Story of the Doris
Via Chapomatic and The Sub Report, here's the story of the French submarine Doris that you will find interesting:
"At the end of April 1940 Doris and other French submarines were called to Harwich, England for new assignments under British command. A couple of hundred miles from their destination the engine that operated the main compressor seized. This compressor supplied the air necessary for Doris to ascend after a dive. It was impossible to repair it, so they limped towards Harwich on one engine.
"The navy technicians in Harwich could not repair the broken engine and they could not even obtain a replacement in France. In 1927 the French had bought the boat engines in Germany at Schneider Diesels. They did this because the Germans built the most compact and powerful diesels compared to some other French makes. They must have been too proud to even consider buying them from England.
"On May 6th 1940 all the crews were informed that they would go on patrol on the North Sea, above the Frisian Islands to keep an eye on the German fleet and their movements. Even submarine Doris would join that task although she wasn't fit for it; she could only sail at half speed and in an emergency she could dive but could never ascend afterwards! That meant that she was the "sitting duck" of the submarine group and if her luck should end, the crew could only pray for a miracle.
"The Commander at the base took the crew aside and told them that the task they were assigned was important enough that they would have to go out with the broken engine. He also told them that he did not expect that they would survive this mission. He also asked them if there were any quitters amongst them. The crew of submarine Doris looked at each other and most of the crewmen responded loudly. They decided that they had come this far as one family and they would serve France and the free world as one and if they had to die, then they would do so together. No one refused the job."
As they say, read the rest...