Sinking of U-371
U.S.S. PRIDE (DE-323)
USS PRIDE (DE 323)
FLEET POST OFFICE
NEW YORK, N. Y.
FILE NO. A16-3
8 May, 1944.
From: Commanding Officer.
To: Commander in Chief, Mediterranean Fleet.
Via: 1. Commander Escort Division 46.
2. Commander Task Force 66.
3. Commander Eighth Fleet.
Subject: Action Report; May 2-4, 1944.
Reference: (a) Atlantic Fleet Confidential Letter 13CL-43 (Revised).
Inclosure: (A) Track Charts of all runs.
(B) T.B.S. Log of times.
(C) Copy T.B.S. code names for ships.
1. USS PRIDE (DE-323) as part of CTG-66, escorting Convoy GUS-38, station
3000 yards port beam of last ship in port column. All times mentioned herein
are G.C.T. 2139 Lookouts picked up small yellow flickering light on the
surface, distance one and one half miles, bearing 2600 T. Reported to Escort
Commander and investigated by circling the light at a range of 500 yds.
Light appeared to be bobbing about, although sea was calm. Unable to
determine exact identity or type of flare. Returned to station upon orders
of Escort Commander.
2. Convoy GUS-38 at position 37001’ N, 05004’ E., course 270, speed 8 knots.
At 2250 the USS MENGES (DE-320), stationed astern of convoy, reported
surface target astern of him at 10,000 yards, course 290. Commenced plot.
2300 MENGES reported target had reversed course. 2314 MENGES reported target
had disappeared at 3500 yards and that they were going in for sound search.
Shortly afterwards a flare light was seen, which at that time, was thought
to be the MENGES firing hedgehog or being torpedoed. 2334 CCD46 in the USS
MENGES (DE-320) notified convoy commodore by TBS light that he had been
torpedoed. Upon hearing CCD46 report MENGES being torpedoed, reported same
to CTF 66, who ordered us to go back and assist. Reversed course and started
back to assist. Went full speed for a while but were making so much smoke
that after while went to standard speed. 2336 Received orders to assist
MENGES, CCD 21 in USS CAMPBELL (DE-70) to act as O.T.C. to search out and
destroy submarine in vicinity. MENGES at position 37001’ N, 05029’E. 2340
3. In view of ComCortDiv 46’s excellent narration (See TBS Log) of
torpedoing and advice to be careful, proceeded with extreme caution. 0025
When within about three miles of MENGES, streamed two sets of FXR gear, one
on each quarter. (NOTE: Upon recovering our FXR gear, the two vibrators were
enmeshed and hopelessly entangled and in view of this situation, it is
believed that only one FXR gear should be streamed at a time, or they be
provided with paravanes).
Subject: Action Report; May 2-4, 1944. Sheet #2.
Made wide zigzags and commenced wide circle to north of MENGES in order to
get moon between area of MENGES and PRIDE. While approaching area and about
4000 yards from MENGES, dropped two depth charges set at 100 feet at
intervals of about one minute so as to disconcert the enemy submarine and
any torpedoes which might have been sent in our direction. 0035 as PRIDE
maneuvered toward MENGES radar (SL) picked up aircraft which circled over
MENGES and the CAMPBELL, who was following astern. At the same time lookouts
reported the same type yellow flickering light on port bow, distance
undetermined, as was previously reported at 2139. 0047 picked up sound
contact while maneuvering near MENGES, position 37001’ N, 5030’E, depth of
water 1500 fathoms. 0058 rolled one depth charge set on 100 ft as offensive
measure against possible torpedo. Manned hedgehog, submarine now bearing
1850, range 1200 yards. 0100 passed directly over submarine, fathometer
indicated disturbance over entire dial. Hedgehog failed to fire, ordered
check to determine this failure. Report soon came back that circuit had been
tested and found all right. Contact held to 100 yards, indicating submarine
not over 100 feet. 0104 Radar picked up small pip within 700 yards, pip
disappeared, therefore unable to identify its value. 0106 rolled depth
charge set on 100 feet as offensive measure against torpedo. 0115 regained
contact, bearing 0650, range 2200. Set speed of ten knots on collision
course for another hedgehog attack. Held contact to 50 yards, hedgehog again
failed to operate, so took good lead and at 0124 rolled 5-charge depth
charge pattern set for medium depth. Here contact was lost for 32 minutes
and CCD 21 began to be concerned. There was no doubt in this officer’s mind
as to contact being sub so gave him complete information as to value of
contact (See TBS Log for this time). 0156 regained contact bearing 2900,
range 1200 yards. Commenced approach for depth charge attack. 0200 lost
contact at 800 yards indicating submarine very deep. 0207 regained contact
bearing 1100, 2200 yards. Range rate seven knots, target moving slowly
right. CCD 21 ordered us to make “Creeping attack” with DE 70 USS J.E.
