NO POSITION MARKERS FOR PHOTOS
The List 5043 TGB
A lot of history and some tidbits.
Today in Naval History
1934 President Franklin D. Roosevelt travels to Cartagena, Columbia, by USS Houston (CA 30). His visit was the first by a U.S. president to South America.
1943 In Operation Husky, naval gunfire helps Allied troops land on Sicily, Italy. It is the first extensive use of LST's and smaller landing craft to deliver heavy equipment over the beach.
1945 USS Runner (SS 476) sinks the Japanese minesweeper (No.27) off Tado Saki, Honshu.
1945 - 14 carriers from Third Fleet carriers begin air strikes on Japanese Home Islands which end 15 August
1971 USS Ponce (AFSB 15) is commissioned. The final Austin-class amphibious transport dock is named after a city in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
1993 USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) is commissioned at New London, Conn., the 14th Ohio-class submarine.
Thanks to CHINFO
• Today's national headlines include the death of Navy Vet, Texas billionaire, and former Presidential candidate Ross Perot.
• CNO Adm. John Richardson held a regularly scheduled video teleconference with his Chinese counterpart Vice Adm. Shen Jinlong on Tuesday.
• The Washington Post reported from aboard USS Whirlwind (PC 11) as it patrols the Persian Gulf amid tensions with Iran.
• SOUTHCOM Commander Adm. Craig Faller told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he expects an LCS to deploy to SOUTHCOM's area of responsibility this fall, reports Defense Daily.
Today in History July 10
The Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes is driven from Tenochtitlan and retreats to Tlaxcala.
The Catholic states in Germany set up a league under the leadership of Maximilian of Bavaria.
The British crown claims New Hampshire as a royal colony.
The statue of King George III is pulled down in New York City.
In support of the American Revolution, Louis XVI declares war on England.
Millard Fillmore is sworn in as the 13th president of the United States following the death of Zachary Taylor.
Wyoming becomes the 44th state.
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams performs the first successful open-heart surgery, without the benefit of penicillin or blood transfusion.
The trial of Tennessee teacher John T. Scopes opens, with Clarence Darrow appearing for the defense and William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution.
Germany begins the bombing of England.
General Carl Spaatz becomes the head of the U.S. Air Force in Europe.
American and British forces complete their amphibious landing of Sicily.
U.S. carrier-based aircraft begin airstrikes against Japan in preparation for invasion.
Armistice talks between the United Nations and North Korea begin at Kaesong.
Belgium sends troops to the Congo to protect whites as the Congolese Bloodbath begins, just 10 days after the former colony became independent of Belgian rule.
The satellite Telstar is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, beaming live television from Europe to the United States.
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" becomes the Rolling Stones' first No. 1 single in the USA.
Singer Bobbie Gentry records "Ode to Billie Joe," which will become a country music classic and win 4 Grammys.
In Seveso, near Milan, Italy, an explosion in a chemical factory covers the surrounding area with toxic dioxin. Time magazine has ranked the Seveso incident No. 8 on its list of the 10 worst environmental disasters.
Coca-Cola Co. announces it will resume selling "old formula Coke," following a public outcry and falling sales of its "new Coke."
Boris Yeltsin is sworn in as the first elected president of the Russian Federation, following the breakup of the USSR.
Kenyan runner Yobes Ondieki becomes the first man to run 10,000 meters in less than 27 minutes.
1940 The Battle of Britain begins as the Luftwaffe attempts to destroy the RAF in anticipation of a German invasion of England
1943 Allied forces commence the invasion of Sicily
MiGs shot down as bombing of North Vietnam continues »
This Week in American Military History
July 11, 1864: Confederate Army forces under the command of Lt. Gen. Jubal Early reach the outskirts of Washington, D.C. Brief skirmishing follows. Artillery fire is exchanged. But a previous delay at nearby Monocacy Junction, Maryland, caused by a sizeable, but numerically inferior Union Army force under the command of Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace (future author of Ben Hur) buys time for Union defenders to strengthen their positions around the nation's capital. Early will withdraw the following day, commenting to one of his officers, "Major, we haven't taken Washington, but we scared Abe Lincoln like hell. The New York Times will refer to Early's drive toward D.C., "the boldest, and probably the most successful of all the rebel raids."
