Oberleutnant zur Zee Albert Lauzemis was next to bring his Type IXC boat U-68 into the area on the 23rd of February 1943. From midway Bermuda – Anegada he steamed west to a point east of the Bahamas and north of Puerto Rico so that they could repair their Metox device. Metox was a piece of equipment which enabled a U-boat to detect when Allied aircraft had detected the U-boat with centi-metric radar. The Metox set gave the submarine a chance to submerge or fight it out on the surface rather than being surprised at night by an enemy aircraft, which often turned on bright search lights (called Leigh Lights) at the last minute to both illuminate and blind the target.
On the 2nd of March U-68 resumed its course towards the islands, and entered the Mona Passage the following day. Once inside the Caribbean it attacked and sank two ships – the Cities Service Missouri and Ceres, both in convoy GAT 49 going from Guantanamo to Trinidad via Aruba and both struck on the 13th of March. Cities Service Missouri was 7,506 tons and American-flagged, the Ceres of Dutch registry and 2,680 tons.
On the 4th of March it exited the area bound for a patrol off Panama. However on the 31st of March Lauzemis was to return via the Anegada passage, heading northward on the eastern fringe of the area. Two days later, on the 2nd of April it was attacked by US Air Force aircraft said by Kelshall to be based in the Bahamas, but more probably based in Puerto Rico.
According to U-boat.net the boat was attacked three times while operating north of Puerto Rico since the 27th of March. The attacks were so fierce that the boat was pinned underwater for 127 hours in six days, and precipitated the boat’s return to Europe. It is foreseeable, in light of attacks by four sets of aircraft, that some of them left from Bahamas and others from Puerto Rico.
On the 4th of April U-68 turned 90 degrees to the east and exited the area bound northeast for Lorient on the 5th of April 1942. Having left Lorient on the 6th of December 1942, U-68 was refueled by U-117 for the return voyage south of the Azores on the 17th of April, 1943. She arrived back in Lorient on the 7th of May 1943 (Wynn, Vol. 1, p.50).
A member of the Crew A of 1937, Lauzemis was 24 at the time of his thirteen-day patrol of the area. Over five patrols and 228 sea days, according to Rohwer and Uboat.net, Lauzemis sank nearly 28,000 tons. Early in his career he served on U-139 and U-37 on a highly successful patrol. He was second watch officer of U-68 under Karl-Friedrich Merten on her commissioning in 1941 and rose to the rank of Oberleutnant zur See, earningKapitänleutnant only after his death.
In January 1944 Lauzemis was awarded the German Cross in Gold. He would go on to sink five ships of 27,302 tons and an auxiliary warship of 545 tons. He lived until the 10th of April 1944. On that date an Avenger and Wildcat aircraft from the carrier USS Guadalcanalsank her north-west of Madeira. One of the crew of 57 survived, and Lauzemis was not him.
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