Based upon the novel The Good Shepherd by C S Forester, this is the thrilling story of the leader of an Allied convoy crossing the North Atlantic in 1942 as he faces relentless attack by a Nazi submarine wolf pack. The leader of the convoy’s destroyer screen is a US Navy commander making his first Atlantic crossing. The story focuses on the his command responsibility as he fights the cold, the relentless night, the brutal sea and his deep fatigue as he chases down the attacking submarines in the deadly game of cat and mouse. The exciting story, a thrilling ride-along with the beleaguered captain, so deeply portrays the elements of battle command that for a long period of time the book was used as a text at the US Naval Academy.
—Nlappos

* * *

[radio static]

[Winston Churchill] Twice in a single generation, the catastrophe of world war has fallen upon us.

Twice in our lifetime has the long arm of fate reached out across the oceans to bring the United States into the forefront of the battle.

[Franklin D. Roosevelt] Our American merchant ships must be free to carry our American goods into the harbors of our friends.

And our American merchant ships must be protected by our American Navy.

[Churchill] The brunt of the war has fallen upon the sailormen, and we have lost nearly 3,000 lives in a hard, unrelenting struggle, which goes on night and day and is going on now without a moment’s respite.

[Roosevelt] The goods will be delivered by this nation, whose navy believes in the tradition of “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.”

[thunder rumbling]

[man] “Dear Lord, let your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.”

[water running]

[water stops]

[piano music]
[chattering]

Merry Christmas.

[chattering continues]

[woman] Merry Christmas.

Cigars?

“Yesterday, today and forever.”

That’s beautiful. I’ll put it on my tree.

[sighs] All right. Your turn. Come on.

All right.

Monogrammed.

What’s this?

Congratulations.

Your first command. At last.

Aw.

After all those years of being fitted and retained, a Fletcher-class destroyer.

You deserve it.

I knew after Pearl Harbor they would be needing men like you.

I report to Norfolk right after the first of the year.

Norfolk? Not Treasure Island?

That’s the navy in a nutshell, isn’t it?

Yeah.

Then the Caribbean for training and tactics.

Jamaica, the Bahamas, Cuba.
Rum and Coca-Cola.

Mm.
Then active duty.

Come with me.

[chuckles]

I mean it.

So I can ask you to marry me on a tropical beach.

Oh, I’d like that, but we can’t.

The world has gone crazy, Ernie.

Let’s wait until we can be together.

I will always be looking for you, Evie.

No matter where I am.

Even if I’m a thousand miles away, I will be hoping I’ll see you come around the corner.

Because when you do, it’s…
It’s the greatest feeling in the world.

Morning.

[men] Morning, Captain.

Charlie, how are the overnights?

Convoy’s three days into the Pit.

No contacts, no incidents, except on your ship, sir.

Two bored sailors with time on their hands, which became fists.

Who?
Shannon and Flusser.

Crew’s getting nervous, Ernie.

Sleep well, sir?

I’ve never had the gift for sleeping on board.

Hmm. And I can’t sleep anywhere else, sir.

Amen.

[man] Amen.

Sea’s a bit high to serve hot food.

I could manage a ham steak and eggs for you, sir.

This will do. Thank you, Cleveland.

Aye, aye, Captain.

Report to the commanding officer.

Clear the room.

Uncover.

[sighs]

Explain yourselves.

Flusser.

I regret the incident, sir.

Shannon.

I too regret the incident.

I will tolerate no more fisticuffs on my ship.

So…

“restore the relationships you have damaged and fill me with peace.”

Sir?

[man on PA] Captain requested, bridge, sir. Captain requested, bridge.

Repetition will bring hell down from on high.

Back to your duties.

Count your blessings.

[man] Captain on the bridge.

[man 2] Aye.

Sir, good morning.

Escorts Eagle and Harry are out of position, six miles from convoy.

They’ve been off on their own, sir, for roughly two hours.

Eagle skipper announced, “Starting the day with a good hunt,” sir, and then Harry joined in.

[messenger] Message from the commodore, sir.

Read it out.

“Comconvoy to Comescort.
H-U-F-F D-U-F-F”…

“Huff Duff.” High-frequency direction finding. Continue, please.

“Huff Duff reports a German transmission bearing 087 degrees.

Range 15 to 20 miles.”

Commodore says a likely U-boat, sir.

“Comescort to Comconvoy.
Will run it down.”

“Comescort to Comconvoy.
Will run it down.”

Wait, wait. “Will run it down. Thank you.”

“Will run it down. Thank you.”
Aye, aye, sir.

Mister Carling, I have the conn.
Captain has the conn.

All ahead full. Make turns for 36 knots.

All ahead full.
Make turns for 36 knots. Aye, sir.

Right standard rudder, 079.

[helmsman] Right standard rudder to 079.
Aye, aye, sir.

All escorts, Greyhound.
Return to your stations immediately.

We have enemy contact bearing 087, range 15 to 20 miles.

[man 1] Aye, sir.
[man 2] Aye, aye, sir.

[man 3] Aye, Greyhound.
Dicky, Greyhound.

Dicky, sir.
Modify your station to assist the convoy on the starboard side.

Stragglers are mistiming the course change.

Keep your sonar on that starboard flank.

[Dicky]
Aye, sir. Sonar, starboard flank.

[Ernie]
Right full rudder, 087.

[helmsman] Right full rudder to 087.
Aye, aye, sir.

Bring us up to general quarters.
Boatswain, sound general quarters.

[siren blaring]

General quarters, general quarters…

[man] Move. Let’s go.
All hands, man your battle stations.

We are running down a possible U-boat contact.

[siren continues blaring]

[man 1] Let’s hammer those sons of bitches.

[man 2] Keep ’em coming, Cleveland.

[Ernie] Eagle, Greyhound. Take my position at the front of the convoy.

We’re pursuing the target.

Dicky, Greyhound. Cover the right flank.

[Eagle] Front of convoy. Aye, aye, sir.

[Dicky] Aye, sir. Covering right flank.

Eagle, Harry, Greyhound.

What is your ETA for resuming new stations?

Greyhound, Eagle.
We can be at our station in 20 minutes.

Harry, sir. We’re now four miles to port of the convoy.

