Axis Loss Summary - 4 U-boats
including 1 by RAF in North Atlantic; 2 by US aircraft
off Brazil; 1 by unknown causes
4th-7th - attacked on Slow Halifax/UK
Convoy SC118 - SC118,
escorted by the British B2 group was heavily attacked in
mid-Atlantic. A total of 20 U-boats sank 13 of the 63
merchantmen. However, on the 4th "U-187"
was detected by HF/DF, hunted down and
sunk by destroyers "Beverley" and
"Vimy". Three days later, Free French corvette
"Lobelia" sank "U-609" and a RAF B-17 Flying Fortress
accounted for "U-624".
Slow UK/North America convoy ONS165 and the escorting
British B6 group were attacked east of Newfoundland. "U-201"
was sunk by destroyer "Fame"
and "U-69" by "Viscount". Only two
merchantmen were lost.
U-boats attacked ON166 and its American A3 group in
mid-Atlantic and sank 14 ships in the course of four
days. In exchange "U-606"
was depth-charged to the surface by
Polish destroyer "Burza" and Canadian corvette
"Chilliwack" and finished off by ramming by US
Coast Guard cutter "Campbell".
Mines laid by "U-118" in the Strait of
Gibraltar sank three merchantmen and on the 22nd Canadian
corvette "WEYBURN" as she escorted North Africa/UK convoy
UK/Caribbean tanker convoy UC1 lost badly to U-boats, but
southwest of Madeira, "U-522"
to the bottom by cutter
Summary - 15 U-boats including 5 by RAF in North
Atlantic and off Portugal and Gibraltar; 2 by RAF and US
aircraft on Bay of Biscay patrols; 1 by US Navy in North
In operations against the US/Gibraltar routes, "U-87" was sunk off Portugal by Canadian
destroyer "St Croix" and corvette
North American/UK convoy HX228 (60 ships), escorted by
the British B3 group, lost a total of four ships.
Destroyer "Harvester" rammed "U-444" but was disabled and the U-boat had to be
finished off by French corvette "Aconit". "HARVESTER", now stationary, was sunk by "U-432" which was in turn brought to the
surface in mid-Atlantic by "Aconit's" depth
charges and finally destroyed by gunfire and ramming.
Summary - 12 U-boats including 4 by the RAF in North
Atlantic; 1 by RAF Bay of Biscay patrols; 1 by US
aircraft off Barbados; 2 by US forces off the Azores and
Canary Islands; 1 by unknown causes
2nd - "U-124" on passage to the Freetown area
encountered UK/West Africa convoy OS45 to the west of
Portugal. Two merchant ships were sunk, but she was
attacked by sloop "Black Swan" and corvette
"Stonecrop" of the 37th EG and sunk in turn.
In attacks on Halifax/UK convoy HX231 southwest of
Iceland, two U-boats were lost - "U-635" to frigate "Tay" of the
British B7 group and "U-632" to a RAF Liberator. Six of the
convoy's merchantmen were lost to the 15-boat pack.
(Note: the identity of these two U-boats is sometimes
Submarine "Tuna" on Norwegian Arctic patrol
sank "U-644" northwest of Narvik.
11th - Destroyer
of the British B6 group escorting convoy ON176 was sunk
south of Greenland by "U-188".
"U-123" on patrol south of Freetown torpedoed
and sank "P-615" (ex-Turkish) on passage to the South
Atlantic Command to provide anti-submarine training.
23rd-25th - Battle of Slow UK/North
America Convoy ONS4 - ONS4 (these convoys were renumbered starting
in March) was escorted by the British B2 group (Cdr
Macintyre) and reinforced by the 5th Escort Group with
escort carrier "Biter". On the 23rd "U-191"
was detected to the south of Greenland by
HF/DF and sunk by destroyer "Hesperus" using
the Hedgehog forward-throwing A/S mortar. Two days later
on the 25th a Swordfish of 811 Squadron from
"Biter" found "U-203" and destroyer
"Pathfinder" finished her off.
