Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

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1942: June-July:  PQ-17 Convoy

In the first joint British-American convoy under British command, the PQ-17 Convoy sailed from Hvalfjord, Iceland, for Archangel, Russia, on June 27, 1942.      German forces located the convoy on July 1 and followed the convoy.   Thinking that the German Navy would attack, including the battleship Tirpitz, the British ordered the covering forces away to engage the enemy.   This assumption was not correct, and German U-boats and Luftwaffe airplanes attacked sinking 24 of the 35 ships.  Fourteen of the ships were American merchants.  The surviving convoy ships became scattered in the Arctic.   The losses forced the Allies to halt Arctic convoys and rethink passages in the region.    

Image:  80-G-24830:  PQ-17 Arctic Convoy, June-July 1942.   Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.