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U. S. CONFIDENTIAL
BRITISH SECRET

NAVAER

Interview of

Captain Short, USN
C. O. USS BOGUE
Lt. Comdr. Drane, USN
Air Group Commander, USS BOGUE
22 June, 1943

Distribution:
     Standard Distribution of Air Information Branch.

     Captain Short and Lt. Commander Drane discuss Anti-Submarine Warfare with particular reference to convoy escort operations of the USS BOGUE and her Air Group. They touch in detail on the following subjects:

Convoy escort - p. 1
Searches - p. 2, 3
Use of destroyers - p. 2
Use of planes -p. 2, 11
Areas of sub Concentration - p. 3
Use of HF/DF bearings and ACV - p. 3
Refueling - p. 3
Plane complements - p. 3-4
Catapults - p. 4
Patrol tactics - p. 4
Anti-sub tactics - attack - p. 5-7
Fighter escort for TBF - p. 6
Rocket gun - p. 6
Submarine tactics - remaining on surface - p. 6-7
Depth charges - p. 7-8, - allowances - p. 11
Guns on submarines - p. 9
Take-offs from carriers - p. 9
Faulty arming of bombs - p. 10
Sea-markers - p. 10
Score on attack - p. 11-13

 

(Re-Issued by Air Information Branch,
Bureau of Aeronautics, 8 July, 1943)

 


 

CONFIDENTIAL

INTERVIEW OF
CAPTAIN SHORT, U. S. N.
C.0., U.S.S. BOGUE
LT. COMDR. DRANE, U.S.N.
AIR. GROUP COMMANDER, U.S.S. BOGUE.

22 June, 1943

         The BOGUE was ordered to Argentia late last February. In the initial convoy trips it was intended that the BOGUE and her two escorts would travel in convoy to about Longitude 25 W. and then be turned around with another convey or return independently. However, due to the fuel limitations of the AVD escorts and weather and sea conditions preventing refueling either from the BOGUE or from escort tankers, it was necessary to turn around at about 30°. Weather and sea conditions during the first two convoy trips made during March made operating conditions practically impossible. We flew about 25 or 30 hours on the first trip and about 15 on the second trip.

         In both trips only one submarine was sighted. This was about 10 miles from the convoy and was taken by surprise on the surface but the bombs failed to release. When returning independently from the first convoy trip we picked up one lifeboat containing 21 persons. They had been torpedoed about 3 weeks before.

         During these convoy trips in March when flying was considered possible, even though extremely hazardous in view of the pitch of the ship, only three or four of the more experienced pilots were permitted to fly. They landed with winds over the deck as high as 41 knots.

         During the first part of April, we were placed under the operational control of Commander-in-Chief, Western Approaches. Due to the fortunate Southern routing we had an unusual spell of good flying weather on the trip over and totalled about 185 hours of flying. One submarine was sighted, attacked, and at least badly damaged during this trip. (Identity unknown/unconfirmed at this time)  This attack doubtless saved the convoy from being sighted. On the return trip from Belfast to Argentia we had two days of good flying weather at a crucial time. On these two days we sighted and attacked six submarines, five in one day. The Squadron Commander will describe the attack procedure later.

         When with convoy we took station in the convoy itself at night and managed, for ths most part, to remain within the screen for flight tperations permitting our own escorts to augment the Escort Commander screen. When it was neceasapy to depart any considerable distance from the convoy I took our escorts with us.

         For the last operations, we were ordered to the African convoy routes. The orders read to operate offensively in appropriate areas against submarine concentrations in the protection of African convoys. When with convoy or in

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these areas we tried to send out three principal searches a day. When with convoy, searches were in accordance with Escort Commander's request if he desired to make any. Most of the time the character of the search was left to me.

