CVE60 /A16-3  
  Serial (0021)  
From: Commander Task Group 22.3.
To: Commander in Chief, U. S. Atlantic Fleet.
Subject: Capture of German Submarine U-505
Enclosure: (A)  Reports of Units involved in Action.
    (1) Commander Escort Division Four.
    (2) U.S.S. CHATELAIN   (DE 149).
    (3) U.S.S. PILLSBURY    (DE 133).
    (4) U.S.S. POPE               (DE 134).
    (5) U.S.S. FLAHERTY     (DE 135).
    (6) U.S.S. JENKS             (DE 665).
    (7) Composite Squadron Eight.
    (8) Statement by the Captain of U-505.
  (B)  Chronological Narrative of Action.
  (C)  Track Charts.
    (1)  Track Chart of U-505 Action.
    (2)  Track Chart of U-505 and T.G. 22.3 showing U/B estimates.
  (D)  Radio Log.
  (E)  List of Prisoners.
  (F)  List of Boarding Parties.
  (G)  Photographs (60).
  (H)     (1)  Intentions for the Night Signal for 17 May.
            (2)  Plan of the Day for 4 June.
  (I)  Complete A/S cruise report.
          Task Group 22.3 sailed from Norfolk on this cruise with the avowed intention of capturing an enemy submarine. The action in which U-515 was sunk on our previous cruise had convinced us that when a sub surfaces during an attack it is highly probable that he has no intention of fighting and his main objective is to save his hide. We therefore determined, in case opportunity arose in this cruise, to assist and expedite the evacuation of the U-boat by concentrating anti-personnel weapons on it, to hold back with weapons that could sink the sub, and to attempt to board it as soon as possible.  
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        This was discussed at the departure conference of all C.O.s before sailing, and all ships were ordered to draw up plans for capture and to organize boarding parties. When we thought we were going to get a crack at a sub near Bermuda on the way out, a signal was sent reminding all hands that our objective was to capture (Encl. H-1). The Plan of the Day for June 4 on the Guadalcanal (which was printed and distributed on the evening before the U-505 was captured) contains the final list of the crew drawn up on the Guadalcanal to man and operate a captured sub: (Encl. H-2).
          The hunt around the Cape Verde Islands from May 26 to May 31 was unproductive. During this time all ships in the task group were permitted to operate only one half of their main engineering plants in order to conserve fuel and to stay on the hunting grounds as long as possible.  
          We started for Casablanca at 2000, 31 May with the idea of scouring the 20th meridian on the way north, hunting for the sub which we eventually got, and which Cominch was estimating at that time as being homebound in the area thru which we would pass. We planned to conduct continuous night searches so designed that each night we would cover an area 100 miles on each side of the 20th meridian and 250 miles along the meridian. We intended to start searching behind the sub's estimated position as we went along. The searches were to overlap so that if the sub were running surfaced at night anywhere in that area, we would be bound to find him.  
          On the night of June 2-3, we had numerous aircraft radar contacts and several noisy sonobuoys about 50 miles east of the ship's position. The task group was headed over that way and an intensive air and surface search was conducted all night but nothing resulted. We ran north nearly all day June 3rd because fuel was getting low and we had to make ground toward Casablanca. However at a conference in the afternoon of the 3rd, we decided that the indications of the previous night must have been authentic and that we could probably stretch our fuel enough to spend one more night searching that area. So we turned back and conducted another search of the area on the night of June 3-4. There were no contacts that night, but the decision to turn back is what put us in position to nail the sub the next day.  
          At 1100Z June 4, the Task Group was on course 000°(T), speed 13, with the escorts in their normal cruising screening formation i.e. approximately in line, 2500 yards apart, with the center ship of the screen 4000 yards ahead of the carrier. Carrier was zig zagging and had two (2) fighter planes  
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in the air furnishing close escort to the Task Group. These planes were due to be relieved at 1120.
          The chronological sequence from that point was as follows:  
1110   Chatelain (Lieut. Comdr. D. S. Knox) reported "possible sound contact" and in accordance with Task Group doctrine, proceeded to start approach for attack. ComCortDiv 4 without further orders took charge of remaining escorts. Carrier streamed FXR gear, headed away from contact, sounded G.Q., and called away ready killer group of 1 VT and 1VF. Fighter planes already in the air were notified of contact and told to assist Chatelain.
1112   Chatelain reported contact evaluated as submarine.
1116   Chatelain fired hedgehogs.
1116 1/2   VF planes (Pilots - Ensign J. W. Cadle and Lieutenant W. W. Roberts) sighted submerged sub running near surface, advised Chatelain to reverse course and fired bursts of machine gun bullets in water to indicate position of sub.
1121   Chatelain following directions of fighter plane and indications of her sonar gear fired full pattern of shallow set D/Cs.
1122 1/2   Sub surfaced in plain view of entire task group 800 yards from Chatelain. Depth charge plumes were rising all around her as she broke surface. Chatelain, Jenks (Lieut. Comdr. J. F. Way), Pillsbury (Lieutenant G.W. Cassleman), and two fighter planes opened fire on surfaced sub. (The Guadalcanal, Pope and Flaherty were restrained from firing by the Task Group Commander because the other escorts had the sub surrounded and I had heard that one of our own escort commanders had been killed recently by stray shots in a similar melee.)
