Date: 10/11/1942
Squadron Code: 'C'
Serial Number: Liberator Mk.III - FK238
U-Boat details : U-436 - Type VIIC - attacked - extensive damages - returned to port
:::: Flight - Mission Details ::::....

Base: St Eval
Time Up: 0633 - Time Down: 1244 - Duration: 16hrs 11mins
Op: A/S Patrol

F/L Allen Memoirs:

November 10. A few days later we were on anti-sub patrol in the Bay of Biscay patrolling at 5000 feet when we spotted a U-boat on the surface headed north. We were on a southerly heading so it was straight in with bomb doors open. We could see light machine-gun tracer headed our way as we approached but it quit when we were still out of range. We dropped six depth charges when the conning tower was still visible as we dived. George was sure he got a straddle and the photos subsequently confirmed this. We circled and waited for evidence of damage. After about ten minutes, the nose of the U-boat broke the surface and kept coming up at a very steep angle until we estimated it was one-third out of the water. We steep turned around it and the gunners all had the excitement of machine-gunning the exposed portion. We got a lot of hand held camera pictures. After about one half-hour, it slowly slipped back below the surface.

We headed home for St. Eval. This time there was not disappointment at the official result. The Admiralty, which was the authority on damage assessment, gave us a confirmed kill. Apparently the photos showed straddle with the conning tower still visible, and the confirming evidence was the very steep angle at which the U-boat bow surfaced, according to the experts had to upset the batteries which always produced some kind of poison gas. The subject of having killed a bunch of people was never discussed in the crew. These U-boat crews were sinking hundreds of Allied ships and killing thousands of those on board, so as far as I was concerned, the more of them we could kill, the better. I never lost one minute of sleep over it.

Update March 2012:

ORB summary: Aircraft "C" F/O E.E Allen and crew, airborne for A/S patrol and strike. Sighted and attacked fully surfaced U-Boat. 6 or 8 of crew seen on deck near conning tower, who machine gunned aircraft. Attacked with 6 Torpex D.C's, the third scoring a direct hit. No-one seen on deck after attack. Second attack made a few moments later with 6 D.C's. Oil patches observed and bows of U-Boat rising to an angle of 60'. Aircraft machine-gunned at close range.

Mission Report: "Airborne ST.EVAL. 0905hrs sighted U-boat fully surfaced on course 080' 6-8 knots, attacked from port beam at 100 ft. Six or eight members of the U-boat crew were seen near conning tower. Machine gun fire was opened up from gun near conning tower at 1000 yards. Captain released 6 DC's at 0907 and starddled U-boat whilst still fully surfaced, two falling short the third bouncing of the after part of the submarine, the 4th, 5th and 6th falling over the U-boat. U-boat appeared to stagger. rear gun opened fire as aircraft passed over U-boat, firing 100 roiunds with each gun. He saw no-one on deck. Aircraft climbed away to make second attack from starboard beam, as U-boat was submerging. At 0908, released a further 6 DC's which estimated to fall 25/30 yards ahead of the conning tower, which was still visible. Oil patches etc. visible. At 0910, the U-boat appeared above surface, gradually rising to an angle of about 60'. remained in this position for about 5 minutes, during which time aircraft circled and machine gunned at close range. Photographs were taken. S/C for base. No.S.E. 12 X 250lbs DC's, Torpex, carried."

:::: More U-boat Details ::::....

Thanks to Rainer ( - the following information was posted on the forum:

"At least two air attacks were made on this day in the Bay of Biscay, the one described in your post carried out by Liberator "C" of 59 Sqn RAF in 46°27N/08°43W at 09.07 hours and one carried out by Whitley “G” of 502 Sqn RAF in 43°42N/08°24W at 14.34 hours.

I will research these two air attacks a bit more and publish the details here on if time permits, but judging from the time and area the attack on U-620, in which no damage was sustained but one crew member was killed, was carried out by the Whitley. The attack by the Liberator was carried out on U-436 which was badly shaken by the second series of depth charges but managed to reach Lorient safely on 12 November"


:::: Source - Memoires of F/L E.E. Allen DFC ::::....

During WWII, the RAF used three-letter codes to identify their aircraft from a distance. Two large letters were painted before the roundel, which signified the squadron to which the aircraft belonged, and another letter was painted after the roundel which indicated the individual aircraft. Aditionally, there was the individual serial number for each aircraft, which was painted in a much smaller size, usually somewhere at the rear of the aircraft: (more)

Codes used by RAF 59 Squadron:

PJ Sep 1938 - Sep 1939
TR Sep 1939 - Oct 1942
1 Aug 1943 - Jul 1944
WE Jul 1944 - Oct 1945
BY Oct 1945 - Jun 1946, Dec 1947 - Oct 1950