little Dominican schooner Carmen sunk off the DR by U-166 under Hans-Gunther Kuhlmann on 11 July 1942


U-166 during training in the Baltic. Photo source:
        The schooner Carmen was 84 tons, two masted, and flagged to the Dominican Republic. While on a voyage from Puerto Plata, on the island of Hispaniola to Ponce, on the neighboring island of Puerto Rico. Her cargo consisted of 2,000 sacks of corn-like maize, 476 pieces of mahogany wood, and other lengths of cedar wood.

           The schooner was discovered by Hans-Gunther Kuhlmann in the German submarine U-166 on the 11th of July, 1942. Kuhlmann decided to attack. Rather than wasting a torpedo on a shallow-draft sailing craft, the men of U-166 opted to shell the schooner into submission using the 105-mm deck gun.

            The attack took place at 5 pm local time at position 19.43N by 70.12W, which is about 8 miles from Gaspar Hernandez, Dominican Republic. Since this is only a day’s sail or so east of Puerto Plata (even against the prevailing easterly winds), the Carmen must have only set out on the 10th or 9th of July.

             Only seven of the crew of eight managed to escape the vessel before it was shelled into splinters. The fact that one of them was caught aboard and killed suggests that the attack was sudden. The depth was 210 fathoms or 1260 feet at that spot. The master and surviving crew were able to make landfall on the nearby Dominican Republic shore using a lifeboat.

NOTE: There is no known photograph of this schooner, nor are the names of the owner or the skipper known. The NARA files in DC have been searched, but more might be found in US Navy Intelligence Summaries in 1944 as well as some Admiralty files, or at

U-166 was discovered recently in the US Gulf after many years of searching, by an oil exploration firm.

SOURCES: NARA “Survivor Statements” / summaries, and