Allied Warships

HMS Unbroken (P 42)

Submarine of the U class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassU 
PennantP 42 
ModThird Group 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered23 Aug 1940 
Laid down30 Dec 1940 
Launched4 Nov 1941 
Commissioned29 Jan 1942 
End service 
History

HMS Unbroken was transferred on loan to the Soviet Union on 26 June 1944. Renamed B-2 by the Soviets. Returned in 1949 and scrapped at Gateshead on 9 May 1950.

 
Career notesBecame the Soviet submarine B-2

Commands listed for HMS Unbroken (P 42)

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

CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Alastair Campbell Gillespie Mars, RN18 Nov 194112 Apr 1943
2Lt. Bruce John Bevis Andrew, DSC, RN14 Apr 19438 Jan 1944
3Lt. Peter Langley Langley-Smith, RN8 Jan 194430 May 1944

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Notable events involving Unbroken include:


The history of HMS P 42 / HMS Unbroken as compiled on this page is extracted from the patrol reports and logbooks of this submarine. Corrections and details regarding information from the enemy's side (for instance the composition of convoys attacked) is kindly provided by Mr. Platon Alexiades, a naval researcher from Canada.

This page was last updated in February 2018.

28 Jan 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) departed her builders yard at Barrow for Holy Loch. She was escorted by HMS Cutty Sark (Cdr.(Retd.) R.H. Mack, RN). (1)

29 Jan 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) arrived at Holy Loch for a period of trials and exercises. (2)

22 Feb 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) departed Holy Loch for Gibraltar. P 42 was to proceed to Malta to join the 10th submarine flotilla based there.

Passage south through the Irish Sea was made together with HMS Oberon (Lt.Cdr. P.J.H. Bartlett, RN) that was to proceed to Portsmouth. They were escorted by HMS Felixstowe (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Corbet-Singleton, DSC, RN) until 1800/24.

For the daily positions of HMS P 42 during this passage see the map below.

(3)

3 Mar 1942
At 0656 hours off Cape St. Vincent, HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) stopped the Vichy French Caudebec (1471 GRT, built 1910) but released her upon examination. (3)

4 Mar 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. Some defects were to be made good before the submarine could proceed on a work-up patrol. (3)

21 Mar 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 1st war patrol (also 1st in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Alboran Sea.

For the daily positions of HMS P 42 during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

27 Mar 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) ended her 1st war patrol (also 1st in the Mediterranean) at Gibraltar. (3)

2 Apr 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 2nd war patrol (also 2nd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Alboran Sea. (2)

3 Apr 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) was recalled from patrol and ended her 2nd war patrol (also 2nd in the Mediterranean) at Gibraltar later the same day. (2)

11 Apr 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 3rd war patrol (also 3rd in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Genoa and to carry out two special operations.

As Malta was not suitable as submarine base at the moment due to the continuous air attacks and resulting damage and the 10th submarine flotilla was going to be evacuated to Alexandria it had been decided that P 42 would be attached to the 8th submarine flotilla based at Gibraltar for the moment.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 42 during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

20 Apr 1942
During the night of 20/21 April 1942 HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) landed two SOE agents near Antibes, France. The patrol report does not shed light on the exact time and position. (3)

21 Apr 1942
During the night of 21/22 April 1942 HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) landed two more SOE agents near Antibes, France. One of the agents was Captain Peter Churchill who was later captured by the Abwehr and incarcerated at Sachsenhausen (near Berlin) but survived.

24 Apr 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) attacked a merchant vessel with three torpedoes about 20 nautical miles south of Genoa. A hit was claimed but this is doubtful. The target has not yet been identified.

(All times are zone -1)
1528 hours – Sighted smoke bearing 283°. Closed to investigate.

1530 hours – Sighted the masts of two ships. Ran in at speed.

1546 hours -Started attack. The nearest ship was seen to be a laden vessel of 4000 tons. Concentrated on this ship.

1623 hours – In position 44°07’N, 09°03’E fired three torpedoes from 7000 yards. After firing went to 80 feet and went off the torpedo tracks at speed. A torpedo explosion was heard at 1632 and two torpedo explosions were heard at 1634 hours. The first explosion was much louder than the other two and might have been a hit.

1640 hours – Returned to periscope depth. The ship attacked was seen to be down by the stern. The second vessel was not in sight. The target was last seen stern on with a list to port. Her HE was not heard after firing. Went to 80 feet.

1830 hours – Returned to periscope depth, nothing in sight. (3)

26 Apr 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) attacked the Portuguese sailing vessel Vale Formoso II with gunfire south of San Remo, Italy. Also two torpedoes were fired which missed. When it was finally seen that it was a neutral ship she was allowed to proceed.

(All times are zone -1)
0430 hours - Sighted a lighted ship in position 43°42'N, 07°58'E. Closed on the surface and prepared to attack.

0549 hours - Sighted a darkened vessel approaching. Dived. As daylight increased this second ship was seen to be a schooner. Decided to attack with the gun. After 5 rounds had been fired from 1400 yards the gun jammed. A Lewis gun was then used but this too was out of action after firing only one double pan. She had 2 small very dirty flags flying. These could not be identified. She hoisted a large Italian flag and altered course to port. By this time, she was practically stopped. A trap was suspected so 2 torpedoes were fired from 500 yards. The first passed ahead and the second was not seen to run and dived to the bottom. Its explosion was fairly severe, and put the Asdic set out of action.

P 42 then closed the schooner and the two small flags were seen to be the Portuguese and Swiss flags. The schooner was then hailed in Italian and Portuguese. It was found out that the schooner had sailed from Genoa and was out of position due to lack of wind. She was then allowed to proceed and was told in Italian to get much further to the southward.

0649 hours - Dived in position 43°35'N, 07°53'E and cleared the area. (3)

1 May 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) fired three torpedoes at the German submarine U-74 about 30 nautical miles south-east of Almeria, Spain. No hits were obtained. The U-boat had been ordered to the assistance of U-573, disabled by aircraft bombs, which took refuge in Spanish waters and was interned.

(All times are zone -1)
2318 hours - In position 36°32'N, 02°01'W sighted a U-boat at a range of 1300 yards bearing 210°.

Fired three torpedoes but the U-boat was already turing when the torpedoes were being fired so P 42 also turned and fired the torpedoes on the swing. When the 3rd torpedo was fired range had decreased to 600 yards. No hits were obtained. All three torpedoes were heard to explode at the end of their run. P 42 dived to 80 feet after firing the torpedoes. (3)

2 May 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol (also 3rd in the Mediterranean) at Gibraltar. (3)

16 May 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) was docked at Gibraltar for repairs to her A/S dome. Also repairs to her battery were carried out. (4)

19 May 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) was undocked. (4)

2 Jun 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) conducted exercises off Gibraltar together with HMS Traveller (Lt. M.B. St. John, RN) and HMS P 43 (Lt. A.C. Halliday, RN). (5)

3 Jun 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) departed Gibraltar for her 4th war patrol (also 4th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to form a patrol line between Sardinia and Sicily with HMS HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN), P 43 (Lt. A.C. Halliday, RN) and HMS P 44 (Lt. T.E. Barlow, RN) to cover operation Harpoon.

For the daily positions of HMS P 42 during this patrol see the map below.

15 Jun 1942
At 1945 hours, in position 38°00’N, 11°55’E, HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) sighted the masts of a cruiser squadron from a distance of 10 miles. This was probably Admiral Zara’s force retiring after the battle.

26 Jun 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) ended her 4th war patrol (also 4th in the Mediterranean) at Gibraltar.

9 Jul 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) departed Gibraltar for passage to Malta where she finally was to join the 10th submarine flotilla.

As no log is available for this period no map of this passage can be displayed. (6)

20 Jul 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) arrived at Malta. (6)

30 Jul 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) departed Malta for her 5th war patrol (also 5th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol clockwise from Marittimo to Naples and then down the Calabrian coast in order to be west on Messina at the commencement of Operation Pedestal. She was also to operate against rail traffic from Naples to the south.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 42 during this patrol see the map below.

(6)

6 Aug 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) attacked an escorted merchant vessel off Capri Island with three torpedoes. No hits were obtained. This was the Italian Argentina (5085 GRT, built 1907) escorted by the torpedo boat Generale Achille Papa, they were on a trip from Naples to Messina. The three torpedo tacks were seen and the torpedo boat combed them and dropped fourteen depth charges.

(All times are zone -2)
1850 hours - When in position 150°, Campanella Point, 7 nautical miles sighted smoke through the Bocca Piccola. Then the funnel and masts of a ship steering approximately 235°. As she appeared to be going north of Capri diced to run to the west at speed.

1940 hours - Having run 3 nautical miles on course 260° the ship was observed to the north-west of Carena Point lighthouse (Capri) at a range of 8 nautical miles steering approximately 220°.

1957 hours - The ship altered course to 140°, putting P 42 in a good attacking position. The ship was of about 7000 ton. She was later seen to be escorted by a three-funneled torpedo-boat. Started attack.

2023 hours - In approximate position 40°35'N, 14°10'E fired three torpedoes from 2000 yards. No hits were obtained.

2031 hours - Counter attacked commenced. 13 Depth charges in all were dropped. None were close and no damage was caused.

2047 hours - The last depth charge was dropped.

2050 hours - Altered course to the westward.

2138 hours - Surfaced, made off to the south-west. (6)

8 Aug 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) makes a torpedo attack on the Italian merchant Algerino (1370 GRT, built 1921) off Capri. The target was not hit. According to Italian sources she was unescorted.

(All times are zone -2)
Coastal traffic was observed during the forenoon south of Cape Bonifati. Five ships were seen between 0900 and noon. It was decided to attack the last of these vessels, a coastal tramp of approximately 2000 tons. She was in company with a trawler of a modern type.

