The USS Samuel B. Roberts and the Chokai

The Chokai was unleashing withering fire from her forward eight-inch batteries. But her gunners were not targeting the Roberts. They either did not see or did not care about the small ship with the low silhouette. No shells landed near her, though the shells arcing high overhead toward the carriers — or perhaps it was the blasts of the the gun muzzles themselves — buffeted the destroyer escort with their turbulence.

Time seemed to stop, yet before Copeland knew it, the Roberts was just four thousand yards from the cruiser line, a little over two miles, and his three torpedoes were waterborne . . . On the broad ocean’s surface, four thousand yards was point blank range.

TLSOTTCS, p. 254

Skipper Bob Copeland “ordered a hard left rudder, turning the Roberts back through her own smoke and toward the carriers. Down below, Lieutenant Trowbridge brought every pound of steam pressure on line . . . The ship ran past its rated limits, to twenty-eight and a half knots and possibly beyond. As time ran down on the torpedo run — three or four minutes — Copeland indulged himself with a peek astern. Through a gap in the smoke, he was treated to the sight of a streaming column of water and flame rising from below the after-mast of what he took for an Aoba-class cruiser.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


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