Ships hit by U-boats


American Patrol craft

NameUSS PE-56
Type:Patrol craft (Eagle)
Tonnage430 tons
Completed1919 - Ford Motor Company, Detroit MI 
OwnerUnited States Navy 
Date of attack23 Apr 1945Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-853 (Helmut Frömsdorf)
Position43° 33'N, 70° 10'W - Grid BA 97
Complement62 officers and men (49 dead and 13 survivors).
History Completed in October 1919 as submarine chaser USS Eagle No. 56. On 17 Jul 1920, reclassified as patrol craft USS PE-56. On 28 Feb 1942, the vessel picked up the survivors of USS Jacob Jones (DD 130) which had been sunk by U-578 (Rehwinkel) earlier that day off Cape May. 
Notes on event

About noon on 23 April 1945, USS PE-56 (Lt James Early, USNR) broke in two and sank after a heavy explosion amidships, while towing targets for US Navy bomber exercises 3 miles south-southeast of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The commander, four officers and 44 ratings were lost. One officer and twelve ratings were picked up about 30 minutes later by USS Selfridge (DD 357) which shortly thereafter dropped nine depth charges without result on a nearby sonar contact. U-853 was known to operate in the area, but could not report her success because she was herself lost a few days later. Some survivors reported the sighting of a conning tower and saw the colors of the emblem on U-853.

Revisions In June 2001 the US Navy finally changed its assessment of the loss of USS PE-56. The original assessment claimed that the ship had been sunk by a boiler explosion - in stark contrast to what the survivors of the ship reported. 
More infoMore on this vessel 
On boardWe have details of 62 people who were on board

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Media links

U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor
(£ 38.25)

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