No. 49                                     MARCH 2, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué: Admiral Ernest J. King, U. S. Navy, Commander in Chief, United States

Fleet, made the following statement today:

"I have noted the widespread interest in the press about what the United States Fleets are doing.  Did this interest not exist I should be deeply concerned.

"As to the activities of our fleets, the public can count with certainty upon being furnished all information which does not give aid and comfort to the enemy.  The traditional title of the Navy as "The Silent Service" is, however, based on experience and necessity.  It will have to be maintained.

"On the other hand I can say, that while no miracles are to be expected, an all-out effort is being made in the unspectacular but vitally essential task of establishing our sea and air communications.

"Appropriate measures are being taken to strengthen the key points of these communications, with a view to developing an offensive, which slowly but surely, will gain scope and power as we gain strength, through the production of aircraft, ships and guns.

"Currently, therefore, the United States Fleets are carrying on with the basic idea to 'Do more than your best with what you've got.' This means to take and make every opportunity to harass and damage the enemy, while building soundly for his ultimate defeat."




No. 50                                           MARCH 3, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué, outlining the naval situation based on reports received up to 10 a. m. (e. w. t.), March 3, 1942.


Atlantic Area.


The U. S. S. Jacob Jones, a World War destroyer, was sunk by an enemy submarine off Cape May, N. J., just before dawn on February 28,  1942.




There were only 11 survivors consisting of 9 engine room ratings and 2 apprentice seamen.  Factual information in regard to the circumstances that led to the sinking is sparse because of the lack of deck ratings among the survivors.  It has been established, however, that prior to receiving the first torpedo hit, the enemy submarine was not sighted nor was the torpedo.

The first torpedo blew up the bow and apparently killed all the personnel on the bridge as well as the men sleeping in the forward living compartments.  The second torpedo, which was fired after the submarine circled ahead of the Jacob Jones, blew up the stern and all the depth charges.

The only survivors, except one man from the after engine room, were in the amidship section when the stern was blown up.

The commanding officer of the U. S. S. Jacob Jones was Lt. Comdr.

H. D. Black, U. S. N.

The next of kin of those lost have been notified.

There is nothing to report from other areas.


No. 51                                     MARCH 3, 1942 


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué, based on reports received up to 6:30 p. m. (e. w. t.), March 3, 1942.


Central Pacific.


In the course of recent naval operations west of the Gilbert Islands a task force of the Pacific Fleet consisting of an aircraft carrier, cruisers and destroyers, was attacked by 18 heavy bombers of the enemy operating in 2 groups of 9 each.

These attacks occurred in the late afternoon and were timed about one-half hour apart.

The Japanese formations were closely and vigorously engaged by our carrier fighter planes and by antiaircraft fire from the ships of our task force.

Only three enemy planes of the first formation reached their bomb release point over the aircraft carrier which avoided all bomb hits by split second maneuvering.

The leading bomber of this group attempted a crash landing on the carrier and was shot down by heavy close range antiaircraft fire when barely 100 yards from its objective.




In the second attack only five bombers of the enemy formation reached the bomb release point.  In this instance the salvo of enemy bombs was closer to the carrier than in the first attack, but again no hits were obtained.

Sixteen of the 18 attacking enemy bombers were shot down in this action.  There was no damage to our surface forces.

Lt. (j. g.) Edward H. O'Hare, U. S. N., fighter pilot, personally accounted for six bombers of the enemy.

In the two attacks only two of our fighter planes were lost.  The pilot of one was recovered.

The next of kin of the lost pilot has been notified.

There is nothing to report from other areas.


No. 52                                     MARCH 9, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué, based on reports received up to 4:30 p. m. (e. w. t.), March 9, 1942:


Far East.


During the week ending March 6, U. S. submarines operating in Far Eastern waters reported the following casualties inflicted on the naval  forces of the enemy:


One destroyer leader-sunk.

One large naval tanker-sunk.

Ships damaged and definitely put out of action: 

One aircraft carrier-2 torpedo hits.

One cruiser-1 torpedo hit.

One cruiser-1 torpedo hit.

One cruiser-2 torpedo hits.


These vessels have not been mentioned previously in any other communiqués.

There is nothing to report from other areas.


No. 53                                     MARCH 12, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué based on reports received up to 4 p. m. (e. w. t.) March 12, 1942:




Far East.


A U. S. submarine has sunk three enemy freighters and one passenger cargo ship in Japanese waters.

These sinkings are in addition to those reported in all previous communiqués.


Central Pacific.


On March 10th, two large Japanese four-engined seaplanes were detected west of Midway Island.  They were intercepted by four of our fighter planes based on the island.  One of the enemy planes was shot down.  The other escaped.  One of our fighters was damaged and the pilot wounded.  He succeeded in returning to base safely.

