Friday, June 30, 2017

Events Off California

TUE 30 JUN 1942
Naval vessels on hand (all types of ships and craft)--5,612. Personnel: Navy--640,570; Marine Corps--143,528; Coast Guard--58,998. Total personnel--843,096.

XPBS-1* transporting Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet, and his staff to San Francisco crashes upon landing off Alameda, California. Nimitz suffers scratches and abrasions in the mishap but remains topside on the wreckage to direct rescue operations, refusing to leave that post until the wrecked flying boat has been searched for survivors.

Coastal minesweeper Hornbill (AMc-13) is sunk in collision with U.S. lumber schooner Esther Johnson in San Francisco Bay, California.

District patrol craft YP-270 sinks after running aground at Boca Santo Domingo, while en route from San Diego, California, to the Panama Canal Zone, 25°30'N, 112°06'W.

District patrol craft YP-128 sinks after running aground in heavy weather three miles northeast of Monterey, California.

Submarine Plunger (SS-179) sinks Japanese merchant cargo ship No.5 Unkai Maru off the China coast near approaches to Shanghai, 30°04'N, 122°54'E.

Indian Ocean
U.S. freighter Express, en route from Bombay, India, to Cape Town, South Africa, is torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine I-10 at 23°30'S, 37°30'E; one lifeboat is swamped when the ship is abandoned, and two Armed Guard sailors and 11 merchant seamen are lost (see 6 July).

PBM (VP 74) sinks German submarine U-158 in western Atlantic, 32°50'N, 67°28'W.

U.S. steamship City of Birmingham, en route to Bermuda, is torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-202 about 250 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, 35°04'N, 61°01'W; six of the 113-man crew and two of 263 passengers are lost in the sinking. Escorting high speed minesweeper Stansbury (DMS-8), after depth-charging U-202, rescues 107 merchant seamen (one of whom dies of his injuries), 261 passengers and the 5-man Armed Guard.

Coastal minesweeper Courier (AMc-72) rescues 30 merchant seamen (four wounded men have perished in the lifeboats) and the nine-man Armed Guard from U.S. freighter Sam Houston, sunk by German submarine U-203 on 28 June. One crewman dies of wounds subsequently. Courier transports the survivors to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Gunboat Surprise (PG-63) rescues survivors from U.S. freighter Sea Thrush, sunk by German submarine U-505 on 28 June. A second group of survivors reaches St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, on 3 July.

*There was only one XPBS-1. This is it, in 1938:
And now, the rest of the story:
On 17 December 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Chester William Nimitz to duty as Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet (CinCPac) with the rank of Admiral, effective 31 December 1941. Nimitz directed the Pacific Fleet in the critical spring of 1942 that culminated in the victories at Coral Sea (7-8 May) and Midway (4-6 June). Nimitz nearly perished less than a month after Midway when the Sikorsky XPBS-1 (BuNo 9995) carrying the admiral hit a submerged log when landing at Naval Air Station, Alameda, CA, on 30 June 1942. The impact threw the men around inside the big flying boat like dice in a box, inflicting injuries on all on board, and they soon began struggling to escape as the aircraft filled with water. Nimitz, who suffered scratches and abrasions in the mishap, immediately showed concern for those who had been hurt in the crash (one of the flight crew, Lieutenant Thomas M. Roscoe, died in the mishap) and remained topside on the wreckage to direct rescue operations, refusing to move until searchers finished their grim task of investigating the wrecked flying boat for survivors.

No comments: