Kapitänleutnant Freiherr Sigfried von Forstner entered the region on the Type VIIC boat U-402 for a short incursion in the northwest quadrant on the 25th of April, 1942. He was cruising off the Carolinas, actually closer to Bermuda, when he turned south for a day until the 26th. At that point he was over 700 miles northeast of Abaco, before turning west towards the coast. He steamed in that direction, finding no Allied ships in a sweep across the Gulf Stream and the coastwise route from Panama and the US Gulf to New York and Halifax.
On the 28thof April he ran out of ocean and turned northeast when still just east of Savannah, Georgia. That evening he ducked out of the region after just four days, heading back to the Cape Hatteras area. The following day U-402 was sighted by Lieutenant (junior grade) Robert A. Proctor roughly twenty miles south of Cape Lookout, in the Carolinas. Having been vectored to the submarine by radar, the US Navy PBY Catalina aircraft swooped in to drop four depth charges, but the submarine escaped.
Two days after that U-402 located and sank the Soviet ship Ashkhabadof 5,284 tons, followed on the 2nd of May by sinking the USS Cythera, a yacht converted to patrol duties by the Americans and named PY-26 for Patrol Yacht. She was 602 tons, and von Forstner imprisoned two captives from her. Before entering the greater Bahamas region U-402 had sunk the Empire Progress of the UK on the 13th of April. She was 5,249 tons and contributed to von Forstner’s overall career total of fourteen ships sunk of 70,434 tons, not including the Cythera.
U-402’s patrol began on the 26th of March and ended in Saint Nazaire, where it was based with the Third Flotilla, on the 29th of May 1942. U-402’s only commander was von Forstner, who took her on eight patrol of 349 days, right up to her demise on 13 October 1943 when she was destroyed with all hands by aircraft from the escort carrier USS Cardin the Central Atlantic.
Von Forstner was promoted to Korvettenkapitän a year after his incursion into the Bahamas (1st April 1943) and earned the Knights Cross in February of that year. He was a member of the Crew of 1930 before serving on the Nürnberg during the first year of the war. He joined U-boats in April 1940 and served under the ace Kretschmer on U-99 before commissioning his own boat, U-402. Thirty one years of age when he dipped into the area, he was 33 when killed, having been born in Hannover on 19 September 1910.
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