The United States Navy in World War II

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The United States Navy in World War II

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$12.50 "S. E. Smith's is

But it Iy and begin,

you

that.

side

bigness

is

ntil

ad

it

142927

One

look at it tells you have looked in-

ok.

'

that

you

a matter oi far more than

book

realize

its

size. It is

a

ways that count— in scope, ,in narrative sweep, and in the personal recording made possible by men rising to meet the tests large

in the

of great events."

—John Mason Brown

The United

States

in

World War

Navy II

The One-Volume History, from Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay — by Men Who Fought in the Atlantic and the Pacific and by Distinguished Naval Experts, Authors and Newspapermen Compiled and Edited by

S.

E.

SMITH

With an Introduction by Rear Admiral E. M. Director of Naval History

Eller,

Over a thousand pages, embellished with eighteen pages of battle maps and 142 photographs from the National Archives, this

tory of

mammoth

conflict

is

a superb narrative

on and

his-

in the oceans of

the globe. Himself a Navy veteran, S. E. Smith has read prodigiously in the literature of World War II; and, with the complete cooperation of the Navy Department and celebrated contributing authors (for complete list, see back of this jacket) he has selected for this book only those illuminating pieces— many of them eyewitness— which preserve for all time the essence of an action or a campaign. More than that, he has so arranged his material, so ordered it with his own succinct, knowledgeable introductions and continuity that the work is a unified, free-flowing whole, balanced and comprehensive. ,

(continued on back flap)

Jacket design by

s.

a.

summit

"A vivid contribution to the history of World War II, organized in a uniquely dramatic continuity that gives

one an

eerie

and often exalted on

feeling of eyewitnessing events taking place all

the world's oceans

tragic

— which

comprehend."

— events

heroic, stark,

no human eye couk —Sidney L. James, j

ill)

nc

CjJ

•-

•-

THE UNITED STATES NAVY IN

WORLD WAR

II

THE ONE-VOLUME HISTORY, FROM PEARL HARBOR TO TOKYO BAY BY MEN WHO FOUGHT IN THE ATLANTIC AND THE PACIFIC AND BY DISTINGUISHED

NAVAL EXPERTS, AUTHORS AND NEWSPAPERMEN.

THE UNITED

NAVY

STATES

IN

WORLD WAR

II

THE ONE-VOLUME HISTORY, FROM PEARL HARBOR TO TOKYO BAY

BY

MEN WHO FOUGHT IN THE

ATLANTIC AND THE PACIFIC AND BY DISTINGUISHED

NAVAL EXPERTS, AUTHORS AND NEWSPAPERMEN \mA >**

Selected

and edited by

S.E.

Smithy

With an Introduction by Rear Admiral £. At. Eller, Director of Naval History

William Morrow


r

routes

PEARL

OAHU

air

o

-

/-,.'

Last Days of Peace

7

when the Combined Fleet began unobtrusively to renTankan Bay in the Kuriles; the second was executed November 22 when Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo's Pearl Harbor

November dezvous

7,

at

Striking Force, built around six aircraft carriers, got

underway on

its

epochal mission. Nevertheless, Tojo's instructions to his diplomats in

Washington were

Although

to continue negotiations.

Pearl Harbor bound,

it

was subject

the United States capitulated,

to recall;

would

it

if

be. Still

on the

his

fleet

slightest

was

chance

under theoretical

dis-

cussion in Japan was the United States' "Basis for Agreement," a final

proposal for peace; although Tojo

flatly

rejected

29, his Washington representatives continued to

over the conference table. its

Washington embassy

On December

to

burn

all

2,

it

November

meet with Mr. Hull

however, Tokyo ordered

codes except one; on the same

day, Japan's Honolulu consul was ordered to report daily disposition

and number of warships

at Pearl

on the

Harbor, and whether

they were shielded by protective nets.

Thus, the string had run out. asked Emperor Hirohito peace, begging

him

On December

in a personal

in the

name

6,

President Roosevelt

message for a continuance of

of humanity to withdraw his forces

threatening "the hundreds of islands of the East Indies," Philippines,

Thailand, and Malaya. Hirohito did not reply.

Next day, December

7, in

accordance with instructions from their

government, Japanese diplomats asked for a meeting with Hull at p.m., or twenty minutes before the hour of the Pearl

Harbor

Because of a delay, the meeting was postponed an hour. By hostilities

had already commenced.

1

attack.

this time,

PARTI

HARBOR TO

PEARL

THE END IN THE

MALAY BARRIER

WITH APPROXIMATELY HALF OF THE UNITED STATES based in the Atlantic against the possibility of a subma-

Fleet rine

war with

was

greater

that

of

one

Against

adversaries.

of the

Japan's combatant strengh as of mid- 1941

Hitler,

than

she

nations

the

hundred

United States Pacific Fleet

and

was

make her

to

twenty-seven

warships

the few ships, primarily

(less

destroyers and submarines, of the widely dispersed Asiatic Fleet)

and

fifty

belonging to our

the Netherlands, Japan

allies,

was able

the British

to muster

Commonwealth and

two hundred and

thirty

combatant

ships

superiority,

Japan possessed two other priceless ingredients for

ing a

war



of

every

tactical position

category.

In

and surprise

addition

to

attack. Thus,

"the day that will live in infamy," the Imperial Japanese

numerical start-

by noon of

Navy

held a

Pearl Harbor to the

10

End

Malay Barrier

in the

mastery over the -greatest of oceans that would

last for

the next six

months.

There were two United States Navy task forces

at sea

December

7,

One task force, commanded by Rear Admiral John Henry Newton in the heavy cruiser Chicago, was formed around the aircraft carrier Lexington and was Midway bound on a search and battle 1941.

problem; the other, under the redoubtable Vice Admiral William F.

Halsey

in Enterprise,

deliver a cargo of

was

secretly steaming

Wake

toward

Island to

Marine fighter-plane reinforcements. At

were seven heavy and

light cruisers patrolling to the

sea, too,

south and south-

westward, while the main body of the United States Pacific Fleet, carriers

The



eighty-four warships

first

—was based

at Pearl

shot of the war was fired at 6:45 a.m.,

and a quarter

after the old, four-stack destroyer

less

Harbor.

more than an hour

Ward had

sighted the

periscope of a midget submarine operating in a restricted area just Pearl

outside

tenant William patrol

when

Ward was under

Harbor.

W.

contact was made.

By

the time Outerbridge

the warship to General Quarters and had gotten craft

her

had disapppeared. Ward remained sound

gear.

command

the

Seventy-five

minutes

up speed,

called

with

contact

was

later

surface

(He

radioing Pearl Harbor that he intended to attack. firing

had

the strange

in the area, searching

regained and Outerbridge passed the word to his No.

had qualms about

Lieu-

of

Outerbridge, and she was returning from a night's

1

gun, after

quite naturally

on an unidentified vessel although under

orders to do so since the submarine was in a restricted area. )

The

first

round drove the submarine down. Simultaneously, Ward dropped a string of

depth charges over the spot where lookouts had

periscope. Thereafter, Outerbridge informed Pearl that he It

had completed

last

seen the

Harbor by radio

his attack.

was now almost 7 a.m. Japan's

first strike,

launched by aircraft

carriers Akagi, Hiryu,

Kaga, Soryu, Shokaku and Zuikaku

predawn darkness, was

nearing the coast of

The by the

story of the epochal attack brilliant journalist,

is

in the

Oahu.

here told in three parts, the

first

John Toland, whose But Not In Shame, a

documented assessment of the Pacific, stands as a classic of

first

six

months of the war

dramatic reportage.

in the

JOHN TOLAND

I.

PEARL HARBOR ATTACK

cumulus clouds collected around the peaks of the mountain ranges east and west of Pearl Harbor on Sunday morning. But over the great naval base, lying in the valley between, were only a few

Banks

of

scattered clouds. Visibility

was good and

a

wind of 10 knots blew

in

from the north.

At 7:45 a.m. area.

several civilian pilots were lazily circling over the

There wasn't a

single military ship visible. Eighteen planes ap-

proaching from the carrier Enterprise were scheduled to land at Ford Island within the hour.

The only Army Air Corps

planes aloft in the vicinity were the 12

Flying Fortresses from California earmarked for MacArthur. They

were due to land Island, in about

one was on

at

Hickham

patrol. Still

bunched together wing

on four-hour

tip to

wing

Hickham, Bellows and Wheeler

Ewa. Of patrol

all .

.

Field,

several miles south of

an hour. But of the Oahu-based

Army

notice, they

were

tip for security against

Fields.

Ford

planes, not all

tightly

saboteurs at

So were the Marine planes

the military planes in Hawaii, only 7

at

Navy PBY's were on

.

About 25

miles to the northwest Japanese pilots in the leading

attack planes were marvelling at the peaceful green scene below

them.

The

entire island

seemed

to

be lazing luxuriantly in the early

11

Pearl Harbor to the

12

Not even

sun.

mass of ships

End

in the

Malay Barrier

smoke was coming up from

a trace of

the motionless

Harbor.

in Pearl

At 7:49 a.m. Commander Fuchida from

bomber "TO TO TO." Four minutes later the great naval base was spread out below him like a huge relief map. It looked exactly as he had imagined. Still no fighters were climbing up to challenge; nor was there a single mushroom explosion of anti-aircraft fire. It was unbelievable. They had achieved gave the attack signal in Morse £©de,

his high-level

.

.

.

.

.

.

complete surprise.

Even before

TORA

.

.

.

a single

TORA"

bomb dropped he now

(Tiger).

"TORA

radioed:

.

.

.

The repeated word was heard by Ad-

Nagumo. It was also heard directly on board the Nagato, at Combined Fleet Headquarters in Japan. When the message was miral

brought to

The

Yamamoto he

said nothing, his face betrayed

other officers spontaneously cheered

was read aloud. The Nagato was engulfed

"We

decoded meant: Still all

no bomb had

was quiet

At

in the

have succeeded

when

no emotion.

the laconic message

in excitement.

The message

in surprise attack."

Except for the roar of approaching planes

fallen.

Honolulu area

.

.

.

same moment, near the center of the island of Oahu, Japanese fighters and bombers began to dive on the Army's Wheeler that

Field, adjacent to Schofield Barracks.

Second Lieutenant Robert Overstreet, of the 696th Aviation Ordnance Company, was sleeping

in the two-story

wooden BOQ. He was

awakened by a terrific noise. At first he thought it was an earthquake. "Looks like Jap planes," he heard someone shout. "Hell, no," said someone

"It's just

else.

Overstreet's door

Skawold, looked

in.

a

Navy maneuver."

opened and an old His face was white,

friend,

Lieutenant Robert

his lips trembling. "I think

Japs are attacking." Overstreet looked out the window, saw planes circling overhead.

They seemed

to be olive drab.

close he could see the pilot

wing

tips

were flaming red suns.

of the barracks

group of

One dove on

the barracks,

and a rear gunner.

and headed for

He

On

coming so

the fuselage and

finished dressing as he ran out

his organization.

Soon he came onto a

fighter pilots.

"We've got

to get

down

to the line

tards," shouted one, Lieutenant to the burning hangars

and tag some of those bas-

Harry Brown. Another

and the ramp. There the

planes were already ablaze.

pilot pointed

closely

grouped

Pearl Harbor Attack

13

Brown. This was an auxiliary

"Let's go to Haliewa," said

field

on

where a few P-40's and P-36's were kept. Brown and new Ford convertible and left.

the north coast

several other pilots piled into his

Lieutenants George Welch and Kenneth Taylor followed in the

lat-

ter's car.

Hundreds were milling around

in

shocked confusion as bombs

and buildings erupted. Overstreet weaved toward the permanent quarters area.

Howard Davidson,

General

On

the fighter

way through

his

the Circle he

the

fell

mob

saw Brigadier

commandant, and Colonel

William Flood, the base commander, standing by their front doors in pajamas, staring at the sky, their faces aghast.

"Where's our Navy?" said Flood. "Where're our fighters?" "General," shouted Overstreet, "we'd better get out of here. Those

He

planes have tail-gunners."

horror

it

was

ran toward the ordnance hangar.

in flames. Inside

ammunition ticketed for Midway

Island.

At 7:55 a.m

a

Conway

Hickham

flight line at

said,

"Wheel,

it

.

.

and Ted Conway were walking

As

Field.]

"We're going to have an

Gaines noticed something alarm that

.

V-formation of planes suddenly appeared from the

west. [Aircraft mechanics Jesse Gaines

toward the

his

Suddenly the hangar began

an endless row of huge firecrackers

to explode, like

To

were a million rounds of machine-gun

air

from the

fall

they began to peel

off,

show." first

plane.

He

guessed in

was a wheel.

hell, they're

As Gaines

Japs!" cried Conway.

bomb exploded among the The two men began to run toward "Hickham Hotel." Gaines saw some gas

"You're crazy," a

said,

neatly packed planes

on the

field.

the big three-storied barracks,

drums and dove behind them in a strafing attack, their

for protection. Fighters were

machine guns

The Japanese plan was simple but

spitting

now

orange flames

efficient. First, to

.

.

diving .

prevent an air

counterattack, the airfields were being systematically wiped out. In the

first

Army base,

A

few minutes the Navy bases, Kaneohe and Ford Island; the

bases, Wheeler, Bellows

Ewa, were

moment

alerted

all

and Hickam; and the lone Marine

but crippled.

after the first

bomb

fell,

the Pearl

Harbor

signal

Kimmel's headquarters by phone. Three minutes

tower

later,

at

7:58 a.m., the message heard around the world was broadcast by

Rear Admiral Patrick Bellinger from Ford Island: Air Raid, Pearl Harbor This is no drill.



Closely on

its

heels, at

8:00 a.m. Kimmel's headquarters radioed

14^

Pearl Harbor to the

Washington, Admiral Hart

End

in the

Malay Barrier

in the Philippines

and

all

forces at sea:

Even as the messages were diving on the main target, Battleship torpedo planes were

Air raid on Pearl Harbor. This going out,

is

no

drill.

Row. Admiral C. C. Bloch was shaving

He thought workmen were

at his quarters in the

Navy Yard.

blasting in the nearby stone quarry.

When

the explosions continued he told his wife, "I'm going outside and see

what that noise plane in flames.

He

is."

He

ran out the front door. Overhead he saw a

went back into the house. "The Japanese are

bombing us. I've got to get to the office. Don't stay down here." At the naval housing unit adjacent to Hickham Field, First Class Metalsmith Lawrence Chappell was in bed. A plane roared overhead.

"What dow.

"It's

are those planes?" asked his wife, starting toward the win-

Bomber

too late for the

Patrol."

"Probably stragglers."

"The Rising Sun! The Rising Sun! Japanese!"

cried Mrs.

Chap-

pell.

"You're

foolish,

go back to bed." Another plane roared over and

Chappell went to the window.

A

torpedo plane swept by, so close he

could see the pilot turning around, unconcerned.

and ran

outside.

billows of black

Now

he heard anti-aircraft

smoke

rising

Kimmel was watching

fire

He

hurriedly dressed

and saw flames and

from Pearl Harbor.

the torpedo attack

from the

hill at

near his quarters. Short was standing on the lanai of his

Makalapa

home near

Fort Shafter watching the billows of smoke in the west and wondering

what was going on

The smoke was

at Pearl

rising

Ford Island where seven

Harbor.

from Battleship Row, on the

east side of

battleships, the heart of the Pacific Fleet,

were moored. They were not protected from

aerial torpedoes

by nets

because of Pearl Harbor's 40-foot depth. This matter had been

consulted.

dis-

Kimmel and Stark. Even the British had been Everyone agreed a minimum depth of 75 feet was neces-

many

cussed

times by

sary for torpedoes.

This unanimous conclusion was surprising since the British themselves

had made a successful plane attack on the

Italian fleet

at

Taranto the previous year with specially rigged torpedoes. The Japanese bombers diving on Battleship

Row

were proving as clever as the

British.

They were dropping torpedoes with

wooden

fins, specially

ingeniously constructed

designed for shallow water.

.-'-

17

Pearl Harbor Attack

Not

far

from Battleship Row,

Yeoman

C. O. Lines of the

oil

Ramapo was in the crew's quarters. Boatswain's Mate Graff down the ladder. "The Japs are bombing Pearl Harbor!" he The men in the room looked at him as if he were crazy. "No fooling," he said. Someone gave

"No

crap.

a

Bronx

rushed yelled.

cheer.

Get your asses up on deck!"

Lines hurried topside to the

Then he heard

as usual.

tanker

He

fantail.

a dull explosion

thought Graff was ribbing

and saw a plane dive toward

the battleship California.

She was the

seven big vessels in Battleship Row.

last of the

torpedoes hit her almost simultaneously. list

and began to

entire lower deck.

minutes

oil

Her

settle.

The

Two

ship took an 8-degree

fractured fuel tanks began to flood an

Bombs now

fell

and

half a

dozen

fires flared.

In

gushing from the ruptured ship burst into flame. She was

surrounded by a wall of

fire.

The word was passed: Abandon

ship.

tandem formation, were the Maryland and Oklahoma. A hit the Maryland because she was berthed inboard, next to Ford Island, and was protected by her mate. But the outboard ship, the Oklahoma, was hit by four torpedoes within a minute. As Ahead,

in

torpedo couldn't

she

listed

to

Commander

port,

Kenworthy,

Jesse

senior

aboard, ordered the ship abandoned over the starboard

officer

side.

He

calmly walked up the ship's side over the blistered ledge and then over the bottom. Soon the ship settled, the water. filling

safe

starboard propeller out of in the rapidly

compartments.

Next West

its

Below more than 400 men were trapped

in

Battleship

Row came

from torpedo attack

.

.

.

THE DAY BEGAN ABOARD THE AIRCRAFT CAR-

AT

SEA,

rier

Enterprise at

first light

rine fighter planes, the

two planes departed Halsey's

another pair, the Tennessee and

Maryland, the Tennessee was inboard and

Virginia. Like the

staff.

when

she sent off her complement of

new Grumman F4U's. Soon for

Ford Island

Twelve minutes

later

back to Pearl Harbor), the other

in

after, at

6:15 a.m.,

member of heading now was

order to land a

(the carrier

aircraft of Scouting Six

the naval base. During the next hour, Halsey shaved fresh uniform in his flag quarters; he

Ma-

was

still

departed for

and put on a

there' at 7:55 a.m.

1

End

Pearl Harbor to the

8

in the

Malay Barrier

when Lieutenant H. Douglas Moulton, his flag secretary, answered the phone from the Radio Room: Pe£rl Harbor was under air attack! Halsey jumped to

dismay.

his feet in

Meanwhile, the planes of Scoutfng 7 Six had started to arrive over

One

Pearl Harbor. carrier's

Radio

was Ensign Manuel Gonzales. In the

of these

Room

where Commander Charles Fox was on duty,

was

the frantic voice of the pilot

Don't shoot! This

is

distinctly

heard:

"Don't shoot!

an American plane!" There was no further com-

munication from Gonzales; nor was there any in due course from eleven other planes of the squadron.

A

heavy cruiser,

Loch

of the

fragmentation

The

New

bomb dropped

Commander Howell

Ammunition."

When

in

the

is

told

"We Reach

when

a

by Presbyterian Chaplain, Lieu-

war song, "Praise the Lord and Pass

the attack opened, Forgy

was

in his quarters

thinking about the sermon he was scheduled to deliver.

cided on

Southeast

were sustained

Forgy, whose legendary conduct during

the battle inspired the popular the

casualties

nearby and shrapnel raked her topsides.

story of the cruiser's fight

tenant

was moored

Orleans,

Navy Yard. Her only

He had

de-

Forward," based on Paul's words, "Forgetting

those things which are behind, and reaching unto those things which are before."

LIEUTENANT COMMANDER HOWELL M. FORGY, CH.

2.

"...AND PASS THE

AMMUNITION"

.

.

.

The heavy

cruiser

to another berth.

of the little

moved

There was

slightly.

A

tug was probably shifting us

noise challenging the tranquillity

little

Hawaiian morning, save a muffled

Irving

boy were running a

stick along

though the

tat-tat-tat as

one of those white picket

fences back home.

The

silence suddenly exploded into the deafening clang-clang-clang

of the general alarm. I

wondered why the

head the I

officer of the

fact that the general

deck could never get into

alarm was

consoled myself with the thought that

its

blunders, would bring the

his

on Sundays.

this "bust," as the

commander on

The clang-clang-clang continued of the bo'sun's pipe

not to be tested

Navy

calls

his neck.

stubbornly, and the

shrill

scream

beeped through the speaker.

"All hands to battle stations! All hands to battle stations!"

"This

But alert

I

is

no

drill!

This

is

wasn't buffaloed.

no

drill!"

We knew

that the

army had been on an

throughout the islands until the previous night. This must be

some admiral's

clever idea of

how

to

make an

off-hour general quar-

ters drill for the fleet realistic. I

bucked a

line of

Marines hurrying up the ladders through the

hatch to their battle stations at the machine-guns and

AA

batteries

topside.

19

C.

20

End

Pearl "Harbor to the

The Leathernecks were

Malay Barrier

in the

on

pulling

their jackets

and panting un-

printable things about general quarters as they scampered upward.

GQ—especially

Every one grumbled about

at this hour,

when

their

Sunday-morning-after-Saturday-night Rberty was interrupted so abruptly.

Down

in the innards of the ship

against the side of the hull. That

could hear a rhythmic thudding

I

meant the

of other vessels in the harbor were firing.

Maybe

tat-tat-tat again. I

it

five-inch anti-aircraft guns

I

was machine-gun

my

sauntered into sick bay,

Behind me, cinching up

I

could hear that

fire.

battle station.

his tie,

ward Evans, senior medical

thought

came Lieutenant Commander Ed-

officer.

His face appeared worried as he

stepped through the door.

"What's

it all

The sound

about,

Doc?"

asked him.

I

of the guns of the other ships kept beating through the

steel sides of the

New

Orleans.

It

sounded

like a

Hollywood version

of jungle tom-toms.

know," he

"I don't

out of the sky. I

told

He

him

noise

said, expressionless. "I just

saw a plane

falling

was burning."

thought that was carrying a

gave his head a

little

pretty far.

drill

twist to the side

know, Padre. This might be the

"I don't

We

I

It

and looked beyond me. real thing."

stood there a minute, just saying nothing and listening. The

was

increasing,

and we knew more ships had begun

firing.

We

pumping of the pompom guns as they joined in They sounded like some one trying to say "pawm-pawm" mouth half-closed.

heard the

fast, dull

the racket.

with his

"I think

I'll

run topside and take a look,

if

you don't mind,"

I

told

him. I

moved

room. I

quickly this time. Faster than

Much

when

I

came down from my

faster.

ran to the well deck, where

I

could get a clear view of the

harbor.

Off our starboard quarter, about five hundred yards, the mighty oily smoke thousands The water around her was dotted with debris and

Arizona was sending a mass of black,

of feet

into the air.

a

of bobbing, oil-covered heads.

I

could see hundreds of

men

mass

splashing

and trying to swim. Others were motionless. Flashes of orange-red flames snapped out of the against the jet clouds ascending

all

AA

along Battleship Row.

guns, bright

and Pass The

cage-like foremast of the Arizona

a crazy,

Ammunition"

the

poked through the smoke

at

—looked

as

drunken angle.

The Weavie



that's

21

what we called the West Virginia

though her back had been broken. She was sagging amidships, and

bow and stern angled upward. Forward of the Weavie the Oklahoma's main deck was disappearing beneath the water. She was rolling on her side, and her big bottom

her

was coming up. water.

I

could see hundreds of her crew jumping into the

Dozens of others were crawling along her exposed

side

and

bottom, trying to keep up with the giant treadmill. Off our starboard

beam

heard the drone of airplane motors.

I

a Jap dive-bomber gliding

down toward

Battleship

to be loafing in, deliberately taking his time to pick out just

wanted to the

saw

what he

hit.

my

couldn't take

I

I

Row. He seemed

bombs drop out

eyes off him.

I

followed him

down

until I

of his belly. Sticking out of the cockpit

helmeted head of the Jap

saw

was the

There was something mocking about

pilot.

the big rising-sun balls under the wings of the plane.

Minutes seemed to

tick

away while

the

bombs moved downward.

gaped with a sense of fascinated helplessness.

I

I

couldn't resist trying

bombs before they hit. They were coming down for the big battleship California. The bombs hit her amidships, right by the stacks. A flash, fire and smoke jumped into the air all at once. The Jap opened his throttle wide and raced away from his victim with a terrific roar. Now our own guns began thundering in my ears. The sky all around the plane was laced with streaming trails of tracers. The Jap couldn't get through that stuff but he did. More planes came, one after another. With a sort of abandon, they

to reach out to stop those



floated

by

in slow, aggravating glides, right

our noisy barrage of I

wondered

if

through the very center of

AA fire.

the devil himself could have

against our shells.

What was

this

new, horrible,

immuned evil

these planes

power

that turned

Pearl Harbor into a bay of terrible explosions, smoking ships, flames,

and death?

Coming from sloped into It

fleet

its

seemed

the direction of

Diamond Head, another Jap bomber

glide.

as though every

nozzled a cone of

right place this time.

fire at

The

gun of the it.

The

New

Orleans and the entire

wall of exploding steel

plane's dive

became

steeper,

and

was it

in the

tumbled

Pearl Harbor to the

22 ^

out of the sky.

A

End

in the

Malay Barrier

long ribbon of black crepe trailed out behind

the plane disappeared.

crashed

It

it

as

backyard of Naval Hospi-

in the

tal.

We'd

They could be hitf The men around me on

got one!

I felt better.

the well deck and the sweating

gun crews on the quarterdeck above shouted

touchdown of

the day.

I

guess

I

like

freshmen

at the first

shouted and screamed as loudly as

any one.

He

Mike Jacobs, master the string of smoke in

the sky and drawled, "I guess chaplains can

cuss like bo'sun's mates

when they have

Maybe he was

at

arms, was standing near me.

grinned

at

to."

right.

Lieutenant Francis Lee Hamlin, handsome and wiry main battery officer,

moved

alongside me. With the ship's big guns useless against

swarms of Jap

the

drone

in,

drop

planes, he stood as helpless as

their loads,

and scream

off

I,

toward the

watching them

sea.

"Padre," Lee said, grinning under his long, dark-brown hair, "I figure

if

the

Lord

look after you.

If

is

going to look after any one in

you don't mind,

knew Lee was only

I

I'll

this,

He's going to

stick close by."

kidding, but as

ran toward sick bay on the

I

double, he was close behind me.

The passageway below was sounds on the

steel

deck.

dark, and our heels

No

on the dock decided we might want

to get

burst of misguided initiative he had cut



ship)

including the

power

under way

all lines

"We'd

better

dog down the ports

we took a hit. The wardroom had

since

from the dock to the

into the

in there,"

I

wardroom.

heard Lee

holler.

port-holes not only invited the machine-gun bullets of the Jap

strafers above, but they if

in a hurry. In a

line.

Far forward we could see sunlight pouring

Open

made weird hollow

were burning, because someone

lights

I

would provide an easy entrance for sea water

a queer, deserted appearance.

had been aboard there were no

linen-covered chairs.

The

felt table

For the

first

time

officers sitting in the white,

tops reflected the sunlight in a

green flood against the gray walls.

Only "Deacon" Smith, the stocky

He was

little

Negro mess-boy, was

in the

work closing the ports and dogging them against the awful panorama outside. Lee and I slammed others shut, and the room grew darker and darker. It seemed there was no one in the world but the three of us. room.

already at



23

and Pass the Ammunition

.

Things were running through our heads so rapidly that none seemed

enough for us

to stop long

We

could

it

last

let-

pump-

wondered how

—and how many seconds or minutes

or hours would

we and

pass until

guns, the

We

pompoms, and

long

AA

and the never-ending barking of the big

ting go,

ing

what they were.

to find out

heard the exploding bombs, the burning ships' magazines

the rattle of machine-guns.

the

New

terrifying funeral pyre that

Orleans would become a part of the

now was

Pearl Harbor.

Smith was working feverishly, and as he moved closer

I

could hear I

him singing. The cacophony

of the guns

and so did the throaty,

and bombs grew louder and louder,

rich baritone voice of the

young Negro.

"Swing low, sweet char-iot" the "Deacon" sang

in defiance of the

enemy's chariots swooping down with their deadly loads. " I little

A-comin'

fo' to car-ree

turned to Lee and

me home."

we both

Somehow we found

grinned.

mess attendant's music a beauty and a

"Swing low as his



faith

in the

renewed.

boomed out to new heights He had no way to shoot the enemy

" he sang on. His voice

own music

reassured him.

out of the sky, but he seemed to feel he could sing death away. I lost

Lee

and

in the pitch-darkness

felt

I

had seen

is

the real thing."

report to Dr. Evans what

in

my way

those few

bay to

to sick

minutes

terrible

topside.

Doc. This

"You're

right,

He was

pacing back and forth in the room, his face white and

grave.

The

noise from above had told

him more than

His instruments were ready, and so was he. breaking stream of broken into that

little

sick

before, in the First

bay

human

until this

I

could.

He knew

the heart-

beings that would keep coming

war was

history.

World War and during China

He had

seen

it

service.

Dr. Evans was a skilled veteran, ready but not eager for the bloodstained

months ahead.

Outside sick bay

named George. His

I

heard the booming voice of a big gunner's mate

red hair took on an eerie hue under the

dim blue

battle lights.

"Get those zine,"

lines

down

the hatch to the

maga-

he shouted.

Ropes tumbled through

the hatches

from the deck

to the cruiser's

bowels far below.

Suddenly the impact of our helpless, hopeless situation

hit

me.

We

I

Pearl Harbor to the

24

had been under

End

in the

Malay Barrier

temporary overhaul, and the ammunition hoists

a

were without power. The gunners topside were ducking machine-gun

and shrapnel, training

bullets

guns by sheer guts and sweat, and

their

they had no ammunition other than' the few shells in their ready boxes.

The sharp

Wood-

voice of barrel-chested young Lieutenant E. F.

head snapped through the foul clouds of expended powder smoke that were coming below through the

He was ret

gathering every

men, the repair

parties

ventilators.

man



in sight



the shipfitters, the big tur-

who had no

every one

specific job at the

moment. "Get over by that ammunition shells

hoist," he ordered.

"Grab those

and get them to the guns!"

The

big five-inch shells, weighing close to a hundred pounds, were

being pulled up the powerless hoist by ropes attached to their long, tube-like metal cases.

A

tiny Filipino messboy,

hoisted

it

who weighed few

to his shoulder, staggered a

started the long, tortuous trip

up two

little

more than the and grunted

steps,

flights of

shell,

as

he

ladders to the quarter-

deck, where the guns thirsted for steel and powder.

A dozen eager men lined up at the hoist. The parade

ammunition was

of

endless, but the cry kept

coming

from topside for more, more, more. I

saw a Jewish boy from Brooklyn reach for a shell before he had trip. The sweat from his face was

caught his breath from the previous

no longer coming

in big drops.

Now

it

was a steady stream that ran

along the ridge of his nose, splashed to his chin, and

fell

away. His

buckle under the punishing weight, but he wouldn't

legs tried to

let

them.

The boys were beginning to

tell

putting everything they had into the job, and

it

was

on them.

But no one complained. I

wished

I

good. fire

I

my

could boost one of the shells to

metal of the shell casing against

would be busy, and

my

shoulder.

The

cool

shoulder and neck would feel

feel better inside.

But

a chaplain cannot

a gun or take material part in a battle.

Yet those

devils

—coming

out of the sky without warning and send-

ing to their death thousands of violating every rule of

There was

little

men

of a nation at peace

God and man.

time for more reflection as

the quarterdeck above.

—were

I

climbed the ladders to

and Pass

the

25

Ammunition'

Minutes turned to hours. Physical exhaustion was coming to every

man

in the

human

endless-chain of that ammunition line.

They

strug-

gled on.

They could keep going only by keeping I

faith in their hearts.

slapped their wet, sticky backs and shouted, "Praise the Lord and

pass the ammunition."

PAT BELLINGER'S

Air Raid, Pearl

Harbor— This

is

no

Drill,

was picked up by a West Coast naval radio station and instantly relayed to Washington. It landed on the desk of Admiral Harold Stark, the Chief of Naval Operations, who immedisent at 7:58

a.m.,

Navy Knox. "My God," be true! This must mean the Philipwas no mistake, and Knox called the

ately burst into the office of Secretary of the

exclaimed Knox, "this can't pines!" Stark replied that

it

White House. President Roosevelt was lunching with Harry Hopkins. belief;

The

President's

first

in the

Oval

Room

was shocked

reaction

dis-

then he called Secretary of State Cordell Hull and told him the

news. In Honolulu, San Francisco, Washington, and

New

York, where

Japanese diplomats were frantically burning their secret papers, the reaction of the incredulity.

New

man

in the street

was one of unanimous rage and

But most had never heard of Pearl Harbor.

York's Radio Station

WOR

interrupted

uled broadcast of the Dodger-Giant football

game

its

regularly sched-

to flash the

news

to

listeners. In the same city's Carnegie Hall, announcer Warren Sweeney interrupted the Philharmonic, which was playing Shostako-

its

vitch's

Symphony No.l,

shortly with a record of

Among Row.

"The

who

bulletin.

He

followed this

Star Spangled Banner."

the best of the published Pearl

Walter Lord, ship

to repeat the

recounts in minute

Harbor accounts

is

one by

detail the catastrophe in Battle-

WALTER LORD ,-.?

3-

CAN'T KEEP THROWING

"I

THINGS AT THEM"

Up

in

the Maryland's foretop,

abandoned

his

Seaman

Leslie

Vernon Short had

hopes of a quiet morning addressing Christmas cards.

After a quick double-take on the planes diving at Ford Island, he

loaded the ready machine gun and hammered away

at the first

torpedo

planes gliding in from Southeast Loch. In the destroyer anchorage to the north, Gunner's

Bowe grabbed Tucker and

Mate Walter

a .50-caliber machine gun on the afterdeck of the

fired

back

Seaman George

Sallet

who was Navy Yard.

So did Seaman Frank Johnson,

too.

sweeping near the bridge of the destroyer Bagley

in the

watched the slugs from Johnson's gun tear into

a torpedo plane passing alongside, saw the rear gunner slump in the cockpit, and thought

Others were

firing

it

was

too



just like in the movies.

the Helena at

the sub base ... the Raleigh in the

1010 dock ... the Tautog

on the northwest

side of

Ford

Island.

at

Up

Nevada's "bird bath," a seaman generally regarded as one of

the less useful

members

of the crew seized a .30 caliber

and winged a torpedo plane headed

machine gun

directly for the ship. It

was

to be

an important reprieve ...

in

Another plane glided toward the Nevada. Again the machine guns her foretop blazed away. Again the plane wobbled and never

pulled out of

its

turn.

The men were wild with excitement just astern. The

plowed into the water alongside the dredge pipe

26

as

it

pilot

Keep Throwing Things

"/ Can't

Them"

and floated face up past the

frantically struggled clear

time they got him too

at

late.

ship.

27 But

this

Marine Private Payton McDaniel watched

the torpedo's silver streak as

He remem-

headed for the port bow.

it

bered pictures of torpedoed ships and half expected the Nevada to

two and sink enveloped

break

in

at

Just a slight shudder, a brief

all.

in flames. It didn't

Then she caught a bomb by Ensign Joe Taussig was

when

it

Almost absently he

that

way

the starboard anti-aircraft director.

his left leg

doorway,

tucked under his arm.

said to himself, "That's a hell of a place for a foot

and was amazed

to be,"

happen

to port.

at his station there, standing in the

Suddenly he found

hit.

list

Mate Allen Owens,

to hear Boatswain's

standing beside him, say exactly the same words aloud. In the plotting first felt

that

room

was

it

But

phone

circuit that his

The men on to think. She didn't offer

decks below, Ensign Charles Merdinger the drills he

began to seem

times.

it

five

all like

different

when he learned through

roommate Joe Taussig had been

was inboard of the



Vestal, but the

at

of

the

hit.

the Arizona, forward of the Nevada, hardly

had time

repair ship

little

home

almost right

nothing could stop the steel that rained

down from

much

—and

away

protection

Fuchida's horizontal bombers

a torpedo struck

now

overhead.

boat deck between No. 4 and 6 guns

Seaman

had been through dozens



it

A

came

big one shattered the in like a fly ball,

and

Russell Lott, standing in the antiaircraft director, had the

feeling he could reach out

and catch

it.

Another

No. 4

hit

turret,

scorched and hurled Coxswain James Forbis off a ladder two decks below.

went

The

PA

system barked, "Fire on the quarter-deck," and then

off the air for

good.

Radioman Glenn Lane and

shipmates rigged a hose and tried to fight the

They

fire.

rigged phones and tried to call for water.

No No

three of his

water pressure. power. All the

time explosions somewhere forward were throwing them off their feet.

Alongside, the Vestal seemed to be catching everything that missed the Arizona.

One bomb went through an open

through the ship, exploding as

it

No. 3 hold, and the ship began brig

howled

to be let out,

and

hatch, tore right

passed out the bottom.

settling at the stern.

finally

someone shot

A

It

flooded the

prisoner in the

off the

lock with a

.45.

Forward of

the Arizona and

Vestal, the

Tennessee so far was

holding her own; but the West Virginia on the outside was taking a terrible beating.

A

Japanese torpedo plane headed straight for the

Pearl Harbor to the

28

End

Malay Barrier

in the

casemate where Seaman Robert Benton waited for the crew.

He

torpedo

stood there transfixed

down

He

go'r up

.

.

.

rest of his

gun

couldn't.

The

move but

to

underneath and sent Benton and

hit directly

flying in opposite directions.

slipped

—wanted

his

headphones

ran across the deck

.

.

.

the starboard side of the ship to the armor shelf, a ledge

formed by the

ship's 15-inch steel plates.

ledge, he glanced up,

morning sun, the

saw the bombers

As he walked

bombs looked

falling

aft

Caught

this time.

along the

in the bright

for a fleeting second like

snowflakes.

The men below were spared such sights, but the compensation was Storekeeper Donald Brown tried to get the phones working in the ammunition supply room, third deck forward. The lines were dead. More torpedoes sickening fumes steeper list no lights. Men began screaming in the dark. Someone shouted, "Abandon ship!" and the crowd stampeded to the compartment ladder. Brown figured he would have no chance in this clawing mob, felt his way to the next compartment forward, and found another ladder with questionable.





no one near

it

at

all.

any higher. Nothing

Now

he was on the second deck, but not allowed

left to

do,

no place

else to

brushed a bunch of dirty breakfast dishes

down



go

off a

—he and

a friend

mess table and

sat

to wait the end.

Down

in the plotting

below the water

line



room



the gunnery nerve center and well

conditions looked just as hopeless. Torpedoes

were slamming into the ship somewhere above. Through an overhead hatch Ensign Victor Delano could see that the third deck was starting

Heavy yellowish smoke began pouring down through the The list grew steeper; tracking board, plotting board, tables, chairs, cots, everything slid across the room and jumbled against the port bulkhead. In the internal communications room next door, circuit breakers were sparking and electrical units ran wild. The men to flood.

opening.

were pale but calm.

Soon

oily

water began pouring through the exhaust trunks of the

ventilation system.

Then more yellow smoke. Nothing

be done, so Delano led

damage

his

men forward

further could

to central station, the ship's

control center. Before closing the watertight door behind

him, he called back to

make

sure

no one was



oil-drenched electrician's mates showed up

left.

hurled through the hatch from the deck above. trician Charles T.

From nowhere six somehow been

they had

Then Warrant Elec-

Duvall called to please wait for him.

trouble and Delano stepped back into the plotting

He sounded

room

in

to lend a

Keep Throwing Things

"/ Can't

hand. But he slipped on some

oil

and

at

Them"

29

across the linoleum floor,

slid

men ended

bowling over Duvall in the process. The two

in a tangled

heap among the tables and chairs now packed against the "down" side of the

They

room.

on

couldn't get back

crawling didn't work



they

was everywhere. Even

their feet; the oil

still

got no traction. Finally they grabbed

row of knobs on the main battery switchboard, which ran all the way across the room. Painfully they pulled themselves uphill, hand over hand along the switchboard. By now it was almost like scaling a a

cliff.

In central station at lights

The

they found conditions almost as bad.

some

auxiliary

took hold. Outside the watertight door on the lower

side, the

dimmed, went

circuit

last,

water began to

and shooting

rise

out,

.

.

.

came on again

spouting through the cracks around the edges

hose through an

like a

for a while as

hear the pleas and cries of the

men

air-test

opening. Delano could

trapped on the other

side,

and he

Commander J. S. Harper, damage control officer, had to make: let the men drown, or open door and risk the ship as well as the people now in central station.

thought with awe of the decision Lieutenant the

the

The door stayed

closed.

Delano suggested

He was

answer. the ship

and

to

Harper that he and

For the moment Harper

useful topside.

his

men might be more

didn't even

have time to

desperately trying to keep in touch with the rest of

direct the counterflooding that

might save

it,

but

all

the

were dead.

circuits

The counterflooding was done anyhow. Lieutenant Claude V. Ricketts had once been damage control officer and liked to discuss with other young officers what should be done in just this kind of situation.

among

More

or less as skull practice, they had worked out a plan

themselves.

Now

to

work

the knobs

to starboard

and

and

own who knew how

Ricketts began counterflooding on his

hook, helped along by Boatswain's Mate Billingsley, valves.

settled into the

The West Virgina harbor

mud on

slowly swung back

an even

keel.

There was no time for counterflooding on the Oklahoma, lying ahead of the West Virginia and outboard of the Maryland. Lying directly across

from Southeast Loch, she got three torpedoes

right

away, then another two as she heeled to port. Curiously,

many

of the

men

weren't even aware of the torpedoes.

Seaman George Murphy only heard

the loud-speaker say something

about "air attack" and assumed the explosions were bombs. Along

End

Pearl Harbor to the

30 with*

hundreds of other

trooped

armor

down

in the

men who had no

to the third deck,

plate that covered the

Malay Barrier defense stations, he

air

now

where he would be protected by the

deck above. Seaman Stephen Young

never thought of torpedoes either, and he was even relieved when the

water surged into the port side of No. 4 turret powder handling room.

He assumed that someone was finally bomb damage to starboard.

counterflooding on that side to

offset

The water increased.

rose

Now

.

.

.

emergency

the

went out

lights

.

.

the

.

list

everything was breaking loose. Big 1000-pound shells

rumbled across the handling rooms, sweeping men before them. Eightfoot reels of steel towing cable rolled across the second deck, block-

The door of the drug room swung open, and Seaman Murphy watched hundreds of bottles cascade over a couple of seamen hurrying down a passageway. The boys slipped and rolled through the broken glass, jumped up, and ran on. ing the ladders topside.

On

men

the few remaining ladders,

main deck.

compartment,

just a

few steps from open

men would

exploded outside,

surge

down

another crowd that surged up. Soon

only

—one

still

trying.

to

He

move

stood off to

on the corridor

wall, the

machine shop on

way

third

out.

He and some

mates

deck amidships when the

reached 60 degrees. Someone spied an exhaust ventilator leading the

way

to the deck,

reached fresh inside,

air,

an

in

his footing.

L. L. Curry had a better

in the

Every time something

was impossible

foot on deck, the other

way he could now keep

Yeoman were

it

air.

to S Division

the ladder, meeting head-on

Seaman Murphy gave up even

either direction.

the one side

battled grimly to get to the

was a regular log jam on the ladder

It

list

all

and one by one the men crawled up. As they officer

ran over and tried to shoo them back

where they would be safe from bomb

splinters.

That was the

big danger, he explained: a battleship couldn't turn over.

Several

hundred yards aheard of the Oklahoma

alone at the southern end of Battleship

her

first

from

torpedo

at 8:05.

Yeoman

his station in the flag

porthole shut as

it

Row

Durrell



— and

moored

the California caught

Conner watched it come office. He slammed the

communications

struck the ship directly beneath him.

Another crashed home farther

aft.

There might

as well

have been



more the California was wide open. She was due for inspection Monday, and the covers had been taken off six of the manholes leading to her double bottom. A dozen more of these covers had been loosened. The water poured in and surged freely through the ship. It

swept into the ruptured fuel tanks, contaminating the

oil,

knock-

Keep Throwing Things

"I Can't ing out the

power plant

compressor

station,

right away. It swirled into the

come with them. He and give them

stay here

The other men

air as

room

men

forward

air

meant

is

my

station



I'll

long as the guns are going." They

him have

let

With the power gone, men desperately chain of

31

cleared out, calling

yelled back, "This

closed the watertight door and

tasks that were

Them"

where Machinist's Mate Robert Scott was trying

to feed air to the five-inch guns.

Scott to

at

his

way.

tired to

do by hand the

Yeoman Conner

for machines.

joined a long

passing powder and shells up from an ammunition

fumes from the ruptured fuel tanks made

far below. Stifling

work harder, and word spread that the ship was under gas attack. At the wounded collecting station in the crew's reception room Pharmacist's Mate William Lynch smashed open lockers in a vain search for morphine. Near the communications office a man their

Numb

knelt in prayer under a ladder.

men

around him,

to the chaos

"Now

another absently sat at a desk typing,

the time for

is

all

good

." .

.

Around

nobody noticed the

the harbor

From

eyes were glued on the Oklahoma. land, Chief Albert Molter

"slowly and stately ... as

California's troubles his

watched her gradually if



leaving her bottom-up

On

had passed

roll

over on her

all

Is-

side,

she were tired and wanted to rest." She

kept rolling until her mast and superstructure

eight minutes



bungalow on Ford

jammed

a huge dead whale lying in since the

first

torpedo

mud, the water. Only in the

hit.

Mate Harold North recalled how everyone had cursed on Friday when the Oklahoma tied up alongside, shutting off what air there was at night. Inside the Oklahoma men were giving it one more try. Storekeeper Terry Armstrong found himself alone in a small compartment on the second deck. As it slowly filled with water, he dived down, groped for the porthole, squirmed through to safety. Seaman Malcolm McCleary escaped through a washroom porthole the same way. Nearby, Lieuthe

Maryland

Electrician's

tenant (j.g.) Aloysius Schmitt, the Catholic chaplain, started out too.

But a breviary into the

in his hip

pocket caught on the coaming. As he backed

compartment again

to take

it

out, several

men

started for-

ward. Chaplain Schmitt had no more time to spend on himself.

pushed

three, possibly four, of the others

He

through before the water

closed over the compartment.

Some men

weren't even close to

alive nevertheless.

life

as they

They found themselves

to orient themselves to

knew

it,

but were

still

gasping, swimming, trying

an upside-down world

in the air

pockets that

End

32

Pearl Harbor to the

formed

as the ship rolled over. Seventeen-year-old

Malay Barrier

in the

Seaman Willard

Beal fought back the water that poured into the steering engine room.

Seaman George Murphy splashed about ship's dispensary

ceiling

.

.

.

.

the operating

never dreaming he was looking up at the

.

Topside, the

men had

it

easier.

As

tile

the ship slowly turned turtle,

ending up on the bottom.

roll, finally

of the

floor.

most of the men simply climbed over the starboard with the

room

wondering.. 'what part of the ship had a

.

and walked

side

When and how

they got

was pretty much a matter of personal choice. Some started swinghand over hand along the lines that tied the ship to the Maryland, but as she rolled, these snapped, and the men were pitched into the water between the two ships. Seaman Tom Armstrong dived off on off

ing

this side



watch stopped

his

from the outboard

at 8:10.

Tom's brother Pat jumped

Ma-

water after squeezing through the porthole on the second deck.

Gunnery Sergeant Leo Wears slid down a drowned when someone used him as a stepladder rine

launch. His friend Sergeant side of the ship to the it

Norman

slid

As Ingram a

bomb went

down

the

bottom of the

down

He

bomb

the forecastle,

her stack, but later examination showed

set off the

more

a

stalled

the

fire

than a "bang"

—but

—most

of the

men

the concussion

was

motor of Aviation Ordnanceman Harand

pickup truck as he drove along Ford Island.

Molter against the pipe banister of everyone

crashed through

and smoke mushroomed 500

There wasn't so much noise

"whoom"

seems more

intact. It

turret,

forward magazines.

In any case, a huge ball of into the air.

still

landed alongside the second

and

stripped to his

ship.

even the wire screen across the funnel top likely the

flat

into

Ingram climbed onto the

Bill

Arizona blew up. Afterward men said

hit the water, the

right

to climb into a

Currier coolly walked along the

high side just as the yardarm touched the water.

and

and almost

line

bow, hailed a passing boat, and stepped

without getting a foot wet. Ensign

shorts

off

Their third brother Terry was already in the

side.

his

It

say

was

terrific. It

Quisdorfs

hurled Chief Albert

basement

stairs.

It

on Fireman Stanley H. Rabe's water barge.

men

feet

it

knocked It

blew

Nevada Vance Fowler Commander Cassin Young off the Vestal Ensign off the West Virginia. Far above, Commander Fuchida's bomber trembled like a leaf. On the fleet landing at Merry's Point a Navy captain wrung his hands and sobbed that it just couldn't be true.

Gunner Carey Garnett and dozens

of other .

On

the Arizona, hundreds of

men were

.

cut

off the

.

.

.

.

down

ing flash. Inside the port anti-aircraft director

one

in a single, searfire

control

man

Keep Throwing Things

"/ Can't

simply vanished



Them"

at

was through

the only place he could have gone

narrow range-finder

On

slot.

33 the

Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd

the bridge

and Captain Franklin Van Valkenburgh were instantly

killed.

On

the

second deck the entire ship's band was wiped out.

Over 1000 men were gone. Incredibly,

some

lived.

still

Major Alan Shapley

of the

Marine

detachment was blown out of the foremast and well clear of the

Though

partly paralyzed, he

swam

to

Ford

ship.

Island, detouring to help

two shipmates along the way. Radioman Glenn Lane was blown

off i

the quarter-deck

He

looked back

and found himself swimming

felt

skinned

his

where conditions were a around the guns there

and crammed

the third deck aft

and the No. 4

He and

thick smoke.

On

there.

alive,

mates

little

too.

finally

life.

room was

filling

moved over to No.

finally

better, but

The deck was

with

3 turret,

soon smoke began coming

in

stripped to their skivvie drawers

around the guns to keep the smoke

ordered them out, Forbis took

off his

shined shoes and carefully carried them in his hands as he turret.

oil.

Coxswain James Forbis

turret handling

The men

their clothes

When somebody

water thick with

Arizona and couldn't see a sign of

at the

But men were

in

blazing hot and covered with

oil.

out.

newly

left

the

But there was

a dry spot father aft near No. 4 turret, and before rejoining the fight,

Forbis carefully placed his shoes there. heels against the turret



just as

He

lined

them neatly with

the

though he planned to wear them up

Hotel Street again that night. In the portside anti-aircraft director, Russell Lott in a blanket

wrapped himself

and stumbled out the twisted door. The blanket kept him

from getting scorched, but the deck was so hot he had

to

keep hop-

ping from one foot to the other. Five shipmates staggered up through the smoke, so he stretched the blanket as a sort of shield for

Then he saw

the Vestal

still

alongside.

decks a shambles, but he found someone

men inched particular moment

one by one,

At

that

Vestal.

The

all six

blast

over to the

them

all.

left

her

The who

tossed over a line, and,

little

repair ship.

explosion had

they were lucky to find anyone on the

had blown some of the crew overboard, including

skipper Cassin Young, and the executive officer told the rest to aban-

Seaman Thomas Garzione climbed down a line over the came to the end of it, and found himself standing on the anchor. He just froze there he was a nonswimmer and too scared to jump the rest of the way. Finally he worked up enough nerve, made

don

ship.

forecastle,



the sign of the cross, and plunged

down

holding his nose. For a

Pearl Harbor to the

34

End

in the

nonswimmer, he made remarkable time

Malay Barrier

to a

whale boat

drifting in the

debris.

Signalman Adolph Zlabis dived

He and

hovering nearby.

off the bridge

and reached a launch

a few .others yelled encouragement to a

sailor who had climbed out on the Vestal's boat boom and now dangled from a rope ladder five feet above the water. Finally the man let go, landed flat in the water with a resounding whack. The men in the launch couldn't help laughing. Still on board the Vestal, Radioman John Murphy watched a long line of men pass his radio room, on their way to abandon ship. One of the other radiomen saw his brother go by. He cried, "I'm going with him," and ran out the door. For no particular reason Murphy

young

decided to stay, but he began feeling that he would like to get back

home

just once more before he passed on. At this point Commander Young climbed back on his swim in the harbor. He was by no means ready to

the Vestal call

stood sopping wet at the top of the gangway, shouting

swimmers and up

the

men

"Come

in the boats,

it

from

He

a day.

down

to the

back! We're not giving

this ship yet!"

Most hacked

tably, there yelled,

Young gave

of the crew returned and at the

orders to cast

off.

was confusion. One

"Don't cut those

officer

lines."

on the Arizona's quarter-deck

Others on the battleship pitched

and helped. Aviation Mechanic "Turkey" Graham slashed the

in

last

with an ax, shouting ,"Get away from here while you can!"

line

Other help came from an unexpected source. by,

Men

hawsers tying the Vestal to the blazing Arizona. Inevi-

whose skipper and

the Vestal.

They

and towed

their old ship off

safely

sit

When

A

Navy tug happened in many years on

had both put

chief engineer

loyally eased alongside, took a line

from the bow,

toward Aiea landing, where she could

out the rest of the attack. the Arizona blew up, Chief Electrician's

Mate Harold North

on the Maryland thought the end of the world had come. Actually he

was lucky. Moored inboard of the Oklahoma, the Maryland was from torpedoes and caught only two bombs. One was armor-piercing shell

bow, smashing

fitted

with

man

his extinguisher

an old petty

officer,

it

slanted

down

below the water

awnings on

fire.

When

a

15-inch

just off the port line.

The other

a strafer swept

One down a hatch, where it exploded at the who grabbed for a mask, shouting "Gas!"

George Haitle watched the

threw

feet of



into her hull 17 feet

hit the forecastle, setting the

by, Chief

fins

safe

firefighters scoot for shelter.

"/ Can't

Keep Throwing Things

at

Them"

35

The Tennessee, the other inboard battleship, had more trouble. Seaman J. P. Burkholder looked out a porthole on the bridge just as one of the converted 16-inch shells crashed down on No. 2 turret a few feet forward. The porthole cover tore loose, clobbered him on the head, and sent him scurrying through the door. Outside he helped a wounded ensign, but couldn't help one of his closest friends, who was wanted Burkholder to shoot him.

so far gone he only

Another armor-piercing bomb burst through No.

Bowen, stationed there

aft.

Seaman

just

dogging the hatch when the

at

S. F.

Just a ball of

all.

bomb

about the

fire,

as a

hit. It

3 turret farther

powder carman, was

wasn't a shattering crash

size of a basketball,

overhead and seemed to melt down on everyone.

It

appeared

seemed

to run

down on his skin and there was no way to stop it. As he crawled down to the deck below, he noticed that his shoe strings were still on fire.

Splinters flew in

all

directions

One hunk ripped the bridge down Captain Mervyn Bennion

from the bombs that of the

see.

He slumped

fense.

across the

hit the

Tennes-

West Virginia alongside, cut

as he tried to direct his ship's de-

sill

of the signal bridge door

starboard side of the machine-gun platform. Soon after he

Delano arrived on the bridge, having

finally

fell,

on the Ensign

been sent up from central

As Delano stepped out onto the platform, Lieutenant (j.g.) H. White rushed by, told him about the captain, and asked him to

station.

F.

do what he could. Delano saw

right

away

it

was hopeless. Captain Bennion had been

took no medical training to know the wound was fatal. Yet he was perfectly conscious, and at least he might be made more comfortable. Delano opened a first-aid kit and looked for some morphine. No luck. Then he found a can of ether and tried to make the captain pass out. He sat down beside the dying man, holding his head in one hand and the ether in the other. It made in the

hit

the

stomach, and

captain

it

drowsy but never unconscious.

moved

the captain's legs to

so

he could do.

little

As

more comfortable

Occasionally

Delano

positions, but there

was

they sat there together, Captain Bennion prodded him with

He asked how the battle was going, what the West Virginia was doing, whether the ship and the men were badly hit. Delano did

questions.

his best to answer, resorting every

now and

then to a gentle white

Yes, he assured the captain, the ship's guns were

Lieutenant Rickets

lie.

still firing.

now turned up and proved

a pillar of strength.



Pearl Harbor to the

36 Other

men

arrived too

Jacoby from the

in the

Malay Barrier

— Chief Pharmacist's Mate room 7

flag radio

Johnson from the

End

On

forecastle.

.

.

way

his

Leah

.

.

Ensign

.

Commander Doir

Lieutenant

up, Johnson ran across big

Doris Miller, thought the powerful mess steward might come in

handy, brought him along to the bridge. Together they tenderly

lifted

Captain Bennion and carried him to a sheltered spot behind the

He was still quite conscious and well aware of the He kept telling the men to leave him and save

conning tower.

flames creeping closer. themselves.

In her house at Makalapa, Mrs. Mayfield

had happened. She walked numbly

to a

miral Kimmel's house across the street.

and there was no sign of

closed,

ing It

.

.

.

activity.

would be some

surely there

couldn't grasp what

still

window and looked at AdThe Venetian blinds were

Somehow

sign of

was reassur-

this

was

life if it

really true.

morning when the ad-

didn't occur to her that this might be one

miral had no time for Venetian blinds.

By now Captain Mayfield was lows of coffee, slopping most of carport.

He

roared off as the

in the saucer,

CINCPAC

the admiral's house across the street.

and jumped

steps

in,

He

in his uniform. it

knotting his

tie

took a few swal-

and dashed for the

officer car

screeched up to

Admiral Kimmel ran down the

on the way. Captain Freeland

Daubin, commanding a squadron of submarines, leaped on the run-

moved

ning board as the car shot

down

the

hill

and Captain Earle's

Kimmel was

In five minutes Admiral in the

off,

station

wagon

after them. at

CINCPA

Headquarters

Com-

sub base. The admiral thought he was there by 8:05;

mander Murphy thought

it

was more

a very few minutes of his arrival, the

backbone of

his fleet

was gone

Arizona, Oklahoma, and West Virginia sunk

or immobile fornia sinking

like 8:10. In either case, within

.

.

.

Maryland and Tennessee bottled up by

battleships alongside

.

.

.

.

the

.

.

Cali-

wrecked

Pennsylvania squatting in drydock. Only the

Nevada was left, and she seemed a forlorn hope with one torpedo and two bombs already in her. Nor was the picture much brighter elsewhere. On the other side of Ford Island the

target ship

Utah took a heavy

engineering officer, Lieutenant

Commander

S.

list

to port as her

S. Isquith,

pulled his

khakis over his pajamas. The alarm bell clanged a few strokes and stopped; the

men

trooped below to take shelter from bombing.

