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Two months and two generations to eternity. The Shanes, the Shark (SS-174) and a Sampson.


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#1 aerialbridge

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 11:45 PM

Wolf Schön was born in December 1851 in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  His son, Louis, born on 4 April 1877, was the first of seven children born to Wolf and his wife, Mary.  In 1882, Wolf brought his family to America and became William Shane.  The Shanes lived in Indiana for several years before moving to Omaha, Nebraska.   Louis excelled in high school and after scoring the highest on the third congressional district sponsored exam for the Naval Academy, made the rail-trek from the Nebraska plains to the Maryland coast in 1894.

 

He was an engineer naval cadet and one of the 39-member Class of 1898 that graduated the same month that war with Spain was declared.  Immediately on graduation, passed cadet engineer Shane was ordered to the battleship USS Massachusetts (BB-2) where he served in Cuban waters during the war and thereafter until April 1900.   

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#2 aerialbridge

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 11:47 PM

One of Shane’s shipmates on Massachusetts was passed naval cadet, Thomas C. Hart (USNA 1897) of Michigan, who distinguished himself commanding one of the battleship’s steam launches in a reconnoitering mission between Cabanas Bay and Guayacan,  west of Santiago harbor on 17 June 1898.  While surveying possible troop landing spots, Hart’s launch and one from USS New York commanded by Cadet Joseph W. Powell, came under heavy fire from Spanish infantry and cavalry in an old fort and hidden in the rocks on shore.   Hart took charge of the one- pounder in the exposed bow as soon as it could be brought to bear and returned fire on the Spaniards, until the launches veered away to give the battleship Texas and converted-yacht Vixen a clear shot with their bigger guns.   Several 4” shells from Texas silenced the Spanish battery.   Miraculously, no one was hit on the launches that were riddled with more than one hundred holes from the Spanish fusillade 40 yards away.   According to Lt. Harlow’s report to the commander of the USS Vixen, Hart worked the bow gun “as coolly as if at target practice.”

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#3 aerialbridge

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 11:48 PM

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#4 aerialbridge

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 11:49 PM

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#5 aerialbridge

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 11:50 PM

In 1901, Louis returned to the US from duty in the Philippines where he had been executive officer assigned to deliver one of the early “mosquito fleet” vessels, the tiny 462- ton, armed- tug USS Wompatuck, on a 13,000 mile voyage from Hampton Roads to Manila, via the Suez Canal.  It remains the longest voyage for a vessel that size in US Naval history. 

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#6 aerialbridge

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 11:52 PM

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#7 aerialbridge

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 11:54 PM

Ensign Louis Shane married a Maryland woman, Anabel Stephenson.  They had two children, Louis, Jr. (b. 1904) and Elizabeth (b. 1907), both born at Philadelphia where Louis Sr. was stationed at the naval shipyard.   A couple years after Louis Jr.’s birth, his father received his Type II Sampson Medal authorized to the ship’ company on Massachusetts and rim-engraved “Nav. Cad.  Louis Shane, U.S.N.”   As a young boy, it’s hard to imagine that Louis Jr. was not impressed with his father’s Sampson Medal, perhaps taking it out “to try on for size” when his dad was not around.

 

Louis Sr.’s 37-year naval career as an engineering officer, saw a number of interesting assignments.    During WWI he was a naval inspector in St. Louis at Busch-Sulzer, the diesel submarine engine factory owned by another German-speaking, naturalized citizen,  brewing magnate, August A. Busch, Sr.   The connection between the “King of Beers” and the Greatest Navy is worth noting.   In 1897, the company patriarch, Adolphus Busch obtained the American rights to build diesels. He retained the inventor, Dr. Rudolph Diesel, as a consultant and the company's first engine was installed in the Anheuser Busch power plant in 1898

 

With the outbreak of World War I, but prior to the U.S. entering the war, the Navy asked Busch-Sulzer to design several types and sizes of submarine diesels up to 2,500 horsepower; an assignment that no other firm was capable or willing to take on.  Without hesitation, Busch ceased production of all but Navy submarine diesels for the duration of the war.   Busch diesels were in various L, N, O, R and S- class boats.  During WWI, Shane spoke out publicly against unwarranted attacks in the press that questioned Busch’s allegiance, noting that, “We have many illustrious citizens of German birth, and none are more loyal than Mr. Busch.”   (“Prost!” Commander Shane, this Bud’s for you.)   In 1916, Shane was put in command of the collier, USS Neptune.

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#8 aerialbridge

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 11:55 PM

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#9 aerialbridge

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 11:56 PM

Louis Jr., like many other sons of Annapolis grads and career officers, decided to follow in his father’s footsteps.   In 1922, he entered Annapolis from the state of Washington, where Louis Sr. was then inspector of machinery at the Naval Base, Tacoma, WA.   Louis Jr. graduated 16th in the 456-member Class of 1926.  During that year, his father was naval inspector of machinery at Bethlehem Steelworks in Quincy, Massachusetts.  

