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Old 05-12-2011, 12:09 AM   #39
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Lightbulb Convoy PQ 17

PQ 17 was the code name for an Allied World War II convoy in the Arctic Ocean. In July 1942, the Arctic convoys suffered a significant defeat when Convoy PQ 17 lost 24 of its 35 merchant ships during a series of heavy enemy daylight attacks which lasted a week... On 27 June, the ships sailed eastbound from Hvalfjord, Iceland for the port of Arkhangelsk, Russia... The convoy was located by German forces on 1 July, after which it was shadowed continuously and attacked. The convoy's progress was being observed by the British Admiralty, which ordered the ships to scatter because of information that German navy surface units were being refuelled to intercept the convoy. The convoy was the first joint Anglo-American naval operation under British command in the war...

25 Heinkel bombers of KG 26 took off from Bardufoss to attack convoy PQ 17...

Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the event, "one of the most melancholy naval episodes in the whole of the war."An inquiry assigned no blame to anyone, since orders were issued by the First Sea Lord.... The Soviet Union did not believe so many ships could be lost in one convoy and openly accused the Western Allies of lying. Despite the help provided by the materiel delivered, PQ 17 actually worsened Soviet-Allied relations over the short term, with the Soviets never acknowledging the efforts of Allied merchant seaman or sailors in either navy... Joseph Stalin, and Soviet naval experts, found it difficult to understand the order to scatter given by the Admiralty, given "that the escorting vessels of the PQ 17 should return, wheareas the cargo boats should disperse and try to reach the Soviet ports one by one without any protection at all." Admiral King, already known to distrust the British, was furious with what he perceived as Admiral Pound's bungling and promptly withdrew TF 39, sending it to the Pacific... He hesitated to conduct further joint operations under British command...

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