Yes, I know, Harry.
Return to your station at best speed.

Sir, I relieved Mister Carling.
Have the deck and the conn.

Mister Watson, we have a target bearing 087, range 15 to 20 miles.

I have the conn.
Aye, aye, sir. Captain has the conn.

[Ernie] Messenger.
Sir.

Go to my cabin and bring me my sheepskin coat. You’ll find it.

Aye, aye, sir.

Combat, Conn. Charlie.

We’re running down a likely sub bearing 087, range 15 to 20 miles.

I’m hoping it shows up on your surface radar.

Conn, Combat. Aye, aye, sir.

[man blowing pipe]

[blowing stops]

Now hear this, now hear this.

This is the captain.

We are running down the target.

Let us attend our duties well.
This is what we’ve trained for.

Martin, what you got?
Nothing yet, sir.

[clicking]
[Martin] Got him.

Conn, Combat. Target bearing 092, range 15 miles.

Charlie, what do you make of this target?

Most likely a U-boat, sir.

Up for air and a battery charge.
Gettin’ ready to come at us, Captain.

[Watson]
Steady on 092, sir.

Very well.

Conn, Combat. Target bearing steady at 094, range 12 miles.

Weapons, pass the word, do not open fire without orders from me.

Range 11 miles, bearing steady on 094.

Range 11 miles, bearing steady on 094.

[helmsman whistling]

[Watson] Stop that noise.

Range 9.5 miles, bearing steady on 094.

Close enough for the five-inch, sir.

Heavy seas, Mister Watson, with only a radar bearing.

Let’s have our eyes on him.

Aye, aye, sir.

[waves crashing]

Target’s disappeared, sir.
Fell off the radar about six miles out.

What’s this, Charlie?

Looks like he’s dived, sir, by the way the pips faded out.

He must’ve seen us, sir.
Got his air and dove.

Pips had him on course for us and the convoy, sir.

Can you plot a search radius?

I could, sir, but in ten minutes, the radius would be three square miles.

Give me a course to intercept if the target maintains this course at six knots.

Aye, aye, sir.

Conn, Combat.
Course to intercept is 096.

Warn me two miles out from this intercept.

Aye, aye, sir.

Right handsomely, 096.

[helmsman] Right handsomely to 096.
Aye, aye, sir.

[Watson] Combat reports
two miles from intercept, sir.

Mister Watson, we need to slow down for sonar. Make turns for 22 knots.

[Watson] Make turns for 22 knots, aye, aye, sir.

All ahead standard.
Make turns at 22 knots.

Here we go, boys.

[talker] We’re at sonar speed.

[sonar pinging]

Contact bearing 091, range indefinite.

Put that on the radiator.

Sir, message from the Admiralty.

Contact bearing 091, range unknown, sir.

[sonar pinging continues]

What do you hear?

Contact bearing steady at 091.

He’s turned.
Looks like he’s running from us, sir.

Any screw noises?

[pinging continues]

Contact dead ahead, range one mile.
Still no propeller noise.

Come left to 091.

[helmsman] Come left to 091.
Aye, aye, sir.

[pinging]

[sighs] Contact lost.

[talker] Sonar reports contact lost, sir.

Sonar, search ahead 30 degrees port and starboard.

[talker] 30 degrees port and starboard.

Sonar. Searching ahead 30 degrees port and starboard.

[helmsman] Steady on 091, sir.
Very well.

[clicking]

[pinging]

Contact bearing…

[talker] Contact bearing 066, range indefinite, sir.

Left hard rudder.

Ease the rudder.

[helmsman] Easing the turn. Aye, aye, sir.

[Ernie] Meet her.
Aye, aye, sir. Holding course.

Report all bearings as relative.

All stations, Bridge.
Report all bearings as relative.

Steady as you go.
[helmsman] Steady as I go. Aye, aye, sir.

Hydrophone effect, slow revs.
Sounds like 60 RPM.

Hydrophone effect, slow revs.
Sounds like 60 RPM, sir.

Range 1,100 yards.

Range 1,100 yards, sir.

Bearing?
Sonar, Bridge. Bearing?

Bearing starboard 01…

Bearing starboard 01.

Hydrophone effect. Slow speed, sir.

Helmsman, stand by for rapid maneuvers.

Aye, aye, sir.

Contact bearing port 015, range 1,100 yards.

Sonar reports contact bearing port 015, range 1,100 yards, sir.

Left full rudder.
Left full rudder. Aye, aye, sir.

[Ernie] Ease the rudder.

Easing the rudder. Aye, aye, sir.

Contact now bears port 012…

Contact be… range 1,000 yards and closing.

[sneezes]

Sonar, Bridge. Repeat.

Contact now bears port 012, range 1,000 yards and closing.

Contact… Contact now bears port 012, range 1,000 yards and closing, sir.

You gonna do that again?
No, sir.

If so, you will be relieved.
Aye, aye, sir.

[Martin] Contact bearing…

Sonar reports contact bearing 006, range 900 yards, sir.

[Watson] Sir, he’s going hard left.

Right standard rudder.

[sonar pinging continues]

[waves crashing]

Right standard rudder. Aye, aye, sir.

[Charlie] All right, stay sharp.
Rapid maneuvers. Let’s plot it.

[crewman] Aye, aye, sir.

Contact indefinite. No hydrophone effect.

Sonar reports contact indefinite, no propeller noise.

“Acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy path.”

No contact.
Sonar reports no contact, sir.

[beep]

Contact…

Contact regained, bearing starboard 024, range 800 yards, sir.

Contact bearing starboard 011…

Contact bearing starboard 011, range 700 yards, sir.

[Ernie] Right standard rudder.

[helmsman]
Right standard rudder. Aye, aye, sir.

[beep]

Contact bearing starboard…

Contact bearing starboard 012, range 600 yards, sir.

Mister Lopez, stand by with a medium pattern.

Manned and ready, sir.

Contact bearing port 001…

Sonar reports contact bearing port 001, range 500 yards, sir.

[Martin]
Contact bearing 001…

Contact bearing port 001, range 400 yards, sir.

[Watson] He’s going dead slow, sir.
Contact bearing dead ahead…

Contact bearing dead ahead, range 300 yards, sir.

