Halcyon Class Minesweepers HMS Leda U-Boat Attack




Source: ADM 199 1782 Proceedings of U-boat assessment committee. U-boat attack by LEDA

 Précis of Attack by LEDA 

Date:                3.5.42
Time:               0142
Position:           73° 00’N, 19° 10’E
Depth of water: 250 fathoms
Weather:          Wind NE Force 3, overcast, visibility 5 miles.

LEDA was stationed on the starboard beam of Convoy PQ15. An attack had just been made on the convoy by a torpedo carrying aircraft and LEDA was closing the convoy at 14 knots when, at 0139, the Officer of the Watch sighted momentarily an object which was thought to be the top of a conning tower moving from starboard to port and leaving a wake. The object was 1,000 yards on the starboards beam. The starboard lookout simultaneously reported a wake on the same bearing. It is stated that this wake might have been left by the destroyer SOMALI, who was proceeding at high speed towards the position, was at first thought to be carrying out an attack on the object. Meanwhile the Asdic operator investigated the bearing and obtained a contact which was classified as ‘submarine’. Due to the noise of the gunfire and torpedoes exploding, the Asdic operator could barely hear reverberations and had plugged his headphones into the loud speaker terminal thus cutting out the recorder. A counter attack was at once commenced and as there was no recorded trace, time to fire was obtained by Chronoscope. The contact was held to a close range and followed down the starboard side, and the first depth charge was fired when the bearing of the contact was 20° abaft the beam. Four depth charges were dropped set to 150 and 250 feet. There was little time to bring the depth charges to the ready, they having been set to ‘safe’ and the primers withdrawn whilst the air attack was in progress.

Contact was lost when the depth charges exploded and a sweep astern followed by an all round sweep failed to regain contact. The search was abandoned at 0215 when LEDA set course to rejoin the convoy. 

An object was sighted which was thought by the Officer of the Watch to be the conning tower of a U-boat and the starboard lookout reported a wake. 

Inclination was slightly closing and loud hydrophone effect was heard but this may have been from passing destroyers. 

It is considered (1) that it is just possible that both the sighting and the contact were caused by destroyer's wakes; (2) that if a U-boat was the target charges were close enough to prevent an attack on the convoy but that there is not enough evidence to show whether the U-boat was damaged. 

Concurs with LEDA’s remarks. 

Tracking evidence is inconclusive. U-boats were undoubtedly in the immediate vicinity of the convoy but there is no proof from tracking evidence that LEDA’s attack was on a U-boat. 


Insufficient evidence of the presence of a U-boat. 

29th June 1942 


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