The Homepage for U-35, a Type VII U-Boat
... 1936 - 1939 ...

War Patrols

Last Pre-War Patrol
In the Baltic Sea for the Polish campaign.
Shortly before the outbreak of war on 24 August 1939, U-35 left the port of Neustadt with U-31 and U-32, reaching the city of Memel on 26 August. On 27 August, U-35 left Memel to patrol the water north of Hela, as part of the so-called "Swedish U-Boats", where U-35 was scheduled to lay over 30 mines in the channel; the mines were not laid. On 31 August at 1100, after it was determined that the three Polish destroyers GROM, BLYSKAWICA, and BURZA had escaped to the North Sea, U-35, U-31 and U-32, the only Type VII boats in the Baltic, were transferred from the Baltic to the North Sea commands, and ordered back to their bases to prepare for operations in the Atlantic. U-35 arrived back in Kiel (Baltic) on 01 September, and transferred to Wilhelmshaven (North Sea) on 02 September. [1,5]

U-35 was assigned Feldpost Number M 21 203 (address for postal mail). [3]

Otto Wagner removing identification from U-35 prior to the first war patrol. [55,72]

First War Patrol
09 September 1939 - 12 October 1939.
On 09 September, U-35 was unsuccessfully attacked by the British submarine HMS Ursula (Lt Cdr G C Phillips) in the Heligoland Bight. 
U-35 stopped and searched vessels in strict compliance the Prize Regulations and always made sure of the safety of the crews.

U-35 allowed the first British ship it encountered in the North Atlantic, the fishing trawler ALVIS, to pass on 18 September 1939, after realizing that the thirteen man crew could never have reached land in the available lifeboat; in return, the British captain warned U-35 that the Royal Navy aircraft carrier Ark Royal was in the general area. Click here for more details on the ALVIS.
On board U-35, Werner Lott (right) with the master of ALVIS, Albert E. Thomason. [32]
U-35 Prize officer Heinz Erchen on board the ALVIS during the first war patrol. Albert E. Thomason is recognizable on the left. [32]

Later that day, U-35 came upon a group of three trawlers. It sank the ARLITA, a British fishing trawler of 326t, and the LORD MINTO, a British fishing trawler of 295t, by gunfire WNW of St Kilda, west of the Outer Hebrides, sparing the third trawler, NANCY HAGUE, to carry home the crews of all three.

Click here for more details on the ARLITA.

Click here for more details on the LORD MINTO.

Click here for more details on the NANCY HAGUE.

On 21 September 1939, U-35 made the second convoy attack of the war, when she torpedoed and damaged the British tanker TEAKWOOD (6014t), from convoy OA 7, SW of the Scillies

113m.jpg (139993 bytes)Later, U-35 was attacked by a British destroyer. Only one depth charge was dropped (because, said the escort captain, contact was doubtful). That depth charge was so accurately placed that it knocked out one of U-35's periscopes and put the blower system out of action. U-35 bottomed out at 115 meters (377 feet), deeper than its design depth. Down there repairs were made, although the valves began to leak from the pressure. The Chief Engineer, Gerhard Stamer, and also Theodor Schütt, were awarded the Iron Cross (second class) for that on 12 October 1939.

On 30 September 1939, U-35 measured the blacked-out profile of the forty-five-thousand ton passenger liner AQUITANIA in its sights at a range of only five hundred meters, but respected the restriction on attacking such vessels (which, ironically, had already been lifted, though this had not yet been communicated to U-35) and allowed her to proceed unmolested.

On 01 October 1939, U-35 torpedoed and sank the SUZON, a Belgian steamer of 2239t, near Ushant:


On 03 October 1939, U-35 sighted the Britain-bound DIAMANTIS, a Greek steamer of 4990t, 40 miles west of Scillies off Lands End. U-35 surfaced in bad weather and warned those aboard that their ship was about to be sunk. As the sea was rough and unsuitable for normal lifeboat operations, the crew of 28 men were taken aboard U-35

Heinz Pfeifer: DiamantisRescue of the DIAMANTIS crew; painting by Heinz Pfeifer.

In the late afternoon of October 4th, after 30 to 35 hours on board, the Greeks were landed in Dingle Bay, in neutral Ireland, on a beach lined by local people. U-35 crew member Walter Kalabuch rowed the Greeks, several at a time, from the U-boat to the shore (He was awarded the Iron Cross, second class, for this on 12 October 1939). When all were ashore U-35 left slowly on the surface, watched by onlookers until it disappeared into the fog.

