Convoy battles


Outward, northbound (North Atlantic and UK coastal waters)

9 Sep 1942 - 14 Sep 1942

The Convoy32 ships
First sightingOn 9 Sep 1942 by U-584
EscortsThe Canadian escort group C4 consisting of the 2 destroyers St-Croix (Lt-Cdr Dobson) and Ottawa and the 4 corvettes Amherst, Arvida, Sherbrooke and Celandine(RN).


The wolfpack Vorwarts consisting of 12 boats
U-91 (Kptlt Walkerling) *, U-92 (Oblt Oelrich) *, U-96 (Oblt Hellriegel) *, U-211 (KptLt Hause) *, U-218 (Kptlt Becker) *, U-380 (KptLt Rother) *, U-404 (Kptlt Von Bulow) *, U-407 (Oblt Bruller) *, U-411 (Oblt Litterscheid) *, U-584 (KptLt Deecke) *, U-594 (Oblt Mumm) *, U-608 (Oblt Struckmeier) *

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

The battle

U-584 looses contact in the night, but U-96 sights the convoy again at midday on sept 10th. U-96 makes a submerged attack and sinks 2 ships and damages a tanker.

In the night there are several attacks : first U-659 damages one tanker and U-608 misses, a few hours later U-404 and U-218 damage each a Norwegian tanker, U-92 and U-594 miss. U-584 finishes off the tanker previously damaged by U-659.

During the next day, U-96 sinks with gunfire a Portuguese trawler in the vicinity of the convoy.

In the night of 11 to 12 sept, the U-boats press home their attacks : U-584 sinks one ship, U-211 torpedoes 2 ships both later finished off by U-608, U-380 misses, U-404 damages a tanker and U-92 misses the destroyer Ottawa. The escorts damages U-659 who must return to France and manages to beat off all attacks during day of sept 12th. Again in darkness of the night, the U-boats come up again but only U-407 and U-594 fire their torpedoes and both miss.

On daylight of Sept 13, U-594 sinks a straggler but now air escort is available from Newfoundland and aircraft drive away the U-boats from the convoy. In the night, the escort is reinforced by the RN destroyer Witch and the USN Annapolis. U-91 however sinks Ottawa, also U-411 misses a corvette and U-92 misses the convoy. Finally the operation is broken of because of the vicinity of Newfoundland with its air bases.

All U-boats deployed fired their torpedoes. The U-boat commanders were surprised by the inexperience of the Canadian escort, who fire to no good use "Snowflake rockets" illuminating the sky, trying to surprise U-boats on the surface. Since the escort lacks radar and other modern equipment, they are forced to rely on the lookouts to make sightings, but once the Snowflake flares extinct, the lookouts remain blinded by the light and can't see a thing in the darkness. The only effect of the Snowflakes is that they illuminate the convoy from miles away to the U-boats, making it easy to keep contact.

Article compiled by Tom Linclau

Ships hit from convoy ON-127

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat.Map
10 Sep 1942U-96Hans-Jürgen Hellriegel Elisabeth van Belgie4,241beA
10 Sep 1942U-96Hans-Jürgen Hellriegel F.J. Wolfe (d.)12,190brB
10 Sep 1942U-96Hans-Jürgen Hellriegel Sveve6,313nwC
10 Sep 1942U-659Hans Stock Empire Oil (d.)8,029brD
11 Sep 1942U-404Otto von Bülow Marit II (d.)7,417nwE
11 Sep 1942U-218Richard Becker Fjordaas (d.)7,361nwF
11 Sep 1942U-584Joachim Deecke Empire Oil8,029brG
11 Sep 1942U-584Joachim Deecke Hindanger4,884nwH
12 Sep 1942U-211Karl Hause Empire Moonbeam (d.)6,849brI
12 Sep 1942U-211Karl Hause Hektoria (d.)13,797brJ
12 Sep 1942U-608Rolf Struckmeier Hektoria13,797brK
12 Sep 1942U-608Rolf Struckmeier Empire Moonbeam6,849brL
12 Sep 1942U-404Otto von Bülow Daghild (d.)9,272nwM
13 Sep 1942U-594Friedrich Mumm Stone Street6,131paN
14 Sep 1942U-91Heinz Walkerling HMCS Ottawa (H 60)1,375caO

8 ships sunk (51,619 tons) and 7 ships damaged (64,915 tons).

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

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

Media links

The Last Voyage

Amborski, Leonard E.

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