Admiral Donitz, the German U Boat commander was now adopting new tactics. Following Hitler's declaration of war on the United States, in late December he despatched a number of his most experienced U-boats across the Atlantic to attack shipping on the American eastern seaboard. The U-Boats took on the the largely undefended United States merchant traffic passing through ready marked shipping lanes.
For the Atlantic convoys crossing to Britain there was some respite. But there were still U-Boats in mid Atlantic and commanders who would take on targets wherever they found them.
Peter Cremer1 was commander of U-333, with no combat experience. He had left on his first war patrol in an ocean going boat on the 27th December 1941. Now in the Atlantic he surfaced to find unexpected prey: