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Old 26th October 2016, 18:04
Raponda Raponda is offline
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Nakajima torpedo bombers

I am editing my father's World War II memoirs in the South West Pacific Area in 1944-45. His Liberty ship, SS Antoine Saugrain was torpedoed on December 5, 1944, abandoned and sunk on December 5. The book, "Liberty's War" will be published in May coincident with a museum exhibition about the story at the American Merchant Marine Museum, Kings Point NY (Long Island). I am looking for wartime photos of Nakajima "Kate" B5N and Nakajima "Jill" B6N bombers. Can anyone help?

I have had no luck identifying the unit that sank his ship between Dinegat and Leyte islands in the Philippines, sailing with the Pacific convoy Task Unit 76.4.7. Most action reports identify a Kate or Jill as the aircraft dropping the torpedoes. Suggestions, anyone?
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Old 26th October 2016, 19:45
edwest2 edwest2 is offline
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Re: Nakajima torpedo bombers

I suggest contacting researchers at this site.


www.j-aircraft.com


I think they would be interested in your father's memoirs as well.




Best,
Ed
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Old 27th October 2016, 14:35
Raponda Raponda is offline
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Re: Nakajima torpedo bombers

Thanks for your help, Ed!
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Old 27th October 2016, 22:55
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Snautzer Snautzer is online now
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Re: Nakajima torpedo bombers

Brave ship and crew:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Antoine_Saugrain

Antoine Saugrain fought off 12 kamikaze torpedo planes on 5 December 1944. Twelve gunners were wounded and merchant seamen took over the machine guns to fight off the attack. Two days later she was sunk by a torpedo plane while in tow in the Surigao Strait near Leyte Gulf. Some of the 450 survivors had to swim a long time before being rescued.
The Coast Guard frigate's role of escorting convoys from the staging areas to the invasion sites likewise was crucial. In late November, the Coronado and San Pedro left Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, to steam the 1,250 miles to escort a convoy of ships bringing supplies and men to Leyte. The voyage proceeded without incident until 5 December when enemy planes attacked the convoy. One Japanese torpedo plane attacked the SS Antoine Saugrain from the port beam. The torpedo struck the freighter at the stern, exploded, and carried away its rudder. Fifteen minutes later another torpedo bomber approached the Saugrain and despite heavy gunfire, put a torpedo in the ship at the number two hold. This torpedo fatally wounded the vessel. The Saugrain had on board nearly 450 crew and Army troops. The Coronado and San Pedro steamed to the assistance of the freighter and saved all hands.
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Old 4th November 2016, 05:19
Raponda Raponda is offline
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Re: Nakajima torpedo bombers

Thanks, Snautzer.I appreciate youtaking the time to post.

This is one case where Wikipedia is in error so I want to correct the record quickly. Wikipedia's entry is based on a wildly inaccurate press release distributed 10 months after the action by the the War Shipping Administration, "American Merchant Marine Ships in Action in the Pacific During World War II" Odlin - Maritime 62 PR 2404 (W)"

My late father, Herman Melton, third engineer on the Saugrain was aboard when it was torpedoed. In preparing his memoirs, he and I located 7 others also on board who contributed to his upcoming book, "Liberty's War about his experiences on four Liberty ships. I am hoping that one of the benefits of the book will be to counter the false WSA story that is now more than 70 years old. There were no casualties on the Saugrain, and merchant seamen did not man the machine guns. The Saugrain was the only ship in the convoy, Task Unit 76.4.7, that failed to reach Tacloban, Leyte, so the author did not confuse the Saugrain with one of her sister ships. I think it was simply the overblown imagination of a p.r. flack at WSA.

When the book is published in May, I'll post an announcement on 12 O'Clock High for those interested in the Merchant Marine. The book also tells an interesting story of his voyage to Murmansk in one of the North Russian convoys. Best wishes and thanks again for your post! Will
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