Arctic Convoys file photo

Arctic Convoys

21 Aug 1941 - 30 May 1945

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

To better maintain a pressure on the eastern border of Germany, the Soviet Union demanded a great amount of war supplies from the Anglo-Americans, which were readily supplies. While some goods were delivered via eastern Russia and through Persia, the most efficient route was by sea to the two far northern Russian ports of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk. The first Anglo-Soviet link-up of naval forces took place on 31 Jul 1941 when Soviet destroyer Sokrushitelny made rendezvous with British minelayer HMS Adventure near the Gorodetski lighthouse at the entrance to the White Sea in northern Russia. Before a month's time, Soviet destroyers were escorting in the first supply convoy, uniquely codenamed Dervish, into the Dvina River, which led to Arkhangelsk. Starting in Sep 1941, the convoys were codenamed in numerical sequence, with the prefix "PQ" denoting supply-laden convoys sailing from Iceland (with a few from Scotland, United Kingdom), and "QP" denoting returning convoys, either sailing in ballast or with passengers (generally survivors of sunken merchant ships, British servicemen, and Soviet diplomats). Sailing through the northern waters was not an easy task, as the waters of the Barents Sea as well as the neighboring Norwegian Sea and Kara Sea were known for unpredictable storms. The cold temperature in the arctic region also posed a risk in that sea splashes slowly formed a layer of ice on the decks of ships, which over time, if not tended to, could weigh so much that ships would become top-heavy and capsize. Of course, given the state of war, the German military also posed a great danger by means of surface warships, submarines, and aircraft. The threats, natural or otherwise, endangered the merchant ships throughout the entire length of the supply route. British destroyer HMS Matabele and Soviet trawler RT-68 Enisej of convoy PQ-8 were sunk by German submarine U-454 at the mouth of the Kola Inlet near the very end of their trip, British whaler HMS Sulla of PQ-9 capsized from ice build-up three days into her journey in the Norwegian Sea, while PQ-15 suffered the loss of three merchant ships on 2 May 1942 to German torpedo bomber attacks north of Norway.

Of the PQ and QP series of convoys, PQ-17 suffered particularly heavy losses. It had an inauspicious start when a ship became grounded upon leaving Hvalfjrur north of Reykjavik, Iceland while another became damaged by floating ice in the Denmark Strait. The remaining 33 merchant ships, supported by a tanker and escorted by the usual array of destroyers, anti-aircraft vessels, corvettes, minesweepers, and trawlers were attacked by large formations of German torpedo bombers while two heavy cruisers, Ltzow and Admiral Scheer, with supporting destroyers set sail to intercept. To deal with the surface threat, PQ-17 was ordered to scatter and the escorts ordered to return to Iceland, and the resulting small groups of merchant ships were picked off along the way for the next week. By the time the first of the PQ-17 merchant ships began to arrive at Arkhangelsk, 24 of them, about 60% of the convoy, were lost. 64,000 metrics tons of war goods went to the bottom of the sea with them. The heavy losses of PQ-17 were criticized, but convoying through this northern route would continue, albeit paused for the remainder of the summer of 1942, waiting for daylight hours to shorten. When the Soviets complained of this pause, a special convoy of US and UK warships were dispatched to deliver some goods in Jul and Aug.

While PQ-17 stood out as one of the more disastrous missions, many of the other 77 arctic convoy missions suffered losses as well, including the later JW and RA series of convoys that ran between Dec 1942 and the end of the European War in May 1945. In total, 104 Allied merchant ships were sunk with the arctic convoys, along with 18 warships; 829 merchant mariners and 1,944 navy personnel were killed aboard them. The Soviet Union lost 30 merchant ships and an unknown number of personnel. In the attempt to disrupt the convoys, the Germans lost 5 surface warships, 31 submarines, and many aircraft.

The direct impact of these convoys was in the realm of supply and logistics, but they played a role in shaping the military strategy of the Battle of the Atlantic as well. Realizing the need to eliminate this source of supply of tanks, aircraft, ammunition, and other weapons and equipment for the Soviet forces, German Navy (Kriegsmarine) and German Air Force (Luftwaffe) had to deploy significant portions of their strengths in Norway to intercept these convoys, including major surface warships such as, but not limited to, Tirpitz, Ltzow, and Admiral Scheer (and thus an array of escorting destroyers and supply ships) and aircraft, all of which could otherwise be used in battles raging on elsewhere in Europe. British and American navies had to make similar military commitments as well, at a time when trans-Atlantic convoys, the Pacific War, and the invasion of North Africa all competed for air and naval resources.

