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(e) Open. (f) Cooperation with neighbouring boats when important war
targets are sighted (i.e. convoys, troop transports, steamships of importance). In such cases, boats in favourable positions may, and indeed must, leave their operational areas for the attack. Should only slight traffic be encountered in areas T, U, V, boats must cooperate even with less
important targets. (P. 4 of "Operationsbefehl Nr. 3 fuer U-boote Atlantik — Operations-befehl Nr. 3 fuer U-boote “Alarmuebung Nordsee". Fuer U.36,53. 23.8.39)
From Operation Order “North Sea No. 2" for the 3rd and 5th U-Flotillas, signed by Ibbeken (F.d.Ud West):
“(6) At the outbreak of hostilities with the Western Powers:
Attacks on warships (destroyers and upwards, and submarines) will be permitted.
Merchant shipping warfare will be conducted according to the “New Draft of the Prize Regulations”. Ships which may be sunk without warning are:
(aa) Merchant vessels sailing in convoy.
(66) Vessels on which troops or war material can be seen. Armament on merchant ships does not in itself justify sinking without warning. However, all resistance by merchant vessels is to be broken by every measure.
Action is to be taken only if the ship prepared to resist, or if the U-boat is considered to be in danger.” (P. 2. of "Operationsbefehl 'Nordsee Nr. 2 fuer 3. und 5. U-Flottille" dated 24 August 1939.)
From Operation Order "North Sea No. 8" for U.15, U.24 signed by Doenitz:
“(6) Duties of U.14, U.24. (1) Attacks on British surface vessels (destroyers and up
wards, and submarines). (2) Attacks on those merchant vessels which may be sunk
without warning:" (a) (6) (see extract from Operation order No. 3 for Atlantic U(c) boats, sections a, b and c.) “(d) No action to be taken against passenger ships.
(3) No merchant shipping warfare according to the Prize
Regulations. (4) Only defensive action should be taken against French war
and merchant-ships. Incidents with France are to be
avoided.” (P. 3 of "Operationsbefehl 'Nordsee Nr. 8' fuer U.14, U.24”, dated 10.9.39.)
B. "Teil II”
From various Operation Orders "North Sea". All orders are signed by Doenitz:
Instructions: * * (3) On the return journey: attack warships and those merchant
ships which may be sunk without warning. These include enemy merchant ships definitely seen to be armed. Vessels sailing without lights are to be sunk without warning if
they be encountered West of 3° East." (P. 3). ("Operationsbefehl 'Nordsee Nr. 16' (U.47)”).
“III. Orders for U.19, U.24: (1) Instructions. (6) On the outward journey (outside your operational area)
and on the return journey, attack warships (destroyers only when opportunities for firing are sure) and those merchant ships which may be sunk without warning. (Off the coast of Britain, at night, all ships sailing without lights may be sunk without warning up to 3° West.”
(P. 3)) (“Operationsbefehl ‘Nordsee Nr. 17' (U.19, U.24)")
"III. Orders for U.60, 0.61: (4) The war on merchant shipping in accordance with the Prize
Regulations is permitted only north of 61°.” (p. 2) (“Operationsbefehl ‘Nordsee Nr. 21' fuer U.60, U.61.”)
"III. Order for U.56, U.57, 0.58, 0.59: (4) The war on merchant shipping in accordance with the
Prize Regulations is permitted west of the Fair-Island-Pas
sage." (p. 2). ("Operationsbefehl 'Nordsee Nr. 20' fuer U.56, U.57, U.58, U.59.”)
"III. Orders for U.13: (2) Instructions * (6) Attack all ships which may be sunk without warning (see
St.K.Befehl [Staendige Kriegsbefehl -- Standing War Orders] Nos. 1 & 11 Sections 3 & 5). These include all merchant ships definitely recognised as enemy (not passenger ships); at night, also all ships sailing without
lights west of 3° East.” (p. 2–3) (“Operationsbefehl ‘Nordsee Nr. 22' fuer U.13”.)
"IV. Orders for U.21, 0.56: (1) Instructions * (6) Within the operational area, sink without warning all
war and merchant-ships which are worth sinking. (c) Outside the Operational area, attacks without warning
are to be carried out in accordance with St.K.Befehl No. 18. This includes all armed enemy passenger ships also all tankers except those of Italy, Spain, America, Japan
and Russia." (p. 3) (“Operationasbefehl 'Nordsee Nr. 30' fuer U.56, U.21")
"III. Orders for U.9: (1) Instructions * (c) On the outward and the return journeys, attacks with
out warning are to be carried out in accordance with St. K.Befehl in accordance with verbal instructions."
