MILK COWS rmhh co uk

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became a tomb for all 64 of her crew including Captain Oberleutnant Bruno Studt. Unbeknown to Studt s,ill fated crew or their,overlords at BdU U boat. headquarters in Berlin they,were marked men doomed to. die the moment they cast off,docklines and headed their. overladen tanker for the mid,Atlantic More than a year. earlier the command that,gone out from Allied Naval.
Headquarters in London,Get the Milk Cows at any,cost The order came from. none other than the prime, The type XIV U tanker was a highly modified version of the type minister himself Winston. IXD attack submarine Built without attack capability its mission Churchill fearful that the UK. was to supply U boats at sea with fuel food torpedoes and was being seriously imperiled. medical aid With its vastly increased stowage capacity the Milk by increasing shipping losses. Cows as they were popularly known carried 636 ton of fuel plus Such was the U tankers. up to twelve torpedoes stowed internally and externally They importance to Hitler s. featured only defensive armament submarine offensive that their. very existence made them the, highest priority target in the Atlantic War The reason was simple One Milk Cow could keep. a dozen U boats at sea for weeks Refuelled reprovisioned and re armed with fresh supplies of. torpedoes the U boats could press their assault against the lumbering merchantmen with. re invigorated enthusiasm A menace so deadly deserved to be stalked by every available means. and this is precisely what the Allied hunter killer groups were created to do sink Hitler s U. boats especially the milk cows that nourished them. PIPELINES AT SEA AUGMENTING PAUKENSCHLAG, Germany learned many hard lessons about U boat warfare in World War One One of the. most important was the need to keep submarines at sea as long as possible to optimise the. sinking of Allied ships Yet the most critical aspect of pressing a U boat war in the Atlantic was. the lack of supply bases either afloat or ashore from which to easily resupply its undersea. marauders The most obvious answer lay in acquiring island bases however these were non. existent in the stormy North and mid Atlantic And the few that did exist in the mid Atlantic. Azores were not under German control An alternate consideration was the possibility of. utilising disguised armed surface raiders which doubles as U boat supply ships However there. was an inherent danger in any surface vessel operating alone If stumbled upon by Allied. warships the armed merchantmen s slow speed offered little hope of survival No there had to. be another more secure method to refuel U boats at sea The answer came in a 1934 design. proposal for a modified type IV U boat that could serve as an undersea tanker Submitted to. Naval planners was a concept wherein a 2500 ton submersible supply tanker would accompany. wolf packs to sea The proponents stressed a single tanker could carry enough reserve logistics to. prolong U boat s war patrols at least an additional two weeks Due to the limits of the Anglo. German Naval Treaty the Naval Staff sidelined submarine tanker construction in favour of. optimizing its fleet with fully operational coastal and ocean going boats such as the proven Type. II and VII,The subject remained dormant,another five years until Adm Karl Donitz.
again brought up the matter in a 1939 letter to,Naval headquarters proposing construction of. three supply boats with 2000 ton,displacement Donit s argument was. convincing It took a voyage of over two,weeks duration just to reach the American. coast the Caribbean nearly a week longer,The type VIIC U boat carried about 114 tons. of diesel fuel enough for 6500 miles of,cruising at an average 12 knots speed With.
more than 2500 miles required just to arrive,on station the amount of fuel left for. patrolling was precious little Donitz,emphasised a series of floating fuel depots. spaced well beyond the reach of the Allies, Adolf Hitler and Karl Donitz held sharply limited ASW capability Such a program. different views on how the Naval war should could dramatically increase patrol time and. have been fought Had Hitler earlier authorised spell marked success for offensive operations. the build up of its Ubootwaffe the Atlantic war so far from home This time with war. may have played out far better in Germany s against England an inevitability Donitz s. favour request was given the green light,Design specifications were drawn up. and quickly approved Designated type XIV, the boats were to be deep bellied true U Tankers rated at 1932 tons able to carry up to 430 tons.
of fuel plus a dozen spare torpedoes parts ammunition and food stuffs Most appreciated was. the inclusion of a full blown bakery to produce fresh bread every day the presence of a medical. doctor and facilities to treat injured sailors An unusual feature was a tiny two man brig to. transport U boat crewmen accused of serious crimes back to Germany for punishment. Intended as non combatants the type XIV, tankers carried no torpedo tubes and only two light. calibre 37mm and a single 20mm AA gun,Many on hand components were utilised such as the. powerplants from type VIIC boats anchors,winches hatches and other time tested items The. conning tower was almost identical to the type IX, A single 20 ft inflatable work boat was carried to. accommodate the transfer of fuel lines provisions,etc Assisting in the transfer of boxed goods were.
