Logistic Support at Seeadler and at Sea
On 10 September 1944 the destroyer tender Piedmont, Commander M.D. MacGregor, from Eniwetok, and on the 14th the tender Sierra, Captain P.B. Koonce, from Espiritu, reported to Captain Ogden, commanding Task Unit 30.9.1, at Seeadler, issued supplies, and serviced ships alongside and at anchor. On the 15th the repair ship Prometheus, Captain C.C. Laws, arrived and did routine repairs for a week before moving onto Kossol Passage. She also furnished medical, surgical, and dental services to both naval and merchant vessels, as did other ships, for where large numbers of ships crowded with human beings are gathered, the occurrence of sickness and injuries was inescapable, and many vessels had no medical department other than a hospital corpsman and a medical kit. On 18 September the Castor, a stores issue ship, Captain F.C. Huntoon, arrived and for more than a month issued stores to 143 fleet units.
Service Unit at Seeadler--Oilers with the Fast Carrier Group--Ammunition, Smoke, Water, Provisions, Salvage
U.S.S. Jason. In the middle of September the Jason, Commander E.F. Beck, came from Purvis Bay, assumed her heavy-hull repair duties at Seeadler, and performed her first major job on the Millicoma, which had been in collision but somehow managed to creep into the harbor under her own power. This oiler had taken the blow on her starboard quarter at her steering-engine room and been opened for 40 feet. Her 5-inch and 3-inch gun platforms had been demolished. Torn and twisted metal had to be cut away and bulkheads and decks sealed. By working around the clock the energetic officers and crew of the Jason finished the job in 9
Ships in Seeadler Harbor, Manus Island, in the Admiralty Islands
Argonne damaged by the blowing up of the Mt. Hood
days, and with her steering-engine room in full commission again the Millicoma sailed for Terminal Island, California.
While still at Manus in October, the Jasonhad another collision repair job. This time it was the tanker Esso Balboa, of Panamanian registry. The bow of another vessel had penetrated the starboard bow of the tanker to a maximum depth of 30 feet and the shell plating was ripped to about 8 feet below the load water line, while a 40-mm. gun had been torn from its base and the degaussing, light, and power cables cut. Working on a 24-hour basis again, the Jason finished the job in 14 days. Fifteen thousand man-hours and 55,000 pounds of steel were put into this job. Such was the "on the spot" efficiency of emergency repairs from floating equipment.
U.S.S. Mindanao. The internal-combustion-engine repair ship, Mindanao, Captain G.B. Evans, arrived in Seeadler from Espiritu Santo 18 September, reported to Captain Ogden for duty, and made repairs on destroyers and destroyer escorts, ammunition ships, cargo vessels, mine sweepers, carrier escorts, operations headquarters ship, landing ships (tank), patrol craft, and landing craft (infantry) steadily until 10 November. That day the Mount Hood, an ammunition ship, anchored 1,100 yards from Captain Ogden's flagship, the Argonne, blew up. The Mindanao, only 350 yards away, was badly damaged, besides having 23 killed and 174 wounded. The Medusa donated 17 units of blood plasma, came alongside the riddled ship and made structural, electrical, and miscellaneous engineering, radar, and radio repairs. The Mindanao, having cared for so many vessels, now had to have treatment herself. It was like having the family doctor confined to the hospital. However, after about a month's "hospitalization" the Mindanao was back on duty and resumed her repair services to the fleet. During the last 10 days of December she serviced 20 ships of various types at Manus. Captain Ogden's flagship, the Argonne, also suffered from the disintegrating explosion, with personnel casualties, a 12-inch searchlight destroyed, 5 transmitting antennas broken away, and steam, fresh-water, and salt-water lines ruptured.