          "Bluejay to Blondie I want to capture this bastard if possible."  
          Meanwhile ComCortDiv 4 (Commander F. S. Hall) was in tactical command on the spot and was controlling the action of our three DEs and two VF.  
          At 1124 the killer group was in the air with orders not to use any weapons that could sink the sub unless she started to submerge. (NOTE: The delay in launching this killer group was due to the fact that the original contact placed the sub in perfect position to fire torpedoes at us and I wanted to get outside of torpedo range before turning into the wind. So far as I knew at this time, a salvo of torpedoes was already on its way to us. The torpedoing of the Block Island was still very fresh in our minds.  
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        As a matter of fact, according to statements of prisoners, the sub actually fired one acoustic torpedo at us.
          The three DEs and two VF poured their fire into the sub as the crew scrambled on deck and dove over the side. At 1127 ComCortDiv 4 ordered all hands cease firing. (NOTE: All voice transmissions during the action were recorded on phonographic discs in the carrier's air plot. The two fighter pilots who were strafing the sub acknowledge this order to cease firing in the most disgusted tone of voice I have ever heard - but they obeyed the order.)  
          The sub at this point was running in a tight circle to the right, fully surfaced and it was known that most of her crew had abandoned her.  
          At 1135 ComCortDiv 4 ordered the Jenks and Chatelain to pick up survivors and sent away the Pillsbury's boarding party.  
          At 1203 the carrier headed back toward the scene of action to get her boarding parties aboard, having in the meantime recovered the fighter planes which had assisted the Chatelain. Carrier's boarding parties were called away at 1230.  
          After lowering her boat the Pillsbury pursued the sub around the circle trying to get lines aboard. From the carrier's bridge it looked for all the world like rodeo with a cowboy trying to rope a wild horse. The Pillsbury did rope the sub, several times. The first time she got a line aboard, CTG 22.3 broadcast by TBS:  
"Bluejay to Dagwood - Ridem Cowboy. Out."
  But in the struggle alongside the runaway sub the Pillsbury was holed by the bow planes of the sub, and one engine room was flooded to the waterline, forcing her to haul clear and stop.  
          Meanwhile the Pillsbury's boarding party, commanded by Lieut. (j.g.) A. L. David, had gotten alongside and leaped from the whaleboat to the deck of the circling sub. There was only one dead man on deck, but the boarders did not know how many men might be below. The sub was still running at about 7 knots and it seemed highly probable that part of the crew was still below setting demolition charges and scuttling. Without hesitation this party took their lives in their hands and plunged down the conning tower hatch to capture and save the boat. They found no one below and immediately went to work closing valves, and replacing the cover on a strainer through which a solid stream of water, 6" in diameter was poring into the boat. Then, not knowing at what moment the boat might either blow up or sink, they turned to, seizing all the important looking papers they could find and passing them up on deck.  
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        At about 1240 the boarding parties from the Guadalcanal arrived. One boat literally"arrived with a bang", being picked up by the sea and deposited bodily on the deck of the sub. This crash caused some concern to even the stout-hearted lads from the Pillsbury who were down below going about business and who didn't know what was happening on deck. The Guadalcanal boarding parties under the command of Commander E. Trosino and Lieutenant D. E. Hampton immediately set to work disconnecting demolition charges, closing valves and watertight doors, rigging gasoline driven handy billy pumps, and assisting in the removal of secret papers and the coding machines. Shortly thereafter we got a message from the sub - "We must be towed to stay afloat."
          At 1415 the Guadalcanal began maneuvering to put her stern alongside the bow of the submarine and at 1423 a 1-1/4 inch wire was made fast and the sub was taken in tow. We had some anxious moments on the Guadalcanal while our stern was about 50 feet from the snout of the sub, with the torpedo tubes pointed right at us. Probably all hands had the same thought about this time... "Suppose there is just one Nazi left on that sub".... But there wasn't!  
          At 1916 the boarding parties were brought back on board together with hundreds of confidential documents and the task group squared away for the night with its prize (now flying the biggest set of U. S. colors we could produce with the Nazi flag below them).  
          It was now necessary to land the air patrols which we had kept up while the carrier was a sitting duck target alongside the sub. So we turned into the wind and brought the planes aboard just as if it were an everyday procedure to land planes with a captured sub in tow.  
          While taking the sub in tow the Guadalcanal sent a repair party with a collision mat to the Pillsbury.  
          At this point I wasn't sure we had fuel enough left to make Casablanca, I didn't know how long we could keep the sub afloat, and was gravely concerned about whether the Pillsbury would stay afloat. At about this time the Flaherty reported she was investigating a disappearing radar blip and the Chatelain reported she was starting a firing approach on a possible sound contact. So I headed for the nearest friendly port which was Dakar.  
          A few hours later we got word from Cinclant that fuel and a tug were on the way and that we were to head for Casablanca. So at 1935 course was set for the passage between Africa and the Canaries.  