CAMPBELL in accordance with instructions contained in FTP 219. 0210
commenced creeping attack with PRIDE directing CAMPBELL on to target.
Submarine plot indicated that submarine was “fishtailing” on course 1050 T.
Maintained range to about 1300 yards when CAMPBELL made depth charge attack,
time 0223. Regained sound contact at 0235 bearing 1100 1200 yards. PRIDE
again directing CAMPBELL on to creeping attack. Broke off attack because of
insufficient information during last stages of attack. Held sound contact
bearing 1120 2700 yards. PRIDE maneuvering to commence attack. 0308
commenced approach for attack. PRIDE’s FXR gear causing interference with
CAMPBELLS’s sound gear. CAMPBELL lost contact. PRIDE adjourned to secure FXR
gear while CAMPBELL regained contact. 0339 CAMPBELL regained contact range
1500 bearing 1340. 0335 commenced creeping attack with CAMPBELL giving PRIDE
ranges and bearings. 0403 dropped full thirteen-charge pattern set at 600
feet. Dropped night marker.
4. 0405 returned astern of CAMPBELL and prepared to make another attack.
0419 commenced another creeping attack steering courses 1410 T to 1560 T as
directed by CAMPBELL. 0429 dropped full thirteen-charge pattern approximate
position 37002’30” N, 5042’ E. Depth of water 1100 fathoms. Lookouts
reported oil slick and other disturbance in area, dropped day marker to
indicate point of attack. After this, CAMPBELL lost contact.
Subject: Action Report; May 2-4, 1944. Sheet #3.
5. Made large circle and came up to marker searching on various courses and
speeds in area. 0527 regained contact 1000 yards south of day marker. PRIDE
to direct CAMPBELL in creeping attack. Range 1700, bearing 1620. Submarine
heading towards the beach. 0542 ordered CAMPBELL to commence dropping
charges, range 1900, bearing 1700. 0545 CAMPBELL’s depth charges heard
exploding. 0555 picked up sound contact. 0559 CAMPBELL commenced another
creeping attack. 0613 plot indicated submarine to be “fishtailing” making
erratic turns on base course 1700 T. Echo appeared to be mushy, so ordered
CAMPBELL to break off attack. CAMPBELL resumed station astern. 0625 Good
contact 1730 1950 yards. CAMPBELL commenced creeping attack with PRIDE
giving sound information. Target 1700 T 2100 yards. 0632 ordered CAMPBELL to
commence rolling depth charges. 0634 heard CAMPBELL’s depth charges
exploding. 0700 Sub was getting so close to shore that echos of peaks were
becoming hopelessly intermingled with those of sub, however, it was quite
evident that the sub was going to get in there and stay until dark. So we
just stopped and drifted over the spot where he was plotted by last best
echos (See recorder trace). (NOTE: It will also be noted from the last track
chart that the sub first appeared on the surface that night near this spot).
6. This position was in the near vicinity of Banc des Kabyles, which is 3.2
miles northwest of Ras Afia light (See chart Cap Carbon to Cap De fet,
Mediterranean Sea, Algeria , Consecutive number 2924, H.O. 3983, Portfolio
29). Stopped pinging and listened.
7. 0810 picked up strong vibrations on sound gear. First the noise seemed to
throb and then a definite clicking was heard, which was thought to be the
submarine using his engines, and part of the time a pump. It was the
writer’s opinion that the sub had put his nose in the mud and was trying to
back out. This was later confirmed by statements of German prisoners taken
from the water that they were stuck in the mud for some time that day. A
glance at the chart will readily show how this could easily be so because of
the rapid shelving at this point. We stayed in this vicinity until 1100 but
no further sounds were heard. Thus we had lost contact for good after having
kept it from 0047 to 0810, a period of seven hours and twenty-three minutes.
It should be explained here that after each run and dropping of depth
charges, the sub echos would be hopelessly intermingled with those of the
disturbance caused by depth charges until the sub moved on out and increased
the range, thus the runs were quite far apart.
8. Each run of the firing ship was made at standard speed and it is believed
they could better be made at much slower speed for the sub generally did
some fancy maneuvering or fish tailing while the firing ship was
approaching, thus indicating that he could hear the vessel approaching.
9. Prisoners taken later stated that most of our charges were under him;
consequently it is believed that under similar circumstances on run could be
profitably employed in having the firing ship mil around over the contact,
using the fathometer to find the depth.
