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Relitto sommergibile HMS Thistle (Aprile 1940)

Platon Alexiades

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The wreck of the submarine HMS Thistle has been found at a depth of 170 metres. See:




The submarine (Lt. Cdr. W.F. Haselfoot, RN) was lost on 10 April 1940 when she was torpedoed by the German U-4 (OL Hans-Peter Hinsch). The British submarine had first sighted the U-boat in the afternoon of 9 April and, at 1604 (British time, one hour behind German time), fired six torpedoes but missed. The U-boat observed one torpedo missing just ten metres ahead. During the night, as HMS Thistle was recharging her batteries, she was sighted by the U-boat. At 0157 U-4 fired one G7a torpedo from a range of 600 metres and missed. At 0213/10 a G7e torpedo was fired from 400 metres and blew up the British submarine. Position was German grid AN 2989 l.u.E. (or slightly to the NW of 59°09' N, 05°12' E). There were no survivors, 5 officers and 48 ratings perished.

Initially, there were some doubts as to the identity of the wreck as another British submarine had been lost in the area. This was HMS Oxley sunk in error by HMS Triton on 10 September 1939 in 58°35' N, 05°20.5' E. There were some doubts as to the exact position as one of the two submarines had made a navigation error and entered the other's patrol area. Examination by ROV has apparently identified the wreck as undoubtedly that of HMS Thistle.


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Caro Franco,

And you are a great historian!

Thank you for your kind words. Many years ago I studied extensively operation Weserübung and the Norway Campaign, however I had nothing to do with the discovery of HMS Thistle. The position of the sinking was fairly well known so it was only a matter of time before she was found. There are other submarine wrecks of this Campaign which are actively sought such as ORP Orzel and the Dutch O.13 but so far the searches have not yielded results.



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