Allied Warships

HMS Tantalus (P 318)

Submarine of the T class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassT 
PennantP 318 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered4 Nov 1940 
Laid down6 Jun 1942 
Launched24 Feb 1943 
Commissioned2 Jun 1943 
End service 
History

Scrapped at Milford Haven in November 1950.

 
Former nameP 98

Commands listed for HMS Tantalus (P 318)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Hugh Stirling Mackenzie, DSO, RN2 Apr 1943Jun 1945
2Lt. Lawrence Hugh Oliphant, RNJun 194515 Aug 1945
3Lt. William Thomas John Fox, RN15 Aug 1945Oct 1945 ?

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Noteable events involving Tantalus include:


3 Jun 1943
HMS Tantalus (Lt. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) begins training in and around Holy Loch. She also undergoes training at Scapa Flow. This training lasts till late August.

27 Aug 1943
At 2100 hours (time zone -1) HMS Tantalus (Lt. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from Lerwick for her 1st war patrol (work-up patrol). She is to patrol in the Norwegian and Arctic Ocean as far north as Spitsbergen.

For HMS Tantalus daily (1200 hours) positions during this patrol see the map below.


HMS Tantalus 1st war patrol (work-up patrol) daily positionsclick here for bigger map

8 Sep 1943
At 0630 hours (time zone -1) HMS Tantalus (Lt. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) surfaced in position 75°15'N, 11°52'E and proceeded north at full speed to intercept German task force sighted of Spitsbergen.

At 2135 hours HMS Tantalus dived in position 78°04'N, 13°10'E and closed Icefjord

9 Sep 1943
During the night HMS Tantalus (Lt. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) entered the Icefjord, Spitsbergen. Barentsburg was seen to be on fire but there was no sign of the enemy

At 0746 hours (time zone -1) HMS Tantalus surfaced in position 78°08'N, 13°00'E.

12 Sep 1943
HMS Tantalus (Lt. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and BAR, RN) sights a German U-boat of Spitsbergen in position 78°03'N, 12°16'N but when she dived to attack contact was lost.

(All times are zone -1)
0410 hours - Dived in position 78°08'N, 12°14'E
2126 hours - Surfaced in position 78°05'N, 12°28'E
2155 hours - In position 78°03'N, 12°16'E sighted a surfaced U-boat right ahead about 4-5000 yards away, Dived to attack but nothing could be seen through the periscope (U-boat was possibly U-277)
2203 hours - HE (160 revs.) heard bearing 280°, contact was however not obtained / 2318 hours - Surfaced in position 78°03'7N, 12°14'E, as Tantalus was to the west of the U-boat against the light of the horizon and the U-boat was against the land Lt.Cdr. Mackenzie though it not wise to search for the U-boat and proceeded to the seaward.

14 Sep 1943
HMS Tantalus (Lt. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) enters the Icefjord at Spitsbergen to have a closer look at the damage at Barentsburg.

(All times are zone -1)
0408 hours - Dived in position 78°09'N, 12°50'E and set course to enter the Icefjord to have a look at Barentsburg. At Barentsburg no survivors of the German raid were seen, the place looked deserted and completely wrecked.
1400 hours - Set course to the northward to depart from Icefjord
2125 hours - Surfaced in position 78°04'N, 13°06'E and set course for Lerwick.

21 Sep 1943
HMS Tantalus (Lt. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Lerwick.

24 Sep 1943
At 1653 hours (time zone -1) HMS Tantalus (Lt. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) slipped and departed Lerwick bound for Holy Loch.

26 Sep 1943
At 1230 hours (time zone -1), HMS Tantalus (Lt. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) berthed alongside HMS Wolfe at Holy Loch.

28 Sep 1943
At 1630 hours (time zone -1) HMS Tantalus (Lt. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from Holy Loch for Portsmouth.

1 Oct 1943
At 1740 hours (time zone -1) HMS Tantalus (Lt. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) arrived at Portsmouth and secures at Fort Blockhouse. Here she is to prepare for her deployment in the Far East.

11 Jan 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from Portsmouth for some more training at Larne and Holy Loch.

14 Jan 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) arrived at Larne.

22 Jan 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from the Larne area for Holy Loch where she arrived later on the same day.

24 Jan 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) is briefly docked for a final inspection in the floating dock at Holy Loch. She left dock after a few hours.

At 2025 hours (time zone -1) HMS Tantalus departed from Holy Loch for her outward passage to the Far East. She is to perform a brief patrol along the Portuguese coast on the passage to Gibraltar.

Daily positions (1200 hours) for 3 February to 11 February 1944, the time spent in the patrol area of the Portuguese coast:
3 February 39°37'N, 09°26'W
4 February 39°33'N, 09°34'W
5 February 39°35'5N, 09°18'W
6 February 39°35'N, 09°16'W
7 February 39°35'N, 09°42'W
8 February 39°34'N, 09°26'5W
9 February 39°35'5N, 09°30'W
10 February 39°36'N, 09°20'W
11 February 39°36'5N, 09°33'W

For Tantalus daily positions during the passage to the Far East see the map below.


HMS Tantalus passage Holy Loch - Trincomaleeclick here for bigger map

13 Feb 1944
At 1455 hours (time zone -1) HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) entered Gibraltar harbour.

17 Feb 1944
At 0815 hours (time zone -1) HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from Gibraltar harbour and takes station in convoy KMS-41 for the passage to Malta.

23 Feb 1944
Around 0730 hours (time zone -1) HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) parts company with convoy KMS-41 and proceeded to Port Said.

26 Feb 1944
1800 hours (time zone -2) HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) enters Port Said harbour.

7 Mar 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar) transits the Suez Canal. She stays at Ismalia during the night. She proceeded to Aden the following day.

13 Mar 1944
At 1800 hours (time zone -3) HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar) arrived at Aden.

16 Mar 1944
At 1045 hours (time zone -3) HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar) slipped her moorings at Aden and proceeded to Colombo.

25 Mar 1944
At 1750 hours (time zone -6,5) HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar) arrived at Colombo and secures on HrMs Plancius.

26 Mar 1944
At 1800 hours (time zone -6,5) HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) passes the gate at Colombo bound for Trincomalee.

28 Mar 1944
At 1045 hours (time zone -6,5) HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) arrived at Trincomalee and secures on HMS Tactician alongside HMS Adamant.

12 Apr 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from Trincomalee at 1850 hours (time zone -6.5) for her 2nd war patrol (1st in Far Eastern waters), patrol area is the Straits of Malacca. Tantalus passed the boom at 1910 hours and parted company with HMS Taurus and escort HMS Maid Marion at 0000 hours.

For HMS Tantalus daily (1200 hours) positions during this patrol see the map below.


HMS Tantalus 2nd war patrol daily positionsclick here for bigger map

17 Apr 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) is fired upon by an unknown enemy submarine. A torpedo was heard approaching but it missed.

(All times are zone -6.5)
1000 hours - In position 06°15'N, 98°25'E sighted what is thought to be a periscope, dived
1015 hours - Came to periscope depth
1034 - When about to surface the HE of a torpedo approaching was heard so Tantalus remained below (Note German U-1062 / U-532 in area but further to the west, might have been a Japanese submarine; candidates I-37, I-166)
1437 hours - Surfaced in position 06°23'N, 98°25'E
1500 hours - sighted a large junk in position 06°23'N, 98°33'E bearing 090° distance 10 nautical miles
1530 hours - Passed floating wreckage

19 Apr 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) sank a Malaysian tug Kampung Besar (300 GRT) with gunfire in the Malacca Strait in position 03°03'5N, 99°59'5E.

