APPENDIX A(2)
 
  FROM:  COMMANDING OFFICER, H.M.S. SNOWFLAKE.  
  DATE:  8th MAY 1943.
  TO:  THE SENIOR OFFICER B.7. ESCORT GROUP H.M.S. DUNCAN.
 
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NARRATIVE OF EVENTS DURING PASSAGE OF CONVOY O.N.S.5
 
     
  All times Convoy time (zone plus 2)  
  INCIDENT SNOW ONE 29th April 1943.  
 
0000 Convoy on course 243 degrees, speed 6 knots, wind westerly force 3, Slight sea and swell, Good visibility, Ship in position M (A.C.I. ART 130)
0132 Ship on course 273.  Hydrophone effect reported right ahead.  R.D.F. ordered to investigate, bow arcs.  Speed increased to 14 knots.
0132-1/2 R.D.F. reported contact dead ahead.  U-boat sighted diving on course 110 range 1300 yards.  A/S contact was gained, and ship ran in to attack.  When the U-boat was about 200 yards ahead wheel was put hard-a-starboard.  The reason for this mistake is not apparent.  The Chief Quartermaster, whose statement os borne out by the telegraphsman, maintains that the order was given by the Officer of the Watch.  No order of this nature had been given, and it is thought that the Officer of the Watch giving orders to the Starboard throwers may have been overheard and misunderstood as the voice-pipes are not far apart.  U-boat passed 200 yards down port side and charges were not fired.  Realising my mistake in not dropping charges I manoeuvred to get between the U-boat and the Convoy to prevent him attacking contact having been lost.
0135 3 depth charges were dropped between the U-boat and the Convoy and course altered to 190 degrees.
0136 Asdic contact gained bearing 193 degrees range 2000 yards.
0138 While running to attack from astern of U-boat, torpedo hydrophone effect was heard, and a torpedo was seen to pass 20 yards down the port side.  Warning was given by sound signal and R/T.
0143 Ten charge pattern dropped on Submarine contact.  Attack not considered particularly accurate.
0145 Asdic contact regained bearing 075 deg. range 1400 yards.
0146-1/2 Altered course to port to carry out second attack.
0151 Dropped ten charge pattern on Submarine contact.  Course 105 degrees.  Position 8 o'clock 4 miles.  This attack is considered to have been accurate.
0152 Asdic contact was regained astern but classified "doubtful".  In view of the prospect of heavy attacks by U-boats for many days to come I could not afford to expend any more depth charges, and as the U-boat was no longer in a position to menace the Convoy I proceeded to rejoin.
0155 Ordered to take position "R"
0208 In station "R".
0240 Ordered to take position "M".
 
     
  Track chart in original only attached.  
     
                                                                                                  INCIDENT SNOW 2 . . . . . . .  
     
     

 

 
 
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  INCIDENT SNOW 2.  29th April 1943.                            Track chart in original only attached.
 
0535 Zig-zagging in position "M".  Pendants 44 torpedoed.  Ordered to carry out operation "Artichoke".  (A.C.I. Art 109)
0537 Altered course to 060 degrees, swept back on starboard beam of H.M.S. DUNCAN.
0545 While screening stragglers an Asdic contact was obtained bearing 271 degrees range 2,600 yards.  Contact classified "doubtful" but as it was in a position to menace the straggler one charge was dropped at 0612 while passing through wreckage where pendants 44 had been torpedoed (Pts.44 still in convoy).
0615 Asdic contact regained bearing 070 degrees range 1,200 yards, classified as "submarine".
0621 Two charges dropped on contact.
0623 Asdic contact regained bearing 310 degrees range 300 yds.  This was by now astern of the straggler and again my actions were governed by the situation requiring careful conservation of charges.  Contact was left after reporting to DUNCAN.
0630 Ordered to resume station at best speed.
0707 Ordered to take up position "P".
0730 In station "P".
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INCIDENT SNOW 3.  29th April 1943.
0817 Obtained Asdic contact bearing 288 deg range 2,400 yds.  Contact classified as "submarine" and as this was in a position to attack the convoy a counter-attack was made.
0822 Five charges dropped on contact.
0835 Contact not re-established.  Resuming station.
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INCIDENT SNOW 4 .  30th April 1943.
Convoy on course 233 degrees.  Speed approximately 3 knots.  Wind Westerly, force 7.  Heavy sea and swell.  "Snowflake" in Position P.
2305 R.D.F. contact bearing 210 degrees range 3300 yds. reported near SUNFLOWER (SUNFLOWER 235 degrees 4200 yds.).  Altered course towards and increased speed.  Range at first opened but when the engine room had been informed that we were chasing a U-boat the range subsequently closed.
2310 Commenced firing alternate starshell and H.E.
2316 Range had closed to 3000 yds. and the U-boat being "near missed" by 4" and Oerlikon projectiles, dived in position 9 o'clock - 6 miles.
2324 Asdic contact had not been gained.  One depth charge dropped and, after sweeping back through the area, course was set to resume station.
   
