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Sinking of U-490 by Task Group 22.5
Consisting of the escort carrier USS Croatan and Destroyer Escorts USS Frost DE 144,
USS Huse DE 145, USS Inch DE 146, USS Snowden DE 246 and USS Swasey DE 248

U-490 German POWs Aboard USS INCH DE 146 and USS Croatan
click photo for a larger view

View A Copy of the Original USS FROST DE 144 Action Report

Action Reports


U. S. S. CROATAN

CVE-25 /A16-3

JPWV/Ccd

(S-0017 )

30 June 1944

2nd endorsement to

DE144 (FROST) ltr. Ser. 07

of 12 June 1944; DE145 (HUSE)

ltr. Ser. 0-16 of 12 June 1944;

DE146 (INCH) ltr. Of 13 June 1944.

From: Commander Task Group 22.5 (Commanding Officer U.S.S. CROATAN).

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

Subject: Report of Anti-Submarine Action - forwarding of.

1. Forwarded, concurring in the remarks and recommendations of the first endorsement.

2. This submarine had been carried in COMINCH daily estimates since about 15 May. On 10 June CINCLANT
directed this Task Group to operate specifically against this U-boat. At 1531 Z 10 June and again at 0136 Z on the 11th, the U-boat made radio transmissions (weather reports) which permitted HFDF fixes. Three ships of this group obtained good ground wave bearings on the second transmission, indicating that the submarine was within 50 miles.

3. During the night of 10-11 June, the area of operations experienced a cold front passage causing bad flying weather most of the night. A four-plane search was launched at 0600 (sunrise 0635 but by 0745 the weather was so thick that decision was made to land them. CROATAN was just turning into the wind to start landing, when contact was made within ten miles of the estimated position of the submarine at that time.

4. Frontal passage actually occurred before 0900, and thereafter weather rapidly improved and remained very good throughout the operation. A patrol of two aircraft was maintained over the area until dark (2330) assisting by tracking the submarine with sono-buoys. Great improvement in air-surface coordination was noted, as compared to previous similar operations. This is attributed largely to the greater experience of the DE commanding officers (this is their second cruise in company with CROATAN) and to the special efforts which have been made to familiarize surface and air personnel with each other’s problems, and to insure complete and constant interchange of information between them. The policy of keeping the same escorts with a carrier on successive cruises is most beneficial in this respect.

5. Recommendations for awards are forwarded in separate correspondence. The classification of basic letters and the 1st endorsement is hereby changed to “SECRET”. Transmission by registered mail is authorized within the United States.

Copy to: CINCLANT

LantFlt ASW Unit, Norfolk.

J. P. W. VEST.



U.S.S. FROST (DE-144)

c/o Fleet Post Office

New York, New York

DE-144/A16-3/A9

JHM:fp

Serial No. 07

12 June 1944.

From: The Commanding Officer.

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

Via: (1) Commander Escort Division Thirteen.

(2) Commander Task Group Twenty-two point five.

Subject : Report of Anti-Submarine action of U.S.S. Frost (DE-144),

Transmittal of.

Reference: (a) Lant Flt. Conf. Ltr. 13CL-43.

Enclosure: (A) Completed forms ASW-1 and Narrative.

1. In accordance with instructions contained in reference (a), enclosure (A) is transmitted herewith.

J. H. MC WHORTHER.

CC: Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet (Advance copy, including sound recorder traces and track charts)

Atlantic Fleet ASW Unit, 150 Causeway St., Boston, Mass. (Advance copy)


U.S.S. FROST (DE-144)

t/o Fleet Post Office

New York, New York


12 June 1944

NARRATIVE

11 June, 1944 (GCT throughout)

On 11 June, 1944, Task Group 22.5, consisting of USS CROATAN and Escorts FROST, HUSE, INCH, SNOWDEN and SWASEY, was conducting offensive anti-submarine operations north of the Azores Islands. Commander Escort Division Thirteen (Com Screen) in FROST. Task Group was steaming in regular formation, Table 1, USF 10A, FROST in station number one.

0802 - Sonar contact by Frost at position 42-47.0 N; 40-08.5 W. Put out FXR(Mk-4), which remained
out for next 24 hours.
0803 - 2400 – 725 yards.
0804/40 - Fired hedgehogs.
0805 -Three (3) strong explosions underwater.
0806 -HUSE has contact.
0807 -Two (2) muffled explosions. Estimated course of Sub 3400 T.
0821 - HUSE fired hedgehogs. Negative results.
0842 -Started operation “Observant”, initial course 1800 T., in company HUSE. Speed 15 knots, as on all
subsequent “Observant” operations.
0851 -Frost contact.
0858/30 -Fired hedgehogs (negative results) and depth charge patterns. Excellent fathometer indications at
270 ft. bearing 2100 T., submarine estimated course 1800 T. speed 1 ½ knots, 1.2 miles from first firing contact. Lost contact.
0925 -Commenced operation “Observant”.
1000 -Contact bearing 1850 T – 1500 yards.
1003 -Lost contact – Course of sub 1700 T., 2.5 miles from FROST.
1023 -HUSE gained contact at 1520 T., 2.5 miles from FROST.
1049 - HUSE lost contact.
1049/15 -FROST gained contact bearing 1050 T., distance 1000 yards.
1105/45 -Lost contact at 500 yards but continued attack, firing by “recorder”.
1106/15 - Dropped 16 charge pattern “very deep” at position 42-43.3 N; 40-08 W.
1107 -Observed air bubble rising to the surface at point of contact, course of submarine 1800 T., speed 2    knots.
1115 - CROATAN planes overhead commenced dropping sonobuoy pattern.
1118 - Bearing from 1st contact to 3rd contact 1600 T., 1.5 knots.
1131 - Stopped all engines 4 miles south of point of last contact while planes listen on sonobuoys.
1137 - Started engines.
1140 - Stopped engines to allow sonobuoy reception.
1144 - Commenced “Observant”.
1230 - Discontinued “Observant” to assist HUSE, who reported a sound contact.
1233 - HUSE fired hedgehogs (negative results), lost contact 300 yards, estimated submarine course 0600
T., 1.5 knots.
1235  -Regained contact.
1247 - Fired depth charges on “Creeper attack”, (submarine estimated course 0800, 1.5 knots). HUSE
“assisting ship”, FROST “attacking ship”.
1249 - Observed 2 large bubbles.

