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Posted by: Petre December 24, 2015 05:45 pm
Selections from The War diary, German Naval Staff Operations Division (USA translation of Kriegstagebuch der Seekriegsleitung) ( adapted ) :

24 Aug. 1944

01.22 Group South (Marinegruppenkommando Süd, Sofia) ... directives to Commanding Admiral, Black Sea (Kommandierender Admiral Schwarzes Meer) (Viceadmiral H.Brinkmann)...
... In any case greatest attention and highest alarm readiness is advisable.
With all means and as far as possible it must be accomplished to prevent the enemy from advancing further southerly of Galatz as well as making outflanking landings and invading the area of Constanta.
The vehicles and materials are under no conditions allowed to fall into enemy hands. Referring to shipyards, storehouses, etc.
Report how the situation is judged there by the church, respectively the attitude of the Romanian Armed Forces and in particular that of the navy to the events.

02.55 radio message from Admiral, Black Sea :
First degree of alarm was ordered, based on the developments of situation in Romania. Constanta and other naval bases were at present still quiet. The harbor of Constanta is blocked by Romanians. A battalion is on its way to occupy the harbor.
Admiral Macellariu informed us that the relationship of attachment under the command of Admiral, Black Sea ceased on orders from Bukarest. The Commanding Gen. 9th Rom. Inf. Division issued orders to abstain from hostile actions against Germans. On the whole the situation is confused. Request directions for manner of acting.

Order from the Fuhrer : Admiral, Black Sea has to occupy and defend Constanta with all conceivable means. If the need should arise, also the transfer of ships to the Danube is inferior to this task.

0730 Admiral, Black Sea received the following directives from Group South :
1. Prevent the Russians by all means of occupying Constanta and of using the harbor.
2. Adopt measures against Romanians also if trying to prevent fulfillment of task.

Commanding Admiral, Black Sea reports that the situation was quiet in Constanta till noon on the 24th. The blocking of the harbor was cancelled by Romanians at 07.00. Traffic of persons as well as the departure and arrival of ships were unhampered. Our batteries and office buildings in Constanta were prepared for a full state of defense. Occupation of the town is not possible owing to shortages in troops.

25 Aug. 1944

00.43 Group South :
Serious alarm is noticeable in discussions between Gen. Ionascu and Admiral Macellariu concerning breach of armistice agreement of demarcation line by Russians. I. and M. hope that the situation in Bukarest will soon clear up in that way that a new working together with Germany is possible.
The situation is quiet in Constanta. Trivial frictions in personal conferences with leading circles were settled without difficulties.

... the Russians crossed the Kilia river ... and were still advancing on the afternoon of 24th northerly of Sulina. ... Romanians ordered the evacuation of Sulina including the southern bank and the dismantling of the batteries ... The German 7.5 cm battery is totally isolated and cannot be held ... Admiral, Black Sea ordered the evacuation of the troops and the demolition of the 7.5 cm guns ...

Admiral, Black Sea reported on the evening of 24th that the ordered occupation of Constanta was not possible owing to shortages in forces, the Fuhrer ordered that the occupation of Romanian naval forces including the Danube monitors should be accomplished with all means.

Admiral, Black Sea and Group South received instructions to defend Constanta to the last, with available naval and land forces, against Russians and Romanians. The fight against the Russian Danube crossing is a further urgent task ...

... the enemy spearhead arrived southerly of Babadag and is advancing to the south without meeting any resistance.

15.55 Admiral, Black Sea reported that Romanians started hostilities at 17.00 and that the area of Constanta could not be held as no area control was available. Naval Shore Command Romania (Seekommandant Rumania) (Kpt.z.S. F.Grattenauer) is directing the land forces from battery "Tirpitz", the Commanding Admiral is directing the naval forces from a Raumboot. All disabled soldiers will be moved in direction to Bulgaria.

16.15 The Array of artillery stores was handed over to the Romanians and the field command with General von Tschammer und Osten were taken prisoner by the Romanians.
convicted and sentenced to death, hanged Jan 1946, Kiev

... radio message from Seekommandant Rumania from battery "Tirpitz" - Constanta was evacuated. German soldiers have pitched camp (şi-au instalat tabăra) in "Tirpitz" and southerly of this. Air force and army have completely withdrawn.

