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German submarine activities on the Atlantic coast of the United States and Canada online

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ings there. They also learned, chiefly from the crew, many of the orders that came by
radio. They were always well treated. The U-152 remained on the surface except
when forced by the presence of Allied craft to dive.

Between September 30 and October 11, the submarine's course was SW. (true),
speed 4 knots; but as she was continually in the Gulf Stream, her position did not
vary much. She was on the lookout for Allied sMpping. Up to the latter date, when
the first intimation of the armistice negotiations were received, no attacks were made.
The submarine's engines were in bad condition, and it was stated that she could not
make more than 10 knots on the surface. Her proper speed was 12 knots, but she
never made more than 11 on her first voyage. The engines were overhauled every
day, and appeared to lack copper and other metals.

On October 11 this message came in code — as did all others: "Engage men of war
only. The merchant war has ended." The Americans were told that this was,
"The first act of our new government." Course was now changed to SE.

On October 12, the Norwegian bark Stifinder was sighted about 4 p. m. and two
shots sent across her bows. The crew took to the boats. Lieut. Wille went over to
her with a boarding party, and returned with many pro\isions, onions, canned fish-
balls, etc., from the Uruted States, besides three live pigs. The Norwegians were
given compasses and food, then told to set sail for the nearest land, which was
Newfoundland, some 1,000 miles away. It was impossible to protest against this ■
barbarity. The Stifinder was sunk by the submarine the next afternoon. She con-
tained contraband, light oils — none of which were of value to the U-152 — en route
from New York to Australia.

October 15, an unescorted steamer, unarmed, was sighted in the afternoon. Sixty
shots were fired at her. She had apparently fallen behind her convoy; for she radioed:
"Help! For God's sake. Help!" At length the submarine's alarm for diving rang,
and she plunged at about an angle of 45° (she usually dived at 30°) to a depth of 55
meters. The limit of the depth dial was 50 meters, but Muller was told "We don't




worry about that." A cruiser and a destroyer were reported. Five minutes later,
nine depth charges exploded. The boat shook, but no lights went out, and the Ameri-
cans were told that no one "worried " unless that happened.

Various courses on the surface were now steered for a few days. A torpedo was fired
at a British steamer on the 17th, but as it was not heard to explode, probably missed.
The s\ibmarine dived, but ten minm'es later came to the surface and engaged the
steamer in a gun duel. The latter fired 40 shots, none of which hit U~152, and the
siibmarine 83; range and effect not learned by the prisoners. This was in the late
afternoon, and had continued for two hours. The steamer was maldng more speed
than the submarine, and now escaped.

October 20 came the radio "All submarines return to Kiel." U-152 set course NE.,
till she had rounded the Faroe Islands. She entered the northern mine barrage at
4 p. m., November 11. She proceeded at i\\\\ speed on the surface, through its center,
and the Americans were told that the mines had been passed at 4 a. m., on the 12th.
They woke to learn that the officers had heard of the signing of the armistice. All hands
seemed pleased that "the war was over." Lieut. Schwartz admitted that for months
Germany had been waging a losing fight, because the United States had intervened.

The Skagerack was entered on the night of the 12th. U-152 encountered U-5S
(Hans Rose's famous sub), and tied up to her from 9 to 11 p. m. Von Schrader had
replaced Rose in command. He stated that about six weeks previously U-5S had
torpedoed a United States escort ship at the entrance to the Bristol Channel. U-53
was not certain of her name, but it sounded like Tampa. (Note: Time and location
of the imexplained loss of U. S. S. Tampa would confirm this. It is known, however,
that about that date U-5S fired a torpedo at U. S. S. Chester. The Chester was not hit,
but as she dropped depth charges the submarine may have been deceived by their

U-53 stated that after she had torpedoed U. S. S. Jacob Jones (Dec. 6, 1917), she
had recognized in the latter's dory Lieut. Commander D. W. Bagley, "WTio had been
aboard an American destroyer off Newport when we torpedoed enemy merchant
men in 1916." She also declared that she had sent out a radio message when the
Jacob Jones was sinking, and that this was the only call for help that any submarine
had ever given in the case of a torpedoed ship. (Note : A radio message whose origin
has never been accounted for, signaling the sinking of the Jacob Jones, was intercepted
at Queenstown on the afternoon of Dec. 6, 1917.)

