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Destroyer Escort Sailors Association DESA

Action Report
Sinking of U-233

U.S.S. THOMAS (DE-102)

c/o Fleet Post Office
New York, N. Y.
6 July 1944
Refer to DE-102/A16-3/(Fd)
File No Serial 021

From: The Commanding Officer.

To: The Commander in Chief, U. S. Fleet.

Via: (1) Commander Task Group 22.10

(2) Commandr in Chief, U. S. Atlantic Fleet.

Subject: Action Report of Sinking of German Submarine
(U-233), on 5 July 1944.


Enclosures: (A) ASW-1 (Revised) Form.
(B) Track Chart (To Cominch only-with Advance copy).
(C) Damage to THOMAS, Resulting from Ramming.

I.

1. TASK ORGANIZATION

a. Commander Task Group 22.10, Captain R. C. Young, U.S.N. (In U.S.S. Card (CVE11)).

b. Commander Escort Division 48, Commander George A. Parkinson, U.S.N.R. (In U.S.S. THOMAS (DE-102)).

U.S.S. Card (CVE11), Captain R. C. Young, U.S.N.

U.S.S. THOMAS (DE-102) (F), Lt. Comdr.David M. Kellog, U.S.N.R.

U.S.S. BOSTWICK (DE-103), Lt. Comdr. Clifton G. Hall, U.S.N.R.

U.S.S. BREEMAN (DE-104), Lt. Comdr. Edward N. W. Hunter, U.S.N.R.

U.S.S. BRONSTEIN (DE-189), Lt. Comdr. Sheldon H. Kinney, U.S.N.

U.S.S. BAKER (DE-190), Lt. Comdr. Norman C. Hoffman, U.S.N.R.


2. MISSION

To operate offensively against enemy submarines.

- 1 -

6 July 1944

DE102/A16-3/(Fd)

Serial 021

Subject: Action Report of Sinking of German Submarine

(U-233), on 5 July 1944

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

3. DOCTRINE

In accordance with U.S.F. 10A as concerned screening operations. In accordance with F.T.P. 223 as concerned A.S.W. operations.

4. TIME

All times mentioned herein are zone plus 1 hour and 20 minutes.

5. TACTICAL SITUATION

At 1910 5 July 1944, Task Group on base course 0660T. speed 12 knots, zigzagging in accordance with plan 12, Zigzag Diagrams 1940. THOMAS, BOSTWICK and BREEMAN stationed as inner screen about CARD.
BRONSTEIN and BAKER were stationed 090 and 270 relative, respectively, from CARD, distance 20,000 yards. Sound conditions were Sonar medium 40/11C.

II. NARRATIVE

1910
Intercepted TBS transmission from BAKER to C.T.G. 2210. Baker had sound contact dead ahead, range 1500 yards.

1913
C.T.G. 22.10 requested ComCortDiv 48 to designate vessel to assist BAKER, and suggested THOMAS. ComCortDiv 48 directed THOMAS to assist BAKER.

Set course 3300 T., speed 18 knots.

Set all depth charges on Medium

1916
Increased speed to 20.5 knots.

Baker bearing 3280 ., distance 24,000 yards.

Lat. 42040’ N., Long. 58050’W.

BAKER reported on TBS that she had received strong hydrophone effects and had fired full pattern of depth charges on initial contact.

1918
Prepared Mark 10 projector for firing.

Streamed FOXAR gear.

BAKER reported she had regained contact and fired second full pattern of depth
charges.

- 2 -

6 July 1944

DE102/A16-3/(Fd)

Serial 021

Subject: Action Report of Sinking of German Submarine

(U-233), on 5 July 1944

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

1927
Submarine bow broke water at a sharp angle, bearing 3220T., range 12,000 yards. BAKER immediately opened fire on the sub.

Submarine fully surfaced and steadied on course 2000T. Speed 6 knots. THOMAS changed course to 3100T. to intercept.

Observed several hits by BAKER, resulting in smoke and flame in vicinity of conning tower.

1935
Opened fire with forward 3”/50 gun number two. Initial range 8,000 yards.

1936
Ceased firing at request of BAKER who was closing sub. Sub obscured by smoke.

THOMAS and BAKER both thought it sinking.

