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Convoy PQ 17 was the penultimate of the PQ/QP series of arctic convoys, bound from British ports through the Arctic Ocean via Reykjavík to the White Sea ports of the Soviet Union, particularly Murmansk and Archangel. The convoy was heavily defended, but fearing an imminent attack by substantial German surface forces, the Admiralty made the decision to disperse the convoy.

The convoy comprised 35 merchant ships and 6 naval auxiliaries (41 in all) and was defended by a close escort and two distant escort forces, 43 warships in total. It was opposed by a U-boat group, Eisteufel, of first 6, then 8 U-boats, and a surface attack force of 16 warships, in two battle groups. This operation was code-named Rösselsprung. These were assisted by the 234 aircraft of Luftflotte 5.

Before the convoy dispersed, three ships had been lost. After it scattered each ship began its individual journey to the Russian ports. Some ships took refuge along the frozen coast of Novaya Zemlya, landing at Matochkin.[1] The Soviet tanker Azerbaijan had lost her cargo of linseed oil, and much of SS Winston-Salem's cargo had also been jettisoned in Novaya Zemlya.[2]

Of the forty-one ships which left Iceland, three were forced to return, and twenty-four were sunk.[3] Ten merchant ships (one British, six American, one Panamanian and two Russian) and four auxiliaries reached Archangel, and delivered 70,000 tons out of the 200,000 which had started from Iceland. Fourteen American ships in all were sunk.[4]

Allied forcesEdit

MerchantsEdit

  This along with the * indicates that the ship was sunk

EscortsEdit

Name Class Navy Date joined Date departed Notes
HMS Ashanti Tribal-class destroyer   Royal Navy 1 July 4 July
HMT Ayrshire ASW trawler   Royal Navy 27 June 4 July
HMS Blankney Hunt-class destroyer   Royal Navy 29 June 4 July
HMS Britomart Halcyon-class minesweeper   Royal Navy 27 June 4 July
HMS Cumberland County-class heavy cruiser   Royal Navy 29 June 4 July
HMS Dianella Flower-class corvette   Royal Navy 30 June 4 July
HMS Duke of York King George V-class battleship   Royal Navy 29 June 4 July
HMS Escapade E-class destroyer   Royal Navy 29 June 4 July
HMS Faulknor F-class destroyer   Royal Navy 29 June 4 July
HMS Fury F-class destroyer   Royal Navy 30 June 4 July
HMS Halcyon Halcyon-class minesweeper   Royal Navy 27 June 4 July
HMS Keppel Shakespeare-class destroyer leader   Royal Navy 30 June 4 July
HMS La Malouine Flower-class corvette   Royal Navy 30 June 4 July
HMS Leamington Town-class destroyer   Royal Navy 30 June 4 July
HMS Ledbury Hunt-class destroyer   Royal Navy 30 June 4 July
HMS London County-class heavy cruiser   Royal Navy 1 July 4 July
HMT Lord Austin ASW trawler   Royal Navy 27 June 4 July
HMS Lotus Flower-class corvette   Royal Navy 30 June 4 July
HMS Marne M-class destroyer   Royal Navy 29 June 4 July
HMS Martin M-class destroyer   Royal Navy 29 June 4 July
USS Mayrant Benham-class destroyer   United States 1 July 4 July
HMS Middleton Hunt-class destroyer   Royal Navy 27 June 4 July
HMS Nigeria Crown Colony-class light cruiser   Royal Navy 29 June 4 July
HMS Norfolk County-class heavy cruiser   Royal Navy 1 July 4 July
HMT Northern Gem ASW trawler   Royal Navy 27 June 4 July
HMS Offa O-class destroyer   Royal Navy 30 June 4 July
HMS Onslaught O-class destroyer   Royal Navy 29 June 4 July
HMS Onslow O-class destroyer   Royal Navy 1 July 4 July
HMS P614 P611-class submarine   Royal Navy 30 June 4 July
HMS P615 P611-class submarine   Royal Navy 27 June 4 July
HMS Palomares Anti-aircraft ship   Royal Navy 27 June 4 July
HMS Poppy Flower-class corvette   Royal Navy 30 June 4 July
HMS Pozarica Anti-aircraft ship   Royal Navy 27 June 4 July
USS Rhind Benham-class destroyer   United States 1 July 4 July
USS Rowan Benham-class destroyer   United States 1 July 4 July
HMS Salamander Halcyon-class minesweeper   Royal Navy 27 June 4 July
USS Tuscaloosa New Orleans-class heavy cruiser   United States 1 July 4 July
HMS Victorious Illustrious-class aircraft carrier   Royal Navy 29 June 4 July
USS Wainwright Sims-class destroyer   United States 1 July 4 July
USS Washington North Carolina-class battleship   United States 29 June 4 July
HMS Wheatland Hunt-class destroyer   Royal Navy 29 June 4 July
USS Wichita Wichita-class heavy cruiser   United States 1 July 4 July
HMS Wilton Hunt-class destroyer   Royal Navy 30 June 4 July

