Browning



Merchant Ship Losses







U.S. Merchant Vessel War Casualties of World War II
Robert M. Browning, Jr.
Naval Institute Press
ISBN 1-55750-087-8
Displayed with permission of Naval Institute Press,
Annapolis, Maryland. (EMail approval on file)

First 25 pages of 575 page book - recommend purchase.
Available from Naval Institute. Excellent reference
book. Shown here so you can see what is available.

Code:
D: Date of Attack
T: Time of Attack
Pos: Ship position when attacked
Ow: Owner of vessel
Op: Operator of vessel
M: Master
A: Armament
YB: Year built
Tn: Vessel gross tonnage
Dr: Draft when attacked
P: Propulsion
S: Speed in knots when attacked

BBLS - barrels
BWI - British West Indies
CAL - Caliber
CB - Construction Battalion
CTL - Constructive Total Loss
CZ - Canal Zone
FV - Fishing Vessel
GMT - Greenwich Mean Time
GT - Gross Tons
GWT - German War Time
LBER - Pounder
MM - Millimeter
MS - Motor Ship
MV - Merchant Vessel
NWI - Netherlands West Indies
PI - Philippine Islands
POW - Prisoner of War
RAF - Royal Air Force
SS - Steamship
USAT - United States Army Transport
USCG - United States Coast Guard
USSR - Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
WSA - War Shipping Administration
WACR - War Action Casualty Reports


CITY OF RAYVILLE
D: 11-9-40 
YB: 1920
T: 1938 
Tn: 5,883
Pos: 120 miles SW of Melbourne 
Dr: 14 ft. 5 in.
Ow: U.S. Maritime Commission 
C: general, lead ingots, wool, fruit
Op: U.S. Lines P: diesel
M: Arthur P. Cronin 
S: 10
A: unarmed

The City of Rayville sailed from Adelaide to Melbourne, Australia.
Six miles off Cape Otway the freighter struck a mine laid by the
German auxiliary minelayer Passat. The explosion occurred off the
starboard side forward of the midship house. The blast sent up red
flames and hurled lead ingots through the superstructure. The City
of Rayville began to sink rapidly. The cargo of ingots stowed in the
#2, #3, and #4 holds, shifted forward and broke through the
bulkheads as the ship settled. This caused the freighter to break in
two, and the forward half of the ship sank immediately. The crew of
nine officers and thirty men, with the exception of the third
engineer, escaped in two lifeboats within ten minutes of the
explosion. Fishermen from Apollo Bay towed the boats ashore. The
after section of the ship disappeared beneath the water at 2030.

WACR; The HeraM (Melbourne), 9 November 1940; Muggenthaler, p. 73.

ROBIN MOOR
D: 5-21-41 
YB: 1919
T: 0625 
Tn: 4,999
Pos: 6.28 N / 25.54 W 
Dr: 23 ft. 6 in.
Ow: Seas Shipping Co. Inc. 
C: 5,100 tons general
Op: Seas Shipping Co. Inc. 
P: steam
M: Edward W. Myers 
S: 11
A: unarmed

The Robin Moor was surprised and stopped by blinker light by the
U-69 (Metzler) while en route from New York to Cape Town, South
Africa. After questioning the chief mate, Metzler claimed he would
have to sink the ship. He allowed the nine officers, twenty-nine
crewmen, and eight passengers thirty minutes to abandon ship. The
U-69 fired a torpedo into the port side and then finished her with
thirty-three shells from its 88-mm gun. The Robin Moor went to the
bottom in about twenty minutes. Metzler provided rations to the
survivors in the four boats. The boats managed to stay together for
three days, but the #4 boat later became separated from the others.
Thirteen days after the attack, a British ship bound for Cape Town
spotted the three boats. The Brazilian SS Osorio discovered the #4
boat and its eleven passengers eighteen days after the attack and
landed them at Recife, Brazil. All hands survived the attack.

WACR; The Evening Star (Washington) 10 June 1941; Rohwer, p. 53,
places the attack at 06.10 N / 25.40 W; Moore, p. 243

STEEL SEAFARER
D: 9-5-41 
YB: 1921
T: 2338 
Tn: 5,718
Pos: 27.20N/34.15 E 
Dr: 22 ft. 5 in.
Ow: Isthmian Steamship Co. 
C: 7,000 tons general 1
Op: Isthmian Steamship Co. 
P: steam
M: John D. R. Halliday 
S: 4
A: unarmed 

The Steel Seafarer, on a voyage from New York to Suez, Egypt, came
under aerial attack by a German plane in the Red Sea. Steaming at
four knots, the vessel proceeded with her navigational lights lit in
clear weather and rough seas. A large American flag painted on the
side of the ship marked her nationality. The Steel Seafarer was
struck by one bomb in the #5 double bottom tank, and the master
immediately stopped the engines and ordered the ship to be
abandoned. The crew launched three boats and the freighter sank in
fifteen minutes. All nine officers and twenty-seven crewmen reached
Egypt the next day. Five men received treatment ashore for
injuries

WACR; WCSR; New York Times, 10 September 1941.

LEHIGH
D:10-19-41 
YB: 1919
T: 0855 
Tn: 4,983
Pos: 8.26 N / 14.37 W 
Dr: 16 ft.
Ow: U.S. Maritime Commission 
C: in ballast
Op: United States Lines 
P: steam
M: Vincent Patrick Arkins 
S: 11
A: unarmed 

The Lehigh departed Spain en route to Africa. Even though American
flags marked her nationality, the U-126 (Bauer) attacked the
freighter seventy-five miles west of Freetown, Sierra Leone. The
U-126 fired a torpedo that struck at the #5 hold on the starboard
side. After stopping the engines, the crew found the Lehigh could
not be saved and abandoned her in a slight sea, thirty-five minutes
after the torpedo struck. The ten officers, thirty crewmen, and four
Spanish stowaways escaped in four lifeboats. The radio operator and
two other men reboarded the vessel to send a message but were
unsuccessful. The # 1 and #2 boats, being faster, left the other two
boats behind. British motor launches rescued the survivors in these
boats. A British destroyer spotted the other two boats nearly two
days after the attack. Five of the crew reported injuries, but all
survived. The Lehigh sank stem first at 1019.

WACR; WCSR; Rohwer, p. 69.

ASTRAL

D: 12-2-41 
YB: 1916
T: 0924 GWT 
Tn: 7,542
Pos' 35.40 N / 24.00 W 
Dr: 29 ft. (approximately)
Ow: Socony-Vacuum Oil Co. 
C: 78,200 bbls. gasoline and kerosene
Op: Socony-Vacuum Oil Co.
M: Chris Alsager 
P: steam
A: unarmed 
S: unknown

The Astral, en route from Amba, NWI, to Portugal, was torpedoed by
the U-43 (Luth). On 1 December, in a full moon, Luth followed the
tanker for several hours before maneuvering into a favorable
position to attack. Luth missed with his first shot, but lookouts on
board the Astral spotted the torpedo. The Astral immediately began
steaming a zigzag course to escape. Luth followed the tanker
throughout the night and the next day. He successfully put two
torpedoes into her, one in the stem and another amidships. The
tanker exploded into flames and quickly sank within minutes. The
flaming cargo in the water burned for an hour longer. The flammable
nature of the cargo contributed to the deaths of the entire crew of
eight officers and twenty-nine men.

The Astral was first spotted by the U-575 (Heydemann), and he
tracked her for several hours. Noticing the American flag painted on
the Astral's side, he let her go. 

WACR; WCSR; WJ; Rohwer, p. 72.

SAGADAHOC
D: 12-3-41 
YB: 1918
T: 1920 
Tn: 6,275
Pos: 21.50 S / 07.50 W 
Dr: 26 ft. 8 in.
Ow: American South African Line 
C: 5,800 tons general
Op: American South African Line 
P: steam
M: Frederick I. Evans 
S: 10
A: unarmed

The Sagadahoc sailed from New York to South Africa and en route was
stopped at sea by the U-124 (Mohr). A search by the submarine's crew
revealed that the merchantman had contraband on board. Mohr allowed
the crew of eight officers, twenty-six men, and the one passenger to
abandon ship. One crewman, however, failed to clear the vessel and
perished when she sank. The U-124 fired three torpedoes. One struck
under the bridge, another demolished the engine room, and the last
hit between hatches #4 and #5. The two boats with the survivors
later became separated. An Allied merchant vessel rescued the men in
one boat after six days and those in the other boat after seven days
at sea. With the exception of an oiler, all hands survived.

WACR; WCSR; Rohwer, p. 72.

PRESIDENT HARRISON

D: 12-7-41 
YB: 1921
T: 1400 
Tn: 10,509
Pos: 31.20 N / 122.00 E 
Dr: 22 ft.
Ow: American President Lines 
C: none
Op: American President Lines 
P: steam
M: Orel A. Pierson 
S: 15.5
A: unarmed

On 4 December, the President Harrison sailed from Manila, Philippine
Islands, to embark the Marine detachments from Peking and Tientsin.
The Marines had arrived at Chinwangtao, the nearest port. The
master, after receiving word of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor,
was pursued by a Japanese cruiser and aircraft. He intentionally
grounded the Harrison off Swaweishan Island to tear her bottom out.
The entire complement of 14 officers, 140 men, and 1 passenger
escaped in seven boats, but 3 of these men drowned when their
lifeboat was pulled into the Harrison's screws. The Japanese
captured the remaining crew members. The master spent six months in
jail for wrecking the ship. The Japanese kept the deck and
engineering officers as POWs and interned the crewmen in civilian
camps. Twelve of these men died in captivity. The Japanese spent
thirteen days salvaging the extensively damaged ship and later
operated her as the Kachidoki Maru. On 12 September 1944, the USS
Pampanito (SS- 383) torpedoed the ship off Hainan, China.

WACR; WCSR; Morison, 3:155; Niven, pp. 148-49.

CAPILLO

D: 12-8-41 
YB: 1920
T: unknown 
Tn: 5,135
Pos: in Manila Bay 
Dr: 24 ft.
Ow: WSA 
C: 6,020 tons general, wheat, flour
Op: American Mail Line 
P: steam
M: Karl Olag Dreyer 
S: anchored
A: unarmed

On 2 October, the Capillo sailed from Seattle, Washington, and
arrived in Manila Bay on 6 November. On 6 December, while at anchor
in Manila Bay, the Capillo was subjected to a Japanese aerial
bombing attack. During this attack, bombs fell nearby, but the ship
escaped damage. On 8 December, fifty- nine Japanese twin-engined
bombers appeared from the south. The planes bombed and strafed the
moored vessels and managed to hit the Capillo with machine gun fire
her entire length. One bomb struck the freighter's deck at the #6
hatch, penetrated into the hold, and exploded. The cargo of wheat
and flour absorbed the blast and limited the damage. Fire broke out
immediately, but firefighting parties discovered that the
firefighting equipment on board was inoperative. With no way to
fight the flames, the crew abandoned the ship in the one good
lifeboat. The damaged Capillo subsequently developed a bad list, and
U.S. Army forces sank her with dynamite on 11 December. All of the
eight officers and thirty-two crew members on board at the time of
the attack survived. On 2 January 1942, Japanese forces captured
these men and interned them at Santo Tomas Prison in Manila.

The complement figures are contradictory within the sources. NSS;
WACR; WCSR; Moore, p. 41.

SAGOLAND

D: 12-10-41 
YB: 1913
T: unknown 
Tn: 5,334
Pos: Manila 
Dr: unknown
Ow: Madrigal & Co. 
C: flour
Op: Madrigal & Co. 
P: steam
M: unknown 
S: unknown
A: unarmed

The Sagoland sailed from Union Bay for Manila, Philippine Islands.
Japanese aircraft attacked and severely damaged the freighter on 10
December, and she sank the following day. The size of the crew and
the number on board at the time of the attack are not related within
the sources.

WCSR; Lloyd's, p. 320.

LAHAINA

YB: 1920
D: 12-11-41
Tn: 5,645
T: 1340
Pos: 27.42 N / 147.38 W 
Dr: 11 ft. 6 in.
Ow: Matson Navigation Co. 
C: 1,050 tons general, molasses,
Op: Matson Navigation Co. scrap iron
M: Hans Otto Heinrich Matthiesen 
p: steam
S: 10
A: unarmed

On 4 December, the Lahaina sailed from Hawaii to San Francisco. At
1340 on 11 December, the I-9 (Fujii) approached the Lahaina at
approximately right angles to the starboard beam, from the direction
of the sun. The submarine fired a warning shot across the
freighter's bow, and the master passed the order to abandon ship
after the confidential codes went overboard and the radio operator
sent a distress message. The I-9 fired about twenty-five rounds and
hit the merchantman with eight shots on the starboard side and four
on the port side. The mixture of explosive and incendiary shells set
the vessel afire. The crew managed to launch only the starboard
boat, the other having been destroyed by the gunfire. At 0900 the
next day, the master returned to the vessel hoping to salvage her,
but on boarding the Lahaina he found the fire out of control. The
survivors secured food and water, and the eight officers and
twenty-six crewmen set sail for Hawaii. On 12 December, the Lahaina
capsized slowly to port and sank at 1230. For nine days the crew
struggled to make land, facing heavy seas, short rations and an
overcrowded lifeboat. With the assistance of the USCG cutter Tiger
(WPC-152), thirty men landed near Kahtilui, Maui, on 21 December.
During the journey in the boat, two of the crew had jumped overboard
and two died of exposure and shock.

NSS; WACR; WCSR; Rohwer, p. 278; Stindt, p. 118; Ships in Gray, p. 42.

