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Monday, 15 April, 2024
20November 1939

British submarine claims first enemy sinking of the war

The Royal Navy was celebrating on this day upon hearing of the successful sinking of a German patrol vessel by a British submarine.

HMS Sturgeon, a British s-class submarine launched in 1932, successfully attacked and sank German armed trawler V-209 with torpedoes in the North Sea. The sinking was the first successful attack by a British submarine of the war.

HMS Sturgeon’s successful mission marked a milestone for the submarine. Up to that point it had experienced a checkered history. On her first patrol, she was attacked and bombed by a British aircraft. On her second patrol, she launched three torpedoes at what the commander through was an enemy submarine, but was in fact the Sturgeon’s sister submarine, HMS Swordfish. The Swordfish was undamaged. On her third patrol, she attempted to destroy U-23, but missed and hit the seabed. After the successful sinking of V-209, however, the Sturgeon experienced great success. During her next patrols, she sank the German troop transport Pionier and the Danish merchant ships SS Sigrun and SS Delfinus.

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