Ships hit by U-boats

Knoxville City

American Steam merchant

Photo from City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 447-2383.2

NameKnoxville City
Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage5,686 tons
Completed1921 - Chickasaw Shipbuilding & Car Co, Chickasaw AL 
OwnerIsthmian SS Co, New York 
HomeportNew York 
Date of attack2 Jun 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-158 (Erwin Rostin)
Position21° 15'N, 83° 50'W - Grid DM 7132
Complement55 (2 dead and 53 survivors).
RouteNew York - Trinidad - Suez 
Cargo7585 tons of general cargo 
History Completed in August 1921 for US Shipping Board (USSB) 
Notes on event

At 02.57 hours on 2 June 1942 the unescorted Knoxville City (Master George P. Shanahan) was torpedoed by U-158 about 50 miles southeast of Cape Corrientes, Cuba, while steaming a zigzag course at 10 knots after being dispersed from a convoy. One torpedo struck on the starboard side in the engine room, 20 feet below the waterline. The explosion killed two men on watch below, stopped the engines immediately, caused the boilers to explode, destroyed both starboard lifeboats and carried away the radio antenna. A distress signal was sent with the emergency radio, but no answer was received. After five minutes, most of the nine officers, 28 crewmen, 14 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in, four 20mm and two .30cal guns) and four passengers abandoned ship within 20 minutes in the two remaining lifeboats. One hour later, a coup de grĂ¢ce hit the vessel, which sank ten minutes later.

The Brazilian merchant Jamaica offered to take the survivors to New Orleans, but they declined the offer because she was dimly lit and they thought the U-boat might still be nearby. 48 hours after the attack, the survivors made landfall at La Calina, Cuba with the help of the Cuban gunboat Donativo.

On boardWe have details of 4 people who were on board

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