This is the story of the Dutch tanker Mijdrecht that sank the German sub U-70 after that same sub had torpedoed the ship a little while earlier, the ultimate revenge!.
This is the previous Mijdrecht, 7493 tons, built in 1931 and owned by Phs. Van Ommeren at Rotterdam.
What I can read from the picture is the ship’s name, Du for Dutch, a date 8-22-43, Anch meaning probably Anchored and USCG which is the United States Coast Guard. However, no indication were the ship was anchored then. Ship maintenance leaves to be desired! It really looks battle weary in this picture.
The wartime ms Mijdrecht which is shown in the picture above, which was under the command of Capt J. Swart, was attacked by the U-70, commanded by lieutenant Joachim Matz, one of the subs in the pack. It was a clear night and the attack occurred at 05.50 AM on the 7th of March 1941. A torpedo slammed into the Mijdrecht which was lying still in the water to pick up survivors from the British tanker “Delilian” which has previously been torpedoed by the U-70. A sitting duck situation. The torpedo hit the Mijdrecht just in front of the engine room and in the cofferdam, causing great damage. Bunker oil leaked into the engine room which however could still be used. The stern of the ship sank a couple of meters, but the ship got under way again.
The amount of damage to the hull caused by the torpedo fired by the German sub U-70 was, as can been see from this photo, quite extensive. It is surprising that the Mijdrecht attacked the U-boat after being torpedoed and with that kind of damage.
Captain Swart was at that moment on deck with the survivors of the Delilian. The Chief Officer on the bridge suddenly sighted the U-70 to the starboard side of the ship getting ready to take a repeat shot at the Mijdrecht to finish it off. However, the Chief Officer after sighting the submarine immediately planned to ram the U-boat. The Radio Officer was at the wheel at that moment and was given the order ‘Hard to starboard’ and ‘We are going to ram the motherfucker’, which they did shortly afterwards when the ship was doing 7 miles again.
The attack from a defenceless, already torpedoed tanker was for the sub totally unexpected and to the horror and surprise of the crew hit the U-70. The sub lost both periscopes and the command tower was damaged. Water poured into the ship from a hole were once the radio direction finder was protruding through the hull. The sub rolled over and disappeared under the keel of the ship. It was seen shortly after at the portside with the stern raised about 4 meters above the sea after which the sub marine disappeared. Later the sub reappeared on the surface and when the hatch was opened 6 crew members were blown out of the ship by the tremendous air pressure which existed inside the hull. Half an hour later the U-70 sank taking 20 crew members down with it. Lieutenant Matz and 25 survivors were picked up by one of the ships of the convoy and taken prisoner.
This aquarelle portrays the moment that the ms Mijdrecht hit the U-70 at the command tower position. It is now hanging in the Town hall of the town called “De Ronde Venen” which consists now of the cities Mijdrecht, Vinkeveen, Waverveen en Wilnis.
Unveiling of a bronze plaque (Royal Mention to Day Order) by the Minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, Mr. D.G.W. Spitzen on board the Mijdrecht on March 28, 1949. Better late then never!.
The moral of the story is: “Don’t mess with the Dutch, whether Jap or Kraut!”