U-85 under Eberhard Greger, Bermuda patrol April 1942

U-85  Greger         6-Apr-1942 4

Oberleutnant zur See Eberhard Greger brought his command, U-85 into the Bermuda area on the sixth of April, on route to being sunk off Cape Hatteras a week or so later. The incursion began northeast of Bermuda up to the seventh, then there is a dog-leg south towards Bermuda, a change of course westward on the eighth, and then more westward progress to the ninth, when the boat exited the theater for the US coast.

U-85 sailed for the 3rdU-boat Flotilla in La Pallice on the 21st of March 1942. On 10thApril U-85 is believed to have sunk the Christian Knudsen, a Norwegian tanker of 4,904 tons near the US coast. Then USS Roper made radar contact with U-85 east of Roanoke Island, Virginia and the destroyer went in for an attack.

The submarine’s torpedo attack missed the mark and the Roper caught the surfaced sub in a searchlight and heavy gunfire which killed the sub’s gun crew. Jittery US crew depth-charged the waters around 31 survivors, and some of the bodies were too badly maimed by machine gun fire to be retrieved. Sixteen of the sub’s crew went down with their boat – the first U-boat sunk by a US Navy ship in World War II.

Greger was born in 1915 in the Netherlands and joined the Crew of 1935. After serving aboard destroyer Wolfgang Zenker he moved to U-boats in October 1939 and served aboard U-110 and U-30. Between August 1941 and March 1942 he served 137 days on four patrols aboard U-85. His total tally was three ships sunk for 15,060. Greger received no decorations. He was 26 years of age when killed. 

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