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Presented by United States Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Association October 20, 1995


Compiled and written by CWO4 John D. Bartleson Jr., USN(ret) Historian, NEODA

Presented By United States Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Association October 20, 1995

All rights reserved, including cover emblem and right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. copyright


1996 by John D. Bartleson Jr.



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List of Illustrations .................................. Acknowledgments ....................................... ii Forward ................................................ iii Frontispiece ........................................... iv The German Long Delay Bomb ............................. 1 The German Influence Mine ............................. 5 OinCs of the Mine Disposal School Odale Dabney Waters ............................... 11 Fred Furst Nichols ................................ 13 Walter Raleigh Amesbury Jr ....................... 17 John Richard Ganther .............................. 20 Chronology of the Mine Disposal School ................. 23 Mine Disposal School Curriculum ........................ 34 Mine Disposal Graduates in England ..................... 37 Recovering German "C" Mines in Belfast ................. 42 The Death of Ensign John M. Howard ..................... 46 A Guest at West Leigh House ............................ 50 Development of the Remotely Operated Wrench ............ 52 O.I.L., Fort Townsend, Washington ...................... 56 O.I.L., Stump Neck Maryland ............................ 65 Mobile Explosive Investigation Unit No. Two ............ 75 Mobile Explosive Investigation Unit No. Three .......... 90 U.S. Navy Technical Mission, Europe .................... 103 The Establishment of Mine Disposal Units ............... 108 Mine Recovery Operation ................................ 117 Mobile Explosive Investigation Unit No. One ............ 123 Mobile Explosvie Investigation Unit No. Four ........... 132 MEIU#4 Teams in Japan, Introduction .................... 157 MEIU#4, B & MD Team #4 ................................. 160 MEIU#4, B & MD Team #5 ................................. 162 MEIU#4, B & MD Team #8 ................................. 163 MEIU#4, B & MD Team #9 ................................. 165 MEIU#4, B & MD Team #10 ................................ 167 MEIU#4, Headquarters, Honshu and Kyushu ................ 169 Epilogue ............................................... 171 Appendix "A" ............................................ 172 Mine Disposal School Class Photographs,#1 thru #19 ..173-191 Naval Combat Demolition Unit Officers Course ....... 192-193 Unidentified MD Personnel in Class Photographs ......... 194


Illustration Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47,

Page No. 3 4 7 8 12 16 19 22 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 36 39 41 44 45 54 55 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86

German Fuze No. 17 & Zus 40 ................. German Bomb Sizes ........................... German Type GG Influence Mine ............... German "G" Influence Mine, England .......... Odale Dabney Waters, Jr. .................... Fred Furst Nichols .......................... Walter Raleigh Amesbury, Jr. ................ John Richard Ganther ........................ Mine Disposal School, Anacostia 1945 ........ MD School, Contact Mine Instruction ......... MD School, Exploder Instruction ............. MD School, Torpedo Instruction .............. Ordnance Disposal Unit, Bellevue ............ Map of Navy Yard, June 30, 1941 ............. Map of Naval Magazine, Bellevue 1945 ........ Special B & MD Tools ........................ MD Class #1 Enlisted Return from England .... Howard & Dickison at HMS MIRTLE ............. Belfast Mud Flats Mine Recovery ............. Central Basin Reservoir; Rivinus ............ Cdr. Robert W. Eigell, USN .................. The Chewning Remote Wrench .................. O.I.L. Staff, Port Townsend, WA. 1944 ....... Attu Island 1943, Japanese Ordnance ......... Mine & Bomb Disposal Unit, Attu, 1944 ....... O.I.L. Staff, Port Townsend, WA. 1944 ....... O.I.L. Vandergraf X-Ray(2nd floor view) ..... O.I.L. Vandergraf X-Ray(1st floor view) ..... O.I.L. Vandergraf X-Ray building ............ O.I.L. Staff, Stump Neck, MD. ............... Map Drawing of O.I.L., Stump Neck 1945 ...... O.I.L. Stump Neck, OinC quarters/Warehouse .. O.I.L. Stump Neck, Barracks ................. O.I.L. Stump Neck, Bomb Proof Bunker ........ O.I.L. Stump Neck, X-Ray building ........... O.I.L. Stump Neck, Additional buildings ..... O.I.L. Stump Neck, inside bunker/steam pit .. Map of France with Marseille Inset .......... MEIU#2, Palermo, Coastal Gun ................ MEIU#2, arriving Naples 1944 ................ MEIU#2, Naples, Italian Circling Torpedo .... Sectional view of German Type GL mine ....... MEIU#2, Corsica, German Glider Bomb ......... MEIU#2, Naples, Team at leisure ............. MEIU#2, Marseille, Buie Diving Dress ........ MEIU#2, Marseille, German GC Mines Detonating. MEIU#2, France, Recovering German GC Mine ...


Illustration Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94,

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MEIU#2, Marseille, La Canet Rail Yard disaster. 87 MEIU#2, Biaria, Italy, Italian Type IK Mine ... 88 MEIU#2, Italy, Team on the move ..... 89 Map of France showing MEIU#3 Operations ..... 92 MEIU#3, Salcombe, Devon, England May 1944 93 Normandy Invasions; More Signs than Mines 94 MEIU#3, Cherbourg, France July 1944 ...... 95 Internal view of German RMA mine ......... 96 Explosive removal and burning from mine .. 97 German RMA Magnetic Dip-Needle Mine ...... 98 Captured German Ordnance ................. 99 Captured German underwater ordnance ...... 100 101 X-raying German LMA at St. Lo, France .... Remote removal of LMA mine tail door ..... 102 NAVTECH Mission Europe Activities ........ 107 110 Mine Disposal and Salvage Unit, Trinidad . Mine Disposal Unit, Oahu ................. 111 112 Mine Disposal Unit, Little Creek, Va ...... 113 Mine Disposal Unit, Iceland .............. 114 Mine Disposal Unit, Treasure Island ...... Mine Disposal Unit, Panama Canal ......... 115 116 Mine Disposal Unit, Italy ................ Japanese Type 88 Mod 1 mine .............. 121 Cover page for the "Countermine" newsletter ...122 "Cousins of the Second Great War" ........ 124 125 Aerial view MEIU#1, Brisbane, Australia .. First crew of MEIU#1 enroute to Australia 128 MEIU#1 officers, Summer 1944 ............. 129 Diving in the Brisbane River, Australia .. 130 MEIU#1 Advanced Eschleon to the Philippines ...131 5000' Aerial View of MEIU#4, West Loch, HI ....133 500' Aerial View of MEIU#4, West Loch, HI 134 MEIU#4 quonset huts built by B&MD personnel ...136 MEIU#4 quonset construction .............. 139 MEIU#4 personnel ......................... 140 MEIU#4 officer and enlisted personnel .... 141 MEIU#4 B & MD team ....................... 142 MEIU#4 B & MD team ....................... 143 MEIU#4 B & MD team ....................... 144 MEIU#4 B & MD team ....................... 145 MEIU#4 Refresher class #1, Jan. 1945 ..... 146 Eniwetok and Kwajalein Islands ........... 147 Guam and Tinian Islands .................. 148 Palau Island ............................. 149 150 Moen Island, Truk, Caroline Island ....... 151 Iwo Jima .................................. 152 Iwo Jima .................................



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Figure 95, Okinawa .................................. 153 Figure 96, Okinawa .................................. 154 Figure 97, Okinawa .................................. 155 Figure 98, Tokyo Bay, Japan, September 2, 1945 ...... 156 Figure 99, Kure, Japan, experimental U/W glider ..... 157 Figure 100, Nanao, Japan ............................. 164 Figure 101, Kawasaki, Japan, bomb dump & munitions burn ...166 Figure 102, Matsunami airfield, Japan ................ 168 Figure 103, Inuyama, Japan, "Sakura" warheads and burn ....170 Appendix "A", Class #1 173 Class #2 1 74 .............................. Class #3 .............................. 175 Class #4 ................................. 176 Class #5 177 .............................. Class #6 178 .............................. Class #7 .............................. 179 Class #8 .............................. 180 Class #9 .............................. 181 Class #10 .............................. 182 #11 .............................. Class 183 Class #12 .............................. 184 Class #13 .............................. 185 Class #14 .............................. 186 Class #15 .............................. 187 Class #16 .............................. 188 Class #17 .............................. 189 Class #18 .............................. 190 Class #19 .............................. 191 NCDU #3-45 ............................ 192 NCDU #6-45 ............................ 193



The Association and the author sincerely appreciate the many contributions of information, stories, publications and photographs sent in by members of the NEODA that served in Mine Disposal billets during World War II. The following have contributed in one way or another to this publication and or our archives: W. F. Akin (MD8) Clifton L. Allen (NCDU6-45) James H. Alvis (MD6) Walter R. Amesbury Jr. (MD3) Robert K. Arant (MD8) Arthur J. Arseneault Jr. (EOD1) Peter W. Asher (MD9) David J. Ashton (MD9) Thomas E. Aykroyd (MD9) Peter W. Bennett (MD7) William L. Boy (MD19) William H. Burke (MD9) Benjamin M. Capretta (MD6) William C. Chewning (BD3) Joseph Chillino (BD51) William S. Coghill (MD4) Clifton M. Credle (MD3) Maurice R. Crepeau (MD13) 0. Reeves Cross (MD1) S. Raymond Culligan (MD8) Walter P. Cynar (MD12) James R. Daggy (MD15) L. R. Damskey (MD6) J. Philip David (BD1B) John K. Debold (MD6) John M. Dickison (MD2) Bernard W. Diggs (EOD) Nicholas H. Dosker Jr. (MD12) Robert W. Eigell (MD1)&(BD50) Lloyd M. Felmly (MD7) Richard J. Franz (MD2) Joseph Freitas (MD2) Harry L. Fridman (MD3) John R. Ganther (MD5) Edwin C. Gerlack (MD12) Arthur W. Glauer (MD1) J. William Grady (MD2) Joffre A. Heineck (MD12) A. B. Holmes (MD3) M. C. Hudson (MD13) William Kenda (MD5) Kenneth J. Kindblad (MD2) Patrick M. Livingston (MD10) Vincent J. Mazgelis (MD4) Jack McEnaney Jr.(son)(MD18) Bernard R. Mosher (MD3) Steven Nichols (son)(MD1) John P. O'Brien (MD12) John R. Parsons (MD7) Thad A. Peake (MD8) Milton L. Perez (MD12) Anthony Pratz (MD11) Jack M. Putnam (MD12) Clarence R. Redden (MD8) Karl & Marian Reese (MD1) F. Markoe Rivinus (MD3) Charles M. Saffer (MD2) Thomas S. Sheridan (MD19) Nelson B. Silverstrin (MD19) John P. Simpson Jr. (MD8) A. Ward Smith (MD9) Edward J. Steffen (MD13) Evalyn M. Sterry (MD9) Samuel G. Swope (MD19) George B. Tirey (MD) Dominick R. Traina (MD10) W. W. Washburn (MD3) John C. Watson (BD15) Jack P. Womack (MD10) Mrs. James E. Wood (MD9) Anthony S. Zawadzki (MD3) Harry Zirkelback (MD17)



FORWARD The U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Association, Inc. (NEODA) and the author are proud to present this documentation of the beginning and the employment of Mine Disposal in the United States Navy during World War II. This history is written and compiled from efforts by the author and through the contributions of many members of the NEODA who donated information, photographs and documents from their private collections. The cover design originates from a 1945 cover which was used on a Mine Disposal School Intelligence Bulletin and consists of a torpedo, a moored chemical horn contact mine with a replica of a diving helmet superimposed upon them. The date of this publication coincides with the closing date of the Mine Disposal School at Anacostia on October 20, 1945 - fifty years ago. The compilation of historical data and photographs to bring about this history was authorized and financed by the NEODA in order to provide an illustrated history for the members of the NEODA and for the navy officer and enlisted personnel who subsequently replaced the WWII disposaleer - the NAVY EXPLOSIVE ORDNANCE DISPOSAL TECHNICIAN. This history is dedicated to the gallant and courageous men of Navy Mine Disposal Units and to those who lost their lives in the performance of their duty. The author wishes to thank the NEODA members for their presence of mind to save the many photographs and information elements which have gone into the production of this publication. Letters and numbers appearing in brackets after an individual's name indicate his duty and class number. With regard to Mine Disposal class numbers, classes one through twelve were originally numbered by the School, but no further. Class numbers thirteen through nineteen have been assigned by the author based on chronological order of graduation dates.


MARSEILLE, FRANCE NOVEMBER 1944 Clearing German GC Mines from Marseille Harbor Frontispiece


The history of Mine Disposal in the U.S. Navy cannot begin without some understanding for the reason it was organized in the first place. Also a brief description of the two items of German ordnance that prompted the bomb and mine disposal efforts in the United Kingdom during World War II. It was the experiences learned by the British that gave birth to our cause. During the early days of World War II, prior to the German air assault against the U.K., the British had recovered a sample of German bomb fuzing from a raid on the Orkney Islands. They were therefore aware of the general type of fuzing the Germans used and its implications as a possible unexploded item. They were not prepared, however, for the long delay bomb which became problem number one for the British bomb disposal organization once the air assault on Britain began. The German long delay bomb used a mechanical timer which could be preset to any time between 0 and 75 hours(German data). The British experience eventually caused them to use 0 to 96 hours. The timer was started on impact by an electrical section which formed the upper portion of the fuze. The timer ran off its set time and then detonated the bomb. This fuze, designated as No. 17 type, was protected by an auxiliary firing device mounted below it which would explode the bomb should an attempt be made to remove the No. 17 fuze. This fiendish device was known at the Zus 40. The British obtained samples of this bomb and its fuzing from a shot down German aircraft and immediately began an aroundthe-clock study as to methods for defeating it. In the meantime, the bomb squads, upon reaching the bomb and finding a No. 17 fuze, immediately loaded it into a truck and made a mad dash to the nearest bomb cemetery (usually a city park). Not all of them made it. The bomb disposal squads were made up of the Royal Engineers. The Royal Air Force also had bomb disposal squads who were primarily concerned with air bases and airfields and with British air-launched weapon problems. Research conducted on the No. 17 fuze lead to an examination into means of stopping the clockwork mechanism. It was found that this could be done by the use of powerful electromagnets. Meanwhile, the Germans began to use the No. 17 fuze only in bombs having two fuze pockets. A new fuze, the No. 50, was positioned in the second fuze pocket. The No. 50 fuze was an electric fuze having a very long arming delay and extremely sensitive trembler switches. This fuze would complete arming in the ground after which any movement of the bomb would cause firing. It had, by this time, been determined that the electric fuzes were best defeated by bleeding the electric charges off of the condensers of the fuzes. The first method developed was a mechanical device fitted to the fuze head by which the

charging plungers were depressed which allowed the contained charges to bleed off to ground. With the advent of the German No. 50 fuze, this method became limited to certain types of fuzes only. Depressing the plungers of the No. 50 fuze caused firing of the bomb. The next approach was to inject some form of conductive agent into the fuze without depressing the fuze plungers. Both steam and a special liquid (a salt saturated solution of alcohol and benzene) worked well and both were developed. The liquid fuze discharge method prevailed as it was easier to apply, and provided visual evidence of how much liquid really entered the fuze. This method could be used on the No. 50 fuze. The Germans next invented the E.L.A.Z. 25B "Y" fuze which defied the liquid discharge method. The "Y" fuze , as it was called, employed sensitive trembler switches and batteries to fire its initiator and had the added feature of an anti-withdrawal collar which wedged the fuze in its liner once installed. It could , however, be forcibly extracted once the batteries were dead. To accomplish the defeat of the batteries, the fuze head and surrounding area of the bomb case was frozen with liquid oxygen to lower the battery's voltage potential to zero and after a pre-determined length of time, the fuze was forcibly extracted. Researchers also looked into methods of opening bomb bodies and removing the main charge by the application of steam. Both chemical and mechanical "treppaner" methods of opening bombs were investigated with the British opting for the mechanical methods. A special stethoscope, by which the ticking of the clockwork in the bomb could be heard from a safe distance, was designed and produced. Steam boilers, of the donkey type, were available and pressed into service to steam out explosive fillers after fuzes had been neutralized and a hole gained through the bomb case. The final solutions to the long delay bomb were applied in a series of actions: (1) sink a timbered shaft to gain access to the bomb; (2) put the stethoscope on, and in operation, as soon as possible; (3) without disturbing the bomb, uncover and identify the fuzes; (4) without disturbing the bomb, attach electromagnet and stop clock; (5) carefully apply and inject the No. 50 fuze. Wait one hour; or(6) freeze a "Y" fuze and remove if present; (7) attach trepanner and cut a hole in bomb case; (8) steam out main charge; (9) blow fuze pockets in the shaft; (10) dispose of steamed out explosive ; and (11) recover shaft timbers if possible. A discussion of the delay bomb was deemed appropriate with regard to one of the two major pieces of German ordnance (the other being the influence sea mine) which caused the formation of Disposal Units both in the United Kingdom and in the United States. The U.S. Bomb Disposal personnel were trained separately from the Mine Disposalman and at a different school, however, when the Mobile Explosives Investigation Units (MEIUs) were formed, their membership was comprised of both Bomb and Mine Disposal qualified men in order to make a versatile team. 2




1 X%X11, X X
Fuze Pocket fitted with No. [17] Fuze and Zus 40 A. Electrical portion of No. [171 fuze. B. Clock of No. [17] fuze. C Gaine of No. [17] fuze. 1. Knife-edge. 2. Spring-loaded trigger member with needle striker. 3. Spring-loaded locking detest, with retaining ball. 4. Detonator (ignitory). 5. Booster pellet. 6. Gaine. a. Picric zing. b. Picnic pellets. c. Bomb casing.





d. Fuze locating ring. e. Fuze In-king ring. 1. Fuze pocket casing.

figure 1 3

Typical Assembly of a German High-Explosive Bomb fitted with Two Fuze Pockets
I. Long-delay clockwork fuze [17]. 2. Anti-withdrawal of fuze device (Zits 40). 3. [50] Fuze extremely sensitive to vibration or movement of bomb. 4. Picric acid pellets. 5. Compressed T.N.T. pellets in paper tube.



4 ! ? 3


1. S.D. 50 kg. 2. S.C. 50 kg.

, _ German High-Explosive General -Bombardment Bombs 5. S.C. 500 kg. 3. S.C. 250 kg. 6. S.D. 500 kg. 4. S.D. 250 kg. 9. S.D. 1,400 kg. (Fri=).





7 s


it 4FEIT



7. S.C. 1,000 kg. (Hermann)

8. S.D. 1,000 kg. (Esau). 10. S.C. 1,800 kg. (Saran).

figure 2


The introduction into British waters of the influence sea mine by German aircraft caught the British by surprise. They were technically unprepared and could only surmise as to the nature of the weapon being used. The limited number of mines involved caused a large number of casualties and necessitated strict traffic controls which greatly hampered coastal and convoy terminal operations. Technical answers had to wait until two air dropped mines laid off Shoeburyness on 23 November 1939 was left high and dry by the receding tide. LCDR. John G. D. Ouvry from the Department of Torpedoes and Mines (DTM), H.M.S. Vernon, Portsmouth, U.K, was dispatched to the scene and successfully rendered the mines safe. Hitler's secret was soon unraveled. The mine proved to be fired by a gimbal mounted magnetic dip needle unit which automatically measured and adjusted to the earth's magnetic field where it was located. It then acted to bias itself in the earth's field equal to a preselected magnetic sensitivity setting. Any change in the earth's field at the mine, such as typical of a ship which exceeded the selected sensitivity, would cause the mine to fire. The mine case was made of aluminum and the main explosive charge was aluminized to create an explosion with an enhanced bubble effect. The mine was armed after laying by a hydrostatic clock. The mine contained two separate firing systems: (1) the normal circuit which fired an electrical detonator to explode a picric acid booster, and (2) an auxiliary bomb fuze (Zus 34A or 34B) which operated mechanically to fire a gaine and booster to set off the main charge. The function of this device was to fire the mine if it was dropped on land or in shoal water. Impact with water or land would start a mechanical clockwork in the fuze which would then run for about 17 seconds and then fire the mine. Should the mine sink to below arming depth, a hydrostatic sylphon would stop the clock and the mine would arm its normal influence system. If dropped on land, therefore, the mine would detonate about 17 seconds after impact, thus precluding recovery. As the mine was laid with an attached parachute, and carried a very large explosive charge, when dropped on land it would rest on the surface and its later blast effect was extremely powerful. In this mode, the mine was much feared by the populace. As time went on, other refinements were added. Among the first was a "PSE" (prevention of stripping equipment) which consisted of a small explosive charge located in the mechanism compartment which was exploded by the removal of the tail cover of the mine. These devices came in both mechanical and electric versions. Acoustic mines came next, followed later in the war by pressure mines and various combinations of these influences. Other changes included the use of two bomb fuzes in the naval aircraft laid mine.

The Luftwaffe mine was intended to eliminate the parachute and thus improve accuracy. As it was to be dropped like a bomb, it had a strong manganese steel case fitted with elaborate nose and tail fairings which broke away on impact. The firing mechanism was located in a housing in the rear of the mine case. A bomb fuze was also present which performed certain arming functions and also acted to destroy the mine should it land on an extremely hard surface. There were a number of variations of these mines which included Luftwaffe versions of all the influence firing systems previously mentioned. They were fitted with a variety of complicated booby traps to protect against dismantling. When dropped on land they penetrated deeply, similar to a large bomb. A clue as to it being a mine was a strong odor of phenol in the hole of entry due to the breakup of the phenolic material of the tail section. The magnetic sensitivities used in German mines were fairly coarse (140 gamma was typical) and such that the rudimentary magnetic precautions and nonmagnetic tools of the day were adequate to provide a satisfactory level of safety when used with reasonable caution. The acoustic mine was dangerous on land and underwater. Both Britain and the U.S. suffered fatalities in diving on influence mines to a degree where diving on possibly live mines was prohibited. Acoustic mines were believed to be the cause. Post World War II U.S. tests confirmed the hazard posed by acoustic mines in general to the close approach and manipulation by divers. The pressure influence mine was generally not considered a problem, except for mine sweepers, however, as it is generally used in combination with magnetic or acoustic systems, the hazards of these systems must be guarded against as in certain situations the pressure side can be functioned by sea swell. Movement of the mine can also function the pressure change detector. The Zus 34(A/B) Bomb Fuze when found not functioned in a weapon dropped on land proved that something went wrong. Either it did not start or it started and hung up. In the latter case, a slight jar might restart it. Should the fuze begin to run, one had some part of 17 seconds to reach safety. This was a very dangerous device. Prevention of stripping equipment is dangerous if not known in detail. It should always be assumed present until proven otherwise. The first U.S. Navy Mine Disposal Officer to be killed in the U.K. by a German mine was the victim of a PSE device. Once such a device is known, it is more of a nuisance that a threat as they require special equipments, techniques and training. The devices in the Luftwaffe mines were readily discovered because they usually failed to remain functional when dropped on land. However, they posed the usual nuisance precautions. The German main charge explosive, in underwater mines, was a mixture of TNT, Trinitrodiphenylamine (HND) and Aluminum Powder. This mixture is extremely toxic, poisonous if ingested, 6

German Type GG (BM1000) Ground Influence Mine with Type 2 dome cover

figure 3 7

England 1941: German "G" hoisted from shaft: The photo was given to Mark Rivinus by Lt. J.P. "Beetle" Roach who had been attached to HMS Vernon's R.M.S. Unit.

figure 4 8

irritating to the mucous membranes and the skin. Sensitivity varies widely between individuals. Severe cases of dermatitis can be induced through normal clothing by working in the smoke or steam, incident to burning and steaming. The German aircraft laid influence mines were used against Britain in two ways: (1) in their designed role in the sea against ships, and (2) as an air-launched weapon against metropolitan targets. As these modes of usage differed widely in the methods used to counter them, two organizations were formed by the British as follows: (1) The RMS (Render Mines Safe) section of DTM at HMS Vernon in Portsmouth. Responsible for all sea mines laid against ships in the sea. This organization, as part of the DTM, Vernon, had access to extensive training, shops, design and engineering facilities of a long established regular Navy establishment. To this was soon added a RMS facility at Westleigh where there were facilities for offices, shops and laboratories, plus a large quarry (HMS Mirtle) in which all German mines recovered were x-rayed, dismantled, analyzed, recorded and then destroyed, usually by burning. A tool section worked on tools and techniques. Nonmagnetic standards were developed and special tools manufactured and distributed to field RMS teams which covered the entire coast of the U.K. In general, techniques for field application centered around the use of stringent acoustic and magnetic precautions to: (1) gag the Zus 34 Fuze, (2) gain access to the detonator and sever the leads, (3) remove the detonator, (4) remove the bomb fuze (Zus 34) from a safe distance, (5) remove the mine and bomb fuze boosters, (6) remove the hydrostatic arming clock, and (7) load the mine and dispatch it to HMS Vernon. Further field stripping was prohibited. Upon arrival at Westleigh, the mine was carefully examined for any item differing from the previous one. The mine then went in to x-ray where a complete set of standard x-rays were taken. If anything seemed present, the mechanism compartment was trepanned and a detailed study made of the interior with illuminated, long handled mirrors. The necessary measurements were then taken and the dummy plug of the PSE located and removed. The circuit jack was then removed. The remote tail door removal assembly was then set up on the mine. The nuts were removed from the tail door studs, then from a safe distance, by a long line, the tail door removal assembly was collapsed and the tail door pulled clear. Final stripping was then completed and the mine moved to a final destruction site. Several special teams of most experienced operators, with the latest equipment and information were kept available at all times to augment field teams in emergency or special situations. The German Luftwaffe mines remained the responsibility of the RMS section at Vernon under all situations of encounter. It was never used as a bomb and presented no serious threat to the civil populace. Further, the Luftwaffe never used them in large numbers. They contained two types of PSEs. One which fired when photoelectric cells were exposed to light when the tail cover was removed, and one which fired 9

when exposed to salt spray or mist if the mechanism was opened in such an environment. The identity of mine types so fitted became known and the photocells were defeated by opening only in total darkness after which they were covered tightly with opaque cloth. The salt spray device was defeated when necessary by eliminating or minimizing the salt environment and immediately disconnecting the PSE upon opening. The majority of these mines recovered had been dropped on land or were recovered from shot down aircraft. And finally, the other outfit, (2) The L.I.S. (Land Incident Section) of the Admiralty, London. This organization consisted of young volunteer reserves serving in the Navy, and trained to deal with the rendering safe of any unexploded sea mine dropped on land. As the mine would not arm as a sea mine, the only dangerous device to cope with was the Zus 34 Bomb Fuze. It was realized that there was need to compress the sylphon in the fuze to block the clockwork. A device was quickly made up using the rubber bulbs off taxi cab horns to pump air through a one-way valve into the fuze body, building up enough internal pressure to compress the sylphon. What was not realized was that the upper section of the fuze body was not always airtight. In its designed use, water pressure surrounded the upper section and leakage did not matter. The horn blower air gag therefore was a failure but not before several officers were killed. A mechanical gag was next developed which replaced the small, "three-penny bit" size disc in the top of the fuze with a disc of metal having a projection which would engage the sylphon and force it down. This blocked the clock and the gag was held in place by a flanged keep ring which threaded into the fuze head. The next gag developed was the "Dart" gag. This was a simple small metal rod having an enlarged point which was crosscut in such a manner as to permit it to decrease in diameter when pushed into the opening in the fuze. When all the way in, the enlarged point clears the opening and snaps back out to full diameter. The fuze was then gagged and the gag could not be withdrawn. The Germans then came out with the Zus Z 34B which changed the fuze so that direct access to the sylphon by removing the "three penny bit" disc was no longer available. To defeat this fuze, a new gag was developed by which the clockwork release pin was moved down and held depressed by a self-locking plunger inserted in the opening made available by the removal of the clockwork release pin cover plug. The fuze was then safe for removal with due precautions against a Zus 40 being fitted below the Zus 34B. It is hard to comprehend the fact that the development of these two German munitions, the Long Delay Bomb and the Influence Mine, caused such havoc in the early days; how these two weapons of war caused the need to have a trained staff of Bomb and Mine Disposal personnel to be maintained for generations to come is staggering to the imagination. It is also a fact that the foregoing information gained during war was at a high cost of lives from the ranks of the Royal engineers and navy.


