Events on this day
This page is our compilation of data from several different databases. All data shown here is dynamic, but is accurate according to the information we have right now. Although content is still being added daily, more than 75% of the launched and commissioned data is already in place, so this section is almost complete.
The Shipyard Report
Laid down (29)
1920: Submarine S-43 (154)
1933: Torpedo boat La Melpoméne
1942: Landing Craft Infantry LCI(L)-233 (LCI(L)-233)
1943: Landing Craft Tank LCT 925 (LCT 925) - Frigate Loch Achray (K 426) - Destroyer Escort Gentry (DE 349) - Submarine Kraken (370) - Landing Craft Infantry LCI(L)-398 (LCI(L)-398) - Landing Craft Infantry LCI(L)-538 (LCI(L)-538) - Landing Craft Infantry LCI(L)-539 (LCI(L)-539) - Landing craft tank LCT 629 (LCT 629) - Landing craft tank LCT 630 (LCT 630) - Landing craft tank LCT 706 (LCT 706) - Tank landing ship LST 545 (LST 545) - Tank landing ship LST 656 (LST 656) - Tank landing ship LST 684 (LST 684) - Tank landing ship LST 730 (LST 730) - Motor torpedo boat PT 470 - High speed transport Truxtun (APD 98) - High speed transport Upham (APD 99)
1924: ASW Trawler Bretwalda (FY 266)
1939: Ocean boarding vessel Marsdale
1941: Minesweeper YMS-23 (YMS-23)
1942: Destroyer Escort Hammann (ii) (DE 131) - Landing Craft Infantry LCI(L)-82 (LCI(L)-82) - Landing Craft Infantry LCI(L)-83 (LCI(L)-83) - Landing Craft Infantry LCI(L)-84 (LCI(L)-84) - Tank landing ship LST 197 (LST 197) - Submarine Muskallunge (262)
1943: Motor minesweeper MMS 304 (J 804) - Corvette Tintagel Castle (K 399) - Landing craft tank LCT 606 (LCT 606) - Landing craft tank LCT 945 (LCT 945) - Tank landing ship LST 521 (LST 521) - Tank landing ship LST 524 (LST 524) - Motor torpedo boat PT 504
1918: Minesweeper Turkey (AM 13)
1923: Submarine S-28 (133)
1939: Anti-Aircraft ship Goatfell (4.36)
1943: Corvette Louisburg (ii) (K 401) - Frigate Saint John (K 456) - Motor minesweeper MMS 240 (J 740) - Motor minesweeper MMS 241 (J 741) - Submarine Statesman (P 246) - Fleet tug Alsea (AT 97) - Destroyer Escort Bronstein (DE 189) - Destroyer Escort Finch (DE 328) - Destroyer Escort Kretchmer (DE 329) - Landing Craft Infantry LCI(L)-517 (LCI(L)-517) - Tank landing ship LST 285 (LST 285) - Tank landing ship LST 493 (LST 493) - Destroyer Escort Maloy (DE 791) - Patrol craft PCS-1424 (PCS-1424) - Motor torpedo boat PT 495
1944: Frigate Carlplace (K 664) - Destroyer Cavendish (R 15) - Motor Torpedo Boat MTB 497 (MTB 497) - Submarine Votary (P 29) - Minesweeper Fancy (AM 234) - Medium landing ship LSM 121 (LSM 121) - Tank landing ship LST 828 (LST 828) - Tank landing ship LST 864 (LST 864) - Patrol craft PGM-11 (PGM-11) - Motor torpedo boat PT 566
Laid down means that the ship's construction was officially started by laying down the keel (often just a single steel beam but could also mean the first of many pre-fabricated sections).
Launched means that the ship was launched from its shipyard, it then began its fitting out period (installation of smaller systems, weapons etc.) - in many yards the ships were launched very complete and needed little work afterwards.
Commissioned is when the navy takes the ship officially over and gives command of it to its new captain.
War Losses on 13 December (1)
General Events on 13 December
Heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire: HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) departed Simonstown for Montivideo / Falkland Islands via Tristan da Cunha. It had originally been intended that HMS Dorsetshire would replace HMS Exeter (Capt. F.S. Bell, RN) in the South American Division. For the daily positions of HMS Dorsetshire from 13 to 24 December 1939 see the map below.
Heavy cruiser HMS Exeter: Battle of the River Plate, 13 December 1939. [Continuation of the event called ‘1 October 1939, an enemy raider reported in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean. The chase of the German ‘pocket battleship’ Admiral Graf Spee’] The battle, first phase. When Commodore Harwood detached HMS Exeter (Capt. F.S. Bell, RN) at 0614 hours to investigate smoke bearing 324° his squadron was in position 34°28’S, 49°05’W in single line ahead in the order HMS Ajax (Capt. C.H.L. Woodhouse, RN, flying the flag of Commodore H.H. Harwood, OBE, RN), HMNZS Achilles (Capt. W.E. Parry, RN) and HMS Exeter, events followed quickly. Two minutes later the Exeter signalled ‘I think it is a pocket battleship’ and two minutes after that the Admiral Graf Spee opened fire on her, now there was no doubt anymore. When the Admiral Graf Spee opened fire HMS Ajax and HMNZS Achilles increased speed and turned to 340° to close the range and engage the enemy from the eastward. At the same time HMS Exeter turned westward at full speed to engage her from the southward and to carry out the Commodore’s plan off attacking simultaneously from widely different bearings. When he commodore signaled that his policy with three cruisers in company versus one pocket battleship was to act as two units, on divergent courses to permit flank marking he apparently intended the Exeter to take station on a line bearing from the enemy at approximately right angles to the line of fire of both light cruisers. To put this into effect HMS Exeter first intention was to engage the enemy on her port bow. Seeing that this might hamper the two light cruisers, however, she turned to 280° and at 0620 hours opened fire to starboard from 18700 yards with her foremost two 8” gun turrets. These tactics were most effective. With two or more targets to engage, an enemy will always have to choose between engaging one ship or dividing her armament amongst them, no matter what formation the target ships are in. The difficulty that enhanced in this case was the wide dispersion of targets. The enemy having to choose between leaving one of the British units disengaged with her main armament or dividing it between them. The enemy choose for the latter and opened fire with one main gun turret on HMS Exeter and with the other on HMS Ajax. The salvoes from the Exeter however soon worried the enemy and the enemy once or twice concentrated both 11” turrets on her and quickly straddled. At this time the after gun turret on HMS Exeter also opened fire on the enemy. At 0623 hours, a 11” shell from the third salvo from the Admiral Graf Spee, bursting short amidships, killed the crew of HMS Exeter’s starboard torpedo tubes and damaged her search lights, communications, funnels and aircraft. One minute later, when HMS Exeter had fired eight salvoes, another 11” shell knocked out her ‘B’ turret. Its splinters swept the bridge, killng or wounding all the bridge personnel except Captain Bell and two others. It also wrecked the wheelhouse communications. She was no longer under control from forward and Captain Bell made his way aft. He had hardly left the bridge before her head began to swing rapidly to starboard. Although her lower conning position at once took over the steering, she was in danger of masking her after turret. The torpedo-officer, Lt.Cdr. C.J. Smith, RN, had been momentarily stunned, but recovered in time to get an order through to bring her back on a westerly course. By this time she had received two more direct hits forward and damage from shells bursting short. Her aircraft were extensively riddled. Petrol from the port machine was spraying over the after conning position. There was a serious danger of fire and both aircraft were jettisoned. Captain Bell then arrived aft only to find communications broken down between the after conning position and the steering flat. He was obliged to pass his orders through a chain of messengers. In a ships as heavily engaged this was a task of extreme difficulty, but it was successfully accomplished till Captain Bell was forced to break off the action due to amount of damage sustained. While the Admiral Graf Spee was fiercely engaging HMS Exeter with 11” gun salvoes she was firing alternately at HMS Ajax and HMNZS Achilles with her secondary armament. Some of her 5.9” salvoes fell very close but none actually hit. Meanwhile HMS Ajax and HMNZS Achilles were hitting back hard with ‘concentrated fire’ at a rapidly closing range. Their shooting was effective, for at 0630 hours, the Admiral Graf Spee shifted one of her main turrets to HMS Ajax, halving the heavy volume of fire against HMS Exeter. At 0631 hours three 11” salvoes straddled the Ajax and both light cruisers then turned away a point or two to confuse the enemy’s fire. Three minutes later, however HMS Ajax turned back to port to close the range. At 0637 hours she catapulted her aircraft. Meanwhile the Exeter had fired her starboard torpedoes in local control, and at 0637 hours the Admiral Graf Spee apparently finding the British attack too hot, turned 150° to port and retired to the north-westward under cover of a smoke screen. Both light cruisers then immediately hauled round at full speed, first to the north and then to the west to close the range and regain bearing. Three minutes later HMS Exeter turned several points to starboard to bring her port tubes to bear. At 0643 hours she fired her port torpedoes. She then steered north-east to close HMS Ajax and HMNZS Achilles but at 0645 hours she turned back once more to a westerly course to keep within range. By this time she had received two more direct 11” hits, one of them on ‘A’ turret, and was showing signs of acute distress. Both her foremost turrets were out of action and she was burning fiercely amidships. Her one remaining 8” turret was in local control. Her compasses were destroyed. Meanwhile the Admiral Graf Spee was heavily engaging the light cruisers. At 0640 hours, a 11” shell bust on the water