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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Minden

 

Cities in Louisiana and Nebraska; town in Nevada.

 

(PC‑1176: dp. 295; l. 174'; b. 23'; dr. 81; sp. 20 k.; cpl. 66; a. 1 3", 1 40mm.; cl. PC‑461.)

 

PC‑1176 was laid down by Leatham D. Smith Shipyards, Sturgeon Bay, Wis., 28 June 1943; launched 28 August 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Sidney T. Smith; and commissioned, at New Orleans, 20 November 1943, Lt. (jg.) John B. Ricker, Jr., in command

 

Following a southern Florida shakedown and antisubmarine training at Key West, PC‑1176 departed on her first wartime mission: convoy escort to New York, 31 December 1943. She arrived there 6 January 1944, and departed on the 16th for Charleston. There, oil the 25th, she joined a convoy of yard tugs and tankers bound for the United Kingdom. Arriving at Falmouth, England, 13 March, she was assigned to convoy escort work between Lands End and Portland Bill on the south coast of England. Between convoys she participated in maneuvers in preparation for the invasion of France.

 

On 5 June she sailed from Dartmouth to join TF 125 and take up her position as the primary control vessel, Tare Green sector, “Utah” beachhead in the Normandy coast. At 0430, D‑Day, 6 June, she set out from the transport area with PC‑1261, primary control vessel for Uncle Red sector. Leading the assault wave, each patrol craft escorted four LCTs, each of which, in turn, carried four dual‑drive amphibious tanks (DD tanks). Moving slowly against headwinds and choppy seas, they hoped to complete the 9‑mile transit to the launching point, 5,000‑yard line, in time to have the DD tanks in the beach to provide the infantry with artillery support as soon as they landed. At 0542 PC‑1261 struck a mine and sank. Five minutes later LCT‑597, headed for Uncle Red, met a similar fate. PC‑1176, having added primary control duties for Uncle Red to those of Tare Green, continued to shepherd the remaining LCTs toward “Utah”.

 

By 0600, it became apparent that the DD tanks would not be on the beach to support the first wave if they were launched at the 5,000‑yard line. Accordingly, Lt. (jg.) John B. Ricker, Jr., CO of PC‑1176, ordered their carriers on to the 3,000‑yard line. Launched from that point, and in calmer waters, all 28 made it to the beach within 10 minutes of the first wave and went into action.

 

PC‑1176, having successfully dispatched the first five waves for both sectors of the “Utah” beachhead, was relieved of its duties on Red beach when that sector’s secondary control vessel appeared at about 1,000. After dispatching the last wave, the 26th, on 6 June, she anchored off the center of Tare Green beach where she remained, until the 17th, as traffic control vessel for the buildup phase. From the 17th through the 25th, when she departed the invasion area, her control duties were extended along the Normandy coast.

 

During the remaining months of the war, PC‑1176, operating from Cherbourg and Le Harve, conducted antisubmarine patrols along the approaches to the Normandy coast, participated in the blockading of German shipping from the Channel Islands, and provided Channel escort services. Following the cessation of European hostilities, all war patrols stopped and PC‑1176 stood into Le Havre to prepare for her return to the United States.

 

In June, however, she was assigned to occupation duty; and on the 15th she sailed for Bremerhaven, entering the Weser River and mooring in the port on the 23d. There she joined other vessels in clearing the Weser, a major transport artery, and its ports of the multitudinous mines and boobytraps planted by the former enemy. The clearing, begun after the surrender of northern Germany by Admiral Doenitz, 4 May, took 4 months to complete as far as Bremen. PC‑1176 contributed by inspecting German shipping and conducting patrols from the mouth of the Weser to Bremen. After that port was opened to Allied shipping, she escorted the cargo ships, heavily laden with supplies and foodstuffs for the American Occupation Army and German civilians to the south, through the treacherous waters.

 

On 4 October, the patrol vessel steamed into the North Sea on her way home, arriving at Norfolk on the 22d to begin preinactivation overhaul. On 7 December, she sailed south, arriving 2 days later at Green Cove Springs, Fla., where she decommissioned 23 May 1946 and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. PC‑1176, renamed Minden (PC‑1176), 1 February 1956, remained in reserve, berthed at Green Cove Springs, until struck from the Naval Register 1 July 1960.

 

PC‑1176 was awarded one battle star for her World War II service.