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From: "Bernard de Neumann" <>
Subject: RE: [Mar] DUCHESS OF BEDFORD
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2005 11:53:16 -0000
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Here is another instance of the consequences of the "fog of war": On 16
December 1943, the US flagged merchant vessel BLUE JACKET (6,180 grt) was
making just under 16 knots in overcast and misty weather with a brisk wind
and a moderate swell running. She was heading for Cardiff to unload and was
about 500 miles northeast of the Azores, keeping a careful watch for
U-boats, when one of the ship's armed guard spotted a red flashing light.
The BLUE JACKET was proceeding on a zigzag pattern when at 0315 GMT, several
reports were received on the bridge reporting sightings of red blinking
lights. The light seemed close, and OOW, peering into the darkness, could
not determine at what distance the light shone. To cut a long story short,
BLUE JACKET found herself engaged by three warships, and put up a spirited
defence, holding them off. Later it was found that the three ships were
HMSs BERRY, COOKE, and DUCKWORTH. Damage was inflicted by both sides,
before the almost two hour long battle was ceased. The commanders of the
British ships were all heavily criticised or reprimanded and the duty
officer Western Approached HQ was also found to be at fault. Two members of
BLUE JACKET's Armed Guard were commended by the USN.

Bernard de Neumann




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