July 11, 1955: The first U.S. Air Force Academy class begins with 306 cadets at the Academy's temporary site, Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado. The Academy will be moved to its permanent site at Colorado Springs in 1958.
July 11, 1798: The U.S. Marine Corps – born as the Continental Marines Nov.
10, 1775 (the official birthday of the Corps) and disbanded at the conclusion of the American Revolution – is reestablished by an act of Congress.
July 12, 1862: The U.S. Army version of the Medal of Honor – the nation's highest award for valor in combat – is signed into law, stipulating that the decoration be awarded "to such noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldierlike qualities, during the present insurrection."
The Navy version (awarded to both sailors and Marines) had become law more than six months earlier, on Dec. 21, 1861.
July 14, 1813: Lt. (future Lt. Col.) John M. Gamble becomes the first – and thus far only – U.S. Marine to command a ship in action. Gamble's vessel, the captured British whaler Greenwich, captures the British whaler Seringapatam. Gamble – a Lieutenant (though several reputable sources say, captain) of Marines aboard USS Essex – had been awarded command of Greenwich by U.S. Navy Captain (future commodore) David Porter, who was the father of the Civil War's famous Admiral David Dixon Porter.Gamble's exploits will become legendary, though few know of him outside Marine Corps circles.
July 16, 1862: The U.S. Congress establishes the rank of rear admiral for David G. Farragut, who will become best known for purportedly uttering the command, "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!," or the more likely command, "Damn the torpedoes! "Four bells. Captain [Percival] Drayton, go ahead! [Lt. Commander James] Jouett, full speed!" during the 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama. Farragut (destined to become admiral) is the nation's first rear admiral
July 17, 1898: Spanish forces under the command of Gen. José Toral surrender Cuba to U.S. forces under Gen. William R. Shafter during the Spanish American War.
Thanks to Saundra
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Torpedo versus Torpedo
Full article on the torpedoes….Don't they remember it was John Wayne that solved the U.S. Navy torpedo problem. I remember the movie….SKIP
First this from Barrett
Our Torpedoes v Their Torpedoes:
I correspond with the webmaster of uboat.net, arguably the finest naval site online. (Up there in Iceland "Gummi" doesn't seem to get out much!) Years ago he mentioned that some Kriegsmarine ordies who designed faulty magnetic detonators went to prison. I had to say that ours made flag. The worst of the worst was FLEET ADMIRAL Wm. Leahy who became FDR's briefcase carrier (got the 5th star so the Brit field marshals would return his calls.) He headed BuOrd during design of the notorious WW II torpedoes and apparently restricted testing, with well known results.
Leahy was opposed to the Manhattan Project: "As an ordnance expert I can say that the atom bomb will not work." Later he took the um humanitarian approach that the bombs were unnecessary and chastised the Army Air Force for barbarity (you can read between the political lines where THAT is concerned!)
An early H-GRAM FROM Admiral Cox
28 Jun 17
Torpedo versus Torpedo
In 1940, a Japanese "walk-in" source provided the U.S. Naval Attache in Tokyo with information on the Japanese Type 93 "oxygen torpedo" (known after the war as "Long Lance.") The Type 93 had much longer range, was faster, and had a larger warhead than any other known torpedo in the world. The Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) provided this intelligence, from an "impeccable source," to the Navy Bureau of Ordnance, which evaluated and dismissed the report in the belief that the Japanese could not have developed a torpedo more advanced than our own, and that the use of compressed oxygen as an oxidizer was too dangerous. Seven U.S. Navy cruisers, nine destroyers, and the abandoned aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8,) and additional Allied ships were sunk by Type 93 torpedoes during World War II (over 3,100 U.S. Sailors killed,) in most cases when the target ships, believing themselves to be safely out of torpedo range, were hit by surprise. The Type 93 and other Japanese torpedoes were reliable; U.S. torpedoes were not, despite being more "sophisticated."