U-53 also declared that she had left Kiel owing to the revolution ; that her officers
and men were loyal to the Kaiser, and that she was bound for Sweden. Apparently
uncertain about this step, however, she proceeded back toward the Baltic on the
morning of November 13, leading U-152 through the mine fields. The latter con-
tinued into the Sound, after the U-53 went ahead at 15 knots for Kiel, and she anchored
near Copenhagen on the evening of the 14th. Here two radio messages were received:
One from U-5S, sajdng that all was calm at Kiel, but that she was leaving to intern in
Sweden (which she has supposedly done). Another from the Commandant at Kiel
ordering U~152 to return to port.

Capt. Franz now held a meeting of the officers and crew, and took their vote as to
whether the sub should go to Sweden or to Germany. Of the crew of 80, about 10
favored interning, and 70 Kiel. As the submarine got underway, Franz said to MuUer
and Fulcher: "You two gentlemen are now free. You are no longer prisoners of war.
I don't know whether we shall finally reach Kiel or Sweden, or Denmark; but rest
assured that in any case you will be safe. I shall protect you at all hazards. Whatever
we do, you will be well off.

U-152 had received many radio messages concerning mutinies and the chaos ashore
in Germany. The Americans were advised to proceed to their consulates if a neutral
port was reached. "I, Mr. Muller," continued Capt. Franz, "was a gunnery officer

181062°— 20 8


at the Battle of Jutland. But during the years since, I have been in submarines.
And the submarines have been doing all the Navy's work in the war. The battleships
and cruisers of the High Seas Fleet have been doing next to nothing." This feeling
of chagrin and anger was from now on constantly phrased both aboard U-152 and the
ships visited by the prisoners at Kiel.

Kiel was reached at 5 p. m., November 15. The Americans were quartered on the
submarine mother ship Kronprinz Heinrich, where they got hot baths and rooms.
But they continued to mess on U-152, which was the outboard siibmarine of the seven
U-boats alongside. The executive officer of the Heinrich formally released them as
prisoners. "Naval officers have no more power over you," he said. He blamed the
collapse of Germany upon the United States entry into the War. "You have ruined
our country," he added. "See what you have done." He told them that they were
free to go ashore, but advised against it.

On the 16th, they were told that they would leave for Copenhagen at 10 a. m. the
next day. Nothing was done to carry this out, and the executive of the mothership
asked apologetically whether his guests minded waiting until the following day.
That afternoon (Saturday) they went ashore •^ath a chief boatswain's mate of the U-152.
They were told there that the mutiny in the High Seas Fleet started on October 28,
the day fixed for it to go to sea to meet the Grand Fleet. The black gang in a certain
ship started the revolt. Between 250 and 300 of the crew were put in the lockup,
but a crowd of 10,000 ratings surroimded the ship (apparently alongside dock), released
them, and hoisted the red flag. Ashore in Kiel, the Americans visited five restaurants.
There was little to buy except bad beer. Many British, Belgian, and Russian soldiers
were encountered, but no Americans. Conditions did not appear abnormal.

The executive of the mothership on the 17th stated that he no longer had any
authority to deal with his guests, in any way. He said that to arrange for reaching
Copenhagen or elsewhere, they must treat with the soldiers' and workingmen's repre-
sentatives aboard. He referred to them as "soldaten," although one was a chief
boatswain's mate, and the others two able seamen. They also had charge of the sub-
marines alongside.

"The submarines are going to England with transports," they said. "We will
arrange accommodations for you on one of the transports." But when the crew of
U-152 heard this they protested. They held a vote, and elected to take MuUer and
Fulcher with them. "We wish to insure your safety," they said, among other evi-
dences that the Americans were popular aboard. They had no relations with the
officers of the ship, but the divided authorities were not antagonistic, and ship dis-
cipline was maintained by the latter. Muller and Fulcher stayed on the Heinrich
until November 20, and were given clean underwear and shoes.

On the morning of that day, they went aboard U-152 again, and at 2 p. m. left
through the Kiel Canal, arriving at Brunsbuttel the following afternoon. They
reached Heligoland 11 p. m. the same day, and left for Harwich at 7.30, November 22.
The 24 submarines en route, preceded by a transport, were in two columns, one led
by U-152 and the other by U-155 (Deutschland). Harwich was reached on Sunday,
the 24th.

