Mobilization

#PC552

 

springfield
Springfield 1903 Rifle

 

A key part of the Axis strategy was to win World War II before the Americans came in. All combatants realized once the Americans came in, their industrial might would overwhelm everyone. And overwhelm them, they did.

The United States entered World War II with an army smaller than Portugal’s. It was equipped with the bolt action 1903 Springfield. A late 19th century US Calvary man would recognize that technology.

The States fielded 16 million people in uniform during the course of the war around that very small military. Initially, there were not enough Springfields to train with, so the men trained with broomsticks. By the end of the war, most soldiers were equipped with the semi-automatic M-1 Garand rifle, if not something better. A British general expressed amazement at how the US seemed to be able to turn out fully trained and superbly equipped combat divisions as if on an assembly line.   German soldiers could not get enough food and ammunition when their manufacturing base was less than a hundred kilometers from the front; knowing this, a captured German soldier being marched to the American rear realized the war was over when he saw a plane land from the States full of nothing but apple pies.

This was the spirit of the times in which the U.S.S. PC 552 was built, launched, and crewed. The ship entered the war in September 1942 and immediately began to battle German U-boats.

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#WWII Contact: USS.PC.552@gmail.com

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Battling German U-boats

Where are you today? In 1942, during this week, the PC 552 battled a German U-boat for six and one-half hours in American waters.

This is the continuing story of the USS PC 552.

kesnick-and-guzda-on-uss-pc-552-website
Ted Guzda and Bill Kesnick

The PC 552 was built and crewed in haste at the beginning of the dark days of the Battle of the Atlantic. It took on the rightfully feared German U-boats, was credited with sinking one, then escorted invasion craft to the U.K, and finally participated in the D-Day invasion of Normandy as a control vessel, one of the ships closest to the shore. It came under attack from small arms fire, air craft, and the hated German 88 artillery; it returned fire for fire. It continued to battle German war craft until the Germans surrendered May 1945, then recrossed the Atlantic for an overhaul prior to being sent to the Pacific to finish the job with the Japanese. Fortunately, the atom bomb intervened in the meantime.  In the end, it was ignobly scrapped as quickly as it was built, as the war was over and it was considered surplus.

This is presented against the backdrop of what was going on in the wider world the PC 552 faced. There were many events occurring in the world which were then on the lips of every American. Most are largely forgotten now, except by a few people now in their 90’s who have run their race, and are waiting to be called home. These were real people facing a real situation. People forget how scary those times were.

See the story at:

Email:                         USS.PC.552@gmail.com.

Facebook:                    www.facebook.com/PC552

#PC552           #Normandy     #WorldWarII

Normandy

 

helmet

This a companion to the book: “Normandy: A Father’s Odyssey, a Son-in-Law’s Curiosity

I have often been asked why I wrote a book about an American warship which wound up at the Battle of Normandy. The real answer is that I don’t know.

I always knew my father-in-law was at the Battle of Normandy. Like most of those who went through such an experience, he did not talk about it much until he was in his later years. I always felt he believed that of all the people close to him, I was the one who could relate best to his experiences because of our shared experiences. One day, he requested I find out what happened to his ship. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I was able to quickly make some initial discoveries. Intrigued, the more I discovered, the more I wanted to know. This became a self-perpetuating cycle and the result was a book.

The result was a fascinating look into a world we have largely forgotten. Most of us understand those times through the distorted view of a Hollywood lens. As a people, we have forgotten that war in all its forms is very ugly and ONLY to be used as a last resort.

My military experience was as a Viet Nam Era Infantry sergeant with most of my time spent patrolling the jungles of Central America. Initially, trying to relate to the World War II U.S. Navy was as alien as relating to a denizen of the far side of the moon. The “tin can” he bounced around in was a naval warship; the “tin can” I bounced around in was my steel helmet. In the navy world, enlisted men focused on their occupation specialty and he mastered his as a radioman, one of a few on board; in my world, everyone was a rifleman. We all focused on the M-16 and other small arms. He learned the workings of his ship; I learned how to quickly move through the jungle and plan our patrols from water source to water source. He came home to a grateful nation. I learned to keep quiet about my military past to prevent retribution. These were different times with different goals, different philosophies, and different languages, not only between the two services, but between the two eras.

The men of that generation are mostly gone now. My father was one of them, as is my father-in-law. Nick Stine may be the last living former crewmember of his ship, the U.S.S. PC 552. We will all meet again someday, compare notes, and understand. This book captures this story of those times before it is lost forever.

I will be sending out comments on the story of the U.S.S. PC 552 once a week and I hope you follow them. I hope to hear back from you.

Dave Cary: Email: USS.PC.552@gmail.com.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PC552

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