Thomas Fowler
United States
New Mexico
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The beatings will commence, and will continue until attitudes improve.
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Memento rapinas et latrocinia ante ardere!
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Kommandant KptLt. Nicklas Ehm, originally from Bremerhaven, joined the Reichsmarine in 1924, at age 18. In September 1939, after having served for 15 years with some distinction, he was given command of the Kriegsmarine’s Type IXA U-44, at the age of 33.

*****
The first patrol for Kommandant Ehm, September/October 39, began in the waters around the British Isles, with a fresh crew straight from training. Early in the patrol, a small freighter [Cree/4800], alone, was sunk using the deck gun.


Cree (Britain)

Later on a large, escorted freighter [Rodney Star/11800] was finally located. Three torpedoes, all hit, one dud, but two detonated. The U-44 and her crew were lucky, the escort failed to detect them.


Rodney Star (Britain)

Although they still had torpedoes, they were getting low on fuel. Somewhat disappointed, the crew of U-44 returned to Kiel to refit and prepare for another patrol.

*****
November 1939 – Refit – Kiel, Germany
Tonnage sunk: 16600 Total: 16600

*****
The second patrol, December 39/January 40, looked much like the first, search around the British Isles. Late in the second week of December, after dark, the U-44 found an escorted tanker [Chama/8000]. Four torpedoes were fired… three hit, one explosion… the tanker was damaged, but not enough. Eluding the escort, and wondering how many more dud torpedoes they had, the crew reloaded while the U-44 was maneuvered to fire at the tanker again. With the escort alerted, U-44 fired at long range. Three more torpedoes fired… three hit, two explosions, moments later the tanker was ablaze in the night. The U-44 crash dived to elude the enraged escort, managing to escape being found.


Chama (Britain)

Continuing the patrol, Nicklas and his crew checked out the remaining torpedoes. They appeared to be in working order, so…

Three nights after the New Year, the U-44 crossed the path of a large, unescorted freighter [Lochavon/9200]. Bringing the U-44 to the surface, Nicklas decided to use the deck gun as often as possible, being disgusted with the dud torpedoes. At close range, the crew used the deck gun to pound the freighter until she began to sink.


Lochavon (Britain)

The patrol continued, but no more targets were found. As January 1940 came to an end U-44 made her way back to Kiel, ready for refit and report the dud torpedoes.

*****
February 1940 – Refit – Kiel, Germany
Tonnage sunk: 17200 Total: 33800

*****
The third patrol, March/April 40, began with a mine-laying mission. Careful navigation brought the U-44 into the target location for the mines. Surfacing at night, keeping close watch for enemy ships, the mine-laying operation was successful. From that point the U-44 and her crew were free to attack any enemy ships they could find.

A few days after the mine-laying had been completed, a patrolling aircraft found the U-44 and attacked before she could dive. Some of the crew were injured and the hull took damage, but the U-44 was able to dive and escape.

During the remainder of March and most of April the U-44 found and sank a handful of small freighters [Winkleigh/5000; Anna/1300; Trolla/1600; Trevisa/1800]. All were sunk at night, three with the deck gun, and one with torpedoes. Since he had lost faith in the torpedoes, Nicklas only used them if a target ship had an escort, and he fired a full set of four torpedoes at a single target, hoping at least one would hit and detonate. They managed to elude the escort.


Winkleigh (Britain)

Anna (Sweden)

Trolla (Norway)

Trevisa (Canada)

At the end of April U-44 returned to Kiel and refit.

*****
May 1940 – Refit – Kiel, Germany
June 1940 – Refit – Kiel, Germany
Tonnage sunk: 9700 Total: 43500
Notes: Crew healed/replaced; u-boat repaired; expert LI (Leitender Ingenieur) assigned.

*****
The fourth patrol, July/August 40, the British Isles again. Not too different from the first two patrols. The first ship found was a small freighter [Blairlogie/4500], alone, late afternoon. Standard operating procedure, the deck gun sank it. Later a tanker [Erviken/6600] was located, alone, but at night. Once again the deck gun was used.

Besides those two ships, the U-44 did not find any more targets during this patrol. Twice aircraft were sighted, but a crash dive solved those encounters.


