The last days of U 534

Many different (and enigmatic) stories are to be found about U-534 when you search the Internet. The decipherment of the Enigma messages found in U-534 and the access to many deciphered Enigma-messages in the British National Archives have given better information about the last days of U-534.The following list of events may not be the final one. New research has given positions of several of the points and routes mentioned in the  messages, so it is now probably closer to the truth. It has been possible to follow U-534 most of the time from 1 May till its sinking, and also show with great probability that it was on its way to Norway under orders, as leader of a group of u-boats. Some lines are added about the German plans for continuing the war from Norway as they are revealed in the messages, and also about scuttling.

1 May 1832: U-534 is on its way from Rot 01 to Rot 07 together with V-2014. Rot 07 was ENE of Fehmarn on 54,27N, 11,32E. Rot 01 was North of Kiel on 54,29N, 10,17E.

2 May 0100 U-534 anchors close to Rot 07 for bunkering. It is with U-2534 that must be scuttled, and U-534 asks where to scuttle it. U-534 requests escort to Kiel.

2 May 0120, however, U-534 reports at anchor at Rot 07 waiting for tender Lech, before continuing to Travemünde(!).

2 May 0324 U-534 reports that it has joined the convoy of Lech at 0315.

2 May 2245 U-3523 og U-3017 reports that they have anchored at Rot 07 and are awaiting escort. They are the two u-boats that followed U-534 in the coming days, so maybe U-534 has been waiting for them at Rot 07 all of 2 May?

3 May 0504 a message to U-534 instructs U-534 to sail to Gelting Bay, and says that U-2543 shall be scuttled outside the mineswept channel (no indication that U-534 really sailed to Gelting Bay).

4 May 0203 is the next message. U-534 reports that it is anchoring at anchorage “T” together with U-3523 and U-3017. Anchorage T is in Southern part of Øresund, North of Stevns at 55,19N, 12,32E.

4 May 0538 U-534, U-3523 and U-3017 are ordered to continue passage.

4 May at 0700 an unidentified station reports that Gruppe Nollau (named after the commander of U-534) has passed at 0645 (it could be near Copenhagen?)

4 May 1135 Gruppe Nollau anchors at anchorage ”O” which according to the messages was SE Helsingør in the Northernmost part of Øresund at 56,00N, 12,37E.

4 May 1200 M-3824 reports that U-534, U-3017 and U-3523 have anchored at anchorage ”O”.

4 May 2330 the guardship at anchorage “O” is ordered to let the u-boats continue independently via route 48 (N Øresund to Oslo) to Schwarz 18A NE of Læsø at 57,32N,11,21E, surfaced. From there on according to order no. 7.

5 May 0730 it is reported that Gruppe Nollau has continued passage (it now consists of U-534, U-3017, U-3523 and U-3503). No info on where this report comes from. U-3503 must have joined Gruppe Nollau. At 0950 on 5 May U-3503 receives oil from U-3523.

5 May 2313 guardship 101 (NE Anholt) reports that U534 at 1938 was hit by a bomb and sunk. Rescue work is ongoing. Two men missing, search continues.

3 May 0234 the Commanding Admiral orders that all U-boats and vessels that are bound for Kiel shall not continue as Kiel is threatened by the enemy. In the same message another commander is ordered to start the passage to Norway.

4 May 1156 all ships (probably from the Western Baltic heading for Norway) are ordered to sail through Little Belt to anchorage ”C”, between Samsø and Kalundborg at 55,43N, 10,30E. If that is not possible, then through Svendborg Sound and Great Belt to anchorage ”C”. Passage through Øresund shall be avoided due to mines. However, if that route is ordered (as for Gruppe Nollau), continue to anchorage “O” SE of Helsingør. Order no. 7 will be handed out at the two anchorages.

4 May 2000 and 5 May0445 there are two identical messages with a preliminary list of u-boats that are on the way to Norway. This list comprises 14 uboats: U-369, U-975, U-534, U-2503, U-2518, U-3041, U-3503, U-3017, U-3515, U-3523, U-2363, U-4706, U-2353, U-2361. (Later U-2518 and U-3515 report arrival at Horten, and U-3017 also gets there)

5 May 0251 the leaders of the u-boat groups, probably on the way to Norway; among them U-534, are ordered to acknowledge paras 22, 30 og 31 (probably in the received order no.7).

Scuttling of own ships
There are many and conflicting orders to execute operation ”Regenbogen” (scuttling of own ships) and not to execute it. One indication of what is intended may be seen in a message from 4 May 2352 to all the u-boats in Gelting Bay: All u-boats that can be usable in Norway, shall sail in groups for Southern Norway. The rest must execute “Regenbogen” in Gelting Bay.

5 May 0800 all u-boats are ordered not to execute ”Regenbogen”!

March 2016