Operation Falke (ii)

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This was a U-boat wolfpack operation in the Atlantic against the ONS.158, ONS.159, ONS.160 and HX.222 convoys (28 December 1942/19 January 1943).

The wolfpack comprised U-69, U-71, U-167, U-201, U-226, U-257, U-268, U-333, U-384, U-403, U-404, U-414, U-441, U-444, U-525, U-563, U-572, U-584, U-606, U-607, U-631, U-632 and U-706, and for the loss of none of its own number sank six ships (25,553 tons).

The ONS.158 convoy was supported by Commander P. J. Fitzgerald’s Canadian Escort Group C4 (destroyers Restigouche and British Churchill, corvettes Amherst, Brandon, Collingwood, Sherbrooke and British Celandine), and suffered no losses. The ONS.159 convoy was supported by Commander D. G. F. W. MacIntyre’s British Escort Group B2 (destroyers Hesperus, Vanessa and Whitehall, and corvettes Campanula, Clematis, Gentian, Heather, Mignonette and Sweetbriar), and also suffered no losses. The ONS.160 convoy was supported by Lieutenant Commander A. H. Dobson’s Canadian Escort Group C2 (destroyer Sherwood, frigates Lagan and Waveney, and corvettes Polyanthus, Primrose and Canadian Morden and Orillia) and again suffered no losses. These convoys had all been rerouted after German radio messages containing orders for the ‘Falke’ (ii) wolfpack had been intercepted and decrypted by ‘Ultra’.

On 29 December Oberleutnant Hans-Achim von Rosenberg-Gruszcynski’s U-384 sank the 6,155-ton US Louise Lykes, a straggler from the ONS.156 convoy. On 9 and 10 January U-441 missed the 3,643-ton Norwegian independent sailer Washington Express, and Kapitänleutnant Hans Karpf’s U-632 possibly sank the 6,773-ton Panamanian C. J. Barkdull, a straggler from the UGS.3 convoy. On 17 January Oberleutnant Ernst Heydemann’s U-268 attacked the HX.222 convoy and sank the 14,547-ton Panamanian Vestfold, which went down with her entire cargo including three 291-ton tank landing craft which were being transported to the UK.