failures.  There were always an undercurrent of good-natured competition between crews, but I never heard anyone ever question our bravery or ridicule us.[445]


The U-505 was under repair from the 16th to the 20th of August, 1943.[446]   In August of 1943, Oberleutnant zur See Thilo Bode transferred off the U-505, just as his relationship with the crew had begun to improve.[447]  Göbeler noted, “In all fairness to the Exec, however, he eventually did mature as an officer.  Some thought it was the unity of our reaction to the awards ceremony incident that finally made him change.  Others thought he finally realized that Zschech’s method of command-by-fear didn’t work as well as leading by example.  Whatever it was, in the following months Thilo Bode gradually transformed from a martinet into an officer men could have confidence in.  Certainly his attitude toward discipline made a 180-degree turn!  By the time he transferred off our boat, he recognized us for the tough and able crew we knew we were.  He even wrote us a letter to that effect.  ‘If I ever become the skipper of a boat,’ he explained, ‘I hope I have a crew that demonstrates the same pluck and courage that you have!’”[448]

Göbeler added, “It was during this stay in port, on August 16 to be exact, that Zschech’s good friend the Executive Officer was transferred to another boat to take over as skipper.  Bode’s attitude toward us crewmen had changed quite a bit during the last several weeks.  During his farewell ceremony, he took the unusual step of walking down the ranks of our formation, saluting each man as he passed.  In his parting speech, he said, ‘I’ve learned a lot since I joined you.  Now that I’m leaving, I wish all of you success and a happy return from all of your patrols.  I wish for myself a crew on my future boat with your spirit and pluck!’”[449]

In the U-505 Guestbook, Bode paid tribute to “the splendid crew whose spirit I wish to see duplicated on my ship,” and wrote about the “enthusiasm, high courage, and good humor” of the U-505’s crew, Mulligan recounted.[450]   One month later, Bode entered a marriage that brought him in as a very junior member of the German Resistance network developed by Admiral Wilhelm Canaris (1887-1945).[451]  Bode went on to take command of the U-858, a Type IC-C/40 U-boat, on Thursday, September 30, 1943[452]  Kapitänleutnant Bode took newly promoted Petty Officer Willi Jung from Engineering on the U-505 to the U-858 in February of 1944.[453]  At war’s end, he surrendered her at sea to the destroyer escorts Carter and Muir on Wednesday, May 9, 1945.[454]   Subsequently, he became a journalist, and as a foreign correspondent he worked in India, Singapore, and London.[455]

Due to the way Zschech had isolated himself from the other men under his command, with the loss of Bode, he was now alone with a crew full of men who disliked or actively hated him. Twenty-six-year-old Paul Meyer replaced Bode as First Watch Officer of the U-505.[456]  According to Göbeler, this promotion occurred on Saturday, August 17, 1943.[457]  He elaborated, “The Flotilla Staff had originally ordered him to attend Commanding Officers School, but he appealed the decision to the Flotilla Personnel Office, preferring instead to stay aboard our boat.  This is in itself strong evidence that we were a first-rate crew.  Meyer said he wanted to stay with a crew with such guts and cohesion that they had gotten the most heavily damaged U-boat in the war safely back to base from across the Atlantic.  He was immensely well liked by the crew, and we were ecstatic that he was now our Exec.  We felt that if we could just get U-505 in shape, we could really cause some damage to the enemy.  Today, with the advantage of hindsight, the replacement of our skipper’s buddy with this popular officer probably left Zschech more emotionally isolated than ever.”[458]

Oberleutnant zur See Kurt Brey, a naval reservist, then transferred aboard the U-505 to replace Meyer as Second Watch Officer.[459]  At the age of thirty-six, Brey was the eldest man aboard the U-boat.[460]

While the U-505 underwent repairs, Göbeler noted, the engineers ascertained the source of the “cracking and gurgling” sounds the submariners had heard: the casing of a spare torpedo’s pressurized storage tube under the Upper Deck had been compromised.[461]  “They also mounted a new air intake and connecting piece to replace the damaged ones.”[462]

On Saturday, August 21, 1943, the U-505 departed only to return on the 22nd.[463]  This time, oil leaks had been discovered.[464]  Decker recounted, “On 22 August we hadn’t gone very far before one of the enginemen discovered sugar in the lube oil.  That was sabotage!”[465]   Göbeler recalled the crew boarded the buses and rode back to Lager Lemp in silence and proceeded to the canteen to get drunk.[466]  This time, they were surly, not jovial, and when the manager told them to leave at midnight, they refused to do so until he sold them some additional rum.[467]    When they arrived at their barracks, they found their Executive Officer Paul Meyer waiting for them, and expected to hear they were in trouble, but he also was inebriated and brought liqueur to share with them.[468]  Meyer and the men kept drinking until dawn and Zschech punished them by assigning the whole crew to paint-scraping and binge-cleaning duties.[469]

Decker alone stated the U-505 left Lorient on Monday, August 30, 2018 only to return to port that same day.[470]  According to Admiral Gallery and Dr. Mulligan, between the 23rd of August and the 17th of September, 1943, the U-505 was under repair and a new radar detector, the Wanze G2 (also known as the Hagenuk) was installed.[471] The gaskets had been fine when the U-505 set out, but an examination revealed that once again someone had used a corrosive substance to eat away at them.[472]  According to Göbeler, the shipyard engineers concluded the fuel leak was caused by “faulty seals” and over a three-week-long period replaced them all only to discover the U-505’s fuel tanks continued to leak fuel, and it was at that time they discovered the pencil-sized hole someone had drilled in one of the fuel tanks, and could finally repair the damage.[473]

The dockyard inspectors eventually concluded that the French mechanics responsible for maintaining the U-505 were sabotaging her.  Subsequently, a dozen French workmen were arrested and shot.  Mulligan noted that neither the conclusion that French workers were responsible for sabotage nor the execution of French workers was recorded in the U-505 War Diary.  However, Paterson stated, “Several reports held in Allied records tell of the execution of several French dockyard workers in relation to these acts of sabotage.  These are records are held at the Bundesarchiv-Zentralnachweisstelle (BA-ZNS), Aachen-Kornelimünster.”[474]

On Saturday, September 18, 1943, the U-505 left on her ninth patrol.  Göbeler recounted that the U-505 left in the company of the U-103, the U-155, and the U-288, as well as several escort boats. Just as they passed Fort Louis, the U-505’s diesel engines engaged.  On this cruise, Zschech started out with an engineering officer from the staff of Grand Admiral Dönitz on board to monitor trial dives, according to Admiral Gallery’s reconstruction of events.  A lot of minor problems popped up, but the staff engineer assured Zschech he would be able to make the necessary repairs at sea and departed with a transfer to a torpedo boat.[475]

Decker recounted, “On 18 September we tried again.  This time all went well on the dive.  The escort with the yard engineers who came out with us went back without us.  Our hopes began to soar.  Zschech kept us at flank speed on the surface all that night, and no one disturbed us.  Perhaps our luck was changing.  Everything was fine until the 20th, when a cylinder in the port diesel [engine] froze up tight.  We scoffed a little, however, because we had enough spare parts to repair it ourselves.  On 23 September we cleared the Biscay.  But that same night our luck ran out.  The trim pump, one of the most important pieces of machinery in a submarine, broke down.  There were no spare parts on board.  There was nothing else to do except run the gauntlet back to Lorient.  We made it safely, and no one seemed particularly surprised to see us again when U-505 came into the bunker on the 28th.”[476]