-1-

-2-

(Narrative Cont'd)

1250 - Plane observed brown patch.
1253 - Observed oil slick and air bubble. Plane saw same.
1254/30 - Regained contact and fired depth charges (standard 13 charge pattern “very deep”).
1259/15 - Another big oil slick and air bubble, from same spot. Plane also saw it 40 or 50 feet from float.
1301 - HUSE has doubtful fathometer reading 480 feet.
1305 - Large bubbling area where HUSE attacked.
1307 - CCD13 directed HUSE lay “very deep” pattern over bubbling area.
1307/30 - HUSE dropped depth charges.
1308 - HUSE getting “large area of vigorously bubbling oil”.
1309 - FROST has contact.
1313/30 - FROST fired hedgehogs.
1317 - Planes laid sonobuoy pattern after FROST fired. HUSE and FROST commenced clearing area.
1322 - Assisting plane saw new bubble where FROST attacked.
1324 - Stopped all engines to listen on sonobuoys.
1330 - Plane: “Muffled booming sounds on purple and orange sonobuoys”. Also heard on FROST’S
Sonobuoy receiver. Started up again.
1332 - Stopped to listen.
1339 - Start for “blue” floater after plane’s indication. No contact.
1413 - “Observant” search commenced (initial course 1800 T.)
1425 - HUSE has sound contact.
1426/45 - HUSE fired depth charges.
1439 - Stopped on heading 1750 T. to allow planes to listen.
1445 - HUSE resumed search for contact.
1450 - Started up, course 1800, resumed “Observant”.
1505 - Plane reported strong indication on sonobuoy in vicinity. Made sound contact.
1506/40 - Fired depth charges (lost contact at 350 yards).
1521 - Contact 1450 T., 1750 yards. - Contact 1460 T., 1550 yards.
1526 - Fired hedgehogs, no results. Lost contact.
1527 - HUSE contact at same spot FROST fired upon.
1533 - HUSE fired hedgehogs. Negative results.
1534 - Course of submarine 1400 T.
1535 - Started operation “Observant”, 0900 T.
1538 - By last contact, a small patch of oil observed. Went to investigate. No contact.
1545 - Resumed operation “Observant”.
1548 - Stopped to listen to sonobuoys.
1551 - Stopped operation “Observant”. Went to sonobuoy “blue” and made contact at 1614.
1615 - Fired hedgehogs. Negative results. Regained contact.
1616 - Fired depth charges. Submarine course 0000 T., speed 2 knots. Lost contact.
1620 - Commenced “Observant”.
1647 - Sonar contact bearing 3580 T., 1550 yards.
1655 - Fired hedgehogs. Negative results. Lost contact.
1700 - Commenced “Observant”.

-2-

-3-


(Narrative Cont'd)

1701 - Regained contact 0600 T., 2000 yards. Started “Creeper” attack. FROST “assisting ship”, HUSE
“attacking ship”.
1711 - HUSE dropped “Creeper” pattern. FROST retained contact.
1727 - HUSE dropped “Creeper” pattern. FROST retained contact intermittently.
1755 - Commenced operation “Observant”, as contact lost.
1931 - Completed “Observant” and swept through center with HUSE abeam.
1937 - Joined by INCH.
1940 - FROST, INCH and HUSE all got sound contact. Lost two minutes later.
1947 - Regained contact and held it to observe sub movement.
2005 - Dropped depth charges (very deep, as usual).
2012 - HUSE ordered to rejoin CROATAN. Left area.
2021 - FROST has contact and is directing INCH on an attack. INCH dropped sixteen charges. Contact
is lost in turbulence.
2032 - Commenced “Observant” in company with INCH.
2106 - FROST made sonar contact; joined by INCH.
2120 - Lost contact.
2128 - Regained contact and commenced “Creeper” attack, FROST “assisting”, INCH “attacking”.
2142 - INCH dropped full “Creeper” pattern (30 charges).
2150 - Regained contact. Commenced circling contact at 1200 yards, INCH following in FROST wake.
Retained contact continuously till 2235.
2235 - FROST crossed over submarine at 6 knots obtaining fathometer pips (6) at 600 feet depth. Sonar
contact lost.
2247 - Commenced operation “Observant” course 1800 T.
2256 - FROST made sonar contact 0050 T., 1700 yards.
2300 -  Fired depth charge pattern (13 charges) set at “very deep” and dropped flares on the spot, as
darkness setting in.
2313 - Proceeded with INCH (2400 yards abeam) to eastward to clear area, on orders of O.T.C.
(CCD13) in FROST. Gambit was being executed. After three (3) miles, the two DE’s slowed to
ten (10) knots, after another mile they slowed to 8 knots.
2342 - Reached point five (5) miles east of last contact and stopped (on orders of OTC). SNOWDEN was
stationed as barrier patrol ten (10) miles south of contact point, on orders of C.T.G. 22.5.
2345 - Started up on course 0000 T., INCH abeam 2000 yards.
2358 - Changed course to 2700 to close the area of last contact.
0027 - FROST made radar contact bearing 2500 T., distance 8000 yards. Went to General Quarters,
speed 15 knots.
0034 - Changed course to 2800 T. (INCH in column astern). Holding and tracking radar target. Submarine
course 2600 T., speed 6 knots.
0035 - Changed course to 2200 T.
0041 - Commenced firing star shells on orders of O.T.C. FROST could not observe submarine.
0043 - Changed course to 3000 T. Ceased firing stars.
0049 - Challenged contact on port bow. Contact answered challenge incorrectly, but sent “SOS, AA,
PLEASE SAVE”, each word repeated several times.