Summary - 14 German and 1 Italian U-boats including 3
by the RAF in the North Atlantic and off the Canaries; 1
by RAF Bay of Biscay patrol; 1 by RAF-laid mine in the
Bay of Biscay; 1 by RAAF north of the Faeroes; 3 to US
forces in the North and South Atlantic, including the one
The May 1943 Convoy
Battles - Victory of the Escorts
groups in dark blue; Escort
Groups in purple; merchant
ships in bright blue; U-boats in
At the beginning
of the month over 40 U-boats were deployed in
three patrol lines off Greenland and
Newfoundland. Another group operated to the far
west of the Bay of Biscay. A number were passing
through the northern transit area and over 30 on
passage between their Biscay bases and the North
Atlantic. More still were on patrol in the South
Atlantic or passing through. There were numerous
Allied convoys crossing the North Atlantic as
suitable targets, starting with ONS5:
UK/North America ONS5 - On the 21st April,
ONS5 sailed with 42 ships from Liverpool
outward bound for North America. Escort was
provided by the British B7 group (Cdr P. W. Gretton) with
two destroyers, a frigate, four corvettes and two
trawlers. The first threat was dealt with before
the end of April when "U-710"
was sunk by an escorting RAF B-17 Flying
Fortress south of Iceland. The real battle
started in early May, south of Greenland as all
three U-boat patrol lines closed in. Before they
arrived the escort was reinforced by the 3rd Escort
Group (EG) from
St John's, Newfoundland. Rough seas made
refuelling difficult and some of the escorts had
to leave. The 1st EG, also from St John's sailed to
replace them. Over the next few days 13
were lost, but at a cost of a further
All went down in often confused fighting to the
south of Greenland or northeast of Newfoundland.
More still were damaged. Type 271 radar played a
large part in the escort's successes: 4th
- "U-630" to a RCAF Canso
(Catalina). 5th - B7 group corvette
"Pink" sank "U-192", sister ship
"Loosestrife", also from B7 sank "U-638". 6th - B7 group
destroyer "Vidette" sank "U-125". Destroyer
"Oribi" detached from convoy SC127 to
join B7 together with corvette
"Snowflake" accounted for "U-531". (The identity of
"U-125" and "U-531" is
reversed in some sources.) Finally, "U-433"
was sunk by sloop "Pelican" of
the 1st EG.
U-boats were regrouped for attacks on other
convoys, but in the area south of
Greenland/northeast of Newfoundland as well as
throughout the North Atlantic, merchantmen
sinkings went down as U-boat losses mounted
alarmingly. Much of this was due to the way escort
groups (EG) moved from one convoy to another to support the existing
escorts. The number of convoys crossing the North
Atlantic in both directions is truly impressive
and the main movements in May, together with the
U-boats sunk is listed here:
America/UK HX236 - 46 ships escorted by British B1
group and 2nd EG (Capt Walker); no merchant
"U-528" was damaged by US aircraft in an
earlier attacked on ONS5. Now southwest of
Ireland, she was sunk by sloop
"Fleetwood" and RAF aircraft of No 58
UK/North America ONS6 - 31 ships escorted by British B6
group and 4th EG with escort carrier
"Archer"; no merchant ships lost.
America/UK HX237 - 46 ships escorted by Canadian
C2 group and 5th EG with escort carrier
"Biter". Three stragglers sunk in exchange for possibly
three U-boats in mid-Atlantic: 12th - "U-89" to destroyer
"Broadway" and frigate
"Lagan", both of C2 group, assisted by
Swordfish of 811 Squadron from "Biter".
12th - RAF B-24 Liberator of No 120
Squadron damaged either "U-456" or "U-753",
which may have been finished off by destroyer
"Pathfinder" of the 5th EG.
Alternatively one of these U-boat may have gone
missing on the 15th. (Sources vary.) 13th
- Either "U-456" or "U-753" was then detected by RCAF
Sunderlands of No 423 Squadron which brought up
frigate "Lagan" and Canadian corvette
"Drumheller" to sink the U-boat.
America/UK SC129 - 26 ships escorted by British B2
group, with 5th EG transferred from HX237 on
the 14th. Two merchant ships lost in mid-Atlantic for two
U-boats: 12th - "U-136" to destroyer
"Hesperus" of B2 (Cdr Macintyre). 14th
- "U-266" to a RAF B-24 Liberator of
No 86 Squadron.
America ON182 - 56 ships escorted by Canadian C5
group, with 4th EG and carrier
"Archer" transferred from ONS6; no merchant
America/UK HX238 - 45 ships escorted by Canadian C3
group; no merchant
UK/North America ONS7 - 40 ships escorted by British B5
group, with 3rd EG transferred from ONS5. One ship
lost for two
U-boats destroyed in the vicinity of the convoy
to the southeast of Greenland and south of
Iceland: 14th - "U-657" to a US Navy Catalina.