Contact inside minimum sonar range.

[talker]
Contact inside minimum sonar range, sir.

Hydrophone strong, very strong.

Hydrophone str… very strong, sir.

Over-revving screws!

Over-revving screws, sir.
He’s trying to slip under us!

Now, Mister Lopez.

Roll and fire, medium pattern.
Roll and fire!

Hard right rudder!
Hard right rudder. Aye, aye, sir.

No oil slick. No debris.

Fuck, I thought we had him, sir.

Sorry, my language, sir.

Mister Watson, steady on a reciprocal course.

Maintain our present heading.
Aye, aye, sir.

Sonar, when we come about, standard sweeps on both our bows.

Sonar, Bridge. When we’ve come about…
[Ernie] Escorts, Greyhound.

We have engaged the enemy, but no hits on my drop.

Our last contact had him bearing 295, directly for the convoy.

Tighten up your screens.

He will be within firing range of the convoy in…

[lookout] Oil!

Oil, starboard beam!

Oil and debris, starboard beam!
Range 500 yards!

Five hundred yards, sir!

Debris.

[talker] Sonar reports crunch of a sinking vessel, sir.

We got him.
[cheering]

Pipe it.

[blowing pipe]

Now hear this. Now hear this.

This is the captain.
It seems we sank that target.

This was an all-hands job.

[cheering]

[Ernie] Well done.

Secure from general quarters.
Take us to Condition 3 and arrange for hot food if at all possible.

Aye, aye, sir.

Secure from general quarters.

[man] All hands, secure from general quarters.

Escorts, Greyhound.
We have sighted evidence of a kill.

[Eagle] Congratulations, Captain.
More food for the fish.

[Harry] The prize is yours, sir, but we’ll need evidence of a kill for the Admiralty.

Nothin’ but the captain’s trousers will do, I’m afraid.

Just return to station.

Congratulations, sir.

Shall I steer a course for the debris to verify the kill?

No, Mister Watson.

Convoy is unguarded.
Take us back to station.

Aye, aye, sir.
Helmsman, bring us back to station.

Eppstine, is it?

Eppstein, sir.

Good work. Thank you.

It’s why I’m aboard, sir.

Hey, Cap, pulled this corned beef and onion, sliced thick for you.

Gotta eat, sir.

Nah, take that to Lieutenant Cole.

I bet he’s worked up an appetite.

Now, Mister Dawson.

It’s from the Admiralty, sir.

They’ve intercepted multiple German transmissions.

It’s at least two hours old.

“Enemy activity expected at Position Oboe.”

[man] Congratulations, Captain.

It’s our first U-boat.

Congratulations, sir. Fifty less krauts.

Yes. Fifty souls.

Sir, permission to secure boilers two and four?

Mister Nystrom, are you not the officer of the deck?

Yes, sir, I am, sir.

Then take that to the chief engineer without bothering me.

Aye, sir.
Uh, our noon position report, sir.

I’m estimating we are at Position Oboe in the North Atlantic, surrounded by open sea.

That about right?
If you say so, sir.

Take us back to station ahead of the convoy, center column.

Ahead of convoy, center column. Aye, sir.

Left standard rudder. Steer course 190.

[helmsman] Left standard rudder, steering course 190. Aye, sir.

[helmsman]
rudder. Steer course 270. Aye, sir.

Sir.

Your helmet, sir.
Shall I see it stowed away?

Yes, thank you.

[man] Sir, noon fuel reports will be slightly off due to that U-boat chase.

Still waiting on reports from Dodge, but Viktor and James are reporting diminishing reserves.

Send a reply.

“Comescort to James. Please use utmost efforts to conserve fuel.”

Aye, sir.

Sir, after that last pattern, now might be a good time to bring up the extra supply of depth charges stowed in the crew quarters.

Permission granted. Thank you.
Aye, sir.

[shudders]

[lookout, on radio]
Two distress rockets…

Forward Lookout reports two distress rockets rear of the convoy.

[Ernie] Reciprocal course.

Mister Nystrom, I have the conn.
Captain has the conn.

Where?

There, sir. That’s the Despotiko, sir.

She’s a merchant ship.
Last ship in the line.

Signals report commodore signaling general alarm, sir.

Mister Nystrom, come left at 200.

Alert all escorts,
“I’m going to the rear.”

Send in Cadena for rescue and bring us up to general quarters.

[man] General quarters. General quarters.
All hands, man your battle stations.

[siren blaring]
All ahead standard. Sonar, resume sweeps.

[talker] Sonar, Bridge. Resume sweeps.

[lookout] Torpedo! Torpedo!
Bearing 205, range 500.

Where?
There, sir.

Right full rudder.
Right full rudder. Aye, aye, sir.

Shoot me a bearing of where that came from.

[man] Yes, sir.

Bearing 160.

Charlie,
I’m steering to avoid a single torpedo.

Point of origin, 160.

Mister Nystrom, bring us around to port in a reciprocal course into screening position.

Put us between Cadena and that U-boat.

Screen Cadena. Aye. Left full rudder.
Left full rudder. Aye, sir.

[Nystrom] All ahead flank.

[man] Message from Cadena, sir.
She signals rescue completed.

Thank you.

Messenger.
Captain.

Write this. “Comescort to Cadena.

Rejoin convoy at best speed.
Modified zigzag.”

Send it.
Aye, sir.

Distant noises.
Port quarter, bearing indefinite.

Sonar reports distant noises.
Port quarter, bearing indefinite.

Assumes it’s hull of ship
breaking up, sir.

Sonar, sweep to starboard.
Sonar, Bridge. Sweep to starboard.

Mister Nystrom, ease the rudder. Meet her.

Maintain this screening position.

[Nystrom] Holding this course. Aye, aye, sir.

Zigzag right. Ten degrees rudder.

[helmsman]
Right ten degrees rudder. Aye, sir.

Steady at ten degrees, sir.

Steady as you go.

[helmsman] Steady as I go.

[messenger] Return message from Cadena, sir.

She’s two hours from convoy, sir.
Reports 42 men rescued from Despotiko.

Very well. Thank you.