                                                                                            2365 . . . . . . . .
 
     
     

 

 
 
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2355 In station P.
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INCIDENT SNOW 5 .  4th May 1943.  Track chart in original only attached.
Convoy on course 209 degrees.  Speed 6 knots.  Wind Westerly Force 4.  Moderate sea and swell.  Good visibility.
2225 "NORTHERN SPRAY reported straggler torpedoed.
2235 R.D.F. Contact obtained momentarily bearing 088 degrees range 5400 yds.  Altered course to 088 degrees to investigate.
2253 Pendants 81 torpedoed.
2255 Ordered to carry out Operation "Half Raspberry".
  Set course 335 degrees and proceeded to carry out the operation at 12 knots.
2259 Reported two white rockets bearing 270 degrees.
2302 Altered course to 125 degrees.
2304 Opened fire with starshell, illuminating arc 030 degrees to 150 degrees.
2308 Altered course to 210 degrees.
2309 R.D.F. Contact bearing 255 degrees (accuracy of bearing doubtful)  Range 3000 yds.  Submarine contact.  Altered course towards and increased to full speed.
2310 Asdic contact obtained bearing ahead range 3000 yds.  Reported to TAY.
2311 U-boat heard to fire two torpedoes.  Reported by R/T. and sound signal
2313 Commenced firing starshell on R.D.F. bearing.  Lost contact by Asdic as recorder broke down.  Contact maintained by R.D.F.
2314 U-boat altered course to the southward, R.D.F. holding contact and Asdic reporting hydrophone effect, with echo bearing 170 degrees range 300 yds.  It is not known whether this was a second U-boat proceeding submerged or S.B.T. but as many U-boats were known to be in the vicinity I decided to drop charges and ordered the A/S.C.O. to fire when on by recorder.
2316 Ten charge pattern dropped set shallow.  The explosions fractured the leads to the Asdic motor alternators and blew out to bridge fuses.  R.D.F. maintained contact on the U-boat ahead and the chase continued.  Alternate starshell and H.E. being fired by the 4" gun.  Consider I was bluffed by the U-boat into wasting charges.
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2323 U-boat dived at range 2400 yds. bearing 140 degrees.
2327 Five charges dropped in area where U-boat had dived.
2329 Torpedo passed ahead range about 125 yds. traveling from Port to Starboard.
2334 Unable to gain Asdic contact.  Set course to resume station.
2335 Asdic set in action.
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INCIDENT SNOW 6.  5th May 1943.
0004 In position F.
0122 SNOWFLAKE on course 260 degrees.  R.D.F. contact obtained bearing 175 degrees, range 3400 yds.  Altered course towards and informed "TAY".  Enemy retired and chase commenced.
0124 Course 160 degrees range 2000 yds.  Hydrophone effect
 
     
                                                                                                    obtained by . . . . . . . .  
     
