MY SIX DAYS IN A GERMAN SUBMARINE
MY SIX DAYS IN A GERMAN SUBMARINE
By: Frank McClatchie. Former RT1/C USNR during WWII
USS NEAL A. SCOTT, IN STORM CONDITIONS ON SURRENDER DATE
This is a personal account of the experiences of Frank McClatchie while serving in the US NAVY during WORLD WAR TWO as a First Class Radio Technician (not a Radioman!) on the Destroyer Escort USS Neal A. Scott, DE769, culminating in my boarding of the German Submarine U1228 on the High Seas of the North Atlantic after Germany Surrendered.
I served in the Navy for a total of three years, with about one year of training in what is now called electronics, but was then called RADIO and RADAR TECHNOLOGY, about one year designing countermeasures for Hitler’s latest Super Weapons and recovering research mines and torpedoes at the Naval Research Laboratories in Washington D.C., and about one year of combat against German Submarines in THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC. This was a continuous battle that lasted for 7 years and started many years before America entered the war and therefore was by far the longest running continuous battle of World War Two. This story begins as Germany Surrenders, but also includes action prior to the actual surrender.
WHY I WAS CHOSEN TO “BOARD” THE SURRENDERING U1228 GERMAN SUBMARINE
The reason I was chosen to become part of the Prize Crew Team from the USS Neal A. Scott, DE769 to take over the German U1228 Submarine when it Surrendered, was that I was born in Germany and lived in Germany for my first 7 years, therefore could speak fluent German. As it turned out, no one on the German U1228 could speak any English, therefore all spoken transactions during the Surrender Procedure went through me. In effect, I was the KEY MAN DURING THE ENTIRE SURRENDER PROCEDURE. There was no form of two-way communication between the USS Neal A. Scott and the U1228, except flashing lights back and forth, with first translating to English through me.
USS NEAL A. SCOTT, IN WEATHER CONDITIONS TWO DAYS BEFORE SURRENDER OF U1228
The actual boarding of the Submarine took place by means of a “Whale Boat” that was launched from the USS Neal A. Scott DE769. The Seas that were running at that time made it very hazardous to launch the “Whale Boat” and required the Submarine Prize Crew to jump from the deck of the Neal A. Scott into the Whale Boat after it was launched into the North Atlantic. Only one man at a time could leap into the boat when it was almost level with the deck, then ride the “Whale Boat” down to the level of our ship’s keel, with the bilge keel towering high above us before returning to the deck level to take on another crewman. Many trips to view the keel were required to get everybody into the “Whale Boat”. The Coxswain of the “Whale Boat” had to steer very carefully to prevent the hull of the ship from crushing the little “Whale Boat”. As soon as our ship left our side, there was nothing but ocean to see, not even the 97-foot masts of the three ships that we knew were nearby. The size of the waves obscured the ships because we could only see as far as the next wave. It is my guess that about 25 to 30 foot waves were running at that time. Since we could not see the German Submarine that we were trying to “Board”, we were given a compass course to take to intercept the U1228. After about 20 minutes on what looked to us as an open ocean, we finally located the German Submarine from the top of a wave while the Submarine was at the bottom of the same wave.
GERMAN SUBMARINE U1228, FLYING AN AMERICAN FLAG ONE DAY AFTER THE SURRENDER
Once we found the Submarine, it was next necessary to get aboard it in these seas. That was also not so easy. The Captain of the Submarine sent a man down to the foredeck of the Submarine to hold onto our “painter” (the line connecting to our “Whale Boat” bow) when we came alongside.
The first man to jump to the foredeck of the Submarine was carrying a Thompson Sub Machine Gun (of course fully loaded, with the safety off), but of course it was pretty heavy and the jump was very precarious, so he had to have someone hold it for him while he made his jump from the “Whale Boat” to the German Submarine, so just before he made his leap, he handed the Thompson to the German! This scared the heck out of the German, so he held the barrel in a vertical position until the American could retrieve it. I was the second man to make the jump, but I only wore a ‘45 on a belt, so did not require any bodies help to hold my gun while I made my jump. We encountered and Boarded the U1228 German Submarine at 46 degrees, 15 minutes North by 47 degrees, 43 minutes West.
THE TWELVE-MAN AMERICAN BOARDING PARTY FROM THE USS NEAL A. SCOTT DE769
The picture of the Prize Crew shows nine of the twelve men that boarded the U1228 with the author, Frank McClatchie standing in the back row on the righthand side of the picture. The other three men were added to the Prize Crew after this picture was taken and are not shown.
The twelve men that boarded the U1228 from the USS Neal A. Scott, DE769 on the surrender date in the mid-Atlantic were:
|William, Wayne A.||Lt. J. G.|
|McClatchie, Francis F.||RT 1/C||(MYSELF)|
|Smith, Henry K.||MoMM 1/C|
|Reeves, David L.||MoMM 1/C|
|Marlow Walter J.||BM 2/C|
|Giannotti, Emilio||GM 2/C|
|Takach, Caspar||SM 2/C|
|Gibbons, Jerry J.||TM 2/C|
|Sarka, Julious W.||MoMM 2/C|
|Greybeal, James V.||EM 2/C|
|Klass, Harry J.||GM 1/C|
These are the only men that have any direct knowledge of what happened during the surrender of U1228 and I am the only one that could speak any German. And the Germans aboard could not speak any English. There was no de-briefing after the event when we got back aboard the USS Neal A. Scott, so anything that you read about this Surrender that does not come from one of these people is pure speculation, such as the statement by the US Navy that the German Captain brought the Submarine into port in Portsmouth. I personally removed him from the U1228 Submarine at sea, before the return trip to Portsmouth. In this document, I have attempted to record what I know about the Surrender of the U1228 and the other situations that I have encountered both before and after the surrender.
Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945, and shortly thereafter Gross Admiral Donitz sent out the order for all German Submarines at Sea were to surrender by flying a black flag, remain on the surface and transmit their intension to surrender on the International emergency frequency. Our Submarine Killer Group, consisting of the USS Neal A. Scott, (DE769), USS Muir (DE770), and USS Sutton (DE771) was at this time in the center of the action, so several German Submarines were in the general area. The USS Neal A. Scott (DE769 Boarded the German Submarine U1228, and the USS Sutton (771) Boarded the German Submarine U234 that was supposed to go to Japan with all kinds of the newest war weapons, including over a thousand pounds of partially purified U235 the fissionable material that can be used to build an Atomic Bomb to be used by the Japanese against the US Navy Fleet that was about to invade Japan. Instead of being delivered to Japan by the German Submarine, the Captain of the U234 surrendered to the USS Sutton and the purified Uranium was delivered to the United States! We cannot find evidence that this particular load of Uranium was actually used as part of the American Bombs that were exploded over Japan, but it certainly is very probable. In which case, the uranium that Hitler was shipping to Japan to be used against American forces, instead was delivered to Japan by the American Air Force!!
Two Officers and twenty eight of the German Crew were sent back to the USS Neal A. Scott (DE769) as prisoners of war. All of the remaining German Crew moved to the forward torpedo room (now empty of torpedoes) then the American prize crew took over the German Petty Offices quarters. Fancy Quarters they were too, with fancy wooden paneling and a Swastika emblazoned on the Punch Bowel. German Petty Officers were held in high regard as just under German Officers in Status. The main shortcoming from my point of view was that the bunks were a little too short and too narrow.
