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  #21  
Old 7th October 2009, 22:18
Bruce Dennis Bruce Dennis is offline
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Re: KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

[quote=Nokose;93553]

Brian,
No, it wouldn't help with aircraft attack. Most news reels that I've seen the attack came from the stern unless it was a torpedo or stuka attack.
... quote]

I can’t say what the Luftwaffe early-war training on this point included with any certainty, but it is odd to think of any aircraft attacking a merchant ship without first looking it over: certainly this was taught to Allied aircrew and was in fact a part of deciding what tactic to employ. I am not talking about convoys with flak-ships for protection, where in-and-out as quickly as possible was the rule for attackers, but rather solo ships or small lightly escorted convoys. Also, I’m not trying to be argumentative, but even getting into position to attack from the stern would offer the majority of aircraft an opportunity to see more of the ship. The neutral markings were meant to be large and prominent, and there are many examples of these being adequately recognised by approaching aircraft. A look at the exploits of the Allied anti-shipping groups operating from Malta will give an insight into what was possible in ship ID and choosing angles of approach. Concerning the night-time illumination of neutrals, this was enough to deter (most) U-boat captains, subject to the orders in force at the time.

HTH,
Bruce
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  #22  
Old 7th October 2009, 22:41
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

Thanks Bruce

Having digested the input, my question remains.

Why then was the Swedish Vingaland targeted by a FW200 of KG40 (do we know the identity of the KG40 crew?)

Cheers and thanks

Brian
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  #23  
Old 7th October 2009, 23:32
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Nokose Nokose is offline
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Re: KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

The fact that Vingaland (2734 GRT) was in a convoy left her open to attack. The convoy was probably escorted so AAA protection. The Fw200 pilot is not going to have the option of telling if the frieghter is neutral or not coming in for a low fast attack on ships sailing in columns with a zig zag that could take place at anytime. Do we know the time of the attack? Lt Cdr Giulio Chialamberto on the Submarine Marconi claimed her as a 10000 GRT freighter on the 09Nov40 at 21:05. Maybe some one can check "Focke-Wulf Fw200 Condor" by J.C. Salgado it might have some information on it but I've read it is mostly a picture book.
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  #24  
Old 8th October 2009, 00:45
Bruce Dennis Bruce Dennis is offline
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Re: KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nokose View Post
The fact that Vingaland (2734 GRT) was in a convoy left her open to attack....
Brian, I should have said, (but Nokose did) that a neutral sailing with a beligerent convoy or escort did not have protected status. In practice, it could get complicated if the well-paid neutrals were mixed with ships from one of the combatants, as copmpensation claims were often expensive and strained relationships. The high earnings of trans-Atlantic trade in war materials was a temptation and neutral shipping lines were often 'charmed or bullied' into this profitable trade, as were Swedish (for example) ships which ended up running iron-ore to Germany.

EDIT correcting gibberish
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Last edited by Bruce Dennis; 8th October 2009 at 20:23.
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  #25  
Old 8th October 2009, 12:09
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

Thanks Nokose and Bruce

I am able to see things more clearly!

Cheers
Brian
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  #26  
Old 8th October 2009, 20:00
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is offline
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Re: KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

Brian/All

As I said I am working on a more comprehensive answer regarding Swedish merchant fleet structures during WW2.
The MAIN point to remember is this.
When WW 2 broke out about 50% of the Swedish tonnage ended up OUTSIDE the Skagerack barrier/block. Those outside was NOT part of the so called Safe Conduct Traffic (Lejdtrafiken in Swedish). These vessels did not paint their sides as per the regulations stipulated by the Germans and they also could "do what they wanted" as long as they had
a) Their shipping line on their side
b) No hassle from the Swedish Government.

When Vingaland was sunk she was sailing for Britain with British cargo. She was on the way to Glasgow from Halifax with a load of steel and general cargo.

It was then of course natural that Vingaland sailed in the convoys arranged by Britain at the time. Vingaland had made at least one journey for Britain before that when she sailed in convoy HG-31 from Gibraltar to Liverpool 23.5.40 to 2.6.40 with a load of general cargo.
At least five other Swedish vessels were sailing for Britain inside the convoys of HG-31 and HX-84.

That means that those vessels OUTSIDE the blockade simply took their chances just like any other British/Allied vessel in the convoy.

I did not know that before and somehow it feels pretty good that we did "something" for the Allied cause, even if the main reason was money...
I don't envy those sailers sailing for any Nation during WW 2. They were a brave lot who just took their punishment face up and those who died are just remembered as statistics today. They were a brave lot....

Those Swedish vessel who negotiated a safe conduct passage were not allowed to enter any of the warring parties harbours and could not sail with any other nations vessels.

Cheers
Stig
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  #27  
Old 8th October 2009, 20:35
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

Many thanks Stig

I believe that I now understand the circumstances prevailing at the time.