From 20.30 ... a state of war existed between Romania and Germany by the Romanian declaration of war on 25 Aug.

Concerning the Romanian officers, the candidates for a commission, the NCOS and the enlisted personnel which were serving with German troop formations or in offices of Wehrmacht, OKW ordered at once a questioning of such persons if they were willing to continue the battle further for the European case on the side of Germany. In case of refusal, the officers should at once be taken into honourable detention, the candidates for a commission, the NCOS and the enlisted personnel should be interned.

25 Aug. 1944

Submarines U20 and U23 received orders not to enter Constanta but to continue operations, with departing Sub. U19. Sub. U19 will operate east of Constanta, Sub. U20 east of Sulina and Sub. U23 south-west of Sevastopol. Attacks were permitted against Russian as well as against Romanian forces leaving Constanta. The Command of Black Sea Submarines was taken over by Group South.

10 MFPs were employed in ferry traffic across the Danube between Ismail and Tulcea on the 23 Aug. and 10 more on the route Galatz - Braila.
... Naval Forces Black Sea should try to reach the Danube and fight there against Russian crossings.

Group South ordered at noon on 25 Aug. Admiral, Black Sea to defend the area of Constanta by naval and land forces, also against the Romanian will. It was further ordered that a crossing of vehicles or troops from Romania to Bulgaria is out of question, owing to political complications. the ships which were not able to operate in the defense of Constanta should enter maritime Danube and prevent the Russians from crossing the Danube and if possible force their way-through to the Inner Danube.
Admiral, Black Sea who received both orders reported that Constanta could not be held and that parts of the land marines were concentrated in the area of battery "Tirpitz" under the command of Seekommandant Rumania, while naval forces will be led in person by Commanding Admiral from a R-boot. Romanians started hostilities at 17.00. The duration of resistance of battery "Tirpitz" was valued by Admiral, Black Sea as being small, owing to strong superiority of enemy forces and tanks.

Radio message from CO 3rd R-boots Flotilla : Commanding Admiral had not yet arrived in Mangalia at 19.00 on 25 Aug. to proceed on board a R-boot.
Therefore Group South appointed the CO 3rd R-boots Flotilla with the command at sea till the arrival of the Commanding Admiral and transmitted to him the instructions of the Navy Staff that Constanta should be defended to the last by available naval and land forces, against Russians and Romanians and that it is a further urgent task of Admiral, Black Sea to fight against the Russian Danube crossing. Naval Command Varna reported by telephone at 03.20 on 26 Aug. that CO 3rd R-boots Flotilla arrived in Varna with 4 R-boots and 4 MFPs. It proved that the CO 3rd R-boots Flotilla did not receive the instructions of the Group South and owing to weather conditions – north-east force 6 prevailed - entered the harbor according to directives of Seekommandant Rumania. In the meantime, Admiral, Black Sea ordered from an unknown position 2 R-boots for his transfer to Varna.

26 Aug. 1944

Seekommandant Rumania reported also in the early morning 26 Aug. that he had abandoned his position near battery "Tirpitz" with his forces at 00.30 owing to increased danger of being surrounded by strong romanian forces and with regard to the Russian approach to Constanta, to reach the Bulgarian frontier near Negru-Voda.

On account of this established situation contrary to orders of the Group South, Admiral, Black Sea again received orders that it is the task of the naval forces according to the meaning of instructions by the Navy Staff to prevent the Russians from advancing by all means and therefore Seekommandant Rumania should not take evasive actions in the face of a superior enemy. Admiral, Black Sea was requested to report position and to guarantee transmittance of order to Seekommandant.

Group South ordered :
... No more vessels should enter Varna. Ships which arrived already should sail again taking into consideration the still prevailing bad weather situation and fuel supply and proceed to the Danube. Enemy forces met on the way should be annihilated and Russian crossing over the Danube should be prevented. Break-through to the Upper Danube and support withdrawing army according to new directives of the Navy Staff.

