U-332 under Johannes Liebe Bermuda patrol June 1942

U-332          Liebe  24-Jun-1942         13 days

KapitänleutnantJohannes Liebe brought U-332 on a circumnavigation of Bermuda of 13 days starting on the 24th of June 1942 and endig on the 16thof July. Liebe began to the northwest of Bermuda and headed southeast until the 26th of June. Then he turned southwest whilst he was due east of Bermuda and headed south. On the 28th he attacked and sank the US freighter Raphael (also known as Ralph) Semmes before turning west to keep his boat in a circular pattern.

By the second of July U-332 was west-southwest of Bermuda and exxtited the area towards Hatteras. Coming back to the region from the same spot on the 12th of July Liebe opted to motor northeast in a straight line, intersecting his earlier course north-northeast of Bermuda and exiting the region on the 16thnortheast of the island.

The next incursion into the Bahamas region was led by Johannes Liebe in U-332, a Type VIIC boat out of the Third flotilla. He sailed to and from La Pallice, France, on the 24th of May, entering the area just southeast of Bermuda on the 27th of June 1942. The following day he dispatched the 6,027-ton Raphael Semmes, an American steamer named after the Civil War hero for the South who made his name on the famous raider CSS Alabama and which was sunk in a long battle off the coast of France.

The Semmes was bound from Bombay India to New York via Trinidad with manganese ore, licorice, wool, rugs and tobacco. Nineteen were lost, the balance being picked up the Exploreron 16 July and landed in New Jersey (photographs or the rafts and the survivors at the time of rescue are stark). Liebe assisted ten of the survivors, dressing their wounds and giving them water and food.
On this 70-day patrol Liebe would sink two ships, including the Greek steamer Leonidas M. which he sank on 19 July on his way home from a patrol along the coasts of Cape Hatteras and Long Island, New York. Two officers from the Leonidas M. were taken prisoner aboard the submarine and taken to France – a fate marginally better than being cast adrift in an open boat. U-332 was refueled by U-461 in end July west of the Azores. She returned to La Pallice on the 1st of August 1942 (Wynn, Vol. 1, p.221).
Liebe’s total tonnage for the patrol was 10,600. His patrol in the area was short-lived, of six days’ duration. From near Bermuda he headed west for three days then northwest for Hatteras, exiting the region east of Savannah on the 2nd of July. 

A member of the crew of 1933, Kapitänleutnant Johannes Liebe began U-boat training after a stint at the Naval Airfield Headquarters. His first boat was U-48 under Schultze, sinking four ships on their first patrol. On his first patrol off Hatteras he sank four ships of 25,000 tons despite being low on fuel.

Liebe moved ashore in January 1943 and after a brief detention following the war was released in July 1945. His decorations included Iron Cross First Class based on total tonnage 46,729 tons from eight ships sunk. Liebe lived until the age of 69, dying in late 1982.
SOURCES: Gudmundur Helgason, Rainer Kolbicz, www.uboat.net, 2013, Kenneth Wynn, U-boat Operations of the Second World War, Volume 1 and Volume 2, 1997, R. Busch, and H.-J. Röll, German U-boat Commanders of World War II, 1988, Franz Kurowski, Knights Cross Holders of the U-boat Service