|USS WEST VIRGINIA||BB 48|
|SERIAL 0120||10 MARCH 1945|
IN TASK UNITS 54.1.2
|U.S.S. West Virginia (BB48)
c/o Fleet Post Office,
San Francisco, California.
|10 March 1945.|
|To:||Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet.|
|Via:||(1) Commander Battleship Division FOUR (Rear Admiral I. Sowell, U.S. Navy, USS West Virginia, Flagship).|
(2) Commander Task Force 54, and Commander Task Unit 54.1.8 (Rear Admiral B.J. Rodgers, U.S. Navy, Commander Amphibious Group Eleven, USS Nevada, Flagship).
(3) Commander Task Force 51 (Vice Admiral R.K. Turner, U.S. Navy, Commander Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet, USS Eldorado, Flagship).
(4) Commander FIFTH Fleet.
(5) Commander-in-Chief Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean A.
|Subject:||Action Report, Bombardment of and Fire Support for Landings, Iwo Jima Island, 19 February 1945 to 1 March 1945, inclusive.|
|References:||(a) Article 712 U.S. Navy Regulations, 1920.|
(b) CincPac Conf. Ltr. 1CL-45.
|Enclosures:||(A) Extracts from TBS Log 19 Feb. to 1 March 1945, inclusive.|
(B) Statistical Record of Fire.
(C) Antiaircraft Action Report.
cc: (1) Adv. to Cominch
(3) Adv. to Cincpac
(1) Adv. to Com5thFlt.
Bombardment of Iwo Jima -- 19 February to 1 March 1945.
Upon obtaining some grid charts the ship proceeded to the assigned firing station and commenced firing at 1247. For eleven days, target area, counter battery, and call fire were delivered. On two night harassing fire was conducted. On 1 March, having used a few 16" AP projectiles, all of the 16" Hicap ammunition, and expended 80% of the 5" AA, orders were received to return to Ulithi, and departure was made at 1700.
PART II. Preliminaries.
Upon arrival at Iwo Jima the West Virginia reported to Commander Task Force 51 for duty. During night retirements the ship joined Commander Task Force 54. Commander Task Force 52 directed some of our daylight employment. Commander Battleship Division FOUR in this vessel had no operational assignment.
As escorts, the McCall (DD400) and Izard (DD589) were assigned about two hours before getting underway. After clearing port one of the escorts reported she had not fueled and she was given 50,000 gallons by this vessel. The only operation order or plan aboard was CTF 51 Operation Order which was received from Comseron 10 Representative, Ulithi, a few minutes before departure. This was immediately routed for study. The second day such information as was available was disseminated at conferences and at quarters, and the crew was drilled at General Quarters and bombardment procedure.
In the absence of any but a general operation order the following assumptions were made:
We found a number of ships present, BB's, OBB's, CA's, CL's, and DD's, encircling the island and firing upon it. The usual transports and amphibious craft on the scene. The Third Fleet had been hitting the Japan homeland and was in the vicinity.
Other than the enemy garrison estimated at about 20,000 troops with all sorts of heavy and light guns, mortars, and rockets, the only enemy forces encountered were a few enemy planes which approached in scattered attacks. Only one came close enough for us to open fire, but we saw two other shot down.
PART III Chronological account of the action.
The weather during the period of this operation was generally mild, with excellent surface visibility, and three to five tenths clouds, except for the afternoons of the 22nd and 26th of February when rain squalls and low visibility made it inadvisable to keep aircraft in the air. The wind was generally from the North to Northeast, backing occasionally to Northwest and averaged about 18 knots. The seas were generally from the Northeast, with smooth swells from 4 t 6 feet in height, which made plane recovery hazardous.
|0907||Sighted Iwo Jima Island, bearing 002°, distance 30 miles. Our speed 18.5 knots.|
|0847||Sounded AIR DEFENSE.|
Weather is clear, visibility good, sea smooth.
|1000||We have made the 900 miles run from Ulithi in 50 hours. We were ordered not to arrive prior to 1000.|
|1045||Arrived in bombardment area. Lay to awaiting arrival of operation orders and firing assignments. Battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and numerous small craft are bombarding the island. Marines are landing. We can see enemy fire landing among them but cannot locate the source. Air strike going on over the island, planes dive-bombing, strafing, and firing rockets.|
|1130||Received operation order, charts, etc. Up to now we had no information on the target areas. Received only 1 copy of grid chart of which we need at least six. Commandeered two copies addressed to destroyers of our escort, and used two small copies which were a part of the operation order. At the same moment we received the charts on board we received a TBS message to expedite moving to our firing station. CTF 54 gave us order to take station 5000 yards due East of Mt. Suribachi. This station is approximately 3000 yards from the beach. Our target area assignment 184 on the grid chart.|
|1140||Numerous splashes observed about 3000 yards off our starboard bow, believed to be enemy fire.|
|1143||Got underway to take firing station. Gunnery Officer says he will work out the firing problem for the Secondary Battery because of the short range. Proceeded on various courses (about 045°) to firing station.|
|1150||Sounded Flight Quarters to launch one plane for spotting. We have about 3 miles to go to our firing station through landing b oat lanes.|
|1230||Continuos splashes, probably enemy mortar fire, seen among the landing boats near the landing beach off our port beam.|
|1240||On firing station. Our first target is enemy guns firing on our landing beach. Opened fire with Secondary Battery.|
|1300||Ship has a tendency to drift in towards the beach. At this range the trajectory is too flat and we will have to move farther out. Also at this range there is some danger from small gun shore batteries.|
|1305||Commenced turning around to open the range. Gun flashes were observed in a cove close to the water's edge. During turning and afterwards for a period of about one-half hour, several rounds of 5" and 40 MM were fired at this target. This gun had been shooting at the troops on the landing beach, and had scored some hits. It was difficult to hit as it was well protected by its terrain.|
|1330||Went to GENERAL QUARTERS. Ship placed in material condition ZEBRA.|
|1345||Commenced firing Main Battery. One of our planes still on board so forward turrets only were fired. Our spotter gave us several targets for the Main Battery, all of which were well covered. Large explosions were observed where our Main Battery salvos landed.|
|1347||CTF 52 informed us that enemy gunfire was reported coming from area 184 "William", and for us to take that area under fire at an increased rate. This was done immediately.|
|1440||Drifted too close to beach again and got underway to move out. Planes are carrying on an intensified attack. Some very light and ineffective AA fire noted from enemy positions. None of our planes seen to be hit.|
|1546||Our plane reported a heavy enemy AA battery located in area 235 "Mike", and that our batteries were unable to take the target under fire; suggestion made to CTF 52 that he allocate the target to another unit.|
|1550||Plane recovered and other plane sent out as relief on station. Our spotter reported seeing enemy troops running away in front of our and also others running up to and firing them.|
|1600||Destroyer got directly in our line of fire and fouled the range. We have had considerable trouble with destroyers fouling the range. had to move around to clear the range. Ships on fire support are close together. Our station within 200 yards of landing craft lane.|
|1620||Large splash observed about 400 yards from us and about 50 yards from the Indianapolis. At same time 3 splashes on our port beam, distance about 100 yards. There are so many landing craft lane marker buoys in our area that we are handicapped in our maneuvers to keep in position. Ship has a decided tendency to drift towards the beach. Ship is being kept in broadside position by using one engine against the other. CTF 52 advised us that enemy gun flashes were still observed in area 184 "Tare".|
|1705||Another splash between us and the Indianapolis.|
|1824||Secured from GENERAL QUARTERS but remained at AIR DEFENSE. Set condition YOKE.|
|1830||Received message that all ships are to give their target area a going over before retiring. As this would have to be done without a spotter and in darkness, we did not fire.|
|1835||Got underway to join formation with TF 54 and retired to the Northwest for night.|
|0715||Went to AIR DEFENSE. Sounded Flight Quarters to hoist over one plane for spotting.|
|0725||Large splash observed about 1000 yards ahead of us. W on same firing station as 19 February. Ship's heading is North. Sky is overcast but visibility to beach is fair. KING hour is 0830.|
|0738||Commenced firing Secondary Battery in target area 184.|
|0745||We had a small caliber hit on deck on side of Turret 2 causing no damage. large splash observed about 300 yards off our port bow. Air strike is in progress over the island. Our planes drew some enemy AA fire which was weak and ineffective.|
|0800||Went to GENERAL QUARTERS. Ship placed in condition ZEBRA.|
|0816||Opened fire with Main Battery.|
Our station is about 5000 yards East of Mt. Suribachi. Several landing craft in our line of fire. Yesterday we had the same trouble with destroyers.
|0830||Large explosion seen in our target area. Strong air strike in progress over island. The rockets from our planes seem to make a terrific explosion and a lot of noise. Splashes from enemy fire numerous among the ships lying off Mt. Suribachi and among the landing craft close to the landing beach.|
|0855||Ship has drifted toward beach again and we have to move out to open the range. Received a message from CTF 52 to stand by to relieve the North Carolina on her firing station on the Northwest end of the island. Our new target areas to be 235, 236, 218, and 219.|
|0900||We advised CTF 52 that we were firing in area 184 "Able" with 16" HC, and into area 184 "Mike" with 5" AA common.|
|0910||Got underway to take the North Carolina's firing position. This maneuver took some time as landing craft are numerous in our area and also we have to keep out of the line of fire of the several ships bombarding. noted that fire from ships bombarding on the opposite side of the island has been ricocheting and landing among our ships.|
|1010||Arrived on new firing station off north end of island. This is much better than our former position as we have some room to maneuver and will be able to keep our position without worrying about marker buoys. Also no small craft near to get in our line of fire.|
|1011||Large splash, believed to be a ricochet from one of our own ship's firing, seen about 1500 yards off our port bow.|
|1012||First salvo Main Battery from our new firing position. Ship's heading 344°|
|1020||We have both planes spotting, one from Main Battery and one for the Secondary Battery.|
|1105||One of our planes reported he had drawn enemy AA fire from area 216, which is not our area. At same time overheard TBS report that the Arkansas would take the area under fire.|
|1120||Both planes returned to ship to refuel. Weather has turned rainy and windy. One plane sent out again to spot. Remainder of afternoon fired Main and Secondary Batteries as spotter located targets.|
|1717||Headquarters Landing Force advised that the Tennessee plane reported enemy gunfire in area 235 "Peter", "Oboe", "Uncle", and "Victor", and directed us to try to locate and destroy it.|
|1730||The Tennessee advised the West Virginia to come up on their plane circuit and the Tennessee plane will spot for both ships. Fired 40 MM on what appeared to be a gun emplacement on Higashi Iwa.|
At sundown joined TF 54 formation and retired from area for the night.
