USS MOBILE (CL-63)
U.S. Naval Base,
Seattle, 99, Washington
24 January, 1946.
From: The Commanding Officer To: The Secretary of the Navy Subject: War Record and Ship's History of U.S.S. Mobile (CL63) to 24 January, 1946. Reference: (a) AlPac #318-1945 (b) War Record and Ship's History U.S.S. Mobile up to 25 September 1945, serial 514, dated 26 Sept. 1945.
- In accordance with reference (a) the following account of the activities of Mobile from the date of her commissioning up to her arrival at Seattle, Washington, on January 24, 1945 [sic] for inactivation, is hereby submitted. Reference (b) is included in and superceded by this account. It is therefore requested that this account be used as the official history of the ship during her period of active service.
- Facts and Figures.
- Date of Commissioning - 24 March 1943.
- "Star" Operations participated in for the Asiatic-Pacific Area Service Ribbon, are eleven in number as listed in the Navy Department Bulletin for 30 June 1945, and in AlPac 158. They are as follows:
- PACIFIC RAIDS - 1943.
- Marcus Island Raid - 31 August 1943.
- Tarawa Island Raid - 18 September 1943.
- Wake Island Raid - 5-6 October 1943.
- TREASURY-BOUGAINVILLE OPERATION
- Action off Empress Augusta Bay 8-9 Nov. 1943.
- GILBERT ISLANDS OPERATION - 13 November 1943.
- MARSHALL ISLANDS OPERATION
- Raid on Marshall Islands - 4-5 December 1943.
- Occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls 29 January-8 February 1944.
- BISMARK ARCHIPELAGO OPERATION
- Supporting air action off Emirau, 15-27 March 1944
- ASIATIC-PACIFIC RAIDS - 1944
- Truk Attacks, 16-17 February 1944.
- Marianas Attack, 21-22 February 1944.
- Palau, Yap, Ulithi, Woleai Raid 30 Mar.-1 Apr. 1944.
- Truk, Sawtawan, Ponape Raid 29 April-1 May 1944.
- WESTERN NEW GUINEA OPERATIONS - 21 April - 15 Nov. 1944.
- Hollandia Operations (Aitape - Humbolt Bay - Tenahmerah Bay) - 21-27 April 1944.
- MARIANAS OPERATION - 10 June - 27 August 1944.
- Neutralization of Japanese Bases in the Bonins, Marianas, and Western Pacific - 10 June - 27 August 1944.
- Capture and Occupation of Saipan - 10 June - 27 August 1944.
- Battle of Philippine Sea - 19-20 June 1944.
- Third Bonins Raid - 3-4 July 1944.
- Capture and Occupation of Guam - 12 July - 15 Aug. 1944.
- Capture and Occupation of Tinian - 20 July - 10 Aug. 1944.
- Palau, Yap, Ulithi Raid - 4-5 August 1944.
- WESTERN CAROLINE ISLANDS OPERATION - 32 August - 14 October 1944.
- Raids on Volcano - Bonin Islands and Yap Island - 31 August - 8 September 1944.
- Capture and Occupation of the Southern Palau Islands 6 September - 14 October 1944.
- Assaults on the Philippine Islands - 9-24 September 1944.
- LEYTE OPERATION - 10 October - 16 December 1944.
- Battle for Leyte Gulf - 24-26 October 1944 (Battle off Cape Engano).
- Third Fleet Supporting Operations, Okinawa attack - 10 October 1944. Northern Luzon and Formosa attacks - 11-14 October 1944. Luzon attacks - 15, 17-19 October 1944; 13-14 November 1944; 14-16 December 1944. Visayas attacks - 21 October 1944; 11 November 1944.
- OKINAWA OPERATION
- Capture and Occupation of Okinawa - 3 April - 28 May 1945.
- "Star" Operations participated in for the Philippine Liberation Ribbon are two in number, as listed in AlNav #64-45, and in part (A) above, under Leyte Operation.
- Enemy surface units sunk, either solely by Mobile gunfire or by Mobile gunfire combined with that of other ships, as indicated, are as follows:
DATE PLACE TYPE SHIP OWN-ASSIST 4 August 1944 North of Bonins Large AK (8,000 tons) Own 4 August 1944 North of Bonins Destroyer (DD) Assist 10 October 1944 Nansei Shoto Small AK (700 tons) Own 25 October 1944 Off Cape Engano, Philippine Islands Aircraft Carrier (CVL) Assist 25 October 1944 Off Cape Engano, Philippine Islands Light Cruiser (CL) Assist 20 November 1944 Philippine Islands, Ulithi Atoll Submarine (SS) Assist
- Enemy aircraft shot down by Mobile gunfire, or with assistance of other ships, as indicated, are as follow:
DATE PLACE MOBILE ONLY ASSISTS 8-9 November 1943 Bougainville 1 2 4-5 December 1943 Marshalls - 1 22 February 1944 Marianas 2 2 19 June 1944 Marianas 1 - 12-13 October 1944 Formosa 1 - 5 November 1944 Luzon 2 1 25 November 1944 Luzon - 1 6 April 1945 Okinawa 1 1 7 April 1945 Okinawa 1 - 16 April 1945 Okinawa 2 - 12 May 1945 Okinawa - 1
- Mobile participated in one anti-submarine action, at the anchorage of Ulithi Atoll, West Caroline Islands, on 20 November 1944; as a result of the combined action of Mobile and the destroyer escorts Hall (DE-304) and Halloran (DE-305), one Japanese midget submarine was definitely sunk.
