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


HMS UMBRA - U-class Submarine

HM S/M United, sister-boat (Cyber Heritage, click to enlarge) return to Contents List

B a t t l e    H o n o u r s




First use of the name by the RN when it replaced P35 in October 1942 during service in the Mediterranean. After work-up with the 3rd Submarine Flotilla the Clyde area during September she carried out anti-submarine training for Home Fleet escorts at Scapa Flow for a month. Allocated for service in the Mediterranean she sailed from Dundee after repair in November 1941 and joined her sister submarines serving at Malta in the 10th Submarine Flotilla on 5th January 1942 for interception patrols against supply shipping.


During her first patrols later in January and in February she sank the small Italian salvage ship RAMPINO off Kerkenah, but foiled to intercept a six ship convoy. However on 2nd February she sank the supply ship NAPOLI of 6,142 tons off Kuriat. The following patrol was in the Adriatic when an attack on a freighter failed and on return to Malta on 5th March she was under repair till 23rd March. During a patrol in the central Mediterranean in April two attacks on single ships foiled and she came under attack by E-Boats. Later on the same patrol she damaged a 6,000 ton mercantile and sank the supply ship ASSUNTA DE GREGORI ON 4,219 tons on 19th of the month before her return to Malta on 25th. She was deployed for a special operation in Early May but had to return to Malta with engine defects. This submarine then took passage to Alexandria where she was required to carry out patrol in support of the passage of the VIGOROUS Malta relief convoy.


Sailing on 6th June she patrolled in the central Ionian Sea for its protection against attack by Italian Fleet units. On the 15th June she attacked by torpedo the Italian battleship LITTORIO without any confirmed hit although the ship was damaged in air attacks. However her later attack on the Italian cruiser TRENTO, badly damaged by earlier RAF BEAUFORT torpedo attacks east of Malta, sank the enemy ship sank in less than five minutes after her forward magazine exploded. On return to Alexandria she was under repair for a week and then returned to resume duties in Malta. In August she carried out a patrol off Cephalonia and Zante during which she sank the 5,463 ton Italian mv MANFREDO CAMPERIO and during a foiled attack on a cargo liner came under depth charge attacks. Repair in Malta in September was unsatisfactory and she returned from assigned patrol in September but sailed again for duty in the lonian Sea on 23rd sinking another supply ship FRANCESCO BARBACO, 6343 tons on 27th. Before return to Malta, whilst in the south Adriatic an attack on an Italian destroyer failed.


Further successful attacks during late October accounted for the freighter AMSTERDAM, 8,670 tons and a tug. In a deployment off the ME coast of Sicily during November she carried out an attack on an Italian battleship which missed and hit and damaged a freighter which had to be beached. Later whilst off Tunisia she sank a small Italian collier and returned to Malta with some of the crew who had been taken prisoner. A patrol was carried out in the central Mediterranean in January 1943 which included sinking of an Italian mv EMILIO MORANDI on 9th by torpedo and two sailing craft by gun attack. Torpedo attacks on a tanker and a SEIBEL Ferry were foiled and gun attack on a small mercantile had to be abandoned.


This completed her Mediterranean service and she returned to UK after calls at Algiers and Gibraltar, arriving at Devonport on 17th February to Pay-off prior to refit In October 1943 she resumed service after trials and was deployed for anti-submarine training of Western Approaches escorts with the 7th Submarine Flotilla. She was transferred to the 5th Submarine Flotilla at Portsmouth in April 1944 where she remained for similar duties in the Portsmouth Command until 28th June 1945. Paid-off this submarine was reduced to Reserve laid-up at Falmouth until sold in July 1946 for demolition.


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revised 30/11/10
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