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

The Martin PBM Mariner aircraft that flew long range patrols out over the North Atlantic in the hunt for U-Boats.
PBM interior showing the navigator on the left and radio operator on the right. The search for U-Boats went on relentlessly for hour after hour. Most patrols never identified any suspect craft. On the rare occasions that they did they had to react instantly and implement an attack within a couple of minutes at most.

On 30th June 1942 Lieutenant R. E. Schreder was commanding a Martin PBM Mariner on an Anti Submarine patrol over the north Atlantic. His plane was part of Patrol Squadron Seventy Four, based on Bermuda. In the long hours of patrol the surface of the sea was constantly monitored by the radar – positive signals that might be U-boats had to be investigated for visual confirmation and action initiated immediately. The post action report summarises the simple sequence of events:

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.

The only other possibility appears to be that the bomb rolled off the deck, sank to set depth and exploded directly under and very close to the U-boat. In either event, it is believed that damage must have been fatal and this attack is, therefore, regarded as having resulted in a sure kill.

The first of a series of sketches attached to the official report of Lieutenant R. E. Schreder, USNR following his attack on a U-Boat on 30th June 1942.
The aircraft begins its attack with its forward guns.
The point at which the Depth Charges were released.
When they were directly overhead they saw their second Depth Charge actually hit the U-Boat.
As the aircraft climbed and banked away the first depth charge was seen to explode in the sea near the rear of the U-Boat.
The second depth charge was seen to explode one minute after being dropped. It had either been caught in the U-Boats outer casing and exploded when it was carried to depth by the U-Boat, or it had fallen off the U_Boat and then exploded under it.

Original reports can be seen at U-Boat Archive

The British submarine [permalink id=17213 text=”HMS Thrasher”] had had a narrow escape when bombs had stuck in the outer casing – on that occasion they had been bombs rather than depth charges which had not exploded when they reached depth.

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