Cheers
Brian
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  #28  
Old 10th October 2009, 18:55
Martin Gleeson Martin Gleeson is offline
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Re: KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

Hallo all,
NEUTRAL IRISH SHIPS SAILING IN ALLIED CONVOYS.
Interesting thread ! And a very difficult one to answer with complete clarity, at least concerning neutral Irish shipping. I am not a naval expert either, but do have a long-standing interest in such matters.
Firstly some background information that I believe is relevant to the topic. On the outbreak of the war in September 1939 the owners of many Irish-registered merchant ships, for various reasons, switched their vessels to the British registry. This development left Ireland with few cargo-carrying ships and none of the ocean-going variety. It caused severe problems and forced the Irish authorities and remaining Irish-based ship owners to use what were basically coasters and even masted schooners for long trips to Spain, Portugal and even further afield. Later of course some (VERY) second-hand ocean-going vessels were acquired by the new state-run company Irish Shipping Ltd. for the express purpose of bringing vital foodstuffs and supplies to Ireland.
Concerning the thorny question of neutral Irish ships sailing in British convoys. I have found nothing - so far - to suggest this practice was sanctioned by the Irish government. Rather it appears to have been authorised or requested by the ship's owners. Referring back to the points in the above paragraph it is worth recalling that the Irish ships were small and perhaps for fear of breakdown or attack sailing with other vessels initially perhaps seemed to be the best option. Nor were Irish-registered ships ever armed. However the traumatic experiences of the crews of two Limerick-based ships sailing with the OG 71 and HG 73 convoys in August and September 1941 caused Irish ship's captains to recommend to the owners to stop sailing in British convoys. By early 1942 such sailings has ceased. Indeed there were a number of occasions when crews of Irish-registered ships refused to sail with a British convoy, preferring to sail independently.
It is difficult for me to say this, but Irish ships sailing in Allied convoys were a legitimate target for the Axis. Also when in convoy no U-boat or aircraft could have identified them as Irish. However I do not hold the same view for Irish ships sailing independently. These could, in a majority of cases, be identified as neutral by German aircraft or U-boat crews; and still many attacks and sinkings took place.
I have found no evidence yet that Irish ships sailed in British convoys during 1939 or 1940. The practice probably only began during 1941 after the introduction of the so-called 'Navicert' system by the British in January of that year. In brief Irish ships sailing to or from certain countries (especially Spain and Portugal) had to be licensed by the British authorities to do so. Failure to hold a navicert meant an Irish ship could not pass Allied patrols or receive help or stores in Allied ports. This especially applied to Irish vessels going to or coming from Spain and Portugal. The navicert system further required Irish ships en route to these countries to stop in Britain first in order to load coal and transport it to Lisbon for the British ! This arrangement suited both sides of course. On the return voyage to Ireland the ship had first to call at Fishguard for examination by the British authorities. Irish ship's captains were issued with detailed routing instructions by the British and were forbidden to sail in the Bay of Biscay or east of 12 degrees W on pain of being attacked on sight by Allied forces.
While it does not seem Irish ships under the navicert system were required to sail in a British convoy it probably facilitated this practice for both the British authorities and the ship's owners. Having said that most voyages by Irish-registered ships were independent sailings. The navicert system was withdrawn on 27 April 1944 before the D-Day landings for security reaasons. The Irish ships engaged on the Iberian trade routes ceased doing so and apparently for the rest of the war sailed between Ireland and Britain.
By that time however the new Irish Shipping Ltd. was sailing regularly to North America and elsewhere. To date I can only find one case of an Irish-registered ship sailing with a trans-Atlantic convoy. Almost all trans-Atlantic trips by Irish ships were independent sailings. Crews received a bonus for these and indeed vessels sailing alone could make more voyages per year than when travelling by convoy. Hence more bonus payments for the crews and more shiploads of goods for the country. (A 'win-win' situation I think it is called !). As far as I can tell the bonus payments only began in 1942 and may not have been universal. Neutral vessels sailing alone across the Atlantic journeyed on a special route reserved for them.
The foregoing is my interpretation of information from several sources. In particular the excellent 'THE LONG WATCH' (WW2 and the Irish Mercantile Marine) (2nd edit., 2000) by Frank Forde. Also several volumes of Irish foreign policy documents up to January 1941 and a detailed study of documents in our Military Archives relating to attacks on Irish-registered ships from 1940 to 1944.
Mark. Forgive me for repeating some of the points you made earlier. I know you are carrying out detailed research yourself on the maritime war around Ireland.
Hope the above helps.
Martin Gleeson.

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  #29  
Old 10th October 2009, 20:26
Bruce Dennis Bruce Dennis is offline
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Re: KG40 & Convoy HX.84 November 1940

This link might be of interest. Select Table 1 & 2.

http://www.schiffswrackliste.de/Verl...01939-1945.htm


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