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1)LA SALLE U-159*

SS La Salle seen above as former George Peirce. Photo. SS George Peirce, SS La Salle | George Peirce SS (1920~1940)… | Flickr

Built: 1920

Tonnage: 5,462 / 8,747 tons

Cargo: 6,116 tons of trucks, steel and ammunition

Route: New York - Guantanamo - Balboa, Canal Zone - Cape Horn - Capetown

Sunk 7 NOV 42 by U-159 on pos. 40° 00'S 21° 30'E

60 Dead

0 Survivors

Completed in November 1920 as George Peirce for US Shipping Board (USSB) and later laid up as part of the reserve fleet. 1940 renamed La Salle for Waterman Steamship Co, Mobile AL.

At 22.50 hours on 7 Nov 1942 the unescorted La Salle (Master William Arthur Sillars) was hit by one torpedo from U-159 about 350 miles southeast of the Cape of Good Hope. The U-boat had followed the ship for five hours and already missed with a stern torpedo at 21.19 hours. The torpedo ignited the cargo of ammunition and the ship exploded, creating a fireball hundred meters high and completely destroyed the vessel. Bits of wreckage fell around the ship for several minutes afterwards and slightly wounded three men on watch in the conning tower of the U-boat. It is reported that the explosion was heard clearly at Cape Point Lighthouse over 300 miles away.

None of the eight officers, 32 crewmen and 20 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, four 20mm and two .30cal guns) survived.

By La Salle (American Steam merchant) - Ships hit by German U-boats during WWII -


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