Source: ADM 199 1782 Proceedings of U-boat assessment committee.
U boat attack by GOSSAMER and HUSSAR
Précis of Attack by
GOSSAMER and HUSSAR
Position: 71° 40’ N, 37° 00’ E.
Depth of Water:150 fathoms
Weather: Wind – light. Sea – slight. Weather –cloudy.
Visibility – 4 miles.
and HUSSAR were on patrol and steaming north at 10 knots when at
1046 HUSSAR sighted a U-boat on the surface bearing 028° and at
a range of 10,000 yards. HUSSAR altered course towards the
U-boat but did not open fire as the gun’s crew could not
distinguish the U-boat from small growlers in the vicinity. The
sighting was reported to GOSSAMER by V/S at 1110. When HUSSAR
had closed the range to about 8,000 yards, the U-boat altered
course way and
dived. It is stated
that the U-boat’s track in the pancake ice was plainly seen, and
at 1110 HUSSAR passed through the position where the U-boat had
dived without having obtained asdic contact.
obtained an asdic contact at 1148 on a bearing of 330° and at a
range of 500 yards. The contact appeared to be moving to the
left and was counter attacked with four depth charges set to 150
and 250 feet. The fifth depth charge was not released as it was
frozen to the chute. GOSSAMER opened the range to 800 yards and
turned to carry out a second attack. She passed over the target
however without dropping depth charges as the pattern was not
ready. GOSSAMER carried out a deliberate attack at 1204 when the
contact was moving with slightly opening inclination. Four depth
charges were dropped set to 350 feet. Contact was regained
astern and whilst GOSSAMER was opening the range, HUSSAR gained
contact and carried out an attack at 1209. Inclination was
slightly opening and contact was held down to 200 yards range,
but only the two depth charges from the throwers were dropped as
the traps were frozen. GOSSAMER acted as directing ship for this
attack from a range of 1.800 yards. At 1215, when the
inclination was slightly closing and the target still appeared
to move, GOSSAMER attacked again with five depth charges set to
350 feet, and states that contact was regained astern on the
bearing on which the depth charges exploded. HUSSAR acted as
directing ship in this attack and in GOSSAMER’s subsequent
attack, and in each case both ships agreed as to the time of
firing depth charges. After this attack GOSSAMER states that she
passed close to the U-boat to gain any information possible,
HUSSAR signalled that she considered the contact was the U-boat
which she had seen to dive. HUSSAR carried out her second attack
ay 1221 with five depth charges set to 250 and 350 feet. The
target was still appearing to move and contact was lost at a
range of 200 yards. Contact was regained astern and the U-boat
now appeared to be stopped. GOSSAMER, having opened the range to
1,400 yards, carried out her third deliberate attack at 1234
with HUSSAR directing. Five depth charges were dropped set to
350 feet. GOSSAMER regained contact and acted as directing ship
for HUSSAR, who carried out the final attack of the hunt at 1239
with five depth charges set to 250, 350 and 500 feet. Contact
was lost at a range of 200 yards. HUSSAR states that after this
attack a woolly contact was obtained but that this disappeared
at 1244. GOSSAMER states that six minutes after HUSSAR’s attack
two underwater explosions were heard on the bearing of the
contact subsequently faded and was never regained. Two more
underwater explosions were heard by HUSSAR at 1355 but it is
stated that nothing was observed on the surface owing to pancake
Investigation of the last position of the U-boat was now made by
both ships and GOSSAMER sighted a continuous stream of air
bubbles rising to the surface. Oil was also seen. At 1440 HUSSAR
set course to join TRINIDAD and GOSSAMER remained in the
vicinity of the contact until dark. It is stated that she
obtained no further asdic contact but heard a third underwater
explosion at 1523 in the same position as that in which the
bubbles had been seen.
was sighted on the surface and seen to dive. After depth charge
attacks oil and bubbles were seen.
ships agreed that the asdic conditions were good. Co-operation
between directing and attacking ship appears to have been very
satisfactory. The contact appeared to be stopped after HUSSAR’s
attack at 1221 and was lost by both ships after underwater
explosions had been heard. GOSSAMER has forwarded a track
It is considered that this U-boat was destroyed although the
thickly packed brash ice prevented any debris from coming to the
surface. The reasons which lead to this conclusion are:
That contact was clear
and definitely U-boat and faded out after two underwater
The U-boat became topped
after one counter and four deliberate attacks.
The analyses of
GOSSAMER’s third and fourth attacks from the recorder shows
that the depth charges could barely have failed to straddle
In spite of the ice a
patch of unmistakable oil was sighted besides a continual
stream of bubbles about 6” in diameter.
HUSSAR considered that the woolly echoes after her second attack
were presumably due to the disintegration of the target.
evidence it would appear highly probable that this U-boat was
considered that there is little doubt that this U-boat was
destroyed. The attacks by GOSSAMER seem to have been very
accurate and the movement of the U-boat well appreciated.
HUSSAR’s second attack however seems to have been rather wide of
explanation can be given to account for the underwater
explosions which were heard after the attacks.
SUBMARINE TRACKING ROOM’S OPINION.
no tracking evidence of a U-boat in this position.
DECISION OF THE U-BOAT ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE
Committee is prepared to accept that a U-boat was attacked from
HUSSAR’s positive evidence of sighting.
evidence of movement of the target and Doppler throughout the
first series of attacks it appears that the U-boat was under
full control until the end of this series.
evidence that damage was inflicted by the later attack rests on:
(a) The report of unexplained
(b) Air and oil bubbles
appearing on the surface in the vicinity of the attack one hour
(c) GOSSAMER’s opinion that
his attacks were accurate.
In this connection GOSSAMER’s
remark can hardly be founded on anything but wishful thinking.
unexplained explosions have been so often reported in the past
that they cannot be accepted as evidence of damage. Moreover it
is known that FURY was attacking a U-boat about 55 miles to the
westward at about this time.
of inflicting damage therefore rests on the reported oil and air
bubbles. This cannot be accepted as evidence of destruction and
the result is, therefore assessed as ‘Probably slightly