The Seaweed

USS Champlin DD-601  

Spring 2000 - Page 2

(U-856...continued for page 1)

smoke bomb was dropped over the approximate position of the submarine to assist the U.S. S. Huse which had been directed by ComDesDiv to assist.

1614 - HUSE made contact and attacked with hedgehogs upon advice of Commander SHAFFER. No hedgehogs were heard to explode, but due to the distance and depth it is possible that the vessel could not have been able to hear them..

1634 - CHAMPLIN attacked without contact and dropped 9 charges out of an intended 11 charge pattern at 7 second intervals set very deep (average 560 feet) leading the markee dropped by the HUSE in the direction of movement reported by the HUSE. Position of drop by DRT was Latitude 40 18' 50"N; Longitude 62 18' 05"W.

1640 - Huse regained contact and made her second run but did not drop or fire hedgehogs because attack had not developed satisfactorily.

1645 - CHAMPLIN regained contact bearing 355T, range 1300 yards and made run dropping 8 charges (11 intended) set for medium depth (average depth 260 feet) losing contact at 300 yards. Contact was regained after firing, bearing 265T, range 350 yards and was held.. Position by DRT: Latitude 40 18" 15"N: Longitude 62 18' 15"W.

1652 - Report was made to bridge from the torpedo director operator "Periscope sighted bearing 250 relative". The conning tower appeared immediately after and all guns were brought to bear on it.

1654 - The Captain ordered "Commence Firing" to the Gunnery Officer. "Be prepared to fire standard eleven charge pattern, shallow depth", to the Sound Officer; "All engines ahead flank. Stand by to Ram!" to the O.O.D.

1655 - The main battery (5"/38) commenced firing. Due to the ship's head, only two forward guns could fire with gun #3 joining intermittently. The main battery was firing at point blank range and in spite of large level angle and lack of stable element control, made early hits in hull, conning tower, and personnel on deck of the submarine.

1706 - (Approx.) Ship struck submarine in stern with port bow causing indeterminate damage to our port side.

1708 - Ceased firing. Huse now firing, scoring hits. CHAMPLIN circled for second approach seeking a clear range. Huse approached to ram but did not.

1709 - Champlin approached for second run; Captain apparently preparing to ram again.

1710 - Commenced firing on port bow. About this time a 20MM projectile from port bridge 20mm gun

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detonated upon impact with open top of adjacent ready box throwing shrapnel which wounded Commander Shaffer and three enlisted men. First aid administered.

1712 - Executive Office, who had come up from C.I.C. to view the action, was notified of captain's injury and took over the conn. Continued run with all guns firing for a very short time but did not ram.

1714 - Huse preparing to drop shallow pattern. In view of the fire observed in the sub's conning tower and apparent abandonment Champlin advised against this. Depth charging survivors in water considered advisable against Japanese who refuse to surrender but not against Germans who were very anxious to be picked up. Submarine sank and underwater explosions were felt. Position by DRT (Corrected at 1200/7 by Loran fix) Latitude 40 18' Bl Longitude 62 18'W.

1733 - Upon receipt of word from Repair I that compartments A-204L and A-205L were flooding from holes in port side, Champlin slowed to ten knots, requested and received permission from CDD 32 to desist trying to pick up survivors and turn to an easy course to affect repairs.

1743 - Proceeded to course 080T at 12 knots with wind from astern to patch holes and to operate on Commander Shaffer.

1830 - Patching competed. Flooded compartments being pumped out.

1940 - Joined by CDD 32 in Boyle who took screening station ahead.

2037 - Removed Commander Shaffer from emergency cabin to Wardroom for operation.

2200 - Both ruptured compartments nearly dry.

2210 - Medical Officer commenced operation on Commander Shaffer.

0230 - 8 April 1944 - Operation completed on Commander Shaffer. His condition very serous; in deep coma.

0240 - reversed course to 268T to head for New York, NY.

0803 - Commander Shaffer died.

1737 - 9 April 1944 - Commander Shaffer buried at sea in Latitude - 39 56'N: Longitude 71 04"W. Note - excerpts from TBS logs are attached as addenda to Part II.


All material performed satisfactorily except for the following casualties;

1. 5"/38 guns two and four experienced jammed cartridges. These were quickly removed by means of the tong type extractor and cleared with short cartridges.

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