Escrito por: EL ESPECIALISTA

Analyst, Researcher and Advisor focused on professional tactical, police and military equipment. Worker from Defense and Security Sector with the Geography and History degree started, and waiting to be finished. Military/Security equipment Collector, Buyer and Seller Collector, Buyer and Seller Passionate about Militaria, Military History, Geopolitics and Armed Conflicts as an object of study.
MILITARY-HISTORY-USS-WILLIAM-D-PORTER-TRAGIC-HISTORY-ENGLISH-MilitariaGeneral
4 Jul, 2021

🧾 INTRODUCTION

The story that we are going to tell you today was discovered at the time thanks to a friend who shared the link of the publication of Histories of History (From now on, HdH an Spanish blog about History), . in a group about this subject, and due to the curious and unique of the one, we have decided to share it with you as well.

The story that we are going to speak about  today takes us to the World War II on the side of the Americans and their destroyer: The  U.S.S. William D. Porter (which for short, from now on we will name only as USS Porter). A destroyer known for her record of misfortune due to a succession of incidents ranging from friendly fire to an assassination attempt.

📋 THE USS PORTER CURIOUS STORY

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

The story starts in 1943, in the middle of the Second World War, shortly before the Teherán and  Cairo Conferences (Conferences that were vital to the allied forces course of the conflict. In the first one, Iósif Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met to discuss the course of the war in Europe as well as issues related to the Poland divisionand other postwar issues. In the second, the same was done but in the case of the allied position against Japan and on the future of Asia in the postwar period. )

Both conferences represent a milestone in history in terms of cooperation between great powers to achieve a mutual goal.

PRECEDENTS:
It is in this context that our story is situated. In order to attend the recently conferences, the president of the United States of the time, Roosevelt traveled aboard the battleship U.S.S. Iowa to Casablanca (In the then French Protectorate of Morocco), in a convoy in which our character ship (The USS Porter) was part and, according to what HdH literally quotes, was in charge of offering anti-submarine support.

THE PORT INCIDENT

The destroyer  first incident took place in the port in which it was docked.

Apparently, at the time of setting sail to meet the rest of the convoy, it had not gotten off the entire anchor, which ended up hooking against the side of a merchant ship, causing damage to part of the side of it.

The USS Porter unfortunate story has only just begun.

ENEMIES U-BOOTS

The USS Porter main mission in the convoy was offer anti-submarine support. Normally, this kind of service doest with depth charges.

This weapon working method is, when you throw it into the water, and when it sinks to a certain depth, it explodes damaging the submarines hull, neutralizing them.

Well, a day after the first incident in the port, on November 12 there was a large explosion in the water in the convoy proximity. Due to this, the convoy declared battle stations  due to the possible presence of enemy submarines in the vicinity.

The end was not as it seemed, and a few minutes later the “USS Porter” transmitted that there was no German submarine. The explosion was from one of its depth charges, which had accidentally fallen from its ship.

IMAGE: Dept charged used by the United States Navy during the Second World War.
SOURCE: Wikipedia.

MAGNICIDE ATTEMPT

IMAGEN: Montura cuádruple de cañones de 40mm Bofors del USS Hornet.     FUENTE: Wikipedia.

To calm the spirits inside the convoy, Roosevelt ordered an anti-aircraft drill by releasing several weather balloons and ordering his anti-aircraft defenses to shoot them down.

Due to the wind that pushed them, some meteorological balloons ended up near the USS Porter, which also opened anti-aircraft fire to try to show that even though it was the culprit of 2 disasters in the convoy, they were still useful for the whole. In an act of euphoria, the crew of the USS Porter decided to do a real drill with real torpedoes (For which it is necessary to put the torpedoes in their bays without their protective shell, but without launching them. Or what would come to be the same, have a gun ready to fire but not pulling the trigger).

And what is the problem about it? Well, apparently, before launching a torpedo, first you have to measure the target distance to calculate the torpedo speed and then you can decide to use one torpedo type or another.

Therefore choose a target. What would that goal be? The president’s ship. In theory nothing should happen, since it was not going to be launched…. But things change when someone accidentally pressed the “red button”.

The failed drill result of  of our destroyer meant that the “USS Iowa” had to maneuver sharply to avoid the “allied” torpedo, causing President Roosevelt to almost fall overboard (Because of polio he sometimes went in Wheelchair)

For this act, the entire crew of the destroyer was tried before a Court of War, blaming him for an attack on the president and sentencing him to a Council of War, of which the sailor who launched the torpedo was sentenced to 14 years of forced labor.

Eventually a presidential pardon was granted and both the destroyer and her crew were dispatched to the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.

IMAGE: Roosevelt in a wheelchair as a result of his polio.
SOURCE:: Wikipedia.

Precisely this episode is echoed by the official World of Warships channel (a free Wargaming MMOG whose theme is naval warfare. If you want to download it for free, you can do it from HERE)

A DRUNKEN SAILOR

Months later, when the USS Porter was at its new destination and moored at the base, while a party was being held at the base commander’s house, a drunken sailor came on board, and he could not think of a better idea than to operate one of the guns from the boat, firing at the garden of the house where the party was taking place.

FRIENDLY FIRE

Later he was sent to the Pacific front operation theater of operations, and when it was participating in the Battle of Okinawa, it accidentally fired at an Allied destroyer, the USS Luce. And not only that, but apparently he also shot down 3 American planes thinking they were Japanese.

THE DESIRED SINKING

As it could not be otherwise, the end of this ship was not something normal.
Bad luck returned.

The sinking of the USS Porter occurred when a Japanese plane that was about to crash into it was shot down, it submerged and exploded when it passed under the keel of the destroyer, causing a leak and causing it to sink 3 hours later.

THE USS PORTER IS BACK

Did you think this was going to be the end? Well, depending on how you look at it, it could be … but in 2012, another American destroyer named exactly as our famous USS Porter crashed with a Japanese tanker near the Strait of Hormuz. YOU CAN READ THE ENTIRE NEWS HERE.

📜 SOURCES AND CONSULTED MATERIAL