- "U-640" to frigate
"Swale" of B5. (The identity of
"U-657" and "U-640" is
reversed in some sources.)
UK/NorthAmerica ON183 - 32 ships escorted by British B4
group, no merchant
America/UK SC130 - 38 ships escorted by British B7
group, with 1st EG transferred from ONS5. No merchant
ships lost in
exchange for four U-boats south of Greenland: 19th
- "U-954" to a RAF Liberator; "U-209" to frigates
"Jed" and "Sennen" of 1st EG;
and "U-381" to destroyer "Duncan
and corvette Snowflake of B7. 20th - "U-258" to another RAF Liberator -
both VLR aircraft from the very successful No 120
ON184 - 39 ships escorted by Canadian C1
group and US 6th EG with escort carrier
"Bogue". No merchant ships lost in exchange for one U-boat:
22nd - "U-569" in mid-Atlantic to
Avengers flying from "Bogue".
America/UK HX239 - 42 ships escorted by British B3
group and 4th EG and carrier
"Archer" transferred from ON182 (and
before that ONS6). No merchant ships lost in exchange for one more
U-boat: 23rd - In the first success with
aircraft rockets, "U-752" in mid-Atlantic was badly
damaged by "Archer's" Swordfish of 819
Squadron, and scuttled as surface escorts
Italian submarine "DA VINCI" returning from a
successful patrol off South Africa was detected
and sunk northeast of the Azores by destroyer
"Active" and frigate "Ness".
By the 24th,
U-boat losses were so heavy and the attacks so
fruitless, Adm Doenitz ordered his captains to
leave the North Atlantic battlefield. They either
returned home or concentrated on the US/Gibraltar
routes. It was some time before the Allies
realised the North Atlantic was almost free of
U-boats. The air and sea escorts were winning.
was sunk west of Cape Ortegal, Spain by
frigate "Test" and Indian corvette
America/UK SC131 - 31 ships escorted by British B6
group, 3rd and 40th EGs ; no merchant
UK/North America ONS8 - 52 ships escorted by Canadian C4
group and 2nd EG (Capt Walker) transferred
from HX236 ; no merchant ships lost.
America/UK HX240 - 56 ships escorted by Canadian C5
group and 2nd EG from ONS8. No merchant
ships lost in
exchange for one U-boat: 28th - "U-304" to a RAF Liberator of No
120 Squadron south of Greenland.
Summary statistics of these
North Atlantic convoy actions
15 convoys totalling 622
seven British B and five Canadian C convoy
six British and one US supporting Escort
three escort carriers
Well over 70 U-boats at sea
23 German U-boats sunk
11 convoys were unscathed,
four convoys lost 19 ships - a loss rate
of 3 percent
Without the heavy losses of
ONS5, loss rate was 1 percent
Without the U-boats sunk in
attacked on OSN5, 16 U-boats were lost in
exchange for 6 merchantmen
Summary - 37 German and 1 Italian U-boats. In addition
to those lost in or around the convoy battles: 3 by RAF
in North Atlantic; 6 by RAF and RAAF Bay of Biscay
patrols; 4 by US forces in the North Atlantic, off
Florida and Brazil; 2 by collision in the North Atlantic
After supporting convoys ONS8 and HX240, Capt Walker's
2nd EG located "U-202" south of Greenland. She was sunk by sloop
above - HMS Mermaid, 'Black
Swan-type escort sloop that included such
well-known, hard-worked and successful ships as
Capt Walker's "Starling",
"Kite" and "Wild Goose" of
the 2nd Escort Group.
Biscay Patrols - Aircraft of Coastal Command
continued covering U-boat exit routes from western France
and were joined by surface escort groups covered by
cruisers. At the same time U-boats were fitted with heavy
AA armament to enable them to fight their way out on the
surface in groups. U-boat sinkings went down as Allied
aircraft losses mounted, but four U-boats were destroyed: 1st - "U-418" to a rocket-firing RAF Beaufighter.
