USCG Duane


Duane’s early commanding officer CAPT Albert Martinson

The official USCG history lists CAPT Robert C. Jewell, Jul 1943 – May 1945. However, the only captain’s photograph within the Warbook lists “Captain Moore” 1944-1945. The only mention of the last name “Moore” within the official USCG history lists CDR Harold C. Moore, with no dates attached.

Arriving at Argentia on 2 April 1943, Duane remained moored until 11 April when she became part of CTU 24.1.3, which included Spencer, as flagship, and four British escorts.  This task unit met convoy HX-233 en route Londonderry on the 12th.  On the 17th, SS Fort Rampart, a vessel in the convoy, was torpedoed and the Canadian corvette HMCS Arvida took aboard 49 survivors, three in need of medical attention.  These Duane took aboard.

At 1110 Duane was ordered to take station ahead as Spencer was dropping back through the convoy following a contact on which she had already dropped two patterns of depth charges.  Five minutes later the Spencer ordered Duane to close her and take over the contact.  The Duane began a search on the indicated location and thirty minutes later a 740-ton German U-boat surfaced about 2,700 yards from the Duane.  A minute later Spencer opened fire and Duane went ahead at full speed toward the submarine and after clearing her line of fire so as not to hit Spencer also opened fire.  The submarine was now at right angles to the line of fire and several hits were obtained, one nicely centered on the submarine’s conning tower.  Seven minutes later, as men on deck were seen jumping overboard, Duane ceased fire.

Invasion FS 63

Cleaning the USCG Cutter Duane WPG-33

The conning tower was smoking liberally and the submarine was moving ahead slowly, circling to the right.  The Duane maneuvered to pick up survivors and by 1158 had picked up nine German enlisted men and one officer.  Then she screened Spencer while that cutter sent a boat to the submarine.  Twenty five minutes later the submarine, later ascertained to be the U-175, sank stern first.  The Duane lowered a boat and picked up eleven more German enlisted men and one more officer.  Four of the prisoners received medical attention.  On the 20th Duane moored at North Gourock, Scotland, and delivered all prisoners to the custody of the British authorities and then proceeded to Londonderry arriving on 22 April 1943.

While putting clothing on the survivors, one of the prisoners from the sunken submarine, Leutnant zur See Wolfgang Verlohr, began talking freely and rather fluently in English.  He had been afraid that Duane would not stop to pick up the submarine’s survivors in spite of his crew’s shouts and arm waving.  He spoke of how cold the water was.  He had jumped in soon after the submarine had surfaces.  ”It is not easy down there,” he said.  ”The bombs were bad.  The ship was not hurt, but inside it was all bad.  Everything shaking, things fall down.  It smelled bad and hurt the eyes.”  He commented on the excellence of the attack.  ”We came up and saw you in the periscope, but you saw us and we knew it was all over.  Our chance to get you was gone.  We don’t like the bombs.  It is hard when they shake the boat.  We went down when you saw us and the bombs started going off, things stopped and would not work, a lot of things broke.”  He explained that they had raised the flippers and pumped air to try to steady the submarine.  Not being able to steady her they surfaced and then our guns started and very soon after that he jumped into the water.  ”Did you see the other boat?” he asked.  ”She picked up some of your crew” he was told.  Then it was realized that he meant another submarine.  He had been in Barbados a year ago and up until two trips ago had been in the South Atlantic where they had sunk a six or seven thousand-ton ship full of “cement and things,” bound for Moravia from Trinidad.  Later he criticized his commanding officer for making a daylight attack, which he considered proper procedure only if the moon shone so brightly at night as to make attacks after dark risky for the submarine.

On 12 January 1944, Duane was en route independently to Norfolk where she moored on the 16th at the Norfolk Navy Yard.  From 17 January to 6 March 1944, she was at the Norfolk Navy Yard undergoing conversion as an ACG, a combined operations-communications headquarters ship (her designation then changed to WAGC-6).  Departing the Navy Yard on the 7th she underwent a series of tests and returned to the Yard on the 19th for a period of availability until the 28th when she moved to N.O.B. Norfolk until 3 April 1944.

She departed Norfolk on 3 April as a member of convoy UGS-38, which was escorted by Task Force 66.  On the 18th she reported to the Commander, Eighth Amphibious Force, Mediterranean for duty.  She was detached on the 20th and proceeded under escort to Algiers.  The Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Northwest African Waters, inspected her on the 22nd.  She left Algiers on the 23rd for Naples, arriving there on the 25th and the next day RADM F. J. Lowry, Commander, Eighth Amphibious Force, Mediterranean shifted his flag to Duane from USS Biscayne (AGC-18).  The Duane stood out of Naples on the 28th, escorted by Biscayne and USS Seer (AM-112) and after the 29th proceeded independently to Bizerte, Tunisia.  She proceeded to Palermo, Sicily on May 5th and to Naples on the 9th, returning to Bizerte on the 20th.  She departed Bizerte on the 11th.  Between the 14th and 21st Duane made another trip to Palermo, Salerno, and Naples, where she remained until 29 July 1944.  On the 30th MAJGEN John W. O’Daniels (pic) and his staff reported on board to take part in assault practice exercises on the 31st.

