- Convoy SC 42
Convoy Part of World War II Date 9-12 September 1941 Location North Atlantic Result German victory Belligerents Kriegsmarine Royal Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
Commanders and leaders Admiral Karl Dönitz Comm: R Adm. WB Mackenzie
SOE:Lt.Cmdr. JC Hibbard
Strength Markgraf group
Casualties and losses 2 U-boat sunk 16 ships sunk (68,259 tons)
4 ships damaged (14,132 tons)
Convoy SC 42 was the 42nd of the numbered series of World War II Slow Convoys of merchant ships from Sydney, Cape Breton Island to Liverpool. SC 42 was attacked over a three night period in September 1941, losing 16 ships sunk and 4 damaged. This was the worst Allied loss following the attack on convoy SC 7 the previous year. Two attacking U boats were destroyed.
Sixty-five ships departed Sydney on 30 August 1941 under local escort, bound for Liverpool. The convoy commodore was R.Adm. WB Mackenzie in Everleigh. A week later were met just east of the Strait of Belle Isle by the Canadian 24th Escort Group consisting of the Canadian River class destroyer Skeena (Lt Cdr JC Hibbard, senior officer) with Flower class corvettes Alberni, Kenogami, and James D. Prentice, RCN, and were prepared to reinforce the escort as the convoy entered an area where U-boats were known to be waiting.
Early on 9 September U-85 sighted the convoy near Cape Farewell, Greenland and made an unsuccessful torpedo attack. She then commenced shadowing, while other Markgraf boats moved in. The moon rose on the southern side on the convoy that night, and star shell or flashless powder, and quickly lost contact as the crew lost their night-vision in the flash of gunfire. The convoy made two emergency turns over the next half-hour as ships in convoy reported sighting three more surfaced U-boats. Another emergency convoy turn ninety minutes later caught Skeena pursuing a contact at speed; and while maneuvering to avoid collision, Skeena passed on reciprocal course a surfaced U-boat being fired upon by ships in convoy so closely Skeena's guns could not be depressed to bear. U-652 torpedoed Baron Pentland and Tahchee during the excitement. The tanker Tahchee was towed back to port by Orillia; but the 3410-ton British freighter Baron Pentland sank with 1512 standards of lumber and two of her crew.
Another emergency turn by the convoy brought two hours of suspenseful quiet while Orillia aided Tahchee and searched for survivors astern of the convoy. Then U-432 torpedoed the 3205-ton Dutch freighter Winterswijk and the 1113-ton Norwegian freighter Stargard. The freighter Regin stopped to rescue Starguard's survivors and opened fire on a surfaced U-boat. While Skeena and Kenogami searched for U-boats around stricken Winterswijk and Stargard, U-81 torpedoed the 3252-ton British freighter Sally Maersk, and the convoy made another emergency turn to avoid a surfaced U-boat. U-82 torpedoed the 7465-ton British CAM ship Empire Hudson less than two hours after Skeena regained station ahead of the convoy.
Daylight on 10 September brought several periscope sightings and emergency turns by the convoy before U-85 torpedoed the 4748-ton British freighter Thistleglen. Skeena and Alberni counterattacked and damaged U-85 with depth charges. Thistleglen sank with 5200 tons of steel, 2400 tons of pig iron, and 3 of her crew.
U-82 torpedoed the 7519-ton British tanker Bulysses that evening. U-82 then torpedoed the 3915-ton British freighter Gypsum Queen shortly after the convoy ordered an emergency turn. Gypsum Queen sank quickly with 5500 tons of sulfur and ten of her crew. Bulysses sank with 9300 tons of gas oil and 4 of her crew. Other ships in convoy rescued survivors. Corvettes Chambly and Moosejaw observed the fireworks of these attacks and surprised U-501 while steaming to reinforce the escort. U-501 was first depth-charged by Chambly then rammed by Moose Jaw as the damaged submarine surfaced. The captain of U-501 jumped from the conning tower to Moosejaw's deck; and Moosejaw sent a boarding party to enter the submarine. Eleven Germans and one of the Canadian boarding party (Stoker William Brown)were lost when U-501 sank. U-501 was the first U-boat sunk by Canadian escorts.
