Ships hit by U-boats


American Steam tanker

Type:Steam tanker
Tonnage6,836 tons
Completed1920 - Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp, Sparrow´s Point MD 
OwnerSocony-Vacuum Oil Co Inc, New York 
HomeportNew York 
Date of attack30 Jan 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-106 (Hermann Rasch)
Position37° 10'N, 73° 58'W - Grid CA 8241
Complement35 (4 dead and 31 survivors).
RouteNew York - Corpus Christi, Texas 
Notes on event

At 18.05 hours on 30 Jan 1942 the unescorted and unarmed Rochester (Master Alden S. Clark) was hit by one stern torpedo from U-106 while steaming on a zigzag course at 10.4 knots about 85 miles east of the Chesapeake Lightship. One torpedo struck aft in the engine room, killed one officer and two crewmen on watch below, destroyed the engines and communications and damaged the rudder and propeller. The survivors among the eight officers and 27 crewmen abandoned ship in two lifeboats when the U-boat surfaced nearby. The Germans waited until both boats were clear of the tanker to finish her off with the deck gun, but it jammed after firing eight rounds from about 500 yards. At 18.38 hours, a coup de grâce was fired that hit amidships on the starboard side. The tanker immediately developed a list to starboard and sank after one hour.
The Samuel Q. Brown had observed the attack and sent radio messages that forced the U-boat to leave the area. The survivors were picked up after three hours by USS Roe (DD 418) off the Virginia Capes and landed in Norfolk the next morning. They had been spotted by an aircraft that dropped smoke bombs to lead the destroyer to them. One fireman died from burns on 14 February.

On boardWe have details of 5 people who were on board

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