On the morning of 24 July 1945, about 200 to 300 miles northeast of Cape Engaño, USS Underhill's (DE-682) radar detected a Japanese "Dinah" reconnaissance plane circling the convoy about ten miles out. Her crew immediately manned their battle stations and ordered other escorts to air defense stations.
Two or three Japanese submarines were in the area. After establishing the convoy's base course, one released a dummy naval mine in the path of the convoy. When it was sighted by Underhill lookouts, the ship's commander ordered a general course change to port. When the last ship had cleared, Underhill stood in to sink the mine. After repeated direct hits by the 20-millimeter guns and 30-calibre rifle fire, the convoy realized the mine was a diversionary tactic by the Japanese submarines.
Later, sonar picked up another contact. The depth charges had brought to the surface two Kaiten, Japanese suicide manned torpedoes, each with a warhead equivalent to about two standard torpedoes. One was on either side of Underhill; the one to starboard was too close for any of Underhill's guns to bear.
At , the captain ordered flank speed, a turn onto collision course, and all hands to stand by to ram. Underhill struck the Kaiten to port, and two explosions resulted, the first directly under the bridge and magazine area, the second, a few seconds later, forward of the bridge area and more to starboard. Underhill broke in half at the forward fire room. The stern section remained upright and afloat; The bow, sticking straight up, began drifting away to starboard. The explosions flung a tremendous quantity of oily water over the aft section, knocking down men and washing some overboard, but also dousing possible fires in that portion of the ship.
S2c Labbe was listed as missing in action and later declared dead.
Service number: 5732833
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