18th/19th September 1944 – Liberators vs. U-867

Commissioned in to the German Kriegsmarine on December 12th 1943, U-867 was a Type IXC u-boat built by the Aktien-Gesellschaft, Weser company at their yard in Bremen. The new u-boat implemented many of the lessons that had been learned since the early days of the war such as the fitting of a snorkel that allowed the diesel engines to run TYPE IXC U-BOAT GERMAN KRIEGSMARINEunderwater to limit the chances of detection. It also followed the growing trend of having the deck gun deleted since there were now fewer opportunities to use it given the strength of defences around allied convoys.

After working up to operational status through 1944, the u-boat began its first wartime patrol on September 1st 1944 out of Kiel under the command of 39-year old Kpt. Arved von Mühlendahl. Despite his relatively advanced age compared to most other u-boat commanders, U-867 was von Mühlendahl’s first u-boat command. After nearly two weeks at sea, morale aboard the u-boat was increasingly becoming drained by a mix of foul weather battering the sub whenever they surfaced and a lack of any kind of success against the allies.

On September 17th 1944, the u-boat’s diesel engines became disabled in heavy weather forcing von Mühlendahl to order the u-boat to head for the Norwegian coast and the protection of the Luftwaffe. The u-boat made slow progress having to run economically enough on the surface so as to not drain the batteries of the electric engines that were normally reserved to power the u-boat underwater before they met up with one of three other u-boats that had been dispatched to render assistance.

RAF CIt was tense time for von Mühlendahl and his men. They were travelling slowly through waters that were swarming with allied aircraft patrolling overhead. Through the next day, the u-boat crew’s luck held out but then, just after 2100hrs on September 18th they found themselves attracting the attention of a Leigh Light equipped Liberator of RAF Coastal Command’s No.224 Squadron based at RAF Miltown. As the Liberator attacked, the anti-aircraft gunners on U-867 and the nose gunner in the Liberator exchanged fire until the gunners on the u-boat were silenced just as the RAF plane began to drop depth charges. Six depth charges were dropped by the Liberator which landed in a line on the starboard side of the u-boat causing additional damage to the already disabled diesel engines which saw them start leaking oil.

After the depth charge attack, the anti-aircraft gunners were able to return to their positions and start firing on the British aircraft again which was now circling overhead. The British and the Germans briefly exchanged gunfire before von Mühlendahl was forced to resort to the only option left open to him which was to dive the u-boat even though this would probably use up the last of the power in his batteries. Having slipped below the dark waves of the North Sea, the RAF plane lost sight of the u-boat but at the cost of the last of U-867’s battery power.

Three other u-boats had been dispatched to render assistance to the disabled U-867 namely U-218, U-858 and U-1228. In the waning hours of September 18th, U-1228 was illuminated on the surface by another Coastal Command Liberator from No.224 Squadron using its powerful Leigh Light. The Liberator attacked with a stick of depth charges as the u-boat attempted to dive to the safety of the depths below but one of the six depth charges the Liberator released inflicted damaged on the u-boat’s snorkel. Thus when U-1228 attempted to use its snorkel the u-boat quickly filled with choking carbon monoxide from the engines that eventually caused the death of one crew member and left the rest gasping for air until they could surface again and open the hatches. U-1228 was forced to give up on attempting to reach U-867 and so it turned around and headed for port.

The next day, on September 19th 1944, von Mühlendahl and his men began inflating dinghies and lashing them alongside the crippled U-867 as it bobbed up and down on the inhospitable North Sea. The oil leak from the attack the day before now glistened in a RAF Coastal Command Liberatorlarge pool on the surface surrounding the u-boat and the dinghies. Then at 1737hrs, their worst fears were realised when they heard the sound of yet another No.224 Squadron Liberator growling towards them flown by Flight Lieutenant H.J. Rayner. Rayner carried out another attack with depth charges but all six of them overshot their target leaving the Liberator to orbit overhead and report the u-boat’s position so another aircraft could attack.

This was the final straw for Kapt. von Mühlendahl. Watched by the RAF Liberator crew, he and his men climbed in to the dinghies after appearing to deliberately flood the u-boat and cut themselves free before U-867 slipped beneath the waves for the last time. The Liberator crew reported that there were at least 50 men in the dinghies indicating that the entire crew escaped the doomed submarine.

The crews of U-218 and U-858 were close enough to the area to hear the detonations of the depth charges. Fearing for their comrades, they raced to the scene but at 2010hrs, U-858 found itself attracting the attention of yet another RAF Liberator only this time from No.206 Squadron. The Liberator attacked but U-858 managed to escape any serious damage by first making an aggressive turn to port as the depth charges landed in the water and then crash diving.

