Convoy battles


Homeward from Halifax (North Atlantic)

1 Dec 1940 - 3 Dec 1940

The Convoy49 ships
First sightingOn 1 Dec 1940 by U-101

The Ocean Escort: the AMC Laconia

The Western Approaches escort : the destroyer Viscount, the sloop Folkstone and the corvette Gentian


U-43 (Oblt Lüth) *, U-47 (KptLt Prien) *, U-52 (KptLt Salman) *, U-94 (KptLt Kuppisch) *, U-95 (KptLt Schreiber) *, U-99 (KptLt Kretschmer) *, U-101 (KptLt Mengersen) *

Also 3 Italian boats : ARGO *, GIULIANI and TARANTINI

* U-boats that fired torpedo or used the deck gun

The battle

On Dec 1st the U-boats U-43, U-47, U-52, U-94, U-95, U-101, U-103, U-140 and the Italian Argo, Giuliani and Tarantino are making a patrol in the Western approaches, the place where all homebound convoys pass. Three convoys are approaching at the same time : HG-47 from Gibraltar, SC-13 from Cape Breton and HX-90 from Halifax.

The Argo torpedoes the destroyer Saguenay on convoy HG-47 and U-101 establishes contact with HX-90. Its ocean escort leaves the convoy, but because of the bad weather, the Western Approaches escort coming from convoy OB-251, cannot join the HX-90 before night.

U-47, U-52 and U-101 find the convoy before the escorts do and make several attacks. With good sight - the northern light is shining - and rough weather the boats penetrate easily the convoy and they can choose well their targets. U-101 makes the first attack and sinks and damages one ship in the evening. After midnight, U-47 sinks one and damages 2, U-52 sinks 2 ships and damages one and U-101 sinks another. U-95 sinks one damaged ship.

U-99 does not reach the convoy in time because it is held up by the auxiliary cruiser Forfar. Its escorting destroyer St-Laurent has left in search of HX-90. It takes U-99 five torpedoes and 2 hours to sink the ship. U-99 finds the convoy in the morning and sinks one damaged ship together with U-95. She sinks also an independent ship.

The Argo makes also an attack, but without result and the Tarantino is the first boat to be repulsed by the just arrived escorts. Contact is temporarily lost and air reconnaissance with 3 FW-200 produces no result. In the afternoon of the 2nd, U-94 finds the convoy again and sinks 2 ships in 2 attacks.

In the meantime U-43 makes contact with OB-251, which escort has left for HX-90 and sinks 2 ships. She sinks also a romper from HX-90.

On the 3rd Dec, U-43, u-52, U-94 and U-99 search for SC-13 but do not find it. This convoy has made a detour to the north-west because of the bad weather. Only the Argo manages to sink one of its ships. The convoy battles end with the sinking of a ship of HX-90 by a Fw-200.

Article compiled by Tom Linclau

Ships hit from convoy HX-90

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat.Map
1 Dec 1940U-101Ernst Mengersen Appalachee8,826brA
1 Dec 1940U-101Ernst Mengersen Loch Ranza (d.)4,958brB
2 Dec 1940U-101Ernst Mengersen Kavak2,782brC
2 Dec 1940U-47Günther Prien Ville d’Arlon7,555beD
2 Dec 1940U-101Ernst Mengersen Lady Glanely5,497brE
2 Dec 1940U-47Günther Prien Conch (d.)8,376brF
2 Dec 1940U-99Otto Kretschmer HMS Forfar (F 30)16,402brG
2 Dec 1940U-47Günther Prien Dunsley (d.)3,862brH
2 Dec 1940U-52Otto Salman Tasso1,586brI
2 Dec 1940U-52Otto Salman Goodleigh5,448brJ
2 Dec 1940U-95Gerd Schreiber Conch (d.)8,376brK
2 Dec 1940U-94Herbert Kuppisch Stirlingshire6,022brL
2 Dec 1940U-94Herbert Kuppisch Wilhelmina6,725brM
3 Dec 1940U-99Otto Kretschmer Conch8,376brN
3 Dec 1940U-140Hans-Peter Hinsch Victoria City4,739brO

11 ships sunk (73,958 tons) and 4 ships damaged (25,572 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.
(d.) means the ship was damaged.

77 convoys on route HX were hit by U-boats in the war. Read more about them.

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