Isquith sensed the ship couldn't

deck order

all

last,

hands topside instead.

and he had the

officer of the

Keep Throwing Things

"/ Can't

The men were amazingly cool being "bombed" by the

the

slid

When

every day.

up toward

rail

the starboard side

As he did it a third time, he slid by another seaman who he throw away the cigarettes. To Gilmartin's amazement he

back.

suggested

had been trying

to climb

up the

slanting deck while holding a cartoon

made

of cigarettes in one hand. Relieved of his handicap, he

starboard

As

to

Machinist's

main deck, he found the port

already under water. Twice he crawled

and

37

—perhaps because they were used

Army and Navy

Mate David Gilmartin reached

Them"

at

the

the

rail easily.

increased, the big six-by-twelve-inch timbers that cov-

list

ered the Utah's decks began breaking loose. These timbers were used to

cushion the decks against practice bombing and undoubtedly

helped fool the Japanese into thinking the ship was a carrier unexpectedly in port.

on the men

As

Now

down

they played another lethal role, sliding

trying to climb up.

she rolled

still

further,

Commander

below to find anyone who might

He managed

trapped himself.

still

Isquith

made

be trapped

a last check

— and

almost got

to reach the captain's cabin

where a

door led to the forecastle deck. The timbers had jammed the door; so he stumbled into the captain's bedroom where he knew there was a porthole.

reach

it

It

was now almost

directly overhead, but he

through the porthole, the bed broke loose and him.

He

managed

by climbing on the captain's bed. As he popped

fell

slid

out from under

back, but the radio officer, Lieutenant

Commander

Winser, grabbed his hand just in time and pulled him through. Isquith got to his feet, he slipped and

to

head

his

bumped down

L.

As

the side of the

ship into the water. Half dead with exhaustion, harassed by strafers,

he was helped by his crew to Ford Island. Others never

left

the ship

—Fireman John Vaessen

in the

dynamo

room, who kept the power up to the end; Chief Watertender Peter

Tomich

in the boiler

room, who stayed behind to make sure

his

got out; Lieutenant (j.g.) John Black, the assistant engineer,

jammed

his foot in his cabin door;

men who

Mess Attendant Smith, who was

always so afraid of the water.

Of

the other ships

Detroit were

still

Water swirled

on

keep her

Ford

Island, the Tangier

and

untouched, but the Raleigh sagged heavily to port.

into

No.

1

room, contaminated the gle to

this side of

afloat,

and 2 firerooms, flooded the forward engine

fuel oil,

knocked out her power. In the

no one even had time to

dress.

strug-

As though

went around that way every day, Captain Simons sported

they

his blue



End

Pearl Harbor to the

38 pajtfmas in red

aloha

.

.

.

Malay Barrier

in the

Ensign John Beardall worked the port antiaircraft guns

pajamas

.

.

others toiled in a weird assortment of skivvies,

.

and bathing trunks. Somehow they didn't seem even Signalman Jack FoeppeL ;watched Captain Simons in the

shirts,

odd: as

admiral's wing on the bridge, he only marveled that any

man

could be

so calm.

Ford

Island,

where

all

these ships were moored, was

itself in

chaos.

now working the place over, and most of the make themselves as small as possible. Storekeeper Jack Rogovsky crouched under a mess hall table nibbling raisins. The men in the air photo laboratory dived under the steel developing tables. Some of the flight crews plunged into an eight-foot ditch that

Japanese strafers were

men were

trying to

was being dug for gas

lines along the

edge of the runway. This

is

where Ordnanceman Quisdorf's unit was hiding when he and another airman arrived

in the

squadron truck. But they didn't know that

they thought they had been

behind

left

in a general retreat.

decided their only hope was to find a pair of channel, and hole

Nor was

there

up

swim

rifles,

They

the north

in the hills until liberation.

much room

for optimism in the

had

ships at the finger piers, the stern gunners

Navy Yard. On

the

a perfect shot at the

down Southeast Loch, but most of them had The San Francisco was being overhauled; all her

torpedo planes gliding little

to shoot with.

guns were

The

most of her large ammunition was on shore.

in the shops;

repair ship Rigel

was

in the

littered with scaffolding

anti-aircraft

The

little

and

same

fix.

was being

"limited availability" while radar

The

St.

Louis was on

installed; her topside

was

cable reels; three of her four five-inch

guns were dismantled.

Sacramento had

just

come out

of drydock, and in line

with drydock regulations most of her ammunition lockers had been

The Swan plugged away with her two three-inch guns, but a new gun earmarked for her top deck was still missing. A pharmacist's mate stood on the empty emplacement, cursing helplessly. The other emptied.

ships were having less trouble

On

all

these ships the

mates along Battleship Row.

and "big operator"

.

.

.

men had more

On

the

time for reflection than their

New

Orleans the ship's gambler

sat at his station, reading the

New

Testament.

(Later he canceled his debts and loans; threw away his dice.)

young engineer on the San Francisco



her boilers were dismantled

—appeared

John E. Parrott, "Thought

I'd

A

with nothing to do because

topside, wistfully told Ensign

come up and

die with you."

Machin-

"/ Can't

Keep Throwing Things

ist's

Mate Henry Johnson on

how

a rabbit felt

at

Them"

the Rigel remarked that

A

and he'd never hunt one again.

39

now he knew

few minutes

later

he lay mortally wounded on the deck. Their very helplessness turned

Commander Duncan Curry, bridge of the Ramapo firing

On

his face.

New

the

many

men from

of the

fear to fury.

an old Navy type, stood on the

strictly

a .45 pistol as the tears streamed

down

Orleans a veteran master at arms fired away

with another .45, daring them to

come back and

fight.

A

man

stood

near the sub base, banging away with a double-barreled shotgun.

A

young Marine on 1010 dock used

his rifle

Japanese-American boy about seven years old

The

butt of his old cigarette

noticed

As he

it.

fired

was burning

on the planes, while lit

his lips,

but he never even

away, he remarked aloud, "If

my

mother could

me now."

see

Ten-ten dock

itself

was a mess,

Helena and Oglala alongside. In the

with debris from the

littered

after engine

room

of the torpe-

doed Helena, Chief Machinist's Mate Paul Weisenberger fought check the water that poured hit

a

a cigarette for him.

had

to

through the ship's drain system. The

aft

also set off the ship's gas alarm;

its

steady blast added to the

uproar. Marine Second Lieuenant Bernard Kelly struggled to get

ammunition scientious

it was a damage or with con-

to the guns. In keeping a steady supply flowing,

tossup whether he had

damage

more

trouble with the

control men,

who

kept shutting the doors.

Topside was a shambles. The Helena's forecastle, which had been rigged for church, looked as

if

a cyclone had passed.

The

Oglala, to

starboard, listed heavily; her signal flags dropped over the Helena's

Row

bridge. Across the channel, Battleship

was a mass of flames and

smoke. Above the whole scene, a beautiful rainbow arched over Ford Island.

Just below

Downes

sat

destroyer

1010 dock, the Pennsylvania and 'destroyers Cassin and

Shaw

in the floating

yards to the west.

Lieutenant

Aboard

—or

there,

in

the Pennsylvania the

Commander James

checked here and

blow came

Drydock No. 1. Likewise the drydock, which was a few hundred

ominously unmolested

Craig,

the

men

ship's

waited tensely. first

lieutenant,

making sure they would be ready when the

at least as

ready as a ship out of water could be.

He

Mate Robert Jones and his damage control party to down on the deck. He warned them that their work was cut

told Boatswain's lie

face

out, It

and

to be prepared for the worst

.

.

.

was much the same on the ships anchored

in the harbor.

Radio-

End

Pearl Harbor to the

40

man Leonard

Malay Barrier

in the

Stagich sat by his set on the destroyer

on a

writing prayers

little

pad. In the transmitter

room

Montgomery of the aircraft

Radioman James Raines sat with three other men booming ^outside. No orders, so they just

tender Curtiss,

the steady

listening to

With the doors and portholes dogged down and the ventilaoff, it grew hotter and hotter. They removed their shirts and took

waited. tors

turns wearing the heavy headphones.

Still

no

They kept mov-

orders.

ing about the room, squatting in different places, always wondering

what was going on

From

outside.

time to time the

squawked meaningless commands to others on made them wonder more. Still no orders. But the most exasperating thing there. It

anchor was

to those at

move

took time to build up enough steam to

two hours for a larger

destroyer,

system

just sitting

— an hour

for a

Meanwhile, they could only

ship.

guns manually, dodge the

fire their

PA

the ship, which only

and watch (to use

strafers,

their

favorite phrase) "all hell break loose."

The

destroyer

Monaghan had

ready-duty destroyer, her

a slight edge

were already

fires

had been getting up steam since 7:50

Commander At

at a

moment

the

others.

time like

the

lit;

and then of course she and contact the Ward.

seemed

this, that

the destroyer

As

to go out

Burford would be able to take her out

Bill

minutes now, but

on the

Helm was

still

in

a

few

forever.

the only ship under

way. Twenty minutes had passed since Quartermaster Frank Handler genially first .

.

.

waved

explosion

low up the channel. After the

at that aviator flying

Commander

Carroll quickly sounded general quarters

swung her around from West Loch

sortie signal

.

.

.

and was now ready

Handler, he said, "Take her out.

I'll

.

.

.

caught Admiral Furlong's

to get

up and

go.

Turning

to

direct the battery."

Handler had never taken the ship out alone. The channel was tricky

— speed

limit

14 knots

most experienced hands.

up

to step her

repeated

it.

to

The

He

—and

the job

was always

400 rpm. The engine room queried ship leaped forward and raced

27 knots. To complicate

left

to the

took the wheel and rang the engine room the order and he

down

the channel at

natters, there wasn't a single

compass on

board; everything had to be done by seaman eye. But Handler had

one break

in his

Helm rushed

favor



the torpedo net

was

still

wide open. So the

on, proudly guided by a novice without a

compass

breaking every speed law in the book.

By stride

this

time Handler was

when

at

game

for anything; so he took

it

in his

8:17 he came face to face with a Japanese midget sub.

Keep Throwing Things

"/ Can't

He saw

it

Helm

as the

at

Them"

burst out of the harbor entrance

periscope, then the conning tower.

It



1000 yards

lay about

41 first

the

off the

down on the coral near the buoys. The Helm guns roared, but somehow they never could hit the sub. Finally it slid off the coral and disappeared. The Helm flashed the starboard bow, bouncing up and

news

to headquarters:

"Small Jap sub trying to penetrate channel."

up

Signal flags fluttered the

fleet.

From

all

over Pearl Harbor, telling the ships of

West

the bridge of the burning

Delano read the warning and sighed

to himself,

Virginia,

Ensign

my God

"Oh,



that

too!"

-^-•^-^--^^•^-^--

SIMULTANEOUSLY WITH THE STRIKE ON HAWAII, JAPAN Guam, Wake, Hong Kong,

attacked the Philippines, ing as far east as

Kota Bharu

Malaya

in British

Thailand, rang-

in a perimeter of

seemingly half the world; and in that area her naval might was bolstered by convoys in which tens of thousands of battle-hardened vet-

erans of the China campaigns longed to storm ashore and assert the

Emperor's

"Co-Prosperity Sphere."

will for a greater

of these troops

vanced bases

was

Guam

one of our

in the Marianas,

in the Pacific,

One

objective

tiniest ad-

which had been principally used by the

United States Navy for forty-two years as a communications center.

The

officers, five

was composed of 30 naval

officers,

seven

naval nurses, six warrant officers and 246

mem-

entire island garrison

Marine

bers of the Insular police



a less than minuscule force

which was

promptly overwhelmed in a few hours.

Next on the enemy's timetable for conquest came Wake Strategically important to

Roi and Namur Islands

Japan because

in the Marshalls,

weapon against them, the capture taken December 8 with a preinvasion air as a

Fleet.

While

this raid

killed several civilians,

for a fight.

The

of three light

it

destroyed it

many

did nothing to

and

of

Island.

was only 620 miles from as such could be used

Wake

strike

Island was under-

by the enemy's Fourth

of the island's facilities

dampen

and

the garrison's ardor

was followed up three nights later by the arrival cruisers and several destroyer transports, lifting 450 raid

and a small number of regular garrison However, accurate Marine gunfire drove off the flagship, light

special naval landing troops

troops.

cruiser Yubari. Closing to within

sustained

hits.

Other Marine

6000 yards

batteries,

of the beach, she twice

meanwhile, worked on the



Pearl Harbor to the

42

End

in the

Malay Barrier

destroyer transports with similar results, and the Japanese deferred

The Marine commander, Major Devereux, and

their landings.

opposite number,

Commander Cunningham, were

his

elated.

In Pearl Harbor at this time, a' "Wake Island relief expedition was formed under the command of Rear Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher

some

cruisers

and destroyers screening the

aircraft carrier Saratoga.

These departed December 16 and promptly ran into heavy weather; moreover, Fletcher's destroyers were badly in need of

hour period only three of

his tin cans

had

fueled,

fuel; in a ten-

and heavy seas

had parted several fueling hoses. Whatever the reason, Fletcher decided to abandon the expedition.

Wake fighter

was

Island

left

to fend

On December

and four heavy

from Kwajelein all

with a superb Marine

now

repaired,

Rear Ad-

came with two other

cruisers, plus destroyers, for gunfire support. In

enemy was sending over

the interim, the

had

itself

23, the Japanese returned, and in force.

miral Kajioka aboard the flagship, light

for

squadron and a handful of guns.

in the

devastating

Marshalls, and the attrition in

bomber

strikes

men and

planes

but exhausted Wake's capacity to fight on.

By 2:34

a.m.,

December

23, Kajioka was ready. His force effected

four simultaneous landings with

swarmed ashore and fanned

more than 1000

troops.

The enemy

out.

Within the hour Japanese troops had captured the hospital and the remains of the a con:erted

airfield;

then an air attack began which coincided with

bombardment by

The key events Cunningham and

the naval units.

of the island's capture are told by Winfield Scott his collaborator,

Lydel Sims.

Many

of the notes

which served to refresh Cunningham's memory were jotted down later,

while in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp.

REAR ADM. W. SCOTT CUNNINGHAM

WITH LYDEL SIMS

4-

WAKE

ISLAND SURRENDERS

The invaders grounded two of

Wake and

destroyer transports off the south shore

sent troops ashore

the beach at Wilkes. just east of the

Two

from both.

Two

other landing craft put

barges unloaded onto

men

ashore on

Wake

channel entrance. Other troops, as best can be de-

termined, landed on Wake's inner shore from rubber boats that entered the shallow lagoon from the northwest.

As fell

these landings began, the bulk of the active defense on

to mobile forces

comprised of Marines,

major portion of the defense

battalion's strength

the three-inch and five-inch guns.

toward the

airstrip

sailors

and

was immobilized

Each end airstrip's

The area from Camp One eastward

fifteen sailors,

and a considerable number of

Mate

civilians.

was guarded by machine-gun crews. Near the western end, Lieutenant Kliewer of the fighter squadron of the airstrip

took a stand with three others at the generator which was wired to off the

at

was defended by Lieutenant Poindexter and the

defense battalion's mobile reserve, augmented by Boatswain's

Barnes and

Wake

civilians, for a

mines along the

of the airstrip

strip.

The

set

three-inch gun on the beach south

was manned by Lieutenant Hanna and another Marine

civilians. A defensive line was formed around the gun by Major Putnam, other surviving members of the fighter squadron, and

and three

a dozen civilians.

These were the hot spots on

Wake

as the fighting began.

43

End

Pearl Harbor to the

44^

Hanna and

crew

his

Malay Barrier

in the

gun poured

at the three-inch

rounds

fifteen

one of the destroyer transports within minutes after

into

grounded, and then began

was

it

but the invasion troops

firing at ttje other,

were already swarming ashore. As they advanced on the gun position, Putnam's

defense line fought back, giving ground stubbornly

little

until at last

formed

it

around the gun. Some Japa-

virtually a circle

nese remained to contest the position while others proceeded past the

pocket and into the brush.

At Camp One, landing

approaching the channel were

craft

When

on by machine guns.

fired

they grounded on the reef offshore,

Poindexter, Barnes and others began throwing hand grenades. Barnes

scored one direct

hit just as the

troops began to disembark, but

One defenders grouped and fought Devereux had done it

was

landing, telephone

ing

A

back.

And

after the first

lost with

the defensive line under

Peacock Point.

to

hour

half an

communication had been

Hanna and

Lieutenant

was

maintain contact with his units, but

becoming impossible. Within

fast

Battery

his best to

it

Camp

not enough to stop them. They began to pour ashore as the

Camp

One,

Major Putnam, and

from Wilkes were becom-

reports

more and more fragmentary. We knew only that a considerable had landed there and was being resisted. Later, contact was lost

force

altogether.

From

Peale,

where no landings had been made,

the only area

Lieutenant Kessler reported by telephone that he could use one of his five-inch guns

on a destroyer

off

Wake.

I

him

told

authorized Captain Godbold to send some of his the fighting.

It

there too, but

could have been a mistake

we had

a real crisis

a possible one on Peale.

on

to

go ahead.

men down

I

also

to join

if

troops were about to land

Wake

that took precedence over

Accordingly, a truckload of

men under

Corporal Leon Graves came roaring down the north-south road and

were directed to go

in

confusion they never

up

sive line set

at

support of Major Putnam's group. But

made

it;

eventually they

Major Devereux's command

wound up

in a defen-

post.

In the midst of everything else, a ludicrous problem arose for deal with. as a lord

A

civilian

from

cook came boiling

that evil concoction

into

known

my command

It

post,

as "swipes" about

had been warned before the war began. He wanted tackle the Japs single-handed.

was quite

to

me

to

drunk

which

I

go out and

a while before

him quietly disposed of. Meanwhile the enemy was moving deeper

in the

we could

get

into the island

from

its

beachheads, and beginning to spread out through the brush. Lewis's

Wake

45

Island Surrenders

Battery E, inside the head of the wishbone, had been firing in answer

we were receiving from came under fire from invasion

to the steady shelling

the cruisers offshore;

now

troops.

his position

the point of the wishbone, motar

fire

began to

fall

And down

at

on the five-inch

gun positions of Lieutenant Barninger's Battery A.

At

the machine-gun setup on the eastern end of the airstrip, Cor-

poral Winford

and three

J.

McAnally was

civilians.

An

command

in

of a force of six Marines

hour before dawn he reported the enemy was

beginning to attack strongly up the north-south road that the invasion of our south shore



evidence either

had been successful or that the

Japs were landing at yet another spot.

By now

knew beyond doubt that the enemy had landed at three As yet no planes had arrived, but we could expect them by dawn. The offshore shelling continued without I

places and perhaps more.

letup.

Admiral Pye had asked me time to do

so.

At

Enemy on

keep him informed.

to

decided

I

it

was

messaged:

five o'clock I

island. Issue in

This message, interpreted as a

provoke great comment back

final

doubt.

gesture of defiance,

America when

in

it

was

appeared

to

in the

accounts of Wake's defense, but as a matter of fact no bravado was

At

intended.

the

moment

I

began

to write the dispatch, a phrase

read sixteen years before came into France's Revolt of the Angels.

upon

my

He was

mind.

It

I

had

was from Anatole

describing the assault

made

the heavenly ramparts by the legions of Satan. "For three days,"

he wrote, "the issue was

Why

doubt."

in

should have recalled those words at such a time

I

I

do not

know, but they seemed appropriate and even hopeful. In France's story, the victory

had gone

to the side of the angels.

knew we were outnumbered and outgunned, consider the prospect of defeat. the notion actually sank into

make

It

I

was

still

And

while

I

unable even to

would be more than an hour before

my mind

that

we might

not,

somehow,

out.

In one sector our forces were indeed making out, and would shortly

A

do

far better than that.

That was on Wilkes.

force of one hundred Japanese

defenders sailors

—Captain

and

civilians.

Piatt,

to

wipe out the

number

of

The enemy had captured Gunner McKinstry's

three-inch gun emplacements but their

had landed there

with seventy Marines and a

beachhead. Even as

I

sent

had been blocked from expanding

my

dispatch, Captain Piatt

was

reor-

ganizing his forces for a counterattack that, before seven o'clock,

46

Harbor

Pearl

would

was

It

at

killing at least

enemy, but

a substantial setback to the

dawn

Malay Barrier 94 and ending

to Wilkes.

until after the surrender.

one

in the

wipe out the invaders,

virtually

immediate threat

all

End

to the

Among

I

did not

the various reports

I

know

of

it

received was

that Wilkes had fallen.

This word came from observers on Peale, who were about a mile away from Wilkes across the lagoon. When daylight came they could

many places on Wilkes, and concluded had capitulated. As had no reason to question the

see Japanese flags displayed at that the islet

I

assumed

report, the

had to take into account But

Wilkes was one of the considerations

loss of

in sizing

Wesley

brilliantly as

up the

Piatt

I

situation.

had conducted

Wilkes was only a small fraction of the

his operation,

total defense,

still

and even the

truth about conditions there could not have altered the final outcome.

On

Wake, were concentrated most of the defenses and situation was steadily deteriorating. Each group of defenders was pinned down while the enemy enjoyed wide freedom of movement. As the build-up of enemy strength increased the pressure norththe big

islet,

and on Wake the

the defenders,

ward, chiefly against the machine-gun position held by Corporal

Mc-

Anally, Devereux ordered Major Potter to set up a final defensive line

command

south of his

And

as

dawn came,

But the unrelenting pressure continued.

post.

swarmed over

the carrier-based planes

us like

angry hornets.

Devereux and

I

had been

and each time he reported terms.

My own

word

picture even worse.

to

in regular

to

him

me

that

contact throughout the battle,

he described the situation

no

At 6:30, when

relief it

could be expected

appeared that

position not yet overwhelmed, he reported getting heavy

in

enemy

his

made

the

was the only

pressure there was

and gave the opinion that he would not be able

much longer. I knew the time had come

darker

to hold

out

to consider the question that only a

hours ago had been unthinkable. Accordingly, ion.

Would

and useless

I

be

up

loss of life?

to the

course, but

asked for his opin-

order to prevent further

justified in surrendering, in

Devereux evaded a solely

I

few

I

direct answer.

commanding

was not

He

officer.

I

said he felt the decision

was well aware of

was

that, of

willing to act without reviewing the situation as

fully as possible.

We

talked a while longer.

He

asked

if

I

knew

that Wilkes

had

Wake At

fallen. I said that I did. felt

last I

he could hold out no longer,

47

Island Surrenders

took a deep breath and told him I

if

he

authorized him to surrender.

hung up the phone and sent a final dispatch to the Commander in two destroyers grounded on the beach and the enemy fleet moving in. Then I had all codes, ciphers and secret orders deI

Chief, reporting

stroyed,

antenna.

and ordered the communicators to haul down our transmitter It would be too easy for the Japanese dive bombers to spot.

had no more messages to send. Devereux called me again about 7:30 and asked whether I had reached the Japanese commander by radio. I told him I had not He repeated his statement that he could not hold out much longer, and I repeated mine that he was authorized to surrender. He said he was

Besides, I

not sure of his ability to contact the enemy, and asked

promised to see what

But before

I

b

to

could do.

could do anything,

I

me

it

was

over.

all

Devereux

rig.g

and moved south down the road toward the enemy, giving our troops the cease-fire order as he reached them. I became aware that the surrender had begun when white

command

flag, left his

someone reported civilian hospital

I

post,

bed sheets could be seen

that

command post. men in my command

me

ished magazine, tossed

I

truck,

at the

my

I

post and could

talked out of the unfin-

.45 pistol into a nearby latrine, got into

and drove a

went, not south to the enemy, but north to the cottage

occupied in the early days of the defense.

damaged

but,

washed I got

my

It

face,

had been and

living in

put

on

a

debris. I took off the

night and

clean

had

I

was battered and badly

moving mechanically through the

dirty old khakis I

IN

above the

near Devereuxs

looked around

think of nothing to say. In a sort of daze

my

flying

brae

and

-

Then

uniform.

back into the truck, drove down the road, and surrendered.

THE PHILIPPINES

%S

AT PEARL HARBOR .AND WAKE.

first. To enemy ignored Ci:t Navj Yard upon the opening of and concentrated instead on General MacArtr Fai

the enemy's strategy was to destroy United States air power this

end, the

hostilities

m

i

same time marshalling his troop a multi-pronged amphibious invasion whose objective was the capture Faitfrrn .Air Force, while at the

of Manila.

On

the

first

s

day, a strong force of Japanese fighter planes



Pearl Harbor to the

48

End

in the

Malay Barrier

and medium bombers attacked Clark and the neighboring

Army

Forty seven American bombers and fighters were

fields.

against seven

enemy

planes.

At noon on December

air

as

lost

10, the Japanese

attacked again in the Manila area;' 'arid although a few P-35's and P40's roared off to engage them, the remnants of

Force were promptly overwhelmed. The Iba,

Nielson,

and Nichols

—were

airfields

Mac Arthur's

Air

north of Cavite

reduced to rubble, and almost

immediately afterwards, Cavite Navy Yard received the

full attention

of the Japanese squadrons.

The

story of this costly attack

lost in the

W.

Navy Yard

alone)

L. White. Uniquely,

fought in the

initial

it

is

is

(some 1500 Philippine

lives

were

recounted by the distinguished author,

told through the eyes of

Philippine battle.

The

first

to speak

PT men who is

Lieutenant

Robert B. Kelly; then Lieutenant John D. Bulkeley, winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor.



W.

WHITE

L.

THE PHILIPPINE EXPENDABLES



'The big alarm came at noon on December 10 we'd pulled up alongside a mine sweeper for water when word came that a large flight of Jap planes was headed toward the Manila area, coming from the direction of

We

Formosa.

water, and fifteen



I

away from the tender, out into open minutes later we saw them several formations pulled



counted about twenty-seven to twenty-nine planes in each

two-motor bombers



parade-ground formations, com-

lovely, tight,

ing over at about 25,000 feet. But,

thought,

I

when our

fighters get

up

there and start rumpling their hair, those formations won't look so pretty.

Only where were our

fighters?

and then we we felt the vibrations on our feet, even out there in the water, and we knew something was catching hell. But what? Manila? Maybe Nichols Field? Or even Cavite, our own base? We couldn't know." "I did," said Bulkeley laconically. "I was there, at Cavite. The

"The Japs passed on out

of sight over the mountains,

began hearing the rumble of bombs

—only

Admiral sent us a two-hour warning Formosa, and headed on down

in

first

that they

— from

were coming

our direction across Northern

Luzon.

"So we hauled our boats out into the bay. They kept beautiful formations, they

came

all right.

in at

The

first

big

V

and

fifty-four planes in

it,

and

about 20,000, with their fighters on up above to

49

Pearl Harbor to the

50 protect

End

Malay Barrier

in the



them from ours only ours didn't show! We couldn't figure it. swung over Manila and began to paste the harbor shipping.

First they

was a beautiful

remember the sun made rainbows on the waterspouts of their bombs'. They were from a hundred and fifty to two hundred feet high, and it made a mist screen so dense you could hardly tell what was happening to the ships. It turned out nothing much was they only hit a few. It

and

clear day,

I



V

"But then that big beautiful Cavite

—began

circling

'They were too high see the stuff

it

moved over

pivoted slowly and

like a flock of well-disciplined buzzards.

to see the

bomb bay

we could

doors open, but

drop slowly, picking up speed; only as we watched we

found we had troubles of our own. Because

bombers

five little dive

peeled off that formation, one by one, and started straight

down

for

us.

When

feet,

they leveled

off

and began unloading. Of course we gave our boats

full throttle

they were

and began

circling

down

and

to about fifteen

both to dodge the bombs and to get a

twisting,

Our gunners loved remember Chalker's face;

shot at them. Japs.

I

arkana



a shootin' Texas boy.

it



50's,

up

their first crack at the

He was

Houlihan,

mate from Tex-

pouring 50-caliber slugs up ice,

when we saw

off

down

who was

firing the

other pair of

a big splash. So

we know

wobbled down

just

the 35 boat got one.

all

at once,

into the drink with

Meanwhile the 31 boat

had shot down two more. After that the planes didn't bother the

MTB's. Guess the Jap

the

word around.

"It certainly surprised

torpedo boat could bring

pilots

back

I

at their

strafing

Formosa base passed

our navy too, which had never guessed a

down an

airplane. Later

message from Captain Ray, chief of

Dear Buck:

it

the plane wobble, and pretty soon she

the bay, weaving unsteadily, smoking, and

two or three miles away, she

at

but that long, straight,

was the same. They'd picked put one plane and were pouring

into the sky,

took

set.

was

it

he's a machinist's

them, cooler than a pail of cracked pointed jaw of his was

hundred

really think

your gang

latest report is that "three dive

over Mariveles Mountain by an

on

I

got a kidding

staff:

is

getting too tough.

The

bombers were seen being chased

MTB."

Don't you think

this is

carrying the war a bit too far?

"About

3

:

30 the Japs

left,

what had happened. They'd

so

we went on back

flattened

it



Here was the only American naval base

in to

Cavite to see

there isn't any other word.

in the

Orient beyond Pearl



The Philippine Expendables Harbor pounded

We

into bloody rubbish.

51

didn't have time then to

American planes could have been, because the

think about where our

we began loading

place was a shambles, and

wounded

in the

to take

Canacao hospital. The first boatload was all white Americans except one Negro from a merchant marine boat with a compound them

to

fracture







bone was

his shoulder

We

against his black skin.

whimper

did he



blood

and

it

looked brick-red

a very brave guy. There was half an inch of blood

on the landing platform feet, for

sticking out

put a tourniquet on him and never once

Canacao

at

—we could hardly keep on our — and aprons

as slippery as crude oil

is

the

of the

hospital attendants were so blood-spattered they looked like butchers.

"We went back big base

Only a piece

you could

of the

a

is

and offered

dock was

left,

see only jagged walls.

was directing the

He

to Cavite

tall

fire

man, a

more wounded. The

to carry

was one sheet of flame except

for the

ammunition depot.

and through the shimmering flames

Then we saw Admiral Rockwell but his head was

fine figure of a sailor,



day. In a dead voice he told us we'd better get out zine

was

liable to

—he

apparatus which was trying to save the depot.

go up any minute.

We

down

that the

that

maga-

him with us do what he could

offered to take

Mariveles, but he said no, his job was here, to

to to

save the magazines.

"So we picked up from the gutters and

we knew we would need

cans of food

streets a lot of

—they were from

the

bombed warehouses

stacked them in the boat, and set out."

"The weirdest thing

woman

—every

I

stitch

saw there," said Ensign Akers, "was a native

of clothing

blown

off

by a bomb, running

around screaming, completely berserk. But you could see she wasn't

wounded, and so everybody was too busy to catch her and calm her down. How she got there no one knew or even asked." "I

was back there a couple of days

New

York. "They were burying the dead

ing heads and arms and legs and putting crater

were out,"

later after the fires

said Ensign Cox, a goodlooking yellow-haired youngster

—which them

from upstate

consisted of collect-

into the nearest

bomb

it. The smell was terrible. The Filimuch stomach for the job, but it had to because of disease. To make them work,

and shoveling debris over

pino yard workers didn't have

be done and done quickly they all

filled

the Filipinos

the raid I'd left to

up with grain

was that the week before where

it

it

I'd

alcohol.

The weirdest

locked against a wall. Just for curiosity,

had been and there

thing of

bought a bike, and the night before

it

still

was



I

went over

beside the wall, which



End

Pearl Harbor to the

52

was only a jagged unlocked

I

it

and yet

ruin,

and

in the

rode

paint wasn't even scratched.

its

"over

all

Malay Barrier

the

watching

yard,

those

maybe dragging a trunk toward a crater, pulling it by its one remaining leg, or eWe rnaybe rolling a head along like over a putting green. The Japs must have killed at least a thousand. staggering Filipinos,

Mostly dock workers

'That raid gave Kelly, "but

it



they caught them right at dinner hour."

me my

first

big shock of the war," said Lieutenant

wasn't the damage they did.

From

couldn't see what was happening after the Jap

over the mountain.

I

my

got



way home Where was our

over us on their

shock the

I

had unloaded and flew

after they

same

over in Mariveles

bombers disappeared

beautiful tight formations

What could

—not

mean? Didn't we have about one hundred and fifty planes most of them fighters? Were our guys yellow? Or had somebody gone nuts and told them not to take off let the Japs get away with this? It made you sick to think a straggler.

air force?

it





about

it.

"From over towards smoke

"But in the

Cavite

we could now

see that huge

column of

rising into the sky as the Japs left the scene.

DeLong dropped in knew how bad off we were. He

wasn't until Lieutenant

it

41 boat that

I

base was a roaring blast furnace



said the Cavite

the yard littered with those

— and furthermore MTB's —engines and everything— had

gled and scorched bodies for the

at four o'clock

that

Machine shops completely gone. Not so much

man-

our spare parts

all

been blasted to

bits.

as a gasket left to see

us through this war, with the factory halfway around the world.

"Also he said Cavite radio had been

wave voice

stuff to talk

hit.

That

still

left

the short-

with Manila or Bataan or the Rock, but of

course this couldn't be secret from the Japs, so they would be depending on our six boats for courier duty to relay

"So ing

I

all

confidential stuff."

wasn't surprised," said Bulkeley, "when early the next morn-

I

got a hurry call to report to the Admiral in Manila.

boat cleared the mine

Manila

I

fields

As our 34

around Bataan, looking over toward

saw something very queer

—shipping

of

all

descriptions

was

pouring out of that Manila breakwater into the open harbor destroyers, all

mine sweepers, Yangtze River gunboats, tramp steamers,

going hell for breakfast.

And

then

about twenty-seven bombers. By then

we saw

planes in the

air,

I

saw them

I

were

a big formation of to learn that

they would be Japs, not ours.

another formation of twenty-nine, and "If they



was beginning

after shipping,

we

still

if

Then came

another of twenty-six.

shouldn't get too close to the other

53

The Philippine Expendables boats, so

I

changed course. They wheeled majestically around the

and each time they passed Manila a load would go

bay's perimeter,

down and presently huge columns of black and white smoke began rising we could even see some fires, although we were still whistling



eleven miles away. "

'Where

name

Christ's

our

in hell is

don't they do something?'

me was that these big Jap formations, was a parade maneuver, each time would sail over Corregidor! Didn't they know we had anti-

"But the thing that circling the

bay

like

impudently right aircraft

and

it

really got

it

guns?

"They knew

right,

all

For presently

didn't.

our crew kept asking me. 'Why in

air force?'

made me

from 5,000

to

all

but

knew something

turned out they

it

twenty of Corregidor's 3-inchers opened

one of their

sick to see that every

shells

were as safe as though they'd been home guns didn't have the range.

And



it

begin to

Commander Slocum

dawn on me

me

told

When we

said

we were

rarin' to go.

So he said

to stick

hours, and meanwhile to load the boats with forth,

because they were moving headquarters.

but right here on the water front

records,

and so

had escaped so

was too vulnerable

it

we ready?

around a couple of

files,

It

I

re-

was considering

the Admiral

sending our three boats on a raid off Lingayen, and were

We

found out

continued Bulkeley, "Kelly and

headed for Manila and docked about three o'clock. ported,

I

pilots

that the Rock's anti-aircraft

only then did

how completely impotent we were. "When the Japs cleared out,"

Later

in bed.

fire,

was bursting

10,000 feet below that Jap formation. Those

what the Japs apparently already knew

I



far,

sure to get

smacked. Through the open door we could see the Admiral conferring with his chief of staff

and half a dozen other high

wall was a chart of the waters off Luzon, and on

it

officers.

On

the

black pins which

represented Jap boats.

"But

my

just then," said Kelly,

arm, which was in a

see the fleet doctor.

sling,

"I

frowned, and said

The doctor took

talk tough. Said he couldn't

arm

"Commander Slocum looked down off the

I

should get over to

bandage and began

do anything, and that

at

I

was

to

to get that

to a hospital as fast as I could.

was dead

set

bring that up, so

I

on

that raid, but

said, 'Aye, aye,

I

decided

sir,'

it

wouldn't be tactful to

and skipped

it.

We

loaded the

boat with records, and then went back to headquarters, where

were told that the Jap convoy

off

we

Lingayen included eight transports

Pearl Harbor to the

54

End

in the

Malay Barrier

and at least two battleships but that we weren't going to be sent. They were saving us for 'bigger things.' " 'My God!' my junior officer said later, 'I didn't know they came .

.

.

any bigger! What do they think we

are?'

"Anyway the Admiral patted Bulkeley on the shoulder and said, 'We know you boys want to get in there and fight, but there's no sense sending you on suicidal missions

"So that was

that,



just now.'

and we went on out across the bay, to our

thatched village."*

DISASTER AFTER DISASTER FOLLOWED IN DECEMBER. On the 10th, the eve of the invasion of Singapore, the Allies were dealt a stunning blow

when one hundred land-based Japanese

the Royal Navy's battleship Prince of Wales

Repulse, causing heavy loss of

damage the

life.

Not only did

Allied morale in the Orient, but also

open sea

in

and the

it

aircraft

sank

battle cruiser

this feat grievously

was accomplished on

which capital ships had never before been successfully

attacked.

However, there was one small exception

to

the

long string of

catastrophes that month: Drayton, a Mahan-class destroyer of 1450 tons,

made

history

with the

first

verified

sinking of

a Japanese

in the war. Under the command of Lieutenant Commander Laurence A. Abercrombie, the "Blue Beetle" so named because of her bluish experimental color was on escort duty with a convoy to Palmyra on the afternoon of December 24 when Fate decreed a meeting with a full-sized submarine. Abercrombie received the Navy Cross, one of three he gathered during the war.

warship





Collaborator

Fletcher

Pratt,

author

warfare, was the military expert for the

*

Sisiman Bay, a

little

of

many books on

New York

cove east of Mariveles Harbor

Post.

naval

CAPTAIN

L. A.

ABERCROMBIE

AND FLETCHER PRATT

6.

SCRATCH ONE!

...

was only a four-ship convoy, a job

It

lot consisting of a

couple of

the old four-pipers converted to fast supply ships and an ex-surveying ship for Palmyra, with one of those

little

interisland steamers for

Christmas, carrying some army engineers and material for a landing strip.

We were all the

in the

first-class

and we had the only sound-gear

my

soundman.

He was money

escort they had,

convoy, which threw a good deal of a burden on Ferrell,

a kid, only nineteen, with a round, boyish face, owing

in quarter

and half-dollar

irresponsible. Not, as

bits to

you might

touches to beer ashore.

He

everyone aboard, completely

think, a lad

who made

these small

never drank anything, but he liked to have

a good time in a shooting gallery or on a roller coaster and forgot to

pay up when he got back to the time that

it

was and overstayed

happened and

ship, just as

he always forgot what

his liberty. I'd give

didn't feel any

had one of the keenest pair of ears

him

extra duty

compunction about I

it,

when

because he

ever saw growing out of a

human

head.

He was on convoy was

just a little south of the islands. It

had him there

when our good thing we

duty at 1440 on the day before Christmas,

too.

He came

was a

rushing out of his box to the bridge.

"Captain, do you see anything on the port bow, bearing 120 true?" he

demanded

excitedly.

55



End

Pearl Harbor to the

56 I

picked up

"Well,

sir,

my it

"Not a

binoculars.

must be

in the

Malay Barrier

thing."

a sub then, 'cause

I

have a good sound

contact." I turned to the officer of the *iec£, who happened to be Ensign Simmons, a former cadet from the Merchant Marine who was our sound officer. "Send all hands to battle stations." Dutch Kriner sent an emergency submarine-contact signal to the

convoy. They snapped smoke from their funnels and bore out sharp to starboard at their best speed,

which was about 10 knots for the

interisland steamer, as the sirens shrieked all over the ship.

we had still

to

Of course

have one of those incidents that showed how much we were

amateurs

manned and

in

war. Just as Bing Mitchell reported

ready,

all

stations

someone below got excited and pulled the sound-

gear switch. Ferrell's instrument went dead.

"Contact

lost!"

he shouted through the door.

"Just another big fish," said Mitchell, but before he had finished

saying

it

they got the switch closed again and Ferrell yelled.

"Contact regained, Zero-thirty true, range about 500 yards." This was close quarters. "She's inside our turning circle," said Bing.

"Full right rudder,"

ordered the helmsman; and to Ferrell, "Hold

I

your contact!"

Maybe

I

did the

wrong thing

—some

of those people

who

figure

on the maneuvering board told me afterward that I did but that sub was so close in on our left that we couldn't turn into its track, so I went around the other way, hoping to pick him up. It was things out

a marvel that

we made

it,

but with the help of Ferrell and some

wonderful work by the helmsman we did.

"Contact good,

sir,"

shouted Ferrell as

I

gave an order to steady

her on a course north; then, "Contact closing rapidly." It

was a sub,

merely because

it

all

was

right



a

fat,

happy sub, running submerged

daylight, heading for Pearl, probably expecting

little as to find American ships on the way. "Range 400 yards." Simmons had his stop watch out.

nothing so

"Stand by to attack with depth charges,"

ahead

I

ordered. "All engines

full."

"Contact

lost."

Simmons punched

"Stand by to drop!"

his stop watch.

I said.

"Now," said Simmons, bringing down the arm he had lifted. "Drop one!" I said, and as Shelly, the torpedo officer, repeated the chief torpedoman swung the lever. (We didn't have K-guns

it,

in

57

Scratch One! those days,

At

it

was

all

from the racks.) "Drop two! Drop three!"

makes you

that speed the shock of a depth charge

feel

though the whole world were being violently shaken from side to

and down

engine-room their

in the

from the whole ship

feet

go to

sleep.

A

shout went up

around the signal rack to look

as I leaned

as

side,

at

our

wake. In the center of the boiling water where our depth charges had

was welling to the surface with fragments of debris

fallen, oil

middle of I

it.

shouted for the rudder to be put hard

into the slick, dropping three

we swung out point where

more depth

and we charged back

left,

charges.

More

came up;

oil

the sound gear, ranged again, and Ferrell shouted that

he had picked her up,

we had

now

turned and headed southwestward from the

He was

hit her.

a

wonder

to

do

with

it

racket in the gear and well deserved the special letter of tion

in the

from the Admiral

Bing Mitchell

promotion

that he got along with his

said, "She'll

all

that

commendalater.

probably go deep, Captain. Better give

her a deep barrage."

The Commodore had rushed nose

lifted like a bird dog's to

through

it.

and some one

to

"Get a

wing of the bridge with me,

he was shouting. "Get

up a sample of that

often merely debris

He was

ran

a line

the only

and that what looked

like

As we swung toward up

an

oil slick

was

all

too

from the depth charges themselves. the slick for the third time, he lowered the rag

triumphantly from his nose, not noticing that

we were over

oil."

me

his

that frequent reports of depth-charging submarines

in before

towels, picked

we

catch the odor of the slick as

rag, get a rag,"

rag. We'll bring

remember

had come

to the

it

was one of

in the excitement. "Diesel, all right,"

his best

he said, and

the slick again with Ferrell shouting, "Lost sound con-

tact!"

Drop

one, drop two, drop three again, and

Before

we had completed

submarine!" feet of

it,

It

was, too; the

the turn

bow

I

of an

we came

enormous submarine,

pushing up through the water slowly

angle, dripping

oil,

the net cutter at the

and the diving planes

at

its

side

full left.

heard another shout: "Look, a

bow

at a steep

fully

50

70-degree

looking like a set of teeth

showing the characteristic Jap

shape.

"Commence

firing!" I yelled.

Nothing happened. Everybody simply stood there pop-eyed with a mouthful of teeth, looking at the monster as though it were a movie.

"Commence

firing!" I

shouted again, and then ran out into the

End

Peart Harbor to the

58

in the

Malay Barrier

yell at the top of my lungs to Dewey, the "For God's sake, why don't you commence firing?"

wing of the bridge to gunnery I

officer,

heard him

because

They went don't

yell in return to his talker

same moment

at the

hitting her the

sub

seemed

to

open up

row of holes along

right in, stitching a

know whether

but never heard what he said

the':50's

all

they had any real share in

it.

bow, but

that

Even

tilted majestically to the vertical,

at once. I

as they were

then

slid

back-

ward and down with gathering speed.

We

completed our turn, rushed past the spot, and

dropped four more charges into spreading and spreading

from beneath than our

came

it

own depth

till it

it.

just for

covered a

circle a mile in diameter,

the shock of an explosion, heavier

The

charges.

something within the sub

luck

I

Oil boiled out of that pit of sea,

and

and deeper

barrage must have set off

last

itself.

The Drayton had sunk an enemy warship, one bigger than she was. That would have got us double prize money in the old days of the

Navy when

they were

still

paying prize money

.

.

.

DURING THE ENSUING TWO MONTHS, THE UNITED States

Navy's

position

in

she reorganized her forces at

command

tunity to strike a blow, while

significant

essentially

level while awaiting

numerous warships from

steamed through the Panama Canal

But the most

was

Pacific

the

changes

to bolster

at this

W. Nimitz

as Chief of

an oppor-

the Atlantic

combatant strength.

time were the appointments,

during the latter part of December, of Admirals Ernest

Chester

defensive:

J.

King and

Naval Operations and Commander

in

Chief Pacific Fleet, respectively. Frequently described as "so tough he shaves with a blowtorch," King was a firm and uncompromising administrator and leader, whose

first

statement reflected his personal

philosophy in unmistakable terms:

The way The going

to victory will

is

long

be hard

We will do the best we can with what we've got We must have more planes and ships — at once Then

We

it

will

will

be our turn to strike

win through



in time.

59

Scratch One!

By

Texan who

contrast Nimitz, the kindly, soft-spoken

restored

confidence to the Pacific Fleet, was beloved by seamen and admirals alike;

it

strokes,

was he who implemented King's

policy.

One

of his

first

bold

which went a long way to restore confidence, was the Mar-

snails operation of

enemy out

February

1

.

While

it

knew

of the Pacific, Nimitz

was not calculated

to drive the

perfectly well the effect such

an offensive operation would have on our sagging national morale.

The was

which gave a delighted Halsey (on Enterprise) a

plan,

free hand,

this:

Halsey was to deliver a

strike

and bombardment on Maloelap and

Wotje, enemy seaplane bases in the eastern Marshalls; the big punch

was to be a torpedo-bomber Kwajalein.

At

same

the

strike

time,

on the Japanese stronghold of

Fletcher

(on

Yorktown)

was

as-

signed to carry out raids on Jaluit, Makin, and Mili to the southeast.

Two bombardment from the

sea.

The

groups were to work over Maloelap and Wotje raid, while not

an unqualified success because of

heavy mists which shrouded one objective, resulted

enemy

ships sunk

and three

in

seven small

others, including the light cruiser Katori,

damaged. For our part (the American forces numbered two hundred warships), damage was sustained aboard the light cruiser Chester

when

the

enemy

A light bomb men and wounded eleven. Rear Admiral Raymond A.

sent over eight twin-engined bombers.

penetrated the main deck and killed eight

Aboard one Spruance's

News war

of the heavy cruisers,

flagship,

Northampton, was the

correspondent Robert

J.

Casey,

who

gifted

Chicago Daily

chronicled the strike.

ROBERT

CASEY

J.

7-

BLOOD: A

FIRST

WAR

CORRESPONDENT TELLS OF THE MARSHALLS RAID February

A

1,

Sunday. At

beautiful day to die

At

this writing

we

Mostly clear with occasional overcast.

sea.

in.

don't

know where one

took a walloping from high-level bombers a direct hit on her well deck.

The

carrier

of our cruisers

Kwajalein

at

slightly

is

atoll

She

is.

and got

damaged. She

just

threw one of her planes overboard after a strafing that made the afternoon one of anxiety and prayer.

commission out of

four.

(We

lost

We one

have only one plane

morning. The other two were shot up on deck by our action.)

but

I

We

now

are

have no

alas

theoretically faith

on our way back

own

Here

is

ack-ack

to Pearl

in

Harbor

these offhand pronouncements by our

in

More than once today we looked at Harbor when we get there when and

guides and guardians. We'll get to Pearl

left in

a landing accident this

in

.

the chronology of a day of battle



.

.

as weird a

the bottom. if.

day

I

have

had

slept

as

ever experienced in war.

Commander Chappell woke me

at

about half-past four.

I

through the noise of the alarm clock and he said that he didn't want

me

to sleep

through a

hearty breakfast of surely fashion plugs, paper

I

battle.

ham and

I

went down

wardroom and

ate a

eggs (simulated). After that in a

lei-

my life belt, gas mask, field glasses, ear pen. And I clambered up through the dark

gathered up

and fountain

to the searchlight platform just

60

to the

above sky control on the foremast.

Blood

First

There with Bob Landry sun and eventually

Moon

6 a.m. it

watched the moon

I

full



6:15 a.m. Guns of

For a moment a band of cloud

yellow.

But and

the planes begin to gurgle

one

out with a pale

it

lose.

like the belt of Saturn.

off

fight

61

remains

it

too

brilliant,

slips

over

brilliant. Aft,

roar.

swung skyward. The planes

after turrets are

get

and noisy sequence. They are gray

after another in quick

blots against a gray sky with a ghastly blue halo of burning gases

accompanying them.

The sun

6:40.

up through low-lying clouds. Eight

struggling

is

Land

seaplanes go off toward the west in ragged formation.

shape hazily

like a

is

taking

narrow streamer of smoke on the starboard hori-

zon.

6:45. Lookout sings out smoke coming from island dead ahead.

This blackish cloud, round and

hue of the dawn's early 6:59. in

We

swing farther

bombardment.

tions but this

(save for fired

is

We

an

in

toward land and turn loose forward guns

hear no commands.

historic

some ack-ack

moment. This

at Pearl

on an enemy. The island

the breakers along

Some

rolling, is clearly visible in spite of

light.

is

We

first

Harbor) that the

time in this war Pacific fleet has

a typical atoll hardly visible save for

on our starboard, low.

coral reefs. Planes are

its

no unusual prepara-

see

the

is

The carrier planes show from now on is

anxiety until they are identified as our own.

have gone home and for better or worse

this

ours.

7:05. Lookout:

"Ship dead ahead,

going tug, which has

bows

across the

come

And

sir!"

halfway between us and the horizon. ...

A

dawn

blithely out of the

of a destroyer.

A

there

We

bit of irony.

is!

it

About

thing like an ocean-

little

to run squarely

increase speed to

The destroyer keeps on The sea around the Jap is

eighteen knots and turn slightly to starboard.

—and There yellow-white them — which from where

after the unfortunate tub

starts firing.

tufted with white splashes.

Jap's deck



several of

has four guns and

is

are

I sit

7:11.

we

lie

A

hunt. There

to blast. is

to our course. result



So does the destroyer.

several

salvos

knock down,

toe.

destroyer

back

from the

indicate that he

using them.

7:10. The Jap turns parallel They exchange shots without

drag out, toe to

glares

is

But

spotted on the horizon. it's

The guns

swivel and

one of our own coming back from a sub-

some more to-do about

a wandering plane that turns

Pearl- Harbor to the

62

SBD

out to be an

End

Malay Barrier

in the

somewhere over

returning to the carrier

the hori-

zon.

7:12. A. A. cruiser,

beach fire.

from the

flashed

island.

our associate

throwing out salvos that burst with a green color. The coral

is

festooned with smoke plumes.

is

The

So does the Jap. This

is

The

destroyer continues to

an inspiring duel but

beginning to

it's

look like a bad piece of gunnery.

Our

7:16.

eight-inch batteries go off and wreathe the ship and

surrounding sea with a yellow acrid haze.

minute intervals

my

on

farther than

The



face at the

my

We

keep

following the lead of the

first

and so

blast

far

firing at half-

was thrown

I

flat

have been unable to get up any

knees.

and we have a chance

light is getting better

view the fantasy

to

of eight-inch guns painstakingly blowing a mangy, palm-dandruffed atoll to pieces.

The

great battle between the destroyer and the sea-

going barge proceeds with noise and smoke and no end of dangerouslooking

waterspouts.

ginning to bet on the

The Jap

7:26.

We

our

shift

This

fire.

But

is still .

remains

issue

in

I'm

doubt.

be-

up.

.

.

.

Seems

up

likely to stay

indefinitely.

.

.

atoll like so

the

guy.

little

many

of

its

kind in the Pacific

is

really a string of

small islands about a lagoon, remnants possibly of coral erections

on the rim of a volcanic is

to the left of us as

crater.

we look

The entrance

at the island

to the

lagoon of Wotje

but straight

ahead of us the

land dips abruptly into the sea, presenting an opening about a quarter of a mile wide through which

And now, freighter has

like

something

we can in a

see a large part of the lagoon.

worn and hazy movie, an 8,000-ton

steamed out from behind the island on the north of the

opening and into plain view. There

will

be no better protection for

her in back of the south island than she had

theory a moving target shells are



is

harder to

hit

when she

smashing into the lagoon alongside her

a vicious bracket. Ack-ack begins to smash

odd inasmuch

as

no planes are near us but

suppose that a five-inch ack-ack

shell

started but in

than a stationary one.

—two

all

over,

around

there's

.

.

Our

us.

This

no reason

won't bother us

if

into the bridge or sky control or, for that matter, almost else

.

two short

it

is

to

crashes

anywhere

above the decks.

7:27.

Somebody

sights

a submarine

moving out

of the

lagoon

toward the south passage. While we are assimilating that one the warning

is

passed to be on the alert for bombers inasmuch as near-by

now be aware

bases must

happening

once

at

Comes

7:28.

—or on

63

Blood

First

of our attack. Everything seems to be

the verge of

it.

You

a terrific mixture of splashes about the Jap ship.

might take the bursts for

bomb

explosions but there are no planes

above. Probably the destroyer crews are putting out something spe-

way

cial in the

of quick

fire.

.

The

ship in the lagoon

is

still

turn loose

and your diaphragm caves for a

moment. Then

gun tubes comes it

has a

run

first

hit.

and

a mist of spray

The destroyer goes on with

its

and interminable work.

The guns

7:32.

have completed our

turn about with the other cruiser.

moving through

smoke. She appears to have been interesting

We

.

.

We

across the face of the island.

stiff

all

at

clears.

an obbligato. This

as

once with a brain-jolting slap

The yellow smoke bolts out the target The hiss of compressed air cleaning the

in.

is

an ideal day for a

wind which we are now heading

into. It's

battle.

enough

But

blow

to

your eyeballs out. 7:33.

and the Jap spitkit comes The destroyer makes a hit on the starboard and two guns. Apparently the Jap commander has one gun left on

The

struggle between the destroyer

to a quick end.

disables

He

the port side.

more clunks

is

listing

badly but he swings slowly around as

on him and churn up the

rain

erratic shot with his

remaining gun.

"Well," says the navigator,

ment

to that

little

7:40. Firing

many

results.

guy

is

We

I'll

He

"if the

sea.

He

fires

one

last

sinks.

Japs want to put up a

monu-

contribute."

fairly regular

can see

now

on the



atoll

as the

now

but doesn't show

day advances

— two

more

The one we were shooting at I can't say. One of the around. The other begins to move

ships just over the reef in the lagoon. first is

pair

behind the south island, up or down

now

visible

seems to be turning

southward across the open space. Apparently the crews of both ships

were taken by surprise and they've been started.

There

is

until

something of Pearl Harbor

now

getting the engines

more ways than

in this in

one.

7:41. Destroyer milling about scene of

horizon now.

It

has large bone in

its

teeth

kill

is

far

and seems

away on our on the way

to be

to rejoin us.

7:45. straggly atolls



The sun

hits

Wotje's low profile and shows color of

palms and moth-eaten verdure.

It is like all

a top of delicate green, an outcrop of grayish coral

lowish beach. Over the front of

it

its

other south-sea

spin shreds of black smoke.

and

yel-

Peart Harbor to the

64

End

in the

Malay Barrier

7T55. Sky control announces two submarines coming out of the

The

harbor.

open

reef

ship which

now

first

began to move from the trap beyond the

One

swings south to get protection of the south island.

salvo seems to bracket

it

leans over to starboard



to "stra.ddltf"

it

and seems about

as they say in the

But

to capsize.

Navy.

it

and steams on with green and blue plumes of bursting

It

recovers

shell in

its

wake.

We

8:15.

are beginning to notice artillery resistance other than the

five-inch ack-ack that has kept sprinkling us liberally. Perhaps they've

been working unobserved

moment we

in the

dim

light of the

morning but

are in no doubt about their being here.

A

are tossing six-inch shells out here with no hint of economy.

between us and the island

is

The

And now and

tufted with them.

at the

couple of them sea

then, in

the fashion of another and better war, they throw a bit of time-fuse

Some

shell at us for adjustment.

the ack-ack.

Our

If

so

of this probably

was mixed up with

wouldn't have been discoverable.

it

They

five-inch batteries have turned loose to strafe the beach.

are probably the noisiest contrivance ever invented by man. Their

mixed with the sickening roar of the main battery produces a

effort

human endurance. Lots

din that nears the limit of

out of the five-inch tubes along with the ashes,

and red

been steady

— and

The

odd

things

come

the ship remaining in sight in the lagoon has

terrible.

the superstructure ful.

of

including odd bits of

fire balls.

The barrage on

8:16.

shell,

comes

a bracket so close that

hidden by an upheaval of water

is

ship starts

Now

down by

like

most of

Old Faith-

the head, shivers, leans over to star-

board. ... In a matter of seconds she

gone.

is

8:20. Firing ceases. Brass shell cases of the five-inch batteries are

dumped

overboard. In the

We

along Wotje beach. far

lull

seem

you have time

to note

to be withdrawing.

numerous

Our

fires

destroyer

is

on the western horizon.

8:25.

I

guessed wrong. The clamor

Almost immediately we

see results.

is

on again worse than before.

There

is

a tremendous black cloud rolls skyward. Oil, a big tank of

it.

Lieutenant Jim Brewer

a burst of red flame

my

would be

in fire control

guess,

and and

announces that

twelve torpedo planes and seven bombers have taken off from a Jap island

— apparently

enough

one where our preliminary attack wasn't strong

to hold them.

of red in

it.

The

fire

burns mostly black with darting spears

Another ship comes across the open space

in the

lagoon

atoll. It's

not so

streaking for protection back of the north island.

8:30.

Our

fire

has shifted to the north end of the



Blood

First

spectacular

now

as the bursts

go over the crest but we've been told

from the shore

that three or four naval auxiliaries are in there. Shells batteries are falling nearer



65

200 yards

the last batch about

off the

port side and square in deflection.

A group of four

8:35.

water to starboard. We're

shells tosses white

bracketed.

Our turrets are working faster but not on the land battery. Maybe we don't recognize it socially. Continuous concussion caves in your stomach. Five-inch guns rings of burning

your ears

is

throw

firing into the sunlight

vapor that chokes you when

off large

golden

comes back. Cotton

it

in

small comfort now.

The Jap battery is in The range is now perfect. Deflection which has to change as we move is not badly calculated. Over on the island four white plumes are rising wooden buildings maybe. 8:41. Another string of geysers ahead of us.

no hurry

but, boy!

it's

working

well.



A

8:35.

group of four

shells tosses

closer to scraping our stern.

ing circle of green



From our

over the deep blue water.

Our

bridge

going to do something about

left



view of one side of

fantail cuts off the

—which shows how

men

we can see a widenswamp spreading out

platform

an excrescence in a

like

the patch is

white water to starboard. We're

close the shell came. this.

We

.

.

are looking

keep going

We right

on over

astern

Our guns

8 50. :

deck.

fall

into blue water.

A

rolls

and

fire

muzzle burst

But we come up with a jerk

at

shells, all in

So we've come out of the bracket.

to port.

in

we

You'd think the whole thing would

into the drink.

from the

telegraph

over until

our original course and right side up. Four

right angles to

a pattern,

swing about as on a pivot. The top

down

Apparently the

room

relaying an order already sent over the engine

rudder.