There is nothing to report from other areas.


No. 54                                     MARCH 14, 1942 


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué based on reports received up to 12 noon (e. w. t.) March 14, 1942.


Far East.


Joint British Admiralty and U. S. Navy Department communiqué:

Although full information is not yet available it is now possible to give some account of events in the Java Sea on February 27 and subsequent days during Japanese invasion of Java.

On afternoon of Friday, February 27th, an Allied Force consisting of H. M. A. S. Perth, H. M. S. Exeter, the U. S. S. Houston and Dutch cruisers De Ruyter and Java were at sea north of Sourabaya.  The Allied cruisers were accompanied by a group of British, Dutch, and U. S. destroyers.  This force was under the sea command of Rear Admiral Deoorman of the Dutch Navy whose flag was flying in the De Ruyter.  The whole naval force in the area was under the strategic control of Vice Admiral Helfrich of the Royal Netherlands Navy.

At 4: 14 p. m. on February 27th this Allied Force made contact with a Japanese force about halfway between Bawean Island and Sourabaya. The Japanese force consisted of at least 9 cruisers of which two were of the Nati class of 10,000 tons armed with ten 8-inch guns. The Japanese cruisers had with them 2 flotillas of destroyers.

Action was joined at extreme range.  Almost at once one of the Japanese destroyer flotillas launched an attack but this attack was driven off




by the fire of Allied cruisers and one of the enemy destroyers was seen to be hit by shells from H. M. A. S. Perth.  Soon afterwards the other Japanese destroyer flotilla delivered a torpedo attack.  While action was being taken to avoid these torpedoes H. M. S. Exeter was hit by an 8-inch shell in a boiler room.  This reduced her speed and forced her to drop out of line.  Only one of the torpedoes launched in this attack took effect.  This hit the Netherlands destroyer Kortenaer and she sank.

Three destroyers were ordered to counterattack the Japanese destroyers who were retiring under cover of a smoke screen.  Very little information is available about the result of this counterattack.  H. M. S. Jupiter reported seeing only two enemy destroyers both of which she engaged with gunfire.  H. M. S. Electra was not seen after she had disappeared into the smoke screen and it is presumed that she was sunk.  As soon as Allied cruisers, including the Houston but without the Exeter, which was unable to keep up, drew clear of smoke they again engaged the enemy, this time at shorter range.  Less than half an hour later the enemy cruisers turned away under cover of a smoke screen.  It was seen that one of the enemy's heavy 8-inch gun cruisers had been hit aft and was burning fiercely.

Admiral Deoorman led his force about and chased the enemy to northeastward but he failed to regain touch with the enemy in the fading light.  After nightfall the Allied cruisers sighted four enemy ships to westward and engaged them but without definite knowledge of the results.

Admiral Deoorman attempted to work around these enemy ships in order to locate the convoy which was expected to the northward.  This was found to be impossible owing to the high speed of the enemy, and Admiral Deoorman then turned his force to southward to approach the coast of Java intending to sweep to westward along the coast in an attempt to intercept the Japanese invasion convoys.

Half an hour after this Allied force had turned to westward along the Java coast H. M. S. Jupiter was disabled by an under-water explosion.  She sank 4 hours later.  H. M. S. Jupiter was not far from the mainland of Java and a number of survivors have already reached Australia. A U. S. submarine assisted in the rescue of 53 survivors.

At 11: 30 p. m. when the remaining Allied cruisers were about 12 miles north of Rembang two enemy cruisers were sighted between our ships and the coast.  Our ships at once engaged and a number of hits were




secured on the enemy.  The De Ruyter was hit by one shell.  Afterwards the De Ruyter made a large change of course presumably in order to avoid torpedoes fired by the enemy.  The other Allied cruisers were following the De Ruyter when underwater explosions occurred simultaneously in cruisers De Ruyter and Java.  Both these Dutch cruisers blew up and sank at once.

It is impossible to estimate with accuracy the damage inflicted upon the enemy during these actions of February 27th.  Observers in the Perth consider that one Japanese 8-inch gun cruiser was sunk, a second 3-inch [sic] gun cruiser damaged and a destroyer sunk.  It has also been reported that a cruiser of the Mogami class was set on fire and three destroyers seriously damaged and left on fire or sinking.

H. M. A. S. Perth and U. S. S. Houston, which had received some damage in this action, reached Tanjong Priok at 7 o'clock the morning of Saturday, February 28th.  Five U. S. destroyers reached Sourabaya after the action.

With the enemy in command of sea and air north of Java in overwhelming force the Allied command was faced with the problem of extricating the remaining Allied ships from a very dangerous situation.  The way to Australia was barred by the 600-mile long Island of Java with the Straits at either end of it under enemy control.

