Convoy PQ 17
Part of Second World War, Arctic Campaign

Escorts and merchant ships at Hvalfjord May 1942 before the sailing of Convoy PQ 17.
Date27 June – 10 July 1942
Result German victory
 United Kingdom
 United States
 Soviet Union
Commanders and leaders
United Kingdom John Tovey
United Kingdom Louis Hamilton
United Kingdom Jack Broome
United Kingdom John Dowding
Nazi Germany Erich Raeder
Nazi Germany Karl Dönitz
Nazi Germany Hans-Jürgen Stumpff
35 merchant ships
Close escort: 6 destroyers,
11 escort vessels, 2 anti-aircraft ships,
Covering forces: 1 aircraft carrier, 2 battleships, 6 cruisers, 13 destroyers (did not engage):[1]
1 battleship, 3 cruisers, 12 destroyers (did not engage);
11 U-boats:
33 torpedo aircraft,
6 bombers
(Flying over 200 sorties)
Casualties and losses
153 merchant seamen killed
23 merchant ships sunk
5 aircraft

PQ 17 was the code name for an Allied Arctic convoy during the Second World War. On 27 June 1942, the ships sailed from Hvalfjörður, Iceland, for the port of Arkhangelsk in the Soviet Union. The convoy was located by German forces on 1 July, after which it was shadowed continuously and attacked. The First Sea Lord Admiral Dudley Pound, acting on information that German ships, including the German battleship Tirpitz, were moving to intercept, ordered the covering force based on the Allied battleships HMS Duke of York and USS Washington away from the convoy and told the convoy to scatter. Because of vacillation by Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW, German armed forces high command), the Tirpitz raid never materialised.[2][3] The convoy was the first large joint Anglo-American naval operation under British command; in Churchill's view this encouraged a more careful approach to fleet movements.[4]

As the close escort and the covering cruiser forces withdrew westwards to intercept the German raiders, the merchant ships were left without escorts.[5] The merchant ships were attacked by Luftwaffe aircraft and U-boats and of the 35 ships, only eleven reached their destination, delivering 70,000 long tons (71,000 metric tons) of cargo.[6] The convoy disaster demonstrated the difficulty of passing adequate supplies through the Arctic, especially during the summer with the midnight sun.[7] The German success was possible through German signals intelligence and cryptological analysis.[8]


With Operation Barbarossa, the beginning of the German war against the USSR, the British and American governments agreed to send unconditional aid to their Soviet allies. The Beaverbrook-Harriman Anglo-American Mission visited Moscow in October 1941, agreeing to a series of munitions deliveries to the Soviet Union.[9] The most direct way to carry these supplies was by sea around the North Cape, through Arctic waters to the ports of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk.[10] The agreement stated that the Soviet government was responsible for receiving the supplies in Soviet ships at British or American ports. However, since the Soviets did not have enough ships for the quantities of aid being sent by the Western allies to the Soviet Union, British and American ships began to constitute an increasing proportion of the convoy traffic.[11] Although the defence of the Arctic convoys was the responsibility of the Royal Navy, the American Admiral Ernest King assigned Task Force 39 (TF 39) – built around the carrier USS Wasp and the battleship USS Washington – to support the British.[12]

The first convoy sailed from the United Kingdom in August 1941, two months after the beginning of Operation Barbarossa. By the spring of 1942, twelve more convoys had made the passage with the loss of only 1 out of 103 ships.[13] From then, the threat of attacks on the convoys increased, with the Germans preparing to stop the flow of supplies to the USSR with every means at their disposal, including the basing of heavy ships in Norway.[13] In 1941, the Kriegsmarine had already begun concentrating its strength in Norway in winter, to prevent a British invasion of Norway and to obstruct Allied supply lines to the Soviet Union. The battleship Tirpitz was moved to Trondheim in January, where she was joined by the heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer and in March by the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper.[14] The battleships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen were also sent to Arctic waters but fell victim to Allied air attacks and had to turn back for repairs. The Germans had bases along the Norwegian coast, which meant, until escort carriers became available, Allied convoys had to be sailed through these areas without adequate defence against aircraft and submarine attack.[15]

