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USS Oberrender

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USS Oberrender
USS Oberrender on 15 July 1944
History
United States
Name: Oberrender
Namesake: Thomas Olin Oberrender, Jr.
Builder: Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Texas
Laid down: 8 November 1943
Launched: 18 January 1944
Commissioned: 11 May 1944
Decommissioned: 11 July 1945
Struck: 25 July 1945
Identification: DE-344
Honors and
awards:
3 Battle Stars
Fate: Sunk as a target on 6 November 1945
General characteristics
Class and type: John C. Butler-class destroyer escort
Displacement:
Length: 306 ft (93.3 m) (o/a)
Beam: 36 ft 10 in (11.2 m)
Draft: 13 ft 4 in (4.1 m)
Installed power: 2 boilers; 12,000 shp (8,900 kW)
Propulsion: 2 propellers; 2 geared steam turbines
Speed: 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph)
Range: 6,000 nmi (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement: 14 officers and 201 enlisted men
Sensors and
processing systems:
Armament:

USS Oberrender (DE-344) was a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort built for the United States Navy during World War II. She was named for Lieutenant Commander Thomas Olin Oberrender, Jr., the engineering officer of the light cruiser USS Juneau, killed when that ship was torpedoed and sunk during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

Laid down in November 1943, launched in January 1944, and commissioned almost four months later, Oberrender served on convoy escort duty in the Pacific from late 1944, with an interlude protecting escort carriers during the early stages of the Invasion of Leyte. She was heavily damaged by the explosion of the ammunition ship USS Mount Hood at Manus and was thus forced to remain there during November. Returned to service, Oberrender served on anti-submarine patrol during the Battle of Okinawa, during which she was irreparably damaged by a kamikaze attack in early May 1945. As a result, the destroyer escort was decommissioned and sunk as a target late that year.

Design[edit]

The John C. Butler-class destroyer escorts were designed as anti-submarine escort ships for ocean convoys, and as a result carried little anti-surface armament, in response to the wartime need for large numbers of cheap convoy escorts. The class was part of an initial requirement for 720 escorts to be completed by the end of 1944, which was significantly reduced.[1]

A United States Navy diagram of a destroyer escort

As a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort, Oberrender was 306 feet (93.3 m) long with a beam of 36 feet 10 inches (11.2 m) and a draft of 13 feet 4 inches (4.1 m).[2] She displaced 1,350 long tons (1,372 t) standard and 1,745 long tons (1,773 t) full load, with a complement of 14 officers and 201 enlisted men.[3]

Oberrender was propelled by two Westinghouse geared steam turbines powered by two "D" Express boilers, which created 12,000 shaft horsepower (8,900 kW) for a designed maximum speed of 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph). She had a range of 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph).[3]

Armament and sensors[edit]

Oberrender mounted a main battery of two 5"/38 caliber guns to protect against surface and aerial threats, directed by the Mark 51 Gunnery Fire-Control System. In addition, she mounted two twin 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns and ten 20 mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft cannon, controlled by the Mark 51 anti-aircraft fire-control system. She also carried two depth charge racks, eight K-gun depth-charge throwers and one Hedgehog spigot mortar as anti-submarine weapons, but was built without three 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes that earlier members of her class received, discarded as unnecessary to her anti-submarine role.[2] The destroyer escort was equipped with QC series sonar[3] and SL-1 surface search radar.[4]

Construction and service[edit]

Laid down by the Consolidated Steel Corporation of Orange, Texas on 8 November 1943, Oberrender (DE-344) was launched on 18 January 1944, sponsored by the widow of her namesake, Thomas Olin Oberrender, Jr., the engineering officer of USS Juneau, who was killed during the sinking of the latter in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. She was commissioned on 11 May 1944 under the command of Lieutenant Commander Samuel Spencer, who captained the destroyer escort for the duration of her service. Following commissioning, the ship spent the next four days fitting out at the Orange City Docks, followed by a day of gunnery and smoke testing in the Gulf of Mexico. Throughout the month she conducted further training and completed her fitting out at the Todd Galveston Dry Docks. Oberrender was then depermed before sailing for Bermuda on 28 May.[5] After arrival on 3 June, the ship undertook a shakedown cruise attached to Task Group 23.1, the Bermuda[2] training formation of the Atlantic Fleet.[6]

For post-shakedown availability (repairs to correct deficiencies found during shakedown), Oberrender was ordered to the Boston Navy Yard on 2 July, arriving three days later.[7] She was ordered to Norfolk Navy Yard for further availability in mid-July and remained there until 22 July, when she began the journey to the Panama Canal, escorting the oiler Nantahala and tanker Nemasket. Oberrender arrived at Aruba on 28 July[8] and transited the canal on 1 August.[2] Assigned to Escort Division (CortDiv) 69 of the Pacific Fleet after exiting the canal, she arrived at Pearl Harbor on 16 August, having escorted Nantahala and Nemasket there.[9] Operating out of Pearl Harbor, Oberrender conducted training operations, including gunnery exercises, until 30 August, when she departed for Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands as an escort for Convoy PD-71-T along with destroyer escort Rall.[10] After arriving at the convoy destination on 6 September, the two escorts turned around two days later with another convoy bound for Pearl Harbor, where they arrived on 18 September. With fellow destroyer escorts Samuel B. Roberts and Walter C. Wann, Oberrender departed for Eniwetok again on 21 September with Convoy PD-101-T, arriving at its destination on 30 September.[11]

Oberrender is visible in the top right, near the oil slick created by the Mount Hood explosion.

