VIDETTE 1

 
 
     
 
VID. ONE.
 
   
          Vidette was stationed in position "D", 60 degrees 5000 yds on the starboard bow of convoy, when at 2220/4, an R.D.F. contact was obtained bearing 205, 3600 yds.  Course was altered towards and speed increased to 22 knots, and a 14 charge pattern at ramming settings was ordered.
          At 2225, the U-boat was sighted on the surface, going away at high speed.  
          At 2228, U-boat dived, bearing 230, 700 yds, and at 2230-1/2 a 14 charge pattern was fired by eye.  This was not considered an accurate attack; although the patter was dropped close ahead of the diving position, the U-boat had several valuable seconds in which to take drastic avoiding action under the surface.  
          Range was opened to 2000 yds., and speed reduced to 18 knots.  Course was then altered towards the estimated diving position in an endeavour to gain A/S contact.  No contact was obtained in this area, so operation Observant was commenced.  
          At 2250, an R.D.F. contact was obtained bearing 285, 3600 yds. (see Vid. Two.)  
          The lack of R.D.F. contacts on the track chart in this attack, was due to the rating on the plot at cruising stations not fully appreciating the situation.  This rating is in direct communication with the Type 271 Operator, and can hear all reports of contacts that are made.  All plot Operators have now been instructed to plot all contacts, except those that are obviously ships in company, as soon as they are received, without being told to do so by the Officer of the Watch.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

VIDETTE 2

 
 
     
 
VID. TWO.
 
   
          At 2250/4, whilst on the second leg of observant, after the attack as laid down in Vid. One, and R.D.F. Contact was obtained bearing 285, 3600 yds.  Course was altered to bring this echo ahead, and speed increased to 20 knots, and a 14 charge pattern set to ramming settings was ordered.  Range closed steadily and the bearing remained the same until 2250, when it began to draw slowly eight.  At 2258, a U-boat was sighted on the surface, 1000 yds ahead.  Full ahead both and stand by to ram was passed, and the Oerlikons ordered to open fire.  Oerlikon tracer had the effect of illuminating the conning tower of the U-boat, but also temporarily blinded the Bridge personnel.
          The last range and bearing reported by the R.D.F. was 342, 500 yds.  The U-boat was still in sight, and appeared to be steering about 070 at slow speed.  The submarine appeared reluctant to dive, and the conning tower did not submerge until the range had been closed to about 80 yds.  The wheel was not put to starboard and the ship passed over the centre of the swirl and a 14 charge pattern was dropped by eye.  This was considered an accurate attack.  
          Range was opened to 1700 yds and speed reduced to 15 knots course was altered towards the diving position in an effort to obtain A/S contact.  No contact was obtained so Observant was commenced.  At 2325, A/S contact was obtained, bearing 345, range 900 yards; course was altered towards and a 14 charge pattern with "Edward" settings ordered.  The target had no movement and produced no Doppler, but it was classified by the A/S.C.O. as a U-boat.  Contact was held to Instant Echoes.  
          Range was opened to 1800 yds. and course was then altered towards this position of the last attack.  One good echo was obtained at 750 yds, bearing 215, being nearly in the position of the last attack.  No further contact was obtained although this position was swept through again.  
          When this contact was obtained at 2325, I decided to attack with hedgehog and speed was reduced to 10 knots; at 700 yds, the order salvoes was passed.  The A/S.C.O. asked if he could make it a depth charge attack, as he did not consider there was sufficient information for an accurate H.H. attack.  I acted on this advice, and increased speed to 16 knots, at the same time ordering a 14 charge pattern with "E" settings.  This pattern was ordered when range was under 500 yds; 12 charges fired, the remaining two from the traps were not set in time.  
          The order salvoes was not cancelled at the H.H. and for some unexplained reason, the fire buzzer at the H.H. was reported by the whole H.H.'s crew to have sounded just after the first D.C. had exploded.  On hearing the Buzzer the H.H. was fired.  
          In my opinion the crew were quite justified in doing so.  
          I was to blame for not having cancelled the Order salvoes.  
     
     

VIDETTE 3

 
 
     
 
VID. THREE.
 
   
          At 1342/4, Vidette was stationed in Position "B", when an A/S contact was obtained bearing 090 at very close range.  This was not a good echo, but on cutting right a clear and defined echo was obtained.
          Course was altered towards, and a counter attack commenced by the C.O.W. with a five charge pattern set to 100 ft.  
          The bearing appeared to be moving right and the echo produced opening doppler.  This contact was classified as a submarine.  At 1344 a five charge pattern was fired.  
          Range was opened to about 900 yds, and course was then altered to sweep through position of last attack.  No further contact was obtained, so Observant was commenced in order not only to try and regain contact but also to keep U-boat down until Convoy had passed well clear.  At 1433, Vidette was ordered to rejoin.  
          In my opinion this contact was a U-boat, placing himself in a suitable position to attack the Convoy.  During this period, no ships were torpedoed.  The attached track chart may not be entirely reliable owing to a temporary breakdown in the plot.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

VIDETTE 4

 
 
     
 
VID. FOUR.
 