With U-867 no longer a threat, the RAF Liberators left von Mühlendahl and his men in their dinghies to continue hunting for other u-boats in the area. Another Liberator overflew a group of dinghies whilst on its patrol and it was long presumed they were from a different u-boat that had been attacked while U-867 was limping home. It is now generally agreed that these dinghies were from U-867. 

Despite being so close to where the final attack on U-867 occurred, the heavy RAF presence in the area coupled with bad weather meant neither U-218 or U-858 was able to locate von Mühlendahl or any of his men. On September 22nd, the Germans called off their search thus confining them to the pages of history.

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News Round-Up – July 28th 2018

tempest typoon RAF

Here are some of the latest British military news stories making the headlines this past week.


General Defence News

The UK’s Ministry of Defence Delivers a Bland Update on its Modernising Defence Programme
(RUSI Analysis)

Here’s What The 6th-Generation Fighter Tempest Means For The F-35
(Investor’s Business Daily)

Capita’s Ministry of Defence contract suspended after rival Serco challenges decision
(Staffing Industry Analysts)

Russia’s nuclear-powered arsenal is ‘highly exaggerated’: Experts say
(Daily Mail)

British Forces Take Part In The World’s Largest Marching Event
(Forces Network)

This is how NATO responds when Russian nuclear warplanes show up
(VICE News)

Drone to be used by British military breaks flight record
(Oxford Mail)

British Armed Forces Pay Rise Confirmed
(Forces Network)


British Army News

Clarity On The Future Of British Troops In Germany
(Forces Network)

UK MoD writes off Fire Shadow loitering munition
(IHS Jane’s 360)

British Soldier Among ‘Great Heroes’ Hailed For Thai Cave Rescue
(Forces Network)

18 months for Army officer over soldier’s death in live ammo exercise
(Shropshire Star)

Rate of mental health problems among troops and veterans doubles in a decade
(Yorkshire Post)

Royal Army Veterinary Corps Prepares To Celebrate Their Centenary
(Forces Network)

Army Basing Programme must produce 1,200 homes by 2020
(Construction News)

Haunting silhouette of British Tommy projected onto Rock of Gibraltar in moving tribute
(The Sun)


Royal Air Force News

RAF Scampton, Home of The Dambusters and the Red Arrows, To Be Closed and Sold.
(The Aviationist)

British Typhoon Aircraft Scrambled To Intercept Russian Bomber Over Black Sea (Defenseworld.net)

First UK F-35 vertical landing carried out at RAF Marham
(Airforce Technology)

UK-Qatar Joint Typhoon Squadron formed to improve defence cooperation
(Airforce Technology)

UK Protector Force Carries Vision For Free Flight
(Aviation Week)

Saab to develop RAF Typhoon jet pyrotechnic self-protection system
(Airforce Technology)

Prince Of Wales Visits F-35B Squadron At RAF Marham
(Forces Network)

RAF Chinooks boost French mission in Mali
(Flightglobal)

RAF Lossiemouth presented with souvenir from stricken vessel
(Press and Journal)

WWII Hawker Typhoon rolled out at RAF Coningsby
(Lincolnshire Reporter)

Second world war pilot Mary Ellis dies aged 101
(The Guardian)


Royal Navy & Marines News

Royal Navy scrambled to INTERCEPT two Russian ships passing through the English Channel
(Daily Star)

UK MoD suspends plans to build Type 31e frigates for Royal Navy
(Naval Technology)

Defence chiefs have been accused of jeopardising Ferguson’s by delaying a Royal Navy frigate contract
(Greenock Telegraph)

Royal Navy escorts Spanish warship from Gibraltar waters
(Euro Weekly News)

UK considers options for possible off-the-shelf Harpoon replacement
(IHS Jane’s 360)

UK Royal Navy holds ceremony aboard the USS Wisconsin
(DVIDS)

Former Portsmouth Royal Navy ship in the running for National Lottery Award
(The Portsmouth News)

Disclaimer: All news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them. An effort is made to vary news sources as much as possible to avoid political bias.

News Round-Up – July 14th 2018

Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II RAF Royal Air Force London

Here are some of the latest British military news stories making the headlines this past week.


