Friday, July 20, 2007
The destruction of the Duisburg convoy
The convoy that had been intercepted by Force K was the Duisburg convoy. There were seven merchant ships, of which all were sunk. Two of the escorting destroyers were lost. Force K sank the Fulmine and the submarine Upholder sank the Libeccio, which had been damaged by Force K. There had been two heavy cruisers, the Trento and Trieste in support, along with four more destroyers. Through lack of initiative and timidity, they failed to intervene. Some Italian submarines and surface warships brought a small amount of fuel to Libya. Another four convoys were sent to sea to make a run for North Africa. One operation successfully arrived at Benghazi, while it was still in Axis hands. After two Italian cruisers were torpedoed, the remaining convoys turned back. A small convoy from Greece, heading for Benghazi was intercepted and sunk. Only two other supply ships reached North Africa. One arrived at Benghazi and one at Tripoli. Late in November, another attempt was made from several ports, but only one reached Benghazi on 2 December 1941. About 62 percent of supplies that were sent to North Africa were lost on transit, according to an Italian estimate. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.