Sunday, August 13, 2017

Magic Submarine?

THU 13 AUG 1942
Gulf of Mexico
U.S. tanker R.M. Parker, Jr., en route to Port Arthur, Texas, is torpedoed, shelled, and sunk by German submarine U-171 at 28°37'N, 90°48'W. There are no casualties, and Coast Guard auxiliary cutter Pioneer rescues all 37 merchant seamen and the seven-man Armed Guard.
U.S. freighter Cripple Creek is torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-171 at 04°55'N, 18°30'W; one crewman is killed. The survivors take to three lifeboats (see 16 August). [This reporter finds it hard to believe that U-171 was looting, shooting & wailing off both New Orleans & Sierra Leone (just north of the equator) on the same day.]

U.S. freighter Delmundo, in convoy TAW 12, is torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-600 in the Windward passage, 19°55'N, 73°49'W; five of the 41-man crew perish, as do three of the eight passengers. The survivors, including the 9-man Armed Guard, are rescued by British destroyer HMS Churchill [ex-U.S. destroyer Herndon (DD-198)].

Operation PEDESTAL: German and Italian motor torpedo boats attack Malta-bound convoy before dawn; German S 30 and S 36, and Italian MAS 554 and MAS 557 torpedo and sink British merchantman Wairangi and damage Rochester Castle (which will eventually reach Malta although she is damaged further by Luftwaffe JU 87s and JU 88s). U.S. freighter Almeria Lykes is torpedoed and is abandoned, 36°40'N, 11°35'E. The ship remains afloat, but is sunk by scuttling charge after daybreak. British destroyer HMS Somali rescues all hands: 51 merchant seamen, 15-man Armed Guard, and 39 passengers. Freighter Santa Elisa is torpedoed in the same attack, approximately 20 miles southeast of Cape Bon, 36°48'N, 11°23'E, and is abandoned when her cargo of aviation gasoline catches fire. Four of the 33 embarked army passengers are killed, but the 56-man merchant complement and the 11-man Armed Guard suffer no fatalities. British destroyer HMS Penn rescues the survivors and transports them to Malta; three Armed Guard sailors will be hospitalized there for burns suffered in the attack that leads to the ship's abandonment. Santa Elisa is finished off by bombs later that day. Three surviving British transports and the one tanker will reach Malta later this day; a fourth transport will reach the island on 14 August.

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