Helmut Grimm, Patrol 3

Wilhelmshaven, Germany: After ordering the standard refit of T II G7e’s, I pulled out of Wilhelmshaven on 10/26/39 at 0:53 for my assigned patrol grid of AN-56, which is just off the coast of Hartlepool. This could prove to be a promising cruise if I can come across enough cargo ships or even a tanker.

There were a couple of medium speed contacts on the map that were out of position to prosecute, so we proceeded on towards our assignment and took out a coastal merchant along the way for 1,953 tons on 10/28 at 23:15, the SS Watsonville which was carrying aircraft cargo.

We reached the assigned patrol grid of AN-56 at approximately 2AM on 10/29 and continued west through the grid towards the port. We later cleared the grid assignment goal at 2AM the next morning, and I set a course to probe the harbor of possible cheap kills.

There were only three ships in the harbor, a coastal, a cargo and a tanker, but the latter was in a tricky position to get a shot off and escape. I set up on the cargo, firing one torpedo at 3m impact that glanced off the side, and another at 8m magnetic that exploded under the keel.

I had to bug out at that point even though the shot did not sink the ship. We made it out of the harbor matrix and started hugging the coast toward the south to avoid contact with any trawlers or destroyers. The depth was only 10m in that area, not enough to evade.

Late in the evening on 10/31 we set up on a C2 Cargo ship and took it out with one 3m impact torpedo, for 3,860 tons. The ship was the SS Gauntlet, and it was hauling coal. On the way back we ran smack into a C Class Destroyer that I had to dive and put under with my remaining fish.

In the end we returned to Wilhelmshaven on 11/4 in the morning and I picked up 4 U-Boat War Badges for my remaining crew that did not have them, and assigned the Radio/Sonar qualification to one of the Warrant Officers. My renown increased to 2,429.13 and I picked up several awards.

Other thoughts: The probe into Hartlepool was risky and paid zero dividends. When I ran into the C Class Destroyer on the way out and back to base I thought the mission, and my career were over for attempting such a stupid move. My shot with the remaining torpedo was pure luck.

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