Patrol 32, U-588 Victor Vogel, 19 days 10 to 28 May, 1942.
Victor Vogel, who brought U-588 on a 19-day incursion of New England in May of 1942. Photo courtesy of http://uboat.net/men/commanders/1305.html.
Kapitänleutnant(posthumously Korvettenkapitän) Victor Vogel brought U-588 on a complex and highly destructive 19-day patrol of New England waters from the 10thto the 28th of May, 1942. On the day he entered the area he sank the British ship Kitty’s Brook of 4,031 tons in Canadian waters. The day before he had damaged the 7,460-ton US-flagged Greylock. His effective attacks were to continue.
Entering on a southwest course from a point south of Cape Sable Nova Scotia the submarine dog-legged on the 11th back northeast until the 13th, when it headed northwest for several days, into the southeastern corner of the Gulf of Maine. Then on the 17th U-588 surprised the Norwegian tanker Skottland of 2,117 tons.
One man of the Skottland’s 24 perished, the balance managed to get away in a single remaining boat and some rafts. A Canadian lobster boat, the O.K. Servise 4 (Captain S.E. Himmelman) picked up the survivors, nine of whom were injured, and took them to Boston (UBoat.net).
The next day Vogel and his officers and men attacked and damaged the Fort Binger, a 5,671-ton British steamer some 70 miles west of Cape Sable, NS. Originally the Fort Binger was in Convoy ONS 92. It was an unusual attack since the lookouts spotted the two torpedoes from U-588 and the ship swerved to avoid one projectile and was grazed by another. Then Captain Andre Jean Jacques Joly turned to ram the U-Boat which opened up 20 minutes later with its deck gun.
After another attempt to ram the sub, a merchant crew member was killed and four others wounded. The ship made a run for Yarmouth Harbor which it reached safely, sending a boat ashore for medical assistance. The Royal Canadian Air Force sent out their crash boat the Arresteur which at one point picked up the crew which had abandoned the Fort Binger, and the Free French crew of 61 re-boarded their ship. They had barely escaped sinking by Vogel, saved in part by a heavy fog.
Vogel then headed south until the 20th of May, then southwest until the 22nd, when it encountered the US-flagged, 3,282-ton Plow City en route from Trinidad to New York the ship was sunk at night by a single torpedo. Plow City was in the process of fleeing a lifeboat and suspected U-boat (Peisander’s lifeboat, the ship was sunk by U-653 under Feiler), and Vogel zeroed in on the resultant smoke from the stack. A coup de grace torpedo sank the ship. The Second Mate was killed, however 30 other survivors managed to scramble into lifeboats. Vogel took one of the survivors aboard U-588 then placed him in a lifeboat with rum and cigarettes. On the 27th the US Navy patrol yacht USS Sapphire (PYc 2) rescued the men in the boats.
The submarine headed southeast and the following day encountered the hapless British steamer Margot, 4,545 tons, bound from New York to Trinidad and Cape Town, and ultimately Alexandria Egypt. Her general cargo included explosives. The ship was attacked on the 23rd German time by a torpedo and sunk early the following day by gunfire. Out of 45 men under Captain Henry Bell Collins, all but one survived. They were given rum by Vogel and his men and picked up four days later by the Swedish ship Sagoland and taken to New York (UBoat.net).
Following the attack on the Margo and three other ships Vogel headed east, nearly left the region well south of Cape Sable on the 26th, and ultimately left the area about 300 miles south of Sable on the 28th of May. The patrol began in St. Nazaire on the 19th of April and ended there on the 7thof June. U-588 was part of a group of other boats (U-455, U-553, U-593/Kelbling) which were vectored to Cape Sable to intercept a convoy there on May 1-2, however the convoy hugged the coast and was not attacked. By the 4thof May the line was disbanded and the boats headed south of Halifax.
Vogel, who was 29 at the time of this patrol, was born in Tübingen in November 1912. He was part of the German navy’s Crew of 1932 and up to 1941 served in mine-sweeping and anti-submarine fleets before joining U-Boats in March 1941. In Hamburg that September he took over command of U-588.
Vogel’s total score was 7 ships sunk and 2 damaged of roughly 34,500 tons total. He received no decorations. U-588 was sunk on 31 July 1942 by HMCS Wetaskiwin and HMCS Skeena by depth charges northeast of Newfoundland. There were no survivors out of 46 men (Niestlé, 1998, Uboat.net).
Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim, “German U-Boat Commanders of World War II, A Biographical Dictionary,” Greenhill Books, London and Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 1999
Helgasson, Guðmundur and Kolbicz, Rainer, www.uboat.net, 2015
Högel, Georg, “U-Boat Emblems of World War II 1939 – 1945,” Schiffer Military History, Atglen, PA, US, 1999
Kurowski, Franz, Knights of the Wehrmacht, Knight’s Cross Holders of the U-Boat Service,” Schiffer Military/Aviation History, Atglen, PA, US, 1995
Mason, Jerry, www.uboatarchive.net – for the KTB or war diary of this patrol, 2015
Niestlé,Axel, “German U-Boat Losses During World War II – Details of Destruction,” Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 1998