SS Stangarth sunk by U-504/Poske 16 March 1942 off Bahamas


On the 11thof March Commander Athos Fraternale on the Italian submarine R.Smg. MOROSINI took credit for sinking the 5,966 ton British tanker STANGARTH, at 22° 45’ N, 57° 40’ W, however reports that the STANGARTH did not leave New York for India until that same day, more than a thousand miles to the northwest. Though Jurgen Rohwer, in his indispensible list “Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two” credits MOROSINI, U-504 under Poske has also been credited with sinking the same ship further to the west (at 22 degrees North, 65 West) five days later, on the 16th of March. Since there were no survivors, it is difficult to verify. Either MOROSINI struck the STANGARTH and failed to sink her, sank a different ship, or U-504 simply finished off the derelict.
A report by Italian submarine historians suggests that MOROSINI attacked STANGARTH or a similar vessel at around that time, but that the ship got away: “On the 11th of March it attacked a tanker launching two torpedoes, but failing both to hit the target and recognize the name of the vessel…. Just before sunset of the same day, Captain Fraternale intercepted the British cargo STANGARTH of 5,966 t., sinking it in position 22° 45’ N, 57° 40’ W with the torpedo on the early hours of March 12th.” This author is inclined to credit U-504 with STANGARTH’s sinking, as daily positions were given for her which coincide with the sinking during the sub’s return from the Bahamas to Europe, and the Italian records lack specificity and may be subject to a degree of unconfirmed exaggeration. Since Kelshall credits the MOROSINI, the jury is still out.
Thanks for the copies of the relevant pages from the U-504 KTB. They sighted a ship on course 180°, speed 9-10 knots at 15.10 hours on 16 March, overtook it, submerged and at 18.24 hours fired a spread of two G7e stern torpedoes. Both hit and caused the ship to sink immediately after a heavy detonation. They found no signs of survivors after surfacing and could not identify the ship as no name was written on the life buoys or lifeboat parts. The ship was described as of approximately 7000 tons, with one mast with derricks fore and aft, one gun aft and a deck cargo under tarpaulin covers.

Eric Zimmerman already mentioned the facts written in the KTB in his re-assessment of the STANGARTH/MANAQUI case back in 2000. The evidence leaves no doubt that the earlier attribution of MANAQUI to U-504 by Jürgen Rohwer was wrong and that the victim of this attack was STANGARTH.