View Full Version : Noob Patrol 5 (Roman Holiday)

06-17-2005, 12:04 PM
~A lone U-Boat Captain fighting a battle of wits in the Atlantic€¦completely unarmed

Taken from the personal War Diary (Kriegstagebuch) of Captain J. Smitlack

Shore Leave
December 31, 1939 €" January 26, 1940

Elsa is not at the pier when U-1 pulls in. I shave and take a bath relaxing in my own filth for several hours; making bubbles you know the drill. I report in. Herr Raeder informs me that they have been unable to find me a suitable first officer. Something must be done about this before U-1 sails again. I have a couple of drinks before retiring to my room. Sleep is impossible. I am deeply troubled by the string of first officers that I have lost. I rise and sit at the small desk in my quarters. I think back sixteen years to the start of what most have called a curse and some merely a coincidence. Whatever it is I will never forget that night.

I was in Munich; the year 1923, on the streets there was talk of an attempt to overthrow the Bavarian government. I had a craving for an ice cream cone. I found myself walking past a beer hall when I was spotted by some rather angry looking men in brown shirts and pulled inside. They looked like a bunch of constipated cub scouts. I tripped over the threshold and dropped my ice cream. Before I really knew what was going on I was put in charge of a group of even angrier young men. My second in command was a man named Hermann Goring. We were on the street advancing against the police, for some reason, when I came up with the idea to have my Number One (Goring) go back and get me a double scoop of triple ripple. The moment after the order left my lips a policeman€s bullet ricocheted off the Odenplatz and caught ole€ Hermie right in the bean bag. He let out a rather high pitched falsetto scream before collapsing to the pavement. The first thought that entered my head was how happy I was that I had not gone back for the triple ripple. Looking back almost sixteen years has a tendency to put prior thoughts and acts into the proper perspective€¦ I am still pretty glad that I did not go back for the ice cream that night. A couple of the anger scouts came back to pick him up. They carried him into a nearby house while I struck off down an alleyway without even offering to help. I wish that things had gone differently that night€¦because every time I even think about ice cream I hear an echo of a blood curdling scream in my mind and a burning sensation in sensitive but musky places. I never did get my triple ripple. I spend a sleepless night trying to come up with an answer to the curse or coincidence and come up with nothing.

Elsa arrives for New Years Eve and we take a tour of a stuffed animal factory just outside of Frankfurt. Elsa excuses herself to use the powder room. I wait for a while but then get bored, I had toured this same factory years before I even met Elsa. I go across the street to the torpedo building factory that boasts no fatally accidents or decapitations, as far as we know, in the past twenty minutes. While watching a T-II being put together the stuffed animal factory blows sky high. I run into the street as a shower of bricks, broken glass and stuffed animal body parts rain down.

I find Elsa several miles away sitting outside a café with my life insurance agent. The stuffed animal factory€s bathroom had apparently run out of TP and she had wandered here to use their bathroom. We order lunch. I have a club sandwich.

We celebrate New Years at Elsa€s parent€s house. Actually I celebrate at her parent€s house as Elsa gets called out into the night to help a friend with his plumbing. My wife is such a generous and giving person. I have to report back in at Wilhelmshaven a few days later. I tell my mother-in-law to tell Elsa that I love her, when she gets back from her friends. In Wilhelmshaven I walk into a bar and throw a cat into the crowd. The first person it hits I recruit as my new First Officer.

January 27, 1940

I find some yellow snow just outside of the Officer€s quarters and make a snow cone like we used to do back when I was a boy. It is a trifle tart; it brings memories of my childhood flooding back. I quickly push such thoughts out of my mind and go to work. I catch a black cat walking in front of me as I break a mirror while crossing under the conning tower ladder. I have a feeling that we are going to get lucky this patrol.

After loading up and a fresh coat of paint we are under way. I have decided to do away with the T-II€s that we have carried on previous patrols. They seem to be too unpredictable I explain to the Chief Engineer he mutters something under his breath that sounds like, €œMuch like the crazy captain,€ but I don€t make it out. We steam out of Wilhelmshaven heading for the deep blue sea. We are set to patrol Grid AN-73 this time out.

January 28, 1940

In an attempt to fight off boredom I decide to hold the first annual U-boat games. Much like the Olympics that were held for the first time in Athens in 1896. We fashion a flag from the cook€s dirty tee shirt. We find that if you squint at the sweat stains around the armpits they almost look like Olympic rings. We blast the Olympic Anthem from the gramophone, off key so we don€t get sued for copyright infringement. I have the men gather on deck and we strip down to our birthday suits much like they did in the games of antiquity. I catch a few men starring at my tattoo but let it slide. I expect to see many of the crew copying the design in the future and can€t help feeling a sense of pride. We stack our clothes on the edge of the deck where they are swept overboard in short order.

