Thursday, November 30, 2006

Convoy Inbound

17 May 1942
1851 local time
A message came in from BdU detailing the location of an inbound convoy west of Ireland. A quick glance at the charts and I knew it was within reach! Only 250km northeast of our position! I plotted a course to intercept and rang up full speed ahead. We would have to backtrack a little from our intended destination, but if we can find that convoy it will be well worth the time.

18 May 1942
4:04 local time, West of the Irish coast
Carl called over to me as I lay napping in my bunk, "Excuse me sir, I can hear multiple contacts bearing 348; distant!" I took a few moments to gather my wits about me and put on the headset. Definitely a convoy; there was a whole confusion of noise spread out over a few degrees. taking note of the bearings I headed to the chart table to see our position and begin tracking their progress. We were definitely in a good position already, now I just needed to make a few minor adjustments to line up our course with the convoy's track and get the crew ready for an attack.

4:52 local time
Just a quick note to calm my nerves. The lead destroyer has just passed over us without giving any indication of detection! We're through the front door and ready to make our attack run. The weather is terrible, which is working to our advantage despite the difficulty in trying to identify ships with the periscope dipping under the waves. As long as the convoy doesn't change course within the next twenty minutes we should have a good shot at her middle column. We're coming back up to periscope depth now.

8:00 local time
Success! The central column had three large ships; a C3, a troop transport, and a T2 class tanker. We waited patiently while they plodded by and then launched our attack. I sent our aft torpedo to the lead ship, two towards the tanker, then my remaining two at the transport in the middle. Timing was perfect and multiple explosions erupted up and down the line! The tanker took a critical hit and broke apart amidst giant fireballs, both eels exploded on contact with the transport and the C3 took a hit. The men were already frantically reloading tube #1 as we began to slip towards the rear of the convoy.
We surfaced behind the trailing cargo ship in time to see the bow of the transport going under! I launched our remaining torpedo at the C3; it was a long shot and likely missed as the ships changed course. The lead escorts were already plucking survivors from the water while the other two were both wide of our position. I decided not to press my luck and ordered the boat deep to reload and slip out of the area before the destroyers had a chance to find us. I think my crew has made enough of a difference in the war effort for one day.

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