After dark on February 28th, H. M. A. S. Perth and U. S. S. Houston left Tanjong Priok with the intention of passing through Sunda Strait during dark hours.  During the night an enemy report from H. M. A. S. Perth was received which indicated that she and U. S. S. Houston had come into contact with a force of Japanese ships off St. Nicholas Point at about 11: 30 p. m.  Nothing, however, has been heard from H. M. A. S. Perth or the U. S. S. Houston since that time.  The next of kin of the U. S. S. Houston are being informed accordingly.

The same night the Exeter, which was capable of only half speed, left Sourabaya accompanied by H. M. S. Encounter and the U. S. destroyer Pope.  On the forenoon of Sunday March 1st the Exeter reported that she had sighted three enemy cruisers steering towards her.  No further word has been received from the Exeter, Encounter or the U. S. S. Pope.  The next of kin of the Pope are being informed accordingly.  The Dutch destroyer Evertsen encountered two Japanese cruisers in Sunda Strait.  She was damaged and was beached.




The destroyer H. M. S. Stronghold and Sloop H. M. A. S. Yarra are also missing and are presumably lost.

It has not been possible to form any accurate estimate of damage inflicted on the enemy by these ships during these actions.

There is nothing to report from other areas.


No. 55                                     MARCH 16, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué based on reports received up to 3 p. m. (e. w. t.) March i6, 1942:


Far East.


A U. S. submarine has sunk an enemy freighter during the course of extended operations in Japanese waters.

A 3,000-ton enemy gasoline tanker also has been sunk in the Philippine area.

These sinkings are in addition to those reported in previous communiqués.

There is nothing to report from other areas.


No. 56                                     MARCH 17, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué today:


Rear Admiral Adolphus Andrews has been assigned to exclusive duty as Commander Eastern Sea Frontier.  The additional duties as Commandant Third Naval District which he has heretofore performed have been taken over for the present by Rear Admiral Edward J. Marquart.  Rear Admiral Marquart will, in addition, retain his present duties as Commandant Navy Yard, New York.


No. 57                                     MARCH 18, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué today:


Far East.


Combined operations of American and Australia island-based forces were conducted recently against Japanese ships and land installations in and near Salamaua and Lae in New Guinea.




These operations are believed to have resulted in the sinking of two enemy heavy cruisers; heavy damage to and the probable sinking of one light cruiser; damage to a fourth cruiser; the probable sinking of one destroyer; the possible sinking of two destroyers and damage to one large destroyer.

Five transports or cargo ships were either sunk or gutted by fire and run aground.  One heavy bomb hit was secured on each of two transports, one troop ship was damaged and left burning and three other transports were damaged.

One aircraft tender was heavily damaged and two gunboats were damaged, one of which was left burning and is believed to have sunk.  One mine sweeper was left in flames and probably sank.  Three seaplanes were shot down and many small boats were demolished.  Considerable damage was done to enemy shore installations, aircraft runways and antiaircraft batteries.

The heavy losses inflicted on the enemy by the combined American and Australian forces were accomplished with the loss of but one plane. The U. S. submarine Shark has been overdue in the Far East for more than a month and must be presumed to be lost.  The next of kin of the personnel of the Shark have been notified.

During the month of December, the U. S. submarine Sealion which was under extensive overhaul at Cavite, was so damaged as to necessitate her demolition to prevent her use by the enemy in the event of capture.

Early this month the damaged U. S. destroyer Stewart was demolished in the drydock at Sourabaya to prevent her falling into the hands of the enemy.  Previous efforts to put her in serviceable condition had failed.

There were no personnel casualties in the case of the Sealion and the Stewart.

There is nothing to report from other areas.


No. 58                                     MARCH 19, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué today:


Far East.


In compliance with orders from the Navy Department, Rear Admiral Francis W. Rockwell, U. S. N., the Commandant of the Sixteenth Naval District (Philippine Islands) has arrived in Australia.  Rear Admiral




Rockwell left Corregidor in General MacArthur's party which reached Australia on March seventeenth.  He is now in Melbourne.

When Japan attacked the Philippines without warning, Admiral Rockwell was in command of the Sixteenth Naval District, with his headquarters at the Navy Yard, Cavite, which is across Manila Bay from Manila.  When the Naval Establishment there became no longer tenable, it was destroyed effectively.  Admiral Rockwell then proceeded to Corregidor with the Naval and Marine Corps forces under his command and since then has taken part in the defense of Corregidor and the Bataan Peninsula under command of General MacArthur.  His Naval and Marine Corps forces number only about one-third of the regular U. S. Army troops in that area.

It is expected that Admiral Rockwell will be assigned to an appropriate command, probably at sea.

There is nothing to report from other areas.


No. 59                                     MARCH 21, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué today:


Far East.


Early this month the U. S. gunboat Asheville was attacked by the enemy south of Java.