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#10 aerialbridge

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 11:57 PM

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#11 aerialbridge

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 12:00 AM

In 1931, while Louis Jr. was a lieutenant (j.g) on the submarine S-25, his father was the manager at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.  His next to last assignment was as second in command at the Bureau of Engineering, in Washington, DC.   Captain Louis Shane, Sr., went on the retired list on 1 June 1934, settling at Braintree, Massachusetts with his wife, Anabel.

 

Meanwhile, his son was beginning his own Navy career.  Following his commissioning in 1926, Ens.  Louis Shane, Jr. was assigned to the battleship USS New Mexico.  In 1927 he was transferred to the Pacific Coast Communications Office, 12th Naval District, Naval Operating Base, San Francisco.   In 1928 he was to the USS Moody; in 1930 to his first submarine, S-25, Submarine Div. 11.  In 1932, Lt. (j.g.) Louis Shane, Jr. was assigned to the USS Oglala, flag Battle Fleet Mine force; in 1933 he was under instruction at the Naval Academy.   In 1935 he was assigned to the submarine USS Cachalot, Submarine Force, US Fleet, as X.O. and First Lieutenant.   Promoted to lieutenant, he was assigned as X.O. and engineering officer on the USS Cuttlefish.  From 1939 to 1940, he was resident inspector of machinery at the Fairbanks Morse factory in Beloit, Wisconsin and received orders in June 1940 to the aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2).  Louis Shane, Jr. was promoted to lieutenant commander on 1 April 1941 and received his first command, the Porpoise-class submarine USS Shark (SS-174).  The 298’, 25’ draft Shark, the fifth ship to bear the name of the feared undersea predator, had been launched in 1935 and commissioned in January 1936 at the New London, CT submarine base.

 

Louis Shane, Jr.-

 

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#12 aerialbridge

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 12:05 AM

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#13 aerialbridge

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 12:07 AM

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#14 aerialbridge

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 12:08 AM

Shark was stationed on the Pacific Coast until December 1938 when she transited the Pacific to join Div. 4 in Hawaii.  Ending Hawaiian operations on 3 December 3 1940, Shark set out for Manila to join the Asiatic Fleet, where she was engaged in exercises and tactical training when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.   Shane and his Shark set out from Manila on the night of 9 December 1941 for patrol and were patrolling in Tayabas Bay when the Japanese launched a devastating aerial attack on Manila the next day that virtually obliterated the Naval Base at Cavite, PI.   Most of the fleet then in port, pulled anchor that day to make a dash for Java in the Dutch East Indies.

 

On 15 December 1941, a week after the attack on Pearl Harbor and 8,500 miles away from his only son and the tiny US Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines, outnumbered by the gathering Imperial Japanese Navy surface and air forces that were about to scatter it, 64-year old retired Captain Louis Shane, Sr., died at Braintree, Massachusetts.   It is unknown when or how, Louis Shane, Jr, learned that his father had died.  Thomas C. Hart, Louis Sr.’s old cadet shipmate from the Massachusetts in Cuban waters during the Spanish American War, over the next forty years had risen to four-star Admiral and been appointed Commander in Chief, U.S. Asiatic Fleet on 25 July 1939. 

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#15 aerialbridge

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 12:09 AM

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#16 aerialbridge

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 12:11 AM

Practically in the rumbling belly of the Japanese beast, most of the forces under Hart's command were located in the Philippines.  At Manilla were four old four-stacker destroyers, the WWI era gunboats, Asheville and Tulsa,  their smaller river sisters,  Oahu, Luzon and the converted yacht and relief flagship, Isabel,  six old Lapwing-class minesweeper,  a squadron of motor patrol boats and several tenders and auxiliaries.  But Hart’s command did include the majority of the combat-ready US submarines in the Pacific, twenty-seven, including four old S-class boats.

 

Shark was ordered to return to Manila on 19 December 1941 and arrived in port two days later.    The next day, Japanese forces landed on the shores of the Lingayen Gulf, northwest of Manila. Reneging on previous pledge that he would “meet the Japanese on the beaches”, General Douglas MacArthur withdrew his Army forces to Corregidor and announced that Manila would be an open city as of Christmas Day 1941.   Admiral Hart learned of this decision on 24 December, leaving him less than 24-hours to withdraw the remaining naval forces from Manila.    Tons of supplies, ammunition and invaluable spare parts worth millions of dollars were left behind in the frenetic rush to abandon Manila.  

 

Hours before Hart was to take off by air on 25 December 1941, two of the three PBY Catalina’s that were to transport high level staff out of the Philippines to the new command location at Java were destroyed on the ground during a Japanese air strike, leaving one submarine,  USS Shark, and one PBY to evacuate these personnel.   Hart sent his most valuable officers on the PBY and at 0200 on 26 December, two days after MacArthur left for Australia, Admiral Hart transferred his flag to Shark and along with his remaining staff that numbered about a dozen, left Manila bound for the Dutch naval base at Surabaya, Java. The two remaining US destroyers at Manila, Pillsbury and Peary, left the following day.  On 31 December 1941, the last US submarine left Manila, taking as many Naval staff and material as possible.  After a six-day voyage, Shark arrived at Surabaya on 1 January 1942 and disembarked Hart and his staff.  The next day the Japanese entered Manila unopposed. 

