Archive for the 'Submarines' Category

Nov 7

A Case for Submarine Chasers

Monday, November 7, 2016 12:01 AM

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Pedisich.final.indd

U.S. Navy SC-1–class submarine chasers performed significant services that became an integral part of the Allied effort to win World War I war at sea. They did this by their teamwork incessantly patrolling the eastern European and western United States littorals. At the end of the war, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels reported that 355 wooden submarine chasers had been constructed to implement submarine defensives measures. The 110-foot ships had a crew of two officers and twenty men, one 3-inch gun mount, two .30-caliber machine guns, and one y-gun to project depth charges. The chasers, consisting of three 220-horsepower… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 4

Remembering the Caribsea

Friday, November 4, 2016 12:01 AM

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The nameplate of the motor merchant Caribsea. Photo by the author

Just after midnight on March 11, 1942, 22-year-old Jim Gaskill, second mate of the ore freighter Caribsea, went off watch and turned in for the night. The Caribsea and her crew of 28 had departed Santiago, Cuba, on March 2, and the ship would soon arrive in Norfolk with her valuable cargo of manganese. The freighter had slowed, waiting until daybreak and with it, air cover, to pass Diamond Shoals—which by March 1942 had seen such carnage from German U-boats it had become known as Torpedo Junction. As Gaskill left the bridge, perhaps he gazed out into the darkness toward his… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 16

Cruise of the USS U-111

Thursday, June 16, 2016 4:11 PM

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U-111 flying the American flag and German ensigns. Courtesy F A. Daubin. Naval Institute Photo Archive

“In 1919,” Rear Admiral F. A. Daubin reflected in 1957, “Diesel engine designing and production in our country was in swaddling clothes, barely creeping. Trucks, power plants, and railroads equipped with Diesels were not even a dream, and our Diesel-powered submarines were not sufficiently trustworthy to go to sea without the services of a nearby tender.” At the time of which he wrote of, Daubin was the assistant to the captain in charge of the submarine section of the Chief of Naval Operations. He suggested to his commander that “the Germans had good engines in their submarines. They cruised all… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 14

German Admirals on Trial

Monday, December 14, 2015 12:01 AM

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Did famed U-boat commander Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz escape justice at Nuremberg? (National Archives)

The 22 German leaders who stood trial at Nuremberg 70 years ago included Grand Admirals Erich Raeder and Karl Dönitz. In addition to conventional war crimes, for which they were separately charged, the admirals were accused of engaging in aggressive warfare. Conceived in an effort to encourage nations to renounce war, the unprecedented aggressive warfare charges were criticized by some as ex post facto law. Having participated in a prewar conference during which German Führer Adolf Hitler made known his war plans, and having later recommended to Hitler the invasion of Norway, Raeder was heavily exposed by the aggressive warfare… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 10

A Midget Submarine Emerges

Thursday, December 10, 2015 12:01 AM

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current hoist

Monday last marked the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Much indeed has been written about the attack, which killed 2,403 US servicemen died, as did 64 of the Japanese attackers and 35 civilians. One particular area of interest has been the operations of the Japanese midget submarines during the attacks. For several decades after the attack, many mysteries surrounded the efficacy and fate of the two-man submersibles. With 9/10 of their crews having perished in the attack, one man (and his vessel) being captured, very little could be found to piece together just what had happened… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 10

Wrangling a Runaway U-Boat

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 12:01 AM

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Captain Daniel Gallery (left) stands with Lieutenant (j.g.) Albert David, who received the Navy Cross for his role in the in-tact capture of U-505. (National Archives)

One of the U.S. Navy’s most celebrated feats of World War II was the 4 June 1944 capture of U-505, complete with enigma machines, codebooks, and bags of official communications. Much of the credit goes to Captain Daniel V. Gallery, commander of Task Group 22.3—a “hunter-killer” group composed of his flagship, the escort carrier Guadalcanal (CVE-60), and five destroyer escorts. After TG 22.3 sank U-515 on 9 April 1944, Gallery planned to capture the next U-boat he encountered and ordered that each of his group’s ships organize boarding parties.1 What follows is an excerpt from Captain Gallery’s account of seizing… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 29

Anatomy of a Tragedy: The Sinking of the USS S-4

Thursday, October 29, 2015 12:01 AM

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S-4 washington

At 3:50 P.M. on the afternoon of December 17, 1927, the commandant of the Boston Navy Yard received a flash radio message from the U.S. Coast Guard Destroyer Paulding: “Rammed and sank unknown submarine off Wood End, Provincetown.” Within minutes, the worst fears of many were realized when it was confirmed that the submarine was the USS S-4. Though rescue efforts immediately began in earnest, it was too late for the 39 crewmen and a civilian observer aboard S-4. Most had already perished; six men trapped in the torpedo compartment would not be rescued in time. While the events that… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 26

On the Edge

Monday, October 26, 2015 4:17 PM

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Pictured in 1940, the tender Holland and submarine Sargo (far right) were among the U.S. Navy vessels to reach Fremantle in March 1942.

  An adapted excerpt from the new Naval Institute Press book Fremantle’s Submarines: How Allied Submarines and Western Australians Helped to Win the War in the Pacific.   It was against this backdrop of fear and anticipation that the first American submarines arrived at Fremantle. By 10 March 1942, ten U.S. submarines had reached the port, each carrying crews with their own stories of near-disaster. Among the most demoralized was Lieutenant Commander Tyrell Dwight Jacobs, commander of the USS Sargo (SS-188). Shortly after he arrived at Fremantle on 5 March, Jacobs told a senior officer, “I’ve had it. I want… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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