I Was There! - We had Great Successes in Norway's Waters

The War Illustrated, Volume 2, No. 36, Page 504-506, May 10, 1940.

Three British submarines – the "Sealion", the "Truant", and the "Triton" - received a great welcome when they returned to their home ports in the third week of April after successes in the Norwegian campaign. Here are the first-hand stories of their adventures told by members of the crews.

As the "Sealion" moved through the dusk to her mooring place, a senior officer of the flotilla to which she is attached spoke through a microphone:

"Here comes the submarine 'Sealion', which sank a 3,000-ton enemy transport in a position of great danger", he said.

"Ben" Bryant, the "Sealion's" commander, was at the periscope when the transport came into view. She was protected by a screen of Nazi bombers which scoured the sea around.

Lieut.-Commander Bryant gave the order: "At the torpedoes. Ready!"

It was four o'clock on a sunny afternoon. A slight gust of wind unfurled the swastika-imprinted flag at the stern of the transport. There was no longer any doubt of her identity.

The order rapped out: "Torpedoes – fire!"

Two torpedoes leaped on their way. Some moments later there was a crash – then another.

The commander called to Lieutenant Newton, his second in command.

"Have a look at this", he said, moving aside from the periscope. Other officers came and took their turn at the periscope as the transport sank.

The bow of the transport ship reared high in the air. Men were seen scrambling down her sides, some jumping, some falling into the sea.

A few minutes later the transport crumpled and slid beneath the surface, leaving behind only a patch of oil, floating debris and bobbing heads.

Meanwhile, Nazi warplanes were scouring the sea, searching for the "Sealion". One or two passed immediately overhead, but apparently they could not discover her position, for no attacks were made.

After waiting for about five minutes the "Sealion" dived and made off to continue her patrol. – ("Daily Express.")

The feat of H.M. submarine "Truant" is one of the most daring and most effective of the war in Norway; she sank the cruiser "Karlsruhe", after worming her way through a Nazi minefield.

The "Blόcher" and the "Karlsruhe", escorted by destroyers, were blazing away at the Oslo batteries. The "Truant" came up almost in the middle of the battle.

Through her periscope six ships of the German Navy could be seen in line before her – the "Karlsruhe" and five destroyers. The Norwegians scored a hit on the "Karlsruhe", damaging but not fatal.

The the "Truant" fired a torpedo, hitting the "Karlsruhe" amidships and sinking her.

One of the leading seamen of the "Truant" said:

"We had just surfaced when our skipper reported that an enemy cruiser and five destroyers were crossing our sights.

"We got into position and fired torpedoes. Depth charges were dropped, but we were undamaged.

"The most violent attack of the lot had a most extraordinary effect.

"It was followed by a sharp clang as though a hatch had been smartly closed. The only damage it did was to shatter an officer's wrist-watch.

"Hours of depth-charging only affected our lights. We were reduced to emergency lightning.

"Finally we came to the surface for air and to charge our batteries. As soon as our periscope broke surface our skipper saw an enemy destroyer about 200 yards away.

"We submerged, but later rose again and resumed our homeward journey." – ("Daily Express.")

The "Triton" accounted for a number of Nazi transport ships of between 6,000 and 10,000 tons.

Four members of the crew told of their experiences.

"We had penetrated the German defences", they said, "when we came across a target we had all been hoping to find – a convoy of transport ships, steaming at full speed towards Norway with large numbers of troops and equipment on board.

"The engagement was all over in a few minutes, but we had the time of our lives.

"Our first torpedo hit a transport ship fair and square amidships and she began to sink immediately.

"The second ship foundered in just the same way, but we were still not satisfied. We meant to make a real job of it while we were about it and two more torpedoes were sent scuttling after the convoy, which was beginning to break up in confusion.

"Then the fun started for us.

"Destroyers got on our track and depth-charged us for all they were worth, but the men behaved splendidly during the attack which the Nazis kept up.

"When we reached home we found that no damage had been caused, and we shall be eager to get back into action again. On the way home we picked up an English broadcast from Stockholm which told how thousands of bodies, mostly troops, had been found floating in the sea after our engagement." – ("News Chronicle.")

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