U 575


Interrogation Report (O.N.I.) 8th war patrol


        U-575's officers for her eighth patrol, the last under Heydemann, were:

                Captain:  Kapitänleutnant Guenther Heydemann.

                Executive Officer:  Leutnant Wolfgang Boehmer.

                Second Watch Officer:  Leutnant Helmut Gramlow of the October 1940 Term.

                Engineer Officer:  Leutnant (Ing.) Gerhard Lob of the December 1939 Term.

        There were also three midshipmen on board.  One of these was Fähnrich Hermann Ude of the January 1941 Term.  The names of the other two could not be ascertained.  One was a Fähnrich, the other an Oberfähnrich.

        U-575 sailed from St. Nazaire on 22 April 1943.  She was first ordered to a patrol area in mid Atlantic, but remained there only one day before she was directed to join in the attack on a convoy which had been reported by Hasenschar (O.N.I. Note:  Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Hasenschar commanded U-628, first Flotilla, Brest.  His boat has since been sunk and Hasenschar perished with it).  The convoy was west-bound and had been sighted somewhere between the southern tip of Greenland and Newfoundland.  (O.N.I. Note:  The convoy referred to is most probably O.N.S.5, which was attacked on 5 May 1943.  Twelve ships were torpedoed in general position 530N. - 440W.  Eleven of these ships were sunk, totaling 50,624 tons.)

        U-575 made off at a good speed and made contact with the convoy presumably on the morning of 6 May 1943.  She took up position in daylight some 10 miles ahead of the convoy to await nightfall.  In her immediate vicinity were about seven other U-boats, all proceeding on the surface in line abreast some 300 to 500 meters apart.

        During the period that followed U-575 was a member of GROUP AMSEL-DROSSEL-FINK, then of GROUP ELBE II.  Other U-boat groups mentioned by prisoners as present were GRUPS ELBE I, ELBE III, DONAU I, and DONAU II.  All of these groups were later welded into one group.  The total number of U-boats participating in these groups was stated to be forty.  U-boats specifically mentioned by prisoners as taking part in attacks made by these groups were:



O.N.I. Commentary








Commanding Officer Hennig.  Since sunk.








U-514.  Reported missing August 1943.






U-Waecher -

badly damaged during these operations

U-223 was Waechter's boat at this time.  U-223 since sunk in Mediterranean






U-Woerdemann -

sunk at this time.

Woerdemann is not listed in G.N.L.






U-Tinschert (U-267)







U-Witzendorff (U-650)




U-Heinsohn -

signaled that he had been attacked by aircraft and that a battery had split.  He reported that he could make base, but was not heard from or seen again.

Number of U-boat unknown.  Believed to be a new U-boat on first patrol.


        The night before U-575 contacted the convoy it had been attacked by Hasenschar and others and had suffered some casualties.  As night fell U-575 and the other U-boats proceeding ahead of the convoy maneuvered into position at right angles to the course of the convoy in preparation for their attack.  The weather was foggy, and U-575, on the surface, suddenly sighted a destroyer approaching at a distance of 150 meters.  U-575 was in the act of diving when the destroyer rushed past her, apparently without seeing her.  U-575 remained submerged for nine hours during the course of which she was subjected to two ineffectual depth-charge attacks.  It was about daybreak whenU-575 surfaced again and set about trying yo follow up the convoy.  She had not been long on the surface when another destroyer sighted her.  She submerged and was promptly subjected to two depth-charge attacks.  The first series caused little harm, but the second was devastating.  There was considerable water entry and most of the electrical equipment was damaged, including the gyro compass.  Outboard tanks were also dented.  U-575 remained submerged for the best part of 24 hours and was not again attacked.  During this time the crew set about carrying out repairs.  These were entirely successful, the Engineer Officer being, it was said, particularly brilliant on this occasion.

        On surfacing and reporting to Control, U-575 was instructed to proceed to an area northeast of the Azores, where an eastbound convoy, originally reported by Luis, had been located.  (O.N.I. Note:  Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Luis of the 1935 Term commanded U-504

This U-boat was sunk 30 July 1943 and Luis was a casualty.)  U-575 set off at full speed and joined a patrol sweep for about two days before sighting the convoy.  Most of the U-boats from the Hasenschar attack had been switched to the Luis convoy, and it was, according to prisoners, the greatest U-boat gathering of all times.  One prisoner thought this group was called GROUP PREUSSEN.  As the convoy approached, U-575 was once more sighted by an escort vessel which drove her off, and forced her to submerge.  Several other U-boats were driven off, and few remained in contact with the convoy.  (O.N.I. Note:  This is believed to have been convoy SC-129, which on 11 May 1943 was in position 40030'N. - 32030'W.)

        Again surfaced, U-575 tried in vain for a few days to regain contact with the convoy.  It was picked up by chance by U-Vlausen (O.N.I. Note:  Kapitänleutnant Karl Clausen of the 1936 Term may have been the captain in question).  Clausen was returning to base after sinking an auxiliary cruiser or U-boat trap and a merchant vessel in the Newfoundland area, and sighted the convoy heading for England.  Prisoners believe that Clausen had no success against this convoy.  U-575 was unable to catch up with the convoy, as she was by now running short of fuel.  A rendezvous was arranged

with U-Janssen, a 750-tonner on her way to Lorient for special fitting out for the Far East or Indian Ocean, and U-575 received 90 cubic meters of fuel.  (O.N.I. Note:  Kapitänleutnant Gustav Adof Janssen of the 1936 Term commands U-103, a 750-ton U-boat based on Lorient.)

        U-575 now turned north and went off in the direction of Iceland to another operational area.  She had no success here and started back to base.  Part of the homeward journey was made in company with U-Techand, a 500-tonner based on Brest.  (O.N.I. Note:  Oberleutnant Werner Techand of the 1937 B Term commanded U-731 at this time.)  U-575 sailed into St. Nazaire on 11 June 1943, having covered about 8000 miles without firing a single torpedo.

        Although he had accomplished no further sinkings on this patrol, Heydemann was awarded the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross, being credited with a total of 85,676 tons of shipping sunk.




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