November 1939 Events of the Battle of the Atlantic  
  Overview  
  1 Allied war vessel was sunk by a mine.  
  1 Allied war vessel was damaged by a mine.  
   
  1 U-boat was sunk by Allied warships.  
   
  1 German merchant ship was captured by Allied forces totaling 3,176 tons. This ship was promptly sunk by a U-boat.  
   
  26 Allied and neutral merchant ships were sunk by U-boats or mines totaling 66,668 tons.  
   
  Naval Action in the Atlantic Ocean  
  Thursday, November 9, 1939  
  The light cruiser HMS Belfast (35), commanded by Captain G.A. Scott, set sail with the light cruisers HMS Aurora (12), HMS Edinburgh (16), and HMS Sheffield (24) to carry out a search for German warships reported on passage to attack convoy traffic in Atlantic. On departure from Rosyth the HMS Belfast detonated a magnetic mine in the Firth of Forth and sustained major damage. The explosion caused major 'whipping' of ships structure and as a result equipment was damaged throughout her length and her back was broken. 21 crew members were injured, one of them dying of wounds the next day. She was taken in tow to Rosyth for temporary repairs. In July 1940 the HMS Belfast arrived at Plymouth and was rebuilt at Devonport Dockyard and returned to service in December 1942.  
   
  Monday, November 20, 1939  
  The Luftwaffe started parachuting mines into the Thames estuary..  
   
  Tuesday, November 21, 1939  
  The German battleships SMS Scharnhorst and  SMS Gneisenau sailed into the Iceland-Faroes passage on their first wartime sortie accompanied by the light cruisers SMS Köln and SMS Leipzig.  
   
  The French minesweeping trawler Ste. Claire struck a mine and sank 10 miles southeast of Folkestone, Engalnd in the English Channel. All of the ship’s complement of 11 died.  
   
  U-Boat Losses  
  Wednesday, November 29, 1939  
  The U-35, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Werner Lott, was sunk in the North Sea by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Kingston (F 64), HMS Icarus (D 03), and HMS Kashmir (F 12). Of the ship’s complement, all 43 survived. During its career under Kapitänleutnant Lott the U-35 sank 4 ships for a total of 7,850 tons and damaged 1 ship for a total of 6,014 tons.  
   
  Attacks on Allied and Neutral Merchant Ships  
  Thursday, November 9, 1939  
  The British steam merchant Carmarthen Coast struck a mine and sank 3 miles east of Seaham Harbour on the eastern coast of England. Of the ship’s complement, 2 died. The 961 ton Carmarthen Coast was carrying general cargo and was bound for London, England.  
   
  The neutral Norwegian steam merchant Snar was stopped off Southern Norway by U-34, , commanded by Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Rollmann, but high seas prevented an inspection and she was ordered to stand by until the weather improved. The next morning the U-34 stopped two other ships, the Danish steam merchant N.J. Ohlsen and the Norwegian Gimle, which were both allowed to continue. That afternoon the Snar, was searched and found to be carrying pulpwood. The Saar was taken as a prize because she was bound for France. A prize crew brought her to Friedrichsort, Germany. Apparently she was released shortly afterwards because the ship operated under Allied control the rest of the war.  
   
  Sunday, November 12, 1939  
  The unescorted and neutral Norwegian motor tanker Arne Kjøde was torpedoed and sunk by the U-41, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Gustav-Adolf Mugler, northwest of Butt of Lewis in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 5 died and 34 survivors were picked up by the British trawler Night Hawk and the destroyer HMS Isis (D 87). The 11,019 ton Arne Kjøde was carrying gas oil and was bound for Nyborg, Denmark.  
   
  The 275 ton British steam fishing trawler Cresswell was stopped by gunfire and after the crew abandoned ship was torpedoed and sunk by the U-41 18 miles northwest by west of Flannan Isles, Outer Hebrides. Of the ship’s complement, 6 died and 7 survived.  
   
  Monday, November 13, 1939  
  The unescorted French steam merchant Loire was torpedoed and sunk by the U-26, commanded by Klaus Ewerth, Malaga, Spain in the western Mediterranean Sea. All of the ship’s complement died. The 4,285 ton Loire was bound for Dunkirk, France.  
   
  Thursday, November 16, 1939  
  A straggler from Convoy SL-7A, the British steam merchant Arlington Court was torpedoed and sunk by the U-43, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Ambrosius, in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 7 died and 28 survivors were picked up by the Dutch steam merchant Algenib and the Norwegian motor tanker Spinanger. The 4,915 ton Arlington Court was carrying maize and was bound for Hull, England.  
   