1223 hours - In position 39°23'N, 15°56'E fired one torpedo. No result was obtained. P 42 took avoiding action, but no counter attack developed.

In the afternoon the coast was inspected for a suitable place for gun action against the railway.

2244 hours - Carried out a successful bombardment of a southbound train between Fiumefreddo and Longobardi, latitude 39°13'N. [According to Italian sources the locomotive and a wagon were confirmed hit, two were wounded.] (6)

10 Aug 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) is detected and depth charged near Cape Milazzo. P 42 cleared the area and took up another patrol position. A position which later turned out to be a good anticipation on behalf of Lt. Mars. The submarine was hunted by a CANT Z.501 aircraft and then by the auxiliary submarine chasers Quarnaro and Francipane and the patrol boats MAS 547 and MAS 560.

(All times are zone -2)
0900 hours - In position 320°, Cape Milazzo, 4 nautical miles, a ship was sighted steering straight towards. P 42 went deep (80 feet) and speeded up to get off track. She appeared to be a naval tug.

0938 - 0953 hours - Five depth charges were dropped but none was close enough to cause damage.

0954 hours - Returned to periscope depth. The same ship was in sight bearing 059° going away.

1115 hoúrs - When in position 000°, Cape Milazzo, 4 nautical miles, sighted smoke bearing 070°.

1145 hours - A Cant.Z.501 aircraft was seen to circle round the smoke which was now seen to be a small ship (one funnel, one mast) zigzagging.

1211 hours - The vessel was seen to be a naval craft (similar to Crotone) and closing on a steady bearing, although still zigzagging. The aircraft continued to circle.

1222 hours - Went to 80 feet.

1225 hours - Depth charging commenced. Went to 120 feet. Attempted to keep stern on. After a pattern of depth charges was dropped burst of speed were used to get clear. Later a second vessel joined in and there may have even been more vessels present.

1448 hours - Depth charging ceased. A total of 50 having been dropped in this second attack.

1500 hours - Remained at 120 feet while steering 030°.

1821 hours - Depth charging recommenced (our position was now 353°, Cape Milazzo, 9.7 nautical miles) and continued until 1914 hours. 15 Depth charges were dropped in this third attack.

2000 hours - Altered course to 050°.

2228 hours - Surfaced in position 007°, Cape Milazzo, 17 nautical miles. Nothing in sight. In all 70 depth charges had been dropped, many near enough to shake the boat, but none so close that any cork fell down. As far as is known no damage had been done to P 42. (6)

10 Aug 1942

Convoy WS 21S, Operation Pedestal.

Convoy WS 21S and the concentration of the escort forces

Convoy WS 21S departed the Clyde on 2 August 1942. The convoy was made up of the following ships;
American freighters;
Almeria Lykes (7773 GRT, built 1940), Santa Elisa (8379 GRT, built 1941), British freighters;
Brisbane Star (12791 GRT, built 1937), Clan Ferguson (7347 GRT, built 1938), Deucalion (7516 GRT, built 1930), Dorset (10624 GRT, built 1934), Empire Hope (12688 GRT, built 1941), Glenorchy (8982 GRT, built 1939), Melbourne Star (11076 GRT, built 1936), Port Chalmers (8535 GRT, built 1933), Rochester Castle (7795 GRT, built 1937), Waimarama (12843 GRT, built 1938), Wairangi (12436 GRT, built 1935), and the American tanker;
Ohio (9264 GRT, built 1940).

These ships were escorted by light cruisers HMS Nigeria (Capt. S.H. Paton, RN, flying the flag of the Rear-Admiral 10th C.S., Sir H.M. Burrough, CB, DSO, RN), HMS Kenya (Capt. A.S. Russell, RN) and the destroyers HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, RN), HMS Venomous (Cdr. H.W. Falcon-Stewart, RN), HMS Wolverine (Lt.Cdr. P.W. Gretton, OBE, DSC, RN), HMS Malcolm (A/Cdr. A.B. Russell, RN), HMS Amazon (Lt.Cdr.(Emgy) Lord Teynham, RN), HMS Derwent (Cdr. R.H. Wright, DSC, RN) and HMS Zetland (Lt. J.V. Wilkinson, RN).

A cover force made up of departed Scapa Flow on the same day. This force was made up of the battleships HMS Nelson (Capt. H.B. Jacomb, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN) and HMS Rodney (Capt. J.W. Rivett-Carnac, DSC, RN). They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Ashanti (Cdr. R.G. Onslow, DSO, RN), HMS Eskimo (Cdr. E.G. Le Geyt, RN), HMS Somali (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), HMS Tartar (Cdr. St.J.R.J. Tyrwhitt, DSC, RN), HMS Pathfinder (Cdr. E.A. Gibbs, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Penn (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Swain, RN) and HMS Quentin (Lt.Cdr. A.H.P. Noble, DSC, RN). They were to rendez-vous with convoy WS 21S at sea on 3 August. HMS Penn was delayed by a defect and after topping off with fuel at Moville, Northern Ireland overtook the force and joined at sea.

The aircraft carrier HMS Victorious (Capt. H.C. Bovell, CBE, RN, flying the flag of Rear Admiral A.L.St.G. Lyster, CB, CVO, DSO, RN) and the light cruiser HMS Sirius (Capt. P.W.B. Brooking, RN) meanwhile had already left Scapa Flow on 31 July 1941 to rendez-vous with the convoy. They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Intrepid (Cdr. C.A.deW. Kitcat, RN), HMS Icarus (Lt.Cdr. C.D. Maud, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Fury (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Campbell, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Foresight (Lt.Cdr. R.A. Fell, RN). These ships were joined at sea on 1 August 1942 by the aircraft carrier HMS Argus (Capt. G.T. Philip, RN), loaded with spare fighter aircraft for the operation, and her two escorts the destroyers HMS Buxton (Lt.Cdr. I.J. Tyson, RD, RNR) and HMS Sardonyx (Lt.Cdr. A.F.C. Gray, RNR). HMS Argus and her two escorting destroyers had departed the Clyde on 31 July. HMS Buxton later split off and proceeded towards Canada and HMS Sardonyx proceeded to Londonderry.

The last ships to take part in the operation to depart the U.K. (Clyde around midnight during the night of 4/5 August) were the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (Capt. T.O. Bulteel, RN), loaded with Hurricane fighters for Malta, and her escorts, the light cruiser HMS Manchester (Capt. H. Drew, DSC, RN) and the Polish destroyer ORP Blyscawica (Lt.Cdr. L. Lichodziejewski, ORP). They were joined at sea, around dawn, by HMS Sardonyx coming from Londonderry. The destroyers parted company around midnight during the night of 5/6 August. They arrived at Londonderry on 7 August. HMS Furious and HMS Manchester then joined convoy WS 21S around midnight of the next night but HMS Manchester parted company shortly afterwards to proceed ahead of the convoy and fuel at Gibraltar.

On 1 August 1942 the aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable (Capt. T.H. Troubridge, RN), light cruiser HMS Phoebe (Capt. C.P. Frend, RN) and the destroyers HMS Laforey (Capt. R.M.J. Hutton, RN), HMS Lightning (Cdr. H.G. Walters, DSC, RN) and HMS Lookout (Lt.Cdr. A.G. Forman, DSC, RN) departed Freetown to proceed to a rendez-vous position off the Azores.

On 5 August 1942, the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle (Capt. L.D. Mackintosh, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMS Charybdis (Capt. G.A.W. Voelcker, RN) and the the destroyers HMS Wrestler (Lt. R.W.B. Lacon, DSC, RN), HMS Westcott (Cdr. I.H. Bockett-Pugh, DSO, RN) and HMS Vansittart (Lt.Cdr. T. Johnston, RN) departed Gibraltar also to the rendez-vous position off the Azores.

The convoy conducted maneuvering and AA exercises with the escorts between the Azores and Gibraltar during the period of 6 to 9 August. (Operation Berserk). Also dummy air attacks were carried out by aircraft from the carriers.

Passage of the Straits of Gibraltar and organization of escort forces.

The convoy then passed the Straits of Gibraltar during the night of 9/10 August 1942 in dense fog but despite this the convoy was detected by German and Italian spies and reported.

After passing the Straits of Gibraltar the convoy was organized as follows;
The actual convoy was protected a large force of warships until the whole force would split up before entering the Sicilian narrows after which ‘Force X’ under command of Rear-Admiral Sir H.M. Burrough, CB, DSO, RN was to accompany the convoy to the approaches to Malta where they would be met by the Malta Minesweeping Flotilla, which was then to sweep the convoy into the harbour. Force X was made up of the following ships:
Licht cruisers: HMS Nigeria (flagship), HMS Kenya,, HMS Manchester.
AA cruiser: HMS Cairo (A/Capt. C.C. Hardy, DSO, RN).
Destroyers: HMS Ashanti, HMS Fury, HMS Foresight, HMS Icarus, HMS Intrepid, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Penn.
Escort destroyers: HMS Derwent, HMS Bicester (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN), HMS Bramham (Lt. E.F. Baines, RN), HMS Ledbury (Lt.Cdr. R.P. Hill, RN) and HMS Wilton (Lt. A.P. Northey, RN). Also the rescue tug HMS Jaunty was to be part of this force.