   
          At 2109, Vidette was in position "C", when an R.D.F. contact was obtained bearing 200, 5100 yds.  Course was altered towards.  Action stations were sounded, and speed increased to 18 knots.  When the echo was ahead, bearing was 195, 5000 yds. the range began to close slowly and at 2116, speed was increased to 20 knots.
          At 2117, a second echo was obtained by R.D.F., bearing 190, 7200 yds.  (Small echo).  
          Range on both echoes continued to decrease slowly.  At 2123 U-boat was sighted on the surface ahead, steaming away at high speed.  Almost immediately, the U-boat began to dive.  At 2125-1/2 it had submerged approximately 700 yds. ahead.  
          A ten charge pattern had been set with ramming settings and at 2125-1/2 the first charge was fired in the still visible diving swirl; the last charge was fired about 25 seconds later.  Almost one minute after the first depth charges had exploded, a large explosion was heard by Bridge personnel, D.C. crews and engine room ratings.  
          The Engineer Officer, who was at the top of the engine room hatch at the time, as well as several members of the D.C. party observed a column of water with dark appearance astern, at a distance varying between 300 and 600 yds astern.  
          As we were then in full pursuit of the second R.D.F. contact it was impossible to return to investigate this report.  
          This U-boat, in my opinion, was seriously damaged, if not destroyed.  See VID Five for next attack.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

VIDETTE 5

 
 
     
 
VID. FIVE.
 
   
          Reference Vid. Four.  The range of the second echo was now 2000 yds.  D.C.'s were reloaded and a five charge pattern set to "A".
          At 900 yds, the second U-boat was sighted, and shortly after this, at about 800 yds range, the U-boat appeared to alter course 30 degrees to starboard, and dive.  Our course was altered to starboard in order to place the depth charges in the new estimated position of the U-boat in view of her observed alteration of course before diving.  At 2133-1/2 a five charge pattern was fired.  
          Range was then opened to 1200 yds, speed reduced to 15 knots, and course was altered towards the diving position in an effort to pick up A/S contact.  
          No contact was obtained, so course was set to sweep through position of attack on first U-boat.   
          No contact was obtained, so course was set to resume station in order to close the gap on the screen.  
     
  (See appendix.)  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

VIDETTE 6

 
 
     
 
VID. SIX.
 
   
          At 0026/6, and R.D.F. contact was obtained bearing 230, 1500 yds.  Speed was increased to 20 knots, and course altered towards.  At 0027 contact began to draw left and at 0039 it bore 135 degrees, 700 yds., disappearing into the ground wave shortly afterwards.  Starshell was fired but had little effect in view of the prevailing fog.  Nothing was sighted and it was presumed that the U-boat had dived.  One depth charge was dropped at 0044-1/2 and course was set to resume station.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

VIDETTE 7

 
 
     
 
VID. SEVEN.
 
   
          Vidette was sweeping back into position "D" on the screen, when an A/S contact was obtained bearing 097, 900 yds.  Course was at once altered towards and speed reduced to 10 knots.  At 0207, when the ship was pointed at contact, the range and bearing were 800 yds, 097 degrees.  This contact was very soon classified as a submarine, moving slowly right, Doppler slight opening.  It was decided to attack with H.H., as this seemed an ideal target for this form of attack.  At 700 yards the order salvoes was passed, and the H.H. crews told to stand by to receive the order to fire by voicepipe.  Considerable trouble had been experienced with the fire buzzer due to water penetrating and causing shorts so it was decided not to risk a failure.  The last centre bearing obtained was 108 just before firing.  I put the gun on a bearing of 111 degrees, that is allowing a three degree throw-off to the right.  By this time, relative speed of approach obtained from the recorder was 9 knots.  At about 0208-1/2, order was passed to the H.H. FIRE.  All H.H. bombs were heard to hit the water, and approximately three seconds after the last splash two distinct underwater explosions were heard, and the flashes observed.  Shortly after these two explosions, the A/S.C.O. reported U-boat blowing tanks.  The Noise is very loud, Sir"  This was shortly followed by another report from the A/S.C.O. saying that he could hear metallic banging noises which might account for the deep markings on the recorder trace.
  After the attack, course and speed were maintained.  Soon after the report of blowing tanks was received the First Lieutenant reported that the U-boat appeared to be coming up alongside the starboard side.  There wa a large disturbance and upheaval which might have been caused by the escape of air from the U-boat.  A report was also received from the D.C. party similar to the one made by the First Lieutenant.  
          The plot reported the two distinct explosions before receiving the information from the bridge.   
          Contact was lost at 120 yards. and never regained, although the area was re-swept.  
          In my opinion this U-boat was destroyed.  The sound of blowing tanks was probably caused by the water rushing in and the air rushing out through the damage caused by the bombs.  
          When contact was first obtained, Vidette was about 2500 yds on the starboard beam of the convoy.  Therefore, this U-boat was an immediate menace to the convoy, and as such I fully realise that a counter attack with depth charges should have been carried out at once, instead of a deliberate attack with H.H.  A five charge pattern of depth charges had been set and would have been fired if the H.H. attack had failed, and as soon as the ship had gained sufficient way.  
     
     
     
     
     

 


 

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