British plans

Track of PQ 17, showing approximate positions of sinkings

British naval intelligence in June reported Operation Rösselsprung (Unternehmen Rösselsprung, Operation Knight's Move), the German plan to bring out major naval units to attack the next eastbound convoy, east of Bear Island.[14][16] Thus German forces would operate close to the Norwegian coast, with support of shore-based air reconnaissance and striking forces, with a screen of U-boats in the channels between Svalbard and Norway.[17] Allied covering forces, on the other hand, would be without air support, 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from their base, and with the destroyers too short on fuel to escort a damaged ship to harbour.[14]

To prevent such a situation, the Admiralty issued instructions on 27 June, which allowed the convoy to be turned back temporarily in order to shorten the distance to the nearest Allied base.[17] In the event, enemy surface movements took place later than expected, making these instructions unnecessary.[3] The Admiralty also stated that the safety of the convoy from surface attack to the westward of Bear Island depended on Allied surface forces, while to the eastward it was to be provided by Allied submarines. Furthermore, the convoy's cruiser covering force was not to go east of Bear Island, unless the convoy was threatened by the presence of a surface force which the cruiser force could fight, nor to go beyond 25° East under any circumstance.[4][18]

A decoy convoy was also organised to divert enemy forces, consisting of the First Minelaying Squadron and four colliers, escorted by HMS Sirius and HMS Curacoa, five destroyers, and some trawlers. This diversionary force assembled at Scapa Flow for a week, sailing two days after the convoy.[19] German reconnaissance of Scapa during the period of assembly failed to notice the diversion, which was also not sighted on its passage. The operation was repeated on 1 July, again without success.[19] Additionally on 26 June the Admiralty took the opportunity to pass a westbound convoy QP 13, in conjunction with PQ 17. The former was made up of returning merchant ships from Arkhangelsk, with some ships leaving Murmansk.[19] It consisted of thirty-five ships and was escorted by five destroyers, three corvettes, one anti-aircraft ship, three minesweepers, two trawlers, and, as far as the Bear Island area, one submarine. It was sighted by German aircraft on 30 June and 2 July. QP 13 was not attacked, since the German tactic was to concentrate on eastbound (laden) convoys, rather than westbound convoys in ballast.[19]

A fresh ice reconnaissance done on 3 July found the passage north of Bear Island had widened. The Admiralty suggested the convoy should pass at least 50 nmi (58 mi; 93 km) north of it.[20] The senior officer of the escort (SOE), Commander Jack Broome, preferred to stay in the low visibility on the original route, and to make ground to the eastward. Rear Admiral Louis Hamilton, in command of the cruiser squadron, later decided that a more northerly route was necessary, ordered the SOE to alter the convoy's course to pass 70 nautical miles (130 km; 81 mi) north of Bear Island and, later on to open to 400 nmi (740 km; 460 mi) from Banak.[20]

Covering forces

USS Wichita and HMS London, part of PQ 17's cruiser covering force.

The convoy's close escort was the First Escort Group (EG1, SOE Jack Broome) and included the anti-aircraft auxiliary cruisers HMS Palomares and HMS Pozarica, the destroyers HMS Keppel, Fury, Leamington, Ledbury, Offa and Wilton, the corvettes, minesweepers or armed trawlers HMS Lotus, Poppy, La Malouine and HMS Dianella, the minesweepers HMS Halcyon, Salamander and Britomart and the anti-submarine trawlers HMT Lord Middleton, Lord Austin, Ayrshire and Northern Gem.[21] Distant cover came from the 1st Cruiser Squadron (CS1, Hamilton), consisting of the British cruisers HMS London (flagship) and Norfolk, the American cruisers USS Wichita and Tuscaloosa and four destroyers, two from the United States Navy. As further protection, Home Fleet battleships cruised at about 200 nautical miles (370 km; 230 mi) distance.[22]

A second heavy covering force, under the command of Admiral John Tovey, was made up of the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious, the battleship Duke of York (flagship), the cruisers Cumberland and Nigeria, the US battleship Washington and nine destroyers.[23] As the convoy sailed, the covering forces were moving into position. CS1 left Seidisfjord in the night of 30 June/1 July.[19] It arrived in a covering position north of the convoy on 2 July. The cruisers were not sighted by the Germans until late on 3 July.[19] The heavy covering force was shadowed for a short period while north-east of Iceland on 1 July, while the cruiser screen was refuelling at Seidisfjord. It was shadowed for a short period early on 3 July, while in a covering position south of the convoy.[19] Later that day, course was altered northwards to cross the convoy's track and to reach a position north-west of Bear Island. This would place Victorious within air striking range of the convoy on the morning of 4 July. This was calculated to occur at the same time at which a surface attack was expected. While en route to the new covering area, the force was joined by HMS Manchester and Eclipse from Spitzbergen.[20]

