World War II sailors: Battling enemy and elements.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.
World War II diary of sailor Jimmy Latour
The siren to man battle stations rang out aboard the USS Bryant at 8:15 on April 16, 1945. U.S. Naval Reserve Fireman 1st Class Jimmy Latour sprang into action with the rest of the destroyer`s 300-man crew, which had been patrolling the waters around Okinawa. "We had around 20 Jap planes around us. Our (Combat Air Patrol) was knocking them down right and left all around us. Four of them teamed up on us. They started to dive for us. We knocked two of them down and before we could get the guns trained around to port side, one had come in and right by our gun. He went into his dive and hit us right on bridge about near superstructure. It killed quite a few of our men on bridge and also some are missing."
70 years ago the British sub HMS Perseus hit a mine sparking one of the most controversial WWII survival stories
When she left the British submarine base at Malta at the end of November 1941, HMS Perseus had on board her 59 crew and 2 passengers, one of whom was John Capes. On the night 6 December, Perseus was on the surface of the sea 3km off the coast of Kefalonia, recharging her batteries under cover of darkness when, with no warning, there was an explosion. Capes dragged any stokers who showed signs of life towards the escape hatch and fitted them and himself with Davis Submarine Escape Apparatus. This equipment had only been tested to a depth of 100ft (30m). The depth gauge showed just over 270ft, and as far as Capes knew, no-one had ever made an escape from such a depth.
Conflict-Series: A highly rated strategy game series for Android
If you love classic PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, Invasion of Poland 1939, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, the Battle of Bulge, and the Battle of Berlin 1945. In addition there are American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War scenarios available.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store)
Tales from a Tin Can: Sailors who served on the USS Dale tell their World War II stories (book review)
From Pearl Harbor on, the USS Dale was "the ship that wouldn`t sink." One of 8 Farragut-class destroyers built in the 1930s - all 8 were in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese struck - it was part of nearly every major battle in the Pacific, collecting 12 battle stars. "Tales from a Tin Can" takes the readers on the tour from the heat of the South Pacific to Alaska, then back to lethal kamikaze attacks and Pacific typhoons. Author Michael Olson`s father served 4 years on the USS Dale. While attending reunions Olson collected 45 oral histories, which in the book are mixed with the official war diary and captain`s logs.
USS Kearny was hit by a U-boat torpedo - but crew kept her afloat - in 1941, before WWII officially began
In 1941 the USS Kearny, a Gleaves-class destroyer, was assigned to convoy duty from Iceland to Murmansk. Howard Blackmon recalls: "We received a call that a convoy to Murmansk was under attack by German U-boats. We were dispatched ... to the ship under attack. We arrived on Oct. 16, 1941, and took our positions in the convoy. [Next day] the U-boats started torpedoing... 5-6 ships were lost during this time." Blackmon was loading 54-pound shells for the No. 1 gun turret when a torpedo hit: "The shell that hit us almost cut the Kearny in half. We had to prop the bulkhead with 2-by-4s to keep it from collapsing."
Gordon Chambers survived kamikaze attack that sunk destroyer USS Mannert L. Abele (DD-733)
The moment that Gordon Chambers focused his eyes on the USS Mannert L. Abele, just as its metal hull - split in two after a kamikaze attack - was swallowed by the Pacific Ocean, hasn`t faded in his mind the last 65 years. Nor has the image of one of his comrades who stood frozen on the ship as it sunk below the horizon. "I was hollering as loud as I could at him... `Jump! Jump!` He just kept backing away from the water. I`ll remember that as long as I live." Chambers was the radar man on that fateful day, April 12, 1945, when a Japanese kamikaze pilot broke through a round of AA-fire and hit the starboard side.
WW2 Marine Sid Phillips recalls Battle of Guadalcanal in "You`ll be Sorree" memoir
Though Sid Phillips fought in some of the bloodiest WWII battles, tales of guts and gore with bullets flying are not the core of his memoir. He reveals the challenges of bare survival during the months his Marine unit spent on the islands wrested from the Japanese. He tells of hunger and name-calling exchanges with Japanese snipers. He recounts how his unit, starving after the ships carrying their supplies were sunk, was saved by rice left behind by the Japanese troops. At one point, things were so dire that Marines ate WW1 vintage crackers from a box labeled "Field Ration Biscuits 1918" found on the beach.
Shepherds of the Sea: Destroyer Escorts in World War II by Robert F. Cross (WWII book review)
"Shepherds of the Sea" tells the stories of 91 WWII sailors who served aboard 56 different destroyer escorts in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The American Library Association`s Booklist magazine called it the "first full-scale history of destroyer escorts" and says it should be part of every naval book collection. Destroyer escorts sank 70 Nazi U-boats and 26 Japanese submarines, and saw combat in every major battle in the Pacific war. Of the 563 WWII destroyer escorts built, the last one still afloat, the USS Slater, has been completely restored and is located on the Hudson River in Albany.
German sailor to revisit schooner Horst Wessel, now the USCGC Eagle
On the Fourth of July Johann Bernard will visit his old WW2 ship on which he served in the German navy, der Kriegsmarine. He will step aboard the USCGC Eagle, as the 295-foot bark visits Tacoma during a "Tall Ship" festival. He served on the Eagle, called the Horst Wessel when it belonged to Nazi Germany, before it became a war prize for the USA. During WW2 the Horst Wessel was near a bomb dropping and the ship caught on fire. Bernard got an Iron Cross First Class for putting out the fire. After serving on the schooner, Bernard worked one voyage on the U-603 on a trip from Germany to Japan. The U-603 was sent to the bottom on her next patrol.