VINCENT

YB: 1919
D: 12-12-41
Tn: 6,210
T: 1907
Pos' 22.40 S / 118.13 W 
Dr: 28 ft.
Ow: U.S. Maritime Commission
C: 8,300 tons wool, ore, tallow,
Op: U.S. Lines walnut logs
M: Angus Mackinnon 
p: steam
S: 10
A: unarmed

The Vincent, bound from Sydney, Australia, for Panama, was
discovered by the Japanese merchant cruisers Hokoku Maru and Aikoku
Maru in clear weather and moderate seas. The Japanese vessels
started shelling the freighter at 1907 and fired a total of eight
shells. The crew began abandoning ship in three boats within thirty
minutes as fire broke out on board. The Japanese later fired a
single torpedo that struck the merchantman and sent her to the
bottom. All nine officers and twenty-seven crewmen survived the
attack. The Hokoku Maru picked up the men, who then traveled with
the raider for sixty-three days until interned as POWs in Japan. Two
crew members later died in the POW camps.

WACR; WCSR; WCSR for Malama.

GOVERNOR WRIGHT

D: 12-12-41 
YB: 1938
T: unknown 
Tn: 496
Pos: 12.55 N / 123.55 E 
Dr: unknown
Ow: Visayan Trans. Co., Inc. 
C: unknown
Op: Visayan Trans. Co., Inc. , 
P: motor
M: unknown 
S: unknown
A: unarmed

Japanese aircraft attacked the Governor Wright off Panay Island,
Philippines, and sank her on 12 December. The size of the crew and
the number on board at the time of the attack are not related within
the sources.

Lloyd's, p. 326.

ADMIRAL Y. S. WILLIAMS

D: 12-12-41 
YB: 1920
T: unknown 
Tn: 3,252
Pos: at Kowloon, China 
Dr: 20 ft.
Ow: American Trading Co. 
C: 4,076 tons rubber and tin
Op: American Trading Co.
P: steam
M: Fred Nystrom 
S: docked
A: unarmed

On 19 September, the Admiral K S. Williams weighed anchor in
Singapore for Los Angeles. Five days later the ship ran aground and
went into dry dock in Kowloon, China. Here, to prevent her capture
by the enemy, the British deliberately damaged her by dynamiting the
end of the dry dock where she lay. The seven officers and
twenty-seven crew members survived, with the exception of one
messman who died from a gunshot wound. The Japanese took twenty-one
of the men as POWs and repatriated ten others; two escaped. The
Japanese salvaged the ship and renamed her the Tasutama Maru.

WACR; WCSR; Moore, p. 2.

MANATAWNY

D: 12-13-41 
YB: 1920
T: unknown 
Tn: 5,030
Pos: Manila Harbor 
Dr: unknown
Ow: Madrigal & Co. 
C: dynamite
Op: Madrigal & Co. 
P: steam
M: unknown 
S: unknown
A: unarmed

The tanker Manatawny sailed from Los Angeles, California, to Hong
Kong via Seattle, Honolulu, and Manila. While in the harbor of
Manila, she was attacked by Japanese bombers, and direct hits set
her on fire. She sank sometime later. The size of the crew and the
number on board at the time of the attack are unknown.

WCSR; Lloyd's, p. 322.

MANINI

D: 12-17-41 
YB: 1920
T: 1840 
Tn: 3,253
Pos: 17.46 N / 157.03 W 
Dr: 20 ft. 6 in.
Ow: Matson Navigation Co. 
C: 2,700 tons general
Op: Matson Navigation Co. 
P: steam
M: George Sidon 
S: 8
A: unarmed

The Manini sailed from Hawaii and en route to San Francisco was
spotted by the 1-75 (Inoue) 180 miles south of Hawaii. The 1-75
fired a torpedo that struck the Manini on the port side between the
#3 and #4 holds. The main topmast crashed to the deck, destroying
the radio antenna and preventing the radio operator from sending a
distress signal. She sank by the stern in about ten minutes. In
rough seas the eight officers and twenty-five crewmen managed to
escape the vessel and the floating wreckage in two boats. One man
drowned trying to leave the freighter. The two boats became
separated after the attack. On 28 December, a naval vessel and the
USCG cutter Tiger (WPC-152) rescued the survivors in the #1 boat
twenty-five miles south of Kauai. The Patterson (DD-392) spotted the
#2 boat the next day. On 26 December, a messman in this boat died of
exposure and was buried at sea--the only casualty of the attack.

WACR; WCSR; The 1-75 was later renumbered as the 1-175; Rohwer, p.
278; Stindt, p. 118.

PRUSA

D: 12-19-41 
YB: 1919
T: 0530 
Tn: 5,113
Pos: 16.45 N / 156.00 W 
Dr: 25 ft.
Ow: Lukes Bros. SS Co. 
C: 6,720 tons chrome, copra, hemp,
Op: Lukes Bros. SS Co. mahogany
M: George David Henry Roy 
P: steam
A: unarmed 
S: 10.5

On 16 December, the Prusa sailed from Honolulu to Baltimore and was
torpedoed by the I-172 (Togami) approximately 150 miles south of
Hawaii. The ship was on a course almost due southeast when lookouts
spored a torpedo approaching about 100 yards away. The helmsman
could not avoid the torpedo, and it struck the ship at the #5 hold
and the shaft alley on the port side. The explosion fatally damaged
the ship, blew out doors, ruptured steam lines, and knocked out the
electrical system. The ship sank in about eight minutes. The crew of
ten officers and twenty-four men began to abandon ship in the two
lifeboats. These two boats got away with all but nine of the crew,
eight of whom died in the explosion, and the radio operator who went
down with the ship. The master remained in the vicinity of the
sinking for three days and then, because of the prevailing winds,
set a course for one of the Gilbert Islands, over 2,500 miles away.
Thirty-one days later these eleven men were rescued by a Fiji Island
government vessel and landed at Beruin Island. During the journey
one man in this boat died of exposure. The thirteen men in the other
boat, in charge of the first officer, remained at the site of the
sinking and were rescued by the USCG curer Tiger (WPC-152) on 27
December 1941.

NSS; WACR; WCSR; RWCS; Pilot, 20 February 1942, 1 May 1942, 15 May
1942; Rohwer, p. 278.

EMIDIO

D: 12-20-41 
YB: 1921
T: 1345 
Tn: 6,912
Pos: 40.34.30 N / 124,50 W 
Dr: 16 ft. 7 in.
Ow: Socony-Vacuum Oil Co. 
C: 2-3-5-7-8 tanks ballasted
Op: Socony-Vacuum Oil Co. 
P: steam
M: Clarke Arthur Farrow 
S: 13
A: unarmed

The Emidio departed Seattle, Washington, en route to Ventura,
California. As the ship proceeded in squally weather and choppy
seas, twenty miles off Blunts Reef, lookouts spotted the submarine
1-17 (Nishino). The master altered the Emidio's course and increased
speed, but the 1-17 gained rapidly and opened fire with its deck gun
at a half mile, forcing the master to stop the vessel. The crew of
eight officers and twenty-eight men began to abandon the freighter
as the 1-17 continued firing. One shell struck the #3 boat as the
crew lowered it, and two men were killed. Another boat capsized
after getting caught in the discharge of the condenser. Within
thirty minutes the survivors had cleared the ship in two lifeboats
and one workboat. At 1435 a torpedo struck the ship on the starboard
side at the stem. Both boats managed to make the Blunts Reef
Lightship within fifteen hours. The USCG cutter Shawnee (WAT-54)
carried the men from the lightship to Eureka, California. The crew
left the tanker in a sinking condition with her stem submerged, but
she managed to remain afloat and became stranded on the rocks at
Crescent City--a total loss. One officer and four men died in the
attack.

WACR; WCSR; Rohwer, p. 278; War Action Casualties, p. 2.

JUSTINE FOSS

D: 12-23-41 
YB: 1930
T: unknown 
Tn: 39
Pos: Wake Island 
Dr: unknown
Ow: Foss Launch & Tug Co. 
C: none
Op: Foss Launch & Tug Co. 
P: steam
M: Tom McInnis 
S: unknown
A: unarmed

The tug dustine Foss was chartered by a construction company to tow
barges of construction materials from ships anchored offshore to
construction projects on Wake Island. When the Japanese captured
Wake Island on 23 December, the tug and her crew of four fell into
their hands. The Japanese executed the master and mate ashore and
sent the other two to a POW camp. The Japanese used the Justine Foss
to lighter cargo and later scuttled her. Engineers later blasted her
hulk to clear the port.

The fifty-five foot diesel tug Pioneer was also at Wake Island, but
her status and eventual disposition are unknown. Woodbury, pp.
246-passim; Dierdorff, pp. 502-passim; Moore, p. 160; Lloyd's, p.
959.

MONTEBELLO
D: 12-23-41 
YB: 1921
T: 0540 
Tn: 8,272
Pos: 35.35.30 N / 121.16.30 W 
Dr: 29 ft. 10 in.
Ow: Union Oil Co. of California 
C: 75,346 bbls. crude oil
Op: Union Oil Co. of California 
P: steam
M: Olof Walfrid Ekstrom 
S: 10.0
A: unarmed

On 23 December, the Montebello departed Port San Luis, California,
en route to Vancouver, British Columbia. Lookouts spotted an enemy
submarine approaching only hours out of port. The 1-21 (Matsumura)
attacked the tanker four miles off Cambria, California, hitting her
with a torpedo in the #2 hold. The crew mustered at their boat
stations when the general alarm rang. Within fifteen minutes the
crew of eight officers and thirty men abandoned the tanker in four
lifeboats. Matsumura fired several shells from his deck gun to
quicken the sinking. This forced the men to enter the boats on the
other side of the vessel. The ship went down in just over an hour.
One of the lifeboats became separated from the others and made port,
while the other three were picked up not far from the attack by the
launch Alma and a Standard Oil launch. All hands survived the
attack.

WACR; WCSR; Los Angeles Times, 24 December 1941, 23 December 1941;
Rohwer, p. 278.

ABSAROKA
D: 12-24-41 
YB: 1918
T: 1040 
Tn: 5,695
Pos: 34N/121 W 
Dr: 25 ft. 2 in.
Ow: Pope and Talbot Inc. 
C: 7,519 tons general
Op: McCormick SS Co. Div. 
P: steam
M: Louis Prendle 
S: 9
A: unarmed

The Absaroka sailed from Oregon to Los Angeles, California. About
three miles off Point Vicente, California, the 1-19 (Narahara)
attacked the Absaroka. One torpedo hit the freighter at the #5 hold
causing extensive damage and blowing the cargo from the hold into
the air. The crew of eight officers and twenty-six men immediately
abandoned ship. One of their two lifeboats capsized, and the
surviving thirty-three men managed to get away from the ship in a
single lifeboat. This lifeboat was picked up at the scene eighty
minutes after the attack, and the Absaroka was later reboarded by
the Coast Guard and towed into San Pedro. One of the crewmen died of
injuries after being struck by the displaced cargo.

WACR; WCSR; Rohwer, p. 278.

DON JOSE

D: 12-29-41 
YB: 1920
T: unknown 
Tn: 10,893
Pos: 14.35 N / 120.55 E 
Dr: unknown
Ow: Madrigal & Co. 
C: flour, general deck cargo of
Op: Madrigal & Co. lumber
M: unknown 
P: motor
A: unarmed 
S: at anchor

The Don Jose sailed from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, for
Manila, Philippine Islands. While anchored off the northeastern
point of the North Harbor of Corregidor, the freighter was attacked
by Japanese aircraft. Bombs struck the ship but did not severely
damage her. The explosions, however, started a fire that eventually
burned out of control and completely gutted the freighter. Port
authorities, fearing that the ship would sink and block the channel,
had her towed around to the south side of the island. The Japanese,
after capturing the Philippines, had her towed to Hong Kong.

The sources do not relate the size of the crew, nor whether any
casualties occurred. The date is also not completely clear within
the sources. NSS; TF; Lloyd's, p. 333.

RUTH ALEXANDER

D: 12-31-41 
YB: 1913
T: 0930 
Tn: 8,135
Pos: 1.0N/119.10E 
Dr: 22 ft.
Ow: American President Lines 
C: 2,000 tons general
Op: American President Lines 
P: steam
M: Frederick P. Willarts 
S: 14
A: unarmed

The Ruth Alexander was attacked by a Japanese four-engined
amphibious reconnaissance plane while en route from Manila to
Balikpapan, Borneo. Lookouts on the ship spotted the plane five
miles astern, and the helmsman began steering a zigzag course. The
bomber made one pass and then returned in line with the ship's
heading. Flying at 2,000 feet, it came over the stem from starboard
to port and dropped two bombs. Both missed by about twenty feet, but
the concussions slightly damaged the engines. The plane then
descended to 300 feet and dropped two larger bombs that struck on
the after part of the pilot house on the port side. They passed
through three decks, blew a ten-foot hole in the port side near the
light load line, and knocked out the steering gear. The master
ordered the crew to abandon ship at 0945. The crew of nine officers
and forty men, with the exception of one man, got away in six
lifeboats as the ship steamed in circles. A Dutch seaplane rescued
the survivors at 1530 the same day and landed them at Tarakan,
Indonesia. Dutch naval authorities reported that the Ruth Alexander
sank on 2 January 1942.

NSS; WACR; WCSR.

MALAMA
D: 1-1-42 
YB: 1919
T: 1440 
Tn: 3,275
Pos: 26.21 S / 153.24 W 
Dr: 21 ft.
Ow: Matson Navigation Co. 
C: Army supplies and vehicles
Op: Matson Navigation Co. 
P: steam
M: Malcolm Rutherford Peters 
S: 10
A: unarmed

On 29 November, the Malama sailed from San Francisco to Manila,
Philippines, via Honolulu. She weighed anchor at Honolulu on 16
December, and two weeks later, at 0930, a Japanese float plane from
the merchant cruiser Aikoku Maru circled and began strafing the
Malama. Using international code, the plane ordered the ship to
stop. The plane returned again at 1415, this time armed with bombs.
As it circled over the ship, the master readied the crew to leave
while the chief engineer prepared the ship for scuttling. At 1430
the eight officers, twenty- five crewmen, and five passengers left
the ship in two lifeboats. After all hands escaped, the plane
attacked and dropped four bombs, setting the ship on fire. At 1530
two Japanese merchant cruisers, the Aikoku Maru and the Hokoku Maru,
hove into sight. The Aikoku Maru picked up all hands. The Japanese
interned everyone in a POW camp, and all survived to be repatriated
with the exception of two crewmen.