- "U-564" to a RAF Whitley. 24th - The
2nd EG (Capt Walker) accompanied by cruiser
"Scylla" accounted for two submarines northwest
of Cape Ortegal, NW Spain. Tanker "U-119"
was brought to the surface and rammed by
"Starling". With her Asdic out of action from
the ramming, "Starling" left the sinking of "U-449" to "Wren",
"Woodpecker", "Kite" and "Wild
Northern Transit Area -
In the waters through which Norwegian-based U-boats had
to sail for their patrol areas, two submarines were sunk:
4th - "U-308"
north of the Faeroe Islands
by submarine "Truculent" on
anti-U-boat patrol between Norway and Iceland. 11th
- "U-417" by a RAF Fortress in the same
northern transit area.
14th - In the North
Atlantic "U-334" and other U-boats simulated the radio
transmissions of large wolf packs. She was located and
sunk by frigate "Jed" and sloop
"Pelican" of the 1st EG.
Axis Loss Summary - 16 German and 1
Italian U-boats including 4 by US and RAF aircraft off
Iceland and the Strait of Gibraltar, and the Italian boat
in the North Atlantic; 3 by the US Navy (one off the east
coast of America and two to escort carrier
"Bogue" off the Azores); 1 by French aircraft
15th - "U-135"
attacked UK/West Africa convoy OS51 off the
Canary Islands, and was depth-charged by the escort
including sloop "Rochester" and corvette
"Balsam". She was sunk when corvette
24th - After six
months effort the bombing campaign against U-boat bases
claimed its first success on the 24th when "U-622"
badly damaged in a USAAF raid on
Trondheim, Norway and paid off.
30th - The Bay of
Biscay offensive by the RAF and Australian, Canadian and
American aircraft reached a peak and 10 U-boats
sunk and many others damaged in
July. On the 30th, two 'milchcows', "U-461" and
"U-462" escorted by "U-504", were
located to the northwest of Cape Ortegal, Spain. In a
running battle "U-461" was finally sunk by Sunderland U/461
of RAF No 461 Squadron. "U-462" also went down in the fighting.
Capt Walker's 2nd EG was called to the scene and
accounted for "U-504" with "Kite",
"Woodpecker", "Wren" and "Wild
Summary - 34 U-boats including 3 by RAF and US
aircraft off Portugal; 7 by US escort carrier groups
south and west of the Azores (6 of these by aircraft from
"Core", "Santee" or
"Bogue"); 9 by US aircraft in the Caribbean and
August - "U-647" on passage out may have been lost on the
Iceland/Faeroes mine barrage around the 3rd of the month.
If so she was the only casualty of this vast minefield
throughout the war. RCAF aircraft sank "U-489" in the same area.
11th - "U-468"
was sunk off Dakar, West Africa by a RAF
Liberator of No 200 Squadron. The final attacked was
carried out with the aircraft in flames and just before
she crashed. The Liberator's commanding officer, Plt Off
Lloyd Trigg RNZAF, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, solely on the evidence of the
"U-523" attacked UK/Gibraltar convoy OG92
to the far west of Cape Finisterre, Spain and was sunk by
destroyer "Wanderer" and corvette
Bay of Biscay air patrols sank five U-boats in August and continued to
co-operate with surface ships. On the 27th, German Do217
aircraft launched some of the first Hs293 glider bombs
against ships of the 1st Escort Group. To the south of
Cape Finisterre, sloop "EGRET"
hit and blown up, and Canadian
destroyer "Athabaskan" damaged.
In attacks on Sierra Leone/UK convoy SL135 northeast of
the Azores, "U-634"
was sunk by sloop "Stork" and
Summary - 20 U-boats including 6 by aircraft of US
escort carriers Card and Core off the Azores and in
mid-Atlantic; 2 by US aircraft in the Caribbean area; 1
by RAF and French aircraft off Dakar; 1 by US forces in
the South Atlantic
19th-22nd - Assault on the Escorts:
Convoys ONS18 and ON202 - The German wolf-packs returned to the North
Atlantic armed with Gnat acoustic torpedoes designed to
home in on and disable the escorts so the U-boats could
reach the merchantmen. Adm Doenitz established a patrol
line of 19 U-boats southwest of Iceland ready for UK-out
convoys ONS18 (27 ships escorted by the British B3
group) and ON202 (42 ships and Canadian C2 group),
which set out separately. First blood went to the RCAF on
the 19th when "U-347"
sent to the bottom. Over the next
three days six merchant ships were lost and the escorts
suffered badly in the Gnat attacks. Two more U-boats were
also sunk: 19th - Destroyer "Escapade" of B3 was badly damaged by a
premature explosion of her Hedgehog. 20th -
British frigate "Lagan" of C2 was damaged by "U-270" or
"U-260", but shortly after "U-338" was sunk by a VLR aircraft of RAF No 120
Squadron using the Allies' own acoustic torpedo - 'Fido'.
