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.

Jutland – Clash of the Dreadnoughts (2004)

Time Team Special – The Lost Submarine of WWI

If you didn’t catch this first time around, it’s available to view on the Channel 4 website.

You might also consider following Innes McCartney on Twitter.

Time Team Special – The Lost Submarine of WWI

Channel 4
Sun 7 July 2013
Duration: 47:07

Today’s submarines are vast, billion-pound, high-tech monsters with a nuclear payload that can level cities. But the story of Britain’s first submarines began over a century ago, with inventors risking life and limb in a range of bizarre contraptions.

Sir Tony Robinson joins forces with expert diver and historian Innes McCartney to uncover the experimental origins of Britain’s Submarine Service, through a series of wreck dives, underwater blast tests and hands-on demonstrations.

At the start of the 20th century, Britain lagged far behind Germany in developing these new weapons, but by 1914 they had caught up, in an underwater arms race that would play a vital role in World War I.

Now underwater archaeology in the English Channel is shining new light on this story. This Time Team Special reveals how information revealed by Innes’s dives and the team’s experiments is helping to map the successes and failures of the submarine pioneers.

With the help of Phil Harding, Tony demonstrates how these early machines were turned from catastrophic death-traps into weapons of war, and reveals how German U-boats came within weeks of defeating Britain and her allies.

This is a forgotten chapter of underwater history: the story of the birth of a weapon that changed the world.