Mysterious battle at Maun Island (23/10/44)

Discussions relating to actions or operations, including combined operations, involving Coastal Forces boats or flotillas
lupodimare89
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Mysterious battle at Maun Island (23/10/44)

Postby lupodimare89 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:40 am

Hello (sorry for my bad english, i'm italian), i registered into this forum to make few specific questions about naval warfare in Adriatic Sea.

While making some amatour research online, mainly involving the Yugoslavian Partizan small navy of gunboats and patrol boats, it surfaced a mysterious engagement that i've been unable to find further data.

On morning of 23 October the two German submarine chasers UJ-202 and UJ-208 fought a short skirmish against a group of partisan gunboats close Maun Island. The partisan boats took some damage, few wounded, and escaped thanks a smoke screen.

And this is the clear part, but the Germans claim that during the evening they fought in the same location against a mixed group of MTB/gunboats (also the engagement of the morning was considered to have been fought against MTBs/gunboats, while they were only 1 partisan gunboat and 3 patrol boats).

There are basically no data or mention of partisan activity on the evening and the Germans claimed to have fought against at least 9 enemy fast crafts, claimed some sinking, and took some gunfire damage with casualities.
Also interesting that in a further war diary report the germans claimed that a convoy of MFP crafts sailed in the same area at the same time of the battle and got involved, with one MFP (the F-433) sunk in action.

I've failed to understand if and who British units got involved in the fight of the evening. In general account online there are mentions to battles on 11 October (MFP convoy destroyed) and 21 October (group of I-boats captured or sunk), but nothing on 22-23-24 October.

Thanks this forum i've managed to check the short war diary of some MTB/MGB:

About the 57th Flottilla ( MGB 638, MGB 659, MGB 660, MGB 662, MGB 674, MTB 634, MTB 637, MTB 670) there are diaries of 638, 359, 662, 634, 670. without a word about events occurring on 23/23/24 October.
About the 60th Flottilla (MGB 643, MGB 645, MGB 646, MGB 647 MGB 661, MTB 651, MTB 656, MTB 667 ) there are diaries of 646 and 647, again nothing happened around 22/23/24 October.

Someone has some knolwedge/clue about this engagement?

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Re: Mysterious battle at Maun Island (23/10/44)

Postby Admin » Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:39 pm

Hello lupodimare89

Thank you for your enquiry to the forum. I have briefly checked Dog Boats At War by Len Reynolds, and have also looked in Western Mediterranean 1942–1945 by Captain Taprell Dorling, and have not been able to find any mention of a major action involving Coastal Forces units on those dates, although I was able to find confirmation of the naval engagement by HMS Wheatland and HMS Avon Dale on the 1st November, 1945 in the same area, in which the two corvettes UJ-202 and UJ-208 were sunk.

I note that the War is Over web site contains a page on the Yugoslav Partisan Navy in WWII, which does mention the action off Maun on the 22–23 October 1944, involving PC-2 and PC-24. It does seem strange that there should have been two incidents on the same day, and two major engagements in the same area in the space of eight days. It also seems unlikely that a force of nine coastal forces craft would be involved in a single attack.

Do you have an official source for the report of the engagement by German forces on that date?

Regards
Admin

Addendum: There does appear to be a very brief description of a skirmish on 23 October in Flag 4 by Dudley Pope in which he records the move from Vis of Lt Cmdr Morgan Giles to a new northern base of operations at Ist, using landing craft LCH 282 as his mobile headquarters, and accompanied by five boats from the 57th Flotilla who had sunk two I-boats on route, and captured a further two, which were later handed to the Partisans. This appears to have occurred on the 21st October, but Pope then goes on to record:
Some enemy destroyers (a term loosely used to describe old destroyers, new-construction torpedo boats and corvettes) had been causing a lot of trouble among the islands. They had a brush with the LCGs and "Dog" boats on the 23rd but escaped undamaged.

Flag 4: Chapter XXXVI: Stabling The Horse: p.257 by Dudley Pope

lupodimare89
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Re: Mysterious battle at Maun Island (23/10/44)

Postby lupodimare89 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:02 pm

Hello again, main German source is the english translation of the official Kriegsmarine War Diary:
http://archive.org/stream/wardiarygerma ... 4/mode/2up
Page 495 (first mention),
Page 497 (further details),
Page 514 (strange reference of report of the battle occurred on "the morning of 23", should have been of the whole day or evenining).
Page 528 (report of the MFP convoy).