(all times are zone -6,5)
0522 hours - Dived in position 03°21'N, 99°55'E
1400 hours - In position 03°09'N, 100°02'E sighted the masts of a convoy of five small ships, Tantalus was unable to get into attack position as she was too far off
1700 hours - In position 03°06'N, 100°00'E sighted one small ship approaching from the south-east
1715 hours - Commenced attack on this vessel that turned out to be a medium sized tug of about 300 tons towing a couple of barges. The tug was keeping close inshore
1747 hours - The tug was seen to alter course to the westward and in so doing increasing range most likely to enter Kampung Besar anchorage (position 03°05'N, 99°52'E) to spent the night there. As Tantalus was bumping along the bottom at periscope depth it was decided to surface and engage with the deck gun
1750 - Surfaced in position 03°03'5N, 99°59'5E and opened fire from 2800 yards. The third round was a hit and brought the target to a standstill
1800 hours - Fire was checked after 44 round with 14 hits and the target was seen to be on fire. As Tantalus was in very shallow water with fishing vessels all around Lt.Cdr. Mackenzie decided to retire to the seaward
2315 hours - In position 03°35'N, 100°32'E sighted a destroyer or torpedo boat one nautical mile away and coming towards. Dived to 150 feet. HE was not heard after 0035/20th

29 Apr 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) sank the Malaysian Pulo Salanama (ca. 400 GRT) with gunfire in Malacca Strait in position 03°19'N, 99°44'E

(all times are zone -6.5)
0258 hours - While to the eastward of Pulo Pandang sighted a dark object ahead laying stopped. It did not look like a junk or sampan sighted frequently. Closed to investigate. When range was about a mile it was identified as a submarine chaser and course was altered right away. Tantalus was lucky in not being sighted
0508 hours - Dived in position 03°16'5N, 99°51'E
1138 hours - In position 03°19'N, 99°44'E sighted smoke and masts approaching from the south-east. A few minutes later a seaplane was sighted patrolling to the seaward. Lt.Cdr. Mackenzie started an attack. By 1230 hours it was realised that the target was very small and not worth a torpedo. As the seaplane was not sighted for a while it was decided to attack with the gun
1242 hours - Surfaced astern of the target and opened fire at a range of 2000 yards. At 1247 hours fire was checked as the crew began to abandon ship. Tantalus closed with the intention to hole the ship at the waterline. At 1250 hours the ship was seen to get underway again so fire was at once re-opened. The 2nd round was a hit in the targets engine room, a dense cloud of black smoke went up and in a minute the target was ablaze from end to end. The target was an ancient looking coaster of about 400 tons with a diesel engine aft
1258 hours - Dived and proceeded to the northward
1400 hours - Two submarine chasers and one motor trawler were seen closing the burning wreck from different directions. By the time they had closed the burning wreck Tantalus was well clear to the north. By 1500 hours a seaplane had joined the hunt. In all seven depth charges were dropped between 1500 and 1530 hours but all were well off
1832 hours - Surfaced in position 03°33'5N, 99°43'5E and proceeded further northward

3 May 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) torpedoed and sank the Japanese army cargo ship Amagi Maru (3165 GRT, built 1924) about 40 nautical miles south of Port Blair, Andaman Islands in position 11°00'N, 92°00'E.

(all times are zone -6.5)
1 May 1944
0528 hours - In position 06°21'N, 97°33'E. Morning sights have just been taken and when about to dive one of the lookouts sighted a puff of smoke on the horizon. Tantalus turned towards and increased speed. More smoke was sighted a few minutes later.
0650 hours - Now sighted the two masts of one ship with a lot of smoke from a second ship behind it.
0740 hours - Both ships were lost out of sight due to a rainstorm.
0825 hours - Both ships emerged suddenly from the rainstorm. Range was about 8 nautical miles. The ships masts were kept just above the horizon as Tantalus worked her way around to get into a position of attack although this would take most of the day. During the day the ships were identified as a merchant and an escort. The escort produced a lot of smoke making it rather easy to keep contact.
1625 hours - Dived in position 07°59'N, 95°47'E and commenced attack on the merchant ship that was laden and of about 3500-4500 tons. The escort was identified as a minesweeper.
1748 hours - Four torpedoes were fired but these all missed or went under. The escort dropped four depth charges but these did no damage.
1901 hours - Surfaced in position 08°01'N, 95°46'E and gave chase.

2 May 1944
0418 hours - The enemy was sighted again about 5 nautical miles away. Tantalus manoeuvred for attack.
0719 hours - In position 09°25'N, 94°20'E sighted a seaplane about 12 nautical miles away. Tantalus slowed down so the wake would not be so visible as Tantalus was also right up sun.
0721 hours - The aircraft was seen to alter course directly towards.
0722 hours - Dived
0900 hours - The aircraft was no longer in sight.
0955 hours - Surfaced in position 09°28'N, 94°15'E and continued the chase
1843 hours - Dived in position 10°55'N, 93°00'E, later a small escort joined the small convoy from the northward.
2008 hours - Fired the first of a salvo of six torpedoes (tubes 1 to 6) from 4000 yards away. Three and a half minutes after firing the first torpedo one explosion was heard and all HE off the target stopped. Tantalus went deep and retired to the southward. The escorts dropped eleven depth charges but these were way off.
2100 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Spotted one escort about a mile astern and the target laying stopped about three miles away to the north-east. Tantalus went deep and started to close the target
2230 hours - Came to periscope depth again. The target was still laying stopped. The minesweeper was patrolling about a mile away to the westward with the smaller escort further off on the same bearing. The ballast pump had to be run to maintain trim at periscope depth and this was probably heard by the minesweeper as it speeded up and between 2247 and 2257 hours dropped eight depth charges but none were close. Tantalus went deep again and continued to close the target. Between 2325 and 2327 hours another nine depth charges were dropped but one again not close
2345 hours - Returned to periscope depth. The target was now to the south a bit further off then hoped but still laying stopped. It appeared to be slightly down by the stern
2357 hours - Fired no 11. tube from 3000-4000 yards
2400 hours - The torpedo hit the target and it went down in a few minutes. Tantalus went deep and retired to the eastward.

3 May 1944
0008 hours - 8 depth charges dropped but once again not close.
0113 hours - Surfaced in position 11°02'N, 93°05'E. Both escorts were visible about five miles away and there was no sign of the target. Tantalus retired stern on the escorts.
0544 hours - Dived in position 10°06'N, 93°49'E
1852 hours - Surfaced in position 10°00'N, 93°27'E and set a course for Trincomalee.

Note: The Amagi Maru had left Singapore on 28 April 1944 bound for Port Blair. She carried 600 Japanese troops. Escort was provided by the minelayer Hatsutaka (offsite link) and the auxiliary minesweeper Keinan Maru No.5. On 2 May Keinan Maru No.5 was detached and auxiliary minesweeper Kyo Maru No.1 replaced her.

6 May 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol at 1040 hours (time zone -6.5) at Trincomalee.

24 May 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from Trincomalee at 1650 hours (time zone -6.5) for her 3rd war patrol (2nd in Far Eastern waters), patrol area is the Straits of Malacca. Escort was provided by HMS Magnolia.

For HMS Tantalus daily (1200 hours) positions during this patrol see the map below.


HMS Tantalus 3rd war patrol daily positionsclick here for bigger map

1 Jun 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) is detected by an enemy patrol vessel and depth charged in position 04°09'N, 100°28'5E. No damage was done.

0400 hours - In position 04°09'N, 100°28'5E sighted a dark object bearing 250° about 2 nautical miles away. At 0404 hours the object opened a very accurate fire. Tantalus crash dived to 80 feet.
0409 hours - 5 depth charges were dropped fairly close. The enemy made a circle around Tantalus and then moved off to the Westward where he stopped and was heard transmitting on Asdic. Tantalus continued to close the Southern entrance to the Dindings while submerged.
0530 hours - Tantalus came to periscope depth and sighted the enemy patrol vessel about four nautical miles away to the North Westward. The vessel continued searching to the Westward for the whole day. It was also joined by a seaplane.
1345 hours - An A/S trawler and the patrol vessel sighted earlier that day were sighted closing in from the seaward. They carried out an A/S sweep. All unnecessary machinery aboard Tantalus was stopped. The A/S trawler came very close but did however not detect Tantalus.
1530 hours - Both enemy vessels retired to the seaward. Later they were seen proceeding Northwards. They were later also joined by a seaplane.
1903 hours - Surfaced in position 04°04'N, 100°29'E and proceeded to seaward. Intention was to return to the southern entrance to the Dindings to lay mines on the next day.

2 Jun 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) lays mines in the Strait of Malacca in position 04°08'N, 100°35'E.

