On This Day – 12 February – U33 and Enigma

In February 1940, U-33, then captained by Hans-Wilhelm von Dresky, had been ordered to lay mines in the Firth of Clyde, in Scotland. However, the minesweeper HMS Gleaner, captained by Lieutenant-Commander Hugh Price, detected the U-boat on the 12th and dropped depth charges over a period of several hours. Eventually, the damaged U-33 was forced to surface and the crew abandoned the boat, which sank soon afterward. 25 men died while 17 survived. Before the boat was abandoned, the U-boat’s secret Enigma rotors were distributed amongst a few of the crew, who were instructed to release them into the sea to avoid capture. This was not done, however, and as a result the British captured three rotors, including two (VI and VII), that were only used by Kriegsmarine and for which the wiring was previously unknown.

RNA Norwich

The Norwich Branch is one of 300+ branches of the Royal Naval Association world wide. It was commissioned in 1979 and today has a membership of just over 90. It is a registered charity in its own right - the Registered Charity Number is: 1068699

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