"NOW HEAR THIS"

Subject: Depth Charges

Published: August 1997

By: Bob Maples

 

Reading the last few issues of “Now Hear This” publication has surely brought back many memories especially the issue about the invasion of Gilia, Sicily.  Then reading the story from Gordon Osborn that put the frosting on the cake.

 

I remember your [Bob Garmy] entrapment in Radio 3.  I knew Lowe.  Bob, my copy had a lot missing, could you please send me another copy?  Thanks.

 

Recalling the 8th, 9th, and 10th of November 1942 when we used depth charges as bombs, we ran out of 100lb and started using depth bombs.  They called it Depth Charge Junction.  My plane was riddled with bullet holes by the U.S. Army, 1st Armored Division.  I had a gallon of peaches on board and it was full of holes, probably saved our lives.  There were lots of holes near my 30 cal machine gun mount and our cables were severed.  We limped back to the ship.  Incidentally the Army apologized the next day.  This was all written up in the states newspapers thus, Depth Charge Junction.

 

America Online has a brief but nice write up on the USS Savannah.

 

AOL also has Captain Robert W. Cary as awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1915.  I don’t think he was in the navy then!

 

On the 9th of July I was a aircraft spotter for the Savannah when not flying.  By mistake the Army sent 22 C-47’s loaded with troops and supplies to overfly the Fleet.  The Savannah never fired a shot but the USS Nashville opened up and all hell broke loose.  22 C47’s shot down.  The next morning Lt C.A. Anderson Senior Aviator, E.J. True his radioman and Lt(jg) Pinto and I were launched for spotting.  Within the hour 9 ME109F fighter planes shot us down: we didn’t have the P-38 support we were promised.  Lt. Anderson was seriously shot in flight and we followed E.J. True at the helm.  We followed them in, both of our planes were riddled with holes.  Our plane was upside down and the ME 109 fighters kept coming in on us firing on each run.  We dove under the water as deep as we could, then came up for air and down again.  All of a sudden all ceased.  I looked over the horizon and there to my delight came a ship with all AA batteries firing.  It was the greatest sight I ever saw.  It was the USS Ludlow DD438.  She chased all the enemy fighters away and then came in and picked us up.  A third plane was also shot down.  Lt (jg) Osborn pilot and J.L. Schradle radioman picked up by the USS Barnett.  I think we lost 12 planes that morning from all the cruisers but don’t know for sure. . .

 

Bob Maples