Hershel rose through the Hitler Youth and entered a U-boat command. He didn’t have much choice. It was the end of June. Normandy was taken. The allies were marching across France and the ocean was a playground of death.

“Con, Sonar… splashes. That’s three, four, there are too many of them.”

“Take us to 200 meters,” Hershel said.

The needle dropped.

“That’s crush depth,” a midshipman stuttered.

“You’re relieved. Standby to blow tanks.”

“Captain; if we surface, we won’t be able to submerge!”

“Shut up!”

Leaks erupted and the hull contracted.

“I didn’t sign up for this,” a sailor shouted.

“If you serve the Fuhrer, you will do what I say.”

“Fuck Hitler.”

“Stow him in the brig; this is war; a game of chicken; let’s hope we don’t break our necks.”

U-47 was headed for a watery tomb. Hershel knew it, but his friendship with death had given him more than 9 lives. He munched an orange in the infrared light. Bolts popped off pipes.

“Fire the tanks,” he commanded.

“We’re not ascending.”

“Blow all main ballast tanks!” The submarine leveled off under the weight of water. The needle rose.

“Prepare torpedoes 1 and 2.”

“Torpedoes 1 and 2 are ready, sir.”

“Prepare to fire, on my mark.”

Hershel checked his chart. He had a gift for calculations on the fly. If he failed, they would be crushed by two British destroyers. It was a spread shot. And he had to be deadly accurate.

“Periscope up! Standby. Fire!”

“Torpedoes running hot and normal, sir. Turning towards targets. Twenty seconds. 10. 5.” The ships erupted in flames.

“Diesels Full. Take us to Gibraltar. We’ve got to run; otherwise the Tommies will be crapping all over us.”

U-47 cut into the fog. It had become death, a destroyer of worlds.

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