USS ICARUS and The Sinking of U-352 Actual Action Report from USS ICARUS

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USS ICARUS and The Sinking of U-352 Actual Action Report from USS ICARUS
USS ICARUS and The Sinking of U-352 Actual Action Report from USS ICARUS
USS ICARUS and The Sinking of U-352 Actual Action Report from USS ICARUS
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USS ICARUS and The Sinking of U-352 Actual Action Report from USS ICARUS
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USS ICARUS and The Sinking of U-352

Actual Action Report from USS ICARUS

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USS ICARUS and The Sinking of U-352

 

ICARUS 15 May, 1942

Key West, Florida

From: Commanding Officer, U.S.S. ICARUS.

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

Via: Commandant, Seventh Naval District.

Subject: Report of action of 9 May, 1942, on Enemy Submarine.

Reference: (a) Article 712, U.S. Navy Regulations.

Enclosures: (a) Report of Executive Officer, U.S.S. ICARUS, on

subject action 9 May, 1942. (600-CONFIDENTIAL).

(b) List of Prisoners of War taken in subject-action.

 

1. U.S.S. ICARUS was proceeding south of Cape Lookout on the afternoon of the 9th of May, 1942, on course 2380 P.G.C., speed 14 knots, enroute from New York, N.Y. to Key West, Florida. The Commandant of the Sixth Naval District had been advised of the passage of the U.S.S. ICARUS into the Sixth Naval District. Lieutenant (j.g.) E.D. HOWARD, U.S.C.G.R., was officer of the deck. At 1620, an echo was picked up 1900 yards on the Port bow. The contact was mushy but was only 150 wide. At 1625, the Commanding Officer was called and came on the bridge. The sharpness of the contact improved and as the contact drew abaft the beam, an explosion of a torpedo was seen and heard on the Port quarter. General quarters were immediately sounded and the Commanding Officer relieved the deck. The course was changed to 0700 P.G.C., and headed toward the contact which was drawing toward the west in the direction of the wake made by the ICARUS previous to changing course. Propeller noises were heard.

ATTACK NO. 1

Contact was lost at 180 yards and at a calculated interval thereafter, a pattern of 5 depth charges was laid. This consisted of a diamond with 1 charge in the center. (one charge was dropped from the rack, followed by 2 from the "Y" gun, one from the rack, and later another from the rack.) It was later learned that this attack destroyed the submarine''''s periscope and killed the Conning-Officer. The course was reversed.

 

U.S.S. ICARUS 15 May, 1942

Key West, Florida

Report on action of 9 May, 1942.

(1) ATTACK NO. 2

The submarine was still moving to the west. The course was changed to lead the apparent track and at 1645 a "Y" pattern was laid by dropping one charge from the rack followed by 2 from the "Y" gun. Large air bubbles were observed coming to the surface. It was later learned that the submarine attempted to surface after this attack but the Engineering Officer had been killed and the "machinery" had been disabled. It is believed that this reference to the performance of the "machinery" did not apply to the propulsion machinery as noises were heard later. It probably referred to the diving mechanism. The course was again reversed.

ATTACK NO. 3

One charge was dropped on the spot where the bubbles were seen.

ATTACK NO. 4

The course was again reversed and at 1708, one charge was dropped to the right of the bubbles. It was later learned that this attack blew the submarine to the surface and the ascent was so rapid that members of the crew complained of pains in the head for a considerable period thereafter. At 1709 the submarine surfaced, down by the stern. The ICARUS immediately opened fire with those machine-guns which were bearing and then turned to the right to head for the submarine. The 3" gun and all other machine-guns opened fire as they could be brought to bear. The first round from the 3" gun was short but ricocheted through the conning tower. The next round from the 3" gun was over and thereafter, all shots were either hits or close misses. 14 rounds of 3" 23 caliber, common projectile, bursting charge of TET & Black Powder were expended, and including the ricochet, 7 hits were observed to have been made. At 1711 the submarine crew was observed to be abandoning ship. At 1714 the submarine sank and firing was ceased. The submarine sank at Latitude 34012.5'''' North, and Longitude 76035'''' West. The ICARUS continued to circle the spot, depth of water at scene being 19 fathoms.

