Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Ensign Thomas M. Conroy, U.S.N.R.F., Commander, Submarine Chaser 248, to Commander Charles P. Nelson, Commander, Submarine Chasers, Otranto

U.S.S.C. 248.

August 22, 1918.

From:     Commanding Officer.

To:       Commander, Secon[d] Squadron, U.S. Submarine Chasers,

          Otranto Barrage Detachment.

Subject:       Depth charge attack on submarine on August 19, 1918.

Enclosure:     (a)  Diagram of Hunt.1

     1.   At 5.15 p.m. on August 19, 1918, Unit L proceeded west in order to close Main A.P.Line,2 as a submarine was reported at its western end. At 5.41 p.m. received a wireless message from Commander of S.C.’s to investigate aeroplane bearing north-west of Unit L. We got under way at 5.45 p.m. and proceeded on course of 300. At 6.05 p.m. caught up with trawler who reported that she had contact with submarine whose course was north by east. The aeroplane mentioned in wireless message was not found. Unit L, took hunt formation immediately and proceeded after submarine in a north by east course. At 6.50 p.m., got into contact with submarine informed Commander of S.C.’s by wireless of fact, and ran until 7.00 p.m. on a course of 10 degrees. A 7.20 p.m. got bearing of 355 and ran on this course, stopping at 7.22, S.C. 217 reporting oil on water. Lost touch until 7.40 p.m. got into contact again. Trawlers a mile and a half to the south of us sent blinker message that they were incontact with submarine and he was headed north. We got 2 bearings at 180 degrees, and at 9.05 p.m. got a good cross bearing 400 yards due south of us, strength of sound 4. Sounded general quarters and ran for 300 yards on a course of 180 and dropped 16 depth charges in southern end of square 229. The S.C. 82 and 217 did not get off their last charge. The S.C. 82 had engine trouble immediately after the Y gun was fired. After the attack, stopped and listened but heard nothing. At 10.15 heard sound of missing motor bearing 280 degrees. Went to investigate and found it to be S.C. 349. We received a wireless message to reform Main A. P. Line at once. Unit L proceeded to its station on line.

     2.   No evidence excepting that we heard no more of submarine was procured to determine the success of our attack.

     3.   It is requested that the U.S. Submarine Chasers be furnished with a list of signals the trawlers and drifters use for submarine hunts and attacks.

     4.   It is suggested, as a caution to future attacks using the present pattern, that the wing boats, after dropping the third charge and going 90 left and right, be sure that they are straightened out before they fire their Y gun. If the Y gun is shot while the boat has a list, one of the arbors will fall short and the third depth charge will countermine the charge falling short from the Y-gun.

/s/ T.M. Conroy.

Source Note: D, DNA, RG45, Entry 520, Box 415. Document identifier: “6/D/H” in top right corner.

Footnote 1: For diagram of hunt, see: August Illustrations.

Footnote 2: A. P., or Armed Patrol, Line was a formation employed by submarine chasers in hunting a submarine, whereby the units were arranged in a straight line, five miles or less distant from one another, with the supporting vessel ten miles or more behind, in line with the center of the line of units.

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