Comments, Lessons Learned, Recommendations and Conclusions
CO USS Essex comments and recommends1. The importance of photographing target areas has increased prodigiously as our progress carries us into enemy territory where little or no organized aerial reconnaissance is possible.
2. Because of the above, each operation order included instructions for obtaining aerial photographs of stipulated types. Emphasis, except for shipping, is shifting from damage assessment to reconnaissance photos.
3. In addition to photographic missions, each ship's schedule calls for a specified number of VF assigned to one of the following:
- Sweeps or Strikes.
- CAP or jacks.
- In readiness on deck.
With recent trend in attacks by Japanese planes, an increase in (b) or (c) is vital to the safety of our ships. Of course, such increase in (b) or (c) can be made only by reducing the number of VF in (a).
CO USS Santee recommendsFinally it is believed that the presence of night fighters over the disposition during the critical period between the return of the dusk Patrol and the time when enemy harassing planes may be expected to secure for the night would contribute materially to the safety of the ships and to the rest and comfort of all hands, a prime essential to continued efficiency in operations in active combat areas.
CTG 77.4 comments and recommends1. It is strongly recommended that for future operations in the vicinity of large land masses at least one carrier group be specifically detailed to make numerous daily sweeps in force on any operational fields within a radius of 300 miles. Night fighters can also be used to cover all approach routes from major bases to the closer staging points and get replacement planes as they fly in at night. Large groups of planes should never be permitted to arrive within striking distance of our invasion forces.
2. It has also been forcibly proven that land-based air should be prepared to take over these same duties as soon as it is humanly possible to have an operating strip ready and servicing supplies put ashore. These planes should be brought in in force to include day and night fighters. Control of the air within a substantial radius of our forces must be obtained and maintained.
3. To maintain a large CAP over the target it is necessary for the carriers to take a position close to the objective area. This is necessary first, to reduce the non-productive portion of the flight, i.e., the flight time to and from the target, to a minimum; and second, to make as much fuel as possible available for combat. This means scheduling short flights at short distances from the target. This continuous turning into the wind to launch or land locks the carrier to one small area from which she cannot escape. During the recent operations aircraft repeatedly headed directly for the formation from distances of 70 to 90 miles with what was, apparently, a full knowledge of our position. Although frequent interceptions were made, lack of an accurate knowledge of altitude permitted many enemy planes to get in to sight contact of the ships without interception. The technique of using more planes in depth and breadth is necessary. The shotgun vs. rifle. The CAP should be reduced as soon as possible after the initial landings are made and the VF released thereby should be used in striking all enemy air fields within 200 to 250 miles from the objective area.
4. Support aircraft should not be used to attack ground installations except in the immediate vicinity of the advancing troops. Water-borne and aircraft targets are the profitable targets for support aircraft.
5. Search planes of patrol squadrons should move in on the first day. These searches must be dense enough so that negative information from them has some value. Incomplete search created an extremely critical situation on the 25th of October (East Long. date).
6. Night fighters are essential to support operations. Immediate steps must be taken to provide a capable night fighter for CVEs. The FM
would be ideal if the technical problems of installing a radar can be solved quickly. The TBM is the next best bet, but poor fire power, slow speed and low rate of climb make it of limited usefulness. Numerous successful night landings were made with the F6F on the Sangamon Class ships during the operation but F6F are not recommended for routine night fighter operation on CVEs of the Kaiser Class. Night fighters must be provided for Support operations and should be embarked in the CVE, that is, the Attack Forces should not be dependent for night fighters on ships from another force.
7. The absolutely primary and first objective of future landing operations, now that we have reached the areas within range of the entire shore-based air force of the Empire, must be usable air fields. Absolutely nothing must be allowed to interfere with the work of making them usable at the earliest possible moment. Carrier aviation is the only truly flexible and mobile type of aviation. It can be depended upon to achieve strategic as well as tactical surprise. This mobility, however, is bought at the price of vulnerability. As soon as a field is available, a sufficient number of VF from the carriers should be shore-based for CAP duty until regular land-based aviation (Marine or Army Air Corps) can be moved up. Gasoline, oil, aircraft ammunition and spares should be moved ashore the first day, and the carriers should be withdrawn to a distance and strike enemy fields. To maintain 1 VF in the CAP requires 3 VF on board ship. The distance involved and launching procedure make rapid reinforcement in case of raid an impossibility. Each two planes shore based can provide a far more effective combat air patrol over the objective than each three planes aboard ship. In addition, the ships themselves need a strong CAP for their own protection. This CAP over the carriers does not directly contribute to the safety of the ships overhead. Sixty planes ashore are actually more effective than the total CAP furnished by all the escort Carriers during the recent operation.
CO USS Denver comments1. This engagement was entered with only 1200 six-inch AP projectiles. The number is the normal loading for this class cruiser for fire support missions and is set by higher authority. In addition, 1120 HC projectiles remained out of a total of 2675 on board at original sortie. The 1200 AP represent a firing time of not over 15 minutes, either in rapid continuous or rapid salvo fire at normal battle range (12-18,000 yards). It is apparent that, in an area in which enemy surface action is highly probable, such ammunition loading is hazardous. It is therefore recommended that when a ship of this class is loaded for a fire support mission involving possible surface action an additional 1000 AP projectiles be loaded without powder to provide a reserve for such contingency.
2. The need for this additional AP was forcefully felt when reports were received after this action that four enemy battleships, eight heavy cruisers, and several destroyers were eastward of SAMAR engaging our CVE's, this ship having 113 AP projectiles remaining on board, and there being little in the area even if time had permitted replenishing. It is considered entirely possible to find space for at least 1000 AP projectiles inside the barbettes of the turrets on the Third deck in the present bomb magazine (A-424-M), and ordnance store room (C-602). The additional weight would be 65 tons or one inch in draft. After the engagement Denver went alongside S.S. Durham Victory to replenish ammunition and found that there were only 1100 six-inch AP projectiles in LEYTE Gulf. These were divided between this ship and Columbia.
The dangers of meeting a fresh enemy after we have expended our ammunition in bombardments, or of having to meet a second group after we have expended our ammunition on a first group, must be given constant consideration by all responsible officers. Light cruisers, especially the 6" turrets, are notoriously "ammunition hungry." Loading a ship for a joint bombardment and surface action might be compared to harnessing a horse for a plowing job with the expectation that at any second he would be expected to stop plowing and with the same trappings enter the Kentucky Derby.
Gunnery Officer, USS Maryland, comments and recommendsThe present allowance of 25 AP projectiles per gun for amphibious operations is dangerously low in the event a surface action occurs. By increasing this allowance to 40 AP per gun and by carrying an additional 10 full charges per gun to be used with HC projectiles, the ship will have 50 rounds per gun for long-range fire. The extra
full charges would be available if long-range bombardment were required.
CO USS Sangamon commentsThe retention of 1000-lb. AP bombs in the allowance for ships of this type is strongly recommended in the event major surface ships are encountered in future operations. On 500-lb. SAP bombs were retained aboard for this operation when 1000-lb. AP were desired on three missions against enemy capital ships.
ComBatDiv 3 commentsCommander battle Line would like to point out that the use of the older battleships in bombardment and fire support groups has gradually led to reduction in the amount of armor-piercing shells and service charges on board to a point which was extremely embarrassing in this action and is likely to be more so in the future unless steps are taken immediately to correct the situation.
ComBatDiv 4 comments and recommends1. Performance of the ordnance installations of the West Virginia left nothing to be desired except some improvements in her ammunition carrying capacity. At the end of the action -- a little over nine minutes -- half of the ammunition suitable for heavy targets was expended. This immediately proved a matter of concern as other heavy enemy ships were reported to the eastward.
2. To overcome this situation to a certain extent, as well as to provide means of bombarding from long range if the support ships could not enter SAN PEDRO Bay prior to the arrival of the transports, the Division Commander had changed the powder charges in both the West Virginia and Maryland prior to departure for LEYTE, providing 100 rounds of service charges for high capacity projectiles in the Maryland and 90 rounds of service charges for high capacity projectiles in the West Virginia. These could have been used against heavy ships, but, of course, would only have had topside destructive effect. Nevertheless, they could have been fired at long range.
CTG 77.2 comments and recommends1. The combatant forces in LEYTE GULF were assigned sufficient A.P. to handle what had heretofore been considered normal needs for a bombardment ship. This averaged an ammunition loading of about 25 percent A.P. and 75 percent H.C. The A.P. Was to be used, in part, for knocking out tough enemy installations which the H.C. was ineffective against, and, in part, as a possible reserve for use against enemy raiders. Prior to this operation this loading had been ample for all purposes.
2. However, it was clearly inadequate for the LEYTE Operation in that the danger from enemy surface forces was not only high, but actually became a reality in the Battle of SURIGAO STRAIT. Here the shortage of A.P. ammunition was so keenly felt as to seriously affect the tactical considerations of the action. It became necessary to allow the enemy to come into relatively close range before opening fire. This brought own surface forces within range of Japanese torpedoes and also well within range of Japanese major guns. The fact that neither these guns nor torpedoes were effectively used by the enemy in no way diminished the danger to own forces imposed by this range limitation.
3. It is therefore strongly recommended that in future operations where bombardment groups are subject to attack by heavy enemy surface forces, provisions be made for increasing the allowance of A.P. on reload to about 50 percent and that provisions be made for rapid replenishment of both H.C. and A.P. from ammunition ships, either brought into the area with the bombardment groups or ordered into the area at the earliest opportunity thereafter. Ammunition ships were made available on A+2 Day in this operation, but this was a little too late to be fully effective because of several factors discussed under "Ammunition Ships", page 78-51.
4. The A.P. allowance of the heavy ships was but 20 to 30 percent of the normal allowance; the remainder of the allowance being taken up with H.C. Of this 20-30 percent, a percentage, varying for the different ships, had been expended for bombardment purposes. Thus the amount of A.P. on board the battleships on the night of the battle was a disturbing element. In addition to the above 20-30 percent of A.P., there remained approximately 12 percent of the H.C. projectiles with their reduced charges, and about 40 percent of the 5" Mark 18 allowance. The destroyers had expended all but about 20 percent of their 5" Mark 18 allowance. It is therefore evident that unusual attention to the conservation of ammunition was necessary and that had the action been prolonged a shift in type of main battery ammunition would have been required.
Executive Office, USS Pennsylvania, commentsThe ammunition available, while limited by prior bombardment expenditures, was disposed to insure adequate access to the necessary types.
Executive Officer, USS Pennsylvania, commentsRequest was made upon the Group Commander for an LCT or other suitable means of disposing of bombardment empties. This was considered particularly important inasmuch as the 5" empties occupied a large portion of the boatdeck and thus constituted quite an unnecessary missile hazard and would further present a considerable handicap to traffic in this area and to any fire fighting effort that might prove necessary. There were evidently no facilities available for this purpose as there was no response to this request.
ComCruDiv 13 comments1. The figures submitted herein indicate the ammunition expenditures of the ships of Cruiser Division THIRTEEN and Destroyer Division ONE HUNDRED during the period they were attached to this group. Ammunition expenditure of other units is not available without delaying this report.
40mm 20mm Santa Fe 138 98 571 954 Birmingham 221 4 3 0 Mobile 199 198 0 0 DesDiv 100 928 82 383 Total 1786 656 1337
2. Congestion of communication channels with essential traffic and the continuous air alerts and related maneuvering made the submission of routine ammunition reports a matter of relatively small moment; no dangerous depletion of ammunition existed in any ship during the operations.
CTG 77.2 comments1. The Columbia was well handled throughout this action and her fire was highly effective. Attention is invited to the fact that upon conclusion of this action her ammunition was practically totally expended, but 53 A.P. and 200 A.A. remaining on board.
2. The number of salvos fired and the total number of main battery rounds expended by each ship of the battleline are as indicated below:
Name of Ship Number of
Maryland 6 48 California 9 63 Mississippi 1 12 West Virginia 16 93 Tennessee 13 69 Pennsylvania 0 0
IT WILL BE NOTED THAT THE WEST VIRGINIA FIRED 16 SALVOS, 93 ROUNDS. THE SHIP'S REPORT STATES THAT OF THE 13 FULL SALVOS FIRED, EVERY SALVO WAS A STRADDLE. THIS PERFORMANCE IS ESPECIALLY OUTSTANDING WHEN CONSIDERATION IS GIVEN TO THE FOLLOWING FACTS:
- THE WEST VIRGINIA LEFT THE COAST WITH NEW EQUIPMENT, NEW OFFICERS AND NEW CREW -- THE GREATER PERCENTAGE OF OFFICERS AND MEN HAD NEVER BEEN TO SEA BEFORE. ONLY TWELVE ENLISTED MEN HAD EVER HAD PREVIOUS TURRET EXPERIENCE. TWO OF THE TURRET OFFICERS HAD NEVER BEEN TO SEA BEFORE, THE THIRD CAME FROM SUBMARINE DUTY AND THE FOURTH FROM SMALL CRAFT. THREE MONTHS SHAKEDOWN AND SHE WAS A FIGHTING UNIT.
- ALTHOUGH SHE HAD UP-TO-DATE RADAR EQUIPMENT, SHE HAD TRAINED HER MEN TO USE IT TO ITS FULL VALUE.
- THE WEST VIRGINIA OPENED FIRE UNDER FULL RADAR CONTROL AND CONTINUED TO USE IT FOR EVERY SALVO.
- THE TARGET WAS PICKED UP AT 41,000 YARDS AND TRACKED DOWN TO 22,400 YARDS BEFORE OPENING FIRE.
West Virginia was bombed, torpedoed, and sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Battle of Surigao Strait marked her first return to combat after being salvaged and reconditioned. The link above includes her specifications, history, and full Action Report for this battle. --HyperWar
CO USS Mobile comments1. It was noted that at ranges over 15,000 yards, tracers on six-inch projectiles frequently burned out before reaching the target; this was especially observed when partial salvos were fired. It was also observed that when projectiles were passing through light clouds, red tracers were more easily followed than were orange.
2. Ammunition expenditure:
Six-inch Armor Piercing 245 rounds Six-inch High Capacity 534 rounds
CO USS Hornet comments and recommends1. The results of the fleet action on 25 and 26 October demonstrate that the only effective aerial weapons against Japanese battleships are armor-piercing bombs, preferably of at least 1600 lbs, or torpedoes. Torpedo planes loaded with 500-lb. bombs have little effect, and 1000-lb. G.P. bombs serve only to knock out AA and do some topside damage. Also; it is believed that the G.P. bombs tend to break up on impact, reducing the number of observed hits.
2. If firing is to be done by ships inside the screen, Mark 32 fuzed projectiles should be used because tests have indicated that while the damage to exposed personnel is considerable, the damage from fragmentation effect to ship's structure is negligible in comparison to that possible from a 5"/38 projectile fuzed with base-detonating fuze.
Ammunition Ships -- Loading of
CTG 77.2 comments and recommends1. The governing considerations for the loading of ammunition ships are not known by this command, but it would appear as if the most important considerations should be the tactical situation which may confront the ships in the combat area. This requires that the strategical and tactical planners closely cooperate with the logistics planners, to the end that the ammunition ships sent to the combat area will be loaded for the ships of that area.
2. Such a condition unfortunately did not obtain in the case of the ammunition ships sent to LEYTE GULF -- the Mazama and the Durham Victory. The Mazama, which is a Navy ship, was not loaded with any 16" ammunition whatsoever, and the Durham Victory carried but 38 16" A.P. with associated service charges. It is true that the Durham Victory carried 1,000 rounds of H.C. 16"-45, but this ammunition is not especially effective against enemy heavy ships.
3. The distribution of ammunition did not appear sound in that nearly all of the heavy ammunition -- 6" and above -- was in the Durham Victory. This, coupled with the fact that she was a merchant ship, made unloading slow and difficult.
4. It is recommended for future operations that:
- Ammunition be loaded to conform to the probable needs of the forces in the area to which the ammunition ship is to be sent, and
- Only navy ammunition ships be sent into those forward areas where expedition of unloading is vital.
CO USS Essex comments and recommends1. It is recommended that full allowance of eighteen 40 MM quad mounts be installed at earliest opportunity, noting that the starboard bow has full coverage by only one 40 MM mount.
2. The latest mark and model of 40 MM director with radar appears to be a "sine qua non" of successful AA defense by aircraft carriers.
CO USS Hornet comments1. The 20 millimeter battery is still of doubtful value at night except against targets which have been set afire and consequently afford a luminous point of aim. Against night targets they serve only to outline the ship and indicate a prize target to the approaching plane. However, heavy and accurate fire was directed against a FRANCES on the night of 13 October which had been previously set afire by a screening destroyer.
2. The protection afforded by not disclosing position by gunfire at night is still unquestioned. On the night of 12 October plots indicated that "Bogies" were attracted by gunfire from other groups. The group of which this vessel was a unit was not molested until late in the evening when a
plane approached in a direct line to within 6000 yards. Fire was opened with the after 5" battery of this vessel using Mark 32 projectiles and flashless powder. The "Bogey" then turned and increased range rapidly.
3. Communication with the automatic batteries remains poor. No audible cease firing system is installed in the 40 Millimeter battery. Telephone and flashing light control must suffice until completion of ShipAlt which provides for high decibel cease firing howlers, quadrantal telephones control and high frequency cease firing note in telephone circuits.
4. A loud speaker system similar to the 17 MC installed in the 5" battery is needed for dissemination of target information to the 20 MM battery. Additional telephones will be installed in the 20MM groups to provide a talker for each three guns until a better system can be devised.
ComCruDiv 13 comments1. The anti-aircraft performance of the task group was satisfactory in general. Although we were approached by many aircraft repeatedly, the accuracy of the ships' gunfire is indicated by the enemy's prompt withdrawal in the majority of cases, and the successful destruction of at least three enemy planes by gunfire alone.
2. That the enemy aircraft were able to press home single-plane attacks on the afternoon of October 15 was only by the most brave and determined efforts of their pilots. It is believed that both of these planes were damaged during their approaches; the fact remains, however, that they were both able to drop their torpedoes, and that in the first attack the torpedo ran true and struck Houston.
3. The FRANCES that attacked Houston lost altitude slowly on retirement, crashing without flames or explosion some 8,000-10,000 yards outside the screen. The JILL that attacked Santa Fe winged over and it appeared that the pilot was trying to crash the bridge structure. It crashed at the very forefoot, hitting the water and cartwheeling into the bows, exploding violently.
4. Fire discipline and inter-ship gunnery communications were highly satisfactory, as evidenced by the tightness of the former and the relatively small volume of the latter required. With the unusual disposition necessitated by the tactical situation, excellent fire discipline was essential.
5. Full radar AA fire control in ships of the task group will continue to be unsatisfactory until installation of new equipment for better target elevation determination and pointer tracking.
CTU 38.4.2 comments and recommends1. Another consideration, of course, in instant readiness to fire once a "bogey" is detected within gun range. Instructions issued by Commander Task Group 38.4 provided for this as follows:
Be prepared. Maintain weapons and equipment in the highest state of readiness that weather and sea conditions permit. In fair weather, keep gun covers of automatic weapons off, gun ports open and ammunition lockers undogged. Fifteen seconds is an acceptable standard during daylight for manned guns of 5" caliber or below to open fire in local control after the command 'Action Port (Starboard)' is given.
2. The methods of complying with the foregoing must rest largely with individual commanding officers. It is felt that the acceptable condition of readiness in the case of automatic weapons can be met by requiring that when operating in areas where air attack may be expected during daylight and dusk hours at least two forward bearing 20 MM's and two after bearing 20 MM's be maintained cocked with magazines mounted. Tests of wear on barrel springs have proved that negligible permanent set is thus caused. The best way to call the attention of other ships to an attacking plane is to fire at it. 40 MM guns should likewise be kept in the highest possible condition of ammunition readiness commensurate with safety.
1. The threat of the suicide bomber, which places the brunt of the anti-aircraft defense burden on the ship being attacked, has necessitated reconsideration of carrier task group AA disposition. Disposition 5-V, which proved so successful against torpedo attacks, has been found to provide inadequate protection against dive and glide bombers, and, more specifically, against suicide bombers.
2. Against torpedo attacks, which were the enemy's chief tactic against our surface forces for more than a year, the 5-V disposition, with all ships except carriers in the screen, provided maximum firepower against enemy aircraft. Planes
breaking through the screen were taken under fire by the carriers and continued to be targets of ships of the screen.
3. During the MARIANAS operation, however, the Japanese reverted to dive and glide bombing, with planes passing over the Screen at high level and diving out of clouds on carriers at high speeds. Against such attacks ships of the screen found their high firepower capacity virtually helpless as a protection for the carriers. The inadequacy of the standard AA disposition become even more apparent in the LEYTE operation when the enemy pressed his dive bombing with fanaticism, resorting to suicide dives against our ships.
4. During the sweep of the Philippines in September, groups of Task Force 38 attempted several variations of disposition 5-V in an attempt best to meet the threat of both torpedo and dive bombers. Task group 38.1 placed carriers on Circle 2 and cruisers and destroyers on Circle 7. This disposition later was modified to place the screen on Circle 4.
5. Task Group 38.3 used Cruising Disposition 5-R, with destroyers on Circle 9, battleships and cruisers on Circle 4. The group's AA disposition, calling for destroyers on Circle 5.5 and heavy ships on Circle 4, was not used.
6. The disposition problem still is in a state of flux. Various recommendations have been made by ships of the fleet, and final decisions will be based on the following considerations:
- What is the most dangerous form of attack?
- What disposition will make possible the use of maximum firepower against the form of attack without unnecessarily weakening defense against other types of combined attacks?
7. It is apparent that as we move closer to Japan the enemy's fanaticism will increase. It also is certain that it increasingly will display itself in the form of determined attacks on our surface forces. That close in attacks are the most dangerous of any tactics yet undertaken by the enemy requires no elaboration. The ultimate AA disposition, then, must be the best possible defense against them.
8. As carriers will be the chief target of glide and dive bombers during attacks on carrier task groups, their firepower must be supplemented by that of ships of the screen. Bringing in heavy ships (battleships and cruisers) from the screen will serve that purpose, but has serious limitations. The arc of fire is limited by the presence of destroyers in the outer screen. And destroyers are so thinly dispersed that they are of little value in defending numerous important targets against torpedo attacks.
9. It is likely that a plan will be developed to meet the threat of dive or glide bombers by tightening the entire screen to bring enemy planes within range of heavy ships' automatic weapons. This may place ships of the screen on Circle 4, with carriers on Circle 2.5, or the screen on Circle 5 and the carriers on Circle 3.5, permitting a high concentration of fire against planes diving on carriers. Against torpedo attacks the screen could expand to Circle 5 with a minimum of confusion.
CO USS Alabama comments1. C.T.G. 38.3's disposition 5-V, prescribed but not used during the operations, is felt to be subject to close examination. It puts the BBs and CLs on Circle 4, with DDs on Circle 5.5, equally spaced between the heavy ships. With this close spacing, the AA fire of the heavy ships is rather effectively blanked off by the friendly DDs of the screen, resulting in a reduction in the volume of fire of the BBs to some 25 percent of that available if the DDs were on the same circle, or were sufficiently far out to be beyond range of the 40mm and 20mm batteries.
2. The danger to friendly ships also presents a psychological hazard which must inevitably result in a further reduction of the arc of fire, especially at night when firing under radar control. All things considered, it is believed that an increased volume of fire (approximately 10 times greater) would result if the DDs were on the same circle. It is realized that the additional 1,500 yards affords some A/S protection, but is submitted that with the Japanese long-range 45-knot torpedo this protection is more theoretical than real.
CO USS Boston comments1. In the 5-V disposition on which the task group (38.1) was formed at the time of the second and third attacks, the cruisers and destroyers were on the 3,000-yard circle, with one carrier at the center and three others on the 2,000-yard circle. This is considered too open a formation for effective gunfire support of the carriers by either the cruisers or destroyers, which was evidenced by the fact that the planes dive bombing the carriers were able to make their attacks without exposing themselves to gunfire from the screen at ranges less than 6,000-7,000 yards.
2. In order for the vessels on the screen circle to fire at all on these dive bombers, it was necessary for them to fire toward the interior of the formation, which was feasible in view of the relatively wide clear sectors existing in such a loose formation, but at best afforded only minimum and precarious opportunity to the gun support ships to assist the carriers in bringing the attacking planes under effective fire.
3. After these actions the task group commander modified the 5-V disposition to place the cruisers and destroyers on the 4,000-yard circle, with one carrier in the center and the other three on the 2,000-yard or 3,000-yard circles, which seems decidedly a more effective formation for gunfire support in an air attack on the carriers.
CO USS Mobile commentsSpecial cruising disposition 5-Roger was used in this operation, putting destroyers on Circle 9 and heavy ships on Circle 4. The anti-aircraft disposition prescribed, which would have stationed destroyers on circle 5.5, leaving heavy ships on Circle 4, was never formed. Adequate defense against low-flying aircraft presents a considerable problem in either disposition, particularly in regard to unmasking the batteries of the heavy ships inside the screen at night. In any case, the problem reemphasizes the necessity of furnishing heavy ships with full information on the screen axis and stations and on the exact order of destroyers in the screen.
CO USS Wichita comments and suggests:1. The formation placing the screening vessels on Circle 7 eliminated a large percentage of the mutual support that might have been available had the cruisers and destroyers been on Circle 5. This would have reduced the defense against low-flying planes, perhaps, but would have been much more effective against dive or glide attacks.
2. It is suggested that if formation 5-V had a circle indicator post-fixed it would facilitate shifting from one screening position to another to offer the best type of defense against air attacks as the latter develop. For instance, in the engagement on 22 September if, knowing that the enemy was at high altitude, the OTC could have said "Form 5-V5", then the screen would have been in a better position to protect the carriers.
CTU 38.1.2 comments and recommends:As originally directed by CTG 38.1, cruising disposition 5-V was formed with carriers on Circle 2 and cruisers and destroyers on Circle 7. During the morning attacks of 22 September the screen was unable to provide the carriers with any defense against dive-bombing attacks.
Because of the low ceiling, dive bombers were not spotted until they broke through the clouds above the carriers. These planes never came within range of the automatic weapons of the cruisers and destroyers stationed on Circle 7. Cruising disposition 5-V was modified later in the day, placing the cruisers and destroyers on Circle 4.
CTU 38.1.2 strongly recommends that cruising disposition 5-V be formed with carriers on Circle 2.5 or 3.5, and cruisers and destroyers on Circle 4 or 5, in order to enable cruiser and destroyer batteries to assist in the defense of the carriers against dive-bombing attacks and to provide a greater concentration of fire against any enemy plane which attempts to penetrate the screen.
Approach Procedure for Friendly Planes
CTG 77.5 comments:1. Approach procedures using definite bearings, altitudes and recognition signals have been long prescribed but have rather fallen into disuse through our general control of the air and reliance on radar for identification of returning planes. However, in the action around the PHILIPPINES it became evident that some procedure had to be specified that would insure that friendly planes would approach the formation from a safe direction and in a friendly manner so as to not alert the batteries and be fired on by our own surface forces.
2. The general approach of the suicide bombers from directly overhead dictated that all friendly planes stay out of the cone over the ships and all patrols were ordered to remain away from right over the formation unless chasing an enemy plane. Also, all planes returning to the formation and letting down for a landing were directed to proceed to the sector away from the sun and approach with wheels down and at low altitude on a course of 270 in the morning and 090 in the afternoon, Thereafter, no friendly plane could be mistaken as making a hostile approach and all ships knew the direction from which to expect them. It greatly eased the confusion of many planes returning, some of them with IFF shot up, and not knowing whether or not enemies were among the friendlies.
3. Some such sort of a standard approach doctrine should be reestablished for all surface groups and not only will the doubt as to enemy or friendly be cancelled but our own planes will not be fired on by nervous gunners.
1. As stated in the PREFACE of this BULLETIN, the Japanese may have been sincere in their belief that their aviators had dealt a crushing blow to our fleet east of FORMOSA, which Tokyo was quick to claim.
Assessment of Damage Inflicted by Air Attack
CTF 38 comments:The enemy was evidently misled by reports of the air action and believed he had inflicted heavy damage on our forces.
2. Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet points out in his Pacific Fleet Secret Letter ISL-44 that the assessment of the damage inflicted by air attack is still difficult and susceptible of error. The following extract is quoted below:
AIR ATTACK ON SURFACE VESSELS.
- The following excerpts are briefed from the report of an air strike by carrier planes in the early months of the war:
One AP, 15,000 tons, ... ship sunk and burning. One AP, ... ship on fire and sinking when beached. One AP ... sunk and burning. One AP or AK ... Beached and probably sunk. One AP or AK ... sunk, resting on bottom in shallow water and listing. One CA, Mogami Class, ... ship blew up and sank. One CA, Kinugasa Class .. afire and headed for beach ... Believed sunk. One CL, Natori or Tenryu Class ... headed for beach ... Believed sunk. One AV, Kamoi ... damaged and stopped. One DD ... listing, afire, and sinking fast. Two DDs .. probably sunk. One PG set afire and severely damaged. One AM ... stopped and burning fiercely, probably sunk.
- The sinkings as a result of this strike which were ACTUALLY CONFIRMED LATER, were as follows: Three cargo vessels, 4,000 to 6,000 tons; no naval vessels sunk.
- The foregoing instance is cited, not as a criticism of the commanders or participants involved, but as well illustrating the wide differential that can exist between estimates made in the best of good faith and the cold facts later established. Considerable improvement in evaluating losses has been made since the foregoing action, but the assessment of the damage inflicted by air attack is still difficult and susceptible of error, due to the following causes:
- Inherent nature of an air strike which does not permit remaining in the vicinity to observe the fate of ships hit or believed hit.
- Duplication in observations and in claims of hits and sinkings, as a result of the number of planes participating and reporting.
- Over-optimism regarding the effects on a ship of hits actually made. There can be tremendous explosions topside, and yet the ship stay afloat and get home again.
- Over-optimism regarding the effects on a ship of near misses. Since a near
miss (if near enough) can do considerable damage, there is an understandable tendency to be liberal in calling near misses.
- Over-valuation of fire and smoke on ships that have been hit. A small and possibly harmless fire can produce a great amount of smoke. Furthermore, there is ample experience showing that even ships which are on fire from stem to stern may nevertheless survive.
- Over-valuation of ships "beached and sunk". If a ship is hit and is not certain as to the extent of the damage, it is quite logical for her to run into shoal water and beach herself lightly until the attack is over. It by no means implies her total loss.
- Lack of familiarity with ships on the part of many pilots, which handicaps them in distinguishing types and tonnages and in estimating the seriousness of the damage or the probability of a ship sinking.
- All of the foregoing factors must be recognized, and there must be no let-down in the effort to reduce to a minimum the errors they cause, since, as elsewhere emphasized herein, such errors are a direct hurt to our own tactics and strategy and a corresponding help to the enemy.
ComBatDiv 9 comments:The enemy using fighters loaded with small bombs, changing their altitude on the approach, using cloud cover whenever possible was successful many times in getting past our intercepting fighters, with the result that a small number of attacking planes achieved an unusually high percentage of hits by diving directly onto the ships. Many countermeasures have been tried with varying success, but under conditions of poor visibility when operating comparatively close to large land areas this method of attack is the most difficult with which to cope.
Basing Aircraft Ashore
ComBatDiv 2 comments:1. There were no air operations. Prior to darkness on 24 October 1944, ComBatDiv Two, anticipating a night action, requested and obtained permission to base VOS aircraft ashore, i.e., tied-up to LST's on the landing beach. Unfortunately, 2 Tennessee aircraft were victims of a night enemy air raid on the beach.
2. However, in spite of this unfortunate occurrence, the move of basing aircraft ashore is considered sound. BatDiv Two suffered loss of only 2 planes, whereas, had planes been retained on board ships the night of 24/25 October it would have been necessary to have jettisoned them when action became imminent, with a resultant total loss of six planes.
Battle Damage--Lack of
CTG 77.2 comments:1. The battle of SURIGAO STRAIT was characterized by the complete lack of battle damage incurred by any ships of this command, with the single exception of the destroyer A.W. Grant. When the size of the forces engaged is considered, such good fortune seems almost incredible.
2. It can be attributed first, to own battle plan which used torpedoes most offensively in the early period of contact and which used gunpower most effectively thereafter; second, to the failure of the Japanese to assume a suitable defensive disposition on the one hand, or to take any strong offensive action whatsoever on the other.
