Convoy PQ 12
Convoy PQ 12 was an Arctic convoy
Arctic convoys of World War II
The Arctic convoys of World War II travelled from the United Kingdom and North America to the northern ports of the Soviet Union—Arkhangelsk and Murmansk. There were 78 convoys between August 1941 and May 1945...

 sent from Great Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 by the Western Allies
Western Allies
The Western Allies were a political and geographic grouping among the Allied Powers of the Second World War. It generally includes the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth, the United States, France and various other European and Latin American countries, but excludes China, the Soviet Union,...

 to aid the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. It sailed in March 1942, reaching Murmansk
Murmansk is a city and the administrative center of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It serves as a seaport and is located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russia's borders with Norway and Finland...

 despite a sortie against it by the German battleship Tirpitz
German battleship Tirpitz
Tirpitz was the second of two s built for the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Named after Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, the architect of the Imperial Navy, the ship was laid down at the Kriegsmarinewerft in Wilhelmshaven in November 1936 and launched two and a half years later in April...

All ships arrived safely.


PQ 12 consisted of 16 ships under the command of Commodore HT Hudson.
The close escort comprised the minesweeper Gossamer and five whalers. These were joined on 5 March by the Ocean Escort of two destroyers, Oribi
HMS Oribi (G66)
HMS Oribi was an O-class destroyer of the Royal Navy. Following the style of her sister ships she was named with a word beginning with O...

, commanded by Cdr JEH McBeath who took over as SOE, and Offa
HMS Offa (G29)
HMS Offa was an O-class destroyer of the Royal Navy which entered service in 1941.During November 1941 HMS Offa was part of Convoy PQ-4, the fifth of the Arctic Convoys of World War II. The convoy sailed from Hvalfjord, Iceland on 17 November 1941 and arrived at Arkhangelsk on 28 November 1941.On...

, supported by the cruiser Kenya.

Distant cover was provided by Two Heavy Cover forces; one comprising
the battleship Duke of York
HMS Duke of York (17)
HMS Duke of York was a King George V-class battleship of the Royal Navy. Laid down in May 1937, the ship was constructed by John Brown and Company at Clydebank, Scotland, and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 4 November 1941, subsequently seeing service during the Second World War.In...

 (V. Adm. ATB Curteis commanding), the battlecruiser Renown
HMS Renown (1916)
HMS Renown was the lead ship of her class of battlecruisers of the Royal Navy built during the First World War. She was originally laid down as an improved version of the s. Her construction was suspended on the outbreak of war on the grounds she would not be ready in a timely manner...

, and six destroyers, sailing from Reykjavik, and another led by Adm. J Tovey
John Tovey, 1st Baron Tovey
Admiral of the Fleet John Cronyn "Jack" Tovey, 1st Baron Tovey GCB, KBE, DSO, DCL was a Royal Navy admiral who served in both World Wars. He signed himself as "Jack", not "John". Tovey joined the Royal Navy before World War I, and commanded destroyers in that war. He rose, with several senior...

 comprising the battleship King George V
HMS King George V (41)
HMS King George V was the lead ship of the five British King George V-class battleships of the Royal Navy. Laid down in 1937 and commissioned in 1940, King George V operated during the Second World War as part of the British Home and Pacific Fleets...

, the carrier HMS Victorious
HMS Victorious (R38)
HMS Victorious was the second Illustrious-class aircraft carrier ordered under the 1936 Naval Programme. She was laid down at the Vickers-Armstrong shipyard at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in 1937 and launched two years later in 1939...

, the cruiser Berwick
HMS Berwick (65)
HMS Berwick was a Royal Navy County class heavy cruiser, of the Kent subclass. She was built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company , with the keel being laid down on 15 September 1924...

 and six destroyers, sailing from Scapa Flow
Scapa Flow
right|thumb|Scapa Flow viewed from its eastern endScapa Flow is a body of water in the Orkney Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom, sheltered by the islands of Mainland, Graemsay, Burray, South Ronaldsay and Hoy. It is about...



PQ 12 sailed from Reykjavik on 1 March 1942 with its Close escort. It was joined on 5 March by the Ocean escort, and on 6 March by the cruiser Kenya. Also at sea were the Heavy Cover Forces, V.Adm. Curteis from Reykjavik sailing on 3 March and Adm. Tovey from Scapa Flow on the 4th.

On 5 March the convoy was sighted by a German reconnaissance aircraft, and on 6 March, after obtaining permission from Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 to do so, Tirpitz sortied from Trondheim
Trondheim , historically, Nidaros and Trondhjem, is a city and municipality in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. With a population of 173,486, it is the third most populous municipality and city in the country, although the fourth largest metropolitan area. It is the administrative centre of...

 with three destroyers as escort.
This was Operation Sportpalast
Operation Sportpalast
Operation Sportpalast was the action by Tirpitz and its escorting destroyers against Arctic convoys PQ-12 and QP-8...

, and was intended to find and destroy both PQ 12 and its reciprocal, QP 8, which was also at sea.

Shortly after sailing Tirpitz was sighted by the patrolling submarine Seawolf
HMS Seawolf (47S)
HMS Seawolf was an S-class submarine of the Royal Navy. She was launched on 28 November 1935 and went on to serve in the Second World War.-Wartime career:...

, and the Heavy Cover Forces, now joined together, sought to bring Tirpitz to action.

Over the next two days these groups of ships manouvered around each other, without coming into contact, though on two occasions they were just 60 miles apart.
Tirpitz had no success, though her destroyers encounterd one straggler from QP 8, the freighter Ijora, and sank her.
Finally on 9 March as Tirpitz headed for home, she was sighted by aircraft from Victorious and attacked, though also without success.

PQ 12 arrived at Murmansk
Murmansk is a city and the administrative center of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It serves as a seaport and is located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russia's borders with Norway and Finland...

on 12 March. No ships were lost, though the escort suffered one whaler lost, Shera, capsized by ice buildup, and one destroyer, Oribi, damaged by pack ice.

Ships list

  • Artigas
  • Ballot
  • Bateau
  • Beaconstreet
  • Belormorcanal
  • Capulin
  • Dneprostroi
  • Earlston
  • El Coston
  • El Occidente

  • Empire Byron
  • Lancaster Castle
  • Llandaff
  • Navarino
  • Sevzaples
  • Stone Street
  • Temple Arch
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.