Did you know the USS O’Bannon the most decorated destroyer in US Navy history sunk a submarine with potatoes? The ship and her crew were well salted and respected no matter what. But the job her crew did on April 5, 1943, would put her in the history books.
The USS O’Bannon sighted the Japanese sub RO-34 on the surface near Guadalcanal. Being too close to fire guns, she made best speed to ram the enemy ship. But at the last second, her commanding officer thought the sub was actually a surface ship, which would cause severe damage to O’Bannon if they collided. The two vessels wound up side by side, and the Japanese on the sub’s top deck tried to man the 3 inch cannon it carried. O’Bannon’s crew had no sidearms, so they grabbed the best thing: spuds from a bin on deck. They threw their potatoes at RO-34’s crew, who thought they were grenades and tried to throw them away. Thanks to this distraction, O’Bannon was able to get enough distance from the sub to blow a hole in its bridge, and eventually sink it.
O’Bannon was the US Navy’s most decorated destroyer during World War II, earning 17 battle stars and a Presidential Unit Citation.