Friday, January 06, 2006
More about the Tiger Convoy
Five 15-knot transports made up the Tiger Convoy. Three had "Clan" names: the Clan Chatton, the Clan Lamont, and the Clan Campbell. The others were the Empire Song and the New Zealand Star. They carried 295 tanks and 53 Hurricanes. The convoy entered the Mediterranean Sea on the night of 5th and 6th May 1941. In the Skerki Channel, on the night of 8 May, the Empire Song hit two mines, which set ammunition afire. The New Zealand Star had a mine explode on a paravane with little damage. The Empire Song exploded, but her crew had been removed by a destroyer, prior to that moment. The Empire Song had carried 10 Hurricanes and 57 tanks, all of which were lost. 238 tanks and 43 Hurricanes eventually arrived at their destination. These included 135 Inf. Mk.II Matildas, 82 Crusader Mk.I tanks and 21 light tanks, probably Lt.Mk.VIC. A torpedo bomber, probably an SM79, staged an attack on the Queen Elizabeth, but she narrowly avoided the torpedo. The next day, Beaufighters from Malta flew cover for the convoy. The destroyer Fortune, with Force H, was hit, but reached Gibraltar. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.