submarines

Aug

11

1943

Lloyd Trigg and crew die as they sink U-Boat


11th August 1943: Lloyd Trigg and crew die as they sink U-Boat

Flying Officer Trigg had rendered outstanding service on convoy escort and antisubmarine duties. He had completed 46 operational sorties and had invariably displayed skill and courage of a very high order. One day in August 1943, Flying Officer Trigg undertook, as captain and pilot, a patrol in a Liberator although he had not previously made any operational sorties in that type of aircraft. After searching for 8 hours a surfaced U-boat was sighted. Flying Officer Trigg immediately prepared to attack.

Aug

8

1943

Lt Sallenger from USS Card spots another two U-boats


8th August 1943: Lt Sallenger from USS Card spots another two U-boats

The engine was popping and cutting out during this attack. My speed was reduced to 160 knots, and I was on a course of about 3300. During this run Ensign SPRAGUE was working over the other, unattacked sub. Again he was doing an excellent job, but the enemy AA fire seemed even heavier. On this run, the plane was hit in the left main gas tank at the wing root (It had about 30 gallons in it at the time), tearing a hole about a foot wide and immediately bursting into flames. There were other less effective hits.

Jul

30

1943

The covert supply mission of the Casabianca is discovered


30th July 1943: The covert supply mission of the Casabianca is discovered

At 2300, the enemy opens fire on us. Shots seem to come from all sides. Auto- matic arms open fire. Rounds whistle overhead, others striking near at hand. Everyone went down below in the greatest calm. Meanwhile I put both engines fast astern. By a miracle nobody is wounded. But the two dories dragged on their painters, which unshipped. The rubber dinghies are still on the casing, so we waited until we were clear of the bay before securing them.

Jul

15

1943

Submarine stalks submarine in the Mediterranean


15th July 1943: Submarine stalks submarine in the Mediterranean

Torpedoes were fired individually. Two torpedoes hit 52 and 41 seconds after firing the first torpedo. The first torpedo was seen to pass ahead of the U-boat and the second seen to hit it under the forehatch, which made the running time 19 seconds, giving a running range of 500 yards. The third torpedo was heard to hit 10 seconds later, fitting in with the firing interval. Almost immediately after the second explosion I saw the stern of the U-boat rise high out of the water at an angle of 60 degrees and she then sank within about four seconds.

Jul

4

1943

A great invasion armada prepares for battle


4th July 1943: A great invasion armada prepares for battle

That evening, after two weeks at sea, we were told our destination was Sicily, and our landing beach in the south-east corner near Pachino. Soon after hearing this there was an almighty explosion close to hand and rushing on deck we saw the ‘Dervis’, the Commodore’s ship just ahead of us, had been torpedoed. Four more destroyers had joined our existing four the previous day, along with the old monitor ‘Roberts’ with its twin massive 16inch guns. After fourteen minutes the ‘Dervis’ sank.

Jun

17

1943

SS Yoma torpedoed – 451 troops lost

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17th June 1943: SS Yoma torpedoed – 451 troops lost …

by this time the Yoma was well down by the stern and the next thing I knew she sank under my feet and I found myself in the water…as the boat rose I saw a lot of men on the foc’sle head: they would not jump into the water, …as the bow lifted a number of them lost their footing and fell onto the bridge, many others being dragged under by the ship.

Jun

12

1943

Planes from USS Bogue surprise U-118 on surface

12th June 1943: Planes from USS Bogue surprise U-118 on surface

About one-third of the crew, it is believed, were never able to leave the U-boat. A well-placed stick of bombs hit U-118 forward of the conning tower and blew her in two, the boat seeming to break apart in the middle. One survivor swimming nearby, said he saw Czygan, his white shirt covered with blood, kneeling on the bridge as his ship disappeared in a fountain of spray and debris. All survivors believed he made no effort to save himself.

May

26

1943

Benbecula – a remote outpost of RAF Coastal Command

26th May 1943: Benbecula – a remote outpost of RAF Coastal Command

The presence of aircraft in an otherwise remote location, previously linked to the mainland by boat only, meant that No 220 Squadron flew its share of mercy missions from Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides. This patient with acute appendicitis was airlifted to hospital on the mainland in one of the Squadron’s Fortresses, the open waist window serving as a convenient entrance to the aircraft, May 1943.

May

24

1943

Donitz withdraws his U boats from the Atlantic

24th May 1943: Donitz withdraws his U boats from the Atlantic

Now, however, the situation had changed. Radar, and particularly radar location by aircraft, had to all practical purposes robbed the U-boats of their power to fight on the surface. Wolf-pack operations against convoys in the North Atlantic, the main theatre of operations and at the same time the theatre in which air cover was strongest, were no longer possible.

May

14

1943

Australian Hospital Ship Centaur torpedoed

14th May 1943: Australian Hospital Ship Centaur torpedoed


In that instant the ship was in flames … we ran into Colonel Manson, our commanding officer, in full dress even to his cap and ‘Mae West’ life-jacket, who kindly said ‘That’s right girlies, jump for it now.’ The first words I spoke was to say ‘Will I have time to go back for my great-coat?’ as we were only in our pyjamas. He said ‘No’ and with that climbed the deck and jumped and I followed …