.

can hear the telephone

stern.

Gun No.

There

is

from the

a crash

8 of the five-inch battery.

tube miraculously held together although

it

flight

The

bulged to a bottle

is

shape, and nobody was hurt. Shells begin to pile

battery

is

up on the end of the

flashing at us.

We

are doing a sort of

cumbersome adagio

movement you might expect Our wake, a broad path of light

dance, the sort of

bayonet

drill.

.

.

.

white on a stretch of calm cobalt, rolling English

drunkard made the

is

a glittering corkscrew.

second battery has been working on her. She

to

short of her.

be working

The Jap

firing is accurate

at the limit of their

of an elephant in

blue with fringes of .

.

.

"The

rolling English road. ..."

8:52. Geysers around the cruiser ahead of us.

falls

where the land

island

range



.

shifts.

.

.

A

Apparently a second salvo

enough but the guns seem

there are few overs.

a

66

End

Pearl'Harbor to the

We

8f5 3.

loose a fine salvo at a ship in the lagoon which seems

let

already headed for the beach. hat for study

if

Five guns fired

I

shalKmake a note of



nean

smashed

turrets;

pause for a reply.

8:53. Another black

and north of

it.

two

made an

fifth

.

.

.

went over, two

shells

error of

to

fifty mills

into the coral right at water level, hit a subterra-

storage and started the biggest

oil

Pacific. I

my

to paste in

says anything- about the law of averages.

two forward

the

were short and very near and the the right,

it,

ever have to go to a gunnery school again, or to

I

when anybody

consult

Malay Barrier

in the

.

.

The

.

fire

ever seen in the south

ship goes on toward the beach.

from the previous column of smoke

fire starts

Almost immediately two smaller blazes spring up

to

the north of that.

The

air is filled

with beautiful

or flying

like butterflies

come out from

again. In the sunlight they look

fish.

we

a pleasure to report that

It is

white birds that

little

away

the land to look at us and go

now maneuvering

are

well out of

range of the shore batteries whose efforts continue to pockmark the

ocean between here and the shore.

A

8:54.

third fire of

first

magnitude but with more red

in its black

plumes has burst out well toward the north end of the north island



column

right of the

far to the is

now hundreds

of feet high

toward the south over the 8:55.

We

and spreading out

that

makes

the ship lean back

and

turn about.

The northernmost

fire

it

now

A

into the telephone.

.

.

"Our plane!" bawls

down

he puts

The

it



the

mixture which

one

off

fine

bursts of red

on the platform below

—bearing

two-

this one, repeats

.

the lookout

and Brewer repeats

pompom

ack-ack

outfit.

that.

"Our plane!" he

We

may

all

Then calls.

the characteristics of oil except for the gray

indicate explosives,

draw away.

We

are

I

hope.

now about

ten miles off Wotje.

Bursts are leaping up on the south end of the island. still

in

to the Marines."

island fire has

9:00.

water

the telephone and signals for an orderly to inform the

Marine battery "Tell

in the

ignite.

lookout announces: "Plane approaching

five-oh." Lieutenant Brewer, it

smoke with high

erupting gray and black

where hot gases belatedly

8:57.

sideways

slide



and the one we touched

middle of the island seem to have combined

in error in the

in

cloud

plaster the land batteries with everything we've got

smash

is

in a

atoll.

—and

blaze. It

The smoke

other principal blazes.

in there firing incessantly. It

probably went

The destroyer

is

in close to finish off

First the ships inside the lagoon.

my

guess that the

are

first

A

headed mostly south. ...

on our halyard, another

of signals breaks out It's

We

phase of the show

is

string

burst alongside amidships.

no answer

to

on the

A

went to look

detail



like a

into the matter but

unless the five-inch battery has

it

string

over.

9:05. Here's a startling mystery. There was an odd noise

there's

67

Blood

had another

muzzle burst.

The far-away

9:10.

atoll

now seems

to

have no height.

It is

white-green streak on the horizon with flame running over

smoke plumes

a couple of black waterspouts balanced

like

There are occasionally three one gray



all

a long

and

it

on

it.

columns of smoke two black,

distinct

about three hundred feet high.

9:30. "Periscope dead astern!" Thus the lookout. Speed and twist!

Speed and

twist!

The

destroyers leap like flying

fish.

Thud go

the

depth charges. 9:35. "Periscope off port beam." Speed and twist! Speed and twist!

The periscope

Who can

couldn't be a half-filled five-inch shell casing, could

9:40. All planes returning.

Our

You can

destroyer seems to have finished

fox terrier with

see the rendezvous far astern.

job and

its

is

coming up

to pick

up

like a

in the air.

its tail

10:00. Planes overhead but only seven. Eight took

down

it?

say? Speed and twist!

Four go

planes.

to the other cruiser.

We

off.

So

slow

one of

it's

ours that's gone. Which?

10:10.

The missing plane comes

streaking in

from the west.

Cheers.

10:16. Last of the trio that

jinx.

He

came back

first is

taken aboard. So

who apparently is still heads down into the slick on

learn that the late-comer circles about,

is

Davis

flirting

we

with a

the starboard

side.

down

10:20. He's

.

.

.

heads

Davis gets the signal to cut

in.

The signalman

off too late.

He

isn't

very deft and

slides too far

and

his

engine conks. Before he can start again a wave throws him against the side of the ship.

A wing crumples.

The plane is astern with Davis and his radio-man sitting on the wings of it. The floats are submerged. 10:24. So begins a ponderous maneuver to launch a powerboat. The key to the winch is missing. Find it. There's no plug for the 10:23.

bottom of the boat. Whittle one. winch?

Why

10:25.

Why

doesn't

someone

start

the

not?

The

ship

is

moving about

the plane in a narrowing circle.



End

Pearl" Harbor to the

68

The

cockpits are under water now.

The

rubber boat and are preparing to getinto 10:29.

A

The

aviators have inflated their it.

The boat crew

destroyer goes by.

dling with the gear.

Malay Barrier

in the

is still

hopelessly fid-

destroyer- seems to be awaiting a signal

before going in to pick the lads up. In the meantime their situation getting critical.

There goes

.

.

is

.

10:30. General Quarters with bells and bugle! Eight planes re-

ported about fifteen minutes away and heading toward us. The can left

to

is

do what can be done about picking up Davis.

bow

10:42. Plane off port

flying erratically.

10:43. Plane identified as a bird.

.

.

.

The captain came from

report of the approaching Japanese planes

which we ought

to be picking

up presently

— and

says that the the carrier

that fighter planes

are being sent off to deal with the situation. All seems well and yet this

would be the time

to feel

uncomfortable

we intended

if

to.

10:44. Lookout sings out: "Plane approaching bearing two-two-

We

oh!"

10:45.

The

zigzag.

nothing of

plane,

if

any, takes off somewhere.

We

The captain has

to attack another atoll

received a report that the cruiser which

was severely bombed

steaming back to the rendezvous she's not seriously

had

was supposed

into something.

to be without air defense. It

plenty.

10:55. I

now

speed which would indicate that

at a

damaged. She apparently stepped

island she attacked

is

left

She

for nearly an hour.

got one hit on the well deck which killed about eight men. She

The

see

it.

"Two

planes off port beam!" Invisible to me. After a while

make one

could

of

them

out. It

seemed

Wotje whose smoke plumes are

to be heading in the direcvisible

above the hori-

10:56. Lieutenant Brewer calls into telephone:

"Find out how

tion of

still

zon.

many

how few are going in or coming out." three fighters 10:58. He gets his answer or



likely ours.

know

The

air of

uneasiness

over the island. Very

getting noticeable. Obviously

on the prowl but with our planes up

that the Japs are

difficult to tell

is

we it's

where they're prowling.

11:04. Ship on horizon. She's identified as our carrier. All this identification business

the horizon at

all

is

done by the lookouts.

I

can't see anything

except a wisp or two of smoke from Wotje.

11:15. Near-by planes identified as friendly.

looms up over the rim of the sea as as big as the

on

Queen Mary.

we

The

carrier

now

zigzag toward her. She looks

First

The

11:20.

the oil fires

atoll is

is still

more warships

are

69

Blood

completely out of sight but the smoke of

now

thickly visible sixty miles

coming

Two

above the horizon.

into sight near the carrier



also quantities

of planes.

Report

to the bridge

from the

get off during the attack

carrier: Eight

on Kwajalein

lowed our bombers back to the

Jap planes managed to

—heavy

bombers. They

fol-

carrier. Carrier fighters got four of

them. 11:25.

The

So do we.

carrier swings northeast.

We

are

at

still

general quarters.

11:58. Secure from general quarters.

down

electric-light globes

other

A

tired, dirty

the iron ladders. Details start out to clean

back

and

in their sockets

up the

mob

to take mirrors

and

The

first

glassware off the floor, and to turn on the water.

flat

lieutenant's detail goes

troops

ship, to put

around inspecting damage which

is

consider-

able as a result of detonation.

12:20. peaches. 1:15. 1

:45.

I

.

.

Beans,

luncheon:

Buffet .

meat,

cold

pickles,

stewed

Very acceptable.

go to bed feeling as

if I

could sleep for a week.

Bugle and bawl of Donald Duck to general quarters. "Planes

approaching!" This time there's no fooling about

1:50.

bombers

—come

2,000 feet and first

time

I

slanting out of the overcast

it.

Five planes

which



big

thick above

is

start in a long glide straight for the carrier.

This

is

the

have ever seen dive bombing attempted by two-engine

planes the size of a Douglas transport. All the ack-ack in the group lets loose.

At It's

less

than 2,000 feet they straighten out and drop their clunks.

a fine job of bombing.

Water

rises to a height of

covers the carrier for her entire length. of her should be

200

feet

and

seems impossible that any

It

left.

But the water comes down and the mist disperses and we see that the carrier has spun about.

when

the planes

was somewhere our fighters are

The bombs

precisely

fell

where she was

came out of the cloud. But by the time they hit she The planes come back for another glide. Where

else. I'll

never

2:00. Four more

tell.

bombs

starboard of the carrier as streaks out of the clouds

Maybe



I'll

never know.

half -ton clunks

—drop

we come about

on a long

glide.

plane seems almost to stop in midair as

it

continues on toward the deck of the carrier.

astern and to the

parallel.

Another plane

Our ack-ack

The Then it

blasts.

bursts into flames.



70

End

Pearl Harbor to the

We

?

know whether

never

ll

plane

came

know

that his attempt failed.

deck,

all

and

to

its finish.

Malay Barrier

was

the pilot

dead when the

alive or

In either rase he probably had no time to

The

momentum

right, its

in the

big

bomber

hit the

virtually spent.

It

end of the

flight

crashed one plane

over into the sea.

slid

The marine gunner who accomplished most of this miracle looks startled: "He was there and now he's gone," he said. Which is true. There's no trace of him or his crew 2:10. This

— not even

a spot of

oil.

the fastest I've ever traveled except in a speedboat

is

somewhere on a calm lake. We are sticking our nose into it and flinging spray up over the bridge. Our wake looks like a waving green stair carpet

with white fringe and no particular pattern on a blue

floor.

The

2:30. in

radio continues to report planes

going on

all

The

day.

strafed by landplanes

The other

3:00.

price

you pay

which are

3:10.

Now

we

that

you

get

— about four

salvos of ack-

and then the cans on the horizon do some shooting.

don't

know what happened

you don't mention anybody but

is

competition.

see.

3:20. Black bursts low on horizon that

for raiding bases

difficult

cruiser lets off a blast

ack for no reason that we can

is

—obviously Japanese

various quarters at no great distance. Obviously this will keep

battles in

yourself.

a torpedo attack.

or

how

it

is

getting low,

The

trouble

Apparently

out.

as they don't affect

worries are particularly your own.

3:30. Radio announces two or three planes

inbound. The sun

came

war so long

this

Your own



fifty

making observation

miles

away and more

to the west

and more 3:45.

difficult. The sky is covered with spotty clouds. The atmosphere aboardship reminds me of the

similar situation.

There

is

the vibration of the hard-driven engines. There

gun crews man

their

is little

motion as the

guns and the fire-control details stand with heads

bent and their hands clapped over their headphones.

made one

out there are the Japs. They have

and have

lost face.

And

Valiant in a

no sound save the throb of the blowers and

They

will

Somewhere

attack and have missed

have to make another attempt.

The lookout sings: "Two planes approaching bearing two-four-oh. They seem to be heavy bombers." There is a clamorous conference among the observers: a moment's 3:59.

here

they come.

excitement and then calm again. well filled with

4:00.

The

.

.

.

After

all

the air has been pretty

Grummans.

first

lookout

calls:

"They're just coming out of a patch

First

There they

of cloud.

Most

bombers.

"Enemy

approaching

Then

another

lookout

shock and plunge of the

feet with the

my

Two bombers came carrier.

4:02.

another: aircraft

feet."

Then sky control: "Commence firing." Once more bedlam. I was on my knees under searchlight platform when the riot started. I had the bell and battered

and

"Enemy

approaching bearing two-five-oh."

6,000

at

71

Both of them. They certainly are heavy

are.

certainly!"

aircraft

Blood

ship. I

bones on the

over

rails

5,000

at

the ship's bell

on the

trouble getting to

my

my head against my knees.

smashed

and skinned

usual toward the

feet, sailing as

Their shooting was pretty good.

Four bombs drop near the

ahead and no great distance

carrier.

The water

off.

One

piles

bursts almost dead

up on the

carrier

deck

but apparently there's no damage. 4:04.

ack-ack

It is

isn't

from the position of the bursts that our five-inch bothering the raiders much. Their altitude is beyond the plain

range of machine guns and minor ack-acks. But as in other combats of the sort I've seen, they continue to fire anyway.

4:05. climb.

Two

We

of our fighters

and a destroyer. The off after the

bombers

It is difficult It

come from somewhere and begin

to

cease firing save for a few odd shots from the other cruiser fighters get altitude with

amazing speed and take

to the southwest.

comes now.

to get yourself adjusted to the silence that

has been a weird afternoon



everything you could ask for except a

cavalry charge.

4:10.

We

sit

down

again to wait. So long as the Japs have bombers



and even to fly we shan't be safe for the rest of the afternoon sundown won't bring complete respite. We'll have a full moon in a reasonably clear sky. to attack they'll

It's

most

the rule that your

obvious, however, that

likely

bombing

do is

it

The carrier's planes begin 5:10. The bridge has received shot down one of the two bombers. I

start

down

the gunnery officers.

the ladders

He

to

come back and

in a dogfight with

land.

a message that the carrier planes

from

my

perch and run into one of

says a message has just been received that a

torpedo plane has been intercepted about

now

They were taught

before six o'clock.

better by day.

5:00.

5:20.

the Japs are going

if

our planes.

.

.

.

five

What

miles dead astern and

a day!

.

.

.

is

Peafl Harbor to the

72

End

Malay Barrier

in the

LET US FOR THE MOMENT JURN AGAIN TO THE PHIL1POther than the appalling

pines.

Navy Yard

loss of life, the attack

Navy one submarine, two yard

cost the

motor torpedo boat spare first-class installation.

miral

subsequent actions, an explanation

Thomas

Pacific Fleet,

C. Hart's

it

command was

was not of

of primary responsibility latterly, the

it.

had

countries of the

It

was an

Malay

entity unto itself



Barrier. its

targets for Japanese

the

While Adarm of the whose area

China Station and,

Inasmuch

as part of this

commander a month December 8, there were

astute

before the war, and part on the night of

no prime

telling of the Asiatic

necessary:

is

technically an

elsewhere

lain

minuscule force had been deployed by

practically

tugs, a supply of

230 precious torpedoes and a rather However, the main body of the Asiatic Fleet, parts,

about 40 warships, escaped unscathed. Before Fleet's

on the Cavite

bombers.

arm at sea was Rear Admiral W. W. Glassford, December 8 from the China Station and was

Hart's strong right

who

on

arrived

promptly shipped on to the Netherlands East Indies.

On

January

7,

Glassford, with a small cruiser-destroyer task force in Soerabaja, Java,

was advised up

in

that a large Japanese

Macassar

Strait, the

amphibious invasion was making

gateway to

oil-rich

Balikpapan, Borneo, the

enemy's objective. That same day, Hart arrived

in the

submarine Shark

command of the ABDA Command. This organization,

from the Philippines and assumed naval (American,

British,

Dutch, Australian)

command

under overall

of Field Marshal Sir Archibald Wavell,

been designed to protect the

interest of the four

had

allies.

Glassford's striking force, consisting of the destroyers Ford, Pope, Parrott, Paul Jones

green

light

and the

Marblehead, was given the

and break up attempted enemy landings

attack

to

light cruiser

Balikpapan. But only the four destroyers sortied

Marblehead fouled her bottom and was forced resultant battle

a tactical

on January 23

American

victory.





at the last

to retire.

at

minute

However, the

a furious night torpedo slugfest

—was

The landings were broken up and

three

transports, probably more, were sunk.

William

P.

Mack,

at

present a Rear Admiral, was a young chief

engineer aboard Ford that night action for the

first

time.

when

the Asiatic Fleet went into

A

captured Japanese photograph taken during the attack on Pearl Harbor, 7, 1941. Navy Department.

December

Panoramic view of Pearl Harbor under

attack.

Navy Department.

Burning and damaged ships at Pearl Harbor. From right to left: USS Tennessee, and USS West Virginia. Navy Department.

USS

Arizona,

The USS Arizona (BB-39). Navy Department.

A

Japanese drawing from a plane shot down at Pearl Harbor. Translation: "Hear! The voice of the moment of death. Wake up, you fools." Navy Department.

-

T:

(U%

ft*

of Oahu during action Japanese two-man submarine beached on the island Department. Navy 1941. 7, December Sunday, forces, with U.S.

A

:

-

E March of Heath. Bataan. about May. 1942. These prisoners— from left Samuel Stenzler, Frank Spear. James McD. Gallagher— were photographed along the March from Bataan to C ahanatuan, the prison camp. Their hands are tied behind their backs. Defense Department Photo. I

ho

to right,

Honor from President Lt Cdr John D. Bulkeley receives the Medal of Three during Squadron Boat Torpedo Roosevelt for his leadership of Motor Department. Navy waters. Philippine combat operations in

fafc-SS

Ships in North Atlantic convoy, 1942.

Navy Department.

Ships in convoy, 1942, location unknown.

Navy Department.

4.

*

.

Hw '>;; :

;

;^,.

* t

>s

lT'-Au

£

A

depth charge fired by the USS Murphy (DD-603) explodes. Round No. 600-lb. charge, depth 50 feet, speed 20 knots. Navy Department.

Plane attack on two

One

sub,

German submarines by planes

damaged by

Lt. (jg) Sallenger

of the

and unable

1,

USS Card (CVE-1 1 )

to submerge,

was believed

sunk after four successive attacks. The larger U-boat, a 1600-ton minelayer supply boat, remained on the surface and soon two TBF's (Lt. C. R. Stapler and Lt. (jg) J. C. Forney) and two F4F's (Lt. N. D. Hudson and Lt. E. E. Jackson) arrived and continued the attack on it. Navy Department.

German submarine U-402 sinking after an attack by a patrol team from the USS Card-F4F pilot Howard M. Avery and TBF-1 pilot Ensign B. C. Sheela. TBF-1 dropped a 500-lb. bomb. Navy Department.

A

U.S.

Navy blimp over

a

convoy

in the Atlantic, 1943.

Navy Department.

The USS Borie (DD-215)

is

bombed by TBF's

of the

USS Card (CVE-11)

H. Hutchins, gave the order to abandon ship.

after her skipper, Lt. Charles

The destroyer was damaged beyond possible salvage as a result of ramming a Nazi sub on the morning of November, 1943, at 0153, just after she had encountered and sunk another enemy sub in the vicinity. In the hour's battle 1

second contact, the Borie rode up over the starboard bow damaging the destroyer's port side forward and flooding her forward engine room. The U-boat's main battery was put out of commission with the Borie's first salvo at a range of 40 feet. The results: the second Nazi sub sunk. The Borie's losses: 27 officers and men. Navy Department.

which followed

of the sub, thus

this

by the

at. work aboard captured German submarine U-505. Photo USS Guadalcanal (CVE-60). Navy Department.

U-505

lying alongside the

Salvage crew

USS

Guadalcanal.

Navy Department.

%

t N, J%

A$X*tn

taken

REAR ADMIRAL WILLIAM

P.

MACK

8.

MACASSAR

MERRY-GO-ROUND

Finally

it

came. The Ford had been monotonously patrolling

Postillion Islands, at the southern entrance to

knew

the Japs were coming.

Macassar

Borneo was next on

off the

We

Straits.

their timetable after

Manila and Davao. The planes of Patwing Ten had been sending reports of a growing Jap Force at Davao. This Force could have only

one objective, Balikpapan, on the eastern cost of Borneo, fronting on

Macassar

Our

Straits.

"Make

orders were clear,

a night attack

on

a Japanese Force

heading for Balikpapan." Reconnaissance reports began to trickle

The job was going

to be tough.

ers, several cruisers."

We

"Twenty

transports, twelve destroy-

figured that the Japs

ships there they'd never notice us. That's exactly

We

started

arrive off

up the

Balikpapan

we had

straits

at

in.

would have so many what happened.

that evening, timing our

approach to

about 2:00 a.m. The seas were extremely

make 27 knots to get there. The result was something even old William Cramp would have shuddered at. He built well when he put those boats together. They bucked mountainous seas heavy;

to

that threatened every minute to strip the bridges right off their hulls. I

could only

moan

sure they'd never

every time fire

when

my

guns went under green water.

I

was

the time came.

The long run up the Straits gave us time to organize for battle. weren't much, but we were full of fight, and what's more, we were

We the

73

74

Pearl

Harbor

to the

End

Malay Barrier

in the

"Fighting Fifty-ninth." Destroyer Division Fifty-Nine was under the

command

Commander

of

composed

P.

John D. Ford,

of the

column

the Paul Jones in

H. ^Talbot,

U.S.

flagship, the

Pope, the Parrot t, and

Navy,

We'd made many

in that orgler?

was

and

a practice

night torpedo attack, but never one' with the chips down. In fact,

we

were to make the

my

mind

the lofty

first

War

one ever made.

remember running over

I

College comments on the expected

stroyer in a night action.

I

remember whether

couldn't

sured in seconds or minutes, but

knew

I

it

wasn't

much

of a de-

life it

was mea-

of either.

crews were well trained, tough, and eager for action. Our

were the same, and as experienced as any were confident, but we made

showed 300 miles

charts

knew we'd have to survive

and

a long walk south if

sunk.

pills,

I

sewed a box

my

as best

firing circuits

I

have to in

the

them what

tell

at

to do, just

know.

in

stacker that

is

making 27 knots

crews, fight.

I felt I

didn't

I

the East since

Dewey

it.

I

still

don't

you can get on a four-

rough

in a

Alarm awakened me at 1 :00 p.m., and as we passed up the straits in 1

life

could between sub-

my gun

a person felt before battle.

asleep, or as near to sleep as

fell

I

how

my

when. They were about to take part

Manila Bay, and they were proud of

always wondered

I've

in

pistol belt. After

were spoiling for a

American naval engagement

first

fought

My men

of fish

full

and Dutch money

mergings and giving last-minute instructions to

was ready for anything.

I

any of us were fortunate enough

if

we were

compass and knife on

my gun

We The

preparations just the same.

all

hooks, twine, razor blades, quinine

checking over

officers

peace-time Navy.

in the

Our

of trackless jungle south of Balikpapan.

get ashore

jacket an tied a pocket

in

sea.

When

the General

the sea had calmed considerably, the lee of Celebes, the sea

was

almost calm.

Again

I

checked

time to think now.

was able

to

repair party rations,

my

guns, mustered

and then reported ready

instructions,

make

As my

eyes

my

crews, passed last-minute

to the bridge.

became accustomed

out our division mates astern.

was assembling

its

gear, the cooks

I

had plenty of

to the darkness

Down

1

on deck the

were passing out cold

and the torpedo tube mount crews and gun crews were mak-

ing last-minute inspections.

We

down to that last-minute wait, familiar to any athlete. only way I can describe it, just like that gone feeling just kick-off. For more than an hour we plunged on through the

settled

That's the before the

night, alert, ready, hopeful. Shortly before

midnight the spotter

in the

Macassar Merry-go-round

75

foretop sighted an intermittently flashing light on the starboard bow.

For a moment

I

thought

it

was a

showed

from a burning

of a Jap

convoy reportedly bombed by our

In half an hour

ship. Its position

we had

we made

searchlight, but soon

as flames

left it astern,

to

it

it

out

be near a part

air force that afternoon.

monument

burning as a

to the

accuracy of some bombardier.

At 2:00 a.m. we came abreast of Balikpapan. The loom of gigantic fires became visible. The Dutch, we knew, were busy destroying everything burnable to deny

20 miles

at sea.

it

Using these

We

to the Japs.

fires as

beacons,

could smell burning

we turned west and

oil

set a

its mine fields, where At 2:45 a.m. I saw my

course to the area just north of Balikpapan and

we suspected

Japanese ship.

first

remember

to land.

can't describe the feeling

I

gave me.

it

I

could

the hours I'd spent studying silhouettes of Japanese war-

ships. Suddenly, here



would attempt

the Japs

was one, a

a big, black, ugly ship.

We

silhouette

passed

neither of us could take any action.

it

all right,

but not a picture

so close and so fast that

Our plan was

to fire our tor-

pedoes as long as they lasted and then, and only then, to open up with our guns. That way we could conceal our presence as long as possible.

Consequently, we couldn't

train

our torpedo tubes

We

fast

fire

enough

didn't have long to wait for

our guns to bring

and couldn't

at this ship,

them

to bear

on him.

more game. A whole division of oil smoke on our port bow

Jap destroyers burst out of the gloom and

and steamed rapidly across starboard. objective

in front of us

and

off into the

Again we kept quiet and attempted was something

more important,

far

darkness to

to avoid them.

the troop

Our

and supply

know why these destroyers didn't see us. Possibly several of their own destroyers were patrolling in the vicinity and they mistook us for their own forces. Maybe that was why the first ship we sighted had not fired on us. Suddenly we found ourselves right in the midst of the Jap transladen transports farther inshore.

ports.

Down on

the bridge

tion port, action port,"

I

I

don't

could hear Captain Cooper saying "ac-

and Lieutenant Slaughter, the torpedo

giving quick orders to his torpedo battery.

swung

to follow his director.

Back

aft the

officer,

tube mounts

"Fire one," he said. "Fire one," re-

peated his telephone talker. Then came the peculiar combination of a muffled explosion, a whine, a swish, and a splash, that follows the firing of a torpedo. I

watched the torpedo come

and then dive again as

it

steadied on

its

to the surface

once

run. Astern, the Pope, Paul

Jones, and Parrott were carefully picking targets and

our second torpedo. So did the ships astern.

My

firing.

talker

We

fired

was calmly

76

Harbor

Pearl

counting

seconds

off

"Mark," he shouted, Nothing happened. ing, ear-shattering

End

to the

our

as

torpedo ran toward

first

came

as the time

Malay Barrier

in the

for

We

knew our first had missed. Then came a blindexplosion. One of'oiir torpedoes had hit. The ex-

plosion of a torpedo at night at close range

The

blast

can see anything

at

an awe-inspiring

is

sight.

comes the concussion wave, which

blinding; then

is terrific,

you gasping for breath.

leaves

target.

its

to hit. Seconds passed.

it

It is

seconds before your dazed eyes

all.

Close on the heels of the crippled ships began to

list

through the convoy again,

and

firing

came other

close range hit

first

sink.

We

The

hits.

reversed course and ran

torpedoes on both sides as transports

By now there were only three of us, the Paul Jones having lost us as we came around the last turn. At one time I could count five sinking ships. A third time we reversed course and ran through the demoralized convoy. Once we had to veer to port to avoid a sinking transport. The water was covered with swimming Japs. Our wash overturned several lifeboats loaded with Japs. Other loomed out of

the dark.

ships looked as

clambering

they were covered with

if

down

their sides in panic.

flies.

Jap soldiers were

was becoming

It

had already been torpedoed. Again

keep from

firing at transports that

we turned

for another run through the convoy. So far

we were

Japs had not discovered that

torpedoes to submarines and believing

Down on the bridge I Now only the Pope was

thing.

I

believed the

in their midst, attributing the

we were

their

own

destroyers.

heard "Fire ten." Just two torpedoes left

astern of

torpedoes at a group of three transports. mine.

difficult to

us. We fired Now I knew

our

was from peace-time

Academy over shells. I didn't

the

relative

we

loomed

trained on and

how

remember

still

had studied

at the

the

Naval star

use any of the complicated

fire-

of

searchlights

draw shooting

out of the dark at ranges of let

the real

but

and

control apparatus installed. This was targets

I

effectiveness

use either, nor did

could

firings! I

sonorous arguments of the publications

two

the stage was

Many a time I had fired at target rafts, but this was "Commence firing" rang in my earphones. I was ready

different this

left.

last

go a salvo or two, sights

500

at its best.

to 1,500 yards

set at their

lower

using the illumination furnished by burning ships. Finally

we

As we

limits,

sighted

we had passed it. The projectile explosions were tremendous. Deck plates and debris flew in all directions. When we last saw her she was a transport far

enough away

on end, slipping slowly under.

to let us get in three salvos before

We

had sunk the

first

ship to be sunk

)

77

Macassar Merry-go-round by American gunfire since Manila Bay!

on

that fact because a transport

on

her, but before

we could

grew and spread around the

began

only had a minute to reflect

I

silence her a shell area.

Over

had

my

turned

firing at us. I

hit us aft.

the telephones

I

guns

Flames

could hear a

— "four men wounded,

the after

deckhouse wrecked, ammunition burning." Thirty seconds

later the

burning ammunition had been thrown over the

wounded

torpedoman describing the damage

cared for, and the gun crew was

By now

the

Pope had

also lost us,

and we were

more transport we mauled badly, then

On

at.

the bridge

withdraw. Back

Later

last

trials.

give the order to

knots, faster than the

In the east the sky was growing

was

fortably bright. Astern of us the sky fires

shoot

ounce of speed out of the old boat.

we were making almost 32

learned

I

Commander

left to

blowers began to whine even louder as the

Chief Engineer squeezed the

had gone since her

One

fighting alone.

was nothing

there

heard our Division

I

aft the

side, the

firing again.

also bright, but

Ford

uncom-

from the

of burning ships.

For almost 30 minutes we ran south before dawn came. All hands strained their eyes astern for signs of pursuit that ble.

We

bow

and Pope. Proudly they

done,"

Down it

All that

that

we knew

astern of us,

fell in

on the bridge a

to be the Parrott, Paul Jones,

flag hoist

and we sped south

said.

morning we kept a wary eye cocked astern and overhead,

Our crew

their guns.

to-

whipped out smartly. "Well

we never saw

but the Japs must have been licking their wounds, for Jap.

inevita-

could see none. The only ships in sight were three familiar

shapes on the port

gether.

we thought

more than 10

ate in shifts, refusing to get

Only when we started

in the

mine

fields off

feet

a

from

Soerabaja next

day did they relax and drop

off to sleep on deck. up at Soerabaja with barely enough fuel to make the dock. On the way in we had put a canvas patch over the hole in our after deckhouse and had cleaned up the ship* as best we could. The Dutch met us in grand style, and Admiral Hart came aboard to inspect us. The Dutch provided men to help us fuel and provision

At noon we

ship.

tied

That done, every

man

in the

(Editor's Note: Unhappily, later,

it

crew

when

slept

16 hours

the facts were

.

.

.

known

six years

was ascertained through Japanese records that the three

American

tin-cans

and only one patrol

had sunk only 4 transports out of a possible craft.

12,

Pearl Harbor to the

78

End

in the

BY THE END OF FEBRUARY..

Malay Barrier

4942,

WHEN THE LAST

ABDA

was fought betwe'en the dwindling forces of the Command and Admiral Kondo's massive Java Invasion

Force, a

number

great sea battle

of other calamities

fending the Malay Barrier.

had befallen the

The Japanese were

both sides of the South China Sea,

in

Macassar

allied nations de-

firmly established Strait

on

and on the Cel-

ebes side of Molucca; moreover, after Singapore's surrender on Feb-

ruary 15, the

ABDA Command

had disintegrated, and both Wavell

and Hart were now gone from the scene, the

latter

having

There remained only a handful of United States warships

retired.

to join the

combined American-British-Dutch task force under the petulant

Dutchman, Rear Admiral K. W. Doorman, whose main mission was

all

sacrifice;

he was to oppose the most formidable sea force

gathered by the enemy since Pearl Harbor.

The is

sinking of the heavy cruiser Houston in the Battle of Java Sea

recalled

who

by one of her survivors, Commander Walter G. Winslow,

spent ten hours in the water until rescued by a Japanese destroyer.

COMMANDER WALTER

WINSLOW

G.

THE GALLOPING GHOST

...

I

stood on the quarterdeck contemplating the restful green of the

Java Coast as solace in

it

slowly behind us.

fell

beauty, but this night

its

and banana palms that had

lost all

it

Many

times before

I

had found

seemed only a mass of coconut

meaning.

I

was too

tired

and too

preoccupied with pondering the question that raced through the mind of every

man

aboard,

"Would we

There were many aboard who

expended eight of

its

get through

Sunda

Strait?"

a cat, the

felt that, like

Houston had

nine lives and that this one last request of fate

would be too much. Jap cruiser planes had shadowed us

all

day and

it

movements were no mystery to the enemy forces closing in on Java. Furthermore, it was most logical to conclude that Jap submarines were stationed throughout the length of Sunda Strait was

certain that our

to intercept

and destroy ships attempting escape into the Indian

Ocean.

we were when the odds were stacked and we had somehow managed to battle

Actually there wasn't any breathing space for optimism, trapped, but there had been other days heavily in the Jap's favor

through.

Maybe

cal outlook

but

I

it

was because

and maybe

it

I

had the Naval Aviator's philosophi-

was because

I

was

just a plain

couldn't quite bring myself to believe that the

run her course.

It

was with

turned and headed for

my

this feeling of

stateroom.

I

damn

fool,

Houston had

shaky confidence that

had

just

I

been relieved as

79

Pearl Harbor to the

80

End

in the

Malay

Barrier

Officer-of-the-Deck and the prospect of a few hours rest was most +

appealing.

The wardroom and

the

of the

interior

ship,

through which

I

walked, was dark, for the heavy metal battle ports were bolted shut

and

were not permitted within the darkened

lights

beams

blue

feet. I felt

my

on

door.

I

Only the

eerie

my

of a few battle lights close to the deck served to guide

my way

through the narrow companionway and snapped

flashlight briefly to seek out the

As

ship.

coaming of

stepped into the cubicle that was

look around and switched off the

light.

my

room,

my I

stateroom

took a brief

There had been no change,

it had for the last two and a half months. There had been only one addition in all that time. It was Gus, my silent

everything lay as

head

friend, the beautiful Bali

I

had purchased

weeks before

in

wooden expression

to

six

Soerabaja.

Gus

sat

on the desk top lending

cramped atmosphere

the

of

my

his polished

stateroom. In the darkness

felt his

I

presence as though he were a living thing. "We'll get through, won't

we, Gus?"

found myself saying. And although

I

couldn't see him,

I

I

thought he nodded slowly. I

by

slipped out of

my

my

shoes and placed them at the base of the chair

desk, along with

them quickly

in

my

men who were

their battle stations.

our

I,

last airplane left

get in

my

hat and

an emergency. Then

exhausted body sink into the few

tin

its

luxury.

I

life

jacket,

rolled into

where

I

could reach

my bunk

The bank was

and

let

my

truly a luxury, for

permitted to relax lay on the steel decks by

being an aviator with only the battered

aboard, was permitted to take what rest

shell of I

could

room.

Although there had been four days,

I

little

sleep for any of us during the past

found myself lying there

in the sticky tropic heat of

my

room fretfully tossing and trying for sleep that would not come. The constant hum of blowers thrusting air into the bowels of the ship, the Houston's gentle rolling as she moved through a quartering sea,

and the occasional groaning of her

steel plates

into

my mind

of events that

the

mad merry-go-round

combined

to bring

had plagued the

ship during the past few weeks.

Twenty-four days had elapsed since that terrifying day

in

the

it was haunting me again as it would for the mind pictured the squadrons of Jap bombers as they attacked time and again from every conceivable direction. After the first run they remained at altitudes far beyond range of our anti-

Flores Sea, yet here rest of

my

life.

My

The Galloping Ghost aircraft guns, for they

had learned respect on that

was a perfect

the Houston. It

first

salvo almost finished

and the force of those big

straddle,

though a giant hand had taken the ship,

as

lifted

away from her

bodily from the water, and tossed her yards

her

original

There had been no personnel casualties that time but our

course.

main

anti-aircraft director

ing

useless,

it

run when one

was blasted from the sky and several others were

of their planes

obviously hit and badly shaken. But that

bombs seemed

first

81

had been wrenched from

its

track, render-

and we were taking water aboard from sprung plates

in

the hull.

That day the crew had only the steady barrage from the aircraft

anti-

guns and Captain Rooks' clever handling of the ship to thank

Davy Jones. But there was one horrible period during that afternoon when the Nips almost got us for keeps. A five-hundred pound bomb, and a stray at that, hit us squarely amidships aft. Some utterly stupid Jap bombardier failed to release with the rest of his squadron and Captain Rooks could make no allowances for such as him. The salvo fell harmlessly off the port for keeping

them from

the realms of

quarter but the stray crashed through two platforms of the main mast

exploded on the deck

forward of number three

before

it

Hunks

of shrapnel tore through the turret's thin

just

were paper, igniting powder bags

hands

all

Where

in the turret

bomb

the

spent

and its

below which waited the almost to a man.

our

of

It

shipmates

in the hoists. In

in the

hellish battle

and

it

one blazing instant

was blown

in the

deck

They were wiped out

after repair party.

killed

turret.

though

as

handling rooms below were dead.

force, a gaping hole

was a

armor

which ended with forty-eight

another

fifty

burned

seriously

or

wounded. I

strove desperately to rid myself of the picture of that blazing

turret



dead sprawled grotesquely

the bodies of the

pools of

in

blood and the bewildered wounded staggering forward for medical aid

—but

I

was forced

to see

it

through.

Once again

I

heard the

banging of hammers, hammers that pounded throughout the long

men worked

night as tired

shipmates lying

in little

steadily building coffins for forty-eight

groups on the

fantail.

the followng day, that stinking fever ridden

We

little

put into Chilatjap port on the South

Coast of Java. Here we sadly unloaded our wounded and prepared to bury our dead.

played as

It

seemed that

Death March



in the

hum

of the blowers

I

detected

same mournful tune that the band we carried our comrades through the heat of those sun-

strains of the

the

Pearl Harbor to the

82

End

burnetT, dusty streets of Chilatjap.

Malay Barrier

in the

saw again the brown poker-faced

I

natives dressed in sarongs, quietly watching us as in the little

Dutch cemetery

what those slim brown men thought oLafl

The scene

shifted.

through the mine raid sirens

bombers on

fields protecting the beautiful

whined throughout the

in the distant sky.

We

wondered

city

anchored

port of Soerabaja. Air

and our lookouts reported

Large warehouses along the docks were

black smoke and orange flame. calling card.

I

this.

was only four days ago that we steamed

It

and a burning merchantman

fire

we buried our dead

that looked out over the sea.

in the

lay

on

its

side vomiting dense

The enemy had come and

left his

stream not far from the smouldering

docks where we watched Netherlands East Indian Soldiers extinguish the

fires.

Anchored there barrel.

Why

in the

shelter

air

raids.

stream we were as helpless as ducks in a rain

our gun crews didn't collapse

They stood by

guts and brawn.

pouring

we experienced

during the next two days

Six times

a tribute to their sheer

guns unflinchingly

their

shell after shell into the

is

in the

hot sun,

sky while the rest of us sought what

available in the bulls-eye of a target.

is

Time and

again

bombs

giant bullwhip exploded

our decks. Docks

less

deep throated swoosh of a

falling with the

around

spewing water and shrapnel over

us,

than a hundred yards away were demolished

and a Dutch hospital ship was

yet the Houston,

hit,

nicknamed "the

Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast" because the Japs had reported

many

her sunk on so

When

similar occasions,

still

rode defiantly

at

the siren's bailful wailing sounded the "all clear,"

anchor.

members

band came from their battle stations to the quarter deck where we squatted to hear them play swing tunes. God bless the of the Houston's

American

sailor,

you can't beat him.

Like Scrooge, the ghosts of the past continued to move into little

room.

saw

I

us in the late

out of Soerabaja for the lands

Navy was

the light cruiser

Netherlands

my

afternoon of February 26, standing

last time.

Admiral Doorman of the Nether-

command of our small De Ruyter, was in the

in

light cruiser, the Java.

striking force. His flagship,

Next

lead, followed

by another

came

the British

in

line

heavy cruiser Exeter of Graf Spee fame, followed by the crippled Houston. Last

in the line of cruisers

was the Australian

light cruiser

Ten allied destroyers made up the remainder of our Slowly we steamed past the ruined docks where small groups

Perth.

force.

of old

The Galloping Ghost men, women, and children had assembled to their

men who would

to

wave

83

goodbyes

tearful

not return.

Our force was small and hurriedly assembled. We had never worked together before, but now we had one common purpose which every man knew it was his duty to carry through. We were to do our utmost to break up an enemy task force that was bearing down on Java, even though

it

meant the

loss of every ship

and man among

us.

In us lay the last hope of the Netherlands East Indies. All night long

we searched

for the

enemy convoy but they seemed

have vanished from previously reported positions.

to

at battle stations the

We

were

still

when at 1415 reports from air enemy was south of Bowen Island,

next afternoon

reconnaissance indicated that the

and heading south. The two forces were

less

than

fifty

A

miles apart.

hurried but deadly serious conference of officers followed in the

wardroom. Commander Maher, our gunnery

officer,

explained that

our mission was to sink or disperse the protecting enemy

My

and then destroy the convoy.

heart

fleet units

pounded with excitement

for

known as the Java Sea Battle was only a matter Were the sands of time running out for the Houston who manned her? At that moment I would have given

the battle later to be of minutes away.

and

my

all

of us

soul to have

known.

In the darkness of

my room

the Japs

came again

just as

though

I

were standing on the bridge ... a forest of masts rapidly developing into ships that climbed in increasing

numbers over the horizon

.

.

.

those dead ahead, ten destroyers divided into two columns and each led

by a four stack

bow came

light cruiser.

Behind them and

off

our starboard

four light cruisers followed by two heavies.

The odds

weigh heavily against us for we are outnumbered and outgunned.

The Japs open

fire first!

Sheets of copper colored flame lick out

along their battle line and black smoke momentarily masks them

from view.

body

My

heart pounds violently and cold sweat drenches

my

is on its way. Somehow those big wonder why our guns don't open up,

as I realize that the first salvo

shells all

seem aimed

but as the Jap shells that the range

is

me.

at fall

I

harmlessly a thousand yards short

yet too great.

The

battle

from which there

I

will

realize

be no

retreat has begun.

At twenty-eight thousand yards the Exeter opens fire, followed by the Houston. The sound of our guns bellowing defiance is terrific, the gun

blast tears

the deck.

my

steel

helmet from

my

head and sends

it

rolling

on

End

Pearl Harbor to the

84

The range

closes rapidly

Malay Barrier

in the

and soon

close

Now

registered.

Four more

and the lack of a of us,

Our

luck

is

cruiser.

We

We

fly

The

a row,

900 yards

Perth,

astern

she too steams on

yet

close to the last Jap

an explosion aboard her. Black smoke

is

and a

breaks out forward of her bridge.

fire

as she turns out of the battle line,

first

Commander Maher,

smoke.

hit

have her range and suddenly one of our eight-inch

into the air

draw blood

but not a

holding out.

bricks strikes home. There

and debris

We

salvos in succession straddle the Houston,

from our guns are observed bursting

Shells

an

is

comes with a wild

it

us. It's a straddle,

hit gives us confidence.

straddled eight times in

is

unscathed.

heavy

around

shells that fall all

falls

found the range.

last

stand tensely awaiting the next salvo, and

screaming of

fight.

one

starboard followed by another close to port. This

to

ominous indicator that the Japs have 7at

is

on the

cruisers are in

all

Salvos of shells splash in the water ever closer to us.

making dense

directing the fire of our guns

from

his

station high in the foretop, reports our success to the Captain over the

A

phone.

up from the crew

lusty cheer goes

as the

word spreads over

the ship.

Three enemy cruisers are concentrating her

shift targets to give

relief,

shells find their

mark and

smoking and on

fire.

Jap

shell rips

is

bow

just aft of the port

and out the

The other

and ruptures a small

on Exeter.

We

a light cruiser turns out of the Jap line,

several decks

without exploding.

oil

tank.

shell, hitting aft, It

too

hit twice.

is

One

anchor windlass, passes

side just

above the water

line

barely grazes the side

explode.

fails to

to this point the luck of our forces is

their fire

not long after this that Exeter

Despite the loss of two cruisers, the intensity of

through the

down through

there

it

does not seem to diminish. The Houston

fire

Up

but

had held up

a rapid turn of events as the Exeter

is

hit

well, but

by a Jap

shell

now

which

does not explode, but rips into her forward fireroom and severs a

main steam

line.

This reduces her speed to seven knots. In an attempt

to save the Exeter, all

make smoke

whose

loss of

speed makes her an easy target, we

to cover her withdrawal.

The

thing has gone wrong, are quick to press their destroyers,

under heavy support

fire

Japs, aware that some-

home an

from the

advantage, and

cruisers, race in to

deliver a torpedo attack.

The water seems

alive with torpedoes.

Lookouts report them ap-

proaching and Captain Rooks maneuvers the ship to present as small a target as possible.

At

this

moment

a Netherlands East Indies de-

The Galloping Ghost stroyer, the Koertner, trying to

change

stations,

torpedo intended for the Houston. There

amidships by a

hit

is

85

and a

a violent explosion

is

great fountain of water rises a hundred feet above her, obscuring

but small portions of her

back into the sea

settles

bow and

When

stern.

becomes apparent

it

all

the watery fountain

that the

little

green and

bow and A few men

grey destroyer has broken in half and turned over. Only the stern sections of her jackknifed keel stick

above the water.

scramble desperately to her barnacled bottom, and her twin screws in their last propulsive effort turn slowly over in the air. In less than

minutes she has disappeared beneath the give the

few survivors a helping hand

No

sea.

two

one can stand by to

for her fate

can be ours

any

at

instant. It

is

The

nearing sundown.

surface of the sea

clouds of black smoke, which makes is

it

is

covered with

spot the enemy.

difficult to

It

discovered that Jap cruisers are closing in upon us, and our de-

them

stroyers are ordered to attack with tropedoes in order to divert

and give us time of the attack

engagement

Although no

hits are reported, the effect

gratifying for the Japs turn away.

is

is

to reform.

broken

off.

The

decisive results; however, there

At

this point the

no

daylight battle has ended with is

we

the convoy, which

still

will

attempt to surprise under the cover of night.

We

check our

The

sunk.

American

The Koertner and H.M.S.

who have expended

destroyers,

running low on still

losses.

Electra have been

crippled Exeter has retired to Soerabaja, escorted by the

fuel.

in the fight, but

The Houston,

Perth,

showing the jarring

Only two destroyers remain with

us,

their torpedoes

De

and are

Ruyter, and Java are

effects of

continuous gunfire.

H.M.S. Jupiter and H.M.S. En-

counter.

The Houston had only

fifty

fired

303 rounds of ammunition per

turret,

and

rounds per gun remain. The loss of number three turret

has been a great handicap, but there are no complaints for the

Houston has done

well.

The Chief Engineer

reports that his force

is

on the verge of complete exhaustion and that there have been more than seventy cases of heat exhaustion in the afternoon's battle.

plenty

more

We

fire

rooms during the

are in poor fighting condition, but there

is

to be done.

During the semi-darkness of

from the enemy

in

twilight

we steam on

us under observation into believing that

darkness descends

a course

away

order to lead any of their units which might have

we

turn and head back.

we

are in retreat.

When

Pearl Harbor to the

86

End

in the

Malay Barrier

Shortly after this H.M.S. Jupiter, covering our port flank, explodes

We

mysteriously and vanishes in a brief Jbut brilliant burst of flame. are

dumbfounded, for the enemy

we

not to be seen yet

is

race on

puzzling over her fate and blindly seeking the transports.

An

hour passes with nothing intervening to interrupt our search,

and then high ness.

in the sky

above us a

Night has suddenly become day and we are illuminated

targets in a shooting gallery.

we have no such

We

thing as radar,

out, following

We

cannot

enemy

it

with another and

know

and the plane merely flare after the first

still

circles outside

one burns

itself

another.

for sure, but certainly

closing in for the

is

like

are helpless to defend ourselves, for

our range of vision to drop another

the

dark-

flare bursts, shattering the

it is

Blinded by the

kill.

assume that

logical to

we

flares

wait

through tense minutes for the blow to come.

On

will give

our

men speak

the ship

bow

in

hushed tones as though

words

their very

our position away to the enemy. Only the rush of water as knifes thrbugh the sea at thirty knots,

and the continuous

roaring of blowers from the vicinity of the quarterdeck, are audible.

Death stands by, ready thoughts dwell upon

The

We

to strike.

No

one talks of

it

although

all

it.

fourth flare bursts, burns, and then slowly

are enveloped in darkness again.

No

the sea.

falls into

attack has come and

passes

it

becomes evident

that the plane has gone away.

derful

is

the darkness, yet

how

How

terrifying to realize that the

aware of our every move and merely biding

as time

wonenemy is

his time like a cat playing

with a mouse.

The moon has come up

to assist in our search for the convoy. It

has been almost an hour since the

pened this

to indicate that the

last flare,

enemy has

period Ensign Stivers has relieved

and nothing has hap-

us under observation. During

me

as officer of the deck. I

climb up on the forward anti-aircraft director platform and sprawl out to catch a hardly close

my

shouting men.

The water

is

tongue which

I

bit

of rest before the inevitable shooting begins.

am back on my

feet in a hurry

dotted with groups of I

I

eyes before there comes the sound of whistles and

men

and look over the

yelling

in

cannot understand. H.M.S. Encounter

side.

some strange is

ordered to

remain behind to rescue them.

Now we

are four, three light cruisers and one heavy.

through the eerie darkness. Suddenly out of nowhere in the

We

plow on

six flares

appear

water along our line of ships. They resemble those round

87

The Galloping Ghost smoke pots

burn alongside road constructions with a yellow

that

What

flame.

exactly are they, and

how

did they get there?

Are they

some form of mine, or is their purpose to mark our path for enemy? No one dares to guess. Either eventuality is bad enough.

As

we

as

fast

We

alongside.

nomenon

leave one group astern, another group bobs

cannot account for them, and

bewildering as

it is

there,

flares appear.

We

is

to follow

is

marking our track on the

of flares

zig-zag lines lanterns.

this oriental deviltry, is as

None of us has ever seen such a phecontinue to move away from them, but other

uncertainty of what

back and

up

confusing.

We

before.

groups of floating

The

the

leave

nerve wracking.

which rock and burn

them on

We

look

oily surface of the sea, are

the far horizon and

like

goulish jack-o-

We

no more appear.

welcome At approximately 2230, lookouts report two darkness.

are again in

ships to port, range 12,000 yards.

hundreds of miles of

unidentified

large

There are no friendly ships within

us, therefore these are the

enemy. The Houston

opens up with two main battery salvos, the results of which are not determined, and the Japs reply with two of their

water over the forecastle. With pear in the darkness and

need

all

this

exchange of

we make no

effort to

own which throw

fire

the Japs disap-

chase them, for

we

of our ammunition to sink transports.

There

is

no relaxing now.

We

are in the area where anything can

happen. Hundreds of eyes peer into the night seeking the convoy, as

we

end of our mission

realize that the

During the night the order of ships

De

Ruyter

still

is

approaching.

column has been

in

Houston, followed by the Java and Perth

A

half

shifted.

in that order.

hour passes without incident, and then with the swiftness of

a lightning bolt a tremendous explosion rocks the Java astern of the Houston.

spread rapidly

dead

The

maintained the lead, but behind her comes the

aft.

in the water,

900 yards

Mounting flames envelop her amidships and

She loses speed and drops out of the column to

where sheets of uncontrolled flame consume

lie

her.

Torpedo wakes are observed in the water, although we can find no enemy to fight back. The De Ruyter changes course sharply to the right,

and the Houston

similar to the one that

is

just

about to follow when an explosion

doomed

the Java

is

heard aboard the

De

Ruyter. Crackling flames shoot high above her bridge, quickly enveloping the entire ship.

Captain Rooks,

in a masterpiece of

seamanship and quick think-

End

Pearl Harbor to the

88 ing,

maneuvers the Houston

feet

on

to avoid torpedoes that slip past us ten

Then joined by the Perth, we race away from the and the insidious enemy that no one can see. How

either side.

stricken ships

horrible

Now

Malay Barrier

in the

it is

that

our

to leave

allies,

but.we 7are powerless to

Admiral Doorman has gone down with

the Captain of the Perth takes

command,

Rooks, and we follow the Perth as he

What an

for he

sets a

them.

is

senior to Captain

course for Batavia.

and how lucky we are

infernal night,

assist

his blazing flagship,

to escape. It

seems

almost miraculous when the sun comes up on the next morning,

February 28, for there have been many times during the past hours when

would have sworn we would never see

I

The Houston was had played merry had

fifteen

it.

a wreck. Concussions from the eight-inch guns

hell

with the ship's interior. Every desk on the ship

drawers torn out and the contents spewn over the deck. In

its

were torn from their hangers and pitched

lockers, clothes

muddled

in

heaps. Pictures, radios, books, and everything of a like nature were

from

jolted

their

normal places and dashed on the deck.

The Admiral's cabin was

a deplorable sight.

At one time

it

had

been President Roosevelt's cabin, but no one could have recognized

now

as such. Clocks lay

it

broken on the deck, furniture was over-

turned, mirrors were cracked, charts were ripped from the bulkhead,

and large pieces of soundproofing bulkheads and overhead were thick

The

ship

itself

by near

hits in

leaking.

The

had come loose from the

that in the

rubble on the deck.

had suffered considerably. Plates already weakened

previous bombing attacks were

glass

now

windows on the bridge were

badly sprung and

shattered. Fire hose

strung along the passageways were leaking and minor floods

made

it

sloppy underfoot.

The Houston was wounded and there

was

still

practically out of

fight left in her, plenty of

ammunition, but

it.

These events accompanied by many others played upon in the

minutest detail, until at

last

my

senses

my mind

became numb and

I

relaxed in sleep. It

was nearly 2400 when, Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang!, the nerve Alarm" burst through my wonderful cocoon of

shattering "General sleep

and brought me upright on both

months of war in

that gong, calling

deadly earnest.

battle station

It

all

meant only one

and get ready

to fight.

feet.

hands

Through two and a half had rung

to battle stations,

thing,

"Danger"

—man

your

So thoroughly had the lessons of

The Galloping Ghost war been taught found myself

in

gong that

as to the sharp, heartless clanging of that

my

89 I

shoes before I was even awake.

Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang! The sound echoed along the steel

bulkheads of the ship's deserted deviltry

we were mixed up

grabbed

my

when

me

tin

hat as

against the bulkhead.

inch bricks and I

flashed

We

knew

I

my

wardroom and

serted

wondered what kind of

room and was

I felt

putting

it

depressed. I

on

them but they

boys weren't wasting them on

that the

light to assist

me

through the de-

in passing

passageway

into the

didn't

seem

at the other end,

know what we had run

to

and climbed the ladder leading I

head

were desperately short of those eight-

group of stretcher-bearers and corpsmen were assembled.

As

my

from the main battery roared out overhead, knocking

a salvo

mirages.

the

I left

interior. I

now, and somehow

in

one

getting to be

hell

asked

I

into. I left

them

to the bridge.

climbed there was more

the five-inch guns were taking

where a

firing

up

from the main

battery,

and now it

was

On

the

the argument. I realized that

of a battle and

I

started running.

communication deck where the one-point-one's were getting into action, I

passed their gun crews working swiftly, mechanically in the

darkness without a hitch, as their guns

Momentarily

They were Before

The

I

I

pumped

out shell after

shell.

caught a glimpse of tracers hustling out into the night.

beautiful.

reached the bridge every gun on the ship was in action.

noise they

made was

knockout punches.

How

vals, the blinding crash of the

main

it

was

all that,

to hear, at

measured

inter-

battery, the sharp rapid crack of

the five-inch guns, the steady methodic

one-point-one's; and above

The Houston was throwing

magnificent.

reassuring

pom, pom, pom, pom, of the

from

their platforms high in the

foremast and in the mainmast, came the continuous sweeping volleys

machine guns which had been put there

of fifty-caliber

weapons, but which

now suddenly found

as anti-aircraft

themselves engaging enemy

surface targets.

As

I

stepped on the bridge the Houston became enveloped in the

blinding glare of searchlights. Behind the lights I could barely discern the outlines of Jap destroyers. for their

heavy units which

They had come in close to illuminate from the darkness. Battling

fired at us

desperately for existence the Houston's guns trained on the lights, and as fast as they

were turned on,

just as fast

were they blasted

Although the bridge was the Houston's nerve center, to find out

what we were up

against. This

I

out.

was unable

was mainly because the

90

End

Pearl -Harbor to the

Malay Barrier

in the

man

tempo* of the battle was so great and every vitally

concerned with

his

immediate^ duty that

I

such a time and ask a question that had

in at

What we had

stationed there so

was reluctant to butt

little

relative

We

loaded transports, twenty destroyers, and six cruisers.

middle of other's

this

mass of ships before

fire

in the

wounded by

mortally tinued to

fire

and Houston immediately

ships, the Perth

and turned sharply

an

to starboard in

However, the fury of the Japs was not

effort to

to be denied

break

free.

and the Perth was

torpedoes. Lying dead in the water she con-

with everything she had until Jap shells blasted her to

and she sank.

bits

When the

were

was aware of the

either side

presence.

Suddenly surrounded by

opened

meaning.

actually run into was/Jater estimated to be sixty fully

Captain Rooks realized that the Perth was finished he turned

Houston back

face of

At

no escape

into the heart of the Jap convoy, determined in the to sell the

close range the

Houston

dearly.

Houston pounded the Jap transports with every-

thing she had, and at the

same time fought

were attacking with torpedoes and

shellfire.

off the destroyers that

Jap cruisers remained

the background, throwing salvo after salvo aboard

The Houston was

taking terrible punishment.

our after engine room, where

it

A

and around

in us.

torpedo penetrated

exploded, killing every

man

there and

reducing our speed to fifteen knots.

Thick smoke and hot steam venting on the gun deck from the engine

room temporarily drove men from their guns but in spite of it. Power went out of the

back and stayed there

which stopped the flow of five-inch

empty magazines.

Men

hand, but debris and spite

from numerous

in the

fire,

hits

came

shell hoists

from the almost

attempted to go below and bring

fires

of this they continued to

stowed

shells to the guns,

they

after

shells

up by

blocked their way. In

using star shells which were

ready ammunition boxes by the guns.