in line with the bridge of HMNZS Achilles. It killed or seriously wounded four ratings in her director control tower, stunned the gunnery officer, Lt. R.E. Washbourn, and slightly wounded Captain Perry. Her director tower, however was undamaged and her rate of fie unaffected as she was in concentration firing. At 0646 hour her fire control wireless set broke down, and she carried on in individual control. She had great difficulty at first in finding the range and her first salvoes fell short. Reports of these salvoes were transmitted by the aircraft from HMS Ajax. The Ajax however, not knowing the the Achilles was no longer in concentration firing, accepted them as referring to her own salvoes and corrected accordingly. At this time the enemy was making a smoke screen and spotting conditions were extremely bad. As a result the salvoes from from HMS Ajax fell far beyond the enemy. The range was not found again until 0708 hours. At 0650 hours, HMS Exeter was steering west with her remaining 8” gun turret still in action. She had a 7° list to starboard and several forward compartments flooded. At 0656 hours the light cruisers hauled round to the north-westward and for a while the Admiral Graf Spee kept altering course frequently to confuse their fire. At 0710 hours the range was still 16000 yards. To shorten it HMS Ajax and HMNZS Achilles turned westwards at full speed. At 0716 hours the enemy made a large turn to port under the cover of a smoke screen steering straight for HMS Exeter in an apparent attempt to finish her off. The light cruisers immediately turned to the rescue, firing so accurately that the enemy was set on fire amidships and was forced to turn back to the north-west to re-engage HMS Ajax which was immediately straddled at 11000 yards by three 11” salvoes although the enemy’s secondary armamanet was shooting wildly. At 0725 hours an 11” shell knocked out Ajax’s after turrets. She at once retaliated by turning to starboard and firing four torpedoes from 9000 yards. The Admiral Graf Spee avoided them with a large turn to port but almost immediately turned back to the north-west in an apparent attempt to close the light cruisers. At 0728 hours they turned to 280° to close the range still further. At 0731 hours the aircraft from Ajax reported ‘torpedoes approaching, they will pass ahead of you’. Commodore Harwood decided to take no chances and turned south and engaged the enemy on it’s starboard side with the range still closing rapidly. One minute later the Admiral Graf Spee turned westwards under the cover of yet another smoke screen to confuse the accurate gunfire of the light cruisers. At 0736 hours the enemy turned south-west, again bringing all her guns to bear. Two minutes later one of her salvoes brought down the topmast and wireless aerial of HMS Ajax from a range of 8000 yards. Meanwhile HMS Exeter was dropping slowly astern with her after turret still firing. At 0730 hours pressure in this turret failed. She could keep up no longer and at 0740 hours turned slowly south-east to repair some of the damage. About this time a report reached the Commodore that only 20 percent of Ajax’s 6” ammunition remained. With HMS Exeter out of action and with both the after turrets of HMS Ajax out of action and he decided that the action had to be broken off. The enemy was still firing accurately and appeared little damaged so the Commodore decided to break off the fight until dark when there would be a better chance to get close to a range in which his lighter armament and torpedoes would be effective. At 0740 hours the light cruisers turned away to the east under the cover of smoke. Thus ended the first phase of the battle. It had laster one hour an twenty-two minutes. The battle, second phase. When the Ajax and Achilles turned away at 0740 hours, the Admiral Graf Spee did not follow them. After opening the range for six minutes under cover of smoke Commodore Harwood turned back to the west. The action now developed into a procession, the Admiral Graf Spee in the van steering at 22 knots straight for the River Plate with both light cruisers about 15 miles behind with HMNZS Achilles on the starboard quarter and HMS Ajax on the port quarter. At 0800 hours, HMS Ajax was in position 34°25’S, 49°29’W. Seven minutes later and afterwards every hour the cruisers broadcasted the enemy’s position, course and speed to warn merchant vessels to keep out of danger. By 0814 hours the Exeter was out of sight and Commodore Harwood ordered the aircraft from Ajax to tell her to close. At 0910 hoursm, the aircraft informed him that the Exeter, though badly damaged, was joining him as best she could. Two minutes later HMS Ajax recovered her aircraft. The Exeter was however unable to gain contact. Captain Bell decided to slow down to allow her to be brought to an even keel and bulkheads to be shored up. He then turned westwards for the nearest land. At 0946 hours, Commodore Harwood signalled HMS Cumberland (Capt. W.H.G. Fallowfield, RN) which was still at Port Stanley to proceed towards the Plate area at full speed. This signal took some time to get through. When HMS Cumberland sailed at 1200 hours she did so at the initiative of her Commanding Officer. When the signal from the Commodore finally reached him he increased to full speed. Shortly after 1000 hours HMNZS Achilles had closed the Admiral Graf Spee to 23000 yards, having over estimated the speed of the enemy, was taken under fire by her when the enemy suddenly turned. Her first salvo was short but the second fell almost alongside. HMNZS Achilles then turned away at full speed behind a smoke screen to resume shadowing from a safe distance and the enemy ceased fire. The next hour was uneventful. Then at 1104 hours, HMS Ajax sighted the British merchant Shakespeare (???? GRT, built ????) laying stopped near the Admiral Graf Spee. A few minutes later the enemy asked both cruisers to pick up the lifeboats from the British steamer. When they however reached her they found her in no need of assistance. At 1105 hours HMS Exeter signalled that though she was flooded forward and had all her turrets out of action she could still steam 18 knots. Some time later she was able to report that one of her after turret guns could be fired in local control. It was clear, however, that she had no further fighting value and at 1340 hours the Commodore ordered her to make for the Falklands so at 1510 hours she turned south. Meanwhile the early afternoon had passed quietly for both cruisers that were shadowing the enemybut then at 1543 hours HMNZS Achilles signaled ‘enemy in sight bearing 297°. Shortly afterwards she identified this new enemy as an 8” gun cruiser. The alarm fortunately turned out to be false as both cruisers were in no condition to take on an additional enemy. At 1559 hours the approaching vessel was identified as the merchant Delane (6054 GRT, built 1938). Her streamlined funnel had given the appearance of a ‘Blücher’ class cruiser at long range. Shadowing then continued without further incident until 1900 hours. By that time the intention of the enemy to enter the River Plate was becoming clear. At 1902 hours Commodore Harwood signalled to the Achilles that she was to follow the enemy if she went west of Lobos Island. At 1915 hours the enemy turned and fired two salvoes at HMS Ajax from 26000 yards. The first salvo was short but the second salvo fell in her wake as she turned away behind a smoke screen. HMNZS Achilles, too, turned away on seeing the gun flashes but soon resumed her westerly course. At 2000 hours Ajax turned south to frustrate a possible attempt by the emeny to double back and shake off the shadowing cruisers. They were now in position 35°08’S, 54°49’W about 50 nautical miles east of English Bank. For more then twelve hours the Admiral Graf Spee had been closing the Plate at a steady speed of 22 knots with the two light cruisers on her tail. As soon as she passed Lobos Island the whole duty of shadowing her developed upon HMNZS Achilles. At 2014 hours Captain Perry increased speed to close before dusk. In half an hour he had reduced the distance to 23000 yards. At sunset, 2048 hours, the enemy, apparently as a counter to the shortening of the range, turned and fired three salvoes. The first two fell short and as the Achilles turned away at full speed, the third salvo fell only just astern. Two minutes later the Achilles turned northward to keep the full advantage of the after glow, and at 2054 hours fired five salvoes which appeared to straddle. She then turned west once more and increased to 30 knots to keep in touch. Between 2130 and 2145 hours the enemy fired three final salvoes from her after turrets. All three salvoes fell short, and the Achilles, not wanting to give away her position, did not return fire. By 2200 hours, she had closed within 5 nautical miles, but finding it increasingly difficult to see the enemy. So she altered course at 2213 hours to silhouette her against the lights of Montevideo. She continued her westerly course for another hour. Then at 2317 hours the Commodore ordered her to withdraw. Shortly after midnight the Admiral Graf Spee entered Montevideo. Thus ended the second phase of the Battle of the River Plate. The watch on the River Plate, 14 – 17 December 1939. When commodore Harwood recalled the Achilles at 2317 hours the intention of the Admiral Graf Spee was quite clear. She was going to enter Montevideo. The main question was how long she would stay there. It was also of the utmost importance that the British cruisers should keep to seaward of her if she came out. It was equally important that they should not be caught against the light of dawn. At 2350 hours, therefore, both