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Topic: Midget B seen by YT-153, Tug sights periscope in channel< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 16 2003,12:09  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have read that YT-153 which is now owned/operated by Specialty Diving Services in Rhode Island as the Hawk, was the tug that reported it attempted to ram a submarine periscope.   I also read that it would have likely have been the one that the Monaghan sank.  Is that information correct?
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 16 2003,12:51 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Your information is correct.  

YT-153 was leaving Pearl that morning to deliver a harbor pilot to USS Antares.  The air attack started before she got all the way out to Antares, and YT-153 turned back.  

On the way back in, one of the crewmen (BM2 Ludwig I believe) reported seeing a periscope in the Main Channel near the Coal Docks / Hospital Point (near Channel Buoy 17).

I have a whole file on that episode which I'll dig out again and post on here.  There is a discrepancy in the reported time of the event that I have still not resolved.  One report says the periscope sighting happened at about 0745, while another put it closer to 0830.  Other than the time discrepancy the story is pretty much what you know.

Some references on this event are:

ADM Bloch's testimony before the Roberts Commission, including a short letter he wrote following his testimony to clear up the matter of timing of the YT-153 sighting.

Several newspaper articles in the "Arizona Globe" written shortly after the attack concerning the part played by Boatswains Mate 1st Class (BM1) Ralph Holzhaus, master of the YT-153.

I'll get these online soon.

Edited by Ken Hackler on --

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 16 2003,3:47 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This photo, taken 6 or 7 weeks before the December 7 attack, shows the Main Channel running across the bottom of the picture.  The entrance to West Loch branches off to the lower left.  Straight ahead to the left, past Hospital Point, is Ford Island.  

YT-153 reported sighting a periscope in the wide area of the channel near the Coal Docks, immediately to the right of Hospital Point.  Notice the "Battle Rafts" parked in the wide part of the channel near the Coal Docks. These were rafts towed behind fleet tugs or old destroyers, used as gunnery targets.

Interestingly, if the 0745 time is correct for the sighting, it means that YT-153 made the sighting at roughly the same time USS Helm and her two motor whaleboats were passing through the channel and turning into West Loch.

It is also about the time that Coast Guard patrol boat CG-400 was leaving the channel and heading out, according to the logs of the USS Antares.  There was a lot more traffic in the channel that moring than people realize, and this should be remembered by those claiming that a second midget submarine was in the channel that morning.




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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 16 2003,6:59 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm really eager to hear whether the YT-153 actually attempted to ram the periscope.  If they did, then it may be the only remaining Navy vessel that directly "fought back" during the attack.  I understand both the sea going tugs Ontario and Antares (I think) were credited with shooting down aircraft and both did earn battle stars.  The more I learn of the heroism shown by all these little ships, the more I'm in awe.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 16 2003,7:20 Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

According to the story, YT-153 came about in the channel when Ludwig told the tug master, BM1 Ralph Holzhaus, about the scope.

The intent (again, according to the story) was to see if it was a periscope since only Ludwig claimed to have seen it, and to ram it if it was in fact a periscope.

The men involved are now dead, and the only written accounts I've found were articles carried in the "Arizona Globe", a local newspaper where Holzhaus lived.

I have copies of those articles as well as papers that Holzhaus left to his son, who still lives in Arizona. I'll dig them out for you.

In addition to the periscope sighting, YT-153 spent the remainder of the day rescuing men from the waters of Pearl Harbor, and assisting the USS Nevada, so they had a very busy day all in all.

BM1 Holzhaus, the tug's master, received a commendation for his actions that day and was promoted to Chief Petty Officer as a result. He stayed in the Navy, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Commander before retiring. He also commanded an LST during the Korean War.

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