Blairlogie (Britain)

Erviken (Norway)

The fighting on land had been going well for the Wehrmacht; the U-44 was ordered to Lorient, France at the end of this patrol, for refit.

*****
September 1940 – Refit – Lorient, France
Tonnage sunk: 11100 Total: 54600

*****
Kommandant Ehm’s fifth patrol, October/November 40, was to be off the Spanish Coast. Mid-October U-44 crossed paths with a small freighter [Ontario/3100] shortly after sunrise. A quick check showed no escort, so the crew pounded it with the deck gun, per sop.


Ontario (Honduras – no photo; similar to the Andalusian in tonnage)

Early November, around 10 p.m. local time, brought another small freighter [Thirlby/4900], and she brought an escort. Coming into close range, the U-44 fired four torpedoes… three hit, and by some miracle all three exploded. The small freighter was torn apart and sank quickly.


Thirlby (Britain)

Before U-44 could dive the escort found her. The crash dive was successful, but this escort was not to be denied her revenge. For the next several hours the U-44 and her crew endured a savage beating from repeated depth charge attacks. Just when they thought the escort was finished, it would drop another set of depth charges, over and over. The U-44 and her crew rode out the attacks, sustaining multiple crew injuries, forward torpedo doors wrecked, and severe hull damage. Finally, the escort left, and the U-44 slowly and cautiously made her way back to Lorient.

*****
December 1940 – Refit – Lorient, France
January 1941 – Refit – Lorient, France
February 1941 – Refit – Lorient, France
Tonnage sunk: 8000 Total: 62600
Notes: Crew healed/replaced; u-boat repaired.

*****
The sixth patrol, March/April 41, was an assignment off the West African Coast. After a cautious exit through the Bay of Biscay, the U-44 arrived on station and began her patrol. At first it seemed like they would not find anything, but finally in late March an unescorted, large freighter [Ville de Mons/7500] was sighted. Closing with it around mid-afternoon, the sop with the deck gun was implemented.


Ville de Mons (Belgium)

Continuing her patrol, U-44 crash dived twice to avoid patrolling aircraft. It was early-mid April before another target was found. This time the U-44 had found a convoy. Waiting until after dark to close in, two targets were selected, a tanker [Anadara/8000], and a large freighter [Abosso/11300]. Four torpedoes were fired… amazingly all four hit and exploded! The tanker erupted in flames and began to sink, the freighter, also burning, began its plunge to the bottom, too.


Anadara (Britain)

Abosso (Britain)

Even as the U-44 crash dived, the escorts were closing in. They wasted no time in punishing the u-boat; one after another, each escort would drop a load of depth charges; the sonar contact was near continuous. Hour after hour the U-44 shook and groaned, as each explosion pounded her and her crew. The air grew stale, ear drums were shattered and other injuries were sustained, some fainted. The hull took much damage and the water sloshing on the deck plates was several inches deep.

Finally, 24 hours after it began, the torture ended. The crew of U-44 waited two more hours, just to be sure the escorts had left the area… Then the U-44 began the long journey back to Lorient. Crossing the Bay of Biscay she crash dived to avoid aircraft, but her crippled dive planes slowed her dive, and she sustained more hull damage before she found safety.

*****
May 1941 – Refit – Lorient, France
June 1941 – Refit – Lorient, France
July 1941 – Refit – Lorient, France
Tonnage sunk: 26800 Total: 89400
Notes: Crew healed/replaced; u-boat repaired; assessed to have a Veteran crew.

*****

The seventh patrol, August/September 41, was another assignment off the West African Coast. Carefully crossing the Bay of Biscay, U-44 made her way to the assigned area, searched, and searched, and searched… Until finally on the evening of September 2nd a convoy was spotted.

Waiting until darkness had settled, the U-44 closed in. After much contemplation, Nicklas decided to get as close as possible, to have the best chance of doing serious damage to the convoy. The U-44 dove for a short time, and then resurfaced… in the middle of the convoy. In the darkness Nicklas looked quickly, and saw several largish shapes nearby[British Fame/8400; Empire Wave/7500; Beaverburn/9900]. Four torpedoes fired, and crash dive immediately. Even as they dove, the crew could hear the screws of multiple escorts racing closer… had they been spotted? Then four explosions in quick succession… slipping away on electrics only… the view through the periscope showed three ships, a tanker, and two large freighters, burning as they sank. The escorts, furiously churned back and forth, but never located U-44.


