Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Back To Those Run-On Paragraphs

It didn't take long for the Blogspot problem to return. So, in the meantine I'm not making entries on the other three blogs (CW, CWN and ROADLOG)and keeping the entries on these four blogs even shorter than usual until I can figure out how to fix the problem. I Tell You, I Can't Get Any Respect. --GreGen

German Blockade-Runner Badges-- Part 2

From Wikipedia. The badge was a German military decoration for service on warships or merchant vessels (also allied) that attempted to break through the British sea blockade of germany. The badges were instituted April 1, 1941 and the first ones awarded July 1st. A smaller, half-size version was awarded to civilian crew members of the merchant marine. GreGen

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

German Blockade-Runner Badges-- Part 1

From Military Wanted.com. Besides never hearing about German blockade-runners like the Odenwald, I found out that those on the ships might be in line to receive a badge from the government for their efforts. According to the Military Wanted site, this badge was issued by the Third Reich to merchant seamen and kriegsmarine sailors who braved the British blockade in the North Sea and France. They were designed by Latz Placzyk and featured a silver frosted eagle clutching a swastika on the prow of a blockade-runner shown breaking through a chain representing the blockade. It is considered to be very rare. Stuff I Didn't Know. --GreGen

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Some More on the German Blockade-Runner Odenwald

From the June 19, 2005 U-boat.net.

Listed some German blockade-runners including the Odenwald.  Others listed were the Ramses, Rhakotis and Tannefells.

From Warsailors.com:

The Odenwald was a German ship of 6054 tons.  It left Yokohama, Japan, 8-21-41 heading for Bordeaux, France.  It was captured 10-9-41.

From US Navy photo:

Photo of the captured ship showing the USS Omaha's crew poses with a German swastika flag and with life rings with the name Odenwald-Hamburg and Wilmotto-Philadelphia.

From sixtant.net: WWII in the South Atlantic:

The Odenwald was built in 1923 and had just left Trinidad in the Caribbean when it was captured.  Along with the 45 man crew, it was carrying 3,857 tons of crude rubber, 102 Goodrich auto tires, 97 tons of tannic acid, 360 tons of brass, half a ton of hair (hair?), 545 tons of oats, 900 tons of peanuts and 7 tons of oatmeal.  (Goodyear Tires?)

I imagine the crude rubber came from ally Japan and the rest probably from Trinidad.

Just the Facts.  --GreGen



Thursday, July 25, 2013

German Blockade-Runners During World War II

From Wikipedia

In connection with the Neutrality Patrol and capture of the German blockade-runner Odenwald.

I have a blog relating to the Civil War Navy and can't help but find the German blockade-running reminding me of Confederate blockade-running during that war.

At the outbreak of the war, the Royal Navy imposed a naval blockade on Germany.  The fall of France gave Germany access to the French Atlantic coast.  Between 1940 and 1941, many blockade-running trips were made with critical war cargoes, especially crude rubber, through the French port of  Bordeaux (where the Odenwald was headed).  The Odenwald's cargo was primarily crude rubber.

The trade increased even more with the entry of Japan into the war in December 1941.

Alied attempts to disrupt te trade met with little success, including Operation Frankton (I'll have to look up this one).  However, by 1943, Allied air supremacy over the Bay of Biscay rendered blockade-running effectively impossible other than by cargo submarine.

In an attempt to transfer technology to Japan near the end of the war, the U-234 left Germany but the war had ended before it got there.  The Japanese submarine I-8 did complete a similar mission.

Running the Blockade.  --GreGen

Witham Field, Florida

From Wikipedia.

On July 23rd, I wrote about the SB2C Curtiss Helldiver being found off Jupiter, Florida, a couple years ago.  The article mentioned that it may have taken off from Witham Field, a place I'd never heard of before.  There is the possibility that the plane in question may have been flying from this field when it crashed into the sea.

At the onset of World War II, landowners offered their land to Martin County to build an airport.  It was named for Paul "Homer" Witham, the first Naval Aviator from the city of Stuart to die in the war.

