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The following are excerpts concerning the USS Rich from the History of United States Naval Operations in World War II by Samuel Elliot Morison, Volume XI, The Invasion of France and Germany, 1944 - 1945, Chapter X, pp 171 and 172

 

 
    The German weapon that gave Admiral Ramsay the greatest concern, and rightly so, was the mine. And one of the most fortunate things that happened to the Allies, as we have seen, was the enemy's delay in planting the oyster or pressure mines that he had developed. Most of those that did the damage off the beaches were delayed-action magnetic or sonic mines, laid before D-day. At 0820 June 7, transport Susan B. Anthony exploded one of these while approaching Omaha, and went down quickly. Her troops were taken off by small craft, LCI-496 alone embarking 434 men in 15 minutes. Next day saw the loss of Destroyer Escort Rich, and a desperate struggle of destroyer Glennon to survive. Efforts to save the latter were of the quality that old sailors respect- the sort of story they like to hear even though it has no happy ending.

    Glennon (Commander Clifford A. Johnson) was approaching her gunfire support position at 0830 June 8, about three miles northwest of the Saint-Marcouf Islands, when her stern struck a mine. A sailor standing on the fantail was tossed 40 feet into the air before he splashed into the water, both legs broken. After a quick check of the damage, Commander Johnson passed this word over the loudspeaker: "The ship will not sink; all hands remain on board, repair parties proceed with rescue and salvage work." He lowered the whale boat to pick up men in the water, and requested assistance from Admiral Deyo. Within half an hour, minesweepers Staff and Threat were on hand. Passing a towline to one, while the other swept ahead, Commander Johnson was ready to be towed when a salvo from a German battery landed about 200 yards astern. He requested a nearby cruiser to fire on two suspected targets, which she did; but two more salvos splashed close aboard Glennon before the offending battery was silenced. Destroyer escort Rich (Lieutenant Commander E. A. Michel, USNR) closed in the wake of the minesweepers, and asked Glennon if she needed assistance. Johnson answered, "Negative; clear area cautiously; live mines." At about 0840 Rich was slowly rounding Glennon stern to take position ahead of the towing minesweeper when she felt a heavy explosion that tripped her circuit breakers. Three minutes later a second explosion blew off a 50-foot section of her stern. Less than two minutes after that, a third mine exploded under the forecastle. The commanding officer, although badly injured calmly supervised the transfer of survivors to motor torpedo boats and other small craft. The exec. of PT-502, which was standing by reported:-

    With her back broken, with bodies and parts of bodies draped from her radar mast, her gun tubs and what remained of her funnel, the Destroyer Escort was a scene of holocaust...

    As the vessels lay dying in the water like wounded monsters with their crews of tiny offspring frantically trying to resuscitate them, astonishing examples of individual heroism took place.

    As PT-508 backed off at last from the sinking after-end of Rich, a lone figure bobbed by under the overhanging bow of the boat. The bow line was rapidly coiled to rescue this last living survivor, but before it could be tossed the man raised his face to the sailors on deck staring down at him, and in a firm, calm voice said, "Never mind; I have no arms to catch it." Lieutenant Calvin R. Whorton, USNR, the skipper of PT-508, was over the side by this time; but death was faster, for by the time he reached the man he had turned and sunk. (from Queeny, "The Far Shore" pp - 15).

    The wreck that was Rich sank within 15 minutes of the first explosion; and, out of her crew of 215, twenty seven were killed, 52 were missing, and 73 were wounded.

    As the Destroyer Escort was going down, Staff reported that she could not budge Glennon, whose fantail was apparently firmly anchored to the bottom of her starboard propeller. The minesweeper took off most of the ship's company and proceeded to the transport area. Those remaining on board Glennon busied themselves lightening the stern by pumping fuel forward and jettisoning depth charges and topside gear. Tug Kiowa, preceded by two minesweepers which detonated two mines en route, came alongside about 1100. The sailors remaining on board Glennon rushed forward, "sallying ship" according to the old-time method for getting clear. But even with their assistance Kiowa could not move her. (June 9 was spent in efforts to salvage Glennon. On the 10th, with Johnson and 60 men aboard, Glennon was sunk by salvos from a German battery near Quineville. 25 of her crew were lost and 38 missing.)

 

 

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