Chapter XIII
Surface Blockade Runners
Winter 1942-43 and 1943-44

  1. Organization
    1. Primary objectives in establishing.
    2. Information on blockade runner program revealed by Allied radio intelligence sources.
    3. Development of blockade runner program.

  2. Failure of surface blockade runner program.
    1. Number of trips.
    2. Role of Allied radio intelligence.

  3. Blockade runners, Winter 1942-1943: Europe to Japan.
    1. Ships available.
    2. Karin and Anneliese Essberger. (One Sunk)
    3. Cortellazzo and Germania. (Both sunk)
    4. Temporary cessation of sailings.
    5. Resumption of blockade runner schedule.
    6. Portland, Osomo, Alsterufer, and Himalaya. (One sunk and one put back)

  4. Blockade runners, Winter 1942-1943: Japan to Europe.
    1. The Rhakotis.
    2. U-boat traffic and "Lane A."
    3. Hohenfriedburg. (Sunk)
    4. Four blockade runners sunk in less than two months. (Doggerbank, Karin, Regensburg, and Irene)
    5. The last blockade runner of the season: Pietro Orseolo.
    6. The change to submarine transport proposed.

  5. The final phase, Winter 1943-1944: Japan to Europe.
    1. Preparations in the Far East and speculations in the radio intelligence units.
    2. Information from U-boat traffic.
    3. The Osorno sneaks home.
    4. The Alsterufer. (Sunk)
    5. Weserland and Burgenland (both sunk) - PPP signals.
    6. The last blockade runner: Rio Grande. (Sunk)


  1. Eastbound blockade runners, Winter 1943-1944.
    1. German intentions.
    2. Difficulties and Ambassador Oshima's pessimism.
    3. Final preparations for sailing.
    4. All sailings canceled.


  1. Organization

    1. Primary objectives in establishing.

      The exclusion of the Axis powers from the various sources of supply formerly available to them, after the entry of the U.S. into the global conflict, emphasized the necessity for more complete collaboration between eastern and western members of the alliance in all phases of the war effort. The combining of all resources and the exchange of vital materials become an essential factor in waging the war against the Allies, a factor which Germany, in particular, was quick to appreciate and which Japan, as the struggle developed, advocated unceasingly.

      1. Requirements of Axis nations.

        Germany's principle deficiencies consisted mainly in raw materials. Rubber, tin, tungsten (wolfram), molybdenum, hemp, hides and vegetable oils were all possessed in abundance by Japan and her newly conquered territories. By contrast, Japan was poor in certain essential metals, manufactured articles and technical processes, which Germany and, to a lesser degree, Italy possessed.

    2. Information on blockade runner program revealed by Allied radio intelligence sources.

      The accomplishment of this exchange program was dependent upon a sizable fleet or merchant ships which only Germany was in any position to provide. At the outbreak of hostilities and over the ensuing period of months there was little information available to U.S. naval authorities on the location and movement of ships engaged in blockade running. From aerial photographic reconnaissance had come useful reports and this source provided a particularly effective means during the fall of 1942 for obtaining an inventory of the ships and their movements along the west coast of France and in the Bay of Biscay.


      The first radio intelligence on blockade runners became available about the middle of 1942. Although the sources were at first rather limited and the information was frequently not current, it contained valuable intelligence. Confined mainly to decrypted diplomatic and naval or naval attache messages it divulged names and movements of ships, cargoes loaded and forecasts of loading and sailing dates.

      With the decryption of the German naval ENIGMA cipher late in 1942, the most reliable and important source of information on blockade runners became available, and by the early part of 1943, when the cipher was read almost currently, decryption intelligence could contribute to the closing of the Atlantic to enemy blockade runners.

    1. Development of blockade runner program.

      1. German initiative.

        The initiative in developing a closer material collaboration by the Axis was assumed by Germany. The ships used as blockade runners were, with few exceptions, either of German registry or German prizes of war. The exception were a few Italian ships put into service, and these were under German control. Japan's limited amount of shipping prohibited the assignment of any of her merchantmen for running the blockade.

        Operation of blockade runners was the responsibility of German Naval High Command. The control of Sunda Strait by the Japanese shortened the length of cruises, enabling ships to make the trip via the Indian Ocean without intermediate refuelings, and opened the back-door to Japan's storehouse. Depending on lack of Allied intelligence of ship movements, and evasive routings and tactics to escape interception, the success of the plan seemed promising.

        German commercial representatives arrived in the Far East to arrange the purchase and shipment of materials from the ports of the new Japanese southern empire.

      2. Japanese reluctance.

        That Japan did not at first manifest complete cooperation with her occidental allies became apparent from radio intelligence sources. In September 1942 a Japanese diplomatic


        message stated that the German Commercial Attaché in Tokyo had broached certain complaints to the Japanese. (Japanese Diplomatic #6854) He pointed out that: (1) because Japan was slow in concluding a pact to supply Germany with rubber, loading of Yanagi (blockade runner) ships would probably be delayed; (2) Japan did not permit the presence of Germans at the loading of Yanagi ships at Singapore; (3) Japan's offer to supply fuel oil to the ships was not working out smoothly; and (4) Japan had proposed substitution of copra in place of coconut oil which was originally promised, and which German tankers had been expressly sent to load.

        In addition the Japanese exhibited a certain skepticism over the possibilities of successfully running the blockade. A Seahorse message of 21 August 1942, addressed to the German Naval Attaché in Japan, stated:

        "According to the interpretation of Admiral Nomura, the Japanese Navy considers that the naval blockade runner traffic is much too unfavorable. Clarification of this issue is to be effected. Excerpts from cruise reports of incoming ships can be given to the Japanese Navy as explanation of the slight traffic in the Oceans." (Diplogerma 0427/21 August 1942)

      1. Commercial and operational difficulties.

        While skeptical of the success of the operations and uncooperative in the negotiations concerning them, radio intelligence revealed further that the Japanese were at the same time making energetic efforts to secure for themselves as many benefits from the program as possible. They called upon the Germans in September 1942 to supply them with 1,000,000 tons of steel as well as an unspecified amount of aluminum. Also, an attempt was made to supplement the Japanese merchant marine by pressing the Germans for more ships.