Air reconnaissance of the Norwegian harbours had been hindered by weather but information showed German heavy units were probably moving northwards and an air photograph of Trondheim late on 3 July showed that Tirpitz and Hipper had sortied.[20] The flying boat patrol and the two lines of submarines between North Cape and Bear Island were being adjusted to cover the line of approach to the convoy as it moved eastwards. In view of the uncertainty of the two German ships' positions, Hamilton decided to continue to provide close cover with the cruiser squadron and to pass east of Bear Island.[20]

German forces


Main article: Kriegsmarine

Against PQ 17 the Kriegsmarine mobilised surface and submarine forces. Eisteufel (Ice Devil), a U-boat wolfpack, was to intercept the convoy; three U-boats were in a patrol line north of the Denmark Strait to give advance warning and another five further north off Jan Mayen Island. The Kriegsmarine also had two battle groups in Norwegian ports, Force I (Drontheim-Gruppe) consisting of the battleship Tirpitz, the cruiser Hipper and the destroyers Karl Galster, Friedrich Ihn, Hans Lody, Theodor Riedel with the torpedo boats T 7 and T 15. Force II (Narvik-Gruppe) Lützow, Scheer and the destroyers Z24, Z27, Z28, Z29 and Z30, ready to carry out a surface attack on the convoy. This was orchestrated as a complex two-stage operation codenamed Unternehmen Rösselsprung (Operation Knight's Move); the force was the strongest yet assembled for a convoy attack but was hampered by an unwieldy chain of command, with the authority to attack resting with Hitler and a contradictory mission statement; the forces were instructed to attack and destroy the convoy and also to avoid any action that would lead to damage to the capital ships, particularly Tirpitz.[24] On 16 June, the cruisers Lützow and Scheer took part in a joint naval and air exercise simulating an attack on PQ 17 and its escort.[25]

Luftflotte 5

Main article: Luftflotte 5

These forces were supported by aircraft of Luftflotte 5, which had to contend with the growth of the Soviet Air Force at the terminus of the Arctic sea route. During Convoy PQ 16, German attacks faded away during 27 May due to the arrival of Soviet destroyers and the arrival of Soviet bombers overhead; when the convoy came into range on 29 May, Soviet fighters began escort sorties. The rise on the number of opposing aircraft led to German claims of 162 aircraft in May, 113 being Hurricanes provided from Britain. On 28 May the Luftwaffe claimed 22 aircraft for no loss. The German claims were exaggerated but the Luftwaffe airfields at Petsamo, Kirkenes and Banak began to receive frequent attacks by Soviet bombers and fighters, often timed to ground the Luftwaffe during convoys. On 29 May, the Soviets tried to jam Luftflotte 5 wireless frequencies and raided Kirkenes with small formations of aircraft or solo attacks. The Soviet raids stretched the resources of Luftflotte 5 and increased losses on raids against Murmansk. No convoys were spotted during June and the weather was too bad for anti-convoy operations. Training in the Goldene Zange (Golden Comb) tactic, first used against Convoy PQ 16, continued. By early June there were 264 aircraft available, a strike force of 103 Ju 88 bombers, 42 He 111 torpedo-bombers and 30 Ju 87 Stuka dive-bombers, eight FW 200 Kondor and 22 Ju 88s for long-range reconnaissance, 44 Bv 138 flying boats for shorter-range reconnaissance and fifteen He 115 floatplanes for general use.[26] Many of the torpedo bombers had been hurriedly transferred from other theatres and retrained from ground attack tasking, as part of Hitler's demand for greater action against the Arctic convoys.[25]

Convoy movement, covering forces and escort

USS Wainwright broke up an air attack on the convoy on 4 July.