An American gum trading card from 1939, number 91 of the "War News Pictures" series, depicting the event:
U-Boat Lands Shipwrecked Crew in Ireland
After torpedoing the Greek steamer "Diamentis" 4990 tons, off Land's End on Tuesday, October 3, 1939, the German submarine rescued the crew of 28 from the sea and took the men aboard the U-Boat! There they stayed for 36 hours while the undersea craft sought a place on the Irish coast to land them. Finally the ship's crew was set down in a desolate region near Dingle. They were ferried to shore in a collapsible boat. The submarine exchanged greetings with persons on land, then moved from the coast and started to submerge before Civic Guards on patrol duty had time to detain it.

U-35 was featured on the cover of the American magazine LIFE on 16 October 1939, and the Diamantis incident is mentioned. Upper left is Obersteuermann Walter Arnaschus.
"LIFE'S COVER: The German submarine U-35, shown on the cover, distinguished itself last week by bagging a Greek steamer and bringing the survivors to the Irish shore. It is a 500-tonner built three years ago at Krupp's Germania yards at Kiel and flies the Nazi war flag with a red field. It is painted gray on the sides to blend with the sky and black on top to blend with the water when submerged. The rows of round holes are the intakes for induction valve. You are looking forward from about midships."

For this show of compassion, Kptlt. Werner Lott, the commander of U-35, was later rebuked by the U-Boat command for putting his U-Boat and crew in danger. [4,5,23,25,38,42]
The DIAMANTIS incident is described in more detail on a separate page (click to view)

U-35 returning to Wilhelmshaven from the first war patrol. [32]
Willi Dietrich in front of the homeland pennant. [32,33]
Wilhelm Janssen and Paul Liebau depart U-35. [32,33]
Werner Lott, the commander of U-35, being addressed by Admiral Karl Dönitz and staff, upon return from the first war patrol. U-35 in background. [32]
Heinz Erchen, Karl Schnute, and Werner Lott (right) inspecting crosses awarded by the Kriegsmarine. [32,33]
Admiral Karl Dönitz addressing the crew of U-35: Paul Fichte, Rockenfeller, Willi Jacob, Heinz Pfeifer, Richard Friedrich Lüneburg, Gustav Horstkötter [33,cover photo of 32]
This group photo of the crew of U-35 was featured on the back cover of "Die Wehrmacht" (25 October 1939) upon return from the first war patrol. [32,33]
Another photograph taken of the U-35 crew at that time. [35]
Johannes Weigand, Richard Friedrich Lüneburg, Karl Schnute, and Ernst Wensorra. [32,33]
Paul Liebau and Gerhard Oppermann [32,33]
This is the U-Boat's galley! The cook has three small heaters to serve the crew
Shown is not the cook, Martin Müller, but Gerhard Oppermann [32,33]

Second War Patrol
18 November 1939 - 29 November 1939.
U-35 left Wilhelmshaven for operations against British naval forces near the Orkneys. After a few days U-35 moved north from the Pentland Firth to Fair Isle Passage.
Patrolling on the surface in huge seas on 28 November sixty miles east of Shetland Islands, U-35 saw the heavy cruiser HMS NORFOLK and broke radio silence to report her. Twelve miles northeast, U 47 (Günther Prien) picked up the message and plotted a course to intercept.

At dawn on 29 November 1939, U-35 was cruising on the surface east of the Shetland Islands, 60.53N X 02.47E in the North Sea. The British Destroyer HMS ICARUS (Lt Cdr C D Maud) saw U-35 and turned to attack. U-35's sighting of HMS ICARUS was nearly simultaneous.  U-35 crash-dived and went deep - to 229 feet - and steered evasive courses. As the Asdic on HMS ICARUS was not functioning, depth charges set for 250 feet were dropped in order to feign an attack. Two other destroyers, HMS KINGSTON (Lt Cdr P Somerville) and HMS KASHMIR (Lt Cdr H A King), responded to HMS ICARUS's alert; all were under the direction of Captain Lord Louis Mountbatten aboard the HMS KELLY. Directed by HMS ICARUS to the likely spot, HMS KINGSTON was able to establish ASDIC contact and made two depth-charge attacks, which jammed the diving planes of U-35 and put her at a sharp up angle. In an attempt to bring the bow down and regain control of the boat, all available men were rushed to the forward torpedo room. U-35 was put on full speed, but in vain. The depth charges had also ruptured fuel and ballast tanks aft and no amount of weight forward could level the boat. U-35 was suddenly on the surface, and the crew was ordered to abandon ship into the terribly cold water. HMS KASHMIR fired a warning shot above U-35.

