U-84 under Horst Uphoff, Bermuda patrol, June 1942

U-84  Uphoff         29-Jun-1942       

U-84 under Oberleutnant zur See Horst Uphoff spent 11 days patrolling in the Bermuda box, first west-bound for the Straits of Florida and then eastbound homeward, beginning the 29th of June 1942 and ending on July 31st. Starting on the 29th of June 1942 U-84 steamed west, south of Bermuda on its way toward the Straits of Florida via Grand Bahama. It left the region on the third of July. Then on the 26th of July the boat returned, this time heading east-northeast and passing quite close to Bermda on the 28th. Proceeding eastbound it exited the area east of the island on July 31st.

After its initital incursion, on the 6th of July, while poised to enter the Straits of Florida, the boat effected a nearly 180 degree turn and Uphoff opted instead to head east until the 8th. At that point, just northeast of Elbow Cay Light Abaco, the boat turned right nearly 90 degrees and steamed towards the Crooked Island Passage.

After passing over 100 miles east of Abaco, Eleuthera, Cat Island and San Salvador the submarine transited the Crooked Island Passage between the 10th and 11th of July. From there U-84 headed northwest up the Old Bahama Channel between the 11th and 13th of July, when it encountered the Andrew Jackson, an American steamer of 5,990 tons, which it sank west of the Cay Sal Bank.

Leaving the region briefly to patrol north of Havana and west of Key West, the sub sank the 1,648-ton Honduran ship Baja California in the US Gulf northwest of Key West on the 19th and two days later damaged the William Cullen Bryant, an American ship of 7,176 tons, out of convoy TAW 4J in a position west of Cay Sal Bank. After these three successes (on top of an earlier sinking of the Torvanger outside the area, for a patrol total of 21,382 tons), Uphoff headed home via the Straits of Florida.

Re-entering the region on the 21st of July the boat headed north until the 24th, at which point it passed West End Grand Bahama and turned 90 degrees eastward for Bermuda. On the 29th it passed just south of St. David’s Light, Bermuda and headed back to Brest, France, where it was based with the First Flotilla. It was the boat’s fifth of eight patrols.

Like U-571 and U-575 before it, on the way to the patrol area U-84 took part in a patrol line, called Endrass, initially against convoy HG 84 along with five other boats. The boat was then refueled west of the Azores by U-459 (Wynn, Vol. 1, p.63). The patrol ended in Brest on the 13th of August 1942. It had begun on the 10th of June. On the return voyage U-84 was again refueled, this time by U-463 west of the Azores for its return trip across Biscay (Ibid.).

The submarine was to leave its bones and those of its crew east of the Bahamas within a year. Horst Uphoff was only 25 at the time of this patrol. A member of the crew of 1935 his rank at the time was Kapitänleutnant, having been promoted from Oberleutnant zur See on the very day that he entered the region. Joining U-boats in October 1939, he served under Endrass in U-46 for four patrols, sinking seventeen ships of 90,000 tons plus two others for 15,000 GRT. Uphoff commissioned the new VIIB boat U-84 in April of 1941, leaving on its first patrol from Bergen Norway.

Over a year and half Uphoff would lead U-84 on eight patrols for 461 sea days. His total bag was six ships sunk for 29,905 and one damaged for 7,176 GRT, which earned him the Iron Cross First Class while alive and the German Cross in Gold posthumously, in January 1944. He was killed well inside the region on the 7th of August 1943 by Allied aircraft according to submarine loss expert Axel Niestle (see entry for U-84’s final patrol to Bermuda in 1943).

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