        To these various demands the Germans made concessions, where possible, and tactfully negotiated with Japanese purchasing commissions in an effort to work out the agreements and operational difficulties as quickly and as satisfactorily as possible. To the million ton steel request the Germans replied that such it large order could not possibly be exported with available shipping facilities and that in the face


        of increased Allied air strength the necessary expansion of the German Luftwaffe precluded the shipment of any aluminum to Japan. As for the release of ships to Japan, it was stated that in order to maintain the expeditionary army in Africa, Germany had barely enough ships to meet her own needs. Further, that of twelve German ships in the Far East, four had been sold outright to Japan, seven others had been leased to her by charter, and that in spite of such a ship shortage all Yanagi transportation between Europe and the Orient was being carried on by means of German ships exclusively.

        In the meantime several ships were on actual cruises and by mid-summer of 1942 various reports indicated that at least nine ships had arrived in Axis-controlled European ports. Another blockade runner, the German Spreewald had been sunk off the Azores during January 1942 apparently by an Italian submarine.

  1. Failure of surface blockade runner program.

    1. Number of trips.

      1. Winter of 1942-1943.

        At the beginning of the winter of 1942-1943 there were known to be at least twenty-six ships distributed between Europe and the Far East which were serviceable as blockade runners. Beginning in November, and during the following weeks, fourteen of them set sail of which ten were sunk. The first four departures from western France were those of the Karin, Anneliese Essberger, Cortellazo and Germania. The Karin was the only one to elude interception. As a result of these losses, German Naval High Command abandoned plans to send out any more ships during the months of December and January.

        Although radio intelligence had given no assistance in forecasting the attempted break-through of any of the four ships mentioned, definite information concerning plans for resumption of sailings early in 1943 did become available. A new schedule called for the sailing of eight ships beginning about the middle of February. They were to transport 75,000 tons out of the large stocks accumulated by Japan in Europe.

        Meanwhile the Germans lost two more ships during January and February of those returning from the Orient.


        These losses caused further postponement in the shipping program. A Japanese Diplomatic message announced the new delay early in March, stating the number of ships to leave had been reduced to four and the tonnage to be carried had dropped from 75,000 to 20,000 tons. The four which formally sailed were the Portland, Osorno, Alsterufer and Himalaya. Of these the Portland was sunk and the Himalaya was forced to turn back. The other two made port in the Far East.

        Returning from Japan during this same season were seven blockade runners, as follows: Rhakotis, Hohenfriedburg, Doggerbank, Karin (sunk while attempting to complete a round trip during the winter season), Regensburg, Irene and Pietro Orseolo. Six of them were sunk, the Pietro Orseolo being the sole exception. Oddly enough, the Doggerbank was probably sunk by a German submarine.

      1. Winter of 1943-1944.

        After losses incurred in the Atlantic by the Germans during the previous winter, the blockade runner operations were considerably curtailed. A new plan called for the use of submarines to run the blockade and during the winter of 1943-1944 not one ship left Europe for the Far East.

        There were, however, five ships which attempted to reach Europe from Japan. The ships involved were the Alsterufer, Burgenland, Osorno, Rio Grande, and the Weserland. Four of them were sunk enroute. The fifth, Osorno, barely reached the haven of the Gironde estuary where she was beached as a result of severe bomb damages from attacking British aircraft.

        This season wrote the final chapter in the German Japanese attempts to use surface vessels for exchanging the vital commodities of war, a chapter which radio intelligence contributed materially to the complete breakdown of the surface blockade runner program.

    1. Role of Allied radio intelligence.

      The decryption of German U-boat traffic was a significant development contributing to the failure of the German operation of surface blockade runners. Prior to the winter of 1942-1943, the Germans had suffered few losses of surface


      ships between Europe and the Far East. Making capital of the lack of Allied intelligence of their ship movements, the plans for engaging as many ships in blockade runner traffic as could be made available appeared to be entirely plausible.

      With the reading of U-boat traffic came the explicit information to U-boats about the movements of German surface ships. As far as possible, Command gave estimated positions and cruising speeds of the ships in question; described various disguises and recognitions used by individual ships; blocked off prohibited areas in the Atlantic Ocean in which submarines were allowed to operate only with special permission; and, generally passed such information to U-boats in plenty of time to allow for the arrival of the blockade runner in question.

      The first blockade runner on which almost complete information was available currently from U-boat traffic was the Hohenfriedberg. Thereafter the information available to German Naval High Command which was passed on to U-boats became available through radio intelligence to the Allied naval commands.

  1. Blockade runners, Winter 1942-1943: Europe to Japan.

    1. Ships available.

      With the approach of the winter season of 1942-1943, an increased tempo of movements by blockade runners, both inbound and outbound, was anticipated. At least ten ships, which had been engaged in this traffic were known to be in western French ports during the summer of 1942: Anneliese Essberger, Cortellazzo, Elsa Essberger, Fusijama, Germania, Himilaya, Karin, Munsterland, Osorno and Portland. The arrival of the Dresden, Tannenfels and Kulmerland from Japan during November gave Germany a sizable fleet of cargo ships and tankers for shipments to the Orient.

      At this time radio intelligence was restricted to diplomatic traffic, which seldom contained current information, and to Japanese naval traffic, which was limited to movements in the Far East.


    1. Karin and Anneliese Essberger. (One Sunk)

      Aerial photographic reconnaissance was the most effective means during the early period of the 1942-1943 season for obtaining an inventory of the movements and locations of the various ships involved, and the first winter departures from Europe were located and reported by this means. When outward bound through the Bay of Biscay, the Karin (ex-Kota Nopan) and Anneliese Essberger, the first blockade runners of the season, were spotted by aircraft on 6 and 7 November 1942. This information led to the scuttling of the Anneliese Essberger on 21 November 1942, after interception by U.S. forces at 00°54'N - 22°34'W. The Karin escaped further compromising encounters with Allied forces and continued passage to the Far East.

    2. Cortellazzo and Germania. (Both sunk)

      The Cortellazzo sailed from Bordeaux on 29 November, and the Germania probably on 11 or 12 December 1942. Both ships met with the same fate as the Anneliese Essberger, the Cortellazzo being sunk by British convoy escorts on 1 December about 500 miles west of Finisterre; and the Germania scuttling when intercepted on 15 December by a British sloop at 45°05'N - 15°30'W.