The crew and I fashion togas from the sheets on the beds in U-1. There are only enough for half the crew as we usually sleep two men to one bunk; one crewmember sleeping while the other works and vice versa. For the still naked half of the crew we fashion clothes from old potato sacks. I must say that I look rather fetching in my toga. I make a note to put in for a uniform change for the U-boat arm of the Kriegsmarine and wonder aloud how they ever went out of style. I insist that the crew refer to me as Caesar Emperor of Rome. I designate Number One as Brutus and my Chief Engineer as Marc Antony. All the knives on board U-1 are collected up and thrown overboard.

The games go well until during the Javelin toss when an overzealous sailor spears one of the crew in the tower. Just like in land€¦ its all fun and games until someone gets impaled. We wrap up the games and go back to work. I order the crew to continue wearing the toga. The Cook feeds me grapes while the machinist mate fans me with an old hatch cover until he falls over from exhaustion. Those hatch covers must be heavy I guess.

January 29, 1940

05:40 we spot a neutral fishing boat from the Netherlands. I almost mistake it for a French vessel and sink it. Brutus points out that it is from the Netherlands and even if it were a French vessel it would still be neutral. I wonder aloud if we were to accidentally collide with the fishing boat would that still count. The boat slips away.

22:52 We arrive at AN-73 and begin our patrol.

January 30, 1940

02:02 slow screws detected far off to the southwest. I suspect a shipping lane later when we pick up several ships that seem to be following the same bearing.

13:26 The watch spots a British Tug flying military colors, we submerge and avoid it.

13:40 U-1 breaks the surface after evading the tug that probably never even knew we were there.

15:24 Merchant ship spotted. Moving 5 K in light fog. We submerge.

15:38 I identify the merchant as British through the periscope. We move closer for the kill.

15:49 Fire T-I at 500 yards.

15:50 Torpedo impact; one shot one kill.


16:04 U-1 returns to her patrol route.

January 31, 1940

12:55 Under gray skies we leave AN-73, our patrol completed roughly ten hours before. I decide to steam south towards Dover and maybe venture into the channel. The channel is pretty shallow and heavily patrolled. The last thing they would expect is a U-boat to come cruising in. It€s just stupid enough it might work.

23:35 At the entrance to the channel along the coast of Britain we spot a Coastal Merchant €" finally a Coastal Merchant that is actually along the coast of something. We submerge almost bottoming out on the floor of the channel. I€m not sure if they spotted U-1 or not. We submerge. The Merchant was directly off the bow. I order back emergency and hard to starboard ninety degrees. It would be pretty embarrassing to be sunk by a merchant in shallow water.

23:46 The merchant never alters course. We slam one into her side a textbook attack. She cracks in half and hits bottom in short order. Another one shot one kill. If we keep this up we€ll have five boats for this patrol instead of our normal two or less. The water is so shallow that when she settles on the bottom her stern is still visible and on fire.


I have to pull Brutus and his fiddle out of the conning tower as we slide past.

February 1, 1940

We spend most of the day submerged evading destroyers that are moving to fast to attack or torpedo boats that are of little interest. I€m saving my remaining three torpedoes for something special. We submerge in the early afternoon and settle on the floor of the channel. I let the crew sleep for the rest of the day.

February 2, 1940

U-1 surfaces and sees her shadow, six more weeks of winter. We head further into the channel. We have several intermittent sound contacts all around us.

0836 We spot a British torpedo boat when it almost slams into us. I suspect the watch crew might be slipping. We submerge and the boat takes off.

08:42 The torpedo boat returns with two other torp boats and a DD. We manage to slip away. I decide to leave the channel and head back toward the shipping lanes hoping to find something worthy of my torps.

09:58 The watch spots a C-2 in the distance. We close on the surface at flank speed while I plot a solution.

10:03 I fire my first Torpedo and it impacts dead center while I€m plotting the solution on the second torp. I order U-1 ahead standard to keep up with the C-2. This is too grand a target to let slip away.


10:07 I fire my second torpedo at the C-2. A burst of machine gun fire surprises all of us topside.


Another burst of machine gun fire. Two rounds graze either side of Brutus€s head taking off both ears in the blink of an eye. I watch in slow motion as the ears flip through the air and land on Marc Antony€s toga.