WHY I REMOVED THE GERMAN CAPTAIN FROM COMMAND OF THE U1228 SUBMARINE
The German Captain, Ob. Lt. Frederik Wilhelm Marienfeld and I just did not hit it off well. He was an old-line German Officer of very autocratic character and very enamored of his own status as Captain of the German Submarine. When I interrogated him as to the number of his crew and how many are needed to operate the Submarine, he pretended not to understand me and became quite difficult to get along with. I got a bit teed off myself, so I ordered him off of the Submarine and into the Whale Boat for the trip to my ship. At this point he turned purple in the face and sputtered in German “that if this was the German Navy taking over an American Ship, they certainly would not remove the Captain from Command of His Ship!!” Well, by this time, I had all I wanted to hear from the German Captain, and again ordered him out of the Conning tower and into the Whale Boat that the American Prize Crew had just come over in. As a consequence of this act, I am the only Enlisted man in the US Navy that has removed a Captain from Command of a War Ship at Sea.
I APPOINT A NEW TEMPORARY GERMAN CAPTAIN TO COMMAND THE U1228 SUBMARINE
Then I asked the German Offices on the Conning Tower of the Submarine for the Second in Command. The German Executive Officer, Gunter Schuller was behind me with his head sticking out of the Deck Hatch. I thereupon appointed him to Command of the U1228 for the duration of the Voyage to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I guess he could see which side of the toast the butter was on, as he had no trouble at all understanding me and we got along just fine for the remainder of the trip. Thus, I am the only man in the US Navy that has both removed a Captain from Command of his ship and also promoted a Nazi to Command of a Submarine at Sea. As later noted, this man was not only a Nazi, but enough so that he is still not permitted to enter the United States! As he himself told me at a dinner meeting with the U1228 Crew Reunion that I was invited to attend, “The Hitler days were the best days”!
Looking back to that time and all the circumstances at play, I can see why (especially the German Officers) may have acted the way they did. All the Germans were “dressed to the hilt” with all of their medals pinned on, while we were rather disreputable looking in dungarees (work clothes) and no insignia or medals showing, after all, American Sailors never wore medals at sea, but the Germans sure did, even on the submarine. The Germans put great store in such things as Medals. To them, we must have looked like a swarm of rats invading their boat. They may have even wondered how the heck such a scruffy looking bunch could have beaten them.
This clock with Nazi insignia on it came from the Captain’s cabin. This is a seven-day clock that is wound up by turning the entire clock case from the rear. A snap latch sealed the clock from water entry, so that is was waterproof. It was used to keep “Local Time” to set “watches” for the crew. There was a separate Chronometer on board that kept time for Navigational computations. The clock is now prominently featured in my War Medals Display Case along with other relics.
WE SECURE THE SUBMARINE
After settling which Germans should stay on the Submarine to operate it, and who should go over to the USS Neal A. Scott, DE769 as Prisoners of War, we attached a chain with a lock on it to something solid on the Conning Tower and dropped the chain down the hatch and with another lock, secured the other end of the chain. This insured that the Submarine could not dive successfully with us in it, because the main hatch could not be closed. Thus, we could not become prisoners of the Germans. Next, we checked the torpedo tubes to make sure they were empty and no other torpedoes or munitions were aboard. After that, we checked every locker and cabinet. I had a German Crewman on each side of me whenever I opened a locker. Nobody got nervous, and no booby traps were found. We did find a case of hand grenades, which we threw overboard. The Submarine was now secure and ready to follow the USS Neal A. Scott to Portsmouth, New Hampshire for internment and the German Crew become prisoners of War. Many of the Germans spent many years in American prisons because International Law requires that we return them to their home town, and many were in what was then the Russian Zone. Since the Russians would either kill them outright or make them slaves in the Russian “Gulag” coal mines for 20 years before releasing them internally inside Russia, keeping them in prisons in the Unites States seemed like a kinder thing to do.
I RADIO A SECRET PRE-ARRANGED MESSAGE TO MY SHIP EACH DAY SO THAT MY SHIP’S CAPTAIN WILL KNOW WHO IS IN CHARGE IN THE SUBMARINE
I went into the Submarine Radio Room (actually a tiny space to one side of the main corridor to send a pre-arranged coded message to assure the Captain of my ship that the Prize Crew was really still in control of the Submarine. I did this each day that we were at Sea prior to getting to Portsmouth. These messages were sent on the German Transmitter that I tuned up to the preset frequency. This was a CW transmitter, so I used Morse Code to transmit the message. Each day I included a different key letter so that the USS Neal A. Scott would know that the American prize crew was still in charge in the Submarine.
The German Submarines had developed special equipment to detect our 2 GHz “SA” RADAR early in the War so they could detect our approach from well over the horizon. Our ship had a much more modern and much higher frequency SU RADAR that operated at 6 GHz that we did not think the Germans could detect, so we thought we could catch them charging battering at night. That never did happen. All the contacts we made as a Killer Group were made with our SONAR. When I boarded the U1228, I found out why our SU RADAR never spotted a German Submarine.
THE SIMPLE GERMAN COUNTERMEASURE FOR OUR NEW “SU” RADAR
The German Radio Operator on the U1228, Willie Held showed me why we could never catch them at the Surface with our new “SU” RADAR. These RADAR detectors were actually hand made in the field by the crew of the submarine. The “SU” RADAR detector consisted of a plain old milk funnel with a Germanium crystal at the narrow end and a two tube audio amplifier worn on a belt, with batteries and a a pair of head phones to listen to the 600 hertz buzz that was created when a “SU’” RADAR was turned on in the vicinity. This device could detect “SU” RADAR from ‘way beyond the horizon.
When a German Submarine decided to surface at night to recharge batteries, the first man out of the deck hatch would be Willie Held with his “SU” detector. He only had to turn around once to determine that the RADAR detector showed no American RADARs present, and keep on turning about to make sure no RADAR equipped ships came within range. If he heard the 600 cycle pulse rate tone, the Submarine would crash dive to get off the surface. The beauty of this process was that, in addition to the protection this gave the Submarine, it also made it possible for Willie to get a lot of fresh air, much in demand on any Submarine! Such a simple little counter-measure to thwart our “Secret” new RADAR!
The Submarine also had a 2 GHz RADAR, but they never used it either, and for the same reasons. The RADAR Antenna on the Submarine was actually frozen stiff from lack of use.
After I had jumped into the Whale Boat from my ship, one of the Officers on the USS Neal A. Scott tossed me a bottle of some kind of booze to keep our spirits up, but as it turned out, we really did not need it on the Submarine. The Submarine was full of Schnapps, stashed everywhere that there was a little extra room. We filled the Nazi Punch Bowel with Cherry Juice and Schnapps. That turned out to be a prime combination. We ate the cherries, but used the juice in the punch bowel along with the Schnapps. We played Poker with the German Coogle Playing Cards we found, and the winner would get a cup full. The men on watch with the Thompson’s just watched the card game when they were not wandering through the compartments, checking out the German crew.
