In Europe, World War II was four months old by Christmas 1939. The City of Flint, an American freighter, had been instrumental in rescuing 1200 passengers from a torpedoed ocean liner, making headlines on both sides of the Atlantic. She was captured by a Nazi warship and sent towards a German port, rigged with explosives to ensure the British Navy would not capture it. Norwegian soldiers liberated the ship—by then even Hitler knew her name.
Christmas 1942 saw the City of Flint in New York with other freighters loading for North Africa. Allied codes had been cracked and the convoy was expected by a group of U-Boats. Secretly carrying poison gas as part of her cargo, she was torpedoed and exploded on January 25, 1943.
Eleven survivors in her fourth lifeboat fought mountainous seas, sharks and hunger. One went mad and walked overboard. The others survived 46 days before rescue. Eyewitness accounts, war diaries and archival sources bring this untold story to life.