U.S.S. Lassen. The ammunition carrier Lassen, Commander J.E. Wade, reached Seeadler 10 September to make issues to ships needing them; 5-inch .38-caliber flashless and nonflashless, 20- and 40-mm. ammunition, 100-, 200-, 1,000-, and 2,00-pound aircraft bombs, tail vanes, safety clips, arming wires, and tail and nose fuzes were delivered. The Lassen's skillful crew, reinforced by 30 men Captain Ogden had sent while she was at Manus, worked expeditiously. At 9:40 a.m. 21
September the light cruiser Biloxi came alongside to starboard; at 10:50 a.m. the heavy cruiser New Orleans to port. By 2:35 p.m. the Biloxi had taken 717 6-inch .47-caliber projectiles, 350 detonating fuzes, and 10 catapult charges. At 4:35 p.m. the New Orleans cleared after receiving 1,202 5-inch .25-caliber charges, 100 8-inch .55-caliber projectiles, and 82 catapult charges. It need scarcely be said that the handling of projectiles, powder, and fuzes and detonators requires the utmost care at all times, and especially when the transfer is made between two vessels at anchor. Some of the unsung heroism of the war is to be found in the officers and men of ammunition ships. When working their deadly cargoes to service the fleet, sometimes close to enemy action, they went about their perilous duties without fanfare or boast, and more than once checked imminent disaster by quick and extremely courageous action.
U.S.S. Pamanset. As provided for in Admiral Halsey's operation plan the Pamanset, Commander D.J. Houle, was one of those assigned to Task Group 30.8 fleet oiler and transport carrier group under the command of Captain Acuff. She left Manus 1 September, fueled the light cruiser Reno, the small carrier Langley,and three destroyers at sea. Net day she serviced the light cruiser Birmingham, and two destroyers, dispensing 23,559 barrels of fuel oil and 15,00 gallons of gasoline. Returning to Seeadler Harbor, where the commercial tankerFort Bridges was anchored, she took aboard 26,561 barrels of black oil and on the 12th was at sea again for her fueling rendezvous. on the 15th and 16th she fueled the cruiser Santa Fe and five destroyers at sea, delivering 23,386 barrels of oil and 380 barrels of Diesel fuel. Still at sea, she replenished her supply by taking 21,996 barrels of oil and 11,416 gallons of gasoline from the oiler Kaskaskia. Making rendezvous with Task Group 38.1 she fueled the carriers Wasp and Hornet, the cruiser Boston, and seven destroyers with 14,435 barrels of fuel and 34,860 gallons of gasoline. Before returning to Seeadler she replenished the fleet oiler Enoree with fuel oil, Diesel oil, and aviation gasoline.
Again at Seeadler 24 September she filled up from the commercial tanker Bull Run with 44,788 barrels of fuel. Captain Ogden's station oiler, the Armadillo, gave her 1,517 barrels of Diesel oil and 257,292 gallons of gasoline. On the 29th she went alongside the light carrier Monterey in the harbor and gave her 8.054 barrels of oil and 28,980 gallons of gasoline. On the 28th she pumped 6,789 barrels of fuel and 22,974 gallons of gasoline into the light carrier Cowpens. This gives in some detail the oil picture for one ship for one month, with commercial tanker bringing cargo out from the United States and station tanker at
the fleet anchorage operating under a service squadron unit, each ship carrying out separate functions to support current operations.
U.S.S. Arctic. At Manus from 20 to 30 September the Arctic, Lieutenant Commander C.R. Frasier, issued dry and small quantities of fresh and frozen foods to ships present, and in October provided officers, winchmen, hatch tenders, and supply personnel to make fleet issues of fresh and frozen provisions from the S.S. Bluejacket. The introduction of this large merchant reefer ship was of great significance for future logistic support of fleet operations, as she was the first of her type to be used for fleet issues. In 6 days she gave out 3,800 tons of fresh and frozen provisions.
All fleet oilers under CinCPac, except those assigned to Northern Pacific forces or undergoing overhaul, were used in support of STALEMATE II. They were to operate with the Third Fleet, beginning 20 August, to fuel all ships during the operation. Intensive preparations had been going on at Eniwetok during August to get them ready, and on the 19th Commander Service Squadron Ten reported that the first contingent of 12 ships was being given last-minute services preparatory to sailing for Seeadler Harbor, which was to serve during STALEMATE as a principal resupply base. Squadron Ten's oilers had before that been designated as Fifth Fleet Task Group 50.17, but on departure for Seeadler assumed a new designation: Task Group 30.8. Its composition changed repeatedly during the operation through the necessity of returning empty oilers to advanced bases for refilling and return.
