Convoy ON-67


Convoy ON-67

"Toward", and were escorted to the Mid-Ocean Meeting Point by escort group B4. [Rohwer&Hummelchen (1992) p.114]

The Escort Group

On 19 February American task unit 4.1.5 assumed escort responsibility with Gleaves class destroyers "Edison" and "Nicholson", Wickes class destroyers "Lea" and "Bernadou" and the Canadian Flower class corvette HMCS "Algoma". [Abbazia (September 1975) p.50] "Edison"s commanding officer, commander Albert C. Murdaugh, USN, was the senior officer of the escort group. [Abbazia (September 1975) p.50] The escort group had never operated together before. [Murdaugh (January 1976) p.75] "Bernadou" had been modified for long range escort work by replacing the fourth boiler and stack with an extra fuel tank. [Joslin (February 1976) p.80] "Toward" carried a HF/DF high-frequency direction finding set, and "Nicholson" had the only functional radar. [Abbazia (September 1975) p.50] "Lea" carried a British ASV aircraft radar with fixed antennae, but the coaxial cable to the antennae was repeatedly shorted by salt water spray. [Hagerman (February 1976) p.80] "Edison" had no depth charge throwers, and was limited to a linear pattern rolled off the stern. [Murdaugh (January 1976) p.74] The American ships did not have enough binoculars. "Bernadou" had a 7x50 pair for the officer of the deck and a 6x30 pair for the junior officer of the deck. There were none for the lookouts. [Joslin (February 1976) pp.79-80]

"U-155"

"U-155" found and reported the convoy on 21 February. [Rohwer&Hummelchen (1992) p.125] "Toward" obtained a bearing on the contact report, and "Lea" searched the bearing unsuccessfully at dusk. [Abbazia (September 1975) p.51] "U-155" approached the port quarter of the convoy in the pre-dawn hours of 22 February and torpedoed the 7984-ton British tanker "Adellen" (in ballast) and the 1800-ton Norwegian freighter "Sama" with 1000 tons of china clay. [Abbazia (September 1975) p.51] [Hague (2000) p.161] Both ships sank quickly. [Abbazia (September 1975) p.51] "Algoma" rescued eleven of "Adellen"s crew of 31 while "Nicholson" and "Toward" found twenty survivors from "Sama"s crew of forty. [Abbazia (September 1975) p.51] [Hague (2000) p.161] "U-155" crash-dived to avoid "Bernadou", but the destroyer never saw the U-boat. [Abbazia (September 1975) p.51] "U-155" made another emergency dive while shadowing the convoy at 1042, but "Edison" did not detect the U-boat. "U-587", "U-69", and "U-558" found the convoy on 23 February.

"U-558"

"U-558" approached the convoy at 2120, but repeatedly turned away to avoid "Bernadou"s patrols until a squall provided cover at midnight. "U-558" torpedoed the 5578-ton Norwegian tanker "Inverarder" (in ballast) at 0045 24 February. [Abbazia (September 1975) p.53] [Hague (2000) p.161] The tanker sank slowly, and "Toward " rescued all 42 of the crew. "U-558" approached again at 0230 and fired a single torpedo at "Edison". [Abbazia (September 1975) p.53] The torpedo missed, and "Edison" was unaware it had been fired. [Abbazia (September 1975) p.53] "U-558" torpedoed the 9432-ton Norwegian tanker "Eidanger" (in ballast) at 0255. [Abbazia (September 1975) p.53] "U-558" reloaded and at 0550 torpedoed the 8009-ton British tanker "Anadara" (in ballast), the 9550-ton British tanker "Finnanger" (in ballast), and the 4365-ton British freighter "White Crest". [Abbazia (September 1975) p.54] [Hague (2000) p.161] All three ships straggled and were sunk. One hundred and one men died on the tankers. [Hague (2000) p.161] Later that morning, the convoy commodore sent a signal to the escort commander regarding the performance of "U-558": "That chap must be one of their best ones. I do hope you have done him in." [Murdaugh (January 1976) p.74]

U-158

"U-158" located the convoy at 0425 24 February and torpedoed the 8032-ton British tanker "Empire Celt". [Abbazia (September 1975) p.53] "Empire Celt" was testing a new Admiralty Net Defense system by streaming a strong steel net from 50-foot poles along either side of the ship. [Blair (1996) p.510] One torpedo broke through the net and hit amidships. [Blair (1996) p.511] "Empire Celt" later broke in half, but a tug from Newfoundland rescued 31 from the crew of 37. [Blair (1996) p.511] [Abbazia (September 1975) p.57]

As "U-558" was torpedoing ships on the starboard side of the convoy, "U-158" approached the port side and torpedoed the 8146-ton British tanker "Diloma" at 0635. [Abbazia (September 1975) pp.54-55] "Diloma" was the only one of the torpedoed ships to successfully reach Halifax. [Abbazia (September 1975) p.57] Both "U-158" and "U-558" dived to avoid being seen in the early daylight. [Abbazia (September 1975) p.55] "U-558" found and sank the drifting, abandoned "Eidanger" astern of the convoy with gunfire and a torpedo. [Abbazia (September 1975) p.55] All of "Eidanger"s crew had been rescued. [Hague (2000) p.161] "Lea" investigated a DF bearing from "Toward" at 1515 and spotted "U-558" twenty miles astern of the convoy at 1707. "Lea" dropped eight depth charges at 1746, and then surprised the U-boat on the surface at 1813 and dropped fourteen depth charges at 1847. "U-558" was undamaged. [Abbazia (September 1975) p.56]

"Nicholson" investigated a DF bearing from "Toward" and sighted "U-158" at 1323. "U-158" dived and evaded "Nicholson". "Nicholson" then slowed to listen. "U-158" surfaced at 1550 and was surprised to find "Nicholson" waiting 1500 meters away. "U-158" crashed-dived before "Nicholson" saw the U-boat. "U-158" surfaced again at 1817 and was surprised to find "Edison" 2000 yards away. "U-158" again avoided detection by crash-diving. "Edison" finally spotted "U-158" making another convoy approach at 2008 and dropped 25 depth charges over the following six hours. "U-158" was undamaged, but had been prevented from making further attacks on the convoy. [Abbazia (September 1975) p.56]

Admiral Karl Dönitz ordered his U-boats to discontinue the attack on 25 February. [Abbazia (September 1975) p.57] The escort was reinforced on 26 February by the USCG Treasury Class Cutter "Spencer". [Abbazia (September 1975) p.57] The remainder of the convoy reached Halifax on 1 March 1942. [Hague (2000) p.157]

Table of Convoy Losses

Notes

References

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