[Charlie] Skipper, we’re freezing up.

I’ve given orders for the steam hoses to keep the depth charges clear.

Greyhound, Harry. Greyhound, Harry.

Greyhound.

Pips on the radar screen, bearing 091, sir.

Looks like two subs directly ahead of the convoy.

Range 10 miles.
Harry has two contacts, 10 miles.

Dicky, sir.
Go ahead, Dicky.

We got a pip, bearing 098, range 14 miles.

Greyhound, Eagle.
We’ve got Harry’s pip, sir, and another.

Bearing 090, range 13 miles.

Very well. Four contacts now.

Zigzag 20 degrees. Left standard rudder.

[helmsman] Twenty degrees.
Left standard rudder. Aye, sir.

Eagle here, with another pip on the move.

Range five miles, bearing 07…
Another. Five miles, dead ahead of the convoy.

Greyhound, Harry.
Nine miles to one pip at 090.

The other bearing 092, range eight miles.

Are the ranges closing?

Negative, Greyhound.
They seem to be behaving at present.

Very well. Maintain your stations.

Attack within range and good luck.

A wolf pack shadowing us.
They’ll attack as a group.

Yeah, waiting for nightfall, when we can’t see nothing.

I need you down below.

Keep an eye on the surface radar for our friend back here.

Aye, aye, sir.

Six subs, guys.
We got a contact report from Eagle?

[man] Aye, sir, got ’em all.
They’re keeping their distance.

Five ahead of the convoy and our little dance partner back here, tracking us and the Cadena.
Presumed bearing 196.

Signal from the commodore, sir.
Read it out.

“Comconvoy to Comescort.

Numerous German language transmissions 10 to 15 miles ahead. Various bearings.”

Very well.

I need the gloves you’ll find in my cabin. The fur, not the knit.

Gloves. Fur, not knit. Aye, aye, sir.

[grunts] Chief Rudel, I need these wipers operating.

It’s not electrical, sir. They’re frozen.

I can put some men on it with buckets and swabs.

Salt water. Warm salt water, not boiling.

Aye, sir.

Conn, Combat. Looks like our friend’s come up for fresh air and to maintain speed with us, sir.

Contact bearing 207, range three miles.

Hard right rudder to 207.

[helmsman 2] Hard right rudder to 207.
Aye, sir.

[Martin] Target now bears 208.

Target now bears 208. Range…

Range looks like 2.5 miles.

Looks like 2.5 miles.

What’s goin’ on?
I don’t know, sir.

I can’t get a good read.

Come right to 220.

[helmsman] Come right to 220. Aye, sir.

What do you mean, “looks like”?
I need a bearing on this target, Charlie.

It’s my radar, sir. It’s gone soft.

I need Rudel down here.
Understood.

Have Chief Rudel report to the XO
in the CIC.

Mister Lopez, all mounts, local control.

Fire when they bear.
Aye, aye, sir.

All mounts, local control.
Fire as you bear.

[Martin]
Bearing’s changing. Uh, 203. Range…

Contact bearing’s changing, 203.

Range looks like 2.5 miles.
203, range 2.5 miles.

[Lopez] Firing on target, starboard bow.

Left standard rudder to 180.

[helmsman]
Left standard rudder to 180. Aye, sir.

[lookout] U-boat, starboard bow!
[cannons firing]

[talker] Fire Control reports
five-inch mounts opened fire on target.

Eleven rounds fired.
No hits observed, sir.

Left standard rudder to 100.

[helmsman] Left standard rudder to 100.
Messenger, take this to Signals.

“Greyhound to Cadena.

Must return to station at head of convoy to engage targets.

Fired on U-boat. Drove him under.

Have faith you will outrun him.
Good luck.”

Send that.

[Rudel] You wanted to see me, sir?

Yeah. What can we do about this damn interference?

It’s not interference, sir.
I checked everything.

The pilot light’s on, no surge currents, and I reset the overload relay four days ago.

I could reset it again, but we’re gonna be down nearly two hours. Waste of time, sir.

[radio: buzz]

Bridge.

“The night cometh when no man can work,” Ernie.

Rudel’s done all he can.

We’re just gonna have to live with the radar how it is for now, Captain.

Understood. Thank you, Charlie.

[wind whistling]

[creaking, rattling]

[man on radio] Captain, need to slow in the sea, or we risk blowing a turbine.

Understood.

Mister Harbutt, she can’t take it.
Slow us down a bit.

All ahead two-thirds.
All ahead two-thirds. Aye, aye, sir.

Darken the ship.
[Harbutt] Shift to red.

[Cleveland] You missed another meal, sir.

Brought you a bacon and egg sandwich, still warm.

I found some of those peaches you like.

Amen.

Amen.

I’ll keep the coffee coming, sir.

Coffee, Mister Harbutt?
Thank you, sir.

[distant explosions]

[talker] Distress rockets, sir.

Lookouts report gunfire, bearing 046, range three miles.

[explosions continue]

I’ll take it, Mister Harbutt.
Captain has the conn.

Bring us up to general quarters.
Boatswain Mate, Condition 1.

[Ernie] Left full rudder. Steer us across the front of the convoy.

[man] General quarters, general quarters.

All hands, man your battle stations.

Set Condition 1 throughout the ship.
Lock down all watertight passageways.

[talker] Combat reports sub bearing 036.
One and a half miles, sir.

[Ernie] All mounts, fire at will.

[Lopez] All mounts, fire at will.

[lookout] Merchant ship dead ahead!

Check fire!

Hard left rudder, hard over!

[Lopez] Check fire! Cease fire!

[Ernie] Right standard rudder!

[helmsman] Right standard rudder. Aye, aye, sir.

All ahead standard!

Son? You heard the order?

All ahead standard. Aye, aye, sir.

All ahead standard!

[lookout] U-boat!

Where?

U-boat bearing 012, range 1,000!
Between us and the freighters!

[explosions]

Check! Check! Check!

Mister Lopez, you have freighters in the line of fire!

[Lopez] Cease fire, cease fire.
All batteries, check fire!

[men] Cease fire! Cease fire!

[Ernie] Friendly fire, friendly fire!
They can’t see us!

[grunting]

[screaming]

[Ernie] Close up, close up!

