Operation Actions of 7/8 May 1945

The 'Actions of 7/8 May 1945' between the British and the Germans were the last actions in British coastal waters and indeed the final actions of the 'Battle of the Atlantic' (7/8 May 1945).

During the first five months of 1945, the German U-boat arm despatched 125 U-boat patrols into the Atlantic, operating principally in British coastal waters, but by 5 May just 29 of these were still at large.

On the morning of 7 May, Oberleutnant Heinz Emmrich’s U-320, which was a modified 'Typ VIIC/41', was two days into its first operational patrol and running submerged, when it was detected by a Consolidated Catalina twin-engined patrol flying boat of RAF Coastal Command’s No. 210 Squadron, captained by Flight Lieutenant K. M. Murray of 210 Squadron, Coastal Command. Murray attacked immediately with a pattern of depth charges, and U-320 was damaged but not destroyed. Murray sighted oil, and sonobuoys dropped by the Catalina detected hammering. Murray was unable to continue the attack, and by the middle of the afternoon was forced by fuel considerations to turn back to base. Emmerich meanwhile headed for Norway, abandoning his crippled boat in the course of the following day. Emmerich and all his crew survived, and U-320 was the last U-boat to be sunk in action during the 'Battle of the Atlantic'.

Also on 7 May, Kapitšnleutnant Heinrich-Andreas Schroeteler’sU-1023, a modified 'Typ VIIC/41' boat, spotted a group of Norwegian-manned minesweepers off Portland Bill. In his first successful attack since the start of the patrol in March, Schroeteler attacked and his torpedoes hit NYMS-382, which sank with the loss of 22 men.

At about the same time, Kapitšnleutnant E. Klusmeier’s U-2336, a 'Typ XXIII' high-performance Elektroboot seven days into its first operational patrol, sighted a British convoy in the Firth of Forth. Firing his two torpedoes, Klusmeier hit the freighters Sneland and Avondale Park, which both sank with the combined loss of nine men.

These actions took place during the evening of 7 May 1945, just hours before the German surrender, and resulted in the last ship losses to German action in the 'Battle of the Atlantic', nearly 5.5 years after the first shot had been fired.