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Ward

Destroyer No. 139 Ward was a Flush Deck Type of the Fifth Group built. She was laid down on 15 May 1918 and completed on 24 July of the same year. Many of these four-funnelled, World War I vessels were converted for use as minelayers, seaplane tenders and minesweepers. Those still operating as destroyers in World War II had been re-armed with six 3-inch guns, two anti-aircraft machine guns and six torpedo tubes. The Reuben James, the first American ship to be lost in the North Atlantic in World War II, was a vessel of the same class. She was torpedoed on 31 October 1941 while escorting HX 156, a British convoy. On December 7, 1941 Ward was on patrol channel entrance outside Pearl Harbor. At 0357 the minesweeper Condor signalled that she had observed what could possibly have been a periscope. At 0630 the captain of the supply ship Antares informed Ward of sighting a strange object in the water, which he suspected was a submarine. Officer of the deck Lieutenant Oscar W. Groepner called his captain, Lieutenant William Outerbridge to the bridge and General Quarters, the state of combat readiness, was ordered at 0640. Ward closed to 50 yards and opened fire from No. 1 gun, but missed, the round going high. The second shot, from No. 3 gun, struck the enemy vessel at the junction of the hull and the conning tower, the superstructure termed "the sail" in modern submarines. The submarine heeled to starboard, slowing and sinking, and appeared to pass under Ward's stern where it encountered a full pattern of depth charges set for 100 feet. At 0646 Outerbridge ordered the cease-fire. At 0651 he reported that he had depth-charged a submarine and at 0653 he sent a clarification: "We have attacked, fired upon, and dropped depth charges upon submarine operating in defensive sea area." The kill was also claimed by Patrol Wing Two.

See also: Antares; Condor; midget submarine

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