Chapter III
Ocean Convoys


1. A "convoy" is two or more naval auxiliary vessels, merchant vessels or both, assembled and organized for an operation or passage together; or a single naval auxiliary vessel or merchant vessel under escort of one or more warships.55

2. Experience in World War I and now in this war has proven beyond doubt that the first and primary defense against enemy submarines, aircraft, mines and raiders should be a proper balance between convoy of shipping and evasive routing of independents. As to convoying, its salutary effect during periods of intensive attack is clearly demonstrated in the table, "Convoy vs. Independent Status of Merchant Vessels Lost World-Wide from Enemy Action" in Chapter I, C. For instance, in 1942 before our convoying got under full way, world-wide losses from enemy causes amounted to 7,713,000 gross tons, of which about 70% were independent ships. The next year though, with shipping largely in convoy, losses were reduced to 3,210,000 gross tons, of which about 34% were independents. However, in considering these figures weight must be given to the offensive action which was taken against the enemy.104

3. While in a certain sense C&R is charged with affording protection to shipping by convoy, this protection is not interpreted to mean the control of either anti-submarine craft or armed guard units aboard merchantmen. In other words, C&R has not particularly concerned itself with actual escorting beyond familiarity with escort availability for scheduling purposes and the relations of the Commodores with the escort commanders. C&R's protective functions are limited, in the case of convoys to the organization, movement control and general administration of convoys. These functions are defined more exactly in MER-1, para. 6 as:

"Convoy Control: Convoy control is for the assembly of vessels for convoy and the performance of the necessary functions ashore to provide for the safety of the convoy at sea. These functions include:

"(1) Interviewing masters to determine whether or not the vessels are eligible for convoy as regards speed, smoking, etc.

"(2) Inspection of vessels in order to ascertain whether they are properly equipped for convoy operation.

"(3) The convening of a conference of masters and all other interested persons prior to sailing.

"(4) When a naval officer is not available to serve as Commodore, the selection of a Convoy Commodore and Vice Commodore and suitable ships to act as Commodores' flagships.

"(5) In conference with Convoy Commodore, prescribe the organization and cruising order of the convoy. Prescribe the sailing time, route to be followed, and issue instructions as to destination and dispersals.

"(6) Advise all cognizant authorities of the movements of the convoy (Convoy Sailing telegram).

"(7) Perform all other functions prescribed by current directives."55


4. The difference between the control of convoys by C&R and the control of the escort vessels by Fleet Operations is further illustrated by the exact distinctions drawn between the duties of the Convoy Commodore and the Escort Commander. As to this subject, "United States Fleet Anti-Submarine and Escort of Convoy Instructions" (short title F.T.P. 223A), paragraph 4021 states:

5. "The Convoy Commodore is the officer, Naval or Merchant. designated to command the convoy. He is responsible for the internal arrangements of the convoy including the assignment of stations to ships in the convoy, for the issue of instructions and regulations for the convoy, and is always responsible for the safe navigation of the convoyed ships. Under normal conditions the Convoy Commodore will control the convoy tactically in accordance with standard instructions for convoys and such additional instructions as he may receive from competent authority."73

6. Then paragraph 4022 states: "The Escort Commander is responsible for the proper disposition of the escorts for the defense of the convoy, subject to instructions received from higher authority and the enforcement of such instructions given to the convoy as are related to the defense of the convoy. Evasive alterations of course by the convoy when exigencies of the situation warrant are ordered by the Escort Commander, after consultation with Convoy Commodore if practicable."73

7. But paragraph 4063 adds: "In a regularly scheduled mercantile convoy the Escort Commander commands both convoy and escort even though there may be present in a ship in the convoy an officer senior to him". In actual practice, escorts for the U. S. ocean convoys are provided by the Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet, and for coastal convoys by the Sea Frontier Commanders, both under supervision of the Commander in Chief, U. S. Fleet.73

8. Minimum Declared Speed for Inclusion in Convoy: To qualify for a convoy the master of each vessel is required to state to the Convoy Control Officer that his vessel will probably be able to maintain the nominal convoy speed under ordinary conditions, i.e., in a moderate sea and wind force 4 on the Beaufort scale. The nominal speed of a convoy is the lowest declared speed that will qualify a ship for inclusion. The speed of advance of a convoy is the basis upon which its movements are plotted. (GIRO-1944, Art. 3112, 3113 and Appendix III A).62 64



1. Convoy Plot (FX-3722, later FX-3721):

Under the Convoy Administration or Control Officer, this section performs duties as follows (see Appendix Q):

a) Routes and Diverts Atlantic ocean convoys in U. S. areas of responsibility except within Sea Frontier boundaries, where this control is exercised by the respective Commanders. Originally each convoy was routed over an individual course, but standard routes over certain convoy lanes were gradually developed as the submarine menace lessened. When requested by War Shipping Administration or Naval transportation Service, conditions warranting, instructions are sent by radio to Escort Commanders ordering Convoy Commodores to detach ships from convoy for new destinations. (see Appendix CC and Appendix DD for diversions of ON 166).

b) Maintains plot of all convoys in the Atlantic, and those in the pacific for which information is available. The main purpose of the plot is to broadcast positions of convoys to other ships and convoys to reduce risk of collision. The actual plotting is done on accurate plotting charts for the area concerned, and these plots are transferred to a set of large mercator charts provided by the Hydrographic Office, extending from floor to ceiling in one large room and


covering the following areas: 1) North Atlantic Ocean north of 10° S, including the Mediterranean and Gulf of Mexico; 2) North and Central American coastline from St. Johns, N. F., to trinidad, including Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea; 3) South American coastline from Trinidad to Buenos Aires; 4) the entire Pacific ocean to 100° E; and 5) the entire worl (used only for areas not covered by the other charts). (see Appendix BB).

Here pins bearing small cards of varying color and design show the position of and distinguish between coastal convoys, fast and slow North Atlantic trade convoys, convoys to Mediterranean, troop convoys, and miscellaneous convoys, plus independent ships such as the "Monster" troopships (large, high speed troop-carrying ships which normally proceed independently), neutral ships, hospital ships and safe-conduct ships. Estimated positions of enemy submarines (supplied by F-21) are also shown by pins and cards which distinguish between patrolling, outbound and homebound U/boats. Storm centers, icebergs, mine-fields, etc., are also indicated. Finally the chart shows the dividing lines for shipping control (known as CHOP lines) and Sea Frontier boundaries. The plotted positions of convoys are posted for 2000 G.C.T. each day and enemy craft for 1200 G.C.T. and broadcast to all commands concerned daily. Convoys are also plotted on the plotting charts for 2000 the next day, and their positions corrected as information comes in. Thus virtually all the pertinent facts bearing upon routing and diversions are presented at a glance for the benefit of the section head, watch officers and other interested personnel. A continuous watch is maintained day and night by Convoy Plot, so that diversions, whether they be evasive or to avoid collisions, may be broadcast immediately to the convoy or ship concerned. A detailed explanation of the reporting of convoy positions by C&R appears in the United States Fleet Anti-Submarine Bulletin of November, 1944, p. 27-29. (see Appendix BB to Appendix EE, inclusive).

c) Issues "Daily Convoy Situation Report" and "Coastal Convoy Daily Summary".

1. The situation report shows the destination of every ocean and coastal convoy under way, ports of departure and destination, number of ships, number of escorts and the convoy's estimated 2000 G.C.T. position, course and speed. Independent troop ships, hospital ships, and safe-conduct ships are included. Typed copies of the report go to the White House, CominCh Chart Room, F-21 (Combat Intelligence) and FX-3711 (Independent Plot), for reporting on their individual wall charts.

2. Te estimated 2000 G.C.T. position, course and speed of all convoys, transports, safe conduct and hospital ships in the Atlantic outside of Sea Frontiers, as plotted by this Section, is broadcast about noon each day to all U. S. Navy commands at sea and ashore concerned with convoy movements. To reduce the amount of decoding at sea, the North Atlantic is divided into three main areas and a separate broadcast is addressed to all commands in each area which includes only convoys within that area, viz; a) North of 40° N and West of 26° W (less Eastern Sea Frontier but including Canadian Coastal Zone); b) between 25° N from 26° W to 67° W (less Eastern Sea Frontier); and c) South of 25° N and West of 26° W (less Caribbean Sea Frontier). Prior to July 1943 this section also broadcast the positions of convoys within each of the Sea Frontiers, but this function was taken over by the respective Commanders of Sea Frontiers, with C&R included as an addressee for purposes of checking its own plot of coastal convoys.

3. The coastal summary, which was conceived by C&R, lists the convoy designation, time of departure or arrival and name of every ship in each convoy. Changes of destination, sinkings, stragglers and joiners are included. The summary is radioed to naval Service Headquarters in Ottawa and to the Admiralty. This procedure greatly reduces communications, as


otherwise these commands would require copies of every convoy reporting dispatch. In exchange, Ottawa and London supply C&R with similar daily summaries of their respective convoys. In tis manner all ships in convoy are located for the ship records maintained by FX-3711 and FX-3712.

d) Maintains records of ocean convoys

1. All dispatches concerning each convoy are placed in chronological order of receipt in a separate folder, which is permanently filed in order of convoy title and number. Each folder has a cover summarizing such essential facts as date of sailing, route, convoy call sign, number of ships, names of escort vessels and their task number and senior officer, names of Convoy Commodore and Vice Commodore and their ships, names of ships which are detached or become casualties or stragglers and arrival date. Inside the cover of ocean convoys is a sketch of the original route and diversions taken. A carbon copy of the statement which is prepared by FX-3712, showing the name and destination of each ship, deletions, changes of destination, etc., is also filed. Thus the convoy folder assembles virtually all information about the convoy which is known to C&R, with the exception that the Commodore's report ad Escort Commander's report are filed separately in C&R's central file and CominCh mail room, respectively. In addition to this material, other records are kept by the Convoy Schedule officer as will be explained below. A photograph of the North Atlantic Chart is taken daily and filed for reference purposes. In addition a monthly chart of the actual routes taken by all important Atlantic convoys is prepared and photographed.

