HUK Task Group 22.10
USS Card (CVE 11), USS Thomas DE 102, USS
Bostwick DE 103, USS Breeman DE 104,
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5 July 1944, the Group was patrolling 200 miles from the Sable Islands in the North Atlantic. 1907 that day was a fateful moment for U-boat 233. USS Baker DE 190 gained sound contact at 2200 yards and dropped her first depth charge pattern, without visual result but with unobserved severe damage. Baker regained sound contact and a second full pattern was dropped. A hugh geyser erupted as the second charge detonated. USS Thomas sped toward Baker at flank speed, arriving just after the second attack.
The bow of of the U-boat broke water at a sharp angle, apparently out of control, only 1200 yards from Baker and in view of Thomas, also. Main and secondary batteries on Baker opened up at once, hitting U-233 accurately and repeatedly. Thomas had opened fire also, but ceased fire because Baker fouled her range.
Baker then passed 75 yards across the bow of the sub, firing her port "K" guns with shallow set depth charges. Baker came about and again opened rapid fire with all guns as she crossed the bow of the sub, laying a full pattern of 13 depth charges.
1940. Thomas was in a position to end the fight by ramming. She slowed to 15 knots.
1946. Thomas rammed into the starboard side of the sub 20 feet abaft the conning tower. The battle was ended.
Assisted by USS Breeman DE 104, Thomas and Baker picked up 31 prisoners. There were no personnel casualties on either the Baker or Thomas.
Interestingly, when Thomas went to dry dock for repairs in the Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, a small portion of the U-233 hull was discovered wedged into the ship's prow. It was mounted on a plaque with suitable comment and posted in Thomas' midship passageway. It now has a permanent resting place as an exhibit at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.
Read the Recollections of Lieutenant Sheridan Bell (Chaplain Corps), USNR, concerning the sinking of a German submarine U-233