Convoy PQ 12

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Convoy PQ 12 was an Arctic convoy sent from Great Britain by the Western Allies to aid the Soviet Union during World War II. It sailed in March 1942, reaching Murmansk despite a sortie against it by the German battleship Tirpitz. All ships arrived safely.

Ships[edit]

PQ 12 consisted of 16 ships under the command of Commodore HT Hudson. The Close Escort comprised the minesweeper Gossamer and five whalers. These were joined on 5 March by the Ocean Escort of two destroyers, Oribi, commanded by Cdr. JEH McBeath who took over as SOE, and Offa, supported by the cruiser Kenya.

Distant cover was provided by two Heavy Cover Forces; one comprising the battleship Duke of York (V. Adm. ATB Curteis commanding), the battlecruiser Renown, and six destroyers, sailing from Reykjavik, and another led by Adm. J Tovey comprising the battleship King George V, the carrier HMS Victorious, the cruiser Berwick and six destroyers, sailing from Scapa Flow.

Action[edit]

PQ 12 sailed from Reykjavik on 1 March 1942 with its Close Escort. It was joined on 5 March by the Ocean Escort, and on 6 March by the cruiser Kenya. Also at sea were the Heavy Cover Forces, V.Adm. Curteis from Reykjavik sailing on 3 March and Adm. Tovey from Scapa Flow on the 4th.

On 5 March the convoy was sighted by a German reconnaissance aircraft, and on 6 March, after obtaining permission from Hitler to do so, Tirpitz sortied from Trondheim with three destroyers as escort. This was Operation Sportpalast, and was intended to find and destroy both PQ 12 and its reciprocal, QP 8, which was also at sea.

Shortly after sailing Tirpitz was sighted by the patrolling submarine Seawolf, and the Heavy Cover Forces, now joined together, sought to bring Tirpitz to action.

Over the next two days these groups of ships manoeuvered around each other, without coming into contact, though on two occasions they were just 60 miles apart. Tirpitz had no success, though her destroyers encounterd one straggler from QP 8, the freighter Ijora, and sank her. Finally on 9 March as Tirpitz headed for home, she was sighted by aircraft from Victorious and attacked, though also without success.

PQ 12 arrived at Murmansk on 12 March. No ships were lost, though the escort suffered one whaler lost, Shera, capsized by ice buildup, and one destroyer, Oribi, damaged by pack ice. On 24 March the Lancaster Castle was dive bombed alongside the quay in Murmansk. Eight men were killed. It was towed out and moored in the river. The crew continued to live on board. A few days later it was dive bombed again and received five direct hits. There were no casualties but the crew moved to shore.

Ships in the convoy[1][edit]

Name Flag Tonnage (GRT) Notes
HMT Angle (FY201)  Royal Navy Escort 01 Mar - 04 Mar
Anti-submarine trawler
Artigas (1920)  Panama 5,613 Arrived Reykjavik 27 Feb, Sailed 1 Mar
HMS Ashanti (F51)  Royal Navy Escort 06 Mar - 10 Mar
Ballot (1922)  Panama 6,131 Dynamo Defects, Did Not Sail With Pq 12
Bateau (1926)  Panama 4,687 Arrived Rekyjavik 27 Feb, Sailed 1 Mar, Returned
Beaconstreet (1927)  United Kingdom 7,467
HMS Bedouin (F67)  Royal Navy Escort 06 Mar - 10 Mar
Belomorcanal (1936)  Soviet Union 2,900
HMS Berwick (65)  Royal Navy Escort 06 Mar - 10 Mar
Capulin (1920)  Panama 4,977 Arrived Reykjavik 27 Feb, Sailed 1 Mar
HMT Chiltern  Royal Navy Escort 01 Mar - 04 Mar
Anti-submarine trawler
Dneprostroi (1919)  Soviet Union 4,756
HMS Duke of York (17)  Royal Navy Escort 06 Mar - 10 Mar
Earlston (1941)  United Kingdom 7,195 Arrived Reykjavik 27 Feb, Sailed 1 Mar
HMS Echo (H23)  Royal Navy Escort 06 Mar - 10 Mar
HMS Eclipse (H08)  Royal Navy Escort 06 Mar - 10 Mar
El Coston (1924)  Panama 7,286 Arrived Reykjavik 27 Feb, Sailed 1 Mar
El Occidente (1910)  Panama 6,008
Empire Byron (1941)  United Kingdom 6,645 Arrived Reykjavik 27 Feb, Sailed 1 Mar