ODALE DABNEY "MUDDY" WATERS, JR. Odale Dabney Waters was born in Manassas, Virginia, July 1 3, 1910. He graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy with the class of 1932. He was also a graduate of the Naval Post-Graduate School (Ordnance Engineering curriculum) and the Armed Forces Staff College. His distinguished career began as Gunnery Officer in USS Augusta (CA 31) followed by service as Torpedo Officer in USS Downes (DD 375). In the fall of 1940 Lt. Waters, USN, was sent to London England and assigned as the Assistant Naval Attache at the American Embassy. While in England he received training in German underwater ordnance and became skilled in the art of Mine Disposal. In April 1941, Lt. Waters returned to Washington, D.C. and began to organize the U.S. Navy's school for Underwater Mine Disposal. He became the first Officer in Charge of the Mine Recovery School, as it was first known, and convened his first class in Mine Disposal on 16 June 1941. He was relieved as OinC of the school by Lcdr. Fred F. Nichols, USCC, who was a graduate of the the first class. He then served in USS Memphis (CL 13) as Assistant of Staff for Fleet Gunnery and War Plans Officer on the staff of the Commander, Fourth Fleet. His next assignment as Assistant Operations Officer and War Plans Officer to the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet was followed by command of USS Laffey (DD 724). Further experience in the ordnance and gunnery specialty came through service as Senior Technical Officer and Mine Development Officer to the Commander, Operational Development Force. Another afloat command, USS Glynn (APA 239), was succeeded by a tour as Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, Strategic Applications and Policy Officer. Three other assignments included Destroyer Squadron Two, Naval Weapons Station Yorktown and Destroyer Flotilla One. Admiral Waters and, served as Inspector General subsequently, Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Naval Weapons. He commanded the Pacific Fleet Mine Force and Naval Base Los Angeles before his assignment as Oceanographer of the Navy. In recognition of his contributions as Oceanographer of the Navy, Admiral Waters was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for centralizing all oceanographic efforts. His command included the work of twenty-seven field activities, more than thirty survey and research ships and such other platforms as submarines, deep research vehicles, helicopters, buoys, fixed towers and manned bottom habitats. He enhanced the scientific and military posture of the Navy while making the most effective utilization of limited resources of men and money. Admiral Waters served next in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research and Development) prior to

retiring in June 1971. During this time he was detailed as an advisor in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce. Upon retiring, Admiral Waters joined the faculty of Florida Institute of Technology where he established and chaired the Department of Oceanography for several years. Rear Admiral Waters died in May 1986.

Lcdr. Odale Dabney Waters, Jr., USN figure 5 12

U.S. NAVY MINE DISPOSAL FRED FURST NICHOLS (MD1) Born on August 29, 1911 in Baltimore, Maryland, Fred Furst Nichols was a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Class of 1935, and was commissioned an Ensign in the Regular Coast Guard in June 1935. He was the second Officer in Charge of the Navy Mine Disposal School located at the Washington Navy Yard from February 1943 until March 1944. From August 1931 until May 1935, Nichols was a cadet student at the USCG Academy at New London, CN. From June 1931 until May 1939 he served as a junior officer aboard the cutters Tampa, Champlain and Campbell where he served as deck watch officer, commissary, clothing, communication, and gunnery division officer. From June 1939 until November 1939, Ltjg. Nichols was a Duty Officer for the New York District Office having responsibility to track search and rescue operations in the Atlantic and other general duties involving government and public relations. He was assigned to the patrol boat USCGC Galatea on Staten Island, NY., from November 1939 to April 1941 doing offshore patrol and rescue work from Jacksonville, FL. to Halifax, Nova Scotia. During this tour he served in every line billet from junior officer to Commanding Officer. In April 1941, Ltjg. Nichols was a student at the Naval Mine Warfare School, Yorktown, VA. as a prerequisite to attend the Mine Recovery School. The Mine Warfare School was a basic course which taught all facets of mine warfare including mines, their firing mechanisms, mine planting and mine sweeping. On June 16, 1941, Nichols was enrolled in the first class of the Mine Recovery School located at the Washington Navy Yard. The name of the school was changed to the Advanced Mine School during the training of the second class. The Advanced Mine School was not what its name implied but a cover title for the Mine Disposal School. All types of enemy and allied underwater ordnance - mines, depth charges, torpedos and limpets, were studied. Additionally, all students were required to become qualified as a Second Class Navy Diver. The course was conducted by two officers, Lcdr. O.D. Waters, Jr., USN, and Lcdr. S.M. Archer, USN, who had seen duty with the British Navy in England. He graduated on August 22, 1941 and became an instructor on the staff of the Advanced Mine School. As an instructor, he taught Class #2 through Class #7 and was promoted to Lieutenant. He was responsible for teaching the disposal and/or recovery of underwater ordnance for the development of render safe techniques and for intelligence to field units. As a staff member, he was also an operating member of the Mine Disposal Unit co-located at the school. During the fall of 1942, Lt. Nichols was promoted to LCDR and was being groomed to take over the school. During one of his many operational assignments as a member


of the Mine Disposal Unit for the Potomac River Naval Command, while attached to the School, he was commended by the Vice Chief of Naval Operations for an offshore operation involving the removal of an armed U.S. depth charge in ninety feet of water near the sunken German submarine U-85 in April 1942. In February 1943, he was assigned as Officer in Charge of both the Advanced Mine School and the Mine Disposal Unit. During his tour as OinC, many new techniques were developed including an experimental self-contained diving outfit. This was the forerunner of the Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA). The use of a face mask with an air hose was one of the early developments. A rebreather canister using pure oxygen and a chemical CO2 remover as developed by Jack Brown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin was tested. Nichols was successful in locating a suitable manufacturer and obtained non-magnetic tools for shipment to overseas units. It was during Nichols tour as OinC that the School moved from its location at the Gun Factory to its new and improved location at the Naval Training Center, Anacostia, D.C. In March 1944 he was relieved as OinC by Lcdr. Walter R. Amesbury Jr., USNR. In May 1944, Lcdr. Nichols graduated from the Sub-Chaser Training Center, Miami, Florida where he was a 4.0 student. This course taught the then current techniques of anti-submarine warfare. From May 1944 until August 1945, Lcdr. Nichols was Commanding Officer of the USS Dearborn (PF-33), a patrol frigate assigned to Task Force 24 in the Atlantic and did escort and weather patrol and operated independently from Argentia, Newfoundland to the Azores to Bermuda. From September 1945 until November 1945, he was staff inspection officer for Commander Escort Division 30, CTF 24, Argentia, NFLD. From November 1945 until April 1946 he was Commander, Task Unit 26.7.2 Recife, Brazil and commanded five patrol frigates with a primary mission for the south Atlantic Weather Patrol and plane guard for planes flying from North Africa to Natal, Brazil. From May 1946 to July 1947 Lcdr. Nichols was personnel officer for the North Atlantic Weather Patrol and supervised movement of over 2,000 men and 200 officers. He was also flag secretary for the command. In August 1947, Lcdr. Nichols was the Security and Training Officer at the Coast Guard Training Station, Groton, CN. During this tour he was promoted to Commander. From August 1952 to August 1954, Cdr. Nichols was the commanding officer of USCGC Mendota out of Wilmington, NC. Under his able leadership, the ship never missed a scheduled mission and suffered no break downs. In August 1954, Cdr. Nichols became the Aide to Navigation Officer and acting Chief of Staff for the 11th. CG District at Long Beach, CA. and was responsible for seven manned light stations, one loran station, two buoy tenders and several hundred lighted and unlighted navigation aids. 14

From August 1957 to August 1960 he was the Assistant Chief, Shore Units Division in Washington, D.C. This office was in charge of all shore units in the CG. Promoted to Captain. In August 1960, Capt. Nichols was assigned as commanding officer, USCG Base, Staten Island, NY. and succeeded in bringing about a modernization to the base. In August 1963, Captain Nichols became Chief Reserve Division, 9th. Coast Guard District in Cleveland, OH. As Chief of the Reserve Division, he was responsible for the operation and performance of 34 reserve units in an area from New York to Duluth, MN. He supervised the scheduling of drills for the two week active duty training program and distribution of personnel for the District. During 1964, he personally visited thirty units to ensure their readiness. During his complex tour of duty with the Coast Guard, Capt. Nichols found time to serve in the local communities where he was assigned. His contributions included service to the Boy Scouts of America as Troop and Explorer Post committee member, a member of the Staten Island Rotary Club for three years, church and school parent groups as an active member, Cubmaster, the Salvation Army as a member of the inter-service assistance group and a member of the executive committee of a church mens club. Captain Nichols was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association and retired as a captain in the reserves in 1965. Captain and Evelyn K. Nichols made their home in Williamsburg, VA. until he passed away on June 30, 1989. Photo courtesy of Mrs Evelyn K. Nichols, biography courtesy of Captain Nichols son, Mr. Stephen Nichols of Great Falls, VA.


Lcdr. Fred Furst Nichols, USCG

figure 6 16

U.S. NAVY MINE DISPOSAL WALTER RALEIGH AMESBURY, JR. (MD3) Walter Raleigh Amesbury, Jr. was born in Boston, MA. on 23 December 1914. In September 1932, Walter enrolled as a Naval Cadet in the ROTC unit at Harvard College. As a cadet he had training cruises in destroyer USS Tillman (DD135), submarine (0-13) and various submarine chasers and torpedo boats. He was commissioned an Ensign, USNR, on 23 May 1936 and participated in Reserve training cruises including the battleship USS Wyoming until the summer of 1941. On 13 June 1941, Ensign Amesbury was ordered to active duty as watch and division officer in USS Paducah, a gunboat assigned to the North Atlantic anti-submarine screen. He reported to the Naval Mine Warfare School, Yorktown, Virginia on 03 October 1941 and was assigned to USS Bullfinch for instruction. He reported to the Advanced Mine School on 05 January 1942 at the Washington Navy Yard. He was a member of Class #3 and graduated on 07 March 1942 at the top of his class. On 10 March 1942 he was appointed LTJG with an effective date of 23 May 1941, and reported to the Commandant, Third Naval District, New York, NY, as OinC of the Third Naval District Mine Disposal Unit. Other members of the Unit included Ens. Robert A. Gielow, USNR, Cox Leonard Kaplan and EM3 B.R. Mosher, all from Class #3. They were assigned to Section Base, Tompkinsville, Staten Island, New York City. The Unit established Mine Watch Stations around New York harbor and the New London, CT. area overlooking waters important to the submarine base. They performed frequent diving tasks recovering lost objects, clearing fouled ship propellers, hull inspections and small repairs. In the shipping lanes off Cape May, NJ., they recovered a rack of eight depth charges that had been knocked overboard in a collision. For his efforts he was recommended for the Navy Cross, however, it was not awarded. He also served as a member of the Mine Sweeper Trial Board. On 17 June 1942 he was appointed to the rank of Lieutenant, USNR. On 17 September 1942, Lt. Amesbury reported to the Potomac River Naval Command for duty in Naval Operations in support of Bomb and Mine Disposal under Lcdr. Stephen M. Archer, USN. He also coordinated Navy Bomb and Mine Disposal activities with the Army's Bomb Disposal School at Aberdeen, Maryland. From 19 October to 06 December 1942 Walter was TDY to conduct readiness inspections of Mine Disposal and Bomb Disposal Units in the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Tenth and Fifteenth Naval Districts. On 12 December 1942, Lt. Amesbury reported to the Chief of Naval Operations as prospective relief for Lcdr. Stephen M. Archer, USN, as OinC. of Bomb and Mine Disposal desk. From 21 December 1942 until 21 January 1943 he was TDY to conduct readiness inspections of Bomb and Mine Disposal Units and Mine 17

Watch organizations in the First, Third and Fourth Naval Districts and the Naval Operating Base, Argentia, Newfoundland. During his tour at the CNO, he established formal working relationship between the Navy Bomb and Mine Disposal and the Army Bomb Disposal Schools to include exchange of instruction, technical information and training aids of Allied and enemy ordnance. He was relieved on 28 January 1944 by Lcdr. Oscar Reeves Cross, USNR (MD1) On 29 January 1944 he reported to the Commandant, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. for duty as Officer in Charge of the Mine Disposal School and on 01 March 1944 he relieved Lcdr. Fred F. Nichols, USCG (MD1). He became the third OinC of the Mine Disposal School which was now located in Building #T-30 on the south side of the river at the Naval Receiving Station Anacostia. On 15 April 1944 he was appointed to Lieutenant Commander, USNR, effective 01 March 1944. Lcdr. Amesbury put on a second hat as OinC of the Mine Disposal Unit for the Potomac River Naval Command on 22 May 1944. During Lcdr. Amesbury's tenure, the student load increased and the incoming amount of underwater ordnance training aids increased which caused an increase in the size and staff of the school. Under his supervision the Mine Disposal Handbook, OP 1330, was developed and sent out to field units. Lcdr. Amesbury also prepared and issued the manual on "Mission, Organization and Operation of Mine Disposal" which provided guidance for current and future employment and support of Mine Disposal instruction, personnel, equipment and mission. He maintained working relationships and exchange programs with the Army Bomb Disposal School, Navy Mine Warfare School and the Naval Torpedo Station at Newport, RI. It was during Lcdr. Amesbury's tour as OinC that a prototype self-contained diving dress using rebreathing technology and light weight design was developed under project manager Ens. Emerson D. Buie, USN (MD2). The diving dress was known as the "Buie Suit". He also coordinated the development of a portable, handheld underwater mine locating device using sonar technology. For his efforts he was awarded a Letter of Commendation by the Chief of BUORD. On 25 July 1945, Lcdr. Amesbury was relieved as OinC by Lt. John R. Ganther, USNR, of both the School and Unit. On 26 July 1945, Lcdr. Amesbury reported to the Chief of Naval Operations for duty as Executive Officer for the Technical Intelligence Center which was being established. During this tour he developed the organization and operation of the Center and work in harmony with the U.S. Army and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) concerning technical intelligence organizations. On 30 November 1945 he was appointed to the rank of Commander, USNR. During the summer of 1946 he served as aide to the Chief of Naval Intelligence, Radm. Thomas B. Inglis, USN, and presented naval technical intelligence requirements and procedures to U.S. Naval Attaches and Intelligence Officers at U.S. Embassies and U.S. Naval Forces in London, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Brussels, Paris, Rome, 18

Athens, Istanbul and Cairo. Along with Lt. Robert W. Eigell, USN, he prepared and delivered a week-long course in technical intelligence at the U.S. Navy Intelligence School. On 02 May 1947, Commander Amesbury was detached from active duty and returned to inactive status. He maintained an active interest in Mine Disposal and fully retired in 1976. His civilian career included executive positions with American Machine and Foundry Company from 1947 to 1958 and General Electric Company from 1958 to 1978. His career brought him in contact with Radm Odale D. Waters, USN, when Waters was Oceanographer of the Navy and later as professor of Oceanography at the University of Southern Florida on the subject of deep water buoys and deep diving submersibles. Walter retired from General Electric in 1978 and continued to live in Philadelphia with his wife, Cecily. He has been a contributor to our history effort and is now a member of NEODA.

Cdr. Walter Raleigh Amesbury, Jr., USNR figure 7 19

U.S. NAVY MINE DISPOSAL JOHN RICHARD GANTHER (MD5) John Richard Ganther was born on June 23, 1916 in Auburn, New York. John attended Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he participated in a five year course which led to a BS degree in electrical engineering. While in school, Ganther worked in the research division of the Wisconsin Electric Utility Company. John worked in the management part of the company with the evaluation and appraisal of various utilities and R.E.A.s which the company was acquiring. His training would have committed him as an employee of Wisconsin Electric upon graduation in 1941. While at the university, the dean of the Engineer School selected John and seven other students to be interviewed by the then Naval Attathe to Berlin. During this mysterious interview, the naval officer swore them to secrecy and informed them that the country would be at war by the time they graduated and that because of their qualifications, they had been selected to receive commissions in the U.S. Navy upon graduation. On May 7, 1941, Ganther was commissioned an Ensign, Volunteer Special Services (Ordnance Duties) with a date of rank as Ensign O-V(S)USNR of May 26, 1941. In July 1941 he was ordered to Annapolis and scheduled in the School of Indoctrination for naval orientation. On July 28, 1941 Ensign Ganther was ordered to the Naval Ordnance Laboratory located at the Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. as his first duty station. At N.O.L. Ensign Ganther also participated in a five week General Ordnance School. In March 1942 he was ordered to USS Bullfinch at the U.S. Naval Mine Warfare School, Yorktown, Virginia to attend a course in naval undersea mine warfare. John graduated from the Naval Mine Warfare School on May 22, 1942 with Class #2-42 and was sent back to Washington, D.C. where he was ordered to the eleven week Advanced Mine School at the Navy Yard and was enrolled in Class No. 5 to receive training in Mine Disposal. Upon graduation on August 1, 1942, Ltjg. Ganther was a qualified Mine Disposal Officer with second class diver qualifications. During this course he had been promoted to Ltjg on June 15. Ltjg. Ganther was assigned to the 15th. Naval District, Balboa, Canal Zone as a Mine Disposal Officer and on November 27, 1942 was sent TAD to Belize, British Honduras on a Coast Guard Cutter to recover and destroy U.S. moored contact mines which had broken their mooring during a storm and washed ashore. During most of 1943 Ltjg Ganther was engaged in developing the Explosives Investigation Laboratory and Disposal area on the West Bank on the Pacific Ocean side on a beach adjacent to the Albrook Army Air Force Base where they disposed of outdated explosives from all services. Their facilities were located next to a leper colony. On the Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal they also developed facilities at the Coca Solo Submarine Base. On March


3, 1943 John was promoted to Lieutenant in the Naval Reserves. In October 1943, as Officer in Charge of a Mine Disposal team, Lt. Ganther led his team to recover a German Type "EMF", Moored Magnetic Dip Needle mine which had been laid by submarine in the approaches to the Canal Zone. The information obtained from this mine was of extreme value in modifying sweeping procedures and thereby contributed to the successful clearance of enemy mine fields in the approach to the Panama Canal and off the Canadian-New Foundland coasts. His tireless efforts and complete disregard for personal safety while rendering the mine safe later earned him the Bronze Star Medal in 1946. On January 1, 1944 Lt. Ganther was detached and reported to Commander Balboa Section Inshore Patrol for duty as Officer in Charge, Explosive Investigation Laboratory, Balboa with additional duties as Mine and Bomb Disposal Officer, 15th. Naval District. On January 9, 1944 John was sent TAD to Guatemala in connection with duties involving salvage work to recover special radar equipment and disarm explosives on a crashed Army Air Force Bomber aircraft. On April 6 he proceeded to Nicaragua on Sub Chaser 1021 for TAD in the recovery and disposal of U.S. Mines which had broken their moorings. On June 6, 1944, Lt. Ganther received orders to report to the Mine Disposal School and Unit in Washington, D.C. as Assistant OinC of the School and reported for duty on July 19, 1944. During this tour, Lt. Ganther was sent TAD to numerous stations including Staten Island in connection with ordnance locating equipment on March 14, 1945; March 22, 1945 to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to inspect Buie Diving Equipment; April 17, 1945 at Deep Sea Diving School, Washington, D.C. for qualification dives to 150 feet and on April 25, 1945 he proceeded to Casablanca, French Morocco in connection with TAD to work with French mine sweeper to sweep and disarm and destroy U.S. Mines off Casablanca. On May 31, 1945, Lt. Ganther received TAD orders to London to become a participant with U.S. Naval Technical Mission in Europe. On June 6, 1945 he proceeded to Advance Headquarters, Wiesbaden, Germany reporting to 12th. Army Group Hqs. During his stay with the Technical Mission, he was able to recover important information on underwater cutting equipment and explosives which were sent back to the States. On July 9, 1945, Lt. Ganther reported back to Washington as Officer in Charge, Mine Disposal School as the relief for Lcdr. Walter R. Amesbury, Jr. John was to be the fourth and last OinC of the School and Unit. During his tour at the School, Lt. Ganther was also sent TAD to New London at the Submarine Base in connection with diving matters and on October 8, 1945 he returned to Staten Island in connection with ordnance locating equipment. On October 12, 1945 he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander as of October 3, 1945. On October 20, 1945, instruction at the Mine Disposal School ended. Lcdr. Ganther together with Lcdr. J. Philip David, OinC of the U.S. Navy Bomb Disposal School at American University in Washington, D.C. submitted their joint recommendations for 21

the future missions of a post-war explosive ordnance disposal to the Chief of Bureau of Ordnance, most of which were carried out to this very day. Lcdr. John R. Ganther was released from active duty on November 15, 1945 and separated on February 7, 1946. John is a member of NEODA and resides with his wife Joy in Houston, Texas.

Lt. John Richard Ganther, USNR figure 8 22


On May 13, 1941, the Chief of Naval Operations directed the formation of Mine Recovery Units, as they were then called, by the Bureau of Ordnance (BUORD) based on the findings of two U.S. Navy officers as described in the following: The United States involvement with Mine Disposal actually began in 1940 when a group of U.S. Naval officers, on duty in Britain, were directed to look into the British problem being posed by the German Magnetic Influence Mine. It was evident that in the event of hostilities involving the United States, adequate countermeasures to cope with these mines would require the establishment of a group similar to the British Render Mine Safe (RMS) Section at HMS Vernon in Portsmouth, England. In the fall of 1940 Lt. Odale Dabney Waters, USN, was sent to England as an assistant naval attache. Along with 25 other naval officers attached to the embassy, he had been sent as an observer to gain experience in a particular phase of warfare. Because of his post graduate training in general ordnance engineering, Lt. Waters had been sent to learn the German use of magnetic-acoustic undersea mines. In October 1940, with orders and diplomatic passports from the Director of Naval Intelligence, Lt. Waters and Lt. Stephen M. Archer, USN, were sent via the embassy to HMS Vernon at Portsmouth, England. HMS Vernon is the British shore establishment for mines and torpedoes. The Mining Command was under Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Thistleton-Smith, RN. Lieutenants Archer and Waters received training in what was currently known about German ordnance and then took turns going out with the British teams to help recover these mines. By the end of winter, they had written all of their reports on the German mines and their countermeasures. Captain Alan G. Kirk, USN, was the U.S. Naval Attache in England and recognized the importance of what Archer and Waters had learned and recommended to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) that the U.S. Navy should start immediately to organize a Mine Disposal capability. In April 1941, Lt. Waters was ordered back to Washington, D.C. to start the planning of that capability. Heading up the planning at BUORD was Cdr. Louis W. McKeehan, under Rear Admiral W. H. P. Blandy, USN, the new chief of BUORD. The plan involved a school for training personnel to do this type of work and a requirement for the manufacture, production and purchasing of the special tools needed to perform this dangerous work. There was also a requirement for a mine disposal research and development program. In the meantime, Lt. Archer had returned from England and the two of them started preparations for their first class. Lieutenant John P. Roach, USN, and LT(jg) Doyen Klein, USN, were assigned as staff members to assist in training. The first school was named the Mine Recovery School, 23

however, it was changed to the Advanced Mine School on October 2, 1941, before the second class was convened. The first class was convened on 16 June 1941 graduating on 22 August 1941 at the Naval Gun Factory in Washington, D.C. It was established there in order to be near the Navy's deep sea diving school. It was felt that the mine disposal capability should deal with mines underwater as well as on shore. Their makeshift quarters was in one room of the old fire control school, Bldg. 40, that Lt. Samuel P. Moncure, USN, was operating in those days. Later on 6 October 1941 they moved to the old Naval Reserve Armory, Bldg. 186. Their central office for the place was in a small brick building enclosed by the old frame armory which had been a stable during the Civil War. The school was located against the fence on the 11th. Street side of the Washington Navy Yard. The building north of the Armory was the Navy Band building at the Northeast corner of the Yard. The instructors had one classroom, an office where Lieutenants Waters, Archer and Roach officiated from and a larger adjoining office area used by other instructors. The remainder of the building was a drill hall which occupied 60 to 70% of the entire building. The drill hall was an open space where the staff accumulated pieces of enemy equipment. All classroom teaching occurred in the one classroom, together with some practical demonstrations and exercises in the drill hall. Daily diving instruction took place in the afternoons at the Deep Sea Diving School (DSDS) located in the Yard and or the diving boat Crilley which was docked at the Anacostia River. The DSDS had two small diving tanks ten to twelve feet deep, one open the other capable of being pressurized. Naval Ordnance Laboratory, also located in the Yard, had a 60 foot deep mine test tank which was used for diving practice and recovery drills. The first class had eight officers, three of which were U.S. Coast Guard, and 14 enlisted men - five CPOs and nine 1st. and 2nd. class petty officers. All were volunteers and graduates from the Naval Mine Warfare School at Yorktown, Virginia. The Mine Recovery School, as it was first known, was directly under control of the Bureau of Ordnance (BUORD) with Commander Louis W. McKeehan, USNR and Lt. R.D. Hughes of VCNO serving as coordinators to the school. Administratively the School was under the cognizance of the Superintendent of the Navy Gun Factory. The course of instruction eventually included the use of demolitions, burning mines, counter mining them and mine identification. Demolition and burning of live explosives was done at an isolated peninsula in the Potomac River called Stump Neck. Stump Neck was an annex to the Naval Powder Factory located at Indian Head, Maryland which was acquired in 1901 as an explosive ordnance and testing station. Later in the war Stump Neck was occupied by the Explosives Investigation Laboratory (EIL). EIL built a large x-ray facility for explosive ordnance investigation and operated closely with the Mine Disposal personnel. EIL was redesignated as the Ordnance Investigation Laboratory (OIL) in December 1944. Today Stump Neck is still an annex to the Indian Head Division, Naval Surface 24


