submarines

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 …

May

13

1943

U-230 survives sustained depth charge attack

13th May 1943: U-230 survives sustained depth charge attack

Over 200 canisters had detonated above and around us by 01.00. Several times we had used a ruse in an effort to escape. Through an outboard valve, we repeatedly expelled a great mass of air bubbles. These screens of air oated away on the current, reecting the Asdic impulses like a large solid body. But our attackers were fooled into chasing the decoys only twice, and both times they left at least one vessel behind, directly over our heads. Unable to sneak away, we gave up the game and concentrated on conserving our power, our compressed air, and our dwindling supply of oxygen.

May

6

1943

Convoy ONS 5 fights back against U-Boat Wolfpack

6th May 1943: Convoy ONS 5 fights back against U-Boat Wolfpack


0200 Range had closed to 100 yds. Starboard searchlight switched on revealing a 500 ton U-boat swinging rapidly to starboard. Wheel was put hard-a-starboard in an attempt to ram and all guns that would bear opened fire. Ship turned inside the U-boat’s turning circle and came up alongside her starboard side with only a few feet separating the two. By this time the enemy was being illuminated by port searchlight and 10″ S.P. and was seen to be in a sinking condition.

May

5

1943

Wolfpack Fink closes in on Convoy ONS 5

5th May 1943: Wolfpack Fink closes in on Convoy ONS 5


And it was a bit difficult due to the bad weather because our binoculars were absolutely wet from the overcoming sea and from the over-coming waves, and so we had to give the binoculars into the conning tower (you see, the watch of the submarine was standing on top of the conning tower and we gave the binoculars down and they were cleaned there and they gave them back to us, and so we could see for two or three other minutes, and then we have to do the same because the binoculars were wet again). But after a while I had a good position for attacking and I had the chance to slip through a gap just through two escort vessels and I could close into the portside column, and I had the chance to fire four torpedoes.

Apr

2

1943

U-Boat ace of U-124 sunk by HMS Black Swan

2nd April 1943: U-Boat ace and crew of U-124 sunk by HMS Black Swan

There were ships that had seen scores of long-drawn out actions, and still came back cheerfully for more; there were men – British and Allied sailors – who dared all, not as a job for money but simply as a chosen habit, who returned to the same task and the same run after two or even three hideous ordeals as survivors, who stuck to oil-tankers as other people stick to one brand of bottled beer.

Mar

31

1943

A first anti U-boat patrol out over the Bay of Biscay

31st March 1943: A first anti U-boat patrol out over the Bay of Biscay

The routine check ofthe aircraft began while the duty hand, still in his underwear, tried to drag on his trousers and rub the sleep out of his eyes.You wandered round watching every body move through the orderly procession of duty; inspecting the bilges and the guns and the ammunition, adjusting the moorings for casting off, unlocking the flying controls, arranging the signal colours, checking the cockpit and the wireless and testing the engine controls, setting up the charts, blacking out the portholes, and clambering up top out onto the wing to examine the mainplane.

Mar

23

1943

HMS Turbulent fails to return

23rd March 1943: HMS Turbulent fails to return

In his last year he spent two hundred and fifty-four days at sea, submerged for nearly half the time, and his ship was hunted thirteen times and had two hundred and fifty depth-charges aimed at her. His many and brilliant successes were due to his constant activity and skill, and the daring which never failed him when there was an enemy to be attacked.

Feb

7

1943

U-boat Wolfpack ‘Arrow’ attacks convoy SC-118

7th February 1943: U-boat Wolfpack ‘Arrow’ attacks convoy SC-118

There were two army soldiers who didn’t want to get on a raft, I tried to tell them the ship was sinking, but they still didn’t want to go.
Finally I picked one of them up and threw him in the water. The second guy still didn’t want to go, so I told him I would throw him in too if he didn’t go on his own. Finally he did go on a raft.

Feb

3

1943

Heroism of four Chaplains on U.S.A.T. Dorchester

3rd February 1943: Heroism of four Chaplains on U.S. Troop ship Dorchester

They distributed life jackets from a locker; when the supply of life jackets ran out, each of the chaplains gave theirs to other soldiers. When the last lifeboats were away, the chaplains prayed with those unable to escape the sinking ship. 27 minutes after the torpedo struck, the Dorchester disappeared below the waves with 672 men still aboard. The last anyone saw of the four chaplains, they were standing on the deck, arms linked and praying together.