1936:30
Smoke cleared and sub observed to have changed course to left, to approximately 1300T., making high speed and using her diesels.

BAKER closed target and straddled sub with depth charges on shallow setting, thrown from side throwers.

1940
Changed course to 0100T. and decided to ram. Set all depth charges on safe and housed sonar gear.

Observed automatic weapon flashes from after part of sub’s conning tower and splashes well clear on our port bow.

1943
Changed course to 0250T.

1944
Opened fire with forward 3”/50 guns one and two, using SL radar ranges and visual bearings. Initial range, 4,500 yards. All our forward 20mm’s. Opened fire at 1800 yards range.

Using rapid fire, total ammunition expended until guns had to cease firing when they would no longer bear, was 29 rounds of 3”/50 cal., A.P., and 640 rounds 20 mm, mixed HET and HEI, at ratio of two to one.

Estimated percentage hits 20% 3”/50, and 65% 20mm.

1945
Slowed to 15 knots.

1946
Backed emergency full.

- 3 -

6 July 1944

DE102/A16-3/(Fd)

Serial 021

Subject: Action Report of Sinking of German Submarine

(U-233), on 5 July 1944
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

1946:30
Rammed sub’s starboard side approximately 20 to 30 feet abaft the conning tower.

Sub rolled approximately 700 to port.

Some men observed to scramble out of hatches and jump overboard.

1947
Stopped all engines. The sub’s observed to rise high out of the water, then sinking stern first beneath the THOMAS at an angle of about 600.

Sub’s speed at time of ramming estimated to be 12 knots.

THOMAS and BAKER assisted by BREEMAN who had arrived on scene, lay to picking up survivors from the water.

BREEMAN recovered three survivors and transferred them to THOMAS. Total prisoners onboard THOMAS including BREEMAN’S – 20 men, (three commissioned officers including the Captain, four Petty or Warrant Officers, and thirteen enlisted men).

Report on survivor prisoners and captured war equipment covered by Annex A under separate cover, (not to all).


III. ANALYSIS AND COMMENT


1. Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. BAKER, Lt. Comdr. Norman C. Hoffman, U.S.N.R. deserves great credit for the accurate manner in which he delivered the two depth charge attacks which forces the submarine to surface, and for the effective manner in which he took the sub under fire after she surfaced.

2. The able assistance and advice of Commander George A. Parkinson, U.S.N.R., ComCortDiv 48, contributed in no small way to the final kill of the U-boat.

3. From all appearances, the submarine was of the 740 ton class. She was all black with no identifying numerals or insignia. Their armament appeared to consist of one 3 or 4 inch gun on the main deck abaft the conning tower and three mounts of automatic weapons, located on the step or bandstand at the after end of conning tower. Of these three mounts, the one on the centerline appeared

- 4 -

6 July 1944

DE102/A16-3/(Fd)

Serial 021

Subject: Action Report of Sinking of German Submarine

(U-233), on 5 July 1944
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

to be of a heavier caliber. These guns appeared to be twin mounts. If the motion pictures which were taken of the action and ramming by THOMAS turn out well, these details will no doubt stand out clearly.

4. As THOMAS approached close aboard to ram, it was observed that the conning tower was smashed, twisted and holed by many shells. The grating forward of the conning tower was smashed in such a way as to indicate that one 3” shell had hit there also.

5. Other than a large Diesel Oil slick and the survivors in the water, no other evidence remained on the surface, after the submarine sank.

6. Just prior to the ramming a man was observed to train one of the guns on the THOMAS’ bridge. The impact of collision threw this man over the port side or down the conning tower hatch.

7. It was considered not practical for the THOMAS during her approach to alter course sufficiently to bring her entire battery to bear on target, and still continue to approach in a manner which would permit expeditious ramming.

8. Gun one was able to get off but four shells due to the flare in the ship’s bow blanking off the range.

9. The only material failure during the action, other than that incurred by the ramming, was that #2 gun momentarily jammed in train during firing. This vessel has had similar trouble with this gun before, and during the last availability at Navy Yard, New York, the Yard was requested to lift it and correct the trouble, which they refused to do, claiming that it was not necessary.