cruisers withdrew temporarily from the Plate. Achilles was to patrol the northern area between the Uruguayan coast and a line of 120° from English Bank while Ajax patrolled the southern area. The night passed without incident. Both ships moved back towards Montevideo as soon as the danger of the dawn light had passed. For the moment these two small British cruisers stood alone between the enemy and the open sea. Both had been heavily engaged the previous day and were short of fuel. They had no hope at all to destroy the enemy unless they were concentrated, nor were the geographical factors in their favour. From the River Plate estuary, which is 120 miles wide between Cape S. Antonio and Lobos Island, run three widely separated deep-water channels. The difficulties of the situation were great and the Commodore could look for little immediate assistance. On the morning of 13 December 1939, the day of the battle, ‘Force H’ (HMS Sussex (Capt. A.R. Hammick, RN), HMS Shropshire (Capt. A.W.LaT. Bisset, RN)) were sweeping off Lobito, on the west coast of Africa, 4000 nautical miles away from the Plate Estuary. ‘Force I’ of the East Indies Station (HMS Eagle (Capt. A.R.M. Bridge, RN), HMS Cornwall (Capt. C.F. Hamill, RN) and HMS Gloucester (Capt F.R. Garside, RN)) were at Durban. ‘Force G’ (HMS Cumberland) was at the Falkland Islands, 1000 nautical miles to the South. This was the closest ship to reinforce the cruisers of the Commodore. ‘Force K’ was the most powerful force on the South Atlantic station (HMS Ark Royal (Capt. A.J. Power, RN) and HMS Renown (Capt. C.E.B. Simeon, RN)). This force was off Pernambuco, 2000 nautical miles to the north. ‘Force X’ (the French cruisers Dupleix (Capt. L.L.M. Hameury) and Foch (Capt. J. Mathieu) with the British aircraft carrier HMS Hermes (Capt. F.E.P. Hutton, RN)) were off St. Paul Rocks, even further to the north. The British light cruiser HMS Neptune (Capt. J.A.V. Morse, DSO, RN) and the British destroyers HMS Hardy (Capt. B.A. Warburton-Lee, RN), HMS Hostile (Cdr. J.P. Wright, RN) and HMS Hero (Cdr. C.F. Tower, MVO, RN) were with them. The submarine HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) was now halfway between St. Helena and Bahia, she was on the way from Freetown to the Falkland Islands. The submarine HMS Clyde (Cdr. W.E. Banks, RN) was approaching Dakar from a patrol off St. Paul Rocks. Throughout 14 December 1939 HMS Ajax and HMNZS Achilles kept a constant watch over the mouth of the River Plate estuary as they possibly could. That night they received a much needed reinforcement as HMS Cumberland arrived from the Falklands at 2200 hours. She had made the passage north in 34 hours. This enabled Commodore Harwood to watch all three deep water Channels throughout the night. The Cumberland was placed in the centre, Achilles to the north and Ajax to the south. Next day the problem of refuelling had to be faced. Fortunately RFA Olynthus was at hand and the Commodore ordered her to meet HMS Ajax in San Borombon Bay. HMS Cumberland closed them to provide cover in case the Admiral Graf Spee came out to attack them. Weather was bad and the lines which hold the ships together parted but despite this HMS Ajax was able to take on board 200 tons of fuel. She then proceeded to join the Cumberland. Shortly after this the Commodore learned that the Admiral Graf Spee, which had been hit between 60 and 70 times, and was more extensively damaged then at first thought, had been given permission to remain in Montevideo for another 72 hours to make herself seaworthy. There could be no guarantee however, that she would stay there, so the British cruisers were in no way able to relax their instant readiness for action. Thus, when just for dawn the next morning HMS Ajax, HMNZS Achilles and HMS Cumberland were concentrated off San Antonio in the southern part of the estuary, HMS Ajax flew off her aircraft for a reconnaissance flight. It returned at 0830 hours with a report that though visibility was extremely bad it had been fired on near the whistle buoy. This indicated that the enemy might be leaving and the three cruisers went to action stations. It was a false alarm as the enemy was soon reported to be still in the harbour. The day passed without further incident. The squardron spent the night patrolling north and south 5 miles east of English Bank. Next morning, 17 December 1939, HMS Ajax and HMS Cumberland coverered HMNZS Achilles while she refuelled from the Olynthus off Rouen Bank. The whole squardron then cruised in company throughout the afternoon ready to take up its night patrols at dusk. British Forces close the Plate Estuary, 13-17 December 1939. While the cruisers of the South America Division were watching the Plate between 13 and 17 December strong British forces were steadily closing in on Montevideo. On the afternoon of 13 December 1939, the day of the battle, the Admiralty placed ‘Force I’ that was at Durban at the disposal of the Commander-in-Chief, South Atlantic. He immediately ordered them to proceed to the Cape ports with all despatch. They sailed the next morning, but the Admiralty soon placed them back under the Commander-in-Chief, East Indies for work in connection to Australian and New-Zealand troop convoys. The Commander-in-Chief, East Indies immediately ordered them to return to Durban where they arrived on the afternoon of the 15th. On the afternoon of 13 December 1939, ‘Force H’ were on their way south from the neighbourhood of Lobito Bay towards Cape Town. They had still some 400 nautical miles to go when at 1752 hours when to Commander-in-Chief, South Atlantic ordered them to proceed with all possible speed and refuel. Next morning he instructed them to sail to Freetown when they had completed fuelling but when ‘Force I’ was ordered to return to Durban they were ordered to remain at the Cape. At 1745/15 the Admiralty ordered HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.S.C. Martin, RN) which had arrived at Simonstown from Colombo on 9 December to proceed with HMS Shropshire to the River Plate steaming at 20 knots as to arrive off Montevideo on 23 December. HMS Sussex proceeded from Cape Town to Simonstown that day. She was kept at short notice to sail into the South Atlantic in case the Admiral Graf Spee cleared the River Plate. HMS Dorsetshire had orders to call at Tristan da Cunha on the 16th but the Admiralty cancelled these on the 15th and ordered her and HMS Shropshire on the 17th to close the Falklands at 25 knots to counter any attempt by the Admiral Graf Spee to escape to the southward. This was later changed to proceed to the Falklands at economical speed. Shortly after that order they were placed under the orders of the (now) Rear-Admiral South America Division (Commodore Harwood had been promoted to Rear Admiral) to intercept the German merchant the Tacoma (8268 GRT, built 1930) in case she might break out of Montevideo. ’Force K’ had left Cape Town on 4 December to sweep through position 28°S, 15°W. By 13 December they were near Pernambuco en-route to meet up with HMS Neptune and her destroyers near St. Paul Rocks. As HMS Renown had barely enough fuel on board to reach the Plate estuary they were to make rendez-vous as soon as possible and then proceed to Freetown to refuel. Early next morning the Admiralty ordered ‘Force K’ to proceed to the Plate Estuary which they did at 20 knots. Later the Commander-in-Chief, South Atlantic ordered them to proceed to Rio de Janeiro to refuel, on which they increased speed to 25 knots. They reached Rio at 0600/17. HMS Ark Royal left at 1800/17, having finished fuelling, for the Plate area at 25 knots. HMS Renown and HMS Neptune, which had now also arrived with her destoyers, were ordered to follow as soon as possible. Just before midnight however the Vice-Admiral Aircraft Carriers on board the Ark Royal ordered them and the destroyers to meet him at 1800/18 in position 22°50’S, 40°W. The end of the Admiral Graf Spee At 1540 hours on 17 December 1939, Rear-Admiral Harwood, learned that the Admiral Graf Spee was transferring 300 to 400 men to the German merchant vessel Tacoma. At 1720 hours he received a message that over 700 men with baggage and provisions, were being transferred and shortly after that he learned that the enemy was weighing anchor. He immediately increased speed to 25 knots and turned to close the whistle buoy and flew off the aircraft from HMS Ajax to report the enemy’s position. The Admiral Graf Spee left the harbour at 1815 hours and was followed by the Tacoma. They steamed slowly westwards. The British cruisers were in state of instant readiness. At 2054 hours the aircraft from the Ajax reported that the enemy was in shallow water six miles south-west of Montevideo and then made the dramatic signal ‘The Admiral Graf Spee had blown herself up !’. The British cruisers then steamed towards Montevideo, passing the burning wreck of the German warship in the darkness. It was ablaze from stem to stern with flames reaching as high as the top of the control tower, a magnificent sight.
Submarine HMS Thistle: HMS Thistle (Cdr. R.W. Stirling-Hamilton, RN) is docked at Rosyth.
Submarine HMS Unity: HMS Unity (Lt. J.F.B. Brown, RN) departed Blyth for her 5th war patrol as large German warships had been sighted. Unity was recalled the next day. No log or patrol report are available so no map can be displayed.
Submarine HMS Oberon: HMS Oberon (Lt.Cdr. J.A.S. Wise, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Portland with HMS St. Modwen (Cdr.(Retd.) V. Searles-Wood, RN).
Submarine HMS Regent: HMS Regent (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Browne, RN) returned to Singapore upon completetion of her exercises.