Rear Admiral Frank J. Lowry

“To Rooks, a Dear Friend and Shipmate -Rear Admiral Frank J. Lowry”

See Operation Dragon below

At 0600 on August 13, 1944 naval. bombardment of shore targets commenced. Fighters were circling overhead and enemy aircraft were reported 10 miles northeast.  At 0617 Wave No, 1 of assault craft departed and a minute later fire was observed in the LCT convoy, astern to port, either a burning vessel or barrage balloon on fire.  This was followed by a loud explosion and a column of water east of the transport  area.  Then came a warning that friendly bombing missions were about to arrive at five minute intervals from the southeast.  Meanwhile, Wave No. 2 of assault craft departed followed at ten minute intervals by waves No. 3 and No. 4.

The air bombardment of the beach began at 0700 with 26 medium bombers and Duane, with all assault craft proceeded from the outer to the inner transport area.  A P-47 fighter was observed falling and crashed into the sea, bursting into flames.  The pilot, descending by parachute, was picked up by a PC boat.  At 0749 wave #1 was one mile from the beach.

Wave #1 landed on Yellow Beach at 0800 and seven minutes later LCTs were proceeding toward the beach.  Fifteen minutes after that, the LCI wave departed, heading for the beach.  This was followed by the DUKW wave and another LCT wave.  Little resistance was reported from Red and Yellow beaches at 0903 and an hour later Alpha Red Beach reported satisfactory progress.  Smoke blowing from the beaches reduced visibility.  MAJGEN O’Daniels and part of the operational staff (HQ Co., 3rd Infantry Division) departed Duane in an LCVP at 1044.  Two hours later a smoke screen was laid down west of the Duane to prevent attack on shipping by shore batteries, followed by another screen along the western edge of the Inner Red Transport Area.

The HMS Orion, lying east of Duane, commenced a shore bombardment at 1507, firing over Duane for 23 minutes until the gun emplacements ashore which were her targets were reported knocked out.  At 1612  Duane got underway and proceeded to Baie de Cavalaire, anchoring there 35 minutes later.  An alert was sounded as sixteen unidentified planes approached.  LSTs were observed unable to beach directly on Red Beach and a pontoon causeway being used in one case.  Fires were still burning or smoldering in the hills and frequent detonations were presumed to be demolitions by Navy units.  At 2046 all ships in the vicinity began operating their smoke

Next morning, 16 August 1944, Duane departed for another anchorage and that evening at 2100 all batteries on board fired at a plane identified as enemy.  The smoke generator was put in operation and a boat was lowered overboard to make smoke with portable smoke pots, laying a screen ahead of the ship.  On the 17th the Duane again anchored in Baie de Cavalaire.  VADM Hewitt, Commander Eighth U. S. Fleet came aboard to visit RADM Lowry.  The Duane made smoke as various alerts were given from the 18th to the 21st with shore and ship batteries frequently firing on unidentified planes.

The Duane remained anchored in Baie de Cavalaire, France, until 10 September 1944, when she stood out, stopping at Ajaccio, Corsica several hours the next day.  She morred at Naples on the 12th.  She remained there until the 19th, made a nine-day round trip Bizerte, after returning to Naples on the 28th she remained there until 1 October 1944, and then proceeded to Baie de Cavalaire, Toulon and Marseilles, returning to Bizerte on the 8th of October and remaining there until the 24th.  Leaving for Palermo on that date she returned to Bizerte on the 29th of October and remained there until the 13th of November.  Departing Bizerte on the 14th she made stops at Naples and Palermo and returned on the 20th.  Another trip to Naples and Palermo was begun on the 30th of November, returning to Bizerte on 5 December 1944.

Invasion FS 03 Duane CG Cutter

Coast Guard Cutter Duane WPG-33

The Duane was stationed at Bizerte until June, 1945, when she departed for Charleston, via Bermuda, arriving there on 10 July 1945.  She then underwent a reconversion back to her peacetime configuration, including the removal of the majority of her armament.  Her superstructure was cut back to her pre-war configuration as well, all in preparation for her to undertake what would become her primary peace-time task, as well as that of her sister 327s, that of operating on ocean-weather stations, a task established during World War II.  With the post-war boom in trans-Atlantic air traffic, the Coast Guard’s operation of these weather stations became even more important and a number of newer stations were added further out to sea.  She then returned to her earlier classification WPG-33.

The full history of the ship has been provided at the link below, courtesy of the US Coast Guard:

Operation Dragoon was the Allied invasion of southern France on 15 August 1944, during World War II. The invasion was initiated via a parachute drop by the 1st Airborne Task Force, followed by an amphibious assault by elements of the U.S. Seventh Army, followed a day later by a force made up primarily of the French First Army.[6] The landing caused the German Army Group G to abandon southern France and to retreat under constant Allied attacks to the Vosges Mountains. Despite being a large and complex military operation with a well-executed amphibious and airborne component, Operation Dragoon is not well known; it came in the later stages of the war and was overshadowed by the earlier and larger Operation Overlord.[7]

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