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Seehund successes???

Discussion in 'Atlantic Naval Conflict' started by wilconqr, May 15, 2007.

  1. wilconqr

    wilconqr Dishonorably Discharged

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    This may already be a redundant topic; there are so many threads on the Seehund. However, I couldn't find what I was looking for, so here goes. I've checked with three different sources on tonnage sunk by the Seehund and have found three different estimations.
    The Historic Naval Ships Association says, "Operated by two men and carrying two underslung torpedoes, the Seehund was used very effectively in the waning months of World War II, sinking over 120,000 tons of allied shipping."
    http://hnsa.org/ships/seehund.htm
    In the book Wolf Pack by Gordon Williamson he says, "It has been estimated that up to 90,000 tons of enemy shipping were sunk in operations using the Seehund." Williamson even includes uboat.net as an Online Research Resource, yet the website gives another number for sunken tonnage:
    "From January through April 1945 the Seehund boats went out on 142 sorties, lost 3 of their own and only sank 8 ships for a total of 17,301 tons and damaged 3 for 18, 384 tons."
    http://uboat.net/types/seehund.htm
    Can anyone clear this up??????????
     
  2. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    the first two referecnes need to be dropped especially anything written by g.w.

    For Januar 45: 44 sorties, some 10 losses, 1 Allied ship sunk of 324 tns

    For Februar 45: 33 sorties, some 4 losses, 2 Allied ships sunk with 3,691 tns, 1 Allied ship damaged.

    März 1945: 29 sorties, some 9 losses, 4 Allied ships sunk, one of these in a collision with a Seehund, the small K-verband boot torpedoes exploded sending both down.

    and there is more........ in April of 45 it appears through the translation of the Deutsch that 5-6 or more Allied craft were sunk

    in retrospect: this at the end in scribbled form from a private K-Verband publication from Germany

    142 sorties carried out with the sinking of 9 Allied ships if I read this correctly. Seehund losses were at : 35

    there is a rather thick little book produced by the Seehund organization from München in German and the author some years ago was asking anyone to replicate the volume in English, he left his e-mail addy but it was disconnected within 3 months of the web-site article

    Erich ~ and our forum member Stevin and I were exploring the possibilities of interviewing a former pilot of one of these little creatures when his Seehund was recovered out of the seas outside of Holland a few years back
     
  3. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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  4. wilconqr

    wilconqr Dishonorably Discharged

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    Yes, I saw the thread created a while back where you and Steven had posted on the Holland Seehund. However, I didn't see anything regarding victories and losses, so I created a new thread. Forgive my weak knowledge of the German language, but the word 'Seehund' looks like Sea - Dog to me. I know it means Seal, but it looks like it should translate like Sealion - Seelowe. Anyway, I really like this picture from the German page.
     

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  5. Schwere Luft

    Schwere Luft Member

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    This is my first contribution to the forum. I am presently translating "Das Kommando der Kleinkriegsverbände der Kriegsmarine" by Helmut Blocksdorf, publisher Motorbuch Verlag 2003.

    Blocksdorf devotes about thirty pages to the pocket U-boat "Seehund", about twenty to their operations, all in the North Sea between 1st January and 25 April 1945. The most successful month for tonnage destroyed was March.

    The German K-Verband claimed about 93,000 tons of shipping sunk in 154 missions. British historians, not usually prone to overestimating their losses, put the figure higher, at 120,000 gross tons. The difference is probably due to shipping not claimed as sunk on a voyage in which the Seehund failed to return (boats not fitted with radio), or underestimating the size of ships attacked.

    The worst month for losses pro-rata was January 1945: when Kptlt Rasch, flotilla-chief, was relieved on 3 February and replaced by FKpt Brandi, things began to improve greatly.

    Dönitz stated to Hitler in December 1944 that he expected the Seehund flotillas to sink 100,000 tons of shipping monthly. This exaggeration was based on the false belief that a Seehund was too small to be picked up as a radar target. It was also thought likely that the Seehund would not be very vulnerable to the shock wave of depth charges: this seems to have been partially true for several Seehunde survived hours and hours of close range depth charging and returned to base undamaged.

