Convoy SC-42


Convoy SC-42

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. [Hague 2000 p.133] Sixty-five ships departed Sydney on 30 August 1941; [Hague 2000 p.135] and 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" with Flower class corvettes "Alberni", "Kenogami", and "Orillia". [Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.82] Flower class corvettes "Chambly" and "Moose Jaw" were conducting training exercises in the convoy path, and were prepared to reinforce the convoy as it entered an area where U-boats were known to be waiting. [Milner 1985 pp.67-8]

"U-85" reported the convoy near Cape Farewell, Greenland on 9 September and made an unsuccessful torpedo attack. [Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.82] The moon rose on the southern side on the convoy that night, and "U-432" torpedoed the silhouetted 5229-ton British freighter "Muneric". "Muneric" and her cargo of 7000 tons of iron ore sank rapidly with all 63 of her crew. [Milner 1985 p.68] "Kenogami" commenced firing on a surfaced U-boat without benefit of star shell or flashless powder, and quickly lost contact as the crew lost their night-vision in the flash of gunfire. [Milner 1985 p.68] The convoy made two emergency turns over the next half-hour as ships in convoy reported sighting three more surfaced U-boats. [Milner 1985 pp.68-9] 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. [Milner 1985 p.69] "U-652" torpedoed "Baron Pentland" and "Tahchee" during the excitement. The tanker "Tahchee" was towed back to port by "Orillia"; [Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.82] but the 3410-ton British freighter "Baron Pentland" sank with 1512 standards of lumber and two of her crew. [Hague 2000 p.136]

Another emergency turn by the convoy brought two hours of suspenseful quiet while "Orillia" aided "Tahchee" and searched for survivors astern of the convoy. [Milner 1985 p.69] Then "U-432" torpedoed the 3205-ton Dutch freighter "Winterswijk" and the 1113-ton Norwegian freighter "Stargard". [Milner 1985 p.69] The freighter "Regin" stopped to rescue "Starguard"'s survivors and opened fire on a surfaced U-boat. [Milner 1985 p.69] 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. [Milner 1985 p.70] "U-82" torpedoed the 7465-ton British CAM ship "Empire Hudson" [Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.82] less than two hours after "Skeena" regained station ahead of the convoy. [Milner 1985 p.70]

Daylight on 10 September brought several periscope sightings and emergency turns by the convoy before "U-85" torpedoed the 4748-ton British freighter "Thistleglen". [Milner 1985 p.71] "Skeena" and "Alberni" counterattacked and damaged "U-85" with depth charges. [Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.82] "Thistleglen" sank with 5200 tons of steel, 2400 tons of pig iron, and 3 of her crew. [Hague 2000 p.136]

"U-82" torpedoed the 7519-ton British tanker "Bulysses" that evening. [Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.82] "U-82" then torpedoed the 3915-ton British freighter "Gypsum Queen" shortly after the convoy ordered an emergency turn. [Milner 1985 pp.71-2] "Gypsum Queen" sank quickly with 5500 tons of sulfur and ten of her crew. [Hague 2000 p.136] "Bulysses" sank with 9300 tons of gas oil and 4 of her crew. [Hague 2000 p.136] Other ships in convoy rescued survivors. [Milner 1985 pp.71-2] Flower class corvettes "Chambly" and "Moose Jaw" observed the fireworks of these attacks and surprised "U-501" while steaming to reinforce the escort. [Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.82] "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 "Moose Jaw"'s deck; and "Moose Jaw" sent a boarding party to enter the submarine. Eleven Germans and one of the Canadian boarding party were lost when "U-501" sank. [Milner 1985 pp.72-3] "U-501" was the first U-boat sunk by Canadian escorts. [Blair 1996 p.364]

"U-207" torpedoed the 4924-ton British freighter "Berury" and the 4815-ton British freighter "Stonepool" while "Chambly" and "Moose Jaw" were attacking "U-501". Then "U-432" torpedoed the 1231-ton Swedish freighter "Garm" and "U-82" torpedoed the 5463-ton British freighter "Empire Crossbill" and the 1980-ton Swedish freighter "Scania" two hours later while "Alberni", "Kenogami" and "Moose Jaw" were rescuing survivors of "Berury" and "Stonepool". [Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.82] [Milner 1985 p.73] "U-43" launched torpedoes unsuccessfully, "U-433" damaged a 2200-ton freighter, "U-202" sank the crippled "Scania", and "U-105" sank a straggler. [Blair 1996 p.363]

On 11 September, the escort was reinforced by the naval trawler "Buttermere" and Flower class corvettes "Wetaskiwin", "Mimosa", and "Gladiolus" from convoy HX-147 and by the 2nd Escort Group consisting of the Admiralty type flotilla leader "Douglas", the Town class destroyer "Leamington", the V and W class destroyer "Veteran", and S class destroyers "Skate", and "Saladin". [Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.82] "Leamington" and "Veteran" dropped 21 depth charges on the afternoon of 11 September while investigating a coastal command aircraft report of a U-boat ahead of the convoy. Postwar analysis indicated their attacks probably destroyed "U-207". [Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.82]

Arrival 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 12 September. [Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.82] Destroyers of the 2nd Escort Group departed for refueling following arrival of American destroyers "Sims", "Hughes", and "Russell" on 13 September. [Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.82] "U-98" torpedoed the 4392-ton British freighter "Jedmore" as the convoy approached North Channel on the late afternoon of 16 September. [Blair 1996 p.364]

Table of Convoy Losses

.. [Hague 2000 p.136]

Notes

References

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