ACTION REPORT USS BENHAM DD-397 SERIAL: 175 30 OCTOBER 1942
BOMBARDMENT OF GUADALCANAL ISLAND, SOLOMON GROUP, 30 OCTOBER 1942, REPORT OF.
REPORT COVERS BOMBARDMENT OF JAPANESE POSITIONS ON NORTH EAST GUALACANAL ISLAND BY THIS VESSEL IN COMPANY WITH COMMANDER TASK GROUP 64.2 (OFFICER IN TACTICAL COMMAND) IN ATLANTA, COMMANDER DESTROYER SQUADRON 12 IN AARON WARD, LARDNER AND FLETCHER, (C.O. J.M. WORTHINGTON)
October 30, 1942 FROM: The Commanding Officer. TO: The Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Via: (1) Commander Task Group SIXTY-FOUR POINT TWO.
(2) Commander Task Force SIXTY-FOUR
(3) Commander South Pacific Force
Subject: Action Report -- Bombardment of GUADALACANAL ISLAND, SOLOMON GROUP, October 30, 1942. Reference: (a) U.S. Navy Regulations, Articles 712(1) and 874(6).
(b) PACFLT CONFI. LTR. 24CL-42 of June 21, 1942.
Enclosures: (A) Report of Executive Officer.
(B) Navigational Track.
- On October 30, 1942 this vessel in company with Commander Task Group SIXTY-FOUR POINT TWO (Officer in Tactical Command) in ATLANTA, Commander Destroyer Squadron TWELVE in AARON WARD, LARDNER and FLETCHER; conducted shore bombardment of Japanese positions on North East GUADALANCANAL ISLAND, SOLOMON GROUP.
- Enemy forces: various Japanese units occupying North East GUADALACANAL ISLAND, composition unknown.
- The vessels of this task group proceeded in company to the vicinity of U.S. positions on North GUADALCANAL ISLAND, and received Marine Liaison Officers on board flagship.
- Wind: Force 1; Sea: Calm; Visibility: 20 Miles.
- 0551 -- Boat bearing Liaison Officers from Marine Detachment on GUADALCANAL ISLAND went alongside ATLANTA.
0555 -- Proceeding in Battle Disposition, column of ships in order from van: ATLANTA (Officer in Tactical Command), LARDNER, BENHAM, AARON WARD (commander Destroyer Squadron TWELVE) and FLETCHER to position for bombardment of Japanese prepared positions on Northeastern GUADALCANAL ISLAND.
0638 -- Opened fire using Salvo Fire, Director Control, bombarding Japanese prepared positions on GUADALCANAL ISLAND, using ATLANTA'S initial bursts to designate the various target areas: Initial range: 10,000 yards.
0653 -- Order received from Officer in Tactical Command by TES, "TO TWELVE'S BOYS HIT BOATS ALONG THE BEACH".
0708 -- Ceased fire having expended original ammunition allowance for bombardment: 500 rounds.
Column right to reverse course and resumed bombardment.
0745 -- Received authority to expend ammunition up to 50 percent of ship's allowance.
0750 -- Column right to reverse course and resumed bombardment.
0755 -- Resumed fire using same procedure as before.
0816 -- Checked fire: expended 150 rounds.
0822 -- Column right to reverse course and resumed bombardment.
0826 -- Resumed fire using same procedure as before.
0830 -- Ceased firing having expended ammunition on suitable targets: expended 46 rounds.
0835 -- AARON WARD reported sighting periscope and was directed to make attack on submarine.
0845 -- Order received from Officer in Tactical Command by visual, "CEASE FIRING".
0900 -- ATLANTA stopped, small boat took off Marine Liaison officers.
0906 -- Underway building up to speed 37 knots retiring from GUADALCANAL area.
- Enemy Forces: Japanese occupying entrenched prepared positions on North East GUADALACANAL ISLAND.
- Own Communications: Radio, Visual and TBS.
- Own operations against the enemy:
- One ??? observation plane.
- Unknown number of Grumman fighters.
- Navigation Track (see enclosure B)
- Important Communications Sent and Received:
(1) 0638 -- Commence firing.
(2) 0653 -- To Twelve's boys, hit boats along the beach.
(3) 0745 - Authority to expend ammunition up to 50 percent of ship's allowance.
(4) 0845 -- Cease firing.
- No comment on enemy forces.
- There were no material failures or training deficiencies.
- Fire discipline and gunnery communications were excellent.
- Ammunition expended:
850 rounds A.A. Common
37 rounds Star Shells
- The War operations of this vessel have been such, that the last opportunity to disable machinery for proper inspection and repair was in June, 1942.
The following serious defects exist:
- Flange in Main Stream Line, number 2 boiler, leaks excessively.
- Number 2 Main Generator vibrates so excessively that it can only be used in an emergency.
- There is considerable high pressure steam leakage around the Port Main Engine High Pressure Turbine.
- Summary of damage: Port bulkhead, After deckhouse at frame 186, main deck (#3 handling room): rivets sheared for a distance of six (6) from deck making compartment neither watertight nor light occluding.
- Lieutenant (jg) Roland G. Mayer Jr., U.S. Navy who has been Gunnery Officer for one week, is commended for the excellent control of gun fire during the bombardment.
- Lieutenant (jg) James V. Heddell, U.S. Naval Reserve who has been Engineer Officer for one month is commended for the successful operation of the engineering plant during high speed retirement, despite lack of opportunity for overhaul.
- Machinist Judson W. Owen, U.S. Navy is commended for untiring efforts in upkeep and repair of the engineering plant.
- The below named men are commended for untiring efforts in upkeep or material which made it possible to fire one-half of the ship's allowance during shore bombardment without causality:
Rollins, Ralph R., 279 39 83, CGM(AA), USN.
Mills, Ralph, 212 34 98, OFC(AA) USN.
Dora, John, 250 47 26, OM1c, USN.
- The below named men are commended for untiring efforts and their skill and proficiency in rating in keeping the engineering plant to a high degree of efficiency despite numerous stern leaks and worn out machinery:
Surko, Albert, 296 90 48, CMN (PA), USN.
McDonnell, Lee H., 346 45 87, CMN (AA), USN.
McIntyre, LaVern B., 371 90 09, WT2c, USN.
U.S.S. BENHAM (397)
From: The Executive Officer To: The Commanding Officer Subject: After Action Report Reference: (a) Article 948, U.S. Navy Regulations.
- From about 0555 to 0900 on October 30, 1942, while in company with Task Group 64.2, in Latitude 09°-10's, Longitude 139°-40's, this vessel was engaged in bombarding the enemy's positions on Guadalcanal island.
- There was no enemy opposition to this bombardment.
- The performance of the 5" battery in firing a total of 696 rounds of ammunition without casualty was exceptionally notable. There were no individuals deserving special commendation or censure.