Convoy HX 112

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Convoy HX 112
Part of Second World War
Date 15/17 March 1941
Location Western Approaches
Result British victory
Belligerents
War Ensign of Germany 1938-1945.svg Germany Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Commanders and leaders
Admiral Karl Dönitz convoy:
escort : Cdr Donald Macintyre
Strength
5 U-boats 41 ships
6 escorts
Casualties and losses
2 U-boats sunk 6 ships sunk

HX 112 was a North Atlantic convoy of the HX series which ran during the battle of the Atlantic in the Second World War. It was notable in that it saw the loss of U-boats commanded by two of the Kriegsmarine's (KM) foremost U-boat aces, U-99 with Korvettenkapitän Otto Kretschmer (POW) and U-100 with Kapitanleutnant Joachim Schepke (KIA).

Prelude[edit]

HX.112 was an east-bound convoy of ships which sailed from Halifax on 1 March 1941, making for Liverpool with war materials. Many of the ships in HX.112 were tankers carrying fuel oil to Britain.

It was escorted by 5th Escort Group which consisted of two destroyers, HMS Walker and HMS Vanoc and two corvettes, and was led by Commander Donald Macintyre of HMS Walker. 5th Escort Group was reinforced on this occasion by an additional two destroyers, in view of the importance of the cargo, and met the convoy as it entered the Western Approaches.

On 15 March 1941 HX.112 was sighted by U-110 commanded by Fritz-Julius Lemp, who sent in a sighting report and commenced shadowing the convoy. He was joined throughout the day by four other boats; U-99 (Kretschmer) U-100 (Schepke) U-37 (Clausen) and U-74 (Kentrat).

Action[edit]

On the night of 15th/16th the attack started; U-100 was able to torpedo a tanker, which burst into flames, but survived to reach port; all other attacks that night were frustrated by the activities of the escorts.

Keeping up with the convoy on the surface during the day, the pack tried again as night fell on the 16th.

U-99 managed to penetrate the convoy from the north, on its port side, and sank four tankers and a freighter in under an hour. Remaining with the central column of the convoy she sank another freighter 15 minutes later before making her getaway.

Meanwhile the escorts, searching for U-boats outside the convoy perimeter, found U-100 around 1.30am moving in on the surface. She dived, but Walker attacked with a depth charge pattern at close range. U-100 evaded further damage, and surfaced, to be sighted and rammed by Vanoc just after 3am; Schepke was killed when Vanoc smashed into his periscope structure and U100 went down with most of her crew.

As this was happening, U-99 was making her escape; she nearly collided with a destroyer in the dark and dived. Picked up on ASDIC by Walker, she was depth-charged and severely damaged. Saving U-99 from being crushed as she sank deeper and deeper, Kretschmer brought her to the surface, where she was fired on by the encircling warships. U-99 was sunk, but Kretschmer and most of his crew were saved, to be taken prisoner.

There were no further attacks on HX.112 and the convoy arrived in Liverpool on 20 March.

Ships in the convoy[2][edit]

