Prinz Eugen Escapes English Channel
I departed the patrol area just east of Dover, England with my 2 DD division and headed south. Orders were received and it appeared that the Prinz Eugen was trying to make her way back to Germany through the English Channel. I proceeded due south at flank speed to a point just north of the coast of France. I then turned west and slowed to standard. Shortly thereafter, I got a radar contact headed in my direction. I presumed correctly that this was the Prinz Eugen and made a course plot to intercept.
As I got closer, I began to get contacts on her escorts. There was one destroyer on each side of her steaming along at 20 knots. I turned my two destroyers around and sailed a course ahead of the group. I was covered by fog which helped mask my position. My destroyers were running at 12 knots which allowed the group to close on me steadily. It wasn't long before the lead destroyer came into range and my two destroyers opened up with their aft turrets. The enemy DD was bracketed and quickly succumbed to the fire from my guns. I switched my fire then to the destroyer guarding the Prinz Eugen's starboard side. This destroyer fell victim to my heavy fire within a few minutes.
I had to kick up the speed to Flank as the group had closed on me too much and I was coming under fire by the destroyer guarding the port side of the Prinz Eugen. As I pulled away, I continued firing at the port destroyer and vanquished it. With the three of the four destroyers eliminated, I turned my fire on the Prinz Eugen herself. It was then that she did something that I didn't expect. She turned around and headed back into the fog. I quickly lost visual contact and my gunfire became much less accurate. I turned my destroyers around 180 degrees to pursue. This may have turned out to be my fatal mistake as when I finally re-established visual contact, the Prinz Eugen loomed out of the fog with me looking at her broadsides! I veered hard to starboard to turn back around 180 degrees with both destroyers. Alas, it was too late...she spotted me. Her guns belched smoke as I was in my emergency turn. I hastily returned fire with my guns and launched torpedoes with my lead DD. All torpedoes missed as she had altered course towards me while my torpedoes were in mid-run. Soon after, my flagship sustained multiple direct hits in quick succession and was lost. I transferred my flag to my second DD and kept up the fight. A few hits were scored on the Prinz Eugen during all of this but nothing to hurt her too badly in any way. Three direct hits were taken by my last DD in the next few moments and I ordered my rudder hard to port and fired every torpedo I had on board at her. I was pummeled by fire from the Prinz Eugen shortly thereafter and forced to abandon ship. Much to my chagrin, two of my torpedoes hit the burning hulks of two of the destroyers that I had taken out earlier. The other torpedoes missed the Prinz Eugen and she sailed right on by. My hopes were that the boys in the RAF could avenge me and stop her before she made it back to Germany.
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