2. The Watch officers also maintain a set of folders containing dispatches and letters concerning policy matters. Separate "policy" folders are kept under the titles of: North Atlantic, CU, UT, UG, OT, Monster, Hospital-Safe Conduct, Mediterranean - U.K. - African, Indian, Russian Atlantic-Mediterranean, Argentine, Pacific, Russian Pacific, and General.

3. Originally, the Convoy Plot section consisted of about 22 officers, of whom about half were Watch Officers working in three daily shifts. Upon the full deployment of the U. S. East Coast convoy system in the summer of 1942 and until July 1943 the section was divided into two parts: Ocean Convoy Plot (FX-3722) and Coastal Convoy Plot (FX-3723). Late in 1943 personnel was reduced to about 16 officers, including two Watch Officers on continuous duty, and all plotting reverted to a single sub-section, although the coastal and ocean situation reports continued to be listed separately. The Convoy Plot room, which is accessible only to authorized persons, has never been occupied since some months before the war began.301 (see Appendix BB).

4. Commander John Bailey, U.S.N., was in charge of this section until November 1943, when he was relieved by Commander Harry J. Verhoye, U.S.N., who in turn was relieved by Commander Everett A. Rhodes, U.S.N.R., in May 1944.

2. Convoy Schedules (FX-3722):

Also under the Convoy administration (later Control) Officer, this Section functions as described below: (see Appendix Q and Appendix FF).

a) Prepares and Issues U. S. Convoy Schedules

1. With the advent of large scale U/boat attacks in the Western Atlantic in the spring of 1942, the number and size of ocean and coastal


convoys exoanded rapidly, as will be related in Chapter III. The shortage of tonnage was to remain one of the principal bottle-necks of the war, and every ship-day saved was of importance. But convoying was an inherent and unavoidable cause of delay and tended to increase congestion, particularly in the heavily worked ports of New York, Norfolk, Boston and Guantanamo, not to mention certain overseas ports. Careful long range planning of all convoy movements became vital, and the scheduling of U. S. convoys rapidly became an important function of C&R. The continuing problem is to: 1) reduce to a minimum the delays to ships sailing in convoy caused by waiting in port to unload, load and sail again in the next convoy; slower speeds; and longer routes; 2) fully utilize but not overwork such escort craft as are available; 3) synchronize convoy sailings and arrivals with other U. S. and British convoys so as to maintain the most efficient possible worldwide flow of shipping; and 4) facilitate the ocean transport of troops.

2. These problems are worked out by C&R in conjunction with the Operations Division of CominCh; Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet; the Sea Frontier Commanders; the Admiralty and N.S.H.Q., Ottawa; and those divisions of WSA, Naval Transportation Service and Army Water Transportation charged with cargo and troop movements.

3. To facilitate planning and recording by visualization, a "Convoy Time graph" was developed by this section in 1942, consisting of an interlocking network of colored elastic bands. Each band represents one convoy and is stretched between two pins on a mounted graph ruled to show days along the top and ports of departure and destination along the sides. A small label pinned beside the band bears the convoy short title and number. Once the desired sailing interval and convoy speed over a certain route is determined in relation to the number of escort units available, the bands are moved about so as to seek the most expeditious sailing dates, turnaround time away for both ships and escorts, return sailing dates and upkeep and loading time at home, always bearing in mind the best possible connections for shipping in other convoys. (see Appendix J).

4. When the convoy schedule is finally arranged and approved, dispatches are released to all concerned, setting forth the first dates and intervals of sailing. A photograph of the Convoy Time Graph is then taken and distributed to show for a month or two in advance further details such as minimum declared speeds for inclusion, estimated voyage times and arrival dates, turnaround times, and convoy connections. The Graph is rephotographed whenever important changes are made in the schedule. Prior to its expiration a second board is prepared and photographed. (see Appendix GG to Appendix LL inclusive).

5. For convenience two boards are in use, one showing U. S. Convoys to Mediterranean and United Kingdom (including British Convoys to Mediterranean and West Africa for purposes of synchronization), and the other showing U. S. coastal and North Atlantic Trade Convoys. About 32 photographic prints of the former and 45 of the latter are distributed to those concerned with planning, including the following outside of C&R: Chief of Staff, TENTH Fleet; CominCh Operations Division (F-313); six officers in Naval Transportation Service, Op-39 (Allied Tanker Coordinating Committee, Army and Navy Petroleum Board, Atlantic Service Force and Traffic); five persons in W.S.A. (Vessel Operations, Tanker Operations and Allocations, Port utilization, and Security and Communications); three officers in the Army Water Transportation (Control, Movements and Ocean Traffic); the British Admiralty Delegation and British Merchant Shipping Mission; Naval Service Headquarters in Ottawa and Commander in Chief,


Canadian North-West Atlantic; Commanders of all four Sea Frontiers; and Commander, Fourth Fleet or Commander, South Atlantic Force; Commandants of Naval Operating Bases at Guantanamo and Trinidad; Commander, All Forces Aruba-Curacao; Port Directors of New York, Norfolk, Cristobal and Houston; Convoy Control Officers at Key West, Pilottown and Galveston; Commander, Operational Training Command, Atlantic Fleet; and Commander in Chief, U. S. Atlantic Fleet. These photographs are classified as secret. (see Appendix GG to Appendix LL inclusive, and Appendix AAA and Appendix BBB).

b) Has Cognizance of Coastal Convoy Policy.

1. This duty involves responsibility for advising senior officers concerning convoy affairs and activities in Eastern, Gulf, Caribbean, and Panama Sea Frontiers; Commander Fourth Fleet area (Brazil), and Canadian Coastal Zone. To this end, permanent "policy" files of all dispatches and serial letters bearing on policy matters are maintained, one file for each area named above and one for general matters and affairs concerning more than one area. Such subjects as adherence to and changes in convoy schedules, standard routes for convoys and independents, the releasing of ships of certain types and speeds from convoy, Convoy Commodores' and Escort Commanders' reports and recommendations, questions involving conflict of policy between Frontiers, and the general performance of convoying in the light of enemy activity are studied and proposals for improvement submitted.

2. Prior to July 1943 this section as FX-3723 plotted all coastal convoys and broadcast their daily positions, courses and speeds, and in general performed for coastal convoys the functions later carried out by Convoy Plot. (see Chapter IV).

c) Maintains Convoy Records.

1. In addition to the basic folder records maintained by Convoy Plot of Ocean and (since July 1943) Coastal convoys, this Section keeps a variety of timing and composition records of all regular U. S. convoys and some connecting British and Canadian convoys. For example, by further use of the Convoy Time graph described above, all convoys under way at any one time are revealed at a glance, with their composition, casualties and estimated time of arrival. As convoys arrive the elastic bands are moved to the proper positions, and when the board expires a record photograph is taken and permanently filed. From these, studies are made of voyage and turnaround performance of shipping, escort units and convoy commodores. (see Appendix GG to Appendix LL inclusive).

2. This photo facilitates the preparation by the Section of a monthly statistical summary of each group of convoys arriving, which is published in the "United States Fleet Anti-Submarine Bulletin". A brief narrative of this month's activities accompanies each table. Further analyses are made of a variety of subjects which may assist in the efficient control of convoying, some of which are also published in the Bulletin. (see Appendix F to Appendix I).

3. For historical purposes, time graphs are drawn of certain other convoys, such as Pacific, Canadian, and special or miscellaneous convoys of importance, as well as movements of AT independent "Monsters". (see Appendix N, Appendix O, and Appendix FFF to Appendix JJJ, inclusive).

4. A card index is kept of all Convoy Commodores and Vice Commodores in teh Atlantic, with designation of convoys to which assigned and other


data. In the case of the 38 Commodores on duty with C&R for UGS, UGF, and CU convoys, further records are kept, and this Section assists FX-372 in the preparation of Commodores' assignments to convoys. (see Appendix KKK).

5. Finally, a master list of all current and obsolete U. S. and British convoy short titles or designations is maintained for copying and distribution by FX-43. To avoid duplication, recommendations are made for short titles of new convoys in both Atlantic and Pacific.

6. Commander Joseph D. McKinney, U.S.N., was in charge of this section (FX-3723) until August 1943, when he was relieved by Commander Charles E. Ames, U.S.N.R.



