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1. Thus far in 1943, eight enemy blockade runners have been intercepted, of which seven were sunk (six homebound and one outbound). The remaining runner reached Bordeaux after being hit by two torpedoes and losing much of its valuable rubber cargo.
NOTE: The homebound PIETRO ORSEOLO was being escorted off the Spanish coast by four DD's when intercepted at 44-37 N. 02-18 W. on April 1st by a U. S. submarine. The night was dark, moonless, and overcast. The USS SHAD made a surface attack at 19.5 knots, firing a spread of 8 torpedoes at 1700 to 3000 yards. Two of the fish hit the runner, and two or three others hit DD's. All enemy ships, however, managed to reach Bordeaux.
2. This damaged runner, PIETRO ORSEOLO, is the only one known to have completed a successful run this year, although the BURGENLAND, and possibly one or two other ships from the Far East may have arrived in European ports unobserved.
3. Of outbound ships, only two are known to have made successful sorties from Biscay Bay - the OSORNO, which by now should be in the Indian Ocean - and the ALSTERUFER, which may have reached the Sea of Japan, or may be operating in the Atlantic as a mine-layer, supply ship, or hit-and-run raider. (NOTE: This vessel is only 2,729 g.r.t., and has a speed of 17 knots.)
1943 CARGO LOSSES
4. The loss of the six homebound runners meant a cargo loss to Germany of 45,850 tons, made up of the following sorely needed strategics: 25,500 tons of rubber; 15,300 tons of whale-oil, fish-oil, vegetable oil and gallnuts; 4,000 tons of tin; 450 tons of tungsten and about 600 tons of miscellaneous cargo including rice, tea, quinine and opium.
5. As against these losses, Germany is known to have brought in one ship load of rubber (less than 4,000 tons), and possibly from 4,000 to 10,000 tons of cargo on other ships as yet unreported.
TOTAL SCORE TO DATE
6. Prior to 1943, the Axis lost nine blockade runners but succeeded in making 40 successful runs (22 outbound with valuable cargoes of heavy machinery, tools, dyestuffs, optical goods, and chemicals - 18 homebound with rubber, tin, tungsten, fats, and drugs for Germany's war machine).
NOTE: Of the above 40 runs, 3 were made by outbound tankers. The only homebound tanker was intercepted and sunk. Several merchant ships, however, have brought in fluid cargo in drums and specially-constructed tanks.
7. With one run (possibly four) completed since January 1, 1943, the total score now stands at 41 (possibly 44) completed runs, against which the Axis has lost the 16 blockade runners listed below:
ELBE - sunk June 8, 1941 while homebound by aircraft 900 miles NW of Cape Verde Islands.
ODENWALD - captured in the South Atlantic, November 7t 1941, by the USS OMAHA, while homebound masquerading as a US mership.
SPREEWALD - sunk while homebound January 31, 1942, at 46-00 N. 28-48 W. by an Italian submarine.
ANNELIESE ESSBERGER - intercepted by the USS MILWAUKEE and scuttled while outbound November 21, 1942, at 00-54 N. 22-34 W.
RAMSES — intercepted by Dutch and Australian cruisers; shelled and scuttled while homebound November 21, 1942, at 23-00 S. 99-05 E.
UCKERMARK (ex-ALTMARK -Tanker) - destroyed November 30, 1942 by the great explosion and conflagration in Yokohama harbor.
NANKIN (ROSSBANK, LEUTEN) - destroyed November 30, 1942 in Yokohama by fire.
CORTELLAZO - sunk while outbound December 1, 1942 about 500 miles West of Cape Finisterre by escorts of an outbound convoy.
GERMANIA (Tanker) - scuttled and left ablaze December 15, 1942 at 45-05 N. 15-30 W. after being intercepted, while outbound, by HMS TANATSIDE.
RHAKOTIS - intercepted and sunk by HMS SCYLLA while inbound at 45-01 N. 10-50 W. on January 1, 1943.
HERBORG (HOHENFRIEDBURG - Tanker) - intercepted and sunk, while homebound, February 26, 1943, at 41-45 N. 20-58 W., by HMS SUSSEX.
DOGGERBANK (ex-SPEYBANK) - sunk while homebound about 31 N. 37 W. on March 3, 1943, by an unknown submarine (probably Axis). (U-43, captained by Oblt. Hans-Joachim Schwantke)
KOTA NOPAN (KARIN) - intercepted and scuttled, while homebound, at 07-00 S. 21-00.W., on March 10, 1943, by USS EBERLE.
REGENSBURG - intercepted, while homebound, March 30, 1943, by HMS GLASGOW and sunk in Denmark Strait.
SILVA PLANA (IRENE) - intercepted and sunk while homebound, on April 10, 1943, at 43-18 N. 14-30 W., by HMS ADVENTURE.
PORTLAND - intercepted and sunk, April 13, l943, by the French cruiser GEORGES LEYGUES at 06-12 N. 21-45 W., while outbound.
8. In addition to the above blockade runners, the enemy has also lost three raiders: KORMORAN, sunk November 19, 1943 by HMS SYDNEY; SANTA CRUZ (RAIDER "E"-#10), destroyed by the Yokohama explosion, November 30, 1942; and CAIRO (RAIDER "J"-#23), believed sunk September 27, 1943 by STEPHEN HOPKINS.(Cairo had been renamed Stier - See Serial 77-43, 'Raider "J"' for more information)
PRESENT LOCATION OF BLOCKADE RUNNERS
9. At the present time the Axis still has 17 blockade runners that have made one or more successful trips between Europe and the Far East during the current war. In addition to those, 32 other Axis ships are suitable in every way for this highly hazardous trade. Of the 49 "most probable runners" 22 are tankers and 27 are merchant ships. Their present disposition follows:
1-2-3-4-number of completed runs.
10. POSSIBLE BLOCKADE RUNNERS. Any of the following vessels are also suitable in size, speed, and bunkerage for blockade running.
Record Group 313, Commander of Battleships & Cruisers, Pacific Fleet, Blue 361
National Archives & Records Administration, College Park
Transcribed by RESEARCHER @ LARGE. Formatting & Comments Copyright R@L.