Fueling Activities of Task Group 30.8
On 20 August the first oiler group of 4 units of 3 oilers each left Eniwetok with 1 escort carrier and 10 escort vessels. Captain Acuff was in command of the destroyer John D. Henley. On reaching Seeadler Harbor 26 August he reported the task group carried 1,149,000 barrels of fuel oil, 79,000 barrels of Diesel fuel, and 4,749,0000 gallons of aviation gasoline.
The arrival of the Caliente at Eniwetok from Pearl on 24 August completed the second oiler group. Besides her standard load she brought hose for the fleet tankers. This second group formed Task Unit 30.8.14, further divided into smaller units numbered 30.8.5-6-7-8. Captain W.T. Rassieur had over-all command in the escort carrier Sargent Bay. After completing their loading, the 12 oilers left Eniwetok 26 August with 2
escort carriers, 2 destroyers, and 7 destroyer escorts as screen, reached Seeadler 31 August, and reported to Captain Acuff for further disposition.
On 1 September, Task Units 30.8.1, 30.8.2, and 30.8.4 left Seeadler for the first fueling operations of the current campaign upon rendezvous with Task Force 38. They delivered mail to various units, fueled them on the 2d and 3d, and on the 5th returned to Seeadler for reloading and orders, having delivered 85,000 barrels of Navy special fuel, 1,000 barrels of Diesel oil, and 132,000 gallons of aviation gasoline. Task Force 38 (less Task Unit 38.4) meanwhile proceeded to the vicinity of Palau, where preliminary strikes were conducted t6 to 8 September. Task Units 30.8.5 and 30.8.6, having left Seeadler 4 September, fueled Task Force 38 near Palau on the 8th, prior to the latter's departure for the Mindanao raids.
On the 6th, Task Units 30.8.3 and 30.8.12 (composed of two carrier escorts and two destroyer escorts) sortied from Seeadler for rendezvous with Task Group 38.4, returning from Yap. On 9 September the oilers issued 88,000 barrels of Navy special fuel and 258,000 gallons of aviation gasoline to the task group east of Yap, after which the latter took over further neutralization of Palau.
Task Unit 30.8.8, the Schuylkill, Millicoma, and Pecos, remained at Seeadler until the 8th, then left to fuel Admiral Wilkinson's Task Force 32. While under way to the forward area the Millicoma collided with the Schuylkill, but both ships conducted fueling operations as scheduled. The latter's war diary reported: "Part of Schuylkill fueling was done with only two fueling pumps and one boiler--auxiliary generator had broken valve stem and unable to supply power. Used steam on one fueling pump, and cut out one boiler to cut down load. No one apparently noticed any difference." Several days later the two ships received orders to return to Seeadler for repairs. They were complemented on the Schuylkill by 30 September by ComServRon Ten, but the Millicoma was later returned to the west coast.
Between the 12th and 16th the four groups of Task Force 38 were fueled at sea with 247,000 barrels of Navy special fuel, 1,000 barrels of Diesel oil, and 712,000 gallons of aviation gasoline. Throughout the operations, oilers with remnant cargoes consolidated them with other oilers before returning for reloading. The operation plan provided that "empty oilers or those with less than 15,000 barrels of black oil" should be returned to Seeadler or Eniwetok for reloading. Consequently there was constant shifting in and out of the fueling areas. As Seeadler, Service Squadron Ten's representative, Captain S.B. Ogden, reloaded the
The Boston fueling a destroyer.
empties from commercial tankers or shore storage. To insure emergency reserves of fuel there and to expedite the turn-around of tankers to forward areas, he also had several unclassified storage tankers and barges sent from Eniwetok, among them the Arethusa, Silver Cloud, Caribou, and Armadillo. Upon reloading, Captain Ogden regrouped the oiler task units and directed them to scheduled fueling areas or to rendezvous with Commander Task Group 30.8, who remained in the destroyer John D. Henley at sea in the forward area.
