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View Full Version : met vet 40mm gunner on CVE Sagamon, from gdlcnal to okinawa,great info,much combat



Enforcer572005
09-12-2005, 07:00 PM
my nieghbor is art Lattimore, a navy vet who served as a twin 40mm gunner fire director on the sagamon (i mayhve mispelled that). he was at guadalcanal a couple of days after the original invasion and shot it out with betties making torp runs, was in most of the invasions (the CVEs specialized in supporting landings), was at Saipan close enough to see the ground combt with binoculars, Tinian, the whole pacific war from beginning to end.

Sagamon was one of 5 tankers converted to carriers and was the biggest class of them, the size and appearance of an independance class CVL. Ill get some more info the next few days and give you a review....fascinating.

Enforcer572005
09-12-2005, 07:00 PM
my nieghbor is art Lattimore, a navy vet who served as a twin 40mm gunner fire director on the sagamon (i mayhve mispelled that). he was at guadalcanal a couple of days after the original invasion and shot it out with betties making torp runs, was in most of the invasions (the CVEs specialized in supporting landings), was at Saipan close enough to see the ground combt with binoculars, Tinian, the whole pacific war from beginning to end.

Sagamon was one of 5 tankers converted to carriers and was the biggest class of them, the size and appearance of an independance class CVL. Ill get some more info the next few days and give you a review....fascinating.

Enforcer572005
09-12-2005, 10:50 PM
ok, I had to cut it short to go watch "Battlestar Galactica", well that and Vegas.....cant miss Nicki Cox's cleavage.

Anyway, Art was on the Saggamon as it entered the guadalcanal invasion a couple of days after the intitial landing. The had F4Fs, TBFs, and SBDs of course. He described a deck load of SBDs taking off as sounding like huge hornets.

Since this was one of the CVEs converted from large tankers, it had a much larger deck, and got F6Fs in 43 while the other CVES were mostly operating FM2s. He described the worse part of his tour as probably being the typhoon he rode out near the Phillipines....the one that caused Halsey so much damage and led to the naval weather recon office.

At Okinawa, thye fought kamikazes from sunup to sundown, along wiht conventional air attack. the ship was constantly running at its full speed of 21 knts, and destroyers were racing all about it, everyone taking evasive action. All he could hear were the 40s and the collision alarms on the destroyers that were constantly with them. he expressed great admiration for "those tin can sailors".

They fought for days until they took a kamikaze forward, and left the area at 5 knts, all she could make wiht her damage. Pearl was full of damaged ships, so they set out for San Diego, thier home port, but were turned away there because it was also full of damaged ships.

Now get this....they had to go through the Panama canal and on to NOrfolk.....pacific fleet ships having to go to atlantic fleet ports for repairs. Never heard that before. And all this at 5 lousy knts. agonizingly slow.

They also had both F6Fs and F4Us on board along wiht TBMs at okinawa. The Corsairs were a combo of both marines and navy squadrons. there was no rest for anyone.

He also was at Leyte Gulf, and launched attacks against the survivors of the ambush at Suriguo straights. He saw his first kamikaze attack late in that cmpn, as it dove into a ship...they thougth he was nuts or something, then they started coming in numbers.

Im going back by there in a few days and get a bit more detail from him. He seemed to enjoy talking about it with someone who knew the subject matter. STay tuned.

Airmail109
09-13-2005, 01:35 AM
Good reading thanks mate! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

fluke39
09-13-2005, 01:15 PM
Good read! thank you

i am always interested to hear /hear about these kinds of things

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Enforcer572005:
Im going back by there in a few days and get a bit more detail from him. He seemed to enjoy talking about it with someone who knew the subject matter. Stay tuned. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

my friends neighbour is an 81 year old serbian - who fought in WWII its a little hard to tell what he says sometimes (strong accent) , but i still love hearing him talk about WWII - but never really wanted to push him too much about the subject - all in all though i think WWII was a major part of these guys youth that i think they like to talk about it ... and people like us (i hope!) like to listen!!

i actually cant wait to talk to him again -- he intrigued me from when i first met him he hobbled in mumbling something then saying in his serbian accent "iee beeen shot at by spitfieres and stookas and bluudy everyting" (excuse my attempt at his accent) hes actually remarkably together for 81 year old.

