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U-552 vs. USS Reuben James DD-245

Battle Name : U-552 vs. USS Reuben James DD-245

Date(s) : 31 October 1941

Part of : Second World War , Atlantic Naval operations ,

Outcome : A victory for Germany over America (not yet officially at war)

Type of battle : Sea


USS Reuben James was escorting convoy HX156 enroute to England when she was torpedoed by U-552. Her forward magazine exploded and she sank quickly, killing between 85-115 men.
The Reuben James was arguably the 1st American combatant sunk by deliberate enemy action.


Near Iceland (North Atlantic)

More details

Accounts of the number of men lost vary, but survivors are always listed as 44 or 45. They were picked up by USS Niblack DD-424 and USS Hilary P. Jones, DD-427. U-552 and her commander, Erich Topp both survived the war.

[Details contributed by Jay Kelley]