 

U.S.S. ICARUS 15 May, 1942

Key West, Florida

Report on action of 9 May, 1942.

ATTACK NO. 5

A further contact was made, propellers heard, and a large air bubble similar to that made by a submarine surfacing was observed. One charge was dropped on this contact and no further sounds were heard.

The ICARUS continued circling and at 1750 stopped and picked up 33 prisoners of war including 4 wounded, one of which had lost his left leg and died at 2250; another had lost his left arm. The other two were only slightly injured. At the time, the man had lost an arm and another of the prisoners who was believed to more seriously injured, was placed under guard in the crew''''s head. Prisoners were brought aboard over the Starboard gangway and were thoroughly searched. All belongings were gathered for delivery to the district Intelligence Office. All men were equipped with life jackets and escape lungs of excellent quality. All appeared to be in good physical and mental condition although undoubtedly suffering from shock. Thirty of the prisoners were placed under guard in the forward crew''''s compartment and the man who lost a leg was placed in a litter and kept on deck as it was believed better to give him as little handling as possible and to keep him in the air which was warm.

At 1805 the course was resumed for Charleston, South Carolina, 2380 p.g.c., speed, 14 knots. The crew of the submarine was reported by the Commanding Officer, Kapt-leutnant Helmuth Rathke, to have consisted of four officers and 41 men. He further stated that this had been a 500-ton ship. The prisoners and the body of the dead man were delivered to the Commandant of the Sixth Naval District, at 1130 10 May, 1942, at the Charleston Navy Yard.

The contacts were developed by Commanding Officer from the ranges and bearings given by the sound operators, not by means of a plot, but by his seaman''''s eye. U.S.S. ICARUS is not equipped with a sound range recorder.

 

U.S.S. ICARUS 15 May, 1942

Key West, Florida

Report on action of 9 May, 1942.

2. The Commanding Officer wishes to commend the Executive Officer of this unit, Lieutenant (j.g.) Edward Douglas Howard, U.S.C.G.R., for the efficient and cool manor in which he carried out my commands in this attack. This officer'''' is excellent material for command of Patrol units, and he should be given consideration for promotion to the next higher grade in Commissioned Officer''''s rank.

The other officers of this unit carried out their duties in an efficient and satisfactory manor.

The engineering department functioned very satisfactorily. Warrant Machinist Henry J. Cookson is deserving of praise for the manor is which this department functioned.

U.S.S. ICARUS 15 May, 1942

Key West, Florida

Report on action of 9 May, 1942.

3. The performance of the entire crew in action, and throughout the night, while all hands were kept either at stations or on guard over the prisoners, deserves the highest praise. All stations were manned promptly, and without confusion. Their conduct throughout was manifested by enthusiasm, alertness, and devotion to duty. It is believed that the following deserve special commendation.

FORD, Harry R. (103-616) C.B.M. This man is a natural leader of the crew and by his example and leadership, contributed to their steadiness and effectiveness. He has been previously recommended by the Commanding Officer of this unit for appointment as an Ensign.

MUELLER, Charles E. (205-391) B.M.1c.(Pro) This man is a fine, clean-cut young man. He is the gun pointer who scored seven hits. He is very cool in any stress and is a leader. His promotion to Chief Boatswain''''s Mate is recommended.

QUINONES, Saltiage P. Jr. (224-869) B.M.2c.(Pro) He is a very alert and has a keen mind which grasps and understands technical problems promptly and thoroughly. He operated the sound-equipment during the attack. It is recommended that he be promoted to Boatswain''''s Mate, first class.

RABICH, William L. (237-067) SOM 3c(Pro) first picked up the contact. He is alert and progressing rapidly. It is recommended that he be promoted to Sound-man, second class.

LASKOWSKI, Arthur J. (203-826) SOM 3c. (Pro) assisted Quinones in the attack. He is a very good operator and his promotion to Sound-man second class is hereby recommended.