  Friday, November 17, 1939  
  The neutral Dutch motor tanker Sliedrecht was stopped and after the crew abandoned ship was torpedoed and sunk by the U-28, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Günter Kuhnke, about 200 miles south of Rockall in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 26 died and 5 survivors were picked up by the British trawler Meresia. The 5,133 ton Sliedrecht was carrying benzine, kerosene and gas oil and was bound for Svolvær, Norway.  
   
  The Lithuanian steam merchant Kaunas was torpedoed and sunk by the U-57, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Claus Korth, approximately 7 miles west-northwest of Noordhinder in the North Sea. Of the ship’s complement, 1 died. The 1,566 ton Kaunas was carrying ballast and was bound for Hartlepool, England.  
   
  Saturday, November 18, 1939  
  The British steam merchant Parkhill was torpedoed and sunk by the U-18, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Max-Hermann Bauer, north-northwest of Kinnairds Head in the North Sea. All of the ship’s complement of 9 died. The 500 ton Parkhill was carrying coal and was bound for Kirkwall, Orkney Islands.  
   
  Sailing with Convoy IFC, the 345 ton British fishing steam trawler Wigmore was torpedoed and sunk by the U-22, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Karl-Heinrich Jenisch, off the coast of Scotland in the North Sea. All of the ship’s complement of 16 died.  
   
  The Yugoslavian steam merchant Carica Milica struck a mine and sank approximately 4 miles off the Shipwash lightvessel in the northern English Channel. The 6,371 ton Carica Milica was carrying coal and was bound for Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia.  
   
  Sunday, November 19, 1939  
  The British steam merchant Bowling was torpedoed and sunk by the U-13, commanded by Heinz Scheringer, approximately 6 miles north-northeast of Longstone, Outer Farne Islands in the North Sea. All of the ship’s complement of 13 died. The 793 ton Bowling was carrying general cargo and was bound for Antwerp, Belgium.  
   
  The unescorted British steam merchant Darino was torpedoed and sunk by the U-41, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Gustav-Adolf Mugler, west of Cape Ortegal, Spain in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 16 died and 11 survivors were picked up by the Germans and transferred to the Italian steam merchant Caterina Gerolimich. The 1,351 ton Darino was carrying general cargo, including port wine, sardines and tin ore and was bound for London, England.  
   
  The unescorted British steam merchant Pensilva was torpedoed and sunk by the U-49, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Kurt von Gossler, northwest of Cape Ortegal, Spain in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. The 4,258 ton Pensilva was carrying maize and was bound for Dunkirk, France.  
   
  The unescorted British steam merchant Stanbrook was torpedoed and sunk by the U-57, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Claus Korth, northwest of Tyne, England in the North Sea. All of the ship’s complement of 20 died. The 1,383 ton Stanbrook was carrying ballast and was bound for Blyth, England.  
   
  Monday, November 20, 1939  
  The 250 ton British fishing steam trawler Delphine was sunk by gunfire by the U-33, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Hans-Wilhelm von Dresky, near Tory Island, north of Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, all 13 survived and reached land by lifeboat.  
   
  The 329 ton British fishing steam trawler Sea Sweeper was sunk by gunfire by the U-33 near Tory Island, north of Ireland. Of the ship’s complement, all 12 survived and and were picked up by the British steam trawler Lois.  
   
  The 276 ton British fishing steam trawler Thomas Hankins was sunk by gunfire by the U-33 near Tory Island, north of Ireland. Of the ship’s complement, all 12 survived and and were picked up by another trawler.  
   
  Tuesday, November 21, 1939  
  The 287 ton British fishing steam trawler Sulby was sunk by gunfire by the U-33, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Hans-Wilhelm von Dresky, approximately 75 miles northwest of Rathlin, north of Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 5 died and 7 survivors were picked up by the Tobermory Lifeboat.  
   
  The 276 ton British fishing steam trawler William Humphries was sunk by gunfire by the U-33 approximately 75 miles northwest of Rathlin, north of Ireland. All of the ship’s complement of 13 died.  
   
  The 296 ton French fishing steam trawler Les Barges II was stopped and after the crew abandoned ship was sunk by gunfire by the U-41, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Gustav-Adolf Mugler, in the Bay of Biscay in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, all 15 survived and were picked up by a Spanish trawler. The U-boat stopped 17 other trawlers that day, but they all were neutral Spanish vessels.  
   
  Wednesday, November 22, 1939  
  Sailing with Convoy 14-BS, the French steam merchant Arijon was torpedoed and sunk by the U-43, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Ambrosius, in the Bay of Biscay in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. All of the ship’s complement survived. The 4,374 ton Arijon was carrying steel bars, sheets, section hoops, and paper and was bound for Buenos Aires, Argentina.  
   