Sources:
Michael Walling, Forgotten Sacrifice
Wikipedia

Arctic Convoys Interactive Map

Arctic Convoys Timeline

31 Jul 1941 Soviet destroyer Sokrushitelny made rendezvous with British minelayer HMS Adventure near the Gorodetski lighthouse at the entrance to the White Sea in northern Russia.
1 Aug 1941 British minelayer HMS Adventure arrived at Arkhangelsk, Russia and delivered a supply of naval mines.
8 Aug 1941 Soviet destroyer Valerian Kuibyshev made rendezvous with British submarine HMS Tigris off northern Russia.
21 Aug 1941 The first Allied Arictic convoy, codenamed Dervish, set sail from Hvalfjrur, Iceland for Arhangelsk, Russia.
22 Aug 1941 Soviet passenger ship Pomorie hit a mine and sank in the White Sea in northern Russia; 60 were killed, 20 survived.
30 Aug 1941 Soviet destroyers Grozny, Oritsky, and Kuibyshev escorted the Allied convoy Dervish into the Dvina River and on to Arkhangelsk, Russia. Crewmen of the merchant ships of this first Allied convoy to arrive in Arkhangelsk reported poor cooperation from the Soviets. No stevedores were found so the crewmen attempted to unload the cargo themselves, only to be stopped by Soviet armed guards because they did not have the proper passes to step onto the shore; the situation was only improved after the arrival of higher ranking Soviet officers later in the day.
28 Sep 1941 Allied convoy QP-1, which was consisted of 14 British and Soviet merchant ships escorted by British cruiser HMS London and four minesweepers, departed Arkhangelsk, Russia at about 1200 hours for Britain.
29 Sep 1941 Allied convoy PQ-1 departed Hvalfjrur, Iceland.
9 Oct 1941 Allied convoy QP-1 arrived at Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom.
10 Oct 1941 Allied convoy QP-1, which was consisted of 14 British and Soviet merchant ships escorted by British cruiser HMS London and four minesweepers, from Arkhangelsk, Russia arrived at Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom.
11 Oct 1941 Allied convoy PQ-1, consisted of 11 merchant ships escorted by 7 British warships, arrived in Arkhangelsk, Russia.
13 Oct 1941 Allied convoy PQ-2 departed Liverpool, England, United Kingdom.
30 Oct 1941 Allied convoy PQ-2 arrived at Arkhangelsk, Russia.
3 Nov 1941 Allied convoy QP-2 departed Arkhangelsk, Russia.
16 Nov 1941 Allied convoy PQ-3 departed Hvalfjrur, Iceland in stormy weather.
17 Nov 1941 Allied convoy QP-2 arrived at Kirkwall, Scotland, United Kingdom and convoy PQ-4 departed Hvalfjrur, Iceland.
20 Nov 1941 One of the ships of Allied convoy PQ-3 struck an iceberg and another developed mechanical problems; both were turned back toward Iceland.
22 Nov 1941 Allied convoy PQ-3 crossed the Arctic Circle west of Norway. Later in the same day, German Stuka dive bombers attacked the convoy without success; two dive bombers were lost during the mission.
27 Nov 1941 Allied convoy QP-3 departed Arkhangelsk, Russia and convoy PQ-5 departed Hvalfjrur, Iceland.
28 Nov 1941 Allied convoy PQ-4 arrived at Arkhangelsk, Russia.
3 Dec 1941 Dispersed ships of Allied convoy QP-3 began to arrive in Allied waters.
8 Dec 1941 Allied convoy PQ-6 departed Hvalfjrur, Iceland.
10 Dec 1941 Russian ship Kuzbass and tug Arcos, Stragglers of Allied convoy QP-3, were found by Soviet ice breaker Fyodor Litke, rescue ship Squall, and Soviet patrol ship SKR-19 at 0900 hours.
13 Dec 1941 Allied convoy PQ-5 arrived at Arkhangelsk, Russia.
17 Dec 1941 British minesweepers HMS Hazard and HMS Speedy, in escort of Allied convoy PQ-6 30 miles north of Cape Gorodetski in northern Russia, were attacked by German destroyers Z23, Z24, Z25, and Z27; Speedy was hit 4 times (2 were killed) and was forced to turn back.
20 Dec 1941 Allied convoy PQ-6 arrived at Murmansk, Russia.
26 Dec 1941 Allied convoy PQ-7a departed Hvalfjrur, Iceland. Russian ship Kuzbass, straggler of Allied convoy QP-3, arrived at Iokanka, Russia under tow by Soviet icebreaker Fyodor Litke.
29 Dec 1941 Allied convoy QP-4 departed Arkhangelsk, Russia.
31 Dec 1941 Allied convoy PQ-7b departed Hvalfjrur, Iceland.
2 Jan 1942 German submarine U-134 sank British freighter Waziristan of Allied convoy PQ-7A; Waziristan was already damaged by German aircraft at the time of this attack; all 47 aboard were killed.
8 Jan 1942 Allied convoy PQ-8 departed Hvalfjrur, Iceland.
9 Jan 1942 Dispersed ships of ALlied convoy QP-4 began to arrive in Allied waters.
11 Jan 1942 Allied convoy PQ-7b arrived at Murmansk, Russia.
12 Jan 1942 Allied convoy PQ-7a arrived at Murmansk, Russia.
13 Jan 1942 Allied convoy QP-5 departed Murmansk, Russia.
15 Jan 1942 USS Wichita collided with US freighter West Nohno and British trawler HMS Ebor Wyke and was grounded near Hrafneyri Lighthouse in poor weather in northern Russia.
17 Jan 1942 German submarine U-454 attacked Allied convoy PQ-8 20 miles off the Kola Inlet in northern Russia at 2221 hours, sinking British Tribal-class destroyer HMS Matabele (under Commander A. C. Stafford; 236 were killed, 2 survived), sinking Soviet trawler RT-68 Enisej, and damaging British merchant ship Harmatris (civilian convoy commodore's flagship). Later in the day, surviving ships of PQ-8 arrived in Murmansk, Russia.
19 Jan 1942 Dispersed ships of Allied convoy QP-5 began to arrive in Allied waters.
24 Jan 1942 Allied convoy QP-6 departed Murmansk, Russia.
25 Jan 1942 British merchant ship Harmatris, the civilian convoy commodore's flagship of Allied convoy PQ-8, damaged by German submarine U-454 on 17 Jan 1942, arrived at Kola in northern Russia in tow by two tugs.
28 Jan 1942 Dispersed ships of Allied convoy QP-6 began to arrive in Allied waters.
1 Feb 1942 Allied convoys PQ-9 and PQ-10 departed Reykjavk, Iceland together.
7 Feb 1942 Allied convoy PQ-11 departed Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
10 Feb 1942 Allied convoys PQ-9 and PQ-10 arrived at Murmansk, Russia together.
12 Feb 1942 Allied convoy QP-7 departed Murmansk, Russia.
14 Feb 1942 Allied convoy PQ-11 departed Kirkwall, Scotland, United Kingdom.
15 Feb 1942 Dispersed ships of Allied convoy QP-7 began to arrive in Allied waters.
22 Feb 1942 Allied convoy PQ-11 arrived at Murmansk, Russia.
1 Mar 1942 Allied convoy PQ-12 departed Reykjavk, Iceland and convoy QP-8 departed Murmansk, Russia.
3 Mar 1942 Soviet transport Kiev fell out of Allied convoy PQ-12 in poor weather.
6 Mar 1942 Merchant ship El Occidente and Soviet anti-submarine whaler Stefa fell out of Allied convoy PQ-12 in poor weather.
8 Mar 1942 German battleship Tirpitz and escorting destroyers got as close as 60 miles from Allied convoy PQ-12 but poor weather prevented the Germans from realizing this fact. German destroyer Friedrich Ihn, however, did catch sight of old Russian coal-burning merchant ship Izhora (commanded by Vasily Belov), a straggler of the convoy, and promptly sank her at 1715 hours; only 1 person survived this sinking. In the evening, Admiral Otto Ciliax turned his fleet back toward its home port.
9 Mar 1942 British anti-submarine whaler HMS Shera, escorting Allied convoy PQ-12, capsized possibly due to being top-heavy from heavy ice build-up and having low levels of fuel, although the weather was not particularly bad on this date; only 3 of those aboard survived the sinking.
10 Mar 1942 Soviet transport Kiev and merchant ship El Occidente, both of which fell out of Allied convoy PQ-12 several days prior, arrived at Iokanka, Russia.
11 Mar 1942 Merchant ship Sevaples fell out of Allied convoy PQ-12 in poor weather. Allied convoy QP-8 arrived at Reykjavk, Iceland.
12 Mar 1942 Allied convoy PQ-12 arrived at Murmansk, Russia.
13 Mar 1942 Merchant ship Sevaples and Soviet anti-submarine whaler Stefa, both of which fell out of Allied convoy PQ-12 several days prior, found each other while at sea as Sevaples was being attacked by a German aircraft; Stefa shot down the German attacker.
14 Mar 1942 Adolf Hitler ordered the German naval and air forces to focus on hitting the Allied Arctic convoys.
21 Mar 1942 Allied convoy PQ-13, consisted of 19 merchant ships, set sail from Reykjavk, Iceland, with 1 destroyer and 5 trawlers in escort.
22 Mar 1942 Allied convoy QP-9, consisted of 19 merchant ships, departed Murmansk, Russia with cruiser HMS Nigeria, destroyer HMS Offa, and 2 minesweepers in close escort.
24 Mar 1942 Minesweeper HMS Sharpshooter, escorting Allied convoy QP-9, spotted German submarine U-655 in a distance; she forced the submarine to surface by depth charges, rammed, and sank her; all 47 aboard U-655 were killed.
25 Mar 1942 Allied convoy PQ-9 ran into a storm west of Norway; ice accumulated on British whaler HMS Sulla, causing her to gain too much top weight, eventually capsizing her; all 21 aboard were killed.
