Convoy OA 178
|Convoy OA 178|
|Part of World War II|
|Commanders and leaders|
|OTL Oskar Dinort (StG 2)||Comm:Capt. RP Galer RD, RNR
Escort: Lt Cdr Frederick J.G. Jones RD, RNR (HMS Clarkia)
|2 Gruppen of dive bombers from StG 2,
A force of E-boats
|1 corvette, 1 destroyer
14 merchant ships
|Casualties and losses|
|none||4 ships sunk
Convoy OA 178 (OA: UK (Thames) Outbound 1939–41) was an Atlantic convoy that sailed in July 1940 from the Thames Estuary via the English Channel, prior to dispersal to various transatlantic destinations.
Departure and escort
OA 178 assembled off Southend-on-Sea on the coast of Essex and departed on 3 July. It consisted of 14 merchant ships, escorted by the Flower class corvette HMS Clarkia. Convoy Commodore was Capt. RP Galer, in SS Peterton. The convoy passed the Straits of Dover during the night of 3/4 July and by the afternoon of 4 July was in the Channel, some 20 nautical miles (37 km; 23 mi) south of Portland Bill.
At about 1300 hrs on 4 July two Gruppen of Junkers Ju 87 dive bombers from StG 2 attacked the convoy in the English Channel off Portland Bill. The Stukas were armed with 50 kilograms (110 lb) bombs and attacked in waves of six aircraft. There was no Allied air cover and the attack lasted about two hours.
In this attack one ship, MV Dallas City was sunk and five ships, SS Antonio, SS Argos Hill, SS Briarwood, SS Eastmoor and Danish turbine steamer TS Lifland were damaged. The Antonio rescued 67 survivors, including two with serious injuries, from ships that were sunk.
Some ships of the convoy took shelter in Portland Harbour, where the Luftwaffe attacked them again. Also in Portland Harbour were a number of other ships, which were hit in the attack. The Royal Navy anti-aircraft ship HMS Foylebank was severely damaged, and sank the next day with the loss of 176 lives. The tug Silverdial was also sunk and the cargo ships SS City of Melbourne, SS East Wales and MV William Wilberforce were damaged.
Bombs had damaged the Antonio's rudder and the stanchions supporting her propellor shaft. She had to reduce speed and did not reach anchorage in Portland Harbour until about 2300 hrs. The continuing air raid prevented her from landing the survivors she had rescued until mid-day on 5 July.
At dusk those members of the convoy that had remained at sea were 13 miles (21 km) south of Portland when they were attacked by German E-boats. Four ships were sunk, and one damaged. The cargo ship SS Elmcrest was sunk by a torpedo and 16 of her crew were lost. SS Hartlepool was damaged.
Also lost were the Dutch ships SS Britsum and SS Deucalion, and the Estonian ship SS Kolga. The Deucalion's wreck lies south of Selsey Bill, which suggests that either she was a straggler or she was dive-bombed before the main air raid off Portland Bill.
Allied ships sunk
|Date||Name||Nationality||Casualties||Tonnage (GRT)||Sunk by…|
|4 July 1940||Dallas City||British||4,952||aircraft|
|4 July 1940||Britsum||Dutch||5,255||aircraft|
|4 July 1940||Deucalion||Dutch||1,796||aircraft|
|4 July 1940||Kolga||Estonian||1||3,526||E-boat S-19|
|4 July 1940||Elmcrest||British||16||4,343||E-boat S-20|
- Slader, 1988, page 55
- A.Hague: OA 178 at convoyweb
- Webster, Peter; Quinn, Peter (17 October 2005). "The Story of the SS Dover Hill in Russia, 1943". WW2 People's War. BBC. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
- "Day 308 July 4, 1940". World War II Day-by-Day. 4 July 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
- Allen, Tony (2010). "SS Deucalion (+1940)". The Wreck Site. Retrieved 26 July 2010.