USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413)
Samuel B. Roberts at sea, c. October 1944
|Name||USS Samuel B. Roberts|
|Namesake||Samuel Booker Roberts, Jr.|
|Builder||Brown Shipbuilding, Houston, Texas|
|Laid down||6 December 1943|
|Launched||20 January 1944|
|Commissioned||28 April 1944|
|1 Battle Star; Presidential Unit Citation|
|Class and type||John C. Butler-class destroyer escort|
|Displacement||1,350 long tons (1,370 t)|
|Length||306 ft (93 m)|
|Beam||36 ft 8 in (11.18 m)|
|Draft||9 ft 5 in (2.87 m)|
|Installed power||12,000 shp (8,900 kW)|
|Range||6,000 nmi (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) @ 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)|
|Complement||14 officers, 201 enlisted|
|Sensors and |
|SF multi-purpose radar|
USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413) was a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort of the United States Navy that served in World War II , the first of three U.S. Navy ships to bear the name.
Samuel B. Roberts was named after Coxswain Samuel Booker Roberts, Jr., a Navy Cross recipient, who had been commended for voluntarily steering a Higgins boat towards enemy forces at Guadalcanal, in order to divert fire from evacuation efforts being undertaken by other friendly vessels. She was nicknamed the "Sammy B" or "Sam Buca" (after the popular Italian spirit).
Samuel B. Roberts was sunk in the Battle off Samar, in which a small force of U.S. warships prevented a superior Imperial Japanese Navy force from attacking the amphibious invasion fleet off the Philippine island of Leyte. The ship was part of a relatively light flotilla of destroyers, destroyer escorts, and escort carriers called "Taffy 3" which was inadvertently left to fend off a fleet of heavily armed Japanese battleships, cruisers, and destroyers off the island of Samar during the Battle off Samar, one of the engagements making up the larger Battle of Leyte Gulf of October 1944.
Steaming through incoming shells, Samuel B. Roberts scored one torpedo hit and several shell hits on larger enemy warships before she was sunk. After the battle, Samuel B. Roberts received the appellation "the destroyer escort that fought like a battleship." As of June 2022, she is the deepest shipwreck discovered. Her last known survivor died on 20 March 2022.
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Construction and commissioning
Samuel B. Roberts was laid down on 6 December 1943, by the Brown Shipbuilding Company of Houston, Texas. She was launched on 20 January 1944, sponsored by the namesake's mother, Mrs. Anna Roberts. She was commissioned on 28 April 1944, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Robert W. Copeland, USNR
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Samuel B. Roberts had a shakedown cruise off Bermuda from 21 May to 19 June 1944. After spending time at the Boston Navy Yard, Roberts departed for Norfolk, Virginia, on 7 July. Later that day, the ship presumably struck a whale, which bent her starboard propeller. Repairs were completed by 11 July. Roberts departed Norfolk on 22 July, going through the Panama Canal on 27 July. She joined the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on 10 August.
She conducted training exercises around the Hawaiian Islands then steamed out on 21 August with a convoy reaching Eniwetok Atoll on 30 August. On 2 September, Roberts returned to Pearl Harbor, with a convoy arriving on 10 September. Following further training, the destroyer escort got underway on 21 September, escorted a convoy to Eniwetok, and arrived on 30 September.
Roberts next proceeded to Manus Island in the Admiralty Islands of the Southwest Pacific and then joined Task Unit 77.4.3, nicknamed "Taffy 3". From there she steamed to Leyte Gulf area off the eastern Philippines. On arrival, she commenced operations with the Northern Air Support Group off the Island of Samar.
Battle off Samar
Shortly after dawn on 25 October, Samuel B. Roberts was protecting Taffy 3's escort carriers whose aircraft were supporting the Army assault. The warships were steaming off the eastern coast of Samar when the Japanese Center Force, a 23-ship task force under the command of Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita, appeared on the horizon and opened fire. At 07:35, Roberts turned and headed toward the heavy cruiser Chōkai.
The commanding officer, Copeland, announced "We're making a torpedo run. The outcome is doubtful, but we will do our duty." With smoke as cover, Roberts steamed to within 2.5 nmi (4.6 km; 2.9 mi) of Chōkai, coming under fire from the cruiser's forward 8 in (203 mm) guns.
