|Dimensions||10 × 10 × 10 cm|
Builder Armstrong Whitworth.
Gross 22,200 Tons
Length 667 feet, 6 inches (203.5 m)
Beam 115 feet (35.1 m)
Draught 26 feet, 8 inches (8.1 m)
Propulsion Four geared steam turbines, driving four propellers
10th August 1942
Space on the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle was extremely restricted. Only sixteen of the 20 defensive Sea Hurricane fighters in the squadron could be embarked, four of them were parked with one wing removed in the forward hanger as spares. On August 11, Eagle left Gibraltar to join with the rest of the Pedestal convoy in the hope they were not detected but just a few hours later, a French civil aircraft flying overhead was heard to be relaying the convoy’s disposition.
The first radar contact with enemy bombers was at 8:15 am the next morning. Five interceptions were by made the defending fighters and one Ju 88 was shot down. As Captain Lachlan D. Mackintosh had Eagle steaming at 13 knots on the starboard leg of it’s anti-submarine zigzag with four of his Hurricanes flying a defensive circuit he felt wary but safe. Suddenly, at 1:15pm, the first torpedo struck her port quarter quickly followed by three more torpedoes hitting between Port 2 and Port 3 within seconds. Immediately she started listing to port, increasing to a dramatic 15º, making it impossible to counter-flood.
The German U-73 dived deeply and quietly sneaked away in the confusion as HMS Eagle succumbed to her wounds. Escorts gathered around her and 929 of her 1,160 crewmembers were rescued. The convoy had just lost 20% of its fighter strength.
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