Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Submerged Submarine Sinkings

Britain's Navy News tells of a BBC documentary tonight on the sinking of U-864 by HMS Venturer in Feb. 1945, which they say is the first ever sinking of a submerged submarine by another submerged sub:
U864 was torpedoed by HMS Venturer near Bergen, Norway, in February 1945 while both vessels were submerged. She sank with all 73 hands – and with a cargo of Messerschmitt jet engine parts, missile guidance systems, and mercury, all bound for Japan.
Intercepted radio messages had alerted the Admiralty to U864’s secret mission (codenamed Operation Caesar), and Venturer lay off Bergen waiting to intercept the U-boat as she left Norway bound for the Far East.
Venturer picked up the German boat on her ASDIC (the original British name for sonar), and visually sighted U864’s periscope sporadically, tracking the submarine for a good hour before firing a spread of four torpedoes from a range of about 3,000 yards; one found its mark, destroying the German vessel.
The wreck was found three years ago and Norwegian salvage experts are preparing to recover it because of the danger the mercury poses to the environment.
I had thought I remembered reading about an American sub that sank a submerged Japanese sub in WWII, but couldn't find it during a quick Google search. Does anyone know if there are any instances of a U.S. boat sinking a submerged enemy submarine?


Anonymous Rusty700 said...

I remember there being a note in one of the trophy cases at the Submarine Veterans club in Groton talking about a U.S. sub sinking a Japanese boat during WWII. The case has an old uniform and some other trinkets left from one of the founders of the Sub Vets. The note said something to the effect of " on such and such date the USS Ustafish and the Jap Sub j117 simultaniously fired torpedoes at one another, the j117 missed". That is far from the exact quote but I am pretty sure it was sometime in 1944.

11/29/2006 7:08 PM

Blogger PigBoatSailor said...


Google turned up this page, which led me to these events:

-23 Mar 1944: USS Tunney sinks I-42, although both were on the surface it seems.

-26 July 1944: USS Sawfish sinks I-29, although I-29 is on the surface, unsure what depth of Sawfish is at the time of attack.

-16 Sept 1944: USS Sea Devil sinks I-41, although wiki calls it I-364 - Sea Devil is submerged, unsure of the depth of the I-41.

-10 Feb 1945 - 13 Feb 1945: USS Batfish sinks RO-115, RO-112 and RO-113, wiki calls 115 the RO-55, unsure what depth any of the subs were.

-18 Apr 1945:USS Sea Owl sinks RO-56, depth of both subs unknown.

These are "successes against the Japanese Navy that can be directly attributed to Communication Intelligence," so there may very well be other sinkings of enemy subs by US subs that I have missed - don't have the time to check at the moment, a man has got to get to work on time, you know?

However, just from this quick look, it appears possible that at least the Sea Devil might have beat them to it. Not positive, though.

11/30/2006 4:23 AM

Blogger William the Coroner said...


I believe the Batfish nailed some of her kills whilst they were both submerged.

11/30/2006 7:53 AM

Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

Batfish info here and here indicates that the Batfish, while she tracked her targets after they submerged, sank them after they resurfaced.

I've got nothing new on the Sea Devil as of yet - so it is looking as if the Brits might have us on this one *grumble*

11/30/2006 8:33 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

As an afternote, just two months after the sinking of the U-864, the converted, German minelaying submarine U-234 was ready for the same secret transport mission to Japan. On 16 April, 1945 she departed Norway's Kristiansand harbor enroute to Japan with secret drawings, an Me-262 jet fighter in crates, 560kg of uranium oxide, several high ranking German experts on various technologies and 2 Japanese officers. While en route on May 4, 1945, Kapitänleutnant Johann-Heinrich Fehler received cease-fire orders and notice of Germany's surrender. Fehler changed course to Portsmouth, NH to surrender, but the Japanese officers aboard respected their own honor code and committed suicide. Rumor has it that the uranium oxide was delivered to Japan at Hiroshima.

Joseph Scalia, a former navy diver and historian describes the U-234 affair in an interesting, well-documented book.

11/30/2006 8:53 AM

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