December 1940 Events of the Battle of the Atlantic  
 
  Overview  
  1 auxiliary Allied war vessel was sunk by a U-boat.  
   
  No U-boats were sunk during December 1940.  
   
  2 Vichy French vessels were accidentally torpedoed and sunk by U-boats.  
   
  38 Allied and neutral merchant ships were sunk by U-boats totaling 214,141 tons.  
  7 Allied merchant ships were damaged by U-boats totaling 56,389 tons.  
   
   2 German merchant vessels were scuttled to prevent capture by Allied forces.  
   
  Naval Action in the Atlantic Ocean  
  Monday, December 2, 1940  
  While escorting Convoy HX-90 the 16,402 ton armed merchant cruiser HMS Forfar (F 30) was torpedoed and sunk by the U-99, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Otto Kretschmer, approximately 500 miles west of Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 172 died and 21 survivors were picked up by the Canadian destroyer HMCS St. Laurent (H 83), the British destroyer HMS Viscount (D 92) and the British Steam merchant Dunsley.  
   
  Thursday, December 19, 1940  
  The Vichy French submarine Sfax (Q 182) was accidentally torpedoed and sunk by the U-37, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Asmus Nicolai Clausen, seven miles off Cape Juby, Morocco in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 4 died and 69 survived.  
   
  The Vichy French fleet oiler Rhône was accidentally torpedoed and sunk by the U-37, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Asmus Nicolai Clausen, seven miles off Cape Juby, Morocco in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 11 died. The 2,785 ton Rhône was carrying fuel oil and was bound for Dakar, Senegal.  
   
  Attacks on Allied and Neutral Merchant Ships  
  Sunday, December 1, 1940  
  Sailing with Convoy HX-90, the British motor tanker Appalachee was torpedoed and sunk by the U-101, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Ernst Mengersen, about 340 miles west of Bloody Foreland, Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 7 died and 32 survivors were picked up by the corvette HMS Heliotrope (K 03). The 8,826 ton Appalachee was carrying aviation fuel and was bound for Avonmouth, England.  
   
  Sailing with Convoy HX-90, the British steam merchant Loch Ranza was torpedoed and damaged by the U-101, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Ernst Mengersen, approximately 340 miles west of Bloody Foreland, Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, all 40 survived. The 4,958 ton Loch Ranza was carrying lumber, grain, and plywood and was bound for Swansea, England.  
   
  The unescorted British steam merchant Palmella was torpedoed and sunk by the U-37, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Asmus Nicolai Clausen, southwest of Oporto, Portugal in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 1 died and 28 survivors were picked up by the Spanish trawler Navemar. The 1,578 ton Palmella was carrying general cargo and 1,000 bags of prisoner mail and was bound for Oporto.  
   
  Monday, December 2, 1940  
  A straggler from Convoy OB-251, the British steam merchant Samnanger was torpedoed and sunk by the U-99, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Otto Kretschmer, west of Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. All of the ship’s complement of 30 died. The 4,276 ton Samnanger was carrying ballast and was bound for Pepel, Sierra Leone.  
   
  Sailing with Convoy HX-90, the British steam merchant Kavak was torpedoed and sunk by the U-101, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Ernst Mengersen, approximately 340 miles west of Bloody Foreland, Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 25 died and 16 survivors were picked up by the destroyer HMS Viscount (D 92). The 2,782 ton Kavak was carrying bauxite and pitch and was bound for Newport, England.  
   
  Sailing with Convoy HX-90, the British motor merchant Lady Glanely was torpedoed and sunk by the U-101 approximately 410 miles west of Bloody Foreland. All of the ship’s complement of 32 died. The 5,497 ton Lady Glanely was carrying wheat and lumber and was bound for London, England.  
   
  Sailing with Convoy OG-46, the Swedish steam merchant Gwalia was torpedoed and sunk by the U-37, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Asmus Nicolai Clausen, approximately 230 miles north of Cape Roca, Portugal in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 16 died and 4 survivors were picked up by a British destroyer. The 1,258 ton Gwalia was carrying coal and mail and was bound for Lisbon, Portugal.  
   
  Sailing with Convoy OG-46, the British steam merchant Jeanne M. was torpedoed and sunk by the U-37 approximately 230 miles north of Cape Roca. Of the ship’s complement, 7 died and 19 survivors were picked up by the ASW Trawler HMS Erin. The 2,465 ton Jeanne M. was carrying coal and was bound for Lisbon, Portugal.  
   
  Sailing with Convoy OB-251, the British motor merchant Pacific President was torpedoed and sunk by the U-43, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Wolfgang Lüth, west-southwest of Rockall in the northern Atlantic Ocean. All of the ship’s complement of 50 died. The 7,113 ton Pacific President was carrying ballast and was bound for New York, New York.  
   
  Sailing with Convoy OB-251, the British motor tanker Victor Ross was torpedoed and sunk by the U-43 355 miles from Bloody Foreland. All of the ship’s complement of 44 died. The 12,247 ton Victor Ross was carrying ballast and was bound for New York, New York.  
   
  A straggler from Convoy HX-90, the Belgian steam passenger ship Ville d´Arlon was torpedoed and sunk by the U-47, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Günther Prien, in the northern Atlantic Ocean. All of the ship’s complement of 56 died. The 7,555 ton Ville d´Arlon was carrying general cargo and was bound for Liverpool, England.  
   
  Sailing with Convoy HX-90, the British steam merchant Goodleigh was torpedoed and sunk by the U-52, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Otto Salman, approximately 365 miles west of Bloody Foreland, Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 1 died and 36 survivors were picked up by the destroyer HMS Viscount (D 92). The 5,448 ton Goodleigh was carrying lumber and spelter and was bound for Oban, Scotland.  
   
  Sailing with Convoy HX-90, the British steam merchant Tasso was torpedoed and sunk by the U-52 approximately 360 miles west of Bloody Foreland. Of the ship’s complement, 5 died and 27 survivors were picked up by the destroyer HMS Viscount (D 92). The 1,586 ton Tasso was carrying logs and was bound for Oban, Scotland.  
   
  Sailing with Convoy HX-90, the British motor merchant Stirlingshire was torpedoed and sunk by the U-94, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Herbert Kuppisch, approximately 280 miles west by north of Bloody Foreland, Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, all 75 survived and were picked up by the British steam merchant Empire Puma. The 6,022 ton Stirlingshire was carrying sugar, lead, refrigerated foodstuffs, and general cargo and was bound for Liverpool, England.  
   
  Sailing with Convoy HX-90, the British steam merchant Wilhelmina was torpedoed and sunk by the U-94 approximately 265 miles west of Bloody Foreland. Of the ship’s complement, 5 died and 34 survivors were picked up by the corvette HMS Gentian (K 90). The 6,725 ton Wilhelmina was carrying general cargo, fish, and wood pulp and was bound for Liverpool, England.  
   
  A straggler from Convoy HX-90, the British steam merchant Dunsley was damaged by gunfire by U-47, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Günther Prien, west of Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. The 3,862 ton Dunsley was carrying steel and timber and was bound for Immingham, England.  
   
  Tuesday, December 3, 1940  
  A straggler from Convoy HX-90, the British steam merchant Victoria City was torpedoed and sunk by the U-140, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Hans-Peter Hinsch, in the northern Atlantic Ocean. All of the ship’s complement of 43 died. The 4,739 ton Victoria City was carrying steel and was bound for London, England.  
   
  A straggler from Convoy HX-90, the abandoned British motor tanker Conch that had been damaged the previous day was torpedoed and sunk by the U-99, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Otto Kretschmer, approximately 370 miles west of Bloody Foreland, Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean.  
   
  Wednesday, December 4, 1940  
  A straggler from Convoy OG-46, the Swedish steam merchant Daphne was torpedoed and sunk by the U-37, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Asmus Nicolai Clausen, southwest of Cabo Espichel, Portugal in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 18 died and 1 survived. The 1,513 ton Daphne was carrying coal and was bound for Lisbon, Portugal.  
   
  Friday, December 6, 1940  
  A straggler from Convoy OB-252, the British steam merchant Skrim was torpedoed and sunk by the U-43, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Wolfgang Lüth, in the northern Atlantic Ocean. All of the ship’s complement of 23 died. The 1,902 ton Skrim was bound for Sydney, Nova Scotia.  
   
  Saturday, December 7, 1940  
  A straggler from Convoy OB-252, the Dutch steam merchant Farmsum was torpedoed and sunk by the U-99, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Otto Kretschmer, in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 16 died and 15 survivors were picked up by the destroyer HMS Ambuscade (D 38). The 5,237 ton Farmsum was carrying coal and was bound for Buenos Aires, Argentina.  
   
  Sunday, December 8, 1940  
  A straggler from Convoy SLS-56, the British steam passenger ship Calabria was torpedoed and sunk by the U-103, commanded by Korvettenkapitän Viktor Schütze, approximately 300 miles from Slyne Head, Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement and passengers, 360 died and 21 survivors were picked up by the destroyer HMS Sikh (F 82). The 9,515 ton Calabria was carrying passengers, iron, tea, and oilcake and was bound for Liverpool, England.  
   
  A straggler from Convoy SC-13, the British steam merchant Ashcrest was torpedoed and sunk by the U-140, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Hans-Peter Hinsch, in the northern Atlantic Ocean. All of the ship’s complement of 37 died. The 5,652 ton Ashcrest was carrying steel and was bound for Middlesbrough, England.  
   
  The Finnish sailing ship Penang was torpedoed and sunk by the U-140 northwest of Tory Island, Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. All of the ship’s complement of 18 died. The 2,019 ton Penang was carrying grain and was bound for Queenstown, Ireland.  
   
  Monday, December 9, 1940  
  A straggler from Convoy OB-252, the British steam merchant Empire Jaguar was torpedoed and sunk by the U-103, commanded by Korvettenkapitän Viktor Schütze, approximately 2956 miles from Slyne Head, Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. All of the ship’s complement of 37 died. The 5,186 ton Empire Jaguar was carrying ballast and was bound for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  
   
  Wednesday, December 11, 1940  
  A straggler from Convoy SLS-56, the British motor merchant Empire Statesman was torpedoed and sunk by the U-94, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Herbert Kuppisch, west of Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. All of the ship’s complement of 31 died. The 5,306 ton Empire Statesman was carrying iron ore and was bound for Middlesbrough, England.  
   
  Sailing with Convoy HX-92, the British steam passenger ship Rotorua was torpedoed and sunk by the U-96, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock, about 100 miles west of St. Kilda, Scotland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement and passengers, 22 died and 110 survivors were picked up by the minesweeping trawlers HMS Varanga (FY 1625) and HMS Ebor Wyke (FY 1601)  and the armed trawler HMS Alsey (M 51). The 10,890 ton Rotorua was carrying passengers, general cargo, including refrigerated foodstuffs and was bound for Avonmouth, England.  
   
  Sailing with Convoy HX-92, the Dutch steam merchant Towa was torpedoed and and then sunk by gunfire by the U-96 in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 18 died and 19 survivors were picked up by the destroyer HMS Matabele (G 26). The 5,419 ton Towa was carrying grain and 48 trucks and was bound for London, England.  
   
  Thursday, December 12, 1940  
  Sailing with Convoy HX-92, the 5,227 ton Belgian steam merchant Macedonier was torpedoed and and then sunk by gunfire by the U-96, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock, ten miles south of St.Kilda, Scotland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 4 died and 37 survivors were picked up by the Icelandic ship Súlan.  
   
  Sailing with Convoy HX-92, the Swedish motor merchant Stureholm was torpedoed and and then sunk by gunfire by the U-96 in the northern Atlantic Ocean. All of the ship’s complement of 32 died. The 4,575 ton Stureholm was carrying steel and scrap iron and was bound for Hull, England.  
   
  Friday, December 13, 1940  
  The British motor merchant Orari was torpedoed and damaged by the U-43, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Wolfgang Lüth, approximately 450 miles southwest of Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. The 0,350 ton Orari was carrying refrigerated and general cargo and was bound for Avonmouth, England.  
   
  Saturday, December 14, 1940  
  Dispersed from Convoy OB-256, the British steam merchant Euphorbia was torpedoed and sunk by the U-100, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Joachim Schepke, west-southwest of Rockall in the northern Atlantic Ocean. All of the ship’s complement of 34 died. The 3,380 ton Euphorbia was carrying coal and was bound for Lynn, Massachusetts.  
   
  Dispersed from Convoy OB-256, the British steam merchant Kyleglen was torpedoed and sunk by the U-100 west-southwest of Rockall. All of the ship’s complement of 36 died. The 3,670 ton Kyleglen was carrying ballast and was bound for Baltimore, Maryland.  
   
  The unescorted British motor passenger ship Western Prince was torpedoed and sunk by the U-96, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock, approximately 400 miles from Cape Wrath, Scotland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement and passengers, 14 died and 155 survivors were picked up by the British steam merchant Baron Kinnaird and the destroyer HMS Active (H 14). The 10,926 ton Western Prince was carrying passengers, base metal, foodstuffs, and general cargo and was bound for Liverpool, England.  
   
  Dispersed from Convoy OB-257, the British steam merchant Empire Razorbill was damaged by gunfire by the U-96 southeast of Iceland. The 5,118 ton Empire Razorbill was carrying coal and was bound for St. John, New Brunswick.  
   
