Convoy SC 118 was the 118th of the numbered series of World War II Slow Convoys of merchant ships from Sydney, Cape Breton Island to Liverpool. The ships departed New York City on 24 January 1943 and were met by Mid-Ocean Escort Force Group B-2 consisting of V-class destroyers Vanessa and Vimy, the Treasury-class cutter Bibb, the Town-class destroyer Beverley, Flower-class corvettes Campanula, Mignonette, Abelia and Lobelia, and the convoy rescue ship Toward.
As western Atlantic coastal convoys brought an end to the "second happy time", Admiral Karl Dönitz, the Befehlshaber der U-Boote (BdU) or commander in chief of U-boats, shifted focus to the mid-Atlantic to avoid aircraft patrols. Although convoy routing was less predictable in the mid-ocean, Dönitz anticipated that the increased numbers of U-boats being produced would be able to effectively search for convoys with the advantage of intelligence gained through B-Dienst decryption of British Naval Cypher Number 3. However, only 20 percent of the 180 trans-Atlantic convoys sailing from the end of July 1942 until the end of April 1943 lost ships to U-boat attack.
4 February 1943
A careless merchant seaman of convoy SC 118 fired a pyrotechnic snowflake projector aboard the Norwegian freighter SS Vannik in the pre-dawn darkness of 4 February. U-187 observed the snowflake display, reported sighting the convoy, and was promptly sunk by Beverly and Vimy after Bibb and Toward triangulated the submarine's location from the sighting report, using High-Frequency radio Direction-Finder (HF/DF or Huff-Duff). The destroyers rescued 44 of the submarine's crew. The Polish freighter Zagloba was torpedoed on the unprotected side of the convoy by U-262 and U-413 torpedoed the straggling American freighter West Portal.
5 February 1943
On 5 February the convoy escort was reinforced by the Treasury-class cutter Ingham and the Wickes-class destroyers USS Babbitt and USS Schenck from Iceland. The reinforced escort damaged U-262 and U-267.
7 February 1943
In the pre-dawn hours of 7 February, Kapitänleutnant Siegfried von Forstner's U-402 torpedoed the British freighter Afrika, Norwegian tanker Daghild, Greek freighter Kalliopi, American tanker Robert E. Hopkins, American cargo liner Henry R. Mallory, and convoy rescue ship Toward.
Henry R. Mallory was capable of 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph) but had been straggling well astern of the convoy for several days and was not zig-zagging in that exposed position. Mallory would normally have been assigned to one of the faster HX convoys, but there had been no Iceland section of the preceding convoy HX 224. No commands came from the bridge after Mallory was torpedoed, no flares were sent up, no radio distress message was sent out, and no orders were given to abandon ship. There were heavy casualties from Mallory's crew of 77, 34 Navy gunners, and the 136 American soldiers, 172 American sailors, and 72 American Marines she was transporting to Iceland.
B-17 Flying Fortress J of No. 220 Squadron RAF sank U-614 on 7 February. U-402 sank British freighter Newton Ash that night. On 9 February Kapitänleutnant von Forstner was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for ships sunk by U-402 from this convoy and from Convoy SC 107 on the previous patrol. SC 118 reached Liverpool without further loss on 12 February.
Ships in convoy
|Acme (1916)||United States||6,878||Petrol & oil|
|Adamas (1918)||Greece||0||4,144||Steel & lumber||Sank 8 Feb after collision with Samuel Huntington|
|African Prince (1939)||United Kingdom||8,031||Bauxite and ammunition||Carried convoy commodore Capt H C C Forsyth RD RNR|
|Afrika (1920)||United Kingdom||23||8,597||4,000 tons steel & 7,000 tons general cargo||Sunk by U-402 7 Feb|
|Ann Skakel (1920)||United States||4,949||General cargo||Veteran of convoy SC 107; Detached to Iceland 9 Feb|
|Arizpa (1920)||United States||0||5,437||Stores|
|Athelprince (1926)||United Kingdom||8,782||Diesel & naptha||Convoy vice-commodore was ship's master|
|Baron Haig (1926)||United Kingdom||3,391||Sugar|
|Baron Ramsey (1929)||United Kingdom||3,650||Iron ore||Veteran of convoy SC 42|
|Bestik (1920)||Norway||2,684||Steel & lumber|
|Blairdevon (1925)||United Kingdom||3,282||Steel & lumber|
|Celtic Star (1918)||United Kingdom||5,575||refrigerated & general cargo|
|Cetus (1920)||Norway||2,614||Sugar||Veteran of convoy HX 84; survived this convoy and convoy SC 130|
|City of Khios (1925)||United Kingdom||5,574||Sugar|
|Daghild (1927)||Norway||0||9,272||13,000 tons Diesel||Veteran of convoy ON 127; sunk by U-402, U-614 & U-608|
