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U BOATS SUNK IN SOUTH ATLANTIC U 066 - U 513 - U BOATS - 29 PAGES

8)U-161



THE SINKING OF U 161


Mariner P 2  from VP 74 was flying a barrier sweep in vicinity of DF obtained the previous evening. At 10:50 the radar operator Bealer, reported a ship bearing 8º to port, range 68 miles. Plane was on course 091º T, speed 110 kt, altitude 4500 ft. Closing range, the wake of a submarine was first sighted visually by the 2nd pilot about18 miles dead ahead, his course at right angles to ours, headed to our right.


Battle stations were manned, as we immediately increase speed and commenced a shallow turn to left to take advantage of the sun, as well as to get in position for a stern attack. No clouds were in the area. I believe we were sighted at this time. About  7 to8 miles distant the sub opened fire while in left turn apparently attempting to bring his after guns to  bear on us. (This was puzzling as the past the subs usually turned to present a beam target. ) The shells were exploding short, leaving white puffs in a line across our course.


As we came within range, approximately 3 or 4 miles distant, some large brown puffs could be seen. The gunners were very accurate and the explosions made the air very turbulent. The bow gunner opened fire at about 3000 yards, the fire was falling short, getting on the target as the range closed. LT (jg)  FERGERSON, co pilot, dropped a string of 6 MK 44 Torpex filled D/C’s as I passed over or just forward of the conning tower from sub’s Port quarter at an angle of about 20º from stern between 75 and 100 feet altitude, airspeed 185 kts. I made a sharp left turn.


Sub appeared to to be just emerging from bomb slick, most of which seemed to be on starboard side of sub’s track. The sub started to turning right. When the plane was broadside, the sub again opened fire, the shells exploding off our port side. After reaching 800 ft altitude, I gave orders to standby and commenced 2nd attack. During this run, the fire was heavier and more accurate.


We were hit just forward of the galley door by a shell that exploded just as it struck. Ensign BRETT, was emerging from bombing compartment after having reset  the  intervalometer, as was severely wounded by shrapnel and aluminum from this shell, as was radioman BEALER. At this time I did not  know that BEALER was hit nor where or how badly the plane was damaged. LT (jg) FERGERSON dropped the remaining two bombs and the plane passed directly over the target from stern to bow at about 165 knots at 150 feet altitude. I immediately gained altitude believing there was a possibility that my engines or fuel tanks were damaged. 


Ensign LARSON, navigator, carried Ens. BRETT back  aft to a bunk where LARSEN administered first aid. BEALER  was sending  F. C.’s  and the flight engineer reported that we were hit in many places and that our inverter line was shot away, putting our electrical instruments out of commission just before reaching 2500’ altitude a which I leveled of, I glanced back and noticed that BEALER, was wounded in his right leg. He was still at station helping  Ensign LARSON with the amplifying report and had never reported being hit.


After checking Ensign BRETT’s injuries, and the damage to plane, I realized he needed medical attention quickly. Although we were out of range at this time, the sub kept up a continuous fire. It maneuvered erratically after the second attack and the speed was noticeably reduced. It squared away an straight course of 140º T and submerged at 11:22P. I flew over the swirl and dropped D/C marker and then departed to base.


Source  Cap. Jerry Mason. USN. Ret www.uboatarchive.net


One of the shrewdest  commanders of  the  U Boat  Arm,  the tiny strategist Albrecht Achilles sent to the bottom 18 ships, 5 of them in the South Atlantic.



British Consul, Mokihana, Circe Shell, Lihue, Uniwaleco, Lady Nelson, Umtata, Sarniadoc, USS Acacia, Nueva Altagracia, San Pablo, Fairport, Phoebe, BenalderWest Humhaw, Tjileboet, RipleyAngelus, St.Usk and Itapage



PBM Martin Mariner. In the detail above, one aircraft from VP-74 is moored at Aratu NAS Bahia Brazil.


 

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