According to Mulligan, the Chief Engineer of the 10th U-boat Flotilla personally inspected and repaired the starboard side exhaust valve, which was not watertight.  Zschech dove, set course for Cape Finisterre, and was extremely cautious on this cruise as he proceeded along the Bay of Biscay.  The first four days out, he was at the surface for less than three hours per day, would go 200 miles surfaced, and 131 miles submerged, on average.  He came to the surface only to charge his batteries and for ten minutes in the morning to “grab a quick sextant altitude of the sun.”[477]

Göbeler made no mention of the Chief Engineer of the 10th U-boat Flotilla being aboard.  He noted that initially the test dive went well, but the men soon discovered “the starboard diesel exhaust valve was loose and leaking water” as a result of which the diesel engine room’s bilge had taken in one ton of water within thirty minutes.  Diesel Chief Petty Officer Otto Fricke theorized if they surfaced and ran the diesel engines for some time, “the heat might expand the metal and close the leak… Sure enough, the leak slowed to a manageable rate.  The valve still leaked in about three tons of water a day, but our bilge pump could handle that.”  Göbeler further recalled “our direction finder once again got stuck in the stowed position.  At the same time, either our radio failed or the Tommies were jamming it in some new diabolical manner.  A different failure in our electrical equipment made it impossible for us to clear the interference, so we could only receive messages on the very longest frequency end of the bands.”[478]

Still outward bound on the 23rd, Zschech ordered a crash dive to escape an aircraft.[479]  This was the first crash dive the U-505 made on this cruise, according to Admiral Gallery’s reconstruction of works.[480]  The main ballast pump overloaded, some fuses that should have blown did not, and its armature burnt out, Admiral Gallery later related.[481]   Göbeler recalled, “The starboard electric motor and the main pump failed after our newly installed Siemens electrical switchboard erupted in a smoky short circuit.”[482]  If the Germans had still been winning the war, Zschech could have asked for an outbound sub to bring him an armature, transfer it at sea, and then have his men install it, which would have been difficult, but not impossible, and we know from the war diary he considered this option, but the tide of the war had begun to shift in favor of the Allies, and it would not have been safe for two U-boats to be on the surface together for a prolonged period of time.[483]  Without a working armature, the U-505 would not be able to return to the surface after a deep dive.[484]  According to Mulligan, both the starboard side electrical motor and the main ballast pump were out of service, but the crew was able to fix the motor and not the pump.[485]

Zschech had no choice but to return to port again. Göbeler recalled that Zschech hardly left his cabin for the remainder of the cruise and Meyer correctly gambled that with stormy weather it would be relatively safe to swiftly return to port surfaced rather than slowly returning to port (mostly) submerged. The U-505 arrived at Lorient on Thursday, September 30, 1943.  Zschech promptly reported to the new Flotilla Commander, Fregattenkapitän Ernst Kals (1905-1979), a Knight’s Cross winner. During the cruises from Thursday, July 1, 1943 to September 30, 1943, the U-505 traveled 3,293 nautical miles: 2,649 nautical miles surfaced (80.4%) and 644 submerged (19.6%).[486]

The French Resistance was engaging in psychological warfare with Zschech by this point. When the U-505 returned to port, the men on the deck of the U-505 could see in white letters the legend “U-505’s Hunting Ground” in a place that was visible to them but not to people standing on the dock.  It would take ten days to repair the motor in the shipyard. From the 1st to the 8th of October, 1943, the main ballast pump was repaired and a new radar detector, the Naxos, was installed. [According to Decker, the Naxos was installed in the last week of August.]  In October of 1943, Dr. Frederich-Wilhelm Rosenmeyer transferred aboard the U-505. He was one of 243 German naval surgeons who served aboard U-boats during the Second Great World War, 117 of whom perished.  Naval surgeons joined the crews of IX-C U-boats in 1943 because they were at sea for extended periods of time. Anti-aircraft gunners in particular were in danger of being wounded.[487]

Gallery noted that Zschech was not being treated the same way in the officers’ club.  “Cszhech spent most of this time brooding over his series of failures.  He had been fully justified every time he turned back and no one could have done any different.  But his contemporaries now were beginning to treat him rather patronizingly, almost as if he were a cripple who wasn’t to be blamed for his infirmities, but who was not the same as other men.  When he joined a circle of them at the club there was an embarrassed lull in the conversation.” Consequently, he became a solitary drinker.[488]

Göbeler noted, “The British bomber offensive against Lorient had intensified during our absence…Virtually every night we were awakened from our slumber by the screaming air raid sirens.  We had only a minute or two to scamper to the slit trenches outside our barracks before the bomb splinters began flying in every direction… A direct hit on a bomber by our Flak artillery still brought hoots of joy.  Our own Luftwaffe, however, was seldom seen any more…”[489]


Lorient itself was now a totally shattered, burned-out ruin.  The only activity in town was a few forlorn residents sifting through the ashes of their former residences looking for belongings.   There were a few cases of looting, but we Germans were under strict orders not to touch anything.  Signs were posted everywhere with this warning: ‘Those who are caught robbing or stealing will be shot, without trial.’  We knew the police weren’t bluffing.[490]


Readers of this passage should take it seriously.  Even though Nazi officials expropriated money, jewels, artworks, real estate, businesses, etc. throughout Europe to enrich themselves, the National Socialist German Worker’s Party, and the German State, the Wehrmacht had no compunction about executing German armed services members for looting.

Göbeler observed, “For all of his outward hardness and cruelty, I think on the inside he must have been very sensitive.  Too sensitive, we were soon to realize, to command a U-boat.  How opposite he was from… Löwe [who] was a natural leader and wise in the ways of human nature.  He somehow could sense the inner strengths and weaknesses of his crew, and like a chess player, used that knowledge to organize a team that could accomplish the mission.  He also had an iron will and self-control that set a constant example for us…”[491]


      Zschech… clearly lacked the qualities needed to be a commander.  An excellent staff officer, perhaps, but not a commander.  His loneliness and self-doubts were causing him to crumble under the stresses of wartime command.  These days, of course, it’s fashionable to feel sorry for the weakling and root for the underdog.  But facing the odds that we did as we sailed out to meet the enemy, we could not afford the luxury…  All of these thoughts, too, are the musings of an old man, combined with the advantage of hindsight.  At the time, we prayed that by doing the best job we could, we could make up for whatever failings Zschech had as our skipper.  We clung to a shred of a hope that, just as his former exec Thilo Bode had matured as an officer and leader of men, so too would Zschech.  We just hoped that we lived long enough for that to happen.[492]


The U-505 departed Lorient on her tenth patrol – Zschech’s last – on Saturday, October 9, 1943, according to Mulligan.[493]  Decker had a later start date for Zschech’s last patrol, Monday, October 18, 1943.[494]

In Göbeler’s account, the U-505 left the Skorff Bunker on the afternoon of Sunday, October 10, 1943, and set course for the Caribbean with the U-129 and the U-510. Instead of an elaborate farewell ceremony, a lone musician played the harmonica, and a few well-wishers bade them adieu. Most of the U-505 crewmen were kneeling on the bridge and the Wintergarten.  On this war cruise, the U-505 set out with ten extra men because the Kriegsmarine had added ten extra men to the crew of every IX-C U-boat. Most of these men were flak gunners, but some were technicians who could operate the new electronic devices installed on the subs. The Kriegsmarine had changed the air defense tactics for Type IX U-boats.  Thenceforward, rather than making a crash dive to escape when an Allied warplane attacked, a Type IX U-boat was to remain at the surface and her flak gunners were supposed to engage the warplane, which the Kriegsmarine staff officers understood would entail higher casualties amongst flak gunners.[495]

