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Old 18-05-2019, 08:26 PM
Untersberg56 Untersberg56 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 89
Two Cases of UMO's (Unidentified Marine Objects)

The advantage of investigating UMO's (Unidentified Marine Objects) is that these craft do not take off from the surface of the sea and can be approached fairly closely. The majority take the form of weird-looking submarines, but in other cases they may be considered as so-called "ghost ships" such as the famous 19th century sailing ship "The Flying Dutchman".

There can be no doubt whatever that ghost ships do therefore exist in a sense, for they know what the date is (many re-appear on the anniversary of their sinking) and they can put on a show to convince operators and instruments aboard naval ships that they really are present and force them to go through the motions of an attack.

It is generally frowned up to mention incidents involving Second World War German U-boats but whatever the rule which keeps these cases out of the public eye, here are two events of UMO's which deliberately set out to taunt two German U-boats in separate incidents.


(Both of these incidents have been reported separately and at length in two books authored by German Navy eye witnesses who saw the events occur. Photocopies of the War Diary entries for the two U-boats concerned can be obtained from a specialist website to check the facts reported in the books and here.)

The Type VII U-boat U-445 commanded by Oberleutnant Fenn sailed from the Norwegian U-boat base at Markviken on 8 November 1942, and put into St Nazaire, France, on 3 January 1943.

The incident recounted here took place in the German Navy chart grid square AJ 8863, a point due south of the tip of Greenland and east of the northern tip of Newfoundland.

At 2030 hrs on 24 December 1942, Oberleutnant Fenn became aware of a "corvette" (smaller than a destroyer) which appeared suddenly 2.5 kilometres away. The weather was misty with hail. He could hardly make out the corvette through the periscope and the operator at the hydrophones equipment reported that the enemy warship made no noise. The U-boat surfaced and through binoculars the four men of the bridge crew searched for the corvette but could not find it.

Then suddenly at 2200 hrs, the War Diary entry reads, "Alarm! Corvette in sight 1000 metres, heading straight for us. No trace on radar. No Asdic. No propellor noise. We submerged. Corvette passed overhead then zig-zagged. We surfaced."

The First Officer, Sub-Lt Schäffer, was first to the bridge. In his book published postwar he described seeing a warship which he recognized as a US Navy flush-deck destroyer with four chimneys. She stood off 400 yards away offering her broadside. He fired two torpedoes, one missed, the second hit, sinking the destroyer in less than a minute. The destroyer went down leaving no trace of wreckage or survivors.

Although not admitted, it is clear that the officers of U-445 were not happy about claiming anything. They must have sat together for several hours ruminating on the incident until deciding neither to claim the warship as sunk, nor make an entry in the War Diary describing the attack. (This entry was necessary to account for the two torpedoes fired).

For that reason for the period from 2200 hrs until midnight on Christmas Eve 1942, the U-445 War Diary contains an over-large space left by Oberleutnant Fenn to be completed after returning to base and asking advice. At St. Nazaire he was told to leave it blank. You see, no Allied warship was lost to enemy action anywhere over the Christmas period 1942.
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Old 21-05-2019, 12:36 AM
Untersberg56 Untersberg56 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 89

The German naval grid square AJ 9661 is only a few sea miles from where the second mysterious incidents occurred on 11 April 1943.

On 4 March 1943, U-188 commanded by Oberleutnant Lüdden sailed from Kiel on her maiden war patrol. One of her lookouts was Matrose Anton Staller, who later retold the story of his wartime career aboard U-188 to author Klaus Willmann, the book appearing subsequently in German and English.

Convoy ON 176, composed of 49 merchant ships and a number of naval escorts, had left Liverpool for New York. One of her escorts was a flush-deck destroyer with four smoke stacks. She had seen service as USS Branch before being transferred to the Royal Navy in 1940 under the Lend-Lease Pact and renamed HMS Beverley.

On 9 April 1943 in rough North Atlantic weather, HMS Beverley collided with the steamer Cairnvalona. The damage she sustained put her anti-submarine and degaussing gear out of action. Though ordered by the convoy commodore to make for Nova Scotia to repair, out of hubris Lt-Cdr Rodney Athelstan Price decided to keep the relatively useless HMS Beverley on station at the rear of the convoy. Without degaussing gear she was sitting duck for torpedoes.

On 10 April 1943 U-188 found convoy ON 176 and shadowed it while awaiting for support from other U-boats. None came, and on 11 April and in conditions of near calm and good visibility Oberleutnant Lüdden to decided to attack alone.

At 0542 hrs he fired a fan of four torpedoes at an "extremely long tanker estimated at 8,000 tons." One torpedo "hit" and exploded astern and the empty tanker disappeared beneath the surface within the impossibly quick time of 45 seconds. Nobody was seen on deck, no boat was got away and there were no survivors in the almost calm sea.

The other three torpedoes of the fan kept running through the convoy and found a target. All three hit HMS Beverley and she sank so swiftly that only three of her crew were found alive.

The section of the U-188 War Diary no doubt containing the commander's wry comments about the incident involving the tanker are missing or censored. At 0559 hrs lookout Matrose Anton Staller drew his attention to a "5,000-ton gigantic freighter like a building afloat with superstructure running its whole length". U-188 fired two torpedoes, both of which hit, the burning stern reared up and the freighter sank within minutes. No crew member aboard ship, or survivor in the almost placid sea, was ever seen.


Of the 49 ships of convoy ON 176 which had left Liverpool, I]Lancastrian Prince[/i] was the only casualty, sunk on 12 April 1943 by U-404. The other 48 merchantmen all sailed again in later convoys. Neither the very long tanker nor the gigantic freighter issued SSS messages on the distress frequency. The convoy rescue ship was not detailed to search for survivors. The German B-Dienst wireless intelligence service never intercepted any signal from ON 176 regarding two merchant ships torpedoed and sunk. U-188 was given credit for sinking HMS Beverley since no other U-boat had attacked the convoy that day.

Therefore in the area at the foot of square AJ of the German naval grid chart, on 24 December 1942 an American flush-deck type destroyer with four stacks was sunk with all hands by U-445 but no Allied warship was lost, and on 11 April 1943 two merchant ships from convoy ON 176 were claimed sunk in placid conditions with all hands, but no ships were lost. After the usual exhaustive enquiries at U-boat HQ, perusal of the logs and crew statements to ensure that the reports were genuine, the incidents were archived never to be mentioned again, for ghost ships did not count in the Tonnage War.

These Unidentified Marine Objects may well be beings. Like UFO's they appear to be intelligent and can move about the surface of the sea. They can make themselves appear to be merchant ships, inveigle themselves into position, alone on a stormy night or in calm conditions in a convoy at daybreak, convince experienced U-boat officers that they are looking at the real thing, causing them to mount an attack. Then, the torpedoes "hit" with a violent explosion just like the real thing and the ship sinks, game over, and the UMO lets the U-boat officers know that it couldn't really have been a ship at all.

Was it a coincidence that the destroyer seen by Schäffer on Christmas Eve was of similar type to HMS Beverley sunk on 11 April 1943. Did the hubris of Lt-Cdr Price invite a situation in which his ship and crew paid the inevitable penalty for remaining with the convoy against orders?

Sources: The two eye-witness accounts are taken from Heinz Schäffer's well known book "U-977", at Chapter 8, Anton Staller's account appears in his jointly authored book under Klaus Willmann's name, "Das Boot U-188" published by Rosenheimer Verlag, 2008 at p.91-93. The KTB pages for U-445 and U-188 for the relevant dates can be obtained upon request to u-boatarchive.com.
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