submarines

Dec

2

1940

HMS Forfar sunk by Kretschmer’s U-99

HMS Forfar the armed merchant ship sunk by five torpedoes in the early hours of 2nd December 1940.

Two minutes later the 5th and last torpedo struck, again on the Port side. This was the final blow as the ship broke in two owing to the after magazine blowing sky-high. She was well down by the stern now and I remember the ghastly cracklings as the after end bent inwards crushing the decks like matchwood. She heeled quickly over on her Sta’b’d side, the after end disappeared, and as she settled, she turned right over and sank slowly and steadily by the stern.

Nov

16

1941

U-433 sunk by HMS Marigold

A Flower Class Corvette of the same type as HMS Marigold (K-87). The distorting camouflage pattern can be seen here although it is much faded.

All of a sudden there was a terrific sound of propellers to starboard. The devil had been lying in wait quite close to us, with engines stopped. We put our nose down to dive again, and she came directly over us. We could hear her propellers inside the boat – we weren’t very deep and she probably saw our wake. She then dropped depth charges. They were terribly close.

Oct

4

1941

U-111 sunk and crew captured

The captured crew of a U-boat are brought ashore. Naval Intelligence interviewed suvh men in some depth

The petty officer manning “U 111’s” machine gun on the bridge had fired fifty rounds at this juncture, and was firing the second clip of ammunition handed to him by Kleinschmidt himself, when the latter, together with Rösing and Fuchs, was killed by a direct hit on the conning tower; the above petty officer was the only man left alive on the bridge out of the eight who had been there.

Sep

10

1941

HMCS Moose Jaw sinks U-501

The Canadian corvette HMCS Moose jaw was still in a period of training when she was ordered to sea to intercept a U Boat wolf pack.

I managed to go alongside the submarine, starboard side to, and called on her to surrender. To my surprise, I saw a man make a magnificent leap from the submarine’s deck into our waist, and the remainder of her crew move to do likewise. Not being prepared to repel boarders at that moment, I sheered off. The submarine altered across my bows and I rammed her, increasing to 185 revolutions to do so, and altering course in order to hit her forward diving rudders, so as to prevent her submerging.

Jul

19

1941

Trapped in the sunken HMS Umpire

A submarine of the same class as HMS Umpire - a U class British submarine from 1941 proceeding on the surface.

Even if they had not yet left the submarine, they might already have started flooding the compartment in preparation for an escape, and if the flooding had gone beyond a certain point it would be impossible to get that door open again. I listened, but could hear nothing beyond the monotonous, pitiless sound of pouring water.

Jun

29

1941

The interrogation of a U Boat crew

Some of the U-boat men felt that fraternisation with the French was not good for security.

Nevertheless, some officer and Chief Petty Officer prisoners suspected a hidden subtle and organised opposition on the part of the French, which they feared as likely to become dangerous. It was noted by the Germans that in spite of the polite and obliging attitude of the French officials and workmen, something important always went wrong with the German arrangements in which any reliance had been placed on French co-operation.

May

16

1941

U.S. Navy attacks U-Boat

The USS Arizona - the watch officer on board U-109 believed he had seen the distinctive masts of a US battleship of the same class. The USS Arizona was based in the Pacific at this time.

The Captain yelled down for even more revolutions and the diesels began to hammer furiously, plunging the bows deeply into each wave; then the alarm bells rang and the watch came tumbling down to land in a heap on the control room grating. Fischer slammed the tower hatch lid shut as the submarine went down at a steep angle. Through the loudspeakers the calm voice of the boatswain, Maureschat, ordered the bow caps closed and stated the trim depth as 180 feet.

May

9

1941

Enigma machine captured

The boarding party led by   approaches U-110

Also the coding machine was found here, plugged in and as though it was in actual use when abandoned. The general appearance of this machine being that of a type writer, the telegraphist pressed the keys and finding results peculiar sent it up the hatch. This W/T office seemed far less complicated than our own-sets were more compact and did not seem to have the usual excess of switches, plug holes, knobs, ‘tally’s’ etc on the outside.

Mar

17

1941

“Depth charges – captured – Heil Hitler – Kretschmer.”

The crew of U-99 celebrate return from a successful patrol in the summer of 1940.

As the U-Boat did not seem to be sinking fast enough, and it was feared that the British might try to board her, the Engineer Officer again went below to open wide the galley hatch which had previously been only partly opened. He never got out again, and the crew heard him shouting as the U-Boat sank. The Captain said that a W/T message was sent in clear, just before “U 99” sank; but he did not know whether it was transmitted on full strength or not, or whether it had been received at his base. The signal read: “Depth charges – captured – Heil Hitler – Kretschmer.”

Dec

15

1940

HMS Thunderbolt sinks Italian submarine

HMS Thunderbolt started out as HMS Thetis which had sunk during sea trials in 1939. The salvaged boat had been renamed and was now very much operational.

When 130 degrees on the U-Boat’s starboard quarter, periscope range estimated to be 4,000 yards, the disposition of the trawlers was thought to be reminiscent of the start of an A/S exercise. Thunderbolt therefore allowed the enemy a low nominal speed of 6 knots, and altered a few degrees to reach the firing course. Commencing at 0920, six torpedoes were fired at 12 second intervals, an alteration of three degrees to port being made after the third torpedo.