Friday, August 10, 2012

Fullbore Friday

They found her last month, U-550.
The U-550 was found on Monday by a privately funded group organised by New Jersey lawyer Joe Mazraani. It was the second trip in two years to the site by the team, some of whom had been searching for the lost U-boat for two decades.

Using side-scan sonar, the seven-man team located the wreck listing to its side in deep water about 70 miles south of Nantucket.
One patrol, one ship sunk - I bet she still had new-boat-smell - but one heck of an honorable fight at the end.
On April 16, 1944, the U-550 torpedoed the gasoline tanker SS Pan Pennsylvania, which had lagged behind its protective convoy as it set out with 140,000 barrels of gasoline for Great Britain, ...

The U-boat slipped under the doomed tanker to hide. But one of the tanker's three escorts, the USS Joyce, saw it on sonar and severely damaged it by dropping depth charges.

The Germans, forced to surface, manned their deck guns while another escort vessel, the USS Gandy, returned fire and rammed the U-boat. The third escort, the USS Peterson, then hit the U-boat with two more depth charges. The crew abandoned the submarine, but not before setting off explosions to scuttle it. The submarine hadn't been seen again until Monday.
44 dead and only 12 survivors. At least now some family members have a grave to visit.

Probably due to a my family's history of honorable service in lost causes through and including the War Between the States, I have always found the history of the German Navy in WWII interesting, especially the U-boat arm. My library is full of books on them - most from Naval Institute Press.

The American Navy's submarine performance in WESTPAC is outstanding as well - not to mention the men on the escorts.

In the case of U-550 though - American and German; Fullbore performance by all.


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