Tag: U-Boat

Operation Peppermint – The Allied Fear of Radiological Warfare in WW2

December Radio cover
December Radio cover

Operation Peppermint
The hazards posed to nuclear veterans – whether personnel (including down wind civilians) were present at Trinity, Hiroshima and Nagasaki (included the targeted civilians) or at nuclear test areas thereafter – were well known prior to the formation of Manhattan Project. Indeed, radiation sickness had been fully described by medical authorities in Europe and the US in the 1930s. The radium dial painters – their illnesses and suffering – were tracked by US authorities from the 1920s until the last worker died in the 1990s. (Being the first human radiation experiment conducted without victim permission.) Many such workers suffered decades of ill health, many died in the 20s and 30s.

Source: http://ow.ly/uNgUp

Read more about WWII radiation experiments, including the project to build and detonate and Nazi Atomic Bomb in my forthcoming book: December Radio, to be published around 29 January 2016 by A-Argus.

Hunting Hitler
I just wanted to mention the excellent new History channel series Hunting Hitler. In short, last year the FBI released their own secret files detailing their attempts to locate Adolf Hitler after WWII. They did not believe the Russian story that Hitler and Eva Braun’s body had been burned in the Reich Chancellery garden and, to be fair, there has never been any solid evidence to support this claim.

It is well known that Hitler’s last public appearance was on 20 April 1945 and the FBI files show that 10 aircraft took off from Templehof airport (Berlin’s main airport) on the 21 April, one day later. What is more the manifests show many senior Nazis to be on board and also Hitler’s personal luggage. A few aircraft were shot down but at least one made it to the Baltic coast, where a U-boat could have been waiting. One other is rumoured to have landed in Spain (of course neutral and sympathetic to Hitler) although the radio messages were garbled on this matter.

The programme’s investigators used modern techniques starting with Means, Motive and Opportunity to suggest that Hitler could have made it at least as far as the nearest underground station to Templehoff on the 21 April. They then managed to locate a blocked up tunnel in hte basement of the airport which led toward the nearest underground station. They ended in Berlin with using hand held Ground Penetration Radar to locate a hollow wall (covering a blocked up tunnel?) precisely where they expected the tunnel to emerge.

In Spain they found further evidence that Nazi’s were active in a port called Vigo, in North West Spain, only a short distance from Franco’s personal retreat. A strange gantry for loading tungsten, of which the area is a major producer, remains next to the bridge and can be clearly seen on Google Earth. It could well serve to load raw materials onto submarines. Eye-witnesses talk of seeing U-boats docking for more than 3 months after hostilities ended, and it is well known that 46 U-boats were never accounted for.

Another team is attempting to locate a U-boat off the coast of Argentina, where a local Nazi had wool production company and owned a private bank. Eye witnesses report seeing a U-boat scuttled in the area in the summer of 1945.

Now, while all this is new and exciting and I have to admit, compelling given that Hitler was not a man to ‘give up’ easily, I have some reservations about this programme so far.

  • Firstly, Hitler didn’t kill himself (according to eye-witness accounts) until 30 April, almost ten days after the team said he could have left. Hitler still believed he could win at this point and I am not convinced he would have left so early.
  • Secondly, I have seen the eye-witnesses, who stayed with Hitler until the end, talking about what they saw. At all times they stare straight into the camera and look to me as if they are telling the truth. Would they really have been duped by a double?
  • Thirdly, possible the only exception to the ‘honest stare’ is Traudl Junge, Hitler’s last private secretary. She always maintained she had not known about evil’s perpetrated about Hitler’s regime. In early interviews she looks honest and open. However, in 2002 she was interviewed for the film Blind Spot: Hitler’s Secretary, when she already knew she was dying of cancer. She admitted in this film that she finally had realised her own guilt but could not come to terms with it. She does avoid eye-contact with the camera and this could be guilt. Would somebody finally admit to feeling guilty but still not admit that Hitler had escaped (if he had) once she knew she had nothing to lose and everything to gain by telling the truth?
  • Finally, Franco and Hitler did not like each other. Franco wouldn’t do what Hitler wanted and thought the German Dictator irritating. Would Franco really have hidden Hitler in his personal retreat?

It’s worth remembering that just because Hitler could have escaped, doesn’t mean he did. I await the rest of the series with interest.

The Synchronicity Code

The Synchronicity Code cover
The Synchronicity Code cover

Just a quick note: you can find out more about me and the book in a new interview on the English Informer in France.

Big Lazlo Ferran Project coming in 2016
Lastly, I would like to ask you to prepare for a whole new reading experience starting in 2016. It won’t be like anything you have seen before. And it will be BIG! If that whets your appetite, make sure you subscribe to the Newsletter to find out when all this is happening.

How do you get a U-Boat through Gibraltar Straits in 1945?

Did you know the typical U-Boat torpedo was steam-driven and had a range of 12 Km?
Below in this post is an excerpt from my forthcoming book December Radio. This part is where a team of fantatical German nuclear scientists are being smuggled out of German held territory in a U-Boat. But I don’t want to give too much away…

I did have to think very hard about how even a very talented U-Boat captain would get through the Gibraltar Straits. Every trick seems to have been tried in the Hollywood movies like Torpedo Run, The Cruel Sea, and Run Silent, Run Deep. What is more, by 1945 the Royal Navy pretty much owned the Straits and no U-boat had got out through the Straits since 1942. They had got in, but not out.

