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  USS Edsall DD-219
USN
Clemson class destroyer

1,190 Tons
314' x 31' 9" x 9' 3"
4 x 4" guns
12 x 21" torpedoes
20mm & 50 cal MG

Wartime History
During late February 1942, USS Edsall and USS Whipple were ordered to rendezous with USS Langley AV-3 about 200 miles south of Java. On February 27, 1942 at 11:40am bombed by nine G4M1 Betty bombers from the Takao Kokutai roughly 75 miles south of Java. USS Langley AV-3 was heavily damaged and scuttled with Edsall rescuing 117 of her survivors.

Afterwards, Whipple and Edsall was ordered to Christmas Island to transfer survivors from the Langley to USS Pecos. The three ships parted with Whipple to the Cocos Islands to refuel while the Pecos and Edsal were to proceed to Fremantle. Underway, the Pecos was attacked and sunk by D3A Val bombers from Japanese carriers in the area. The Whipple, after picking up her distress calls, turned back and rescued 233 survivors.

Sinking History
On March 1, 1942 the USS Edsall was last seensailing over the horizon on her way back to Java and was never heard of again. She was one of four American destroyers were not accounted for, that disappeared, or so it was thought at the time.

In fact, she was engaged by Japanese ships that fired more than 1,000 rounds, but only two hit. At 6:24pm she received a direct hit from the battleship Hiei and at 6:35pm another hit from the cruiser Tone. Edsall was also attacked by nine D3A Vals from Soryu and eight D3A Vals from Akagi, which hit her with several bombs, leaving her dead in the water by 6:50pm. She was destroyed by the cruiser Chukuma and sank at 19:00.

Fate of the Crew
In 1952, investigators learned that eight of her crew had been picked up by the Japanese warship Ashigara and deposited on Celebes Island and executed near Kendari. Postwar, a group of natives directed Allied searchers to five graves covered with jungle vegetation. The graves were exhumed and five skeletons found, all identified by their ID tags as men from the Edsall.

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Last Updated
February 28, 2017

 

 

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