0456 hours - Dived in position 04°01'N, 100°21'E and set a course for the Southern entrance to the Dindings.
1035 hours - In position 04°04'N, 100°31'E sighted an A/S trawler bearing 053°, distance 3 nautical miles. The trawler was coming towards at slow speed. All unnecessary machinery was stopped when the range had closed to 3000 yards. Tantalus remained at periscope depth. Tantalus was not heard or seen and the trawler passed 1200 yards astern.
1130 hours a seaplane was sighted that patrolled nearby for half an hour and then disappeared in the same direction as the A/S trawler.

1300-1530 hours - Laid 12 mines in position 04°08'N, 100°35'E
1304 hours, mines 1-4, position of first mine 04°07'40N, 100°35'10E, direction of lay 090°.
1424 hours, mines 5-8, position of first mine 04°08'05N, 100°35'00E, direction of lay 090°.
1528 hours, mines 9-12, position of first mine 04°08'15N, 100°35'27E, direction of lay 280°.
All mines were spaced 480 feet apart.

During the lay a submarine chaser, with a circling seaplane overhead, passed at slow speed on a southerly course about 5 nautical miles to the westward. After the lay Tantalus proceeded seawards.
1700 hours - An A/S trawler was seen patrolling off the Northern entrance to the Dindings.
1815 hours - Two more A/S vessels were sighted to the Northward, closing at slow speed. By 1900 hours the vessels were within 2000 yards and were still closing on a steady bearing. Tantalus went deep. When it was seen that there was nothing in sight at 2015 hours Tantalus surfaced in position 04°10'N, 100°23'S. One torpedo boat was sighted bearing 340°, distance about 5 nautical miles. Tantalus retired to the Southward. Due to the heavy A/S activity Lt.Cdr. Mackenzie decided to leave the Dindings area for now.

10 Jun 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) sank the Japanese army cargo ship Hiyoshi Maru (536 GRT, former Dutch Mandar, built 1929) with gunfire in the Strait of Malacca in position 03°05'N, 99°56'E.

(all times are zone -6.5)
0517 hours - Dived in position 03°08'N, 100°09'E and closed the Jumpul Bank
0845 hours - In position 03°06'N, 100°02'E sighted the mast and part of a ship bearing 290°. Ran in towards the Jumpul Bank at full speed to intercept
0910 hours - The target was seen to be the same or a very similar ship, to that unsuccessfully attacked with gunfire two days before. It was followed at intervals of 1200 yards by three coasters of 400 tons each. All ships were on a course 140°, speed 5 knots. All were deeply laden
0938 hours - Surfaced and opened fire at the merchant ship from 1500 yards. Lt.Cdr. Mackenzie had hoped to put the merchant ship out of action with a few rounds and then deal with the coasters. Although hit repeatedly the merchant made an effort to escape into shallow water to the south and had to be followed which allowed the three coasters to escape to the north-west
0945 hours - The bridge and after part of the merchant was a mass of flames but it engines were still going and he was turning slowly in circles
0950 hours - Fire was ceased as the target had stopped by now and was settling. By now the crew had abandoned ship. Tantalus now headed north-east in pursuit of the three coasters
1010 hours - The nearest coaster was now only 4000 yards away and was rapidly overtaken but a Japanese aircraft appeared that forced Tantalus to break of the pursuit and dive to safety. Course was set to the South-West. The original target was seen to sink at 1105 hours
1200 hours - Two twin engined bombers were seen searching the area of attack, these searches continued throughout the whole forenoon
1840 hours - Surfaced in position 03°02'N, 100°17'E and set course to return to the Sembilan Islands

19 Jun 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol at 1610 hours (time zone -6.5) at Trincomalee.

6 Jul 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from Trincomalee at 1840 hours (time zone -6.5) for her 4th war patrol (3rd in Far Eastern waters), patrol area is the Straits of Malacca. Escort to Tantalus and HMS Stoic was provided by HMS Maid Marion.

For HMS Tantalus daily (1200 hours) positions during this patrol see the map below.


HMS Tantalus 4th war patrol daily positionsclick here for bigger map

15 Jul 1944
While on patrol in the Malacca Straits in position In position 04°01'N, 100°10'E HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) sights a medium sized merchant ship. She gave chase but was unable to get into an attack position.

(All times are zone -6,5)
15 July 1944
0520 hours - Dived in position 03°56'N, 100°11'E and closed the Southern entrance of the Dindings during the day
1853 hours - Surfaced in position 04°11'N, 100°22'E and set a course to close Pulo Jerak and then to patrol towards the One Fathom Bank
2156 hours - In position 04°01'N, 100°10'E, sighted a dark shape bearing 210°. Turned towards and closed slowly
2202 hours - The target was identified as a medium seized merchant ship with two escorts, Tantalus manoeuvred to get into attack position
2204 hours - The starboard escort opened fire at Tantalus and both escorts altered course to close. Dived and altered course towards the target
2215 hours - One of the escorts passed fairly close and five depth charges were dropped fairly accurately. Tantalus went to 150 feet and proceeded to the eastward
2345 hours - Surfaced in position 04°02'N, 100°13'E and set off to the northward in pursuit of the merchant ship

16 July 1944
0010 hours - Taken under fire by an unseen ship on the port beam. Most likely it was one of the escorts encountered previously. Tantalus crash dived to 150 feet
0028 hours - The escort was in contact with asdic and dropped four depth charges. These were close enough to cause minor damage
0038 hours - Three more depth charges were dropped but these were not as close as the ones dropped ten minutes before
0050 hours - Another set of three depth charges were dropped close, but not so close as to cause any damage. The escort seems to have lost contact after this set of depth charges. HE and asdic transmissions however were heard for over an hour
0315 hours - Surfaced and proceeded to the south-east to finish charging
0520 hours - Dived in position 03°45'N, 100°31'E and proceeded towards the One Fathom Bank
1835 hours - Surfaced in position 03°26'N, 100°26'E and proceeded during the night so as to dive at dawn in the One Fathom Bank Channel

17 Jul 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) tries to attack the Japanese submarine I-166 (offsite link) with torpedoes in the Strait of Malacca In position 02°43'N, 100°54'5E. Due to a sudden change of course of the enemy submarine Lt.Cdr. Mackenzie did not fire his torpedoes. I-166 was sunk later that day by HMS Telemachus.

0510 hours - Dived in position 02°53'N, 100°53'E
0630 hours - In position 02°43'N, 100°54'5E Sighted an object bearing 250°. The object was almost immediately identified as the conning tower of a large Japanese submarine, estimated course 130°, range 9000 yards. Tantalus manoeuvred to get into attack position. When the range had closed to 6000 yards the enemy turned away and left Tantalus almost unable to attack. Lt.Cdr. Mackenzie decided not to fire as he thought HMS Telemachus that was patrolling to the South-West might have a better chance (how right he was soon proven to be ! )
1300 hours - In position 02°57'N, 100°52'E sighted 2 A/S vessels bearing 300°, distant 4 miles, course 130°. They passed at a distance of 3000 yards
1854 hours - Surfaced in position 03°01'N, 100°40'E and set a course to the northward and later to the eastward to patrol between Pulo Jerak and Klang Strait

2 Aug 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) ended her 4th war patrol at 1315 hours (time zone -6.5) at Trincomalee.

25 Aug 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt. J. Nash, RN) departed from Trincomalee at 1138 hours (time zone -6.5) for her 5th war patrol (4th in Far Eastern waters), patrol area is the Straits of Malacca and after this patrol she is to proceed to Fremantle, Australia

(all times are zone -6.5)
To sea for exercises before leaving on patrol. Lt. J. Nash, RN took temporary command as Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie left the ship sick
1138 hours - Slipped from HMS Maidstone and proceeded to exercise area
2344 hours - Completed exercises and left for patrol

For HMS Tantalus daily positions (1200 hours) during this patrol see the map below


HMS Tantalus 5th war patrol daily positionsclick here for bigger map

29 Aug 1944
While transiting the Andaman Sea HMS Tantalus (Lt. J. Nash, DSC, RN) has a narrow escape when she is attacked by a Japanese aircraft in position 07°23'N, 96°17'E.

