German submarine U-185 sunk by US Navy aircraft “on this day in history” 24 August 1943

On 24 August 1943, German submarine U-185 (Type IXC/40, Kptlt. A. Maus) sunk by depth charges from Avenger and Wildcat aircraft of US Navy Composite Squadron 13 (VC-13), operating from escort carrier USS Core (CVE-13) in position 27.00N, 37.06W.

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U-185 sinking (photo: US Navy)

Records on U-185 are held at the US National Archives.

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“On this day in history” Avenger aircraft sink submarine U-118

“On this day in history” 12 June 1943, German Type XB submarine U-118 (KrvKpt. Werner Czygan) was sunk with depth charges by a flight of Avenger aircraft operating from the US Navy escort carrier USS Bogue (ACV/CVE-9). There were 43 dead (including Czygan) and 16 survivors. The wreck of U-118 lays west of the Canary Islands at 30.49N, 33.49W.

Remarkably, a gun camera photo of the attack exists. The photo is in the collection of US Naval History and Heritage Command.

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Fourth attack run on U-118, TBF pilot Ltjg W. F. Chamberlain, USNR. Staffed U-boat and dropped two depth charges. (NHHC 80-G-6894)

OTDIH 2nd August 1943

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.

OTDIH 29 July 1943

70-years ago today…

HM Submarines score a victory in the Aegean:

HMS Trooper (Lt. G.S.C. Clarabut, RN commanding) sunk the Italian submarine Pietro Micca (1371 GRT) with torpedos south of the Strait of Otranto.

The global reach of the U-boats seems undiminished:

British motor merchant ‘Cornish City’ (4952 GRT) carrying 9600 tons of coal was sunk by torpedoes from U-177 (KrvKpt. Robert Gysae) in the Indian Ocean southeast of Madagascar. The master, 31 crew, and 5 DEMS gunners were killed. The survivors took to rafts and were later picked up the RAN destroyer HMAS Nizam.

Yet the reach of Allied air power is increasing:

U-615 (Kptlt. Ralph Kapitzky) came under attack by a USAAF B-18 Bolo aircraft in the Atlantic. This marked the beginning of one of the longest U-boat hunts during the war as U-615 fought its way through multiple air attacks for the next 8-days.

And from the shipyards:

HMS Pretoria Castle was commissioned as an escort carrier. Originally launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast as the passenger ship Pretoria Castle for the Union Castle line, she was requisitioned by the Admiralty in October 1939 and converted into an armed merchant cruiser. In July 1942, she was purchased outright by the Admiralty for conversion into an escort carrier. The work was completed at Swan Hunter, Tyneside in July 1943 and she became a trials & training carrier.

HMCS Winnipeg, an Algerine class minesweeper built at Port Arthur, Ontario, was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy (T/A/Lt.Cdr. William David Falconer Johnston, RCNR commanding).

HMCS Winnipeg (J 337)

 

 

OTDIH 23 July 1943

70-years ago today…

Palpable hits:

USS George E. Badger, “flush deck” Clemson class destroyer, sank U-613 (KrvKpt. Helmut Köppe commanding) with depth charges South of the Azores.

Grumman Avenger aircraft from the escort carrier USS Bogue (Capt. Joseph Brantley Dunn, USN commanding) sank U-527 (Kptlt. Herbert Uhlig commanding) with depth charges in the mid-Atlantic.

Near misses:

HMS Newfoundland, Colony class light cruiser, flagship of the 15th Cruiser Squadron, was torpedoed by U-407 (Kptlt. Ernst-Ulrich Brüller commanding) off Syracuse, Sicily and hit in the stern. Newfoundland lost her rudder, but was able to reach Malta, steering using her propellers. After repairs, Newfoundland went on to serve with the Far East Fleet and was present at Tokyo Bay on 2 Sept 1945 when the instrument of surrender was signed aboard USS Missouri.

U-466 (Oblt. Gerhard Thäter commanding) was attacked by American B-18 Bolo and B-24 Liberator bombers East of French Guyana, surviving a first attack by returning fire with anti-aircraft guns, and subsequent attacks by diving.

U-591 (Ltn. Joachim Sauerbier commanding) was attacked twice by an American B-24 Liberator bomber off Cape de Sao Roque, Brazil, but escaped damage by diving during each attack.

In the shipyards:

HMCS Orangeville (K 491), Castle class corvettes, laid down at Henry Robb, Leith. Originally ordered as HMS Hedingham Castle.

HMCS West York (K 369), Flower class corvette, laid down at Midland Shipyards, Ontario.

HMCS West York (K 369)

OTDIH 20th July 1943

On this day in history…

HM Submarines continued their run of luck in the Mediterranean…

HMS Safari (P221), Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN commanding, sunk the Italian vessel F50/Silvo Onorato (208 GRT) between Basita and Maddalena.

A couple of near misses…

Soviet Shchuka-class submarine ShCh-403 made a torpedo attack on a German convoy off Kongsfjord. Four torpedoes were fired against a target identified as a 6000 GRT merchant… and all four torpedoes missed.

USS Pompano (SS-181), Lt. Cdr. W. M. Thomas commanding, torpedoed and damaged the Japanese transport ship Uyo Maru (6376 GRT) east of Honshu, Japan.

Allied ship commissionings…

The Bouge-class escort carrier USS Baffins (CVE-35) was commissioned into Royal Navy service as HMS Ameer (D01), Capt. Gerald Douglas Yates, RN commanding.

USS Scott (DE 214) a Buckley-class destroyer escort was commissioned into the United States Navy, Lt.Cdr. Claude Siceluff Kirkpatrick, USN commanding.

USS Burke (DE 215) a Buckley-class destroyer escort was commissioned into the United States Navy, Lt.Cdr. Edwin K. Winn, USNR commanding.

And unfortunately…

USS PT-106, an US Navy Elco 80’ motor torpedo boat, was mistakenly sunk by USAAF B-25s in Ferguson Passage, Solomon Islands in position 08º15’S, 156º53’E.