Ships hit by U-boats


American Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of the Mariners Museum, Newport News VA

Type:Steam merchant (Hog Island)
Tonnage5,037 tons
Completed1919 - American International Shipbuilding Corp, Hog Island PA 
OwnerIntercoastal Packing Co, Juneau AK 
Date of attack19 May 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-103 (Werner Winter)
Position23° 30'N, 86° 37'W - Grid DL 6271
Complement41 (19 dead and 22 survivors).
RouteCruz Grande, Chile - Panama City, Florida 
Cargo7660 tons of nitrate 
History Laid down as Scatacook, completed in July 1919 as Ogontz for US Shipping Board (USSB), Philadelphia. 
Notes on event

At 20.24 hours on 19 May 1942 the unescorted Ogontz (Master Adolph M. Wennerlund) was hit by one torpedo from U-103 about 70 miles southeast of Cozumel Island off Yucatan. The ship maintained a zigzag course at 11.5 knots and was chased by the U-boat for four hours. The torpedo struck on the starboard side below the navigating bridge at the bulkhead separating the fireroom and engine room. The engines were secured and the crew of seven officers, 30 crewmen and four armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, four .50cal and four .30cal guns) immediately began to abandon ship in two lifeboats and two rafts, because she sank by the bow within ten minutes. Two of the armed guards were lost because they refused to leave the ship and managed to fire one shot with the stern gun in the direction of the U-boat. When the ship sank a falling mast hit the lifeboat of the master causing most of the casualties. Altogether, the master, 16 crew members and two armed guards were lost. Two crew members swimming in the water were picked up by the U-boat and questioned before they were placed on a raft and given some cigarettes. All survivors were picked up the following day by the American steam tanker Esso Dover and landed at New Orleans on 22 May.

On boardWe have details of 20 people who were on board

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