lonthly. intelli pnoe report No.




AAF ..


This Document

CGSC Form 160
SM .,. K1

Army-CGSC-P3-1966-20 Mar 53-5M



A. Allied Shipping Losses. . . . . . . . .

B. C.

Attacks on Convoys. Genrman Strategy in







. of






Protection .
.t Bases . .


. .

. .

. . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

..... . ....

. .

Submarine Warfare .











highly caution











ALLIED SHIPPING LOSSES During the month of February the downward trend of sinkings of Allied and neu-

tral merchant vessels evident since November was abruptly reversed.

In March, the

enemy submarines were even more successful with the result that losses were more than 60% greater than in February, reaching the high level of last October. Reports for

the early part of April are more encouraging, indicating a sharply lower rate of sinkings. Chart I shows the record of monthly tonnage losses as a result of submarine action since September 1939, as well as the tonnage loss of tankers and cargo passenger vessels. The curves shown on the chart are based on British figures prior to The American figures include ships

September 1942, and American figures thereafter.

that may have been used for transporting troops, regardless of whether the ships were classified as commissioned auxiliaries. The loss of ships from enemy action of all types, including mines, air and surface craft, as well as submarines, is shown in the following table for the months of March and February 1943. The February figures have been revised slightly from the

totals shown in this report last month as more accurate information concerning sinkings during the month became available.



Qi7: r

March 1943 Are a North Atlantic Convoy Area . Mid-Atlantic Area . . Gulf Sea Frontier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ships 37 2 1 5 6 20 15 9 13 3 3 114 6 107 1 TOTAL Note: 114 Gross Tons 231,135 11,090 2,493 1 27,386 32,343 95,436 87,800 68,640 73,467 19,339 2 7,435 656,564 2 67 16 49 2 67 7,363 11,988 386,597 125,531 260,931 135 386,597 2 7 8 5 5 February 1943 Ships 34 1 Gross Tons 216,130 4,312

. . . ... . .... . . . . . . ...

Caribbean Sea Frontier - Eastern. Caribbean Sea Frontier - Western ... Brazilian Area. ........... Northeast Atlantic - Northern . . Northeast Atlantic - Southern . . . . . . Southeast Atlantic ..


9,528 35,541 48,547 27,915 17,316

Mediterranean and Red Sea ....... Indian Ocean Area . . . . . . . . . Pacific - Central ... . . . . . . Pacific - Southwest . . .

. .

. . . . . . TOTAL

Talkers . . .

. .

. . . ...

608,546 128 656,564

Cargo and Passenger Vessels . Small Vessels 50-1000 tons..

Tabulation includes 9 vessels overdue and presumed lost in March.


This month marked the return of the U-boats to coastal waters with a conseOne ship was sunk in the

quent increase in the number of sinkings in these areas.

Gulf Sea Frontier,-the first since September; five in the Caribbean, and five more off the bulge of Brazil. Shipping around the southeast coast of Africa also suffered from increased submarine activity during March, nine merchant vessels being lost. In addition to these successes in areas at considerable distance from their bases, the U-boats intensified their efforts against merchant shipping along the northern convoy routes. Indeed, the increase in sinkings was very general, extending to almost all parts of the North and South Atlantic. LOSS OF CONVOYED SHIPS: The percentage of ships lost that were either in convoy or

were stragglers from convoys remained high during March, 84 of the 114 merchant vessels sunk falling in this category. It is noteworthy that 34 of these losses were concentrated in three convoys. All of these heavily attacked convoys were east-bound and presumably loaded with highly strategic war materials. In previous months the Further heaviest attacks fell on west-bound convoys carrying less essential cargoes. Sections I-B and II-C. 2

detail on the North Atlantic convoy operations for the month of March is included in



TYPE OF SHIPS SUN1qER AL: of the 114 vessels lost in March were tankers. This proportion is markedly lower


than in previous months. In
February, for example, 16
tankers totalling 125,531 o


gross tons were sunk.



U-boat fleet accounted for 101" of these merchant vessel sinkings or a total of
587,835 gross tons. Twelve





vessels aggregating 67,861 gross tons were lost due to action of enemy aircraft, and one small vessel was sunk by a mine in the North Sea.












an unfortunately large number of marine casualties in March. Twenty-three ships, as well as

CHART II March 1943

their cargoes, were removed from further service in the war effort by this cause. DAMAGED BUT NOT SUNK: In addition to vessels destroyed, forty-two ships were damaged

by enemy action during the month but either succeeded in reaching port or were beached.


ATTACKS ON CONVOYS A wealth of interesting data on convoy activities between the general region of

Newfoundland and the United Kingdom is contained in the March report of the Commander of Task Force 24, United States Atlantic Fleet. this report are given below: January . . . . Number of Ship Crossings. . . . Average Number of Convoys at Sea. . . . . . . . Average Number of M/V's per convoy.. Average Number of U/B's at Sea. . .... Average Number of U/B's per Convoy ..... Average Number of Escorts per Convoy. ... Average Number of M/V's per Escort. .... . Number of M/V's sunk. . . . . . ......... /V's sunk.......... oI Percentag *This report apparently wasl bas total~~i 42 shps t It ap ahL
duri ng

Selected significant figures from

February 510 4.89 45.5 47.0 9.6 7.2 6.3 24 4.71

March 617 5.52 44.0 56.7 10.3 7.1 6.3 35* 5.68

581 5.64 38.5 44.7 8.0 6.3 6.1 2 0.35


data available early in April.

re lost in this general area



ailb er



Important March changes in the convoy battle in the North Atlantic have been, first, the volume of shipping increased, second, the average boats increased relatively more than the volume of shipping and, third, gained more than either of these factors, with the result that both the of shipping lost and the sinkings per U-boat increased.

appear to number of Usinkings percentage

Ship crossings numbered 617 during the month with the average number of convoys at sea amounting to 5.52 in March as compared with 4.89 in February, while the average number of ships per convoy was only slightly smaller than in the preceding month. The loss in terms of shipping volume was heavy with 5.68% of the merchant vessels lost as compared with 4.71% in February and 4.44% in December. A somewhat encouraging factor, however, is that enemy successes per U-boat operating in the area were smaller than in December, although slightly larger than in February. The sinkings were largely concentrated in four badly hit convoys, HX-228, SC-122, SC-121, and HX-229. Each of these four convoys was beset by a large pack of U-boats; those on SC-121 and HX-228 being estimated at ten each, while as many as 26 were thought to be in the vicinity of HX-229 and SC-122 at the time when they were being attacked simultaneously. Variations in the volume of shipping and in convoy protection were not sufficiently great to account for the marked increase in sinkings and it appears that the following factors were primarily determinative: (1) Increase in Submarines. The number of U-boats at sea in this area averaged 56.7 as compared with 47.0 in February, 44.7 in January and 37.0 in December. In addition, each U-boat had somewhat better operating results since, on the average, the sinkings per U-boat-month was .6 ships in March as compared with .5 in February. This increase in sinkings per U-boat was due probably to other factors such as unfortunate routing, weather and, possibly, the use of new weapons and equipment. (2)Routing. Storms, ice-floes or other factors required routing three of the four badly hit convoys south of the great circle route,--an area that is outside of normal air range and one that had proved excessively dangerous to.convoys in February and in December. Only one convoy on the most northern routes suffered a very damaging attack. (3) Weather. Weather, particularly on the routes south of the great circle, was less severe than in February which made it easier for U-boats to sight, trail and attack convoys. (4) Possible New Weapon. It is believed that some enemy submarines are using a new torpedo that is probably acoustically controlled. The extent to which such a torpedo is being used is not known but conceivably it could account for some increase in sinkings. It is also believed that U-boats are now equipped with detection devices which may be giving them in certain cases an an- warning of the approach of surface craft or aircraft.