There was a Galley on the Submarine, but no cook. I guess he was one of the lucky ones that got to ride to the United States on the USS NEAL A. Scott, and so did not have to stand any Watches or cook either.
So, there was no cook for the Prize Crew on the Submarine. But we found cans of food stashed throughout the submarine in every possible storage space, however of course there were no labels on any of the cans. Water washes the labels off of the cans, and plugs up pumps, therefore the cans had numbers punched into the lids to identify what they contained. At first it was a big surprise whenever we opened a can to find out what was in it, since I could not find a list in the galley identifying the can contents by number. As we discovered what was actually in the cans, I carved the can number and contents into the wooden paneling of our compartment. After opening enough cans, we could assemble a meal of some sort whenever we got hungry. Just about every sort of food you could think of was to be found in a can, Butter, Bread, Pears, Meat, Peas, Potatoes, Eggs, Cherries, etc. By the time we got on the Submarine all the fresh food had been eaten.
THE “BIG INDIAN CHIEF” BUTTER KNIFE ON THE GERMAN SUBMARINE
THE “BIG CHIEF” HUNTING KNIFE
The first time that I went into the Galley, I found a HUNTING KNIFE with a picture of an AMERICAN INDIAN CHIEF on the blade, and the label INDIAN CHIEF etched into the blade. This certainly was a most peculiar hunting knife to find in the Galley of a German Submarine! My curiosity was aroused, so I asked the German Crewmen where they got that particular Hunting Knife. The entire German Crew knew about that knife. It had been purchased in Norway by a member of the crew when they went ashore there on liberty. But, how did that knife get there? The German Crewman had made some inquiries and found out how the knife got to Norway. To complicate matters further, the Manufacturers name was stamped into the Tang of the blade. It was made in Solingden Germany, a city renowned for fine cutlery. It turned out that this knife was part of a shipment of knives ordered from a company in America prior to the War, but before the shipment was ready for shipment the War had begun and the shipment could not be made during the War. When the manufacturer attempted to sell the knives in Germany, of course they were unable to do so. No German in his right mind would get caught with a knife with BIG CHIEF emblazoned upon the blade and a picture of an AMERICAN INDIAN prominently etched into the blade. So, what was the German Manufacturer to do with this shipment of un-saleable knives?
Germany had invaded Norway and the Norwegians loved to tweak the noses of the Germans, So the sharp German Salesman for the German knife factory went over to Norway to sell the entire lot of un-saleable (in Germany) knives to the Norwegians! That is where the Submarine crewman found the BIG CHIEF knife, and of course they also liked the idea of the BIG CHIEF KNIFE to be used on the Submarine Galley as a BUTTER KNIFE.
I originally confiscated the knife to remove an obvious weapon from access by the Germans, but I kept the Hunting Knife as a souvenir. I still have that Hunting knife, having used it on my Sail Boats that I have sailed on all over the South Pacific since WWII in Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia. This knife is now in my War Medals Collection Display Case.
THE GERMAN FACINATION WITH AMERICAN GANGSTERS
The Germans on the Submarine were intensely interested in American Gangsters, as Hitler had filled them full of tales about American gangsters and how depraved the American society was. The first thing that the Germans asked me about was American Gangsters. We had one man in our Prize Crew that just loved to joke around every chance he got, so he told the Germans that HE WAS A GANGSTER! That did it, the Germans would not come near him. After all, we were all wearing ‘45 caliber pistols and the “Watch” was also carrying Thompson Sub Machine Guns.
AN AMERICAN PRIZE-CREWMAN STEALS A GERMAN CREWMAN’S MEDALS
The next episode was on the first night aboard the Submarine when one of our Prize Crew (who shall remain unnamed) went into the forward torpedo room which was designated for German Use, and removed all of the Medals and Insignia from a coat he found hanging there while the Germans slept.
The morning after we “boarded” the U1228 Submarine, a HIGH LINE was rigged between the Submarine and the USS Neal A. Scott to transfer a very important item. The Captain of my ship had decided to transfer a 5-pound can of US Navy Coffee to the Submarine so that we would not be stuck drinking that terrible German “ersatz” Coffee. When the Sea Bag containing the 5-pound can of ground coffee was revealed, the Germans just about died laughing and rolling on the deck. Their coffee came directly from South America and was a much better grade than our Navy Coffee. This was also true of their cigars which came directly from Castro’s Cuban cigar makers. I guess that the German Navy had some special connections when it came to international “trade”. In any event the German coffee aboard the Submarine was a heck of a lot better than standard Navy Coffee. When the Sea Bag was sent back to the USS Neal A. Scott, it was not empty, the German Medals and Insignia were in the Sea Bag.
THE GERMAN CREW DISCOVERS THE THEFT OF MEDALS
When the German Crewman that had suffered the theft of his Medals and Insignia from his coat awakened and he discovered the theft, all hell broke out among the German Crewmen. Their Honor had been violated, and this was a very serious event to them. They were shouting so loud in their compartment that I could clearly understand what they were saying in the next compartment.
THE GERMAN CREWMEN DECIDE TO MUTINY
They were actually discussing removing plugs in the hull to sink the Submarine to kill the Americans. Of course, that would kill them too, but their Honor had been violated and they were willing to die for that. I decided to enter their compartment to try to talk them out of doing anything rash, like sinking the submarine. I went into their compartment and pointed out that if the submarine started taking on water at a rate that it would sink, that all twelve Americans were to go through the Deck Hatch first, and considering that the sinking was caused by them, they would go down with the Submarine. This had zero affect upon them. They were polite in listening to me, but they still were insisting upon scuttling the Submarine. Since there were multiple points that could sink the Submarine at location not known to me, there was no way for me to actually stop them from sinking the Submarine. It occurred to me that I had said all I could say to convince them not to sink the Submarine, so I returned to my compartment to await events.
Somehow Gunter Schuller, that I had appointed as temporary Captain of U1228 until we reached Portsmouth New Hampshire heard what was going on and with a curt nod in our direction, went through our compartment and into the front torpedo room. I could hear the crashing of coffee cups and glassware and a lot of noise, then quiet, and Gunter Schuller reappeared, nodded again without saying a word and went back to his compartment. All was very quiet in the next compartment, so I went in. The men were no longer sitting up. They were in their sacks with their blankets up over their heads, pretending to be asleep! The temporary Captain that I had appointed had quelled the mutiny with his fists, whereas my talking had done no good at all. Sometimes it takes direct action to get results. THE MUTINY WAS OVER!
THE CONSEQUENCES OF CLAIMING TO BE A GANGSTER
Of course, the German Crew would assume that only a “gangster” could possibly do such a thing as to steal a person’s Medals. Actually, someone else in our crew had stolen the medals, not the self-proclaimed “gangster”.
ERNIE CHALLENGES THE AMERICAN “GANGSTER”, FACE-TO-FACE
So next we see “Ernie”, the victim of the robbery, come into our compartment, ramrod stiff and marching right up to the self proclaimed “gangster”, obviously expecting to be summarily shot, and in the best of his English/German mixture, DEMANDED HIS MEDALS BACK!!!