Submarine HMS Regulus (i): HMS Regulus (Cdr. J.M. Money, RN) departed Hong Kong for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Vladivostock, Russia. For the daily positions of HMS Regulus during this patrol see the map below.
Submarine HMS Rover: HMS Rover (Lt.Cdr. H.A.L. Marsham, RN) conducted exercises off Singapore together with HMS Tenedos (Lt.Cdr. J.O'B. Milner-Barry, RN).
Submarine HMS Sturgeon: HMS Sturgeon (Lt. G.D.A. Gregory, RN) departed Blyth for her 5th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the British east coast. For the daily positions of HMS Sturgeon during this patrol see the map below.
Submarine HMS Seahorse: HMS Seahorse (Lt. D.S. Massy-Dawson, RN) departed Blyth for her 5th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the British east coast.
Submarine HMS Salmon: HMS Salmon (Lt.Cdr. E.O. Bickford, RN) sights a German task-force comprising the light cruisers Nürnberg and Leipzig. These cruisers were a covering force for the destroyers Z 19 / Hermann Künne, Z 14 / Friedrich Ihn, Z 15 / Erich Steinbrinck, Z 4 / Richard Beitzen and Z 8 / Bruno Heinemann who had laid mines off Newcastle. From great distance Lt.Cdr. Bickford managed to torpedo the Nürnberg and Leipzig in the central North Sea in position 56°47'N, 04°00'E. Nürnberg was hit in the bow and Leipzig was hit amidships. The damage to Leipzig was so severe that the ship was only used as a training ship after she was repaired. (All times are zone 0) 0945 hours - Sighted enemy warships to the northward. They were steering to the westward at a range of about 12000 yards. Set course to intercept. 1000 hours - Identified the enemy as two or three enemy battleship or pocket battleships and four cruisers, two Hipper-class, the Leipzig and a Köningsberg-class. 1030 hours - The enemy was seen to turn to the south in line ahead in the following order. Blücher, Leipzig, Hipper. Salmon turned to the westward to attack. 1036 hours - Fired six torpedoes at Leipzig and Hipper, the two rear ships. Range to Leipzig was about 5000 yards. 1040 hours - Heard a loud explosion thought to be a hit. 1041 hours - Heard two more loud explosions also thought to be hits. 1046 hours - Heard three more explosions these are thought to be the three remaining torpedoes exploding at the end of their run. 1050 hours - Took evading action. Salmon was subsequently depth charged until noon but no damage was done to her. 1440 hours - No more HE could be heard. 1450 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Nothing in sight. An enemy report was then sent on W/T. 1630 hours - Surfaced.
Submarine HMS Snapper: HMS Snapper (Lt. W.D.A. King, RN) departed Harwich for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the North Sea.
Submarine HMS Sunfish: HMS Sunfish (Lt.Cdr. J.E. Slaughter, RN) departed Harwich for her 3rd war patrol later the same day. She was ordered to patrol off the British east coast.
Submarine HMS Triad: Upon completion of the repairs to her aft hydroplanes HMS Triad (Lt.Cdr. R.McC.P. Jonas, RN) departed from Rosyth for her 3rd war patrol. This is a short patrol in the North Sea. For the daily position of HMS Triad during this patrol see the map below.
Submarine HMS H 31: HMS H 31 (Lt. P.R. Ward, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Portland with trawlers.
Submarine HMS H 32: HMS H 32 (Lt. R.F. Jenks, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Portland.
Submarine HMS H 43: HMS H 43 (Lt.Cdr. W.A.K.N. Cavaye, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Plymouth.
Submarine HMS H 44: HMS H 44 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.V. Haggard, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Portland.
Light cruiser HMS Coventry: HMS Coventry (Capt. D. Gilmour, RN) was torpedoed and damaged by the Italian submarine Neghelli in the eastern Mediterranean about 80 nautical miles north-north-west of Mersa Matruh, Egypt in position 32°37'N, 26°44'E. Repairs were completed on 20 January 1941.
Submarine HNMS O 24: HrMs O 24 (Lt.Cdr. O. de Booy, RNN) shifts from Dundee to Rosyth.
Submarine HNMS O 14: HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. H. Tichelman, RNN) conducted A/S exercises off Tobermory with HMS Marguerite (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Blundell, RNR), HMS Pelican (Cdr. L.A.K. Boswell, DSO, RN) and the A/P trawler Duchesse de Brabant.
Submarine HMS Unbeaten: HMS Unbeaten (Lt. E.A. Woodward, RN) conducted a deep dive trial in lower Loch Long.
Submarine HMS Oberon: HMS Oberon (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Pizey, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Lady Sharazad (Cdr.(Retd.) A.G. Venables, RN).
Submarine HMS Truant: HMS Truant (Lt.Cdr. H.A.V. Haggard, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Sebastiano Bianchi (1546 GRT, built 1920) south of Calabria, Italy in position 37°58'N, 16°15'E. (All times are zone -1) 2140 hours - In position 38°05'N, 15°47'E sighted ships on Port bow. On approaching them 2 ships could be distinguished, 1 large and 1 small. The rear ship was a merchant of 4000 tons and heavily laden. Started attack. 2158 hours - Fired 6 torpedoes from 2000 yards. All torpedoes however missed ahead. 2203 hours - Fired 4 torpedoes from 1500 yards. 2204 hours - Dived. Shortly afterwards 2 loud explosions were heard, followed by sinking noises. No HE was heard afterwards. 2215 hours - Saw the escort laying stopped. reloaded on torpedo tube. The escort however got underway before the reload was completed. According to Italian sources these ships were the above mentioned Sebastiano Bianchi and Pertusola (1504 GRT, built 1882) on passage from Sant'Antioco to Taranto. The latter rescued the survivors. No escort appears to have been present and the explosion was attributed to a mine.
Submarine HMS H 28: HMS H 28 (Lt. M.R.G. Wingfield, RN) shifted from Campbeltown to Rothesay [not sure of this date].
Submarine HMS H 32: HMS H 32 (Lt. R.L. Alexander, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle.
Submarine HMS H 50: HMS H 50 (Lt. M. Willmott, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Holyhead with HMS Warwick (Lt.Cdr. M.A.G. Child, RN) and HMS Rochester (Cdr. G.F. Renwick, RN).
Light cruiser HMS Bonaventure (i): HMS Bonaventure (Capt. H.J. Egerton, RN) was undocked.
Heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire: HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. A.W.S. Agar, VC, DSO, RN) departed Simonstown to escort convoy WS 12X to Bombay. This convoy was made up of the US troopships (carrying British troops !!!); Wakefield (24289 GRT, built 1931), Mount Vernon (24289 GRT, built 1932), West Point (26454 GRT, built 1940), Leonard Wood (13712 GRT, built 1922), Joseph T. Dickman (13869 GRT, built 1922) and Orizaba (6937 GRT, built 1918). HMS Dorsetshire made rendez-vous at sea with the convoy that had departed Capetown earlier that day and was at that time escorted by the US destroyers USS Wainwright, USS Moffett, USS McDougal, USS Winslow, USS Mayrant and USS Rowan. These destroyers parted company with the convoy at 1600C/14 (C = time zone -3).
Heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire: For the daily positions of HMS Dorsetshire during the period of 13 December 1941 to 10 January 1942 see the map below.
Light cruiser HNMS Tromp: HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the two destroyers were ordered to return to Surabaya.
Submarine HNMS K XIV: HrMs K XIV (Lt.Cdr. P.A. Mulock van der Vlies Bik, RNN) and the other submarines of the 3rd Dutch submarine division HrMs K XV (Lt.Cdr. Baron C.W.T. van Boetzelaer, RNN) and HrMs K XVI (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Jarman, RNN)) are ordered to return to Surabaya first for fuel and supplies (and small repairs if needed).
Submarine HNMS K XVII: HrMs K XVII (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Besançon, RNN), HrMs K XIII (Lt.Cdr. M.A.J. Derksema, RNN), HrMs K XI (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Deketh, RNN) and HrMs K XII (Lt.Cdr. H.C.J. Coumou, RNN(R)) are ordered to form a patrol line to the North-West of Mankai Island (Anambas Islands). K XVII was ordered to take up a patrol position 310°, Mankai Island light, 80 nautical miles.
Submarine HNMS K XI: HrMs K XI (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Deketh, RNN) spent the day to the North of Kota Bharu but sighted nothing. In the late afternoon course was set towards Singapore. Later a signal was received ordering HrMs K XVII, HrMS K XIII, HrMs K XI and HrMs K XII to form a patrol line to the North-West of Mankai Island (Anambas Islands). K XI arrived in her new patrol position around 2130/14.
