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By Dr. James G. Bennett Author of: THE ROHNA DISASTER ,WWII's Secret Tragedy
THE DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING
On November 26, 1943, one day after Thanksgiving and one day out to sea, one thousand, nine-hundred and eighty one young American soldiers were presented with the most challenging and terrifying experience of their lives. On that day, they became players in what was to become one of the greatest at-sea tragedies in United States history. More than half of them never survived to tell their story.
On that day, two of the WWII’s least known but historic incidents occurred. The United States suffered its greatest loss at-sea in its history when the HMT ROHNA a British transport was sunk by a guided missile launched from a German bomber over the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of North Africa. The ship, with officers and crew of one hundred ninety five was transporting American troops and Red Cross workers to the China-Burma-India Theater of war.
One thousand and fifteen American troops, three Red Cross workers and one hundred and twenty ship’s officers and crewmen perished, more than were lost on the Arizona at Pearl Harbor. In addition to the record number of casualties that were incurred, the bombing itself was historic because it was the first ever, successful "hit" by a remote-controlled rocket-boosted bomb, launched in the air from a German bomber, on a merchant vessel chartered for military use in war time. This incident was, in effect, the dawning of the missile age.
The ship, badly in disrepair, was part of Convoy KMF-26 en-route to Bombay, India with men and supplies needed for the little known China - Burma -India theater of WWII.
The greatest loss of U.S. troops at sea from the first successful "hit" by a German remote controlled rocket bomb. The ROHNA DISASTER describes that quest, plus many other incredible revelations.
From the Publisher
On November 26, 1943, the United States suffered its greatest loss at sea in history when the HMT ROHNA was sunk by a guided missile launched from a German bomber over the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of North Africa. Within an hour after being struck, the ship burned, flooded and sank. Before dawn the next morning, one thousand and fifteen American troops, three Red Cross personnel and one hundred and twenty crewmen perished. Hundreds died when the missile struck the Rohna at her shelter deck level and exploded near the after end of the engine room and the No. 6 troops deck. Others perished from cold and exhaustion when darkness and rough seas hampered rescue efforts, while many, ironically, were killed during frantic attempts to rescue and be rescued.
THE ROHNA DISASTER, WORLD WAR II'S SECRET TRAGEDY is about this disastrous, yet virtually unknown, at-sea incident during World War II.
It is important that history be chronicled, and that this story, an important part of our history, be told, heard, taught and remembered. It is also important that those who played roles in this incredible drama, the survivors, rescuers and casualties, be given their due honor and recognition, and that the families of those who perished, who have a right to know what happened to their loved ones, be given an opportunity to learn that truth. This book was written for those reasons.