View Full Version : I didn't know this about Donitz...

07-23-2006, 05:55 AM
I'm currently reading "Donitz and the Wolf Packs" by Bernard Edwards and I came across this about Donitz which I didn't know before.

"At 27 yrs of age Karl Dontiz was already a seasoned officer, having entered the German Navy as a Cadet in 1910. In 1916 he was transferred to the UBoat arm. This was not of his own choosing but Donitz accepted it with good grace. His first command was the minelayer UC25 which ended in 1917. In two succesful cruises aboard UC25 Donitz earned the Knights Cross and promoted to Oberluetnant. He was then given command of UB68.

Donitz was eager to put Steinbauer's plan to the test (The rudimentary tactics of Wolf Pack attacks on convoys)and UB48 and Donitz in UB68 were wwet to leave POla. U48 experienced engine trouble so Donitz went on alone to the pre arranges spot 150 miles east of Malta on 3rd October. That night, in the faintlight of the new moon, he found himslef directly in the path of the expected convoy.

UB68 trimmed down so that only the conning tower was above the waves. Donitz had no trouble penetrating the escort screen. However as he was on the point of aiming his bow tubes, the convoy made a sudden, bold aleration of course. The immediate result was that Donitz was found himslef directly in the path of a number of oncoming ships and inimminent danger of being rammed. His reactions were swift and decisive. First loosing off a torpedo at the nearest enemy ship, he swung the boat round under helm and engines and made off into the night. The torpedo missed but U68 retired unharmed.

Donitz regained contact when it was almost dawn and he was obliged to dive before attacking. Once again sudden disaster threatened. No sooner had he dived, for no perceptible reason, the uboat went out of control, diving almost vertically until she reached unprecendented depth of 300ft, far below her safe depth. All lights failed, acid spilled from the banks of batteries and panic swept through the boat. Only when all ballast tanks had been blown was the crazy descent checked, then with maxiumum bouyancy UB68 shot to the surface - once more out of control. Seconds later Donitz emerged from the hatch in full daylight to find he was in the middle of the convoy and under fire from all sides.

Escape was impossible, for the submarine's compressed air tanks were exhausted and if she dived she would never surface again. The matter was decided when the hull began to fill with choking fumes from spilt battery acid. Donitz had no choice but to surrender. This was a bitter pill for any commander to swallow and the twelve months Karl Donitz spent in British prisoner of war camp added to his resentment."

Sorry it was so long, but I felt I ought to put the background in, instead of just saying, "I didn't know DOnitz was a POW in WW1!"

07-23-2006, 06:32 AM
there is something wrong about the "Knight's Cross" or "Ritterkreuz" in this text. The Knight's cross was not awarded before 1939 so you perhabs mean the Iron Cross 2nd or 1st class

07-23-2006, 02:39 PM
I dident know that either, thanks for shareing.