Friday, May 12, 2017

One Of Your Lifeboats Is Sinking

TUE 12 MAY 1942
Submarine S-44 (SS-155) torpedoes and sinks Japanese repair ship Shoei Maru 15 miles southwest of Cape St. George, 05°06'S, 152°30'E, and survives counterattacks by her victim's escort. Shoei Maru had been en route to try and salvage the damaged minelayer Okinoshima. Attempt to save Okinoshima (damaged the previous day by submarine S-42), by transport Kinryu Maru and destroyer Mochizuki, fails, and the doomed minelayer sinks.

Gulf of Mexico
Unarmed U.S. tanker Virginia is torpedoed by German submarine U-507 as the former lies-to approximately one and a half miles off Southwest Pass, Louisiana, 28°53'N, 89°29'W, awaiting the arrival of a pilot. The explosion of the second and third torpedoes ignites the tanker's cargo (150,000 barrels of gasoline), and the rapid spread of the fire prevents the crew from launching boats or rafts. Of Virginia's 41-man crew, 27 perish in the inferno. Motor torpedo boat PT-157 rescues the 14 survivors.

U.S. tanker Esso Houston is torpedoed by German submarine U-162 approximately 150 miles east of Barbados, 12°12'N, 57°24'W, and abandoned. After the U-boat has administered the coup de grace to the tanker, she surfaces nearby and her commanding officer offers assistance, helpfully informing the ship's master that one of the lifeboats is sinking. Survivors (38-man civilian complement and 4-man Armed Guard) congregate in two lifeboats (see 14 and 17 May).

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