- The following is a list of decorations and commendations awarded to personnel serving on board Mobile:
- SILVER STAR - Captain C.C. Miller, U.S. Navy - for performance of duty as Commanding Officer Mobile while the ship was serving as a unit of Task Group 30.3, covering the retirement of the damaged cruisers Canberra and Houston from the Formosa area in October 1944.
- LEGION OF MERIT - Captain C. J. Wheeler, U.S. Navy - For performance of duty as Commanding Officer, Mobile in operations against the enemy, from the date of commissioning to 29 July 1944.
- DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS - (1) Lt. (j.g.) F. P. Appleton, A-V (N), U.S.N.R.; (2) Lt. (j.g.) T, Oxedine, A-V (N), U.S.N.R. - For heroism in the performance of duty in rescue flights in OS2U aircraft in the face of enemy gunfire off Yap Island in July, 1944.
- NAVY AND MARINE CORPS MEDAL - (1) Lieut. J. W. Kelly, ChC-V(G), U.S.N.R.; (2) Gunnery Sergeant D. L. Bryant, U.S.M.C. - For heroism in the performance of duty at the time of the explosion and fire in 40MM mount No. 42 during action with the enemy in the Marshall Islands in December, 1943. For Heroism in combating a fire in a turrent [sic] of a United States Cruiser on the night of 18 April 1945, after an explosion in the turret. (3) Carp. J. M. Grim, U.S. Navy, (4) E. R. Peterson, CSF, U.S.N.R., (5) J. J. Petrucelli, GM3c, USN, (6) W. Raikowski, TC1c, USN, (7) R. J. Arbon, SF3c, U.S.N.R., (8) R. R. Herbert, SF1c, USN, (9) J. B. Pollock, S1c, USN, (10) O. E. Irvin, SF2c, U.S.N.R.
- AIR MEDAL - (1) Lt. (j.g.) J. W. McGuinness, III, A-V(N), U.S.N.R. - For performance of duty in a rescue flight in an OS2U aircraft off the Palau Islands in March, 1944; (2) J. L. Millern, ARM2C(T), U.S.N.R. - For performance of duty as crew member of an OS2U aircraft in a rescue flight in the face of enemy gunfire off Yap Island in July 1944; (3) Lt. (j.g.) J. C. Nissen, Jr., A-1, U.S.N.R. - for a series of meritorious acts while participating in aerial flights from 4-16 April, 1945; (4) Lt. (j.g.) N. E. Heitbrink, A-1, U.S.N.R. - for a series of meritorious acts while participating in aerial flights from 8 April, 20 May, 1945; (5) Lt. (j.g.) H. K. Wolfe., A-1, U.S.N.R. - for a series of meritorious acts while participating in aerial flights from 15 April - 17 May 1945.
- GOLD STAR - In lieu of a second Air Medal - (1) Lt. (j.g.) H. K. Wolfe, A-1, U.S.N.R. - for a series of meritorious acts while participating in aerial flights from 18-14 [sic] May 1945.
- LETTER OF COMMENDATION (Commander, South Pacific Force) with Authorization for ribbon - (1) Commander W. R. Terrell, U.S. Navy; (2) Liet. L. H. Alford, U.S. Navy - For performance of duty as Combat Information Center Evaluator and Air Defense Officer, respectively, during the enemy air attacks on Cruiser Division 13 and Destroyer Division 49 off Bougainville in November 1943.
- LETTER OF COMMENDATION (Commander Cruisers, Pacific Fleet) - (1) Liet. W. E. Underwood, U.S. Navy; (2) Liet. J. D. Dunlap, O-V(RD) U.S.N.R.; (3) Lt. (j.g.) E. S. Blech, D-V(G), U.S.N.R.; (4) W. H. Simpson, RdM3c, U.S.N.R.; (5) J. R. Whitehead, RdM3c, U.S.N.R.; (6) R. Catlow, S1c, U.S.N.R.; (7) H. B. Conrad, S1c, U.S.N.; (8) F. C. Connors, S1c, U.S.N.R.; (9) J. D. Short, S2c, U.S.N.R. - For performance of duty in the Combat Information Center of Mobile during the enemy air attacks on Cruiser Division 13 and Destroyer Division 49 off Bougainville in November 1943.
- PURPLE HEART MEDAL - Two officers, twenty-eight men - For wounds received in action against the enemy.