U.S. Submarine Torpedo: Mark 14
At the start of World War II, the newest operational U.S. torpedoes were the Mark 13 air-launched torpedo, the Mark 14 submarine-launched torpedo, and the Mark 15 surface-launched torpedo. Although each torpedo was different, each version had significant components in common, particularly the Mark 6 magnetic influence exploder (on the Mark 14 and 15.) As passive anti-torpedo defenses of capital ship designs significantly improved as a result of WWI experience, the U.S. sought to overcome increased armor, water-tight compartmentation, anti-torpedo blisters and other features by designing a torpedo that would pass underneath the target ship and detonate several feet below the keel using magnetic influence (similar to modern torpedoes.) The Japanese approach to the same problem was to build a bigger, faster contact torpedo with a huge warhead.
U.S. submarine skippers were the first to realize that U.S. torpedoes had major problems, and they found out the hard way as a result of failed attacks. The skipper of USS Sargo (SS-188) fired 12 torpedoes on 24 Dec 41 at four targets, the last four torpedoes with textbook perfect set up, and none hit. USS Seadragon (SS-194) fired eight torpedoes on her first war patrol in Jan 42, for only one hit. Numerous other submarine commanders experienced the same problem. Even the great LCDR Dudley "Mush" Morton on Wahoo (SS-238) came back empty-handed from a patrol in May 1943, due to faulty torpedoes. On 9 April 43, the skipper of USS Tunney (SS-282,) LCDR John A. Scott, had probably the most frustrating day in the history of the U.S. submarine force, with perfect short-range shots at three Japanese aircraft carriers (Junyo, Hiyo, and Taiyo,) firing all ten tubes without a single hit.
The initial response from the Bureau of Ordnance(BuOrd) was to blame the submarine skippers ("operator error") because the torpedoes had worked fine in pre-war tests. Actually, they hadn't. Because of the expense of torpedoes (about $160K in today's dollars,) BuOrd's limited budget, and inability of the U.S. industrial base to produce anywhere near enough torpedoes required, the U.S. Navy conducted no tests before the war using production warshot torpedoes against an actual target. (The Japanese conducted extensive live-fire tests against target ships.) All U.S. tests used exercise warheads, with an upward looking camera substituting for the magnetic influence sensor, and since the exercise torpedoes passed under the target ships, as they were supposed to, the tests were deemed a success.
The Mark 14 had several serious flaws, which masked each other. The first flaw detected was that warshots ran about 10 feet deeper than set. Shortly after assuming command of Southwest Pacific Submarines in Jun 42, RADM Charles Lockwood ordered a series of tests with submarines firing torpedoes into nets that conclusively proved that the torpedoes were running too deep. By then Pacific Fleet submarines had fired over 800 torpedoes (a year's production worth, at that time) with very little to show for it. When news of the tests reach CNO Ernest J. King, he turned his famous wrath on BuOrd, which however did not save a number of submarine skippers who had been relieved of command for supposedly being incompetent or not aggressive enough (in some cases true) but they certainly were not helped by torpedoes that didn't work.
Once the Mk 14 depth control issue was recognized, many submarine skippers set their run depths to "zero," which increased the chance of a torpedo broaching, but even when the torpedoes ran at an appropriate depth, the number of premature detonations and duds greatly increased. This is actually what happened to LCDR Scott on Tunney; seven of the ten torpedoes he fired at the three Japanese carriers would have been hits except that they exploded prematurely, resulting in only light damage to one carrier. As submarine skippers began to suspect the Mark 6 exploder, nearly all requested permission to deactivate the exploder, which was denied. As a result, some skippers deactivated the exploders anyway, and in their post-patrol reports inflated the estimated tonnage of their targets to justify expending more torpedoes per target. RADM Lockwood, after he became Commander Submarine Force Pacific, used reports from submarine skippers as well as intercepted and decoded Japanese radio reports that documented premature explosions, to request permission from Admiral Nimitz to deactivate the magnetic exploders, which Nimitz promptly granted. Deactivation was ordered on 24 Jun 43.