Bombs Effectiveness of Against Enemy Heavy Ships
CTG 38.3 comments and recommends:1. A study of penetration tables for AP bombs shows that with dive bombing they could only penetrate about 3 inches of armor. Thus they are of little effect in damaging a BB. Practically all bombs used against the BB's in that battle were AP or SAP and it is believed they were being defeated by the armor and not getting even as much effect as a G.P. Instantaneous fused bomb would have obtained.
2. In order to obtain the penetration necessary to cause internal damage and holes in the bottom, some type of rocket is required. Rockets of a large size equal to the 1000 lb. A.P. Bomb should be developed with all possible speed. It is believed that rockets are the coming weapon of aircraft as they will be able to penetrate any armor that is practicable to install in a ship.
CTG 38.3 comments:1. It is considered that "reinforced searches" are not warranted in that they dissipate planes that would otherwise be available for strikes after contact is made. It is considered that search planes should have no other mission that search, should avoid combat, and that they should not carry bombs. However, it is believed sound where practicable to have 1 VB accompanied by 1 VF to give it protection against enemy fighters encountered in seeking its information. When sufficient fighter types are available, a search team of two fighters is probably better still.
2. When carriers are beyond the coverage of own shore-based air searches, it is believed essential for security that carrier searches be made in all directions from which enemy carriers might approach within striking distance.
Carriers in Northern Enemy Force
CTG 38.4 comments:The reason for the presence of the carriers in the Northern enemy force is not clear unless they were expecting the early return of their air groups from reservicing ashore, or, alternately, the arrival of replacement groups. Surely the number of carriers present was not necessary to maintain the combat air patrol in the numbers actually found over the fleet on the morning of the attack. Unless the expectation was as stated above, the enemy made a grave error in not sending back, at best speed during the night, those carriers denuded of their air groups. Certainly no circumstances more favorable to ourselves could be hoped for than those found on the morning of 25 October.
CO USS Hoel comments:1. Previous to the engagement the gunnery officer had spent many hours in casualty drill. The ability of the men to cope with material and personnel casualties paid tremendous dividends. When it became necessary to shift from one type of control to another, the men grasped the new situation completely and knew just what was required of them. Replacement of casualties to the 5" guns is usually a problem. However, since all automatic weapons had been knocked out, these crews became available for replacement gun crews and damage control parties.
2. In a melee such as the ship experienced, identification of own and enemy ships becomes a major problem. The fact that the Hoel at no time, even while the guns were in local telescopic control, fire on friendly ships attests to the excellence of fire discipline. Local control practice cannot be stressed too strongly. Gun captains, pointers, and trainers must be drilled to perfection in this phase of training.
3. The fire control radar was shot away at the time that the main battery director was hit. Until this occurred, the fire was modified radar control due to poor visibility. When plot took control of the firing, SG radar ranges and bearings, gun number 2 relative bearings, and gunnery officer's estimate of target angles were combined to solve a target's course and speed.
4. The three remaining stations, guns number 1 and 2 and plot, maintained communications to the very last. Plot also maintained communication with combat and the bridge to the end. The gunnery officer's system and selection of commands, stressing brevity, was very successful. Commands can be short and at the same time complete. Such commands are a part of training and indoctrination and must be put into practice to cut down confusion. A damage control circuit outlet in plot, guarded throughout the battle, would have been of invaluable aid in gun repair as well as in hull repair.
5. Approximately 600 rounds of common and AA common projectiles, smokeless powder, were expended. Ten torpedoes were fired, all of which ran hot, straight and normal.
6. Of the salvos fired in director control (modified radar control), the fourth and fifth salvos were seen to hit. The first three are believed to have been short. The result of stable element controlled fire, using SG radar,
gun number 2 relative bearings and visual target angle estimates was very successful. Many hits were observed while this type of fire was in use. The target was at all times that enemy ships believed to be the most menacing. For this reason the target under fire was constantly being changed. The type of fire described seems to be effective enough to merit consideration and emphasis as a secondary method of control. Gun number 2 relative bearings were used to check the correctness of the SG radar target selection.
7. Since the gun captains of guns number 1 and 2 were both experienced in the use of local telescopic control, the results of this type of fire, employed when the SG radar was knocked out, were very accurate. The rate of fire was very high considering the conditions under which the gun crews worked.
CO USS San Diego comments:The use of this class ship in the screen may have developed a feeling that the CL(AA) is an "overgrown destroyer" and handles like one. The Commanding Officer wishes to point out that the maneuvering characteristics of the class are similar to those of other cruisers.
CO USS Hornet comments and recommends:It is considered that the present schedule for relief of Carrier Air Groups must be accelerated considerably if operations are to continue at the rate that has been maintained since June 1944. Carrier Air Groups cannot maintain their efficiency for over three months at the present pace. This will become more apparent when Task Force THIRTY-EIGHT runs out of tactical targets and turns to strategical bombing on a larger scale. Pilots do not like AA fire, which is always accurate and intense to a degree depending upon the importance of the target. After periods of bombing shore objectives well defended by AA, there is a pronounced slacking off in drive and a tendency to take it easy. The curse of percentage of duds on take-off increases, which is one of the first signs of combat fatigue. It is recommended that consideration be given to the problem of accelerating readiness of replacement groups.
Combat Information Center
FIGHTER DIRECTION AND RADAR
CO USS Hornet comments:1. In CIC, Fighter Direction Control still seriously interferes with the flow of information necessary for adequate ship and gunnery control. Plotting officers become preoccupied with the manipulation of the fighters and are further distracted by ever-increasing communications duties. At night when the value of the VFN is questionable, preoccupation with fighter direction at the expense of adequate information for ship and gunnery use becomes serious, especially when enemy aircraft approach at low altitudes, giving few or weak indications on the radar screen.
2. On the night of 13 October the low-flying aircraft attacking this formation were not detected at ranges less than 12 miles, partially because of preoccupation of CIC and search radars with a single VFN whom they wished to warn clear.
3. This problem is peculiar to aircraft carriers who are required to specialize in fighter direction. The solution may be to install a second CIC for ship and gunnery use with one or two air search radars and a surface search radar made available for this purpose.
THE SOLUTION IS PROPER TRAINING. SUFFICIENT EQUIPMENT AND PLOTTING FACILITIES ARE AVAILABLE. COMMAND SHOULD INSIST ON GETTING INFORMATION NECESSARY; IT IS THERE.
CTG 38.1 comments and recommends:1. During the period of operations 2 October to 29 October, the enemy was being fought closer to his homeland and, as was to be expected, he fought with greater skill, ferocity, and determination than was noted in the months just previous to this time. As a result, fighter direction was employed extensively in the protection of our forces from attack and in denying the enemy information by destroying his snoopers. We have the situation in hand during daylight, but from dusk to dawn and during very poor visibility in the daytime we are still relatively vulnerable because our fighters cannot be brought to bear in large numbers on attacking enemy planes.
2. Following is a summary for the period 2
October through 29 October of the snoopers and raids, divided into day and night activities.
- Day Activities.
- 9 raids plus 13 single bogies. (This does not include bogies tracked by this group but intercepted by another Group)
- All 9 raids were intercepted and all planes in the raids were destroyed or driven off with the exception of one JUDY that used cloud cover advantageously to come within the formation.
- Of the 134 single bogies 3 were destroyed by anti-snoop fighters without having been picked up by radar.
- 7 were intercepted by CAP fighters and all but one shot down. That one escaped in extremely bad weather after having been sighted visually three times at ranges of less than a mile.
- Three bogies, believed to have been enemy, were never intercepted because of weather, range, or poor technique.
- Total number of planes in all raids and snooping is estimated at 132. Of these 80 were shot down plus 11 probables.
- Night Activities.
- Five raids plus 19 night snoopers.
- Night fighters shot down one plus one probable. Additional night bandits were shot down by planes (VF(N)) of other Groups and by anti-aircraft.
- On the night of 12 October the enemy came in high with search planes, enabling night fighters to take their toll, and the attacks were ineffective. On the nights of 13 and 14 October the enemy approached just as the day Combat Air Patrol was landing at dusk. The attacks were low on the water and there was very little warning. At 0100 on the 27th a high-flying snooper was picked up at 105 miles. The Independence was directed to launch night fighters. The bogey closed the force on a straight course until he was at 70 miles and then turned sharply away indicating that he had radar contact. The Bogey continued to snoop the force from 12,000 feet at distance of from 120 to 80 miles until the night fighter identified it as a MAVIS and shot it down 95 miles from the force. No further bogies were detected. It appears that if the enemy has good information on our location and can attack in strength with low-flying aircraft, the attack can be deadly. If, however, the enemy had to search for our forces with night snoopers, we stand a good chance of knocking down the snoopers with our night fighters and disorganizing the attack.
- Flagship CIC passed vital information to the battery control stations and released batteries or held fire for the Group. Over TBS 1 the ships in the Group were informed of the positions of the most dangerous bandits. CTG 38.1 issued this information for emergency maneuvers to give the low-flying attack the most difficult target angles.
3. On 15 October (one of the busiest days that any task group has had in fighter direction) a total of seven distinct raids attacked the group in weather that was most favorable for the attackers (7/10 cumulus clouds between 3,000 and 10,000 feet). Three of the raids split into two or more groups before being intercepted. The raids approached from 270 degrees of the compass. One low-flying torpedo attack was not intercepted until it was at 20 miles, another was intercepted at 35 miles and the remainder at 50 miles or beyond. The raids dispersed and turned away when hit by fighters in strength, but because of the cloud conditions, annihilation of the raids was rare. However, only one bandit, a JUDY, came within gun range of the formation and the crippled Canberra-Houston group only 40 miles away was spared attack by the timely interception of all raids on this day.
4. The enemy's use of search radar, window, and extremely well-planned and executed attacks was noted repeatedly during this period. The plot of Rad "7" on 15 October is reproduced on page 78-60 to show the deception used by the Nip.
5. On raid "7", sufficient fighters were available to counter move against every feint the enemy made. Thus the enemy was in the position of a fox pursued by a number of hounds. Had the situation been such that only one or two groups of fighters could be made available, it is very probable that the raid would have reached its objective without interception.
6. There is still vast room for improvement in currently unreliable radar performance; in tracking, particularly of multiple targets, and in presenting a complete radar picture on the plot.
CTG 38.1 Raid 7 -- 1525 15 Oct. 1944
7. Communications for the most part were not sufficiently reliable for fighter direction. In the case of the night fighters, communications were generally most unsatisfactory. Radio discipline is still lax in some air groups. Although the new pilots are the worst offenders, they only reflect the laxity displayed by their flight leaders and CIC personnel. Continued stress on the importance of radio discipline cannot be over-emphasized. The number of planes in the air on the same channels is continuously increasing. As the fighting gets tougher there are more important contact reports, more emergencies, and more instructions. Communication facilities have not been provided to the extent necessary to keep pace with the ever-increasing necessities of large scale air operations. Failure to provide the equipment and trained upkeep personnel will result in ship-air communications breakdown with consequent inability to intercept enemy aircraft. Such failure will inevitably result in more of our ships lost. Regardless of how good radio discipline is, it is obvious that a thousand stations on one circuit can only result in massed confusion.
8. The improper performance of the IFF system made the fighter protection less efficient than it might have been. Personnel training and the checking of both the airborne and ship-based equipment must be improved to prevent the useless chasing of friendly bogies.
SOME UNITS REPORT IMPROPER PERFORMANCE OF WHAT THEY HAVE AND ALSO DEMAND MORE AND BETTER MATERIAL TO SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS. THE CRITICAL STABILITY AND WEIGHT CONDITIONS IN OUR SHIPS MAKE IT NECESSARY TO REPLACE OLD EQUIPMENT WITH NEW, AND IF THE NEW WEIGHS MORE, SOMETHING ELSE GENERALLY MUST COME OFF. THE QUESTIONS OF PROVIDING MORE COMMUNICATION CHANNELS, BETTER RADARS, BETTER IFF ARE UNDER CONSTANT STUDY.
ARE WE USING TECHNICIANS FOR WHAT THEY ARE TRAINED?
9. The confirmed use by the enemy of VHF jamming and, on the 22nd of October, of Mark III code 1 (Possibly 2 or 3) IFF is noteworthy. The system of anti-submarine patrol must be drastically modified in order to provide an opportunity to identify in time the sudden appearance of unidentified aircraft. It further means that returning strike groups must close up and prevent straggling when closing friendly ships. It will then be possible to detect bandit snoopers by their course and speed.
11. The absolute necessity for a DRT in CIC was demonstrated frequently. The Flagship has a DRT mounted vertically which serves well to keep personnel informed of the relative position of the land masses and especially the target areas and enemy operational fields. In the vertical position the DRT is still practical for determining the course and speed of surface units quickly.
- That in order to insure a higher percentage of interceptions under low visibility conditions, one VF(N) be included in the CAP from each Group.
- That consideration be given to placing a radar marker on the night fighters similar to that used by fire-control parties. Such a device would make the VF(N) less likely to fade from the radars at medium ranges.
- That when within range of enemy strikes VF(N) be used regularly to cover the dawn launch and dusk recovery.
CO USS Daly comments:CIC operated smoothly, providing tactical information, solutions to torpedo and gunfire problems, and intership communications. Commanding Officer wore JA headset throughout the action, making much easier CIC's mission of supplying combat information.
CO USS Hutchins comments:1. CIC did it. At no time was there any confusion as to targets. Several times the Commanding Officer feared he was firing on own ships and received a vociferous and offended negative from the Evaluator. When he asked for an identification he received even the Desdiv or Crudiv number. The Gunnery Officer was prevented from shifting to a friendly target only 20° from an enemy ship.
The Hutchins' CIC is the first below-decks CIC in the 2100-ton class. It is in the former Squadron Commander's cabin and has been expanded to take in the gun lockers and break locker. It
has recently been modified to serve primarily the needs of a Squadron Commander, one whole corner being built up for this with 12-inch PPI, etc.
3. The C.O. was delighted to find that in spite of the condition that this CIC was trained primarily to furnish a Task Group Commander information and communications, it simultaneously provided full gunnery and torpedo information to the ship. Close cooperation was received from the Squadron Commander in making this possible.
4. Many things were learned to better such a dual-purpose CIC. The Commanding Officer wore a telephone head and chest set on the JA circuit.
5. This Commanding Officer, who was instrumental as CIC officer on Comdespac Staff in placing CIC in this remote position from the bridge, believes, as all hands did then, that when space and time permit, all CIC's should be brought adjacent to the Pilot House in small ships. Neither space nor time was available for such a placement in the 2100 ton class in 1943, as yards and constructors told us. Space for proper internal arrangement of equipment remains the most important factor, and is satisfactory in this respect in the present 2100-ton Class standard CIC. This was demonstrated in the subject action and in the following three days of air attacks. However, if radical revision of the 2100-ton Class should ever become practicable, it is recommended that the actual combination of pilot house and CIC be considered as a solution for this class. No halfway measures would better the present arrangement.
CO USS Denver comments:The work of all hands in CIC was smooth and efficient during the entire period. The action was fought after seven days of bombardment and enemy air attacks with the attendant long periods of Condition I and II. Radar operators and plotter might well have been exhausted but they did not appear so. Their work was entirely praiseworthy. The Commanding Officer considers that CIC kept him fully informed in all respects regarding the tactical situation.
CO USS San Diego comments:The work of CIC in the use of radar navigation during sortie from ULITHI during very low visibility and darkness on October 3 was especially gratifying in view of the fact that it was the first time the ship had been forced to rely completely on radar for entering or leaving port. The practice run which had been made during the entrance on October 1 was of immeasurable value. Photographs taken of the scope are expected to be of assistance in the future.
Gunnery Officer, USS Maryland, comments and recommends:1. Although this vessel has not in the past maintained a Gunnery Liaison Officer in CIC, this action has emphasized the desirability of placing a competent experienced officer in that position. This officer should be on the Main Battery control circuit, not for the purpose of paralleling the regular information channels from CIC, but in order to interpret the various tracks maintained there from a purely gunnery viewpoint and to act as a more direct link between Main Battery Plot and Control and the controlling officers in CIC.
2. The need for an improved CIC installation is again emphasized. The present location of CIC is considered ideal in that it is within easy access to the fire control tower and the conning tower. It is also adjacent to flag plot and is only one level below the navigation bridge. The advantages of its location, however, are offset by the disadvantages of its arrangement. The present CIC is located in two small compartments, neither one of which is large enough to contain all the equipment necessary to carry out its function as an intelligence center. Problems arising from such a situation are obvious and can only be remedied by consolidating CIC into one properly arranged compartment. It is recommended that a proper CIC installation be made during the first availability.
CO USS Essex comments:CIC functioned as in previous operations insofar as method and personnel were concerned except in the following:
- A great portion of the time the JS Information Circuit was manned in Flag Plot and in CIC by CIC and Fighter Director-trained personnel. With the ever increasing tempo of our combat days and the growing importance of CIC, the above was found necessary. During daylight the amount of information handled by CIC concerning searches, strikes, patrols, fighter direction, station keeping, etc., was tremendous, especially when operating with several other Task Groups. For these reasons, it takes highly trained personnel to handle the traffic successfully.
- It has also become apparent that Combat Information must be centralized; i.e., a single responsible person on watch must evaluate. This evaluator might logically be the JS talker, though the latter function could easily prove a distraction.
- Essex CIC is by no means complete physically or in personnel requirements. Steps have been taken to correct these deficiencies under existing conditions; however, it must be realized that a complete CIC is impossible until the adequate physical set-up is available.
CO USS Fanshaw Bay comments:1. Enlisted personnel were organized into two teams of 12 men each. One of these teams plus the fighter director, radar control officer, and one intercept officer were on duty daily during flight operations. At general quarters and when this ship was assigned the visual fighter direction duty, the visual fighter director and a visual fighter direction team, consisting of four specially trained lookouts and one talker-plotter, were stationed on the searchlight platform prepared to take control of the CAP on an assigned frequency.
2. The Executive Officer acted as evaluator to the open bridge and flag plot at general quarters.
3. In addition to fighter direction, CIC performed the following functions:
- Maintained a continuous plot of own and enemy air and surface units.
- Kept flag plot, bridge, and gunnery advised of composition, ranges and bearings, courses and speeds of enemy forces as determined from information obtained via radars and VHF transmissions from own planes.
- Advised flag plot and bridge of weather conditions, e.g. location and size of cloud formations and rain squalls, on basis of information obtained from SG radar and own planes.
- Directed and coordinated air attacks against enemy surface units in accordance with instructions received from flag plot.
- Maintained plot on retiring enemy surface units based on information obtained from all available sources and used same in vectoring air strike sent out by this and other units. This included Wasp and Hornet air groups (estimated 50 to 60 planes each), which were contacted on VHF when approximately 15 miles from this base on course 200°, apparently uncertain as to target location, and vectored to enemy fleet which then bore 340° -- 120 miles from this base. Second vector was given them by this ship when the air group left their original vector to attack crippled enemy cruiser with destroyer escort, dead in water bearing from us 335° -- 55 miles. Strike group was directed to proceed to enemy main body. At last report force had contacted the enemy. Communication was by VHF, relaying through local CAP stationed over this base at 10,000 feet.
- Received and transmitted to flag plot information relating to attacks made and results of same.
- Maintained up-to-date record of deck condition of all carriers of this unit and of number and type of planes airborne from each together with missions assigned.
- Homed lost planes from this and other units and arranged for landing, refueling and rearming of planes participating in the attack.
- Acted as clearing center for information regarding missing pilots and all other information relating to the action.
CO USS Sangamon comments and recommends:1. The present CIC installation in this ship is woefully inadequate to handle the volume of aircraft and communication traffic when performing the duty of flagship of a force affording Air Support for a large amphibious operation. The deficiency exists not only in the matter of radar coverage but also in communications, both internal and external, and personnel.
- That Selector or toggle switches be installed at the important positions in CIC so as to allow access to all circuits from those positions, particularly radar circuits (21JS, 31JS).
- That at the first navy yard availability, a thoroughly modern CIC set-up including internal communications systems be installed. During recent operations this ship has acted as an AGC insofar as carrier aircraft is concerned.
ComBatDiv 13 comments:The operation of the Cabot CIC, and in particular the work of her intercept officers, was instrumental in the successful accomplishment of our mission.
ComBatDiv 4 comments:From observation made on the flagship, the West Virginia, the CIC functioned very well. The position of own and enemy forces was known at all times and there was no doubt as to where to shoot. Continuous sweeps of the surface search radar presented the full picture to the Division Commander. Tracks of own and enemy forces accurate enough to determine who was who were maintained by reading bearing and range from the remote P.P.I. Fire Control Radars were coached on to the target and accurate tracking was done by using them.
CTG 79.11 comments and recommends:The performance of CIC's of ships of DesRon 54 was very good to excellent. The need for more training in low visibility torpedo attacks with high relative speeds is indicated. The Monssen and the McGowan are the only two ships participating in the attack who have a remote PPI in CIC. Early installations on the other ships is desirable as it is a distinct advantage.
IDENTIFICATION BY IFF
CTU 38.4.2 comments:1. Comment in enclosure (D) of Wichita's action report is in general concurred in. However, it must be admitted that the attack by the first group of planes on Franklin and Belleau Wood had many of the aspects of surprise. Although unidentified aircraft had been detected 35 miles to the westward about 15 minutes prior to the attack and CAP vectored to intercept, in a short time SK radar showed a "merged plot" and "bogies" were thereafter lost. Whether this was because enemy planes made their glides through null areas of the air search radars, or because they were merged with friendly planes (i.e., at approximately the same ranges and bearings) until too close to the formation for detection and identification by IFF in air search radars, is not clear. In any case, of the screening ships, only two (Wichita and one destroyer) were observed to fire on planes which struck Franklin and Belleau Wood, although other ships were in a position to have done so. Planes taken under fire by Wichita were first identified visually. Visual detection and identification was difficult in the first instance, however, since planes approached from direction of the sun.
2. This incident again emphasizes the obvious necessity for maximum alertness when there is reason to believe enemy planes have reached position inside the CAP. Experience has demonstrated that IFF in air search radars cannot be relied upon to distinguish friend from foe when planes are close to the formation. This is due largely to limitations of the equipment:
- Planes within five miles are obscured by the light spot or "sun" in the center of the SK screen -- individual planes within this range are often difficult or impossible to distinguish.
- In the range interval from five to twenty miles, if the bogey is within approximately five degrees in bearing and one mile in range of one or more friendly planes, the friendly plane's IFF will generally mask the "bogey." Consequently, within this range all "friendly" pips have to be constantly watched to instantly detect any "bogey" that may break away from them.
3. Alertness of all topside personnel, particularly lookouts and control personnel, and quick certain identification are thus often the key to successful A.A. defense. Despite sad experience and numerous directives, it would appear that too much reliance -- almost blind faith -- is still placed on radar and CAP. As has been pointed out on several previous occasions, though the performance of both is often outstanding, neither is infallible.
CTG 77.4 recommends:A secure grid system, changing daily, for giving carrier positions and general use, should be promulgated.
CO USS Haggard comments:The value of radar in this action was not great. The enemy surface force could not be separated from our own surface and air units. The enemy plane was first sighted visually by an observant lookout. Again, it is clearly shown that too much reliance cannot be placed in radar and, in the final analysis, keen and alert lookouts remain a prime requisite.
CO USS Denver comments:The search radar problem in this area, LEYTE GULF, was an extremely difficult one. Land and land echoes made undetected air attack highly probable and small vessels could have approached along the coast lines without detection by SG. In spite of this, however, the excellent air warning system and alert SK operation within the ship
gave early warning of the few bogies which approached.
CO USS Santa Fe comments:The SK radar performed admirably at all times in picking up enemy aircraft at long ranges (30 to 110 miles) and tracking them in to the formation. In the case of high-flying aircraft such as dive bombers at 8,000 feet or more, it does not detect them after they get in to about 10 miles. Under these conditions dive bombers seem to be able to remain in the clouds over the formation for periods of 6 to 10 minutes without being detected by the radar. They are lost with radar and are able to make a surprise attack often unopposed and not fired upon until late in their dives.
CO USS Essex comments and recommends:1. Essex, in controlling interception during the period of 10-29 October, used the PPI controlled interception exclusively and is definitely "sold" on the method. The intercept officer working from a 12" remote scope at no time was confronted with lack of information, as happens in the case of plotting board interceptions. Four or five times interceptions were completed successfully because information was available on the remote scope but not to the operators at the machine. Also, on three separate occasions interceptions were completed when no information was available at the final stage, but because the intercept officer saw the very last indication he was able to dead reckon both bogey and friendly and give accurate enough orders to complete the "Tallyho".
2. During this action period it was noted that "Snoopers" and "Shads" came in at four thousand feet or below and very high speeds (220 knots). Also, the large attacks came in high, stacked from fifteen to twenty-five thousand feet. These notations are for the daylight attacks. The group "day attacks" were not aggressive and several times twelve to sixteen "Hellcats" were able to hold at bay a forty to fifty plane attack.
At Formosa a torpedo attack developed on the formation as a complete surprise to Essex radar. This attack was very low on the water and escaped fighter interception. The enemy knows some of the limitations of our radar but it seems he cannot decide on the best type of attack. All of his attacks during the subject period show a definite lack of coordination and aggressiveness.
3. The night tactics used during this period were not greatly different from our previous actions. However, a few things were positively noted:
- Each night "Shad" or "Snooper" flew a weaving course, varying the heading of his plane approximately 20 to 30 degrees -- thereby indicating that his airborne radar was probably fixed in the nose of the plane. This was also noticeable with the day "Snoopers". It is believed that the Japs "home" on our radar until they can fix our position with their airborne gear whose range is comparable to our ASB type.
- This action showed renewed vigor in their night program. It was not uncommon for them to "Snoop" use from sunset to sunrise. However, their ability to coordinate and press home the attack has not improved over that at KWAJALEIN on 4 December, 1943, or at SAIPAN on 22 February, 1944.
4. The night attacks used "window" more during this action than before but, due to use of the remote PPI on the twenty mile range, this countermeasure was not too effective. It was possible to determine just when "window" was dropped and to determine immediately when a plane left the vicinity of "windows".
5. The cruisers and battleships very often alerted the Task Group with reports of enemy radar a minute or two prior to Essex radar's picking up the bogey. The most authentic reports were in the 150 to 155 megacycles band, which is known to be their airborne radar gear.
CO USS Fanshaw Bay comments and concludes:1. Radar proved to be of little value in the air attack following the surface engagement. The SK screen was relatively clear at this time but the enemy aircraft came in low on the water until within a few miles of our formation. They were never seen on the SK screen, with the exception of one or two on retirement. Low-flying aircraft were occasionally seen on the SG screen at ranges up to 10 miles, but the plots were sporadic. With sufficient gain setting to spot them, side lobes from nearby ships nearly obliterated the echoes, rendering it impossible to obtain any satisfactory track.
2. It may be concluded from the foregoing that the enemy is fully aware of the limitations of our radar equipment. His attacks, as in this case, are designed to come in below the effective altitude of the SK radar and upon reaching a point close enough to the target to permit him to ignore radar detection (being within visual range), to climb to the altitude necessary to launch his suicide attack.
THIS IS A CLEAR INDICATION THAT LOOKOUTS MUST BE ALERT AT ALL TIMES --- IT IS NOT SAFE TO DEPEND ONLY ON RADAR TO PICK UP ENEMY PLANES.
CO USS Hornet comments:1. Better radar equipment is urgently needed to combat night enemy aircraft attacks. The new Mark 12 Radar for 5" directors and Mark 17 Radar for 40MM directors now coming into production should increase the accuracy of gun pointing so that night targets can be picked up and fired at with a reasonable chance of hitting. During the period of 12 to 15 October 5 "Bogey" targets were tracked in approaching directly toward the ship at about 6000 feet altitude. Fire was opened at about 6000 yards with the 5" battery and although 4 of the 5 "Bogeys" turned away, no evidence of hits was obtained with "good solutions". Radar gear is needed which will permit tracking targets with accuracy approaching that of optical means, if success in night shooting is to be expected.
2. Anti-aircraft fire-control radars should be so equipped that friendly IFF indications can be detected by a system similar to that in use in search radars. On several occasions aircraft which have been picked up by FD radars but not by search-radars because of altitude or range limitations, have been tracked in heavy clouds or at night to well within range of attack only to be recognized as friendly when the aircraft came into view. The advantage gained by the ability to track aircraft by radar means will be nullified when friendly aircraft are in the vicinity until Bogey nature of the aircraft can be reliably determined by the fire-control radars.
3. Although on this vessel 40MM quads can be connected to the 5" fire-control system, inaccuracies inherent in the mark 4 Radar also make this method of control of dubious value for control of automatic fire. It seems better to rely upon the use of the Mark 14 sights for pointing the quads.
4. The Mark 4 FD Radars have proven very effective for tracking aircraft which have previously been picked up by search radars. The fire-control radars are coached on targets by the Gunnery Radar Liaison Officer in CIC from the plots on the large board. This system is preferred to that of designating train directly to the 5" directors from the search radars, because it permits the gunnery representatives to designate to each 5" director the target on which its gun can bear, shifting targets if course changes necessitate.
5. On the afternoon of 15 October a JUDY was tracked in from 22 miles in heavy clouds by FD Radar after having been detected by search radar and subsequently lost by that radar. As the plane approached this ship it was spotted in the clouds by binoculars and the battery was prepared to open fire. When it dove from a clear area nearby, the entire battery was ready for it and was able to develop an effective fire which caused him to drop his bomb 300 yards off the starboard beam and crash about six miles on the starboard quarter.
COORDINATION OF ALL USES OF RADAR IS ESSENTIAL. RADAR WILL GIVE ALL THE INFORMATION IT CAN WITHIN ITS DESIGN LIMITATIONS.
CO USS Suwannee comments and recommends:1. The greatest difficulty in intercepting "bogies" was found to be the lack of altitude information. This was the result of the following factors:
- Ships operating as close as 30 miles to large land masses resulted in the radar screen being blocked in bearing up to 180 degrees.
- Failure of actual "fitting" fade charts in use, even though fade charts in use were constructed and based on many radar calibration runs.
2. The second serious problem presented during most "close-in" interceptions was the large number of friendly planes (singles and groups) in the area. Many "Tally-Ho's" were made on ASP planes and returning strike groups of this division and other carrier divisions in the vicinity; during this time, the "bogies" either faded or opened.
- There should be some type of SM radar on each carrier, or at least on one carrier of each division.
- The carriers should operate at least 75 miles from large land masses.
- Local CAP should be increased from 8 to 12 planes in the "bogey" area.
- SP NOW AUTHORIZED AND BEING INSTALLED.
- AND (C) COMMAND MUST KNOW WHAT LAND MASSES DO TO RADAR. AGAIN KNOW ITS LIMITATIONS AS WELL AS ITS CAPABILITIES.
ComCruDiv 12 comments:In the virtually land-locked waters of LEYTE Gulf, enemy planes had a great advantage in being able to approach the objective area from north or west over large land masses. Ships' air search radars under these conditions were hard pressed to detect and track approaching raids. Frequently raids were detected over water west of LEYTE and then lost until sighted visually by the ships. It is not felt that this inability to track raids successfully over land is any reflection on the radar operation nor on the condition of upkeep. In some cases results were surprisingly good in spite of geographical handicaps. The general situation, however, does emphasize the weakness of present ship-borne air-search radars when ships are compelled to operate in close proximity to large land areas.
ComBatDiv 4 comments and recommends:1. Radar of both surface search and fire control types proved its worth on the night of 24-25 October 1944. The procedure used by the West Virginia for operating the surface search radars is recommended for all ships.
2. The great value of maintaining a continuous sweep with the surface search radar was proven again in this engagement. The remote PPI enabled anyone watching it to keep track of our forces and the enemy. Tracking can be done from the remote PPI well enough to keep a summary plot. Solving for enemy course and speed accurately enough for gun or torpedo fire is a fire control radar's job.
CTG 77.2 comments:Radar fire control methods were according to doctrine. The targets had been reported early by our PT boats, and tracked by our destroyers, who reported their positions with reference to known landmarks. Hence the targets were picked up easily by fire control radars, and tracking was not difficult.
CTG 77.3 comments:While on the subject of radar, fire distribution could have been more readily accomplished had the information available on the Mark VIII main battery radar been used. SG radar target definition is not sufficient at the long ranges involved in a battle like this. The mark VIII, with its expanded target area, even at the long ranges, can be of great help in this connection.
MODEL VF WILL HELP. DOCTRINE REQUIRES THE CIC TO USE THE INFORMATION FROM ALL RADARS. THIS INFORMATION BELONGS TO ALL HANDS AND SHOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THEM.