Submarine HNMS K XII: HrMs K XII (Lt.Cdr. H.C.J. Coumou, RNN(R)) attacked a Japanese tanker off Kota Bharu. A hit was claimed. The ship attacked was an engines aft transport which therefore looked like a tanker. The ship was the Japanese Toro Maru (1939 GRT, built 1939) which was sunk. (All times are zone -7.5) In the early morning hours K XII returned towards the shore and in the early afternoon a Japanese tanker was sighted. 1452 hours - Fired a 21" mk.II torpedo. The torpedo ran on the surface but non the less it hit the ship aft. 1458 hours - Fired another 21" mk.II torpedo. The results could not be observed as depth control was lost and K XII broached. She immediately dived again and cleared the area at speed to make for deeper water. It is not known what ship was attacked and hit by K XII.
Submarine HNMS K XIII: HrMs K XVII, HrMS K XIII, HrMs K XI and HrMs K XII are ordered to form a patrol line to the North-West of Mankai Island (Anambas Islands). K XIII arrived in her new patrol position around 2300/14.
Submarine HNMS O 19: The submarines of the 4th submarine division, HrMs O 19 (Lt.Cdr. F.J.A. Knoops, RNN) and HrMs O 20 (Lt.Cdr. P.G.J. Snippe, RNN), both arrived at Singapore.
Submarine HNMS O 9: HrMs O 9 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory together with HMS Bellwort (T/A/Lt.Cdr. E.G. Donald, RNVR) and HMS Tynwald (A/Capt. (retired) F.T. Peters, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Whitethorn (T/Lt. W.J. Griffiths, RNR) and another vessel.
Submarine USS Seal: USS Seal (Lt.Cdr. Kenneth C. Hurd) leaves Manila for her first war patrol.
Submarine USS Pollack: USS Pollack (Lt.Cdr. Stanley P. Moseley) leaves Pearl Harbor for her first war patrol, and was ordered to patrol in Japanese home waters.
Submarine HMS Tuna: HMS Tuna (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) departed from Holy Loch for Scapa Flow. She was ordered to patrol off the Norwegian Coast. She is part of a special mission. For this she has to proceed to Scapa Flow first before departing for patrol from that base on 23 December. The special mission in question was part of Operation Archery, a commando raid on Vaagso. Tuna was to act as navigational beacon for the surface ships involved in this operation.
Submarine HMS Tempest: HMS Tempest (Lt.Cdr. W.A.K.N. Cavaye, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area.
Submarine HMS Thrasher: HMS Thrasher (Lt. H.S. Mackenzie, RN) ended her 6th war patrol at Alexandria.
Submarine HMS Turbulent: HMS Turbulent (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Linton, DSC, RN) conducted torpedo discharge trials off Arrochar.
Submarine HMS Upright: HMS Upright (Lt. J.S. Wraith, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian transports Fabio Filzi (6836 GRT, built 1940) and Carlo del Greco (6837 GRT, built 1941) in the Gulf of Taranto in approximate position 40°08'N, 17°00'E. Considering the relative long range of this attack and that the targets were doing 15 knots, this was a most remarkable attack relying heavily on ASDIC with at least three torpedo hits (two on Fabio Filzi and one (perhaps two) on Carlo del Greco). According to Italian sources there were 432 survivors, 217 men were killed or missing. (All times are zone -2) 0150 hours - In approximate position 40°08'N, 17°00'E HE was heard approaching from the South. Turned towards. 0155 hours - HE became louder and was passing down the Port side. Changed course to obtain a favourable attack position. 0203 hours - Sighted a large ship followed by a smaller one. Shortly afterwards sighted another large ship following the other ones. Started attack. 0212 hours - Fired four torpedoes at the two big ships when they overlapped. Shortly after firing Upright dived. All four torpedoes hit the targets. It was thought the first three torpedoes hit the first target and the last torpedo hit the second target. Depth charging started. 0228 hours - A ship was heard breaking up. 0341 hours - A second ship was heard breaking up. 0737 hours - The last depth charge was dropped. In all 48 had been dropped. [The convoy attacked was made up of both transports mentioned above. They were escorted by the Italian destroyers Nicoloso da Recco and Antoniotto Usodimare.]
Submarine HMS Uproar: HMS P 31 (Lt. J.B.de B. Kershaw, RN) departed Malta for her 6th war patrol (3rd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to form a patrol line in the Ionian Sea with HMS Upholder (Lt.Cdr. M.D. Wanklyn, DSO, RN), HMS P 34 (Lt. P.R.H. Harrison, DSC, RN) and ORP Sokol (Lt.Cdr. B. Karnicki, ORP). For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 31 during this patrol see the map below.
Submarine HMS H 28: HMS H 28 (Lt. J.C. Ogle, DSC, RN) shifted from Ardrishaig to Rothesay.
Submarine HMS H 33: HMS H 33 (Lt. J.H. Bromage, DSC, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Campbeltown.
Submarine HMS H 34: HMS H 34 (Lt. W.A. Phillimore, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Fleetwood (Cdr. D.T.M. Williams, RNR), HMS Philante (Cdr.(Retd.) H.J.R. Paramore, RN) and HMS Sunflower (Lt.Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR).
Submarine HMS H 43: HMS H 43 (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSC, RN) arrived at Tobermory.
Submarine HMS H 50: HMS H 50 (Lt. E.T. Stanley, RN) is undocked.
Destroyer HMS Legion: Battle of Cape Bon. Sinking of two Italian light cruisers. The Italian light cruisers Alberico da Barbiano and Alberto di Giussano were torpedoed and sunk off Cape Bon, while on a supply mission to Tripoli, Libya, by the Royal Navy destroyers HMS Sikh (Cdr. G.H. Stokes, DSC, RN), HMS Maori (Cdr R.E. Courage, DSO, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Legion (Cdr. R.F. Jessel, RN) and the Dutch destroyer HrMs Isaac Sweers (Cdr. J. Houtsmuller, RNN). The Allied destroyers arrived at Malta shortly before noon that day. They were given a warm welcome. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Italian cruisers departed from Palermo for Tripoli on the 12th. This was known to the British through 'Ultra'. Four destroyers happened to be on a run from Gibraltar to Alexandria via Malta to reinforce the Mediterranean Fleet and these were ordered to try to intercept. Speed was therefore increased to 30 knots. At 0200/13 the four Allied destroyers were approaching Cape Bon from the westward still doing 30 knots. They were in line ahead in the order Sikh, Legion, Maori and Isaac Sweers. Shortly afterwards flashing signals were sighted ahead and then the outlines of two mediums sized ships were sighted steaming south. Cdr. Stokes had been warned about two Italian cruisers proceeding from Palermo to Tripoli and immediately presumed them to be these ships. On rounding Cape Bon he got his first clear sight of the enemy and also RDF contact was obtained. The enemy had turned and was now steaming towards. Speed was immediately reduced so not as to show a large phosphorecent bow wave. Cdr. Stokes then manoeuvred his ships between the coast and the enemy to get the advantace of the light and to remain difficult to spot with the dark land behind. HMS Sikh then engaged the leading Italian cruiser with a full salvo of four torpedoes and the second cruiser with her guns from a range of 1000 yards. The leading enemy cruiser got hit by one of the torpedoes beneath the foremost turret. HMS Legion, second in line, had confirmed to the movements of HMS Sikh while rounding Cape Bon. Cdr. Jessel expected Cdr. Stokes in HMS Sikh to have selected the second ship as his target therefore he selected the first cruiser as his. HMS Legion began to fire a full salvo of eight torpedoes at the first cruiser but just as the second torpedo was fired this cruiser was seen to explode and further torpedo fire was stopped at this target. Target was then quickly shifted to the second cruiser and the remained torpedoes were then fired at this target. As HMS Sikh was engaging this target with her guns HMS Legion opened up with her guns on the leading enemy cruiser which was now heavily on fire due to Sikh's torpedo hits. Also an explosion near the bow of the leading cruiser was observed which was most likely on of our two torpedoes that were fired at her hitting the doomed enemy cruiser. The second cruiser was seen to alter course away but she soon altered course back again presumably due the minefield that was in the area she was going for. She was seen to suffer an explosion amidships after an interval which was most likely on of Legion's torpedo's hitting her. HMS Maori, the third destroyer in line, held her fire until the torpedoes fired by Sikh hit the leading cruiser. She then opened fire with her guns on the leading cruiser and obtained a large number of hits near the bridge of the enemy cruiser. When the burning cruiser was abeam Maori fired two torpedoes, one of which was seen to hit. We passed this cruiser astern and it was obviuous that she was sinking. Maori had lost sight of the second cruiser until a sheet of flame was sighted to port and it was presumed that this cruiser was also sinking. A torpedo-boat was then seen and passed, very close down Maori's starboard side. Fire was opened but not very successful due to the very close range. Close range weapons unfortunately jammed. The last destroyer in the line was the Dutch HrMs Isaac Sweers. She fired a few rounds at one of the burning cruisers. A destroyer / torpedo-boat was then observed which was first thought to be HMS Legion but was then seen to be an Italian torpedo-boat of the 'Partenope-class'. Fire was then opened on this ship and also one torpedo was fired which most likely ran underneath due to the close range. Several gun hits are thought to have been obtained on this torpedo-boat.
