Operation Habicht (ii)

hawk

This was a U-boat wolfpack operation in the Atlantic directed against the ONS.160 convoy but actually attacking the HX.222 and SC.115 convoys (10/19 January 1943).

The wolfpack comprised U-186, U-226, U-268, U-303, U-383, U-438, U-613, U-624, U-704 and U-752, and for the loss of none its own number sank two ships and three landing craft.

Patrolling to the west of Ireland in the area to the south of that in which the ‘Falke’ (ii) wolfpack was operating, the ‘Habicht’ (ii) wolfpack searched fruitlessly for the ONS.160 convoy, which had been rerouted and was supported by Lieutenant Commander A. H. Dobson’s Canadian Escort Group C2 (destroyers St Croix and British Chesterfield and Vansittart, and corvettes Battleford, Chilliwack, Kenogami, Napanee and Shediac).

On 11 January Kapitänleutnant Siegfried Hesemann’s U-186 sank the 7,174-ton British Ocean Vagabond straggling from the SC.115 convoy, and on 17 January Oberleutnant Ernst Heydemann’s U-268 sank the 14,547-ton Panamanian whale factory ship Vestfold, which sank and took down with her the three 291-ton tank landing craft she was transporting. The ship was part of the HX.222 convoy, which was supported by the Canadian Escort Group C2.