CTG 77.4 comments and recommends:1. The radar installations on ships of the Sangamon Class were a constant source of anxiety as they could not pick up any planes approaching at altitudes in excess of 10,000 feet and the range of radar interception was seldom more than thirty miles. Consequently, ships of this division had to rely on reports from others and fighter direction from the Flagship was not satisfactory. Ships had great difficulty vectoring intercepting fighters on the incoming bogies because there was nothing better than a guess as to altitude.
SC/SK CAN GIVE YOU A PRETTY GOOD GUESS.
It is imperative that the SP radar be installed on all CVEs so that the ever-increasing attacks from enemy land-based air can be intercepted and broken up at sufficient distances from our own forces.
2. As has been noted in each previous operation and during five different calibration runs conducted by the Division, there exists a high altitude deficiency in the SK radar installation of all the ships. This deficiency is not equal for all ships, the worst being the U.S.S. Sangamon, then in order of severity, the U.S.S. Chenango, U.S.S. Santee and finally the best coverage in the U.S.S. Suwannee. The experience of the U.S.S. Sangamon, being the worst, is as follows: Coverage up to 10,000 feet is average or above average and adequate. Two to four aircraft, at 8,000 feet can be tracked to a distance of 100 miles or better. Above 10,000 feet, however, there is a sharp decrease in range to a figure of 50 miles or less for several planes. Single aircraft are
difficult to discover at any range above 10,000 feet. A complete survey of the Sk radar antenna radiation is recommended at the earliest opportunity.
THIS MAY BE ATTRIBUTED TO PERSONNEL RATHER THAN EQUIPMENT.
3. Because of the relatively short distance at which these carriers have been operating off land masses during amphibious operations, there is a consequent reduction in the distance during which altitude may be determined by "fades". (Usual operating ranges off land masses during the day have been between 20-50 miles). As such, it is imperative that some better means be provided (SP or other type of radar for at least one ship in the division or force) so as to be able to establish a good estimate of altitude if the "raid" is to be intercepted before it is over the force.
4. During the LEYTE Gulf operation, almost all "raids" were of the "Suicide Dive" type from altitudes of 10,000-15,000 feet or above. The problem of interception was intensified as it was not only necessary to intercept and disperse the "raid", but rather to destroy all aircraft before they were in a position to begin their dive. When interceptions were made at reasonable distances from the force, our pilots experienced no difficulty in destroying the enemy aircraft due to the lack of intelligent defensive tactics on the part of the "suicide pilots". The problem was quite difficult, however, as most of these "raids" were made by two to three aircraft rather than in large, easily detected groups. Only in one instance was there evidence that there were more than four planes at a time and the larger "raid" (perhaps 8-10 planes) as well as those of four was readily intercepted. Great difficulty, however, was experienced in picking up the high altitude sneak "suicide raid" by single or two planes. The fact of being close to land where there was a limited distance in which to pick up "bogey" indications, plus the lack of quick altitude information magnified the problem of "early interception".
5. Added to the above problems was the fact that our own aircraft were continually going back and forth to the beaches. In consequence, it was relatively easy for enemy aircraft in "small numbers" to time their attacks to coincide with the "strung out" return of our aircraft and come in undetected until relatively close to the formation. When they got in close they were difficult of detection due to the circling of "friendly aircraft" and a generally "cluttered" screen. There is some evidence that the enemy learned the sequence of our flight operations, as most attacks coincided with launching and landing operations. In this regard it is suggested that in the future flights do not return to the ship from the objective area until fully rendezvoused and "closed up" so as to present only one clearly defined friendly indication on the scope. Such practice would require alertness on the part of flight leaders to avoid single aircraft or small groups superimposing their indications upon friendly aircraft by flying at different altitudes, nearly at the same range.
6. Intense diligence and speed on the part of the radar operators is necessary so as to be able to check each indication for IFF in the short distance of their flight from the beaches to the ship, detect "bogeys", give clearly defined "fades" to determine altitude and decide how many aircraft there may be in a single "echo", or several "echoes", so that an intelligent decision may be reached in time to handle a successful interception and destroy the enemy aircraft before arriving over the formation.
7. All command vessels (CSA) and FDO vessels, and all CVEs must be equipped with an SM (or SP). A radar which can solve for altitude is essential. Raids must be detected and VF vectored out before the enemy formation has a chance to separate for the attack. All bogies must be intercepted. Once separated, the FDO problem become so difficult that an unlimited number of fighters is not capable of stopping a resolute and determined attack. Due to prevalent clouds at intermediate altitudes, the altitude of the raid must be accurately known or interception becomes impossible until too late. A "stacked" CAP is only a partial solution to the problem and CAP cannot always be made available in adequate numbers. Pending availability of SM radars, closer liaison and training in using destroyers FD radars to estimate altitude must be accomplished.
CONTROL OF OWN AIRCRAFT -- TO KNOW THEM AND SEE WHERE THEY ARE IS ESSENTIAL.
RADAR CONTROL LIMITATIONS
ComCruDiv 6 comments:Evasive maneuvers of enemy cruisers were very effective and provided an excellent test of fire control parties and equipment. In general, performance of ordnance matériel was satisfactory. However, reports of limitation of radar control in both range and bearing are noted. New Orleans states that rangekeeper problem was particularly
difficult because bearing was dependent on radar train which "had its customary deflection weave". Wichita states that known lag in radar range line was a direct cause for the time required to sink the target. Also, as indicated in Wichita's report, the mark 8 Radar seemed unduly sensitive to shock of own gunfire, resulting in a very disappointing performance during the early phases of the night engagement. Improvement in reliability of fire control radars is considered to be a matter of importance and urgency.
ComCruDiv 13 comments:1. With rapidly and radically maneuvering targets, the lag in full radar fire control in determining and correcting for changes in target course and speed is such that large errors are produced, particularly in deflection.
2. Fire-control radar still offers possibility of consistently "just missing" the target, which must be kept in mind in accepting heavy ammunition expenditures.
IS IT THE RADAR OR HOW IT IS OPERATED?
CTG 77.4 comments:1. The following is a description of events that occurred in the Flagships' CIC on 21 October 1944:
- At 1830 bogey was reported at 040 -- 12 miles and a section of the Dusk CAP was vectored to intercept. There was a merged plot at 090 -- 5 miles with estimated altitude of bogey 350 feet. The CAP saw nothing and returned for landing.
- At 1900 a U.S.S. McCord (DD 534) reported sighting one low-flying aircraft showing running lights.
At 1927 bogey appeared 070 -- 8 miles.
- At 1932 U.S.S. McCord again reported sighting of low-flying plane bearing 160° 3 miles. Bogey was tracked on the screen out to 20 miles on a westerly course, speed 120 knots.
- At 1935 bogey picked up 350 -- 8 miles, tracked overhead and out to 170 -- 8 miles. Lookouts reported seeing and hearing nothing.
2. From this time until 2045 about 15 bogies were tracked, appearing north of the formation at 8 miles and disappearing south at 8 miles. Many of these passed over the ships, all of which reported the same indications. Various DDs in the screen reported having solutions on the bogies by Mark 4, estimating altitudes from 50 to 350 feet. The dubious part of the solutions was that they showed a southerly direction at speeds of 30-50 knots. Therefore, orders were given to hold fire.
3. The altitudes obtained from estimations of the SK and the Mark 4 solutions was constant and all contacts appeared and disappeared at the same range of 7-9 miles from the formation.
4. During this period the formation was on courses from 110° to 125° and the winds northerly. Afternoon wind readings had been surface 335°, 13 knots; 7000 feet 035°, 32 knots.
5. These bogies were some form of deception, possibly the type known as "phantoms", and were probably released by the single aircraft reported visually. The indications on the SK were very clear and appeared like aircraft echoes. Some ships reported their echoes were usually E-3, never reached saturation, and that the amplitude varied at a higher rate than aircraft echoes. Others reported echoes of 1/4 to 1/2 normal plane echoes with occasional normal ones.
6. It is fairly certain that the indications were not caused by "window" as single and definite echoes were observed. The fact that lookouts saw nothing despite a clear night with a bright new moon, the altitudes of 50-350 feet and the slow speed indicate the absence of mechanical or material devices such as balloon reflectors. Also the indications were picked up by the SG and appeared fuzzy and very similar to cloud indications.
7. The constant altitude, limitation of range, slow speed, and general downwind motion favor the explanation as being that of some form of "ionized" smoke or vapor.
8. The reality of the echoes and their similarity to aircraft indications confused the operators at first appearance. It was only after tracking them for a few minutes that their speed showed they were not aircraft.
9. The formation did not open fire. It is believed this form of deception has the purpose of causing ships to open fire at false echoes and thus reveal their position to the real bogey lying in wait. There was no evidence to indicate that there was more than one enemy aircraft present in the area.
CO USS Trathen comments:1. The negative bias transformer, T-2, in the modulation generator of the Mark IV radar burned out at the objective. This was a tender spare and the ship's force was unable to rewind this type of transformer. Emergency steps were taken to obtain the lost voltage from the Sugar George in the brief time it could be secured.
2. The burned out transformer normally supplies -850 volts dc to the distortion circuit of the modulation generator. A new source of -850 volts dc was found in T-602 of the Sugar George modulation generator power supply. This Sugar George transformer normally supplies -820 volts dc for the monitor scope and the duplexer tubes' "keep alive voltage". By disconnecting the monitor scope bleeder this latter voltage was increased to about -950 volts dc. This was led thru a 1 megohm dropping resistor and cable to the tap on the burned out transformer bleeder, this bleeder also being disconnected to prevent overloading T-602 in the Sugar George. A 45-volt "C" battery was used to give the -55 volt bias also obtained from the burned out transformer.
3. Using T-602 in this manner eliminated the use of the SG monitor scope but the RCA oscilloscope normally provided with the Mark IV can be used in it's place. Knowing beforehand what to do, the Mark IV and SG would be back in operation in an hour. The operation of neither set was impaired.
ComBatDiv 3 comments:1. The Mark 8 Fire Control Radar is so far superior to any type currently in use and the results achieved with it so satisfactory that no discussion is considered necessary other than to point out the urgent need for that type radar on ships equipped with older models.
2. The Commander Battle Line's flagship, Mississippi, is not equipped with the Mark 8. Full reliance was placed on the SG with which Mississippi CIC was able to present a clear picture of the movements of enemy and own forces throughout the engagement. However, the relative importance of two groups of pips appearing on an SG screen is not evident, nor is it always possible to tell by relative position.
3. Mississippi's lateness in opening fire and Pennsylvania's failure to open at all are attributed to both material and personnel. Both ships had difficulty identifying their target and obtaining an acceptable solution. Mississippi was able to fire at the end but Pennsylvania was not. Commander Battle Line believes that if these ships had Mark 8 Fire Control Radar they would have opened fire with the rest of the Battle Line. Maryland is to be commended for her speed in picking up her target from observation of West Virginia's fall of shot.
ComBatDiv 4 comments:1. The tremendous advantages enjoyed by a vessel equipped with the FH type radar over those equipped with FC were forcibly demonstrated as between the Maryland and West Virginia. The latter ship had been tracking the target, at which she eventually fired, from a range of about 41,000 yards to 42,000 yards with perfectly definite target indications in range and bearing and there was no hesitation in opening fire. On the other hand, the Maryland with FC radars could, at the time the West Virginia opened fire, find no identifiable target until the range closed to about 22,000 yards. It appears probable that the leading enemy heavy ship which eventually became the Maryland's heavy target changed course at about the time the West Virginia opened fire and therefore presented to the Maryland's fire control radars a broadside target, as it was some minutes after the initial salvo of the West Virginia that the Maryland found a target and opened fire.
CTG 77.3 comments:Radar again proved its great value, both in fire control and in detection and plotting of enemy vessels. The need for a separate remote PPI to be used by the summary plotter without interference was again demonstrated. The summary plotter cannot be interrupted in the use of the remote PPI if he is to keep careful and accurate track of friendly and enemy vessels.
CO USS Ammen comments:Radar: The Sugar George (Able) Radar, which failed the night of 20 October when the driver supply transformer (T101) Navy Type number 30888 burned out, was sorely missed. The SC-2 proved a poor substitute and, when a thorough search among all communication headquarters ships (AGCs) revealed that none had brought tender radar spares forward, the possibility of completing the operation without SG was faced. By a stroke of good fortune, a spare T101 transformer was located in and obtained from the Phoenix, which had the foresight to secure this one tender spare for her use in the event of a casualty such as ours. This casualty emphasizes pointedly how useless are tender spares to a ship in dire need of same when
there is no tender within a thousand miles of the vicinity. If tenders cannot accompany ships to forward bases with vital spares, it is considered urgent that provisions be made for some other ships to carry minimum needs until tenders reach the area.
CO USS California comments and recommends:1. During a night action station keeping is an obviously important function and must be performed by using SG radar ranges and bearings. In this ship, while cruising in a column formation, only the forward SG can be used in station keeping. This is true because the antennae of the after SG is lower than the forward super-structure, thereby making it impossible to range with the after SG on a ship dead ahead and within station keeping distance. Because the Bridge required frequent ranges and bearings to the ship ahead in column during the action in order to meet Commander Battle line's rigid station keeping requirements, it was most practicable to use the forward SG (in CIC) for station-keeping and for radar navigational fixes. The summary plot was maintained by use of a remote PPI. The after SG (in Auxiliary CIC) was used for searching and tracking. Ranges and bearings to the targets were passed to the DRT recorder and plotter in CIC over the 23JS sound power circuit. This set-up was satisfactory, but will prove to be a handicap to the evaluator in the event of more complicated action.
2. If the after SG antennae could be raised, auxiliary CIC could be used for station keeping while cruising in column. The forward SG could then be used for searching and tracking. In this way the Evaluator would have closer control of the tracking and interpretation of pips.
MODEL VF PPI AND CHANGE 50 TO SG WILL INCREASE ITS USEFULNESS. CIC SHOULD USE ALL RADARS TO GET ALL DATA.
CO USS Daly comments:Considering the number of ships involved in this action intership communications were most successful. Proper use was made of tactical and maneuvering circuits. Circuit discipline was good even though many "repeats" were necessary due to extreme range between units of same force.
Gunnery Officer, USS Maryland, comments:During this action no spotting planes were in the air. It is believed that great value to all battleships in the action could have been derived from the establishment of an interplotting room circuit between the plotting rooms of all ships. Transmitters normally used on the plane spotting circuit could have been utilized for this purpose, and it is believed that a free flow of information over such a circuit would have resulted in a better understanding of the developing situation on the part of all Plotting Room Officers, and, ultimately, a more successful action. It is believed that a policy for the establishment of such a circuit is being considered in the first draft of a battleship gunnery doctrine being drawn up by ComBatPac Gunnery Officer.
PLAIN LANGUAGE EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION MAY BE VALUABLE TO THE ENEMY.
ComBatDiv 2 comments and recommends:1. Preceding the engagement, during the engagement, and after the engagement, communications on all circuits within TG 77.2 functioned smoothly except as noted in following paragraphs.
2. Local Air Warning circuit (3115 kcs) was supposed to be PT boat primary voice reporting circuit. However, it was being used by everyone for all types of traffic. Use of this circuit by powerful ship stations in LEYTE GULF caused much interference when less powerful PT stations tried to make contact reports. This interference prevented rapid delivery of contact reports to OTC. Excessive repeats and relays were predominant prior to and during the engagement. Alertness of PT squadron commanders in relaying and repeating vital information is commendable.
3. It is recommended strongly that contact reporting circuit be used primarily for contact reporting and, if the situation justifies, a special circuit be used by stations assigned these duties and positive control be maintained thereon. It is further recommended, where distance and low-power radio equipment is a factor, that radio telegraph (CW or MCW) be used for contact reports instead of voice.
CTU 77.4.2 comments:1. The establishment of a high frequency inter-Commander Support Air Circuit (2096 Kcs) for making routine aircraft reports and for the interchange of operational information between
the various CSAs and the Escort Carrier Unit Commanders, was extremely satisfactory. Formerly, this traffic was handled on the "Support Air Request" net and interfered seriously with communications between the CSA and the Air Liaison parties.
2. The "Radar Information Circuit" (142.56 Mcs) proved invaluable for intra-unit communications. It is strongly recommended that at least screen commanders be equipped to man this circuit. The inter-Fighter Director Circuit (37.6 Mcs) is subject to interception by the enemy during daylight hours. Transmissions on this circuit from other force were heard by this command over a thousand miles away on one occasion.
3. It is considered that a Task Group Common should be selected comfortably above the range of airborne and shipboard "DF" equipment. The Task Group Common designated (430 Kcs), was particularly dangerous, affording the enemy an opportunity to take excellent "DF" bearings from aircraft or surface ships. It is suggested that a Task group Common be selected in the two thousand kilocycle band.
4. Considerable difficulty was experienced in copying both "Bells" and "Manus" Fox schedules in the LEYTE Area. This was due in part to the antenna arrangement on Kaiser Class CVEs. The ship antennas have to be kept lowered throughout the day. Reception at the following time was particularly troublesome:
**NOTE: It is believed that if "NTF" continued transmitting on 4415 Kcs. until 2100 GCT this condition would be corrected.
Times (GCT) Frequencies Remarks BELCONNEN 1930-2300 4050, 12170, 8430 Kcs Unreadable 0600-0900 4050 Kcs Unreadable MANUS 2000-2100 **8830, 17660 Kcs Unreadable
CTG 77.4 comments and recommends:1. There is always the problem of insufficient VHF channels and "jammed' frequencies. It is true that a great deal more can be achieved in the way of radio discipline, but in an operation of the type being described, discipline is only part of the problem. In the first instance, one or two channels must be made available to the "objective" area for Fighter Direction, SAD, etc. This generally leaves two or perhaps three channels available to the carrier groups. In the present operation, the presence of three distinct carrier groups complicated the problem even more. Although the three groups of carriers did not interfere with each other, their air groups interfered both with the carriers and each other. The jamming of the fighter Director channel was particularly noticeable. There were many times when all three groups were giving vectors to their planes at the same time, with confusion of the fighters hearing vectors from all three controlling bases and the bases hearing acknowledgments from all the planes.
It is suggested that each carrier unit or division be assigned a definite frequency for the control of its own planes, differing from any of the usual four channel frequencies, and in addition have a common frequency for all the planes (channel #4) in the event it become necessary to join or interchange groups. It is believed that sufficient different crystals are now available to make this suggestion practicable.
2. There is also the necessity for a common rendezvous channel to be used for all administrative and rendezvous instructions, and pilots must be instructed to use this channel exclusively for such purposes.
3. At the present time, the four generally used VHF frequencies are so close together on the band that it is almost impossible to avoid interference between channels. This is particularly noticeable in channels #2, 3 and 4. Since there is a difference of only .72 mcs. Between the three channels, the elimination of this interference is difficult of accomplishment. Shielding, separation of leads and antenna should improve this condition. During the recent operation, channel #4 was assigned as fighter Net (carrier) and channel #3 was used as Radar Information Circuit. The interference between the two was so great that it was necessary to delay vectors when reports were coming in over the RIC or to miss important information from the other ships. The availability of a Radar Information Circuit for a force composed of ships having only one radar each is of vital importance. The presently established Radar guard plan and RIC in Cardiv TWENTY-TWO worked admirably and was of invaluable assistance to us in view of the flagship radar's high altitude void.
4. A more integrated system of internal communications for these ships' CICs is necessary, so as to allow the FDO and others to have access to the various circuits, particularly the radar circuits, without the necessity of changing phones or asking questions of plotters wearing sound-powered phones. This can be accomplished by the installation of Selector or toggle switches at the important points throughout the compartment.
5. There should also be installed some system of inter-communications between the various positions in CIC, such as feeding the various radio circuits through sound-powered phones so as to avoid the necessity of taking off phones to talk to various stations in the compartment and also to reduce the noise level.
6. A special bogey circuit should be set up.
7. Inter Commander Support Aircraft (ICSA) -- This circuit was an innovation in support aircraft operations and proved invaluable. It is probable that successful support air operations would have been impossible without it. This circuit should be retained in future communication plans.
ELIMINATE DIFFICULTY OF UNDERSTANDING VOICE CIRCUIT NAMES
CO USS Denver comments and recommends:1. It was noted that considerable difficulty was experienced by operators on voice circuits in understanding the geographical names used in reporting enemy ship locations. Many repeats and frequent spelling with corresponding delays resulted. It is suggested that all voice circuit operators should be familiarized with the operating area so that the names of islands, waterways, points, landmarks, etc., will be thoroughly familiar to them beforehand in order that vital transmissions not be delayed. Another solution would be to extend the use of the numbered or named "point" system. The voice call system is unnecessarily complicated and requires more effort than its security affords in remembering or keeping straight the names of ships and commands in a force of this size used in this operation where calls are assigned at random. For simplicity some reduction in security should be accepted and calls assigned on some basis which would facilitate their being remembered by officers and talkers without continual reference to a list.
2. In other respects communications were uniformly excellent throughout.
CO USS Raymond recommends:1. VHF should be provided on all escorts.
2. NAN equipment should be provided on all escort vessels operating with carriers.
CO USS Santa Fe comments and recommends:1. The tug Munsee, with the unreliable TBY equipment, could not be consistently contacted on the TBS frequency. It is suggested that some type of equipment which would enable the tug to carry on reliable communications with men of war on a VHF channel be provided.
ComCruDiv 13 comments:1. The lack of satisfactory TBS communications with Pawnee and Munsee was felt acutely. For fleet salvage work TBS communication with salvage vessels is considered essential.
2. The lack of a second TBS in Santa Fe continues to be source of constant inconvenience. It has not been possible to transmit on TBS secondary; an RBK has been required to cover this circuit instead of other important circuits, and the sole standby for TBS in ComCruDiv THIRTEEN's Flagship is a single TBY.
3. The lack of a dependable shipborne VHF installation is another source of inconvenience and loss of military efficiency. With only the makeshift installation of two AN/ARC-4 aircraft VHF radio units, it is not felt that the Flagship's CIC installation is properly equipped to handle the fighter direction and intercept work frequently encountered.
During the past 10 months, however, this division has not had opportunity or the necessary equipment to remedy these and other discrepancies in the material installations of the communications department.
CTU 77.4.3 comments:To meet the additional traffic load required aboard a flagship, an ATC, ten channel, high frequency aircraft transmitter was installed and set up on the ten frequencies most likely to be used. This proved an excellent addition, especially for communications with aircraft and as an emergency standby transmitter. The PD-1 recorder was extremely useful in checking the accuracy of messages sent and received.
CTG 77.4 comments and recommends:Equipment and Methods.
1. This command prepared for voice and key communications for the PHILIPPINES Operation with the lessons of past amphibious operations in which close air-support was required in mind. On my
flagship, all CW circuits were located in Radio One. All voice circuits other than aircraft VHF circuits were centered in Radio Three, which is located next to CIC. Six receivers, three RBH's, two RAS's, and a useful high frequency receiver, salvaged from a wrecked B-25, were available in Radio Three. In addition, two RBB's were "piped" into Radio Three from Radio One.
2. Also available in Radio Three were two remote phone units (RPU). Microphones from these units were installed at a desk in the center of Radio Three and from this position an officer controlled all high frequency voice transmissions. He was in continuous contact with the flag bridge through a sound power circuit. By means of a jack box at the central desk he was able to listen to vital circuits and make immediate transcriptions of outgoing and incoming messages without the delay of rewriting them from log sheets.
3. This system worked admirably and is recommended for support aircraft voice communications. The value of having officer supervision and participation in the actual transmission of dispatches was amply demonstrated. Speed of decision was possible, and accurate, immediate routing of the most vital information to those who simply had to have the facts proved very advantageous.
4. It is recommended that a system of jack boxes similar to those installed in CIC's at present be made available to CVE flagships involved in close air-support missions.
5. It is also important that more reliable voice receivers be allowed combat CVE's. The RBH type receiver is not satisfactory and it is dangerous to trust an important warning or support net to such a receiver. A receiver of the type of the RBC is recommended.
6. It is also necessary that a second TBL be installed in CVE task group flagships. The communication duties of these ships are extensive. More equipment is essential if they are to do the job assigned. It is felt that a transmitter of the general type of the ATC, used in carrier aircraft, should be added to the allowance of the flagship. The facility with which frequencies may be shifted by means of such equipment would insure flexibility of communication, which is so important when so many frequencies are employed.
CO USS Fanshaw Bay comments and recommends:1. In general the same comments apply to this operation as were made in my communication report for the MOROTAI operation; namely, too many circuits to be handled by too little equipment and too few personnel. However, in spite of the greater volume of traffic, communications were much better than in that operation.
2. All high frequency voice circuits were handled in Air Plot. An ATC, ten channel, high frequency aircraft transmitter was installed and set up on the ten high frequency channels most liable to be used. This proved invaluable for aircraft communications and as a standby transmitter when it became necessary to instantly shift to another frequency. The four RBH-1 receivers were set up on 2096 kcs. (ICSA), 3115 kcs. (LAW), 3000 kcs. (GAW), and 6195 kcs. (IFD) -- which was later shifted to 2530 kcs. The two main circuits, 2096 and 3115, were split phoned and handled by one operator. 6195 was monitored and controlled in CIC and 3000 was guarded on a speaker. The TBL transmitter was set on 2096 and piped to the remote unit in Air Plot where it was controlled. 6195 was on the TDE transmitter and controlled by the remote unit in CIC. In addition, a remote microphone and headset were available for use on this circuit in Air Plot when required. 3115 was set up on the TCE in CIC and controlled in Air Plot. When it became necessary to set up additional voice frequencies such as 3080 kcs. (SAO) or 4195 kcs (SAD-E-1), the receiver on 3000 was temporarily shifted to the frequency desired and the ATC transmitter set up on the desired frequency. LAW and ICSA were recorded on the PD-1 recorder. The PD-1 recorder proved extremely useful in checking the accuracy of messages received in addition to providing a voice log of all transmissions sent and received.
3. All VHF circuits, with the exception of TBS, were controlled and monitored by CIC personnel.
4. All CW traffic was handled by Radio One. The TAJ and TDX transmitters were used for this and remotely keyed from Radio One. At one time a minor casualty to the TAJ necessitated setting up the IF side of the TDE on 430 kcs. (T.G. Common). The IFD frequency which was set up on the HF side was shifted to the ATC in Air Plot and controlled there until the TAJ was put back into commission.
5. NAN equipment was received and installed just prior to sortie. This was the first time it had been seen or used. However, excellent results were obtained in the use of this equipment.
6. Due to the large number of circuits required to be guarded by the flagship, some of these were "farmed out" to other ships in company. This worked satisfactorily with the exception of one or two times it was necessary to receive an exceptionally long dispatch.
7. It is recommended that a 233-A VHF Transceiver be installed in the Communication Office, set up on an unused channel and used exclusively for communication information such as: requests for repetitions of garbled messages received on Fox schedules, and the checking of internal indicators on no-break dispatches, etc. This would relieve the already crowded visual channels of this additional traffic.
ComCruDiv 13 comments:The great bulk of communications within the Task Group was handled on TBS Primary (72.1 mcs). In general, communications on this circuit were reliable and satisfactory. A considerable variation in effective range and reliability of TBS communication is constantly noted among ships of various types. Even within the type, Santa Fe and Birmingham appear to have greater range and reliability for two-way communications than does Mobile. Use of relay ships enabled passing of all vital information with relatively small delay.
CTU 77.4.3 comments:Communications during the PHILIPPINE operation were remarkably good, from the standpoint of the Escort Carrier group. Faults can be found, some serious ones, but they seem insignificant when the overall picture is reviewed and the role of communications in the successful outcome of the engagement of 25 October and subsequent days is evaluated. Despite the limitations of equipment and personnel which characterized the Escort Carrier group flagships, and the urgency of the situation, communications of all types held up almost without exception. Group commanders were in continuous voice communications. Circuit discipline improved and the efficiency of the operators increased as the hazardous position of Task group 77.4 became obvious. It is inadequate to simply praise these men, for they were completely aware of their personal danger, almost without relief in their watches, and yet they sat at their positions and copied the most difficult transmissions "solid". Technicians on all ships kept their equipment operating and shifted circuits quickly and accurately, so that rarely was any station off the air an appreciable length of time. Especially commendable was the manner in which the high frequency voice circuits were handled by CTU 77.4.2 and CTU 77.4.3. Although under fire of the enemy they transmitted their vital traffic without errors, delaying repeats, or dangerous display of tension.
CO USS Santa Fe comments:On one occasion Japanese jamming on the 4235 series was pronounced. To quote NPM: "I hear you strength 2, interference 5". The frequency was not changed, however, and upon rebroadcast over the Fox schedule 20 minutes later only 3 characters differed from those of the original transmission. Although the enemy attempted to jam on the ship shore series several times, on many other transmissions the enemy did not compete.
CTU 77.4.3 comments:Jamming by the enemy was noted on the following frequency, and occurred most frequently when urgent traffic was being transmitted or received: 8820, 8270, Bells, 8470 and 430. The Japs used the call NAP on the latter frequency. Interference and "jabbering" by the enemy was noted on 72.1, 37.6 and VHF channel 3.
PLAIN LANGUAGE -- USE OF
ComBatDiv 3 comments:The use of any code or cipher in the heat of battle is considered objectionable as a double source of error -- one in encrypting and the other in decrypting. Direct reading plain language signals were used, where possible, to avoid this source of error. In the particular case of the California, misinterpretation of a direct reading turn signal was an unfortunate error.
CTG 77.4 comments and recommends:1. Due to the exigency of the situation, plain language was widely used for the most important tactical and strategic messages. There can be no question as to the necessity for such action to those who were involved in the operation. However, much concern was exhibited by this command over the possible consequences of such transmissions and efforts were made to minimize their possible harmful effect.
THE ENEMY IS PROBABLY GETTING MUCH USEFUL INFORMATION FOR OUR USE OF PLAIN LANGUAGE. ITS USE SHOULD BE RESTRICTED TO ACTUAL EMERGENCY.
2. It was vital during the action of 25 October and subsequent days for CSA, Central PHILIPPINES, CTF 77, CTG 77.2 as well as all ships of TG 77.4, to have reliable information as to the movements of TG 77.4 without delay. The shackle code combined with prearranged points such as "Fin", "Queen", "Molly", and others were employed for this purpose. However, with their continued use and the certainty that the shackle code was of value only in that it delayed the enemy momentarily, this method obviously compromised the position of TG 77.4 and other friendly forces. Although there can be little question that the enemy was fully appraised of the position of this task group by other means, it was and is felt that plain language transmissions of this nature are extremely dangerous.
3. Other methods of passing position reports were tried. The Aircraft Signal book, CSP 1270, was used, but because of the lack of variety in the reports, this system also proved of little value after numerous transmissions.
4. The only adequate answer found by this command, considering the codes available, was silence. Planes returning from TACLOBAN and DULAG airfield were simply vectored in an easterly direction and relied on the YE equipment to home their respective bases.
It is believed vital that some secure and quick system of giving positions of friendly forces operating for protracted periods in the same area be found. Officers must be made cognizant of the fact that the shackle code is not secure. They must not trust vital strategic information to it.
Silence is the best answer, but it will not serve at all times. Coordination cannot be achieved without a speedy exchange of information. Special points to be used only in an emergency have been suggested. Rotation of the names of points, similar to the method used for Lifeguard Rescue Points, has also been mentioned. A third suggestion is the elimination of the first two numerals of the longitude and the first numeral of the latitude, or even the elimination of reporting degrees, and the reporting of minutes of longitude and latitudes only. None of these seem sufficient in themselves. The problem needs the consideration of specialists in the field.
ComCruDiv 13 comments:1. By dispatch of October 14, CTG 30.3 was directed by Commander THIRD Fleet to transmit deception traffic, consisting of messages of different lengths, from three to five times a day. Subsequently, the same command ordered inclusion of information regarding the progress of the group in this traffic.
2. This traffic was cleared to various stations, sometimes with considerable delay. Radio ENIWETOK was of great assistance on several occasions when MANUS or other stations could not be raised, mainly due to interference from enemy stations. At one time NPM reported enemy jamming as strength "5" with signal strength "3". DNC 14 (Frequency Guide tables) and monitoring of ship to shore series was used to determine the most reliable frequency.
3. Although enemy aircraft did an excellent shadowing job on the group, it is believed this traffic may have been of considerable additional assistance in keeping the enemy advised of our location. Further, the use of brief urgent dispatches followed by longer O.P. Traffic may have stimulated the interest of the enemy.
CTU 77.4.3 comments:Lack of radio discipline was noted on CW frequencies. Instances occurred where urgent traffic was delayed while messages of lower precedence were transmitted.
