Lucky HMS Rorqual!!!

From U109s Log.... 17th November, returning to Lorient, by the green route, the approved u boat approach by HQ. At 200hrs a large submarine surfaced in front of U109( Bleichrodt) range 800 yrds Lt Keller asked permission to fire saying he thought it was a Tommy??? Bear away to port said Blechrodt full ahead and Zig Zag!! Later that night the Captain, told the men ,that in that grid square, he had orders not to fire on any submarine, because it might be an Italian. Records showed it was indeed a Tommy HMS Rorqual(Napier) who was mine laying off La Rochelle the day after Kellers Sighting
Scouse - For some reason, the account you quote seems to conflict with the final paragraph of the following passage. It must have been the same month and year as RORQUAL spent the other years of the war in the Mediterranean.

Page 308 of BR 1736(56)(1) - Vol I of 'The Naval Staff History of British Mining Operations 1939-1945' said:
Operation "FD 34". 18th/19th November 1941

On 14th November the submarine RORQUAL, recently returned to the UK from extensive minelaying operations in the Mediterranean and now awaiting refit, was sailed from Holy Loch with orders to lay a minefield off La Rochelle. It had been hoped to co-ordinate this lay with another off Bayonne, using the French submarine RUBIS; however, at the last moment the latter was diverted to patrol off the Norwegian coast, in anticipation of a possible sortie by the TIRPITZ.

The outward passage was uneventful and, between 2303 on 18th and 0105 on 19th, the RORQUAL laid 50 Mk XVI/XVI units in two groups as follows:

a. 29 units scattered within one mile of position 46 deg 05.5'N, 01 deg 57.5'W.

b. 21 units scattered within one mile of position 45 deg 56.5'N, 01 deg 47.5'W.

All mines were set to a depth of seven feet and fitted with flooders set to operate on 23rd December 1941. Sprockets and grapnels were fitted to one mine in five.

While withdrawing after the lay, the RORQUAL had a lucky escape from two torpedoes fired at her by a U-boat, the first torpedo missing ahead and the second being narrowly avoided by a turn towards. She was unable to retaliate as her gun was out of action.
Did RORQUAL's lookouts have vivid imaginations or was this a separate incident that made her doubly lucky?

:wink: So it's clear that it was not a german u-boat. none of them was in BF on the 19th only U-562 on the way from Brest to Lorient. So either it was a torpedoboat, an italian u-boat or as you say a vivid imagination
More info ......RORQUAL sighted the lights of a fishing vessel from the direction from which the torpedoes???? were fired. There was the possibility this was an armed trawler or a Q-ship but this is improbable as the Germans would not run Q-ships in areas used by U-boats [I think that they did use some off the Spanish coast]. I can confirm that there were no Italian submarines in this area at this time.
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