Task Unit 30.8.7 was retained at Seeadler by Commander Task Group 30.8 in a stand-by status, and consisted now of Caliente, Tomahawk, and Kennebago. The two latter were sent out 11 September to take the places of Schuylkill and Millicoma. Caliente remained at Seeadler until the 18th, when she left for Kossol Passage, Palau Islands, fueling units of Task Force 32 on the way.
Task Unit 30.8.9 was designated as a stand-by of three oilers in the South Pacific to be available when needed by Captain Acuff. Two others, Task Units 30.8.10 and 30.8.11, composed of two and three oilers, respectively, were stand-bys in the Marshalls area, while 30.8.12 and 30.8.13, of two carrier escorts and two destroyer escorts each, operated with the oilers and furnished aircraft replacement for Task Force 38.
Vice Admiral McCain's action report on STALEMATE, in which his Task Group 38.1 participated in operations against Palau, Mindanao, the Visayas, Luzon, Celebes, and Morotai, gave an account of Task Group 30.8's activities in his support. From 29 August to 24 September, when the group returned to Manus for reprovisioning, his ships were fueled at sea 6 times: 2, 8, 11, 17, 19, and 23 September. In addition there was frequent topping off of 53 destroyers by the large ships between general tanker fuelings. He stated that all tanker fuelings went smoothly and efficiently. The maximum time taken for any was 7 hours 41 minutes, the minimum 6 hours 11 minutes, with general fuelings at speeds of 10 to 12 knots, while destroyers were topped off at speeds up to 17 knots. Because of her high fuel consumption, the Wichita, as compared with the Boston class of cruiser, presented a problem during the necessary high speed of operation. In 1 day the Wichita burned 15 percent of her total fuel capacity, the Boston 11.3 percent, and the Canberra only 9.1 percent. This high rate made the Wichita's use in topping off destroyer impractical.
Admiral Wilkinson's fueling plan for his Assault Task Force 31 provided that ships were to be initially fueled before departure for the forward area, with larger vessels fueling the smaller ones en route. Port
facilities for fueling him were also available in limited quantities by ServRon Ten at Eniwetok, Kwajalein, Majuro and Manus; at Tarawa; by ServRon Twelve at Guam; and by ServRonSoPac at Tulagi and Espiritu Santo.
To replenish fleet oilers, the Area Petroleum Office of ComServPac arranged for the delivery at Manus of approximately 1,000,00 barrels of fuel, and in September sent 1,250,000 barrels to Marshalls bases, 4,150,000 to Manus, 500,000 to South Pacific bases, and 1,000,000 to Pearl.
Fueling the ships of the Seventh Fleet for the Morotai landings did not involve the at-sea operations undertaken for the Third Fleet. Tankers were stationed at a number of bases in the area to which ships could return for replenishment--Manus, Hollandia, Woendi, Finschhafen, and Milne Bay. The South Pacific was mainly a staging area, hence most of the fueling by Service Force South Pacific occurred before D-day and consisted of making the various units ready to join the Third Fleet. During August the area received 906,000 barrels of fuel, 304,000 barrels of Diesel oil, 11,420,000 gallons of aviation gasoline, and 5,426,000 gallons of motor gasoline. In September the area dispensed 777,000 barrels of fuel oil, 242,000 barrels of Diesel oil, 4,899,000 gallons of aviation gasoline, and 7,987,000 gallons of motor gasoline.
Captain Acuff's action reports as Commander Task Group 30.8 for this operation recommended that because of the vulnerability of the slow-moving oilers one escort vessel be provided for each one, and also for each escort carrier loaded with aircraft replenishments. He also stressed the need for additional carrier escorts because of the insufficiency of aircraft replacements.