The enemy's main use of U-boats during March was in the North Atlantic in an effort to intercept European bound convoys. Roughly, there were about 57 U-boats operating along the North Atlantic convoy routes or slightly more than one half of the U-boats believed to have been at sea in all areas. In addition, there was a wide dispersal of U-boats to the United States coastal waters, the Caribbean, the Brazilian Coast, the West African Coast and the Cape of Good Hope-Nozambique area. To accomplish this concentration in the North Atlantic convoy routes and this dispersal to distant areas without increasing the totalnumber of U-boats at sea, it, was necessary for the enemy to reduce the heavy concentration that was formerly maintained in the Azores-West African region. The best available intelligence has indicated for some months that the enemy had in the neighborhood of 450 U-boats and, furthermore, that production was so outstripping destruction that his total U-boat force was increasing at a rate of ten to fifteen submarines per month although some recent unsupported reports have indicated that air bombing has reduced U-boat production below this level. Under such conditions it was expected that the total number of U-boats at sea would tend to increase steadily or, at least, rise to a peak with the start of spring. There is, however, no evidence to indicate such a result. In fact, it is estimated that the total of U-boats at sea has been relatively constant for several months and well below a temporary peak of nearly 130 in November during the effort to hamper the expeditionary force to Africa. Moreover, it appears that a further decrease took place in the early weeks of April. The reduction of U-boat concentrations in the Azores area in order to harry shipping in distant areas is also strange if the enemy is actually capable of sustained operation of a much larger fleet at sea. Various explanations of this situation have been offered, such as shortages of oil or torpedoes, lack of trained crews and the hampering effect of bombing operations on the U-boat bases. There is little evidence of an oil or torpedo shortage and the training of twenty-five crews per month to man new U-boats and to replace crews lost should not be an impossible task. The most logical explanation seems to lie in the effect of bombing of the bases and the increasingly aggressive nature of air and surface attacks on U-boats at sea and air attacks on those in transit in and out of the Bay of Biscay. It is known that havoc has been wrought by bombs in these ports through the destruction of workers' homes, storage facilities, power and transportation facilities. It has long been known that if the layover time of U-boats in port could be lengthened as little as one week the effect would be to reduce the total number of U-boats at sea by as much as twenty-five per cent assuming that the enemy did not offset this result by drawing on additional reserves. In addition, increasingly strong air patrols over the approaches to the Bay of Biscay have been maintained which tend to force frequent submergence and thus lengthen the transit time in both directions. It is quite possible that destruction in the bases has been so great as to cause congestion and force U-boats to return to smaller and less wellequipped bases along the Norwegian coast. Except for those operating in the Iceland Area the useof such bases will result in a longer time in transit. Thus it seems not unlikely that the cumulative effect of'the strong RAF ard USAAF efforts to damage the primary U-boat bases is becoming apparent.

It o

would be a mistake,


however, to assume from this that the enemy's striking


0 0


power is in the process of
immediate and complete destruction, since it is possi-



o°°o$° 0 o000



ble that a substantial force
of U-boats is being held in reserve for use later in the






year if

important Allied

landings are attempted in
oEurope. 0 0\0

The following are the







more important capabilities of the enemy in the North and




South Atlantic,

stated in the

order of their probability:

'o ' a0d '


(1) Continuing heavy concentrations of U-boat packs the purpose of interdictshipping along the ing Allied convoy routes between Newfound-




I r Ioo


CHART III of enemy Estimated distribution the end of March U-boates toari Ubots toward of March the end

land and United Kingdom. (2) Attacking shipping along convoy routes between the United States and Gibraltar or West Africa.

(3) Operating minor groups of U-boats in various coastal and island areas of the Atlantic Ocean for the purpose of containing disproportionately large Allied anti-submarine forces in areas remote from the enemy's main effort. (4) Holding a portion of his forces in reserve to be utilized as a striking force if the Allies attempt a European invasion. (5) Operating U-boats for the purpose of laying mines in or near Allied harbor installations and of landing enemy agents and saboteurs along Allied shores or maintaining communications with them. While it is probable that he will exercise all of these capabilities in part, emphasis doubtless will continue to be placed upon the intercepting of convoys to To it he has Europe and Africa. This is the enemy's most vital strategic objective. been devoting over half of his U-boat forces at sea. A reasonably proportionate counter-effort equally vital of the Allies in these areas appears essential, not only because it is to the Allied cause that shipping through these areas should reach its

destination, but also because the density of the U-boats in proximity to such shipping provides the most fruitful "hunting" for offensive activities. The protection of the more concentrated Allied shipping in other areas is of continued importance, especially in the light of greater sinkings per U-boat in some of these scattered coastal zones. This, however, must be accomplished without lessening vigorous offensives against U-boats by sustained air hunts in areas of concentration at sea, by constantly attacking submarines in the Bay of Biscay bottleneck and by demolishing the enemy's bases and construction yards. The U-boat continues to be a major threat to all Allied military operations, but it

appears that the continued growth of Allied air power is being reflected in the U-boat operatic-is just as it is on land in Tunisia and in the war output of Europe itself.





Eastern Sea Frontier and Gulf Sea Frontier The average daily density of 1.8. Less than two submarines estimated in these areas in March was of water is

submarines per day concentration, but

in over a million square miles it is a significant increase

hardly a formidable average The of 0.3. number

over the February

of hours

flown by Army and Navy aircraft of more than 8,000 hours. A








contributing factor to this trend

is the gradual acquisition by AAFAC

units of B-24 aircraft with their long endurance. few detacbments had completed their tranAt the present

As of March 31 three entire squadrons and a

sition at the Operational Training Unit, and were equipped with B-24's. time, it is estimated that two additional squadrons It may be expected then that not

per month will be processed at, increase in hours flown will


only a further

result but the

area that can be covered by land based aircraft will be greatly extended. by Army and Navy aircraft is presented in the following

A summary of hours flown


Detailed operational statistics for AAFAC Wings and Squadrons may be found in

section X. PATROL AAFAC........ .. Army CAPCP* . . 4592 9382 14334 ESCORT 742 2275 3017 SPECIAL 684

TRAINING 6417 115 6532

TOTAL HOURS 1279 11772 24567



Navy Planes*. Navy Blimps .


. .

9396 3016 12412

4302 1617 6119

1065 239 1304


14763 5072









*Civilian Air Patrol planes are light, single-engine civilian types, and their patrol area is limited to a narrow zone along the coast where the The majority of the depth of the water restricts submarine activity. planes used by the U.S. Navy in the Eastern Sea Frontier are singlemotored observation types which have a limited radius of action compared with the Navy PBY type and the medium and heavy bombers used by the Antisubmarine Command.

Squadrons on Foreign Service 1st and 2nd Antisubmarine Squadrons: During March the 1st and 2nd Antisubmarine

Squadrons, operating as the 2037th Provisional Wing, changed station from United Kingdom to Northwest Africa. The first plane arrived at Port Lyautey on March 9, Three 1943

and operations later the

in cooperation with the Navy were begun on March 19th. sunk in this theater by an AAFAC 2nd Aron. Details of


first German U-boat

aircraft was credited the attack are pre-

to Lt. W.L. Sanford and his crew,

of the

sented under a subsequent heading.

The 1st and 2nd Antisubmarine Squadrons have done valuable work in England and have pioneered in solving the problems incidental to foreign detached service. A record of their operations, attacks and sightings according to records available at these Headquarters 1s as follows: Missions Number Hours 9 74 30 257 56 .483 94 928
10 43 113 372

November, 1942 December January, 1943 February
March - From England March. - From Africa

U-boats Sighted Attacked 0 0 2 2 0 0 10 6
2 1 1 1

Seven times aircraft of the Squadrons encountered enemy aircraft and three enemy planes were damaged or destroyed as a result. One of our aircraft is believed to have been lost as the result of attack by enemy aircraft. Of especial interest was an effort in February made in cooperation with the Coastal Command during a period when it was believed an unusually large number of U-boats were passing through the approaches to the Bay of Biscay. This consisted of intense patrolling in an outer area, largely west of 150 W., by the 1st and 2nd Squadrons and in an inner area by British aircraft. Based on estimates of the U-boats in the area and on the assumption that they would remain fully surfaced all day, it was believed in advance that 12 sightings should be made. Actually 13 sightings resulting in 7 attacks were made in this area, - most of them by AAFAC squadrons. In the inner area the British aircraft made 9 sightings and 3 attacks. According to reports received the experience gained by these squadrons in England was of great value and they are high in their praise of the Coastal Command which the Commanding Officer describes as the "best organized and trained anti-submarine organization in existence." The Coastal Command Review for February 1943 states that the impending withdrawal of "the two Anti-Submarine Liberator Squadrons (U.S.A.A.F.) is noted with real regret." In fact, these two Squadrons made 30% of the sightings and 19% of the attacks recorded by anti-submarine flights from the United Kingdom and Iceland during February. Port Lyautey situated between Casablanca and Spanish Morocco, is a United States base, from which PBY's have been flying antisubmarine missions for several months. Facilities for replacement, parts and repair of B-24 type aircraft were non-existant so that one of the tactical B-24's had to be earmarked as a spare parts plane. In order to conserve aircraft, the number and duration of missions had to be temporarily decreased. From the 19th to the 31st of March, 43 missions were flown totalling 372 hours. 9th Antisubmarine Squadron: The 9th Antisubmarine Squadron based at Trinidad flew 910 hours on patrol during March, resulting in 3 sightings and two attacks. Although.the 9th Antisubmarine Squadron flew less than ten percent of the total hours flown in the Trinidad area during March, it was fortunate enough to record three of the four sightings made in the area during the month. The attacks were described in the February issue of this publication under the title, "Killer Hunt in the Caribbean."

