Back To DE U-boat Action

Photo Album  |  Ship History  |  Diary Entries  |  The Surrender of U-873

Blue_Line_556.gif (896 bytes)


Surrender of U-873

On 2 May 1945, Vance departed New York with her last Mediterranean-bound convoy. On the morning of 11 May - four days after German had surrendered - Vance sighted a light up ahead in the convoy and rang down full speed to investigate. Upon closing the light, the destroyer escort discovered a surfaced U-boat, U-873, which had been at sea for 50 days. While the submarine began to run, Vance hailed the erstwhile enemy in German by bullhorn, ordering the submariners to heave to. Vance placed a prize crew on board the U-boat who delivered the prize at Portsmouth, N.H., on the 16th.   The 1600 miles from the Azores to Portsmouth took five and a half days, with heavy seas.

Joseph W. Haberkern, Jr., MoMM 2/c, served in Vance November 1943 to October 1945.  The following photos and newspaper article are from his personal album and help to preserve this important history of DE 387. Photos were provided by his son, Joe Haberkern.

The Vance Deck Log, located at the bottom of this page, is courtesy of the Vance website.

click on a photo for a larger view

Joseph W. Haberkern, Jr.,
MoMM 2/c


Haberkern On Ship Taking U-873 Surrender

Petty Officer, 2/c Joseph W. Haberkern, Jr., of this city was identified last night as a member of the crew of the Coast Guard destroyer escort which accepted the first Nazi sub surrender at the close of the war.

While protecting a convoy off the Azores, the Coast Guard vessel came upon the U-873 in the early morning hours of May 11. The sub commander said he was surrendering in compliance with orders of Grand Adm. Doenitz.

The submarine was brought into Portsmouth Navy Yard where its commander committed suicide by slashing his wrists.

[Article published in a Atlantic City, NJ newspaper, 1945]


11 May, 1945:
Underway as before.

0010 SS PIERRE SOULE detached.

0040 Resumed assigned station astern of convoy, patrolling at 12 knots, (210 RPM),
convoy course 078 degrees True, convoy speed 10.3 knots.

0230 Departed station standing toward column 9 to investigate light at 15 knots (265 RPM).

0240 increased to full speed, standing toward unidentified target near ship #91.

0247 Target illuminated by USS DURANT (DE-389), proved to be surfaced submarine.
All hands to battle stations.

0258 Illuminated submarine by searchlight, majority of crew on deck and conning tower.

0300 On various courses and speeds, maneuvering toward submarine, DURANT screening operation.

0305 Alongside submarine, commenced giving instructions to submarine over public address system. Established identity of submarine to be German.

0339 Lowered ship's motor whaleboat. Lt. Carlton J. Schmidt, USCGR, executive officer,
and Ensign Vance K. Randle, USCG, departed with prize crew of 19 men as follows:

BRANIN, Alvin W. S1c
EHLERS, Wilbur  EN1c
FALLER, Carl M.  Cox.
KEMP, George E. S1c
KOGLER, Charles S. S2c
LOEB, Werner A. MoMM3c
MARCIN, Joseph RM2c(T) USN
MC CLAIN, William W. S1c
MAC KAY, Donald K. S1c
NEWCOMB, Herbert J. SM3c
PARKS, Alvin H. S1c
REID, William C. GM3c
YOUNG, Robert C. SM3c

to carry out instructions as giver in Allant 20.

0344 Motor whaleboat along side submarine.

0345 Prize crew aboard submarine.

0354 Submarine identified as U-873.

0410 United States Ensign hoisted on submarine.

0513 Total complement of submarine found to be fifty-nine (59) including seven (7) officers.

0521 Secured from general quarters with exception of gun crews.

0620 Motor whaleboat aboard.

0637 Instructed submarine under command of Lt. C. J. Schmidt, USCGR, to get underway
on course of 259 degrees True, speed 10 knots.

0705 USS DURANT (DE-389) departed to rejoin convoy UGS 90. Took station 600 yards
on port quarter of submarine with forward guns trained on her.

1336 Changed course to 270 degrees True.

1533 Alongside submarine passing personal gear to prize crew.

1556 Resumed station.

1814 Course changed to 276 degrees True.
0800 ---------- 1200 --------- 2000
35-21 ----------35-33---------35-43

Deck Log courtesy of USS Vance DE 387 website


Photo Album  |  Ship History  |  Diary Entries  |  The Surrender of U-873

Back To DE U-boat Action

Blue_Line_556.gif (896 bytes)


Copyright 1998-2011 All rights reserved.
P.O. Box 488
Henderson Harbor, NY 13651
Fax: (315) 938-7010