SUBMARINE LOSSES 1904 TO PRESENT DAY - Page 17



HMS P615

18 April 1943

Torpedoed off Liberia by U123

HMS P614 left Freetown on 17th April bound for Takoradi under escort from the minesweeper MM107. During the night submarine and escort lost contact and on the morning of the 18th the minesweeper sighted, what was thought to be a torpedo track, pass from port to starboard. Contact was gained with P615 and as there was no evidence of a U-boat in the area the torpedo track was put down to a porpoise. P615 and MM107 regained visual contact and the minesweeper took station 300 yards off the submarine’s starboard quarter. At 0950 the minesweeper sighted the merchant vessel Empire Bruce and whilst signalling the ship, noticed that P615 was also signalling, a few minutes later the submarine was seen to explode and sink. Observers suggest that the submarine had been hit on her starboard side by a torpedo although no torpedo track had been seen.

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HMS Splendid

21 April 1943

Depth charged off Capri by German destroyer Hermes

HMS Splendid left Malta on 17th April 1943 with orders to patrol off Naples and later off the west coast of Corsica. On 21st April the submarine was detected by the German destroyer Hermes, whose depth charge attack forced the submarine to the surface. HMS Splendid was then scuttled by her crew to avoid capture.

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HMS Sahib

24 April 1943

Depth charged off Sicily by Italian CVT Euterpe

On 16th April 1943 HMS Sahib attacked and sank the merchant ship Galiolo, two miles off Capa Milazzo. After firing, the Sahib almost broke the surface. This was noticed by an aircraft, which dropped a bomb but to no effect. The torpedo boat Climene almost immediately obtained contact with the submarine. At about 0545, Sahib came under heavy depth charge attack resulting in the pressure hull being holed at the aft ends. With no way of repairing the damage, the order to prepare to abandon ship was given. The submarine surfaced to be welcomed by a machine gun attack from the waiting aircraft. As the crew left the submarine, Sahib was scuttled.

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HMS Untamed

30 May 1943

Foundered off Sanda Island during exercise

On 30th May 1943 HMS Untamed was exercising with ships of the 8th Escort Group off Cambeltown. At 0950 that morning Untamed dived and commenced the first run of the day. After three hours the submarine surfaced and prepared for the next run. Just after 1345 the submarine once again dived and the second exercise of the day began. This exercise involved the anti-submarine training yacht Shemara firing practice mortars against the submarine. The first two runs were successful with Untamed indicating her position after each with a white smoke candle. At 1450 following the third run the submarine did not immediately indicate her position, The Shemara fired "INDICATE POSITION" charge, came to a stop and began tapping on the hull. The efforts of the Shemara were greeted by a yellow smoke candle. Shemara moved to a position by the marker and once again began tapping the hull. At this point a swirl of water was seen near the marker. Shemara called a halt to the exercise and signalled the submarine to surface: there was no reply. A second surface signal was sent, again without result. At 1602 Shemara sent a signal for assistance to the Naval Officer in Command and continued to search for the submarine. At 1716 the sound of the submarine blowing her tanks was heard. Using asdic the Shemara located the submarine. For the next ten minutes the sound of the submarine blowing her tanks and stopping and starting her engines could be heard. At 1733 HMS Thrasher arrived to render assistance and tried to contact the Untamed. At 1745 all sound from the submarine ceased. Because of worsening weather conditions divers were not able to inspect the stricken submarine until 1115 on 1st June - 45 hours after she had dived. There was no reply to the divers tapping on the hull of the submarine and an inspection of the vessels hull showed no obvious damage. Only when the Untamed had been salvaged did the cause of her loss become clear; the forward part of the submarine had been flooded through a sluice valve.

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HMS Parthian

7 August 1943

Possibly mined in Adriatic

In July HMS Parthian sailed from Malta for a patrol in the southern Adriatic. On the 26th she was ordered to patrol off Capo Otranto. This order was cancelled on the 28th when a new patrol area was given. The submarine was signalled on 6th August to leave the patrol. This signal was not acknowledged and not further contact was made with the submarine. Parthian was due to arrive at Beirut on 11th August, her failure to do so was probably caused by a mine on or around 6th August.

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HMS Saracen

14 August 1943

Depth charged off Corsica by Italian CVT Minerva

On 7th August 1943 whilst on patrol of Bastia, HMS Saracen was spotted by the Italian corvettes Minerva and Eutepe who attacked with an accurate pattern of depth charges forcing the submarine to the surface. As the crew abandoned ship the submarine was scuttled to avoid capture.

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X9

16 September 1943

Lost on passage to Norway to attack Scharnhorst

On 11th September 1943 X9 left Loch Cairnbawn under tow from HMS Syrtis to take part in the attack on the Scharnhorst. During the passage the Syrtis remained on the surface, whilst the x-craft, manned by a passage crew, remained dived. The midget submarine was due to surface at regular intervals to ventilate. On the 16th Syrtis made the signal for the x-craft to surface. There was no reply. At this point the tow was hauled in and was found to have parted and despite an extensive search, no sign of X9 was ever found.

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X8

18 September 1943

Scuttled en-route to Norway to attack Lutzow

X5

22 September 1943

Presumed sunk by gunfire during attack on Tirpitz

X5 was sighted by X7 after the X-craft had crossed a mined area just before the attack on the Tirpitz. This was the last definite sighting of X5.

In Kaa Fjord X5 allegedly surfaced and was sunk by Tirpitz's automatics, 500 metres away from her target. Later research has suggested that this was in fact X7 abandoned and circling out of control after her attack, and that X5 never reached her intended destination.

The part played by X5 in the attack is not known but, some time after the attack, divers found wreckage possibly (but not definitely) of X5 about a mile to seaward of the Tirpitz, halfway between her and the entrance to Kaa Fjord.

No bodies or personal gear were found, and of survivors there was no trace. It is believed that she was destroyed by depth-charges; whether she was on her way out at the time, after laying her charges, or whether she was waiting to go in during the next attacking period will very possibly never be known.

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X6

22 September 1943

Scuttled after attack on Tirpitz

On 21st September 1943 X6's periscope flooded shortly after starting out for the attack on the Tirpitz. With visibility greatly reduced the submarine surfaced behind a coaster and followed it through the anti-submarine nets. After entering Kaa Fjord X6 went down to 60 feet and proceeded blindly, while trying to repair the periscope and the motor brakes which had recently burnt out. By 0705 X6 was within striking distance of her target. During the final approaches the submarine hit a submerged rock forcing it to the surface. X6 was clearly seen by Tirpitz and was attacked with hand grenades, and depth charges. X6 immediately dived and in the process completely flooded the periscope.

Proceeding blind, X6's first charge was dropped somewhere near the battleship’s bridge area but whilst positioning to release the second charge, the submarine struck the battleship. With their position given away the crew had no choice but to release the second charge and scuttle X6 with the submarine sinking towards the forward end of the battleship.

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X7

22 September 1943

Sank after attack on Tirpitz

Having penetrated the anti-submarine nets at the entrance to Kaa Fjord, X7 manoeuvred to pass under the nearby anti-torpedo nets and placed explosive charges under the Tirpitz's funnel and after-turret.

On the return journey X7 was hampered by the anti-torpedo nets and had only travelled 400-500 yards from the battleship when the charges exploded. The resulting shock waves severely damaged X7 and rather than compromising the operation by surfacing, the submarine lay on the bottom for over an hour. With the submarine completely out of action, it returned to the surface to face fierce gunfire. The submarine was unable to hold the surface and sank back to the bottom.

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