View Full Version : Were Downed British Aircrew 'Rescued' by U-Boats?

08-19-2006, 03:05 PM
Can anyone help me out here, I'm familiar with the 'take no prisoner' orders the U-Boats were under, but weren't British/American Aircrew from downed aircraft picked up as it was deemed they could provide useful information?

If that was the case, does anyone know how they were returned to Occupied France/Germany - I can't believe they had to endure the rest of the U-Boat's patrol, surely they were transferred at sea yes? If so, to what? a sea plane if in range? a U-Boat port bound, returning from a patrol?

I'd be grateful if anyone can shed any lighton this or me. Thanks everyone.

PS: Have YOU voted in the Screenshot Comp?

08-19-2006, 03:53 PM
Hi RJ, from what i have read recently, it seems that the Germans would summon up whatever backup they had to save UK/US surviving troops (very noble considering) from German civilians, i think they mustered what they could at the time (boats in vicinity etc) i have read a few articles about it, i found this site to be particularly helpful.....
From what i can gather they endured the patrol(thankful to be alive i suppose) and then were shipped by ground or air.......i will look into it further......interesting subject http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/shady.gif

08-19-2006, 05:04 PM
I have read of many occurances where Allied pilots were picked up and later interned as POW's - so it did happen. But after the sinking of a British Cunard Liner Laconia containing mainly Italian POW's and some civilians Doenitz later gave the order for no rescue attempts to be made, as any act would put the U-Boat and it's crew in danger.

Unfortunately for Doenitz this order did not help him much later on at his trial at Nurenburg.

You can read the account of the Laconia here (http://www.uboat.net/ops/laconia.htm)

08-19-2006, 08:24 PM
I have read of FW-200 Kondors and JU-88s shot-down and crew rescued by the Royal Navy but the "contraire",umm,I think one time I have read something about a Wellington or Warwkick shot-down in the Mediterranean and the crew was rescued by one U-Boot and then transfered to the Italians.But I dont remember, where I have read this article.A type of colaboration of the type-Luftwaffe -Kriegsmarine was not very usuall in WWII(one of the more great mistakes of Goering and also from Raeder, this last, incapable to influence the F├╝hrer to make pressure in Goering to give planes and pilots to create a Navy Aviation).

Only in the Artic the Luftwaffe was much more cooperative, exception of course of the KG-40 with his Kondors and the Ju-88s based near the Bay of Biscay.A situation of this type of rescue maybe was possible there, in the Artic, with the floaplanes HE-115 and Blohm & Voss to pick the prisioners crew.

08-20-2006, 03:16 PM
Yes, I read that they'd only take the pilot, the rest of them were given a life raft and some rations, a radio message was signalled, then off they went.
They would take the whole crew if there wasn't too many and they had room, but this was not always the case, and early on in a patrol you could hardly blame them for not wanting pow's crowding them out

08-20-2006, 03:43 PM
Not just the crowding being the issue, like there was enough room for the crew alone, but it was a case of having to feed them too, especially if it was the beginning of the patrol.

08-21-2006, 08:35 AM
Well.....we all know what Socko would do..... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/784.gif


08-21-2006, 01:01 PM
I think I'd rather drown then be a POW in Germany. They would probably put me to work in a Ammo factory lol. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/88.gif

08-21-2006, 08:30 PM
I can just imagine this scenario occurring sometime in 1943 or onwards: Allied flyer gets shot down and is offered rescue by the U-boat; says no thanks, I'll take my chances in my rubber lifeboat. [This being a reference to the odds against a U-boat surviving a patrol from summer 1943 to the end of the war.

08-21-2006, 08:51 PM
the laughing hurts.

08-22-2006, 06:44 AM
I think 90% of the time the pilots would be dead. Attacks on uboats meant low flying, shot down at that height and you would be smashed to pieces. Planes and sea landings do not go together well (which is why I always wonder why passenger jets have instructions on how to evacuate the plane in case of a splash down...)

Anyhoo, i know i read of a few occasions where aircraft were shot down and where they crashed on bombing runs. None of the crew survived in any i read about.

08-22-2006, 08:07 AM
As previously mentioned suvivability of aircrew is small in these sorts of senarios. Many times in my reference material there are reports of planes being shoot down only to have surviors killed when depth charges explode.

Donitz's post Laconia order only referred to civilians, UBOats were still allowed to secure the captains and chief engineers of sunk merchantmen. The information that could be secured from surviving aircrew would have been invaluable to BdU, if it was correct! There are records of a quick thinking radar operator in a shoot down aircraft who told his captors he was homing in on radio waves emitted by the 'Biscay Cross' radar detector of the U-boat! And hence protecting the secret of the allies new centimetric radar units for several months, as well as tricking BdU to order uboats to cross the Bay of Biscay submerged, surfacing only to charge batteries.

08-22-2006, 08:39 PM
There is a marginal chance of survival if an airliner ditches on water. Does anybody have any video footage of that airliner that ditched off the shore of Somalia a few years ago? I know a lot of people died in that one but I seem to recall that there were survivors. I'd guess the reason for survival was that they came down very close to shore. Still, there is the theoretical possibility of being able to get at least some people out of a ditched plane before it sinks, hence the survival instructions. If anything, they may at least calm a few nervous passengers and give them hope.

08-31-2006, 11:49 PM
New informations for you Realjambo ; U-207(VIIC-Oblt Fritz Meyer)had rescued by July 1941 in the Atlantic the crew of a British patrol plane(six mens on total-two officers, three Petty Officers and one sailor).Two rounded rafts were sighted at night after a SOS red rocket.British taked prisioners , rafts were taked aboard of U-207.Rescue operation aproved by BDU.Not others informations available by the moment.