         As the pilots became more proficient we extended the searches to greater distance. The average search during the most recent operations extending to 90 miles. In addition to these extended searches, a constant visibility patrol up to about 30 miles was maintained around the convoy or the ship. In accomplishing the mission in the recent operations in the African convoy lanes it was decided to operate in the areas of extended concentrations, considering at the same time, relative position to convoys which were then in transit. At the time we reached the initial position of Latitude 40 N there were two convoys of immediate concern the UGF-7 (Chesapeake Bay to Mediterranean Sea) and GUS-7, (Mediterranean Sea to Chesapeake Bay) both to the South of an extended area of submarine concentrations. It appeared that the West bound convoy might soon be in the clear but the East bound convoy would be the one most closely watched. However, a course was laid such that a position might be reached in which the direct support could be thrown to either until the West bound convoy was definitely in the clear, and at the same time remaining in areas of concentration. When it seemed that the West bound convoy was clear, we headed East paralleling the track of the East bound convoy keeping about 100 to 150 miles North. It was hoped that a submarine patrol line might be located prior to the arrival of the convoy to such a longitude.

         On the first day after heading East the afternoon search located and attacked three submarines at about the same time. At the time I was refueling a Destroyer alongside and we launched planes by catapult, also refueling in order to provide additional support. I also started one destroyer to each attack. However, on the advice of the pilots at the scene that they felt the submarine was definitely sunk and this being confirmed by my own listening in to their conversation while making the attacks and while describing the attacks, I recalled both destroyers before they reached the scene. This subject of whether to send a destroyer and how long to leave them at the scene of attack and probable sinking came up with the British after the last convoy trip up North.

         The question of whether to permit escorts to remain away over night or even temporarily at the scene of a probable sinking and leaving the convoy without adequate protection, particularly if there is a possibility of pack attack, is always present. If a submarine is known to be badly disabled or possibly sunk and out of the picture as far as the particular convoy is concerned, it appears that strength should not be wasted on it to the exclusion of protection of the convoy from other submarines. In determining how many planes to put out to follow up an attack, the situation as a whole must govern. It is unsound, in my opinion, to state that everything you have must be sent out. It may be more important to send out a scheduled search, for instance, in advance of a convoy than to use those planes to continue search in an area in which a submarine is probably already sunk or badly damaged

         I have found that the information as to areas of concentrations received

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         from Cominch has been fairly accurate. However, in these areas - circles or rectangles - they move on you day by day. You may be in the middle of it one day and by evening it may have moved 1 to 3 degrees away.

         Each morning, noon, and evening the squadron carried out sector searches to about 90 miles to cover the advance of the ship. In addition, flanks and rear were continuously covered and specially extended searches at various bearings were thrown out as HF/DF bearings seemed to indicate.

         In the case of the submarine sunk on the 12th, (U-118 was sunk by Bogue on June 12 with 16 survivors) we immediately threw out searches to the North and South to 60 miles in order to try to develop any patrol line of which this submarine might have formed a part. However, nothing was sighted, again confirming the fact submarines are becoming very wary when they know airplanes are operating in the vicinity. Subsequent information revealed that submarines were actually in the vicinity. A prisoner from the submarine reported that they had been watching planes fly over all day, presumably he meant while they were from a submerged position.

         We had previously had much success with HF/DF bearings locating surfaced submarines. Now it seemed that they would pop up just long enough to get off a transmission and then submerge again. However, the ACV should have HF/DF equipment if it is going to be successful in independent offensive operations and for its own protection at night and periods of low visibility as well.

         The escort vessels must rely solely upon the ACV for refueling unless convoys with escort tankers can be contacted. We cannot always be assured of refueling escorts from ACVs with their overhanging sponsons, particularly in the North Atlantic with its long stretches of bad weather. This causes considerable worry. The fact that the destroyers may run low in fuel and not be able to reach a base in case the carrier is sunk, or if weather and sea conditions prevent refueling. An astern method of refueling by means of floatation type 5" rubber hose such as in the case of escort tankers should be installed in ACVs engaged in this work this is apart from the wisdom of slowing and tieing up a destroyer in submarine areas. We refueled alongside at 10 knots. A total of 450,000 gallons of fuel was transferred from the BOGUE to the four escorts.

Q.  I heard you saying something about the difficulty in handling planes on your ships in foul types of weather. What speed could you make yourself?