Roberts had moved so close that the enemy guns could not depress enough to hit her and when in torpedo range, Roberts launched three Mark 15 torpedoes, with one blowing off Chōkai's stern. Roberts fought with the Japanese ships for a further hour, firing more than six hundred 5 in (127 mm) shells, and while maneuvering at very close range, hitting Chōkai's superstructure with her 40 mm and 20 mm anti-aircraft guns.
At 08:51, the Japanese landed two hits, the second of which damaged the aft 5 in (127 mm) gun. This damaged gun suffered a breech explosion shortly thereafter which killed and wounded several crew members. With her remaining 5 in (127 mm) gun, Roberts set the bridge of the heavy cruiser Chikuma on fire and destroyed the Number Three gun turret. Roberts was then hit by three 14 in (356 mm) shells from the battleship Kongō, which tore a hole 40 ft (12 m) long and 10 ft (3 m) wide in the port side of her aft engine room.
At 09:35, the order was given to abandon ship. She sank 30 minutes later, with 90 of the crew dying. The 120 survivors of the crew clung to three life rafts for 50 hours before being rescued.
During the battle, Samuel B. Roberts, which was designed for 23–24 kn (43–44 km/h; 26–28 mph), managed 28.7 kn (53.2 km/h; 33.0 mph) by raising pressure to 660 pounds per square inch (4,600 kPa) and diverting all available steam to the ship's turbines.
Samuel B. Roberts was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 27 November 1944.
The wreck was discovered around 22 June 2022, at a depth of 6,895 metres (22,621 ft), at that time the deepest wreck ever identified.
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Awards and honors
Samuel B. Roberts was included in the Presidential Unit Citation given to Task Unit 77.4.3 "for extraordinary heroism in action." Samuel B. Roberts earned one battle star for her World War II service.
Gunner's Mate Third Class Paul H. Carr was in charge of Gun Mount 52, the aft 5 in (127 mm) gun, which had fired nearly all of its 325 stored rounds in 35 minutes before a round exploded in the gun's breech. Carr was found dying at his station from a severe intestinal wound, begging for help to load the last round he was holding into the breech. For his actions, he was posthumously awarded a Silver Star. A guided-missile frigate, USS Carr (FFG-52), was named for him.
The frigate Copeland was named for the ship's commanding officer.
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- At the U.S. Naval Academy, in Alumni Hall, a concourse is dedicated to Lieutenant Lloyd Garnett and his shipmates on Samuel B. Roberts who earned their ship the reputation as the "destroyer escort that fought like a battleship" in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
- Within Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery federal military cemetery in the city of San Diego, California, there is a large granite memorial dedicated in 1995 to Samuel B. Roberts, and to the two U.S. destroyers also sunk in the action, Hoel and Johnston.
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Two later U.S. warships have borne the name USS Samuel B. Roberts:
- The second Samuel B. Roberts (DD-823), was a Gearing-class destroyer, commissioned in 1946 and struck in 1970.
- The third Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58), is an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate, commissioned in 1986 and decommissioned on 22 May 2015.
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Discovery of wreck
An exploration team led by Victor Vescovo and made up of personnel of Caladan Oceanic, Deep Ocean Search  and EYOS Expeditions discovered the wreck of Samuel B. Roberts in June 2022. The team found, identified, and surveyed the wreck during a series of six dives conducted from 17 to 24 June 2022.
The team determined that the wreck reached the seabed in one piece, although it hit the sea floor bow first and with enough force to cause some buckling, and observed that the ship's stern had separated from the rest of the hull by about 5 meters (16 ft). The team reported that it had found evidence of damage to the ship inflicted by a Japanese battleship shell, including Samuel B. Roberts's fallen mast.
The wreck of Samuel B. Roberts lies at a depth of 6,895 meters (22,621 ft; 4.284 mi), making her the deepest known shipwreck and the deepest shipwreck ever identified by a crewed submersible. It exceeds the previous record of 6,469 meters (21,224 ft; 4.020 mi), set in March 2021 when Vescovo's team found and identified the wreck of the destroyer USS Johnston, which was sunk in the same battle.
The USS Samuel B. Roberts has been detected using world's first "full ocean depth" side scan sonar (rated for 11000m), integrated by Deep Ocean Search company and Caladan Oceanic sub-team on submersible Limiting Factor.
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Sunken ship protection
The wreck of Samuel B. Roberts is protected from unauthorized disturbance by the Sunken Military Craft Act. A permit for archaeological, historical, or educational purposes can be requested from the Naval History and Heritage Command.
