07 December 2016
Companion book: “Normandy: a Father’s Ship and a Son’s Curiosity” coming out 2017
#PearlHarbor occurred 75 years ago today. It was the overt action which precipitated the United States into World War II and ushered in the launching of the U.S.S PC 552.
The Pearl Harbor attack was irrational in so many ways as was the subsequent declaration of war by Germany. Most rational Japanese and German leaders were certain they would lose a protracted war with the United States. Reading the history now, there were clear-headed people in both countries who did all they could to convince their leaders not to engage the United States. They knew with the United States industrial capacity, it would always win a war of attrition.
At the time, the States was very reluctant to get involved. Roosevelt was preoccupied with shepherding material to the U.K and the United States had a limited Navy. With this fact, Roosevelt was desperate to avoid conflict with Japan. As he said, “there isn’t enough Navy to go around”.
The Japanese military rationalized that its spirit of bushido made each Japanese fighting man the equal of many American fighting men. Both the Germans and the Japanese spoke of Americans as soft with their democracy which led to easy ways and a lack of resolved leadership
The Japanese were hoping to deliver a knockout blow that would intimidate the United States to come to terms. The Germans hoped to achieve victory in Europe before the Americans were involved, making their engagement pointless. Neither plan worked. Some say World War II was won with Russian bodies, British intelligence, and American steel.
In the end, the Americans overwhelmed both enemies. American planes darkened the skies over Europe and Japan, shooting at will. American submarines isolated them. The German soldiers joked that if the plane overhead was blue, it was British; if it was silver, it was American; and if it was invisible, it was German. Japanese soldiers joked one could walk from Singapore to Japan dry footed by stepping on the periscopes of American submarines
The Japanese and the Germans got very good at camouflage because they had to. Anything which moved got blasted by the Americans. In contrast, the Americans did not have to be very good at camouflage because they were the hunters, not the hunted. While the Germans and Japanese had to move under cover of darkness, the Allies actually had to paint their planes with bright white stripes to be easily identifiable so they would not accidently be shot out of the sky by their own side.
Two months after Pearl Harbor, the U.S.S. PC 552 was launched. It was commissioned as a U.S. warship the following July and was hunting Nazi U-boats that September. It was credited with one U-boat kill and ultimately, it made its way to #DDay. Please like the page at www.facebook.com/PC552
We will be sending these posts out each Wednesday. Please enjoy these posts about the U.S.S. PC 552, its crew, and its times.