- Personnel casualties and damage to the ship in action have been limited to four occasions. In the Marshall Islands in December, 1943, a five-inch shell exploded in a 40MM mount, killing two men and wounding twenty-three, eight of them seriously. In the Marianas Raid in February, 1944, a bursting anti-aircraft shell fired by another ship sprayed the starboard side of Mobile with shrapnel, injuring thirteen men, one of them seriously. In the Okinawa Operation in April, 1945, a six-inch powder case exploded in Turret II during the ramming of the center gun, killing one officer and five men, and wounding sixteen men, thirteen of them seriously. In May, 1945, during the same operation a premature explosion occurred in the barrel of a 20MM gun, slightly wounding one man.
- War Record and Ship's History.
Mobile was constructed at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Newport News, Virginia, and was commissioned with appropriate ceremonies, 24 March 1943, at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia. The initial shake-down period of the ship was spent in Chesapeake Bay, and this was followed in May, 1943, by a cruise up the Atlantic Coast to Casco Bay, Maine. In June, all preliminary training having been completed, Mobile headed south and transited the Panama Canal, 20 June 1943.
On entering the Pacific Mobile proceeded to the Navy Yard, Mare Island, Calif. for a ten day period, and in mid-July set a course for Pearl Harbor, T.H. About a month was spent in the Hawaiian area, primarily conducting training exercises; in August, Mobile's offensive efforts against the Japanese were begun with her assignment to the newly formed Central Pacific Force. The arrival of new aircraft carriers of the Essex Class in the Pacific at about this time brought a renewal of carrier warfare, and Mobile then participated in her first action against the enemy in the carrier air strike on Marcus Island, 31 August 1943. The striking force returned to Pearl Harbor after the strike; shortly thereafter, somewhat reorganized, it again put to sea for the major carrier air strikes on Tarawa Island, Gilbert Islands, made by two carrier task groups on 18 September. Retiring once again to Pearl, and gaining experience with each operation, the enlarged carrier force sortied again in early October, and on the 5th and 6th, conducted continued strikes against Wake Island. This strike, a preview of future actions, included bombardment from two sides of the island; Mobile, as a unit of Cruiser Division 13, participated in this shore bombardment. After the Wake Island raid, the next operation in the Central Pacific was the commencement of amphibious operations, with the scheduled assault and occupation of the Gilbert Islands in November, 1943. Mobile, with Cruiser Division 13, was assigned to the Tarawa-bound Task Force, whose plan of approach was from the south. Accordingly, in early November, this task force proceeded toward the staging area in the South Pacific. However, on the night before the scheduled entry into the anchorage at Efate Island, in the New Hebrides, a change in orders was received necessitated by the requirements of Commander South Pacific Force for additional ships in support of the recent landings on Bougainville Island. Cruiser Division 13 and Destroyer Division 49 were dispatched immediately to Espiritu Santo and reported to Commander South Pacific Force for duty.
Shortly thereafter, cruiser Division 13 and Destroyer Division 49 were directed to proceed at best speed to the northward to cover the approach of transports and supply ships to our beachhead in southern Bougainville; on the night 8-9 November, the force, under the command of Rear Admiral L. T. DuBose, Commander Cruiser Division 13, was subjected to very heavy enemy air attacks while covering transports off Empress Augusta Bay. Mobile acted as radar reporting ships for the force; of ten enemy aircraft shot down by anti-craft [sic] fire during the night of the attack, Mobile destroyed one and assisted in the destruction of two others.
Mobile returned to the anchorage at Purvis bay, Florida Island, after this action; two days later, Cruiser Division 13 and Destroyer Division 49 were directed to proceed to Espiritu Santo and then to rejoin the Tarawa-bound Amphibious Task Force enroute to its objective. These orders were complied with, and Mobile served as a fire support ship at the initial landings on the Tarawa Island on 20 November, firing shore bombardment as scheduled.
When the Central Pacific Force was reorganized in early December, 1943, Mobile, with Cruiser Division 13, was assigned once again to the carrier force, known at that time as Task Force 50. On the 4th and 5th, the ship participated in the air strikes against the Marshall Islands. During the retirement from these strikes, the task force was under enemy air attack, during which Mobile's anti-aircraft fire assisted in the destruction of one plane. In mid-December the task force returned to Pearl Harbor.
Mobile's next assignment was back with the amphibious forces, and on Christmas Day the ship departed Pearl Harbor for Long Beach, California, for rehearsals for the forthcoming landings in the Marshall Islands in late January. Mobile's specific assignment was to Task Force 53, the Northern Attack Force, whose objective was Roi and Namur Islands of Kwajalein Atoll. Rehearsals were conducted as scheduled, and on 13 January 1944, Task Force 53 departed the West Coast for the Marshall Islands. A one-day stopover at Lahaina Roads, Maui, T.H., interrupted the voyage; then on the 22nd, Task Force 53 again set a course for enemy territory.
At noon on the 29th, the four Cruisers: Louisville, Santa Fe, Mobile, and Biloxi, and six destroyers, were detached from Task Force 53; arriving off Wotje Atoll at dawn, the group conducted an intensive shore bombardment of the enemy island. Sporadic enemy battery fire was encountered. On completion of the bombardment, the group proceeded to rejoin the main task force. After rejoining, amphibious operations were conducted, with Mobile serving as a fire support ship on 31 January and 1 February. The majority of Mobile's assigned target areas were on Namur Island.
