Operation Wal (ii)

whale

This was a U-boat wolfpack operation in the Mediterranean against ‘Torch’ convoys (10/15 November 1942).

The wolfpack comprised U-73, U-81, U-259, U-380, U-407, U-565, U-617 and U-660, and for the loss of Kapitänleutnant Klaus Köpke’s U-81 and Kapitänleutnant Götz Baur’s U-660 sank three British ships (28,126 tons) and damaged one 7,453-ton British ship.

U-81 sank the 2,012-ton Garlinge independent sailer on 10 November, Oberleutnant Ernst-Ulrich Brülle’s U-407 sank the 19,627-ton troop transport Viceroy of India on 11 November, Kapitänleutnant Friedrich Guggenberger’s U-81 sank the 6,487-ton freighter Maron on 12 December, and Oberleutnant Horst Deckert’s U-73 damaged the 7,453-ton freighter Lalande on 14 November. The last three ships were involved in the ‘Torch’ landings.

At 05.24 on 11 November Viceroy of India was struck by two of four torpedoes some 34 miles (55 km) to the north-west of Oran and was missed by the boat’s stern torpedo at 05.31. The ship had reached Algiers with the KMF.1A convoy, disembarked her troops for ‘Torch’ and was returning empty to Gibraltar when torpedoed. She was taken in tow by the destroyer Boadicea but sank. Four members of her crew were killed, but the master, 398 crewmen, 29 gunners and 22 passengers were picked up by the destroyer and landed at Gibraltar.