As you correctly said, the partisan units were PC-2 Macola, NB-14 Pionir, PC-24 Marjan and PC-4 Junak.
Here a short account from the site Paluba.info
"In the night of 22/23. october 1944, three patrol boats ( PČ-2 Macola, PČ-4 Junak and PČ-24 Marjan) and one armed ship ( NB-14 Pionir), were dispatched in Koromačna bay on Maun island with orders to attack any German transport ships on their way to and from city of Zadar. In the early morning on 23.10.1944, around 5 AM, ships raised they anchors and started their voyage home, but was spotted by German corvettes UJ202 ( ex-Melpomene) and UJ208 ( ex-Spingarda) of Gabbiano class. From the distance of 1,5NM first German ship in the line fired one luminous shell, and then both corvettes opened fire from their 20 mm cannons. At times they used their 100 mm canons. Partisan ships started to return fire , and broke their formation. At the moment of breaking of formation, PČ-4, put two smoke boxes in the water to conceal the retreat. Germans concentrated their fire on smoked area, so the Partisan ships managed to escape. This battle lasted for 10 minutes. All of the Partisan ships were seriosly damaged, and 4 crew members of NB-14 was wounded. According to Partisan documents, German ships recived no damage and no casulties. Partisans tought that they were fighting against three S-boots, and Germans tought that they were fighting one MGB and three MTB."



The German account speak of the engagement on the morning claiming a "enemy PT boat sunk" and this is surely the fight against the partisan boats.
For the battle in the evening they wrote that:
UJ-208 claimed to have sunk a gunboat and a motor torpedo boat plus damaging other two MTBs
UJ-202 claimed to have sunk 2 gunboats and set afire a motor torpedo boat.
(of course these are all "over-claims") and the enemy group was reported still of 9 "PTboats/gunboats"
Hour of evening fight was reported around 21.45.
German units suffered light damages but had 3 KIA and 11 WIA.

They they adds about this MFP convoy that crossed the same area of fighting and was involved:
The F-554 claimed to have probably destroyed (another) gunboat with a direct hit of 88mm.
Then the convoy succeeded "in making further hits on motor torpedo boats and gunboats": But the germans admitted that also the vessels of the convoy were seriously hit and dispersed, with the "radio station of the command boat that had broken down" and finally with the unit F-433 that was admitted as sunk.

For all the time the Germans said about British units (but they could have easily mixed the two nationalities).


Reply from PALUBA forum said that:
" In our records we have that only one clash occured that morning. There is no record of further engagement of our ships with Germans on that day. Even if that official documents were lost during the rest of the war, there was plenty memoires and books about Partizan navy units, where would this clash be described."
Some enemy destroyers (a term loosely used to describe old destroyers, new-construction torpedo boats and corvettes) had been causing a lot of trouble among the islands. They had a brush with the LCGs and "Dog" boats on the 23rd but escaped undamaged.
This could be the explains, even if Maun island is located north-east Olib and south-west Pag.
It's not known if the transfer was completed before day 23? Because Ist it's southern compard to Olib.
Maybe it happened during a patrol in the next days.

It's a pity however because reading the German account seems a well-fought engagement with smaller crafts keeping on the fight against the two sub.chasers (despite the german overclaims of successes).

I've also think that there could have possibly a friendly fire accident between the German units but... this is a Kriegsmarine official translated diary, and if such accidents occur, they're quickly reported and studied, not omitted.

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Re: Mysterious battle at Maun Island (23/10/44)

Postby Admin » Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:29 am

Yes this document certainly paints a confused picture, which is probably not helped by the translation at times, which I assume was carried out by the United States Government for their own military, and which probably accounts for why all fast attack craft, Allied and Axis, are described as PT boats, when in reality that was the term used to describe the torpedo boats of the United States Navy. It would be interesting to learn what the German terms actually used in the document were.

The reports of the incident appeared to be staggered, with more detail being added each time, but if I read the document correctly, it seems to suggest there were three encounters in all: one on the morning of the 23rd October, a second at 21.45 in the evening of the 23rd, and then a third in the early hours of the morning on the 24th.

There are no known MTB or MGB losses for either of those two dates as far as I am aware, and no casualties noted for Coastal Forces within the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records for those dates in 1944 either. The presence of a northbound convoy reporting an action that same night, in conjunction with the action reported by Dudley Pope in Flag 4, does seem to point to an earlier skirmish between the two corvettes and Royal Navy MTBs which proved inconsequential, followed by a later friendly fire incident between the Axis forces, in which the Germans obviously suffered casualties. Perhaps the incident may have been reported on in a later document?

lupodimare89
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Re: Mysterious battle at Maun Island (23/10/44)

Postby lupodimare89 » Wed Oct 02, 2013 3:02 pm

Exactly. that's a common mistake in such translation.
I've mainly focused my amatour research to help (for an italian and international forum) about not-much-known engagement of Axis forces against the soviet navy on eastern front.
It was a widespread habit to call even "chasers" units like the italian MAS that actually were motor torpedo boats.

