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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2006


HMS TANTALUS - T-class Submarine

HM S/M Tantalus (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


 SABANG 1945


First use of this name for a British warship and after completion deployed at Lame for work-up before taking passage to Ceylon to join the Eastern Fleet as part of the reinforcements agreed in August 1943. She joined the 4th Submarine Flotilla for interception patrols and also for minelaying duties and was deployed off the coasts of Burma, Siam and Malaya as well as in the Indian Ocean.


During patrols in early 1944 she sank a supply ship and two smaller vessels in the Malacca Straits. Her patrol in April included landing an SOE Party in Malaya (Operation REMARKABLE IV). In May that year she carried out a torpedo attack sinking another supply ship and the next month, in addition to a minelay (Operation ML09) she intercepted the Japanese submarine 166 but the subsequent torpedo attack failed. In July she provided Air-Sea Rescue facilities during an Eastern Fleet air attack on Sabang (Operation CRIMSON) with HMS TEMPLAR.


This submarine was transferred with the Flotilla to Fremantle in September 1944, where she remained from the 29th  until the 16th October, before continuing patrols in the same areas. Whilst on patrol in November she sank a supply ship and damaged the Japanese Submarine Chaser CHI.


The patrol area was changed in 1945 and she sailed from Fremantle on 3rd January for patrol in the Indian Ocean. On 22nd she was deployed to provide Air- Sea Rescue facilities during allied air attacks on oil installations in Sumatra (Operation MERIDIAN I). Although one of the aircraft was reported to have ditched in the patrol area no MAYDAY message was heard by the submarine and no recovery requirement was made. On release from MERIDIAN I the submarine was deployed in the South China Sea to attack coastal shipping in the Gulf of Thailand where she carried out a number of successful gun attacks sinking small craft. These successes prompted a request for an extension of the patrol and on 11th February the top structure of two major warships were sighted east of the Anamba Islands. The Japanese ships were the battleship-carriers ISE and HYUGA which were on passage to Japan. The heavy air escort forced the submarine to take avoiding action and she was unable to get into a position to carry out an attack.


On return to Fremantle 15 days later this submarine had carried out the longest patrol by any RN submarine, lasting 55days with 39 in the patrol area and 11,692 miles in length. Released from East Indies Station service when the submarine flotillas were re-organised in April 1945 this submarine returned to UK.


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revised 30/11/10
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