Sailor saw worst from the D-Day English Channel to the Pacific
Leroy Whannel got a view of WWII in all its horror: from clearing landing crafts full of dead soldiers from Omaha Beach at D-Day, to repatriating Bataan Death March survivors. Omaha, on June 6,1944, may have been the worst: 100 yards of sandy beach, with German machine gun placements on the bluffs overhead. "We went in with the first bunch. The first bunch, it was just plain murder. The Nazis could sit up there and just rake those landing craft as they came in. That first wave, I felt sorry for those guys. It was like suicide. I talked to those guys... and they said, `Oh, God, let`s get out of here and get this over with.` They wanted to get gone."
Tests narrow down identity of possibe HMAS Sydney sailor
Testing on the remains of an unknown sailor thought to have died on HMAS Sydney has narrowed identification down to one of 3 crewmen. 645 crewmen were lost when the frigate disappeared after a battle with a German ship off the West Australian coast in 1941. In Nov 2006, the remains of a sailor thought to be from the HMAS Sydney were found on Christmas Island. "They`ve narrowed it down to 3 possibilities: Sub-Lieutenant Allen James King, Sub-Lieutenant Fredrick Harold Scoch and Lieutenant Allan Wallace Wilson. But we`ve not been able to identify a relative for Lieutenant Allan Wallace Wilson," Bruce Billsonsaid.
Friedrich Adolph: The last sailor from the battleship Admiral Graf Spee
Friedrich Adolph, the last sailor in Uruguay from the battleship Admiral Graf Spee that sank off Uruguay`s coast at the outset of World War II, has died at 89. The Graf Spee prowled the South Atlantic, sinking 9 allied merchant ships before warships from Britain and New Zealand tracked it down during the "Battle of the River Plate." The damaged Graf Spee limped into Montevideo harbor where injured and dead sailors were taken ashore. To prevent it from falling into enemy hands, the Graf Spree`s captain Hans Langsdorff later dynamited it and sank it a few miles from Montevideo. Several German sailors who survived settled in Uruguay and Argentina.
WWII Kamikaze Attacks recalled: You don’t expect admirals to die (Article no longer available from the original source)
Pete Momcilovich joined the U.S. Navy and was aboard the heavy cruiser USS Louisville, which saw 3 Japanese kamikaze attacks and earned 13 battlestars during World War II. The Louisville was in the middle of the Luzon operation when the first two Japanese kamikaze attacks happened. The first attack occurred Jan. 5, 1945, and hit the signal bridge. "We were expecting to be attacked because the ship was bombarding the gulf, but the first attack shook up a lot of people. One of the reasons the men were shook up was because an admiral was killed. You don’t expect admirals or high ranking officials to die, but they do."
Nazi sailor key to Australia`s battleship mystery
A former Nazi sailor living in South America may hold the key to solving one of Australia`s greatest wartime mysteries, the sinking and disappearance of the battleship HMAS Sydney. Shipwreck hunters have tracked him down and believe he holds clues about exactly where HMAS Sydney sank after being torpedoed by a German raider, the Kormoran 1941. The latest clues come from Reinhold Von Malapert, one of the last-known survivors of the Kormoran. He was the German raider`s chief communications officer.
Man sunk twice in WWII - Cruiser and small aircraft carrier
Norbert "Norb" Trainor had two ships shot out from under him in World War II, when he served in the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific, and lived to tell the tales. He was a seaman aboard the cruiser USS Chicago when it was torpedoed and sunk off Guadalcanal in 1943. And he was aboard the small aircraft carrier USS Gambier Bay when it was surrounded by Japanese ships and sunk in 1944 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest sea battle in world history. When the Gambier Bay was sunk, the only U.S. carrier of the war to be sunk by ship-to-ship fire, he spent two days and nights adrift at sea in life rafts, surrounded by sharks, before being rescued.
Veteran recalls attack on USS Frank (Article no longer available from the original source)
Joseph Vaughn became part of the crew on the USS Franklin, a new Essex-class aircraft carrier. It was a late entry into the war, but the ship packed a lot of action into the next 14 months. Before dawn on an overcast March 19, 1945, the Franklin was within 50 miles of the Japanese mainland. Fighter planes had been launched to sweep Honshu. The captain sent half the watch to go below decks to eat breakfast. They all were lined up to the mess hall when a Japanese pilot broke through the clouds and dropped two 500-pound bombs. "All those people in a line," said Vaughn, shaking his head. "That`s where they all got killed."
Convoy Veterans Renew Camaraderie of Arctic War
Dozens of British and Russian veterans of Arctic convoys that delivered vital aid to the Soviet Union during WWII met in St. Petersburg. Anatoly Livshits, a Russian navy veteran of 23 Arctic convoys, said he was impressed by the strong spirit of the British sailors. Arctic convoys transported military and food supplies to the Soviet Union to aid its fight against Nazi Germany. They delivered aid under the Lend-Lease program, under which the U.S. delivered arms, ammunition and other strategic items to allied countries fighting the Axis powers.