This is coolbert:
Sea power. The arctic convoys continued.
It cannot be said that the arctic convoys were sent forth from Icelandic and British ports unarmed, without combat support. Those allied military planners knowing full well in advance that the convoy would inevitably come under attack and be forced to run a gauntlet of German submarines, aerial attack, and perhaps even having to face the presence of large capital ships of the Tirpitz variety!
The danger to the convoys both from the elements and the enemy was extreme and everyone knew this from the start.
Indeed, the naval combat support was considerable just for the PQ 17 convoy alone. Naval combat support to include:
* "The close escort consisted of six destroyers, four corvettes, three minesweepers, four trawlers, two anti-aircraft ships and two submarines." ["defeat attacks by U-boats"]
* "Four cruisers of which two were the American Tuscaloosa and Wichita . . . comprised the close covering force." ["ward off attacks by the Germans' large destroyers and cruisers"]
* "Duke of York, with Washington and Victorious [British aircraft carrier], constituted the distant covering force." [counter to the Tirpitz and assorted pocket battleships]
* "Eight British, one Free French, and four Russian submarines were positioned off the North Cape [Norway] and special air patrols arranged."
"(initially, these [close covering force] also went right through to Russia, but repair facilities at Murmansk were so primitive, and Russian co-operation so grudging, that it was decided that is was not justifiable to risk these valuable ships . . so far to the east, and the covering [close] force was directed to turn back once the convoy had passed Bear Island)"
That close covering force unable to follow the convoys all the way to the destination, the Russian uncooperative and offering minimal and then grudging help when needed. Stalin wanted all that aid and insisted that the Arctic convoys be run all throughout the war, NOT ever at all being helpful to the allied sailors and merchant marine personnel, rather leaving the allies dangling and having to make their own appreciations and plans based upon the paranoia of the dictator.
AND according to David Irving American merchant vessels having an "embedded" NAGS contingent. Naval Armed Guards Service, naval ratings serving on a merchant ship and ready to fight at a moments notice and having at their disposal a four inch gun [100 mm] and various AAA [anti-aircraft-artillery] positions! NAGS personnel again thanks to David Irving at times carrying sidearms in case of a recalcitrant or mutinous crew!