Ships hit by U-boats


American Steam tanker

Photo courtesy of SSHSA

Type:Steam tanker
Tonnage8,300 tons
Completed1921 - Northwest Bridge & Iron Co, Portland OR 
OwnerSwiftscout SS Co (Marine Transport Lines), Jersey City NJ 
Date of attack18 Apr 1945Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-857 (Rudolf Premauer)
Position37° 30'N, 73° 03'W - Grid CA 5897
Complement47 (1 dead and 46 survivors).
RoutePhiladelphia (16 Apr) - Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela 
Cargo40.000 barrels of salt water ballast 
Notes on event

At 03.25 hours on 18 April 1945 the unescorted Swiftscout (Master Peter Katsaris) was hit on the port side by one torpedo from U-857 about 145 miles northeast of Cape Henry. The torpedo struck at the #6 tank just abaft amidships and broke the back of the ship. The armed guards spotted the U-boat about 650 yards away and opened fire, but the Germans dived and fired at 07.35 hours another torpedo which hit abaft of the first hit and blew the hatch covers off. One crewman was badly wounded. The bow and stern raised above the water as the tanker completely broke in two. The nine officers, 28 crewmen and ten armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) abandoned ship in four lifeboats and two rafts only minutes before the ship sank by the stern. The chief officer drowned as he tried to reach one of the boats and two crew members and two gunners were injured during abandonment. The bow was observed to sink and reappear several times before finally disappearing. About five hours later, the survivors were picked up by the steam tanker Chancellorsville, transferred to a US Coast Guard boat at Lynnhaven Roads and landed at Little Creek, Virginia on 19 April.

It is also possible that U-879 (Manchen) torpedoed this ship, but both U-boats were lost during April 1945 in that area and this success can not be definitely assigned to one of the boats.

On boardWe have details of 9 people who were on board

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