Force 27 arrived off Belle Isle at 0100 on August 14th and commenced a sweep southwards towards Les Sables d`Olonne. Apart from detecting a fishing boat at 0315 and examined by Iroquois, the sweep was uneventful and at 0600 the three ships stood out to sea. At 1800 Force 27 proceeded southwards. At 2315 the warships were just south of the mouth of the Gironde the began a sweep towards St. Nazaire.
At 0209 (Aug.15th) Iroquois obtained a firm contact which was confirmed by Ursa. At 0305 the target was illuminated . The starshells revealed three ships which turned out to be the aircraft tender Richtofen and the minesweeper M385 and the destroyer T24 enroute from St. Nazaire to Royen. Shortly after Force 27 had opened fire Iroquois was straddled on several occasions by shore batteries sending 4 inch to 10 inch shells. No hits were made. At 0317, T24 burst out of the smoke and launched torpedoes at Ursa and Iroquois. Torpedoes were seen to pass ahead of Iroquois. As the German destroyer withdrew, Iroquois fired her full compliment of torpedoes but missed the target. Ursa and Iroquois continued to pursue the enemy until 0330 by which time they were well inside a minefield.
Force 27 claimed to have left one vessel stopped and burning, while Iroquois plot traced two others entering the safety of La Pallice. According to German sources, M385 was beached but the Richtofen and T24 escaped with some damage. At 0425 Iroquois obtained another solid contact. This turned out to be a small coastal tanker. It was illuminated at 0504.
During the night of Aug 16th , the three ships carried out another sweep of the area. Apart from a brief exchange of fire with a coastal battery , this foray was uneventful. At 1015 on August 16th a course was set for Plymouth and Force 27 entered harbour at 0545 on August 17th. This was the end of a very successful patrol.
The Iroquois crew had a lot to be happy about.
This is evident in the photo that prompted this story.