Comments and Recommendations Concerning Oiler Groups
Commander Third Fleet, in over-all charge of STALEMATE, listed the following lessons learned regarding oiler groups:
"(a) There has been too great a tendency to discount the need for adequate escorts for oiler and CVE groups. We have been extremely lucky; our oiler groups for Stalemate were pure submarine bait. A minimum of one escort per oiler and two per CVE should be provided. This will become important as we move closer to Empire waters. Also, for extensive long-range operations, one fleet tug and one salvage ship should be assigned with each group of three oilers which are kept at sea in advanced positions.
Fueling from both sides.
"(b) Operational control of replenishment and service elements through the establishment of such agencies as 30.8 and 30.9 have worked out well in practice and is recommended for consideration.
"(c) Proficiency in fueling at sea by all units should continue to be emphasized as a vital military necessity. The doctrine that all ships make approach on oilers is sound and should be standardized. In estimating oiler requirements for an operation as much emphasis should be placed on number of oiler sides available for simultaneous fueling as on total quantity of oil required. A little extravagance in number of oilers will pay big dividends when time is an essential factor. Two large ships may be fueled simultaneously from one oiler under favorable conditions with some sacrifice of pumping rate. In order to complete the fueling of a large force expeditiously, destroyers must be fueled by heavy ships waiting their turn to fuel from tankers . . . It is feasible with favorable wind and sea conditions to fuel two battleships simultaneously from one tanker. Due to the possibility of crushing the tanker, this practice should not be resorted to excepting in emergency when the possible loss of the tanker is a secondary consideration. Under unfavorable wind and sea conditions it is sometimes desirable for the heavy ship to maintain station on the tanker rather than vice versa, as prescribed in Fueling at Sea Instructions.
"(d)" While it is fully recognized that logistic responsibility for the Task Fleet devolves upon the Commander Service Force, nevertheless the Commander Service Force will be better enabled to give service if the Task Fleet Commander can clearly state his needs. Third Fleet experience indicates that the staff of a Task Fleet Commander must include a line officer widely versed in oiler matters and concerned with oiler operations, and also an officer of the supply corps familiar with the operations, capabilities, and limitations of the facilities of the Service Force."
Captain H.J. Martin, Commander Destroyer Squadron 51, whose ships were assigned to Fleet Oiler Task Unit 30.8.1, recommended in his action report on the seizure of Peleliu and Ulithi that in the future fleet oiler task units operate as part of the carrier task force so that they would have the maximum of air and submarine protection. Captain Acuff, commander of the oiler units, believed such a plan impractical because of the tactical inexperience of oiler officers, lack of speed, and the frequent change of task-force objectives. This is borne out in Commander Third Fleet's endorsement, in which he states that fast carrier task forces
"are highly trained teams whose maneuverability and mobility should not be
encumbered by units not contributing directly to the combat mission. Keeping in mind a reasonable risk of war, adequate protection for the service units operating in support of combatant groups can be provided by suitable air and surface escorts and by dispositions designed to keep the combatant groups between the service units and the most probable enemy threat. Operations may arise where it will be necessary to include service units in the combatant groups. These should be regarded as special cases only, and such inclusion should terminate as soon as the tactical situation will permit."
Operation Plan 14-44 for STALEMATE provided that all vessels would be armed to capacity before departure from mounting points. During the operation, ships would receive resupply from six ammunition ships and two or more cargo ships at Seeadler Harbor, or routed from there by Service Squadron Ten representative. Following completion of the operation, (a) replacement ammunition would be available at Pearl; (b) vessels remaining in Central Pacific areas would replenish from an AE withdrawn from Manus, and from shore supply points; (c) vessels retiring to South Pacific areas would replenish 6-inch ammunition and below from shore stocks in the South Pacific, and if larger sizes were required and not available, special shipments would be sent; (d) should vessels of the Third Fleet retire to Southwest Pacific bases, Third Fleet's AE's would provide ammunition.
