Month 1944 events of the Battle of the Atlantic  
  Naval Action in the Atlantic Ocean  
  Sunday, January 2, 1944  
  The U-445, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Heinz-Konrad Fenn, was attacked in the North Atlantic by 5 depth charges from a RAF Halifax a British Halifax bomber from Squadron 58. One crewmember was badly wounded and the boat suffered some damage.  
   
  Leaving Lorient, France, the U-539 was the first U-boat to depart on a combat patrol equipped with the Schnorchel underwater-breathing apparatus.  
   
  During an attack on the U-625 by 2 Liberators (RAF Sqdn 224/C/G) the commander, Kapitänleutnant Hans Benker, and 1 man were lost overboard. The boat, on its return leg of the patrol, was damaged and returned to Brest on January 6, 1944.  
   
  Monday, January 3, 1944  
  The U-373, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Detlef von Lehsten, was attacked in the North Atlantic by a British Wellington, piloted by John B. Russell from Squadron 612, which dropped depth charges. Another aircraft, a British B-24 Liberator, piloted by Harold R. Facey from Squadron 224, assisted and dropped 8 more depth charges. The U-373 was heavily damaged and headed for Brest.  
   
  Tuesday, January 4, 1944  
  The U-373, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Detlef von Lehsten, which was damaged the day before by RAF aircraft in the North Atlantic, reached port in Brest France. Two unexploded depth charges were found on the tower and the boat had to leave port to jettison them (an extremely dangerous operation), which they successfully did.  
   
  Thursday, January 6, 1944  
  In the English Channel, the minesweeping trawler HMS Wallasea (T 345), commanded by Lt. Edward James Hill, RNVR, was sunk by a German motor torpedo boat off Mounts Bay, Cornwall.  
   
  The U-270, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Paul-Friedrich Otto, was attacked by a British B-17 Fortress from the 206 Squadron piloted by F/L A.J. Pinhorn which made two strafing runs without dropping any bombs north-northeast of the Azores in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. On the third run the aircraft dropped four depth charges ahead of the boat and then was hit by AA fire. The aircraft crashed into the sea killing all eight crewmen aboard. The U-270 ran into the explosions and had to abort its patrol due to the damage of all bow torpedo tubes, the sonar and the batteries.  
   
  The gunboat USS St. Augustine (PG 54) was sunk about 86 nautical miles south of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The ship had been rammed amidships by the merchant tanker SS Camas Meadows in rough, wintry seas. 115 of her crew died and 30 survived. The ship had left New York City that morning leading a convoy of ships headed for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The SS Camas Meadows was headed for Trinidad and was not part of the convoy the USS St. Augustine was escorting.  
   
  Friday, January 7, 1944  
  The frigate HMS Tweed (K 250), commanded by Lt. Commander Robert S. Miller, RNR, was torpedoed and sunk by the U-305, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Rudolf Bahr, southwest of Ireland, North Atlantic Ocean. 52 survivors were rescued by the frigate HMS Nene (K 270). The HMS Tweed was part of Escort Group 5.  
   
  The U-107, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Volker Simmermacher, was attacked four times by Liberator aircraft, and replied each time with AA guns. The boat suffered no damage.  
   
  Sunday, January 9, 1944  
  The corvette HMS Abelia (K 184), commanded by Acting Lt. Commander Orme G. Stuart, RCNVR, lost her rudder after being hit by a U-boat torpedo in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. It is not known which U-boat fired the torpedo.  
   
  Thursday, January 13, 1944  
  While serving as a Flak boat, the U-621 was attacked by a British B-24 Liberator from Squadron 59/A.  1 man was killed and 6 were wounded. The commander, Oberleutnant zur See Max Kruschka, decided to abort the patrol. It took the U-621 ten days to return back to Brest.  
   
  Tuesday, January 25, 1944  
  While escorting the convoy JW-56A to the northern Soviet Union the destroyer HMS Obdurate (G 39), commanded by Lt. Commander Claude E. L. Sclater, was hit and damaged by a Gnat-torpedo from the German submarine U-360, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Klaus-Helmuth Becker, The U-boat attempted but missed the damaged destroyer with a coup de grâce.  
   
  Wednesday, January 26, 1944  
  The submarine HMS Stubborn (P 238), commanded by Lt. Arthur A. Duff, fired four torpedoes during an unsuccessful attack on a German convoy off the Follafjord, west of Namsos, Norway.  
   
  Monday, January 31, 1944  
  The U-608, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Wolfgang Reisener, shot down an RAF 172 Squadron British Wellington after the aircraft switched on the Leigh Light (a powerful carbon arc searchlight designed for finding subs. The Wellington did not drop any depth charges in the attack and apparently crashed in the Bay of Biscay west of Bordeaux, France, shortly after being hit with anti-aircraft fire.  
   
  U-Boat Losses  
  Saturday, January 8, 1944  
  The U-426, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Christian Reich, was sunk by depth charges dropped from a RAAF 10 Squadron Sunderland west of Nantes, France. All 51 hands were lost.  
   
  The U-757, commanded by Korvettenkapitän Friedrich Deetz, was sunk south-west of Iceland by depth charges from the frigate HMS Bayntun (K 310), commanded by Lt. Commander Leo P. Bourke, RNZNR, and the corvette HMCS Camrose (K 154), commanded by Acting Temporary Lt. Commander Louis R. Pavillard, RCNR. All 49 hands were lost.  
   
  Thursday, January 13, 1944  
  The U-231 was attacked by a British Wellington HF168 from the 172 Squadron piloted by P/O W.N. Armstrong, RCAF, operating from the Azores after being directed to the area by a sighting report by aircraft from the escort carrier USS Block Island (CVE 21) about 750 miles northeast of the Azores. The aircraft dropped three depth charges but was itself hit by anti-aircraft fire, wounding the rear gunner. The U-231 then crash-dived but it proved to be impossible to stay submerged, so the boat surfaced and the crew abandoned ship. The commander, Kapitänleutnant Wolfgang Wenzel, attempted suicide by shooting himself with a revolver into the mouth but the bullet lodged harmlessly in the back of the neck. 7 crewmen were lost. The commander and 42 survivors were picked up and taken prisoner the next day by the destroyers USS Parrott (DD 218) and USS Bulmer (DD 222) and later transferred to the USS Block Island.  
   
  Sunday, January 16, 1944  
  The U-305, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Rudolf Bahr, was lost probably to one of its own acoustic (T5) torpedoes in the North Atlantic Ocean.  
   
  Monday, January 17, 1944  
  The U-377, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Gerhard Kluth, was sunk by depth charges from the destroyer HMS Wanderer (D 74), commanded by Lt. Commander Reginald F. Whinney, and the frigate HMS Glenarm (K 258), commanded by Lt. Commander William R.B. Noall, southwest of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean. All the ship’s complement of 52 died.  
   
  The U-544, commanded by Korvettenkapitän Willy Mattke, was sunk by depth charges and rockets from Avenger aircraft (VC-13) of the US escort carrier USS Guadalcanal (CVE 60) ,commanded by Captain Daniel V. Gallery, northwest of the Azores in the North Atlantic Ocean. All the ship’s complement of 57 died.  
   
  Wednesday, January 19, 1944  
  The U-641, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Horst Rendtel, was sunk by depth charges from the corvette HMS Violet (K 35), commanded by Lt. Charles N. Stewart, southwest of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean. All the ship’s complement of 50 died.  
   
  Friday, January 21, 1944  
  The U-1199, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Rolf Nollmann, was sunk by depth charges from the destroyer HMS Icarus (D 03), commanded by Lt. Commander Richard Dyer, and the corvette HMS Mignonette (K 38), commanded by Lt. Harold H. Brown, near the Scilly Isles off the coast of England. Of the ship’s complement 48 died and there was 1 survivor.  
   
  Wednesday, January 26, 1944  
  The U-1051, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Heinrich von Holleben, was sunk in the Irish Sea south of the Isle of Man by ramming and depth charges from the frigates HMS Aylmer (K 463), HMS Calder (K 349), HMS Bentinck (K 314) and HMS Bentinck (K 568). Of the ship’s complement all 47 died.  
   