26 Mar 1942 Allied convoy PQ-14 departed Oban, Scotland, United Kingdom.
28 Mar 1942 In the morning, German submarine U-209 attacked Polish ship Tobruk of Allied convoy PQ-13 with all torpedoes missing the target; the convoy escorts counterattacked with depth charges with similar dismal results. Later in the day, German aircraft attacked the same convoy and sank British ship Empire Ranger and damaged Panamanian merchant ship Raceland (which would eventually sink at 2230 hours). In the evening, German destroyers Z24, Z25, and Z26 departed Kirkenes in far northern Norway to hunt for ships of the PQ-13; 61 of Empire Ranger's survivors were rescued by German destroyer Z24 at 2245 hours, but many other survivors died in the freezing water.
29 Mar 1942 German destroyer Z26 sank Panamanian ship Bateau of Allied convoy PQ-13 in the Barents Sea shortly after 0000 hours; 37 were killed, 6 survived. At 0943 hours, British cruiser HMS Trinidad spotted Z26 along with Z24 and Z25, hitting Z26 with gunfire; at 1024 hours, HMS Trinidad was hit by a torpedo that she fired and circled around, killing 31. At 1032 hours, British destroyer HMS Eclipse continued the attack, hitting Z26 with 6 more shells; at 1120 hours, Z24 and Z25 coordinated an attack on HMS Eclipse, hitting her with two shells, killing 23. Shortly after, Z26 sank from the heavy damage; 240 were killed, 96 survived.
30 Mar 1942 German submarines U-209 and U-376 attacked British Induna of Allied convoy PQ-13 at 0552 hours (41 survived the sinking, but 11 would die in the freezing water and 2 more would die in the hospital after being rescued); U-209's attack failed, but U-376 would sink Induna at 0807 hours; 38 were killed, 28 survived. At 1035 hours, U-456 and U-435 also attacked the convoy, stopping US transport Effingham; 2 were killed, 41 survived (some of the survivors would die of exposure before being rescued); the transport was scuttled by U-435 at 1219 hours. German submarine U-585, en route to attack PQ-13 as well, struck a German mine and sunk 72 miles north of Murmansk, Russia, killing all 44 aboard.
31 Mar 1942 Surviving ships of Allied convoy PQ-13 began to arrive at Murmansk, Russia after several attacks by German destroyers, submarines, and aircraft.
3 Apr 1942 Allied convoy QP-9 arrived at Reykjavik, Iceland without any losses. At Murmansk, Russia, German aircraft sank British merchant ship Empire Starlight, British merchant ship New Westminster City, and Polish merchant ship Tobruk; Soviet ship was also damaged in the attack.
8 Apr 1942 Allied convoy PQ-14 departed Reykjavk, Iceland; it was consisted of 24 merchant ships, escorted by 2 minesweepers and 3 anti-submarine trawlers.
10 Apr 1942 Allied convoy PQ-14 found itself scattered shortly after dawn after a stormy night; 16 ships decided to return to Iceland while 8 ships sailed on for Russia. On the same day, Allied convoy QP-10 departed Murmansk, Russia; it was consisted of 16 merchant ships, escorted by 5 destroyers, 3 corvettes, 1 minesweeper, and 2 trawlers; QP-10 was almost immediately detected by German aircraft. Far to the west, PQ-15 departed Oban, Scotland, United Kingdom.
11 Apr 1942 German Ju 88 aircraft attacked Allied convoy QP-10, damaging ship Stone Street and sinking British ship Empire Cowper (19 were killed); a heavy snow storm prevented the Germans from launching another air attack on the Arctic convoy.
13 Apr 1942 German submarines attacked Allied convoy QP-10 150 miles north of Norway; U-436 sank Russian merchant ship Kiev at 1300 hours (6 were killed, 62 survived), and U-435 sank Panamanian ship El Occidente at 1329 hours (20 were killed, 21 survived).
14 Apr 1942 A German Fw 200 Condor aircraft located Allied convoy QP-10 at dawn; 20 Ju 88 aircraft attacked at 0600 hours, damaging the rudder of British freighter Harpalion (she would be scuttled shortly after) at the cost of 4 aircraft shot down.
15 Apr 1942 Allied convoy PQ-14, how down to 6 cargo ships and 2 tankers, was spotted by a German BV 138 flying boat. Later in the day, Fw 200 Condor aircraft relieved the BV 138 aircraft in keeping track of this convoy. They called in several air attacks, but none of them succeeded in sinking any ships.
16 Apr 1942 German submarine U-403 fired 5 torpedoes at Allied convoy PQ-14 and made 2 hits on the civilian commodore's ship Empire Howard 200 miles north of Norway at 1245 hours; 29 were killed, 37 survived. Many of victims were killed by depth charges meant to hit U-403. Captain W. H. Lawrence of merchant ship Briarwood took over the civilian commodore role as his predecessor E. Rees was also killed.
17 Apr 1942 Soviet destroyers Sokrushitelny and Gremyashchy were transferred from Allied convoy QP-10 to convoy PQ-14 at 0430 hours.
19 Apr 1942 The 7 surviving ships of Allied convoy PQ-14 arrived at Murmansk, Russia.
21 Apr 1942 Allied convoy QP-10 arrived at Reykjavk, Iceland.
26 Apr 1942 Allied convoy PQ-15, consisted of 24 merchant ships, 1 fleet auxiliary oiler, and 2 icebreakers departed Reykjavk, Iceland for Murmansk, Russia with 4 destroyers, 1 corvette, 3 minesweepers, 4 trawlers, 1 catapult aircraft merchantman, and 1 anti-aircraft ship in escort.
28 Apr 1942 Allied convoy PQ-15, which had departed Iceland two days prior, was joined by British battleship HMS King George V, American battleship USS Washington, British aircraft carrier HMS Victorious, 5 cruisers, 12 destroyers, and 4 submarines for its journey toward Murmansk, Russia; the convoy was spotted by German aircraft 200 miles northwest of Troms, Norway. On the same day, returning convoy QP-11 departed Kola Inlet in northern Russia; it was consisted of 13 merchant ships and was escorted by 6 destroyers, 4 corvettes, 1 trawler, and 4 minesweepers.
29 Apr 1942 4 minesweepers departed from the close escort force of Allied convoy QP-11 off northern Russia; later on the same day, the convoy was spotted by a German Ju 88 aircraft.
30 Apr 1942 A German Fw 200 Condor aircraft spotted Allied convoy PQ-15 250 miles southwest of Bear Island, Norway.
1 May 1942 Four Ju 88 aircraft attacked Allied convoy QP-11 at 0540 hours 150 miles southeast of Bear Island, Norway; all torpedoes missed. At 1345 hours, German destroyers Z7 Hermann Schoemann, Z24, and Z25 were sighted; the first round of the exchange of torpedoes by QP-11 and the Allied escorts at 1407 hours all missed, but a shortly after British destroyer HMS Amazon was hit by gunfire and Russian freighter Tsiolkovsky was sunk by torpedo. Through 1742 hours, the German destroyed attempted to close in five more times, but they were not successful; they broke off after 1742 hours to pursue HMS Edinburgh in the direction of Murmansk, Russia. Elsewhere, six German Ju 88 bombers attacked Allied convoy PQ-15 west of Norway at 2200 hours without success, losing one aircraft in the process.
2 May 1942 British destroyer HMS St Albans and minesweeper HMS Seagull, while escorting Allied convoy PQ-15, attacked an ASDIC contact 200 miles northwest of Troms, Norway at 1950 hours. As the target surfaced, she turned out to be Polish submarine Jastrzab, which suffered serious damage and 5 killed. The submarine was written off and scuttled shortly after the 35 survivors were taken off. On the same day, German torpedo bombers attacked PQ-15, sinking freighters Cape Corso, Jutland, and Botavon.
3 May 1942 Six German He 111 aircraft attacked Allied convoy PQ-15, sinking ships Botavon (20 were killed), Jutland, and Cape Corso (all 50 aboard were killed) at 0127 hours; 3 aircraft were shot down. At 2230 hours, another air attack came upon PQ-15, damaging the ship Cape Palliser while one Ju 88 aircraft was shot down; the arrival of Soviet Pe-3 aircraft drove off the rest of the German attackers.
4 May 1942 Soviet destroyers Sokrushitelny and Gremyashchy made rendezvous with Allied convoy PQ-15.
5 May 1942 Soviet patrol ship Rubin, Soviet patrol ship Brilliant, British minesweeper Harrier, British minesweeper Niger, and British minesweeper Gossamer set sail from Polyarny, Russia; they made rendezvous with Allied convoy PQ-15 in the Kola Inlet at 2300 hours.
7 May 1942 Allied convoy QP-11 arrived at Reykjavk, Iceland at 0700 hours.
13 May 1942 HMS Trinidad departed Murmansk, Russia, escorted by 4 destroyers.
14 May 1942 A German Fw 200 Condor aircraft discovered Trinidad off northern Russia at 0730 hours; at 1852 hours, two BV 138 aircraft relieved the Fw 200 aircraft in shadowing the cruiser; at 2200 hours, a wave of aircraft attacked and damaged the cruiser.