British Fame (Britain)

Empire Wave (Britain)

Beaverburn (Britain)

The rest of September passed without sighting any more targets. Every so often U-44 crash dived to avoid detection by patrolling aircraft. Finally, it was time to return to Lorient. Another passage through Bob (the crew’s euphemism for the Bay of Biscay), and they were safe once more.

*****
October 1941 – Refit – Lorient, France
Tonnage sunk: 25800 Total: 115200
Notes: Kommandant KptLt. Ehm awarded Knight’s Cross (KC), and promoted to Korvettenkapitän (KKpt); Request for a new u-boat is approved/assignment pending.

*****

Kommandant Ehm’s eighth patrol, November/December 41, was an assignment to patrol the convoy routes in the Atlantic. Another crossing of Bob, and U-44 made her way to the assigned station. Although Nicklas’ request for a new boat had been approved, it would take time before he would actually take command. In the mean time, he and his crew would do their best with their battered Type IXA U-44.

Early-mid November, a convoy was spotted shortly before sunset. Waiting until darkness had fallen, Nicklas moved the U-44 closer, debating either to shoot at medium or close range. Then, having made up his mind and selected two likely targets [Rotorua/10900; John P. Pederson/6100], he ordered the U-44 into close range, fired four torpedoes, and immediately crash dived. While making good their escape on electrics, they could hear the screws of the escorts among the convoy, though none seemed to be searching for their u-boat… Four hits, three explosions (damn dud torpedoes!). Periscope up… A large freighter and a moderate sized tanker burned and settled lower in the water. The escorts raced up and down the convoy, searching to no avail…


Rotorua (Britain; ex Shropshire)

John P. Pederson (Norway)

On December 15th, a few days after Germany declared war on the United States, the U-44 found a small freighter [Bluefields/2100] alone, at mid-day. With the sky clear of aircraft, the deck gun sop was implemented.


Bluefields (Nicaragua)

The day after Christmas, the U-44 began her trek back toward Lorient; no other targets had been sighted. Bob was crossed without incident, and they arrived safely.

*****
January 1942 – Crew on leave/prep new boat – Lorient, France
Tonnage sunk: 19100 Total: 134300
Notes: New Type IXC assigned: U-176.

*****
Kommandant KKpt. Ehm’s ninth patrol, February/March 42, was an assignment to patrol the rich, new hunting grounds off North America. He now had a new Type IXC, U-176, and his veteran crew from the old U-44. The prospects looked promising.

Arriving on station early in February, the U-176 soon found a large tanker [O. A. Knudsen/11000] alone. Since it was late morning, and no aircraft were in sight, the sop with the deck gun was applied. Very soon the tanker was ablaze and sinking.


O. A. Knudsen (Norway)

Three days after Valentine’s Day, a large freighter was located [Venore/8000], also alone. The deck gun was put to use, again, and soon the freighter plunged to the depths.


Venore (USA; ex Charles G. Black)

On March 5th, U-176 found another solitary, fairly large, tanker [Diala/9100]. Low on ammunition for the deck gun, two torpedoes were fired at close range… two hits… one explosion. The tanker was wounded, but did not sink. Two more torpedoes were fired… two hits… two explosions, and the tanker, now burning, began to sink. While keeping watch for aircraft, the crew of U-176 waited until the tanker tipped up for its final plunge, then they left the scene.


Diala (Britain)

Twice aircraft were spotted, and the U-176 crash dived without incident.

Mid-March, and another tanker [W. L. Steed/6200], without escort, crossed the path of U-176. Three torpedoes fired at close range… three hits… two explosions… (damn duds!); at least the two did their job. The tanker, burning, slid down.


W. L. Steed (USA)

As the end of March approached, a small freighter [Norvana/2300] was sighted, all alone. With no aircraft in sight, two torpedoes fired at close range… two hit… one explosion, and down it went.


