Ships hit by U-boats

Pan Pennsylvania

American Turbine tanker

Photo courtesy of SSHSA Collection, University of Baltimore Library

NamePan Pennsylvania
Type:Turbine tanker (T-3)
Tonnage11,017 tons
Completed1943 - Welding Shipyards Inc, Norfolk VA 
OwnerNational Bulk Carriers Inc, New York 
Date of attack16 Apr 1944Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-550 (Klaus Hänert)
Position40° 07'N, 69° 24'W - Grid CA 6231
Complement81 (25 dead and 56 survivors).
RouteNew York (15 Apr) - Barry, Wales 
Cargo140,000 barrels of 80 octane gasoline and aircraft as deck cargo 
History Completed in November 1943 
Notes on event

At 14.05 hours on 16 April 1944 the Pan Pennsylvania (Master Delmar Melum Leidy) in station #72 of convoy CU-21 was hit by one torpedo from U-550 about 200 miles east of New York. The torpedo struck on port side in the #8 tank, causing an explosion that blew a large hole in the side, ruptured the #7 tank and disabled the steering gear. The tanker soon went down by the stern and listed to port about 30°. The master was not able to reach the engine room to order the engines stopped, while some of the nine officers, 41 crewmen and 31 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) on board panicked and tried to launch two lifeboats while the ship was still making headway. The master halted those at one boat, but the other was launched and capsized, throwing the occupants into the sea. After ascertaining the damage the tanker was finally stopped at 14.20 hours and the remaining men abandoned ship in the last two usable lifeboats and three rafts.

In the meantime, USS Gandy (DE 764), USS Joyce (DE 317) and USS Peterson (DE 152) had brought U-550 to the surface in the counter-attack and sank her. The latter two then picked up the survivors of the tanker about two hours after the attack and landed them in Londonderry on 26 April. Two officers, 13 crewmen and ten armed guards were lost, the most of them when the lifeboat capsized but three were crushed when they attempted to launch a lifeboat on the weather side and some drowned after jumping overboard.

The Pan Pennsylvania later capsized and was bombed and sunk by Allied aircraft two days later at 40°24N/69°37W.

On boardWe have details of 28 people who were on board

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