After the escort was to be split up cover was provided by ‘Force Z’ under Vice-Admiral E.N. Syfret, CB, RN. This force was made up of the following ships:
Battleships: HMS Nelson (flagship) and HMS Rodney.
Aircraft carriers: HMS Victorious, HMS Indomitable and HMS Eagle.
Light cruisers: HMS Phoebe, HMS Sirius and HMS Charybdis.
Destroyers: HMS Laforey, HMS Lightning, HMS Lookout, HMS Eskimo, HMS Somali, HMS Tartar, HMS Quentin, HMS Ithuriel (Lt.Cdr. D.H. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, DSC, RN) HMS Antelope (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Sinclair), HMS Wishart and HMS Vansittart. Escort destroyer: HMS Zetland. Also attached were the aircraft carrier HMS Furious (for Operation Bellows, the launching of Hurricane fighters for Malta. HMS Furious only carried four Albacore aircraft for A/S searches after the Hurricanes had been launched) and the ‘spare’ destroyers HMS Keppel (Cdr. J.E. Broome, RN), HMS Malcolm, HMS Venomous, HMS Vidette (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, DSC, RN), HMS Westcott, HMS Wolverine, HMS Wrestler and HMS Amazon. These ‘spare’ destroyers were to take the place of destroyers in the screen ‘Force Z’ if needed, escort HMS Furious during her return passage to Gibraltar after she had completed Operation Bellows and / or strengthen the escort of ‘Force R’.

Then there was also ‘Force R’, the fuelling force. This force was made up of the following ships:
Corvettes: HMS Jonquil (Lt.Cdr. R.E.H. Partington, RD, RNR), HMS Spiraea (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Miller, DSC, RNR), HMS Geranium (T/Lt. A. Foxall, RNR) and HMS Coltsfoot (T/Lt. the Hon. W.K. Rous, RNVR).
Rescue tug: HMS Salvonia.
RFA tankers: RFA Brown Ranger (3417 GRT, built 1941, Master D.B.C. Ralph) and RFA Dingledale (8145 GRT, built 1941, Master R.T. Duthie).

Before we give an account of the passage of the main convoy we will now first describe the operations taking place in the Eastern Mediterranean (Operations MG 3 and MG 4), the launching of the Hurricane fighters for Malta by HMS Furious (Operation Bellows) and the return convoy from Malta (Operation Ascendant) as well as on submarine operations / dispositions.

Diversion in the Eastern Mediterranean.

As part of the plan for Operation Pedestal the Mediterranean Fleet had to carry out a diversion in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean. Before we go to the operations in the Western Mediterranean we will first give an account of the events in the Eastern Mediterranean.

It was at this time not possible to sent any supplies from Egypt to Malta as all supplies and forces were much needed for the upcoming land battle at El Alamein it was agreed that ‘a dummy convoy’ would be sent towards Malta with the object of preventing the enemy to direct the full weight of their air and naval power towards the Western Mediterranean.

In the evening of 10 August 1942 a ‘convoy’ (MG 3) of three merchant ships departed Port Said escorted by three cruisers and ten destroyers. Next morning one more merchant ship departed Haifa escorted by two cruisers and five destroyers. The two forces joined that day (the 11th) and then turned back dispersing during the night. The Italian fleet however did not go to sea to attack ‘the bait’.

The forces taking part in this operation were:
From Port Said:
Merchant vessels City of Edinburgh (8036 GRT, built 1938), City of Lincoln (8039 GRT, built 1938) and City of Pretoria (8049 GRT, built 1937) escorted by the light cruisers HMS Arethusa (Capt. A.C. Chapman, RN), HMS Euryalus (Capt. E.W. Bush, DSO, DSC, RN), the AA cruiser HMS Coventry (Capt. R.J.R. Dendy, RN) and the destroyers HMS Jervis (Capt. A.L. Poland, DSO and Bar, DSC, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Pakenham (Capt. E.B.K. Stevens, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Paladin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Dulverton(Lt.Cdr. W.N. Petch, OBE, RN), HMS Hurworth (Lt.Cdr. J.T.B. Birch, RN), HMS Eridge (Lt.Cdr. W.F.N. Gregory-Smith, DSC, RN), HMS Hursley (Lt. W.J.P. Church, DSC, RN), HMS Beaufort (Lt.Cdr. S.O’G Roche, RN) and HMS Belvoir (Lt. J.F.D. Bush, DSC and Bar, RN).

From Haifa:
Merchant vessel Ajax (7797 GRT, built 1931) escorted by the light cruisers HMS Cleopatra (Capt. G. Grantham, DSO, RN, flagship of Rear-Admiral P.L. Vian, KBE, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Dido (Capt. H.W.U. McCall, RN), the destroyers HMS Sikh (Capt. St.J. A. Micklethwait, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. R.T. White, DSO and Bar, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. H.C. Simms, DSO, RN) and the escort destroyers HMS Tetcott (Lt. H.R. Rycroft, RN) and HMS Croome (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Egan, RN).

After dark on 11 August 1942 the force turned back and the City of Pretoria returned to Port Said escorted by HMS Eridge and HMS Hursley. The City of Edinburgh, escorted by HMS Beaufort and HMS Belvoir proceeded to Haifa. The City of Lincoln escorted by HMS Dulverton and HMS Hurworth proceeded to Beirut and finally the Ajax, escorted by HMS Tetcott and HMS Croome returned to Haifa. HMS Dido had to return to Port Said with hull defects. She was escorted by HMS Pakenham, HMS Paladin and HMS Jervis.

HMS Cleopatra, HMS Arethusa, HMS Sikh, HMS Zulu, HMS Javelin and HMS Kelvin then proceeded to carry out another diversion (Operation MG 4). They bombarded Rhodos harbour and the Alliotti Flour Mills during the night of 12/13 August but did little damage. On the way back HMS Javelin attacked a submarine contact in position 34°45’N, 31°04’E between 0654 and 0804 hours. She reported that there was no doubt that the submarine was sunk but no Axis submarines were operating in this area so the attack must have been bogus. This force returned to Haifa at 1900/13.

Operation Bellows.

During operation Bellows, the aircraft carrier HMS Furious, started 37 Spitfire which were to proceed to Malta, when south of the Balearic Islands. The Admiralty had decided to carry out this operation at the same time as Operation Pedestal.

HMS Furious remained with the convoy until 1200/11. She then launched the Spitfires for Malta in 5 batches between 1230 and 1515 hours. During these flying off operations she acted independently with the destroyers HMS Lookout and HMS Lightning. After having launched the last batch of Spitfires she briefly re-joined to convoy until around 1700 hours when she split off and set course for Gibraltar escorted by the destroyers HMS Malcolm, HMS Wolverine and HMS Wrestler. These were joined shortly afterwards by HMS Keppel and HMS Venomous.

Around 0100/12, HMS Wolverine, rammed and sank the Italian submarine Dagabur which was trying to attack HMS Furious. Around 0200 hours, HMS Wolverine reported that she was stopped due to the damage she had sustained in the ramming. HMS Malcolm was detached to assist her.

At 1530/12, the destroyer HMS Vidette joined the screen. The force then entered Gibraltar Bay around 1930/12. The damaged HMS Wolverine arrived at Gibraltar at 1230/13 followed by HMS Malcolm around 1530/13.

Operation Ascendant

On 10 August 1942 the empty transports Troilus (7648 GRT, built 1921) and Orari (10107 GRT, built 1931) departed Malta after dark for Gibraltar. They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. J. Mowlam, RN) and the escort destroyer HMS Badsworth (Lt. G.T.S. Gray, DSC, RN). They first proceeded to the south of Lampedusa, then hugged the Tunisian coast as far as Galita Island. Near Cape Bon they encountered the Italian destroyer Lanzerotto Malocello that was laying a minefield. They had a brief gunfight but this was soon ended as both sides were thinking the enemy was Vichy-French. The remained of the passage to Gibraltar was uneventful and the convoy arrived at Gibraltar shortly before noon on 14 August 1942.

Submarine operations / dispositions.
Eight submarines took part in the operation; these were HMS Utmost (Lt. A.W. Langridge, RN), HMS P 31 (Lt. J.B.de B. Kershaw, DSO, RN), HMS P 34 (Lt. P.R.H. Harrison, DSC, RN), HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN), HMS P 44 (Lt. T.E. Barlow, RN), HMS P 46 (Lt. J.S. Stevens, DSC, RN), HMS P 211 (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN), HMS P 222 (Lt.Cdr. A.J. MacKenzie, RN). Two of these were to carry out normal dived patrol to the north of Sicily, one off Palermo, the other off Milazzo which is futher to the east. The other six submarines were given alternative patrol lines south of Pantelleria, one od which they were to take up at dawn on 13 August 1942, according to the movements of enemy surface ships that might threathen the convoy from the westward. When the convoy had passed the patrol line, which it should have done by that time, the submarines were to proceed on the surface parallel to the convoy as a screen and to dive away clear of the convoy at noon. It was expressly intended that they should be seen on the surface and reported by enemy aircraft in order to deter enemy warships from attacking the convoy.

Enemy warships did go to sea but as soon as it was clear that the enemy ships could not reach the convoy the sunmarines were ordered to dive and retire. These six sumarines had no contact with the enemy. One of the the two submarines off the north coast of Sicily, HMS P 42, managed to torpedo two Italian cruisers near Stromboli on the morning of 13 August 1942.

Now we return to the main convoy to Malta.

Passage eastwards after passing the Straits of Gibraltar.

10 and 11 August 1942.

After passing through the Straits of Gibraltar in the early hours of 10 August 1942, in dense fog, the convoy was first sighted by an Italian passenger aircraft, which sighted the convoy in the afternoon of the same day. German reconnaissance aircraft started shadowing the convoy from dawn on the 11th, and thereafter they or Italian aircraft kept the convoy under continuous observation, despite the effort of the fighters from the carriers to shoot them down or drive them off. At 1315 hours, HMS Eagle, was hit an sunk by torpedoes from the German submarine U-73 which had penetrated the destroyer screen. At that moment there were thirteen destroyers in the screen, the remainder was away from the main convoy, escorting HMS Furious during the flying off operations of the Hurricane fighters for Malta or oiling from and screening ‘Force R’ which was several miles away. Between 1430/10 and and 2030/11 no less then three cruisers and twenty-four destroyers fuelled from the two oilers of ‘Force R’.

