Insect emblem of U 581

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Losgehts
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Insect emblem of U 581

Post by Losgehts » 26 Jan 2020 00:04

Since the official emblem of U 581 entails a six legged critter I started wondering as to exactly which entomological creature adorned the conning tower of this submarine. Georg Högel's book says, in so many words, that "(since it was a training boat) this little creature took care of the whole crew". Which made me think: was this creature a pubic lice? It, according to images I found, certainly has some characteristics of it. Perhaps the part "took care of the whole crew" wasn't quite meant sarcastic and was truly intended to mean "good luck" instead, but If so I can't explain away the "since it was a training boat" - the crew was stationed at shore all the time. I am serious in my research, yet I can't blame a sound of mind reader thinking the direct opposite in this particular case. My German isn't that great but perhaps some books in that language might contain allusions to my or anyone else's explanation. Thanks in advance for all the help.
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Last edited by Losgehts on 26 Jan 2020 23:22, edited 2 times in total.

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Max
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Re: Insect emblem of U 581

Post by Max » 26 Jan 2020 06:01

Greetings from the Wide Brown.

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Losgehts
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Re: Insect emblem of U 581

Post by Losgehts » 14 Mar 2020 23:54

I don't see how your reply answers my question, Max. Maybe you forced my eyes and nose to the answer, but I can't read it.

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Waleed Y. Majeed
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Re: Insect emblem of U 581

Post by Waleed Y. Majeed » 15 Mar 2020 03:41

Maybe this will help
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crab_louse

Waleed

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Max
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Re: Insect emblem of U 581

Post by Max » 15 Mar 2020 04:46

In mid-December, U 581 was ready to go into action. It was assigned to the 7th U-flotilla. Beside the emblem of the 7th U-Flotilla, the bull of Scapa Flow, U 581 wore a crab louse as a special boat emblem. During the construction instruction period at Blohm & Voss, the Chief Engineer and a considerable part of the crew were infested by them.
http://dubm.de/en/the-history-of-u-581/
Which made me think: was this creature a pubic lice?

You are correct, crab lice are pubic lice.
"since it was a training boat"
seems not to be accurate.
U 581 did go through a training phase [sea trials] but later went on patrol, attacked and sank shipping and was itself sunk by British destroyers.
As to the crew was stationed at shore all the time. - it is obvious that the crew were not on shore all the time. However they were stationed on shore while U 581 was under construction and it was during this time that the crew contracted crab lice.
I hope that this is clearer.
I don't understand the reference to " Good Luck"

Cheers

Max
Greetings from the Wide Brown.

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Losgehts
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Re: Insect emblem of U 581

Post by Losgehts » 05 Sep 2020 21:28

581 .jpg
So I was right after all? Haha! It was no more than a hunch, really. Imagine a U-Boat with a pubic lice on its conning tower. I wonder if Donitz knew about this unofficial tomfoolery. Thanks Waleed, Max, for helping me out. Sorry for the late reply.

Max: I thought "taking care of a crew", as in "protecting a crew" by means of a mascotte. Superstitious, like most sailors, a "good luck" charm, if you will.
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Losgehts
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Re: Insect emblem of U 581

Post by Losgehts » 05 Sep 2020 21:39

581.png

one of the original cap badges for U 581, I presume. :roll:
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Hans1906
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Re: Insect emblem of U 581

Post by Hans1906 » 07 Sep 2020 13:16

Good afternoon to the topic,

A typical german phrase is:
"He / It is like a louse on the (nut)sack"

If something, or someone is "Eine Laus am Sack!" a "louse on the (nut)sack", then the phrase stands for something that is very difficult to get rid of...
In this case the german submarine U 581 was the "Laus am Sack" of the allied units at sea.

Another slang commonly used in the german military was the term "Sackratten", "Nutsack Rats".
This was probably the reason, why the crew of U 581 chose this symbol of a Pubic Lice as their own emblem.
Strange humor in wartimes, and certainly not the only example, otherwise the men on the submarines had little to laugh about at all... :wink:

For further reading I like to recommend the german book:

Georg Högel
Embleme - Wappen - Malings deutscher U-Boote 1939 - 1945
Koehler Verlag

Excellent book on this topic, unfortunately out of stock, but antiquarian, and highly recommended!

Hans1906
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