This time, to cross the Bay of Biscay, Zschech ran submerged for twenty-two hours out of every twenty-four, at such a slow speed that the U-505 covered only about thirty-five miles, then would run at the surface for two hours, during which time he would recharge the batteries and run at top speed to cover another thirty-five miles. Göbeler recollected that before dawn on Monday, July 12, 1943 while the U-505 ran at the surface to recharge batteries and take in air, “the whole boat began to vibrating in time with the RPMs of the diesels.” Diesel Chief Petty Officer Otto Fricke “reported that piston #2 on the port diesel [engine] had frozen in its cylinder.”   Fricke came forward to the Control Room to ask for leave to have Göbeler help repair the portside diesel engine, which Göbeler did reluctantly because he disliked how messy the men in the Diesel Engine Room got – he stated they looked like “chimney sweeps caught in a rain shower” – and any time one of the men from anywhere in the U-boat had to use the bucket in the Diesel Engine Room they employed as a chamber pot while underwater, it was in full view of the diesel engine room mechanics. To fix the problem, they “had to detach connecting rod, lift the monstrous piston out of the cylinder, replace the rings, and gently lower it back into its place.” Fricke assured Zschech the problem would be rectified in half an hour and was able to do precisely that but it took eight hours to get everything ship-shape altogether, and Zschech rewarded them with four hours off. Göbeler would mentally escape the U-505 and the war by reading English literature.[496]

On Sunday, October 24, 1943, Kapitänleutnant Zschech committed suicide during an attack on the U-505 by Allied warship. That evening, the Sound Room reported “Screw noises at medium distance” and Executive Officer Paul Meyer asked Commandant Zschech if he wanted to ascend to a shallow depth forty feet to use the periscope. Zschech seems to have become fatalistic. He was convinced the ship was a British destroyer long before the Sound Room could even confirm the ship had diesel engines or was headed toward them. He allowed Meyer to order the helmsman to make a ninety degree turn, but was certain they could not escape and muttered about bad luck. The Sound Room reported the warship had dropped depth charges. Kapitänleutnant Zschech and Oberleutant zur See Meyer were in the Conning Tower while the U-505 came under depth charge attack. The first explosion knocked out the lights. He shot himself in the Conning Tower, which Executive Officer Paul Meyer initially did not realize. Later, Meyer reported when he saw a flash of light, smelled pungent smoke, and saw Zscech slump over on the deck of the Conning Tower that the light was from an electric switch, the smell from burning insulation, and Zscech was knocked out after hitting  the periscope.[497]

Note that Decker’s first-hand account differs from the second-hand accounts of several American writers because he had the date as Tuesday, October 26, 1943. In his narrative, the U-505 started to change course with a westward heading when she reached the area of the Azores earlier in the day and when the watch changed at six o’clock in the evening they heard the “the unmistakable sound of fast-moving propellers close aboard.”[498]


We didn’t have much time to think about how it could happen.  When we were at just fifty meters the depth charges began exploding… We thought this was the end, as glass crashed around us and the boat shook and shuddered violently.  Six more charges went off close aboard.  We were in total darkness this time, and were thrown violently about the gyrations of the boat.  Still, no reports of a ruptured hull came.  Then many of us heard a sharp crack, like a pistol shot, from the vicinity of the control room.[499]


Meyer eventually saved the U-505 and her crew by diving to 100 meters and firing decoys, but it took a while to get them to pull themselves together and carry out his orders, according to Decker’s recollection of events and Admiral Gallery and Dr. Mulligan’s reconstruction. He gave orders to dive to 100 meters, go full speed, fire decoys, left full rudder, and for someone in the Control Room to climb up and bring the commandant out of the Conning Tower because he was knocked out.  He was shocked when the helmsman obeyed his command to turn but no one else implemented his other orders. Meyer looked down in the Control Room, and saw men huddled around Zschech’s body. A chief petty officer pantomimed Zschech had shot himself, and Meyer noticed the blood and Zschech’s luger on the floor of the Conning Tower.[500]  He descended into the Control Room, announced, “I am in command now.  Go back to your battle stations.” His men were still in shock and nobody moved, so he retrieved the pistol, put it on the chart table, and challenged them, “Anyone who wants to die – help yourself.  The rest of you do as I say and I’ll get you out of this… One hundred meters – full speed – fire decoys.” While some men began to execute his commands, others were frozen in place, and young Willi Bunger began to sob. Meyer slapped him, pushed him toward his battle stations, and told him, “Get going son, you’re not old enough to die yet.”  One of the chief petty officers addressed him as Commandant and asked what was to be done with Zschech.  Meyer ordered that Zschech’s corpse should be lashed to a hammock, weighted down, and when they had time Meyer would bury him at sea. After the soundman reported an absence of sound from enemy (Allied) warships, they buried him at sea on October 25th.[501]

Decker recalled, “We sent in a message reporting the death of our Captain to both Admiral Doenitz and our new Flotilla Chief, Commander Ernst Kals.  Both requested more information.  They received no word, however, because murderous days followed.  Attack after attack befell us; we had an oil leak, and the enemy picked up our track easily.  At headquarters, they reported us lost.  Somehow we managed to make it.  We radioed for escorts finally, and came into Lorient on 7 November.  There were only a few people on the dock to greet us.  The Flotilla Chief welcomed us home and praised our work in getting the boat and ourselves in safely.  We were the only boat in.  The 2nd and 10th Flotillas had suffered heavy losses.  Most of the supply U-Boats had been lost, too.  For all of that, however, the 2nd Flotilla was still the most successful in the entire U-Boat Arm with five million tons of shipping to its credit.”[502]

In the autobiography he wrote with author John Vanzo, Steel Boats, Iron Hearts, Hans Göbeler gave a slightly different account from both Admiral Gallery’s reconstruction of events and Decker’s narrative.  According to Göbeler, they could hear in the distance a destroyer dropping depth charges in the pursuit of a U-boat around midnight the previous night and about midday on the 24th they could hear a second round of explosions that went on for hours. After it had gone on for six hours, Zschech retreated to his cabin. At 7:48 p.m., the soundman alerted Zschech that he could hear an engine, which caused Zschech to climb into the Conning Tower even though they were traveling at a depth of 100 meters, which was far too deep for him to use the periscope. The radioman shouted up into the Control Room two minutes later that they were being scanned with Asdic. Zschech made no response.  An explosion rocked the U-boat. Zschech said nothing when he climbed back down into the Control Room and climbed through the hatch to enter the Radio Room.  Three more depth charges exploded, the third of which Göbeler described as “The biggest explosion I had ever heard.” The submariners were sent flying and Göbeler had the impression the explosion nearly turned the U-505 over and gave little heed to the bang he heard from with the U-boat. He glanced at Zschech and saw him leaning over in a way that suggested to Göbeler that Zschech had hurt his head on a bulkhead and returned his attention to the particular controls of which he was in charge.  Another explosion rocked the U-boat and sent the men flying again. Göbeler expected to hear water rushing into the U-boat, which would signal they were doomed. Instead, there was silence, which he interpreted as meaning the destroyer was reloading depth charges, and then the emergency lights came on, and he heard a commotion. He looked forward and saw a motionless body lying face down in a growing pool of blood.  The radioman turned the body over and dragged it by the legs into the “Olymp,” which was the unofficial name for the area around the commandant’s cabin.

According to Göbeler, Zschech did not die right away and had to be suffocated.  He wrote it had to be done because Zschech did not die right away from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and the men were afraid Zschech’s death rattle would be picked up by SONAR[503] on board the surface ship attacking them, so someone smothered him with a pillow.  He also said the doctor objected to Zschech being put out of his misery and two men restrained the doctor from removing the pillow. Further, “The doctor began shouting hysterically to remove the pillow.  Our Exec, Paul Meyer, was now the acting commander.  He calmly but sternly ordered the doctor to be quiet.”  Meyer fired two BOLD capsules to distract the destroyer and left the area as quietly as possible.  The submariners knew the trick had worked because the destroyer next dropped depth charges over the trail of bubbles created by the decoys.  “A few minutes later, however, another spread [of depth charges] nearly finished us off.  We suffered substantial damage, but luck was with us and that was the last close shave.”[504]

This is a translation of an excerpt from the U-505 War Diary for the period in question.[505]


Sunday, October 24, 1943


7:52 p.m. Propeller noises in the distance.