     

 

 
 
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INCIDENT SNOW 6 (Cont'd)
0124 (Cont'd)
  obtained by Asdic.  Starshell being fired.
0141 Heard OFFA order ORIBI to assist SNOWFLAKE if in the vicinity.
0145 Passed my position to ORIBI (120 degrees ZZ-9 miles)
0146 Asked ORIBI if he was joining me.
0150 ORIBI replied that he was coming to assist.  Course was still 160 degrees.  Range of U-boat had closed to 1100 yds. and occasional echoes were being obtained through his wake and hydrophone effect.
0154 At about this time ORIBI opened fire with starshell which were observed bearing 250 degrees.
0159 U-boat dived ahead 900 yds.
0200 Ran over U-boat and dropped five charges set shallow.
0205 Ran in for second attack but no charges were dropped as the run was inaccurate.
0207 Regained contact bearing 150 degrees range 4400 yds.
0214 Carried out third attack dropping four heavy charges set to medium depth.  Fifth charge had jammed in the rails.
0215 Established V/S contact with ORIBI and told him that we had few charges left, requesting him to take over the hunt.  I was anxious to get back to the convoy as further heavy attacks were expected.
0217 Ordered by ORIBI to take over directing ship.  Carried out the duties of directing ship passing ranges and bearings to him until 0320.
0320 Set course to rejoin.
0330 Snowflake rockets observed bearing 290 degrees.
0430 In station F.
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INCIDENT SNOW 7 .  5th May 1943.
Convoy on course 209 degrees.  Wind SW'ly force 3.  Fine and clear.
1040 Pendants 21 torpedoed on the starboard side.
1043 Ordered to carry out Operation "Artichoke" A.C.I. Art. 119.
1045 Altered course to 029 degrees.  Increased speed to 14 knots.
1112 Altered course to 209 degrees and swept back towards the convoy.
1130 Ordered to screen SUNFLOWER picking up survivors from Pendants 21.
1206 Set course to rejoin in company with SUNFLOWER.
1307 Regained station.
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INCIDENT SNOW 8 .  5th May 1943.
1742 Ships torpedoed starboard side of convoy.  Operation "Artichoke" ordered.
1750 Altered course to 029 degrees.  Convoy carrying out two emergency turns to Port.
1812 Altered course to 213 degrees and reported "Resuming Station".  Remainder of Escort appeared to be in contact with the U-boat on the starboard side.
1840 Convoy altering to original course.
1925 In station F.  Convoy on course 213 degrees.
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INCIDENT SNOW 9 .  5th May 1943.
Convoy on course 202 degrees.  Speed 6-1/2 knots.  Wind SW'ly force 3.  Fine and slight mist.
2114 Ordered to join SUNFLOWER who was attacking two U-boats.  Altered course to 090 degrees.
 
     
                                                                                                                2115 . . . . . . . .  
     
     

 

 
 
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INCIDENT SNOW 9.  5th May 1943 (Cont'd)
2115 SUNFLOWER reported "Resuming station".
2118 Resumed station.
2123 R.D.F. contact obtained bearing 190 degrees 2400 yds.  Reported U-boat in position 9 o'clock 5 miles.
2125 Bearing had altered to 170 degrees and range reduced to 2100 yds.  U-boat continued altering course to the eastward as chase continued, range being reduced.
2131 U-boat dived on bearing 150 degrees, range Asdic contact held and ship ran in to attack.
2132 R.D.F. contact obtained bearing 160 degrees range 2100 yds.  Altered course towards second U-boat as the danger from torpedo attack was too great to warrant carrying out an attack with one or two charges on the first U-boat.  Asdic contact was maintained with the first while R.D.F. maintained contact with the second.
2134 Second U-boat dived bearing 160 degrees range 1800 yds.  Asdic trained on second U-boat and contact immediately gained.  During the run in to attack the bearing commenced to draw left and a throw off of 30 degrees to port was made in anticipation of U-boat turning hard-a-port.  THe U-boat did in fact turn hard-a-starboard.
2138 U-boat passed down starboard side.  No charges dropped.
2139 Asdic lost contact.
2140 Ship altered to last bearing of U-boat (No. 2)
2144 One heavy charge dropped to persuade U-boats to stay down for a while.  This was dropped between the estimated positions of the U-boats.
2145 Set course 240 degrees to rejoin convoy.
2147 Doubtful Asdic contact obtained bearing 160 degrees 1900 yds.  This was thought to have been the second U-boat.  Ran in to attack.
2151 Two heavy charges dropped set medium depth.
2152 Contact regained astern, doubtful echoes on bearing.  Altered course to starboard.
2153 Passed large oil patch to starboard when on course 300 degrees.  This oil was thick and about 150 yds. in diameter.  It is unexplained.
2155 Set course 265 degrees to rejoin.
2201 Informed SUNFLOWER "Rejoining from bearing 110 degrees".
2230 In station R.
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INCIDENT SNOW 10 .  6th May 1943.
0022 Obtained R.D.F. contact bearing 090 degrees 4000 yds.  Altered course towards and commenced chase illuminating target with starshell alternatively firing H.E.  Reported to TAY, U-boat 3 o'clock 5 miles.
0030 U-boat dived on course 090 degrees range 600 yds.
0031 Fired heavy charges from port and starboard throwers set to 140 ft.
0032 Regained contact astern.  Opened range to 1000 yds.  Turned for second run in to ascertain whether U-boat had gone deep.
0035 Passed over U-boat, contact being held to "instantaneous echoes".
0036 Regained contact astern, ran out to 500 yds.
0038 Carried out second attack, with one heavy charge set to 140 ft. in an endeavour to persuade the U-boat to stay down.
0039 Contact regained astern but I had insufficient time or charges to attack.  Set course to rejoin.
0100 In station R.
 
