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Updated Dec. 4-2011
Owner: Hvalfangerselskapet Kosmos II A/S
Built by Workman Clarke, Belfast in 1931
Captains: Einar Gleditsch, later Milliam Kihl
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 several voyages are missing.
From Page 1 of the archive documents, we learn that Kosmos II was at Teneriffe when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940, having arrived there that same day from the whaling grounds (via St. Vincent). A week later, she proceeded to Gibraltar, then joined Convoy HGF 28 to the U.K. on Apr. 26, together with Sevilla, Stalheim, Bur and Einar Jarl. Kosmos II's destination is given as Portland and Thameshaven, and she had station 62 of the convoy, arriving Portland on May 5. The external website that I've linked to below now has her in Convoy OA 158GF, which left Southend on May 30 and joined up with Convoy OB 158GF on June 2, the combined convoy forming the Gibraltar convoy OG 32F, which arrived there on June 7. Kosmos II, however, was bound for Curacao, so left the convoy on June 4 in order to proceed to her destination, where she arrived on June 20 (according to the archive document she had sailed from Falmouth on May 30, arriving Plymouth that same day, leaving again on June 2). OG 32 will be added to my Convoys section - see ships in OG convoys. The Norwegian Abraham Lincoln, Buesten and Thorshavn are also included.
Her subsequent voyages are shown on Page 1. It'll be noticed that she remained in Curacao for a month, before proceeding to Hampton Roads then on to New York, where she also had a long stay. She arrived there on July 28 and departure is given as Dec. 6, when she headed to Aruba. Her 1941 voyages also start on this document and continue on Page 2, which also shows her 1942 voyages.
The German U-Boat commander Hardegen in U-123 had sunk several ships in January-1942, on his first "Paukenschlag" patrol to the U.S. coast, and being out of torpedoes he was preparing to go home. When he experienced technical problems he surfaced about 17 n. miles northeast of Cape Hatteras in order to make repairs. Kosmos II, whose captain at that time was Einar Gleditsch, spotted the U-boat and decided to take advantage of the situation. While the radio operator notified the maritime authorities, the captain steered his ship at full speed towards the U-boat with the intention of ramming it. At the last minute the U-boat managed to start the engines, headed towards deeper waters, submerged and disappeared. For info, this episode, which took place on Jan. 19-1942, is also described from Hardegen's point of view in the book "Operation Drumbeat" by Michael Gannon. From Page 2, we learn that Kosmos II was on her way from New York to Curacao on the date in question, having left New York the day before. From Curacao, she subsequently returned to New York, with arrival Febr. 5 and as can be seen she now had another long stay there; departure is given as Apr. 6. She also appears to have spent a month in Curacao that spring.
In June that year, she can be found among the ships in the Halifax-U.K. Convoy HX 195, returning across the Atlantic the following month with Convoy ON 111*, which originated in Liverpool on July 10 and dispersed on the 24th, Kosmos II arriving New York on July 25, subsequently remaining there for about a month (she had started out from Clyde on the 10th). Acanthus, Montbretia and Potentilla are named among the escorts for this convoy - see ON convoy escorts. With fuel oil for Clyde, Kosmos II headed back to the U.K. on Aug. 30 with Convoy HX 205 from Halifax, station 44. Acanthus, Montbretia and Potentilla are again named among the escorts, as is Eglantine. Kosmos II arrived Clyde on Sept. 11 and later that month we find her in the westbound Convoy ON 133* (departure Liverpool Sept. 25, arrival New York Oct. 11 - Kosmos II again joined from Clyde). As can be seen below, her return voyage proved to be her last.
Operation Drumbeat (Paukenschlag)
As mentioned, Kosmos II had arrived New York from the U.K. on Oct. 11-1942. She departed New York again on Oct. 18 and is listed in station 22 of Convoy HX 212. As can be seen when following the link, several Norwegian ships took part, the captain of Abraham Lincoln acting as Vice Commodore. The Commodore's report on the passage is also available for this convoy. Kosmos II had a cargo of 21 000 tons crude oil, as well as 3 landing craft*, 8 aircraft and large cases of equipment for the latter. Captain at that time was Milliam Kihl.
On Oct. 28, she was torpedoed amidships, starboard wingtank No. 3 by U-606 (Döhler), position 55 15N 28 10W. According to a report presented at the subsequent hearings this attack took place at 02:30 (**). The explosion rendered her steering inoperable and the deck cargo (aircraft) was set on fire. The situation became very difficult in that the Greek passengers on board started launching the lifeboats in a panic, and 2 of the boats were destroyed. When things were finally under control, the captain did give the order to lower the lifeboats and 4 were successfully launched with about 100 people. All they had left on board Kosmos II was a motorboat and 2 small workboats, as well as 10 rafts. The people in the lifeboats were picked up by the British D/S Barrwhin and some of the escorting corvettes, and the lifeboats were later seen drifting off.