4. There were no casualties or damage to the ship.

5. All ordnance performed satisfactorily with the exception of a few minor adjustments to the machine-guns.

 

U.S.S. ICARUS 15 May, 1942

Key West, Florida

Report on action of 9 May, 1942.

6. The wind was from the East, force 1. Sea was calm with slight swells from the North. Visibility  9, Sky  overcast.

M. B. JESTER.

Copies to:

Commander-in-Chief U.S. Fleet (Readiness section)

Commander-in-Chief U.S. Atlantic Fleet

ASW Unit, 1st Naval District, 150 Causeway Street,

Boston, Mass.

Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard

File.

 

ICARUS Charleston, S.C.

10 May, 1942

From: Executive Officer, ICARUS.

To: Commanding Officer, ICARUS

Subject: Action of 9 May, 1942.

Reference: (a) Article 948, U.S. NAVY Regulations.

1. At 1620, 9 May, 1942 U.S.S. ICARUS was proceeding on course 2380 p.g.c., speed 14 knots, enroute from New York, N.Y. to Key West, Florida. Lieutenant (j/g.) E. D. Howard, U.S.C.G.R., was officer of the deck. A sound contact was picked up on the Port bow which was rather mushy but was only 150 wide. 1625: The Commanding Officer was called. 1629: As the contact drew to the quarter, the explosion of a torpedo was seen, felt, and heard on the Port quarter. General Quarters. Changed course to 0700 p.g.c., heard propellers. Submarine attempted to hide in our previous wake. Fired 5 depth charges in a diamond pattern, 1 from rack, followed by 2 from "Y" gun, one from rack, and later, another from rack. (It was later learned that this attack destroyed submarine''''s periscope, and killed the Conning Officer.). Reversed course. Submarine was moving to right. Lead submarine and at 1645 dropped 1 charge from rack and followed with "Y" gun (V pattern). Large air bubbles observed. (learned that submarine attempted to surface at this point, but that "machinery" had been disabled.) Reversed course. 1702 Dropped 1 charge, reversed course and dropped 1 charge at 1708. 1709: Submarine surfaced, down by the stern. Opened fire with 3" gun and all 6 machine-guns. Opening range 1000 yards, headed directly for target. Expended 14 rounds, and scored 7 hits on conning tower. 1711 Submarine crew seen to be abandoning ship. 1714 submarine sank. Ceased firing, and continued circling spot. 1734 dropped 1 charge on contact later believed to be wreck of submarine. 1750 Stopped and picked up 33 prisoners, including 4 wounded (one lost leg, and died later at 2215, one had lost an arm, one had a fractured wrist and possible bullet in side, and one had slight wound on hand) Each man was searched as he came aboard. All were equipped with life-jackets and lungs of excellent quality. Thirty of the prisoners were placed under guard in the forward crew''''s compartment; two of the wounded in the crew''''s head, and the badly injured man on deck. 1805 Resumed course for Charleston, S.C., at 14 knots, zig-zagging. (The crew of the submarine was reported by Kapt-Lieut. Rathke the Commanding Officer, to have consisted of 4 officers, and 41 men) One of the men stated that the submarine had been in the vicinity for four days. The commanding officer stated it was a 50-ton ship. Submarine sank at 34012.5'''' North and 760 35'''' West.

 

ICARUS Charleston, S.C.

10 May, 1942

Report on Action of 9 May, 1942

The conduct of all the officers and crew was marked by alertness, enthusiasm, and coolness. The contact was first picked up by RABICH, William L. (237-067) som 3c(Pro), and the machine was effectively operated during the attack by QUINONES, Saltiage P. Jr. (224-869) B.M.2c.(Pro), and LASKOWSKI, Arthur J. (203-826) SOM 3c.(Pro). The marksmanship of MUELLER, Charles E. (205-391) B.M.1c.(Pro) on the 3" gun is commended. The skillful handling of the ship by Lieutenant M.D. Jester, U.S.C.G., made the success of the attack possible.

3. There were no casualties or damages to the ship except the temporary deafness of the left ear of HALLORAN, James J. (233-331) Sea.1c.

4. All ordnance performed satisfactorily except for jams on one .50 caliber and one .30 caliber machine-gun.


Depth charges expended
 11
 
Arbors
 4
 
3" 23 caliber common projectile, bursting charge, TNT & Black powder
 14
 
.50 Caliber machine-gun bullets
 300
 
.30 Caliber machine-gun bullets
 50
 
"Y" gun propellant charges (1½ lb black powder)
 2
 


5. The wind was from the East, force  1, Sea was calm with slight swells from the North. Visibility  9, Sky  overcast.

E. D. HOWARD

PRISONERS OF WAR TAKEN ON BOARD

U.S.S. ICARUS ON 9 MAY, 1942


1.
   RATHKE, Helmuth  Kapitanleutnant  Kommandant

(Commanding Officer)
 
2.
   BERNHARD, Oskar  Steuermann R.O.A. II W.O.
 
3.
   GRANDKE, Walter  Obermaschinist  U.O. 56/31T
 
4.
   BOLLMANN, Heinrich  Obermaschinist  (Wounded)
 
5.
   KAMMEREH, Ernst  Fahnrich 2. SEE
 
6.
   KRUGER, Kurt  Funkmaat  U.O. 801/35T
 
7.
   SORO, Ludwig  Funkmaat  U.N. 464/39T
 
8.
   SCHRARZENBERGEN, Heinz  Maschinenmaat  U.N. 3053/37T
 
9.
   BRAND, August  Maschinenmaat  U.N. 3390/37T
 
10.
   WESCHE, Martin  Maschinenmaat  U.N. 290/37T
 
11.
   NESSOLY, Lother  Maschinenmaat  U.O. 117/37T
 
12.
   THONNISSEN, Kurt  Maschinenmaat  U.N. 591/40KS
 
13.
   RICHTER, Helmuth  Bootsmaat  U.N. 247/37KS
 
14.
   KREKELER, Seigfried  Bootsmaat  U.N. 2616/38S
 
15.
   NEITSCH, Hans  Bootsmaat  1217/38S
 
16.
   DEHN, Arthur  Bootsmaat  U.O. 120/37ES
 
17.
   STENGEL, Otto  Masch. 06. GEFR  U.O. 1819/39T
 
18.
   RUSCH, Gerhard  Masch 06. GEFR  3107/40T
 
19.
   THIELE, Rudolf  Mech. Gefr.  U.O. 6099/40S
 
20.
   RICHTER, Heinz  Gefr.  U.O. 6099/40T
 
21.
   NUEZKER, Johan  Masch. Gefr.  U.O. 6043/40T
 
22.
   RICHTER, Gerhard  Funkgefreiter  U.O. 3454/40T
 


PRISONERS OF WAR TAKEN ON BOARD

U.S.S. ICARUS ON 9 MAY, 1942


23.
   MATTIZ, Heinz  Funkgefreiter  U.O. F395/40T
 
24.
   TWIRDY, Heinrich  Masch. Gefreiter  (Wounded)
 
25.
   KEUSSEL, Gerhard  Masch. Gefreiter  (Wounded, later died)
 
26.
   HEINZE, Hans  Matrosengefr.  U.O. 7905/40S
 
27.
   HENSCKKE, Otto  Matrosengefr.  U.O. 9709/40S
 
28.
   KOMINEK, Franz  Matrosengefr.  U.N. 1240/40S
 
29.
   HERING, Gerhard  Matr. Gefr.  U.O. 9710/40S
 
30.
   HERRSCHAFT, Edgar  Matr. Gefr.  U.O. 1736/40S
 
31.
   PICKEL, Erhard  Matr. Gefr.  U.N. 12049/40S
 
32.
   LINK, Willy  Matross  U.N. 9897/40S
 
33.
   STARON, Edmund  Matrose  U.O. 22226/41S
 


 

UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET

ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE UNIT

150 CAUSEWAY STREET

BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS

A16-3(1)

Serial 0224

(t11/jmr)

15 May 1942.

From: The Commanding Officer.

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

Subject: Destruction of Enemy Submarine by U.S.C.G. ICARUS.

Reference: (a) Comdt. 6th ND ltr A8/A3-1 serial 1320 of 11

May 1942, with enclosure (A).

(b) Chief of Naval Operations Conf. ltr. A16-2(4)/

Op16-F-9/(SC)/A16-2(3) #0901116 of 5 December

1941.

Enclosure: (A) Original copy of reference (a).

1. Enclosure (A) is forwarded herewith, it being noted that a copy thereof was not furnished the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

2. From a study of reference (a) certain observations have been made. These are listed as follows:

(a) That the submarine was waiting for a convoy and that a convoy would been in the vicinity a very short time after the encounter indicates an accurate supply of intelligence information to the enemy.

(b) That the submarine tried to get into the wake of the ICARUS substantiates the belief that German submarines are well aware of the limitations of our sound gear and perhaps our operators.

(c) The commanding officer''''s statement that had the submarine been able to man its guns ICARUS would have been sunk, may or may not be correct. A commanding officer, who has sunk a submarine, is apt to be regarded as an expert in this line of endeavor. His statements, therefore, may carry considerable weight. The necessity for the anti-submarine vessel to man its guns has been, and continues to be, stressed. For the psychological reasons outlined above, it is considered that this necessity should be emphasized to all anti-submarine vessels rather than any possible disadvantage of these guns which might exist in the event of a surface conflict.

(d) Very little can be obtained from reference (a) as to the method of attack used by ICARUS. When the action report is received, further analysis may be possible. Contact

- 1 -

 

UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET

ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE UNIT

150 CAUSEWAY STREET

BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS

A16-3(1)

Serial 0224

(t11/jmr)

15 May 1942.

Subject: Detruction of Enemy Submarine by U.S.C.G. ICARUS.

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

was obtained on the port bow at about 1800 yards according to one statement and 100 yards according to another. The commanding officer stated that there were 3 minutes between the contact and explosion of the torpedo and the executive officer said 9 minutes. Evidently the silhouette of the ICARUS type cutter misled the submarine captain and at a distance was mistaken for another type of ship. No track of the torpedo was seen, which leads to the belief that the torpedo was electric. Apparently, ICARUS had not considered the contact a submarine until the torpedo exploded. Mushy echo became firm as the bearing drew toward the beam. This would account for the bearing becoming firmer as it drew aft. It is not clear whether or not the ICARUS made an attack on sound or on the area in which the torpedo exploded. It is probable that a sound contact was made after the explosion of the torpedo, since there seems no logic in making an attack on a spot where the explosion occurred. As the bearing drew aft down the port side, and commanding officer was not called until torpedo exploded, it would appear that contact was not considered a possible submarine until the explosion and that the ICARUS was not headed at the contact.

3. From the interrogation, a clear description as to the type of submarine was not presented. ON1 220-A "Submarine Identification" might have been helpful in this respect. From the meager description set fourth, it is probable that the submarine was of the 517 ton German type. That the submarine was completely covered with barnacles, as stated, would indicate that it has been operating from an outlying base where no docking facilities are available. It may be possible that the barnacles were either painted on or were patches where the exterior paint had flaked off.

4. Comment on interrogation of survivors will be forthcoming after return of the Representative of this Unit who was sent to Charleston, S.C., in that connection. It is noted that the provisions of reference (b) were not carefully carried out in that there was some fraternizing between captors and prisoners and the captives were allowed to mingle with each other to the extent that the U-boat captain warned and instructed his crew on matters concerning security. This undoubtedly vitiated to a large extent efforts to obtain information which might otherwise have been of extreme value.

5. Return of enclosure (A) is requested.

 

 
T. L. LEWIS.
 

 


UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET

ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE UNIT

150 CAUSEWAY STREET

BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS

AS

Serial 0246

1/Rs

May 18, 1942

From: Commanding Officer, Atlantic Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Unit.

To: The Commander in Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet.

Subject: Summary of information of the engagement between ICARUS and

German U/boat obtained by visit to Charleston, S.C.

Enclosure: (A) Copy of Lt. Cdr. J.T. Hardin, USN, report of visit to

Charleston, S.C.

1. Enclosure (A) is forwarded herewith.

2. In the future, visits of this nature by members of this Unit are not recommended unless distances involved will permit arrival at the scene within a very short time after survivors have landed.

3. Should a U/boat be captured or raised and brought into port on the Atlantic or Gulf coast at any time in the future, it is requested that orders be immediately issued to Commander T.L. Lewis, USN, and Lt. Comdr. J.T. Hardin, USN, without further request, for the purposes of inspection and gaining information pertinent to anti-submarine warfare.

 

 
T. L. LEWIS
 

 


UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET

ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE UNIT

150 CAUSEWAY STREET

BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS

May 16, 1942.

MEMORANDUM TO COMMANDING OFFICER ASW UNIT, U.S. ATLANTIC FLEET.

Subject: Summary of Information of an engagement between ICARUS and German U/B obtained by visit to Charleston, South Carolina.

Reference: (a) DIO 6ND report of interview of officers of ICARUS and Survivors of sunken German U/B and dated 11 May, 1942.

(b) Conversation with Lieut. Comdr. Nerr, Operations Officer 6ND Charleston, South Carolina.

(c) Conversation with Capt. Guy Baker, Chief of Staff for Comdt. 6ND.

(d) Conversation with Comdr. Souers, District Intelligence Officer, 6ND.

(e) Conversation with officers of Intelligence Group from the foreign section of O.N.I. at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

At 0830 12 May, 1942 reported to Operations office 6ND at Charleston, S.C. I was told that the ICARUS had sunk a German submarine believed to be of the 517 ton class while proceeding independently enroute Key West, Florida. The attack occurred about 25 miles south of Cape Lookout in 120 feet of water. At 1625 EWT on 9 May, 1942, while cruising at 14 knots on course 2350 T, sound contact was made sharp on the port bow at a range estimated from 200 to 1800 yards. At a time interval estimated from 4 to 9 minutes later an explosion was heard, seen and felt on the port quarter. The estimated range varied in estimation from 100 to 200 yards.

At this time the Commanding Officer of ICARUS took over the conn and made three attacks on the submarine. These attacks were in the locality of the explosion, the details of which have not been satisfactorily reported. The Commandant 7ND has been asked to provide the services of experts at the sound school in Key West to make a searching study with the Commanding Officer ICARUS and report on the details of the engagement.

The submarine came to the surface after two attacks consisting of 5 and 3 D/Cs respectively. In the meantime ICARUS had proceeded to a distance approximately 1000 yards and opened fire on the hostile craft with all her guns as soon as the conning tower broke the surface of the water. The submarine remained on the surface for about 4 minutes

- 1 -

 

UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET

ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE UNIT

150 CAUSEWAY STREET

BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS

May 16, 1942.

(MEMORANDUM TO ASWU OFFICER)

during which time 33 members of the crew escaped through the conning tower hatch.

These men were picked up by ICARUS and taken to Charleston, S.C. On arrival the officers of the ICARUS were interviewed by the D.I.C. of 6ND followed by interrogation of each member of the submarine.

The prisoners were small, healthy, loyal German subjects, well disciplined in security and noticeably military in bearing and appearance. They came aboard ICARUS in order of seniority and left in the same order. The Commanding Officer U/B thanked the Commanding Officer ICARUS for the good treatment his crew received.

One member of the survivors, badly injured, died enroute to Charleston. Another is still in the hospital there with an arm missing.

The crew of U/B (averaged 22 years of age  the C.O. was 32 years old) displayed high spirits and a good degree of intelligence. They were courteous to the D.I.C. answering any questions of a personal nature but refusing to answer those of military value.

The prisoners were turned over to the Provost Marshal at Paris Island, South Carolina who immediately took them to Fort Bragg, N.C. where they are now held in a specially prepared Detention Camp by the Army.

A special investigating unit, especially trained in the interrogation of survivors of German Submarines, from the Foreign Section of O.N.I. met them at Fort Bragg and are now carrying on the investigation. This group consists of two U.S. Naval Officers, one of them has done this same work in England. The third member of this group is an English officer who has done most all of this kind of work for England.