  Thursday, January 27, 1944  
  The U-571, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Gustav Lüssow, was sunk by depth charges from an Australian Sunderland aircraft (RAAF-Sqdn 461/D) west of Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. All the ship’s complement of 52 died.  
   
  Friday, January 28, 1944  
  The U-271, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Curt Barleben, was sunk by depth charges from a USN PB4Y Liberator aircraft from Bombing Squadron One Hundred Three (VB-103) west of Limerick southwest of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean. All the ship’s complement of 51 died.  
   
  The U-571, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Helmut Möhlmann, was sunk by depth charges from a RAAF 461 Squadron Sunderland aircraft operating out of Pembroke Dock, Wales west of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean. All the ship’s complement of 52 died.  
   
  Saturday, January 29, 1944  
  The U-364, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Paul-Heinrich Sass, was sunk by depth charges from a British Halifax aircraft from Squadron U/502 in the Bay of Biscay. All the ship’s complement of 49 died.  
   
  Sunday, January 30, 1944  
  The U-314, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Georg-Wilhelm Basse, was sunk by depth charges from the destroyers HMS Whitehall (D 94), commanded by Lt. Commander Patrick J. Cowell, and HMS Meteor (G 73), commanded by Lt. Commander Dermod J. B. Jewitt, southeast of Bear Island, Norway in the Barents Sea. All the ship’s complement of 49 died.  
   
  Monday, January 31, 1944  
  The U-592, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Heinz Jaschke, was sunk by depth charges from the sloops HMS Starling (U 66), commanded by Captain Frederick J. Walker, the HMS Wild Goose (U 45), commanded by Lt. Commander David E. G. Wemeyss, and the HMS Magpie (U 82), commanded by Lt. Commander Rider S. Abram, southwest of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean. All the ship’s complement of 49 died.  
   
  Attacks on Allied and Neutral Merchant Ships  
  Monday, January 3, 1944  
  A straggler from Convoy ON-217, the British motor merchant Empire Housman was torpedoed and by the U-744, commanded by Oberfähnrich zur See Heinz Blischke, south of Iceland in the North Atlantic Ocean. The ship sank two days later. Of the ship’s complement, 1 died and 45 survivors were picked up by the trawler HMS Elm (T 105) and the rescue tug HMS Earner (W 143) and landed at Reykjavik. The 7,359 ton Empire Housman was carrying ballast and was headed for New York, New York.  
   
  Monday, January 24, 1944  
  Sailing with Convoy JW-56A, the American Liberty steam merchant Penelope Barker was torpedoed and sunk by the U-278, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Joachim Franze, about 115 miles from North Cape, Norway in the Arctic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 16 died and 56 survivors were picked up by the HMS Savage (G 20). The 7,177 ton Penelope Barker was carrying steel, vehicles, aircraft, tanks, food, 4 locomotives, 4 flat cars, and acid containers and was headed for Murmansk, Soviet Union.  
   
  Axis Merchant Shipping Losses  
  Tuesday, January 4, 1944  
  The light cruiser USS Omaha (CL 4) and the destroyer USS Jouett (DD 396) intercepted the German blockade runner SS Rio Grande carrying a load of crude rubber in the South Atlantic. Gunfire and scuttling charges sank the Rio Grande about 559 nautical miles east of Recife, Brazil in the western Atlantic Ocean.  
   
  Wednesday, January 5, 1944  
  The U.S. Navy announced that in early January three German blockade runners, heavily laden with vital war materials, were sunk in the South Atlantic by surface forces of the U.S. Navy operating under the command of Vice Admiral Jonas Ingram. The ships sunk were the Weserland, Rio Grande and Burgenland, en route from Far Eastern Japanese held ports and were carrying thousands of tons of rubber, tin, fats and strategic ores. The Weserland was sunk by the destroyer USS Somers (DD 381). Both the Rio Grande and Burgenland were scuttled by their crews when approached by the light cruiser USS Omaha (CL 4) and the destroyer USS Jouett (DD 396). The Weserland and the Rio Grande were sighted by Navy search planes which then called for the surface forces. A large number of prisoners were picked up following the sinkings as were hundreds of tons of baled rubber found floating amid the debris.  
   
  Other Battle of the Atlantic Events  
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