Number Two

turret,

smashed by a

flames flashing up over the bridge.

direct hit,

The

blew up, sending wild

heat, so intense that

it

drove

everyone out of the conning tower, temporarily disrupted communications to other parts of the ship.

when

The

fire

was soon extinguished, but

the sprinklers flooded the magazine our last remaining supply of

eight-inch

ammunition was ruined, which meant

was now without a main

Numerous

fires

Houston

that the

battery.

were breaking out

increasingly difficult for the

men

to

all

over the ship and

it

became

cope with them. Another torpedo

The Galloping Ghost plowed

into the

Houston somewhere, forward of the quarterdeck. The

force of the explosion

ized then that

we

Slowly

made

we were done listed to

the ship tremble beneath us,

to fire, although

it

was obvious

and ordered him

down

to

still

that the his voice

commission continued

in

end was near.

was strong

the ladder which already

ing; instead I

jumped over

must have

summoned

had

I

did not wait to go

a capacity crowd, with

the railing to the deck below.

probably a fortunate move, for just as bridge, killing several men.

It

as he

sound "Abandon Ship."

heard the words "Abandon Ship"

I

I

jumped

I

this, for five

Despite the fact that

I

last airplane

would come

figured

on the

in

spread

and a

handy, but

its

bottle I

was

people were there ahead of me.

we were

still

the target for continuous shells

and the ship was slowly sinking beneath

Men

wait-

That was

a shell burst

useless wings in the darkness. It contained a rubber boat

of brandy, both of which

men

on the port catapult tower

trotted out

where the battered and unflyable hulk of our

not alone in

I real-

for.

torn at the Captain's heart, but

When

and

starboard as the grand old ship gradually lost

steerageway and stopped. The few guns

the bugler

91

us, there

was no confusion.

went quietly and quickly about the job of abandoning

ship.

Fear was nowhere apparent, due possibly to the fact that the one thing

we

feared most throughout the short space of the war had

happened. Captain Rooks had come down

goodbye

to several of his officers

off the

bridge and was saying

and men outside

when

his cabin,

a

Jap shell exploded in a one-point-one gun mount, sending a piece of the breach crashing into his chest. Captain Rooks, beloved by officers

and men, died

When

in their arms.

Buda, the Captain's Chinese cook, learned that the captain

had been

killed,

he refused to leave the

ship.

He

simply sat cross-

legged outside the Captain's cabin, rocking back and forth and ing "Captain dead,

Houston dead, Buda

die too."

moan-

He went down

with

the ship.

During

this

time

I

made my way

to the quarterdeck.

sprawled on the deck, but there was no time to find were.

Men

hangar

in

floats that

from

an

my

Dead men lay out who they

division were busily engaged in the starboard

effort to bring out a seaplane

pontoon and two wing-tip

we had filled with food and water in preparation for just If we could get them into the water and assemble them

such a time.

92

w# had

as

End

Pearl .Harbor to the

Malay Barrier

in the

so designed, they would

make

a fine floating structure

around which we could gather and work from. hurried to the base of the catapult tower where

I

worked rapidly

I

to release the lifelines in order that we, could get the floats over the side

and into the water.

I

uncoupled one

Up

moment

until that

oil

and

me,

when

must have been too fascinated with the

I

sudden torrent of fuel

this

could think of was

all I

found myself

I

salt water.

unreality of the situation to truly think about

ened, but

heard no explosion,

us. I

me and

but the deck buckled and jumped under

suddenly engulfed in a deluge of fuel

and was working on the

line

second when a torpedo struck directly below

fire. It

and become

it

fright-

and water poured over

oil

was the most

helpless sensation I

my life. Somehow I hadn't figured on getting was gripped with the sudden fear of blazing person and covering the surface of the sea. I was

ever had experienced in hit

now

or killed, but

my

on

fuel oil

panicked, for

have been

I

I

could figure no escape from

it.

The same thought must

minds of the others, for we

in the

raced from the

all

No

starboard side to the shelter of the port hangar.

sooner had we

cleared the quarterdeck than a salvo of shells plowed through

it,

ex-

ploding deep below decks.

Events were moving

and the Houston

fast,

about to go down. There was only one idea

was

her death throes was

in

left in

my

mind, and that

who were going over the side in increasing made my way to the port side and climbed down

to join the others

numbers. Quickly

I

the cargo nets that were hanging there.

edge

I

dropped

warm Java

off into the

was aware

above the surface

I

by many men,

swimming

all

When Sea.

I

reached the water's

When my head came

that in the darkness

I

was surrounded

for their lives. Frantic screams for help

from the wounded and drowning mixed with the shouts of others

make of men

attempting to battleground

swam

to get

I

had no desire

few hundred yards away

the death of

had come

my

ship.

in close

The

sea

was an

I

ship's suction.

As much

my

deliberately firing

I

turned, gasping for breath, to watch

and illuminated her with searchlights as they raked fire.

Many men

struggled in the water

near the ship, others clung desperately to heavily loaded to

as

to join her in a watery grave.

She lay well over to starboard. Jap destroyers

her decks with machine-gun

and then

oily

pitted against the terrors of death. Desperately I

beyond reach of the sinking

loved the Houston

A

contact with shipmates.

horror,

I

life

realized that the Japs were coldly

on the men

in the water.

The concussions

rafts,

and

of shells

93

The Galloping Ghost

swimming men sent shock waves through the water that slammed against my body with an evil force, making me wince with pain. Men closer to the exploding shells were killed by this bursting in the midst of

concussion alone.

Dazed, unable to believe that

all

was

this

real,

Japanese searchlights

I

saw the Houston

roll

floated there,

I

By

watching as though bewitched. The end had come.

the glare of

slowly over to star-

board, and then, with her yardarms almost dipping into the sea, she

paused momentarily. Perhaps

I

only imagined

but

it,

seemed

it

though a sudden breeze picked up the Stars and Stripes

two blocked on the mainmast, and waved them gesture.

Then with

one

in

as

firmly

still

last defiant

a tired shudder she vanished beneath the Java

Sea.

The magnificent Houston and most but in the oily sea around their last battle.

me

of

Hundreds of Jap

soldiers

the flotsam of their sunken ships; and as

swim

for their lives,

I

my

shipmates were gone,

lay evidence of the carnage

and I

wrought by

sailors struggled

amidst

watched them drown or

smiled grimly and repeated over and over,

"Well done, Houstonr

THE LONG, HEARTBREAKING STRUGGLE pines

sula

drew

rapidly

to

a

close:

Corps were hemmed

II Philippine

and were

Wainwright's in

on both

left

of

it,

PHILIP-

decimated

I

and

Bataan Penin-

sides of

pushed down toward Mariveles Bay,

steadily being

fronting on the beleaguered fortress of Corregidor.

was

THE

IN

The Navy, what

consisted of a few auxiliaries and motor torpedo boats

under Rear Admiral Francis W. Rockwell, Commandant of the

purged Cavite Navy Yard. Food and water were dire that General

MacArthur

in dire supply, so

offered bounties to Philippine guerrillas

who would brave General Homma's hordes

to bring

Japanese promptly countered by threatening to

kill

them any

in.

The

guerrillas

caught smuggling. With the situation worsening by the hour, President Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to leave the Philippines and as-

sume command in Australia. With March 11, 1942.

regret the General

and

his family

departed on Certainly

little

introduction

is

necessary for MacArthur.

preme Commander of the Allied Forces the architect of the

campaign

in the

to drive the

South

Pacific,

enemy from

his

As Suhe was newly-

94

Pearl

Harbor

to the

gainecl strongholds in the

End

in the

Malay Barrier

He had begun the war as Army and, simulPhilippines. He was the recipient,

Southwest

Pacific.

a retired Lieutenant General of the "United States taneously, as Field Marshal of the as

was

his father before him, of the' Congressional

Few Americans

in history

Medal

of Honor.

have garnered more honors during a

life-

time of service to their country.

MacArthur's evacuation from "The Rock" until quite recently,

when

his reminiscences

is

an oft-told

story.

were published,

it

But

was

never narrated by the controversial MacArthur himself. The "Buck" to

whom

Bulkeley,

he refers

who

is

of course the ubiquitous torpedo boat officer,

evacuated the General's entourage.

GENERAL OF THE ARMY DOUGLAS MACARTHUR

10.

RETREAT

Darkness had now

from the

and the waters were beginning

fallen,

faint night breeze.

tering silence

had

fallen. It

was

The

stench of destruction.

The enemy

as though the

smell of

filth

dead were passing by the

thickened the night

raised

my

feel a

sudden, convulsive twitch in the muscles

someone

cap in farewell

ask,

gruff reply. I

"What's

salute,

and

could

I

my face go of my face. I

feel

his chance, Sarge, of getting

in five."

FT-41. "You may

Buck,"

cast off,

air.

I

white,

heard

through?" and the

"Dunno. He's lucky. Maybe one

stepped aboard

to ripple

had ceased and a mut-

firing

I said,

"when

you are ready." Although the its

size

flotilla

consisted of only four battle-scarred

was no gauge of the uniqueness of

its

PT

mission. This

boats,

was the

desperate attempt by a commander-in-chief and his key staff to

move

thousands of miles through the enemy's lines to another war theatre, to direct a

new and

intensified assault.

Nor

did the Japanese them-

selves underestimate the significance of such a

movement. "Tokyo

Rose" had announced

I

gleefully that,

hanged on the Imperial Plaza

in

if

captured,

would be publicly

Tokyo, where the Imperial towers

overlooked the traditional parade ground of the Emperor's Guard divisions. Little did I

the as

first

dream

that bleak night that five years later, at

parade review of Occupation troops,

I

would take the

salute

supreme commander for the Allied Powers on the precise spot so

dramatically predicted for

my

execution.

95

96

Pearl,

The

Harbor

End

to the

Malay Barrier

in the

at Turning Buoy just outside the Then we roared through in single file, Bulkeley leading and Admiral Rockwell in PT-34 closing the formation. On the run to Cabra Island, many -white lights were sighted the

tiny

convoy rendezvoused

minefield at 8 p.m.



enemy's signal that a break was ade.

The

engine

is

noise of our engines

Several boats passed.

it.

get rough. Spiteful

As we began

The

sea rose and

waves slapped and snapped

it

evi-

began to

at the thin skin of the

was becoming poorer.

boats; visibility

grew

PT

had been heard, but the sound of a

hard to differentiate from that of a bomber, and they

dently mistook

little

attempted through the block-

bfeing

closing

on the Japanese blockading

fleet,

the suspense

tense. Suddenly, there they were, sinister outlines against the

curiously peaceful formations of lazily drifting cloud.

hardly breathing, for the

first

Ten

identify ourselves.

Twenty.

seconds.

A

We

waited,

would summon us

burst of shell that

full

minute.

No

to

gun

spoke; the PT's rode so low in the choppy seas that they had not spotted us.

Bulkeley changed at once to a course that brought us to the west

and north of the enemy and again,

was

this

craft,

and we

slid

by

in the darkness.

Again

to be repeated during the night, but our luck

held.

The weather

deteriorated steadily, and towering waves buffeted our

war-weary, blacked-out vessels. The flying spray drove against

tiny,

our skin

like stinging pellets of birdshot.

down

would

in

space as though about to breach, and then

would break away and go forward with a experience afterward as what

it

rush.

must be

to take

by 3:30 a.m. the convoy had scattered. Bulkeley hours to collect the others, but without success.

It

own,

his

rendezvous just

was a bad night

a trip in a

down

off the

tried for several

Now

uninhabited

each skipper

Cuyo

Island.

At dawn, Lieutenant (j.g.) V. E. saw what he took for a Jap de30 knots through the early morning fog. The

for everybody.

Schumacher, commander of stroyer bearing

describing the

I recall

like

The four PT's could no longer keep formation, and

concrete mixer.

his

a

the other side.

seeming to hang free

was on

fall off into

up the near slope of a steep water peak, only to The boat would toss crazily back and forth,

trough, then climb slide

We

at

FT -32,

torpedo tubes were instantly cleared for action, and the 600-gallon gasoline

make

drums

jettisoned to lighten the vessel

a run for

"enemy" was seen

it.

Just

before the

to be the

PT-41

signal

—mine.

when to

the time

fire,

the

came

to

onrushing

97

Retreat

The first boat to arrive at Tagauayan at 9:30 on the morning of March 12 was FT-34 under the command of Lieutenant R. G. Kelly. PT-32 and Bulkeley's FT -41 arrived at approximately 4 p.m. with

FT -32

running out of

aboard were placed on the two other

fuel; those

A

already crowded craft.

submarine which had been ordered to join

We

us at the Cuyos did not appear. intensified,

still

waited as the day's

on the water camouflaged

spots

stifling

heat

as well as possible

from the prying eyes of searching enemy airmen. Hours passed and last

we

could wait no longer for Ensign A. B. Akers' PT-35

arrived two hours after

ward

into the

we

left). I

Mindanao Sea

for

gave the order to

move

at (it

out south-

Cagayan, on the northern coast. This

time Rockwell's boat led and FT-41 followed.

The

night

was

clear,

the sea rough and high.

Once more, huge and ahead through the dark. Instantly

we

hostile,

We

cut engines, cleared for action

ticked into minutes, but

no

signal flashed

steamed slowly westward across our path.

we had been mistaken safety

loomed dead

a Japanese warship

were too near to run, too



late to

dodge.

and waited. Seconds

from the battleship If

for part of the native

as she

we had been seen at all, fishing fleet. Our road to

was open.

We made

it

into

Cagayan

together the officers and style," I told

at

men

7 a.m. on Friday,

of both PT's. "It

them. "It gives

me

March

was done

13. I called in true

great pleasure and honor to

naval

award

the boats' crews the Silver Star for gallantry for fortitude in the face of heavy odds."

THE LAST GASP OF THE PHILIPPINES PT SQUADRON came on April 9

at

Cebu.

New

Jersey-born Lieutenant

Richardson, executive officer of PT-34, stout

little

warship. After working his

now

way

tells

(j.g.)

Haf

of the death of his

into the hills,

Richardson

ultimately became a Major in the Resistance and there remained until repatriated in 1944. His collaborator, Ira Wolfert,

Prize for his

news dispatches from Guadalcanal.

won

the Pulitzer

IRA

WOLFERT

side

and Cebu

.

II.

ALL GONE,

The entrance

to

on the other and

Cebu is

NOW

Mactan Island on one

City has

bordered by shoals. Navigation

is

further compli-

when even-

cated by the fact that, particularly at night in wartime thing

blacked out. there are no distinctive points there that can be

is

used for

When you've seen one much seen it all. It

fixes.

you've pretty itself

.

We It

.

just

Island,

runs on and on repeating

.

went into the wrong channel and ran aground on a

worried

us.

the Filipinos

One

past time

had taken us

when we had run aground

for Japs

ashore in the Thirty-Four s punt to if

Cebu

part of the coast of

and shot holes try to dig

jut of coral.

close to shore,

So

into us.

I

went

up a tug and. anyway.

that failed, to block off whatever shooting there might be with the

morning sun. But by the time railroad station there



the tide

Four s crew had gone over

I

got a telephone

had started

to



come

at Minglanilia. the

in

and the Thirty-

the side and rocked her off the coral and

taken off south in the direction where they thought Cebu

lay.

took Kelly time to figure out he was going wrong and backtrack.

It

didn't get into the approach to Cebu City until dawn. By then was standing on Pier One with an ambulance, waiting for the Thirty-

and he I

Four I

to tie up.

could see the Thirty-Four working busily towards

air-raid alert sounded.

9fl

Then

I

saw four Jap

us.

float planes

Then

coming

the in.

All Gone,

Now

began

99

jump up

looking for whatever had pickled their cruiser.

I

and down. "Jesus,"

ran back and forth a

I

said,

"For Christ sake!"

Army

way. There was an

little

lieutenant

I

to

standing there,

a

tall,

powerfully built middle-aged man. "What's the matter?" he asked,

and

"Why,

I said,

I'm not on

for Christ sake, they're going to get

the

way

could

I felt. I

he knew by the excited way he

tell

looked around to see what could be done about anything to be done. But I felt

boat and

it."

He knew

how

my

I

—Jim Cushing,

liked

him

away

right

a fellow about thirty-five

been a wrestler once and then a chromium miner

it.

There wasn't

way he knew years old who had

for the

in the islands before

joining the war.

The Japs came on in a "V". They then peeled out of the "V" one to dive. They dove strafing and they dove right into the fire of

by one

the Thirty-Four. But torpedo boats in those days weren't

are today,

and we had only two

what they

on board and two lousy

twin-fifties

Lewis guns. The boys dished out what we had and the streams of tracers crossed each other in mid-air while at

myself and letting

flat

and

He

didn't

still-seeming.

I

change course

groaned

the water near by

mouth. Then

I

saw

it,

just

my voice. He knew what he was

until the last possible splinter of a at all to

The boat kicked

on the port

my

at the top of

right.

all

second so as to give the Jap no time flipped the boat over.

ran up and down, tearing

out and saw the boat rigid under

Kelly was an iron-minded man, doing.

I

noises run out of

bomb coming

the fat, yellow

held there

little

change aim. Then he

to the right

and the bomb

hit

side.

rail. That's the way it looked from The whole world stopped for me. White water stood up and hung there suspended. Smoke curled out of it while it stood there. The smoke curled like spumes of snow blown off a snow-smothered tree. Then the small, dark green Thirty-Four weaseled through, all motors roaring, and I shouted, "Missed! Missed! God-damn, if he didn't make them miss," and looked full at Cushing and he grinned

I

thought

where

back

I

at

But

it

had

hit

on the

was.

me



with

as I

all his

found out

strength. later

—Harris

smack altitude

that

into the Jap.

The Jap had

on the pull-out from

one Jap plane crashed

its

started to smoke.

dive.

(J.

It

couldn't gain

(Later verified reports proved

to the south

got one," Harris yelled to Martino

W. Harris, Torpedoman He had been putting bullets

(P.

2/c) on the port turret was already dead.

and west of Cebu City.) "I

Martino,

CTM)

on the

star-

End

Pearl Harbor to the

100

boarcl turret. "See

See

it!

Did you

it!

see it?" turning his

and following the plane fron>starboard

yelled

and neck stretched to receive the bomb

him

let

Malay Barrier

in the

finish

what he was

and drove up behind

Then

saying. Tfreff

splinter.

it

head

to port with

went

as he

head high

The bomb

splinter

under

his chin

in right

his face into the flesh of his brain.

more bombs and more strafings. One engine went another. The starboard turret stopped working when a machine-gun bullet in the thigh. The Lewis gun forwhen Hunter (C. M. Hunter, CMM) had his upper arm bullet. One of a stream of bullets ripping open the

there were

out and then

Martino took

ward stopped broken by a

canopy of the forward compartment

can opener went into the

like a

wounded below, and knocked up through his pelvis and bladder and intestines. The last gun on the boat went out of commission when a Jap bullet tore it right out of Ross's hands (W. L. Ross, QM 1/c), the bullet caroming off the gun and opening his thigh. And now Kelly was in trouble up to his neck and over that,

groin of Reynolds, lying

up

to his ears

and the

no guns

hairline of his forehead, with

left

with

which to fight back and only one engine with which to maneuver.

saw him sputter and wallow out of

sight

I

behind Kawit Island. Then

he did not reappear.

jumped into Cushing jumped 1

a car.

me.

in after

and we tore on down with hand on

don't

I

to

know how

He

baroto

took



was too

any reason.

didn't have

He

to Kawit.

excited. just did,

We

drove

us.

had gone away.

a dugout canoe

I

I

horn and foot pressing the gas pedal through the floor-

airplanes

it,

it.

Tanke, the nearest point

board, the ambulance piling after

The

got

I



there

I

ran

down

somehow,

to the I

beach and got a

don't remember, just

suppose, and paddled with Cushing for the sound of the

Thirty-Four's engine.

We

could

still

hear

it

going.

Then we saw the Thirty-Four aground behind one of those native

bamboo see

it

fish traps.

The

flag

was

still

there. It

flapping sluggishly in the breeze as

suppose your country

is

always

if

like that. It

made me

feel strange to

nothing had happened. goes on and on in

its

I

own

way whatever happens to you, but it made me feel strange to see the flag flapping away in the same old way, and then I scrambled over the stern and I remember the engine blowing fumes in my face and my and then there the whole thing was wrinkling my face up "whew!"



flat

before me.

A

sieve, that's

what

it

looked

like, the

deck there, a

mangled-up sieve of bullet holes with blood dripping through them. Kelly had got the

wounded ashore on Kawit. They had

lit

out so



All Gone, fast they hadn't

They had

had time

to shut off the

the dead behind.

left

I

Now

101

still

working.

one engine

found Harris lying quietly below,

laid him, KIA, certainly that, oh absolutely that Torpedoman 3d Class, United States Navy. I remember

where they had

KIA:

Harris,

running topside after

that, thinking

who'd ever have thought Harris

would be a KIA, and then seeing Kelly come wading back. "Congratulations, Mr. Kelly,"

"Well," he said, "well,

.

.

."

words, and then said, "Hell,

I

I said,

on

his

being

alive.

and stumbled around a

little bit

in his

wasn't worried about me. Hell, they

can't get me. I'm too tough." I

was so glad

absolute truth,

him

to see

I

told

him

wounded ashore on

Mrs. Charlotte Martin, an American

"Oh

table.

true, that

the

lived at

was the

dead and the

Cebu with her

Reynolds became con-

"I'm going to be very

That was the only thing he

no," she told him, "only for a

Then

who

at the hospital helping.

on the operating

said to her.

was

floating

the doors to the forward compartment.

husband, "Cap," was scious

that

and then we got busy

sick, ain't I?"

he

said.

little

while."

she leaned forward to stroke his forehead and saw he was

dead.

We had

tried to save the Thirty-Four. After all

their pair of pliers

Dad

and ten-pound hammer.

Cleland's boys

Tom

Lt.

Jurika

still

made

the inspection. There were two pilot boats for the party. There were a

help and other people

lot of Filipino soldiers to



including Jurika

and Cushing. Then two Jap planes interrupted them with a sneak attack.

They chopped

off their engines

and came gliding soundlessly

out of the sun, then cut their engines back in with a Godawful grind

and came on shooting.

They cut the Number Two pilot boat just about in half. Then they came back for the Number One boat. Everybody was trying to wade ashore. They were spread out in a rough line about forty-five feet on getting ashore. There were about

long, all intent

water and four inches of slimy

whether

came

it

was

into the

guns going hitting

at

faster to

Number One once

sounded

— one

mud

under

it.

You

swim or wade. Then boat behind.

It

fifteen inches of

couldn't figure out

the explosive bullets

sounded

like

two machine

from the plane, and the explosive

just like there

bullets

was a machine gun working on the

pilot boat.

Then the planes went for the men. They strafed Some tried to dive under the water. They saw

line.

the center of the the white-beaded

Pearl Harbor to the

102 line of

End

in the

Malay Barrier

bubbles from the bullets, but they couldn't stay under. They

couldn't keep the water over positive

them bs

buoyancy there because

Incidentally, those

it

who swam

a cover.

There was too much

was so shallow. got- td the

beach faster than those

who waded.

When

the attack

third fellow

was

over, there were

who had squeezed

compartment

in front of the

been clasping

his

cabin of the

knees and legs to

been to the diving plane.

A

out through a lower right

fit

bullet hit rib,

two dead and there was

a

himself for safety in a small forward

Number One

boat.

He had

himself in there. His back had

him

in the right shoulder,

came

and then went on through the thigh

bone, coming out just above the knee, and after that had gone leg, breaking the shinbone on the way out. him and four major bones broken by the one

through the calf of his

He had

six holes in

bullet.

And

the Thirty-Four

tree, hopelessly

was on

fire.

She was burning

like a

Christmas

and beyond redemption.

WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE DOOLITTLE TOKYO RAID, first

of the strikes on the enemy's homeland, the end of April 1942

marked

the lowest ebb of America's fortunes in the Pacific; never

again would they sink so low.

PART

II

WAR

THE

IN THE

ATLANTIC

WAR CAME

AS LESS OF A SHOCK TO THE EAST COAST. IN

effect, hostilities

between the United States and Germany had begun

several

months before Pearl Harbor.

tember

4,

A

de facto war had erupted Sep-

1941, when U-652 fired torpedoes

was en route

at destroyer

Greer, which

to Iceland. President Roosevelt reacted bitterly, terming

the attack ''piracy" and declaring that "from

now

on,

if

German and

war enter the waters the protection of which is necesAmerican defense, they do so at their own risk." Thus ended the "short of war" policy. It had been inaugurated soon after Dunkirk Italian vessels of

sary for

with the controversial exchange of

fifty

old destroyers for British

bases in Newfoundland and the West Indies, and had been continued

with

little

significant change, other than

sures, until the 1st

Task Force 16

Marine Brigade was

in June, 1941.

At

hemispheric defense mealifted to

this time, the

Newfoundland by

United States Navy

undertook the escort of convoys to Iceland (by Admiral King's nition within the

on a regular

Western Hemisphere and therefore

basis.

Now

a second destroyer, Kearney,

in

defi-

our purview)

was attacked by 103

104

The War

in the Atlantic

a U-boat, and on October 31, a third,

Reuben James, was torpedoed

and sunk with a heavy

disaster brought

loss of

life.

The

impact of the vicious submarine warfare

Noted

home

the full

in territorial waters.

and muralist ^Griffith Baily Coale, a reserve in the next convoy astern of the doomed Reuben James. In his memoirs, he speaks of the fateful night. illustrator

Lieutenant

Commander, was

LIEUTENANT COMMANDER GRIFFITH BAILY COALE

I.

ATTACK

Half awake because of the unusually easy motion of the ship, in the

unaccustomed quiet

am

I

conscious of the monotony of her listening

tubes.

A

sudden loud explosion brings

that

is

a torpedo and not a depth charge. Spring from

it

jump

upright.

Know instantly my bunk,

for the bulkhead door, spin the wheel releasing the dogs,

land on the deck in a It is

me

not us.

A mile

split

second, with General Quarters

ahead a

rising cloud of

black loom of a ship. With a

and

rasping.

still

dark smoke hangs over the

terrific roar, a

column

of orange flame

towers high into the night as her magazines go up, subsides, leaving a great black pall of

smoke

licked by

moving tongues of orange. All the

ship forward of No. 4 stack has disappeared.

upon

We move

rapidly

down

and

slides

her, as her stern rises perpendicularly into the air

A

moment, and two grunting jolts of her depth charges toss debris and men into the air. Suddenly my nostrils are filled with the sickly stench of fuel oil, and the sea is flat and silvery slowly into the sea.

we know it, we hear the cursing, praying, and hoarse shouts for help, and we are all among her men, like black shiny seals in the oily water. The Captain leaps to the under

its

thick coating. Before

engine telegraph and stops her, rushes to the bridge side, sees glance,

and

gives a sharp order to put her slowly astern, for

all

at a

our way

has carried us through them and over the spot where she just has been. In a minute

we have backed our way

carefully

among them and 105

The War

106

in the Atlantic

stopped again. Orders calmly barked, and every

Cargo nets rigged over

precision.

"We

ing.

are the

Reuben James' men!" comes

and then we know.

The

crisis.

But the bobbing blobs of

blown up and choking with caught in molasses.

by a vast

We

are

work

for heav-

from one

in shouting in

raft,

men

more

are

and water, they are

oil

now

is

in a

Thrice

pitiful.

animals

like small

black circle of water, surrounded

in a

The men

lines are slipping

unison

and organization

to initiative

isolated

silver ring of oil slick.

and the hove

us

a chorus

huddled greasy forms, packing the overloaded

magnificent and their team

example of quick return

a fine

acting with cold

7



spirit of these

life rafts, is

man

made ready

the^side, lines

toward

to port are drifting

through their greasy,

oily hands.

Soon many eager hands are grasping our cargo net, but our ship's upward roll breaks their weak and slippery hold. Instantly officers and men are begging permission

to

go over the

side,

on a

three of our officers are ten feet from the ship

and several chief petty

make

lines

fast

and

no time

in

reeling raft,

are clinging to the net, trying to

officers

around the slimy bodies of the survivors so that

dozens of strong arms above on the deck can heave them aboard.

The

first

man

from the

is

oil.

Forward

man below me and

hear his

hauled over the amidship

an isolated

lofty bridge I see

rail

vomiting

choking curses. Half blind, he sees the bridge above him. His cursing ceases

— "A

line, please, Sir!"

hove and he side,

I

is

I

my

cup

towed amidships to the

see the obscure

cigarette lighter

it

line is

Crossing to the starboard

mass of another loaded

and waves

A

hands and shout.

nets.

in the darkness.

raft.

One man

They shout

ignites a

in chorus,

They are drifting away to leeward. We shout through megaphones: "Hang on! We'll get you!" One man alone is trying to swim toward us. "Come on buddy!" I bellow, "you can make but our lines

fall short.

it!"

But the

line

course of their

hove with great drift.

It is

skill falls

a lengthy

— and we

chart the

short

and desperately hard job

to get

men aboard. Our men are working feverishly, but less than half have come over the rail and thirty-eight minutes have passed. The

these

horizon light

is

dull red with the

makes

the mass of our

coming of the dawn, and the increasing

inert ship

an easy target for the submarine

which must be lurking near. One of our destroyers is continually circling us, as the Captain bellows from the bridge: "Get those men aboard!" After sixty-five minutes a few exhausted

our

side.

The Captain

says to

me "We :

men

still

bob along

are in great danger.

I

cannot

107

Attack and her company much longer."

risk the ship

Now

A

contact directly astern with a submarine!

phone buzzes

in

the wheelhouse

left.

There all

is

nothing for

We

it.



The

the other destroyer gets

tele-

too!

it

order the ensigns on the raft aboard with

haste, the engine telegraph

is

snapped

full

We

leaving two survivors to swirl astern.

ahead, and

we

away and

roar

We

water tinged with blood color in the dawning.

leap away,

the other de-

stroyer lets go a pattern of depth charges, the white rising

columns of

search, lose contact,

and the other ship picks up eleven men while we

and

return,

We

hope she got the two we had

back

two or

there are

...

three

to leave!

A

circle her.

comes

third destroyer

and we

to relieve us with orders to search the spot until noon,

with thirty-six survivors, and the other rescue ship, catch up with the

convoy

fleeing

at twenty-five knots.

"Secure from General Quarters!" Ten-thirty and

Hot

breakfast!

coffee

—Lord, The

since five twenty-three!

ladders are covered with

two

to see

perfectly

wardroom,

oil

ship

is

and the smell of

and ears

we can go

—her

it.

decks, rails and

At lunch

I

still

plastered with oil in spite of

and the men's clothes are piled along the decks

men

learn that

all

we had many

Two-ten p.m.



friends

officers'

We

bunks.

up of the forward part

among them. The

the peremptory rasping of General Quarters!

lookouts have sighted five ships. British corvettes

jackets,

life

black and soggy

in

with hemorrhages are put into

the officers died with the blowing

of the ship, and

am amazed

into the holy precincts of the

the scrubbing that they have given themselves! Ropes,

masses. Four

and they give

to

have been on the bridge

a mess

naked ensigns walk

their eyes, hair,

We

nectar!

it's

When

nearer they turn out to be five

At nine

satisfactory signals.

o'clock,

with intermittent moonlight, the gunnery officer high above the bridge

has picked up what he thinks sion to

fire star shells,

five shots.

a sub on the surface.

is

and with

splitting roars

Hardly has the whine of the

He

last five-inch

when

the whole surface of the distant horizon

burst,

and we make out an English corvette,

asks permis-

our No. 2 turret

off

shell

brightly

is lit

fires

ceased

by

their

her station. In the

dark wheelhouse the Captain turns to me: "Is today more than you bargained for?" "No, Sir!" "Well,

he says with a air to

grin.

At

that

I

eastward, followed by heavy

General Quarters! to investigate,

Two

corvettes

and report

hope

moment two

to us

firing.

it's

close

enough for you,"

star shells burst high in the

Again the dreary

rattle of

and one of our destroyers dash

off

by phone that a couple of escort ships

had seen two German subs on the surface sneaking

in

towards us, had

The War

108 openetl

fire,

So for the

made them

last

battle light in

dive,

and dropped ash cans where they were.

time that day, General*Quarters

twelve o'clock.

eerie

in the Atlantic

I

grope my way down from

my

Hallowe'en

hall, into is

my

is

over and

turn in at

I

the bridge past the

sealec^up cabin, post

my

dim

—and an

log

ended.

WITH THE U-BOAT WAR IN SPATE BY DECEMBER

7,

1941, Nazi submarines rampaged along the East Coast with almost total impunity.

where;

Torpedo death came without warning and was every-

shipping

losses

mounted

precipitously.

270,000 tons of Allied merchant shipping were next it

month

In

lost to the

the figure soared to 427,000 tons; and three

exceeded 600,000 tons, despite the best

efforts

some

January

U-boats;

months

of the

later

United

Navy.

States

The

ordeal of our merchant service

is

ably described in the follow-

ing excerpt by the prolific Felix Riesenberg, Jr., author of several

books about the sea and a reporter for the now defunct San Francisco

News

at the

conclusion of the war.

FELIX RIESENBERG, JR.

2.

ATLANTIC SLAUGHTER

Winter gales that lashed the North Atlantic

in

early January

had

blown themselves out by the eleventh of that month when a group of twenty

German U-boats

stations off seaports

filed

down

from Halifax

bother these submariners the

way

to it

the East Coast to take assigned

Miami. The freezing cold did not

would

their victims

:

they were

veterans of the northern convoy route or had fought the

Royal Navy

in

RAF

Channel waters. Here were the world's most

all

and

skillful

underseas fighters; no one of them would miss eight shots at a ten-

knot tanker or need even a small part of one hour to sink some

unarmed World War I freighter. America was about to witness a slaughter that would make Japanese submarine operations seem amateurish for

all

their deadly toll.

Closing with the shore, the

Germans tuned

meter wave-band and were amazed

by the coastal defense

at the

into the six-hundred-

information being given out

stations of a nation at war.

Rescue work was

in

progress as a result of the recent blow and ships at sea were freely

The

was releasing not only the

announcing

their positions.

route of

planes but also the time schedule.

its

easier for the

air patrol

To make

U-Boats the glow of brightly lighted

cities

things even

showed

far

Each German commander waited impatiently for a signal. This was to be the code word Paukenschlag (bang on the kettledrum) which would be flashed by Admiral Karl Doenitz to open the ravage against American merchant shipping. off shore.

109

The War

110

in the Atlantic

Doenitz, then forty-nine years of age and a former submarine officer, fall

was

complete control of

in

of France he

had moved

his

U-Boat operations. After the

all

headquarters to a

Kernevel

villa at

overlooking the Bay of Biscay near #re Concrete sub pens of Lorient.

Here

in the big operations

room Doneitz and

his staff

had worked

top speed for a month to organize Operation Paukenschlag.

The Harbor attack had come as a surprise to the Germans, so it was necessary to recall U-Boats from the Mediterranean, South Atlantic at

Pearl

and Arctic. Details of assigning

making

stations,

ments and correlating intelligence were done morale of the

refueling arrange-

in record

time.

The

and seagoing personnel had never been higher

staff

was

the neutrality restriction

as

Doenitz expected to show the

lifted.

world a splurge of sinkings that would never be forgotten.

So

far in the

almost

war German U-Boats had sunk 1,017

five million tons.

Only

sixty-six subs

had been

ships totalling

and these

lost

were being more than replaced by the twenty new boats delivered each month. In March the effectiveness of the underseas be greatly enhanced by the addition of the

thousand-ton tanker submarines.

U-Boats

main

On aces.

to return

homeward

indefinitely off

the eve of the

It

first

fleet

would

"milch cows," the one-

would no longer be necessary

for

and torpedoes; they could

re-

for fuel

United States seaports.

American campaign Doenitz had

Gunther Prien who made the spectacular

lost a

raid into

few of

his

Scapa Flow

was buried under the Mediterranean along with Karl Endrass who had earned the Oak Leaves to the Iron Cross. But there were many experienced commanders,

men

Many

Hardegen, Gengelbach, Reschke carrier

Ark

of the submariners were former merchant marine

offi-

and Guggenberger, who sank Royal.

like

Britain's

new seventy-plane

cers whose knowledge of commercial shipping was invaluable in hunt-

ing and recognizing cargo prey.

While waiting for the chance to attack American

man submarine command agents.

Some

of these

were

ships, the

sailors

Street restaurant with information

who

drifted

up

to

an Eighty-sixth

which was transmitted via short-

wave radio by German American Bund members. In the

German

Ger-

had been receiving regular reports from

New

Orleans,

consul, an ardent yachtsman, forwarded charts of the

passes out of the Mississippi to which were added special markings. did not matter that in

January ten seamen found

were given long sentences by a carry on the work.

New York

court.

guilty as

It

Nazi spies

There were others to

>/-,?



113

Atlantic Slaughter

The U-Boats poised

known

for attack that winter were

as

Type

VII C. These 770-ton boats were 220-feet over all, twice the length of the wooden Sub Chasers of World War I that were sent out to challenge them; their surface speed was seventeen knots and submerged they could make to catch all

they

These speeds enabled the subs

eight knots.

but a few American ships of that day; even under water

moved

average convoy.

faster than the

Between 1940 and 1945 the German yards

built

that ranged

up

to eighty-five

hundred

659 of the VII

and men on voyages

C's which carried a crew of forty-four officers

miles. Before the

end of the war

they were equipped with "schnorkels," radar, anti-surface raiderdefenses and complicated plotting tables for automatic aiming.

At

the

beginning they were comparatively simple and depended mostly on the skill of personnel.

The

early killers were pierced with four

bow

torpedo tubes and one

Each carried either twelve or fourteen of the one-ton missiles, and mounted one 20-mm. anti-aircraft cannon and Twin Flak on deck. These were the sea wolves whose commanders received stern tube.

—on

Paukenschlag

the flash

the twelfth of January with

commence

attack set for the following day.

Admiral Doenitz, a

restless

man, paced the gleaming

floors of his

eyes lifting continually to the big wall charts of the world.

villa,

Gold-headed pins marked the U-Boat clusters of

kills;

soon he expected to see

them between Newfoundland and Florida Straits. In a trial, for Hitler and his closest advisers were as

sense Doenitz was on

land-minded as the policy-makers of World

War

I.

After a quarter of

a century the judgment of Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz on the

high

command was

German

again true: "They do not understand the sea."

But the Fuehrer would understand

figures

on destroyed tonnage.

Paukenschlag opened one day early and for Doenitz the smashing start

was dramatically

been a British ship



apt. In

1914

his first kill as a

the Cyclops. That

was

also the

commander had name of the ten-

thousand-ton freighter blasted without warning on January twelfth south of Halifax.

To

sunk

and the Latvian Ciltvavia went under within

Cape Sable went ninety-four men. The same day a Pan American tanker was in the north

their death in the frigid waters off

Cape Hatteras. Radio broadcasts were

interrupted through the next two days and

newspaper extras carried banners Boats.

A

sight of

to

big British freighter and a

announce the arrival of the UNorwegian tanker were sunk off

The War

114

in the Atlantic

Long-island. American seamen ready to

or coming on the coast,

sail,

knew what they could expect. The first American victim was to be the Esso tanker Allan Jackson, bound toward New York from Cartagena, just passing Diamond Shoals off Cape Hatteras at one thirty on the dark morning of January eighteenth. Deep in the water with a 72,870-barrel cargo of Colombian crude sea.

The

the ship

oil,

was pounding out ten knots over a

flat

bridge watch sighted ahead, on lookout for Winter Quarter

Lightship.

Captain Felix W. Kretchmer lay on his settee

arm propped on a

injured

wheelhouse and

pillow.

He

engines lulled him.

He was his

when he dozed

praying for luck

bank across

off.

Then

to the inboard bulkhead.

Shocked awake, the skipper had

mendous explosion sounded

with an

bells strike in the

rhythmic throb of the

his tired eyes closed as the

he was hurled from

fully dressed

heard three

just gained his feet

close below; this time he

through a doorway into the bathroom.

Two

when

a tre-

was catapulted

torpedoes had ripped into

the Allan Jackson.

Before he could

came

rise a

sweep

of solid flame

second time, Captain Kretchmer saw a gust

his cabin.

the hiss of spreading

fire

He was

From

trapped.

out on deck

and the grind of twisting metal. The

He

deck canted sharply; the skipper grasped a shower stanchion.

moved

could feel the ship sagging and unconsciously

his feet

on the

hot deck. Paint began to peel as the flame tongues from the cabin

An

licked toward him.

Instinctively he

his

head toward the porthole behind him.

headed that way. Hampered by

desperately to get through the port and finally

A

raging

oil fire

lit

from the boat deck

agonizing, shrill scream

caused the skipper to turn

his

fell

bad arm he fought

out on deck.

the sea around the foundering ship for three

hundred yards. Ladders, decks, the metal boats and even heavy davits

had crumbled. Purple water sloshed over the

Above

bridge deck. night as

men became

ined such a Still

bridge.

fishplates

on the lower

the noise of the holocaust shrieks pierced the living torches.

No

one aboard had ever imag-

hell.

master of his ship, Captain Kretchmer clawed toward the

The

vessel's papers

the engine room:

hands had



a radio message

distress

flares



call

thoughts raced through the skipper's mind. His

just gripped the ladder

loose. In the next instant

was surprised



at its

rail

when

they were wrenched

water rose up to his armpits and at

warmth: the ship was

in the

first

he

Gulf Stream. The

115

Atlantic Slaughter

water swirled and a great sucking noise drowned out the roar of the inferno; under the sea

went the skipper.

With a mighty lung-straining

effort

Captain Kretchmer struggled to

By some

the surface clear of the burning water.

touched a small length of board. As he clung to

bumped

debris

him.

He

miracle his hand

it,

a large piece of

did not shout for help because the

first

object

he sighted was the hull of a large U-Boat, metal sides glistening in the flicker of the fire.

The

hours and fought

off

in the

man, kept

faith

through seven

morning.

The

torpedo to strike the Allan Jackson had been spotted just

first

one

after

skipper, a brave

unconsciousness until a destroyer picked him up

thirty

from the bridge by twenty-five-year-old Melvin A.

Rand, Second Mate. He saw the creaming phosphorescent wake 125 feet off

and shouted, "Hard

left!" to the

Rand was knocked

then

off his feet,

tossed overside. With

man

at the wheel.

Before the

was ripped open amidships. Mr.

ship responded to her helm, she

lifted

on a deck grating and

him went Third Mate Boris A. Vornosoff. They officer, Francis M. Bacon who leaped. The

shouted up to the junior three

and

men

lashed themselves to planking and tried to

legs clear of the

Drifting off they their bodies

drifted off

Back

Clausen and they

felt

their

arms

water when sharks were attracted to the scene.

saw pain-maddened men writhing blindly on deck,

enveloped

still

aft,

lift

in flame.

Before daylight Mr. Bacon died and

lashed to his spar.

where the crew berths his

men had been

in

a tanker, Boatswain Rolf

playing cards in the

messroom when

the forward part of the Jackson jerk from the two explo-

By the time they reached the deck, No. 4 Eight men quickly launched the starboard boat; sions.

Engineer was lowered into flames licked at them.

They

it.

No

lifeboat

was

afire.

the injured Chief

sooner were they water-borne than

struggled to get clear of the side and were

saved from cremation by the discharge of a condenser pump. But the force of the stream pushed

propeller which

was

still

them astern

into the

back bent. By great good luck they ratched later they

backwash of the

turning over. Oars dug into the oily water, clear. Fifteen

minutes

picked up Stephen Verbonich, the Radio Operator. In the

morning they were picked up by the destroyer which found the two mates and the captain. Cruising fished the bodies of four

in the area, the

naval vessel also

dead from tangles of blackened wreckage.

One of these was young Carl Webb, be named two years later.

a wiper, after

whom

a ship would

The War

116 Ashore

in the Atlantic

that morning,

still

men

vors gave newspaper

suffering

from extreme shock, the

survi-

the "eyewitness" accounts. These were a

preview of what lay ahead for unarmed merchant ships, a sample of the experience through which any mai? might expect to pass

men

hazardous waters. Twenty-two

sailed these

if

he

lost their lives in the

torpedoing and burning of the Allan Jackson.

The Germans

struck again off Hatteras in the pre-dawn darkness

of the following day and sent

Savannah Line

two torpedoes

into the thirty-year-old

freighter City of Atlanta. Ancient plates buckled; the

sea poured in so fast that the vessel heeled over on her

The starboard lifeboat hung Eighteen men who scrambled into the

before she lost way. inboard.

dumped

as

capsized in the

it

three survivors were picked

The

at

swaying

port boat were

men were

killed.

Only

daybreak by a Seatrain Texas

ship.

falls.

up

beam ends

useless,

Forty-four

A tlanta

had scarcely settled when a U-Boat slipped up Malay and boldly opened fire with its deck gun. Brave men stood by in the engine room when Captain John Dodge called down that he was going to run. The tanker was bound from City of

astern of the tanker

Philadelphia toward Port Arthur in ballast; a shot into her gas-filled

hods would blow the ship to pieces.

The

sixty-nine-year-old skipper

bounded

in

and out of the wheel

house yelling course changes to the quartermaster. shelter as the

U-Boat raked

the decks

and were put out; the

Fires started

riddled; cordite

Men ducked

from two hundred yards after

for

astern.

house and funnel were

fumes choked the men who huddled

in the passage-

ways, ready at any instant to leap overboard.

The

stern chase continued for

where the U-Boat turned away. Captain Dodge care-

close inshore fully felt his

two hours and the Malay was driven

way

off

soundings, then shaped a course for Old Point

Comfort and radioed the Navy. The danger seemed averted when the

Malay was suddenly hit amidships by a torpedo. Unnerved men lowered a boat while the tanker was through the water and made falls;

two were thrown overboard

The Malay limped

plowing

as the boat

was whipped around.

into port.

U-Boats sank the Frances Salman and the Norvana days along with Allied vessels so that the Atlantic Coast

still

the mistake of releasing the forward

was twenty

ships sunk,

toll in

in the next

two weeks

two hundred merchant

dead. In addition there had been a dozen

collisions

two

off the

sailors

and several

groundings when ships and some navigational aids blacked-out. The

117

Atlantic Slaughter press, sea unions

Why

Washington.

and steamship companies demanded action from don't

we put guns on our merchant

ships?

Where

is

Navy? Months would pass before the U-Boats were seriously challenged. To the Germans Operation Paukenschlag was less demanding, and far more sport, than training exercises in the Baltic. The bright lights of Boston, New York, Atlantic City and Miami Beach were friendly the

reminders of Berlin. They also served to

make

excellent silhouettes of

and

ships that were so carefully blacked-out. Night-club, restaurant

theater owners insisted

on flashing

neon

their

invitations: in

war

re-

laxation was necessary to keep up morale.

To make

things even easier for themselves, the

U-Boat comman-

ders resorted to guile. In the darkness of January twenty-fourth, off the Virginia Capes, a

U-Boat sank

a big foreign tanker

and from

its

glow picked up the outline of the ore carrier Venore. The submarine raced ahead for an hour then stopped to wait in the path of the

oncoming American This

The

is

vessel.

the lightship.

You

are standing into danger.

bridge watch of the Venore snapped to the attention as the

blinker message

was

read. Captain Fritz

Duurloo rubbed

and

his chin

scowled.

Direct your course to pass close to me,

came

the followup

U-boat whose commander peered into the darkness.

from the

He watched

bulk of the ship begin to swing and gave the order to

fire

the

One and

Two. Deafening explosions thundered around the Venore. Ears ringing, wits dulled

by

When

way.

fear, the

crew

tried to

launch boats before the ship

survivors were rescued next morning twenty

lost

men were

missing.

As

the

month

were bagged.

two

off

of January neared an end

On

two more American ships

the twenty-sixth the Francis E. Powell was cut in

Delaware Breakwater with a

loss of four lives.

Four days

later

a U-Boat surfaced in the path of the Rochester a few hours out of

New

York. One of the lifeboats ran afoul of the submarine and

fended

off,

then rowed with

all

their

might

in fear of

being machine-

gunned. Tough young Germans jeered at them and opened blank

fire

point-

at the ship.

U-Boat commanders gave their crews a chance firing the deck guns. There were many stories war of boat crews being machine-gunned, but there is no

Whenever to

men

blow

off

during the

possible

steam by

The War

118

in the Atlantic

substantiated record of Americans being so slaughtered by the Ger-

mans.

It

was the Japs who were

this atrocity

.

.

proved to have committed

definitely

.

Public indignation increased as the^U-Boat blitz continued un-

The Navy

checked.

established a system of defense based on the

1929 Coastal Frontier Forces and placed antisubmarine

officers,

in

command

the best of

its

Admiral Adolphus Andrews. The new Eastern

Sea Frontier, responsible for the safety of merchant ships sailing

between Canada and Florida, had only the most antiquated equip-

ment with which

to fight a fleet of

Ten World War

thirty.

I

submarines then estimated

surface units were supported by four blimps and six

This force did not even

at

subchasers joined three seagoing yachts. The

Army

bombers.

alone engage, the enemy.

sight, let

Available naval vessels in the opening months of the war had

been ordered to transatlantic convoy duty. Guns and armed guards

went

to ships

bound

for

England and Russia. All

aircraft

were being

The Royal Air Force refused to release a number of American-built bombers that were about to be flown to Britain on Lend Lease. Merchant seamen were as expenddirected to higher priority theaters.

able as the soldiers fighting against hopeless odds on Corregidor:

other group of the Nation's citizens were Hitler reminded the world of this

month

of February opened.

He

left in

when he came on

no

peril.

the air as the

ranted the threat that the U-Boats

and that American ships and seamen would

were only

just beginning

soon

the full might of his submarine

feel

any such

blitz.

He

attempted to

frighten sailors off the sea with the warning that any so foolish as to sailors stood scant

The Fuehrer's

chance of ever returning. threatening prophecy was almost immediately car-

ried out in a sinking that brought as

tragedy as any disaster of

The Standard launched

in

Oil

World War

Company

of

much

suffering

and human

II.

New

Jersey tanker,

W. L.

Steed,

1918, was logging no better than eight knots on February

second as she drew abeam of the Delaware Capes. The ship was low in the water, carrying sixty-five

thousand barrels of

oil,

and seas that

broke over the forecastlehead swirled above the well deck to cover the catwalk. A strong northwest wind brought a driving snowstorm;

men who had been burned by the Caribbean sun two were now bundled up and shivered as they looked out manes

days before at the

white

of angry seas that broke under the blizzard.

The nerves

of

all

hands were on edge.

A

submarine had been

119

Atlantic Slaughter

and had been seen at intervals up until sunset At seven that night a suspicious light showed astern and the master was called. Captain Harold G. McAvenia, a veteran of World War I, changed course. When the danger seemed past, the ship was brought about to buck the gale again. All boats were swung out; sighted two days before

February

first.

most of the men drank coffee through the

room wearing

life

night,

huddled

mess-

jackets.

made

Eight bells struck for midnight and the Third Mate

Rough Log

in the

entry for the

first.

Wayland, Second Mate, who

The watch was

relieved

the last

by Sydney

gave an account of the events from

later

twelve forty-five a.m. onward. Here are extracts from that officer's report:

Without warning of any kind the ship was suddenly struck by a torpedo on her starboard

side,

forward of the bridge,

at her

No.

3

tank, setting the oil afire.

At

was proceeding generally

that time the vessel

erly direction,

about 80 miles

off the

two miles

The next

thing

I

a northeast-

Delaware Capes. The sea was

bad, with a strong northeasterly wind. ing the visibility

in

It

was snowing hard, mak-

at best.

heard was the engine being stopped by the

captain in the pilot house and the general alarm sounded. ter

ordered

me

The mas-

two amidships boats ready for lowering.

to get the

Second Mate Wayland carried out

his orders

and took No. 2 boat

which he successfully launched into the heavy sea with fourteen men. His report told that

all

boats cleared, leaving no one aboard, but that

he never again sighted any of them. to see

From

his

boat the

two big U-Boats which shelled the Steed

men were

until she

able

blew up. His

account continued:

Weather conditions were

fierce,

with the snowstorm and dan-

gerous northwest seas running. Everyone in the boat was suffering

from

cold,

due mostly to lack of clothes.

The men in lifeboat #2 died one after another until February 5, when Chief Mate Einar A. Nilsson and myself were the only ones alive.

On

the

6, Nilsson showed signs of weakAt about 9:30 A.M. I sighted a steamer and made every effort, waving and hailing, to

morning of February

ness and extreme fatigue.

coming

close to us

get her attention, as she

seemed

to

go past, but

around, headed for us, and picked us up.

finally she

hove

:

The War

120

in the Atlantic

This was the British freighter Hartlepool which continued on her

voyage and landed the two

They were

Halifax on February and Mr. Wayland concluded his /-,?

officers ^at

sent to the hospital

ment:

Mr. Nilsson died the following day.

I left

the hospital

ninth. state-

on Febru-

ary 28, after recovering from the pains and suffering experienced.

Another account of the sinking was given by Able Seaman Ralph Mazzucco who was in No. 3 boat with Joaquin Brea, the Boatswain, and Able Seamen Raymond Burkholder and Louis Hartz and Ordinary Seaman Arthur Chandler. of the sinking Steed, they

As

they were swept around the stern

had the

first

sighting of

one of Doenitz's

newest U-Boats Just

then

a

large

submarine,

estimated

about 2,000 tons,

at

painted a light gray, with guns forward and abaft her conning tower, appeared on the port side.

Men

immediately manned the

guns; the forward one appeared to be a 4-inch and the after one a trifle

smaller.

They

started shelling the ship.

The seamen watched

the

German

lob shells into their ship with

astonishing accuracy despite the heavy seas that clawed at the gun-

They then

ners.

tried to

make

contact with the other boats but were

swept by a walloping cross breaker that carried away oars together with the

their

Soaked by

tiller,

rudder,

sails

icy water they bailed frantically to

all

but three of

and boat hooks.

empty the

boat.

The

report from No. 3 continued:

After struggling a couple of hours

we had

the boat bailed out

and then went under the canvas boat cover for protection from the heavy spray and strong wind. Some of us kept joking and talking through the night to keep lay

down

tried to

in a life preserver

wake him and

the forward

and

up our morale. Finally Chandler fell asleep. The next morning I

realized that he

was dead.

We

carried

him

to

end of the boat.

The same morning Burkholder became delirious. Shortly after noon he died and was also carried forward. It was so bitterly cold that we decided to start a fire. The lamp in the boat being broken, we poured oil from it on some wood we had chopped up and placed it in the water bucket. The fire burned steadily and helped to dry our wet clothes and thaw us out to some extent.

Perhaps

it

saved our

lives.

By

cutting

up

the thwarts, stern

121

Atlantic Slaughter

forward sheets, bottom board, and one of the oars, we

sheets,

managed

to

night until

keep the

fire

going the rest of the day and during the

we were picked up by

a

Canadian auxiliary

cruiser,

HMCS Alcantara. Brea, Hartz and Mazzucco were taken to Halifax and although

badly frozen they

A

recovered.

all

report on the disaster reached Standard Oil from

final

Town, South Africa, following the arrival there of Raby Castle. She had picked up a boat on February hundred miles to seaward of the position

Cape

the British vessel twelfth

some four

which the Steed was

at

men in that boat but only Elmer E. He had been Second Assistant Engineer and

torpedoed. There were four

Maihiot,

was

Jr.,

alive.

died three days after being rescued.

Only four men survived the ordeal while the

list

of the dead could be

To

thirty-four perished.

added other frightening

statistics to

show

war projected through the loss of a single vessel. The cargo of the W. L. Steed, broken down into a retailing unit, amounted to more than one quarter of a million gallons of oil or one

the course of

On

million quarts: close to five hundred thousand dollars.

her war-

time voyages the ship had carried forty-five times that value of crude oil.

Had

she continued unmolested through the war, this single vessel

would have delivered

six million barrels.

seas, the

U-Boats

Many were

attacked

While the open boats of the Steed battled winter

upped

two ships a day.

their sinking average to

so close to shore that Florida and

New

Jersey residents

came down

to

the beaches to watch the carnage. Travelers in commercial aircraft

were witnesses to daylight attacks

Morgan, a

retired

watchman

and Gulf. Timothy

in the Atlantic

of Sarasota, Florida, never forgot the

strange experience of seeing a tanker burst into flames five thousand feet below.

'The boat looked

"We circled

while the pilot called shore to get help and

a toy," he recalled years later.

like

low enough to see the submarine dashing black smoke.

Then

tiny white boats

from the burning boat

off.

—four

of

we came down much them crawled away

I

never saw so



like little bugs."

Frantic calls to the

Navy by passenger

airliners

brought only belated help; Eastern Sea Frontier in still

without adequate equipment.

and spectators

late

February was

The onshore wind

menacing boom and crack of gunfire and drove

White beaches became covered with petroleum scum and dead

fish,

sodden

life

jackets

carried

in a pall of oil

and smashed boats,

rafts

the

smoke.

littered

with

and decking.

:

The War

122

in the Atlantic

among

Small boys searched the shore and parts of

human

ica in the

bodies. This was the^ unprotected coastline of Amermonths of January, February and March of 1942.

Into the seaports half

the things they found were

naked.

showed the

came

Many wore strain of a

exhausted,' 'unnerved dirty

men, oilsmeared and

bandages over horrible burns. All

wretched experience. But old

lifetime of sea service, together with teen age

men

boys on their

with a

first trips,

showed a common defiance. "Give us guns," they continued to demand. Their answer to the stock reporter's question was, "Hell yes, I'm shipping out again." There was no braggartism and few asked for

more than a drink or might be sea they

drifters,

a cigarette. In ordinary times

many

them

of

troublemakers, drunks and brawlers; under stress at

showed great courage and

ship, their clothing or

later a fierce pride.

Without

their

any possessions, they proclaimed the dignity of

man.

The waterfront bars and

restaurants frequented by sailors were

plastered with warnings:

A SLIP OF THE LIP

MAY

SINK A SHIP

THE ENEMY

DON'T BLAB

IS

LISTENING

Nazi informers were everywhere and U-Boats were being fed

infor-

let them make the best use of their torpedoes. The Germans chided men in lifeboats for being a few minutes late or early at their rendezvous; officers were astonished to hear U-Boat commanders tell them their destination and the cargo they had been carrying.

mation that

From the decks of the big gray submarines motion pictures were now being taken of the burning ships under shell fire as crews scrambled into the boats. Machine guns were trained on the survivors to bring out a realistic look of fear while the cameras ground. Later,

audiences in Berlin would have no doubt about victory over so less

spirit-

and ragged an enemy.

Navy communiques were handed

Enemy submarine of

activity

out to the newspapers

continued

last

North America from Cape Hatteras

southward to the Florida

Straits

.

.

week to

off the

East Coast

Newfoundland and

.

Strong counter measures are being taken by units of the Navy's

East Coastal

Command.

123

Atlantic Slaughter In Paul's Bar and the Dutchman's on Eleventh Avenue,

and

between there and the Ship's Light on Charles

in all the bars

New

Street,

Orleans, seamen shrugged

Out

the true count in February.

when

his legs.

Men

and

Navy

off the coast.