Norvana (USA; ex York)

With the patrol coming to an end, the U-176 headed back toward Lorient. She began the crossing of Bob as usual (tense and alert). Low clouds prevented timely detection of the attacking aircraft, a RAF Halifax. With no time to dive, Nicklas ordered the AA gun crew into action. The aircraft dropped a spread of charges nearby that blasted the U-176 violently, but she survived, with her AA crew firing madly. As it passed over, the aircraft’s port wing burst into flames, and it crashed nearby. Nicklas ordered everyone below, and the U-176 crash dived, albeit slower than usual. Within the next few minutes, their injuries were evaluated: hull damage with leaks, dive planes damaged, and the aft torpedo doors wrecked. Miraculously none of the crew were injured!

1 Halifax

The remaining passage of Bob was made without incident, and the U-176 brought her crew safely into Lorient.

*****
April 1942 – Refit – Lorient, France
May 1942 – Refit – Lorient, France
June 1942 – Refit – Lorient, France
Tonnage sunk: 36600 Total: 170900
Notes: U-boat repaired; expert 2WO (Wachoffizier) assigned.

*****
The tenth patrol, July/August 42, brought a return to the West African Coast. The recent refit had repaired the damage to U-176, and they had acquired a new expert 2WO. The crossing of Bob in the dark was a tense proposition, full of angst and peril. The whole crew remembered (except the new 2WO) the fight with the Halifax returning to Lorient the last time. They had survived that attack, but nobody wanted to repeat the experience.

It is said that everybody gets what they want eventually. But not this time. A bright spear of light (Leigh Light) pinned the U-176 against the water. The AA gun crew, at their station for the Bob passage, started firing at the light even as the rest of the deck crew scrambled below. The aircraft diving on them swerved violently, damaged, dropping its load of charges too far away to do any harm. Nicklas ordered the remaining crew below, and they crash dived feeling very lucky with no injuries to the crew, or damage to the U-176, either.

Mid-July, while searching for shipping off west Africa, the new 2WO slipped and tumbled into the ocean. He sank like a stone, having hit his head on the hull on the way down. “So much for getting a new expert 2WO,” thought Nicklas, “… what was his name?… Manfred somethingorother?… hmmm didn’t know him long enough to remember.”

Late July and Nicklas and his crew were beginning to feel as if bad luck was their buddy now. First the attack crossing Bob (although no injuries or damage were taken), the new 2WO falling overboard, and no shipping spotted since they left Lorient.

On July 29th a small freighter [Caribou/2200], without escort was sighted. Using the deck gun at close range, the U-176 made short work of the freighter.


Caribou (Britain)

Continuing the patrol, a few days later they crash dived to avoid detection by aircraft. It wasn’t until mid-August that another target was found. On the evening of August 16th, a convoy approached. By now Nicklas had a procedure worked out for dealing with convoys, using a Type IXC u-boat: wait until dark, get in close without being detected (if possible), find two decent targets reasonably close together, fire four torpedoes, crash dive immediately, and hopefully elude the escorts (again, if possible). So far this plan had worked pretty well, even if it wasn’t perfect (but in this line of work, what was?).

All the aforementioned steps were taken. Two targets chosen [Empress of Britain/42300; Inversuir/9500]… Four torpedoes fired… crash dive, attempt escape using the electrics… The escorts’ screws could be heard getting closer… closer… Four hits, four heavy explosions. Up periscope… Beautiful! A fairly large tanker burning and sinking… and a huge freighter…?... no, a passenger liner... burning and sinking, too.


Empress of Britain (Britain) (Note: The liner Empress of Britain was requisitioned as a troop transport.)

Inversuir (Britain)

Then the shape of an escort filled the view from the periscope. The U-176, still on electrics, continued her dive. Depth charges descended… the hard concussions pounded the crew and the u-boat. Sonar contacts hammered the hull repeatedly. Five… six… maybe seven escorts up above? All furiously trying to kill the U-176 and her crew. They worked hard to prevent any more depredations by this killer fish. The depth charge runs were made repeatedly, hour after hour. The U-176 creaked and groaned under the blows, drifting; even the electrics were shut off, no prop noise, silent. Once again the hull was damaged, water seeped in all over. Some of the batteries were damaged. The forward torpedo doors were wrecked. Part of the crew were injured, ear drums damaged, fumes from the damaged batteries... Twenty four hours passed, and still the escorts took turns pounding the U-176 with depth charges, and hammering away with sonar. Some of the crew begged Nicklas to risk going deeper, to escape, but, no, the Kommandant refused to exceed test depth.