HMS KASHMIR fished several officers and twenty-seven men from the icy water. HMS KINGSTON picked up Kptlt. Werner Lott and eleven others. The entire crew of 43 survived.[4,5,6,19]*

U35sinkCole.jpg (23286 bytes)U-35 being abandoned by its crew, as photographed by Able Seaman Ray Cole aboard HMS KASHMIR. [60]

On board HMS KINGSTON, Kptlt. Werner Lott entered the following note in the wardroom visitor's book: "Wishing you the best of luck except against German U-Boats" [38,49].

An examination of documentation found on the survivors, in particular a diary kept by a stoker which listed battery levels throughout the night of 28/29 November, led the British to conclude that U-35 was about to enter Scapa Flow or Sullom Voe since otherwise she would not have spent the night dived. [37]

The sinking of U-35 was featured on the cover of The Sphere on 23 December 1939.
The Crew of a British Destroyer Pick Up the Crew of a Sinking U-boat

The war upon the U-boat has brought about many astonishing incidents. The depth-charge, in particular, has been responsible for many. Take the story which Mr. Matania has here illustrated. About half a mile astern of a British destroyer the conning tower and long hull of a German submarine suddenly broke surface bow first in a swirl of water. The U-boat’s stern was still under water when her conning tower lid opened and men started to tumble up on deck. She might have a sting left. Nobody was to know if she intended to surrender, and risks could not be taken. But it was a case of surrender. Some of the U-boat’s crew could be seen leaping overboard; others were holding up their hands. Her bow started to lift as the stern slowly went under. Destroyers approached, stopped, and went astern to check their way. Boats were lowered. They rescued the entire crew - some from the water, some from the submarine herself. They were described as youngish men and bearded; some still self-possessed, but others obviously shaken by their ordeal. And another U-boat had gone from the seas."

HMS ICARUS, HMS KINGSTON and HMS KASHMIR issued formal reports to the Admiralty in December 1939. These reports, along with related reports and awards messages, are available for viewing here (www.U-35.com/sources/hmships.htm). The Anti-Submarine Warfare reports issued in November and December 1939 are available for viewing here (www.U-35.com/sources/aswreports.htm).

The German Naval leadership entered the following in its log (Kriegstagebuch) on 04 December 1939:
"U-35" (Kaptlt. Lott) meldet sich nicht mehr auf Anruf. Mit der Möglichkeit seiner Vernichtung muß leider gerechnet werden. Engl. Meldung spricht von Versenkung eines Ubootes in der Nordsee, wobei 5 Offiziere und 38 Mann in Gefangenschaft geraten sein sollen. ("U-35" (Kaptlt. Lott) no longer responds to calls. The possibility of its destruction must unfortunately be considered. An English transmission reports the sinking of a U-Boat in the North Sea, in which 5 officers and 38 men were taken Prisoner.)
and on 12 December 1939:
Der bereits vermutete Verlust von "U-35" (Kapitänleutnant Lott) wird durch ein Bild des Kommandanten in einer dänischen Zeitung bestätigt. Damit ist das achte Boot in Verlust geraten. (The presumed loss of "U-35" (Kapitänleutnant Lott) is confirmed through a picture of the commander in a Danish newspaper. This is the eighth boat lost.) [1]

* From the book Embleme, Wappen, Malings Deutscher U-boote 1935-1945 (Georg Högel): According to a British sailor who witnessed the event from one of the Destroyers, Werner Lott had secured himself to the conning tower and was going to go down with the ship, but two crewmen cut him loose. I have been unable to confirm this incident; in fact, Willi Jacob insists that it is not true.

The story continues as the crew members become Prisoners of War …

The wreck of U-35 was located in July 1986 on the Viking Bank by a Norwegian remotely operated submersible. [11]

War Patrols

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