At the beginning of Greyhound, two ships strayed 6 miles away from the rest of the convoy.
Why was this? Were they fleeing or did they already know about the:
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In the film's source novel we see the two ships, Harry (HMS James) and Eagle (the destroyer Viktor) going off to hunt down a "distant contact".
“Harry’s made a contact, sir,” said Carling.
He swung to his left as he spoke, staring out over the heaving sea. Three and a half miles to port was the Polish destroyer Viktor; three and a half miles beyond her was H.M.S. James; she was on Viktor’s quarter, considerably aft; from the pilot-house she was only just visible round the corner of the superstructure, and at that distance she was often invisible, when both she and Keeling were down in the trough. Now she was off her course, heading northwards away from the convoy, presumably following up her contact. It was the James who called herself Harry in the T.B.S. code. As Krause’s eyes focused on her the telephone bleated. No amount of distortion could disguise the peculiar English intonation of the voice.
“Distant contact, sir. Bearing three-five-five. Request permission to attack
You may wish to note that 'investigating a fleeting contact' is destroyer-speak for 'I'm bored of mooching along at convoy speed (9-13 knots) when I could be whizzing around in a ship designed to go three times that speed'
In the movie they aren't even pretending to have seen a contact. They just straight up told the fleet captain's ship that they were going to have a bit of a hunt around.
"Eagle skipper announced, “Starting the day with a good hunt,” sir, and then Harry joined in."
Evidently this isn't serious enough infraction to wake the Convoy Leader, Captain Krause.
As the captain comes to the bridge we hear the report...
OOD: "Sir, good morning. Escorts Eagle and Harry are out of position, six miles from convoy. They’ve been off on their own, sir, for roughly two hours. Eagle skipper announced, “Starting the day with a good hunt,” sir, and then Harry joined in."
It seems that the escorts, codenamed "Eagle" and "Harry" have elected to move off station, essentially without permission, to search for U-boats.
Certainly this is a little reckless but is probably more a search for glory or being overkeen than incompetence.