CTG 77.3 comments:Radio communication within the defending force was in general good although the TBS, if not crowded, was fairly busy. The right flank group had separate voice communication which no doubt relieved the TBS of a great deal of the load it has experienced in previous actions. The PT boat circuit, 3120 Kcs, overlapped the local air warning circuit, 3115 Kcs, guarded by most units in the area. It was due to this circumstance that so many of the ships intercepted PT contact reports direct. The PT boats were ordered to make reports direct to CTF 77 who could not receive direct transmissions. The relaying of these reports on the same circuit, along with administrative traffic being passed on 3115 Kcs, caused considerable confusion and unnecessary delays in the PT boats getting their transmissions through.
RELAY COMMUNICATION PLANES
CTF 38 comments:In order to insure VHF reception of contact reports, VF sections were stationed at 100-mile intervals from the base in order to relay contact reports from search planes. This is necessary because of unreliability of MHF frequencies. On 16 October it required one hour for an SB2C to get an important contact report through to his base on 6420 Kcs. using voice and MCW.
CTG 77.4 comments and recommends:1. Although voice transmissions in connection with the control of support aircraft are essential to expeditious handling of operational traffic, it must be constantly borne in mind that shackle codes and other simple ciphering methods actually give no security to the circuit. Information of future operations of our forces, aircraft movement reports, courses, speeds, positions of ships, etc., should not be transmitted in simple ciphers except in emergency. More secure methods should be employed. Shackle cipher, aircraft signal code and use of named points which do not change periodically are considered insecure. The Japs are on the circuits now and listening.
2. Officers must be employed on important voice circuits. Better discipline must be observed on all aircraft circuits. Except for emergencies, communication by aircraft should be restricted to flight leaders.
SUPPORT AIR RADIO CENTER
CTG 77.4 comments and recommends:1. The multiplicity of voice circuits required by the air support frequency plan presented a serious problem of coordination and control. In order to integrate the problem a complete Support Air Radio Center was installed in a compartment connecting with CIC. The set-up worked so satisfactorily that it should be made standard in all carriers assigned to support missions. Necessary installation work was accomplished by ship's force. The set-up was conceived by the most experienced communications officer on the staff and is the result of his continued experience with air support missions beginning with the landing operations on TARAWA. The specific function of the Support Air Radio Center is to collect all of the information pouring in over the support air and warning circuits, to evaluate and filter this information to relay all appropriate information to Flag Plot, CIC, and the Captain's bridge, and finally to expedite the flow of outgoing voice transmissions.
2. The nets guarded in the SARC during the LEYTE operations included: Inter CSA, Local Air Warning, General Warning, Inter Fighter Director, Air-Sea rescue, Support Air Direction, Support Air Request, and Search and Attack. All of these were HF circuits.
3. To cover these circuits a total of eight receivers were made available. Nine would have been more satisfactory. All must be installed in SARC and must cover medium and high frequency bands.
4. Transmitters available to SARC included one TBL, one TCE and one ATC aircraft transmitter pre-set for all required frequencies. The correct installation would be two TBL and one push button transmitter pre-set to ten frequencies.
5. Supervision is accomplished by an officer experienced in communications and capable of evaluating incoming information and distributing it quickly and accurately to those who need to know. By the use of the jack boxes, the officer supervisor at his desk can listen or transmit on any circuit. The wiring arrangement should be such that any transmitter can be connected to single mike on the officer supervisor's desk. This general arrangement permits him to receive addressed or other important traffic and to transmit traffic expeditiously, without delay or retranscription from the radio operator's log. The fact that both the officer supervisor and a radio operator are listening simultaneously to important transmissions, both incoming and outgoing, serves to guarantee accuracy and avoid annoying and dangerous delays and repeats.
6. SARC should be installed in a compartment adjacent and connected by doorway to CIC. Telephone connections should be provided to Flag Plot, Captain's bridge and CIC (the latter to save unnecessary steps and yelling between the two rooms).
7. Although the SARC was conceived to handle Support Air Traffic, the center proved invaluable during the surface and air actions of October 25.
8. Discussion of the communication problems of the LEYTE campaign with subordinate commanders of the escort Carrier Group disclosed a wide dissatisfaction with the physical arrangements and a wide range of ideas as to corrective measures to be taken. In general, the trend of thought appeared to be to concentrate the control of more
circuits in so-called Flag Plot. This is not only impossible in the CVE class because space cannot be made available, but is actually undesirable even if space were available. For one thing, nose level in the island is too high. Further, concentration of voice channels under one officer supervisor is essential and only filtered and evaluated information should be forwarded to Flag Plot. Otherwise, inaccurate and confusing information will tend to complicate and interfere with the decisions which must be made on the Flag Bridge.
CO USS Daly comments:TBS was used largely as an inter task group circuit, individual task groups having own tactical circuits. This system was most successful, although it makes more difficult the problems of maintaining adequate voice circuit logs.
CO USS Fanshaw Bay comments and recommends:TBS worked satisfactorily. It is suggested that all personnel using this equipment be thoroughly cautioned to shut off the generator when not transmitting. One armature was burned out due to this and a serious strain put on the other. This is vitally important due to the lack of replacement armatures. A little care in this matter will prevent serious casualty to this important means of inter-ship communications.
ComCruDiv 13 comments:While it is not in accordance with fundamental communication doctrine, the practicability of issuing essential long and detailed instructions at night by TBS was demonstrated. Slow, steady, and distinct transmission was successful in the issuing of orders that in some cases required as long as 5 minutes to transmit. Requests for repetition, except when some addressees were distant over 10 or 12 miles, were gratifying in their infrequency.
ComCrudiv 12 comments and recommends:1. During the period 18-24 October 1944, communications were satisfactory. If any criticism is justified it should be directed at the usual overloading of the TBS circuit.
2. Two major reasons for the seemingly endless traffic via TBS appear to be (1) ships failing to monitor the circuit prior to transmitting, thus cutting one another out, and (2) the many relays that cluttered up the circuit. These two common failings, in addition to numerous messages that should be sent by other means, make this circuit busier than is necessary.
3. When one ship cuts in on another's TBS transmission, it invariably results in both transmissions being repeated. In addition, along relay may eventually be cleared but during this time other ships are accumulating messages and awaiting a clear circuit.
4. The following suggested practices would have resulted during these operations in alleviating the burden of the TBS circuit: A little more use of (1) the gunfire common voice circuit; (2) visual means; (3) the low frequency CW common; (4) task group commander's CW circuit; (5) the fleet common or inter-fighter-director nets, both in the 30-40 mcs band.
ComBatDiv 2 comments:Maneuvering was, in general, conducted by TBS. In spite of the fact that 3 separate units, i.e., right flank force, left flank force, and battleline, plus attacking destroyers were maneuvering at same time, TBS, though busy, was not overcrowded.
ComBatDiv 3 comments:Communications before, during, and after the engagement were satisfactory. All signals sent were received. The TBS carried most of the traffic; circuit discipline was good and messages were generally short and concise. The TBS functioned as it was designed; namely, as a rapid command circuit in battle. The local warning net carried most of the PT traffic and contact reports. The H.F. channels provided for maneuvering were not used because (1) their low transmission security might have jeopardized a favorable tactical situation; (2) the traffic load on the TBS did not warrant their use.
CTU 77.4.3 comments:1. NAN equipment was installed on all ships of the Division prior to departure, and proved extremely useful.
2. TBS equipment was satisfactory. Excessive use was not evident and proper procedure was used in practically all instances. Interference was a common occurrence when Task Units were operating in close proximity to each other.
CTG 48.3 comments and recommends:1. The employment of the secondary TBS as the Task Group Commander's circuit proved unsatisfactory. The equipment was not reliable and under
most favorable conditions failed to carry the necessary distances. It is recommended that a VHF channel in the 140 megacycle band be selected for this circuit, and that the BC 640 equipment now installed in all carriers be used. This equipment appears reliable, and its range is greater than TBS.
2. The delivery of Flash Reports and Daily Summaries was delayed because of unsatisfactory communications on the channel assigned for this traffic. These delays were, on occasion, so long that primary TBS and Inter-Fighter Director channels were used for delivery, a situation which should be avoided. It is recommended that an Air Combat Intelligence circuit be established in each group, in the same frequency band as the Task Group Commander's circuit. This circuit could then be controlled by the Group Air Combat Intelligence Officer and used as informally as the Inter-Fighter Director Officer's circuit. Final Flash Reports and Daily Summaries would be passed over the Task Group Commander's circuit to the Officer in Tactical Command.
VHF AIRCRAFT FREQUENCIES
CO USS Sangamon recommends:1. That in future operations of an amphibious nature a force or group VHF channel be assigned for Fighter direction in addition to regularly assigned channels.
2. That a study be made looking towards the elimination of interference between the four commonly used VHF channels.
3. It is significant that the attacks of 20, 25 and 26 October were made when TU 77.4.1 was landing or about to land aircraft. It is possible the enemy is using VHF and/or is well aware, after a few days of observation, of our flight schedules. Suwannee pilots heard Japanese language over Channel One during a strike against CEBU.
- Consideration should be given to the feasibility of "staggering" schedules for launching and landing from day to day.
- VHF frequencies should be changed from time to time.
- Consideration should be given to using a code word, changing daily, instead of "Prep Charlie".
CTG 77.4 comments:1. FM2 and TBM aircraft of TG 77.4 were equipped with WE-233A, and F6F aircraft with AN/ARC 5. Because of the large number of carrier divisions involved and the resulting variance in crystals, three VHF frequencies only were available for aircraft operations. These were 140,58 mcs (channel 1), 142.02 mcs (channel 2), and 142.74 (channel 4). Channel numeral designations were made in accordance with the "old" Navy system, and promulgated by dispatch in order to aid CSA and the FDOs in designating operating frequencies. This method of designating channels was necessary owing to the confusion resulting from the various systems in use and was determined in conference with all task unit communication officers as most convenient.
2. Considering the large number of planes operating on a limited number of frequencies for various types of missions, VHF aircraft communications were satisfactory. However, all commands indicate difficulties result from:
- Inadequate number of channels.
- Interference between channels.
- Poor discipline.
- Poor maintenance (indicated by limited number of air groups).
3. It is believed unnecessary to elaborate upon the problems encountered due to the limited number of channels available. It is felt sure that equipment of the type of the AN/ARC-1 will remedy this situation.
4. Interference between channels was reported by a number of ships. This interference was noted especially between channels 3 (142.56. mcs.) and 4 (142.74). It is difficult to determine whether this interference was due to the proximity of the frequencies, poor receiver tuning, or other causes, but whatever the cause it is believed advisable to select more widely separated frequencies.
5. Poor discipline was displayed both over the CVE groups and at the beach. It is believed that the newer, less experienced air groups were largely responsible for this condition, and once again the necessity for emphasis on exhaustive training in procedure, communication common sense, and consideration is stressed if the paralytic effect of undisciplined transmissions is to be avoided.
6. Some air groups showed indications of poor maintenance as time after time radio failed and much of the value of flights was lost.
CO USS Enterprise comments:1. Flashing light -- Traffic load was considered normal. Some difficulty was experienced at times in transmission of important reports and other traffic to the flagship because of inability of flagship to work two lights with this ship simultaneously. This may have been due to deficiencies either in equipment or personnel.
2. Flag Hoists -- some difficulty was experienced by this ship in reading flag hoists on the flagship. This was due primarily to three reasons:
- DISTANCE -- Especially when carriers opened out for flight operations.
- VISIBILITY -- Numerous rain squalls in operating area greatly decreased visibility.
- Black camouflaged stack of Franklin made reading of flag hoists, consisting of dark colored flags, very difficult.
3. NAN Equipment -- No difficulties were experienced in the use of NAN equipment and all indications point to its increased use for important messages at night which cannot be sent via other channels for security reasons. However, very little transmitting was done with the screen using this equipment.
ComCruDiv 13 comments:Visual signalling was used to supplement or replace TBS transmission whenever practicable. Much of the tactical communication, however, was of a nature which did not encourage the use of General Signals or permit acceptance of the delay of visual signalling as compared with voice radio.
CTG 38.4 comments:1. The traffic carried over visual circuits is excessive. It is slow and subject to many interruptions due to the necessity for giving preference to traffic of higher precedence. It is submitted that the Air Combat Intelligence circuit would clear the visual channels appreciably and is, as a consequence, highly desirable.
2. The installation of the NAN equipment has been an important adjunct to the means of handling visual traffic. Its use is limited in range and is not too practicable on foul weather night. However, it has provided a means of passing traffic after flashing light has been secured, and has been invaluable in communicating within the group.
CO USS California comments:At 0402 the signal "Turn 15" was executed by Commander Battle Line, but was incorrectly reported to the Command Officer as a change of course of 15° and the ship therefore steadied on course 135°(T). At 0405 Tennessee, executing the turn signal correctly, passed under our stern and her fire was temporarily blanked, although fortunately no ships were firing at the time. Commander Battleship Division TWO called attention to the incorrectly executed turn signal and directed California to fall in astern of Tennessee, which was done, and the ship came to and steadied on course 270°(T) at 0408.
ComBatDiv 4 comments:Radio voice 2716 kcs worked well enough to keep the battleline informed of what the PT Boats some ninety miles away saw. In some instances reports were relayed. TBS operated satisfactorily for the most part though the California missed the "Execute" on the signal, "Ships right 150 degrees," and caused some confusion in the battleline.
CTU 77.2.1 comments:The assumption that California did not receive the 0402 signal to turn 150° is incorrect. California received the signal but translated it incorrectly as an order to turn 15°.
In his Action Report, CO USS Independence comments:Contact reports made on the nights of 24-25 and 25-26 October were made on the search frequency, 6420 kcs, and paralleled by VHF relayed by a communication plane over the force. Serious interference was experienced on 6420 kcs from powerful signals, apparently from nearby land stations. There was no indication of deliberate interference, the frequency appeared to be one used by the Japanese as well as ourselves. A change in our primary search frequency is recommended. All but one of the ungarbled reports were received by VHF. In spite of this fact it is not recommended that over much faith be placed in this method of transmitting contact reports. There are inevitable delays caused by atmospheric
vagaries, especially at night, which are intolerable from the point of view of speed of reception. This method of making contact reports is recommended only as a back-up of HF CW reports.
In his report on Night Carrier Operations, CO USS Independence comments:Between 1715 and 2400(I) on 24 October 30 hours flying time was spent tracking the Central body of the Jap fleet that came eastward through SAN BERNARDINO Strait.
THE ABOVE TWO INDEPENDENCE REPORTS INDICATE THAT COMMUNICATION TROUBLES MUST HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCED BY PLANES TRACKING THE CENTRAL ENEMY FORCES, AS THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION APPARENTLY FAILED TO GET THROUGH.
IT WILL BE REMEMBERED THAT COMMUNICATION TROUBLES ALSO EXISTED IN THE FIRST BATTLE OF THE PHILIPPINES SEA WHEN A PLANE CONTACT FAILED TO GET THROUGH TO THE PROPER COMMAND.
CO USS Denver comments:Too much cannot be said for the accurate air and submarine intelligence of the day before and for the early destroyer and PT contact reports which gave all hands a good picture of what to expect and removed any chance for surprise.
Control Officers Completely Informed
CO USS Daly comments and recommends:As in previous actions, the Commanding Officer wore one-half telephone headset on the JA circuit in communication with evaluator, Gunnery Officer, Torpedo Officer, and Plot. This served to keep all control officers completely informed of the general situation, the designation of targets, and the conduct of the battle. The fighting units within the ship were thereby completely coordinated with no confusion, and everything functioned as smoothly as in a practice drill. Commanding Officers are urged to try this arrangement.
ComCruDiv 6 comments:Cooperation by aircraft during this operation was excellent. Lexington plane (No. 99) circled the enemy carrier, directed the group to that location, and thereafter spotted for New Orleans. Night search and reconnaissance was carried out by two VF(N) from Essex controlled by New Orleans as fighter Director ship. In this connection, it should be noted that of the four cruisers present, only one -- New Orleans -- had VHF equipment adequate for fighter direction.
CVE Limitations and Recommended Protection
CO USS Fanshaw Bay comments and recommends:1. Additional strength of screening forces is needed for CVE groups being used as combat carriers, especially when in range of enemy land-based aircraft.
2. CVE groups should operate with close tactical support from own heavy surface ships readily available when within range of enemy heavy surface units.
3. The high maneuverability characteristics of CVE's make them a difficult target for surface gunfire.
4. Recent trends in enemy aerial tactics indicate a renewed intensity of suicide diving attacks on surface ships.
CTU 77.4.22 comments and recommends:It is evident that when operating in the vicinity of enemy air and surface bases the screen of DDs and DEs now furnished CVE groups is inadequate to support these groups against probable air and surface forces. The addition of at least one CL under these conditions is considered necessary.
CTG 77.4 comments and recommends:As our operations approach land masses on which are located a large number of enemy-held airfields (as in the LEYTE operations) it become imperative that support carriers, whether they be CV or CVE, be given the support of vessels with great fire power; i.e., DD and CL(AA). DE are no longer an adequate screen for CVE. The flexibility of the cruising dispositions containing 6 CVE was ideal for support operations, but they need much more protection now than was necessary during the atoll-seizing phase of the war.
CO USS A.W. Grant comments and recommends:1. Own battle damage was terrific due to shellfire from Japanese ships and our own 6" cruiser fire.
2. Damage control met its acid test in the critical period following damage by gunfire in the night action against the enemy. With telephone communications shot away and flooding extensive but with the ship fortunately able to keep 440 AC power aft, the following practices observed by this ship proved invaluable:
- Casualty telephone circuits with 4-plug jack boxes installed on both sides of main deck approximately every 20 frames quickly solved communication difficulties between bridge, engine room, and steering aft. Lines were quickly run and this type of communication is still in operation since regular lines have not been repaired. No difficulties in his use have been encountered. Communication with repair parties was by messenger only.
- After observance of battle damage and flooding to other ships, this command has always had one portable electric three-outlet manifold suitable for 440AC carried in the repair lockers. This allowed quick hookup of all three electric submersible pumps at one spot and was a material factor in saving ship from sinking due to time saved in rigging the necessary pumps. Hereafter, one such manifold in each repair locker is recommended for use in rigging own or borrowed electric submersibles in emergencies. Invariably in the case of flooding it is not one pump but all available pumps that are required at one spot.
- Exceptionally long leads of 100' were previously installed on all electric submersible pumps on board. With power in only the after part of the ship, the value of long leads is apparent if pumps are to be moved about.
- Lugs had been installed on all casualty power cables to insure speed as well as ease in rigging. This feature, combined with frequent drills, demonstrated the high efficiency obtainable in use of casualty power lines.
- Through means unknown to the Commanding Officer, slightly over 200' of "extra" casualty power cable had been obtained and stowed for ready use by the electrical officer on board. In view of the extensive damage involved, all of this "extra" cable was used and additional lengths borrowed from other ships. In light of this experience it would appear that regular ship's allowance of casualty power cable is insufficient.
- In both engine rooms of this ship the ship's force had permanently installed a hook-up from the casualty power leads to the main switchboard through a cut-out switch. The cut-out switch was tagged and taped open. This eliminated approach to a hot switchboard with casualty power under adverse conditions and was a definite time saver in an emergency.
- Portable battle lanterns had been previously installed over wardroom table. With all regular lights out, this proved invaluable in maintaining the wardroom as forward battle dressing station. Almost double the allowed quota of battle lanterns was on board and they were all used. It is recommended that allowance of battle lanterns be increased. Their efficiency even under water proved remarkable.
- The portable gasoline handy-billies were used to their fullest extent but unfortunately only the prescribed allowance of 10 gallons of gasoline was on board and this was insufficient. With each pump using one gallon of gasoline approximately every 17 minutes, the prescribed allowance is obviously too small. All our pumps failed at a critical period from lack of gasoline.
- This ship's damage control check-off lists under the follow-up of a zealous and competent First Lieutenant worked perfectly. There was not one case of progressive flooding in a compartment not punctured or damaged by shell fire.
- The damage control parties erred in attempting to control all damage. Instead of assuming that certain compartments had to flood and thereby devoting their exclusive energies to repairing damaged bulkheads and sprung seams to adjoining compartments, they fought outside holes only, thereby losing ground when their patches refused to stay put.
- This ship also had insufficiently pre-fabricated patches to repair battle damage.
Mattress patches backed by shoring failed to hold. An assortment of ready-made box or caisson patches and metal patches of the type that can be inserted from the inside, expanded, and pulled up flush against the hull are recommended as "musts" by this command.
- Frequent drills of all types of damage control are a "must" and junior personnel should be made to take charge. This ship lost the electrical officer, who was also assistant damage control officer, the CEM, one EM1c, and two fully qualified EM strikers in the first enemy salvo, yet all casualty power cables were installed without a hitch. This was due to the personal ability and integrity of the remaining Electrician's Mates, aided by the Gunnery officer, and not to any drills anticipating such a casualty.
CO USS Birmingham comments:1. The duplicate key system allowed entry to all storerooms in spite of the death of the storekeepers directly concerned in some instances.
2. Issues of ship's store stock, cigarettes, candy, towels, bedding, and necessary general stores were made in accordance with need, leaving the paper work to be accomplished when time permitted.
3. The organization of the personnel and the material distribution of the department proved highly satisfactory in coping with a pressing supply situation. Two suggestions for improvement follow:
- All the ether was stowed in the alcohol locker, which, if hit, might have been costly stowage, as it was urgently required by the Medical Department during the emergency.
- The serving of hot soup, coffee, and food to the wounded would have been enormously expedited if the tureens and racks had not been removed from the ship. It is recommended that approximately 6 carrier racks and 72 tureens be carried aboard ship at all times. It is believed that such racks and tureens could be used advantageously for serving sick bay personnel under normal conditions as well as being available for an emergency where there are many wounded to be served.
4. It is recommended that a portable electric sludge pump be included in the allowance lists for this type ship. At present there is no means available of pumping out compartments which become flooded with fuel oil or compartments loaded with certain types of provisions or stores which flood with salt water. In the damage now being reported on, a storeroom containing such items as cornstarch, rolled oats, and breakfast foods could not be pumped out, using large basket strainers on submersible pumps, because of the thick debris-filled liquid formed.
5. It might also be mentioned that the damage control communication system proved of substantial value, permitting Central Station to act as a clearing house for medical as well as damage control information.
CO USS Kalinin Bay comments:Damage Control was superb. The use of wooden plugs to stop up waterline holes saved the ship. Numerous fires were started but were promptly brought under control. All equipment, including submersible pumps, functioned satisfactorily.
CO USS Suwannee comments and recommends:Many lessons were learned from the damage done on 25 and 26 October. several tentative recommendations are submitted herewith:
1. An escape hatch, similar to that on Santee, should be installed on the bridge of each carrier. There should be thorough consideration of the installation of escape hatches, or at least more than one method of egress, throughout the ship.
2. At least eight liquid-foam proportioners should be stowed in ready service rooms for fire-fighting on flight deck.
3. At least two extra casualty power systems should be located on hangar and main decks.
4. Consideration should be given to the installation of a large-size jettison panel and ramp on the hangar deck for jettisoning planes.
5. A general announcing transmitter system should be installed in I.C. room. The bridge system was cut out by the explosion, leaving no means of general communication with personnel.
6. There should be numerous "plug-in" stations for welding, and submersible pumps located on the first platform.
7. Running cable along weather decks should be eliminated; cables should be run on the first platform, risers coming up where needed.
CTG 38.4 comments and recommends:1. Damage control on both the Franklin and Belleau Wood was well handled. The single exception noted was that all the hangar deck hatches on the Franklin were not closed. The heat and foulness of air below decks on ships of this class in the tropics has led to some compromise between health of the crew and watertight integrity. The ships of the task group had been continuously at sea for sixty-four days, except for three and a half days in port at advanced bases, prior to this attack, and more than fifty per-cent of the crew of the Franklin were suffering from heat rash.
2. To improve damage control it is strongly recommended that alterations be effected in the CVL's to permit the return of bombs to the magazines. In the case of the Franklin, changes should be initiated which will prevent the flooding of firerooms by the hangar sprinklers and water curtains when damage is sustained similar to that of 30 October.
Defense Against Japanese Low-Flying Torpedo Attacks
CTG 38.1 comments and recommends:1. The late twilight aircraft torpedo attacks on 13 and 14 October showed that the enemy had studied our defense and learned that we were vulnerable during twilight to low-flying torpedo attacks. By snooping through the later afternoon he closely fixed our positions. Such snooping usually cost him most or all of the snoopers involved, but the results were worth it. The torpedo attack unit was then sent out to attack low on the water from the East, silhouetting the force against the last bit of remaining light.
2. The use of picket Destroyer(s) to the East and a dusk anti-snoop patrol of night fighters may prove the answer to this type attack. The Woodworth proved most valuable when stationed 10 miles to the East on the night of 14 October. It had been planned in addition to give the Woodworth a dusk fighter patrol, but at the last minute the weather ruled against the launching of night fighters. The liability of having to recover night fighters in extremely bad weather with bogies continuously in the vicinity cannot be overlooked. The difficulties are: (1) Batteries must be held. It is not considered practical to hold batteries in one geographic or relative sector and release them in another because of the numerous emergency turns that are constantly being made. However, batteries can and have been successfully held inward from the screen and released outboard; (2) The second difficulty is the necessity for recovering unit to steam on a straight course into the wind, with no freedom of maneuver; (3) The third difficulty during night recovery is, of course, the showing of lights.
3. In view of these difficulties it has become doctrine in Task Force 38 that whenever one task group has VF(N) airborne, each Task group will keep one deck clear for landings, thus permitting VF(N) to be landed on that group which is relatively the clearest of bogies.
4. Although the U.S. Navy knows as much about radar, its uses, limitations and capabilities as the Japanese, our pilots until this time have made very little use of radar evasive tactics, preferring to let superior numbers and pilot technique overwhelm the enemy. The Jap on the other hand was forced due to his losses to use every ingenious bit of knowledge and skill at hand. Henceforth, however, we must take advantage of radar evasion or our losses relative to damage inflicted will mount since we have the problem of enemy concentration in limited areas.
Destroyer Escort Carry a Doctor
CO USS John C. Butler recommends:That each destroyer escort carry a doctor aboard. Of the three DEs picking up badly-injured survivors, only one had a doctor on board. This is the third instance in the past two months where DEs have picked up survivors. In this respect, it seems that DEs need a doctor even more than larger ships.
CTG 77.4 comments:Upon taking command of Carrier Division TWENTY-TWO in July, 1944, the present Division Commander (Task Group Commander of Escort Carriers during the LEYTE operations) immediately issued "Carrier Division TWENTY-TWO Instructions". This document was intended to fulfill the purpose of "Fast Carrier Instruction" issued by Commander
Task Force 58 (later 38), plus the additional purpose of standardizing procedures and methods. "Carrier Division TWENTY-TWO Instructions" was built on top of USG 10. The aim has been to described "how" things required should be done with the end result that once active operations were commenced it would only be necessary to signal "what" and "when". Three carrier groups, composed of six CVEs each, operated with complete success under this doctrine during the recent operations. It is strongly recommended that "Commander Carrier Division TWENTY-TWO Instructions" be made official for all CVEs operating in the Pacific, as an appendix to USF 10.
THIS RECOMMENDATION WILL BE GIVEN CONSIDERATION WHEN COMMENTS BY THE CHAIN OF COMMAND ARE RECEIVED.
"Don't Give Up the Ship"
CO USS Birmingham comments:Ever since James LAWRENCE's dying words, "Don't give up the Ship", our Service has been indoctrinated to exert every effort to save damaged ships. This indoctrination is considered to be sound and to have paid dividends through the years, not only in a material, but also in a moral sense. It was most unfortunate that Princeton was not saved. It was even more unfortunate that Birmingham's crews suffered so grievously. Nevertheless, this tragedy should be considered the exception which proves the rule. "Don't give up the Ship" is still as sound as it is inspiring.
CO USS Birmingham comments and recommends:The difficulty of rigging satisfactory emergency horizontal and vertical transmitting antennae for medium and high frequencies with limited personnel available (of the Radio Two crew only two third class and one seaman striker survived) was amply demonstrated. The Almour type emergency antenna would be extremely valuable and should be placed aboard.
CO USS Essex comments:Four enemy torpedo drops were observed, all hot, straight and normal runs. Nine underwater explosions were counted by Gunnery Plot personnel, giving further substantiation to the belief that Japanese aerial torpedoes have a terminal self-destruction feature.
ComCruDiv 13 comments:1. Of the two enemy torpedoes seen dropped, the one released by the "Frances" that hit Houston was observed clearly. The torpedo was large, the proportions such that it resembled a U.S. destroyer-type torpedo rather than an aircraft or submarine type. It was released at some 200 feet altitude at an airspeed estimated at over 200 knots, and entered the water nose down, at an angle of about 20° from the horizontal. Run was approximately 3 minutes, and the torpedo struck Houston on the starboard quarter, causing a heavy explosion and gasoline fire. No torpedo wake was observed from Santa Fe.
2. The torpedo that was dropped by the "Jill" aimed for the Santa Fe was largely obscured by the air bursts in the vicinity. Santa Fe turned sharply (at 25 knots) to avoid, and after an estimated two-minute run, the torpedo exploded in her wake. Judging by the appearance of the explosion, a fairly shallow depth setting was used. No torpedo wake was observed.
Enemy Air Operations
CO USS Fanshaw Bay comments:1. The attacking enemy plane's tactics appeared to be to come in low to avoid radar detection and effect complete surprise of our force. His intention of making a suicide dive on this ship was unmistakable and this was prevented only by shooting him down during his dive.
THIS IS THE 100% SURE METHOD OF AVOIDING CASUALTY FROM SUICIDE.
2. No material or training deficiencies were noted in our planes and pilots.
3. The inherent weakness of most Japanese fighter planes, that of being readily inflammable
from gunfire, was noted but is not considered unusual because of its commonplace occurrence.
CO USS Sangamon comments:Enemy aircraft tactics were considered very effective. All attacks were made while flight operations were in progress on one or more ships of the formation. Approaches were high except for the one skip bombing attack made on this ship, maximum use was made of cloud cover, and it is believed the attackers followed planes returning from the target area, thereby making radar interception extremely difficult. The crash dive attack appears to be somewhat less effective than a well executed dive bombing attack from the standpoint of doing major damage to a ship, but may be the only means available to inexperienced pilots to obtain hits. It is effective, if a hit is made, in destroying aircraft spotted on the flight deck and damaging operating equipment such as the catapult, elevators, and arresting gear units, thereby immobilizing flight operations. In practically all cases crash dives were made into parked planes. One dive on this ship is believed to have been broken off at about 5000 feet when the pilot sighted only one plane on the flight deck, and then continued on the Suwannee which was at the time engaged in landing, with the bow full of aircraft.
ComCruDiv 13 comments:1. Attacks on TG 30.3 and previous attacks encountered by Task Force 38 in the FORMOSA raid, were low-level torpedo-bombing attacks. Approach was rarely direct from bases; the enemy appeared consistently to attempt deception by use of window in one sector to cover attack from another.
2. Many of the enemy aircraft encountered were types that have been reported as carrier-based. The close proximity of enemy land bases during the retirement of TG 30.3 made unnecessary any use of carrier-based planes, but it seems possible that at times other types were not available to the enemy.
ComCruDiv 12 comments:During this period only enemy air tactics were observed. At the beginning, possibly due to his lack of air resources, his attacks were scattered, were not determined, and were made in very light numbers. Had heavy, concentrated raids been driven home against our forces with determination, he might well have obtained results that would have interfered seriously with out operations. The introduction of the enemy's suicide dive bombing tactics appears to have occurred during the period of this report. None of these attacks was closely observed, but the damage known to have resulted speaks for the effectiveness of the method. Ships must be prepared for such attacks in future. The best countermeasure appears to be a strong and effective combat air patrol with efficient fighter direction; lacking this, a high volume of fire from all anti-aircraft weapons and radical avoiding maneuvers are the best weapons now apparent.
CO USS Enterprise comments:1. Pilots report the use of enemy BB main batteries as AA guns at long ranges. Apparently, ranges in the neighborhood of 25,000 to 30,000 yards were used, permitting the relatively slow train and elevation of the turrets to stay on the target. This fire was surprisingly accurate and somewhat disturbing though no damage was sustained by the planes so attacked. The projectiles were, from all indications, of the phosphorus type.