    A Seehund could carry two mines, an S-boat six. The mine was the most successful weapon of the S-boat Arm. Since early 1942 S-boats had had great difficulties in achieving minelaying successes because their activities were watched on radar and the mines then swept. One has the impression that the Seehund would have been best employed as a minelayer.

    If a summary of successes and losses from Blocksdorf's book would help I will draft one. Knowledge about the Seehund flotillas remains scanty, but Blocksdorf does his best and where possible he provides the names of Allied merchant shipping and warships sunk.
     
  6. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    as far reaching question is thus : time of publication of this very important work translated ? I am most interested as the K-Verband is primarily unknown to other than German language viewers/readers

    Welcome to these fine forums

    you make an interesting note about mines as the Seehund was armed in operations with two torpedoes. Actually the S-boot arm was quite successsful in mine laying ops even into 1945 although special RAF hunt squads would try their best to hunt them out.

    Erich ~
     
  7. wilconqr

    wilconqr Dishonorably Discharged

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    Was the Seehund ever sent on patrol directly from a U-boot pen or were they always brought into the combat zone via piggy-back on a Type VII/IX? Can you show a photo or web link of the latter?
     
  8. Schwere Luft

    Schwere Luft Member

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    Erich

    Blocksdorf's book was published in 2003. I am translating it for a UK publisher. I think it should appear in English edition late this year. I have translated to date the first seven chapters - structure of the K-Verband Command, and the following "boats": Neger and Marder, Hecht, Biber, Molch. I am presently completing Seehund.


    Wilconqr

    According to Blocksdorf, the only "boats" which were intended to be carried piggy-back by a U-boat on operations were the Biber of K-Flotilla 264 in Operation Cäsar. This was the planned attack on the Soviet battleship Archangelsk ex-HMS Royal Sovereign in Wayenga Bay near Kola. Two Biber were carried piggy-back on each of the 13.U-Flotilla boats U-295 (Wieboldt), U-318 (Will) and U-716 (Thimme).

    The force sailed from Harstadt on 5 January 1945. It was soon apparent that vibrations from the U-boat diesels had caused leaks in the gasoline lines of two Biber. Although the defects were repaired aboard, off the North Cape the problem recurred while leaks through the aft stuffing box covers were found to have caused flooding in the Biber engine rooms. For that reason the operation was abandoned.

    The Seehund base was at Ijmuiden. The area seemed very promising because there were numerous tributaries and islands where it was possible to hide a fleet of "pocket U-boats". The HQ of the first Seehund flotilla, K-Flotilla 312, was located in a two-storey building in the Rijkswaterstraat industrial area, the operational Staff and food store was based in an old mission house and the chapel in Velsen cemetery.

    Ijmuiden was at the seaward end of the Amsterdam canal system and had three locks of diferent sizes. When an operation was to be sailed, the boats would congregate in the middle lock of the three where there was a floating jetty. They would then pass into the North Sea directly through the small lock, run parallel to the coast to the Hook of Holland and then head for the operational area ordered.
     
  9. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    many thanks for the response Schw. Luft. am looking forward to your completed work. May I ask the publisher the book will be going through ?

    E ~
     
  10. Schwere Luft

    Schwere Luft Member

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    Pen & Sword.
     
  11. wilconqr

    wilconqr Dishonorably Discharged

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    Yes, I've seen photos of the Biber going into action piggy-back. I just assumed that that was so with all mini-subs. Why was this the case? Could the Seehund have had a more successful cruise if it had been allowed to save fuel/stores by being brought into action via piggy-back? Also, about how long was a cruise intended to be? I would think that with a 300 mile range that the crew would give out from the exhaustion of being cramped into such a confined space long before the boat was starting to run low/need to be serviced.
     
  12. wilconqr

    wilconqr Dishonorably Discharged

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    Almost finished w/Wolf Pack. The author keeps stating that Donitz kept all German "Political Officers" from going on war cruises. Is this entirely true? What about in the movie Das Boot?
     
  13. Schwere Luft

    Schwere Luft Member

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    Wilconqr

    The furthest point reached by an operational Seehund from Ijmuiden was Dunkirk to relieve the German garrison by bringing food supplies and ammunition. Oblt Froehnert/Beltrami sailed Ijmuiden 28 March 1945 in appalling weather, arrived Dunkirk on the seventh day and were hospitalized immediately.

