Convoy battles


31 Jan 1942 - 4 Feb 1942

The Convoy2 ships
First sightingOn 31 Jan 1942 by U-82

When leaving Halifax on 30 January: British destroyers HMS Firedrake (H 79) (LtCdr S.H. Norris, RN) and HMS Belmont (H 46) (LtCdr G.B.O. Harding, RN)
Joined as reinforcement on 7 February (one day later as planned): British destroyer HMS Witherington (D 76) (Lt R. Horncastle, RN)


U-82 * (Rollmann), U-86 * (Schug), U-566 (Borchert) and U-575 (Heydemann)

* U-boats that fired torpedo or used the deck gun

The battle

In the evening of 30 Jan, 1942, the troop convoy NA-2 left Halifax consisting of the Dutch troop transport Volendam (15,434 grt) and the British troop transport Largs Bay (14,182 grt), escorted by two destroyers and sailing at 14 knots. At 15.32 hours on 31 January, the convoy was spotted by U-82 which sank HMS Belmont during the evening but was then unable to attack the troop transports herself because she only had two stern torpedoes left and subsequently maintained contact with the convoy over a distance of more than 1000 miles to lead other U-boats to it. At 01.00 hours on 1 February, U-82 was forced to dive when coming too close to Volendam which unsuccessfully fired one round from the 4.7in stern gun at the diving boat. U-566 tried in vain to get in contact with the convoy on 1 and 2 February and was then replaced by U-86 and U-575, but the latter could only make 13 knots due to compressor trouble and was unable to intercept the ships in time. Only U-86 came into a favorable attack position and fired a spread of three torpedoes at one of the troop transports at 06.54 hours on 3 February. However, only two end-of- run detonations were heard after 10 minutes. During the evening the visibility was reduced by fog and eventually both U-boats still with the convoy lost contact around midnight on 3/4 February. They tried to find the ships again until the operation was broken off during the next afternoon. On 8 February, the troop transports safely arrived at the Clyde.

For the BdU the somewhat disappointing results showed once again how difficult it is to score successes against fast convoys. Compared to a normal convoy it was much harder to maintain contact, especially to re-establish it if lost and the U-boats consumed much more fuel during the chase.

Article compiled by Rainer Kolbicz

Ships hit from convoy NA-2

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat.Map
31 Jan 1942U-82Siegfried Rollmann HMS Belmont (H 46)1,190brA

1 ship sunk (1,190 tons).

This was the only convoy on route NA hit by U-boats in the war.

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