Axis forcesEdit

U-boatsEdit

Name Commander Ships sunk Ships damaged Notes
U-88 Heino Bohmann 2 0
U-251 Heinrich Timm 1 0
U-255 Reinhart Reche 4 0
U-334 Hilmar Siemon 2 0
U-355 Günter La Baume 1 0
U-376 Friedrich-Karl Marks 1 0
U-456 Max-Martin Teichert 1 0
U-457 Karl Brandenburg 2 0
U-703 Heinz Bielfeld 2 0

Surface shipsEdit

Name Class 1st
departure
Fate 2nd
departure
Notes
Tirpitz Bismarck-class battleship 2 July 1942 5 July 1942
Admiral Hipper Admiral Hipper-class cruiser 2 July 1942 5 July 1942
Z14 Friedrich Ihn Type 1934A destroyer 2 July 1942 5 July 1942
Z10 Hans Lody Type 1934A destroyer 2 July 1942 ran aground N/A
Z20 Karl Galster Type 1936 destroyer 2 July 1942 ran aground N/A
Z06Z6 Theodor Riedel Type 1934A destroyer 2 July 1942 ran aground N/A
Z04Z4 Richard Beitzen Type 1934 destroyer ? 5 July 1942 joined later
T07T7 Type 35 torpedo boat 2 July 1942 5 July 1942
T15 Type 37 torpedo boat 2 July 1942 5 July 1942
Lützow Deutschland-class cruiser 3 July 1942 ran aground N/A
Admiral Scheer Deutschland-class cruiser 3 July 1942 5 July 1942
Z24 Type 1936A destroyer 3 July 1942 5 July 1942
Z27 Type 1936A destroyer 3 July 1942 5 July 1942
Z28 Type 1936A destroyer 3 July 1942 5 July 1942
Z29 Type 1936A destroyer 3 July 1942 5 July 1942
Z30 Type 1936A destroyer 3 July 1942 5 July 1942
Dithmarschen Oiler 3 July 1942 N/A

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Riesenberg, Sea War, Part 773., p. 320
  2. ^ Morison, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, p. 187
  3. ^ Helgason, Gudmundur, "PQ-17 The Greatest Convoy Disaster", German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net, retrieved 16 April 2009
  4. ^ Churchill, The Second World War, Volume IV, p. 237

ReferencesEdit

  • Churchill, Winston S. (1951), The Second World War: Volume IV, The Hinge of Fate, Cassell & Co. Ltd.
  • Connell, G. G. (1982), Arctic destroyers: the 17th Flotilla, W. Kimber, ISBN 978-0-7183-0428-7
  • Hill, Roger P. (1986), Destroyer Captain, Periscope Publishing Ltd., ISBN 1-904381-25-1
  • Hinsley F.H., Francis; Eastaway Thomas, Edward (1990), British intelligence in the Second World War: its influence on strategy and operations, Volume II, H.M.S.O, ISBN 978-0-11-630934-1
  • Langer, John D. (1979), The Harriman-Beaverbrook Mission and the Debate over Unconditional Aid for the Soviet Union, 1941, Journal of Contemporary History, ISSN 0022-0094
  • Moore, Arthur R. (1984), "A careless word-- a needless sinking": a history of the staggering losses suffered by the U.S. Merchant Marine, both in ships and personnel during World War II, American Merchant Marine Museum
  • Morison, Samuel E. (2001), History of United States Naval Operations in World War II: The Battle of the Atlantic, September 1939-May 1943, Volume 1 of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, University of Illinois Press, ISBN 978-0-252-06963-5
  • Riesenberg, Felix (1956), Sea War, Part 773, Rinehart
  • Schofield, Bernard (1964) The Russian Convoys BT Batsford. ISBN (none)
  • The Bookseller (1971), Issues 3394-3405, Authors Publishers' Association, Booksellers Association of Great Britain and Ireland, ISBN 978-0-340-12512-0
  • The London Gazette, Issue 39041 (17 October 1950), Supplement To The London Gazette: Convoys to North Russia:1942
  • Frayn Turner, John (2002), Fight for the sea: naval adventures from World War II, Naval Institute Press, ISBN 978-1-55750-884-3
  • Winton, John (1988), Ultra at sea, Leo Cooper, ISBN 0-85052-883-6
  • Wynn, Kenneth G. (1997), U-boat Operations of the Second World War: Career histories, U1-U510, Chatham, ISBN 978-1-55750-860-7

External linksEdit