    3. Temporary cessation of sailings.

      Although ignorant of the fate of the Anneliese Essberger, the German Naval High Command was well aware of the loss of the other two east bound runners. The sinkings of the Cortellazzo and Germania were announced in U-boat traffic with orders to search for survivors. The disastrous results of these attempts to break through the North Atlantic were followed by the decision to postpone further departures for Japan. A message to Tokyo from the Japanese Naval Attaché in Rome, dated 22 December, stated:

      "Certain things have arisen making it necessary to cut out the return Yanagi shipments for a while . . ." (Japanese Diplomatic #60230, 22 December 1942)


    1. Resumption of blockade runner schedule.

      During January 1943, there were no sailings from Europe. Resumption of activities was planned for the middle of February, however, and radio intelligence revealed plans to sail 8 ships carrying 75,000 tons of cargo to the Far East during February and March. All were scheduled to sail from Bordeaux where facilities provided for the loading of only two ships simultaneously. Eight blockade runners were known to be in French ports at this time; i.e. Portland, Alsterufer, Osorno, Himalaya, Fusijama, Dresden, Tannenfels and Kulmerland.

      By March, it had been decided to sail only 4 ships. The Japanese Naval Attaché in Berlin advised Tokyo on 8 March that these 4 ships (carrying 20,000 tons of cargo) would sail for Asian at the end of March, their protection to be increased by the use of both aircraft and submarines as escorts.

    2. Portland, Osorno, Alsterufer, and Himalaya. (One sunk and one put back)

      One of the four ships was the Portland, which sailed from Bordeaux in company with Osorno and a third ship (Alsterufer) escorted by three destroyers, seven torpedo boats and one submarine. The Portland succeeded in passing through the danger areas and, by 2 April, reached 43°33'N - 32°55'W, where she was encountered by the German U-174 (Grandefeld), who reported the meeting in a message on 7 April. Grandefeld had apparently mistaken the Portland for the inbound blockade runner, since he was impatiently waiting for Karin and Irene.

      After this report, no further radio intelligence was available until 22 May, when a message dated 14 May announced the course the Portland was to follow via Sunda Strait prior to her arrival in Batavia about 27 May. This information was superfluous, however, for Grandefeld's report of 7 April (read on that date) had made it possible to plot the Portland's course by dead reckoning, and on 13 April she was sunk by a Fighting French cruiser at 05°N - 22°W.

      The Osorno and the Alsterufer successfully completed the run to Asia. Beyond an Offizier message addressed to four U-boat commanders on 31 March, relating to the movements of a blockade runner, no accurate intelligence was available on either ship. This message, which became available on 7 April,


      told the U-boat commanders to count on meeting (U-901) at the northern edge of "Lane A." "U-90 1" was the cover name for either Portland, Aisterufer or Osorno. The information was passed to CINCLANT in 081221Z April 1943.

      The Himalaya was not so fortunate. In trying to leave the Bay of Biscay on 9 April 1943, on what proved to be the last attempt of the season, she was attacked by a British aircraft and apparently turned back to port. The HMS Adventure moved to intercept Himalaya and, although failing in this, did locate and sink an inbound ship, the Irene, on 10 April.

  1. Blockade runners, Winter 1942-1943: Japan to Europe.

    1. The Rhakotis.

      That the Japanese were making energetic efforts to increase Yanagi, or blockade runner transportation during the 1942-1943 season was revealed by radio intelligence available early in October 1942. They were pressing the Germans to charter or sell to them more ships to be engaged in the blockade running trade. In reply to these proposals the Germans stated that it would be impossible to furnish more ships; that the number of ships available was insufficient to meet Germany's own needs; and that four out of twelve German ships in the Far East had already been sold to the Japanese, while seven others have been chartered to them. In the latter part of September 1942, under protection of winter weather, the first of the Yanagis to sail for Europe began its return cruise from Yokohama. This was the Rhakotis, the information having been revealed in a Japanese message dated 19 November. She arrived Singapore on 15 October and took aboard a cargo of tin, rubber, zinc ore, lard, rice, tea, quinine bark, coconut oil and pearls valued at 50,000 yen. From Singapore she proceeded to Batavia and departed for Europe on 5 November.

      After sailing around the Cape of Good Hope into the Atlantic, she was approaching the end of her voyage when, on 1 January 1943, she was scuttled in position 45°N - 11°W, upon interception by the HMS Scylla.


Lane A as of 22 December 1943

    1. U-boat traffic and "Lane A."

      Through U-boat traffic radio intelligence afforded a somewhat cleared outline of the movements of the next series of blockade runners to leave Japan enroute Europe beginning with the Herborg, re-named Hohenfriedburg, which left Batavia in December 1942. The decryption of U-boat traffic assumed an additional importance. COMSUBs gave the Allies valuable information on blockade runner movements by defining for the U-boats the areas of the blockade runner lane, or "Lane A." "Lane A" was a 200 mile wide strip running from the coast of France west to approximately 30°W, thence south to about 05°S. It was sub-divided into four sectors, the closing of any one of which signified the immediate presence, or forecast the imminent arrival of a blockade runner within the area. Although intelligence from this source was not always current during this period, in those instances when it was, the information was used to good effect in tracking and, in several cases, contributed to the sinking of blockade running ships.


    1. Hohenfriedburg. (Sunk)

      This source divulged important information concerning the Hohenfriedburg's approach to Europe in the Atlantic. The first information definitely indicating a northbound runner was contained in a message to commanders of U-boats on 13 February 1943. It gave the order forbidding attacks on single ships within the sector of "Lane A" from 10°N to 35°N, up to and including 23 February. From 35°N to the north and east, no attacks were to be permitted after 19 February. Another message of earlier date, which became available on 17 February, made possible the positive identification of the approaching ship. (1246/3 February 1943) This message ordered the closing of the southern most sector of "Lane A," identified the ship expected as the "Hohenfriedburg, formerly Herborg, disguised as Herbrand, call sign LIYG, armament one 7.5 and four 2 cm guns, and four machine guns." All this information was passed to CINCLANT in 151555Z and 1816512 February 1943.

      That the German Naval High Command was adopting unusually strong protective measures to insure the Hohenfriedburg's safety became evident as the blockade runner approached the Bay of Biscay. On 20 February 4 U-boat commanders were ordered to head for area 42°N - 32°W to meet and escort an important blockade runner home. On the 22nd two further messages were sent to commanders in the area of the inbound ship, instructing them to approach and inform the vessel's captain of their escort assignment, to inquire the ship's speed, and when rendezvous had been accomplished to report. The first of these two messages had described identification markings of the blockade runner, i.e., "scaffolding around funnel," in addition to the customary recognition signals for cargo ships. (1023/20 February 1943) CINCLANT was informed of the intelligence contained in these two messages in 211552Z and 2312472 February 1943.

      In spite of the security measures and escorting forces, the Hohenfriedburg was not to escape. She was located and sunk by Allied forces, and COMSUBs was informed of the sinking in an Offizier message from U-264 (Looks) as follows: 1


      "Object-to-be-protected was sunk by heavy cruiser, LONDON class, at 1750A in 41°57'N 27°10'W. I have complete crew onboard. Am starting return." (2110/26 February 1943)

    1. Four blockade runners sunk in less than two months. (Doggerbank, Karin, Regensburg, and Irene)

      The third departure from the Far East was that of the ill fated Doggerbank (ex-Speybank) which left the Empire area about 20 December enroute to Saigon where she was scheduled to load 3,200 tons of rubber. The exact date of her sailing was unknown, and further information of her voyage was not available until a survivor was rescued on 29 March, at 16°N 51 °W. This man reported that the Doggerbank was sunk by an unidentified submarine on 3 March at approximately 31°N 37°W. The Doggerbank was probably sunk by a German submarine. The mistake was apparently due to the combined circumstances of self imposed radio silence for security and higher speed enroute than German naval authorities had anticipated. Following the Hohenfriedburg's passage through "Lane A," the ban on attacks on single ships north of 15°N had been lifted, an no further prohibitions against attacks in the Lane were ordered for U-boats until 1 March. On 1 March "Lane A" was closed from 05°S to 15°N, effective 1-20 March, and from 15°N to 30°N, effective 5 to 26 March.

      An Offizier message of 15 March made it clear that the Germans had no knowledge of the Doggerbank's sinking on 3 March. At that time submarines were advised that because of the approach of the "U-905," the sea area 100 miles north and south of a line extending from approximately 35°N - 30°W to 42°N - 10°W was closed to attack on independent ships. "U-905" was almost unquestionably the Doggerbank.

      Following close upon the sinking of the Doggerbank came that of the fourth inbound blockade runner, the Karin (ex-Kota Nopan), on 10 March 1943. The Karin was on the last leg of a round trip, having left Bordeaux outbound about 6 November 1942, as stated earlier. She was sunk by her own scuttling


      charges at about 07°S - 21°W after having been sighted and stopped by the USS Eberle.

      No intelligence was available concerning the Karin's return trip to Europe, and it was not until after her sinking that U-boat traffic divulged her anticipated arrival in Europe. German Naval High Command had no detailed information. On 27 March U-boats were told to "count on meeting, besides the Regensburg, the former Kota Nopan during the next days in the 200 mile wide strip whose middle line runs from 42°25'N 37°20'W to 59°33'N - 25°36'W." (1457/27 March 1943) Instructions to U-174 (Grandefeld) constitute further evidence of delivery to "U-915" (ex-Kota Nopan) of "1 Op Order." (1035/30 March 1943) U-174's final rendezvous report stated that the Karin had not been met.

      The "Op Order" to be delivered by U-174 provided detailed instructions on a new extension of the blockade runner lane. It was opened as a result of the Hohenfriedburg sinking and followed a northern course to Germany (Stettin), via Denmark Strait and to the north of Iceland. U-191 (Fiehn) had previously been assigned the task of reconnoitering the ice boundary in Denmark Strait for the benefit of ships heading through that area. It was in this new sector of "Lane A" that the Regensburg was sunk. The Regensburg first attempted to leave the Far East in the fall of 1942, but was torpedoed by the USS Searaven in the Sunda Strait on 13 October 1942. She was able to reach a Japanese port where she was subsequently repaired for the voyage to Europe. The date of her final departure was unknown. The first of a series of messages concerning the approaching Regensburg was addressed to the commander of U-161 (Achilles) who was ordered to rendezvous with the blockade runner on 20 March. As recognition markings, the Regensburg was to string a yard line with laundry from mizzenmast to stern during good weather, and during bad weather fire hoses were to be hung on the mizzenmast.

      Bad weather delayed the rendezvous, but on 24 March, U -161 reported execution of the task and stated that the Regensburg desired information on ice conditions and "announcement of her own planes." (2247/24 March 1943) After her rendezvous with the German U-boat and while proceeding toward Denmark Strait, the Regensburg was scuttled at 63°37'N - 26°52'W, when sighted by the British cruiser HMS Glasglow on 30 March 1943.


      The approach of the sixth blockade runner of the season, the Irene (ex-Norwegian Silva Plana), toward western Europe had not been anticipated, no previous intelligence having been received indicating her use as a blockade runner. U-boat communications were, therefore, the only source of information concerning this ship.

      On 30 March U-174 (Grandefeld) was advised to stand by the rendezvous point to which he had been ordered some days earlier to meet U-915 (identified as the Karin) and possibly U-916 (Irene). To these ships he was to deliver special orders and charts.

      On 6 April the Irene met U-174 at the rendezvous point (43°31'N - 32°58'W), receiving from the U-boat instruments, orders and personnel. An account of the meeting was given to Command by U-174 in which it was stated that the Irene was disguised as the Hoegh Silver Star or Reinholt. Grandefeld reported the Irene sufficiently supplied to remain at sea for 38 days and gave her speed as 11.5 knots.

      The reference to the Irene's maximum sea endurance was apparently in contemplation of following the northerly course attempted by the Regensburg, on the strength of which CINCLANT was advised in 071221Z April 1943 of the possible approach toward Denmark Strait of the inbound runner. However, probably as a result of the Regensburg disaster, she was routed directly to western France.

      Submarine side escorts were provided for the Irene in two messages directed to U-boats on 9 April. The four U-boats assigned this task were given the routing to be followed by the blockade runner; were ordered to remain on the surface as much as possible to provide anti-aircraft protection, and to employ all weapons against any attacking forces. They were further advised that German aircraft would provide added protection on the 10th of April, and that destroyers would pick up the Irene at 1800B at 44°27'N - 13°25'W. The destroyer escorts were recalled, Command explaining that Allied strength prevented their rendezvous with the blockade runner.

      On 10 April the Irene was located by the HMS Adventure, which was moving to intercept the outbound Himalaya, and scuttled herself at 43°18'N - 14°26'W. Upon sinking of the Irene, German Naval Command removed attack prohibitions in sections A, B, and C of the blockade runner lane, indicating no further inbound or


      outbound - ships were to be expected until further notification to U-boat commanders.

    1. The last blockade runner of the season: Pietro Orseolo.

      The Pietro Orseolo was the only one of the blockade runners to complete a round trip during the 1942-1943 season. She had sailed from Biscay in the fall of 1942, and by 20 November was reported in Batavia.

      No Advance information was available concerning her return to Europe, and although certain information on an unidentified ship heading for Europe was obtained it was not immediately associated with the Pietro Orseolo.

      A message from the U-161 (Achilles), available 30 March, 1942, reported completion of a rendezvous with a blockade runner, presumably at about 41°04'N' - 38°00'W. An earlier message addressed by Command to U-161, which did not become available in sufficient time to be of value, identified the ship in question as the Orseolo and gave directions for the meeting on 26 March, 1942.

      From the meeting with U-161, the Pietro Orseolo seems to have headed directly eastward for western France and by 2 April had reached Bordeaux.

    2. The change to submarine transport proposed.

      The sinking of six of the seven returning blockade runners had a great effect on German Far Eastern plans. The departure from Batavia of two blockade runners had been canceled as soon as Berlin learned of the loss of the Hohenfriedburg, three others which had put out before 10 April were ordered to return to port.

      More important still was the revolution effected in the means of cargo transportation. Because of the tremendous losses of ships suffered by the Axis partners a new plan for delivering the raw materials vitally necessary for military purposes was proposed. The German navy and Office of Economic Warfare of the Ministry of Defense decided to inaugurate special submarine transportation, utilizing initially nine Italian submarines which were to be rebuilt for such operations.


  1. The final phase, Winter 1943-1944: Japan to Europe.

    1. Preparations in the Far East and speculations in the radio intelligence units.

      Despite indications of a shift to submarines for cargo transportation, it was believed that the Axis would attempt further westbound surface runs with the beginning of winter weather in the North Atlantic. It was known that a half-dozen suitable ships were in oriental ports and that loadings were planned or underway. On 5 October information was at hand indicating that three German ships were leaving Japan that week, two for Singapore (one correctly identified as the Alsterufer, the other as either Burgenland or Weserland), and one, the Osorno, for Bangkok. By 17 October, the Rio Grande had been added to ships recently arrived in Singapore, undoubtedly in preparation for a run to Europe. On 4 November it was known that the Weserland had left Yokohama on 26 October to arrive in Singapore 8 November.

      Definite information on departures for Europe was not available until 24 November when the following came to light: Rio Grande to depart (Surabaya?) via Sunda Strait 29 October; Weserland to depart Batavia via Sunda Strait 22 November; Burgenland to depart Batavia via Sunda Strait by 25 November. The above information, however, was incomplete and led to the assumption that the Rio Grande had not only sailed first but would also be the first to receive attention in the Atlantic. In fact, however, the Rio Grande was the last to turn up. According to prisoners she had waited four weeks in area 48°S - 25°W before risking the run up into the Atlantic. Meanwhile the Osorno and Alsterufer had gone on.

    2. Information from U-boat traffic.

      Past experience had proved U-boat traffic the most valuable source of specific information on surface runners, and it was realized that when blockade runners were expected by German Naval High Command in U-boat areas the usual warnings would have to go on the air. Hence U-849 (Schultze) was watched with considerable interest, for he was entering the South Atlantic at this time bound for the Indian Ocean. At 1343A/15 November, a message in an Offizier setting was addressed to Schultze and successfully cribbed as a blockade


      runner warning. Schultze was forbidden, to attack independents west of a line from 02°51'N - 21°15'W to 04°51'S - 15°15'W to 10°39'S - 15°15'W to 44° 51'S - 09°06'E. The information was available late on 16 November, 8 days before definite knowledge of any actual departures came to hand, except reports of eastbound departures from Bordeaux. (See below on eastbound blockade runners). CINCLANT was informed in 171342Z November 1943, the reports of eastbound departures were discontinued, and attention directed to westbound runners, with Alsterufer, Osorno, Rio Grande, and Weserland listed as the most probable. Schliemann and Burgenland were listed as less probable. British Admiralty added Brake, Madrono, and Havelland for consideration.

    1. The Osorno sneaks home.

      The official closing of "Lane A" was not sent to U-boats until 25 November. Beginning 1 December U-boats were forbidden to attack independents in the area from 05°S to 15°N between longitudes 29°W to 45°W because of passage of type "U-913" ships. When last used, in September, "U-913" had applied to the tanker Charlotte Schliemann, but in this case it was assumed to refer to blockade runners in general rather than to tankers. CINCLANT was informed of an official closing in 261930Z November 1943. On 5 December it was learned that beginning 6 December and until further notice the area from 15°N to 40°N of "Lane A" was closed. It was evident that German Naval High Command's plot showed at least one ship to be northbound probably in the area just north of the Equator.

      Strict observance of radio silence by the blockade runners made it impossible for plotters to do more than anticipate by dead reckoning the period when blockade runners could be expected in the South Atlantic narrows. Thus the OP-20-GI-A weekly Blockade Runner Bulletin2, issued through December and January 1944, assumed the suspicious ship sighted by a Liberator on 8 December in 05°22'S 23°18'W was the Rio Grande rather than the Osorno. The luck


      which enabled the Osorno to escape this sighting characterized the rest of her voyage into Biscay, for by chance a second vessel, the neutral Leonidas, had engaged attention along with the Osorno, and the latter's attempt to pass a British merchantman (the Prome) proved successful. The German version was as follows:

      "Alle 96. Osorno deceived enemy planes by the following behavior: In spite of being ordered to stop, she continued to go. She set the distinguishing signal for a disguised ship, (raised) English flag on gaff, English cockade on hatch 1. She answered challenge with incomprehensible Morse signal. Extra crew were under cover, officers signaling on bridge." (2003/7 December 1943)

      On 13 December Admiralty informed COMINCH that the Prome was in Bombay at the time of the sighting, and on the 16th that the Master of the Leonidas reported having been circled by aircraft at 1100 ship's time 8 December in 06°30'S 26°03'W. But it had already been recognized that a blockade runner had gotten away. Extensive search was made on 9 December for the suspicious ship, and any doubts that might have remained were eliminated when U-510 (Eick) reported having sighted a ship of Antilla type in 01°21'S - 24°03'W, on 9 December. In accordance with previous instructions, U-510 added a description of Allied war units observed to be searching in the general area.