At the time of the torpedoing of HMS Eagle the convoy was in four columns, zigzagging at 13 knots, with the heavy ships stationed close round it and a destroyer screen ahead. HMS Eagle was on the starboard quarter of the convoy. She was hit on her starboard side by four torpedoes which had dived through the destroyer screen and the convoy columns undetected and then torpedoed and sank the Eagle in position 38°05’N, 03°02’E (Another source gives 03°12’E but this might be a typo). The carrier sank quickly in about 8 minutes, 926 of her crew, including the Commanding Officer, were rescued by the destroyers HMS Laforey and HMS Lookout and the rescue tug HMS Jaunty. At the time of her sinking, HMS Eagle had four aircraft on patrol. These landed on the other carriers. All other aircraft were lost with the ship. The survivors picked up were later transferred to the destroyers HMS Keppel, HMS Malcolm and HMS Venomous that were to escort HMS Furious back to Gibraltar. The tug HMS Jaunty that had been involved in picking up survivors was never able to rejoin the convoy due to her slow speed.

Late in the afternoon air attacks were expected so Vice-Admiral Syfret ordered the destroyer to form an all-round screen. Indeed the air attacks started around sunset, 2045 hours. The last destroyers had just returned from oiling from ‘Force R’. The enemy aircraft that were attacking were 36 German bombers and torpedo aircraft, Ju 88’s and He 111’s, most of which attacked the convoy but a few attacked ‘Force R’ to the southward. The Junkers arrived first, diving down from 8000 feet to 2000 / 3000 feet to drop their bombs. They claimed to have hit an aircraft carrier and one of the merchant ships. Then the Heinkels attacked, they claimed to have torpedoed a cruiser but during the attacks no ship was hit. The British fighter cover was unable to attack / find the enemy in the failing light. Four enemy aircraft were claimed shot down by the ships AA fire but it appears only two JU 88’s were in fact shot down.

12 August 1942

At 0915/12 another wave of German aircraft attacked the convoy. Some twenty or more JU 88’s approached the convoy out of the sun ahead. They were intercepted by fighters about 25 miles from the convoy. About a dozen got through to the convoy, making high-level or shallow dive-bombing attacks individually but without any result. Eight German aircraft were claimed to be shot down by the fighters and two more by AA guns from the ships. The fighters meanwhile were also busy dealng with shadowers, three of which are claimed to have been shot down before the morning attack. Around this time destroyers were also busy with numerous submarine contact which were attacked by depth charges.

Around noon the enemy launched heavy air attacks from the Sardinian airfields. Seventy aircraft approached which were heavily escorted by fighters. They attacked in stages and employed new methods.

First ten Italian torpedo-bombers were each to drop some sort of circling torpedo or mine a few hundred yards ahead of the British force, while eight fighter bombers made dive-bombing and machine-gun attacks. The object at this stage was clearly to dislocate the formation of the force and to draw anti-aircraft fire, making the ships more vulnerable to a torpedo attack which soon followed with over forty aircraft. They attacked in two groups, one on either bow of the convoy. The next stage was a shallow dive-bombing attack by German aircraft, after which two Italian Reggiane 2001 fighters, each with a single heavy armour-piercing bomb were to dive bomb on one of the aircraft carriers, whilst yet another new form of attack was to be employed against the other carrier, but defects in the weapon prevented this attack from taking place.

The enemy attack went according to plan besides that the torpedo attack was only made half an our after the ‘mines’ were dropped instead of five minutes. British fighters met the minelaying aircraft, they shot down one of them as they approached. The remaining nine aircraft dropped their ‘mines’ at 1215 hours in the path of the force, which turned to avoid the danger. The mines were heard to explode several minutes later. Only three of the fighter-bombers of this stage of the attack appear to have reached as far the screen, but HMS Lightning had a narrow escape from their bombs.

The torpedo-aircraft appeared at 1245 hours. Their number were brought down a bit due to British fighters. The remaining aircraft, estimated at 25 to 30 machines, attacked from the port bow, port beam and starboard quarter. They dropped their torpedoes well outside the screen some 8000 yards from the merchant ships which they had been ordered to attack. The force turned 45° to port and then back to starboard to avoid the attack.

In the next stage, around 1318 hours, the German bombing attack, the enemy scored their one success. These aircraft were also intercepted on their way in but about a dozen of about twenty aircraft came through. They crossed the convoy from starboard to port and then dived to 3000 feet. They managed to damage the transport Deucalion which was leading the port wing column. More bombs fell close to several other ships.

Finally, at 1345 hours, the two Reggiane fighters approached HMS Victorious as if to land on. They looked like Hurricanes and HMS Victorious was at that time engaged in landing her own fighters. They managed to drop their bombs and one hit the flight deck amidships. Fortunately the bomb broke up without exploding. By the time HMS Victorious could open fire both fighters were out of range.

The Deucalion could no longer keep up with the convoy and was ordered to follow the inshore route along the Tunisian coast escorted by HMS Bramham. Two bombers found these ships late in the afternoon, but their bombs missed. At 1940 hours, however, near the Cani Rocks, two torpedo aircraft attacked and a torpedo hit the Deucalion. She caught fire and eventually blew up.

The convoy passed some 20 miles north of Galita Island and spent the afternoon avoiding enemy submarines which were known to be concentrated in these waters. There were innumerable reports of sightings and Asdic contacts and at least two submarines proved dangerous. At 1616 hours, HMS Pathfinder and HMS Zetland attacked one on the port bow of the convoy and hunted her until the convoy was out of reach. HMS Ithuriel, stationed on the quarter, then attacked, forced the enemy to surface and finally rammed her. She proved to be the Italian submarine Cobalto. Meanwhile HMS Tartar, on the starboard quarter, saw six torpedoes fired at close range at 1640 hours, and the next destroyer in the screen, HMS Lookout sighted a periscope. Together they attacked the submarine, continuing until it was no longer dangerous. There was no evidence this submarine was sunk.

At 1750 hours, HMS Ithuriel, which was on her way back to the convoy after sinking the Italian submarine Cobalto was attacked by a few dive-bombers, when still a dozen miles astern of the convoy. At this time the convoy came under attack by aircraft stationed on Sicily. This force numbered nearly 100 aircraft. Ju.87 dive-bombers as well as Ju.88’s and SM-79’s all with a strong escort of fighters. The enemy started attacking at 1835 hours, the bombers attacking from both ahead and astern which last was the direction of the sun. The torpedo aircraft came from ahead to attack on the starboard bow and beam of the convoy.

The Italian SM-79’s torpedo bombers dropped their torpedoes from ranges of about 3000 yards outside the destroyer screen, and once again the convoy turned away to avoid them. However the destroyer HMS Foresight was hit by a torpedo and disabled. The bombers chose HMS Indomitable as their main target. She was astern of HMS Rodney at the time on the port quarter of the convoy. Four Ju.88’s and eight Ju.87’s came suddenly out of the sun and dived steeply towards HMS Indomitable from astern. Some of the Ju.87 came down to 1000 feet and the carrier received three hits and her flight deck was put out of action. Her airborne fighters eventually had to land on HMS Victorious. HMS Rodney meanwhile had a narrow escape when a bomber attacked from ahead. One enemy aircraft was claimed to have been shot down by AA fire from the ships while the fighters claimed nine more although there were about twice as much enemy fighters in the air then British.

HMS Tartar took the damaged HMS Foresight in tow and proceeded westward for Gibraltar. Next day, as they were shadowed by enemy aircraft, and enemy submarines were known to be in the area, it was decided to scuttle the cripple before both ships might be lost. HMS Tartar then torpedoed HMS Foresight a few miles from Galita Island.

Passage through the narrows, 12-13 August 1942, and the loss off HMS Manchester.

These last air attacks took place about 20 nautical miles west of the Skerki Channel and at 1900 hours, when the attacks were clearly over, Vice-Admiral Syfret turned away with ‘Force Z’. It was now up to Rear-Admiral Burrough with ‘Force X’ to take the convoy to Malta.

At 2000 hours, when the convoy was changing it’s formation from four to two columns, the convoy was attacked by Italian submarines. The submarine Dessie attacked a freighter with four torpedoes and claimed three hits. The sound of the torpedo hits was however not caused by her attack but by an attack by the Axum which hit three ships, HMS Nigeria, HMS Cairo and the tanker Ohio.

HMS Nigeria had to turn back to make for Gibraltar escorted by the escort destroyers HMS Derwent, HMS Wilton and HMS Bicester. Rear-Admiral Burrough transferred his flag to the destroyer HMS Ashanti. The stern of HMS Cairo had been blown off and she had to be sunk as she was beyond salvage with both engines also out of action. She was scuttled by HMS Pathfinder. The Ohio meanwhile managed to struggle on.

At this time the convoy was still trying to form up the the submarine attacks messed things up and right at thus time the convoy was once more attacked from the air in the growing dusk at 2030 hours. About 20 German aircraft, Ju-88’s made dive bombing and torpedo attacks, hitting the Empire Hope with a bomb and the Clan Ferguson and Brisbane Star with torpedoes. The first of these ships had to be sunk (by HMS Bramham, the second blew up but the last eventually reached Malta. Soon after this attack, at 2111 hours, HMS Kenya was torpedoed by the Italian submarine Alagi. She was able to evade three of the four torpedoes but was hit in the bow by the fouth. She was however able to remain with the convoy.

The situation was then as follows. HMS Kenya and HMS Manchester with two merchant ships, and with the minesweeping destroyers HMS Intrepid, HMS Icarus and HMS Fury sweeping ahead, had passed the Skerki Channel and were steering to pass Zembra Island on the way to Cape Bon. HMS Ashanti, with Rear-Admiral Burrough on board was fast overhauling these ships. The other two destroyers HMS Pathfinder, HMS Penn and the escort destroyer HMS Ledbury, were rounding up the remaining nine merchant ships. The escort destroyer HMS Bramham was also catching up after having escorted the single Deucalion until she sank.