On May 13, 1941, the Chief of Naval Operations directed the formation of Mine Recovery Units, as they were then called, by the Bureau of Ordnance (BUORD) based on the findings of two U.S. Navy officers as described in the following: The United States involvement with Mine Disposal actually began in 1940 when a group of U.S. Naval officers, on duty in Britain, were directed to look into the British problem being posed by the German Magnetic Influence Mine. It was evident that in the event of hostilities involving the United States, adequate countermeasures to cope with these mines would require the establishment of a group similar to the British Render Mine Safe (RMS) Section at HMS Vernon in Portsmouth, England. In the fall of 1940 Lt. Odale Dabney Waters, USN, was sent to England as an assistant naval attache. Along with 25 other naval officers attached to the embassy, he had been sent as an observer to gain experience in a particular phase of warfare. Because of his post graduate training in general ordnance engineering, Lt. Waters had been sent to learn the German use of magnetic-acoustic undersea mines. In October 1940, with orders and diplomatic passports from the Director of Naval Intelligence, Lt. Waters and Lt. Stephen M. Archer, USN, were sent via the embassy to HMS Vernon at Portsmouth, England. HMS Vernon is the British shore establishment for mines and torpedoes. The Mining Command was under Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Thistleton-Smith, RN. Lieutenants Archer and Waters received training in what was currently known about German ordnance and then took turns going out with the British teams to help recover these mines. By the end of winter, they had written all of their reports on the German mines and their countermeasures. Captain Alan G. Kirk, USN, was the U.S. Naval Attache in England and recognized the importance of what Archer and Waters had learned and recommended to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) that the U.S. Navy should start immediately to organize a Mine Disposal capability. In April 1941, Lt. Waters was ordered back to Washington, D.C. to start the planning of that capability. Heading up the planning at BUORD was Cdr. Louis W. McKeehan, under Rear Admiral W. H. P. Blandy, USN, the new chief of BUORD. The plan involved a school for training personnel to do this type of work and a requirement for the manufacture, production and purchasing of the special tools needed to perform this dangerous work. There was also a requirement for a mine disposal research and development program. In the meantime, Lt. Archer had returned from England and the two of them started preparations for their first class. Lieutenant John P. Roach, USN, and LT(jg) Doyen Klein, USN, were assigned as staff members to assist in training. The first school was named the Mine Recovery School, 23

Warfare Center, a rename for the previous Naval Ordnance Station. The staff worked on developing new techniques and tools. Early tools were made of Beryllium copper, a scarce and expensive material which was strong and non-magnetic. They experimented with X-ray machines for surface and underwater use. They also developed several methods for burning out the main explosive charge from sea mines. During their training, small explosive charges were connected to ordnance firing mechanisms to offer realistic training in the rendering safe procedures (RSP) for underwater ordnance. These firing mechanisms were placed inside inert mines and torpedoes to monitor poor safety practices or incorrect RSPB performed by the students. The monitor would detonate the remotely placed explosive charge if the student made a mistake in his procedure or was sloppy in applying safety precautions. This was a most impressive means to reinforce the need for care during the RSP of mines. In September 1941 Chief Gunners Mate E.D. Buie (later Lt.jg), was ordered to the school to establish a separate Mine Recovery Operational and Instructional Diving Section. Emphasis would be placed on diving as related to Mine Recovery and eventually led to a Second Class Diver qualification for the Mine Disposal School graduates. The Advanced Mine School was re-located to the Naval Receiving Station on the south side of the Anacostia River at Anacostia by November 1942 and Lcdr. Waters was relieved by Lieutenant Commander Fred F. Nichols, USCG, in February 1943. The name of the School was changed to the Mine Disposal School on 21 October 1943. The new school setup at the Anacostia Receiving Station was palatial by comparison. Its location was immediately to the right after entering the main gate facing the River in Bldg. T30. The Mine Disposal School building in Anacostia was two story. Topside were two small classrooms, an assembly room which doubled as a classroom plus offices for staff involved with instruction, intelligence and publications. Below decks were administrative offices, storerooms, bos'n's locker room, a couple of small workshops and a large museum room. The administrative side of the School was also the local Mine Disposal Unit and carried any responsibility for incidents in the general area. Due to the unique information and talents of MD graduates, the Unit maintained regular liaison with OP-30 at the Navy Department regarding personnel assignments in the field. The Unit also maintained regular contact with BuOrd, Re6b for investigative work at Stump Neck. During 1944 the school underwent various modifications involving the installation of new activities, including a Publications Office, a Drafting Department and a complete photographic darkroom. The School undertook technical publications on mine disposal and related subjects. In place of the original Mine Disposal Bulletins, there now appeared Ordnance Publication (OP) 1330 which was published on November 1, 1944. Lt. Nichols was relieved by Lt. Walter R. Amesbury Jr. on 1 March 1944, who served as the School and Unit OIC until he was relieved by Lt. John R. Ganther in July 1945. On 27 August 1945, CNO letter Ser.No. 560030 provided instructions for the dis-establishment of both the 25

Navy's Bomb and Mine Disposal Schools. Instruction at the school ended on October 20, 1945. The Ordnance Investigation Laboratory (formerly EIL) at Stumpneck Annex was reduced in size and all personnel detached for other duties. Most of the Disposaleers involved during World War II were Reserves and quickly got out of service on points. The remaining personnel which included Lt. Dominick R. Traina (MD10), six other officers and about twenty enlisted personnel took over the files and records of both schools and were assigned to the Naval Ordnance Laboratory (NOL), which at that time was headquartered at the Naval Gun Factory in Washington, D.C. (today NOL is located at White Oak, Silver Springs, MD. and known as the Naval Surface Weapons Center). Organizationally, the small band of "left over" disposalmen were a department of Naval Ordnance Laboratory and known as the Ordnance Disposal Unit with Lt. Traina as department head. In March of 1946, the Ordnance Disposal Unit department was transferred to Building #66, an old barracks, at the Naval Magazine, Bellevue Annex located between the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and the U.S. Army's Bolling Field. This small Ordnance Disposal Unit did very little explosive ordnance disposal work. This was accomplished by the Mobile Explosive Investigative Units, Nos. 1 and 4 located in and Japan and by small disposal units assigned to local commands overseas. Most of Lt. Traina's department was engaged in training personnel assigned to the Unit and consolidating all of the previous records. During this period, training standards were established and personnel billets and allowances were increased in order to execute the research and development and equipment and the training of personnel that would follow. By 20 March 1946, the first regular class was in progress which provided staff officers and enlisted men that would form the instructor cadre of postwar training that was to follow on its move to Indian Head On 26 Jul 1946.


Mine Disposal School, Anacostia Spring 1945 CPO W.D. Backer and Lt. R.K. Winslow (MD6) Bldg. T-30

Mine Disposal School, Anacostia Spring 1945 Ltjg. W.H. Burke (MD9) figure 9


Mine Disposal School, Anacostia, August 1945 Lt. Benjamin M. Capretta (MD6) senior instructor teaching contact mines to last class (MD19)

figure 10 28

Mine Disposal School, Anacostia, August 1945 Lt. Benjamin M. Capretta (MD6) senior instructor teaching torpedo exploders to last class (MD19)

figure 11 29

Mine Disposal School, Anacostia, August 1945 Lt. Benjamin M. Capretta (MD6) senior instructor teaching torpedoes to last class (MD19)

figure 12 30

Ordnance Disposal Unit, Bellevue Annex Washington, D.C. March 1946 North of Naval Research Laboratory

figure 13 31








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By December 1944, the growing work load that fell on the School required an increased amount of specialization of its activities. The change brought an increase in staff personnel, which at its peak numbered seventeen officers and twenty-nine enlisted men. From this point until the end of the war the school was divided into the following departments: Officer in Charge, X.O., administration, personnel and first lieutenant, instruction, intelligence and research, publications and diving. The curriculum of the Mine Disposal School underwent significant development during its history. This was due to the experience gained with new types of underwater explosive ordnance by the operational MD Units. The activity started as a small group of officers and men responsible for rendering mines safe. It grew into an organization responsible for all underwater explosive ordnance, both foreign and domestic. The scope of this responsibility included underwater locating, identification, rendering safe, recovery, and disposal. To avoid a lengthy description of the curriculum, a brief outline of the original course and significant additions to it will be presented. The School started with six major areas of instruction. (1) physics of magnetism and acoustics; (2) operational characteristics and rendering safe procedures of all known mines; (3) disposal of mines other than by disassembly, including countermining, steaming out of fillers, burning, thermit ignition and penetration; (4) harbor and dock clearance, (5) organization of Naval Districts and Advanced Bases for Mine defense and (6) deep sea diving. Each graduate of the school had to qualify as a Diver Second Class, and took a course for that purpose and to learn practical underwater work on mines. The first addition to this basic course began in 1942 and consisted of torpedo recovery and operational characteristics and rendering safe procedures for torpedo exploders. Four more additions occurred in April 1942 and included military explosives, general demolition techniques, bomb identification, depth charges and depth bombs. In early 1943, the introduction to principles of underwater locators, photography, report writing and official correspondence was added. In November 1943, land mines and booby traps were included. In 1944, two new subjects included underwater locators and photographic darkroom use. In 1945, two additions brought about complete torpedo coverage including propulsion systems and a brief course on Japanese language as it applied to ordnance. The student, with the aid of a Japanese-English dictionary, which he was taught to use, left the school prepared to translate and understand the markings on Japanese underwater ordnance encountered in his disposal work. 34

The curriculum of the School was not well documented with regard to all changes that occurred during the four years that it operated. Subject matter was under constant revision due to new information coming in from the Mobile Explosive Investigation Units (MEIUs) in the field and on information brought back by personnel who were stationed in England for that purpose. As the course proceeded and by the end of the war the curriculum appeared approximately as follows: Subject Course Orientation Influence Mines and Mechanisms Contact and Controlled Mines Anti-submarine Weapons Military Explosives Demolition and Disposal Techniques Photography Torpedoes Report Writing (officers only) Land Ordnance Disposal Underwater Photography Japanese Language Mine Disposal Field Organization Practical Field Work in Disposal Underwater Locating Technical Intelligence Diving Review and Examinations Hours 2 17 26 12 12 12 15 16 7 21 3 7 4 40 29 3 176 21 423 hours


In the course of instruction, the School made use of several outside facilities. For field work in disposal and demolition it used the Ordnance Investigation Laboratory (OIL) at Stump Neck, Maryland. The Navy Bomb Disposal School located on the campus of American University in Washington provided facilities for land ordnance disposal. The Deep Sea Diving School (Bldg. 121) in the Navy Yard and the Naval Ordnance Laboratory (NOL) tank (next to bldg. 172) also located in the Yard provided the diving training. The school also taught Seabees ordnance familiarization and the three classes of Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDU) officers were cross-trained. In addition to curriculum and the ordnance publications and intelligence bulletins developed by the School, they also published a monthly newsletter, the Countermine, in January 1945 and distributed to the field Units until the school closed.


Developed by British and Americans during WWII, these tools consisted of remotely operated mechanical impact wrenches, fuze extractors, liquid fuze dischargers, vacuum injectors and electrical mechanical trepanner. Cira 1941-45.


Two officers and eight enlisted men recently graduated from the first Mine Disposal Course (Advanced Mine Course) taught by the U.S. Navy at Washington, D.C. were sent to England to learn what they could about German Influence mines and how the British dealt with them. The eight enlisted men were B. J. Brennan, Robert W. Eigell, Arthur W. Glauer, K. W. R. Johnson, E. P. Smith, J. D. Taylor, G. G. Triplett and D. F. Winslow. In actuality they took a course in Contact Mines and British RMS (rendering mines safe) procedures then the Influence Mines, magnetic and acoustic, etc. and their RMS procedures. Next they took the Land Incident Section (LIS) Course at the Admiralty in London, learning how to deal with the German parachute mine when dropped against cities on land. Finally they were held over to take a course in the handling of unexploded bombs aboard ship at the Chatham Naval Dock Yard. As a group they were first sent to the Contact Mine School held at a former girls school called Roedean on the outskirts of Brighton Beach on the channel coast. This was in a prime invasion area, all civilians were excluded. The beaches were all mined and fitted with obstacles. The whole area was covered by machine guns and pill boxes. Here they learned about British and German moored mines and how they were made safe. After a couple of weeks they were sent on to Portsmouth to HMS Vernon, home of the Naval Department for Torpedoes and Sea Mines and also the site of the RMS Section who rendered safe, recovered and brought to Portsmouth, all German mines recovered which had been laid in the sea as mines. Portsmouth was a Navy town, it lay directly in the path of German bombers coming and going, thus assuring two air raids per night. Civilians left the town by train each evening returning each morning as daylight returned. The town had been heavily damaged and large sections of it were flat. It was here that the Americans met and became acquainted with the top notch Navy RMS officers. Here they met CDR. John G. D. Ouvry, RN. On 23 November 1939, Cdr. Ouvry and a party consisting of Lcdr. R. C. Lewis, CPO C. E. Baldwin and AB A. L. Vearncombe, all of the Royal Navy, dismantled and recovered the first German magnetic mine on the mudflats of Shoeburyness. It was here at HMS Vernon that new RMS techniques were developed and proven and new tools developed as needed. The group's next course was taught at the Admiralty in London. Here they learned what to do about German air-dropped mines dropped as bombs on land targets. Known as the Land Incident Section (LIS), these were Navy volunteer personnel trained to deal basically with the German mechanical clockwork bomb fuze which would explode the mine seventeen seconds after it came to rest on the ground. This fuze was stopped from normal functioning by external water pressure when used at sea. When used on land it came down on a parachute, landed on top of the ground and exploded. As a mine it carried a large 1400 pound

explosive charge. It's blast effect was terrific and could just about level a city block. After their initial classroom training, experience was to be gained. At this point the Americans were divided into two groups. One group was assigned to the LIS in London to observe operations, while the other group went up to Great Yarmouth on the east coast to observe RMS operations along the coast. After two weeks, the two groups switched places. Robert Eigell's group had the first two weeks with the LIS out of London. They had not long to wait, they were soon to be involved in what came to be known as the "Lympsham Mine", an aircraft laid, bottom, magnetic mine. This mine was Germany's major effort to make the mine more efficient when dropped on land. To do this it provided two things; it added a second bomb fuze, and it replaced the normal mine arming clock with one which would arm the mine on land. These modifications were indicated by a yellow paint ring around the new component. The RMS Section at HMS Vernon had recovered one such mine and had solved the added bomb fuze arrangement. This meant new non-magnetic tools which had been designed but not yet distributed to the field. The new clock was being examined but it was already suspected that it was designed to arm the mine on land. This then was the Lympsham Mine - called so because of the location where it was dealt with. The mine was in far off Wales located at a place called Lympsham, south of Bristol in the district of Weston Supermare. They knew little more than that, except that the mine was deeply buried and a British Bomb Disposal squad had been working to uncover it by the day after they had left London. They drove all night through the blackout, a nerve wracking process at best. Dinner in Bath, then Bristol in the gray of dawn. A paithe for directions, and off to the south they went in search for Weston Supermare and Lympsham. They soon spied a police vehicle blocking the road and a sign which read "Unexploded Bomb, Do Not Enter". They had arrived. They soon located the Bomb squad busily at work in a large soft earthen ditch located among the buildings of a large farm. On closer examination they saw a shallow, raw earth scar where a large explosion had occurred and also that the near by trees were bare of leaves and the near building had been divested of its thatched roofing material. They learned that in the night about a week before, a German plane, probably searching for the Bristol channel, had been intercepted and fired on by two British night fighters. The German promptly dropped his mines and headed for home.- This was the origin of their mine. The one mine performed as intended, it came to earth, laid there for several seconds and then detonated, blowing the leaves off nearby trees and thatch off nearby buildings. The other mine came down in a soft muddy ditch nearby, going straight into the earth, coming to rest vertically on its nose about eighteen feet down, with the end of the parachute resting at the top edge of the hole. The Bomb squad had uncovered one side of the mine by coming in by a series of superimposed 38

Mine Recovery Class #1, Dec. 1941, Returning from England: L-R: Glauer, A.W., Taylor, J.D., Triplett,•G.G., Johnson,K.W.R., Winslow, D.F., Eigell, R.W., Brennan, B.J., Smith, E.P.

trenches timbered with non-magnetic spreaders holding the timbers apart. In this position, one half of the vertical mine was uncovered. Exposed on this half was the two bomb fuzes and the release end of the booster tube. The two fuzes indicated the modified mine. The detonator was inaccessible, buried deeply in the back of the mine. At this point, the shaft was cleared and the mine turned over to the visitors to make safe. An examination of the two bomb fuzes revealed that, being toggled together instead of pulling the arming pins, the toggle broke and both fuzes were quite safe. They were quickly removed to a safe distance and then the team tackled the new modified booster release in an attempt to remove the booster back away from the detonator. They wanted to unthread the new bomb fuze pocket but it soon developed that they had no non-magnetic tools to fit the fuze pocket. After some careful "make-do" and patience, the keepring and cap was removed and the booster spring removed. The booster extractor was inserted, latched on and the booster hauled clear of the mine. The final operations the next day were almost anti-climatic, almost but not quite. When an attempt was made to pull the mine out of the hole, the detonator fired. The first mine to be fully armed on land - the Lympsham Mine. The mine that greatly complicated both the RMS and the LIS Section procedures. Next, Eigell's group was sent to Great Yarmouth to work with the RMS Section, which was responsible for a considerable area of the east coast. A coast where mines came ashore in droves, mostly they were British, but occasionally a German mine would also come ashore. Great Yarmouth also claimed to be a part of the German Luftwaffe training area. Being the closest bit of British soil to Germany, each training bomber crew had to have completed one real live raid over a British city, consequently the closest one, Great Yarmouth, was subjected to a very heavy schedule of German air raids, normally one to three per night. The RMS crew at Great Yarmouth consisted of two ratings, one Wren officer, and Cdr. Roy B. Edwards, a regular Naval officer. Cdr. Edwards was a competent and fair officer, who was both respected and admired by his subordinates. This group of Americans were his first batch of trainees. He was fair, equitable, and as a result mutual friendships were established. The Americans were each assigned a mine to personally render safe. This was performed under the direct supervision and direction of Cdr. Edwards. Most of the mines that were dealt with were British, however, one German explosive float (explosive sweep obstructor) was encountered and rendered harmless. It was now fast becoming time for the group to return to the U.S. Their relief group had arrived in the U.K. and was already busy with their basic training at HMS Vernon. The first group were somewhat surprised to learn that they were being held over for two weeks and sent down to Chatham, a large Naval base on the Thames, to take the Naval Bomb Safety Officers Course. Here they learned about German bombs and fuzes, and 40

what was to be done should they be found unexploded aboard ship. It was a good decision and one which served the U.S. Navy well, until the U.S. Navy Bomb Disposal School at American University, in Washington, D.C. could begin to produce graduates and get them into the field. After the first American group to train in the U.K. had returned to the U.S., Lt. S.M. Archer, the number two officer then in Mine Disposal, received an accident investigation report and learned that Cdr. Roy Edwards, RN and Ensign John M. Howard (MD3) of the U.S. Navy, had been killed while attempting to render safe a Germany "Tommy" magnetic mine (British designation TMA1). A Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer and one rating, survived the blast from this German submarine launched, influence mine. The accident occurred on 10 June 1942, on the beach at Garton, near Lowestoft, south of Great Yarmouth. Ensign Howard had thus become the first American Navy Mine Disposalman to be killed in the war against the mine.

Ens. John M. Howard (MD3) and EM1/c John M. Dickison (MD2) at H.M.S. MIRTLE, June 1942 one week before Howard's death

figure 18 41


Mine Number 1 - On 9 May 1942, a sea mine, presumably a German "C" magnetic influence type buried itself in about 14 feet of mud and water in Belfast Harbor, Northern Ireland. Whether the hydrostatic clock had worked, they didn't know. Lt. Geoffrey John " Jack" Cliff, RANVR, mine disposal officer in charge of operations, said they had taken one out of 23 feet of the same type of mud and had found that neither the clock nor the bomb fuze had been affected. First the team put out a platform of planks and then erected shear legs to lower a new type of automatic digger, operated with water; they managed to go down about four feet before the incoming tide made them stop. They had trouble getting their gear together and started late and worked until 1750. The tide was out at 0900 the next day and they expected to locate the mine by probing and continued digging until something turned up. This mine had been countermined twice, once with 50 lbs. Amatol and the second with a 300 lb. depth charge. Lt. Cliff stated that the bomb fuze could still be active. The next day the team arrived at the site at 0930 and found that the tide had not yet gone out far enough to start working. They waited until about 1030 and then started bringing their equipment in. At 1100 they started pumping out the hole that had been made the day before. At 1215 Ens. John M. Howard (MD3), Lt. Holbrooke, RNVR, Harry L. Fridman (MD3), H.E. Hawver (MD2) and John M. Dickison (MD2) stopped for lunch and reported back at 1400 and found that Lt. Cliff and Lt. F. Markoe Rivinus (MD3) had uncovered the rear door seat or at least a portion of it. The team kept on digging and at 1600 came upon the rest of the mine and found that it had been pretty well broken up by the countermine charges. The type unit was a Mk. IV. The clock was in good shape, but they continued digging the next day to reach the bomb fuze which was on the other side of the mine. They knocked off at 1730, and continued the stripping procedure as far as field conditions would permit. On the third day, the bomb disposal section built a scaffolding around the mine case so they could work easier with out the mud falling in. On 12 May they finally located the bomb fuze and found that it had been broken apart and could not actuate, so they stopped work on this particular mine and would start on one of the others, hoping they would have better luck. Mines number three and four had not been countermined. Mine Number 2 - On 13 May they built a scaffolding and sunk a shaft of timber into the mud and started digging for the mine. The mud was from the sewage disposal plant and had a foul odor. They soon discovered that they had sunk their timber shaft around the parachute housing and not the mine proper. They had to widen the shaft. On 15 May the weather turned out to be very rainy and 42

cold. They found several pieces of the tail and parachute housing and thought the mine was about 18 inches below where they were working. The job was becoming monotonous and they hoped it would soon be over. The mine had not been precisely located by the probe because the countermine charge of 25 lbs. of Amatol had been placed on the parachute housing and left several large pieces which when probed was thought to be the bomb case proper, digging proved them wrong. During the next four days they advanced nine feet down and found the mine standing on its nose with tail and unit compartment blown open. They again stopped digging to fix their scaffolding, the pressure of mud was threatening to collapse the shaft. May 20 May was a red letter day for Lt. Holbrooke, RNVR as he gagged the bomb fuze and rendered the mine safe, thereby dropping the "L" after his name (L for learner). The numbers on the under side of the bomb fuze plate were important in identifying the type mine (R510021612-7). Ens. Howard departed to join another RN officer on a job at Garton near Lowestoft. Mine Number 3 - On . 2 June 1942, Jerry dropped two 250 kg SD bombs and a George mine in a cow pasture near Great Yarmouth, England. He came in from the south and the hole of entry had a slight slant to the north. They started the shaft just north of the hole of entry in ground that was mostly clay. After working for about ten days and having a shaft 20' deep, the sides started to collapse so they decided to abandon the shaft and started widening the hole with the water digger used in Belfast, then probe for the case. No contacts by probing, on 12 June all operations on these bombs ceased. Mine Number 4 - Also in Belfast, during the month of June 1942, Lt. Rivinus was involved with Lt. Cliff in the location and recovery of another German Type "C" influence mine that had been dropped in the Central Basin Reservoir. They interviewed a local citizen who claimed to have seen a "bomb" with a big green parachute land approximately one hundred yards from the edge of the reservoir. Using a brass grapnel they had made, they swept the suspect area towing the grapnel by a skiff and quickly recovered a complete mine parachute. Since the location where they had snagged the chute was over twenty feet deep, they had to assume that the mine was fully armed on the bottom. Rivinus volunteered to render the mine safe by diving on it, however, Lt. Cliff decided to drain the reservoir instead. It took over three weeks to drain it and the final six feet of water had to be pumped out by fire brigades, because the reservoir drain valves were not low enough. From the shore, using binoculars, they could see that the bomb fuze pocket was under the mine, inaccessible. They decided to remove the booster and gaine rather that risk rolling the armed mine over. They confirmed that the mine was a standard Type "C" magnetic mine from it readable serial numbers and general characteristics. There was no red stripe warning of a booby trap. A red mark was usually used by the Germans to indicate to their personnel that the mine contained a booby 43

trap of some sort. Lt. Rivinus and Petty Officer Canning, Cliff's rating, watched while Cliff removed the plate over the booster and gaine with his spanner wrench. He removed both the booster and gaine carefully and handed them over to his assistants. At that point the mine was safe although the detonator might fire in the booster tube which it eventually did while the mine was being towed out of the remaining water to a gravel bank. The magnetic firing mechanism was removed before the hexanite was steamed out and burned. It all went like the practice drills they had been taught at MD school, yet the tension, caution and anxiety remained until the last of the hexanite had burned out. For the action, Lt. Cliff was awarded the George Medal and for Lt. Rivinus, the Order of the British Empire, know as the OBE, which Cliff explained stood for "other buggers' efforts.