Man that telegraph!
Get replacements up here!

Right full rudder, all ahead two-thirds.
Right full rudder. Aye, aye, sir.

Mister Lopez, prepare to engage that target.

When he dives, we’re gonna hammer him with two patterns: shallow, then deep.

[Lopez] Aye, sir!

[Harbutt] That’s the Vasco, sir!
She’s an oil tanker. She could blow!

Mind your helm across the column!

[helmsman]
Minding my helm. Aye, aye, sir.

Slow to one-third.
[talker] Slow to one-third. Aye, sir.

Watch that merchantman.
Aye, sir.

[lookout] He’s diving!
U-boat diving, bearing 040.

Range close aboard!

Mister Lopez.
Aye, sir.

Stand by for shallow pattern.

Stand by for shallow pattern.
Aye, aye, sir!

Sonar, sweep for contact to starboard beam.

Sonar, Bridge.
Sweep for contact to starboard beam.

Bridge, Sonar. There’s too many screws.
I can’t hear anything.

Sonar reports mixed signals, sir.
Too many propellers.

On my command, Mister Lopez.
Aye, sir.

Still too many screws.
Interference from the convoy.

Sonar reports too many screws, sir.
Interference from the convoy.

[garbled pinging]

I got something.

Got ’em. Contact close.
Starboard beam 083.

Sonar reports contact close.
Starboard beam 083, sir.

Correction, starboard beam 088, sir.

Now, Mister Lopez!

[Lopez] Fire, fire! Roll two, fire.
Port to starboard.

[Ernie] Next pattern, Mister Lopez.

Again, sir?

Yes, again, Mister Lopez!

All positions, fire when ready.
All positions, fire, fire!

Helm, meet her! Head up the lane!

[helmsman] Meet her.
Heading up the lane. Aye, aye, sir.

[Ernie] Come on.

Sonar reports contact bearing…

[sonarman] Correction.

Correction. Sonar reports…
Questionable screw noises.

Questionable screw noises.

Contact stationary.

Sonar reports contact stationary.

Stationary?

Sonar, Bridge. Anything further?

Still stationary. Possible decoy.

Sonar reports contact is not moving.
Possible decoy.

[explosion]

[Harbutt] The tanker, sir!

[lookout] Survivors! Men in the water!
Port bow! Port bow!

[talker] Contact.
Bearing starboard 538, 538.

Distance 200 yards.

Mister Harbutt, who’s your junior?
Wallace, sir.

Get him out here.

[messenger]
Sir, a message from Cadena.

Read it out.

“Merchant ships vulnerable at rear of convoy. Attack imminent. Request your earliest assistance.”

Captain, survivors 500 yards starboard, sir. Proceed with rescue?

Get down to midships, put down a scrambling net and get those men out of the water.

[Wallace] Aye, aye, sir.

Stop engines. All slow astern.

Mister Harbutt, you have the conn.

Mind the debris and hail me the moment Wallace has them aboard.

Aye, aye, sir.
Signals?

Aye, sir.
“Comescort to Cadena.

Will assist as soon as possible.”

Aye, sir.

[man] Give me your hand. Keep climbing.

Krauts call it a Pillenwerfer, sir.
It’s German for something.

“Pill-thrower.”

Yes, go on.
Uh, I’d never heard of one before, but I got a buddy who was on the Kidd, and he had one on his first crossing.

It’s a mechanical decoy about the size of an icebox, and it shoots out gas like an Alka-Seltzer.

The krauts just drop it in the water, and it hangs there while we waste depth charges on it.

Detail it in your after-action report.

Make sure all the other operators are familiar with it.

I… I should’ve caught it sooner, sir.

No, you did good work. Thank you.

Sir. Aye, sir.

[Charlie] You couldn’t have known, Ernie.

[Harbutt] Got ’em, sir. Four men.

Only four?
All they could see or hear, sir.

Okay. Head to rear of convoy.
Right hard rudder, hard over.

All ahead two-thirds.

[helmsman] Right hard rudder,
hard over. Aye, aye, sir.

[lookout] Rocket!
Distress rocket astern! Rear of convoy!

All ahead flank. Meet her
when we’re headed down the lane.

[helmsman]
All ahead flank. Aye, aye, sir.

[Harbutt] That’s the Southland, sir.
It’s an American supply ship.

Greyhound, Harry here.

To confirm, targets remain at speed
just outside our perimeter.

[Harbutt] Southland rescue completed.
Twenty-eight men rescued, sir.

[man] Radar is back up, Captain.

Left full rudder to 087.

Take us up the right side of the convoy.
All ahead standard.

[helmsman]
All ahead standard. Aye, aye, sir.

Engine room answers
all ahead standard, sir.

[radio: static]

Greyhound. Greyhound, Greyhound.

This is Gray Wolf.

We hunt you and your friends
Eagle, Dicky and Harry.

We watch your ships sinking into the deep.

We hear the screams of your comrades
as they die.

How many of them will there be
before you join them?

The Gray Wolf is so very hungry.

Your women will learn of your dying…
Greyhound to all escorts.

And weep into the long night before…
Switch TBS traffic to channel Zebra.

They turn to the arms of their lovers.
Execute.

[howling]

[howling stops]

Eagle here. Pips on the move.

One bearing 080,
range 11 miles and closing.

The other at 085, nine miles.

[Charlie] …that signal.

Greyhound, Dicky. Greyhound, Dicky.

Greyhound.
Our contact is now bearing 113.

The other bears 101,
range two miles and approaching.

Greyhound, Harry.
Our two pips are separated.

Bearing 084 and 095. Both 8.5 miles.

Looks as if they’re coming in for a scrum.

Noted, thank you. Greyhound out.

Charlie, did you get the sighting reports?

Yes, sir.
Here they come.

Greyhound, Dicky. They’re attacking!
Bearing 276, range 1,500.

[Eagle] Target bearing 090,
coming across your bow.

[Ernie] Dicky, Greyhound.
I see tracer fire over on your side.

Are you engaging the target?

[radio chatter]

[distant explosions]

[man on radio]
Status report. No contacts at present.

Known losses during the night, five ships,

Vasco, Southland, Corning,
Paumbarten, Powell.

