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"Damned the Potatoes, man."

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"Damned the Potatoes, man."

Postby Aloha Nole » April 5th, 2018, 6:16 am

5 April 1943 - World War II US Destroyer sinks Japanese Submarine using potatoes.

USS O’BANNON DD-450 was cruising the South Pacific in broad daylight when the destroyer came across a large Japanese submarine, the RO-35, which was on patrol on the surface and oblivious to the approaching ship (some Japanese Sailors were obviously neglecting their lookout duty).

The USS O’Bannon decided to ram the sub to sink it. At the last minute, however, they decided against it because some feared the sub was a minelayer, and if it was rammed it would blow up the destroyer as well.

Because of this quick last minute withdrawal, the USS O’Bannon found herself moving directly parallel to the RO-35. On closer inspection, Ernest Herr, a sailor onboard the destroyer, stated that the Japanese submariners were sleeping on the deck.

The sleeping Japanese crew quickly woke up and found themselves directly across from their enemy. The USS O’Bannon was at a huge disadvantage at this point because it was too close to the jap-sub to lower her guns and the sub had a 3-inch deck gun at the ready.

Faced with the sub’s guns, the USS O’Bannon crew began to use whatever they had at their disposal to fight the Japanese. Reaching inside nearby storage bins, the crew began to pelt the Japanese sailors with the barrels’ content. Inside the containers were potatoes and soon an epic potato battle began. Either the Japanese were not used to seeing/eating potatoes or the Japanese were expecting the worst and believed the potatoes were actually hand grenades. The Japanese submariners quickly became preoccupied with throwing these potato “grenades” overboard, or right back at the US Sailors , that they were not manning their deck gun.

The USS O’Bannon took the opportunity to gain distance on the submarine as their enemies were busy handling their potato issue. Once the USS O’Bannon was far enough away, they properly lower their guns and began firing at the sub, who, by now, started their decent. Before the RO-35 was fully submerge, the USS O’Bannon damaged the sub’s conning tower. After it disappeared from the surface, the destroyer maneuvered over the sub and delivered a depth charge attack.

After the war, information was released that the Japanese RO-35 submarine did, in fact, sink as a result of USS O’Bannon‘s actions.

Upon hearing about the potato incident, the Association of Potato Growers of Maine sent a plaque commemorating the event. It was mounted near the crew’s mess hall, since, as Herr noted, “it was the crew’s battle.”

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Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell, author of "Lone Survivor," described Medal of Honor recipient LT Michael Murphy as "An iron-souled warrior of colossal and almost unbelievable courage in the face of the enemy."

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Re: "Damned the Potatoes, man."

Postby Domer » April 8th, 2018, 8:19 am

Great story!
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