On 7 February, Mobile with the other ships previously assigned as fire support ships in Kwajalein, entered the lagoon of Majuro Atoll in the Marshall Islands for the first time. The Central Pacific Force was again reorganized, and Mobile was reassigned to the carrier task force designated as task Force 58, an assignment of duty which continued in effect for the succeeding eleven months. Three carrier task groups of the Truk Striking Force, under the command of Vice Admiral R. A. Spruance (Commander Central Pacific Force) sortied from Majuro on the 12th, and proceeded to the westward. Heavy and sustained air attacks on Truk Atoll, Caroline Islands, were conducted on 16 and 17 February, and after recovering the last strike on the 17th, the task force retired to the northeast. Two days later, the task force was reorganized into two carrier task groups, and once again proceeding to the westward, the task force struck at the Marianas Islands, with fighters on the 21st, and with full strikes on the 22nd. The force was sighted enroute its desired launching point, and as a result, there were numerous enemy air attacks. During the night and morning of 21-22 February, in attacks made by both torpedo and dive bombers, Mobile's anti-aircraft fire accounted for two enemy planes and assisted in the destruction of two others.
After replenishment of ammunition and provisions at Majuro, Mobile's next specific assignment was to Task Group 58.1 commanded by Rear Admiral J. W. Reeves, Jr., Commander Carrier Division Four. This task group sortied on 7 March and headed toward the South Pacific Area, coming under the operational control if the Commander, South Pacific Force, on the 8th, and entering the Task Group 36.1 at this time. The task group then sortied on the 15th and proceeded to the northward, keeping out of sight of land. Operating in a supporting position during the ensuing week, the task group provided air cover for the approach of the Assault and Second Echelons for the landings on Emirau Islands, Admiralty Islands, on 20 March.
On 27 March, Task Group 36.1 reverted from the operational control of the Commander, South Pacific Force, and reported to Commander Task Force 58 for duty and designation as Task Group 58.1. A rendezvous with the two other carrier groups of Task Force 58 was effected that day at a position on the Equator at Longitude 150 degrees E. After fueling had been completed, a westerly course was set, then, approaching from the south, on 29 March, the force commenced the four days of successful carrier air attacks on the Palau, Yap, Ulithi, and Woleai Islands, Caroline Islands.
Task Force 58 retired to the eastward, and after logistic replenishment at Majuro, was once again reorganized. Mobile, with Cruiser Division 13, was assigned to task Group 58.1, commanded by Rear Admiral J. J. Clark, Commander Carrier Division 13. Operations were resumed with a sortie on 13 April, and the task force proceeded on a southwesterly course enroute to the area of schedule air support for allied landings at Aitape, Humboldt Bay, and Tenahmarah Bay, New Guinea. Skirting Japanese air search from the Caroline Islands, the task force arrived in the operating area on the 19th and provided air support for the amphibious operations from that date on through the 27th, with intermittent enemy air opposition. On the night of 21-22 April, a bombardment of Wadke Island and Sawar Airfield, New Guinea, was conducted by a cruiser-destroyer group of which Mobile was a unit.
On 28 April, with air support at New Guinea no longer required, Task Force 58 began a northeasterly approach toward an initial launching point for two days of carrier air strikes on Japanese installations at Truk Atoll and at Sawtawan Island, Caroline Islands. The strikes were then conducted as scheduled, on 29 and 30 April, with some Japanese air attacks on the task force. On 1 May, as the task force withdrew to the eastward, a fast battleship group bombarded Ponape, Caroline Islands; Task Group 58.1 of which Mobile was a unit, provided close air support for the bombardment group during this operation.
The month of May was largely spent at anchor, first in the lagoon at Kwajalein Atoll and later at Majuro, preparing for forthcoming operations. Another reorganization of Task Force 58 was effected, this time assigning Mobile to Task Group 58.2, commanded by Rear Admiral A. E. Montgomery, Commander Carrier Division 3. The task force was organized in four carrier task groups, with a Support Group consisting of the fast battleships plus assigned cruisers and destroyers, also provided for.
On 6 June, the task force sortied from Majuro and proceeded to the westward toward the Marianas Islands, the next Allied objective. On the 11th, at 1300, the first heavy fighter sweeps on Saipan, Tinian, Guam and Rota Islands were launched; heavy strikes were launched at dawn the following morning. Strikes were continued and air support also further provided during the succeeding days, with the first landings on Saipan made on the 15th. The battle which followed is known as the First Battle of the Philippine Sea. Heavy carrier-based Japanese air strikes came on the 19th, Mobile shooting down one of the several enemy planes which got through to Task Group 58.2. Then on the late afternoon of the 20th, our search planes first sighted the enemy carrier task force to the westward; deck-load strikes and the after-dark recovery peculiar to this battle followed. Surviving enemy ships were not sighted again during the following day's westward runs; time and distance lost during the extended period of heading eastward into the wind during this night recovery operation of 20 April were too great, and the chase had to be broken off.
