Monday, January 13, 2014

USS Roper (DD-147)-- Part 1: The U-85 Incident

From Wikipeia. //// Wickes-class destroyer commissioned at the end of World War I, 1090 tons, 314-feet long, 101 crew four 4-inch and two 3-inch guns. //// Named for Lt. Cmdr. Jesse M. Roper who died during the Spanish-American War while rescuing his crew. First U.S. warship to sink a German U-boat in World War I. //// After commissioning and during the inter-war period, served in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and along the U.S. west coast. //// Immediately before U.S. entry into World War II, the Roper was part of the Neutrality Patrol and then escorted convoys after Pearl Harbor. //// On the night of April 13-14, 1942, made contact with a surfaced U-boat off the coast of North Carolina, chased the U-85 and sank it with gunfire. //// In 2002, former U-boat commander Helmut Schmoeckel wrote a book suggesting that the USS Roper not rescuing the U-85's crew after they abandoned the submarine was a war crime. //// The Roper reported that after initial contact with the U-85, it was almost hit by a torpedo. After sinking it, the Roper's commander delayed rescue operations until morning and the arrival of air support from a PBY Catalina and another ship for reasons of fear of another U-boat possibly operating in the area. //// No charges were filed against the Roper's crew or commander, Lt. Cmdr. Hamilton W. Howe. Howe received a Navy Cross medal for the action and retired in 1956 as a rear admiral. //// War Crime Or Not? --GreGen

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