On learing about the fate of HMS Nigeria and HMS Cairo, Vice-Admiral Syfret detached HMS Charybdis, HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali to reinforce Rear-Admiral Burrough. It would take these ships several hourse to catch up with the convoy.

The main body of the convoy passed Cape Bon around midnight. Fourty minutes later enemy Motor Torpedo Boats appeared and started to attack. Their first victim was HMS Manchester which was torpedoed at 0120/13 by the Italian MS 16 or MS 22. She had to be scuttled by her own crew. Many of her ships company landed in Tunisia and were interned by the Vichy-French but about 300 were picked up by destroyers (first by HMS Pathfinder, and later by HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali. These last two destoyers then set off towards Gibraltar.)

Four and possibly five of the merchant ships were also hit by the Motor Torpedo Boats. These were the Wairangi, Rochester Castle, Almeria Lykes, Santa Elisa and probably the Glenorchy. They were attacked between 0315 and 0430 hours about 15 nautical miles south-east of Kelibia whilst taking a short cut to overhaul the main body of the convoy. Four were lost, only the Rochester Castle survived and she managed to catch up with the main body of the convoy at 0530 hours. The Glenorchy was sunk by the Italian MS 31, the other four, of which the Rochester Castle survived as mentioned earlier, were hit by the German S 30 and S 36 as well as the Italian MAS 554 and MAS 557.

Shortly before 0530 hours HMS Charybdis, HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali had joined the main body of the convoy making the force now two cruisers and seven destroyers with the transports Rochester Castle, Waimarama and Melbourne Star. The damaged tanker Ohio was slowly catching up. With her was the escort destroyer HMS Ledbury. Astern of the main body was the Port Chalmers escorted by the destroyer HMS Penn and the escort destroyer HMS Bramham. The destroyers recued the crew of the Santa Elisa when the passed by the abandoned ship which was afterwards finished off by a German bomber. The Dorset was proceeding without escort and lastly the damaged Brisbane Star was still keeping close to the Tunisian coast independently, intending to steer towards Malta after nightfall.

At 0730 hours, Rear-Admiral Burrough, sent back HMS Tartar and HMS Somali to Kelibia to assist HMS Manchester and then go to Gibraltar. When they arrived they found out that the Manchester had been scuttled several hours earlier so they rescued those of her crew that had not reached the shore yet and then made off to Gibraltar as ordered. Besides crew of the Manchester they also picked up survivors from the Almeria Lykes and Wairangi.

The next encounter with the enemy was an air attack on the main body of the convoy at 0800 hours by German bombers. About 12 Ju.88’s made a shallow diving attack coming down from 6000 feet to 2000 feet to drop their bombs. Two dived on the Waimarama hitting her several times and she blew up immediately, one of the bombers was even destroyed in the explosion. HMS Ledbury saved some of her crew out of the blazing sea. At 0925 hours, when the Ohio, Port Chalmers and Dorset where with the main body again, a few Ju.87’s escorted by Italian fighters attacked. They dived down to 1500 to 1000 feet. HMS Kenya leading the port column, and the Ohio last ship but one in the starboard column, had narrow escapes. One of the enemy aircraft crashed on board the Ohio just after having released it’s bomb after being damaged by gunfire from the Ohio and HMS Ashanti. Another aircraft was claimed to have been shot down by fighters from Malta that had been patrolling overhead since daybreak.

Arrivals at Malta 13-15 August 1942.

At 1050 hours, about 20 bombers, mostly Ju.88’s with a few Ju.87’s, came in to attack. Target was the Ohio and she received four or five near misses and her engines were disabled. At the same time the Rochester Castle in the port column was near-missed and set on fire but she continued with the convoy. The Dorset which was astern of her was hit and stopped. The convoy went on leaving the Dorset behind with the Ohio and two destroyers.

At 1125 hours the last air attack on the main body took place. Five Italian SM.79’s attacked with torpedoes and almost hit the Port Chalmers as the torpedo got stuck in the paravane. Further attacks on the main body were held of by fighters from Malta. At 1430 hours, four minesweepers from Malta joined the main body of the convoy, these were HMS Speedy (Lt.Cdr. A.E. Doran, RN, with the group’s commander A/Cdr. H.J.A.S. Jerome, RN on board), HMS Hebe, HMS Rye and HMS Heyte. Also with them were seven Motor Launches; ML 121, ML 126, ML 134, ML 135, ML 168, ML 459 and ML 462. HMS Rye and two of the ML’s were sent towards the damaged Ohio which was ‘vital for Malta’, according to A/Cdr. Jerome.

At 1600 hours, Rear-Admiral Burrough, set course to the west with his two cruisers and with five destroyers. The Port Chalmers, Melbourne Star and Rochester Castle arrived in Grand Harbour around 1800 hours with the force of A/Cdr. Jerome. The Rochester Castle was by that time very low in the water, she had just made it into port on time.

Out were still the Ohio, Dorset and the Brisbane Star. The valuable Ohio had been helpless with HMS Penn and HMS Bramham. When HMS Rye arrived at 1730 hours, HMS Penn took the Ohio in tow. Meanwhile HMS Bramham was sent to the Dorset but soon afterwards German bombers came again and the ships were attacked repeatedly until dark. Both merchantman were hit around 1900 hours and the Dorset sank.

At daylight on the 14th HMS Ledbury arrived to help bringing the Ohio to Malta. HMS Speedy also soon arrived on the scene with two ML’s. The rest of his force he had sent to search for the Brisbane Star. At 1045 hours, enemy aircraft made their last attempt, causing the parting of the tow. Fighter from Malta shot down two of the attackers. The tow was passed again and the slow procession went on and in the morning of the 15th the vital tanker finally reached Malta.

The Brisbane Star had by then also arrived. She left the Tunisian coast at dusk on the 13th. Aircraft had attacked her unsuccessfully and one of the attackers was shot down by a Beaufighter escort that had been sent from Malta. She arrived at Malta in the afternoon of the 14th.

Italian surface ships to operate against the convoy ?

The convoy had experienced the violence of the enemy in every shape except that of an attack by large surface ships. Yet Italian cruisers and destroyers had been at sea to intercept and attack it. Two light cruiser had left Cagliari in the evening of 11 August 1942 and the heavy cruisers Gorizia and Bolzano from Messina, and a light cruiser from Naples had sailed on the morning of the 12th. That evening reconnaissance aircraft reported one heavy and two light cruisers with eight destroyers about 80 nautical miles to the north of the western tip of Sicily and steering south. It would have been possible for this force to meet the convoy at dawn on the 13th so the shadowing aircraft was therefore ordered in plain language to illuminate and attack. This apparently influenced the Italians as they had limited air cover and they turned back at 0130/13 when near Cape San Vito. At 0140 hours the aircraft reported that it had dropped its bombs but no hits had been obtained. Similar orders were signalled, in plain language, to relief shadowers and to report the position of the enemy force to the benefit of imaginary Liberator bombers in case the Italians would change their minds and turn back. They however held on to the eastward.

The submarine HMS P 42 sighted them around 0800/13 off Stromboli and attacked with four torpedoes claiming two hits. She had in fact hit the heavy cruiser Bolzano which was able to proceed northwards and the light cruiser Muzio Attendolo which managed to reach Messina with her bows blown off. The other cruisers went to Naples. Following the attack P 42 was heavily depth charged by the destroyers but managed to escape.

In fact the following Italian ships had been at sea; heavy cruisers Gorizia, Trieste, Bolzano, light cruisers Eugenio di Savoia Raimondo Montecuccoli, Muzio Attendolo. They were escorted by eleven destroyers; Ascari, Aviere, Camicia Nera, Corsaro, Fuceliere, Geniere, Legionaro, Vincenzo Gioberti, Alfredo Oriani, Grecale and Maestrale.

The return to Gibraltar.

The British ships returning to Gibraltar had better fortune. Having left the convoy off Malta in the afternoon of the 13th, they rounded Cape Bon around 0130/14 and from that point until past Zembra Island they successful ran the gauntled of E-boats laying in wait.

at 0450/14, near the Fratelli Rocks, a submarine fired torpedoes at HMS Ashanti from the surface. She was nearly rammed by HMS Kenya, which was next astern of the ‘flagship’ (Rear-Admiral Burrough was still in HMS Ashanti). The inevitable shadowers arrived soon after daylight to herald their air attacks that began at 0730 hours. They lasted until around 1315 hours. German bombers came in first with three attemps by a few Ju.88’s. This was followed by a more severe attack with about 30 bombers, Ju-88’s and Ju-87’s between 1030 and 1050 hours. An hour later 15 Savoia high-level bombers attacked followed until 1315 hours by torpedo-carrying Savoia’s. Around 20 aircraft attacking single or in pairs. Also aircraft are though to be laying mines ahead. Several ships were near missed, but no further damage was sustained. After these attacks the British were left alone and in the evening they joined ‘Force Z’.

Vice-Admiral Syfret had gone as far west as 01’E where he ordered the damaged carrier HMS Indomitable to proceed to Malta with HMS Rodney and a destroyer screen (which). He then turned back to the east to make rendez-vous with Rear-Admiral Burrough. They arrived at Gibraltar on the 15th.

A few hours before they arrived the damaged HMS Nigeria and her escort had also entered port, as had HMS Tartar, HMS Eskimo and HMS Somali. On her way back HMS Nigeria had been attacked by torpedo-bombers and a submarine but she had not been hit.

Conclusion.

