Military history

APPENDIX 16

Employment of Atlantic Fleet Destroyers as Escorts for Troopship and Special-Cargo Convoys and for Other Tasks: November 1941–September 1942

NOVEMBER 1941-SEPTEMBER 1942

The American destroyers of the Atlantic Fleet worked exhaustively in 1942 on special tasks. Chief among these was the escort of troopships transporting Allied forces overseas and cargo ships with high-priority combat gear, such as tanks and aircraft for the British in North Africa and elsewhere, and for the Soviet Union. In operations solely under American control, only one—repeat one—cargo ship was lost to enemy action and no—repeat no—troopships. These convoys and tasks in detail:

1. WS 12X

Halifax to Cape Town, Bombay, Singapore, etc. Six American troopships (with 20,000-plus British troops embarked). Sailed 11/10/41; arrived Cape Town 12/9/41. Escort (Task Group 14.4): Ranger, Quincy, Vincennes, Cimarron (tanker), and eight American destroyers: Mayrant, McDougal, Moffett, Rhind, Rowan, Trippe, Wain-wright, Winslow.

2. TC 16

New York to Iceland and UK three troopships (2 aborted; net, 1 ship). Sailed 12/12/41; arrived 12/23/41. Escort (Task Force 19): Arkansas, Nashville and six American destroyers: Eberle, Ericsson, Hamilton, Ingraham, Livermore, Ludlow. Three British troopships joined from Halifax, making four ships total.

3. TF 17

Transfer from Atlantic Fleet to Pacific Fleet of carrier Yorktown, light cruisers Richmond and Trenton, and four modern (1939-1940) destroyers: Hughes, Russell, Sims, Walke. Yorktown sailed from Norfolk 12/16; left Panama Canal Zone 12/22.

4. TFs

Transfer from Atlantic Fleet to Pacific Fleet of the three older battleships Idaho, Mississippi, and New Mexico, and five modern (1939-1940) destroyers: Anderson, Hammann, Morris, Mustin, O’Brien. Shifts completed in January 1942.

5. TG

Transfer from Atlantic Fleet to Pacific Fleet of two more modern (1938) destroyers, Sampson and Warrington. Sailed from Newport 1/12; arrived Panama 1/17.

6. AT 10

New York to Iceland and Northern Ireland. Four troopships. Sailed 1/15/42, arrived Iceland 1/25; arrived Northern Ireland 1/27. Escort (Task Force 15): Texas, Quincy, Wasp and 13 American destroyers: Eberle, Grayson, Gwin, Livermore, Mayrant, Meredith, Monssen, Roe, Rowan, Stack, Sterett, Trippe, Wainwright.

7. NA 1

Halifax to UK. Two troopships. Sailed 1/10/42; arrived 1/18. Escort: three ex-American four-stack Canadian or British destroyers: Beverley, Hamilton, Rockingham.

8. BT 200

New York to Pacific. Eight troopships. Sailed 1/21; arrived Panama 1/31. Escort (Task Force 16): Vincennes; 14 American destroyers, destroyer transports, or destroyer minesweepers: Colhoun, C. F. Hughes, Gregory, Hamilton, H. P. Jones, Howard, Ingraham, Lansdale, Little, Ludlow, Manley, McKean, Palmer, Stringham. Hamilton collided with a merchant ship and aborted.

9. BC 100

Charleston, South Carolina, to Pacific. Six troopships. Sailed 1/23, joined convoy BT 200. Escort: see BT 200.

10. NA 2

Halifax to UK. Two troopships. Sailed 1/31, arrived 2/7. Escort: two British destroyers, ex-American four-stack Belmont and Firedrake. U-82 sank Belmont 1/31 in the western Atlantic.

11. NA 3

Halifax to UK. Two troopships. Sailed 2/11; arrived 2/19. Escort: two British destroyers, ex-American four-stack Montgomery and Garland.

12. AT 12

New York to Northern Ireland. Fifteen troopships. Sailed 2/19; arrived 3/4. Escort (Task Force 32): New York, Philadelphia, ten American destroyers: C. F. Hughes, H. P. Jones, Ingraham, Lansdale, Ludlow, Mayrant, Roe, Rowan, Trippe, Wainwright. From MOMP, six British destroyers: two ex-American four-stacks, Leamington and Newport, and Badsworth, Keppel, Lamerton, Watchman.

