exciting career of JAGERSFONTEINJune 6 2009 at 12:51 PM
|Nelson (no login)|
Response to M. S. Bloemfontein
Some diff between the wartime careers of BLOEMFONTEIN and JAGERSFONTEIN. The latter ship carried the first (I think) contingent of flyers for the American Volunteer Group (AVG or Flying Tigers) during July 1941 (n.b., these men did not see combat until after war began in the Pacific five months later). Not officially escorting her, but "encountering" her on the dark ocean and always lurking nearby, were not one but two U.S. heavy cruisers: SALT LAKE CITY (CA 25) and NORTHAMPTON (CA 26), officially steaming on a courtesy visit to Brisbane, Port Moresby, and Rabaul, and thus these ships took the southern route. Somewhere in the vicinity of Torres Strait they "encountered" the Dutch cruiser JAVA, which proceeded along with JAGERSFONTEIN to Java (I think Soerabaja). I'm not certain how far this escort continued, but she went on to Rangoon to disembark the P-40 pilots.
JAGERSFONTEIN was entering Honolulu Harbor on December 7, 1941, as the first wave of Japanese aircraft hit nearby Pearl Harbor. Unbidden, she opened fire on the second wave, and later her crew (and some passengers, too) donated blood to help the badly wounded.
Six months+ later--in late June 1942--she was torpedoed and sunk by U-107 while carrying Dutch civilians and 86 U.S. Army officers to Europe. I think there was a U.S. Navy armed guard aboard, manning the various deck guns. The survivors were rescued by the Swiss merchant vessel ST. CERGUE/CERQUE. Unlike the then-current American management of BLOEMFONTEIN, BOSCHFONTEIN, and KLIPFONTEIN, I'm not aware of the precise status of JAGERSFONTEIN, and hope someone can fill in that blank.