submarines

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.

Jul

9

1942

U boat U-701 survivors rescued by US Navy airship


9th July 1942: U boat U-701 survivors rescued by US Navy airship

At dawn my strength began to leave me too. I seem to recollect vaguely that I talked nonsense and that KUNERT kept on quieting me. As the sea was still like a pond, I kept up the practice of discarding my life preserver, saying that I would swim to shore. I assumed that with a few strokes I would feel bottom under my feet and would be able to stand up, but every time I tried this I went under. That would bring me to again and I would swim back to the life preserver. This occurrence must have happened many times. Then I lost consciousness.

I awakened as though I had been asleep when I suddenly heard myself called. About 30 meters away sat KUNERT, VAUPEL, and GROTHEER making for me in a white rubber boat. I was taken into the boat as KUNERT was about to open a can of pineapple with a knife. Out of a can already opened GROTHEER gave me tomatoes to eat, and all the while a Zeppelin airship circled about us.

The situation was as follows: The airship had sighted us and thrown the rubber boat into the sea. Shortly thereafter a large rubber sack was also thrown down. In this we found: 1 small first aid kit, 2 loaves of white bread, 1 sack of water. All this happened in the late afternoon.

Jul

7

1942

Disaster strikes Convoy PQ17


7th July 1942: Disaster strikes Convoy PQ17

7.40 p.m.

Torpedoed. Had just relieved second mate for tea, and walked out on bridge, and literally walked into torpedo which exploded immediately below: terrific crash, everything went black, and was drenched by solid wall of water coming from ‘monkey island’ bringing with it all kinds of debris.

Struck heavily on head by something and stunned, my one thought being to get to other side of ship before the second torpedo struck her — great presence of mind, this. Crawled through wheelhouse which was deserted and washing with water, and got on other side just as second torpedo exploded. This time my feet left the deck clear and I landed flat on my back.

Jul

1

1942

Australian tragedy – Montevideo Maru torpedoed

1st July 1942: Australian tragedy – USS Sturgeon sinks Montevideo Maru

Proceeding to intercept target as before. Altered course to gain position ahead of him, and dove at 0146. When he got in periscope range, it could be seen that he was larger than first believed, also that his course was a little to the left of west, leaving us some 5,000 yards off the track. Was able to close some 1,000 yards of this, and then turned to fire stern tubes as:

i) Only three tubes available forward, and at this range and with large target four torpedo spread desirable.
ii) After tubes had 70D/ heads, while heads forward were small ones.

At 0225 fired four torpedo spread, range 4,000 yards, from after tubes. At 0229 heard and observed explosion about 75-100 ft. abaft stack. At 0240 observed ship sink stern first. 0250 surfaced, proceeded to eastward, completing battery charge. Ship believed to be Rio de Janeiro Maru, or very similar type, although it is possible it was a larger ship, he was a big one.

Jun

30

1942

Lieutenant Schreder credited with “sure kill” – U-158


30th June 1942: U boat U-158 surprised and sunk by PBM1 Mariner

This attack was delivered after radar contact made while the plane was flying above scattered cumulus clouds. Visibility was unlimited and the pilot found himself in ideal position for attack when the U-boat was sighted visually. Surprise of the U-boat was apparently complete.

The hypothesis advanced in [Lieutenant R. E. Schreder’s report],that the second bomb stuck in the deck and was carried to set depth where explosion occurred is reasonable and is strengthened by the possibility that the explosion of the first bomb lifted the stern and caused submergence at a greater angle than usual which would account for part of the stern being visible at the time of the second explosion.

Jun

26

1942

The sinking of the Putney Hill

26th June 1942: The sinking of the Putney Hill

The Putney Hill was lying like a ghost ship on the gentle sea, the silence punctuated by occasional loud bangs as various bits of the structure gave way under the increasing pressure. Without warning an incendiary shell hit the funnel and started a fire. It was followed by a further sixty three shells into the hull, counted by those on the life-raft from their grandstand position. At approximately 0130 hours on June 26th, 1942, Putney Hill became almost vertical and still burning slid beneath the sea, bow first.

May

9

1942

USCGC Icarus sinks U-352

9th May 1942: USS Icarus sinks U-352

At 1709 the submarine surfaced, down by the stern. The ICARUS immediately opened fire with those machine-guns which were bearing and then turned to the right to head for the submarine. The 3” gun and all other machine-guns opened fire as they could be brought to bear. The first round from the 3” gun was short but ricocheted through the conning tower. The next round from the 3” gun was over and thereafter, all shots were either hits or close misses.

May

7

1942

U-boat escapes depth charges off Florida

7th May 1942: U-boat escapes depth charges off Florida

After several attacks the captain thought we were on the bottom, unable to move. He tried to obtain an oil sample but gave up, not daring to stop the ship. Then his Asdic located us about 3,000 metres ahead ofthe oil slick. The current was two knots and the depth was 91 fathoms or about 160 metres. This was beyond the effective depth of his charges which at the most exploded at 120 metres whatever adjustments were made.

May

1

1942

Surviving a U-boat patrol in the Barents Sea

A tremendous weight forced us onto our knees and tore at all our limbs. Above us a bright-green watery vault foamed and hummed before gradually subsiding. It became brighter and brighter while we fought against the draining water, spitting, choking, and cursing. A glance at other comrades and short smiles from salty red faces gave us comfort that all was okay again.