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Tuesday, 18 June, 2024
04December 1939

HMS Salmon sinks U-36

On this day, a British vessel became the first Allied submarine to successfully attack and destroy a German u-boat.

HMS Salmon was an s-class submarine, launched by the Royal Navy in 1934. Whilst on patrol in the North Sea, the submarine detected a u-boat off the coast of Norway. The German submarine, U-36, was south-west of Kristiansand. Salmon attacked and fired a torpedo which struck the u-boat. All 40 crew aboard the u-boat died in the sinking. U-36 was commanded by Korvettenkapitän Wilhelm Fröhlich. HMS Salmon was commanded by Lt. Edward Oscar Bickford.

Since the start of the war, U-36 had sunk two allied ships and captured another. The crew had a lucky escape when it encountered another British submarine on 17th September 1939. In that encounter, Royal Navy submarine HMS Seahorse spotted U-36 whilst it was on the surface. The u-boat had stopped to question a neutral Danish steam ship. Seahorse fired three torpedos which all missed, although one torpedo came close to hitting the u-boat, passing directly underneath it.

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