15 May 1942 Damaged by German aircraft two hours prior on the previous date, the abandon ship order was given by the captain of HMS Trinidad at 0000 hours; at 0120 hours, she was scuttled by a torpedo from HMS Matchless north of Russia.
21 May 1942 Allied convoy QP-12 departed Murmansk, Russia; it was consisted of 17 merchant ships, escorted by 1 catapult aircraft merchantman, 6 destroyers, 4 trawlers, and 1 anti-aircraft vessel. From the other end of the Arctic convoy route, PQ-16 departed Reykjavk, Iceland with 35 merchant ships, 1 minesweeper, and 4 trawlers.
23 May 1942 The close escort force for Allied convoy PQ-16 was reinforced by 4 corvettes, 2 submarines, and 1 anti-aircraft vessel.
24 May 1942 British trawler HMS Retriever broke away from Allied convoy PQ-16 and returned for Iceland.
25 May 1942 German He 111 torpedo bombers and Ju 88 bombers attacked Allied convoy PQ-16 475 miles northeast of Iceland; one He 111 was shot down by a British Hurricane fighter. To the east, German Fw 200, Bv 138, and two Ju 88 aircraft successively shadowed QP-12 starting at 1400 hours; British catapult aircraft merchantman Empire Moon launched her Hurricane fighter which shot down a Ju 88 aircraft but Flying Officer John Kendal would die when his parachute failed to open in time after he bailed out. At 1910 hours, 6 German Ju 88 and 7 He 111 aircraft attacked QP-12, damaging US freighter City of Joliet.
26 May 1942 German submarine U-703 attacked Allied convoy PQ-16 780 miles northeast of Iceland at 0259 hours, sinking US merchant ship Syros (two torpedo hits, detonating cargo of ammunition); 9 were killed, 30 survived (but 2 of the survivors would later die from exposure). 8 German He 111 and 3 Ju 88 aircraft also attacked PQ-16, but they failed to cause any damage.
27 May 1942 German aircraft attacked Allied convoy PQ-16 west of Norway in multiple waves. The first attack arrived over PQ-16 at 0320 hours, causing no damage. At 1100 hours, US freighter City of Joliet suffered a near miss. At 1310 hours, US freighter Alamar was hit by two bombs and was abandoned 20 minutes after with all aboard surviving. At 1315 hours, US ship Mormacsul was sunk by 1 bomb hit and 3 near misses; 3 were killed, 45 survived. At 1410 hours, British catapult aircraft merchantman Empire Lawrence was sunk after receiving 5 hits; 25 were killed. In the afternoon, Russian ship Stari Bolshevik, British ship Empire Baffin, and Polish destroyer Garland were damaged by German attacks, followed by US ship City of Joliet being damaged after being struck by a crashing German dive bomber (she would be abandoned at the end of the day). At 1945 hours, British merchant ship Empire Purcell was hit by 2 bombs and was abandoned. Finally, at 1950 hours, British merchant ship Lowther Castle was hit by a torpedo from a He 111 bomber and sank.
28 May 1942 Allied convoy PQ-16 encountered heavy fog but managed to remain with each other by keeping eyes on fog buoys towed by the ship immediately in front of each trailing ship.
29 May 1942 Allied convoy QP-12 arrived at Reykjavk, Iceland. To the east, PQ-16 sailed in the opposite direction. As PQ-16 neared Murmansk, Russia, they were joined by Soviet destroyers Grozny, Sokrushitelny, and Kuibyshev at 1150 hours and then 6 British destroyers several hours later. At 2200 hours, the convoy broke into two groups, one sailing for Murmansk and another sailing for Arkhangelsk further east. At 2330 hours, the Murmansk group came under attack by 18 German aircraft and the Arkhangelsk group by 15 German aircraft; no ships were sunk, and several aircraft on both sides were shot down, including one piloted by Double Hero of the Soviet Union Boris Safonov, killing him.
30 May 1942 21 ships of the Allied convoy PQ-16 arrived in the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia at 1600 hours.
1 Jun 1942 8 ships of the Allied convoy PQ-16 arrived at Arkhangelsk, Russia. On the same day, German Ju 88 bombers attacked the harbor at Archangelsk, sinking the ship Steel Worker and damaging Soviet submarine ShCh-404.
14 Jun 1942 German Admiral Otto Schniewind issued the order to commence Operation Rsselsprung ("Knight's Move"); in turn German warships Tirpitz, Admiral Hipper, Ltzow, and 12 destroyers departed from their home ports toward the Barents Sea.
24 Jun 1942 5 German Ju 88 aircraft attacked Murmansk, Russia at 0908 hours, sinking British minesweeper HMS Gossamer with bombs at 0921 hours; 21 were killed.
27 Jun 1942 Allied convoy PQ-17 under Commodore J. C. K. Dowding sailed from Hvalfjord, north of Reykjavik, Iceland, where it had assembled. One ship grounded on leaving harbour and another was damaged by ice in the Denmark Strait, so the convoy that set course for Arkhangelsk, Russia comprised 33 ships plus a tanker, escorted by six destroyers, two anti-aircraft ships, four corvettes, three minesweepers, four trawlers and two submarines; which it was hoped would discourage enemy attacks. On the same date, convoy QP-13 set sail from Arkhangelsk, Russia; it was consisted of 35 merchant ships and was escorted by 3 destroyers, 1 minesweeper, 4 corvettes, 1 anti-aircraft vessel, and 2 trawlers.
28 Jun 1942 The British Royal Navy Home Fleet (carrier HMS Victorious, battleship HMS Duke of York, with cruisers and destroyers), reinforced by US battleship USS Washington, departed from Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom to provide distant cover for Allied convoy PQ-17 sailing from Iceland to Arkhangelsk, Russia.
29 Jun 1942 Allied convoy QP-13 was spotted by a German Fw 200 aircraft.
1 Jul 1942 German submarine U-456 and a German Bv 138 aircraft spotted Allied convoy PQ-17 in the Barents Sea and began shadowing it.
2 Jul 1942 6 German aircraft attacked Allied convoy PQ-17 but was driven off without causing any damage.
3 Jul 1942 German pocket battleship Ltzow, pocket battleship Admiral Scheer, and six destroyers departed from Narvik, Norway to intercept Allied convoy PQ-17 in the Barents Sea; en route, Ltzow and three destroyers ran aground. The group was detected by the British and the Soviets, leading to the dispatching of 9 British and 7 Soviet submarines to intercept the German fleet; en route, Soviet submarines D-3 and M-176 hit German naval mines and sank.
4 Jul 1942 Allied convoy PQ-17 was attacked by 24 German He 111 aircraft about 60 miles north of Bear Island, Norway, fatally damaging US freighter Christopher Newport which would later be scuttled by a British submarine (3 were killed, 47 survived); at 1930 hours, another attack wave came upon the convoy, causing no damage; at 2020 hours, the convoy was attacked by 25 aircraft, sinking British freighter Navarino, sinking US freighter William Hooper (3 were killed, 55 survived), and damaging Soviet tanker Azerbaijan; at 2100 hours, believing that German battleships might be in the area, PQ-17 was ordered to scatter and the convoy escorts were withdrawn. Sailing in the opposite direction, QP-13 broke up to two convoys, one of which ran into a minefield; several ships struck mines and sank (British minesweeper HMS Niger (149 were killed), freighter Hybert, freighter Heffron, freighter Massmar (17 were killed), and Soviet passenger ship Rodina (several family members of Soviet diplomats were killed)), and several others were damaged (civilian commodore's ship American Robin, freighter Exterminator, and freighter John Randolph); HMS Hussar was able to lead the survivors out of the minefield.
5 Jul 1942 The scattered Allied convoy PQ-17 was hunted down by German submarines and aircraft piecemeal throughout the day; British freighter Empire Byron (by U-703 at 0827 hours; 7 were killed, 63 survived), civilian commodore J. C. K. Dowding's ship River Afton (by U-703 at 2102 hours; 26 were killed, 38 survived)), British ship Earlston (by U-334 at 1747 hours; all 52 aboard survived), Washington, Bolton Castle, Paulus Potter, Pan Kraft, US ship Carlton (by U-88 at 1015 hours; 3 were killed, 42 survived), Fairfield City, Daniel Morgan (by U-88 at 2252 hours; 3 were killed, 51 survived), Peter Kerr, British fleet oiler Aldersdale (fatally damaged by aircraft and abandoned), British rescue ship Zaafaran, and Honomu (by U-456 at 1431 hours; 13 were killed, 28 survived) were all destroyed. Meanwhile, Allied convoy QP-13 was sailing in the opposite direction; British minesweeper HMS Niger, in escort, entered a British minefield due to navigation error, struck a mine, and sank 10 miles north of Iceland at 2240 hours, killing 149; the 36 merchant ships of the convoy, following Niger's lead, also entered the minefield; 5 merchant ships would sink, 1 would sustain damage.