Low_Flyer_MkII
09-13-2005, 01:29 PM
Good stuff.
I keep saying it, but get out and listen to these people - they won't be around forever.

fluke39
09-13-2005, 02:28 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Low_Flyer_MkII:
Good stuff.
I keep saying it, but get out and listen to these people - they won't be around forever. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Totally

it saddens me to think my/our generation will see the day the last WWII vet disappears from our planet.

i may not have had much respect for the older generation when i was 12-15 but i sure do now (and for the last 15 yearshttp://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif) - (also whether or not they fought in the war)

Low_Flyer_MkII
09-13-2005, 03:07 PM
I've had the great privelege of talking to many WWII veterans and have many, many memories covering all emotions. One gentleman who stands out in my memory attended a social event I'd organised. He brought with him a British WWII pattern 'tin hat', flattened to the brim on one side.
"What happened to that?" I asked.
"A Tiger tank ran over it." He replied in a soft, cheerful voice.
"I bet you're glad you weren't wearing it at the time."
"Oh, but I was!"
After I had stupidly and obviously stared at the gentleman's head for what seemed an eternity (it seemed a normal shape to me), he told me the full story. Concussed by an explosion and laying in the road, a Tiger tank had indeed run over his head. Pronounced dead after the action, a member of the burial party noticed a leg twitching amongst a pile of corpses and pulled him out. "Every day of my life is a bonus after that." he told me, and wandered off with his wife; leaving me to curse the fact that I was so enthralled by the story I hadn't written anything down. I never saw him again.

Enforcer572005
09-13-2005, 10:11 PM
yeah, im gonna see if i can interview him, and im pretty sure he will let me record it. if you have any questions about escort carrier ops, put them here and ill see what i can do. ive got an 0riginal edition of a book that was given to eveyr sailor who served on CVEs in the pacific, published by a wealthy officer in 46. its great, fullof photos ive never seen before . including decks full of F6Fs and F4Us. ive always wondered about mixing fighter types like that.

He also described pearl harbor the first time he saw it in 42 when the carrier docked there. it made a permanant impression on him, as the water was thick with all the oil.

He was wearing a US flag pin on his collar...i guess you go through all that to defend it, you become more aware of it.

ive mets lots of vets over the yrs. im glad i knew enough when i was a kid to ask lots of questions, as i knew WW2 very well back then to.I met a brit vet at harlingen in 90 (the CAF show) who had been working at farnborough (spelling?) most of the war testing enemy aircraft. He was involved in the recovery of the CR42 that landed on a beach and nosed over. they enjoyed flying that thing.

I also met one recently who had been an infantryman on an LST that was one of those attacked by Eboats just before D-Day....hundreds lost, was kept quiet until recent years. the DDS withdrew too soon apparently. he said they were blasting away in the night with all they had, including firing their rifles. he used up all his m-1 ammo shooting at E-boats.

anyway, i cant let this opportunity pass...ive never heard any accounts from guys serving on those 5 big CVEs.

Low_Flyer_MkII
09-14-2005, 03:42 PM
My house overlooks Lyme Bay, where those LSTs went down. I dealt with some of the survivors of the E boat attack 11 years ago (50th anniversary) - they went out in a local fishing boat and dropped wreaths over the wrecks - lent one of them my raincoat, I never got it back http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

tHeBaLrOgRoCkS
09-14-2005, 04:12 PM
Great read thankyou for posting http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

JarheadEd
09-14-2005, 05:25 PM
My father was a LVT commander in WWII. One day I asked him about battle damage repair on the Vehicle. He said the most commonly used item was a large canvas sack containing a wooden mallet and a lot of wooden plugs in .30 cal, .50cal, 20mm, 37mm and and 40mm diameters. These were hammered into the holes made in the LVT's to keep them sea worthy. He had a lot more to tell, but rather grim and gory stuff not fit for here.

