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COMMANDER SOUTH ATLANTIC FORCE AT RECIFE - COMMANDER SOUTH ATLANTIC

22)OPERATIONS APRIL 1943


Operational activities in April proved to be lighter than those during March, yet even so the subs fared somewhat worse. On the 6th the Commander of the Second Brazilian Air Zone reported that one of his planes had attacked a U-Boat in 11° 25' S, 36° 27' W, and had destroyed the enemy. This at once led to a verification search by Planes of VP-74, now based at Bahia. After reconnoitering the area they ended by reporting the discovery of a small oil slick and nothing more. The only conclusion to be drawn was that the inexperienced Brazilians had been overly-optimistic in their observation.


More reliable, certainly, was the report which came direct from VP-83 on April 15. A plane of that squadron had encountered a submarine in 03° 23' S, 30° 28' W, close to Fernando de Noronha. The first attack delivered injured the enemy, which was later sunk by another plane of the same squadron. The sub put up a fight before succumbing and damaged its second assailant with gunfire. Between 30 and 50 survivors were observed in the water, and the planes dropped life rafts to them.


This was the only authenticated kill scored in the course of the month. A subsequent event gave reason to think that the victim here was Italian, not German. Almost two months later, a petty officer survivor of the Italian submarine Archimedi arrived at Belem aboard a Brazilian gunboat that had picked him up. General appearances made it seem possible that his ship was the one destroyed on the 15th by the two planes.


The day previous to this kill, PC-494, a member of the escort of Trinidad-Bahia Convoy number Ten, had attacked a good sound contact in 00° 50' S, 42° 32' W. The attacks provided no visible evidence of damage, and after two hours the search was abandoned. On the 29th of the month, the Jouett and an Army plane both made good contacts.

The Destroyer encountered her submarine in 08° 24' S, 31° 15' W, while on the way back to Recife from patrol. She remained in he vicinity most of the night, hunting the U-Boat. In the small hours of the following morning, the Jouett, having failed to arouse anything, abandoned the search.


The plane, for its part, sighted what appeared to be a submarine 60 miles off Recife. After releasing two depth charges, following a quick submergence by the enemy, it hovered about the vicinity. Twenty minutes later the personnel noticed a large black spot on the surface. Since nothing else came to view, the logical conclusion was that the Germans had escaped damage and had tried one of the conventional and time-honored shams. The score against the submarines for the month was one kill.


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


 

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