PT-199 delivers USS Corry survivors to destroyer USS Fitch (DD-462). 



D-Day Account of Jack Sabolyk,  Fire Controlman, 2/c  - USS Fitch (DD-462)

On D-Day my battle station was atop the Fitch in the Mark 37 Director, assigned as gun pointer from where we directed the fire of the guns to various targets on the beach.  

Being rather busy with events on the beach, I did not notice at first when the Corry was hit. It was brought to my attention by Lt. William Uptergrove who was in charge of the Director crew.  As I gazed at the Corry I was transfixed by the actions of the poor ship.  The ship was going around in circles and I said to myself, "Why doesn't she get out of there?" as shore batteries were dropping shells all over her. It was then that I realized that her steering apparatus was gone and control of the ship was gone.

It was then that the Fitch laid down a very heavy smoke screen on the Corry so that the shore batteries could not see her.  It was then that I observed boats away from the Fitch picking up oily and shocked survivors from the Corry, in what seemed to be a very heavy fog caused by the smoke screen.

When I was relieved from my station I went amidships to help survivors coming aboard the Fitch.  All the medics were busy with the wounded and dying and I remember each of the wounded received a morphine injection for pain and was then marked on the forehead with a big red "M" to show that he had received morphine.

The thing that stood out most in my mind, while I was helping survivors, (to this day I have never forgotten) was the skin condition of the men who were in the Black Gang. When the Corry exploded steam pipes burst in the ship’s engine and highly scalding steam literally cooked the men. Their skin had turned gray and I said to myself, “They look like pigs feet” which I used to cook. This I will never forget.

One other incident also stands out. We had a very skinny seaman who weighed about 90 pounds. (He was called “Muscles” by the Fitch crew.) He was only 17 years old and had just come aboard ship.  He was the coffee man that day and went all over the ship giving hot coffee to the crew.

I remember him carrying his pot to amidships by the pogey bait locker. The dead had been put in body bags but the top was open for recognition.  This poor young man who had never been exposed to a situation like this was trying to serve them coffee.  When we told him that the men were dead, the poor boy dropped his coffee pot and started crying uncontrollably.

D-Day Account of Patrick Joseph McCann,  U.S.S. Fitch DD-462

On June 6, 1944, two hours before all hell broke loose, General Quarters sounded, we all ran to our battle stations. At 6 plus A.M. we opened up with all guns. We were told to go top side. A few seconds after or thereabouts we got word that the Corry was hit. We lowered the gig and the whale boat to pick up the dead, wounded, and others. As they came aboard I happened to grab one survivor – name unknown – he half-walked and half-leaned on my right shoulder.  We went down the ladder that was in the head, that one led to my compartment where my sack was. I actually picked him up and put him in.  He and I took off his oil soaked clothes, he then looked new born. I did not have any dungarees, they were in the laundry. I gave him my tailor-made pants to put on, also the Navy skull cap.  (Water was 56 degrees) He wanted a cigarette – I gave him 4 packs.  I then went top side and saw we were heading towards a hospital ship. I went down to tell him he is going home, to relax. I never told him. He died with an unopened pack of cigarettes in his hand.  He was a fireman. I could see why we won the war with men like those of the Corry and the Fitch. 


At 0530 we were well into the assault area. We were supposed to open fire on our objectives at 40 min. before H-Hour which was at 0550.  At 0530 the shore batteries opened fire on us. The suspense of waiting for D-Day to roll around had just begun. When we were fired upon everyone was expecting for a shell to hit us any second.  Everyone was scared even though they declined to admit it. I was shaking so much I couldn’t keep from spilling the coffee I was drinking. My battle station was in the No. 1 fireroom. I was in charge. I didn’t want to show I was frightened so I just kept still. Everyone had a wild look in their eyes, like a fox being chased by dogs.

We opened fire at approximately 0533, about 17 minutes before we were supposed to. As far as we know, we were the first ones to fire at our beach-head, and possibly the first ones in the invasion. That was a feather in our hats. It sure sounded good to hear our 5” 38’s open up. Nevertheless, the three coastal batteries were still concentrating their fire on us and the shells were plopping in the water, closer at every salvo. I say salvo because that’s what they were. They were firing salvos of two shells at a time. You could hear them whistle overhead and us boys could hear them plunk into the water, very audible below the water line on the floor plates in the fireroom.

We continued firing and things started to get too hot for us, so we began to ease out in a hurry. The Nazis had our range and almost got us. Then they waited for our sister ship, the Corry, which was following us out. They hit her between the forward fireroom and forward engine room. That alone wasn’t enough. They hit her again somewhere around the bridge. We then started in to rescue survivors at full speed and firing the two forward guns over the fo’ castle. We layed to, and lowered both boats to pick up survivors and kept up our steady firing from all four guns. We knocked out the pillbox which sank the Corry.

We had been taking men aboard for about 25 minutes and the chief, Joe Young, called down for Hardy and me to come up and help drag men aboard. He had worked until he was about to “crap out.” The first sight to meet my eyes was a boat load of men, about half of them wounded. All were so cold they didn’t know where they were. One man in the boat was holding on to one in the water. I thought at first he was just about drowned but after Dave and I hauled him aboard we saw a hole in the top of his head. I felt his pulse. He was dead. We layed him on deck and put a blanket over him and turned to get another. That one boat had two dead men aboard. All this time we were still firing. The gun barrels were so hot the paint was beginning to blister.  


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