Ships hit by U-boats


American Steam tanker

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Type:Steam tanker
Tonnage7,057 tons
Completed1921 - Union Construction Co, Oakland CA 
OwnerSocony-Vacuum Oil Co Inc, New York 
HomeportNew York 
Date of attack2 Apr 1942Nationality:      American
FateDamaged by U-123 (Reinhard Hardegen)
Position34° 11'N, 76° 08'W - Grid DC 1196
Complement34 (9 dead and 25 survivors).
RouteNew York (30 Mar) - Beaumont, Texas 
CargoWater ballast 
History Completed in February 1921

On 16 Feb 1945, the Liebre was taken over from the WSA on bareboat charter by the US Navy at Pearl Harbor and commissioned as mobile floating storage tanker USS Meredosia (IX 193).

Renamed Liebre by the US Maritime Commission after being decommissioned from the US Navy in February 1946. Broken up by H.H. Buncher Co at Mobile in April 1947.

Notes on event

At 07.18 hours on 2 April 1942 the unescorted and unarmed Liebre (Master Frank C. Giradeau) was missed by a torpedo from U-123, while steaming a zigzagging course at 10.5 knots about 17 miles east of Cape Lookout Outer buoy. The U-boat surfaced and began shelling the tanker for about 35 minutes. The first hit was scored on the starboard side well forward, thus the master changed the course to put the stern toward the U-boat. Another shell hit the after end of the flying bridge carrying away all controls. At least ten shells hit the midships house and crew quarters. Three shells penetrated the hull and one of these hit the generator, plunging the ship into darkness. The burning ship was stopped, a radio message was sent and the crew of eight officers and 26 crewmen began to abandon ship after 15 minutes in two lifeboats. One officer and eight men died, seven drowned when they jumped overboard and two died of shrapnel injuries. The British motor torpedo boat HMS MTB-332 appeared, forcing the U-boat to cease the attack and leave the area. The lifeboats were towed back to the tanker by a US Coast Guard boat and the master and nine crew members reboarded her eight hours after the attack, while one lifeboat with 15 men was towed to Morehead City, North Carolina by the US Coast Guard boat.

The tug Resolute and HMS St. Zeno (FY 280) (Lt J.K. Craig, RNVR) towed the Liebre into Morehead City, arriving there on 4 April. After temporary repairs were made, she was towed to Baltimore for reconstruction and returned to service on 19 July.

On boardWe have details of 11 people who were on board

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