Ships hit by U-boats

USS Electra (AK 21)

American Cargo transport

Photo courtesy of Lloyd Grady

NameUSS Electra (AK 21)
Type:Cargo transport (Arcturus)
Tonnage8,113 tons
Completed1942 - Tampa Shipbuilding Co Inc, Tampa FL 
OwnerUnited States Navy 
Date of attack15 Nov 1942Nationality:      American
FateDamaged by U-173 (Hans-Adolf Schweichel)
Position33° 59'N, 7° 28'W - Grid DJ 2284
Complement? men (1 dead and ? survivors).
ConvoyUGF-1 (dispersed)
RouteMehedia, Morocco (15 Nov) - Fedhala, Morocco 
CargoWar materials, including ammunition and aviation fuel in cans 
History Laid down as motor merchant Meteor of the C-2 type for the US Maritime Commission, completed in March 1942 as cargo transport USS Electra (AK 21). She participated in the following landings: North Africa, Marshalls, Eniwetok, Palau Islands, Saipan, Leyte Gulf, Lingayen Gulf and Iwo Jima and earned six battle stars for her World War 2 service.

In March 1946 returned to the US Maritime Commission and laid up as Meteor in the reserve fleet. In October 1951 reacquired by the US Navy and recommissioned as USS Eectra (AKA 4) in May 1952 for service in the Korea War. In May 1955 decommissioned and again laid up as part of the reserve fleet of the US Maritime Commission in July 1960. Broken up in Japan in June 1974. 
Notes on event

USS Electra (AK 21) (Cdr James Joseph Hughes, USN) was participating in Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa, in the Task Group 34.8 as part of convoy MKF-1. The ship had landed troops and material at Port Lyautey where many of her landing boats were lost.

At 07.40 hours on 15 Nov 1942 the unescorted USS Electra was hit on the starboard side in #3 hold by one torpedo from U-173 while steaming on a zigzag course at 14 knots off Casablanca. This hold and #2 hold flooded after a secondary explosion from ammunition carried as cargo. One passenger, an US Army sergeant, sleeping in #3 hold was killed. The ship immediately headed for the nearby coast until the engines stopped when water entered the engine room after 20 minutes. At 07.15 hours, the order was given to abandon ship and USS Cole (DD 155) (LtCdr G.G. Palmer, USN) came alongside to take off all crew members and passengers except a rescue party. Shortly thereafter the disabled ship was taken in tow by the tug USS Cherokee (AT 66) (Lt J.H. Lawson, USN) and USS Stansbury (DMS 8) (LtCdr J.B. Maher, USN). During the afternoon, the tow convoy was joined by USS Raven (AM 55) (LtCdr C.G. Rucker, USN) and USS Auk (AM 57) (LtCdr W.D. Ryan, USNR) to assist by pumping out the engine room and #2 hold. The next day USS Electra was docked by two French tugs in Casablanca Harbor, where she was unloaded and temporary repairs were carried out over the next months. On 11 April 1943, she left Casablanca in convoy under her own power and arrived at Charleston for permanent repairs on 30 April, returning to service as USS Electra (AKA 4) in July 1943.

More infoMore on this vessel 
On boardWe have details of 11 people who were on board

If you can help us with any additional information on this vessel then please contact us.

Return to Allied Ships hit by U-boats