€œWhen Marc Antony said, €˜friends, Romans, Countrymen lend me your ears.€ I think it was just a figure of speech.€ I say to Brutus. He is too busy holding the sides of his head and screaming. I turn to Marc Antony but he is running in circles screaming, €œGet them off! Get them off!€ stopping only long enough to toss his cookies down the side of the conning tower.

€œNobody has a sense of humor€ I say. Marc Anthony falls down the open tower hatch and disappears screaming into the boat. I turn to Brutus.

€œEt Tu Brutus.€ I remark before pushing him off the tower. He hits the side of U-1 with a satisfying clang, followed by a splash. I head for the hatch as machine gun fire ricochets over the tower.

€œI think those guys are trying to kill us.€ I say as I pull the hatch closed behind me.

€œReally?€ the Chief asks sarcastically.

€œYeah but they don€t even know us.€ I state. €œPeriscope depth, rig for silent running.€

We slip below the surface. The DD comes into the area and begins laying depth charges. The water is so shallow that the first set does not reach the required depth but settles to the sea floor without exploding. They begin pinging us. As soon as the DD goes engine full ahead I order flank ahead and evasive action. The second set starts to explode along the bottom sounding like giant footsteps through the hydrophone. We play this game for fifteen minutes. I raise periscope to see where the C-2 is. I do not want to let it go. I drop the scope and take another set of depth charges. I plot a solution on where the C-2 was and raise the scope one more time. I drop it, make one more calculation and fire my final torpedo.


I miss. Everything I€ve heard about C-2€s being difficult to sink is true. We evade the destroyer for an hour before we slip away.

13:43 We surface and find the C-2 laying right in front of us. I really need to learn patience. I consider ramming her but if it didn€t work on the Merchant last patrol; even with two torpedoes in her side I don€t think we can bring the C-2 down. I plot a course for Wilhelmshaven. We have conserved so much fuel we can make the run at full speed. I want to get home in time to spend Valentines Day with Elsa. I go to bed.

February 3, 1940

23:32 We spot a large Canadian Merchant ship but with no Torpedoes left there is not much we can do. We slide up along side and shoot spitballs at her as the Canadian€s gather on deck. They pelt us with back bacon, hockey pucks and empty beer bottles. My new Number One is killed when he is struck in the head with a well-aimed puck. We pull away.

€œTake off you Hosers!€ is the last thing we hear shouted from the Canadian Merchant as we slip out of earshot.

February 4, 1940

07:51 We arrive back at Wilhelmshaven. I am so exhausted. Once again we come back with only two ships sunk. Wait until we get a deck gun I think tiredly to myself while I watch the groupies along the pier. We tie up to the pier and I€m off to report. The officer I report to can tell I€m a little down so he gives me a German Cross. The fact that I fooled U-Boat Command into thinking I actually fought the good fight again does not help pick up my mood much.


Going out on War Patrols is like going out into the desert and sticking hot rocks up your bum€¦ you sort of go through the whole process on edge with your jaws clenched and then at the end of it you turn around and say €œmaybe the next rock will be different.€

Thanks as always to those who read the War Diary of Captain J. Smitlack. If the crew of U-1 manages to live through patrol 6; the diary entry should be posted sometime on Monday. Have a great weekend everybody. Keep hunting.

06-17-2005, 12:41 PM
Well written and very fun to read. I've often wondered what uboat crews did the other 99.5% of the time when they weren't trying desperately to sink some C2.

Now we know.


P.S. IIRC, books and magaznies weren't of much impact on subs, as the high humidity pretty much wrecked them quickly.

06-17-2005, 01:25 PM
This is so d**n funny I almost fell out of my chair at work
more! more!

06-17-2005, 03:03 PM
Just found the pic below online at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/lostsub/hist1918n06.html


Guess I should be looking for a big white #1 as my emblem... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

06-17-2005, 03:09 PM
Love the stories, Thanks.

06-22-2005, 02:08 PM
"February 3, 1940

23:32 We spot a large Canadian Merchant ship but with no Torpedoes left there is not much we can do. We slide up along side and shoot spitballs at her as the Canadian€s gather on deck. They pelt us with back bacon, hockey pucks and empty beer bottles. My new Number One is killed when he is struck in the head with a well-aimed puck. We pull away.

€œTake off you Hosers!€ is the last thing we hear shouted from the Canadian Merchant as we slip out of earshot."

Holy ****... I just about pissed my pants when I read this.... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/88.gif