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#17 aerialbridge

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 12:12 AM

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#18 aerialbridge

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 12:14 AM

Given the incredible pressure that Admiral Hart was under, we can only speculate to what extent he might have spoken to the Shark’s young commander, Louis Shane, Jr., about his Spanish American War service as a young cadet with Shane’s father on USS Massachusetts 34 years earlier, or whether Hart extended condolences for the elder Shane’s death 11 days before the Admiral embarked on Shark, as his small fleet abandoned the Philippines.   Perhaps Hart delivered the sad news personally to Louis Jr. during the six days the Shark was the flag-ship of the miserably out-gunned Asiatic Fleet.  

 

On his relocation to Java, Hart was named Commander, Naval Forces, ABDA Command, a joint British, Dutch, American and Australian military command, formed for purposes of holding the southern portions of the Dutch East Indies against further Japanese advances. While in command of ABDA naval forces, ships under his command fought the Battle of Balikpapan, a tactical victory, but strategic defeat for the allied forces.  Hart held the command of the U.S. Navy Asiatic Fleet until 5 February 1942, at which point the command ceased to exist as part of a broader U.S. military command restructuring in the Southwest Pacific.  Hart continue to hold the position of commander for ABDA naval forces until relieved of operational responsibilities on 12 February 1942.  Hart formally was relieved of this title on 16 February 1942, when he left Java, ostensibly for health reasons, bound for the United States.  Hart continued serving on the General Board during World War II and after retirement, served as a U.S. Senator (R-Connecticut).   He died in 1971 at the age of 94.

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#19 aerialbridge

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 12:15 AM

After delivering Admiral Hart and his staff to Java, Louis Shane, Jr. and Shark continued their war patrols.  On 6 January 1942, Shark was nearly torpedoed by an enemy submarine. A few days later, she was ordered to Ambon Island, where an enemy invasion was expected.  On 27 January, she was directed to join the submarines patrolling in Strait of Malacca, then to cover the passage east of Lifamatola and Bangka Strait.  On 2 February, Shark reported to her base at Surabaya that she had been depth-charged 10 mi (16 km) off Tifore Island and had failed to sink a Japanese ship during a torpedo attack.  Five days later, she reported chasing an empty cargo ship headed northwest, for which the Asiatic Fleet Submarine Commander, Captain John Wilkes upbraided Shane. 

 

No further messages were received from Shark. On 8 February, she was told to proceed to Makassar Strait and later was told to report information.  Shark was due to return to her base on 24 February.  On 7 March, Shark and her five officers and fifty-three enlisted men were reported as presumed lost, the victim of unknown causes. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 24 June.  Captured Japanese records document that at 0137 on 11 February 1942 the IJN destroyer Yamakaze contacted a surfaced submarine off Manado in the Makassar Strait that she sank with her guns.  Voices were heard in the water, but no attempt was made to pick up survivors.  Shark was the first American submarine lost in World War II to enemy anti-submarine warfare.  Yamakaze was herself torpedoed and sunk with all hands on 25 June 1942 by the submarine, USS Nautilus (SS-168) 110 km. SE of Yokosuka.   

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#20 aerialbridge

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 12:17 AM

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#21 aerialbridge

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 12:18 AM

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#22 aerialbridge

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 12:20 AM

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#23 aerialbridge

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 12:24 AM

The sixth Shark (SS-314) a Balao-class sub was commissioned in February 1944 and sunk on 24 October 1944 by a Japanese destroyer with the loss of all hands, 87 men.   Earlier in the same naval battle, either Shark or USS Snook (SS-279) torpedoed and sank a Japanese freighter, the Arisan Maru.  The Arisan, was a “hell ship” carrying 1,781 Allied prisoners of war.  Tragically, this was unknown to the American submarines since the freighter carried no markings or flag to indicate that it was carrying prisoners. The torpedo hit aft of amidships, splitting the freighter in two.  Only nine of the prisoners survived the ordeal and it remains the greatest loss of American life in a single military sinking.   The two World War II Sharks are the only American submarines to carry the same name and to suffer the same fate of “eternal patrol” for all hands.

 

Louis Shane, Sr. and Jr. died within two months of each other.   Perhaps it was merciful that the father was not alive to see his only son killed in action.  Louis Jr., untested in combat and commanding a submarine in enemy waters with little margin of error, was already under great stress that certainly was compounded by the inescapable grief of losing his father thousands of miles away, at the relatively young age of 64.  Both of the Shane widows lived to be 96.  Marjorie Shane never remarried and for twenty years after the death of Louis Jr, she held out hope that he had made it to an island and was waiting to be rescued.   On 16 March 1960, at Newport News, Virginia she commissioned the seventh Shark (SSN-591), a Skipjack-class submarine, the fastest of its day and the first nuclear submarine to be deployed with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean.   Shark served for thirty years and was decommissioned in 1990, eleven years before Marjorie Shane passed away at 96.  

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#24 aerialbridge

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 12:24 AM

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#25 aerialbridge

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 12:25 AM

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