Convoy SC 118

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Convoy SC-118)
Jump to: navigation, search
Convoy SC 118
Part of Battle of the Atlantic
USSSchneckDD159.jpg
USS Schenck (DD-159)
Date 4–7 February 1943
Location North Atlantic
Result German tactical victory
Belligerents
 United Kingdom
 Canada
 United States
 Germany
Commanders and leaders
CAPT H C C Forsyth RNR
CDR Proudfoot RN
Admiral Karl Dönitz
Strength
64 freighters
5 destroyers
2 cutters
4 corvettes
20 submarines
Casualties and losses
8 freighters sunk (51,592GRT)
445 killed/drowned
3 submarines sunk
101 killed/drowned
45 captured

Convoy SC-118 was the 118th of the numbered series of World War II Slow Convoys of merchant ships from Sydney, Cape Breton Island to Liverpool.[1] The ships departed New York City on 24 January 1943[2] and were met by Mid-Ocean Escort Force Group B-2 consisting of V class destroyers Vanessa and Vimy, the USCG Treasury Class Cutter Bibb, the Town class destroyer Beverley, Flower class corvettes Campanula, Mignonette, Abelia and Lobelia, and the convoy rescue ship Toward.[3]

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.[4] However, only 20 percent of the 180 trans-Atlantic convoys sailing from the end of July 1942 until the end of April 1943 lost ships to U-boat attack.[5]

On 2 February U-456 sank three ships from convoy HX 224. A survivor of one of the sunken ships was picked up by U-632 and told his rescuers a slower convoy was following behind HX-224.[6]

Battle[edit]

4 February 1943[edit]

A careless merchant seaman of convoy SC-118 accidentally fired a pyrotechnic snowflake projector aboard the Norwegian freighter SS Vannik in the pre-dawn darkness of 4 February.[6] U-187 observed the snowflake display, reported sighting the convoy, and was promptly sunk by Beverly and Vimy after Bibb and Toward triangulated her location from the sighting report, using High-Frequency radio Direction-Finder (HF/DF or Huff-Duff).[3] The destroyers rescued 44 of the submarine's crew.[7] The Polish freighter Zagloba was torpedoed on the unprotected side of the convoy by U-262 and U-413 torpedoed the straggling American freighter West Portal.[3]

5 February 1943[edit]

On 5 February the convoy escort was reinforced by the USCG Treasury Class Cutter Ingham and the Wickes class destroyers USS Babbitt and USS Schenck from Iceland.[3] The reinforced escort damaged U-262 and U-267.[8]

7 February 1943[edit]

In the pre-dawn hours of 7 February, U-boat Ace Kapitänleutnant Siegfried von Forstner's U-402 torpedoed the British freighter Afrika, Norwegian tanker Daghild, Greek freighter Kalliopi, American tanker Robert E. Hopkins, American cargo liner Henry R. Mallory, and Convoy rescue ship Toward.[9]

Henry R. Mallory was capable of 14 knots but had been straggling well astern of the convoy for several days and was not zig-zagging in that exposed position.[10] Mallory would normally have been assigned to one of the faster HX convoys, but there had been no Iceland section of the preceding convoy HX-224.[10] No commands came from the bridge after Mallory was torpedoed, no flares were sent up, no radio distress message was sent out, and no orders were given to abandon ship.[11] There were heavy casualties from Mallory's crew of 77, 34 Navy gunners, and the 136 American soldiers, 172 American sailors, and 72 American Marines she was transporting to Iceland.[12]

U-614 sank the straggling British freighter Harmala[9] while Lobelia sank U-609.[3]

B-17 Flying Fortress J of No. 220 Squadron RAF sank U-614 on 7 February.[3] U-402 sank British freighter Newton Ash that night. On 9 February Kapitänleutnant von Forstner was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for ships sunk by U-402 from this convoy and from Convoy SC-107 on the previous patrol. SC-118 reached Liverpool without further loss on 12 February.[2]

Ships in convoy[edit]