The deactivation of the magnetic exploders solved the premature detonation problem, but revealed that the contact exploder had major design flaws as well, resulting in more duds. LCDR Dan Daspit of USS Tinosa (SS-283) returned from a patrol with convincing data that the contact pistol was defective. RADM Lockwood ordered another series of tests (drop tests and even firing torpedoes into cliff faces) that confirmed the detonators were defective. In fact, torpedoes that hit the target at a 90 degree angle (i.e. a perfect shot) were more likely to fail. The interim fix was for submarines to attempt to hit targets at more oblique angles, and this actually did help reduce the dud problem.
The fourth major problem with the Mark 14 was a tendency to run in circles, with the risk to the submarine that fired the torpedo. Although no U.S. subs are known to have been sunk by a circling Mark 14, this problem was never completely solved. In fact USS Tang (SS-306,) LCDR Richard O'Kane commanding, was sunk on 25 Oct 44 by her own circling torpedo, a new Mark 18. USS Tullibee (SS-284) was sunk by a circular run on 26 Mar 44, but the Mark of torpedo is unknown.
By early 1944, with fixes finally implemented, the Mark 14 became a very reliable weapon that inflicted enormous damage to the Japanese Navy and merchant marine, but it could have inflicted so much more damage sooner had adequate budget resources been devoted to realistic testing and training before the war, and a more expeditious BuOrd shore establishment effort to fix problems identified by submarine skippers rather than trying to pass blame back to the sub skippers.
U.S. Air Launched Torpedo: Mark 13
Like submariners, U.S. aviators quickly began to suspect that their torpedoes were frequently defective. Dismal results with torpedoes during early carrier raids in the Marshalls and at Tulagi fueled suspicions. Although some torpedoes actually hit the Japanese light carrier Shoho at the Battle of the Coral Sea, and worked as designed, there were actually significantly fewer hits than claimed, as many bomb near-misses were mistaken for torpedo hits. No torpedoes hit the Japanese carrier Shokaku at Coral Sea, but none of the TBD Devastator torpedo-bombers were lost in that attack or during the attack on Shoho either, giving a false sense to U.S. commanders that the TBD/Mark 13 combination was a viable means of attack. This notion was disabused at Midway when nearly every torpedo-bomber was shot down without obtaining a single hit. Some reports claim that even before Midway, VADM Halsey had been so concerned about the TBD's lack of effectiveness and vulnerability that he had no intent to use them in future engagements until dive bombers had thoroughly worked over the targets well in advance. Pre-war tactics ideally called for the dive bombers to drop on target just slightly ahead of the torpedo bombers in order to divert fighters and suppress anti-aircraft fire to give the torpedo bombers a better chance. At Midway, the torpedo-bombers reached the Japanese carriers first, and paid the price.
Due to high cost and production shortfalls, pre-war exercises with even exercise torpedoes were extremely rare, but even then showed that the Mark 13 was prone to running at errant angles, running on the surface or too deep, or not running at all, even when dropped at very low speeds. In the case of air-dropped torpedoes, the reason for failure was generally because components of the torpedo were damaged upon impact with the water. The U.S. Navy torpedo bomber at the beginning of WWII, the TBD-1 Devastator was not very fast to begin with, but additional speed and altitude restrictions meant to improve torpedo reliability made the TBD even more vulnerable to enemy fighters and shipboard anti-aircraft fire. A sad irony is that extensive tests conducted after the Battle of Midway concluded that the stringent speed and altitude restrictions were actually counter-productive; the reliability of the torpedo had more to do with the angle it impacted the water than with speed or altitude of drop. The slow speed and low altitude caused the torpedo to hit the water on a very flat trajectory that actually resulted in more component damage.
Extensive tests in late 1942 and 1943 revealed twelve major flaws with the Mk 13 torpedo, which resulted in a dual track solution of making fixes to the Mk 13 while attempting to simultaneously accelerate the development, with significant technical risk, of the Mk 25 torpedo. The development of shroud rings that reinforced the tail fins (frequently damaged in drops) and drag rings, which slowed the torpedo after drop (allowing the aircraft to maintain higher speeds and higher altitudes, while improving angle of entry into the water) had significant positive impact on Mk 13 reliability. Although Mk 13 torpedo performance remained poor throughout 1943, by mid-1944 performance improved markedly, particularly with the addition of a radar to TBF Avenger torpedo-bombers that provided a precise range to the target. By 1944, Avengers were able to drop the Mk 13 at altitudes up to 800 feet and 260 Kts, significantly increasing attack profile flexibility and aircraft survivability.