      That the Osorno was behind her plotted schedule was shown by the 6 December closing of "Lane A" from 15°N to 40°N, for the Osorno is known to have been in 04°50'N 26°06'W on 10 December. In lieu of definite information on the position of the Osorno, the 22 December closing of the outer Biscay area to U-boat attack on independents served as a warning that the Osorno was expected to make port shortly. On that date all U-boats were told:

      "Our blockade runner Osorno homeward bound today in area (between 11°30'W and 38°50'W at about 45°N). Ship presumably disguised. In the event of meeting her, send report immediately after getting out of sight. Cover name U-1534...Count on deceptive courses of all kinds. Attention is urgently called to prohibition of attacks on unescorted


      independents . . . It is your duty to keep (presence of runner) absolutely secret even from crews." (1239/22 December 1943)

      Aircraft from the USS Card contacted the blockade runner on 23 December in 47°42'N - 18°53'W, course 110, speed 10, but the Card was unable to take further action owing to its fuel situation. Destroyer escorts were likewise spotted by carrier planes.

      Rendezvous was made successfully, and late on 25 December, the Osorno entered the Gironde River where she was located and bombed by British planes. The Eighth Destroyer Flotilla, which had furnished her escort, reported that she was anchored in shallow water as a result of aircraft attacks. Two destroyers from the Flotilla were assigned as anti-aircraft protection for the ship, which by this time had been beached. The blockade runner's skipper, Captain Hellman, was promptly awarded the Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross, and the arrival of the Osorno with her valuable war cargo was proclaimed throughout the fleet as a great victory.

    1. The Alsterufer. (Sunk)

      Other than the fact that Alsterufer was plainly one of the blockade runners at sea, practically nothing was known of her whereabouts until 18 December, and then only a broad hint. On 18 December a message of the 13th addressed to Osorno and Alsterufer was read, which contained communications instructions, frequencies, etc., for the area east of 30°W, in other words for the last part of the voyage. From this it appeared that the German Naval High Command was plotting Alsterufer to pass through the South and Middle Atlantic without being seen. By 22 December the Atlantic Section could state merely that the Alsterufer was at sea, probably in the North Atlantic within the boundaries of "Lane A." It was U-boat traffic which gave the decisive opening a few days later.

      1. U-boat traffic locates Alsterufer.

        With the closing of the last section of "Lane A" on 22 December, U-boats in outer Biscay - and there were many - set close watch for the inbound runners. It was known here that U-boats had already been specifically warned of the Osorno's


        approach. On 25 December U-boats were informed of that the Alsterufer was expected in outer Biscay beginning the 26th. Meanwhile U-305 had sighted the "U-1534" (cover name assigned to Osorno) in 45°15'N - 23°05'W, at 1230A/25, course 180, speed 5, and reported the sighting in Offizier setting late that afternoon. Within an hour after the transmission the message had been read. Any possible confusion between the Alsterufer and the Osorno was promptly clarified by German Naval High Command, who informed U-305 that Osorno ("U-1534") was already in Biscay and asked the U-boat if her sighting had not been Alsterufer. This information was available to the Allies before midnight the same day.

        On the 27th aircraft located and sank Alsterufer in 46°32'N - 18°55'W. The intended escort force of eleven destroyers sought and found near the assigned rendezvous point in 46°15'N - 11°45'W, where it was attacked by British sea and air forces with good results. Three German units were sunk including the T-25, whose Captain and 33 of whose men were rescued by the German submarine U-505 (later, the USS Nemo). The Irish ship Kerlogue and the Spanish destroyers Jorge Juan and Sanchez Barcaiztegui picked up other survivors and brought them in to neutral ports.

      1. Comment on German intercept service.

        It is evident that German intercept and radio intelligence service (B-Dienst) was covering the Allied circuits involved in the blockade runner search and that German Naval High Command was making constant use of this information in its instructions to the blockade runners and to their intended escorts. In the case of the Osorno German Naval High Command had used an Allied aircraft shadower's report for determining the date when the Osorno would make her escort rendezvous. In Alsterufer's case, however, German B-Dienst was cut off just before the ship was sunk, and German Naval High Command remained in ignorance of her loss until the 28th, when the blockade runner failed to answer requests for position. An explanation is suggested by the following interesting message sent by Naval Group Command West to II Trave II (cover name for Alsterufer) at 1938A/27, two hours after the ship had gone down:


        "Constant vigorous aircraft activity in Biscay since noon. Last (enemy) shadower report that could be read by us was received at 1140A, since then there have been 5 transmissions by aircraft and 29 by land stations which we could not read. Shadower of 1140A reports position at 1650A in BE 34 (49°39'N - 15°15'W "B"): thus presumably on return flight." (Sunfish 1938/27 December 1943)3

      1. U-boats to send PPP signals as deception.

        Early on the 28th Command ordered U-415 (Neide), returning from group Borkum operation in area 45°N - 21°W, and U-309 (Mahrholz) in 47°N - 18°W to:

        "send a S/S (short signal) immediately according to following pattern of basic frequency of a wave on Norddeich short range service; Introductory signal: 'P' three times. Then six 3-letter groups of which the first and last must be the same. Use ICW transmission." (0314/28 December 1943)

        While neither signal, if sent, was noted by Allied intercept activities; the attempt to assist Alsterufer by radio deception was obvious. At the same time, the nature of PPP signals was clarified. Of particular interest is the role which PPP signals played a week later in the identifications of remaining runners.

    1. Weserland and Burgenland (both sunk) PPP signals.

      The voyages of the Weserland and Burgenland lacked any sensational element. They plotted nicely and appeared agreeably in the South Atlantic narrows approximately at the time anticipated. The Weserland was sunk by the USS Somers early on 3 January in 14°55'S - 21°39'W, and the Burgenland by the USS Omaha and Jouett in 07°S - 26°W, after having been located by U.S. aircraft. The prompt evaluation of a PPP signal led directly to the sinking of the Burgenland.


      By 1 January the acknowledgments of signals sent by Osorno and Alsterufer on 23 and 27 December respectively had been read, and it became possible to give a more complete appraisal of PPP signals. Osorno had apparently sent one on the 23rd but only the DAN receipt was heard by Chatham. Osorno had presumably used an "off" frequency. The Alsterufer, however, transmitted on 8460 kcs (one of Norddeich, DAN frequencies) and was copied as well as DIF'd. The DIF fix was good and it was possible to identify the signal as possibly from Alsterufer even though nothing was known of the code used. With the order to U-boats of 28 December to send PPP signals, as described above, it seemed likely that these signals were from a special blockade runner short signal book and were used for sighting reports. Hence when a PPP signal with a time of origin 2208A was heard by Chatham on 1 January, it was concluded that the originator was a blockade runner informing German Naval High Command of the sighting made by a B-12 at 012050Z in 10°19'S - 22°48'W. (reported in COMFOURTH FLEET 020439Z) the Weserland cleared another PPP signal shortly before being sunk, but only the receipt was heard by Chatham.

      The direct part played by PPP signals in the sinking of the Burgenland on 5 January is best told in the words of Captain Harper, at that time C.O. South Atlantic Strategic DIF net:

      "On 3 January 1944, Navy Department Communication Intelligence informed the c.o. Strategic D/F Net, that German Blockade Runners when sighted had previously used a type of message commencing with the letters "PPP." These messages had been noticed in the logs of the Recife station one or two days prior to this, when a blockade runner was sunk. Although the type of message was noticed and studied to a certain extent, the significance of it not realized until the information was received from Washington.

      On 5 January the Fourth Fleet Operations Officer informed Captain Harper that a strange vessel, not on the merchant ship plot, had been sighted by a cruiser plane. A special extra watch was immediately put on DAN frequencies, with instructions to listen for this particular type of message, commencing with PPP, and to inform the


      watch officer or commanding officer immediately if he received such a message. Approximately twenty minutes later this type of message was noticed being transmitted to Germany. The commanding officer immediately called the Fleet Operations Officer and informed him that in all probability the vessel sighted was a German blockade runner.

      Acting on this information, orders were sent to a cruiser at sea to intercept the vessel."

    1. The last blockade runner: Rio Grande. (Sunk)

      If Rio Grande was a mystery to Allied intelligence throughout December she was no less of a mystery to the Germans throughout January. Although she had sailed with Alsterufer and Osorno was of comparable speed, she was sunk south of the Equator one day after the Weserland sinking in spite of the fact that she had sailed 24 days ahead of the Weserland.

      The possibility that Rio Grande had headed into the North Atlantic, as the Regensburg had done, could not be overlooked, especially in view of the special weather assignments given to North Atlantic U-boats at the end of December. At the same time it was recognized that she might have turned back.

      It is now known from survivors that the Rio Grande had waited four weeks in the South Atlantic. When she did undertake the run northward it was only to be sighted (while lying to) and identified as a blockade runner. Her name was not known when the USS Omaha and Jouett sank her by gunfire.

      1. CSP 953

        On being intercepted Rio Grande had tried to send an RRR distress signal. The signal was jammed by Omaha but not before noting that the ship had used the encoded callsign of the SS James Lykes, a ship that did not appear on the day's plot. That Rio Grande had acted on instructions was clear from a DAN dispatch of 9 December (read 21 December), which outlined the challenge and answer procedure as laid down by an edition of CSP 953. Paragraph 3 of the dispatch stated:


        "Use international call signs of assigned covership. In case scuttling is unavoidable, when transmitting distress signals use enemy secret call sign assigned by W/T." (Sunfish, 0203/9 December 1943)

        OP-20-G was able to confirm the suspicion of compromise voiced by Commander, Fourth Fleet.

      1. German Naval High Command ignorant of Rio Grande's loss.

        The jamming of Rio Grande's distress signal left German Naval High Command in ignorance of her fate. Provisions for her passage continued to be made until 3 February. Rio Grande was apparently instructed to proceed via Denmark Strait rather than face the alert in Biscay. At appropriate intervals throughout January successive sections of a lane running up via Denmark Strait to Norway were closed to U-boats. That the Germans were very vague about the Rio Grande was shown by the fact that after 21 January a lane from 15°N all the way to Norway via Denmark Strait remained closed to U-boat attack on independents. Once it was clear that German Naval High Command was in ignorance of Rio Grande's loss, Kammerarrest, the covername used in Offizier closings, remained a valuable crib after blockade runners had ceased. German Naval High Command's concern for the Rio Grande affected nearly all their naval activities in the North Atlantic during January. It was necessary to send special warnings to U-boats returning from the western Atlantic and Caribbean as well as to U-boats setting out for the Indian Ocean. Weather and ice reconnaissance in northern areas had to be carried out. Long reports on weather in Denmark Strait and adjacent areas were addressed to Rio Grande, U-257 (Rahe) was dispatched to a rendezvous position for the delivery of northern charts. Here the U-boats waited in vain from 23 to 28 January while German intercept stations were guarding international distress frequencies for every possible clue. U-960 (Heinrich), engaged on a weather reporting task in area 52°30'N - 33°45'W, sank a unidentified (C-3) steamer and thereby precipitated a series of urgent requests for reassurance necessitating a special sweep of the sinking area in order the German Naval High Command might continue to hope for the survival of the Rio Grande.


        Finally on 3 February all blockade runner lane closings were canceled and the Germans gave the Rio Grande up for lost.

  1. Eastbound blockade runners, Winter 1943-1944.

    1. German intentions.

      By mid-July 1943 it was clear that renewed outbound activity could be expected in October or November when the days had become shorter in the North Atlantic. In April Ambassador Oshima in Berlin had informed Tokyo that surface runners would not operate until November, and in June Tokyo was informed that preparations for loading would commence in August. It was further noted that arrangements had been made to use at least 9 submarines as transport boats, obviously because of the high rate of loss of surface vessels.

      At CINCLANT's request a summary of this radio intelligence information was passed to him in July to acquaint him with the situation. As early as 20 July it became evident that ships in Biscay ports were being readied for some operation, presumably the run to the Far East. British air reconnaissance made it possible to keep track of these ships and to note their evasive moments. This information was used by OP-20-G in interpreting radio intelligence material which was then passed to the forces afloat via CINCLANT and to COMINCR in the form of a weekly summary.

      Of the ships in the various Biscay ports, eight were considered potential blockade runners:

      Dresden (5567 tons, 15 knots)
      Elsa Essberger (6103 tons, 13 knots)
      Fusijama (6244 tons, 13 knots)
      Himalaya (6240 tons, 13 knots)
      Kulmerland (7363 tons, 14 knots)
      Munsterland (6408 tons, 11 knots)
      Pietro Orseolo (6344 tons, 14 knots)
      Tannenfels (7840 tons, 16 knots)

    2. Difficulties and Ambassador Oshima's pessimism.

      The difficulties of the operation were apparent to Ambassador Oshima. The Germans had originally planned to


      send 50,000 tons of cargo. But increased air patrols made it necessary to reduce the tonnage to 42,000 tons in favor of increased anti-aircraft protection. Further, one of the so-called Yanagi ships (the Kulmerland) was disabled in September (probably by bombing), and this reduced the cargo to 35,000 tons. Oshima, however, seemed convinced that no more than 32,000 tons would actually be sent. This further confused the situation by making it necessary to reconsider the whole question of what should be given priority.