Preceding the departure from Germany, half of the U-152's crew had gone ashore,
some home, others to man merchant ships at Hamburg. There had been no objection
by any of them to visiting England. Capt. Franz, several warrant officers, the chief
engineer, first officer, and Lieut. Schwarz also stayed behind. A meeting was held
to elect a captain. Lieut. Wille was chosen, and he kept good discipline on the trip
to Harwich. The messes were maintained, the men and officers not eating together.
Throughout, the officers and crew had been friendly to the Americans, doing every-
thing possible for their comfort, giving them cigarettes, etc. When they left the
ship in Harwich, the stock of provisions aboard was divided up equally among all the
men and officers. They insisted that the Americans take their share uf them, and out


of politeness MuUer and Fiilclior felt that they had to do so. They stepped ashore
■with packages of cheese, and flour, and wurst. " We have more than we need to take
back to Germany," said the crew.

Every German they had seen expressed himself as being glad that the war was over.
It was declared that surrender had been necessary to save the lives of women and
children: that except for this the fight would have continued. All officers stated
that Germany months ago would have won if the United States had not come in.
This was the opinion even of those still loyal to the Kaiser. All were enthusiastic
over the new Government, which was to be a republic.

"Take all our submarines, and battleships, and battle cruisers," the soldation on
the Kronprinz Heinrich had said. "Sink them in the mid-Atlantic. We don't want
them any more. What we do want from now on are ploughs and picks and shovels,
to get back to work again."

After the sinking of the Ticonderoga there was no definite report
of the whereabouts of the U-152 until October 13, when she sank the
Norwegian three-masted bark Stijinder, 1,746 gross tons, bound from
New York to Freemont, Austraha, Tarwald Frehe, chief mate of the
saiUng vessel, made the following report of the loss of the ship to
the American naval authorities:

Our position was 37° 22' north latitude, and 53° 30' west longitude. We first sighted
the submarine at 1.45 p. m., when three shots were fired at us, none of which hit.
I, personally, only heard the last shot, as I was below deck when the first two shots
were fired and had gone up above when I heard shouting by the members of the crew.
Well, after I heard the shot I went up on deck and saw the submarine, which was on
the surface in a westerly position from us, off our stern about 3 miles away. We at
once hoisted the Norwegian flag and drew in our sails. We then lowered our boat,
and at the request of the captain I took eight men with me and sailed over to the
submarine in the small boat with the ship's papers, it being the idea of our captain
that they would want to see them as that had been our understanding of their practice
in the past. On arriving alongside the submarine I asked if they wanted me to come
on board, and on being told to do so by one of the officers on the submarine, I went
aboard. I gave an officer the ship's papers. They immediately asked the name of
the ship, where bound from, where to, and for information as to the nature of the
cargo. I answered him that we were bound from New York to Australia, with a cargo
of oil. He was looking over the papers, standing just outside the conning tower, and
said, "You have turpentine also on board, have you not? " " Where is this stowed? "
"Where are your plans?" I told him that we had turpentine on board, but that I
did not have the ship's plans, as these were kept by the Standard Oil Co., of New
York. I understand a little of German, and I heard him sa^ to another German officer
that this boat had turpentine and "we have none in Germany." His attention
seemed to be centered on the turpentine, and was apparantly not interested in the
kerosene and benzine. ♦

The commander of the submarine would not talk to me in English, but he did talk
to one of the officers in German, who, in turn, talked to me in English. After finishing
looking at our papers he said, "I see you are going from one enemy country to another
and that your cargo is contraband, so you know what that means." I told him ours
was a neutral ship, but he replied that it did not make any difference, as he would
have to sink us, talking to me in English. This last conversation was with one of
the minor officers on the submarine. This officer asked me if I could talk German,
and I said "No." The men were talking between themselves in German all the
time. I did not hear all tliey said, but they seemed to want the turpentine. They
also asked me if we had any potatoes on board, or any pigs. I told him "Yes," and


