Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ship Saved by Potatoes

During World War II, the U.S.S. O'Bannon was saved by the mighty potato, according to

Through October 1943, O'Bannon protected landings, carried out escort duties from Noumea and Espiritu Santo to Guadalcanal and Tulagi, joined in bombardments at Guadalcanal, Munda, Kolombangara, and shouldered her share of the nightly patrols up "the Slot" between the Solomons, guarding against Japanese reinforcements.

Retiring from such a run early 5 April, O'Bannon sighted the Japanese submarine RO-34 on the surface and fired on it, destroying the conning tower. The Japanese skipper then brought the ship too close to be fired upon with the main guns and when the crew came topside the sailors pelted them with a barrage of potatoes. The Japanese sailors believed they were being assaulted with grenades and in a panic threw their sidearms overboard and then attempted to submerge causing the sub to sink. During this period she also splashed at least two enemy aircraft in various attacks.

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