13 December, 1943, after 12.16: The confrontation.Still under control but trailing oil and smoke, U-172
presents her bow - and thus the smallest possible target - to the hard-maneuvering USS Osmond Ingram, intent on a possible ramming of the boat while firing at her with all her weaponry. Gun 2, already at maximum depression, could fire no more, while Gun 1 kept on shelling the conning tower. A previous hit ignited the gas bottle intended for inflating the Aphrodite radar decoy balloons, sending a dense smoke pall in the wake of the boat. The six crewmen on the conning tower are crouching, keeping their MG's at the ready, waiting to come within firing range of the destroyer. None of the evacuating crew can be seen on this print; escaping the boat at this stage was a deadly matter: splashes in the water on the left of the conning tower denote a strafing run from one of the two attacking FM-1 Wildcats. The bow of U-172
is swaying through a patch of oil she lost earlier while submerged; the large disturbance in the right center of the picture was caused by one D/C dropped at 12.13 by USS Clemson on her last attack run.