70-years ago today…
Großadmiral Karl Dönitz has 95 U-boats at sea. The Battle of the Atlantic was not over.
In the South Atlantic:
U-170, a Type IXC U-boat, KptLt Günther Pfeffer commanding, on its 2nd war patrol, torpedoed and sunk the unescorted Brazilian steam merchant Campos (4,663 GRT) 5-miles south of Alcatrazes Island, Brazil. The crew of 57 and 6 passengers took to the ship’s lifeboats, tragically two of which were struck by the ship’s screw, throwing the occupants to the water. 10 crew members and 2 passengers were lost.
In the Black Sea:
U-23, a Type IIB U-boat, KptLt Rolf-Birger Wahlen commanding, on its 12th war patrol, torpedoed and sunk the Soviet motor merchant Tanais (372 GRT) anchored at Poti, Georgian SSR. The U-Boat was operating in the Black Sea with the 30th U-Boat Flotilla… having been transported overland to Konstanza, Rumania in 1942.
Setting a wartime record:
U-196, a Type IXD U-boat, KKpt Eitel-Friedrich Kentrat commanding, returned to Bordeaux, France… thus completing the longest patrol by any submarine during the Second World War: 256-days from 13 March to 23 October 1943.
Attacked in the Atlantic:
U-190, a Type IXC U-boat, KptLt Max Wintermeyer commanding, on her 3rd war patrol, was surfaced ahead of convoy GUS-18 when attacked by the US Navy Gleaves-class destroyer USS Turner (DD-648). The Turner attacked the surfaced U-boat with her Mk 12 5-inch/38-caliber guns. When the U-190 submerged, the Turner attacked with depth charges… shock waves from which disabled the destroyer’s radar and sound gear. By the time Turner was able to resume her search, U-190 had escaped.
Royal Navy suffers double disaster during Operation Tunnel:
During Operation Tunnel, HMS Charybdis, a Dido-class cruiser commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1941, Captain George Arthur Wallis Voelcker, RN commanding, was sunk off north coast of Brittany, France in position 48º59’N, 03º39’W by 2 torpedoes from the German Elbing-class torpedo boats T-23 and T-27 (not MTBs, but torpedo-armed destroyers). 464 men died (including the commanding officer) and 107 survived.
During the same action, HMS Limbourne (L57), a Hunt-class escort destroyer, Cdr Walter John Phipps, RN commanding, was heavily damaged by German torpedo boats T-22 and T-24. Damaged beyond repair, Limbourne was sunk by gunfire from HMS Rocket (H92) and HMS Talybont (L18).