HX convoys

The HX convoys were a series of North Atlantic convoys which ran during the Battle of the Atlantic in the Second World War. They were east-bound convoys and originated in Halifax, Nova Scotia from where they sailed to ports in the United Kingdom. They absorbed the BHX convoys from Bermuda en route. Later, after the United States entered the war, HX convoys began at New York.

Royal Canadian Navy Flower-class corvettes such as HMCS Regina escorted many of the HX convoys.

A total of 377 convoys ran in the campaign, conveying a total of about 20,000 ships. Thirty-eight convoys were attacked (about 10%), resulting in losses of 110 ships in convoy; a further 60 lost straggling, and 36 while detached or after dispersal, with losses from marine accident and other causes, for a total loss of 206 ships, or about 1% of the total.

HistoryEdit

The HX designation perpetuated a similar series that ran in First World War Atlantic Campaign in 1917 and 1918. HX convoys were organized at the beginning of the Atlantic campaign and ran without major changes until the end, the longest continuous series of the war. HX 1 sailed on 16 September 1939, and included 18 merchant ships, escorted by the Royal Canadian Navy destroyers HMCS St. Laurent and HMCS Saguenay to a North Atlantic rendezvous with Royal Navy heavy cruisers HMS Berwick and HMS York.

These were initially considered fast convoys made up of ships that could make 9–13 kn (17–24 km/h; 10–15 mph). A parallel series of slow convoys, the SC series, was run for ships making 8 kn (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) or less, while ships making more than 13 knots sailed independently, until 14-knot (26 km/h; 16 mph) CU series were organized in late 1943. The largest convoy of World War II was HX 300 which sailed for the UK, via New York, on 17 July 1944, with 167 merchant ships. It arrived in the UK, without incident, on 3 August 1944.[1]

Convoy battlesEdit

As the HX convoys were comparatively fast convoys, they were less vulnerable to U-boat attack than the slow convoys, but they still witnessed some of the great convoy battles of the war. Over the entire campaign, there were 40 convoys that lost more than 6 ships; of those 40 convoys, 5 were in the HX series.

NotesEdit

  1. ^ "Item details ADM 199/2192/25—Convoy Lists—Convoy number HXS300 from Halifax (later New York) to UK" (includes list of all cargo-carrying vessels in the convoy). The Catalogue. The National Archives.
  2. ^ Silverstone 1968 p. 9
  3. ^ Hague pp. 127, 128
  4. ^ Rohwer & Hummelchen 1992 p. 198

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