A.  Maximum of about 17 and three-quarters knots.

Q.  What did you carry in the way of planes?

A.  Twelve TBFs and six fighters - I recommended the reduction of fighter complement from the previous number of twelve planes to six in order to carry more TBFs because it did not seem that we would use fighters in this work. However, as the submarine started shooting, the problem comes up again as to what is now the best complement for the carriers. At the present moment, I can't see any better combination than the present six VFs and twelve TBFs. The TBF should have

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CONFIDENTIAL

a fighter with it whenever possible making a fighter bomber team. One improvement might be to have more fighter pilots to fly the same number of planes in order to keep the six planes going constantly.

Q.  Did your catapults work pretty well?

A.  It worked perfectly until about five days from the end of our logistics endurance. At that time cracks had developed in certain sheaves to a dangerous extent. I recommended we return. The offensive operations were at an end as the planes couldn't carry a suitable load or perhaps take off at all due to the light wind conditions mnder which we had been operating. We were running around in light winds for miles trying to get one or two planes off with bombs and a light load of gas.

***************

LIEUTENANT COMMANDER DRANE

         Captain Short told you quite a bit about the type of patrols we used. The majority of them were run out about 60 degrees on either bow for distance of 60, some of them 90 to 100 miles.

         I might go into the submarine tactics which more or less determined the type of patrol that we fly. The submarine that we really want to get is the one that tries to make the initial contact on the convoy. Their policy is, as soon as they make the contact, to ease just outside of visibility distance anywhere from 25 to 40 miles which is the reason we maintain our visibility patrols in between our long patrols. The altitudes for flying are up around 4,000 to 5,000 feet in accordance with the doctrine or the advice we have received from other units and during the latter part of this last operation we gradually increased the altitude from 5,000 on up to 10,000. The visibility of this particular area was excellent, we-could see the ship at a distance over 35 miles and we thought there was less possibility of the submarine sighting the airplanes. I have heard, I don't know how true it is, that a good many of the submarines have sighted our planes on numerous occasions on our patrols which I think is due to flying at the lower altitudes. When we come in at high altitudes, I think we fool them a little bit.

         We attempt to put a fighter with each TBF on patrol when it is possible, particularly the more distant patrols. On the local patrols, that don't go over 25 or 30 miles from the ship, it's feasible, due to the shortage of fighters, to have them on the catapult in a stand-by status. We also have stand-by TBF crews.

         Our policy is to concentrate, when any contact is made, or if HF/DF gets a bearing, and I think this is essential. The submarines apparently will stay on the surface and fight it out if surprised and no opportunity is given to submerge safely prior to the time the plane can reach its release point. Our primary concern at first was to get in there at maximum speed possible as

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soon as we make a sight contact. On our way to Belfast in attacking a sub the pilot went in at pretty good speed, slowed down to about 200 knots, and although he was in a dive of about 20 degrees and passed over the conning tower at about ten feet, he saw his depth charges ricochet and tumble end over end through the air reaching a greater altitude than that of the plane. That was very discouraging and though the depth charges landed a little bit off the bow and we think it damaged the submarine considerably, but it definitely was not a kill. So, after that experience, we came to the conclusion that it was necessary to slow down the planes during the attack.

         My policy was on making contact to get in, using cloud cover, and then slow down at the last minute and approach the submarine with gun completely cut. I had to reduce my speed to 160 to 180 knots. I try to use 180 knots as a maximum. All the information we had received up to this time was that it was perfectly all right to drop flat-nose depth charges at 200 knots and in horizontal flight, but I think that was assuming probably that the water was going to be smooth with no swell. Under conditions where swells were present, the depth charge might be dropped hitting the wrong side of the swell making an unfavorable angle of entry causing them to ricochet. To prevent that, we have another type of attack which seems more foolproof. We try to make somewhat of a dive bombing run with a diving angle anywhere from 20 to 40 degrees. The main difficulty is to keep down our speed, but on the other hand higher altitudes make for better entry angle and less danger of ricocheting. Another advantage of this type of attack, I think, is that the point of aim for the pilot is fixed. In other words, he can hold his plane definitely on the point of aim where he wants his bombs to hit and I think it definitely increases the accuracy. We had some of the pilots, in fact, some of the most successful pilots on these attacks were formerly fighter pilots who had been shifted over to the TBF's. Some of them, I think, had even less than 50 hours of experience in the TBF. I'm not quite sure of that figure but it was quite low, at any rate. They all attacked with accuracy and I think they did considerable damage. The policy is to drop depth charges in train at interval spacing of about 75 feet. This spacing is used to allow for the foreshortening due to angle of dive. The spacing on striking the water, I think, was not more than 50 feet. In view of previous failures in one or two cases, of the bomb racks failing to release, we have a definite policy of pulling the emergency release immediately after pressing the electric button, and that's another advantage that this diving approach has. The point of aim is fixed for a sufficient period of time to permit us dropping in train and also pulling the emergency release and still not overshoot. After the plane makes its attack, the radioman with a K-20 camera takes photographs of the results through the tunnel gun window.

