There is nothing unusual about harvesting corn in December, not even on the island of Luzon. But when the yield of that cornfield includes one US Navy Mk 18 torpedo, then even the natives, who give our Navy credit for some remarkable feats, put their tongues in their cheeks and decide that it is time for some sort of an investigation.

By February of this year the legend of this cornfield ammunition dump had reached a forward base of Mobile Explosives Investigation Unit #1. Forthwith, Lt. (jg) James E. Dietzler and M. E. Crepeau, MN 1/c were dispatched to investigate. The subsequent investigation revealed not only the torpedo in the cornfield but three other fully armed torpedoes concealed nearby and the remains of a fourth. The cornfield in which MEIU #1 found the torpedo was inland just 150 yards from Santiago Cove on the west coast of Luzon. The second was concealed in a gully where it had been dragged by the natives, about 4000 yards north of the Santiago Cove. The third Mk 18 fish was uncovered about 1000 yards north of the second. The fourth was found buried on the beach about 1800 Yards south of the Cove. Parts of the fifth were found in Santiago Cove and from all appearances there had been only a low order detonation of the warhead. Continued inquiry revealed that the wakes of eight torpedoes were seen by the natives to approach a passing Jap convoy on 27 December 1944. All torpedoes missed. Three exploded on a reef several hundred yards offshore. A fourth exploded when it hit the beach in the Cove and the other four slid ashore intact.

More light was shed on the mystery surrounding the appearance of these torpedoes by the report of the first war patrol of the USS BLENNY. The BLENNY had fired these fish at the Jap convoy on 27 December 1944. Many submarines have fired misses at Jap convoys but this is the first known record of Mk 18 torpedoes which have gone astray ending up intact in a Philippine cornfield.

(Excerpt from POLARIS, dated August 1981)

Use browser Back Arrow to return