Ordeal by depth charge
13th May 1943: A dramatic account of being of being on the receiving end of an extended hunt by Allied planes and warships
On 24th April 1943 U-230 had departed from Brest for the the mid-Atlantic to join the U-boat Wolfpacks that Doenitz was directing towards Allied convoys. As they moved up to their assigned grid square in the first days of May they were to receive a stream of messages from other U-boats under attack and sinking. The Allies were having remarkable success in the battle surrounding convoy ONS-5. It was a disturbing new development.
04.00: The boat had fallen to 275 metres. We had been under assault for twelve hours and there was no sign of relief This day was my birthday and I wondered whether it would be my last. How many chances could one ask for?
Spotting a very large convoy on the 12th May U-230 was forced to crash dive several times by aircraft that appeared to be accompanying the convoy - one of which she managed to shoot down. Then an aircraft dropped a smoke flare and yellow dye to mark their position as they crash-dived again. Now they received the undivided attention of the convoy escort destroyers and corvettes.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to World War II Today to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.