Sunday, October 24, 1943


7:54 p.m. Piston engine noises.


Sunday, October 24, 1943


7:56 p.m. Sonar noises.


Sunday, October 24, 1943


7:58 p.m. Depth charges – very close.


Sunday, October 24, 1943


7:58 p.m. Commandant fell out of ranks.


Sunday, October 24, 1943


9:00 p.m. Commandant dead.


First Watch Officer Meyer assumes command.



Monday, October 25, 1943


4:06 a.m. Commandant’s body overboard.




Göbeler stated Meyer noted Zschech’s death at 9:29 p.m. (Berlin Time). They endured another attack from the destroyer before Meyer surfaced to recharge the batteries. In a speech over the intercom system, Meyer explained to the crew that Zschech was dead; Meyer, as Executive Officer, was in charge now; and he would bring them back to Lorient.  Göbeler was part of a group of crewmen who carried Zschech’s body into the Control Room.  When a “yellow cloth tampon” someone had placed in his head wound popped out, they realized they had left a trail of his blood behind them and they could see bits of his brain matter adhere to the cloth.   This was a bit too much for Göbeler and some of the others who stood there in shock while two of the men continued with the task of sewing his remains into a hammock and placed a weight between his feet. Then, before dawn, according to Göbeler, “Zschech’s body was lifted up to the bridge and, without any ceremony, dumped over the side.”[506]

Göbeler revealed, “Today, of course, I feel great sorrow for Peter Zschech.  He is, as far as I know, the only German submarine commander to have ever committed suicide while in action.  But at the time we felt no sympathy for the man.  Rather, we felt a mixture of anger and betrayal.  From our perspective, by committing suicide when he did, Zschech has acted as a selfish coward.  If he wanted to kill himself, we asked each other, why didn’t he do it back in Lorient instead of deserting us at the exact moment we needed a skipper most?”[507]

Löwe later commented, in a letter to Admiral Gallery, dated September 29, 1955, “As an officer up to that time, he might have been considered a good average.  Without doubt he was a capable seaman… But command of a sub demands a strong constitution, both physically and psychologically, and Zschech had reached a point where he no longer possessed either.  Add to that his bad luck and lack of success… so it came about that at the end of his moral and physical strength… he lost his nerve and killed himself.  The main responsibility for this lies not with Zschech, but with the leadership who failed to take him out of combat and did not recognize his condition.  Here was a man asked to give more than he had.”[508]

According to the anonymously-written Ultra Top Secret two-page “History of the U-505” written at the Headquarters of the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet (COMINCH) on June 5, 1944, the German “Commander-in-Chief U/Boats was suspicious of U-505 because ZSCHECH always pleaded ignorance.  Later Commander-in-Chief U/Boats placed in all secrecy another C.O. on board with ZSCECH who reported that ZSCECH was not stupid but a shrewd and able-master of sabotage. U-505 was ordered to sail but did not get through the Bay of Biscay before being attacked by a/c when ZSCECH mysteriously disappeared… Some say that he shot himself, others that he jumped overboard… It is possible that he was killed during the attack.”[509]

More recently, Mulligan also gave a slightly different account of events that conflicts with Gallery’s reconstruction of events, the excerpt from the U-505 War Dairy Gallery printed in his book, and the eyewitness accounts of Decker and Göbeler.  “At 7:54 p.m. (Berlin time) on October 24, 1943, Kaptlt. Peter Zschech shot himself in the control room.  He lingered more than 90 minutes before death overtook him at 9:29 p.m.  The next morning his body, wrapped and sewn inside a hammock, was put over the side.  The only U-boat commander to commit suicide in an action not involving the loss of his boat at last had found peace.”[510]

Mulligan made a disquieting discovery that calls into question whether Zschech committed suicide.  “As with many other aspects of U-505’s history, some mystery attends the circumstances of Zschech’s death.  The U-boat’s war diary and all subsequent accounts of German eyewitnesses assert that the suicide occurred during an intensive pursuit and depth-charging by Allied vessels.  Yet a review of all available Allied antisubmarine warfare operations on that date fails to reveal any actions, by either warship or aircraft, in the area of U-505’s location (approximately 600 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal).  Such a discrepancy is not easily resolved, and the date of the event does not seem in question.  If Zschech’s suicide did not result from an unnerving underwater attack, its attribution to such circumstances hardly makes the captain’s decision more justifiable or comprehensible, certainly not to his crew.  Today the mystery may only be noted, and will likely never be solved.”[511]

Göbeler recalled that on the way back to Lorient, the U-505 was attacked again with depth charges after dusk on October 25th, but around eight o’clock Meyer risked surfacing to leave the area with all possible haste, only for a destroyer to pursue them, so they made a crash dive to a depth of 150 meters.  Second Watch Officer Kurt Brey, whom Göbeler identified by rank, but not by name, was unable to fire a BOLD canister because the outer door for the miniature torpedo tube would not open and Göbeler went back with him to the Aft Torpedo Room head to locate the tube and fire. The device would not fire, and Göbeler had to press against the rod that would expel the BOLD canister with a wooden dowel to make it fire.   The decoy worked and the attack stopped.[512]

Around midnight, they surfaced to recharge their batteries and air tanks.   While surfaced, they received a message for Zschech and the commanders of three other U-boats to rendezvous with a milk cow, only to have to dive again to escape an Allied warplane when the Naxos went off. This was the beginning of a sustained attack by Allied warplanes and warships that went on for so long that after five hours an alarm went off that signaled the amount of carbon dioxide in the air was dangerous.   The battery power was too low for them to run the oxygen recycler for very long, so the submariners had to use their personal respirators, and to further conserve oxygen everyone but the essential personnel for that shift had to lay down and stay motionless.  The respirator included a clip to close one’s nose a tube in one’s mouth through which one sucked oxygen through a tube in one’s mouth, and the canister full of potassium compounds that would heat up over time. Wearing the respirator for a prolonged period was a highly unpleasant experience that stuck with Göbeler for the rest of his life.[513]

Before sunrise on October 30th, the U-505 sent messages to the 2nd U-boat Flotilla and the BdU that Zschech was dead and they were returning to base. This was a relief to the 2nd U-boat Flotilla and the BdU because the lack of communication from the U-505 had caused them to conclude the U-505 was lost at sea. Unbeknownst to them, the Allies intercepted and decoded these messages and triangulated the position of the U-505 to within one mile.  Consequently, the next day, the U-505 underwent an attack that lasted for eight hours. [514]

On November 1st, the U-505 entered the suicide stretch of the Bay of Biscay and the next day came under a depth charge attack that resulted in the loss of the protective sheeting around the Conning Tower and some of the wooden planks in the Upper Deck.  Göbeler noted that Meyer did not move into the commandant’s cabin but remained in his old bunk and the commandant’s quarters seemed to be haunted, though this impression ended when the U-505 gained a new commandant.[515]  As the U-505 entered the harbor, Göbeler later recalled, they passed Fort Louis on the right and the old French cruiser Strasbourg was on the left as a barrier.[516]