2. Another development exhibited by the Japanese was the use of colored bursts, probably for spotting purposes. Blue and orange bursts, as well as black and white, were used.
3. In connection with the phosphorus projectiles, one pilot reported "double" bursts consisting of a small puff followed very shortly by the main burst. These bursts were distinct but apparently from the same projectile. It is probable that this effect was caused by a slight delay in the bursting of the canister after ejection, the first burst being the ejection of the canister from the projectile. A similar effect is sometimes noted with our own white phosphorus projectiles.
4. It is apparent that the Japanese are doing considerable experimentation to improve AA performance.
CO USS Fanshaw Bay comments:1. Pilots from this ship reported anti-aircraft fire from all enemy ships well concentrated and intense, but not accurate. A terrific barrage was layed up when our aircraft approached from 6 to 8 miles away, well out of range. Barrages were layed up at 1500 ft., 5,000 ft., 7,000 ft.,
and 20,000 ft. during the attack made by our aircraft, with the following degrees of intensity as indicated:
20mm and smaller - intense 40mm - most intense 75mm and larger - least intense
2. Diving angles for strafing of 60° to 90° were used by our fighters and apparently caused heavy casualties to enemy gun crews as the intensity of enemy AA fire during the latter stages of our aircraft attack was greatly reduced.
3. On two occasions pilots reported that enemy cruiser eight-inch turret fire was directed at aircraft.
CO USS Hoel comments:1. The enemy surface fire seemed to be much inferior to the standard of our navy. This may be due in part to the very small range patterns that the Japanese seem to use. The enemy range pattern, from all types of guns, seldom exceeded 50 yards with ranges up to 9000 yards. In agreement with this supposition is the fact that the number of near misses which did no damage to the ship was unusually high.
2. Red, yellow and green dye markers were noticed. The higher caliber shells were without exception armor-piercing. The Japanese have an anti-personnel projectile which explodes just above and off the ship, throwing shrapnel down onto the decks. This type of shell was remarked on by several men who were topside throughout the engagement.
3. The Japanese anti-aircraft fire can only be described as pitiful. The anti-aircraft fire of the enemy dual-purpose guns resembled our early "zone barrage" fire. The observed bursts were few and very scattered. The observer was in excellent position to notice this, with a Japanese cruiser and battleship very close aboard.
CO USS Kalinin Bay comments:The following comments on the shell fire observed are submitted.
Opening range - 20,000 yards. Closest range - 10,000 yards (estimated)
- Salvos were accurate in range but poor in deflection. The U.S.S. Kalinin Bay was not being hit regularly until forced into a position broadside to the leading cruiser at a range of approximately 15,000 yards.
- Colored salvos were used.
- Armor-piercing shells were being fired. Two shells passed through the port side skin of the ship and out the starboard side without exploding. One shell apparently broke into two parts without exploding.
- Salvos of what were estimated to be shells of large caliber fired from battleships were observed but no battleships were actually seen by any person on this vessel.
- While the damage sustained by this vessel was severe, it is considered that it is unbelievably small in comparison with the number of hits. It is considered that this is due to good luck, a Japanese error in using armor-piercing shells against ships without armor protection, and poor quality of Japanese shells.
ComCruDiv 6 comments:1. Fire from enemy carrier was decidedly ineffective; the few splashes noted were several thousand yards short. As far as can be ascertained from reports at hand, it would appear the enemy cruiser used smokeless powder flashes of heavy cruisers as point of aim. Wichita reports being straddled in range at least twice, with other salvos nearby. Except for ineffective fire against our destroyers retiring from torpedo attack, the enemy cruiser only appeared to fire when our heavy cruisers were doing so. There was no evidence that any of the ships taken under fire by this group were using fire control radar. No indications were noted on Wichita's Pulse receiver (AN/SPR1) or Pulse Analyzer (AN/SPA1).
2. As previously noted, it appeared that enemy ship was using smokeless powder flashes of heavy
cruisers as point of aim. Although the use of flashless powder in 8-inch bag ammunition raises the problem of excessive debris and the danger of glowing fragments in the gun chamber, it is believed that the advantages of its use justify strong efforts to perfect this type of powder and to eliminate these difficulties. If the enemy perfects fire control radar, the disadvantages of smokeless powder in night actions, while not so marked, will still exist, since the optical point of aim provided by our flashes will be superior to radar in train.
CTG 79.11 comments:1. At 0258 the Eastern Attack Group was illuminated by searchlight when the range was about 11,000 yards, which was three minutes before torpedoes were fired. Up to that time there was no reason to believe that the enemy had detected us. The searchlight made a sweep of the Eastern Group, remaining on the Remey for about 5 seconds. The searchlight remained on only for about 15 seconds. The Jap searchlight was again turned on at about 0301 just as the Remey commenced firing torpedoes. This time the light was trained directly on the Remey. About 15 or 20 seconds after the light was turned on a salvo landed about 2000 yards short of Remey.
2. A few salvos landed uncomfortably close to Remey, spraying water on deck. From this time until about 0313 the Eastern Group was under enemy fire. Salvo patterns were small and some fell very close to our destroyers; however, they were generally on in range and slightly off in deflection.
3. At about 0302 the enemy started using starshell illumination, which at first was probably effective from the standpoint of the Japs. The stars were well placed and very brilliant. Judging from the enemy's use of illumination, he does not entirely trust his fire control radars and must spot and possibly train visually.
4. Enemy gunfire was ineffective as it did not prevent any destroyers from delivering an effective torpedo attack. No large caliber fire was received. The Western Attack Group made their approach and fired torpedoes while the enemy was still engaged in "driving off" the Eastern Group. The fact that the enemy was thus occupied undoubtedly diverted attention from the Western Group, who were apparently not discovered until about the time they fired. It is believed that the searchlight and starshell illumination observed by the Western Group about 0300 was directed at the Eastern Group. They were first illuminated by searchlight, just as in the case of the Eastern Group, and then taken under fire with illumination being maintained by starshells.
5. Enemy fire on the Western Group was never intense and, as before, was ineffective. The enemy did not seem to have a clear tactical picture of what was going on, or at least did nothing to counter our blows. This might indicate that the Japanese do not yet have PPIs such as ours.
CO USS Hoel comments:1. The Yamato class battleship has a fire control radar which is mounted over the rangefinder and is rotated with the director. The antenna is very similar in appearance to our FD radar except that the conical surfaces are mounted alongside each other. It is about sixty feet in length and three feet in height.
2. The destroyers which were seen close aboard when the survivors were in the water showed no evidence of radar antennas.
3. The performance of the enemy fire control radar was exceptionally poor, and when this force was in a rain squall, the enemy ceased firing although we were well within their effective range.
ENEMY RADAR EQUIPMENT MAY HAVE BEEN DAMAGED.
ComCruDiv 13 comments:Enemy search planes showed clearly that they detected our groups at an average range of about 35 miles. The absence of repeated night attacks by enemy medium bombers may indicate a temporary shortage of radar-equipped aircraft of this type.
CTG 77.2 comments:The number of shells which landed around the Columbia indicated that the Japanese knew roughly where the cruisers were but were evidently not firing on radar.
CTG 77.3 comments:It was evident from the enemy's use of searchlights and starshells, and from the fact that only one of our destroyers was hit, that his fire control and surface search radar were not effective,
either because of design or operation or because our air strike and torpedo attacks managed to disable it. It appears improbable that the enemy would have stood on if he knew by means of his radar that so many ships were between him and his destination, unless his orders were to do as much damage as possible prior to being sunk.
CO USS Denver comments:A monitor watch to intercept enemy radio transmissions was stood in radio central prior to and during the engagement. At about 0400 enemy voice transmissions were heard on 1720 Kcs. and this fact was reported to the O.T.C. The transmissions were in Japanese and seemed to be from many stations, decreasing in number as the battle progressed. No jamming was attempted in the absence of orders to do so.
CO USS Fanshaw Bay comments:The enemy's tactics were as follows:
1. To split his force into three groups.
2. The main force, consisting of battleships, advanced directly astern of our force, firing intermittently and closing the range.
3. The left flank force, consisting of cruisers and destroyers, advanced to a position forward of our port beam in an attempt to turn or envelop our force.
4. The right flank force, consisting of destroyers, advanced to a point just abaft our starboard beam in what also appeared to be a flanking movement.
5. The enemy cruiser group to port kept this unit under continuous gunfire and in the latter stages of the engagement the destroyers launched an ineffective torpedo attack from astern and at extreme range.
6. When this ship was under air attack at 1051 the enemy plane approached at low altitude, then gained altitude when in close and immediately pushed over into a suicide dive onto this ship.
ComCarAirGrp 26 comments:1. I was launched from the U.S.S. Kitkun Bay at 0700, and immediately on being airborne had the opportunity of seeing the enemy disposition fairly well although they were in the edge of a very heavy black front. They were deploying as shown below:
2. There being no opportunity for attack from this altitude (8,000 feet) I let down intending to make a low-level attack. At 1500 feet the enemy fleet was again spotted deployed as shown below: (The time was approximately 0840).
3. The enemy utilized the following tactics while deploying and firing:
- The enemy BB's were in a staggered formation as indicated:
The second and fourth BB would fire a main battery salvo and then turn to switch places with the first and third, who would fire a salvo and exchange places again with the second and fourth. Certain salvos were fired which would shoot up a yellowish green spray on impact. The frequency of these spotting splashes seemed about every third salvo.
- This same color-range spotting was also applied to AA firing. I had several opportunities to observe this; twice when diving through it to attack, and many other times while other planes were diving. The scheme seemed to be to fire a violet-colored burst at 8000 feet; a green at 6000 feet and a yellow burst at 4000 feet. These bursts appeared well ahead of the diving plane, and definitely seemed to be used as a slant range spot for AA battery fire, either local or director control. In most cases the 5" AA deemed to be director controlled as the patterns were well controlled and concentrated.
- The enemy CA main battery fire and AA seemed to employ this same scheme except they stayed in column when deploying, firing main battery salvos from alternate ships, and didn't exchange positions. They used colored bursts for spotting also. All fire seemed to be very deliberate and at no time did I observe any BB's or CA's go into rapid fire.
4. The screening DD's for T.U. 77.4.3 laid down a smoke screen astern of the unit between the CL's, DD's and the last two BB's, and our task unit as shown on above diagram. Following the laying of this screen, which seemed to be very effective, the destroyers turned to launch a torpedo attack. I was unable to observe their results as we were then climbing to gain altitude to attack the CA's closing the port quarter of our task unit.
5. On rendezvous after our 0905 attack, I stayed close to the Fuso and Ise BB just out of AA range. Their course was 120 degrees, speed 27 knots, and they were closing T.U. 77.4.2 who at the time was 30 miles S.E. from these enemy BB's. I called T.U. 77.4.2 and gave them this information about 0910. This unit was launching a large strike group at the time and they ordered the group to attack these enemy BB's. They attacked about 0930, making a strafing, bombing and torpedo attack. The BB's, on being attacked, started their usual turn and almost immediately after the attack reversed base course and headed northwest, apparently to join the other units. The other units appeared to break off the attack on T.U. 77.4.3 about 0920 and head north. Just prior to the attack by the group from 77.4.2, the Fuso fired at three DD's just astern of that unit, but the salvos were a little short.
6. I then landed on the U.S.S. Manila Bay at about 1000, where they rearmed all planes with 4-500# S.A.P. with .025 delay tail fuse and launched all planes at about 1100. About 40 miles from 77.4.2, bearing 350°, we ran across one BB dead in the water and one CA with a bad port list and main deck awash. A DD was picking up survivors. I told the groups we would continue on to the main fleet body. We sighted the enemy fleet at about 1220 some 15 miles off the middle of SAMAR Island, heading on a course of 330°, speed 25 knots, toward SAN BARNARDINO Straits. The enemy fleet was deployed as shown below:
7. I reported the enemy disposition, cruising speed, and location to Commander Support Aircraft, Central Philippines, C.T.U. 77.4.3, and to the U.S.S. Kitkun Bay. All of these receipted for the information. Many groups at this time called me asking for bearing and distance to enemy fleet. It would have helped if all this information could have been requested from some base, as I was trying to maneuver the groups into a position for attack. At about 1235 I ordered VC-20 to attack all ships on the starboard side of the formation, and my group would take the port side, VC-20 to rendezvous to the northeast using left hand turns on pull-out and my group to rendezvous to the southwest using right hand turns on pull-out, and all planes with torpedoes to coordinate attacks with the glide bombing on the best targets. We attacked at 1240 from around the side of a big cumulus cloud and 30 degrees from the sun, diving in from the northwest with the VF strafing ahead of the VT. When our attack started, the enemy ships all started hard left turns, making our attack much easier to execute. My immediate group of 4 VT hit a Nagato class BB, my bombs hitting just aft of the bridge, my wingman's hitting at the mainmast, and the other two getting near misses at the stern. One VT hit this same BB with a torpedo just about amidships. Other hits observed were a torpedo hit on a CA just inboard of the Nagato class BB, and two near bomb hits. One DD on the starboard was seen to be hit and blow up. There were two torpedo hits on a CA to starboard, and two or three bomb hits on a BB to the starboard. A few DD's received very near misses.
8. The AA fire during this attack was rather intense, especially from 6000 feet down to pull-out. My plane had 20 holes in or around the bomb bays, 5" shrapnel hole inboard of the starboard wheel well, hole in starboard wing spar, and a few aft by the .30 caliber stinger. On retirement, the BB's and CA's fired their main batteries and splashes appeared ahead of the planes, but those could be easily avoided. The nearest ships fired small caliber at us on out to about 6 miles.
9. There was one thing of interest noted during this attack, and that is that the enemy seemed to use sector firing somewhat like ours for their AA. In my dive the forward starboard guns on the Nagato fired and as the ship turned, the after batteries (when they could bear) opened up and the forward guns ceased fire, then firing again on our retirement.
ComCruDiv 13 comments:The enemy used funnel smoke repeatedly in endeavoring to simulate injury, or perhaps for concealment.
ComCruDiv 4 (CTG 77.2) comments:1. The enemy apparently approached in two columns, one about four miles behind the other, and each column lead by the heaviest ships. This would appear to be an unusual formation unless one analyses the location of own forces on the days preceding the battle. It had been customary to leave the battleships in Area DRUM at night where they could be protected by the A/S screen, while the cruisers took station off TAYTAY POINT and maneuvered back and forth along an east and west line across the northern entrance to SURIGAO STRAIT, south. When on station, the cruisers were generally in an A/S circular disposition with destroyer screen ahead and astern so that it would not be necessary to reorient the screen entirely on each reversal of course.
2. It now seems reasonably clear that the Japanese had expected to meet merely a cruiser force off the entrance to LEYTE GULF and for that reason had placed their battleships in the van so that they could wreck disaster on the cruisers. However, in this case their estimate was wrong for they ran into the whole Bombardment and Fire Support Group (77.2) plus the Covering Group (77.3) of the SEVENTH Fleet, and were destroyed.
Enemy Torpedo Attack
CO USS Kalinin Bay comments:TORPEDO ATTACK BY TERUTSUKI TYPE DESTROYERS
1. During the engagement between T.U. 77.4.3 and surface vessels of the Japanese Fleet on 25 October 1944, five destroyers of the Terutsuki class delivered a torpedo attack just prior to breaking off the engagement. The attacking destroyers were closing in rapidly on the starboard quarter and the ship was being subjected to heavy gunfire from cruisers on the port beam. The destroyers had fired many rounds, many of which came close, but there were no direct hits from destroyer gunfire. The radar of the U.S.S. Kalinin Bay had previously been destroyed by a hit from the Japanese cruisers so it is impossible to accurately state the range at which the torpedoes were fired. Best estimate of the range is 8 to 10 thousand yards.
2. First indication of the torpedo attack was obtained when a TBM astern of the U.S.S. Kalinin Bay dove toward the water firing its machine guns. This machine gun fire was followed by a large explosion definitely indicating that the plane had succeeded in blowing up a torpedo. Later reports indicate that this same plane destroyed a second
torpedo. After the TBM blew up the torpedoes, torpedo tracks were sighted on each side of the ship. Best estimate is that there were twelve to sixteen torpedoes fired in salvo. Three of the torpedoes appeared to be running very shallow and were on the verge of broaching. The ship was parallel to the torpedo tracks. One of the torpedoes which was on the verge of broaching came directly up the wake and it appeared a hit was certain. This torpedo was taken under fire by the 5-inch gun. It disappeared from view under the flight deck aft but no explosion followed. The officer in charge of the 5-inch gun reported that at the last second the torpedo turned to port as a result of a hit by the 5-inch gun directly ahead of the torpedo.
3. It is considered that the torpedo attack was delivered from a position and at a range which greatly reduced possibility of hits.
Enemy's Plan Fails
CTU 77.4.2 comments:1. Commander Task Unit 77.4.3 (Rear Admiral C.A.F. SPRAGUE, Commander Carrier Division 25) gives as one reason that the Jap plan failed was the poor timing of the suicide squadron in locating and crippling the CVEs, etc.
2. In addition to the poor timing, it is desired to point out that a further error contributory to the Japanese defeat was the poor selection of targets made by the Japanese attacking air squadron. Instead of selecting a group of CVEs already under fire of the Japanese Fleet, the Jap flight leader should have attacked Task Unit 77.4.2 which was completely undamaged and was launching heavy air attacks against the Japanese Fleet.
3. From the fact that the Japanese force turned around so early in the engagement, it appears that he was surprised by the weight and force of the air offensive thrown against him and, therefore, he may have entered the engagement with considerable previous belief in his own propaganda about our losses. If this is not true, he may have had very little information concerning the defeat of the southern Japanese force in SURIGAO STRAITS and expected it to have removed some of the carrier opposition.
CTG 38.4 comments:Of all the air groups in action on 24 and 25 October, Air Group TWENTY on the Enterprise had the unique experience of conducting attacks against all three of the detachments of the Japanese fleet. It was notable that in none of these attacks was there any serious air opposition. This fact is indicative of the reason for the failure of the enemy's plan. He over-rated the protection which would be afforded by his shore-based air and under-rated the strength of his opponent's sea-borne air power.
Engine Room Personnel
CO USS Hoel comments:Performance of the engine room personnel and equipment was excellent. Casualties were handled well. The plant was properly prepared for abandoning ship and no explosions resulted. There was practically no oil in the water, but this was due in part to the fact that only enough fuel was left on board to steam at full power for about four hours more.
Fire Hazards -- Elimination of
Executive Officer, USS Pennsylvania, comments:1. A careful inspection of gear lockers and spaces was conducted to insure that unnecessary inflammables were disposed of or struck below in accordance with current directives. Only those requisite to the immediate needs remained available.
2. The airplanes were temporarily shorebased with the Senior Aviator in charge and the gasoline system was drained and gas vapors purged by use of inert gas.
Flag Plot Internal Communications
CTG 77.2 comments:During action, Flag Plot functioned satisfactorily with the exception of internal communications between Flag Plot and the Admiral and Chief of Staff on the Flag bridge. Certain information did not get through promptly and it was frequently necessary to pass information by voice through the shuttered ports to either the Flag Lieutenant or Chief of Staff in order to insure delivery. Officer talkers are being stationed in CIC Flag Plot, and on the Flag Bridge in order to assure proper transmission of the information in the future. At times noise level was higher than is desirable.
Forming a Large Disposition in Darkness
ComCruDiv 6 comments:The formation of Task Force THIRTY-FOUR during the early morning of 25 October illustrates the difficulties -- or at least the long period of time involved -- in forming a large disposition in darkness. It took approximately 2-1/2 hours for ships from the various task groups of Task Force THIRTY-EIGHT to gain proper station in the Task Group THIRTY-FOUR disposition. Had contact with enemy surface forces been made during this period, our forces would have been under a tremendous handicap. However, it may be assumed that the difficulties of forming up a large force at night were taken into consideration and that Task Force THIRTY-FOUR was ordered to be formed in ample time to be ready for contact with the enemy. The incident serves as a reminder, however, that when there is a reasonable possibility of contact with enemy surface forces at night, a sufficient number of battleships, cruisers, and destroyers, should be disposed as a separate group prior to darkness, free to deploy and strike the enemy of short notice.
A REQUIREMENT OF A CRUISING DISPOSITION IS TO PROVIDE READY TRANSITION TO APPROACH, CONTACT, OR BATTLE DISPOSITION.
(See also Liquid Loading)
CO USS Haggard comments and recommends:Several times during this operation the amounts of burnable fuel aboard fell well below 50%. At one time less than 10 percent remained aboard. This is considered to be a most dangerous practice and in future operations provisions should be made to fuel destroyers regularly, even when flight operations are the first consideration.
CO USS San Diego recommends:1. At Anchor -- Fueling alongside at anchor was very hazardous due to heavy seas caused by the typhoon. It is recommended that provision be made for fueling from astern during such periods.
2. At Sea -- During fueling from Iowa on 8 October in fairly heavy seas, this ship used one hose (forward) receiving 1,246 barrels of fuel in fifty-five minutes of pumping. When topping off small ships it is believed the additional maneuverability possible when only one hose is used will materially contribute to a decrease in fueling gear damage and probably would result in an overall decrease of fueling time.
Going Alongside Damaged Ships
CO USS Birmingham comments and recommends:1. As a result of experience gained from attempting to save Princeton, two recommendations are made.
- No ship, except under the most favorable conditions, should go alongside the leeward side of a ship on fire.
- If the ship which is afire is dead in the water and is of such a type as to make more leeway than the approaching ship, it is essential that a line be passed in order to get and keep the two ships close enough together to make fire fighting effective. Considerable damage to both ships is inevitable as they must be held in contact in order that hoses and/or streams of water may reach the fire.
2. At various times the Commanding Officer of the Princeton asked for additional vessels to fight the fire from the starboard (leeward) side. Commanding Officer of the Birmingham had little hope of the practicability of fighting the fire from the leeward side but desired to leave no stone unturned and directed that these requests be complied with if the Commanding Officer of the ship concerned considered it feasible. Through some misunderstanding the qualification was not transmitted and the directive to these ships was received by them as an unqualified order. The ships concerned at one time or another were the Reno, Morrison, Irwin and the Cassin Young. The starboard side was reported by the Reno as untenable because of smoke and heat. Furthermore, as was anticipated, the fire hoses had little effect upwind. All vessels concerned extricated themselves from their position with little damage except the Morrison which became fouled between the Princeton's uptakes, the Princeton making more leeway than the Morrison and vision being obscured by smoke, resulting in the loss of the Morrison's foremast together with other damage to her main deck.
CO USS Hutchins comments:With radar aid, our destroyer guns hit early at 11,000 yards and promptly started fires. In view of the number of burning enemy ships found at dawn, however, it must be accepted that neither five-inch fire nor our TNT-loaded 21-inch torpedoes set at six feet will sink cruisers readily. Intermediate speed settings were necessary for torpedoes fired at the moderate ranges obtaining. We still carry a torpedo handicap. More fish and reloads are not an answer.
CO Mobile comments:Hits were observed to have been made on the target at long ranges. However, these hits had little apparent effect on the target's maneuverability, speed, and firepower; decisive results were not noted until the range had closed to about 10,000 yards. Toward the end of the engagement, when the range was closing from 10,000 to about 7,500 yards, the enemy was still able for a period of about six minutes to maintain maneuverability, some return fire, and a fair rate of speed. Before sinking, the ship had been literally punched to pieces by eight-inch, six-inch, and five-inch projectiles.
ComCruDiv 13 comments:1. The effectiveness of the ammunition is obvious from the results. The carrier was heavily and rapidly damaged by many full salvos. Salvo patterns observed appeared in some cases unduly large.
2. Performance of own ordnance and equipment was satisfactory, except that the failure of the cruisers to produce early damaging hits on enemy cruiser at moderate ranges is disappointing. The target, by her very clever maneuvering and "salvo chasing" helped to make full radar control unsatisfactory. The principal assistance rendered by illumination is believed to have been in the determination of target angle.
ComCruDiv 14 (CTG 77.2) comments:1. In this connection the comments of a Destroyer Squadron Commander are of interest. "It was a privilege of Commander Destroyer Squadron FIFTY-SIX to watch the gunfire of the cruisers from a position considerably removed from the line of fire. The devastating accuracy of this gunfire was the most beautiful sight I have ever witnessed. The arched line of tracers in the darkness looked like a continual stream of lighted railroad cars going over a hill. No target could be observed at first, then shortly there would be fires and explosions, and another enemy ship would be accounted for. I witnessed, personally, three ships destroyed one after another in this fashion. Since their outlines were indistinguishable and they were rather small, they were assumed to be destroyers. Such shooting certainly testifies to the superb fire control equipment and personnel of our Navy."
2. Burning enemy ships were easily distinguishable from the bridge of the flagship, and a large number of them were noted.
3. When one considers the results obtained and the relatively small amount of ammunition and torpedoes expended in accomplishing these results, the conclusion is unmistakable that our gunfire was highly effective.
4. The Japanese knew that they would encounter light forces such as PT boats and destroyers and took action to locate them using searchlights and starshells; but that they planned to disregard them is evident when one notes that they came on despite them. Beyond zigzagging on the way up the strait and maneuvering radically to avoid PT or destroyer torpedo attacks, no change in tactics was noted. However, although the attacks in force by own destroyers must have been disconcerting, it was evidently the heavy gunfire which caused the retirement. This was done first by column movement and then by any method whatsoever.
5. Most of the larger ships sunk were hit first by torpedoes, and it is reported that certain destroyers were also hit in a similar fashion. It is believed, therefore, that a considerable number of the enemy ships which sank were sunk because of the double effect of both guns and torpedoes.
CO USS Raymond recommends:1. The small range finder should be removed and the main battery directory (Mk. 51) should be placed in this position for better visibility.
2. A bearing designator unit, similar to the one located at the captain's battle station, should be mounted at the gunnery officer's battle station for his exclusive use.
3. All ships of this type operating with carriers should be provided at the earliest possible date with a Mk. 52 gun director for the main battery.
CO USS Minneapolis comments:1. Fire discipline and gunnery communications were excellent throughout. The leading enemy group was first picked up and tracked by SG radar. The forward Mk. 4 radar (Sky Forward) commenced ranging at 33,400 yards. The Mk. 3 main battery radars commenced ranging at 32,200 yards. Fire was opened at 15,800 yards, in full radar control, firing split salvos (turrets I and III, followed by turret II), director I controlling in train and director III in elevation and firing, turrets in automatic in elevation, using a 300-yard rocking ladder. As this target (a battleship) was under constant fire by other cruisers and battleships, radar spotting in range was not practicable. Flashes from hits and return fire, and fires on the target, indicated no deflection errors and little if any range error. 237 rounds were fired at this target at ranges between 15,850 yards and 13,600 yards. The target pip then disappeared from the radar screen and did not return.
2. The second target (a destroyer without a bow) was taken under fire using partial radar control. 54 rounds were fired at ranges of 14,600 to 14,750 yards.
3. The third target was an unidentified damaged ship retiring at about 20 knots. 9 rounds were fired at this ship using partial radar control at a range of 22,250 yards.
CO USS Santee comments:The Gunnery Control circuits were overloaded with unnecessary reports which could have been eliminated if a calmer local consideration had been given to approaching planes by the control petty officers and spotters at the guns. It is felt that more officers are needed to control individual 40MM mounts.
CO USS Fanshaw Bay comments:Ranges and bearings of enemy forces obtained from SG and SK radars were made available to a gunnery officer stationed in CIC as liaison officer between CIC and Gunnery Control. SG ranges proved both useful and effective. During the periods when sight contact with the enemy was impossible, owing to weather conditions and/or our smoke screen, SG radar bearings as well as ranges were used. This ship is not equipped with fire control radar.
CO USS Essex comments:1. Fire Discipline has been a constant problem on this vessel, and this discussion is undertaken to present the factors involved and the solutions obtained to date.
2. Factors involved:
- Interior position of the vessel within a circular disposition and the consequent obstruction offered by other vessels in the formation.
- Designation of targets to the several batteries.
- Recognition of targets and especially surprise targets during periods of operating own aircraft.
- High probability that carriers will be primary targets of any attacking aircraft.
- Necessity for instantaneous opening fire on surprise attack.
- The high frequency of intruders getting through the Combat Air Patrol, and being lost by search radar before fire control radar makes contact.
3. Current solution of this problem in this vessel consists of:
- Control Combinations, which include sector control, by quadrants, of 40 MM and 20 MM batteries with authority to open fire delegated to the various directors, mounts, and groups within the sector.
- Recognition Officer and Petty Officers are stationed in Air Defense Forward and Aft, and require each plane that comes within visual contact to be positively identified. This is most important in order to detect intruders which follow returning air strikes back to disposition or evade the CAP within sight of the formation.
- Responsibility is enforced on the various director, mount and group control officers to fire in each clear sector and to check fire on foul range. This is standard practice in gunnery exercises and has been very successful in action.
- Information from CIC is passed on all control circuits and on the 5 MC (Flight Deck Bull Horn) circuit in regard to range, bearing, approach and number of bogies. Where contact is lost on bogies near the disposition and visibility is poor, alert bearings and elevations are designated by Air Defense Forward.
- On bogey contact all 40 MM and 20 MM guns are loaded, and 5-inch and 40 MM batteries put in Automatic, with barrage setting on 5-inch computer. For surprise dive bombing attacks the 5-inch battery is fired, using full slew-sight control of the director.
CO USS Hornet comments:Fire discipline during the period of 12 to 15 October was considered excellent even under the most trying conditions. Fire was commenced and ceased promptly upon order and friendly planes enjoyed immunity even when recognition procedure was not carried out and maneuvers which could be interpreted as threatening were carried out within range of the ship's batteries. It is considered that training in Recognition for all gun pointers and director operators contributed heavily to a high standard of fire discipline.
CTG 77.2 comments:1. The question of fire distribution for a large force crossing the "T" of another and smaller force is a difficult one. It is realized that when more than three ships are firing at the same target, spotting difficulties will be encountered even when using radar.
2. There has been considerable discussion over fire distribution by radar for some time and the matter was taken up with Commander Cruisers, Pacific Fleet, but no definite conclusions were arrived at.
3. However, it would appear as if radar spotting is subject to the same limitations that uncolored splash spotting in daylight is subject to. That is, when more than three ships are firing in daylight with colorless splashes, over-concentration will occur which will generally decrease the gunfire effect of the firing ships.
4. This battle has clearly shown that the same conditions obtain with radar spotting, and a number of ships have reported that they were unable to spot because of the heavy concentration of splashes on their target. They solved their dilemma by shifting fire to another target.
5. Fire distribution for this action was difficult because while the ships on the left flank were crossing the "T", and therefore were firing at a more or less common target, those on the right flank could clearly designate their targets. Fire distribution was therefore left to the individual commanders and ships and, as a whole, functioned reasonably well.
6. Most ships fired individually on the leading two heavy ships, evidently battleships. They had had an opportunity to track for some little time and should have hit reasonably close to their target in their opening salvos. The fact that the leading targets disintegrated so early in the action is an indication of the accuracy of this observation.
7. The subject of fire distribution for large forces using radar is a serious one and requires immediate attention.
CTG 77.2 comments:Gunnery communications were of the simplest type. None of our planes were airborne for spotting purposes. The surface shooting and torpedo firing was according to doctrine. There was no anti-aircraft firing involved. Hence only the basic gunnery orders were necessary, and were used.
CO USS Hornet comments:1. It is submitted that the use of "Hold Fire" during daylight when enemy planes are in the vicinity places an unnecessary restriction on the Commanding Officer whose gunners are seasoned and have demonstrated ability to recognize enemy or friendly aircraft suddenly approaching from the clouds. It is presumed that batteries would be released if enemy aircraft commenced an attack, but the suddenness with which a dive bombing attack develops makes it mandatory that the authority to open fire against enemy planes attacking own ship be delegated to responsible officers or petty officers at the guns if damage to the ship is to be averted. The possibility of damage to own ship with the probability that many personnel will be casualties and the ship placed out of action for an appreciable period must be weighed against possibility of damage to friendly planes.
2. Restriction on the use of the five-inch battery at night should be modified when ships in company can be seen and thus avoided or when the screen is depleted to the extent that it offers little protection. A well trained five-inch fire-control team will check fire when the guns are trained too close to ships in the screen.
3. The Commanding Officer should not be restricted in the use of any part of a well disciplined battery because of the possibility of relatively minor damage to screening ships as compared with the possibility of devastating torpedo damage to his ship with attendant personnel casualties.
CTG 77.3 recommends:In a medium range battle of this nature salvo fire is again recommended as being the most effective. It is the only method to use if radar spotting is to be accomplished.
