Ships hit by U-boats


Norwegian Steam merchant

Breiviken under her former name Kronstad. Photo courtesy of Norsk Maritimt Museum

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage2,669 tons
Completed1911 - William Dobson & Co, Walker-on-Tyne 
OwnerHaakon J. Wallem, Bergen 
Date of attack4 Jul 1943Nationality:      Norwegian
FateSunk by U-178 (Wilhelm Dommes)
Position21° 50'S, 37° 50'E - Grid KE 7471
Complement36 (3 dead and 33 survivors).
ConvoyDN-50 (dispersed)
RouteLourenço Marques - Durban (1 Jul) - Mombasa 
Cargo3812 tons of coal 
History Completed in May 1911 as Kronstad for A/S Grefstad & Herlofsens D/S, Arendal. 1932 renamed Breiviken for Haakon J. Wallem, Bergen. 
Notes on event

At 14.07 hours on 4 July 1943, U-178 fired a spread of three G7e torpedoes at the Breiviken (Master Alf Vasdal), dispersed from convoy DN-50 off Portuguese East Africa. One torpedo hit on the starboard side between holds #1 and #2 after 134 seconds and caused the ship to sink by the bow within three minutes, capsizing to starboard. Three crewmen, including the British radio officer, were lost out of the 34 crewmen and two gunners aboard. About 20 survivors were picked up from the sea by the U-boat, where the master was questioned by an officer who spoke very good Norwegian. The Germans had spotted another ship before attacking Breiviken, nevertheless they spent 30 minutes with the rescue operation and then headed off after placing all survivors on rafts. U-178 did not catch the first ship sighted, but came across Michael Livanos and sank her at 20.36 hours.

The survivors of Breiviken later found two drifting lifeboats from their own ship, righted and bailed them. On 7 July, they reached the coast at Punta da Barra False, where they were taken care of by the lighthouse keeper and his wife and were later sent to Durban.

More infoMore on this vessel 
On boardWe have details of 36 people who were on board

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