Outgunned by the Nazi raider, the Stephen Hopkins could have struck her colors. Instead she elected to fight
Whenever an unescorted American freighter encountered strange ships in the South Atlantic in 1942, her master knew that within minutes he might face a bitter decision: to surrender and have his vessel captured—probably scuttled—or to fight and be sunk. This was the quandary of Paul Buck, captain of the Liberty Ship Stephen Hopkins , when two unidentified vessels appeared out of the morning mist at 9:35 on September 27 of that year. A smaller object, possibly a small boat, seemed to be moving in the water between them.