         For submarine work in the Atlantic, I had removed my tunnel guns and made facilities for taking photographs. Then, after contact, we circle the scene and one of the planes climbs to approximately 5,000 feet to permit the ship to take radar bearings to check our contact report. When possible, we try to make our contact report to the ship immediately after sighting and prior to attack which is during the first stages cf the approach. It doesn't delay our approach at all. In fact, the time seems to lag very much. The purpose is to give the ship the information as soon as possible and also give them some

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idea of what's happening in case the planes should get shot down. The submarines all have, apparently, 20mm guns; their fire seems to indicate guns of approximately that size and they are fairly accurate. We dive right down their line of fire and the shots seem to me that they are not more than a foot away. But, fortunately, we had only one plane that received any damage. Practically all attacks, or a great majority of them were opposed by anti-aircraft fire. The one plane that was hit was hit by five shells. One went right through #5 cylinder, one just below it piercing hydraulic lines and air ventilation ducts, another went through the leading edge of the right wing, and another, went up through the bomb-bay. Fragments injured the radioman - grazed his foot, causing rather a bad wound. Another hit knocked off the end of the left elevator. However, the plane came back and landed aboard without difficulty. It was smoking considerably which I think was primarily from the oil coming out of the crankcase of the engine through the hole in the cylinder and also the oil lines. It showed a TBF can really take the punishment

         As for the fighters, I think fighter escort for the TBF is quite important. The first attack that our fighter made on a submarine while accompanying a TBF, straffed quite thoroughly and ignited what was apparently the ready service ammunition locker at the base of the conning tower aft. I presume it was that type of locker as there was considerable explosion and smoke and flames that went up to an altitude. The second case where the fighter attacked a submarine, saw a repetition of the same thing and I have heard that the Germans dislike our fighters terribly. The TBF's have, at the present time, only the one 30 caliber forward and the 50 caliber gun in the turret, which is of no use during the approach itself, and the 30 caliber tunnel gun which I consider absolutely of no value in this type of attack. That is the reason I had the tunnel gun removed, in order to get better photographs of our attacks.

         I think it is very important that we increase the fire power forward in the TBF's - at least two and possibly four 50 caliber guns.

         When the squadron was in Northern Ireland, we attended the British Anti-Submarine School at Bally Kelly and while I was there, flew over to Scotland to see the forward firing rocket gun. The rocket is approximately 3" in diameter and I think has about a 25 lb. head and is fired by cordite. Tests have proven very satisfactory. They claim that the rocket, when it hits the water, will flatten out and take a trajectory approximately parallel to the surface and will penetrate the submarine's hull even after the rocket has passed through 90 feet of water. Such a gun, I think, would be of unestimable value, If we could get the same thing, or duplicate it, I think it would add considerably to the effectiveness of our attacks. Primarily, since the submarines operate on the surface.

         We have made only one attack on a submerged submarine. I have tried to come to some conclusion as to why they have such tactics of remaining on the surface. My own personal belief, I haven't discussed it with anyone with the exception of Admiral Bellinger down at Norfolk, is that a submarine on the surface can survive a depth charge attack much more easily than it can submerged.

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         When it is submerged, they have the weight of water that's around it, and I believe, personally, that that has a strong bearing on the situation. The submarines remain on the surface even though four to five planes are coming in to attack.