      It is now certain that the Germans were preparing to sail the blockade runners in October 1943. On 10 November Oshima reported that he had visited Bordeaux on 20 October and had seen the Dresden and Tannenberg (undoubtedly he meant Tannenfels) loaded with steel, aluminum and formic acid, awaiting sailing orders. He was told by the two captains that other runners had already left for the Far East, but either he was misinformed of the ships had merely changed anchorage for purposes of deception - a common maneuver at this time. This information was passed to CINCLANT on 14 November.

      Oshima's pessimism was particularly marked in this report. He expressed grave doubts as to whether the ships would ever reach Japan, or even leave Biscay, and therefore recommended that the captains be decorated by Japan before they attempted the trip.

      The 35,000 tons of cargo was reduced to 29,000 early in November when one vessel was damaged so severely that it had to be withdrawn. This was probably the Dresden, which struck a mine on 6 November while on its way down the Gironde. Still another ship, not identified, was damaged by aerial torpedoes at Bordeaux, leaving only 5 ships available to run the blockade.

    1. Final preparations for sailing.

      The final flurry of activity commenced on 25 November. On the date it was noticed that a special radio circuit had been inaugurated in the Bay of Biscay area for communication with blockade runners. Ships were addressed by cover names, five in number, and it was thus evident that at least five ships were ready for use: Elsa Essberger, Fusijama, Himalaya, Pietro Orseolo and Tannenfels.


      Traffic indicates that the immediate departure of at least some of the ships was expected. Three - Himalaya, Pietro Orseolo and Tannenfels - were given aircraft recognition signals on 10 December. The same ships were ordered to refuel and stock up by the 17th. Postponement was necessitated, however, by the approach of two homebound runners, Osorno and Alsterufer.

      By the time the way was clear for departure of the five runners, the Germans had had enough. Only one inbound runner had arrived, and part of her cargo seems to have disappeared after she was beached. The Pietro Orseolo had been put out of commission by bombing on 18 December, further reducing the number of available ships.

    1. All sailings canceled.

      On 19 January the remaining four were told that the task was canceled because the risk was too great. They were ordered to unload their cargo with the greatest secrecy so as to avoid lowering the morale of those in the area.

      Ambassador Oshima, his predictions fulfilled, reported to Tokyo that since only submarine transport remained, and that was unsuitable for heavy cargo, the only thing to do was to arrange for an exchange of patent rights.


Blockade Running Ships, 1942-1945
No. Ships Used Runs Attempted Successful Runs to Far East Successful Runs to Europe Sunk enroute Far East Sunk enroute Europe Damaged in France or made port in France damaged Sunk in port Departure cancelled
23 34 6 4 4 10 5 1 8

Note: Includes those five ships which were loaded and ready to sail from France in January 1944, but whose departure was canceled.

Surface Ships Used to Refuel U-boats in Indian Ocean, 1943-1944
No ships used Rendezvous proposed Rendezvous successful Rendezvous partially successful Rendezvous unsuccessful Ships sunk Total Submarines Fueled
3 8 5 1 2 2 15
(plus 2 partially)


Non-German Sources used in Chapters XII and XIII

1942 1943
Jap. Dip. #7052 - 23 Sep
Jap. Dip. #56481 - 19 Nov
Jap. Dip. #69109 - 18 Dec
Jap. Dip. #60230 - 22 Dec
Jap. Dip. #72192 - 23 Dec
JNA 28 Dec - GZ #9765
Jap. Dip. #6854 - 15 Sep 42
JNA 12 Jan - GZ #9961
Jap. Dip. #67309 - 22 Jan
Jap. Dip. #66448 - 13 Feb
JNA 8 Mar - GZ #1401
Jap. Dip. #7345 - 31 Mar
JNA 3 Apr - GZ #1381
Jap. Dip. #74604 - 13 Apr
Jap. Dip. #79791 - 14 Apr
JNA 10 May - GZ #9624
JNA 14 May - GZ #4445
JNA 21 May - GZ #1374
Jap. Dip. #86945 - 17 Jun
JNA 17 Jul - GZ #9245
JNA 9 Sep - GZ 6596C
JNA 22 Sep - GZ #7232C
JNA 25 Sep - GZ #7231C
JNA 28 Sep - GZ #8501C
Jap. Dip. #98023 - 29 Sep
JNA 15 Oct - GZ #0471C
Jap. Dip. #101769 - 10 Nov
Jap. Dip. #102061 - 12 Nov
Jap. Mil. A.H. #D5450 - 15 Nov
JNA 22 Nov - GZ #9992
1944 1945
JN 7 Jan FRUPAC 071928 Jan
Jap. Dip. #110265 - 2 Feb
JNA 18 Mar - GZ #2144D
JNA 21 Jun - GZ #8689C
JNA 11 Aug - GZ #9155C
JNA 7 Sep - GZ #2613D
JNA 27 Sep - GZ #3400D
JNA 7 Oct - GZ #5452D
JNA 15 Dec - GZ #2638E
JNA 18 Dec - GZ #1628E
JNA 22 Dec - GZ #1947E
JNA 30 Dec - GZ #2573E
JNA 10 Jan - GZ #2638E
JNA 13 Jan - GZ #3346E
JNA 13 Jan - GZ #3356E
JNA 27 Jan - GZ #4184E
JNA 17 Feb - GZ #5895E
JNA 27 Feb - GZ #6685E
JNA 7 Mar - GZ #8011E
JNA 8 Mar - GZ #8002E
JNA 11 Apr - GZ #4104F
JNA 19 Apr - GZ #6638F


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (12) * Next Chapter (14)


1. The Hohenfriedburg was sunk by a British light cruiser on the 25th of February. U-264 spent two days recovering the survivors. For description of the attack see Martin Brice, Axis Blockade Runners of World War II (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1981), 118.

2. Further information on blockade runner reports are in Records of the National Security Agency, U.S. Navy, COMINCH F-21, "Memoranda, Reports and Messages on German Blockade Runners (World War II) (1943-1945)," SRH-260, National Archives, Washington, D.C., Record Group 457.

3. Sunfish was the Allied designation for the German Tibet naval cipher. This cipher was used by blockade running V-boats and surface ships.

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Chuck Roberts for the HyperWar Foundation