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COMMANDER SOUTH ATLANTIC FORCE AT RECIFE - COMMANDER SOUTH ATLANTIC

19)OPERATIONS JANUARY 1943


Submarine contacts for January numbered five. Two were kills, while the fate of the other three U-Boats could not be determined with certainty. The sinkings both occurred in a single day, the 6th of the month, and were the work of planes of Patrol Squadron 83.


The first kill was registered in Latitude 03° S, Longitude 31° 50' W, not far from Fernando de Noronha. The second took place much farther west, in Latitude 02° S, 39° 24' W, rather close to Fortaleza. Twelve days later, two survivors of one of these subs, probably the second, were landed at São Luiz by Brazilian authorities. The later requested interrogators, but the U. S. Navy Department asked that they be brought to Washington for special questioning. This made it necessary for the Naval Attache in Rio to request the Brazilian Government to release them to the United States. Brazil granted this without hesitation, and the prisoners soon left under guard for Washington.


Again on the 13th, a VP-83 plane made a slight contact at 01° 38' S, 39° 52' W. The Plane made its attack just three seconds after the sub's conning tower submerged. All that could be seen thereafter was a small amount of oil slick. Though the sub probably went undamaged, the attack may have forestalled serious developments, as the enemy lay directly in the path of a convoy 20 miles distant.


The Goff and the Kearney made the other submarine encounters. The former made hers on the 11th; a good sound contact at a point bearing 127°, distant 42 miles, from Base Jig (San Juan). After the first attack a strong odor of diesel oil could be noted. But the visibility was poor and no other evidence of destruction appeared. At this time the Goff, with the Surprise and the PCs 577 and 609, was escorting convoy TB1 southward.


The Kearney's experience occurred five days later, as the ship proceeded toward Base Fox alone. At Latitude 00° 40' S, Longitude 27° 30' W, early in the afternoon, she obtained a good contact and made three depth charge attacks. No apparent results followed, so it must be concluded that the enemy got off undamaged.


January saw other substantial additions made to the strength of Solantfor. PC 574 reported for duty on the 2nd of the month. A few days later, after the two U-Boat sinkings by VP-83 planes, the Admiral informed the Ministerio da Marinha at Rio that he wished two Brazilian Mineiros (Minelayers) from the South to report to Captain Dutra. They would be needed until a change came in the submarine and convoy situation in the North. On the 14th, the Gunboat Courage reported, while on the same day a third squadron of planes, consisting of PBYs and designated VP-94, also made known to the Admiral its early availability for duty. The Squadron was then in Jacksonville, but intended to depart for Brazil at once. One plane had to be delayed, but the rest were in Natal in time for the Presidential inspection on the 28th.


Hyper War. Commander South Atlantic Force. U.S Naval Administration in WW II.


 

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