         I made one approach from dead ahead; the angle of the dive of this particular attack was rather low and I did not encounter anti-aircraft fire and whether the angle of approach had anything to do with it, I don't know. The second attack that I made was made at an angle that was 30 degrees on the quarter and I found considerable opposition. I didn't have a fighter with me this time. It was before we started putting them out on regular patrol. The best angle of attack on the submarine - apart from the submarine's gunfire - I think is from astern. The error of the pilots, if any, is a tendancy to overshoot caused by the underwater travel of the depth charge, which is approximately 35 to 40 ft. So, we tried to come in from astern using the speed of the submarine to kill the natural tendancy of the pilot to overshoot. All of the pilots of the squadron, I think, have shown remarkable accuracy and especially for the amount of practice they have had.

         We have a general policy written up for the fighter pilots and the TBF pilots. Regardless of the rank of the pilots, we consider that the TBF is the primary weapon. His attack is the primary attack. The fighter is merely to assist the TBF and to clear the anti-aircraft opposition. I fly with a fighter approximately at same level or slightly above, approximately 500 yards on the beam. The reason for getting him at that distance is that I think planes in close formation probably would be spotted much more readily than planes that are separated at a greater distance. However, I don't want the fighter pilot out so far on one beam that if the contact is made on the other beam, he won't be able to get over there and arrive at the scene on time. When the TBF is approximately 1500 to 2000 yards from the target he gives the attack signal, at which time the fighter pulls ahead and passes over the target about three or four seconds prior to the TBF.

The depth charges that we use, I don't think heve quite the power that they should have. I think that a more powerful depth charge is essential. We have one photograph of a submarine that surrendered on the 22nd of May (U-569: Bogue's first kill. Twenty-one german sailors died and 25 survived). We have photographs of depth charges hitting the deck, one glancing off and rolling right over the side. I understand from second-hand information, that the damage done was to shear the main engine from the deck plates. Another plane was sent out immediately to attack that same submarine again making a total of eight depth charges, all of them well-placed. And, after the second attack, the submarine finally put up the white flag. The submarine remained on the surface until the destroyer arrived on the scene. If I remember correctly, this was at a distance of approximately 25 miles from the convoy. As soon as the destroyer (HMCS St. Laurent) arrived, the submarine suddenly started sinking. Undoubtedly it was scuttled. All of the pilots opened fire on the personnel that tried to come out of the conning tower in an attempt to keep them below and keep the submarine afloat. However, the planes ran out of ammunition just before the destroyer arrived and a good many people got out safely.

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CONFIDENTIAL

Q.  Did you have torpex depth bombs?

A.  We had torpex and TNT. The Mark 44 and the Mark 17.

Q.  What size?

A.  They were 325 lbs.

Q.  How many?

A.  Four, Sir. We always carried four depth charges in the TBF's.

         When we were in Norfolk in February before the ship started out to the North Atlantic, I experimented with the 650 lb. depth charge to see how many we could carry in the TBF. I found that we could carry only one, primarily because the tail fins were too long. So, I stuck to the 325 lb, depth charge. I thought it would be better to have four of those than one 650. Another thing that prevented us from carrying more, in addition to the length of the tail, was the diameter which I believe, if I remember correctly, is 18". The width of the bomb bay is only 35" so there is one inch there that prevents us from carrying two 650 lb. depth charges. I understand now that they have a 650 lb. depth charge, the Mark 37, with a somewhat shorter tail. I certainly want to look into that in Norfolk and see if I can arrange to carry at least two of those, or maybe one of those and two 325 lbs. I think the merit of this should really be given consideration. I don't think the depth charges, that we have, have quite the punch. I think if the depth charges we have do what they are supposed to do, that the submarines would undoubtedly go down immediately without even remaining on the surface at all. Some of them stayed up sometimes.

         In England, I also heard that they have the one ton depth charge; about the size of a torpedo. I considered this very seriously. The feasibility of using that; in other words putting all of my eggs in one basket - into one powerful blow. The accuracy which the pilots in my squadron have displayed and with the type of attack that we use, I think that a depth charge of that type will be the answer or will help to a certain degree. I think with the more powerful depth charges and greater fire power forward, possibly with this rocket type gun, that we can really give the submarines a good show for their money.

