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Appendix 8

England-Gibraltar Convoys and U-boat Groups
October 1943 - January 1944


Convoy Date U/B's
SL 138
MKS 28
26/10 To Schill formed of 8 U/B's in area 44°N - 20°W.
  28/10 To Schill at 1640: convoy of landing boats was in approx. 42°27'N - 15°18'W at 1230A. Do not operate on it. Make use of attack opportunities as they are offered.

Comment: This was possibly SL 140 / MKS 31.

  28/10 To Schill at 1800A: according to aircraft recce, expected convoy (SL 138 / MKS 28) was in 39°39'N - 18°22'W at 1100A 28/10, course north, speed 8. Composition 54 ships, 1 light cruiser, and 5 escorts, of which 2 are destroyers. Convoy is running in 11 columns of 5 ships each. Surface 1800A 29/10.

Comment: Strength of convoy and escorts grossly underestimated.

  29/10 Count on convoy passing tonight.
  29/10 At 2338: Operate at maximum speed on hydrophone bearing reported by Franke (U-262).
  30/10 In view of Franke's hydrophone bearing COMSUBs assumes that convoy is on northerly course, speed around 8. Continue search in northwest direction, spreading apart.

Comment: Convoy had continued on northerly course, but the speed then was only 5.3 knots, and was not increased to 8 knots until dawn 31/10. U/B's were therefore spread too far ahead to carry out concentrated night attack.

Convoy Date U/B's

-- 145 --

Convoy Date U/B's
  30/10 At 1040A today aircraft spotted in 42°21'N - 20°15'W the convoy which had been expected yesterday, course 355° or 000°, speed 6. 50 ships, 1 light cruiser, 5 escorts. Operate at maximum speed. In case of no contact on dead reckoning rendezvous, sweep in large arcs for convoy with speed from 6 to 8, course 010°. Something must be gotten out of this convoy tonight.

Comment: Command must have been anticipating an alternate avoiding action to the northeast.

  31/10 At 0851: Go to it on Franke's report.

Comment: Convoy course was altered to north-northwest after it became known that sighting report had been made. 15 minutes later, course was altered to northwest. Few minutes later 1 mership was sunk.

  31/10 At 2012: set off to west.
MKF 25 2/11 To Schill at 0010: The convoy sighted by Marbach (U-953) is a fast convoy of troop transports bound for England, speed 13 knots. U/B's that can reach convoy tonight operate on it. Otherwise continue cruise.
MKS 29 5/11 During the night of 7/11 or 8/11 action against northbound convoy is intended.

Comment: Group moved east and south to pick up convoy.

  7/11 Convoy sighted by aircraft considerably to south-east of line.
  8/11 Line moved to east, anticipating easterly diversion.
Convoy Date U/B's







KMS 31 31/10 To Schill: intended that group go into action about p.m. 3/11 on southbound convoy in area 44°N - 18°W.



KMS 31 1/11 Schill move to area 44°N - 20°W.
  3/11 Expected convoy not picked up by aircraft today. New patrol line 44°N - 20° to 23°W.
  4/11 Air recce without results. Convoy still expected. Line moved to west.
  5/11 Southbound convoy no longer expected.

Comment: KMS 31 was a good 80 miles south of the Schill line on 4/11.

-- 146 --

Convoy Date U/B's
  9/11 When no contact was made, Command evidently feared he had underestimated speed of convoy, and that route had changed to west. Line moved to southwest.
  9/11 Contact made by 3 U/B's with sweep group only. 1 destroyer claimed sunk.
  9/11 At 1910A, convoy reported by aircraft close to center of patrol line.

Comment: Convoy had proceeded on westerly diversion course, and shift of line on 9/11 was correct.

  10/11 U/B's in position to continue attack were to do so. Others move off to the west.
MKS 30 11/11 Operation on northbound convoy during night of 18/11 is intended.
  16/11 Schill I formed of 9 Schill U/B's in area 40°N - 20°W. Operation intended on northbound convoy sighted today in 36°N - 14°W.
  17/11 Convoy sighted by aircraft south of line on westerly course. Line moved accordingly.
  18/11 According to B-report, convoy in 38°N - 19°W at 1000A.
  18/11 After dark, contact keeping aircraft will throw "Lux" light with bright white light behind convoy in direction of its course.
  18/11 Schill II formed of 9 ex-Eisenhart U/B's to take part in action on KMS 30.
  18/11 At 1309A Henke (U-515) reported convoy in 39°45'N - 19°42'W which coincides with Franke's bearing at 2017A. Go to it on Henke's report.
Convoy Date U/B's

-- 147 --

Convoy Date U/B's
  19/11 Contact lost after several U/B's had attacked and been attacked by sweep groups attached to the convoy.

Comment: After reassembly of group, line was moved north, but convoy had gotten past. Not until 21/11 did Command realize that the convoy had escaped.





MKS 31 24/11 Weddigen in new line northeast, closer to port, boats having been out a long time. Operation is intended on next northbound convoy.
  26/11 Air scouting planned to improve convoy position and to help U/B's find it. At 1345A air recce sighted expected convoy 3° east of the line, heading west.
  27/11 Line moved so as to be in position to advance to east and meet convoy.

Comment: Convoy, however, was on a deceptive course, for on 27/11 it was discovered by aircraft to have reverted to north course, hence was still farther east than was supposed, as reported by Command later in the day.

  27/11 Night of 27/11, U/B's were spread in fan shaped arrangement to operate on all possible courses from 290° to 350°. Aircraft discovered course to be still northerly.

