Historical Article: Away All Boarding Parties! Boarders Away!!

historical-article-capture-of-the-u505The Capture of the U-505

By John Dudek @ The Wargamer

TIME: 1109 Hours.

DATE: 4 June 1944

LOCATION: 150 nautical miles off the Cape Verde Islands.

The US Navy Hunter-Killer group had the U-Boat submarine’s location down cold. Using high-frequency direction (Huff-Duff) and sonar (ASDIC) triangulation from the destroyer escorts, it was only a matter of time before they’d find and sink the submarine. Unfortunately the U-boat was now dangerously well inside the task force screen of 5 destroyer escorts – USS Pillsbury, Flaherty, Jenks, Pope and Chatelain. In response, the task force’s nearby escort aircraft carrier USS Guadalcanal sheered off and moved away at high speed while launching two Wildcat fighter planes and a TBM Avenger bomber to aid in their search for the elusive submarine. Chatelain fired her hedgehog anti-submarine launcher at the submarine because the shallow running submarine’s depth would not allow the depth charges to sink quickly enough to strike the U-boat. Following the detonation of hedgehog charges, a large oil slick came to the surface and a patrolling plane overhead radioed: “You struck oil! The sub is surfacing!” The U-boat broke surface less than 700 yards from Chatelain and the destroyer immediately opened fire with her automatic weapons on the injured and wallowing submarine. The submarine’s crew abandoned ship in the hail of gunfire as the U-boat continued to slowly circle at around 7 knots. Chatelain fired a single torpedo at the submarine but missed. Aboard the USS Guadalcanal the carrier’s executive officer spoke to task force commander Captain Daniel Gallery as he pointed at the submarine, now riding high at the bow but low at the stern. “What do we do with her Skipper?” Gallery quickly answered. “I want to take this bastard alive.” He paused but a moment further before giving the electrifying cry not heard in the US Navy for well over a hundred years. “AWAY ALL BOARDING PARTIES! BOARDERS AWAY!”

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