Source: "USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413)", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, March 13th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Samuel_B._Roberts_(DE-413).
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Battle of Leyte Gulf
Casablanca-class escort carrier
Battle off Samar
USS Gambier Bay
USS St. Lo
USS White Plains (CVE-66)
USS Kitkun Bay
Type 93 torpedo
USS Johnston (DD-557)
Japanese cruiser Chōkai
Robert W. Copeland
Ernest E. Evans
John C. Butler-class destroyer escort
The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors
- ^ FTP 217 1943.
- ^ a b Wukovits 2013, p. 6.
- ^ "USS Samuel B Roberts: World's deepest shipwreck discovered". BBC News. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
- ^ "Last Known Survivor, Adred Lenoir, Has Passed". USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE 413) Survivors Association. 22 March 2022. Retrieved 23 June 2022.
- ^ "Adred Lenoir Obituary (2022) | Clanton, AL". echovita.com. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
- ^ Hornfischer 2004, p. 255.
- ^ Wukovits 2013, p. 148.
- ^ Hornfischer 2004, pp. 200–201, 255; Wukovits 2013, pp. 147–148.
- ^ a b c Amos, Jonathan (24 June 2022). "USS Samuel B Roberts: World's deepest shipwreck discovered". Yahoo! News. BBC. Archived from the original on 25 June 2022. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
- ^ Hornfischer 2004, p. 332.
- ^ Search, Deep Ocean. "CALADAN OCEANIC find the deepest wreck ever with support of DOS expertise". Deep Ocean Search. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
- ^ a b c d e Suleman, Adela (25 June 2022). "World's deepest shipwreck, the Sammy B, is discovered by explorers". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 June 2022.
- ^ "World's deepest shipwreck found almost 7 km beneath the waves". Guinness World Records. 18 July 2022. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
- ^ "Deepest shipwreck dive by a crewed vessel". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
- ^ Search, Deep Ocean. "DOS to integrate the world's first 'Full Ocean Depth' side scan sonar". Deep Ocean Search. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
- ^ "Navy confirms wrecksite off Philippines coast that of USS Samuel B. Roberts". United States Navy. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
- Hornfischer, James D. (February 2004). The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour. Bantam. ISBN 978-0-553-80257-3. OCLC 260087152. OL 23271877M.
- Nasuti, Guy J.; Cressman, Robert J. (17 June 2019). "Samuel B. Roberts I (DE-413)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
- Wukovits, John (2013). For Crew and Country: The Inspirational True Story of Bravery and Sacrifice Aboard the USS Samuel B. Roberts. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0312681890.
- U.S. Radar – Operational Characteristics of Radar Classified by Tactical Application (FTP 217) (Report). Radar Research and Development Sub-Committee of the Joint Committee on New Weapons and Equipment, Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. War Department. 1 August 1943. Retrieved 7 November 2020 – via Naval History and Heritage Command.
- Copeland, Robert W.; O'Neill, Jack E. (2007). The Spirit of the Sammy B (reprint ed.). Ocala, Florida: USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE 413) Survivors' Association. OCLC 219730560.
- Cutler, Thomas (2001). The Battle of Leyte Gulf: 23–26 October 1944. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-243-9.
- Doscher, J. Henry Jr. (1996). Little Wolf at Leyte: The Story of the Heroic USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413) in the Battle of Leyte Gulf During World War II. Austin, Texas: Eakin Press. ISBN 1-57168-082-9. OCLC 34116713.
- Drooker, Arthur (writer/producer) (2007). Dogfights: Death of the Japanese Navy (Television series). United States: The History Channel.
- Morison, Samuel E. (1958). Leyte, June 1944 – January 1945. History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Vol. XII. Boston: Little & Brown. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
- "Leyte Gulf". Pacific: The Lost Evidence. Season 1. Episode 6. 16 December 2005. History Channel. based on Hornfischer's The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors.
- Wukovitz, John (2014). For Crew and Country. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 9781250041913.
- Media related to USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413) at Wikimedia Commons
- Captain Copeland's memoirs
- DE 413 timeline
- The Samuel B. Roberts Survivors Association
- "Video Reveals Wreck of USS Samuel B Roberts Found! WW2 Destroyer Escort DE-413" on YouTube
- "Live Ammunition Found on Wreck of USS Samuel B Roberts" on YouTube
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