Belfast, Northern Ireland, May 1942 L-R: Harry L. Fridman (MD3), Harry E. Hawver (MD2), unknown RN rating, and John M. Dickison (MD2) after recovery and RMS of German "C" Mine figure 19 44

Central Basin Reservoir, Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 1942 L-R: Lt. F. Markoe Rivinus (MD3) & Petty Officer Canning, RN after RMS of German "C" Magnetic Mine

figure 20 45


As a significant part of our history, the circumstances surrounding the death of Ens. John M. Howard, USNR is deemed appropriate. This singular name is chosen not because his death is anymore important than the others who are listed among the Navy casualties, but because Ensign John "Mickey" M. Howard, was the first U.S. Navy Disposalman killed after his initial training in World War II. Ensign John M. Howard was a member of the third Advanced Mine School (later renamed Mine Disposal School) located at the Naval Gun Factory (Washington Naval Yard) in Washington, D.C. and graduated on March 7, 1942. Ens. Howard appears in the class #3 photograph in Appendix "A", page A3, the same class in which present NEODA members Walter R. Amesbury, F. Markoe Rivinus, Donald E. Young, Harry L. Fridman, Clifton M. Credle, John M. Dickison (deceased), Bernard R. Mosher, Earl A. Smoot, W.W. Washburn and Anthony S. Zawadzki graduated. Selected members of class #3 were sent to England as observers with the Royal Navy and Royal Engineers to gain practical first hand experience. Ens. Howard is also shown on page 40 of this History with EM 1/C Dickison at HMS Mirtle in June 1942, a week before his death. HMS Mirtle was established as a Mine Investigation Range in a disused quarry after the 6 August 1940 tragedy that occurred at HMS Vernon where a booby-trapped German type "C" mine exploded killing one RN Officer and two ratings. This "hush-hush" establishment was dubbed "Mirtle" because it was the most pleasant name the British could think of beginning with MIR, Mine Investigation Range. Ens. Howard was killed 11 June 1942 on Corton sands at Garton, near Lowestoft and south of Great Yarmouth, while observing a RMS being performed by Lcdr. Roy Berryman Edwards, RN, DSO, BEM (Military). Both John Howard and Roy Edwards were killed by the detonation of a German, moored, magnetic influence mine, TMA-1 ("T" for Tommy) which had washed ashore. The day proceeding the fateful event, Lcdr. Edwards had telephoned the duty officer at the Admiralty in London and requested permission to proceed with rendering the mine safe. He was told to await the arrival of a Lt. John Stuart Mould, RANVR, who would advise or assist as needed. Lt. Mould was an expert on the "Tommy" mine and who also had previously revealed the workings of "Tommy" to Edwards. Now it happened that Lcdr. Edwards had handled an earlier version of this mine and considered himself entirely capable of rendering it safe. It is likely that Lcdr. Edwards considered himself in the same category as Cdr. John Ouvry RN, a navy friend of Edwards who had dismantled the first German magnetic mine ever recovered. He probably did not relish the thought of being superseded by a wavy Navy Volunteer Reserve, (young gentleman trying to act like sailors). The facts were that Edwards was out in the field 46

while the "young gentleman" was at the center of the vast web of the Render Mines Safe Section know now, men who had access to the latest technical data, intelligence inputs and the finest ordnance minds in the British Naval Service. Be that as it may, Lcdr. Edwards made a second telephone call and convinced the Admiralty that he should get on with it at once. Authority to proceed was granted by the Admiralty based on their faith in Edward's judgment and his ability. While Lt. Mould was preparing to depart the RMS Section at HMS Vernon, he received a call from the Admiralty that the mine had detonated, a terrible mess - he was to leave immediately, the Admiralty must know the cause. Lt. Mould was no longer angry that Edwards could not wait. He was stunned. Edwards was not a beginner. He had been a highly skilled technician. He had known how to take a "Tommy" apart. For a man of his knowledge it should have been straight forward. This was a tragedy and this was trouble. Lt. Mould slept that night at Lowestoft and at first light was on the beach at Corton Sands with a group of ratings from the local Naval depot. Of the tragedy little remained to be seen. Fragments of metal and nameless debris were scattered far and wide across the beach, from the sea to the cliff, and along the beach for some two hundred yards in either direction. Every fragment had to be recovered. Somewhere along that beach was the evidence he wanted. He didn't know what he was looking for and he wouldn't know until he saw it. He knew what should have been in a "Tommy". The search was for some object or fragment that should not have been in a "Tommy", but the remnants of the steel mooring wire intrigued him first, they looked old. It seemed that the wire as a whole might have been covered in barnacles. Calling back to Lowestoft he learned that another "T" for Tommy was drifting a few miles offshore. It was covered in barnacles. The position as marked on the chart was not a known enemy minefield and never had been. It was not being swept, nor had it been swept. Could it be that Edwards and his young American friend had towed their Tommy ashore? Perhaps it had not been washed up. Perhaps Edwards had found it at sea. Somewhere out there in the North Sea was a very old minefield, old by standards of war anyway, an early field of Tommies that had never been detected. It seemed that Edwards had not fallen foul of a new trick but of an old one. But what? Lt. Mould prowled around the mine as it lay in the shallows, uncertain whether he should pull it up high and dry or leave it where it was. He was convinced that from the inside he would produce the answer to Edwards death. But Edwards had not died until the mine was on the sand. Whatever the trouble was, it had not been triggered by dragging it. Mould gave the order to drag it ashore. Mould had stripped the first Tommy at Weymouth months earlier. He had approached it then with a great deal of wariness. The German infamous booby trap (photo-electric cell), hungry for the light of day, had tightened his sensibilities to German cunning and he knew that this mine was loaded against him. It was not the Tommy as such that had destroyed Edwards, 47

he had died by stealth. This barnacle encrusted killer retained its secret behind the metal of its casing. The secret was invisible. This mine and Edwards' mine, Mould was certain, were in every way identical. A long time ago Mould had watched the Earl of Suffolk cut a circular hole into the body of a bomb. Mould had used the same process with the first "Sammy" at Peasenhall. The time had come to use it again. Somehow he had to see into the mine before he took it apart. Mould set up the cutting gear and the blades begin to cut. The mine didn't explode. Mould peered into the hole and there it was! Wires stretched from end to end of the unit compartment. The two parts were mechanically linked. Diabolically simple. If one removed the nose plate or separated the two parts, the strain on the wire closed a detonator switch onto the full four hundred and seventy pounds of explosive charge. Mould was angry and bitter. Surely a mine, as a mine, was filthy enough. Having seen it, having found it, what was the answer? Cut the main wire? He didn't know. Was it possible that the tension worked two ways? Would the charge fire as the tension decreased - as it fired with an increase? Mould could see the spring. He was confounded if he knew what he should do, he reached for his pliers and took the chance. He cut, it did not work with decrease of pressure, it didn't explode. Was that it? Was that all? Mould didn't know. He separated the mine and the wire was all so devilishly uncomplicated, so tragically effective. A simple piece of wire had killed Lieutenant-Commander Edwards, RN and Ensign Howard, USNR. Letter from Capt. Richard J. Franz (MD2) - 16 Oct. 1989: "I was particularly interested in this narrative because I was with Lt. J. Stuart Mould, RANVR, GC, GM, both before the accident at Lowestoft and during the investigation and recovery of an apparently identical "booby-trapped" TMA-1 mine. By the time we got to the mine the tide was out and the weapon was already lying on the shingle beach. It's a fact that the mine was heavily-encrusted but we had a copy of the German drawing showing where they would put a booby-trap if they chose to use it. The mechanical cutter used to bypass the vulnerable part of the mine was the same type shown on the PBS TV series "DANGER UXB" which was aired a few years back. None of the other TMA-1 mines ever had a boobytrap as far as I know. The one that killed Lcdr. Edwards and Ens. Howard must have been one of the earliest planted." Extract from U.S. Navy Bomb Disposal Intelligence Bulletin (supplement) "Accidents in Handling Explosives" dated 1 Nov 1944, page 14; Accidents Caused by Mines and Torpedoes: Case I, Personnel: Ensign, Mine Disposal, U.S. Navy and Commander RMS, British Royal Navy. Both Commander and Ensign were killed instantly. Ordnance: "T" Type German Mine: These officers were trying to recover a "T" Type German Mine. No trepanning gear was available and recovery was attempted by removing the mechanism plate. When last seen,

the Commander was in the process of prying off the plate and the Ensign was in close vicinity watching him. During this operation, the entire charge of the mine exploded. Details: On 11 June 1942, a "T" Type German Mine was seen floating off the East Coast of England near Lowestoft, and was dragged to the beach by minesweepers. Although the RMS operation was not within his jurisdiction, the Commander, who was in charge of RMS of contact mines in that vicinity, attempted to recover this mine, since he was anxious to have one for his museum. The U.S. Ensign was ordered to England for experience after completing the course at the Advanced Mine School (now Mine Disposal School), and was working with the Commander at the time. No trepanning gear was available and recovery was attempted by removing the mechanism plate. No markings were taken from the mine although it is believed that there was a two-inch red stripe on the curve of the forward section near the mechanism plate. When all nuts had been removed from the mechanism plate lugs, it was found that the mechanism plate would not come free easily. When last seen, the Commander was attempting to pry off the mechanism plate and the Ensign was watching him. During this operation the entire charge of the mine exploded, killing both officers. Subsequent examination of fragments of the mine furnished inconclusive evidence as to the cause of the explosion. It is possible that a P.S.E., similar to the one discovered in a "T" Mine recovered in the same locality a few days later, was fitted. If such a mechanism was fitted, and was the cause of the explosion, then it must be assumed that the small P.S.E. charge detonated the main charge. Regardless of what series of mechanical events actually caused the mine to explode, the fact remains that the tragedy can be definitely and directly attributed to an utter disregard for established and proven RMS Procedure. Since this is the first casualty suffered by Mine Disposal personnel while actually performing RMS duties, the details are set forth for the information of all Mine Disposal officer and men. "This report submitted by Captain G. L. Schuyler, USN. Senior Member Special Board on Naval Ordnance." Note: This Bulletin is a part of the Bomb Disposal Handbook dated 1 August 1944. NAVY PERSONNEL KILLED DURING WWII S2c R. M. Allen (BD30) Ens. George E. Arthur (MD10) - 12 April 1944 CGM John H. Baldridge - July 1943 Lt. Thomas J. E. Crotty, USCG (MD1) - Sept 1942 EM3c James P. Devenny (BD22) Ens. Harris R. Hester - Nov 1943 Ens. John M. Howard (MD3) - 11 June 1942 AOM3c Monroe A. Hudson (BD67) - Jan 1946 Ens. Robert M. Jager (MD18) - 15 April 1946 Ltjg. Delbert W. Lewis (MD8) - 10 Oct 1944 Ens John S. Parker, Jr. (MD14) - 26 May 1945 49


Immediately after the graduation of Class #4 on 21 May 1942, the School's Officer in Charge decided to send an additional two officers to England for practical experience in mine disposal techniques. Ensigns R. H. Campbell (MD4) and Robert J. Franz (MD2), school staff member, departed Washington by train for Montreal where they flew with the RCAF Ferry Command from Dorval Airport, Montreal to Prestwick, Scotland thence by rail to London. On reporting to the American Embassy at No. 1 Grosvenor Square they were met by Lt. F. Markoe Rivinus (MD3), who arranged their berthing and messing needs. Franz and Rivinus were prior shipmates at the Advanced Mine School after Franz had graduated with Class #2 and stayed on as a staff member. Shortly after their arrival, Campbell and Franz went separate ways with Rivinus returning to the States. Ensign Franz divided his time between the Land Incident Section (LIS), Royal Navy Admiralty, in London and the Enemy Mining Section of HMS Vernon, Portsmouth, located at West Leigh House in nearby Havant. Ensign Franz made contact with most of the LIS officers and read virtually all of the Section's mine disposal reports that were on file since the beginning of the German mine threat. These reports were fascinating in their content and covered every conceivable type of dangerous experience. This was especially so for the Blitz period when parachute mines were used as bombs because of their great blast effect. The individual acts of personal heroism were impressive. Contact relations were also maintained with the Department of Torpedoes and Mining Intelligence Section (DTMI) at HMS Vernon. This small group handled and distributed most of the new information on enemy weapons under the direction of Captain Maitland-Dougall, RN. Enemy Mining Section was headed by Cdr. John G. D. Ouvry, RN, DSO, the very man who had dismantled the first German magnetic mine at Shoeburyness on the Thames Estuary. Cdr. Ouvry was a quiet, mild-mannered man who had demonstrated outstanding courage as the first man out in this new and dangerous phase of mine disposal. The West Leigh House at Havant was the location for scientific evaluation by experts on enemy weapons in order to provide countermeasures and disposal information. Shortly after arriving at West Leigh House, Ensign Franz was assigned to accompany Lt. J. Stuart Mould, RANVR, GC,GM, in response to a German parachute mine which had been dropped in water near an ancient fort at Isle of Wight. On returning to West Leigh House on 11 June 1942 they received word that a German "T"-Type moored, magnetic mine had exploded on a beach near Lowestoft during recovery operations, killing Lcdr. Roy Berryman Edwards, RN and Ens. John M. Howard, USNR,(MD3). Furthermore, another mine of like type had just washed up on the beach within a half mile of the first mine. Lt. Mould was 50

placed in charge of the investigation of the explosion and to deal with the second mine. He was accompanied by Lt. Geoffrey Turner, RNVR, and Ensign Franz. On arriving at Corton Sands at Garton, near Lowestoft, the three men looked down on the scene from the high bluff, all that was left of the first mine and the two officers was a big hole in the shingle. Observers reported that Lcdr. Edwards had attempted to open the mine at the main (mooring) cover plate and that it had exploded. That approach was considered contrary to all standard procedures which specified by-passing all obvious points of entry because of a suspected booby-trap. On the second mine, Lt. Mould used a mechanical trepanning machine to remotely cut a hole in the buoyancy chamber and found the booby trap which had killed the two officers. This was the only booby-trap ever recovered from this type mine. The mine case was severely corroded, however, and it was concluded that it was from an old mine field. Mines found without booby-traps were evidently newer and the use of the booby-trap and been abandoned. Back in London, Ensign Franz reported his observations to Adm. Stark and RADM. Kirk, CSO. It could only be concluded that Lcdr. Edwards, a disposal officer with a very long record of successful recoveries, had assumed that no booby-trap was in his mine because none had ever been found in that type of mine. It was also concluded that Ensign Howard, a junior man on the scene, was a victim of circumstance. Ensign Franz was involved with a third recovery operation near Great Yarmouth with Lt. Jack Cliff, RANVR. A Type "G" German bomb/mine had hit a peat pasture going down to 40 feet. Lt. Cliff was an expert at shafting and timbering and when the mine was uncovered, a tarp was used to darken the shaft so that a minimum of light would reach the photoelectric cell boobytrap, should one be present, when the rear dome was removed. As it turned out, a loud "click" was heard when the dome was removed. It was the cocked striker of the hydrostatic bomb fuze designed to blow up the mine if it landed in less than 15 feet of water. However, no explosion ensued as the mine had been damaged by its impact with land. In September, Vernon L. Hoffman (MD2) arrived at HMS Vernon and relieved Ensign Franz who boarded a convoy from Liverpool bound for New York City. During his passage the convoy came under U-Boat attack and lost two ships but there was bigger game in the Atlantic at that time. There were two major convoys enroute to Murmansk that month that received the brunt of the wolfpack's attention. A torpedo bounced off the side of the ship that Franz was riding but failed to detonate as it was not fully armed. The exploder had fired and put two pieces of metal in the deck waterways. One of the pieces was engraved "G7H" which Ensign Franz identified as matching the description of a new German exploder that he had read about at DTMI the day before he left for Liverpool. Ensign Franz returned to the Mine Disposal School on 31 October 1942 and found it relocated to its new location at the Anacostia Receiving Station. • 51


Prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Mine Disposal personnel had no intelligence on Japanese munitions and munitions fuzing. If Mine Disposal technicians were to deal safely and efficiently with unexploded munitions, during the remainder of the war, ordnance stripping by non-destructive means was inevitable. During the Pearl Harbor attack, a Japanese submarine surfaced and shelled a sugar mill on the island of Maui. Two of 140 mm projectiles fired at the mill were duds and were picked up by disposal personnel for further disposition. This was the first opportunity to gain technical intelligence on a Japanese fuze, projectile and its filler. At the time, the Bureau of D. C. had suggested that Ordnance (BuOrd) in Washington, Mine Disposal personnel Disposaleers avoid fuze stripping. maintained the position that stripping had to be done, "Who was going to do it?" They needed the fuze information which could be crucial during future encounters. The Disposaleers won their case with BuOrd and set up a local fuse stripping course. Because special MD tools for fuze removal had not been developed, except a few acquired from the British to deal with German ordnance, initial stripping was accomplished manually at the site of the ordnance. As luck would have it the two Japanese fuzes from the 140 mm projectiles turned out to be simple point detonating types with separate detonator/gaine firing trains. Next, a donkey boiler with low pressure steam was employed to remove the explosive filler from the projectile case. After being dyed yellow from head to foot, the Disposaleers became a great deal wiser. One of the lessons learned from working with the British and their experience with rendering safe German ordnance was to make a practice of always performing any dangerous evolution on a piece of ordnance from a safe distance. What was needed was a remote means of doing what was previously done by hand. In short, a form of pipe wrench that could be firmly fixed on a variety of fuzes with an attached handle, of length to provide leverage to remove stubborn fuzes with damaged threads due to impact. The fuze could then be rotated via the pipe wrench jaws in one of two directions. The handle was envisioned to be operated back and forth by a long line from a safe distance. By selecting the unthreading direction, a small driving pawl would connect the handle to the pipe wrench jaws in the direction necessary to remove the fuze, but disconnect the handle from the wrench when the handle moved in the other direction. The body of the wrench was constructed to be positioned over the fuze by two rings fitted closely one within the other. The outer ring rode in a central channel of the inner ring. The handle projected from the upper half of this ring. The 52

inner ring had two external lugs to which the pipe wrench jaws were affixed. The periphery of the inner ring next to the jaws was machined with teeth around its edge. In operation the pawl was shaped so it would engage the gears of the inner ring in one direction only, in the other direction it merely dragged free. To change the direction of rotation the pawl was turned over. Moving the lever back and forth by means of two pulleys, caused the pawl to "drive and drag" unthreading on the fuze "drive" stroke. The wrench jaws were attached to the fuze and remained in place under conditions of great stress. In addition, the jaws adapted to a variety of fuze configurations. This remotely operated fuze wrench was designed by Robert W. Eigell (MD1). Ensign M. A. Smith (MD2) produced the original drawings. Four sets were fabricated by the local machine shop in the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard. Three sets were sent back to Washington, D.C. for evaluation and test by BuOrd, Mine Disposal School and the newly established Bomb Disposal School. The wrench was to receive its acid test by Eigell at Pearl Harbor during the remote removal of a dud fired Japanese bomb fuze aboard the USS West Virginia. The wrench was finally approved and adopted by BuOrd and the two Disposal schools. Another development of the remote wrench was the Nass Wrench developed by the Army Bomb disposal organization at Aberdeen Proving Ground as another type of wrench to unscrew bomb fuzes. The Nass Reel Wrench consisted of a reel on which was wound a light line and having adjustable jaws which could be made to grip a variety of fuze shapes and sizes. Early in the development of this wrench, it became evident that the reel itself, unless unduly large, would not give the required leverage to start very tight screw-type fuzes; accordingly, a hammer action was incorporated by making the reel free to move in relation to a plate attached to impact lugs; one lug on the reel and one on the plate were positioned so as to engage each other firmly when the reel was rotated in reference to the plate. A spiral spring was arranged in such a way that the lugs were separated by about 100 degrees of arc when at rest. To operate this wrench, the jaws were clamped onto the fuze and the operator retired to a safe position carrying the end of the line. Then, by alternately pulling and slacking the line, the lugs could be brought together sharply with hammering action until the fuze was started. Once the fuze was started, a steady pull on the reel was sufficient to rotate it and unscrew the fuze. As one of the early results of research into bomb disposal tools, both the Eigell and Nass wrenches were superseded by a wrench designed by Navy Bomb Disposal School, combining the principles of the Eigell and Nass wrenches and was known as the "Chewning" Wrench developed by Ltjg. William C. Chewning (BD3). The original rocket wrench was a German development used to defeat British anti-withdrawal fuzes. Soon both the British and United States had produced and were using rocket wrenches. This wrench used a pair of small rocket motors mounted outboard of, but rigidly attached to, the jaw assembly which attached 53

to the fuze. The rocket motors used three to four ballistite grains which had to be stripped from a service rocket. When simultaneously ignited, these rockets imparted a powerful and very fast rotation torque to the jaws of the wrench. With the end of WW II, considerable effort was made to purify, consolidate and improve tools and equipment to be maintained in the new EOD inventory. The first combined set was the Mk. 1 Mod. 0 Tool set which was assembled in 1947 and contained the Mechanical Impact Wrench, the Rocket Impact Wrench and the .50 caliber Rocket Wrench. Later combination wrench sets were changed to delete the ballistite-powered rocket wrench and replaced it with the .50 caliber rocket wrench with improved jaw and frame assemblies. A much later improvement eliminated the need to strip .50 caliber cartridges by providing an electrically initiated cartridge using the .50 caliber cartridge shell. An attempt by the Navy to have their own three jaw wrench was soon made obsolete when the Department of Defense forced the standardization of tools used by all four services. The Army's two jaw wrench was accepted as the standard wrench.

. 401 11111i 1 r 11 11


Cdr. Robert W. Eigell, USN Designer of the Remote Wrench figure 21 54

The Chewning Remote Wrench

figure 22 55

its power from static electricity picked off two high speed silk belts. The machine required liquid oxygen and dry ice, which they obtain in the Boeing plant in Tacoma, to provide the vacuum for the X-Ray tube. Two or three days were needed to bring the vacuum down sufficiently for operation. The VanderGraft machine was intended to X-Ray mines, torpedoes, bombs, etc. The standard test was to detect a 1 inch hole drilled 1 inch deep in one side of a ten inch cube of steel. Medical personnel at Fort Worden and elsewhere became intensely interested in the X-Ray machine for cancer treatment. However, both BuOrd and Bulled refused permission. The machine was very dangerous with any slight miscalculations. They also X-Rayed the bores of the first new 3"-50 caliber anti-aircraft guns mounted aboard cruisers at Bremerton after their proof firings. The team was very active in diving at OIL. Their diving school qualified three groups of second class divers from the Pacific Fleet upon the recommendation of Cdr. Steven Archer, their former Executive Officer at the Advanced Mine School who was then serving as Pacific Fleet Gunnery Officer. Diving operations also included inspection of the seaplane ramp at Port Angeles and recovery of sunken TBF torpedo bombers and pilots off Whidby Island Naval Air Station. Over a period of a year or more, three pilots returning with unexpended torpedoes failed to take into consideration their loads, and landed a quarter mile short of their runway, crashed and sank in ninety feet of water in Puget Sound. It was very dangerous and difficult work. The water was extremely cold with tremendous tidal currents. They could only dive ten to fifteen minutes on slack tide. The diving jobs weren't without near misses; Chief Thomas was repairing a battleship moor in the bay and was accidentally dragged over the bottom when their diving platform shifted in it mooring. One of the teams hardest diving jobs occurred at Coos Bay, Oregon. Coos Bay was a prime source of lumber. Cargo ships would load general cargo in other ports then call at Coos Bay for deck loads of lumber for the Pacific operations. A gunner's mate aboard a sub chaser accidentally tripped a 600 pound depth charge and dropped it over the side as his ship passed through the entrance of the bay for a patrol. It was unknown whether the safety cap had been sheared off and the charge armed, nor at what depth the detonating pistol was set at. The OIL team was assigned to locate the charge. The current was so swift that they could only dive ten minutes at a change of tide. The job lasted months but they finally found it. A Lcdr Gillete, a former mayor of Santa Monica, CA., joined the team at Coos Bay for a project to test the recently developed "Queen Gear". The Queen Gear was a super sensitive magnetometer gradiometer ordnance detector which had been developed to locate ferrous objects on the ocean bottom. The Queen, or Mk. 2 Ordnance Detector, was towed behind a surface vessel or the Mk. 3 version could be diver held. At Coos Bay the Locator was towed by a Coast Guard diving launch. The locator had a 57

buoy system whereby, when the magnetometer panel meter indicated a target, a "duck" was tripped, which contained a buoy with attached anchor, to mark the contact which would later be checked by divers.

O.I.L. STAFF , PORT TOWNSEND, WA. 1944: L-R: Lcdr. Karl Reese, Ltjg. Thad Peake, Ltjg. Charles Keck, Ltjg. Arthur Glauer, Ltjg. Earl Cook, CPO CPO : Bob Guthie, , R.L. Flamback, , R.L. Reddick, , Bob Hiltsby, Hal Lyness.

