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Three sunken ships from PQ-17 Arctic convoy found on Barents Sea floor

October 21, 2015, 17:51 UTC+3 OSLO
The wrecks were traced by the staff members of the national cartographical office who were researching the seafloor close to the Norwegian-Russian border
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© ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

OSLO, October 21. /TASS/. Wrecks of three ships that were part of the Arctic convoy PQ-17, which the forces of the Third Reich destroyed on high seas in July 1942, have been found on the seafloor in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) said.

The wrecks were traced by the staff members of the national cartographical office who were researching the seafloor close to the Norwegian-Russian border.

Sonars helped the mappers to identify the shipwrecks up to 140 meters long and 21 meters wide at the depth of 200 to 300 meters. The ships were identified as The Honomu and The Carlton, both of the U.S., and the Earlston of Britain.

The wrecks lie inside the former so-called ‘gray zone’ of the Barents Sea that was opened for research only after 2010 when Norway and the USSR settled the decades-old dispute regarding the sovereign rights to that area.

PQ 17 makes up one of the most heroic and tragic chapters in the history of the Arctic Convoys, which delivered vital supplies from the U.S. and Britain to the USSR at the height of World War II.

Of the 35 ships that left the Icelandic port of Hvalfjord on June 27, only ten hips reached the Soviet port of Arkhangelsk. PQ 17 suffered the biggest losses of all the Artic Convoys.

The Honomu, The Carlton and The Earlston were sunk by Nazi bombers and submarines.

All in all, the Allies consigned 42 convoys to the Soviet Union totaling 1,444 ships under the flags of different countries. They delivered, among other cargoes, more than 5,000 tanks and 7,000 warplanes to Arkhangelsk and Murmansk.

The British merchant marine alone lost 85 ships under the strikes of the Kriegsmarine /Nazi navy/ and Luftwaffe /the Air Force/ while escorting the deliveries. The Royal Navy lost two cruisers, six destroyers and eight ships of other types.

Naval history experts say that, on the whole, the Nazis sank one ship in eight.

Many British, American and Canadian war veterans who are alive today have received the Admiral Ushakov medals a special award the Russian government has established to mark combat valor in international naval cooperation.

A monument to participants in the Arctic Convoys was unveiled in Arckhangelsk on August 31, 2015.

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