Nevertheless, because of the torpedo bomber debacle at Midway (and the spectacular success of the dive bombers,) the U.S. Navy skewed carrier air group composition toward more dive bombers and fewer torpedo bombers after Midway. The result was that fewer Japanese ships were sunk than might have otherwise been the case, which was a particular factor in the disappointing number of Japanese ship losses due to air attack at the Battle of the Philippine Sea in Jun 44. Although Japanese aircraft carriers had design flaws that made them vulnerable to bombs, Japanese surface combatants were very resistant to bomb damage, and numerous Japanese surface combatants survived multiple bomb hits to fight another day. Japanese battleships and heavy cruisers were almost impossible to sink with bombs alone, unless a bomb hit the torpedo banks on a cruiser. The Japanese super-battleships Musashi and Yamato both absorbed numerous bomb hits and kept on coming; it was the improved Mk 13's that sank them (and even then, it took numerous torpedo hits.)
U.S. Surface-launched Torpedo: Mark 15
The Mark 15 torpedo was the standard torpedo employed by U.S. destroyers in WWII, and suffered most of the same problems as the Mark 14 submarine-launched torpedoes, except it took longer to detect the problems, because of fewer opportunities to employ the weapons in the early months of the war. The Mark 15 was designed to have a longer range and larger warhead, which made it longer and heavier than the Mark 14. Despite the differences, the Mark 15 and Mark 14 had numerous components in common, in particular the problematic Mark 6 exploder. Problems with the Mark 15 were not actually solved until after the problems with the Mark 14 were first identified by the submarine community.
U.S. Navy surface torpedo tactics were also seriously flawed, as they were developed in the 1930's without an appreciation for Japanese capabilities. The U.S. Navy War Instructions (FTP 143) stated that U.S. cruisers were to avoid night fights unless conditions were favorable. (U.S. cruisers had had their torpedo banks removed to save weight, whereas Japanese cruisers retained theirs.) As a result, U.S. cruisers were unprepared for night fighting and suffered severely from Japanese torpedo attack during the Solomons campaign (which will become apparent in the next H-gram on Savo Island.) Under FTP-143, U.S. destroyers were to attack first with guns, but to reserve torpedoes for capital ship targets. The typical result was that Japanese ships (which held fire until after launching torpedoes) would fire their longer-range torpedoes at the U.S. gun flashes, and numerous U.S. destroyers were sunk before ever having a chance to employ torpedoes (despite the advantage of having radar.) Not until the Battle of Vella Gulf in August 1943, after numerous battles in which U.S. destroyers suffered grievous losses, did U.S. Navy destroyers finally successfully execute a surprise night torpedo attack against a Japanese force. Even at the night Battle of Surigao Strait in Oct 1944 (which was a debacle for the Japanese) the number of hits obtained by U.S. torpedoes relative to the number fired was dismally low.
Japanese Type 93 Sanso Gyorai "Oxygen Torpedo" (also known as "Long Lance")
The term "Long Lance" was coined by U.S. Navy historian RADM Samuel Eliot Morison after World War II so was not used during the war.
From the early 1920's, the Japanese understood that their Battle Line would always be outnumbered by the U.S. Battle Line, initially due to Washington and London Naval Treaty limitations, but also because senior Japanese naval leaders did have an understanding of, and respect for, U.S. industrial and ship-building capacity. The Japanese expected a war with the United States to unfold in almost the same manner as the U.S. Navy did in War Plan Orange, specifically that the U.S. Battle Fleet would work its way across the Pacific to a climactic Mahanian duel of Battle Lines in waters near Japan. Realizing their disadvantage, the Japanese embarked on an extensive effort to develop an asymmetric advantage (long before anyone came up with that term) to attrite the U.S. Fleet as it came across the Pacific so that the odds would be more even for the great surface battle. The Japanese solution of choice was the night torpedo attack.
