This event has a prominent place in naval history, for very good reasons.
In July 1942 a convoy of 35 ships left Hvalfiord, in Iceland, bound for Archangel. Was it coincidence that the worst of it happened on the '4th of July'? Naval Intelligence believed (correctly as it happened) that the German battleship Tirpitz might attack. The convoy was therefore ordered not to form a tight defended block, but to disperse. A German force of nine U-boats, 33 torpedo aircraft, and six bombers then attacked PQ17 with the result that 24 of the 35 vessels were lost. Only 11 got to Archangel. It was discovered later, that due to vacillation by the German Command, the Tirpitz did not become involved.
There is a lot of Info on the Internet on this, including a 58 minute video on Utube at PQ17 Disaster (Clarkson) which shows 'how it was' and does that very effectively. Remember, you don't need to watch it all.
And a good Wikipedia page on Arctic Convoys
Another interesting one shows the kind of weather they endured, and the 'Liberty Ships' which were built in the USA in considerable numbers (100s) and used extensively in WWII. I was on one operating as a 'troop-ship'. Arctic weather and Liberty ships
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