OTDIH 24 July 1943

70-years ago today…

The U-boat war dragged on:

British steam merchant Fort Chilcotin (Master John Kerr) carrying 9103 tons of rock crystal and iron ore was torpedoed and sunk by U-172 (Kptlt. Carl Emmermann) on her 5th war patrol off Bahia, Brazil. There were 4 dead (from the watch below) and 53 survivors who took to boats. The survivors were picked up on 29 July (5-days in open boats, think about that) and taken to Rio de Janeiro.

Swedish tanker Pegasus (Master T. Andersson) carrying 12,855 tons of motor spirit was torpedoed and sunk by U-197 (KrvKpt. Robert Bartels) on her first war patrol southwest of Madagascar. The survivors took to boats and were rescued after a week at sea.

British steam merchant Henzada (Master William Innes McIntosh) carrying 2095 tons of chemicals was torpedoed and sunk by U-199 (Kptlt. Hans-Werner Kraus) on her first war patrol approx. 100-miles southwest of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There were 2 dead and 62 survivors who took to boats. The survivors were picked up by the Panamanian motor tanker Baltic.

The unreliability of US Navy torpedoes was highlighted:

US Navy Gato-class submarine USS Tinosa (SS-283), Lt.Cdr. L.R. Daspit commanding, torpedoed and damaged the Japanese oiler Tonan Maru No.3 (19210 GRT) west of Truk. Although the Tinosa fired 15 torpedoes, only 10 hit… and only 2 exploded. The remainder were duds.

A successful day for HM Submarines:

HMS Unrivalled, a U-class submarine, Lt. Hugh Bentley Turner, RN commanding, sunk the Italian auxiliary minesweeper R 172 / Impero (68 GRT) with gunfire off Amantea, Italy.

And now entering the fray:

USS Cabot (CVL 28), an Independence-class light fleet carrier, was commissioned into the United States Navy. The Cabot would go on to receive a Presidential Unit Citation and 9 battle stars for World War 2 service.

USS Cotton (DD 669), a Fletcher-class destroyer, was commissioned into the United States Navy. The Cotton would go on to receive 9 battle stars for World War 2 service and 1 for Korean War service.

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