Escort destroyer HMS Puckeridge: HMS Puckeridge (Lt. H.B. Acworth, RN) was attacked and damaged by German aircraft in the Irish Sea. 18 crew were killed and 20 were wounded. The ship was towed back to Pembroke Dock. Repairs were completed in mid-August 1942.
Submarine USSR ShCh-421: At 1356 hours, ShCh-421 fires four torpedoes against the Norwegian merchant Mimona (1147 GRT, offsite link) off the Persfjord in position 70°30'N, 30°55'E. All torpedoes fired missed their target.
Submarine HNMS O 14: HrMs O 14 (Lt.Cdr. H.A.W. Goossens, RNN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area.
Submarine USS Grayling: USS Grayling (Lt.Cdr. J.E. Lee) ended her 4th war patrol at Fremantle, Australia.
Submarine USS Nautilus: USS Nautilus (Lt.Cdr. W.H. Brockman) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol of the Solomon Islands.
Submarine HMS Sea Nymph: HMS P 223 (Lt. G.D.N. Milner, DSC, RN) arrived at Lerwick.
Submarine HMS Tribune: HMS Tribune (Lt. N.J. Coe, DSC, RNR) is docked at Gibraltar.
Submarine HMS Trident: HMS Trident (Lt. P.E. Newstead, RN) and HMS P 55 (Lt. A.D. Piper, DSC and 2 bars, RNR) both conducted exercises in the Clyde area during which they served as targets for each other.
Submarine HMS Tuna: HMS Tuna (Lt. R.P. Raikes, RN) ended her 16th war patrol at Plymouth. At the Devonport Dockyard she is to be fitted with RDF (radar).
Submarine HMS Torbay: HMS Torbay (Lt. R.J. Clutterbuck, RN) departed from Lerwick for her 13th war patrol. This is the 1st war patrol of her 2nd commission after her refit. She is to patrol off the coast of North Norway during the passage of convoy JW 51A. Passage north towards Lerwick was made together with HMS P 339 (Lt.Cdr. M.R.G. Wingfield, DSO, RN) and ORP Sokol (Lt.Cdr. J. Koziolkowski). They were escorted by HMS Cape Palliser (Lt. B.T. Wortley, RNR). For the daily positions of HMS Torbay during this patrol see the map below.
Submarine HMS Taurus: HMS P 339 (Lt.Cdr. M.R.G. Wingfield, DSO, RN) departed from Holy Loch for Lerwick. Passage north towards Lerwick was made together with HMS Torbay (Lt. R.J. Clutterbuck, RN) and ORP Sokol (Lt.Cdr. J. Koziolkowski). . They were escorted by HMS Cape Palliser (Lt. B.T. Wortley, RNR).
Submarine HMS Umbra: HMS P 35 (Lt. S.L.C. Maydon, RN) attacked an old-fashioned merchant ship of 1500 tons but missed. This was the Italian Docilitas (1246 GRT, built 1900) who was on a trip from Trapani to Sousse. Shortly afterwards P 35 torpedoed and damaged the German troop transport Macedonia (2875 GRT, built 1922) about 5 nautical miles north of Sousse, Tunisia in position 35°55'N, 10°38'E. The damaged German ship was beached and abandoned. She was on trip from Palermo to Sousse carrying 1000 tons of fuel for Panzers. She was in company with the German Jaedjoer (308 GRT, built 1937) who had joined from Trapani and they were escorted by the torpedo-boat Cigno. On the morning of the 13th, Jaedjoer had been lost of sight, Cigno had turned back and found her adrift as her engine had broken down. The torpedo-boat took her in tow and brought her to Ras Mahmur while Macedonia had continued independently. Cigno rejoined her only after she was hit by P 35. (All times are zone -1) 1403 hours – Sighted masts and funnel of a small steamship, very close to shore bearing 285°, estimated course 160°. 1442 hours – In position 35°54'N, 10°39'E, fired two torpedoes aimed at the foremast and mainmast then altered course to starboard and dived to 45 feet increasing speed to clear the torpedo tracks. 1445 hours – Explosion (muffled) after 3m. 9s. Torpedoes missed probably due to an overestimation of speed. [Docilitas was missed and luckily for her, the appearance of another ship drew the attention away from her and she reached Sousse safely.] 1449 hours - Sighted a vessel bearing 327°. The enemy was seen to be a merchant vessel of about 3000 tons on a course of 152°. Started attack. 1522 hours - In position 35°55'N, 10°38'E fired one torpedo aimed at the funnel. 47 Seconds after firing the torpedo hit the target. The target was run aground to prevent her from sinking. She was down by the bow and listing to port. P 35 then withdrew to the Northward but remained in the area. 1615 hours - An Italian torpedo boar was sighted closing the target. 1651 hours - The torpedo boat went alongside the target as had been hoped. Unfortunately it was on the far side. It was decided to fire the last torpedo in the tubes at the merchant vessel hoping to finish this ship off and damaging the torpedo boat as well. 1653 hours - Fired on the torpedo at the merchant vessel from 4100 yards. Unfortunately it missed. Withdrew to reload a torpedo as fast as possible. 1746 hours - Completed the reload. Stalked the torpedo boat that was now stopped a little distance from the grounded merchant vessel. 1812 hours - When about to open fire on the torpedo boat it shifted position. As the torpedo boat shifted position several times it was not possible to attack. 1947 hours - By now the torpedo boat had obtained contact on P 35 which had gone to 90 feet. First 6 and then 3 depth charges were dropped in rapid succession. Minor damage was caused by these depth charges. No further depth charges were dropped. [Macedonia had been hit and taken a list, the torpedo tracks had not been seen and it was believed that she had been mined. Cigno arrived on the scene to find her abandoned except for her captain and three crew members. The torpedo-boat took her in tow and asked Sousse for assistance. The tug Optimiste sailed but arrived too late, Macedonia had sunk in shallow waters (12 metres). At this time Supermarina informed Cigno that Macedonia had been the victim of a submarine and she was ordered to hunt it. It interesting to note that Naval Headquarters in Rome were more informed on the local situation than the participants themselves. They were often accused of interfering too much with operations but this time they were justified. At 1930 hours Cigno obtained an echo and at 1945 hours dropped a pattern of depth charges but then lost contact. It was assumed that it was a false echo and the chase abandoned.]
Submarine HMS Unseen: HMS P 51 (Lt. M.L.C. Crawford, DSC, RN) arrived at Malta from Gibraltar.
Submarine HMS H 28: HMS H 28 (Lt. T.S. Weston, RN) conducted diving trials in the Clyde area.
Submarine HMS H 50: HMS H 50 (Lt. R.B. Foster, DSC, RN) shifted from Ardrishaig to Campbeltown.
Sloop HMS Enchantress: The Italian submarine Corallo (offsite link) was rammed and sunk off Bougie, Algeria in position 36°58'N, 05°07'E by the British sloop HMS Enchantress (Lt.Cdr. A.E.F. Christie, OBE, RN). HMS Enchantress was an escort for convoy KMS 4 Gibraltar-Algiers). The Corallo was forced to the surface due to the depth charge attacks made by Enchantress. Some reports claim the gun crew tried to bring her deck gun into action against the Enchantress. Next the Enchantress rammed the Corallo sinking her with all hands lost.
Submarine USS R-18: USS R-18 arrived at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands from Trinidad.
Submarine USSR M-171: M-171 fires two torpedoes against ' what is identified as ' a merchant of the Varangerfjord. Both torpedoes missed their target.
Submarine ORP Sokol: ORP Sokol (Kpt.mar J. Kolziolkowski) departed from Holy Loch for Lerwick. Passage north towards Lerwick was made together with HMS Torbay (Lt. R.J. Clutterbuck, RN) and HMS P 339 (Lt.Cdr. M.R.G. Wingfield, DSO, RN). They were escorted by HMS Cape Palliser (Lt. B.T. Wortley, RNR).
Submarine HMS P 615: HMS P 615 (Lt. C.W.St.C. Lambert, DSC and Bar, RN) arrived at Falmouth to top off with fuel. P 615 also had defects to no.4 main ballast tank.
Destroyer USS Du Pont: German U-boat U-172 was sunk on 13 December 1943 in the mid-Atlantic after a 27 hour fight west of the Canary Islands, in position 26°29'N, 29°58'W, by depth charges and Fido homing torpedoes from Avenger and Wildcat aircraft (VC-19) of the American escort carrier USS Bogue and by some 200 depth charges from the US destroyers USS George E. Badger, USS Clemson, USS Osmond Ingram and USS Du Pont.
Battleship USS Iowa: Around 1715 hours USS Halsey Powell (Cdr. W.T. McGarry, USN), USS Marshall (Cdr. J.D. McKinney, USN), USS Wadleigh (Cdr. W.C. Winn, USN) took over the escort of USS Iowa (Capt. J.L. McCrea, USN) from USS Hall (Cdr. J.F. Delaney, Jr., USN), USS Halligan (Cdr. C.E. Cortner, USN) and USS Macomb (Cdr. J.C. South, USN) which were then detached.
Submarine HNMS K XV: HrMs K XV (Lt.Cdr. Baron C.W.T. van Boetzelaer, RNN) arrived at Aden.
Submarine HNMS O 15: HrMs O 15 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Schouwenaar, RNN) and HMS Satyr (Lt. T.S. Weston, RN) departed Dundee for Lerwick. They were escorted by HMS Loch Monteith (T/Lt. K.W. Richardson, RNR).
Submarine USS Sailfish: USS Sailfish (Lt.Cdr. R.E.M. Ward) torpedoed and sank the Japanese transport ship Totai Maru (3195 GRT) south of Kyushu, Japan in position 30°15'N, 132°30'E.
Submarine USS Sturgeon: USS Sturgeon (Lt.Cdr. C.L. Murphy, Jr) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 9th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in Japanese home waters.
Submarine USS Cero: USS Cero (Lt.Cdr. Edward Farwell Dissette) departed from Midway for her 2nd war patrol, and was ordered to patrol in the Caroline Islands area.
Submarine USS Pogy: USS Pogy (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Metcalf) torpedoed and damaged the Japanese army cargo ship Fukkai Maru (3829 GRT) off the Palau Islands in position 07°06'N, 134°30'E. Pogy is damaged by depth charges and forced to terminate her patrol.
Submarine USS Pompon: USS Pompon (Lt.Cdr. E.C. Hawk) lays mines off Poulo Condore, southwest of French Indochina.
Submarine USS Apogon: USS Apogon (Cdr. W.P. Schoeni, USN) departed from her patrol area for Midway.
Submarine USS Burrfish: USS Burrfish conducted exercises off Key West.
Submarine USS Picuda: USS Picuda (Lt.Cdr. A. Raborn, USN) arrived at Newport, Rhode Island from Portsmouth, New Hampshire for torpedo trials.
Submarine HMS Una: HMS Una (T/L. P.S. Thirsk, RNR) participated in A/S exercises off Campbeltown.
Submarine HMS Proteus: HMS Proteus (Lt. H.D. Verschoyle, DSC, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area with a training class of new submariners.
Submarine HMS Seraph: HMS Seraph (Lt. N.L.A. Jewell, OBE, RN) arrived at Gibraltar.
Submarine HMS Sickle: HMS Sickle (Lt. J.R. Drummond, DSO, DSC, RN) departed Beirut for her 9th war patrol (8th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Aegean and to carry out a special operation. For the daily and attack positions of HMS Sickle during this patrol see the map below. HMS Sickle 9th war patrol click here for bigger map
Submarine HMS Sirdar: HMS Sirdar (Lt. J.A. Spender, RN) departed Lerwick for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Northern Norway to provide cover during convoy operations to Northern Russia. For the daily positions of HMS Sirdar during this patrol see the map below. View HMS Sirdar 1st war patrol in a larger map
Submarine HMS Syrtis: HMS Syrtis (Lt. M.H. Jupp, DSC, RN) conducted attack exercises together with HMS Valiant (Capt. G.E.M. O’Donnell, DSO, RN).
Submarine HMS Tribune: HMS Tribune (Lt.Cdr. W.N. Eade, RNR) conducted exercises in the Clyde area with a training class of new submariners.
Submarine HMS Trespasser: HMS Trespasser (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Favell, RN) is undocked.
Submarine HMS Telemachus: HMS Telemachus (Cdr. W.D.A. King, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Scapa Flow together with HMS Tenacious (Lt.Cdr. D.F. Townsend, RN), HMCS Iroquois (Cdr. J.C. Hibbard DSC, RCN), HMCS Haida (Cdr. H.G. De Wolf, RCN) and HMS Gleaner (Lt.Cdr. F.J.G. Hewitt, DSC and Bar, RN).
Submarine HMS Tradewind: HMS Tradewind (Lt.Cdr. S.L.C. Maydon, DSO and Bar, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area with aircraft from HMS Unicorn (Capt. H.L.St.J. Fancourt, DSO, RN). Upon completion of these exercises HMS Tradewind proceeded to Rosneath for wiping.
Submarine HMS Unbending: HMS Unbending (Lt. J.D. Martin, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Fishguard with aircraft.
Submarine HMS Unruly: HMS Unruly (Lt. J.P. Fyfe, RN) fires two torpedoes against the German auxiliary minelayer Drache off Samos, Greece. Both torpedoes missed their target. The convoy attacked by Unruly was made up of the above mentioned Drache (which was thought to be a merchant vessel). She was escorted by the German destroyers TA 15, TA 14 the German motor torpedo boats S 36, S 55 and the German motor minesweeper R 211. They were en-route from Piraeus to Vathi (Samos). (All times are zone -2) 0505 hours - Sighted two darkened ships to the north-west. Altered course towards. Shortly afterwards other ships were sighted and the whole was identified as a convoy of one merchant vessel escorted by two destroyers (stationed on either quarter) and two 'E'-boats (stationed on either bow). 0518 hours - Dived to complete the attack. 0534 hours - In position 37°52'N, 26°54'E fired two torpedoes at the merchant vessel from about 1000 yards. No hits were obtained. 0542 hours - An 'E'-boat passed overhead but did not drop any depth charges.
Submarine HMS Unswerving: HMS Unswerving (T/Lt. M.D. Tattersall, RNVR) was undocked.
Submarine HMS Venturer: HMS Venturer (Lt. J.S. Launders, DSC, RN) departed Lerwick for her 2nd war patrol She was to conduct an anti-Uboat patrol in the Norwegian Sea. For the daily positions of HMS Venturer during this patrol see the map below.
Submarine HMS H 32: HMS H 32 (Lt. K.S. Renshaw, DSC, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Goathland (Lt.Cdr. B.G.B. Bordes, DSC, RN).
Submarine HMS H 33: HMS H 33 (Lt. D.G. Kent, RN) shifted from Rothesay to Campbeltown.
Submarine HMS H 44: HMS H 44 (Lt. P.N. Joyce, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Campbeltown.
Submarine HMS P 512: HMS P 512 participated in A/S exercises off Bermuda.
Escort destroyer HMS Calpe: German U-boat U-593 was sunk on 13 December 1943 after a 32 hour-chase in the western Mediterranean north of Constantine, in position 37°38'N, 05°58'E, by depth charges from the US destroyer USS Wainwright and the British escort destroyer HMS Calpe (Lt.Cdr. H. Kirkwood, DSC, RN).
Submarine USS R-2: USS R-2 (Lt. A.K. Tyree, USN) conducted exercises off Key West.
Submarine USS R-4: USS R-4 (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Fey, Jr., USN) conducted exercises off Key West.
Submarine USS R-13: USS R-13 (Lt.Cdr. D.L. Mehlop, USN) conducted exercises off Key West.
Submarine USS R-14: USS R-14 (Lt.Cdr. R. Holden, USN) conducted exercises off Key West.
Submarine USS R-20: USS R-20 (Lt.Cdr. E.T. Shepard, USN) conducted exercises off Key West.
Submarine FR Perlé: Perlé departed Bermuda for the Philadelphia Navy Yard, USA.
Submarine HMS L 23: HMS L 23 (Lt. H.R. Murray, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Digby.
Minesweeper USS YMS-56: USS YMS-56 picks up 8 survivors from the American tanker McDowell that was torpedoed and sunk by German U-boat U-516 about 30 miles north of Aruba in position 13°08'N, 70°02'W.
Destroyer USS Haraden (ii): USS Haraden entered the Sulu Sea on 13 December 1944 while escorting escort carriers, and were attacked that day by four Japanese aircraft. Haraden assisted in downing three of the raiders, but the fourth dived for the destroyer. Trailing smoke from hits by Haraden's gunners, she crashed into the destroyer's side, putting her forward engine room out of commission and severely damaging her topside. As Haraden lay dead in the water, USS Twiggs (DD 591) came alongside to help and the destroyer was soon underway on her own power. She arrived at San Pedro Bay 14 December 1944 and transferred her casualties 14 killed and 24 wounded. Steaming on toward the United States via Hawaii, she arrived at Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington on 14 January 1945 for battle repairs.
Destroyer USS Shea: USS Shea departed from Norfolk bound for New York.
Destroyer USS Walke (ii): USS Walke departed from San Pedro Bay to participate in operations of Mindoro.
Destroyer USS Wallace L. Lind: USS Wallace L. Lind arrived at Pearl Harbor.
Battleship USS Iowa: All ships of the Task Group including USS Iowa (Capt. J.L. Holloway, Jr., USN) were fuelled by a group of oilers.
Submarine HNMS K XI: HrMs K XI (Lt.Cdr. P.G. de Back, RNN) conducted A/S exercises off Varsova, near Bombay with HMIS Ramdas (T/Lt. H.D. Baker, RINR).
Submarine HNMS Dolfijn: HrMs Dolfijn (Lt.Cdr. J.B.M.J. Maas, RNN) conducted exercises off Dundee together with HMS Zodiac (Lt.Cdr. H.R. Rycroft, DSC, RN).