It was leased to the U.S. government as a military training field.  The U.S. Navy paid $800,000 for it then spent another $10 million to build it.  Witham Field operated as an auxiliary to NAS Vero Beach as training and proficiency facility for carrier and land-based Naval and Marine aviators.In 1947, NAAS Witham Field was decommissioned and returned to the county.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Grumman Aircraft Corporation conducted tests on various military aircraft.  In 1994, they returned much of the field to Martin County.

Today, Witham Field is a public airport located 1 mile southeast of downtown Stuart, Florida, in Martin County.

Another Training Facility.  --GreGen





Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Neutrality Patrol Seizes a German Prize

From the U.S. Naval History Blog "Neutrality Patrol Seizes German Prize, 6 Nov 1941."

On 6 Nov. 1941, the light cruiser USS Omaha (CL-4) and destroyer USS Somers (DD-381) sighted a suspicious vessel flying the American flag and with the name Willmoto of Philadelphia on the stern.  The freighter refused to suitably identify itself and took evasive action according to reports.

A boarding party was dispatched.  As they approached, the freighter's crew took to the lifeboats and hoisted the signal that the ship was sinking.  When the American boarders came alongside, they heard explosions in the hull.

They boarded and found it was the German blockade-runner Odenwald and it was being scuttled, but the ship was aved and soon underway to Puerto Rico for adjudication.

In 1947, the crews of both ships were awarded salvage money.

An Incident On the "Neutrality Patrol."  --GreGen

What Was the Neutrality Patrol?

From Wikipedia.

On July 18th, I wrote about the destroyer Jacob Jones being on the Neutrality Patrol before the U.S. entered World War II.  I had never heard of it, so you know what that means.

When the Germans invaded Poland, setting off the war, U.S. President Roosevelt immediately declared America's neutrality.  The Neutrality Patrol was organized on September 4, 1939, with the aim of tracking and reporting the movement of any warlike actions by belligerants in the waters of the western hemisphere., especially in connection with the U.S. eastern seaboard and Gulf of Mexico.

To provide ships for it, some 77 destroyers and light minelayers were recommissioned. in San Diego and Philadelphia.

Eventually, these Neutrality ships convoyed merchant ships across the Atlantic (which hardly seems neutral to me since these ships were going to Britain).  This led to the sinking of the destroyer USS Reuben James escorting Convoy HX-156 by the U-552 in October 1941.

In spite of its name, the Neutrality Patrol clearly favored the British.  The ships shadowed German ships in neutral waters and communicated their position to British ships.

What's So Neutral About That?  --GreGen

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What is a Musette Bag?

From the Olive-Drab site.

Earlier today I wrote about the man in Minnesota who was going to spend nine days in a foxhole to honor WWII soldiers.  One of the items he was going to have was a Musette Bag.  I'd never heard of them.

Classified as Bag, Canvas, Field, M1936 but called a Musette Bag.

It's light weight and ease of use made it a popular alternative backpack for WWII soldiers who otherwise would have had to use the M1928 Haversack.  It was never the standard backpack, but was used in all theaters of the war.

The Musette Bag was rendered obsolete when the M1944 Field and Cargo Pack was introduced.  I'm taking that the number refers to year of introduction.

The Musette Bag was often used by paratroopers and you can order one yourself at Amazon for between $13 and $23.

Want One?  --GreGen

Fish Lead Florida Diver to Rare WWII Aircraft

From the Dec. 27, 2011, ABC News.

Last week, Randy Jordan was diving off the coast of Jupiter, Florida and discovered what may be a Curtiss Helldiver SB2C, an extremely rare WWII plane, at a depth of 200 feet.

He followed a group of frightened fish to the wreck and went back two days later to film it.

The plane is so rare that there is just one still flying today.

They were first used in combat November 11, 1943 and carried two men.  In 1942, the Navy operated a pilot training facility at Witham Field in Martin County, Florida and this may have been one of their planes.

