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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2
by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2006

 

HMS URGE - U-class Submarine

 

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HM S/M Unrivalled, sister-boat (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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B a t t l e   H o n o u r s

 

MALTA CONVOYS 1941 - MEDITERRANEAN 1941 - 42

 

Launched as P40 in August 1940 this submarine was renamed in 1943. Briefly deployed in Home waters in 1941 on completion of work-up she took passage to join the 10th Submarine Flotilla on 27th April 1941 and was the 2nd of this Class to join that Flotilla at Malta During passage to Gibraltar she carried out a torpedo attack in the Bay of Biscay on the tanker FRANCO MARTELLI which was sunk.

 

After a call at Gibraltar she sailed for Malta to begin a very successful but short lived career. On an early patrol in May she sank one mercantile off Palermo and later another off Tunisia. Whilst on patrol in the Aegean during August she sank a supply ship and the next month off Libya in addition to sinking another mercantile damaged the liner DUILIO which was carrying troops. Between September and December, in addition to her ship interception duties she provided defence for Malta relief convoys against Italian surface attacks. In this period she sank a supply ship in the central Mediterranean and most significantly, damaged the Italian battleship VITTORIO VENETO in the Straits of Messina on the 14th December 1941. This Italian warship was out of service for several months.

 

Her patrols in the first part of 1942 were not made especially eventful by sinkings but this was more than set aside by her greatest success on 1st April. On that day she attacked the Italian cruiser GIOVANNI DELLA BANDE MERE scoring hits with two torpedoes sinking the ship in a few minutes. Her final patrol began on 27th April after which she was to join the Flotilla in Alexandria where it had been redeployed because of the scale of air attacks on Malta. Her final days are not known in detail but post war analysis records that she was sunk in air attacks by Italian fighter-bombers in a position off Ras-el-Hilal, Libya. It is believed that she attacked by gunfire the mercantile SAN GUISTO and was sighted by aircraft.

 

The Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander E P Tomkinson was one of the more successful submarine commanders and had joined the submarine during build. Apart from one patrol in command of Lieutenant Martin he had carried out 18 patrols and accounted for 26,000 tons of shipping sunk and another 37,000 damaged.

 

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