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1388137.  Mon Aug 23, 2021 1:01 pm Reply with quote

Anything involving the Japanese in WW2.

I'll start with: During WW2, what was produced in the state of Maine more than any other state, and helped sink a Japanese submarine?

There could be plenty of klaxons, but the biggest one will have to go to Potatoes.

This is the story of the USS O'Bannon, which saw plenty of action during the war, but became stuff of legends in the US navy in 1943 after an encounter with a Japanese submarine near the Solomon Islands.

After firing on the submarine, the US ship managed to damage the submarine's conning tower, meaning it could no longer submerge without sinking. The quick thinking Japanese captain steered his boat close to the US ship so that they couldn't use their big guns to shoot at the submarine, and the Japanese sailors then climbed out with their guns, ready to try and capture the O'Bannon.

However, the quick thinking US sailors then decided to pelt the Japanese with potatoes (which were mostly grown in Maine at the time), and the Japanese thought these were grenades. Depending on which version of the story you hear, either the Japanese threw their guns into the sea and gave up, or panicked and submerged, thereby flooding and sinking to the bottom.

This tale became so celebrated that the state of Maine even commissioned a special plaque thanking the crew of the O'Bannon which eventually made it's way to the Maine Maritime Museum, though this disappeared sometime in the 1970s.

Except... that the ship's Commander, Donald MacDonald (is that a real name?) claimed repeatedly that no potatoes were actually thrown, and that he'd simply said the submarine was close enough for the ship's cook to hit it with a potato.

1388144.  Mon Aug 23, 2021 4:02 pm Reply with quote

This is a great story - sadly I think QI has used it before.

1388160.  Tue Aug 24, 2021 6:11 am Reply with quote

OK [flips through various pages and notes...] didn't realise that, might need to find other things now :p


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