1. Our active interest in the escort of British convoys took form well before we entered the war. During the summer of 1940 the German submarine campaign had been prosecuted with telling effect. By way of assistance we first delivered Britain 50 of our older destroyers adapted for anti-submarine duty, in exchange for which we received certain rights in various localities suitable for the establishment of Naval Bases, including Newfoundland and Bermuda. On 11 March 1941 the Lend-Lease Act was signed and obviously we were unwilling to see alrge part of our vital products lost in Ocean transit. The only recourse was to assist the British in escorting, which at first we did by patrolling the waters in the vacinity of convoy routes and broadcasting information relative to the presence of raiders. Incident to these decisions, Marines were landed 9 April in Greenland by agreement with Denmark. In May, 10 of our cutters reinforced the British escort force. An unlimited national emergency was proclaimed 27 May, and 1 June the first of the Greenland patrols was organized. With the landing of our Marines in Iceland 7 July, we joined Britain in the use of an important base for convoy escorts and long range aircraft. On 16 September U. S. Naval ships were first assigned as escorts for the regualr mercantile cross-Atlantic convoys. There followed several incidents involving enemy action against U. S. destroyers and auxiliaries, climaxed by the torpedoing of the USS Ruben James with the loss of 100 men 31 October. The next day the Coast Guard was made a part of the Navy by Executive Order No. 8929, followed by the establishment of armed guard units for all merchant vessels.1

2. The immediate effect of the attack on Pearl harbor was to increase the Allied (or United Nations) shipping pool by some 8 1/2 million gross tons of ocean-going ships liable to enemy attack. A large proportion of this tonnage in the Western North atlantic could not be given suitable convoy and air protection - due to our failure to build in preparation for war - and consequently a number of soft spots were exposed to the Axis U/boats which had by this date considerably increased in number and ability to operate at long distances from their bases, sometimes in "wolf packs". The U/boats quickly took advantage of the opportunity so presented, and by leaving the cross-Atlantic convoys severely alone, concentrated their attacks on the largely unescorted shipping along the Atlantic seaboard, and in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, with disastrous results. Loses in these areas during June 1942 caused world-wide sinkings to reach a new high peak of 702,000 gross tons. By 1 July 1942 a network of convoys in the Sea Frontier areas had been organized (as described in Chapter IV) and within several months the enemy had found it profitable to withdraw from coastal zones and resume attacks on ocean convoys.1 21

3. The crises of the "Battle of the Atlantic" came in the spring of 1943. With over 100 U/boats at sea, losses in the Atlantic for March alone reached the alarming figure of 627,000 gross tons, nearly 20% of the sinkings for the shole year. But now the commissioning of additional escorts, including a number of small escort carriers, the use of support groups and more very long range aircraft, some operating from the Azores, gradually turned the tide. Several fierce battles with


ONS-SC convoys took place in May, as a result of which the enemy largely withdrew from the Atlantic convoy routes again to look for softer spots elsewhere. During the 6 months ending October over 150 U/boats had been sunk.21 (see Appendix CC and Appendix DD).

4. In May 1943 the TENTH Fleet Operations Division had been organized to exercise command of anti-submarine support forces composed of surface, air and submarine forces, and deal directly with Atlantic Fleet and Anti-submarine projects.7

5. Our sea and air initiative in the Atlantic was largely maintained, in spite of the gradual introduction of the "Schnorchel" breathing tube, and losses reached only 24,000 gross tons a month just prior to the invasion of Europe on 6 June 1944. Sinkings remained unexpectedly low in the face of the heavy movement of troops and supplies to the Continent, amounting to ony 7,000 gross tons in october, the lowest for the whole war. In our coastal areas only cargo ships of 8 to 10 knots were being sailed in convoy, as explained in Chap. IV.21 (see Appendix II).

6. But with large numbers now equipped with the "Schnorchel" and new tactics developed for high submerged speeds, the early months of 1945 saw the U/boat concentrating about the British Isles in an alarming manner. In addition, a few undersea craft were causing considerable anxiety in Canadian and Eastern Sea Frontier areas although actual losses were limited. At least, the U/boats caused an increase in convoying in the Eastern Sea Frontier. (see Chap. IV).


1. The first transoceanic convoys over which C&R exercised movement control in U. S. areas of responsibility were the North Atlantic Trade Convoys (HX, ON, and SC). These convoys were of great importance by reason of their frequency and size, and because for a long period they provided the only regular escorting of merchant ships. In April 1942 all anti-submarine forces, U. S., British and Canadian were pooled in a single cross-Atlantic convoy scheme. During the first part of 1942 troop convoys were sailed to Iceland and U. K., designated as AT convoys from U. S. and NA convoys from Canada. In addition there were very irregular troop convoys from U. S. East Coast to the Indian Ocean or Pacific ports via the South Atlantic or Panama Canal, such as the AS, BC, BT, LW, and WS convoys. Following the invasion of North Africa late in 1942 the important UGS and UGF convoys were inaugrated on regular schedules, followed in 1943 by large regular UT troop convoys to the U. K., and the OT and CU tanker convoys from the Netherlands West Indies to U. K. Subsequently these CU's were sailed from New York to U. K. regularly, becoming an important combination troop and tanker convoy system.

2. The Army Water Transportation has computed that during our war 2,455,329 troops crossed the Atlantic for the European and Mediterranean Theaters of Operation in 173 UT, TCU, CU, UGF, UGS and AT convoys, exclusing independent sailings of "AT" monsters and excluding "Torch Operations", an average of 14,193 embarkations per troop-carrying convoy.

3. A total of 47,997 ships were escorted in 1.134 principal convoys across the Atlantic between North American and British, Mediterranean and European ports since we joined the war. Of these, 275 ships (including escorts) were sunk in convoy, a ratio of 1:174. However, of these 47,997 ships, 30,330 or 63% were in the North Atlantic Trade Convoys alone. Likewise, of the 275 ships sunk in convoy, 242 were in these Trades. This leaves 17,667 ships, of which only 33 were sunk, in the UG, OT, UT, CU, AT and other principal trans-Atlantic convoys. The following table clearly brings out the steady increase in convoying, together with the notable decline in 1944 in losses from enemy action without increase of escort strength per convoy.



              Casualties (Enemy Action)c
Arriving Convoys Ships Ships
Escorts Escorts
in C/V
Sunk as
1942 253 7,882 31 1,547 6.1 127 39 17
1943 299 12,745 43 2,481 8.3 126 49 20
1944 380 18,856 50 3,070 8.1 15 3 11
1945b 202 8,514 42 1,135 5.6 7 0 5
Total 1,134 47,997 33 8,233 7.3 275 91 53

(a) North Atlantic Trade Convoys, UGF, UGS, OT, UT, CU, and AT convoys and returning counterparts, each of which are described in further detail below, plus certain other important convoys, as published in the yearly convoy summaries appearing in U. S. Fleet Anti-Submarine Bulletins.108 120 123 124
(b) Sailing prior to VE Day
(c) Including escorts.
Source: 501


1. In order to define exactly the American and British areas of responsibility for the control of transoceanic convoy and ship movements (as distinguished from strategic control of warships), the North and South Atlantic oceans have been divided roughly in half. The dividing line is known as "CHOP" (Change of Operational Control). The estimated date and hour of crossing the line is established by a dead reckoning plot and is stated in the sailing telegram. The diverting authority on the other side of the line assumes control on that day, regardless of estimated position. If the hour was not stated in the sailing telegram control changed at noon G.C.T.

2. The CHOP line in the South Atlantic was originally set and has remained along the 26th meridian south of 00° - 35' N.

3. North of the equator, however, there have been four changes since the first line was adopted on 1 July 1942. Originally proposed in BUSRA a few months previous, it closely corresponded to 65° N, thence by rhumb line to the 26th meridian at 53° N, and thence southward along the 26th meridian, except between 43° N and 20° N where it followed the 40th meridian. (see Appendix E).

4. The first change of 28 July was a slight one, merely moving the above rhumb line westward so as to meet the 26th meridian at 57° N, instead of 53° N.

5. On 12 November 1942 the second change moved the chop line for all movements exclusive of troop convoys and independent troop ships (for which the line of 28 July applied until 1 April 1943) westward to the 35th meridian as far south as 50° N, thence by rhumb line to 43° N, 40° W, southward again along the 40th meridian to 20° N, and thence by rhumb line to 00° 35' N, 26° W.

6. The next change, effective 1 April 1943 was gain to the westward to facilitate still further the British and Canadian control of the extreme Northwest Atlantic, and increased the total area of British control to its maximum limits. Now the line ran from Greenland along the 47th meridian to 29° N, and thence again


by rhumb line to 00° 35' N, 26° W. This change resulted from the Atlantic Convoy Conference held in Washington 1 March.

7. Finally, on 1 May, 1943, for the purpose of extending the area in which C&R and Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet, would have control over the U. S. convoys to and from the Mediterranean, the line was moved eastward this time to include the Azores. This line, destined to remain for "the duration", also ran southward on the 47th meridian but only to 40° N, thence eastward to 40° N, 24° W; southward on the 24th meridian to 30° N; thence by rhumb line to 20° N, 30° W; southward on the 30th meridian (to leave the Cape Verde Islands to the British) to 06° 15' N, 30° W; and finally thence by shorter rhumb line to 00° 35' N, 26° W.

8. Furthermore, following the aforementioned Atlantic Convoy Conference, the Canadians became responsible effective 1 April 1943 for diversions not only within their Coastal Zone, but for diversions of ON, ONS, HX, and SC convoys westward of CHOP, except of course, when within Eastern Sea Frontier boundaries. Since including troop transports, west of 47° W when plying between Canadian, Newfoundland and British ports.30

9. The line for strategic control of warships in the Atlantic was originally laid down in ABC-1 (see Chapter I, D 3). As already pointed out, it corresponds with the original BUSRA "CHOP" line for the North Atlantic with one small exception.36

10. For illustration of these important Atlantic "CHOP" lines see Appendix E.


a) Inauguration and Control.

Upon the outbreak of war with Germany in 1939, the Admiralty promptly organized a system of merchant convoys to maintain the life-line of supply between North America and the United Kingdom. Utilizing the experience in convoying gained in World War I (See Chapter I, C), this system, known as the "North Atlantic Trade Convoys" and operated in accordance with "Merchant Convoy Instructions", became of great importance. Following our entry in the war, and in accordance with terms of BUSRA (see Chapter II, B), C&R assumed joint responsibility for the control of the movements of these convoys west of the "CHOP" line, including scheduling , routing, and evasive diversions. Effective 1 April 1943 and as a result of the North Atlantic Conference (see Chapter III, C 2), the Canadians were given charge of diversions west of "CHOP". But the scheduling, plotting, reporting, and recording duties continued to consume a sizeable share of C&R's attention.62

b) Schedules.

1. Since shortly after our entrance in the war, the sailing intervals and dates of these convoys have been changed a dozen or more times by agreement between Admiralty, N.S.H.Q., CominCh, and C&R, in accordance with the number and type of escorts available, the amount, type, and speed of shipping presenting itself, connecting convoy schedules, the season of the year, routes to be used, and, of course, the enemy situation. On the average, there have been seven or eight convoy sailings a month each way. (see Appendix AAA).

2. Until the end of March 1943 the fast HX/ON convoys and slow SC/ONS convoys were sailed at like intervals, and there was not much difference in their size. But with fast ships ever growing in number and slow ships gradually being withdrawn the time came when it was necessary to sail the fast convoys oftener in order to maintain reasonable balance in size, which was then considered to be about 60 ships per convoy. For the rest of 1943 and throughout most of 1944 two fast convoys to one slow were scheduled However, with available escorts greatly restricted because of invasion activities a schedule of


only four HX convoys per month resulted in very large fast convoys. (See paragraph 7, Shipping). So, commencing October 1944, six fast convoys per month were sailed which meant that with two slow convoys per month still continuing the ratio became 3 to 1. However, in February 1945, to avoid now excessively large slow convoys, and with more ocean escorts available, the interval for the slow ones was shortened to 10 days, causing the ratio to return to 2 to 1, and again restoring balance. Paragraph g (Shipping) of this sections shows actual performance as to the number of ships escorted in each convoy group, year by year. The Table in Appendix M gives the details of changes in sailing interval, as well as the various ports used.

3. Not only was the scheduling of these convoys a complicated matter, but decisions taken had repercussions on related convoy systems and on problems of congestion in convoy ports, particularly New York.

4. An interesting example is the case of the schedule which became effective October 1944 and continued almost unchanged thereafter. Very large HXF, HXM, and HXS convoys of over 100 ships were being sailed at the rate of four a month during the summer of 1944, all from New York and none from Halifax. With a further increase of presenters probable, the Admiralty, in their secret dispatch of 141320 July, considered that a maximum size of 80 ships was required for these convoys to contend with winter weather or any renewed large scale U/boat operations. They proposed to reduce the sailing interval to 4 days with two fast and one slow convoy alternately, all from New York. After careful study of this proposal, C&R (ComTENTHFleet C&R, secret 200110 July) could not concur, and proposed instead that the slow convoys again be sailed from Halifax (every 15 days), while the fast HX be sailed from New York every 5 days, the sailing date to be 2 days after the NG sailing date. This schedule, to which all concurred, avoided congestion in New York and attained synchronization with the coastal convoy system, thus expediting shipping to U. K. as well. In addition, there was no interference with the UGS convoys to the Mediterranean, the New York sections of which were sailing every 10 days, one day after NG. New York was further assisted by BX convoys sailing from Boston every 15 days (later every 10 days), one day after NG. In May 1945 even the CU convoys were adjusted to the 5 day interval, 2 days after HX and 1 day before NG. In this manner the HX date, which was set with NG date in mind, remained unchanged and set the timing of all convoys, coastal and ocean, scheduled from and to U. S. ports.501

c) Routes.

1. Terminals. The HX/ON convoys were routed between Liverpool and Halifax and the SC/ONS between Liverpool and Sydney (or Halifax if Sydney was closed by ice) until October 1942, when the western terminal for both changed to New York, Six months later, however, the SC convoys as such were suspended, and in their place HXS (8 knots) convoys were sailed from New York, but in October the SCs were resumed from Halifax, again to relieve New York and synchronize with other coastals. The Port Director of New York had the responsibility of organizing and actually sailing all HX convoys.

2. Routing.

a) Both HX/ON and SC/ONS convoys always passed north of Ireland until the elimination of enemy submarine and air bases in France caused U/boat concentrations further north, after which the HX/ON were routed through At. Georges Channel commencing October 1944. The slow convoys, however, continued to pass north-about to avoid congested waters and facilitate junction with the British east coast convoys.

b) Late in 1941 and during 1942 routes were laid well to the northward, particularly in summertime, to benefit from Iceland based air protection


and shorten the connecting shuttle convoy routes to and from Iceland (the odd numbered SC's took ships for Reykjavik). The westbound ON convoys were usually dispersed at various points west of 49° W, depending upon the endurance of escorts and the U/boat situation. Until early in 1943 the Convoy Plot Section of C&R originated the routes for all eastbound convoys, while Admiralty originated the westbound ones.

c) The routes varied greatly in order to disperse the target for the enemy over as wide a range as possible. Furthermore, nearly every convoy was diverted from its original route several times, usually very radically, sometimes even as far north as the shores of Iceland, in an effort to avoid the enemy. C&R devoted much attention to these diversions. They undoubtedly contributed to the safety of passage, although wide changes in the course of large convoys presented a considerable problem to the Convoy Commodores involved.

d) Finally, in order to reduce communications and because the original routes were rarely adhered to (having been promulgated a week or so before the convoy even sailed), the Admiralty proposed fixed convoy and straggler routes, which were agreed upon and became effective with convoys sailing after 22 June 1943. A set of several standard routes were determined for each HX, ON, SC, and ONS convoy, and the most suitable one, in the light of U/boat and seasonal conditions, was designated in the pre-sailing telegram. The choice of eastbound routes was thereafter made by Commander-in-Chief, Canadian Northwest Atlantic, rather than C&R. All of the standard routes passed between the points 44° N, 50° W and 46° N, 52° W; thence over wide variations to Oversay, the most northerly course passing through 59° N, 32° W and the most southerly through 42° N, 30° W approximately. Distance from New York to Liverpool varied between about 3100 and 3500 miles. The southerly routes came into use after October 1943, following the establishment of air bases in the Azores.

d) Speed.

The minimum declared speed for inclusion in HX/ON convoys was always 10 knots, and in the SC/ONS always 8 knots. Actual convoy speed of advance generally averaged about 1/2 to 1 knot slower. However, during the five months May to September 1944, a combined HX/SC schedule was run between New York and Liverpool, with the HXF/ONF speed for inclusion set at 10 knots, the HXM/ONM at 9 knots and the HXS/ONS at 8 knots. The suffixes F, M, and S meant fast, medium and slow.

e) Voyage Times.

As may be imagined, the convoys' elapsed time at sea from port to port varied greatly with the terminal ports used, the type of weather encountered, the season, the route prescribed, and the number and degree of evasive diversions for this route. Generally westbound voyages were about 1 1/2 days longer than eastbound, and winter voyages about 1 1/2 days longer than summer. Delays due to diversions and storms sometimes amounted to several days. Yet in order to schedule both an efficient flow of shipping and the proper relief of escorts enroute, it was important to make reasonably accurate estimates of the number of days at sea to be expected under various conditions. The actual average voyage times were as below:


Arriving Between N. Y. and Liverpool Between Halifax and Liverpool
1943 15.2 days 16.6 days 15.0 days 16.9 days
1944 15.2 days 16.6 days 15.6 days 18.1 days
1945 14.7 days 16.7 days 15.5 days 17.8 days

Source: 501

Further details of this subject will be found in the monthly convoy reviews printed in the U. S. Fleet Anti-Submarine Bulletins.101 to 124 inclusive

f) Escorts.

1. While the British and Canadian Navies have carried practically the entire burden of escorting these convoys, there were periods when we participated in a substantial way over the mid-ocean leg, particularly in 1942 when Task Units 24.1.1 to 24.1.5, inclusive, were assigned to this duty during most of the year. Normally, local Canadian units escorted between New York and "HOMP" (Halifax Ocean Meeting Point, usually at about 61° W), where they were relieved by other Canadian units operating between HOMP and "WESTOMP" (Western Ocean Meeting Point, usually about 49° W). Here the mid-ocean groups, normally British or Canadian, based at St. Johns, N. F., (if American, at Argentia) took over for the long, cold, stormy, submarine-infested ocean crossing. Perhaps they would meet U. S. escorted convoys from Iceland at "ICOMP" (about 23° W), then continue until arrival at "EASTOMP" near Oversay Island. Upon being relieved by local British escorts for Liverpool and other British ports, they retired for upkeep at Londonderry in preparation for the returning ON convoy.501

2. This convoy system was complicated because of the limits of escort fueling and changes in type of craft required. Most careful scheduling was required for proper relief at the several rendezvous points. To maintain the typical schedule of four HX/ON and two SC/ONS convoys per month each way, 8 mid-ocean escort groups were required, plus 6 western local escort groups, to which should be added 2 more groups to maintain the connecting XB/BX convoys. With a sailing interval of only 5 days, however, as was being practiced in the winter of 1944-5, 12 mid-ocean groups were employed, plus 8 western locals and 2 XB/BX convoys. The mid-ocean escorts averages about seven corvettes or sloops per group, as shown in in paragraph g (shipping) below.501

3. U. S. Naval ships were first assigned as escorts for regular North Atlantic Trade Convoys on 16 September 1941. The S.S. City of Flint in HX 170, which arrived in the Clyde enroute for North Russia on 27January 1942, was the first U. S. merchant ship to arrive in U. K. in a mercantile convoy.44

4. The Commodores and Vice Commodores of these convoys were always British or Canadian. About 30 were ordinarily required.501

5. An outstanding tactical victory over the U/boats was performed in the summer of 1944, when during the four months, May to August, 17 consecutive HX convoys were sailed to U. K. without the loss of a single ship, although these convoys averaged 110 ships and less than 7 escorts apiece.501

g) Shipping.

1. Due to the long period of heavy mercantile shipping between North America and U. K., practically all of which had to be escorted, this North Atlantic route witnessed by far the heaviest volume of convoying. Since our entry in the war 30,330 ships sailed in these trade convoys, at an average


of about 15 convoys per month with 50 ships and 6.9 escorts per convoy. These ships constituted 63% of all trans-Atlantic shipping in convoy since the end of 1939. Although the number of convoys, and therefore their size, varied constantly in accordance with the schedule, which has already been discussed under paragraph 2 (Schedules), the average size increased over the years, growing from 36 ships per convoy in 1942, to 50 in 1943, to a peak of 68 in 1944 and finally dropping to 55 in 1945. The average for the entire period was 50 ships.501

2. The following table shows the details of each group:

North Atlantic Trade Convoys
  Casualties (Enemy Action)c
Arriving Convoys Ships Ships
per Convoy
Sunk in
Sunk as
1942 55 1,899 34 316 5.7 9 5 1
1943 53 3,010 57 441 8.3 28 14 3
1944 55 4,169 76 421 7.7 2 0 0
1945b 38 1,776 63 149 5.3 3 0 3
Total 191 10,884 57 1,327 7.0 42 19 7
1942a 104 3,660 35 647 6.4 57 27 14
1943 52 2,779 53 430 8.3 22 4 2
1944 57 4,083 72 407 7.1 1 2 0
1945b 30 2,040 68 173 5.8 1 0 0
Total 243 12,562 52 1,657 6.8 95 30 16
1942 54 2,021 37 330 6.1 46 6 2
1943 36 1,646 47 301 8.4 24 15 3
1944 14 690 49 101 7.2 2 1 0
1945b 12 346 29 66 5.5 2 0 0
Total 116 4,703 40 798 6.9 74 22 5
1942a --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
1943 34 1,331 39 266 7.8 31 9 0
1944 13 512 39 87 6.7 0 0 1
1945b 12 368 30 65 5.4 0 0 0
Total 59 2,211 37 418 7.1 31 9 1
HX/ON and SC/ONS Combined
1942 213 7,580 36 1,293 6.1 126 39 17
1943 175 8,766 50 1,438 8.2 105 42 8
1944 139 9,454 68 1,016 7.3 5 3 1
1945b 82 4,530 55 453 5.5 6 0 3
Total 609 30,330 50 4,200 6.9 242 84 29
(a) Distinction between ON and ONS convoys not made in 1942, but odd numbered ON convoys were generally fast and even numbered generally slow.

(b) Sailing prior to VE.

(c) Including Escorts.

Source: 501


3. A study of the relative importance of ports of loading and destination during a typical six months period, March to August, inclusive, 1943, reveals the following distribution of shipping:

HX (New York to Liverpool, 62 ships per convoy): On the average, 81% of the ships were loaded in New York and at ports south. Practically all of the remaining 19% joined off Halifax via HHX subsidiary convoys, only a few joining off St. John's N.F., via WHX subsidiaries. Of the total, 86% were loaded in U. S. ports and 14% in Canadian.

SC (Halifax to Liverpool, 51 ships per convoy): Of these, 54% were loaded in New York or at ports south. These ships, plus 8% from Boston and Portland made up 62% arriving at Halifax via BX convoys. 28% loaded at Halifax or at St. John, N.F., while 8% joined from Sydney via SSC subsidiaries, and 2% joined from St. Johns via WSC subsidiaries. Of the total, 62% were loaded in the U. S. and 38% in Canada.

ON (Liverpool to New York, 55 ships per convoy): Here also 81% of the ships were destined for New York or ports south, with an additional 2% breaking off for Boston. Of the remainder, 17% broke off for Halifax, and only a few for St. johns.

ONS (Liverpool to Halifax, 43 ships per convoy): In this case, 48% of the ships were destined for New York or ports south, with an additional 5% for Boston, making 53% for the XB convoys. 40% went to Halifax (including 6% for St. Johns, N.B., via HF convoys), while 4% dropped off for St. johns, N.F., and 3% broke off for Sydney.

4. On the other side, during about the same period the port distribution of all U. S. vessels proceeding to the United Kingdom was as follows:

  Dry Cargo Tankers Total
British Channel area 26% 46% 36%
Mersey (Liverpool) area 30% 20% 25%
Clyde area 6% 20% 13%
Thames area 20% 5% 12%
Hull, Southampton, Plymouth, Loch Ewe, etc. area 18% 9% 14%


100% 100% 100%

5. Tankers comprised about 30% of all ships in the HX/ON and 20% of SC/ONS convoys in 1943. The next year, however, the fast CU/UC tanker convoys were in active operation, and the proportion of tankers declined to about 17% and 18%, respectively.

6. The largest mercantile convoy to sail in this or any other war was HXS 300, which sailed New York on 17 July 1944 and arrived U.K. on 3 August with 167 ships and only 7 mid-ocean escorts. With 19 columns, this convoy had a front of some 9 miles. Sailing from New York were 109 ships, Halifax 31, Sydney 24 and St. Johns, N.F., 3. Destined for Loch Ewe were 55, Oban 43, Clyde 17, Belfast 3, Liverpool 37 and Bristol Channel 12. No submarines were contacted near the convoy, and there were no marine casualties, no ships returning to port and only one straggler.501

7. A detailed description of a typical HX convoy and the exact method of rendezvousing of ships and relief of escorts appears in the October, 1944, issue of the "United States Fleet Anti-Submarine Bulletin" under title of "The Voyage of HXF 305". In this case two merchantmen were sunk by torpedo.501

8. Ships of U. S. flag constituted an ever increasing proportion of the merchantmen in the North Atlantic Trades, and by 1944-45 made up well over one-half, sometimes two-thirds, of the total.


h) Casualties.

1. As was to be expected, most of the convoy casualties from enemy action occurred where convoying was most active and during the early years. However, analysis of the figures shows that North Atlantic Trade casualties were not so far out of line with those of other convoy routes during the same periods as might at first be supposed. The table above shows that during three years and five months 242 ships were sunk in convoy out of a total of 30,330 sailing, a ratio of 1:125, or about 8/10 of 1%. However, note that 231 of these were in 1942 and 1943. In addition, 84 were sunk as stragglers from convoy, therefore more in the nature of the sinking of an independent, while 29 were damaged but arrived in port. The sharp reduction in sinkings in convoy from 126 in 1942 to only 5 in 1944, at the same time that ships sailing increased from 7,580 to 9,454, while the number of escorts declined from 1,293 to 1,016, is adequate testimony to the effectiveness of convoy protection and offensive measures against the U/boat. This subject has been commented on in Chapter I, C.501

2. Of special interest is the fact that over the entire period the rate of sinkings in the slow SC convoys was much heavier than in the HX convoys, the ratio being 1:63 as compared to 1:258. Likewise, westbound convoys had somewhat greater losses than eastbound, the ratio for ON/ONS being 1:117, as compared with 1:134 for the HX/SC. Here also the element of speed may enter in, as the westbound convoys averaged a day or two longer voyage on account of weather.501

3. As has been pointed out elsewhere, 1942 was the critical year of losses from U/boats, while the battle of ONS 5 on the 4th and 5th of May 1943, when a pack of 25 subs attacked the convoy, undoubtedly was the turning point of the whole Battle of the Atlantic. The submarines sank 11 merchant vessels but escorts in return sank 5 U/boats and possibly damaged 9 others.

4. During this month of May 1943 the average number of U/boats at sea in the North and South Atlantic reached an all time high of 112; likewise the number sunk, 44 worldwide, of which 35 were in the North Atlantic. By July 1944 U/boats at sea had fallen to only 24, although in April 1945 they had increased again to 54, largely "Schnorchel" equipped. The following table lists convoys in which 5 or more ships were sunk while under escort:

Month in Which Sunk HX SC ON
Feb. '42 - - - - - - ON 67....7
May '42 - - - - - - ON 92....7
June '42 HX 212....6 - - - - - -
Aug. '42 - - - SC 94....11 - - -
Sept. '42 - - - SC 100....5 ON 127...8
Oct. '42 - - - SC 104....8 - - -
Nov. '42 - - - SC 107...15 ON 144...5
Dec. '42 - - - - - - ON 154..13
Feb. '43 - - - SC 118....7 ON 166..11a
Mar. '43 HX 229...12 SC 121....5;
SC 122....8
- - -
May '43 - - - - - - ONS 5...11
Sept. '43 - - - - - - ON 202...8
(a) See Appendix CC and DD.

Source: 501




1. The first cross-Atlantic invasion by U. S. forces took place in November 1942 under the name of "Torch Operation". This was purely a military operation, and as such will be mentioned in this history only by reason of the fact that C&R and Eastern Sea Frontier supervised the movement of all other convoys and independent shipping along the Atlantic seaboard so to avoid conflict with the sorties of the operational convoys, plus the fact that this was the initial movement of a convoy system to North Africa, and later the Mediterranean, of great importance to the conduct of the war.

2. Under command of Task Force 34 (Admiral H. K. Hewitt) the troop convoys sortied from Hampton Roads in two sections, the first at 100Z, 23 October heading southeast, and the second at 1000Z, 24 October heading northeast. Meantime, to avoid congestion and covering group sailed from Casco Bay, while Air group departed Bermuda on the 25th. By the 28th all groups had rendezvoused and on 8 November landings were commenced on the African coast, without a ship having been lost or damaged in the crossing. In the combined convoy were 35 commissioned naval auxiliaries, largely combat loaded transports and cargo vessels carrying 65,130 troops, escorted by 11 combatant warships plus a protective screen, air group and convoy screen. Task Force 34's mission was to establish the Western Task Force on beachheads ashore near Mehdia, Fedala and Safi, and support subsequent coastal military operations in order to capture Casablanca as a base for further military operations. In the meantime a similar operational convoy had sailed from U. K. and landed at the same time at Oran and Algiers.


1. Immediately following the occupation of Moroccan and Algerian ports in November 1942, troop tanker and general supply convoys were organized to take advantage of the opening of the Mediterranean, which led successively to the defeat of the Axis in Libya and Tunisia, the invasion of Sicily and Italy, the surrender of the Italian navy and the occupation of South France. The general plan for bettering the shipping situation was to move Mediterranean and North African area supplies directly from the U. S., instead of shipping them to U. K. via the HX/SC convoys and then transshipping via KMS. "UG" (United States - Gibraltar) convoys sailed at regular intervals, the fast troop convoys being given the suffix F and the slower freight convoys the suffix S.1 2

2. These convoys were organized, sailed and escorted by the U. S. Navy with movements under control of C&R west of 24° W, after which control passed to ConCMed and Flag Officer, Gibraltar and Mediterranean Approaches. (See Chapter III, C 2).