He was the ultimate Corsair fan, and started me down the aviation road at a young age.
His only wound was from friendly fire. Late one night after washing machine charlie had left and all the AAA had ended he was taking a leak by the amtrak. A piece of schrapnel about 3 x 5 inches fell out of the sky and cut him on his right shin. He said later in life "Boy, if I had been 5 inches to the right, you wouldn't be here." Yowch!

I sure do miss him.

Semper Fi.

Enforcer572005
09-14-2005, 06:24 PM
wow guys, great stories. jarhead ed, man, that would have hurt....history is so much more far out than any fiction can be.

im thinking up stuff i wanna ask him, so you guys come up wiht some things, especially if you think it may apply to our hobby here....well heck, all of it does. maybe by this weekend i can go see him and take the book with me...that should get some good stirrings.

a freind of my dads-a fellow helicopter instructor at ft. Rucker back in the 60s, always tried to convince me that he was a Luftwaffe ace.....he used to leave me laughing my keyster off.

When he finally started talking, turns out he flew P51Bs and Ds in the 8th AF, had 3.5 kills (according to his son, he never would tell me) and had some great stories. his .5 kill was an FW he and another drove off from a crippled B17...he was really proud of that one, but he expressed admiration for the luftwaffe pilots, knowing some shortly afterwards during the occupation and making good freinds out of many.

one kill was a 109 from the abbeville kids-he sneaked up behind it during a fight and took a squirt, and his 50s all missed by a mile. then it turned and he saw the markings and thought "oh sh$t", when the canopy flew off and the guy flew out, surprising him that he bailed that quick. logical, since they were ordered to abandon the plane if they thought they were gonna get it because they were too hard to replace.

he used to torment trains alot, as he liked watching them blow up. he made the mistake of attacking the same one a couple of days in a row (the 4:15 out of collogne maybe), but the 3rd time (since they were so punctual) he started to make his run the sides fell off a box car and it looked like a swamp of cat tails....he never saw so many barrels blazing away at him. he left and found another hobby. obviously he encountered a quad 20mm. Those guys are priceless.

He watched a crippled B-24 he was sheparding seem ok, then the damaged wing just folded up and the plane disapeared right under him. That still bugged him to that day. he died about 15 yrs ago. This guy was hillarious.

WE_STAND_ALONE
09-14-2005, 06:52 PM
sangamon pics:

http://www.navsource.org/archives/03/cve-26/sangamon01.htm

Low_Flyer_MkII
09-14-2005, 07:08 PM
Great stuff, Enforcer!
From my experience, the fact that these guys are willing to talk is a great start. I've come accross veterans who understandably don't want to revive bad memories - and you've got to respect that. Try to find out a little about what they went through before you start asking questions, some of these guys really appreciate that what they went through has been remembered by the younger generations. Tell them (in all honesty) that you're keen to record their experiences as it's important that their efforts are remembered. You might find that they'll swear you secrecy on some seemingly small detail - again, respect that.
Write everything down, or even better record it - ask permission first.
As for the questions, name, rank and serial number is a good start. Date of enlistment, training, first posting etc...a good device for jogging the memory is to ask where you on 6th June '44? or when the war ended? or December '41? If you get a hostile response from, for argument's sake, a question about the Normandy landings - e.g. "I was in Italy/Burma/ Freezing my bits off in Greenland while those guys got all the headlines..." Tell them that's why you think their story is just as important - people were doing their bit all over the world and you're trying to make sure it's not forgotten. People tend to remember these dates, that leads to further memories. Remember at all times that you are dealing with a living national treasure - I'm preaching to the converted, aren't I?

Get out there and enjoy meeting these guys - it's an important and very worthwhile job. Keep it up! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif If you come accross any vets from the 1st Infantry Division, tell them the people of Dorset, U.K. remember them, and we send our love and thanks.