San Pedro a

in

ticket, lifeboat certificate, identification

on

they read a

had been sunk

that claimed twenty submarines

tattoed

New York

sailor

release

Zero was

had

AB

his

numbers

social security

shipping out went "schooner-rigged," taking

only bare necessities and checking valuables at the union halls or

Seamen's Church

Institute.

Good-byes

to wives

and families took on

the aspect of finality.

At

when some

the height of the sinkings,

was

sort of coastal patrol

USNR,

so badly needed, Captain Arthur O. Brady,

privately voiced a

many who were old enough to rerum runners these days?" he knew every inch of water fellows "Those asked, half humorously. from Florida up to the Bay of Fundy." Veterans of the Jersey Coast, Long Island and Florida beaches, suggestion that had occurred to

member

Prohibition.

"Where

where they smuggled booze

But

boats.

are the

in the 'twenties,

in the spring of

had operated

1942 those of them not

fast,

armed

in prison

were

playing the black market or cargo filching along the waterfronts.

Through

the

the pattern of

month U-Boat

of February the public because familiar with

Most

attack.

survivors told of surprise and

shock; the tanker disasters brought explosions and burning.

Men

could not remain on the scorching decks but usually the only place to

jump was

into a sheet of flame.

overlaid with searing

To

the U-Boats the merchant ships were like

a hunt. great

Here was the paradox of

Each commander was out

enough

to earn

water

him

the

commencing on February Reached operational

game

to be

bagged

in

to get a tonnage-destruction figure

Oak Leaves

an extract from the log of U-504 as

it

to the Iron Cross.

Here

is

swept the waters of Florida

twenty-first:

area.

Fired double salvo at tanker steering

south in ballast. Hit fore and

chased a merchant ship but later

icy

fire.

aft.

lost

Ship sank by stern. Next evening her in a rain squall. Half an hour

sank a four-masted ship in night attack. Ship turned

Steered south for Jupiter. Attacked large tanker. plosion and ship at once burst into flames.

turtle.

Tremendous

ex-

She was carrying

12,000 tons of petrol. Picked up destroyer noises. In the bright moonlight sighted enemy and dived.

Was

attacked with depth-

charges and pursued for three hours, but although

enemy passed

The War

124

in the Atlantic

overhead several times he did not attack again, and

A

off.

later

little

made submerged

from heavy seas which impeded

7, 000- ton

action. Set course for

Bombay

slow speed. Sank a ship making for

motor

on a

daylight attack

which blew up. Serious damage sustained on deck

petrol tanker

of

finally cleared

cars.

Ship blown to

bits.

.

home

at

carrying deck-cargo

.

.

This cold account described what by that time was a commonplace slaughtering in the ocean jungle off the sandy coast of Florida. the

Merchant Marine Naval Reserve

of wartime sinkings

list

possible to write the obituary of the ships that

The were

killed

fell

was the tanker Republic,

ship caught

first

From it

is

victims to U-504.

whose crew

five of

by the explosion. The four-masted ship was a Cuban

vessel,

and the tanker reported

Jupiter

was the

Cities Service

to

have burst into flames north of

Empire. All her lifeboats on the

star-

board side were smashed; twenty-three of the crew huddled on one

and seven men were burned

raft,

The merchant

to death.

ship that escaped in the rain squall on February

SOS was

twenty-second was the Green Island. Her

America's

first

Pacific-bound convoy out of

escorting destroyers raced ahead but

New

picked up by

York. One of the

was rammed by the Green

land which mistook her for a sub in the fading

light.

A

second de-

stroyer

made

The bound

petrol-tanker caught just before the sinking of the vessel

the depth-charge attack

was

Is-

on U-504.

BombayAt the time of her torpedoing Sumner addressing delegates to a Pan American

Brazilian.

Welles was in Rio de Janeiro defense conference.

Operation Paukenschlag reached

March when for a

little

more than two months was 145

dred thousand tons and

Marine

furious

a

Institute

comparative

climax midway

the U-Boats sank twenty ships in one week.

six

hundred

attempted

to

lives.

impress

in

score

ships totaling eight hun-

The American Merchant the

public

general

the average freighter carried an

statistics:

The

cargo equal to four trains of seventy-five cars each!

A

with

amount

of

standard tanker

loaded enough gasoline on one voyage to supply the holder of an "A" ration

sent to

book with gas

more submarines

commission the

Fuehrer a

total of

for thirty-five thousand years! Admiral Doenitz to the

first

American

station

and was getting ready

tankers and supply boats.

two hundred

ships,

He

promised the

one million tons, by April

first.

On

the last day of

March

the compilers of ship losses

made

an-

:

125

Atlantic Slaughter

other record entry: in slightly over twenty-four hours the U-Boats

sank

six vessels: City of

New

York, Tiger, T. C. McCobb, Menomi-

and Allegheny.

nee, Barnegat

New York

Thirteen days after the City of

went under Robert "Pat"

how

Peck, an ordinary seaman, came into a Delaware port and told the big

American South African Line motor ship was slugged one off the coast as she bucked a head gale and waves that

hundred miles

ran twenty feet from trough to crest. Only one of the ship's four boats cleared and in

old

girl,

it

were crowded twenty persons, including a three-year-

her mother and two other women.

men

Half the for there

died in the next ten days.

were no weights

The

were hideous

burials

which would

to sink the corpses

just float

who had sobbed constantly since the abandoning, hysterics when her mother died. "Please don't throw my

away. The child,

gave way to

Mummy in the water.

Please don't."

U-Boats, lurking between the

number

Down

East coast and Florida

was necessary for them

Straits,

to

burn

at night.

They

refueled or took on ammunition and supplies without fear;

com-

had so increased

in

that

it

navigation lights to avoid collisions

manders even exchanged

on deck

stretched out

Miami

In

visits.

when they surfaced

In Southern waters the Germans

to acquire sun tans.

there were rumors that U-Boats were receiving regular

milk deliveries from a local dairy.

It

was said

that ticket stubs

from a

Flagler Street movies had been found in the pockets of submariners

captured offshore. The

FBI

boats refueling the enemy,

men

investigated five

all

of

them

hundred reports of small

false alarms. J.

Edgar Hoover's

did capture saboteurs near Ponte Verde, just south of Jackson-

and twenty-seven

ville,

Miami Naval Air

aliens

Station at

were rounded up

in the

lee

Opa-Locka. These German,

of the

Italian

and

Japanese aliens were operating with radios, cameras and binoculars.

The United

Navy was being sharply criticized, even by its Commander-in-Chief who was then carrying on a confidential correStates

spondence with Prime Minister Winston Churchill

.

.

.

Roosevelt

wrote .

.

.

My Navy

marine war officers

has been definitely slack in preparing for this sub-

off

our coast. As

have declined

than two thousand tons.

We

still

have to learn

the

West

Indies.

I

need not

it.

tell

you, most naval

terms of any vessel of

You learned the lesson two years ago. I expect to get a pretty good By May

less

coastal patrol working

I

in the past to think in

1

from Newfoundland

to Florida

and through

have begged, borrowed, and stolen every vessel

The "War

126

in the Atlantic

of every description over eighty feet long a separate

command

"Roosevelt's

them

Navy" was under

politicians

—and

I

have made

who had

attack by

many

amateurs, some of

screame'd against prewar appropriations.

Enemies of the Administration pointed accusingly to the from Britain and longed for the

islands leased

this

with the responsibility in Admiral Andrews.

string of

exchanged de-

fifty

stroyers.

and lubberly ad-

While pundits of the shore offered caustic vice, the

Luxury

Eastern Sea Frontier battled delays, red tape and selfishness.

lighting at

Miami and West Palm Beach

did not go out until

convoy escort

the end of the winter tourist season; sufficient ships for

were not delivered

merchant ships

and the

until April,

—from Hampton Roads

first

to

protected

Key West



movement

of

started in mid-

May. After hundreds of merchant seamen had died, most of them in night attacks, daylight coastal navigation sailing

was put

into force. Ships

between Maine and Delaware Bay anchored overnight

ton and

New

Bos-

in

York. Because there were no such convenient stopping

places south of Hatteras, artificial ports were constructed. These were

pens built out of huge booms and submarine nets, spaced 125 miles apart. Freighters fields;

and tankers were herded

in at sunset

through mine

during the day they were escorted by 1918 destroyers released

from Iceland convoy duty.

The "leap-frog" convoys at the start were far from effective and the U-Boat sinking average remained at better than two per day. But Admiral Doenitz did not

like

even the mildest opposition and in the

spring directed his U-Boats to the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. In these unprotected waters the

Germans promptly

new

established a

slaughter record.

The problem America speed, was one of

how

faced,

and needed

to replace

LEAVING THE NAVY AS monumental

struggle

ahead,

let

to solve with the greatest

merchant ships and crews

IT us

.

.

.

SHAPED UP FOR THE turn

to

the

events

aboard

an Esso tanker at sea during the U-boat invasion. Able Seaman John J. Forsdal of R. P. Resor was aboard the 12,875 ton merchant-

man when sixth

she

voyage to

survivors.

It was during her fiftywas one of her few Forsdal and Kingdom, the United

fell

prey to an enemy submarine.

JOHN

FORSDAL

J.

"WIPE THE OIL

OUT OF MY

On

EYES!"

February 19, 1942, the R. P. Resor, commanded by Fred Marcus

and with Chief Engineer Travis L. Lumpkin

in charge of her engine-

room, left Houston, Texas, with a cargo of 78,729 barrels of fuel

oil,

bound, via Baytown, for Fall River, Massachusetts.

She carried a merchant crew of 41

Navy gunners

ensign and 8

complement of instructions

of her

and men. With the

armed guard, she had a

50. Sailing without escort, she followed

and maintained a

About two days out zigzag courses

officers

total

blackout

of Baytown, Captain

—long courses on each

at

Navy

night

.

total

routing .

.

Marcus began Mexico and

steering

leg in the Gulf of

shorter courses, of 15 minutes each, north of Miami. In addition to the crew's lookout watches, the

and

night, posting

gun

aft.

one

man on

armed guard maintained lookouts day the

monkey

bridge and another at the

On the night of the 26th, Captain Marcus was in the wheelhouse when Third Mate Graham P. Covert took over the 8 to 12 watch Ordinary Seaman Orville R. Hogard was stationed as lookout on the .

.

.

wing of the bridge.

The evening was

fine

and

clear.

There was a

light northwesterly

breeze, small ripples on the water, and a long, moderate, lazy easterly swell. It

was a

brilliantly lighted

better than half a

moon

showing.

moonlight night, there being a

The sky was

little

cloudless and the night

127

The -War

128 was

clear

st>.

Jersey shore.

I

in the Atlantic

New

could distinguish the individual lights on the

The evening was cold and

it

was necessary

to

wear

heavy clothing and ear muffs.

From

Seaman JForsdal was taking his trick at The Resor was then steering a base course of 30 degrees

8 to 10 p.m. Able

the wheel.

by gyro-compass and zigzagging

and

speed 15 degrees to the

at full

A

right of that course at intervals of 15 minutes.

was on lookout duty atop the on the

house and a seaman stood watch

pilot

The wheelhouse.was blacked out and

foc'sle head.

was not showing navigation

left

Navy gunner

When

lights.

Forsdal

the vessel

the bridge at

left

10 p.m. the ship was steering the zigzag course heretofore explained.

From 10 hour

p.m. to 11 p.m.

proceeded to the

I

I

foc'sle

was on standby

At

duty.

the latter

head and relieved Ordinary Seaman

Hogard. The Resor would soon be about 20 miles east of Manasquan Inlet,

N.

J.

Just before 7 bells,

Suddenly

I

was standing

I

on the port bow. Although not

points

was

indistinct. I did

due

to the

walked

slightly to port of the stem.

sighted a dark object lying

low

far distant

along the port side toward the

few seconds

from the

vessel,

after I sighted the vessel,

I

immediately turned and

bell, to

which

I

report the craft.

could see that

I

her white light was about 5 feet above her green and red side lights

A

thought might be a

small fishing boat, she turned on her navigating lights.

The

it

not hear any engine or a motor exhaust, possibly

sound of the Resor's bow waves.

aft

water about two

in the

lights.

were then about 200 to 300 yards away and were heading

for a point

midway between

the stem of the Resor

and the break of

the foc'sle head.

A

second or so after the strange vessel showed her navigating

lights, I

rang two strokes on the

bell

and then reported by voice

to the

bridge: "Small vessel about two points on your port bow, sir!"

bridge answered: "Aye! Aye!" craft until I reported

As

I

it,

From

the time

I

first

The

observed the

only 10 to 15 seconds had elapsed.

turned to walk forward,

I

saw

that the lights

were about

three points on the port bow. They were too dim to show any part of her hull and after a few seconds she switched them off. Thinking that

she was a fishing boat because of her small outline and not realizing that a submarine

would venture so close

to shore,

I

resumed

my

lookout without giving further thought to the vessel, which had

disap-

moon was

either

peared

in the darkness.

At

this time, as I recall, the

aft or on our starboard quarter.

"Wipe the Oil Out I

my

had continued

My

of

129

Eyes!"

lookout for a minute or two,

when

of a

all

sudden I felt and heard a violent explosion on our port side. Within what seemed a fraction of a second the Resor was aflame from her bridge aft and debris was hurled high into the air. I was thrown to the deck and lay there momentarily

in a

myself from falling fragments

I

foc'sle

dazed condition. Then to protect

crawled under a platform on the

head which had been constructed for a gun.

up and went down to the fore deck. In was now clearly visible, about 400 to 500 yards distant. The enemy four points on our port bow and vessel, without lights, appeared to be on her way to the Jersey shore and I could hear the noise of a heavy Diesel exhaust. Then she disap-

When

it

seemed

safe, I got

the light of the flames, the submarine

peared from view.

Removing my

lifebelt

and heavy overcoat,

put the

I

lifebelt

on

again and proceeded to the foremast rigging on the port side, where tried to size

that the fire

found a

line

up the

whether

situation to see

was too

severe.

Then

could go

I

decided

aft. I

released the portside

I

I

life

raft,

hanging over the side and lowered myself into the water,

which was icy cold.

When heavy

shoulder ship

about 50 yards from the ship, as

oil,

was

I

I

I

kept on swimming in

heard a second violent explosion. Looking over

saw

that the oil floating

afire. I

had

to

swim out

on the water

in the vicinity of the

to the sea at least

20 minutes

away from the burning oil. About this time I heard a voice and paddled toward

A

my

it,

to get

shouting.

man calling nearer by. It was Radio Operator Clarence Armstrong and I swam in his direction. Sparks shouted to me and to the other man in the water, whom I could not identify: 'Come over here so we can be together.' He also moment

told us he

later I

heard another

had a

life raft.

Jersey shore and

I

The Resor was then between

us and the

could see the mass of flames growing steadily

worse.

Covered with more and more strong, answering

oil,

I

struggled hard to reach

him each time he shouted. In the

Resor, after a period of time

I

cannot estimate,

which was about half a mile distant from the around the tion. I

lifelines I rested for ten

Sparks was hanging to a

I

ship.

light of the

up on the

raft

flaming

arrived at the raft,

Hooking my arms

minutes or so in a state of exhaus-

lifeline

on the other

side of the raft.

was heavily weighted down with cold and clinging

tion of climbing

Arm-

taxed

my

oil;

the exer-

strength so seriously that

I

The "War

130

was unable seemed

to

in the Atlantic

do anything but

While lying on the

Guard

my

to be paralyzing

down. The cold and the heavy

took to be a Coast

I

patrol boat. I told Sparks to'-keep his chin up, that help

could locate

was was shouting toward the boat so they she passed us she turned around and put a

When

us.

on the

searchlight

managed

I

I

Then

raft.

my

to get

was thrown, attached

a lifebuoy

arms through the ring but sea.

grasp. I

I was hauled off the raft into the headway pulled the life ring from my

return slowly to the raft, but as

attempt to climb aboard not reply

when

I

Soon afterward

I

warmer

in the water, I did not

still

hanging on, but did

had died.) a rope was put under my arms. came along and the line secured to my cannot remember what happened after that

came over

to

me and

a picket boat

body was passed until

I felt

Armstrong was

talked to him. (Forsdal did not know, at that time,

that the radio operator

small boat

it.

to a

as the vessel

Then the patrol managed to

went ahead boat's

A

oil

r

observed what

raft I

coming. At the same time

line.

lie

body.

to

it.

I

found myself on board the boat, which landed

me on

the

New

Jersey coast.

Another man had been hauled out of the water by the picket boat before they rescued me.

He was

a

member

of the

Navy armed guard

named Hey. According of the

to Chief Boastwain's

Mate John W. Daisey, commander

Coast Guard picket boat that rescued the two survivors,

"Forsdal was so coated with thick congealed his clothes

with

oil

blob of

we

and

his life jacket off with knives.

couldn't get

him aboard. Even

his

oil that

we had

They were mouth was

to cut

so weighted filled

with a

oil."

THE NORTH ATLANTIC WAS FRAUGHT WITH DISAGREEable duties and by far the worst was the

Murmansk Run.

while under the aegis of the Royal Navy, was our primary

Russia and Sea.

States lost

some twenty percent

of her

war shipments

on the Murmansk Run, because of the combined attack of

U-boats and the Luftwaffe. The

stirring

and Lieutenant Stephen L. Freeland.

Murmansk is reCommander Earl Bur-

drama

counted by Captain Walter Karig, Lieutenant ton,

with

extended from Iceland and Spitzbergen into the Barents

The United

to Russia

This route, lifeline

of

CAPTAIN WALTER KARIG,

LIEUTENANT EARL BURTON AND LIEUTENANT STEPHEN L. FREELAND

MURMANSK RUN

At

first,

Navy.

armed guard duty was the

A

normal greeting extended

least

to

coveted assignment in the a

shipmate

who

received

orders to the Armed Guard was "Well, so-long fish-bait. It was nice knowing you." An exclusive society was projected, "The Bitter Enders," whose membership was limited to Armed Guard personnel surviving a torpedoing.

Someone

Armed

originated a paraphrase that the

Guard ironically adopted as its war-cry: "Stand by. Prepare to Fire. Abandon ship!" Or, even more to the point, after "Sighted sub: sank same" became "Sighted sub. Glub! Glub!" famous, was the Armed Guard version



Men

— and boys—who had never seen

turned from one

Armed Guard

salt

spray in their lives re-

cruise veterans of both the sea

and the

war.

There was one run that became wardroom and

was

told

and retold by those that lived through

liberty legend. It

to tell

it.

And

the

men

who had been on it were forever considered a little higher in the Armed Guard veterans. It was the "Murmansk run." The German armies were at the very gates of Moscow by the end

echelon of

of 1941. Relief, in the

form of American war

supplies,

had

to get

through to the Soviet forces. The shortest practicable route for

this

material was over the Arctic Circle and around the North Cape of Norway down to the port of Murmansk or into the White Sea to

131

a

1

The War

32

in the Atlantic

Archangel. Bitter weather and a ruthless enemy combined to

most dangerous of voyages.

that the

make

r

Not only was there danger from enemy submarines, based all along Norwegian coast; German airfields* were close at hand, and more serious potential menace than either the heavy units of the



the



German

fleet,

the

Von

Tirpitz, the Hipper,

and Scheer and Lutzow

together with squadrons of destroyers lurked in the deep rugged Alten Fjord, a constant murderous threat against anything smaller than a battleship daring to pass near their

To combat

lair.

these heavy craft, the British

Home

Fleet

had

tain a constant patrol of the waters with ships of similar

armament. More than Russia-bound convoy. ready taken serious

the

this, It

Home

Fleet

was a heavy duty

losses.

had

for a

main-

to

armor and

to protect each

navy that had

Help was needed, and help was

al-

forth-

coming.

On March

26, 1942,

Task Force 99, under the command of Rear Jr., USN, sailed from Casco Bay, Maine,

Admiral Robert C. Giffen, for

Home

Scapa Flow, to operate with the

his flag

Fleet.

The Admiral

flew

from the battleship USS Washington (Captain Howard H.

Benson, USN, commanding)

and

his

J.

force comprised the carrier

Wasp (Captain John W. Reeves, Jr., USN), the cruisers Wichita (Captain Harry W. Hill, USN) and Tuscaloosa (Captain Norman C. Gillette, USN), and the destroyers of Desron 8 (Captain Don P. Moon, USN). The Wasp was detached from the Task Force for a special mission upon her

arrival,

and the remaining ships took up

their share of the

burden of keeping the big German vessels bottled up out of harm's way. Late in June a special job came up, one which promised action and, possibly, a chance to end the threat of the

German

vital

"fleet-

in-being." Reconnaissance and intelligence agreed that the Tirpitz

and the Nazi

cruisers

were being readied for

sea.

At

the

same time

one of the largest and most important convoys was heading for Mur-

mansk.

The Tuscaloosa and Wichita were

assigned to the Cruiser Covering

Force to escort the convoy from Iceland around the North Cape

under the

command

of

Admiral Hamilton, RN. The Washington

joined the heavy units of the

Home

Fleet under the

command

of

Admiral Tooey, RN.

The prime mission

of the Cruiser Covering Force

was

to get the

Murmansk Run

133

convoy through, with the secondary mission of luring or delaying any heavy units of the Nazis into range of the big boys of the Allied force.

German

and submarine attacks were expected

air

Murmansk which made Hitler angry. The

in great strength; a

convoy had got through with

previous

particular convoy,

PQ

little

damage,

17, being cov-

ered represented some seven hundred million dollars' worth of arms

which made the Nazis anxious.

for hard-pressed Russia,

Germans was convoy

prize for the

mansk, scheduled

PQ

to pass

1

PQ

13,

An added

outward bound from Mur-

7 to northward of North Cape.

was lured out together with one or two cruisers (reports do not agree), a large screen of destroyers and a whole fleet of covering aircraft. She eluded the heavy ships of the Home Fleet, and,

The

Tirpitz

while she never struck at either convoy, her presence in the area

caused the Cruiser Covering Force to be withdrawn. The convoy

and found

scattered

way

its

to

Murmansk

as best

could under

it

continued heavy air and undersea attack.

"Heavy

air

daily entry in

and undersea attack" could well have been a standard any log of an Armed Guard officer. It would have

fitted naturally

and normally

after that other standard entry

"Steam-

ing as before."

One

Murmansk run is Lieutenant Robert B. Gainesville, Georgia, now skipper of a destroyer

of the veterans of the

Ricks,

USNR,

escort,

who was awarded

Armed Guard

of

the

Medal presented

Silver Star

first

to an

officer.

Lieutenant Ricks was assigned to SS Expositor in February, 1942.

Even by

this

time there were not enough

gun crew. To man

full

—machine

caliber striker

his

guns, Ricks

"striker" in

men

to give every officer a

one 4-inch 50-caliber gun and four 30-

had only four seamen and a signalman

Navy language meaning an

enlisted

man

study-

ing for non-commissioned promotion.

At nine o'clock left

in the

morning of March

Pier 98 in Philadelphia and headed for

4,

1942, the Expositor

New

York. Here, a cargo

was taken aboard which caused the Armed Guard crew shivers against

which

their

few

pea jackets were no protection.

The cargo was 5,000 rounds

mm.

to feel a

shells and 5,000 cases of

of

75-mm.

TNT. With

shells,

5,000 rounds of 37-

this lethal

load aboard, the

in a convoy bound for the Clyde Loch Long off Gourock, Scotland. At 2:30 in the March 27, the ships dropped anchor in that great convoy

ammunition ship was incorporated

Anchorage morning of

in

berthing spot. But the Expositor was not unloaded.

On

April

1,

they

The" War in the Atlantic

134

were on the move again,

in company with three other American SS Lancaster, Alcoa Rambler and Paul Luckenbach. The morning was clear and the weather was fine. The water of Loch Long lapped gently on the gray stQfte seawalls of Gourock. The gun crew watched the brown hills of Scotland fade in and they swapped

merchant

ships,

wise cracks about April Fools' Day. Their destination was certainly the Soviet Union,

and on

whom

would the joke be

they didn't

if

make

it?

At four o'clock that afternoon the lead ship in the convoy began to A message had been received from the British Admiralty ordering the convoy to return to Gourock. Anchored again in Loch Long, the reason for the return was made known. The DEMS Office (Defensive Equipment for Merchant Ships, the counterpart of the Navy's Armed Guard) had decided the ships were insufficiently armed. To the men of the Expositor, this was another certain proof that they turn.

were embarking on the hazardous Murmansk run.

Next day additional guns arrived on board, two 20-mm. Oerlikon

AA

machine guns and one twin-mount Hotchkiss machine gun.

was an embarrassment of

riches.

The

been complicated before with only

battle bill for the

five

men

to

man

It

gun crew had

five guns.

Now,

with additional guns, volunteers from the merchant crew had to be drilled in their use.

On

April 7, the quartet, under Admiralty orders,

which now consisted of twenty-five sian, its

left

Lismore Island, Scotland. Three days

of Lorn, off

ships,

for the

later,

Lynn

a convoy

American, British and Rus-

steamed out of the Lynn of Lorn bound for Reykjavik, Iceland,

on the way

last stop

to

North Russia.

On

the

15th the ships

arrived off Reykjavik harbor and were ordered to Iceland's convoy

anchorage area, Hvalfjordur Bay. Their only excitement en route had

been watching the destroyer-escort explode sixteen floating mines by gunfire.

There the ships remained for ten days, surrounded by grim, brown cliffs from whose tops bristled anti-aircraft artillery. It was remote from Reykjavik's few urban attractions, and the crew heard with relief that they were to be on the move again, even though it was

lava

now

officially

Then

at

announced: "Destination, Murmansk."

0800, April 26, the convoy began to move.

On

the second

day out of Iceland, lookouts reported what was to be a continuous hazard

The

all

the

third

way

to

Murmansk



floating mines.

day was stormy. The sky was low and goose-feather-gray





Murmansk Run and occasional snow

blotted out ships ahead.

flurries

morning when a plane was heard,

seemed

By

flying very high.

It

135 was

still

the sound,

it

to be circling.

"One

God-damned

of those

vultures," a veteran

merchant seaman

growled.

The plane kept

"He's radioing our position, speed and

circling.

course," the seaman added knowingly.

knows enough for

it

to

"And

keep out of range. He's

he's smart.

The bastard

just a spotter. We'll

be in

in a little while."

"What do you mean?" "Bombers,

that's

a novice asked.

what."

The Expositor plodded along with

the convoy. All hands grew as

fond of snow as a small boy with a new with the

flurries,

"I don't says.

was

Thus

reviled.

remember how many planes

"We had

just

sled.

Sunshine, alternating

and then

for four hours,

there were," Lieutenant Ricks

passed through a snow squall and were in the

when we saw them coming in on our starboard bow." The signal to commence firing was hoisted. The entire convoy seemed to open fire at the same time. The planes roared over the firebelching ships, their bombs falling off to the starboard side of the convoy. The bombers climbed higher and disappeared into the

clear

clouds.

Nobody had

a chance to say "scared 'em

the planes screamed

aimed

down through

from the merchantmen stant.

the clouds

at the lead ship in the port

guarding the convoy opened

It

fire

fire

hey?" before one of

on a dive-bombing run

column. The anti-aircraft cruiser

with every gun on her deck.

in the first three

was a blanket of

off,

such as no

German

expected to face. The bomber never came out of

about 150 yards

dropping

its

That was

The

off the port side of the

bomb

its

pilot

in-

had ever

dive. It crashed

number one column without

load.

all.

Expositor's

baptism of

Guns

columns joined on the

fire.

Armed Guard crew had had

Not very

Buzz

exciting at that.

its

indoctrinating

—whoosh— bang

bang! But the old-timers muttered something about "luck" and won-

dered aloud what the next time would be

"We

felt

pretty

good about

it,"

like,

and how soon.

Lieutenant Ricks

recalls.

shot down one of the planes, there was no damage done

had driven

off the others. Spirits

The convoy wallowed along

"We had

to us

and we

were pretty high."

resolutely,

and without molestation.

The War

136

Then

3:30 the following afternoon, two more "vultures" were

at

sighted.

Again the

gun range. They five

in the Atlantic

hours

later,

spotters carefully^avoided flying over the

convoy

in

They were still there mamcaifie up from evening mess blink-

circled far out of firing range.

when

the last

ing at the bright arctic sun. Then, as

the pilot

if

had spent

all

that

time building up courage, one of the planes suddenly streaked toward

As

the port wing of the convoy.

bomber

range, the

screening clouds.

the anti-aircraft fire began to find the on a wide track and climbed high into

tilted off

A

moment

later

it

flashed over the

second try and again the anti-aircraft

convoy for a

forced the plane to seek

fire

cloud refuge. The pilot seemed determined to have at least one shot at the ships.

The

third time he

came out It was

at the port wing of the convoy.

poured into the plane and followed

it

of the clouds in a steep dive his last.

as

The companion bomber made no attempt

it

Streams of tracers

crashed into the ocean.

to attack. It straightened

out and disappeared over the horizon.

Gun

crews remained

in flurries

at their stations

and there was the

on watch.

It

was

feeling that something else

still

snowing

was going

to

happen. It

lacked about an hour for sunset, which

o'clock in the morning

when

Commodore

the

is

to say

it

was one

hoisted a signal.

"Expect attack!"

Three planes were slanted

opened

in

toward the starboard and the ships

fire.

"This was our

first

glimpse of torpedo bombers," said Ricks. "The

three planes continued their approach in formation toward us.

looked

like

an attempt to pick

in low, flying

Then

about

fifty

off the leading line of ships.

or seventy-five feet above the water."

the torpedoes began to drop.

eyes on the planes.

It

They came

Above

The men

at the

guns kept their

the ear-splitting chatter of the ordnance

they heard the hollow, reverberating explosion that even the novices

knew meant torpedoes had found targets against hulls. The starboard plane of the trio crashed in flames, as its companions sheered off into the clouds. Then the gunners could look around. They saw the SS Bothaven, the Commodore's ship, plunging bow first

into the water while

men

spilled from the decks and swam had been launched. Where SS Cape

toward Corso had been was a flame-shot column of smoke. "The explosion of that ship sent flames five hundred the three lifeboats that

air,"

feet in the

said Lieutenant Ricks. "The entire mid-section seemed to blow

Murmansk Run up.

The

ship

was a flaming mass.

It

sank

in

137

about thirty seconds, and

no survivors." SS Jutland, steam pouring from her vents, was dead in the water and its crew taking to the boats from decks that inched closer and

there were

closer to the sea.

"Three ships sunk by two torpedoes?" somebody demanded. submarine must

And,

as

if

"A

have got one of them."

in confirmation, the Expositor's

lookout shouted: "Sub-

marine!"

"Where away?" The sea beyond the convoy's perimeter was empty. The lookout was correct fantastically correct. A conning tower was



convoy and

rising in the very center of the

just a

few yards from the

Expositor's starboard quarter!

"The periscope was only about ten or fifteen feet away from the Lieutenant Ricks, "and the submarine was surfacing. It was so close aboard that none of our guns could be brought to bear, no machine guns, no broadside guns, no nothing. And noship," reminisces

body

else in the

convoy could shoot

at

without hitting us

it

—loaded

TNT. It One of the cooks aboard the Expositor was standing on the fantail by the stern gun when the sub's conning tower bubbled up under his bulging eyes. The man stood there, unable to believe what he saw. Then he turned to the mute gun, which had been depressed to its lowest trajectory. The mess hand rushed over to the piece, grabbed it was kind of embarrassing to say the least."

with

by the barrel and

tried to tug

it

into position to fixe, grunting

and

groaning as he pulled.

The submarine continued

to surface until the

conning tower was

awash, while the Expositor widened the distance from

By

it.

the time the submarine was 25 yards away, the 4-inch gun

could be brought to bear on the

The gun was

still

tower, at 30 or

too high.

40

German

craft.

The second was

yards.

The

first

a direct hit on the conning

was blown completely

It

shot missed.

off.

After the second shot, the submarine appeared to be sinking.

Water boiled up watched the yelled:

The of her

oil

in a great froth of air

and bubbles. As the man

spreading over the submarine's grave the lookout

"Torpedo track

off port

bow!"

ship jolted as her screws went into reverse.

bow

the torpedo hissed

"I think the submarines

its

and

operation on a job like this,"

way

A few

feet in front

to nowhere.

aircraft

worked

in

very close co-

Lieutenant Ricks calculates. "The

re-

The 'War

138

in the Atlantic

connaissance planes did nothing but circle the convoy, evidently radioing to the subs, or to where the message could be relayed to them,

our position, course and speed. Then the subs would

convoy and

as

submarine that hurt by

some

lie

ahead of the

we came by would - lei us have it. This particular came up in the center of the convoy was evidently

had been dropped by Cape Cor so was hit." This marked the end of enemy action for that day. But as the ships fell into their convoy position, filling up the gaps left by the torpedoed, a fourth casualty was discovered. A British corvette had the

DEs and

of the heavy depth charges that

corvettes after the

disappeared in the melee, wiped out by a torpedo.

The only casualty aboard the Expositor was a seaman's dungarees. The deck hand, his arms full of 40-mm. ammunition, was on a ladder path of the 4-inch gun's

in the

'The concussion ripped Lieutenant Ricks

recalls.

there in a daze for a

deck

to the

blast.

his pants off,

"He

and

moment, and then dropped

after them.

I

literally

didn't have a stitch

Somebody ran

to pick

his shells

him

mean

on him.

He

and tumbled

up. There wasn't

any more of a scratch or bruise on him than there was pants. just dazed, and he couldn't quite figure out

off,"

stood

He was

why he was mother-

naked."

May

3

was almost logged

as an uneventful day, but a

few minutes

before midnight the attack signal was again jerked up the halyards.

This time the Germans changed

tactics.

Two

torpedo bombers ap-

They launched the flotilla. It was

peared, one on each wing of the convoy.

their tin fish

simultaneously against both flanks of

a clean miss

the

all

way around. No torpedo found

its

mark, nor did a shot from

the anti-aircraft guns.

Although evidences of submarine

activity

continued for the re-

maining week of the voyage, there were no further engagements with

Germans. The Armed Guard crew could not loaf the time away, however. Watches had to be maintained at any cost and the men the

worked with

On May

little

rest

and

less sleep.

6 the convoy anchored in the harbor of Murmansk. The

port could accomodate only about ten ships at the docks, which had

been bombed and rebuilt many times with timber.

As

the Expositor berthed, a sailor standing near Ricks

made

in-

quiry about liberty ashore. "I've dated

all

women me a date

kinds of

observed. "I'd like to get

in the

world except Russians," he

with a Russian."

Murmansk Run He

leaned over the

rail to

woman

watch a Russian

up

ing along the pier below. She stopped to pick

139

stevedore walk-

a length of piling

obstructing the path and nonchalantly tossed the 120-pound log out of the way.

The

"On second

sailor spat reflectively into the water.

thought," he said, "I don't believe

I

care to meet

women."

these

Now

the weather sided against the Germans.

so hard for two days that the vessel's stern

The

bridge.

blizzard

hampered

grounded the Luftwaffe

and with

it

that curved

the

skimming

was

snowed

It

from the

invisible

Then

the sun

it

came

out,

low

hills

close over the ridge of

around the harbor.

Twelve of the big multi-motored

The gun crews went

ducks.

snowed.

unloading considerably but

until the third day.

the bombers,

It

headed for the

aircraft

everybody

into action;

sitting

else scattered for

shelter. It

seemed impossible that the Germans could

miss.

They

did; the

gunners didn't. Only nine of the bombers flew back toward Finland,

two brought down by gunfire and one by a Russian

fighter plane that

buzzed up to meet them. After the Expositor unloaded she traded places with an

ammuni-

tion ship. "I don't

know whether

that

ammunition ship had been spotted or when we had taken

not," said Lieutenant Ricks, "but that afternoon

her anchorage out in the stream

by

six dive

we were

the target for a direct attack

bombers.

"Bombs dropped

fore

and

aft

and

missed by about a hundred yards.

bombs, but we weren't

to both sides of us, but they

We

hit."

The next day, about the same time in the early bombers came again. This time the misses were nearer. "In fact," Ricks recalls, "the spray from the

obscured the

ship.

The

British destroyer that

prepared to answer 'No damage' a second

came heading for us. "The bombs fell so near like a

dog shakes a

The twenty-two

afternoon, the

bomb

sitting

Just as

flight

completely

on our

of dive

bombers and

rat."

bombThe men were anxious to New buildings were all made

ships were unloaded in twenty days, despite

Murmansk was

star-

our signalman

that the concussion lifted the ship

ings, blizzards and inadequate wharfing.

leave.

first

was

board quarter signaled to ask 'What damage?'

shook her

all

were completely circled by

a pile of rubble.

The "War

140 of

wood

in the Atlantic

so that they could be reconstructed quickly. There

was the

International Club, open to everyone, for hot tea, chess and tattered

old magazines in six languages, but the ship was the most comfort/n 7 when off duty.

able place to stay

On May

21 the convoy

Twice

left for Iceland.

in the first three

days submarine contacts were made.

Late in the afternoon of the third day the sun



a reconnaissance plane began

firing range. Presently a

above the ued.

Then each dropped two green

were dropped, signals But, as

if

vulture-like circling

beyond vigil

tantalizing surveillence contin-

flares.

Ten minutes

later red flares

a Hurricane fighter plane was

flares,

catapulted from a British ship.

It

bomber. Both planes disappeared evidently lost

by the clocks, not by

to lurking submarines.

response to the

in

its

late

torpedo bomber joined in the circular

For three hours the

ships.



started in pursuit of the torpedo

cloud bank, where the fighter

in a

prey, because ten minutes later the Hurricane re-

its

turned and started to close in on the second

German

plane. Seconds

torpedo bomber popped out of the cloud and turned to join

later the

But

the fight.

was too

it

savage burst of

late to save the

reconnaissance plane.

from the Hurricane sent the

fire

first

A

Nazi crashing

into the sea. The bomber fled, and the Hurricane streaked after it. The pursuit vanished over the horizon. The convoy churned on, the empty ships riding high. Then a shout went up from the decks of the watching ships. The Hurricane was

returning



alone.

a boat put out to

It

it.

pancaked on the water near

The men crowding

A

the pilot taken aboard, his plane abandoned. flutter of flags

in

mother ship and

saw

little

while later a

broke out on the Englishman. The pilot had died of

wounds. For the remainder of the day

mast

its

the rails of the other ships

honor of the

fighter

who had

all

flags

given his

were flown

life

at half

to save the ships.

Next day the now familiar shores of Iceland were

sighted.

The

voyage was almost over. There was the sub-infested water between Reykjavik and

New York

to cover, but after

ready been through that seemed almost a

remained

in

of the ship

and the Armed Guard

chore.

officer

The

ships

official

were permitted to go ashore,

business only.

June 10 the confinement was broken. The ships

escort. Eight

long

humdrum

al-

Iceland for two dreary, chafing weeks. Only the master

and then for the transaction of

On

what the men had

days

later the

way from home.

A

men were reminded

that they

left still

under

were a

steamer on the edge of the convoy was

Murmansk Run torpedoed. Four

aboard other

men were

Two

ships.

141

the rest taken

killed in the explosion,

days later another was torpedoed and sunk.

Both times the attackers escaped, undetected. the Expositor dropped anchor just off

At one o'clock on June 28,

New York

the Statue of Liberty in

had returned with

all

116 days, the ship

miles,

One Armed Guard crew

harbor.

hands intact from the Murmansk run

— 12,000

and the metaphorical scalp of one

safe,

submarine nailed to the mainmast.

was

It



just

another voyage;

tougher than most, easier than some. Ricks's adventures were probably duplicated scores of times.

They

are related here not because they are exceptional, but because they

And

are illustrative. gantlet to

The

tell

not

all

gun crews survived the German-Finnish

their stories.

route to Archangel was,

anything, worse than the

if

Murmansk

run for being longer. Consider the experiences of Lieutenant Albert

Maynard, USNR, Armed Guard

officer

on SS Schoharie, which

brought a shipload of tanks, ammunition and food to

convoy that numbered

forty ships at sailing,

Murmansk

in a

and twenty-seven upon

arrival at the subarctic port.

The convoy was one

of the

more important,

in the constant line of

supply to the Soviet Union. Stalingrad and Leningrad were in what

seemed

to

be the

last stages of siege

and destruction. To make

deliv-

ery of the desperately needed supplies as secure as possible, the British

provided the convoy with an escort of a converted aircraft carrier,

a light cruiser,

two

antiaircraft cruisers, twenty-one destroyers

small fleet of corvettes, minesweepers and trawlers itself.

It

And

yet, a third of the

convoy was

was on Sunday, September

Iceland, that Lieutenant



and

a

a task force in

lost.

13, 1942,

on the seventh day out of

Maynard looked over the side in the course merchantman instantly blotted out

of

gun inspection

in

steam and smoke. Before the signal to scatter could be raised, a

to see a British

second ship was torpedoed.

The

superstitious in that

taste for the

number

13.

pack of submarines ran

convoy had reason

to confirm their dis-

Before that September day was done, a wolfriot inside the

thirty-seven Heinkel torpedo planes

convoy's columns, a swarm of

made an

attack at 25 feet above

the water, and a half dozen Ju-88s subjected the ships to a dive-

bombing right,

down

attack.

others later

left

A

total of ten

merchantment was sunk, some out-

crippled with corvette protection only to be sent

by the Nazis'

aerial rear guard.

The War

142

in the Atlantic

Lieutenant Maynard, with desperate sincerity, described the

lulls in

the battle as the unforgettable parts of the daylong fight with an

enemy who alternately dropped from the sky or rose from the ocean depths. The business of fighting off- dive bombers above, torpedo planes at deck level, and submarines,

too wholly occupying to

is

permit mental note-taking.

"During the attacks our reaction was not bers.

"But

of us

was not downright scared."

in the

letdown periods of quiet,

The view over

may

the side

fright,"

it

Maynard remem-

would be

silly to

was not cheering. Cargo ships

say one

in

convoy

not pause or break the established pattern to rescue the ship-

wrecked. That job

for the escorting warships.

is left

Armed Guardsman to own ship passes through

But

men

it

does not

boost the morale of the

see

the icy brine as their

the flotsam of battle;

when

they are humanly prone to wonder

it

will

struggling in

be their turn to cling

with numbing fingers to a shattered spar and see the ships go by.

"There were men

"Some

recalls.

of

sticking out their slid

in lifeboats,"

Maynard

them swearing, some praying, and some mockingly

thumbs and

by not a hundred

Monday was

and men

in the water,

feet

calling 'Going

my

way, mister?' as we

from them."

inaugurated by the torpedoing of a tanker early in the

morning. At noon thirteen torpedo planes came out of the clouds and concentrated on the carrier, whose

own

fighters shot

down

six of the

enemy without loss. Half an hour later twenty Heinkels swarmed over One of them torpedoed an ammunition ship which disintegrated just as the plane skimmed over the stricken vessel's masts; the horizon.

and

the explosion blasted the Nazi plane

Day

in,

crew

to atoms.

day out, the Heinkels and Junkers plagued the convoy. The

thirteenth ship flotilla

its

was

stood in for the

fight off attacks

Finnish dive bombers just as the battered

lost to

straits of the

White Sea, but the convoy had

to

every day at sea of the four remaining, and for the

four moonlit nights of unloading at Archangel.

"And

that," Lieutenant

pened on our

had

trip to

Maynard concludes,

Archangel," a

to grab a fifty-caliber

boring in on the

nard muses.

about

all

that hap-

during which he himself once

train

it

against a

Schoharie. The plane disappeared

and smoke, and tumbled "I think that

trip

gun and

"is

Voss-Ha 140

in a blur of flame

"just like a ball of fire" into the sea.

was the most fun

I

had on the

entire voyage,"

May-

Murmansk Run

143

THE PROBLEMS POSED BY THE DISASTROUS RUN OF convoy

P.Q.

Churchill, of the

17

Great

to

Murmansk

Britain's

most imposing

The

formidable

figures of the

ing the event he reveals Stalin.

are

his

discussed

wartime

by

Sir

leader

Winston

and

Twentieth Century. In

one

recall-

correspondence with Roosevelt and

strain of Churchill's grave responsibility

is

evident in the

following excerpt, one which also gives us a penetrating glimpse of Britain's ineluctable strategist at work.

WINSTON

CHURCHILL

S.

.•'•

P.Q.17

In view of the disaster to P.Q.17 the Admiralty proposed to suspend the Arctic convoys at least

till

the Northern ice-packs melted and

receded and until perpetual daylight passed.

I

felt this

would be a

very grave decision, and was inclined not to lower but on the contrary to raise the stakes,

Prime Minister

on the principle of

to First

Lord and

First

'In defeat defiance.'

Sea Lord

15 July 42

Let the following be examined:

Suspend the stant.

sailing of

P.Q.I 8 as

now proposed from

See what happens to our Malta operation.

If all

18th in-

goes well,

bring Indomitable, Victorious, Argus, and Eagle north to Scapa, together with

air

ice,

results so

144

much

If

at least

we can move our armada

at least a

able to fight our

hundred

line,

fighter aircraft

way through and out

twenty-five de-

again,

and

in

convoy under

we ought if

fight

to be

a fleet action

the better.

could not however persuade

kind of

and

but seeking the clearest weather, and thus

out with the enemy.

an umbrella of

I

'Didos'

umbrella and destroyer screen, keeping southward, not

hugging the it

available

Let the two 16-inch battleships go right through under

stroyers. this

all

my

Admiralty friends to take

which of course involved engaging a

vital force to

this

us out

145

P.Q.17

of proportion to the actual military importance of the Arctic convoys. to send the following telegram to Stalin, about

I

had therefore

I

obtained the approval of the President beforehand. 17 July 42

Prime Minister to Premier Stalin

We

which

began running small convoys to North Russia

in

August

1941, and until December the Germans did not take any steps to

From February 1942

interfere with them.

the size of the convoys

was increased, and the Germans then moved a considerable force of U-boats and a large number of aircraft to North Norway and

made determined

attacks

on the convoys. By giving the convoys

the strongest possible escort of destroyers

and anti-submarine

craft

the convoys got through with varying but not prohibitive losses. It

Germans were dissatisfied with the results which were being achieved by means of aircraft and U-boats alone, beis

evident that the

cause they began to use their surface forces against the convoys.

Luckily for us however at the outset they

made use

of their heavy

surface forces to the westward of Bear Island and their submarines to the eastward.

The Home

Fleet

an attack by enemy surface sent off the Admiralty

severe

if,

as

was thus

warned us

that the losses

We

An

tack. In the case of

their surface

decided however to

loss of one-sixth, chiefly

P.Q.17 however the Germans

manner we had always

forces in the their

would be very

attack by surface ships did not materialise,

convoy got through with a

prevent

May convoy was

was expected, the Germans employed

forces to the eastward of Bear Island.

the convoy.

in a position to

forces. Before the

from

at last

sail

and the air at-

used their

They concentrated

feared.

U-boats to the westward of Bear Island and reserved their

surface forces for attack to the eastward of Bear Island. story of P.Q.17

convoy

is

not yet clear.

At

the

The

final

moment only four Nova Zembla

ships have arrived at Archangel, but six others are in

harbours. time. I

At

The

latter

must explain the dangers and

ations

when

We

do not think

Bear Island or where

powerful

attacked from the air at any

difficulties of these

the enemy's battle squadron takes

extreme north. of

may however be

the best therefore only one-third will have survived.

German

it

it

right to risk

shore-based

Tirpitz

our

convoy operstation in the

Home

Fleet east

can be brought under the attack of the aircraft. If

few most powerful battleships were

damaged while

its

to

one or two of our very

be

lost

or even seriously

and her consorts, soon to be joined by

The War

146

Scharriftorst , tic

in the Atlantic

remained

in action, the

would be [temporarily]

by which we

live,

our war

many

as

and the building up of a

of the Atlan-

Besides affecting the food supplies

effort

would be crippled; and above

American troops ?across

the great convoys of

presently to as

lost.

command

whole

80,000

the ocean,

all

rising

month, would be prevented

in a

really strong

Second Front

1943 ren-

in

dered impossible.

My

naval advisers

German

surface,

to

me

that

if

they had the handling of the forces,

air

present circum-

in

would guarantee the complete destruction of any

stances, they

convoy

tell

submarine, and

North Russia. They have not been able so

make

out any hopes that convoys attempting to

perpetual daylight would fare better than P.Q.I 7.

with the greatest regret that

we have reached

attempt to run the next convoy, P.Q.I

8,

far to hold

the passage in It is

therefore

the conclusion that to

would bring no

benefit to

you and would only involve dead loss to the common cause. At the same time, I give you my assurance that if we can devise arrangements which give a reasonable chance of

at least a fair

you we

of the contents of the convoys reaching

again at once.

The crux

of the problem

German warships

as dangerous for

what we should aim

at

Meanwhile we

some

sian Gulf

convoy.

.

.

make

them

make the Barents Sea make it for ours. This is

to

is

as they

doing with our joint resources.

to send a senior officer of the

with your officers and

proportion start

will

I

should like

R.A.F. to North Russia to confer

a plan.

are prepared to dispatch immediately to the Per-

of the ships which were to have sailed in the P.Q.

.

You have

referred to

combined operations

in the North.

The

obstacles to sending further convoys at the present time equally

prevent our sending land forces and air forces for operations in

Northern Norway. But our

officers

gether what combined operations tober,

when

better

if

ours will

there

is

a reasonable

you could send your

come

should forthwith consider to-

may be amount

possible in or after

of darkness.

officers here,

but

would be

this is

impossible

we we can

beat back

if

to you.

In addition to a combined operation in the North,

how to help on your Rommel we might be able ing

tumn

It

Oc-

to operate

on the

left

southern flank. to

If

send powerful

of your line.

The

are study-

air forces in the audifficulties of

main-

taining these forces over the trans-Persian route without reducing

your supplies

will clearly

be considerable, but

I

hope

to put de-

147

P.Q.17 you

tailed proposals before

beat

first

am

I

Rommel. The

sure

battle

would be

it

in the

in

is

our

We

near future.

now

intense.

common

.

.

must however

.

interest,

Premier

Stalin, to

have the three divisions of Poles you so kindly offered join their compatriots in Palestine, where

we can arm them

would play a most important part

fully.

in future fighting,

These

as well as

keeping the Turks in good heart by the sense of growing numbers to the southward.

I

hope

value, will not fall to the

this project of yours,

which we greatly

ground on account of the Poles wanting to

bring with the troops a considerable mass of their

who

children, soldiers.

are largely dependent

The feeding

burden to

us.

We

women and

on the rations of the Polish

of these dependents will be a considerable

think

it

well worth while bearing that burden for

the sake of forming this Polish army, which will be used faithfully for our

common

selves in the

bring If

it

advantage.

We

are very hard

Levant area, but there

is

enough

up for food our-

in India

if

we can

[from] there.

we do not

get the Poles

we should have

to

fill

by

their places

drawing on the preparations now going forward on a vast scale for the

Anglo-American mass invasion of the Continent. These prepa-

rations have already led the

Germans

bomber groups from South Russia nothing that

is

we and your grand struggle. The

which geography,

interpose. I have

shown

need scarcely say

President and

I

this

is

I

are

salt

water, and the enemy's air-power

telegram to the President.

got a rough and surly answer.

23 July 42

Premier Stalin to Premier Churchill I

me, there

the Americans will

searching for means to overcome the extraordinary

ceaselessly

I

withdraw two heavy

to France. Believe

useful and sensible that

not do to help you in

difficulties

to

received your message of July 17.

drawn from

Two

conclusions could be

Government refuses to continue the sending of war materials to the Soviet Union via the Northern route. Second, in spite of the agreed communique concerning the urgent tasks of creating a Second Front in 1942 the British Government postpones this matter until 1943. 2. Our naval experts consider the reasons put forward by the it.

First, the British

British naval experts to justify the cessation of convoys to the

northern ports of the U.S.S.R. wholly unconvincing. They are of the opinion that with goodwill and readiness to

fulfil

the con-

I

The War

148

in the Atlantic

tracted obligations these convoys could be regularly undertaken

and heavy it

losses could be inflictecr^on the

also difficult to understand

enemy. Our experts find

and to explain the order given by the

M the P.Q.I 7

Admiralty that the escorting vessels

should return,

whereas the cargo boats should disperse and try to reach the Soviet ports one by one without any protection at

Of course

all.

do not

I

think that regular convoys to the Soviet northern ports could be effected without risk or losses.

But

in war-time

no important under-

taking could be effected without risk or losses. In any case,

never

I

expected that the British Government would stop dispatch of war

moment when

materials to us just at the very

Union

the Soviet

in

view of the serious situation on the Soviet-German front requires

more than

these materials

ever. It

obvious that the transport via

is

Persian Gulf could in no way compensate for the cessation of

convoys to the northern ports. 3.

With regard

to the

ing a Second Front

with the seriousness

second question,

Europe,

in

it

am

I

i.e.,

afraid

Taking

deserves.

the question of creat-

it is

fully

present position on the Soviet-German front,

most emphatic manner

hope you

not feel

will

frankly and honestly

my own

into

account the

must

state in the

Government cannot acqui-

that the Soviet

esce in the postponement of a Second Front in I

I

not being treated

offended

that

Europe I

[have]

until 1943.

expressed

opinion as well as the opinion of

my

colleagues on the question raised in your message.

These contentions are not well-founded. So

war

'contracted obligations' to deliver the

had been particularly stipulated

at the

from breaking

far

supplies at Soviet ports,

them

that the Russians were to be responsible for conveying sia.

All that

we

did beyond this was a good-will effort.

allegations of a breach of faith about the

aide-memoire was a solid defence. while to argue out willing until they

all this

gle could hardly spare a

The

Second Front

with the Soviet Government,

Hitler,

word

and who even

As

Rus-

to the

it

worth

who had been

totally destroyed

in our

common

strug-

of sympathy for the heavy British and

losses incurred in trying to send

them

aid.

President agreed with this view.

Former Naval Person agree with you that your reply

President to I

to

in 1942, our

did not however think

were themselves attacked to see us

and share the booty with

American

I

it

time of making the agreement

great care.

We

to Stalin

have got always to bear

in

29 July 42 must be handled with

mind the

personality of

149

P.Q.17 our Ally and the very

No

fronts him.

and dangerous situation that con-

difficult

one can be expected to approach the war from a

world point of view whose country has been invaded. should

in the first place, quite specifically that

course of action in 1942.

I

I

think

we

he should be told

try to put ourselves in his place. I think

we have determined upon him

think that, without advising

a

of the

precise nature of our proposed operations, the fact that they are

made should be

going to be

While

told

him without any

qualifications.

think that you should not raise any false hopes in Stalin

I

relative to the

Northern convoy, nevertheless

we should run one

there

if

any

is

agree with you that

I

possibility of success, in spite of

the great risk involved. I

am

still

we can put air-power

hopeful that

Russian front, and

would be unwise

am

I

discussing that matter here.

ate.

I

have a feeling

was

them

if

they

believe

it

that

urgent and immedi-

would mean a great deal

it

the Russian people

fighting with

is

I

on the

on condition

to promise this air-power only

the battle in Egypt goes well. Russia's need

Army and

directly

knew some

to the Russian

of our Air Force

manner.

in a very direct

While we may believe that the present and proposed use of our

combined Air Forces

is

strategically the best, nevertheless I feel

that Stalin does not agree with this. Stalin,

mood

to

engage

I

imagine,

in a theoretical strategical discussion,

is

in

no

and

I

am

sure that other than our major operation the enterprise that would suit

him

the best

is

direct air support

on the southern end of

his

front. I

therefore let Stalin's bitter message pass without any specific

rejoinder. After

the

all,

campaign was

the Russian armies were suffering fearfully and

at its crisis.

*

At a conference the Fuehrer

of the

*

*

German Naval Commander-in-Chief

on August 26, 1942, Admiral Raeder

Evidently the Ally convoy did not

our submarines and voy, have forced the

aircraft,

which

enemy

to give

sail.

We

can thus assume that

totally destroyed the last

up

with

stated:

con-

this route temporarily, or

even fundamentally to change his whole system of supply

lines.

Supplies to northern ports of Russia remain decisive for the

whole

conduct of the war waged by the Anglo-Saxons. They must preserve Russia's strength in order to keep

The enemy

German

forces occupied.

will most probably continue to ship supplies to North-

The War

150

em

in the Atlantic

Russia, and the Naval Staff must therefore maintain subma-

same

rines along the

be stationed

in

The

routes.

greater part of the Fleet will also

Northern Norway. The reason for

making attacks on convoys

possilple,

besides

this,

3s the constant threat of an

enemy invasion. Only by keeping the Fleet in Norwegian waters can we hope to meet this danger successfully. Besides, it is especially important, in

man

view of the whole Axis strategy, that the Ger-

'Fleet in being' tie

after the

down

the British

heavy Anglo-American losses

The Japanese

the Pacific.

Home

in the

Fleet, especially

Mediterranean and

are likewise aware of the importance of

measure. In addition, the danger of enemy mines in

this

home

waters has constantly increased, so that the naval forces should be shifted only for repairs

and training purposes. *

was not

It

Russia.

until

By now

*

*

September that another convoy

the

scheme of defense had been

set off for

revised,

North

and the

convoy was accompanied by a close escort of sixteen destroyers, well as the

new

of the

first

fighter aircraft.

As

intervene, but result

enemy

left

to the attack.

German

was provided by the

surface ships

fleet.

made no attempt to The

the task of attack to the aircraft and U-boats.

was a particularly aircraft

escort carriers, the Avenger, with twelve

before, strong support

This time however the

as

fierce battle in the air, in

which twenty-four

were destroyed out of about a hundred which came

Ten merchant

ships were lost in these actions

more by U-boats, but twenty-seven way through.

in

and two

ships successfully fought their

Not only did almost the whole responsibility for the defence of fall upon us, but up to the end of 1942 ... we provided from our strained resources by far the greater number of aircraft and more tanks for Russia. The figures are a conclusive answer to those these convoys

who

suggest that our efforts to help Russia in her struggle were luke-

warm.

We

gave our heart's blood resolutely to our valiant, suffering

Ally.

The year 1942 was

not to close without

the thankless task the Royal

Navy had

its

flash of

triumph upon

discharged, and

we must

trench upon the future. After the passage of P.Q.I 8 in September

1942 convoys

to

North Russia were again suspended. Later major

P.Q.17

151

operations in North Africa were to claim the whole strength of our

naval forces in

home

Russia, and the studied. It

on

waters.

means

was not

until late in

hazardous voyage.

its

But supplies accumulated for delivery

to

of protecting future convoys were closely

December

It sailed in

that the next

two

or seven destroyers, and covered by the

parts,

Home

convoy

set out

each escorted by Fleet.

The

first

six

group

The second had a more eventful passage. On the mornDecember 3 1 Captain R. Sherbrooke, in the destroyer Onslow, commanding the escort, was about a hundred and fifty miles northeast of the North Cape when he sighted three enemy destroyers. He immediately turned to engage them. As the action began the German heavy cruiser Hipper appeared upon the scene. The British destroyers held off this powerful ship for nearly an hour. The gun-flashes of the action drew to the scene Admiral Burnett with two British cruisarrived safely. ing of

ers, Sheffield

and Jamaica, from twenty-five miles away. This

racing southwards, ran into the

German

force,

pocket-battleship Liitzow,

which, after a short engagement, disappeared to the westward in the twilight.

