SC convoys
The SC convoys were a series of North Atlantic convoys that ran during the battle of the Atlantic during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...


They were east-bound slow convoys originating in Sydney
Sydney, Nova Scotia
Sydney is a Canadian urban community in the province of Nova Scotia. It is situated on the east coast of Cape Breton Island and is administratively part of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality....

, Cape Breton
Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island is an island on the Atlantic coast of North America. It likely corresponds to the word Breton, the French demonym for Brittany....

 ( which was designated as such by the Allied navies to avoid confusion with Sydney, New South Wales); from there they sailed to ports in the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, mainly Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...


For a time after the entry of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 into the war the point of origin was switched to New York, but congestion problems there resulted in a further move, this time to Halifax
Halifax Harbour
Halifax Harbour is a large natural harbour on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, located in the Halifax Regional Municipality.-Harbour description:The harbour is called Jipugtug by the Mi'kmaq first nation, anglisized as Chebucto...

, Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

. However, the SC designation was retained throughout.

SC convoys ran from August 1940 until May 1945, although they were suspended during the summer of 1944 when a number of escort groups were diverted to cover the Normandy landings.
During this period all east-bound traffic sailed in the HX
HX convoys
The HX convoys were a series of North Atlantic convoys which ran during the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II. They were east-bound convoys and originated in Halifax, Nova Scotia from where they sailed to ports in the United Kingdom...

 series, which ran as Fast or Slow convoys, and whose sizes were effectively doubled.

A total of 177 SC convoys ran during the campaign, totalling 6,806 ships. Only 3 failed to complete the passage: SC 52 suffered an attack shortly after leaving port, and was forced to return; and SC 62 and SC 63 were both scattered by appalling weather conditions which forced those ships to proceed independently.

Of these formations, 29 (around 20%) were attacked; they saw the loss of 145 ships ( though this number does not include stragglers, perhaps the same number again) and a further 18 lost in marine accidents (perhaps 340 in total; around 5%).

As these were slow convoys, composed of ships making 8 knots or less, they were correspondingly more vulnerable, and witnessed a disproportionate number of attacks.

The SC convoys were the subject of some of the major battles of the campaign. Of the 40 convoys which lost 6 or more ships, 11 of them were SC series.

Some notable SC convoy battles were:
  • SC 7. Attacked in October 1940, 20 ships were sunk in the worst day's shipping losses of the entire campaign.
  • SC 42. Two U-boat
    U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

    s were sunk by reinforcements coming to the aid of the weak Canadian escort for this September 1941 convoy. 14 ships lost in 3 days.
  • SC 94 in August 1942 marked the beginning of the climactic North Atlantic convoy battles following the 2nd Happy Time off the American east coast.
  • SC 104 lost seven ships while Escort Group B-6 sank two U-boat
    U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

    s in October 1942.
  • SC 107 lost 15 ships in November 1942 including five torpedoed by U-boat Ace Kapitänleutnant Siegfied Freiherr von Forstner's U-402.
  • SC 118
    Convoy SC 118
    Convoy SC-118 was the 118th of the numbered series of World War II Slow Convoys of merchant ships from Sydney, Cape Breton Island to Liverpool.-Prelude:...

    . Attacked in February 1943. U-boat Ace Kapitänleutnant Siegfied Freiherr von Forstner was awarded the Knight's Cross
    Knight's Cross
    Knight's Cross refers to a distinguishing grade or level of various orders that denotes bravery and leadership on the battlefield....

     when his U-402 torpedoed seven ships including Henry R. Mallory transporting American troops to Iceland.
  • SC 121. Attacked in March 1943 after being scattered by a Force 10
    Beaufort scale
    The Beaufort Scale is an empirical measure that relates wind speed to observed conditions at sea or on land. Its full name is the Beaufort Wind Force Scale.-History:...

     gale. Only 76 of the 275 crewmen of the sunken ships were rescued.
  • SC 122. Attacked in March 1943, this action, which converged with that around HX 229, was the largest convoy battle of the Atlantic campaign.
  • SC 130. Attacked in May 1943, this convoy was successfully defended, seeing the destruction of 5 U-boats and the death of Admiral Karl Dönitz
    Karl Dönitz
    Karl Dönitz was a German naval commander during World War II. He started his career in the German Navy during World War I. In 1918, while he was in command of , the submarine was sunk by British forces and Dönitz was taken prisoner...

    's son Peter Dönitz without losing any ships. This action culminated the period known as Black May
    Black May (1943)
    ‘Black May’ refers to a period in the Battle of the Atlantic campaign during World War II, when the German U-boat arm suffered high casualties with fewer Allied ships sunk; it is considered a turning point in the Battle of the Atlantic.-Background:After February battles around convoys SC 118, ON...

    , which saw the withdrawal from the North Atlantic by the German navy
    The Kriegsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Nazi regime . It superseded the Kaiserliche Marine of World War I and the post-war Reichsmarine. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany.The Kriegsmarine grew rapidly...

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