On This Day in History: US Navy destroyer escort sinks Japanese submarine

Francis M. Robinson sinks Japanese submarine
USS Francis M. Robinson at sea. Photo: US Navy

On May 13, 1944, U.S. Navy ship Francis M. Robinson (DE-220) sank the Japanese submarine RO-501 which previously served in the German Navy as U-1224.

The U.S. Navy’s Buckley-class destroyer escort ship was patrolling off the Cape Verde Islands on May 13 when she made a sound contact and mounted a deliberate attack with depth charges and hedgehogs to sink the submarine.

In addition to the Presidential Unit Citation, USS Francis M. Robinson received one battle star for her World War II service.

Francis M. Robinson (DE-220) was launched May 1, 1943 by the Philadelphia Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. Francis M. Robinson, widow of Commander Robinson; and commissioned January 15, 1944, Lieutenant J. E. Johansen, USNR, in command.

After a period of service as escort along the east coast, Francis M. Robinson arrived at Norfolk May 2, 1944 to join the Bogue (CVE-9) hunter-killer group, a successful antisubmarine force in whose Presidential Unit Citation Francis M. Robinson was to share.

Having completed her convoy duty May 15, 1945, Francis M. Robinson aided submarines training out of New London, and was school ship at the Naval Training Center at Miami, and from November through February 1946 served as plane guard for carriers training in Chesapeake Bay.

Francis M. Robinson was finally decommissioned at Philadelphia June 20, 1960.