U-boat commander Carl Emmermann celebrating the award of Knights Cross on board U-172.
The first patrol of June 1942 into the greater Bahamas region was initiated by Kapitänleutnant Carl Emmermann in U-172, who entered north of the Anegada Passage on the 2nd of June and sank the US-flagged City of Alma the following day north-northeast of Puerto Rico. For the next day U-172 headed southwest as though for the Mona Passage directly, but then changed course to the west, as a result of which it caught the Delfina and sank it east of the Turks & Caicos and north of the eastern coast of Dominican Republic on the 5th of June.
The submarine then proceeded towards the Mona Passage, which it entered and transited out of the region on the 6th and 7th of June. Emmermann returned to the area only briefly, to exit the Anegada Passage between the 2nd and 4th of July heading northeast, where it encountered and sank the Santa Rita on the 9th en route back to Lorient, France, from which the patrol had originated. One of the officers from the Santa Rita was brought aboard to be questioned. The patrol began on the 11th of May and ended on the 21st of July 1942.
As with other patrols, U-172 was not idle on the way to and from its patrols nor in the Caribbean region – in fact it sank nine ships of 40,619 tons on this patrol alone. Aside from the British Athelknight sunk on the 27th May inbound, the American Sicilien was struck south of Haiti. Between the 14th and 23rd of June Emmermann struck and sank the Bennestvet (Norwegian), Lebore (US), Motorex (British), and 35-ton Columbian schooner Resolute off the Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal near Colon.
Carl Emmermann joined the navy in 1934 and the U-boat arm in 1939. He completed five patrols in U-172 alone and sank the British liner Orcades of 23,456 tons before being driven off by counter-attack. He also rescued the crew of U-604 which was so badly damaged it was scuttled. On shore Emmermann led the Sixth Flotilla from St. Nazaire. Promoted in 1944 to Korvettenkapitän Emmermann was recycled and put in command of U-3037 in March of 1945. In the waning months of the war he actually saw infantry duty around Hamburg.
Emmermann’s awards are numerous: a Knights Cross following this patrol in November 1942, later supplemented with the Oak Leaves, the U-boat War Badge with Diamonds, the War Merit Cross Second Class with Swords, and the U-boat Front Clasp. He lived until age 75, passing away in 1990.
SOURCES: Gudmundur Helgason, Rainer Kolbicz, www.uboat.net, 2011, Kenneth Wynn, U-boat Operations of the Second World War, Volume 1 and Volume 2, 1997