Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Cruising the Bay of Biscay

11 August 1942
2019 local time
Bay of Biscay

Four Hurricanes came in for an attack run during the twilight hours. We managed to shoot one down and damage another this time, but retreating underwater is still our best defense, though we only have forty meters of clearance under the boat. Hopefully the quick report we sent off will alert some destroyers in the area.

12 August 1942
5:26 local time
We are nearing the drop-off from the shelf to deep Atlantic waters. I find some comfort in having plenty if diving room, but the larger swells are already slowing our cruising speed. I'm not too worried about our timetable being thrown off though, with only 1000km left to reach our patrol zone fuel and provisions are less critical during this patrol.

22:53 local time
A Sunderland came out of nowhere and dropped a close spread of depth charges! Just as the boat was settling into a severely raked angle for a crash dive a second wave of explosions rocked us. Once it was clear enough to surface we took stock of our damage: radio antenna and radar mast destroyed, flak 2 is a mess beyond repair, flak 1 repairable and the deck gun needs some minor work. The tower itself also took heavy damage; thank God nobody was up there! Fortunately both periscopes are fully operational and no leaks.

The crew is on deck working on repairs right now; it is good to have dark nights again even if it slows their progress. A pair of aircraft were spotted off in the distance just after 2100, but they didn't see us. Hopefully that luck keeps up with us this cruise.

13 August 1942
9:03 local time
Repairs have been completed, at least those which we can perform at sea. The seas are rough, but the sky is clear and a warm wind is blowing; a nice change after our last few patrols into the north Atlantic! We haven't picked up any traffic yet, though we are approaching the convoy lanes as those coming up from the Southern latitudes and Mediteranean.

14 August 1942
11:38 local time
This morning I stayed on deck for a few extra hours taking in the fresh, warm air. We haven't seen an Allied air patrol in over a day! The crew is much more relaxed this time out, despite the close call we had the other day. It's refreshing to see them recharged, but I don't want to see them get too lax in their duties. I had a quick conference with the other officers about drumming up some small projects to keep the boat in top shape and the crew on their toes.

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