Just after midnight on 10/11 September
- ^ Hague 2000 p.133
- ^ Hague 2000 p.135
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.82
- ^ Milner 1985 pp.67-8
- ^ a b Milner 1985 p.68
- ^ Milner 1985 pp.68-9
- ^ a b c d Milner 1985 p.69
- ^ a b c d e Hague 2000 p.136
- ^ a b Milner 1985 p.70
- ^ Milner 1985 p.71
- ^ a b Milner 1985 pp.71-2
- ^ Milner 1985 pp.72-3
- ^ a b Blair 1996 p.364
- ^ Milner 1985 p.73
- ^ Blair 1996 p.363
- Blair, Clay (1996). Hitler's U-Boat War — The Hunters 1939-1942. Random House. ISBN 0-394-58839-8.
- Hague, Arnold (2000). The Allied Convoy System 1939-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-019-3.
- Milner, Marc (1985). North Atlantic Run. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-450-0.
- Rohwer, J. and Hummelchen, G. (1992). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-105-X.
- Milner, Marc. "The Fate of Slow Convoy 42: Navy, part 33". Legion Magazine (The Royal Canadian Legion) (18 June 2009). http://www.legionmagazine.com/en/index.php/2009/06/the-fate-of-slow-convoy-42-navy-part-33/.
On 11 September, the escort was reinforced by the naval trawler Buttermere and Flower class corvettes Wetaskiwin, Admiralty type flotilla leader Town class destroyer Leamington, the V and W class destroyer Veteran, and S class destroyers Skate, and edit] Aftermath
With the arrival of these reinforcements further attacks by Markgraf were stifled. Though the group continued to shadow, it was unable to mount any further assaults. Arrival on 12 September of the naval trawler Windermere and Town class destroyers St. Croix from convoy SC 41 and Columbia from convoy HX 147 allowed the remaining original escorts Skeena, Alberni, and Kenogami to leave for refueling . On 13 September destroyers of the 2nd Escort Group departed for refueling following arrival of American destroyers Sims, Hughes, and Russell. The last incident of the voyage took place three days later when U-98 torpedoed the 4392-ton British freighter Jedmore as the convoy approached North Channel on the late afternoon of 16 September.
Convoy SC 42 arrived in Liverpool on 20 September 1941. Sixteen ships totalling 68,259 GRT had been sunk and four ships (14,132 GRT) damaged: One ship had turned back. Forty four ships arrived safely and unharmed, and two U-boats had been destroyed, though on eof these was not confirmed until after the war's end.
Table of losses
Allied ships sunk
|Time and date||Name||Flag||Casualties||Tonnage||Cargo||Sunk by...|
|06:55, 9 Sep||Empire Springbuck||42||5,591 GRT||Steel and explosives||U-81|
|21:37, 9 Sept||Muneric||63||5,229 GRT||iron ore||2||3,410 GRT||lumber||20||3,205 GRT||phosphates||2||1,113 GRT||lumber||0||3,252 GRT||wheat||U-81|
|05:04, 10 Sept||4||7,456 GRT||wheat||U-82|
|10:30, 10 Sept||Thistleglen||3||4,748 GRT||steel & pig iron||U-85|
|20:57, 10 Sept||Bulysses||4||7,519 GRT||gas oil||U-82|
|21:00, 10 Sept||Gypsum Queen||10||3,915 GRT||sulfur||U-82|
|00:10, 11 Sept||Stonepool||42||4,815 GRT||grain, oats & trucks||1||4,924 GRT||general||0||1,980 GRT||lumber||U-82|
|02:10, 11 Sept||Empire Crossbill||49||5,463 GRT||steel||U-82|
|02:30, 11 Sept||Garm||6||1,231 GRT||lumber||31||4,392 GRT||iron ore||U-98|
|10 September 1941||U-501||IX||K/L H Forster||12||destroyed||Chambly, Moosejaw|
|11 September 1941||U-207||VIIC||K/L F Meyer||41||destroyed||Leamington, Veteran|