Operation Lerche


'Lerche' was a U-boat wolfpack operation in the North Atlantic against the HX.232 convoy (10/16 April 1943).

The wolfpack comprised U-168, U-191, U-203, U-260, U-270, U-532, U-563, U-584, U-630 and U-706, and for the loss of none of its own number sank four ships (17,044 tons).

The HX.232 convoy of 47 laden ships bound from New York to Liverpool via Halifax, Nova Scotia, was supported by Commander M. J. Evans’s British Escort Group B3 (destroyers Escapade, Keppel and Free Polish Garland, and corvettes Azalea, Narcissus and Free French Renoncule and Roselys) and was first located by U-584. During the night of 11/12 April Kapitänleutnant Götz von Hartmann’s U-563 sank the 7,117-ton British Pacific Grove, and Kapitänleutnant Helmuth Pich’s U-168 sank the 2,666-ton Dutch Ulysses as well as torpedoing the 7,261-ton British Fresno City, which was later sunk by Kovettenkapitän Alexander von Zitzewitz’s U-706. On 12 April U-530 and the contact-keepers U-584, U-203, U-270 and U-168 were driven off by the escort vessels and newly arrived aircraft.

On 13 April the Germans broke off the operation and the boats moved to meet U-462 for replenishment.