(all times are zone -6.5)
0858 hours - In position 07°23'N, 96°17'E crash dived when an aircraft was spotted. The aircraft was spotted very late and when it passed over HMS Tantalus the Officer of the Watch was still on the bridge. For some reason unknown it did not drop a bomb or fired it machine guns probably thinking we were Japanese as we did not dive. When the aircraft turned round it dropped a bomb when Tantalus was at 70 feet. The bomb was close enough for the navigational lights on the bridge to be smashed. The aircraft kept patrolling the area until almost three hours later. A narrow escape
1156 hours - Surfaced in position 07°15'N, 96°27'E
1302 hours - Aircraft sighted, crash dived
1330 hours - Surfaced in position 07°07'N, 96°27'E and proceeded to the eastwards as it was now impossible to arrive in the Penang area at dawn
1423 hours - Dived for aircraft in position 07°06'5N, 96°39'E
1445 hours - Surfaced

31 Aug 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt. J. Nash, DSC, RN) sank a Siamese sailing vessel with gunfire in the Strait of Malacca in position 05°50'N, 100°10'5E. She also damaged another with gunfire.

(all times are zone -6.5)
0446 hours - Dived in position 05°58'N, 100°02'E and patrolled to the eastward of the Bunting Islands down towards Penang
0930 hours - Sighted an aircraft approaching from the South. The aircraft passed over Tantalus and then proceeded to patrol to the North and South about 6 to 8 nautical miles to the seaward. Around noon he disappeared to the North-West
1630 hours - Sighted a junk coming down from the North, Tantalus altered course to intercept
1725 hours - The junk passed close to the Port side as Lt. Nash examined her through the periscope. She was not very big, around 30 tons, but was heavily laden and also had a deck cargo of sacks, probably rice. Lt. Nash decided to sink her / 1736 hours - Surfaced in position 05°50'N, 100°10'5E and opened fire with the deck gun from the junks Starboard quarter from 850 yards. The first round hit but after a good beginning the shooting became a bit erratic . After 10 hits Lt.Nash ordered to check fire
1748 hours - The junk was seen to sink with a sudden and spectacular nose dive. Tantalus now proceeded Northwards where a group of junks was spotted about 5 nautical miles away
1803 hours - Opened fire on a junk of about 30 tons at a range of 4400 yards. Ten rounds were fire of which two hit before at 1811 hours an auxiliary patrol vessel was sighted coming towards us from the haze at the Starboard side. Lt. Nash broke off the action, dived and retired seawards. Whatever enemy it was it was not a determined one as nothing further was seen of it
1915 hours - Surfaced in position 05°55'N, 100°08'E

1 Sep 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt. J. Nash, DSC, RN) is lightly damaged when she is attacked by a Japanese patrol vessel in the Straits of Malacca.

(all times are zone -6,5)
0241 hours - Sighted what is thought to be an enemy escort vessel altered course away and made a wide detour around him
0459 hours - Dived in position 04°54'N, 100°05'E
0618 hours - Sighted mast and funnel of a ship coming up from the South-East, Tantalus turned to attack, this contact however turned out to be an enemy A/S vessel
0700 hours - 4 Depth charges dropped in position 04°51'N, 100°06'E
0702 hours - 2 Depth charges dropped
0737 hours - 3 Depth charges dropped, during these attacks Tantalus was slightly damaged
1210 hours - Came to periscope depth, the sea was empty and land was far astern
1855 hours - Surfaced in position 04°50'N, 99°43'E and set course to patrol of Pulo Perak
2100 hours - Altered course to patrol of Pulo Jarak after receiving a signal from Captain (S) 4 giving Tantalus also freedom of action in nearby area's

3 Sep 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt. J. Nash, DSC, RN) damaged two lighters with gunfire in position 03°11'N, 99°50'E. Later on this day HMS Tantalus attacks a convoy of coasters in position 03°08'5N, 99°59'5E, two salvo's of two torpedoes each were fired. The destruction of two coasters was claimed.

(all times are zone -6.5)
0502 hours - Dived in position 03°07'5N, 100°02'5E and closed the coast
0740 hours - Sighted smoke, then a mast and funnel, Tantalus was however too far to the North to get in an attack position
0839 hours - Again sighted smoke, mast and a funnel, Tantalus was however still a bit too far to the North but non the les she tried to intercept
0910 hours - When just about to surface for gun action another bigger target was sighted coming from the North, Tantalus turned to intercept this larger prey
0921 hours - Surfaced for gun action. The target was unfortunately just a small tug towing two lighters. Fire was opened on the tug from 4500 yards. The tug immediately cast her tow, turned stern on and made off as fast as possible. Twelve rounds were scored but no hits were obtained. Fire was now shifted to the lighters. Lt. Nash had to open the range slightly in order to get into deeper water. Two of the twenty rounds fired were hits. As the targets proved very difficult to hit at this range fire was checked at 0937 hours. Tantalus now made off to get into deeper water and also a few junks were seen coming up from the South-East however at 0940 hours an aircraft was sighted approaching from the South-East. Dived in position 03°12'N, 99°53'E and retired to seawards. Tantalus was not attacked
1038 hours - Altered course down the coast to take up an more strategic position
1352 hours - In position 03°08'5N, 99°59'5E sighted a convoy of coasters on a South-easterly course. There were six ships of between 600 and 800 tons all with funnels aft. They were steaming in line ahead. To the seaward there was a Japanese submarine chaser. Lt. Nash decided to fire two torpedoes at each of the three leading ships when at 1406 hours two bombs exploded nearby
1410 hours - Fired two salvo's of two torpedoes each at the leading ships of the convoy before the attack was broken off as an aircraft was seen coming towards. Also Tantalus was right ahead of the submarine chaser. Tantalus went deep and retired seawards. At 1412, 1413 and 1415 hour torpedo explosions were heard. It was now found out that not four but three torpedoes were fired. Lt. Nash claims two sinkings
1710 hours - Sighted an aircraft patrolling astern
1857 hours - Surfaced in position 03°12'5N, 100°06'E and set course to patrol of the Brother Islands

4 Sep 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt. J. Nash, DSC, RN) claims to have damaged a tug with gunfire in the Strait of Malacca in position 03°06'3N, 100°00'E.

0515 hours - Dived in position 03°18'N, 99°49'E
1705 hours - Sighted a tug coming up to coast, Tantalus turned to intercept
1715 hours - In position 03°06'3N, 100°00'E, surfaced and opened fire at 5000 yards. After the first rounds the tug turned towards the shore and made off at her best speed. One hit was scored just abaft the bridge
1727 hours - Fire was checked as Tantalus was getting into too shallow water for comfort
1753 hours - The tug was now grounded and Tantalus re-opened fire. After firing 58 rounds (with only 40 rounds left) fire was checked again as the target proved difficult to hit from this range (Tantalus could not get closer due to the shallow water)
1752 hours - Set course to the Eastward. The tug was left aground in position 03°04'7N, 99°58'E

7 Sep 1944
HMS Tantalus attacks a Japanese patrol vessel with three torpedoes in the Straits of Malacca. The torpedoes however missed the target.

0159 hours - In position 04°13'5N, 100°20'5E sighted a large patrol vessel bearing 010°. A rain squall had just passed and she was less than a mile away. Turned away at once feeling sure we must be sighted at any moment, but the patrol vessel continued steadily on her course, about 150°, offering such an inviting target that Lt. Nash decided to have a go at her with a stern salvo
0206 hours - Fired three torpedoes from about 3000 yards and increased speed to 14 knots. The torpedoes however missed or ran under their target. Three minutes after firing the Japanese woke up and turned towards and gave chase. Lt. Nash swung Tantalus gradually to the Northwards but the enemy appeared to be gaining
0236 hours - Dived in position 04°16'N, 100°14'5E expecting the worst. The enemy however did not approach very close and after a while made off in a North-Westerly direction
0335 hours- Altered course to patrol off Penang during the day
1900 hours - Surfaced in position 04°53'N, 100°12'5E

10 Sep 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt. J. Nash, DSC, RN) tries to intercept a merchant ship in the Straits of Malacca. The efforts however fails due to the escorts.