CTG 77.2 CONCURS IN HIS ENDORSEMENT, STATING THE DESIRABILITY OF THE USE OF SALVO FIRE IN NIGHT ACTION IN ORDER TO OBTAIN ACCURATE RADAR SPOTTING.
Inadequacy of Air Power Against Well Armed Units
ComBatDiv 9 comments:1. Actions covering this period illustrate most perfectly the potency of air power. On the other hand, they also illustrate the inadequacy of air power against armored and well armed units unless the attacks be unremittent. The sinking of a Nachi class cruiser in MANILA Harbor on 5 November 1944 by planes from the USS Lexington is a case in point. The first attack disabled the ship. After the second attack she was burning heavily aft. But she broke in two and sank only after three torpedo hits while dead in the water. The afternoon attacks of 24 October should have prevented the enemy from coming out through SAN BERNARDINO Straits but they did not prevent this. It took the sustained attacks of our intrepid CVE groups plus those of Carrier Group One to make the enemy see that he could not reach LEYTE Gulf.
2. Either our airmen exaggerated the number of torpedo and bomb hits made on 24 October, or the results of those hits were not properly evaluated.
SEE COMMENTS UNDER "ASSESSMENT OF DAMAGE INFLICTED BY AIR ATTACK".
It is not surprising that our pilots report ships ablaze and seemingly out of control. They do not have time to tarry in the target area. They make their run and get out of the danger zone as rapidly as possible. Even experienced observers have difficulty in distinguishing smoke from heavy anti-aircraft fire from real fire on board. The great majority of our pilots are young and it is only natural for them to report what they see and after a good run to believe such smoke is due to damage from their attack.
3. Enemy cruisers and battleships do not become disabled by two or three torpedo hits or a few bomb hits unless they hit vital spots such as machinery spaces or propellors. Our own battleships and cruisers similarly are not disabled unless vital zones are hit and we know that enemy torpedoes carry a heavier load of explosive than ours do. This does not detract from the potency of air, but it is a fact and one that must be appreciated. On the other hand, our own surface vessels made short work of the enemy fleet attempting to enter Southern LEYTE Gulf and we sustained very little damage in this action. It would therefore seem that, whenever possible, use should be made of our armored ships to sink enemy armored ships.
Japanese Fire Control
(Also see Enemy Gunnery)
CTG 77.4 comments and recommends:1. From the performance off SAMAR, it can be concluded that the Japanese have failed to learn one of the axioms of fire control -- that in salvo fire the pattern must be large enough to allow for control error and insure hits once the mean range is established. Their pattern sizes were extremely small. Competent observers have stated and photographic evidence appears to verify the fact that the pattern size was in the neighborhood of 200 to 300 yards. This pattern size proved, after a trial of two and one-half hours, to be entirely too small to insure hits.
2. His choice of ammunition was fortunate for us, inexcusable for him. His AP went cleanly through our ships. There is no record of a single detonation.
3. Another interesting observation was Jap over-confidence in his long-range destroyer torpedoes. No other reason can be imagined for the launching of a completely unsuccessful torpedo attack at beyond maximum range. Their poor performance seems, from our point of view, to be almost too good to be true. They have been guilty of such meticulous attention to detail that they have used their weapons with neither intelligence nor common sense.
4. Insofar as our vessels were concerned, it should be stated that masterful and inspired use of the offensive, maneuver, and smoke extricated our forces from more serious damage and undoubtedly made the enemy's problem extremely difficult.
Japanese Language Officer
CTG 77.4 comments and recommends:During the LEYTE operations there was attached to the staff a Japanese language officer who was loaned to the Group Commander by the Commander SEVENTH Fleet. This officer proved to be invaluable. With the help of his officers and radiomen, he was able to make available the gist of much valuable information. On 24 October he gave the Group Commander advance notice of the take-off of the heavy bombing attack which was intended by the enemy to be the first phase of the Battle of LEYTE Gulf. The advance warning permitted reinforcement of the Combat Air Patrol with the result that over 60 Japanese heavy bombers and fighters were shot down. It is strongly recommended that a language officer with his staff be embarked in the Carrier Task Group flagship during assault and landing operations.
Japanese Pilots and Operations Personnel Demonstrate Understanding of Certain Principles
CTG 38.1 comments:1. By combining the suicide dive with the lessons gained in past actions and a careful analysis of our defensive system, especially our use of radar, the Japs have developed the latest and most threatening problem that has yet confronted the U.S. Navy. The evasive-approach suicide attack shows not only the fanatical mind of the Jap but, what is far more dangerous, the application by the pilots and operations personnel of a complete understanding of radar and the complexities of air defense and air control. Specifically they have demonstrated an understanding of the following principles:
- That a small group of planes attracts far less attention than a large group on a radar screen.
- That an attack group approaching above or near returning strikes, which invariably straggle all over the skies in small groups, is very difficult to detect.
- That if a bogey is at the same range but 5 to 10 degrees off in bearing from a friendly, the average operator will have great difficulty in detecting the bogey, and when he checks each of the numerous straggling strike groups so carefully that he can tell a bogey in their midst, the radar is able to do very little searching.
- That a bogey at the same range and bearing but vastly different altitude from a friendly appears as a friendly.
- The multiplicity of small targets is one of the weaknesses of any radar system or, for that matter, of any defense system.
- That altitude has always been a weak point in radar defense and that although the SM can hold a target and give accurate altitude on it, a number of small targets changing altitude and course are extremely difficult to track and obtain continuous correct altitude.
- That we search with one type of radar set and, finding a target, try to coach the Fighter Director Set (SM) onto the target for evaluation, altitude, and tracking if necessary.
- That by approaching very high in fast power glide from long range, the radars are given a particularly difficult problem, both by lack of altitude estimates on the SK-SC and by being continuously in the null are of some sets.
- That the use by the enemy of dull black planes for these attacks makes visual sighting most difficult.
2. The use by the enemy of an IFF that looks like MK III Code 1, 2, or 3, is definitely established. The possibility of the enemy using planes with the outstanding silhouette characteristics of the F6F should not be overlooked.
3. The Task Force is about to conduct a series of exercises simulating the latest Japanese tactics, using the principles outlined above, in an effort to find the best defense against such attacks.
1. It was shown on track chart (page 3) "Japanese Fleet Approaches," that the Japanese had evidently planned a three-prong attack on our forces in LEYTE GULF. The Northern Force (Carrier Force) approaching from the Empire, the Central Force (Main Body) to exit from SAN BERNARDINO STRAIT, and the Southern Force (Troop-laden LEYTE reinforcement force) approaching from the South to emerge from SURIGAO STRAIT were all to concentrate toward a predetermined geographical and time
Japanese Striking Force Tactics,
"Know Your Enemy".
focus. It will be remembered that all three forces were divided into two groups. In practically all of the major engagements with the Japanese thus far we have found that their force has been divided into groups. In this operation, the approach of the three forces from different directions and the division of forces into two groups becomes more interesting by reference to Commander in Chief Pacific-Commander in Chief Pacific Ocean Areas report on "Japanese Striking Force Tactics, 'Know Your Enemy'".
2. Tactically, the document is of particular interest in that it sets forth the use to be made of a decoy or diversion force, and also because it outlines the Japanese policy of splitting carrier forces.
3. So far as is known, the Japanese still attempt to follow the above "Striking Force Tactics" to divert and restrain our forces on one side, and then to attack suddenly from the flank.
CO USS Trathen comments:OBSERVATIONS OF PRISONER OF WAR PICKED UP BY U.S.S. TRATHEN 20 OCTOBER 1944
1. The ship was brought close aboard the Japanese aviator and a line thrown to him. At this time it was noticed that the man's face was burned where unprotected by his helmet. He made no attempt to take the line thrown to him nor did he attempt to swim away from the ship. Another approach was made and the repair party was able to foul a heaving line around the Jap's arm. All this time the man had been treading water slowly and making no attempt to take the line or throw it off. Fearing that the heaving line might come unfouled at any time, a grapnel was lowered and hooked into the parachute harness whereby he was hoisted aboard. The prisoner's clothing was immediately removed on the forecastle and the medical officer made a quick examination, and then removed the man on a stretcher to sick bay. Wounds consisted of second degree burns about the face, minor lacerations about the body and head, and a broken tooth. One-half grain of morphine was administered and the burns and wounds dressed. The prisoner was taken down below and placed on a cot under guard. Blood plasma glucose in saliva was administered about two hours later to counteract the effect of the burns.
2. The attitude of the prisoner up until five minutes before he was transferred to the Sangamon was one of complete passiveness. He was not questioned and did not utter a single word or make any sound at all. His face was completely blank, showing neither pain, anger nor chagrin. His pulse and respiration were completely normal from the moment he was hoisted aboard until about three hours later when the effects of the burns caused his pulse to increase.
3. While waiting on the forecastle to be transferred to the Sangamon, the prisoner broke his silence by addressing the medical officer in English as follows:
"Thank you doctor."
"I don't speak English very good."
"Am I going to America?"
There then followed some Japanese which was not understood.
ComDesDiv 112 comments:The survivors in the water seemed bent on ignoring us completely, and few of them would glance directly at the ship. One man was observed to smile and bend his head like a child being coaxed. The Claxton reported that in one group near her an officer was evidently exhorting the men not to surrender. The man picked up by the Robinson was in fair shape, except that he was temporarily blinded by fuel oil. There were numerous marines among the group in the water. The men did not have life preservers, although two cork life rings were observed. The rest of them were swimming or clinging to wooden wreckage. There was a large amount of fuel oil in the area and the men in the water were well coated with it.
CO USS Hornet comments:1. Task group THIRTY-EIGHT POINT ONE strike on 25 October was one of the longest ever undertaken by carrier aircraft and undoubtedly one of the most important. There was an ominous tone in the frantic calls for assistance from the SEVENTH Fleet units under attack. It appeared that the Japanese Force that had passed through the SAN BERNARDINO Strait was about to trap all CVE's, then sweep into LEYTE Gulf to engage our OBBs and transports. Task group THIRTY-EIGHT POINT ONE sustained thirty knots for five hours, during which Air Groups were rearmed for the new target and launched
at a distance that promised small chance of recovery of the first deck load unless the target could be located promptly and conditions were favorable for return.
2. The judgment of the Task group Commander in selection of arming and of launching time was fully vindicated by results obtained. It is apparent that the appearance on Japanese early warning radar of over 100 aircraft approaching from the northeast was decisive in influencing his decision to withdraw at best speed. The enemy had undoubtedly located accurately all units of the THIRD Fleet with the exception of Task Group THIRTY-EIGHT POINT ONE. With his national predilection for laying traps for his enemy, he is also sensitive to a high degree to traps laid by the enemy, and to the Japanese OTC this must have appeared to be a trap. It is unfortunate that distances were too great to permit inflicting more damage.
Executive Officer, USS Pennsylvania, comments:The liquid loading was normal for the quantity aboard. There was 92% fuel aboard and approximately 90% each of reserve feed and potable water. These quantities are considered optimum for general operation but excessive insofar as fuel is concerned for entering the battle itself. Approximately 45% fuel loading is considered optimum for entering battle, as it gives a better exposure of armor belt and there is a reduction in the probability of fire or serious damage from a torpedo hit inasmuch as the lower blisters are ballasted with water.
ComBatDiv 2 comments:1. In operations of this type, logistic planning is just as important as fire support planning. Combatant ships and service ships should not be "out of the line" any longer than is absolutely necessary.
2. Current directives require combatant vessels to maintain a certain liquid loading as defense against torpedo attack. This means that as fuel is consumed, empty fuel tanks must be water ballasted. Considerable time is required to pump this water ballast overboard before a ship can again receive fuel. In case of a battleship of Tennessee class as much as 8 or 9 hours is required to de-ballast if fuel on board is less than 50%. Thus, if fueling is to be expedited, as it should be in a war zone, timely information must be given to combatant ships in order that they may (1) retain the liquid loading for torpedo defense as long as possible, and (2) be ready to receive fuel when tanker's side is clear and ready.
Loss of Gunpower
CTG 77.2 comments:It is disappointing that the Pennsylvania was unable for various reasons to "Open Fire". The loss of her gunpower might have been disastrous when it is noted that the Mississippi fired but one salvo and the Maryland only six. Fortunately this additional gunpower did not seem to be necessary.
Medical Department Recommendations
Medical Officer, USS Suwannee recommends:1. Mattresses, pillows, and sheets should be provided in the wardroom so that it can be made into an emergency ward.
2. The C.P.O. Quarters should be made an additional Battle dressing Station and medical personnel should be increased by 3 men to provide for manning this station.
3. Medical supplies should be increased, particularly Plasma, Saline, Burn Dressings, and Stokes stretchers.
4. Well protected storage lockers or additional staterooms should be distributed at several places throughout the ship.
5. All corpsmen should be instructed in the technique of intravenous medications before being sent to sea.
6. The entire crew should be regularly instructed and trained in simple First Aid and stretcher Bearing, and all officers should be trained in Morphine administration and infusion technique.
7. The Chaplain and Medical Department should work out plans in advance for caring for and identifying the dead.
8. Regulations concerning identification tags should be rigidly enforced.
9. Life jacket lockers should be placed at each battle station with extra jackets.
10. All personnel should be flat on deck at each General Quarters, except those whose duties absolutely demand their being upright, and all should wear flash-proof clothing at each General Quarters.
CTG 77.4 recommends:Napalm should not be made up long ahead of time. If called for it should be made up the night before and installed immediately prior to launching.
ComCruDiv 13 comments:The difficulties of navigation were enhanced by the cloud cover which helped to protect us. Canberra used the chip log method for determining her speed through the water, with apparently considerable more accuracy than a pitometer log at the low speeds encountered.
CTG 79.11 comments:1. The waters in which the battle of SURIGAO Strait occurred, although nearly land-locked, are comparatively free of navigational dangers. Except for a few places along the eastern side of SURIGAO Strait, deep draft vessels may be navigated nearly up to the shoreline without danger. The land on either side and the scattered small islands are steep-to and well defined in the PPI of SG radar. For these reasons, navigation presented little difficulty and the presence of land was an advantage except during retirement when we were forced to retire in nearly the same direction the enemy was advancing. This kept us within enemy gun range for a longer period of time than if the action had been in the open sea where we could have retired normal to the enemy course for a longer period of time.
2. None of the ships of the squadron maintained accurate navigational tracks during the attack as there was no apparent need for other than DR and DRT tracks. Navigational fixes were obtained by both groups at about the time they started in for the attack and after retirement commenced. Therefore, during the vital part of the attack, ships have relied on DRT to determine their tracks. Due to currents and the usual inaccuracies of the DRT some error was evidently introduced into the various tracks submitted by individual ships. This and the fact that each ship was tracking a different target within the enemy formation, accounts for the difference in own and enemy tracks as submitted by the individual ships participating in the attack.
Night Operations and "Dishpan" Lights
CO USS Raymond recommends:Special permanent dishpan lights should be installed on all escort vessels operating with carriers; specifications to be the same for all vessels; lights to be equipped with rheostats and located on anchor light post.
CTG 77.4 comments and recommends:1. In order to provide pre-dawn combat air patrol over the objective area, it was necessary to launch patrols one hour and fifteen minutes before sunrise. By using a six-carrier formation with a screening vessel, but on the rendezvous line of each carrier and showing a special screened "dishpan" light, the air groups became very proficient in night rendezvous and departure without excessive delay. Launchings were habitually by catapult and very few operational accidents occurred.
2. It was also required to have late combat air patrols kept at the target area until sunset, or after, if there were bogies present. The Santee Air Group has previously demonstrated the feasibility of CVE night landings during the MOROTAI operation. They had prepared a group of pilots by field carrier work before the operation. This same group was the mainstay of landing late patrols returning from the LEYTE target area but all other squadrons were forced by the exigencies of the situation to train their pilots by actual sight landings aboard. Many night landings were made and with very few operational accidents. A large part of this success is due to the use of side "bar" lights which were installed on all carriers and proved of great assistance to pilots in lining up the deck in the last part of the turn to a landing.
3. It is recommended that all CVE Squadrons be given a period of intensive night field carrier training in between operations so that they will always be prepared for night operations that may be required.
4. All DD and DE should be equipped with the "dishpan" lights employed for night landings and rendezvous. These dishpans are inverted cones containing a 200-watt light which shows all around from overhead down to 20° above the horizon. Three colors are necessary: red, white and amber (or blue).
CO USS Mobile comments:During the course change at 1903, forty degrees left, and again during the ninety degree change to the right at 1906, the target bearing line crossed the bow. In both instances, Main battery Director I lost the target by radar due to structural interference of the Mark 4 radar and to fluctuations in the power supply to the Mark 8 radar. The latter difficulty, caused by rapid training of the forward turrets, created excessive vibration of the target pip on the director trainer's radar scope. Structural interference of the Mark 4 radar is to be eliminated by accomplishment of an authorized alteration which will raise the Main Battery Directors and lower the Mark 4 radar antennae. Voltage fluctuations promise to be a continuing source of trouble, however, until a separate power supply is provided for fire control radars.
CO USS Denver comments:1. Main Battery Fire Control.
- All fire control equipment functioned perfectly. Firing was conducted with Director I in control of train, tracking in full automatic with rangekeeper in control of Mk. 8, Mod. 2, radar. Stable vertical controlled level and firing circuits. Range spotting was done by plot radar.
- The elimination of interference between Mk. 8 and Mk. 4 radars, accomplished by Mare Island Navy Yard during last availability, paid dividends in this action. During the pursuit from 0430 to 0520 the targets being tracked were dead ahead and would have been blanked out for the Mk. 8 by the interference formerly existing, but no difficulty in tracking was experienced and a solution was obtained before the turn to firing course.
- The "halving" method of tracking is used where target range is beyond the upper limit of the rangekeeper (35,000 yards). Radar range and own ship speed are introduced into the rangekeeper at half their actual value. The solution obtained gives range rate and target speed one half actual but correct bearing rate, thus permitting the director to follow in automatic, A solution within 10% of true speed and an accurate solution of course is usually obtained, permitting plot and CIC to check solutions and giving the rangekeeper operator the great advantage of a reasonably accurate solution when the target reaches the limiting rangekeeper range. Since large targets (BB's, CV's) are picked up by the Mk. 8 at 50,000 yards plus, the halving method is advantageous not only for enemy action but also for training.
- Mark 8 radars (Mod. 2 forward, Mod. 1 aft) left nothing to be desired. The enemy main body was picked up at a range beyond the upper limits of the scale -- estimated at 55,000 yards. Tracking was commenced as soon as ranges could be read, approximately 43,000 yards. Spotting was possible at all ranges fired, although with difficulty at 20,000 yards. (This ship considers the limiting range for effective six-inch spotting with the Mk. 8 to be between 18 and 19,000 yards). Primary spotting was done in plot on the Mk. 8, Mod. 2 control unit with Director II radar acting as a check. The Mk. 8, Mod. 2 was used as designed with range input from the Mk. 8 rangekeeper. This combination contributed greatly to the "cold" solution obtained, resulting in "no change" spots on each of the first two targets. It is considered that the Mk. 8, Mod. 2 is a marked improvement, giving quicker and more accurate solutions, permitting better spotting. Targets are picked up at greater ranges and the range line is maintained on target with greater facility. The only complaint which might be lodged against this effective instrument is that it does not show the target silhouette to permit identification.
2. Turret Material --
- Jams occurred in turrets 1 and 4 in the new rear plate case ejectors, necessitating stationing men outside the turret to clear the cases. This is the first prolonged rapid firing experienced by this ship since leaving Mare Island Navy Yard in May 1944, and it is with regret that these jams occurred since the ejectors were installed with the intent to eliminate such trouble.
- Turret 4, center gun, had an unusual casualty when a dye loaded projectile wind screen sheered in loading, spilling dye in the gun and powder chamber. Upon firing the gun and extracting the case, heavy grey smoke poured into the gun room causing three salvos to be missed while bore clear was checked and the cause determined.
- In turret 3, a loose nut or bolt fell into the center powder hoist motor fan and caused the motor to heat excessively. The hoist was not stopped and no damage resulted but this ship intends to design a screen or cover to prevent future duplication. The hoist fans are open at the top and objects can readily fall into them.
- One half pint of liquid was withdrawn from recoil cylinders since experience has shown that even with the new, larger expansion tanks sluggish recoil may result. With one half pint withdrawn no difficulties were experienced.
- A summary of turret casualties which caused missed salvos follows:
* Cleared gun with dislodging charge (short case).
R L C R L C R L C R L C Rounds fired 86 92 88 95 98 98 95 98 97 98 87 92 Salvos missed 12 6 10 3 0 0 3 0 1 0 11 6 Cork pushed in when ramming 2 3 Failure to extract, oversize case 1 1 Misfire -- faulty primer *1 Jammed case ejector chute 6 2 7 Damaged dye-loaded projectile 3 Personnel error 2 3 Dented powder case 1 2 *4 Slow Shell supply 5 2 10
- The relatively minor casualties described above had no effect on the action since it was necessary to slow the rate of fire arbitrarily in order to avoid expending all ammunition.
3. Five-Inch Battery -- All ordnance material functioned without flaw and no material or personnel errors or casualties occurred in this battery.
CO USS California comments:1. It should be noted that considerable difficulty of late has been experienced with loosely-laced powder bags and with instances of powder gains having worn holes through the bag due to rough handling, vibration in stowage, or similar causes.
2. At 0341 when the order load for the first salvo was given turret I right gun sustained a broken powder bag as the second set of bags was dumped from the upper tray to the lower tray of the car. Silence was given by the gun captain and a report was made to control. The right gun crew picked up the loose powder grains and put them in a replacement bag. The car was lowered into the well where it jammed so that it would not fully seat nor permit rising. The lower car door was jammed partially open. The turret officer reported the jammed car to control and was ordered to clear same, and to fire no guns until right gun could come in. The turret officer was familiar with this type of casualty because it occurred on this ship in 1940 in Turret IV. The lower tray of the car was not latched and it jammed short of the latched position when attempts were made to latch it. This, however, permitted the car to come up about 1 foot in the well where it was finally freed by pushing the lower tray open as far as possible. It was found that some loose grains of powder had jammed under the lower tray preventing its complete closure. The remaining grains of powder were picked up and the full charge was loaded and turret ready light turned on just as cease fire was given.
3. It is believed that the powder bag was broken when the upper tray of the car was tripped to dump the two upper bags into the lower tray. A personnel error was made by the powder carman when he attempted to lower the car without having succeeded in fully latching the lower tray.
CO USS Kitkun Bay comments:The Ordnance on board again proved excellent. There was one jam during the anti-aircraft firing which may have been caused by a faulty 20MM round. During the surface attack the 5"/38 fired 112
rounds at the enemy fleet, all but about 10 rounds at the leading heavy cruiser on our port quarters. Once when by turning behind the smoke we were making the cruiser was obscured, the 5"/38 fired 10 rounds at an enemy battleship dead astern about 17,000 yards. Some of the spotting was done at the gun, some from control. It was found that some of the spots from control did not reach the gun nor did some of the ranges reported by CIC. The rounds fired were 5"/38 A.A. Common, set on safe. Spotting was extremely difficult inasmuch as about 50% of the time, the targets on our port quarter were obscured by the smoke from our stacks. Fire was opened on the cruisers at about 16,000 yards and we ceased fire when all but 68 rounds were fired in case of a later destroyer torpedo attack. During this time the range had closed to 12,000 yards, target angle about 60°. Salvos of 3 and 5 rounds were fired to permit more accurate spotting. Gunnery schools attended by our 5" gun crew and officers at every opportunity were singularly lacking in any instruction in either spotting or the 5"/38 Merchant Type Mount.
CO USS Santee comments:The actions of 20, 25, and 26 October revealed no deficiencies in ordnance material. Some difficulty was encountered, however, in removing and replacing the 40MM Ford Power drive sheer pins following the torpedo hit on 25 October. Also, the 40MM quadruple mounts on the fantail consumed ammunition so fast that the ready service boxes were quickly expended. It was found that the capacity of these boxes was increased by discarding cans and stacking the boxes with clips. Even with this stacking, the flow of ammunition was inconstant and it is recommended that the boxes be twice their present size. The twin mounts along the catwalks were not difficult to supply because of their close proximity to the ready service rooms. On the other hand, some of our guns could have fired many more rounds had the passers worked a little faster.
ComDesDiv 112 comments:1. Commander Destroyer Division 112 gave very few orders to his section during the action. It became apparent as the firing point was approached that little or no gyro angle would be required, if the CIC solution were correct, so that it would not be necessary to echelon the sections in preparation for a turn to the firing course. The Halford and Bryant had been directed to "follow me". The visibility was excellent and they maintained their stations in column in excellent style.
2. Prior to making their torpedo attacks, all destroyers were advised of the rendezvous points to proceed to after the torpedoes were delivered. If this detail had been neglected, considerable confusion might have ensued.
3. This battle brings to mind a point not often considered. Ships should check their IFF identification and recognition frequently. IFF identification was of great importance during the battle.
4. Commander Destroyer Division 112 believes that too many voice transmissions are used in maneuvering destroyers at night. On a clear night, it is believed that destroyers can follow in column without signals; speed changes and turn movements must be signaled.
CO USS Denver comments:Tactics were simple and sound and followed accepted principles. The maximum number of guns were bearing wherever there were targets. The battle plan was clear and was received in time for all hands to digest it and take action. The apparent retirement of one or more of own destroyers towards own battle line along GBL is not clear and may have resulted in one destroyer being hit.
CO USS San Diego comments and recommends:Picket Destroyers and Visual Linking Ship.
1. The pickets to TASK GROUP 38.2 were stationed distance twelve miles from the task group center on true bearings 260°, 330° and 040°. On many occasions they appeared to confuse the attacking planes and in some cases seemed to divert their attention from the main body as was evidenced by the dropping of occasional flares in the vicinity of the pickets rather than near the main body. The use of pickets is excellent and the number should be increased when possible (consistent with screening requirements).
2. Visual linking ships should not be on linking station when air attack is imminent since the linking ship fouls the firing of other ships and is a nuisance. If contact has been made, it is believed that a voice channel of sufficient range to avoid the need for a visual link should be used.
CO USS Fanshaw Bay comments:Our tactics were as follows:
1. To keep the superior force of enemy ships under constant air attack by our planes. This was accomplished by directing the planes to proceed to
other CVE's who were not engaged with the enemy, or to TACLOBAN air strip for re-servicing and re-arming while this unit was under fire and unable to land aircraft.
2. To retire at maximum speed, utilizing rain squalls, low visibility and smoke screens to conceal our course changes from the enemy force as we attempted to work our way to the southwest and reach the support of our heavy surface ships.
3. To continually change course toward or away from the last splash in order to confuse the enemy gunfire spotting and prevent his obtaining an accurate fire control solution.
4. To employ our screening DDs and DEs in launching torpedo attacks against the enemy force in an attempt to turn or slow it down.
5. During air attack, to open fire on any enemy plane within gun range and to avoid bombs by violent evasive maneuvers during the plane's dive.
CombatDiv 2 comments and recommends:1. Own tactics were considered to be sound. It was a naval officer's dream come true. The enemy had to come to us and could only come one way, i.e., north through SURIGAO STRAIT. His "T" was capped. In addition, right and left flank forces were so disposed that they could embrace the enemy.
2. Maneuvers of the battleline were conducted in general by simultaneous ships' turn movements. Maneuvering signals were sent on TBS. In general, Commander Battleline used direct reading signals, viz., Turn 3, Turn 15, Speed 3, etc., During one phase of the engagement, after gunfire had been in progress about 7 minutes, Commander battleline executed a "Turn 15". This signal was reported improperly to Commanding Officer California as "change of course of 15 degrees". As a result, Tennessee in changing course from 120°T to 270°T narrowly avoided collision with California who had only changed from 120°T to 135°T.
3. From past experience, ComBatdiv 2 recommends that during gunfire, or at other times when the attention of conning officers may be distracted, self-reading true course or true speed signals be used, i.e., "Turn 270", "Speed 12", etc. This will eliminate the necessity for communication officers, officers, of the deck, and others concerned with conning a ship in the heat of an engagement to do mental gymnastics and arithmetic to determine proper course to which to turn, and will alleviate misunderstandings and misinterpretations of signals.
ComBatDiv 3 comments:It should be noted that this is the first time since the MARSHALL ISLANDS Campaign that anything approaching a Battle Line has been exercised as such. The preponderant use of battleships as station units in circular dispositions, dictated by the ever increasing air menace, has not improved their ability to maintain position in column or in lines of bearing within thirty degrees of column. The increased tempo of operations in the Western Pacific promises little opportunity to such exercises if the crews are to receive the rest which they so richly deserve and which is already curtailed so greatly.
CTG 77.2 comments:1. When the possibility of enemy surface action in SURIGAO STRAIT south appeared to be a reality, Commander Task Group 77.2 thoroughly surveyed the situation. He studied all the intelligence available on enemy forces which might come into his area, estimated their probable composition and what their probable disposition might be, and finally arrived at the conclusion that the best disposition for his forces to oppose such an advance would be a battle disposition. He therefore issued his Battle Plan. (See page 78-14.)
This plan was designed to cover enemy forces coming into either SURIGAO STRAIT east or SURIGAO STRAIT south, or both, but with special emphasis on SURIGAO STRAIT south. Therefore the actual basic plan for fighting the Battle of SURIGAO STRAIT south is more general than it might have been had it not been designed to cover both entrances to the gulf. This plan, as discussed with Commanders Battleline and Right Flank, visualized launching destroyer attacks prior to opening fire with the gun. Therefore, Destroyer Squadrons 24 and 54 were directed to attack as soon as the enemy forces came within range. These destroyer squadrons reported a considerable number of hits in the enemy battleships.
3. They were also directed to report the composition of enemy forces, which they did. All of these reports, while they varied somewhat, added up to the important fact that the enemy ships were in two columns and that there were at least two battleships and four heavy or light cruisers with probably six to eight destroyers.
4. This was what Commander Task Group 77.2 had been anxious to learn. He now launched Destroyer Squadron 56 to complete the torpedo destruction and, when this destroyer squadron was about to fire torpedoes, he ordered the fleet to, "Open Fire". The result was stupendous; the sky was filled with tracers, the strait with burning ships.
5. The enemy had been caught in a trap. They tried to escape, and some did, but most gradually disappeared into the warm waters of SURIGAO STRAIT.
6. About this time word was received that own forces were firing into Destroyer Squadron 56 in the center of the strait. Commander task Group 77.2 immediately ceased fire and directed Destroyer Squadron 56 to clear the area. He then directed the cruisers of both flanks to pursue the Japanese ships to insure that none escaped. This pursuit was effective in destroying several Japanese ships that were on the verge of escaping. However, after pursuing for about one hour, the pursuit was temporarily abandoned because of the menace of torpedoes from damaged Japanese ships and destroyers of uncertain nationality, and as all ships visible were on fire it was decided to retire up the channel until dawn when the pursuit was recommenced. However, this pursuit was finally abandoned when Commander Task Force 77 informed Commander Task Group 77.2 that enemy surface forces were nearing SURIGAO STRAIT east. It became necessary to reorganize forces again in battle disposition -- this time across SURIGAO STRAIT east and to send some ships into the transport area for fuel and ammunition.
7. No camouflage or deception tactics were employed excepting that the first two destroyer attack groups, i.e., Destroyer Squadrons 24 and 54, were directed to launch their attacks well down the channel. The fact that this was done may have led the Japanese to believe that their advance was to be opposed solely by light forces. Otherwise it is difficult to believe that once they had been discovered they would have continued onward in the face of probably heavy and destruction gunfire.
CTG 77.3 comments:The fact that only one of our destroyers out of the many who attacked was hit and the fact that there were evidently numerous torpedo hits by our destroyers show the soundness of a coordinated attack from different sectors. The PT boats fired a number of torpedoes but few hits were reported. This, in conjunction with the knowledge that the series of PT attacks were from one direction at a time and that several of the boats were severely handled, emphasizes the value of the multi-sector attack.
CTG 79.11 comments:1. The five destroyers available to the Squadron Commander were divided into two attack groups, one to the eastward and one to westward, to launch torpedo attacks from opposite bows of the enemy. The approach was made at 25 knots as it was considered essential to launch our attack to the north of our PT boats patrolling off KANIHAAN Island and off MAGUSAN Point. Both groups increased their speed to 30 knots as soon as detected by the enemy. This change in speed probably helped to throw the enemy's gunnery off in deflection.
