I was a First Radio/RADAR operator assigned to a US Navy Squadron (VP.94), operating in the South Atlantic Ocean. We were assigned the job of Anti-Submarine patrol protecting our convoys en-route to north Africa with equipment and supplies for the fight there against the German army. My assigned aircraft was part of a 25 aircraft squadron operating over most of the east coast of south America but mostly off the coast of Brazil, out to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Our primary mission was to keep the Subs down off of surface operation, sinking operation was the secondary course. On the morning of a day in about the month of June 1943, we cleared the runway out of Forteleza, Brazil heading to our 16 to 18 hour mission. About 50 miles out past the coastline we caught sight of a Brazilian Sailboat called a Jangada. It was heading west and left a distinctive line in the water.
The Pilot of our airplane lined up on that trail mark. In about 20 minutes on that line we spotted a Submarine. It was obvious that the Jangada had carried drums of fuel to a rendezvous and provided fuel for the Sub.
We were operating at about 6000 ft. at the base of clouds so that we were not seen by the crew of the Sub immediately. Also these type airplanes are painted purposely to blend in with cloud cover. We were not able to attack immediately because we were equipped with depth charge bombs not contact bombs. We had 4 bombs, 2 under each wing. We also had 1 30 caliber machine gun and 2 50 caliber machine guns.
We had as a crew practiced this scenario several times so what had to be done, we executed. First action was to strafe the Sub to force it down.
The first pass, because we caught him by surprise, he returned fire. On the second pass he had prepared to dive, which he started as we came in on the strafing run. He went under, turning to port as we could clearly see. The pilot made a quick turn to the starboard, circled and came in over the Sub. We could see the Sub outline. Our bombs were released over the sub in the preset pattern —- first, —- left outboard, second — right outboard, third —- left inboard, last—-right inboard.
We circled the area to confirm. Some debris was spotted. My job was to clear radio operations, notify base and direct support aircraft into the area. 2 other aircraft arrived and the area was surveilled for a couple of hours. A review of the incident was held with supporting intelligence and the conclusion was the Sub was sunk.