Member of Class
O 12
Boat
O 15
Boats in this Class
O 12, O 13
O 14, O 15

 

O 15, IJmuiden 14 June 1935 O 15, IJmuiden 14 June 1935

For additional photos and information please check the 'related pages list' at the bottom of this page.

1929

Oct 1929: O 15 is ordered.

1930

3 Mar 1930: O 15 is laid down at the Fijenoord shipyard in Rotterdam.

1931

27 May 1931: O 15 is launched.

1932

28 July 1932: O 15 is commissioned to the Royal Netherlands Navy.

28 July 1932 - ?: O 15 is under the command of ?

1933

3 Jul - 14 Jul 1933: O 13, O 14, O 15 and Z 5 sail to Esbjerg (Denmark).

193?

? - 19 Feb 1936: O 15 is under the command of Ltz. I  Esq. E.J. van Holthe.

1935

14 May - 25 May 1935: O 13 and O 15 visit the World Exhibition in Brussels (Belgium).

10 Sep - 22 Sep 1935: O 12, O 13, O 15, Hertog Hendrik, Kortenaer, Van Ghent and Z 5 make a trip to Göteborg (Sweden) and Oslo (Norway).

1936

26 Feb 1936: Off Texel (Netherlands) O 15's Kwartiermeester G.A. Bossers is washed overboard and drowns

1937

23 Mar - 24 June 1937: O 15  is on convoy duty off the Spanish coast because of the Spanish civil war.

1938

20 Sep - 13 Dec 1938: O 15 and O 12 make a journey to Curaçao.

27 Aug - 16 Dec 1938: O 15 is under the command of Ltz. I  G.B.M. van Erkel.

1939

25 Jan (30 May is incorrect) 1939 - 6 Apr 1942: O 15 is under the command of Ltz. II  H.M.L.F.E. van Oostrom Soede.

20 May - 30 May 1939: O 15 is under the command of Ltz. I  A.H.I. Kramers.

2 Oct 1939: A squadron departs from the Netherlands and heads for the Netherlands West  Indies. For safety reasons (floating mines), and because the Netherlands are still neutral, it is decided to take a route around Scotland and England.

The squadron consists of: O 20, O 15 and van Kinsbergen. Some sources report 2 Sep or 3 Oct as the departure date of O 15 and 2 Oct as the arrival date.

9 Oct 1939: Matroos D. Termoshuizen from Rotterdam is washed overboard. Weather conditions are very bad and while throwing some human garbage (the toilets could not be emptied the normal way) overboard an extremely large wave washes the sailor overboard. She ships of the squadron start searching immediately, but D. Termoshuizen is not to be found. After several hours the squadron continues its journey.

Exact location of this incident is unknown. It is also unknown why this incident is not listed in any Submarine Service listings. 

The squadron arrives in Ponta Delgada (Portugese Azores). Only know it is possible to inspect O 20's deck for damage (inflicted by the severe weather conditions). It turns out that several 'hatches' below the top casing are gone and that several side plates of the top casing are damaged. The crew conducts the necessary repairs themselves and after a couple of days the journey is continued. During the next leg, to Curaçao, the squadron exercises with many other vessels.

29 Oct 1939 - 16 July 1940: O 15 is based at Curaçao.

1940

10 May 1940: Germany attacks the Netherlands, the O 15 is still in Curaçao.

O 15 is undergoing her half yearly maintenance, including some very important repairs. At the end of June the O.A.Z. reports the O 15 will be ready within 4 weeks because the maintenance will completed with overhauled parts of the O 14. O 14 will be completed with some overhauled parts of the O 15. During O 15's engine trials cracks occur in the 3rd stage compressor-cylinder of the port diesel engine. Once again these parts are replaced by overhauled parts from the O14, the 4th stage compressor-cylinder and several other parts were already swapped at an earlier date.

Early July 1940: In a meeting between Dutch Chief of Naval Staff and the British 'Chief of Staff of the Vice-Admiral of Submarines' it is decided there is no need for Dutch subs in the Caribbean (Dutch West Indies). Therefore the submarines O 14 and O 15 will be ordered to the U.K. They will transit via Kingston, Bermuda and Halifax.

10 July: All maintenance is completed and the O 15 is ready to depart for Halifax. During this transit the O 15 will be under the command of  C in C AWI (Commander in Chief America and West Indies Station ).

13 July - 6 Aug 1940: O 15 sails, via Bermuda, to Halifax (Canada).

13 Jul 1940: Under the escort of HMS Dundee the O15 departs from Curaçao and heads for the Bermudas.

18 July 1940: O 15 arrives in Hamilton (Bermudas). During this transit it turned out the diesel engines were very unreliable. C in C AWI suggested to order the O 15 from Hamilton, as part of a convoy, directly to the U.K. She could be towed by the tug Roode Zee, this would save fuel and engine hours. But the authorities in London decided to stick with the original plan.