U-233KellogSignature.jpg (6129 bytes)

D. M. KELLOG


DISTRIBUTION:

(See next page)


U.S.S. THOMAS (DE-102)

Refer to

File No.

ANNEX A, to U.S.S. THOMAS (DE102)

Ltr. DE102/A16-3/(Fd), Serial 021,

Of 6 July, 1944


1. The following named prisoners of war including the three transferred from the U.S.S. BREEMAN (DE104), were picked up by this vessel.


1. Kapitan – Leutnant Hans STEEN

2. Leutnant (Navigator) Albert BETZIN, 25

3. Leutnant ZurSee, Karl GARTNER, 23

4. Kurt SIMON, 23, Unter-Offizier

5. Reuter FRITZ, 20, Obergereiter

6. Heinrich HUBEL, Stabsbootsnann

7. Walter WICKUM, 19, Gefreiter

8. S. ROCK, 22, Masch. Mt.

9. Walther SOMMER, 20, Gefreiter

10. Oberfashnrich ZurSee, Merich LENAR, 20

11. H. HEINBERG, 21, Obergefreiter

12. G. REISE, 22, Gefreiter

13. Karl REISNER, 24, Bootsmaat

14. Karl TERP, 23, Mash Ober Mt.

15. Christian INIZNEBURGNER, 21, Ober Gefreiter

16. Ernst HANSELE, 19, Ober Gefreiter

17. Herman SCHNEIDER, 19, Masch Gefreiter

18. Werner GORBING, 24, Unter-Offizier

19. Gunter MUDYA, 21, Ober Gefreiter

20. Ludwig ENGELMANN, 24, ?


2. As the men were brought on board they were immediately segregated into three groups – Officers, Petty Officers and Enlisted men, each man being searched, stripped, placed under a hot shower, and issued a complete kit of survivors clothing. At no time were the men allowed to converse amongst themselves. All prisoners were given hot soup, coffee, cigarettes and alcoholic stimulative where necessary. Only two survivors appeared to be injured. The Captain a stretcher case appeared to be the most serious, having several bad lacerations and shrapnel wounds in the legs. The other injured man was a Petty Officer and had a badly injured hand. Both men were given prompt medical attention and treatment by the Division Medical Officer who was on board. The Captain while under the influence of morphine volunteered in English his name as listed above (which checked with his dog tag), and that the subs number was 233, and that he had been to Boston, Charleston and Halifax before Pearl Harbor, and had lived in Boston for three years, 1933-34-35. He said he had a friend in Boston whose name was Emil Bremen. He said he was Captain of the submarine for five years

- A1 -

ANNEX A, to U.S.S. THOMAS (DE102)

Ltr. DE102/A16-3/(Fd), Serial 021,

Of 6 July, 1944
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

One of the Petty Officers (one with injured hand) stated he had a brother who was in the German Infantry, but was now in a prison camp in (Neymour ?) Oklahoma. He said his home was in Konigsburg, Germany and that his wife was there until the Americans bombed it and that he no longer had a home.

3. One of the enlisted prisoners who spoke English volunteered the information to a THOMAS crew member, that he had been on the submarine for three and a half years and that she was on her 5th war cruise.

4. Lieut. Gartner spoke English very fluently but did not disclose any information. He appeared to be extremely security conscious.

5. In searching the prisoners as they came on board, two coding wheels, apparently from an electric coding machine, were found on the person of one of the enlisted men, believed to be Ludwig Englemann. (Not certain as to name.)

6. After all survivors who could be found were recovered, this vessel was directed alongside the CARD whereupon all prisoners and their personal gear were transferred by breeches buoy.

7. The Coding Wheels were transferred directly to the CARD’s Executive Officer. Personal effects and miscellaneous notes, diaries and etc., taken from the prisoners were also transferred to the CARD. The mens clothing and notes and the escape lungs remain on the THOMAS and will be transferred to the CARD or Naval Intelligence on arrival in port.

8. As mentioned in basic letter, moving pictures of the action were taken and sent to the CARD for development as well as stills of prisoners as they came on board.

U-233KellogSignature.jpg (6129 bytes)
D. M. KELLOG
Lieut.Comdr., U.S.N.R.
Commanding


++++++++++

U.S.S. BAKER (DE190)


c/o Fleet Post Office

New York, N. Y.

