On 6th March 1942 the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau rendezvoused with the U-124, under Captain Schulz. The warships had been tailing the British convoy SL67, a group of 54 mainly cargo ships heading from India to the UK. The convoy was escorted by a British battleship, HMS Malaya, plus two destroyers and a corvette, and several AMCs. The German High Command had issued an order forbidding any of their capital ships from attacking convoys guarded by Allied capital ships, so the information about the convoy and its route was passed to the submarine. Soon after U124 met up with U105, under Captain Schewe, and they formulated an attack plan. Together, they moved in at dawn, off the Cape Verde islands.
Schewe was the first to fire, torpedoing the British & South American’s cargo ship Harmodius. She had a cargo of pig iron; one DEMS gunner and 15 Lascar crew were lost, survivors were eventually landed at Gibraltar.
Schulz then moved in and in a single attack fired four bow tubes and both stern tubes. He first sank British India’s Nardana, which had a general cargo from Bombay; three officers and 16 Lascar crew died.
Next was P&Os Lahore, with a general cargo of timber and pig iron, caught fire in the attack and was abandoned, but there were no casualties.
Weir’s Tielbank had a general cargo that included manganese ingots; four crew died in the attack.
Ropner’s Hindpool was last. She had a cargo of pig iron; the captain and 27 crew lost their lives.
All were lost within twenty minutes. The escorts moved in, forcing the U-boats to crash dive, and they lost contact with the convoy, which was saved by further losses. The commanders of the German battleships had hoped the submarines would sink or disable HMS Malaya, so that they could move in and destroy more of the cargo ships, but the swift action of the escorts had prevented this. U105 then met up with U106 and they proceeded to attack another convoy, SL68, sinking eight ships in that convoy on 16th March.