Out of the fourteen ships that had sailed only five arrived ‘safe’ at Malta. This was not a very high score also given the very heavy escort that had been provided also taken in mind that an aircraft carrier, a light cruiser, an AA cruiser an a destroyer had been lost and two heavy cruiser had been damaged. But the convoy had to meet very heavy air attacks by over 150 bombers and 80 torpedo aircraft, all in the space of two days. Also these aircraft were protected by fighter in much greater strength that the carriers and Malta could provide. And there were also the enemy submarines and E-boats.

The spirit in which to operation was carried out appears in Vice-Admiral Syfret’s report: ‘ Tribute has been paid to the personnel of His Majesty’s Ships, both the officers and men will desire to give first place to the conduct, courage, and determination of the masters, officers, and men of the merchant ships. The steadfast manner in which these ships pressed on their way to Malta through all attacks, answering every maneuvering order like a well trained fleet unit, was a most inspiring sight. Many of these fine men and their ships were lost. But the memory of their conduct will remain an inspiration to all who were privileged to sail with them. ‘ (7)

13 Aug 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) torpedoed and damaged the Italian heavy cruiser Bolzano and the Italian light cruiser Muzio Attendolo in the Ionian Sea off the north coast of Sicily in position 38°43'N, 14°57'E. They were in company with the heavy cruisers Trieste and Gorizia (the latter was just moving away to launch a seaplane) and were escorted by the destroyers Ascari, Aviere, Camicia Nera, Corsaro, Fuciliere, Geniere, Grecale and Legionario.

Bolzano was hit in an oil tank and her magazines had to be flooded (nine killed and twenty wounded). She was beached at Panarea Island and refloated about a month later. Attendolo had a large part of her bow wrecked.

(All times are zone -2)
0730 hours - When in position 38°43'N, 14°57'E HE was heard bearing 230°.

0743 hours - Sighted a large number of ships bearing 230° steering straight towards. The centre column consisted of four large ships, two 8" cruisers and possibly two 6" cruisers. The escort consisted of 8 modern destroyers. Started attack.

0804 hours - Fired four torpedoes from yards at the nearest 8" cruiser. Two 6" cruisers were beyond the target and if torpedoes missed there was a good possibility of hitting the other ships beyond. P 42 went deep on firing and altered course 90° to starboard and increased speed for 5 minutes. It was thought two hits were obtained on the nearest 8" cruiser, and with luck the 'overs' may have hit one of the other cruisers.

0809 hours - Intensive depth charging started, went to 120 feet and crept away.

0900 hours - The 40th charge was dropped. By this time the enemy seemed to have lost contact, and to be drawing astern. However, depth charging continued for 8 hours and 31 minutes, the explosions becoming more distant and less frequent as time drew on.

1640 hours - The last depth charge was dropped at a considerable distance. The day's total came to 105. Only some superficial damage was sustained.

1900 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Nothing in sight. (6)

18 Aug 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) ended her 5th war patrol (also 5th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (6)

31 Aug 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) departed Malta for her 6th war patrol (also 6th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to destroy a railway bridge to the north of Taormina, Sicily. She was also to conduct a special operation off Crotone, Calabria, Italy.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 42 during this patrol see the map below.

(6)

3 Sep 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) arrived off the Railway bridge she was to destroy by firing a torpedo at its base. This was however impossible as the river was dry and the bridge was 200 feet inland from the shore. Also if the river had not been dry the torpedo most likely would have been deflected by the current. (6)

5 Sep 1942
During the night of 5/6 September 1942 HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) landed a raiding party (Captain R. Wilson, D.S.O., R,A. and Bombardier Brittlebank) to use miniature torpedoes on shipping inside Crotone harbour. At 2340/5 the folbot with the party was launched. At 0050/6 two flashes were observed inside the harbour. One miniature torpedo (actually a limpet with an electric motor) was released but the two men could not make their getaway in time and were captured. The experiment with miniature torpedo was not repeated. Soon afterwards a fast motorboat was heard approaching forcing P 42 to dive. The vessel was seen to be an 'E-boat' which then commenced a hunt. The enemy obtained contact but no depth charges were dropped. P 42 was therefore not on the surface to pick up the raiding party and they were not seen again. (6)

8 Sep 1942
In the evening HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) tried to bombard a railway viaduct near Starletti Point, Calabria, Italy. They tried to wait for a passing train but none showed up. While waiting P 42 had been set to the north and this had not been noticed. So when they tried to take the viaduct under fire they were out of position. Fire was then opened on a road but without success. [Italian sources reported no damage to the viaduct.] (6)

9 Sep 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) attacked an enemy convoy that had just left the harbour of Crotone. Two torpedoes were fired against a merchant vessel but no hits were obtained. These were Leonardo Palomba (1110 GRT, 1899) and Loreto (1055 GRT, built 1912) on passage from Crotone to Messsina escorted by the torpedo boat Giuseppe Sirtori. The torpedo boat attempted to hunt the submarine but without success.

(All times are zone -2)
1822 hours - A ship was seen leaving the harbour. The ship soon turned to the south and was seen to be escorted.

1840 hours - A second ship was seen leaving the harbour. This ship joined the first ship and it's escort. Both ships were of about 2000 tons and were laden. They were escorted by an older type torpedo-boat.

1922 hours - Fired two torpedoes (old Mark II type) from 4500 yards at the second ship. No hits were obtained.

1950 hours - The torpedo-boat commenced a hunt. Four depth charges were dropped at considerable intervals.

2115 hours - All was quiet now.

2147 hours - Surfaced and retired from the coast. (6)

13 Sep 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) ended her 6th war patrol (also 6th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (6)

25 Sep 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) departed Malta for her 7th war patrol (also 7th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol near Misurata, Libya.

For the daily positions of HMS P 42 during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

4 Oct 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) ended her 7th war patrol (also 7th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. Only a convoy of three small vessels was sighted in low visibility and was not attacked. (8)

11 Oct 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) departed Malta for her 8th war patrol (also 8th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol to the east of Tripoli.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 42 during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

17 Oct 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) attacked the stranded and damaged German merchant Amsterdam (8673 GRT, built 1921) off Khoms with three torpedoes. No hits were obtained.

In the evening orders were received to proceed to the Lampedusa area to intercept a southbound convoy.

(All times are zone -2)
1300 hours - Received Capt.S10's 1159A/17 ordering P 42 to torpedo the ship beached off Khoms. Started to close Khoms.

1445 hours - Sighted a Partenope-class torpedo-boat and several aircraft patrolling up and down the coast off Khoms.

1500 hours - Sighted the beached ship in approximate position 5 cables north-east of Khoms main lighthouse. Due to shallow water and the patrol it was not possible to close much further.

1533 hours - Fired a torpedo from 5000 yards. No result was heard or seen.

1538 hours - Fired a second torpedo. No track was seen and it is considered this torpedo failed to run.

1547 hours - Fired a third torpedo from a range of 4000 yards. Again no result was seen or heard. Withdrew to seaward. (8)

19 Oct 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) attacked a convoy north-west of Tripoli, Libya in position 34°45'N 12°31'E. All the torpedoes missed. The target was Saturno (5022 GRT, built 1914) which had the first two torpedoes missing under her and manoeuvred to avoid the next two. She was in company of Titania (5397 GRT, built 1918) and Capo Orso (3149 GRT, 1916), escorted by the destroyers Ascari, Antonio Da Noli and Antonio Pigafetta. The Titania was sunk early the next day by HMS Safari (Cdr. B. Bryant, DSC, RN) east of Tunisia in position 34°45'N, 12°31'E.

(All times are zone -2)
1405 hours - Sighted smoke bearing 290°. Ran in to intercept.

1430 hours - The course of the convoy was estimated as 135°. Started attack. The convoy zigged twice first to 155° and shortly before firing to 175°. Three escorting aircraft were seen. The convoy consisted of one large merchant vessel of 7000 ton, a tanker of 8000 tons and a smaller merchant vessel. Escort was provided by fleet destroyers of which 3 (possibly 4) were seen.

1510 hours - Fired a salvo of four torpedoes. Two were aimed at the 7000 ton merchant, one at the tanker and one at the smaller merchant vessel. Range was estimated as being 8000 yards. Two explosions were heard 7m 10s and 7m 45s. These sounded like torpedo hits. P 42 went to 70 feet on firing and increased to full speed and altered course to get off the torpedo tracks.

1521 hours - An accurate and swift counter attack started. 20 Depth charges were dropped. All were close and caused serious damage to P 42.

1537 hours - The last depth charge was dropped.

1600 hours - The hunt by three destroyers continued although no depth charges were dropped.

1620 hours - No more HE or Asdic transmissions were heard.

1720 hours - Came to periscope depth. Nothing in sight.

In the evening P 42 set course towards Malta. The damage sustained by the depth charging was to great and the patrol had to be abandoned. (8)

20 Oct 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) ended her 8th war patrol (also 8th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (8)

15 Nov 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) departed Malta for her 9th war patrol (also 9th in the Mediterranean), she was escorted out by HMS Speedy (Lt. J.G. Brookes, DSC, RN). She was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Genoa.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 42 during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

17 Nov 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) was ordered to patrol to the North of Sicily instead of the Gulf of Genoa. (8)

21 Nov 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, RN) attacked an enemy convoy to the north of Palermo, Sicily. Four torpedoes were fired but no hits were obtained. The target was the transport Liv (3068 GRT, built 1896, former Norwegian) in company with Favorita (3576 GRT, built 1916) escorted by the auxiliary Cattaro (1275 GRT, built 1933). The next day, Favorita was hit by a Wellington torpedo bomber and finished off by the submarine HMS P 228.

(All times are zone -2)
0756 hours - Sighted two CANT Z 501 aircraft.

0758 hours -Sighed smoke bearing 120°, closed.

0837 hours - A convoy of three ships was now in sight to the north-west. Started attack. Enemy course was 335°, speed 10 knots. The original plan of attack was spoiled by a zig (the first) of the leading ship, which turned out to be a small Armed Merchant Cruiser.

