First Use in Convoy to Russia
The first merchant ship to make the eastbound convoy to North Russia (PQ-8 out of Iceland) with a Navy Armed Guard was the 3800-ton freighter SS Larranga. At the insistence of the ship's master, Captain Cameron Dudley Simmons, she was installed with a Navy Armed Guard consisting of Ensign H. A. Axtell, Jr. and eight enlisted men under his supervision. Ordnance placed under their charge on the SS Larranga was one 4-inch gun and eight 30-calibre machine guns. Armed Guard crew of the SS Larranga has the distinction of being the first to fire on an enemy submarine from an armed merchant vessel.