Ships hit by U-boats

La Salle

American Steam merchant

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NameLa Salle
Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage5,462 tons
Completed1920 - Merchant Shipbuilding Corp, Chester PA 
OwnerWaterman Steamship Co, Mobile AL 
Date of attack7 Nov 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-159 (Helmut Friedrich Witte)
Position40° 00'S, 21° 30'E - Grid GR 7599
Complement60 (60 dead - no survivors)
RouteNew York - Guantanamo - Balboa, Canal Zone (26 Sep) - Cape Horn - Capetown 
Cargo6116 tons of trucks, steel and ammunition 
History Completed in November 1920 as George Peirce for US Shipping Board (USSB) and later laid up as part of the reserve fleet. 1940 renamed La Salle for Waterman Steamship Co, Mobile AL. 
Notes on event

At 22.50 hours on 7 Nov 1942 the unescorted La Salle (Master William Arthur Sillars) was hit by one torpedo from U-159 about 350 miles southeast of the Cape of Good Hope. The U-boat had followed the ship for five hours and already missed with a stern torpedo at 21.19 hours. The torpedo ignited the cargo of ammunition and the ship exploded, creating a fireball hundred meters high and completely destroyed the vessel. Bits of wreckage fell around the ship for several minutes afterwards and slightly wounded three men on watch in the conning tower of the U-boat. It is reported that the explosion was heard clearly at Cape Point Lighthouse over 300 miles away.
None of the eight officers, 32 crewmen and 20 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, four 20mm and two .30cal guns) survived.

On boardWe have details of 57 people who were on board

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