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WWII Patch, USN, VC-69 USS Bogue (CVE-9) USS Wake Island (CVE 65)

WWII Patch, USN, VC-69  USS Bogue (CVE-9) USS Wake Island (CVE 65)

Product Information
WWII US Navy Squadron Patch
Navy Composite Squadron 69

USS Bogue (CVE-9)
USS Wake Island (CVE 65)
Walt Disney Design - Wolf
4.5 x 5.75 inches

VC-69 Established 1 Jul 1943
VC-69 Disestablished 22 Jun 1945
VC = Composite Squadron

Kassan Bay 12/23/1943   Vancouver   9 FM-1, 12 TBF-1    Shelton

The Sinking of I-52
In an extraordinary engagement, Avengers from USS Bogue CVE-9, the top sub-killing CVE of the Atlantic, sank the Japanese transport submarine, I-52. In 1943 the Japanese and Germans worked out a plan to exchange critical materials via specialized cargo submarines: opium, rubber, quinine, tungsten, and molybdenum from the Japanese for German radar, bombsights, vacuum tubes, optical glass, ball bearings, etc.. In March, 1944, I-52 departed Kure, picked up cargo in Singapore and headed through the Indian Ocean, all monitored by U.S. intelligence. It rendezvoused with a German sub U-530 on June 23, in the mid-Atlantic, and picked up a German pilot who would guide I-52 into port at Lorient. There the exchange was planned to take place.  But Allied "Ultra" intercepts had pinpointed I-52's movements and even its cargo. Within hours of I-52's meeting with U-530, this information had been relayed to Bogue. The commander of its Composite Squadron 69 (VC-69), Lt. Cdr. Jesse Taylor, immediately took off in his TBF in pursuit of the Jap sub. As Taylor patrolled in the darkness, his radarman, Chief Ed Whitlock, picked up a blip. They went after it and dropped flares, lighting up the 350-foot long cargo sub. Taylor closed in, dropping two depth bombs. I-52 dived and the TBF dropped a sonobuoy into the water. The newly-developed sonobuoys picked up long-carrying underwater noises and transmitted these back to the carrier. Following the sonobuoy's signal, Taylor dropped a Mark 24 "Fido" acoustic torpedo. The sonobuoy transmitted the crunching sound of explosions back to Bogue. While Taylor thought he had sunk the sub, other Avengers soon picked up propeller beats. Bogue's CO, Captain A. B. Vosseller, ordered a second attack; William "Flash" Gordon flew his TBF to the site and dropped another torpedo. The I-52 swiftly went to the bottom, with a huge hole in her hull. Next morning, U.S. destroyers found I-52's flotsam: a ton of raw rubber, bit of silk, and even human flesh.  For over 50 years, I-52 lay at the bottom of the Atlantic. In 1998, the National Geographic Society sponsored a deep-sea submersible mission which found the I-52's remains. The October, 1999 issue featured this dramatic story
. (more below)

CVE-9 Bogue   It takes help to get an Avenger out of the catwalk! This VC-69 plane went into a USS Bogue's (CVE-9) catwalk on 19 June 1944.  National Archives photo (# 80-G-266523). USS Bogue (CVE-9); Sqd. VC-9, VC-19, VC-42, VC-69, VC-95; DD & DE escorts.

USS WAKE ISLAND (CVE 65) was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1102) on 6 February 1943 at Vancouver, Wash., by the Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., Inc.; launched on 15 September 1943 sponsored by Mrs. Frederick Carl Sherman, the wife of Rear Admiral Sherman; commissioned on 7 November 1943, Capt. Hames R. Tague in command.