After 36 hours, the escorts finally departed. Nicklas waited an hour to be sure, but he also knew his crew needed fresh air, asap. When the time came to ascend, using the electrics for silent running, they found the dive planes were not very responsive. It took awhile, but the U-176 finally surfaced, the main hatch was opened, and the crew climbed out into the early afternoon sunshine. They found the deck gun wrecked. The batteries were repaired, and the boat was cleaned up as much as possible.

With the end of August approaching, the U-176 began the journey back to Lorient. A patrolling aircraft, another crash dive, slowed by damaged dive planes. Days later the crossing of Bob began, again. Extremely paranoid regarding Bob, and having a damaged u-boat, Nicklas crash dived the U-176 at the mere rumor of an aircraft approaching. The U-176 and her crew made it back to the safety of the u-boat pens at Lorient, one more time.

*****
September 1942 – Refit – Lorient, France
October 1942 – Refit – Lorient, France
Tonnage sunk: 54000 Total: 224900
Notes: Crew healed/replaced; u-boat repaired; Kommandant KKpt. Ehm awarded Oak Leaves to the Knight’s Cross (KCO), and promoted to Fregattenkapitän (FKpt).

*****
The eleventh patrol, November/December 42, Kommandant Ehm and the crew of U-176 received another assignment to patrol off the North American coast. They were much relieved that the crossing of Bob was completed without incident. However, shortly after getting clear of Bob, the U-176 was found by a patrolling aircraft. The USAAF B-24 dropped its charges even as the AA crew fired back. The nearby explosions injured a number of the crew, some seriously. Nicklas ordered the deck crew below; as they did, he watched the bomber fly away, trailing thick smoke. The crash dive was sluggish, which did not bode well so early in the patrol. The next day, after getting the injured crew members patched up and checking for other damage, the U-176 was surfaced so that the LI could attempt repairs to the dive planes. After a tense two hours, watching for patrolling aircraft, the dive planes were repaired.

The rest of the transit to the assigned patrol area was uneventful. During this lull in activity, the crew checked and rechecked their boat and weapons. The torpedoes were found to be of an upgraded type, which had fewer defects than those used earlier [random events = Superior torpedoes, +1 for dud torpedoes].

Finally, mid-late November, the U-176 reached the assigned patrol area. The morning of November 24th a small, unescorted freighter was found [Delisle/3500]. Using the deck gun, per sop, damaged the ship. A follow up torpedo finished it off. (deck gun = 1 lousy point of damage)


Delisle (USA)

A largish tanker [China Arrow/8400], also without escort, was located December 6th. First the deck gun, which did damage it, followed up by two torpedoes to finish it off. (deck gun again, 1 lousy point of damage)


China Arrow (USA)

Another tanker [Halo/7000] without escort, was found on December 7th. The deck gun was tried again, but again only some damage. This was followed up with four torpedoes, much to Nicklas’ chagrin; the crew was going to have to practice shooting torpedoes, and the deck gun was going to be checked over. Thank goodness no aircraft or escorts had shown up. (and… the deck gun again, 1 lousy point of damage)
(4 torpedoes… 1 miss, 3 hits of 1 point damage each… sad)


Halo (USA)

On December 9th another unescorted ship, a large freighter [Amerikaland/15400] crossed the path of U-176. Again the deck gun was used initially, doing more damage (finally, 2 points damage) than the earlier three times. A follow up torpedo was fired, which did a nice job of finishing the target (4 damage points).


Amerikaland (Sweden)

Continuing the patrol, the U-176 did not find any more targets. Late December she began the trek back toward Lorient. The long transit was uneventful, but even so the crew stayed alert hoping to find more shipping, and avoid patrolling aircraft.

The return crossing of Bob was uneventful, although tense with dire expectation.

