IRISH WRECK LEGISLATION

Wrecks over 100 years old and archaeological objects found underwater are protected under the National Monuments (Amendment) Acts 1987 and 1994.  Significant wrecks less that 100 years old can be designated by Underwater Heritage Order (UHO) on account of their historical, archaeological or artistic importance as is the case with the wreck of the RMS Lusitania lost off the Old Head of Kinsale in 1915.  UHOs can also be used to designate areas of seabed or land covered by water to more clearly define and protect wreck sites and archaeological objects . https://www.archaeology.ie/underwater-archaeology

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USS Ammen (DD35)
(Paulding Class, 1911)


USS Ammen arrived in Queenstown (now Cobh) in the south of Ireland in July 1917. Queenstown was the centre for anti-submarine forces, on the Western Approaches, under the command of Admiral Lewis Bayley, Commander in Chief , Coast of Ireland. The Ammen commenced operations immediately.

Initially there was uncertainty as to the most effective use of  destroyers. At first they were given patrol areas which they would scout, singly or in pairs. Any stray incoming merchantmen seen, were to be escorted to near their destinations. This was a most ineffective use of the force, as the chances of coming across, and destroying a lone submarine in the vastness of the Western Approaches was virtually nil.

By Summer 1917, under the urging of commanders such as Admiral Sims, Commander of US Naval Forces in Europe, the convoy system was initiated. Groups of merchantmen were escorted through the war zone by flanking destroyer screens. This had the dual effect of reducing the amount of targets for German u-boats, and allowing destroyers and sloops to attack the harassing submarines.  The priorities of the destroyers were to:

Destroy Submarines.

Protect and escort Merchantmen.

Save the crews and passengers of torpedoed ships.

Anti-submarine patrols did continue also for the duration of the war, especially in the Irish Sea and close to the coast of France, where u-boats would try to sink merchantmen as the convoys dispersed.  In 1918, any destroyer in the Irish Sea, which was not actively convoying, came under the orders of The Irish Sea Hunting Flotilla, under the command of Captain Gordon Campbell VC based in Holyhead, Wales.  US destroyers  were also used to patrol the west coast of Ireland to hunt suspected gun-running ships, for Irish Republicans.

The destroyers , initially, were ill-equipped to fight submerged submarines. When they arrived in Europe they were armed with guns and torpedoes. The only undersea weapons supplied were single hand-launched 50lb depth charges which were particularly ineffective. It was the later fitting of dual depth charge racks on the sterns of the ships, Thornycroft depth charge throwers, and Y shaped charge throwers that turned them into a dangerous force. These were capable of dropping and firing a continuous patterned barrage  of 200lb, charges around a submarine's suspected position. Most of the retro-fitting of these armaments was done at Cammel Laird in Birkenhead, England.

In the week of the 21st of July, 1917, USS Cushing, Sampson, Ammen, and USS Jarvis met and escorted three Russian Troopships to Brest.

On the week of the 27th of July, 1917 four ships containing valuable stores for the United States Army were met and safely escorted to their destination by USS Wilkes, Benham, Jarvis, Paulding, Ammen, and Perkins.  

On the 3rd of September,1917, in pos 49.10N, 10.33W, USS Ammen sighted submarine on surface.

On the 5th of January, 1918, in pos, 51.22N,08.51W, USS Ammen sighted periscope of enemy submarine. Dropped depth charge.No result was seen.

On the 7th of January, 1918, Convoy OQ 31 sailed from Milford Haven. The escort consisted of destroyers USS Duncan, Ammen, Paulding, Trippe, Jarvis, and sloops HMS Zinnia and Tamarisk. Convoy dispersed on January 9th

On the 17th of January, 1918, USS Paulding and Ammen escorted SS New York from rendezvous SLK to Liverpool  

On the 23rd of January, 1918, USS Ammen and Paulding escorted SS St Paul from position14.40N, 15.00W  to Liverpool.

On the 5th of February, 1918, in pos 53.30N,04.55W, USS Ammen sighted enemy submarine on surface.

On the 20th of February, 1918, USS Ammen, escorted Oiler Suram from Queenstown to 50.30N, 12.00W.

On the 25th,Feb, 1918, in pos 53.01N,05.05W, USS Ammen sighted conning tower of submarine submerging.  

On 14th Mar, 1918, in pos 51.34N, 08.26W, torpedo fired at USS Ammen which passed under her bow.  

On the 24th of March, 1918, in pos 12 miles east of Codling Light Vessel, SS Trinidad was torpedoed and sunk. USS Ammen picked up one survivor on a raft and landed him at Queenstown.  

On the 14th of May, 1918, in pos 11 miles SSE of Daunt Rock, USS Ammen dropped 14 depth charges on oil patch. No result was seen.  

On the 5th of June, 1918, in pos 17 miles, 115degT, from Minehead, USS Ammen dropped 13 depth charges on oil wake. No result seen.  

On the 25th of June, 1918, in pos 5 miles 168 deg from Daunt Light Vessel, USS Ammen sighted periscope of submarine and dropped 9 depth charges. No result was seen.

On the 17th of July, 1918, USS Beale, and Ammen escorted HMS Virginian from 15.00W to Avonmouth.  

On 30th Juy 1918, in pos 51.28N, 06.40W, USS Ammen sighted periscope of enemy submarine. Dropped 13 depth charges, no result was observed

On the 03rd of August 1918, USS Stockton, Downes, Sampson, Cassin, and Ammen, escorted HMS Mauretania from 15.00W, to Liverpool.  

On the 8th of October, 1918, USS Stockton, Davis, Ammen, Rowan, HMS Heather, and HMS Sir Bevis, escorted convoy HH71 to Brest, France.

USS Ammen returned to the USA in January 1919.

Notes

Commanding Officer Lieut Commander G.T.Swasey , 1918