2. It was expected that the enemy would come to a course of about 340° true to head for our transports after he passed KANIHAN Island. The Eastern Attack Group started down the Strait on course 180°. At about 0250 course was changed to 150° T and at 0255 to 135° T to head for the firing point. At 0258 course was changed to 120° and at 0259 the order to fire torpedoes when ready was given.
3. At 0300 speed was increased to 30 knots, and ships in Eastern Group were then ordered to zig-zag and lay smoke screen. Speed was increased to all possible. Both groups had previously been assigned their post-attack rendezvous points and retired in accordance with plan, well clear of our forces to the north.
4. The Squadron Commander conducted the attack from the bridge. CIC tracked own and enemy positions and informed Conn of times to change course and courses to be steered to reach the firing point.
5. Standard destroyer doctrine states that with five or less destroyers available, only one attack group will be formed. It is believed that the advantages of striking the enemy from opposite bows are so great that the use of two attacking groups as employed by this command was more than justified. The five destroyers launched an unsupported torpedo attack against an enemy force of three heavy ships and four destroyers. A number of torpedo hits were scored. The two heaviest ships were hit and forced to drop astern. Another ship suffered a large explosion. The enemy had lost all initiative and his formation was completely disrupted. The attacking destroyers retired undamaged.
6. The enemy's radar is apparently still inferior to ours. However, the attacking destroyers had one advantage that would have obtained even if the enemy had had equality in radar equipment. Our destroyers merely had the problem of tracking one formation of heavy ships, contact on which was first made at 39,700 yards. We offered the enemy only five small "pips" in two groups and on opposite bows.
7. Both groups were discovered by the enemy before they reached the firing point and were straddled shortly thereafter. This again proved the wisdom of using intermediate speed setting when attacking enemy heavy ships. The torpedoes must be delivered at an effective range before the destroyers are disabled and unable to launch a full salvo.
CTG 77.4 comments:The pictures taken during the Battle of SAMAR are of extreme interest. Although the photographic facilities and equipment of the escort carriers are somewhat limited, enough photographs were taken to create the illusion of almost complete coverage. Certainly this is the first major naval surface action in history to have been recorded so completely by photography. The photographic records of "suicide dives" should be particularly interesting to officers responsible for material and training. The photo record of the fall of shot of the Japanese salvos in the vicinity of Carrier Division 25 and 26 should also be of interest.
Planes Failed to Stay Together in Groups
CTG 77.4 comments:1. In this operation, planes failed to stay together in groups, which violated the basic principle of mutual protection, allowed for losses by navigational error, and also provided a constant stream of returning "friendlies" which overcrowded the radar screen and made identification almost impossible. Part of this was due to the requirements of the situation on the "beach". CSA would release unneeded planes and direct them to return before the others in that group had completed their task.
2. A rendezvous point at a distance from the actual objective area should have been used and planes of any one group should have remained there until joined by the others and all returned together and on time. This would obviate a stream of stragglers getting picked off by alert enemy fighters and would provide clear spaces on the ship radar screens to better control investigation and interception of bogey indications which, in several cases, proved to be attack planes trailing our returning planes.
3. Commander Support Aircraft should endeavor to release groups as groups and all pilots should be thoroughly indoctrinated to "join up", particularly before taking departure for base.
Priority of Targets
CTF 38 comments:1. Normally in attacks on enemy combatant ships such as the carrier engagement East of LUZON, carriers and cruisers should be bombed, torpedoed, and sunk before attacking battleships. This priority of targets was specified by CTF 38 prior to the attack but was not strictly adhered to. Destroyers can be sunk more readily by strafing and rockets than by bombs, or torpedoes. The battleship is almost impossible to stop except with another battleship. Many valuable ships, although heavily damaged, escaped being sunk by our air attacks because too much effort was expended on the battleships.
2. The exception to the above rule existed in the case of the enemy forces approaching SURIGAO and SAN BERNARNDINO Straits on 24 October. In this situation it was better to expend maximum effort on the BB's in an effort to slow them and derange their fire control gear.
PT Boats for Reconnaissance
CTG 77.3 comments:It is felt that much more information could have been obtained from the PT boats had some of them been used only for reconnaissance purposes with orders not to attack except in self-defense. It cannot be denied that the reports that were received were of great help, but had there been say about half of them detailed for recco duty only, definite information obtained from them might possibly have enabled th OTC to take further steps that would have insured destruction of all enemy ships that entered the strait.
Executive Officer, USS Pennsylvania, comments:Prepared, Army type, dry rations (which later proved to be extensively moulded due to heat of storage having melted the wax preservative covering) were broken out and, in addition, refreshments were prepared for serving on battle stations for the entire complement with a view toward being ready for any contingency in this respect.
Rescue of Aviation Personnel
CTG 77.4 comments:The rescue of aviation personnel who were downed in the water or over land areas was most efficiently carried out in this operation. Commander Support Air very thoroughly carried out a system of keeping track of all downed personnel reported to him and utilizing all means at his command for effecting their rescue. Although a great number of personnel were downed in the extensive area of operations covered by the aircraft, there was a surprisingly low percentage of personnel lost or missing.
Smoke, Camouflage and Deception
CO USS John C. Butler comments and recommends:In a one-sided engagement such as this, smoke is of extreme importance, and yet, after thirty-five minutes our smoke supply was exhausted. Fortunately, stack smoke was very effective, due to atmospheric conditions. It is therefore recommended that better smoke-generating equipment be provided as soon as possible.
CO USS Hoel comments:The use of smoke screen by this task unit was extremely effective, and it is believed that this screen was the main reason our destroyers and destroyer escorts were able to carry out their missions and stay afloat for so long a time.
CO USS Fanshaw Bay comments:1. This unit made extensive use of smoke and it was highly effective in screening our force. Both the escort DDs and DEs and CVEs laid heavy screens of stack smoke at various times during the engagement, and on each occasion the enemy fire was less accurate.
2. This ship experimented with using an aircraft smoke tank located on the after sponson to augment the stack smoke. This was satisfactory except that the location of the tank was such that the chemical was blown back upon the gun crew of the 5-inch gun, so this type of smoke was discontinued.
3. The only types of deception employed by our forces were:
- Evasive course changes under cover of smoke or rain squalls.
- Maneuvering toward or away from nearest salvo to throw off the enemy's spotting.
ComCruDiv 13 comments:Smoke was used during some of the night air attacks on the group. Weather conditions favored use of smoke, and satisfactory screening effects were obtained. Use of smoke is believed particularly appropriate in the defense of a very slow-moving force such as this.
CTG 77.2 comments:No smoke was employed by the battleline nor by the cruisers. However, certain of the few destroyer reports received indicate that smoke was employed by some of our attacking destroyers to cover their retirement and was found to be very effective. There are no reports that the Japanese made any effort to employ smoke.
CTG 79.11 comments:1. Stack smoke was used by both attack groups for covering retirement. The Eastern Group was ordered to make smoke at 0259, when illuminated by an enemy searchlight. The Western Group was not actually ordered to make smoke, but the Monssen started making smoke at about 0312, since she was then illuminated by the enemy, and reports that the enemy searchlight lost them soon after smoke was laid. Smoke made by the Eastern Group probably prevented the enemy from spotting accurately and may have concealed the McGowan from enemy view entirely. The following diagram shows the relative location of the Eastern Group during retirement and smoke screens:
Note: Remey and Melvin reported salvos landed close. McGowan did not report any close to her.
2. The use of smoke is considered to have been effective in screening our retirement and largely reduced the effectiveness of enemy illumination.
3. Both Attack Group Commanders are of the opinion that the destroyers painted with light and dark contrasting stripes stood out much more sharply than those painted a solid navy blue, when illuminated by enemy searchlights.
Suicide AttacksTO DATE, NO ENEMY STANDARD SUICIDE ATTACK DOCTRINE IS EVIDENT. THE BELOW EXTRACTS HAVE BEEN COMPILED IN AN EFFORT TO PRESENT TYPICAL EXAMPLES AND COMMENTS FROM EXPERIENCED UNITS.
CO USS Abner Read comments and recommends:A. 1. The sudden intensity of suicidal crashing into surface vessels by Japanese pilots in the PHILIPPINES area, and the great publicity given to the acts as well as the results of suicidal Japanese pilots by the Japanese radio, indicate that these fanatical attacks will undoubtedly increase rather than decrease in the near future. Although this form of attack has been known and encountered by the Navy since the start of the war, it is considered essential that surface personnel have a greater appreciation of its deadliness in order that our greatest efforts may be directed at defeating it. For this reason, all information available to me at this time is being presented for whatever use or dissemination seems best.
2. The devastating effect of these attacks on our surface vessels cannot be overlooked. On 1 November in LEYTE Gulf I observed five attacks directed at destroyers screening the heavy units patrolling the gulf, with the following results: Abner Read hit and sunk; Ammen hit in the top of the forward stack and set on fire, but continuing in action; Killen suffering an internal explosion and flooding resulting from a near miss abreast the forecastle; Claxton sustaining a gun or handling room explosion and flooding from a very near miss of the quarter; and Richard P. Leary narrowly missing disaster from a near miss dead astern. In addition, Anderson had a plane crash into the port motor whale boat the same evening. Prior to this, on 25 October, three near misses and one direct hit are known to have been made on the CVEs, one of them fatal to the CVE.
B. 1. No special tactics were observed to be used during the approach. No effort at coordination, even when on Combat Air Patrol was over the area, was apparent. The bombers chose to attack individually, when ready, using the sun and cloud cover to conceal their approach. The attacks I have observed were nearer to being glide than dive attacks, the position angle at nosing over being between 20° and 45°, and initial altitude about 6000 feet (average cloud height). All planes used for these suicidal attacks were "Vals". There were a few "Betties" in the enemy air group, but they did not appear to be engaged in any type of attack, merely circling the formation well outside the effective A/A range of the screen. They possibly were engaged in photographing the results of the "Val" attacks.
2. A notable characteristic of this type of attack is the fact that the bomb (or bombs) is not released prior to crashing, but is apparently intended to detonate in the gasoline-soaked debris of the plane itself. However, the possibility of a suicide bomber performing double duty -- bombing and then crashing -- may yet occur to the Japanese. From the experience of the Abner Read, the explosive bomb carried comprised only a portion of the total bomb load; and, from the tremendous fire occurring in the vicinity of the plane crash, some type of gasoline or other rapid-spreading incendiary bomb probably completed the loading. For some reason the "Vals" do not strafe during the glide. The only possible explanation seems to be that machine guns are removed prior to departure from base. The only information I have on diving speed comes from the Gunnery Officer of the Richard P. Leary, who reported tracking an undamaged, attacking "Val" at 275 knots.
C. 1. The problem of defense against this type of attack, when no CAP is present to destroy the bombers in the air, is an immediate one for all surface vessels. Although considerable success has been claimed in the past for 40mm and 20mm machine guns in repelling dive, glide, and torpedo attacks, machine guns are practically powerless to divert a suicidal bomber. The fire from three twin-barreled 40mm mounts and three 20mm guns on Abner Read, although early, heavy, continuous, and seemingly very accurate, was insufficient to stop the Jap even though it succeeded in setting him on fire and shooting off one wing. The effectiveness of 40mm and 20mm fire was, in no attack observed, neither early enough nor great enough to disintegrate the plane, nor was it sufficient to deflect the plane far enough from its course to avoid severe damage to the defending ship.
2. It is believed that the 5"/38 and 5"/25 batteries are the only weapons that surface vessels possess which offer any promise, by total destruction of the plane at a respectable range, of stopping this type of attack. Using Mk. 32 fuzed projectiles, and with the accurate direct fire or line of sight barrage which the present 5" fire control installations are capable of, four or more 5" guns should offer a high probability of effective hitting outside of 1500 yards range.
3. I do not know to what extent the destroyers attacked used Mk 32 fuzed projectiles, nor do I know the relative accuracy of their 5"/38 fire control. However, I in no case saw a defending ship obtain a truly destructive 5" hit. Abner Read, in the morning, obtained one "close" Mk 32 5" hit on the plane diving on Claxton, but it merely set it on fire; it did not disintegrate it. In the afternoon attack on Abner Read, although Mk 32 fuzed projectiles were used, Main battery Control was very late in getting on target as a result of their previous tracking of the second (rather than the diving) plane. Consequently, when the main battery opened fire the director was in "slew sight control" and the computer was set for a "dive barrage" (advance range set to 2300 yards). Advance range may have been inside the minimum range of Mk 32 fuzed projectiles. No 5" hits were observed.
4. One other measure which may be taken for defense against suicidal attacks is the use of speed and rudder. If the heavy units of the formation remain on base course at ten knots, station keeping for the screening destroyers at twenty-five knots becomes so difficult that there is a great temptation to slow. But ship's speed must be maintained at a maximum and constant rudder used if they are to have any appreciable effect in causing a diving "Val" to miss. Circling at high speed by all units of the formation has been used in the past with success, and is the recommended procedure.
D. 1. Seeing the vulnerability of destroyers to suicidal dive attacks and observing the Jap concentration on them as targets, measures for increased offensive fire power to defeat the attack, and for greater damage control and fire protection after being hit are inevitable. The following recommendations are submitted:
- Authorize and direct the use of Mk 32 fuzed projectiles from 5"/38 or 5"/25 guns under all circumstances where this type of attack is imminent, specifying 100% Mk 32 instead of the previously recommended 75 or 80%.
- Indicate to all ships the extreme necessity for a high volume of accurate 5" fire during the very short period of a single dive attack. This involves emphasis on high angle loading drill and target practice firing at high position angles, simulating surprise action by permitting no preliminary tracking.
- Stress the importance of instant readiness of guns and director to open fire on this type of target. Guns should be elevated to 45°, trained on the quarters, projectile and powder in the tray, three additional Mk 32 fuzed projectiles and three powder charges stowed in the gun mount (not in hoist) and immediately accessible, pointer and trainer constantly in the immediate vicinity of their stations. Every effort should be made to man all 5" mounts with at least four men during condition watches; to insure high volume of fire for four rounds per gun, sacrificing if necessary the generally accepted "instant readiness" of depth charge and torpedo batteries; and securing 20mm guns in view of their utter uselessness.
- Control procedure and orders must be simplified to one to two standard commands, and control personnel drilled to eliminate every possible second's delay in putting director on target and guns into "Automatic" and firing. The general reluctance of Gunnery Officers to permit free use of the slewing sight on the Mk 37 director is probably the most common cause of slow and inexpert slewing of the director onto air targets. Slewing seems simple, but is a drill requiring technique in the same way that pointing does. The supreme importance of being constantly ready to defend against dive bombers cannot be over stressed.
- The removal of all 20mm guns with a view to reinstalling a 40mm twin on the stern of 2100-ton destroyers, and the substitution of two 40mm twins forward on the 2200-ton destroyers, should receive serious consideration.
- The generally accepted readiness condition of torpedo tubes should be reviewed in the interest of reducing the hazard from fire. I believe it is common practice for all
ships to carry impulse charges in the tubes at all times while underway, inserting primers at "Torpedo Action." It is suggested that doctrine be revised to accept the delay incident to inserting impulse charges at such times that air action is more probable than surface action (99% of the time). This would eliminate the possibility of impulse charges cooking off and launching torpedoes.
- An alternate suggestion is the installation on torpedo tubes of a means of locking the tripping latch connecting rod in the retracted position, providing of course a means of instantaneous release. (Securing the present rod with manila line is unsatisfactory because of the vulnerability of the line to fire.) Doctrine should provide for torpedo tubes to be secured with tripping latches retracted until the command "Torpedo action." This second suggestion has the apparent advantage of permitting, with impulse charges in the tubes, automatic jettisoning as the impulse charges cook off, thereby reducing the danger of air flask explosion in the tube.
- The problem of 5" lower hoists as a fire conducting duct between upper and lower handling rooms is one which offers no ready answer. With the many types of shell and powder now required for immediate use and therefore stowed in small quantity in upper handling rooms, it is inevitable that the hoist must be in use shortly after the main battery commences firing. It is possible that the hoists could be altered to provide some degree of automatic flame tightness. Upper and lower handling room personnel must in the meantime be made conscious of their great responsibility regarding closure of the hoist doors and instantaneous flooding of ammunition spaces in the event of fire.
SEE COMDESDIV 48 REMARKS FOLLOWING.
ComDesDiv 48 comments on report of CO USS Abner Read:1. The Abner Read had the torpedo tubes trained out at all times when air attack was probable. This is in accordance with stipulated doctrine but should be reemphasized as it has been observed that some destroyers are not complying.
- I agree with all remarks of the Commanding Officer U.S.S. Abner Read except as to the "utter uselessness" of the 20mm guns. They are comparatively ineffective but nevertheless are an addition to the armament. However, they most assuredly should not be retained in any position where it is practicable to replace them with 40mm mounts.
- Certainly one of the best defensive measures against dive and suicide bombers is the use of high speed and turn movements. It is noted from observation and reports that at least three Japanese suicide planes missed astern of their targets. The plane which crashed the Ammen apparently meant to crash the bridge but missed astern and hit the stacks. The Japanese pilots do not seem to appreciate relative movement and since they cannot practice suicide crashes it is considered that they will continue to miss astern. This tendency is to our advantage and the advantage is enhanced by use of speed.
- It is recommended that formation speed of a force composed of heavy ships should always be increased to the maximum available to the slowest heavy ship when air attack is imminent, and that turn movements be initiated prior to the moment that any plane can reach a release or dive point and continued during the attack.
- Fifteen hundred to two thousand yards from nearest heavy ship is the distance stipulated by U.S.F. 10-A for the anti-aircraft screen. I believe this still remains the best distance. It allows room for individual maneuver and offers mutual protection by gun power between heavy ships and the screen. A destroyer that is too close to the heavy ships loses its defensive advantage of speed. If over two thousand yards from the heavy ships it loses much of the heavy ship gunpower assistance and becomes a good target for suicidal planes. With the increase in Japanese suicidal tactics, the shoe is partially on the other foot and destroyers need the protection of heavy ship fire power as much as the heavy ship needs the protection furnished by destroyers.
- In reference to the needed ability to open a high rate of fire quickly, destroyers should always be in condition one easy in landlocked waters where air attacks are frequent and early warning not always possible. This condition is not a hardship
for a destroyer if properly organized, and it is recommended that the senior destroyer commander present be enjoined by directives to enforce this as a rule.
ComDesRon 56 comments on report of CO USS Abner Read:This is a well-considered and comprehensive report. The recommendations of the basic letter are concurred in.
2. With respect to the tactical employment of a screen for such an attack, this office desires to subscribe most emphatically to the remarks of the first endorser. Speed and maneuverability are the most important defensive inherent qualities of a destroyer. Opposed to the free employment of these qualities is the primary mission of the type, ie., defense of the large and slower ships being screened. The two functions are difficult to reconcile mutually. It is believed that the most effective compromise is obtained by placing the screening destroyers on a circle just outside that of the heavy ships, the distance being such as to permit free maneuverability independent of the main body, and at the same time not too far to lose the fire support effect of the big ships. One to two thousand yards would appear to satisfy these conditions.
3. In the practical application of these tactics, screening ships should be originally disposed on their circle so as not to mask the batteries of the ships screened, and should consider this factor in their subsequent maneuvering.
CTG 77.1 comments on report of CO USS Abner Read:1. The recommendations and remarks contained in the basic letter and first two endorsements are in general concurred in.
2. The opinion expressed by Commander Destroyer Division FORTY-EIGHT regarding the relative usefulness of 20 millimeter guns is in accord with that of this command.
3. To avoid surprise attacks and to permit the use of AA special, Commander task Group attempted to maneuver the formation clear of all land masses. Due to the restricted waters of LEYTE GULF, this was not always possible. It is considered, however, that 75% to 100% AA special, at the option of individual ships, should be used against suicide dive-bombers without any restriction imposed because of the proximity of enemy-held territory. Ships maneuvering in hostile and restricted waters are in greatest need of the increased anti-aircraft effectiveness imparted by the Mark 32 fuse.
4. It is noted that the Abner Read fails to observe that the task group increased speed to fifteen knots at 0944, just prior to the initial attacks. With the screen on circle 3.5 (1500 yards outside of the heavy ships), it is the opinion of the Task group Commander that individual destroyers had adequate opportunity to maneuver radically at high speed to avoid direct attack. It is his further opinion that this form of evasion is far more effective than maneuvering of the entire disposition. When attacks are being made upon individual ships from different directions at the same time, those ships concerned must decide for themselves what avoiding action will be most effective. General maneuvering of an entire task group, while advantageous to one ship under attack might be disadvantageous to other ships of the formation, and preclude individual ships from initiating evasive maneuvers. This doctrine was transmitted to all ships of the group and believed to be well understood.
Commander SEVENTH Fleet comments on report of CO USS Abner Read:1. from the action report of the Commanding Officer it is apparent that the attack by the Japanese suicide plane developed very rapidly. In spite of serious damage inflicted on the plane in its dive, including the loss of a wing, the Abner Read was struck. Under these circumstances the only possible means of escape lay in early complete destruction of the plane by gunfire or radical maneuvering at high speed by the target ship. The remarks of Commander Task group 77.1 on the matter of individual maneuvering by a ship directly under attack are concurred in.
2. The recommendations and remarks contained in the basic letter and endorsements are concurred in.
CO USS Caldwell comments and recommends:1. There is no doubt that the high rate of success of the suicide crash tactic is causing grave anxiety to all of us. The Japs apparently send out Dinah's on bombing missions with a Zeke escort. A section of fighters is prepared to make a coordinated suicide-dive bombing attack if the right opportunity presents itself. While Dinah's get the attention, a section of Zeke's makes a run on a ship with one or all designated to crash. The planes always choose our inboard (closest to land) screening ships and don't bother
the convoy itself. In making the attack they come down the port side within range of the machine guns, bank steeply to the left, cross the stern, go into a vertical bank and start to roll over on their backs, usually striking the ship on the starboard side forward. If they turn too soon or the ship has right rudder on, they hit about No. 1 stack. If they turn late or the ship has left rudder on, they crash close aboard to starboard.
2. If the USS Caldwell knew of any satisfactory defense she wouldn't have been hit, but the following points are pertinent:
- Long range interception defeats the attack but is very difficult in Central Philippine confined waters, even if sufficient fighters were available.
- It is not believed that using the 36" searchlight in automatic in daytime would help, but it is a trick that has everything to gain and nothing to lose, and, so, is worth trying.
- The use of WP projectiles might work and it is recommended that it be tried. This ship feels the value of WP is outweighed by its menace.
- In the future, the installation of some type of mortars on the quarters to throw out a smoke grenade at the normal plane approach position might be an answer. It has been suggested by the Commanding Office of the USS Cable, which has repaired many damaged ships.
- It is believed that the best way to meet a suicide attack is to steam steadily until the pilot commits himself and then maneuver radically, favoring a sharp turn to port. This should also improve gunnery. It is also believed that we are neglecting to make full use of smoke. Where the standard pattern is to attack from the quarters, smoke becomes especially valuable.
- In the ORMOC area, where the enemy has had the most success, it is suggested that although conditions may well warrant the risk of destroyer losses to protect vitally needed men and materials enroute, the delivery of the matériel throws the balance the other way and the destroyers could immediately commence retiring at high speed and be almost out of danger by daylight.
At a later date, CO USS Hancock comments:1. It is felt that the 5"/38 battery is an extremely valuable weapon against diving planes. Conversation with our own pilots indicates that they dislike heavy AA more than any other type of weapon used against them. Observation of the actions of Japanese aircraft in the past six weeks further indicates that the Japanese pilots also have a distinct aversion to diving into heavy AA fire. There have been four instances during this period when planes have attacked this ship in a dive, only to turn away in the face of fire from the 5"/38 battery. It is thought that the set-up used in expectation of diving attack may be of interest.
2. The 5"/38 installation on the Hancock consists of the usual four twin and four single mounts with two Mark 37 directors and two auxiliary (Mark 51) directors. As originally built, the Mark 51 directors could control the single mounts in indicating only. The installation was modified by the ship's force so that the auxiliary directors may control the single mounts in automatic; it is understood that other ships of this class have done likewise. When it becomes evident that a diving attack is possible, the 5"/38 battery is quadranted:
Director Mounts Sky 1 1 & 3 Sky 2 5 & 7 Auxiliary 51 2 & 4 Auxiliary 52 6 & 8
3. All mounts are placed in automatic with the director trained to the middle of these sectors and elevated to 45°. The guns are half loaded; powder and projectile are in the tray so that it is only necessary to ram in order to fire. Under these circumstances, fire can be opened in a second or less. The plotting room is set up for diving attack, 1.5 second barrage, with time motors stopped. The Mark 37 directors are expected to open fire with slew sight control if necessary. The single mounts fire 100% Mark 32 fuze, and the twin mounts fire 75% Mark 32 fuze except that the first salvo is all Mark 32.
4. It is realized that there will be a number of objections to such a set-up. One of the primary objections is that such a set-up sacrifices the long-range capabilities of the director-computer system. In a daylight melee, such as took place
on 25 November, this characteristic of the system is practically useless, due to the large number of friendly aircraft in the vicinity and the lack of IFF receiver in the fire control radar. Furthermore, the carrier is the object of special attention from the members of the Japanese fraternal organization which has been visiting us of late. A ship would not be in very happy circumstances if she took twenty planes under fire at 12,000 yards, but did not see the sleeper overhead. Consequently, it is felt that the devotion of carrier heavy AA batteries to strictly overhead protection is very desirable.
ComDesDiv 42 comments and recommends:1. The problem of establishing a clean-cut separation of friendly planes from enemy planes is worth some comments. From my point of view (i.e. surface combatant ship) the ideal solution would be, day and night, that any plane that comes within effective gun range is enemy. Based on observations made during six amphibious operations, I estimate that less than one percent of all planes sighted visually are enemy. Yet the entire ship must, of course, be kept fully alerted; each plane must be reported and kept under observation until definitely identified as friendly. It is very difficult to keep any ship fully alerted for long periods of time when almost all planes turn out to be friendly; there is too much yelling "wolf". If, when a plane is sighted, however, there is a reasonably good chance that it will be enemy, every sighting will become an important event. There will be much less chance for a Jap plane, bent on suicidal attack, to get through.
2. It is my impression that most Jap suicidal planes get into our ships during times when we have many friendly planes over and around our ships. We are apt to lose the enemy among the friendlies, or confuse him with the friendlies. We are afraid of firing on a friendly, especially if the plane suddenly darts out of a nearby cloud or rain squall. We know that our planes should not employ such tactics, but we all know that they sometimes do. The onus of firing on a friendly plane is so great that we hold our fire until we definitely identify the plane in the haze, and when it is identified it may be too late.
3. I believe that Jap suicidal tactics can be positively licked by keeping our planes clear of our ships, and by the employment of plenty of publicity with a touch of ridicule. After listening to a number of Tokyo broadcasts, I am convinced that every Jap suicide diver has, prior to committing suicide, proudly made his intentions known in advance, so that he can feel sure that he will become a national hero. I do not believe that it is common practice for a Jap to dive into a ship just because an opportunity is presented, because under such conditions his act might not be witnessed and he could not feel assured that his heroism would be praised throughout the land.
4. Just the other day, according to radio Tokyo, a young Jap aviator went to his commanding officer and proudly announced that he was going to expend his life for his emperor and fatherland by diving his plane into one of our ships. The commanding officer, with tears in his eyes, praised the aviator to the skies and bade him farewell. Radio Tokyo did not say that the commanding officer assured the aviator that the empire would be informed immediately by despatch of the nation's new national hero, but Radio Tokyo had all the information on the air the day following the alleged incident. Of course the Jap's suicidal attack was successful, according to Tokyo.
5. This sort of claptrap offers us an opportunity to capitalize on Jap mistakes. The Jap homeland believes that every suicide, or nearly every one, is a success; that the suicide rarely misses his objective. Many a ship's crew has had the pleasure of watching a Jap suicide crash harmlessly into the sea. Some of our destroyers have witnessed many harmless crashes, in plane value possibly exceeding the value of a destroyer. If we told Tokyo and the world via radio that the latest Jap hero who reportedly sank a battleship with a suicidal crash dive, actually mistook a honey barge for the battleship and even missed the honey barge, crashing ignominiously into the sea, providing the world with a well-relished farce, the Japs would lose face. We have had many opportunities to capitalize on Jap mistakes; to make them appear ridiculous. They can't stand ridicule. However, probably everything that I have said already has been given thought.
CO USS Wichita comments and recommends:1. In general, the quantity of fire put up by the task group in opposition to the suicide attacks made on the formation on 30 October was not adequate. This was partially caused by the fact that the formation, at the time of the first attack, was on course 090° and the attack developed from astern so that few guns bore from any ship.
2. As the planes attacking the Franklin and Belleau Wood moved past from the quarter to the
bow in about a 30° glide, they were taken under fire by both the 5-inch and 40mm batteries of the Wichita at a mean range of about 3,500 yards. The rapid change of bearing, speed, and altitude made the fire-control problems very difficult.
3. Volume of fire is believed essential and for this the attacking planes must be brought broadside to the formation fire. This, of course, also decreased the target area -- presenting the beam rather than the length of the ships.
4. The "suicide" air attack on TG 38.4 was a deliberate, well executed glide bombing attack. The enemy approached at a high altitude, 24,000 ft., until he was approximately twenty-five miles from our formation. Since the weather was excellent, visibility unlimited, it is reasonable to assume that he made sight contact prior to reducing his altitude. Having reached this point, he came down to about eight to ten thousand feet and orbited astern of the formation, apparently sizing up the whole situation and picking out targets. There were, it is believed, six members in the "special attack force", and they divided into two groups of three each. One group attacked the Franklin and Belleau Wood, the other attacked the Enterprise and San Jacinto. At the start of the attack each of these pairs of carriers were, in effect, in column -- the Franklin astern the Belleau Wood and the San Jacinto astern the Enterprise. The enemy's attack was delivered out of the sun from astern in about a thirty degree glide. The Franklin and Belleau Wood were attacked first. The first two planes tried to crash the Franklin, the second one hitting. The third plane followed the first pair but instead of hitting the Franklin, he dropped a small missile which could not be identified from this ship and then pulled up slightly and crashed into the stern of the Belleau Wood. About two or three minutes later the group that attacked the San Jacinto and Enterprise appeared to follow the same procedure; two trying to crash the after ship, San Jacinto, and one the forward one, Enterprise. The lack of success of the latter attack group was due, in part at least, to the fact that the formation was turning at that time. It was noted that at least five of these planes were smoking and on fire, but this fact was not sufficient to stop them -- they have to be destroyed.
5. The defense against this form of attack has to match them in aggressiveness and skill. The following fundamental of A.A. Defense must all be employed:
- The CAP must be large enough to smother the enemy.
- The CAP must be high enough to assure altitude advantage when contact is made.
- The CAP must make an early interception.
- The antiaircraft batteries must be "on target" early and attempt to repel the attack prior to the final glide. This will require good fire-control radar performance and early identification. I.F.F. in the fire-control radars would be of tremendous value in this respect.
- The formation must maneuver at high speeds to present the minimum target and to keep the sun on disadvantageous bearings.
CO USS Enterprise comments and recommends:1. The Enterprise was spared damage during this attack by her good gunners who had the advantage of having the attacker approach from the beam. Obviously this type attack, as any other dive bombing attack, is best countered by placing the attacker on the beam, but the time required to turn the ship demands early detection of the raid.
2. This day's action should leave no doubt of the determined manner in which the enemy intends to defend his ill-gotten PHILIPPINES. Suicide tactics will no doubt be continually employed as we approach his homeland. Improved Fighter Direction including faster interception at a further distance from the ship, expanded CAP's, and a greater utilization of all fire power at farther ranges by all caliber guns are suggested as possible remedies to offset this lethal menace.
3. The immediate solution to these suicide attacks seems to rest in better fighter direction, interceptions at greater distances, larger CAP's carefully stacked, and the maximum gunfire that the batteries can shoot.
CO USS Kalinin Bay comments and recommends:1. On 25 October 1944, the U.S. S. Kalinin Bay was subjected to three suicide dive bombing attacks by "Zekes". Sequence of events during the attacks was as follows:
Attack No. 1 -- A Zeke was picked up by lookouts on the starboard bow at an altitude of 5 to 6 thousand feet. The Zeke was making high speed on an opposite course. When about abeam the Zeke started a twisting spiral toward the ship in about a 60 degree dive. All guns which could be
brought to bear commenced firing and the Zeke was hit several times, but did not appear to be damaged or out of control. The Zeke was still in a twisting dive when it crossed the starboard quarter and hit the flight deck at frames 120 to 132. There was a large burst of flame with intense heat but it is not believed that there was a bomb explosion. A large hole was torn in the flight deck and a fire started. The major portion of the Zeke skidded forward along the flight deck and went over the port bow at frame 10 into the water.