In Hamilton only the most necessary repairs are made, all other repairs will be taken care of in Halifax.

2 Aug - 6 Aug 1940: O 15 departs from Hamilton and sails unescorted to Halifax (Canada).

O 15 as training boat for the RCN. Lead corvette is HMCS Weyburn. (Photo: © Collection D. Perkins) O 15 as training boat for the RCN. Lead corvette is HMCS Weyburn. (Photo: © Collection D.Perkins)

6 Aug 1940: O 15 arrives in Halifax (Canada). She will be overhauled (yearly maintenance) at the Halifax Shipyard. Since there are no diesel engine facilities at Halifax it is all up to the crew.

6 or 8 Aug 1940 - 3 or 13 Mar 1941: O 15 gets her yearly refit/maintenance.

27 Sep 1940 at 17:30 hrs: The war diary of the 9th Heavy Battery lists the sighting of the O 15 off the coast of Porters Lake (Nova Scotia). The submarine is escorted by a Canadian (Ex-USN) Destroyer.

Repairs in Halifax (Canada) take very long because the Naval Dockyard in Halifax is understaffed with skilled personnel and because the new pistons for the diesel engines did not meet the required quality at first

While the O 15 is in Canada the RCN eventually receives Admiralty permission to use her for A/S training as there is no other submarine available. The crew keeps the boat going on and off until she can be properly repaired in Philadelphia.

According to some sources: "...In fact, the RCN was so desperate for ASW training in 1940 that when a Dutch submarine, which had avoided capture when Holland was invaded, fetched up in Halifax en route to England, the navy used it without permission and would not let it go when the Admiralty asked them to relinquish her..."

1941

Canada, exact year/period unknown: Sea trials of the CSC (Canadian Sea Control) type radar set began in HMCS Chambly using a the O 15 as a target. All tests indicated that the system was successful as the submarine was spotted at 2.7 miles. On this basis, the RCN Naval staff agreed to proceed with the fitting of the CSC in all ships but they did not know that the test results were flawed.

Apparently, the Dutch submarine was fully surfaced when detected, but German U-boats developed the tactic of running in a trimmed down mode. Admiralty tests indicated that the best range obtained on a 286 set for a trimmed down U-boat was 1.5 miles. All of this went unnoticed by the RCN who in, turn ordered the set into production as the SW1C (Surface Warning 1st Canadian) radar in 1941. This system saw its service debut in RCN ships starting in 1942.

Date unknown: Frank Curry, author of the book War at Sea writes the following on the Canadian Asdic training: "........Finally came the day when we took our classroom knowledge to sea. Off we set for St. Margarets Bay, down the coast from Halifax, and on board an Asdic equipped training ship. In the vast peace and calm of this magnificent bay, we joined a Dutch submarine for ten solid days and nights against a German U-boat -- simulated by our Dutch ally. It dodged and wheeled in the depths, shutting off its engines and sitting silently, on the bottom as our Asdic transmissions tried to establish contact....."

3 Mar 1941 - 29 Jan 1942: O 15 is attached to the 2nd Flotilla in Halifax and is under British operational control. The submarine is used in A/S exercises/training.

13 Mar 1941: O 15's repairs are completed.

Pictou Lodge, summer 1941. Princess Juliana with the crew of O 15. Sailor second in on her right is RCN signalman Arthur Hardy. On the left of the photo wireless operator Peter Barzilay is holding Princess Beatrix. On the right of the photo is Princess Irene. (Photo: © Collection D. Perkins) Pictou Lodge, summer 1941. Princess Juliana with the crew of O 15. Sailor second in on her right is RCN signalman Arthur Hardy. On the left of the photo wireless operator Peter Barzilay is holding Princess Beatrix. On the right of the photo is Princess Irene. (Photo: © Collection D.Perkins)

Summer 1941: While at Halifax, the crew of the O 15 is presented to Her Royal Highness Princess Juliana at a resort hotel near Pictou, Nova Scotia, called Pictou Lodge which is used as a retreat.

2nd Flotilla in Halifax, Nova Scotia, 3-10 April 1941. HMS Forth, submarines from inboard to outboard are: HMS Porpoise, Talisman and O 15. (Photo: © Collection D. Perkins)
2nd Flotilla in Halifax, Nova Scotia, 3-10 April 1941. HMS Forth, submarines from inboard to outboard are: HMS Porpoise, Talisman and O 15. (Photo: © Collection D.Perkins)

7 Dec 1941: The USA declares war on Japan after Japanese forces attack Pearl Harbour. Approximately 7 hours after the attack the Netherlands also declares war on Japan.

