Ships hit by U-boats

Nathanael Greene

American Steam merchant

NameNathanael Greene
Type:Steam merchant (Liberty)
Tonnage7,176 tons
Completed1942 - North Carolina Shipbuilding Co, Wilmington NC 
OwnerUS Lines Inc, New York 
Date of attack24 Feb 1943Nationality:      American
FateDamaged by U-565 (Wilhelm Franken)
Position35° 56'N, 0° 05'E - Grid CH 8459
Complement57 (4 dead and 53 survivors).
RouteMostaganem, Algeria (24 Feb) - Algiers 
Cargo1300 tons of general cargo and foodstuffs, 700 tons of ballast and a deck cargo of tanks and trucks 

Completed in February 1942

On 14 Sep 1942, the American steam merchant Mary Luckenbach in convoy PQ-18 was hit by a torpedo from a German aircraft, which ignited the cargo of explosives and the ship disintegrated in a huge explosion in 76°00N/10°00E. The Nathanael Greene (Master George Arlington Vickers) in station #72 (200 yards away) was hit by an immense amount of wreckage and concussion damaged bulkhead doors, while eleven crew members had been injured and one man was reported missing, having been blown overboard. The crew thought that their ship had been torpedoed and went to their boat stations, but were ordered back by the master. Five critically wounded men were later transferred to HMS Onslaught (G 04).
The Nathanael Greene was en route from Loch Ewe to North Russia with 5200 tons of general cargo. She was slightly damaged by bombs during other attacks on the convoy, but reached Molotovsk and discharged all her cargo.

Notes on event

At 13.54 hours on 24 Feb 1943 the Nathanael Greene (Master George Arlington Vickers) in convoy MKS-8 was hit on the starboard side by two of three torpedoes from U-565 about 40 miles northeast of Oran. The first torpedo struck between the #1 and #2 hatches and the second in the engine room. The explosions severely damaged the deck cargo, damaged the midships deckhouse, disabled the engines, destroyed the starboard boiler and flooded the forward compartments and the machinery spaces. One officer and three men on watch below were killed while seven others were injured.

Only a few minutes later, German aircraft attacked convoy and the disabled Nathanael Greene was hit amidships by one aerial torpedo. The most of the nine officers, 32 crewmen and 16 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in and four .50cal guns) abandoned ship in two lifeboats, while 26 men jumped directly on board of HMS Brixham (J 105), which came alongside and later picked up the remaining survivors from the boats and the water.
The minesweeper took the Nathanael Greene in tow until HMS Restive (W 39) took over at 21.00 hours and beached the vessel at Salamanda, four miles west of Mostaganem at 06.30 hours the next day. The ship was declared a total loss, but USS Redwing (ARS 4) managed to save at least 400 tons of her cargo.

On boardWe have details of 6 people who were on board

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