  Monday, December 16, 1940  
  The 223 ton Spanish steam merchant San Carlos was attacked by gunfire and after the crew abandoned ship was scuttled by the U-37, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Asmus Nicolai Clausen, off Cape Juby, Morocco in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 1 died and 27 survived.  
   
  Wednesday, December 18, 1940  
  The unescorted British steam merchant Napier Star was torpedoed and sunk by the U-100, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Joachim Schepke, approximately 320 miles from Rockall in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement and passengers, 71 died and 14 survivors were picked up by the Swedish motor merchant Vaalaren. The 10,116 ton Napier Star was carrying passengers and general cargo and was bound for New Zealand.  
   
  Dispersed from Convoy OB-259, the Dutch motor tanker Pendrecht was torpedoed and damaged by the U-96, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock, southeast of Iceland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. The 10,746 ton Pendrecht was carrying ballast and was bound for New York, New York.  
   
  Saturday, December 21, 1940  
  The unescorted, unarmed and neutral Panamanian steam tanker Charles Pratt was torpedoed and sunk by the U-65, commanded by Korvettenkapitän Hans-Gerrit von Stockhausen, approximately 220 miles off Freetown, Sierra Leone in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 2 died and 40 survivors were picked up by the British motor merchant Gascony and the British steam merchant Langleegorse. The 8,982 ton Charles Pratt was carrying fuel oil and was bound for Freetown.  
   
  Tuesday, December 24, 1940  
  A straggler from Convoy SLS-60, the British steam tanker British Premier was torpedoed and sunk by the U-65, commanded by Korvettenkapitän Hans-Gerrit von Stockhausen, 200 miles southwest of Freetown, Sierra Leone in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 32 died and 13 survivors were picked up by the destroyers HMS Hawkins (I 86) and HMS Faulknor (H 62). The 5,872 ton British Premier was carrying crude oil and was bound for Swansea, Wales.  
   
  Friday, December 27, 1940  
  The unescorted British motor merchant Waiotira was torpedoed and sunk by the U-38, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Liebe, approximately 125 miles west by north of Rockall in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 1 died and 89 survivors were picked up by the destroyer HMS Mashona (F 59). The 12,823 ton Waiotira was carrying refrigerated and general cargo and was bound for the United Kingdom.  
   
  The unescorted Norwegian steam merchant Risanger was torpedoed and then sunk by gunfire by the U-65, commanded by Korvettenkapitän Hans-Gerrit von Stockhausen, off the coast of Africa in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, all 29 survived and were picked up by the Norwegian motor tanker Belinda. The 5,455 ton Risanger was carrying coal and vehicles and was bound for Alexandria, Egypt.  
   
  Tuesday, December 31, 1940  
  A straggler from Convoy HX-97, the Swedish motor merchant Valparaiso was torpedoed and sunk by the U-38, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Liebe, in the northern Atlantic Ocean. All of the ship’s complement of 35 died. The 3,760 ton Valparaiso was carrying general cargo and was bound for Glasgow, Scotland.  
   
  Dispersed from Convoy OB-260, the unescorted British motor tanker British Zeal was torpedoed and damaged by the U-65, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Hans-Gerrit von Stockhausen, east of the Cape Verde Islands. Of the ship’s complement, all 50 survived. The 8,532 ton British Zeal was carrying water ballast and was bound for Freetown, Sierra Leone.  
   
  Axis Merchant Shipping Losses  
  Sunday, December 8, 1940  
  The light cruiser HMS Diomede (D 92) intercepted the German freighter Idarwald near the Yucatan Channel between Mexico and Cuba. The Idarwald's crew scuttled their ship to prevent her capture by the British. The destroyer USS Sturtevant (DD-240) stood by witnessing the action.  
   
  Wednesday, December 11, 1940  
  The German freighter Rhein, having been trailed by destroyers the USS Simpson (DD 221) and USS MacLeish (DD 220) was intercepted by the Dutch destroyer HNMS Van Kinsbergen near the Florida Straits. The Rhein was scuttled by her own crew to avoid capture. The USS MacLeish and the destroyer USS McCormick (DD 223) were present as the German ship's bid to escape failed.  
   
  Other Battle of the Atlantic Events  
  Tuesday, December 3, 1940  
  U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt embarked in the heavy cruiser USS Tuscaloosa (CA 37) at Miami, Florida, to inspect base sites acquired from the British under the destroyers-for-bases agreement. During the cruise, he would broach the lend-lease concept that he would implement upon his return to Washington.  
     
   
     
   
 

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