was towed home as a constructive total
The two convoys joined up
southeast of Greenland and the escort was reinforced by
the Canadian 9th EG. 20th - Canadian destroyer "ST
CROIX" (ex-US) of
the 9th EG was lost to an attack by "U-305" and
British corvette "POLYANTHUS" of C2 was hit by a Gnat, probably from
"U-952" or possibly "U-641". 22nd
- Destroyer "Keppel" of B3 sank "U-229", by which time the convoys were
south of Cape Farewell, Greenland. By now frigate "ITCHEN" of the 9th EG had on board most of
the survivors of "St Croix" and
"Polyanthus". Around midnight she was hit, in
all likelihood by "U-666" and went down taking
all but three men of the three ships' companies with her.
(Note: "U-952" or "U-260" might also
have been responsible for "ltchen's" loss.)
Fortunately the Allies had anticipated the introduction
of acoustic torpedoes and soon put into service 'Foxer'
noisemakers, towed astern to attract the Gnat away from
the vessel. The U-boats did not repeat their successes.
Summary - 6 U-boats including 1 each by RAF and RCAF
Bay of Biscay patrols, and 1 by US aircraft off Brazil
In attacks on Halifax/UK convoy SC143, "U-610"
or "U-378" sank Polish destroyer "ORKAN" (ex-"Myrmidon") with an
acoustic torpedo. Later in the day RAF and RCAF air
escorts sank "U-419", "U-643" and "U-610".
16th-17th - Attacks on Convoys ON206 and
ONS20 - Six
U-boats were lost in exchange for a single merchantman in
attacks on UK-out convoys ON206 (B6 group) and ONS20 (4th
Escort Group). The 4th EG was composed mainly of the new
US lease-lend 'Captain' class frigates. The B7 group
commanded by Cdr Gretton first of all reinforced ON206.
On the 16th, southeast of Greenland, RAF
Liberators accounted for "U-470",
and "U-964". Next day on the 17th it was "U-540's"
turn. Shortly after,
as B7 transferred to ONS20, corvette
"Sunflower" sank "U-631" with her Hedgehog. Still on the
17th, frigate "Byard" with the 4th EG escorting
ONS20 sank "U-841". Cdr Gretton then took B7 to support nearby
23rd-29th - Attacks on Convoys ON207 and
ON208 - South of
Iceland, B7 reinforced ON207's already formidable
escort consisting of the Canadian C1 group and Capt
Walker's 2nd EG. On the 23rd a RAF Liberator of No
224 Squadron and B7 destroyers "Duncan" and
"Vidette" shared in the sinking of "U-274". Three days later the RCAF got "U-420". Then on the 29th, by now with
ON208, B7 ships "Duncan",
"Vidette" and Sunflower" sank "U-282". In less then two weeks in attacks
on just four convoys, nine U-boats had been sunk by the
highly efficient inter-service air and sea escorts.
Northeast of the Azores, destroyer "Whitehall"
and corvette "Geranium" of the British B1 group
escorting North and West Africa/UK convoys MKS28 and
SL138 detected "U-306" by HF/DF and sent her to the bottom.
Axis Loss Summary - 23 U-boats
including 4 by RAF and US aircraft in North Atlantic and
off Portugal; 6 by US escort carriers "Card",
"Core" and "Block Island" off the
Azores and in mid-Atlantic.
Capt Walker's Escort Group with escort carrier
"Tracker" patrolled east of Newfoundland in
support of convoy HX264. "U-226"
sighted by "Tracker's"
aircraft and destroyed by sloops "Starling",
"Kite" and "Woodcock". Shortly after,
"Starling", this time with "Wild
Goose", accounted for "U-842".
19th-25th - Attacks on the UK/ North and
West Africa Convoy Routes - Combined UK-bound convoys MKS30 and SL139 were
escorted by the 40th Escort Group and joined in turn by
the 7th, 5th and 4th EG's to the far west and northwest
of Portugal. One merchantman was lost to air attack, but
three U-boats went down in the fighting: 19th - "U-211" to a RAF Wellington.