(p. 3) ("Operationsbefehl 'Nordsee Nr. 12 (Firth of Moray) fuer U.9.”)
“III. Orders for U.13: (1) Instructions * (c) War to be conducted in accordance with St.K.Befehl
101-172, and in accordance with verbal instructions *** (f) In certain cases, duties are to be carried out in accord
ance with Appendix 2 to the order in a sealed envelope,
which may on no account fall into enemy hands." (p. 3). (“Operationsbefehl 'Nordsee Nr. 15'-Cross Sand-fuer U.13.")
"III. Orders for U.9, U.7: (1) Instructions * (a) Until the issuing of the order "Execution of the War in
accordance with St.K.Befehl is permitted,” only enemy
warships and enemy troop transports are to be attacked. (6) After the issue of the above order, the war is to be con
ducted in accordance with St. K. Befehl.” (p. 2) ("Operationsbefehl ‘Nordsee Nr. 19' (Sued) fuer U.9, U.7.”)
VI. Extracts from the War Diary of Doenitz in his capacity as Befehlshaber (of Fuehrer) der Unterseeboote.
From the War Diary of F.d.U. (Skl) for the period 15.8.3915.9.39, signed by Doenitz, Kapitaen z. See und Kommodore:
"1200. Telephone conversation between the duty Commander F.d.U. and Kplt. Fresdorf * * *
F.d.U. also requires that, when 'Danger Zones' are declared, the areas occupied by U-boats up to the present are not reduced. The limits of the 'Danger Zones' used in the exercises of 1938/1939– 200 nautical miles west of Britain, are certainly not extensive enough.
1 Skl. (Fresdorf) replies at 1700 that the limits of the 'Danger Zones' have not yet been arranged and that the demands made by F.d.U. will be taken into consideration as far as possible.” (p. 5)
"Skl. sends a signal at 1400: 'War on merchant shipping to be carried out by U-boats in accordance with the Operation order.' Commanders can not doubt this, as, in the Operation order, it is expressly laid down that the war on merchant shipping be conducted in accordance with the Prize Regulations.” (p. 16)
"A further alteration of the dispositions is not yet being considered. So long as the convoy system is not fully in force and the war on merchant shipping is to be conducted in accordance with the Prize Regulations, the present dispositions are correct.” (p. 17)
"The sinking of the 'Athenia' gives grounds for looking over once more the orders issued to date. A simple error in interpretation is not conceivable. But, so that nothing may be neglected to make the matter clear, attention is once more drawn, in wireless
telegram 1655—'In the case of warfare on merchantmen, Opera-
From the War Diary of F.d.U. for the period 16.9.-30.9.39, signed by Doenitz, Kapitaen z. See und Kommodore, Befehlshaber der Unterseeboote:
“Then Ob.d.M. goes on to speak of the conduct of the war in general. He says he intends, before the declaration of unlimited danger zones, to propose the declaration of danger zones against British ships only (not neutral ships) as the next step in the intensification of the war at sea against Britain. He wishes to hear the opinion of F.d.U. on this subject.
My reply is that the execution of the War on merchant shipping in danger zones applying only to specific nations would, in my opinion, not produce the desired results:
(1) as the U-boat must be submerged to lie in wait for a suspicious steamer, and in most cases cannot identify the nationality of the ship in time to attack her without warning
(2) as the enemy will presumably carry on its merchant shipping traffic under the protection of neutral markings and flags.
The results would be:
(a) either that many neutral ships, by being presumed enemy, would be sunk without warning; this is just what we wish to avoid,
(b) that many enemy ships would avoid being sunk by being presumed neutral; this is even less desirable.” (pp. 3 & 4).
"Skl sends the following order to F.d.U. by most secret teleprinter: that it is confirmed beyond all doubt that all attacks on French ships are avoided. This order excludes the possibility of employing U-boats in the Channel against troop transports. This disposition (U.35; see also War Diary of D.d.U. West) was the result of the order of Skl that attacks are permitted on convoys north of the latitude of Brest, if the escort consists of French forces. It can be definitely understood that these transports sail by night. At night, however, the U-boat has to be able to make sure that a ship, sailing without lights in convoy, is an enemy. By day, it is often impossible to ascertain the nationality of a