6 Jul 1942 German submarine U-255 sank US ship John Witherspoon; 1 was killed, 49 survived. German aircraft sank US ship Pan Atlantic. Both ships were of Allied convoy PQ-17, traveling in the Barents Sea.
7 Jul 1942 German submarine U-457 sank abandoned British fleet oiler RFA Alderdale of Allied convoy PQ-17 with her deck gun in the Barents Sea. In the same area, U-355 sank British ship Hartlebury (8 were killed, 52 survived, but only 20 would remain alive before being rescued) also of PQ-17. U-255 also attacked PQ-17 ships, sinking US ship Alcoa Ranger (all 40 aboard survived). Finally, Allied convoy QP-13 arrived at Reykjavk, Iceland.
8 Jul 1942 German submarine U-255 sank US ship Olopana of Allied convoy PQ-17 at 0100 hours; 7 were killed, 34 survived).
9 Jul 1942 German Ju 88 bombers attacked Allied convoy PQ-17 in the Barents Sea at 2000 hours, damaging Panamanian freighter El Capitan (all 67 aboard survived), US freighter Hoosier (all 53 aboard survived), US Liberty Ship Samuel Chase, and rescue ship Zamalck; 4 German aircraft were shot down in the attack.
10 Jul 1942 German submarine U-251 sank Panamanian freighter El Capitan and German submarine U-376 sank US ship Hoosier, both of Allied convoy PQ-17, in the Barents Sea.
11 Jul 1942 Allied convoy PQ-17, after losing 24 of the 33 vessels, finally arrived in ports in northern Russia, delivering 64,000 tons of war goods; it was the worst convoy loss of the war, with some 430 tanks, 210 aircraft, 3,350 lorries and jeeps and 100,000 tons of materials lost at the hands of repeated German attacks. Joseph Stalin, suspicious of the western powers, believed that the British were unwilling to provide the Soviets with large amounts of goods and had made up the heavy losses.
13 Jul 1942 German submarine U-255 sank the already wrecked Dutch ship Paulus Potter of Allied convoy PQ-17 in the Barents Sea after concluding that the ship was beyond repair.
24 Jul 1942 Allied convoy PQ-17 arrived at Arkhangelsk, Russia. Also arriving Arkhangelsk were destroyers HMS Marne, HMS Martin, HMS Middleton, and HMS Blankney, carrying ammunition and other war supplies.
27 Jul 1942 German submarine U-601 bombarded the Soviet polar station Malye Karmakuly near Belushya Bay in the Novaya Zemlya islands, Russia. Several buildings and one seaplane were destroyed.
1 Aug 1942 German submarine U-601 received orders to go into the Kara Sea as a part of Operation Wunderland. En route, she would sink Soviet transport Krestyanin with one torpedo, killing 7.
8 Aug 1942 German submarine U-601 entered the Kara Sea as a part of Operation Wunderland.
13 Aug 1942 USS Tuscaloosa, USS Rodman, USS Emmons, and HMS Onslaught departed Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom with ammunition, aircraft parts, and other war goods for the Soviet Union.
15 Aug 1942 German aircraft detected an Allied westbound convoy in the Kara Sea.
16 Aug 1942 Soviet ocean tug Komsomelets, ocean tug Nord departed Chabarovo on the shore of Yugorsky peninsula in northern Russia, with barge P4 (328 people on board, most of whom were penal construction workers), lighter Sh-500, and tug Komiles in tow.
17 Aug 1942 German submarine U-209 spotted Soviet ocean tug Komsomelets and ocean tug Nord at 0700 hours east of the Yugorsky Peninsula in northern Russia; the two tugs were towing barge P4, lighter Sh-500, and tug Komiles. U-209 immediately shelled Komsomelets and fired a torpedo at P4, which missed. At 0800 hours, U-209 shelled Komiles, forcing her crew to abandon ship. At 0810, U-209 shelled and sank Sh-500. Shortly after, U-209 fired another torpedo at P4; 305 were killed (most of whom were penal construction workers), 23 survived.
19 Aug 1942 German submarine U-209 attempted to approach Belushya Guba in the Novaya Zemlya islands in northern Russia, but was spotted by Soviet motor boat Poliarny, minesweeper T-39, and minesweeper T-58, which drove off U-209.
20 Aug 1942 USS Tuscaloosa, USS Rodman, USS Emmons, and HMS Onslaught, carrying war goods for the Soviet Union, were spotted by German aircraft.
23 Aug 1942 USS Tuscaloosa, USS Rodman, USS Emmons, and HMS Onslaught arrived at Vaenga Bay near Murmansk, Russia; they disembarked personnel of two RAF Bomber Command squadrons, torpedoes, ammunition, and medical supplies.
24 Aug 1942 USS Tuscaloosa, USS Rodman, USS Emmons, and HMS Onslaught departed Murmansk, Russia. HMS Marne, HMS Martin, HMS Middleton, and HMS Blankney departed Arkhangelsk, Russia. Both groups of Allied warships were sailing for Iceland; some of them carried Soviet diplomats and survivors of various sunken or damaged merchant ships. At 2002 hours, German minelayer Ulm, which had departed Narvik, Norway at 0400 hours earlier on the same day, was attacked by HMS Onslaught, HMS Marne, and HMS Martin; Marne was hit twice in the engagement (4 were killed), but the British ships were able to sink Ulm at 2235 hours; 132 were killed, 54 survived (30 to 40 of whom were captured by the British).
2 Sep 1942 Allied convoy PQ-18 departed Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom; it was supported by two tankers and one rescue ship and was escorted by two anti-aircraft vessels, three destroyers, four corvettes, and four trawlers.
8 Sep 1942 A German aircraft detected Allied arctic convoy PQ-18 late in the day, but it would lose track of the convoy due to heavy fog.
9 Sep 1942 The escort force of Allied convoy PQ-18 was joined by Rear Admiral Robert Burnett's force including escort carrier HMS Avenger and several small warships.
12 Sep 1942 German aircraft re-established contact with Allied convoy PQ-18 at 1320 hours. At 2100 hours, German submarine U-88 attacked PQ-18 400 miles north of Norway; U-18 was instead counterattacked and sunk by depth charges from British destroyer HMS Faulknor, killing all 46 aboard.
13 Sep 1942 Allied convoy QP-14 departed Arkhangelsk, Russia with 15 merchant ships and two rescue ships under the civilian commodore J. C. K. Dowding; it was escorted by two anti-aircraft vessels, two destroyers, four corvettes, three minesweepers, and three trawlers under British Royal Navy Captain J. F. Crombie. Elsewhere, Allied convoy PQ-18 sailed in the opposite direction; PQ-18 would be subjected to repeated attacks all day. The first casualty occurred at 0855 hours when U-408 and U-589 sank Soviet freighter Stalingrad (hit by three torpedoes; 21 were killed) and US tanker Oliver Ellsworth 150 miles northwest of Bear Island, Norway; these two ships were on the outside starboard column of PQ-18. At 1500 hours, 6 Ju 88 aircraft attacked without success. At 1530 hours, 30 Ju 88 and 55 He 111 aircraft attacked, sinking the ships Wacosta (scoring a direct hit with a torpedo before the torpedo entered water), Empire Stevenson, Macbeth, Gregonian (US ship; 28 were killed, 27 survived), Sukhona (Russian ship), Afrikaner (Panamanian ship), Empire Beaumont, and John Penn at the cost of only 5 aircraft.
14 Sep 1942 German submarine U-457 attacked Allied convoy PQ-18 20 miles south of Spitzbergen, Svalbard, Norway; destroyer HMS Impulsive detected U-457's approach, but she failed to deter the attack; U-457 fatally damaged British tanker Atheltemplar at 0400 hours (3 were killed, 58 survived but 16 would die of wounds later; the floating burning wreck would be sunk by U-408 at 1430 hours). Shortly after, U-589 attempted to attack, but was sunk by destroyer HMS Onslow and a Swordfish aircraft from escort carrier HMS Avenger (all 44 aboard were killed). At 1235 hours, about 20 German torpedo bombers attacked in failure with 11 of them shot down. Shortly after, 12 Ju 88 attacked, again losing 11 aircraft without scoring any hits. A third round of 25 aircraft attacked, sinking US ship Mary Luckenbach (189 were killed, 1 survived; detonation of her cargo of ammunition on board damaged nearby US ship Nathanael Greene and US ship Wacosta) at the cost of 9 aircraft lost. Finally, at 1430 hours, the final wave of 20 German aircraft attacked, scoring no hits and losing one aircraft.
15 Sep 1942 Soviet destroyers Gremyashchy, Sokrushitelny, Uritsky, and Kuibyshev joined Allied convoy PQ-18.
16 Sep 1942 British destroyer HMS Impulsive (escorting Allied convoy PQ-18) sank U-457 with depth charges 200 miels northeast of Murmansk, Russia, killing all 45 aboard. Later in the day, some of the warships escorting PQ-18 transferred to convoy sailing in the opposite direction QP-14.
18 Sep 1942 12 German He 111 torpedo bombers attacked Allied convoy PQ-18 at the entrance of the Kola Inlet, Russia, sinking US ship Kentucky (all aboard survived) at the cost of 3 aircraft shot down.