With the other destroyer escorts of CortDiv 69, Oberrender left for Manus in the Admiralty Islands on 1 October, arriving at Seeadler Harbor five days later. Alongside destroyer escorts Walter C. Wann, LeRay Wilson, and the destroyers Haggard, Franks, and Hailey, she left Manus on 12 October, escorting Rear Admiral Thomas Sprague’s escort carriers to the Philippines for the invasion of Leyte. The destroyers and destroyer escorts screened the escort carriers of Rear Admiral Felix Stump's Task Unit 77.4.2 as they launched airstrikes against Japanese positions in the central Philippines from 17 October. She missed the Battle of Leyte Gulf, however, being detached to cover the movement of the escort carriers of Task Unit 77.4.1 to Morotai[2] in order to take aboard replacement aircraft on 24 October. Oberrender returned to Task Unit 77.4.2 on 29 October after refueling in San Pedro Bay, steaming to Manus with it.[12] After arrival at Manus, the destroyer escort remained anchored in Seeadler Harbor, and on 10 November was 1,100 yards (1,000 m) from the ammunition ship USS Mount Hood when the latter exploded. She was heavily damaged by fragments and exploding ammunition from the resulting conflagration, being towed to the Lombrum Point Ship Repair Dock for repairs, where she remained for the rest of the month.[13]

While Oberrender was under repair, CortDiv69 was attached to Task Force 79 of the Seventh Fleet. Following the completion of repairs, she went to Borgen Bay of Cape Gloucester for anti-submarine patrol in early December. Returning to Seeadler Harbor on 11 December as part of the screen for Task Group 79.4, the destroyer escort conducted gunnery training there and en route to the Huon Gulf, where she patrolled from 18 December. With Task Group 79.2, Oberrender returned to Seeadler Harbor on 21 December, remaining there until the last day of the year, when she departed for the invasion of Lingayen Gulf as part of the screen for the task group.[14] The destroyer escort depth charged and fired her Hedgehog at a suspected submarine contact on 3 January, without result.[15] Again without result, she put up anti-aircraft fire against a Mitsubishi A6M Zero attacking a convoy of transports, without result. Taking up duty on an anti-submarine patrol station in Lingayen Gulf between 9 and 12 January, Oberrender escaped unscathed from Japanese kamikaze attacks that damaged other ships on the parol.[16] For the next three months the destroyer escort conducted escort and patrol duties in the Netherlands East Indies and Philippines areas.[2]

Oberrender served as part of Escort Division 69 for the Battle of Okinawa during April and May 1945. Before the beginning of the invasion with L-Day on 1 April, the destroyer escort was part of the division in the screen for the Western Islands Attack Group (Task Group 51.1).[17] While stationed with the outer anti-submarine screen to the west of the island on 9 May, Oberrender went to general quarters after receiving a report of an approaching kamikaze attack at 18:40. She spotted a lone Japanese aircraft twelve minutes later, which, despite one of its wings being torn off by her anti-aircraft fire, crashed into a starboard 20 mm mount, its bomb exploding in the forward fire room. Heavily damaged by the explosion, which killed eight and wounded 53,[a] Oberrender was towed to Kerama Retto. Declared irreparably damaged,[18] she was decommissioned on 11 July and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 25 July. Her hulk was used as a target for gunnery practice, being sunk on 6 November 1945.[2]

Awards[edit]

Oberrender received three battle stars for World War II service,[2] in addition to the following decorations:[19]

Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive)
American Campaign Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
with 3 battle stars
World War II Victory Medal

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ DANFS states that casualties totaled 24, but Morison and Spencer's after-action report state the figure provided in the main text.

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Friedman 1982, pp. 141, 149.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h DANFS Oberrender.
  3. ^ a b c Friedman 1982, p. 421.
  4. ^ Friedman 1981, p. 149.
  5. ^ Spencer 1944a, pp. 1–2.
  6. ^ Spencer 1944b, pp. 1–2.
  7. ^ Spencer 1944c, p. 1.
  8. ^ Spencer 1944c, pp. 2–3.
  9. ^ Spencer 1944d, pp. 1–3.
  10. ^ Spencer 1944d, pp. 3–4.
  11. ^ Spencer 1944e, pp. 1–4.
  12. ^ Spencer 1944f, pp. 1–5.
  13. ^ Spencer 1944g, pp. 1–2.
  14. ^ Spencer 1944h, pp. 1–4.
  15. ^ Spencer 1945a, pp. 1–2.
  16. ^ Spencer 1945a, p. 3.
  17. ^ Morison 1960, p. 375.
  18. ^ Morison 1960, p. 268.
  19. ^ NavSource 2017.

Bibliography[edit]

  • This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
  • Friedman, Norman (1981). Naval Radar. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-238-2.
  • Friedman, Norman (1982). U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-733-X.
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot (1960). History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. XIV: Victory in the Pacific, 1945. Boston: Little, Brown. OCLC 7649498.
  • "USS Oberrender (DE-344)". Destroyer Escort Photo Archive. 14 October 2017. Retrieved 21 November 2018.]
  • "Oberrender (DE-344)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval History & Heritage Command. 18 April 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2018.

Military documents