7 July 1944

DE-190/A16-3

Serial 017


From: The Commanding Officer.

To: The Commander in Chief, U. S. Fleet.

Via: (1) Commander Task Group 22.10

(2) Commandr in Chief, U. S. Atlantic Fleet.

Subject: Action Report of Sinking of German Submarine

(U-233), on 5 July 1944.

Enclosures: (A) ASW-1 (Revised) Form.

(B) Track Chart (To Cominch only-with Advance copy).


I.

1. TASK ORGANIZATION

Commander Task Group 22.10, Captain R. C. Young, U.S.N. (In U.S.S. Card (CVE11)).

Commander Escort Division 48, Commander George A. Parkinson, U.S.N.R. (In U.S.S. THOMAS (DE-102)).


U.S.S. Card (CVE11), Captain R. C. Young, U.S.N.

U.S.S. Thomas (DE102) (F), Lt. Comdr.David M. Kellog, U.S.N.R.

U.S.S. BOSTWICK (DE103), Lt. Comdr. Clifton G. Hall, U.S.N.R.

U.S.S. BREEMAN (DE104), Lt. Comdr. Edward N. W. Hunter, U.S.N.R.

- 1 -


U.S.S. BAKER (DE190)

7 July 1944

DE190/A16-3

Serial 017

Subject: Action Report of Sinking of German Submarine

(U-233), on 5 July 1944
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

U.S.S. BRONSTEIN (DE189), Lt. Comdr. Sheldon H. Kinney, U.S.N.

U.S.S. BAKER (DE190), Lt. Comdr. Norman C. Hoffman, U.S.N.R.


2. MISSION

To operate offensively against enemy submarines.


3. DOCTRINE

In accordance with U.S.F. 10A as concerned screening operations. In accordance with F.T.P. 223 as concerned A.S.W. operations.

4. TIME

All times mentioned herein are zone plus 1 hour and 20 minutes and the equivalent in GCT.

5. TACTICAL SITUATION

At 1907 local time, (2027), 5 July 1944, Task Group on base course 0660T speed 12 knots, zigzagging in accordance with plan 12, Zigzag Diagrams 1940. THOMAS, BOSTWICK and BREEMAN stationed as inner screen about CARD. BRONSTEIN and BAKER were stationed 090 and 270 relative, respectively, from CARD, distance 20,000 yards.  Sound conditions were Sonar medium 40/11C.

II. NARRATIVE

At 1907 local time, (2027) U.S.S. BAKER gained Sonar contact on a submarine bearing 1100T range 2200 yards. The base course of the dispotion, at the time, was 0660T, speed 12 knots. The locality was approximately 420 16.5' N - 590 49' W. U.S.S. BAKER was occupying station 2700 relative from guide, U.S.S. CARD, distance 10 miles.

- 2 -

U.S.S. BAKER (DE190)

7 July 1944

DE190/A16-3

Serial 017

Subject: Action Report of Sinking of German Submarine

(U-233), on 5 July 1944
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

- 3 -

7 July 1944

DE102/A16-3/(Fd)

Serial 021

Subject: Action Report of Sinking of German Submarine (U-233)

on 5 July 1944
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Upon gaining this contact, U.S.S. BAKER streamed her FXR gear, went to General Quarters, called for a short pattern shallow (5 Mk 8 Depth Charges) came right to the center bearing, and went to standard speed. As soon as Depth Charge racks and "K" Guns reported fully manned, the pattern was changed to a full pattern medium (13 Mk 8 Depth Charges). This pattern depth was chosen since no conclusive evidence was available, as yet, of the submarine's depth, and it was felt that an error in the direction of too deep was preferable to a pattern set too shallow. Especially was this considered advisable, with Mk 8 Depth Charges, in the hope that these might fire magnetically if the submarine proved shallower than the estimate.

As the range to the submarine was closed, a high doppler was heard (closing indication) but practically no bearing movement was as yet noted. It was later believed that this was a result of the high target angle -- approximately 300 to 315 degrees. Not until 400 yards was a bearing drift evident. At that time, it was obvious submarine was moving from right to left in relation to the attacking ship. The ship therefore, was conned left with full rudder, and 5 seconds late firing on the
recorder was ordered.

The first pattern was dropped at 1913 local time, (2033 GCT). The ship was steadied for about 30
seconds and then swung to the left while the sound operator searched his port quarter to regain contact. A solid echo was received, bearing 3100T, range 350 yards, directly in the middle of the search arc suggested. At this point, the remote control tracking unit in the QCT sound stack in the sound stack went out, and three of the ship's soundmen repaired to the lower soundroom to commence manual train. Communication was established to that compartment over the JX sound powered phone circuit, and from this point on relative train of the sound gear was regulated from the sound hut.

- 3 -

7 July 1944

DE102/A16-3/(Fd)

Serial 021

Subject: Action Report of Sinking of German Submarine (U-233)

on 5 July 1944
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

U.S.S. BAKER came around early to head for the center bearing since it was paramount that the attack be made while contact was still being maintained. It was impossible to get cut on's that would indicate bearing drift, so the atacker came in on the center bearing for his approach course. When, at 300 yards, contact was lost because of training difficulties, U.S.S. BAKER came right easy to 1090T for the attack course, calculating that the submarine would now be moving from left to right with relation to the attacking ship. The recorder trace indicates that this was true. There was also a large component of motion away from the attacker on this run (A deep quartering to direct stern trace).

The second full pattern, set shallow in view of the short lost contact range of the first run, was fired at 1920 local time, (2040 GCT) on the recorder. Members of the ship's crew and officers aft, and on the flying bridge, reported a huge gyser of water, mixed with oil, as the second stern rolled charge detonated. The attack course was held about 57 seconds, then right easy 200 rudder, and as U.S.S. BAKER was feeling for sonar contact astern, and deep on the starboard quarter, SL Radar reported a peculiar effect, bearing 0500T, range 1200 yards -- a number of small pips resembling sea return.

The ship was brought right to 0000T, and all guns and torpedo tubes trained 0550 relative. At about 1925 local time, (2045 GCT), Sonar regained contact estimated 1200 relative, range 200 yards, and the ship was brought right to 0900T and all guns ordered to load. At 1931 local time, (2051 GCT), Radar reported a large pip 1950T, 1200 yards. Rudder was put right full and all ahead full ordered on engines. Simultaneously, the bow of the sub was seen to break surface, at a steep angle, on bearing given by radar.

- 4 -

7 July 1944

DE102/A16-3/(Fd)

Serial 021


Subject: Action Report of Sinking of German Submarine (U-233)

on 5 July 1944
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

All guns opened fire to starboard, range 1200 yards by radar, and hits and close splashes about the sub were observed. About one minute later, "Check Fire" was given and the battery trained to port and ordered into local control as the target angle of the sub was observed to be about 1700 and it was not desired to pass astern. The ship was brought right and steadied on 2500T, and the fire resumed to port. All guns, except the starboard 20MM could now bear, and the firing was accurate and heavy. Communications to the torpedo tubes were not good, they being on the same circuit with depth charges and "K" guns, and instructionsreguarding a shallow pattern, to be dropped just ahead of the sub, were being given over the circuit. The acting assistant gunnery officer was dispatched to the tubes to put them in local control and fire on a favorable opportunity. At 1935, local time, (2055 GCT), two torpedoes were fired with sub abeam to port.

Personnel on the bridge, and at the tubes, say they hit, but not witnessed by Commanding Officer. Range was too short to arm. Rudder was put right full, then shifted to left full, and U.S.S. BAKER passed ahead of sub, 75 yards, and fired port "K" guns. "K" guns straddled and detonated close aboard on both bows of sub. Ship was steadied on about 2350T.
At 1936.5, local time, (2101.5 GCT), all engines were ordered ahead emergency flank, 600 rpm (about 20.5 knots), and rudder put full left.


The ship now came about and pursued a northeasterly course, all guns bearing and firing on sub. At 1941.5, local time, (2101.5 GCT), U.S.S. BAKER passed close ahead of the sub and laid a full 13 charge pattern squarely in front of him. He rode squarely into the middle of the detonations and was enveloped in the boils. Many of the crew were observed astern of the sub, already having abandoned ship, and many others were observed to be abandoning at this time, and to be caught in the boils.

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