Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Escort

15 May 1942
9:26 local time
Sailing into the western approaches to the English Channel we crossed paths with a type 34 destroyer. I took the opportunity of their cover to run on the surface and recharge our batteries. Within an hour the first Sunderland appeared and was promptly dealt with by the 34's arsenal of guns! Two Swordfish biplanes were also quickly dispatched. The sound of friendly artillery and watching the planes go down did wonders for the crew's morale, but the possibility of losing another sailor weighed heavily on my mind. When the third flight showed up we said our goodbyes and slipped silently under the sea, batteries fully charged and the men feeling better after the show of force.

16 May 1942
5:30 local time
The lookouts spotted a lone cargo ship at 3:12 this morning. We managed to close to within 2000m of the C3 by 4:22 undetected and fired two electric torpedoes at her. Only one hit, but that was not enough to slow her down. I fired the other two bow eels and was rewarded with two explosions that broke the ship's back. We surfaced to look for survivors but aircraft were already inbound on the radar. If anyone was left out there they should have help arriving soon. As for us, any relief efforts would be to our disadvantage. Estimated 8000 tons sunk with four torpedoes; not a good ratio, but we did get her in the end.

This morning we were greeted by typical foul Atlantic weather. Even a year ago I would curse having to stand watch in the stinging cold rain, but with the dramatic increases in British air cover this year a storm means cover for the u-boat force. We should have some reprieve from the constant crash dives of the past two days.

17 May 1942
6:00 local time
The storm has not left us yet. I'm chilled to the bone after spending only two hours in the tower, but the crew has been able to rest for a day. At least the ones who are not seasick from the constant motion of the boat. We've made some progress towards our patrol zone and are lying off the southwest corner of Ireland looking for any traffic.

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