0930 hours - In position 38°20'N, 13°20'E fired four torpedoes at the two cargo vessels of the convoy. Range was about 2000 yards. No results. These ships were 4000-5000 tons in displacement.

0936 hours - A counter attack was started. Fifteen depth charges were dropped, none was very close.

1103 hours - The last depth charge was dropped. P 42 meanwhile was withdrawing to the west. (8)

25 Nov 1942
In the early morning hours HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) bombarded a railway viaduct immediately north of Cape Suvero lighthouse. A southbound train was just crossing this viaduct. Unfortunately, the gun jammed after the second round. The shoot had to be abandoned and retired from the coast. (8)

5 Dec 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) ended her 9th war patrol (also 9th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (8)

20 Dec 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 10th war patrol (also 10th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off Naples.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 42 during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

26 Dec 1942
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) attacked an enemy convoy south-west of Ischia Island. Four torpedoes were fired and the German merchant Djebel Dira (2835 GRT, built 1930, former French) was hit and damaged. She was escorted by the auxiliary Cattaro (1275 GRT, built 1933). The tug Titano was sent to her assistance and towed her to Naples.

(All times are zone -2)
1130 hours - Sighted smoke which soon turned out to be a convoy of two medium seized merchant ships, and one small merchant vessel, escorted by an armed merchant cruiser of about 2000 tons. Started attack.

1231 hours - In position 40°41'N, 13°47'E fired four torpedoes from yards. One hit was obtained on the leading merchant vessel which was of about 5000 tons. P 42 had gone deep on firing.

1240 hours - The counter attack of four depth charges was ineffective. On board P 42 they could hardly believe it, they usually got a much bigger pounding.

1310 hours - Returned to periscope depth and observed that the ship hit had about 50 feet of her bow missing and was stopped bow down. The AMC was escorting the other ship towards Naples while the third ship stood by the damaged one. The local schooner patrol had also arrived on the scene. P 42 cleared the area. (8)

27 Dec 1942
Just after sunset (1648 hours, zone -2) HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) surfaced to engage a rail viaduct over a deep ravine half a mile east of Pietra di Nante (position 40°07'5"N, 15°11'E). In 10 minutes 68 rounds were fired from 1000 yards. Twenty-three hits were observed on the viaduct or its supports. Seven hits were observed on the power house. Overhead wires were also brought down. In fact, the telegraph lines were cut, the bridge slightly damaged and a corporal was wounded. (8)

6 Jan 1943
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) ended her 10th war patrol (also 10th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (8)

16 Jan 1943
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 11th war patrol (also 11th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Gabes.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS P 42 during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

19 Jan 1943
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) torpedoed and damaged the Italian merchant Edda (6107 GRT, built 1924) near Gerba, Tunisia in position 33°45'N, 11°12'E. She was en-route from Tripoli to Sfax. She was escorted by the Italian torpedo boat San Martino and patrol vessel Eso. She was taken in tow by San Martino and later by the tug Ciclope but Edda and escort Eso were sunk later the same day by Allied aircraft.

(All times are zone -1)
1650 hours - Masts and smoke was visible bearing 150°. This was soon seen to be a convoy made up of a 5000 ton merchant ship escorted by two torpedo-boats. Started attack.

1748 hours - In position 33°45'N, 11°12'E fired four torpedoes from yards. One hit was obtained. The counter attack was slight and started 10 minutes after firing. In 12 minutes 7 single depth charges were dropped but none were close.

1808 hours - A periscope look showed both escorts, one hunting and one standing by the damaged ship which was in a sinking condition with her stern down.

1814 hours - The escorts could still be seen but no transport. Went to 70 feet as a torpedo-boat was closing. Withdrew to the seaward. (8)

21 Jan 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) was recalled as surface ships and MTB's are going to operate alongside the Tunisian coastline. (8)

23 Jan 1943
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) ended her 11th war patrol (also 11th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (8)

25 Jan 1943
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 12th war patrol (also 12th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to conduct special operation Felicity (or Felice) in the Gulf of Hammamet.

For the daily positions of HMS P 42 during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

28 Jan 1943
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) landed a raiding party (Captain J. Eyre, Lieutenan P.H. Thomas of 4th battalion, the Bluffs, and six Fighting French commandos) that was to destroy a railway bridge near the town of Hammamet. The party was landed successfully but flares fired and gunfire on the shore made it obvious that they had been discovered. P 42 wisely retired from the area. The commandos were all captured. (8)

30 Jan 1943
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) ended her 12th war patrol (also 12th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (8)

12 Feb 1943
HMS P 42 (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 13th war patrol (also 13th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol between Kuriat and Hammamet.

For the daily positions of HMS P 42 during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

27 Feb 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) ended her 13th war patrol (also 13th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. Only small vessels were sighted. (8)

11 Mar 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 14th war patrol (also 14th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Hammamet.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Unbroken during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

18 Mar 1943
At 1732 hours (zone -1) HMS Unbroken (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) fired a torpedo at shipping inside Sousse harbour. The torpedo ran correctly but exploded on hitting the boom. The targets were the German Skotfoss (1465 GRT, built 1917, ex Norwegian) and the Italian Orsolina Bottiglieri (883 GRT, built 1899). (8)

19 Mar 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) ended her 14th war patrol (also 14th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (8)

26 Mar 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) departed Malta for her 15th war patrol (also 15th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol off the south coast of Italy.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Unbroken during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

3 Apr 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) attacked the German destroyer Hermes (former Greek Vasilefs Georgios) with torpedoes about 20 nautical miles south of Cape Spartivento in position 37°46'N, 15°38'E. Unfortunately, the torpedoes miss the target.

(All times are zone -1)
1405 hours - Heard good HE bearing 110°. Nothing in sight although visibility was maximum.

1415 hours - Sighted masts of a warship on the bearing of the HE. Started attack. Enemy course was 262°. The target was thought to be an Italian Regolo-class light cruiser.

1501 hours - In position 37°48'N, 15°48'E fired a salvo of four torpedoes from 6000 yards. No hits were obtained. (8)

4 Apr 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) torpedoed and damaged the German (former Norwegian) tanker Regina (9545 GRT, built 1937) off Punta Stilo, Sicily, Italy in position 38°15'N, 16°30'E. She was with the Italian Carbonello A.(1593 GRT, built 1942) and escorted by the torpedo boats Angelo Bassini, Climene and destroyer Augusto Riboty. Hit by two torpedoes on the port side, she attempted to return to Taranto. The tug Vigoroso was sailed to assist her but she had to be beached near Punta Stilo. Climene hunted the submarine delivering a first attack with nine depth charges, followed by another with eleven more. Oil was observed coming to the surface and the torpedo boat assumed the submarine sunk but this was not the case.

(All times are zone -1)
1415 hours - Heard A/S impulses. Diving stations were ordered and the boat prepared for depth charging.

1428 hours - By now it was obvious that several ships were in the vicinity, so P 42 went to periscope depth in order to have a look at the opposition.

1429 hours - In a 10-second look through the small periscope. Lt. Mars was rather surprised to see two torpedo-boats on the starboard quarter and one on the port, three aircraft and right astern a very large tanker. Started attack.

1434 hours - Fired four torpedoes from 2500 yards. A torpedo explosion was heard 2m 24s after firing the first torpedo.

1436 hours - The counter attack started. The first depth charges were fairly close.

1457 hours - The counter attack was over. 25 depth charges in all had been dropped. (8)

7 Apr 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. A.C.G. Mars, DSO, RN) ended her 15th war patrol (also 15th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (8)

18 Apr 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 16th war patrol (also 16th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol north of Sicily.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Unbroken during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

21 Apr 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) attacked an Italian submarine with four torpedoes off Cape San Vito. No hits were obtained. There were no submarines in this area, axis or allied, the attack was a bogus one.

(All times are zone -1)
1052 hours - After having been deep for a while due to patrolling aircraft returned to periscope depth. Sighted a submarine proceeding close inshore round Cape San Vito. Started attack.

1100 hours - In position 38°15'N, 12°43'E fired four torpedoes at an Italian submarine from 5800 yards. No hits were obtained.

1230 hours - The submarine disappeared from sight round Cape Gallo. (8)

22 Apr 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) attacked the Italian auxiliary minesweeper No. 17/Milano (379 GRT) off Cape San Vito, Sicily, Italy in position 38°11'N, 12°45'E. The torpedo missed but, while avoiding it, the minesweeper ran aground accidentally.

(All times are zone -1)
1411 hours - Set course to close a large schooner seen during the morning.

1600 hours - In position 38°10'N, 12°46'E fired one torpedo from 900 yards. The torpedo hit and the target disintegrated. Unbroken then retired to the north. (8)

26 Apr 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) attacked but missed an Italian transport with three torpedoes off Palermo, no hits were obtained. This was probably Anagni (ex French El Mansour, 5818 GRT, built 1933) escorted by the torpedo boat Antares. They had sailed from Palermo for Leghorn.

(All times are zone -1)
1545 hours - Sighted a 6000 ton merchant vessel escorted by a modern torpedo-boat and two aircraft leaving Palermo. Started attack.

1617 hours - In position 38°13'N, 13°26'E fired the last three torpedoes from 5500 yards. Unbroken went deep on firing. No hits were obtained. (8)

30 Apr 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) ended her 16th war patrol (also 16th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (8)

13 May 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 17th war patrol (also 17th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol north of Sicily.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Unbroken during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

19 May 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian pilot vessel F 20 / Enrica (269 GRT, built 1913) three nautical miles bearing 260° off Pizzo Calabro in position 38°45'N, 16°00'E. It was towing the pontoon Titano from Messina to Palermo. An Italian seaplane alighted and rescued the eight survivors, thirteen were killed or missing. Three minesweepers were sent to the scene and Titano was taken in tow.