Throughout the pre-war years, the Japanese invested enormous resources in developing night torpedo attack capability, including extensive realistic nighttime training, despite the inherent danger. By contrast, the U.S. severely curtailed realistic night training after the Point Honda disaster in Sep 1923, when seven destroyers ran aground at night at high speed doing exactly that kind of training (I will cover the Point Honda disaster in a future H-gram.) The Japanese invested heavily in improved night optics, searchlights, pyro-technics, night scouting flights by cruiser-embarked float planes, and even lookouts specially selected for superior night vision. Extensive live fire testing against actual target ships ensured torpedo reliability.
The culmination of Japanese efforts was the development of the surface-launched Type 93 Oxygen Torpedo (and the similar, but smaller, Type 95 submarine launched torpedo.) The Type 93 was a 24-inch diameter torpedo with a 1,080 Lb. warhead, that could range up to 22 NM at 35 Kts or 12 NM at 50 Kts, but would typically be employed between 6- 11 NM from the target (U.S. torpedoes were typically employed within 5 NM.) Although U.S. torpedoes were technically more sophisticated with the highly secret Mark 6 exploder, the Japanese weapons were much more reliable, relying more on a brute force approach. Nevertheless, the use of compressed oxygen as an oxidizer, which was the key to the Type 93's range and size, required the Japanese to successfully overcome numerous significant technological hurdles, which they did through extensive testing and lessons learned from a number of accidental explosions , and it took them from the early 1920's until 1935 to do it. Both the British and the U.S. Navy had experimented with oxygen torpedoes (and the British Nelson-class battleships carried them in the early 1920's) their development had been essentially abandoned due to the inherent danger of the use of compressed oxygen. Additional advantages of the Type 93 were that it could be fired from outside the range of U.S. searchlights, and the use of compressed oxygen resulted in very minimum bubble wake (caused by unburned nitrogen in other torpedoes.) In many cases, U.S. ships were hit by Japanese torpedoes before they even knew the Japanese ships were there, sometimes believing that the torpedo had come from a submarine.
Because the Type 93 torpedo was potentially as great a danger to its own ship as the enemy, the Japanese torpedomen were the elite sailors of the Japanese Navy and were very highly trained and extremely secretive. The rest of the crew was generally completely unaware of what was really in the "secondary air tank" which stored oxygen for the torpedoes. As the Japanese lost air superiority during the course of the war, ships facing imminent air attack had to decide whether to jettision their Type 93 torpedoes as a precaution. At Midway, the Japanese heavy cruiser Mogami jettisoned her Type 93's and survived a severe pounding, whereas Mikuma did not, and the explosion of her own Type 93's inflicted fatal damage. At the Battle of Santa Cruz in Oct 42, the heavy cruiser Chikuma survived because she jettisoned her torpedoes, whereas at the Battle off Samar in Oct 1944, a desperation lucky 5-inch shot from the fleeing escort carrier USS White Plains (CVE-66) hit the heavy cruiser Chokai in the torpedo bank and she had to be scuttled.
Despite the danger to themselves, the Japanese employed the Type 93 with devastating effect early in the war. Allied Forces first encountered the weapon at the Battle of the Java Sea in February 1942, when a spread of Type 93's from the unseen heavy cruisers Haguro and Nachi sank the Dutch light cruisers De Ruyter (taking the task force commander RADM Karel Doorman with her) and Java, and only through luck were the USS Houston (CA-30) and HMAS Perth spared, but only to be sunk by the same weapons from the Japanese heavy cruisers Mogami and Mikuma at the Battle of Sunda Strait the next night. Type 93 torpedoes were primarily responsible for the loss of HMS Exeter in the Java Sea; USS Quincy (CA-39,) USS Vincennes (CA-44,) and USS Astoria (CA-34) at Savo Island; the USS Northhampton (CA-26) at Tassafaronga; the USS Helena (CL-50) at Kula Gulf, and 11 allied and U.S. destroyers. Despite the pre-war intelligence report, U.S. operating forces remained ignorant of the Type 93's true capability until examples were recovered intact following the Guadalcanal campaign in 1943, at great cost.
