Ships hit by U-boats


American Turbine tanker

Photo courtesy of SSHSA Collection, University of Baltimore Library

Type:Turbine tanker (T-2)
Tonnage10,172 tons
Completed1942 - Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co, Chester PA 
OwnerSocony-Vacuum Oil Co Inc, New York 
HomeportNew York 
Date of attack23 Nov 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-518 (Friedrich-Wilhelm Wissmann)
Position42° 25'N, 48° 27'W - Grid CC 3215
Complement59 (51 dead and 8 survivors).
RouteBaytown, Texas (11 Nov) - Iceland 
Cargo105.000 barrels of fuel oil and 300 drums of gasoline 
History Laid down as Dorchester Heights for US Maritime Commission, completed in May 1942 as Caddo for Socony-Vacuum Oil Co Inc, New York. 
Notes on event

At 06.36 hours on 23 Nov 1942 the unescorted Caddo (Master Paul B. Muller) was torpedoed by U-518, while proceeding on a zigzagging course, changing every six to nine minutes. The torpedo struck the port side at the pump room, just forward of the after bulkhead. The explosion ripped up the deck, tore a huge hole in the side, flooded the pump room and destroyed a lifeboat and a raft. As the Caddo began to settle by the stern the watch below secured the engines. The survivors of the complement of ten officers, 32 men and 17 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in, four 20mm and two .30cal guns) abandoned the ship after 30 minutes in three lifeboats and three rafts.
The tanker sank stern first at 08.30 hours and ten minutes later, the U-boat surfaced and took the master and the chief officer as prisoners. The boat in charge of the second mate with 17 men set course for Bermuda, but this boat capsized twice in heavy seas during the night of 7 December. Eight men drowned and three others died after the boat was righted. After 15 days at sea, the remaining three crewmen and three armed guards in this boat were picked up by the Spanish motor merchant Motomar in 38°10N/35°24W, 650 miles south of where the Caddo sank. On 24 December, they were landed at Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania and hospitalized. The 40 men in the other two lifeboats were never seen again.

The master Paul B. Muller died later in a POW camp and the chief officer was repatriated in 1945.

On boardWe have details of 53 people who were on board

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