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M/S General Fleischer
Note: The above is for Tortugas (her post war name) - I'm not sure if she had the same machinery etc. during the war.
Launched Jan. 17-1943 by Pennsylvania Shipyards Inc., Beaumont, Texas (Yard No. 269) as Cape Barnabas for the United States War shipping Administration. Completed in Apr-1943 as General Fleischer, and bareboat chartered to the Norwegian Government (Nortraship, managers). One of 10 (11?) ships added to Nortraship's Fleet in 1943, see my page "Ship Statistics and Misc." under "Gains 1943" for a list of the others. General Fleischer was taken over in Beaumont, Texas on April 30.
Captain: Arild Wergeland.
Please compare the above voyages with Arnold Hague's Voyage Record below.
(Received from Don Kindell - His source: The late Arnold Hague's database).
Follow the convoy links provided for more information on each.
Errors may exist, and some voyages are missing.
As mentioned further up on this page, General Fleischer was taken over by Nortraship in Beaumont on Apr. 30-1943. According to a personal story I have found she sailed to New Orleans on her first voyage under the Norwegian flag (this agrees with what can be found on Page 1 and Hague's Voyage Record). With a cargo for Russia(?) she was sent alone through the Panama Canal, around South America to the South Atlantic and Pacific to south Africa, then to Basra. She suffered some damages when encountering a storm near Cape Horn. Later, she returned to Philadelphia where her engines were overhauled before taking in a new cargo of ammunition for Egypt, a voyage taking 60 days. On her next trip she had a cargo of gas and other materials for the American army in the Pacific, and the engineers had to wear gas masks in the engine room. This cargo was distributed on various islands, before they headed for San Francisco and took on cargo for Australia, then went with supplies from there to New Zealand and various islands in the Pacific, back to San Pedro and San Francisco, then on to Guadalcanal carrying floating quay installations. The 3rd engineer on General Fleischer at this time (the author of this story) was Kristian Willumsen, who had previously served on Mosli, Thermopylæ and Trafalgar, and later joined Rio Verde and Skandinavia. (Please keep in mind that some details in these personal stories may be incorrect, as they were often written many years after the war, and it looks to me like the sequence of voyages has become somewhat mixed up in his narrative - please compare with her Voyage Record and archive document mentioned above).
The Americans had landed at Leyte Gulf on the Philippines on Oct. 19-1944. From day one Japanese aircraft attacked the forces and the accompanying convoys. The first Kamikaze suicide attack occurred on Oct. 21, with the Australian cruiser Australia its victim. General Fleischer is said to have been in a convoy which arrived Leyte Gulf on Oct. 24, and was immediately attacked, but escaped injury and anchored up off Tacloban, the northernmost bridgehead.
That night, in the Straits of Suriga and off the coast of Samar, American and Japanese battle ships fought one of the biggest sea battles in history. Several bombers flew in over Tacloban the next morning, one of them got a direct hit from General Fleischer, before it was shot down by American destroyers. General Fleischer now moved to Dulag, another bridgehead 12 n. miles further out. She was under attack that same afternoon, and for several days thereafter. Many planes were shot down, by General Fleischer as well as other ships.
On Nov. 12 the Kamikaze's arrived, hitting several ships in the area, some were shot down before they could do any damage. Two of General Fleischer's crew and two soldiers on board (gunners?) were injured. The following week was fairly quiet and General Fleischer went back to Tacloban to unload her cargo, but on the 19th the Kamikaze planes returned in full force, one hit General Fleischer but miraculously nobody was hurt. (Another hit the American Alcoa Pioneer, killing 6 gunners, injuring 13 crew. Yet another hit the American Cape Romano, no casualties). The attacks continued until Nov. 28.
General Fleischer left on Dec. 4 and was back in San Francisco on Jan. 4-1945. Her crew had experienced 203 air raids, had seen 48 enemy planes shot down, had themselves fired 151 shots with their 3" gun and 5500 with the 7 Oerlikons.
The gunners on board at that time deserve to be named: Adolf B. Ramstad, Modulf K. Tollefsen, Gunvald K. Hoveland, Lars O. Olsen, Ivar A. Røsstad, Åge Lander, Arthur B. Mikalsen, Thorvald Grimstad, Edward Edwardsen, Knut Knutsen, Finn Samuelsen, L. Jacobsen, Ivar Fjellbo, E. Beckstrøm and Egil Holmberg. Gunnery Officer was H. Aursland.
The Norwegian ship M/S Torrens arrived Leyte just a couple of days after General Fleischer had left, and endured much the same nightmare.
Together with the Norwegian Stiklestad, A. Hague has included General Fleischer in Convoy UGS 76, which originated at Hampton Roads on Febr. 22-1945 and arrived Gibraltar on March 10. General Fleischer, however, joined this convoy from Oran and was bound for Toulon, where she arrived March 14 - see Page 2. Later that month, she can be found in Convoy GUS 80 (departure Oran March 28, arrival Hampton Roads Apr. 13; General Fleischer arrived New York that day). Fernplant and Vardefjell are also listed. A. Hague also has her in Convoy UGS 91, which departed Hampton Roads on May 8. Follow the links provided within the table above.
Page 3 shows her voyages to June-1946.
For more information on the other Norwegian ships mentioned on this page, please see the alphabet index below, or go to the Master Ship Index.
General Fleischer was in a collision with the Brazilian Ayuruoca (ex Roland till 1917) on June 10-1945 (the Brazilian ship sank). From Page 2 of the archive documents, we learn that she was en route from Marseilles to Baltimore on that date. Purchased by Wilh. Wilhelmsen on Oct. 20-1946 and renamed Tortugas. Sold to Philippine President Lines Inc., Philippine Islands on May 16-1967 and renamed Emilio Aguinaldo, later that year renamed President Laurel. Renamed Lucky Nine in 1975. Sold on Apr. 28-1975 to Barracuda Shipping Inc. (Gulf Shipping Lines Ltd., managers), Somali Republic. Arrived Kaohsiung on Sept. 20-1975 and on Sept. 26 she was delivered to Nan Feng Steel Enterprise Co. Ltd. for scrapping.
Exernal links related to the text on this page:
Back to General Fleischer on the "Ships starting with G" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, Wilh. Wilhelmsen's fleet list, "Krigsseileren", Issue No. 2 for 1974, "Tilbakeblikk" and misc. (ref. My sources).