Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

PQ 17 Convoy Disaster

Discussion in 'Britain at Sea!' started by ColyH, Jan 5, 2024.

  1. ColyH

    ColyH Member

    Dec 16, 2022
    Likes Received:
    Early in the war the Allies were escorting ships through the Arctic Ocean to get supplies to the Soviet Union however the convoy with the code name PQ 17 would meet with disaster. From what I understand Admiral Dudley Pound had been informed that a German fleet was headed out to intercept this convoy so Pound ordered the covering force to he head back west and then ordered the convoy to scatter. With the escort ships out of the way the convoy was on their own to face U-boats and the Luftwaffe and much of the convoy was destroyed.

    I have heard different opinions to why Admiral Pound made this decision that range from political pressure, it was a good decision that just backfired, and even he had a brain tumor and not thinking clearly. What is your opinion?
  2. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

    Feb 17, 2010
    Likes Received:
    The withdrawal of the convoy's destroyers was aggravated by the order to scatter. The rest of the escort - two AA ships, four corvettes, three minesweepers, and four trawlers - continued on to Russia without receiving a hit or a casualty. Some like the trawler Ayrshire tried to protect the merchant ships, others just looked after themselves. The senior officers in the AA ships Palomares and Pozarica each collected a couple of anti-submarine escorts to make a nice, self-protecting unit. Eventually the escorts and a few surviving merchants collected in Novaya Zemlya and made a dash for Arkhangel.

    The six destroyers included two Hunt II class, without torpedos but with a strong AA armament, and the ex-US flush-decker Leamington which had little to contribute to a surface battle and might have done better to stay with the merchants.

    When the destroyers and the cruiser covering force were ordered to retire westward, they were under the impression that they might be facing a desperate battle, possibly against the Tirpitz. This was the occasion on which Jacky Broome, the escort commander, exchanged signals with one of the two submarines attached to PQ17:

    Sub: I will try to stay on the surface as long as possible.
    HMS Keppel: So will I.
    ColyH and OpanaPointer like this.
  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

    Jun 5, 2008
    Likes Received:
    That was almost always what I tried to do.

Share This Page