14 Dec 1941: Japanese planes bomb Tarempah (Anambas Islands) which is Netherlands East Indies territory.

27 Dec 1941: Japanese invaders occupy Tambelan Islands, Dutch territory, between Borneo and Singapore.

1942

The crew of the O 15 keeps the boat going on and off until she can be properly repaired in Philadelphia (U.S.A.).

29 Jan - 5 Feb 1942: O 15 sails from Halifax (Canada) to Philadelphia (U.S.A.).

5 Feb - May 1942: At last the O 15 can be repaired (including the regular 4 yearly maintenance) at the Philadelphia U.S. Navy yard.

6 Apr - 8 Dec 1942: O 15 is under the command of Ltz. I  KMR G. Quint.

Jun 1942: The O 15 returns to Halifax for trials and work-up.

O 15 transiting the Cape Cod Canal (Canada). June 11/13 1942 (Photo: © Jack Rutledge). O 15 transiting the Cape Cod Canal (Canada). June 11/13 1942 (Photo: © Jack Rutledge).

O 15 is relieved by the Royal Navy Submarine P 553.

1 Sep - 14 Sep 1942: O 15 is prepared (in Halifax) for her transit to the U.K.

Sometime during the 3rd quarter of 1942 O 15's batteries are replaced, this should have taken place in the UK., but data on this page indicates there was no time to perform this maintenance.

15 Sep - 1 Oct 1942: O 15 transits to the Dundee (Scotland).

15 Sept 1942: O 15 departs Halifax and sails to St. John.

During the departure of O 15 the N.S.H.Q. in Ottawa (Canada) sends the following telegram to the Admiralty in London: " . . .Please convey to Royal Netherlands Navy our appreciation of excellent work of s/m O 15 during the period of her cooperation with R.C.N. She has been a great value to us. We wish her every success in her new duties . . ."

19 Sept 1942: O 15 departs St. John and sails to Dundee (Scotland). She is escorted by two mine layer until darkness.

22 Sep 1942 between 00:00 and 04:00 hrs: O 15 unexpectedly engages an allied convoy. According to a radio message the convoy should be on a much more northern route. O 15 has to reverse her course in order to stay away from the allied escorts.

28 Sep 1942 at 18:50 hrs: O 15 engages the allied H.M.T. Loch Monteith 5 nm south of Barrahead. The trawler escorts the submarine to Scapa Flow.

30 Sep 1942 at 06:30 hrs: O 15 and H.M.T. Loch Monteith arrive in Scapa Flow.

30 Sep 1942 at 12:00 hrs  O 15 and H.M.T. Loch Monteith depart from Scapa Flow and head for Dundee (Scotland).

1 Oct 1942 between 12:00 and 16:00 hrs: The O 15 and H.M.T. Loch Monteith arrive in Dundee.

1 or 2 Oct 1942 - Mar 1944: O 15 is attached to the 9th Flotilla in Dundee and is under British operational control.

After her third day in Dundee the O 15 is already used to shoot some film footage.

22 or 23 Oct - 18 Nov 1942: O 15 patrols off Norway, Spitsbergen, and in the Atlantic. No attacks are made. The submarine also protects and rescues survivors of the 'unescorted' convoys on the route Iceland-Archangelsk (Russian).

22 Oct 1942: O 15 is ordered to Lerwick (Shetlands) where here fuel tanks will be topped off.

25 Oct 1942 between 12:00 and 16:00 hrs: O 15 departs Lerwick (Shetlands) for a patrol near the entrance of the Aalesund (Norway). She is ordered to stay in the area until F.O.S. orders here to take position on the route of the convoy.

26 Oct 1942 between 04:00 and 08:00 hrs: O 15 reaches her patrol area. During the day, and the night as well, she spots a lot of fishing vessel. Later that day the O 15 has to surface in order to recharge her batteries. It turns out that O 15's net cutter has done her job very well, because some fishing gear is laying around on the deck. While recharging her batteries the submarine has to dive because of an airplane that is coming in from the West.

27 Oct 1942 during the day: O 15 patrols a more southern area. O 15's commander changed the area because there where to many fishing vessels in the original area.

27 Oct 1942 at 22:40 hrs: F.O.S. radios the O 15 the signal "Operation FB leave patrol forthwith". O 15 immediately transits to a more Northerly position.

1 Nov - 9 Nov 1942: O 15 participates in operation 'FB' (28 Oct - 9 Nov), the escorting of convoys that are sailing from and to Russia. 