The U.S. Maritime Commission time chartered this vessel beginning 15
September 1941. WACR; WCSR; RWSA; Stindt, p. 118.

FRANCES SALMAN

D: 1-18-42 
YB: 1919
T: 0044 
Tn: 2,609
Pos: off Newfoundland 
Dr: unknown, light
Ow: Canadian Gulf Line Ltd. 
C: none
Op: Canadian Gulf Line Ltd. 
P: steam
M: Rasmus Wathne 
S: unknown
A: unarmed

The Frances Salman, steaming from St. Johns, Newfoundland, to Comer
Brook,  Newfoundland, was torpedoed and sunk by the U-552 (Topp) at
0644 Central European Time. The U-boat made four unsuccessful
attacks on the freighter. The Salman attempted to escape the U-boat,
and the radio operator sent several distress messages. The fifth
torpedo, fired from 500 yards, struck the after part of the ship.
The Salman sank quickly and some of the eight officers and twenty
crewmen managed to launch a boat in rough seas. The Salman sank by
the stem within ten minutes, but the bow remained above the water
for about twenty-five minutes before disappearing. Due to the state
of the seas, none of the men in the boat survived.

WACR; W J; Rohwer, p. 74.

ALLAN JACKSON

D: 1-18-42 
YB: 1921
T: 0135 
Tn: 6,635
Pos: 35.57 N / 74.20 W 
Dr: 27 ft. 3 in.
Ow: Standard Oil Co. ofN. J. 
C: 72,870 bbls. crude oil
Op: Standard Oil Co. of N. J. 
P: steam
M: Felix W. Kretchmer 
S: 11
A: unarmed

The Allan Jackson was attacked by the U-66 (Zapp) while en route
from Cartagena, Colombia, to New York. The ship left port without
routing instructions and proceeded independently. As the Jackson
proceeded about fifty miles east of Cape Hatteras, Zapp fired two
torpedoes at her. The first hit the starboard side forward of the
bridge. The second, moments behind, hit the starboard side aft of
the deckhouse. Flaming oil spewed from the Jackson's side and spread
over the water hundreds of feet around the tanker, making it
hazardous for the crew to abandon the ship. Many of the men burned
to death on the deck trying to get afl. The second torpedo broke the
ship apart amidships, and she sank in five minutes. She sank so fast
that only the #3 boat carrying eight men could be launched. Other
survivors jumped into the water and clung to the wreckage. Of the
eight officers and twenty-seven men aboard, five officers and
seventeen men died and the rest were injured in some manner. The USS
Roe (DD-418) rescued the survivors the next day and landed them at
Norfolk, Virginia.

 NSS; WACR; WCSR; WJ; Life, 2 February 1942, p. 16; Rohwer, p. 74;
War Action Casualties,
p. 4.

MALAY

D: 1-18-42 
YB: 1921
T: 0320 
Tn: 8,206
Pos: 35.25 N / 75.23 W 
Dr: 15 ft. 6 in.
Ow: Marine Transport Lines 
C: none, ballast
Op: C.D. Mallory & Co., Inc. 
P: steam
M: John M. Dodge 
S: 10
A: unarmed

On 18 January, the Malay departed Philadelphia en route to Port
Arthur, Texas, in water ballast. The Malay, showing only dim
navigational lights, headed south in an unprotected convoy of five
ships. Ten miles from the Wimble Shoals Lighted Whistle Buoy, the
U-123 (Hardegen) attacked. As the U-123 advanced on the surface, her
gun crew fired at the tanker's bridge. The shots, however, did only
superficial damage. The submarine fired a total of ten rounds and
struck the Malay five times from about 700 yards. The second shell
destroyed a lifeboat, and the other three struck in the crew's
quarters, killing one man. Hardegen, thinking he had fatally wounded
the ship, left the burning tanker in search of other victims. He
found and torpedoed the Latvian freighter Ciltvaira and later
returned to finish the Malay. The passing freighter Scania,
meanwhile, had come to help the Malay and passed firefighting
equipment on board. The crew of eight officers and twenty-six men
got the fn:e under control and again got the ship under way. The
U-123 returned at 0530 and fired its last torpedo, hitting the #7
starboard side tank, just aft of amidships. The crew manned their
boat stations and launched three lifeboats. The # 1 boat capsized,
drowning four men, and the other two boats with fourteen men circled
the ship for about an hour before returning to the tanker. Boats
from the Chicamacomico Coast Guard Station removed the dead and
badly injured. The Malay got under way and arrived in Hampton Roads,
Virginia, on 19 January.

The figures for the ship's complement conflict within the sources.
WACR; WCSR; RWCS; WJ; Oannon, pp. 258-65; Rohwer, p. 74, places the
attack at 35.40 N 75.20 W; War Action Casualties, p. 5.

CITY OF ATLANTA

D: 1-19-42 
YB: 1904
T: 0215 
Tn: 5,269
Pos: 35.42 N / 75.21 W
Dr: 17 ft. 1 in.
Ow: Ocean SS Co. 
C: 2,870 tons general
Op: Ocean SS Co. 
P: steam
M: Lehman Chapman Urquhart 
S: 12.0
A: unarmed

The U-123 (Hardegen) began what was to be a productive night by
spotting the navigational lights of the City of Atlanta en route
from New York to Savannah. Approximately twelve miles south of the
Wimble Shoals Buoy and about eight or ten miles offshore, the U-123
fired one torpedo that struck the port side forward of the #3 hold.
The ship quickly took a sharp list, making it difficult for the crew
of eight officers and thirty-eight men to abandon ship. The vessel
rolled over in about ten minutes before any of the four lifeboats
could be lowered. The U-123 surfaced on the starboard side, flashed
a searchlight over the City of Atlanta, and then disappeared. Only
one officer and two men survived by clinging to the wreckage. The SS
Seatrain Texas picked up these men after six hours.

NSS; WACR; Post, 19 January 1942; Gannon, p. 256; Life, 2 February
1942, p. 16; Rohwer, p. 74.

NORVANA

D: 1-22-42 
YB: 1920
T: 0539 
Tn: 2,677
Pos: off coast of North Carolina 
Dr: 24 ft. 5 in. (normal)
Ow: Merchants & Miners Trans. Co. 
C: 3,980 tons ore
Op: North Atlantic & Gulf SS Co. 
P: steam
M: Ernest Jefferson Thompson 
S: 9.0
A: unarmed

On 14 January, the Norvana sailed from Nuvitas, Cuba, to
Philadelphia. As part of the German Navy's Operation Paukenschlag
(Drum Roll), the U-123 (Hardegen) torpedoed the Norvana south of
Cape Hatteras. From 800 yards the U-123 fired a torpedo that did not
run straight and instead sped behind the freighter. The U-boat
maneuvered for a second shot and from 450 yards fired a second
torpedo. Thirty seconds later it struck forward of the stack. A
tremendous explosion sent large pieces of the freighter into the
air, hitting the U-123, and she disappeared beneath the water in
ninety seconds. Of the eight officers and twenty-one men on board
the Norvana, no one survived. One of the ship's empty lifeboats was
found by the Navy off Wimble Shoals.

