Finally, Moehle describes the orders to omit from U-boat logs the notation of any actions in violation of International Law:
"There was an order -- I do not remember whether it was in the form of a written or verbal instruction -- that no events during a war patrol which contravened established international agreements should be entered in the war log. I believe that the reason for this order was that eight copies were made of war logs and were available to many authorities; there was always the danger therefore that events of this nature would become known and it was undoubtedly undesirable for reasons of propaganda that this should be so.
"Events of this nature were only to be reported if asked for when commanding officers made their personal reports; these were invariably made after every patrol to Commander in Chief U-boats or later in certain instances to Captain U-boats." (382-PS)
Two cases may be noted in which the order of 17 September 1942 (D-60) was apparently put into effect. The first case is the sinking of a steam trawler, the "Noreen Mary," which was sunk by U-247 on 5 July 1944. The log of the U-Boat shows that
at 1943 hours two torpedoes were fired, which missed (D- 645). At 2055 hours the log reads:
"Fishing Vessels: [Bearings of 3 ships given].
"Engaged the nearest. She stops after three minutes." (D-645)
There follows an account of a shot fired as the trawler lay stopped, and then, the final entry:
"Sunk by flak, with shots into her side. Sank by the stern." (D-645)
The U-Boat Command made this comment on the action:
"Recognized success: Fishing vessel 'Noreen Mary' sunk by flak."
An affidavit by James MacAlister, who was a deck-hand on board the "Noreen Mary" at the time of the sinking, describes the torpedo tracks which missed the trawler, and continues as follows:
"At 2110 hours, while we were still trawling, the submarine surfaced on our starboard beam, about 50 yards to the northeast of us, and without any warning immediately opened fire on the ship with a machine gun. We were 18 miles west from Cape Wrath, on a north- westerly course, making 3 knots. The weather was fine and clear, sunny, with good visibility. The sea was smooth, with light airs."
"When the submarine surfaced I saw men climbing out of the conning tower. The skipper [of the trawler] thought at first the submarine was British, but when she opened fire he immediately slackened the brake to take the weight off gear, and increased to full speed, which was about 10 knots. The submarine chased us, firing her machine gun, and with the first rounds killed two or three men, including the skipper, who were on deck and had not had time to take cover. The submarine then started using a heavier gun from her conning tower, the first shot from which burst the boiler, enveloping everything in steam and stopping the
"By now the crew had taken cover, but in spite of this all but four were killed. The submarine then commenced to circle round ahead of the vessel, and passed down her port side with both guns firing continuously. We were listing slowly to port all the time but did not catch fire.
"The Mate and I attempted to release the lifeboat, which was aft, but the Mate was killed whilst doing so, so I abandoned
the attempt. I then went below into the pantry, which was below the water line, for shelter. The ship was listing more and more to port, until finally at 2210 she rolled right over and sank, and the only four men left alive on board were thrown into the sea. I do not know where the other three men had taken cover during this time, as I did not hear or see them until they were in the water.
"I swam around until I came across the broken bow of our lifeboat, which was upside down, and managed to scramble on top of it. Even now the submarine did not submerge, but deliberately steamed in my direction and when only 60 to 70 yards away fired directly at me with a short burst from the machine gun. As their intention was quite obvious, I fell into the water and remained there until the submarine ceased firing and submerged, after which I climbed back on to the bottom of the boat. The submarine had been firing her guns for a full hour." (D-645)
The original plaintext version of this file is available via ftp.
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