On Sunday, November 7, 1943, Paul Meyer relinquished command after he brought the U-505 back to her homeport of Lorient. The U-505 underwent repairs and refitting at Lorient from the 8th of November to the 20th of December, 1943. The U-505 had gone a total of 2,211 nautical miles: 1,254 surfaced (56.7%) and 957 submerged (43.3%).  Meyer submitted his report and Grand Admiral Dönitz absolved him all blame, rather than giving him an award.  Admiral Gallery later expressed disgust that Dönitz did not give Meyer more recognition, but concluded “that Doenitz considered the incidents had to be hushed up to avoid dishonoring the Officers Corps and damaging the morale of the surviving U-boat crews.  Meyer’s outstanding conduct could not be recognized without publicizing Cszhech’s cowardice, so Meyer stayed on as first watch officer of the U-505, and got nothing to show for what he had done – except his own life, and the lasting respect of some fifty men, who had felt the long finger of death tap them on the shoulder, hesitate and be snatched away by Meyer.”[517]

After the official investigation into Zschech’s death was complete, his men were sworn to secrecy, and the leadership of the 2nd U-boat Flotilla, if not the Unterseebootswaffe as a whole, decided to keep them together on the U-505In other circumstances, perhaps the men would have been dispersed amongst different boats and train a whole new crew for the U-505 or scrap the boat. Although Meyer had performed well, he was considered ineligible to become commanding officer of the U-505 because he had only spent sixty-two days at sea on board a submarine (all of them on the U-505).[518]

The aforementioned Fregattenkapitän Ernst Kals, the 2nd U-boat Flotilla Commander, personally greeted them at Bunker Skorff, explained the U-505 was the only U-boat in port at the moment because the 2nd and 10th U-boat Flotillas had both suffered catastrophic losses in recent weeks, he was relieved they were alive since they had been reported lost, they should not speak about Zschech’s death, and they would sleep aboard the U-505, Göbeler recalled. [Note that Göbeler identified Kals as “Kapitän zur See Ernst Kals,” but Kals had not yet been promoted to that rank.]  Despite these precautions, Soldatensender-Calais (Soldiers’ Radio Calais), one of three propaganda German-language radio stations operated by the British Foreign Office’s Political Warfare Executive alluded to Zschech’s death in a broadcast, so the German submariners in Lorient knew the Allies were aware of Zschech’s death. Göbeler recalled the broadcaster said, “Hello, officers in the ‘Red Mill’ (a small casino near our barracks popular with many Navy officers).  It must be quite a surprise to you that your friend Peter Zschech did not return with his U-505.”  At the time, the submariners assumed the Allies had gotten this information from the French Resistance, but, in retrospect, Göbeler  concluded it was because the Allies had cracked the Enigma codes.[519] In all likelihood, to write that simple sentence about Zschech not coming back, the Allies combined information about the Red Mill casino gleaned from the French Resistance in Lorient with information intercepted and deciphered from a U-505 transmission about Zschech’s death.

Göbeler recalled that on his birthday, November 9th, Vizeadmiral Hans-Georg von Friedburg (1895-1945), came to give a pep talk to the submariners at Lorient.[520]  He noted, “It was comforting to hear von Friedburg’s words, but the news we heard from the war fronts was not good.  We were stunned to learn the full scale of the slaughter our boats had suffered…  Developments on the ground were equally bad.  Reverses on the Eastern Front and the Allied invasion of Italy were especially worrisome.  Worst of all, Allied air raids on our cities were becoming heavier…”[521]


      Here in Lorient, the air raids had become less frequent, but only because there was little left to destroy.  There was almost nothing left of the city itself, although… the entertainment area… was still only slightly damaged.  The U-boat bunkers and the other fortress-like military installations in the harbor area were still intact, but when we arrived at the storage barracks to retrieve our belongings, we found that the entire building had been burned to the ground…  Our dress uniforms and other personal possessions… were severely damaged by the fire.  We picked through the charred remains for the precious little bits we could salvage…[522]


The Kriegsmarine issued them new dress uniforms, but whereas many of his crewmates wanted to show off their new dress uniforms to the few prostitutes left in Lorient, Göbeler chose to spend his money on luxury goods to bring home on his furlough.  The night before his furlough was to begin, Göbeler went out drinking with his friends to celebrate his birthday.  The X.O. joined them.  He and fifteen of his crewmates went to get on a train in Lorient.  The station was no longer standing, but the tracks continued to function. They had a six-hour-long stopover in Paris… Once they arrived at Metz, the group of sixteen U-505 crewmen split up to go their separate ways. A quarter of a day later, Göbeler arrived in Kassal, which “had been devastated by an air raid the night before,” and after another three hours he arrived in his hometown of Bottendorf.[523]

Neighbors showed up for his welcome-home reception, many of whom gave him food and precious ration stamps. Göbeler learnt one of his friends had been killed on the Eastern Front.    A cousin and another friend had been murdered by Tito’s guerillas in the German-occupied Kingdom of Yugoslavia after they had surrendered.    Another cousin had died in North Africa near the Egyptian port-city of Mersa Matruk. Göbeler explained to readers, “Despite the losses, we still believed in victory and trusted our nation’s leadership.  This faith lasted right up until the end.”[524]

His return trip to base was complicated by an air raid that damaged “the rail network west of Frankenburg.” Once again, Göbeler’s father had to arrange for a special locomotive for Göbeler…  In this case, he paid a repairman… to get an old locomotive in working order. Göbeler missed his train at Metz and the next one would not get him to Paris in time for him to reach Lorient by the deadline, so he would face court-martial unless he got an official called the Bahnhofs Kommandanteur (Train Station Commander) to stamp his leave papers, but he had to stand in a queue with hundreds of Heer soldiers who were in the same predicament. With his dark blue uniform, he stood out against the soldiers in their gray-green uniforms, and… they let him skip ahead in line and even helped him with his luggage.  The train was an hour-and-a-half late and was full of soldiers… There was no way he was going to board that train, but a friend from the 2nd U-boat Flotilla who… was already aboard the train recognized him. The friend lowered his window and took Göbeler’s bag. A soldier on the train platform put his hands together and gave Göbeler  a boost to climb through the window. Göbeler expressed his gratitude… and only then noticed the man’s chest was festooned with medals… On November 24th, Göbeler finally made it back to Lorient and met his new commandant, Oberleutnant zur See Harald Lange.[525]




[1] Hans Jacob Göbeler with John Vanzo, Steel Boats, Iron Hearts: A U-boat Crewman’s Life aboard U-505. New York City, New York: Savas Beatie (2005), p. 62

See also Timothy P. Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” Hunt & Kill: U-505 and the U-Boat War.  Edited by Theodore P. Savas.  New York City, New York: Savas Beatie LLC (2004), pages 32 and 328 Endnote 20

[2] James E. Wise, Jr. U-505: The Final Journey. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press (2005), pages 7 and 10

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” Hunt & Kill, p. 227

See also Hans Joachim Decker, “404 Days! The War Patrol Life of the German U-505,” United States Naval Institute Proceedings, March, 1960, Volume 86/3/865, p. 39

[3] Daniel V. Gallery, Twenty Million Tons Under the Sea: The Daring Capture of the U-505. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press (1956, 2001), p. 161

[4] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” Hunt & Kill, p. 31

[5] Gallery, pages 161 and 162

See also Göbeler, pages 61 and 62

[6] Gallery, pages 161 and 162

[7] Gallery, pages 175, 176, 205, 206-213, 233, and 306

[8] Gallery, pages 156 and 158

[9] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 31

See also Wise, p. 6

[10] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 31

[11] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 31

See also Wise, p. 6

[12] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 31

[13] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 31

[14] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 31

See also Wise, p. 6

[15] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 31

[16] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 31

See also Wise, p. 7

[17] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” pages 31 and 238 Endnote 18

[18] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 32

See also Wise, p. 7

[19] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 32

[20] The Free French forces were French Army and Navy units that had been overseas (in the French colonies) when the French Government capitulated to Nazi Germany and did not recognize the legitimacy of Vichy France, a puppet regime the Germans had left in place.

