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By Hugh Cowin, Hugh W. Cowin

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While earlier, navigating these waters of many shoals and reefs was perilous, it has now become highly dangerous. Mines lie between the islands. At any moment an enemy periscope, or a plane with bombs, could appear, and the nights have become exceptionally interesting; there are no more beacons! The war has extinguished them. Now we seamen must find our way about the maze of islands and tiny islands without beacons, often with overcast skies and heavy seas. And we find help—the islands themselves offer it.

The cruiser comes about. If she veers away, everything is in vain again. But this time she approaches our U-boat. Slowly the picture in the periscope grows. I think I hear the rushing of the bow wake as the colossus moves closer. Now a quick glance at the ship type; there is no doubt, again a Victor Hugo. ”—and the last safety device of the projectiles is unfastened, and . . ” comes back. In the periscope I can see the cruiser’s bow run through the crosshairs of the ocular, then the forward tower, the command bridge.

2 That’s how it had been tonight, as our boats once again came back from an uneventful expedition through the islands. BETWEEN THE ISLANDS 3 Two. U-Boats Mobilized The torpedo boats take on coal. Then the boat is washed with the help of steam pumps: the exterior, deck, structures, guns, and torpedo apparatus. First the boat; then the men. Coal dust penetrates everywhere, even under the eyelids of tired eyes. We want to sleep and cannot close our eyes because they burn so much. That’s why we all stand around on the dock and talk about the last trip.

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