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CONVOY ON 166

Convoy ON 166 Cruising Order
Departed Liverpool at 13:30 on Febr. 11-1943 and arrived New York on March 3 (Arnold Hague says 48 ships).
Transcribed from several documents received from Roger Griffiths, England (his source: Public Records Office, Kew).

Info on ships sunk has been added with the help of
"The World's Merchant Fleets", R. W. Jordan
"Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two", Jürgen Rohwer, and
"The Allied Convoy System", Arnold Hague.

Please note that there were more ships in this convoy than those listed in this table. The A 1 form appears to show only the ships that made it to New York; stragglers and ships sunk are not included in the document. See also Convoy ON 166 in the section listing ships in all ON convoys.
Where stations of ships sunk are known, I've added them to these columns, but not all stations are known - a complete list of ships sunk, including the Rescue Vessel Stockport, can be found in Notes below.
After ships had gone down (or straggled), other vessels took their stations in the convoy, as noted in this table.

Br=British, Norw=Norwegian, Pa=Panamanian, Am=American, Du=Dutch

For info, some of the ships in this convoy are also mentioned in the eastbound Convoys HX 222, HX 223 HX 224 (see also HX 229A and other eastbound convoys from this time period).

†=died (sources don't always agree on the number of casualties, hence my question marks), dam=damaged

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
11
Empire Redshank
(Br)
sunk - 0

Lochmonar
(Br)

21
Empire Trader
(Br)
sunk - 0

Molda
(Norw)

31
Pacific Grove
(Br)
41
Eulima
(Br)
sunk - 63 (62?)

City of Canberra
(Br)

51
Empire Chivalry
(Br)
61
Tropic Star
(Norw)
71
Manchester Merchant
(Br)
sunk - 36 (35?)

Tortuguero
(Br)

81
12
Hastings
(Am)
sunk - 9

El Oceano
(Pa)

22
Expositor
(Am)
sunk - 6 (7?)

Kaipaki
(Br)

32
Skandinavia
(Norw)
42
Franz Klasen
(Pa)
52
Pan-Maryland
(Am)
62
Windrose
72
Fort Thompson
(Br)
82
13
Madoera
(Du)
dam.

Gateway City
(Am)

23
Chattanooga City
(Am)
sunk - 0

Empire Wordsworth
(Br)

33
Geo. W. McKnight
(Pa)
43
Tai Shan
(Norw)
53
Brasil
(Norw)
63
Winkler
(Pa)
sunk - 20 (19?)

Delilian
(Br)

73
Fort Vermillion
(Br)
83
Ingria
(Norw)
sunk - 0
14
Charles H. Cramp
(Am)
24
Samuel Chase
(Am)
34
Empire Confidence
(Br)
44
Amastra
(Br)
54
Exilona
(Am)
64
Aruba
(Du)
74 84
15 25
N. T. Nielsen Alonso
(Norw)
sunk - 3

Pacific Exporter
(Br)

35 45
Pan-Maine
(Am)
55 65 75
Glittre
(Norw)
sunk - 3
85
Markay (Am?) and the Panamanian El Coston joined from Iceland on Febr. 16 in 57 10N 18 10W - El Coston was detached at 17:00 on the same day (57 12N 18 30W) to return to Iceland with leaky condensor and shortage of water.

Empire Cavalier joined from Halifax at 10:00 on Febr. 28 in 42 44N 59 24W.



Notes:
Commodore W. E. B. Magee, D.S.O., R.N.R. was in City of Canberra, Vice Commodore was the captain of Lochmonar.

The Milford Haven portion, consisting of 18 ships, sailed at 14:00 on Febr. 10 with Commander A. MacKellar R.D. R.N.R. acting as Commodore in Tortuguero, Vice Commodore being the captain of Empire Trader. The Dutch Madoera is also mentioned in this portion, which was escorted by HMS Rosemary (should this be the trawler Lady Rosemary?) and HMS Cotillion + 1 more unnamed trawler. Madoera is said to have been sent to Belfast at full speed, having been unable to keep up with the speed (average speed of this portion is given as 9.6 knots) - must have joined up with ON 166 from Belfast later(?).

Average speed of Convoy ON 166: 7.2 knots. (Daily positions of convoy at 08:00 are available on request via the contact address provided at the bottom of this page).

Heavy weather reaching gale force was encountered for the first 8 days of the voyage. Commodore Magee says: "I am happy to report the excellent behaviour and steadiness of the convoy under difficult and trying conditions particularly during enemy attacks".

Stragglers (note that some of these are not included in the table above):
Polish Lechistan during the night of Febr. 20 in 53 28N 25 46W.
Norwegian Stigstad dropped out during the night of Febr. 21 in approx. 51 10N 27 55W.
Rescue Vessel Stockport* after night of Febr. 21 in approx. 48 30N 30 10W.
Markay "broke convoy without permission at 22:45 on Febr. 23 in 45 49N 39 07W"
Jonathan Sturges and Madoera during the night of Febr. 24 in 45 06N 39 14W.
Gyda was in collision with Fort Thompson at 19:45 on Febr. 24, not seen since.
American Charles H. Cramp during night of March 1.
The British Amastra was unable to maintain 9 1/2 knots in fine weather.

* The Rescue Vessel Stockport was on her 8th voyage as such, having started out from Clyde Febr. 11. She was sunk on Febr. 22 with the loss of 63 men. Arnold Hague states in his "Convoy Rescue Ships 1940-1945" that she had stood by a number of torpedoed ships and had rescued 91 survivors, but while trying to rejoin the convoy she disappeared without further signal or any positive identification of an attack in German records. He adds: "From an analysis of various German reports obtained in 1945 the loss can be attributed to U-604, even though her Captain's description of his target, as seen at night, is dubious. There are no other reported attacks however which could fit the loss of Stockport".
Jürgen Rohwer also lists U-604 as the culprit, giving the date as Febr. 23 (at 03:12 German time), adding in a footnote: "The Stockport had fallen behind the convoy after rescuing survivors from the Empire Trader at 01:00 hrs GCT on 22.02.43".

The following ships were also sunk or damaged - more details on each of them are available at the external links at the end of this text:
The straggling Norwegian Stigstad was torpedoed by U-332 and U-603 on Febr. 21 with the loss of 3 men, 34 survived - follow the link for details on this sinking.
On the same date, the straggling British Empire Trader was torpedoed by U-92 (no casualties).

The American Chattanooga City was sunk on Febr. 22 by U-606 (no casualties).
The British Empire Redshank was also torpedoed by the same U-boat that day (no casualties) - later sunk by HMCS Trillium. The American Expositor was damaged in this attack - sunk during the night, Febr. 23, by U-303 (6 died in the attack, 1 later). U-606 was later sunk by USS Campbell and the Polish destroyer Burza.

The Norwegian N. T. Nielsen Alonso was torpedoed by U-92 and U-753 on Febr. 22, later sunk by the escorting Burza. 3 died, 50 survived

The British Eulima was sunk on Febr. 23 by U-186 (63 [or 62?] died, 1 taken prisoner). The American Hastings was also sunk by U-186 that day (9 died).
The Panamanian Winkler was sunk on Febr. 23 by-U 223 (Norwegian captain - 20 [or 19?] died), having previously been damaged that same day by U-628 in the attack on Glittre.
The Norwegian Glittre was torpedoed on Febr. 23 by U-628 and U-603, 3 died, 34 survived.

The Norwegian Ingria was torpedoed on Febr. 24 by U-600 and U-628 - no casualties, all 37 survived.
The straggling American Jonathan Sturges was sunk on Febr. 24 by U-707 (56 [51?] died).
The Dutch Madoera was damaged on Febr. 24 by U-653.

The British Manchester Merchant was sunk on Febr. 25 by U-628 (36 [35?] died).

The Commodore's comments about some of these attacks:
"Empirer Trader - Struck by torpedo in No. 1 hold port side at 20:32/21.2.43, position 48 30N 30 10W. Later reported proceeding to U.K. at 5 knots escorted by HMCS Dauphin. W/T message received.
N. T. Nielsen Alonso - Torpedoed in boiler room port side at 01:53/22.2.43 in position 48 07N 31 10W. Engine room flooded and abandoned by crew as unsalvagable and was sunk by USS Campbell who rescued all crew. W/T message received (see also my own page about this ship, link above - note that N. T. Nielsen Alonso is said to have been sunk by Burza).
Expositor - Torpedoed 19:23/22.2.43 in position 46 55N 34 20W. W/T message received, no other details received.
Empire Redshank, Chattanooga City - Torpedoed at about 19:23/22.2.43. No W/T message and no other details received from these two except that 155 survivors were reported as from these two and Hastings were on board HMCS Trillium.
Winkler - Torpedoed port side at 04:20/23.2.43 in position 46 32N 37 00W. W/T message received.
Glittre - Torpedoed at 04:25/23.2.43, large red and orange flame was seen in the ship's position, nothing more heard and no W/T message (follow above link to Glittre).
Hastings - Torpedoed about same time as above two. No W/T message received, or other details.
Eulima - Torpedoed at 04:58/23.2.43 in position 46 30N 37 07W. W/T message received and later reported was abandoning ship.
Ingria - Torpedoed at 05:20/24.2.43 in position 45 06N 39 16W. W/T message received, survivors reported picked up by HMCS Rosthern (follow link to Ingria above).
Manchester Merchant - Torpedoed at 05:27/25.2.43 in position 45 30N 44 10W. W/T message received. Struck by two torpedoes on starboard side. 32 survivors reported on board HMCS Rosthern and Montgomery, 36 missing, either trapped or killed in explosion except one who died on HMCS Rosthern.