Attack No. 2 -- A Zeke was first seen on the starboard quarter at an altitude of 6 to 8 thousand feet. The plane was already in its dive when sighted. The dive was across the fore and aft line of the ship and the angle of dive was about 70 degrees. This Zeke was smoking from numerous AA hits. Whether or not these caused the pilot to lose control and the plane to pull up slightly is not known, but the plane struck the after port stack, catwalk, and 20 millimeter mount in the vicinity of frames 110 to 120. The plane crashed into the water near the port side, and there was a large column of water and considerable shaking of the ship. It is believed that there was a small bomb explosion but no external damage to the ship has been evident.
Attack No. 3 -- A Zeke was close behind the Zeke which made attack no. 2. This plane was not subjected to AA fire. Whether he made a poor dive or was disturbed by the plane directly ahead of him when it pulled up slightly is not known but the third Zeke crashed into the water about 50 yards on the port quarter. From the size of the explosion which followed it is estimated that the Zeke was carrying a small bomb. No strafing was done by any of the attacking planes.
2. It is considered that the ship was saved by the fact that there were no planes on deck, and the fact the attacks were not executed in a manner which would give greatest possibility for penetration of the flight deck.
3. This ship was in an excellent position to observe the suicide bombing attack on the U.S.S. St. Lo. This attack was made by a Helen in a direction which appeared to be directly along the fore and aft axis of the ship toward the bow. The attacking plane penetrated the flight deck forward of the after elevator. A tremendous fire was followed by two violent explosions.
4. Lessons Learned:
- Maneuvers to flatten out the attacking planes' dives will be effective.
- Instructions to carry maximum number of planes on deck should be cancelled.
- AA fire is effective in disturbing accuracy of attack even though the attacking planes are not exploded.
5. It is considered that development of the following suggestions may be worthy of consideration in devising means for combating suicide dive bombing.
- A manually-operated rocket gun similar to the "Bazooka". Such a weapon would have considerable advantage in being easily aimed and should be effective if fire was held until attacking plane was in close range. Exhaust from this type of weapon may preclude its use on board ship.
- A cluster of rocket projectiles to be fired from a device similar to the hedge hog.
CO USS Sangamon comments and recommends:1. The gun crews necessarily were required to spend long hours day and night at their stations during the period that air attacks were imminent. In between alerts, they were told to relax, and spread their bedding near their guns. As a result, the crews were always ready when needed. A great deal of the credit for this ship's preventing hits by bombs and suicide dives is given to the fact that gun crews were ready and were able to lay a heavy barrage in front of any plane commencing to dive on us. The gun crews came through with the best every time they were needed.
2. Of the seven planes which broke through fighter cover to attack this ship, none were successful, and all were fatal to the attacker but one who was shot down by AA and captured. The countermeasures to this type of attack is distant interception and heavy accurate flak against any planes penetrating the fighter cover.
ComBatDiv 9 comments and recommends:1. It is considered that the suicide attack was a temporary expedient caused by the very large losses of aircraft and trained personnel suffered by the Japanese since 1 September 1944. Inasmuch as their efforts to replace these losses are unlikely to be realized, what began as an emergency measure is almost certain to become standard practice.
2. The change in complement of our air groups to include a total of 73 fighters will help by providing a larger number of aircraft for interception and initial strafing of enemy air fields. Destruction of enemy planes on the ground remains the most economical and efficient way of reducing enemy air strength and it is believed that this will continue the best countermeasure to this or any other method of attack.
ComCarDiv 27 comments on later suicide attacks:1. An account of the suicide attacks as observed from this vessel is given in more detail below for what it is worth, although it is realized that many of the events were not conclusively established. The suicide attacks on the New Mexico and West Virginia cannot be identified and were apparently not observed from this vessel.
- Prior to suicide attack on USS Haraden at 1715, 13 December, 4 Tojos were visually sighted bearing 350° about seven miles out on starboard beam, altitude about 200 feet. Formation was a loose left echelon, distance between planes about 150 yards. The angle of the echelon is estimated to have been 45°. As the planes approached they lost altitude slowly. When about five miles out a 90° right turn by ships was started as ships commenced firing. All planes seemed to be making a torpedo run on USS Columbia (CL-56). The Haraden was on the Columbia's starboard bow about 700 yards. When the enemy planes were about 3000 yards from the Columbia, the leader was hit and burst into a large ball of fire and crashed into the ocean about 2,500 yards on the starboard beam of the Columbia and about 2000 yards on the starboard quarter of the Haraden. Upon seeing their leader crash, the other three planes pulled up in a steep left wing-over and headed north. The number two plane (now leader) continued his turn to about 270° and pushed over in a shallow dive directly off the beam of the Haraden. He may have been hit by the Haraden's gunfire and still have had just enough control left to direct his last final plunge toward the Haraden. The angle of dive was approximately 25° from about 700 feet. This plane hit the forward stack of the Haraden and burst into flames. The two remaining planes retired to northward low on the water, one being shot down abeam of the West Virginia. No external bombs were observed.
- It seems plausible that the leader (one shot down) was the suicide plane while the other three were decoys and thinking the Haraden shot the leader down one plane decided on the spur of the moment to dive into the Haraden. This opinion is based on the tactics used and the light explosion on the Haraden. The explosion of the leader when shot down was much more violent that the crash on the Haraden.
- At 0820, 15 December, while on a westerly course, three Zekes or Hamps were observed visually astern, elevation angle about 55°, altitude, about 9000 feet or more. All three planes were in a line formation about 500 yards apart, heading west. When at an elevation angle of about 65°, all three pushed over and aimed for the Marcus Island. The middle plane dived a few hundred feet and pulled out to the right and continued on toward the task group but turned back at the screen. The other two continued their dives, aiming for the bow of the Marcus Island. The Marcus Island was in a 90° turn to the right. One plane was about 10° off the port quarter and the other 10° off the starboard quarter. The plane starting on the port quarter crossed over the flight deck and crashed just off the starboard bow. The left wing tip hit the railing of the cat-walk about 8 feet back from the forward end. The lookout in the cat-walk at the extreme forward end was killed by the wing tip which came off and remained in the cat-walk. The plane on the starboard quarter crossed over the flight deck, missing by inches, and crashed into the water close aboard off the port bow, injuring six men. The crashes came almost simultaneously, splashing a large volume of water and small fragments of plane onto the flight deck and bridge. No external bombs were observed and if any were carried internally they were small-sized ones. The explosions were no more violent than expected with normal planes crashing at that speed. The planes almost collided as they crossed about 200 feet above the flight deck. No evasive tactics were used by the planes.
2. Radical maneuvers of the task group while under air attack are effective in minimizing the probability of damage from any type of air attack. This is particularly true in the case of steep diving suicide attacks started from high altitudes, where the attacking plane gains such
high speeds that it has difficulty in correcting its flight path to intercept the maneuvering target, as was demonstrated by the planes diving on the Marcus Island. Against low-flying attacks, however, the only answer seems to be to shoot them down far enough away from the ships so that the pilots, after once being hit, cannot direct their planes in a last desperate lunge at the nearest ship, as appeared to be the case when the Haraden was hit and also when the Ralph Talbot was almost hit.
CTG 77.4 comments and recommends:1. Although there were a number of so-called "suicide dives" attempted, only five were successfully completed: two on the Suwannee on successive days, one on the Santee, one on the Kalinin Bay and one which sank the Saint Lo (ex Midway). Several other vessels received minor damage: Sangamon, Kitkun Bay, White Plains. The defense against this form of attack requires more attention to existing equipment and training, rather than new weapons.
2. Heavy anti-aircraft vessels are an essential part of a carrier disposition. The positions of anti-aircraft vessels in the disposition, as specified in Carrier Division 22 Instructions, appear to be correct and sound as a result of recent experience. The enemy attack group would normally break up for individual dives at a distance of about 30 miles from the formation. Our pilots found on difficulty in shooting down the suicide divers if they were vectored out correctly and caught the formation before break-up. It is obvious that better defense against this type of attack depends on improved fighter direction which will be attained primarily by the installation of SM or SP radars. After break-up, the fighter direction problem, naturally, became very complex. If not destroyed before break-up, one or more enemy planes were always able to commence their dive. From this point on, volume of fire power, aimed to hit, is the only defense. Although on a few occasions the attacking planes withdrew in the fact of antiaircraft fire before being hit, the majority had to be shot down, or seriously damaged, to miss.
3. They must be destroyed at maximum range. Both 5" and 40mm were effective. Photographic evidence shows some of the dives very shallow and others at the optimum dive bombing angle of 70°. The very steep dives are the more dangerous. In one case of high attack on the Petrof Bay, although hit, on fire, and spinning with empennage severed, the plane missed its target by only a few feet. Much greater emphasis in training is necessary in very high angle fire at extreme ranges. A special form of target should be made available which will simulate this form of attack. The 40mm batteries of vessels should be increased. An influence fuze for the 40mm projectile should be developed, if this is practicable.
4. It must be realized that it is the bombs which the suicide diver carries that cause the major damage. If carried to the deck by the airplane, the terminal velocity of the bomb, and therefor its penetration, is considerably less than it would be if the bomb were in free flight clear of the plane. Only in the case of the Saint Lo did the penetration of the bomb cause extreme structural damage.
5. The virtue of the attack is, of course, that the percentage of hits is probably higher than the same pilots would make if not committed to a suicide dive. Evidence available, which does not seem unreasonable, indicates that the flying technique of the suicide diver is below the average of even Japanese pilots. A tip for the officer at the conn of vessels subjected to this form of attack as that Japanese aircraft in general become extremely stiff on the controls at high speeds. Any maneuver which will require the pilot to attempt to increase his angle of dive will improve the chances of a miss. If the hit is forward and the ship is headed into the wind a turn to the left should be made to clear fire from the island.
6. It was observed that the Japs appeared to select targets which had aircraft parked on deck. The damage from fire is accentuated by hitting planes on deck. As a general rule, aircraft on deck should be parked abaft of the island. A fire in the hangar is almost unavoidable in the case of a successful suicide dive. All carriers must have installed hangar doors through which aircraft can be promptly jettisoned on either side. Such doors are not installed on CVEs at present. The danger of the situation is obvious.
At a later date CTG 38.3 submitted the following:Doctrine for defense Against Suicide Attacks.
1. The suicide attacks of the Japanese aviators are not entirely new. The difference in the present attacks seems to be that formerly the suicide dives were made by pilots whose planes had already been damaged, whereas the present attacks are made by pilots who start out with the original intention of making this form of sacrifice. Therefore, the enemy planes bent on suicide missions
adopt tactics which will insure success of a one-way trip. They operate in small groups, approach at high speed, and make no prior attempt at a normal attack. Some groups approach at low altitudes and others high, the latter gaining additional speed by means of a diving final approach. In addition, they employ cloud cover, evasive changes of course, and may trail our returning strike groups. These tactics make detection by radar more difficult.
2. In order to most effectively counter these suicide attacks, the doctrine for this task group stresses the following defensive measures in the order of their effectiveness:
- Interception. Alert and smart interception by the combat air patrol -- This involves "heads-up" performance by the pilots of the CAP. The FDO can only do so much. After the CAP has been placed in close proximity to the bogey, the fighter pilots must be alert to pick them up visually, must deploy to "box in" the bogey so he cannot get away, and must dive instantly when he dives, in order to improve or maintain their relative position on him. The tactical performance of the CAP in contact is of vital importance in shooting the suicide plane down. In addition, the FDO should start a CAP out immediately a bogey appears on the screen, should be more lavish in use of CAP divisions against small bogeys than we have hitherto considered necessary, and must vector them so that one division in reserve is always maintained between the bogey and the disposition.
- Maneuvers. The second defense measure is radical maneuvering of the task group and of individual ships at high speed. The following rules for maneuvering are recommended:
- Group maneuvering must start when bogies are at least 10 miles distant; at 300 knots the suicide plane will be on you in two minutes.
- Never remain on a steady course for any appreciable interval.
- For a high suicide plane (which is probably a dive or glider bomber, maneuver to keep him between 30 degrees forward and 30 degrees abaft the beam.
- For a low-flying plane (which is probably a torpedo plane), maneuver to keep him between 30 degrees on either quarter until he has dropped his torpedo; then look out for him crashing the deck.
- Secondary to (3) and (4) (if you have any choice and you probably won't) keep him down wind; it will hold him under your fire longer.
- When the plane is inside of 3000-5000 yards, ships for which it is heading maneuver individually.
- AA Fire. The third and last defense measure is AA fire from ships. All lookouts and fire control personnel must be alert to spot and identify enemy planes. Maximum volume of fire must be obtained. It is not enough to hit and damage, or set on fire the suicide plane; it must be disintegrated in the air. Fire should not be shifted from the plane until it is destroyed completely or hits the water. The importance of visual lookouts against suicide planes should be reemphasized. The value 5" gun with Mk 32 fuses should be employed to the utmost at the short ranges (inside 5000 yards) and continue down to the minimum arming range of the fuse.
"SUICIDE" ATTACKS -- SUMMARY OF DEFENSIVE MEASURES AGAINST
THE RECENTLY DEVELOPED "SUICIDE" ATTACKS OF THE JAPANESE AIRMEN CONSTITUTE A NEW AND TERRIFIC MENACE TO OUR SURFACE FORCES. THE IMMEDIATE SOLUTION TO COUNTER THESE ATTACKS IS DIFFICULT AS IT IS READILY APPARENT THAT IT IS NECESSARY TO EMPLOY DIFFERENT TACTICS FOR DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES AND CONDITIONS. FROM THE REPORTS AT HAND IT APPEARS THAT THE GENERALLY SUCCESSFUL DEFENSIVE MEASURES TAKEN HAVE BEEN ALONG THE FOLLOWING LINES.
BEFORE SUICIDER COMES IN --
- INTENSIVE TRAINING OF GUN CREWS AGAINST THIS FORM OF ATTACK. DAILY DRILL AT EARLY OPENING OF FIRE, SMOOTH TRACKING, AMMUNITION SUPPLY, RECOGNITION, COMMUNICATION AND PROCEDURE.
- THE CAP LARGE ENOUGH TO SMOTHER THE ENEMY.
- THE CAP HIGH ENOUGH AND CAREFULLY STACKED TO ASSURE ALTITUDE ADVANTAGE WHEN CONTACT IS MADE.
- THE CAP MAKE AN EARLY INTERCEPTION IN ORDER TO REMAIN OUTSIDE THE RANGE OF SHIP'S AA BATTERIES AND LIKEWISE ELIMINATE DOUBT OF IDENTIFICATION ON THE APPROACH OF ANY PLANE.
- A THOROUGH SHORT RANGE RADAR SEARCH INSIDE A GENERAL MELEE.
- INCREASING THE ALERTNESS OF OUR VISUAL LOOKOUTS AND INSURING PROMPT TRANSMISSION OF THEIR SIGHTING INFORMATION TO THE BATTERIES AND BRIDGE. (THIS SUGGESTS CURT REPORTS OF BEARING, POSITION ANGLE AND ESTIMATED RANGE.) LOOK OUT AND LOOK UP, PARTICULARLY WITH LOW CEILING.
- INCREASING THE ALERTNESS OF THE GUN AND DIRECTOR CREWS.
- EARLY RECOGNITION BY ALL TOPSIDE PERSONNEL. MAINTAIN SECTOR AND LOOKOUT DISCIPLINE, AVOID SIGHTSEEING AND DISTRACTION. IMPROVE FIGHTER DIRECTION.
- U.S.F. 10-A STIPULATES A DISTANCE OF FIFTEEN HUNDRED TO TWO THOUSAND YARDS FOR THE ANTI-AIRCRAFT SCREEN FROM THE NEAREST HEAVY SHIP. THIS ALLOWS ROOM FOR INDIVIDUAL MANEUVERS AND OFFERS MUTUAL PROTECTION BY GUN POWER BETWEEN HEAVY SHIPS AND THE SCREEN, IN MOST CIRCUMSTANCES.
- A PRE-SET DIRECTOR IS BEING CONSIDERED.
- BEWARE FALSE FEELING SECURITY FROM CLEAR SCREEN IN LAND AREA.
- TOPSIDE PERSONNEL PROPERLY CLOTHED.
- DISPERSAL FIRE-FIGHTING EQUIPMENT AND AVAILABILITY FOR IMMEDIATE TOPSIDE USE.
- DISCIPLINE OF FRIENDLY PLANES.
AFTER SUICIDER DETECTED --
- RADICAL MANEUVERS AT HIGH SPEEDS CONSISTENT WITH FIRE CONTROL.
- KEEP SUN ON DISADVANTAGEOUS BEARINGS FOR SUICIDER.
- MOST INSTANCES, PRESENT BEAM IN ORDER TO AFFORD MAXIMUM BROADSIDE OF ANTI-AIRCRAFT BATTERY AND THIS IN TURN PRESENTS A NARROW TARGET IN RANGE.
- SOME LIMITED INSTANCES, HEAD FOR DIRECTION OF PLANE TO CAUSE HIGH RELATIVE SPEED, WHICH IN TURN WILL MAKE SUICIDER OVER-SHOOT.
- USE MK 32 FUZED PROJECTILES. MINIMUM ARMING DISTANCE IS 800 YARDS.
- THE EXTREME NECESSITY FOR A HIGH VOLUME OF ACCURATE 5" FIRE DURING THE VERY SHORT PERIOD OF A SINGLE DIVE ATTACK, REMEMBERING THAT IF PLANE GETS CLOSE ENOUGH HIS MOMENTUM MAY CARRY HIM INTO SHIP ALTHOUGH SERIOUSLY DAMAGED. OPEN FIRE IMMEDIATELY AT LIMITING RANGE AND KEEP SHOOTING.
- UNNECESSARY PERSONNEL OFF TOPSIDE, DISPERSED AND PRONE DURING ATTACK.
CO USS San Diego comments:1. Due to the typhoon prior to sortie from ULITHI, this ship received only a very small percentage of the required stores and provisions, including neither fresh nor frozen provisions. The efficient, cooperative work of Iowa was instrumental in providing a balanced diet for the first ten days.
2. The difficulties in obtaining supplies of any kind in the forward operating area has caused a serious lack of clothing, small stores, and GSK stores on board this vessel. A critical condition in regard to spare parts of all kinds exists due to non-receipt of trans-shipment material.
CO USS Raymond recommends:1. Survivor kits should be assembled at the various naval bases for distribution to this class of vessel. At least 50 sets of survivor kits should be allocated.
2. Considerable difficulty was experienced in bringing survivors from the water's surface to the deck. A more satisfactory rig must be used by this vessel and any recommendation received from other vessels would be appreciated.
Tactical Commander's Battle Station
ComDesDiv 112 comments:1. Position of the Division Commander at the SG radar remote PPI was considered good because he could reach the outer bridge and make usual observations when he desired. The big lack was that of direct communication with the evaluator. The JW hand phone was available but was not used. As an afterthought it is believed that if this handphone, which was immediately at hand, had been used, superior information would have been obtained. The evaluator did an outstanding job, and it was not his fault that Commander Destroyer Division 112 did not get all the information he put out.
2. Commander Destroyer Division 112 had the bridge SG radar remote PPI set on intermediate scale, five miles to the inch. This setting allowed him to keep in view all friendly and enemy forces. The JW talker remained adjacent to the PPI scope and relayed information from CIC. This information, combined with the view provided by the PPI scope, was sufficient to give an adequate picture of the situation in general and of the relative movements of friendly and enemy forces. It was anticipated that the enemy might send light forces on a sneak attack under cover of the western shore of DINAGAT ISLAND. This was carefully watched for, but did not occur. The Commanding Officer of the Robinson remained on the outer bridge. He had an excellent view of the shore of HIBUSON ISLAND and his suggestions were of great assistance in skirting the island safely.
CTG 79.11 comments and recommends:The Squadron Commander and ComDesDiv 108 conducted their attacks form the bridge. There are many advantages in the Attack Group Commander being in CIC. He can obtain a more complete picture in Combat and would be in a position to quickly check the Evaluator's plot and recommended course changes. In general it is believed that if nothing "unusual or unexpected" happens the attack can best be conducted from Combat, but should the attacking group be taken under heavy
fire, a melee develop or any other "unexpected" development take place, the Attack Group Commander can better grasp the situation if on the bridge. It is therefore considered that the unit commander should be on the bridge during the attack and CIC must keep him constantly informed, recommend to him the course to be steered, evaluation of targets, when within effective range, and furnish all other data required by CIC handbook to ship and torpedo control.
CTG 77.3 comments:Commander Right Flank Force took station in flag plot throughout the action. There he had all information and communication facilities at hand to give him a clear picture of the situation. With views of the DRT tracks, the summary plot, and with frequent peeks into the P.R.I. it was easy to follow movements of own and enemy forces and to maintain a comprehensive understanding of the developing situation. During the second phase of the battle, when left flank forces were polishing off the cripples, he took station on the open bridge. The arching tracers with shell flashes at the target were beautiful to behold. Some salvos appeared to be falling slightly short but it is now realized that they were probably hitting a destroyer in close proximity to a large enemy ship that was burning.
CTF 38 comments and recommends:1. An effort was made to increase the efficiency of strikes by making increased use of a target coordinator over the target area. For the most part this was successful. However, on initial strikes the target should be the area for which pilots were briefed in the case of everything but ships. Shipping strikes should be subject to the orders of a shipping target coordinator.
2. Following the first strike the target coordinator who proceeded to the target with the first strike should direct the efforts of subsequent strikes. This job is rightfully the duty of air group commanders. Target coordinators are relieved on station. The day should be divided into three periods for this assignment. If air opposition is heavy the target coordinator should be accompanied by a strong force of fighters, sixteen if necessary. These planes can function as a target CAP as well. When necessary, communication relay planes using VHF or MHF should be used to transmit target coordinator target data back to TGC's.
Executive Officer, USS California, comments and recommends:1. It has been noted that there frequently exists a discrepancy of as much as one or two minutes in the time kept by various ships in company, as evidenced by time groups on messages and in times of changing course on zig-zag. This difference in most instances is of very small consequence; however, it is believed that for those who correlate and analyze the reports of many ships in a complicated action involving large forces, these discrepancies might conceivably assume important proportions.
2. It has been the custom in the California to synchronize all clocks at control stations with the bridge by time check over the JA phones during morning general quarters. It is suggested that this might beneficially be extended to the fleet by having a similar time check broadcast by the OTC over the TBS daily, preferably while all ships are at general quarters. By this means clocks at all TBS outlets on all ships, and this includes most major ship and gun control stations, would be keeping exactly the same time and the dovetailing of subsequent reports from all those would be greatly facilitated.
Torpedo Attacks and Gunfire of Destroyers and Cruisers
Commander SEVENTH Fleet comments:The torpedo attacks and gunfire of the destroyers and cruisers comprising the Right Flank Forces were an important factor in the defeat of the enemy forces in the Battle of SURIGAO Strait.
CTG 77.2 comments and recommends:1. During the occupation of LEYTE GULF, Commander Task group 77.2 had been seriously concerned
regarding (a) the question of inadequate ammunition for his heavy ships, and especially for the battleships; and (b) the question of torpedo replacements. It was known that two strong enemy surface forces might be in the area and it was estimated that both guns and torpedoes would be required to defeat them.
2. The question of the ammunition shortage has been discussed above; the question of the complete lack of replacement torpedoes will be discussed here, as it might have had an adverse effect on the tactics of the battle, and as similar shortages may seriously affect the freedom of action of commanders in the future.
3. In the first place it must be pointed out that the only torpedoes available were in the destroyers. There were no replacements. Therefore, immediately prior to the battle of SURIGAO Strait, Commander task group 77.2 seriously considered advising his destroyer attack commanders to limit their torpedo attacks to half of their torpedo allowance in order to be somewhat armed for later emergencies. He did not do so, finally, as he felt that the commanders would act as the occasion demanded. In this opinion he was well sustained as only about one-half the torpedoes available were fired.
4. After the action, when the number of torpedo shortages in the destroyers had been determined, Commander Task group 77.2 requested that the torpedoes and ammunition on ships departing the area be made available to those remaining. Commander task Force 77 concurred in this recommendation, and some replacements were made.
5. However, for a time, the lack of an adequate number of torpedoes within the task groups was keenly felt. It is therefore recommended that in future when probability of torpedo expenditure exists, provision be made for replenishment in the combat area immediately following the engagement.
CTG 77.4 comments and recommends:Present allowance of nine torpedoes seems correct but 1000# SAP bombs should be returned to the allowance lists of the CVE's.
CO USS enterprise comments:The eight torpedoes dropped against the Yamato Class BB were set for 12 feet. This was probably too shallow a setting for this class of ship. On the following day, 16 feet was used against CVs, CVLs, and BBs of the Ise Class with better effect.
CTG 38.3 comments and recommends:1. The performance of our bombs and torpedoes against enemy battleships on 24 and 25 October was disappointing. Either the Japanese ships are much tougher than thought, or else our bombs and torpedoes as used are not sufficiently effective against the Japanese heavy ships.
2. Depth settings of torpedoes used against the Japanese BB's were mixed 10 and 20 feet. Three hits on one and four on another failed to stop them on 24 October. On the 25th, two Ise class XCV's received 9 torpedoes between them, yet were able to steam at 20 knots.
3. It is recommended that the explosive charge of our torpedoes be increased to make them more effective. If range must be reduced to effect this, it is believed a maximum of 3000 yards is ample for an aircraft torpedo.
CTG 79.11 comments:1. The torpedoes fired are considered to have been highly effective in slowing down and disrupting the enemy formation. There can be no definite evaluation of the damage inflicted upon the enemy by our torpedo attack. However, it can be said that the enemy lost the initiative, never to regain it, and was either stopped or turned back by our and subsequent torpedo attacks. All ships of the Eastern Attack Group reported having seen at least two and possibly as many as five detonations, definitely not gunfire, at the time torpedoes were due to hit. Ships of the Western Group reported two positive and one additional possible detonation at 0319. One very large explosion was seen at this time. No evaluation of the type of enemy ships hit can be made.
2. Since all torpedo spreads were directed at the larger ships of the enemy formation, it is presumed that most of the hits observed were on capital ships. The two largest targets were definitely seen to drop astern of the other enemy ships immediately after the Eastern Group's torpedoes arrived in the target area.
Towing Fleet Units
ComCruDiv 13 (CTU 38.3.3) comments and recommends:1. The successful accomplishment of the mission rested almost entirely on the efficient and
valiant performance of duty of the air groups of Cabot and Cowpens. Under the heaviest attacks the enemy was able to muster, they not only maintained command of the air, but aggressively attacked and destroyed the greater part of the enemy attacking planes. The fighter direction by Cabot was the heart of the defensive-offensive system and was outstanding in its excellence.
2. Speed attained by the towing group was disappointing. Although the weather was perhaps not ideal for towing, it was not worse than normal tradewind weather. A speed of 4 knots was the maximum obtainable with Pawnee (at full power) towing Houston. Had the course been northeast instead of southeast, the speed attained towing into the wind and sea would have been even lower. In view of the possible future necessity of towing fleet units such as carriers or battleships, installation of towing gear on ships with sufficient power to tow them at a higher speed appears to be a most important matter.
3. The forces used for accomplishment of this mission was adequate. Any smaller force would have been insufficient to protect the two units that had to be formed. It was necessary for destroyers to so divide their activities between screening, fueling, and transferring of personnel and material that a small number would have been inadequate. By shifting the cruisers from group to group a satisfactory balance of antiaircraft and defensive strength was maintained.
CO USS John C. Butler comments and recommends:Destroyer escorts have never, I believe, been trained in formation torpedo attack procedure. If destroyer escorts are to be called upon to make such attacks, it is recommended that proper training be incorporated in the training program.
CO USS Daly comments:1. This ship's success in this engagement with the enemy was assured by the fact that we had constantly been drilled in this type of night battle, and in night tracking exercises.
2. Much credit is due Commander Task Group 77.3 (CTF 75) for having directed this type of exercise on repeated occasions for the ships of his task force. In effect this battle was the "First Night Performance" of a play which we had rehearsed many times over.
CO USS Raymond recommends:Surface target practice should be provided in addition to antiaircraft practice prior to each operation to permit escorts to improve their surface gunnery.
ComDesDiv 112 comments:It is indicative of the excellent state of training of modern destroyers that the Halford joined up with a strange section and completed a torpedo attack on the enemy without difficulty.
CO USS Hornet comments and recommends:It is submitted that more opportunities for training firing of the ships batteries must be found in order to maintain a high standard of fire control performance. Although every opportunity is taken for tracking practice on our own planes, it is found that more firings are necessary to complete the training of control crews and to keep the gun crews in practice. When the total available time for tracking and shooting at fast approaching dive bombers and torpedo planes is but a fraction of a minute, fire-control must be fast and accurate with no shooting time wasted by rusty gun crews.
CO USS Sangamon recommends:Training procedures should include a proper amount of consideration for firing conditions on targets at extreme elevations.
ComCruDiv 13 comments and recommends:1. Despite the efforts of commands afloat to provide them, the opportunities for gunnery training afloat have been decidedly inadequate during the past six months. The continued offensive operations, the lack of training facilities at advance bases, and the natural desire of division and task group commanders to permit their ships to use such brief time as is available between operations for vital engineering and other upkeep, has resulted in this condition. While training deficiencies do not always make themselves shown in combat operations, the question frequently arises, "wouldn't we have done this better had we had some more recent training in this particular respect?"
2. It is essential that arrangements be made to provide ships with target practices with rapidly maneuvering targets. In order that full benefit be obtained from such practices, they must permit full and detailed analysis of the fall of shot and the fire control practices involved.
CTG 79.11 comments and recommends:1. It is felt that destroyers should have more training in making low visibility torpedo attacks at high relative speeds. The standard "TR-1" practice for destroyers develops too slowly, due to low speeds of target and ship, to make a realistic problem. Also, such practice runs should be made at night, using sections of destroyers as attack groups, so that high speed night station keeping is also introduced into the problem. Whenever practicable, the target should consist of two or more ships of different types.
2. Ships of Desron 54 were afforded an opportunity to make a limited number of "TR-1" rehearsal runs just prior to the commencement of the LEYTE Operation. Rehearsal runs, using sections for both target and attack groups, were also held enroute LEYTE to HOLLANDIA. None of the ships have had an opportunity to actually fire a torpedo practice since last April or May due to the necessities of war.
It is strongly recommended that Commander Destroyers, Pacific Fleet, include in his standard practices a torpedo practice which develops rapidly, thus training CIC personnel to work fast and accurately. Target speeds of about 20 knots and own ship speeds of at least 25 knots should be used.
CTU 77.4.2 comments:Undoubtedly the weather as far as this carrier unit was concerned was decidedly in our favor. The wind was stronger than usual and, therefore, a great aid in recovering and launching aircraft from the small CVEs. The wind direction, while not as favorable as we would have liked it, certainly was infinitely better than having it from a northwesterly direction. Cloud cover was favorable to our air attacks, although unfavorable to the interception of bogies.
Wind -- Direction of
CTG 38.4 comments:In the chase which ensued, a more or less obvious feature of this type of carrier action was impressed upon the task group. Because of its importance in possible future actions it is mentioned here, although it is realized that it is a repetition of comment offered on a previous engagement. This feature is the direction of the wind. Our aircraft launching and recovery courses were to the eastward, the direction of the enemy's retirement was to the northward. Task Group 38.4 had the greatest difficulty in closing the target and noted with some chagrin that Task Group 38.3 was doing better than we were in this respect. Every available minute of time was devoted to gaining distance to the north yet the necessity for getting off the maximum air effort required frequent launchings and recoveries, and many planes with battle damage had to be taken aboard with varying degrees of urgency. Were the situation reversed, and had we been the pursued instead of the pursuer, a retirement course at highest speed down-wind would have afforded us the best chance for a successful withdrawal. The Jap would have done well to have adopted this tactic, particularly since a westerly retirement would have taken him toward his own shore-based air in Northern LUZON, and eventually into the comparative safety of the China Sea.
CTF 38 comments:WINDOW was carried and dropped by VT and VB during strikes on MANILA, FORMOSA and OKINAWA. Pilots interviewed could furnish no definite proof that WINDOW was effective. Some claimed that AA was noticed to burst around the WINDOW and not their plane. All pilots are now enthusiastic about carrying and using WINDOW and all plans for strikes on well defended areas should include the use of WINDOW for confusing enemy fire control radar.
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