Ships hit by U-boats


French Motor passenger ship

Type:Motor passenger ship
Tonnage10,387 tons
Completed1924 - Ateliers & Chantiers de la Loire, Nantes 
OwnerCo Française de Navigation à Vapeur Chargeurs Réunis, Paris 
HomeportLe Havre 
Date of attack28 May 1940Nationality:      French
FateSunk by U-37 (Victor Oehrn)
Position42° 43'N, 11° 00'W - Grid BF 7787
Complement576 (379 dead and 197 survivors).
RouteBordeaux (26 May) - Casablanca - Dakar - West African ports - New Caledonia 
Cargo850 tons of general cargo, including wine, liquor and 1000 bags of mail 
History Completed in November 1924 as motor merchant Camranh for Co Française de Navigation à Vapeur Chargeurs Réunis, Paris. 1927 converted to the motor passenger ship Brazza 1936 lenghtened. 
Notes on event

At 09.24 hours on 28 May 1940 the Brazza (Master François Pierre Marie Rébillard, CdG) was hit on the starboard side by two stern torpedoes from U-37 about 80 miles west of Cape Finisterre. She was the only ship in convoy 60-XF, escorted by Enseigne Henry (EV Jean Le Tallec) off the starboard quarter, steaming on a zigzag course at 12 knots. The torpedoes struck just aft of the second funnel and further aft, causing the ship to immediately list 10° to starboard and setting her on fire. The list increased to 40° in a few minutes, making it very difficult for the 132 crew members and 444 passengers to abandon ship in the rough sea. Brazza settled quickly and sank almost vertically by the stern less than five minutes after being hit. Because no periscope or torpedo tracks had been seen the escort vessel began to pick up survivors instead of searching the U-boat and launched its whale boat and dinghy. The rescue work was hampered and slowed down by the weather and the wide dispersion of the survivors clinging to wreckage or rafts. HMS Cheshire (F 18) (Capt M.R. Bernard, RN) on patrol off Vigo was ordered to assist, arrived four hours after the attack and screened Enseigne Henry until the last survivors were picked up at 13.50 hours. The escort vessel then searched the area for one hour before proceeding to Lorient at 12 knots, where she arrived in the early morning of 30 May. The master, 79 crew members and 299 passengers were lost. 52 crew members, 98 military passengers (56 French Navy, 17 French Army and 25 Colonial Troops) and 47 civilian passengers (20 men 19 women and eight children) survived the sinking.

Brazza sinking after being torpedoed

On boardWe have details of 37 people who were on board

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