USS Plymouth (PG-57)

USS Plymouth (PG-57)

USS "Plymouth" (PG-57), a patrol gunboat, was the fourth ship of the United States Navy to be named for Plymouth, Massachusetts, a town founded by the Pilgrims in 1620 on Plymouth Bay, about 35 miles southeast of Boston.

"Plymouth"'s keel was laid down in 1931 by the Krupp Germania-Werft in Kiel, Germany, as "Alva". She was given to the United States Navy on 4 November 1941 by her owner, W. K. Vanderbilt II of New York City, and was placed in reduced commission at Jacksonville, Florida, on 29 December 1941 with Commander F. W. Schmidt in command.

She departed Jacksonville on 31 December for the Navy Yard, Washington, DC, arriving there on 4 January 1942. She sailed on 21 January and the next day entered the Norfolk Navy Yard. On 23 January, she was placed in commission in ordinary for conversion to a patrol gunboat. She was placed in full commission 20 April and assigned to Inshore Patrol Squadron, 5th Naval District, based at Norfolk, Virginia. On 8 May she departed Norfolk, forming part of the escort for a convoy en route to Key West, Florida. She was on continuous escort duty between New York, Norfolk, and Key West until 27 August 1942, when she steamed from New York as convoy escort for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, returning as escort for another convoy 12 September. She made two more convoy escort voyages to Guantanamo Bay and back to New York between 17 September and 24 October 1942. She then resumed escort duty between New York and Key West. During one period of this duty, 24 December 1942 to 13 June 1943, "Plymouth" completed eight convoy escort voyages from New York to Key West and back.

On her last voyage, "Plymouth" departed New York City on 4 August 1943 as part of the escort for a convoy bound for Key West. She made underwater sound contact about 90 miles east of Elizabeth City, New Jersey, on the following evening. As she swung left, to bear on the target, a violent underwater explosion occurred just abaft the bridge. The force of the explosion rolled "Plymouth" to starboard. She then took on a heavy list to port with her entire port side forward of amidships in flames. She sank within two minutes.

Lieutenant Ormsby M. Mitchel, Jr., USNR, in command of "Plymouth", was thrown violently against a bulkhead and sustained serious injuries, which later required amputation of his left leg. Despite his own condition, he directed abandon ship operations, remaining at his post until the ship went down. Rescued from a raft by "Calypso", Lieutenant Mitchel was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism. Soundman 3/Class Franklin A. McGinty was also awarded the Navy Cross and Purple Heart posthumously.

Rescue operations were hampered by heavy seas and sharks. 85 of the crew survived to be taken to Norfolk on 6 August. A Board of Investigation concluded that "Plymouth" had been sunk by a torpedo fired from an enemy submarine. The submarine was U-566.

sinking

At 21.37 hours on 5 Aug, 1943, the USS Plymouth (PG 57) (Lt Ormsby M. Mitchel, Jr., USNR) was hit by one torpedo from U-566 about 120 miles southeast of Cape Henry, Virginia. The gunboat had made a underwater sound contact while escorting a coastal convoy, just as the ship swung left to bear on the target she was struck just abaft the bridge. The ship rolled first to starboard, then took a heavy list to port with the entire port side forward of amidships in flames and sank within two minutes. The survivors were picked up by the US Coast Guard cutter USS Calypso in heavy seas and arrived in Norfolk on 6 August.

The commander Lt Ormsby M. Mitchel, Jr. was awared the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism. He had been thrown violently against a bulkhead and sustained serious injuries, which later required amputation of his left leg. Despite his own condition, he directed abandon ship operations and remained at his post until the ship went down.

References

Link

* [http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ships/PG/PG-57_Plymouth.html Photograph and bio {reference only]

ee also

*List of patrol vessels of the United States Navy


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