Group Wotan and the Battle for Convoy SC 104 11-17 October 1942

By Robert C. Fisher, published February 1998


Eight ships from the 48 merchant ship east-bound Convoy SC 104 and two U-boats were lost in October 1942 in the area of the Atlantic known as the ‘air gap’. The German attack by the ten U-boat Group Wotan was conducted over two nights under extreme North Atlantic weather conditions. An hour-by-hour tactical and technical analysis of the attack and defence makes use of British Admiralty reports, U Boat diaries and other German sources. There were almost fifty U-boats in the Atlantic at the time. Regular communication with shore based headquarters provided the respective combatants with strategic direction. Equipment included Type 271 Radar, Asdic and HF/DF. The author concludes there was little defence against U-boats in the air gap and that had lessons been learned, the heavy losses by much larger wolf packs in early 1943 should not have been a surprise.

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Filed under: Atlantic | WW2
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Submarines

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