HMS Active surprises U-179 on the surface

Day-by-Day in the SA Navy – Chris Bennett.

8 October:



1942 - At 01:45 U172 (Kapitänleutnant Carl Emmerman) sinks the Greek ship Pantelis – 3,500 tons – 40 miles from Green Point. In the early hours the U68 (Kapitänleutnant K F Merten) proceeding at best speed towards Cape Town from Cape Point, almost collides with the darkened Dutch merchant vessel Gaasterkerk – 8,679 tons – off Sea Point.

The U-boat turns fires two torpedoes which miss, hits her with a third and eventually sinks her with a fourth. Later in the day he attacks the American tanker Swiftsure, which catches fire. At daylight HMSAS Southern Barrier goes alongside and with some difficulty puts a salvage crew onboard, little could be done however and even the Tug Watermeyer is unable to save her.

The next ship to be attacked is the British Sarthe – 5,741 tons whose crew of 57 are picked up by HMSAS Vereeniging. Later an Australian destroyer, HMAS Nizam, finds only one lifeboat 11 miles from Cape Point.

Clan Mactavish

Clan Mactavish

At 10:05, U159 sinks the Clan liner Clan Mactavish – 7,631 tons – and submerges to escape detection by a Ventura patrol aircraft. U504 (Kapitänleutnant Fritz Poske) attacks the City of Athens northwest of Table Bay. The ship sinks immediately and the sinking is reported by an aircraft overhead at the time, but the U-boat is not detected.

1942 - In a separate action HMS Active surprises U179 (Kapitänleutnant Hans Sobe) on the surface 65 miles west of Table Bay and sinks her with depth charges immediately after she had dived.


Interested in U-Boatsread Wolf Pack (The book) here

1942 - An order to extinguish all coast and harbour lights, discontinue radio beacons and fog signals in the Cape Peninsula is issued. Ships are warned by radio not to approach within 70 miles of Cape Town during the hours of darkness.

1965 - The Boom Defence Vessel SAS Fleur (ex HMS Barbrake) is sunk by gunfire in False Bay.

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