Although equipped with B-18 airplanes only, which lack sufficient range to cover the area adequately, the 9th Antisubmarine Squadron flew a total of 3,783 hours out of Trinidad since November 1942, resulting in 7 sightings and 2 attacks. Before the end of March this squadron returned to the United States and the 7th Antisubmarine Squadron was moved to Trinidad to replace it, beginning operations late in the month. 19th Antisubmarine Squadron: The 19th Antisubmarine Squadron moved to Newfoundland during March to augment air coverage in that area and began operations from Gander. An exhaustive survey of the base facilities and flying conditions in Greenland was made by the AAFAC Staff and it was decided to reinforce anti-submarine units in Newfoundland that would utilize Greenland as an advance operating base. A new provisional headquarters, temporarily under the 25th Wing, has been established in St. Johns, Newfoundland. This development is one of the most important in the history of the Antisubmarine Command and it involved a large amount of planning and action. Substantial progress on it has been made in April. As a result, trans-Atlantic convoys should have greatly increased protection in the entire area stretching between Newfoundland and Iceland in the very near future. 20th Antisubmarine Squadron: The 421st Bombardment Squadron, located in Newfoundland, was redesignated as the 20th Antisubmarine Squadron and assigned to AAFAC on February 8, 1943. Although the Squadron has only a limited number of aircraft in service, it flew 370:30 hours during March and made seven sightings resulting in two attacks. Two airplanes on March 16th made six sightings of submarines, -- of which two sightings are believed to have been of the same U-boat. Each airplane made an attack but in both instances the bomb bay doors failed to function properly with the consequence that only one depth bomb could be released in each attack. A slight oil slick was observed after one attack but there was no other evidence of damage.

During March, air and surface craft delivered a total of at least 113 attacks on enemy submarines for an average of approximately one attack per U-boat at sea. This is substantially more than the forty-five attacks reported in February and thirty two in January. However, a direct comparison is not possible on the basis of these figures as a number of attacks in the eastern half of the Atlantic are included this month, whereas, in previous months, little information of action in this area was available for inclusion. This unusually high figure attests both to the growing efficiency of Allied anti-submarine operations and to improved inter-Allied coordination and communications. It also reflects the fact that in a month of high sinkings of merchant vessels, U-boats were forced to be more reckless and to increase their exposure to attack. More than half the attacks were delivered by Coastal Command of the RAF, sixteen of them the result of an unusual air blitz over the Bay of Biscay. It has been noted that U-boat traffic in the Bay tends to fluctuate;- at times there are many in transit, at other times but few. An operation was planned whereby increased and continuous coverage would be maintained during a period when a concentration of submarines was


. a

expected to be passing through these waters. This plan had been carried out with considerable success during a period in early February. Again in March, in the course of one week, 1,340 hours were flown resulting in 27 sightings and sixteen attacks. No final evaluation of these attacks has been received but a number of them appear very promising. In seven instances, the U-boat was surfaced or partly surfaced when the depth bombs were dropped. No survivors are reported but the appearance of significant quantities of oil and
bubbles is mentioned. More than two per day in so restricted an




area attests to the success of the operation and justifies repetition under similar conditions.

In the North Atlantic Convoy area, surface escorts made a number of excellent attacks. Preliminary reports indicate 22 attacks resulting in at least four kills. U-444 was rammed and sunk on March 11 by joint action of Harvester and Aconite and four prisoners were taken. Later the same day, Aconite attacked and sank U-432, yielding twenty one prisoners. Harvester was subsequently torpedoed and sunk as she stopped to repair damage incurred in the ramming. Aircraft patrolling in the North Atlantic delivered 35 attacks of which some record has reached this Command. No evaluation of these actions has been received. However, two U-boats attacked on the surface southeast of Iceland were last observed in almost vertical positions and machine gun fire was directed against the keel of one of them. After both attacks, large quantities of oil were seen and in one instance considerable debris appeared. In ten other reported instances, attacks were made on surfaced U-boats, of which at least three were probably sunk. In the Mediterranean, two attacks by RAF planes were assessed as lethal. One attack In the vicinity of the Canaries by a B-24 of the 2nd Antisubmarine Squadron resulted in the sinking of the U-boat and is reported in detail in Section VI-A. In the waters northeast of Trinidad, a PBY executed a successful attack which was described last month. Although assessments are preliminary and incomplete, it is estimated that a total of 15 to 20 attacks will be evaluated as resulting in U-boat sinkings or probable sinkings during March. Three fourths of these were accomplished by aircraft. Thus, March appears to have been one of the most successful months on record, exceeded only by November when a large number of attacks were made on the concentrations attempting to prevent the landing of the expeditionary force in Africa. The accompanying chart shows the positions of all aircraft attacks on submarines during February and March on which information has been received at these Headquarters. Attacks in which presence of a submarine is doubtful are not shown and it is probable

that the actual number of aircraft attacks on submarines exceeds the number shown. It is evident that U-boats have reason.for increasing fear of aircraft, and the number of attacks by land-based aircraft carried out far from land is particularly worthy of note. More and more attacks far from land are, certain as additional VLR aircraft become available.

Land Based Air Coverage. Substantial increases are being made in the number of VLR aircraft available for escort and protective sweep operations around convoys. Developments in this respect are important and promise nearly to eliminate the mid-ocean gap in coverage on the more northerly routes. Newfoundland and Greenland are becoming important bases from which long range aircraft can reach far at sea and increased forces are contemplated for the Caribbean, Brazilian and African areas. Heavier Escorts. The Commander of Task Force 24 reports that the number of escorting vessels at sea with the North Atlantic convoys, having shown no change during several months prior to March, has now begun to increase and the average for March was 11% over that for February. In the matter of escorting vessels the Allied Nations are fortunate in that three British support groups have now been assigned to duty in the North Atlantic. One of these is already in operation and gave valuable assistance during March. She joined SC-123 at a critical time and may well have assisted in averting attacks. When the threat to SC-123 passed, this group shifted to HX-230 which was being threatened. In neither case did attacks on these convoys develop, the one ship sunk out of HX-230 being a straggler when torpedoed. It is expected that as the DE (Destroyer-Escort) program gains momentum, escort strength will be progressively increased. Aircraft Carriers. March marked the beginning of planned aerial escort of convoys in the North Atlantic by carrier based aircraft. One carrier was at sea for eight days. Because of weather, flying was possible on only five of these days with occasional showers and snow on four of the five. The sea ran moderate to heavy swells on three of the five days and was relatively calm with a few white caps on the other two. Eighteen flights were made for a total of 38.9 hours, an average of 2.16 hours per flight. All flights were by TBF planes having ASV radars. Two attacks were made, one on a certain U-boat and the other on a possible one, more probably a fish. Another possible sighting of a periscope was also made. A preliminary report from another carrier operation indicates 23.3 hours of flying with no contacts by aircraft. However, shortly after planes had searched the region of the convoy and landed on the carrier, a D/F contact was obtained and a U-boat sighted and attacked 20 miles astern the convoy by a surface escort vessel. This last incident suggests the use of a radar detecting device by the U-boats, or that an especially alert lookout for planes is now maintained even when out of range of land based planes, - a natural immediate consequence of the enemy's discovery that we are using carrier-based coverage, but one that should give small comfort to U-boat crews. Helicopters. Section VII deals with the possible future use of helicopters. As far as is known at these Headquarters, use of helicopters at the present time is purely experimental in spite of stories that have appeared in the press indicating extensive use of these craft as an anti-submarine weapon.