[21] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 32

[22] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 32

[23] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 32

[24] Göbeler, pages 60 and 61

See also Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” pages 32 and 328 Endnote 20

[25] Göbeler, p. 63

[26] Göbeler, p. 63

[27] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 45

[28] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 45

[29] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 34

See also Decker, p. 39

[30] Decker, p. 39

[31] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 34

[32] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 34

[33] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 45

[34] Göbeler, p. 64

See also Lawrence Paterson, “From the Lion’s Roar to Blunted Axe: The Combat Patrols of U-505.” Hunt & Kill: U-505 and the U-Boat War.  Edited by Theodore P. Savas.  New York City, New York: Savas Beatie LLC (2004), p. 73

[35] Göbeler, p. 62

[36] Göbeler, p. 67

[37] Paterson, “From the Lion’s Roar to Blunted Axe,” p. 247, Endnote 26

[38] Göbeler, p. 62

See also Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 36

[39] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” pages 36 & 239

[40] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 36

[41] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 36

[42] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 37

[43] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 36

[44] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 38

[45] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 53

[46] Göbeler, p. 71

See also Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 53

[47] Göbeler, p. 62

[48] Göbeler, p. 63

[49] Göbeler, p. 63

[50] Göbeler, p. 64

[51] Göbeler, p. 64

[52] Göbeler, p. 64

[53] Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 227

[54] Decker, p. 39

[55] Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 227

[56] Gallery, p. 163

See also Decker, p. 39

See also Göbeler, p. 65

[57] Göbeler, pages 65 and 66

[58] Decker, p. 39

See also Göbeler, p. 66

[59] Göbeler, p. 66

[60] Gallery, p. 163 and 164

See also Decker, p. 39

See also Göbeler, p. 63

See also Paterson, p. 247, Endnote 24

See also Williamson, p. 21

[61] Paterson, “From the Lion’s Roar to Blunted Axe,” p. 247, Endnote 24

[62] Göbeler, pages 63 and 64

Paterson, “From the Lion’s Roar to Blunted Axe,” p. 247, Endnote 24

See also Williamson, p. 21

[63] Williamson, p. 21

[64] Decker, p. 39

See also Göbeler, p. 66

[65] Göbeler, p. 66

[66] Decker, p. 40

See also Wise, U-505: The Final Journey, p. 13

[67] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 34

[68] Gallery, p. 163

See also Decker, p. 40

See also Göbeler, p. 67

[69] Göbeler, p. 67

[70] Göbeler, p. 67

[71] Göbeler, p. 67

[72] Göbeler, p. 67

[73] Göbeler, p. 67

[74] Göbeler, p. 67

[75] Göbeler, p. 67

[76] Göbeler, p. 68

[77] Göbeler, p. 69

See also Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 37

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 227

[78] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 40

[79] Göbeler, p. 69

[80] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 36

[81] Göbeler, p. 69

[82] Göbeler, p. 69

[83] Göbeler, p. 69

[84] Göbeler, p. 69

[85] Göbeler, p. 69

[86] Göbeler, p. 70

[87] Gallery, p. 165

[88] Göbeler, pages 64 and 65

See also Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 33

[89] Mulligan, p. 227

[90] Decker, p. 40

See also Göbeler, p. 70

[91] Decker, p. 40

See also Göbeler, p. 70

[92] Göbeler, p. 71

[93] Göbeler, p. 71

[94] Göbeler, p. 71

[95] Göbeler, p. 71

[96] Göbeler, pages 73 and 74

[97] Göbeler, p. 74

[98] Göbeler, p. 74

[99] Göbeler, p. 74

[100] Göbeler, p. 74

[101] Göbeler, p. 75

[102] Gallery, pages 165 and 166

See also Decker, p. 40

See also Göbeler, pages 75 and 76

See also Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 32

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 227

[103] Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 227 Endnote

[104] Göbeler, p. 76

[105] Gallery, p. 166

[106] Göbeler, p. 77

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 227

[107] Paterson, “From the Lion’s Roar to Blunted Axe,” p. 75

[108] Paterson, “From the Lion’s Roar to Blunted Axe,” p. 247, Endnote 28

[109] Göbeler, p. 80

[110] Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 227

[111] Göbeler, pages 81 and 82

[112] Göbeler, p. 82

[113] Göbeler, p. 82

[114] Göbeler, pages 82 and 83

See also Gallery, p. 168

[115] Göbeler, p. 83

See also Gallery, p. 168

[116] Gallery, p. 168

[117] Göbeler, p. 83

[118] Göbeler, p. 83

[119] Göbeler, p. 83

[120] Gallery, pages 167 and 168

See also Decker, p. 40

See also Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 32

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 227

[121] Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 227

See also Göbeler, p. 87

[122] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” pages 30 and

Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 227

[123] Decker, p. 40

[124] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 32

[125] Decker, p. 40

Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 227

See also Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 32

[126] Gallery, p. 169

When Gallery read about this incident in the U-505 War Diary, he provided the information to the British Government and received thanks from the Admiralty.  For twelve years the fate of the plane had been listed as “missing, fate unknown.”  See Gallery, p. 169

[127] Göbeler, p. 83

[128] Göbeler, p. 83

[129] Göbeler, p. 83

[130] Göbeler, p. 84

[131] Decker, p. 40

See also Göbeler, p. 84

[132] Göbeler, p. 84

[133] Göbeler, p. 84

[134] Göbeler, p. 84

[135] Göbeler, p. 84

[136] Decker, p. 40

[137] Decker, p. 40

[138] Göbeler, p. 84

[139] Göbeler, p. 84

[140] Göbeler, p. 85

[141] Göbeler, p. 85

[142] Göbeler, p. 85

[143] Göbeler, p. 85

[144] Göbeler, pages 85 and 86

[145] Göbeler, p. 86

[146] Gallery, pages 168 and 169

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 227

See also Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 32

[147] Gallery, p. 169

[148] Decker, p. 40

[149] Göbeler, p. 87

[150] Göbeler, p. 87

[151] Göbeler, p. 87

[152] Göbeler, p. 87

[153] Göbeler, p. 87

[154] Göbeler, p. 88

[155] Gallery, p. 171

See also Decker, p. 40

[156] Decker, p. 40

See also Göbeler, p. 89

[157] Göbeler, p. 90

[158] Göbeler, pages 90 and 92

[159] Göbeler, p. 90

[160] Gallery, p. 172

See also Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 32

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

Of course, Mulligan stated these repairs were completed on November 11th (instead of November 12th as implied by Gallery).  See Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

See also Göbeler, pages 90-92

According to Göbeler, the repairs occurred by dawn on November 10th, but this does not make sense because he implies the attack occurred on the afternoon after his birthday, which was on November 9th.