The convoy sailed from Hvalfjord on 27 June, under the command of the convoy commodore, John Dowding. With the 34 merchant ships, an oiler (RFA Grey Ranger) for the escort, and three rescue ships (Rathlin, Zamalek, and Zaafaran) sailed with the convoy.[27] The escort was made up of six destroyers, four corvettes, three minesweepers, four trawlers, two anti-aircraft ships and two submarines. The route was longer than earlier convoys, since the ice allowed for a passage north of Bear Island and an evasive detour in the Barents Sea. All the convoy was bound for Arkhangelsk, because recent air attacks had destroyed most of Murmansk.[28] One ship suffered mechanical failure just out of port and was forced to turn back. Another, SS Exford, turned back after sustaining ice damage.[29]

Part of the convoy ran into drifting ice in thick weather whilst in the Denmark Strait. Two merchant ships were damaged and had to turn back; Grey Ranger was also damaged and her speed reduced to 8 kn (15 km/h; 9.2 mph). Since it was doubtful if she could face heavy weather, it was decided to transfer her to the fuelling position north-east of Jan Mayen in exchange for the RFA Aldersdale. Shortly after it sailed, Convoy PQ 17 was sighted and tracked by U-456 and shadowed continuously, except for a few short intervals in fog. This was augmented by Luftwaffe BV 138 flying boats on 1 July. On 2 July, the convoy sighted the reciprocal Convoy QP 13. PQ 17 received its first air attack, by nine torpedo aircraft, later the same day, one aircraft was shot down. At 13:00 on 3 July, the PQ 17 destroyer screen was steering east to pass between Bear Island and Spitsbergen.[30]

On the morning of 4 July, a Heinkel He 115, from Küstenfliegergruppe 906, hit the Liberty ship SS Christopher Newport, around 35 nmi (40 mi; 65 km) north-east of Bear Island, at 75°49′N 22°15′E / 75.817°N 22.250°E / 75.817; 22.250. The submarine HMS P-614 attempted to scuttle her but she remained afloat; German submarine U-457 sank the ship at 08:08.[31] There was an abortive attack by six bombers in the evening.[32][33] USS Wainwright broke up an air attack on the convoy the same day. Later that evening, an attack by 25 torpedo bombers took place, sinking SS William Hooper.[34]


Excerpts of signals between the Admiralty (ADMY) and the First Cruiser Squadron (CS1)[3]
Time From To Message
21:11 ADMY CS1 Cruiser Force withdraw to the westward at high speed.
21:23 ADMY CS1 Owing to threat from surface ships, convoy is to disperse and proceed to Russian ports.
21:36 ADMY CS1 Convoy is to scatter.

At 12:30 on 4 July, the Admiralty gave Hamilton permission to proceed east of 25° east, should the situation demand, unless contrary orders were received from Tovey. This was a reversal of previous orders and as no information in Tovey's possession justified this change, Hamilton was ordered to withdraw when the convoy was east of 25° east or earlier at his discretion, unless the Admiralty assured him Tirpitz would not be met. At 18:58 the Admiralty informed Hamilton that more information was expected shortly and instructed him to remain with the convoy pending further instructions. At 21:11, the Admiralty sent a message prefixed "Most Immediate" ordering Hamilton to withdraw westwards at high speed. This was due to U-boat information, a fact not shared with Hamilton. At 21:23, the Admiralty, in a message prefixed "Immediate", ordered the convoy to disperse and proceed to Russian ports independently owing to threat from surface ships.[35] At 21:36, the Admiralty sent another "Most Immediate" message, ordering the convoy to scatter.[36][a]

Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine aircraft
Northern Norway, June 1942[37]
Bomber Ju 88 103
Bomber He 111 42
Floatplane He 115 15
Dive bomber Ju 87 30
Reconnaissance Ju 88
FW 200
BV 138
Total 264

Hamilton, Broome and Dowding took these signals to indicate that an attack by Tirpitz was imminent. The convoy was immediately ordered to scatter, with the escorting destroyers ordered to join the cruiser force and the merchantmen to proceed independently.[38] Winston Churchill later speculated that the Admiralty's decision and orders would not have been so vehement had only British warships been concerned but the idea the first joint Anglo-American operation under British command might involve the destruction of American as well as British units may well have influenced the decisions of Dudley Pound, the First Sea Lord.[39] The Allied cruiser squadron was already beyond the standing orders set by the Admiralty and if no new orders had gone out, the cruisers would have had to withdraw some time afterwards in any case. The earlier cruiser movement did not influence the tactical situation but in light of later knowledge, the decision was deemed precipitate.[4]