"- .












OE 9 .9"'LREN


E -


HE8V6 ..

,; AI.I










Bobn ad nUbatBssadCneso


V u

ActivityAVE Cour-lrh 1943



Although the month of March saw a new record established for the number of tons of bombs dropped on Europe, there was a decrease (as against the February figures) in the number of attacks directed at the home bases of Germany's submarine campaign. In February seven attacks were made on operating bases and eight on construction yards. In March there were four attacks on the bases and three on construction yards. Several industrial cities such as Berlin, Essen, Duisberg and Stuttgart which produce component parts of submarines have been targets for repeated attacks. Chart V indicates the number of raids that have been made on U-boat bases and related strategic objectives during the first three months of 1943. During March the RAF and U.S. Eighth Air Force bombed three of the operating bases on the west coast of France: St. Nazaire (twice), Lorient and Brest. Both of the St. Nazaire raids were heavy; yet they were carried out by the RAF at a total cost of only three aircraft. On the 22nd 300 RAF bombers attacked this base successfully despite bad weather conditions, a significant sign of progress in the mastering of this important meteorological problem. On the 29th another heavy and concentrated attack, which has been compared in effectiveness to the 1,000-ton raid of February 28, scored hits on docks and started large fires. Brest and Lorient were pounded by USAAF bombers on March 6th. In this operation AA fire was reported as moderate to intense, while the fighter reaction was only moderate. After the second attack on St. Nazaire some observers estimated that the heavy battering this port has received may necessitate its abandonment as a major submarine base. This prediction seems over-optimistic at this time, but there can be no doubt that great damage is being done to St. Nazaire. The Lorient attack is believed to have stopped traffic for several days, while the electric power station is thought to have been put out of action and the arsenal destroyed. Photographs show most of the houses in the town roofless and gutted. Several centers of submarine construction and repair activity were lined up in the sights of RAF and USAAF bombardiers; Rotterdam, Wilhelmshaven, Nuremburg, Hamburg and Vegesack among them. Especially noteworthy was the attack on the U-boat construction yards at Vegesack - an outstanding success which was cited as final proof of the efficacy of the daylight precision-bombing tactics of the USAAF. More than 115 bombers made the 800-mile round trip, penetrating deeper into the Reich than they had yet gone. A record load of high explosives was dropped with a high percentage of hits. Photographs of the submarine-building ships revealed that seven of the fifteen U-boats under construction at Vegesack were severely damaged, and interpreters who examined the pictures estimated that the yards would be unable to make a substantial contribution to Germany's submarine construction program for many months. The unescorted Fortresses and Liberators which made the raid lost only two of their numbers in fighting off 150 attempts at interception. Meanwhile, they ran up an imposing score against the German pilots; 52 enemy fighters destroyed, 20 probably destroyed, and 23 damaged.

Among the related targets bombed in March, transportation centers figured prominently. Important junctions on railroad lines leading to the coast and the U-boat bases were given special attention: Rouen was hit three times, Morlaix (where a 300-foot viaduct offers a particularly attractive target) twice, and Rennes once. Two interesting defensive moves were noted during the month. A redistribution of German fighter strength was effected, apparently with the intent of bolstering defenses over the sensitive west coast of France. And on the 22nd heavy bombers over Wilhelmshaven and St. Nazaire had to find their targets through a smoke screen. Judging from results this screen was not overly effective, for the USAAF Fortresses and Liberators packed the target with hits at Wilhelmshaven, and the RAF raid on St. Nazaire was termed successful. Evacuation of the civilian population continues along the European coast line. Lorient has long since been abandoned by its non-essential inhabitants, and St. Nazaire recently lost 55,000 of its occupants. For "security reasons" La Pallice is being evacuated by civilians, and "a state of emergency" has been proclaimed for the entire Netherlands coastal area. Extra trains carried all women and children from Wilhelmshaven after the February 26th bombing. Obviously, bombing of submarine bases is not solely responsible for these moves; the fear of invasion plays a large part in the decision to issue evacuation orders. Still, there is evidence in the Lorient, St. Nazaire and Wilhelmshaven evacuations of the power of the anti-submarine bombing campaign.



The pattern of intensified anti-submarine warfare is now becoming clear and consists of increased protection of convoys through heavier escorts plus the full weight of growing air power utilized in four ways:. (1)augmented convoy protection through nearly continuous air coverage and protective sweeps by strategically located VLR aircraft and carrier-based aircraft, (2)concentrated offensive air operations in the approaches to the Bay of Biscay, (3) intensive air operations in other areas of frequent U-boat concentration such as the Caribbean and the North African coast and (4), continued air offensive operations against the U-boat bases, yards and component parts factories. Differences of opinion exist as to the relative efficiency of these various air offensive operations with proponents of each advancing excellent arguments. Irrespective of the merit of the opposing contentions, the air offensive against the U-boat appears to be gathering momentum in all phases and, as noted in the section on German strategy, may account for the apparent lack of increase in the U-boats at sea. With additional aircraft and new weapons soon to be available and with the new offensive spirit supplanting the older one of simply protecting shipping at sea, it is expected that U-boat casualties will soon begin to outstrip production.


It has long been known that aircraft are of immense value in protecting convoys and recent issues of this report have outlined the history of several convoys and shown pertinent charts bearing on the subject. Data has been lacking, however, to make a comprehensive study that would evaluate accurately the degree of safety provided by air escort. A most comprehensive study of the subject has been made recently by British authorities. While, admittedly, data is still insufficient for complete accuracy, the results are convincing as to the extraordinary value provided by air coverage. Much of the report deals with surface craft protection, the size and speed of convoys and other factors that are not of primary concern to those engaged in the air war on submarines. These conclusions may be summarized briefly as follows: 1. The present scale of surface escorts is not adequate to ensure relative safety of convoys unless there is air cover. 2. Increasing the average surface escort from 6 to 9 vessels would reduce losses by about 25%. It is estimated that as the result of both offensive and defensive activities each escort vessel saves about 2 ships per year from being sunk. 3. Sinkings per convoy do not appear to increase substantially as the size of convoys is enlarged. 4. The number of U-boats attacked per U-boat operating does not increase with the escort size which suggests that surface escorts have mainly a protective and defensive value. 5. The value of speed in the convoy is clearly marked. An increase in speed from 7 to 9 knots serves to reduce losses by 43%. The portion of the report of chief interest to the Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command is that which.deals with the protection afforded to convoys through air cover. This section concludes that for the convoys studied air cover of four eight-hour sorties per day served to reduce losses by 64% as compared with theoretical reductions of 25% if escorts were increased from 6 to 9 or 43% if speed were increased from 7 to 9 knots. In making this report, study was given to the records of all shadowed convoys in the North Atlantic from August to December 1942. The principal factors were the number of days and nights during which U-boats were known to be in contact, the size of the pack, the ship losses during the period and whether or not air cover was provided. It was found that there were 43 convoy days (dawn to dawn) when shadowing took place while no air cover was available, and during these days, 75 ships were torpedoed by packs averaging 5.3 U-boats in size. On the other hand, there were 38 days of shadowing in which air cover was provided through 147 sorties and only 24 ships were torpedoed by packs of the same size. The average air cover was only two hours per sortie, yet 62 sightings and 43 attacks on U-boats were made or 2.4 sorties per sighting and 3.4 per attack.

