Attack on U-405
USS Borie, in the North Atlantic, left Task Group 21.14 on Oct. 31, 1943 in search of a submarine that had escaped an air attack. The entire crew was excited, most staying at battle stations for the heck of it. It was dark with moderate seas. Radar contact was made at 2010. Radar contact was lost but sound contact was made at once. ... Borie dropped depth charges, turned and dropped charges again. Both attacks were followed by heavy under water explosions. Borie searched for destruction but found none (At WWII end, found that U-256 had been badly damaged). Knowing that we were in an active U-boat area, Borie continued to search. ... At 0200 got a radar contact, losing it at 2000 yards. Again sound contact was made at once. An order to release depth charges came. A malfunction caused all of the charges in both racks to be released at once. The explosion caused Borie to surge forward but towards the stern the conning tower of U-405 broke surface. ... A surface battle of about 1 hr. and 15 minutes started. A salvo of three 4 inch projectiles exploded near their deck gun obliterating it. Apparently U-405 couldn't submerge and we continued firing 4 inch guns and 20 mm machine guns. U-405 manned conning tower machine guns but couldn't man others because of our heavy 20 mm gun firing that blasted men over the side. A continuous battle ensued with U-405 circling to aim torpedo tubes while Borie circled outside, firing all guns that could bear. U-405 started evasive maneuvers. Borie, still firing 4 inch and 20mm guns, tried to close range to ram or drop depth charges. ... Borie closed to almost point blank range and the order Standby for a ram. was given. Our bow crashed up and down as we rapidly closed on U-405, still in our searchlight. Germans were seen in the spotlight trying to man their guns. Some did man the conning tower machine guns. Just as Borie was to hit U-405 a wave lifted our bow. We came to a halt on their bow. ... All hell broke loose with both sides firing; U-405 conning tower machine guns, Borie firing 20mm and small arms. A 4 inch gun crew member threw 4 inch shell cases down at the Germans. A man on our bridge fired a Very pistol hitting a man on the sub's deck. One German reached out as if he wanted to be pulled aboard the Borie but this didn't happen in the face of machine gun fire. The ships came apart and because of her smaller turning circle U-405 was able to open the range to about 500 yards. Borie, using a clever ruse, turned off searchlights then on again, and started heavy gun fire. Borie turned to a parallel course and within range of our depth charge projectors. ... Three charges were fired; one over and two short for a perfect straddle. All three exploded at 30 feet raising the sub high in the water. However this didn't stop them. They turned, attempting to get away. Borie fired a torpedo that missed. All our guns started firing again doing heavy damage. U-405 fired Very pistols indicating surrender. We ceased fire while they started putting individual life rafts over the side and then abandoned ship. We headed toward them for rescue but had to leave when a torpedo spread was fired at us. ... The Borie deck crew could be very proud of their conduct for this battle of over an hour. There was never any sign of fear or disorder during the action no matter what occurred. What the deck crew didn't know is that the men below who kept the ship maneuvering no matter what was asked of them, did so under even more horrible circumstances. When the sub and Borie came together two large holes were punched through the forward engine room. ... While the guns boomed above, the men below, in water up to their neck, had to maintain the ship's speed as they tried to repair the damage. The damage control party had to shore up bulkheads with their backs to hot boilers. Commands from the bridge were followed in spite of floating, dangerous, items and even diving below the surface if necessary. The executive officer said post battle, The crew manned their stations with maximum efficiency. The complete disregard for personal safety, and the initiative shown by all hands was an inspiring sight. ... Next morning, without sleep, we found the forward engine room completely flooded and water coming in faster than our pumps could handle. Trying to save the ship we started to jettison heavy equipment, almost by hand. Our headway dropped steadily until almost stopped so we dropped our depth charges which exploded. Borie surged forward but without further damage. The waves were increasing so by mid-morning, almost stopped, abandon ship became a distinct possibility. ... At 1630, with waves getting higher and darkness setting in, the order to abandon ship was given. With high waves and water temperature about 390 all hands went over the side. This wasn't easy. There are many personal stories but space doesn't permit their telling. ... Goff DD247 was near and rescued many men while still light but darkness soon set in. Rafts with men holding on the sides tossed up and down the waves and were difficult to see. Barry DD248 left the carrier Card CV 11 without escort, and raced towards our position. Goff and Barry now both searched for survivors floating in the angry sea. Most were helped aboard by courageous seamen. ... Some died of exposure, a few were killed when a destroyer hit a raft because of darkness. One officer was lost while holding on to a screw guard to help shipmates climb aboard the rescue ship. There were Borie men in the cold, angry sea from 1630 until after midnight. There were many stories of shipmates helping shipmates. 27 valiant Borie shipmates were Lost at Sea.