(All times are zone -1)
1500 hours - Sighted a floating sheer-legs towed by a large tug close inshore proceeding north. Started attack.

1547 hours - Fired two torpedoes from 3000 yards. 2m 6s after firing a hit was heard followed swiftly by breaking up noises. On returning to periscope depth the tug had sunk. The sheer-legs appeared to be beached. The escorting seaplane landed and picked up the survivors. (8)

20 May 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) attacked a tug with two torpedoes north-west of Longobardi, Cosenza, Italy. No hits were obtained. This was the tug Costante (100 GRT, built 1914) towing dockyard machinery. She opened fire on the periscope.

(All times are zone -1)
1030 hours - Sighted tug towing a large square object proceeding south close inshore. Closed.

1117 hours - In position 39°14'N, 16°01'E fired two torpedoes at the tug. These missed ahead. The tug's crew manned their gun forward and fired at the periscope so gun action was not considered practical.

1129 hours - Withdrew to the north-west. (8)

21 May 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) torpedoed and sank the Italian merchant Bologna (5439 GRT, built 1917, former French Monaco) 8 nautical miles bearing 210° of Cape Vaticano in position 38°34'N, 15°44'E. She was proceeding from Naples to Messina with Siena (ex French Astrée, 2147 GRT, built 1921) and Polluce (1949 GRT, built 1917) escorted by the torpedo boats Groppo and Orione.

(All times are zone -1)
1655 hours - Sighted smoke of a convoy made up of three merchant ships and two destroyers. Closed.

1744 hours - Fired four torpedoes from about 3500 yards at a 4000 tons (the largest) merchant vessel. An explosion was heard 2m 21s after firing. Unbroken had gone to 120 feet on firing.

1753 hours - Depth charging commenced but they were dropped a good way off. Withdrew to the north-west.

1834 hours - Returned to periscope depth. Saw one of the destroyers stopped in the position of the attack, possibly picking up survivors. The other destroyer was hunting. The two smaller merchant vessels could still be seen but there was no sign of the larger one.

26 May 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) ended her 17th war patrol (also 17th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (8)

6 Jun 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 18th war patrol (also 18th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Squillace and the Gulf of Taranto.

For the daily and attack positions of HMS Unbroken during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

16 Jun 1943
In the morning HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) attacked an A/S schooner with one torpedo. It missed. This was the armed schooner Misuraca.

In the evening Unbroken attacked what was thought to be a medium seized tanker with four torpedoes off Crotone. No hits were obtained and it was later thought that the target was an A/S vessel instead of a tanker. Possibly this was the naval ammunition transport Vallelunga (1071 tons, built 1924) escorted by the torpedo boat Sagittario, they had sailed from Crotone for Messina.

(All times are zone -1)
0715 hours - Sighted an A/S schooner. Closed.

0940 hours - The schooner was seen to be stopped in position 39°19'N, 17°21'E. Fired one torpedo from 850 yards. The torpedo ran under and exploded at the end of its run. The target was not considered worth another torpedo.

---------------------------------------

1943 hours - Sighted smoke to the northwards.

2052 hours - Sighted a torpedo-boat (a modern one) steering south towards Crotone. About 3 nautical miles off the harbour stopped and was joined by what was thought to be a medium seized tanker. The torpedo-boat joined up ahead and both ships moved south towards Unbroken. Started attack.

2114 hours - In position 39°04'N, 17°17'E fired four torpedoes at the tanker from about 2500 yards. It was almost dark and the target was not very clear. No hits were obtained. Unbroken had gone deep and retired from the scene. After the attack it was thought that the target was not a tanker but a much smaller A/S vessel. (8)

20 Jun 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) ended her 18th war patrol (also 18th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. (8)

27 Jun 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) was docked at Malta. It is currently not known to us when she was undocked.

3 Jul 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) departed Malta for her 19th war patrol (also 19th in the Mediterranean). She was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Taranto as part of a patrol line of five submarines to provide cover during Operation Husky, the Allied landings on Sicily.

For the daily positions of HMS Unbroken during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

18 Jul 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) ended her 19th war patrol (also 19th in the Mediterranean) at Malta. It was uneventful. (8)

30 Jul 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) departed Malta for Gibraltar. Passage was partly (until Algiers) made in the 'Nitwit' convoy. From Algiers to Gibraltar Unbroken was escorted by HMS Coltsfoot (T/Lt. G.W. Rayner, RNVR).

Unbroken was to proceed to the U.K. to refit.

For the daily positions of HMS Unbroken during this passage see the map below.

(8)

4 Aug 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) arrived at Gibraltar. (8)

8 Aug 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) departed Gibraltar for passage to the U.K. En-route she was ordered to patrol off the north-west coast corner of Spain and later to conduct an anti U-boat patrol in the Bay of Biscay making this passage her 20th war patrol.

For the daily positions of HMS Unbroken during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

25 Aug 1943
At 0815 hours rendez-vous was made with FFS Rubis (Lt.Cdr. H.L.G. Rousselot) and escort Chasseur 11. They then proceeded to Dartmouth where the arrived later the same day. (8)

26 Aug 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) shifted from Dartmouth to Portsmouth where she ended her 19th war patrol. She was escorted by Chasseur 11. (8)

15 Sep 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) shifted from Portsmouth to Yarmouth. (8)

16 Sep 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) departed Yarmouth for Holy Loch. She made the passage together with HMS Safari (Lt. R.B. Lakin, DSO, DSC, RN). They were escorted by Chasseur 5. In the evening they were joined by HMS Whalsay (T/Lt. F.J.S. Crawford, RNVR) and HMS Mangrove (T/Lt. J.K.M. Warde, RNVR) who took over the escort. (8)

19 Sep 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) arrived at Holy Loch. (8)

21 Sep 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) departed Holy Loch for Scapa Flow. She made the passage together with HMS Stoic (Lt. P.B. Marriot, DSO, RN) and HMS Varangian (Lt. J. Nash, DSC, RN). They were escorted by HMS La Capricieuse (Cdr. G.W. Dobson, RNR). (8)

23 Sep 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) arrived at Scapa Flow. She departed later the same day for Blyth. Passage was made together with HMS Uther (Lt. P.S. Beale, RN) that was to proceed to Dundee. They were escorted by HMS Scalby Wyke (A/Skr.Lt. C.A. Grimmer, RNR). (8)

24 Sep 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) arrived at Blyth where she was to refit. (8)

29 Sep 1943
HMS Unbroken (Lt. B.J.B. Andrew, DSC, RN) commenced refit at the Blyth Dry Dock Co.

8 Feb 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) shifted from Blyth to South Shields.

9 Feb 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) shifted from South Shields to Blyth.

12 Feb 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (9)

14 Feb 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (9)

24 Feb 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (9)

28 Feb 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (9)

29 Feb 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (9)

1 Mar 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (10)

2 Mar 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (10)

3 Mar 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (10)

8 Mar 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (10)

9 Mar 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (10)

10 Mar 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (10)

13 Mar 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (10)

14 Mar 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (10)

16 Mar 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) departed Blyth for Lerwick. The Admiralty was under the impression that the damaged Tirpitz might be leaving Norway for Germany to effect repairs. So a whole lot of submarine were sent to patrol off Norway including several submarines from training flotillas including HMS Unbroken. (8)

17 Mar 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) arrived at Lerwick. Later the same day she departed for her 21th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the Norwegian coast to the north of Bergen.

For the daily positions of HMS Unbroken during this patrol see the map below.

(8)

19 Mar 1944
At 0847 hours, in position 60°56'N, 04°37.1'E (entrance of Sognefjord), HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) struck bottom at a depth of 70 feet. (8)

21 Mar 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) was recalled from patrol and was to return to Lerwick where she arrived later the same day ending her 21th war patrol. (8)

24 Mar 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) departed Lerwick for Blyth. She made the passage together with HMS Unbending (Lt. J.D. Martin, DSC, RN) and HMS Trusty (Lt. M.F.R. Ainslie, DSO, DSC, RN). They were escorted by HMS Loch Monteith (T/Lt. K.W. Richardson, RNR). (8)

25 Mar 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) arrived at Blyth. (8)

1 Apr 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (11)

5 Apr 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (11)

6 Apr 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (11)

7 Apr 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (11)

10 Apr 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (11)

11 Apr 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (11)

13 Apr 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (11)

14 Apr 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (11)

20 Apr 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (11)

21 Apr 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (11)

25 Apr 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) conducted exercises off Blyth with a training class of new submariners. (11)

5 May 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) departed Blyth for Rosyth.

6 May 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) arrived at Rosyth.

30 May 1944
HMS Unbroken (Lt. P.L. Langley-Smith, RN) was decommissioned on this date and loaned to the U.S.S.R.

10 Jun 1944

HMS Unbroken departed Rosyth for Dundee where she arrived the same day.

She was loaned to the Soviet Navy and renamed as B.2 (phonetically V.2) and, manned by a Russian crew, sailed from Lerwick on 26 July. She was one of four such submarines, the others were B.1 (ex Sunfish), B.3 (ex Unison) and V.4 (ex Ursula). During the trip to Northern Russia, B.1 was sunk in error by a RAF aircraft. B.2 arrived at Polyarnoe on 3 August. During her career under the Soviet flag, she sank the German submarine chaser UJ 1220 on 12 October 1944. She was returned to the UK in 1949.

Media links


Unbroken

Mars, Alastair, D.S.O, D.S.C. and bar.

Sources

  1. ADM 199/424
  2. ADM 199/2573
  3. ADM 199/1222
  4. ADM 173/17400
  5. ADM 173/17392
  6. ADM 199/1225
  7. ADM 199/651 + ADM 234/353
  8. ADM 199/1826
  9. ADM 173/19211
  10. ADM 173/19212
  11. ADM 173/19213

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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