American Steam merchant
|Type:||Steam merchant (Liberty)|
|Completed||1943 - Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyards Inc, Baltimore MD|
|Owner||Prudential SS Co, New York|
|Date of attack||18 Mar 1943||Nationality: American|
|Fate||Sunk by U-521 (Klaus Heinrich Bargsten)|
|Position||38° 21'N, 19° 54'W - Grid CF 5675|
|Complement||70 (4 dead and 66 survivors).|
|Route||Baltimore - New York (4 Mar) - Casablanca|
|Cargo||5600 tons of general cargo, including sugar, coffee, explosives, coal, tractors, trucks, ambulances|
|History||Completed February 1943 |
|Notes on event|
At 20.34 hours on 17 March 1943, U-167 (Sturm) fired one T-3 and three FAT torpedoes at convoy UGS-6 about 500 miles west of Lisbon and heard one detonation after 3 minutes and sinking noises. The Molly Pitcher (Master David Martin Bailie) on her maiden voyage in station #82 was struck by one torpedo on the port side at the #3 hold. The blast damaged the forward bulkhead between holds #2 and #3, resulting in the flooding of both compartments. The helmsman deserted the wheel and the ship veered to port toward the center of convoy. After getting the ship under control, the master ordered the eight officers, 34 crewmen, 27 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in and nine 20mm guns) and one passenger (US Army Major) on board to abandon ship. They left the vessel with great confusion in three lifeboats and by jumping overboard, the engines still running and leaving 17 men behind. Two officers and two armed guards drowned. The ship began making circles and those left on board under command of the third mate managed to avoid the survivors and get the ship under way at 10 knots to rejoin convoy. But the compass had been damaged and they were not able to find convoy, so they abandoned ship at 23.30 hours on one raft and two improvised ones.
66 survivors were rescued by USS Champlin (DD 601), the American steam merchant William Johnson and USS Rowan (DD 405) and landed at Casablanca on 20 and 21 March. The license of the master was later suspended on a charge of misconduct. USS Champlin (DD 601) tried to scuttle the Molly Pitcher by a torpedo, but the ship remained afloat and was sunk by a coup de grâce from U-521 at 05.50 hours on 18 March.
|On board||We have details of 5 people who were on board.|
Attack entries for Molly Pitcher
|17 Mar 1943||U-167||KrvKpt. Kurt Sturm||Damaged||7,200|
|18 Mar 1943||U-521||Kptlt. Klaus Heinrich Bargsten||Sunk||7,200|
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