  The Greek steam merchant Elena R. struck a mine and sank two miles south of Shambles Light Vessel in the English Channel. Of the ship’s complement, all 24 survived and reached the Light Vessel on their own. The 4,576 ton Elena R. was carrying grain and was bound for Antwerp, Belgium.  
   
  Saturday, November 25, 1939  
  Sailing with Convoy SL-8B, the British steam merchant Royston Grange was torpedoed and sunk by the U-28, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Günter Kuhnke, approximately 50 miles southwest of Lands End, England in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. The master and crew were picked up by the British trawler Romilly. The 5,144 ton Royston Grange was carrying general cargo and grain and was bound for Liverpool, England.  
   
  The unescorted British steam merchant Uskmouth was shelled and then torpedoed and sunk by the U-43, commanded by Korvettenkapitän Wilhelm Ambrosius, approximately 120 miles west-northwest of Cape Finisterre, Spain in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 2 died and 23 survivors were picked up by the Italian steam merchant Juventus. The 2,483 ton Uskmouth was carrying coal and was bound for Monaco.  
   
  Monday, November 25, 1939  
  The neutral Swedish motor tanker Gustaf E. Reuter was torpedoed and sunk by the U-48, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Herbert Schultze, north of Scotland in the North Sea. Of the ship’s complement, 1 died and 33 survived. The 6,336 ton Gustaf E. Reuter was carrying ballast and was bound for Curaçao.  
   
  Wednesday, November 29, 1939  
  The British steam merchant Ionian struck a mine and sank near Newarp Lightship along the eastern coast of England in the North Sea. Of the ship’s complement, all 37 survived and were picked up by the sloop HMS Hastings (L 27). The 3,114 ton Ionian was carrying general cargo, including currants and mohair and was bound for Hull, England.  
   
  Axis Merchant Shipping Losses  
  Thursday, November 23, 1939  
  The German steam merchant Borkum was torpedoed and then damaged by gunfire by the U-33, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Hans-Wilhelm von Dresky, near the Orkneys in the northern Atlantic Ocean. On November 18, 1939, the German blockade runner Borkum had been captured by the armed merchant cruiser HMS California (F 55) in the Denmark Strait and a prize crew was ordered to bring the ship to Kirkwall, Scotland. Four German crew members had been killed, but the remaining Germans and the British prize crew abandoned ship and were picked up by armed boarding vessels. The 3,670 ton Borkum was carrying grain. On November 25, 1939 the abandoned wreck of Borkum drifted ashore in Papa Sound and was declared a total loss..  
   
  Other Battle of the Atlantic Events  
  Wednesday, November 1, 1939  
  The U.S. freighter Exminster was detained at Gibraltar by British authorities.  
   
  Thursday, November 2, 1939  
  The U.S. freighters Endicott and West Gambo, detained by French authorities since October 22 and having portions of their cargo seized as contraband, were released and set sail from LeHavre, France.  
   
  Friday, November 3, 1939  
  The U.S. freighter City of Flint was restored to U.S. control at Haugesund, Norway. The City of Flint had been seized the German pocket battleship SMS  Deutschland on October 9 as a “contraband carrier.”  
   
  Saturday, November 4, 1939  
  U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared the area around the British Isles a combat zone.  
   
  Sunday, November 5, 1939  
  The U.S. freighter Black Condor was detained by British authorities at Weymouth, England. The U.S. freighter Scanmail was detained by the British at Kirkwall, Orkneys. Part of the Scanmail’s cargo was seized. The U.S. freighter Black Eagle, detained by the British since October 26, was released.  
   
  Monday, November 6, 1939  
  The U.S. freighter Exeter was detained at Gibraltar by British authorities. She was released the same day after 700 bags of U.S. mail were removed from the ship. The freighter Exminster, detained at Gibraltar by the British since November 1, was released without any confiscation of cargo.  
   
  Tuesday, November 7, 1939  
  The U.S. Naval Attaché in Berlin was informed by an official of the German Navy Ministry that it had been "definitely established that no German U-boat had torpedoed the Athenia." In addition, the German Navy considered the incident "closed as far as the Navy was concerned" and possessed only "an academic interest in how the ship was sunk."  
   
  Wednesday, November 8, 1939  
  The U.S. freighter Express was detained by British authorities at Gibraltar but was released the same day after her cargo was examined. The U.S. freighter Tulsa, detained at London by the British since October 23, was released. The U.S. freighter Wacosta, detained by the British since October 24, was released after cargo billed for delivery to Rotterdam, Holland, was seized as contraband.  
   
  The U.S. freighter Exeter was detained by French authorities.  
   
  Friday, November 10, 1939  
  The U.S. freighter Exeter, detained by French authorities since November 8, was released after 1,400 bales of cottonseed hulk consigned to a Swiss buyer were removed as contraband.  
   