GreGen

Man Spends Time in WWII Foxhole

From the December 17, 2011, TwinCities.com Pioneer Press "Cambridge man thanks WWII soldiers--from his backyard foxhole" by Sarah Horner.

There is just something about camping out during a Minnesota winter that isn't very appealing. 

But Scott Schmitt,41, is going to spend nine nights in his backyard foxhole accompanied by a couple Army blankets, a musette bag, paratrooper boots, web paratrooper gear, helmet, a tan-green M42 uniform, a wool-lined coat, a 75 mm shell casing to relieve himself, an entrenching tool, M-1 Garand rifle and a few other things.

The rifle is loaded though and he will probably use the shell casing.

He is trying to replicate the conditions the members of the 101st Airborne lived through during the 1944 siege of Bastogne in Belgium.  That winter was the coldest in that country in 40 years and the Americans were still wearing winter uniforms.

A Fitting Way to Honor Their Sacrifice.  --GreGen



Monday, July 22, 2013

The U-578

From Wikipedia

The ship that sank the Jacob Jones was the U-boat U-578 which went on five war patrols.  During its career, it sank 4 merchant ships and one warship (the Jones).  It was reported missing in the Bay of Biscay in August 1942.

On its first war patrol it was rammed by a Soviet escort ship, but received only slight damage.  It was on its third patrol that it sank the Resor on February 27th and then the next day, it sank the Jacob Jones which became the first Navy ship lost to enemy action in U.S. aters.

When the U-578 was sunk on the fifth patrol, qall 40 aboard died.

The Enemy.  --GreGen

Saturday, July 20, 2013

USS Jacob Jones (DD-130)-- Part 2

As part of Destroyer Division 54, it had several submarine contacts.  As a member of a roving ASW patrol on February 22nd, it dropped 37 depth charges during twelve attacks on a target.  An oil slick was spotted, but no proof of a kill was found.

The ship returned to New York for more depth charges and then on 27 February 1942, the Jones spotted the burning wreck of the R.P. Resor.  It circled the stricken ship for two hours looking for survivors, but found none.

At dawn of the 29th, the U-578, which had fired the torpedoes at the Resor and had been following the  Jacob Jones, fired a spread of torpedoes and 2-3 hit the target.  All but 20-30 men died, especially after the depth charges started going off as they were set atpredetermined depths.  This also caused loss of life when the first Jacob Jones sank.

GreGen

Friday, July 19, 2013

World War II Submariner Dies: First Commander of USS Nautilus

In today's Cooter's History Blog, I wrote about the death Tuesday of Eugene P. Wilkinson who served on several submarines during World War II and also commanded the world's first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus.

During the war, he went on eight war patrols.

Interesting life.

GreGen

Thursday, July 18, 2013

USS Jacob Jones (DD-130)-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

The second destroyer named the Jacob Jones was built at the same shipyard in Camden, New Jersey, as the first one and commissioned October 20, 1919, by the great granddaughter of the man it was named after, Commodore Jones of the War of 1812.

It was decommissioned in 1922 and recommissioned in 1930.  In 1940, it joined the Neutrality Patrol where it was to track and intercept any warlike operations in the western hemisphere.  As such, it mainly patrolled the Yucatan Channel to Key West.

In September 1941, it joined Destroyer Division 54 for North Atlantic escort duty with convoys.

More to Come.  --GreGen

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

USS Sagamore (AT-20)

Going back to the USS Jacob Jones and R.P. Resor stories, the USS Sagamore towed the Resor to a different spot.  I couldn't find out much about the Sagamore, but the AT stood for Fleet Tu and the name came from the Algonquin Indian word for chief.

It was 157 feet long and commissioned in 1918, serving until decommissioned in 1946 when it was bought and renamed the John E. McAllister before being scrapped in 1953.

In 1928, it raised the submarine S-4 (SS-109).

That Is About All I Found.  --Cooter

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The R,P, Resor-- Part 2

Seaman John Forsdale said that when the torpedo hit, everyone was knocked off their feet and the deck erupted in flames.  Three more torpedoes hit the Resor.  The flames were spotted at the Shark River Life Boat Station twenty miles away and a picket boat dispatched to the site.

Two survivors were found, but the ship stayed afloat and burning 46 more hours because of trapped air.

The USS Sagamore towed the Resor thirty miles until it grounded east of Barnegot Lighthouse and a buoy placed over the wreck so other ships didn't hit it.

Later, the wreck was demolished and moved to deeper water.

It is reported that crowds gathered to watch the ship from the beaches at Asbury Park, New Jersey.

The Resor was the 24th ship and 15th tanker sunk during the U-boat campaign in early 1942 off the U.S. coast.

That Was Quite a Fire.  --GreGen

It Appears That the Paragraph Problem Has Somehow Fixed Itself

Sure glad to have the paragraphs back.  How they came back, I know not, but just the same, I  be happy to  take it.

Thanks Whoever the Powers May Be.  --GreGen

The R.P. Resor-- Part 1

Wikipedia

This past week, I have been writing about the destroyer USS Jacob Jones which was sunk by a German U-boat aftre attempting to find survivors from the torpedoed tanker SS R.P. Resor.

The Resor was owned by the Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey and launched in 1936, homeported in Wilmington, New Jersey.  The ship was 435 feet long and weighed 7.541 tons, crewed by 41 with an additional wartime nine man Navy Armed Guard to man the 4-inch stern gun.

The ship left Houston, Texas,  Feb. 19, 1942 carrying 78,729 barrels of crude oil to Fall River, Maine.  U-boats were very active off the U.SZ. Atlantic coast in the early months of 1942 and the ship was zig-zagging but was torpedoed by the U-578.

Part of That War Off Our Coast That Most People Don't Know About.  --GreGen



Monday, July 15, 2013

The First USS Jacob Jones: Sunk in World War I

From Wikipedia. Joseph Tidwell's USS Jacob Jones (DD-130) was not the first destroyer to fly the US flag. The USS Jacob Jones (DD-61) was a Tucker-class destroyer, 315 feet long and built in Camden, New Jersey. Commissioned 10 February 1916 and patrolled the New England coast of the United States.. During World War I, it patrolled the Irish Sea and rescued survivors from torpedoed ships, including 300 from the Armed Merchant Cruiser Orama. On December 6, 1917, while sailing from Brest, France it was torpedoed by the U-53 and so badly damaged it had to be scuttled. Sixty-six crew memebrs lost their lives, many when the preset depth charges started going off. It was the first U.S. destroyer sunk by enemy action during the war. Another Ship, Another War. --GreGen

The Wreck of the Destroyer USS Jacob Jones-- Part 4

The survivors were in the open very cold water for hours before being spotted by a search plane. Many died in the meantime of hypothermia and frostbite. An hour later, a rescue boat plucked twelve from the rafts and one died en route to land.. Joseph Tidwell married later that year and stayed in the Navy, rarely speaking of what happened to him. His grandson Cmdr. Eric Tidwell, 39, of Jacksonville, Florida, is heading for Japan where he will command a fighter squadron. He had read everything he could find on the Jacob Jones and dove 120 feet down to the wreck and said there was little left except for machinery. The Story of a Ship and a Man. --GreGen

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Wreck of the Destroyer USS Jacob Jones-- Part 3

Joseph Tidwell was on engine room watch and the Jones came to a complete stop. Word was passed along to abandon ship. He scrambled to the deck just as the second torpedo hit. The survivors managed to get five or six rafts from their rope cradles that hung along the railings and jumped into the freezing water. "If you wanted to survive, you swam. I was pretty good," he said. And swim fast to a raft he did. He climbed onto a raft and saw the ship's damage. "There was a big hole in the side of the ship where the torpedo hit right under the officers quarters." As the ship quickly sank, the depth charges, which were set for a particular depth started to go off, killing more survivors. GreGen

