U-505 under Alex-Olaf Löwe June 1942 Bahamas patrol

            The next German boat into the region was later to become famous for its capture whole by the Americans – it is now on display in the Museum of Science in Chicago. U-505 under Alex-Olaf Löwe (also spelt Loewe), a Type IXC boat, entered the region between Bermuda and Anegada on the 30th of June 1942 and proceeded on a southwesterly course for three days, as though headed for the Windward Passage.
However on the 2nd of July U-505 took a sharp left turn and steamed instead for the Mona Passage between Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, which it reached and transited inward for the Caribbean on the 3rd. It sank two ships of note on its brief incursion: the Thomas McKean and the Sea Thrush – both of them just to the east of the border with the area.
On the 28th of July the 5,447 ton Sea Thrush was sunk by torpedo, with the Thomas McKeanfollowing her the next day – she was 7,191. Both were American flagged, and the Thomas McKean, loaded as she was with planes and tanks on deck, made for extraordinary photographs by the U-boat crew as she burned and sank. U-505 also sank the Urious(ex-Mayflower), a Colombian schooner of 153 tons, off the Panama Canal on the 22nd of July, bringing total tonnage for the eighty-day patrol of and for Lorient to 12,791.
The Urious was variously reported as the Roamar of 110 tons – Wynn, Vol. 1, p.323. Hans Goebeler in his memoir Steel Boats and Iron Hearts calls the victim Roamar and details the captain’s reservations about having to sink the neutral schooner. The solution to the riddle is simple. The owners of the boat were Eladio Rodriguez, Pablo Arango and Señor Martinez of Barranquilla. By putting the first letter or two of their last names together they came up with the name of the company which operated the three-masted schooner: ROAMAR. Evidently, though the lifeboat managed to get away all thirteen were killed. Dönitz did not approve of the attack on a harmless neutral.
Shortly after the attack on the schooner, Löwe requested permission to return to base due to acute pain. On the return to base on the 25th of August the commander had his apendix removed (Ibid.). On the way to Biscay U-505 met with U-214 under Günther Reeder and gave the outgoing boat her surplus fuel and supplies. Wynn reports that in the Caribbean the sub was forced to dive due to aircraft 30 times, though these aircraft actually attacked only once. Only 498 hours were spent under water, the overwhelming balance of 12,842 hours were spent motoring on the surface, indicating a general lack of fear of Allied attack (Wynn, Vol. 1, p.323).
            A member of the Crew of 1928, KorvettenkapitänAxel-Olaf Löwe joined the Reichsmarinein 1928 and after staff positions joined the U-boat arm in November 1940, starting with a patrol under Kentrat on U-74. He commissioned U-505 in August 1941 and during over one year of command sank seven ships of nearly 38,000 tons. This patrol was the third of twelve patrols for the boat in the Second Flotilla.
Löwe’s successor Peter Zschech was in command when she was captured by the Allies in the Central Atlantic and towed to Bermuda in mid-1944. From 1944 to April 1945 he served under Albert Speer in the ministry for armament and production before being detained and released by the Allies. Löwe survived the war to live until 1984 and the age of 75. He received no decorations or promotions.

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, Hans Goebeler, Steel Boats and Iron Hearts: A U-Boat Crewman’s Life Aboard U-505, 2008, Theodore P. Savas, Hunt and Kill: U-505 and the U-boat War in the Atlantic, 2004, squidoo.com/U-for-U-505