19 Sep 1942 The 28 surviving merchant ships of Allied convoy PQ-18 reached the Dvina River near Arkhangelsk, Russia.
20 Sep 1942 German submarine U-435 sank British minesweeper HMS Leda of Allied convoy QP-14 180 miles west of Spitsbergen, Norway at 0631 hours; 14 were killed, 66 survived. At 1815 hours, U-255 sank US freighter Silver Sword of QP-14; 1 was killed, 63 survived. At about 1900 hours, escort carrier HMS Avenger and cruiser HMS Scylla were detached from QP-14 to head back to base. At 1955 hours, U-703 damaged British destroyer HMS Somali also of QP-14; 47 were killed, 67 survivors were taken off, and 80 survivors remained aboard as she was taken in tow by destroyer HMS Ashanti.
21 Sep 1942 German submarine U-606 approached Allied convoy QP-14 between Greenland and Jan Mayen Island, Norway at 1114 hours but was driven off by a Norwegian-piloted British Catalina aircraft; U-606 fought back and shot down the aircraft. To the east, convoy PQ-18 arrived at Arkhangelsk, Russia.
22 Sep 1942 German submarine U-435 attacked Allied convoy QP-14 50 miles west of Jan Mayen Island, Norway at 0718 hours, sinking US merchant ship Bellingham (all 75 aboard survived), British merchant ship Ocean Voice (civilian commodore J. C. K. Dowding's ship; all 89 aboard survived), and British fleet oiler RFA Grey Ranger (6 were killed, 33 survived).
24 Sep 1942 HMS Somali (Lieutenant Commander C. D. Maud) broke apart and sank while under tow by HMS Ashanti 185 miles north of Iceland; 77 were killed, 35 survived.
26 Sep 1942 Allied convoy QP-14 arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
29 Oct 1942 US freighter Richard H. Alvey and British freighter Empire Galliard departed Iceland in Operation FB.
30 Oct 1942 Russian freighter Dekabrist, US freighter John Walker, and British freighter Empire Gilbert departed Hvalfjrur, Iceland in Operation FB.
31 Oct 1942 US freighter John H. B. Latrobe and British freighter Chulmleigh departed Iceland in Operation FB.
1 Nov 1942 US freighter Hugh Williamson and British freighter Empire Sky departed Hvalfjrur, Iceland in Operation FB.
2 Nov 1942 German submarine U-586 sank British freighter Empire Gilbert of Operation FB southwest of Jan Mayen island, Norway at 0118 hours; 60 were killed, 3 survived. In Iceland, US Liberty ship William Clark and British freighter Empire Scott departed; they were also of Operation FB.
3 Nov 1942 British freighter Daldorch departed Iceland in Operation FB.
4 Nov 1942 German submarine U-354 damaged US Liberty ship William Clark of Operation FB off Jan Mayen island, Norway at 1333 hours; at 1400 hours, U-354 struck again and sank William Clark (31 were killed, 61 survived). Russian freighter Dekabrist, also of Operation FB, was attacked by German Ju 88 aircraft, suffering fatal damage (she would sink shortly after east of Spitzbergen, Norway). During the day, British freighter Briarwood departed Iceland in Operation FB.
5 Nov 1942 British freighter Chulmleigh of Operation FB got stuck on a reef off Norway at 2300 hours.
6 Nov 1942 British freighter Chulmleigh of Operation FB, stuck on a reef off Norway, was abandoned by her crew at 0400 hours; at 1558 hours, German submarine U-625 found Chulmleigh and destroyed her with gunfire. At 2224 hours, U-625 found British freighter Empire Sky, also of Operation FB, and sank her south of Spitzbergen, Norway at 2224 hours, killing all 60 aboard.
7 Nov 1942 German destroyer Z27 sank Soviet ship Donbass; 49 were kiled, 16 survived and captured by the Germans.
17 Nov 1942 Allied convoy QP-15 departed Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia. It was consisted of 28 freighters and was escorted by one anti-aircraft vessel, five minesweepers, four corvettes, and two destroyers.
20 Nov 1942 Soviet destroyer Sokrushitelny was damaged and Soviet destroyer Baku capsized in very heavy weather while escorting Allied convoy QP-15.
22 Nov 1942 While escorting Allied convoy QP-15, Soviet destroyer Sokrushitelny foundered after sustaining damage in heavy weather.
23 Nov 1942 German submarine U-625 sank British freighter Goolistan at 0145 hours; shortly after, U-601 sank Russian merchant ship Kuznets Lesov; all 82 people aboard the two ships were killed.
30 Nov 1942 Ships of Allied convoy QP-15 began to arrive at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
3 Dec 1942 All remaining ships of Allied convoy QP-15 arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
15 Dec 1942 Allied convoy JW-51A departed Liverpool, England, United Kingdom; it was consisted of 16 freighters and was escorted by seven destroyers and four smaller warships.
20 Dec 1942 Ships of Allied convoy JW-51A began to arrive at Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
22 Dec 1942 Convoy JW-51B departed from Liverpool, England, United Kingdom for Murmansk, Russia; it was consisted of 14 freighters and was escorted by six destroyers, two corvettes, one minesweeper, and two trawlers under the command of Captain Robert Sherbrooke; British cruisers of Force R covered the convoy from a distance.
25 Dec 1942 All ships of Allied convoy JW-51A arrived in the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia; this convoy suffered no losses.
26 Dec 1942 Allied convoy JW-51B was hit by a major storm about half way between Bear Island and Jan Mayen island north of Norway; five ships lost contact with the convoy.
30 Dec 1942 Allied convoy RA-51 departed Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia. To the west, German submarine U-354 detected Allied convoy JW-51B; Admiral Erich Raeder ordered Ltzow, Admiral Hipper, and six destroyers to sortie from Altafjord, Norway to intercept.
4 Jan 1943 Allied convoy JW-51B arrived in the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
11 Jan 1943 Allied convoy RA-51 arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
17 Jan 1943 Allied convoy JW-52 departed Liverpool, England, United Kingdom.
24 Jan 1943 12 German aircraft were launched to attack Allied convoy JW-52; only three of them found and attacked the convoy, and all three were shot down.
27 Jan 1943 Allied convoy JW-52 arrived at the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
29 Jan 1943 German submarine U-255 sank Soviet cargo ship Ufa south of Bear Island, Norway at 0622 hours. To the east, Allied convoy RA-52 departed the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
3 Feb 1943 German submarine U-255 sank US freighter Greylock of Allied convoy RA-52; all 70 aboard survived.
9 Feb 1943 Allied convoy RA-52 arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
15 Feb 1943 Allied convoy JW-53 departed Liverpool, England, United Kingdom.
27 Feb 1943 Allied convoy JW-53 arrived at the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
1 Mar 1943 Allied convoy RA-53 departed the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia; it was consisted of 30 freighters and was escorted by 31 warships.
5 Mar 1943 German submarine U-255 sank freighter Executive (9 were killed, 51 survived) and damaged freighter Richard Bland of Allied convoy RA-53 at 0924 hours; shortly after, 12 German He 111 aircraft attacked the convoy, but none of them were able to break through the escort screen.
7 Mar 1943 US Liberty Ship J. L. M. Curry of Allied convoy RA-53 broke in two in a storm.
9 Mar 1943 German submarine U-586 sank US merchant ship Puerto Rican of Allied convoy RA-53 northeast of Iceland; 61 were killed, 1 survived.
10 Mar 1943 German submarine U-255 sank freighter Richard Bland of Allied convoy RA-53; 61 were killed, 1 survived.
14 Mar 1943 Allied convoy RA-53 arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
24 Jul 1943 German submarine U-703 was ordered to go to Hopen island, Norway to pick up stranded Russian sailors (from Russian freighter Dekabrist which was sunk many months prior).
25 Jul 1943 German submarine U-703 arrived at Hopen island, Norway and picked up four survivors of Russian freighter Dekabrist, including the skipper Beliaev.
27 Jul 1943 German submarine U-255 sank Soviet survey ship Akademik Shokalski off Novaya Zemlya archipelago in northern Russia.
21 Aug 1943 German submarine U-354 pursued an Allied convoy off northern Russia to no success.
31 Aug 1943 German submarine U-703 arrived at Narvik, Norway and dropped off four survivors of Russian freighter Dekabrist.
18 Sep 1943 German submarine U-711 shelled the Soviet wireless telegraph station at Pravdy in northern Russia.
24 Sep 1943 German submarine U-711 shelled the Soviet wireless telegraph station at Blagopoluchiya in northern Russia.
30 Sep 1943 A wolfpack consisted of German submarines U-703, U-601, and U-960 attacked Soviet convoy VA-18 near the Sergey Kirov Islands in the eastern Kara Sea and sank freighter Arhangelsk.
1 Oct 1943 In the Kara Sea off northern Russia, German submarine U-703 sank freighter Sergei Kirov of Soviet convoy VA-18 and U-960 sank escort vessel T-42.
7 Oct 1943 German submarine U-703 rescued survivors of sunken Russian freighter Dekabrist.
9 Oct 1943 German submarine U-703 arrived at Harstad, Norway and dropped off two survivors of Russian freighter Dekabrist.
1 Nov 1943 Allied convoy RA-54A departed the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
14 Nov 1943 Allied convoy RA-54A arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
15 Nov 1943 Allied convoy JW-54A departed Liverpool, England, United Kingdom.
22 Nov 1943 Allied convoy JW-54B departed Liverpool, England, United Kingdom.
24 Nov 1943 Allied convoy JW-54A arrived at the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
26 Nov 1943 Allied convoy RA-54B departed Arkhangelsk, Russia.
3 Dec 1943 Allied convoy JW-54B arrived at Arkhangelsk, Russia.
9 Dec 1943 Allied convoy RA-54B arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
12 Dec 1943 Allied convoy JW-55A departed Liverpool, England, United Kingdom.
22 Dec 1943 Allied convoy JW-55A arrived at Arkhangelsk, Russia and convoy RA-55A departed Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
30 Dec 1943 Allied convoy JW-55B arrived at Arkhangelsk, Russia.
31 Dec 1943 Allied convoy RA-55B departed the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
1 Jan 1944 Allied convoy RA-55A arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
8 Jan 1944 Allied convoy RA-55B arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
12 Jan 1944 Allied convoy JW-56A departed Liverpool, England, United Kingdom; it was consisted of 20 freighters and was escorted by 2 cruisers and 9 destroyers.
15 Jan 1944 Allied convoy JW-56A sailed into a storm off the Faroe Islands; it was redirected to Akureyri, Iceland for shelter.
21 Jan 1944 Allied convoy JW-56A continued her journey from Akureyri, Iceland.
22 Jan 1944 Allied convoy JW-56B departed Liverpool, England, United Kingdom.
25 Jan 1944 German submarine U-278 sank US freighter Penelope Barker (16 were killed, 56 survived) and U-360 damaged destroyer HMS Obdurate which was forced to leave the escort force of the Allied arctic convoy.
26 Jan 1944 German submarine U-716 sank US freighter Andrew G. Curtin of Allied convoy JW-56A; 3 were killed, 68 survived. U-360 damaged British freighter Fort Bellingham (convoy civilian commodore's ship), which was later sunk by U-957; 36 were killed, 35 survived.
28 Jan 1944 Allied convoy JW-56A arrived at Arkhangelsk, Russia.
30 Jan 1944 German submarine U-278 fatally damaged Allied arctic convoy escort HMS Hardy; HMS Venus scuttled HMS Hardy after the damaged destroyer was abandoned.
1 Feb 1944 Allied convoy JW-56B arrived at the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
3 Feb 1944 Allied convoy RA-56 departed at the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
11 Feb 1944 Allied convoy RA-56 arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
20 Feb 1944 Allied convoy JW-57 departed Liverpool, England, United Kingdom. It was consisted of 42 merchant ships, was supported by 2 tankers and 1 rescue ship, and was escorted by 4 corvettes (and later reinforced with destroyers and frigates).
23 Feb 1944 A British Swordfish aircraft sank German submarine U-713 near Allied convoy JW-57; all 50 aboard were killed.
25 Feb 1944 A British Catalina aircraft sank German submarine U-601 near Allied convoy JW-57; all 51 aboard were killed. On the same day, U-990 sank destroyer HMS Mahratta 320 kilometers off North Cape, Norway at 2055 hours; 220 were killed, 16 survived.
28 Feb 1944 Allied convoy JW-57 arrived at the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
2 Mar 1944 Allied convoy RA-57 departed the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
10 Mar 1944 Allied convoy RA-57 arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
27 Mar 1944 Allied convoy JW-58 departed Liverpool, England, United Kingdom.
31 Mar 1944 Aircraft from ships Beagle and Tracker in Allied convoy JW-58 sank German submarine U-355 in the Arctic Sea.
4 Apr 1944 Allied convoy JW-58 arrived at the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
7 Apr 1944 Allied convoy RA-58 departed the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
14 Apr 1944 Allied convoy RA-58 arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
28 Apr 1944 Allied convoy RA-59 departed the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
6 May 1944 Allied convoy RA-59 arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
8 Aug 1944 Soviet convoy BD-5 departed Arkhangelsk, Russia, escorted by 3 trawlers.
12 Aug 1944 German submarine U-365 sank Russian freighter Marina Raskova and Soviet trawler T-114 of Soviet convoy BD-5 in western Kara Sea off northern Russia; a total of 362 were killed and 256 survived.
15 Aug 1944 Allied convoy JW-59 departed Liverpool, England, United Kingdom; it was consisted of 33 freighters.
25 Aug 1944 Allied convoy JW-59 arrived at the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
28 Aug 1944 Allied convoy RA-59A departed the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
5 Sep 1944 Allied convoy RA-59A arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
15 Sep 1944 Allied convoy JW-60 departed Liverpool, England, United Kingdom.
23 Sep 1944 Allied convoy JW-60 arrived at the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
28 Sep 1944 Allied convoy RA-60 departed the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
5 Oct 1944 Allied convoy RA-60 arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
20 Oct 1944 Allied convoy JW-61 departed Liverpool, England, United Kingdom.
28 Oct 1944 Allied convoy JW-61 arrived at the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
31 Oct 1944 Allied convoy JW-61A departed Liverpool, England, United Kingdom.
2 Nov 1944 Allied convoy RA-61 departed the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
6 Nov 1944 Allied convoy JW-61A arrived at Murmansk, Russia.
9 Nov 1944 Allied convoy RA-61 arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
11 Nov 1944 Allied convoy RA-61A departed the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
17 Nov 1944 Allied convoy RA-61A arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
29 Nov 1944 Allied convoy JW-62 departed Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
7 Dec 1944 Allied convoy JW-62 arrived at the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
10 Dec 1944 Allied convoy RA-62 departed the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
19 Dec 1944 Allied convoy RA-62 arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
30 Dec 1944 Allied convoy JW-63 departed Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
8 Jan 1945 Allied convoy JW-63 arrived at the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
11 Jan 1945 Allied convoy RA-63 departed the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
21 Jan 1945 Allied convoy RA-63 arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
3 Feb 1945 Allied convoy JW-64 departed Clyde, Scotland, United Kingdom.
15 Feb 1945 Allied convoy JW-64 arrived at the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
17 Feb 1945 Allied convoy RA-64 departed the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
28 Feb 1945 Allied convoy RA-64 arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
11 Mar 1945 Allied convoy JW-65 departed Clyde, Scotland, United Kingdom.
21 Mar 1945 Allied convoy JW-65 arrived at the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
23 Mar 1945 Allied convoy RA-65 departed the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
1 Apr 1945 Allied convoy RA-65 arrived at Loch Ewe, Scotland, United Kingdom.
16 Apr 1945 Allied convoy JW-66 departed Clyde, Scotland, United Kingdom.
25 Apr 1945 Allied convoy JW-66 arrived at the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
29 Apr 1945 Allied convoy RA-66 departed the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
8 May 1945 Allied convoy RA-66 arrived at Clyde, Scotland, United Kingdom.
12 May 1945 Allied convoy JW-67 departed Clyde, Scotland, United Kingdom.
20 May 1945 Allied convoy JW-67 arrived at the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
23 May 1945 Allied convoy RA-67, the last outgoing Allied arctic convoy, departed the Kola Inlet near Murmansk, Russia.
30 May 1945 Allied convoy RA-67, the last returning Allied arctic convoy, arrived at Clyde, Scotland, United Kingdom.

