Operation Jaguar (iii)

This was a U-boat wolfpack operation in the Atlantic against the HX.221 convoy (10/31 January 1943).

The wolfpack comprised U-96, U-123, U-266, U-413, U-594, U-598, U-662 and U-706, and for the loss of none of its own number sank three ships in the area to the north-east of Newfoundland.

The HX.221 convoy comprised 43 laden ships bound eastward from New York to Liverpool, supported by Lieutenant Commander A. H. Dobson’s Canadian Escort Group C1 (destroyers St Croix and British Chesterfield and Vansittart, and corvettes Battleford, Chilliwack, Kenogami, Napanee and Shediac), and the SC.116 convoy of 62 ships also bound from New York to Liverpool, supported by Commander R. Heathcote’s British Escort Group B6 (destroyers Fame, Ramsey and Viscount, and corvettes Kingcup, Vervain and Norwegian Potentilla, Acanthus, Eglantine and Rose). As a result of 'Ultra' decrypts of German signals, both convoys were routed clear of the U-boat wolfpack.

On 15 January Oberleutnant Kurt Ruwiedel’s U-337 was sunk by a Boeing Fortress long-range maritime patrol bomber of the RAF’s No. 206 Squadron in the area of the ONS.160 and ON.161 convoys, which were also routed well clear of the ‘Jaguar’ (iii) wolfpack. On 22 January Kapitänleutnant Gustav Poel’s U-413 spotted the SC.117 convoy of 45 ships supported by Commander A. A. Tait’s British Escort Group B3 (frigate Swale, Free Polish destroyer Garland, and corvettes Narcissus, Orchis and Free French Roselys, Lobélia and Aconit). U-413 sank the 3,556-ton Greek Mount Mycale, a straggler from the SC.116 convoy, but radio problems prevented the timely deployment of the other boats for a more effective interception.

The ‘Jaguar’ (iii) wolfpack was then ordered to make a search but failed to find the convoy again, although on 25 January KapitänleutnantUlrich Graf von Soden-Fraunhofen’s U-624 sank the 5,112-ton British Lackenby, a straggler from the SC.117 convoy. On 26 January Kapitänleutnant Friedrich Mumm’s U-594 sank the 8,259-ton Norwegian tanker Kollbjørg of the HX.223 convoy.