Being British then the sinking of the captain's merchant vessel could have been as early as late 1939. That would give plenty of time for the rest of back story of his first DE loss.
Again not having read the book, I cannot imagine the circumstance of patrolling alone.
People I know who have read the book say that it is far more powerful and quite different than the film. It, reading the book, is something on the "I'll get around to one day" list.
None of this speaks to the basic question though. Do you kill when the opportunity presents itself to do so, and the answer is always yes, unless your mission mandates otherwise.
: Convoys traveled both west and east. Traveling
: east finished war goods, troops, food, POL
: etc. Traveling west, natural resources,
: POWS, Wounded, Equipment, Troops and all
: manner of trade goods.
: Next: Mitchum loses his wife when his
: freighter is torpedoed while traveling west
: bound. He says it is when the war started so
: figure 1939-1941. Loses her and decides to
: join the Navy. Is a skipper of a tin can
: which is torpedoed and sunk in the North
: Atlantic. Before he is fully recovered from
: his ordeal he is assigned to the DE Haines
: in the South Atlantic. And that is where the
: story begins.... 1943 somewhere in the South
: What I want to know was the Haines
: patrolling alone and in a new Buckley Class
: --Previous Message--
: This may seem kind of arcane, but...
: In The Enemy Below the captain (Mitchum)
: said his wife was killed when his ship was
: torpedoed heading WEST to the US and the
: implication is it was late(r) in the war.
: Because I apparently have to much time on my
: hands I started to think why would a U boat
: risk attacking a WEST bound ship let alone
: an entire convoy of empty ships that might
: be carrying German PoWs.
: I would think the emphasis would be on
: loaded ships, and I realized all of what I
: have read talks about attacks on east bound
: Yes I realize it's a nit to pick and it is a
: movie, albeit a good one.
: So did U Boats attack empty convoys headed
: west? Seems like an equal risk for much less
: gain and loaded ships heading east seem much
: more valuable given a choice.