submarines

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.

Sep

22

1943

X craft – midget submarine – attack on the Tirpitz

X-Craft 25 underway in Loch Striven, near Rothesay with Lieut J E Smart, RNVR, the Commanding Officer on deck by the conning tower.

We actually hit the target’s side obliquely at twenty feet and slid underneath, swinging our fore-and-aft line to the line of her keel. The first charge was let go – as I estimated, under the Tirpitz’s bridge – and X7 was taken about 200 feet astern to drop the other charge under the after turrets. The time was 0720. It was just as we were letting go the second charge that we heard the first signs of enemy counter-attack – but, oddly enough, we were wrong in assuming they were meant for us.

Sep

2

1943

Shot down off Spain and ‘In the drink’

Catalina Mark I, Z2147 ‘AX-L’, of No. 202 Squadron RAF based at Gibraltar, in flight approaching Europa Point on returning from an anti-submarine patrol. While serving with the Squadron, Z2147 was credited with nine successful attacks on enemy submarines.

When we finally got to the surface, all except the skipper and Pat, I suddenly saw daylight and took a deep breath of air. We were appalled to see only one dinghy: the rest had gone down with the aircraft. It wasn’t easy getting seven of us into the two-man dinghy. Our Mae Wests had been riddled and didn’t keep us up. Some could not swim and their wounds made it dicult to hoist them aboard. The sea was rough and we were sick over the side, from swallowing so much salt water. We hadn’t beenin the dinghy more than an hour when we sighted smoke on the horizon. Somebody said, “Surely we’re not saved already,” and started to wave the telescopic flag. The smoke came nearer and we saw the shape of a vessel altering course towards us. We all started talking and cheering like wildfire as we thought we were going to be picked up and saved.

Aug

21

1943

HMS Storm becomes a submarine

An early image of HMS Storm, probably taken during her 'working up'.

At the next lift of the almost imperceptible swell, the whole of the fore part of the submarine was abruptly under water, the dark shape of her swaying and dissolving into the sea’s amorphous grey, the bow wave dying and only the taut jumping-wire still cutting through the water, but slipping down until it, too, was out of sight. As the surface came gliding steadily up towards me I felt a ridiculous impulse to hold my breath like a man caught on a rock with the rising tide up to his nose.

Aug

11

1943

Lloyd Trigg and crew die as they sink U-Boat

A Lockheed Hudson 'J-Jig' of No 200 Squadron, Royal Air Force, in flight over a coastal region of Gambia.

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

USS Card (ACV-11) underway in the Atlantic on 15 June 1943, with seven TBF-1 Avenger torpedo bombers and six F4F-4 Wildcat fighters of Squadron VC-1 parked on her flight deck.

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

The French submarine Casabianca was one of the few vessels that had successfully escaped at Toulon, and was now working to supply the French resistance on Corsica.

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

At the Malta submarine base within HMS TALBOT, three submarines: HMS UNITED (left) and HMS UNISON (right). Bows of HMS UNSEEN in the foreground.

orpedoes 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.