Thursday, July 6, 2017

Clusterfuck Continues

MON 6 JUL 1942
Ordeal of dispersed USSR-bound convoy PQ 17 to German submarines and planes continues: U.S. freighter John Witherspoon, having emerged unscathed from the German aerial attacks the previous several days, is torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-255 approximately 20 miles off Novaya Zemlya, 72°05'N, 48°30'E, and abandoned with the loss of one merchant seaman. Survivors (38 merchant seamen and 11 Armed Guard sailors) gather in three lifeboats and a raft; U-255 surfaces and conducts a brief interrogation of some of the survivors before clearing the area (see 8 and 9 July 1942). Freighter Pan Atlantic, hastily painted white to camouflage her against the ice floes through which she is fleeing to Archangel, is bombed and sunk with the loss of 18 (of 37) merchant seamen and 7 (of 11) Armed Guard sailors. German submarines U-88 and U-703 salvage provisions from the freighter's flotsam; one of the enemy submarines conducts brief interrogation of survivors before departing. British corvette HMS Lotus rescues Pan Atlantic's surviving merchant and naval complement and transports them to Archangel (see 22 September).

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