Daily Event for September 30, 2013

The U-boat base at Penang was established in the beginning of 1943, it was located at Jerejak Island just off George Town, Penang, Malaya. Penang had been captured by the Japanese in Dec. of 1941 and was used as a base for transferring material and equipment between the two Axis nations. As time went on the base was increasingly used as a proper U-boat base where operations in the Indian Ocean and off South Africa were carried out. In the latter stages of the war the base became far more difficult to reach and keep supplied. By late 1944 there were five docks for U-boats, but the weapons stored at the base were beginning to degrade. The heat and humidity of Malaya and lack of proper maintenance techniques made the torpedoes unreliable, therefore new torpedoes needed to be supplied, the only method of achieving this was the U-boat.

None of the combat U-boats built had a range which would allow them to reach Penang from France so the Germans had arranged for U-tankers to refuel them en route. Ever since the Great War the Germans had been very adept at resupplying at sea as they possessed no foreign bases. In the Second World War a network of tankers spread throughout the Atlantic provided German vessels with the supply of fuel, food and weapons required to keep them at sea for an extended period of time. The Allies were well aware of the tanker system and made these ships a prime target for destruction. To sink one tanker was more important than sinking a combat U-boat. The tanker could supply several boats keeping them at sea and a threat to Allied shipping, but if the tanker was sunk the combat boats had to return to a base to refuel shortening their availability to remain in their combat zone. There were however specially designed U-boats which could make the trip without having to refuel, U-1062 was one of these boats.

U-1062 was one of four a Type VIIF boats built at Freidrich Krupp Germaniawerft in Kiel. The largest U-boats built by the Germans, the VIIFs were a variant of the Type VIIC, the difference being an additional 35' section installed behind the control room. Originally the VIIFs were designed as a torpedo resupply boat, which included special hatches and equipment for handling the transfer of the heavy torpedoes at sea. This was a dangerous and time consuming enterprise in itself, add to this the increasing accuracy of Allied signals intelligence and the possibility of being caught dead in the water shifting torpedoes from boat to boat, the deign was rethought and the VIIFs were converted into general transport boats. Two of them, U-1059 and U-1062 were fitted out as torpedo transports to be sent to Penang. The other two, U-1060 and U-1061 remained in European and Scandinavian waters.

U-1059 departed Bergen, Norway on Feb. 12, 1944 for Penang carrying torpedoes and other supplies for the German base and for their Japanese Allies. Because the boat sailed from Norway rather than France she had to refuel at sea en route. It was this rendezvous, known by the Allies, that cost the Germans their first VIIF boat on Mar. 19, 1944. The boat that was supposed to refuel her, U-488, was sunk a month later.

The other mission to resupply Penang was made by U-1062. She departed Kiel on Dec. 18, 1943 bound for Bergen, but on the 22nd the boat was attacked by nine Bristol Beaufighters from 144 and 404 Squadrons RCAF. The boat was attacked with torpedoes, all which missed, and gunfire, which killed one man. Two of the aircraft were shot down, all four men in them being lost and the boat, slightly damaged, arrived in Bergen on Dec. 24. Pilot Officer John Young, RAFVR and Flying Officer Kenneth S. Miller, RCAF in Beaufighter "R" of 404 Squadron, RCAF, were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for their actions.

U-1062 was under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Karl Albrecht, this was his first command. After making repairs at Bergen Albrecht and U-1062 sailed for Penang. They successfully refueled at sea and made port on April 19, 1944, the voyage took 108 days. At Penang U-1062 was unloaded and reloaded with materials needed in Germany. He was originally ordered to a French port, but Allied advances made this impossible so while on the way back his orders would be changed, he was to head to Norway, which would require a rendezvous with a U-tanker en route. The boat that would be given this duty was Korvettenkapitän Walter Burghagen's U-219.

U-219 left Bordeaux, France on Apr. 30, 1944, but due to mechanical problems had to put in to La Pallice on the 25th. The fault with the hydroplane was repaired and the boat was ordered back to Bordeaux to have a schnorchel and Hohentwiel radar fitted. Arriving on the 28th the equipment was fitted and U-219 departed Bordeaux on Aug. 22. They touched at Le Verdon on the 23rd and left on the 28th for the open sea. They crossed the Bay of Biscay using the schnorchel and made the Atlantic, but on Sept. 14 the schnorchel malfunctioned and was no longer used. The boat had to surface to recharge the batteries.

U-1062 had their own troubles, they left Penang on June 19, but had to put back because a Junkers compressor broke down, they arrived back at the base on July 2. Making some repairs they put back to sea on July 15, only to be attacked on the 16th by HMS Storm P-233 in the Malacca Strait. All six torpedoes missed and the boat continued on its voyage. On Aug. 14 Albrecht received the order to make for Norway as French ports were unsafe to enter, he was also advised to "make most economical use of fuel supplies". He was sent another signal on Aug. 18 asking for information on his position and how much fuel he would need to reach Norway. He replied seven hours later from a position 1,000 miles south of St. Helena Island asking for 50 CBM fuel, a Junkers Compressor Cylinder Liner Stage 2, a reserve FUMB instrument and a gyro sphere. They had made it around the horn and were in the Atlantic.

On Sept. 19, Burghagen in U-219 received the order to rendezvous with U-1062 to refuel Albrecht on his return trip, the meeting was to take place on Sept. 28 in mid-ocean, the signal was also received by the U.S. Navy. It was deciphered and sent to two hunter-killer groups with orders to sink these boats.