  Saturday, November 11, 1939  
  The U.S. freighter Nishmaha was detained by British authorities at Gibraltar. The U.S. freighter Yaka was detained by the British at the Downs and her cargo examined.  
   
  The U.S. freighter Scanpenn, detained by British authorities at Kirkwall, Orkneys since October 30, was released.  
   
  Monday, November 13, 1939  
  The U.S. freighter Black Hawk was detained by British authorities at Ramsgate, England.  
   
  Thursday, November 16, 1939  
  The U.S. freighter Lafcomo was detained by British authorities at Weymouth, England. The freighter West Harshaw was detained by the British at Ramsgate, England.  
   
  Friday, November 17, 1939  
  The U.S. freighter Black Gull was detained by British authorities. The U.S. freighter Nishmaha, detained at Gibraltar since November 11, was given the option of submitting to further detention or proceeding to Barcelona and thence to Marseilles to unload items seized by British authorities. The Nishmaha's master chose the latter. The British detained the U.S. freighter Examiner and seized 11 bags of first-class mail. The Freighter Black Condor, detained by the British at Weymouth, England, since November 5, was released after part of her cargo and 126 bags of mail were seized.  
   
  Monday, November 20, 1939  
  The U.S. freighter Excambion was detained at Gibraltar by British authorities.  
   
  Tuesday, November 21, 1939  
  The "Navicert" system was instituted by U.S. in an attempt to avoid incidents at sea. U.S. merchant ships were to obtain clearances for their cargoes (certificates of non-enemy origin for all items) prior to leaving port.  
   
  The U.S. freighter Express, detained by British authorities at Malta since November 12, was released and allowed to proceed on her voyage after declaring the nature of her cargo. The freighter Scanmail, detained by British authorities at Kirkwall, Orkneys, was released and departed for the United States.  
   
  Wednesday, November 22, 1939  
  The U.S. freighter Exmouth was detained at Gibraltar by British authorities.  
   
  Thursday, November 23, 1939  
  The U.S. freighter Express, released from her detention at Malta on November 21 by British authorities, continued on her voyage to Greece, Turkey, and Romania.  
   
  The U.S. Consul at Gibraltar, William E. Chapman, declined to consent to execute an agreement wherein the master of freighter Nishmaha (detained since November 11) would agree to proceed via Barcelona, Spain, to Marseilles to unload cargo deemed contraband by the Gibraltar Contraband Control board. U.S. Secretary of State Hull subsequently on November 27 approved Consul Chapman's action with respect to U.S. merchantmen which left the U.S. with cargoes prior to the Neutrality Act of November 4, 1941.  
   
  Friday, November 24, 1939  
  The U.S. freighter Nishmaha, her master having signed agreement on November 23 under protest to proceed to Marseille, France, via Barcelona, Spain, cleared Gibraltar.  
   
  Saturday, November 25, 1939  
  The destroyer USS Yarnall (DD 143) drifted aground in Lynnhaven Roads. The ship was refloated that same day and would she enter the Norfolk Navy Yard for repairs the next day. The USS Yarnall had only been in commission since October 1.  
   
  Sunday, November 26, 1939  
  The German pocket battleship SMS Admiral Graf Spee and the tanker Altmark rendezvoused in the South Atlantic.  
   
  Monday, November 27, 1939  
  The U.S. freighter Effingham was detained at Ramsgate, England, by British authorities. The freighter Azalea City was detained at London. The U.S. freighter Excambion, detained at Gibraltar by the British since November 20, was released.  
   
  The German pocket battleship SMS Admiral Graf Spee refueled from the tanker Altmark in the South Atlantic.  
   
  Tuesday, November 28, 1939  
  The U.S. freighter Winston Salem was detained at Ramsgate, England, by British authorities.  
   
  Wednesday, November 29, 1939  
  The German pocket battleship SMS Admiral Graf Spee re-embarked from the accompanying tanker Altmark all British merchant marine officers from the six ships that the SMS Admiral Graff Spee had sunk up to that point. The officers were to be taken back to Germany. The crewmen remained imprisoned on board the Altmark.  
   
  The U.S. freighter Nishmaha was detained by French authorities at Marseilles, France. The Nishmaha’s cargo (cotton, paraffin and beef casings) was held pending the decision of the Contraband Committee in London.  
   
  The U.S. freighter Extavia was detained at Gibraltar by British authorities.  
   
  Thursday, November 30, 1939  
  The U.S. freighter Extavia, with cargo destined for Istanbul, Turkey, and the Piraeus, Greece, was detained at Gibraltar by British authorities.  
     
   
     
   
 

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