The “gangster” was caught unawares and was nonplussed, and did not know what to do with Ernie just 6 inches from his face, demanding his medals back. Of course, the “gangster” did not have the Medals, and for all practical purposes did not know what Ernie was talking about! It was clearly a situation like A FACE OFF ON MAIN STREET in the Movie Westerns. Suddenly the “gangster” had a bright idea how to ameliorate Ernie’s feelings (and get Ernie off his back). We had taken over the German Petty Officer’s compartment in rather short notice, so we found lots of “stuff” under the mattresses, etc. The “gangster” reaches under his mattress and pulls out a box of stubby cigars and trying to placate Ernie, offers him a cigar. Up until then, Ernie was ramrod stiff, six inches from the gangster and obviously expecting to be shot at any moment. It was a matter of personal Honor for him!
When Ernie saw the proffered the cigars, his shoulders slumped and a strangled cry came from his lips
It was much too much for him to handle. He was a BROKEN MAN he turned around and slunk back to the torpedo room. Of all the possible coincidences, this takes the cake! Ernie is one of the German Petty Officers that previously had his bunk in the Petty Offices compartment, so he slept in the exact same bunk that the “gangster was now occupying! So, when the “gangster” moved in, he chose the exact same bunk that Ernie had previously slept in. Thus, when the “gangster” offered the cigars he found under his mattress to Ernie, they were actually Ernie’s personal supply of cigars. Minen Cigaren, indeed!
Being offered HIS OWN CIGARS TO PLACATE HIM FOR HAVING HIS MEDALS STOLEN was entirely out of his ability to comprehend. DEATH, YES, BUT SUCH AN INSULT HE DID NOT KNOW HOW TO HANDLE.
Now, in looking over the German Crew List, I cannot find anyone with the first name of Ernie, but that is the name I used at the time, so I will retain it. He was a man of very great courage. His courage, facing up to the self professed “gangster” in a show-down is truly remarkable, and I will always remember him as a man of great courage even though I do not know his actual name. To me he is just Ernie, a very courageous man.
THE PRIOR FAILED FUELING ATTEMPT OF DE769 FROM THE CVE USS CROATAN
The paths of the USS Neal A. Scott and the German U-Boat U1228 crossed at least three times during the war that I know of. The first time was while we were in the Task Group 22.13 Barrier Patrol of the TEARDROP KILLER GROUP, and we were running out of fuel, so a decision was made to fuel from the Aircraft Carrier CVE USS CROATAN we were escorting, rather than make a round trip to New Fundland for fuel. That turned out to be a bad decision, as it almost got us both torpedoed. The USS Neal A. Scott was protecting the rear Port Quarter of the Aircraft Carrier when we were ordered to move up to the Port side of the Aircraft Carrier to take on fuel. Unbeknownst to us, a Submarine had been hiding in our wake and followed us through the Scouting Line as we were positioning alongside the Aircraft Carrier to receive fuel.
A little side side-light on this fueling process, some of the Aircraft Carrier’s crew started throwing containers of Ice Cream from the Flight Deck for our crew to try to catch. Since the Carrier was blocking the wind, and the Flight Deck was much higher than the deck of our ship, the Ice Cream cartons easily spanned the distance between ships, however they arrived at a very high rate of speed causing the Ice Cream to splatter all over the unfortunate catcher.
While we were attaching the Cables and Fueling Hoses, the Submarine was positioning itself for a torpedo run on both the Aircraft Carrier and the USS Neal A. Scott. A two for one shot with the ships tied together so they could not maneuver independently! At that moment, a Destroyer Escort that had been positioned on our Port side detected the Submarine and attacked it. This caused the Submarine to Crash Dive just as it was releasing the torpedoes, thus causing them to run wild. With good fortune, both torpedoes missed their targets. The TBS radio warned the Aircraft Carrier about the Submarine, and the Carrier turned its BULL HORN toward us and ordered all Cables and the Fuel Hose cut by crew members standing by with axes so they could get out of there fast. What a mess that made. What with our emergency maneuvers and the Submarine crash dive, both torpedoes missed.
WHAT A SWITCH, FROM ICE CREAM SOCIAL TO A TORPEDO ATTACK!
From an Ice Cream Social in one second to a Torpedo Attack the very next second! After the war ended and I boarded the U1228 and sent the Captain of that Submarine to the USS Neal A. Scott for interrogation, he stated that during a torpedo attack on an Aircraft Carrier he saw the Number DE769 on the hull of one of the ships, so, according to the Captain of the U1228, that was his first encounter with my ship.
About a week before the end of the war in the Atlantic I was in C.I.C. (Combat Information Center) when the RADAR Operator spotted a Target directly half way between our ship and the next ship in out Killer Group which was immediately reported to the Captain on the Bridge. A Plot was started on the Plotting Board, and it was discovered that the target had a speed of 5 knots with a direction directly the reverse of our course. This was also reported to the Bridge, as were several more reports until the very weak RADAR signal disappeared. We could not understand why we did not attack this target. Perhaps the Bridge could not see the target, or perhaps because the Sound Man could not spot that target. In any event, we let that target escape. We could have cut the target in two with a fast turn to port! That was actually German Submarine U1228!
In a discussion with the German sound man on the U1228 one day after we Accepted Their Surrender, he excitedly told me about the occasion that his Submarine penetrated our Killer Group Scouting Line by going half way between ships, just under the surface with their Snorkel deployed. Upon checking dates with him I was able to verify that the target was in fact the U1228! So, we missed an opportunity to sink that Submarine, because it would have been very easy to just do a 90 degree turn and cut the Submarine in two! This made the second time that the two ships came together that I know of.
While the U1228 may have encountered the USS Neal A. Scott many other times during the last days of the war in the Atlantic the third encounter was when I boarded the U1228 as the Submarine Surrendered!
THE US NAVY BLIMP THAT CROSSED OUR PATH AS WE ENTERED AMERICAN WATERS
A Navy “Blimp” crossed our path on the way back to Portsmouth New Hampshire with News Cameramen hanging out of all the windows in the cabin of the “Blimp” to take pictures of the VICTORIOUS US NAVY BRINGING IN A SURRENDERING GERMAN U-BOAT. At the time that we encountered the Navy “Blimp” with the Newspaper Photographers, we were in the middle of the Gulf Stream, which meant that the weather was quite warm for this Latitude, even in the North Atlantic. At least it felt warm compared to where we had just come from where there were Ice Bergs in the water. So, what were the CONQUERING HEROES DOING? Why of course, taking Sun Baths on the foredeck of the German Submarine! What else? I guess that spoiled the Desired Navy Image of the Conquering Heroes Bravely Bringing In, an Enemy Submarine. That footage never showed up in the Movie Tone News in the movie theaters back then.
I suspect that the Navy confiscated all the film from those newsreels out of pure embarrassment. These films were never shown, that I know of, in any Movie theater.
