Ships hit by U-boats

James Eagan Layne

American Steam merchant

NameJames Eagan Layne
Type:Steam merchant (Liberty)
Tonnage7,176 tons
Completed1944 - Delta Shipbuilding Co, New Orleans LA 
OwnerUS Navigation Co Inc, New York 
HomeportNew Orleans 
Date of attack21 Mar 1945Nationality:      American
FateA total loss by U-399 (Heinz Buhse)
Position50° 13'N, 4° 05'W - Grid BF 2296
Complement69 (0 dead and 69 survivors).
RouteBarry, Wales (20 Mar) - Ghent, Belgium 
Cargo4500 tons of US Army Engineers equipment and motorboats and lumber as deck cargo 
History Completed in December 1944 
Notes on event

At 13.35 hours on 21 March 1945 the James Eagan Layne (Master William Albert Sleek) in convoy BTC-103 was torpedoed by U-399 about 12 miles off Plymouth, while steaming in station #21, as the lead ship in the starboard column with the Vice Commodore on board. A torpedo struck on the starboard side just aft of the bulkhead between #4 and #5 holds. The explosion threw water 20 feet over the main deck, blew of the #5 hatch cover, caused a crack in the hull on the port side from the waterline to the bulkwarks at #4 hatch and damaged the shaft and steering gear. The engines were secured, as the after bulkhead of the engine room gave way after the two holds were flooded. 15 minutes after the hit, the eight officers, 34 crewmen and 27 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) abandoned ship in four lifeboats and two rafts. The most survivors were picked up by the British steam merchant Monkstone and landed at Southampton. The remainder were taken aboard of HMS Flaunt (W 152). The master, 14 crewmen and four armed guards reboarded the ship one hour after the attack and prepared the freighter to be towed. About seven miles from the Plymouth breakwater, the tug began towing the vessel to Whitesand Bay, aided by HMS Atlas (W 41). She was beached there at 19.00 hours and eventually settled on the bottom with only her masts and stack showing at high water. The ship was declared a total loss.

The ship was named in honor of the second engineer of Esso Baton Rouge who was lost when she was torpedoed by U-123 (Hardegen) on 8 April 1942.

On boardWe have details of 1 people who were on board

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