Convoy battles


USA to Gibraltar, slow (Central Atlantic and Mediterranean)

12 Mar 1943 - 19 Mar 1943

The Convoy45 ships
First sightingOn 12 Mar 1943 by U-130
EscortsThe American destroyers Rowan, Rhind, Wainwright, Champlin, Trippe, Mayrant and Hobby.


The wolfpack Unverzagt of 6 boats U-106 (Kptlt. Rasch), U-130 (Oblt. Keller), U-167 (Fregkapt. Sturm) *, U-172 (Korvkpt. Emmermann) *, U-513 (Korvkpt. Rüggeberg), U-515 (Kptlt. Henke)

The wolfpack Wohlgemut of 5 boats: U-67 (Korvkpt. Müller-Stöckheim), U-103 (Kptlt. Janssen), U-109 (Oblt. Schramm), U-159 (Kptlt. Witte), U-524 (Kptlt. Freiherr von Steinaecker) *

The wolfpack Tümmler of 6 boats: U-43 (Oblt. Schwantke), U-66 (Kptlt. Markworth), U-202 (Kptlt. Poser), U-504 (Kptlt. Luis), U-521 (Kptlt. Bargsten) *, U-558 (Kptlt. Krech) *

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

The battle

The same decode message that gives away the position of HX-229 to the BdU, also mentions the position of UGS-6.

After sending the sighting report, U-130 is sunk by the Champlin. On the 13th U-167, U-172 and U-513 make contact but are driven off. Only U-172 manages to sink a straggler.

The next day U-106, U-172 and U-513 come up but the escorts drive off all boats and damage the U-515 with depth charges. On the 15th U-159 and U-524 make daylight submerged attacks in which U-524 sinks one ship.

On the 16th there are 10 U-boats in contact with the convoy but all attacks are frustrated by the escorts. In the evening U-524 and U-172 make together an submerged attack in which several ships are missed and only one ship is sunk.

In the morning of the 17th U-558 has misses but in the evening U-167 damages one ship, which is finished off by U-521. On the 18th Liberator aircraft coming from bases in North Africa are providing air escort and although U-524 is still keeping contact the operation is broken off on the 19th.

The escorts were all equipped with 10 cm radar but had no HF/DF. In the very calm seas the radar proved to be very effective: even periscopes of submerged U-boats could be detected. The absence of HF/DF equipment made it impossible to interfere with the build-up of the U-boats around the convoy but the radar made it possible to repulse most of the boats in time, before they could attack.

Article compiled by Tom Linclau

Ships hit from convoy UGS-6

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat.Map
13 Mar 1943U-172Carl Emmermann Keystone5,565amA
15 Mar 1943U-524Walter von Steinaecker Wyoming8,062frB
16 Mar 1943U-172Carl Emmermann Benjamin Harrison7,191amC
17 Mar 1943U-167Kurt Sturm Molly Pitcher (d.)7,200amD
18 Mar 1943U-521Klaus Heinrich Bargsten Molly Pitcher7,200amE

4 ships sunk (28,018 tons) and 1 ship damaged (7,200 tons).

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

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

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