THE SINKING OF THE USS FREDERICK C. DAVIS DE136
After the failed attempt to fuel from the Aircraft Carrier, the USS Neal A. Scott could no longer hope to get more fuel from that source, so it was necessary to return to New Fundland for more fuel. Another freshly refueled Destroyer Escort which I believed to be the USS Frederick C. Davis DE136 replaced our position to protect the Aircraft Carrier while we headed back to New Fundland for more fuel. About 45 minutes after we left the KILLER GROUP formation, I heard over the TBS radio that a ship had just been torpedoed and was sinking. Considering our previous attempt at being torpedoed, I could only imagine that the ship that had replaced our position was the one that was sinking. I listened to the rescue effort as they continued until we were out of radio range. I thought for sure that it was the ship that replaces us that was sunk. Many years later I finally discovered that was not so, another ship in the KILLER GROUP was the one that was sunk. The KILLER GROUP SHIPS were the scene of intense activity during the WWII. For many years I had believed that the ship that was sunk as we left the KILLER GROUPs formation was the USS Davis, so I believed that those men had died in my place. The USS Davis was actually a part of another KILLER GROUP also called “TEAR DROP” that was the reason for my confusion in this matter. The USS Frederick C. Davis was actually the very last Destroyer Escort sunk in the BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC during WWII.
Destroyer Escorts that were protecting Convoys saw plenty of action with German Submarines, but they were doing their very best to avoid the locations that German Submarines were known to exist because their primary purpose was to get the convoy across the Ocean without sinking any of the precious cargo ships. However, any Destroyer Escorts that were part of a KILLER GROUP did just the reverse, they did their level best to locate and attack any German Submarine that they could find. Of course, there were particular locations that the Submarines tended to concentrate, and that is where you would find the KILLER GROUPS, such as the one that the USS Neal A. Scott DE769 was part of.
Ships traversing the Atlantic Ocean in peace time have no difficulty navigating at night, because ships are well lit up so they can be seen. Most carry far more than the basic navigation lights just to insure that they will be seen by another ship and thus avoid a collision. However, in war time, ships are blacked out and cannot be seen at all leading to a great possibility of collision with another ship. This is why RADAR is vital to night time navigation. This is particularly true in a Convoy, where a large number of ships are crowded together. During WWII, RADAR became vital to Convoy Operations. See the paragraph titled “OUR DISTROYER ESCORT RADAR FAILS” later in this book.
OUR FIRST SUBMARINE BATTLE
January 2, 1944, we were Ocean Escort for Convoy GUS63 bound from Gibraltar to Hampton Roads, Virginia. While still in sight of Spain as we formed up the convoy, we heard a loud explosion. I was on the Bridge and could see the explosion. It was an empty Oil Tanker that had been carrying aircraft gasoline. It just blew completely to pieces, with parts of the Superstructure flying through the air. I was standing next to the RADAR P.P.I. (Plan Position Indicator). All of the ships formed rows and columns on the screen as dots, with one dot now missing after the explosion. It was all over in seconds. A Submarine had been on the bottom of the ocean where we could not detect it when our Destroyer Escorts went over them, then the Submarine rose to periscope depth and torpedoed the Tanker.
Seconds after the Oil Tanker explosion the Sound Man ranged on a target off our Starboard Beam. I stepped into the Sound Compartment just forward of the Bridge and found the Sound Man tracking two torpedoes coming directly at us. I could hear the torpedoes were electrically driven by the sound they make and the bearing did not change, so that meant they were coming directly at us., I braced myself expecting an explosion, but through good fortune, the Submarine Captain had set the depth of the torpedoes for large ships so that the torpedoes went under the rather shallow depth of our Destroyer Escort hulls. Neither torpedo exploded.
NOW IT WAS OUR TURN
We turned directly into the Submarines path and only seconds later were laying down a pattern of 13 depth charges set for 50 and a 100 foot depth. We lost contact, then regained contact and made a second run with 13 depth charges set on magnetic detection which do not explode unless they are close enough to damage a Submarine. This time nine of the charges detonated, meaning hits. About 30 seconds later there was an underwater explosion followed by an oil slick. Sonar contact was regained and a group of Hedge Hogs were fired. These Charges do not explode unless they contact a hard object like a Submarine hull.. A minute or so after the hedge hogs were fired a loud underwater detonation was head by all hands. We thought that we had sunk that particular Submarine, but could not establish that fact through independent sources, so we did not get official credit for that Kill. The rest of the trip to Hampton Roads was uneventful. When we returned, our new assignment was to a KILLER GROUP in the Northern Latitudes to prowl the North Atlantic in search of German Submarines.
THE EAST COAST CITIES V-1 ROCKET SCARE
One day while we were at anchor at Pasco Bay Main with one half of our crew “at liberty” in town, we received a secret order to put to Sea in 30 minutes to attempt to intercept a Submarine that had been seen by our spies in Germany to go out to Sea out of Germany equipped with a V-1 Rocket Launcher mounted on its deck. Every Destroyer Escort in Port on the East Coast of the United States was ordered to put to Sea in 30 minutes to try to sink this menace to our cities. This was really rough on the crews of these ships, standing 4 hours ON and 4 hours OFF watches for many days until our spies discovered that a Submarine did put out to Sea with a V-1 rocket launcher on deck, but only fired on a research target! That episode really put a panic into the Navy. What if this was a new phase in WWII, with V-1 Rockets being launched against American Coastal Cities? If only one V1 had been launched and exploded in a major east coast city the result would have been total pandemonium in Washington, New York, and other major east coast cities. I hesitate to even think what the consequences of such an attack would have been, especially just when the War seemed to be winding down and our troops on a winning streak. What a shock that would have been to the American Public!
WHY IT IS NOT EASY TO HIT A SUBMARINE
While patrolling the Grand Banks and elsewhere in the North Atlantic we located many Submarines. With our SONAR we knew just exactly where they were until we get quite close to them, but then we could no longer hear their echoes because when we are really close, our Sound Beam goes over the top like a flashlight, and their echo cannot be heard just as we get over them. Of course, the Submarine Captain knows this, and just when the Sonar Pulse dies out to him, the submarine Captain changes course to evade being hit by a depth charge. Many German Submarine Captains endured many hours of Depth Charges and still survived. This problem was solved in the later days of the BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by an attack technique using TWO Destroyer Escorts, wherein one DE stands off a short distance while the other DE goes in for the Kill and the first DE radios the SONAR information on the Submarine and the SONAR information on the first DE and so can guide the first DE to the exact location of the submarine. Using this technique, the attacking DE does not even turn on his SONAR at all, so the Submarine Captain can get no clue as to exactly when to change course to avoid the rain of Depth Charges that is sure to come. This is why the German Submarine Captains (and crews) all said that One Destroyer Escort was Very Bad, but TWO DESTROYER ESCORTS ARE DEADLY.
OUR FIRST CONFIRMED U-BOAT KILL
The first time that we used this new technique was on the U518 a type IX C German Submarine. With our Destroyer and another Destroyer Escort from our KILLER GROUP we applied the technique described in the previous paragraph successfully. With our combined efforts, we sank that Submarine just a few weeks before Germany Surrendered. Many years later when I was invited to attend a reunion of the crew of the U1228 in Germany we visited the German Submarine Memorial in which all of the German Submarines that were sunk during WWII have a cast bronze plaque to memorialize their sinking. Ever man’s name is cast into the memorial for that particular Submarine. I located the plaque for U518, so I could place my hands over the memorial for U518. I felt much better after that. Previously, they were just so many enemy killed, now they were real people.
