American Steam merchant
|Completed||1920 - Merchant Shipbuilding Corp, Chester PA|
|Owner||Waterman Steamship Co, Mobile AL|
|Date of attack||7 Nov 1942||Nationality: American|
|Fate||Sunk by U-159 (Helmut Witte)|
|Position||40° 00'S, 21° 30'E - Grid GR 7599|
|Complement||60 (60 dead - no survivors)|
|Route||New York - Guantanamo - Balboa, Canal Zone (26 Sep) - Cape Horn - Capetown|
|Cargo||6116 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.
|On board||We have details of 57 people who were on board.|
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