     
                                                                                              INCIDENT SNOW 11 . . . . . . . .  
     
     

 

 
 
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INCIDENT SNOW 11.  6th May 1943.
0130 R.D.F. contact bearing 030 degrees, range 4100 yds.  Reported U-boat to TAY 8 o'clock 5 miles.  Chase commenced on course 055 degrees range slowly being reduced.  By this time fog had closed in and starshell were useless.  4" H.E. was being fired directly by R.D.F.
0136 U-boat endeavouring to work to the Southward.
0138 U-boat on course 115 degrees.
0140 U-boat dived bearing 125 degrees range 400 yards.
0141 Ran over U-boat dropping one heavy charge set to 140 ft.  R.D.F. contact obtained of second U-boat bearing 170 degrees range 2400 yds.
0141-1/2 Altered course to 170 degrees and reported second U-boat.
0142-1/2 U-boat moving very rapidly left.  Altered course to 130 degrees to intercept.  Enemy being engaged with H.E.
0145 U-boat dived.  Obtained R.D.F. contact of third U-boat bearing 185 degrees 1000 yds.  Broke off attack on second U-boat through risk of torpedo attack from third.  Altered course to 160 degrees.  Reported to TAY.
0146 U-boat dived.
0147 Asdic contact bearing 160 degrees 700 yds.  Ran in to attack with last charge.
0149 SUNFLOWER ordered to my assistance.
0150 Lost contact by Asdics.  Reported situation to TAY charge not dropped.
0151 Altered course to port to 300 degrees, to carry out R.D.F. sweep through the last known area of three U-boats with the object of ascertaining whether any of the U-boats had surfaced.
0154 R.D.F. contact bearing 250 degrees 3200 yds.  Altered course towards.  R.D.F. reported that the U-boat appeared to be low in the water.  The speed at which I closed indicated that the U-boat was stopped.
0159 Range had closed to 500 yds. and bearing commenced to move right.  Course altered 10 degrees to starboard.  Gained contact with Asdic.
0200 Range had closed to 100 yds.  Starboard searchlight switched on revealing a 500 ton U-boat swinging rapidly to starboard.  Wheel was put hard-a-starboard in an attempt to ram and all guns that would bear opened fire.  Ship turned inside the U-boat's turning circle and came up alongside her starboard side with only a few feet separating the two.  By this time the enemy was being illuminated by port searchlight and 10" S.P. and was seen to be in a sinking condition.  The conning tower was buckled, periscope standards twisted, A.A. gun wrecked, casing in way of the after hatch torn away and the lid of the after hatch appeared to have been blown away.  Guns could not be depressed sufficiently to hit.  As the ships drew apart the stern of the U-boat settled with constant streams of air bubbles rising from the water hatch.  Crew were seen to be abandoning ship but an attempt was made to man the forward gun, this attempt was defeated by accurate shooting from the 2Pdr. and port Oerlikon plus some intimidation from the 4" which missed.  Some of the crew waved their arms, presumably as a signal to cease fire, this was ignored. 
  A report was made that the U-boat had been sunk by ramming as I was under the impression that the port bilge keel had torn a hole in the U-boat's starboard side.  This was subsequently found to be wrong.
 
