Convoy SC 104
|Convoy SC 104|
|Part of World War II|
|Commanders and leaders|
|CinC:Admiral Karl Dönitz||Commodore: CAPT F H Taylor RN
Escort: CDR R Heathcote
|8 U-Boats||48 freighters
|Casualties and losses|
|2 U-boats sunk
2 U-boats damaged
|8 freighters sunk
2 destroyers damaged
Convoy SC-104 was the 104th of the numbered series of World War II Slow Convoys of merchant ships from Sydney, Cape Breton Island to Liverpool. During October 1942, a U-Boat wolf pack sank eight ships from the convoy. The convoy escorts sank two of the attacking submarines.
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.
Forty-seven ships departed New York City on 3 October 1942 and were met by Mid-Ocean Escort Force Group B-6 consisting of the E and F class destroyer Fame and V and W class destroyer Viscount, with the Norwegian-manned Flower class corvettes Potentilla, Eglantine, Montbretia, and Acanthus and the Convoy rescue ship Goathland.
The convoy was found and reported by U-258 on 11 October, and the other Wotan boats were ordered to join. By the evening of 12 October, U-258 had been joined by U-221 and U-356, and during the night of 12/13 October these boats attacked. U-258 and U-356 were unsuccessful, being driven off by the escorts, but U-221 was able to sink three ships: the Norwegian freighters Senta, and Fagersten, and the British freighter Ashworth.
On the 13th the three U-Boats continued to shadow the convoy, and were joined during the day by five other boats. On the night of the 13/14 October the wolf pack attacked again. This time U-221 sank two ships: the American freighter Susana and the British whale factory ship Southern Empress. U-607 torpedoed the Greek freighter Nellie, which later sank, but was itself attacked and severely damaged, and was forced to return to France for repairs. U-661 torpedoed the Yugoslavian freighter Nikolina Matkovic, and U-618 torpedoed the Empire Mersey.
Throughout 15 October the Wotan boats shadowed SC 104, but were unable to mount any successful attacks that night. On 15 October, Viscount detected U-661 in fog, and attacked with gun-fire, ramming and depth-charges. U-661 was destroyed, but Viscount was also damaged, and had to finish the voyage as part of the convoy.
On 16 October U-353 was sighted by Fame which attacked and destroyed her by ramming, again suffering damage in the process. Command of the escort passed to LtCdr C.A. Monsen in Potentilla, who was able to make an attack on a contact later that day. No identification was made, or result credited, but post-war examination shows that U-254 was severely damaged in this attack and forced to retire to base.
On the 16 and 17 October SC 104 came in range of allied air patrols, long–range B-24 Liberators and Catalina flying boats. These were able to break up any further attacks and on the 17th, Dönitz ceased further operations against SC 104. The remainder of the voyage was unhindered, and the convoy reached Liverpool on 21 October. SC 104 lost 8 ships of 44,000 tons, with 2 escorts damaged, and saw the destruction of 2 U-boats with the damaging of 2 more.
Ships in convoy
|Name||Flag||Dead||Tonnage gross register tons (GRT)||Cargo||Notes|
|Senta (1917)||Norway||3,785||Steel & woodpulp||Sunk by U-221 12/13 October|
|Ashworth (1920)||United Kingdom||49||5,227||Bauxite||Sunk by U-221 13 October|
|Fagersten (1921)||Norway||19||2,342||Steel & lumber||Sunk by U-221 13 October|
|Susana (1914)||United States||38||5,929||Valuable general cargo||Sunk by U-221 14 October|
|Southern Empress (1914)||United Kingdom||48||12,398||Fuel oil||Sunk by U-221 14 October|
|Nellie (1913)||Greece||32||4,826||Steel & lumber||Sunk by U-607 14 October|
|Nikolina Matkovic (1918)||Yugoslavia||14||3,672||Sugar & lumber||Sunk by U-661 14 October|
|Empire Mersey (1920)||United Kingdom||16||5,791||General cargo including government stores||Sunk by U-618 14 October|
|Merchant Royal (1928)||United Kingdom||5,008||General cargo||Carried convoy commodore Capt F H Taylor DSC RN|
|Mariposa (1914)||United Kingdom||3,807||Explosives, steel & timber||Ship's master was convoy vice-commodore|
|Aghios Spyridon (1905)||Greece||3,338||Grain||Veteran of convoy SC 94|
|Anna (1919)||Greece||5,173||Grain and general cargo|