Name Flag Tonnage (GRT) Notes
Ahamo (1926)  United Kingdom 8,621
Auris (1935)  United Kingdom 8,030
Beduin (1936)  Norway 8,136 Torpedoed by U-99, Wreck sunk by convoy escort
Bic Island (1917)  United Kingdom 4,000
HMCS Bittersweet (K182)  Royal Canadian Navy Escort 10 Mar - 10 Mar
Corvette
Black Condor (1921)  United Kingdom 5,358
HMS Bluebell (K80)  Royal Navy Escort 15 Mar - 18 Mar
Corvette
Bonde (1936)  Norway 1,570 Returned
British Commodore (1923)  United Kingdom 6,865 Arrived after collision off Liverpool 20 Mar
British Sincerity (1939)  United Kingdom 8,538 Joined Ex BHX 112
Chaucer (1929)  United Kingdom 5,792
Cistula (1939)  Netherlands 8,097 Joined Ex BHX 112, Straggled 10 Mar 41
City Of Oxford (1926)  United Kingdom 2,759
Dalcross (1930)  United Kingdom 4,557
Diloma (1939)  United Kingdom 8,146 Joined Ex BHX 112
Elona (1936)  United Kingdom 6,192 Joined Ex BHX 112
Erodona (1937)  United Kingdom 6,207 Torpedoed by U-110
Everleigh (1930)  United Kingdom 5,222
HMCS Fennel (K194)  Royal Canadian Navy Escort 10 Mar - 10 Mar
Corvette
Ferm (1933)  Norway 6,593 Torpedoed by U-99 16 Mar. Wreck sank 21 Mar
Franche-Comté (1936)  United Kingdom 9,314 Damaged by U-99 16 Mar; Storing Hulk
Gloucester City (1919)  United Kingdom 3,071 Straggled 10 Mar 41
Ixion (1912)  United Kingdom 10,263 Joined Ex BHX 112, Straggled 10 Mar
J B White (1919)  Canada 7,375 Sunk by U-99
Katendrecht (1925)  Netherlands 5,099 Joined Ex BHX 112
Korshamn (1920)  Sweden 6,673 Sunk by U-99 16 Mar
Lancaster Castle (1937)  United Kingdom 5,172
Lima (1918)  Sweden 3,762
Margarita Chandris (1920)  Greece 5,401 Straggled 10 Mar
Mosli (1935)  Norway 8,291
Mount Kassion (1918)  Greece 7,914
Norefjord (1920)  Norway 3,082
HMS Norfolk (78)  Royal Navy Escort 05 Mar - 14 Mar
Heavy cruiser
Ocana (1938)  Netherlands 6,256 Joined Ex BHX 112
Oilreliance (1929)  United Kingdom 5,666 Joined Ex BHX 112
Ranpura  Royal Navy Escort 10 Mar - 14 Mar
AMC
Reynolds (1927)  United Kingdom 5,113
Robert F Hand (1933)  United Kingdom 12,197 Joined Ex BHX 112, Straggled 10 Mar
San Cipriano (1937)  United Kingdom 7,966 Joined Ex BHX 112
HMS Sardonyx (H26)  Royal Navy Escort 15 Mar - 19 Mar
WW1-era Destroyer
HMS Scimitar (H21)  Royal Navy Escort 15 Mar - 19 Mar
WW1-era Destroyer
Silvercedar (1924)  United Kingdom 4,354 Later torpedoed and lost in Convoy SC 48 on 15 Oct 1941
Stad Haarlem (1929)  Netherlands 4,518
HMS Syringa  Royal Navy Escort 15 Mar - 18 Mar
Tortuguero (1921)  United Kingdom 5,285
Traveller (1922)  United Kingdom 3,963 Joined Ex BHX 112. Straggled 10 Mar
Trekieve (1919)  United Kingdom 5,244
HMS Vanoc (H33)  Royal Navy Escort 15 Mar - 20 Mar
Destroyer
Venetia (1927)  United Kingdom 5,728 Sunk by U-99 16 Mar
HMS Viceroy (D91)  Royal Navy Escort 15 Mar
Destroyer
Volunteer  Royal Navy Escort 16 Mar - 20 Mar
HMS Walker (D27)  Royal Navy Escort 15 Mar - 19 Mar
Destroyer
Westland (1931)  Netherlands 5,888 Straggled 10 Mar, Returned New York City
Winamac (1926)  United Kingdom 8,621 Joined Ex BHX 112. Straggled 10 Mar

Conclusion[edit]

HX.112 had lost six ships totalling 50,000 tons. However, the loss of two of the Kriegsmarine's U-boat aces, one of which was the highest scoring submarine commander of the Second World War, was a severe blow to the Kriegsmarine offensive. The defence of HX.112, coupled with the successful defence of Convoy OB-293 and the loss of U-boat ace Günther Prien along with his sub German submarine U-47 (1938) the previous week, marked a minor turning point in the Atlantic campaign.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Convoy HX.112". Arnold Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Convoy HX.112". Arnold Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  • Stephen Roskill : The War at Sea 1939-1945 Vol I (1954). ISBN (none)
  • Dan van der Vat : The Atlantic Campaign (1988). ISBN 0-340-37751-8
  • Arnold Hague : The Allied Convoy System 1939-1945 (2000). ISBN (Canada) 1 55125 033 0 . ISBN (UK) 1 86176 147 3
  • Paul Kemp  : U-Boats Destroyed ( 1997). ISBN 1-85409-515-3
  • Axel Neistle  : German U-Boat Losses during World War II (1998). ISBN 1-85367-352-8