About 50 men remained on board and managed to extinguish the fire. Kosmos II then sailed on to try to catch up with the convoy, with Barrwhin and HMCS Rosthern nearby, but was torpedoed again by U-624 (von Soden-Fraunhofen), this time in the engine room on the port side, and immediately started to sink. The only remaining motor lifeboat was destroyed, so all they could do was make use of the rafts; some jumped overboard. Kosmos II was shelled, then a third torpedo hit her amidships and broke her in two, whereupon she sank within 4 minutes. Before the after deck was under water the gunners by the 6" gun had seen a surfaced U-boat and had fired at it.
23 men were on a raft, helplessly listening to the cries from shipmates in the water around them, unable to go to their aid. After two and a half hours and a dramatic rescue operation in the heavy seas they were taken on board Barrwhin and a corvette. 2 more rafts were also found, one with 4 men, the other with 2, 1 of whom later died. Barrwhin now had a total of 60 people from Kosmos II.
On Oct. 29, Barrwhin was also hit by a torpedo (U-436, Seibicke), amidships on the port side, then by another(?) a few minutes later in about the same place. Again, the Greek passengers from Kosmos II made the situation extremely difficult by storming to the lifeboats in a panic, while others had to take to rafts or jump overboard. After about 8 hours, 90 survivors were rescued by the Canadian corvette HMCS Kenogami. 24 from Barrwhin had died, including 12 of the survivors from Kosmos II.
Maritime hearings were held in Liverpool on Nov. 6-1942 with 1st Engineer Larsen, 4th Mate Andersen and Able Seaman Holm Hansen (helmsman) appearing, and in Glasgow on Nov. 11-1942 with the 2nd mate (duty on bridge, 1st attack), Boatswain Studsrød, Able Seaman Holtan and Able Seaman Paulsen appearing.
A report presented at the hearings states she had a crew of 73. On board were also 47 people who had been deported from the U.S., sent on board by the American emigration authorities in New York (most of these appear to have been Greek, as noted in the text above), and 13 military personnel to guard them. Additionally, 20 Norwegian 1st mates who were en route to Dumbarton to be trained as gunners by the Norwegian Navy were on board (these helped serve as signalmen and gunners on this voyage; 1 of them, Anton Karlsen, on duty by the gun amidships, was seriously injured in the 1st explosion). 14 of the latter group were among the 50 who remained on board to help get the ship under control after the 1st attack. These numbers add up to a total of 153; as far as I can make it, 103 are named below. It would appear 5 crew are missing from this list, as well as the majority of the "deported" people
"Nortraships flåte" states that the final death toll was: Captain Kihl, 18 Norwegian crew, 6 Norwegian soldiers, 1 Norwegian and 2 Greek passengers, and 5 of the Norwegian 1st mates who were on their way to Dumbarton. The report presented at the hearings says that 55 from Kosmos II were picked up by HMCS Kenogami on Oct. 30 and taken to Londonderry with arrival Nov. 1, adding that the "remaining 51" were landed in Liverpool. In other words, numbers vary according to source.
D/T Frontenac was also torpedoed while in Convoy HX 212 - follow the link for details. One of the external websites that I've linked to below has more on this convoy battle and names of other ships sunk. Again, see also my own page about Convoy HX 212 with a report on the passage.
Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemorations / Sourabaya - Sourabaya was one of the other sips sunk in Convoy HX 212. The second one on this list, Oskar Arnold Dalen is said to have died in Liverpool in Nov.-1940, but I believe the other 2 died when she was sunk(?).
Back to Kosmos II on the "Ships starting with K" page.
I've also come across a Kosmos IV, Anders Jahre, Sandefjord, 13 474 gt, built 1937 - the following details about this ship was found on the website Riversea International: Tonnage is given as 14 716gt, built in 1937 by Deutsche Werft, Hamburg (197) as WALTER RAU for Rau Neusser Oelwerke, Neuss. Depot ship at Gdynia 1940-1945. To UK 11/1945, to Norway 12/1945. 1946 KOSMOS IV, Anders Jahre group. Lengthened 1951. 1971 KYOKUSEI MARU. In LR 1990, not 1994 .
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland (report by Finn Wathne), "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume I, and misc. others for cross checking facts as named within the text above (ref. My sources).