The SS City of Flint

An American Freighter at War, 1939–1943

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About the Book

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.

About the Author(s)

Magne Haugseng is a political scientist and historian with an interest in counterinsurgency and WWII at sea. His previous writing includes a text book for the Swedish Military Academy and articles for the Irish military history journal The Sword. He lives in Northern Ireland.

Bibliographic Details

Magne Haugseng
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 254
Bibliographic Info: 29 photos, maps, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8536-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4323-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction 1
The Personalities 5
The Ships 6
Abbreviations 7
Section I—The Beginning
1. Preparations 10
2. A Helping Hand 16
Section II—The Prize
3. Trapped 22
4. Politics of Neutrality 42
5. Americans in Communist Soviet Union 55
6. Back to Norway 71
7. The Chase 83
8. Turning Point 101
9. Pawn 113
10. Cargo 122
11. Going Home 130
Section III—Convoys
12. Convoy—to Murmansk 140
13. Basra 154
Section IV—Torpedoed
14. The Prey 162
15. The Target 179
Section V—Postscript
16. Still Waters Once Again 208
Appendix 1: The Prize Command 213
Appendix 2: City of Flint Crew in Norway, 1939 215
Appendix 3: City of Flint Crew at Murmansk in 1942 217
Appendix 4: City of Flint Crew at Persian Gulf in 1942 219
Appendix 5: City of Flint Crew on the Final Convoy, January 1943 221
Chapter Notes 225
Bibliography 233
Index 239