On 23 June, Task Group 58.2 was directed to proceed to Eniwetok Atoll for replenishment, and the following day, while enroute, conducted an air strike on Pagan Island.
In a further reorganization at Eniwetok on the 28th, Mobile was assigned to Task Group 58.1, commanded by Rear Admiral J. J. Clark, Commander Carrier Division 13, and two days later, Task Groups 58.1 and 58.2 sortied from Eniwetok. A course was set to the northwestward, proceeding toward the area of operations against the Bonin Islands. With the force arriving on schedule on 3 July and sending in fighters, on 4 July, Independence Day was celebrated with the early launching of air strikes against Chichi Jima and Iwo Jima. Then, about noon, Bombardment Units were detached from each of the Carrier Task Groups. MOBILE was one of the cruisers which provided fireworks on Japanese installations on Iwo Jima that afternoon.
Retirement from these strikes was to the southward, and during most of the remainder of the month of July, Task Force 58 continued to provide air support for our amphibious operations in the Marianas, with WILLIAM day for the landings on Guam set at 21 July. Two days after the successful landings, Task Force 58 proceeded to the southwestward, and on the 25th commenced further air strikes against the Palau, Yap, Ulithi, and Vais Islands, Caroline Islands. The operations were conducted through the 28th, after which the task force retired to the northward toward the Marianas.
After refueling on 2 August, Carrier Task Groups ONE and THREE were off on a further offensive, this time calling for air strikes and bombardment of the Bonin Islands. From a desired initial point south of the Bonins on the morning of the 4th, initial fighter sweeps were launched, and these were followed by further strikes throughout the day. Enemy shipping sighted in the area included a number of ships in the harbor at Chichi Jima, plus a convoy located about 25 miles northeast to Muko Jima. Accordingly, an anti-shipping sweep by cruisers and destroyers scheduled to commence at 0100 was moved up 12 hours and a task unit commanded by Rear Admiral L. T. DuBose, Commander Cruiser Division 13, and consisting of the cruisers Santa Fe, Biloxi, Mobile and Oakland, plus seven destroyers were ordered to proceed to the northward. Arriving in the convoy area shortly after sunset, the task unit made contact with several Japanese surface units; in the action which ensued, Mobile's gunfire (aided by excellent illumination provided by Oakland) sank one large AK, estimated at 8,000 tons, and with the other cruisers of the disposition sank one evasively maneuvering destroyer. With no further contacts made after about 2200 the task unit circled north of Muko Jima and proceeded around for a scheduled bombardment of Chichi Jima. Enemy air attacks on the morning of 5 August were driven off without damage to our ships, in mid-morning, the bombardment was conducted covering assigned target areas and scoring hits on shipping inside the harbor. Enemy shore batteries, before being silenced by Mobile, straddled the ship three times. The Bombardment Unit rejoined Carrier Task Groups ONE and THREE about sunset.
During the succeeding few days, Mobile was one of the cruisers of the Support Group, re-established for fleet tactical training while enroute to Eniwetok. Various exercises were scheduled and conducted, and on the 11th, the Group, known as Task Group 58.7, entered Eniwetok for replenishment. Six days later, in preparation for the forthcoming Palau operations, Task Force 58 was once again reorganized, with Mobile a unit of Cruiser Division 13, being assigned to Task Group 58.3, commanded by Rear Admiral F. G. Sherman, Commander Carrier Division 1. On 27 August Admiral W. F. Halsey, Commander Third Fleet, assumed overall command as Commander Western Pacific Task Forces, and Task Group 58.3 was re-designated as Task Group 38.3. Mobile was also assigned to the Heavy Surface Striking Force (Task Force 34, Vice Admiral W. A. Lee, Jr., Commander Battleships, Pacific Fleet) as of this date.
Another period of tactical training and exercises for units of Task Force 34 was conducted after the sortie of Task Force 38 on 30 August; at a rendezvous after four days of exercises, Task Force 34 was dissolved, and all ships took station with their assigned carrier task groups. Proceeding to the westward, Task Force 38 began its ambitious September schedule with three days of carrier air strikes against the Palau Islands, beginning on the 6th. On the 8th, after recovering the last strike, Task Force 38 proceeded to the northwestward, and on 9 and 10 September carrier air strikes were sent in to attack Japanese installations on Mindanao Island, Philippine Islands. After retiring for one day of fueling, the task force struck at the Visaya Group of the Philippine Islands on 12, 13 and 14 September, hitting Japanese aircraft, shipping and installations at Negros, Cebu, Leyte, Samar and Bohol islands and on the southern tip of Luzon. At sunset on the third day, the task force commenced retiring toward the vicinity of Palau Islands; successful landings by Allied troops were made on Peleliu on the 15th and on Anguar on the 17th.
Task Force 38 resumed offensive operations after a rendezvous at noon 18 September, and the succeeding three days were given to fueling and the approach toward the next air strike target, Luzon Island, Philippine Islands. Encountering a tropical front in the final stages of the run-in, the task force approached undetected by the enemy; two days of heavy and successful strikes were conducted with the primary target area being southern Luzon, in the vicinity of Manila. Retirement was again to the eastward for fueling on 23 September, on completion of which Task Force 38 headed westward for the final strike of the month. Arriving off San Bernadino Strait in the early morning of the 24th, one day was given to heavy strikes in the Visaya Group.
Task Force 38's schedule for October was closely tied in with the forthcoming Allied offensive in the Philippine Islands, and accordingly, four carrier task groups proceeded to sea in time to rendezvous on 7 October for offensive operations. Proceeding to the northwestward, the task force reached its desired launching point on the morning of the 10th, and fighter sweeps and strikes were sent against Okinawa and the other islands of the Nansei Shoto during the day. In mid-morning, Mobile, with two destroyers, was designated to proceed and destroy two enemy ships which had been sighted by aircraft about 30 miles away. About 1100, contact was made with one enemy ship, estimated at about 7000 tons, the second reported ship having already been sunk by aircraft. A few salvos eliminated the ship, and after the destroyers had picked up survivors, the group rejoined the carrier task force.
Task Force 38 fueled on the 11th, then after feinting toward the northern Philippines, headed in toward Formosa. The approach was no surprise, but reaching a desired initial point on schedule, the task force launched heavy strikes on Formosa and the Pescadores. At about sunset, enemy air attacks on the task force began, and there were enemy planes in the vicinity throughout the night. Mobile's anti-aircraft battery succeeded in shooting down one.
Strikes were launched the following morning, and enemy air attacks recommenced at sunset. During the latter, the heavy cruiser Canberra was torpedoed and stopped dead in the water. Wichita was directed to take Canberra in tow, and Cruiser Division 13 with six destroyers was directed to join the cripple. By 2230, Wichita had succeeded in taking Canberra in tow, and the group designated as Task Group 30.3 commanded by Rear Admiral L. T. DuBose, Commander Division 13, began its withdrawal to the southeast, making good about 3 knots.
During the succeeding days, Task Group 30.3 protected the damaged Canberra and, beginning with the 15th, also the damaged Houston, in their retirement from Formosa under tow. Other ships, including the light carriers Cabot and Cowpens, two fleet tugs, the Cruiser Boston and several destroyers, joined at various times during the retirement. Alerts and enemy air attacks were many and frequent, and the task group adopted a clockwise circling disposition around the cripples. Major air attacks came on the night of the 14th and particularly on the afternoon of the 16th, both attacks being met with Combat Air Patrol and anti-aircraft fire; other enemy planes kept the task group under surveillance during most of the day and night. Fueling operations for destroyers present and the removal of personnel from Houston, particularly after that ship had received its second torpedo hit during the afternoon attack on the 16th, were necessary during the operations. In addition, there was a constant threat of surface attack with Task Group 30.3 representing a defeated American Fleet serving as "bait" to draw out the enemy. It is known that this feature was at least partially successful, with the Japanese surface task force approaching within 250 miles but, evidently sighting our waiting carrier force, withdrawing before being completely led into the trap. The Commanding Officer, Mobile, was awarded the Silver Star medal for performance of duty during the operations.
After dark on 17 October, having brought the crippled cruisers out to more than 250 miles from Formosa, Cruiser Division 13 and four destroyers were released to rejoin Task Force 38. A rendezvous was effected, and for the next two days, the task force operated in a supporting position east of the Philippines. Allied Forces made successful landings on Leyte Island on the 20th.
Two carrier task groups, including Task Group 38.3, attacked installations in the Visaya Group and on southern Luzon on the 21st; then after fueling, all task groups were deployed on a north-south line, east of the Philippine Islands to await the expected enemy surface reaction to the Allied offensive. Expectations were realized, and the action known as the Battle for Leyte Gulf followed.
Task Group 38.3 was the northern most task group, stationed east of Luzon, northeast of Pilolo Island, by early morning of the 24th, the task group had reached the desired point from which extensive searches and strikes to the westward were launched. Enemy aircraft commenced a series of heavy attacks in the early morning and continued these attacks throughout the day, approximately 150 planes being reported. Some 14 planes made dive bomb attacks on various ships of the formation, and one was successful in scoring a direct hit on the light carrier Princeton, a hit which eventually resulted in the loss of the ship.
Enemy surface forces were sighted and attacked during the day as they approached the Leyte area from the east and southeast. In addition, a northern search by planes of the Task Group 38.3 resulted in the sighting of an enemy carrier force and steps were taken to meet this threat. In the early hours of the 28th, [sic] the Heavy Surface Striking Force (Task Force 34) was formed and stationed north of the three carrier task groups which rendezvoused about the same time. The fleet took a northerly course, and searches and strikes on the enemy force to the northward were launched as early as light conditions permitted. In the late morning, new orders were received from Commander Third Fleet, based on the success of our carrier-based planes in the northern action known as the Battle off Cape Engano, and on information of the enemy action of Samar Island during the morning. The majority of the ships of Task Force 34 reversed course and headed south; two task groups were directed to continue strikes on the enemy carrier force.
At 1415, Commander Task Force 38 directed Commander Cruiser Division 13, "Take your cruisers and destroyers on a northerly course to the crippled group, and we will give you information as further data is received from target observers over the target." Accordingly, the four cruisers: Santa Fe, Mobile, Wichita, and New Orleans, in that order, with ten destroyers (two more joined later), set a course to the northward. Shortly after 1600, a surface contact was made, which on closing the range, was observed to be a Japanese CVL of the Zuiho or Chitose Class, dead in the water. The heavy cruisers opened fire first, and were followed by the light cruisers. Many hits were observed and the enemy sank at 1700.
Night fighters from the carrier task group indicated the presence of other enemy ships to the north, and at sunset, surface contacts were picked up in that direction. Three contacts were made, but of these, two steamed away to the northward at increased speeds, and one continued in the vicinity. A two-hour action was fought, with this enemy "cripple" maneuvering radically at speeds up to 34 knots, despite numerous hits observed. Finally, at 2056, the enemy vessel identified, when illuminated, as an Agano Class light cruiser, was sunk by the combined gunfire of the four cruisers.
On the sinking of the enemy cruiser, the cruisers-destroyers group reversed course to the southward and rejoined the carriers the following morning. On the 27th, Task Group 38.3 launched searches and strikes in support of our troops on Leyte, then on the following day headed for Ulithi for replenishment.
During the month of November, Task Group 38.3 made a series of strikes on the northern Philippine Islands in support of the Leyte operations. The first of these came on the 5th and 6th, when three carrier task groups hit Luzon. During the first day of these strikes, Mobile had her initial view of enemy suicide plane tactics. in the early afternoon, several enemy planes closed the task group, and Mobile succeeded in shooting down 1 Zeke and 1 Judy diving over the carriers. On 11 November, Task Force 38 struck again, primarily at shipping to the west of Leyte, and with air operations also including searches to the westward. At dawn on the 13th, the task force completed another high speed run-in to launched heavy strikes on Luzon, against intermittent enemy air opposition near the force. Strikes were repeated the following day; on completion of recovery of the last strike planes, Task Group 38.3 was detached to proceed to Ulithi.
On the morning of 20 November, while Mobile was anchored in the lagoon at Ulithi, Japanese midget submarines attacked ships in the anchorage. Almost at the beginning, lookouts on Mobile sighted one periscope, and it was taken under fire. Later, after reporting a disturbance in the water close aboard, Mobile succeeded in coaching the destroyer escorts Hull [sic] and Halloran into position for effective depth charge attacks. After one of these, two Japanese, plus considerable wreckage, appeared on the surface; credit for the kill is shared by Mobile and the two destroyer escorts.
After sortieing on 22 November, Task Group 38.3 joined another carrier task group and commenced a high-speed run for further strikes on Luzon. One day was given to strike on the 25th; Japanese reaction not only included air attacks, during which Mobile, with other ships, shot down 1 plane, but also submarine attacks. Shortly after noon that day, one torpedo exploded in another ship's wake about 2,00 yards from Mobile and a second exploded about 800 yards away.
The task group continued to operate in a supporting position east of the Philippines during the succeeding week, finally receiving orders on 2 December to proceed to Ulithi. Sortieing once again on the 10th, the task group was one of three which again launched strikes against Luzon, this time for three days, beginning 14 December. Enemy opposition was kept down by keeping planes over Luzon during both day and night.
On the 17th, fueling operations for the day had to be discontinued due to increasingly strong winds and high seas, and the following day brought the publicized typhoon in which three destroyers were sunk and many others damaged. Attempts to avoid the storm were unsuccessful; winds of gusts up to 70 knots were reported.
After weather improved on the 19th, two days were spent in the area for survivors of lost ships, Task Force 38 then began a run in on a one-day strike on Luzon scheduled for the 21st, but as weather and conditions became progressively worse as the Task Force proceeded to the westward Commander Third Fleet cancelled scheduled operations. Two days later, Task Force 3 [sic] was directed to proceed to Ulithi.
On Christmas Day, 1944, information was received aboard that [Mobile] was to proceed to Pearl Harbor and then to the West Coast for Navy Yard. The following day, in company of other ships proceeding eastward, Mobile sortied. After stopping for one day at Pearl Harbor, the ship arrived U.S. Naval Drydocks, Terminal Island, California, on 11 January. 28 February, yard work completed, Mobile returned to the war.
Departing San Pedro, California on 28 February 1945, Mobile proceeded to Okinawa where she arrived on 3 April to participate for nearly two months with Task Force 43 in one of the most active campaigns of her career. She spent twelve days in the Hawaiian area, 5-18 March, finishing certain jobs that had not been completed at the navy yard, and training her crew in techniques, equipment, and for the forthcoming campaign.