The instruction of the Naval Staff of the 26 Aug. to Admiral, Black Sea : It is the obtrusive task of Admiral, Black Sea to prevent the Russian advance across the Danube and to support the withdrawal of our troops across the Danube. Maintain communications with Heeresgruppe for this purpose.

The Chief of Navy Staff transmitted the order of OKW ... Chief of Naval Group South should not leave Sofia at present while the relevant and issued orders ... the command of the Group should stay in Sofia at least as long as Admiral, Black Sea is still on his way to Bulgaria.

26 Aug. 1944

1. Admiral, Black Sea arrived this morning in Varna ...
2. Up to now, 11 R-boots in Varna; 4 S-boot arrived damaged by sea, the latter were only limited able to sail; 12 KFK adrift in the roads.
3. Formations at sea were separated by bad weather (NNE, 6 to 7 prevailing since yesterday). Still an unknown number of vessels were in distress at sea along the Bulgarian coast.
4. The continuing weather situation permits only KTs and R-boots to proceed to the north and, if the need should arise, a single S-boot with an average speed of 5 knots. The use of armament is very restricted, respectively impossible. The existing fuel lasts by reduced speed only to the end of the maritime Danube without taking into consideration expected incidents.
5. After improvement of weather it is planned to carry out operations with U-boots and S-boots against Russian patrols at Romania and to break through with KTs and R-boots to maritime Danube to support the Army. Expectations in success were small. Especially on account of expected operations of the enemy air force.
7. ... it is not known why Seekommandant Rumania withdrew, in spite of clear instructions of defending Constanta.

Commanding Admiral, Black Sea was prevented by Romanians to embark in a R-boot on 25 Aug. as planned and arrived in Varna by motor-car in the morning of 26th. Two boats hit mines in front of the harbor entrance. Owing to the quick development, the Chief of Staff Admiral, Black Sea (Kpt.z.S. von Conrady), was not able to carry out the planned attachment into the land defense. The attempt to advance to Romanian Danube harbors was frustrated by Romanian troops. Therefore the formation tried to reach a Danube port on the Bulgarian frontier.

Group South sent directions to Admiral, Black Sea :
l. Admiral Black Sea will at once be in charge again of all naval forces in the Black Sea...
2. Nothing will be changed in the ordered U-boots ... It is and it will be the task of the naval forces to fight against the Russian naval forces and to support the Army according to issued instructions...
3. The ships which were not fit for operation should be sunk in open sea...

Group South ... directives to Admiral, Black Sea:
1. According to issued directives for the ordered operation, Sulina has also got to be accomplished by the few naval forces.
2. ... All ships not participating in the departure should be sunk with all available means or at least should be rendered unserviceable.

27 Aug. 1944

Radio message from Heeresgruppe Sud-Ukraine to Admiral, Black Sea:
l. Orders from the Fuhrer demand that the Romanian area to the Danube line should be re-conquered again after receiving reinforcements, defending the line Galatz-Facsani-Carpathian Mountains-eastern boundary. Dividing line between the 6th and 8th Army as up to now.
2. 6th Army prevents the enemy from breaking through the line Galatz-Focsani by employing all available forces and protecting the right flank on the Danube.
3. As far as German troops in the rear area could not be employed in the front, they should be gathered in defensive groups. Concentrate on the areas of Buzau-Ploesti-Bukarest; Task - keep the rear clear for German formations on the Sireth and guarantee the supplies from these areas.
4. Heeresgruppe will occupy with new forces Kronstadt and will clear later Predeal-Pass direction to Ploesti as well as the road Buzau-Kronstadt.
5. Should Romanian troops cross the line Braila-Focsani to the southwest they should be prevented from doing so by force of arms. Every attempt of Romanian troops to disarm as well as.
The remaining part of the radio message was not clear.

