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U 2511's dummy torpedo attack on HMS Norfolk

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the submarine forces of the Kriegsmarine.

U 2511's dummy torpedo attack on HMS Norfolk

Postby Von Schadewald on 16 Feb 2012 01:54

[Split from "1945: Axis deals some telling parting shots"]

In every war there's always a last person to get killed.

But if U 2511's dummy torpedo attack on HMS Norfolk on 4-5-45 had been a real one, the loss of 820 British sailors on the last day of the war would have been a bitter blow
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Re: 1945: Axis deals some telling parting shots

Postby Sid Guttridge on 16 Feb 2012 12:48

Hi v. S,

There seems some doubt the alleged incident actually took place as described.

It would certainly have been very foolish to have risked the lives of one's crew by trying to get so close to an Allied warship when the war was effectively over purely as an experiment.

Cheers,

Sid.
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Re: 1945: Axis deals some telling parting shots

Postby Baltasar on 16 Feb 2012 15:32

Sid, IIRC, the Entente continued their attacks right up until the ceasefire was in effect in 1918 and the Germans continued to resist. Although it may be hard to understand, soldiers fought on until the war was definately over...
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Re: 1945: Axis deals some telling parting shots

Postby Sid Guttridge on 16 Feb 2012 16:03

Hi Baltasar,

I have no problem with people fighting on until the bitter end, but that is neither what happened on this occasion, nor what I was writing about.

If the story is true, U 2511 only pretended to fight on by mounting a dummy attack on HMS Norfolk, thereby putting itself at risk to no discernible advantage whatsoever.

Cheers,

Sid.
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Re: 1945: Axis deals some telling parting shots

Postby Tim Smith on 17 Feb 2012 08:07

Sid Guttridge wrote:Hi Baltasar,

I have no problem with people fighting on until the bitter end, but that is neither what happened on this occasion, nor what I was writing about.

If the story is true, U 2511 only pretended to fight on by mounting a dummy attack on HMS Norfolk, thereby putting itself at risk to no discernible advantage whatsoever.

Cheers,

Sid.


There is a reason to carry out a dummy attack after receiving an order to cease hostilites, even if putting the crew at risk.

Namely, crew morale. Which would naturally hit rock bottom once they were told that Germany had surrendered.

If the dummy attack is carried out successfully, without being detected by the British, then the captain of U 2511 can make a speech to his crew praising their efforts, and telling them that although the war is lost, it is not their fault - and they can go into captivity holding their heads high with pride in themselves and their service, knowing they have proved that U 2511 could have fought on longer, and successfully, had they not been ordered to surrender by Adm. Donitz.

A last gesture of defiance before surrendering. Although it might not make much sense to a Briton or American who have nearly always been on the winning side of wars during the last century, it would make sense to the Germans.
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Re: 1945: Axis deals some telling parting shots

Postby Sid Guttridge on 17 Feb 2012 13:26

Hi Tim,

That seems a pretty flimsy proposition - risking the submarine and its crew just so that the commander could make a retrospective morale-boosting speech for an already lost cause before surrendering!

Besides, if all he wanted to do was give a pep talk, as the only man entitled to be at the helm and periscope, U 2511's commander could easily have invented the entire attack at no risk to submarine or crew and still delivered his speech with them in complete ignorance.

Cheers,

Sid.
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Re: U-2511's dummy torpedo attack on HMS Norfolk

Postby BDV on 07 Jun 2012 20:13

Sid Guttridge wrote:That seems a pretty flimsy proposition - risking the submarine and its crew just so that the commander could make a retrospective morale-boosting speech for an already lost cause before surrendering!

Besides, if all he wanted to do was give a pep talk, as the only man entitled to be at the helm and periscope, U 2511's commander could easily have invented the entire attack at no risk to submarine or crew and still delivered his speech with them in complete ignorance.



True, but both curiosity and bravado are strong traits, which make men do strange things. Would this contraption have worked? One CAN fault the commander for foolishness, but it's not like this was foreign to human nature, and the commander did get both his machismo stroked and his curiosity satisfied...
Pressé fortement sur ma droite, mon centre cède, impossible de me mouvoir, situation excellente, j'attaque. - Ferdinand F.

