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9)BAGE U-185

In the picture above Merchant Bage is seen at Recife harbor with three USN Cruisers at the bottom.

Built: 1912

Tonnage: 8,235 / 8,500 tons

Cargo: 4,775 tons of general cargo including rubber, fibres, cashew nuts hides and cotton.

Sunk 1 AUG 43 by U-185 on pos. 11º29"S 36º49"W

28 Dead

106 Survivors

Another sinister in June 42, victimized the merchant Bage. Built 1912, ex German Sierra Nevada, with 8235 tons, she was confiscated by the Brazilian merchant Navy when detained at Recife in 1917 during World War One. Merchant Bage was attacked and sunk when sailing some 30 miles off the coast of the state of Sergipe, having departed Recife outbound for Salvador, Bahia under Master Artur Monteiro. She was part of convoy TJ-2 (Trinidad –Rio), and had been ordered by the commodore to abandon the formation for belching too much smoke, so being a risk to the entire train.

As instructions determined to ships sailing independently, unescorted, at 02:00PM, the merchant veered to starboard and when sailing in her new course, she was hit amidships at portside by one explosion and was gunned when one shell blew up the foredeck. Immediately the listed to port and water flooded the compartments. It did not last longer than 4 minutes for the ship began to plunge beneath the waves. The ship’s position was: 11º 29’ S, 036º 49’W. One lifeboat capsized and killed two men.

The salvage of the crew and passengers turned into an epic one. Caught by surprise at the still of night, the unfortunate occupants had no time to rush to their quarters for the abandonment. Nevertheless, the crewmembers showed remarkable abnegation, when gave all their effort to rescue those in more critical conditions. To raise the anguish, most lifeboats were knocked off and a few available swamped in the swells when blown overboard. In superhuman effort, despite the darkness, the crew could reach and righted one of them but the #5 capsized in the rolling sea and drowned two men.

Upon the sinking a large area was covered with flotsam and served as lifesavers for many of the crew and passengers which as living a nightmare spent the night clung to them. In almost impenetrable darkness, those desperate souls, mourned in pains and shouted in the hope one voice nearby could bring a response, avoiding dispersion. All these excruciating moments were witnessed by the assailant boat, which kept a short distance from the unfortunate survivors, while one searchlight at the conning tower swept the area and men photographed the survivors struggling to keep themselves afloat in the water.

When the first lights of the sun appeared in the horizon, the few men still in physical conditions, tried to reunite all remaining survivors and in 3 stranded lifeboats and 3 rafts, they jumped into and set course to land. In that same day already when night came, they landed at Real river lighthouse, a place of painful memories for the Brazilians. There took place the tragic sinking of 5 passengers and merchant ships earlier Aug. 1942, fact that plunged the country in the war. 28 exhausted men got ashore, not before spending hours bordering the coast waiting for the first lights to clear their way past the reefs, along the coastline. Another boat with 28 survivors towing a raft, with seven men made ashore at Sao Cristovam beach.

The third lifeboat, landed at the small village of Conde with 24 survivors.108 out of 134 men, survived, being 87 crewmembers and 21 passengers. Between those who perished, was Master Artur Monteiro. The disaster with the merchant Bage ensued a reaction from the part of Brazilian Navy close to the Fourth fleet Commander, on the basis that more precautionary measures should be taken to those ships which were forced to disperse a convoy due to excessive smoke, thus leaving the straggler to the vagaries of the sea, lone as an easy prey. Actually merchant Bage was victim of U-185 by KorvettenKapitan August Maus.



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