The Seaweed

USS Champlin DD-601  

Winter 2000

USS Champlin On The Internet

The USS Champlin has it's own web site on the World Wide Web. The recently revised site features a new, easy to remember address: and has been expanded and improved by the addition of a page devoted to photographs taken during the period September 12, 1942 to January 31, 1947. On the Photo Page, we have added a sub-group of the most recently added photos for the convenience of the viewer. Included in these new photos are: William E. Baker, James W. Barrett, Thomas G. Bie, Rocco (n) Farina, Louis (n) Goldberg/Gilbert, William F. Jesenovec, Nathan R. Lerner, Frank H. Miller, Robert G. Nixon, Donald (n) O'Connor. In addition, we have a recent photo of the former Captain of the U-856, Fritz Wittenberg, with the former Executive Officer of the USS Ordronaux, David R. Owen.

The Hunt For U-130

The following is excerpted from the recently published work of Clay Blair and can be found in greater detail in his book "Hitler's U-Boat War, The Hunted 1942-1945" published by Random House, previously recommended to the readers of the Seaweed.

Page 201: " Like all American convoys sailing between the US and Africa and vice-versa, UGS 6 was heavily guarded. Commanded by Charles Wellborn, Jr. (Who later rose to Vice Admiral), the escort consisted of seven modern (1935 - 42) fleet destroyers, one of which was fresh from workup. All were equipped with the latest centimetric-wavelength radar. None had Huff-Duff, but the improved Allied shore-based Huff Duff network in the Atlantic Ocean area provided the Allies with fairly fast and precise information on the locations of the U-boats that were transmitting radio traffic.

Upon receiving the B-Dienst report, U-boat Control ordered...(cont. top next column)

Also in this issue:

The Hunt for 1
The Hunt for 2
More From The 3
Champlin 3
U-130 and U-856 4
The Story of 4
Thanks and 4
Reunion Group 5
USS Champlin Ship's 5
Champlin 5
Mini-Reunion 5

the NewYork task force, five boats of which were organized into group Unverzaget (Intrepid) to alter course and intercept UGS 6. The eager new skipper Siegfried Keller in U-130 - still flush from his four sinkings from convoy XK2 - found UGS 6 on the evening of March 12. Per doctrine, U-boat Control ordered Keller to shadow and not to attack until other boats had established contact. Shore-based Huff Duff stations alerted Wellborn to the presence of U-130 and the probability that she would draw in other U-boats.

At about the same time, the skipper of the second newest of the destroyers, Charles L. Melson (later, a four star admiral and in 1958-1960, superintendent of the US Naval Academy) in Champlin, got a radar contact at two miles. Ringing up flank speed, Melson ran down the bearing and opened fire with his 5" guns in the forward turret at a range of one mile. Too late, Keller in U-130 dived, catching two close depth charges before he could get deep. Temporarily detached from the convoy, Melson in Champlin hunted the U-boat for four hours, carrying out four separate, well-executed depth-charge attacks. Nothing further was ever heard from U-130 (Under Kals and Keller, U-130 sank twenty-five confirmed ships for 167,350 tons to rank twelfth among all U-boats in the war)."

The following information was found on the U-boat net - Index of U-boats - U-130:" The U-130 was laid down 20 Aug, 1940 at AG Weser, Bremen. She was commissioned 11 Jun, 1941. From Jun 1941 until Jan 1943 U-130 was under the command of Korvkpt, Ernst Kals From Feb 1943 to March 1943 she was commanded by Obit. Siegfried Keller. Her career consisted of 5 patrols: 11 Jun 1941 - 31 Aug 1941, 4. Flottille (training); 1 Sep 1941 - 30 Nov 1941 2. Flottille (training); 1 Dec 1941 - 12 Mar 1943 2. Flottille (front boat). Her successes: 24 ships sunk for a total of 159,015 tons. 1 ship damaged for a total of 6,986 tons. Fate: Sunk 12 Mar 1943 west of the Azores, in position 37.10N, 40.21W, by depth charges from the US destroyer USS Champlin. 53 dead (all hands lost)". A further note is found: "Unlike many other U-boats, which during their service lost men due to accidents and various other causes, U-130 did not suffer any casualties until the time of her loss."


"Any man who may be asked what he did to make his life worthwhile, can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction, I served in the United States Navy"

                        John F. Kennedy

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