The German

admiral, thinking that the British cruisers were

the vanguard of a battle squadron, retired hastily.

running

fight followed.

During

this brief

German destroyer at close The two German heavy ships and

engagement the Sheffield sank

a

range.

A

their six

escorting destroyers struck at the convoy which Sherbrooke guarded.

But

this stroke failed.

The convoy

arrived safely in Russian waters with the loss of one

more than slight damage to one merchant ship. who had been severely wounded in the early stages but continued to fight his ship and personally to direct operations, despite the loss of an eye, was awarded the Victoria Cross for destroyer and no

Captain Sherbrooke,

his leadership.

Within the German High

Command

were far-reaching. Owing to delays

Command

High

first

the repercussions of this affair

in the transmission of signals the

learnt of the episode

from an English news

broadcast. Hitler was enraged. While waiting impatiently for the out-

come

of the fight his anger

bitterly of

was fostered by Goering, who complained German Air Force on guarding

wasting squadrons of the

the capital ships of the Navy, which he suggested should be scrapped.

Admiral Raeder was ordered

to report immediately.

On

January 6 a

naval conference was held. Hitler launched a tirade upon the past

record of the tion

if

German Navy.

'It

should not be considered a degrada-

the Fuehrer decides to scrap the larger ships. This

would be

The War

152 true only

he were removing a fighting unit which had retained

if

A

full usefulness.

of

in the Atlantic

parallel to this in the

Army would

cavalry divisions.' Raeder was ordered to report in writing

all

he objected to putting the capital ships out of commission. Hitler received this

memorandum

he treated

meet

his

demands.

A

bitter conflict

why

When

with derision, and

it

ordered Doenitz, the designated successor to Raeder, to to

its

be the removal

make

a plan

between Goering and Raeder

raged round Hitler over the future of the

German Navy compared

with that of the Luftwaffe. But Raeder stuck grimly to the defence of the service which he had commanded since 1928. Time and again he had demanded the formation of a separate Fleet Air Arm, and had been opposed successfully by Goering's insistence that the Air Force

could accomplish more at sea than the Navy. Goering won, and on

January 30 Raeder resigned. tious

He was

Admiral of the U-boats. All

replaced by Doenitz, the ambieffective

new

construction was

henceforth to be monopolised by them.

Thus allied

fought by the Royal

this brilliant action

convoy

to Russia at the

Navy

to protect an

end of the year led directly to a major

enemy's naval policy, and ended the dream of another

crisis in the

German High

Seas Fleet.

AT THE HEIGHT OF THE ATLANTIC WAR ADMIRAL King,

who was charged

ing together

all

of our

combatant sea

with the Secretary of the

boat

activities

with the solemn responsibility

Navy

in

and countermeasures.

A formidable at the

naval

officer,

Ohio-

outbreak of the war. Dour,

and a "book" man, one scarcely associates Cominch moments, and yet there were numerous occasions when

straight

with lighter this

forces, filed a progress report

which he candidly summarized U-

born King was sixty-three years old

ramrod

of weld-

man, who had come up through submarines and naval

aviation,

could turn outward on a far different level from successful pursuit of the war.

One such occurred

beset with problems,

student school.

who was

He

in the chaotic winter of

was the

recipient of a letter

took time

have your

you have

to

off

letter of

do

when King,

from an eighth grade

writing a biographical sketch of the Admiral for

from the war

Dear Harriet: I

1943,

my

January 6

to reply:

— and am

interested to learn that

biography as part of your English work.



P.Q.17

As I

to

your questions:

drink a

little

wine,

now and

I

smoke about one pack

I

think

movie

153

I like

then.

of cigarettes a day.

Spencer Tracy as well as any of the

stars.

My hobby is cross-word puzzles —when they are different. My favorite sport is golf— when I can get to play it

otherwise,

Hoping

I

that

am

fond of walking.

all will

go well with your English work,

Very E.

J.

I

am

truly

yours,

King

Admiral, U.S. Navy

Let us return to King's report.

FLEET ADMIRAL ERNEST

J.

KING

/-,7

6.

COMINCH TAKES A HARD LOOK AT THE U-BOAT SITUATION The submarine war

.

.

.

has been a matter of primary concern since

the outbreak of hostilities. Maintenance of the flow of ocean traffic

has been, and continues to be, a vital element of

Operating on exterior front, the

lines

of

all

war

plans.

communication on almost every

United Nations have been dependent largely upon maritime

transportation.

The

success of overseas operations, landing attacks,

the maintenance of troops abroad and the delivery of

war materials

to

Russia and other Allies concerned primarily with land operations has

depended ability to

factor



to a large extent

keep

it

the availability of shipping

often the controlling factor

which the Allied High

The

upon

principal

and the

moving. Shipping potentialities have been the major

Command

menace



in

most of the problems with

has had to deal.

to shipping has

been the large

fleet

of sub-

marines maintained by Germany. Our enemies have employed the

submarine on a world-wide

scale,

but the area of greatest intensity

has always been the Atlantic Ocean where the bulk of

German U-

boats have operated.

The German U-boat campaign is a logical extension of the submarine strategy of World War I which almost succeeded in starving Great Britain into submission. Unable to build up a powerful surface fleet in

preparation for World

War

II,

Germany planned

submarine campaign on a greater scale and to

154

this

to repeat her

end produced a U-

Cominch Takes a Hard Look

155

U-boat Situation

The primary mission

of this underwater navy

to cut the sea routes to the British Isles,

and the enemy undersea

boat

was

at the

fleet

of huge size.

work on this task promptly and vigorously. The United States became involved in the matter before we were

forces went to

formally at war, because our vessels were being sunk in the transAtlantic traffic routes. Consequently, in 1941,

Royal Navy

assist the

to protect

detail elsewhere in this report these

50 old destroyers assignment of our

on threatened

own

to

measures included the transfer of



in the latter part of

1941



the

naval vessels to escort our merchant shipping

trans- Atlantic routes.

The submarine close.

and

to the British,

we took measures

our shipping. As stated in more

was improving

situation

as

1941 drew toward a

Escort operations on threatened convoy routes were becoming

more and more

effective. British aviation

had become a potent

factor,

by direction action against the U-boats, and also by bringing under

German over-water air effort that had augmented the submarine offense. Our resources were stretched, however, and we

control the

\

could not, for a time, deal effectively with the change in the situation

brought about by our entry into the war on 7 December 1941. Our

whole merchant marine then became a legitimate boats,

still

sufficient

remaining

numbers

immune. Our

erto

full

target,

and the U-

pressure on the trans-Atlantic routes, had

to spread their depredations into wide areas hithdifficulty

was not already engaged

was

that such part of the Atlantic Fleet as

in escort

duty was called upon to protect the

troop movements that began with our entry into the war, leaving no

adequate force to cover the

posed to possible U-boat

many maritime

The Germans were none too quick opportunity. It was not until more than of

war

that U-boats

move took

first

January 1942.

the

We

traffic

areas newly ex-

activity.

began

form

expand

to

in taking

a

month

advantage of their

after the declaration

their areas of operation.

The

of an incursion into our coastal waters in

had prepared for

seaboard our scant resources

this

in coastal

by gathering on our eastern antisubmarine vessels and

number of yachts and miscellaneous Navy in 1940 and 1941. To reinforce

aircraft, consisting chiefly of a

small craft taken over by the

group the Navy accelerated

program of acquiring such fishing boats and pleasure craft as could be used and supplied them with such armaments as they could carry. For patrol purposes we employed all available aircraft Army as well as Navy. The help of the this

its



Civil

Air Patrol was gratefully accepted. This heterogeneous force

The War

156

was useful ships. It

in the Atlantic

in keeping lookout

may have

and

sunken

in rescuing survivors of

Some extent with the freedom of heavy losses we suffered in coastal waters

interfered, too, to

U-boat movement, but the

during the early months of 1942 gay'c abundant proof of the already well

known

opponent

fact that stout hearts in

as

The Navy was deeply teered by the

make and

men who

courageously risked their

them no

effort

force of adequate types.

which had been early in 1942.

was spared

British

had

lives in

to build

means,

up an antisubma-

began

to

come

into service

and Canadian Navies were able

vessels to

order to

to be better

Submarine chasers, construction of

initiated before the war,

The

some antisubmarine escorts were it

grateful for the assistance so eagerly volun-

the best of available means, but there

to provide

rine

boats can not handle an

little

tough as the submarine.

work with our

robbed to reinforce coastal

areas.

to assign

Ocean

coastal forces.

These measures made

possible to establish a coastal convoy system in the middle of

May

1942. Antisubmarine aviation had concurrently improved in quality

Army

and material and training of personnel. The volunteered the services of the First especially trained

The

and

effect of these

outfitted for antisubmarine warfare.

measures was quickly

Frontier (the coastal waters from they were

first

Air Force had

Bomber Command which was

applied.

Canada

felt in the

Eastern Sea

where

to Jacksonville)

With the establishment of the

initial

coastal

convoy (under the command of Vice Admiral Adolphus Andrews,

Commander

of the Eastern Sea Frontier) in the middle of

May

1942,

sinkings in the vital traffic lanes of the Eastern Sea Frontier dropped off nearly to

zero and have so remained. While

ble to clear those routes completely



there

it

is

has not been possi-

evidence that nearly

always one or more U-boats haunt our Atlantic Coast in that area long

When began

—submarines

ago ceased to be a serious problem.

the Eastern Sea Frontier

to spread farther afield.

became "too

hot," the U-boats

The coastal convoy system was ex-

tended as rapidly as possible to meet them in the Gulf of Mexico

(under the

command

of

Rear Admiral

J.

Admiral

J.

Commander command of Vice

L. Kauffman,

Gulf Sea Frontier), the Caribbean Sea, (under the

H. Hoover, Commander Caribbean Sea Frontier), and

along the Atlantic Coast of South America. The undersea craft

made

a last bitter stand in the Trinidad area in the fall of 1942. Since then coastal waters have been relatively safe.

The problem was more

difficult

to

meet

in

the

open

sea.

The

Cominch Takes a Hard Look

at the

submarine chasers that do well enough

157

U-boat Situation

in coastal

waters are too small

and other ocean escort types could

for ocean escort duty. Destroyers

not be produced as rapidly as the smaller craft. Aircraft capable of

long overseas patrol were not plentiful, nor were aircraft carriers. In

consequence, potection of ocean shipping lagged to some extent.

By

come under con-

the end of 1942, however, this matter began to

trol,

as

our forces slowly increased, and there has been a steady

improvement ever

The

since.

Atlantic antisubmarine campaign has been a closely integrated

international operation. In the early phases of our participation, there

was a considerable mixture of were met as best they could

forces, as the needs of the situation

be.

For a time some

British

and Cana-

dian vessels operated in our coastal escorts, while our destroyers were

brigaded with British groups in the Atlantic and even occasionally as far afield as north

power and balance,

Russian waters. As Allied strength improved it

became

in

possible to establish certain areas of

national responsibility wherein the forces are predominantly of one nation. This simplifies the

but there

still

are

forces of two or

and always there

problem of administration and operation,

—and probably always

will

be

more nations work together is

close coordination

in

—some

areas where

in a single

command,

deploying the forces of the

several Allies.

There

is

a constant interchange of information between the large

organizations maintained in the Admiralty and in the United States Fleet Headquarters (in the form of the Tenth Fleet which coordinates

United States anti-U-boat

activities in the Atlantic)

to deal with the

problems of control and protection of shipping. These organizations, also, in

keep

in intimate

touch with the

War

Shipping Administration

the United States and with the corresponding agency in Great

Britain.

Command

of antisubmarine forces



air

and surface



that protect

shipping in the coastwise sea lanes of the United States and within the

Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico

is

exercised by sea frontier

manders, each assigned to a prescribed area. The

Panama area where the naval sea Commanding General at Panama.

except in the

under the

command

frontier

is

as a closely knit team,

well as other naval operations forces in a single

command

in

it

is



to

the policy



in

weld together

each area.

naval

commander

Since aircraft and surface combatant ships are most effective

working

comis

when

antisubmarine as air

and surface

The War

158

in the Atlantic

In the Atlantic Ocean, beyond the coastal area, anti-submarine forces



and surface

air

command



are part

of Admiral Ingersoll.

ctf

One

the Atlantic Fleet under the

of the units of

Admiral Inger-

the South Atlantic Force '(Vice Admiral Ingram

soll's fleet is

manding) which guards shipping

com-

in the coastal waters south of the

Equator and throughout the United States area of South Atlantic. Vice Admiral Ingram's command includes highly efficient surface and which country has wholeheartedly joined our team

air units of Brazil,

of submarine hunters. This team, incidentally, turns

face raiders and other bigger

game when

guns on sur-

its

enemy provides

the

the

opportunity. It

appropriate to express her appreciation of the services of

is

Netherlands antisubmarine vessels which have operated with exemplary efficiency as part of the United States Naval Caribbean Force

ever since

we

entered the war.

Antisubmarine warfare

is

primarily a naval function, but, in ac-

Army and

cordance with the general policy of working together,

Navy need

forces that are available turn to together arises.

Thus

happens that there are instances

it

aircraft join in the

when naval

Army

make

example of

Air Force Anti-Submarine

members antisubmarine specialists. It operated, (now Major General) T. United States and abroad until last November

,

is

regretted that

details of

in

of Brigadier General

W. Larson, in the when the Navy obtained enough equipment ( 1 943 ) tasks so well performed by this command. It

this is

Command

its

command

under the

An

phases of

1942, which was given the equipment and training

the spring of

necessary to

in the early

resources were inadequate.

the formation of the

Army Army Air

which

in

submarine hunt. The assistance of the

Force has been of great value, particularly the war,

on the enemy when

it

is

to take over the

not possible at this time to go into the

our antisubmarine operations in

great pleasure to recount the

this report. It

would be

many praise-worthy exploits now would jeopardize the

antisubmarine forces, but to do so

a

of our

success

The U-boat war has been a war of wits. The weapon of stealth, and naturally enough the German

of future operations.

submarine

is

a

operations have been shrouded in secrecy.

It

has been of equal impor-

tance to keep our counter measures from becoming known to the

new

tactics

of forces working against the submarines as well as

on the

enemy. There

on the part

is

a constant interplay of

part of the submarines themselves,

new

devices and

and an important element of our

Cominch Takes a Hard Look

enemy from knowing what we

success has been the ability to keep the are doing and what

we

159

at the U-boat Situation

are likely to

do

in the future. It

is,

also, of the

utmost importance to keep our enemies from learning our anti-

submarine technique,

lest

they turn

it

to their

own advantage

in

operations against our submarines.

ALTHOUGH THE U-BOAT MENACE WAS

STILL

FAR FROM

under control, an American offensive was launched November 1942, which secured for us North Africa



the

first

step

8,

on the long

road to the eventual storming of Hitler's Fortress Europa. This was Operation "Torch," undertaken two weeks after the British

commenced

winning drive from Egypt westward. Aimed

its

Morocco, with a secondary invasion

in Algeria,

both operations under the same high

background of

With the

Army French

at

"Torch" (embracing

command) opened

against a

political intrigue.

of France in 1940, control of that nation's govern-

fall

ment devolved on Vichy. However, Marshal Henri Petain and

commander

military

in

his

North Africa, General Maxime Weygand,

were erroneously thought to oppose collaboration with Germany.

Keenly aware of

this,

President Roosevelt planned diplomatic

moves

calculated to prevent the powerful French Toulon fleet (as distin-

guished from the Casablanca

from

fleet)

falling into Hitler's hands.

Admiral William D. Leahy and Ambassador Robert D. Murphy were ordered to work on Weygand's sympathies, while General Charles

de Gaulle of the Free French lent additional support. Roosevelt's vent hope was that the Toulon

would remain

fleet

Allied invasions were launched, and with a

was a

minimum

For even

as

Murphy

strove to

of bloodshed.

form a nucleus of French

loyal to the cause of freedom, collaborationist

Hitler in Berchtesgaden and signed

known

inactive while the It

order.

tall

Tunisia.

fer-

When on

in

pro-German

treaties

to

visited

regarding

July 25, 1942, the Darlan-Hitler liaison

London, plans were made

officers

Admiral Darlan

became

go ahead immediately and to

secure a foothold in North Africa before anything else developed. In strategic 1.

concept the joint plan envisioned the following:

"Establishment of firm and

(a) between

Oran and Tunisia on

mutually supported the Mediterranean,

lodgments"

and (b)

in

The War

160

in the Atlantic

French Morocco on the Atlantic, tinued and intensified

in

order to secure bases "for con-

ground and«ea operations."

and rapid exploitation of these lodgments"

"Vigorous

2.

air,

"in

order to acquire complete control" pi. French Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, and extend offensive operations against the rear of Axis forces to the eastward.

"Complete annihilation of Axis forces now opposing the BritWestern Desert, and intensification of air and sea

3.

ish forces in the

operations against the Axis in the European Continent."

On

August

14, Lieutenant General

appointed Supreme

Commander

Dwight D. Eisenhower was

Allied Expeditionary Force.

His

headquarters was at Norfolk House, London, where planning for the

combined operation was already in progress. One month later "Torch" assumed its final form: Task Force 34, under Rear Admiral H. Kent Hewitt, included a Western Task Force, U.S. Army, which the redoubtable Major General George United States

Army

in

Patton and 35,000

S.

troops were embarked from the United States; a

Commodore Thomas Troubridge, RN, with about 39,000 United States Army troops underway from the United Kingdom to Oran; and an Eastern Task Force under Rear Admiral Sir H. M. Burrough, RN, with about 33,000 (British and American) Army troops, bound from the United Kingdom to capture Algiers. Center Task Force under

For our purposes it is not necessary to go into the preliminary work done by the Amphibious Force Atlantic Fleet; we need only discuss the invasion, focusing attention on the Western Task Force until the stage

is

set for the Battle of

Casablanca. Aggregating one

hundred and two warships, transports and sea, the

auxiliaries

when

Western Task Force got underway from Norfolk on October

24, despite a caustic prediction from Patton that the

break down

at the last crucial minute.

"Never

place. If

within one

you land us anywhere within

week

of

D-Day,

I'll

fifty

go ahead and win

Navy would

in history,"

"Blood and Guts", "has the Navy landed an army

and

united at

at

observed

the planned time

miles of Fedahla and ." .

.

These chicks came home to roost as the United States Navy, after a circuitous voyage in clear weather with no incidents marring the

passage, arrived at

deadline ern,

the



its

destination at midnight August 7



exactly

on

and the Western Naval Task Force broke up into South-

Northern and Center Attack Groups

North African

coast.

The

off assigned targets

along

landings at Fedahla, fifteen miles north

of Casablanca, were punctuated by misadventures and

stiff

French

Cominch Takes a Hard Look resistance.

The epochal day dawned

ground swell and

The

at the

gifted

fair

light offshore winds.

Rear Admiral Morison

U-boat Situation

161

but hazy, with a moderate

The

invasion was on.

details

the explosive

D-Day

events at sea. Twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Morison under-

took his formidable naval history as the result of an interview with President Roosevelt and Secretary of the

missioned him a Lieutenant

ment of

his

choice

our Navy at war.

United

He

Commander

—documenting

Navy Knox, who comwith the writing assign-

and interpreting the story of

served aboard eleven different ships and covered

States' participation in every theatre of war,

Combat "V." The following is the first of three distinguished work which appear in this volume.

and was awarded

the Legion of Merit with

selections

from

his

REAR ADMIRAL SAMUEL ELIOT MORISON

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The Naval

167

Battle of Casablanca

fire tomorrow, never forget the motto of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts whose name we proudly bear. That motto is: Ense Petit Placidam Sub Libertate Quietem, With the

duty to open

Sword She Seeks Peace under with

we

Liberty. If

wield the sword, do so

the strength in this mighty ship to destroy quickly and

all

completely.

At 2215 November

7 Admiral Giffen's group turned

away

to the

Southwestward, and during the night steamed over a trapezoidal course whose base ran parallel to the coastline, about twenty-one miles off shore. After completing the last corner of the trapezoid at

0515 November

big ships continued

8, the

and

Light, turned westerly for spotting

on

NW

eighteen-fathom shoal bearing 14 miles

168° course to the

a

N

by

from El Hank

0610 proceeded to catapult nine planes patrol. The shore batteries at Fedhala Giffen was too far away to Admiral but

at

and anti-submarine

were already opening

He

hear the report.

fire,

caught Admiral Hewitt's "Play Ball in Center"

over the wireless telephone at 0626, but

this did

not apply to the

Covering Group. Catapulting planes from a cruiser or battleship in early morning twilight

is

one of the

finest sights in the

poised on the catapult, snorts blue

fire

modern Navy. The

from

its

plane,

twin exhausts.

The

ship maneuvers so that the plane will shoot into the wind. Flag sig-

made from

nals are

the bridge and rhythmic

plane dispatcher on the rushes headlong

down

overboard. Just as

charge

is

heard.

it

fantail.

A

arm

nod from the

the catapult like

signals

pilot,

from the

and the plane

some hagridden diver going

leaves the skids, a loud crack of the explosive

The plane

falls

a few yards towards the water, then

and flies off and away. Immediately after launching their planes the Massachusetts, Witch-

straightens out

ita

and Tuscaloosa ran up

battle ensigns, bent

on twenty-five knots,

battle formation. The four destroyers steamed in a halfyards ahead of the flagship, whch was followed in 3000 moon about column by the two cruisers at 1000-yard intervals, their "long, slim 8inch guns projecting in threes from the turrets, like rigid fingers of

and assumed

death pointing to the object of their wrath with inexorable certainty."

had reached a position bearing about west northwest from Casablanca, distant 18,000 yards from Batterie

At 0640, when El

the formation

Hank and 20,000

began an easterly run, holding the same range. Ten minutes one of the flagship's spotting planes reported two submarines

harbor, later,

yards from battleship Jean Bart's berth in the

it

The War

168

in the Atlantic

standing out of Casablanca Harbor, and at 0651 radioed: "There's

me from

an anti-aircraft battery opening up "on

came within twelve tered "bandits" at

bow one

0652 and

The

? Am coming

signaled-:

with couple hostile aircraft on in front!"

my

The

salvo,

in

on starboard



Pick 'em off

tail.

I

am

the

up on these planes with their 50701, and shot one down. The other retired; and

inch batteries at

first

burst

big ships opened

almost simultaneously battleship Jean Bart and El firing.

One

beach.

Batter up!" Another spotting plane encoun-

feet.

Hank commenced

coast defense guns straddled Massachusetts with their

and

five

or six splashes from Jean Bart

fell

about 600

yards ahead of her starboard bow. Admiral Giffen lost no time in giving his group the "Play Ball!" Massachusetts let go her

first

16-

inch salvo at 0704. Actually Jean Bart was shooting at the cruisers astern; she never saw, or at least never recognized, Massachusetts

during the action; so our mighty battlewagon making her fighting

debut was reported to the Germans via Vichy as a "pocket battleship."

Jean Bart, the newest battleship of the French Navy, almost 800 feet

long and of about the same tonnage as Massachusetts, had never

been completed. Although unable the

Mole du Commerce

in

to

move from her

birth alongside

Casablanca, her four 15-inch guns in the

forward turret and her modern range-finding equipment made her a

harbor,

defense

On

On

Hank promontory, just west of the was a battery of four 194-mm (approximately 8-inch) coast guns and another of four 138-mm guns facing easterly.

formidable shore battery.

El

the other side of the harbor toward Fedhala, at a place called

Table d'Aoukasha, was a somewhat antiquated coast defense battery.

We

had assumed

had been

laid.

that the approaches

The

would be mined, but no mines

sea approaches to Casablanca were, however,

nicely covered

by gunfire. For several minutes Massachusetts and Tuscaloosa concentrated

on Jean Bart, commencing

fire at

ing out to 29,000. Wichita

opened

of 21,800 yards, using her

own

a range of 24,000 yards and openfire

on El Hank

at

0706

One

penetrated an empty magazine.

A

made

five

second penetrated below

the after control station, completely wrecking large hole

range

plane spot. Massachusetts fired nine

16-inch salvos of six to nine shots each at Jean Bart, and hits.

at a

it,

and the nose made a

below the waterline. The third and fourth did not meet

sufficient resistance to detonate

about 0720,

hit the

an armor-piercing

forward turret (then

firing

shell.

The

fifth, at

at Massachusetts),

ricocheted against the top of the barbette, and then into the city,

The Naval where

was recovered and

it

ralty building.

The impact

turret in train, silencing

eight hours. Thus,

guns

at

set

up

169

Battle of Casablanca

French Admi-

as a trophy at the

jammed

of this shell on the barbette

the

Jean Barfs entire main battery for about

one of the primary defenses of Casablanca, whose

extreme elevation might have been able to reach the transport

area off Fedhala, was eliminated in sixteen minutes.

Throughout

this action,

and splashing

setts

heavy

stuff

was whizzing over Massachu-

in the water close aboard.

Admiral Giffen and

Captain Whiting disdained the protection of the armorcased conning tower, and directed battle from the open flying bridge.

The Admiral

once remarked, as an enemy salvo passed close overhead, "If one lands at

my

feet,

I'll

be the

first

to line

up

to

make

a date with Helen

of Troy!"

Tuscaloosa concentrated on the submarine berthing area in Casablanca, then shifted to the Table d'Aoukasha shore battery, while

Wichita, having fired twenty-five 9-gun salvos at El

lenced

Hank, and

si-

temporarily, took over the submarine area in the harbor at

it

0727. The range was then 27,000 yards. At 0746 the Covering Group changed course to 270° and commenced a westerly run past the targets, firing on El

Hank, Table d'Aoukasha, and

harbor. This action was broken off at

telephone message relayed from the quit firing

Army

—you

—you

are

killing

our

0835

Army

own

are killing townspeople,

in

ships in the

consequence of a

ashore, "For Christ's sake

troops,"

and "This

is

from

no opposition ashore." Subse-

quent investigation proved that these casualties were caused by the

Cape Fedhala, when firing on our troops at the upper edge of Beach Red 2. Up to that time, the only certain damage inflicted by either side was on the Jean Bart. The French scored no hits on the Covering Batterie

du

Port,

Group, although they made several straddles and near misses, and one

shell

passed

through

the

flagship's

commissioning

pennant.

Around 0745 bombing planes' and warships' projectiles sank three merchantmen in Casablanca and also three submarines, Oreade, La Psyche and Amphitrite. Anyway, somebody sank them at anchor. Yet, in spite of all the efforts by Covering Group and carrier planes, eight submarines sortied successfully between 0710 and 0830, and some of them were shortly to be heard from. The shore battery at

—whose guns were described by French only vieux" — was du y

Table d'Aoukasha as "tout ce qu'il

a

a

plus

silenced

officer

temporarily,

and the modern El Hank battery remained completely operational. The Covering Group had become so interested in pounding Jean



The War

170

Hank

Bart and El

in the Atlantic that

its

mission of containing the

enemy

ships in

Casablanca Harbor was neglected. Ar0833, when they checked

fire,

Massachusetts, Tuscaloosa and Wichita had reached a point about sixteen miles northwest of the harbor entrance,

from our ships engaged

and twenty-five miles

unloading troops at Fedhala. Admiral

in

Michelier, anticipating that this westward run would place the big ships at a safe distance, ordered the destroyer squadrons under his

command

from Casablanca and sneak along the coast

to sortie

break up the landing operations ate

at

to

Fedhala. This was his one desper-

chance of defeating the "invasion."

Beginning

0815, the following French ships sortied from Casa-

at

blanca:

Destroyer Leaders of 2500 tons, 423 feet long,

five

5V2-inch guns,

four torpedo tubes, 36 knots

MILAN ALBATROS

Capitaine de Fregate Costet Capitaine de Fregate Pedes

Destroyers of 1400 tons, 331 feet long, four 5.1 -inch guns, six

torpedo tubes, 36 knots

L'ALCYON

Capitaine de Corvette de Bragelongue

BRESTOIS

Capitaine de Fregate Mariani

BOULONNAIS

Capitaine Corvette de Preneuf

FOUGUEUX FRONDEUR

Capitaine de Corvette Begouen-Demeaux

Capitaine de Fregate Sticca

command

This force was under the

Lafond

in

of Contre-Amiral Gervais de

Milan. Light cruiser Primauguet sortied

commenced he was been ordered to

still

the

0900. Adfirst sortie

ignorant of the nationality of the ships he had

Other

fight.

last, at

when

miral Lafond later informed Admiral Hewitt that

officers later

confirmed

this surprising

fact.

Spotting planes reported the sortie to our Center Attack early as 0818. transports.

strafed

Wildcats

and

and bombed the

Dauntless

dive-bombers

ships, but they continued

knocked one of the bombers down; is

Group

as

There then began an anxious twenty minutes for the

its

entire

on

from

their course,

crew was

only twelve miles by sea from Casablanca, not

Ranger

much

lost.

and

Fedhala

to cover for

destroyers capable of thirty-six knots; and the transports at that

mo-

ment were so many sitting ducks for a torpedo attack, or gunfire for that matter. At 0828 the French destroyers began shelling landing boats that were seeking Beach Yellow west of Cape Fedhala, making

The Naval on one, and

a direct hit

also firing

patrolling a few miles to the

salvo that started a

0834 was

at

hit

fire

by a

on Wilkes and Ludlow, who were

westward of the Cape. Ludlow delivered a

on the Milan, then

back on the

fell

cruisers.

Swanson

to intercept the

French

force.

was dispelled by what one of

The French

"the most

main

and

Wilkes

Anxiety on board the trans-

their officers

The four

beautiful sight he ever saw."

pronounced ships

to be

went tearing

pack of dogs unleashed: Wilkes and Swanson with

into action like a their

24,000

to

must have believed that they had us on the run.

Admiral Hewitt now ordered Augusta, Brooklyn, ports

and

which took her out of action

fires

and straddles followed her out

yards range, and Wilkes too sailors

retired at flank speed,

which entered the wardroom country and

shell

exploded on the main deck, starting for three hours. Splashes

171

Battle of Casablanca

batteries yap-yapping, dancing

ahead

like

two fox

terriers,

followed by the queenly Augusta with a high white wave-curl against her clipper bow, her 8-inch guns booming a deep "woof-woof '; and finally the stolid,

like ten

make when

scrappy Brooklyn, giving tongue with her six-inchers

couple of staghounds, and footing so fast that she had to

At 0848,

a 300-degree turn to take station astern of her senior. the

enemy was not more than four

18,500 yards, rapidly closing to 17,600; French

action opened at

came uncomfortably

shells

miles from our transports,

close but failed to hit; at about

0900

range was opened by the enemy retiring toward Casablanca, to draw us under the coastal batteries.

Admiral Hewitt

at nine o'clock

care of the French ships.

and

at

0918 opened

and Brooklyn broke the

fire

fire at

off

19,400

in at

27 knots,

yards, closing to 11,500.

and returned

to

Augusta

guard the transports, while

support destroyers engaged the Batterie du Port on Cape

Fedhala, which had reopened time.

ordered Giffen to close and take

The Covering Group came

fire,

and quickly silenced

it

for the third

In meantime the French destroyers sent up a heavy

smoke

screen and followed the excellent defensive tactics of charging out of it

to take a crack at their formidable

off the spot

enemy, then

planes and range finders.

credit," reported the

gunnery

in again to

throw

"Our enemy deserves much

officer of Tuscaloosa, "for

superb sea-

manship which permitted him to maintain a continuous volume of

fire

his light forces while exposing them only momentarily. One wellmanaged stratagem observed was the laying of smoke by a destroyer on the unengaged bow of the enemy cruiser, which effectively ob-

from

scured our 'overs'

"

These French destroyers did indeed put up a

fight that

commanded

^The War

172

the admiration of off;

in the Atlantic

all.

The Covering Group was unable

them

to polish

hurling 8-inch and 16-inch ammunition at these nimble-footed

light craft was a bit like trying to hit a gr^ss hopper with a rock. At 0935 Giffen changed course to 280° "because of restricted waters,"

and began another run

to the

westward, exchanging shots with the

French destroyers and El Hank.

The minutes around 1000 were

the hottest part of this action.

Several things happened almost simultaneously. light cruiser

Primauguet (7300 tons, 600

and twelve torpedo tubes) sortied which peeled

off

French

beautiful

guns

two of

to assist the destroyers,

from the smoke screen group and headed north on the Covering Group. Massachusetts,

deliver a torpedo attack

range of about

The

feet long, eight 6-inch

and Tuscaloosa,

miles,

1 1

to

at a

landed a

at a little less,

couple of salvos on the van destroyer Fougueux. She blew up and sank in lat. 33°42' N, long. 7°37' W, about 6% miles north of Casablanca breakwater. About the same the flagship's

Within

body.

moment

Massachusetts

minutes

three

wakes about 60 degrees on her port bow, yards.

The

big battleship

of the spread,

Hank

a shell from El

hit

main deck forward and exploded below, injuring no-

and

just

sighted

distant

four

under one thousand

was maneuvered between Numbers

made

away along her starboard

it;

side.

Number 4

torpedo

3

and 4

passed about fifteen feet

Four minutes

later four torpedoes,

from submarine Meduse, narrowly missed Tuscaloosa; and

1021

at

another torpedo wake was sighted, passing 100 yards to port. The

French

just

missed sweet revenge for their too impetuous Fougueux.

While the Covering Group was making

this

run to the westward,

sinking ships and dodging torpedoes, three French destroyers began to

edge along shore toward the transports. Our big ships were

Hewitt

0951 ordered

at

cept the enemy.

his

When

now

area, so

Admiral

two cruisers and three destroyers

to inter-

well below the horizon, as seen

from the transport

the Brooklyn received this order, she

was

operating to the eastward of the transport area. Captain Denebrink in his eagerness steered a straight course for fifteen minutes,

managed

at

1010, by a timely 90-degree turn, to dodge

from the submarine Amazone, sand yards. Augusta, General Patton and

who was

staff

fired at a

five

just

range of about three thou-

fueling a plane

and preparing

to set

ashore, catapulted the plane, cut adrift the

waiting landing craft and stood over to support Brooklyn, as a bridal

and

torpedoes

handsome

bouquet with her guns spouting orange bursts of flame.

The second morning engagement, which commenced

at

1008 when

The Naval Battle one of the French destroyers opened eral

when Augusta came

in at

1020.

fire

on Brooklyn, became gen-

On

the one side were the

by Wilkes, Swanson and

cruisers screened

cruiser Primauguet,

two destroyer

173

of Casablanca

Bristol;

leaders,

on

two

the other, light

and four destroyers. Au-

gusta and Brooklyn steered radically evasive courses: ellipses, snake tracks,

and

figure eights

—dodging

every few seconds, and foot-

shells

ing so fast that their screening destroyers with difficulty kept out of the way. Brooklyn gusta.

"Her

was very impressive, reported an observer

followed by one or more fire lasting

in

Au-

consisted of ranging salvos with one or two guns,

fire

full salvos,

spotted,

and then a burst of rapid

Her adversary was then

a minute or so."

steering north-

westerly to open the range, so as to give her guns the advantage; at

seven and a half to nine miles from the

more than black specks merging

in the

enemy one could

of ships constantly emerging

see

little

from and sub-

smoke, and gun flashes snapping out of the screen. At

1046 Brooklyn received the only

hit suffered

by either

cruiser, a 5-

inch dud.

So intent was Brooklyn upon the task the Covering

at

hand

appeared over the horizon to the westward,

firing,

off

and large geysers

had been dodging, shot

of green water, far higher than anything she

up

that she forgot about

Group; and when the superstructures of three ships

her starboard bow, officers on the bridge thought for a few

seconds that the enemy had led us into a trap the Richelieu, Gloire and



were

that these ships

Montcalm from Dakar. It turned out that Hank, making a few passes at Brook-

the green splashes were from El lyn,

and that the three ships hull-down were, of course, the Covering

Group

returning. Great relief

on the bridge! At about 1035 Massaon Boulon-

chusetts signaled her re-entry into battle by opening fire nais,

who,

hit

by a

full

salvo

from Brooklyn,

rolled over

and sank

at

1112.

By 1100 Massachusetts had expended approximately 60 per of her 16-inch ammunition, and decided that she

came

balance in case that bad dream, the Richelieu,

cent

had better save the true.

Accord-

ingly she pulled out of range with three screening destroyers, while

Captain Gillette

in

Tuscaloosa assumed tactical

command

heavy cruisers and Rhind, with orders to polish

They closed range

to

two

enemy

fleet.

light cruisers

were

off the

14,000 yards, closer than our

of the

at the time.

At about 1100, action, cruiser

just before the

reduced Covering Group swung into

Primauguet took a bad beating from Augusta and

The War

174

in the Atlantic

Brooklyn. Holed three times below the waterline, and with an 8-inch shell

the

on No. 3

turret, she retired

toward" the harbor, and anchored off

Roches Noires. Milan, with

followed

Almost

suit.

at the

five hits, at least three of them 8-inch, same moment, destroyer Brestois was hit

by Augusta and a destroyer. She managed to make the harbor

The planes

Ranger

from

near

her

strafed

the

jetty.

with

waterline

Holed below the

.50-caliber bullets, but did not hasten her end. waterline, she sank at 2100.

There were now only three French ships

They formed up about 1115, apparently with a torpedo

delivering

of

reduced the

fire

action outside the

Frondeur and L'Alcyon, and destroyer leader

harbor, destroyers Albatros.

in

to

attack on the

behind

zigzagging

ineffectual

cruisers,

the intention

smoke

a

soon

were

but

from El Hank. After a number of straddles and near misses, shore battery scored one living

hit

on Wichita

at

compartment on the second deck,

them

of

seriously; the fires

same

later the

cruiser

by

screen

and Wichita. They had good support, however,

of Tuscaloosa

1

this

128, which detonated in a

injuring fourteen

were quickly extinguished.

men, none

Ten minutes

dodged a spread of three torpedoes from one of

the French submarines. Wichita and Tuscaloosa, however, gave back far

more than they

down

at

strafing.

got.

Frondeur took a

the stern; like Brestois, she

Albatros was

hit twice at

hit aft

and limped

was finished

off

into port

by

aircraft

1130, once below the waterline

forward and once on deck; with only three of her guns functioning she zigzagged behind a

smoke

screen, shooting at Augusta.

At

that

moment Ranger's bomber planes flew into action, and laid two eggs amidships. The fireroom and one engine room were flooded, and the second engine room was presently flooded by another hit from Augusta. Albatros

Immediately

went dead after,

in the water.

around 1145 or 1150, action was broken

reason of two rumors, one false and the other misleading.

off

by

News

reached Admiral Hewitt from a plane that an enemy cruiser had been sighted southwest of Casablanca, and he ordered Wichita and Tusca-

loosa to steam

down

the coast in search of her.

munication teams ashore came word

Army

"Army

From one

of our

com-

officers conferring with

Cape Fedhala. Gunfire must be stopped during this conference." Such a conference was being held, but Admiral Michelier knew nothing about it, and the senior French officer French

officers

at

present, a lieutenant colonel,

had no authority

except to surrender Fedhala, where

all

to decide anything

resistance had already ceased.

The Naval

Battle of Casablanca

175

the eight French which took part in this

morning engage-

ment, only one, L'Alcyon, returned to her berth

undamaged. But

Out of

Admiral Michelier had a few cards

still

up

his sleeve,

and proceeded

to

play them well.

The eighth of November had developed into a beautiful blue-andgold autumn day, with bright sunlight overhead, a smooth sea almost unruffled by light offshore wind, and a haze over the land to which

smoke from

gunfire and

smoke screens

contributed. Sea gulls with

black-tipped wings were skimming over the water, and so continued

throughout the action apparently unconcerned by these strange antics

human

of the

race.

At 1245 Brooklyn and Augusta were and

ports;

their crews,

who had been

hours, were trying to grab a

had managed chose

this

to get

little

patrolling

around the trans-

at battle stations for twelve

cold lunch. General Patton at last

ashore from the flagship. Admiral Michelier

opportune moment, when the Covering Group was chasing

a ghost cruiser to the westward, to order a third sortie from Casa-

blanca, led by a aviso-colonial

resembled a

light cruiser.

named La Grandiere. At

a distance she

She was followed by two small avisos-

draguerurs (coast-patrol minesweepers) of 630 tons, armed with 3.9 guns, called La Gracieuse and Commandant The three vessels steamed along the coast as if headed for the transports. The French, as ascertained later, were simply trying to pick up survivors from the sunken destroyers, but their course then looked aggressive. At the same time two destroyers who had not yet sortied, Tempete and Simoun, remained near the harbor entrance, milling around temptingly in order to attack some of our vessels under

inch

anti-aircraft

Delage.

the

fire

of El

Again

it

Hank. Albatros was

still

outside, but

dead

in the water.

was Brooklyn, Augusta, destroyers and bombing planes

the rescue. Action closing to 14,300.

which the cruisers

damaged by one

to

commenced at 1312, range 17,200 yards, rapidly Again the enemy put up a smoke screen, through were unable to find their targets. La Grandiere was

of the

bombing

planes, but returned to harbor safely,

and the two small avisos were not touched. During

this short action a

tug was observed towing in Albatros,

who was bombed

brazen

little

and strafed on the way, and

finally

beached

at the

near the Primauguet and Milan. This was a bad

Roches Noires

move on

the part of

the French, because in that position they were easily attacked

from

seaward by carrier-based planes who were not bothered to any great extent by the harbor anti-aircraft defenses. Primauguet that afternoon

^The War

176

in the Atlantic

bombings and strafings from Ranger's planes, and her whole forward half was completely wrecked. A direct hit on suffered several fierce

her bridge killed the captain, the executive, and seven other officers;

Rear Admiral Gervais de Lafond was*

seriously

wounded, but recov-

ered.

By 1340

the Covering

Group was coming up again

fast

from the

westward, and for the third time that day Admiral Hewitt handed over the duty of engaging the enemy to Admiral Giffen, while Captain

Emmet's command resumed

patrol duties. Massachusetts fired one

salvo at the small ships, and was promptly engaged by El

ceased

minutes

after ten

firing

Hank, but

order to conserve ammunition.

in

La

Wichita and Tuscaloosa stood in toward the harbor, and engaged

Grandiere and

At

A Ibatros.

the height of this action Colonel Wilbur, accompanied by a

French guide and Colonel Gay and driven by Major F. M. Rogers,

made

a second auto excursion into Casablanca in the

suading the French from further resistance.

them pass under

flag of truce after

army headquarters

in

in

The advance

dis-

post

disarming the party. They called

let

at

Casablanca, and after ascertaining that the

Colonel's friend General Bethouart was in

was

hope of

command, proceeded

jail,

and that Michelier

Admiralty on the waterfront. As

to the

they passed through the streets of Casablanca, flying the American

waved and cheered, and a friendly crowd gathered whenever they halted to ask the way. About 1400, word was sent in to Admiral Michelier requesting an interview. An aide came flag,

the population

out, saluted,

remained

at attention,

refused to receive them. his best

and declared

that the

As Major Rogers was beginning

Harvard French, El Hank

let fly

Admiral

to argue in

a salvo at Wichita. "Voila

votre reponse!" said the Admiral's aide.

The

last

ruse of Admiral Michelier had succeeded.

Tuscaloosa, although not

hit,

from El Hank that they broke

Wichita and

were so frequently straddled by gunfire off action at

1450. Dive-bombers from

also engaged this shore battery, but inflicted no lethal damAt 1530 Admiral Giffen signaled Admiral Hewitt, "Have seven loaded guns and will make one more pass at El Hank." So this day's furious shooting ended in a well-earned tribute to "Old Hank," as the

Ranger

age.

bluejackets

The

final

named

this

French shore

battery.

score of the battle of Casablanca

United States Navy suffered one

hit

is

very one-sided.

The

each on destroyers Murphy and

Ludlow, cruisers Wichita and Brooklyn and battleship Massachusetts.

The Naval Three men were

177

Battle of Casablanca

on board Murphy and about 25 wounded, by

killed

40 landing boats were destroyed by enemy action, most of them by airplane strafing when on the beach. The Army casualties ashore that day were very slight. The the Sherki battery. Approximately

French Navy

4 destroyers and 8 submarines sunk or missing;

lost

Jean Bart, Primauguet, Albatros and Milan disabled. Casualties to

French armed forces were stated by the

vember

490

to be

Fedhala were

in

Casablanca were

War Department on

and 969 wounded. All coast batteries

killed

all

23 Noat

our possession at the end of D-day, but those at still

in

Admiral Michelier

French hands, and operative.

had

still

his

two principal

assets, the four 15-

194-mm and four 138-mm coast As long as these, and the several

inch guns of Jean Bart and the four

defense guns of Batterie El Hank.

mobile and fixed batteries of 7 5 -mm

were undamaged, the Admiral was French naval and

air

aged, but the main

from being

power

in

American

attained;

and

in a

guns around Casablanca,

good position

Morrocco had been

to bargain.

irretrievably

objective, securing Casablanca,

until

ships into Casablanca they

field

we could

get the transports

were highly vulnerable

to

dam-

was

far

and cargo

submarine or

air

attack and also in danger of foul weather damage.

In general,

it

may be

was the

ering that this

said that the results were respectable, consid-

first

major action of the Atlantic Fleet; but no

more than might reasonably be expected from American local superiority in

gun and

air

power. Nothing had occurred to upset the princi-

ple that coastal batteries have a great advantage over naval gunfire.

Brooklyn to be sure had done a good job on the Sherki, but even her

bombardment technique could not have silenced a determined and The value of naval air power was well

well-trained crew of gunners.

demonstrated; for the speedy destruction and driving planes

left

down

of French

the cruiser-based planes free to spot fall of shot, while

carrier-based

bombers and

fighters delivered attacks

on ships and

shore batteries.

The French observed

their traditional

economy

in the use of

am-

munition; but the American ships were lavish, considering that they

had no place Roads.

If

to

replenish their magazines that side of

the dreaded

Dakar

fleet

questionable whether the Covering shells to defeat

Of

Hampton

had turned up next day, it is Group would have had enough

them.

individual ship performances, that of Brooklyn

intelligently directed

was

typical for

and courageously sustained aggressive

action.

The War

178

in the Atlantic

Her men- remained at battle stations from 2215 November 7 to 1433 November 8, with a single forty-minute interval at noon, and no hot

The teamwork and morale of that ship was outstanding. Even the smallest mess attendant, when questioned after the action as to what he had done, since the anti-aircraft gun for which he passed ammunition had food, without showing signs of discouragement or fatigue. ,

never

fired, said, "I

awful

lot of that!"

mostly kept out of people's way,

Equipped with the

latest devices to

sir

—but

I

did an

keep main battery trained on

a target while steering evasive courses at a speed of thirty-three knots,

Brooklyn delivered an amazing shower of

projectiles,

and

as she zig-

zagged and pirouetted, delivering 15-gun salvos and continuous rapid fire

from her main battery, her appearance, with great bouquets of

flame and smoke blossoming from her 6-inch guns, was a delight to the eye,

if

not to the ear. Brooklyn went far to prove, in this action, that

the light cruiser

is

a

most useful all-around

almost 1700 rounds of 6-inch

fighting ship.

common and

She expended

about 965 rounds of 6-

inch high-capacity, on this joyful day of battle, without a single misfire.

At

the end of the day Admiral Hewitt sent this message to

Captain Denebrink: "Congratulations on your gunnery as evidenced

by silencing Sherki battery and on your aggressive offensive action

shown throughout Augusta

the day."

also put in an outstanding performance.

her space and communication

facilities

Athough much

of

were taken up by the two staffs, Captain Gordon Her 8-inch guns could not,

admirals and two generals on board, and their

Hutchins fought his ship cleverly and

well.

of course, shoot as rapidly as the 6-inch of Brooklyn, but they prob-

more damage. The Covering Group destroyed the Jean Bart as a fighting ship, and probably accounted for the Fougueux and Boulonnais. Massa-

ably did

chusetts,

on her shakedown

morale; her turret

cruise,

men showed

was

full

of fight and tip-top in

unusual endurance in handling the 16-

inch shells for hours on end; out of her 113 officers and 2203 men,

only three were in sick bay during the action. to the battery

on El Hank,

carried only armor-piercing

gaging enemy battleships.

would be of

(HC)

slight use in

that

If

she did

little

(AP) 16-inch shells, with a view to enIt was well known that AP projectiles

shore bombardment, for which high-capacity

shells with instantaneously acting fuses are required,

miral Hewitt's staff

made

damage

was because of her ammunition. She

and Ad-

every effort to procure a supply of these for

The Naval her; but at that time the

AP

Bureau of Ordnance could furnish none. The

simply drove the gunners of El

direct hit

179

Battle of Casablanca

Hank

temporarily to cover; only a

on one of the emplacements could have silenced the battery

permanently.

The

They acted

destroyers too were well handled.

utility ships,

shepherding

as all-around

the landing boats to the line of

departure in

dangerous proximity to the shore batteries, delivering accurate and powerful

fire

on ship and shore

and transports from torpedo

ships

appear again and operations.

One

and screening the capital

targets,

attack.

Many

of their officers will

again in this history, especially in Pacific

commended by

of several

tenant Franklin D. Roosevelt

Jr.

USNR,

their skippers

gunnery

Ocean

was Lieu-

officer of

Mayrant,

"for controlling and spotting main battery with skill and good judgment under highly adverse spotting conditions." These conditions were partly

due to the inexperience of plane

sunlight

pilots, partly to the glare of

on the water between our ships and

their targets.

Perhaps the best story of the battle comes from destroyer Wilkes, when screening Brooklyn and Augusta in their fight with Primauguet

and the French destroyers. The

engine-room telephone

officer at the

heard loud reports, and more speed was called

up there?" he

inquired.

"Enemy

for.

"What's going on

cruiser chasing us,"

Before long he was almost thrown

off his feet

was the

reply.

by a sudden change of

more speed was called for. "What's going on now?" he asked. "We're chasing the enemy cruiser!" course, and even

WITH THE NORTH AFRICAN INVASION ACCOMPLISHED and the Tunisian campaign begun, the way was clear for expansion of the Allied lodgment. Although heavy fighting was to continue at Casablanca until the 11th,

we had

the "soft underbelly" of the Axis and were

nevertheless penetrated

on the long road

to victory.

Before turning to another aspect of the North African campaign, let

us touch briefly on the international political situation. General

Marshall's

official

comments

are pertinent:

General Eisenhower had announced that General Giraud would

be responsible for

civil

and military

the French military officials to

affairs in

North Africa, but

on the ground were found

to

be loyal

Marshal Petain's government. President Roosevelt's note to

The War

180

in the Atlantic

the French Chief of State had assured Marshal Petain of our desire for

ing.

a liberated France, but the

Our ambassador was handed

Vichy answer was disappointhis passport on 9 November,

and orders were dispatched from 'Vichy to resist our forces,

to

French Africa units

which by then had already accomplished

their

missions except on the Casablanca front.

Unexpectedly, Admiral Jean Darlan, Petain's designated successor and

commander in

Algiers. ...

He was

chief of

all

French

forces,

was found

taken into protective custody, and

to

when

be it

in

was

found that the French leaders stood loyal to the Vichy government, a series of conferences immediately followed with the pur-

pose of calling a halt to the French resistance against General Patton's task force in the vicinity of Casablanca.

morning of

11

November, the Germans

When, on

invaded

the

unoccupied

France, Admiral Darlan rejected the pseudo-independent Vichy

government, assumed authority

in

North Africa

Marshal Petain, and promulgated an order

manders

in

North Africa to cease

hostilities.

Casablanca a few minutes before the

final

be launched on the early morning of

1

An

1

to

in the

name

of

French com-

all

This order reached

American

assault

was

to

November.

important sequel to the North African landings

by Walter Muir Whitehill, King's biographer.

is

described



FLEET ADMIRAL ERNEST

AND

CDR.

J.

KING

WALTER MUIR WHITEHILL

8.

SUMMIT CONFERENCE

In the days following the North African landings

it

became

clear to

the President that a conference to determine strategic plans for 1943

would

shortly

become

necessary. Late in

November, Mr. Churchill

proposed that Marshall, King and Hopkins repeat

down

of July, but the President felt the need of sitting

the Russians either in Cairo or

Moscow. As

it

London

visit

at a table

with

their

appeared that free

discussion with the Russians could take place only on the highest level,

Stalin himself

gested a state velt's

new

housed

was

invited to participate.

Mr. Churchill sug-

Atlantic Conference in Iceland, with the three heads of in ships lying together in Hvalfjordur,

comment—

but Mr. Roose-

"I prefer a comfortable oasis to the raft at Tilsit"

turned plans toward North Africa, which offered a more suitable climate at this season. In the end Casablanca in French

Morocco was

chosen. Although Stalin never came, the President, the Prime Minister,

the

Combined Chiefs

of Staff, and other governmental representa-

assembled there for a ten-day conference, designated by the code word SYMBOL. Tremendous precautions for secrecy were obtives

served during the outward journey, particularly as the President had

had declared war nor flown since he became President. Leahy, who accompanied him, was stricken with bronchitis early in the journey, and so, to his keen neither left the country since the United States

disappointment, was

left

behind

at Trinidad.

181

The War

182

On

^January,

in the Atlantic

advance of the President's party, King

in

left

Wash-

ington by air for Borenquen Field in northwest Puerto Rico. Generals

Wedemeyer accompanied him

Somervell and nold, and Sir

John

Brazil, off the

crossed the equator for the

was spent

at

first

Landing

Marrakech

at

Moses Taylor, and to see sights

terized in

The next

the South Atlantic by night to Bathurst,

in

as far as

French Morocco on the afternoon of villa

after dinner strolled in the city.

—not even

by Mr. Churchill

Gam-

Agadir where they flew

12 January, they spent the night in a handsome

mood

flight

of the Para River, King

time in his sixty -four years.

and skirted the coast of Africa

inland.

mouth

Belem, before the party continued to Natal, Brazil.

The planes then crossed bia,

During the

Dill traveled in another plane.

from Borinquen toward night

while Marshall, Ar-

owned by Mrs.

King was not

in a

the bazaars of this ancient city, charac-

Sahara"

as "the Paris of the



for he felt that

such matters he had done his duty adequately in the course of his

European

cruises of

1899 and 1903. During the hour's

flight to

Casa-

blanca the following morning, Sir John Dill accompanied King and reminisced about his duty in India and Palestine.

Casablanca had been chosen for the ence

largely

of the

site

SYMBOL

Confer-

because convenient and secure accommodation was

The Combined Chiefs, with Anfa Hotel, some four miles south of

were lodged

available there.

their staffs,

in the

the city, while the Presi-

dent and the Prime Minister each had an attractive

The teenth,

Joint Chiefs of Staff

and again early the following morning

King

basic

concepts

at

near by. thir-

to lay their plans for

once suggested that world-wide strategy and

the conference. strategic

villa

met on Wednesday afternoon, the

should

be

discussed

first,

and

strongly

stressed the need of determining the proportions of the total effort that should be delivered against

urged that we

resist

any

effort

Germany and

on the part of

from a discussion of world-wide

against Japan.

He

the British to deviate

strategy in favor of any particular

operation until the basic strategic concepts had been settled.

He was

greatly concerned at this time with preventing the building

up of a

large excess force of troops in

North Africa with no immediate pros-

pect for their useful employment. In this he was in full accord with

Mr. Churchill, who several weeks previously had observed: "I never

meant the Anglo-American Army spring-board and not a sofa."

to be stuck in

North Africa.

It is

a

183

Summit Conference

WHILE DOENITZ EXPANDED HIS U-BOAT OPERATIONS TO meet the

crisis of

the

still

invasion in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic was

principal

scene

submarine

of

warfare.

Early

1942

in

Rear Admiral Jonas H. Ingram's South Atlantic Fleet, built around four light cruisers operating from Recife, Brazil, beat down stiff opposition from U-boats which had taken a heavy

toll

the Trinidad-Recife grid. Another impressive group

Wing. After mopping up apex,

it

German

in

of shipping in

was Fleet Air

Iceland-Greenland-Newfoundland

the

Bay

shifted operations to the

of Biscay

and the Azores.

shipyards, however, turned out U-boats as quickly as they

were sunk (by war's end 810 had been produced) and when one area got too hot for Doenitz he moved elsewhere. From October to De-

cember 1943 U-boats concentrated

in the Central Atlantic to feed

Allied convoys, and the pressure there increased accordingly.

juncture

the

enemy introduced

which drew a bead on a

the

acoustic

ship's propellers.

torpedo,

At

on

that

Zaukoenig,

However, the Navy coun-

tered with "Foxer," a device of parallel rods which clacked together

when towed and was

calculated to lure Zaukoenig from effectual

attack.

But the best antisubmarine weapon devised was the Killer-Hunter Group; a merchantman converted

to a

baby

flattop, or "jeep carrier",

screened by several destroyers. The raison d'etre of this outfit was to kill

submarines, and

it

did.

The procedure

called for the carrier's

planes to find the U-boat on the surface and either destroy

bombs, or

if

it

with

the submarine dove, to coach in a destroyer. This

was the case on the afternoon of October 3 1 when U-91 was spotted and bombed by a Block Island Avenger. As the hour was growing late, Captain A. J. "Buster" Isbell sent destroyer Borie surging ahead to search.

An

old flush decker, the tin can reached the area after

dark and soon obtained three solid contacts on her sound gear. A depth charge attack was launched, after which the destroyer's crew heard and

A 1812

felt

heavy explosions below. But the night was not over.

swashbuckling story which is

Hersey.

told

by the

is

strongly reminiscent of the

brilliant Pulitzer Prize

Presently Master of Pierson College

Hersey covered the war

in the Atlantic

and

War

of

winning novelist, John at

Yale University,

Pacific for Life

Magazine.

JOHN HERSEY

LAST BATTLE

U.S.S. BORIE'S

In a black,

windy night of October 1943, the U.S.S. Borie, an

numbered 215, was making \l l/i uncomfortable knots through the Atlantic seas. She had just sunk one submarine and was looking for another. It was 1 :53 a.m. old destroyer

A

kind of electric shock

hit the Borie's

blacked-out bridge as a

voice announced contact with an unidentified craft bearing

190°,

west of south. That contact was the beginning of one of the

just

strangest ship-to-ship contests in the history of fighting at sea.

The commanding officer of the Borie was standing just to the right of the helmsman in the wheelhouse. He was Lieut. Charles H. Hutchins, at 30 one of the youngest destroyer captains in the U. S. Navy and one of the very few

in this

war

while only a lieutenant.

When

he learned of the contact he lowered

his

head and raised

with

a

his

arm

club in his hand

to

be given charge of a destroyer

in a characteristic gesture



like a

about to strike an adversary

man

—and

he

shouted: "Flank speed!"

As

the Borie gained speed she began to pitch and

pound very hard.

Destroyers are wet ships, and they are wettest at high speed. The

waves that night ran 15 and 20

feet high,

and by the time the Borie

reached 27 knots, black water was knocking at the highest towers of the ship.

So heavy was the

the bridge

184

— 30

feet

sea's

above water

impact that four of the portholes on level

— were smashed. The portholes



185

U.S.S. Bone's Last Battle

were of 34 -in. into the

glass, 15 inches in diameter.

After that water splashed

wheelhouse through the broken ports. The temperature of the

water was 44°Fahrenheit, 12°above freezing. In a short time the Borie lost surface contact with the target. Lieut.