All attacks were made at night and during full moon".

Escorts:
Local:
HMS Kirkella joined at Bar Light on Febr. 11 - left at 09:30 on Febr. 12 in 55 28N 06 17W.
HMS Witherington and HMS (HMCS) Montgomery joined on Febr. 24 in 44 52N 42 10W - left at 12:00 on Febr. 26 in 43 54N 49 43W.
HMS (HMCS) Leamington (S.O.) joined on Febr. 26 in 43 20N 48 37W - left at 10:00 on Febr. 28 in 42 44N 59 24W.
HMCS Saskatoon, Quesnel, Drummondville and Kenora joined on Febr. 25 in 44 47N 46 00W - left at 10:00 on Febr. 28 in 42 44N 59 24W.

Local (S):
HMCS New Westminster (S.O.), Blairmore and Rimouski joined on Febr. 28 in 42 44N 59 24W (this is the same date and position as given for Empire Cavalier, which joined from Halifax, so these 3 escorts probably joined off Halifax) - the original document says they left on Febr. 3 at Ambrose Light, but this date should probably be March 3.

Ocean:
USS Spencer (S.O.) and Campbell joined in 55 26N 01 11W - Spence(r) left at 18:00 on Febr. 26 in 43 24N 51 39W, and Campbell left at 17:30 on Febr. 21 in 48 43N 29 38W.
The following joined in 55 36N 06 41W:
HMS Dianthus - left at 04:00 on Febr. 24 in 45 03N 38 51W.
HMCS Trillium - left at 12:00 on Febr. 26 in 43 54N 49 43W.
HMCS Chilliwack - left at 15:00 on Febr. 25 in 44 47N 46 00W.
HMCS Rosthern - left at 18:00 on Febr. 26 in 43 24N 51 39W.
HMCS Dauphin - left at 23:00 on Febr. 21 in 48 16N 30 38W.

Air Escort:
Joined at 13:30 on Febr. 11 in the Irish Sea, various types - left at 16:30 (3 hours).
Joined at 09:00 on Febr. 19 in 54 43N 24 32W, Fortress - left at 11:00 (2 hours).
Joined at 08:30 on Febr. 21 in 49 44N 28 18W, Liberator - left at 15:30 (7 hours).
Joined at 08:40 on Febr. 28 in 42 46N 59 08W, Digby - left at 16:00 (ab. 7 1/2 hours).
Joined at 14:00 on March 1 in 41 07N 64 49W, Lockheed - left at 17:30 (3 1/2 hours).
Joined at 09:30 on March 2 in 39 54N 68 34W, Catalina or Ventura - left at 17:30 (8 hours).
Joined at 17:00 on Febr. 24 in 44 56N 41 38W, Catalina - left at 20:00 (3 hours).

Related external links:
The battle for Convoy ON 166 - Uboat.net also has info on the following (the times given here is German time):
The loss of Empire Trader
The loss of Chattanooga City
The loss of Empire Redshank
The loss of Expositor
The loss of Eulima
The loss of Hastings
The loss of Winkler
The attack on Madoera
The loss of Jonathan Sturges
The loss of Manchester Merchant
(Uboat.net's entries for the Norwegian ships can be found through this page).

The history of USS Campbell - Has quite a bit on the events in Convoy ON 166.

Hyperwar - Linked directly to Robert Cressman's book entries for 1943 - scroll down to Febr. 20, 21, 22 and 23 for details on the attack on ON 166 (I don't see Ingria mentioned at all here).

Empire Ships
Fort Ships

Back to Convoy Index

To the next convoy in my list ON 167
will be added, as will ON 168
In the meantime, see Ships sailing in all ON convoys
The next available ON convoy is ON 169


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