“On this day in history” 27 August 1940, Royal Navy armed merchant cruiser HMS Dunvegan Castle (Capt. H. Ardill) struck by 3 torpedoes from submarine U-46 (Oblt. E. Endrass) while escorting Convoy SL-43 (convoy commodore RAdm. J. C. Hamilton).
The first torpedo struck Dunvegan Castle at 21.47 aft of the bridge, but the ship remained underway. The second torpedo struck the engine room at 22.12 and the third torpedo stuck forward of the bridge at 22.51.
Dunvegan Castle foundered and caught fire, with 27 men (3 officers, 24 ratings) killed. Convoy escorts HMS Harvester (LtCdr. M. Thornton) and HMS Primrose (LtCdr. C. Sanders) took off 240 survivors.
HMS Primrose (K91) rescued survivors from Dunvegan Castle.
Dunvegan Castle sank in position 54°54N/11°W, 75-miles NW of Ireland.
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.
U-185 sinking (photo: US Navy)
Records on U-185 are held at the US National Archives.
“On this day in history” 24 August, the following U-boats were at sea:
“On this day in history,” 24 June 1943, German Type IXD2 submarine U-200 (KrvKpt. Heinrich Schonder) sunk with depth charges by a Liberator aircraft from No. 120 Squadron, RAF Coastal Command.
Amazingly, a photograph of the attack is in the IWM archives.
Dept charge attack on U-200 (IWM C3763)
The Liberator (serial 120/H) was piloted by Flight Lieutenant Alexander Fraser, Royal Australian Air Force, operating from Reykjavik, Iceland. As you can see from the photograph, Fraser caught U-200 on the surface and his two depth charges straddled the U-boat perfectly.
Fraser was awarded a bar to his Distinguished Flying Cross for his “magnificent example of determination to destroy the enemy in the face of opposition.”
U-200 was lost with all hands. The figure of 67 dead includes not only the U-boat’s crew, but also a 7-man German special forces unit of Brandenburg commandos. The Brandenburg unit was in transit to South Africa, where they were to be landed and make contact with anti-British sympathizers in the Boer community.
German submarines at sea “on this day in history” 22 June during the Battle of the Atlantic.
The two U-Boats still at sea in 1945, more than six weeks after the official German surrender, were U-530 and U-977, both on their way to Argentina.
“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.
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)
“On this day in history” 11 June 1943, Type VIIC Unterseeboot U-417 (Oblt. Schreiner) sunk during depth charge attack by Fortress Mk II aircraft from No. 206 Squadron, RAF Coastal Command. All hands (46) lost.
The B-17 (serial FA 704 R) caught the U-boat on the surface and, despite a successful depth charge attack, damage from the U-boat’s anti aircraft guns forced the pilot (Wing Commander R Thompson) to ditch in the Atlantic. The 8-man crew spent 3-days in a single life raft while rough Atlantic seas prevented rescue.
Fortress Mk II (FA 704 R) of No. 206 Squadron RAF.
On the third day, Squadron Leader Jack Holmes of No. 190 Squadron RAF finally landed a Catalina flying boat and rescued the downed airmen. The DFC citation for Holmes reads:
In June, 1943, this officer piloted an aircraft detailed to search for a dinghy containing the crew of an aircraft. After a flight of some 400 miles over the water the dinghy was located. Although a heavy sea was running, making the task of alighting the aircraft extremely hazardous, Squadron Leader Holmes skilfully came down alongside the dinghy and its occupants were hauled safely aboard the aircraft. This officer displayed superb airmanship and great determination throughout.
London Gazette, 17 August 1943