[161] Decker, p. 40

[162] Göbeler, p. 88

[163] Göbeler, p. 88

[164] Göbeler, p. 88

[165] Gallery, p. 173

[166] Göbeler, p. 92

[167] Göbeler, p. 92

[168] Göbeler, p. 93

[169] Göbeler, p. 93

[170] Göbeler, p. 93

[171] Gallery, p. 173

See also Göbeler, p. 99

See also Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 36

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[172] Göbeler, pages 99 and 100

[173] Göbeler, p. 100

[174] Göbeler, p. 100

[175] Decker, p. 41

[176] Gallery, p. 173

See also Göbeler, p. 99

[177] Göbeler, p. 99

Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[178] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 37

[179] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 36

[180] Gallery, p. 175

See also Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” pages 32 and 33

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[181] Gallery, pages 49, 175, and 176

See also Göbeler, p. 102

[182] Gallery, p. 176

[183] Decker, pages 41 and 42

[184] Decker, p, 42

[185] Göbeler, p. 100

[186] Göbeler, pages 100 and 101

[187] Göbeler, p. 101

[188] Göbeler, p. 101

[189] Göbeler, p. 101

[190] Göbeler, p. 101

[191] Göbeler, p. 101

[192] Göbeler, p. 102

[193] Göbeler, p. 102

[194] Göbeler, p. 102

[195] Göbeler, p. 102

[196] Göbeler, p. 102

[197] Göbeler, p. 102

[198] Göbeler, p. 102

[199] Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[200] Göbeler, p. 103

[201] Göbeler, p. 103

[202] Göbeler, p. 103

[203] Göbeler, p. 103

[204] Göbeler, p. 103

[205] Göbeler, p. 103

[206] Göbeler, p. 103

[207] Göbeler, p. 103

[208] Gallery, p. 176

See also Decker, p. 42

See also Göbeler, pages 105, 109, and 145

See also Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 32

[209] Göbeler, p. 105

[210] Göbeler, p. 105

[211] Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[212] Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[213] Göbeler, p. 105

[214] Göbeler, p. 105

[215] Göbeler, p. 105

[216] Göbeler, p. 106

[217] Göbeler, p. 106

[218] Decker, p. 42

[219] Göbeler, p. 106

[220] Göbeler, p. 106

[221] Göbeler, p. 106

[222] Göbeler, p. 106

[223] Göbeler, p. 106

[224] Göbeler, p. 106

[225] Göbeler, p. 108

[226] Göbeler, p. 108

[227] Göbeler, p. 108

[228] Göbeler, p. 108

[229] Göbeler, p. 108

[230] Göbeler, p. 108

[231] Göbeler, pages 108 and 109

[232] Göbeler, p. 110

[233] Göbeler, p. 110

[234] Göbeler, p. 110

[235] Göbeler, p. 111

[236] Göbeler, p. 111

[237] Göbeler, p. 109

[238] Gallery, p. 176

[239] Gallery, p. 176

See also Göbeler, p. 109

[240] Gallery, p. 176

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[241] Gallery, p. 176

[242] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 30

[243] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 33

Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[244] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 33

[245] For the phrase “Turm 4,” see Gordon Williamson.  Kriegsmarine U-Boats 1939-45 (2). Illustrated by Ian Palmer.  Botley, Oxford, England: Osprey Publishing Ltd. (2002), p. 3

[246] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 41

[247] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 41

[248] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 33

[249] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 34

[250] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 34

[251] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” pages 34 and 239 Endnote 25

The Museum of Science and Industry interviewed Wolfgang Schiller and Karl Springer over the 1st and 2nd of March, 1999.

[252] Göbeler, p. 133

Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 35

[253] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 35

[254] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 35

[255] Göbeler, p. 133

[256] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 35

[257] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 35

[258] Göbeler, p. 133

[259] Göbeler, pages 113 and 114

[260] Göbeler, p. 114

[261] Göbeler, p. 115

[262] Göbeler, p. 116

I believe this would be the old parish church that was destroyed in the war and replaced, in the mid-1950s, with Notre-Dame-de-Victoire (Our Lady of Victory).

[263] Göbeler, p. 116

[264] Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[265] Göbeler, pages 116-118

[266] Göbeler, p. 118

[267] Göbeler, pages 117-123

[268] Göbeler, p. 118

[269] Göbeler, p. 118

[270] Göbeler, p. 118

[271] Göbeler, p. 118

[272] Göbeler, p. 119

[273] Göbeler, p. 121

[274] Göbeler, p. 121

[275] Göbeler, p. 119

[276] Göbeler, p. 119

[277] Göbeler, p. 119

[278] Göbeler, p. 119

[279] Göbeler, p. 119

[280] Göbeler, pages 119 and 120

[281] Göbeler, p. 121

[282] Göbeler, p. 121

[283] Göbeler, p. 122

[284] Göbeler, p. 122

[285] Göbeler, p. 122

[286] Göbeler, p. 122

These were German banknotes that superseded Imperial Marks in 1923 and were in turn superseded by Reichsmarks in 1925.  A Rentenmark was worth 1,000,000,000 Imperial Marks, and was introduced to stabilize the currency after Germany experienced hyper-inflation.

[287] Göbeler, p. 123

[288] Göbeler, p. 123

[289] Göbeler, pages 123 and 124

[290] Göbeler, pages 125 and 126

[291] Göbeler, pages 126-128

Note the Deutsche Reichsbahn (German Imperial Railway) was a private company – one of the largest companies in the world – before the National Socialist German Worker’s Party came to power and nationalized it, so Göbeler’s father’s may have been at least nominally a government official.

[292] Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[293] Göbeler, pages 128 and 129

[294] Decker, p. 42

[295] Göbeler, p. 129

See also Decker, p. 42

[296] Göbeler, p. 129

See also Decker, p. 42

[297] Göbeler, p. 129

See also Dwecker, p. 42

[298] Göbeler, p. 129

[299] Göbeler, p. 130

[300] Göbeler, p. 130

[301] Göbeler, p. 130

[302] Göbeler, p. 131

[303] Göbeler, p. 131

[304] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 48

[305] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 33

[306] Göbeler, pages 132 and 133

[307] Göbeler, p. 133

[308] Göbeler, p. 135

[309] Göbeler, p. 135

[310] Göbeler, p. 135

[311] Göbeler, p. 135

[312] Göbeler, p. 136

[313] Gallery, p. 196

See also Decker, p. 42

[314] Gallery, p. 196

[315] Gallery, p. 196

[316] Gallery, p. 196

[317] Gallery, p. 196

See also Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 36

[318] Gallery, p. 197

[319] Decker, p. 42

[320] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 33

[321] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 33

[322] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 33

[323] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 33

[324] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 33

[325] Gallery, p. 197

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[326] Gallery, p. 197

[327] Decker, p. 42

[328] Gallery, p. 196

See also Decker, p. 42

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[329] Gallery, pages 196 and 197

[330] Gallery, pages 197 and 198

[331] Gallery, p. 198

[332] Gallery, p. 198

See also Decker, p. 42

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[333] Gallery, pages 199-201

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[334] Gallery, p. 200

[335] Gallery, pages 200 and 201

See also Decker, p. 42

[336] Gallery, pages 200 and 201

[337] Gallery, p. 201

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[338] Gallery, pages 201 and 202

[339] Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[340] Gallery, p. 201

[341] Gallery, p. 194

[342] Gallery, p. 194

[343] Göbeler, p. 136

[344] Göbeler, p. 137

[345] Göbeler, p. 137

[346] Göbeler, p. 137

[347] Göbeler, p. 137

[348] Göbeler, p. 137

[349] Göbeler, p. 137

[350] Göbeler, p. 137

[351] Göbeler, p. 137

[352] Göbeler, p. 137

[353] Göbeler, p. 138

[354] Göbeler, p. 137

[355] Göbeler, p. 138

[356] Göbeler, p. 138

[357] Göbeler, p. 138

[358] Göbeler, p. 138

[359] Göbeler, p. 138

[360] Göbeler, p. 138

[361] Göbeler, pages 138 and 139

[362] Göbeler, p. 139

[363] Göbeler, p. 139

[364] Göbeler, p. 139

[365] Göbeler, p. 139

[366] Göbeler, p. 139

[367] Göbeler, p. 139

[368] Decker, p. 42

See also Göbeler, pages 139 and 156

[369] Göbeler, p. 139

[370] Göbeler, pages 139 and 140

[371] Göbeler, p. 140

[372] Göbeler, p. 140

[373] Göbeler, p. 141

[374] Göbeler, p. 141

[375] Göbeler, p. 141

[376] Göbeler, p. 141

[377] Göbeler, p. 141

[378] Göbeler, pages 141 and 142

[379] Göbeler, p. 142

[380] Göbeler, p. 142

[381] Göbeler, p. 142

[382] Göbeler, p. 142

[383] Göbeler, p. 142

[384] Göbeler, p. 142

[385] Göbeler, p. 142

[386] Göbeler, p. 142

[387] A Coruña, known as La Coruña in Spanish, is a port-city in Galicia, Spain, which was the capital city of the Kingdom of Galicia until 1982 when Santiago de Compostela became the capital.