Two ships damaged,
23 survivors, 210 confirmed dead.

[items clatter]

Greyhound, Eagle.
Target sighted. Engaging now.

Eagle, Greyhound.
We will join you to assist.

Mister Lopez.
Aye, sir.

Our next pattern will be medium.
Aye, aye, sir.

Lieutenant Fippler,
you better get up here.

Right standard rudder to 210.

[helmsman] Right standard rudder to 210.
Aye, aye, sir.

Mister Harbutt.
Sir.

Keep apprised of Eagle’s target bearing
and notify me when we’re two miles out.

Aye, aye, sir.

Sir, it’s about the consumption
of depth charges.

Yes?
Last pattern makes 32 cans fired.

How many full patterns do we have left?

None, sir.

We’re down to six charges.

We pulled everything from below
last watch, if you recall, sir.

Yes, yes, of course.
Thank you, Mister Flipper.

It’s Fippler, sir.

Mister Fippler, we must leave off
the firing of full patterns.

What I was gonna suggest, sir.

“Wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove.”

[radio: buzz]

Captain.
I know it’s risky, Charlie, but

we need to break protocol.

How soon can we reach air cover?
No more zigzags, no evasive maneuvers.

Aye, aye, sir.

[radio: buzz]

Go, Charlie.

We can be in range
of air cover in 24 hours.

That’s 0800
if we shift to a direct course, sir.

Thanks, Charlie.

[Charlie] What happened to him?

Took a header.
Gave me something more to do.

That for the captain?
Yeah.

Man hasn’t had a bite to eat
or been off his feet since we left.

[man] General quarters, general quarters.
All hands, man your battle stations.

[Dicky] We’re turning
to intercept at 16 knots, sir.

We’ll do our best to hammer him.
Understood, Dicky.

Keep him under by all means.

Keep him under.
Aye, sir.

Combat, Conn. Keep a sharp eye out
for surface radar bearing 170.

[Watson] Sir, I have the deck
and the conn.

Very well.
Mister Watson has the deck and the conn.

Distant contact, bearing 160.

Sonar reports distant contact,
bearing 160.

Dicky, Greyhound.
The contact is now ten degrees to my port.

[Dicky] Aye, sir.
[Harry] Aye, aye, sir.

Mister Lopez.
Single charges, sir?

Single charges, yes.

Sonar reports contact, bearing 160.

[lookout] Periscope, starboard bow!

[Lopez] All mounts, fire at will.

[cannon shot]

I’ve got it, Mister Watson.
[Watson] Captain has the conn.

Right sharply, another ten degrees.

[helmsman]
Right sharp, ten degrees. Aye, sir.

Contact bearing 156…

Sonar reports contact, bearing 156,
range steady at 1,080 yards.

Greyhound, Dicky.
I have him dead to rights. I’m attacking.

[talker] Range 1,000.
Left full rudder to 085.

Come on in, Dicky.
I’m turning to port to clear for you.

Thank you, Greyhound. Here we come.

Left full rudder to 170.
[helmsman] Left full rudder to 170.

[Ernie] All ahead flank.
All ahead flank. Aye, sir.

Torpedo!

Your training, son. Bearing. Range.

Torpedo in the water.
Starboard beam. 400 yards, sir.

Torpedoes! Bearing 210!
Range 300! There, sir! Two fish!

Hard right rudder! Hard over!

Greyhound, Dicky.
I’m launching depth charges now.

[Ernie] Understood, Dicky.
I am crossing your bow for my own attack.

[radar: garbled beeps]

Underwater explosion.
Indications confused.

Sonar reports only hearing explosions.
Indications confused.

Right standard rudder to 110.

Right standard rudder,
steer course 110. Aye, sir.

There he is. Bearing 001.
Range 400 yards.

Sonar reports contact, bearing 001.
Range 400 yards.

Right full rudder to 065.

Right full rudder to 065. Aye, sir.

Contact inside minimum sonar range.

[talker] Contact inside
minimum sonar range, sir.

U-boat! Starboard stern!
Dicky forced him up!

[Watson] Looks damaged, sir.
Can’t submerge.

Hard right rudder! Hard over!

He’s coming in close!
U-boat, starboard bow!

[Watson] He’s slipped in
under our guns, sir. We can’t hit him!

[bullets ricocheting]

Dicky’s coming back in.
Portside ahead, sir.

Greyhound, Dicky. I’m on him, sir.

[man] Give him hell, Dicky!

Left full rudder!
Loop around and help Dicky.

Dicky here. He’s pulling in too close!
He’s alongside of us.

[glass shatters]
[man] Take cover!

On your feet.

Son of a bitch ricocheted off the surface.

[Ernie] Man your posts.

Slow to one-third.
My language, sir.

[helmsman]
Slow to one-third. Aye, sir.

[gunfire]

[lookout] Dicky’s in the line of fire!
[Ernie] Veer off, Dicky, veer off.

Hold your fire.

Left full rudder.
[Watson] Left full rudder.

All mounts, local control,
stand by broadside to port.

Fire as they bear.
[helmsman] Aye, sir.

[shouting in German, indistinct]

Come on, clear.

[continue yelling in German]
Get clear, Dicky. Clear!

[Ernie grunts]
[men screaming]

[man] Corpsman! Corpsman!

[Watson] Dicky’s clear!
All mounts, commence fire!

[crewman shouting]
[man] Get some water in there!

Dicky, Greyhound. What is your damage?

Greyhound, our guns couldn’t depress
far enough to do any damage.

But, at 20 yards, the shells
went right through us without detonating.

Are you seaworthy?

All three hits
were well above the waterline, sir.

We’ll have our holes patched,
and we’ll be back in the hunt.

Very good. Return to your
screening station at best speed.

[talker] Direct hit on mount 43, sir.

Damage Control reports fire,
abaft frame 24.

There’s no flooding below the waterline,
and the casualty count is coming, sir.

[doctor] Three severely wounded.

Bonnor. Meyer.
Forbrick is in critical shape. Three dead.

Who are the dead?

Pisani, gunner’s mate, third class.
Marx, seaman, second.

Cleveland, messmate.

