Operation Körner

(German poet of the Napoleonic era)

This was a U-boat wolfpack operation in the Atlantic against the ON.208, HX.263 and ONS.21 convoys (30 October/2 November 1943).

The wolfpack comprised U-212, U-231, U-267, U-280, U-281, U-413, U-714, U-843, U-963, U-967 and U-969, and neither lost any of its own number nor sank any ship.

Grossadmiral Karl Dönitz, commander-in-chief of the German navy but still in day-to-day operational control of the U-boat arm via the service’s operational chief, Konteradmiral Eberhard Godt, established the ‘Körner’ and ‘Jahn’ wolfpacks in the area to the east of Newfoundland for joint attacks with the three-part ‘Siegfried’ (v) wolfpack on the SC.145 convoy supported by Commander R. A. Currie’s British Escort Group B6 (destroyers Fame and Vanquisher, frigate Deveron, and Free Norwegian corvettes Eglantine, Potentilla and Rose), the ON.208 convoy supported by Commander P. W. Gretton’s British Escort Group B7 (destroyers Duncan and Vidette, and corvettes Loosestrife, Pink and Sunflower) bolstered by Commander M. J. Evans’s British Escort Group B3 (frigate Towy, destroyer Keppel, and corvettes Narcissus, Orchis, and Free French Lobélia, Renoncule and Roselys), the HX.263 convoy supported by Lieutenant Commander E. H. Chavasse’s British 4th Support Group (frigates Bentinck, Bazely, Blackwood, Burgess, Byard, Drury and Berry), and the ONS.21 convoy supported by Commander P. W. Burnett’s Canadian Escort Group C2 (destroyers Gatineau and British Icarus, and corvettes Drumheller, Fennel and Kamloops).

The only boat to make any type of contact at all was U-714, and then in the form only of an aeroplane sighting on 1 November and to the extreme north of the Germans' search area. The convoys passed round the German wolfpacks, and the boats were therefore divided into five four/five-boat parts as ‘Tirpitz I’ to ‘Tirpitz V’ to locate and attack the HX.264 convoy.