the chief eaid then, "We ■will tow the boat up to the ship: go aboard, and see what
we can use." They then made a rope fast to our lifeboat in tow, made about a half
circle around the Stijiiider. and came alongside. I understood the commander's orders
to be full speed ahead, and I imagine he was making about 10 to 11 miles per hour.
I was on board the submarine all this time. They tied up alongside the Stijinder,
and I asked if they would return the ship's papers to me. The officer said "'No,"
'and at that moment a sailor on board the submarine pushed me from the back and
into the lifeboat. That was the only rough attack made against me. They were
verj- businesslike and had three or foin- cameras with which they were taking pic-
tures, but I did not notice any moA'ing-picture machine. A German officer then
took charge of 10 or 12 of the crew from the submarine and ordered us all on board
our boat. This officer then put one man in the .crow's nest and placed guards at the
different hatches. One of the men brought on a bag of bombs. I did not get a very
good look at these, but one of them seemed to be about the size of a ball, painted black,
and brass riveted. The German officer then went up to oiu- captain and began talking
to him hut instrucring me to throw some food and clothes into our lifeboat and beat it.
I asked him if I could get the ship's instruments, and on being allowed went to my
room, but before I got all I wanted they looked me up and told me to get out. I did
get a few of my personal things and food and water enough for 11 men for about 20
days, the ship's sextant, and the hfeboat compass. After putting these in the Life-
boat I again approached the German officer, who was still talking to the captain, and
asked him for a chart, as we had two lifeboats and only one chart. He instructed
what I took to be the na^'ig3ting officer of the submarine to give me a chart. They
let us take all the pro%'isions we wanted and made no complaint about the quantity
we took, and he g^ive orders to his men that nothing was to be touched until we left
the ship and then they would take what they wanted after. Xo special remarks
were made that I can think of which would be of interest to you, and I did not hear
the conversation between the officer and our captain. We then lowered om- captain's
boat, which had been fully provisioned, and both our boats sailed away a few hundred
yards and came together to talk over oiu- position, where to land, and we decided to
tr>- and reach Xov-a Scotia. There were 11 men, including myseli. in my lifeboat,
and S men, including the captain, in the captain's lifeboat. My boat was sailing the
fastest, so we gave the captain's boat a line and tried to tow it. It was about 4 p. m.
when we left our ship, and at 5 p. m. we lost sight of oiu* ship on accoimt of darkness.
We had made about 5 miles in a westerly direction. The last we saw of the Stijinder
the submarine was still alongside, and we saw the German crew still on board and
breaking open the hatches, with one man up in the rigging to keep a watch out. The
captain had all of the confidential papers in the chart room, and I do not know what
disposition he made of them. The stowage chart was one wliich was made by me
for my information, and I had previously destro\-ed it.

I was on the submarine f«r about one hotur's time, but only on deck, as I was not
allowed inside. She was between 2S0 feet and 300 feet long; had one conning tower;
two 5 or 6 inch guns, one fore and one aft; and each gun had two men in charge: the
barrels of the guns appeared to be 2-5 or 30 feet long. I did not notice any machine
guns on the deck. There was one 2-inch pipe immediately forward of the conning
tower, which I took to be a periscope, but the eye had been removed; this pipe was
about 12 feet high. There were two masts, one about 30 feet high and the other
possibly 15 feet, the highest one being aft. There were wireless wires hanging down
from them. The two large gims on the submarine were mounted on the raised portion
of the deck, and my sketch will explain this better to you. I should judge there
were 25 or 30 men on the deck, and there also were some below decks, as I heard them
shout below to men in the engine room. They did not steer on the bridge, but the
commander stood inside the conning tower. The commander was dressed, as 1
judged, like a chauffeur. He had on a short overcoat, of khaki color, with a lai-ge


eheepskiii collar, and a heavy white sweater ineide. Ue looked to be between ^2 and
35 years old and was about 5 feet 10 inches high, rather pkiuny; reddish face and a
muBtache between a blonde and red, with a rather big nose; I did not hear his name
called. The general run of the men was as follows: Their clothes were very dirty,
oily, and ragged; their clothes were a sort of khaki dungaree. They all appeared to
be happy and well fed, and all were smoking cigars. Three or four of the men wore
small arms, and all of the officers had revolvers in belts on their side. The officer
who gave me the chart, and who I assume was the na\agating officer, wore a dungaree
suit and a sailor's cap. WTien he gave me the chart I asked him to mark our position
on it and he did, but I think his latitude was wrong by possibly 10 degrees.

