Operation Ziethen ( (i)

(18th century Prussian cavalry leader)

This was a U-boat wolfpack operation in the Atlantic off Newfoundland (6/22 January 1942).

The wolfpack comprised U-84, U-86, U-87, U-135, U-203, U-333, U-552, U-553, U-582, U-654, U-701 and U-754, and for the loss of none of its own number sank 11 ships (39,900 tons) and damaged three ships (17,621 tons).

Arriving singly off the Newfoundland Bank to the east of Canada, the 12 boats began a programme of individual patrols to points as far to the south as Nova Scotia. The U-boats sent to the bottom several ships: Kapitänleutnant Friedrich-Hermann Praetorius’s U-135 sank the 9,626-ton Belgian Gandia; Kapitänleutnant Joachim Berger’s U-87 sank the 8,237 British Cardita and 8,087-ton Norwegian Nyholt; Kapitänleutnant Erich Topp’s U-552 sank the 4,113-ton British Dayrose, 2,609-ton US Frances Salman and 3,838-ton Greek Maro; Kapitänleutnant Walter Schug’s U-86 sank the 4,271-ton Greek Dimitrios G. Thermiotis and damaged the 8,267-ton British Toorak; Kapitänleutnant Rolf Mützelburg’s U-203 sank the 632-ton Portuguese Catalina and 1,345-ton Norwegian Octavian and also damaged the 888-ton Canadian North Gaspe; Kapitänleutnant Werner Schulte’s U-582 sank the 5,189-ton British Refast; Kapitänleutnant Horst Degen’s U-701 sank the 3,657-ton British Baron Erskine; Kapitänleutnant Peter-Erich Cremer’s U-333 sank 3,429-ton Greek Vassilios A. Polemis, 4,765-ton Norwegian Ringstad and inadvertently the 5,083-ton German blockade runner Spreewald; Kapitänleutnant Karl Thumann’s U-553 sank the 8,260-ton Norwegian Innerøy and damaged the 8,106-ton British Diala; and Kapitänleutnant Hans Oestermann’s U-754 sank the 2,153-ton Norwegian Belize, 1,344-ton Norwegian William Hansen, 3,876-ton Greek Mount Kitheron and 4,013-ton Greek Ikarion.

In addition, Kapitänleutnant Reinhard Suhren’s U-654 sank the Free French corvette Alysse.