Friday, December 09, 2011

Fullbore Friday


How in one FbF can you do justice to a ship with 20 Battle Stars like the USS O'BANNON (DD-450)? 17 in WWII (second only to USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) ), and three in Korea.

Well - this has been such a iffy week - let us take a moment to reflect with a smile.

We aren't the only US Navy that has trouble getting its Sailors armed ... and we aren't the only US Navy with resourceful Sailors.


From the Destroyer History Foundation and Ernest A. Herr - BEHOLD!
On 5 April 1943, DesRon 21 was returning from a night of shelling Japanese shore installations deep in the New Georgia area of the Solomon Islands. Our destroyer, the O’Bannon, as part of this force, picked up a radar contact that turned out to be a large Japanese submarine cruising on the surface and apparently unaware of our presence. The Japanese lookouts undoubtedly were fast asleep.

We approached rapidly and were preparing to ram the sub. Our captain and other officers on the bridge were trying to identify the type of sub and decided, at the last minute, that it could be a mine layer. Not wanting to blow up ourselves along with the sub, the decision was made that ramming was not a wise move. At the last moment, the rudder was swung hard to avoid a collision and we found ourselves in a rather embarrassing situation as we sailed along side of the Japanese submarine.

On board the sub, Japanese sailors, wearing dark shorts and dinky blue hats, were sleeping out on deck. In what could be considered a rude awaking, they sat up to see an American destroyer sailing along side. Our ship however, was far too close to permit our guns lowered enough to fire and since no one on deck carried a gun, not a shot was heard. Ditto on the Japanese sub, no one there had a gun either. In this situation, no one seemed sure of the proper course of action and it probably would not have been covered in the manual anyway. Therefore everyone just stared more or less spellbound.

The submarine was equipped with a 3-inch deck gun and the sub’s captain finally decided that now was probably a good time to make use of it. As the Japanese sailors ran toward their gun, our deck parties reached into storage bins that were located nearby, picked out some potatoes and threw them at the sailors on the deck of the sub. A potato battle ensued. Apparently the Japanese sailors thought the potatoes were hand grenades. This kept them very busy as they try to get rid of them by throwing them back at the O’Bannon or over the side of the sub. Thus occupied, they were too busy to man their deck gun which gave us sufficient time to put a little distance between our ship and the sub.

Finally we were far enough away to bring our guns to bear and firing commenced. One of our shells managed to hit the sub’s conning tower but the sub managed to submerge anyway. At that time our ship was able to pass directly over the sub for a depth charge attack. Later information showed that the sub did sink. When the Association of Potato Growers of Maine heard of this strange episode, they sent a plaque to commemorate the event. The plaque was mounted in an appropriate place near the crews mess hall for the crew to see. Well, it was the crew’s battle.
BTW - as any WESTPAC guy will tell you, even today the Japanese have no idea what to do with a spud.

47 comments:

ewok40k said...

trying to teach Japanese how to handle potatoes is as futile as trying to make denizens of North European Plain cook rice properly...

AW1 Tim said...

That's a right nice award they got there.. ayuh.

 Just shows once more that Maine potatoes are wicked good.  ;)

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Just think what ENGLAND could have done with a potato!

UltimaRatioRegis said...

They'd boil all the flavor out of it and serve it cold next to leathery mutton. 

But I digress....

OldCOB said...

Does the LCS have a potato module?

BUTCH said...

The whole rstionale for the British Empire was to find decent cuisine.

Old Nuke said...

I think in today's FbF, the designation CV-3 belongs to Saratoga.  CV-6 was Enterprise.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Salamander should already be doing penance...  say ten "Hail Mary"s and help Norm Friedman with his tie.

DeltaBravo said...

Stopping to like this again.  :-D

DeltaBravo said...

Raising a glass of fine potato vodka to the crew:  "This spud's for you!"

(hiding because that was a bad one.  Don't hate me.)

Aubrey said...

As a UMaine graduate I approve!

Aubrey said...

I laughed, I cried....

Aubrey said...

A bag of taters, some PVC pipe, a lighter and a can of hairspray....you triple the LCS's firepower!

cdrsalamander said...

3 and 6 are right next to each other on the right side of my keyboard.  That is my story ... and I'm stick'n to it.

Mefixie.

DeltaBravo said...

I know.  Who eats beans with toast for breakfast? 

AW1 Tim said...

 USM here.....  :)

ewok40k said...

