Our submarines had their day too

The cover of Periscope Patrol.
The cover of Periscope Patrol.
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When watching wartime documentaries, especially about the Battle of the Atlantic, one would think the U-boat menace of the Kriegsmarine had it all their own way and our boys watched from the sidelines, as it were.

The truth was somewhat different, especially in the Mediterranean and I urge you to read a superb paperback called Periscope Patrol by John Frayn Turner.

During the war a squadron of British U-class submarines was based at Malta and went out searching for the enemy, German or Italian shipping, especially transports, bound for Sicily and north Africa.

In one chapter, Wanklyn’s Finest Hour, the report of the sinking of three transports equal to 60,000 tons reads like a football match.

Lt Cdr Wanklyn VC, DSO, was one of the finest submarine commanders of the war. With four submarines, Unbeaten, Upholder, Upright and Ursula ganging up like the German wolf packs, they sank three liners, Neptunia, Oceania and Vulcania, fully-laden troopships.