The first ship departs Iceland on Oct 29 and is soon followed by 12 other ships. 5 ships reach Archangelsk (Russian), 4 are sunk, 1 is runs aground off South Cape (Spits Bergen), and 3 returned to Iceland. The return convoy consists of 4 ships, of which 3 reached their destination. In order to protect the convoy, but mainly to rescue survivors O 15 is stationed at the entrance of the Aalesund and HMS Tuna is stationed off Utvaer. Several trawlers are stationed in other locations (to rescue survivors of sunk vessels sunk by the enemy)

1 Nov 1942 at 13:00 hrs: O 15 reaches her new patrol area. The area is situated between 74°00'N and 07°00'E. During the remainder of the 1st and the following day the O 15 patrols East-West and North-South in this area. She is paying special attention to radio signals from merchants sailing to/from Russian ports.

4 Nov 1942 at 10:24 hrs: O 15 intercepts the following radio message: "Air-attack 75-30 long 31-30 lat at 1000"

4 Nov 1942 at 10:45 hrs: O 15 receives the following signal: "KGBL 74º47'N-02º20'E". KGBL stands for Merchant Ship W. Clark

4 Nov 1942 between 10:45 and 10:57: O 15 is unable to receive any messages since she has to submerge because of three approaching German HE 59's airplanes. After resurfacing the O 15 continues with a 8kts speed on a Southern course in order to intercept the W. Clark.

4 Nov 1942 at 11:25 hrs: O 15 receives the following signal: "YZIM torpedoed 75º30'N- 27º10'E at 1050 GMT". The signal was not repeated and the ship was heard on the radio later on. Therefore the O 15's commander decided not to break her radio silence.

4 Nov 1942 at +/- 13:00 hrs: O 15 intercepts several radio messages/signals. Because of the poor quality these messages can not be deciphered. But according to the direction finder these messages are transmitted from the estimated position of the  W. Clark. Which is approximately 400 nm away from O 15's current position.

4 Nov 1942 at 19:00 hrs: O 15 receives the following message from the Admiralty: "Shifting shipping route up to parallel of 77°N". Therefore O 15 changes her patrol position to a more Northern point.
The shipping route is changed because intelligence was received that the German pocket battleship Hipper would pass the Lofoten Island on Oct 28. Therefore the Russian bound merchant ships were re-routed as far north as ice conditions allowed on Nov 4.

6 Nov 1942 between 04:00 and 08:00 hrs: O 15 receives the signal "SOS struck reef south of south Cape Spitsbergen" from Chumleith. This is the patrol area of HMS Tuna and therefore the O 15 does not respond.

6 Nov 1942 at 12:00 hrs: O 15 spots smoke on the horizon. The smoke, that is dangerously thick, is from a steamship sailing on a Westerly course. O 15's estimated position is 76°30'N-09°40'E. A little later the ship, which is guessed to be the Grossernishaven, can be spotted.

6 Nov 1942 at 13:00 hrs: O 15 spots a bubble track, that looks a lot like the track of a torpedo, of the bow. O 15 track's down the bubbles (course 200) to their starting point and submerges. The listening device only reports the "Grossernishaven" and the submarine surfaces again at 13:42 hrs. After dark the O 15 submerges in order to try to locate (with the listening gear) the U-Boat since she might be recharging her batteries.

O 15 continued to patrol in the area for the next three days. The most Northern point she reaches is 76°40'N-08°xx'E.

8 Nov 1942: O 15 receives the following F.O.S. message: "2 more ships due to pass through area. O 15 to remain on patrol until prudent limit of endurance". This because is was anticipated that Hipper (See 4 Nov) might attack some of the merchants.

9 Nov 1942 at 16:00 hrs: O 15 has only 23 tons of fuel left and therefore the commander decides to return to port.

During the voyage back to port the weather is exceptionally bad. On 12 and 15 Nov this results in a SW storm, and on 16 Nov a NW storm. But the submarine has no real problems with this kind of weather.

16 Nov 1942 at 07:00: A large breaker coming from the starboard side bends a protection plate from the bridge and also takes away some casing plates. Because the conning tower hatch is not closed quick enough the control room takes on some water. By pumping 11 t of trim water out of the forward and middle trim tanks the buoyancy of the O 15 is secured.

16 Nov 1942 at 22:00 hrs: O 15 arrives in Lerwick (Shetlands). Only 3 1/2 tons of fuel are left in her tanks.

17 Nov 1942: O 15 loads 7 tons of fuel and weighs anchor at 11:00 hrs. Escorted by the trawler HMT Preston North End she sails to Dundee (Scotland).

18 Nov 1942 between 16:00 and 20:00 hrs: O 15 arrives in Dundee (Scotland).

Period between +/- 18 Nov 1942 - +/- 23 Jan 1943:  After the necessary repairs and maintenance (in Dundee and Rosyth) O 15 is used as a A/S piggy boat in Scapa Flow.

8 Dec 1942 - 15 Feb 1944: O 15 is under the command of Ltz. II  / Ltz. I  A.J. Schouwenaar.

1943

Period between +/- 18 Nov 1942 - +/- 23 Jan 1943:  After the necessary repairs and maintenance (in Dundee and Rosyth) O 15 is used as a A/S piggy boat in Scapa Flow.

23 Jan - 7 Feb 1943: O 15 patrols off Norway and Spitsbergen. No attacks are made.

23 Jan - 27 Jan 1943: Under the command of ?Ltz. I  G. Quint? O 15 tries unsuccessfully to locate the Germans battleship Hipper off Trondheim.

23 Jan 1943: O 15 starts her next North Sea patrol. The O15, HMS Seadog, HMS Junon and HMS Sokol have to patrol the entrance of the Trondheim Fjords (Norway). They have to intercept the German battleship Hipper whenever she tries to break out. The British Admiralty has information that the Hipper was damaged on Dec 31 and they suspect the battleship wants to return to a German base. But the Hipper and the Köln  take the "inland-route" (they depart on Jan 24) through the fjords and arrive in Narvik on the 26th, from which they depart at the 28th. Eventually they reach Trondheim on Jan 30.

27 Jan 1943: Because the Hipper has gotten away the Admiralty orders all three subs (all but HMS Junon) to head North in order to protect the Russian convoys JW 52 and RA 52.

28 Jan - 3 Feb 1943: O 15 protects the Russian convoys JW 52 (Loch Ewe - Kola Fjord - Archangelsk) and RA 52 (Kola Fjord - Loch Ewe). Therefore she is assigned to the area at the entrance of the fjord between Sorö and Rolfsöy. Approximately at 71°N-23°E.

The weather conditions are not good. Due to fog, rain and snow the visibility is often very bad. O 15 has no echo sounder or log and a German minefield is located only 4 nm in the direction of the coast!

3 Feb 1943: The Commander of the 9th Flotilla orders O 15 to return to port. At 23:00 hrs the O 15 departs her patrol area.

7 Feb 1943 at 14:50 hrs: O 15 arrives in Lerwick (Shetlands).

Feb - Jun 1943: Long period of maintenance and repairs.

26 June 1943: The O 14 is decommissioned in order to obtain spare parts, which are then used for the O 15.

19 June - 3 July 1943: O 15 patrols east of North West Norway. No attacks are made.

19 Jun 1943 at 06:00: The O 15 departs Lerwick (Shetlands) unescorted for an anti submarine patrol at approximately 63°30'N-01°30'W. On several charts the area in indicated as 63°30'N-01°30'E.

23 Jun 1943 at 01:53 hrs: O 15 spots something that looks like a periscope. After the submarine submerges the ASDIC indicates a contact at 600 yards, but the listening device does not find anything. Position is approximately: 64°40'N-01°30'W.

24 Jun 1943: During the night and day they O 15 stays submerged. At 22:05 hrs the listening device indicates a contact. O 15 heads in the direction but does not spot anything. At 23:10 hrs the listening device has lost contact as well.

O 15 continues to patrol the area. She only spots several unidentified aircraft.

3 July 1943 at 12:45 hrs: O 15 arrives in Lerwick (Shetlands).

The last anti submarine patrol is followed by a period of maintenance and repair in Dundee (Scotland).

The machinery of O 15 is starting to show her age by having more downtime and requiring more repairs. For example: After the Dundee maintenance and repairs the O 15 does some work up and trials on the Tay. These result in a damaged anchor of the starboard main electric motor. The damaged main anchor is replaced by one of the decommissioned O 14 (see 26 June 1943). The compressor of the port side diesel engine is also replaced with one stripped off the O 14.

Mid Aug  - Early Sep 1943: O 15 is used as a piggy boat for A/S exercises at Scapa Flow (Scotland).

7 Sep - 21 Sep 1943: O 15 patrols east of Iceland. No attacks are made. She only spots one unidentified airplane.

7 Sep 1943 at 15:00 hrs: O 15 departs from Lerwick (Shetlands) for an ASW patrol.

10 Sep 1943: O 15 arrives at her patrol line, which is at approximately 64°30'N-02°30'W. She submerges during the day and at night she surfaces in order to recharge her batteries.

19 Sep 1943: O 15 leaves the patrol area. 

21 Sep 1943: O 15 arrives in Lerwick (Shetlands).

O 15 is under repair/maintenance in Dundee (Scotland).