Comment: The reports sent to Command during the search for this convoy indicated that the convoy, after a short deceptive maneuver, continued on a course far to the east. He was evidently loathe to act on this information until the operation was ended on 28/11, because past experience with northbound convoys indicated that they had formerly taken a more westerly route, and until the end he seemed convinced that this convoy would do the same.

Convoy Date U/B's





KMS 33 22/11 Weddigen formed for operation on southbound convoy, 16 U/B's from Schill in line from 43°N - 22°W to 43°N - 19°W.
  23/11 Air recce today without results. Convoy is presumably farther west. Line to move tonight 90 miles west.
  24/11 No clues about southbound convoy. Probably passed line by moving off farther to west.

Comment: Command was exactly right.

-- 148 --

Convoy Date U/B's
Convoy Date U/B's
KMS 34 29/11 Weddigen now reduced to 9 U/B's to operate on southbound convoy.
  30/11 Reconnaissance line directly across route KMS 34 would take.

Comment: Command, at this point, seems to have become confused as to the convoy his U/B's were to intercept. Having placed them in a line which, had they maintained it, would have caught KMS 34 on 2-3/12. He appears to have believed that a convoy which was heading south but to the west of the line, was the original convoy on a westerly diversion.

ON 214 2-3/12 Weddigen to sweep for convoy, to the northwest.

Comment: This sweep headed the group for ON 214, a UK to US convoy which had been diverted south to avoid group Rügen contact.

  3/12 U/B at extreme east end of line sighted a destroyer belonging to to KMS 34, but the group kept on its way.
  6/12 In new line, 49° to 47°N - 25° to 26°W Harlfinger (U-269), returning U/B, sighted convoy far to the north of line. The line was then pulled to the northeast, heading for the area of the sighting.

Comment: Convoy slipped by to the south without being contacted.

  7/12 U/B's not in pursuing position discontinue. Weddigen dissolved.

-- 149 --

Convoy Date U/B's
MKS 33 20/12 Borkum formed from 8 ex-Coronel boats and 5 from waiting areas, from 47°N - 21°W to 47°N - 17°W. Northbound convoy expected p.m. 20/12.
  20/12 Morning scouting had no results.
  21/12 Air recce without results.
  21/12 At 1900A, surface and move line to southwest.
  22/12 Move line to southwest.
  23/12 Line again moved to southwest.

Comment: Convoy was ahead of Command's schedule, and considerably to southwest on 20/12. Convoy stayed on westerly diversion route, and when it was not sighted on 22/12, Command must have realized that KMS 33 was well away, and so once more he moved Borkum to the southwest hoping to catch MKS 36.

  23/12 Enemy carrier and cruiser in 47°N - 19°W, course 235°, speed 17. Take course 030° at highest speed weather will permit.
  24/12 Group Borkum operate on Bahr's (U-305) report at maximum speed. Sink it.

Comment: TG 21.14 (USS Card).

Convoy Date U/B's



KMS 36 21/12 Besides expected northbound convoy, count on southbound convoy.








  24/12 Occupy patrol line 45°N - 24°W to 45°N - 20°W.

Comment: Line moved north, approaching KMS 36.

  24/12 Departure of the expected southbound convoy has been delayed because of fog. You can count on 2 more days before its arrival in the line.

Comment: Whatever the source of Command's information, it appears to have been wrong, since the convoy passed through the western end of the line 24-25/12.

  25/12 Remain in patrol line. The passage of the convoy may still be expected.

-- 150 --

Convoy Date U/B's







MKS 34 28/12 Operation on northbound convoy planned for 30/12. Start today for new line 44°N - 21°W to 44°N - 18°W.
  29/12 Air recce on expected northbound convoy.
  30/12 Yesterday's recce without results.
  30/12 Air recce today again without results. Group to remain in line.
  31/12 Passage of convoy may still be expected.

Comment: Convoy passed through west end of line 30/12.

  31/12 Engagement with TG 21.16 (USS Block Island).
Convoy Date U/B's
  26/12 Operate on surface even after dawn. Southwest advance.

Comment: One U/B had contacted the convoy, but his attack miscarried. Pursuit was ordered, but to no avail.

  27/12 Aircraft spotted enemy sweep group in 47°N - 26°W. (far to the north of the line) Possibly southbound convoy.

Comment: No southbound convoy in the vicinity.

  28/12 Set off from patrol line.









KMS 37 2/1 Southbound convoy expected. No air recce available.

Comment: Had aircraft reconnaissance been used, it might have discovered that KMS 37 was far to the west of the line set up, and was never in any danger of being contacted.

-- 151 --

Convoy Date U/B's
MKS 35 3/1 On 7/1 and 8/1 operation is intended against northbound Gibraltar convoy.
Borkum I: 45°N - 22°W to 45°N - 21°W.
Borkum II: 45°N - 20°W to 45°N - 19°W.
Borkum III: 46°N - 18°W to 46°N - 17°W.
  6/1 Operation against northbound convoy not expected to take place before 10/1. Move patrol line 90 miles to south.
  8/1 Air scouting today without results.
  9/1 Air recce today discovered convoy at 1330A in 37°N - 16°W, course not ascertained.

Comment: Command had overestimated the speed of MKS 35. It was running about 2 days slower than he figured.

  10/1 Line moved south to 41°N - 20°W to 42°N - 17°W to meet convoy.
  10/1 Air scouting without results.
  11/1 Bahr (U-305) sighted steamer in 41°30'N - 20°30'W. Go to it on basis of Bahr's report. Course presumably north.

Comment: Contact was maintained for 1½ hours by Bahr, until he was sighted and forced off. No other U/B made contact.

  13/1 Borkum dissolved.
Convoy Date U/B's
  3/1 Borkum divided into Borkum I, II, and III.


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