Convoy battles


4 Oct 1943 - 5 Oct 1943

The Convoy9 ships
First sightingOn 4 Oct 1943 by U-596

When leaving Alexandria on 1 October: Australian corvette HMAS Gawler (J 188) (LtCdr W.J. Seymour, RAN), British A/S trawler HMS Burra (T 158) (T/Lt W.J.C. Harrison, RNVR) and at least one British motor launch (HMS ML-350)
Joined later: British corvette HMS Gloxinia (K 22) (Lt A.F. Harkness, OBE, DSC, RNR)
Three British destroyers HMS Faulknor (H 62) (Capt M.S. Thomas, DSO, RN), HMS Eclipse (H 08) (LtCdr E. Mack, DSO, DSC, RN) and HMS Fury (H 76) (LtCdr T.F. Taylor, RN) on passage to Alexandria carried out an A/S sweep of the area where the convoy XT-4 had been attacked.


U-596 * (Nonn)

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

The battle

On 1 Oct, 1943, the convoy XT-4 left Alexandria consisting of nine ships and was escorted by two corvettes, one armed trawler and motor launches when sighted by the submerged U-596 about 60 miles west of Derna at 13.00 hours on 4 October. At 13.47 hours, the U-boat fired a spread of four torpedoes at four ships in the convoy and claimed three ships probably sunk after hearing three detonations and sinking noises. In fact, only the Marit in station #32 had been hit by two torpedoes and sank. The other ships of the convoy proceeded and the next day safely arrived at Tripoli, Libya.

While HMS ML-350 picked up the survivors from the torpedoed ship, the other escorts carried out an anti-submarine sweep. At 14.17 hours, HMS Gloxinia carried out the first of four depth charge attacks after gaining an ASDIC contact. U-596 was damaged in the depth charge attacks, which were very well aimed in Nonn’s opinion. In the evening, three destroyers on passage to Alexandria joined the hunt but failed to obtain an ASDIC contact and departed after a few hours. At 01.40 hours on 5 October, the U-boat had to surface because the reserve of compressed air was almost depleted after being submerged for almost 21 hours. They were not detected and escaped, but the Germans were forced to abort the patrol the next day as many crew members including the commander were suffering from pappataci fever and were completely exhausted.

Article compiled by Rainer Kolbicz

Ships hit from convoy XT-4

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat.Map
4 Oct 1943U-596Victor-Wilhelm Nonn Marit5,542nwA

1 ship sunk (5,542 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.

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

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