Unbeknownst to the escort and convoy commanders, Tirpitz and its battlegroup was not advancing toward the convoy or anywhere near. Tirpitz had left Trondheim on 2 July to the port of Vestfjord; the next day, the Kriegsmarine Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Erich Raeder, received permission to move Tirpitz to Altenfjord to join the ships there.[40] Prior to issuing the orders, Pound visited Whitehall and consulted an intelligence officer, Lieutenant Commander Norman Denning, to confirm that Tirpitz had left Altentfjord. Though Denning did not know if it was still there he did explain that his sources would have confirmed if the ship had or was about to put to sea. It was not until several hours after Pound's orders that Tirpitz was shown still to be anchored at Altenfjord.[41] Although the Tirpitz's battlegroup sailed on July 5, the operation by surface ships to attack the convoy was cancelled and the ships returned to Altenfjord that same day.[24]

Convoy losses

See also: Order of battle for Convoy PQ 17

U-255 after the attacks on PQ 17, flying four victory pennants and the captured flag of the merchant ship SS Paulus Potter

When the order to scatter the convoy was received, it had covered more than half of its route and lost three ships. The consequences for the merchantmen were dire, the ships were spread over a wide area, stripped of mutual protection and their trained escort. As the larger escort vessels retreated from the suspected German surface force, messages on Merchant Navy wavelengths began to be received by the destroyers: "Am being bombed by a large number of planes", "On fire in the ice", "Abandoning ship", "Six U-boats approaching on the surface".[42] With the majority of the escorts ordered to return to Scapa Flow, only the close escort of anti-aircraft auxiliaries, corvettes, minesweepers and armed trawlers was left to protect the scattered ships.[43]

On 5 July, six merchantmen, including SS Fairfield City and SS Daniel Morgan, were sunk by the Luftwaffe and six more by four U-boats. Among the losses that day were SS Pan Kraft, Washington, Carlton, Honomu, the Commodore's flagship River Afton, Empire Byron and Peter Kerr. (Kerr was abandoned after a fire got out of control.)[44] SS Paulus Potter had been abandoned by her crew after an aerial attack on 5 July; the ship was boarded by sailors from U-255 on 13 July; after taking the ship's documents and flag, Kapitänleutnant Reinhart Reche sank Potter with a torpedo.[45]

On 6 July, SS Pan Atlantic was sunk by the Luftwaffe and SS John Witherspoon by U-255. From 7 to 8 July, five more ships were sunk (two by U-255), including SS Olapana and SS Alcoa Ranger. The remaining escorts withdrew into the Arctic Ocean on 9 July but the merchant ships suffered no more that day. The last losses were SS Hoosier and SS El Capitan on 10 July. The Luftwaffe flew over 200 sorties and lost only five aircraft in exchange for the eight merchantmen.[46]

On receiving the third order to scatter on 4 July 1942, Lieutenant Leo Gradwell RNVR, commanding the anti-submarine trawler HMS Ayrshire, did not want to head for Archangelsk and led his convoy of Ayrshire and Troubador, Ironclad and Silver Sword north. On reaching the Arctic ice, the convoy pushed into it, then stopped engines and banked their fires. The crews used white paint from Troubador, covered the decks with white linen and arranged the Sherman tanks on the merchant vessels decks into a defensive formation, with loaded main guns. After a period of waiting and having evaded Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft, finding themselves unstuck, they proceeded to the Matochkin Strait. They were found there by a flotilla of corvettes, who escorted the four-ship convoy plus two other merchant vessels to Archangel, arriving on 25 July.[47]

In the voyage to the Russian ports, some of the ships and lifeboat craft took refuge along the frozen coast of Novaya Zemlya, landing at Matochkin.[48] The Soviet tanker Azerbaijan had lost her cargo of linseed oil and much of SS Winston-Salem's cargo had been jettisoned in Novaya Zemlya.[49] Many of the ships' locations were unknown, in spite of searches by Coastal Command aircraft, which had proceeded to north Russia after their patrols and by minesweepers and corvettes. A fortnight elapsed before the results of the attacks and the fate of the convoy were fully known.[4] Of the 34 ships which had left Iceland, 23 were sunk; two British, four American, one Panamanian and two Russian merchant ships reached Arkhangelsk. Two American ships, Samuel Chase and Benjamin Harrison, docked at Murmansk.[50] The deliveries amounted to 70,000 short tons (64,000 t) out of the 200,000 short tons (180,000 t) which had started from Iceland.[6]


The Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, called the event, "one of the most melancholy naval episodes in the whole of the war".[6] An inquiry assigned no blame to anyone, since orders were issued by the First Sea Lord and blaming the First Sea Lord himself was considered politically unacceptable.[51] The Soviet Union did not believe so many ships could be lost in one convoy and openly accused the Western Allies of lying. Despite the help provided by the material delivered, Convoy PQ 17 worsened Soviet–Allied relations over the short term, with the Soviets never acknowledging the efforts of Allied merchant seaman or sailors in either navy.[52] Joseph Stalin and Soviet naval experts, found it difficult to understand the order to scatter given by the Admiralty, given "that the escorting vessels of the PQ 17 should return, whereas the cargo boats should disperse and try to reach the Soviet ports one by one without any protection at all".[53] Admiral King, already known to distrust the British, was furious with what he perceived as Admiral Pound's bungling and promptly withdrew TF 39, sending it to the Pacific. He hesitated to conduct further joint operations under British command.[54] Admiral Dan Gallery, USN, serving in Iceland at that time, called PQ 17 "a shameful page in naval history".[55]

In view of the Convoy PQ 17 disaster, the Admiralty proposed to suspend the Arctic convoys at least until the ice receded and perpetual daylight passed.[51] At a conference with Hitler, Raeder stated, "...our submarines and aircraft, which totally destroyed the last convoy, have forced the enemy to give up this route temporarily...".[56] At a meeting with the head of the Soviet Military Mission, Admiral Nikolay Kharlamov and the Soviet ambassador in London, Ivan Maisky, the Soviets requested to know when Convoy PQ 18 would sail. Pound said nothing could be done until better Russian air cover was arranged, after which Kharlamov criticised the order to withdraw the cruisers from Convoy PQ 17. Pound was furious and deeply resented the Russian attitude. Pound angrily admitted that PQ 17 was scattered on his order while Maisky stated that "even British admirals make mistakes".[57]

It was not until September that Convoy PQ 18 set out for North Russia. The convoy's defence scheme was revised, with a very strong constant close escort of sixteen destroyers and the first of the new escort carriers, HMS Avenger, with twelve fighters and three Swordfish ASW aircraft.[58] After the war there was criticism of this delay in American and Soviet sources.[58] Soviet historians give varying reasons for the suspension and reduction in supply caused by the halt in the Arctic convoys. Some considered it the result of "the fact that in 1942, Anglo-American (ocean) communications were destroyed".[59]

At least sixteen officers and men of the Merchant Navy were honoured for gallantry or distinguished service for the actions in the convoy. A supplement to the London Gazette published on 6 October 1942 carried notification of two George Medals, six appointments to various grades of the Order of the British Empire, six British Empire Medals and two King's Commendation for Brave Conduct.[60]

In December 2012 the Arctic Star medal was created and on 19 March 2013 the first medals were presented to approximately 40 veterans, in London.[61][62]

Broome v Cassell & Co Ltd

In 1968, David Irving published a controversial book about PQ 17. It concentrated on Allied blunders and shortcomings, alleging that Broome's decision to withdraw his destroyers was the primary cause of the disaster to the convoy. Broome litigated in Broome v Cassell & Co Ltd, to defend his reputation. Broome won his case and was awarded £40,000 in damages and secured the withdrawal of all copies of the offending book from circulation (it has since been republished, with corrections). The damages (donated by Broome to charity) were the highest paid in legal history until the action by Jeffrey Archer against the Daily Star newspaper.[citation needed]

In popular culture

See also


a. ^ This latter signal was intended merely as a correction of technical wording from "disperse" to "scatter", but this was not known at the time. The order to scatter was only used under immediate threat of surface attack. Detailed instructions in each ship's signal book laid down the actions that were to be taken by each ship on receipt of this order.[3]