     
                                                                                                             0211 . . . . . . . .  
     
     

 

 
 
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INCIDENT SNOW 11.  (Cont'd)
0211 R.D.F. Contact obtained bearing 160 degrees 1400 yds.  Reported as U-boat fully blown.  Set course to ram being the only means left to deal with U-boats.
0213 Searchlight switched on revealing SUNFLOWER.  Wheel put hard-a-port and collision successfully averted.
0214 U-boat's scuttling charges heard to explode.  The first was louder than the following four.
  Swept back through area illuminating survivors swimming in oil and some in a small dinghy.
  As DUNFLOWER was with me I requested permission to pick up a few prisoners for interrogation.  This was not approved.  Course set to rejoin.
0218 Asdic contact obtained bearing 130 degrees 1600 yds.  Altered course to investigate reporting to SUNFLOWER.
0221 Lost contact.
0226 Set course to resume station.
0318 In station.
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INCIDENT SNOW 12 .  6th May 1943.
0402 SNOWFLAKE in position R  LOOSESTRIFE reports U-boats coming towards me.  Altered course to intercept.
0406 Sighted LOOSESTRIFE in the half light of dawn steering about 045 degrees.  U-boat had apparently altered course to the Northward.  In the meantime course was altered to 060 degrees and R.D.F. ordered to sweep ahead of LOOSESTRIFE.
0412 R.D.F. contact obtained bearing 047 degrees 3000 yds.
0413 Opened fire with starshell but illumination was damped by slight mist, chase continued range being slowly reduced H.E. being fired directed by R.D.F.
0416 Asdic in contact by hydrophone effect.
0417 Very loud whistle effect heard lasting 5-10 seconds.
0418 Two torpedoes passed down the port side, not heard by Asdic.  The whistle effect was considered to have been caused by the U-boat regaining trim after firing torpedoes.
0421 U-boats dived.  Told LOOSESTRIFE to carry on and that I would act as directing ship.  Altered course to 150 degrees and assumed the duties of directing vessel.
0430 LOOSESTRIFE attacked.  Contact lost after this attack.
0433 Set course to resume station.
0500 Dense fog.  Convoy scattered.  Rounding up stragglers.
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  SUMMARY.  
          During the actions described above Officers and Men of Ship's Company behaved magnificently.  (Special recommendations are attached).  
  The following points are considered worthy of note.  
  Use of R.D.F. to direct 4" H.E. blind shooting.  
          During these actions,. especially in low visibility when starshell are useless, effective 4" H.E. was used to force U-boats to dive by training the gun fore & aft with sights set to zero, firing when R.D.F. reported U-boat dead ahead.  This obviated the necessity of a long chase.  
  Speed of attack.  
          During concentrated attacks by U-boats speed of attacks on U-boats should be given precedence to initial accuracy so that escorts - especially slow escorts - can get back to their screening positions in the shortest possible time ready for the next attack.  Being in contact  
     
                                                                                                                  with two . . . . . . . .  
     
     

 

 
 
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  SUMMARY (Cont'd)  
     
  Speed of attack (Cont'd)  
  with two U-boats at once is not conductive to carrying out deliberate attacks in accordance with C.B.4097.  
  Depth settings.  
          On some occasions medium settings were used although there was no indication that the U-boat had gone deep.  These settings were used, when not actually in contact, because considerable damage had been done to the ship by previous shallow patterns.  The fuel tanks, engine room, engineers store, and after peak were leaking.  Medium settings were not used when in contact with no indication of U-boat having gone deep.  
  R/T  
          R/T communication was excellence throughout.  
  Code words.  
          Code words from W.A.E.O. such as "Hearse" become useless as a code after one party like this.  
     
     
     
                                                                                          
                                                                                            Lieutenant R.N.R.  
                                                                                            Commanding Officer,  
                                                                                            H.M.S. SNOWFLAKE  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     


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