Date: 01/03/1943
Squadron Code: 'D'
Serial Number: Fortress IIA FL463
U-Boat details : U-223 type VIIC - attacked/minor damages/survived
:::: Flight - Mission Details ::::....

Base: Chivenor
Time Up: 0750 - Time Down: 1837 - Duration:10hrs 47mins
Op: A/S patrol

Crew: Capt F/O N. Barson, Nav P/O H.R. Longmuir, 2nd Pilot F/O C.E. Blair, P/O W.S. Massina, F/Sgt J.L. Lees, Sgt J.R. Pilon (possibly J.R Alon), Sgt A.J. Bailey:

Duty: A/S Patrol, Time Up: 0750 Down 1837:

Details: Patrol carried out at 2,600 feet. When in position 47 N. 18 W., at 12.46 hrs., sighted and attacked U/Boat. Fortress ‘D’ was on track 090 degrees T at 2,000 ft. with 9/10 Sc cloud at 3,000 ft., visibility 10-15 miles, when beam gunner sighted U/Boat 1-2 miles on starboard beam. U/Boat was fully surfaced on course 120 degrees T, speed 7-8 knots. ‘D’ altered course by 180 deg T to starboard, losing height rapidly. Attack was made at 12.47 hours up sun at an angle of 15 degrees to U/Boat’s track. U/Boat opened fire with red and blue tracer as ‘D’ approached to attack, and continued firing for a few seconds afterwards.

‘D’ sustained the following damage:-
Hydraulic system rendered U/S causing big spurt of oil in pilot’s and navigator’s compartments. Throttle control to No.4 engine was severed and automatic pilot rendered U/S. Aircraft filled with smoke.
5 D.C.s were released from a height of 60-80 ft aimed to fall from port bow to starboard quarter. 3 explosions were seen, the nearest being 20 feet from starboard side of U/Boat’s hull, two thirds the distance from conning tower to bow.

At least six men were seen on U/Boat, 4 in conning tower and two on deck aft. Rear gunner raked deck of U/Boat, but no casualties were observed. After D.C.s had exploded, U/Boat appeared to lose way and stop. Pilot flew out of range to investigate damage to aircraft, returning one minute later to scene of attack. U/Boat had then submerged. A patch of D.C. scum was observed merging into swirl. Baiting tactics were carried out for 17 minutes, but nothing further was seen on return and aircraft set course for base.

During return flight, aircraft sighted four bellied objects similar to flare parachutes, 10-15 ft. diameter. Load - 7 x 250 lb Torpex D.C.s. S.E. used for landfall only. Aircraft landed successfully at base at 18.37 hours. References: CHI/02/2/3, PL/G9/28/2
All sourced from AIR 27/555

Taken from the logbook of F/L HR Longmuir - navigator on this mission.

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

Type - VIIC

Ordered 15 Aug, 1940
Laid down 15 Jul, 1941 Germaniawerft, Kiel (werk 653)
Launched 16 Apr, 1942
Commissioned 6 Jun, 1942 Oblt. Karl-Jürgen Wächter
6 Jun, 1942 - 12 Jan, 1944 Kptlt. Karl-Jürg Wächter
12 Jan, 1944 - 30 Mar, 1944 Oblt. Peter Gerlach
Career 6 patrols 6 Jun, 1942 - 31 Jan, 1943 8. Flottille (training)
1 Feb, 1943 - 31 Oct, 1943 6. Flottille (front boat)
1 Nov, 1943 - 30 Mar, 1944 29. Flottille (front boat)
Successes 2 ships sunk for a total of 12.556 GRT
1 warship sunk for a total of 1.935 tons
1 ship a total loss for a total of 4.970 GRT
1 warship a total loss for a total of 1.300 tons

Fate: Sunk 30 Mar 1944 in the Mediterranean north of Palermo, in position 38.48N, 14.10E, by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Laforey and HMS Tumult and the British escort destroyers HMS Hambledon and HMS Blencathra. 23 dead and 27 survivors.

See the 5 ships hit by U-223 - View the 6 war patrols
Wolfpack operations
U-223 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
Haudegen (22 Jan, 1943 - 2 Feb, 1943)
Nordsturm (2 Feb, 1943 - 9 Feb, 1943)
Haudegen (9 Feb, 1943 - 15 Feb, 1943)
Taifun (15 Feb, 1943 - 17 Feb, 1943)
Amsel (25 Apr, 1943 - 4 May, 1943)
Amsel II (4 May, 1943 - 6 May, 1943)
Elbe 2 (11 May, 1943 - 13 May, 1943)

Attacks on this boat

1 Mar, 1943
At 12.42 hours, the boat was attacked by the British Fortress Mk.II FL463 (59 Sqdn RAF/D, pilot F/O N. Barson) in the North Atlantic. AA fire hit the aircraft during the attack run and the seven depth charges overshot. U-223 then crash-dived and escaped with only light damages. The Fortress had been more badly hit, but made it back to base. (Sources: Franks/Zimmerman)

11 May, 1943
The British destroyer HMS Hesperus depth charged the U-223 to the surface and then rammed her on 11 May. 2 men were lost overboard, U-359 rescued one of them and transferred him back to U-223 on 14 May as she had managed to escape the destroyer. U-223 (unable to dive) returned to port on 24 May but did not sail again until 14 Sept while being repaired. [Matrosengefreiter Heinz Hoog]
2 recorded attacks on this boat. source

:::: Source - & 59 Sqn ORB ::::....

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