They reached the safety of Lorient once more, and the injured crew were taken ashore to heal, which most did quickly. The U-176 had, by some miracle, not sustained any serious damage. Since the LI had managed to repair the dive planes, no other repairs were needed; just the normal refit after a long patrol. True to his promise, Nicklas set the crew to practicing torpedo and deck gun attacks. The deck gun was found to have a defect, directly related to the damage sustained on patrol #10 and thought to have been repaired. This was to be rectified immediately.

*****
January 1943 – Refit – Lorient, France
Tonnage sunk: 34300 Total: 259200
Notes: Crew healed/replaced; Kommandant FKpt. Ehm awarded Swords to the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves (KCO&S).

*****
The twelfth patrol, February/March 43, found the U-176 and her crew assigned to the Atlantic. The transit of Bob was accomplished safely, but the Allied anti-submarine forces were getting stronger. The rest of the transit to the assigned patrol area was also made without any interference.

Getting close to mid-late February, a convoy was finally located, at night. Considering the number of escorts watching over the convoy, Nicklas figured a submerged attack was best. Having picked a couple of likely targets, large freighters [Laurentic/18700; Malabar/8000], he ordered four torpedoes fired at medium range. Several moments later three hits, three explosions. A view through the periscope revealed a large freighter tipped, bow down, sinking quickly, and a largish freighter burning, but not sinking.


Laurentic (Britain) (Note: The liner Laurentic was requisitioned and converted to an auxiliary cruiser/armed freighter.)

It was fortunate the U-176 was already submerged, because several escorts were racing in her direction. Diving deeper, trying to escape, the crew could hear the screws approaching, accompanied by many sonar contacts. Then the depth charges began exploding. The U-176 groaned as her hull was hammered repeatedly… water coming in all over… aft torpedo doors wrecked. Continuous sonar contacts as the screws kept crisscrossing above. Completely silent, U-176 drifted lower. More explosions, more hull damage, more flooding. Several crew members were killed outright. Crawling away on electrics only, U-176 sought escape… more explosions close by… until finally, almost eight hours later, the escorts gave up and went away.

Stopping the flooding and stabilizing the boat, Nicklas kept his surviving crew busy while looking through the periscope, and figuring what to do next. Faint screw sounds were detected… not the convoy (that had gone on while they were being beaten on by the escorts), but heading in the same direction. Surfacing the U-176 cautiously, Nicklas took a look around. Faintly seen in the darkness, a ways off, was a lone ship, a straggler perhaps. Closing the distance, Nicklas was able to pick out two important details: the ship, a largish freighter, was smoking heavily, and she had an escort nearby. Since he knew the U-176 was the only boat to have attacked the convoy near this location, Nicklas figured this was the same freighter they had damaged earlier. He had the U-176 submerged immediately, but quietly. Next… decide what to do. Here was a freighter they had already damaged, and could probably finish off. However, she still had an escort protecting her, so there would be some risk of more damage to the U-176 and her remaining crew.

Since it was still dark, Nicklas decided to try another submerged attack. Closing to medium range, he ordered two torpedoes fired, and prep to dive deeper if the escort headed their way. A short wait and… two hits, two explosions. Up periscope… large freighter broken in half, bow and stern sections sliding down [Malabar/8000]… and the sonar contacts immediately began to pound the U-176… the escort found them.


Malabar (Britain)

Brutal explosions pounded the U-176 over and over. More of the crew were killed… batteries damaged. More explosions, some even closer… the hull creaking… more flooding. Once again the U-176 and her surviving crew rode out the attacks. Roughly five and a half hours later the screws of the escort were heard fading into the distance. Stopping the flooding and stabilizing the boat came first; then taking stock of their situation. About half the crew was dead… the batteries damaged… radio out… aft torpedo doors wrecked and useless… and after the U-176 was surfaced, the flak guns were damaged, too, along with extensive hull damage.

The LI attempted to fix what he could: one of the flak guns, and the batteries. Unfortunately, the radio and the rest were beyond repair, until they reached a port. While repairs were being made, Nicklas looked over their options. They had sunk two good sized freighters, but at the cost of half the crew dead, and a badly damaged boat. When the repairs had been made, Nicklas had the U-176 submerged, and announced that they were aborting the rest of the patrol and heading back to Lorient.