Allach Akbar! this is thread hijack!
for sunday funnies:
http://www.kciuk.pl/All-I-Want-For-Christmas-HMS-OCEAN-a74588

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Baked beans, yes.  Eggs and toast and baked beans are wonderful for breakfast.

But I am sure the English will find a way to suck the flavor out of that, too.

The Usual Suspect said...

Potatoes; they're not just for breakfast anymore.

petey said...

We had that plaque on the quarterdeck when in port during my time onboard DD-987 ...

Anonymous said...

Petey is right, we kept it on the quarterdeck up until decomissioning. Not sure what happened to it after that. Hopefully it ended up in an appreciative home.

Steel City said...

Ingenuity is one trait that you can never accuse the American Sailor of not having. Great story!  Especially the part about the Japanese confusing the potatoes with hand grenades, which when you think about it is 100% understandable.

cdrsalamander said...

You could have waited .... ;(

DeltaBravo said...

NO, URR.  Baked beans = LUNCH OR DINNER.  Hmmph.

ewok40k said...

feel free to delete and use as SF :)

Anonymous said...

Do they say wicked pissah in the great up there?

Anonymous said...

Not enough reserve bouyancy unless you are on one of the cheeks.

Anonymous said...

Can use that on DivThu as there was a ton of things the DBullies could critique on that vid.

ewok40k said...

give a smart (wo)man a rifle with grenade launcher, a flamethrower and some duct tape and you get this:

UltimaRatioRegis said...

DB, If you woke up to a morning with temps in the mid-twenties, BELOW ZERO, you might feel differently. 

Boston baked beans. 

James said...

Where i come from we just stick it in chicken and rice. Then theirs red beans and rice....and polish sausage and rice and........yep we know how to cook it! Take it back!

pk said...

when you get back from a 10 mile paper route at 37 below at the crack of dawn in montana, anything hot tastes good.

pk said...

he's talking about the real north european plain gang, you know the ones who have to carry a card in their wallet with their last name written on it so they can spell it right when they need to.

C

The Old Salt said...

umm...USS ENGLAND.

AW1 Tim said...

Ayuh..... sometimes.

Wharf Rat said...

Ah yes, but there is nuthin' funnier than a potatoe shooter on July 4th.  We're talking 1/2 mile to a mile in range.

Now that would have been fun to shoot at the Japs.

Old Nuke said...

Kinda reminds me of the ex-CO of Ponce .... I guess she won't be getting any more 'Etta-boys'

Aubrey said...

You know it is truly outstanding when they double up on the wickeds...

"...it was wicked wicked!"

Great, now I'm having flashbacks to my Orono years

John said...

Gator sailors (and those other guys along for the ride) seem to have a looser sense of humor than some other parts of the Sea Services.

FCC(SW) said...

On our 2001 Gulf cruise (scheduled outchop: Sept 17 2001), I was on USS O'BRIEN (DD 975).  One day, the desert duck brought us a package -- a HUGE, 18" x 24" by 36" box -- addressed to CF Division of O'BANNON.  After debating what to do with it for several hours in NSSMS Control Room, we finally decided to keep it.  When we opened it, it was stuffed FULL of unpopped (microwave) popcorn.  Lasted til decom.  I'm sorry if it was supposed to be yours.

Byron said...

And I'm sad to say that I helped with the decom of DD-987...but proud to say that the division head of my shipyard is a former CO of O'Bannon, Captain Joe O'Conor. Really great guy who I have a ton of respect for.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

It has to be special to be "pissah".  And very special to be "wicked pissah". 

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

I meant USS ENGLAND, who sank 6 Japanese subs in 12 days.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

I know you did, but I was gonna run the bad food joke into the ground, regardless.  Or, as my old platoon sergeant would say, "irregardless!".

Grandpa Bluewater said...

Which wouldn't make a bad "Fullbore" in and of itself.
Don't forget to mention the XO.

W2 said...

One word (dish) - Nikujaga.  Simple, tasty and cheap.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

I was sicker than a parrot this weekend, with a industrial grade cold. As I huddled under the down quilt on my couch, drinking cocoa, and feeling sorry for myself, what with being sick on a scheduled weekend off, I reread Antisubmarine Warrior in the Pacific, by John Williamson, the XO in question.   He seemed to think that if ENGLAND had been a JOHN C BUTLER or a RUDDEROW, the VAL would never have gotten past the 5/38"s and the 40s.  But he also said 'if she had' doesn't change anything.