Mobile then proceeded to Okinawa via Ulithi Atoll, West Caroline Islands, where she was assigned to fire support of ground forces and to protection of the amphibious forces against enemy air attacks, shore gunfire, and suicide boat attacks. Supporting fire under the control of the Army and Marine shore fire control parties was delivered day and night upon a variety of targets ranging from pill boxes to ammunition dumps. Often the Mobile was called upon to deliver close supporting fire three hundred to five hundred years ahead of our advancing First Marine Division. Other targets of opportunity included enemy artillery positions, suicide boat basins and the destruction of a torpedo launching station. This torpedo launching station directed a torpedo against Mobile in the confined waters of Nahagasu (now Buckner) Bay on 8 April, but the torpedo ran its course without damage to our units.
On 7 April Mobile was assigned to the task force that proceeded northward from Okinawa to intercept the enemy's attacking group built around the battleship Yamato, which had ventured from home waters to attempt a suicide run against our forces at Okinawa. As is well known, this force was destroyed, except for a light unit, by carrier-based naval aircraft and the surviving units were turned back, so that the task force to which Mobile was assigned was directed to make contact with the enemy.
Mobile provided fire support on 16 April for the landing on Jima. She had provided support on the previous day while demolition teams on other vessels went close ashore to remove obstructions, explode mines, and enemy shore positions.
On 18 April while delivering night harassing fire against the infantry and artillery units, the Mobile suffered the only personnel casualty incurred while at Okinawa when a powder case exploded during the ramming of the center gun in Turret II. Four men were killed instantly and 18 wounded; 13 seriously.
Mobile was assigned to "flycatcher" duty frequently. While with these cruiser-destroyer anti-suicide boat groups, she assisted in the destruction of one suicide boat and the detection of two others.
During the time that Mobile participated in the Okinawa operation twelve major enemy air attacks were directed against our forces. Small attacks occurred daily and Mobile fired at enemy aircraft on 10 different occasions. She definitely shot down four planes and assisted in the destruction of others.
Mobile departed Okinawa on the morning of 28 May after having undergone an intensive all-night enemy air attack during which she had fired on one surprise attacker which turned away and was shot down a few minutes later by other units. She arrived at San Pedro Bay in Leyte Gulf on 31 May with availability for much needed repairs and for rest and recreation of the crew.
The guns had directed more than 16,730 rounds of five-inch, six-inch ammunition against Japanese positions on Okinawa. The main battery six-inch barrels were renewed alongside the repair ship Jason (ARH-1), in 12 days. The remainder of the period in Leyte Gulf was utilized for intensive training and preparation for further action. Frequent recreation parties were sent ashore.
On 20 August, after cessation of hostilities, Mobile proceeded to Okinawa to await further assignment from Commander FIFTH Fleet for duties in connection with the occupation of the Japanese home islands.
On 28 August 1945 Captain T. L. Lewis, USN, relieved Captain G. C. Miller, USN, and assumed command of Mobile.
Mobile departed Okinawa 9 September and operated in support of our mine-sweeping forces off the western coast of Kyushu until the morning of 14 September when she entered Nagasaki harbor and anchored. The following day Mobile embarked liberated Allied prisoners of war and took them to Hagushi, Okinawa, for further transportation to their homes.
Rear Admiral W. H. P. Blandy and his staff came aboard and, flying his flag, Mobile immediately returned to Nagasaki. Another group of 500 liberated prisoners of war were embarked for transportation to Okinawa. The ship arrived at Okinawa on the evening of 22 September, where Rear Admiral Blandy hauled down his flag and disembarked.
The following morning the liberated prisoners of war disembarked at Machinat and after partial logistic requirements were met, Mobile awaited orders for a return to sea.
On the 27th Mobile returned to Empire waters, remaining in the Sasebo-Nagasaki area until detachment from the western Japan Force in November.
The ship was then assigned to Task Group 16.12 (Rear Adm. R. S. Kendall, USN) for duty in Magic Carpet operations. Accordingly, on the 812 [sic] naval and marine corps separatees reported aboard for passage, and the ship departed Sasebo - destination San Francisco, California. Orders received enroute ordered Mobile to San Diego, and after a 15 day cruise, Mobile arrived in San Diego Harbor on 2 December, while a brass band and a cheering throng provided a fitting reception for passengers and crew alike.
After a brief stay in San Diego, Mobile departed for Guam 17 December 1945, arriving there on 1 January 1946. Twelve hundred Navy and Marine Corps separatees were embarked there, and on 6 January Mobile departed for San Francisco, arriving on the 19th. Upon arrival, Mobile was detached from Task Group 16.12 and reported for duty to Commander NINETEENTH Fleet for duty incident to inactivation.
On 22 January, the ship got underway and proceeded to Port Angeles, Washington, arriving there on the 24th. After a successful two hour full power run, Mobile proceeded to the Seattle Harbor for inactivation as a unit of Bremerton Group, NINETEENTH Fleet.
Sec.Nav (Pub. Info) (3)
CinCPAC (Pub. Info) (3)
Flt. Home Town News Center (3)
Transcribed and formatted by Stephen Svonavec for the HyperWar Foundation