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Old 04-05-15, 10:39 AM   #9
Karl Hungus
Join Date: Jan 2015
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After seeing nothing thousands of km after leaving the Schliemann, things picked up quickly (got real, in the parlance of our times) in mouth of the Gulf of Oman.

Just as we were exiting the gulf to make our way around India to Penang, radar signals were detected off the port bow. I dove to periscope depth hoping to avoid detection by an airplane, but instead picked up the sounds of a convoy heading towards us into the gulf at long range. Orders were given to surface the boat and make a run at flank speed to a more advantageous attack position where we waited for the convoy to blunder into our path.

Sept 15, 1943:
The lead escort passed near our boat but didn't detect us sitting at a dead stop in 25m. Once he was safely past us, I went to 2kts and periscope depth. The convoy is huge, mostly made of up large merchants, Liberty ships, a few tankers, and with a Ceramic liner and a troop transport in the center. I sent two torpedoes each at the liner and the troop ship from around 1500m, missing the former but quickly sending the latter to the bottom (00:11 hrs). While the eels were in the water I went deep and crept away. The escorts made what seemed to be a very half-hearted attempt to find us and moved on. While waiting for a safe time to surface, I charted the convoy's direction and plotted another intercept.

After the sounds of the convoy dissipated, we surfaced and made another run at flank speed to get ahead of them and submerge. I was able to find them by detecting their radar signals and staying outside of what I assume their effective range was. Again, we dove and waited for the lead escort to pass. I don't think these Aussies are very good at their jobs. I fired on the liner again but missed, and also at a large tanker that burst into flames and went down quickly (12:02 hrs). Again, I went deep while the eels were swimming, but decided against another intercept as the convoy was heading into the shallow waters of the Straits of Hormuz. Instead we headed back towards the Arab Sea.

Sept. 16, 1943
Near the mouth of the Gulf, we again detected radar signals and dove to avoid what as thought to be an aircraft. Again, the hydrophones picked up the sounds of an in-bound convoy. After charting the path for a bit, we surfaced and made a high speed run for an intercept. Again, we dove deep and let the lead escort pass. Again, the Aussies didn't hear us so we rose to periscope depth and made our attack. The bow tubes were emptied at a modern tanker and a large tanker- only the modern was hit, near the screws, but a large fire was started that eventually led to a catastrophic explosion (06:18 hrs). I was starting to dive when I realized that there was a large ship aft of me in the outside line of the convoy- an ore carrier! I waited perhaps three minutes for him to cross my stern tubes and fired both, getting one hit under the keel. This, however, was greedy and nearly resulted in the deaths of myself and my crew.

I had gotten tunnel vision and didn't notice one of the escorts steaming hard towards our position. I did finally, not long after the last torpedo left the stern tubes and we started diving, when the pings started. Uh oh. I ordered us to 150m at flank, I didn't care about sound as he knew where we were already, we just needed to get deep. Anyway, depth charges were dropped one hit nearby at around 50m. There was heavy flooding to the bow torpedo room and the hydrophone receiver was destroyed. I launched a bold and slowed to 2 kts while trying desperately to stop the flooding. No more depth charges came, but we kept going deeper. 150m. 175m. Around 200m the engineer warned me about the depth, but nothing could be done. 225m. 250m. Finally, just at 260m we had some positive buoyancy and started to slowly creep up towards the surface, and away from the convoy. Calculated crush depth for our boat (IXD2) was 230m. We were alive!

Slowly we went to the surface, and the convoy was long gone. With no hydrophones we headed away towards India. I noticed we were given credit for sinking ore carrier (07:38 hrs) in the log, but I didn't see it go down.

About 12 hours later, the lookouts sighted a ship on the horizon. Then another. And then another. Three (3!) unescorted large tankers were steaming right for us in a line at 7kts. You have to be kidding me. We dive to periscope depth and maneuver into a good attack position, firing two torpedoes at each of the first two ships. Both are sunk (18:28 & 18:29 hrs respectively. Once the third was beyond the range of its guns, I surfaced and got into position to sink it with the stern tubes (19:20 hrs). The gods are truly looking down on us today.

Sept. 20, 1943

Lookouts spot two ships. Again, unescorted. A large and a small tanker. Both are dispatched (06:22 & 06:56), one eel each was enough, I let the flooding do the work for me so that I wouldn't be completely toothless on the rest of my long voyage.

As it stands, I have two torpedoes left in the stern tubes, no hydrophones, and 5700km to Penang. I plotted a new course far out into the Indian to try and avoid any contact for the rest of the voyage.

I can't believe we survived taking a damage boat so deep. 260m! It was by far the most stressful SH experience I've had.
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