Convoy SC 104

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Convoy SC 104
Part of World War II
HMS Fame 1942 IWM FL 13040.jpg
HMS Fame
Date 12–16 October 1942
Location North Atlantic
Result German tactical victory
War Ensign of Germany (1938-1945).svg Germany Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Commanders and leaders
CinC:Admiral Karl Dönitz Commodore: CAPT F H Taylor RN
Escort: CDR R Heathcote
8 U-boats 48 freighters
2 destroyers
4 corvettes
Casualties and losses
2 U-boats sunk
2 U-boats damaged
50 dead
8 freighters sunk
2 destroyers damaged
216 dead

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]

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.

Opposing this force was the U-boat Wolf pack Wotan comprising 8 boats: U-221, U-258, U-356, U-607, U-618, U-661, U-353, and U-254.[4][5]


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,[6] 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 gunfire, 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 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.[5][7] 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[edit]

Name[8] Flag[8] Dead[9] Tonnage gross register tons (GRT)[8] Cargo[9] Notes[8]
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
Boreas (1920)  Norway 2,801 Sugar
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
Disa (1918)  Sweden 2,002 Flour
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
Lido (1930)  Norway 1,918 Flour
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
Ramava  Latvia 2,141 lumber
Reigh Count (1907)  Panama 4,657 Explosives & valuable cargo
Robert Morris (1942)  United States 7,176 Cased petrol & explosives Liberty ship
Rocha (1933)  Panama 1,471
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


U-boat losses[10]
Date Number Type Captain Casualties Position Cause By
15 October 1942 U-661 VIIC Oberleutnant zur See Erich Lilienfeld[11] 44 53°42′N 35°56′W / 53.700°N 35.933°W / 53.700; -35.933 Gunfire, depth charge, ramming HMS Viscount
16 October 1942 U-353 VIIC Kapitänleutnant Wolfgang Römer[12] 6 53°54′N 29°30′W / 53.900°N 29.500°W / 53.900; -29.500 Depth charge HMS Fame

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hague 2000 p.133
  2. ^ Tarrant p.108
  3. ^ Hague pp.132, 137-138, 161-162, 164, 181
  4. ^ Hague 2000 p.135
  5. ^ a b Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.167
  6. ^ Showell 2002 p.113
  7. ^ Blair p 39-41
  8. ^ a b c d "SC convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Hague p.161
  10. ^ Kemp p 92
  11. ^ "Oberleutnant zur See Erich Lilienfeld". Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "Kapitänleutnant Wolfgang Römer". 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. 

External links[edit]