(all times are zone -6.5)
0247 hours - In position 06°16'N, 98°28'E sighted what looked like a patrol vessel to the Northward. Tantalus turned away. The enemy appeared to be on a Southerly course. Tantalus kept stern on the her as the bearing passed towards the East
0317 hours - The enemy altered course towards and appeared to give chase although she was three nautical miles astern. Lt. Nash could not believe that Tantalus was spotted but at 0345 hours the enemy was still in pursuit and appeared to be gaining so Tantalus dived in position 06°14'N, 98°18'E and changed course to the North. The enemy approached and listened with hydrophones but failed to locate Tantalus
0431 hours - Just as the submarine chaser was moving off to the westward more H.E. was heard bearing 070°. This sounded like a merchant ship accompanied by another chaser. The merchant ship appeared to be going very fast and passed very close and appeared to be heading for Sabang. Tantalus altered course to try to catch up
0452 hours - At periscope depth nothing could be seen and H.E. had faded bearing 260° Lt. Nash considered that Tantalus had been detected by sound or by radar by the Port wing escort of this convoy who had turned to the south about 0247 hours to investigate and had detected Tantalus at 0317 hours. Trying to evade this escort Tantalus had stumbled onto the track of this convoy
0457 hours - Surfaced and gave chase trying to work round the Starboard flank of the merchant ship
0506 hours - Sighted a submarine chaser to the South. Tantalus turned to the North to get clear before dawn broke
0515 hours - The chaser was out of sight for several minutes so Tantalus changed course again to chase the merchant ship again
0535 hours - The chaser was sighted again to the South. Tantalus again turned away. However in the rapidly improving light Tantalus was sighted after a few minutes. The chaser turned towards and gave chase. She appeared to be gaining slowly and as Tantalus would have to dive in the end anyway so at ...
... 0603 hours - Dived to 180 feet in position 06°25'N, 98°13'5E and rigged for depth charging. The chaser was about seven nautical miles astern. Tantalus turned 90° to Port and ran fast for ten minutes before reducing to silent speed
0624 hours - The chaser could be heard approaching on the Port quarter but did not come close
0630 hours - Two depth charges exploded a comfortable distance away. H.E. faded out bearing 120° as Tantalus continued to the West
0735 hours - Tantalus came to periscope depth and five minutes later sighted the mast and funnel of the chaser about four nautical miles to the South-East patrolling back and forth
0802 hours - The chaser was seen approaching so Tantalus went deep again. By now it was out of the question that the merchant ship heard earlier could be intercepted
0910 hours - Came to periscope depth, northing in sight
0931 hours - Surfaced in position 06°26'N, 08°03'E but almost at once a seaplane was sighted patrolling about ten nautical miles to the East so Tantalus dived again. The seaplane did not sight Tantalus
0940 hours - Sighted smoke, then a mast, bearing 060. This seemed to be another merchant ship and the seaplane was most likely part of the escort. Tantalus turned on a closing course
0955 hours - The course of the enemy was for Sabang but Tantalus had to go deep as the seaplane was seen to approach. Tantalus continued on her course to intercept
1020 hours - The enemy was recognized as a submarine chaser and not a merchant ship so Tantalus went deep again. Almost at once the chasers diesel H.E. and Asdic transmissions could be heard. The chaser passed to the North of Tantalus and eventually H.E. was heard to fade out to the West
1225 hours - Heard the submarine chaser passing to the South and the H.E. fading away to the East
1330 hours - Nothing in sight
1341 hours - Surfaced in position 06°20'5N, 97°57'E
1352 hours - Sighted a bomber about five nautical miles away bearing 360°. He had already started a dive towards so Tantalus dived in position 06°21'N, 98°02'E and turned 90 degrees to Starboard
1356 hours - One bomb exploded fairly close
1358 hours - Three more bombs even closer. Lt Nash realised Tantalus was getting nowhere on the surface and that the enemy had realised that the submarine sighted wanted to go in a westerly direction. Tantalus remained deep and steered to the North
1625 hours - Upon coming to periscope depth a submarine chaser was sighted bearing 020 about two nautical miles away. Tantalus altered course to 200 degrees. The chaser did not locate Tantalus and did not come closer
1655 hours - A pattern of eight depth charges was heard to explode some miles away
1806 hours - Altered course to the West
1904 hours - Surfaced in position 07°26'N, 97°24'5E
2043 hours - An unseen enemy opened fire on Tantalus from bearing 020°. Tantalus dived in position 06°31'N, 97°33'E. The H.E. and Asdic transmissions of two submarine chasers could be heard
2052 hours - Two depth charges exploded but not very close. Lt. Nash decided to make a big detour around Sabang as he gained little by trying to steer West
2345 hours - Surfaced in position 06°30'5N, 97°44'5E and steered 060 while charging

18 Sep 1944
While en-route from the patrol area to Australia HMS Tantalus (Lt. J. Nash, DSC, RN) is attacked by an aircraft in position 09°56'S, 103°41'E. The aircraft dropped a bomb but no damage was done.

(all times are zone -6.5)
0943 hours - In position 09°56'S, 103°41'E an aircraft was sighted between two clouds only one mile away. Dived. The aircraft was beam on and must have sighted Tantalus at the same time for he dropped a bomb which was not very close
1016 hours - Surfaced
1023 hours - Aircraft detected by radar, dived
1101 hours - Surfaced
1114 hours - Sighted aircraft bearing 240° about 10 nautical miles. The aircraft was seen to turn towards. Dived in position 10°01'S, 103°44'E
1250 hours - Surfaced
1321 hours - Two aircraft were sighted bearing 200, distance 5 nautical miles. Dived in position 10°08'S, 103°52'E
1523 hours - Surfaced

23 Sep 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt. J. Nash, DSC, RN) enters Exmouth Gulf to take on board some fuel.

(all times are zone -6.5)
0523 hours - Entered Exmouth Gulf
0952 hours - Secured to fuel barge
1645 hours - Slipped from fuel barge and proceeded

16 Oct 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from Fremantle at 1145 hours (time zone -8) for her 6th war patrol (5th in Far Eastern waters), patrol area is the southern part of the South China Sea to the east of Singapore Straits. Escort to Tantalus was provided by HMAS Dubbo.

For HMS Tantalus daily (1200 hours) positions during this patrol see the map below.


HMS Tantalus 6th war patrol daily positionsclick here for bigger map

19 Oct 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) enters Exmouth Gulf to top off with fuel.

(all times are zone -8)
0500 hours - Entered Exmouth Gulf to top off with fuel
0815 hours - Secured alongside oiler and commenced fuelling
1640 hours - Slipped from oiler
1930 hours - Passed entrance to Exmouth Gulf and set course for Lombok Strait

22 Oct 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) begins her passage of Lombok Strait.

(time zone -8)
2345 hours - Increased speed to 14 knots and entered Lombok Strait on its Eastern side. Set course up the centre and made an uneventful passage

28 Oct 1944
While in position 01°10'N, 105°12'E HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) sights a medium seized merchant ship approaching Singapore from the east. The pursuit had to be broken off as it becomes clear that Tantalus is too close to the eastern entrance of Singapore Strait to make a complete 'end around' during daylight.

(all times zone -8)
0601 hours - As dawn was breaking sighted an object bearing 212° distance about six nautical miles, in position 01°10'N, 105°12'E. Altered course away to remain unsighted against the lighter horizon and gradually worked round to the north-west. By 0615 hours the object could be identified as the funnel and two masts of a medium sized merchant ship on a course a little north of west. Tantalus was not in a favourable position , being abaft his beam and not very far to go before he entered Singapore Strait. Increased speed and set a course to the north-west in the hope of getting ahead of him. During the chase it was seen that the merchant was accompanied by two smaller vessels, most likely escorts, one on each quarter. By 0720 hours we were still abaft his beam, in sight of land, and it was plain that Tantalus would not get ahead in a position to attack until well inside Singapore Strait so the pursuit was broken off
0829 hours - In position 01°25'N, 105°15'E dived for radar contact with an aircraft bearing 285°, 50000 yards. It was not the intention to dive for an aircraft at this range but the Officer of the watch thought the range was 15000 yards so he was right in diving when the aircraft had been at that range
0938 hours - Surfaced. Three minutes later the radar detected an aircraft bearing 290 distant 20000 yards. Dived again at 0945 hours. As we did not yet know what air patrols, if any, were maintained off the eastern entrance to Singapore Strait it was decided to remain submerged all day.

30 Oct 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) encounters an unidentified submarine in position 02°38'N, 107°50'E. Neither submarine attacks. Tantalus lost contact soon after the sighting.