|Dallington Court (1929)||United Kingdom||6,889||Wheat||Survived this convoy and convoy SC 130|
|Danae II (1936)||United Kingdom||2,660||Bauxite||Veteran of convoy HX 84|
|Danby (1937)||United Kingdom||4,281||Linseed & grain|
|Daylight (1931)||United States||9,180||General cargo||Escort oiler; Detached to Iceland 9 Feb; survived this convoy and convoy SC 130|
|Deido (1928)||United Kingdom||3,894||Petrol|
|Dettifoss (1930)||Iceland||1,564||General cargo||Detached to Iceland 9 Feb|
|Dordrecht (1928)||Netherlands||4,402||Palm oil||Returned to Halifax|
|Empire Gareth (1942)||United Kingdom||2,847||Bauxite|
|Empire Liberty (1941)||United Kingdom||7,157||General cargo|
|Glarona (1928)||Norway||9,912||fuel oil & Diesel|
|Gogra (1919)||United Kingdom||5,190||General cargo|
|Gold Shell (1931)||United Kingdom||8,208||Petrol|
|Grey County (1918)||Norway||3||5,194||General cargo|
|Gulf of Mexico (1917)||United States||7,807||Oil & petrol|
|H M Flagler (1918)||Panama||8,208||Furnace fuel oil||Escort oiler|
|Harmala (1935)||United Kingdom||53||5,730||8,500 tons iron ore||Straggled and sunk by U-614 7 Feb|
|Helder (1920)||Netherlands||3,629||General cargo|
|Henry Mallory (1916)||United States||272||6,063||383 passengers & general cargo||Veteran of convoy ON 154; sunk by U-402 7 Feb|
|Ioannis Frangos (1912)||Greece||3,442||Grain|
|Julius Thomsen (1927)||Denmark||1,151||Detached to Greenland|
|Kalliopi (1910)||Greece||4||4,965||6,500 tons steel & lumber||Sunk by U-402 7 Feb|
|King Stephen (1928)||United Kingdom||5,274||Grain|
|Kiruna (1921)||Sweden||5,484||General cargo||Veteran of convoy HX 79 and convoy ON 154|
|Lagarfoss (1904)||Iceland||1,211||General cargo||Detached to Iceland 9 Feb; survived this convoy and convoy SC 130|
|Mana (1920)||Honduras||3,283||General cargo||Detached to Iceland 9 Feb|
|New York City (1917)||United Kingdom||2,710||General cargo||Veteran of convoy SC 107|
|Newton Ash (1925)||United Kingdom||32||4,625||6,500 tons grain, mail & military stores||Sunk by U-402 7 Feb|
|Norbryn (1922)||Norway||5,087||Tea & rubber|
|Permian (1931)||Panama||8,890||Survived this convoy and convoy SC 122|
|Petter II (1922)||Norway||7,417||Gas oil|
|Polyktor (1914)||Greece||4,077||Grain||Sunk by U-266|
|Radport (1925)||United Kingdom||5,355||General cargo|
|Redgate (1929)||United Kingdom||4,323||General cargo|
|Robert E. Hopkins (1921)||United States||0||6,625||8,500 tons furnace fuel oil||Escort oiler; sunk by U-402 7 Feb|
|Samuel Huntington (1942)||United States||7,181||General cargo||Liberty ship|
|Sheaf Holme (1929)||United Kingdom||4,814||Potash & general cargo||Survived this convoy and convoy SC 130|
|Sommerstad (1926)||Norway||5,923||Lubricating oil|
|Stad Arnhem (1920)||Netherlands||3,819||Phosphates|
|Toward (1923)||United Kingdom||58||1,571||Rescue ship; sunk by U-402 7 Feb|
|Vacuum (1920)||United States||7,020||Petrol|
|Vannik (1940)||Norway||1,333||General cargo||Detached to Iceland 9 Feb|
|West Portal (1920)||United States||5,376||Stores||Straggled and sunk by U-413 4 Feb|
|William Penn (1921)||United States||8,447||Petrol|
|Yemassee (1922)||Panama||2,001||General cargo||Detached to Iceland 9 Feb|
|Zagloba (1938)||Poland||2,864||Ammunition & general cargo||Sunk by U-262 4 Feb|
- The flower-class corvette Lobelia was then under Free French
- Hague 2000 p. 133
- Hague 2000 p.135
- Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p. 191
- Tarrant p. 108
- Hague pp. 132, 137–38, 161–62, 164, 181
- Waters December 1966 p.96
- Waters December 1966 p.97
- Waters December 1966 p. 98
- Hague 2000 p.137
- Waters December 1966 p.102
- Waters December 1966 p.103
- Morison 1975 p. 336
- "SC convoys". Arnold Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
- Edwards, Bernard (1996). Dönitz and the Wolf Packs – The U-boats at War. pp. 141–145, 147–151, 199. ISBN 0-304-35203-9.
- Hague, Arnold (2000). The Allied Convoy System 1939–1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-019-3.
- Milner, Marc (1985). North Atlantic Run. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-450-0.
- Morison, Samuel Eliot (1975). History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume I The Battle of the Atlantic 1939–1943. Little, Brown and Company.
- Rohwer, J.; Hummelchen, G. (1992). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939–1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-105-X.
- Tarrant, V.E. (1989). The U-Boat Offensive 1914–1945. Arms and Armour. ISBN 1-85409-520-X.
- Waters, John M. Jr., CAPT USCG (December 1966). "Stay Tough". United States Naval Institute Proceedings. Cite journal requires
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