Ships hit by U-boats


American Motor tanker

Photo courtesy of Sun Refining & Marketing Co

Type:Motor tanker
Tonnage9,002 tons
Completed1928 - Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co, Chester PA 
OwnerSun Oil Company, Philadelphia PA 
Date of attack16 May 1942Nationality:      American
FateDamaged by U-506 (Erich Würdemann)
Position28° 41'N, 90° 19'W - Grid DA 9521
Complement42 (0 dead and 42 survivors).
RouteChester, Pennsylvania - Beaumont, Texas 
CargoWater ballast 
History Completed in July 1928

At 16.43 hours on 23 Feb 1942, the unescorted and unarmed Sun (Master Cornelius Van Gemert) was hit aft of midships on the port side by one torpedo from U-502 about 54 miles north of Aruba in 13°02N/70°41W. The tanker was en route from Chester to Aruba in water ballast. The explosion ripped the side and bottom almost completely out and tore out most of the inner structure and framework. The crew of eight officers and 28 crewmen initially abandoned ship in two lifeboats but reboarded the vessel after an aircraft was sighted. The tanker anchored near the Venezuelan coast until the following morning and then sailed to Aruba with air escort. She returned to Chester after temporary repairs were made at Aruba.

1954 sold to Greece and renamed Nonna Despo. Broken up at Tokyo in August 1959. 
Notes on event

At 11.01 hours on 16 May 1942 the unescorted Sun (Master John Peter Bakke) was hit at the port bow by a torpedo from U-506 near Southwest Pass, Louisiana. The explosion opened a hole of approximately 30 by 20 feet, bulged out some plates on the opposite side and ruptured the lower deck in several places. The tanker first stopped but soon turned away at full speed and the armed guards manning the guns, reaching New Orleans for repairs about 14 hours later. All eight officers, 29 crewmen and five armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in and four .30cal guns) survived. The U-boat did not chase the Sun because it attacked the William C. McTarnahan only a few minutes later.

On boardWe have details of 2 people who were on board

Attack entries for Sun

DateU-boatCommanderLoss typeTonsNat.
23 Feb 1942U-502Kptlt. Jürgen von RosenstielDamaged9,002  
16 May 1942U-506Kptlt. Erich WürdemannDamaged9,002  

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