Following commissioning, WAKE ISLAND received supplies, ammunition, and gasoline at Astoria, Oreg., and got underway on 27 November 1943 for Puget Sound and anchored the following day at Bremerton, Wash., where she continued to load supplies and ammunition. The escort carrier operated in the Puget Sound area conducting structural firing tests and making stops at Port Townsend, Sinclair Inlet, and Seattle before sailing south on 6 December. She arrived at San Francisco on 10 December; took on fuel; and, two days later, headed for San Diego, arriving there on 14 December for shakedown and availability. Before departing, the escort carrier took on board the personnel and planes of squadron VC-69.

On 11 January 1944, WAKE ISLAND got underway and steamed, via the Panama Canal, to Hampton Roads, Va., arriving at Norfolk on 26 January. Following availability, the escort carrier sailed on 14 February for New York in company with MISSION BAY (CVE 59), SWENNING (DE 394), and HAVERFIELD (DE 393).

On 16 February--after loading supplies and embarking Army and Navy officers for transportation--WAKE ISLAND set course for Recife, Brazil, the first stop on her voyage to Karachi, India. She arrived at Recife on 1 March and made stops at Capetown, South Africa; and Diego Suarez Harbor, Madagascar; before arriving at Karachi on 29 March. The escort carrier began her return trip on 3 April and arrived back at Norfolk on 12 May.

Comments from a Locate Shipmates website re: USS Wake Island (CVE 65) & VC-69
USS Wake Island (CVE 65) Crew List:
Nov 26, 1943 – Dec 27, 1945  -  I came aboard with VC-69, when they left I remained in ships company.
Dec 14, 1943 – Mar 17, 1945  -  Came aboard w/ VC-69  San Diego - through Panama Canal to Atlantic Aboard when we sunk sub & also when our our escort DE 143 USS Fisk was sunk. Back through Panama Canal to invasion at Luzon & also Iwo Jima. Back to states.

BuNos 25408 (VC-69) ditched at sea May 13, 1945 due to hydraulic failure.  Crew survived.

More on the Sinking of I-52
On 10 March 1944, on her maiden voyage, I-52 (Commander Uno Kameo) departed Kure, Japan via Sasebo for Singapore. Her cargo from Japan included 9.8 tons of molybdenum, 11 tons of tungsten, 2.2 tons of gold in 146 bars packed in 49 metal boxes, 3 tons of opium and 54 kg of caffeine. The gold was payment for German optical technology. She also carried 14 passengers, primarily Japanese technicians, who were to study German technology in anti-aircraft guns, and engines for torpedo boats.

In Singapore she picked up a further 120 tons of tin in ingots, 59.8 tons of caoutchouc (raw rubber) in bales and 3.3 tons of quinine, and headed through the Indian Ocean, to the Atlantic Ocean. On 6 June 1944, the Japanese naval attaché in Berlin, Rear Admiral Kojima Hideo, signalled the submarine that the Allies had landed in Normandy, thus threatening her eventual destination of Lorient on the coast of France. She was advised to prepare for Norway instead. She was also instructed to rendezvous with a German submarine on 22 June 1944 at 21:15 (GMT) at the co-ordinates [show location on an interactive map] 15° N 40° W. I-52 responded with her position, being [show location on an interactive map] 35° N 23° W. The message was intercepted and decoded by US intelligence; I-52 had been closely watched all the way from Singapore. Guided by the F-21 Submarine Tracking Room and F-211 "Secret Room" of the Tenth Fleet which was in charge of the Atlantic section, a hunter-killer task force was targeted towards her.

On the night of 22 June 1944 about 850 nautical miles (1,574 km) west of the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa, I-52 rendezvoused with U-530, a Type IXC/40 U-boat commanded by Kapitänleutnant Kurt Lange. U-530 provided her with fuel, and also transferred a Naxos FuMB 7 radar detector, and an Enigma coding machine, along with two radar operators, Petty Officers Schulze and Behrendt, and German liaison officer for the trip through the Bay of Biscay.

A US task force assembled as a submarine hunter-killer group, consisting of the escort carrier USS Bogue and five destroyers, en route to the United States from Europe, was ordered to find and destroy the Japanese submarine. This task force departed from Casablanca on 15 June 1944, and was commanded by Captain Aurelius B. Vosseller. It also had 9 FM-2 Wildcats and 12 TBF-1C Avenger of VC-69 on board. The task force, on its way from Hampton Roads to Casablanca, had sunk another Japanese submarine, the Type IX RO-501 (formerly U-1224) on 13 May 1944. This was a very effective force, sinking 13 German and Japanese submarines between February 1943 and July 1945. Arriving in the area of the meeting, the carrier began launching flights of Avengers at around 23:00 GMT to search for the submarines. U-530 escaped undetected.

At approximately 23:40 on 23 June, Ed Whitlock, the radar operator in Lieutenant Commander Jesse D. Taylor's Avenger, detected a surface contact on his malfunctioning radar (only the right half of its sweep was working). Taylor immediately dropped flares, illuminating the area, and attacked. After his first pass, he saw the depth charge explosions just to starboard of the submarine — a near miss — and the submarine diving. Taylor dropped a purple sonobuoy, a newly-developed device that floated, picked up underwater noise, and transmitted it back. A searching aircraft usually dropped these in packs of five, named purple, orange, blue, red and yellow (POBRY); the operator was able to monitor each buoy in turn to listen for sounds emitted by its target.

Taylor then began a torpedo attack, dropping a Mark 24 "mine" torpedo. That term was used for what was code-named "Fido": the first Allied acoustic torpedo, developed by the Harvard Underwater Sound Lab, which homed in on the sounds of the submarine. Fido was designed to be a "mission kill" weapon — it would damage the submarine so badly it would have to surface, rather than destroying it completely. Within minutes, the sonobuoys transmitted the sounds of an explosion and mechanical break-up noises.

As Commander Taylor's watch ended, the operators on Bogue and Taylor all thought he had sunk the sub. However, as Taylor's patrol ended, he was relieved by Lieutenant (junior grade) William "Flash" Gordon, accompanied by civilian underwater sound expert Price Fish. They arrived on the scene just after midnight, and circled with Taylor for some time. At about 01:00 on 24 June 1944, Fish reported hearing some faint propeller noise in the area.

Captain Vosseller ordered a second attack; Gordon checked with Taylor about the exact position of the sonobuoy, and dropped another "Fido" torpedo where he believed the submarine to be. Taylor departed from the area at 01:15, but Gordon stayed to circle the area and listen for any sign of activity. He heard nothing, and was relieved by Lieutenant (junior grade) Brady, who continued to watch and listen, but no further activity was reported. Next morning, Janssen reached the site (15°16′N, 39°55′W) and found flotsam: a ton of raw rubber, a piece of silk, and even human flesh. The sonobuoy recording of the last few moments of I-52's sound still survives in the US National Archives in Washington D.C. in the form of two thin film canisters marked "Gordon wire No. 1" and "Gordon wire No. 2" dated June 24, 1944. On the recording Lieutenant Gordon can be heard talking to his crew, along with the sound of a torpedo exploding, and metal twisting.

In 1995, Paul Tidwell located the wreck 5240 meters deep, mostly upright. Her conning tower is intact and her hull number is still visible. The bow is broken up, probably due to impact on the bottom, and a large hole, undoubtedly caused by one of the torpedoes, is aft of the conning tower. Debris was scattered over a large area. Plans were made to raise the sub and recover the gold. The Japanese government objected, indicating that they considered the wreck site was a grave. Tidwell has worked on the proper procedures with the Japanese government and has received the blessing from the war graves authorities in Japan. Tidwell took down a Japanese Naval Ensign and fixed it to the wrecked submarine. A metal box from the debris field was brought to the surface in the hope that it would contain some of the sunken gold, but when opened, the salvagers were disappointed to find not gold, but opium. It was dumped overboard.

Price: $165.00 $145.00

Product Code: PatchUSN.069.VC69
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