70-years ago today…
The U-boat war continued:
On 2 August 1943 there were 85 U-boats at sea. Of these, 17 boats (20%) would be lost during their patrol.
U-218 (Kptlt. Richard Becker), a Type VIID U-boat on its fifth war patrol, was attacked by a Wellington bomber from 547 Squadron, RAF Coastal Command. The U-Boat was damaged and 6 crew members were wounded during the attack. The mine-laying patrol was abandoned and the boat returned to Brest. (U-218 was scuttled, post-war, during Operation Deadlight. The wreck was explored by Innes McCartney in June 2001.)
U-653 (Kptlt. Gerhard Feiler), a Type VIIC U-boat on its seventh war patrol, was attacked by an American B-24 Liberator bomber east of Trinidad. The air attack was unsuccessful and the U-boat survived without damage.
The British merchant City of Oran was torpedoed and damaged by U-196 (KrvKpt. Eitel-Friedrich Kentrat), a Type IXD2 U-boat on her first war patrol (225-days!), in the Indian Ocean, approx 100 nm northeast of Memba Bay, Tanganyika. The rescue tug HMS Masterful picked up 86 survivors and scuttled the City of Oran with gunfire.
Arriving on the field of battle:
HMS Begum (D38), an Ameer-class escort carrier, formerly the USS Bolinas (CVE-36), was commissioned into the Royal Navy, Capt. John Egerton Broome, DSC, RN commanding.
And a future President of the United States began his legend:
PT-109, an ELCO ’80 torpedo boat, (Lt jg John Fitzgerald Kennedy, USNR commanding) was rammed and sunk by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri in Blackett Strait, Solomon Islands. JFK would be played by Cliff Robertson in the movie PT-109.