U 862: Duties in Australian and Pacific Waters

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the submarine forces of the Kriegsmarine.
User avatar
Napoli
Member
Posts: 224
Joined: 02 Oct 2002 13:23
Location: Adelaide, Australia

U 862: Duties in Australian and Pacific Waters

Post by Napoli » 06 Jan 2003 11:35

Thought I'd put in a little known fact to a few people in case they might have been wondering on how far a U boat would actually venture. Some good detail and some off my own home town also. Also have some info on a few raiders and mine layers in the same waters if anyones interested. These facts are not even really known by our own population, let alone where they went looking for fresh water is only 10km from a major town without the towns people never knowing what lay on their doorstep!! :lol: :lol:


GERMAN U-BOAT ATTACKS
OFF THE AUSTRALIAN COAST
DURING WW2




In December 1944 an American liberty ship was sunk off the New South Wales coast and another vessel was attacked off the South Australian coast. The RAAF stepped up its anti-submarine patrols around the Australian coastline with Beaufort bombers, Catalina flying boats and Kingfisher floatplanes.

In November 1944, a rogue German U Boat, U 862, captained by Korvettenkapitän Heinrich Timm, left Batavia (now known as Jakarta) on 18 November 1944 headed for Germany. U 862 was a type IXD 2 boat of 1800 tons. The Captain of U 862 had sailed in Australian waters before the war as a merchant service officer. He decided he would visit his old stamping grounds before returning to Germany.

U 862 sailed down the West Australian coast turned east and sailed across the Great Australian Bight. At 12.00 noon on 9 December 1944, Kapitän Timm shelled the Greek tanker "S.S. Illios" (4724 tons) at a location of 130 miles south east of Adelaide."S.S. Illios" returned fire with her 4 inch gun. U 862 then submerged and left the area. Aircraft were ordered to search the area for the German submarine.

At that time HMAS Lismore, HMAS Burnie and HMAS Maryborough were returning from Colombo via Fremantle and were located off Cape Nelson, Victoria, about 130 miles south east of where "S.S. Illios" had been shelled by U 862.The three corvettes were headed for Melbourne at 7 knots in some bad weather conditions. At 1.00pm on 9 December 1944, Andrewartha on board HMAS Burnie was ordered to lead all three corvettes to search for and attack the German submarine. HMAS Lismore then suffered a failure of the port engine and was ordered by Andrewartha to proceed to Melbourne on the one remaining engine. HMAS Burnie and HMAS Maryborough reached "S.S. Illios" at 7.00pm on 9 December 1944. The two corvettes searched until midday on 10 December 1944 with no results. They were then ordered to proceed to Port Phillip.

U-862 then sailed south under Tasmania. Then she turned north and sailed up the New South Wales coast. Off Montague Island she sank the Robert J. Walker using six torpedoes in December 1944.

U-862 then sailed for New Zealand. She entered New Zealand waters at North Cape and exited past South Cape. Then she sailed back across the Tasman and reversed her previous course back to Jakarta.

On 6 February 1945 , U 862 made its third attack in Australian waters at 1540 GCT in the Indian Ocean (34 deg 19 min South / 99 deg 37 min East). The "SS Peter Sylvester" was en route alone from Melbourne, Australia to Colombo, Ceylon with a cargo of US. Army supplies and 137 US Army mules.

U-862 fired 6 torpedoes into the motor vessel "Peter Sylvester" about 700 miles south west of Fremantle, off the Western Australian coast. The ship was ordered abandoned at 1620 GCT (4:20pm).

Fifteen survivors were picked up on 9 February 1945. 25 Squadron RAAF Liberators helped to search for more survivors. They located about fifty survivors on 12th and 13th February 1945 on some rafts and in a lifeboat. They dropped rations to these survivors who had by then been drifting at sea for a week.

Cyril Conway was one of the 26 Armed guards on the "SS Peter Sylvester". Cyril and fourteen others had been on a raft for 38 days, 6hrs and 10 mins before they were found. He was in one of the last group of survivors to be found. At one stage a school of dolphins had chased off a school of circling sharks. American Submarine USS Rock (SS-274) found the Cyril's raft at 2235 (10:35pm) on 9 March 1945. The 15 survivors were landed at Exmouth Gulf.

Another Liberator setting out on a third search, crashed after takeoff from Cunderin airfield in Western Australia on 14 February 1945. This attack by U-862 was the last attack by an enemy submarine on the Australian station and in the Indian Ocean.

U-862 arrive Jakarta on 15 February 1945. U 862 arrived back in Singapore on 27 February 1945. Her crew were taken prisoners of war by the Japanese and its crew were interned following the German surrender. U 862 was then surrendered to the Allies in Singapore in August 1945 where the crew were held by the British in Changi prison. By then U 862 ha been renumbered as I-502 by the Japanese. The crew were then taken to England in July 1946 and then finally repatriated in 1947. U 862 was eventually scuttled in the Strait of Malacca on 15 February 1946 by the British.

Clem Klausen's father, Bob Klausen, worked on the Bathurst class minesweeper's engines in Sydney and Jervis Bay. He was not a sailor. Bob Klausen was on board a ship being repaired at Jervis Bay when U 862 attacked a ship off the coast. The ship Bob was on was immediately ordered to chase the German submarine. So off went the ship with Bob Klausen on board. When he got back Bob had to have a week off to get over his sea sickness.

How did U 862 manage to avoid being sunk? The answer might lie in the fact that The Royal Australian Navy had divided Australia into a number of naval zones which more or less ignored each other. The zones were:-

Cin C East Indies to the West of West Australia
NOIC Fremantle
NOIC Port Melbourne
NOIC Hobart
NOIC Sydney
NOIC Brisbane
NOIC Townsville
NOIC Darwin
NOIC New Guinea

Where I believe NOIC stands for Naval Officer in Charge.

