SUBMARINE REPORT I
 
     
  In the night of Wednesday April 26th, Convoy ONS 5 was proceeding in 9 columns five cables apart on course 238 at 7 knots.  Throughout the night Escorts dropped depth charges very effectively on Submarine Contacts, at least six attacks were driven off and Submarines were actually sighted three times on surface.  Especially heavy attacks were heard at 2323 and on the morning of the 29th from 0135 to 0230.  
     
  At 0345 (when flag signals could be seen) speed was increased to 7-1/2 knots and course adjusted to 242.  At 0530 (0730Z) "McKEESPORT" (USA) No. 42 was torpedoed in broad daylight, and after strongly attempting to keep up with Convoy, was finally abandoned and left sinking by the head.  
     
  Escort organized a hunt but without success and nothing was seen of attacking Submarine.  Position of "McKEESPORT" when torpedoed was 61. 20 N., and 35. 10 W.  
     
 
SUBMARINE REPORT NO. 2
 
     
 
Positions (  At midnight 4th 55. 09 N., 43. 12 W.
  (  At 0300/5th 54.57 43. 31
  (  At noon 5th 53.53 44. 19
 
     
  On May 4th 2050 Convoy ONS 5 was proceeding in 10 columns, 5 cables apart on a course of 202 degrees, speed 7 -1/2 knots, when "TAY" (SOE) dropped DC's close ahead of Convoy.  From this moment a series of continuous attacks were made by U-Boats and countered by Escorts throughout the night, the following day and night, until 0400/6th when fog concealed the Convoy.  
     
  The "NORTH BRITAIN" (81) which had straggled from Convoy in bad weather on Saturday May 1st had rejoined on the afternoon in question but dropped back 7 miles astern again with boiler trouble.  At 2227 she was torpedoed.  
     
  At 2300 (Convoy time which was Z-2) "HARBURY" (81) was torpedoed closely followed by "WEST MAXIMUS" (22) at 2306 and "HARPERLEY" (13) at 2310.  As U-Boats were apparently on both sides, Convoy continued on steady course at best speed.  Escorts made intense DC and Star Shell attacks continued intermittently throughout the night.  At 0300/5th "WENTWORTH" (23) was torpedoed, followed by "BRISTOL CITY" (11) at 0322.  Out of these six torpedoed ships, distress rocket signal was only observed from "HARBURY", "HARPERLEY" "WENTWORTH" and "NORTH BRITAIN".  
     
  On first ship being torpedoed, Commodore commenced firing snowflakes but no ship repeated.  On second ship being torpedoed, this experience was repeated.  But at 0300 Snowflakes were again fired by Commodore and repeated by about 6 or 7 ships.  
     
  At 1041/5th "DOLIUS" (21) was torpedoed and hoisted Pts 1, possibly to denote she was hit on the starboard side.  Convoy continued on course.  Escorts dropped DC's.
     
  At 1745/5th "SELVISTAN" (101) and "GHARANDA" (111) were torpedoed, followed 5 minutes later by "BONDE" (83).  "SELVISTAN's" was a particularly violent explosion, ship sinking within 2 or 3 minutes.  All Escorts in sight made towards torpedoed ships whilst Convoy made 2 Emergency turns to Port at 1750 (90° to Port).  
     
  An Air Escort was now observed for the first time since May 2nd  
  (though air support was so sadly needed)  
     
  At 1845 Convoy resumed course.  
     
  At 2110 Convoy made 2 emergency turns to Starboard (90° to Stbd) on advise of S.O. and heavy DC attacks were made on Sub. Contacts.  
     
  "LOOSESTRIFE" reporting chasing sub on surface ahead at 2136 at which time Convoy resumed Course of 202.  
     
  At 2300 Convoy wheeled evasively to 186 and at 2400 to 156.  After midnight weather came in thick - column numbers were sounded as necessary and very heavy DC attacks were heard by Escorts until 0400/6th when it appeared that with good work on part of Escorts, Emergency and Evasive turns on part of Convoy and lastly fog, Convoy had shaken off the Enemy.  
     
     

 

 
 
     
  SUBMARINE REPORT (Continued)  
     
  0700/6th  Commodore altered course to 196 and with help of Escorts collected the Convoy.  
     