For resupply in the combat area, the ammunition ships Mauna Loa and Shasta left Seeadler 15 September for Kossol Passage, Palau Islands, and upon arrival on the 18th immediately began rearming battleships and cruisers of the Naval Gunfire Support Group. On the 22d the Lassen also left Seeadler for Kossol, where she issued replacement ammunition to the support group and to Task Force 38.3. Most fire-support ships for STALEMATE were supplied in the Solomons, with the exception of the battleships Mississippi, which had been overhauled and loaded on the west coast, and the Maryland, loaded at Pearl after completion of battle-damage repairs. Naval Base Tulagi reported for August 1944 that the magazine issued 2,600 tons of ammunition to destroyers, cruisers, and battleships, and 500 tons to landing craft. The Tennessee, which collided on 23 August with the California, was able to join the fire-support group after repair, but the Californiadid not leave Espiritu until 18 September.
Gasoline lighter and an LCT alongside the carrier Intrepid.
Transferring bombs from LST to the carrier Hancock at sea.
Rehearsal for Phase I of STALEMATE for fire-support ships was held in the Cape Esperance area, Guadalcanal, 27 to 29 August. The Sangay, with 2,936 tons of ammunition, arrived there from the west coast on 6 September, accompanied the group to the objective, and during the early hours of D-day, 15 September, lay off Peleliu Island ready to make issues. She remained in the vicinity until afternoon of the 21st, when she went to Kossol Passage, joining the Mauna Loa and Shasta. Next day the three were joined by the Lassen, and all four issued replacement ammunition to retiring vessels. By the 27th, 66 ships of various types were in Kossol Passage. Because of the total lack of anchorages in the vicinity of Anguar and Peleliu, Kossol proved a roadstead where ships could await call to unload at Peleliu, and also where replenishment of fuel, stores, and ammunition was accomplished. It was used extensively through October and November 1944 as a staging area en route from New Morotai (Operation INTERLUDE); ammunition was supplied at a number of bases in the area, and from 5 ammunition ships which visited Hollandia and Woendi during August and September.
In August, Task Force 38 replenished its fuel, provisions, and ammunition at Eniwetok. On 22 August, Service Squadron Ten reported issuing to 3 battleships, 6 large and 6 light carriers, 6 cruisers, and 38 destroyers. On the 26th, 4 battleships, 5 large and 3 light carriers, 2 destroyers, and 2 destroyer escorts got their issues. The Victory ships Plymouth Victory, Rutland Victory, Aberdeen Victory, Wilbur Wright, and Cape Trinity were among the commercial vessels bringing ammunition to Eniwetok at this time because of the lack of sufficient Navy AE's.
Commander Third Fleet's report on STALEMATErecommended that ammunition ships be loaded in two categories: Those intended to serve the fast carrier task forces, and those serving the fire-support ships. The first type should include in their cargoes stocks of miscellaneous items such as starter cartridges, etc., supplies by ComAirPac. Medium-caliber ammunition and bombs should be furnished at sea to combatant vessels by fleet oilers. Some small experiments had been made during STALEMATE in transferring ammunition at sea. Results were satisfactory and warranted development, but is was not until the Okinawa campaign in April 1945 that large amounts were passed from ship to ship at sea.
The report made one further comment on ammunition supply: "The practice of making routine reports of ammunition, adequate for planning operations, has fallen into disuse in Pacific Ocean areas. During STALEMATE the information received would have been adequate for defensive or limited offensive operations committed to a set pattern, but was not
adequate to meet rapid and radical changes of plans or extensions of offensive operations taking advantage of enemy weakness."
Smoke Equipment. After the Saipan-Tinian-Guam operations, Vice Admiral R.K. Turner, Commander Fifth Amphibious Force, recommended that smoke be made available in large quantities, so all ships could be supplied. However, the expected smoke pots and floats were drastically curtailed because of the Port Chicago ammunition depot fire, which destroyed the greater part of the smoke-making material intended for the Pearl Harbor area. It was therefore impossible to supply the Guadalcanal section of Phase I of STALEMATE prior to its departure from Pearl. At Guadalcanal substitutions were made, so eventually all ships had the prescribed allowance or its equivalent before going to the forward area.
Water. The problem of getting fresh water to the smaller ships which did not have distilling apparatus became increasingly acute as the fleet moved westward. Large combatant ships and auxiliaries were ordered to issue water to small craft needing it, but demands could not be met solely in this way. The newly commissioned fleet oilers Ocklawaha and Ponaganset were used to carry potable water to ships and bases in the forward area.
Water was available at a number of points in the South Pacific for the Third Fleet, and in the Southwest Pacific for the Morotai Interlude forces. It was likewise available on certain harbor craft in the Marshalls. At Manus, where 2,000,000 gallons a day, filtered and chlorinated, were available, it could be obtained after 1 September for both Third Fleet and Southwest Pacific forces. Besides the shore facilities at Manus, YO-186, with 55,000 barrels, and YW-90, with 280,000 gallons, were sent to Captain Ogden from Eniwetok late in August. They had been filled from the Ponaganset and from surplus in ships returning to Pearl.
In the South Pacific area where most of the amphibious forces were serviced, the naval base at Tulagi estimated that between 15 August and 1 September 20,917,000 gallons of water was supplied to LST's, LCI's, and small craft. No figures are available for Guadalcanal, but that base supplied water in tremendous quantities to the ships and troops which staged in that area.
The Ponaganset, with 90,000 barrels of water, reached Eniwetok 2 August, discharged cargo, and returned to Pearl to reload. With a fresh 90,000 barrels aboard, she was ordered to Guadalcanal to take part in the logistic preparations of the amphibious forces. From 27 August to 4 September she discharged fresh water to various harbor and patrol craft,
Taking sugar on the carrier Lexington at night.
LCI's, and to units of LST Flotilla 13. She replenished in part from YW-62 and 4 September left for Manus in company with Task Group 32.19. Here on the 10th she became part of Ogden's Task Unit 30.9.1, and after receiving an additional 30,798 barrels of water sortied with the fleet oiler units 30.8.1 and 30.8.3 on the 13th for the Palau area. From 19 September to 4 October she lay off the southern tip of Peleliu giving water to various landing craft. Then she went to anchor in Kossol Passage to continue operations, not returning to Manus for a fresh cargo until the 17th.
The Ocklawaha arrived in Eniwetok 27 August, discharged her 100,000 barrels of water cargo, and sailed for Pearl the 29th. She returned 22 September with the Severn in time to service the amphibious forces which put in for replenishment on the 25th. The Severn carried 4,033,218 gallons of fresh water on her first trip since commissioning, and after servicing ships at anchor and discharging into the Ocklawaha left Eniwetok the 28th with Task Group 33.1 for the next operation.
For land-based forces, enough water was carried ashore to allow 2 gallons per man per day for 5 day, plus distilling apparatus to provide 5 gallons per man per day for the garrison troops. Distillation continued until the local water could be purified to allow 5 gallons a day for each man. This was adequate but not excessive. Some 5-gallon containers could not be used for drinking purposes because they had not been sufficiently cleaned and gave an oily taste and smell to the water.
Fresh and Dry Provisions. Provisions stores ships were routed to the Marshalls area, particularly Eniwetok, during August of 1944, and to Manus during September. Those reaching Manus late in September were generally sent to Kossol Passage or to Ulithi to provision Third Fleet ships remaining in the area after the STALEMATE operation. Task forces of the Third Fleet assembling in the South Pacific were provisioned by Commander Service Squadrons South Pacific Force, and included battleships, cruisers, destroyers, escort vessels, mine sweepers, troop transports, attack cargo and transport ships, and escort carriers, 127 in all.
Figures for the naval base at Espiritu Santo for a 3-day period, 8-10 September, show 184 tons of fresh and dry provisions issued to 25 ships. This contrasts with Squadron Ten issue of 1,715 tons of fresh and frozen only at Eniwetok, 25-28 August, to the ships of Task Force 38.