3. At the same time KM/MK convoys, also with the suffixes F for fast and S for slow, were organized for troop and supply traffic between U. K. and Mediterranean. After May 1943 these convoys proceeded all the way to Alexandria or Port Said. The UG and LM convoy systems remained synchronized with each other to accommodate the maximum amount of shipping with minimum congestion in key ports and dangerous areas in the Mediterranean.


1. Commencing with UGF 2, sailing New York 6 November 1942, fast convoys were sailed at irregular intervals of about 25 days until June 1943, after which they were suspended for nearly a year, except for one convoy in September and one in May. With GUF 12 sailing Norfolk 1 July 1944, the interval was set at 27 days, at


which it remained the rest of the war.35 This schedule called for 2 groups of escorts and 2 Convoy Commodores. (See Appendix KKK).

2. All convoys were sailed between New York or Norfolk and Casablanca, Gibraltar or Mediterranean ports. UGF 12 and onward were routed to Naples (Marseille in 1945) at which point a turnaround period of 6 days was established. The minimum declared speed for inclusion was uniformly 14.5 knots, and voyage time from Cape Henry to Gibraltar, 3,610 miles, was about 13 days, with another 2 days to Naples or Marseille. To prevent being sighted from shore, Commodores altered speed to pass Gibraltar Straits during darkness until September 1944, after which the danger was negligible.24

3. Convoy composition for the period through 1944 averaged about 16 ships (10 troopships and 6 tankers) and 10 escorts per convoy. During 1945, however, as requirements lessened in the Mediterranean, size diminished to an average of only 5 ships and 4 escorts.

4. From December 1942 to March 1945 the Army computes 536,134 embarkations in 24 UGF convoys, an average of 22,340 troops per convoy.

5. No casualties from enemy action were ever suffered by these fast convoys, with the exception of one escort vessel damaged in UGF 10 in the Mediterranean on 14 June 1943.

6. The following table summarizes by periods:

  Casualties (Enemy Action)c
Arriving Convoys Ships Ships
Escorts Escorts
per Convoy
Sunk in
Sunk as
1942a 5 69 4 50 10.0 0 0 0
1943 17 333 20 204 12.0 0 0 1
1944 18 227 13 130 7.3 0 0 0
1945b 9 47 5 38 4.2 0 0 0
Total 49 676 14 422 8.6 0 0 1
(a) Commencing 6 November. (b) Sailing prior to VE. (c) Including escorts.


a) Schedule

1. Immediately following "Torch Operation" UGS convoys were inaugurated, at an average rate of two a month until 27 July 1943 when, commencing with UGS 13, the interval was shortened to 10 days in order to maintain a reasonable size.12 Sailings were designed to allow proper synchronization at Gibraltar with the KMS/OS and through Mediterranean convoys were also on a 10 day schedule. Several changes in sailing dates were made from time to time to facilitate connections and relieve congestion on both sides of the ocean, particularly to better synchronize with the KMS/MKS and internal Mediterranean systems. In September 1943 a proposal to reduce the size of convoys by shortening the interval to 7 days was seriously considered, even though a 2 or 3 additional escort groups would have been needed. It was abandoned, however, due to the fact that our Army would have been unable to unload ships that fast, and due to complications which would have arisen with a corresponding alteration of the Mediterranean system.25 So the unified 10 days UGS/KMS schedule continued unaltered until early January 1945 when, commencing with UGS 66


and GUS 64 the interval was reduced to about 5 days, on the condition, however, that no material change in the U/boat situation develop, as escorts per convoy would be cut in half. The change was necessitated by the very large size of convoys in December 1944, in some cases over 100 ships, and the need to find bottoms for other theaters.13

2. The W.S.A. estimated that this change would result in a saving of 12 W.S.A. controlled ships per month, or 7%. This was based on a total of 168 W.S.A. ships which sailed to the Mediterranean during October having their round trip reduced from 90 to 84 days. The 6 days per turnaround, it was figured, would be saved as a result of a reduction in waiting time to go on berth as well as awaiting sailing both at this end and abroad. In addition time would be saved on loading berth and making repairs due to better spacing.42

b) Routes

1. At first convoys were sailed from New York, but to relieve congestion there, beginning with UGS 11 and GUS 8, the port of departure for most ships was shifted to Norfolk at the end of June 1943. Such ships as were required to load in New York sailed under escort 3 days prior to the main convoy and proceeded to Lynnhaven Roads where masters attended the sailing conference prior to the convoy departure. Commencing with UGS 57 in October 1944, however, to permit longer loading time the New York section sailed only one day earlier and rendezvoused well out at sea with the main convoy. At about this time the routes were reversed to take better advantage of winter weather, the east-bound UGS using the more northerly GUS route.

2. At the other end, convoys were forst routed to Casablanca, with British local escorts receiving shipping for the Mediterranean and delivering to GUS at a rendezvous at sea. Late in May 1943 the first British convoy traversed the entire Mediterranean. Starting with UGS 9 in June 1943, the Mediterranean section of UGS joined with KMS convoys near Gibraltar. After August UGS convoys as such were escorted through the Mediterranean by the British, so that with KMS also sailing every 10 days there was one convoy sailing about every 5 days each way between Gibraltar and Port Said, all under British escort.

3. With air attacks on these convoys increasing along the Algerian coast, and with adequate British escorts unavailable, CominCh reversed an expressed policy of leaving full responsibility for escorting inside the Mediterranean to the British.14 Commencing with UGS 36 passing Gibraltar 30 March 1944, UGS convoys were escorted by the U. S. ocean escorts as far as Bizerte before being relieved by the British.15 This arrangement continued until 23 October 1944 when independent sailings of GUS/UGS shipping in the Mediterranean was agreed upon. UGS 60, arriving Gibraltar 26 November, was the first convoy to be dispersed off Europa Point, escorts proceeding to base at Oran. Returning GUS convoys thereafter assembled at Oran. Only ships proceeding to South France subsequently (UGS 65 and onward) were escorted by 2 French escorts.26

c) Speed and Voyage Time

1. The minimum declared speed remained throughout at 9.5 knots, except that inside the Mediterranean only 8.5 knots was required until June 1944. To cover the 3,6109 miles over the standard UGS route from Cape Henry to Europa Point about 16.5 days were required, if not diverted, and one day less during summer months. From Europa Point to Bizerte was an additional 753 miles, or about 3.5 days. The return voyage from Bizerte to Cape Henry, averaged just


under 20 days; from Oran, 3,740 miles, under 18 days. In order to arrange a daylight passage through the Tunisian war channel it was necessary to limit arrival at Gibraltar to between 1400Z and 1900Z.27

2. With the opening of the Mediterranean in the summer of 1943, shipping from New York to Basra (Persian Gulf) via UGS and AP (Aden-Persia) convoys normally took about 57 days, whereas the same ships routed via NG/GAT/TJ convoys, independently around Cape of Good Hope and thence via AKD and AP convoys took on the average, 82 days - a savings of over 25 days.

d) Escorts and Commodores

1. On a 10 day interval, 7 groups of escorts were needed: 20 days at sea to Bizerte, 6 days at Bizerte, 20 days at sea to Cape Henry and 24 days at Hampton Roads - a cycle of 70 days. With convoys dispersing off Gibraltar only 6 groups were necessary. When the interval was cut to 5 days, however, 12 groups were required on the basis of 17 days to Oran, 7 days at Oran, 19 days to Cape Henry and 17 days at home base - a cycle of 60 days. The number of escort vessels per group or convoy, however, was cut in half to about 5 when this 5 day schedule began, so no additional vessels were assigned. Under the direction and control of CinCLant Task Group 60 performed most of the UGS/GUS convoying.

2. Because of their large size and for the purpose of training reliefs for Commodores, the UGS/GUS convoys had a Commodore and Vice Commodore, as well as their staffs. A minimum of 14 (7 Commodores and 7 Vice Commodores) were needed for the 10-day schedule to Bizerte. When convoys dispersed off Gibraltar the necessary minimum was reduced to 12, but under the 5-day schedule to Oran commencing January 1945 requirements doubled to 24. These Convoy Commodores were all attached to C&R's Convoy Administration or Control Officer, as explained in Chapter III, B, 2. (See Appendix KKK).

e) Shipping

1. For protection purposes various limits were placed upon the size of UGS convoys, ranging from 60 to 100 ships. This was due to the steadily growing number of presenters and the difficulties of reducing the sailing interval because of complications in the Mediterranean.16 Actually, however, the largest convoys during the period of 10 day interval was UGS 62 (1 Dec. '44) with 105 ships and GUS 60 (3 Dec. '44) with 120. As a result of this expansion the interval was finally reduced to 5 days, as explained. The actual average by periods is shown in the table below:

  Casualties (Enemy Action)c
Arriving Convoys Ships Ships
Escorts Escorts
per Convoy
Sunk in
Sunk as
1942a 2 83 41 11 5.5 0 0 0
1943 55 2,979 54 526 9.6 4 5 2
1944 77 5,491 71 924 12.0 4 0 8
1945b 55 2,566 47 305 5.5 1 0 2
Total 189 11,119 59 1,766 9.3 9 5 12
(a) Commencing November.
(b) Sailing prior to VE.
(c) Under U. S. Escort only (excludes British sections of UGS/GUS in Mediterranean.


