New German WWII destroyer kit in 1/350th-scale from Zvezda: No. 9043: Zvezda 1/350 German WWII Destroyer Z-17 “Diether Von Roeder”.
UNDER TWO FLAGS: THE STEWART
She served the U.S. Navy for 21 years–only to be captured by the Japanese and used against us in World War II.
She started around the world in 1921–and completed the circuit only last month.
Her name belongs to another ship–but she got her hull numbers back at least, and once again flies a U.S. commission pennant.
After service with the Japanese, the USS DD 224 returned to San Francisco, under tow, after completing round-the-world tour started in 1921.
That’s the story of the former USS Stewart, the 1,000-ton, four-pipe DD 224 (not to be confused with USS Stewart, DE 238, which now bears her name). The “RAMP 224″ as her crew calls her, the letters designate “recovered allied military personnel,” reached San Francisco last month in tow. She’ll be on exhibit for awhile and then will be scrapped.
The old Stewart was built in Philadelphia in 1920 and joined the Asiatic Fleet via Suez the next year. She stayed there until World War II, then saw duty with such famous old fighters as the Marblehead during the discouraging days of early 1942. Damaged in a night attack on Jap shipping in Bandoeng Strait, Dutch East Indies, she went into drydock at Surabaya. The dock was not equipped for the four-pipe hull, the ship slipped off her keel-blocks and crashed over on her side. Demolition charges and a Jap bomb, plus scuttling of the dry dock finished her off–or so it was thought. Surabaya fell to the Japs.
Then reports began coming in from far-ranging U. S. patrol fliers who said they’d spotted an American ship deep in Jap-held waters. It was the old Stewart doing a tour of duty for the Mikado. Her two forward stacks had been combined into one raking funnel and a tripod replaced the former pole foremast. But it takes more than that to disguise four-piper lines.
It’s doubtful the Japs got much use out of the Stewart. She’d been used to U.S. Navy pampering and couldn’t take the neglect the Japs dished out, perhaps as a matter of habit or possibly because they just didn’t understand four-pipers. At any rate she was in sorry shape when we found her in Kure Naval Base. An American prize crew of 60 men and three officers went aboard to bring her home and a recommissioning ceremony at Hiro Wan 29 Oct 1945 was conducted by Vice Admiral J. B. Oldendorf, USN, ComBatRon1. She headed for Guam under her own power but 45 months of Jap misuse began to tell. The fuel pumps gave out and refused repair, so she was taken in tow by USS Wesson (DE 184) 50 miles short of Guam. She rode the end of a tow line into San Francisco.
Her executive officer on the long voyage home was Lt. (jg) G. T. Burns, USN, who was a first class machinist’s mate aboard the Stewart when she was abandoned at Surabaya.
Source: All Hands, U.S. Navy, April 1946.
PT boat action in the Mediterranean from Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin, (“All Hands Magazine”), July 1944.
Two PTs Battle Two German DDs
Two U.S. PT boats took on two German destroyers recently in the Mediterranean, lured them away from a convoy they should have protected, scared the wits out of them with a torpedo attack–and got home safely.
What’s more, the convoy is no more!
The action occurred 20 miles north of the island of Elba. The PT 212 and PT 214 were serving as a scouting unit for a light British-American force that had been striking at German convoys sneaking down the Italian coast.
About midnight the PTs contacted a group of German F-lighters (similar to our tank-landing craft) moving south with supplies for Nazis in Italy. Reporting the convoy’s course to the main Allied force, the torpedo boats cleared for action. Their job was to attack and divert the attention of two nearby German destroyers while the main force went after the F-lighters.
With a clear path ahead, the PTs opened throttle and roared toward the destroyers. At 350 yards, PT 212 released two torpedoes and PT 214 followed with one.
PT 212, under the command of Lt. (jg) Harold B. Lerner, USNR, 30, San Francisco, turned sharply, kicked the throttle wide open, and began laying a smoke screen. The destroyers opened fire, first sending up star shells to light the whole area. Then came the hail of steel from the destroyers’ guns. Once, zigzagging inside the smoke screen, the 212 came out in the clear. As the fire from the destroyers’ guns converged, she ducked for cover.
PT 214, commanded by Lt. (jg) Robert T. Boebel, USNR, 24, Milwaukee, was not so fortunate. The smoke devices failed to work and, as a result, she took several bursts from the destroyers’ light guns in her side. Fragments damaged the engine room and injured two men. But first the 214 scored a torpedo hit on one destroyer.
Meanwhile, as the PTs were playing their game of hide-and-seek, the main Allied force swooped in on the F-lighter convoy and in 40 minutes proceeded to sink or blow up the lot.
Illustation of the typical arrangement of guns on a WWII battleship, cruiser, and destroyer from Naval Ordnance and Gunnery, NAVPERS 16116, Bureau of Naval Personnel, Training Division, May, 1944:
Arrangement of guns on a battleship
Arrangement of guns on a cruiser
Arrangement of guns on a destroyer