This comparison indicates that if it had not been for air cover these convoys would have been expected to lose 67 ships rather than 24 or a saving of 43 ships; -one-third of a ship per sortie. The report estimates the operational life of a B-24 or a B-17 at 40 sorties but this may be unduly pessimistic since past experience of the Coastal Command indicates a life of roughly seventy sorties. Even on the basis of a 40-sortie life, however, savings of one-third of a ship per sortie indicates savings of 13 ships by defensive action for each aircraft expended. The report goes on, however, to compute the offensive value of these sorties by using the experience of the Coastal Command that 8% of the attacks by aircraft on U-boats are lethal. In these air covered convoys, one attack was made for every 3.4 sorties which, on an 8% lethal basis, means one U-boat sunk for every 42 sorties. It is further computed that the sinking of one U-boat is equivalent to saving 3 ships. Thus the report estimates that each long range aircraft during its operational life will save 16 ships; -- 13 through defensive action and 3 through offensive action. While all of these figures are based on somewhat inadequate data and while the computed savings through offensive action may be questioned if the U-boat destroyed is immediately replaced by another one from the U-boat reserve, the comparison of a savings ,of 2 ships per year per escort vessel, with a saving of 16 ships in the 40mission operational life of an aircraft is very convincing. This large saving would be made in a five month period on a basis of two missions per week. Even if due allowance is made for inadequate data or statistical error, the value of aircraft seems amply demonstrated. It should be recognized that the value of aircraft to threatened convoys has been due primarily to two factors: (1) The use of aircraft forces U-boats to operate further at sea, thus making interception more difficult and limiting the area in which large scale attacks can be developed. (2) The use of aircraft forces U-boats to remain submerged and to proceed at a very slow speed with the result that packs are hampered in gathering in time to make a large scale attack or the contact with the convoy is lost through its evasive action. The extremely high value of VLR aircraft in this connection is due largely to the favorable circumstances for action around a convoy in which a large number of U-boats are present in a relatively small area and during a period in which most of them will be on the surface a large proportion of the time in order to keep up with, or gather around, the convoy. No such return would appear if all routine coastal patrols were included but this study was limited to convoy protection and, as often pointed out in these reports, the submarine war is rapidly becoming a struggle primarily between the trans-Atlantic convoy and the U-boat pack. The sporadic attacks by U-boats in coastal areas are in the nature of holding attacks designed largely to disperse and to contain our anti-submarine forces in areas far removed from the place where the enemy is making his main effort, i.e., the North Atlantic.


It was reported in last month's issue of this publication that a recent study of attacks on submarines in the U.S. Strategic Area during the year 1942 had revealed that only 4% of the attacks could be assessed as lethal. The percentage of attacks that failed to prevent the return of the U-boat to its base was, therefore, as high as 96%. This was true of attacks by both air and surface craft. In order to determine, in the case of the aircraft attacks, the reasons for the failure of so many attacks, a further more detailed analysis was made of the attacks during the last six months of 1942. In this period, there were 296 aircraft attacks in the U.S. Strategic Area, of which 219, or 74% were assessed to have been attacks where a U-boat was present.* These attacks may be summarized as follows: No. of Attacks July-Dec., 1942 11 50 67 91 TOTAL 219

Estimated Results of Attack Sunk or probably sunk Probably damaged Insufficient evidence of damage No damage

It will be noted that, during this period, 5% of the attacks resulted in sinking or probably sinking the U-boat and 23% damaged the U-boat but did not sink it; indicating a somewhat better record for the second than for the first half of the year. In another 31% of the cases there was insufficient evidence of damage. Comparison of this last group with the attacks which resulted in either sinking or damaging the enemy submarine has disclosed no very significant differences in either the conditions surrounding the attack or the tactics employed by the attacking crew. However, the remaining 41%, that is, the 91 attacks which resulted in no damage to the U-boat, reveal certain very interesting facts when studied in detail. The report submitted,by the pilot of the attacking aircraft, the comments of the Commanding Officer of the squadron, and all other endorsements have been noted. An effort has been made to determine from these data the principal cause of the failure of each attack. The results are summarized in the following table:

*Attacks by blimps and CAP aircraft are excluded from this analysis because of the different circumstances involved. Also excluded are attacks involving more than one aircraft or aircraft coordinated with surface craft.

REASONS FOR FAILURE OF ATTACK (Aircraft Attacks on U-boats, Assessed as Resulting in No Damage) A. Attack Delivered Too Late U-boat detected plane at too great a distance . ........ . Too slow in executing attack. Insufficient opportunity to make attack ............. .... ............ Reason undeterminable ...... B. Tactical Errors Bombing error . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Insufficient number of bombs dropped. . . . . . . . . . . Fuze setting too deep . . ..................... . Poorly coordinated attack, evidencing insufficient experience . Mechanical Failures Bombs failed to release .... ....... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Firing switch failed to opperate . Intervalometer failure. . ................ .... . Rack failure ................... Depth Bomb duds .......... . . ............ . Inadequate night illumination . ................. Miscellaneous . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... Attacked oil slick. Disappearing radar contact, attacked swirl ................. Neither A/S equipment nor personnel . . . . . . . . . . . . . Insufficient data to permit analysis. . .............. Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 8 5 1 4

29 3 3 4 39 6 2 2 2 3 1 10 3 1 4 20 28 95*





*In four instances, the bombing error was accompanied by mechanical failures of sufficient importance that it seemed unwise to attempt to select a single "cause". This accounts for the total of 95.

A. Attack Delivered Too Late., The importance of flying at the best patrol altitudes, maintaining a vigilant lookout, and making proper use of sun, moon and cloud cover in order to avoid detection by the U-boat, the importance of speed and the finest coordination on the part of the crew in delivering the attack, all these are strongly reemphasized by the figures on lateness of attack found under this heading. There were seventeen instances where the U-boat had been down so long when the depth bombs exploded that its location could not be known with any degree of accuracy, either in plan or depth. In eight of these attacks it was felt that the submarine detected the plane at a distance such that even the fastest anti-submarine plane and crew could not have arrived in time to make a successful attack. Slowness in executing the attack (the fault 'could lie with either the crew or the plane) accounted for another five cases. In addition, one attack failed when the depth bombs were hurriedly released on a submarine which was sighted just In the remaining four inbelow the surface directly beneath the plane. stances, the reasons for the tardy arrival could not be determined from the data available.

During the last six months of 1942 and up to the present time new tactics and equipment have been adopted to aid the crew in searching for and approaching a target. It is known, for instance, that on a clear day, aircraft are most easily spotted by U-boats when the planes are patrolling at 500 to 2000 feet. In cloudy weather the

most effective patrol is maintained by flying in and out of the base of the clouds. Camouflage issues. is a further aid in avoiding detection and has been discussed in previous development in this field is artificial lighting which tends to

The latest

eliminate the silhouette of a plane

in a head-on approach.

Experiments are now being

conducted with a B-24 equipped with these lights and preliminary results are promising. No matter how elaborate the equipment, however, the approach and bombing run demand the greatest skill and judgment on the part of the pilot and bombardier. Inten-

sive training must be followed by constant practice.

S.0.P.'s and directives on should be not only

searches, approaches, bombing runs, baiting tactics, radar, etc.,

read and memorized, but practiced again and again while on routine patrols. Confirmation of the value of arriving over the submarine before it has had a chance to submerge to any great depth or change its course drastically can be obtained from a study of the degree of sub trim at the time of attack. Comparing the

attacks which resulted in sinking or severely damaging the U-boat with those which

caused no damage, it becomes evident that the enemy submarine was surfaced or partially surfaced in 87% of the first class while only 17% of the non-damaging attacks were on surfaced U-boats. U-Boat Trim at Time of Attack
Attacks Which Sunk or Severely Damaged U-Boat . . . . . . . . 9 (39%) 3 (13%0)

Trim Fully surfaced . Decks awash. . .

Non-Damaging Attacks
6 (8%)

1 (1%)
2 (3%0)
4 3 (5%) (4%)

Stern and Conning Tower. Stern or Conning Tower Periscope... . . .

2 (9%)
6 (26%)

Down 0-15 seconds. . Down 15-30 seconds Down 30-45 seconds

2 (9%)
. .

11 (15%)
17 (23%)
9 18 1 (12%) (24%) (1%)


1 (4%)

Down over 45 seconds U-boat sighted submerged Object other than U-boat Total

3 (4%) 23 (100%o)
75 (100%)


Tactical Errors.