Submarine USS Croaker: USS Croaker (Lt.Cdr. W.B. Thomas) departed from Pearl Harbor for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Luzon Strait and in the South China Sea.
Submarine USS Flounder: USS Flounder (Cdr. J.E. Stevens) ended her 4th war patrol at Fremantle, Australia.
Submarine USS Pompon: With her overhaul completed USS Pompon (Cdr. S.H. Gimbler) the US west coast bound for Majuro.
Submarine USS Aspro: After engine repairs USS Aspro (Cdr. W.A. Stevenson, USN) departed from Pearl Harbor to resume her 6th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off Formosa and also to perform lifeguard duties during air strikes. She was escorted in by USS PC-485. For the daily and attack positions of USS Aspro during this patrol see the map below.
Submarine USS Bergall: USS Bergall (Cdr. J.M. Hyde, USN) hit the Japanese heavy cruiser Myoko (offsite link) with 2 torpedoes from a salvo of 3, off the Royalist Bank, South China Sea in position 08°10'N, 105°31'E. Bergall retired and reloaded but on coming in for a second attack on the surface due to shallow water, was taken under fire by the main battery from the escort, Japanese destroyer Ushio, a shell from a salvo of four, fired at over 9000-metres range, landed on the forward casing, pierced the torpedo loading hatch, tore off some of the plating, punched a hole in the pressure hull over the forward torpedo room but luckily failed to detonate, though it started several electrical fires in the forward compartments. Incredibly, nobody was injured. Another shell landed less than 30 metres from the stern, tripping electrical relays inside the boat. The hole in the hull was stuffed with hammocks and whatever was available, Bergall retreated and the fires were brought under control during the night but she was still 2000 nautical miles from the nearest friendly port. She transited Karimata Strait and sailed the length of Java after transferring part of the crew to USS Angler, and the boats sailed to Australia together, arriving Fremantle on 23 December. (All times are zone H, -8) 1755 hours - In position 07°36'N, 105°12'E sighted a ship bearing 105°(T). Range was estimated as 35000 yards. Commenced an end around run planning to attack after dark. 1830 hours - Stil unable to make out the type of target but his speed was estimated at about 13 knots. 1920 hours - Radar range was now 26000 yards. Bearing was 102°(T). Commenced radar tracking. 1958 hours - Sighted the target at a range of 17500 yards. 2011 hours - Range was now 13000 yards. Target's course was 055°(T). Speed 16 knots. She appears to be a large warship. An escort was barely visible just ahead of her. Radar started that this escort was 2000 yards on the starboard bow of the target. Bergall was on his port beam. 2020 hours - Range now 9400 yards. The target had slowed down to 14 knots on a course of 35°(T). 2030 hours - Range now 6000 yards. The taget was now seen to be a heavy cruiser. 2037 hours - In position 08°10'N, 105°31'E fired six bow torpedoes from 3300 yards. 2040 hours - Saw a terrific explosion which enveloped the target completely in flames which spread along her entire lenght and reached at least 750 feet in height. Two explosions were heard in the control room. The target was reported to have been broken in two, also three pips were now on the radar screen instead of two. Bergall meanwhile retired from the area. The escort remained near the target. 2100 hours - Gun flashes were seen in the direction of the escort and then a salvo of two rounds were fired at us. One landed in our wake but the other pierced the forward torpedo loading hatch. Immediately turned away. Another salvo then landed 200 yards short of our port bow. A third salvo landed 300 yards of our starboard bow. Continued to clear the area at 18 knots to put as much distance between us and the area of the attack before daybreak.
Submarine USS Boarfish: During 13/14 December 1944, USS Boarfish (Cdr. R.L. Gross, USN), conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Wileman, USS Whitman, USS Connolly, USS Snook and USS Threadfin. These exercises included night exercises.
Submarine USS Chub: USS Chub (Cdr. C.D. Rhymes, Jr., USN) conducted exercises off Key West.
Submarine USS Pintado: USS Pintado (Lt.Cdr. B.A. Clarey) torpedoed and sank the Japanese fast transport T 12 (1500 tons) and the Japanese landing ship T 104 (887 tons) in the South China Sea in position 19°30'N, 118°40'E.
Escort Carrier HMS Campania: German U-boat U-365 was sunk in the Arctic Ocean east of Jan Mayen, in position 70°43'N, 08°07'E, by depth charges from 2 Swordfish aircraft (Sqdn. 813/L/Q) from the British escort carrier HMS Campania (A/Capt. K.A. Short, RN).
Submarine HMS Una: HMS Una (Lt. F.E. Ashmead-Bartlett, RN) participated A/S exercises off Tobermory.
Submarine HMS Seadog: HMS Seadog (Lt. E.A. Hobson, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for Malta.
Submarine HMS Sea Rover: HMS Sea Rover (Lt. J.P. Angell, RN) makes a short stop at Exmouth Bay for fuel and provisions. Also a wounded survivor / prisoner is landed.
Submarine HMS Subtle: HMS Subtle (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) sank a sailing vessel with demolition charges between Langkawi and Penang. (All times are zone -6.5) 1801 hours - Surfaced in position 05°52'N, 100°08'E. Boarded and sank a 10 tons junk with demolition charges. The junk was carrying oil. The crew left in a small boat.
Submarine HMS Trusty: HMS Trusty (Lt. J.P. Fyfe, DSC, RN) conducts attack exercises with HMS Newfoundland (Capt. R.W. Ravenhill, CBE, DSC, RN).
Submarine HMS Tantalus: HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) is put on the slipway at Fremantle.
Submarine HMS Taciturn: HMS Taciturn (Lt.Cdr. E.T. Stanley, DSO, DSC, RN) conducted exercises in the Clyde area.
Submarine HMS Upright: HMS Upright (Lt. J.A.L. Wilkinson, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Bermuda with HMCS Napanee (T/Lt. G.A. Powell, RCNVR) and HMCS Camrose (T/Lt. J.B. Lamb, RCNVR).
Submarine HMS Uproar: HMS Uproar (Lt. J.N. Devlin, DSC, RN) conducted exercises off Larne.
Submarine HMS Unrivalled: HMS Unrivalled (Lt. D.S. Brown, RNVR) returned to Douglas, Isle of Man upon completion of the exercises.
Submarine HMS Unruffled: HMS Unruffled (T/Lt. A.H. MacCoy, DSC, SANF(V)) participated in A/S exercises off Bermuda.
Submarine HMS Untamed: HMS Vitality (Lt. K.S. Renshaw, DSC, RNR) shifted Oban to Tobermory. She was escorted by HMS Clorinde (T/Lt. G.E.C. Martin, DSC, RNVR).
Submarine HMS Untiring: HMS Untiring (Lt. R. Boyd, DSC, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Campbeltown.
Submarine HMS Upshot: HMS Upshot (Lt. A.J. Boyall, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Campbeltown with HMS Borage (T/Lt. E.A. Hitchcock, RNR) and HMS Geranium (T/Lt. C. Blackshaw, RNVR).
Submarine HMS Vampire: HMS Vampire (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar with HMS Stork (Lt.Cdr. D.E. Mansfield, RN), HMS Delphinium (T/Lt. S. Rule, RNVR) and aircraft.
Submarine HMS Venturer: HMS Venturer (Lt. J.S. Launders, DSC and Bar, RN) and FFS Rubis (Lt.Cdr. H.L.G. Rousselot) departed Dundee for Lerwick. She was escorted by HMS Loch Monteith (T/Lt. W.E. Turner, RNR).
Submarine HMS Votary: Votary (Lt. P.M. Staveley, RN) conducted her acceptance trials in the Clyde area following which she was commissioned at Holy Loch.
Submarine HMS Vulpine: HMS Vulpine (T/Lt. P.S. Thirsk, DSC, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Holyhead with aircraft.
Submarine HMS H 34: HMS H 34 (Lt. A.M.B. Buxton, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Campbeltown.
Submarine HMS H 44: HMS H 44 (Lt. R.C. Bucknall, RN) participated in A/S exercises off Campbeltown.
Submarine USS R-2: USS R-2 (Lt.Cdr. L.G. Bernard, USN) conducted exercises off Key West.
Submarine USS R-4: USS R-4 (Lt.Cdr. W.L. Fey, Jr., USN) was put on the slipway at Key West.
Submarine USS R-10: USS R-10 (Lt. R.D. McWenthy, USN) conducted exercises off Key West.
Submarine USS R-11: USS R-11 (Lt.Cdr. M. Abrahams, USN) conducted exercises off Key West.
Submarine USS R-14: USS R-14 (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Cunningham, Jr., USNR) conducted exercises off Key West.
Submarine USS R-15: USS R-15 departed New London, Connecticut for Bermuda.
Submarine HMS P 614: HMS P 614 (T/Lt. P.C.S. Pritchard, RNR) departed Kames Bay for Port HHX. She made the passage towing X-craft X 24. They were escorted by HMS Alecto (Cdr. (retired) E.S. Felton, RN).