I really like these PBY stories from WWII. There were a number MOH awarded to those pilots and one of them shot down the first Zero fighter of the war and the exploits of them going in close to islands in the Pacific and dodging shore batteries to pick up aircrew are legendary.
Thanks to my friend Pete for this bit of history. Pete was standing by with all his fire fighting gear last year as a fire got within a mile or so of his house in the mountains East of San Diego near Alpine. 'we are glad he did not have to put on his scuba gear and go to the bottom of his pool if the fire got past him. What do you expect from a former F-8 Driver.
This morning's List mentioned a sub kill by VP-94 on this date:
1943—PBY (VP 94) sinks German submarine (U 590) at the mouth of the Amazon River, Brazil.
Attached are some BDA photos, taken from the step of 94-P-10, my dad's PBY, if you are interested. I've got the official action summary as well!
My father was flying copilot in 94-P-10 (PBY-5A) that morning with his best friend (Ltjg Frank Hare) in the left seat (their lineal numbers were 1 # apart, and most crews alternated left & right seats on the long patrols). My dad spotted a sub on the surface, after another PBY (Ltjg Auslander 94-P-1) radioed that they had seen another 60 miles away. When Frank Hare rolled into the surfaced sub, their PBY was lit up by 50 cal fire from the sub. Apparently, the Germans were losing too many subs to the PBY's in the clear blue waters off Brazil, so they changed their tactics and decided to fight it out on the surface with the slow PBY's.
The first shots killed Frank Hare immediately, wounded my father in the left leg, and seriously wounded the port blister gunner. My dad was able to pull out, circle the sub and re-attack it, dropping 2 depth charges which apparently crippled the sub, because it didn't dive again. They remained circling overhead, radioing for backup; both sides licking their wounds. Until later, when Auslander arrived in 94-P-1 and finished off the sub.
My father never talked about this event in any detail; PTSD I suppose. I found out about it mostly in some books and war histories, and from some of his squadron mates. I'm an F-8 guy; I can't imagine having your best friend get blown away two feet away from you, and continuing the mission for another 3 hours!
Big day in my family! I was born 1 year later; probably conceived during his R&R recuperation!
Sub Kill report from 9 July 1943
The night of July 7-8, convoy TJ-1 was attacked in the Trinidad area, two ships being sunk and others damaged. Planes were immediately despatched from Belem to operate out of Amapa, taking over coverage of the convoys. On the morning of 9 July several sightings were made at a distance, both by planes and surface craft, indicating that the attack was being continued. BT-18 was entering the area from the South at this time and is was necessary for five planes in Belem and a limited number of pilots to give night and day coverage and fly daylight sweeps. Lt. (jg) Stanley Ernest Auslander, USNR, 104 673, Lt(jg) John Milton Elliot, USNR, 113 067, Lt.(jg) Frank Joseph McMackin Jr., USNR, 112 627, in 94-P-1, enroute to relieve on convoy coverage, sighted the swirl of a submerging submarine just before noon and advised the base that gambit tactics would be employed. At approximately 1230 Peter, 94-P-10 sweeping the area immediately east of TJ-1 sighted a surfaced submarine about 60 miles distant from the swirl sighting. Just after starting the first leg of the sweep at 1235 Peter, the co-pilot sighted the U-boat 12 miles distant at 03-54 North, 49-52 West. The submarine apparently did not see the plane until quite late for no attempt to submerge was made. At a distance of more than a mile from the submarine, orange flecks from the submarine's anti-aircraft fire were noticed, and almost immediately thereafter an explosive shrapnel shell enterd the bow on the port side exploding against the instrument panel, setting fire to the Sperry oil, and causing billowing smoke and flame. The pilot, Lt. (jg) Frank Fisher Hare, USNR, 112 640 was struck by shrapnel in the head, heart, and body. The run was continued and the two starboard depth bombs released. Interrogation of those of the crew who could see the drop of bombs indicated that they landed close together, approximately 25 to 35 feet from the stern of the submarine and about 45 degrees to starboard. There was no visible indication of damage. The bow gunner fired his .30 calibre guns continuously during the approach and the port blister ;.50 calibre gun was brought to bear after the drop. About 20 to 30 minutes after the original attack, the plane departed, the submarine being still surfaced. The evaluation of the attack was "no damage." 94-P-1 and 107-B-5 investigated the area about 1300 Peter, but found no traces of the submarine.