Name[13] Flag[13] Dead[9] Tonnage (GRT)[13] Cargo[9] Notes[13]
Acme (1916)  United States 6,878 Petrol & oil
Adamas (1918)  Greece 0 4,144 Steel & lumber Sank 8 Feb after collision with Samuel Huntington
African Prince (1939)  United Kingdom 8,031 Bauxite and ammunition Carried convoy commodore Capt H C C Forsyth RD RNR
Afrika (1920)  United Kingdom 23 8,597 4,000 tons steel & 7,000 tons general cargo Sunk by U-402 7 Feb
Ann Skakel (1920)  United States 4,949 General cargo Veteran of convoy SC 107; Detached to Iceland 9 Feb
Arizpa (1920)  United States 0 5,437 Stores
Athelprince (1926)  United Kingdom 8,782 Diesel & naptha Convoy vice-commodore was ship's master
Baron Haig (1926)  United Kingdom 3,391 Sugar
Baron Ramsey (1929)  United Kingdom 3,650 Iron ore Veteran of convoy SC 42
Bestik (1920)  Norway 2,684 Steel & lumber
Blairdevon (1925)  United Kingdom 3,282 Steel & lumber
Celtic Star (1918)  United Kingdom 5,575 refrigerated & general cargo
Cetus (1920)  Norway 2,614 Sugar Veteran of convoy HX 84; survived this convoy and convoy SC 130
City of Khios (1925)  United Kingdom 5,574 Sugar
Daghild (1927)  Norway 0 9,272 13,000 tons Diesel Veteran of convoy ON 127; sunk by U-402, U-614 & U-608
Dallington Court (1929)  United Kingdom 6,889 Wheat Survived this convoy and convoy SC 130
Danae II (1936)  United Kingdom 2,660 Bauxite Veteran of convoy HX 84
Danby (1937)  United Kingdom 4,281 Linseed & grain
Daylight (1931)  United States 9,180 General cargo Escort oiler; Detached to Iceland 9 Feb; survived this convoy and convoy SC 130
Deido (1928)  United Kingdom 3,894 Petrol
Dettifoss (1930)  Iceland 1,564 General cargo Detached to Iceland 9 Feb
Dordrecht (1928)  Netherlands 4,402 Palm oil Returned to Halifax
Empire Gareth (1942)  United Kingdom 2,847 Bauxite
Empire Liberty (1941)  United Kingdom 7,157 General cargo
Glarona (1928)  Norway 9,912 fuel oil & Diesel
Gogra (1919)  United Kingdom 5,190 General cargo
Gold Shell (1931)  United Kingdom 8,208 Petrol
Grey County (1918)  Norway 3 5,194 General cargo
Gulf of Mexico (1917)  United States 7,807 Oil & petrol
H M Flagler (1918)  Panama 8,208 Furnace fuel oil Escort oiler
Harmala (1935)  United Kingdom 53 5,730 8,500 tons iron ore Straggled and sunk by U-614 7 Feb
Helder (1920)  Netherlands 3,629 General cargo
Henry Mallory (1916)  United States 272 6,063 383 passengers & general cargo Veteran of convoy ON 154; sunk by U-402 7 Feb
Ioannis Frangos (1912)  Greece 3,442 Grain
Julius Thomsen (1927)  Denmark 1,151 Detached to Greenland
Kalliopi (1910)  Greece 4 4,965 6,500 tons steel & lumber Sunk by U-402 7 Feb
King Stephen (1928)  United Kingdom 5,274 Grain
Kiruna (1921)  Sweden 5,484 General cargo Veteran of convoy HX 79 and convoy ON 154
Lagarfoss (1904)  Iceland 1,211 General cargo Detached to Iceland 9 Feb; survived this convoy and convoy SC 130
Makedonia (1942)  Greece 7,044 Flour
Mana (1920)  Honduras 3,283 General cargo Detached to Iceland 9 Feb
Maud (1930)  Norway 3,189 Sugar
New York City (1917)  United Kingdom 2,710 General cargo Veteran of convoy SC 107
Newton Ash (1925)  United Kingdom 32 4,625 6,500 tons grain, mail & military stores Sunk by U-402 7 Feb
Norbryn (1922)  Norway 5,087 Tea & rubber
Permian (1931)  Panama 8,890 Survived this convoy and convoy SC 122
Petter II (1922)  Norway 7,417 Gas oil
Polyktor (1914)  Greece 4,077 Grain Sunk by U-266
Radmanso (1914)  Sweden 4,280 Sulphur
Radport (1925)  United Kingdom 5,355 General cargo
Redgate (1929)  United Kingdom 4,323 General cargo
Robert E. Hopkins (1921)  United States 0 6,625 8,500 tons furnace fuel oil Escort oiler; sunk by U-402 7 Feb
Samuel Huntington (1942)  United States 7,181 General cargo Liberty ship
Sheaf Holme (1929)  United Kingdom 4,814 Potash & general cargo Survived this convoy and convoy SC 130
Sommerstad (1926)  Norway 5,923 Lubricating oil
Stad Arnhem (1920)  Netherlands 3,819 Phosphates
Tilemachos (1911)  Greece 3,658 Grain
Toward (1923)  United Kingdom 58 1,571 Rescue ship; sunk by U-402 7 Feb
Vacuum (1920)  United States 7,020 Petrol
Vannik (1940)  Norway 1,333 General cargo Detached to Iceland 9 Feb
West Portal (1920)  United States 5,376 Stores Straggled and sunk by U-413 4 Feb
William Penn (1921)  United States 8,447 Petrol
Yemassee (1922)  Panama 2,001 General cargo Detached to Iceland 9 Feb
Zagloba (1938)  Poland 2,864 Ammunition & general cargo Sunk by U-262 4 Feb

See Also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Hague 2000 p.133
  2. ^ a b Hague 2000 p.135
  3. ^ a b c d e f Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.191
  4. ^ Tarrant p.108
  5. ^ Hague pp.132, 137-138, 161-162, 164, 181
  6. ^ a b Waters December 1966 p.96
  7. ^ Waters December 1966 p.97
  8. ^ Waters December 1966 p.98
  9. ^ a b c d Hague 2000 p.137
  10. ^ a b Waters December 1966 p.102
  11. ^ Waters December 1966 p.103
  12. ^ Morison 1975 p.336
  13. ^ a b c d "SC convoys". Arnold Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 

References[edit]

  • Edwards, Bernard (1996). Dönitz and the Wolf Packs - The U-boats at War. pp. 141–145, 147–151, 199. ISBN 0-304-35203-9. 
  • 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. 
  • Waters, John M. Jr., CAPT USCG (December 1966). Stay Tough. United States Naval Institute Proceedings.