Date: 29/05/1943
Squadron Code: "S"
Serial Number: Liberator V - FL984
U-Boat details : U-552 - attacked/severe damages/returned to port
:::: Flight - Mission Details ::::....

Base: Aldergrove
Take off time: ?
Op: Convoy escort patrol. notes that this submarine was attacked by HAL Moran of 59 Sqn.

"27 May, 1943 - A British B-24 Liberator aircraft (Sqdn 59, pilot H.A.L. Moran) attacked the boat in two runs dropping a total of 8 depth charges causing severe damages. The boat survived and managed to reach port on June 13. (Sources: Blair, vol 2, page 340)"

Blair notes the date as the 27th as does However according to the book Endurance, and also to the memoires of Ken Regan, the date was the 29th.


The following is taken from the memoirs of Ken "Titch" Regan who was a member of the crew on this attack...

"By the 23rd of the same month (May 1943), the first anti-submarine escort in a Liberator Mark V took place. There was one change in personnel (Pilot Officer H R Aldcroft replacing Sgt Jenkins, who had been promoted from co-pilot to pilot and assigned a crew of his own) as Liberator V ‘S’ FL984 took off from Aldergrove at 04.45 to escort HX 239, returning at 19.59.

No dramas were reported, unlike the next time the same seven took off, six days later, on anti-submarine escort to convoy AT 45. At 17.30 hours, in position 4850 North 1405 West, a German U-Boat (unterseeboat) was sighted and attacked with four depth charges which straddled the boat while its conning tower was still visible. The bows broke surface at an angle of 45 degrees and the U-Boat slowly surfaced, apparently out of control. A second attack was made from the beam, with four depth charges, which possibly overshot. Men appeared on deck and opened fire, which was returned by ‘S’. After 50 minutes the U-Boat, which had been steering an erratic course, submerged.

The aircraft set course to the convoy and escorted it for more than three hours, finally returning to base at 04.36 after more than 18 hours in the air.


In the book Endurance (Alwyn Jay) this attack is noted as one of the first attacks (by RAAF personnel) that was diverted to an alternate patrol area, after Ultra had become capable of providing timely information to changes in German plans. Thus an aircraft such as Moran and crews could be re-routed with increased chance of interception.

ORB states the following:

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


Ordered 25 Sep, 1939
Laid down Dec, 1939
Blohm & Voss, Hamburg (werk 528)

Launched 4 Sep, 1940
Commissioned 4 Dec, 1940
Oblt. Erich Topp (Oak Leaves with Swords)

Commanders 4 Dec, 1940 - 8 Sep, 1942
KrvKpt. Erich Topp (Knights Cross)

9 Sep, 1942 - 10 Jul, 1944
Kptlt. Klaus Popp

11 Jul, 1944 - 2 May, 1945
Oblt. Günther Lube

Career 15 patrols

4 Dec, 1940 - 1 Feb, 1941 7. Flottille (training)
1 Feb, 1941 - 30 Apr, 1944 7. Flottille (front boat)
1 May, 1944 - 2 May, 1945 22. Flottille (school boat)

30 ships sunk for a total of 163,756 GRT
1 auxiliary warship sunk for a total of 520 GRT
1 warship sunk for a total of 1,190 tons
3 ships damaged for a total of 26,910 GRT

Fate Scuttled on 2 May, 1945 at Wilhelmshaven, in position 53.51N, 08.10E.

See the 35 ships hit by U-552 - View the 15 war patrols

Wolfpack operations

U-552 operated with the following Wolfpacks during its career:
(12 Jun, 1942 - 17 Jun, 1942)
Wolf (13 Jul, 1942 - 21 Jul, 1942)
(1 Aug, 1942 - 7 Aug, 1942)
Meise (20 Apr, 1943 - 27 Apr, 1943)
Star (28 Apr, 1943 - 4 May, 1943)
Fink (4 May, 1943 - 6 May, 1943)

Attacks on this boat

21 Feb, 1941
The boat was attacked by an aircraft in the North Atlantic, suffering some damage.

28 Apr, 1941
After torpedoing a ship from convoy HX 121 the boat was depth charged in 5 attacks by 2 of its escorting destroyers, the HMS Maori and HMS Inglefield. This attack held the boat down for hours and kept her from the convoy. (Sources: Blair, vol 1, page 272)

18 Jun, 1941
After spotting an inbound convoy Topp attempted to attack and bring in other boats but he was driven off by its escorts. (Sources: Blair, vol 1, page 307)

1 Oct, 1941
The boat was attacked by a Hudson aircraft which dropped one bomb and damaged the U-boat slightly.

17 Jan, 1942
The boat was attacked by a "destroyer" after firing torpedoes against a freighter escorted by 2 "destroyers". The boat escaped undamaged. (Sources: Blair, vol 1, page 471)

20 Nov, 1942
While enroute to the USA to be refitted at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, the Dutch submarine HrMs K XIV (Lt.Cdr. J.H. Geijs) attacks the German submarine U-552 south of the Cape Verde Islands in position 13º05'N, 25º50'W. At a distance of around 900 meters K XIV launched four torpedo’s. The old torpedo’s from the Netherlands East Indies ran close to the surface and were detected by the Germans an missed their target as the U-boat turned away.

27 May, 1943
A British B-24 Liberator aircraft (Sqdn 59, pilot H.A.L. Moran) attacked the boat in two runs dropping a total of 8 depth charges causing severe damages. The boat survived and managed to reach port on June 13. (Sources: Blair, vol 2, page 340)

7 recorded attacks on this boat.

:::: 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