The complement of the aircraft included:
Pilot Lt. (jg) Frank Fisher Hare, USNR, 112 640
Co-Pilot Lt (jg) Jean Price Phelps, USNR, 112 158
Navigator Lt.(jg) Michael Carl Argento, USNR, 112 141
Tower Lombardo, Joseph (n), AMM3c, 316 78 75, USN
Bow Eisaman, Clifford Emery, AMM3c, 652 10 02, USNR
Blister Testen, Andrew Frank, AOM3c, 613 99 69, USNR
Blister Brown, Thomas Russell, ARM3c, 268 81 22, USN
Radio Lack, James Thomas, ARM3c, 356 66 90, USN
Lt(jg) Hare was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart. J Price Phelps was awarded the Air Medal and Purple Heart for wounds sustained from the initial attack as well as for continuing the attack and probably damaging the sub; causing it to remain on the surface for Lt Auslander's later attack and kill. Meanwhile, 94-P-1 continued its gambit and at 1424 Peter, a surfacing submarine was sighted about three miles dead ahead, position 03-22 North, 48-38 West. The plane was flying at 3700 feet over a broken cloud base of .4 to .6 cumulus at 1700 feet and had just passed through a fairly heavy cloud. The U-Boat was about 2 1/2 miles distant. As the pilots could not see the submarine, the nose was pushed over to bring it into view. Water was running from its decks and within a few seconds it was fully surfaced, cruising at about 15 knots on 125 degrees true. The pilot held the plane in a dive directly toward the submarine, without changing course and threw on the bombing switch. Lt. (jg) McMackin blew the warning horn and rushed to the waist compartment to take pictures of the enemy underseas craft through the port blister. The throttles were cut, but still the plane attained a speed of 200 knots indicated. At an altitude of about 150 feet, Lt.(jg) Elliot released the depth bombs by intervalometer spaced at 73 feet. The submarine was fully surfaced, proceeding on course, and there was no evidence that the crew, three or four of whom could be seen in the conning tower, were aware of the approach of the plane. An easy turn to port was made after the plane was pulled out of its dive and while the spray was still visible. When the water subsided no trace of the submarine would be seen. All of the occupants of the waist hatch were thrown into the bilges by the pull-up. The gunner had been firing the .50 calibre and had sprayed the conning tower with 7 to 10 rounds. As he fell, the gun was apparently elevated, so that one or two bullets went through the starboard wing of the plane. No serious damage was done. While circling, a greenish-brown slick was visible and in the center of it, two swimming men, a large timber, several small articles and two boxes. A crew member then reported seeing three additional men in the water and Lt.(jg) Elliot spotted them on the next approach. Five were counted at this time, but three apparently sank very quickly. A life raft was dropped, but drifted away before the swimmers could reach it Four life jackets were dropped, two inflated and two uninflated and the survivors appeared to get into the inflated ones. Emergency rations were also dropped within reach. Four minutes after the drop a large amount of oil started to rise two or three hundred yards from the slick along the sub's track and observation showed the slick continuing to grow in length and breadth to a size of half to a mile long and a quarter of a mile wide. There was no forward motion to the oil slick. The attack was assessed as "probably sunk." 94-P-1 was manned as follows:
Pilot Lt.(jg) Stanley Ernest Auslander, USNR, 104 673
Co-Pilot Lt.(jg) John Milton Elliot, USNR, 113 067
Navigator Lt.(jg) Frank Joseph McMackin, Jr.,USNR, 112 627
Port Blister Denauw, Frank Joseph, AMM2c, 606 19 58, USNR
Starboard Blister Watson, John Harry, ARM2c, 406 77 87, USN
Radio Garren, Hoyt Edwin, ARM2c, 296 00 73, USN
Bow Smith, Elmer Bryant, AMM3c, 268 81 81, USN
Tower Mustone, Joseph James, Jr., AOM3c, 607 52 10, USNR