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On This Day - September 22

1915K8Laid Down
19211891 - 1921: Royal ArthurSold to Cohen
1931Porpoise (N14)Laid Down
1937Sterlet (N22)Launched
1940Osiris (N67)HMS Osiris on patrol in the southern Adriatic attacks a convoy and sinks torpedo boat Palestro
1940Truant (N68)HMS Truant torpedoes and sinks the Italian merchant Providenza about 4 nautical miles south-east of Ischia Island, Italy.
1940Tuna (N94)HMS Tuna torpedoes and sinks the German merchant Tirrana in the Bay of Biscay south of the Gironde estuary, about 15 nautical miles south-west of Soulac-sur-Mer, France.
1942Unruffled (P46)HMS Unruffled torpedoes and sinks the Italian merchant Leonardo Palomba about 25 nautical miles east of Sousse, Tunisia.
1943TirpitzBattleship Tirpitz in Altenfjord, is attacked by British midget submarines.

These two man subs have been towed behind conventional fleet submarines from Loch Cairnbawn in Scotland to a point 150 miles from Altenfjord. They are code-named "X-craft" and are powered by engines from London buses. Their only weapons are two detachable charges with clockwork detonators, dropped below the target. They have a crew of four. Six set out - two (X-8 and X-9) are lost in transit and one has to be scuttled, but three get through the mines and approach the target.

Attacks on Tirpitz had been allocated to X5, X6 and X7, with X8 to make an attack on Lutzow, and X9 and X10 to attack Scharnhorst. Since X8 and X9 were lost before reaching the Norwegian coast, the attacks intended to be made against Scharnhorst and Lutzow were abandoned, and X10 reallocated to make an attack on Tirpitz.

Lt. Cameron in X-6 lost his periscope and attacked blind. He was sighted, but was too close to the Tirpitz to be engaged by other than small arms and laid his charges before scuttling his boat.

Lt. Place in X-7 was caught in nets, escaped, laid his charges under the ship, was caught in nets again, and then was blown free by the explosion, but X-7 was damaged and had to be abandoned.

All of the X-6 crew were captured and brought aboard the Tirpitz, only the commander and one of the crew of X7 were able to abandon their craft (the other two men lacking sufficient oxygen for their (DSEA) escape equipment) and taken prisoner, where they had the rather unusual experience of being able to witness their success at first hand. At 8.12 am, a blast lifts the ship several feet out of the water, disabling her three main engines and leaving her with a 15 degree list. Repair will disable Tirpitz until March 1944.

Submarine X-10 commanded by an Australian, Lt. Hudspethm was to attack after X-6. X-10 had suffered from a number of faults, which made her close to unnavigable underwater. When the crew heard the others' charges explode, on the morning of 22 Sept, they decided to abandon their part in the operation and made a successful rendezvous six days later with towing HMS Stubborn. However, it was then decided to scuttle X-10, rather than risk the lives of a passage crew to bring the craft back to the UK under tow.

The third midget submarine X5 was last seen in close proximity to the Tirpitz but its precise fate was not known, but recent underwater discoveries at Kaafjord (at the head of the Altenfjord) now suggest that it too, may have been successful in reaching its target.

The 6 survivors of the operation remained POW's until the end of the war; both commanders were awarded the Victoria Cross.
1943X5In Kaa Fjord X5 allegedly surfaced and was sunk by Tirpitz's automatics, 500 metres away from her target. Later research has suggested that this was in fact X7 abandoned and circling out of control after her attack, and that X5 never reached her intended destination.

The part played by X5 in the attack is not known but, some time after the attack, divers found wreckage possibly (but not definitely) of X5 about a mile to seaward of the Tirpitz, halfway between her and the entrance to Kaa Fjord.

No bodies or personal gear were found, and of survivors there was no trace. It is believed that she was destroyed by depth-charges; whether she was on her way out at the time, after laying her charges, or whether she was waiting to go in during the next attacking period will very possibly never be known.
1943X6X6s periscope flooded shortly after starting out for the attack on the Tirpitz. With visibility greatly reduced the submarine surfaced behind a coaster and followed it through the anti-submarine nets. After entering Kaa Fjord X6 went down to 60 feet and proceeded blindly, while trying to repair the periscope and the motor brakes which had recently burnt out. By 0705 X6 was within striking distance of her target. During the final approaches the submarine hit a submerged rock forcing it to the surface. X6 was clearly seen by Tirpitz and was attacked with hand grenades, and depth charges. X6 immediately dived and in the process completely flooded the periscope.

Proceeding blind, X6s first charge was dropped somewhere near the battleship bridge area but whilst positioning to release the second charge, the submarine struck the battleship. With their position given away the crew had no choice but to release the second charge and scuttle X6 with the submarine sinking towards the forward end of the battleship.
1943X7Having penetrated the anti-submarine nets at the entrance to Kaa Fjord, X7 manoeuvred to pass under the nearby anti-torpedo nets and placed explosive charges under the Tirpitz funnel and after-turret.

On the return journey X7 was hampered by the anti-torpedo nets and had only travelled 400-500 yards from the battleship when the charges exploded. The resulting shock waves severely damaged X7 and rather than compromising the operation by surfacing, the submarine lay on the bottom for over an hour. With the submarine completely out of action, it returned to the surface to face fierce gunfire. The submarine was unable to hold the surface and sank back to the bottom.
1943Sibyl (P217)HMS Sibyl fires four torpedoes against a merchant in a German convoy some 5 nautical miles south of Sestri Levante, Liguria, Italy. All torpedoes missed their target.
1943Uproar (P31)HMS Uproar torpedoes and sinks the small Italian passenger ship Andrea Sgarallino north of Elba Island, Italy. Andrea Scarallino had some 300 civilians on board of which only four survived.
1944Vampire (P72)HMS Vampire torpedoes and sinks the German merchant Peter about 5 nautical miles north of Skiathos Island, Greece.
1959Walrus (S08)Launched
1979Spartan (S105)Completed

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