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Re: HMS Hartland.Operation Torch
Date: October 13, 2010 10:00AM

HARTLAND (formerly Pontchartrain USA), 1546 tons (sunk November 8, 1942)
Built for the U.S. Coast Guard had been ceded to Britain under the law "lend-lease", 11 March 1941. Together with the twin cutter Walney had been instructed to land a contingent of troops in the port of Oran (operation “Reservist”). In the early hours of 8 November 1942, while the Hartland (Lieutenant Commander G.P. Billot) approached the docking area, was framed by fire from shore batteries and the French destroyer Typhon (Comdr Abgrall) which was moored the dock. Hit and set on fire, the cutter sank to 09.30, exploding with the loss of 34 men. Among survivors, there was also the commander Billot. Immediately after the sinking of Walney and Hartland, the four French destroyers of the 7th Division Tramontane (Captain of the frigate Féraudy) Epervier, Typhoon and Tornado came from the port of Oran with the intention of attacking transport ships of the Allies , but similar units were committed by British Calpe and Boadicea, supported from the cruiser Aurora (Captain W.G. Agnew), formerly the Force K in Malta. In this way, the Aurora added to his long series of successes against the Axis ships including the sinking of two French destroyers, since eliminated with its highly efficient 152 mm artillery from the Tornado and the north. Also severely damaged the Epervier, being forced to run aground, and also hit the Typhon, which then would be scuttled at the entrance of the port of Oran. The wreck was reported Hartland afloat October 16, 1949 and later demolished. The total cost of operation "Reservist", paid in human lives, was the death of 189 U.S. soldiers and two sailors, as well as 113 British members of the crews of the two cutter.

Francesco Mattesini

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Subject Written By Posted
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