Frigate "Nene" and Canadian corvettes
"Calgary" and "Snowberry" of the 5th
EG sank "U-536". 21st - Frigate "Foley" and
sloop "Crane" of the 40th EG accounted for "U-538".
Northwest of Cape
Finisterre, Hs293 glider bombs sank the one merchant ship
lost. The surviving U-boats were next deployed against
other convoys in the area. As the U-boats approached
southbound convoys KMS30/0S59 they ran into the 4th EG,
which had also been diverted: 23rd - Frigates
"Bazely", "Blackwood" and
"Drury" sank "U-648". 25th - Two days later
"Bazely" and "Blackwood" sank "U-600". Later, in the same area around
the Azores, a RAF Wellington accounted for "U-542", and aircraft from US escort
carrier "Bogue" the "U-86".
Summary - 16 U-boats including 2 by RAF and
US Bay of Biscay air patrols; 2 by RAF in North Atlantic
and off the Azores; 3 by US forces in mid-Atlantic and
off Ascension in the South Atlantic.
Destroyer "HURRICANE" of the 1st EG with UK/African convoys OS62
and KMS36 was torpedoed by "U-305" or
"U-415" northeast of the Azores. She was
scuttled next day.
Summary - 5 U-boats including 1 by RAF Bay of Biscay
patrol; 3 by US Navy in Azores and Madeira areas; 1
scuttled after storm damage in mid-Atlantic.
7th - U-boats
concentrated against UK/West and North African convoys,
mainly to the west and southwest of Ireland, and eight
were lost from all causes, but first the Royal Navy
suffered a loss. As the 5th Escort Group swept to the
west of Cape Finisterre, frigate "TWEED"
was torpedoed and sunk by
"U-305". Intense A/S activity further north saw
"U-305" lost well before the month was out. 8th
frigate "Bayntun" and Canadian corvette
"Camrose" of the 4th and 5th EGs escorting
OS64/KM538. 13th - Northeast of the Azores "U-231"
was lost to a RAF Leigh light Wellington. 15th
- Off the Azores "U-377"
was sunk by one of her own torpedoed. 17th
- Back to the waters west of Ireland, and "U-305"
now sunk by destroyer
"Wanderer" returning from a search for blockade
runners. 19th - "U-641" attacked OS65 and KMS39 and went
down to corvette "Violet" of the British B3
group. 28th - Operations against OS66/KMS40 led to
the loss of "U-271" to a US Navy Liberator and "U-571" to a RAAF Sunderland flying boat -
one of the famous "flying porcupines". West of
Ireland "U-972" suffered the same "own-torpedo"
fate as "U-377" two weeks earlier.
Walker's 2nd Escort Group -
Capt Walker with sloops
"Magpie", "Wild Goose" and
"Woodpecker" accompanied by escort carriers
"Activity" and "Nairana" arrived in
the waters to the southwest of Ireland. Over the next
three weeks the five sloops shared in the sinking of six
U-boats operating against the convoys passing through the
area. They started on the 31st when
"Starling", "Magpie" and "Wild
Goose" depth charged "U-592" to destruction.
Summary - 13 U-boats
including 2 by RAF and RAAF Bay of Biscay patrols; 1 by
RAF-laid mine in Bay of Biscay; 1 by US escort carrier
Guadalcanal off the Azores
Capt Walker's 2nd Escort Group continued
concentrations again suffered badly to the west and
southwest of Ireland, and 10 boats were lost, all to the
Royal Navy in exchange for a sloop and one straggler.
Capt Walker's 2nd EG accounted for five, which added to
the one on 31st January gave a record for U-boat sinkings
in one patrol only equalled by the US destroyer escort
"England" in the South West Pacific in May
1944: 8th - In support of convoys SL147/MKS38,
Capt Walker in "Starling" together with
"Kite", "Magpie", "Wild
Goose" and "Woodpecker" shared in the
sinking of "U-762". 9th - "Starling",
"Kite", "Magpie", "Wild
Goose" and "Woodpecker" now shared in the
sinking of "U-734" and "U-238". 11th - Back to the southwest
of Ireland, "Wild Goose" and
"Woodpecker" hunted down "U-424" and destroy her with depth
charges. 19th - The 2nd EG now supporting ON224
was attacked by "U-264". Brought to the surface by
"Starling" and "Woodpecker", she was
scuttled, the first of the schnorkel-equipped boats to be
lost. 19th - As Capt Walker's Group looked for its
seventh victim "WOODPECKER"
lost her stern to an acoustic torpedo from
"U-764". Towed slowly home, she sank on the
27th off the Scilly Islands.
Other supporting Escort
Groups also had their successes in the month: 10th -
West of Ireland, "U-666"
was sunk by Swordfish of 842 Squadron
from escort carrier "Fencer" in support of
trans-Atlantic convoy ON223. 18th - Frigate
"Spey" of the 10th EG with ONS29 sank "U-406". 19th - As the 10th EG
transferred to convoy ON224 (2nd EG was also in support),
"Spey" claimed another success with the sinking
- West of Ireland, "U-257"
was sunk by Canadian frigate
"Waskesiu" of the 6th EG with Halifax/UK convoy
SC153. 25th - Further south "U-91"
was lost to frigates
"Affleck", "Gore" and
"Gould" of the 1st EG carrying out an A/S
patrol in support of the convoys in the vicinity.
Axis Loss Summary - 13 U-boats
including 2 by RAF to the west of Scotland; 1 by US Navy
aircraft off Ascension Island
1st - The 1st
Escort Group, last recorded five days earlier sinking
"U-91" was now to the far southwest of Ireland,
north of the Azores. Frigates "Affleck",
"Gould", "Garlies" and
"Gore" had already hunted a contact for 30hr
when the second two ships had to leave for Gibraltar.
Late on the 1st the tables were turned when "GOULD"
was hit and sunk by a Gnat acoustic
torpedo. That just left "Affleck" which located "U-358" and sent her to the bottom with
depth charges and gunfire. At 38hr this was probably the
longest continuous U-boat hunt of the war.
6th - In another
long hunt lasting 30hr, the Canadian C2 group escorting
Halifax/UK convoy HX280 sank "U-744" in mid-Atlantic. Canadian
destroyers "Chaudiere" and
"Gatineau", frigate "St Catherines",
corvettes "Chilliwack" and "Fennel"
and British destroyer "lcarus" were joined by
corvette "Kenilworth Castle" before the action
9th - Corvette "ASPHODEL"
escorting West and
North Africa/UK convoys SL150/MKS41 was torpedoed and
sunk by "U-575" to the west of the Bay of
Biscay. The U-boat was lost four days later.
10th - In an attack
on Halifax/UK convoy SC154, "U-845"
was sunk in mid-Atlantic by Canadian C1
group including destroyer "St Laurent",
frigates "Owen Sound", "Swansea" and
British destroyer "Forester".
13th - RAF
Wellingtons flying from the Azores attacked "U-575" well to the north. She was finally
sent to the bottom by the aircraft and ships of the US
escort carrier "Bogue" task group and Canadian
frigate "Prince Rupert" from nearby convoy
15th - In
mid-Atlantic, Swordfish of 825 Squadron from escort
carrier "Vindex" working with 2nd EG's
"Starling" and "Wild Goose" sank "U-653" - Capt Walker's 13th kill.
Mosquitos of RAF Coastal Command armed with new 6pdr guns
had their first success. On Bay of Biscay patrol one of
them sank "U-976".
Axis Loss Summary - 13 U-boats
including 1 by RCAF off Ireland; 4 by the aircraft and
ships of USS Block Island off the Azores and Cape Verde
Islands; 1 by unknown causes in the North Atlantic; 1 by
SAAF off South Africa
6th - "U-302"
sank two ships from Halifax/UK convoy
SC156 to the northwest of the Azores before being
destroyed by frigate "Swale" of the British B5
8th - To the
northwest of Cape Finisterre, sloops "Crane"
and "Cygnet" of the 7th EG accounted for "U-962".
14th - North of the
Azores "U-448" attacked escort carrier
"Biter" but was detected by Canadian frigate
"Swansea" of the 9th EG and sunk by her and
sloop "Pelican" of the 7th.
19th - Norwegian
submarine "Ula" working with the Home Fleet
flotillas and on patrol off Stavanger, SW Norway sank "U-974".
Axis Loss Summary - 13 U-boats
including 2 by RAF in North Atlantic; 1 by RAF Bay of
Biscay patrol; 6 by US Navy forces off America, Madeira,
Cap Verde Islands and in North Atlantic.