O.I.L. Staff, Port Townsend, WA. 1944 figure 23


Attu, Island, 1943, Cleaning up Japanese Ordnance for return to O.I.L. Fort Townsend L-R: Arthur Glauer (MD1), H. R. Carroll (BD15), and William Holmes (MD2) figure 24 59


Mine and Bomb Disposal Unit Attu 1944 Chief Gunners Mate Robert K. Arant (MD8)

Mine and Bomb Disposal Unit, N.A.S. Attu Island 1944 figure 25 60



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E.I.L. STAFF, PORT TOWNSEND, WA., 1944: 1 st.Row L-R: 3rd. Row L-R: 4th.Row L-R: 2nd. Row L-R: cpo EM2 Paul Harden (18) Ens. Earl Cook (5) EM2 La. Reddick (17 Bob Guthie (3) Ltjg Charles L. Keck (1) Lcdr. Karl B. Reese (1) Ltjg. Thad Peake (3) GM2 Joe Bartosh(7) Ltjg. Arthur Glauer (1) Y3c Hal Lyness EM2 Bob Frambach(17) cpo SC3 Bob Hiltsby

O.I.L. Port Townsend, WA. 1943 One Million Volt Vandergraf X-Ray Unit(2nd floor) figure 27 62

st floor) figure 28

O.I.L. Port Townsend, WA. Building for Vandergraf X-Ray Unit figure 29 64


Stump Neck is located on an isolated peninsula jutting out into the Potomac River. It is bounded on the north by Mattawoman Creek and on the south by Chickamuxen Creek. It is geographically south of Cornwallis Neck where the town of Indian Head, Maryland is situated. It was purchased by the government in 1901 from the Eli Gaffield family and was initially used as an impact range for guns fired from the Naval Powder Factory at Indian Head. Test firing for guns were later moved to Dahlgren Proving Ground. It was originally called the Explosives Investigation Laboratory (EIL) during the period when Dr. Charles Snowden Piggot received a navy commission and was a scientific adviser to the Navy Bureau of Ordnance (BUORD). Dr. Piggot help to establish the EIL in June 1942 and its first known OinC, Lt. D. Klein, was appointed in August 1942. The USS John M. Howard was provided to conduct explosive experiments in the river. EIL was ordered by BUORD to perform inerting procedures on recovered enemy ordnance including bombs, mines and torpedoes. After inerting was accomplished, the enemy ordnance was documented and the information and hardware was used primarily by the Bomb and Mine Disposal schools in the instruction of their students. Some of EIL's early work included the development and testing of shaped explosive charges for use in cutting bomb and mines cases. EIL was re-designated as the Ordnance Investigation Laboratory (OIL) in December 1944. The OIL conducted studies and applied X-Ray techniques using the one million volt Vandergraf X-Ray machine. X-Rays were taken of the captured enemy ordnance prior to stripping and steaming out of its explosive charge. Duplicate buildings were erected at OIL Port Townsend and OIL Stump Neck to house this gigantic unit. During its period of operation from June 1942 to approximately October 1945, the OIL at Stump Neck had stripped and inerted over seven thousand pieces of ordnance from all countries involved in the war including the infamous German V-1 "buzz bomb" and the Japanese "Baka" bomb. An extract from information by Thomas E. Aykroyd (MD9) stated that he arrived at E.I.L. in June 1943 with orders to report to USS John M. Howard but found that it had moved to Mayport Florida. When Aykroyd reported, Lt. Thomas F. Darrah (MD1) was OinC with Frank J. Sizemore (BD5) serving as XO. Aykroyd was given an assignment to begin developing procedures for rendering safe armed underwater ordnance and was assigned L. A. Landreville (MD9) as an assistant. They were given a room in back of the photo for their laboratory. At the time the base had a B.O.Q., ward room, enlisted mens quarters and mess, and a galley all in one building with 65

an attached building which housed the main generators. There was an office section for the OinC. The staff consisted of Bomb and Mine Disposal graduates and a few representatives from BUORD. A few listed staff members were Russel B. Richardson (BD9), Ted Dyer, Donald F. Annen (BD22), Harlen W. Kline (MD6), Donald T. O'Conner (MD9), Chelcie W. Karn (BD1B), Charles L. Keck (MD1), E.A. Smoot (MD2), H. Huff (MD5), Fred A. Nachman Jr. (BD62), J. William Grady (MD2), Bob Kennedy, Ronald Winder, George B. Steffen (MD7), Kelly Quam, Walter H. Daub (BD3), Henry F. Bolte ( MD10), Harry Cross, Raymond Perkins (BD1B) and William C. Holmes ( MD2). Bill Grady was the experimental officer. There were two homes on base, one occupied by the OinC and the other occupied by the Ronald Winder family. In 1945, a WAVE detachment was brought on base and quartered in the house formerly occupied by Winder. Later on a Marine detachment was ordered in and took over guard duties. During a building boon, a new building called the "net building" was erected on the left side of the road leading to the pier. During this period Henry F. Bolte (MD10) was assigned to our department. Lts. Kline and Nachman were developing shaped charges for use on underwater ordnance. In late 1944 construction was started on a new x-ray laboratory and also a very large building for receiving and examining incoming shipments of foreign ordnance. Lt. Russel B. Richardson (BD9) was in charge, he formerly operated out of the concrete bomb proof shelter that was located a short distance from the main administration building. The demolition area had a gate at the entrance with a field phone connected to the main office and the two shelters in the demolition area. Lt. Clarence R. Redden (MD8) and Chelcie W. Karn (BD1B) were also a part of the x-ray group. The large red brick receiving building for incoming foreign shipments was located across from the OinC's house. The brand new x-ray lab being constructed was just outside the main gate To the right was on the left as you were leaving the base. a dead end road that led to an explosives loading laboratory. In early 1946, Aykroyd was advanced to XO of the base. OinCs and XOs of OIL Dates Jun 1942 -Aug 1942 Aug 1942 Jun 1943 -1945 1945 -1946 Jun 1946 -Sep 1946 1946 -1949 OinC XO

Dr. Charles S. Piggott Lt. D. Klein Thomas F. Darrah Frank J. Sizemore Thomas E. Aykroyd William C. Holmes Cdr. Ferguson Thomas E. Aykroyd Chelcie W. Karn


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Ordnance Investigation Laboratory (OIL) Stump Neck Annex, Indian Head, Md., '1st.Row,L-R: Kay Townsend; H. L. Cross; Harlen W. Kline(MD6); J. Sizemore (BD5); Thomas F. Darrah (MD1),OinC; Raymond Frank BD1B); A. Ward Smith (MD9); A. L. Pace; Frank J. Java. Perkins (MD6). 2nd.Row,L-R: Alberta Lee; Chelcie W. Karn (BD1B); C. A. Quam; ; Guy Loyd (BD11); Peter J. Burkhart (BD4); Myles C. King (BD5); Fred A. Nachman Jr. (BD62); T. M. Runs; Walter H. Daub (BD3); Mildred E. Becker.

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q Stump Neck r Cornwallis Neck, (Indian Head, Md.

New X-Ray Lab Explosive loading lab (9SN) OinCs quarters WAVEs quarters Photo Lab Ordnance Receiving (bldg 31SN) Garage (fire station) Warehouse (supply 3SN) Administration Building(galley) Pier "net building" Bomb Proof Bunker Vandergraf X-Ray building (7SN) Explosive Test building (hyper test) Demolition range Gates

OinC Quarters

Warehouse (Bldg. 3SN) figure 32 69


Quarters for Muster Enlisted Barracks, Wardroom, Mess Hall, Galley only mess hall & galley remained in 1960s figure 33 70

Bomb Proof Bunker used as fuze stripping facility figure 34 71

Building for Vandergraf X-Ray Unit identical to bldg at Port Townsend Photo taken 1993, now bldg. 7SN figure 35 72

Foreign ordnance receiving building (right) building now 31SN

Photo lab/Warehouse in rear photo lab was duty section bks. in 1960s figure 36


Joseph Chillino (BD51 & Granville R. Coleman (BD51) inside bomb proof fuze stripping bunker

The steaming pit at OIL figure 37 74


MEIU#2 was formed in the summer of 1943. Its mission was to investigate, analyze, and report all new items of explosive ordnance found in the Mediterranean theater of operation, and perform any necessary bomb and mine disposal work. The personnel attached to the unit originally were: OinC, Lt. Wm. J. Hayes (MD5); Lt.jg. Hugh F. Duval (BD15); GM2c Willis Allen (MD ); EM2c Leroy E. Reed (MD16); EM2c Thomas S. Sheridan (MD19) and MN2c Grover Fisher (MD7). The MEIU#2 team was formed up at Stump Neck, Maryland, then drove to Norfolk, Va. in July 1943 and boarded an LST to the Mediteranean Sea. MEIU#2 was first landed at Oran, Algeria North Africa, for a week or so then to Birzerte, Tunisia in August 1943. Next the team moved to Palermo, Sicily by September 1943. While in Palermo they cleaned out several enemy shore defense gun emplacements and scoured a number of air fields for unidentified ordnance. The team later moved to Naples, Italy and was assigned to the U.S. Naval Detachment. During the team's stay in Naples they experienced a night raid in May 1944 by enemy bombers that dropped numerous Italian made circling torpedoes into the harbor. The torpedoes would float nose up when their batteries ran down and became untethered mines. Most, however, were detonated by gun fire. The team encountered enemy drifting mines in the river which had been released to destroy pontoon bridges. These mines were as big as a beach ball and had telescoping antenna with feelers at the top to snag onto the bridges. They were later to be identified at German Type "K.TR.Mi. 41" or U.S. designated Type GL. Ens. Guy A. Throner (BD36) and Wayne H. Miller (BD7) were assigned the task of clearing a path through a mine field that surrounded the large radar station and tower at Dramond and helped a Naval Intelligence Officer obtain the German codes from the tower. The team made trips to Anzio beachhead to obtain German "human torpedoes" which were made by marrying two torpedo warheads. Another trip took the team to the island of Corsica to recover a German radio controlled rocket bomb which had been shot down while being carried inside a German bomber. While in Naples Lt. Clarence R. Redden (MD8) brought over a new and powerful gamma ray X-Ray machine to replace their older model. Lt. Redden returned a second time and relieved Lt. Hayes as OinC. About the same time, most of the Bomb and Mine Disposal Units in north Africa and Sicily were deactivated and the personnel transferred to MEIU#2. The invasion of southern France was met with very little reaction from the enemy and BM1 James E. Wood (MD9) and EM2 Thomas S. Sheridan (MD19) were dispatched with the landing forces and cleared mines along the beaches. Finally the entire team of MEIU#2 moved to Marseilles. The port of Marseille was heavily mined. The team worked from sun up till sun down seven days a week searching out and destroying 173 German magnetic/acoustic 75

mines. Mine Disposal personnel were also trained as second class divers and utilized the Buie Recirculating Diving Suit, Mark 1. This suit and its modifications were the result of experiments by Ltjg. E.D. Buie, USN, master diver,(MD2), assisted by the Experimental Diving Unit, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. In addition to being much quieter than the standard Mark 5 diving dress, it was non-magnetic. Bomb and Mine Disposal men already in the area were assigned to the unit and included Ltjg. Delbert W. Lewis (MD8) and MN1 L. C. Hutchinson (MD). Lewis was killed on 10 October 1944 at La Ciotat, France while attempting to place a countermining charge on a German GC Acoustic mine underwater. Petty Officer Hutchinson was wounded in the unfortunate accident. As a result of Lewis' death, a directive from the CNO was issued to the effect that no officer was ever to direct a disposal operation be undertaken if the disposal person thought that the operation should not be undertaken because of safety problems. Close liaison was maintained with the Royal Air Force, Royal Engineers, Royal Navy and after July 1944, with MEIU #3 which was operating at Cherbourg. The Unit assisted in the clearing of captured enemy ports, bases and airfields in Italy and Southern France. One major disaster occurred at the huge La Canet rail yard in Marseille. Some French civilians searching for food accidentally set off some explosive ordnance in one of the box cars. The yard was full of freight cars loaded with ammunition of all descriptions destined for the front. The entire yard went up in a series of tremendous explosions. Using German prisoners, the team worked for several weeks salvaging what could be saved and disposing of the damaged unexploded shells. One particular hazardous assignment involved a "bombe non eclate" (UXB) which turned out to be the one and only British long delay chemical tail fuze in a 500 pounder. The bomb was quickly dispatched with a block of TNT much to the dismay of the French . Lt. Guy Throner and Chief James Igo (BD16) and others were sent to Lyon where they recovered German experimental aerial torpedoes and a new JATO unit for aircraft. These new finds were packed up and sent back to the States for intelligence purposes. Throner later stated that the entire 150 mile distance from Marseille to Lyon was littered with tanks, trucks, oxcarts, anti-aircraft guns, anti-tank guns, personnel carriers, motorcycles, ammunition and hundreds maybe thousands of Germans killed by the strafing fighters. The effectiveness of the Air Force against exposed troops was clearly demonstrated. The second week of December 1944, after the fighting had moved inland, MEIU #2 was disbanded and most of its personnel returned to the United States. The disposal work was taken over by individual Bomb and Mine Disposal Units, and its intelligence work was handled by the Naval Technical Mission in Europe. Bomb and Mine Disposal personnel that were assigned to MEIU#2 at one time or another were: BM1 James E. Wood (MD9), Lt. J. H. Kidder (MD14), J.G. Seyfried (MD6), AOM1c Arthur W. 76

Heck (BD16), Lt. Frank J. Java (MD6), AOCM James Igo (BD16), Lt. Robert S. Cope (BD7), Ens. Garr J. Burt (BD47), AOM1c Wayne H. Miller (BD7), Lt. Paul A. Jensen (MD8), Chief W. P. McCarthy (MD2), Ltjg C.K. Brown (BD22), Ltjg. R. S. Henry (BD29), Lt. Guy A. Throner (BD36), ACOM N. H. Behm (BD16), AOM3c Otto M. Bufe (BD46), AOM3c Joseph S. Garwood (BD46), AOM1c Robert H. Kruse (BD26), L.C. Hutchinson (MD) and Ltjg. Delbert W. Lewis (MD8).

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MEIU#2, Palermo, Sicily, Sept 1943 Italian coastal gun north west of Palermo; L-R: Leroy Reed (MD17), Thomas S. Sheridan (MD19), Grover Fisher (MD7) figure 39 78

MEIU#2, Naples, Italy, May 1944 L-R: Thomas S. Sheridan (MD19), Wayne H. Miller (BD7), Willis Allen (MD ), Grover Fisher (MD7), Lt. William J. Hayes, (MD5) figure 40 79

MEIU#2, Naples, Italy, May 14, 1944 Italian Circling Torpedo dropped in British Compound L-R: Lt. Frank Java (MD6), Thomas S. Sheridan (MD19), Lt. Hugh F. Duval (BD15) figure 41 80

Mine Type GL, Sectional View

Detonator Sung Corer

ling Hole

Soluble Plug Fitting

Sectional View of German Type GL Drifting Contact Mine figure 42 81

MEIU#2, Corsica 1944 German Glider Bomb reconstructed from crashed bomber photo taken in Naples figure 43 82

MEIU#2, Naples, Italy, 1944 L-R: BM1 James E. Wood Jr.(MD9), EM Leroy E. Reed (MD17), Ltjg. Hugh F Duval (BD15), & Willis Allen (MD ) figure 44 83

MEIU#2, Marseille, France Clearing German Influence mines from harbor using Buie Recirculating Mk. 1 diving dress; L-R: Leroy Reed (MD17), Willis Allen (MD ) in suit, Grover Fisher (MD7) figure 45 84

MEIU#2, Marseille, France Nov 1944 Clearing German Influence mines from harbor Two German GC mines detonating in harbor

figure 46 85




MEIU#2, France 1944 Navy team recovering German GC mine figure 47 86

MEIU#2, La Canet Rail Yard, Marseille, France 1944 Destruction caused by explosion of ammunition freight cars on fire L-R: Lt. Hugh F. Duval (BD15) & Guy A. Throner (BD36) figure 48 87

MEIU#2, Biaria, Italy, near Naples, Oct 1944 Ens. Paul A. Jensen (MD8) removing base plate from an Italian Mine Type IK (Torpedine AEP 200/1936) after removing top cover plate figure 49 88

MEIU#2, French Sector, Western Italy 1944 L-R: Thomas S. Sheridan (MD19), Lt. Hugh F. Duval (BD15), Lt. Clarence R. Redden (MD8) figure 50 89


Mobile Explosives Investigation Unit #3 was established by the CNO and its personnel ordered to report at Lido Beach, Long Island, New York on 25 March 1944. The assigned personnel were: OinC, Lt. Henry P. Scott, III (BD1A); Lt. Chester J. Oleniacz (MD7); CEM J. P. Endsley (BD24); AOM1c Phil H. Cosgrove (BD39); YN1c Richard L. Schultz (BD39); EM2c John P. O'Brien (MD12); and Cox. Anthony F. Pratz (MD11). The equipment and transportation was assembled at NSD, Bayonne, New Jersey. The mission of MEIU #3 was to investigate, analyze and report all new items of enemy explosive ordnance found in the European Theater of Operations and to carry out any necessary Bomb and Mine Disposal work. About mid April, the personnel and equipment were loaded aboard ship and transported to England. Upon arrival in England, the Unit moved to the U.S. Navy Advanced Amphibious Base at Salcombe, Devon. Equipment was unpacked and loaded on vehicles by 01 June 1944 and they departed for France. The OinC contacted various British commands to establish liaison, and the Unit's personnel was given refresher training. The Unit boarded the SS Robert E. Peary at Falmouth, landed at Utah Beach on 30 June 1944 and moved into Cherbourg on 01 July 1944. At Cherbourg, the Unit set up a combined headquarters with the Bomb and Mine Disposal Units attached to U.S. Salvage Group. From the combined headquarters, personnel assisted in clearing the land masses around the harbors of Cherbourg, Granville, St. Malo, Morlaix, Brest, Nantes, Avranches and LeHavre with side trips to Carentan, St. Lo, Argentan and others. Royal Navy Port Clearance Party #1571 actually cleared the harbor at Cherbourg. Outside of Cherbourg, MEIU3 inspected huge tunnels built into the hillside where the Germans stored materials and arms. Assisted by Lt. Walter H. Daub Jr. (BD3), the team gathered numerous pieces of all types of German ordnance. Data was obtained from a German prisoner of war about the old Nardouet Powder Factory near Cherbourg. French Antitank mines, German Teller Mines of all types, a few Shu Mines and "S" mines were found to be sparsely laid in some of the areas visited. They were not laid in the quantity that they might have been with the supplies available. Mine signs were much more plentiful that the mines. The German KMA anti-invasion chemical horn mine was first discovered in Cherbourg Harbor along with its 60 kg. charge and numerous LMA and LMB influence mines were removed from the Nardouet Factory tunnel and shipped backed to the States and to England. They also waited outside of St. Malo waiting for the Germans to surrender an underground facility under the command of the German colonel , The Mad Man of St. Malo. This underground facility was a three story concrete storage site that the Germans destroyed upon surrendering. During their stop in Granville, France, they found and 90

rendered safe several German RMA influence mines. The RMA or US designation Type GH, was a surface craft laid, ground, magnetic dip-needle mine that could also be used as a controlled mine. This unidentified mine was dubbed the "BOOP" mine, so called by the members of MEIU#3 who found it, ie., Donald I. Brothers (MD12), Chester J. Oleniacz (MD7), John P. O'Brien (MD12) and Anthony F. Pratz (MD11). The RMA mines were used by the Germans in artificial harbors (LeHarvre, Cherbourg and Granville) with extremely high/low tides to control entry or egress. The mines contained approximately 1200 pounds of block-fitted Hexanite which was later removed and disposed of by burning. The team rendered safe their first German LMA influence mine dropped in the hedge rows near St. Lo. The MEIU#3 team carried a radium capsule mounted on the front bumper of their jeep in a lead container. It was used to X-Ray ordnance. They also carried a photographic tent which was used to process film used in their intelligence efforts. Assistance was given in disposal operations at both Utah and Omaha beaches. Personnel were assigned to the British Admiralty Combat Intelligence Team and the 30th Assault Unit. Other personnel visited captured airfields and ordnance factories as far inland as Paris. Close contact was established and maintained with MEIU #2, which was operating from Marseille. In September, the Unit was transferred to the staff of Commander U.S. Ports and Bases, France, and on 20 September 1944, the Unit moved to LeHavre. From LeHavre, the work continued with emphasis being placed on targets in the Paris area. When the task of clearing ports and bases terminated, the Unit returned to England on 15 November 1944, and returned to the U.S. about 15 January 1945. The disposal work of MEIU #3 was assumed by individual Bomb and Mine Disposal Units in the various ports. The intelligence work was taken over by personnel assigned to the U.S. Naval Technical Mission in Europe. At all times, close liaison was maintained with U.S. Army Bomb Disposal, the RAF, the Royal Engineers and the Royal Navy. Approximately one hundred and twenty-five tons of enemy ordnance recovered was shipped to E.I.L., Stumpneck, Maryland for further investigation and study. Other members that were assigned to MEIU#3 at one time or another were: Ltjg. Herman M. Fogel (BD25), Ens. George R. Franklin (BD32), AOM2c J. A. Bowlin (BD30) and CM1c Gilbert C. Mayer (BD37), Donald I. Brothers (MD12), William C. Holmes (MD2), Walter H. Daub (BD3), Henry J. Sullivan (BD32), C. S. Piggot (MD2), H. G. Vogel (MD9), E. , D. Buie (MD2), E. P. Clayton (MD4) and Henry Hardenburg, Henry H. Hart, Angus Theurmer, and Jack Lambe - civilian intrepreters from OP16-Z.



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Map of France showing area of MEIU#3 Operations figure 51 92

MEIU#3, Salcombe, Devon, England May 1944: L-R: John P. O'Brien (MD12); Richard L. Schultz (BD39); Chief James P. Endsley; Phil H. Cosgrove (BD39); Anthony F. Pratz (MD11) figure 52 93

Post Normandy Invasions, June 1944

"More Signs than mines" figure 53 94

MEIU#3 Headquarters, Cherbourg, France July 1944 OinC Lt. Chester J. Oleniacz (MD7)

Coast of France 1944 MEIU#3 members John P. O'Brien (MD12) Lt. Chester J. Oleniacz (MD7) figure 54 • 95


Granville, France, July 1944 Inside view of German RMA mine looking from top, explosive Hexanite blocks removed figure 55 96

Granville, France July 1944 Preparing to burn the explosive Hexanite blocks removed from German RMA influence mine

Granville, France, July 1944 Burning the explosive Hexanite blocks removed from German RMA influence mine figure 56 97


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Captured German Ordnance to be returned to O.I.L., Indian Head, Md. figure 58 99

Cherbourg, France July 1944 Captured German torpedo being loaded on HMS Esmeralda

Naudouet Factory near Chergourg,France, July 1944 Removing German LMA and LMB mines from the tunnel for shipment to U.S. and U.K. figure 59

St. Lo, France July 1944 X-raying German LMA mine with radium capsule

St. Lo, France, July 1944 John O'Brien processing film in portable photographic tent figure 60
1 01

St. Lo, France July 1944 Remotely removing tail door from German LMA mine

St. Lo, France, July 1944 Tail door removed exposing dip-needle firing unit figure 61 102


The U.S. Navy Technical Mission in Europe (NAVTECMISEU) was formed late in 1944 for the purpose of gathering technical intelligence on German military technology. Based in Paris, NAVTECMISEU was co-located with Commander Naval Forces France, (VADM. A.G. Kirk, Commanding) in a building near the Arc de Triumph. The Chief of Mission, H. A. Schade, was a relatively junior Captain at the outset but the Mission soon grew so rapidly that there were three senior Captains on board as department heads and the Chief of Mission was appointed Commodore. The objective of the Mission was to provide logistic support for specialists from the technical bureaus to accomplish factfinding in their specialty areas. The primary technical bureaus involved were BuAer, BuOrd, and BuShips. Of the BuOrd department, the ones involved with underwater weapons were primarily from Mine Disposal. In addition to uniformed officer and enlisted personnel, there were civilians assigned to the Mission from time to time. When in the field, these civilians wore a special uniform and had temporary military credentials in the event of capture. NAVTECMISEU provided quarters in Paris, information on the locations of potential intelligence targets, information on the location of the fighting front, field uniforms, vehicles, field rations, maps and clearances to enter the areas of the three Army Groups on the front from the Swiss border to the North Sea. Quarters in Paris were at the Royal Monceau Hotel, a rather elegant place only one and one half blocks down Avenue Hoche from the Arc. Information on potential intelligence targets was irregular due to wartime conditions, but a few good tips did surface. Normally, a manufacturing plant or shop was listed but with little information on what they produced in the way of weapons. For example, personnel learned the hard way that water meter factories made bomb fuzes. There were other direct linkages. The various technical missions assembled about eighty military and civilian specialists to make a preliminary survey of the I. G. Farben Chemical Plant at Ludwigshafen/Oppau. It took two days just to make the preliminary survey with each eight man group covering one to ten sectors on a grid. After I. G. Farben closed, the plant is now called BASF. A major effort also went into tracking down tank cars and other containers of high test hydrogen peroxide the Germans were using in their advanced models of U-Boats and torpedoes as an oxygen source for propulsion. With the combat front so large and so few technical personnel to investigate, it was difficult to insure the correct specialist visited a particular installation. Accordingly, information from field investigations was sent or taken back to Paris for further study. 103

The intelligence gathering group at NavTec kept the map of the fighting front up to date daily with information from Supreme Headquarters G-2. Unfortunately, there were surprises and it was important to keep in touch with local Army units to find out what the situation was. All NavTec personnel wore Army field uniforms with Navy insignia when outside of Paris. The similarity between U.S. and German Navy officers' uniforms (silver eagle and straight stripes on sleeves) made them a prime target for uninformed French snipers. NavTec specialists were provided with one jeep for two persons and sometimes a trailer. Getting gasoline in the forward areas involved a lot of begging and care to make sure it wasn't contaminated. Field rations were mostly K-Rations which were last choice if there was any choice at all. In addition to being just survival rations, many K-Rations smelled and tasted like gasoline with which they must have been stored. Army units were always willing to share their rations and primitive quarters with any outsider. The "USN" on the jeeps really got their attention. At times, Army units had experienced terrible fighting and had been pulled back from the front line for a rest. They were happy to see anybody but Germans. Maps had been reproduced from aerial photography and, when in large enough scale, showed most buildings. Clearances to Army Group areas were obtained from Supreme HQ, but first it was necessary to find their headquarters-they moved around a lot. Each Army Group G-2 had a "T-Force" attached to provide information, quarters and other logistics to the mission specialists. Each T-Force had a detachment of Combat Engineers whose responsibility was to capture important intelligence targets (instead of letting the Infantry do it), seal them off to make sure the people and material didn't get lost, stolen or destroyed and admit only authorized persons with T-Force passes. For security reasons, these passes were changed frequently and appeared to be membership cards to social clubs, tickets to entertainments or dances. The colonel commanding the T-Force for the 6th Army Group was particularly adept at finding new quarters for his group as the front advanced by riding around in a jeep behind enemy lines and nailing his unit's sign on the best houses he could find. He was credited with downing several German planes using the pedestal-mounted machine gun in his jeep. Up until the German surrender on 05 May 1945, interrogation of German personnel was generally not easy unless they were convinced that war crimes charges would not be filed against them. What did make it easier to interrogate was the fact that ADM. Doenitz's signature at the surrender ceremonies on a piece of paper obligating all Germans, military and civilian, to cooperate fully with Allied interrogators on all matters including long-range developments. From then on, every interrogator had a copy of that memorandum. The only problem was just before the surrender, ADM. Doenitz issued a bulletin to destroy all copies of secret and confidential documents.


THE GROUP AT KIEL Following the surrender, the Group was sent to Kiel, the mecca for underwater weapons. Located in the immediate area were the SVK (Mining Experimental Command), the TVA (Torpedo Experimental Station) and the Luftwaffe Weapons Testing Station. Of these three, time was of the essence for the Luftwaffe Station because it was located in an area about to be occupied by the Russians. The Mine Disposal Group from the NavTech in Paris consisted of Lieutenants William C. Holmes (MD2), Robert J. Franz (MD2), Chester J. Oleniacz (MD7), H. G. Vogel(MD9) and CBM M. J. Foster (MD4). They were joined by Lt. E. G. Brands (MD3), the COMNAVEU liaison from London and Lt. H. H. Hart from ONI (an experienced interrogator with German language skills). Quarters provided by the British Military Government were in the partly damaged ContiHansa Hotel. It was remarkable that anything was left standing in Kiel because of the extensive bombing. Living conditions for the group were reasonably good. Running water was on in the hotel after about two weeks. Later, Commodore Schade flew in to see how things were going. The only complaint was the atrocious quality of food provided by the British Military Government. Commodore Schade solved the problem by sending a truck full of food items and PX goodies from Bremen. Extra candy bars and cigarettes were traded with German farmers for fresh eggs. Lt. Hart was especially good at bargaining in German. A keg of "wasserbier" which survived bombing at a local brewery was used for drinking water and brushing teeth rather than use the brown water treated with chlorine. Extra eggs were hard-boiled for snacks during report writing sessions of the group. Two or three trips were made to the Luftwaffe Testing Station at Travemunde/Priwall. The Technical Director, Col. Rommel, was interrogated in detail about Luftwaffe mine developments. Col. Rommel had been educated in England, so there was no language barrier. Besides, he was eager to ingratiate himself to someone because the Russians were coming. Little new information was discovered. Two members of the group made several trips to the TVA torpedo station at Eckernforde. The majority of information was related to torpedo propulsion systems. A major amount of investigation in the Kiel area was focused on SVK and two manufacturing plants: Elecktroacoustic K.C. (Elac) and Hagenuk G.m.b.H. SVK, under the technical direction of Dr. Hageman (CDR.), had a major station and flotilla at Kiel/Friedrichsort. Dr. Hageman spoke excellent English and was very cooperative. All others were cooperative but their English was limited. The general procedure used was a preliminary oral interrogation followed by a request to write up the subjects covered. Next, the "homework" was put into English by a Military Government translator. Then, the MD Group would re-translate into appropriate ordnance engineering terminology. Finally, a follow
1 05

up interview would clear up any questions. One German officer asked permission to do his homework in English for the practice. A wide variety of controlled, contact and influence mines were investigated, including prototypes and early experimental types. It was evident that SVK intended to try out every known physical principle as a possible means of operating naval mines. Investigation of the Hagenuk Ordnance Plant revealed a new model magnetic mine firing unit. This unit appeared to be easier to mass produce than the earlier models with which MD personnel were already familiar. At Elac, an advanced model of the guidance unit for the German acoustic homing torpedo was found in manufacture. On entering, the group asked for all documents and drawings. The staff said, "we had received the order to destroy all copies of secret and confidential documents, but of course we kept our originals". One employee, who thought he might be charged with war crimes, guided the group to a series of farmhouses and barns within a fifty kilometer radius north of Kiel where the drawings were hidden. In most cases they were in boxes hidden under straw in the attics of country cottages. Some were hidden in a barn next to a German command post and were carried to the jeep trailer by a working party of German soldiers who had not yet been disarmed. After bringing back about 1000 pounds of boxed drawings in a i ton jeep trailer, it was easy to make all the copies needed for study. It was really amusing that the Elac staff interpreted the word "copies" in Adm. Doenitz's order so literally. During discussions at SVK, it became known that near the end of the war, several operations were seeking to evacuate parts of their facilities to Norway. Two of the larger SVK ships headed north but were attacked by Allied bombers between the Danish islands. One was sunk in shallow water and the other returned to Kiel. The MD Group went aboard the M/S Dorpat a few miles from Svendborg, Denmark, but nothing very important could be found above water in the flooded holds. While in Svendborg, the group taped U.S. flags to the jeeps and pinned U.S. flags on field uniforms like shoulder patches to assure friendly treatment by the natives not familiar with U.S. uniforms. The result was that three of the group were entertained by the local chapter of the Danish Resistance movement and were made honorary members while the other two were at dinner with the Danish Port Captain. A large number of finished reports were assembled back at the office in Paris before the group disbanded and returned to the U.S. The effort was well justified considering the technical sophistication of German weapons design.