13. NA 4

Halifax to UK. Two troopships. Sailed 3/1, arrived 3/8. Escort: two ex-American fourstack British destroyers, Beverley, Rockingham.

14. BT 201

New York to Pacific. Seven troopships. Sailed 3/4; arrived Panama 3/12. Escort (Task Force 18): Nashville, Vincennes, Hornet. Nine American destroyers or destroyer transports: Dickerson, Ellyson, Grayson, Gwin, Manley, Meredith, Monssen, Stansbury, Sturtevant. Four modern destroyers, Grayson, Gwin, Meredith, and Monssen, transferred to the Pacific with Hornet.

15. AS 1

Special Supply. Charleston, S.C., to Ascension Island. Three ships. Sailed 3/14; arrived Ascension 3/31. Escort: Cincinnati, Memphis, and five American destroyers: Ellis, Greer, Jouett, Somers, and Winslow.

16. NA5

Halifax to UK. Two troopships. Sailed 3/14; arrived 3/22. Escort: two new American destroyers, Nicholson and Swanson.

17. AS 2

Special Supply. Charleston, S.C., to Africa. Four ships and the “jeep” carrier H.M.S. Archer (in transit). Sailed 3/19; arrived Freetown 4/3. Escort: cruiser H.M.S. Devonshire and three American destroyers: Cole, Du Pont, Upshur.

18. NA6

Halifax to UK. Two troopships. Sailed 3/21, arrived 3/28. Escort: ex-American fourstack Canadian destroyer St. Clair, British destroyer Witherington, and ex-American four-stack British destroyers Chesterfield and Churchill from WOMP.

19. TF 39

Portland, Maine, to Scapa Flow. Sailed 3/25; arrived 4/4. Renamed Task Force 99: Wasp, Washington, Wichita, Tuscaloosa, and six destroyers: Lang, Madison, Plunkett, Sterett, Wainwright, Wilson.

20. AT 14

New York to Argentia and Iceland. Five troopships. Sailed 4/7, arrived 4/18. Escort (Task Force 37): Philadelphia and ten American destroyers: Bernadou, Blue, Cole, Du Pont, Eberle, Ellis, Ericsson, Kearny, Lea, Livermore.

21. NA 7

Halifax to UK. Two troopships. Sailed 4/10, arrived 4/18. Joined convoy AT 14 Escort: see AT 14.

22. BT 202

New York and Norfolk to Pacific. Seventeen troopships. Sailed 4/10, arrived Panama 4/17. Escort (Task Force 38): Texas; Brooklyn and 11 American destroyers: C. F. Hughes, Dickerson, Ellyson, H. P. Jones, Ingraham, Lansdale, Mayrant, Rhind, Roe, Rowan, Trippe.

23. TF

To Argentia, commencing April 23 to counter a sortie of Tirpitz et al., New battleship North Carolina (later, new South Dakota), carrier Ranger (later Wasp), two heavy cruisers, a light cruiser, and “four or five destroyers.”

24. TF

UK to Mediterranean, aircraft-ferry mission. Sailed 4/14. The carrier Wasp, two American destroyers, Lang and Madison, and four British destroyers. Flew off 47 Spitfires for Malta. Return: 4/26.

25. TF 36

Newport, R.I., to Accra, Ghana; aircraft-ferry mission. Sailed 4/22, arrived Accra 5/10 and flew off 68 P-40 aircraft. The carrier Ranger, Augusta, and five destroyers: Ellyson, Emmons, Hambleton, Macomb, Rodman. Ellyson and Hambleton incurred damage in a collision 5/17. TF returned to the States on 5/28; Ranger to Argentia temporarily.

26. TF 99

Scapa Flow to help Home Fleet escort Murmansk convoys PQ 15 and QP 11. Sailed 4/28. Washington, Wichita, Tuscaloosa, and four destroyers: Madison, Plunkett, Wainwright, Wilson. Returned to Scapa Flow 5/7. Madison and Plunkett returned to the States.