-3-

-4-

(Narrative Cont'd)

0052 - Commenced firing all batteries at submarine on orders of O.T.C. Using searchlight illumination, first
salvo landed on sub, range 3600 yards.
0052/10 - Checked fire for 20 seconds to allow SNOWDEN to clear firing range. When firing commenced,
she had shown her fighting lights, revealing herself, it-appeared, just beyond the sub. SNOWDEN was seen to increase speed and turn away, so fire was resumed.
0053 - Ceased firing as target not visible due to tracers and splashes. Also disappeared from radar screen.
Changed course to 2400 T.
0054 - Changed course to 1800 T.
0057 - Changed course to 0700 T.
0058 - Changed course to 0250 T.
0101 - Sighted debris in water on port beam (500 yards). Slowed to 6 knots.
0107 - Commenced picking up surviving prisoners, determined to be Germans, who soon admitted sub was
“U-490”.
0110 - Heard underwater explosion (submarine breaking up).
0135 - Completed rescuing prisoners and cleared area, rejoining C.T.G. 22.5 (in CROATAN). Prisoners
included, in addition to seven enlisted men:

Oberleutnant Zu See (Captain): Willi GERLACH.

Oberleutnant Zu See (First Officer): Karl SCHULZE.

(Navigator, Third Officer): George CASPER

Transferred prisoners to CROATAN, 12 June, 1944.


Total ammunition expended:

108 Depth charges (Mk 9-2) (Pistols Mk 6-1)

144 Mk.10 Projectors.

16 3”/50 cal. A.P.

8 3”/50 cal. Star shells.

56 40MM

371 20MM


J. H. MC WHORTHER.
Lieut. Comdr., USNR
Commanding



U.S.S. FROST (DE-144), Flagship


c/o Fleet Post Office,

New York, New York.

25 June 1944.

FIRST ENDORSEMENT

ON DE144/DE145/DE

146 ltrs of 12 June

1944.

From: The Commander, Destroyer Escort Division Thirteen.

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

Via: Commander Task Group Twenty-two Point Five.

Subject: Report of Anti-Submarine Action - Forwarding of.

1. The initial Sonar contact was made by the USS FROST at 0802 Zebra, at which time an attack with hedgehogs was made scoring three hits. No evidence of damage was apparent at this time. Sonar contact was held intermittently from initial time of contact until 2300 Zebra. During this period attacks were made as follows:

USS FROST - 5 hedgehog attacks - 7 standard depth charge patterns.

USS HUSE - 2 hedgehog attacks - 4 standard depth charge patterns.
2 creeping attacks, standard depth charge patterns.

USS INCH - 1 standard depth charge pattern - 1 creeping attack 30 depth charges.


From these attacks no evidence of damage was observed. Occasionally a large air bubble appeared on the surface after an attack. It was evident that the submarine was at a depth which gave it immunity from our 600 foot depth charge setting.

After the last attack at 2300 Zebra, it was decided to gambit by withdrawing at varying speeds to a point of (5) five miles from the scene of last contact and then stopping. At this point escorts remained stopped for about (5) five minutes and then closed area of contact at slow speed of eight (8) knots. Shortly after this radar contact was made by USS FROST, bearing 2500 true, distance 4.5 miles. Course was set to close range and when it was closed to 4500 yards, commenced firing star shells. When range closed to 3000 yards, illuminated with searchlights and USS FROST and USS INCH opened fire with all batteries. USS INCH made an attempt to fire a torpedo but had a hot run on deck.

Range was held to about 1600 yards by changing course towards the sub. Target disappeared from radar scope bearing
0000 true, range 1200 yards. Shortly after target disappeared from


-1-


U.S.S. FROST (DE-144), Flagship

Subject: Report of Anti-submarine action of U.S.S. FROST (DE144) - Forwarding of.

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

scope. Men were heard screaming in the water and presently a terrific underwater explosion was heard. Sixty (60) prisoners were rescued including the commanding officer.


ANALYSIS OF OPERATION

(A) ATTACKS:

Sound conditions were unusually good, average contact range being 1700 yards. Often times two escorts had
simultaneous contact. At one time contact was held continuously by the USS FROST for a period of thirty (30) minutes. No attacks were made during this time.

Depth charge, hedgehog and creeping attacks were made and all were considered to have been well executed. Escorts had never had any training in the creeping attack. In view of this, each of the creeping attacks was surprisingly well made.  However, the slow speed of the sub may account for this good showing. It is expected that some difficulty with this type of attack may be expected by a sub using all out evasive tactics.

In the individual ship attack, the attacking ship passed information liberally to the assisting ship. This information properly plotted on the D.R.T. aided the assisting ship materially in quickly regaining contact. The importance of the exchange of information between the A.S.W. units on the scene of action cannot be overstressed. It is definitely one of the most important aids in regaining contact after the attack.


(B) OPERATION “OBSERVANT”:


When contact was not regained after twenty (20) minutes had elapsed since last contact, escorts used operation “Observant”. The success in regaining contact when it was used exceeded our fondest expectations. Contact was regained everytime it was used and as a matter of fact, it was so successful that on four or five occasions it was used even though contact had been lost for only a period of ten (10) minutes. It was not used after last contact at 2300, as it was decided at that time to gambit to lure sub to surface.

The great advantage of operation “Observant” is that it permits an organized search after lost contact and eliminates wakes in probable sub area.

In view of the success of “Observant” in this instance, it is most favorably recommended.


-2-

U.S.S. FROST (DE-144), Flagship


Subject: Report of Anti-submarine action of U.S.S. FROST

(DE144) - Forwarding of.

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

(C) AIRCRAFT IN OPERATION:

Air coverage was provided by USS CROATAN during the entire operation and Sono-buoy patterns were laid by aircraft.  Planes had indication on Sono-buoy at least three times and directed escorts to proper buoy where contact by escorts was made. When planes listened for indications on Sono-buoy escorts were stopped. After plane reports to escorts, escorts proceeded again.

This was the second time that the escorts have operated this Task Group. The coordination between the escorts and the aircraft was most satisfactory. Both units were always cognizant of what the other was doing. It is felt that coordination between escorts and aircraft was due mainly to the experience gained from the previous operation. It is strongly recommended again that these Task Groups be made permanent.

(D) FXR GEAR:

Much interference was experienced in the Sonar gear from FXR gear. When an escort was forward of the beam of the escort which had contact, the interference was pronounced and completely drowned out both the transmission and echo. It was necessary to stop the interfering escorts to eliminate this interference. In view of this experience the following FXR doctrine has been established:

FXR gear will be streamed at such times as it is felt necessary to afford protection to the escorts. After contact is gained and one attack is made the attacking ship will inform other escorts as to probable depth of the sub. If sub is deep FXR gear will be recovered. If sub is medium or shallow FXR gear will be kept streamed until such time as sub increases depth.

It is believed that a deep submarine is not in a position to attack with torpedoes, consequently FXR gear is not needed.  With the shallow or medium submarine, a torpedo attack can be expected.

It is realized that the submarine may and can change its depth from deep to shallow or medium during an operation. When the submarine varies its depth as above, escorts are then dependent upon standard evasive tactics to avoid being hit by the acoustic torpedo. This disadvantage must be accepted in order that the best Sonar conditions be available to the attacking escort.

The Mark IV FXR gear now being used has been most satisfactory and a marked improvement over the other types formerly used. There is much agitation on the part of the commanding officers to have a small deck winch installed for retrieving the gear. The Division Commander does not concur in this.

-3-

U.S.S. FROST (DE-144), Flagship


Subject: Report of Anti-submarine action of U.S.S. FROST

(DE144) - Forwarding of.

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

At twenty (20) knots the recovery process is slow, however, there is little necessity for too much speed. It is felt the cost of these winches is unwarranted under the circumstances.

The initial point of contact was marked by smoke float “Marine T-2”. These markers were provided by the USS
CROATAN. A continuous D.R.T. plot was also kept. The plot was frequently checked with the smoke float so point of contact was always definitely established. Also it made it easier in coordinating operations with aircraft as the smoke float was visible at considerable distances both to aircraft and escorts.

These smoke floats are considered far superior to the green dye markers.

(E) ILLUMINATION:

The plan was to have USS INCH illuminate with stars, with the USS FROST firing all guns. When the range closed to 4500 yards both the USS FROST and USS INCH opened fire with star shells. Neither vessel saw the sub after the stars burst. However, the USS SNOWDEN which was south of target, distance about four (4) miles, saw the target as a result of this illumination.

Searchlights gave excellent illumination at a range of 3000 yards and under.

(F) PRISONERS INFORMATION RECEIVED CONCERNING OPERATION:

1. Damage from initial hedgehog attack was superficial. Small seam leaks were caused but the leakage of salt water into sub gave them little concern.

2. All depth charges exploded above sub. Depth charges were set at 600 feet. They counted one hundred and eighty four (184) explosions. The explosions were very demoralizing on crew of sub.

3. The Mark 6, Mod 1 pistol was used in Mark 9, Mod 3 depth charges. Had the Mark 6, Mod 2 pistol with its 1000 foot setting been used, submarine might have been destroyed earlier.

4. They were very much puzzled by our FXR gear and they called it a “buzzer”.


-4-

U.S.S. FROST (DE-144), Flagship


Subject: Report of Anti-submarine action of U.S.S. FROST

(DE144) - Forwarding of.

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

5. The gambit tactics used at 2300 gave then the impression that we were British escorts and that we had completed our “holding down” tactics and were leaving area and proceeding to rejoin convoy. Having arrived at this assumption, the commanding officer believed it a propitious time to surface and escape.

6. Upon surfacing they sighted three lights (our floater lights) which they believed to be three ships communicating with flashing lights. Decision not to offer resistance was made when the three lights were sighted and they felt themselves greatly out numbered. In view of this, this evasive tactic is considered for future use. Escorts were not seen until star shells were fired.

7. After star shells were fired, the commanding officer ordered all hands to abandon ship excepting the engineer, navigator and himself. The navigator flashed by light “S.O.S. - Please save us”.

8. Immediately after this message, sub was hit aft by gun fire. At this time the three of them abandoned ship.


(G) INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM PRISONERS:

The U-490 had been in commission about six (6) months. A refueler, she was loaded with much diesel oil and fresh provisions but had no torpedoes aboard. She departed Kiel, Germany, 4 May 1944 arriving in area via North Ireland, and had refueled no subs to date. Her armament was two 37 MM and four 20 MM guns. She was awaiting orders from Germany. She had been attacked by British A.S.W. ships but they gave up too early some time previous to discovery by CROATAN group.

U-490 had been submerged since 0400 Saturday morning, and all day Sunday depth charges were exploding round them keeping them submerged at a depth of 700 ft. or over. They were also scared out of their wits by our FXR gear. Although slightly damaged by the hedgehog attack, it was lack of oxygen and fatigue which caused them to surface when they had been deceived by our withdrawing only six (6) miles, decreasing speed slowly and then stopping. At the first salvo of star shells the sub abandoned. The sub was hit by gunfire, sinking shortly afterwards, leaving the men screaming and yelling in the water, which was audible a mile away. All were anxious to be saved.

The Captain and Third Officer both seemed very depth charge shy. The former is a sub ace with 330,000 tons of shipping to his credit. He is not talkative and his security discipline on his crew was excellent. An ex merchant skipper, he has been in subs since 1940.

-5-

U.S.S. FROST (DE-144), Flagship

Subject: Report of Anti-submarine action of U.S.S. FROST

(DE144) - Forwarding of.

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The Navigator was very talkative. It was his first trip, and he had not been required to go to sub school. All the survivors were deathly afraid we were English and expected to be killed by them. They are praying not to be interned in England. They all have great admiration for Hitler, are most complementary about their food. (3 liters of water per day per man and 4 pounds of meat per week per man), are enthusiastic about the rest camps for officers and men where they are sent between cruises.  They have been told by their propaganda broadcasts that the Allies have already been run out of France and that the invasion is a complete failure.

The U-490 apparently has a very high speed on the surface - about 24 knots - and it was intimated her diesels can be used submerged. On surfacing on this occasion she did not use her diesels because of the noise they make.

The Navigator reported having recently visited Berlin, Bremen and Kiel. The latter although damaged in spots has not been affected as far as its efficiency as a base is concerned. Berlin, he stated, is totally destroyed over about half its area, but that in some portions of the other half one can walkthrough the streets without even being aware that a war exists. Bremen, however, is a mass of ruins with nothing left standing.

F. D. GIAMBBATTISTA

-6-

U.S.S. FROST (DE-144), Flagship

c/o Fleet Post Office,

New York, New York.

NARRATIVE


11 June 1944 (GCT throughout)



On 11 June 1944, Task Group 22.5 consisting of USS CROATAN and escorts USS FROST (DE144), USS HUSE (DE145), USS INCH (DE146), USS SNOWDEN (DE246) and USS SWASEY (DE248) was conducting offensive and anti-submarine operations north of the Azore Islands. Commander, Destroyer Escort Division Thirteen, (Com Screen) in USS FROST. Task Group was steaming in regular formation, Table 1, USF 10A.

0802 - FROST made Sonar contact at position; Lat: 42-47 N, Long: 40-08.5 W.
0822 - FROST fired hedgehogs making three hits.
0824 - HUSE directed to join FROST in Sonar search, CROATAN, INCH, SNOWDEN and SWASEY
proceeding away from point of attack. FROST and HUSE making Sonar search to regain contact.
0830 - HUSE regained Sonar contact, directed attack with standard depth charge.
0832 - FROST regained Sonar contact, directed make hedgehog attack.
0907 - HUSE regained contact and directed attack with standard depth charges. After these attacks, definite
air bubble was observed.
0943 - Directed FROST and HUSE commence operation “Observant”, initial course 270 degrees true, speed
15 knots.
1016 - FROST made Sonar contact.
1020 - FROST lost sound contact, resumed operation “Observant”.
1120 - FROST regained Sonar contact, directed fire special large depth charge pattern.
1124 - FROST attacked with depth charges.
1137 - Planes from CROATAN dropped Sono-buoy pattern.
1146 - Directed FROST and HUSE to stop. Planes listening for indications of sub on Sono-buoy.
1152 - Executed speed 15 knots.
1155 - Executed speed 0 knots.
1200 - Executed speed 15 knots and commenced Sonar search.
1222  - Executed speed 0 knots, planes listening for Sono-buoy indications.
1235 - Directed FROST and HUSE to commence operation “Observant”.
1245 - HUSE makes Sonar contact, directed FROST join HUSE and for HUSE to direct FROST in creeping
attack.
1305 - FROST attacked with depth charges.
1308 - Oil bubble observed on surface, directed FROST lay depth charge pattern over bubble.
1311 - FROST dropped standard depth charge pattern over air bubble.
1314 - FROST and HUSE directed to make Sonar search to regain contact.
1325 - FROST makes Sonar contact, directed make depth charge attack.
1330 - FROST attacked with depth charges.
1341 - FROST and HUSE directed to stop and listen.
1428 - FROST and HUSE directed to commence operation “Observant”, initial course 270 degrees true.

-1-

U.S.S. FROST (DE-144), Flagship

11 June 1944 (Continued)

1518 - FROST makes Sonar contact, directed to make depth charge attack.
1525 - FROST attacked with depth charges.
1528 - FROST regained contact, directed make hedgehog attack.
1544 - FROST attacked with hedgehogs.
1547 - HUSE makes Sonar contact, directed to attack.
1550 - HUSE attacked with hedgehogs.
1555 - Two planes returned to CROATAN, one remained vicinity scene of contact.
1600 - HUSE makes Sonar contact, directed to attack.
1627 - FROST makes Sonar contact, directed to attack.
1631 - FROST attacked with hedgehogs.
1633 - Commenced Sonar search of area.
1641 - H.M.S. SEACLOUD hove in sight, requested instructions, directed to clear area.
1645 - Commenced operation “Observant”.
1703 - HUSE regained Sonar contact, directed to attack with hedgehogs.
1707 - HUSE attacked with hedgehogs.
1722 - FROST regains Sonar contact, FROST directed to direct HUSE on creeping attack.
1726 - HUSE fired depth charge pattern.
1734 - HUSE regains Sonar contact, directed FROST coach HUSE in on creeping attack.
1742 - HUSE attacked with depth charges.
1745 - HUSE regains Sonar contact, directed HUSE coach FROST in on creeping attack.
1748 - HUSE reports echo doubtful.
1759 - FROST over contact, directed FROST not to fire but take fathometer reading. Fathometer showed sub
at 100 fathoms.
1816 - Commenced operation “Observant”.
1940 - Completed operation “Observant”, commenced sweeping through area prior starting box search.
1948 - Directed HUSE take station on starboard beam, distance 2400 yards.
1959 - FROST and HUSE have sound contact, FROST directed proceed with depth charge attack.
2000 - USS INCH joins killer group. FROST loses contact.
2015 - INCH makes Sonar contact, directed to attack with depth charges.
2027 - HUSE directed to rejoin CROATAN.
2032 - Commenced operation “Observant”.
2100 - Clocks set back 15 minutes, Zedd time.
2128 - FROST regains contact, directed to direct HUSE in on creeping attack.
2142 - HUSE attacked with depth charges.
2150 - FROST regains contact, directed not to attack at once but to hold contact. Contact held until 2235.
2235 - Directed FROST pass over sub to obtain fathometer reading. Fathometer reading at 600 feet.
2236 - FROST regains Sonar contact, directed to attack.

-2-

U.S.S. FROST (DE-144), Flagship

11 June 1944 (Continued)

2313 - Directed INCH take station on starboard beam of FROST, distance 2400 yards, course 090 degrees
true, gambit tactics.
2316 - Executed speed 10 knots.
2322 - Executed speed 8 knots.
2342 - Stopped.
2342 - SNOWDEN directed by CTG-22.5 take station 10 miles south of point of contact as radar barrier
patrol.
2345 - Executed course 000 degrees true, speed 8 knots.
2358 - Executed course 270 degrees true, to close area of contact.

12 June 1944 (GCT)

00-04  -FROST and INCH in line of bearing on course 270 degrees true, speed 8 knots, INCH 2400 yards on
FROST starboard beam, gambit tactics. SNOWDEN 10 miles south of point of contact as radar barrier patrol.
0027 - FROST makes radar contact, bearing 250 degrees true, distance 4 1/2 miles. Executed speed 15 knots, form column, directed SNOWDEN to close target. SNOWDEN reported radar contact target.
0034 - Executed course 280 degrees true, distance of target 4 miles, subs course 280 degrees true.
0035 - Executed course 220 degrees true.
0041 - FROST and INCH executed commence firing with star shells.
0043 - Executed change course 300 degrees true, distance of target 2 1/2 miles.
0047 - Directed to cease fire. Ceased firing star shells, range 4000 yards. Target sends A.A. by light, followed
by “S.O.S.”.
0052 - FROST and INCH executed commence firing all batteries and illuminated with searchlights.
0053 - Executed course 240 degrees true, distance of target .08 of a mile.
0054 - Executed course 180 degrees true, distance of target .08 of a mile.
0057 - Executed course 070 degrees true, target disappears from screen.
0058 - Changed course to 025 degrees true, INCH reported hearing men yelling and screaming in the water.
0059 - SNOWDEN, who had been directed to clear but regain favorable firing position, reported seeing sub
bow at angle of 45 degrees and then sinking stern first.
0101 - FROST reported seeing debris and men in water on port beam, distance 500 yards.
0102 - Directed FROST and INCH to pick up prisoners in water. SNOWDEN directed to screen operation.
0110 - Heard loud underwater explosion, sub apparently breaking up.
0135 - Completed picking up survivors, proceeding to rejoin CROATAN.

-3-

U.S.S. FROST (DE-144), Flagship

12 June 1944 (Continued)

0140 - FROST reported rescues, sub Captain, Executive Officer, Navigator and seven enlisted ratings, INCH
forty seven officers and men, SNOWDEN three men, a total of sixty (60) men, the entire crew.
Prisoners state “U” boat was U-490, a refueler which had sailed from Kiel, Germany on 4 May 1944.
The sub sank in approximate position:
Lat: 42 - 25 N.
Long: 39 - 38 W.


ANALYSIS OF COORDINATED ANTI-SUBMARINE ACTION
BY USS FROST, USS HUSE, USS INCH AND
USS CROATAN AIRCRAFT

 

UNITED STATES FLEET

HEADQUARTERS OF THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF

NAVY DEPARTMENT

WASHINGTON 25, D. C.

FF1/A16-3(17)

Serial: 02908 22 August 1944

CONFIDENTIAL

From: Commander in Chief, United States Fleet.

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


Subject: Anti-Submarine Joint Action by USS FROST,
USS HUSE, USS INCH, and USS CROATAN Aircraft

On 11-12 June, 1944.


Enclosure: (A) Analysis of Subject Action.

1. Enclosure (A) is forwarded for information.


F. S. LOW,
Assistant Chief of Staff.

Copy to:

CinCPac
ComCaribSeaFron
ComTHIRDFleet
ComPaSeaFron
ComFIFTHFleet
ComWesSeaFron
ComSEVENTHFleet
Co.AlSeaFron
ComFOURTHFleet
ComHawSeaFron
ComEIGHTHFleet
CO U.S. NavTraCen Miami
ComTWELFTHFleet
DE Shakedown Group Bermuda
ComAirLant
LantASWUnit Norfolk
ComAirPac
Naval War College
ComDesLant
FltSoundScol San Diego
ComDesPac
CO WesCoSoundScol San Diego
COTCPac
ComCortDiv 13 (USS FROST)
ComEastSeaFron
CO USS FROST (DE-144)
ComGulfSeaFron
CO USS HUSE (DE-145)

CO USS INCH (DE-146)


CONFIDENTIAL Incident No. 6391 (A) (B) and (C)


ANALYSIS OF COORDINATED ANTI-SUBMARINE ACTION
BT USS FROST, USS HUSE, USS INCH AND
USS CROATAN AIRCRAFT


Employment………….Offensive A/S Operations

Time………………….0802 GCT 11 June to 0110 GCT 12 June 1944

Position………………43-47N/40-08W

Depth of water……….2700 fathoms

Weather Conditions….Overcast; Visibility varying from 5-15 miles;

Sea Force 2, direction not stated;

Wind Force 2, direction not stated

Sonar conditions……..Good

Contact first made by...HF/DF

Range…………………Estimated within 50 miles

Number of attacks……7 HH; 14 DC; 4 Creeping Attacks; Gunfire


1. BRIEF NARRATIVE.

(a) While searching for a submarine known to be in the area, an enemy HF transmission was heard at 0136, 11 June. The transmission was fixed by CominCh within 50 miles of a position 40 miles west of the Task Group. Three ships of the group obtained accurate ground wave bearings and course was shaped to intercept. At 0600 a 4 plane search was launched but at 0745 the weather had so deteriorated that the aircraft were recalled. As CROATAN turned into the wind to conduct landing operations, FROST made sonar contact at a range of 650 yards. The contact was within 10 miles of the estimated position of the submarine. CROATAN made an emergency turn away. HUSE was designated to assist. HUSE and FROST then streamed FXR gear and proceeded to attack.

(b) At 0805 FROST fired a hedgehog pattern which resulted in three hedgehog detonations followed by two muffled explosions two minutes later. HUSE made sonar contact at 0818 and planned to make a hedgehog attack. However, acting on information obtained from the FROST that the submarine was probably deep, a full depth charge pattern set at 400 feet was ordered. Four charges failed to leave the track due to a failure of the release gear. During the attack, HUSE experienced considerable interference from her FXR gear and retrieved it.

(c) As contact was not regained at 0822, OBSERVANT was started and resulted in FROST regaining contact at 0851. At 0859 FROST fired a hedgehog pattern followed by a full depth charge pattern set at 400 feet. A fathometer reading of 270 feet was obtained on this run.. OBSERVANT was begun again at 0925. Momentary contacts were made at 1000 and 1023. At 1106 FROST regained contact and attacked with a 16-charge depth charge pattern set deep. Air bubbles rising to the surface followed this attack. At 1115, CROATAN aircraft

- 1 -

Enclosure (A)
To CominCh conf. ser. 02908
Dated 22 August 1944


began dropping sono-buoys. Both ships stopped engines shortly thereafter to permit the aircraft to listen on the sono-buoy receivers. Good indications were received on one buoy but the ships did not regain sonar contact. 1213 OBSERVANT was started and resulted in HUSE regaining contact at 1227. A hedgehog pattern was fired without result. Contact was regained and at 1247 a creeping attack was made with HUSE acting as assisting ship. Large air bubbles resulted from this attack.
FROST regained contact at 1255 and attacked with full depth charge set at 500 feet. An oil slick and air bubbles were then observed. At 1307 ComCortDiv 13 directed HUSE to lay a very deep pattern in the area where bubbles were observed to be rising. 1313 FROST made an attack. (It is not clear if this was a hedgehog or a depth charge attack.)

(d) 1317 aircraft laid another sono-buoy pattern and HUSE and FROST withdrew from the area. Engines were
stopped at 1324 to permit listening on the sono-buoys. “Muffled booming sounds were heard on the aircraft and FROST’s sono-buoy receivers.” Neither FROST nor HUSE was able to obtain sonar contact. At 1413 OBSERVANT was started resulting in the HUSE obtaining sound contact 12 minutes later. A full depth charge pattern was fired without result.

(e) 1445 OBSERVANT was again begun. At 1505 aircraft reported a strong indication on a sono-buoy which lead  to FROST regaining contact. This contact was attacked by a full pattern of depth charges. FROST also made a hedgehog attack at 1526. HUSE followed with a hedgehog pattern at 1535. OBSERVANT was started at 1537 and at 1548 engines were stopped to listen on the sono-buoys. Indications were received on one sono-buoy and sonar contact followed. FROST attacked with a combined hedgehog and depth charge pattern at 1615. OBSERVANT was started at 1620 and resulted in FROST regaining contact at 1647. She fired a hedgehog pattern at 1655 with negative results. OBSERVANT was begun at 1700 resulting immediately in regained contact. 1711 a creeping attack was made with FROST acting as assisting ship.
Another creeping attack was made at 1727 with FROST again acting as assisting ship. Contact was then lost and at 1755 OBSERVANT was begun.

(f) At 1937 INCH joined the search . 1940 all three ships made sonar contact. FROST attacked with full depth
charge pattern at 2005. HUSE was then ordered to rejoin CROATAN.

(g) 2016 INCH who had obtained the sonar contact from FROST attacked with full depth charge pattern. 2142 a
creeping attack was made with FROST acting as assisting ship. On this attack, a 30-charge pattern was dropped. Contact was regained and at 2235 FROST obtained a fathometer reading of 600 feet. Contact was then lost and at 2247 OBSERVANT was begun resulting in FROST regaining contact at 2256. A full 13-charge pattern followed at 2300.

- 2 -

Enclosure (A)
To CominCh conf. ser. 02908
Dated 22 August 1944


(h) The Task Group Commander now decided that if the submarine were given an opportunity, she would attempt to surface and escape shortly after dark. To encourage this move, SNOWDEN was directed to a position about 5 miles south of the estimated position of the submarine while FROST and INCH were directed to employ gambit tactics, retiring at decreasing speed to a position to the northward. The submarine obliged and surfaced between FROST and SNOWDEN at 0027.
FROST and SNOWDEN made radar contact and at 0041 INCH and FROST illuminated it with starshell and searchlight and opened fire with all batteries. Just as the first starshells were fired the submarine was seen to signal “SOS please take our crew.” 0059 SNOWDEN reported seeing the submarine sinking stern first with the bow up at an angle of 450. Soon after FROST and INCH began recovering survivors while SNOWDEN screened. 0110 a large underwater explosion was heard and at 0135 all three ships rejoined CROATAN.