  REMARKS:  Convoy should be especially mentioned for good emergency manoeuvering and station-keeping under the most trying circumstances.  The second 90 degree turn in the dark and mist was very praise-worthy.  
     
  Since writing the above report, I have heard from HMS "TAY" (SOE) of the submarine losses on the last phase of this big Convoy Battle, all of which happened  - I understand - between 2100/5th and 0400/6th of which the following is a summary:  
     
          "Last nights bag was 5 U-Boats destroyed"  
          Two were rammed by "ORIBI" and "SUNFLOWER" respectively.  
          "SNOWFLAKE" - Survivors in water - no time to pick them up.  
          "LOOSESTRIFE" - Sub was seen by all Bridge Personnel to blow up.  
          "VIDETTE" - Saw and heard heavy under water explosion.  
     
  In conclusion, I would like to remark on the splendid work throughout on part of Escorts, not forgetting (SO) HMS "DUNCAN" who unfortunately had to leave Convoy short of fuel just before Convoy Battle materialized.  
     
  It was estimated 24 attacks were made on Convoy and between 20 to 30 U-Boats were engaged.  
     
  REPORT ON SURVIVORS  
 
"NORTH BRITAIN" 11 survivors picked up by "NORTHERN SPRAY"
"HARBURY" 44
"HARPERLEY" 38
"WEST MAXIMUS" 50
"WENTWORTH" 42
"BRISTOL CITY" 29
"DOLIUS" 66 Picked up by SUNFLOWER, screened by "SNOWFLAKE"
"SELVISTAN" 40  )
"GHARANDA" 92  )   All on board HMS "TAY"
"BONDE" 12  )
 
                        TOTAL 424
     
  NOTE:  "GUDVOR" (Straggled May 1st) was also torpedoed on 5th when not in Convoy.  No position given.  
     
     
     
     
                                                                                               
                                                                                                    J.Kenneth Brook  
                                                                                                    Commodore, RNR  
                                                                                                    Convoy ONS 5  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

 

 
 
     
  COPY OF "I.D.FORM A.C."  
     
 
O.N.S. 5
 
 
SUBMARINE ATTACK REPORT FOR MAY 4th/May 5th, 1943
 
     
  NAME OF SHIP MAKING REPORT:  M.V. "RENA" (Nor) COMMODORE'S SHIP.  
     
 
1. Position, time and date of attack   From May 4th 2050 to May 6th 0400, 1943
    Midnight    4th 55. 09 N., 43.12 W.
      0300         5th 54. 57 N., 43.31 W.
      Noon        5th 53. 53 N., 44. 19 W.
       
2. Composition, course and speed of Convoy and names of Escorting Vessels   31 ships in 10 columns 5 cables apart, course 202°.  Speed 7-1/2 knots.
    H.M.S. "TAY (S.O.)
                 "LOOSESTRIFE"
                 "SNOWFLAKE"
                   "SUNFLOWER"
                   "NORTHERN GEM"
                   "NORTHERN SPRAY" and Outer Screen Group
                   "OFFA" and "ORIBI".
       
3. Was Convoy zigzagging?   No
       
4. State of weather, sea, and visibility   Wind and sea moderate, chiefly from SW and visibility varying from clear to thick fog.
       
5. Number of torpedoes fired by submarine & result of attack.   Throughout the whole period it was estimated that 24 attacks were made on Convoy so that number of torpedoes fired was numerous, observing that 9 ships were torpedoed in convoy and one straggling.  Five U-Boats were claimed as sunk.
       
6. Was submarine sighted or detected before firing   Submarines were sighted in many cases.
       
7. Manoeuvres carried out by convoy and escort   (a)  Two emergency turns of 90° and evasive courses second night (see special report)
    (b)  Too numerous to mention (See Escorts Report).
       
8. Were any warning signals by W/T etc received before the attack   No
       
9. What offensive action was taken against submarine by escort and with what result?   See No. 5
       
10. Any further remarks of interest   Contained in Special Report attached.
 
     
                                                                                            J.Kenneth Brook  
                                                                                            Commodore R.N.R.  
     
     

 


 

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