Convoy ON 67
|Convoy ON 67|
|Part of Battle of the Atlantic|
| United States
|Commanders and leaders|
|Cmdr Albert C. Murdaugh, USN||Admiral Karl Dönitz|
|Casualties and losses|
|8 freighters sunk (54,750 GRT)
Convoy ON-67 was a trade convoy of merchant ships during the Second World War. It was the 67th of the numbered series of ON convoys Outbound from the British Isles to North America. The ships departed from Liverpool on 14 February 1942 with convoy rescue ship Toward, and were escorted to the Mid-Ocean Meeting Point by escort group B4.
The escort group
On 19 February the US task unit 4.1.5 assumed escort responsibility with Gleaves-class destroyers USS Edison and Nicholson, Wickes-class destroyers USS Lea and Bernadou and the Canadian Flower-class corvette HMCS Algoma. Edison's commanding officer, Commander Albert C. Murdaugh, USN, was the senior officer of the escort group. The escort group had never operated together before. Bernadou had been modified for long range escort work by replacing the fourth boiler and stack with an extra fuel tank. Toward carried a High-frequency direction finding (HF/DF) set, and Nicholson had the only functional radar. Lea carried a British ASV aircraft radar with fixed antennae, but the coaxial cable to the antennae was repeatedly shorted by salt water spray. Edison had no depth charge throwers, and was limited to a linear pattern rolled off the stern. The American ships did not have enough binoculars. Bernadou had a 7x50 pair for the officer of the deck and a 6x30 pair for the junior officer of the deck but there were none for the lookouts.
U-155 found and reported the convoy on 21 February. Toward obtained a bearing on the contact report, and Lea searched the bearing unsuccessfully at dusk. U-155 approached the port quarter of the convoy in the pre-dawn hours of 22 February and torpedoed the British tanker Adellen and Norwegian freighter Sama. Both ships sank quickly. Algoma rescued eleven of Adellen's crew of 31 while Nicholson and Toward found 20 survivors from Sama's crew of 50. U-155 crash-dived to avoid Bernadou, but the destroyer never saw the U-boat. U-155 made another emergency dive while shadowing the convoy at 1042 hrs, but Edison did not detect the U-boat. U-587, U-69 and U-558 found the convoy on 23 February.
U-558 approached the convoy at 2120, but repeatedly turned away to avoid Bernadou's patrols until a squall provided cover at midnight. U-558 torpedoed the Norwegian tanker Inverarder at 0045 hrs on 24 February. The tanker sank slowly and Toward rescued all 42 of the crew. U-558 approached again at 0230 hrs and fired a single torpedo at Edison. The torpedo missed, and Edison was unaware it had been fired at. U-558 torpedoed the Norwegian tanker Eidanger at 0255 hrs. U-558 reloaded and at 0550 hrs torpedoed the British tankers Anadara and Finnanger, and the British freighter White Crest. All three ships straggled and were sunk. Later that morning, the convoy commodore sent a signal to the escort commander regarding the performance of U-558: "That chap must be one of their best ones. I do hope you have done him in."
U-158 found the convoy at 0425 hrs on 24 February and torpedoed the British tanker Empire Celt. Empire Celt was using the Admiralty Net Defence system, streaming a strong steel net from 50-foot (15 m) booms along either side of the ship. One torpedo broke through the net and hit amidships. Empire Celt later broke in half, but a tug from Newfoundland rescued 31 from the crew of 37.
As U-558 was torpedoing ships on the starboard side of the convoy, U-158 approached the port side and torpedoed British tanker Diloma at 0635 hrs. Diloma was the only one of the torpedoed ships to successfully reach Halifax. Both U-158 and U-558 dived to avoid being seen in the early daylight. U-558 found and sank the Eidanger, drifting and abandoned astern of the convoy, with gunfire and a torpedo. All of Eidangers crew had been rescued. Lea investigated a DF bearing from Toward at 1515 and spotted U-558 20 miles astern of the convoy at 1707 hrs. Lea dropped eight depth charges at 1746 hrs, and then surprised the U-boat on the surface at 1813 and dropped 14 depth charges at 1847 hrs. U-558 was undamaged.
Nicholson investigated a DF bearing from Toward and sighted U-158 at 1323. U-158 dived and evaded Nicholson. Nicholson then slowed to listen. U-158 surfaced at 1550 hrs and was surprised to find Nicholson waiting 1,600 yards (1,500 m) away. U-158 crashed-dived before Nicholson saw the U-boat. U-158 surfaced again at 1817 and was surprised to find Edison 2,000 yards (1,800 m) away. U-158 again avoided detection by crash-diving. Edison finally spotted U-158 making another convoy approach at 2008 hrs and dropped 25 depth charges over the following six hours. U-158 was undamaged, but had been prevented from making further attacks on the convoy.
Admiral Karl Dönitz, the BdU or commander in chief of U-Boats, ordered his U-boats to discontinue the attack on 25 February. The escort was reinforced on 26 February by the Treasury-class cutter USCGC Spencer. The remainder of the convoy reached Halifax on 1 March 1942.
