Convoy PQ 12
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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.
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.
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.
Ships in the convoyEdit
Allied merchant shipsEdit
|Ballot (1922)||Panama||6,131||Dynamo defects, did not sail with PQ 12|
|Beaconstreet (1927)||United Kingdom||7,467|
|Belomorcanal (1936)||Soviet Union||2,900|
|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|
A series of armed military ships escorted the convoy at various times during its journey.
- 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).
- "Convoy PQ.12". Arnold Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
- "Convoy HG.73". Arnold Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
- "HMS Gossamer 1942". HALCYON CLASS - MINESWEEPERS AND SURVEY SHIPS OF WORLD WAR TWO. Retrieved 15 October 2013.