Ships hit by U-boats


Swedish Motor merchant

Photo courtesy of Sjöhistoriska Museet, Stockholm

Type:Motor merchant
Tonnage15,355 tons (one of the largest ships sunk).
Completed1925 - Deutsche Werft AG, Betrieb Finkenwärder, Hamburg 
OwnerÅngfartygs-A/B Tirfing, Gothenburg 
Date of attack3 Feb 1942Nationality:      Swedish
FateSunk by U-106 (Hermann Rasch)
Position36° 36'N, 74° 10'W - Grid CA 8458
Complement39 (5 dead and 34 survivors).
RouteSparrows Point, Maryland (31 Jan) - Cristobal - Cruz Grande, Chile 
History Completed in June 1925 
Notes on event

At 03.23 hours on 3 February 1942 the unescorted and unarmed ore carrier Amerikaland (Master Ragnar Schütz) was hit on the starboard side amidships below the bridge by one torpedo from U-106 while steaming on a non-evasive course at 12 knots about 90 miles east of Virginia Beach. At 03.52 hours, a stern torpedo struck on the starboard side aft in the engine room after a first coup de grâce missed at 03.30 hours. The ship developed a list to starboard and sank at 04.39 hours.

All crew members abandoned ship in three lifeboats which soon lost contact with each other in a snowstorm. On 6 February, the master and 10 crew members were picked up from one boat by the British steam merchant Port Halifax (Master R.P. Fuller) in 36°43N/72°23W and landed in New York the next day. One man in this boat died of exposure before it was located. Three men in the boat of the chief officer also died of exposure before the other six occupants were picked up by the Dutch motor merchant Castor in 36°11N/72°35W on 7 February and landed at Willemstad, Curaçao on 13 February. The boat in charge of the second engineer almost swamped during the storm and the survivors had to bail it out constantly. The boatswain died of exposure in this lifeboat before its occupants were picked up after three days by the Brazilian steam merchant Taubate and taken to Recife, arriving on 22 February. Many of the survivors suffered from frostbite.

On boardWe have details of 20 people who were on board

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