Hutchins

at

once assumed that the enemy had submerged.

the sound apparatus



He

ordered

the device which hunts for underwater objects

by means of echoing sound waves

—turned

on.

Soundman Second when every-

Class Lerten V. Kent had only sent out a few impulses

one on the bridge,

listening to the

ping, heard a clear

and

sound machine's slow ping-ping-

solid echo.

Soundman Kent waited

for a

second echo before he roared: "Sound contact! Bearing one nine oh."

The Borie moved

Soundman Kent reported every twist The "talkers" on the bridge men with

in slowly.



submarine's bearing.

in the

power telephones

and engine rooms

to guns



quietly told the

what was happening. All through the ship the men were

had gone through

excited.

crew

They

dull months. After the first cruise escorting the

converted merchantman carrier U.S.S. Card, some of the Borie's

crew had hung a service indicating that they

had

flag for

finally

men

transferred to other ships

gone to war.

As the old destroyer closed the range on her quarry, Chief Torpedoman Frank G. Cronin got the "ash cans" of TNT set on their racks

When

aft.

the Borie got directly over her target, Lieut. Hutchins gave

the order to drop an orthodox deep pattern. Instead of the usual

small

one

number

for a pattern, depth charges

after another in

began

flying off the stern

an almost endless procession. Something had

gone wrong with the depth-charge-releasing mechanism. Soon Sound-

man Kent

could hear the rumble of

the sensitive sound stack. ins

ordered a floating

The depth-charge accurate.

It

To mark

many underwater

explosions in

the point of attack, Lieut. Hutch-

flare to

be dropped.

attack

was not only on a grand

forced the submarine to the surface.

scale:

Lieut.

it

was

Hutchins

thought the submarine might surface on his right and behind him.

Therefore he ordered his 4-inch guns trained on the starboard quar-

But the wily German turned around underwater before surfacing. This was the first of a series of tricks on both sides which gave this ter.

duel

its

The

man

weird quality. first

man

First Class

to see the

U-boat on the surface was Fire Control-

Robert Maher.

When

the submarine

popped up

to

The War

186 and

port

astern,

Maher

screamed: "There yards away.

As

if

by

It

in the Atlantic

it

is



forgot his

formal naval vocabulary and

just to the fight of the flare!" It

was 400

was huge and almost white.

reflex,

momentV thought,

without a

Lieut. Hutchins de-

cided that he could swing his ship around faster than the gun crew

could train their 4-inch guns around, so he put his head down, raised his right

arm

in his

clubbing gesture and roared to his helmsman,

Seaman Third Class James M. Aikenhead, to put the wheel hard right away from rather than toward the submarine. Lieut. Hutchins ordered the searchlight turned on. This lit up the sleek gray target, but it also gave the Germans something to shoot at. The Borie got the first shot in, with the No. 4 gun, astern, about halfway through the circling turn. It missed. Then all the Borie 's guns opened fire. Men on the Borie could see Germans scrambling out on the conning tower and manning the machine guns there. The Borie straightened out and went after the submarine, verging



up she would be broadside

to the right so that as she caught

to the

enemy. The submarine could make about 12 knots, and the Borie

was now pounding out 27

The gun their big

again.

duel was one-sided.

The Germans never attempted

to

man

deck gun, for the U-boat's deck was awash and great waves

were breaking over the gun. In any case the second or third salvo

from the Borie

Men

lifted that

gun

of the Borie later said they

Soon the destroyer began

off the

saw the gun

to pull

Americans could see Germans

deck and threw

clearly

but underwear

others in dungarees.

The long

When

Some were

in midair.

and

The U-boat had Germans were obviously

close-to.

the conning tower in nothing

dressed

Many wore bandanas

in

sweaters and shorts,

of green, yellow and red.

hair of those without bandanas disgusted the Americans. the destroyer's

German guns a

They came out on

pants.

in the sea.

up alongside the submarine, and

apparently been surprised, because several straight out of bed.

it

fell silent

machine guns found the conning tower, the

and never

fired again.

machine gun he would be horribly

killed.

As each German ran

to

There were times when no

Germans were visible. Then, in response to long training to pick out some specific target, whether human or not, gun captains began screaming: "Bend up their guns: get those goddam guns bent up." The U-boat commander, seeing himself out-gunned, tried to outmaneuver Lieut. Hutchins. He swung left and aimed his stern, which carried the sting of torpedo tubes, at the destroyer. Lieut. Hutchins

swung

left too, at first gently,

hoping to stay broadside to the U-boat

on the outer of two

aimed

made

187

But the German kept

his stern

parallel curves:

Borie and fired a torpedo, which missed. Then Lieut.

at the

He had Aikenhead

Hutchins tricked the German. This

U.S.S. Bone's Last Battle

German

the

rudder.

left

UGerman

think the Borie was going to cut across the

and come up inside

boat's stern

turn full

curve. Therefore the

its

straightened out. Lieut. Hutchins turned hard right again and the

was

situation

just

ships running

a

what

it

on roughly

had been a few moments before



the two

parallel straight courses, with the destroyer

behind the U-boat but catching up.

little

For the next few minutes the Borie' s guns drummed the submarine.

The

yard, but to

gun stopped working. Gun

electric firing circuit of the forecastle

Captain Kenneth it

J.

Reynolds

gun once by pulling the lan-

fired the

broke. Rather than take the time to find a piece of string

make new

lanyard, he began to trip the firing pin with his hand.

could not get his hand out of the way

so that his forearm and wrist were

swelled up to three times normal

He

time to beat the 25-in. recoil,

in

brutally

size.

pounded, and

later

All the time the heavy seas

were breaking over the forecaste gun and a Negro mess attendant, Steward's

it

Mate Second Class Ernest Gardner, twice grabbed and just as he was being washed overboard.

man

saved a

The Borie caught up with the German and began to pull ahead and was time to ram. The men of the Borie had dreamed, as all de-

stroyermen dream, of ripping into the side of a U-boat and putting

down.

Many

times, at the wheel,

Helmsman Aikenhead had

it

talked of

ramming. Just three days before, Lieut. Hutchins had jokingly taken a piece of chalk and

drawn on

the center porthole, directly in front of

and two

the helmsman's eyes, three concentric rings their center.

Now,

He

called

it

the Borie 's

ramming

therefore, Lieut. Hutchins put his

lines crossing at

sight.

head down and

lifted his

clubbing arm and shouted: "All right, Aikenhead, line her up. Get the sight on."

Aikenhead spun the wheel and right

sir, I

in a

few minutes said quietly: "All

got her on."

Lieut. Hutchins shouted an order to be passed

on

to the crew:

"All stations stand by for ram!"

The

talkers bent their heads

parroting, singsong voice of

all

and said talkers:

into their

phones

in

the

"All stations stand by for

ram."

The German seemed danger.

Men

It

to be holding his course, as

appeared that there would be a

if

unaware of

his

fine collision.

on the destroyer braced themselves for the pleasure and the

The War

188

in the Atlantic

shock. Lieut. Hutchins rushed out into the open on the the bridge and held tight to the windscreen there.

braced the wheel. Gunnery Officer Lieut. Walter H. Dietz

on the director platform, it

tight.

Everyone was

fell in

wing of

left

Aikenhead emJr.,

topside

love witrpthe range finder and hugged

set.

Then in the last few seconds the German swerved sharply left and a huge wave lifted the Borie. These two things made the moment of impact a disappointment to all hands. There was no shock. No one could hear a crunching noise. The wave lifted the Borie's bow high and put it gently on the deck of the submarine, just forward of the conning tower.

Momentum and the bow slide for-

30° angle imposed by the German made the Borie's

ward on

the submarine's. There

craft. In the Borie's

had met

And

until the

was scarcely any damage

to either

forward engine room no one even knew the ships

down came to

order came

so the two ships

to stop all engines. rest,

bow

over bow, at an angle,

locked in a mortal V.

Disappointment

when

the

men on

at the collision at

the destroyer

down. Lieut. Hutchins worked

once gave way to a crazy elation

saw how they had the German pinned his

clubbing arm as

one's brains out and roared: "Fire! Fire! yelled: "Yipee!"

—over and

over.

Men

Open

if

beating some-

fire!"

Then he

on the bridge threw

their

just

arms

around each other and danced, shouting, "We've got the sonofabitch, we've got the sonofabitch!"

The

searchlight bathed the conning tower

and

all

guns which could

bear opened up at a 30-foot range. For their part the Germans did not lack a

mad

courage.

They kept coming up out

tower hatch trying to get to their guns, even

man

their hopeless guns.

The

sight

in

of that conning-

death agonies trying to

was a horrible one. One German

20-mm. shell. His head and shoulders flew one way, his trunk another. Some shells took Germans and pitched them bodily overboard. One U-boatman stood there a second was

hit

squarely in the chest by a

without a head.

The situation affected different men Seaman First Class Carl Banks,

ator

boy, finding himself

now

variously.

Range Finder Oper-

ordinarily a shy, quiet, gentle

with nothing to do since range had been

reduced to zero, marched up and down the director platform shouting: "Kill the bastards! Kill 'em! Kill! Kill! Kill!"

seated and laughed loudly and cracked jokes.

Edward N. Malaney walked

to

the

left

Other

men were

Seaman Second

wing

of the

Class

bridge and,

189

Bone's Last Battle

(7.5.5.

amazed at the size of the submarine, said: "My God, what's that? The Bremen?" Other men went quietly about their work. Chief Quartermaster William Shakerly kept taking thorough notes in his log, and in the

chartroom Executive Officer Lieut. Philip Brown methodically

completed

Then

his plot of the course of action.

in the

middle of the bedlam Lieut. Brown went out on the

bridge and reported to the captain. the plot,

sir.

The

hell

He

saluted and said: "I've secured

with charting this battle. All the essential facts

are right underneath us."

And

Lieut.

Brown went

to the flag bags,

where small arms were stowed, and picked himself out a tommy gun.

Gunnery

Officer Dietz looked

form a few minutes

later.

down on him from

He saw

the director plat-

his quiet-spoken friend standing

German torso tommy gun like a

there, with his rimless glasses on, waiting cooly until a lifted itself

on deck across the way, then

raising his

professor raising a pointer at a blackboard, and pulling the trigger

and

killing

another man.

All through the ship,

came

"people's war"

men.

He

men

acted

own. The phrase

their

mind

as he

watched

his

men responded to the months of Brown had given them, and to their

gave very few orders. The

careful training Executive Officer

own

now on

into Lieut. Hutchins'

initiatives.

Everyone found something

to do.

Standing on the galley deckhouse only about

1

5 feet

away from the

conning tower, Fireman First Class David F. Southwick pulled a inch knife out of

its

sheath and threw

running for a gun. The knife

German went

hit the

it

German

at

a

five-

German who was

in the

stomach, and the

overboard. Chief Boatswain's Mate Walter C. Kurz

picked up an empty 4-inch shell case weighing nearly 10 pounds, waited for a

German

to climb out of the

case, hit the target squarely

and had the

tower hatch, threw the

satisfaction of seeing

shell

him

fall

Mate Richard W. Wenz, the strongest who could pick up huge depth charges alone and set them in their racks, now could not be bothered to find the key to the small-arms locker, so he broke the wooden door down with his fist. into the sea. Chief Gunner's

man on

the ship,

He distributed tommy guns to

.45-caliber all

ney, unable to find flares

could not

kill

pistols,

12-gauge

shotguns,

rifles

and

Seaman Second Class Edward Malaany other weapon, fired a Very pistol whose signal free hands.

but could burn nastily.

The gun crews worked as automatically as their weapons and with greater flexibility. Some machine guns should not have fired because

The War

190

in the Atlantic

they had steel splinter shields between them and the submarine. crews, at great risk to their tearing

them open, and

Loaders were injured by

had

the guns thereafter

from

flying steel

gun decided that ammunition was not coming climbed into the seat of the

climbed out, ran for another

way.

Among

the

all

shell

him

20-mm. machine guns

fast

enough, ran

shell, thrust

— and kept

fire.

Negro

loader on No. 4

who had been

firing pointer,

fired,

first

to

deckhouse racks, grabbed a heavy

to the after

clear fields of

the splinter shields.

Cook Christopher Columbus Shepard,

Officers'

The

guns through the shields,

lives, fired the

his

it

home,

blinded,

gun going

that

there were only two jams

during the whole battle, and each was cleared in a matter of seconds.

Gunnery son:

"No

Officer Dietz

at the

captain can do very wrong

enemy"

of an

— who

—had

if

drop of a hat

we

He had

will

killed

this

was eager

word:

"We

to

will

not board."

The

a reason for this order.

very well. At least 35

fight

Germans had been

above decks was going

killed.

Nobody had been

on the Borie. But serious reports were coming up

talkers

quote Nel-

he lays his ship alongside that

trained a boarding party, and he

board the submarine. But Lieut. Hutchins passed not board,

will

from the bowels of the

to the bridge

The engine rooms were

ship.

flooding.

The German enemy had not done this to the Borie: the weather The high seas had twisted the two ships, had reduced the V until

had.

and had banged the two

the enemies lay nearly parallel, gether.

The submarine,

pressures,

was better able

whose skin was only

%

hulls to-

withstand tremendous underwater

to

built

to survive the grinding than the destroyer

6 of an inch thick.

Water began pouring

into

both engine rooms. In the after one, a damage control party was able to stuff the leaks

enough so

that

pumps could keep

the water down.

But the forward engine room became hopelessly flooded. There the water crept up, waists,

and

to the

first

men's knees, then to their

finally to their chests. Since the

engines were steam-tight

from within, they were, of course, watertight from outside, and they kept going even

when submerged. As

water tore every mobile thing sloshed around the

and other

debris.

and Fireman behind some

and soon the men were being

room along with floor plates, gratings, small casks Machinist's Mate Second Class Edd M. Shockley

First Class live

free,

the ship rolled and pitched, the

Mario

J.

Pagnotta crawled and floated

steam pipes dragging mattresses behind them, to

to plug the holes; but their efforts

washed

out. Chief

in

try

Engineer Lieut.

191

U.S.S. Borie's Last Battle

Morrison R. Brown ordered everyone to

He

leave.

stayed alone to do

what he could. ramming, the two ships worked

Finally, 10 minutes after the

The

of each other.

free

and maneuver began

incredible contest of wit

again.

The submarine

pulled ahead and out to the

could see that the enemy intended to get his again,

and

more torpedoes. That made

to fire

Officer Ensign fired.

But

a

He

own.

to fire torpedoes of his

Lawrence

heavy sea threw the aim

The U-boat went the

two ships traveled

boat had

its

the proper calculations and

aimed

tail

too.

But

destroyer's

and

and the Borie did

Most

of the time the

straight at the destroyer.

torpedo room and prevented

A

U-

good 4-

may have

pene-

the firing of any

more

inch hit on the submarine's starboard Diesel exhaust trated to the

missed.

was smaller than the

in concentric circles.

threatening

Lieut. Hutchins decide

The torpedo

off.

into a tight left circle

the submarine's turning radius

on the destroyer

ordered the tubes manned. Torpedo

Quinn made

S.

Lieut. Hutchins

left.

tail

torpedoes. Lieut. Hutchins felt frustrated

than the enemy.

He

by

his ship's inability to turn shorter

kept having the illusion that his ship was going in

a straight line, while the submarine

want

his right

her

was turning away. He did not

to lose his victim at this late hour.

left,

arm

He

kept beating the

air

with

and shouted over and over: "All right, Aikenhead, bring

dammit, bring her

left."

Helmsman Aikenhead, who weighed

130 pounds and was

only

very tired from the stiffness of the Borie's wheel, kept saying in a

pleading voice: "But, Captain, Lieut. Hutchins

I

am

left, I

compass which was moving around very

how many had

in the

am

left."

would not believe Aikenhead

times the two ships

back of

his

mind

made his

fast.

until

he looked

at the

Hutchins did not know

that dizzy circle. All the time he

planned rendezvous next morning

with the Card and her other destroyers, the Goff and the Barry. did not want to lose his position, so

turned in those merry-go-round nal floating flare.

moved The

The

ships

it

circles, to

was a

relief,

He

as the Borie

catch glimpses of his origi-

had made many convolutions but had not

far.

circling

was of no advantage

tricked the submarine again.

He

to the Borie, so Lieut.

turned out his

light,

Hutchins

hoping that the

U-boat would count on shaking the destroyer by sneaking out of that tight circle

and away. The submarine did

just that. Lieut.

Hutchins

The War

192

snapped on the

in the Atlantic

and soon found the

light again

streaking off in a northeasterly direction.

U-boat

glistening

Range was 400

The

yards.

Borie pursued. All through the battle so far Xht } Bo?ie had been to the right of adversary. Lieut. Hutchins decided to break through to the other

its

side, so while

he chased the enemy he pulled

an order which helped to win the

Aikenhead was about

shallow.

helmsman

tain ordered the

stroyer pulled

up

time, the

left.

he gave set

Cap-

relieved.

ramming, sinking the enemy by

first

an obsession aboard the Borie. The de-

to the left of the U-boat. Lieut. its

Hutchins ordered a

course until the

away

time, instead of turning sharply

German

And now

ordered depth charges

The submarine again held

collision course.

moment. This

still

He

to collapse at the wheel, so the

In spite of the failure of the

crashing into him was

battle.

as he

had the

last first

turned sharply toward the Borie.

This brought up something entirely unexpected: the U-boat captain

had decided

stroyer.

With her

down and ram

to pull the temple pillars

the de-

thin skin the Borie stood to lose everything

by being

rammed. had one of

Lieut. Hutchins

genius.

To

helmsman

combat

his instantaneous flashes of

everyone's puzzlement on the bridge, he ordered the to turn hard

left,

new

and he ordered the starboard engine

stopped, the port engine backed

full.

This had the effect of throwing

the ship into a skidding stop, with the stern end swinging to the right

toward the oncoming submarine. At precisely the correct moment Lieut. Hutchins lowered his

head and raised

his non-existent club

shouted to his Depth Charge Officer Ensign Lawrence Quinn

:

and

"Okay,

Larry, give 'em the starboard battery."

Ensign Quinn flicked three switches. Three round shapes arched the

wind and

fell

within feet of the submarine

Borie 's flank.

Men

side

in

and

The submarine lurched out mammal and came to a stop very close to the

one on the other. They went of the water like a hurt

— two on one

off shallow.

on deck said that

if

there

had been another coat of

paint on either ship that would have been a collision.

Somehow like a

the

German submarine managed

dying animal

in the very act of



like a

good Spanish

this

was and

to start

dying refuses to admit that he

around astern of the Borie and shot

By

again. It

bull that refuses to die

off at

is

up

dying.

It

slipped

an angle.

time the Americans, though for the most part unhurt, were

dazed by the stubbornness of the enemy. The

officers

on the bridge

193

U.S.S. Borie's Last Battle

have a very hazy

memory

what happened

of

next.

There were various

zigs and zags. Apparently the Borie closed in to a convenient range.

Now He

at last the

up

sent

moment



was beaten.

to realize he

white, green

and red Very

flares.

A

later Lieut. Hutchins saw an answering signal from the hori-

He went

zon.

U-boat captain seemed

distress signals

compass and checked the bearing of

right to the

this

other enemy-220°.

The 4-inch gunners gave

the U-boat

its final

They

crippling blow.

The submarine dropped to The Borie got in really close. The Germans seemed to be trying to abandon ship. They huddled

hit the

starboard Diesel exhaust again.

four knots.

on the conning tower. In before the order reached

who was It

still

which he

a compassion

understand, Lieut. Hutchins ordered stations

all

all

Gun

later did not quite

guns to cease

Captain Kenneth Reynolds,

gun painfully by hand, got

firing his

blew the bridge structure, with

all its

But

firing.

off

one

last

round.

occupants, right off the

U-

boat.

Water from

bow

lifted

the hole by the exhaust poured into the submarine. Its

dripping out of the rough sea.

The

ship slipped under the

waves and exploded horribly underwater. After one hour and four minutes of admirably tenacious fighting, the submarine sank.

At once

had had enough

fighting for

The Borie was

maximum

He and

Lieut. Hutchins turned his ship away.

one

night.

Only one engine would

in serious trouble.

speed was

now 10

knots, which a

could easily exceed. The ship was generators were out.

the Borie

still

Her

run.

surfaced submarine

The

taking water forward.

The water condensers were impaired

so that the

turbines were not getting the absolutely pure, saltless steam they

needed. Lieut. Hutchins reported by radio to the Card: "Just sank

number two ming.

May

in

combined depth-charge

attack,

gun

and ram-

battle

have to abandon ship."

Lieut. Hutchins tried desperately to get the ship to the rendezvous,

which was

set for just after

dawn.

He

gave the order to lighten ship.

Everything that could be was thrown over the side their chains,

:

both anchors and

ammunition, machine guns, torpedoes and

mounts, depth charges, the searchlight, range finder,

hundreds of smaller things. let

over the side to sink

afloat

it



A

for

fire

hole was cut in the lifeboat and it

had the number 215 on

might identify the Borie to the enemy. During

conscientious storekeeper

first

class

named Joseph San

huge

their

director

it,

this

and

it

and

was

if left

process a

Philip

came

to

The War

194

in the Atlantic

the bridge holding the Title list

B Book

in his

hand. This book contains a

of things aboard ship for which "the captain has

had

to sign his

personal responsibility. Storekeeper Philip said: "Sir, who's going to take the responsibility for

all this Title"

B

we're throwing away?"

stuff

Without saying a word Lieut. Hutchins took the the storekeeper's hands and

Dawn

The

it,

from

too, in the sea.

its

The emergency

fuel so that the Borie

officers sat

gasoline generator for the radio had

was now

silent.

around the radio room, wondering what

Someone took out a cigaret and lit it with a Lord remembered having seen some lighter desk.

B Book

broke overcast: the Card's planes would have a hard time

finding the Borie.

used up

dropped

Title

Word was

fluid

passed through the ship to send

to do.

Robert H.

lighter. Lieut.

on another

officer's

all lighter fluid

to the

The generator worked long enough on these contribuRadio Operator Cameron G. Gresh to send: "Can steam

radio shack. tions for

Commencing to sink." much salt had built up in

another two hours.

At 9 a.m. so

the turbines that the blades

locked and the destroyer went dead in the water.

The only hope now was Borie.

If

that planes

from the Card would

the Borie could send out radio signals the chances of their

doing so would be

much

better.

Someone thought

sick bay. After being cut with kerosene right.

find the

Radioman Gresh

three dots

and a dash

to stand for Victory.

worked the generator

it

sent: "Getting bad."



the letter which in

And

of the alcohol in

Then he

all

Allied lands has

a plane rode that letter in

all

sat tapping out

come

and found the

Borie.

The Card,

the Barry and the Goff steamed

Card inquired by signal light how replied: "I want to save this bucket

up

at

about noon. The

things were going. Lieut. Hutchins

But things went from bad spected the ship.

if I

to worse.

This took as

can. Give

me

a few hours."

Executive Officer

much courage

Brown

as the battle

itself.

in-

He

forced himself into most of the ship's compartments, never knowing

which hatch would be the

would be hopeless

Toward dusk

last

he opened. His report indicated that

the

Card and her

escorts returned.

for a rescue ship to go alongside the Borie,

time for to

men

to be transferred

do but have them After his

it

to try to save the ship.

off,

was too rough

by breeches buoy. There was nothing

get into the bitterly cold water

men were

It

and there would not be

Lieut. Hutchins

went

and

cling to rafts.

to his

room and



195

U.S.S. Borie's Last Battle

found a

flashlight.

And

then the young captain went, alone and miser-

through the various deserted compartments of his

able,

and engine rooms, the commissary

into the firerooms

messing compartments, into finally

back

dark and

to his

silent.

first

officers'

own domain,

ship

and

stores

country and the wardroom, and

the skipper's cabin.

The

ship

was

all

All hands had abandoned her. So the captain went

out on deck and, with the battle flag of the U.S.S. Borie under his

arm, slipped over the side into water only 12° above freezing. in the fight but in that water that 27 men were lost. For who were lost it must have been much as it was for Gunnery Officer Dietz, who was very nearly lost. A slender man, he had never It

was not

those

thought himself strong. thought

it

would

Goff drifted

kill

When

he

him. But he

down on

it.

He

first hit

that breath-taking water he

managed

grabbed a

to cling to a raft until the

life-line

and pulled himself up

so that his hands held the edge of the deck and of safety. But his

hands were so cold that he could not hold on.

He

water. belt



a

He

slipped along the side of the ship, held

mere rubber tube under

back

into the

up by

his life

fell

his arms. Life lines

caught at his

The Goff's framelike propeller guards hit him in the head and pushed him under. He thought: "I must get away from this and wait." He pushed away from the ship. But when he tried to paddle back his arms would barely move. His mind refused to admit defeat but kept shielding him from fear. "They will come after me," he kept saying to himself. He fainted. Luckily for him his head fell backward instead of forward. A few minutes later hands pulled him aboard the throat.

Barry.

The margin

of luck

Ensign Richard E. into the Goff

who were

St.

was not quite so wide

for the

27 who were

John had pulled himself halfway up a

when he dropped back

into the water to help four

too far gone to help themselves.

They made

it.

lost.

life line

men

Ensign

St.

John was caught under the destroyer and drowned. Engineering Officer Lieut.

Brown, who had

tried bravely

engines going in water up to his neck, was

and alone

lost.

to

keep the

So was Ensign Lord,

who had probably saved the ship by thinking of lighter fluid for the radio. The enlisted men who were lost were: Alford, Blane, Blouch, Bonfiglio,

Cituk, Concha, Demaid, Duke, Fields, Francis, Kiszka,

Lombardi, Long, McKervey, Medved, Mulligan, Pouzar, Purneda, Shakerly, Swan, Tull, Tyree, Wallace, Winn. Lieut. Hutchins could not stand

Goff

in the

up when he was taken onto the

darkening evening. Later he took a hot shower and shook

The "War

196

in the Atlantic

under the steam. Then he had a rubdown, some hot chocolate, a sip of brandy and a little exercise. He "spent most of that night on the bridge, waiting for

At

men

dawn and made

sunrise the Goff

face

down

a glimpse of his ship. a last

in their preservers.

sweep for survivors. She found 10

Then

she went to the Borie.

The

destroyer had drifted about 20 miles and had settled badly. Lieut. Hutchins stood

a

Grumman Avenger

second plane

hit

on a strange bridge and watched

attacked with a heavy

her amidships.

A

his ship as

bomb and missed.

third holed her again, badly.

Borie, her back broken, lifted her protesting

bow and

A

The

then settled

fast.

THE COUNTRY'S CALL TO ARMS WAS ANSWERED BY THE flower of our youth, and

Fahey

of

among

the eighteen-year-olds

Waltham, Massachusetts, who

October 1942 and was assigned

enlisted in

was James

the

Navy

in

to the light cruiser Montpelier.

Contrary to regulations, Fahey assiduously kept a war diary and

was fortunate interruption.

in

that he jotted

down

his thoughts

without

official

SEAMAN 1/C JAMES

J.

FAHEY

IO.

ENLISTMENT DAYS

October

Navy

1942:

3,

got the makings of a

and cannot

get carsick I

my

took

Navy today. It very poor sailor when they

enlisted in the U.S.

I

ride

looks like the got me.

I still

on a swing for any length of time.

physical examination at the Post Office Building in

Boston, Mass., a distance of about ten miles from Waltham, Mass. fellow next to told

him

me was

the Sea Bees

the old trolly car

October ton,

on

7,

and

1942:

my way

to

rejected because he

would take him.

felt like I

the Fleet

On

was color

the

way home

I

A

They

blind.

relaxed in

Admiral himself.

got up early this morning for

my

Great Lakes Naval Training Station

trip to

in

Bos-

Chicago,

Illinois.

Before leaving It

I

shook

my

was a clear cool morning

headed for the bus

father's

as

my

at the corner of

hand and kissed him goodbye. Mary, brother John and I

sister

Cedar

Street.

car were crowded with people going to work.

Post Office Building in Boston

goodbye.

.

.

I

trolley

reached the

shook John's hand and kissed Mary

.

After a long tiresome day of hanging around

way

The bus and

When we

to the train station.

The group was very

we were large

finally

on our

and they came

New England states. With a big band leading the way we marched through downtown Boston before thousands of people. It took about half an hour to

from the

reach the North Station and at 5:30 p.m.

we were on our way. 197

The War

198

When and

in the Atlantic

the train passed through

could picture the folks at

I

an empty place

me

easy for

we should

city

it

was beginning

home having some

at the table for

to feel sad

my

supper. There would be

time. It

would have been very

and lonely with fhese thoughts

not give in to our feelings.

my mind

in

we always gave

If

our judgment we would

feelings instead of

to get dark

in to

but

our

by the wayside when

fall

the going got rough. It will

two to a

be a long tiresome

October

8,

1942

nowhere today. last century.

and

:

and our bed

The long troop

looked

It

like a

we

be the seat

will

sit in,

train

stopped

in the

middle of

scene from a western movie in the

All you could see was wide open spaces with plenty of

and a small railroad

fields

trip

seat.

station. It felt

good

to get

some

fresh air

change after the crowded conditions on the

stretch our legs for a

train. Some of the fellows like myself mailed letters and cards home. The postmark on the mail was Strathroy, Ontario, Canada. It was a warm sunny day so we sat on the side of the tracks while waiting for

the train to get started again.

At Great Lakes: On

the evening of Oct. 9

we

pulled into the

stockyards at Chicago and stayed there for some time.

another chance to get some fresh

air

ground for a change. All the people were

at their

At

windows looking was on

last the train

dirty lot

when

its

in

gave us

and walk around on

solid

the big tenement buildings

at us. final leg of the

We

journey.

the train finally pulled into Great

ing Station in the early

It

were a

tired

Lakes Naval Train-

morning darkness. The weather was on the

chilly side.

They

got us

up bright and

of a large drill hall.

We

early after a few hours sleep

were far from being

physical examination but that was the

took a long time.

We

went from one doctor

downstairs and from one

head our

to toe

first

We

room

to another.

and even asked us our

shower

in

way we

some

religion.

in

on the

floor

condition for a

started the day

and

to another upstairs

and

They checked us from At last it was over and

time. It sure felt good.

spent four weeks of training and lived in barracks.

Our com-

pany number was 1291. A Chief Petty Officer was company and our chief was liked by all. Some of the Chiefs are hated because they go out of their way make it as miserable as possible. They enjoy getting the fellows up in

two

in the

morning and have them stand

long time with very

little

it

clothing.

charge of each

to at

at attention in the cold for a

Enlistment Days

The

who

instructor

recruits.

He

taught us judo enjoyed taking

from

sent one of the boys

it

my company

out on the new-

to the hospital in

Our chief was boiling mad and if he could have hands on this punk he would have done a job on him.

gotten his

a stretcher.

You

learned that your days of privacy were over while you were in

the

Navy and

life

again.

they would not return until you were back in civilian

When you

one enjoyed sleeping

tight. It

going to

you

was

like sleeping

fall

out

We there

will

if

on a

never forget our

was no hair

to cut. It

hammocks because

tight clothesline.

you turned

You

over.

all

first

you were always

etc.,

alone.

in the

on your back

can't sleep

took a shower,

ate, slept,

you were never

part of the crowd,

No

199

You

felt like

you were

on your back but

safe

felt

they were too

night.

haircut.

When

was shorter than

the barber got through

was funny

short. It

to see

a nice looking fellow with a beautiful crop of hair get into the barber's chair

and leave with no hair

Great Lakes

at all.

the largest naval training station in the world and

is

they also have one of the best football teams in the country.

I

had the

pleasure of talking to Bruce Smith the ail-American back from Min-

He was the number one football player You could not help but like him. He slept

nesota.

1941.

We

in the

country in

in our barracks.

always marched to the mess hall for our meals and kept in step

by singing loud and strong. I

had

to

go to sick

call

one day because of a bad blow to the

received in a boxing bout but they did not do anything for

though the pain was he goes to sick

We

killing

call, that

he just wants time

were kept on the go

over. It

me. They think everyone

at all times

was home sweet home for

us.

off

and

We

is

ribs I

me

a faker

even

when

from work. at last

our training was

were very proud of our

uniform as we boarded the train for home. After a nine day leave we returned to Great Lakes and stayed here for two days before leaving for Norfolk, Virginia, our next stop.

Late Friday evening Nov. 21, a large group of us boarded a truck for the pier. It

the ship with

was

my

a great feeling as

sea bag in one

with blankets, mattress, is

the U.S.S. Montpelier.

and a warship

We

slept in

staggered up the gangway to

my

a light cruiser.

It is

The name of At last I have

shoulder.

the ship a

home

at that.

our

hammocks

were assigned to divisions. division.

over

etc.,

I

hand and the mattress cover loaded

I

in the

went

mess

hall at first

but then

to the 5th division. It

is

we

a deck

The "War

200

in the Atlantic

some time before we know our way around this large ship. It is over 600 feet long and ha£ many decks and compartments. Today at eight in the morning we left Norfolk for the Philadelphia /-< 7 Navy Yard ... It will

take

KILLER-HUNTER GROUPS REMAINED ACTIVE IN THE ATlantic for yet

clined.

On

another year, and U-boat sinkings correspondingly de-

June

4,

1944, a Group built around the jeep carrier Gua-

dalcanal found U-505 about one hundred miles off the coast of

Africa and

commenced one of the most daring attacks of the war, the enemy submarine was captured intact. The saga of

only time an

Guadalcanal's hunt

who

is

recalled by

served as the carrier's

Rear Admiral Daniel V. Gallery,

commanding

officer.

REAR ADMIRAL

D. V.

GALLERY (RET.)

II.

THE CAPTURE OF

"Frenchy to Blue Jay!

As

I

1

have a possible sound contact!"

reached the bridge the Chatelain was wheeling out of our

destroyer screen, a long creamy

and "emergency"

rine"

U-505

wake

boiling

up

the mike and broadcast to the

I

"submagrabbed

Task Group: "Pillsbury and Jenks help

Frenchy (code name for destroyer Chatelain)

We

astern, the

whipping from her yardarm.

flags



others follow me!"

reversed course and got the hell out of there at top speed.

carrier

smack on

the scene of a sound contact



room brawl! she'd who have work to do.

the middle of a bar

room

for the boys

is

better

like

move

an old lady fast

A in

and leave

squawk box: "Put those two Wildcats we've got in the air on Frenchy's contact!" Then, with the Flaherty and Pope scurrying after us, we swung into the wind, sounded general quarters, I

hollered into the

and scrambled

A lain

to battle stations to launch

more

planes.

salvo of twelve depth charges arched into the air

from the Chate-

and splashed

ocean rumbled,

quaked and erupted would have

Seconds

into the sea.

into great white

later the

plumes of water. Ordinarily we

to wait for several anxious minutes while the ocean's

reverberations died out, and then have the tin cans begin a wary

search of the area sibly

—hunting

for

oil,

another sound contact. But

the blasts, a Wildcat pilot

wreckage, a dead whale, or pos-

this time,

almost immediately after

named John W. Cadle sang out on

the

201

The War

202

in the Atlantic

radio, "Sighted sub! Reverse course

Frenchy and head where I'm

shooting."

Cape Blanco, Cadle could

In the clear Atlantic waters off

see the

long dark shape of the sub running completely submerged and ma-

neuvering to go deeper and shake

off the destroyers.

Cadle pushed

over and cut loose with his four .50 caliber guns. These couldn't

damage it

the

submerged sub, but the

showed us where

bullet splashes

was.

Chatelain swung around and dropped another salvo.

As

the depth-

charge plumes were subsiding, Cadle shouted, "You've struck

oil,

Frenchy! She's coming up!"

Half a minute later the huge black shape of the U-505 heaved

up from the depths, white water pouring

off

itself

Our quarry was

her sides.

at bay.

When

a sub surfaces like

this,

you never know exactly what

it's

going to do. She might be coming up to surrender, but she also might be planning to get off one

bottom with

her.

To

play

salvo of torpedoes and take you to the

last it

safe,

you should clobber her with every-

thing you've got.

This time, however, we were going to try something different.

our

last cruise

smack

in the

On

we'd gone after the U-515 and she'd surfaced right

middle of the Task Group. We'd been forced to throw

everything but the kitchen sink at her before she finally up-ended and sank. After we'd fished her skipper out of the water, he told us that his only

purpose

in surfacing

was

to get his

gone out of him. We realized then that

crew

off

we could

if



get

the fight

had

on board the

sub quick enough, we might be able to prevent the scuttling and capture ourselves a U-boat. Accordingly, the orders had gone out that

nobody was

to hit the sub with

enough time keeping her

any heavy

afloat without

stuff, as

we'd have a tough

blowing a hole

in her our-

selves.

Not

since

1815 had an American naval vessel captured and seas, but we were going to U-505 broke surface and her hatches popped the task group, "I want to take this bastard

boarded a foreign man-of-war on the high try

it.

open,

The moment I

the

broadcast to

alive!"

Small black figures scrambled out of the hatches and swarmed onto the decks of the sub. Pillsbury, Chatelain and Jenks

.50 caliber and 20 millimeter guns, and the

opened up with

men who

weren't hit at

once dived into the water. Within a few moments her decks were

The Capture

—nothing was moving. She was running Unless was loaded with armed men — booby-trapped, abandoned

about 8 knots,

at

fully surfaced, in a tight circle to the right.

barked from the squawk boxes on

firing!"

she was mined,

a sitting duck.

she

or

"Cease

203

U-505

of

all

bridges, fol-

lowed by an electrifying cry that hadn't been heard on a U.S. ship for 129 years:

"Away

Whaleboats plopped

all

boarding parties!"

into the water

I

manned by

Lt. Albert

and took

wounded

ing U-boat like harpooners after a boat,

Navy

David and

1 1

off after the flounder-

whale.

As

the Pillsbury's

overhauled the sub

sailors,

broadcast over the TBS. "Heigho, Pillsbury! Ride 'em, cowboy!"

Not very salty, but it got the message across. David and his boys had every reason to believe there were still Nazis below decks, setting time bombs and opening the scuttle valves. Even if all the Germans were gone, the U-boat was settling rapidly by the stern and looked as if she was going to up-end and sink any minute.

I

my men

suppose

thought about these things as they plunged

through the choppy sea toward the dying ship, but the

moment

their

whaleboat touched the U-boat they leaped out on her slippery decks. It

was the

men had

time any of these

first

ever set foot on a subma-

rine.

"Follow me!" David

scrambling up the

yelled,

toward the conning-tower hatch

—an

superstructure

opening about the

size

of a

sewer top that leads straight down 20 feet into the U-boat. A dead man was lying at the top of the hatch, his glazing eyes staring emptily at the men as they started down. David glanced quickly down into the

dark hatch, knowing that almost anything could be waiting for them

down and

in the blackness below.

S.

E.

Wdowiak,

He

gestured to two men, A.

and they plunged

down

into the

W.

Knispel

bowels of the

ship.

Instead of a burst of gun of engines,

still

fire,

driving the sub

their only greeting

was the

eerie

hum

in her crazy circle to the right.

As

soon as he realized the Nazis were gone, David ran for the radio

The sub gave a shudder and her stern raised slightly. Any minute she might make her last dive, but he knew the risks were shack.

justified

if

he could find the Nazis code book.

The primary

books before abandoning the 1,000 miles, and

when

It

was a 100-1 chance.

orders of any Naval skipper are to destroy his code ship,

we had been

even

if

breathing

there

down

is

no enemy within

the U-boat's throat

she surfaced.

David burst

into the radio shack, looked quickly around,

and saw



The War

204

in the Atlantic

had paid

that his long shot

Everything was intact

off.

cipher machines, charts of the EnglislTChannel mine

and

tion signals,

men

all

—code book,

fields,

recogni-

He and

submarines.

tactical instructions for

his

quickly passed everything up the' "hatch to the whaleboat. This

would turn out

be the greatest intelligence windfall of the U-boat

to

war.

While David and still

had

circling,

his

boys were removing the secret

settled another ten degrees

by the

files,

stern.

the sub,

Time was

running out, when another lad, Zenon Lukosius, motor machinist

mate

first class,

was pouring and pipes

in.

in

decided to see what he could do about the water that

Surrounded by the bewildering maze of gauges, valves

the

main control room, and

under him, while water swished past the leak. Finally he found

it

— an

his feet, he carefully

around

The cover was gone. Luke bent down, fishing

off.

the floor plates.

mass of wreckage and sea water, and found the

in the swirling

He jammed

it

back

in place, set the butterfly nuts,

the inrush of ocean.

Had

he taken one minute longer,

cover.

been too

it

would have

the Guadalcanal had a whaleboat alongside the sub, with a

handpicked party that included our only submarine "expert"

own



my

pig boats and could

tell

U-505's paper work

about the

Chief Engineer, Earl Trosino, and

a lad

who had been a yeoman on one we wanted to know

us anything

and

filing

system.

though never aboard a submarine before, was our

one of those engineers who know machinery musical instruments.

He can walk

quick look around, and rest of the

men

are

As Trosino and

still

came

circling sub,

smashing the

like

is

Toscanini knows

room, take a

order out of chaos while the

trying to figure out

his party

Trosino, even

real expert. Earl

info a strange engine

start bringing

which way

is aft.

alongside, a large swell picked

up and dumped them, whaleboat and deck.

and checked

late.

By now

of our

looked for

8-inch stream of water spouting

through a sea chest with the cover knocked

The water was now above

feeling the ship settling

them

on the deck of the stillwhaleboat and spilling them all out on the all,

They pulled themselves together and scrambled down

the con-

ning tower.

Trosino said abruptly to David, "I'm going to stop these engines

up on deck and stand by

you

get

and

started above.

But,

when Trosino stopped

rapidly by the stern



to pick

the

up a towline." David nodded

motors, the sub began settling

the only thing that

had kept her

afloat

was the

The Capture

When

planing effect of the hull.

Trosino

felt

of

205

U-505

the floor plates tilting

under him, he slammed the switches back and the sub forged ahead

and rose again

me

in the water. Earl told

later that as

he played with

those switches, any one of which might have been booby-trapped, his hair

was standing on end

myself next day

booby

when

I

as

as wire.

stiff

I

had the same feeling

went aboard the sub to disarm a suspected

trap.

While Trosino was stopping the motors, Gunner Burr was doing a

We knew

job with a very short future.

that every

Nazi sub had 14

demolition charges scattered throughout the ship and designed where the switch was, so Burr went rooting around uncovering charges and

He

ripping the wires off of them. thirteen.

We

found and pulled the fangs on

didn't find the fourteenth until two weeks later in Ber-

muda, but by

we had

that time

had goofed and

left it

on

located the firing switch

safe, so the

—somebody

charges couldn't have exploded,

anyway.

The

now attempted

Pillsbury

to take the

runaway sub

steamed up alongside on the outboard arc of the heaving

line

aboard

The

bow

flipped a long underwater gash in her

Pillsbury hauled clear

and radioed

they have to be towed to stay afloat, but

can do

we

to

me, "Sub says

don't think a destroyer

it."

That dumped the job

my

in

lap.

didn't like the idea of taking

I

clumsy, water-logged tow

when

have to land soon, but

didn't have

finally laid

I

and we

the switches again

and

She

and put a

this

alongside and the sub's thin plates.

in tow.

cowboy roping a runaway steer. But steers U-boat. The destroyer crowded too close

like a

have horns and so did

circle

dead

had planes

I

much

in the air that

choice. Trosino pulled

down

held our breath as the sub slowed

all

in the water.

on a

would

She was down by the stern about

20 degrees, her conning tower was almost awash and she seemed be

settling

lower every minute.

she might be gone

when we

when and

if

thrifty as possible

you come

it

to land planes

to

by ear as you go along, crossing each it.

I

told the planes in the air to be as

with their gas supply, and

spot where the sub was wallowing like its

now

got back.

In such a spot you just play

bridge

took time out

If I

to

we steamed over

a drowning dog trying

to the

to

keep

nose above water.

We

laid

our stern within heaving

line

range of the U-boat's snout,

got a messenger line over, and the boys hauled our inch-and-a-quarter

wire aboard, working knee-deep in the green seas that broke across



206

The War

the deck.

When

in the Atlantic

they reported

As we picked up speed then

kicked the engines ahead.

I

the sub rose again and took a better trim, but

noticed that she was

I

secured

it

still

circling.

She swung way out on our

starboard quarter and hung there witlj.'our big wire taut as a fiddle-

Trosino to put the rudder amidships, and he an-

string. I signaled

swered, "Electric steering gear

because after torpedo room

I

had four planes

in the air

we

with "Junior" (as

is

NG.

Can't get

prayer, and brought the planes

U-505)

booby trapped."

reluctantly

into the wind, said a short

We

were smack in the

middle of the U-boat lanes, had been hanging around for hours,

and we had every reason

off a report

on our

position.

gas, so

dragging her

Since there was no strain in doing

in.

immediately launched a couple of others.

this I

hand steering gear is

which would soon be out of

called the

on our starboard quarter, we swung

heels

at

flooded and hatch

to

this

one spot

suppose that Junior had gotten

There would be a

full

moon

that night

submarines and very bad for aircraft carriers with subs in

ideal for

tow.

At sunset we brought our boarders back and I got a first-hand report from Trosino. He said he had pumped some of the water out, didn't think any more was coming in, and that unless we hit bad weather he thought we could save our prize. That night our sonar operators let their imaginations run riot. According to their dope

They had

fleet.

several

we were surrounded by

"possible sound contacts"

reported

the whole Nazi U-boat

all

over the place, and

"submarine screw noises." The radar operators

caught the fever and spotted disappearing radar blips by the dozen.

Some

of the lookouts even sighted

scopes." I

I

guess

steamed too

maybe fast

I

what

I

began calling "Porpo-

got nervous at that, because during the night

and parted the towline.

We

drifting sub until sunrise, keeping track of her

had

to circle the

by radar. Early next

morning we got another towline aboard, and Trosino and a few others and I went over to look into that booby trap. I was an ordnance post-graduate and

felt

that

I

knew

quite a bit about fuses and

firing circuits.

The booby

trap

was on the watertight door leading

into the after

torpedo room. This door had been dogged shut when our ing party went aboard, and that way. after

The Nazis

in

first

deference to the trap they had

boardleft

it

that we'd fished out of the water claimed that the

torpedo room was flooded, and the stern trim seemed to confirm

The Capture this,

we had

but

to get in there

we were going

if

207

U-505

of

to straighten out the

rudder.

The booby open

was a fuse box with the cover accidentally jarred

trap

such a way that you couldn't move the main dog on the door

in

without closing the fuse box cover. There were dozens of circuits leading out of that box, and any one of

explosion charge. led to perfectly

I

of,

it

looked

we knew

looked

baby wasn't loaded.

They shook

we

for a

few minutes,

The men watched me, not speaking. booby trap the Nazis would think

much

time



and that

considering they would have

to flood the torpedo

they hadn't put out any other traps.

"Well,

box

at the

that they'd gotten off in a hell of a hurry,

had only a few seconds

said.

I

like the type of

wouldn't have given them

And

led to an

traced a few of the circuit wires, and found they

normal places.

thinking over the possibilities.

While

them could have

looked

I

can't stand here

up

all

set the trap.

decided that

this

"What do you think?"

to you, captain."

day looking

slammed

I

I finally

at the other boys.

their heads. "It's

"Here goes, boys!"

room and

damn

at this

thing," I

the fusebox cover shut.

Nothing happened.

We

carefully eased the

door open, ready to jam

it

shut again

water squirted out, and found the torpedo room was dry. bled

if

scram-

connected up the hand steering gear, and put the rudder

in,

amidships. Trosino pleaded with gines, charge the batteries, I

We

wished

later that I'd let

me

to let

and bring the sub

him do

it,

him in

start the diesel en-

under her own power.

but at the time

I

was

afraid he

might open the wrong valve and lose her.

He found let

him

a

way

and persuaded me sub's

to recharge the batteries,

run the diesels.

propellers

to

He

tow

at

even though

motors. Trosino had set the switches to

up

pumps

to

wouldn't

10 knots. This high speed turned over the

which spun the armatures of the sub's

make

generators, and they in turn charged the batteries. to use the sub's

I

disconnected the clutches on the diesels

empty the

electric

the motors act as

We

after ballast tanks

were thus able

and bring her

to full surface trim.

Back on board the Guadalcanal, I went down to sick bay to see the Nazi skipper, whose name was Harald Lange. He had shrapnel wounds in both legs and was propped up in a sitting position in his bunk. Lange was a big angular man of about 35, and looked more like a

preacher than a U-boat skipper.

208 I

^Doolittle's

walked

in

and

Raid

to the Battle of

Midway

my name is Gallery. I'm commandHe bowed respectfully but said nothing.

said, "Captain,

ing officer of this ship."

"We have your U-boat He looked up quickly,

in

tow,"

I said.

his face as

"No!" he

cried. I pulled out

his cabin,

and he lowered

some

shocked as

if I

had slapped him. from

pictures of his family, taken

his face into his hands, muttering in perfect

English, "I will be punished for this."

him

tried to cheer

I

"The Nazis

up.

"A new government

said.

will take over,

"I will be punished," he said.

him saying he had

are going to lose the war,"

and

this will

Four years ago

I

be forgotten."

got a letter from

good job on the Hamburg docks, so

a

I

his fears

were apparently unfounded. After getting the sub

away on

now



worry

left

didn't

have enough

I

Bermuda. Nothing running out of a tow, but rescue.

pumped

He

to

left

in this

split off a

just

world can make a skipper look in the

one big

fleet

alone

let sillier

than

water waiting for

(Commander-in-Chief Atlantic) came

tanker and the

and

fuel oil,

reach even the nearest port,

and wallowing around dead

oil

CINCLANT

we squared

out and fully surfaced,

Bermuda, 2,500 miles away. I had had stretched the glide too far on my

a course to

my

to

tug Abnaki from an Africa-

bound convoy and we rendezvoused with them in mid-Atlantic. The Abnaki took over the towing job and, after a long swig of oil from the tanker,

On tional

we headed

for

Bermuda.

June 19 we steamed into the harbor entrance with the

broom proudly

tagging along behind.

tradi-

hoisted at our mast head, and Junior obediently I

turned her over to the commandant, U.

Naval Operating Base, and got

his official receipt for

S.

"One Nazi U-

boat No. 505, complete with spare parts."

People often ask me,

"Why

did the

U-505

give

up so

easily?"

Actually, she didn't give up any easier than most of the other

Nazi subs that were sunk fatally

wounded,

it

at sea.

When

a skipper thought his boat

was standard operating procedure

give his crew a chance to escape and be rescued. ately surfaced

was

going down. the

I

was and

sub ever deliber-

under attack unless her skipper was convinced that she

finished, but

subs remained

No

to surface

600

I

knew dozens

afloat for hours,

of cases in which these

abandoned

under heavy bombardment, before

think the real answer to

U-505 with such comparative ease

why we were able to capture that we caught her by sur-

is

prise.

Something

like

pounding depth charges can be pretty damn unnerv-



The Capture put

ing, to

know

mildly.

it

From

209

U-505

of

apprentice seaman to skipper, they

all

they've only got seconds to decide what to do. If they blow

may make

their tanks in time they

it

and get

to the surface

off

before

down

the boat takes her final plunge. If they wait too long, they go

When

with her.

shock waves are smashing against your

hull, you're

being slammed crazily about in the water, your lights are out, and

men

your

are screaming that your pressure hull

to think calmly.

Lange believed

ruptured,

is

men were

that his

right

hard

it's

about the hull

being ripped open, and came to the surface. Scores of other U-boat

made

skippers have

the

same

decision,

and

if

my men

hadn't been

able to pull off a crazy stunt never before attempted in submarine

U-505 would have gone

warfare, the

to the

bottom

just like the other

600.

For extreme heroism Lieutenant David got the Congressional

Medal

Honor, Wdowiak and Burr got Navy Crosses, and the

of

rest

of the Pillsbury's original boarding party received the Silver Star.

Perhaps the most remarkable part of

this fantastic

business was the

Germans never found out that we had captured the Uwe learned that she'd been listed as sunk, just like all the others that had failed to return. The Nazis continued to use the codes we'd taken off the U-505, and we read every order they sent fact that the

505. After the war

out to their U-boats. This was the main reason for our high rate of

The Nazis changed

sinkings during that last year.

their codes every

few weeks so that we wouldn't get too familiar with their pattern, but the key to

all

these routine changes

and we adjusted

The main 3,000

back a

men

to

changes

to their

credit for keeping the

in

our task group.

We

Bermuda and explained

hunch

that

some

in

in the

U-505' s code books,

we

the vital importance of secrecy.

it,

I

had

had picked up souvenirs, so

anything they'd taken off the sub.

out that a souvenir's no good unless you can show

about

did our own.

Germans in the dark belongs to the got them all together on the way

of the boarders

asked everyone to turn

was

just as easily as

and any bragging would endanger

it

I

I

pointed

around and brag

security.

Not only

that,

man who disobeyed my order. I anWashington had told me that the stuff would all be

but I'd throw the book at any

nounced

that

returned after the war.

Next day we were swamped with the damndest I'd

ever

seen



pistols,

everything but torpedoes. collect all that stuff

cameras,

How

from a sub

officer's

caps,

collection of junk

name

plates

they had the time and patience to that might sink any minute

I'll

never

210

know. Anyway,

to the Battle of

Midway

shipped all the souvenirs off to Washington, and anybody saw of them? The chairborne commandos the Pentagon glommed onto them for keeps. Now, whenever I

was the

that in

Raid

Qoolittte's I

last

meet one of the lads who was what

his first

oculars you

words

will

made me

be

in that Jjoafding party, I

— "Captain, where

know

exactly

the hell are those bin-

turn in?"

AT LAST THE U-BOAT MENACE HAD BEEN CONTAINED, and no longer posed a threat to our very left

to fight with; only

survival.

new boats and green

Germany had

little

crews, and few of these

with the stomach for aggressive submarine combat.

Now

attention

shifted to the Mediterranean, Mussolini's

"Mare Nostrum," and

next phase of the struggle against the Axis.

We will

the

return to the Medi-

terranean theatre after a look at the developing war in the Pacific.

PART

III

DOOLITTLE'S RAID

TO THE BATTLE OF

MIDWAY

ON APRIL the news

Toyko

18,

that

a

1942,

AMERICAN MORALE SOARED WITH

flight

of

B-25 Mitchell bombers had attacked

in a spectacular daylight raid.

Considering the staggering suc-

cession of catastrophes which

had befallen the Allied nations since the outbreak of the war, the psychological value of the strike was incalculable.

Briefly,

this

is

the story behind the daring mission:

Early in 1942 King and his operations

officer,

Captain Francis

J.

Low, decided upon a blow against Japan designed to uplift the spirits of the American citizen. With the cooperation of General H. H. "Hap" Arnold, Commanding General of the Army, their plan envisioned sixteen B-25 Mitchells embarked in a United States Navy task force to a point several hundred miles from the enemy's mainland. From there the bombers were to hit Tokyo. However, as

211



212

the planes

to the Battle of

Midway

would not be able

to friendly

fly

Raid

_ Doolittle's

dangerous for

to return to the carrier, they were to China and land thereT The mission was extremely

all

concerned, but particularly for the Navy, as Japanese

search planes and patrol boats were --vectored out to seven hundred miles from the mainland.

But accepting the

risks

(subsequent arrangements were made with

General Chiang Kai Shek) sixteen bombers, aggregating two hundred officers

and men under the command of Brigadier General James A.

Doolittle,

were given a month's training

out on the

airfield.

Then

at

from a

practice takeoffs were conducted

Eglin Field, Florida, where

marked

carrier "flight deck''

planes were equipped with special

the

launching gear and flown to San Francisco to await the arrival of the carrier Hornet.

So secret was the mission that not even Captain Marc

A. Mitscher, her commanding

officer,

knew anything about

On

cious cargo until a few days before loading.

the pre-

April 2 Mitscher

joined up with Halsey in Enterprise, the flagship, and cruisers Nash-

and Vincennes, four destroyers and a

ville

force got

underway

fleet oiler,

and the task

Enterprise providing the combat air patrol.

"Cheers from every section of the ship greeted the announcement," stated Mitscher's Action Report,

"and morale reached a new high,

there to remain until after the attack well clear of the

With the

combat

persistent

ing his sea voyage, a

was launched and the ship was

areas."

memory

of the sunken Prince of Wales disturb-

wary Halsey

led his

Task Force 16 through

rough seas to a launching point considerably farther out than he wished, because of the presence of Japanese patrol boats

dred and sixty-eight miles from the heart of Tokyo.

On



six

hun-

the morning of

April 18, a gray and windy day, Halsey launched the planes.

The

psychological effects of the Doolittle Raid were minimized by the fact that

Tokyo was conducting

a

mock

the planes arrived over the city at

air raid the

same day, and when

noon Japanese

citizens

assumed

they were part of the show.

Thirteen bombers singled out the enemy capital and the other three

continued on to blast targets in the Osaka-Nagoya area. of the extraordinary mission

is

now

told

by

USAF, an aviation writer of note and He presents the tense drama at sea before

Lt.

Col.

An

account

Carroll V.

Glines,

a highly-rated

pilot.

launching.

combat

LT. COL.

CARROLL

V.

GLINES

I.

LAUNCH PLANES!

Each passing hour was now more fraught with danger. The tensewas evident everywhere. It could be felt in the wardroom,

ness

the crew's mess, on the bridge and in the engine room. to

Japan could they go without being spotted?

No

How

close

one knew.

To

add to the uncertainty was an English-speaking radio-news program "Reuters, British news agency, has anin Toyko: nounced that three American bombers have dropped bombs on Tokyo. This is a most laughable story. They know it is absolutely impossible for enemy bombers to get within five hundred miles of Tokyo.

originating

Instead of worrying about such foolish things, the Japanese people are enjoying the fine spring sunshine and the fragrance of cherry

blossoms."

The sion as

log of the Enterprise for April 16, shows the increasing ten-

Task Force Sixteen plowed

"0501

—Launched

first

into

enemy-dominated waters:

inner air patrol of 6 fighters, followed

5, 4 and 6 fighters each. No Launched first scouting flight of 13 scout bombers to search sector 204-324 to distance of 200 miles, followed in the

throughout the day by patrols of contacts.

afternoon by scouting

flight of 8

204-324

150 miles.

to distance of

torpedo planes to search sector

No

Activity increased the next day.

contacts.

At 5:37 A.M.

the Enterprise

213

:

214 ^

Doolittle's

Raid

to the Battle of

Midway

launched 18 scout bombers for three-hour search missions. During

pumped aviation gasoline and fuel oil aboard and then, along with the Cimarron, topped off the cruisers and destroyers. At 2:45 P.M., the destroyer Nonssen and both tankers

the morning, the Sabine the Big

left

E

the formation to await the return of the larger ships after the

A

25's were launched.

detached.

The two

B

short time later the other destroyers were

carriers

and four

cruisers left

now

increased their

speeds to 20 knots. Hardly had the destroyers and tankers receded

from view when the wind picked up and increased

to gale force.

Meanwhile, the B-25's had been spotted on the deck for

The

lead bomber, Doolittle's, had

Lieutenant

left

takeoff.

feet of clear deck; the last one,

Farrow's, hung precariously out over the stern

Bill

of the carrier.

