Although the safeguards had been re-inforced and the weather conditions for the U-boats were very bad (rainstorms, changing sights, and heavy winds), U-553 found the convoy at 13:12. Shortly afterwards, U-558 came along and during the afternoon, U-568, U-502, and U-432 took up contact. All U-boats except U-502 could keep in touch until the night came, although about 15:30 the first Sunderland flying boat of the RAF Squadron 204 from Iceland met the convoy. Obviously, it was heavily hindered by the sight conditions, as some U-boats were overflown without being noted by the plane.
It seemed to the U-boats, that the convoy had changed its formation: from a tight column formation, to a long spread-out formation. This impression was caused by bad sight conditions and the still existing wrong-position reports of some U-boats. The commander of the convoy tried to escape from the U-boats by driving wild circles, but he did not succeed. Also the attempts of the guard-ships to irritate the U-boats by firing light-shells in a greater distance from the convoy failed. On the American destroyers, which were the first time in a battle with the enemy it seemed, that a certain nervosity took place. In the dark night, the destroyers were not equipped with radar-they could not see the U-boats, which were driving over water at a distance of some thousand meters and they could also not locate the U-boats with the sonar, because these instruments reached only about 1000 meters. So, the destroyers dropped some water-bombs and fired light-shells without having seen any U-boats.
So, it is reported by USS LIVERMORE, which had a position in front of the convoy, that she dropped 2 water-bombs after a "sonar-sweep" about at 17:40 and that she - when at 20:43 from behind light-shells were fired, connected the convoy and fired also 4 light-shells. Probably, it was the same destroyer, which was passed shortly before by U-553 at a distance of only 150 meters, without been sighted, when it pushed into the convoy for attacking. From the left side, it fired 3 single torpedoes against 3 tankers, but all 3 missed their targets. Finaly, about 21:07, it fired another torpedo and hit the Norwegian steamer ERVIKEN (6595 tons), which had loaded phosphate. The ship was blown up in the air after a heavy explosion. In the fire-shine of the explosion, U-553 had to submerge very quickly from a destroyer, which approached at high speed from only 400 meters. This destroyer had 2 gun-stands at the back. The destroyer dropped 3 water-bombs, without doing much damage. m This destroyer must have been one of the 3 modern American destroyers, because of the safety-guard-ships, only they had 2 gun-stands at the back. Indeed, after this attack, also the destroyer USS KEARNY fired light-shells and at 21:22, he dropped water-bombs. KPTLT. Thurmann had not recognized these destroyers as Americans, because, at 22:00, he sent out the following message "Convoy Qu 1965, 90 grades, 5 sea-miles, at least 10 medium and big tankers, 2 destroyers of the 'Tribal' class".
The "Tribal" class are big British destroyers, which easily could be mixed up in a dark night and bad sights with the American destroyers of the "Benson" class, to which LIVERMORE, PLUNKETT, and KEARNY belonged to.
40 minutes afte the first attack, U-558 fired a torpedo and hit the Esso-tanker W.C. Teagle (under British flag - 9551 tons). The tanker burned and sank 5 minutes afterwards. At 23:05, U-432 sunk the Greek steamer Evros in the middle of the convoy.
About that time, the corvettes HMS VERONICA and HMS PICTOU reached the convoy. The safety-guard now consisted of 3 modern American destroyers, 3 American 4-chimney destroyers(one under American, one under Canadian, and one under British flag), and 6 corvettes (3 Canadian, 2 French, and 1 British). Another American 4-chimney destroyer (GREER) stood about 20 sea-miles aside, he could see the explosions and the light-shells. About at midnight, the corvette PICTOU attacked an over-water-driving U-boat and pursued it, the U-boat fired two torpedoes, which missed. As the PICTOU came slowly nearer, the U-boat was forced to submerge and it was covered by a water-bomb carpet. Probably, it was U-502, which was located in trying an attack.
In the "light-shell-magic" which was fired by the 2 remaining destroyers after KEARNY had been torpedoed, U-553 could no longer attack. It turned away to try a new attack from the right side. At 02:30, it met another American destroyer (probably PLUNKETT) at a distance of 800 meters, but the destroyer did not notice the U-boat. Kptlt. Thurmann fired his last two torpedoes at the destroyer at 02:38. He thought, the destroyer belonging to the "Tribal-class". But one of the torpedoes was a "surface-runner" and jumped with a loud growl from wave-to-wave towards the target. The destroyer heard the noise and turned towards the U-boat, which was lucky to escape in high-speed. The destroyer probably thought that the U-boat had submerged.
USS LIVERMORE and DECATUR made 3 and 4 waterbomb attacks against more or less located sonar-sweepd, without having any success. U-432 succeeded in torpedoing again the still swimming tanker Barfonn at 02:58. The ship sunk after a heavy explosion. At 06:30, the British Escort-Group, which was supposed to relieve the Canadian Escort-Groups of SC-48 on the MOMP reached the convoy. It consisted of British destroyers HIGHLAND, BULLDOG, AMAZON, RICHMOND, and GEORGETOWN. The last two belonged to the American 4-chimney type. So, the whole Safety-Guard consisted now of 10 destroyers and 6 corvettes. At the same time, the first Sunderland flying-boat arrived for air security. Nevertheless, U-558, and U-568 succeeded to keep up contact, while U-553, which had fired all his torpedoes, started for home. U-432 tried to connect again and U-502 had stayed back.
At 11:45, 3 Catalina/Mariner flying-boats of the American VP-squadron 73 and 74 from Iceland arrived at the convoy and ten minutes later, the 3 US destroyers turned off for Argentia, where they arrived on Oct. 21.