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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OTDIH 23 October 1943

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.

SS Campos.

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.

Type IIB coastal U-boat.

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.

KKpt Eitel-Friedrich Kentrat.

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.

USS Turner (DD-648).

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.

HMS Charybdis.

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).

HMS Limbourne.

OTDIH 6 September 1943

70-years ago today…

There were 72 U-boats at sea. The Battle of the Atlantic was most definitely not over.

U-617, a Type VIIC U-boat, on its 7th war patrol, Kptlt. Albrecht Brandi commanding, attacked HMS Puckeridge (L108) with two torpedoes approx. 40-miles east of Gibraltar. There were 62 killed and 129 survivors. Puckeridge’s wreck lays at 36º06´N, 04º44´W.

HMS Puckeridge, Hunt class destroyer escort, torpedoed and sunk by U-617 on 6 September 1943.

U-515, a Type IXC U-boat, on its 5th war patrol, Kptlt. Werner Henke commanding, after tracking the merged convoys OS-54 and KMS-25 for the whole day, closed in to attack but was sighted and had to dive. Accurate depth charging by the River-class frigate HMS Tavy (K272) drove the boat down to 820ft (50m), and caused severe damage. Henke managed to escape and broke off the patrol, reaching Lorient on 12 Sept.

HMS Tavy (K272), River-class frigate, attacked U-515 with depth charges on 6 September 1943.

HM submarines strike back in the Mediterranean.

HMS Sportsman (P229), Lt. R. Gatehouse, DSC, RN commanding, sank the Italian fishing vessels Angiolina P (39 GRT) and Maria Luisa B (37 GRT) with gunfire in the port of Aléria, Corsica, France.

HMS Sportsman (P229), S-class submarine serving in the Mediterranean, sank Italian shipping on 6 September 1943.

HMS Universal (P57), Lt. C. Gordon, RN, sank the Italian auxiliary patrol vessels V 130/Ugo (114 GRT) and V 134/Tre Sorelle (178 GRT) with gunfire west of La Spezia, Italy.

QF 3-inch 20 cwt deck gun.