27. AT 15

New York to Argentia, Iceland, and, UK. Thirteen troopships. Sailed 4/30, arrived 5/12. Escort (Task Force 38): New York, Brooklyn, “jeep” carrier H.M.S. Avenger (in transit) and fourteen American destroyers: Buck, C. F. Hughes, H. P. Jones, Eberle, Edison, Ericsson, Ingraham, Lansdale, Mayrant, Nicholson, Rhind, Rowan, Swanson, Trippe. To Scapa Flow: Mayrant, Rhind, Rowan.

28. NA 8

Halifax to UK. Four troopships. Sailed 5/3, joined AT 15. Escort: see AT 15.

29. TF

UK to Mediterranean; aircraft-ferry mission. Sailed 5/5. Wasp, two American destroyers, Lang, Sterett, and two British destroyers. Flew off 47 Spitfires for Malta. Returned to Scapa Flow 5/15.

30. TF 99

Scapa Flow to help Home Fleet escort Murmansk convoys PQ 16 and PQ 12. Sailed 5/16. Washington, Tuscaloosa, and four destroyers: Mayrant, Rhind, Rowan, Wain-wright. Returned to Scapa Flow 5/26.

31. NA 9

Halifax to UK. One troopship. Sailed 5/18, arrived 5/25. Escort: two new American destroyers. Buck and Bristol.

32. TF 38

Transfer of Wasp and three destroyers, Lang, Sterett, and Wilson, from Scapa Flow to the States on 5/18. Joined New York, Brooklyn, etc., of AT 15, returning from Iceland.

33. AS 3

Special Supply. Charleston, S.C., to Africa. Four ships. Sailed 5/28, arrived Freetown 6/13. Joined WS 19P. Escort (Task Force 34): Texas and four American destroyers: Bernadou, Cole, Dallas, Ludlow. Dallas aborted with engine problems.

34. AT 16

New York to UK. Four troopships. Sailed 5/31, arrived 6/9. Escort (Task Force 35): New York and eight American destroyers: Benson, Eberle, Ericsson, Gleaves, Kearny, Livermore, Mayo, Niblack.

35. NA 10

Halifax to UK. Two troopships. Sailed 6/3, joined AT 16. Escort: see AT 16.

36. TFs

Transfer from Atlantic Fleet to Pacific Fleet of new battleship North Carolina, carrier Wasp, “jeep” carrier Long Island, cruisers Quincy and San Juan, and seven destroyers: Buchanan, Farenholt, Lang, Monssen, Stack, Sterett, Wilson. Cleared the Panama Canal by 6/10/42.

37. NA 11

Halifax to UK. Four troopships. Sailed 6/16, arrived 6/23. Escort: three American destroyers: Eberle, Ericsson, Roe.

38. AT 17A

New York to Iceland and UK. Seven troopships. Sailed 7/1, arrived 7/13. Escort (Task Force 37): Texas, Philadelphia, and 14 American destroyers: Buck, Bristol, Edison, Emmons, Hambleton, Ingraham, Ludlow, Macomb, Nicholson, Rodman, Swanson, Trippe, Wilkes, Woolsey. To Scapa Flow: Emmons, Hambleton, Macomb, Rodman.

39. AT 17B

Halifax to UK. Two troopships. Sailed 7/5, joined AT 17A. Escort: see AT 17A.

40. TF 99

Scapa Flow to help Home Fleet escort Murmansk convoys PQ 17 and QP 13. Sailed 7/1. Washington, Tuscaloosa, Wichita, and four destroyers: Mayrant, Rhind, Rowan, Wainwright. Returned to Scapa Flow 7/10. Washington and these four destroyers returned to the States, leaving Tuscaloosa and four destroyers at Scapa Flow: Emmons, Hambleton, Macomb, Rodman.

41. TF 22

Newport, R.I., to Accra, Ghana; aircraft-ferry mission. Sailed 7/1. Arrived Accra 7/19 and flew off 72 P-40 aircraft. Ranger, Augusta, Juneau and six destroyers: Corry, Hobson, Fitch, Forrest, Livermore, Kearny. Returned to Norfolk 8/5.

