Helmut Grimm, Patrol 6

Wilhelmshaven, Germany: My standard refit to electric torpedoes would cost me a C3 Cargo this trip. I had one at 5,903 meters but it was broad daylight and by that point of the patrol I had already been attacked by antisubmarine aircraft once with depth charges that damaged my U-Boat, and buzzed two more times because my conning tower was visibly breaking the surface in rough seas while running at periscope depth.

My patrol assignment of AN-41 produced nothing of note, and I plotted a course for AN-16 once I had completed the mission objective of a 24-hour patrol and was free to roam the seas to the limit of my fuel and batteries. Due to previous air engagements en route, I decided to run at 15 meters depth when submerged instead of standard periscope depth.

My first kill was a Small Merchant, the SS Frances Dawson which was carrying a cargo of steel and manned by a crew of 73, of which 46 were lost when I sent this vessel to the bottom for 2,922 tons on 1/31/40 at 19:02 in grid AN-16. Normally I would have let a Small Merchant go, but given what had happened already on the patrol, I would take what I could get.

The next kill was an aggressive maneuver on my part, driving straight towards a patrolling C Class Destroyer that appeared to be heading toward the area of my first bag. One torpedo put this warship under, being the HMS Delight for 1,375 tons to my credit and a loss of 117 crewmembers out of a complement of 161 on 2/1/40 at 08:26, also in AN-16.

I would miss a chance at a fat juicy C3 Cargo as described above, however as luck would have it on this patrol, I ran across another on 2/2/40 at 11:57 and put her under with a sliding shot impact pistol away from the centerline. The SS Guilford which was carrying a cargo of iron ore (sorry fish) went under immediately after a fiery explosion took 29 of the 44 crew members (this too was in AN-16).

Down to 10% diesel fuel, I sailed into Wilhelmshaven under the cover of darkness and rain on 2/6/40 at 23:45 having completed my best patrol yet - three ships sunk (including one warship) for 10,645 tons. I received a promotion that I gave to a sailor working the diesel engines, and tagged the Weapons Officer who had already been qualified as a Watchman, as a Repair Specialist.

For my endeavors on this patrol, I was awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves for my sexy shadowbox.

Other thoughts: It rained the entire way back which allowed me to run on the surface at ahead-standard and not be exposed to Allied antisubmarine air patrols. The three episodes I had - the first attack that did damage (as soon as I was in AN-62) and the two buzzes really set me into caution mode.

I cannot wait to get the option to upgrade to a VII-C and get rid of this damn Duck.

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