The convoys PQ.18 & QP.14


After the disaster suffered by the British in the Barents Sea in July 1942, the Allied navies and German submarine units, again assisted by Luftwaffe aircraft, continued to clash in the Arctic seas. This epic struggle included the story of the Allied convoy PQ 18, consisting of a large fleet, and the subsequent convoy QP.14, which ran into a pack of wolves off Bear Island, losing four merchantmen and a destroyer. With these convoys, the Allies tried to bring aid and material to the USSR, which was fighting with them the forces of the Third Reich. The Arctic convoys, organised from 1941 to 1945, were destined for the port of Arkhangelsk, in summer, and Murmansk, in winter, via Iceland and the Arctic Ocean, making extremely dangerous journeys in some of the most hostile waters in the world. The big battle took place in mid-September 1942 and this time the battle was much harder for the German forces, who managed to sink 13 merchant ships but suffered the loss of no less than three U-boats as well as four others damaged and 20 fighter planes.  The tragic slaughter for the Allies had come to an end. Some among the British even claimed victory, although it is perhaps more correct to speak of a closed battle with no winners, but for the Axis forces a critical moment was nevertheless opening up.

By Francesco Mattesini, 100 pages
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