U-219 was on station at the appointed time, but U-1062 failed to surface. Burghagen later reported that when he surfaced (Sept. 29 at 2200 German time) there was an oil slick off the starboard bow and to port. The oil may have come from U-1062 which might have been attacked earlier by Lt (j.g.) Willis H. Brett, USNR of VC-36 from USS Mission Bay CVE-59. U-219 was shortly attacked by aircraft from USS Tripoli CVE-64 and driven under, shooting down one of the Avengers of VC-6 before submerging. Remaining in the area until Oct. 3 she was again attacked by aircraft and this time was forced under for 68 hours. (See Daily Event for Sept. 28, 2013.)

U-1062 and Albrecht had not been heard from since Aug. 18, but had apparently made it to the rendezvous point on time. At midnight (U.S. Navy time) on October 30, 1944 Lt. (j.g.) Robert A. Straub, USNR of VC-36, USS Mission Bay CVE-59 reported a radar contact, which quickly disappeared. He dropped a pattern of sonar buoys which provided good sound indications. Four hours later another VC-36 pilot, Lt. E. P. W. Schwan, USNR, reported two targets, which also disappeared. He made a searchlight run, but found nothing. He dropped more sonar buoys which provided further contact.

At 0650 Lt. James N. Dau, USNR, also of VC-36, attacked the target and later it was again attacked by Lt. Joseph R. Daly, USNR and two other VC-36 aircraft. Lt. Daly called for escorts to attack the target, but before they arrived two more aircraft made further attacks.

The three ships that moved in were USS Fessenden DE-142, USS Douglas L. Howard DE-138 and USS J. R. Y. Blakely DE-140. USS Fessenden, under the command of Lt. Commander William A. Dobbs, USCG, made contact and fired a full pattern of twenty-four Mk10 Hedgehog mortars at 1628. Fourteen seconds later four underwater explosions were heard and "a large upheaval of water was observed in the center of the hedgehog pattern". At 1630 a pattern of seventeen Mk8 depth charges were dropped on the target, but none apparently hit the target.

After the attack Fessenden and her consorts searched the area and found nothing, but an aircraft reported an oil slick, 1,000 wide and two miles long could be seen in the immediate area. For the next six days ships from the task group remained in the area, continuing to drop depth charges until about 250 had been dispensed. There was no further contact made with the target after the initial hedgehog attack, but the oil slick remained. Aircraft were kept in the sky around the clock for the entire six days, but never again saw anything but oil. Some of the sonar buoys contained sound recording spools and these were taken to Norfolk when they returned. After examination by experts it was determined that the spools contained submarine sounds and underwater explosions. The recordings were later used as a training tool for the sonobuoy training school.

U-boat command also never heard from Albrecht and U-1062 again, she was finally considered to have been lost with all hands on Dec. 2. 1944.
© 2013 Michael W. Pocock

Roll of Honour
In memory of those who lost their lives in
Beaufighter "F" (NE323) 404 Squadron RCAF
Beaufighter "H" (LZ452) 404 Squadron RCAF
Dec. 22, 1943
"As long as we embrace them in our memory, their spirit will always be with us"

Conn, William B.
Flying Officer (RAF)
Beaufighter "H"
Gillespie, Ian G.
Flying Officer (RCAF)
Beaufighter "F" Pilot
Glendinning, James E.
Flying Officer (RAFVR)
Beaufighter "F"
Munro, Ray
Flight Lieutenant (RCAF)
Beaufighter "H" Pilot

In Erinnerung an die gefallenen Besatzungsmitglieder der U-1062
"In memory of the fallen crewmen of U-1062"

Polzhuber, Rudolf
Died Dec. 22, 1943
Albrecht, Karl
Oberleutnant zue See
Commanding Officer
Becker, Josef
Benecke, Bernhard
Betche, Kurt
Börner, Helmut
Brandt, Erwin
Browarzik, Walter
Cieslak, Franz
Drygalla, Rudolf
Ehrlich, Gerhard
Engel, Alfons
Fellermeier, Xaver
Feustel, Arno-Hans
Göbels, Heinz
Goldbeck, Werner
Gossen, Gerhard
Grümser, Peter-Paul
Hechler, Dr. Rudolf
Mar.St.Arzt der Reserve
Boat's Doctor
Hilse, Kurt
Himisch, Hans
Hollain, Erich
Holm, Heinz
Inkoferer, Wilhelm
Irler, Josef
Ivanovius, Siegfried
Janocha, Gerhard
Kahlau, Wilhelm
Leutnant zur See
Kastenholz, Bernhard
Keibel, Erwin
Kirschner, Josef
Kögst, Herbert
Kräcker, Johannes
Krage, Hans
Krüger, Wolfgang
Kunde, Friedrich
Oberleutnant zue See
Küper, Werner-Josef
Manke, Fritz
Niehoff, Josef
Nöhles, Karl
Peter, Helmut
Poppe, Richard
Rauppach, Udo
Rendler, Heinz
Rippin, Kurt
Rodenkirchen, Franz-Josef
Sachse, Heinz
Schäf, Johann
Seiffer, Otto
Steckhan, Heinrich
Oberleutnant zue See
Stiller, Herbert
Tegtmeier, Heinrich
Oberleutnant (ing.)
Thiedeitz, Alfred
Fähnrich MN
Wachter, Rudolf
Wagner, Helmut
Willner, Erwin
Ziegel, Kurt
Killed in Beaufighter attack.

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