Photographs

Ice forming on a 20-inch signal projector on the cruiser HMS Sheffield while escorting a convoy in the Norwegian Sea or Barents Sea, Dec 1941British cruiser HMS Trinidad escorting an Allied Arctic convoy, seen from HMS Fury, 1942US and British ships gathering in Hvalfjrur, Iceland in preparation of a convoy, date unknownAlbacore aircraft of No. 820 Squadron, British Fleet Air Arm taking off from HMS Victorious, which was on distant cover for Arctic convoys, Mar 1942
See all 13 photographs of Arctic Convoys



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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. John T Rostron says:
    24 Sep 2012 01:09:50 AM

    My farther John Rostron was onboard Paulus Potter when it was sunk, he was in an open boat for reportedly eleven days with the Captain and other crew members. Dad was one of the few servivers, have you any more details.
  2. PT Aust says:
    29 Apr 2013 12:22:31 AM

    I am trying to find references to two atlantic convoy ships the Nieuwe kerk and Amstel Kerk on which my Grandfather severed as a Doctor before being called back to RAMC in 1943. I can find no references to the Nieuwe kerk which he said also took him down to Argentina, any help would be welcome.
  3. Steve Robertson says:
    19 Jan 2014 10:51:23 PM

    Sirs,

    Am inquiring generally if anyone has knowledge of my grandfather ROBERT GRAHAM ROBERTSON (NUMBER J10152) who served on the artic convoys from 1941-45. His trade I believe was an electrician.

    Thanks Grandson Stephen.
  4. Claus Kvist Hansen says:
    4 Feb 2014 05:29:35 AM

    If anyone have information on Ludvig Islin Larsen, who did 3 convoys, I'd be happy to know more of it. We think he was the only survivor in the sinking of his last ship.
    Claus Kvist Hansen, clkvha@gmail.com

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Arctic Convoys Photo Gallery
Ice forming on a 20-inch signal projector on the cruiser HMS Sheffield while escorting a convoy in the Norwegian Sea or Barents Sea, Dec 1941
See all 13 photographs of Arctic Convoys



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