submarines

Oct

9

1942

Troopship sunk 500 miles off South Africa

9th October 1942: Troopship sunk 500 miles off South Africa

Our lifeboat was by now more than half full of water. Bailing did not improve the position noticeably. Decided to find another boat. Eventually discovered one almost waterlogged, a steel effort which we managed to empty of its water and crude oil after two hours hard bailing. It was now mid-day and extremely hot. During the morning the two launches which had been safely got away had rounded up all the life boats, thirteen altogether. Set course for Freetown!

Oct

6

1942

U-333 makes narrow escape from HMS Crocus

6th October 1942: U-333 makes narrow escape from HMS Crocus

The first watch officer and I at once got to our feet again. I had several splinters in the arm and the officer had one through the throat. The explosion threw us both down the conning-tower hatch, but we managed to climb back onto the bridge. When my companion was hit several more times in the arm and leg, I ordered him to leave me alone on the bridge. With my one sound arm I helped the wounded lying on the bridge to get back down into the conning tower. One man, a bosun’s mate, had apparently slipped overboard and disappeared without trace.

Sep

28

1942

USS Sculpin survives a depth charging

28th September 1942: USS Sculpin survives a depth charging

It was incredible how much water could come in through a quarter-inch tube at a depth of 275 feet. Baldwin arrived with plugs, turnbuckles, and other equipment to plug the leak. With him and a helper working on that job, I went to the after end of the compartment to help remove the water. A bucket brigade was hurriedly formed. Jack trimmed the boat with a ten-degree up angle so the water would accumulate at the after end of the deck, in the officers’ country. He had to maintain two-thirds speed to keep Sculpin from going deeper. Sculpin was tons too heavy having taken on water from a number of leaks throughout the boat.

Sep

15

1942

The launch of Operation Muskatoon

15th September 1942: The launch of Operation Muskatoon

At 2115 we surfaced to disembark the commando team, but encountered a few problems blowing up the two inflatables, for it was cold out there and the compressed air air lost pressure. Some buckets of hot water sorted that out, There was calm all around us and the silence was broken by the barking of dogs, the familiar sounds of the countryside and even the ringing of bicycle bells. The wind brought the scent of the pine forests to us: it was so serene.

Sep

12

1942

U-156 torpedoes the RMS Laconia

12th September 1942: U-156 torpedoes the RMS Laconia

06.00
Transmitted radio message twice on 25 meters:
If any ship will assist the ship-wrecked LACONIA crew, I will not attack her, providing I am not attacked by ship or air force. I picked up 193 men. 4 52 S 11 26 W.
German submarine.

Sep

6

1942

HMS Saracen arrives in Malta

6th September 42: HMS Saracen arrives in Malta

We also had a surprise packet to deliver to Malta, nothing less than a “human torpedo,” similar to an ordinary torpedo but with a detachable warhead and adapted to take two men sitting astride in diving-suits; some of these weapons were at this time being assembled in Malta with the object of attacking the Italian naval bases.

Sep

3

1942

Coastal Command strike again

3rd September 42: Coastal Command strike again

On board a Whitley VII of No 502 Squadron during an anti-submarine patrol, August 1942. In the cramped cockpit the skipper consults with his navigator while the second pilot flies the aircraft.

Aug

6

1942

HMCS Assiniboine duels with U-210 in the fog

6th August 1942: HMCS Assiniboine duels with U-210 in the fog

U-210’s bridge was first struck by machine gun bullets. HOLST was shot through the neck and killed outright, and KRUMM was badly wounded. An instant later ASSINIBOINE scored a direct hit with her 4.7 gun on the conning tower, the shell making a shambles of the bridge. A prisoner stated that LEMCKE was literally blown to pieces, and that KRUMM, lying wounded, was virtually decapitated. It is assumed that TAMM also suffered a violent death.

Aug

3

1942

Abrupt end to U-335’s first patrol


3rd August 1942: Abrupt end to U-335’s first patrol

Having sighted the U-Boat, “P.247, who was throughout at periscope depth, altered course from 030° to 015° and at 2131-1/2 fired six Mark VIII torpedoes from tubes 1 to 6. It was possible to fire so soon after sighting as all tubes had been kept flooded and firing reservoirs charged throughout the patrol. The torpedoes were fired at seven second intervals, the range of the target then being 2,500 yards.

Jul

18

1942

HMS Unbroken navigates a minefield


18th July 1942: HMS Unbroken navigates a minefield in the Mediterranean

The distance of the run was sixty miles – fifteen hours of it at four knots. The thought of QBB 255 gave us all the jitters. The sense of helplessness…. The fact that you cannot hit back but are permanently on the defensive, listening, waiting, magnifying every jolt and movement…. You speak in whispers as though loudness of voice will, in some indeterminable way, add to the hazards, and you are reluctant to make any but the most necessary gestures or movements. It is a nerve-racking business.

Inside the minefield I had the mine-detecting unit – a refinement of the Asdic – switched on in an effort to plot the pattern of the mines and sail between them. A regrettable action. We plotted mines right enough-ahead, to starboard, to port, above, below – everywhere! Cryer’s eyes popped from his head as he reported each new echo, and a few wild expressions and quivering lips were to be seen in the control-room.