Took a hit at the portside 40-millimeter
gun tub, loading ammunition, sir.

[doctor] I’ve got no room for corpses
down below, sir.

Not with the four we pulled from Vasco.

I can arrange for a service
within the next ten minutes, sir.

Of course. All hands.

Aye, aye, Captain.

Bill?

How bad was he hit?

Sir?

George Cleveland.

Completely mutilated, sir. All of them.

[Ernie] “We therefore commit
the earthly remains of Anthony Pisani,

Daniel Marx,
and George Cleveland to the deep,

looking for the general Resurrection
in their last day

and the life of the world to come,
through our Lord Jesus Christ,

at whose second coming
in glorious majesty to judge the world

the sea shall give up her dead,

and corruptible bodies of those
who sleep in him

shall be changed
and made like unto his glorious body

according to the m-mighty working

whereby he is a-able to subdue
all things unto himself. Amen.”

All stop.

XO commands all stop.

[talker 2] All stop.
[helmsman] All stop, aye.

[blowing pipe]

[man]
Now, all hands, bury the dead.

Now, all hands, bury the dead.
[bell rings]

[ringing]

Ship’s company. Attention!

Salute!

Firing line, half right, face!

Anthony Pisani,
gunner’s mate, third class.

Ready. Fire!

Daniel Marx, seaman, second. Ready. Fire!

George Cleveland, messmate. Ready. Fire!

[water splashes]

[officer] Ready. Two!

[lookout]
Distress rocket at rear of convoy!

Left standard rudder.
Left standard rudder. Aye, sir.

Harry, Dicky. Greyhound.
Eagle has been hit.

I am going to his aid, rear of the convoy.
Maintain your sweep. Go easy on your fuel.

[Dicky] Aye, sir.
[Harry] Aye, aye, sir.

Messenger, my glasses.
Aye, sir.

Meet her.
[helmsman] Aye, sir. Heading up the lane.

[Ernie] Right standard rudder.
Right standard rudder. Aye, sir.

Meet her.
[helmsman] Meet her.

All ahead flank.
All ahead flank. Aye, sir.

Messenger.
Sir.

[Ernie] Mister Harbutt.
Sir.

That’s Eagle and Cadena.

Circle them at one mile
to cover the rescue.

Helm, left standard rudder. Come to 225.
Left standard rudder…

Eagle, Greyhound. What is your status?

We were hit forward of the engine room
and have a fire below deck.

Some casualties.

The Kong Gustav was hit first,
sank in three minutes.

We saw no survivors.

It’s a bad afternoon, sir.

How seaworthy are you?

We have a five-degree list at starboard,
and we’re down at the stern,

but we’ll tow all right up to five knots.

We have a flap of plate sticking up,
scooping in the sea.

The list gets worse if we make any speed.

We must keep you afloat, Eagle.

We’ll do all the sea allows, sir.

Very well. Greyhound out.

[Carling] I’m ready to relieve you, sir.

[Harbutt] Very well.
We’re steady on course 225.

And we’re at standard speed
with fuel conservation.

[Carling] I relieve you, sir.

[Harbutt] Sir?

Sir, I stand relieved.
Mister Carling has the deck and the conn.

Very well.

Mister Carling,
Cadena has Eagle under tow at four knots.

Continue circling.
We’ll hold the screen at rear of convoy.

Sonar, standard sweep to starboard.

Sonar, Bridge.
Search to starboard, standard pattern.

Greyhound, Eagle. Greyhound, Eagle.

Greyhound.

Request permission to abandon ship, sir.

The collision mats were not big enough.

We have a 15-degree list now,
and the main deck is underwater.

Well, I’m sure you’ve done all you could.
Permission granted.

She’s been a good home, sir.
It’s been an honor sailing with you.

We’ll be praying for you.
Godspeed, Captain.

Thank you for a job well done.

Thank you, Cleveland.

I’m Pitts, sir.

Thank you.
Sir.

I need Mister Cole.

[man] XO requested, bridge.
XO requested, bridge.

You wanted to see me, skip?

[Ernie] I’ve lost Eagle.

Harry and Dicky are low on depth charges
and fuel, as are we.

I can offer only scant protection
to the convoy.

We need air cover, Charlie.

Do…

Do I break radio silence
with a message to the Admiralty?

Or does that let the wolf pack know
just how vulnerable we are?

What would the message be?

“Help needed urgently.”

No. “Help needed.” That means “urgently.”

“Needed” isn’t needed. Just “help.”

That’s all the Admiralty needs to hear
for a modified rendezvous point.

The Germans might miss a message
as short as that.

I wouldn’t need to take this risk
if I’d been smarter yesterday.

What you did yesterday got us to today.

It’s not enough, Charlie.
Not nearly enough.

Message from the Admiralty, sir.

Some of it’s badly scrambled, sir.
I’ve done my best with it.

XO to the bridge.
Aye, aye, sir.

What are these scrambles?

I think coded numerals, sir.
But I’m sure of that.

“Expect aircraft.

His challenge, ‘Uncle William.’
Your answer, ‘Baker Dog.'”

[Charlie] Captain?

Charlie. Message from Admiralty.

Reinforcements dispatched.

But it’s only partially deciphered.

Put together a team,
see what else is there.

Aye, aye, sir.

[radio: static]

[Gray Wolf, on radio] Greyhound!

Your flock is not safe from this wolf.

We can always find you
in the night to kill you.

Escorts, Greyhound.

Or will Dicky die next? Or Harry?
Divert all further TBS traffic

to channel Hotel. Execute.

[Gray Wolf howls]

Thought these were numerals,
but it was “Point X-ray.”

“Modify rendezvous point to Point X-ray.”

Mm-hmm. How soon?
Something like four hours, skip.

Sir.

[Ernie] Messenger.
Yes, sir.

Go to my cabin and bring me my slippers.

Aye, sir.

[grunts]

Ah, thank you. Return those.

[grunts]

Ah.

[exhales]

[radarman] I’ve got two contacts
bearing 099…

[talker] Combat reports two pips,
starboard bow. Bearing 099.

The other at 168, sir.

Boatswain, take us to white.
Aye, aye, sir.

Charlie, these pips.

Yes, sir, we got two skunks
showing on surface radar.

