The Sinking of U-boat 864

 During World War II, German U-boats wreaked havoc on Allied supply lines and commercial shipping, causing heavy losses to merchant convoys. Hiding secretly beneath the waves, these deadly submarines operated with great secrecy and surprise, using torpedoes and sometimes surface guns to attack merchant ships and warships, resulting in considerable economic and military losses to the Allies. used to have.

By the end of the war, German U-boats had sunk approximately 3,000 Allied ships. In response, Allied submarines and warships managed to sink about 785 of these U-boats. Remarkably, only one of these kills was made while both submarines were submerged.

On 5 December 1944, the German submarine U-864 departed from Kiel on the Baltic Sea with 67 short tons of metallic mercury for Japan for use in the military industry. U-864 also carried parts and engineering drawings for German jet fighters and other military supplies to Japan. En route to Bergen, U-864 ran aground and had to stop at Farsund for repairs, arriving in Bergen on 5 January 1945. While docked in the U-boat pen, U-864 suffered minor damage when she was attacked in the port. Royal Air Force on 12 January.

After repairs were completed U-864 resumed her voyage and on 6 February, she passed the Fedje area without detection. Unfortunately, one of her engines failed and the noise generated by the faulty diesel engine was picked up by a British submarine, HMS Venturer, on 9 February. Venturer's 25-year-old captain, Jimmy Launders, decided not to use sonar because it would betray his position. Instead, he began tracking U-boats using hydrophones alone. About forty minutes later, Captain Launders looked through the U-boat's periscope as it casually scanned the horizon. Realizing that they were being followed, the U-boat began to zig-zag underwater in an attempt to elude their pursuer, but in vain.

Without the use of sonar, Captain Launders only had an estimate of the distance and position of the enemy U-boat. Relying on the ASDIC operator's estimate and his judgment of the range to the target, Captain Launders prepared a firing solution and ordered all four of his bow torpedo tubes to be fired. U-864 attempted to escape after hearing the incoming torpedoes but lacked the maneuverability to dive and turn. The first three torpedoes were avoided, but U-864 inadvertently got in the way of the fourth.

Two and a quarter minutes after the firing, a loud explosion was heard and the U-boat broke in two and sank. At that time, the U-boat was only 35 miles short of Bergen.

This is the only known attack by a submarine on a U-boat as both sank overboard during the encounter.

Launders was awarded a bar to his Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and several members of his crew received awards. Venturer survived the war and joined the Royal Netherlands Navy in 1946 as Utstein.

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