Page 1 Sinking of U-371  |  Page 2  Photos  |  Page 3 USS Pride Action ReportPage 4 Interrogation of U-371 POWs


On 3 May 1944 U-371 fired an acoustic torpedo which ripped off the stern of Menges and killed 31 crewmen.

Read the DESA Roll of Honor for those killed aboard Menges

Although seriously damaged, Menges remained afloat.  The following day, 4 May, destroyer escorts USS Joseph E. Campbell DE 70 and USS Pride DE 323 and British and French surface craft avenged the attack on Menges by attacking U-371 in the Gulf of Bougie.  Surrounded, with water leaking in the hull and the batteries almost dead, the U-boat's crew surfaced, scuttled, and abandoned their submarine. Fenski and all but three of his U-boatmen were rescued.

Menges was safely towed into port and later to the United States where it received a new stern off of another damaged destroyer escort, USS Holder DE 401. She then rejoined the fleet and after making two more convoy runs, Menges reported for duty in the first Coast Guard-manned hunter-killer group to see service on the North Atlantic. 

The after section of USS Holder DE 401 was welded to the forward section of Menges, making her the longest DE in service.

USS Holder DE 401 Story

After completion of her shakedown cruise, Holder departed 24 Mar 1944 escorting a convoy bound for Mediterranean ports.  Proceeding along the coast of Algeria, the convoy was followed 10 and 11 April by German planes and, just before midnight 11 April, it was attacked by torpedo bombers.  Holder and the other escorts immediately opened fire and began making smoke, but a torpedo struck the escort vessel amidships on the port side, causing two heavy explosions.  Though fires spread and flooding was serious, Holder's crew remained at their guns to drive off the attackers without damage to the convoy.  Alert damage control kept the ship seaworthy and she arrived in tow at Oran for repairs.

There it was decided to tow her to New York, where she arrived safely 9 June 1944. She decommissioned at New York Navy Yard 13 September 1944, and the after part of her hull was used to repair destroyer escort MENGES DE 320. The remainder was sold for scrap to John A. Witte, Station Island, N.Y., 19 June 1947.
From the “Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships,” (1968) Vol. 3, pp.344-345

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Photos from the National Archives

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New USS Menges Book
by Ed Nash

10 June 2002 - I was aboard the subject ship from commissioning until late 1944, as Gunnery Officer. I have written a book that is based on my experiences aboard MENGES: "THE COURT-MARTIAL OF ENSIGN MASON" (ISBN 0-7596-8235-6). It has just been published and is available from any bookstore. Ed Nash


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