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Liveblogging World War II: March 16, 1943

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Convoys HX 229/SC 122: Wikipedia:

The Allied Cipher Number 3 used by the convoy escorts had been broken by the Germans. This allowed them to position wolfpacks in the way of HX229, which was following a similar course. It passed through Raubgrafs rake in the night of 15th/16th without being sighted due to bad weather. However on the morning of 16th U-653, which had detached from Raubgraf to return to base with mechanical problems, sighted HX 229 heading east, and sent a sighting report.

Donitz immediately ordered Raubgraf to pursue and intercept, while Stürmer and Dränger were ordered west to form a line ahead of the convoy. He saw in this an opportunity to attack an east-bound convoy, full of war materials bound for Europe, with the full width of the Air Gap to cross. Raubgraf caught up with HX 229 on the evening of the 16th and mounted an attack that night. Three ships were sunk that night and another five on the morning of the 17th, a total of 8 in just 8 hours. The escort was reported to be weak, as 2 ships had dropped out to pick up survivors The escorts chased 3 contacts during the night but with no result…