5th/6th - The 2nd
and 5th EGs in the North Atlantic detected U-boats by
HF/DF after the torpedoing of a US destroyer. "U-473"
found by 2nd EG (Capt Walker) and
sunk on the 5th by "Starling", "Wren"
and "Wild Goose". Next day it was the 5th EG's
turn (Cdr Macintyre). Aircraft of 825 Squadron from
escort carrier "Vindex" located "U-765" and frigates "Aylmer",
"Bickerton" and "Bligh" shared in her
6th - The US escort
carrier "Block Island" group was again on
patrol in the Atlantic off the Canaries and being
directed to U-boats by the work of 'Ultra' and the
Admiralty Tracking Room. On the 6th her aircraft and
accompanying destroyer escorts sank "U-66". Then at the end of the month, the
carrier was sunk.
7th - Canadian
frigate "VALLEYFIELD", with a Canadian group escorting UK/North
America convoy ONM234, was sunk off Cape Race,
Newfoundland by "U-548".
- RAF Coastal Command and one of its Norwegian squadrons
were particularly successful against the U-boats passing
through the Northern Transit Area off south and west
Norway. In the space of 12 days, "U-240",
"U-241", "U-476", "U-675",
29th - USS BLOCK ISLAND
was torpedoed and sunk by "U-549" in the Canaries area, but her task
group soon avenged the loss of their leader.
Axis Loss Summary - 11 U-boats
including 1 by RCAF Bay of Biscay patrol
4th - Off West
Africa, "U-505" was captured by the USS Guadalcanal and her
task group. Later in the month, tanker "U-490"
was sunk in mid-Atlantic by the ships and
aircraft of the "Croatan" group and "U-360" in the South Atlantic by aircraft
15th - Submarine
"Satyr" on Arctic patrol torpedoed and sank "U-987" to the west of Narvik.
26th - Destroyer
"Bulldog" on patrol off the northwest coast of
Ireland sank "U-719".
U-boats passing through
the Bay of Biscay were the target for aircraft covering
the Normandy invasion, and also continued to suffer badly
at the hands of the aircraft of the Northern Transit Area
patrol. Throughout the month, eight
were sunk and one severely damaged by
RAF, RCAF and Norwegian aircraft.
Axis Loss Summary - 13 U-boats
excluding those sunk in Bay of Biscay as part of the
Normandy Invasion defences
Axis Loss Summary - 7 U-boats including
4 by RAF Coastal Command in the Northern Transit Area; 1
each by task groups of US escort carriers "Wake
Island", "Croatan" and "Card"
off the Canaries, Madeira and Nova Scotia respectively
Summary - 1 U-boat by aircraft of escort carrier
"Bogue" off Newfoundland
U-boat Inshore Campaign - With the
start of the British Isles Inshore Campaign,
U-boats sunk off Norway and in the Western Approaches as
well as the Bay of Biscay are no longer included in the
Battle of the Atlantic, but in the European theatre. The
same applies to Royal Navy and German surface warships
Western Europe -
Normandy to Berlin
Summary - 5 U-boats including 1 cause unknown and 1
mined off Iceland; 1 by RAF off the Azores; 1 by US Navy
off Cape Verde Islands; 1 by US aircraft in South
Summary - 1 U-boat in the North Atlantic due to
27th - "U-877" encountered Halifax/UK convoy
HX327 to the northwest of the Azores and was sunk by
Canadian corvette "St Thomas" of the C3 group.
Axis Loss Summary - 1 German U-boat
Summary - 1 U-boat by USN in mid-Atlantic
22nd - In
operations against convoys south of Portugal, "U-300", one of a small number of U-boats
scattered across the North Atlantic was sunk by escorting
minesweepers "Recruit" and "Pincher".
Axis Loss Summary - 2 U-boats including
1 by US and French escorts off Morocco
Summary - 1 U-boat by USN off Nova Scotia
Summary - 7 U-boats by USN off east coast of USA,
off the Azores and in mid-Atlantic
6th - "U-881"
sunk by the US Navy south of
Newfoundland. On the same day, "U-853"
torpedoed freighter "Black Point" off
New York, and was then hunted down and sunk by US
destroyer escort "Atherton" and frigate
Axis Loss Summary - 2 German U-boats