The lifeboat containing the captain and seven of the crew of the
Stifinder landed at Turks Island November 5, having been at sea
for over three weeks. The second boat, containing the mate and 10
men, was picked up by U. S. S. C. No. 294 on October 28, after 15
days at sea.

On the 15th of October the U-152 attacJted the British S. S.
Messina, 4, 271 tons gross, in latitude 37° 20' N., longitude 53° 30' W.
The Messina was armed with one 4.7-inch Japanese gun and was
attacked by gunfire at 18.28 G. M. T., while en route from Plymouth
to Baltimore in ballast. When the submarine was sighted the ship
was steering S. 82 W. (true) at 7 knots. There was a strong WSW.
wind, heavy sea, and fair visibility. Speed of submarine about 14
knots, steering W. by N. (true), and was sighted on the port quarter.
On sighting, the ship brought the submarine astern, and put on fuU
speed and zigzagged in accordance with the fall of the enemy shots.
The submarine opened fire at 18.32 with range of approximately
8,000 yards and fired about 100 shots of two rounds per minute.
The ship was hit once on the port side abaft the bridge and two plates
were fractm'ed in the side. The ship opened fire at 18.35 at about
7,000 yards range and fired 15 rounds, but the submarine was not hit.
After two hours' running fight the chase was abandoned in approxi-
mately latitude 37° 37' N. and longitude 52° 48' W. The master of
the Messina reported that the submarine was about 10 to 15 feet
out of the water. Two 6-inch guns were seen, one forward and one
aft of the conning tower. She was painted dark gray.

The last action of the U-152 was her attack on the British steamer
Briarleaf, October 17, in latitude 36° 05' N., longitude 49° 12' W.

The British S. S. Briarleaf aiTived at Sabine, Tex., on October 29,
and the following information was obtained from Capt. G. E. Pat-
terson regarding the encounter with German submarine:

Capt. Patterson stated that on October 17, 1918, at 4.10 p. m.,
in latitude 36° 05' N., longitude 49° 12' W. (about 1,200 miles off
American coast), a submarine came to the surface about 600 yards
off the starboard beam, showing superstructure, conning tower and
periscope. The submarine immediately opened fire with an explo-
sive sheUj which burst and fell short. The Briarleaf replied with


(tne shot, which also missed. The submarine submerged, coming up
astern and again opened fire on the vessel, which replied. The sub-
marine fired in all about 150 shots, making no hits, although some
fragments of shells dropped on deck. The Briarleaf fired 39 shots,
and then ceased firing, as the submarine was out of range; however,
the submarine contined firing for about 30 minutes, as it was equipped
with heavier caliber guns. At 5.55 p. m. the submarine ceased firing
and dropped astern. Capt. Patterson, while not positive, believes
that he must have scored a hit which caused some slight damage, as
otherwise the submarine would not have given up the engagement,
as it seemed fairly able to maintain an even speed with ih.Q Briarleaf .

The submarine is described as follows: Length about 300 feet,
with superstructure entire length, said superdeck being about 5 feet
above conning tower; painted light gray, mth periscope being either
brass or painted yellow. Capt. Patterson was of the opinion this
submarine is one of the latest type. No guns or gun crews were
visible, the guns being situated under the superstructure, as all that
could be seen were the flashes as the guns were fired. The submarine
used two guns while in action, both of which were either 5-inch or
larger, as they had much longer range than the guns on the Briar-
leaf, which is 4.7.

Capt Patterson advised also that while the submarine was shelling
his vessel, a ^vireless message was received from the S. S. Lucia call-
ing for help. The Lucia said in her message that she had been tor-
pedoed and was sinking, and gave her position as about 100 miles
north of the position of the S. S. Briarleaf.

It was formerly believed that the V-152 was responsible for the
sinking of the Lucia on the same day that the attack on the Briar-
leaf took place. Both the V-152 and the U-155 were in the vicinity
at the time, and it is the testimony of Capt. Patterson and the War
Diary of the U. S. S. Princess MatoiTca that leads to the decision that
each was engaged in a separate attack:

At about 4 p. m., August 17, the signal from the Briarleaf came in. Plotted on the
chart the Briarleaf hore from the Princess Matoika and the Pastores 219 true distance
about 15 miles. By inspection of the chart would pass within 6 miles of the alio.
About 4.40 p. m. gunfire was heard ahead — sometimes to port and sometimes to star-

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