General Defence News

Britain’s ’70-year holiday from history is over’, says Defence head
(Telegraph.co.uk)

MoD property deal ‘could cost taxpayer up to £5bn’
(The Guardian)

Schrödinger’s Strike: Who Hit These Buildings in Raqqa, Syria?
(bellingcat)

Boeing Increases Footprint in UK
(Aviation International News)

Ministry of Defence explains why towns across Somerset and Wiltshire are covered in smoke
(Somerset Live)

UK Ministry of Defence looks to replace its Biometric Data Capture System
(Biometric Update)


British Army News

Afghanistan: UK to send 440 more non-combat troops
(BBC News)

The future of the British Army in Europe
(The Defense Post)

British Troops Make Final Preparations For South Sudan Deployment
(Forces Network)

UK army ‘fallen behind Russia and China’ – defence chief
(Daily Star)

I spent my career in the British Army and I know the dangers of privatising the battlefield
(The Independent)

Secret Documents Reveal Thatcher Government Tried To Silence British Sikhs
(HuffPost UK)


Royal Air Force News

RAF Celebrates 100 Years with Spectacular Flyover in London
(The Aviationist)

RAF looks at UAV swarms
(IHS Jane’s 360)

Waddington to operate Protector, with best of British air power on show at Air Tattoo
(GOV.UK)

Britain set to spend 650million dollars buying 200 state of the art air-to-air missiles from the US
(Daily Mail)

Airbus To Support RAF Pumas
(Aviation International News)

IBM Wins Contract for RAF ACCS
(Aviation International News)

RAF recieves 20th Atlas transport aircraft
(GOV.UK)


Royal Navy & Marines News

US Navy Hopes for Commonality – Or at Least Interoperability – With Frigates in Australia, Canada, UK
(USNI News)

British Royal Navy re-dedicates HMS Northumberland to service
(Naval Technology)

Plymouth is united behind Royal Navy shipbuilding campaign
(Plymouth Herald)

WW1 British sailor laid to rest on Arras battlefield
(Centenary News)

Gibraltar First Stop For HMS Argyll On Deployment To The Far East
(Forces Network)

Disclaimer: All news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them. An effort is made to vary news sources as much as possible to avoid political bias.

News Round-Up – July 7th 2018

typhoon fgr 4 centurion paveway brimstone asraam

Hi everybody,

I am sorry for the lack of content the last two months. It has just been so hectic recently for me that I felt I had no choice but to put the site on hiatus for a while. I am aiming to at least get the news round-ups out every week on either a Friday or Saturday but I will be researching and writing up some new content over the coming weeks. If you are still here then thank you for your patience and support.

Here are some of the latest British military news stories making the headlines this past week.


General Defence News

UK authorities seeking clues in new Novichok poisoning case
(Washington Post)

Russia uses World Cup defence to preempt new poisoning accusations
(euronews)

The Battle Against IS Is Not Over, Says Defence Secretary
(Forces Network)

UK in talks with Sweden over next-generation fighter jet
(Financial Times)

UK misses NATO deadline for completing defence review
(The Guardian)

Almost 2000 Scottish MoD jobs have gone
(The Scotsman)

Lincad to Supply Batteries to UK Ministry of Defence
(Renewable Energy Magazine)

Britain Will Build Australia’s Future Frigate
(The Diplomat)


British Army News

British Soldier Found Dead At Catterick Garrison
(Forces Network)

Yorkshire Regiment soldier Reece Miller dies in Estonia
(BBC News)

May slaps down calls for IRA terrorists amnesties – ‘We owe our soldiers’
(Express)

Castlemartin inquest: Tank crews ‘in chaos’ before blast
(BBC News)

Army Prepares NHS Medics For Potential Terrorist Attacks
(Forces Network)

Army recruits are being turned away for minor ailments such as eczema despite chronic shortage of troops
(Telegraph)

Hitler’s Reich in ruins: Incredible photos taken by one of the first British soldiers to enter Berlin
(Daily Mail)


Royal Air Force News

RAF receives first ‘Centurion’ Typhoons ahead of Tornado retirement
(IHS Jane’s 360)

F-35B Makes First Visit To RAF Valley
(Forces Network)

UK Defence Committee urges tender for E-3D AWACS aircraft replacement
(Airforce Technology)

The Royal Air Force Museum has had a revamp — and it’s got something for everyone
(Metro Newspaper UK)

Nazi U-boat sunk by RAF and USAF found off Galicia by Spanish divers
(BBC News)

Funeral for no-relatives RAF veteran Raymond Burrows
(BBC News)

Improved safety the lasting legacy of tragic RAF jet crash which took the lives of three Moray men
(Press and Journal)

Queen Elizabeth attends reception for RAF
(Royal Central)


Royal Navy & Marines News

Issues surface over UK’s Crowsnest programme
(Shephard Media)

