70-years ago today…
U-616, a Type VIIC u-boat, Oblt. Siegfried Koitschka commanding, sunk the American destroyer USS Buck (DD 420) with a G7e acoustic torpedo off Salerno, Italy in position 39.57N, 14.28E. The destroyer lost 150 dead and there were 97 survivors. Koitschka was awarded the Deutsches Kreuz (in gold) on completion of his patrol.
U-645, a Tupe VIIC u-boat, torpedoed and sunk the US merchantman SS Yorkmar (5,612 GRT) during an attack on convoy SC-143 approx. 475 miles south of Iceland. The ship sank by the stern after 15-minutes. 13 crew members were lost and 54 survivors were picked up by HMCS Kamloops (K176) and HMS Duckworth (K351).
U-737, a Type VIIC u-boat, Kptlt. Paul Brasack commanding, came under fire from a shore battery at Barentsburg, Spitsbergen. The u-boat managed to dive before it sustained any damage. (The moral of this story is that littoral combat is bleedin’ dangerous, chum!)
The Battle of Atlantic was most decidedly not over. It continued apace. Indeed, on this day 70-yrs ago (9 October 1943), Großadmiral Dönitz had 95 U-boats at sea.
And yet the Allied naval forces continued to grow in strength…
USS Sand Lance (SS-381), a Balao-class submarine built at Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine, was commissioned into the United States Navy, Cdr. Malcolm Everett Garrison, USN. Garrison would win the Navy Cross twice while in command of Sand Lance and retire from the US Navy as a Rear Admiral.
HMS Stratagem (P234), an S-class submarine built at Cammell Laird, was commissioned into the Royal Navy, Lt. Reginald Lewis Willoughby, RNR commanding.
USS Kingfish (SS-234), a Gato-class submarine, Lt.Cdr. V.L. Lawrence, USN commanding, torpedoed & damaged the Japanese fleet oiler Hayatomo (14,050 GRT) in the Sibitu Channel, Borneo.
USS Puffer (SS-268), a Gato-class submarine, Lt.Cdr. M.J. Jensen, USN commanding, torpedoed & damaged the Japanese tanker Kumagawa Maru (7,508 GRT) in the Makassar Strait, Borneo. Japanese escorts damaged Puffer with depth charges and the submarine was forced to abandon its attack on the tanker.
USS Rasher (SS-269), a Gato-class submarine, Cdr. E.S. Hutchinson, USN commanding, torpedoed & sank the Japanese army cargo ship Kogane Maru (3,131 GRT) about 30 nautical miles west of Ambon, Maluku Islands.