Halcyon Class Minesweepers HMS Sharpshooter
Attack on U Boat 18.1.42



Source: ADM 199/1782 Proceedings of U-boat assessment committee.  U-boat attack by Sharpshooter

 Précis of Attack by SHARPSHOOTER

Date:               18.1.42
Time:               0100
Position:           69° 30’ N, 35° 27’ E.

Weather:          Wind – light. Sea – calm. Visibility – good.


SHARPSHOOTER had just joined convoy PQ8 which was steering a north westerly course in single line ahead, when MATABELE was torpedoed on the starboard side of the convoy. After making a search for survivors of MATABELE, SHARPSHOOTER heard a torpedo approaching at 0033 and altered course towards the sound. The torpedo crossed the bows and at 0040 an asdic contact was obtained at a range of 700 yards to the southward. SHARPSHOOTER counter attacked at once, but it is not stated how many depth charges were dropped or what depth settings were used. Contact was regained astern, but was lost when the range reached 800 yards. At 0048 contact was regained at 800 yards range and hydrophone effect was heard on the bearing. A deliberate attack was carried out but no details of this are given. Contact was regained astern but lost when the range reached 700 yards.

Contact was again established at 0109 at a range of 800 yards and the target was moving rapidly left with opening inclination. A deliberate attack was made in which the bearing of the target remained steady, and at 300 yards range the sound of motors was heard. Contact was held down the starboard side and astern until the depth charges exploded. It appears that to keep the bearing steady during this attack, the target was placed 50° on the bow.

After the explosion of the depth charges three echoes were obtained which all remained steady until a range of 1,900 yards was reached, SHARPSHOOTER turned to investigate but all the contacts faded out below 1.00 yards. The search was continued but no further contact was obtained. 


MATABELE was torpedoed. 


Asdic conditions were evidently difficult. SHARPSHOOTER states that although the asdic range was 3,000 yards, during the whole operation no echoes were obtained at a greater range than 800 yards with the exception of the triple echoes after the second deliberate attack. A track chart has been forwarded. 


None given. 


No opinion is expressed of the result of this attack. 


Tracking evidence affords no indication that this U-boat was damaged. 


Asdic conditions were evidently too bad to allow any accuracy of attack and the result is assessed as ‘Insufficient evidence of damage.’ 

26th March 1942

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