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U-47 Photograph Album

Section O (Unknown date in October 1939, Kiel)

O01. Unknown date in October 1939, Kiel

While the crew pack themselves in the conning tower, Prien does his public relations bit with representatives of the shipyard. It is possible that this photo was taken on the 24th October. Having instantly been elevated to celebrity status by the Scapa raid, Prien would have shaken hands with a great number of people since he docked U-47 one week previously in Wilhelmshaven.

According to Prien's wife Ingeborg, she remembers "how uncomfortable he was in the train when people kept nudging each other and pointing him out," and that "he hated fuss." He may have found, as others have, that fame can be a two-edged sword. (Sky History Channel)

View Photograph: O01. Unknown date in October 1939, Kiel

O02. Unknown date in October 1939, Kiel

This was taken at some point before the spray deflector was extended around the tower. The background is similar to L01, so it is very likely to be in Kiel. (Sky History Channel)

View Photograph: O02. Unknown date in October 1939, Kiel

O03. Unknown date in October 1939, Kiel

The porcelain insulators directly in front of the tower were either brown or bottle green in colour. They prevented electricity in the jumping wires from short-circuiting on the metal parts of the deck. Other than these insulators directly in front of the tower, the insulators were attached in groups of three to the jumping wires. One either side of each group of three insulators were bottlescrews which allowed the tension in the wires to be adjusted.

The silver-coloured megaphone (K02 and K03) and the flag (L02) suggest that this photo may have been taken on the 24th, prior to entering the Germaniawerft shipyards. The megaphones were known as the Geflüstertaschels (whispering boxes). (Unknown source)

View Photograph: O03. Unknown date in October 1939, Kiel

O04. Unknown period in October 1939, Kiel

A small section of one of the vertical wooden slats on the inside of the conning tower bulwark can just be seen under Prien's right arm. Being the outboard of a group of slats, the top edge is rounded rather than square. The wooden slats, coated with the black wood preservative used on the wooden decking, prevented the crewmembers from sticking to the bulwark metal in freezing temperatures.

Later in the war more wooden slats were added to the inside of U-boat towers. They were also added to both of the periscope supports and the UZO column. It appears that U-47 did not survive long enough to be fitted with these extra slats. (Admiral, Weg, Commander)

View Photograph: O04. Unknown date in October 1939, Kiel

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