As the tender took him to the shore, the sunrise lit the high mountains from behind. An awesome sight for a young man who had spent the last month cooped up in a sardine tin trying to avoid depth charges. They had to remain silent for hours on end. The slightest noise would be picked up by the destroyer’s sensitive microphones and given them away. Despite all their efforts the destroyers in an eerie way seemed able to anticipate their next plan and pre-empt it.They had been a skilful crew but were lucky to be alive. Shore leave was most welcome. The silhouette of the U boat he had been on for he last month vanished as it submerged with the fresh crew aboard. Good luck to them!
The boat reached the beach just as the day dawned and the group of cold tired men jumped into the surf, controlling the boat until it reached the sandy beach which was already warming in he sun.
Their first inclination was to stamp on the beach to make sure it did not move. Their first steps on land for over a month. They ran up the beach to the camouflaged bunk house. A shower, long and hot luxuriating in the spaciousness of the accommodation and the fresh air. Breakfast was a superb spread with German sausage of all varieties, cheese, milk, lovely fresh bread the like of which he had not seen for yeas. Of course the rations on the submarine were basic but they hardly differed from the rations in occupied Bordeaux. Conditions were very harsh in 1941 occupied France where they had set out from. This island of Fuerteventura they were semi legally on was not at war. Part of Franco’s Spain it was a bystander and food remained plentiful. Franco and Hitler had made a secret deal that this southern part of the island could be used by favoured guests and exceptionally by submariners as a place to chill out in the sunshine. Before the beginning of the war it had attracted many German visitors because it was a big estate run by a shadowy figure of German Count effectively being part of Germany.
Having eaten their fill they lay on the beach luxuriating in the warm sun on their white bodies. Fritz began to doze off, his mind wandering.
Which code was it he had to use today ?
And the call signal had to change as well.
What time did he have to get that message off by?
Very stressful as he had to be as quick as possible. There was also the possibility of a crash dive at any time.
They had to be on the surface to transmit and receive and when there the U boat was very vulnerable and everyone was anxious. The captain never liked to be on the surface.
Fritz’s dream became confused…. beach, sun ; sardine tin,
but where was that clicking noise coming from? And the sound of the big band music?
In English he muttered ‘Got it, well done’.
But Fritz spoke no English.