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stepping stones of maritime history


At 15.02 hours on 30 September 1940 the unescorted Haulerwijk (Master Jacob Jan Antonie Oepkes), a straggler from station #13 in convoy OB-219 since 26 September due to dense fog, was missed by a torpedo from U-32 that passed underneath the hull without detonating about 660 miles west of Ireland in position 54°28N/26°33W. The U-boat was already chasing the ship for seven hours after a first attack went wrong when a torpedo wasn’t fired due to a handling error of a crew member at 08.44 hours. Because the armed ship was now alarmed and zigzagging, Jenisch decided to wait for the night and at 22.51 hours gave the order to open fire with the deck and AA guns from her port side until the target stopped. When the ship moved again after twelve minutes, the U-boat once more shelled her with all weapons until she stopped and then carried out a third attack. The Germans ceased fire as they were low on ammunition and soon thereafter two lifeboats were spotted nearby. They questioned the master, who spoke German, gave him the course to the nearest land and helped some survivors who had been wounded during the attacks. At 10.35 hours on 1 October, U-32 returned to the wreck of Haulerwijk and fired four well aimed rounds with the deck gun into the waterline. Shortly thereafter the ship sank vertically by the bow, causing the round still loaded in her stern gun to be fired high into the sky. The survivors were later picked up by the Rothley and landed at Capetown on 31 Oktober. (



  • Haersolte, J.W.J. van (1947).
    Scheepsrampen in oorlogstijd, no. 39.
    J.F. Duwaer & Zonen, Amsterdam.
  • Uboat net.

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