submarines

Mar

21

1944

Cremer’s U-333 survives attack by Walkers’ Group

The days of U-boats expecting to return for propaganda medal ceremonies were long since gone. The number of U-boats lost had gone up dramatically since mid 1943.

It was best to play possum and let nothing be heard of us – come what might. So I laid the boat on the bottom where it bedded itself softly in sand and mud. I ordered the crew to rest and as far as possible not to think of depth charges, though it was impossible not to hear them. I thought: whoever throws so many will soon have none left. Meanwhile the hands of our clock kept moving, the search dragged on and lasted into the night.

Mar

13

1944

U-boat commander massacres survivors in the water

The defendants in the U-852 trial. From left to right: Eck, August Hoffmann, Walter Weisspfennig, Hans Lenz, Wolfgang Schwender. The leftmost three were executed.

He decided to destroy all pieces of wreckage and rafts and gave the order to open fire; on the floating rafts. He thought that the rafts were a danger to him, first because they would show aeroplanes the exact spot ofthe sinking, and secondly because rafts at that time of the war, as was well-known, could be provided with modern signalling communication. When he opened fire there were no human beings to be seen on the rafts.

Mar

12

1944

U-boat murder leads to last mass execution in U.S.

Werner Drechsler, recovering from a bullet wound to his right knee, disembarks USS Osmond Ingram assisted by Hermann Polowzyk

The investigation in that case indicated that Drechsler had been used as an informant by G-2 or ONI to assist in the interrogation and processing of prisoners at Meade or some other installation in this vicinity. After his usefulness had been exhausted Drechsler was shipped to Papago Park for imprisonment. He was a submarine man, and Papago Park detains numerous Navy prisoners. Drechsler was recognized as a traitor to Germany and was murdered. This result could or should have been foreseen, to put it mildly.

Feb

19

1944

Walker gets another U-Boat – U-264 and crew

HMS STARLING, leader of a group of British sloops under the command of Captain Walker.

“U 264″ remained submerged for some time after her contact with the convoy. At about noon on 19th February, she came to a depth of about 20 m. (65 ft.) in order to signal Control. She was then discovered by a group of destroyers which immediately began a prolonged attack. The U-Boat immediately submerged to a greater depth and, taking evasive action, released several S.B.T. charges. She was unable to shake off her pursuers and depth-charges continued to rain down on her.

Feb

12

1944

Troopship Khedive Ismail sunk with 1,296 souls lost

Artists impression of the sinking of the SS Khedive Ismail, copyright unknown.

Survivors and crew went about the ship throwing everything moveable over the side to lighten her. I dumped loads of 4 inch shells from ready use lockers. Both sets of quadruple torpedo tubes were turned outboard by hand and fired to lighten ship. On board Petard, six torpedoes were fired at the Japanese submarine, but they all missed, the seventh was fired by local control and did the trick. It blew the submarine in half; I watched the two halves upend and sink with no survivors.

Feb

9

1944

Captain Walker RN closes in for third kill of the day

HMS Kite (U87) on anti-submarine patrol with the 2nd Escort Group. HMS Kite joins in the depth charge attack and is dwarfed by the column of water which rises six-times her height. Captain Walker's 2nd Escort Group, consisted of the sloops, HMS Starling (U66), Kite, HMS Wild Goose (U45), HMS Magpie (U82) and HMS Woodpecker (U08), with the escort carriers HMS Activity (D94) and HMS Nairana (D05). In January 1944 it left from Liverpool with orders to protect convoys and intercept U-Boats in the Atlantic just southwest of Ireland. By their return in February 1944 they had managed to sink 6 U-boats.

Walker wrote: ‘I was highly tickled by this hedge-hoggery. Complicated instruments are normally deemed essential to score even occasional hits with this weapon; to get two bull’s eyes first shot with someone else’s Hedgehog 1000 yards away was of course a ghastly fluke.’

Dec

16

1943

US Destroyers sink U-boat U-73

The USS Woolsey after her completion in 1942.

The destroyer dropped a pattern of depth-charges which exploded below the U-Boat, inflicting considerable damage. There was water entry forward between the bow torpedo tubes. A sea inlet valve of the Diesel cooling system was fractured causing water to flow into the motor room. “U 73″ lost trim and sank to a depth that was variously estimated to have been between 160 and 230 m. (524.8 and 754.6 ft.).

Nov

19

1943

Captain Cromwell goes down with USS Sculpin

USS Sculpin (SS-191) off San Francisco, California, on 1 May 1943, following an overhaul.

Undertaking this patrol prior to the launching of our first large-scale offensive in the Pacific, Captain Cromwell, alone of the entire Task Group, possessed secret intelligence information of our submarine strategy and tactics, scheduled Fleet movements and specific attack plans. Constantly vigilant and precise in carrying out his secret orders, he moved his underseas flotilla inexorably forward despite savage opposition and established a line of submarines to southeastward of the main Japanese stronghold at Truk.

Nov

11

1943

Polish submarine sinks German ship in Mediterranean

Polish submarine DZIK, originally British U class submarine P-52, underway in coastal waters.

Two demolition charges were fired with 10-minute fuze, and boarding party hurried on board. At this moment, securing line broke, schooner started to drift away and the last two of the boarding party, including S/Lieutenant Fritz carrying charts, books and signals, had to jump overboard and swim a few yards. Of course, none of the panicky-sighted targets materialised, but now the fuze was set and the chance of a considerable prize was lost.

Sep

23

1943

Another tragic night for Convoys ONS 202 and 18

Royal Navy destroyer HMS Express underway. She was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy as HMCS Gatineau in 1943.

There was a splash and I could hear voices. I looked and there was a freighter [SS Waleha] which had dropped one of its floats, I tried to swim to it but I was too weak, so I hollered at them and they said they were coming. It was good news, I saw a light but it seemed far off, then I heard the sound of a motor boat. I could hear voices but couldn’t see a thing except the light. Then I felt something hit my face and heard somebody say grab the rope. Then I saw the motor boat when it was nearly on top of me.