USS Janssen (DE-396)
|Namesake:||Ralph Wille Janssen|
|Builder:||Brown Shipbuilding, Houston, Texas|
|Laid down:||4 August 1943|
|Launched:||4 October 1943|
|Commissioned:||18 December 1943|
|Decommissioned:||12 April 1946|
|Struck:||1 July 1972|
|Fate:||Sold for scrapping 15 October 1973|
|Class and type:||Edsall-class destroyer escort|
|Length:||306 feet (93.27 m)|
|Beam:||36.58 feet (11.15 m)|
|Draft:||10.42 full load feet (3.18 m)|
|Speed:||21 knots (39 km/h)|
|Complement:||8 officers, 201 enlisted|
USS Janssen (DE-396) was an Edsall-class destroyer escort built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. She served in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and provided destroyer escort protection against submarine and air attack for Navy vessels and convoys.
She was named in honor of Lieutenant (j.g.) Ralph Wille Janssen who was killed in action 26 October 1942 during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. She was laid down by Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Texas, 4 August 1943; launched 10 October 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Alfred Janssen, stepmother of Lieutenant (j.g.) Janssen; and commissioned 18 December 1943, Lt. Comdr. H. E. Cross in command.
World War II North Atlantic operations
Janssen departed 11 January 1944 from Galveston, Texas, to conduct shakedown training out of Bermuda. Upon completion she rendezvoused 27 February with escort carrier USS Bogue (CVE-9) and her escorts to form a submarine hunter-killer group. In the months that followed, Janssen and her sister ships attacked numerous submarine contacts while cruising between the United States and the Azores; and, after a brief rest in North African ports, they returned to Norfolk, Virginia, 2 May.
Janssen and the Bogue group were soon underway again cruising the convoy routes of the North Atlantic. Hunter-killer groups such as this one became a prime weapon against the U-boat and contributed importantly to the important work of keeping the supply lines to Europe and the Mediterranean open. Janssen arrived New York 24 September 1944 for training exercises, and in December took part in an emergency patrol off the coast of Maine, where increased U-boat activity was anticipated.
Sinking of German Submarine U-546
Early 1945 found Janssen training antisubmarine teams in Casco Bay and the Bermuda area. She got underway on offensive operations once more 28 March and conducted 2 weeks of Atlantic barrier patrol. Joining the Bogue group again 16 April, the ship steamed into the North Atlantic for her last patrol. Several attacks were made on U-boats. USS Frederick C. Davis (DE-136) was torpedoed and sunk with great loss of life 24 April. Then upon making sonar contact, Janssen, aided by other escorts, closed in on the enemy firing over 40 depth charges, in three separate attacks. Finally, stricken U-546 came to the surface where she was destroyed.
Transfer to the Pacific Fleet
The veteran destroyer escort arrived New York 11 May, after the war against Germany had officially ended. She sailed to Norfolk, Virginia, for the installation of additional antiaircraft mounts in preparation for more action, this time against Japan. Janssen conducted training in the Caribbean in June, and arrived Pearl Harbor via the Panama Canal and California 21 August. Too late to take active part in the war against Japan, the ship embarked 100 returning veterans at Pearl Harbor and brought them to San Pedro, California, 9 September.
Janssen again transited the Panama Canal, arriving Charleston, South Carolina, 25 September. Designated for deactivation, she departed 24 October for Green Cove Springs, Florida, where she decommissioned 12 April 1946. Janssen then joined the Atlantic Reserve Fleet and, was berthed at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On 1 July 1972 she was struck from the Navy list and she was sold for scrapping 15 October 1973.
Janssen received one battle star for World War II service and shared in the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to the various ships of the Bogue task groups for outstanding antisubmarine work in the Atlantic during 1943-44.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.