The «Neger»

The Neger was named after its designer Richard Mohr, a naval engineer in Germany. Mohr in German means Negro, hence the name Neger. It consisted of two G7e torpedoes, with one torpedo mounted atop the other. The lower torpedo was a modified conventional torpedo and could be launched at enemy ships whereas the upper torpedo did not have a warhead. Instead of carrying a warhead, the space was converted into a cockpit from which the pilot could steer the Neger. The cockpit was covered by a watertight plastic canopy and was only about 18 inches above the surface. This meant that visibility was poor with the resulting effect that many pilots lost their way or failed to spot any targets. A pilot enters a Neger with his Drager breathing apparatus. Despite the carbon dioxide filter, the fatality rate due to suffocation was very high.
The Neger could not dive and had a range of 30nm at 3 knots, but the watertight cockpit carried enough breathing air for only one or two hours. The pilots for these weapons were often volunteers and not necessarily from the U-boat arm.
The first Negers entered service on March 1944 and the first mission took place on the night of April 20 and 21 1944. Thirty Negers were launched against Allied ships berthed in Anzio, but only 17 of them managed to deploy, with the other 13 capsizing upon reaching the water. Three failed to return and up until then, the Allies had no knowledge of this new unusual weapon. None had made any successful attacks.
The second deployment was against the Allied invasion fleet in Normandy on the night of July 5 and 61944. The Neger flotilla which numbered to forty in strength sortied from the Villers-sur-Mer, west of Honfleur. 24 of them executed attacks which resulted in the sinking of two British minesweepers, the HMS Magic and HMS Cato. Only 9 Negers returned.
The next mission was on the night of July 7 and 8 1944, which saw 21 Negers being deployed and resulted in the sinking of the British cruiser HMS Dragon and the minesweeper HMS Pylades. A further attack, which was also the last was made on the night of August 16 and 17 1944. During that attack, the British destroyer HMS Isis was sent to the bottom. Thereafter, the Neger was retired and withdrawn from service. About 200 of these crafts were built.