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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