The patrol of the German submarine U-103 under Kapitänleutnant Werner Winter lasted for six days in the area, all of it inbound. Starting after being refueled in early May, Winter headed southeast from a position north of the island. On the 5th of May his route intersected quite by chance with the outbound Stanbank, with predictable results. The attack took place 210 nautical miles northeast of Bermuda and 540 nautical miles southeast of Nantucket Island.
KorvettenkapitänWerner Winter who sank the Stanbank on 5 May, 1942
Photo source: http://www.uboat.net/men/winter.htm
After the Stanbank attack U-103 turned southwest for a day, then west across the north of Bermuda until turning southwest on the 8th and exiting the area for the Bahamas theater between Bermuda and Hatteras. Having left Saint Nazaire on the 15th of April, the boat was refueled by U-459 500 miles northeast of Bermuda in early May.
After entering the Bahamas area midway between Bermuda and Savannah on the seventh, U-103 headed first southwest in the direction of the Straits of Florida and then south along the eastern Bahamas to exit the region via the Windward Passage on the 13th of May. Winter would return two weeks later after devastating attacks on eight other ships, mostly in the Yucatan Channel and the western and southwestern tips of Cuba.
U-103’s victims included the Ruth Lykes on the 17th, Ogontz two days later, both Clare and Elizabeth two days after that and on the 23rd and 24th the Samuel Q. Brown and Hector. On the 26th he dispatched the Alcoa Carrier and on the 28th the New Jersey, for total tonnage (including Stanbank) of 42,169 tons sunk. All but the British Stanbank and the Dutch Hector were American ships.
On the return voyage Winter again transited the Windward Passage – this time on the 31st of May – and opted to steam east of Inagua and through the Caicos Channel on the first of June. For the next four days he steamed northeast, exiting the area south of Bermuda on the 5th of June and heading for Biscay, which he had left on the 15th of April.
On the very day that he passed south of Bermuda Winter was awarded the Knights Cross via radio for an exceptionally successful patrol. Before that his highest award was the Iron Cross First Class. Winter’s career haul amounted to fifteen ships sunk for 79,302 tons – he appears to have been a thorough skipper, as none of his victims escaped merely damaged: all were finished off. The boat returned to Lorient (having left St. Nazaire) on the 22nd of June 1942.
Winter would be promoted to Korvettenkapitän in March of 1943. His total of five war patrols amounted to 209 sea days. A member of the crew of 1930, Winter had served on the light cruiser Emden before joining U-boats in 1935. Captured in Brest in 1944, he was released in 1947. After a few years in the Bundesmarinehe retired as a Kapitän zur See, and lived a further two years until 1972 when he passed away in Kiel.