Lee Chapman told me that his father's German mate had a brother who had been a crew member of U 862. This crew member visited South Australia after the war and stayed with Lee's father. They went fishing in the Coorong area near the Princes Highway south east of Adelaide. He commented that the place had not changed since he and some fellow submariners went ashore in the middle of the night looking for fresh water!!!

varjag
Financial supporter
Posts: 4431
Joined: 01 May 2002 01:44
Location: Australia

Post by varjag » 06 Jan 2003 12:49

Napoli - you have obviously read 'U-Boat Far From Home'. Could we have more details about that 'landing' for fresh water? Australian folklore is studded with 'observations' of submariners (mostly Japanese) lurking around in the dark looking for fresh water - I do not believe any of them.
But very much in the potence of Aussie Beer and a good pub yarn....

User avatar
davethelight
Member
Posts: 1691
Joined: 21 Dec 2002 07:52
Location: Australia

Post by davethelight » 06 Jan 2003 14:20

Well, good luck to any one who tries landing haphazrdly on the Australian coast in search of water, they probably won't find any. Unless of course they can find a river estuary, but they'd have to be damned lucky to find one where there is no town around it.

I wonder if German or Japanese submariners ever put ashore (or are rumoured to have put ashore) on either mainland America or Britain.

Peter
Financial supporter
Posts: 3934
Joined: 24 Nov 2002 11:13
Location: Europe

Post by Peter » 06 Jan 2003 16:37

Dave
they landed in Canada to construct a radio weather station, landed on the US Eastern seabord to land agents and landed in Eire after a u-boat was wrecked off the coast on rocks.
cheers
Pete

User avatar
Napoli
Member
Posts: 224
Joined: 02 Oct 2002 13:23
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Post by Napoli » 07 Jan 2003 01:15

Varjag, I have fished the area many times, the only problem with trying to find fresh water in the Coorong region the sailor mentioned was that alot of the time the water in that region is actually about 4 times saltier than normal sea water, but in one large section below the Coorong and and behind the barrages at Goolwa is a freshwater body which he may have been to. Guess they were still alive after all that time so they must have come up with the goods :?
Ocean waves crashing onto a surf beach would have made any landing interesting as that is what that whole stretch basically is.
I'd agree with Dave that actually finding any water would be a hard job, but as this Captain had been a merchant sailor around Australia he would have known where to find some, maybe risky but achievable. Could still get away with it very easy in this day and age on the whole southern coast of Australia without being detected easily.
As far as Japanese stumbling around, that sounds about right as starving on New Guini was more the normal situation.

varjag
Financial supporter
Posts: 4431
Joined: 01 May 2002 01:44
Location: Australia

Post by varjag » 07 Jan 2003 03:04

Yea Napoli - but much harder than finding fresh water, is getting from the sub in what, an inflatable with paddles, onto an unknown shore. After having found the water, how to get it back, in what, a few buckets - and then to FIND this sub in the dark of the night - I think it speaks for iself. Yet there are thousands of otherwise rather normal Australians who to this day believe in this kind of BS. And worse - might I add.

User avatar
Napoli
Member
Posts: 224
Joined: 02 Oct 2002 13:23
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Post by Napoli » 07 Jan 2003 05:46

That was the point, with waves that can reach 3-4 metres high with magor rips etc, it wouldnt be the greatest idea of making a landing in this location as you would never be able to launch from the beach again (thats if you got there) into the surf which stretches for over 300km's down Sth. Above the location mentioned there is many places to land as there is calm bays and some rivers carrying fresh water. But as you say, is it really worth all the effort to feed a full crew freshwater? And didnt they have some form of reverse osmosis water purifacation on board anyway?
Always open to opinions on these type of things but at least the facts of U-862's duties are truthfull. :D

User avatar
davethelight
Member
Posts: 1691
Joined: 21 Dec 2002 07:52
Location: Australia

Post by davethelight » 07 Jan 2003 12:29

Hey Iltis, do you have any more info regarding the landing on Canada to construct a weather station? I would be much obliged.

Cheers

Dave

varjag
Financial supporter
Posts: 4431
Joined: 01 May 2002 01:44
Location: Australia

Post by varjag » 07 Jan 2003 13:19

Napoli and the learned fraternaty - lemme tell you; some 25 years ago 'a true believer' claimed (and he had some clout) that a Japanese midget submarine was buried in the sands of Shoalwater Bay,central Queensland.
'People had seen the top of it' when tide and sands had made 'metal objects' visible. Naturally they were again buried by tide and sand. I ventured,already at that time, that at best the 'metal object' might be a paravane - lost in some minesweeping excersise. But what is reason against belief? Ten years ago, True Believer mounted a costly expedition,complete with TV and media - bulldozers, excavators (that nearly got bogged in the tidal sands) to extricate the remnants of - you guessed it - a paravane. Dare I mention that the same True Believer had the Japanese submarine I-178 sunk in the Whitsunday Islands -'after having replenished water supplies on South Keppel Island'. It took a letter from the Historical Section, Japanese Navy about the fate of I-178 to put paid to that one...but NO...True Believers STILL think that IJN had no idea about where there subs operated or went down - and that the wreck is in the Whitsundays......I will spare you the details about 'the Japanese invasion of Long Island on the Central Coast' - about which some nutcase has even written a booklet. Rgds, Varjag
(For those on the forum who might be interested about these georeferences, try look up Eastern Australia coast around Tropic of Capricorn)

Return to “U-Boats”