[388] Göbeler, p. 143

[389] Göbeler, p. 143

[390] Göbeler, p. 143

[391] Göbeler, p. 143

[392] Göbeler, p. 143

[393] Göbeler, p. 143

[394] Göbeler, p. 143

[395] Göbeler, p. 143

[396] Göbeler, p. 143

[397] Göbeler, p. 143

[398] Göbeler, pages 143 and 144

[399] Göbeler, p. 144

[400] Göbeler, p. 144

[401] Göbeler, p. 144

[402] Göbeler, p. 144

[403] Göbeler, p. 144

[404] Göbeler, p. 144

[405] Göbeler, pages 144 and 145

[406] Göbeler, p. 145

See also “Light Anti-Aircraft Guns.” The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II. Edited by Chris Bishop. New York, New York: Barnes & Noble Books (1998), p. 159

[407] Bishop, p. 162

[408] Bishop, p. 161

[409] Göbeler, p. 145

[410] Göbeler, p. 145

[411] Gallery, p. 202

[412] Gallery, p. 202

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[413] Gallery, p. 202

[414] Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[415] Gallery, p. 202

[416] Gallery, p. 202

[417] Gallery, p. 202

[418] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 33

[419] Gallery, p. 202

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[420] Gallery, p. 202

See also Göbeler, p. 146

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 228

[421] Decker, p. 43

[422] Decker, p. 43

[423] Decker, p. 43

[424] Göbeler, p. 146

[425] Göbeler, p. 146

[426] Gallery, p. 202

[427] Göbeler, p. 147

[428] Göbeler, p. 147

[429] Göbeler, p. 147

[430] Göbeler, p. 147

[431] Gallery, p. 202

Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 229

[432] Göbeler, p. 147

[433] Göbeler, p. 147

[434] Gallery, p. 202

See also Decker, p. 43

[435] Gallery, p. 202

[436] Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 229

Mulligan stated the U-505 departed on August 14th (Mulligan, p. 229).

[437] Decker, p. 43

[438] Göbeler, pages 147 and 148

[439] Göbeler, p. 148

[440] Göbeler, p. 148

[441] Göbeler, p. 148

[442] Göbeler, p. 148

[443] Göbeler, p. 148

[444] Göbeler, p. 148

[445] Göbeler, pages 148 and 149

[446] Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 229

[447] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 34

[448] Göbeler, p. 111

[449] Göbeler, p. 149

[450] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” pages 34 and 239 Endnote 26

[451] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 39

[452] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 40

[453] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 45

[454] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 40

[455] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 40

[456] Decker, p. 43

See also Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” pages 35 and 36

[457] Göbeler, p. 149

[458] Göbeler, p. 149

[459] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 36

[460] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 36

[461] Göbeler, p. 153

[462] Göbeler, p. 153

[463] Gallery, p. 202

See also Göbeler, p. 153

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 229

[464] Wise, p. 17

See also Göbeler, p. 154

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 229

[465] Decker, p. 43

[466] Göbeler, p. 154

[467] Göbeler, p. 154

[468] Göbeler, p. 154

[469] Göbeler, p. 154

[470] Decker, p. 43

[471] Göbeler, p. 155

Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 229

[472] Gallery, p. 202

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 229

[473] Göbeler, p. 155

[474] Gallery, p. 203

See also Wise, p. 17

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 229

Paterson, “From the Lion’s Roar to Blunted Axe,” p. 248 Endnotes 35 and 37

Paterson specifically cited “Anti Submarine Warfare Report,” Volume 4 (1943), British Admiralty, RNSM, Gosport.

[475] Gallery, p. 203

See also Decker, p. 43

See also Göbeler, p. 155

[476] Decker, p. 43

[477] Gallery, p. 203

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 229

[478] Göbeler, pages 155 and 156

[479] Gallery, p. 204

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 229

[480] Gallery, p. 204

[481] Gallery, p. 204

[482] Göbeler, p. 159

[483] Gallery, p. 204

[484] Gallery, p. 204

[485] Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 229

[486] Gallery, p. 204

See also Göbeler, pages 160-162

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 229

[487] Gallery, p. 205

See also Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” pages 36 and 41

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 229

See also Decker, p. 43

[488] Gallery, p. 205

[489] Göbeler, p. 162

[490] Göbeler, p. 162

[491] Göbeler, p. 164

[492] Göbeler, p. 164

[493] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 34

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 229

[494] Decker, p. 43

[495] Göbeler, pages 162 and 163

[496] Gallery, p. 207

See also Göbeler, pages 165 and 166

[497] Gallery, pages 210-212

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 229

See also Wise, p. 7

[498] Decker, pages 43 and 44

[499] Decker, p. 43

[500] Gallery, p. 210

[501] Gallery, p. 210-212

See also Decker, p. 43

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 229

[502] Decker, p. 44

See also Göbeler, pages 175-181

[503] The English call (or at least formerly called) SONAR “ASDIC.”

[504] Göbeler, pages 168-171

[505] Gallery, p. 212

I modified Gallery’s translation in several ways for the sake of clarity.  He used a twenty-hour clock to note time, he used the German term Wabos for depth charges, and used the American rank and title captain when commandant is more accurate.

[506] Göbeler, pages 171 and 172

[507] Göbeler, p. 172

[508] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 35 and

[509] COMINCH File, “History of U-505,” p. 1

Keith Gill Papers, Miscellaneous Files – Mostly U-505-Related, Box 4, file “Gallery’s Report on U-505 Safes, U-505 Command Diary, History of U-505, and Nemo Memo”

[510] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 34

[511] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,,” pages 34 and 35

[512] Göbeler, pages 173 and 174

[513] Göbeler, p. 174

[514] Göbeler, pages 175 and 176

[515] Most of the small percentage of people who have worked in the U-505 exhibit or even smaller percentage of people who have visited the exhibit and walked through the U-boat and experienced something they attributed to the supernatural concluded it was either Zschech’s ghost that haunted the sub or his was one of several ghosts that haunted the sub.  There is nothing scientific about this belief that the U-505 is or may be haunted, so the Museum of Science and Industry has only ever played up the notion that the U-boat might be haunted at Halloween. Further, many people who have worked in the exhibit, including one fellow who spent so much time restoring her before the new exhibit opened in 2005 that he sometimes napped in a bunk, neither saw nor heard anything unusual.

[516] Göbeler, pages 177-180

[517] Gallery, p. 213

See also Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” pages 229 and 230

[518] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” pages 36, 37, 46, and 47

[519] Göbeler, pages 181 and 182

[520] Note that Göbeler referred to von Friedburg as “Konteradmiral Hans-Georg von Friedburg, second-in-command of all U-boat forces,” but in reality von Friedburg was commander of all U-boat forces by that point in the war because earlier in the year Hitler had promoted Admiral Karl Dönitz to Grand Admiral and von Friedburg subsequently moved up to replace him as Befehlshaber der Unterseeboote (Commander of the Submarines).  Von Friedburg had been promoted to Vizeadmiral on Monday, February 1, 1943.

[521] Göbeler, p. 182

[522] Göbeler, p. 182

[523] Göbeler, p. 183

[524] Göbeler, pages 183 and 184

[525] Göbeler, pages 184-186


2 thoughts on ““The U-505’s Service History before Capture: The Many War Patrols of Peter Zschech,” by S.M. O’Connor

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