USS Stephen Cassin

Earlier today, I wrote about this destroyer which was destroyed during the attack on Pearl Harbor in my War of 1812 Not So Forgotten Blog. It was in a drydock along with another destroyer named the Downs and the battleship Pennsylvania. It was named after a naval hero of the War of 1812 who commanded the USS Ticonderoga at the Battle of Lake Champlain. Stephen Cassin's father was also the commander of Gosport Navy Yard in Norfolk, Virginia, during the war. GreGen

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sorry About the Lack of Paragraphs. Appears to Be a Blogspot Problem

The Wreck of the Destroyer USS Jacob Jones-- Part 2

The Jacob Jones left New York Harbor February 27, 1942, to patrol the New Jersey coastline which was coming under increasing U-boat attack. It got so bad that not only were warships (and even ones converted to waships, but lookout towers were built (and lighthouses utilized) to put more outs on watch. One of the lookout towers in Lower Township still stands. The R.P. Resor, an oil tanker had been torpedoed by a U-boat and was sinking off Manasquan Inlet and on fire. There were no survivors when the Jones arrived so the destroyer continued its patrol, unaware that the same U-boat that had sunk the Resor was now tailing it. At dawn, Feb. 28th, the U-578 fires a spread of torpedoes and at least two struck the Jacob Jones. The first hit the starboard bow, causing the armaments store to explode. The entire front end of the Jones was blown apart. More to Come. --GreGen

Looks Like It'll Be Awhile For New Posts. Site Not Working

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Wreck of the Destroyer USS Jacob Jones-- Part 1

From the July 23, 2011, Press of Atlantic City "Sunken WWII destroyer off Cape May holds family's fascination and its fate" by Michael Miller.

Retired US Navy Master Chief Joseph Tidwell, 91, will be returning to Cape May for the first time since he was rescued during a submarine attack off the coast almost 70 years ago.  Back then, he worked in the engine room of the USS Jacob Jones, a destroyer out hunting for German U-boats who were very active along the coast in those first months of the war for the United States.

He was one of only eleven survivors of his crew when the ship sank February 27, 1942.  That day, 131 died.

His grandson is also in the Navy on current duty.  Commander Eric Tidwell  has dived on the wreck of his grandfather's ship in 120 feet of water, 25 miles off Cape May.

The Jacob Jones was named for Commodore Jacob Jones, a War of 1812 naval hero who defeated the HMS Frolic off Delaware Bay.  (I'll have to write about this man in my War of 1812 blog.)

The destroyer Jacob Jones was 300 feet long and built in Vamden, NJ, and launched in 1918.  The War of 1812's great-granddaughter was there for the event.

More to Come.  --GreGen

Friday, July 5, 2013

Eisenhower's "Man Who Won the War For Us" Had New Orleans Ties

From the July 20th, 2011, Appeal-Democrat "Bruce's History Lessons: Boatmaker who won World War II" by Bruce Kauffman.

Why is New Orleans the host city of the National World War II Museum?  Easy answer, it was the home of the man General Eisenhower once said "won the war for us."

Andrew Jackson Higgins died August 1, 1952, and was the founder of Higgins Industries in New Orleans, who specialized in shipbuilding.  He built the famous LCVP, Landing Craft Vehicle, Personnel, a shallow-draft craft that carried troops and equipment from offshore ships to the shoreline.

According to Eisenhower, "If Higgins hadn't designed and built those LCVPs, we never could have landed men on an open beach.  The whole strategy of the war would have been different."

The LCVP, also called Higgins Boats, evolved from the earlier Eureka boat that helped oil drillers.  They featured a recessed propeller and a hull that could maneuver in shallow water.  With their flat bows, they could run right up onto the beach.

In 1938 construction of Higgins Boats began, originally intended for use by the Marines who were not happy with the Navy-designed landing craft.  The only drawback was that soldiers and equipment origianally unloaded over the sides.  This was slow and very dangerous when under fire.  A ramp was added to the bow.  The famous scene of one at D-Day on "Saving Private Ryan" was of a Higgins Boat.

Hitler referred to Higgins as "The New Noah."

Stuff You Might Not Have Known. --GreGen



Thursday, July 4, 2013

What Was Going On This Date, July 4, 1943?