Ships in convoy
|Adellen (1930)||United Kingdom||36||7,984||In ballast||Sunk by U-155 22 Feb|
|Anadara (1935)||United Kingdom||62||8,009||In ballast||Sunk by U-558 & U-587 24 Feb|
|Belinda (1939)||Norway||8,325||Destination West Indies|
|Consuelo (1937)||United Kingdom||4,847||General cargo||Destination New York City; survived this convoy and convoy HX 228|
|Cristales (1926)||United Kingdom||5,389||Carried convoy vice-commodore Capt R H R MacKay OBE; in collision 24 Feb; destination Halifax|
|Daghestan (1941)||United Kingdom||7,248||CAM ship; destination Halifax|
|Dekabrist (1903)||Soviet Union||7,363||Destination New York City|
|Diloma (1939)||United Kingdom||8,146||Damaged by U-158; made Halifax|
|Dolabella (1939)||United Kingdom||8,142||Destination Curaçao|
|Dromus (1938)||United Kingdom||8,036||Destination Curaçao|
|Eidanger (1938)||Norway||0||9,432||In ballast||Sunk by U-558 24 Feb|
|Empire Celt (1941)||United Kingdom||6||8,032||In ballast||Sunk by U-158 24 Feb|
|Empire Druid (1941)||United Kingdom||9,813||Destination Port Arthur|
|Empire Pict (1941)||United Kingdom||8,134||Destination Baton Rouge|
|Empire Spray (1941)||United Kingdom||7,242||CAM ship; destination Halifax|
|Empire Steel (1941)||United Kingdom||8,138||Destination Port Arthur|
|Finnanger (1928)||Norway||39||9,551||In ballast||Sunk by U-558 24 Feb|
|Glittre (1928)||Norway||6,409||Destination Aruba; survived to be sunk one year later in convoy ON 166|
|Gloucester City (1919)||United Kingdom||3,071||General cargo||Destination Philadelphia|
|Hamlet (1934)||Norway||6,578||Joined from Iceland 19 Feb|
|Hektoria (1899)||United Kingdom||13,797||Destination New York City; survived to be sunk 7 months later in convoy ON 127|
|Idefjord (1921)||Norway||4,287||China clay||Destination Saint John, New Brunswick|
|Inverarder (1919)||Norway||0||5,578||In ballast||Sunk by U-558 24 Feb|
|Lancastrian Prince (1940)||United Kingdom||1,914||Destination New York City; survived this convoy and convoy HX 228|
|Manchester Exporter (1918)||United Kingdom||5,277||General cargo||Carried Convoy Commodore Rear Admiral Sir O H Dawson KBE; destination Halifax|
|Mentor (1914)||United Kingdom||7,383||General cargo||Destination Singapore|
|USS Mizar (1932)||United States Navy||6,982||Joined from Iceland 19 Feb|
|Nueva Andalucia (1940)||Norway||10,044||Destination Port Arthur|
|Orari (1931)||United Kingdom||10,350||China clay||Destination Trinidad|
|USS Pleiades (1939)||United States Navy||3,600||Joined from Iceland 19 Feb; survived this convoy and Convoy SC 107|
|Rapana (1935)||United Kingdom||8,017||Destination Curaçao|
|Sama (1937)||Norway||20||1,799||China clay||Sunk by U-155 22 Feb|
|Skandinavia (1940)||Norway||10,044||Destination Aruba; survived this convoy and convoy ON 166|
|Strinda (1937)||Norway||10,973||Destination Key West|
|Stuart Prince (1940)||United Kingdom||1,911||General cargo||Destination Halifax; survived this convoy and convoy HX 228|
|Thorhild (1935)||Norway||10,316||Destination Curaçao|
|Torr Head (1937)||United Kingdom||5,021||Destination Norfolk, Virginia|
|Toward (1923)||United Kingdom||1,571||convoy rescue ship|
|White Crest (1928)||United Kingdom||4,365||coal||Straggled 18 Feb; sunk by U-558 24 February|
- Hague (2000) p. 157,
- Rohwer & Hummelchen (1992) p. 114
- Abbazia (September 1975) p. 50
- Murdaugh (January 1976) p. 75
- Joslin (February 1976) p. 80
- Hagerman (February 1976) p. 80
- Murdaugh (January 1976) p. 74
- Joslin (February 1976) pp. 79–80
- Rohwer & Hummelchen (1992) p. 125
- Abbazia (September 1975) p. 51
- Hague (2000) p. 161
- Abbazia (September 1975) p. 53
- Abbazia (September 1975) p. 54
- Blair (1996) p. 510
- Blair (1996) p. 511
- Abbazia (September 1975) p. 57
- Abbazia (September 1975) pp. 54–55
- Abbazia (September 1975) p. 55
- Abbazia (September 1975) p. 56
- Hague (2000) p. 157
- "ON convoys". Arnold Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-05-26.
- Abbazia, Patrick (September 1975). "When the Good Shepherds Were Blind". Proceedings (Annapolis, MD: United States Naval Institute).
- Blair, Clay (1996). Hitler's U-Boat War. 2 The Hunters 1939–1942. Random House. ISBN 0-394-58839-8.
- Hague, Arnold (2000). The Allied Convoy System 1939–1945. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-019-3.
- Hagerman, Captain George M (February 1976). "Comment and Discussion". United States Naval Institute Proceedings.
- Joslin, Captain H.B. (February 1976). "Comment and Discussion". United States Naval Institute Proceedings.
- Murdaugh, Albert C. (January 1976). "Comment and Discussion". United States Naval Institute Proceedings.
- Rohwer, J; Hummelchen, G (1992). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-105-X.