Lt. Robert J. Franz (MD2) at Elac, Kiel with German homing torpedo guidance units

Interrogation of Cdr. Hageman at Kiel by Lt. W. C. Holmes (MD2) and CPO Marvin J. Foster (MD4) figure 62 1 07


The establishment of Mine Disposal Units and Mine Disposal Officers did not occur at this point in our history but rather is presented now to serve as a separation point in the History between operations in the European and Pacific theaters. On March 25, 1942, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) issued a directive re-designating Mine Recovery Units and Mine Recovery Officers as Mine Disposal Units and Mine Disposal Officers. On June 22, 1942, the Vice CNO issued the directive establishing Mine Disposal Units. Mine Disposal Units were established in all naval districts except the Eighth and Ninth and in numerous outlying bases. Units were eventually assigned to the Eighth Naval District and to additional bases. Two primary units were maintained with reserves available for emergency in any area; one with headquarters in the Potomac River Naval Command and one with headquarters in the Twelfth Naval District. Inter-district movements of units were directed by the Vice CNO. Mine Disposal personnel were all volunteers, and were trained at the Advanced Mine School, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. from selected graduates of the Naval Mine Warfare School, Yorktown, Virginia and were trained for the following duties: a. To safely recover mines for purposes incident to development of minesweeping and other measures for defense against mines. b. To dispose of hostile mines by methods other that sweeping or countermining. c. The recovery of hostile mines for purposes of our own mine development. d. To advise and assist in the organization of mine watching and mine reporting parties. e. To recover U.S. Navy mines which may become detached from defensive fields in order to furnish information of operational and design value. f. To assist in salvage operations involving the handling of explosives underwater. g. To dispose of any dangerous mines, depth charges, or torpedoes, the location of which constitutes a peril to personnel of property. Instruction and training of officers and men assigned to Mine Disposal Units included periods of rotational observation in Great Britain in order to provide a continuous flow of information of a new character. Rotation between the School and operational Units maintained the continuity of instruction for new students coming in to the program. A Vice CNO directive issued on September 10, 1942 established collateral duties for Mine Disposal Units. 108

The need for Mine Disposal Units varied greatly in the localities or commands to which they were assigned, and from one period to another. However, when these Units were needed, their services were vital and urgent. It was also important that these Units be encouraged to train in their specialty as circumstances permitted, and to perfect local organizations for disposing of mines. Several suggested collateral duties were as follows: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. Duties involving shallow water diving operations. Duties involving mining and minesweeping. Organizing mine watching parties. Duties involving mine countermeasures. Duties knowledge of explosives. Duties involving demolition. Duties involving recovery of enemy torpedoes and shells, but not bombs.

The Navy Mine Disposal Units were primarily responsible for operations a. In ships of the Navy or Merchant Marine. b. In all port facilities under Naval jurisdiction. c. In shore establishments of the Navy. d. In civilian establishments assigned to the Navy for purposes of passive defense. A Chief of Naval Personnel directive issued on October 21, 1943 changed the title of the Advanced Mine School to the Mine Disposal School. The future would again change this designation to Explosive Ordnance Disposal School on 16 June 1947. In order to be more responsive to operational needs and to enhance the use of available manpower, the Mobile Explosive Investigation Units (MEIUs) were formed and in some cases were comprised of new personnel coming from the School and from seasoned veterans returning from forward areas or from areas where their services were no longer required. These Units were established as follows: Mobile Explosive Investigation Unit No. One - July 1942 Mobile Explosive Investigation Unit No. Two - July 1943 Mobile Explosive Investigation Unit No. Three - 25 March 1944 Mobile Explosive Investigation Unit No. Four - 4 June 1944 These MEIUs were the equivalent to the current day Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Units. MEIU#2 and MEIU#3 have been presented in the foregoing chapters. MEIU#1 and MEIU#4 will now follow.


Mine Disposal and Salvage Unit, Trinidad 1943 William F. Akin (MD8)(with pipe); Fred J. Ronan (MD8)(L,squatting) and 2nd Class Divers with Chemical Horn Mine which had drifted from Cape Town S. Africa mine fields figure 63

Mine Disposal Unit, Oahu, HI., Sept. 1942 1st Row L-R: R. F. Burke (MD4); R. H. Allen (MD4); K. L. Kindblad (MD2) 2nd Row L-R: ; W. S. Coghill (MD4); L. C. Hutchinson (MD4) figure 64

Mine Disposal Unit, Little Creek, Va. 1944 Edwin C. Gerlack (MD12)(hands on DC) and team after recovery of U.S. depth charge figure 65 112

Mine Disposal Unit, Iceland, 1942 L-R: Arthur J. Sobeck (BD1B); Anthony S. Zawadzki (MD3) figure 66 113

Mine Disposal Unit, Treasure Island 1943 Half Moon Bay, California A. B. Holmes (MD3) in diving dress figure 67 114

Mine Disposal Unit, Panama Canal Oct. 1943 John R. Ganther (MD5)(at mine) with recovered German Type EMF moored magnetic dip-needle mine figure 68 115

Biaria, Italy, near Naples, Oct. 1943 James E. Wood Jr. (MD9) working on base plate of Italian Mine Type IK (Torpedine AEP 200/1936) figure 69 116


The time was July 1942, the place was Melville Island just off the north coast of Australia. Ens. Donald E. Young, USNR, (MD3) and TM1c Harry E. Hawver, USN, (MD2) were the two members of a USN Mine Recovery Unit on the edge of the Japanese advance toward northern Australia. Their first thoughts were "Had we paid enough attention to the details in our schooling on 'how to strip a mine - to render it safe?'" It was too late now for much reflection, for they were poised over a Japanese submarine-laid mine, now high and dry on a beautiful beach next to a tropical jungle on Melville Island. Before they had left their base, at HMAS Melville, Darwin, they had sent a "signal" to their area base at Brisbane, and to home base in Washington, D.C., through the Australian Navy to whom they were attached, that another Japanese mine had been reported ashore. This time, however, Ensign Young would be OinC of both USN and the Australian Mine Recovery Units, and that they were enroute, and that "Recovery will be attempted." They did, however, have some degree of confidence, for their background training was the best. Their class curriculum at the Advanced Mine School, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., had been based on the British Mine Recovery experiences of over three years of war, involving the very sophisticated German Influence Mines. They had also accompanied the Aussie Mine Recovery Unit, to which they were attached and dependent for most everything, on three previous operations. In each instance, they worked with them in recovering the same type of Japanese mine. This, however, would be the first Japanese mine recovered by a USN Mine Recovery Unit on its own. They could not look over their shoulders for support, and had determined by initial examination that this mine was fully armed - detonator in place, and ready to function as designed. They were more than 2,000 miles from the nearest Navy base at Brisbane and Perth, and home base at Washington, D.C., was almost a half a world away. In every sense, they were at a "most advance base", geographically speaking. No other U.S. Navy personnel were in the area at that time. Their background of training had been at the USS Bullfinch (Naval Mine Warfare School, mine assembly, laying and sweeping) at Yorktown, Virginia for ten weeks, in the late fall of 1941 where they were just finishing class at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Then followed another ten weeks at the Advanced Mine School with its third class and at the Deep Sea Diving School, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., in March 1942. Then on to their first assignment in the Southwest Pacific. They landed at Melbourne, and were ordered to Commander, Allied Naval Forces based in Western Australia, at Perth. Still armed with the parting word from Washington, "get us some

information on Japanese mines as soon as possible", they set about to do just that by contacting Australian naval officers, for they had read in the newspapers that Japanese mines had been reported in the Darwin area. One Aussie, who had just returned from there, said that he had just seen a "signal" from there indicating more mines had been reported. With this information obtained, obviously, not through channels, Ensign Young presented himself to a senior officer of our forces. Needless to say, the CNO's letter "smoothed over" any irregularities, and hastened their trip back to Melbourne for a visit to Flinders Naval Depot for a quick review of hardware from a Japanese mine recovered earlier. The jest of the CNO's letter authorized Young and Hawver to recover enemy mines for exploitation and also to dispose of any mines that washed ashore. Further, that they should be employed at bases where their services could be used and where enemy mines would be most likely to be encountered. They made their way to Darwin by way of Sydney, Brisbane, Charlesville and Cloncurry. The reported mines had probably been laid by a Japanese submarine type 1-121 which was sunk on January 20, 1942, by a U.S. Destroyer and Australian minesweepers. This submarine had the capability of laying 48 mines. The mine's ineffectiveness against ships was due, in all probably, to the twenty-seven foot tidal range in the Darwin area. The swift currents in the straits between the mainland and the islands, caused the mooring cables to quickly fray and break, and a mine was first reported ashore within a month's time. There were several obstacles to be confronted daily when getting to a mine and then returning to Darwin: Everyone in this area was stringently rationed, even down to matches, and they could get no more than five days' food supply to take on a trip. One trip found them away twenty-five days, so they lived off the land and the sea, and on the small vessel's emergency rations. Getting ashore through surf and returning required some paddle work, wading and swimming, in shark-infested waters. They also had little in the way of anti-aircraft weapons only small caliber weapons on their small craft, should they encounter any Japanese planes which, at that time, controlled the air space from Darwin to Timor. They were always accompanied by a few Australian Army personnel, to provide them with some degree of security should they encounter any Japanese commando-type units. When away from Darwin, fresh water for bathing and washing their uniforms was non-existent, and being daily in the sun, sand and salt water, they soon became almost as dark as the native Aborigines, who guided them through the reefs and to the reported mines. None of their four operations could be considered to have been "routine", in view of all that was involved in recovering mines. Young and Hawver's first encounter with a Japanese mine was on Croker Island. The mine was a moored, chemical horn, contact mine with the Japanese designation - Type 88, MOD 1, later to be designated by the US as, "Japanese JA". 118

Standard recovery techniques dictated that one take photographs, note numbers, markings, etc., and record the same and leaving these notes at a safe distance before proceeding with Rendering Mine Safe (RMS), or attempting to do so. One also told others remaining at a safe distance, just what step by step procedures were being used. Natives who first located this mine tied a line from a pad-eye to a tree so that another high tide might not cause it to float away. The routine was to dig at the base of the mine to determine if the detonator housing was empty, indicating that it was safer to work on - if all else was normal, and of course, they could not see what was inside the mine case until the top cover plate was removed. The bail on the bottom of the mine case held the hydrostatic device that would lock the mooring cable at a prescribed depth below the surface, where the mine would most likely be effective against a ship. The life of the mine was really limited to such time as the mooring cable would stand up to the violent tidal and current action. Their second mine was on Melville Island. It should be noted that during their routine of attack they could also attack the mine's 'safety switch' located on the mid-section of the mine case. In the RMS, they would insert a screw into the center of the switch spindle and pull it to the out position and lock it, hopefully breaking the electrical circuit between the chemical horns and the detonator. When sitting on top of this mine with its 300 pound explosive charge, and pulling out the switch, one sprouted a few gray hairs as it went 'click'. Young and Hawver had decided if ever they had a job of their own, without the presence of the RANs, they would do everything as remotely as possible. This is what they did on the fourth mine. Young and Hawver filed reports on every mine operation: Croft with the Royal Australian Navy and Young filed reports via the Australian communication system from Darwin. He likewise followed up with a detailed written report and photographs to the Advanced Mine School, Washington, D.C. telling them all that was related to the recovery operations. Their third Japanese mine had been washed ashore, and somewhat inland, by a very high rise of tide, on the mainland of Australia in a mangrove swamp. The horns had been sheared off, and it appeared to be safe. It too was a Type 88, MOD 1. On this particular mine all that was necessary was to remove the top cover plate and build a burn train into the container inside the mine case which held the block fitted main explosive charge and ignite the train. As the main charge burned it sounded like a blast furnace and suddenly exploded. The mangrove forest around the immediate area of the mine was totally destroyed and the explosion scooped out a huge crater. The damage occurred downwind. It became graphically evident that the instructors at the Advanced Mine School knew the wisdom of taking cover, and if possible, up wind. The fourth mine: Lt. Croft, RNVR, left Darwin on leave and Young was put in charge of both teams for the next mine that would be reported ashore. Young and Hawver decided to 119

try every safety precaution they knew. It turned out to be an excruciating experience. The fourth mine was high and dry on a sand beach with the lower portion of the mine case being buried in the sand. The case was heavily encrusted with barnacles. From a distance they first noted the difference in the size of the horns; and close inspection revealed three horns covered with unusual sea growth and one horn almost bare. One of the natives had told them that one of the Aborigines in his party that discovered the mine had pounded on the horn with a stick thinking that the growth were oysters. He had been told to stop. This gave Young and Hawver a second alert, for if the glass vial of acid, in the horn was cracked, any leak would detonate the mine if there was a detonator still intact. Examination revealed that the detonator was in place and this mine was ready to function as designed. Young decided to blow the mine up and not RMS, and had the explosive rigged in a fire hose, and tied it to the case and tamped it down with sand. He put on about a ten minute fuse, lighted it and retired upwind and behind a sand dune. They waited and waited but it failed to detonate. Young gave it an hour and went back and dug it out of the sand. The closer he got to the case, the more smoke he smelled and envisioned this mine "getting him". Young found that the fuse had burned to the cap and had failed to ignite it. Should he attempt to countermine again? No! He decided not again. He did not wish to repeat this experience so he poured on water and detached the explosive hose. They decided to open the 'safety switch' by remote control, and Hawver erected a tripod and attached pulleys and line. They retired to pull it out, and while one held the line tight, the other went back to insert the wedge gag. Young found it had not moved as the line didn't pull straight. They tried once more and the line broke. Young returned a second time to find the switch out, and he locked it out. They decided to then remove the top cover, and plan avenues of escape if necessary. Young commenced to loosen bolts and heard a loud 'sshhhhhh' of escaping gas, "Run Harry", Young yelled, and they sped off in two different directions. They had talked about the possibility of a pressure release PSE device. As Ensign Young headed up the beach, the soft sand was like running in molasses. He looked back over his shoulder, expecting any second to feel the concussion and hear the blast. Hawver was out of sight and nowhere. They waited and then returned and removed the top cover plate, cut the leads from the horns and decided to burn the explosive. They prepared to build a fire chain into the mine with wood and would start the fire a little distance from the explosive to give them time to seek cover. They almost depleted their limited supply of matches trying to light the wood in the strong on shore wind. The explosive burned, the job was done, "recovery was complete".




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Individual Mine Disposal Units had been i the field since early 1942. These small units, generally composed of an officer and a petty officer, were doing excellent work, but there was not overall coordination. The Mobile Explosives Investigation Units were established to correct this fault. Four such units were set up during the war, two in the Pacific and two in the European theater. The first unit was organized at the Washington Navy Yard in July 1942 when the Vice Chief of Naval Operations directed the Bureau of Ordnance to "assemble a Mobile Investigations Unit for enemy ordnance." The purpose of the unit was to make available, at strategic points, the services of trained personnel and technical equipment for the examination of enemy ordnance. The original plans were to transfer the unit to Advanced Base Cub No. 1. The Bureau of Ordnance directed the Mine Disposal School to assemble the equipment. In October the Chief of Naval Operations directed the Bureau of Personnel to establish a complement of five officers and nine enlisted men. Lt. 0. Reeves Cross (MD1) of the Mine Disposal School was named Commanding Officer of Mobile Explosives Investigation Unit Number One. The first bomb disposal officers assigned to the unit were Ens. James E. Richardson (BD1A) from the Bomb Disposal School and Ens. Harry P. Brown III (BD1A), already in the Pacific theater. MEIU #1 was assigned the code name "NOSEGAY" and departed from Washington on 15 October 1942 with orders to report to Commander, Twelfth Naval District for further transfer to the Australian area and to the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Southwest Pacific. On 19 January 1943, the unit landed in Cairns, on the northeast coast of Australia, and proceeded to Brisbane for duty under the Commander Service Force, Southwest Pacific Force, later to become Commander Service Force, Seventh Fleet. The functions of the unit, as outlined in a letter to Commander Service Force, Southwest Pacific Force, included: (1) coordination of Mine and Bomb Disposal activities in the Southwest Pacific area; (2) research and distribution of information on enemy explosive ordnance; (3) maintenance of close liaison with U.S. Army and Australian forces engaged in similar work; (4) collection and shipment of enemy explosive ordnance to activities in the United States for further study; (5) providing divers for salvage work and personnel trained to perform demolitions. MEIU #1 established offices at 700 Ann Street in Brisbane. A demolition and experimental area was set up outside the city and work progressed slowly. By 01 May 1943, fifteen reports on new items of ordnance had been distributed. Some of the reports were on specimens recovered by Navy Bomb and Mine Disposal Units in the Solomon Islands, Port Moresby Papua and 123


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Darwin areas. Gradually, a standard report form evolved, serious attempts at translating Japanese labels were made, and the study of documents to correlate known and suspected data was started. The Commanding Officer of MEIU #1, in an attempt to coordinate bomb and mine disposal activities, faced a situation unlike that in the South and Central Pacific theaters. The Southwest Pacific area was an Army theater of war. Occupations were planned and directed by Army forces, with few exceptions air fields were run by the Army, and island commanders were most often Army officers. As a consequence, there was little call for Navy Mine Disposal services although the Army had few active BD squads in the theater until June 1944. The bomb and mine disposal done was handled by RAN, RAAF and U.S. Navy personnel. At the same time it became apparent that no service was maintaining an adequate ordnance intelligence organization in the theater. MEIU #1, already becoming known for intelligence activities and made up of personnel ideally fitted for such work, was called upon more often to assist U.S. Army forces in ordnance intelligence functions. Attached to CIC or TIT Teams, or moving with Engineer or G-2 Groups, MEIU #1 personnel began to participate in every Allied landing in the Southwest Pacific area. The first MEIU #1 teams worked in Darwin and out of Port Moresby. Early operations at Darwin Australia, and Buna, Gona in Papua, Salamaua, Lae, and Finschhafen in New Guinea were covered by MEIU #1 men. Temporary additional duty orders to places verbally designated allowed the commanding officer to move men around rapidly and to best advantage. As the Unit accumulated more personnel and equipment, new quarters were found at the edge of Brisbane to house officers and enlisted men. A new large building, containing offices, museum and classroom was erected. In January 1944, Lt. F. Markoe Rivinus, Jr. (MD3), became Commanding Officer of the Unit. In February and March 1944, two officers were sent to MEIU #1 from the Bomb Disposal School to establish an expanded instruction program. Refresher training was given during 1944 to over two hundred and fifty Army, Navy, Marine and Australian Bomb and Mine Disposal personnel. Numerous special classes were held for Army Technical Intelligence Groups, CIC Teams, Construction Battalions staging for moves forward, and personnel from the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section. Ens. George E. Metcalf (BD29), in an instruction tour throughout the length of New Guinea, taught ordnance recognition and emergency disposal methods to nearly 10,000 members of the First Division Engineer Special Brigades. The publication of reports increased considerably during this period. MEIU #1 did much to systematize existing knowledge of Japanese ordnance and to increase the study of Japanese labels and markings. Special publications during 1944 included a pamphlet on "Japanese Naval Projectiles" and a field handbook on "Japanese Explosive Ordnance". By December 1944, the number of published reports had increased to one hundred and twenty. 126

MEIU #1 personnel covered all the 1944 Southwest Pacific area campaigns, including the Admiralty Islands; Hollandia, Aitape, Sarmi, and Sansapur in New Guinea; Biak Island; Morotai in the Halmahera Islands; Peleliu and Angaur in the Palau Islands. Quantities of new ordnance were recovered on every major operation and returned to the United States for examination. MEIU #1 personnel on Leyte alone shipped over twenty tons of captured enemy ordnance. The fact that small groups of men, occasionally only two, could collect and ship such large quantities of equipment so rapidly from very forward areas was a considerable accomplishment. Late in September 1944, plans were started to move MEIU #1 to the Philippine Islands. An Advanced Echelon of five officers and eight enlisted men, equipped with vehicles, tools, files, office equipment and personal gear sailed from Brisbane in December 1944 bound for Leyte. It was planned that the group would set up on Leyte and be prepared to handle and report on the recoveries made by MEIU #1 teams on Luzon, the invasion for which forces were then staging. While trans-shipping at Manus, the truck containing all office equipment, files and many tools was dropped into the harbor and the group went ahead without much important and valuable gear. En route to Leyte the destination of their ship was changed and the Advanced Echelon of MEIU #1 landed at Lingayen Gulf on Luzon less than two weeks after the invasion of that island. The group was ordered to report to the Navy Base then forming at Subic Bay. Captain R. E. Webb of Naval Advanced Base Unit No. 6 allowed the Advanced Echelon to move inland and set up and work near former Japanese air fields where large dumps of ordnance were available. The Unit moved from San Fernando to San Jacinto and then to Angeles, near Clark Field. From the office and break-down laboratory set up in a Filipino home at Angeles, over thirty reports on new items of ordnance were prepared. A portable photo lab permitted excellent illustration of all work. A typical difficulty facing the photographer's mate and his Filipino assistant was the lack of running water. Films and prints were developed in the trailer, then rushed four blocks to an ice house where they were washed in the ice plant's circulating tank. In addition to the personnel of the Advanced Echelon, twelve MEIU #1 teams were on Luzon. By shifting these men around the OIC of the Advanced Echelon was able to see that every active front or important locality was thoroughly covered. Teams assisted CIC, TIT, TAIU, Chemical Warfare and counter-battery MEIU #1 teams were the first Navy personnel organizations. in Manila. Large areas to be occupied by Construction Battalions, Commander Seventh Fleet, Commander Service Force Seventh Fleet, Commander Philippine Sea Frontier, Navy Radio and the Navy Base were cleared of unexploded ordnance and mines. The systematic clearance of over 600,000 pounds of unexploded ordnance from the Cavite Naval Base area was handled entirely by MEIU #1 personnel. 127

MEIU#1, First Crew on way to Australia, Dec. 1942 1st Row L-R: William L. Grandia (BD1A); J.E. Barbee (BD1A); H. E. Knudsen (MD2); P.G. Hartsell (MD4); J.J. Emanuelli (BD53); A.W. Kanaby (BD7); A.E. Wolff (MD5); E.A. Smoot (MD2). Officers not shown are Cross, Richardson, Kenda, Eigell figure 74 128

In April 1945, the Unit moved to Manila and on May 12 all rear area personnel were ordered there and the command was re-established. Lt. John S. Rath (BD1A) became C.O. of MEIU #1 and was succeeded by LCDR. Thomas L. Boardman (BD1A) on July 07, 1945 with Kenneth J. Kindblad (MD2) serving as X.O. Records indicate that John R. Coughlin (BD36) relieved Boardman and was the last C.O. The Unit edited the third edition of "Handbook of Explosive Ordnance" and 85,000 copies of the 260 page book were printed in the United States by the Chief of Naval Operations. In July the administrative control of MEIU #1 was shifted from Commander Service Force, Seventh Fleet to the Seventh Fleet Intelligence Center to allow a more rapid movement of personnel. MEIU #1 teams covered every operation in the Philippines and lower islands. They participated in assault operations on Palawan, Zamboanga, Panay, Negros, Mindanao, Cebu, Mindoro and Leyte-Samar; and Tarakan, Brunei Bay and Balikpapan in Borneo. The Unit moved to Japan and personnel landed with Navy and Army Forces in both China and Japan.