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        End of Capture Phase. NOTE: The official time and position of the surrender was 1127Z, 21-30 N, 19-20 W. All track charts and narratives should be adjusted to correspond to this.
          At midnight June 4-5 our 1-1/4" wire tow line broke. The sub's rudder was still jammed hard right and she had been towing well out on our starboard quarter. So the task group patrolled around the sub the rest of the night, keeping protective air patrols up. (NOTE: This gave the Pillsbury, who had been left behind with Pope standing by her, a chance to catch up.)  
          At dawn on June 5, the Guadalcanal put her bow alongside the bow of the sub and passed her 2-1/4 inch wire tow line. The working party on the sub had been instructed to get the rudder amidships and as soon as they reported the rudder amidships we got underway again for Casablanca. While passing the tow line the sub seemed to be floating only a little bit lower than on the previous day.  
          As soon as we got going again it became apparent that the rudder was still hard right. The boarding party thought they had moved it electrically from the control tower, and had not gone all the way aft to the hand steering compartment because the door to that compartment had never been opened since we captured the boat, and, according to the boarding party, had a possible booby trap rigged on the main dog. The boarding party also thought they might flood the boat if they opened this door, because at this time we believed that the torpedo room was flooded. (From statements of prisoners.)  
          So I decided that this was the situation where the three years I put in on Ordnance PG course might be put to some use, and went over to the sub myself, with a selected party, to have a look at the "booby trap". I was convinced in my own mind that the sub had been abandoned so hastily and in such panic that no booby traps had been set. Inspection of the "trap" convinced me that the open fuse box cover which was obstructing the main dog on the water tight door to the after compartment, had been jarred open accidentally. So I closed the fuze box cover, opened the dog, cracked the door to make sure the compartment wasn't flooded, and we went aft and put the rudder amidships by hand.  
          This visit to the sub assured us that the pressure hull was intact from bow to stern. About this time we got orders to take the sub to Bermuda if her condition warranted. I knew that although the pressure hull was sound we could still lose her through leakage of the ballast tanks. But I believed  
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we could blow or pump her out in case she started settling. I also believed that if it were possible to get to Casablanca it would probably also be possible to make Bermuda. So course was set for Bermuda.
          On morning of June 7 we rendezvous with the Kennebec, Durik and Abnaki. (NOTE: All this time we kept continuous air patrols up night and day with the sub in tow at times landing planes in the dark with only 15 knots of wind over the deck.) Fueling of the Task Group began immediately and the Guadalcanal's 2-1/4" wire was passed to the Abnaki at 1015. However, when we stopped to pass the tow wire and the sub lost her headway she settled to an alarming waterline. The boat was then riding with the end of the bow out of the water and the conning tower hatch almost awash. In fact, when the salvage parties got aboard and opened this hatch, every large swell which came along washed water down the hatch, so that it was necessary to keep the hatch closed while our people were below.  
          The salvage party from the Guadalcanal and Pillsbury under Commander Trosino and Lieutenant (j.g.) David was put aboard, the Abnaki hauled the sub up to short stay and kept going ahead in order to keep the stern from sinking. The salvage parties working feverishly, rigged electric submersible pumps, with leads from the Abnaki, and all possible loose gear was carried on the deck and transferred to motor boats. Meanwhile, the Guadalcanal rigged a bight of heavy wire with one end secured to the starboard overhang of the flight deck forward, the bight hanging in the water and the other end going to the anchor windlass to set taut on the bight, and thus act as a pontoon to hold the sub's stern up. This was to be the last desperate measure - and fortunately, it turned out to be unnecessary. About this time the sub began coming up due to the combined effect of pumping bilges, blowing tanks, and removing heavy weights. By 2000 she was floating at the same level as she was when we first boarded her and the salvage party reported she was definitely in the bag.  
          That afternoon the Humbolt arrived from Casablanca with Commander C. G. Rucker, U.S.N., a qualified submarine commander.  
          The next day Commander Rucker inspected the sub and assisted and advised our salvage parties in lightening her, pumping bilges, and blowing tanks. By evening on June 8th she was at fully surfaced trim.  
  The Jenks was dispatched for Bermuda at maximum speed at 0932 on 9 June with 10 sacks of officer messenger mail and the submarine's coding machines.  
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          From the time that we sailed from Norfolk the whole task group was determined that we would come back dragging a sub behind us... and they had what it took to do it. When remarkable luck was required, we had it. When perfect cooperation between aircraft and surface vessels was required - it was there. When a clean knock out punch was needed, the Chatelain produced it. When outstanding heroism was required, it was commonplace among the boarding parties.  
          I believe every man in the task group would have volunteered for the boarding parties, and those who could not go were very envious of those who did.  
          It is a great pleasure to report that all hands in the task group did their duty in an exemplary manner in keeping with the highest traditions of the U. S. Navy.  
cc.   Cominch.
    No Other Copies.
NOTE:   The Report of the Third ASW Cruise, Enclosure I. has been given the usual distribution but all copies except those to Cominch and Cinclant terminate at 0800 June 4, 1944
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