42. AS 4

Special Supply. New York to Africa. Nine ships. Sailed 7/13, joined WS 21P. Escort: Omaha, Juneau, and seven American destroyers: Davis, Gleaves, Kearny, Livermore, Mayo, Somers, Wilkes. U-161 sank one merchant ship, Fairport, loaded with tank engines.

43. AS 5

Special Supply. New York to Africa. One troopship (Pasteur). Sailed 7/16, arrived 7/24. Escort (24 hours): American destroyer transport Stansbury.

44. AS 6

Special Supply. Charleston, S.C. to Ascension Island. Three ships. Sailed 7/26, arrived 8/14. Escort: Cincinatti, Winslow, and two American destroyers: Dallas, Ellis.

45. AT 18

New York to Iceland and UK. Thirteen troopships. Sailed 8/6, arrived 8/18. Escort (Task Force 38): Arkansas, Brooklyn, and 17 American destroyers: Benson, Eberle, Ericsson, Gleaves, C. F. Hughes, H. P. Jones, Kearny, Lansdale, Livermore, Madison, Mayo, Mayrant, Niblack, Nicholson, Plunkett, Rhind, Roper.

46. NA 14

Halifax to UK. Two troopships. Sailed 8/9, joined AT 18. Escort: see AT 18.2

47. TFs

Transfer from the Atlantic Fleet to the Pacific Fleet of new battleships South Dakota and Washington and six new destroyers: Barton, Duncan, Lansdowne, Lardner, Meade, Nicholas. Shift completed in 8/42.

48. AT 20

New York to Iceland and UK. Seven troopships. Sailed 8/19, arrived 8/31. Escort (Task Force 37): New York, Philadelphia, and 13 American destroyers: Buck, Bristol, Cole, Eberle, Edison, Ericsson, Ingraham, Ludlow, Nicholson, Roe, Swanson, Wilkes, Woolsey. Buck and Ingraham involved in separate collisions with merchant ships. Buck aborted; Ingraham sank.3

49. NA 15

Halifax to UK. Two troopships. Sailed 8/22, joined AT 20. Escort: see AT 20.

50. TF

Wichita, Hambleton, and Macomb transferred from Scapa Flow and Iceland to New York, 8/16 to 8/22.

51. TF

Scapa Flow to Kola Inlet to deliver special cargo and return stranded merchant marine crews. Sailed from Iceland 8/19. Tuscaloosa; two American destroyers, Emmons and Rodman; and three British destroyers. The American warships returned to the States in early September.

52. AT 23

New York to UK. Nine troopships. Sailed 9/26, arrived 10/7. Escort (Task Force 38): Arkansas and nine American destroyers: Benson, Gleaves, C. F. Hughes, H. P. Jones, Lansdale, Madison, Mayo, Niblack, Plunkett.

53. NA 16

Halifax to UK. Four troopships. Sailed 9/29, joined AT 23. Escort: see AT 23.

Commencing in October 1942, American troops embarked for the British Isles sailed the North Atlantic run on big liners, such as the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, etc. A total of forty American destroyers worked up and participated in Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa, on 11/8/42. From Torch onward, American troops embarked for North Africa sailed in heavily escorted troopship convoys on the “Southern Route,” designated United States-Gibraltar (UG) and/or United States-Gibraltar Fast (UGF) and Slow (UGS).

1. Does not include large ocean liners, such as the Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary, etc., sailing unescorted, or British-escorted troopship convoys in the eastern Atlantic, usually designated “Winston Special,” or WS. The escorts listed sailed either part or all of the voyage or returned with aborting ships. Convoys returning to the Americas (TA, AN, etc.) are not shown either.

2. Convoy NA 13 did not employ American escorts. Details: Halifax to UK. Two troopships. Sailed 7/21, arrived 7/29. Escort: one ex-American four-stack Canadian destroyer, Annapolis, and three British destroyers, Amazon, Boadicea, Vanoc.

3. Convoy AT 19 consisted of the Queen Mary from Cape Town to the Clyde, 7/7 to 8/8. Convoy AT 21 consisted of the Queen Elizabeth, New York to the Clyde, 8/30 to 9/5. Convoy AT 22 consisted of the Queen Mary, New York to the Clyde, 9/5 to 9/11.

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