A Lady Comes of Age
By Kelly Bell
Lt. Cdr. Dudley Morton’s orders were to patrol his submarine USS Wahoo outside New Guinea’s Wewak Harbor for about a week before moving on to Palau by 30 January 1943, but he would not have to wait until then for action. At 1:30 p.m. on the 24th, the Americans were approaching Wewak when they noticed a small naval anchorage just off New Guinea’s eastern coast along the Vitiaz Strait. Morton was drawing a bead on a light cruiser with a pack of submarines moored to her when First Officer Richard O’Kane, peering through the other periscope, noticed movement to his left.
“Destroyer underway! Angle ten port!” he barked. The ship was weaving in a typical sub-hunting pattern, and Morton realized it would only be moments before his boat was discovered. Swinging his bow toward this new mark he personally hit the firing plunger three times at five-second intervals. These hurried shots missed, as did a fourth shot seconds later. The destroyer pumped up her speed to 18 knots. As the Japanese turned to charge their assailant, Morton held a steady heading directly at them. With the two craft approaching each other head-on the range between them rapidly diminished.
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Finland versus the Soviet Union, 1939-40
World at War, Issue #77 Magazine available!
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· Winter War: Finland versus the Soviet Union, 1939–40: The Winter War was a boost for Allied morale. After the German-Soviet overrunning of Poland in September 1939, Finland showed that a small country could stand and fight.
· Five Days at Oosterbeek: The Destruction of the British 1st Airborne Division: The British role in the airborne component of Operation Market-Garden in September 1944 is legendary. Having failed in its objectives, 1st Airborne was trapped at Oosterbeek, and pummeled for five days, escaping with only 20 percent of its troops.
· Destruction of Beta Convoy: British Royal Navy use of Ultra intercepts and radar combine for a devastating nighttime ambush of Italian Beta Convoy.
· USS Wahoo: A Lady Comes of Age: After Japan’s surrender, her surviving admirals and generals counted the submarines as the greatest single factor in the Allies’ final victory. The submariners who achieved all this comprised just two percent of America’s wartime naval personnel. Wahoo was the preeminent sub of the Pacific war.
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