The return was largely uneventful, just as Nicklas and his remaining crew hoped it would be. They managed to elude any patrolling aircraft.

(Random event, Good Luck, save for future use)

As always, the crossing of Bob waited for them. It was bad enough with a full crew and an intact boat, but now… Gott im Himmel! By March 2nd, having crossed Bob without harm, U-176 and her crew, what was left of them, were safely back at Lorient.

*****
Patrol aborted halfway through – Active February 43 only
March 1943 – Refit – Lorient, France
April 1943 – Refit – Lorient, France
May 1943 – Refit – Lorient, France
Tonnage sunk: 26700 Total: 285900
Notes: Crew replaced; u-boat repaired; expert Doctor assigned.

*****
The thirteenth patrol, June/July 43, and the U-176 was assigned to the West African Coast, again. Admiral Dönitz had decided the larger, Type IX u-boats were less effective in the increasingly heated Atlantic convoy battles. So, the Type IXs were being withdrawn from the Atlantic, and sent to what were hoped to be safer hunting areas. Nicklas and his crew looked forward to the new patrol, as the WAC had been a good hunting ground for them on previous patrols.

The crossing of Bob began after dark, the AA crew ready. Shortly before 11:00 p.m., light speared the U-176 before she could crash dive. The AA crew began shooting, then several hard explosions close by. The attacking aircraft was seen to crash, even as the crew raced below and the U-176 attempted to dive. Her dive was sluggish… and several of the crew had been killed

Running on electrics for awhile, Nicklas, after checking above with the periscope, had the U-176 surfaced. The LI checked the dive planes, and started attempting to repair them. After several hours, and many frustrating failures, the LI was finally able to get the dive planes operational (used “Good Luck” acquired on patrol #12).

The next few days were uneventful, except for the funerals for the crew who had been killed.

The U-176 was getting close to her assigned patrol area, when another patrolling aircraft found her in daylight. Without time to dive, the AA crew fired back, damaging the enemy plane. The charges hit close on both sides, the explosions battering the u-boat severely. The flak guns were knocked out, the hydrophone damaged, water coming in, several more crew wounded, including the new Doctor. The U-176 attempted to dive, as the damaged aircraft made another attack. The charges hit extremely close; at least one or two may have hit the hull directly. The explosions were unimaginably loud. The U-176 sank from view.

Remaining on the surface, an oil slick… pieces of wreckage from the interior… some dead crew… and a few alive, who were picked up several hours later by an Allied destroyer, as POWs.

*****
June 1943 – Sunk (26°46'43.4"N 20°24'27.3"W) enroute to assigned patrol area
Tonnage sunk: 0 Total Overall: 285900
1 patrol aircraft shot down; 1 patrol aircraft damaged
Notes: Kommandant FKpt. Nicklas Ehm, KCO&S, and his veteran crew, were recognized posthumously as having been very effective in their efforts on behalf of Germany.

*****

Finis

Edit: to correct spelling & punctuation, 1st thru 10th patrols
Edit to add 11th patrol
Edit to add 12th patrol
Edit to add 13th patrol
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Edward Kowynia
United States
Bedford
TX
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Re: Kommandant Nicklas Ehm, U-44 & U-176
Great report. Thanks for sharing. I love this game myself. Sounds like for the same reasons as you, the story type game play. Good luck and good hunting!
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Thomas Fowler
United States
New Mexico
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The beatings will commence, and will continue until attitudes improve.
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Memento rapinas et latrocinia ante ardere!
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Re: Kommandant Nicklas Ehm, U-44 & U-176
Thank you! I am happy you enjoyed it.

I do love this game; it has excellent narrative possibilities.

Nicklas Ehm is the first Kmdt. I have sent on patrol who has lived long enough that it seemed worth writing up the AAR for.

Btw, this is Kmdt. Ehm's emblem that is displayed on all his u-boats:


North Star

The earlier ones I am counting as training exercises . The first several u-boats I sent out were lost to mistakes that ought to have been avoided; I mean 'stupid-silly-reckless' mistakes. Trying to make a u-boat do things a Kmdt. should know better than to try; things that were definitely covered during training.
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