Some of the usual techniques used are:

1. To fire either oil, debris or even a dead body out of the torpedo tubes so impersonating a stricken U-Boat in the hope that the destroyer above assumed you are sunk
2. To lie on the bottom and keep silent so that the enemy thinks you have gone. Sonar (sea-penetrating radar) was not very good during WWII and could not penetrate to depths beyond about 50-60 fathoms (300-400 feet).
3. To stay underneath the destroyer so that it mistook your sonar signal for its own
4. To use the currents; in WWII it was known that there was a cold-water current flowing out of the Straits and into the Atlantic. This was faster – about 5 knots at shallower depths of around 200 feet but it decreased in speed down to the deepest part of the channel at about 700 feet. Conversely, at shallower depths there was a warm-water current flowing in to the Mediterranean. This would probably have been the predominant current near to the land masses of Spain and Morocco where the depth was at its shallowest.

But I didn’t want to use any of these. The Straits are about 9 miles wide at their narrowest point. During even the late stages of WWII they didn’t have nets across the Straits to catch submarines but they did have patrolling submarines, aircraft, destroyers and plenty of mines. So how does my captain get the U-Boat through the Straits? I am looking for ideas which I can include in the book. Please comment below. The best answer will receive a free eBook of December Radio and a credit when it is published.

December Radio
Copyright © 2013 by Lazlo Ferran
All Rights Reserved.

The U-669 began to drift with the current. There were only small pools of water on the floors now so Carl was able to get his breath back. Fifteen minutes went by. Suddenly the tense silence in the Control Room was broken.
“I have activity,” said the sonar operator. “Bearing two-seventy nine degrees. Far away. At least ten thousand metres. Sounds like depth charges but I can’t be sure. One… two…. three… four… fading. Maybe more.”
“Yes! They fell for it!” Riddaker said, slapping the periscope column. “Helmsman. Hold her steady. How are we doing?”
“Three knots. Eastbound.
“Good. A bit slow though. Hm. Up ten fathoms!”
“Up ten fathoms!” echoed the Helmsman.
“You can go back to your bunk Sturmbannführer. Get some rest. I may need you later. And tell that lazy pilot – whassisname – Stengler to get his ass up here!”
Carl made his way, staggering from side to side, back to his bunk. He found Roth being sick in one of the bilges.
“Captain wants you. I think there’s a bit more water to be drained out,” Carl told Roth.
“Fuck Riddaker! Asshole!” If I have to look at another bucket on this stinking hell-hole of a basket-case crate!”
Carl smiled weakly and continued to his bunk. He had just enough strength to clamber into it before falling into a deep sleep.
He was woken six hours later by Roth. The short pilot handed him a black coffee.
“Now it’s your bloody turn.” Roth rested his head on the edge of Carl’s bunk. Carl could see Roth was breathing hard. Carl patted him on the shoulder. He sipped the coffee.
“Hey. Is this real coffee?”
“Yeah… Oh, by the way, the bloody Royal Navy figured out Riddaker’s trick. They are on to us. Expect some action.
“Thanks.”
Carl picked up the bucket dropped by Roth in the Control Room just as the explosion rocked the U-Boat.
“Enemy approached from astern. Estimated 34 knots, distance 1000 metres.”
“How deep is it here First Watch?”
The Lieutenant studied the char on a table.
“Forty fathoms. No more.”
“Damn! They will have us. Engines. Full power. Full ahead. Starboard twenty.
“But that will take us right into the central channel!” exclaimed the First Watch.”
“We have to make a run for it. It’s deeper there,” Riddaker replied pensively.
The Lieutenant, second in command on the submarine, hesitated for a moment before issuing the order.
“Full power – estimated eight knots,” the Helmsman replied.
“Down twenty!” commanded Riddaker.
“Down bubble. Twenty degrees.”
Carl hadn’t seen Schumann arrive but he was standing just inside the hatch of the Control Room. The scientist looked angry.
“I think you have a problem Captain!” he shouted at Riddaker.
“What is it Herr Schumann. I’m rather busy!”
“Hoffe is very ill. Fumes from the battery compartment. I think you have a leak.”
“Yes, well we’ll worry about that later.”
“And what’s in the central channel anyway? Do you realise those crates could be damaged?”
“Subs. The British have at least three submarines patrolling there. Still, it’s our best chance.”
“Well, I hope we make it or else your name is not going to be worth as much as your shirt button, let alone a medal in the Reich!”
“Don’t worry. I’ll get us through!” Riddaker looked like he had eaten something bad. Clearly the two men didn’t like each other.
Another explosion, this time much closer, rocked the submarine. Carl was thrown from his feet and water began rushing in through cracks in the submarine’s outer casing. Carl began bailing. Another, then yet another, explosion rocked the submarine.
“Lucky bastards!” Riddaker yelled.
The red lights went out for a few moments before the emergency power bus kicked in and they flickered back into life. Six more explosions followed before the submarine was beyond the reach of the depth charges.
By now everything was wet and the sound of moaning and women screaming echoed around the stricken submarine.
“God help us!” muttered Riddaker. “I can’t think! Can somebody shut those damned women up! And the men too for that matter! And get these leaks plugged! Level out. Hold at sixty fathoms.”

I have invited the writer of this blog to do a post next week: http://lifelongexplorer.blogspot.co.uk