5th Escort Group (Royal Navy)

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5th Escort Group
ActiveMarch 1941-December 1941
Country United Kingdom
AllegianceBritish Empire
BranchRoyal Navy
TypeEscort Group
RoleAnti-Submarine Warfare
Size~7 ships
Part ofWestern Approaches Command
EngagementsConvoy HX 112
Cdr D MacIntyre

5th Escort Group was a British formation of the Royal Navy which saw action during the Second World War, principally in the Battle of the Atlantic.


5th Escort Group (5 EG) was formed in March 1941, one of the earliest escort groups to be set up. Led by Commander Donald MacIntyre as Senior Officer Escort (SOE) in HMS Walker, 5 EG comprised the V-class destroyers Vanoc and Volunteer, the S-class destroyer Sardonyx and Scimitar and the Flower-class corvettes Bluebell and Hydrangea.[1]

Service history[edit]

5 EG's first action was a major convoy battle in defence of HX 112 in March 1941. This saw the loss of 5 ships but also the destruction of two U-boats U-99 and U-100, commanded by leading U-boat aces Kretschmer and Schepke.[2] 5 EG continued on escort duty in the North Atlantic but this became uneventful due to a downturn in the U-boat effectiveness in Summer of 1941. This was due to the loss of three U-boat aces in March, and British Intelligence penetration of the U-boat Arms Enigma code after April. In 5 June EG moved to escort south- and north-bound convoys to and from Gibraltar and the South Atlantic. These too were successful, despite the threat across the Bay of Biscay of both air and U-boat attack. In October 1941 5 EG returned to escort duty in the North Atlantic.

The group underwent several changes, as ships were transferred, or were docked for extended repair. In December 1941 Macintyre was posted to Argentia as liaison officer, and, as all the ships had become worn out, 5 EG was disbanded after nine months service. During this period 5 EG had escorted over two dozen convoys, totalling over 700 ships of which just 12 were lost.[3] No warships were lost from the group, which accounted for two U-boats in its career.

Table: convoys escorted[edit]

Outbound Homebound
. HX 112
OG 57 .
OB 308 HX 118
OB 311 HX 120
OB 312 HX 122
OB 322 HX 125A
OB 327 HX 128
OB 333 HG 64
OG 66 SL 77
OG 68/OS 1 HG 68
. SL 82
OS 4 SL 85/HG 72
ON 20 SC 46
ON 27 HX 115
ON 34 SC 53
. HX 162


  1. ^ Blair p. 255
  2. ^ Blair pp. 255-258
  3. ^ Hague app 3


  • Blair, Clay (2000). Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters 1939-1942. ISBN 0-304-35260-8.
  • Arnold Hague : The Allied Convoy System 1939–1945 (2000). ISBN 1 55125 033 0 (Canada); ISBN 1 86176 147 3 (UK).
  • Kemp, Paul (1997). U-Boats Destroyed, German submarine losses in the World Wars. Arms and Armour. ISBN 1-85409-515-3.
  • Macintyre Donald : U-Boat Killer (1956) ISBN (none)
  • Niestle, Axel (1998). German U-Boat Losses During World War II. Greenhill. ISBN 1-85367-352-8.
  • Stephen Roskill : The War at Sea 1939–1945 Vol I (1954). ISBN (none)

External links[edit]