At least, the Maine potato growers association seem to think so.
It was a early morning on April the 5th in 1943 that the O’Bannon was returning from when the sailors spotted something.
It was a Japanese submarine, the Ro-34 to be exact. Once the Japanese sub was spotted, the ship’s captain made the order to ram it at full speed. However, at the last minute, the order was changed, instead to run along side of the ship, in the fear that it could be a mine layer. Ramming a mine layer would result in the destruction of the O’Bannon as well as the Japanese vessel.
This brought the American destroyer to extraordinarily close proximity to the Japanese sub. At this time the Japanese sailors started to man a 75 millimeter deck cannon which could be fired at the O’Bannon. By this time, the destroyer was too close to use their own guns, and the sailors did not have any weapons available to fire at the Japanese sailors, now preparing to fire at the ship. So, the men of the O’Bannon grabbed the only thing they could find – Potatoes. They began throwing as many as they could at the Japanese. Lucky for the Americans, the Japanese thought the potatoes were hand grenades and started to throw them in the water. This took their attention from arming the deck cannon, and occupied them with throwing potatoes in the water. Within a short time, the American destroyer was able to position itself so that it could fire its own cannons at the sub.
The O’Bannon made relatively quick work of the Japanese sub, forcing it to submerge after being hit several times from the O’Bannon’s guns. Once submerged, the O’Bannon dropped depth charges, killing the Japanese sub.
That day, the O’Bannon found itself victorious through the use of heavy firepower and potatoes.
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