Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Pedestal convoy: the morning of 13 August 1942

After 7:30am on 13 August 1942, the captain of the cruiser Manchester decided to scuttle the ship after she had been severely damaged by a torpedo fired by a motor torpedo boat. In the daytime, the air attacks recommenced while the motor torpedo boat threat subsided. At one point in the night, four Italian cruisers seemed to be a threat, but they turned to the east. After 8am, with long range Spitfires and Beaufighters providing air cover, the attacks started. The merchantman "Waimarama was hit and blew up". The tanker Ohio took engine damage during more attacks. By 11:30am, the convoy was 80 miles from Malta. They were now within range of short range Spitfires from Malta. Three merchant ships, the Port Chalmers, the Melbourne Star, and Rochester Castle arrived at Malta, escorted by minesweepers. The tanker Ohio arrived in Malta on 15 August with two destroyers tied alongside to provide steering and power. The Brisbane Star had been boarded by the French near Tunisia, but had arrived at Malta on 14 August. The other ship that had been straggling, the Dorset, had been sunk by further attacks. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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