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Convoy PQ 12 was an Arctic convoy sent from Great Britain by the Western Allies to aid the Soviet Union during World War II. It sailed in March 1942, reaching Murmansk despite a sortie against it by the German battleship Tirpitz. All ships arrived safely.

Contents

ShipsEdit

PQ 12 consisted of 16 ships under the command of Commodore HT Hudson. The Close Escort comprised the minesweeper Gossamer and five whalers. These were joined on 5 March by the Ocean Escort of two destroyers, Oribi, commanded by Cdr. JEH McBeath who took over as SOE, and Offa, supported by the cruiser Kenya.

Distant cover was provided by two Heavy Cover Forces; one comprising the battleship Duke of York (V. Adm. ATB Curteis commanding), the battlecruiser Renown, and six destroyers, sailing from Reykjavik, and another led by Adm. J Tovey comprising the battleship King George V, the carrier HMS Victorious, the cruiser Berwick and six destroyers, sailing from Scapa Flow.

ActionEdit

PQ 12 sailed from Reykjavik on 1 March 1942 with its Close Escort. It was joined on 5 March by the Ocean Escort, and on 6 March by the cruiser Kenya. Also at sea were the Heavy Cover Forces, V.Adm. Curteis from Reykjavik sailing on 3 March and Adm. Tovey from Scapa Flow on the 4th.

On 5 March the convoy was sighted by a German reconnaissance aircraft, and on 6 March, after obtaining permission from Hitler to do so, Tirpitz sortied from Trondheim with three destroyers as escort. This was Operation Sportpalast, and was intended to find and destroy both PQ 12 and its reciprocal, QP 8, which was also at sea.

Shortly after sailing Tirpitz was sighted by the patrolling submarine Seawolf, and the Heavy Cover Forces, now joined together, sought to bring Tirpitz to action.

Over the next two days these groups of ships manoeuvered around each other, without coming into contact, though on two occasions they were just 60 miles apart. Tirpitz had no success, though her destroyers encounteerd one straggler from QP 8, the freighter Ijora, and sank her. Finally on 9 March as Tirpitz headed for home, she was sighted by aircraft from Victorious and attacked, though also without success.

PQ 12 arrived at Murmansk on 12 March. No ships were lost, though the escort suffered one whaler lost, Shera, capsized by ice buildup, and one destroyer, Oribi, damaged by pack ice. On 24 March the Lancaster Castle was dive bombed alongside the quay in Murmansk. Eight men were killed. It was towed out and moored in the river. The crew continued to live on board. A few days later it was dive bombed again and received five direct hits. There were no casualties but the crew moved to shore.

PQ 12 provided valuable military equipment and other materials for the Soviet war effort. The distribution of equipment and supplies delivered with PQ 12 was the subject of a Soviet State Defence Committee decree.[1]

Ships in the convoyEdit

Allied merchant shipsEdit

The ships of the convoy arrived at Reykjavik on 27 February.[2][3]

Name Flag Tonnage (GRT) Notes
Artigas (1920)   Panama 5,613
Ballot (1922)   Panama 6,131 Dynamo defects, did not sail with PQ 12
Bateau (1926)   Panama 4,687 Returned
Beaconstreet (1927)   United Kingdom 7,467
Belomorcanal (1936)   Soviet Union 2,900
Capulin (1920)   Panama 4,977
Dneprostroi (1919)   Soviet Union 4,756
Earlston (1941)   United Kingdom 7,195
El Coston (1924)   Panama 7,286
El Occidente (1910)   Panama 6,008
Empire Byron (1941)   United Kingdom 6,645 Convoy Vice Commodore's ship
Kiev (1917)   Soviet Union 5,823 Position probable but not definite
Lancaster Castle (1937)   United Kingdom 5,172 Lost in Russia
Llandaff (1937)   United Kingdom 4,825 Convoy Commodore's ship, Captain H T Hudson RD RNR
Navarino (1937)   United Kingdom 4,825
Sevzaples (1932)   Soviet Union 3,974
Stone Street (1922)   Panama 6,131
Temple Arch (1940)   United Kingdom 5,138

Convoy escortsEdit

A series of armed military ships escorted the convoy at various times during its journey.[3]

