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Pearl Harbor first shots

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Rontini599 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 06 Dec 2022 at 2:00pm
A U.S.N. destroyer fired on a Japanese Midget sub and sunk it. The USS Ward at 3:30 am on Dec 7 were called to Battle Stations by their new C.O. They fired twice and hit the sub.  It was located in 2002. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bruce Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Dec 2022 at 11:16am
USS Thresher SS 200, Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941

After completing a simulated war patrol off of Midway from 31 October 1941 to 4 December 1941, USS Thresher SS 200 was returning to Pearl Harbor.  While on the return transit, heavy weather had set in with high winds and waves.  It was no place for Thresher or any other submarine on the surface, but on the surface she was.  As the bow plunged into the angry seas, water came over the periscope shears and conning tower.  One such wave hit with such force that it washed William D. Grover off the lookout platform onto the after "cigarette deck".  Grover was taken below and placed in the Captain’s cabin.  Ralph A. Millis PhM1, "Doc", stayed with Grover almost constantly and did all he could to make him comfortable.  Unknown to all at the time, Grover had sustained a skull fracture in the fall.

Thresher was some 50 nautical miles northwest of Pearl Harbor on the morning of 7 December 1941 and had been picked up by her escort Destroyer USS Litchfield (DD 336) when they both were notified that Pearl Harbor had been attacked by the Japanese.  As they neared the island of Oahu, a US Task Force was outbound and Litchfield left to join the task force. LCDR Anderson notified Pearl Harbor that the Litchfield had left and that there was a severely injured man aboard Thresher.  Anderson planned to submerge and then surface at sunset and then proceed into port at that time.  As Thresher was submerging she received a message not to leave her escort, which unfortunately had already occurred.  A message was sent to Litchfield to return to the area where they had separated to escort Thresher into port.  Shortly thereafter a destroyer was seen through the periscope at the designated location and Thresher surfaced.

To Thresher’s surprise it was not the Litchfield, but the USS Gamble (DD 123).

From the Deck Log of the USS Gamble (DD 123):

"7 – Dec 1941 - 1632 hours - sighted submarine surfacing - began attack"

The Gamble, a destroyer/ minelayer, thinking she had found a Japanese submarine turned bow on and commenced firing her forward deck gun and machine guns.  Fortunately for Thresher only two rounds from the deck gun were fired but the hostile conditions caused Thresher to take evasive action and dive to 250 feet.  As she was diving, Thresher sent out recognition signals which were evidently picked up by Gamble as she continued on her way without further attack.

Anderson advised Pearl Harbor of the attack and again of the urgency of getting into port because of Grover’s dire condition.  At that time there was of course mass confusion in Pearl Harbor.  The Base tried to set up an escort for Thresher but ships were obviously at a premium at that time.  Thresher spent the night avoiding any kind of surface vessel as to avoid a repeat of the Gamble incident earlier that day.  As one junior officer said, “We had no friends".

Grover died during the night of 7 December 1941.  Arguably making him the first US Submarine Service casualty of World War II. 

William D. Grover S2

Enlisted 7 December 1940 at Portland, Oregon, attached to Thresher 4 August 1941 at Pearl Harbor.

 

On the morning of 8 December 1941, Pearl Harbor advised that the entrance net would be open at a certain time and to proceed into port at that time.  Each time Thresher attempted to enter she was driven down by "friendly" forces.  After Pearl Harbor was notified of the attacks, Thresher was directed to a sanctuary and to remain submerged.  Even at the “sanctuary” Thresher was driven deep many times by “friendly” aircraft.

Finally an escort was sent, the destroyer USS Thornton (DD 270), and Thresher was escorted to the entrance and arrived at the Sub Base around noon, 8 December 1941, mooring to the USS Pelias (AS 14).



Edited by Bruce - 07 Dec 2022 at 11:18am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SaltiDawg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Dec 2022 at 11:35am
Thresher was the most decorated United States Navy submarine of World War II.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bruce Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Dec 2022 at 12:13pm
My grandfather was a SM1 on her for War Patrols 11-15.  He was serving in a LPO QM role, and he created her later war Battle Flag, which I inherited. 
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