Allied Warships

USS Penguin (AM 33)

Minesweeper of the Lapwing class

NavyThe US Navy
PennantAM 33 
Built byNew Jersey Dry Dock and Transportation Co. (Elizabethport, New Jersey, U.S.A.) 
Laid down17 Nov 1917 
Launched12 Jun 1918 
Commissioned21 Nov 1918 
Lost8 Dec 1941 

Early on the morning of 8 December 1941 (7 December east of the I.D.L.) USS Penguin (Lt. James William Haviland, 3rd, USN) returned to Agana Harbor, Guam from patrol to receive word of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Soon thereafter Japanese planes swarmed over the island. Bombs fell on fuel storage tanks and shore installations. Penguin slipped her moorings and moved outside the harbor to gain maneuvering space. Her anti-aircraft fire drove some of the bombers higher thus limiting their accuracy. The enemy's attention, however, was soon focused on the ships. Penguin became the object of bombing and strafing runs. No direct hits were scored, but one group of bombs straddled the ship. The resulting explosions killed 1, wounded over 60, and caused extensive damage.

Downing one plane, Penguin's guns kept up the pace until the ship had been maneuvered to a position a mile and a half off the beach. There, in 200 fathoms, she was scuttled to prevent her capture by the enemy. Her crew made the shore in life rafts and those not seriously wounded continued the defense of Guam. After a short battle, the governor general of the island surrendered the island to the Japanese. Most of the remaining personnel were sent to Japan and were kept as POW's until the end of the war.


Commands listed for USS Penguin (AM 33)

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and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Lt. Ellis Kerr Wakefield, USNmid 1939mid 1941
2Lt. James William Haviland, 3rd, USNmid 19418 Dec 1941

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