MEIU#1, Brisbane, Australia, Summer 1944 L-R: William A. Dees Jr. (BD3); Harry P. Brown (BD1A); John S. Rath (BD1A); F. Markoe Rivinus (MD3); Edward R. Meyers (MD11); John E. Goldmark (BD19) figure 75 129

MEIU#1, Brisbane, River, Australia, Summer 1943 Robert W. Eigell (MD1) in gas mask shallow water equipment

Brisbane River, Australia 1943 Charles D. Malone (MD10) dressed for dive; Peter W. Asher (MD9) tending figure 76 130



Following the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaigns of 1943-1944, the CNO became concerned with the increasing demands in the Central Pacific for Bomb and Mine Disposal personnel and the difficulty in providing sufficient numbers of trained and experienced officers and men. Active units at advanced bases were retained long after their usefulness had ceased, resulting in waste of manpower. It was advisable to establish a sister organization of MEIU #1. This was suggested in a letter to CINCPOA, 24 April 1944, proposing that a MEIU serve the following purposes: " (1) to act as a coordinating agency for CINCPOA in the distribution and use of Bomb and Mine Disposal personnel and material in the Central Pacific, in order to use available personnel more effectively and to provide experienced personnel for each operation; (2) to provide a source, closer to combat areas, for emergency assignment of personnel and material." In addition, it was anticipated the personnel of such a Unit would be available to perform the following functions: " (1) analyze enemy explosive ordnance and malfunctioning for investigation and disseminate reports thereon as may be appropriate. (2) instruct advanced base personnel in unexploded ordnance, booby traps, land mines, and other anti-personnel devices, (3) provide refresher instruction for Navy and Marine Corps Bomb and Mine Disposal personnel in the area, including BD personnel afloat." CINCPAC approved the plan, and on 4 June 1944 authorized COMSERFOR to establish MEIU #4 under COMSERRON SIX (later COMINPAC). It was further directed all Bomb and Mine Disposal personnel then in the Central Pacific report to COMSERRON SIX in person or by letter if, their services were still required at their various stations. This order included active units on Midway, 14th Naval District, Johnston, Palmyra, the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, and those units enroute to the invasions of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam or staging with advanced base outfits at Pearl Harbor. On 17 June 1944, COMSERRON SIX assigned MEIU #4 to the OinC, Mine Assembly Base, West Loch Oahu for purposes of administration, messing, and berthing. Lt. Allen B. Haley (BD8) and Lt(jg) P.A. Cramer (MD10), had been dispatched to Pearl Harbor in March to relieve the 14th ND Units and to later become OinC and XO respectively of MEIU #4. In those beginning days, the physical plant consisted of two 14 X 14 foot shacks with tools and equipment for one bomb and one mine disposal unit. More personnel arrived shortly, and they, with Bomb Disposal personnel from A.B.P.A., Iroquois Point, soon began the construction of three quonset huts in a former wilderness area. One to house administrative and intelligence departments and two more for a museum and classroom. A former civilian cafeteria was converted into a BOQ, housing 132








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sixteen officers. By August, intelligence reports on new ordnance items were being disseminated to field units. This was the beginning of a distribution list which, a year later, included more than 1000 activities and commands. The administrative section edited a monthly unofficial "Dope Sheet" containing news of the developing home base and miscellaneous tips and information for units in the combat area. Actual formal instruction did not begin for some time, but the new department was occupied with setting up museums and training aids in the classrooms. Meanwhile, MEIU#4 units had participated in the invasions of Anguar, and Peleliu, Leyte and Samar, and the unopposed occupation of Ulithi Atoll. The press of work involved in actual disposal on invasions and shipping difficulties afterward often prevented or seriously delayed the gathering and reporting of new ordnance items by operational units. In order to expedite the transmission of intelligence information and material, B & MD Units were attached to Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific Operational Area (JICPOA) teams beginning with the Leyte invasion. These units were devoted exclusively to seeking new Japanese explosive ordnance, forwarding dispatch descriptions, and insuring quick shipment of such material to Pearl Harbor. One officer was detailed to full time liaison duties at JICPOA writing copy, screening intelligence information, and supervising publication of MEIU #4 findings through the JICPOA "Weekly Intelligence Magazine". From November through January 1945, new arrivals from the States and the return of units from completed missions at Eniwetok, Kwajelein, Tinian, Saipan, Ulithi, Leyte, and Palau brought the greatest number of personnel to MEIU #4. Two more quonset huts were erected, one housing a tool room and work shop, the other divided between general storage and a petty officer's lounge. The Unit acquired a 300 acre tract in the mountains 26 miles northwest of Pearl Harbor for a demolition, steaming out, and explosives stowage area. The area was equipped with barracks, galley, stowage revetments, and "igloos" by its former occupants, an Army Coast Artillery battery. Lt. Carter L. Larson (BD8) was named OIC of the camp, assisted by three officers and eight enlisted men. By the end of January 1945, the intelligence department had printed 38 reports on enemy land and underwater ordnance. Publication of a book "Japanese Projectiles and Fuzes" on all projectiles and fuzes discovered to date resulted in a great demand for all MEIU #4 intelligence reports, especially from Army activities. After the invasion of Iwo Jima, Units were attached to the JICPOA teams as a beachmaster unit. The GROPAC 11 Bomb and Mine Disposal Units of Ralph E. Swisher (MD12), Harry L. Buck (MDI3), Tilmon L. Kreiling (BD36) and John R. Gardner (BD41) handled a mammoth UXP job where hundreds of unexploded U.S. projectiles were defuzed for malfunctioning analysis. Swisher and Buck also recovered several Japanese Eighth Year Type torpedo warheads which were known to be in existence but never captured. 135

An afterbody had been recovered earlier and furnished clues as to its warhead. In addition to the discovery of the latest developed Japanese rocket ammunition and miscellaneous ordnance by the JICPOA units, the beachmaster BD unit, headed by LT(jg) Tilmon Kreiling (BD36), landed with components of the 2nd Marine Bomb Disposal Company and set about extracting several hundred base fuzes from unexploded U.S. naval shells in preparation for shipment. Detailed analysis was provided at MEIU #4 to learn the cause of malfunctioning. Final reports coupled with those made after MEIU #4 disposal trips to the target island Kahoolawe, in the Hawaiian chain, were submitted to the Bureau of Ordnance for appropriate consideration in combating causes for the malfunctioning of service ordnance. Also on Iwo Jima, the JICPOA teams of H. L. Rupard (MD14), Harry L. Fridman (MD3), A. H. Bowers (MD11) and Leland Sterry (MD9) recovered hundreds of Japanese anti-invasion chemical horn beach mines Type JE and JG and performed intelligence investigations into their construction and operational uses. In April 1945, a new innovation was created in the way of Bomb and Mine Disposal Teams similar in nature to that of a small Marine BD Company. The teams were divided into two sections with an OinC of each section and an OinC of the team as a whole. These sections were assigned to the Beach Garrison Party and responsible for removing ordnance from the beaches during and after a island beachhead was secured. Thirty MEIU #4 Units attached to JICPOA, beachmaster groups, minesweep flagships, Acorns, and a GROPAC participated in the invasion of Okinawa. JICPOA Team #27, led by Lt. Robert B. Whittemore (BD50), and LT(jg) Donald F. Annen (BD22), returned over 130 measured tons of ordnance material, via the USS Virgo (AKA 20), to Pearl Harbor for examination and redistribution. During the Okinawa landings, the first recovery of ememy "Piloted Rocket Baka Bombs" was accomplished by our JICPOA representatives of R. B. Whittemore (BD50), Richard Cantrell Sr. (BD44), Donald F. Annon (BD22), Melbourne W. Black (BD45), P. A. Cramer (MD10), J. E. McClure (MD9), J. J. Donovan (MD) and E. Benda (MD12). Specimens were returned to MEIU#4 to be used as training aids and final intelligence reports. The receipt of this shipment had caused many comments to the effect that MEIU#1 might deliver the goods but MEIU#4 delivers more! Whittemore's team also proved that the Baka could be launched from the ground, which increased its potential threat. In July 1945, Ens. Howard L. Horton (BD56) assisted in clearing an enormous mine field composed of hundreds of Japanese artillery shells with point detonating fuzes, buried just below the surface with the fuzes protruding to act as an anti-personnel mine. A new department, Operational Intelligence, was added to the West Loch base. Its function was to develop new tools and disposal procedures to determine causes of malfunctioning ordnance, to perfect countermeasures against enemy explosive ordnance, and to modify existing ordnance for special uses. 137

Among the most important projects completed by this department was the development of a target rocket which simulated the Japanese suicide "BAKA" plane for shipboard gunnery practices. The Bureau of Ordnance was requested to reproduce this rocket. When suicide swimmers were harassing U.S. shipping in Lingayen Gulf, CINCPAC requested MEIU #4 to develop an improvised explosive charge to be used against the Japanese swimmers. Operational Intelligence made recommendations for several such charges which were accepted and placed in general use by the fleet. Instruction in a variety of subjects was brought to all branches of the services. In addition to refresher courses for Navy and Marine Corps disposal personnel, classes were conducted on such diverse activities as the Seabees, advanced base personnel, Army infantry and anti-aircraft personnel, and Fleet Marine Force. These groups were instructed in most phases of bomb disposal and Allied ordnance courses. Representative G-2 officers from Marine divisions were taught enemy ordnance with emphasis upon present and future intelligence value; classes in recognition of Japanese sea mines were held for mine sweep personnel and the use of land mine detectors was taught to Seabee groups. In order to bring instruction to very large or distance activities, the instruction department modified a bomb service truck for use as a mobile classroom. In August 1945, Lt. A.B. Haley (BD8) was relieved as OIC by CDR. 0. Reeves Cross (MD1). In fourteen months MEIU #4 had grown to an organization of over 325 officers and men. With the war ending, preparations were being made to land in Japan and the by-passed islands of the Central Pacific. In October 1945, Cdr. Cross was ordered back to San Francisco and was released to inactive duty. MEIU#4 would now send its teams for the clean up of Japan.


MEIU#4 Quonset Construction, Dec. 1944 L-R: A.V. Grillo (MD12); Harry L. Fridman (MD3); E. F. Wilson (MD)

MEIU#4 B&MD Construction crew figure 81 139

MEIU#4 Personnel, 1944 1st row L-R: G.W. Labagnara(MD13);Jack P. Womack(MD10); 2nd row L-R: P.A. Dubois(MD10);H.D. Simmons(MD14);

MEIU#4, 1945 James R. Daggy (MD15) using gas mask shallow water diving equipment figure 82 140

MEIU#4 Officers 1945 L-R: James R. Daggy(MD15); Benjamin A. Hawkins(BD36); Henry A. Bickel(MD15); Thomas J. Adams(BD36; Jack M. Putnam(MD12); William F. Zumbrum(BD40)

MEIU#4 Chief Petty Officers, 1944 L-R: Harry L. Fridman(MD3); ;John W. Arbenz(BD7); Joseph D. Freitas(MD2); John S. Barber(BD31) figure 83 141

MEIU#4 B & MD Team, West Loch,

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MEIU#4 B & MD TEAM #1, WEST LOCH, HAWAII, April 1945: 1st now L-R: 2nd. Row L-R: John Parotta (BD61) H.R. Carroll, Oinc(BD15)Ltjg Gilbert Mayer(BD37)cpo Philip A. Wall (BD56)Ens. Paul M. Taylor(BD59) M.C. Sullender (BD60)Ens. Fred Doherty (BD49) Lloyd F. Sanborn(BD47)Ens. D.W. Christenson (MD ) G.A. Goulet (MD12)Ltjg W.A. Hofmeister (MD12) J.E. Lloyd (MD2)CWO Neal D. Gieske (BD61) Robert E. Echols(BD60)off Richard Purrington(BD53) Emmett M. O'Malley (BD56)


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MEIU#4 B & MD TEAM, WEST LOCH, HAWAII 2nd Row L-R: 1st Row L-R: William P. Black (BD70)Ens. Granville R. Coleman (BD51) off Jim H. Polhemus(MD17)off Al J. Voit (MD15) Robert S. Cope (BD7) off John J. Kubacki (BD61) off Lehman C. Fowler (BD66)off James R. Daggy (MD15)off

MEIU#4 B & MD Team, West Loch, Sf761. TT.IdV MEIU#4 B & MD TEAM, WEST LOCK, HAWAII 1st Row,L-R: 2nd Row,L-R: John W. Arbenz (BD7)cpo W.J. Wixson (MD15) off Gilbert Mayer (BD37)cpo off Robert S. Blair (BD57) H.R. Carroll, (BD15)Ltjg Emmett M. O'Malley (BD56) Neal D. Gieske (BD61) H.W. Jacky (MD17)

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MEIU#4 B& MD TEAM, WEST LOCH, HAWAII: 1 st Row L-R: 2nd Row L-R: Arthur J. Andrews (BD60)off off J.H. Sokoloff (MD17) J.H. Hepp Jr. (BD61) R.I. Wakeman (BD60) Joseph T. Sheridan (BD53) George A. Westcott (BD4) James W. Elam (BD1A) W.C. Hare (BD65)

Richard Purrington (BD53) Milton Perez (MD 12) M.C. Sullender (BD60)

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MEIU #4 Refresher Class #2, Jan. 6, 1945: 2nd. Row, L-R: 1st.Row,L-R: Grillo, A.V.(MD12)

Fridman, H.L.(MD3) Sterry, L. (MD9)

Bolte, H. F.(MD10) Smith, E.P.(MD1)

Kwajalein, Marshall Island 1944 William R. White (BD30) with Japanese bombs

Eniwetok, Marshall Island, Feb. 1944 figure 89 147

Guam, Marianas 1945 B & MD Team

Tinian, Marianas 1944 CWO J. McElroy (MD5) and Japanese Torpedoes figure 90 148

Kwajalein, Marshall Island 1944 William R. White (BD30) with Japanese bombs

Eniwetok, Marshall Island, Feb. 1944 figure 89 147

Palau, Oct. 1944, Blue beach MN2c Richard Owens(MD) stripping Japanese Moored Mine while attached with GROPAC 10 with Lt. J.J. Donovan (MD) figure 91 149

Moen Island, Truk, Caroline Island Mar. 1946 Top L-R: William J. Walter(MD18); John J. Spartz(BD67); Bottom L-R: Thomas D. Curtin(MD18); Dwight J. Swayzee(BD75)

Moen Island, Truk, Carolines Island, Mar. 1946 Leo L. Ponsar (BD54),X.O. Forward Echelon Team #4 figure 92 1 50

Iwo Jima, Feb. 1945 View of landing beach from Mt. Surabachi, note LCIs with headway on to stay on beach

Iwo Jima, Mar. 1945 Leland Sterry(MD9) with single controlled mine consisting of six 24" torpedo warheads figure 93 151

Iwo Jima, Feb. 1945 Japanese 6" Spin Stablized Rockets

Iwo Jima, Mar. 1945 Japanese Type JE and JG Chemical Horn anti-invasion beach mine figure 94 1 52

Okinawa, April 1945 Complete Japanese Torpedoes found in cave


Okinawa April 1945 Japanese "Baka" Piloted Bomb being readied for shipment to MEIU#4 figure 95 153

Okinawa, April 1945 Complete Japanese Torpedoes being readied for shipment to the United States

Okinawa April 1945 Japanese Ordnance ready for shipment to States figure 96 1 54

Okinawa April 1945 Thad A. Peake(MD8) and George B. Tirey(MD) figure 97 1 55

Tokyo Bay, Japan, September 2, 1945 Allied representatives with Gen. Douglas McArthur aboard USS Missouri signing the Instrument of Surrender between the Empire of Japan and the Allies figure 98 1 56




In November 1945 James E. Roohnan (BD8) became OinC of MEIU#4 with James W. Elam (BD1A) as X.O. Mobile Explosives Investigation Unit No. 4, largest operational Bomb and Mine Disposal organization in the world, was staging it's teams for participation in every scheduled 6th Army landing. A few months after the war ended, the peaceful celebration of "Olympic" invasion-day saw those same Navy teams serving in every corner of the Sixth Army sector of Japan. The nine months of activity which followed wrote an epic tribute to the moral fiber of men who "saw their duty and did it." When the surrender was signed, and the character of 6th Army's mission changed from combat to one of occupation, the U.S. Navy's responsibilities ashore in Japan were reduced. In spite of this, high Navy quarters took firm action when it became apparent that the Army was about to encounter, with a handful of technically qualified personnel, unprecedented problems in disposal of explosives and munitions. The Assistant Fleet Gunnery Officer for the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, CDR. Stephen M. Archer, USN, ordered the shore-based Navy Bomb and Mine Disposal Teams to land with the Army, as originally scheduled. The prudence of decision was graphically demonstrated by personnel records at the end of three months of Sixth Army occupation. They showed that 82% of the qualified disposal technicians covering the 60,000 square mile area of Western Japan were Navy and Marine Corps graduates of the U.S. Navy Bomb and Mine Disposal Schools. Naval Officers and petty officers constituted 56% of the total personnel. During the period from September 1945 to July 1946, five mobile Navy teams and a headquarters detachment, with a total strength of 60 officers and enlisted men, serviced two U.S. Armies, three Corps, nine Army and Marine Divisions and the British Commonwealth occupation Forces. It has been estimated from 17 September 1945 to 01 July 1946, the Navy teams were personally engaged in the disposition of approximately 80,000 tons of explosives and munitions. The teams planned, established and supervised disposition programs which accounted for an additional 200,000 tons. Navy personnel were utilized by the Army of Occupation in every echelon of administrative and operational disposition work, from the Coordinator's position in an Army's Headquarters to a lone American supervisor of operations in a remote mountain region. Their jobs ranged from administrative control of activities in 29 Japanese Prefectures to the operational disposal of six year old nitroglycerin dripping dynamite. They prepared and distributed over 350 technical, administrative and activity reports. Whereas the Navy disposalmen strove with all their energies to establish and maintain order and safety in Western Japan operations, their prolonged exposure to inherently fickle


Japanese explosives and munitions made casualties from accidental explosions a certainty. At that, the figure was an unparalleled low percentage for a nine month period of Pacific Bomb and Mine Disposal work. Out of a total of seven casualties; two were killed, one severely injured, and four slightly injured.(Note: three Mine Disposalmen were killed in the Atlantic campaigns.) Twenty-eight decorations, commendations and certificates of appreciation were awarded Navy men by nine major military commands. The highest award received was the Legion of Merit. Nine men received decorations; seven others were nominated for decorations. The most significant feature of Navy Bomb and Mine Disposal in Japan is buried among facts, figures and impressive accounts of operations; even as it has been subordinated in this section of history. It is intangible, hard to comprehend, harder still to express. It is the fact that realization of a personal moral responsibility in the mammoth task of elimination of the enemy war potential, was the compelling force which lead virtually Navy disposalman in Western Japan to volunteer. Recognizing their special talents were at a premium in a theater where technical ignorance was sponsoring terrible accidental explosions, sometimes at a rate of three a week, they sacrificed every personal interest and plunged sincerely and diligently into nerve-testing and seemingly endless disposition tasks. In May 1946, seven months after the initiation of operations in Japan, 29 Navy technicians were still directing destruction of munitions from Tokyo to Kagoshima, one third of whom, although eligible for redeployment, had volunteered to remain with their Army and Marine Commands until their projects were completed. The tremendous job done by Lt. Harry C. Schnibbe, USNR (BD11) and LT(jg) Michael J. Grealy, USNR, (BD47) coordinators of Navy Bomb and Mine Disposal activities for the Army area of occupation, and all their subordinates, was one of the finest pieces of ordnance disposal work accomplished anywhere. The indomitable spirit, springing from self sacrifice, cooperation and camaraderie; the genuine interest in their work;technical skill and confidence; keen awareness of moral responsibility, were crowning tribute to the U.S. Navy Bomb and Mine Disposal Schools.

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1 59


Team #4, with 21 men, served in Japan with Garrison Beach Party #1, Navy CUB Eighteen, the Fifth Amphibious Corps, and the Second Marine Division. They were headquartered at Sasebo, Kyushu, and began disposal operations on 26 September 1945 and were deactivated on 01 July 1946. Team #4 came on the beach at Nagasaki, Kyushu with elements of the Fifth Amphibious Corps and proceeded to Sasebo where headquarters was established. They served Garrison Beach Party #1 for emergency disposal such as defuzing unexploded bombs and sea mines. They investigated Japanese factories and storehouses for unreported or hidden explosives before American occupancy or use. They organized and supervised the first large scale barging program in Kyushu where fifty thousand tons of Japanese munitions were dumped at sea. Team #4 organized the first large scale smokeless powder and pyrotechnic burning programs in Kyushu. They disposed of hundreds of Japanese torpedoes by dumping at sea after inspections and partial disassembly of each torpedo. They engaged in the complete destruction of extensive enemy anti-aircraft and coastal defense installations. Team #4 was in action longer, and with greater unit spirit and energy, than any other group of Naval Bomb and Mine Disposal personnel in Japan. It's accomplishments on the island of Kyushu from It's personnel September 1945 to July 1946 are celebrated. conducted operations, at one time or other, at every principal munitions target in one Honshu and all seven Kyushu Prefectures, and were confronted with virtually every type of munitions disposal problem ever encountered during the Pacific war. From January to July the team operated under the Second Marine Division, answering to the Staff Disposal Officer. Additionally, however, it supplied personnel to the 32nd Infantry Division until that command was deactivated, furnished instructors for the staff of Eighth Army's B & MD School near Yokohama, and it's OIC served in advisory capacity with the British Forces, I Corps and, during one period, with Island Command, Guam. The Team #4 technicians were attached to regiments rather than battalions, their instructions being two fold; (a) to furnish technical information and guidance to the tactical troops in charge of disposal; (b) to execute personally or to direct as many projects as possible, particularly those which most jeopardized untrained military and civilian personnel. In carrying out these instructions continious travel was required over vast reaches of difficult country. Typical activity was where one unit personally disposed of 200 tons of miscellaneous munitions at over 36 different targets in a 44 day period, during which time they traveled 3600 miles by jeep. Many vital and difficult projects personally undertaken by Team #4 were: (1) the disposal of depth charges and torpedoes in sunken PT boats at Hososhima, (2) the disposal of 18 U.S. and Japanese sea mines in a six day period in Nagasaki Perfecture, (3) the defuzing and destruction of 83 unexploded U.S. high explosive and incendiary bombs in a 22 day period in eastern Kyushu, (4) the 160

dumping at sea, out of Sasebo, of 350 gallons of mustard gas, (5) the disposal of hundreds of tons of miscellaneous munitions by coverage of 3600 miles in 44 days, and (6) the assistance in initiation of clearance of Sone Bomb Dump following nine violent explosions. Personnel assigned to Team #4 were: LT(jg) Michael J. Grealy,(BD47) OIC; Lt(jg) Stanley Maveety (MD16); Ens. Leon J. Dura (BD68)(also with team 9); Ens. Walter E. Elliott (BD72); Ens. Gerald S. Hagaman (BD70); Ens. Giacomo P. Pantaleo (MD); AOM1/c Paul M. Taylor (BD59); MN1/c Thomas J. Travers (MD17); AOM2c Robert J. Green (BD65)(also in team #8); AOM2/c William A. Haigh III (BD67); AOM2/c William C. Hare (BD65)(also in team 9 & 10); AOM2/c Russel H. Weaver (BD67); AOM3/c Lester R. Christianson; AOM3/c Edward E. Eberly; AOM3/c Hubert D. Edgel; AOM3/c Charles R. Leyendecker; Lt.jg. Charles A. Conrad (MD17); Ens. Angus McCallum (BD60); BM2/c Albert E. Della Bianca (MD15); AOM2/c John W. Zahn (BD47); and AOM3/c Richard P. McCann.

Kure, Japan, 1945 Experimental Underwater glider towed by mine sweeper through enemy mine fields. Operated by mine disposal who were trained with the device in Puerto Rico prior to the occupation of Japan. Operator controlled by use of a control stick and rudder pedals figure 99 161


Team #5 served with the 41st Infantry Division, Tenth Corps, 24th Infantry Division and the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces. Team #5, with sixteen personnel, was headquartered at Hiro, Honshu and began disposal operations on 03 October 1945 and was deactivated on 01 June 1946. Team #5 landed at Hiro, near Kure, with advance inspection parties on 03 October 1945 and carried out ordnance intelligence work until the 41st Division disposal program was initiated. Under Division Ordnance they began the massive tasks of clearing munitions from Eta Jima, a naval magazine island and site of the Japanese Naval Academy. They directed disposal at numerous targets throughout Hiroshima Prefecture one was unit detailed to work with the 24th. Infantry Division on Shikoku, and later on the Japan Sea coast of Honshu. Team #5 operated under more major military commands in Japan than any other Navy Bomb and Mine Disposal Unit, and was the only group of American explosive ordnance disposal technicians attached to the British troops. During the first months, the activities of the team were constricted by administrative difficulties. Disposal programs could not be organized on a grand scale due to shifts in tactical commands. Irrespective of this, work never ceased in the Kure Eta Jima area, although the whittling away at the mammoth munitions stocks by Team #5 units scarcely made a dent. At frequent periods Team #5 was the only military organization actively engaged in disposal work in the locality. During a nine day period at Eta Jima, they bnrned 773 tons of smokeless powder and planned, organized and initiated a complete munitions disposal program for the major targets in the Kure-Hiroshima zone. The following were members of Team #5: Lt. Corliss W. Abbott (MD17); Arthur J. Andrews (BD60); Sirley C. Bartlett (MD16); LT(jg) Wyly M. Billing (MD17) (also with #10); LT(jg) Phillip A. Wall (BD56); Ens. Jack L. Carter (BD76) (also with #10); Ens, Thomas D. Morison (MD) (also with #10); CMN William Brooks (MD7); MN2/c Ervin Benda (MD12); AOM2/c Neal D. Gieske (BD61); Lt. Richard W. Gay (MD9); LT(jg) Richard J. Trezona (BD47); AOM2/c Horace B. Wlkes (BD57); AOM3/c Wendell E. Cornish (BD57) and AOM3/c Richard P. McCann.



Team #8, with fourteen men, served in Japan with the 33rd Infantry Division and the 25th Infantry Division. Team #8 began disposal operations on 06 December 1945 and was deactivated on 01 July 1946. Team #8 arrived in Japan on 06 November 1945. They were attached to the 33rd Infantry Division and inspected major munitions targets for three Regiments and Division Artillery. Team #8 completed inspections of the important Maizuru Naval Base area and established large scale burning and demolition grounds for destruction of Maizuru munitions which, because of the severe winter weather, could not be dumped at sea. They also supervised dumping operations at Tsuruga and cleared that city of all known dud U.S. incendiary bombs. They also inspected and cleared targets throughout Kyoto Prefecture. Team #8 (Honshu) competed with Team #4 (Kyusu) for high honors in most widespread, and energetic activity and largest percentage of Japanese war potential accounted for. The first of the year saw the team still functioning under the 33rd Division with it's members spread throughout three Regiments. Reforming in February under the 25th Division, it incorporated personnel from other teams and distributed all technicians, on an area responsibility basis, throughout 12 Prefectures. In March, the team was responsible for the establishment of an efficient system whereby technicians, on their round of targets, shipped all bulk explosives in the Division zone to one central burning ground at Fukuchiyama. This Division burning ground was planned, organized and operated by the OIC of Team #8. On 15 April 1946, at Toyohashi (near Nagoya), Ensign Robert M. Jager (MD18), of Team #8, was killed in an accidental explosion. He was buried with military honors in the U.S. Armed Forces Cemetery at Yokohama. Typical of the many vital and difficult projects personally undertaken by Team #8 personnel were: (1) the operation of the Division Burning Ground at Fukuchiyama by Lt. George E. Metcalf (BD29); (2) the raising and clearance of a sunken ammunition ship at Nanao by Lt.jg. Harry W. Zirkelbach (MD17); (3) the clearance of unexploded and burned ammunition from Toyohashi Airfield by Ens. Jager; (4) the disposal of U.S. sea mines in Ishikawa Prefecture by Lt.jg. Zirkelbach and Ens. Jack D. McEnaney (MD18); and (5) the clearance of 440 barrage mortars and armed bombs from Regimental Headquarters area near Gifu by Ensigns Robert L. Kulpaca (BD76) and Carl E. Ewert (BD74). The following were members of Team #8: Lt. George E. Metcalf (BD29); LT(jg) Harry W. Zirkelbach (MD17)(also with HQ); Ens. Lehman C. Fowler (BD66) (also with #10); Ens. Robert M. Jager (MD18) (also with #10); Ens. Robert L. Kulpaca (BD76)(also with #9); Ens. John D. McEnaney (MD18)(also with HQ); MN2/c Joseph (n) Elitowitz (MD); AOM Joseph V. Frazier (BD71)(also with #9); AOM 2/c Robert J. Green (BD65)(also with #4); AOM2/c William G. Morrison (BD69)(also with #9); AOM2/c Paul D. Reynolds (BD71)(also with HQ); and AOM3/c Charles L. Eddington.