WACR; WJ; Gannon, p. 254; Rohwer, p. 75, states she was bound from
Curacao to Baltimore. Rohwer also misidentifies the ship as the
Brazos.

VENORE
D: 1-23-42 
YB: 1921
T: 1948 
Tn: 8,016
Pos: 34.50 N / 75.20 W 
Dr: 34 ft.
Ow: Ore SS Corp. 
C: 8,000 tons iron ore
Op: Ore SS Corp. 
P: steam
M: Fritz Duurloo 
S: 10
A: unarmed

The freighter Venore sailed from Chile for Sparrows Point, Maryland.
About fifteen miles from the Diamond Shoals Buoy, the U-66 (Zapp)
attacked the freighter. The U-66 had just finished attacking the
British tanker SS Empire Gem two or three miles ahead when Zapp
spotted the Venore's dimmed running lights. At 1948 lookouts spotted
the submarine about 150 yards away. Zapp fired two torpedoes. One
struck amidships on the port side, forward of the boiler room, and
the other missed. The Venore changed to a zigzag course while
firefighting parties fought a fire caused by the explosion. As the
freighter proceeded at hish speed, some of the crew of eight
officers and thirty-three men panicked and launched three lifeboats
without instructions from the master. Two of the boats disintegrated
upon hitting the water, drowning more than a dozen men. Two
fortunate men in the third boat survived. About forty minutes later
the U-66 put another torpedo into the port side of the #9 hold.
Minutes after this explosion the remaining crew of twenty-one
abandoned ship in the last boat. The Venore turned over and sank
just over an hour later. At 1100 on 25 January, the SS Tennessee
spotted the boat with twenty-one survivors about sixty-two miles
north of Diamond Shoals and landed the men at Norfolk. The other
boat with two men made port after forty-nine hours. On 25 January,
the Texaco tanker Australia rescued another man. Two officers and
fifteen men died.

lqSS; WACR; WCSR; WJ; RWCS; Gannon, pp. 270-71; Moore, p. 284.

WEST IVIS

D: 1-26-42 
YB: 1919
T: approximately 0430 
Tn: 5,666
Pos: off Cape Hatteras 
Dr: 25 ft.
Ow: Pope and Talbot Inc. 
C: unknown
Op: Pope and Talbot Inc. 
P: steam
M: Alfred C. Larsen 
S: approximately 10
A: 1-4"; 4-50 cal.;4-30 cal.

The West Ivis sailed from New York on 24 January, bound for
Trinidad. The U-125 (Folkers) spotted the Ivis on 26 January. On
this moonlit night Folkers had trouble maneuvering to attack. He
missed with his first torpedo and tried again. The Ivis was
traveling with lights on, but shortly before Folker's second try the
crew turned them off. A second torpedo struck the ship under the
stack and broke her in two, causing her to sink in fourteen minutes.
Folkers mentions a lifeboat in his war journal, but all eight
officers, twenty-eight crewmen, and a gun crew of nine perished.

The figures for the armed guards are contradictory. WACR; WCSR; W J;
AG; Rohwer, p. 76.

FRANCIS E. POWELL

D: 1-27-42 
YB: 1922
T: 0235 
Tn: 7,096
Pos: 37.45 N / 74.53 W 
Dr: 25 ft. 5 in.
Ow: Atlantic Refining Co. 
C: 81,000 bbls. furnace oil,
Op: Atlantic Refining Co. gasoline
M: Thomas J. Harrington 
P: steam
A: unarmed 
S: 10.5

The Francis E. Powell sailed from Port Arthur, Texas, to Providence,
Rhode Island. The U-130 (Kals) attacked the tanker about eight miles
northeast of the Winter Quarter Light Vessel. The Powell was
proceeding completely blacked out when the torpedo struck the port
side aft of the midships house, between the #4 and #5 tanks. The
explosion started a small fire in the ship's pump room. Lookouts
then spotted the submarine a few hundred yards from the Powell. The
destruction of the radio antenna spoiled the radio operator's
attempt to send an SOS. The crew of eight officers and twenty-four
men left the tanker in two lifeboats. The master was crushed to
death when he slipped and fell between the boat and the ship. This
same boat was lifted back on the ship by a wave, and the men had to
launch another boat. The tanker W. C. Fairbanks picked up the
seventeen men in the #3 boat after five hours and landed them at
Lewes, Delaware. A Coast Guard boat from the Assateague Station
spotted the #2 boat with eleven men and landed these survivors at
Chincoteague, North Carolina.

Two officers and two men died as a result of the attack. The Powell
sank at about 0700.

NSS; WACR; WCSR; RWCS; WJ; Rohwer, p. 76, places the attack at 38.05
N/74.53 W; Washington Star, 28 January 1942; Virginia Pilot, 27
February 1942; War Action Casualties, p. 7.

FLORENCE LUCKENBACH

D: 1-29-42 
YB: 1920
T: 1005 
Tn: 5,237
Pos: 12.55 N / 80.33 E 
Dr: 24 ft. 4 in.
Ow: Luckenbach SS Co. 
C: 3,500 tons general, 3,400 tons
Op: Luckenbach SS Co. manganese ore
M: Thure Gottfid Eckart 
P: steam
A: unarmed 
S: 10

The Florence Luckenbach sailed from Madras, India, for New York, via
Cape Town, South Africa. The 1-164 (Ogawa) attacked the freighter
from a position directly between the sun and ship and was not seen
until after the attack. The first torpedo struck the port side near
the #1 hold along the waterline. The explosion blew the hatch covers
and the beams onto the deck. Within ten minutes the crew of eight
officers and thirty men had abandoned ship in one lifeboat, the
other having been destroyed by the initial explosion. Ogawa then
fired another torpedo after the boats cleared the ship. This struck
amidships on the port side, sinking the freighter by the head in ten
minutes. The survivors made their way back to Madras in nine hours.
All hands survived.

NSS; WACR; WCSR; Rohwer, p. 259.

ROCHESTER

D: 1-30-42 
YB: 1920
T: 1105 
Tn: 6,836
Pos: 37.10N/73.58 W 
Dr: 20 ft. 8 in.
Ow: Socony Vacuum Oil Co. 
C: ballast
Op: Socony Vacuum Oil Co. 
P: steam
M: Alden S. Clark 
S: 10.4
A: unarmed

The Rochester was attacked eighty-five miles east of the Chesapeake
Light Vessel, while proceeding from New York to Corpus Christi,
Texas, on a zigzag course. Off the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, the
U-lO6 (Rasch) maneuvered into a favorable attack position. A torpedo
struck aft in the engine room, and the explosion killed the officer
and two men on watch below, stopped the engines, destroyed
communications, and damaged the rudder and propeller. Orders were
immediately passed to muster at the boat stations, and when the
submarine surfaced nearby, the master ordered the crew of eight
officers and twenty-seven men to abandon ship. Within fifteen
minutes the crew lowered two boats. The U-lO6 readied its deck guns
for action but waited for both boats to clear the ship. The
submarine fired eight rounds at the tanker from a range of about 500
yards. With the ship still afloat, the U-lO6 moved on the surface to
about 400 to 500 yards off the starboard bow and at 1145 fired a
second torpedo that hit amidships. The Rochester immediately listed
to starboard and sank at about 1220. The USS Roe (DD-418) rescued
thirty-two survivors off the Virginia Capes after they had spent
three hours in the boats, and landed them at Norfolk Navy Base the
next morning.

The survivors stated that thirteen rounds were fired, but Rasch
reports his gun jammed on the eighth round. 

NSS; WACR; WCSR; RWCS; WJ; Star, 31January1942; Times Herald, 31
January 1942; Rohwer, p. 76; War Action Casualties, p. 8. According
to Moore, p. 243, a fireman later died of bums from the explosion.

W. L. STEED

D: 2-2-42 
YB: 1918
T: 1245 
Tn: 6,182
Pos: 38.25 N / 73.00 W 
Dr: 26 ft. 6 in.
Ow: Standard Oil Co. ofN. J. 
C: 65,936 bbls. crude oil
Op: Standard Oil Co. of N. J. P: steam
M: Harold G. McAvenia 
S: 10.5
A: unarmed

On 23 February, the W. L. Steed cleared Cartagena, Colombia, for New
York via Key West, Florida. The tanker maintained a zigzag course,
and the U-lO3 (Winter) intercepted her 100 miles off the New Jersey
coast in broad daylight. In rough seas and overcast weather the
U-lO3 struck the W. L. Steed with a torpedo on the starboard side in
the #3 tank. The ship caught fire, but the breaking seas
extinguished it. The U-lO3 waited while the crew of nine officers
and twenty-nine men abandoned ship in four boats. With everyone off,
the U-lO3 began shelling the tanker with more than eighty shells and
set her on fire once again. When a second torpedo struck the vessel,
the Steed exploded, shooting fire 500 feet in the air. She settled
by the head and sank approximately fifty minutes after the first
explosion. The British SS Hartlepool discovered the #2 lifeboat on 6
February. This boat had started with sixteen men and all but two had
died of exposure. The chief mate later died ashore. The Canadian
Auxiliary cruiser Alcantara discovered the #3 boat with only three
of its five men still alive. On 12 February, the British SS Raby
Castle spotted the #4 boat. It had cleared the Steed with fourteen
men but had only one man still alive. He, like his comrades, also
died of exposure about three days later. The #1 boat, with three
men, cleared the ship first. It may have been the boat found by the
Mexican tanker Poza Rica on 19 February, northwest of Cape Hatteras.
Of the thirty-eight men in the lifeboats, only one officer and three
men survived.

WACR; WCSR; RWCS; WJ; Rohwer, p. 77; Times Herald, 12 February 1942;
Post, 12 February 942; Ships of the Esso Fleet, pp. 83-89; War
Action Casualties, p. 9.

INDIA ARROW

D: 2-4-42 
YB: 1921
T: 1859 
Tn: 8,327
Pos: 38.48 N / 73.40 W 
Dr: 28 ft. 6 in.
Ow: Socony Vacuum Oil Co. 
C: 88,369 bbls. diesel fuel
Op: Socony Vacuum Oil Co. 
P: steam
M: Carl Samuel Johnson 
S: 10.5
A: unarmed

The India Arrow sailed from Corpus Christi, Texas, en route to
Carteret, New Jersey. About thirty-five miles due east of Five
Fathom Bank, the U-lO3 (Winter) intercepted the tanker. The India
Arrow was steering a nonevasive course when the torpedo struck the
starboard quarter at about the # 10 bunker. The ship caught fire and
began to sink by the stem at a rapid rate. The radio operator sent a
distress signal but not a position before the dynamo failed. Within
three minutes the crew of nine officers and twenty-nine men began
abandoning ship. Minutes later the U-lO3 started shelling the vessel
from a distance of approximately 250 yards. The submarine fired
seven shells at two- minute intervals, setting the after portion of
the ship afire. The crew managed to launch successfully only one of
the ship's four lifeboats. In a sea of blazing oil two other boats
swamped, and the rapidly sinking tanker pulled the #2 boat beneath
the water. Only one officer and eleven men survived, rescued by the
twenty-four foot fishing skiff Gitana twelve miles off Atlantic
City. Two men died as a result of the shelling, and the remaining
men apparently drowned when the two boats swamped.

NSS; WACR; WCSR; RWCS; WJ; Times (New York), 4 February 1942; Star
(Washington), 7 February 1942; Rohwer, p. 77, places the attack at
38.48 N / 72.43 W; Moore, pp. 134-35.

CHINA ARROW

D: 2-5-42 
YB: 1920
T: 1115 
Tn: 8,403
Pos: 37.44N / 73.18 W 
Dr: 28 ft.
Ow: Socony Vacuum Oil Co. 
C: 81,773 bbls. fuel oil
Op: Socony Vacuum Oil Co. 
P: steam
M: Paul Hoffman Browne 
S: 10.5
A: unarmed

Bound from Beaumont, Texas, for New York, the SS China Arrow was
torpedoed off Winter Quarter Shoals by the U-lO3 (Winter). While
running on a zigzag course and blacked out, the ship was struck by
two torpedoes. One struck the starboard side between the #8 and #9
tanks; the other hit between tanks #9 and #10. The explosions blew
fuel oil 125 feet into the air and over the length of the ship. Fire
immediately broke out in these tanks. The live steam firefighting
equipment smothered the blaze in tanks #9 and # 10 but could not put
out the fire in the #8 tank. The master ordered the crew of nine
officers and twenty-eight men to abandon ship. Three boats cast off
at 1140. As the boats neared the water, the U-lO3 surfaced to
conning tower depth. The master and radio operator had stayed behind
to send out a distress signal but scurried off the ship when the
U-boat surfaced. As the U-lO3 approached, it fired nearly fifty
shots at the tanker. The China Arrow sank by the stem at 1230. Coast
Guard planes spotted the survivors after they had spent fifty-seven
hours in the boats, and the USCG cutter Nike (WPC-112) guided them
to the Lewes, Delaware, Coast Guard Station. All hands survived.

NSS; WACR; RWCS; WJ; Rohwer, p. 77; Star (Washington), 9 February
1942; Coast Guard at War, p. 11.

MAJOR WHEELER

D: 2-6-42 
YB: 1918
T: approximately 0900 
Tn: 3,431
Pos: East Coast 
Dr: 21 ft.
Ow: Baltimore Insular Line 
C: 4,611 tons sugar
Op: Baltimore Insular Line 
P: steam
M: Frank W. Losey 
S: 9 approximately
A: unarmed

While en route from Fajardo, Puerto Rico, to Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, the freighter Major Wheeler was attacked by the U-lO7
(Gelhaus). The U-lO7 had spotted another steamer and then disengaged
to follow the Wheeler. The U-boat fired a torpedo from over 700
yards, hitting the freighter amidships. The ship sank by the stern
in two minutes. None of the eight officers and twenty-seven men
survived.

