Operation Elbe I

(German river)

This was a U-boat wolfpack operation in the central part of the North Atlantic against the HX.237 convoy (10/14 May 1943).

The wolfpack comprised U-231, U-267, U-468, U-514, U-525, U-569, U-575, U-584, U-614, U-650, U-709 and U-752, and neither lost any of its own number nor sank any ship.

HX.237 was an eastbound North Atlantic convoy of the HX series, and was involved in several convoy battles which took place during the crisis month of May 1943. The convoy had 47 laden ships, as well as local contingents, and departed New York on 1 May for Liverpool with cargoes of war materials. The convoy commodore was Captain R. Gill in the 6,736-ton British Pacific Enterprise. The Mid-Ocean Escort Force’s Canadian Escort Group C2, under the command of Lieutenant Commander E. H. Chavasse (British destroyer Broadway, British frigate Lagan, corvettes Chambly, Drumheller, Mordern and British Primrose, and rescue tug Vizalma), joined the convoy from St Johns on 7 May. On the same day the convoy was joined by Captain E. M. C. Abel-Smith’s British 5th Support Group with the escort carrier Biter and destroyers Inglefield, Obdurate, Opportune and Pathfinder.

Facing the convoy and its two escort elements in the North Atlantic were the 'Rhein' (i), 'Elbe I' and 'Drossel' wolfpacks, although although in the event only the 19 U-boats of the 'Rhein' and 'Drossel' wolfpacks engaged the HX.237 convoy.