30 Jun 1942 — "Torpedo Alley" along the eastern US shoreline
After Pearl Harbor was bombed, Lt. Commander Richard E. Schreder was reassigned to combat the U-boat campaign waged on the United States' eastern coast. He was one of 48 PBM pilots of VP-74 Squadron that operated out of Norfolk, Virginia. Their job was to patrol "Torpedo Alley" which covered from Newfoundland to Charleston, South Carolina, and eastward.
On June 30, 1942, his mission was to fly a search and rescue grid for the crew of a torpedoed freighter. His ensign, "Wrenchie" Vickers handed him a message that told of an interception of transmission from a German sub in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They calculated a new heading which would intercept the sub. As they approached one of their bearings, the radar screen gave the blip of an unidentified vessel dead ahead. Dick ran to the cockpit and looked out the windshield. There was the sub, fully surfaced with many of the crew sunning themselves on the wooden deck. Dick ordered Ensign Jack Gierisch, the bombardier, to drop all 4 depth charges in quick succession. Dick lowered the nose of the plane and put her into a shallow dive, headed directly at the sub from behind and slightly to her right. The surprise of the attack was complete. There was mayhem on the deck of the sub as they scurried below to dive. No one manned their anti-aircraft guns. One of the depth charges lodged in the wooden decking of the sub. Although it did not explode on contact, after she submerged to the detonation depth, it created a fatal explosion.
Story exerpted from "10,000 Feet and Climbing: The Aviation Adventures of Richard E. Schreder" by Karen Schreder Barbera