  1. ^ Schofield 1964, pp. 77–78.
  2. ^ Beesly 1990, pp. 292–322.
  3. ^ a b c d Churchill 1951, p. 235.
  4. ^ a b c d Churchill 1951, p. 236.
  5. ^ Hill 1986, pp. 45–46.
  6. ^ a b c Churchill 1951, p. 237.
  7. ^ Churchill 1951, p. 240.
  8. ^ Albert Praun, German Radio Intelligence
  9. ^ Langer, The Harriman-Beaverbrook Mission and the Debate over Unconditional Aid for the Soviet Union, 1941, pp. 463–482
  10. ^ Churchill 1951, p. 228.
  11. ^ Churchill 1951, p. 229.
  12. ^ Miller 1997, p. 309.
  13. ^ a b London Gazette, Friday, 13 October 1950, p. 5139
  14. ^ a b c London Gazette, Friday, 13 October 1950, p. 5140
  15. ^ Hill 1986, p. 26.
  16. ^ Winton 1988, p. 61.
  17. ^ a b London Gazette, Friday, 13 October 1950, p. 5143
  18. ^ London Gazette, Friday, 13 October 1950, pp. 5144–5145
  19. ^ a b c d e f g London Gazette, Friday, 13 October 1950, p. 5145
  20. ^ a b c d e London Gazette, Friday, 13 October 1950, p. 5146
  21. ^ Admiralty, ADM 199/427: Home Fleet Destroyer Command – April to December 1942, HMSO
  22. ^ Churchill 1951, p. 234.
  23. ^ Winton 1988, p. 62.
  24. ^ a b Rohwer & Hümmelchen 2005, pp. 175–176.
  25. ^ a b Shelley, James (20 February 2024), "Scattered to the Arctic Winds: The Tragedy of Convoy PQ17", The Naval Review, retrieved 16 April 2024
  26. ^ Claasen 2001, pp. 205–206.
  27. ^ Turner 2013, p. 103.
  28. ^ Connell 1982, p. 80.
  29. ^ NMHS, Sea history, Issues 61-68, p. 58
  30. ^ Hill 1986, pp. 29, 37, 39, 41.
  31. ^ "Christopher Newport". Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  32. ^ Turner 2013, p. 105.
  33. ^ Hill 1986, p. 42.
  34. ^ Turner 2013, p. 110, 106.
  35. ^ Hill 1986, pp. 43–44.
  36. ^ Hinsley et al. 1990, pp. 213–214, 216–219.
  37. ^ PRO 2001, p. 114.
  38. ^ Hill 1986, pp. 45, 50.
  39. ^ Churchill 1951, pp. 235–236.
  40. ^ Irving 1968, pp. 75–76.
  41. ^ Kemp 1993, pp. 74–75.
  42. ^ Hill 1986, p. 48.
  43. ^ Woodman 2004, pp. 211–212.
  44. ^ Moore 1984, p. 220.
  45. ^ Wynn 1997, p. 178.
  46. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "PQ-17 The Greatest Convoy Disaster". German U-boats of WWII – Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  47. ^ Woodman 2004, pp. 222, 233, 235, 248–250.
  48. ^ Riesenberg 1956, p. 320.
  49. ^ Morison 2001, p. 187.
  50. ^ Bunker 1972, p. 67.
  51. ^ a b Churchill 1951, p. 238.
  52. ^ Denkhaus, Richard A. (February 1997). "World War II: Convoy PQ-17". Archived from the original on 2020-09-09. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  53. ^ Wykes 1972, p. 107.
  54. ^ Miller 1997, p. 312.
  55. ^ Churchill 1951, p. 243.
  56. ^ Hawkins; Deighton, Destroyer, p. 176
  57. ^ a b Churchill 1951, p. 244.
  58. ^ Howarth, The Battle of the Atlantic 1939–1945, p. 554
  59. ^ See "Piece details T 335/47—Merchant Navy Awards (Awards for convoy PQ 17): London Gazette 6 October 1942", The Catalogue, The National Archives, retrieved 16 April 2010 and "No. 35732". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 October 1942. pp. 4349–4350.
  60. ^ Bannister, Sam (19 March 2013). "Veterans presented with their Arctic Star medals in London". The News. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  61. ^
  62. ^ Everett-Green, Robert (21 March 2009). "Requiem for Convoy PQ-17". The Globe & Mail. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  63. ^ "Self Pack International Shipping". Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  64. ^ "PQ17: An Arctic Convoy Disaster". 2 January 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2014.


  • Beesly, Patrick (1990). "Convoy PQ 17: A Study of Intelligence and Decision-Making". Intelligence & National Security. 5 (2). London: Frank Cass: 292–322. doi:10.1080/02684529008432054. ISSN 1743-9019.
  • Bunker, John (1972). Liberty ships: The ugly ducklings of World War II. Annapolis, Md: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-340-3 – via Archive Foundation.
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Further reading