Convoy ON 144

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Convoy ON 144
Part of Battle of the Atlantic
HMS Vervain 4 inch Mk IX gun 1942 IWM A 10666.jpg
Bow of the corvette HMS Vervain
Date 15–18 November 1942
Location North Atlantic
Result German tactical victory
Belligerents
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Norway Norway
War Ensign of Germany 1938-1945.svg Germany
Commanders and leaders
CAPT J K Brook RNR
LCDR Monssen RNorN[1]
Admiral Karl Dönitz
Strength
33 freighters[1]
5 corvettes
10 submarines
Casualties and losses
5 freighters sunk (25,396 GRT)
86 killed/drowned
1 corvette sunk
47 killed/drowned
1 submarine sunk
50 killed/drowned

Convoy ON 144 was a trade convoy of merchant ships during the second World War. It was the 144th of the numbered series of ON convoys Outbound from the British Isles to North America. The ships departed Liverpool on 7 November 1942 and were joined on 8 November [2] by Mid-Ocean Escort Force Group B-6 consisting of the Flower class corvettes Vervain, Potentilla, Eglantine, Montbretia and Rose[1] and the convoy rescue ship Perth.[3] Group B-6 had sailed without the destroyers Fame and Viscount which had been damaged in the battle for eastbound convoy SC 104. The United States Coast Guard cutters Bibb, Duane, and Ingham accompanied the convoy from the Western Approaches with ships that detached for Iceland on 15 November.[4]

Background[edit]

As western Atlantic coastal convoys brought an end to the second happy time, Admiral Karl Dönitz, the Befehlshaber der U-Boote (BdU) or commander in chief of U-Boats, shifted focus to the mid-Atlantic to avoid aircraft patrols. Although convoy routing was less predictable in the mid-ocean, Dönitz anticipated that the increased numbers of U-boats being produced would be able to effectively search for convoys with the advantage of intelligence gained through B-Dienst decryption of British Naval Cypher Number 3.[5] However, of the 180 trans-Atlantic convoys sailing from the end of July 1942 until the end of April 1943, only 20 percent lost ships to U-boat attack.

The Norwegian-manned corvettes of escort group B-6 fought three of these convoy battles in sequential voyages with convoys SC 104, ON 144, and HX 217.[6]

15 November[edit]

After rendezvousing with convoys to and from Iceland, Convoy ON 144 was discovered and shadowed by U-521.[7]

16 November[edit]

When initial attempts to summon additional U-boats to the convoy were unsuccessful, U-521 was granted permission to attack, and missed with a salvo of six torpedoes.[7] Rose unsuccessfully counterattacked with depth charges.[1]

17 November[edit]

U-184, U-262 and U-264 found the convoy and launched a simultaneous attack after sunset. U-262 missed with three torpedoes.[7] U-264 sank the 6,696-ton Greek freighter Mount Taurus, and U-184 sank the 3,192-ton British freighter Widestone.[2]

18 November[edit]

U-624, U-522, U-521, U-224, U-383, U-454 and U-753 launched torpedoes in the pre-dawn hours.[7] U-624 sank the 5,344-ton British tanker President Sergent and the 4,732-ton American freighter Parismina and damaged the 5,432-ton American freighter Yaka which was later sunk by U-522.[2] The Type 271 centimeter-wavelength radar-equipped corvettes counterattacked, and U-184 was sunk by one of those attacks. Montbretia was torpedoed by U-262 and sank while still moving forward.[7]

19 November[edit]

The U-boats had broken off the engagement by the time the four surviving corvettes were reinforced by the destroyers HMS Firedrake and HMS Badger, and the Western Local Escort Force assumed responsibility for the convoy on 20 November.[7]

Ships in Convoy[edit]

Name[4] Flag[4] Dead[2] Tonnage (GRT)[4] Cargo[2] Notes[4]
Agia Marina (1912)  Greece 4,151 Destination Halifax
Baxtergate (1925)  United Kingdom 5,531 Destination New York City
Bestik (1920)  Norway 2,684 Destination New York City
Borgfred (1925)  Norway 2,183 Coal Destination Halifax
Cetus (1920)  Norway 2,614 Destination New York City
Dimitros Inglessis (1918)  Greece 5,275 Destination St John, New Brunswick
Empire Stour (1930)  United Kingdom 4,696 Ferro manganese Destination Sydney, Nova Scotia
Fjallfoss (1919)  Iceland 1,451 Joined from Iceland on 15 November
Godafoss (1921)  Iceland 1,542 Joined from Iceland on 15 November
Governor John Lind (1918)  United States 3,431 Joined from Iceland on 15 November; Destination Halifax
Guido (1920)  United Kingdom 3,921 General cargo Destination New York City
Ingertre (1921)  Norway 2,462 Destination Halifax
Leonidas N. Condylis (1912)  Greece 3,923 Destination Halifax
Maycrest (1913)  United Kingdom 5,923 Destination New York City; ship's master was convoy vice-commodore
Minister Wedel (1930)  Norway 6,833 Destination New York City
Monkleigh (1927)  United Kingdom 5,203 Destination New York City
Moscha D. Kydoniefs (1915)  Greece 3,874 Destination Halifax
Mount Taurus (1920)  Greece 2 6,696 In Ballast Sunk by U-624
Nordeflinge (1942)  United Kingdom 2,873 Destination New York City
Norlom (1919)  Norway 6,412 Destination Halifax
Orwell (1905)  Norway 7,920 Destination New York City
Parismina (1908)  United States 22 4,732 In Ballast Joined from Iceland on 15 November; sunk by U-624 on 18 Nov
Perth (1915)  United Kingdom 2,259 Convoy rescue ship
President Sergent (1923)  United Kingdom 20 5,344 In Ballast Carried convoy commodore Capt J K Brook RNR. Sunk by U-624 on 18 Nov
Reigh Count (1907)  Panama 4,657 Destination New York City
Robert E. Hopkins (1921)  United States 6,625 Destination New York City
Selfoss (1914)  Iceland 775 Joined from Iceland on 15 November
Suderøy (1913)  Norway 7,562 Destination New York City
Tahchee (1914)  United Kingdom 6,508 Destination New York City
Titanian (1924)  Norway 4,880 Coal Destination Saint John, New Brunswick
Van de Velde (1919)  Netherlands 6,389 Coal Destination Boston
Widestone (1920)  United Kingdom 42 3,192 3,400 tons coal Sunk by U-184
Yaka (1920)  United States 0 5,432 In Ballast Joined from Iceland on 15 November; sunk by U-522
Yemassee (1922)  Panama 2,001 Joined from Iceland on 15 November; Destination New York City

See Also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Rohwer & Hummelchen pp.177&178
  2. ^ a b c d e Hague pp.158&161
  3. ^ Milner pp.180-181
  4. ^ a b c d e "ON convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  5. ^ Tarrant p.108
  6. ^ Hague pp.132, 137-138, 161-162, 164, 181
  7. ^ a b c d e f Blair pp.118-120

References[edit]

  • Blair, Clay (1998). Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunted 1942-1945. Random House. ISBN 0-679-45742-9. 
  • Hague, Arnold (2000). The Allied Convoy System 1939-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-019-3. 
  • Milner, Marc (1985). North Atlantic Run. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-450-0. 
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot (1975). History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume I The Battle of the Atlantic 1939-1943. Little, Brown and Company. 
  • Rohwer, J. and Hummelchen, G. (1992). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-105-X. 
  • Tarrant, V.E. (1989). The U-Boat Offensive 1914-1945. Arms and Armour. ISBN 1-85409-520-X.