Silent Hunter II
After Action Reports
Jester strikes in North Atlantic. British escort carrier sinks! (Nov 22, 2001)
It was a dark and stormy night...literally. Running on the surface, I was barely making headway in the high seas. I was on patrol for an inbound convoy to the UK. A couple hours passed and I received a sighting report from another submarine in the North Atlantic. The convoy was composed of 20+ merchant ships and 6 escorts. A British escort carrier was reportedly with the group. The merchants were the primary target with the escort carrier being an optional secondary target. Hell, I wanted that carrier!
I got myself into position about 12 miles ahead of the convoy along its course. The convoy was steaming at 7 knots on a course of 060. Visibility was nil and I chose to dive to periscope depth since I got better contacts with sound in this weather than sight. I had radar but wasn't picking up anything. I know that the escorts have radar too and I didn't want to be detected on the surface. Once at periscope depth, I rigged for silent running and cut the engines. Making like a hole in the water, the convoy approached nonsuspectingly. I had contacts coming my way closer and closer and then noticed that I was in the wrong position. The convoy was passing me by out of range and even at full speed underwater, I only made 7 knots. No choice, I surfaced and ran on diesels at flank speed trying to get past the convoy and into the correct position ahead of the convoy. I was making 13 knots now and checked my radar which was still picking up nothing at all. I knew where the convoy was though and plotted my course accordingly. All was fine until out of the fog broke a British destroyer running parallel to my course. My first instinct was to dive but I resisted. Maybe the weather and my low silhouette would save me from detection. No such luck as a few minutes later I had splashes from shells around my submarine! I ordered a crash dive and went down to 150 meters. Three rounds of depth charge attacks and I fared well with only 10% damage to my hull integrity and no systems damaged. I was growing impatient as I wanted that carrier and I was wasting precious time evading this destroyer. Up silently to periscope depth, I found the destroyer sailing away nearby but still pinging. Seconds has passed when I saw him speed up and turn hard over...he saw my scope. I turned towards the destroyer and fired two of my new acoustic wake-homing torpedoes head on and 1degree offset to starboard. Crash dive ordered again and watched the torpedo clock. A loud boom signaled a hit on the first torpedo and the death of the destroyer. Back up to periscope depth and confirmed my kill. I then noticed that my second torpedo had turned back on me! I cut my engines quickly and dove to 150 meters and waited the torpedo to run out of fuel.
Back on the surface now and running to my interception point. I encountered a British corvette in the convoy and manned my deck gun before he could attack me. I was scoring hits on him and left him burning heavily damaged and dead in the water. He scored a few hits on me, damaging torpedo tube #2 severely. I fire torpedoes on a tanker and another cargo ship. The tanker tanks a hit and burns dead in the water. The cargo ship must have been an ammunition ship as once I hit it with the torpedo, multiple secondary explosions occurred. Closing on the carrier at flank speed, I finally get sight of it. One and two are away and on track. There is a Norwegian merchant 800 yards to starboard so I fire tube 3 at it without giving it a second thought. A hit is scored on the Norwegian merchant and it goes dead in the water. This, however, causes the convoy to change course and my two torpedoes that were headed to the carrier now miss it entirely. The carrier settles on a new course now and line up and take another shot at it, firing one torpedo only. My plan, to damage the carrier so it slows enough so that I can catch up to it to finish it off with more accurate shots. A hit and the carrier slows to 3 knots! My elation was short lived as the carrier sped back up to 7 knots on a new course. Three and four away now...both miss. I reload and fire one and three. The carrier is heavily damaged but still far away. I take out a couple of merchants nearby and then notice a couple of British corvettes closing on me. The carrier is still moving away and turning. I fire a shot with a 3 degree offset to port and pray as I dive deep with no more torpedoes to fire. I swear I saw the torpedo scraping alongside the hull of the carrier and then exploding. I nearly missed it but that last torpedo signed its death warrant.
I evade the corvettes and exit from the convoy area and come across the tanker that I had hit at the beginning of this ordeal. It is then that I realise that I still have a torpedo loaded in tube #2 that was damaged earlier. I unload it and load it back into tube 1 and fire it to put the tanker out of its misery.
- RADM Jester
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