Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Notable Engagements between United States Navy Destroyers and Enemy Submarines

[Enclosure]

NOTABLE ENGAGEMENTS WITH SUBMARINES, etc., of

U.S. DESTROYERS FOR PERIOD 1 JULY – 31 DECEMBER 1917.

SHIP.

Name of Commanding Officer & any other Officers mentioned.

Date

PARTICULARS

WADSWORTH

Commander J.K. Taussig1

29 July

When escorting convoy, observed phosphorescent patch and dropped depth charge. “TRIPPE” 5 mins. later struck submerged object. Submarine probably seriously damagd.

BENHAM

Lt. Commr. (Now Commr.) D. Lyons2

30 July

Engaged submarine with gun fire and depth charges and probably seriously damaged it.

PARKER

Lt. Commdr. H. Powell3

3 August

Whilst escorting ship, saw submarine 6,000 yards distant, followed oil slick and saw submarine under end of bridge. Dropped 2 depthcharges probably seriously damaging <submarine>

O’BRIEN

Lt. Comr.C.A. Blakely Ensign H.N. Fallon4

14 September

At 6.25 A.M., in foggy weather, when escorting “BELGIC” submarine was seen in position to attack. “O’BRIEN” headed for submarine, which submerged, rapidly, leaving well-defined wake, on which depth charge was dropped. Good lookout and prompt action undoubtedly saved “BELGIC.”

DRAYTON” Lt.Commr.D.L. Howard5

26 November

Whilst escorting straggler from convoy O.Q.28, saw oiler “CRENELLA” torpedoed. Ran over position where oil slick indicated submarine and dropped depth charge. Quantity of oil and bubbles came up. Prompt action of “DRAYTON” probably saved “CRENELLA” being again torpedoed. She was escorted to Q’tn by “CUSHING

McDougal

Commr. A.P. Fairfield6

8 September

At 1.21 A.M., in bright moonlight submarine sighted in position to attack convoy. “McDougal” headed for submarine which submerged. Two depth charges dropped. At 11:00 A.M. same day, there was patch of oil one mile wide at spot. Good look out and prompt actionundoubtedly saved one or more ships of convoy.

CONYNGHAM

Commr.A.W. Johnson7

19 October

At 5.50 P.M. H.M.S. “ORAMA” was torpedoed in convoy. “CONYNGHAM” went full speed, circled bow of “ORAMA”, saw submarine between lines of convoy, passed right over it so that it was plainly visible and dropped depth charge Prompt and correct action of Commr. Johndon saved more ships being torpedoed and probably destroyed the submarine.

CONYNGHAM

Commr.A.W. Johnson

JACOB JONES

Lt.Commdr.D.W. Bagley8

19 October

Picked up survivors of H.M.S. “ORAMA” The embarkation of these survivors at night, alongside a sinking ship was a fine feat of seamanship.

WADSWORTH

Lt. Commdr. I.P. Dortch.9

20 December

Two submarines seen ahead of convoy. Ship headed for submarine and fire opened, at about 7,000 yards range. Submarine submerged and two depth charges dropped over oil slick.

FANNING

Lt. A.S. Carpender

Lt. (J.G.)W.O. Henry

Coxswain D.D. Loomis

NICHOLSON

Cmdr F.D. Berrien10

17 November

Destroyed submarine “U-58” as it was getting into position to attack convoy, leaving Q’tn. Whole crew of submarine taken as prisoners. “FANNING” dropped depth charges which damaged submarine; “NICHOLSON” assisted.

ROWAN

Lt. Commdr. D.L.Howard11

2 January Included in report to 31st. Dec. 17 on acc’t of previous good service of Lt. Commr. Howard on 26th. Nov.

On Holyhead-Kingstown patrol. Heard gunfire at 3:00 P.M. and steering towards sound, found submarine attacking three vessels. Opened fire at 9,000 yards. Submarine submerged, but put periscope up again at 1,500 yards range; two shots fired before submarine again submerged.

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45 Entry 517B. According to Historian Paul Kemp, none of the above attacks on U-Boats save that by the FANNING on 17 November 1917, resulted in a successful sinking. Kemp, U-Boats Destroyed. Document is an enclosure of Lewis Bayly to Oswald Murray, 28 January 1918, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Cmdr. Joseph K. Taussig.

Footnote 2: Cmdr. David Lyons.

Footnote 3: Lt. Cmdr. Halsey Powell.

Footnote 4: Lt. Cmdr. Charles A. Blakely and En. Henry N. Fallon.

Footnote 5: Lt. Cmdr. Douglas L. Howard.

Footnote 6: Cmdr. Arthur P. Fairfield.

Footnote 7: Cmdr. Alfred W. Johnson.

Footnote 8: Lt. Cmdr. David W. Bagley.

Footnote 9: Lt. Cmdr. Isaac F. Dortch.

Footnote 10: Lt. Arthur S. Carpenter, Lt. Walter O. Henry, and Cmdr Frank D. Berrien.

Footnote 11: Lt. Cmdr. Douglas L. Howard.

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