Thirty-nine of the attack failures are ascribed to this

group which is made up of incidents where the crew, upon arriving near the submarine or swirl, apparently made mistakes in the further execution of the attack. Present efforts to

By far the majority of these errors were bombing errors.

reduce this high wastage through more and more bombing training and practice, through

the development of bomb sights particularly adapted to this type of bombing, and through the proper spacing of bombs in the train were described in the February issue of this publication. Flat nose depth bombs, torpex, MAD, and sono-buoys are other recent developments with which our anti-submarine aircraft are already, or soon will be, equipped. These and other related subjects have been presented in detail in previous issues of this summary. Meanwhile, experiments continue on other improvements. Unquestionably, the greatest opportunity for improvement of the overall results of aircraft attacks on U-boats lies in this field. And the most important single factor affecting the accuracy of bombing is training. A number of attacks, for instance, failed because of nothing but "buck fever". Bomb bay doors opened too late, firing key switch in wrong position, practice bombs dropped instead of live bombs -these are errors resulting from lack of sufficient training and experience. Practice in dropping dummy bombs on friendly submarines or suitable submersible tow targets is the most valuable type of training to increase bombing accuracy. The February issue described a program of bombing practice inaugurated in the 26th Wing and also an improvised tow target developed by the 22nd Aron. It is expected that intensive bombing training with actual submarines and adequate tow targets will be available for all AAFAC units in the near future. C. Mechanical Failures. It must be remembered that the table presented only the principal reason for failure of each attack. Therefore, there were more instances of mechanical failures in the 91 non-damaging attacks than the table indicates, but in these additional cases, the location of the bombs or the period of time since the Uboat disappeared was such that it was believed that the attack would not have been successful even if there had been no mechanical failure. For the sake of the record, however, there were, among the 91 attacks, nine instances of depth bomb duds and nine cases where some of the bombs failed to release. Some of these failures can be blamed on faulty maintenance and others on inexperience. Improved equipment, the result of continual research by the armament and ordnance sections of both the Army and the Navy,will eliminate some of the mechanical failures. Experienced combat crews and efficient ground crews will prevent the others from occurring. D. Miscellaneous. This final category includes twenty-eight attacks of which twenty could not be analyzed from the meager data available. Four attacks were made by planes and personnel neither trained nor equipped for anti-submarine operations. In the four remaining instances, the U-boat was never seen by the attacking crew, three of the attacks being on oil slicks and the other on a swirl following a disappearing radar contact. E. Summary. The analysis of these 91 attacks has confirmed the urgent need for training, especially in bombing, and the necessity of avoiding detection while patrolling. It is expected that significant improvement in both phases will follow the current intensive training program. The end to be achieved is exemplified elsewhere in this issue--the second attack described in the article "Tidewater Tillie Tames Two"


Lately there appears to be a growing tendency on the part of U-boat commanders to initiate attacks on Allied aircraft, or to counter attack them by machine gun or cannon fire. Various instances of this character have occurred in the Natal area where U-boats apparently have been lying in wait for passing aircraft on the east leg of the Natal radio range. On January 16th east of Natal, aircraft from a U.S. Navy carrier delivered three separate attacks on a fully surfaced submarine. A total of four D/C's were dropped with no evidence of significant damage resulting. During all three attacks the U-boat stayed on the surface and fired on the planes. A PBN3 of Patrol Squadron 74, flying an anti-submarine patrol in the area from Rocas Rock to Fernando de Noronha, sighted a Spanish ship, the "Monte Igueldo", at 0940 on February 24th. Shortly thereafter an explosion was seen at the bow of the ship. By searching in the direction of the wake of the torpedo, the crew of the plane later discovered the submarine three or four miles off the ships port bow clearly visible about 25 to 35 feet beneath the surface. An attack was made on the U-boat which resulted in possible slight damage. The report of this action is not clear, but it is stated that the submarine surfaced and fired on the attacking plane with two machine guns located in the conning tower and both deck guns. These guns, evidently dual purpose, opened up on the aircraft at a range of about one mile and were said to be quite accurate, firing at a rapid rate with shells exploding in black and white bursts. After following the torpedoed ship, which sank in half an hour, the submarine submerged at 1045 before relief planes arrived. Continuous coverage of the area produced no further contact. The experience of Lt. Cormier and his crew is a B-18B of the 9th Antisubmarine Squadron was described on page 18 of the February issue of this publication. In this case the U-boat fired tracer bullets at the landing lights of the plane coming in for

a night attack. Evasive action was taken by the plane, which lost its radar contact when the submarine crash dived. A subsequent attack was made two hours later when the U-boat resurfaced. A B-24 on a recent anti-submarine patrol sighted a submarine stationary on the surface at 1221 about 150 miles south by east of Santa Maria in the Azores. The Uboat fired on the plane. At 1354 a second B-24 arrived on the scene and was also fired on. The first B-24 attacked at 1430 and 1440 while under fire. The second plane attacked, also under fire, at 1505. All three attacks were unsuccessful, and the aircraft departed at 1510. The submarine remained on the surface and headed west. On March 23, a Coastal Command pilot, while flying a Wellington at an altitude of 400 feet over the Bay of Biscay sighted a U-boat which opened fire with light cannon. The aircraft was hit between port engine and fuselage. It took evasive action and the U-boat continued firing until the plane was half a mile distant. The rear gunner replied and continued firing at the submarine until his guns jammed. The aircraft then circled the submarine which again opened fire, this time very inaccurately. The plane attempted to get into position to attack with.depth bombs but the U-boat submerged before the aircraft could make its run. Damaged submarines, incapable of submerging, have been known to counterattack aircraft by machine gun or anti-aircraft fire. However, if the enemy should gain the impression that gun fire will keep the would-be attacker at bay until fuel shortage forces him to retire, it is not unlikely that a "stay-and-fight" policy might be tried out by U-boat commanders. Moreover, it is not inconceivable that when a pack engages a convoy, the first one or two U-boats sighted and attacked by Allied aircraft might be instructed to engage in a diversionary anti-aircraft counterattack on the plane, while other submarines in the pack press home the main attack from other angles. In fact, preliminary reports have been received of antiaircraft fire by some of the submarines during the course of a running four-day fight by Coastal Command planes against U-boat packs attempting to converge on two eastbound convoys in March, about 1000 miles west of Land's End. For these reasons it would seem advisable for anti-submarine aircraft crews to be prepared for such a contingency - not only psychologically, but by predetermined technique developed to meet increasingly audacious tactics of the enemy. Notwithstanding anti-aircraft fire from the U-boat the bombing attack should be vigorously pressed home as promptly as circumstances permit lest the submarine submerge and escape. If enemy personnel are topside, whether or not manning their guns at the moment, the plane's machine gun fire should be concentrated first against them. In the absence of personnel on deck, the guns should be trained on the hull at the base of the conning tower, simultaneously with the bombing attack. The accompanying photographs of actual attacks illustrate machine gun action against U-boats in the Bay of Biscay. Successful attacks, however, have been made in the face of AA fire. A Coastal Command Sunderland piloted by F/0 Robertson, sighted a submarine eight miles distant

while on a sweep West of Ireland. Diving to attack, the aircraft was met by fire from the forward gun and the cannon aft. The aircraft pressed home the attack replying with front and midships guns and dropped six 250 lb. Torpex depth bombs from a height of thirty feet while the U-boat was still surfaced. Two of these straddled the U-boat just ahead of the conning tower. Air bubbles were seen immediately after the explosion subsided and the U-boat's bow projected at an angle above the surface and remained so for five minutes. It then slid under, stern first, and nothing further was observed. An excellent attack in the face of U-boat gun fire was made by F/0 Samuel and his crew in a Fortress of the Coastal Command on March 27, southeast of Iceland. While on anti-submarine sweep at an altitude of 2000 feet the pilot sighted a surfaced submarine three miles distant on the starboard bow. As the plane dove to attack approximately 7 to 10 men were seen, some in the conning tower and some on the deck, and the U-boat opened fire. Six 250-lb. Torpex depth bombs set at 25 feet, and spaced at 100 feet were released from a height of 100 feet. One exploded close alongside the U-boat on the starboard quarter; the remainder overshot to port. The tail gunner also fired 200 rounds. The submarine remained visible for about 15 seconds, then submerged, but the bow reappeared 10 to 15 seconds later at a gradually steepening angle. A second attack was then made, a single 250-lb. Torpex depth charge being released from 50 feet, which was seen to enter the water in foam patch. Tail gunner was too busy firing guns to notice explosion of depth charge, but eight to ten seconds after the second attack, he saw the U-boat slide down almost vertically, and observed a large upheaval of the water followed by air bubbles. At this time he was actually firing at the underside of U-boat before it disappeared. A minute later, a foam patch was still effervescing and a large quantity of Diesel oil had collected about 100 yards across. There was no sign of wreckage or the men that had been seen on the deck. A brief report has been received of an attack on April 15th by two U.S. Navy planes near Natal, made under fire from the submarine and resulting in the latter's sinking. About 50 survivors are said to have been seen in the water, but no further details of this attack are presently available.




which 1st Lt.


