Karl Neitzel led the next patrol to the eastern fringe of the area for the first week of August, 1942. He was Korvettenkapitänin charge of the IXC-type boat U-510 which entered the area westbound from Lorient on the 30th of July. Like Senkel before him, at first the boat’s trajectory was the normal southwest route to the Windward Passage, then Neitzel doubled back the following day and painted a box on the sea surface, the northwest corner of which was the sinking of the Maldonado, a neutral from Uruguay of 5,285 which was dispatched on the 2nd of August.
Like the sinking of the Montevideo by the Tazzoli earlier, this incident inflamed Uruguayan sentiment against the Germans and pried that country and others further away from neutrality in the conflict. In fact Neitzel opted to take the master of the Maldonado captive, which could not have further endeared him to Uruguay’s public.
After that U-510 steamed east until the 4th of August, then back west to just east of the line between Bermuda and Anegada, and finally on the 5th Neitzel set a straight course south- southeast to a point just east of Anegada. His other victims on this patrol (out of the area) were the Alexia, damaged on the 10th of August (and towed to Puerto Rico) and the Cressington Court nine days later – both British-flagged, and 8,016 and 4,971 tons respectively.
This was U-510’s first patrol, originating in Kiel on the 7th of July. She was refueled later that month by U-463 west of the Azores. On the 18th of August Nietzel claimed to have attacked a steamer east of the Caribbean. On the 20th U-510 made a rendezvous with U-155, which had been damaged in an attack and could not dive. The two boats moved eastwards together. Despite another rendezvous with U-460, U-155 still could not submerge and so U-510 escorted the boat most of the way home, arriving in Lorient on the 13th of September 1942 with no further attacks (Wynn, Vol. 1, p. 327).
Of the boat’s following seven patrols before her surrender in France, Neitzel would command three of them and Alfred Eick the balance. The boat would go on to become a “Monsun Boat” and be taken to Penang, Malaysia, Singapore, Kobe Japan and Batavia (now Jakarta) Indonesia before returning to France in 1945. She would accrue 574 patrol days and 148,976 tons of Allied shipping attacked.
Nietzel began in the King’s Navy in 1917 on torpedo boats. Born on 30 January 1901 he was the oldest skipper of any commanded in the Bahamas and was 41 years of age on the patrol in question. He gave up command of the First Minesweeper Flotilla to join U-boats in February 1941 and commissioned U-510 in November of that year. On one attack on a convoy he sank three ships and damaged five for over 54,000 tons in just three hours.
Neitzel’s total tonnage including damaged ships would reach over 75,000 tons. He was promoted to Fregattenkapitän and then Kapitän zur See in 1943, and was awarded the Knights Cross in March of 1943. He moved back to shore command in May 1943 and was in command of a Marine – Grenadier regiment (number seven) at the end of the war, at which point he spent seven months in captivity. He was to live until the age of 65 in 1966. His patrol would be the last to enter in the busy months of June and July.
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