Date of Action: 4 May 1944
USCG Units Involved: USS Pride, USS Menges
Sinking/Capture/Assist? Assist (USS Pride, a Coast Guard-manned destroyer escort)
Location: 37.49N x 05.39E
Credit by U.S. Navy? Credit for an assisted sinking among four total allied warships: the US Coast Guard-manned USS Pride; USS Joseph E. Campbell; FFS Sénégalais; and HMS Blankney
Enemy Warship's Commanding Officer: Oberleutenant Horst-Arno Fenksi
Enemy Casualties: 3 killed in action; 49 survivors
USCG Casualties: 31 killed in action on board USS Menges
In May 1944, the cutter Taney and Coast Guard-manned naval vessels escorted convoy UGS-38 through the Mediterranean from the coast of Africa back to the United States. The U-371, a Type VIIC U-boat under the command of an experienced 25-year-old U-boat ace, Oberleutenant Horst-Arno Fenksi, was patrolling in the area off the coast of Algeria. He spotted the convoy and submerged.
After all of the Allied vessels had passed overhead,
Fenski ordered the U-371 to the surface. The Coast Guard-manned
destroyer escort Menges, under the command of LCDR Frank McCabe, then
picked up the U-boat on radar. Menge immediately reversed
course to investigate. The U-371 fired an acoustic torpedo at the
closing destroyer escort and then quickly submerged. The torpedo blew the Menges's
stern off, killing 31 crewmen. Although seriously damaged, the Menges
McCabe and his crew stayed with their ship while another Coast Guard-manned destroyer escort, USS Pride, under the command of CDR Ralph R. Curry, located the submerged U-boat and seriously damaged it with a depth-charge attack. The Pride then tracked it and, in concert with an international team of escorts, cornered it near the African coast. Surrounded, with water leaking in the hull and the batteries almost dead, the U-boat's crew surfaced, scuttled, and abandoned their submarine. Fenski and all but three of his U-boatmen were rescued.
The Menges was safely towed into port and later to the United States where it received a new stern off of another damaged destroyer escort. She then rejoined the fleet and after making two more convoy runs, Menges reported for duty in the first Coast Guard-manned hunter-killer group to see service on the North Atlantic. They were credited with sinking the U-866.