(all times are zone -8)
Maintained surface patrol
0815 hours - In position 02°14'N, 106°46'E dived for radar report and sighting of two aircraft, bearing 275°, distant 23000 yards
0908 hours - Surfaced and continued patrol
1815 hours - In position 02°38'N, 107°50'E sighted what was first thought to be a junk bearing 070°, range about 10 nautical miles. In the rays of the setting sun it had a distinct reddish appearance, like a junks sail, but as soon as the sun had sunk behind a low cloud, it lost it junk-like look, and was seen to have a tall single mast - generally more like a conning tower and a raised periscope
1824 hours - Turned away and increased speed to work round and close the object from the Northward, away from the light horizon against which we must have been clearly visible. As Tantalus turned a puff of smoke appeared low down on each side of the object and it rapidly disappeared. The puffs of smoke were exactly what one might have expected from a submarine increasing speed. Tantalus made a sweep to the Northward and then to the East, but nothing further was sighted
2000 hours - Set course to the Southward to clear the shipping route in order to clean out No. 3 main ballast tank, the fuel in which had been finished two days previously

1 Nov 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) sets course for the Api Passage.

(all times are zone -8)
0202 hours - Received a signal that USS Gurnard had spotted two merchant ships of Miri, Borneo. They were thought to be bound for Singapore
0400 hours - Tantalus set course to patrol off the Api Passage to intercept
1118 hours - In position 02°08'N, 107°44'E dived for an aircraft
1138 hours - Surfaced
1144 - In position 02°08'N, 107°46'E dived again for an aircraft
1250 hours - Surfaced in position 02°07'N, 107°45'E
2130 hours - The weather has changed and Tantalus was now in a storm with limited visibility

2 Nov 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) torpedoed and sank the Japanese cargo ship Hachijin Maru (1915 GRT, built 1943) and damaged the Japanese submarine chaser Ch-1 (266 tons, offsite link) about 225 nautical miles east of Singapore in position 00°48'N, 107°43'E.

(all times are zone -8)
0315 hours - Nothing had been sighted and it was thought possible that the expected ships had got through under cover of the storm. Set course to the South-West along the coast of Borneo. Around midday course was set to pass through the Tembelan Islands
1417 hours - In position 00°40'N, 107°48'E, sighted several columns of smoke bearing 285°. Proceeded to close. By 1455 hours the masts and funnels of several ships were visible, between 260 and 270° on an easterly course
1504 hours - Dived to attack in position 00°48'N, 107°44'E. All went well for a further 30 minutes but then a heavy rainstorm reduced visibility. Tantalus manoeuvred to get into what was thought to be the best attack position
1603 hours - Sighted a submarine chaser about 200 yards away. The submarine chaser passed ahead of Tantalus. Visibility increased slightly to about 500 yards
1610 hours - The outline of a torpedo boat or destroyer was sighted. It was lost in the rain almost at once
1613 hours - Sighted a small blurred object thought to be yet another escort
1615 hours - Sighted two very dim shapes. Just over a minute later another dim shape was sighted. Half a minute later one of the shapes was identified as a funnel-aft merchant ship
1618 hours - Fired two torpedoes against this merchant ship from about 400 yards. Two explosions were heard 17 and 24 seconds after firing the first torpedo. A quick look through the periscope after the second explosion showed the target almost enveloped in spray and smoke. The ships HE stopped and breaking up noises were heard for a few minutes. Position was 00°45'N, 107°44'E. The nearest escort, a submarine chaser, was only 200 yards away so Tantalus went deep. Tantalus was now hunted by this and two other escorts but they never gained contact and no depth charges were dropped. (Lt.Cdr. MacKenzie identified the target as Taga Maru (2868 GRT, built 1939) but this was not the case (The convoy encountered was convoy Sima-4 and consisted of the following ships; cargo ship Hachijin Maru (1915 GRT, built 1943), tanker Ayagiri Maru (2854 GRT, built 1944), cargo ship Atsuta Maru (2725 GRT, built 1943) and cargo ship Toyo Maru (2725 GRT, built 1943), escort was provided by the submarine chasers Ch-1, Ch-19, Ch-26, Ch-36 (all offsite links). This convoy had left Singapore the previous day bound for Manila. The ship sunk by Tantalus was the Hachijin Maru, Ch-1 is also reported to be damaged, the nature of the damage is however not clear to me)
1745 hours - All had been quiet for 20 minutes so came to periscope depth. One escort could be seen astern patrolling the position of the attack. Visibility was still poor but nothing else was in sight. Proceeded to the eastward reloading tubes 1 and 2 in the meantime
1936 hours - Surfaced in position 00°44'5N, 107°51'E and set course to the Api passage. The intention was to attack the convoy again the following day. However Tantalus was ordered to proceed to a position East of Singapore Strait to perform air-sea rescue duties

3 Nov 1944
HMS Tantalus receives a signal that the airstrikes for which they had to abandon the pursuit of yesterdays convoy are postponed.

(all times are zone -8)
0905 hours - In position 01°48'N, 107°15'E an aircraft detected by radar but as the range opened up there was no need to dive
1025 hours - In position 01°49'N, 107°02'E detected and sighted an aircraft, dived
1049 hours - Surfaced
1245 hours - In position 01°51'N, 106°37'E radar detected two aircraft but as range was opening up there was no need to dive
1345 hours - Another aircraft appeared briefly on the radar screen but it soon disappeared
1347 hours - Received a signal that tomorrows air strikes had been postponed. Continued on a course towards Singapore Strait

4 Nov 1944
HMS Tantalus receives a signal that the airstrikes will take place at 0900 hours/5 November.

(all times are zone -8)
0035 hours - Received a signal that the airstrikes would take place at 0900 hours on 5 November. Tantalus was then to be in position 01°45'N, 105°00'E to carry out lifeguard duties from 0800 hours to sunset. In the meantime Tantalus patrolled along the traffic route from Singapore to north-west of the Anamba Islands.

5 Nov 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) is in position for air/sea rescue duties but no action is required. After the air attacks course is set to patrol off Pulo Tenggol.

(all times are zone -8)
0800 hours - Patrolled as ordered the previous day
0821 hours - In position 01°44'N, 104°58'E, sighted the masts and later the bridge and two funnels of a destroyer bearing 285°, range 9 to 10 nautical miles, approximate course was 045°, speed was 15 knots. Tantalus retired to the South-East and South to keep clear. Regaining station as soon as she had gone passed
0945 hours - In position 01°36'N, 105°00'E sighted one unidentified aircraft, possibly a fighter, bearing 260°, distance 10000 yards, course 240°, height 5000 feet
1400 hours - In position 01°45'N, 105°00'E sighted a large transport aircraft bearing 300°, distance 7000 yards, course 240°, height 4000 feet
1830 hours - Set course to patrol up the east coast of Malaya to patrol near Pulo Tenggol

6 Nov 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) spots two submarine chasers 03°38'N, 104°24'E. She evades them but Lt.Cdr. Mackenzie decides to remain in the area in the hope that some 'bigger prey' might come this way. One again he has to let go his intentions when a signal is received ordering Tantalus south for air/sea rescue duties the following day.

(all times are zone -8)
1404 hours - In position 02°55'N, 104°26'E sighted one transport aircraft bearing 280°, distant 12 nautical miles on a southerly course
1516 hours - In position 03°38'N, 104°24'E sighted two submarine chasers, bearing 030°, range 10 nautical miles. They closed and followed for a short time and appeared to be carrying out a A/S sweep on a south-easterly course. It was thought they might be a prelude of something bigger and better coming up later
1550 hours - Course was resumed to the north-west in full hopes of a decent target showing up that night or on the following day
1848 hours - Received a signal ordering Tantalus to be in position 01°45'N, 105°00'E again from 0800 to 1200 hours on the following day
2030 hours - Reluctantly altered course to comply with the signal received earlier

7 Nov 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) is in position for air/sea rescue duties as ordered. After these she again proceeded to the North to patrol in the Pulo Tenggol area.

(all times are zone -8)
0800 hours - Patrolled as ordered the previous day
1200 hours - Proceeded to the Northward and after dark to the North-West, to continue patrol of the East coast of Malaya

8 Nov 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) is depth charged when she tries to attack a Japanese merchant ship. The attack had to be broken off.