They’re heading straight for us.

Just two hours to the rendezvous point,
Ernie, God willin’.

All escorts, Greyhound. I have
two surface targets off to starboard.

Maintain your screens.

Mister Watson,
bring us up to general quarters.

[Watson] General quarters.
[man] Aye, aye, sir.

General quarters, general quarters.
All hands, man your battle stations.

[Ernie] Harry, Dicky. Greyhound.
I am engaging targets.

[Dicky] Request permission to come down
there and bounce ’em with you, sir.

Negative, Dicky. Maintain your screen.
Aye, sir.

Messenger.
Sir.

I’d like more coffee, please.

Aye, sir.

[garbled radio transmission]

[Gray Wolf] Greyhound.

Guten Morgen, Greyhound.

Did you think you had slipped away
from this Gray Wolf?

No, you did not. You will not.

The sea favors the Gray Wolf on the hunt,

not the hound on the run.

You and your comrades will die today.

[Charlie] Conn, Combat.

Radar showing contact at 110.
[lookout] Periscope to starboard bow.

Range is 2,100 yards and closing, sir.

[lookout] About one mile!

There, sir!
[Lopez] Fire!

The wake, sir! There!

Contact 187…

Sonar reports torpedoes, starboard beam,
bearing 187. Range 1,500, sir.

Left full rudder.
[Watson] Left full rudder.

Second torpedo to starboard beam!
Bearing 120! Range 1,000!

Right hard rudder, hard over!
Right hard rudder, hard over!

Belay that, belay that!
Meet her. Meet her!

Belay. Meet her. Meet her.

[helmsman] Aye, sir. Holding course.

[Ernie] Right hard rudder, hard over!

Starboard slow astern! Port ahead full!

[Watson] Starboard slow astern!
Port ahead full!

[Ernie] All hands, brace for collision!

Meet her! Steer straight
for that pip at 119!

119. Aye, aye, sir.
All ahead full.

All ahead full. Aye, aye, sir.
We’ll ram that U-boat if we have to!

[cannons firing]

[lookout] Torpedo off starboard bow!

Bring us full left to 100.
Aye, aye, sir.

Conning tower, dead ahead!

[Watson] We must have hit her!

Charlie! Lay a course to open the arcs
of fire aft! We’ll hit ’em broadside!

Left full rudder, slow to two-thirds.
After batteries, fire as you bear.

All mounts, local control!

Target will be fine on our starboard bow!
[repeating command]

Fire as they bear!

[Lopez] Weapons, Bridge. All mounts,
local control. Fire as they bear.

[lookout] Second sub spotted!
Periscope, starboard bow!

[lookout] He’s got us lined up, sir!

All mounts, local control!
Get those guns around!

[lookout 2] Air cover! Air cover!

[airplane propellers whirring]

Signal Bridge reports aircraft signals.
“Uncle William,” sir.

Reply, “Baker Dog.”

Right standard rudder!

Mounts 41 and 42,

open fire to mark the target
for that aircraft!

[talker] …mark target for that aircraft.

[crew cheering]

Good work.

[crew continues cheering]

[Watson] Sir, I stand relieved.
Mister Carling has the deck.

Very well.

Messenger.

Yes, sir.
Write this.

“To Comconvoy and all escorts:

Sonar reports no contacts.
Radar reports no contacts.

All escorts, resume station.”

Send it.
Aye, sir.

[helmsman] My heading is 290, sir.

[Carling] Very well. Steady as she goes.
[helmsman] Steady as she goes, sir.

[Carling] All ahead standard.
[helmsman] All ahead standard. Aye, sir.

[talker] Forward Lookout reports ship
starboard bow.

Bearing 110. Range eight miles.

Message, sir.
Read it out.

“Admiralty to Greyhound. Welcome.

Kindly make verbal report
to Diamond on TBS.”

Diamond, Greyhound. Diamond, Greyhound.
Do you hear me?

Loud and clear, Greyhound.
We hear you had a bit of a rough go of it.

Yes, sir. In the last 48 hours,

we’ve lost seven ships from the convoy.
Two others were damaged.

And the condition of your command?
How are you holding up?

I took a round from a sub
on our portside deck. Three were killed.

But you are seaworthy?

Yes, sir. Dicky and I fought him
out on the surface, and we got him.

Uh, my escort group sank three others.

Four U-boats? [laughs]
Bloody good job, Greyhound.

We will be relieving you now
and taking the convoy on to Liverpool.

You take Dicky and Harry

and make best speed
to the naval yard in Londonderry.

Sir, I request I stay with the convoy.
I have 56 hours fuel at economical speed.

No, that’s an order, Commander.
We’ll see the convoy on from here.

I need you to take Dicky and Harry
back home.

They’re not fit to stay in the game,
understood? Off to Derry with you.

Aye, aye, sir.

Tell me, Greyhound, just curious,

how many crossings
does that make for you now?

This was my first, sir.

[chuckles] Unbelievable.

Well, let’s hope next time’s a bit easier, eh? Admirable show, Commander.

Thank you, sir.

Dicky, Harry. Greyhound.

Dicky here.
Harry here.

You are relieved of your screening duties.

Form starboard echelon on me at the head of the convoy.

We will depart on 087 for Londonderry.

[Dicky] Aye, aye, sir.

[Harry] Aye, sir.

[pencil cracks]

Messenger.

[man] Messenger.

[messenger] Sir.

Signal Bridge. Send it.

Signal Bridge. Aye, sir.

Commodore is signaling five minutes to course change, Captain.

Very well. Take us up the lane.

When we clear the lead ships, turn right to 087.

Dodge, James, starboard echelon.
Aye, aye, sir.

Steady on 087. Starboard echelon.

Helm, mark your head.

[helmsman] Mark 083, sir.

[Carling] Very well. Keep her so.

[helmsman] Steady as I go. Aye, sir.

Mister Carling, she’s all yours.

I will be in my cabin if you need me.

Aye, aye, sir.

[distant cheering]

[cheering continues]

[cheering continues]

[cheering, shouting]

“I thank you, my heavenly Father, that you have graciously kept me this day.

Into your hands I commend myself, my body and soul. Amen.”