Ships hit by U-boats

Roger B. Taney

American Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of William F. Hultgren

NameRoger B. Taney
Type:Steam merchant (Liberty)
Tonnage7,191 tons
Completed1942 - Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyards Inc, Baltimore MD 
OwnerWaterman Steamship Co, Mobile AL 
Date of attack8 Feb 1943Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-160 (Georg Lassen)
Position22° 00'S, 7° 45'W - Grid GF 2224
Complement57 (3 dead and 54 survivors).
RouteSuez (31 Dec) - Saldanha Bay - Bahia - Paramaribo - USA 
History Completed in February 1942 
Notes on event

At 00.13 hours on 8 Feb 1943 the unescorted Roger B. Taney (Master Thomas James Potter) was hit by a torpedo from U-160 in the South Atlantic. At midnight a lookout had spotted a torpedo wake passing 20 yards ahead of the bow and the ship made a 90° turn but the U-boat was able to follow. The torpedo struck on the starboard side at the engine room, killed one officer and two crewmen on watch below, ruptured the steam lines, stopped the engines, started a fire in the midship house and destroyed two lifeboats. The 19 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in, four .50cal and two .30cal guns) fired five rounds in the direction of the torpedo track and remained on board when the eight officers, 29 crewmen and one passenger abandoned ship in two lifeboats about 20 minutes after the hit. At 02.33 hours, a coup de grâce was fired that hit the #4 hold and caused a tremendous explosion. The armed guards now abandoned ship on two rafts and were picked up by the boats at dawn. The U-boat surfaced and the Germans questioned the survivors before leaving the area.

The boats tried to stay together but became separated after 36 hours. The 15 crew members and 13 armed guards in one boat were picked up on 1 March by the British motor merchant Penrith Castle and landed at Bahia four days later. The master, 15 crew members, nine armed guards and one passenger in the other boat were picked up on 22 March by the Bagé about ten miles of the coast of Brazil between Rio de Janeiro and Santos after sailing more than 2000 miles.

On boardWe have details of 15 people who were on board

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