Excluding the "Torch Operation" convoy (see Chap. III, C, 4), the Army computes that 254,866 troops were embarked in 83 UGS convoys to the Mediterranean, an average of 3,070 personnel per convoy. Convoys with 10,000 or more each were UGS 20, 38, 39 and 40.

f) Casualties

1. As shown below throughout the war and excluding Torch Operation itself, only 4 ships were sunk in convoy in the Atlantic - a remarkably low number in view of the 11,119 ships crossing in 189 convoys. The ratio was only 1:2,779, as compared with 1:112 in the North Atlantic Trade Convoys (See Chap. III, C, 3). It is difficult to understand why the U/boats did not make more than one vigorous effort to attack these large and highly important convoys of troops, combat equipment, oil and supplies for the armies of the Mediterranean area. Perhaps it was the distance from their pens, perhaps air protection from Bermuda and later from the Azores, or perhaps fear of the strength of our killer groups and anti-submarine forces. Maybe the lesson learned in July and August 1943, when the center of U/boat activity shifted momentarily from the North Atlantic to the UGS route, led to the belief that further attacks would be unprofitable. More likely, however, it seems to be just one of those major errors in strategy and tactics which occur in every war for inexplicable reasons.

2. Inside the Mediterranean, however, convoys ran the gauntlet, near Algiers and along the Algerian and Tunisian coast, of not only U/boats but sudden, well-timed attacks by planes from Southern France. As a result 5 more ships were sunk while under U. S. escort west of Bizerte, of which 2 were escorts. In addition, 9 more ships were damaged in this area, of which 2 were also escorts. Following a futile air attack on UGS 40 east of Algiers on 11 May 1944, these forays ceased upon strengthening of the land-based air defense and the bombings of targets in Southern France from 29 April onwards. The Following table segregates casualties in the Atlantic from those in the Mediterranean, insofar as U. S. escorts were involved.

Analysis of Casualties to UGS/GUS Convoys under U.S. Escort (Enemy Action)d
  Sunk in Convoy Sunk as Stragglers Damaged
  In Atl. In Med. In Atl. In Med. In Atl. In Med.
1942a 0 0 0 0 0 0
1943 4 0 5 0 2 0
1944 0 4c 0 0 0 8
1945b 0 1 0 0 1 1
Total 4 5 5 0 3 9
(a) Commencing November.
(b) Sailing prior to VE.
(c) Of which 2 were escorts.
(d) Excluding casualties in Mediterranean under British escort.



1. "Oil to Torch" convoys were inaugurated in January 1943, shortly after the opening of the western Mediterranean by the Torch Operation, for the purpose of providing regular deliveries of fuel oil and aviation gas from Aruba.

2. The first convoy for this purpose, designated TM 1, 8.5 knots, sailed from Trinidad for Gibraltar 28 December 1942, composed of 9 tankers and 4 British escorts (1 Destroyer and 3 Gun Boats). The highest proportion of losses of any convoy in the was was suffered when 7 of the tankers were sunk by 2 or possibly 3 U/boats about 550 miles west of the Canary Islands on 9 January. The next convoy, TMF 2,


12 knots, consisting of 5 tankers and 3 British escorts, arrived unscathed.301

3. Thereafter, these convoys were entirely a U. S. commitment, synchronized with CU/UC convoys.

4. OT 1 was sailed 5 February 1943 from Aruba under U. S. destroyer escort and up to June 1944, a total of 15 OT convoys, all of 14.5 knots, were sailed to the Mediterranean (with one or two tankers breaking off for Dakar) at intervals of 32 days, without a casualty either way, as indicated below:

  Casualties (Enemy Action)a
Arriving Convoys Ships Ships
Escorts Escorts
per Convoy
Sunk in
Sunk as
1943 22 139 6 75 3.4 0 0 0
1944 8 67 8 31 3.9 0 0 0
Total 30 206 7 106 3.5 0 0 0

(a) Including Escorts.

5. To further replenish the oil pool in New York, the TO tankers upon returning to Aruba from Africa, loaded and made a shuttle trip under the same escort to New York and back to Aruba before proceeding again to Africa. This schedule began in May 1943 with TO 4 and was set up as follows: 12 days at New York, 6 days enroute between New York and Aruba both ways, 2 days loading at Aruba, 13 days both ways enroute between Aruba and Gibraltar, and 10 days or less in North Africa. This made a cycle of 64 days, and with a sailing interval of 32 days required 2 groups of escorts of 3 or 4 destroyers each. This schedule was synchronized with the CU/UC schedule between Curacao, New York and U. K. The shuttle convoys to and from New York are included among U. S. coastal convoys in the convoy tables (see Chapter IV). The shuttle trips were discontinued after OT 11 in November 1943, and the last cross-Atlantic convoy was OT 15, arriving Naples in June 1944. Thereafter these tankers sailed in UGF convoys. The minimum declared speed for inclusion in OT/TO was 14.5 knots, and a limit of 8 tankers per convoy was maintained until January 1944, when it was raised to ten.17 203


In the spring of 1943 a system of high-speed troop convoys from New York and tanker convoys from Curacao to the United Kingdom was evolved through a gradual merging and consolidation of UT/TU (Troop to U.K.), TCU/UCT (Troop and Curacao - U.K.) and CU/UC (Curacao - U.K., later N.Y. - U.K.) convoys, as described in a, b and c below.


1. In preparation for the invasion of Europe, between 21 August 1943 and 6 April 1944, an aggregate of 11 UT troop convoys were sailed at irregular intervals averaging 22 days from New York to Liverpool. A total of 592,041 troops were embarked in these convoys, an average of 53,822 each. Minimum declared speed for inclusion was 15 knots. On a schedule of 11 days voyage each way, 5 days at U.K. and 17 days at New York, the cycle was 44 days, requiring 2 escort groups. Ship limit was set first at 25, then 30. Due to the very tight unloading schedule for other troop convoys in U.K. ports (including the "Monsters", which had to arrive during the dark of the moon), Task Force Commanders were ordered to adjust convoy speed throughout the voyage so as to meet the scheduled arrival date without any radical reductions of speed.34


2. The change-over from UT to TCU convoys started a year later, 3 May 1944. Thus TCU 23 absorbed vessels originally scheduled for UT 12, TCU 24 sailing 12 May absorbed UT 13, TCU 28 sailing 17 June absorbed UT 14, and so on, as explained under CU convoys below.43

3. No casualties from enemy action was ever suffered by these high-speed convoys carrying large number of troops, as indicated below:

  Casualties (Enemy Action)b
Arriving Convoys Ships Ships
Escorts Escorts
per Convoy
Sunk in
Sunk as
1943 11a 198 18 123 11.2 0 0 0
1944 12 286 24 152 12.7 0 0 0
Total 23 474 21 275 12.0 0 0 0

(a) UT 1 was escorted by the returning British escorts from GUS 10X, and there was no TU 1.
(b) Including Escorts.


At the same time as the first OT convoys were sailed to the Mediterranean (February 1943), a similar tanker convoy system was inaugurated for the purpose of increasing badly needed oil deliveries, particularly aviation gas, to the U. K. Eastbound they were known as CU (Curacao - U.K.), returning as UC. These convoys also were completely a U. S. undertaking.39

1. Schedule

The original plan was to sail these convoys from Curacao direct to U.K. every 20 days, but for the purpose of strengthening the oil pool in New York from which tankers in HX and SC loaded, a shuttle trip from Curacao to New York and back to Curacao before sailing for U.K. was worked out on much the same basis as with the OT's. Commencing with CU 2 sailing New York 12 May 1943, the schedule was 6 days enroute both ways between New York and Curacao, 3 days loading at Curacao, 14 days both ways between Curacao and Liverpool. 6 days in U.K. and 12 days in New York. Sailing days were to be adjusted for days saved along route. This made a cycle of 64 days, and with a sailing interval of 32 days, 2 groups of tankers and escorts were required.203 As more fast tankers and escorts became available, however, this shuttle trip was discontinued effective with CU 7, which sailed from New York 20 November direct to U.K. For several months thereafter the interval was 12 days, with escorts laying over for 6 days in U.K. and returning with the discharged merchant ships.18 Commencing with CU 15 on 21 February 1944 the interval was reduced to 9 days, thereby increasing deliveries about 6% per month. In April troop ships sailing in UT convoys were included in the CU convoys, CU 23 becoming TCU 23. In June the interval was further shortened to 8 days, beginning with TCU 28, and the OT convoys were cancelled. After July the TCU designation was dropped, and thereafter all CU convoys consisted of both troopships and tankers. No further change was made in the schedule until late in April 1945, when to decrease the size and to speed up turnaround of troopships, the interval was reduced to 5 days commencing with CU 69.19 However, hostilities in Europe were ended before this convoy sailed. It is of interest to note, however, that at this point all transAtlantic and U. S. coastal convoys were, for the first time, synchronized to sailing intervals of 5 days - an efficient arrangement.

In the meantime, to expedite the turnaround of CU shipping, particularly the fast freighters running on Army account, after September 1944 the UC's returned to

U. S. in 2 sections; the A section sailing on the scheduled UC date and the B section 4 days after.20 This plan was abandoned when the schedule was changed to 5 day intervals late in April 1945.


2. Routes

As stated, CU convoys were originally routed directly between Curacao and U.K., with shuttle trips to and from New York between May and November 1943. As stated, CU convoys were originally routed direct between Curacao and U.K., with shuttle trips to and from New York between May and November 1943. From then on convoys were sailed direct from New York to U.K., tankers lifting from the oil pool in New York and troopships previously sailed in UT convoys now being included. After August 1944 CU convoys were routed south of Ireland for the first time, (along with HX) to avoid U/boat concentrations which had shifted to the north following the invasion of France. Also, commencing with CU 38 there were Boston joiners for all CU's. Commencing with CU 37 these convoys were split into 2 sections upon reaching 07° W, one proceeding to Liverpool under British escort and the other to Cherbourg or Portsmouth under U. S. escort. Returning, Irish Sea and English Channel sections rendezvoused at sea as required. In February, effective with CU 57, the coordination of UC convoys was transferred from Liverpool to N.C.S.O., Southampton, the Convoy Commodore sailing from the latter port.28 The splitting and joining of these sections both in the English Channel and south of Ireland was a complicated affair, requiring much communication and effort, but was successfully performed.