26 Nov - 4 Dec 1943: O 15 patrols East of Iceland. No attacks are made.

26 Nov 1943: O 15 departs from Lerwick (Shetlands) for an ASW patrol.

During her transit to the patrol area the weather conditions force the O 15 to submerge to a depth below periscope depth.

28 Nov 1943 in the evening: O 15 surfaces in order to recharge her batteries. The weather conditions are still very bad and some pieces of bridge plating are torn off. During the night the weather conditions improves and stay like this for the remainder of the patrol.

29 Nov 1943 early in the morning: O 15 arrives at her patrol line, which is at approximately 64°30'N-02°30'W

1 Dec 1943:  O 15 receives orders to leave her patrol area. Another F.O.S. message reports that one or more U-boats have transited through the area the night before. Unfortunately the O 15  has not spotted any of these U-boats.

2 Dec 1943 at 22:00 hrs: O 15 leaves  her patrol area.

4 Dec 1943 sometime between 12:00 and 16:00 hrs: O 15 arrives in Lerwick (Shetlands).

O 15 is under repair/maintenance in Dundee (Scotland).

14 Dec - 28 Dec 1943: O 15 patrols off Norway.

14 Dec 1943 in the evening: O 15 and HMS Satyr depart from Lerwick (Shetlands). Their mission is to frustrate enemy shipping by attacking every enemy vessel  in and off the Skudenes Fjord near Stavanger.

An officer of the Norwegian Navy, acting as pilot, is also on board the O 15.

16 Dec 1943 at daybreak: O 15 has the Norwegian coast in sight. At 09:30 hrs a fix shows that the O 15 is 9 miles away from the Utsira light. O 15 continues to patrol West of Karmöy.

16 Dec 1943 sometime between  12:00 and 16:00 hrs: O 15 spots several unescorted 600 t merchants. The enemy vessels are sailing on a Northern course and close to the coast. Because the targets are too small and because the attack will probably be spotted from the shore the commander decides not to attack.

Night of 16 to 17 Dec 1943: Some lights (up to 12) of Karmöy are clearly visible. These lights are switched off later in the evening and switched on once again around daybreak. The same events are spotted during the following days of this patrol.

17 Dec 1943: Visibility is very good and the O 15 enters the Skudenes Fjord. She patrols at the Southern entrance off the Karmsund. From this position the O 15 has an excellent overview of the surrounding area.

O 15 spots a 80 t coastal vessel. This vessel is probably on its way from Kritingsöy to Skudeneshavn.

17 Dec 1943 at 16:00 hrs: O 15's commander decides to exit the Fjord. But then a 2500 t merchant is spotted. At first the commander thinks he can attack the vessel, but soon the distance between the submarine and the target increases. The ship probably departed from Boknesundet and has Stavanger, via Kritingsöy  Fjord, as her destination. Unfortunately the attack has to be broken off.

Because of darkness closing in the O 15 has to exit the Fjord and heads for sea.

17 Dec 1943 at 18:33 hrs: O 15 surfaces at +/- 5 miles West off the Geitungen light. During the night F.O.S. reports to expect many ships in the area the 'next' (the 18th) day.

18 Dec 1943 at 00:30 hrs: O 15 submerges.

18 Dec 1943 at 05:39 hrs: O 15 surfaces. There is now a strong South South-Eastern wind and visibility is bad. The submarine submerges and heads for Skudenes Fjord, but because of the weather conditions the O 15 does not enter the Fjord. The weather conditions still deteriorate and it becomes impossible to operate at periscope depth.

The next four days the weather conditions stay bad and most of the time it is impossible to keep the submarine at periscope depth.

18 Dec 1943 at 13:39 hrs: It is getting too late and the commander decides not to enter the Fjord today.

18 Dec 1943 at 18:42 hrs: O 15 surfaces in order to recharge her batteries. The strong wind has increased to a storm.

19 Dec 1943: During the night the O 15 patrols at a safe distance (storm) off the coast.

O 15 also reports (time unknown) several explosions. It appears these explosions are a considerable distance away from the O 15. But strangely all explosions are simultaneously with some kind of noise on board the submarine. The commander thinks this is a too big of a coincidence and decides  to increase O 15's distance to the coast and so O 15 exits her patrol area.

The next couple of days the O 15 patrols at a distance of +/- 25 nm off the Utsira light.

20 Dec 1943 in the evening: The weather has improved somewhat and the O 15 returns to her patrol area.

21 Dec 1943: Weather conditions deteriorate once again and the O 15 heads for open sea.

23 Dec 1943 in the morning: The weather conditions improve even more then reported by the forecast.

23 Dec 1943 at 07:10 hrs: Because of the improved weather conditions the O 15 starts closing in (speed 10 kts) to the coast. The commander hopes the low clouds will somewhat prevent the submarine from being spotted by planes. Overall visibility is still bad.

