Ships hit by U-boats


American Steam tanker

Photo courtesy of Texaco Archives

Type:Steam tanker
Tonnage9,264 tons
Completed1940 - Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co, Chester PA 
OwnerThe Texas Co, Wilmington DE 
Date of attack8 Apr 1942Nationality:      American
FateDamaged by U-123 (Reinhard Hardegen)
Position31° 18'N, 80° 59'W - Grid DB 6177
Complement37 (19 dead and 18 survivors).
RoutePort Arthur, Texas - Providence, Rhode Island 
Cargo105,000 barrels of refined petroleum products 

Completed in December 1940

At 05.45 hours on 28 Mar 1945, the unescorted Oklahoma (Master Alfred Mathesen) was sunk by U-532 (Junker).

Notes on event

At 07.52 hours on 8 April 1942 the unescorted and unarmed Oklahoma (Master Theron P. Davenport) was hit by one G7a torpedo from U-123 about 10 miles off St. SimonĀ“s Island, Georgia, while proceeding on a nonevasive course on the inshore route at 16 knots. The U-boat had spotted two tankers and one freighter in the bright moonlight. The torpedo struck the engine room and she quickly settled by the stern in 40 feet of water and the stern rested on the bottom after 45 minutes with the bow still visible over the water. Most of the eight officers and 29 men abandoned ship in three lifeboats, but the master and three men reboarded the vessel when they heard screams. They found one of the officers critically wounded, who subsequently died and they could not reach some of the 18 missing men apparently trapped below. The radio operator sent another distress message and then abandoned ship again.

In the meantime, the U-boat had torpedoed the Esso Baton Rouge at 08.44 hours, which caught fire and sank in shallow waters and then returned to finish off the Oklahoma with gunfire. Twelve rounds were fired and five hits scored on the bridge and bow after which the tanker caught fire. The survivors of both ships headed together for the Georgia coast. The next morning an US Coast Guard boat took them in tow and landed them at Brunswick.

The Oklahoma was later refloated and towed to Chester, Pennsylvania where she was rebuilt and returned to service in December 1942.

On boardWe have details of 20 people who were on board

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