Sanford and his


crew of the 2nd Antisubmarine Squadron have recently executed two attacks on enemy submarines which resulted in


:AR/NT .•i -..

4Y DUR/i/6

one probably sunk and one known sunk.
The first attack,

illustrated by

the accompanying diagram, took place on February 10th about 800 miles west of St. Nazaire while the squadron was operating out of Great Britain. While patrolling at 300 feet at the base of


~j.*: ..-.::'
" ".".." ::..



solid overcast, the left waist gunner sighted a U-boat on the surface 10 degrees off the port bow about four miles away. A radar conthe same tact had been obtained in




position a few seconds before, but due to sea conditions it had not

-D /6

, 'JB/a0[RG:


'.. ",\ ". 900

been verified until the visual sighting was made. observed, the conning When first tower was clearly seen, but as the
aircraft approached it disappeared



and about forty feet of the stern was seen projecting out of the water at an angle of 20 degrees. As the aircraft attacked no churning was visible from the screws of the apparently motionless U-boat. Six Mark XI Torpex depth bombs spaced for 19 feet were released from 200 feet at 200 mph. The entire stick overshot; the first depth bomb was observed to explode about 30 feet to starboard of the submarine as the tail gunner fired 75 rounds at the exposed part of the hull. As the pilot circled to port. the U-boat settled back on an even keel with the conning tower visible and both decks .awash. A second attack on the still motionless submarine was made with three more depth bombs. The tail gunner fired another 75 rounds and saw the first depth bomb explode on the port side, while a second exploded to starboard. The U-boat appeared to lift slightly, lurching with the force of the explosion,, and then remained motionless on the surface. While Lt. Sanford circled to make a third run the sea was seen to be churned just astern of the U-boat, and the conning tower settled beneath the surface without

way sixteen seconds before the last three depth bombs were released. The detonations occurred about 200 feet ahead of the patch of disturbed water, but no plume resulted. Instead, a dome shaped bubble appeared followed by a large circular slick of brown fluid which was described by the crew as definitely not DC residue. Nothing further was seen and thirty minutes later the B-24 set course for base. Photographs were taken but are too thin to be of any value. When first sighted the-U-boat apparently was attempting to dive at too steep an angle without sufficient way. This gave the pilot an opportunity to maneuver for two additional attacks which resulted, according to official Admiralty assessment, in "Probably Sunk". On March 22, while operating out of a North African base, Lt. Sanford, again in Tidewater Tillie, made another attack in the vicinity of the Canary Islands which resulted in the complete destruction of the U-boat. The B-24, camouflaged Mediterranean Blue on its upper surfaces and cloud white underneath, was patrolling at 1200 feet in and out of the base of the cloud cover when the co-pilot sighted a broad wake about five miles on the starboard beam. The pilot continued on his course into the next cloud, then made a 90 degree turn, immediately losing altitude. As the plane emerged from the cloud, the wake, still about five miles distant, was observed to be caused by a U-boat proceeding fully surfaced on course 1800. Lt. Sanford decided to continue his run straight ahead and attack from the beam with the sun behind him rather than maneuver for a quartering or following attack. With the aircraft at 200 feet and making about 200 mph, the bombardier released four MK XXIX depth bombs spaced at 60 feet, allowing about 1000 feet range on the water. After the drop the plane continued on its course for eleven seconds to allow the Miller mirror camera to function. The bombs were observed to straddle the U-boat, hitting the water as follows: #1 - short 130 feet, directly abeam the submarine; #2 - short 70 feet, directly abeam the aft portion of the conning tower; #3 - short 10 feet, directly abeam the aft portion of the conning tower;
#4 - long 50 feet.

The explosions enveloped the after portion of the U-boat which continued on its course for eleven seconds, then began to settle by the stern. The entire bow section from the conning tower forward was projecting out of the water and in about one minute slipped beneath the surface. Several survivors were observed clinging to debris which was strewn about-the area, and a large oil slick developed. Half an hour later, as the plane was about to depart, a mass of brown, paint-like substance came up in the middle of the slick. This may have been rusty bilge oil discharged when the U-boat began to break up on the bottom. The accompanying photographs were taken with the Miller mirror camera and with the personal camera of the radar operator, who took them upon his own initiative. The submarine was described as painted white with no markings. It had a streamlined conning tower and a very sharp bow. Three men were observed in the conning tower as the plane passed over. One of them tried to man the anti-aircraft gun.

U-boat on the surface after
passed hitting burst

the plane

over. Spray caused by DC's water. Small splash of visible forward of conning tower.


Bow and conning tower of U/s visible. U/B is attempting to crash dive. Large bow wave and spray probably caused by sudden sideward movement of hull.

DC explosion.

Seven survivors clinging to a cylinder and two others (arrow) swimming

like towards

object it.

The attack was evidently a complete surprise and was achieved by a combination of effective camouflage, clever use of cloud cover, attacking out of the sun, and accurate bombing. Both of Lt. Sanford's attacks attest to the skill and efficiency of this crew and to the value of B-24 aircraft in anti-submarine operations. The success of these actions was due in part to the long range of the aircraft and its great bomb load capacity. More aircraft like Tidewater Tillie, capable of delivering attacks 1000 miles off shore with bomb loads of 3000 lbs. or more, promise increasing success against the U-boat.

Flight Officer Esler of the Coastal Command celebrated St. Patrick's Day by attacking three enemy U-boats and driving down two others which were attempting to shadow a convoy. The entire action occurred within an hour while the Liberator was on convoy escort over 700 miles from base. While flying at 3,500 feet, a surfaced U-boat was sighted ten miles away on the port bow. The aircraft dived to attack and, eight seconds after the U-boat's disappearance, five 250 lb. Torpex depth bombs, set at 25 feet and spaced at 36 feet, were dropped from a height of 100 feet. The explosions were observed close to the swirl with the center of the stick estimated 80 feet ahead of it. Immediately after the explosions the submarine resurfaced, bows first, then in a few seconds submerged again. Nothing further was seen. Thirty minutes later the Liberator had resumed patrol and from 4,000 feet sighted three U-boats on the surface. F/C Esler singled out one and attacked up track dropping one depth bomb from a height of 200 feet while the submarine was still fully surfaced. The explosion was seen at the stern of the U-boat, which remained on the surface for 30-40 seconds apparently unable to dive. The aircraft continued the attack with machine gun fire but no significant results were noted. Ten minutes later another U-boat was sighted and attacked. Presumably F/0 Esler had expended all his depth bombs for this attack was carried out with machine gun fire and marine markers. Hits were registered all around the conning tower and one direct hit was made with a marker. A man was seen in the conning tower and is probably a casualty either through machine gun fire or drowning, at the U-boat submerged directly after the attack. The extent of damage accomplished by F/0 Esler's one-plane show may never be known, but it is likely that he succeeded in breaking up or at least disorganizing an incipient pack attack on a mid-ocean convoy.

Correction: Under the title "Convoy Protection off Newfoundland,." on page 16 of the February issue of this publication two interesting attacks on U-boats by Royal Canadian Air Force planes of the Eastern Air Command were inadvertently referred to as attacks by R.A.F. aircraft.


Under the guidance of Igor Sikorski -

the helicopter developed in

1942 from a

highly experimental stage to one of "fool proof" performance. for use as an air "flivver", some

Originally designed

this craft has certain capabilities which may be of

importance in anti-submarine operations. The Sikorski-Helicopter has five

fundamental performance-capabilities: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Vertical flight - straight up or down. Sideways flight - it can cruise with any angle between its long axis and its course - it can fly backwards as easily as forwards. Hovering - it can maintain itself at any point in space under its service ceiling. Rapid and smooth transition between cruising and hovering. Safety - the vertical thrust rotor can be shut off, whereupon the craft will settle safely to the ground.

On the other hand the helicopter has three principal disadvantages for antisubmarine warfare: 1. 2. Slow speed - maximum speed of current models - 85 mph. Limited lifting capacity - present model can carry only 1 pilot and 1 DC. Other models are being developed, however, which are expected to carry a two man crew, special equipment and two or more depth bombs. Limited range - the longest recorded flight to date is ninety-two miles. Subsequent models are expected to have a range of 300-500 miles.


At this date no evaluation of the helicopter as an anti-submarine weapon can be made. The models now in use are inadequate particularly in load carrying capacity. however, are promising enough to have aroused considerable in-

Projected models, terest.

The most hoped for use of these aircraft has been for convoy escort. Capable of taking off and landing from suitable, cleared deck space, several helicopters could provide air coverage in mid-ocean areas beyond the normal range of landbased heavy bombers (it is interesting to note, however, that "normal range" is

being extended so that even mid-ocean areas are now occasionally reached by land based aircraft). Nevertheless, helicopters equipped with special equipment such as M.A.D. or sonobuoys, for intance, may be of great value in maintaining contact with a submerged U-boat. Whether actual attacks can be made or whether this new

development is best suited for scouting or tracking remains to be seen. Two helicopters will be delivered to Sea Search at Langley for specific antisubmarine experimentation. 1 2' 3 4 5 Tests will be conducted to determine:

weather worthiness ability to take off from and land on merchant vessels at sea ability to attack surfaced and submerged U-boats ability to track submerged U-boats ability to evade anti-aircraft fire from U-boats

The results of these tests will determine what functions can be best accom-

plished by the helicopter.



F: n I

Technical Details:

The unique performance and capabilities of the helicopter are the result of new aeronautical principles. In the case of the airplane and dirigible, the sensitivity and power of the rudder control and elevators depends on the forward velocity of the craft, while in the helicopter, which may move at 80 or 8 or even zero miles per hour, the control is determined by the tip speed of the rotor blades which are always moving at about 300 miles per hour. The auxiliary rotor at the tail provides directional control and torque compensation. The pitch of the main rotor blades may be increased or decreased at will as they pass any desired point of rotation with a corresponding but opposite variation of pitch at 180 degrees. The points at which pitch is increased determines whether the helicopter will fly forwards, sideways, or backwards. Simultaneously increasing or decreasing pitch on all main rotor blades governs climb and descent. A synchronizing mechanism opens the throttle as pitch is increased, thereby maintaining constant engine r.p.m. This pitch control mechanism is actuated by the stick, which acts in flight much like a normal control stick connected to aileron and elevator. In order to take off, the engine is started with the rotor clutch disengaged and the rotor brake on. .The brake is then released and with the main pitch control in low pitch position, tie rotor clutch is engaged. The blades are now turning and are

brought up to the des ground and the flight
is adjusted and the h

creased the ship leaves the n


failure, a freewheeling device

The current model illustrated in the photograph is powered by a 165 hp. Warner engine which permits a maximum speed of 80 mph and a gross weight of 2400 lbs. In a

future model it is planned to use an engine with more than double the hp. capable of. lifting almost twice the present load and allowing speeds in excess of 100 mph.





Weather for March showed no improvement over the weather in February. weather in general was evenly distributed this month over all areas.


The 25th Wing averaged 78.7%7 contact weather during operating hours, with the area in the vicinity of Langley Field and Cherry Point obtaining the highest average of 85%0, with the Fields area. lowest average of 70% occuring in the Otis, Nitchel and Westover

Contact weather in the area north of Cape Hatteras averaged 75.1%70,

while south of Cape Hatteras it averated 83.3%. The 26th Wing averaged 90.7% contact weather during operating hours, With Florida and Cuba reporting 96.5% and the Gulf area averaging 82.0%.




Jacksonville experienced a very severe thunderstorm with tornado characteristics on the morning of March 6th that caused damage to the town and at the Air Base. The thunderstorm with rain, which began at approximately 0730Q, developed into moderate intensity by 0830Q and steadily increased in intensity so that by 0940Q the wind had attained a velocity estimated at between 85-90 mph at the Air Base. Jacksonville Naval Air Station recorded a wind velocity of approximately before power failed. The

o100 mph

During the early part of the storm, trees were observed to bend

westerly, but later when the storm reached its greatest velocity, buildings fell easterly, in the opposite direction. The barometer made a sudden fall of about 4

millibars; this was immediately followed by a sudden rise to a higher level than before the storm. The path of the storm was mainly from South to North, and observations from the air after the storm showed its track of destruction to vary up to one-half mile width. in

In the path through the wooded areas, the trees were observed to have fallen

haphazardly and the path indicated skippings which is a characteristic of tornadoes. The weather maps showed the synoptic situat the tropical maritime air s n not to be unusual, except that t and convectively unstable:-




conditions necessary for the formation of thunderstorms. about 1200Q,

The thunderstorm ended




1' i ,J

3 i

DH 1)

The following table shows the number of days of weather for the first quarter of 1943 which permitted anti-submarine patrols to be flown by each Wing: No. Days Patrols Flown JAN. 23.2 27.8 FEB. 25.4 25.6 MAR. 26.1 28.4

% Contact Weather
JAN. 25th AWIG . . . . . . 74.4 78.5 FEB. 78.8 90.2 MAR. 78.7 90.7

26th AWIG ... .

.. .


Air Medals for "extraordinary achievement while participating in more than 200 hours of anti-submarine patrol" have been awarded to 638 officers and enlisted men of the Antisubmarine Command during recent weeks. announced in the near future. Three of the 638 men received two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Medal having been won twice previously by these men, and eleven were awarded one Oak Leaf cluster to Air Medals previously awarded. The directive authorizing award of the Additional awards are to be

medals was issued by General H.H. Arnold, Commanding General of the Army Air Forces, and the awards were made by Brigadier General Westside T. Larson, Commanding General of the Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command. "For extraordinary achievement while

The citation with each award reads:

participating in more than 200 hours of anti-submarine patrol. As members of combat crews these individuals displayed outstanding initiative, resourcefulness and a high degree of skill under many trying conditions such as restricted visibility, low ceilings and icing conditions encountered on the large number of flights necessary to perform this hazardous patrol of great responsibility. "Possibility of encountering enemy ships of fighter type or antiaircraft fire added to the hazards of these missions. The outstanding service of these indivi-

duals reflects the highest credit on the military forces of the United States." Approximately 2,500 American Theater Medals have been awarded to officers and enlisted men participating in patrol duty over water. have been Medals wi In lieu of medals, ribbons


to the winners of the Air Medals and American Theater Medals. truck when metal conservation ceases to be necessary.

ei ff1 / a 1_






PATROL 2037 Prov. Wing






Det. Serv.



25th 3 4 5 6 11 12 13 14 16 19 20 22


. . . . . . ........ . ...... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Det. Serv. ........

203:40 157:55 216:35 233:35 36:40 293:20 82:05 131:05 297:55 139:00 370:30 448:20 2610:40

217:40 150:55 16:10 8:05 31:15 3:40 149:50 4:00 67:15 648:50

75:50 50:40 87:50 7:45 15:35 11:15 121:05 13:15 32:00 413:15

285:25 170:35 244:50 155:20 332:05 417:25 634:05 556:50 550:15 9:55 259:10 3615:55

780:35 530:05 565:25 404:45 415:35 725:40 716:10 958:50 865:25 148:55 370:30 806:45 7288:40

TOTAL 25th WING. . . 26th 7 8 9 10 15 17 21 23 Wing ARON* . . . . .. ...... ARON . ARON In U.S. Det. Serv. ARON. . ...... . . . . . ARON . ARON. ........ ARON . . . . . . ARON . . .. . .

17:55 446:35 13:45 910:00 116:10 281:55 398:00 446:45 769:15 3400:20

21:20 72:05 67:05 10:55 15:00 93:00 83:35

358:30 149:20 38:45 283:05 589:00 457:15 310:35 10:40 2197:10

397:45 668:00 52:30 910:00 466:20 881:50 855:15 772:20 863:30 5867:30

TOTAL 26th WING. 0. T. U. 18 ARON......... TOTAL AAFAC ..



94:05 741:50 684:20

603:50 6416:55

919:10 14560:20



ESF . . . . . . . . GSF. . . . . . . . .

4362:15 5020:15 9382:30

2019:45 255:20 2275:00

114:35 114:35

6381:55 5390:10 11772:05

*In transit for detached service during part of month.

Lt. Col.,

CLINTON A. BURROWS, Air Corps, A. C. of S.,- A-2.


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