Nanao, Japan winter 1946 L-R: Harry C. Schnibbe(BD11); Michael J. Grealey(BD47); Harry W. Zirkelbach(MD17) where Japanese ship Takakurasan Maru was raised and munitions dumped at sea

Nanao, Japan April 1946 U.S. mines dropped on land and later dumped at sea Harry W. Zirkelbach(MD17) figure 100 164


Team #9 arrived in Japan on 06 November 1945 at Sixth Army request and was attached immediately to the 98th Infantry Division. They inspected disposal operations at hundreds of scattered targets throughout the four Prefectures within the Division's zone of responsibility and assisted in operation of the Division dumping port at Katsuura for a two month period. Team #9 also disposed of numerous dud incendiary and high explosive bombs recovered in burned out Osaka. Team #9 was the only team to operate as a unit in both Honshu and Kyushu. With the 98th Infantry Division at the first of the year, it was transferred later in January to the Second Marine Division, to function in conjunction with Team #4 under the Kyushu Coordinator. The team moved to Kyushu as a conglomerate unit of personnel from Team #8 and Team #10. The Kyushu Coordinator assigned the entire group to the 8th Marine Regiment, where personnel were further distributed to battalions. Typical of the many vital and difficult projects personally undertaken by Team #9's eleven personnel were: (1) the operation of the Division Barging port at Katsuura; (2) the destruction by burning of 4.5 million rounds of small arms in southern Kyushu; and (3) the burning of sensitive Hexagen at Omuta. Team #9 was deactivated on 10 April 1946 and consisted of the following personnel: LT(jg) Howard W. Jacky (MD17); Ens. Leon J. Dura (BD68); Ens. Carl E. Evert (BD74); Ens. Robert L. Kulpaca (BD76); Roger C. Voter (BD62); AOM2/c Charles R. Adams (BD69); AOM2/c Joseph V. Frazier (BD71); AOM2/c William C. Hare (BD65); AOM2/c William G. Morrison (BD69); AOM3/c Dewie F. Duncan (also with #10); and MN3/c James A. Hawkins (MD17).



1 65

Kawasaki, Japan April 1946 Japanese Bomb Dump

Japanese workers preparing for munitions burn under U.S. B & MD supervision figure 101 166


Team #10, with 12 men, arrived in Japan on 06 November 1945 with Teams #8 and #9 and was attached to the 25th Infantry Division. They inspected major ordnance targets within four Prefectures and promptly began personal disposal of munitions in treacherous condition. Unexploded bombs and sea mines were rendered safe and destroyed in Nagoya, Gifu and other prominent cities. Instruction courses were given to Infantry personnel on recognition of and safe handling procedures for Japanese ordnance. Team #10 was the only unit to carry out extensive disposal operations beyond the northern border of the original Sixth Army zone of responsibility. Having operated under the 25th Division (I Corps) for four months, it was shifted in March to the 1st. Cavalry Division (XI Corps). Activities under the 25th. Division were far reaching and energetic, with the team personnel supplying the only technical aid in six Prefectures after the Army Bomb Disposal squads were drawn south with Division H.Q. in January. As clearance of major targets in the northern Prefectures of the Division zone neared completion, Team #10 personnel conducted mop-up inspections and operations in areas previously "cleared". Disposal tasks during these inspections were executed personally by the team members. Simultaneously, surveys for unexploded bombs were conducted in some of the principal cities. While with the 1st Cavalry Division, the team responsibilities were principally the disposal of underwater munitions. Typical of the many vital and difficult projects personally undertaken by Team #10, were: (1) the defuzing and disposal of 426 unexploded U.S. bombs in the Gifu Prefecture; (2) the dismantling and disposal of one hundred and six, 2900 pound "Sakura" suicide plane warheads at Inuyama; (3) the dismantling and movement, by ox sled, of 100 depth charges from a remote autogyro airfield; and (4) the disassembly and disposition of 1100 sea mines in Kanagwa Prefecture. Members of Team #10 were as follows: LTjg) James R. Daggy (MD15); LT(jg) Wyly M. Billing (MD17); Ens. Jack L. Carter (BD76); Ens. Lehman C. Fowler (BD66); Ens. Robert M. Jager (MD18); Ens. Thomas D. Morrison (MD); Ens. Roger C. Voter (BD62)(also with #9); AOM2/c William C. Hare (BD65) (also with #4 & #9); AOM3/c Dewie Duncan (also with #9); AOM3/c Richard H. Griffin (BD65); AOM3/c Sebastian Morra Jr. (BD69); and AOM3/c John H. Parker (BD67).

1 67

Matsunami airfield, Japan, Feb 1946 Transporting Japanese Depth Charges by ox cart to Nanao

Near Nagoya, Japan Spring 1946 Crater formed by blast of munitions dump near airfield figure 102 168


Navy men were in charge of the two principal Bomb and Mine Disposal headquarters for the Army of Occupation in Western Japan; the Honshu and Kyushu offices. The Honshu office, situated in Kyoto under First Corps, was also central headquarters for all Naval Bomb and Mine Disposal personnel in the Eighth Army zone of responsibility. Originally in Kyoto with Sixth Army, the Navy Coordinator's office remained behind as Eighth Army assumed control of all Japan. First Corps HQ shifted from Osaka to Kyoto in January and the Navy Coordinator became technical director of all Western Japan explosive ordnance disposal. This involved the coordination of trained disposal technicians from all three service branches. The Honshu B & MD headquarters became a subsection of the First Corps Ordnance Office. In the 25th Division zone, the Ammunition Officer, and later the C.O. of Army Bomb Disposal Squad #173, coordinated operations with HQ in the Division Ordnance Office. In Sasebo, Team #4 headquarters became the focal office for Kyushu technicians. In December, the OIC of Team #4 assumed duties as Kyushu Coordinator, and the Second Marine Division acting on his recommendations established island wide distribution of all Army, Navy and Marine Bomb and Mine Disposal men. Lt. Harry C. Schnibbe (BD11) coordinated activities of B & MD personnel from all three services in Western Japan and LT(jg) Michael J. Grealy (BD47) coordinated activities of B & MD personnel from all three services in Kyushu. Other members who served on the two staffs either part or full time were: LT(jg) Harry W. Zirkelbach (MD17); Ens. John D. McEnaney (MD18); Ens. Giacomo P. Pantaleo (MD); AOM2/c Paul D. Reynolds (BD71); AOM3/c Dewie F. Duncan; AOM3/c Edward E. Eberly; AOM3/c Hubert D. Edgel; and AOM3/c Robert H.Y. Lee.
WELL ---

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Inuyama, Japan 1945 James R. Daggy(MD15) with 2900 lb. "Sakura" Warheads

Bulk Japanese explosives were collected throughout Japan and sent to central burning grounds in remote areas figure 103 170


It has been four years since the distribution of part one of the Association's trilogy on ordnance disposal history. This part two in the series has been a most interesting and challenging effort due to the lack of available information and illustrations. The substance for the text was gleaned from hundreds of letters received by the Historian in response to written and telephone requests. In some instances the information was extracted from numerous naval biographies sent in to the "Disposaleer" Whos Who column. If this preservation of facts and stories has been successful, it is due in part, to the unselfish donations of material by the members of the NEODA. Hundreds of photographs have been sent in by members, unfortunately not all can be presented due to cost, however, these and the ones included form the largest archives on ordnance disposal in this country. On behalf of the Bomb and Mine Disposal graduates, a reminder to future generations - this history is your heritage, this is the source of the Esprit De Corps you enjoy today, it is hoped that you will continue to carry on the fine reputation.

"Bart" 1 71



Mine Disposal Class Graduation Dates Class # 1 graduated Class # 2 graduated Class Class Class Class Class Class Class Class Class Class Class Class Class Class Class Class Class # 3 # 4 #5 #6 # 7 # 8 #9 #10 #11
#12 #13 #14 #15 1941 22 Aug 1 941 05 Dec 1 941 1942 07 Mar 1 942 21 May 1 942 01 Aug 1942 17 Oct 1 942 24 Dec 1 942 1943 27 Mar 1 943 19 Jun 1 943 11 Sep 1943 04 Dec 1943 1944 04 Mar 1 944 27 May 1 944 Jul 1944 11 Nov 1 944 1945 02 Feb 1 945 28 Apr 1 945 Jul 1945 20 Oct 1945

Mine Recovery School* Advanced Mine School* Advanced Advanced Advanced Advanced Advanced Mine Mine Mine Mine Mine School* School* School* School* School** School** School** School** School**
School** School** School** School** School** School** School** School**

graduated graduated graduated graduated graduated graduated graduated graduated graduated graduated graduated graduated graduated graduated graduated graduated graduated

Advanced Mine Advanced Mine Advanced Mine Mine Disposal Mine Mine Mine Mine Mine Mine Mine Mine Disposal Disposal Disposal Disposal Disposal Disposal Disposal Disposal

#16 #17 #18 #19

1946 20 Mar 1 946 Only class conducted at Bellevue Magazine site 1947 Class #C-1, EOD, graduated 08 Apr 1 947 *** (start 9-17-46)

Mine Disposal School stopped instruction on 20 Oct 1945 Washington Navy Yard (Gun Factory) ** Naval Receiving Station, Anacostia *** Naval Powder Factory, Indian Head, MD. Notes: Moved to Anacostia by November 1 942 Moved to Bellevue by March 1946 Moved to Indian Head by 26 July 1946 School's name changed to NAVSCOLEOD on 1 6 June 1946

1 72

Class #1, Mine Recovery School, 22 Aug 2nd.Row,L-R: 1st.Row,L-R: Keene, Letson, Winslow, D.F. Darrah, T.F. Triplett,G.G. Nichols, Fred F.(CG) Jones, Klein, Doyen(staff) Smith, E.P. Waters, O.D. (CO) Brennan, B.J. Archer, S.M. (XO) Miller, R.K. Crotty, T.J.E.(CG) Keck, C.L. Reese, K.B. Taylor, J.D. Cross, O.R. Glauer, A.W. Clark, B.P. (CG)

Feldt, E.R. Drummond, P.D. Johnson, K.W.R. Eigell, R.W.

Class #2, Advanced Mine School, Dec. 5, 1941: 1 st.Row,L-R: 2nd. Row,L-R: 3rd.Row,L-R: Hardy, W. McCarthy, W.P. Smoot, E.A. Franz, R.J. Dickison, J.M. Shane, Piggott, Dr. C.S. Birney, G.R. Hawver, Jack H.E. Archer, S.M. (XO) Smith, M.A. Buie, C.D. Waters, O.D. (CO) Mounce, G.R. Baker, W.E. Roach, J.P. (staff) Hoffman, V.L. Knudsen, H.E. Nichols, F.F.(staff) Grady, J.W. Lloyd, J.E. Holmes, W.C. Saffer, C.M. Freitas, J.D. Kindblad, K.J. Peeler, J.E. McCool, J.K. Fulton, H.T.

Class #3, Advanced Mine School, March 7, 1942: 1st.Row,L-R: 2nd.Row,L-R: 3rd.Row,L-R: Amesbury, W.R. Young, D.E. Day, H.E. Row, A.T. Clauset, K.H. Reynolds, W.H. Rivinus, F.M. Stern, B.B. Zawadzki, A.S. Rundel (RCNR) Brands, E.G. Kaplan, Len Archer, S.M. (XO) Whorton, S.A. Holmes, A.B. Waters, O.D. (CO) Bachman, C.E. Headington, J.W. Roach, J.P. (staff) Gielow, R.A. Fridman, H.L. Nichols, F.F.(staff) Howard, J.M. Hawver, H.E. Barton, O. Neale, William F. Kipp, W.M. Blair, E.M. Credle, C.M.

Mosher, B.R. Washburn, W.W. Guthy, Geo. Hoenninger,G.P.

Class #4, Advance Mine School, 21 May 1942: 3rd.Row,L-R: 2nd.Row,L-R: 1st.Row,L-R: Mazgelis, V. Jacobs, C. S. Howell, I. N. Foster, M.J."Bo" Franz, R.J. (staff) Bloom, W. C. Campbell, R.H. Nichols, F.F.(staff) t Roberts, C. W. t Allen, R. H. Archer, S.M. (XO) Hartsell, P. G. Hatch,W.N. Waters, O.D. (CO) Lister, Robert W. Zaunere, R. L. Roach, J.P. (staff) Clayton, E.P. Taylor, J.D. (staff) Coghill, W.S. Burke, R.F. Hutchinson, L. C.

ClaSs #5, Advanced Mine School, 01 Aug 1942: 3rd.Row,L-R: 2nd.Row,L-R: 1st.Row,L-R: Wolff, A.E. Kenda, William Nichols, F.F. (staff) Lathrop, G.N. Hayes, William J. Archer, S.M. (XO) Waters, O.D. (CO) Roberts, T.H. Roach, J.P. (staff) Cook, Earl E. Johnson, K.W.R.(staff) Huff, H. Ganther, J.R. Jackson, O.E. Taylor, J.D.(staff) McElroy, J.

Class #6, Advanced Mine School, 17 Oct 1942: 1st.Row,L-R: 2nd.Row,L-R: Kline, H. W. Jameson, P.G. Child, L.M. Schaible, R.C. Doty, Robert O. Ketchum, L.D. Taylor, J.D.(1)(staff) Lillie,C.W. Nichols, F.F.(1)(staff) Carroll, C.I. Waters, O.D. (CO) Kirchhofer, E.G. Archer, S.M. (XO) Meggs, J.E. Johnson, A.L.(1)(staff) Ambrose,J.R.,USA Porter, L.F. Finley, J.A. Deegan, J.J. Java, F. J. Tatum, H.M. Debold, J.K. Damskey, L.R. Huckstep, R.C. Lexow, W.E. Himsworth, E.W.

3rd.Row,L-R: Capretta, B.M. Seyfried,John G. Bathurst, F.X. Adams, George Spangler, E.O. Hasting, J.E. Alvis, James H. Southwell, B.J. Sayles, D.F. Winslow, R.K.

Class #7, Advanced Mine School, 24 Dec 1942: 3rd.Row,L-R: 2nd.Row,L-R: 1st.Row,L-R: Pyle, F.M. Parsons, J.R. Steffens, G.B. Rivinus, F.M.(staff) Archer, S.M. (XO) Barber, G. F. Waters, O.D. (CO) Bennett, P. W. Felmly, L.M. Nichols, F.F.(staff) Barron, C. F. Franz, R.J. (staff) Bartosh, Joe M. Craun, E. P. Swentzel, L. Wilkerson, C.A. Smith, S. F. Oleniacz, C.J. Dykeman, L.E.

4th.Row,L-R: Fisher, Grover Bates, R.A. Hill, M. K. Brooks, W. O'Brien, F.D. Houghton, G.F.

Class #8, Advanced Mine School, 27 March 1943: lst.Row,L-R: 2nd.Row,L-R: 3rd.Row,L-R: Piech, USA Buszek, F.W. Clayton, E.P.(staff) Redden, C.R. Johnson, K.W.R.(staff)Eberspacher,E.C. Eaton, T. G. Culligan, S.R. Archer, S.M. (XO) Lewis, D. W. Ronan, F. J. Nichols, F.F.(CO) Lowery, A. J. Franz, R.J. (staff) Jensen, Paul A. Arant, R. K Taylor, J.D.(staff) Peake, Thad A. USA Akin, W.F. Simpson, J.P. Brooks, W. R.

Class #9, Advanced Mine School, 19 June 1943: 3rd.Row,L-R: 4th.Row,L-R: 1 st.Row,L-R: 2nd.Row,L-R: Yegisigian, S.W. Felmly, L.M.(staff) Sterry, L. Collins, Clem W. Lillie, C.W.(staff) Wood, James E. Vetter, Alvin Culver,W.H. Rivinus, F.M.(X0) White, Joseph H. Aykroyd, T.E. Kelly, J.A. ? Nichols, F.F. (CO) Eggleston,B.P. Franz, R.J. (staff) O'Conner,D.T. Tierney, J.C. Smith, A. Ward Clayton,E.P.(staff) McClure, J.E. Asher, P.W. Burke, W.H. Gay, R.W. Ashton, D.J. Van Arsdale,G.D. Arnwine, W.N. Vogel, Henry G. Landreville,L.A.

Class #10, Advanced Mine School, 11 Sept 1943: 4th.Row,L-R: 3rd.Row,L-R: 2nd.Row,L-R: 1 st.Row„L-R: Workman, C.J. Johnson, Marvin Aronson, Sam Livingston, P.M. Nolen, F.W. Key, L.P. Arthur, G.R. Franz,R.J.(staff) O'Donnell, F.B. Kirkpatrick, C.R. Jones, R.M. Nichols,F.F. (CO) Hemmi, A.I. Wrobel, J.F. Cramer, P.R. Gay, R.W.(staff) Womack, J.P. Salzbrenner, O.F. Boyce, R.H. Traina, D.R. Malone, C.D. Dubois, P.A. Davidson, W.M. Bingham,G.R. Richardson, T.B. Luckenbach, C.M. Bruer, C.E. Winte, L. F.

Class #11, Mine Disposal School, 04 Dec 1 943: 1 st.Row,L-R: 2nd.Row,L-R: Pratz, A.F. Mayhew, C.F. Myers, E.R. Gay, R.W.(staff) Rathbone, N.R. Franz, R.J. (staff) Boehling,John J. Winstead, R. Sadler, R.J. Bowers, A. H. Fish, R. L.

McCutcheon,J.E. Kukla, W. Grace, R. J.

Class #12, Mine Disposal School March 4, 1944: 4th.Row L-R: 2nd.Row L-R: 3rd.Row L-R: 1st.Row L-R: Grillo, A.V. Hill, C. James Billings, W.C. Moses, O.L. Goulet, Geo. A. Achtmann, J.J. Eggleston,B.P.(s) Silva, F.J. Lillie,C.W.(staff) Jackson, Jack F. Baumhueter, E.B. Franz,R.J.(staff) Putnam, Jack M. Weide, Lewis G. Perez, M. L. Perkins, Bob Darwall, R.L. Hofmeister, W.A. Gay, R.W.(staff) Mitchell, Joe R. Benda, E. (staff) Cynar, W.P. . Jones, Heineck, Joffre O'Brien, John P. Dosker, N.H. Jr. Gerlack, E.C. Brothers, Don I. Barreiros, G.G. Maaskant, C.M. Amanti, F.D.


' Class #13, Mine Disposal School, 27 May 1944: 3rd.Row,L-R: 2nd.Row,L-R: 1st.Row,L-R: Martin, C.B. (staff) Buck, H.L. Jones Helmsetter, P.R. Lillie, C.W.(staff) Hudson, M.C. Amsbury (CO) Steffen, E.J. Lackner, R.E. Franz (staff) Eggleston, B.P.(s) Maines, F.L. Gowers, D.R. Gay, R.W.(staff) Rawson, R.C. Haderlie, E.C. Crepeau, M.R. Labagnara, G.W. Nelson, R.B. Darling, J.A.

July 1944: Class #14, Mine Disposal School, 3rd.Row,L-R: 2nd.Row,L-R: lst.Row,L-R: Finnerty, J.J. Parker,J.S. Jr. Jones, (staff) Godwin, M.R. Kidder,J.H. Buie, E.D. (staff) Hickman, F. Lawrence, R.E. Lillie, C.W.(staff) Russell, G.T. Rupard, H.L. Holmes, W.C.(staff) Kropilnicki, Frank Jakovich, F.M. Franz, R.J. (staff) Straw, A.L. Eggleston, B.P.(staff)Littell, A.S. Hartwell, G.F. Boraiko, R.A. Gay, R.W.(staff) Lutz, G. COX. Drummond, P.D.(staff) Braley, R.N. Taylor, R.F. Gray, J.C. Simmons, H.D. Lee, B.E.

Class #15, Mine Disposal School, Nov. 11, 1944: 1st.Row L-R: 2nd.Row L-R: 3rd.Row L-R: Argue, William RN Messinger, D.E. Carson, R.A. Lillie, C.W.(staff) Bickel, H.A. Lake, A.L. Amesbury, W.R. (CO) Wixson, W.J. Della Bianca, A.E. Ganther, J.R. (staff) Hawkins, D.E. Voit, A.J. Kindblad, K.J.(staff) Runbeck, W.R. Wyrick, K.O. Akin, W.F. (staff) Storves, R.J. Tait, T.E. Davis, T.O. Ghighi, A.J. Robinson, L.A. Bushell, H.F. Gluek, A.C. Hull, R.F. Bishop, G.W. Daggey, J.R.

Class #16, Mine Disposal School, 02 February 1945: 3rd.Row,L-R: 2nd.Row,L-R: 1st.Row,L-R: Marino, C.J. Marshall, T.B. Stern, B.B.(staff) Delgros, G.W. Ketchum, L.D.(staff) Garbacz, C.A. Bunce, A.L. Parsons, J.L. Amesbury, W.(CO) Hardgrove, G.A. Crawford, R.S. Akin, W.F.(staff) C.F. Pierce, E.S. Capretta, B.M.(staff)Krickenberger, C.F. Skaistis, S.J. Kreipke, W.H. MaVeety, S.R. Shepard, A.D. Venable, W.A. Plourde, M.J.

Class #17, Mine Disposal School, 28 April 1945: Class 4-45 3rd.Row, L-R: 2nd.Row,L-R: 1st.Row, L-R: Ayles, E.R. Conrad, C.A. Hawkins, J.A. Sokoloff, J.H. Bartlett, S.A. Cynar, W.P.(staff) Hand, C.C. Ketchum, L.D.(staff) Underwood, T. Porter, Lew F. Church, D.R. Capretta, B.M.(XO) Billing, W.M. Jacky, H.W. Amesbury, W.R.(CO) Paul, R.B. Polhemus, J.H. Stern, B.B.(staff) Abbott, C.W. Miller, R.K. Akin, W.F. (staff) Harksen, L.C. Zirkelbach, H.W. Richmond, A.L. Frazier, H.I. Wray, Jack E. Morrow, G.W.

4th.Row,L-R: Payne, E.D. Jordan, S.L. Travers, T.J. Reddick, L.C. Reed, L.E. Frambach, R.L. Rioux, L.H. Samp, R.A.

Class #18, Mine Disposal School, June? , 1945: #5-45 1 st.Row,L-R: 2nd.Row,L-R: 3rd.Row,L-R: Logan, T. J. Church, D.R.(staff) Curfman, C. J. e Capretta, B.M.(staff)
e e e



Curtin, T.D.

Vinson, J. B. Harden, Paul B. Walter, W.J.

Cynar, Walter P.(staff) Kenda, William(staff) 0 Ganther, John R.(CO) 0 Stern, B.B.(staff) 0 Akin, W.F.(staff) Jensen, Paul A.(staff) Jager, R.M.(D) 0 Traina, D.R.(staff)

Griffin, E. M. McEnaney, J.D.

Howlett, E. D.

lass #19, Mine Disposal School, 20 October 1945: (last class) 1 st.Row,L-R: 2nd.Row,L-R: 4th.Row,L-R: 3rd.Row,L-R: Church,D.R.(staff) Boy, W.L. Hayes, K. W. e Richmond, A.L.(staff) Maressa, L.J. Citek, H. P. ? Howard, J.C. Swope, S. G. Heyward, A.C. Sheridan, T.S. Akin, W.F.(staff) Capretta, B.M.(staff) Braun, E.K. Loyd, W.C. e Brown, J. H. Ganther, John R.(CO) Tull, J.L.D. Silverstrin, N.B. cpo Witham, B.B. Jr. Minden, Mary B.(staff) Mcllvaine, A.L. Jensen, Paul A. (staff) Sinclair, J.K. Cynar, Walter P.(staff)

Mine Disposal School, N.C.D.U.#3-45, March 1945: 3rd.Row L-R: 2nd.Row L-R: 1st.Row L-R: Akin, W.F.(staff) Stern, B.B.(staff) Amesbury, W.R.(CO) Capretta, B.M.(staff)

Mine Disposal School, N.C.D.U.#6-45, June 27, 1945: 3rd.Row L-R: 2nd.Row L-R: 1st. Row L-R: Foley, Mike T.(*) Allen, Clifton L. Traina, D.R.(staff) Capretta, B.M.(staff) Spuhler, F.C. ? Amesbury, W.R.(CO) Carlson, D.W."Don" Stern, B.B.(staff) Akin, W.F.(staff) Peterson, R.H."Pete" (*)deceased


Akins, E.E. Allen, O.F. Allen, W. Arnold, R.E. Backer, W.D. Bath, P.H. Benge, E. Berry, C.B. Black, M.L. Botens, D.G. Brock, W.D. Brown, H.E. Cameron, D. E. Campbell, R.F. Christenson, D.W. Clutter, R.L. Conway, H.J. Coppage, P.H. Cording, R.A. Crowley, J.R. David, E.H. Day, R.P. Donovan, J.J. Drady, P. Echeverria, E.G. Edwards, R.S. Elitowitz, J. Fox, E.J. Francis, J.C. Giese, K.E. Gilson, P.E. Gordon, J.A. Grasing, W.L. Guy, H.H. Hackett, S.H. Harrison, L.M. Hartland, J.B. Hatch, W.C. Hawker, J.A. Heenan, C.W. Herod, J. Hines, E. Jackson, W.N. Jarvis, C. Jones, E.W. Jones, G.T. Jones, H.T. Kabernagel, H. Keating, G.V.

Kivi, H.E. Kruger, R.C. Lucas, A.E. McAdoo, A.F. McClanahan, L.J. Mcllwain, A.W. Meurer, L.J. Morrison, T.D. Okerson, A.R. Owens, R. Palmer, G.R. Pantaleo, G.P. Propps, W.L. Rabenold, R.F. Randle, B.W. Reardon, R.J. Reed, F.L. Reeves, T.M. Riley, W.C. Shaw, R.W. Shea, W.H. Smith, S.F. Smith, W.R. Soper, S. Stangil, T.T. Stark, R.C. Stone, A.D. Strong, E.W. Taylor, J.E. Taylor, W.H. Tevnan, M.F. Thomas, J.D. Viehe, P.E. Webre, C. Whalen, J.F. Whidden, J.M. Williams, D.R. Willson, E.F. Ziegler, J.B. Note: 0 = Officer E = Enlisted