light weight portable cranes rigged to high line,priority cargo or people while underway. In concept the upper decks was designed to be a large clear area upon which it would be. easy to handle pelletised bulk stores The designers took the type IXD boat and essentially made. it shorter wider and deeper thereby considerably increasing its internal volume The flat main. deck was supposed to provide a suitable work area but in practice proved more of a detriment. than an aid to the crew of 48 enlisted men and six officers because it made for a wider target and. slower diving The U tankers had a range of 9 000 miles at 14 knots on the surface and 6 2. knots submerged, An initial order of 24 boats was intended but only ten were actually completed when it. was decided to include German surface raiders in the replenishment program as well The first. type XIV U tanker was launched in September 1940 and became operational in March 1942. The first six were built by Deutsche Werke at Kiel and the last four by Germaniawerft Of the. balance four were nearly competed when construction was suspended in mid 1944 the others. cancelled at that time,WIR GEGEN NACH ENGLAND, As originally envisioned the U tankers would be spotted at strategic points in the mid. ocean void where Allied warships were least likely to be encountered It must be remembered. that in the early stages of the Atlantic War the Allies had few aircraft able to patrol the so called. mid Atlantic gap As a result it was felt the tankers could operate with relative impunity roughly. 300 400 miles off the North American mainland distant enough from Allied anti submarine. patrols to be free of danger and close enough to the U boats to provide the logistics they needed. Though the U tanker program appeared to have considerable merit it was soon found to. be far from flawless Sea trials quickly revealed their Achilles heel Ponderous and pregnant as. they were with fuel and provisions their great weight and bulk denied them the ability to. submerge as quickly as an attack boat As every submarine skipper knew being able to pull the. plug and dive deep in a hurry spelled the difference between survival and destruction As it was. the type XIV s pressure hulls were built with steel nearly an inch thick so they could safety dive. to depths well over 500 feet deeper than the type VIIC s or IX could go To off set this. shortcoming tactics were devised whereby the milk cow would dive first if spotted refueling. on the surface the more agile attack U boats given the chore of fending off attackers until the. tankers found the security of the depths, Operations at sea also revealed fundamental shortcomings in the U tankers deck layout. The most serious problem was that the low freeboard made the transfer of bulk supplies. extremely hazardous in typical North Atlantic swells which often saw decks continually awash. The result was that the main deck cargo hatches and their davits could not be employed because. of the danger of being swamped by heavy seas As a consequence supplies had to be torturously. hand lifted through the smaller but dryer conning tower hatches to avoid flooding the boat. Depending on the sea state this tedious operation could take hours to complete often at great risk. to the handlers on deck More than one milk cow had crewmen washed overboard and drowned. Once stores were placed on deck the rubber dinghy was most often used to effect. delivery Another means of delivery pioneered coincidentally at the same time by the U S Navy. in the distant Pacific was the use of cargo nets and travellers rigged to transfer supplies between. boats In any case Sea state 4 was the upper limit cargo transfers could be effected. Equally difficult and cumbersome was the refuelling operation This consisted of the U. tanker taking the receiving boat in tow and then floating the fueling line and telephone cable in. place Once the piping connections were made the two U boats would cruise together at 3 4. knots while the required fuel was transferred Refuelling duration depended on how much fuel. was involved and could take up to five hours to totally top off a boats bunkers. German sailors ferry a torpedo from the mother sub via. floats In heavy weather this was a gruelling task,Perhaps the most dangerous phase of the resupply.
effort was transferring the one ton torpedoes from the. mother sub Manhandling these monstrous fish in heavy. seas required brute strength and no small amount of skill. on the part of the handlers Crushed limbs and broken. bones were common place the U tanker s doctor having. no shortage of patients In anything but calm seas flotation. collars were fitted to the torpedoes which were then floated. to the receiving U boat and hauled aboard via the usual. torpedo loading apparatus,Radioman Klaus Kleinsheid. still recalls his days aboard U 462,one of the first six U tankers to see. action Now a retired electronics,engineer living in Portugal. Kleinsheid admits to not spending,much time reflecting on wartime. experiences His boat was captured,and its crew made POWs after they.
were attacked and seriously,damaged by depth charges dropped. from an U S AAF B 24 Liberator,We were a homogeneous. lot of high spirited youngsters for An unidentified milk cow prepares to transfer a torpedo. the most part says Kleinsheid 84 to a waiting U boat. and still remarkably spry Though, few were Nazi party members we were nevertheless instilled with strong nationalistic spirit for. the German cause especially the honour and traditions of the German Navy Those of us assigned. milk cow duty were proud of our support function even if we weren t actually firing the. torpedoes My boat make five patrols each usually lasting three to five weeks about the same. duration as the attack boats, Like anyone in the submarine service our days were dreary and tedious long hours of. sheer boredom interspersed by seconds of sheer panic confined as we were to our iron tubes. when submerged The stench of so much unwashed humanity was awful everything was so. crowded it was difficult to move comfortably But we were young and pliable We laughed and. joked a lot trying to make the most of our r le in the war. Our greatest relaxation came when the skipper allowed me to pipe American jazz music. stations through the boat just before lights out We loved Glenn Miller who was often more. popular than our own performers American jazz was verboten by Berlin but our skipper. allowed it anyway I think he liked it as much as the crew. No we never had any inkling the Allies had broken our codes and knew where we were. every second U 462 survived several attacks and always made it back safely even though. seriously damaged She was considered a lucky boat when I reported aboard fresh out of radio. school But our luck soon ran out After two patrols I spent the war behind barbed wired picking. potatoes in Iowa,SITTING DUCKS ENTER ENIGMA, When first deployed in the Spring of 1942 the U tankers despite the various difficulties.
encountered in off loading supplies enjoyed a high degree of success The first group of milk. cows to go to sea were comprised of six boats U 459 through U 464 Of these U 459 sailed in. March 1942 In all she supported 72 U boats during her productive six patrol career U 460. sailed on six patrols that saw her successfully support 86 U boats Next U 462 sustained 64 U. boats on five patrols starting in July 1942 Then U 463 embarked on five patrols that aided 74. U boats from July 1942 onward While it is difficult to specifically assess the U tanker s. contribution to the record Allied tonnage lost in the Happy Days of the Atlantic War the fact. remains that the extended patrol durations they made possible obviously allowed each. replenished U boat to be twice as effective, But despite their dogged determination to back up the U boat wolf packs it was the milk. cows reliance on high frequency long range radio communications which ultimately spelled. MILK COWS A fantastic Allied intelligence coup quickly sealed the fate of all Yet the most critical aspect of pressing a U boat war in the Atlantic was the lack of supply bases either afloat or ashore from which to easily resupply its undersea marauders The most obvious answer lay in acquiring island bases however these were non existent in the stormy North and mid Atlantic And

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