Cincpac File No.
  Serial 0495
U.S.S. RIGEL, Temporary Flagship.
17 February 1942


Commander-in-Chief, United States Pacific Fleet.
Subject: Gunnery Information.
Enclosure: (A) Gunnery Bulletin No. 1-42.

1. Enclosure (A) is forwarded for information.

2. It is the intention of the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, to formulate and forward similar bulletins from time to time.

3. It is requested that all material that may be considered of value for publication be forwarded directly to this office in memorandum form with copies to intervening seniors.

H. C. TRAIN.      
Assistant Chief of Staff.

List II, Case 2;
P, X2, EN3, EN6,
ND11-ND14, NY8-10,
NB49, NT1-11.
Cominch (10)
Cincaf (30)
Cinclant (50)

Flag Secretary.

U.S.S. RIGEL, Temporary Flagship



The following notes are taken from the experiences of our own ships in action. The correction of defects noted lies in some cases within the battery, in others, within the ship, and in still others, outside the ship.

The purpose of the bulletin is to give information.

There is no analysis and very little discussion. The points cited are in most cases apparent both as to cause and correction.

It must be borne in mind that deficiencies and faults named occurred in action and unfortunately can easily be repeated by the reader.


There were several instances where radar warnings were not received by the fire control party until the enemy planes were in sight.

In some cases the warning as not received in the ships until just before the attack though known some time before this.

In one case the warning was received on the bridge and not given to the conning officer or the fire control party.

The terminology used in control of fighter planes was not familiar to certain ships. The term "Bandits" did not register and some talkers failed to report receipt of the warning.

In one case the bearing of the enemy planes was given as a relative bearing where previously the bearing had been given as a true bearing (Cincpac conf. serial 02148).


"Buck Fever" was evident. This was a natural and normal reaction. Some of the defects noted below were probably the result of this initial over-eagerness.

The high percentage of duds in the Mark 18 Mod 0 and Mod 1 mechanical time fuze spoiled some firings and masked others. It is not true, however, that if these fuzes had functioned properly the firings would have been satisfactory as will be seen in the following notes:

There was evidence that fuzes set,

  1. for shore bombardment were used as set against high level bombing;

  2. for dive bombing were used against high level bombing;


  1. for high level were used against dive bombers.

In one case general quarters was sounded, telephone talkers were shifted and the fire control party was unable to get any information during the interval required to shift. The essential information was lost to the fire control party at the most important period of the engagement.

Fuze setter operators were not informed of the type of target under fire.

Fuze setter operators watched incoming planes with resultant inaccuracy of matching.

There were instances where telephone talkers failed to function properly because of inexperience or ignorance, poor enunciation to them or by them, and use of non-standard phraseology.

Fire control rangefinders must not be used for navigational ranges. Instances of this occurred when attack was imminent.

Short range weapons opened fire at ranges well beyond their effectiveness.

There is some evidence that type doctrines were not followed.

There were cases where retiring targets whose bombs were expended were continued under fire, when other planes with bombs were approaching.

An enemy surface ship under fire started to circle and otherwise maneuver erratically. The control officer being unable to keep target angle set, changed target speed to zero and solved the deflection problem by making small right and left spots depending upon direction of movement of enemy. The enemy ship was sunk.


There were cases noted where fire was unnecessarily blanked during emergency avoiding maneuvers by units of the disposition, and in addition, safety of maneuver was jeopardized. Ships must anticipate and be prepared to move so that safety of maneuver is maintained, and at the same time, the fire power of the disposition affected as little as possible. Signals for avoiding maneuvers cannot be given or even signals of intent. Rules cannot be written to cover the many situations. Foresight alone can solve such problems, and then only if the solution is predicated on the best results for the entire disposition.

It is essential that the ships of a Task Force know the characteristics and limitations of the other types in the Task Force. Such knowledge will lead to mutual understanding and support. It is the only way in which the composite offensive power can be exploited. The following questions suggest the line of thought desired:


What are the limiting bearings that the CA's present can use their full 5"/25 caliber battery?

This attack is about 15 degrees on the CA's bow, how much will she turn to open her full battery?

What is his armament and what are its limitations?

Those are green splashes, what ship?

If she turns toward me can I continue my fire if I turn inside?

Can I turn inside?


Transcribed and formatted by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation