To provide the Soviets with aid, Convoy PQ17 sailed from Hvalfjord in Iceland to the Russian port of Arkhangelsk on 27 June 1942. This journey was possible in the summer months because of reduced Arctic ice but perpetual daylight made it more risky. The convoy comprised 34 merchant ships, along with an assortment of over 15 other vessels assigned as a close escort, which included six destroyers and the anti-aircraft auxiliaries Palomares and Pozarica and a Cruiser force in the general vicinity. On 4 July, Admiralty contacted the Destroyer force with vague information about an impending German surface attack. The order to scatter the convoy was given and most of the larger escort vessels left the area. Over the next few days, spread over large distances with very minimal defence, most of the merchant ships were destroyed by the Luftwaffe or U-Boats. One group lead by HMS Ayrshire evaded attack but 23 merchant ships were ultimately sunk.
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