UK transfers SNMG2 command to Royal Netherlands Navy
(Naval Technology)

Tyne-built Royal Navy ship HMS Northumberland returns home for a special visit
(Chronicle Live)

Royal Marines join London Pride for the first time as navy flies the flag for LGBT+ communities
(The News)

Prodrive fast tracks UOR for HMS Diamond
(Innovation in Textiles)

UK MoD seeks to mitigate effects of US steel tariffs on nuclear programme
(IHS Jane’s 360)

RFA sailors who saved lives in hurricane horror honoured in Portsmouth
(The News)

Disclaimer: All news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them. An effort is made to vary news sources as much as possible to avoid political bias.

Dambusters 75th Anniversary – Simon Weston in Conversation with George ‘Johnny’ Johnson MBE, Britain’s Last Remaining Dambuster

There were many important raids carried out by Allied crews against the Axis powers during World War II but few have captured the imagination of the public like Operation Chastise. Carried out by the specially formed No.617 Squadron flying the Avro Lancaster and led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson VC, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, the operation aimed to breach the Edersee, Möhne and Sorpe dams which would result in the catastrophic flooding of the strategically important Ruhr Valley.

In order to breach the dams, the Lancasters utilised the now famous “bouncing bomb” designed by the gifted engineer Barnes Wallis. As its name suggests, this weapon bounced on the surface of the water over the defensive torpedo nets the Germans had laid before hitting the dam wall. It then dropped down to the base of the dam where it exploded for maximum effectiveness. Deploying the weapon was extremely dangerous for the crews who had to fly at just 60ft above the water at the time of release or the weapon would fail. Afterwards, No.617 squadron would forever be remembered as “the dam busters”.

While historians continue to debate the success of the mission, few would deny the boost it gave to British and Allied morale in those dark days. May 16th 2018 marks the 75th anniversary of this incredible mission.


Filmed at the Royal Air Force Museum, Falklands War Veteran Simon Weston CBE talks with George ‘Johnny’ Johnson, the last remaining member of the dambusters about his experience during Operations Chastise.

News Round-up – May 13th 2018

Boeing P-8 Poseidon UK united kingdom royal air force

Here are some of the latest British military news stories making the headlines this past week.


General Defence News

UK MoD lacks funding to buy all equipment it says it needs, parliament finds
(IHS Jane’s 360)

Star Wars style weapons just years away from being used by Brit soldiers and RAF fighter pilots
(Scottish Daily Record)

Hundreds Watch RAF Take Top Boxing Honours Over Army In Cyprus
(Forces Network)

Marshall wins landmark deal for UK in Bangladesh
(Business Weekly)

Royal wedding preparations underway as military personnel seen rehearsing their duties
(Sunday Express)


British Army News

Former SAS commander Lieutenant-General Mark Carleton-Smith is new Army chief
(Sky News)

Veterans hounded over the Troubles deaths will no longer receive amnesty 
(The Sun)

British army instructor posts video of crying recruit and could now face court-martial
(American Military News)

British Army Brass Band makes Major return
(4barsrest.com)

British army to tackle African elephant poachers who fund their Islamic extremism
(Daily Mail)

Ted Heath ordered cover-up of SAS training for undercover Army unit, new book claims
(Belfast Telegraph)


Royal Air Force News

UK parliament launches inquiry into RAF strikes on Mosul and Raqqa
(Middle East Eye)

RAF jets obliterate ISIS complex in huge terror raid
(Daily Star)

First images released of what RAF’s new fleet of Poseidon aircraft will look like
(Press and Journal)

UK and Norway plan anti-submarine co-operation
(IHS Jane’s 360)

RAF, RSAF observe Cerberus Strike
(Air Force Link)

Body of RAF serviceman to be repatriated
(Oxford Mail)

RAF grounds its Vigilant T1 training gliders over safety fears
(The Times)


Royal Navy & Marines News

UK Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth Set for US Visit, F-35B Trials
(USNI News)

Give £1bn navy contract to UK firms, Corbyn urges
(Insider.co.uk)

Royal Navy Recognizes 14 Sailors for Bravery
(The Maritime Executive)

Royal Navy acquires first autonomous robot minesweeper
(TechSource)

Royal Navy concludes Information Warrior 2018
(Shephard Media)

The Royal Throwdown: Royal Marines vs US Marine Corps
(Forces Network)

The Home Of Britain’s Nuclear Deterrent Turns 50
(Forces Network)


Disclaimer: All news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them. An effort is made to vary news sources as much as possible to avoid political bias.