torpedo

Apr

6

April 1941

Kenneth Campbell attacks the Gneisenau

Bad weather caused the six aircraft in the raid to become separated. Kenneth Campbell arrived at the grouping point off the harbour alone and, after waiting for any other aircraft to arrive, launched a single aircraft attack against the target knowing that the defences had not been eliminated. He flew directly into one of the most heavily defended targets in the whole of europe, encircled with up to one thousand anti-aircraft and other guns.

Nov

11

November 1940

Bi-planes smash Italian Fleet at Taranto

taranto attack

The torpedo aircraft then had to launch their torpedoes from a steady height of 150 feet while travelling at 90 knots in order to cope with the relatively shallow water. This should have made them sitting ducks for the Anti-Aircraft guns of the Battleships and Cruisers that they were attacking, and heavy casualties were anticipated. In fact only two aircraft were shot down, the crew from one of them surviving as prisoners. Three battleships were hit by torpedoes, one was sunk and the two others seriously damaged.

Oct

1

October 1940

Naval Intelligence monitors Gunther Prien

He started operations by sinking the Belgian Ville de Mons on the 2nd of the month, N.E. of Rockall. Proceeding westward he sank the British Titan on the 4th when N.W. of Rockall, and it is thought that he then fell in with convoy S.C.2, … sinking on the 7th the Norwegian Gro and two British ships, the Jose de Larrinaga and the Neptunian. Following the convoy south-eastwards towards Ireland until after dark on the 8th, he sank two more British vessels, the Poseidon and the Mardinian, about 100 miles N.W. of Malin Head.

Aug

23

August 1940

Four ships for three torpedoes in Bomba

Approaching the harbour Patch saw an Italian submarine on the surface. This was an unexpected bonus. It was later learnt that this was the submarine Iride, exercising with frogmen who were planning to make a covert attack on the British base at Alexandria. Patch released his torpedo from 30 feet at a distance of 300 yards and scored a direct hit below the conning tower.

Jan

30

January 1945

Worst ever maritime loss – the Wilhelm Gustloff

The young man next to me had fallen inside the net. He stared at me and saliva came out of his mouth. I tried to lift him up, but couldn’t. Across from me was a young seaman. He begged his comrades for one cigarette and told us about his daughter that had been born on Christmas and that he had not seen her. Then he fell backwards into the water. Finally he was gone. The remaining other two started to talk very negative – how our feet will be amputated, etc., etc. Then they complained about my feet. I tried to move to hold them still. I bumped against theirs and that hurt.

Jul

2

July 1944

Japanese massacre surviving crew of SS Jean Nicolet

And then I kicked my way, I kicked my way up to the surface. This was a long ways, but I made it, and I got my nose up there, and, it seemed like a long ways, but I got up there. I had my hands tied behind me, still, and I was laying back, getting my nose up in the water and kicking, and trying not to inhale water. And I was treading water that way for quite some time. And it was pitch black at this time, and the only thing you could see was the ship, still floating and burning in the distance.

Apr

20

April 1944

580 men die as SS Paul Hamilton explodes

When I arrived at the side of the ship, I found that they had rigged up a cargo net over the side for us to climb up on. The waves were running maybe three to five feet at the time, so I waited until I was lifted by a wave and grabbed the cargo net. However, I was so weakened by the cold that I could not hold on and fell back into the sea. The next time I tried, when the wave lifted me and I reached for the net, two sailors grabbed me by the seat of my pants and heaved me up on deck.

Nov

15

November 1943

With ‘The ‘Plywood Navy’ – duel with plane in the Med

The lines of the tracers reach for the disappearing plane and the lines seem to curve the way the stream from a hose does when you move the hose. Then the guns are silent. The master calls, “Watch out for him. He may be back. Watch for him from the same side.” The gunners obediently swing their guns about. This time he didn’t cut his motors. Maybe he needed altitude. You could hear him coming.

Feb

7

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.

Nov

30

November 1942

The Battle of Tassafaronga, off Guadalcanal

I walked alongside the silent turret two and was stopped by a lifeline stretched from the outboard port lifeline to the side of the turret. Thank God it was there, for one more step and I would have pitched head first into the dark water thirty feet below. The bow was gone. One hundred and twenty five feet of ship and number one main battery turret with three 8 inch guns were gone. Eighteen hundred tons of ship were gone.