Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Rocky Start

1 April 1942
19:00 local time
Everything was more or less stowed away and the decks cleared as we sailed out of port. Even at this relatively late hour a group of well-wishers and the local military band gave us a rousing sendoff! While we slipped our moorings and made the turn out towards the channel one thing kept nagging at me: the number two flak cannon was still not operational. At least we have one working properly and hopefully we won't have a need for them anytime soon!

21:12 West of Brittany
The weather was perfectly clear and rather warm for this time of year as we sailed out into the Atlantic. We laid out a course to take us around the tip of Brittany and just southwest of Cornwall. Hopefully we will run across some merchants making their way to Britain's southern ports.

2 April 1942
8:29 Southwest off the tip of Cornwall
Two ships were spotted on the southern horizon so we turned to intercept. A third ship was spotted and we were glad to identify them as friends; the Hipper heavy cruiser and two Type 34 destroyers as escort. As we moved closer to salute several aircraft were spotted! Now I know why I had that uneasy feeling about the flak guns! I ordered a crash dive and kept our heading so as to put us right under the Hipper. Depth charges were heard exploding, but nothing too close for comfort. We poked our attack scope out a half hour later to find that the strike group had dealt with the planes. We bid our friends a heartfelt goodbye (not likely to see any more support where we are headed) and continued on our way towards the Irish coast.

19:56 South of Ireland
A small merchant was spotted heading southwest. We tried to close but she was moving at a similar rate, I took us on a perpendicular course at high speed once we had a good idea of her course. Nearly two hours later the lookouts made contact again; right where I suspected! We dove to periscope depth and stalked in closer under cover of darkness and found that she was indeed an enemy target! I let loose a single TI that exploded right under the keel. Buckling from the explosion she sank quickly. One can only hope that some of the sailors made it off safely. The air cover is too thick for us to stick around and offer a hand.

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