Allied Warships

USS PE-56 (PE-56)

Patrol craft of the Eagle class

NavyThe US Navy
TypePatrol craft
Built byFord Motor Co. (Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.) 
Laid down25 Mar 1919 
Launched15 Aug 1919 
Commissioned26 Oct 1919 
Lost23 Apr 1945 
Loss position43° 33'N, 70° 10'W

Completed in October 1919 as submarine chaser USS Eagle No. 56. On 17 Jul, 1920, reclassified as patrol craft USS PE-56.

On 23 Apr, 1945, USS PE-56 (Lt. James Early, USNR) broke in two and sank after a heavy explosion amidships 3 nautical miles south-southeast of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The commander, four officers and 44 ratings were lost. One officer and twelve ratings were picked up about 30 minutes later by USS Selfridge. U-853 was known to operate in the area, but could not report her success because she was herself lost a few days later. Some survivors reported the sighting of a conning tower and saw the colors of the emblem on U-853.

In June 2001 the US Navy finally changed its assessment of the loss of USS PE-56. The original assessment claimed that the ship had been sunk by a boiler explosion - in stark contrast to what the survivors of the ship reported.


Hit by U-boat
Sunk on 23 Apr 1945 by U-853 (Frömsdorf).

U-boat AttackSee our U-boat attack entry for the USS PE-56

Commands listed for USS PE-56 (PE-56)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1James Lawson Kemper, USN28 Apr 1939

2Lt.Cdr. F. W. Parsons, USNRNov 19403 Apr 1943 (1)
3James W Roddy, USNR3 Apr 1943March 1944
4Lt.Cdr. John L. Barr, Jr., USNRMar 194423 Jan 1945 (1)
5Lt. James G. Early, USNR23 Jan 194523 Apr 1945 (1)

You can help improve our commands section
Click here to Submit events/comments/updates for this vessel.
Please use this if you spot mistakes or want to improve this ships page.

Notable events involving PE-56 include:

28 Feb 1942
USS PE-56 picks up the survivors from the American destroyer USS Jacob Jones (DD 130) which had been sunk by German U-boat U-578 earlier that day off Cape May.

Media links

U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor
(£ 38.25)

Return to the Allied Warships section

As an Amazon Associate earns a commission from qualifying purchases.