Operation Seewolf (i)

sea wolf

'Seewolf' (i) was a U-boat wolfpack operation in the Atlantic against the OG.73 convoy (1/18 September 1941).

The wolfpack comprised U-69, U-71, U-77, U-83, U-94, U-95, U-96, U-98, U-206, U-553, U-557, U-558, U-561, U-563, U-567, U-568 and U-751, and for the loss of none of its own number sank two ships (7,877 tons).

The 'Kurfürst' (ii) wolfpack was established on 1 September with U-77, U-96, U-206, U-553, U-563, U-567 and U-568 in the area to the west of the North Channel and the 'Bosemüller' wolfpack was created with U-71, U-83, U-95, U-557, U-558, U-561, U-562 and U-751 in the area to the west and south-west of Ireland. On this date the 'Bosemüller' boats were instructed to attack the SL.84 convoy, which had been sighted and reported by the returning U-73, but found no sign of the convoy in poor visibility. The 'Kurfürst' (ii) boats were directed against the OG.73 convoy, which had been reported by a Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor long-range reconnaissance bomber of the I/Kampfgeschwader 40, and on the following day U-557 spotted the convoy in continued conditions of poor visibility; U-83 sighted one of the escort force’s corvettes, and the convoy was additionally spotted and reported by air reconnaissance. As a result, Vizeadmiral Karl Dönitz, the Befehlshaber der Unterseeboote, ordered the combination of the 'Kurfürst' (ii) and 'Bosemüller' wolfpacks as the 'Seewolf' (i) wolfpack, which was ordered to attack the convoy.

The boats found neither this convoy nor that which was sighted and reported by U-98 on 3 September. Meanwhile, Kapitänleutnant Theodor Fahr’s U-567 sank the 3,485-ton British Fort Richepanse, an independent sailer. On 11 September the 'Seewolf' (i) wolfpack was despatched with U-69, U-94, U-95, U-98, U-557, U-561 and U-565 into the area lying to the north-west of the Hebrides islands group. On 14, 15 and 18 September convoys were sighted by German reconnaissance aircraft, and on 14 September also by U-565, but no other boats came up and U-95 and U-561 were attacked from the air. Only Kapitänleutnant Robert Gysae’s U-98 was able to make a sinking, in this instance of the 4,392-ton British Jedmoor of the SC.42 convoy on 16 September.