Kriegsmarine Reefer Jacket To An Officer on U-357
An excellent example of an issue rather than tailor made Kriegsmarine Reefer Jacket, formerly the property of Leutnant L.I (Leitender Ingenieur Ė Engineer Officer) Wilheim Petersen, lost whilst serving on U-357 in December 1942.
The Jacket comes with written provenance from the respected German dealer Thomas Huss of German Historica in Keil, who gives a signed statement that it was obtained from Petersenís estate.
Included in the sale is an original photograph of Petersen, perhaps wearing this Jacket, standing with Obermach Richard Hunn and Obermach Helmuth-Paul Bode who were both lost with him on U-357.
Tailored in an officer quality dark blue wool, the jacket is of the classic cut with six pairs of 1939 dated Kriegsmarine buttons to the double breasted front which is closed by four pairs, the fifth and sixth (under the lapels) being for decoration. The two waist pockets are flapped with a single open top pocket.
Each sleeve has a single woven wire gold ring above which sits the machine embroidered cogwheel of the L.I. There is a ribbon for the Iron Cross Second Class in the first button hole and a fine Celleon hand embroidered Eagle and Swastika to the right breast.
Inside, the lining is of dark blue imitation silk with the sleeves lined in a typical striped tailorís material. There are two inside pockets.
Overall condition is very good with just one small moth hole at the top of the collar at the back.
The sinking of U-357 on the night of 26th December 1942 is extensively covered on the internet and makes fascinating reading, the full facts having been recounted by the six survivors who were washed overboard during the sinking and rescued.
At 0800 U-357 sighted convoy HX219 NW of Ireland. Kapitan Kellner decided to follow the convoy to attack at dusk when he fired two torpedoes from the rear tubes at one of the escorting destroyers. No hits were scored and HMSís Hesperus and Vanessa then embarked on nine depth charge attacks which continued for over thirteen hours.
Eventually U-357 surfaced to gain speed in an attempt to escape but was immediately racked by gunfire with several casualties. Realising the situation was desperate Kellner ordered all hands on deck prior to scuttling his boat but the order was either not heard or was misunderstood in the engine room where Peterson and others were at their stations.
Attack number ten was to be the last. Vanessa first rammed the U Boat causing little damage but the second attempt by Herperus caught U-357 near the conning tower cutting her in half.
On return to port, Hesperus was found to be so badly damaged that she was out of commission for three months, prompting the Admiralty to advise against the ramming of U-Boats in the future. See last picture which can be found on the internet.
An excellent Kriegsmarine Officerís Reefer Jacket with poignant history.