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   Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume Two, Chapter XIV
                                                  [Page 820]


The course of the war waged against neutral and allied
merchant shipping by German U-boats followed, under
Doenitz's direction, a course of consistently increasing

(1) Attacks on Merchant Shipping. Doenitz displayed "his
masterly understanding in adjusting himself to the changing
fortunes of war" (1463-PS). From the very early days,
merchant ships, both allied and neutral, were sunk without
warning, and when operational danger zones had been
announced by the German Admiralty, these sinkings continued
to take place both within and without those zones. With some
exceptions in the early days of the war, no regard was taken
for the safety of the crews or passengers of sunken merchant
ships, and the announcement claiming a total blockade of the
British Isles merely served to confirm the established
situation under which U-boat warfare was being conducted
without regard to the established rules of international
warfare or the requirements of humanity.

The course of the war at sea during the first eighteen
months is summarized by two official British reports made at
a time when those who compiled them were ignorant of some of

                                                  [Page 821]
actual orders issued which have since come to hand. An
official report of the British Foreign Office summarizes
German attacks on merchant shipping during the period 3
September 1939 to September 1940, that is to say, the first
year of the war (D-641-A). is report, made shortly after
September 1940, states in part follows:

     "*** During the first twelve months of the war,
     2,081,062 tons of Allied shipping, comprising 508
     ships, have been lost by enemy action. In addition,
     769,213 tons of neutral shipping comprising 253 ships,
     have also been lost. Nearly all these merchant ships
     have been sunk by submarine, mine, aircraft or surface
     craft, and the great majority of them sunk while
     engaged on their lawful trading occasions. 2,836 Allied
     merchant seamen have lost their lives in these ships.
     "In the last war the practice of the Central Powers was
     so remote from the recognized procedure that it was
     thought necessary to set forth once again the rules of
     warfare in particular as applied to submarines. This
     was done in the Treaty of London 1930, and in 1936
     Germany acceded to these rules. The rules laid down:
     "(1) In action with regard to merchant ships,
     submarines must conform to the rules of International
     Law to which surface vessels are subjected.

     "(2) In particular, except in the case of persistent
     refusal to stop on being summoned, or of active
     resistance to visit and search, a warship, whether
     surface vessel or submarine, may not sink or render
     incapable of navigation a merchant vessel without
     having first placed passengers, crew, and ship's papers
     in a place of safety. For this purpose, the ship's
     boats are not regarded as a place of safety unless the
     safety of the passengers and crew is assured in the
     existing sea and weather conditions, by the proximity
     of land, or the presence of another vessel which is in
     a position to take them on board. "At the beginning of
     the present war, Germany issued a Prize Ordinance for
     the regulation of sea warfare and the guidance of her
     naval officers. Article 74 of this ordinance embodies
     the submarine rules of the London Treaty. Article 72,
     however, provides that captured enemy vessels may be
     destroyed if it seems inexpedient or unsafe to bring
     them into port, and Article 73 (i) (ii) makes the same
     provision with regard to neutral vessels which are
     captured for sailing under enemy convoy, for forcible
     resistance, or for giving assistance to the enemy.
     These provisions are certainly not
                                                  [Page 822]
     in accordance with the traditional British view but the
     important point is that, even in these cases, the Prize
     Ordinance envisages the capture of the merchantman
     before its destruction. In other words, if the Germans
     adhered to the rules set out in their own Prize
     Ordinance, we might have argued the rather fine legal
     point with them, but we should have no quarrel with
     them, either on the broader legal issue or on the
     humanitarian one. In the event, however, it is only too
     clear that almost from the beginning of the war the
     Germans abandoned their own principles and waged war
     with steadily increasing disregard for International
     Law, and for what is, after all, the ultimate sanction
     of all law, the protection of human life and property
     from arbitrary and ruthless attacks." (D-641-A)

Two instances are then set out:

     "On 30 September 1939, came the first sinking of a
     neutral ship by a submarine without warning and with
     loss of life. This was the Danish ship 'Vendia' bound
     for the Clyde in ballast. The submarine fired two shots
     and shortly after torpedoed the ship. The torpedo was
     fired when the master had already signalled that he
     would submit to the submarine's orders and before there
     had been an opportunity to abandon ship. By November
     submarines were beginning to sink neutral vessels
     without warning as a regular thing. On the 12th
     November the Norwegian 'Arne Kjode' was torpedoed in
     the North Sea without any warning at all. This was a
     tanker bound from one neutral port to another. The
     master and four of the crew lost their lives and the
     remainder were picked up after many hours in open
     boats. Henceforward, in addition to the failure to
     establish the nature of the cargo, another element is
     noticeable, namely an increasing recklessness as to the
     fate of the crew." (D-641-A)

And then, dealing with attacks on allied merchant vessels,
certain figures are given:

"Ships sunk - 241

     "Recorded attacks                      221
     "Illegal attacks                          112
     "At least 79 of these 112 ships were torpedoed without
     warning." (D-641-A)

The report continues:

     "By the middle of October submarines were sinking
     merchant vessels without any regard to the safety of
     the crews. Yet four months later the Germans were still
     officially claim-
                                                  [Page 823]
     ing that they were acting in accordance with the Prize
     Ordinance. Their own semi-official commentators
     however, had made the position clearer. As regards
     neutrals, Berlin officials had early in February stated
     that any neutral ship that is either voluntarily or
     under compulsion bound for an enemy port -- including
     contraband control harbors -- thereby loses its
     neutrality and must be considered hostile. At the end
     of February the cat was let out of the bag by a
     statement that a neutral ship which obtained a navicert
     from a British Consul in order to avoid putting into a
     British contraband control base was liable to be sunk
     by German submarines, even if it was bound from one
     neutral port to another. As regards Allied ships, in
     the middle of November 1939 a Berlin warning was issued
     against the arming of British vessels. By that date a
     score of British merchantmen had been illegally
     attacked by gunfire or torpedo from submarines, and
     after that date some fifteen more unarmed Allied
     vessels were torpedoed without warning. It is clear,
     therefore, that not only was the arming fully justified
     as a defensive measure, but also that neither before
     nor after this German threat did the German submarines
     discriminate between armed and unarmed vessels." (D-641-

