Allied Warships

HMS Odin (N 84)

Submarine of the O class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeSubmarine
ClassO 
PennantN 84 
Built byChatham Dockyard (Chatham, U.K.): 
Ordered30 Nov 1926 
Laid down23 Jul 1927 
Launched5 May 1928 
Commissioned21 Dec 1929 
LostJun 1940 
History

HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. Kenneth Maciver Woods, RN) went missing on her 1st Mediterranean war patrol in June 1940.

HMS Odin is often reported to have been sunk in the Gulf of Taranto about 17 nautical miles east-north-east of Punta Alice, Crotone, Italy in position 39º30'N, 17º30'E by the Italian destroyers Strale and Baleno on 14 June 1940. That these destroyers have sunk HMS Odin in that location on that date can not be proven beyond doubt.

See the event for 12 - 17 June 1940 below for an analysis of the possibilities of the fate of HMS Odin. 

Commands listed for HMS Odin (N 84)

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CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Ronald William Moir, RN24 Aug 19396 Jan 1940
2Lt.Cdr. Kenneth Maciver Woods, RN6 Jan 194014 Jun 1940 (+)

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Notable events involving Odin include:


The history of HMS Odin as compiled on this page is extracted from the patrol reports and logbooks of this submarine.

This page was last updated in July 2017.

2 Sep 1939
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN) departed Singapore for Penang. (1)

3 Sep 1939
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN) arrived at Penang. (1)

7 Sep 1939
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN) conducted exercises off Penang. (1)

9 Sep 1939
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN) departed Penang for Singapore. (1)

10 Sep 1939
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN) arrived at Singapore. (1)

20 Sep 1939
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN) conducted exercises off Penang together with HMS Leith (Cdr. G.R. Waymouth, RN). (1)

29 Sep 1939
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN) departed Singapore for her 1st war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Sunda Strait.

For the daily positions of HMS Odin during this war patrol see the map below.

(1)

19 Oct 1939
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Singapore. (2)

24 Oct 1939
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN) departed Singapore for Colombo.

For the daily position of HMS Odin during the passage from Singapore to Colombo see the map below.

(2)

30 Oct 1939
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN) arrived at Colombo. (2)

7 Nov 1939
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN) departed Colombo for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the Malidives.

For the daily positions of HMS Odin during this war patrol see the map below.

(3)

22 Nov 1939
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Colombo. (3)

28 Nov 1939
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN) departed Colombo for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the Chagos Archipelago.

For the daily positions of HMS Odin during this war patrol see the map below.

(3)

25 Dec 1939
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol at Colombo. (4)

5 Jan 1940
HMS Odin (Cdr. R.W. Moir, RN) is docked at Colombo for a short refit. (5)

1 Feb 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) is undocked. (6)

5 Feb 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) departed Colombo for her 4th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the Indian Ocean.

For the daily positions of HMS Odin during this war patrol see the map below.

18 Feb 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) arrived at Mauritius. (6)

22 Feb 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) departed Mauritius to continue her 4th war patrol towards the Seychelles. (6)

27 Feb 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) arrived at Mahé, Seychelles. (6)

28 Feb 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) departed Mahé, Seychelles to continue her patrol. (6)

4 Mar 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) arrived at Diego Saurez. (7)

8 Mar 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) departed Diego Saurez to continue her patrol. (7)

13 Mar 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) arrived at Mahé, Seychelles. (7)

16 Mar 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) departed Mahé, Seychelles to continue her patrol. (7)

17 Mar 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) made rendez-vous with the French sloop Rigault de Genouilly (Capitaine De Fregate (Cdr.) L.G.E. Frossard). They then proceeded to patrol together until the 19th. (7)

21 Mar 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) arrived at Diego Saurez. (7)

23 Mar 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) departed Diego Saurez for Colombo. (7)

31 Mar 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) ended her 4th war patrol at Colombo. (7)

5 Apr 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) departed Colombo for Aden. HMS Odin was to proceed to Malta to join the Mediterranean Fleet.

For the daily position of HMS Odin during the passage from Colombo to Malta see the map below.

(8)

12 Apr 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) arrived at Aden. (8)

15 Apr 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) departed Aden for Suez. (8)

20 Apr 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) arrived at Suez. She then transited the Suez Canal and arrived at Port Said. (8)

21 Apr 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) departed Port Said for Malta. (8)

26 Apr 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) arrived at Malta. (8)

29 Apr 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) is docked at Malta. The date of undocking is currently not known to us. (8)

4 Jun 1940
HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) departed Malta for her 5th war patrol (1st in the Mediterranean). She was to take up a defensive position off Malta.

