Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Arctic Clusterfuck

SUN 5 JUL 1942
Submarine Growler (SS-215) sinks Japanese destroyer Arare and damages destroyers Kasumi and Shiranui off Kiska, Aleutians, 52°00'N, 177°40'E. Growler is damaged by depth charges.

Submarine Sturgeon (SS-187) damages Japanese oiler San Pedro Maru south of Palauig, Luzon, 16°07'N, 119°13'E.

Seven survivors from U.S. freighter Norlandia, sunk by German submarine U-575 on 3 July, reaches Samana, Dominican Republic.

German air and submarine attacks on the dispersed Archangel, USSR-bound convoy PQ 17 continue: submarine U-457 torpedoes and sinks abandoned U.S. freighter Christopher Newport, torpedoed by German plane the previous day. U-88 torpedoes and sinks U.S. freighter Carlton,72°50'N, 24°35'E, killing two crewmen (see 9, 13 and 24 July). Freighter Peter Kerr, steaming in company with steamship Earlston Smiles, suffers three direct bomb hits, 74°30'N, 35°00'E; the burning ship is abandoned by all hands (35 merchant seamen and the 11-man Armed Guard) (see 12 July). Freighter Daniel Morgan, steaming in company with four other ships for mutual protection that proves largely illusory, is bombed, and is damaged by 30 near-misses; although emerging battered from the bombing, she does not escape U-88, which torpedoes and sinks her, 75°08'N, 44°10'E. Daniel Morgan's survivors (37 of 39 merchant seamen, one of whom dies later of his injuries, and the 15-man Armed Guard) are rescued later by Russian tanker Donbass and ultimately reach Archangel in that ship. Nearby freighter Fairfield City is also bombed, 74°40'N, 39°45'E; eight men die when one bomber scores a direct hit on the merchantman's bridge. Irreparably damaged, Fairfield City is abandoned by the 28 merchant seamen and the 6-man Armed Guard (see 9 and 12 July). Freighter Washington, steaming in company with Dutch Paulus Potter and British Bolton Castle, is attacked by JU-88s 175 miles east-northeast of Bear Island, 76°25'N, 33°41'E; after attacking the other two vessels, the Germans direct their efforts at Washington, and near-misses cause further damage to hull plates weakened the day before. The 36-man crew and 9-man Armed Guard abandon ship in lifeboats, and decide to take their chances in the boats instead of being taken on board freighter Olopana, which arrives in response to Washington's call for help (see 7 July). Freighter Honomu, steaming alone, is torpedoed and sunk by U-456, 75°05'N, 38°00'E; the latter takes the ship's master prisoner and provides rations for the survivors (34 crewmen, four British armed guard sailors and two Navy signalmen) before departing (see 18 and 22 July). Freighter Pan Craft, steaming alone, is bombed by German planes, 76°50'N, 38°00'E, and is abandoned; one crewman dies during the abandonment, a second dies of wounds later. British corvette HMS Lotus rescues the 34 merchant seamen and the 11-man Armed Guard, but fails in her attempt to scuttle the merchantman, which ultimately explodes and sinks between 9 and 36 hours after she is abandoned (see 22 September).

Convoy QP 13, groping its way through poor visibility conditions, blunders into a British minefield in Denmark Strait. U.S. freighter Richard Henry Lee is damaged but suffers no casualties among her 34-man crew and 9-man Armed Guard. Freighter Massmar fouls two mines and sinks; 17 of the ship's 36-man crew, and 5 of her 9-man Armed Guard, perish, as do 26 (22 merchant seamen and four Armed Guard sailors) of the 45 passengers she is carrying--survivors of the freighter Alamar (sunk in convoy PQ 16). Free French corvette Roselys rescues survivors. Freighter Hybert fouls a mine and is abandoned; as all hands (39-man crew, 11-man Armed Guard, and 26 passengers from the sunken Syros) abandon ship, the merchantman drifts into a second mine. British armed trawler HMS Lady Madeleine and Roselys rescue the survivors. Freighter John Randolph fouls two mines and breaks in two; 5 of the 38-man crew perish in the incident, but none of the 12 passengers or the 12-man Armed Guard are lost. Other ships in QP 13 rescue the survivors. The ship's bow section is recovered and salvaged, the stern section sinks. Freighter Heffron fouls two mines and is abandoned; one crewman dies in the abandonment. Roselys rescues the 36 crewmen, two Navy signalmen and 23 passengers. Heffron sinks very early the next morning.

No comments: