Ships hit by U-boats


Japan

Swedish Steam merchant



Photo courtesy of Sjöhistoriska Museet, Stockholm

NameJapan
Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage5,230 tons
Completed1911 - R. & W. Hawthorn, Leslie & Co Ltd, Hebburn-on-Tyne 
OwnerA/B Svenska Ostasiatiska Kompaniet, Gothenburg 
HomeportGothenburg 
Date of attack4 May 1941Nationality:      Swedish
 
FateSunk by U-38 (Heinrich Liebe)
Position10° 15'N, 16° 33'W - Grid ET 2137
Complement54 (0 dead and 54 survivors).
ConvoyOB-310 (dispersed)
RouteNewport - Milford Haven - Freetown - Middle East 
CargoGeneral cargo and coal 
History Completed in December 1911 
Notes on event

At 18.29 hours on 4 May 1941 the unescorted and unarmed Japan (Master Lars Hugo Berggren), dispersed from convoy OB-310 on 18 April, was missed by two G7e torpedoes from U-38 249 miles northwest of Freetown. The U-boat then surfaced and began shelling the ship, setting the cargo in the forward holds on fire after three or four hits. The crew had stopped the engines when the U-boat surfaced nearby and immediately abandoned ship in two lifeboats when it opened fire. The barrel of the deck gun burst after the ninth round, slightly injuring some members of the gun crew. At 19.15 hours, a coup de gr√Ęce was fired that hit aft and caused the ship to sink vertically by the stern after one hour, still burning. On 7 May, the crew and four passengers made landfall at the coast of French Guinea and were interned by the Vichy French authorities. They were later transferred to Marseilles and the 27 Swedish crew members were allowed to return to Sweden.

 
On boardWe have details of 1 people who were on board


If you can help us with any additional information on this vessel then please contact us.

Return to Allied Ships hit by U-boats