The Hunters-German U-Boats 1939-1943: The short and violent life and death of U-841 OberLt zur See W. Hunnersdorf .
The boat, a type IXC was fitted out in April,1941 as part of the Unterseeboot sixth flotilla at St. Nazaire France. its new commander and crew assembled and sailed on May15th, 1941 and over the next nine days practiced drills as the commander opened his orders; the boat was ordered to the West African Coast; on May 22 a convoy was sighted and engaged as U-841 then sank Empire Tide(7,500) and Blairloge (4,500) and damaging the Rio Cairo (4,100) and Gustav Renner(6,300) before being driven off by the escorts with damage to some of its operating systems.
May 26, 1941: U-841 has repaired all damages and again sights another convoy and under extreme heavy escort activity sinks the Har Zion(2,500) and damages the Davanger (7,100) and an 11,000 ton Freighter. The escorts damage the forward Torpedo doors and Engine #1 and major hull damage ( requiring 3+ months to repair) and so the commander aborts the patrol. 14,500 tons claimed.
Sept1st, 1941: U-841 is repaired and is put to sea and shortly after clearing the sluice is attacked by an aircraft which isn't spotted in time; the flak damages the aircraft on its second attack and drives off the plane but not before one crew is seriously wounded one lightly so and five hits on the boat are sustained; knocking out the 2cm flak hitting the hull and damaging the #1 diesel engine and flooding the boat. The flak gun cannot be repaired, the engine is however and the flooding has been contained. Commander Hunnersdorf opens his orders and find s his boat is headed to the Central Atlantic ocean. Sept 7th entering the Atlantic, U-841 sights the Empire Hudson(7,500) which appears to be unescorted (in fact she is a lone ship with a lagging escort commanded by a veteran Capt.).
Hunnersdorf orders two eels to attack The Empire Hudson and one misses, the second hits damaging the freighter. The Escort speds up and catches the wake of the steam fish and and makes its attack run damaging the hull and causing flooding.
Managing to escape the escort, Hunnersdorf orders a second attack on the freighter and shoots again two steam fish at the stricken freighter one hits the second is a dud. now the freighter is heavily damaged but still not sunk. The escort follows the wake and attacks causing an additional hull hits and flooding. the second run fails to pick up U-841 and Hunnersdorf wants to finish off the freighter. U-841 successfully finds the Stricken freighter and attacks with a single eel, thinking that will be enough to sink her. but the shot misses due to quick plot needed as the escort is in the area. U-841 luck with the veteran escort has run out however as the escort picks up the wake of the steam eel and zeros in on the boat.
This would be the last time the escort would pick up the sounding of U-841 and the escort would not allow the boat to evade again. multiple attacks would be launched against U-841, that would damage every single operating system on the U Boat. ( 3.7mm Flak Gun,8.8cm Gun,5x flooding, a total of 8 hull hits, #1 Electrical Engine, #1 and #2 Diesel Engines damaged, Periscope, Hydrophones, Radio, Batteries, Forward and Aft Torpedo Doors damaged, Dive Planes, Fuel Tanks) making t=each attack easier.
Damages were not limited to the boat but the crew as well as the 1st officer was lightly wounded, as was some crew other crew members were not so lucky as 2 were seriously wounded; finally just before the last run on the U-Boat ObLt. zur See Willam Hunnersdorf was killed outright, then five hits were sustained (11DR+4) and the ship crumbled going to the bottom.
The escort The HMS Barnabas Collins Vampire Class Destroyer chalked up a victory as debris and oil surfaced, all that would remain of the U-841, lost on its second patrol.
Later in the war, the Uncle of our commander would be killed on the eastern front as General Hunnersdorf and his entire staff would be the target of a mistaken air attack as a flight of HE111's would jettison all its bombs returning from a scrubbed mission, on the HQ of Hunnersdorf's Panzer Division. A high price for the Hunnersdorf family to pay for defending the Fatherland
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