Ships hit by U-boats

USS Plymouth (PG 57)

American Gunboat

NameUSS Plymouth (PG 57)
Tonnage2,265 tons
Completed1931 - Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft AG, Kiel 
OwnerUnited States Navy 
Date of attack5 Aug 1943Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-566 (Hans Hornkohl)
Position36° 17'N, 74° 29'W - Grid CA 8152
Complement179 officers and men (95 dead and 84 survivors).
RouteNew York (4 Aug) - Key West 
History Completed in March 1931 as motor yacht Alva for W.K. Vanderbilt, New York. On 4 Nov 1941, given to the US Navy and placed in reduced commission under Cdr F.W. Schmidt at Jacksonville on 29 December. On 22 Jan 1942, the ship entered the Norfolk Navy yard to be converted to the patrol gunboat USS Plymouth (PG 57), armed with one 4in and four 3in guns. On 20 April, she was fully commissioned, based in Norfolk and assigned to the Inshore Patrol Squadron in the 5th Naval District. She made several convoy escort voyages between New York, Key West and Guantanamo during 1942/43. 
Notes on event

At 21.37 hours on 5 August 1943, USS Plymouth (PG 57) (Lt Ormsby M. Mitchel, Jr., USNR) was hit by one torpedo from U-566 about 120 miles southeast of Cape Henry, Virginia. The gunboat had made a underwater sound contact while escorting a coastal convoy, just as the ship swung left to bear on the target she was struck just abaft the bridge. The ship rolled first to starboard, then took a heavy list to port with the entire port side forward of amidships in flames and sank within two minutes. The survivors were picked up by USCGC Calypso (WPC 104) in heavy seas and arrived in Norfolk on 6 August.

The commander Lt Ormsby M. Mitchel, Jr. was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism. He had been thrown violently against a bulkhead and sustained serious injuries, which later required amputation of his left leg. Despite his own condition, he directed abandon ship operations and remained at his post until the ship went down.

On boardWe have details of 99 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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