|Anna N Goulandris (1921)||Greece||4,358||Grain||Survived this convoy and convoy HX 300|
|Bernhard (1924)||Norway||3,563||Bauxite||Survived this convoy and convoy HX 300|
|Bonde (1936)||Norway||1,570||General cargo||Returned to Canada; sunk 7 months later in Convoy ONS 5|
|Boston City (1920)||United Kingdom||2,870||General cargo including explosives||Veteran of convoy SC 94 and convoy ON 127|
|British Progress (1927)||United Kingdom||4,581||petrol|
|British Renown (1928)||United Kingdom||6,997||petrol|
|Campus (1925)||United Kingdom||3,667||Steel and wood||Survived this convoy and convoy ONS 5|
|Carslogie (1924)||United Kingdom||3,786||Steel and wood|
|Charles Carroll (1942)||United States||7,191||Cased petrol & explosives||Liberty ship|
|Cydonia (1927)||United Kingdom||3,517||Grain||Survived this convoy and convoy ONS 5|
|Empire Lightning (1940)||United Kingdom||6,942||phosphates||Collided with Milcrest of convoy ON 132|
|Empire Mouflon (1921)||United Kingdom||3,234||Explosives & general cargo||Survived this convoy and convoy HX 300|
|Empire Waterhen (1920)||United Kingdom||6,004||General cargo|
|Garnes (1930)||Norway||1,559||Survived this convoy and convoy SC 107|
|George B. McClellan (1942)||United States||7,181||Vitriol, cased petrol & explosives||Liberty ship|
|Georgios P (1903)||Greece||4,052||General cargo||Survived this convoy and convoy SC 122|
|Gothland (1932)||United Kingdom||1,286||Rescue ship|
|Gudvor (1928)||Norway||2,280||Survived this convoy, convoy SC 122 and convoy ONS 5|
|Inger Lise (1939)||Norway||1,582||lumber||Veteran of convoy SC 94|
|Ingerfem (1912)||Norway||3,987||Grain||Veteran of convoy SC 94|
|John Hathorn (1942)||United States||7,176||Cased petrol & explosives||Liberty ship|
|Liverpool Loyalist (1932)||United Kingdom||1,416|
|Llangollen (1928)||United Kingdom||5,056||General cargo|
|Mars (1925)||Netherlands||1,582||Flour||Veteran of convoy SC 94|
|Nea (1921)||Norway||1,877||lumber||Veteran of convoy SC 26|
|Ozark (1919)||United States||2,689||Lost rudder and diverted to Iceland|
|Peterston (1925)||United Kingdom||4,680||Grain & lumber|
|Porjus (1906)||Sweden||2,965||phosphates||Returned to Canada; also returned from convoy SC 121 and survived convoy SC 122|
|Prinses Maria-Pia (1938)||Belgium||2,588||Sugar & bombs|
|Reigh Count (1907)||Panama||4,657||Explosives & valuable cargo|
|Robert Morris (1942)||United States||7,176||Cased petrol & explosives||Liberty ship|
|Roxane (1929)||United Kingdom||7,813||Fuel oil|
|Saintonge (1936)||United Kingdom||9,386||Fuel oil||Survived this convoy and convoy HX 300|
|Saluta (1906)||United Kingdom||6,261||Fuel oil|
|Sinnington Court (1928)||United Kingdom||6,910||Survived this convoy and convoy SC 121|
|Souliotis (1917)||Greece||4,299||Steel & lumber|
|Suderoy (1913)||Norway||7,562||Fuel oil||Survived this convoy and convoy SC 121|
|Theomitor (1910)||Greece||4,427||Steel & lumber|
|Vinga (1927)||Norway||7,321||Furnace fuel oil|
|William Johnson (1942)||United States||7,191||Cased petrol & explosives||Liberty Ship|
|15 October 1942||U-661||VIIC||Oberleutnant zur See Erich Lilienfeld||44||Gunfire, depth charge, ramming||HMS Viscount|
|16 October 1942||U-353||VIIC||Kapitänleutnant Wolfgang Römer||6||Depth charge||HMS Fame|
- Hague 2000 p.133
- Tarrant p.108
- Hague pp.132, 137-138, 161-162, 164, 181
- Hague 2000 p.135
- Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.167
- Showell 2002 p.113
- Blair p 39-41
- "SC convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
- Hague p.161
- Kemp p 92
- "Oberleutnant zur See Erich Lilienfeld". www.uboat.net. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- "Kapitänleutnant Wolfgang Römer". www.uboat.net. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- Blair, Clay : Hitler's U-Boat War [Volume 2]: The Hunted 1942-1945 (1998) ISBN 0-304-35261-6 (2000 UK paperback ed.)
- Hague, Arnold (2000). The Allied Convoy System 1939-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-019-3.
- Kemp, Paul : U-Boats Destroyed ( 1997) . ISBN 1-85409-515-3
- Showell, Jak P. Mallmann (2002). U-Boat Warfare. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-001-0.
- Milner, Marc (1985). North Atlantic Run. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-450-0.
- Rohwer, J.; 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.