Saturday, October 6, 2012
The Boarding of the U-744
Painting by Thomas Wood.
On March 6, 1944, the corvettes HMCS Chilliwack and HMCS Fennel, along with the destroyers HMS Icarus, HMCS Gatineau and HMCS Chaudiere and frigate HMCS St. Catherines spent 31 hours and 300 or more depth charges to bring the U-744 to the surface, making this the second-longest anti-submarine operation of the war. The U-boat surfaced and tried to defend itself with its deck gun, during which operation the captain and other crew members where killed by shells from the escorts. Both Chilliwack and St. Catherines sent boarding parties, and were able to raise a White Ensign on the U-boat's conning tower. They were able to enter the boat and capture the signal and code books, but these were lost before they could be transferred to the escorts. An attempt to bring the U-744 under tow was attempted but this proved unsuccessful and she was then sunk by a torpedo from HMS Icarus.
For actual photos of the battle, visit the U-Boat Archive.