U-163 under Kurt-Eduard Engelmann August 1942 Bahamas patrol


            Korvettenkapitän Kurt-Eduard Engelmann took his charge, U-163 through the Windward Passage and back in the next incursion into the area. The submarine entered south of Bermuda and steamed south-southwest towards Mona between the 13th and 16thof August 1942. Then Engelmann swung west and south of the Turks & Caicos, along the north coast of the Dominican Republic. On the 18th of August the boat was through the Windward Passage and exited the region, only to return in four days’ time.

            On the 22nd of August U-163 re-entered the area via a similar but different route. Entering via the Windward Passage, Engelmann opted to utilize the Caicos Passage by heading east of Great and Little Inagua on the 23rd. Emerging into the North Atlantic from between Crooked Island, the Plana Cays and Providenciales, the U-boat headed east-northeast and back to Lorient. It exited the region for the final time on the 27th of August 1942, having crossed its original track into the area on the same day. Its total patrol into the greater Bahamas area lasted twelve days.

            U-163’s patrol began in Kristiansand Norway on 23 July 1942 and ended in Lorient on the 16th of September. Originally the voyage had begun in Kiel on the 21st. On the 17th of August, while north of the Dominican Republic she came across the westbound convoys PG 6 and TAW 13 (Panama Guantanamo and Trinidad-Aruba-Key West). She was apparently unable to attack (Wynn, Vol. 1, p.126). On her return to Europe U-163 was refueled by U-462 west of the Azores. Overall the submarine achieved no sinkings or even attacks during this patrol.

Engelmann’s career total was three ships sunk for 15,011 tons and one warship of 2,000 tons. Born in 1903, he was 29 at the time of this patrol. He achieved the rank of Fregattenkapitän posthumously, after U-163 was attacked and sunk northwest of Spain’s Cape Finisterre by the Canadian corvette HMCS Prescott on March 13th, 1943. There were no survivors of the crew of 57 men.

A member of the Crew of 1923, Engelmann was awarded the U-boat War Badge of 1939. His next patrol was more successful inasmuch as he sank four ships of 17,011 (his total career tonnage) east of the Caribbean in November of the same year, thus exonerating himself somewhat from the failures of his first and later his final and fatal patrol.

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