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Sailing in a steel coffins (Segel Stahlerner Sarg)
By Georg E Mateos
Monday, May 17, 2010
Rated "PG" by the Author.
First the hunters will roam freely as the enemy are left to multiply and perhaps next time to turn the tables.
But first, a bitter price must be paid if one wish to taste the sweetness of victory.
And victory can also come with the mother of bitterness...just ask any real victor.
Excerpt from the book under work:
“The Life of Walther Alexander”
Sailing in a steel coffins (Segel Stahlerner Sarg)
The waters were calm, and the only ripples showing, was those made by the submarine as it slowly moved forward. They had sailed all night on the surface with idling diesels, the purpose was to charge the batteries to its maximum.
Also, with all the hatches open to renew the air below, the cooling of the stuffed quarters would make life more bearable when living elbow to elbow.
A few people were on deck enjoin the first sun rays when a sudden bark from the tower was heard “TAUCHE!” (Dive!)
And like prairie-dogs, everybody scurried down through the deck holes, bodies descending down the chute without touching the ladder’s rungs, a few second after the thuds of hatches being securely closed the steel nose buried itself in a cloud of water foam, burrowing deeper, and then…the sub was gone.
For the past week they had been practicing diving and manning battle stations as under attack, sealing compartment doors and silent sailing where no piece of metal should touch another piece of metal, no tools left unattended, no talk.
Because it could be the difference between been discovered or quiet stealth away.
In the radio station cubicle, Walther kept staring at the steel wall covered with gray paint but really not seeing it at all, his eyes were looking far and beyond, to a point long back in his life, when sibling love was the only thing protecting a child to going mad in a home that never was a home but just a house.
Walther’s U-boot movements were controlled by the Befehlshaber der Unterseeboote, usually patrolled separately, often strung out in co-ordinated lines across likely convoy routes (usually merchants and small vulnerable destroyers), only being ordered to congregate after one located a convoy and alerted the BdU, so a Rudel consisted of as many U-boats as could reach the scene of the attack. With the exception of the orders given by the BdU, U-Boat commanders could attack as they saw fit. Often the U-Boat commanders were given a probable number of U-Boats that would show up, and then when they were in contact with the convoy, make call signs to see how many had arrived. If their number were sufficiently high compared to the expected threat of the escorts, they would attack.
A message was received about a secret concentration of cargo ships west of Bermudas Island coming from different ports along the American east coast and that would sail in convoy to England’s port of Liverpool as it was done with the most known and open to knowledge Murmansk Convoy up North Atlantic under heavy armed escorts which were the business of the North Atlantic Wolf-pack from Wilhemshafen’s u-boot pen.
They would get together north of the Azores and sail north to intercept the convoy when halfway from destination and not yet on full alert as they would be when approaching land, to form the 12th U-boat Flotilla.
Walther’s submarine was full loaded with 24 new improved torpedo type, the Zaunkonig T-5.
The torpedo was electric and had an effective range of 5700 meters at a speed of 24 knots (44 km/h). This torpedo employed acoustic, passive homing to find its target after a straight run of 400 meters.
Also they were carrying a flat-nosed version, which contained two sets of magnetostriction hydrophones to be used against escort warships that could be using “noisemakers” to distract incoming attack torpedoes.
The High Commando was aware of the Allied efforts to get neutral Portugal on board but that hadn’t improved any well-willing from the Portuguese by invading East Timor on the Asian front, part of their plans to fight Japan, without asking the Salazar government first.
To push the issue more forcefully, British war ships would patrol around the Azores ready for an eventual permission to establish a beachhead.
Three hours after diving, Walther’s submarine was well under ways north over to the rendezvous point.
Above, the seas surface had turned to a myriad of white-blotched small waves stirred by an increasing wind.
Suddenly, the Hydrophones operator, slouched in boredom at his station, came alive as he, closing his eyes in full concentration was determining direction and type of vessel, and then announced, “achtung ! achtung! War ship! War ship! at twenty five thousand, speed thirty two knops, coming from O-31 degrees true north east, crossing our course at fifteen hundred in…seven, I repeat, seven minutes…”
The Captain barked a “stop the engines!” and received two echoes, “stop the engines!” “engines stopped!” and the almost imperceptible movement vanished. The sub, going relatively slowly to save batteries power, took no longer that a half minute to be dead in the water, then, the Skipper that had already went from the chart board to the periscope ordered, “blowing the tanks slowly, take me to periscope deep”
The Captain eyes caught immediately the gray figure churning fast on the waters, it was a destroyer of around Spahkreuzer Klass.
“Torpedo room, Gunter, load a flat nose one and standby to fire”
“Loading and standing by!”
The war ship was approaching fast and would cross their path at approximately twelve hundred yards. After rapid calculation the stopwatches were clicked ON and the count down started.
“Gunter, twenty seconds”
“Aye Aye Sir”
Seconds are a very short period of time but not when you need to wait, then, they seemed to linger longer than necessary. You feel to be sitting, naked, on a zillion of fire ants.
“ Schuss!” (fire!) and the chronometers were started yet again and the periscope lowered. It wouldn’t be another chance, not with a ship flying at 32 knops.
It was felt just a shake under the feet soles as the torpedo left the sub and shoot forward for its 435 yards away and then started humming with its double device for the target ahead.
With the ship going so fast, the torpedo would have been but invisible but for a few yards before impact.
With the new improved model, the sub Captain wasn’t expecting a miss, if his calculations were correct. If not, the torpedo would have pathetically followed the receding engines noises until its power run off and sank to the bottom of the seas. It would have been a very expensive miss to explain.
The subdued atmosphere inside the sub was one of holding your breath, cross your fingers and wait.
The First Officer looked between his watch and the Captain face nervously as the Skipper calmly kept his eyes on the watch sphere, then he said,
And almost covering the echo of his voice there was a rumble first then a giant fist banging along the port side and a mighty shake.
“It most have hit the main ammunition spot,” the First Officer said to nobody.
Then the skipper said, “deep, one hundred fifty, full ahead”
He didn’t want to be around when antisubmarine planes came looking, not if you will be waiting for them inside a steel coffin.
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|Reviewed by m j hollingshead
|Reviewed by Donna Chandler
|Sailing in a steel coffin .............. what a perfect title! I'm sure your book will be a very interesting read.
|Reviewed by Patrick Granfors
|Masterful sir. Patrick von reviewer.|
|Reviewed by Peter Schlosser
|Tiefmesser zeigt "Hoelle." Absaufen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!|
|Reviewed by JASMIN HORST SEILER
|You my friend are that skipper, the only way you can tell it with such a true reach of the real, great stuff Georg, not Hollywood style, but real. Juergen|
|Reviewed by Mr. Ed
|A most riveting excerpt, brother. Well Done.|
|Reviewed by Felix Perry
|Just keeps getting better and better Georg, this has the makings of a great book and hopefully a movie someday...remember if you need a broken down bearded looking navigator type to play in it I'm available,
|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|Excellent storytelling, Georg; as always, very well done! BRAVO!
(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in America, Karen Lynn in Texas. :)