Silent Hunter II
After Action Reports
Jester devastates Normany invasion convoy! (Dec 19, 2001)
The allies were coming, news came down to the Kreigsmarine HQ that the Allies were mounting an invasion on the shores of Normandy. My orders were to intercept these convoys shuttling troops and supplies to the beachhead of Normandy. I left Lorient, France and made my way to the entrance of the English channel.
The entrance was being patrolled by three destroyer flotillas but there was an opportunity to bypass them via a shallow passage around an island close to France. I dove to periscope depth and engaged my snorkel. I was able to transit all the way into the channel in very shallow water (less than 40 meters!). Once past the patrols, I surfaced and ran with AA guns manned all the way past Cherbourg, France.
I spotted the convoy that I wanted and performed a perfect "End-Run" interception on it. The convoy was being escorted by four British destroyers ahead of them. There wasn't much water where I was (about 65 meters) which worried me a bit. However, since I was already in position, I ran silent and cut engines and dropped to the seafloor and bottomed the boat. The destroyers passed right overhead and none the wiser. I waited for the propeller wash to fade away and the slowly came up to periscope depth. I raised my periscope to 13 meters ... the waves were washing over my scope every now and then but that is what I wanted. I spun the scope around and found that the destroyers were still headed away on the same course. They were, in fact, pulling away from the convoy itself. Back to the convoy, I spotted my first two targets coming steadily on towards me...two Liberty ships full of troops riding low in the water. Each ship was running at seven knots on a course that would put them directly in front of me. This gave me an excellent shot at their broadsides. I fired tubes one a two with a one degree offset to starboard at the lead Liberty ship. Tube three fired at the second Liberty ship and tube four at a lead US merchant ship in the second row. Down scope and watch the torpedo run times....success! All torpedoes hit as planned. The US merchant was heavily damaged along with the lead Liberty ship. The second Liberty ship was moderately damaged. I got tube one reloaded and fired it at the second Liberty ship. With that hit, the ship was dead in the water, heavily damaged as the lead one. While reloading the other tubes, the US merchant ship that I struck earlier exploded and was destroyed by fires raging onboard. Tubes two and three reloaded and away at each Liberty ship...one torpedo to finish off each. Two explosions sounded hits and the Liberty ships were history.
I reloaded all tubes and fired off at the remaining ships. Periscope up to find out that the convoy was disarray. Ships were turning every which way, not sure where to go. I picked off five more merchants with my forward tubes and two with my aft tubes. All torpedoes expended at this time, but the destroyers were charging back and pinging away. Down to the seabed I went once more and cut engines. The destroyers had an idea of where I was but couldn't know for sure as I had dropped to just above the seabed between two merchants that I had sunk. This was probably messing up their sonar fix on me. They circled around overhead of me for 12 hours straight but never dropping charges. I sensed that this was going nowhere for as soon as I thought they were going away, they'd come right back. What was happening was, three destroyers were speeding away noisily while one remained above drifting with engines cut. Good tactic, but I knew what there were four destroyers! I dropped down a bit further to 61 meters (seabed was at 63 meters). As I passed 60 meters, I was informed that I had passed a thermal layer. The destroyers that sped away were back by this time and I guess one of them noted a depth change and dropped charges on me. I took a couple minor hits and my air compressor was damaged. I figured this was it but surprisingly all destroyers headed away and kept on going! I waited for them to get about 9nmi away and then surfaced (midnight now) and ran all out to Cherbourg, France and then back to Lorient, France hugging the coastline of France.
- RADM Jester
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