23 Dec 1943 at 10:17 hrs: O 15 submerges. An improvement in visibility is expected, but this does not happen until the end of the morning. Finally O 15 can patrol the Skudesnes Fjord once again.

No enemy patrols are spotted but between 12:00 and 16:00 hrs the O 15 does spot five small fishing boats. These fishing boats are at a position of 2 nm South-West of the Geitungen light.

23 Dec 1943 at 16:30 hrs: Without entering the Fjord any further the O 15 heads for sea.

23 Dec 1943 at 19:00 hrs: O 15 surfaces in order to recharge her batteries.

24 Dec 1943: During the night O 15 recharges her batteries and patrols West of the Geitungen light. During the day she patrols Karmsundet.

O 15 receives the order to leave the patrol area on Dec 26th.

23 Dec 1943 at 08:00 hrs: O 15 submerges, heads east, and enters the Skudenes Fjord (near Stavanger). She starts patrolling near Karmsundet, the Southern entrance.

23 Dec 1943 between 12:00 and 16:00 hrs: O 15 spots patrolling armed trawlers and some coastal vessels of +/- 250 tons. The vessels are considered too small to attack. After the coastal vessels enter Karmsundet the trawlers head south.

23 Dec 1943 at 15:33 hrs: O 15 spots a merchant of +/- 2500 tons. She ship looks like the vessel spotted on Dec 17th. The commander starts the attack immediately, but soon the distance is too large and the is broken off at 15:55 hrs.

O 15 heads West in order to exit the fjord. Suddenly a motorboat is spotted (bearing West) at 3000 yds. The boat looks like a British MTB and the O 15 dives deeper. After less than 5 minutes passes the submarine at port side.

23 Dec 1943 at 18:52 hrs: O15 has left the fjord and surfaces. During the following night she patrols West of the Geitungen light.

25 Dec 1943: During the night O 15 patrols West of the Geitungen light.

25 Dec 1943 In the early morning: The O 15 has to submerge because a large unidentified plane is spotted. It flew over the boat with all her navigations light switched on.

Shortly afterward the O 15 heads for the coast and enters Skudenes Fjord (near Stavanger) and starts patrolling near Karmsundet, the Southern entrance. Only a few coastal vessels (escorted by armed trawlers) are spotted.

25 Dec 1943 at 15:30 hrs: O 15 exits the fjord

26 Dec 1943: In the morning O 15 enters the Skudenes Fjord near Stavanger for a third time and starts patrolling near Karmsundet, the Southern entrance. Two small coastal vessels are spotted.

26 Dec 1943 at 11:55 hrs: O 15 spots a convoy, consisting of two groups of three merchants each, escorted by one trawler. At 11:57, after the convoy made the expected course change to port side, the O 15 starts the attack. It now shows that the second group is more compact than the first so the commander decides to attack the second group since the change to hit a target is the highest when a group is more compact.

The first two vessels of the second group are the closest together and the commander decides to launch one torpedo at each of these two merchants and use the two remaining torpedo's in the bow tubes for the third merchant.

After 27 minutes, at a distance of +/- 1000 meters, the O 15 launches the first two torpedo's. Half a minute later, after a small course changes to port side, the third torpedo is launched. Because the submarine has changed its course too far to port the fourth torpedo is not launched and O 15 dives to 30 meters.

Before and during the attack it is clear that the escort vessel already confirmed by ASDIC that a submarine is nearby, but it seems the escort is not certain about O 15's position.

The escort passes overhead but does not drop any depth charge. After some time O 15 comes to periscope depth and spots the escort, that has come to a full stop. The aft tube is prepared immediately.

26 Dec 1943 at 12:50: The aft tube is ready but because of a mechanical malfunction the torpedo is fired premature. The crew also forgets to note the time of the launch. O 15 heads to sea with a speed of 7 kts. After several minutes the torpedo explodes. Until the last observation (time unknown) the escort remained at full stop.

Because of poor visibility the result of the attack could not be observed. But all three torpedo's exploded about 1 minute ( calculated time to target) after launch and therefore the commander reports hits on three 2500t steamers.

According to other sources one of the attacked ships was a 1248t auxiliary patrol/as vessel. These sources also report only two torpedoes are fired, which both miss.

