Sitting on the saddle of the attack periscope and operating the foot pedals, Jakob Prüsche swung the periscope through a 360º sweep. He knew well the dangerous
game of hide-and-seek he played when a Yank cutter hunted them. With the Americans crossing through his view on this stark night, his movements were swift.
A freighter came into his sights.
With his skipper’s slight
smile, Garrick Bechtler knew death awaited another ship. Data for targeting had been relayed. Aft tubes were ready. Jakob gave the order to fire. Detonations followed in quick succession. The freighter was near enough that U799 rocked. Judging by the repetitious
explosions, she undoubtedly carried munitions ....
As the aft torpedo tubes were again readied, Jakob ordered
a position shift. Now Jakob’s focus turned to the American cutter. “The Yanks want a piece of us,” he said so softly few of the men nearby heard him.
But Garrick heard and knew Jakob’s intentions. They had avoided this cutter since dusk. Now she was their target. Garrick envisioned the glory for sinking such a prize and the jubilant welcome they’d receive
upon their return—
Snapping Garrick’s mind back to their plight and quashing his lapse into boastful
musings, Jakob began relaying targeting data ...
“Tubes five and six ready for firing,” echoed
While Jakob Prüsche sized up U799’s options, Garrick felt a trickle of sweat creep down
his back. What if I were in command? Would I dare to fire down the throat of an American cutter? It is a brazen act to contemplate.