To date there has been little information of military value gleamed from the questioning of the survivors. One reason is that they are security minded having been (it is believed) well trained in that respect. Another reason is that while they were in the water and for a time on board ICARUS their C.O. was cautioning them against giving out information of any military value.

Items of interest noted but not at all established as facts are listed below.

1. Name of C.O. used to identify U/B.

2. Suspect U/B as being U-352.

3. Suspect it as being 517 tonner.

- 2-

 

UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET

ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE UNIT

150 CAUSEWAY STREET

BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS

May 16, 1942.

(MEMORANDUM TO ASWU OFFICER)

4. Crew consisted of about 41 men and 4 officers.

5. U/B left some port in France about 1 April, 1942.

6. U/B had been in the area for 4 days. There were no indications that this U/B had sunk any vessels although one member of the crew was heard to say that one ship had been sunk but did not give the time and place.

7. Not impossible that the torpedo explosion had something to do with the damaging of the submarine.

8. Much to be learned about the activities of U/B prior to abandoning ship.

9. U/B reported to be coated with barnacles.

10. Investigation by divers should reveal damage done by torpedo explosion and/or damage done by the D/C attacks. Etc.

Information of sufficient importance and reliability to warrant immediate considerations are:

(1) The alertness of ICARUS in opening fire on the U/B with all her guns at the instance the conning tower of the U/B emerged is commendable and may have a great deal to do with their success. A smothering fire from all guns raked to U/B at close range and prevented the crew from manning any gun.

(2) Survivors rescued by any vessel should be separated immediately upon coming aboard. Officers should be kept from other members of the crew and if at all possible the youngest and least intelligent should be separated into a third group.

(3) The question of a small ship picking up a large number of survivors presents itself. The Commanding Officer should be able to judge for himself. At no time should he sacrifice his ship to get survivors. But second only to the U/B itself, survivors are considered valuable booty. Aside from the humanitarian point of view their rescue is desirable. A life raft or small boat with food may be provided for them and their recovery effected at a later date.

Reports to follow that will help to make the story of U/B RATHKE complete are:

(1) Report of the Engagement by ICARUS.

(2) Report from Commandant 7ND in regard to study made by experts from the Sound School, Key West, Florida about the movements and method of attack by ICARUS during the engagement.

- 3 -

 

UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET

ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE UNIT

150 CAUSEWAY STREET

BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS

May 16, 1942.

(MEMORANDUM TO ASWU OFFICER)

(3) Reports from ONI. These may possibly include a preliminary report in the near future.

Respectively,

J.T. HARDIN,

Lieut. Comdr.,

U.S. Navy.

 

Serial: 064

A16-3:GSF-27

CLCA:iwb


HEADQUARTERS GULF SEA FRONTIER
 
KEY WEST, FLORIDA
 
May 22, 1942.
 
 
FIRST ENDORSEMENT on letter of
 
C.O. U.S.C.G.C. ICARUS of
 
May 15, 1942.
 


From: Commander Gulf Sea Frontier

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

Via: Commander Eastern Sea Frontier

Subject: U.S.C.G.C. ICARUS  Report of Action of May 9, 1942,

on Enemy Submarine

1. Forwarded, concurring in the recommendations as contained in the basic report.

2. The Commander Gulf Sea Frontier recommends that the Commanding Officer of the U.S.C.G.C.. ICARUS, Lieutenant M.D. Jester, U.S.C.G., be awarded appropriate recognition.

3. The Commandant, SIXTH Naval District, has been furnished a copy of the basic report.

R. S. CRENSHAW

Copy to:

Commanding Officer,

U.S.C.G.C. ICARUS

District Coast Guard Officer,

Key West, Fla.

 

UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET

ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE UNIT

150 CAUSEWAY STREET

BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS

A16-3(1)

Serial 0270

1/Rs

May 25, 1942

From: Commanding Officer, Atlantic Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Unit.

To: The Commander in Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet.

Subject: Action Report, U.S.C.G. ICARUS, Analysis of.

Reference: (a) ICARUS ltr. Of 15 May, 1942 (Action Report).

(b) ASWU Ltr. A16-3(1) serial 0224 of 15 May, 1942.

(c) ASWU Ltr. A8 serial 0246 of 18 May, 1942.

Enclosure: (A) Subject analysis with sketch appended.

1. Enclosure (A) is forwarded herewith.

2. By reference (b) this unit submitted certain observations and comments on the preliminary report of the action.

3. Reference (c) forwarded a summary of information obtained by Lt. Commander J.T. Hardin, USN, on his visit to Charleston, S.C., following the engagement of ICARUS with enemy submarine.

 

 
T. L. LEWIS
 


 

UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET

ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE UNIT

150 CAUSEWAY STREET

BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS

25 May 1942.

ANALYSIS OF ACTION REPORT

USS ICARUS (C.G.)

Attack at 1631, LZT, 9 May 1942. Employment: Independent.

Latitude 34-12.5 N; Longitude 76-35 W.

Weather conditions: Sea smooth  wind high.

Sound conditions: Excellent

Range at which contact was obtained: 1900 yards.

Range at which contact was lost: 180 yards.

The method by which this attack was made cannot be determined from the report. Contact was obtained about 150 on the port bow, range 1900 yards, at 1620. This contact was held but echo was rather mushy until it drew abaft the beam when it became sharper. The Commanding Officer was not notified until 1625 and it appears from the report and from the tentative plot that the echo became sharper and drew to the beam at about 1626:30 or 1627. No variation in ICARUS course was made until 1629 when an explosion was seen and felt on port quarter of ICARUS, distant about 500 yards. At this time, course was reversed, was changed to 0700 and headed towards the contact which was drawing toward the west. The attack was delivered at about 1631 on the eastern edge of the swirl caused by the explosion. It appears that this attack was delivered by sound tracking as the contact was lost at 180 yards. Why the submarine ran towards the explosion area of the prematurely exploded torpedo is not known except that it was headed in that direction on firing and the torpedo exploded about 35 seconds later so the possibility it was decided to use the explosion as a sound screen. The pattern was dropped on the time and the "seaman''''s eye".

From a reconstruction plot, it appears that the submarine would have to have been on approximately the same course as the ICARUS at speed of about 5-3/4 to 6 knots from the time of contact at 1620 until attack at 1631 and that at about 1625 or 1626 changed course towards the ICARUS, firing the torpedo at 1628:30 or thereabout, aimed to hit the ICARUS at 1629-42. This was a shot at about a 1500 track angle. The reconstructed track of the submarine bears out the information about the mushiness of the echo as until it drew abeam the echoes were obtained through the wake. From information from the submarine the attack destroyed the periscope and killed the conning officer. (apparently the captain was not at the periscope or conning the ship).

- 1 -

 

UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET

ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE UNIT

150 CAUSEWAY STREET

BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS

25 May 1942.

Another attack was made after the ICARUS reversed course. This cannot be even approximately plotted. Apparently this also was effective as large air bubbles were observed. A third attack was made dropping one charge on the air bubbles. After reversing course another charge was dropped "to the right", west, of the bubbles, which forced the submarine to the surface. Apparently contact was regained after each attack as the report speaks of hearing noises. Apparently this submarine was not using radical evasive tactics as all attacks appear to have been in almost a straight line along the submarine''''s course.

 

- 2-

 


 

CINCLANT FILE UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET

A16-3(82)/( 01162)

CARE POSTMASTER, NEW YORK, N.Y.,

28 MAY 1942

From: Commander in Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet.

To: Commander Eastern Sea Frontier.

Subject: U.S.C.G. ICARUS  action report.

Enclosure: (A) Copy of LantFlt ASW Unit serial 0246 of May 18, 1942

with enclosure thereto.

(B) Copy of LantFlt ASW Unit serial 0224 of May 15, 1942

(C) Copy of LantFlt ASW Unit serial 0270 of May 25, 1942

with enclosure thereto.

1. Enclosures (A) to (C), inclusive, are forwarded herewith for information as the ICARUS was operating under your command at the time.

O. M. HUSTVEDT,

Chief of Staff.

Copy to:

CominCh (with Encls.)

LantFlt ASW Unit
 



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