(all times are zone -8)
0815 hours - While on a northerly course in position 03°44'N, 103°53'E sighted smoke bearing 330°. Increased speed and closed
0845 hours - Sighted the masts and funnel of one ship bearing 320° on a southerly course. Tantalus turned to the south-west to gain a position to dive and attack
0928 hours - Tantalus was now right ahead of the ship, its course 180°, and the masts of two escorts could be seen
0948 hours - Sighted an aircraft that was not detected by radar. The aircraft was only five nautical miles off and was flying rather high. It was hoped it was a transport plane and that it had not sighted us. Tantalus dived in position 03°37'N, 103°43'E. The depth of the water was only 12 to 13 fathoms
1110 hours - Started attack. The target was a two-masted, single funnelled coal burning merchant ship of about 5000 tons, on a steady course of 185°, speed 9 knots. There were two escorts, one on its port (seaward) beam and one ahead, both zigging independently and sweeping on Asdic. At the start of the attack Tantalus was fine on the targets port bow, but at 1123 hours Lt.Cdr. Mackenzie decided to run across and attack from its starboard and least protected side. This was easily accomplished and at 1200 hours, range 5000 yards, angle on the bow 15, Tantalus started to turn in to a firing course. At this time the nearer escort was 2000 yards ahead and had appeared to have ceased weaving. At 1205 hours he however altered towards on a steady bearing. At 1210 hours he was getting a bit close and hoisted a string of flags. Lt.Cdr. Mackenzie took Tantalus deep and one minute later the escort passed overhead. In the meantime Tantalus continued to turn in and was regaining periscope depth, hoping the escort had not detected us. The escort however turned round and came back over Tantalus. It was fairly evident that he was in A/S contact with Tantalus. Also the other escort was heard approaching so the attack was broken off. Tantalus went deep and hugged along the bottom at 60 feet. The first escort was in A/S contact and kept astern of Tantalus. The other escort kept to the seaward
1240 hours - The first escort passed overhead and dropped nine depth charges. The first two were fairly close and did some light damage. The other seven did no damage
1250 hours - The escort passed overhead again but dropped nothing. Thereafter he seemed to have lost contact
1315 hours - The escorts H.E. and Asdic transmissions faded out to the seaward
1330 hours - Returned to periscope depth to find the merchant and one escorts far off to the south, zig-zagging furiously. The other escort was trying to catch up on them. Tantalus proceeded to the seaward
1640 hours - Surfaced in position 03°28'2N, 03°55'2E and set course for Pulo Tenggol.

11 Nov 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) sank the Japanese coaster Pahang Maru (approx. 200 GRT) with gunfire of the east coast of Malaya in position 04°28'3N, 103°36'E.

(all times are zone -8)
1055 hours - In position 04°36'N, 103°46'E radar detected an aircraft bearing 295°, range 12000 yards. Dived
1123 hours - Surfaced in position 04°36'N, 103°45'E. 15 minutes later smoke was sighted bearing 190°. Course was altered toward and speed was increased
1200 hours - A mast and a funnel was in sight and course was altered towards the coast to get inshore and ahead of the ship
1238 hours - Dived in position 04°35'N, 103°37'E, being almost right ahead of the vessel, which was proceeding on an approximate course of 340°. For forty minutes its smoke continued to be seen, but then there occurred a long blank
1350 hours - Tantalus surfaced in position 04°36'N, 103°35'5E to see what had happened
1400 hours - More smoke could now be seen
1410 hours - The mast and funnel were again sighted
1419 hours - Dived in position 04°31'5N, 103°36'8E to continue the attack with the ship once again coming our way
1515 hours - The target is now identified as a small coaster that must have some problems with her engine
1617 hours - Surfaced in position 04°28'N, 103°35'2E to attack the target with the deck gun. The first round fired was a hit and started a fire amidships and subsequent rounds another in the engine room. After five rounds fire was checked and the crew abandoned ship. Then another ten rounds were fired to finish her off. At 1630 the forward end started to sink in position 04°28'3N, 103°36'E (The name of the ship was Pahang Maru, She was bound from Kuantan to Bangkok with 75 drums of oil fuel and 9 drums of lubricating oil. She was to load 250 tons of Rice in Bangkok for the return to Kuantan). The next half hour was spent in picking up the survivors who consisted of nine Malays, one Chinese and one Japanese soldier. The latter had swum well clear of the others and initially refused to be picked up. After an unsuccessful attempt to drown himself he eventually took hold of a line and was hauled aboard. He was very frightened and was burnt about the face. Lt.Cdr. Mackenzie decided to get rid of the native crew as soon as possible / 1800 hours - Put the native crew aboard a Chinese junk in position 04°22'N, 103°32'E
1817 hours - Cast off from the junk and set course to patrol the traffic route passing North-West of the Anamba and Natuna Islands. During the night No.5 main ballast tank was cleaned out (the fuel that had been in it had been used two days previously)

17 Nov 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) tries to intercept a merchant on a course towards Singapore. As Tantalus has to change course due to actions of the escort she eventually runs out of time to get ahead of the merchant before it enters Singapore Strait.

(all times are zone -8)
Patrolled of the Eastern end of Singapore Strait
0740 hours - In position 01°23'N, 105°23'E sighted distant smoke bearing 311°. Increased speed and altered course to close
0756 hours - Altered further to the westward, the enemy was heading for Singapore
0850 hours - In position 01°33'N, 104°58'E sighted the masts and funnel of a medium seized merchant ship bearing 305°, course roughly 250°. It now became a race as who was to get to Singapore Strait first. Lt.Cdr. Mackenzie closed as much as possible, until the bridge, foc'sle and poop of the merchant and the bridge of the escort were visible
0953 hours - The escort altered course and made a sweep towards Tantalus forcing Lt.Cdr. Mackenzie to open range
1000 hours - Resumed the chase
1030 hours - Altered course towards to close the range, being favoured by a rainstorm
1050 hours - The chase had to be abandoned as it was impossible to get ahead of the enemy before they entered Singapore Strait
1246 hours - Dived in position 01°09'4N, 105°07'6E for an aircraft sighted bearing 280°, range 12 nautical miles
1310 hours - Surfaced in position 01°08'8N, 105°08'8E

27 Nov 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) makes a torpedo attack on a merchant ship. The attack fails as a torpedo explodes prematurely most likely effecting the other one's as well.

(all times are zone -8)
0817 hours - In position 05°03'S, 114°24'E while on a southerly course towards Lombok, when three ships emerged suddenly from a rainstorm to the South of Tantalus. The nearest, an escort, whose masts, funnel and bridge were clearly visible bearing 175°, range about 8 nautical miles. The next ship was considerably further away and looked like a small merchant ship, of the third and most distant ship only the masts were visible but they looked like a warships. All were on a northerly course. Tantalus turned to the North and increased speed, hoping that the nearest escort had not spotted us. But as he started to follow Tantalus it soon became clear that Tantalus was spotted. Fortunately the escort was slower then Tantalus and gradually dropped astern until at 0900 hours he gave up the chase and altered to the eastward to rejoin the other two ships, which have been making off to the north-east
0903 hours - Altered course to regain contact
0920 hours - sighted all three ships bearing 180° on a course to the North
0927 hours - Dived in position 04°55'N, 114°28'E and turned towards to attack
1003 hours - All three ships were in view and were identified as one small to medium transport, with one funnel and two masts, size 2000-3000 tons. The other ships were escort vessels, one submarine chasers and one ex-whaler. From the start of the attack Tantalus was nicely placed, fine on the starboard bow of the target, which was not zigging. The targets speed was estimated at 12 knots bearing 005°. The attack however did not went well as Lt.Cdr. Mackenzie turned in to late
1028 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 1500 yards. However 30 seconds after firing the first torpedo one of the torpedoes explode prematurely taking another one with it as well. The other two were probably also affected. Due to this the target was not hit. The nearest escort, the whaler, turned towards and came rushing towards us. Tantalus went to 70 feet and retired to the south-west. The escort was searching with Asdic but failed to gain contact
1050 hours - Came to periscope depth and saw him hunting 3000 yards away
1105 hours - The whaler was seen moving off to the North, where he was joined by his companion and were seen searching an area 6 to 10 nautical miles to the North of Tantalus until ...
... 1330 hours - Tantalus reloaded the torpedo tubes while withdrawing on a course of 200°
1435 hours - Surfaced in position 05°05'5S, 114°25'5E and set course to the western end of Kangean Island en route to Lombok Strait

6 Dec 1944
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) ended her 6th war patrol at 0750 hours (time zone -8) at Fremantle.