4. ANALYSIS OF ATTACKS.

(a) Resume of attacks.

Time
Ship
Type
Attack
Number
Charges
Depth Settings
Lost
Contact
Range
Remarks



0805
FROST
HH
24
-
220 yds
Three underwater explosions
followed by two muffeled explosions
two minutes later

0821
HUSE
DC
9
350 to 450 ft
200 "
4 charges failed to release from
tracks. Report states deep pattern
dropped on information secured
from FROST taht sub was deep.

0859
FROST
HH
24
350 to 450 ft
800 "
Fathometer reading of 270 ft
obtained.

DC
13



1106
FROST
DC
16
500 to 600 ft
550 "
Large air bubble observed after this
attack.

1233
HUSE
HH
24
-
300 "

1247
FROST
Cr.
18
500 to 600 ft
-
Creeping attack. HUSE assisting
FROST. 2 large air bubbles seen
followed by more air bubbles and oil
slick.


- 3 -

Enclosure (A)
To CominCh conf. ser. 02908
Dated 22 August 1944


1255
FROST
DC
13
-
-
No ASW form or recorder trace
received for this attack.

1259
HUSE
DC
12
350 to 450 ft
200 yds
1 K-Gun failed to fire.

1307
HUSE
DC
13
250 to 350 ft
-
No sonar contact. Pattern laid over
area where bubbles were observed.

1313
FROST
DC
13
350 to 450 ft
300 "
---

1428
HUSE
DC
13
450 to 550 ft
500 "

1507
FROST
DC
13
350 to 450 ft
350 "

1526
FROST
HH
24
-
350 "

1535
HUSE
HH
24
-
450 "

1615
FROST
HH
24
-
DC
131
350 to 450 ft
450 "


1655
FROST
HH
24
-
480 "

1711
HUSE
Cr.
13
500 to 600 ft
-
HUSE attacking, FROST assisting.


1727
HUSE
Cr.
11
500 to 600 ft
-
Only 11 charges fired due to fouling of
K-Gun

2005
FROST
DC
13
500 to 600 ft
250 "


2016
INCH
DC
13
500 to 600 ft
400 "
INCH coached onto contact by
FROST.

2142
INCH
Cr.
500 to 600 ft
-
INCH attacking and HUSE assisting
ship.
DC
30

2300
FROST
DC
13
500 to 600 ft
350 "


(b) While these attacks were generally well conducted, the use of hedgehogs and depth charges in the same run and the employment of hedgehogs on a submarine believed to be deep are not in accordance with doctrine.

- 4 -

Enclosure (A)
To CominCh conf. ser. 02908
Dated 22 August 1944

(c) In his forwarding endorsement, ComCortDiv 13 stated,

“Much interference was experienced in the sonar gear from FXR gear. When an escort was forward of the beam of the escort which had contact, the interference was pronounced and completely drowned out both the
transmission and echo. It was necessary to stop the interfering escorts to eliminate this interference. In view of
this experience the following FXR doctrine has been established.

“FXR gear will be streamed at such times as it is felt necessary to afford protection to the escorts. After contact
is gained and one attack is made the attacking ship will inform other escorts as to probable depth of sub. If sub is deep FXR gear will be recovered. If sub is medium or shallow FXR gear will be kept streamed until such time as sub increases depth.

“It is believed that a deep submarine is not in a position to attack with torpedoes, consequently FXR gear is not
needed. With the shallow or medium submarine, a torpedo attack can be expected.

“It is realized that the submarine may and can change its depth from deep to shallow or medium during an
operation. When the submarine varies its depth as above, escorts are then dependent upon standard evasive
tactics to avoid being hit by the acoustic torpedo. This disadvantage must be accepted in order that the best
sonar conditions be available to the attacking escort.”

The above quoted doctrine is premised on accurate knowledge of the depth of the U-boat and if such information were available, it is considered that the doctrine would be sound. Since, at the present stage of development, the depth determination is by estimate, the application of this doctrine introduces the possibility of lack of immunity from an acoustic torpedo.

5. The following information obtained from PW’s cannot be accepted as fact and is presented as a matter of interest only:

“Immediately following the first attack, U-490 submerged to a depth stated to have been between 240 and 260 meters and remained there during the attack. In all survivors counted a total of 189 depth charges which were directed at them during the following 17 hours. All the charges exploded well above the boat, which was practically undamaged. She proceeded at silent running speed (Schleichfahrt) and, during each run in of an attacking vessel, swerved sharply to port or starboard without changing speed.

- 5 -

Enclosure (A)
To CominCh conf. ser. 02908
Dated 22 August 1944

“In addition to the usual two-beat pinging, depth charge detonations and screw noises, some survivors stated that they heard noises resembling those made by a buzz saw and also what they believed to be the impact fragments of depth charges exploding about them.

“When the air began to get foul, although there was no water or chlorine gas in the boat, the captain concluded that it would be impossible to remain submerged until darkness the next night, and therefore gave orders to surface and abandon ship, so that the entire complement could be saved. All hands left the U-boat and took to the water with rubber boats or life vests and were picked up by the Task Force.”

- 6 -

Enclosure (A)
To CominCh conf. ser. 02908
Dated 22 August 1944


Back

USS England DE 635 ] Sinking of RO 501 ] Sinking of U 66 ] Sinking of U 233 ] [ Sinking of U 490 ] Capture of U 505 ] Sinking of U 515 ] Sinking of U 518 ] Sinking of U 546 ] Sinking of U 548 ] Sinking of U 550 ] Sinking of U 853 ] Sinking of U 866 ] Sinking U 869 ] Capture of U 873 ] Sinking of U 1062 ]

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