U-653 under Gerhard Feiler Bermuda patrol February 1942

U-653          Feiler  24-Feb-1942         9 days

On the 24th of February 1942 U-653 under Kapitänleutnant (later Korvettenkapitän) Gerhard Feiler arrived northeast of Bermuda heading west towards the US coast. After motoring three days west the submarine found and sank the Norwegian ship Leif of 1,582 tons at the midway point between Bermuda and Cape Hatteras.

Finding no other victims along the mainland coast, the boat returned on the seventh of March heading east for three days, exiting the region on the ninth of March, 1942, having spent a total of nine days in the area. The patrol began at the 1st U-boat Flotilla base in Brest France on the 31st of January 1942 and ended there on the 30th of March.

Feiler was 32 at the time, having been born in Breslau in 1909. A member of the Crew of 1934, he served on the destroyer Karl Galster between 1938 and 1940 before joining U-boats in July of that year. He commanded U-653 between 1941 and 1943.

Over seven patrols in the same sub for 412 patrol days he managed to attack 5 ships worth 9,382 tons – less than stellar results when compared with his colleagues in the same timeframe (December 1941 – September 1943). He was awarded the German Cross in Gold in 1944. Gerhard Feiler lived until 1990.


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