3 Jan 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from Fremantle at 1557 hours (time zone -8) for her 7th war patrol (6th in Far Eastern waters), patrol area is the southern part of the South China Sea to the east of Singapore Straits.

For HMS Tantalus daily (1200 hours) positions during this patrol see the map below.


HMS Tantalus 7th war patrol daily positionclick here for bigger map

7 Jan 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) topped up with fuel at Exmouth Gulf.

(all times are zone -8)
0550 hours - Entered Exmouth Gulf
0654 hours - Secured alongside HMS Sturdy alongside the oiler
1757 hours - Slipped from HMS Sturdy and proceeded out of Exmouth Gulf passing the entrance at 2030 hours

11 Jan 1945
Due to the bad weather HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) had to abandon her first attempt to transit Lombok Strait.

(all times are zone -8)
0130 hours - Entered the southern entrance of Lombok Strait. Due to the very bad weather the transfer of Lombok Strait was abandoned as it was impossible to navigate.

12 Jan 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) transits Lombok Strait northbound.

(all times are zone -8)
0030 hours - Once again entered the southern entrance of Lombok Strait
0350 hours - Transfer of Lombok Strait completed
0845 hours - In position 07°23'N, 115°24'E radar detected an aircraft bearing 060°, range 30000 yards. It was sighted soon afterwards but there was no need to dive as the range was opening
1013 hours - Dived in position 07°12'S, 115°20'E for an aircraft sighted bearing 020°, range about 10 nautical miles. Tantalus remained dived to make the passage between the western end of Kangean Island and Kemirian Island. Several small sailing craft were spotted during the afternoon
1923 hours - Surfaced in position 06°59'S, 115°07'E and set course for the southern entrance to Karimata Strait, passing north of Bawean Island

30 Jan 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) sank the Japanese sea truck Taisei Maru No. 12 (120 GRT) with gunfire off Bangka Strait in position 01°26'S, 105°01'E.

(all times are zone -8)
Patrolled along the route between Banka and Lingga Island
1205 hours - While on a southerly course in the northern approaches to Banka Strait sighted a small vessel bearing 185°, range about 8 nautical miles on an opposite course. Dived in position 01°28'S, 105°02'E
1300 hours - Identified the target as a heavily laden sea-truck
1341 hours - Surfaced 800 yards off for gun action. The target increased speed and turned towards. The first hit (the 4th or 5th round) disabled the enemy's steering. It then proceeded round in small circles. By 1350 hours a round in the engine room stopped the enemy. It was also on fire
1407 hours - The enemy rolled over and sank in position 01°26'5S, 105°01'E
1419 hours - After a lot of manoeuvring and chasing one unwilling Japanese survivor was hauled out of the water
1440 hours - One other survivor was picked up, this was the only non-Japanese on board, a Malay who spoke English and a little Japanese. He was delighted to be picked up and was willing to be of assistance. The remaining survivors, some 20 in number, all Japanese, refused to be picked up with many of them trying to drown themselves when approached, were left in the water. The enemy vessel was en-route from Java to Singapore. The cargo (90 tons in all) consisted of rice, sugar and brandy. Her normal crew was 20 Japanese and the Malay who was the 'dogsboy' and slave

31 Jan 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) sank a Japanese fishing vessel with gunfire in the southern part of the South China Sea in position 00°28'S, 105°18'E.

(all times are zone -8)
Patrolled to the South and South-East of Lingga
1135 hours - In position 00°34'S, 105°16'E sighted a small ship bearing 055°, range about 8 nautical miles, on a north-westerly course. Closed on the surface, identifying the vessel as a small sea-truck or lugger of about 50 tons. The ship was diesel powered and heavily laden
1203 hours - When the range was 1000 yards, fired a shot across it's bow. It turned away at once and hoisted the Japanese flag
1206 hours - Opened fire while chasing the enemy. The first round that hit brought the enemy to a standstill and setting it on fire. The crew abandoned ship
1230 hours - After a few more rounds the ship sank in position 00°28'S, 105°18'E. 12 survivors were picked up, 10 Chinese and 2 Japanese (1 Japanese was killed in the attack. 1 Japanese refused to be picked up. The ship was a fishing vessel and was on its way to Singapore, fully laden with fish
1255 hours - Set course for Gaspar Strait
1912 hours - Received a signal to pick up a downed aircraft pilot
2130 hours - Arrived in the position where the pilot had ditched. Searched during the night for the pilot but unable to find him

1 Feb 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) sank a Japanese tug and three lighters in the southern part of the South China Sea in position 01°31'S, 105°29'E.

(all times are zone -8)
Continued to search for the airman but now in the direction of Banka Island
1020 hours - In position 01°31'S, 105°29'E sighted an eastbound tug towing four large lighters four nautical miles to the south-east. The tug of about 50 tons, one coal laden wooden lighter and one empty iron lighter were sunk by gunfire. One other coal laden wooden lighter was sunk by demolition charges. These three lighters were all of 100 tons. The fourth lighter, an empty wooden one, was left for the survivors. While all this was being accomplished a small motor launch was sighted approaching from the eastward, it was also towing a lighter, and shortly after mid-day it was closed and hailed and eventually persuaded to come alongside. The crew of the tug was Malay and there were no Japanese on board. The 10 Chinese survivors were then put on board this tug. Tantalus then continued the search for the airman during the afternoon
2320 hours - Sent a signal to base of the intention to patrol 10 more days and with a request to join HMS Tradewind that was patrolling to the North of Singapore. Permission for this was signalled to Tantalus the next day.

11 Feb 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) sights a Japanese force in position 03°36'N, 107°00'E. She tries to get into an attack position but is unable to do so due the high speed of the enemy and a patrolling aircraft. She sets off in pursuit hoping that the enemy would be slowed down in some way.

(all times are zone -8)
Patrolling to the east of the Anamba Islands
0651 hours - Dived for trim in position 03°08'N, 106°40'E
0728 hours - Surfaced
1102 hours - Dived in position 03°30'N, 106°55'E for two high-flying aircraft sighted bearing 120°, range 12 nautical miles on a south-westerly course
1227 hours - Surfaced
1245 hours - In position 03°36'N, 107°00'E sighted the fore-tops and masts of two Japanese battleships and the masts of a third ship, bearing 125°, range 17 nautical miles; they appeared to be on a course of 025°. (These ships were the Japanese battleship-carriers Ise and Hyuga and the light cruiser Oyodo, they were escorted by the destroyers Kasumi, Asashimo and Hatsushimo (all offsite links), they had left Singapore on the same day and were bound for Japan). Tantalus increased to full speed and tried to work ahead of the ships to get into an attack position
1425 hours - Sighted an aircraft coming towards so dived in position 03°53'N, 107°10'E. This ended the effort to get ahead of the ships and attack them
1654 hours - Surfaced and sent an enemy report and continued to the north-east at 14 knots but the chance of catching up with the enemy was slim but it was always possible that they were slowed down

12 Feb 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) abandons the pursuit of the Japanese force. She begins the return trip to Fremantle.

26 Feb 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) ended her 7th war patrol at 1055 hours (time zone -8) at Fremantle.

25 Mar 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from Fremantle for the U.K. where she is to refit.

For HMS Tantalus daily positions (1200 hours) see the map below.


HMS Tantalus passage Fremantle - Portsmouthclick here for bigger map

7 Apr 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) arrived at Trincomalee.

17 Apr 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from Trincomalee bound for Aden.

27 Apr 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) arrived at Aden.

28 Apr 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from Aden bound for Port Said.

3 May 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) arrived at Port Said.

8 May 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from Port Said bound for Malta.

11 May 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) arrived at Malta.

14 May 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from Malta bound for Gibraltar.

18 May 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) arrived at Gibraltar.

20 May 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) departed from Gibraltar bound for Portsmouth. She is to sail in convoy MKS.102G (Gibraltar-Liverpool).

27 May 1945
HMS Tantalus (Lt.Cdr. H.S. Mackenzie, DSO and Bar, RN) left convoy MKS.102G to proceed to Portsmouth.

Media links


The T-class Submarine

Kemp, Paul J.


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