467

Two

white lines were painted on the deck

—one

wheel and one for the nose wheel of the bombers.

ramp

for the

If the pilots

kept their plane on these lines they could be assured of clearing the

wings by about

carrier's "island" with their right

The excitement aboard

the Hornet increased

Up

completed and the Mitchells positioned.

Hornet, Mitscher and Doolittle huddled over a

"Jimmy, we're

the

in

when

its

refueling

was

on the bridge of the

map

table.

enemy's back yard now," Mitscher said

calmly. "Anything could happen from here on

our

six feet.

in. I

think

it's

time for

ceremony."

little

Doolittle agreed

.

.

.

When

the Enterprise

had merged with the

Hornet's force, mail had been exchanged and Mitscher had received

some

correspondence from the Secretary of the Navy, Frank

official

Knox. Enclosed were some medals which had been presented Vormstein, John B. Laurey, and Daniel

men,

to

commemorate

Knox

at the time,

"attach

it

had asked to a

bomb and

return

to

it

Pennsylvania, on

"Following the lead of you,

Sir,

their

my

March

former

Japan

in that

manner."

home

ally find its

way back

in

fleet

Knox had forwarded

me and

mates in forwarding thru

a

bomb

trust that

bomb Kojimachi Ku

company with

throne of the 'Son of Heaven' in the

it

to

Tokyo,

will

I

eventu-

that will rock the district of

Toyko."

the medals to Nimitz at Pearl Harbor, asking

that the request be complied with at the appropriate time.

propriate

in

2

Jap commemoration medals via

herewith enclose the one issued to

Navy

January 26, that Secretary

in the letter of

Quigley, formerly of the U.S.S. Kearsarge, wrote from his

McKees Rocks,

H.

the visit of the U.S. Battle Fleet to Japan in

1908. Vormstein and Laurey, both working in the Brooklyn

Yard

to

Quigley, ex-Navy enlisted

J.

time seems to have

come

"The ap-

sooner than they realized,"

Launch Planes!

215

Mitscher said, grinning. "Let's get your boys together and comply with these instructions from on high."

Over the loudspeaker came port to the flight deck!"

When

"Army

the announcement,

crews, re-

everyone had gathered around a

bomb

had been brought on deck, Mitscher made a short speech about the medals and handed them to Doolittle. Lieutenant Steve Jurika, that

having heard about the ceremony, added the medal he had received

from the Japanese

in 1940.

The group posed for pictures and kidded each other goodnathem wrote slogans on the bomb like "I don't want to set the world on fire, just Tokyo" and "you'll get a BANG out of this!" They knew the time for departure was drawing nigh. Dog tags turedly. Several of

were checked and

last

innoculations made. Already their survival

equipment had been handed out and the eighty men who were going

on the raid had been loaded down

like

Boy

over-eager

Each

Scouts.

crew member had been issued a Navy gas mask, a .45 automatic, ammunition, a hunting knife,

clips of first

aid

kit,

canteen, compass and

life

flashlight,

emergency

rations,

jacket. Besides their clothes,

most had added an assortment of extras

B-4 bags such

to their

candy bars and extra razor blades. "Shorty" Manch,

cigarettes,

foot, six-inch co-pilot

on Bob Gray's crew, planned

as

six-

to take along his

phonograph and records. "Sally" Crouch, navigator on Dick Joyce's crew, ever mindful of the lectures about the lack of cleanliness in the Orient,

jammed

rolls of toilet

paper into

his bags.

They were hoping

and

their lightheaded-

for the best but being prepared for the worst,

ness soon

became forced

as each

man wondered

about his personal

chances for survival.

Mechanical hourly.

On

difficulties

had been croping up on every plane almost

the 16th, Lieutenant

blower while he was running

up

a platform so an engine

it

Don up.

Smith's right engine cracked

Navy

its

carpenters hurriedly rigged

change crew could remove

it.

It

was taken

below decks to the machine shop, quickly repaired and replaced.

Gun

turrets did not function correctly, hydraulic lines

still

leaked,

spark plugs fouled and gas tanks dripped. The anxiety of the crews

mounted

as Doolittle

and inspected

went from plane

broomstick guns in the

to plane, questioned the crews,

from the nose wheel

their planes rear.

On

tires

to the false

the afternoon of the 17th, he called

the crews together.

"The

time's getting short

now," he told them. "By now every

were originally supposed

to take off

single

the alarm

is

sounded.

We

on the 19th but

it

looks like

it'll

one of you knows exactly what to do

if

-

216

Raid

Doolittle's

be tomorrow instead. This

to the Battle of will

be youp

Midway Be ready

last briefing.

to go at

any time.

"We

however,

well,

you

rest of

as a

should have plenty of warning jfjwe're intercepted. I'll

Tokyo

take off so as to arrive over

will take off

two or three hours

at

The

my

fires

and can use

later

goes

If all

dusk.

homing beacon."

Doolittle reiterated the plan in full and, for the last time, gave the

men a chance to back out. Again, no one took him up on his offer. He then gave instructions about the 5-gallon gas cans which were to be stowed in the rear compartment. "Don't throw out the empty cans as

you use them," he cautioned. back toward the Hornet.

directly

holes in

"If

When

you do,

them and throw them overboard

all at

leave a

you'll

the cans are

all

same

the

trail

empty, punch time.

Now,

any questions?"

There was one question

that

had bothered many of the men but no

it up. One of the pilots, however, decided that he know what the Boss's answer would be so he asked, "Colonel, what should we do if we lose an engine or something else goes wrong and we have to crash land in Japan?" Doolittle's answer was quick. "Each pilot is in command of his own plane when we leave the carrier," he answered. "He alone is responsible for the decision he makes for his own plane and crew. Each man must eventually decide for himself what he will do when the chips are down. Personally, I know exactly what I'm going to

one had yet brought

wanted

to

do."

The wardroom group asked,

"Sir,

fell silent.

what

will

Doolittle didn't elaborate so one of the

you do?"

"I don't intend to be taken prisoner," the scrappy

swered. "If

my

plane

is

any target

I

my crew

your twenties and

if

I

decision. In the final analysis,

each

man

letters,

to decide

will

an-

full life.

what he

it's

up

Most

to

it,

full throttle,

do the most damage.

were you, I'm not sure

same

He

out and then dive

can find where the crash

I'm 46 years old and have lived a in

man

crippled beyond any possibility of fighting or

escape, I'm going to bail into

little

of I

each

you fellows are would make the

pilot and, in turn,

will do."

then cautioned them to get rid of any and

all

identification,

orders and diaries that would link them with the Hornet, their

unit in the States of their training.

The B-25 crews labored all day on the 17th preparing their planes Ammunition and bombs were loaded aboard. Last minute engine run-ups were made and crew survival equipment placed in

for battle.

:

217

Launch Planes! each plane.

thoughtfully climbed on board the Hornet

Doc White had

in San Francisco with 80 quarts of bourbon



man

a quart for every

going on the raid. During the voyage, he exchanged

it

with the

Navy

medics for pints of medicinal rye. These would be easier to carry in the B-24 bags he reasoned and, if they had to bail out, could be stuffed into their flight jackets.

He admonished the group again to now an air of extreme

take care of cuts they might get. There was

urgency that was

by

felt

all

on the Hornet.

Commander Apollo Soucek, the Hornet's Air had issued "Air Department Plan for Friday, 17 April 1942":

Earlier that day, Officer

The Big Bombers on the flight deck will be loaded with bombs during the day. The sequence of events in connection with loading and respotting

will

be as follows

Complete fueling

( 1 )

ships; tanker shoves off.

(2) Push #02268 and #02267 clear of number 3 elevator. (3) Bring incendiary bombs to flight deck via number 3 elevator;

commence

loading on accessible airplanes.

bombs

(4) Start bringing heavy

commence

elevators;

(5)

When

all

elevator

3

enough (6)

One

and

bomb

loading on accessible airplanes.

bombs

incendiary

to flight decks via regular

pull

are on flight deck, secure

number

#02267 and #02268 forward

far

for loading purposes.

half

hour before sunset, respot the deck for

Note: All loading

will

take-off.

be done under the direct supervision of

Captain Greening, U.S.A.

By

sunset, loading

and positioning were complete. All planes

had been fueled; only personal baggage had Twenty-four hours gone.

later,

As had been

started

if all

went

well, the

to be stored aboard. 1

6 bombers would be

the practice during the voyage, poker

games

below decks the instant work was done. The night of April

17 was no exception.

At midnight on relieved Ensign

J.

the Hornet, Ensign Robert R. Boettcher

A. Holmes on watch as

officer of the

noted in the ship's log that the Hornet, in company

Deck.

had

He

with Task

Groups 16.2 and 16.5, was steaming darkened on a course of 267° at 20 knots. The ship's bell chimed off the half hours as the midnight-to-four shift went about its routine chores. Boettcher's task was to stay alert for signs of any enemy sea or air activity and keep the Hornet knifing ahead on course.

When

the six bells signalling 3 a.m. were chimed, Boettcher

218

^

Doolittle's

Raid

to the Battle of

Midway

yawned and asked for a^cup of coffee. He had drained when a message was flashed from the Enterprise that knotted his stomach: "Two enemy surface craft reported." The Big E's radar had Spotted two enemy ships off the stretched,

the last waning drops

port

bow

at a distance of

twenty-one thousand yards. All watch

hands stared into the inky blackness; two minutes

later a light

appeared on the horizon.

The

Enterprise's short range, high frequency radio crackled out

a curt order for detection.

As

station.

A

ships to

come

right to a course of

the ships obeyed, general quarters

man on

every

all

way

the six ships fought his

half

hour

later, the

enemy

350° to avoid

was sounded and

to his assigned battle

ships faded

from the radar

screen and the westerly course was resumed at 4:11 a.m. For the

Task Force, the day had begun even though the been sounded to

resume

had

to their cabins

their interrupted sleep.

dawn

search

F4F Grumman

fighters

At 5:08 eight

The B-25 crews went back

at 3:41.

"all clear"

the

flight

and

and three

fighter patrol consisting of

SBD

Douglas scout bomb-

ers took to the air

from the Enterprise

two hundred

Three more scout bombers were launched for a

miles.

to search to a distance of

combat air patrol above the Task Force. The weather, which had been moderately rough during the night, was worsening. Low broken clouds hung over the area; frequent rain squalls swept over the ships and the sea began to

bellow up in 30 foot crests. Gusty winds tore the tops off the waves

and the spray blew across the decks of the

ships,

drenching the

deck crews.

The

three

SBD

pilots

climbed to the bottom of the broken

clouds in a "single plane relative search."

O. B. Wiseman sighted a small patrol

craft.

At 5:58, Lieutenant

He

quickly reversed

course for the Enterprise. Fixing his position as best he could on his small plotting board,

Enemy

surface ship

276° true

—42



he jotted

latitude

down

a message:

36-04N, Long. 153-10E, bearing

miles. Believed seen

by enemy.

Wiseman handed the message back to the gunner in the rear seat and made a throwing motion with his hand. The gunner knew what to do. He reached in his pocket for a bean bag message container, stuffed the paper inside and peered over the

219

Launch Planes! side as

down

SBD

Wiseman dived

for the Big E's flight deck.

and the gunner opened the canopy.

to slow his plane

was

Wiseman put

directly overhead, the

flaps

When

the

message plopped down on the deck

and was scooped up on the run by a deckhand and delivered

to

Halsey on the bridge. Halsey's reaction was immediate.

He

ordered

220°

all

Task

ships in the

The question uppermost in everyone's mind was whether or not Wiseman had been seen. About an hour later, at 7:38, another enemy patrol Force to swing

vessel of about

to

left

thousand yards away.

It

to

avoid detection.

150 tons was sighted from the Hornet only twenty

was every reason and reported.

a course of

If

the

Hornet could see the small

to believe that the

became a

certainty

when

the Hornet's radio operator

intercepted a Japanese message which had originated

where close by. J.

Still

vessel, there

Task Force had been sighted

further confirmation

came

at

from some-

7:45 when Ensign

Q. Roberts sighted the enemy vessel only twelve thousand yards

away.

The moment

of decision

had come. Halsey ordered the Nashville

to sink the patrol boat. In the log of the Enterprise

was noted the

following:

By

agreement

previous

mander

with

Lt.

Col.

Doolittle,

flight

com-

16 B-25 planes on the Hornet, the plan was to

of the

launch one plane from a position approximately 400 miles east of

Inuboe Saki

at a

time to permit arrival over

Tokyo

at sunset.

The

other planes were to be launched at local sunset to permit a night attack on Tokyo. However, in case the presence of the force detected,

it

diately. If at

launched from 550 miles from Inuboe Saki, the arrival

arranged destination was remote possibility.

point in excess of at

650

miles,

it

If

launched from a

was calculated impossible

Hushan, the arranged destination. These factors were

ered and as our position was patrol

was

was understood the planes were to be launched imme-

vessel

previously

known

contacted,

to

to arrive

all

consid-

have been reported by the

Adm. Halsey ordered

the

planes launched.

The message Halsey

flashed to Mitscher

on the Hornet was sent

at

8:00 a.m.:

LAUNCH PLANES X TO COL. DOOLITTLE AND GALLANT COMMAND GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS YOU.

220

Doolittle's

Raid

Midway

to the Battle of

on the Hornet's bridge when the message came, hurshook hands with Mitscher and leaped down the ladder to his

Doolittle,

riedly

cabin, shouting to everybody he saw, "O.K. fellas, this

is

Let's

it!

go!" At the same time, the blood-chilling klaxon sounded and the

announcement came over the loudspeaker: "Army planes!"

pilots,

man your

The B-25 crews had not been fully aware of the drama going to this point. Some had finished breakfast and

on around them up were lounging eat; several

were shaving and preparing to

in their cabins; others

were

A

asleep.

still

few had packed

most were caught completely unawares when the Although

their collective goal

"Shorty"

differently.

He grabbed

his portable

He had

minute to ask

his

call

B-4 bags but

came.

was the same, the 80 men

Manch had

and a carbine.

their

his

phonograph

own

ideas about

buddy, Lieutenant

cake

Bob

tin

reacted to take.

two .45 caliber

as well as

his records in a

all

what

pistols

but decided at the

Clever, navigator

Lawson's "Ruptured Duck," to put the precious

platters

last

on Ted

under

his

Clever reluctantly agreed.

seat.

Doc White

hurriedly passed out the two pints of liquor to each

man. Lieutenant Dick Knobloch ran from plane

to plane

handing up

bags of sandwiches he had gotten from the galley.

Army and Navy men ingly wild confusion. stuffed

up

poured

all

Engine and turret covers were ripped

into the rear hatches.

chocks pulled away.

over the Hornet's deck in seem-

A

off

and

Ropes were unfastened and wheel

"donkey" pushed and pulled the 25's

into

position along the back end of the flight deck.

The Hornet's speed was increased and her bow plunged viciously The deck seemed like a crazy seesaw that bit

into the towering waves. into the water

bow

each time the

Once each plane was

position, the job of loading could be

in

completed. The gas tanks were

bombers back and filled

all

forth to break

they could pour in a few quickly

dipped.

topped

off.

up any

air

more quarts

Navy crews rocked

the

bubbles in the tanks so

of precious gasoline. Sailors

the ten 5-gallon gas cans allotted each ship and passed

them hand-to-hand up

The Hornet's

into the rear hatches.

control tower displayed a huge blackboard which

noted the compass heading of the ship and the wind speed. As the crews

up

jammed

their personal belongings aboard,

Hank

into the forward hatch of each plane, wished the

and

said, sadly, "I sure

wish

I

Miller climbed

crew good luck

could go with you guys.

I'll

be holding



Launch Planes! up

a blackboard to give

glance before you

On

Doolittle

signal,

warmed them

up.

you any

your brakes

let

in

minute instructions. Give

last

me

a

off."

the lead plane

Near the bow on

Osborne stood with a checkered

221

engines and

started his

Edgar G.

the left side, Lieutenant

He began

hands.

flag in his

to swing

the flag in a circle as a signal for Doolittle to ease the throttles

forward. Osborne swung the flag in faster and faster circles and

Doo-

pushed more and more power on. At the precise instant the deck

little

was beginning

its

Doolittle's wheels

upward movement, chocks were pulled from under and Osborne gave him the "go" signal. Doolittle

released his brakes and the Mitchell inched forward.

Ted Lawson,

waiting his turn in the "Ruptured Duck," described

their leader's takeoff:

With

full flaps,

motors

at full throttle

and

his left

wing

lunged slowly into the teeth of the gale that swept

His

wheel stuck on the white

left

wing, which had

line as

if it

far out over

waddled and then

the port side of the Hornet, Doolittle's plane

down

the deck.

were a track. His

right

barely cleared the wall of the island as he taxied

and was guided up

to the starting line,

extended nearly to the edge

of the starboard side.

We watched bow.

If

him

hawks, wondering what the wind would do

up more speed and held

Hornet

lifted

up on top

speed, Doolittle's plane took his ship almost straight

whole top of

of a

off.

up on

wave and cut through

He had its

yards to spare.

props, until

it

we could I

at full

He hung see the

watched him

a tight circle and shoot low over our heads line painted

on the deck.

log of the Hornet for April 18 records that Colonel Doolittle

was airborne hours

run toward the

to his line, and, just

B-25. Then he leveled off and

his

come around in straight down the The

off in that little

he couldn't, we couldn't.

Doolittle picked

as the

like

and whether we could get

to him,

at

8:20 a.m. ship time. Instead of following him three

later, as originally

planned, the second plane, piloted by Lieu-

tenant Travis Hoover, had to take off just five minutes later.

"Hoover kept

Hank

his

nose in the up position too long," Lieutenant

Miller recalls, "and nearly stalled the plane. After the third

plane took

off, I

"STABILIZER IN NEUTRAL" on they saw and took my advice.

put the words

the blackboard. I'm pretty sure

"Succeeding take-offs were

all

good except one

—Ted Lawson's

222 ~

Doolittle's

Raid

because he either forgot

to the Battle of

Midway

his flaps or inadvertently

away with

the 'up' position instead of 'neutral.' But he got

'The

put them back into it.

on three other planes were/ up as they maneuvered into but the flight deck crew caught them before take-off. The

flaps

position,

only casualty to the planes themselves was a cracked nose glass on Lt.

Don

Smith's plane

one ahead of took

it.

when

was rammed

it

into the tail cone of the

There wasn't enough damage

worry about so he

to

off in order."

The

last

plane on the deck, piloted by Lieutenant Bill Farrow,

seemed earmarked

from the

for disaster

start.

Since

its tail

was hang-

ing out over the end of the deck, the loading of the plane's rear

compartment could not be completed

until the

15th plane, Smith's

had moved forward. Six deck handlers held down on the nose wheel while Farrow taxied forward. Just as Smith revved up his engines,

and the men moved away from Farrow's nose wheel, Seaman Robert

W.

Wall, one of the

six,

lost his footing.

The sudden

caused him to lose his balance and the combination of the slippery, pitching deck threw

him

gust of air

air blast

ler.

There was nothing Farrow could do. The prop chewed

left

arm and threw him

and carried him time

aside.

to sick

and

into Farrow's idling left propelinto Wall's

His deck mates quickly rushed to him

bay where

arm was amputated

his

a short

later.

Farrow's plane was Doolittle

off at

9:20, exactly one hour after Doolittle's.

had 620 nautical miles to go

to reach

Inuboe Saki, the

nearest point of land; Farrow's distance was calculated at an even

600 miles with

Hornet's position

the

officially

fixed

at

35° 55^,

153°19'E.

While the Doolittle crews had been getting ready on the Hornet, the cruiser Nashville

began pumping

shells at the patrol vessel

Ensign

Roberts had sighted. Roberts made a glide bombing attack and

dropped a 500-pounder but caliber

it

missed.

He

strafed with a lone .50

machine gun but could see no damage being done. Other

planes joined the attack.

The War Diary

of the Nashville describes

the action this way:

0748—Enemy

ship bore 201

°T

at a

—Received order from Adm. same. 0753 — Opened with main 0752

range of 9,000 yds.

Halsey to attack vessel and

sink

fire

9.000 yds.

battery firing salvo

fire at

range of

223

Launch Planes!

0754—Shifted 0755

0756

to rapid

— —Resumed Checked vessel.

fire.

fire.

Target could not be seen.

firing.

Bombing planes made

They returned

guns and a

light

the

enemy

attack on

machine

of the planes with

fire

cannon.

—Enemy headed toward 0801 —Bombing This on enemy made another enemy. returned by 0804 — Opened This was returned but enemy 0809 —Bombing planes made another Changed course enemy. order 0814 — Increased speed 25 0819 — Commenced 0821 — Steadied course 095T. Enemy on 0823 —Enemy 0827 — Commenced maneuvering Attempts pick up one man proved 0846 — Went 25 knots 0757

the Nashville.

planes

attack

ship.

the

fire

shells fell

fire

fire.

short.

attack.

to the

to close the

left in

knots.

to

firing salvo fire.

a

vessel

fire.

vessel sunk.

survivors.

to

to rescue

to

The skipper

unsuccessful.

sighted

to rejoin mission.

of the Nashville, Captain S. S. Craven, added an addi-

tional note in the log to explain

why

had taken so long to sink the noted that "938 rounds of 6"

it

small, apparently fragile vessel.

He

ammunition were expended due

to the difficulty of hitting the small

target with the

which

heavy swells that were running and the long range

was opened. This range was used

fire

in

at

order to silence the

enemy's radio as soon as possible. The ship sunk was a Japanese patrol boat

and was equipped with radio and

anti-aircraft

machine

guns."

As soon

as the 16th

B-25 had

left

the deck, the entire task force

reversed course to the east and proceeded at the

Navy

calls

full

simply "getting the hell out."

own

speed in a maneuver

The Hornet, now

di-

planes up on deck and

vested of

its

load of bombers, brought

assumed

its

aerial role of scouting in collaboration with the Enter-

prise.

The

fact that the

enemy

its

patrol vessel

had gotten

before being sunk probably meant that every

its

message

enemy plane and

within range of the American force would be searching for

off

vessel

it.

The

assumption was well founded for aircraft were spotted on the radar screen of the retreating Enterprise but none miles.

The low clouds and poor

visibility

came

closer than

were proving to be

allies.

30

224

Doolktle's Raid to the Battle of

At 11:30, Ensigns R. M.

Midway

Elder, R. K. Campbell and

Bomber Squadron Three were launched from

of

single-plane searches to the southwest.

W. Arndt

ant R.

make

to

first

a contact.

Two

deck.

dive

later,

bombing

firing

surface

sighted a 150-foot patrol

radio antenna towering above

tall

attacks were

Campbell pressed the attack

Lieuten-

enemy

Ensign Campbell was

force.

At 11:50 he

boat painted dark gray with a

C. Butler

the Enterprise on

few minutes

led a three-plane flight off to attack

58 miles from the task

vessels reported

the

A

J.

made but no

hits

its

were scored.

both the .50 caliber and .30 caliber

guns but only minor damage could be seen.

A

few minutes

after

Campbell's attack, Lieutenant Arndt and his

two wingmen attacked another

Three 500-pound and

vessel.

five

100-

pound bombs were dropped, again without success. As the War Diary of the squadron wryly noted, "there was no apparent damage from bombs except for one 100-lb. bomb near miss which evidently stopped the

fire

on one small caliber

used radical maneuver and returned

beal"

AA gun AA fire

located

time.

was about 125

It

behind.

The enemy

gun."

Ensign Butler, searching another sector, sighted boat.

aft.

with what appeared to

He made

feet long

three separate

still

a third patrol

and was towing a smaller boat

bomb

bomb each 500-pound bomb

runs, dropping

The two 100-pound bombs were duds but

the

one

landed close aboard on the port side causing fragmentary damage. After the bombing, Butler strafed both boats until his ammunition

was gone. He thought he had sunk the smaller boat and damaged the larger one. After landing he reported that hits

from enemy

fire

— not

"own plane

received three

serious."

What Arndt and his squadron mates could not do, the Nashville As soon as the scout bombers retired, she opened fire on the

did.

bobbing patrol boat

at forty-five

hundred yards. Firing

off

and on for

the next twenty minutes with her 5-inch and 6-inch guns as she closed

Overwhelmed by the quanup a white flag and the Nashville circled, the enemy boat

the distance, she finally obtained results. tity

of lead that filled the

Nashville ceased

firing.

air,

the Japanese ran

While the

slowly sank. Five survivors were spotted and quickly hauled aboard suffering

from shock, immersion and

fright.

Only one, Seaman Sec-

ond Class Nakamura Suekichi, was injured

wound

slightly

with a bullet

in his cheek.

men aboard the patrol boat, the Nagato Maru, Suekichi. He reported in a letter to the author that ".

There had been according to

1 1

.

.

Launch and

the waves were high that day

70-ton Nagato

Mam

interrogators that he

went below

and

said,

could not help worrying that our

I

would capsize

at

any moment."

to rouse his skipper, Chief Petty Officer

in his cabin.

there are

"Sir,

He

told

Navy

had spotted some planes while on watch and

The skipper assumed they were Japan and stayed

225

Planes.

the usual

A

Gisaku Maeda.

morning patrol planes from

short time later Suekichi tried again

two of our beautiful

carriers

now dead

ahead."

This time

Maeda was wide awake. No Japanese

posed to be

in his patrol

He

area.

from

"At

his sea bag, put

it

to his temple

that time," Suekichi said,

the Fifth Fleet, that the

sadly,

He went below

beautiful but they are not ours." pistol

rushed on deck, studied them

and said

intently through his binoculars,

were sup-

carriers

and pulled the

"we radioed

enemy had been

"Indeed they are

to his cabin, took a trigger.

the Kiso, the flagship of

sighted.

When

the

American

shells. The enemy became more severe, but we really doubted whether they could hit us, so we pointed our small gun at the enemy. Looking back on our actions now, we acted foolishly. But, after all, we thought we were fighting for the great spirit of Nippon. Since we had communicated the discovery of enemy ships and planes, we were positive that no damage would occur in Japan."

cruiser fired

on

us,

I

could actually see the approaching

airborne attack by the

While the Nashville was completing the action, the planes returned to the Enterprise to re-arm.

Smith, however, could not

One of them, piloted by Lieutenant L. A. make it. Without warning, the SBD's en-

gine began to lose oil pressure and he had to ditch. His plane had

been

by the small caliber

hit

gunner,

AMM2C H.

fire

from the picket

ship.

He and

his

H. Caruthers, were rescued shortly thereafter by

the Nashville.

The excitement

of the day

was not

yet over.

marine was sighted and attacked before

it

A

small

enemy

sub-

hurriedly submerged un-

damaged. Other Japanese patrol vessels and freighters were sighted but not attacked. staff,

the

number

When of

the day's activities were studied by Halsey's

enemy

vessels

found was surprising. Halsey

ported that "in addition to the radar contact with two craft

0310, actual contact

showed one submarine, 14 PY's

re-

made

at

(patrol vessels)

and 3 AK's (probably "mother ships" for the patrols) concentrated in

an area about 130 miles by 180 miles.

A

similar concentration

was

reported by a submarine just returned from patrol in the East China

Sea which stated that 65 sampans had been sighted in an area just

)

226 ^

Doolittle's

about the same the degree to

Raid

Midway

size as that mentioned above. These are indications of which the Japanese are using these small craft for

patrols

and screens around

tion of

enemy land-based

these planes

to the Battle of

Halsey made no men-

their vital areas."

patrol planes which

had found the task

force, there

had

is

also

been seen.

If

no doubt they would

have attacked the carriers offensively, which the patrol vessels could not.

at

The escaping task force steamed at full speed during the night and dawn the next day began its patrols again. No more enemy ships

were sighted but one scout bomber from the Hornet, overdue from

morning

the

patrol, ditched in the water out of gas only seven miles

from the Enterprise. The plane, piloted by Lieutenant G. D. Randall with radioman T. A. Gallagher aboard, sank in 30 seconds. Neither the plane nor the

men were

recovered.

took Task Force Sixteen exactly one week to the hour after

It

launching the B-25's to reach Pearl Harbor. Before docking, Halsey sent a "Well Done" to his skippers and termed the mission a success. "The Japs chased us all the way home, of course," Halsey wrote later. "Whenever we tracked their search planes with our radar, I was

tempted to unleash our to reveal

fighters,

but

I

knew

it

was more important not

our position than to shoot down a couple of scouts. They

sent a task force after us; their submarines tried to intercept us; .

.

.

and

even some of their carriers joined the hunt; but with the help of

foul weather

and a devious course, we eluded them ..."

(Not one B-25 was and others landed

in

lost

over Japan; some splashed off the coast

China; only two pilots were captured by the

enemy and subsequently

executed.

INSPIRATIONAL ARTICLES, LIKE SEA VICTORIES, WERE precious few that dismal spring.

The

best of

them appeared

in the

Proceedings and was written by an idealistic young commander, Ernest M. Eller, who went on to a distinguished war career after service on Admiral Nimitz' staff in early

Naval

Institute

lieutenant

1942.

A

gunnery expert,

Eller's

Cincpac was the preparation of

primary area of responsibility with

fleet

war reports and

training. Later,

commanded an attack transport and participated in the landings on Makin and Okinawa, for which he received the Legion of Merit with Combat "V," He is presently the Director of Naval History. Eller

REAR ADM. ERNEST M. ELLER

2.

"HOW SHALL WE

We

suffering

the

win

shall

the

war

that

idealogies

of

WIN?"

brought

has

nations

and despair unequalled since the vast upheaval ending

empire

of

We

Rome.

destiny of world leadership that of the United States.

We

on

and go

win

shall

the

to

grand

the opportunity and the duty

is

must win or decline

dishonor and death of a nation that

is

to

futility,

to the

given great strength, great

vision, great opportunity to direct earth's fate, but fails to stand

to

its

We

part.

shall

win but

it

will

not be by material.

It

up

will not

be by warships and planes, tanks and guns, or soldiers and sailors alone. It will not be

have and

all

by training and morale. All these things we

are necessary; but

all

and

are useless

all will fail

shall

without

leadership. It

was not from lack of material, however much

that France

was crushed

in the disastrous

this

was

at fault,

days of 1940. She was

badly led and badly inspired, in war and preparation for war, just as the English since.

had been up

The material

to that time,

deficiencies

though they have learned much

that

entered into France's defeat

have, however, been played up to such a point that they whitewash

and hide a gland and

far this

more

serious deficiency.

There

is

danger

in

both En-

country of placing such reliance on material that

shall forget the soul of war, forget that material

is

only for

men

we to

227

228 ^ use,

is

Raid

Doolittle's

given

Midway

to the Battle of

only by men, and even then has

life

wise and courageous direction of

little

value without

menln command.

we must hold in our hearts constantly as we go unknown future. We must not,' in recognizing one cause for defeat, make material our god the body rather than the life. We must remember constantly that although material, preparation, and such truths

It is

into the



all it

similar things will aid in winning the war,

—weak

We

leadership.

to the highest degree

can

and

still

other elements of strength

all

The most stupen-

for lack of leaders.

fail

dous factory output may not be

may be

have

one thing alone can lose

utilized, the strongest military

might

allowed to rot away and our proposed colossal material

strength be wasted for lack of moral courage in a few men, perhaps in

one man, when the day of

crisis

War

comes.

a contest not

is

of

machines but of men.

That God

on the side of the strongest battalions, as Napoleon

is

once cynically remarked, merely

may

numbers, as was

in

may

or

his fate to

prove

in his declining

wisdom having

leadership when, inspiration and rely

not be true; but strength

on mass of numbers. That strength

is

in Italy

not

years of

he came to

not merely in material was

also Napoleon's destiny to reveal, glowingly,

campaigns

failed,

is

and Austria with ragged,

by

his early

ill-fed,

amazing

and ill-equipped

armies that were irrestible when led by him. Military strength

measure

many

as so

difficulty of

is

not a tangible quality that

we can weigh and

tanks, guns, planes, or even men. This

war games and the error of many people

about our nation's future role

in the present

component

resolution,

and energy of men

Leadership

is

has

in it)

the soul of

come from

in posts of

all

human

a

world upheaval. In every

fateful period of history the ultimate balance of strength

the largest

is

in thinking

(and usually

the integrity of purpose,

high responsibility.

endeavor.

It is

the flame that

enabled the French under Clemenceau, Joffre, and Foch to stop an

unstoppable it.

It is

the

German Army in 1914, because these men willed to stop magic of German success so far in this war, and of the

unexpected Russian resistance.

It is

burned low and sooty, that France It is

upon

it

that

we should

for lack of this flame,

fell in

place our

which had

1940. first trust,

upon man's moral

courage, upon his irresistible determination to win, to drive his purposes to a conclusion, to strike on past

all

concentration of intent that knows no barrier.

hazard with ceaseless It will

be the power of

leadership that must and will direct us into the great future; and

it

'How

Shall

We

229

Win?"

alone will be the decisive and concluding force in this titanic struggle

between the

hope and darkness.

faiths of

France suffered the crushing defeat of 1940 because she was led by

men who

believed in the

German

sap

power

of the defensive. She placed her faith

blockade and the Maginot Line, which were supposed to

in walls, in

strength until economic

strike the killing blow.

remaining strong by

sitting.

leon's admirals a century

and

English Navy would wear out idling.

How

How

false!

mind. The great heart of ness

comes

to

a half earlier in their struggle against port, they thought the

in

fleets

use while their

in

own gained

strength

patently untrue to any but a timorous

man grows on

privation and danger. Flabbi-

muscles not from use but disuse. Weathering the hard-

ships of continuous sea keeping, the British Fleet

sinewy and proud of that

would

collapse

spiritual

She was as fatefully wrong as were Napo-

English sea power. Mooring their

by

and

She was fattening herself on an easy war,

its

strength to endure.

It

grew strong and

was the French above

declined, deteriorated in material, in discipline,

fleet

all

in

morale and confidence. Under similar conditions the French armies of today

weakened sleeping behind

man Army,

ceaselessly

on the move

strength in the school of action.

Man his

brings his ruin

own mind. Ruin

is

Maginot Line, while the Ger-

the

upon

.

.

in

drill

and attack, gained

.

himself. Defeat or victory

always deserved.

How

fatally a

comes out

of

may

in

people

three short generations learn their error, achieve great deeds, and

then sink into inaction again!

How much

people, their fortunes, their lives, resolute or indolent souls of a few

IN APRIL,

their futures

all

men

the destiny of a whole

.

.

.

hang upon the

!

WHILE THE UNITED STATES MAINTAINED A war

defensive posture in the Pacific, Japan, according to a three-fold plan, prepared to

move toward new conquests

:

to Tulagi in the lower

Solomons, and Port Moresby, southernmost Allied outpost in Guinea, for the purpose of achieving Sea;

to

Midway and

the

air

supremacy

in

the Coral

Western Aleutians for the purpose of

strengthening her defense perimeter and forcing a decisive

gagement with the United Slates Navy; and

Samoa chain

New

to the

for the purpose of severing the line of

New

fleet

en-

Caledonia-

communications

between the United States and the Anzac nations. The enemy was

230 -

Doolittle's

soon challenged

Raid

in the first

to the Battle of

two areas, and

Midway

as a result the third opera-

came about. The Imperial Japanese Navy began Operation "Mo," the first offensive, with carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku, borrowed from Nagumo's Carrier Striking Force based in Ceylon and from Vice Admiral Inouye's Fourth Fleet based at Truk and Rabaul. The rest of tion never

the

"Mo"

force consisted of a Tulagi Invasion Group,

Group bound

for the Louisades.

command was

and

a joint

a

Support

Covering Group. Overall

exercised by Inouye in Rabaul. near the northern ex-

tremity of the Solomons.

Fortunately United States

Army

cryptographers, working closely

with Naval Intelligence, had broken Japan's secret code and as a result

Nimitz by April 17 knew the enemy's precise intentions. After

hastily conferring with

MacArthur. who was able it

indeed a major enemy thrust and

to be

was

supply about

was decided

three hundred Allied land-based aircraft, it

to

met with

that this all

was

available

military power.

The

Battle of the Coral Sea which followed, the

carrier-air conflict of the war.

is

first

exclusively

told in four parts: the preliminaries

by Nimitz and naval historian E. B. Potter, Chairman of the Naval History Department at the U.

by men who participated

S.

Naval Academy, and the other parts

in the battle.

FLEET ADMIRAL CHESTER W. NIMITZ

AND

E. B.

POTTER

3

CORAL SEA PRELIMINARIES

The Japanese wanted Port Moresby and

New

their positions in

ing airfields in northern Australia, of

their

advance

projected

in order to safeguard

Rabaul

Guinea, to provide a base for neutraliz-

and

toward

in order to secure the flank

New

Caledonia,

Fiji,

and

Samoa. They wanted Tulagi, across the sound from Guadalcanal in

the lower Solomons, to use as a seaplane base both to cover

the flank of the Port

Moresby operation and

quent advance to the southeast.

Moresby was

To

to support the subse-

the Allies the retention of Port

essential not only for the security of Australia but also

as a springboard for future offensives.

In the Japanese plan a Covering Force built around the 12,000-ton carrier

Shoho was

first

to cover the landing

on Tulagi, then turn back

west in time to protect the Port Moresby Invasion Force, which was to

come down from Rabaul and around

the

tail

of

New

Guinea

through Jomard Passage. There were close support forces for both landings,

and

in addition a Striking

and Zuikaku was

to

Force centered on the Shokaku

come down from Truk

to deal with

any United

States forces that might attempt to interfere with the operation.

Land-

based aircraft were counted on for scouting and support. Altogether there were six separate naval forces engaged in this dual operation.

Such complex division of forces was throughout most of the war. So

typical

far, against a

of Japanese strategy

weak and disorganized

231

232 ^

Raid

Doolittle's

enemy,

had worked

it

to the Battle of

well,

and

tration so long as the forces

together

close

ciently

it

was not inconsistent with concen-

were properly coordinated and

render mutual

to

Midway

support.

suffi-

But when the

Japanese disregarded these two important conditions they met with disaster.

In the Coral Sea, Japanese coordination was to be provided by a

command. Vice Admiral Shigeyoshi Inouye, Commander

unified

Fourth Fleet, was to direct

all

from

forces, including land-based air,

Rabaul. The Allied

command was

was to be fought

General MacArthur's Southwest Pacific Theater,

but

it

in

was understood

not so well integrated.

The

was

result

that Allied land-based

and naval forces were under separate commands without

air

battle

would remain under Ad-

that any fleet action

miral Nimitz' strategic control.

The

effective

coordination.

Since the Pearl Harbor attack, the United States had broken the

Japanese naval code and thus possessed the enormous advantage of

and rather detailed

accurate plans.

Even

so,

meet the threat

it

Sound undergoing ary.

the as

was no easy matter

to gather sufficient forces to

Moresby. The Saratoga was

to Port

enemy's

concerning the

intelligence

damage

repairs for the torpedo

still

in

Puget

sustained in Janu-

The Enterprise and Hornet did not return to Pearl Harbor from Tokyo raid till April 25. Although they were hurried on their way

soon as possible, there was

little

likelihood that they could reach

The only

the Coral Sea in time to play a part. available were

Admiral Fletcher's Yorktown

the South Pacific for

some

time,

carriers immediately

force,

which had been

in

and Rear Admiral Aubrey W. Fitch's

Lexington group, fresh from Pearl Harbor.

From Noumea, New

edonia came the Chicago, while Rear Admiral

J.

C.

Crace

Cal-

RN

brought H.M.A. cruisers Australia and Hobart from Australia. The Japanese, overconfident from their long series of easy successes, as-

sumed

that a single carrier division

was

sufficient to

support their

new

advance.

The two American

carrier groups,

which had been ordered to join

under Fletcher's command, made contact

on

May

1

.

Two

in the southeast

Coral Sea

days later Fletcher recieved a report of the Japanese

landing on Tulagi. Leaving the Lexington group to complete fueling,

he headed north with the Yorktown group, and during the 4th series of air attacks

nese naval craft.

two groups on

He May

made

a

on the Tulagi area that sank a few minor Japathen turned back south and formally merged his 6.

The two

carriers

were to operate within a

Maj. Gen. (then Lt. Col.) James H. (Jimmy) Doolittle wires a Japanese medal bomb. The ceremony took place on the deck of the USS Hornet (CV-8), from which the Army bombers took off for the raid on Japan, 18 April, 1942. Navy Department. to the fin of a 500-lb.

An Army part in the

off from the deck of the USS Hornet on U.S. air raid on Japan. Navy Department.

B-25 takes first

its

way

to take

%*3 >

v

33£ "V

> The Yokosuka, Japan, Naval

Base, taken from a B-25 during Doolittle's raid

on Tokyo, 18 April, 1942.

The Japanese aircraft carrier Shoho, after being torpedoed Coral Sea, 7 May, 1942. Navy Department.

••

in the Battle of the

Hi

W&Bm

The

final stages

of the sinking of the Shoho, taken by a plane of the

USS

Yorktown (CV-5). Navy Department.

The

aircraft carrier

USS Lexington (CV-2) burning Navy Department.

Coral Sea, 8 May, 1942.

following the Battle of the

r

The USS Lexington abandoning

ship.

The burning Lexington

hands have abandoned

after

all

Navy Department.

ship.

Navy Department.

>

^-Jt t

j -^^^^^f^wTiK!^^ ^™f| :

-a-t y

.

;

'

Damage on Midway 5, 6,

in the

$$

at**'-

Island before the Japanese raiders were repelled, June 4, hit by Japanese bombs. Gooney birds

The burning oil tanks were foreground. Navy Department.

1942.

During the Battle of Midway, Japanese planes try to escape an A.A. barrage. carrier at the right is the USS Yorktown (CV-5). Navy Department.

The

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i

The Yorktown under

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pf

h—ia&

The

photo shows yior/:/ow/i just as she susattack. Heel is due to turning. Navy Department. The second photo was taken just as a second torpedo struck the Yorktown during the second attack. Note the Japanese plane which has just crashed into the water. Navy Department. attack.

first

tained a hit in the uptakes during the

first

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anti-aircraft fire, four Japanese bombers come in low Guadalcanal Island to attack U.S. transports. Black bursts show the intensity of the U.S. A. A. fire. Navy Department.

Running a gauntlet of at

from two enemy planes set on fire by the USS President Adams Guadalcanal, 12 November, 1942. To the right is the USS Betelgeuse (AK-28). Navy Department.

Smoke

rises

(AP-38)

off

The sinking of

the

USS Wasp (CV-7)

off

Guadalcanal.

Navy Department.

A

Japanese bomb splashes astern of a U.S. carrier as the enemy plane pulls out of its dive above the carrier. The Battle of Santa Cruz, 26 October, 1942.

Navy Department. *



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An American

from the air in the Battle of Santa on the right is turning sharply. The U.S. destroyer Smith (DD-378) has just been struck by a burning, falling Japanese plane. On the left two screening vessels are seen. Navy Department.

Cruz.

A

task force being attacked

carrier

The USS Smith

after being struck by a falling Japanese plane. After the plane struck the ship, a torpedo attached to the plane exploded, causing casualties

and damage. Navy Department.

f_^3^ rm

The USS Hornet (CV-8) under attack the USS Pensacola. Navy Department.

in the Battle of

Santa Cruz. Taken by

Japanese torpedo bombers attacking the USS Hornet. She was sunk in engagement at Santa Cruz. Navy Department.

t$mu*>^

this

Lt.

John F. Kennedy,

USNR. Navy Department.

Task Force 17 maneuvering to evade attack by Jap planes in the Second Battle of Santa Cruz. Taken by a plane from the USS Hornet (CV-8).

A. A. Burke on the bridge of the the ships of

DESRON

23.

USS

Charles Ausburne (DD-570), one of Beaver Squadron insignia on the Photo.

Note the

side of the bridge. Official U.S.

Navy

Little

233

Coral Sea Preliminaries

and destroyers. Admiral Fitch, be-

single circular screen of cruisers

cause of his long experience with carriers, was to exercise tactical

command

during air operations.

Fletcher's uniting of his forces

and Zuikaku with

their escorts,

was

Shokaku

luckily timed, for the

having swung around the southeast-

The Japa-

ern end of the Solomons, had just entered the Coral Sea.

nese Striking Force was commanded by Vice Admiral Takeo Takagi,

with Rear Admiral Tadaichi Hara in

commanding

coming around the Solomons, hoped

riers in a sort of pincer

movement.

He

the carriers. Takagi,

to catch the

American

car-

almost succeeded, for on the

evening of the 6th he was rapidly overhauling the American force, then refueling, and was actually within 70 miles of the Americans

when he turned north. At dawn on May

7,

the

American task force was

cruising

on

a northwesterly course south of the Lounisiades, which form an extension of the

New

Guinea

tail.

A

little

before 0700, Fletcher detached

three cruisers and three destroyers under

them

to

Admiral Crace and ordered

push on to the northwest while the carriers turned north. The

detached vessels were to prevent the Port Moresby Invasion Force

from coming through Jomard Passage, regardless of the fate of the American carriers, which Fletcher expected would come under attack during the day. In sending Crace forward however, Fletcher was depriving a part of his force of carrier air cover and at the same time further weakening his already

Thus

far neither

weak

carrier anti-aircraft screen.

Takagi nor Fletcher was sure that the other was

in

the area, though Fletcher had information that three Japanese carriers

were involved

in the operation.

Takagi was depending on land-

based searches which actually sighted the American carrier force but Fletcher's air searches were defeated by

failed to get

word through.

bad weather

to the northeast,

where the two Japanese heavy

carriers

were operating.

To

the northwest

however the weather was

the 7th reports began to

ing in this direction.

come

At 0815

clear,

and early on

in from American scout planes search-

a pilot reported

"two

carriers

and four

heavy cruisers" not far north of Misima Island, whereupon Fletcher ordered attack groups launched from both his carriers. The 93 planes

were well on their way before the scout returned and

it

was discov-



ered that the report was an error due to improper coding scout had meant to

Fletcher

made

that the

report two cruisers and two destroyers.

the courageous decision to let the attack proceed,

234

^

Doolittle's

Raid

to the Battle of

Midway

probably thinking that with the Japanese Invasion Force nearby there must be some profitable targets. His boldness was rewarded at 1022

by a report which placed an enemy carrier with several other vessels only 35 miles southeast of the point t6ward which the strike had been

The

sent.

attack group had to alter course only slightly for the

new

target.

The Americans came upon the Shoho about 1 1 00 and, in the first made by American pilots on an enemy carrier, smothered

attack ever

bomb and few minutes. Upon

her with a

1

3

seven torpedo

which sent her down within

hits,

their return, Fletcher decided to withhold a

two enemy carriers were located. Moreenemy knew his position, and it seemed he would soon come under attack.

second strike

until the other

over, he suspected that the likely that

The Japanese series of errors

on the

failed to attack Fletcher

on the 7th only because of a

which by evening reached the

Before 0900

fantastic.

7th, Inouye, directing the Japanese operation

from Rabaul,

One was

Fletcher's; the

had reports of two American

carrier forces.

some 45 miles to the west, was in fact Crace's cruiser-destroyer force. Then came a report from Takagi of a third American carrier in the eastern Coral Sea. This last was actually the oiler Neosho, which had been detached from Fletcher's force the evening before and was other,

proceeding with the destroyer Sims toward a rendezvous.

At 0950 Japanese navy planes took

off

from Rabaul

westernmost of the United States forces. The Japanese

to attack the

pilots returned

with reports that they had sunk a battleship and a cruiser. Actually Crace's force survived without

damage both

by B-26's from Australia, which mistook

The

identification of the

Neosho

Japanese operations, for Hara

at

this attack

and another

his vessels for Japanese.

as a carrier

had a serious

once launched a

full

effect

upon

attack

on the

The Sims with three hits went down her crew. The Neosho took seven but remained afloat

hapless oiler and her escort.

with most of until

her crew was taken off four days

This erroneous attack tion.

As

mined

later.

Tagaki and Hara facing a

night approached, the weather closed in, but

to destroy the

damage

left

American

Hara was

deter-

carriers before they could further

the Invasion Force. Selecting 27 pilots best qualified in night

them out at 1615 estimated the American carriers lay. operations, he sent

It

critical situa-

was not

a

bad gamble,

in the direction in

for in the foul weather

which he

and poor

the Japanese actually passed near Fletcher's force.

visibility

The American

235

Coral Sea Preliminaries

combat

air patrol,

planes and shot

vectored out by radar, intercepted the Japanese

down

An

nine.

hour

later several of the returning

Japanese, mistaking the American carriers for their own, actually

attempted to join the Yorktown's landing circle until American gunners shot

down one and drove

showed planes

circling as

off the others.

The Lexington's radar

for a landing about

if

30 miles

to the east,

which seemed to indicate that the Japanese carriers were very close indeed. Of the Japanese striking group, ten had been shot down,

and eleven others went on

their carriers.

The

into the water in attempting nightlandings

Hara recovered only

six of his 27.

American

pilots of these planes reported the

carriers only

50

60 miles away. Thus each of the opposing commanders was aware of the proximity of the other. Both seriously considered a night surto

face attack,

weaken

and both abandoned the idea because they hesitated

their screens with

Battle of the Coral Sea

to

an enemy near. Thus the main action of the

was postponed another day.

Actually the distance between the two forces was greater than either

commander imagined,

for postwar plots

show

were

that they

nearly a hundred miles apart.

Thus

had been together in the Coral Sea for two had twice come within a hundred miles of each other

far the antagonists

days, and

without exchanging blows.

On

the evening of

May

7 each of the

opposing commanders felt that the enemy was uncomfortably close. There was every likelihood that a decision would be reached the next day. During the night Fletcher withdrew to the south and west, while

Takagi moved north. For both commanders everything depended on locating the

enemy

as

promptly as possible on the morning of the

Both launched searches a

little

reported the other almost simultaneously a

The

contest of

May

8 started

8th.

before dawn, and the scouts of each little

after

0800.

on curiously even terms. Each force

contained two carriers. Fitch had available 121 planes, Hara 122.

The Americans were

stronger in bombers, while the Japanese enjoyed

a preponderance in fighter

and torpedo planes. The Japanese

had more combat experience, and

their

torpedoes were

pilots

better.

another respect the Japanese enjoyed a significant advantage.

In

By

moving south through the night Fletcher had run out of the bad weather area in which he had been operating, and on the 8th his force Japanese remained within the

lay exposed

under clear

frontal area,

under the protection of clouds and rain

skies, while the

Essentially the battle consisted of a

squalls.

simultaneous exchange of

236

^

strikes

by the two carrier

Doolittle's

Raid

Midway

to the Battle of

Between 0900 and 0925 both Amer-

forces.

That of the Yorktown,

ican carriers launched their attack groups. consisting of

24 bombers with two

with four fighters, departed

and nine torpedo planes

fighters,

About 1030

first.

the dive

bombers found

the Japanese carriers with their escorts in loose formation. While the pilots took cloud cover to await the arrival of the torpedo planes, the

Zuikaku disappeared

into a rain squall.

Hence

the attack

fell

only

on the Shokaku.

When

SBD's began

the torpedo planes approached, the

Although the attack was well coordinated, successful.

was only moderately

it

The slow American torpedoes were

bombers succeeded

dive

their dives.

easily avoided, but the

two bombs on the Shokaku. Of

in planting

the Lexington group, which departed about ten minutes later than the

Yorktown's, the 22 dive bombers failed to find the target. Only the eleven torpedo planes and the four scout bombers found the enemy.

Again American torpedoes were ceeded

in

adding another

Shokaku. These three being; because the

to the

hit

damage

The Japanese had fighters at

two already sustained by the

deck prevented her recovering

to her flight

succeeded

tance of 20 miles, ers, the

to

sent off their group of

proceed to Truk.

70 attack planes and 20

about the same time as the American launching. Although

American radar picked them up

fighters

but the bombers suc-

put the Shokaku out of action for the time

Takagi detached her, ordering her

planes,

the

hits

ineffective,

in intercepting still

at

70 miles away, only three

them before

the attack.

At

having met no interference by American

a disfight-

Japanese planes divided into three groups, two of torpedo

planes and one of bombers.

The two American circle

were together

carriers

of screening vessels,

in

the center of their

but evasive maneuvers gradually drew

The screen divided

them

apart.

circle

undoubtedly contributed to the Japanese success

NOW THE

fairly evenly,

.

.

.

JAPANESE DEVELOPED THEIR ATTACK ON

Yorktown and Lexington,

the former

spread and instead taking a

bomb

combing the wakes of a torpedo

hit,

which did not seriously im-

pair her fighting effectiveness. But the slower it.

but this breaking of the

This phase of the battle

is

vividly

"Lady Lex" was

in for

recounted by the carrier's

Coral Sea Preliminaries skipper, Captain Frederick C. Sherman, one of the officers in the

Navy, who rose

wrote feature

articles

True to naval

doomed

vessel.

to full

237

most decorated

Admiral and upon retirement

on naval subjects for the Chicago Tribune.

tradition,

Sherman was

the last

man

to leave the

ADMIRAL FREDERICK

C.

SHERMAN

,'•

4"

ABANDON

At 10:14

a

SHIP!

Yorktown

fighter

on combat patrols spotted a Kawanishi

four-engine flying boat and promptly shot

radar showed a large group of

it

down. At 10:55 the

enemy planes approaching from

the

northeast.

At 11:13 the Lexington's lookout sighted the first of the atThe battle was on. The weather was bright and sunny, with hardly a cloud in the sky. The Japanese had no difficulty in finding us. On the sparkling, tropical sea, we were visible from miles away. Our move to the south the night before had given the enemy this advantage, but it also meant that they had no cloud cover to mask their approach. The clear tackers.

visibility

gave our anti-aircraft guns

Fighter direction was

still

in its early stage of

was on board the Lexington for were 17

in

all,

eight

full play.

development. Control

the fighters in the

all

with Lieutenant "Red" Gill as fighter-direction early

There

air.

from the Yorktown plus the Lexington's officer.

model radar we had on board picked up the enemy

The

nine,

single,

aircraft at a

distance of 68 miles, but gave no indication of their altitude.

those old radars

enemy

planes.

We

it

was

felt

also

that

if

distinguish friendly

from

our fighters were sent far out on

inter-

difficult

ception, they might miss the contact,

and thus be wasted.

We

On

to

owing

to differences in altitude

were also influenced by the

belief that the

torpedo planes represented the greater hazard and that they would

238

Abandon come

239

Ship!

we kept our fighters close in overhead, at 10,000 feet, ready to attack when the enemy groups arrived at their "push-over" point. The Dauntless dive bombers on anti-torpedoin low. Accordingly,

plane patrol were stationed at 2,000

learned in this battle that to break up an air attack to intercept

at

it

remembered

a

much

that this

it

was necessary

greater distance from the carriers.

was the

first

We

6,000 yards out.

feet,

carrier duel in history,

It

must be

and we were

learning our tactics by experience. Nevertheless, our defending planes

did a magnificent job.

Five Lexington fighters were vectored out at

oncoming

craft.

group of 50 to

1 1

:

02

to intercept the

They made contact 20 miles away and reported one 60 planes stacked in layers from 10,000 to 13,000

with torpedo planes in the lowest level, then fighters, then dive

feet,

bombers, then more

Two

fighters in this group.

had been sent low

to look for torpedo

other three fighters in the intercepting unit climbed madly

and dashed

for altitude

down

and 24

of our five fighters

The

planes.

There were approximately 18 torpedo

fighters.

planes, 18 dive bombers,

in to attack.

Engaged by the Zeros, they shot bombers before they started

several but were unable to stop the

The two low

their dives.

dropped down for

torpedo planes as they

fighters attacked the

their part in the battle, but

were unsuccessful

in

stopping them.

The in

air fighting

with the

now became

enemy and

the sky

a melee.

Our own

was black with

planes were mixed

flak bursts.

The Japa-

nese spent no time in maneuvering, but dived straight in for the

The huge Lexington dwarfed

kill.

the other ships in the formation and

bore the brunt of the attack.

was

It

roaring

beautifully coordinated.

down

in steep dives

From my

bridge

from many points

I

saw bombers

in the sky,

and torpedo

planes coming in on both

nothing

I

bows almost simultaneously. There was could do about the bombers, but I could do something to

avoid the torpedoes.

As

I

straight

thin

saw a bomb leave one of the planes, for where I stood on the bridge. Had

armored shield?

no use dodging, and

had work

The

to

ideal

do

if

If it

to

my name on

not, there

to try to

way

had

was no need

I

seemed

better

it,

I

to be

coming

duck behind the

thought, there was

to worry.

At any

rate, I

evade the torpedoes.

drop torpedoes was for groups of planes to

simultaneously on both bows. In this method,

toward one group to parallel to the other.

it

The timing was

its

torpedoes,

vital.

it

if

let

go

the target ship turned

presented

its

broadside

The enormous Lexington was very

240

^

Doolittle's

slow in returning.

When

over.

It

Raid

Midway

to the Battle of

took 30 to 40 seconds

she did start to turn, she

put the rudder hard

just to

moved

majestically

and ponder-

ously in a large circle. Maneuverability was greatly improved in later carriers.

As

I

seemed

saw the enemy torpedo planes coming to

me

They were approaching

in

and the din was

1,000 yards away,

I

McKenzie, for hard

motioned left

all

to the

rudder.

it

we

seemed an

It

of anti-aircraft

full

helmsman, Chief Quartermaster

seemed

around

was

air

considered

the planes to port were about

enemy planes

in all directions

were also dropping

The

When

terrific.

started to turn, just as the

The water

on both bows,

steep glides, faster than

practicable for torpedo dropping. bursts

in

that those to port were closer than those to starboard.

eternity before the

bow

started disgorging their fish.

of torpedo wakes.

full

Bombs

Great geysers of water from near

us.

misses were going up higher than our masts, and occasionally the ship

shuddered from the explosions of the ones that In less than a minute, the

first

hit.

torpedoes had passed astern.

We

quickly shifted rudder to head for the second group of planes. These split

up

Then

it

on both bows, the hardest maneuver for us

to fire

became

a matter of wriggling

as best we could to remember seeing two beam, and there was nothing I

and twisting

avoid the deadly weapons heading our way.

wakes coming

straight for our port

to counter.

I

could do about them. The wakes approached the ship's side, and

braced myself for the explosion. Nothing happened.

I

I

rushed to the

starboard bridge, and there were the wakes emerging from that side.

The torpedoes were running too deep and had passed completely under the

My

ship.

on the bridge was Commander H.

air officer

S.

Duckworth,

"Don't change course, Captain!" he exclaimed. "There's a torpedo on each side of us running parallel!"

50 yards on

Enemy

either

beam and both

planes were being shot

We

held our course with a torpedo

disappeared without

finally

down

right

and

around us was dotted with the towering flames of casses. still

One

plane turned upside

slung on

its

belly.

framework around the explained

why

Before

it

missile's

down

as

sank,

we

left,

hitting.

and the water

their burning car-

hit the water, its

torpedo

noticed a peculiar

wooden

it

nose and propeller mechanism. This

the Japanese were able to drop their torpedoes at such

high speeds and altitudes.

The cushioning

devices permitted

them

to

enter the water without excessive shock to the delicate machinery. It

was a scheme Japanese

still

at least a

undeveloped by our ordnance experts, and gave the

temporary superiority

in

torpedo warfare.



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