28 Aug. 1944

Navy Staff Operations Division confirmed :
1. Present existing orders for the Naval Forces of Admiral, Black Sea. Supporting of our crossing movements at the maritime Danube were abundant as no own movements existed more.
6. Try to strive for contacting Group Grattenauer and Group Steinbach with aim of crossing frontier for the purpose of strengthening own forces in Bulgaria.

Group South reported at 17.20 :
1. Battle-group Varna under the command of Admiral Brinkmann was transferred to Sofia ...
2. Supplementary the Group South ordered :
The ships not fit for operations should be sunk in open sea and the crews evacuated. The light weapons of ships should be taken along at all costs.
As soon as weather permits, combat ready ships should be employed according to existing order but should not leave if possible the last evacuating detachment Varna before sailing.

About 4,500 members of the Navy, who arrived in Bulgaria from Romania via land route and across the sea or by air respectively transports, were on the way from the east to Sofia in 4 express transports. It is planned to proceed directly to Belgrad ...

Sub. U23 proceeded on 27 / 28th up to a distance of 800 meters off the harbor entrance of Sevastopol and found the harbor empty.

Sub. U20 occupied new operational area easterly of Sulina. Sub. U19 is on a position easterly of the Danube Delta and Sub. U23 is easterly of Constanta.

Report from Group South : the following forces were on the way from Varna to Sofia:
a. Task Force Varna with about 1,100 men, in the main navy of which were functionaries. They were intended for operations in Sofia, strengthening the base formed here.
b. 4,500 naval soldiers crossed to Bulgaria from Romania by water, air and land routes with destination Belgrad which should not stay in Bulgaria...

Varna is evacuated as naval base.

Group South took over command of naval operations and issued orders to Admiral, Black Sea to hand over the remaining tasks at Varna to Kpt.z.S. Remmler.

In the Black Sea, the submarines received order from Commanding Admiral Submarines not to scuttle the boats off the Turkish but off the Bulgarian coast after consuming combat strength. Attacks against all Romanian naval and merchant vessels were allowed.

30 Aug. 1944

Group South reports that Group Steinbach and Group Grattenauer were interned near Sofia. Admiral, Black Sea arrived at midnight in Sofia with 400 men. The crews of the R-boots Flotilla and Group Remmler were approaching Sofia in express transports respectively by motor trucks.

Sub. U20 reports at 15.33 the launching of a single torpedo and at 15.44 of twin fan torpedo (o jerbă de două torpile ?) on 3 convoy ships, steering southerly in CL 1258. The torpedoes missed.
Sub. U23 attacked the harbor of Constanta with three T3 torpedoes. Three detonations with large blastings and fire columns were observed after 1 min. 43 sec. at the berths alongside of which were moored one destroyer and a merchant vessel of 6,000 BRT. A telescope mine (?) was layed in front of the harbor.

... Viceadmiral Brinkmann arrived in Sofia and has assumed command of the troops in this area.

2 Sept. 1944

Sub. U19 sank a minesweeper in the Black Sea, in CL 1577 at 05.22.

Sub. U23 reported misfiring a "Zanukoenig" torpedo on a pursuing fishing smack. All boats have orders to remain at sea for the present, to keep consumption of supplies to the lowest level possible, to steer clear of the coast, and to wait for further instructions. The boats reported ability to remain in area of operations till 6 Sept.

The Submarines U19, U20 and U23 report that they could remain at sea till 11 Sept. after having equally distributed supplies and fuel. Both periscopes of Sub. U19 were disabled 5 Sept. 1944.

The Combat Group Admiral Brinkmann was to leave Sofia for the west in the morning of 6 Sept.

The Turkish Government refused to take over the last 3 submarines in the Black Sea. The Commanders therefore recieved orders to scuttle the boats secretly between the Bosphorus and the Turkish northern boundary. The crews should try to reach Greece in small groups.

9 Sept. 1944
In the Black Sea the last 3 submarines were scuttled off the Turkish coast.

Acording to Turkish broadcast of 11 Sept. two groups of crews (2 officers, 11 men and 2 officers, 21 men respectively) were interned. Apparently they represent the crews of the last submarines in the Black Sea.

13 sept. 1944
Admiral Brinkmann is in the Nish area ...

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