The Asheville has been reported missing for some days and must be presumed to be lost. The next of kin of the personnel of the Asheville have been notified.


No. 60                                     MARCH 23, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué today:


Far East.


U. S. submarines operating in Japanese waters have recently added the following to the list of enemy merchant vessels sunk or damaged in that area:


One 7,000-ton tanker sunk.

One 6,000-ton ship sunk.

One 5,000-ton freighter sunk.

Two 2,000-ton freighters damaged.




In addition to these merchant ships one enemy destroyer or antisubmarine vessel was attacked and probably sunk.

The above actions have not been reported in any previous Navy Department communiqué.

There is nothing to report from other areas.


No. 61                                     MARCH 24, 1942 


Far East.


The U. S. destroyers Pillsbury and Edsall have been reported missing since early March and must be presumed lost. The next of kin of the personnel of the Pillsbury and Edsall have been informed accordingly.

The Pillsbury is believed to have been lost in the vicinity of Bali Strait subsequent to the naval engagement in the Java Sea which was reported in communiqué No. 54.

The last report from the Edsall placed her in waters south of Java.

These destroyers were units of the original U. S. Asiatic Fleet which has been used since the beginning of the war in an attempt to frustrate the Japanese invasion of the islands of the Southwest Pacific.  The ships of this fleet were fought with distinction as units of the Allied Naval Forces at Makassar Strait (communiqués Nos. 32, 33, and 34) Lombok Strait, Bali Strait (communiqué No. 42) and the Battle of the Java Sea.

There is nothing to report from other areas.


No. 62                                     MARCH 25, 1942


The  Navy Department issued the following communiqué today:


Vice Admiral William F. Halsey, who commanded the naval forces which so successfully raided the Marshall Islands on January 31st has delivered additional blows at two enemy outposts.

First, on February 24th at Japanese-occupied Wake Island and second, on March 4th at Japanese-owned Marcus Island.

Although the islands had been the scene of much recent enemy activity these surprise attacks were met with little opposition and the attacking, forces found few enemy planes and ships in the areas.

Considerable damage was done to shore installations, defense positions, aircraft runways and water tanks by combined bombardment from air-




craft and surface vessels, following the pattern so effectively used by Admiral Halsey in his raid on the Marshall Islands.

At Wake Island, which U. S. Marines defended from December 7 until its capture on December 23, 1941, the enemy has worked feverishly to strengthen the defenses against attack.  Two hundred and nineteen bombs from aircraft and many shells from cruisers and destroyers were rained on the shore installations and landing field.  Two enemy patrol boats were sunk, three large seaplanes at anchor were demolished, and the aircraft runways and a part of the defense batteries were damaged.  Our loss in this engagement was one aircraft.

At Marcus Island, 760 miles west-northwest of Wake, and 990 miles southeast of Yokohama, Admiral Halsey's forces executed a successful air attack just before dawn on the 4th dropping flares to illuminate objectives.  No enemy aircraft or ships were present.

Heavy antiaircraft fire was encountered while our planes dropped 96 bombs on the small island, resulting in considerable damage to hangars, fuel and ammunition storages, radio installations and aircraft runways.

Our loss in this engagement was one aircraft.

There is nothing to report from other areas.


No. 63                                     MARCH 26, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué today: 


Caribbean Area.


The U. S. Coast Guard cutter Acacia was shelled and sunk presumably by an enemy submarine, in the Caribbean area in March.  The Acacia was a small unarmed ship of the tender class which was used to provide services to aids to navigation.

All personnel aboard the Acacia were rescued and there were no casualties.

There is nothing to report from other areas.


No. 64                                     MARCH 27, 1942


The Navy Department issued the following communiqué today:


Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Areas.


On March 25, General Marshall, Chief of Staff of the Army, and Admiral King, Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet, with a




view to increasing the effectiveness of antisubmarine warfare along our coast, issued instructions for a closer cooperation between the naval commanders of the sea frontiers and the Army defense commanders.  These instructions govern operations over the sea for the protection of shipping and for antisubmarine and other operations against enemy seaborne activities.

In accordance with these instructions, Army defense commanders have allocated Army air units to the naval commanders of the sea frontiers.  Command of the air units so allocated is vested in the naval sea frontier commanders.

The cooperation between these forces and the Navy antisubmarine and patrol forces has been close and effective.  In most ports the operating centers of these commands have already been combined in one room.  The new system of operating control under one service will eliminate any possible uncertainty regarding jurisdictional limits and will insure the smooth and effective working of our intensified antisubmarine campaign in the waters off our coasts.

Unity of command already exists for all Army and Navy forces in the Hawaiian Islands and in the Caribbean, those at Hawaii being under the Navy, those at Panama being under the Army, and those along the eastern Caribbean being under the Navy.

There is nothing to report from other areas.