Prior to being sunk by the USS NEAL A. SCOTT, DE769 and the USS CARTER DE112 using the technique described in the next paragraph, the U518 had previously delivered a German Agent to spy on the New Brunswick Coast of Canada. The German Spy went ashore off the U518 and buried his radio and other equipment on the beach where he went ashore in the Gulf of St Lawrence then located the nearest Bar. He never did any spying, he just became the town drunk. After he ran out of money, he tried to give himself up as a spy, but the Canadians would not believe him, until he showed the police where he had buried the spying equipment. Then the Canadian Police did arrest him and put him in jail to eat and sleep on government money. Because he never did any actual spying, the Canadian Government released him shortly after WWII was over. He turned out to be a really smart, drunken Spy according to the U-Boat History of Sharkhunters International.
WHAT THE GERMANS DID WITH THEIR “PILLENWEFFERS”
A great deal of imagination went into undersea warfare. The Pillenweffer was one on them. As the name implies it is a stationary device that the submarine can release that creates a huge mass of bubbles, and therefore causes an echo from these bubbles that may fool an American SONAR Operator into thinking he has spotted a Submarine, and possibly enable that Submarine to escape while the American ship depth charges the bubbles. That worked pretty well for a while until a sharp SONAR Operator noticed that certain “contacts” sounded different than others. The Pillenweffers had a sort of mushy sounding echo compared to a sharper echo from a real Submarine. After that, whenever we heard a mushy echo from our SONAR, instead of depth bombing it, we would go around the side of the echo and sometimes find the actual Submarine sneaking out of the other side and then proceed to depth charge the real Submarine. Even later, when the German Submarine Captains discovered that we were no longer fooled by the bubbles, and the Americans would run to the opposite side, then the German Captains would shoot off a Pillenweffer, and then back up into the bubbles to hide from the American Destroyer Escort in the middle of the bubbles they just created. Of course, that only worked until the bubbles dissipated! So many different ways this device was used by the German U-Boat Captains.
The Pillenweffer was only one of the many tricks that were used by the German Submarine Captains to avoid being killed. All of them were required for a German Submarine Officer to stay alive during WWII. Toward the later portion of the war very few Submarines returned from their first War Patrol, sometimes 9 out of 10 submarines did not return from their first war patrol. Fatality rates of 90 % became “standard” toward the end of the war.
THE DEDICATION OF GERMAN CAPTAINS AND CREWMEN
It takes a tremendous dedication to go out on a German Submarine War Patrol, when you know only one out of ten prior Submarines have returned. Of course, the German Navy tried to keep the number of submarine that did not return as quiet as possible, but the crewmen had to know that their buddies did not return when expected from a war patrol.
OUR DESTROYER ESCORT RADAR FAILS!
Our KILLER GROUP, the DE769, DE770, and DE771 were out hunting down German Submarines when the RADAR on my Destroyer Escort, the USS Neal A. Scott DE769 suddenly stopped functioning. This was a major disaster, because we were now like a “Blind Man in a Bar Room Fight”. We simply did not belong there. In fact, the rest of the KILLER GROUP required that we get a long way away from the rest of our ships in the KILLER GROUP to prevent accidentally colliding with the other ships, especially at night, when, of course our ships were running blacked out, with no lights showing. That of course also meant that we would no longer be in the protection of the other ships in the KILLER GROUP, and be essentially a STRAGGLER, just what a German Submarine was looking for to sink! We were like a skunk at a party, not welcome unless we could fix our RADAR.
The Captain of my ship asked me whether I could fix the RADAR, or not, because otherwise he would have to return all the way back to the United States to repair the RADAR. I told him that I knew exactly what was wrong with the RADAR and had the spare parts to fix it with, so he agreed to let me fix it at sea rather than return all the way back to the United States for the repair.
REPAIRING THE RADAR WHILE TIED TO THE MAST
Of course, the part that required replacing was the Magnetron, which was located inside of a metal box the size of a suit case about half way up the 97 foot Mast. That meant climbing the mast in mid winter weather conditions, dismantling the container that the Magnetron was inside of, tying the lid of the container to the mast, keeping all of the nuts and bolts in various pockets, then reassembling the entire thing while hanging on to the mast, and last but most important tying myself securely onto the mast. There was no platform of any kind to stand on other than the steps of the mast at that location. All of this took place on a 97 foot mast that was swaying back and forth about 45 degrees, so that any time I looked straight down, all I could see was open ocean, my ship was way over to one side or the other at any given time. Even after I got the Equipment Cover tied to the mast, trying to remove the old Magnetron and install the new Magnetron involved a major juggling act because a very heavy and very powerful magnet was attached to the Magnetron, as was also a heavy iron pulse transformer. All three had to be unbolted at the same time in order to remove the Magnetron from the midst of this equipment. That turned out to be a major problem with the loose, very “sticky” magnet, sticking to every iron part in the RADAR container. I finally attached the new Magnetron and re-attached all of the loose parts, and assembled the lid of the RADAR container. All of this was done while I was wearing three pairs of pants, two foul weather jackets two heavy sweaters and a North Atlantic Face Mask, which covers the entire face with a wolverine leather mask so that no part of the face can be seen and there are slots for the eyes, nose, and mouth, to keep the face from freezing solid. This does not even count the heavy gloves that I had to wear while all this is going on. Many times, I had to hold small parts in my mouth until I could find a better place to put them. There is only a place for one person at that location up the mast, with no one else that could possibly help. Also, there was no communication with anyone else in the crew, so you had to have everything that you needed for the job with you. There was no way to call for help, not with the screaming wind blocking out all verbal communications. It really is very hard to work fast under these conditions, no matter how fast you want to get back down the mast to where it is warm.
As soon as I completed the repair, I came back down to get warm again. While I was getting warm, I went through a special warm-up procedure for the RADAR which the manufacturer recommended before applying the high power transmitting pulse to the Magnetron.
THE FIRST NEW MAGNETRON FAILS TO WORK
After applying this warm-up procedure carefully, I started to turn up the pourer slowly on the Magnetron, with great anticipation. Zero, no RF power output was forthcoming. What a disappointment! There was nothing to do but install another new magnetron! The Magnetrons were TOP SECRET at that time, so they were kept in a special safe for them. After retrieving, another new Magnetron from the safe and putting on all my Foul Weather Equipment all over again, I climbed up the mast a second time that day to replace the RADAR with a second Magnetron. I was absolutely certain that it was the Magnetron that was defective in spite of the fact that I had already replaced it with a new unit.
The weather was not a bit better, but at least the paint had been scraped off of the nuts and bolts that made it a little easier to remove them than the first time around. The problem with the paint was that it is standard Navy practice to paint everything in sight if they put a paint brush in your hand, thus making it difficult for the man trying to remove a component later. I even had problems with paint covering high voltage RF insulators that degrade the function of those insulators badly when painted. It was getting late in the day, so I really had to hurry to complete the second replacement before it got too dark. I obviously could not use a flashlight on the mast, what with the ship being blacked out all night. I did complete the second replacement before dark. To shorten up this story, I will not repeat the previous discussion, but all of the same processes were repeated the second time around.
THE SECOND NEW MAGNETRON FAILS TO WORK
When I came down off of the mast this second time, the result was exactly the same as before, no RF Power output. By this time it was dark so the only thing that I could do is go over the part of the RADAR that was inside of the ship, where I could apply a light. I worked on everything I could think of all night long. By morning I was absolutely certain that the original Magnetron had failed due to intrusion of air into the internal vacuum, and so had the first replacement and so had the second replacement. I was even starting to think about the possibility of sabotage!
By the next morning I was beginning to eye the complete RADAR transmitter / receiver unit replacement that was located on the mast. Getting it out of the storage box it was shipped in and up onto the Boat Deck was a considerable problem, but I had lots of help with that. The next step was to lower the entire RADAR transmitter / receiver case from the mast to the Boat Deck, disconnecting the wave guide and all the power wiring and rigging lines to blocks higher up on the mast so that blocks could be attached to lower the RADAR transmitter / receiver case to the Boat Deck level. It required about the whole Deck Crew to keep the suite-case sized box from smashing into something on the way down. Of course, the same process was repeated when the new RADAR was hoisted back into place and I had to reconnect all of the power and wave guides all over again. At least this time I did not have to dig into internal workings of the RADAR.
THE THIRD NEW MAGNETRON FAILS TO WORK
This was now the third attempt to get the RADAR working, this time requiring almost the entire Deck Crew to manhandle the RADAR unit. I went through the warm up procedure again and cranked the power of the RADAR transmitter up slowly and again, no power output. Belief in me was being sorely tested. Three failures in a row of new magnetrons seemed extremely unlikely, but obviously did happen in extremely critical circumstances.
THE FOURTH NEW MAGNETRON FINALLY WORKS
The last time we were in port, I had “horse traded” a special TBS Filter that I had acquired from the Naval Research Laboratory for an extra Magnetron that the other ship had on hand. This was the last Magnetron on my ship, so I decided .to try out this Magnetron. Of course, all of the prior conditions were repeated (except for the participation of the Deck Crew) and this time the RADAR worked just fine after the repair and continued to operate perfectly for the entire tine I spent on the ship. For some time, I did consider that I might have been sabotaged, but since then I have decided that the problem was with the Copper Welding that was necessary to actually build a Magnetron. I have decided that the state-of-the-art in welding copper actually allowed extremely slow leakage to take place, so all of the magnetrons built in that particular assembly process had basically the same life span, so they all failed about the same time, but the Magnetron that came from another Production Lot worked because it did not leak.
When I am working on something that someone else has said that some part cannot be the defective part because they have already replaced it, my response is what makes you think the new part is any good? Most technicians will not believe that the brand new part could be defective, but my very hard experience with the magnetrons in life threatening conditions has shown me that it certainly can be. Just in case you are putting together a spare parts kit for a trip to a far away place where it is imperative that everything function on demand. Be sure to purchase your spare parts from more than one location. It may insure success of your project or even your life.
THE USS NEAL A. SCOTT, DE769, AND USS SUTTON, DE771 GO TO NEW YORK TOGETHER
After delivering the U1228 and U234 to Portsmouth, the USS Neal A. Scott and USS Sutton traveled down to New York, and since I had liberty the day we arrived, I went to the Sutton that was docked nearby to talk to the Prize Crew members that were not on Liberty but had been on board the U234 to compare notes about our adventures on the German Submarines. They had a very interesting story to tell me about the two Japanese that were aboard that Submarine. First of all, their story was wildly different than the story the Navy, later on, was proposing. As you know, the Navy version of that story tells us that these Samurai’s actually supposedly committed suicide (a complete Samurai no-no when engaging an enemy), and were buried at Sea by the Germans, according to what I was told in New York by the Sutton crew, when the Sutton Prize Crew members were descending the Deck Hatch ladder from the Conning Tower they were speaking in English, when several shots rang out from inside of the Submarine. When the Sutton Men got to the main cabin, all the German Officers were standing at Ridged Attention around the two Japanese corpses on the deck, and all of the pistols on the submarine were on top of the Japanese Officers It was an Execution by the German Officers, because when the American voices were heard in the cabin, the Japanese Samurai prepared to attack the Americans, but the German Officers did not want to get caught in a Fire-fight with the Americans and possibly get killed, so they killed the Japanese before the bullets started to fly. Anyway, that is the story I got from the Sutton crew that was aboard the U234 before the official Navy story was told.
THE WAR IN THE ATLANTIC WAS OVER, BUT THE PACIFIC WAR WAS STILL ON!
The War with Germany was ended, so the KILLER GROUP in the Atlantic was disbanded, but of course the War in the Pacific with Japan continued, so the next activity for the USS Neal A. Scott was work with an Aircraft Carrier group out of Jacksonville Florida to train pilots to land their aircraft successfully on an Aircraft Carrier. This is no easy task for the pilot. What we did was to follow closely behind an Aircraft Carrier, and have a Rescue Swimmer on deck while the Carrier was practicing take-offs and landings. If an airplane failed a landing or take-off and his airplane went overboard, it was our job to try to rescue the pilot if he could get out of the aircraft before it sank out of sight. Three times an aircraft missed a landing and went overboard, and two times we succeeded in rescuing the pilot, but unfortunately one time the aircraft sank out of sight before the pilot could get out of the airplane.
RESCUING PILOTS THAT FALL INTO THE OCEAN
When a pilot needed rescuing, the process was that our ship would get as close to the pilot as we dared, and the rescue swimmer would dive overboard into the ocean and try to get the pilot out of the airplane before it sank out of sight. Of course, the rescue swimmer had a line tied to him so that we could also retrieve him if necessary. A crash landing on the deck of an Aircraft Carrier, and the further fall to the ocean surface can be devastating to the pilot, so that it is possible that the pilot may not be conscious when he lands in the water, so the rescue diver may have to get an unconscious body out of the aircraft. The pilot is also packed into the cockpit rather tightly as well and that makes the rescue that much more difficult. At least our rescue divers did save two pilots lives. The weather was a whole lot nicer than in the Far North Atlantic that we had been operating in for so long.
WHEN THE ATOM BOMB EXPLODED IN JAPAN
While I was still in High School (in 1941 before I Joined the Navy), I became interested in what I called Sub-Atomic Physics, so I went to the various libraries, including UCLA to read all the books that were then published on that subject at the time, and found the most current books on that subject in the Beverly Hills Public Library. If fact, one of the books actually discussed the Gaseous Diffusion process that is still being used today in the Middle East to start up an Atomic Pile in order to build an Atomic Bomb. The fine details of atomic fission and fusion have expanded greatly, but the basic concepts have remained the same as they were when I first started studying the subject.
When the Atomic Bomb was dropped in Japan, I was the only man aboard my ship, or any other ship in the Navy, for that matter, that had any idea what an Atomic Bomb actually was. Because I had studied the subject before I even went into the Navy. I knew all about the essentials of Atomic Bomb Making as the bomb was being dropped. As a matter of fact, when I heard the news of the Bomb being dropped, my reaction was “it sure took a long time to build the bomb”. I knew it would be built, and I knew exactly HOW it would be built, I just did not know WHEN it would be built. The particular book that “had it right” about how to build an Atomic Bomb was actually in the Beverly Hills Library! I found out many years later that the FBI had posted an alert with all the libraries in the United States to notify the FBI if anyone ever took out that particular book, so that they could investigate them. The reason the FBI never investigated me in regard to Atomic Secrets is that I never took the book out of the Library, I simply sat in the Library and read it there, so I did not trigger the FBI entrapment process! If I had actually taken the book out of the Library, I have no idea what the FBI would have done about it, but I am sure they would have put a “tail” on me, and I probably would never have gotten into the Navy or had any of the adventures that I had in my Navy career.
One of the things that I did after the Atomic Bomb was dropped was to hold seminars for the Officers of my ship about how the Atomic Bomb that ended WWII was constructed. That particular book in the Beverly Hills Library had the entire process essentially down cold. Actually, the process for building the Atomic Bomb had been known for a very long time. It is just that in the beginning it is an atom by atom process and is therefore extremely slow, until you get enough for the first Atomic Pile. Once you get a pile operating, you only have to keep it from blowing up while it produces enough fissionable material to construct an actual Atomic Bomb. This is why it is extremely difficult to build the first Atomic Bomb, but very easy to construct any number thereafter, assuming that you have plenty of raw Uranium to process.
USS NEAL A. SCOTT, DE769 WITH BOW 12 FEET OUT OF THE WATER DURING A STORM
IN THE ATLANTIC DURING THE TIME OF SURRENDER OF GERMANY
NOTE THAT THE SOUND GEAR, NORMALLY 12 FEET UNDERWATER
IS NOW 12 FEET IN THE AIR ABOVE THE WATER
These pictures show the USS Neal A. Scott, DE769 just two days before the day that Germany Surrendered to the Allies in the Second World War, clearly showing the weather conditions at that time in the Northern Reaches of the North Atlantic. See the underwater sound gear that is normally more than 12 feet underwater, but is now completely out of the water by at least 12 feet.
HERE THE STERN OF THE DESTROYER ESCORT IS AT THE BOTTOM OF A SWELL
USS NEAL A; SCOTT, DE 769, PLOWING INTO A WAVE WITH THE STERN COMPLETELY OUT OF THE WATER
USS NEAL A. SCOTT, DE769 CRESTING A WAVE, SHOWING THE AMPLITUDE OF THE SWELLS IN THE OCEAN AT THE TIME OF SURRENDER OF GERMANY.
USS NEAL A. SCOTT, DE769, WITH A WAVE EXPLODING TO FUNNEL HEIGHT, AND STERN DEEP IN THE TROUGH OF THE PREVIOUS WAVE
THE GERMAN CAPTAIN ON THE RIGHT, Ob. Lt. FREDERIK WILHELM MARIENFELD AND THE
ASSISTANT ENGINEERING OFFICER ON THE STERN OF USS NEAL A. SCOTT, DE769 WITH OUR
DEPTH CHARGES IN THE BACKGROUND
The Captain of the German Submarine U1228, Ob. Lt. Frederik Wilhelm Marienfeld choose to surrender his Submarine to the Americans, rather than to the Canadians, because of the close ties that Canada had with the people of England and the saturation bombing that England suffered under Hitler. The picture above shows the Captain in the white cap and the Engineering Offices in the black cap. Not all German Submarine Captains surrendered to the Allies, some went to South American Ports, or elsewhere, and some did not surrender for many months or even years. See publications such as Sharkhunters International for a complete list of German Submarines that did not surrender at the end of WWII.
This Captain of the U1228, that surrendered to me on the Conning Tower of his Submarine is also the same man that launched two torpedoes at the USS NEAL A. SCOTT, DE769 (and thus at me) and the Aircraft Carrier CVE USS CROATION when we were attempting to re-fuel from the CVE.
What a fantastic coincident that the German Submarine, U1228, that earlier attempted to torpedo my ship (and the Aircraft Carrier) should surrender to my ship at the end of the war! Both torpedoes missed their targets because the Submarine was forced to Crash Dive just as the torpedoes were being released from the submarine, and therefore took erratic courses and missed both the CVE USS CROATION, the Aircraft Carrier and the Destroyer Escort, DE769.
A short time after the torpedo attack that failed, when the USS NEAL A. SCOTT detected a RADAR target half way between our ship and another Destroyer Escort that SONAR did not corroborate and could not be seen visually from the Bridge, and thus was not attacked, turned out to be the U1228. This was not discovered until after the Surrender and was conclusively determined when I compared dates with the crew of the U1228. They were proud that they had been able to breech our barrier Patrol by running a “Snorkel” depth just half way between our ships in the reverse direction. Just what we discovered in the RADAR Plot Plan we made at the time we first spotted the target. This target was reported to the Bridge, but no attack was ordered.
The U1228 shot torpedoes at the DE769, and later the DE769 missed an opportunity to sink the U1228 by simply ramming it with a quick turn to Port!
PICTURE OF THE SURRENDERED U1228 SUBMARINE ON THE FIRST FULL DAY
WHILE THE COFFE IS BEING TRANSFERRED TO THE SUBMARINE
NOTE THE AMERICAN FLAG FLYING TO GUARD AGAINST THE POSSIBILITY OF BEING FIRED UPON BY ANY ALLIED SHIP THAT CROSSED OUR PATH ON OUR WAY BACK TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
This picture is of the U1228 the day after the Submarine Surrendered. This is only the second time in history that a German Submarine has travelled under an American Flag. The picture was taken during a “HighLine” transfer of a five pound can of Ground Navy Coffee so that the Prize Crew would not have to drink the “ersatz” German coffee during the six day trip from Mid Atlantic to Portsmouth. Frank McClatchie can be seen at the foremost location on the Conning Tower in this picture. The first time a German Submarine traveled under an American Flag was when the U505 was captured and brought to the United States. The U505 is now on display at the Chicago Museum.
The fate of the U1228 was to become a target for an American Torpedo long after the war was over,
The fate of Destroyer Escort USS Neal A. Scott, DE769 was to be dismantled and sold for scrap many years after the end of WWII
Frank McClatchie continued his 26 year Telephone career after WWII, later becoming the Vice President of Electronics Development Corporation, then Manufacturing Sail Boats in Newport Beach, California and Masan, Korea, after that forming F M Systems, an Electronics manufacturing corporation in California.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
During World War Two, Frank McClatchie enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a Radio Technician Second Class (not a Radio-man) and was later promoted to First Class, receiving further training in all aspects of RADAR, SONAR, I.F.F. and other subjects now called Electronics, but was then referred to as Radio. After graduating from the Navy Radio Material School in Washington D.C., Frank joined the Naval Research Laboratories as part of the Combined Research Group to help develop Countermeasures to intercept Hitler’s newest Super Weapon, the Glider Bomb, and later located and recovered research torpedoes and mines for the Naval Research Laboratories.
Seeking Sea Duty, Frank volunteered to serve on the USS Neal A. Scott, DE769 when that Destroyer Escort came to participate as a target in the field testing of a captured German Acoustic torpedo. Frank’s ship participated in one round trip Convoy from the USA to the Mediterranean and then, upon return to America, the ship joined a KILLER GROUP of ships to form the TEAR DROP barrier line in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean to intercept German Submarines before they could get to the continental United States Waters.
This book was written to describe the activities that took place during the six day voyage between the Surrender of the German U-Boat, U1228 and the internment of the Submarine and Crew at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Copies of this book may be obtained from the author by writing to: 3877 South Main Street, Santa Ana. CA. 92707 or call 714-979-3355.