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Cachalot (N83)

Built By: Scotts (Clyde)
Build Group: G2
Fate: 30 July 1941 - Scuttled off Benghazi to avoid capture

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RN Submarines scuttled or captured in WWII
Descriptions of the events in WWII that led to the loss of Royal Navy Submarines in actions where the submarines were sunk, usually by scuttling, with the captains and crew taken prisoner. Included are two variations - in one case the submarine was captured and in another the captain was killed in action.


12-05-1936 : Laid Down
02-12-1937 : Launched
15-08-1938 : Completed
02-12-1939 : Cachalot & Seal departed Halifax as convoy escorts
19-08-1940 : HMS Cachalot lays minefield FD 24 (50 mines) west of the Gironde estuary.
20-08-1940 : Torpedoed and sunk U-51 in the Bay of Biscay west of Nantes, France.
24-09-1940 : HMS Cachalot attacks a submarine with torpedoes in the Bay of Biscay. The target is not hit.
26-01-1941 : HMS Cachalot lays minefield FD 28 (50 mines) off Bud, Norway.
15-02-1941 : HMS Cachalot lays minefield FD 30 (50 mines) in the Vest Fjord, Norway. The same day she also makes a torpedo attack on a merchant ship but without result.
30-07-1941 : Scuttled off Benghazi

On 9th July 1941 Cachalot departed from Alexandria loaded with stores bound for Malta and arrived on the 16th. She left again on the 26th with personnel bound for Alexandria and instructions to look out for an escorted tanker heading for Benghazi. At 2 o'clock on the morning of 30th July a destroyer was spotted heading towards Cachalot, forcing the submarine to dive. On returning to the surface the submarine was spotted and attacked by the Italian destroyer which steamed in firing it's guns. Cachalot's diving drill was sorely hampered when the upper hatch jammed, thereby preventing a crash dive, and the Italian destroyer rammed into her, although not at great speed as the Italian Captain had realised that the order to abandon the submarine had already been given. As the crew went into the water the main vents were opened and Cachalot sank in very deep water. All the crew, apart from a Maltese steward, were picked up by the destroyer and transported to Benghazi from where they were taken to a POW camp near Naples, until repatriation in 1943.


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