Convoy SC 118
|Convoy SC 118|
|Part of Battle of the Atlantic|
USS Schenck (DD-159)
| United Kingdom
|Commanders and leaders|
|CAPT H C C Forsyth RNR
CDR Proudfoot RN
|Admiral Karl Dönitz|
|Casualties and losses|
|8 freighters sunk (51,592GRT)
|3 submarines sunk
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. The ships departed New York City on 24 January 1943 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.
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. 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.
A careless merchant seaman of convoy SC-118 accidentally fired a pyrotechnic snowflake projector aboard SS Annik in the pre-dawn darkness of 4 February. 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). The destroyers rescued 44 of the submarine's crew. 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.
On 5 February the convoy escort was reinforced by the USCG Treasury Class Cutter Ingham and the Wickes class destroyers Babbitt and Schenck from Iceland. The reinforced escort damaged U-262 and U-267.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
B-17 Flying Fortress J of No. 220 Squadron RAF sank U-614 on 7 February. U-402 sank British freighter Newton Ash that night. On 9 February Kapitänleutnant von Forstner was awarded the Knight's 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.
Ships in convoy 
|Acme (1916)||6,878 gross register tons (GRT)||petrol & oil|
|Adamas (1918)||(none)||4,144 GRT||steel & lumber||sank 8 Feb after collision with Samuel Huntington|
|African Prince (1939)||8,031 GRT||bauxite and ammunition||carried convoy commodore Capt H C C Forsyth RD RNR|
|Afrika (1920)||23||8,597 GRT||4,000 tons steel & 7,000 tons general cargo||sunk by U-402 7 Feb|
|Ann Skakel (1920)||4,949 GRT||general cargo||veteran of convoy SC 107; detached to Iceland 9 Feb|
|Annik (1940)||1,333 GRT||general cargo||detached to Iceland 9 Feb|
|Arizpa (1920)||0||5,437 GRT||stores|
|Athelprince (1926)||8,782 GRT||diesel & naptha||convoy vice commodore was ship's master|
|Baron Haig (1926)||3,391 GRT||sugar|
|Baron Ramsey (1929)||3,650 GRT||iron ore||veteran of convoy SC 42|
|Bestik (1920)||2,684 GRT||steel & lumber|
|Blairdevon (1925)||3,282 GRT||steel & lumber|
|Celtic Star (1918)||5,575 GRT||refrigerated & general cargo|
|Cetus (1920)||2,614 GRT||sugar||veteran of convoy HX 84; survived this convoy and convoy SC 130|
|City of Khios (1925)||5,574 GRT||sugar|
|Daghild (1927)||(none)||9,272 GRT||13,000 tons diesel||veteran of convoy ON 127; sunk by U-402, U-614 & U-608|
|Dallington Court (1929)||6,889 GRT||wheat||survived this convoy and convoy SC 130|
|Danae II (1936)||2,660 GRT||bauxite||veteran of convoy HX 84|
|Danby (1937)||4,281 GRT||linseed & grain|
|Daylight (1931)||9,180 GRT||general cargo||escort oiler; detached to Iceland 9 Feb; survived this convoy and convoy SC 130|
|Deido (1928)||3,894 GRT||petrol|
|Dettifoss (1930)||1,564 GRT||general cargo||detached to Iceland 9 Feb|
|Dordrecht (1928)||4,402 GRT||palm oil||returned to Halifax|
|Empire Gareth (1942)||2,847 GRT||bauxite|
|Empire Liberty (1941)||7,157 GRT||general cargo|
|Glarona (1928)||9,912 GRT||fuel oil & diesel|
|Gogra (1919)||5,190 GRT||general cargo|
|Gold Shell (1931)||8,208 GRT||petrol|
|Grey County (1918)||3||5,194 GRT||general cargo|
|Gulf of Mexico (1917)||7,807 GRT||oil & petrol|
|H M Flagler (1918)||8,208 GRT||furnace fuel oil||escort oiler|
|Harmala (1935)||53||5,730 GRT||8,500 tons iron ore||straggled and sunk by U-614 7 Feb|
|Helder (1920)||3,629 GRT||general cargo|
|Henry Mallory (1916)||272||6,063 GRT||383 passengers & general cargo||veteran of convoy ON 154; sunk by U-402 7 Feb|
|Ioannis Frangos (1912)||3,442 GRT||grain|
|Julius Thomsen (1927)||1,151 GRT||detached to Greenland|
|Kalliopi (1910)||4||4,965 GRT||6,500 tons steel & lumber||sunk by U-402 7 Feb|
|King Stephen (1928)||5,274 GRT||grain|
|Kiruna (1921)||5,484 GRT||general cargo||veteran of convoy HX 79 and convoy ON 154|
|Lagarfoss (1904)||1,211 GRT||general cargo||detached to Iceland 9 Feb; survived this convoy and convoy SC 130|
|Makedonia (1942)||7,044 GRT||flour|
|Mana (1920)||3,283 GRT||general cargo||detached to Iceland 9 Feb|
|Maud (1930)||3,189 GRT||sugar|
|New York City (1917)||2,710 GRT||general cargo||veteran of convoy SC 107|
|Newton Ash (1925)||32||4,625 GRT||6,500 tons grain, mail & military stores||sunk by U-402 7 Feb|
|Norbryn (1922)||5,087 GRT||tea & rubber|
|Permian (1931)||8,890 GRT||survived this convoy and convoy SC 122|
|Petter II (1922)||7,417 GRT||gas oil|
|Polyktor (1914)||4,077 GRT||grain||sunk by U-266|
|Radmanso (1914)||4,280 GRT||sulphur|
|Radport (1925)||5,355 GRT||general cargo|
|Redgate (1929)||4,323 GRT||general cargo|
|Robert E. Hopkins (1921)||(none)||6,625 GRT||8,500 tons furnace fuel oil||escort oiler; sunk by U-402 7 Feb|
|Samuel Huntington (1942)||7,181 GRT||general cargo||Liberty ship|
|Sheaf Holme (1929)||4,814 GRT||potash & general cargo||survived this convoy and convoy SC 130|
|Sommerstad (1926)||5,923 GRT||lubricating oil|
|Stad Arnhem (1920)||3,819 GRT||phosphates|
|Tilemachos (1911)||3,658 GRT||grain|
|Toward (1923)||58||1,571 GRT||rescue ship; sunk by U-402 7 Feb|
|Vacuum (1920)||7,020 GRT||petrol|
|West Portal (1920)||5,376 GRT||stores||straggled and sunk by U-413 4 Feb|
|William Penn (1921)||8,447 GRT||petrol|
|Yemassee (1922)||2,001 GRT||general cargo||detached to Iceland 9 Feb|
|Zagloba (1938)||2,864 GRT||ammunition & general cargo||sunk by U-262 4 Feb|
- Hague 2000 p.133
- Hague 2000 p.135
- Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.191
- Tarrant p.108
- Hague pp.132, 137-138, 161-162, 164, 181
- Waters December 1966 p.96
- Waters December 1966 p.97
- Waters December 1966 p.98
- Hague 2000 p.137
- Waters December 1966 p.102
- Waters December 1966 p.103
- Morison 1975 p.336
- "SC convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
- 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.