It will be interesting to find out what was going on seventy years ago today, July 4, 2013.  Perhaps I will come across something in my alerts. I did find out something for today's date in 1813, during the War of 1812.

We'll See.  --GreGen

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Turns Out the Wreck Is a JU88

From the June 15, 2012 Fox News "WWII plane wreck not a Stuka but larger JU88."

A plane wreck was found in the Baltic Sea and turned out to be a twin engine JU88 which shared parts with the Stuka JU87.

The Stuka was a better-known plane but the Germans had far more JU88s.  There are very few remaining examples of the JU88. One is in the RAF Museum in England.

This plane will eventually be displayed at the German Historical Museum's Air Force Museum at the former Gatow Airport in Berlin.

GreGen

World War II Items Found on USS Cobia

From the January 1, 2012, Fox 11 (Wis) News by Beth Jones.

Worlers at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowac discovered possessions of a World War II sailor on the submarine USS Cobia which is a museum at the site.  The items have been untouched for nearly 70 years.

Building supervisor Paul Rutherford has worked on the Cobia for more than 30 years.  While performing routine maintenance in the torpedo room next to some bunks, he made the discovery.  There was an old leather bag tucked away.

It held two Navy poems, a cocktail recipe book, a small red velvet pouch, and a stamp with the name Hersey William.

It turns out that Hersey William, now 85, is still alive and living in North Carolina.  Over a phone. William said he was 18 and slept in that bunk during his first war patrol after he boarded it February 1945.  He was also on the Cobia's for his 4th war patrol.

He had visited the Cobia 18 years ago (but must not have remembered or thought his possessions would still be there).  He figures he is probably one of the last survivors of the sub because he was one of the youngest on board.

Some other items have been found on the Cobia over the years, from bullets to tools, old candy wrappers and receipts.

William doesn't remember putting it there.

Wonder if he was reunited with his possessions or came to visit them?

One of Those Interesting Little Stories From the War.  --GreGen

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fox Lake World War II Vet Has That Blackhawk Fever

From the June 25, 2013, Northwest (Chicago suburns, McHenry County) Herald "Fox lake WWII vet enjoys Blackhawks spotlight" by Jeff Arnold.

This past year has been rough on George March, 90, as he has had two strokes and continues his battle with bladder cancer, but the Blackhawks and their Stanley Cup playoffs have been a bright spot.  Winning their second chanpionship in four years when Bryan Bickell and Dave Bollard scoring goals in 17 seconds to tie Game 6 and win it was great, but the top of it all was Game 5 at the United Center, one won by the Hawks 3-1 that he will never forget.

March served in the Army from 1942-1945, but on June 22nd, he joined Hawk singer Jim Cornelison on the ice before the game for the "The Star-Spangled Banner."  (We were watching, but unfortunately didn't know the old guy was from Fox Lake, just a few miles from us in Spring Grove. I had been thinking that one of the two servicemen standing by Jim for every playoff home game looked as if they might be old enough to be a World War II veteran.))

His daughter, Sue Mlynski wanted to surprise him with tickets to the game, but none were to be had.  She tried everything she could think of, even calling the Blackhawk front office who said they could include him in next season's pre-game ceremonies, but Sue feared that might be too late.

Then, a few weeks ago, the Blackhawks called back asking if he could get to the Ubited Center for Game 5.  As part of his surprise, the family dined at March's favorite Bohemian restaurant in Schaumburg and then drove to the United Center.  His daughter had secretly brought along his uniform shirt

What a Deserved Experience.  --GreGen

USS Morrison (DD-560) Sunk By Four Kamikazes

From Wikipedia.

In the last entry, I wrote about Howie Snell's last ship, the destroyer USS Morrison, which sank after being hit four times by Japanese kamikazes on May 5, 1845 at the Battle of Okinawa.  Decided to do some more research on it.

The Fletcher-class destroyer was named for John G. Morrison who received a Civil War Medal of Honor winner who received it for action on the USS Carondolet versus the CSS Arkansas.  It was built at the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corp. in Seattle.

Commissioned on 18 December 1943, the Morrison was 376.6 feet long, 38.8 beam and mounted five 5-inch guns, torpedoes and depth charges.

In June 1944 it was off Saipan where it shot down three planes.  The it was at Guam and in September, sank 15 Japanese sampans off the Philippines.  During the Battle of Leyte Gulf, it rescued 400 survivors from the light carrier USS Princeton and then went alongside to assist in putting out fires until the bigger ship hit the Morrison.

On March 31, off Okinawa, it sank the Japanese submarine I-8 and rescued just one survivor (Snell's finicky eater)

It then continued operations off Okinawa, replacing the destroyer Daly after it was hit on picket duty by a kamikaze.

On April 30th, the Morrison was a fighter-director ship which made it an even bigger kamikaze target.  It survived three kamikaze attacks starting at 8:25 AM before a Zeke crashed into the funnel and bridge, knocking out the ship's electrical equipment.  Imediately afterwards, three float biplanes found their target.  After two big explosions the ship sank at 8:40 AM.

The Story of a Ship.  --GreGen

Pearl Harbor Survivor Howard "Howie" Snell

From the April 22, 2013, Kingman (Az) Daily Miner "Kingman is now the home port of this Pearl Harbor survivor" by Doug McMurdo.

Howie Snell, 99,  heard an explosion while heading to the messd eck for breakfast.  He was just 18, having joined the Navy while still in high school in February 1941.  He was at the sub base and remembered: "The Oklahoma, she'd already capsized by the time I looked over at Battleship Row.  At that time, the Arizona blew.  They issued me an old Springfield rifle that hadn't fired a shot since World War I."

He shot at the Japanese planes but is sure he didn't hit any.

After Pearl Harbor, he was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and met Admiral William Halsey during his first week aboard.

He was at the Battles of Midway, Eastern Solomons, Santa Cruz Islands, Guadalcanal, Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf.  In 1943, he was transferred to the destroyer USS Morrison which was hit by a bomb at Leyte Gulf.

The Battle of Okinawa was the last for his destroyer.  On March 31st, they sank a Japanese submarine and picked up one survivor.  Snell made rice for him, but he refused to eat it.  Snell took a lot of ribbing about his food being so bad the enemy wouldn't even eat it.

Some two months later, Snell got ahold of some fresh frozen raspberries and made 35 gallons of ice cream but never got to taste it.  On May 5, 1945, four Japanese kamikazes crashed into the Morrison which sank in 3-4 minutes.  All that ice cream went down with the ship and 155 men died.  Snell was one of 187 survivors picked up three hours later.

Wonder What Fish Got That Ice Cream?  --GreGen

Monday, July 1, 2013

USS Northampton (CA-26)-- Part 2

After attacking Witje Island (Atoll). the Northampton next bombarded Wake Island and escorted the aircraft carrier Hornet in the famous Doolittle Raid in April.  Then, it fought at the Battle of Coral Sea and screened the carrier USS Enterprise at the Battle of Midway.  This was one really busy ship.

In mid-August, it joined the Guadalcanal Campaign then patrolled southeast of San Cristobal.  On September 15th, the Northampton was attacked by submarines, but received no damage.  The battleship USS North Carolina and carried USS Wasp were hit by torpedoes, though and the USS O'Brien was hit just 800 yards off the Northampton's port beam.

Next, it screened carriers at Bougainville Island and at the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands on 25 October came to the aid of the sinking USS Hornet.

The Battle of Tassafaronga was fought to prevent the Japanese from reinforcing their troops on Guadalcanal.  Here, the Northampton's luck ran out and it was hit by two Japanese torpedoes and sank three hours later.  American losses at the battle were heavier than the Japanese, but it was a strategic victory as the reinforcements were prevented.

Two other ships had the name Northampton and all three will have a reunion September 10-13 in Branson, Missourit.  The 2014 reunion will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Story of a Ship.  --GreGen