3. Speed and Voyage Time

The minimum declared speed for inclusion was 14.5 knots until October 1943, thereafter 14.0 knots. Voyage times both ways was maintained in an extraordinarily uniform manner at about 11 days between New York and Liverpool, with virtually no change when the terminal shifted to Southampton.

4. Escorts and Commodores

With a sailing interval of 12 days, only 4 groups of escorts were required. As the interval was successively reduced to 9, 8 and 5 days, the groups needed increased to 5, 5 and 9 respectively. Task Force 61 under CinCLant furnished the vessels.

Likewise, the minimum number of Convoy Commodores needed increased from 5 to 6 to 9 respectively, with the changes in schedule. Upon the splitting of UC convoys into A and B sections, a Vice Commodore sailed with the CU and returned as Commodore of the B section of the same number. This arrangement (in effect with the 8 day interval) called for 6 additional officers, excluding staffs, or a total of 12. Convoy Commodores were assigned to C&R for duty, and their schedules were prepared by C&R Convoy Administration or Control Officer, as explained in Chapter III, B, 2.

5. Shipping

As already explained, CU convoys originally consisted of only 12 fast tankers per convoy. When the New York shuttle trip was started the limit was raised to 16.32 In June, following a plea from Admiralty for further oil deliveries, the limit was raised to 24, in view of reduced U/boat activity in the northern Atlantic, but their proposal for independent sailings of the fastest types was turned down.29 In January 1944 the limit was increased to 30, and when UT troopships were absorbed into the CU system in April it was finally raised to 45.33 The largest convoy to sail was CU 37 with 49 ships.

The record of transoceanic shipping by main routes and periods follows:


  Casualties (Enemy Action)b
Arriving Convoys Ships Ships
Escorts Escorts
per Convoy
Sunk in
Sunk as
1943 10 192 19 66 6.6 2 1 2
1943 7 133 19 42 6.0 0 0 0
1944 97 2,842 29 695 7.2 4 0 2
1945a 50 1,325 26 325 6.5 0 0 0
Total 154 4,300 28 1,062 6.9 4 0 2

(a) Sailing prior to VE.
(b) Including escorts.

Embarkations in 46 TCU and CU convoys sailing from May 1944 to VE Day, from New York to Liverpool, according to Army records totaled 945,261 troops, an average of 20,550 personnel per convoy.

6. Casualties

No casualties from enemy action occurred to the shuttle convoys between Curacao and New York.

Enroute from Liverpool to Curacao at about 26° W, UC 1 ran into difficulties with the enemy 23 February 1943, 2 tankers being sunk and 2 damaged, and one straggling tanker sunk out of a convoy of 17 tankers, 15 cargo vessels and 9 escorts. The escorts were mixed British and U. S., the Convoy Commodore British.

Over the route from New York to Liverpool several CU convoys were attacked by U/boats between March and August 1944, resulting in the sinking of 3 tankers and 1 escort and the damaging of one tanker and one escort. One of the sinkings was in the Eastern Sea Frontier and one off Oversay. No troop ships were hit.


1. As originally organized, AT convoys were military or troop convoys from U. S. to U. K., returning as TA convoys. Following our entry in the war, 9 AT convoys (AT 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20 and 23) were sailed before being discontinued in September 1942. These consisted of 84 ships and 100 escorts, an average of 9 ships and 11 escorts each. Usually the AT convoys combined with NA troop convoys from Halifax, and the composition here stated includes the NA's. U. S. Army records indicate a total of 127,000 embarkations in 7 AT convoys. No casualties from enemy action was suffered.

2. After AT 23 sailing September 1942 there were no more AT's organized as convoys. The designations AT/TA thereafter applied only to a dozen or more [of the] largest and fastest transports sailing independently between New York, Boston or Halifax and U. K. AT 21 was the Queen Elizabeth proceeding alone, while AT 19, 22 and 24 were the Queen Mary alone. Incidentally, it was as AT 24 that the Queen Mary sank the British cruiser Curacao in a collision in which the warship had proceeded from U. K. to rendezvous off Ireland and escort her in.

3. One of the most satisfying aspects of the Battle of the Atlantic was the multitude of independent crossings performed by these "Monsters" without the loss of a ship, or even a person, as the result of enemy action. This perfect record in the performance of a duty of the highest responsibility - the safe delivery of millions of troops to the European theater of operation - was accomplished by means of fine teamwork between the British and ourselves involving accurate U/boat intelligence,


sound routing and diversions, excellent seamanship and general good management. Certainly the high speed of these liners was a vital factor, and surely good luck played its part, too.

4. In addition to the AT's to U.K. (they cannot always be called convoys) there were other independent troop sailings of highest importance, equally successful, to the Mediterranean theater. When so routed these ships were not given any distinguishing designation by the Navy, although the Army unofficially called them "UNI" and "NUI".

Following is a list of most of the large troop transports which sailed independently either as AT's to U. K. or as individual ships to the Mediterranean, showing their normal troop lifting capacity and speed. An idea of the number of troops carried may be gained from the statement that during the year 1944 the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary each made 13 trips from New York to the Clyde, with an average of about 12,000 troops per trip. This was delivering troops to England at the rate of 13,000 per month per "Queen". Of course, the other ships were much smaller, averaging perhaps half the size, and being slower made fewer trips per year.

AT/TA "Monsters" and Other Large Troop Transports
Usually Proceeding Without Escort Between North America and UK/Mediterranean
Name Normal Troop Capacity Speed
Andes 5,000 21.0
Aquitania 7,400 25.0
Empress of Scotland 4,900 19.0
USS General W. H. Gordon 5,195 19.0
USS General M. C. Meigs 5,340 19.0
USS General W. P. Richardson 5,240 19.5
Ile de France 9,760 23.0
Mariposa 4,165 20.5
Mauretania 7,280 22.5
Mt. Vernon 6,140 20.5
Nieuw Amsterdam 6,800 20.0
Pasteur 4,460 19.5
Queen Elizabeth 12,000 28.5
Queen Mary 11,000 28.5
USS Wakefield 6,992 21.0
USS West Point 7,739 22.0

(See Appendix GGG)



1. C&R's duties in connection with convoys in the Pacific were of a minor nature and diminished in importance as time went on. In 1942, however, the Convoy Plot Section furnished the complete routing for trans-Pacific convoys such as BT/TB, LW and BC convoys and large unescorted troopers originating from U. S. East Coast ports and proceeding via the Panama Canal. Convoys sailing from the U. S. West Coast were routed by Commander, Western Sea Frontier, and convoys from Pearl Harbor westward by Commander, Hawaiian Sea Frontier. By means of abbreviated sailing and arrival telegrams C&R was informed of the convoy designation, composition, route, time of sailing, estimated time of arrival and actual arrival of all convoys in the Pacific. From these dispatches {text unreadable here - HyperWar} and recorded the daily positions of the principal convoys. Commencing {text unreadable here - HyperWar} 1944 Commander, Western Sea Frontier substituted for sailing telegrams a "Daily Pacific Convoy Summary"


addressed to C&R, listing by name all merchant ships and Naval auxiliaries and, at a later date, escorts. After 16 December 1944 even the daily plotting of Pacific convoys was given up by C&R as non-essential, except in the case of troop convoys such as OW/WO (Australia-India) and certain fast independent transports. From then on C&R's interest in the Pacific was restricted to keeping up-to-date a file of standard routes and a general policy file of important dispatches for general information.37

2. Pacific convoys originally had a complicated four number designation based on the Naval District from which it sailed and whether it was an ocean or coastal convoy. For instance, Convoy PW 2359 meant a westbound Pacific Ocean convoy from the 12th Naval District, the first digit 2 meaning 12, and the third digit 5, being odd, meaning ocean. However, commencing in the middle of 1944 the two or three letter system followed by consecutive numbers was substituted to conform with practice elsewhere.45 This new title system for the Pacific, together with a diagram of convoy routes, is shown in detail in the March 1945 issue of the "U. S. Fleet Anti-Submarine Bulletin", page 35. C&R furnished proposals for convoy short titles and from time to time as described in Chapter III, B, 2.

3. During the summer of 1943 convoys were being sailed irregularly between San Francisco and Pearl Harbor at an average interval of 7 or 8 days. Voyage time was 9 to 10 days and convoy size 4 to 5 ships. Task Group 56 furnished the escorts. About 6 or 7 Convoy Commodores were required. By February 1945, however, convoying in the Pacific had developed to the extent that 226 convoys arrived that month with 1195 ships and 359 escorts, an average of 5.2 ships and 1.6 escorts per convoy.501 123

4. A time graph of all principal convoys in the Pacific was kept by the Convoy Schedules Section during the period 1 June 1943 to 1 March 1945. There were no regular convoy schedules in the Pacific except for a five month period commencing November 1944 between Eniwetok, Guam, Saipan and Kossol.46 501

5. In August 1944 standard routes for Pacific convoys and independents were set up.49 51

6. As of July 1944 there were 18 Convoy Commodores on duty in the Pacific, of whom 10 were attached to Hawaiian Sea Frontier and 8 to Western Sea Frontier.

7. The Philippine Sea Frontier was established 13 November 1944 as a separate command under Commander, SEVENTH Fleet.2

8. Casualties inflicted by enemy submarines on merchant vessels in the Pacific for the entire war since 7 December 1941 were 58 merchant vessels sunk and 18 damaged.118

9. C&R's part in the control of independents in the Pacific is outlined in Chapter II, H, while its communication activities are set forth in Chapter V.


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