HMS Venturer (P68)
HMS Venturer (P68) was a Second World War British submarine.


Venturer was the lead boat
Lead ship
The lead ship or class leader is the first of a series or class of ships all constructed according to the same general design. The term is applicable military ships and larger civilian craft.-Overview:...

 of the British V class submarine
British V class submarine
The British V class submarine was a class of submarines built for the Royal Navy during World War II. 42 vessels were ordered to this design, all to be built by Vickers-Armstrong at either Barrow-in-Furness or at Walker-on-Tyne, but only 22 were completed...

, a development of the successful U-class
British U class submarine
The British U class submarines were a class of 49 small submarines built just before and during the Second World War...

She was built at the Vickers Armstrong
Vickers Armstrong
Vickers-Armstrongs Limited was a British engineering conglomerate formed by the merger of the assets of Vickers Limited and Sir W G Armstrong Whitworth & Company in 1927...

 yard in Barrow-in-Furness
Barrow-in-Furness is an industrial town and seaport which forms about half the territory of the wider Borough of Barrow-in-Furness in the county of Cumbria, England. It lies north of Liverpool, northwest of Manchester and southwest from the county town of Carlisle...

. Construction commenced in August 1942 and she was launched eight months later in May 1943. Venturer was commissioned on 19 August 1943.

Service history

On completing trials and working-up, Venturer commenced operations patrolling the Norwegian coast for coastal traffic and U-boats leaving or entering base.

She was successful on several occasions, sinking three Axis vessels during 1944.

She also sank U-771
German submarine U-771
German submarine U-771 was a Type VIIC U-boat of the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was ordered on 21 November 1940, and was laid down on 21 August 1942 at Kriegsmarinewerft, Wilhelmshaven, as 'werk 154'...

 on 11 November 1944 7 nautical miles (13 km) east of Andenes
is a town and former municipality in Vesterålen district in Nordland county, Norway.Andenes was separated from Dverberg January 1, 1924. It was merged with Dverberg and Bjørnskinn to create the new municipality of Andøy January 1, 1964....

, Norway, off the Lofoten Islands.

Her most famous mission, however, was her eleventh patrol out of the British submarine base at Lerwick
Lerwick is the capital and main port of the Shetland Islands, Scotland, located more than 100 miles off the north coast of mainland Scotland on the east coast of the Shetland Mainland...

 in the Shetland Islands, under the command of 25-year-old Jimmy Launders
Jimmy Launders
James "Jimmy" S. Launders DSO & Bar, DSC & Bar was an officer in the British Royal Navy during and after World War II. He retired from the service in 1962, but continued to serve in an unofficial capacity on training programs until his death in 1988...

, which included the only time in the history of naval warfare that one submarine intentionally sank another while both were submerged.

Sent to the Fedje
Fedje is an island municipality in the county of Hordaland, Norway. Fedje was separated from Austrheim on 1 January 1947.The main island of Fedje is surrounded by about 125 smaller islands and rocks mostly north of the main island, and the name Fedje applies both to the main island, and to all the...

 area, Venturer was then ordered on the basis of Enigma decrypts
Ultra was the designation adopted by British military intelligence in June 1941 for wartime signals intelligence obtained by "breaking" high-level encrypted enemy radio and teleprinter communications at the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park. "Ultra" eventually became the standard...

 to seek, intercept and destroy U-864 which was in the area , and carrying a cargo of 65 tonnes of mercury
Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum...

 and Messerschmitt
Messerschmitt AG was a famous German aircraft manufacturing corporation named for its chief designer, Willy Messerschmitt, and known primarily for its World War II fighter aircraft, notably the Bf 109 and Me 262...

 jet engine
Jet engine
A jet engine is a reaction engine that discharges a fast moving jet to generate thrust by jet propulsion and in accordance with Newton's laws of motion. This broad definition of jet engines includes turbojets, turbofans, rockets, ramjets, pulse jets...

 parts to Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...


Action of 9 February 1945

On 6 February 1945, U-864 passed through the Fedja area without being detected, but on 9 February Venturer heard U-864s engine noise. Launders had decided not to use ASDIC since it would betray his position and spotted the U-boat's periscope as her captain looked for his escort. In an unusually long engagement for a submarine, and in a situation for which neither crew had been trained, Launders waited 45 minutes after first contact before going to action stations. Launders was waiting for U-864 to surface and thus present an easier target. Upon realizing they were being followed by the British submarine and that their escort had still not arrived, U-864 zig-zagged underwater in attempted evasive manoeuvres, with each submarine occasionally risking raising her periscope.

Venturer had only eight torpedoes as opposed to the 22 carried by U-864. After three hours Launders decided to make a prediction of U-864s zig-zag, and released a spread of his torpedoes into its predicted course. This manual computation of a firing solution against a three-dimensionally manoeuvring target was the first occasion on which techniques were used and became the basis of modern computer-based British torpedo targeting systems. Prior to this attack, no target had been sunk by torpedo where the firing ship had to consider the target's position in three dimensional terms, where the depth of the target was variable and not a fixed value. The computation thus differs fundamentally from those performed by analogue torpedo fire-control computers which regarded the target in strictly 2D terms with a constant depth determined by the target's draft.

The torpedoes were released in 17 second intervals beginning at 12:12, and all taking four minutes to reach their target. Launders then dived Venturer suddenly to evade any retaliation. U-864 heard the torpedoes coming, dived deeper, and turned away to avoid them. The first three torpedoes were avoided, but U-864 unknowingly steering into the path of the fourth. Exploding, U-864 split in two, and sank with all hands coming to rest more than 150 m (500 ft) below the surface. Launders was awarded a bar to his DSO
Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

 for this action.

During her career she also sank five merchant ships.


With the end of hostilities Venturer was destined for disposal. In 1946 she was sold to the Royal Norwegian Navy
Royal Norwegian Navy
The Royal Norwegian Navy is the branch of the Norwegian Defence Force responsible for naval operations. , the RNoN consists of approximately 3,700 personnel and 70 vessels, including 5 heavy frigates, 6 submarines, 14 patrol boats, 4 minesweepers, 4 minehunters, 1 mine detection vessel, 4 support...

, and was re-named Utstein.
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