Vice Commodore’s Ship

HMS Eskimo (F75)  Royal Navy Escort 06 Mar - 10 Mar
HMS Faulknor (H62)  Royal Navy Escort 06 Mar - 10 Mar
HMS Fury (H76)  Royal Navy Escort 06 Mar - 11 Mar
HMS Gossamer[2]  Royal Navy Escort 04 Mar - 10 Mar
Gremyaschi  Soviet Union Escort 11 Mar - 12 Mar
HMS Grove (L77)  Royal Navy Escort 10 Mar - 10 Mar
HMS Harrier  Royal Navy Escort 11 Mar - 12 Mar
HMS Hussar  Royal Navy Escort 11 Mar - 12 Mar
HMS Icarus (D03)  Royal Navy Escort 06 Mar - 11 Mar
HMS Inconstant (H49)  Royal Navy Escort 10 Mar - 10 Mar
HMS Intrepid (D10)  Royal Navy Escort 06 Mar - 11 Mar
HMS Javelin (F61)  Royal Navy Escort 10 Mar - 10 Mar
HMS Kenya (14)  Royal Navy Escort 06 Mar - 12 Mar
Kiev (1917)  Soviet Union 5,823 Position probable but not definite
HMS King George V (41)  Royal Navy Escort 06 Mar - 10 Mar
HMS Lancaster (G05)  Royal Navy Escort 10 Mar - 10 Mar
Lancaster Castle (1937)  United Kingdom 5,172 Arrived Reykjavik 27 Feb, Sailed 1 Mar Lost In Russia
HMS Ledbury (L90)  Royal Navy Escort 10 Mar - 10 Mar
Llandaff (1937)  United Kingdom 4,825 Arrived Reykjavik 27 Feb, Sailed 1 Mar

Capt H T Hudson RD RNR (Commodore)

HMS Lookout (G32)  Royal Navy Escort 06 Mar - 11 Mar
Navarino (1937)  United Kingdom 4,841 Arrived Reykjavik 27 Feb, Sailed 1 Mar
HMT Notts County (FY250)  Royal Navy Escort 01 Mar - 04 Mar
Anti-submarine trawler
HMS Offa (G29)  Royal Navy Escort 04 Mar - 12 Mar
HMS Onslow (G17)  Royal Navy Escort 06 Mar - 10 Mar
HMS Oribi (G66)  Royal Navy Escort 04 Mar - 10 Mar
HMS Punjabi  Royal Navy Escort 06 Mar - 11 Mar
HMS Renown  Royal Navy Escort 06 Mar - 10 Mar
Sevzaples (1932)  Soviet Union 3,974
HMS Shera (FY1724)  Royal Navy Escort 04 Mar - 09 Mar
ASW whaler
HMS Shusa (FY1702)  Royal Navy Escort 04 Mar - 12 Mar
ASW whaler
HMS Speedwell  Royal Navy Escort 11 Mar - 12 Mar
HMS Stefa  Royal Navy Escort 04 Mar - 12 Mar
ASW whaler
HMS Stella Capella  Royal Navy Escort 01 Mar - 04 Mar
ASW trawler
Stone Street (1922)  Panama 6,131
HMS Sulla (FY1874)  Royal Navy Escort 04 Mar - 12 Mar
ASW whaler
HMS Svega (FY294)  Royal Navy Escort 04 Mar - 12 Mar
ASW whaler
HMS Tartar (F43)  Royal Navy Escort 09 Mar - 10 Mar
Temple Arch (1940)  United Kingdom 5,138 Arrived Reykjavik 27 Feb, Sailed 1 Mar
HMS Verdun (L93)  Royal Navy Escort 10 Mar - 10 Mar
HMS Victorious (R38)  Royal Navy Escort 06 Mar - 10 Mar
Aircraft carrier
HMS Wells  Royal Navy Escort 10 Mar - 10 Mar
HMS Woolston  Royal Navy Escort 10 Mar - 10 Mar

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Convoy PQ.12". Arnold Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "HMS Gossamer 1942". HALCYON CLASS - MINESWEEPERS AND SURVEY SHIPS OF WORLD WAR TWO. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 

References[edit]