WACR; WCSR; W J; Rohwer, p. 77.

ARKANSAS

D: 2-16-42 
YB: 1919
T: 0300 
Tn: 6,452
Pos: Eagle Dock, Aruba 
Dr: approximately 14 ft.
Ow: Texas Co. 
C: none
Op: Texas Co. 
P: steam
M: Karl Karlson 
S: docked
A: unarmed

On 31 January, the Arkansas weighed anchor at Santos, Brazil, en
route to Aruba, NWI. While laying at the Eagle dock in San Nicholas,
the tanker and two other British ships were attacked by the U-156
(Hartenstein). A torpedo struck the starboard side of the tanker
between the #4 and #5 bunkers. The explosion created a large hole on
the starboard side and smaller holes on the opposite side, causing
extensive structural damage. The crew of eight officers and
twenty-nine men remained on the vessel and later walked down to the
dock. Three hours later the crew reboarded her to assess the damage.
The crew suffered no casualties.

WACR; Times Herald, 17 February 1942, 18 February 1942; Star, 19
February 1942; Rohwer, p. 78.

MAUNA LOA

D: 2-16-42 
YB: 1919
T: 1112 
Tn: 5,436
Pos: off Australian coast 
Dr: 24 ff.
Ow: Matson Navigation Co. 
C: general, 500 troops
Op: Matson Navigation Co. 
P: steam
M: Frederick R. Trask 
S: 10
A: unarmed

On 21 November, the Mauna Loa departed San Francisco, California,
bound for the Philippines. After stopping at Sydney, Australia, she
sailed to Darwin. On 15 February 1942, the USAT Meigs, Mauna Loa,
USAT Tulagi, and Portmar stood out at Darwin with five other ships
escorted by the USS Houston (CA-30) and USS Peary (DD-226) bound for
Koepang, Timor. On the 16th, two heavy four-motored Japanese sea
planes appeared over the convoy, and the USS Houston successfully
drove them away. At about 1115, on 16 February, four squadrons of
Japanese planes approached the convoy in horizontal rows of nine
planes each. The USS Houston began maneuvering at high speed and
fired on the planes while the convoy scattered. The Mauna Loa
steamed at a speed of ten knots while the helmsman threw the wheel
hard to starboard or port as each succeeding wave released its
bombs. After the attack it was discovered that all four ships had
developed leaks resulting from the near misses. The Mauna Loa
received one glancing blow in the #2 hold. One man among the crew of
eight officers and thirty men died as a result of this attack. The
bomb also killed 1 of the 500 troops on board and wounded 18 others.
The convoy was ordered back to Darwin, arriving there during the
morning of 18 February 1942.

NSS; WACR; WCSR; RWSA; TF; Stindt, pp. 118-19; Ships in Gray, p. 44.

E. H. BLUM

D: 2-16-42 
YB: 1941
T: 2033 
Tn: 11,615
Pos: offCape Henry Light House 
Dr: 15 ft. 7 in.
Ow: Atlantic Ref'ming Co. 
C: water ballast
Op: Atlantic Refining Co. 
P: steam
M: William L. Evans 
S: 4
A: unarmed

On 15 February, the E. H. Blum sailed in ballast from Philadelphia
to Hampton Roads, Virginia. In foggy weather the tanker hove to to
pick up a pilot and to receive permission to enter the Chesapeake.
While at slow speed she wandered into an American minefield 950
yards off the Cape Henry Lighthouse. The first explosion amidships
at the engine room lifted the bow six feet into the air. About
fifteen minutes later a second explosion ripped into the ship. The
master ordered the crew of eight officers and thirty-two men to
abandon ship. Using four lifeboats all hands successfully left the
ship as she struck a third mine. After forty minutes, the ship broke
in two at the pump room. The forward end of the vessel sank after an
hour and fifteen minutes. After spending nearly four and a half
hours in the boats, the forty survivors were picked up by the USCG
cutter Woodbury (WPC-155) and taken to Little Creek, Virginia. The
next day salvage crews boarded the after end and towed it into port.
Salvors later floated the forward end and joined it with the after
end. Only two men in the crew received injuries. The E. H. Blum
returned to service on 27 August 1943.

WACR; WCSR; Pilot, 27 February 1942; Times Herald, 19 February 1942;
Coast Guard at War, pp. 11-12; WarAction Casualties, p. 13.

MOKIHANA

D: 2-18-42 
YB: 1921
T: 2340 
Tn: 7,460
Pos: Port-of-Spain, Trinidad 
Dr: 26 ft. 10 in.
Ow: Matson Navigation Co. 
C: 7,300 tons general
Op: WSA 
P: steam
M: Charles Porta 
S: anchored
A: 1-3"; 4-50 cal.; 2-30 cal.

The Mokihana sailed from Baltimore, Maryland, to the Red Sea area
with a full cargo of lend-lease material for the Middle East. While
at anchor in Port-of- Spain, Trinidad, the U-161 (Achilles)
attacked. The Mokihana lay two miles from the wharf in forty feet of
water with all anchor, cargo, and port lights burning and
silhouetted against the lights on shore. The U-161's torpedo struck
the starboard side, just forward of the bridge. The explosion
created a hole approximately thirty-five feet by forty-five feet.
The crew of eight officers and twenty-eight men along with nine
armed guards remained on board and suffered no casualties. On 2 May
1942, after making temporary repairs, the ship left Port-of-Spain,
but had to be towed to the Virgin Islands and then to San Juan,
Puerto Rico, by the U.S. Navy tugs Partridge (AM-18) and Mankato
(YNT-8). After more repairs, she arrived at Galveston, Texas, on 15
June 1942.

NSS; WACR; WCSR; RWCS; AG; Rohwer, p. 79.

LAKE OSWEGA

D: 2-19-42 
YB: 1918
T: 0453 GWT 
Tn: 2,398
Pos: 43.14 N / 64.45 W 
Dr: unknown
Ow: Ford Motor Co. 
C: general
Op: Ford Motor Co. 
P: motor
M: Karl E. Prinz 
S: unknown
A: 2-3"

The Lake Oswega sailed from New York to Iceland via Halifax, Nova
Scotia. Before midnight, the U-96 (Lehmann-Willenbrock) intercepted
the freighter at sea. Several hours earlier the British SS Empire
Sea, three miles off the Lake Oswega's port quarter, had been
torpedoed by the same U-boat. From 500 yards the U-96 fired a single
shot at the zigzagging freighter. The torpedo struck the vessel
about amidships and broke her in two, and she sank quickly by the
bow. The German documents indicated that three lifeboats left the
ship, but none of the American freighter's eight officers,
twenty-two men, and seven armed guards survived.

WACR; WCSR; AG; WJ; Rohwer, p. 79.

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