10. 1111 commenced systematic sound search in company with CAMPBELL. Four
other ships (namely; USS SUSTAIN, H.M.S. Blankey L-30, French DE
and French DD ALYCON) now joined search, operating in various areas as
assigned by ComCort Div 21 aboard the CAMPBELL.
Subject: Action Report; May 2-4, 1944. Sheet #4.
11. 4 MAY, 1944 – On course 2700, speed 10 knots, 3000 yards on starboard
beam of CAMPBELL, conducting search for submarine. 0120 French Destroyer
Escort SENAGALESE reported submarine on surface, bearing 2300 2 miles from
SÉNÉGALAIS. Went to General
Quarters, set flank speed, course 2700, to get north of sub in order to
prevent escape to north and also to get into firing position. 0126 PRIDE
commenced plotting submarine, range 6½ miles, bearing 2360 T. (See D.R.T.
plot for complete track). Soon the SÉNÉGALAIS
began directing heavy fire at the sub and the approach of other vessels, we
could see that it was only a question of time now until the submarine would
be cornered. The SÉNÉGALAIS was
quite evidently doing a fine job with the sub, however, she got a little too
close and at 0159 reported that she had been torpedoed, range 4 miles,
bearing 1840 T. 0200 Submarine submerged bearing 1880 T. 3.2 miles. Later
evidence indicates that the submarine was abandoned at this time by its
crew. Preparations had been made to commence firing at submarine, but
escorts approaching the submarine from West were now in range of fire. 0220
Sound attack made by L-30, English Sub-chaser BLANKEY, who dropped depth
charge pattern. 0232 Sound attack made by USS SUSTAIN while heading in
easterly direction and dropped pattern. After she had dropped this pattern,
she continued on to the eastward for about 1000 yards where she saw many
people in the water and began to pick them up. They were found to be German
and soon by the count it was seen that the entire submarine crew had
abandoned the submarine. The PRIDE remained to seaward of other escorts as
they picked up German Submarine’s Crew and transferred them to the USS J.E.
CAMPBELL, who took them to Algiers.
12. Thus ended a chase which had lasted
more than thirty hours through two nights during which there was little
sleep for anyone. After having been on the bridge for about thirty hours and
no sleep, this officer attempted to get some sleep about 1900, May 3rd,
while we were patrolling and waiting for the sub to come up, however,
although I was very tired, I couldn’t sleep. At about 2200 the CAMPBELL had
surface contact in shore and we were ordered to cover. In answering this
call which turned out to be a fishing vessel, I realized I must get some
sleep. Whereupon, at the Pharmacist Mate’s prescription, 1/8 pint of brandy
was consumed and I was soon fast asleep. When the sub surfaced at 0120, I
had had about three hours sleep and felt fresh and ready for another chase,
or come what may.
13. At about the time the SÉNÉGALAIS was hit, the same type of lights which
were earlier reported by USS PRIDE, then more of the same seen near the
MENGES shortly after being hit, was seen. Thus it is my belief that the
lights were in some manner connected with firing the type torpedo fired, the
probability being that one was fired at the convoy from near the first
position in which the lights were first seen by this vessel.
14. Investigation of the hedgehog circuit revealed that a fuse in the A.C.
circuit was blown. A thorough check of the circuit had been made on the
morning of May 2nd, the plug had been broken down, contacts cleaned,
hedgehogs removed, spicots and firing pins cleaned and given a voltage and
continuity test unloaded, and a primary test while loaded. Evidently during
the final tests the fuse in the A.C. circuit had been blown and not
discovered. The gun captain did not have presence of mind enough to shift to
D.C. circuit, but instructions are to fire on A.C. At present, it is not
known how to make a quick test on the A.C. circuit, but a blown fuse on the
A.C. circuit has been made a standard drill casualty on this vessel so that
gun captains will automatically switch to D.C. circuit if the A.C. fails.
Subject: Action Report; May 2-4, 1944. Sheet #5.
15. It should be noted in reading the T.B.S. logs that a Radar Man keeps the
log during ordinary cruising conditions and copies same in long hand,
therefore, the log for those times may not be relied upon as much as during
general quarters, for then a Chief Yeoman takes all down in shorthand and
copies into log later.
R. R. CURRY
Advanced copy to CominCh.
Advanced copy to Fleet Operational Training Command, Submarine Warfare Unit,
N.O.B., Norfolk, Virginia.
NOTE: webmaster corrected the spelling to SÉNÉGALAIS
in this document. The ship name was spelled SENAGALESE in the original document.
Action Report Courtesy of
Special thanks to webmaster Capt. Jerry Mason, USN, Ret., for his assistance
Page 1 Sinking of U-371
Page 2 Photos |
Page 3 USS Pride Action Report
| Page 4 Interrogation of