Q.  What type of approach would you use with the rocket type gun?

A.  Well, the same type of approach that we are using now, although in that case, I think I would probably come around a little bit more on the beam. As it is now, we try to make our approaches from 20 to 30 degrees on the quarter and crossing just enough to give our stick bombs a little better chance.

         The approaches from astern seem to be a little bit easier for the gunners on the submarine to get a bead on us. The pilots haven't shown any hesitancy in diving right in. As soon as the submarine is spotted, they get in there. They don't wait for anything. All of the pilots have gone in with or without fighters, and against anti-aircraft fire, and it doesn't slow them up. We have

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been very fortunate in getting away with it, and I think we have discouraged the submarines a little.

         I think in our planning for submarine operations, we should take into consideration the probable steps that the Germans will take. No doubt their submarines that come out to sea now, will have mounted much more powerful and many more guns than they have in the past. One of the submarines that we attacked didn't have any main deck guns but the pilot stated it had two 20 mm guns, or what he thought were 20 mm guns. That's the only one submarine that we have encountered with more than one gun.

Q.  When you were flying off of this carrier in this 40 knot wind over the deck, did the pilots have any difficulty landing aboard?

A.  Well, we get quite a few wave offs under those conditions.

Q.  Did you have any crack-ups?

A.  Very few. I think we buckled the back on about two of them and also buckled two backs on this last operation when the sea was perfectly smooth, so I can't say that the buckling of the back was contributed entirely to rough seas.

         On one particular flight that I was not on, the ship was really laying on its heels. The plane taking off got just about even with the island about half way up the deck and it looked to me like he stopped completely just ran into a hill he couldn't climb. Then the old bow went down and he got off all right. Coming up the landing groove, quite frequently, I have seen the screws out of the water.

Q.  Did you have a good opportunity for practice drops of miniature bombs or anything like that during your flights, to keep up the skill?

A.  Not at sea, no. The reason for that is that on our first submarine contact when the planes attacked, the depth bombs failed to release. It was contributed eniirely to the fact that we had spare racks in the planes connected up. When the interval arm sends an impulse to a rack, it merely sends it to a junction box for the upper and lower bombs at that particular station. There is a little micro-switch arrangement there that automatically sends the impulse to the lower bomb rack first, so that you won't drop your upper bomb and have it tangle up on the lower bomb. Then after the lower bomb releases, this micro-switch automatically changes its circuit and shifts it up to the upper rack. In the above mentioned failure, the lower racks, for some reason, were unloaded, and when the pilot went to drop his bomb, he merely tripped the empty racks. That's the best solution we've been able to figure out for the failure because the pilot afterwards changed his settings to send it to these same stations a second time and the bombs dropped on that impulse.

         There's a very important item that I wish to bring up. We've heard that some planes that have gone over the side of a carrier in crashes, and that the depth charges have exploded, although they were in a safe position. The pilots

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of my squadron thought about the situation considerably and developed a solution that I think is foolproof and I think will prevent any accidental explosions. We had one plane that landed in the water, and the depth charges did not go off. Whether this is attributed to the arrangement that we have, I don't know. At least the pilot and crew got out safely. It is hard for me to explain it without a diagram.

         Apparently the rack is designed for the bomb to drop vertically. If torn loose in a sudden crash, the bomb, instead of dropping vertically, will shear forward. The arming wire must be pulled out of the arming hook vertically in order to drop safe. If it is pulled parallel to the longitudinal axis of the plane it will not release from the arming hook even though the rack is on "safe".

         Another thing is that the depth charges have two safety wires, one in each end of the fuse. There two wires are coupled into one single ring held in the rack, so that if the depth charge should break loese from the rack and travel forward through the bomb bay, you have a "U" shaped loop there that will easily catch on any of the structural projections in the plane and pull the wires out. Therefore, your bomb becomes armed after it has left the rack although the rack is in the safe position. We have only one wire going from the depth charge to the rack. That is from one side of the fuse. The other safety wire is merely a long wire that is run up through a Bowden cable into the cockpit. This wire runs freely keeping the fuse safe regardless of whether the bomb moves parallel or at right angles to the longitudinal axis of the plane unless intentionally withheld. This latter wire has no ring, no loop, or anything to catch on any projection. I think steps should be taken to correct this fault that we have discovered.

         Getting back to this point, there was a question asked a minute ago, whether or not to carry practice bombs at sea to prevent having the lower racks accidentally armed, I removed all racks except those actually used for the depth charges. I kept my middle racks where the depth charges are not carried and on those I carried 50 lbs. water-filled bombs with oil in them, sometimes used them as sea markers. We used these until we went to Northern Ireland and got the British sea marker which burns for two hours. We really need a sea marker if that is adequate to be seen under all conditions for a length of time. The little Mark 4 we had was entirely too short lived.

Q.  I noticed on one of the BOGUE'S reports, I think the last sinking, something was said about expending 20 depth charges. Was that on this one submarine?

A.  The submarine was still on the surface and we let him have it as long as he was on the surface. The submarine finally exploded with an enormous splash.

Q.  How was that attack developed?

A.  I think that was developed on the patrol. My recommendation is that when we hit a sub, give it everything you have. Of course, there are certain situations of not having enough planes. The planes are out on the other patrols and won't be able to get there. Every plane that can possibly be put on the submarine

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should be sent out.

CAPTAIN SHORT: I should like to make a few remarks on the subject;

     The question in this particular instance was whether to send out more planes. Three TBF's had already attacked after rearming, and cancel the evening patrol with the convoy apparently in danger of a night pack attack. We only had a total of four TBF's that could fly at this time. To cancel the night search would - considering the whole situation at the time - definitely expose the convoy to the possibility of submarines moving undetected and unopposed on the surface to favorable positions for a night attack. To send out the evening search might frustrate such enemy action and perhaps locate more submarines. The submarine astern was without doubt seriously damaged and no menace to the convoy. Furthermore, it appeared the convoy's escort destroyers would finish the job if it really were not already finished. The decision was to carry out the night search leaving one plane with the submarine until the destroyers arrived. It too often is not feasible to do everything we should like and the situation as a whole must be considered.

     Another type of decision that had to be made frequently was whether to jettison depth bombs or not. I have kept in mind the British experience of having one explode alongside when a plane crashed and went over the side. Another decision is whether to land a plane under doubtful safe landing conditions with a depth bomb that has failed to release after arming. In the case of the plane that was hit badly by the submarine astern of the convoy, one bomb was still hung up, the radioman was wounded, the plane couldn't climb for bailing out, there was only a maximum of 20 knots of wind over the deck. Under the circumstances we had to take a chance and land the plane aboard.

     The question was asked as to whether opportunity was provided for practice in dropping bombs at sea. The squadron commander has explained the bomb rack situation. However, when we do jettison bombs for various reasons, if conditions permit we first drop a smoke bomb and then the pilot makes a run on that to jettison his bombs.

     The number of depth bombs we have used brings up the point as to a revision of the ACV depth bomb allowance. The present allowance is about 90 plus. On a return trip from Belfast we had only about ten or fifteen left and we obtained authority from the Commander in Chief, U. S. Atlantic Fleet to put off half of the 500 lb. bombs and fill that space up with depth bombs. On this last trip we had only 62 remaining out of an initial 225 after two weeks.

Q.  What do you think your total score was in certain and probables?

A.  On this last operation, one certain and three probable. In the case of

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CONFIDENTIAL

the submarine astern of the convoy it wes very badly damaged and that night it was able to submerge only to about 30 meters. It rendezvoused with the submarine we sank the following night, and together they managed to effect repairs to such an extent that it started back to Bordeaux. This information was obtained from prisoners of war.

         On a previous operation, out of six attacks the score was one certain, two very probably sunk, and one probably sunk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- 12 -

 


SOURCE:Commandant's Office, Central Subject Files, 1942-43
National Archives & Records Administration, Seattle Branch

Transcribed by RESEARCHER @ LARGE. Formatting & Comments Copyright R@L.

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