of the USS Bogue. The escort carrier USS Bogue (Captain Aurelius
B. Vosseller) was part of task force assembled as a submarine hunter-killer
group, consisting of the USS Bogue and five destroyers. Their orders
are to find and destroy the Japanese submarine the I-52. The five
destroyers are the ''Francis M. Robinson'' (Lieutenant J. E. Johansen),
''Haverfield'' (Commander T. S. Lank, TF 51 commander), ''Swenning''
(Lieutenant R. E. Peek), ''Willis'' (Lieutenant Commander G. R.
Atterbury), and the ''Jannsen'' (Lieutenant Commander H. E. Cross).
This task force departed from Casablanca and headed to the Mid-Atlantic
rendevouz of the I-52 and the U-530. The USS Bogue carried 9 FM-2
Wildcats and the 12 TBF Avengers of VC-69 on board. Between February
1943 and July 1945 this was a very effective force, sinking a total
of 13 German and Japanese submarines between February 1943 and July
B. Vosseller of the USS Bogue. As you see the Bogue was a very effective
ship in the anti-submarine task force by the number of "kills"
painted on her sides.of
Grumman TBF Avenger (designated TBM for aircraft manufactured by General
Motors) was a torpedo bomber developed initially for the United States
Navy and Marine Corps, and eventually used by several air or naval
arms around the world. It entered U.S. service in 1942, and first
saw action during the Battle of Midway. Grumman's first torpedo bomber
was the heaviest single-engine aircraft of World War II, and it was
the first design to feature a new wing-folding mechanism created by
Grumman, intended to maximize storage space on an aircraft carrier.
The engine used was the Wright R-2600-20 (which produced 1,900 hp/1,417
kW). There were three crew members: pilot, turret gunner and radioman/bombardier/ventral
gunner. One .30 cal. (7.62 mm) machine gun was mounted in the nose,
a .50 cal. (12.7 mm) gun was mounted right next to the turret gunner's
head in a rear-facing electrically powered turret, and a single .30
cal. (7.62 mm) hand-fired machine gun mounted ventrally (under the
tail), which was used to defend against enemy fighters attacking from
below and to the rear. This gun was fired by the radioman/bombardier
while standing up and bending over in the belly of the tail section,
though he usually sat on a folding bench facing forward to operate
the radio and to sight in bombing runs. Later models of the TBF/TBM
dispensed with the nose-mounted gun for one .50 in (12.7 mm) gun in
each wing per pilots' requests for better forward firepower and increased
strafing ability. There was only one set of controls on the aircraft,
and no access to the pilot's position from the rest of the aircraft.
The radio equipment was massive, especially by today's standards,
and filled the whole glass canopy to the rear of the pilot. The radios
were accessible for repair through a "tunnel" along the
right hand side. Any Avengers that are still flying today usually
have an additional rear-mounted seat in place of the radios, which
increases crew to four. The Avenger had a large bomb bay, allowing
for one Mark 13 torpedo, a single 2,000 lb (900 kg) bomb, a single
Mark 14 Acoustic torpedo, or up to four 500 lb (230 kg) bombs. The
aircraft had overall ruggedness and stability, and pilots say it flew
like a truck, for better or worse (it also earned the nickname "The
"Turkey"). Later Avenger models carried radar equipment
for the ASW and AEW roles. The available radars in 1943 were very
bulky, because they contained vacuum tube technology. Because of this,
radar was at first carried only on the roomy TBF Avengers, but not
on the smaller fighters.
24, acoustic anti-submarine torpedo (FIDO) general arrangement (courtesy
Bell Laboratories) It was nick-named "Fido", because like
a stray dog it would follow you around.
slick from the I-52, the day after the sinking.
of the 59.8-tons of caoutchouc (raw rubber) in bales that was part
of the cargo of the.. I-52. These pieces
were picked up by the USS Bogue the next day.
his research, Paul Tidwell came across references to 78-rpm records
that had been made at the former Naval Sound Laboratory in New London,
CT. The records, later made into tapes, were compilations of underwater
sounds used to train Navy sonar operators. Excerpts of those training
tapes are still requested for use by schools for use during marine
studies. On one of the recordings, the narrator notes "Here are
two more recordings of actual combat at sea, recorded by an airborne
magnetic wire recorder connected to a sonabuoy receiver and intercom
system." On the recording Lt. Gordon can be heard talking to
his crew, along with the sound of a torpedo exploding and metal twisting.
the Naval Historical Center in Washington DC, to see if they could
help locate any additional information on the original Gordon wire
recordings. The Historical Center in turn called the Naval Undersea
Warfare Center Division in Newport, the successor to the Sound Laboratory.
Coincidentally, that contact was made on June 24, fifty-four years
to the day of the I-52's sinking. Like a lot of military facilities,
the Division has undergone change in recent years. Some "old
stuff" did not survive the closure of the New London Laboratory
and the consolidation of its personnel, records, etc. in Newport.
Little hope was held for an insignificant 50-year old spool of wire.
Barravecchia, head of the Division's Technical Library, took the
lead to track down the recording. Originally employed in New London,
Barravecchia knew who the "keepers" were, and of the nooks
and crannies where a small spool of wire might hide. To
the amazement of all, two canisters, identified simply as "Gordon
wire No. 1" and "Gordon wire No. 2," marked June
24, 1944 were found. Once
the wire tapes were found, the search for a functioning recorder
began. The only place
found to have a wire recorder still capable of playing the recordings
was the National Archives in Washington. The original spools of
hair-thin wire on which the last moments the Japanese submarine
I-52 were recorded have been transferred to the National Archives
for permanent retention.