A similar report covering the next six months (D-641-B)
makes these statements:

     "On 30 January 1941, Hitler proclaimed that 'every
     ship, with or without convoy, which appears before our
     torpedo tubes is going to be torpedoed.' On the face of
     it, this announcement appears to be uncompromising; and
     the only qualification provided by the context is that
     the threats immediately preceding it are specifically
     addressed to the-peoples of the American Continent.
     German commentators, however, subsequently tried to
     water it down by contending that Hitler was referring
     only to ships which attempted to enter the area within
     which the German 'total blockade' is alleged to be in
     "From one point of view it probably matters little what
     exactly was Hitler's meaning, since the only conclusion
     that can be reached after a study of the facts of enemy
     warfare on merchant shipping is that enemy action in
     this field is never limited by the principles which are
     proclaimed by enemy spokesmen, but solely by the
     opportunities or lack of them which exist at any given
     "The effect of the German total blockade is to prohibit
                                                  [Page 824]
     ships from entering an enormous stretch of sea round
     Britain (the area extends to about 500 miles west of
     Ireland, and from the latitude of Bordeaux to that of
     the Faroe Islands), upon pain of having their ships
     sunk without warning and their crews killed. As a
     matter of fact, at least thirty-two neutral ships,
     exclusive of those sailing in British convoys, have
     been sunk by enemy action since the declaration of the
     'total blockade'."
     "Yet, though information is lacking in very many cases,
     details are available to prove that, during the period
     under review, at least thirty-eight Allied merchant
     ships, exclusive of those in convoys, have been
     torpedoed without warning in or near the 'total
     blockade' area.
     "That the Germans themselves have no exaggerated regard
     for the area is proved by the fact that of the thirty-
     eight ships referred to at least sixteen were torpedoed
     outside the limits of the war-zone."

     "The sinking of the 'City of Benares' on 17 September
     1940 is a good example of this. The 'City of Benares
     was an 11,000-ton liner with 191 passengers on board,
     including nearly 100 children. She was torpedoed
     without warning just outside the 'war zone,' with the
     loss of 258 lives, including 77 children. It was
     blowing a gale, with hail and rain squalls and a very
     rough sea when the torpedo struck her at about 10 p.m.
     In the darkness and owing to the prevailing weather
     conditions, at least four of the twelve boats lowered
     were capsized. Others were swamped and many people were
     washed right out of them. In one boat alone sixteen
     people, including 11 children, died from exposure; in
     another 22 died, including 15 children; in a third 21
     died. The point to be emphasized is not the unusual
     brutality of this attack but rather that such results
     are inevitable when a belligerent disregards the rules
     of sea warfare as the Germans have done and are doing."

     "There are hundreds of similar stories, stories of
     voyages for days in open boats in Atlantic gales, of
     men in the water clinging for hours to a raft and
     gradually dropping off one by one, of crews being
     machine-gunned as they tried to lower their boats or as
     they drifted away in them, of seamen being blown to
     pieces by shells and torpedoes and bombs. The enemy
     must know that such things are the inevitable result of
     the type of warfare he has chosen to employ." (D-641-B)

                                                  [Page 825]
The total sinkings by U-boats during the war (1939 to 1945)
Amounted to 2775 British, Allied, and Neutral ships
totalling 14,572,435 gross tons (D-641-C).

Another example of the ruthless nature of the actions
conducted by Doenitz's U-boat commanders, particularly as
both British and German versions of the sinking are
available, is the sinking of "S.S. Sheaf Mead." The British
report, which includes the German account in the shape of a
complete extract from the U-boat's log, states:

     "The British 'S.S. Sheaf Mead' was torpedoed without
     warning on 27 May 1940 with the loss of 31 of the crew.
     The commander of the U-boat responsible is reported to
     have behaved in an exceptionally callous manner towards
     the men clinging to upturned boats and pieces of wood.
     It was thought that this man was Kapitaenleutnant Oehrn
     of U-37. The following extract from his diary for 27
     May 1940 leaves no doubt on the matter and speaks for
     itself as to his behaviour." (D-644)

The relevant extract from the log, at 1554 hours, reads:

     "Surface. Stern [referring to the ship which has been
     torpedoed] is underwater. Bows rise higher. The boats
     are now on the water. Lucky for them. A picture of
     complete order. They lie at some distance. The bows
     rear up quite high. Two men appear from somewhere in
     the forward part of the ship. They leap and rush with
     great bounds along the deck down to the stern. The
     stern disappears. A boat capsizes. Then a boiler
     explosion. Two men fly through the air, limbs
     outstretched. Bursting and crashing. Then all is over.
     A large heap of wreckage floats up. We approach it to
     identify the name. The crew have saved themselves on
     wreckage. We fish out a buoy. No name on it. I ask a
     man on the raft. He says, hardly turning his head --
     'Nix Name.' A young boy in the water calls 'Help, help,
     please.' The others are very composed. They look damp
     and somewhat tired. An expression of cold hatred is on
     their faces. On to the old course. After washing the
     paint off the buoy, the name comes to light:
     Greatafield, Glasgow. 5006 gross registered tons." (D-

"On to the old course" means merely that the U-boat makes

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