Convoy QP 13

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Intrepid was one of five destroyers escorting convoy QP 13.

Convoy QP 13 was the thirteenth of the numbered series of World War II convoys of merchant ships westbound from the Arctic ports of Arkhangelsk and Murmansk to the United Kingdom, Iceland, and North America. Most of the ships were returning empty after delivering war material to the Soviet Union, but some Soviet ships carried cargoes of export timber. The convoy sailed simultaneously with eastbound convoy PQ 17 so both convoys might benefit from the heavy covering force of the British aircraft carrier Victorious, battleship Duke of York, cruisers Cumberland and Nigeria, and destroyers Ashanti, Douglas, Faulknor, Marne, Martin, Onslaught and Onslow with the American battleship USS Washington and destroyers Mayrant and Rhind. The covering force was commanded by Admiral John Tovey aboard the flagship Duke of York. Convoy QP 13 consisted of 35 merchant ships escorted by the anti-aircraft ship Alynbank with destroyers Achates, Garland, Inglefield, Intrepid and Volunteer, minesweepers Hussar and Niger, and corvettes Honeysuckle, Hyderabad, Roselys and Starwort.[1]


Convoy QP 13 left Arkhangelsk on 26 June 1942 reinforced by a local escort of Soviet destroyers Gremyaschi, Grozni and Kuibyshev with British destroyer Tartar and minesweepers Bramble, Hazard, Leda and Seagull. The local escort was replaced on 29 June by an anti-aircraft escort of Hunt class destroyers Blankney, Middleton and Wheatland.[1] On 30 June German air reconnaissance found convoy QP 13 180 miles (290 km) north of North Cape, Norway. U-88 was shadowing the convoy by 2 July; but Admiral Nordmeer Hubert Schmundt ordered German forces to ignore the empty westbound ships and focus on the loaded ships of eastbound convoy PQ 17.[2] The Hunt-class destroyers detached on 4 July when convoy QP 13 was out of range of German bombers.[1]

Convoy QP 13 encountered fog on 5 July 1942. In poor visibility Niger mistook an iceberg for Iceland’s North Western Cape and six merchant ships followed her into Northern Barrage minefield SN72 laid one month earlier at the entrance to the Denmark Strait.[3] All seven ships detonated naval mines, and there were only eight survivors of the 127 men aboard Niger. Only Exterminator could be salvaged. No crewmen were lost from Exterminator, Hybert and Rodina;[4] but one crewman died abandoning Hefron, five drowned when John Randolph broke in two, and Massmar sank with 17 merchant seamen, 5 Naval Armed Guards, and 26 survivors she was carrying from the sinking of Alamar in convoy PQ 16.[5]

Surviving ships destined for Reykjavík were escorted into port on 7 July by a local escort of naval trawlers Saint Elstan and Lady Madeleine.[1]

Merchant ships in Convoy QP 13[1]
Ship Tonnage (GRT) Flag Notes
Alma Ata 3,611  Soviet Union timber cargo
American Press 5,131  United States
American Robin 5,172  United States
Archangle 2,480  Soviet Union timber cargo
SS Atlantic 5,414  United Kingdom
Budenni 2,482  Soviet Union timber cargo
Capira 5,625  Panama
Chumleigh 5,445  United Kingdom
City of Omaha 6,124  United States
SS Empire Baffin 6,978  United Kingdom
Empire Mavis 5,704  United Kingdom
Empire Meteor 7,457  United Kingdom
Empire Selwyn 7,167  United Kingdom Convoy Commodore's ship
Empire Stevenson 6,209  United Kingdom general cargo with lumber
Exterminator 6,115  Panama Damaged by British Northern Barrage minefield SN72
Heffron 7,611  United States Sunk by British Northern Barrage minefield SN72
Hegira 7,588  United States
Hybert 6,120  United States Sunk by British Northern Barrage minefield SN72
John Randolph 7,191  United States Liberty ship sunk by British Northern Barrage minefield SN72
Komiles 3,962  Soviet Union timber cargo
Kuzbass 3,109  Soviet Union
Lancaster 7,516  United States
Massmar 5,828  United States Sunk by British Northern Barrage minefield SN72
Mauna Kea 6,064  United States
Michigan 6,419  Panama
Mormacrey 5,946  United States
Mount Evans 5,598  Panama
Nemaha 6,501  United States
Petrovski 3,771  Soviet Union timber cargo
Pieter de Hoogh 7,168  Netherlands
Richard Henry Lee 7,191  United States Liberty ship
Rodina 4,441  Soviet Union Sunk by British Northern Barrage minefield SN72
St. Clears 4,312  United Kingdom
Stary Bolshevik 3,974  Soviet Union
Yaka 5,432  United States


  1. ^ a b c d e "Convoy QP.13". Convoy Web. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Irving, David (1968). The Destruction of Convoy PQ.17. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 31 & 61. 
  3. ^ "Mines and Mine Laying in Iceland WWII". Icelandic Coast Guard. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Hague, Arnold (2000). The Allied Convoy System 1939–1945. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. p. 190. ISBN 1-55750-019-3. 
  5. ^ Cressman, Robert J. (2000). The Official Chronology of the U.S. Navy in World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. p. 108. ISBN 1-55750-149-1.