I think that by the all data collected until now that we could assume that the British units shortly clashed with the UJ, they could even be responsable for the light damage suffered by them (and the casualities). Then the MFP convoy had bad luck of being under fire from the same german UJs.
It's expecially interesting how the "radio station of the command boat that had broken down". Could have been a direct hit of 100mm of the two ships, exactly as the cause of the sinking of F-433.
It's possible that the MFP sighted the british units but the mauling of the convoy seems work of a heavier fire.

However, even if sometimes lacking, i suggest to you (or other interested ones) to read such diaries, because they gave interesting details and sometimes unexpected.

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Re: Mysterious battle at Maun Island (23/10/44)

Postby Admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:21 am

Yes thank you for the link to the War Diary which was very interesting. As far as I can tell there is no further mention of the incident within that particular volume, and the later volumes for 1944 don't seem to be available on that site if they still exist.

Len Reynolds, author of three volumes on Coastal Forces history, compiled questionnaires from many officers and ratings, who like himself served in the Mediterranean, so unless there are some notes somewhere relating to this incident, it would seem that from the perspective of the Royal Navy, this event passed off without much attention being paid to it.

I sense the best chance of clearing up this mystery would lie in following up documented losses to Kriegsmarine units for those dates, particularly F 443. To that end it might be a good idea to try the folks at the Axis History Forum, if you haven't already, as some of the correspondents there may have access to the original documents in German, and be better placed to understand the available information.

Regards
Admin

lupodimare89
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Re: Mysterious battle at Maun Island (23/10/44)

Postby lupodimare89 » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:39 am

Yes thank you for the link to the War Diary which was very interesting. As far as I can tell there is no further mention of the incident within that particular volume, and the later volumes for 1944 don't seem to be available on that site if they still exist.
Sadly lacks also the data for 1945, for what i understood the last ones could even possibly got lost.
Could have been interesting because german losses (expecially on smaller ships) on 1945 often aren't sure things and there are still open things.
I sense the best chance of clearing up this mystery would lie in following up documented losses to Kriegsmarine units for those dates, particularly F 443. To that end it might be a good idea to try the folks at the Axis History Forum, if you haven't already, as some of the correspondents there may have access to the original documents in German, and be better placed to understand the available information.
I'm on that forum but for now i'm focused there just about eastern front, however i will ask. A good german site, HM, that for exemple provide an awasome database about each single u-boat in war (with the complet list of attacks reported, both done and both received, much detailed that the english site uboat.net http://historisches-marinearchiv.de/pro ... .php?neu=1 ) has also a list of all the MFP during the war.
http://historisches-marinearchiv.de/pro ... var2=wert2
Speaking about F-433 it reports "- 23.10.44 F 433 südlich Jablanac durch brit. Kanonenboote versenkt, 7 Tote.[3]"

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Re: Mysterious battle at Maun Island (23/10/44)

Postby Admin » Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:58 am

Speaking about F-433 it reports "- 23.10.44 F 433 südlich Jablanac durch brit. Kanonenboote versenkt, 7 Tote.[3]"
The english translation of that seems to indicate this vessel was lost south of Jablanac, which puts it in the general area of Maun, and that it was sunk by British gunboats, but it's unclear whether the source for that information is anything other than the German naval war diary again, which brings us full circle. I'll see if I can find out anything more on this clash of the 23rd October that boats from the 57th Flotilla were reported to have had.

Whiteshark
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Re: Mysterious battle at Maun Island (23/10/44)

Postby Whiteshark » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:34 pm

Is this the vessel you were talking about? I am a Belgian technical diver. I made 2 dives on MFP F-433. The wreck is in Rab, Croatia on a depth of 86 meters. They just found it a year ago by a fisherman who get strangled in it with his nets.
grts,
eddy
Attachments
MFP.jpg
MFP.jpg (19.28 KiB) Viewed 3835 times

lupodimare89
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Re: Mysterious battle at Maun Island (23/10/44)

Postby lupodimare89 » Tue Dec 16, 2014 9:50 am

Yes, exactly.
MFPs were a very common German warships that saw often multiple uses (from the landing, to transport, to patrol-gunboat).

(PS: sorry because in the previous text for two times i wrongly wrote F-443 instead F-433).

Could be interesting to know an evaluation of the damage, how it appeared the wreck to you?

Darius
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Re: Mysterious battle at Maun Island (23/10/44)

Postby Darius » Sun May 31, 2015 9:44 pm

Hello,

since 2013 we have recived some more data on the war at sea in the Adriatic in 1944.

Should I start a search for you for more details on this action?

Greetings

Darius

http://historisches-marinearchiv.de/pro ... rsicht.php


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