View Full Version : I Got Clobbered (Patrol Report)

05-29-2010, 02:33 AM
I had the misfortune of crossing the British forces west of Ceylon, after a long and quite irritating cruise into the southern climes.

Having left Lorient on July 17, 1943, I proceeded to sink six ships, then decided to attempt a mid ocean refueling, as I'd never done that before.

September 3rd, I met with U-488 and took aboard fuel, provisions and a few spare torpedoes, then stood off about 200 miles before radioing BDU for my next assignment.

The response was not encouraging. "All 10th Flotilla boats to re-base to Penang, effective immediately." No more French wine. No more French girls. No more French anything! And the Fatherland would be half a world away. We'd already been at sea a month and a half, and were looking forward to those rewards upon our return from extended patrol. Without much enthusiasm for the trip, or the destination, we swung south, toward a journey of three months or more across wakeless, empty ocean.

Off the eastern coast of South Africa, having met absolutely nothing for the past month, I decided I'd snoop a bit closer to the coast. After all, Brake was cruising off Madagascar, so if we ran into trouble, she'd be available for help. I chose a suspicious looking port and headed in.

0834 Oct 13, 1943. Closing the coast, my lookouts sighted a vessel. We dove, and put a single torpedo into the SS Mironych, a piddly little Tramp Steamer. Not my first choice, but I was beginning to think it might be the only thing we'd see this patrol.

Oh, how wrong I was!

The next day, we approached the harbor submerged, at 0545. I was astounded to find a Large Troop Ship ridding at anchor. It took three torpedoes, but we sent more than 15000 tons to the bottom.

By 1030, we'd added five more ships to the score for 44,000 tons. Out of internal reloads, I pointed the boat west, toward Brake, and Penang.

Brake, it turned out, was out of torpedoes, and other boats needed fuel more urgently than we did. With a few fresh loaves of bread from her bakery and a few other odds and ends, we continued on toward the Orient.

Approaching the southern coast of Ceylon, I became concerned about the fact that we had almost a half load of torpedoes on board. I decided, therefore, to head toward the port on the west coast of the island and see if there was anything worth a go. I'd used all my electric torpedoes on the harbor raid, so the plan was to use the 12km range of the steam torpedoes to stand off and snipe at the harbor.

Well, it didn't quite work that way.

0750 November 1, 1943

Approaching the harbor, it got foggy. Suddenly, out of the gloom we took fire from something, no telling what. Several machine gun rounds hit the conning tower, and we took a hit from the deck gun up front. We dove, by some miracle managing to keep the flooding under control, and sure enough, here came a hard charging escort vessel. It was at that time that I blessed the 44 knot speed of the steam torpedoes. I managed to avoid the first depth charge run, and with a snapshot, led the escort with the torpedo. At 44 knots, she didn't stand a chance; the torp hit right under her bridge. She went down in 10 minutes. As her stern rose out of the water, I read HMS Starling, which the book noted as a Black Swan class of 1250 tons. The chronometer read 0757.

With unknown amounts of damage, and in no condition to fight despite our torpedo load, we surfaced and headed out to sea at flank speed to put as much distance as possible between us and the port.

Just over an an hour later, a lookout screamed: "Aircraft spotted!" I hit the dive alarm and down we went... but not fast enough. The aircraft must have been coming straight up our stern, as the string of bombs started at the back of the Wintergarden and marched all the way to the bow. That guy sure knew his business!

I knew we were in trouble, and ordered blow ballast and surface, stand by for surface action, guns. The gunners scrambled up the hatch and managed to get both the 2cm guns working in short order, despite the damage to the platform. Unfortunately, the 3.7 was out of business. To our great relief, the B-17 aircraft was alone, and having dropped his entire bomb load on the first pass, was heading home. The parting shots with the 2cm guns probably didn't do him any harm, but I didn't care. At the moment, I had bigger concerns, namely trying to keep my boat from sinking.

We finally got the flooding under control again, but the boat had several very large, and very serious holes in it. I could tell she wouldn't be diving any time soon.

November 6, 1943

Listing slightly, and low in the water, U-155 limped into Penang harbor with an escort of Japanese sub chasers.

Incredibly, not one man was lost during this ordeal. The same could not be said about the submarine. It was in terrible shape, and with limited facilities, and the limited support of our Japanese allies at that port, U-155 was done for. While the big drydocks on the home islands were available, the facilities were not present to fix up the boat enough to give an adequate chance of survival of the journey. The crew was broken up to fill openings on other boats, and I got a missive from BDU.






Hum. No "Thanks for those six great patrols"? No "Thanks for pulling your crew through"? Oh well.

Only one question remains to be answered. How to get back home?

It's going to be a long swim.


I edited the Title to read "Patrol Report", as that's what it is and that's what people would probably search for.

05-29-2010, 02:10 PM
A very well written patrol story. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/clap.gif

Sorry to hear you lost your command. Are you using SH3 Commander's career limitation option? When I play, I do, and sometimes it hurts to have to retire ashore.

05-29-2010, 02:47 PM
Figured you'd see this Kaleun1961. I lost the command in more ways than one!

Yes, I'm using the "Realistic Career Length" option, so four to six patrols is about it with the "Patrols completed x Days at sea" configuration, especially with the Type IX boats. Six is the most patrols I've gotten, and that was early war, from Feb 1940 to Feb 1941 in a Type VII.

This latest was also by far my greatest tonnage for a career at 391948 tons.

And to think I was all prepared to turn right around and go back to the Atlantic! Oh well.

06-05-2010, 09:24 AM
Awesome story!!! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/metal.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/clap.gif

I got pounded hard one night by destroyers near Gibraltar but was able to escape, surface & limp to Casablanca in reverse.