Name Flag Type Joined Left
HMT Angle (FY201)   Royal Navy Naval trawler 1 March 1942 4 March 1942
HMS Ashanti (F51)   Royal Navy Tribal-class destroyer 6 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Bedouin (F67)   Royal Navy Tribal-class destroyer 6 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Berwick (65)   Royal Navy County-class cruiser 6 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMT Chiltern   Royal Navy Anti-submarine naval trawler 1 March 1942 4 March 1942
HMS Duke of York (17)   Royal Navy King George V-class battleship 6 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Echo (H23)   Royal Navy E-class destroyer 6 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Eclipse (H08)   Royal Navy E-class destroyer 6 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Eclipse (H08)   Royal Navy E-class destroyer 6 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Eskimo (F75)   Royal Navy E-class destroyer 6 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Faulknor (H62)   Royal Navy F-class destroyer 6 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Fury (H76)   Royal Navy F-class destroyer 6 March 1942 11 March 1942
HMS Gossamer (J63)[4]   Royal Navy Halcyon-class minesweeper 4 March 1942 10 March 1942
Gremyaschi   Soviet Union Gnevny-class destroyer 11 March 1942 12 March 1942
HMS Grove (L77)   Royal Navy Hunt-class destroyer 10 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Harrier (J71)   Royal Navy Halcyon-class minesweeper 11 March 1942 12 March 1942
HMS Hussar (J82)   Royal Navy Halcyon-class minesweeper 11 March 1942 12 March 1942
HMS Icarus (D03)   Royal Navy I-class destroyer 6 March 1942 11 March 1942
HMS Inconstant (H49)   Royal Navy I-class destroyer 10 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Intrepid (D10)   Royal Navy I-class destroyer 6 March 1942 11 March 1942
HMS Javelin (F61)   Royal Navy J-class destroyer 10 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Kenya (14)   Royal Navy Crown Colony-class cruiser 6 March 1942 12 March 1942
HMS King George V (41)   Royal Navy King George V-class battleship 6 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Lancaster (G05)   Royal Navy Town-class destroyer 10 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Ledbury (L90)   Royal Navy Hunt-class destroyer 10 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Lookout (G32)   Royal Navy L-class destroyer 6 March 1942 11 March 1942
HMT Notts County (FY250)   Royal Navy Anti-submarine naval trawler 1 March 1942 4 March 1942
HMS Offa (G29)   Royal Navy O-class destroyer 4 March 1942 12 March 1942
HMS Onslow (G17)   Royal Navy O-class destroyer 6 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Oribi (G66)   Royal Navy O-class destroyer 4 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Punjabi   Royal Navy Tribal-class destroyer 6 March 1942 11 March 1942
HMS Renown   Royal Navy Renown-class battlecruiser 6 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMT Shera (FY1724)   Royal Navy Anti-submarine whaler 4 March 1942 9 March 1942
HMT Shusa (FY1702)   Royal Navy Anti-submarine whaler 4 March 1942 12 March 1942
HMS Speedwell (J87)   Royal Navy Halcyon-class minesweeper 11 March 1942 12 March 1942
HMT Stefa (FY1702)   Royal Navy Anti-submarine whaler 4 March 1942 12 March 1942
HMT Stella Capella   Royal Navy Anti-submarine naval trawler 1 March 1942 4 March 1942
HMT Sulla (FY1874)   Royal Navy Anti-submarine whaler 4 March 1942 12 March 1942
HMT Svega (FY294)   Royal Navy Anti-submarine whaler 4 March 1942 12 March 1942
HMS Tartar (F43)   Royal Navy Tribal-class destroyer 9 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Verdun (L93)   Royal Navy V-class destroyer 10 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Victorious (R38)   Royal Navy Illustrious-class aircraft carrier 6 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Wells   Royal Navy Town-class destroyer 10 March 1942 10 March 1942
HMS Woolston   Royal Navy W-class destroyer 10 March 1942 10 March 1942

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Hill, Alexander (2006). "The Allocation of Allied "Lend-Lease" Aid to the Soviet Union Arriving with Convoy PQ 12, March 1942 — a State Defense Committee Decree". The Journal of Slavic Military Studies. 19 (4).
  2. ^ "Convoy PQ.12". Arnold Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Convoy HG.73". Arnold Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  4. ^ "HMS Gossamer 1942". HALCYON CLASS - MINESWEEPERS AND SURVEY SHIPS OF WORLD WAR TWO. Retrieved 15 October 2013.

ReferencesEdit