    The two longest voyages were as follows, I leave it to you to pick the winner:

    (1) A Seehund which had sailed Ijmuiden on 14 April 1945 was returning to base when the fuel and batteries ran out. The rations were used up. The boat drifted with the Gulf stream. When all hope was gone the crew put a message in a bottle into the sea. On 24 April the boat washed up at Katwijk aan Zee. The two crew were saved by a Wehrmacht shore party. This voyage was ten days accounted for.

    (2) On 12 February U-5361 (Ziepult/Rech) was one of five Seehund boats to leave Ijmuiden with orders to attack the Thames-Scheldt traffic. After torpedoing a Dutch freighter off the North Foreland on 15 February, the boat headed for home. Nothing further is known about the circumstances of the voyage. On 23 February, twelve days after sailing, engineer Rech was washed up unconscious on the beach at Voorne. The mortal remains of Lt Ziepult drifted ashore at Ijmuiden two months later.

    In 1945 there were no U-boats stationed in Dutch waters, only S-boats, and the reasons against U-boat piggy-back rides for Seehunde seem legion. Incidentally Ijmuiden was particularly favourable as a safe port because of a "secret" agreement between the Allies and the Dutch authorities not to bomb the lock system. The Dutch feared that Amsterdam could be flooded by doing so. The Germans probably knew about this and exploited it accordingly.

    What you say about the privations aboard seems very true. Quite apart from the voyages mentioned above, Blocksdorf quotes a case, but without naming the crew or boat, in which the engineer asked the commander to shoot him, which he did. The commander than shot himself in the head, but not fatally. Several days later he was found off the Dutch coast clinging to the wreck of an MTB (whether British or German is not stated). Blocksdorf states that he has not been able to discover the court-martial papers. Apparently a very dim view was taken of crews shooting each other, and a suicide pact which went wrong is murder by the survivor. One wonders what horrors these two men went through to seek such a way out of their distress.

    "Das Boot" was, as you say, a film. The pro-Nazi officer was not stated to be an NSFO (Nationalsozialistischer Fuehrungs-Offizier), he was the IIWO who happened to be a convinced Nazi. I do not recall in the literature an NSFO being reported aboard a U-boat.
     
  14. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    S.L. you mention no Seehunds stationed in Dutch waters........where were they stationed ? Wilhelmshaven ? ........I honestly do not know as I thought the March/April losses or at least some were in Dutch waters but craft found as far as Calais ?

    E ~
     
  15. Schwere Luft

    Schwere Luft Member

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    Erich

    See post No 8, para four. All Seehund were based at Ijmuiden.
     
  16. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    I re-read the post # 8, must be my allergies affecting my poor brain. thanks

    I would be interested to see a posting of the draft of success and losses if you have the time.......thank you

    E
     
  17. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    tried writing Klaus Mattes again about his English translation of his Seehund book......no success as his email is not working.

    curious as well S.L. does the author also include much in the way of descriptions about the Torpedoes used by the Km as the G7E ?

    E ~
     
  18. Schwere Luft

    Schwere Luft Member

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    Blocksdorf states that Seehund used standard G 7e torpedos. It was planned to equip them with the Walter Torpedo, the K-Butt, as soon as they became available. The later torpedo ideas are described but I think he assumes the reader is au fait with the usual models.

    As far as possible he describes the operations. It is fairly fragmentary because the K-Verband War Diaries are missing. Even so it stretches over twenty pages, and it is much more comprehensive than I first thought.
     
  19. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Schwere Luft thank you again.

    another question if I may ..... ..

    For the Seehund, what K-Flottillas did the small craft serve in ??

    E ~
     
  20. Schwere Luft

    Schwere Luft Member

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    Training was at Lehrkommando 300, Neustadt/Holstein.

    K-Flotilla 311 (Übungsflotille 311 - Hecht was training boat used by this flotilla).
    K-Flotillas 312, 313 and 314 (little is known of the latter two, may not have been up and running by February 1945.)

    From February 1945 the seagoing crews were amalgamated and operated as 5.K-Division.
     

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