Some Chicken! Some neck! - Winnie C.
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Re: U 2511's dummy torpedo attack on HMS Norfolk

Postby Sid Guttridge on 19 Jan 2013 13:30

Hi BDV,

It is also part of human nature to make things up that are creditable to oneself but unverifiable.

Do we have any independent evidence of this incident?

Cheers,

Sid.
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Re: U 2511's dummy torpedo attack on HMS Norfolk

Postby mescal on 19 Jan 2013 14:10

See here :
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=110&t=175881

That's not the whole story, but I've never seen the log of U 2511 surface...
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Re: U 2511's dummy torpedo attack on HMS Norfolk

Postby ROLAND1369 on 20 Jan 2013 01:00

Having more than a passing knowledge of Elite troops I find it very credible for them to do an ill advised and potientialy dangerous stunt such as this attack just to prove they could do it. I once knew two officers who made a highly illegial parachute jump from the ammo bays of a AH1 attack heliocopter. They were removed from parachute status for 12 months and recieved a letter of reprimand unseen in the army before or since. This was far from the craziest stunt I saw pulled and truthfully that I have pulled myself in my youth. Therefore just because it was dangerous and unecessary is no reason to think it didn't happen. And I would point out that not only was the U boat service an elite force, but given the losses they were facing by the end of the war this risk must have seemed relatively small if not normal by that time. Risks are viewed differently by the young in wartime.
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Re: U 2511's dummy torpedo attack on HMS Norfolk

Postby ROLAND1369 on 20 Jan 2013 01:16

In rebutal to other points do we have any credible evidence that the attack did not occur. As to the concept of only the captain being able to see the action, this ignores the sonar operator who in this case would have been the first to detect and track the formation, in a passive not active role, He would have known and called out the course and speed and would have known whether it was a large ship and from the screw speed a warship. Also sound travels in water and it is likely that the crew could have heard the propellors at such a short range. Thus a total fabrication is unlikly to fool an experienced crew.
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Re: U 2511's dummy torpedo attack on HMS Norfolk

Postby Sid Guttridge on 27 Jan 2013 16:24

Hi Roland,

Much of what you say in the generality about the recklessness of the young with high self esteem is true, but it has no evidential value here.

What we have here is a claim that needs substantiation, but there appears to be a severe lack of it.

On the opening page of the Introduction to The Royal Navy and Anti-Submarine Warfare by Malcolm Llewellyn-Jones, the author writes "However, Schnee's "attack" is depicted with greater authority than it deserves, for the surviving evidence to support the event is nebulous. Nevertheless, it has entered the folklore of the Battle of the Atlantic....."

If you want more detail of the doubts, there was apparently an article published 1998 in the December issue of MARINE FORUM.

For Norfolk's log, see mescal's link above.

Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. In order not to mislead viewers into thinking the claimed attack is a substantiated fact, perhaps a moderator could add a question mark to the thread title, or insert the word "claimed"?
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Re: U 2511's dummy torpedo attack on HMS Norfolk

Postby piggychops on 05 Mar 2013 21:29

Hi

Hinsley: British Intelligence in the 2nd world war: volume 3: part 2: page 631: footnote *: indicates
'She [Sic U 2511] carried out a dummy attack on a British cruiser before returning to Norway in accordance with the surrender degree'
One might well assume that Bletchley Park decrypted the operational message. Except that Hinsley indicates no signals were decrypted and references ADM 234/68 p 98

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Re: U 2511's dummy torpedo attack on HMS Norfolk

Postby Sid Guttridge on 06 Mar 2013 13:01

Hi Piggychops

One cannot assume anything without looking at p.68 of ADM 234/68. It might well be the original post-surrender debriefing claim from which the whole legend/myth has grown.

I remain sceptical.

Cheers,

Sid.
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Re: U 2511's dummy torpedo attack on HMS Norfolk

Postby piggychops on 07 Mar 2013 15:07

Hi Sid

Your point is well made and I made no claims.
I merely indicated a different source, some one will look up ADM?
Hinsley (et al) is (are) normally very reliable, but Ive caught him out on occasion, when I had independent information from BP peoples memory...
The military do do very strange things so a dummy attack would not seem unreasonable to me, whether or not it took place is another thing, an electro boat dummy attack would have been very low risk.

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