American Steam merchant
|Type:||Steam merchant (Liberty)|
|Completed||1943 - Southeastern Shipbuilding Co, Savannah GA|
|Owner||South Atlantic Steamship Co, Savannah GA|
|Date of attack||17 Mar 1943||Nationality: American|
|Fate||Sunk by U-758 (Helmut Manseck)|
|Position||50.38N, 34.46W - Grid BD 1378|
|Complement||74 (44 dead and 30 survivors).|
|Route||New York (8 Mar) - Liverpool|
|Cargo||8000 tons of steel, cotton, food and a deck cargo of aircraft, tractors and trucks|
|History||Completed February 1943 |
|Notes on event|
Between 00.23 and 00.25 hours on 17 Mar, 1943, U-758 fired two FAT and two G7e torpedoes at the convoy HX-229 and reported three ships sunk and another damaged. In fact, the Zaanland and James Oglethorpe were sunk and the Dutch motor tanker Magdala (8248 tons) missed.
The James Oglethorpe (Master Albert W. Long) on her maiden voyage in station #93 was struck by one torpedo on the starboard side at the forward section of the #2 hold. The ship began settling by the head with her rudder stuck and a starboard list. A fire in the #1 hold was extinguished within 15 minutes by the crew. 43 men of the eight officers, 36 crewmen, 26 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) and four passengers (US Navy personnel) abandoned ship without orders in two lifeboats, while the vessel made large circles to port at 8 knots. The fall of one boat was cut prematurely and threw its occupants into the sea, drowning 13 men. Another man died when he fell into the water while trying to get into the second boat. The three officers, 10 crewmen, two passengers and 15 armed guards in the second boat were picked up by the HMS Pennywort (K 111) and landed at Londonderry on 22 March.
The James Oglethorpe tried to reach St.Johns, but was never seen again. The master and 29 men who remained on board were lost. The ship probably foundered en route by the damage received by the torpedo hit or she was sunk in the morning by a coup de grâce from U-91 (Walkerling), but this U-boat is credited with sinking the stragglers Irénée Du Pont and Nariva.
|On board||We have details of 42 people who were on board.|
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