We are not sure of the exact date of her sailing for this patrol. Most likely it was the 4th. (9)

10 Jun 1940
When the war with Italy started, HMS Odin (Lt.Cdr. K.M. Woods, RN) was on patrol to the south-east of Malta. Late in the evening she was ordered to patrol in the Gulf of Taranto. She acknowledged this signal at 0035/11. This was the last that was heard of Odin. (9)

12 Jun 1940
Loss of HMS Odin, movements and attacks of Italian warships.
(By Platon Alexiades).

The Italian First Cruiser Division (heavy cruisers Zara, Gorizia and Fiume) screened by the the 9th Destroyer Division (Vittorio Alfieri, leader, Alfredo Oriani, Giosuè Carducci, Vincenzo Gioberti) had sailed from Taranto before midnight on 11 June to carry a sweep off the southern Calabrian coast. Five encounters with submarines were reported during the following day. The first one occurred at 0715 hours, when the squadron was moving on a southerly course, about 60 miles south of Cape Colonne, and destroyers sighted one on the starboard side and again at 0730 hours, forcing both times the warships to turn to port. By 0920 hours, the squadron was turning back and, at 1053 hours, Gorizia reported a submarine on the port side and the squadron turned 50 degrees to starboard to take evasive action. At 1432 hours, the destroyer Vittorio Alfieri signalled a submarine on the starboard side and her sister ship Alfredo Oriani reported being narrowly missed by two torpedoes. Alfredo Oriani took “anti-submarine action” without indicating if she dropped depth charges. At 1635 hours, Alfredo Oriani sighted a submarine and attacked with depth charges and was joined by Vittorio Alfieri in the hunt. By 2000 hours, the squadron was back at Taranto. Of the five encounters, any of these could have been with HMS Odin but it is unlikely that ALL were with this submarine as the squadron was moving at high speed (about 25 knots). The frequent submarine sightings were a sign of excitedness from the lookouts as the war had just started. Even the 1432 hours “attack” may be attributed to porpoises. We shall never know for sure.

Following these encounters, the 7th (Dardo, Saetta, Strale and Freccia) and 8th (Baleno, Folgore and Fulmine) Destroyer Divisions were ordered to carry out an anti-submarine sweep of the western and eastern sides of the Gulf of Taranto respectively, while the 15th Division (Antonio Pigafetta, Nicolo Zeno, Giovanni Da Verrazzano and Lanzerotto Malocello) was assigned the zone south of a line joining Cape Colonne and Santa Maria Di Leuca. They sailed on the evening of 13 June. At 2321 hours, about 40 miles off Taranto, Strale was the first to sight a large surface submarine in position 39°42'N, 17°33'E. She fired a torpedo and a salvo of four 120mm rounds and followed up with nine depth charges, the enemy submarine fired back a torpedo. At 0157 hours on 14 June, it was the turn of Baleno to report a submarine and she attacked it with five depth charges. All the destroyers returned to Taranto in the early hours of the morning. During the day, a reconnaissance aircraft spotted a large oil patch, some 40 miles south of San Vito but this was way off from where the depth charging had taken place. The Italian Official History has credited the loss of HMS Odin to Strale and Baleno but other sightings made in the next days have cast doubt upon this theory.

A new sweep was carried out by the destroyers of 7th and 8th Division (this time the 15th Division did not take part in the operation) departing during the evening of 16 June. At 2338 hours, about 30-40 miles from Taranto, Dardo reported missed by two torpedoes and dropped three depth charges. Seven minutes later, Folgore sighted three torpedo tracks in position 40°07'50"N, 17°39'10"E and dropped twelve depth charges while Fulmine reported two torpedo tracks but these may have been the same that had been seen by Folgore. Fulmine followed up with ten depth charges. At 2357 hours, Folgore observed four more torpedo tracks and dropped six depth charges. At 0043 hours, Freccia reported missed by one torpedo and attacked with six depth charges but did not observe any result. At 0118 hours, Folgore spotted the conning tower of a submarine and fired one torpedo and a four 120mm rounds salvo followed by four depth charges. Finally, at 0127 hours Saetta observed a torpedo track and apparently a bubble discharge and dropped a single depth charge. All the destroyers returned to harbour early in the morning. Again, it is difficult to assess if any of these “attacks” were on a genuine submarine. She could well have been the victim of a mine but the only minefields that time in her general area of operation were laid by the minelayer Vieste 5-20 miles southeast of Taranto, about 5 miles from the coast. The submarine sighted by Folgore on 16 June was about 12 miles from the nearest of these minefields, if HMS Odin was indeed seen by this destroyer, could she have escaped only to run into this minefield?

Conclusion, her exact fate remains unknown.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/15814
  2. ADM 173/15815
  3. ADM 173/15816
  4. ADM 173/15817
  5. ADM 173/16351
  6. ADM 173/16352
  7. ADM 173/16353
  8. ADM 173/16354
  9. ADM 199/1115

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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