According to a German source: The 6 ship convoy departs from Bergen (Norway) on Dec 25 at 09:20 hrs and is escorted by Submarine Hunter 1712 and M 421. Because of bad weather the ships have to enter Lerwick harbour for the night. The next morning at 07:00 hrs the convoy continues and at 12:47 hrs (position +/- 59°10'N-04°55'E) the #1712 spots a torpedo wake at bearing 90', it passes behind the ship. Immediately three torpedo wakes are reported. Two pass her wake and the third passes amidships. The escorts start searching for the submarine but they can not establish any contact. The search, during which no depth charges are used, continues until 12:10 hrs at Dec 27, after which both vessels enter Stavanger harbour.

26 Dec 1943 at 17:34 hrs: O 15 surfaces and laves the patrol area (as was ordered on Dec 23rd).

28 Dec 1943 at 14:00 hrs: O 15 arrives in Lerwick (Shetlands).

29 Dec 1943: O 15 and HMS Venturer head for Dundee. The subs are escorted by HMS Lord Ashfield.

The few weeks in Dundee (Scotland) are used for repairs and maintenance.

1944

19 Jan 1944: O 15 and the Norwegian submarine Ula sail to Lerwick (Shetlands) via Scapa Flow (Scotland).

21 Jan - 24 Jan 1944: O 15 patrols off Norway. No attacks are made.

21 Jan 1944 between 18:00 and 20:00 hrs: In Lerwick (Shetlands) O 15 takes on 9 tons of fuel from a tanker. After the re-fuelling she departs for her next patrol off Stadtlandet (Norway).

22 Jan 1944 between 12:00 and 14:00 hrs: O 15 is 75 miles away from her assigned patrol area and submerges in order to perform some small repairs on the starboard diesel engine. While submerging a defect on the aft dive plane occurs, the problem can not be fixed at sea and the commander decides to return to port. At 19:25 hrs O 15 surfaces and heads for Lerwick (Shetlands).

24 Jan 1944 at 10:30 hrs: O 15 arrives in Lerwick (Shetlands).

Because of the poor state of O 15 it is decided that she will not perform any war patrols anymore.

15 Feb - 24 Mar 1944: O 15 is temporarily under the command of Ltz. II  S.H. de Boer.

From unknown - 20 Mar 1944: O 15 is being repaired at Dundee (Scotland).

24 Mar - 14 Aug 1944: O 15 is under the command of Ltz. II /Ltz. I  J.B.M.J. Maas.

19 Apr 1944: O 15 sails to the West coast, via Scapa Flow, in order to be used in ASW training. She participates in exercises off Rothesay, Campbeltown, Londonderry and Tobermory.

? - ? 1944: O 15 is attached to the 7th Training Flotilla in at Rothesay (Scotland) and is under British operational control.

? - ? 1944: O 15 is used as a ASW/ASDIC piggy boat at Tobermory (Scotland) and Londonderry (Northern Ireland).

14 Aug - 11 Oct 1944 : O 15 is under the command of Ltz. II  Esq. W.C.M de Jonge van Ellemeet.

11 Oct 1944 - 12 Sep 1945: O 15 is under the command of Ltz. II  Baron R.W. van Lynden.

13 Oct 1944: O 15 collides with the trawler Bretwalda. The Bretwalda is 488 ton former French trawler, the Administrateur de Bournat, which was taken over in July 1940 by the British and fitted as an anti-submarine patrol vessel. The O15, having served with the British 2nd and 9th submarine flotillas, is moved in April 1944 to join the 7th submarine flotilla, and employed in anti-submarine training - acting as a target for surface ships. On 13 October 1944 whilst involved in training, in the Clyde, she is struck by the Bretwalda. She is taken to Dundee for repairs.

25 Nov 1944: O 15 is attached to the 9th Flotilla at Dundee (Scotland). From now on O 15 is used for the training of personnel. This personnel came from the already liberated parts of the Netherlands.

1945

8 May 1945: Germany surrenders.

30 June - 23 July 1945: O 15 is moored at the Rotterdam submarine base in the Netherlands.

25 July 1945 - 18 Aug 1945: O 15 returns to Dundee (Scotland) for the training of personnel.

15 Aug 1945: Japan surrenders.

18 Aug 1945: O 15 retires from active duty and is conserved in Dundee.

1 or 12 Sep 1945: Because of her age the O 15 is decommissioned.

Dec 1945: The O 15 is used to transport submarine personnel From Dundee to Rotterdam (the Netherlands). This personnel will make the first preparations to set up the new Rotterdam submarine base. The O 15 remains at Rotterdam where, at first, she is used as an accommodation boat.

1946

Mar 1946: O 15 is stricken.

2 Oct 1946: O 15 is sold for scrap to F. Rijsdijk in Hendrik Ido Ambacht.

 

 

 O 15 related pages
O 12 class specifications
O 15 boat history
O boats in the 1930's
 
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