Convoy HX-156

Convoy HX-156

Convoy HX-156 was the 156th of the numbered series of World War II HX convoys of merchant ships from HalifaX to Liverpool. [Hague 2000 p.127] Forty-three ships departed Halifax on 22 October 1941; [Hague 2000 p.127] and were met two days later by United States Navy Task Unit 4.1.3 consisting of Gleaves class destroyer "Niblack", Clemson class destroyer "Reuben James", Wickes class destroyer "Tarbell", and Benson class destroyers "Benson" and "Hilary P. Jones". [Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.94]

"U-552" sighted the convoy at dawn on 31 October 1941, and torpedoed "Reuben James" as the destroyer approached to investigate the Huff-Duff bearing of the sighting report. [Morison 1975 p.94] A torpedo struck the port side and detonated the forward magazine. [Morison 1975 p.94] The hull aft of the third stack remained afloat for 5 minutes; and 45 men were rescued from the crew of 160. [Morison 1975 p.94] "Reuben James" was the first United States warship sunk during World War II. [Silverstone 1968 p.9] "U-552" was driven off by the escort; but "U-567" found the convoy that afternoon. Task Unit 4.1.3 handed the convoy off to the British 6th Escort Group on 1 November 1941. "U-552" and "U-567" made two unsuccessful torpedo attacks on 1 November and maintained contact with the convoy through 3 November. [Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p.94] The convoy reached Liverpool on 5 November. [Hague 2000 p.127]




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