Since fresh and frozen supplies were never available in the quantities desired, larger ships (light cruisers and above) were initially provisioned,
as already mentioned, on the basis of serving at least one complete dry ration every sixth day. Smaller ships were given preference in provision issues, and were also to given foodstuffs from larger vessels as needed. Supplies of dry provisions for all vessels were not to exceed 120 days for ship's company and 60 days for embarked troops. All types of provisions for ships in the Morotai Operation (INTERLUDE) were available, either from provision ships in harbor or ashore at supply depots in Milne Bay, Finschhafen, Madang, Manus, Hollandia, and Woendi.
The provisions stores ship Calamares, one of several reefers assigned top Service Force Seventh Fleet in support of Operation INTERLUDE, left the west coast 22 August with a fresh and frozen cargo, reached Manus 13 September, and discharged into the supply depot. Leaving there 15 September she touched at Hollandia, Mios, Woendi, Madang, Alexishafen, Langemake Bay, Milne Bay, and finally at Brisbane and Townsville, Australia.
Salvage. Salvage ships for fleet use were maintained in the Tulagi-Purvis Bay area. Three of them, the fleet tugs Pawnee, Menominee, and Munsee, participated in early staging operations with the amphibious forces, later accompanying them to Peleliu for D-day. They mainly assisted beached or disabled landing craft and remained in the Palau area until early October. Fleet tugs Yuma and Apache, rescue tug ATR-33, and auxiliary ocean tug ATA-123 assisted in salvage of the Army craft FP-147, which ran aground 6 September. Yuma was sent to aid the hospital ship Samaritan, which struck a reef 23 September while carrying more than 600 battle casualties from Peleliu, while Apache took charge of salvage and rescue work on the Elihu Thomson, which struck a mine field on the 26th, and towed her to Noumea.
The salvage vessel Grapple fueled and provisioned at Purvis Bay and sailed 4 September with Task Group 32.19 to the vicinity of Peleliu. On the 15th, as the initial landings were being made, her duty was to lay mooring buoys close in to the assault beaches. On the 17th she went to assist the destroyer Wadleigh,, which struck a mine the previous day while sweeping the eastern entrance to Kossol Passage. After completing salvage work on the destroyer, the Grapple on 2 October continued her work in the vicinity of Peleliu and Anguar Islands.
The fleet tug Zuni, previously in the Marshalls-Marianas area, reached Kossol 20 September towing the 3,500-ton floating drydock ARD-17, and joined the Menominee, Pawnee, and Munsee in salvage work. Later the landing-craft repair ship Endymion also came to Kossol.
Salvage being a vital phase of logistics, numerous fleet tugs operated
in the Marshalls and Marianas, at Eniwetok, Kwajalein, Saipan, and Guam, available for the STALEMATE operation through ComServRon Ten. Among them were the Arapaho, Chowanoc, Sioux, Chickasaw, Potawatomi, Pakana, and Lipan. In the Morotai (INTERLUDE) engagement the fleet tugs Quapaw, Sonoma, and Hidatsa accompanied the assault forces to the objective and, shortly after the first wave of troops go ashore, assisted in hauling stranded landing craft from the beaches.
The STALEMATE operation plan provided that landing forces would salvage for overhaul all possible landing craft damaged in the assault, including amphibious tractors and trucks, before withdrawal from the beaches. After the assault forces left, the island commander was responsible for further salvage. Hulls which could not be repaired were stripped of all useful parts, and craft unrepairable locally were returned to Oahu for overhaul.
In addition to the fleet tugs and salvage vessels with the landing forces, several LCI's in each attack force were quipped with towlines and salvage and fire-fighting equipment for assisting damaged landing craft. All ships were directed to be ready to tow or be towed; damaged ships in danger of sinking were to be beached in territory under our control. Despite our preparations, however, the beaches were congested with damaged amphibious craft which to some extent impeded unloading. This emphasized the need of an organized salvage section to go ashore with the initial landing parties to undertake on-the-spot repairs. It further demonstrated that the two LST's assigned to repair more than 400 LVT's and DUKW's were inadequate. A recommendation was made by Commander Task Force 36 (land-based troops) that one LST for every hundred such craft be provided in similar operations.
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