|0623||CTF 52 advised West Virginia that our areas f responsibility for the day area; 218, 219, 235, 236, and 251. We were ordered to observe very carefully for mortar and artillery fire.|
|0730||Planes launched for spotting.|
Sky is overcast, low ceiling, but visibility to island not too bad.
|0752||Went to GENERAL QUARTERS. Ship placed in material condition Modified ZEBRA. Lying to in Fire Support Area 6 which is the same position as held on 20 February. Targets as above, with range around 8000 to 9000 yards.|
|0812||Opened fire with Main and Secondary Batteries. Practically all spots "No change, No change".|
|0845||Large splash in water about 1000 yards bearing 240° Relative, ship's heading 345°.|
|0913||Spotter reported we had hit an ammunition dump or fuel depot. Large fires and explosions. Also reported we had made three direct hits with 16" on enemy troop concentrations. Both Main and Secondary Battery fire is excellent.|
|0945||Friendly plane, believed to be an F4F, crashed in water about 2 miles to seaward off our starboard quarter, and pilot was seen to bail out in parachute. As soon as sighted, we sent a message to the DE 186 [USS Swearer] to rescue him, but the DE had evidently seen it all and was on the way.|
|1020||CTF 52 advised that there were enemy coast defense guns in area 236 "Victor". Our planes were ordered to search for them.|
|1145||Fired Main and Secondary Batteries remainder of morning. Targets were shifted often as all fire was so accurate that only a few salvos were needed to knock out any given position. Several large fires were started in our target area. Air strikes going on continuously. We had to check fire several times while the planes were making low level attacks. Enemy fire scored a hit on an ammunition dump on our landing beach which caused large and numerous explosions which lasted about two hours.|
|1147||Secured from GENERAL QUARTERS. Condition YOKE set in ship.|
|1220||Planes recovered for refueling.|
|1357||Went to GENERAL QUARTERS. Launched one plane for spotting. One plane had been slightly damaged while being hoisted aboard and needed repairs before flying again.|
|1410||Large splash off our port bow, distance about two miles. Believed to be a ricochet from one of our own ship's fire.|
|1420||On firing station and ready to commence firing. Our spotter reported enemy AA fire in area 201 "George". As this was out of our area of responsibility, it was reported to CTF 52.|
|1425||Opened fire with Secondary Battery. As the wind is from the Northeast, it is easier to keep the ship broadside to the beach today. The drift of the ship indicates that the tide runs North and South along the island.|
|1600||Checked fire while low altitude air strike is going on over island.|
|1700||Closed our range to about 5000 yards.|
|1730||Two enemy planes, one BETTY and one ZEKE, shot down by the Nevada and Gregory about two miles off our starboard quarter. Our course 350°. Over TBS flash RED control GREEN. Sounded AIR DEFENSE. Ship in Modified ZEBRA.|
|1810||Got underway to join formation for night retirement. Course 270°. Bogies reported in area.|
|1922||Opened fire with 5" on enemy plane dead ahead. No hits.|
Retired from area for night.
|0658||We were advised by CTF 52 to restrict use of Main Battery to essential destruction that the 5" battery could not do.|
|0745||One plane catapulted for spotting.|
|0753||Went to AIR DEFENSE.|
|0758||Went to GENERAL QUARTERS. Lying to in Fire Support area 6.|
Sky is overcast and some rain, moderate Northeast wind. Visibility poor.
|0825||Air strike in progress over island.|
|0830||Our spotter reported large gun emplacement in area 235. As our 16" ammunition was now limited, permission was requested from CTF 52 to use 16" on this target. Permission was granted with note to exercise economy.|
|0852||Opened fire with Main Battery on gun emplacement in area 235.|
|0912||Ceased fire with Main Battery. Spotter reported area well covered. During the morning the largest air strike yet witnessed went on over the island, with several hundred planes attacking at one time.|
|1040||CTF 52 advised all stations that Mt. Suribachi had been captured. Could see our flag flying from the top.|
|1151||Secured from GENERAL QUARTERS. Set condition YOKE.|
|1240||Plane sent out for spotting.|
|1345||Recovered spotting plane because of increasing winds, rough sea, and rain. VOF plane from USS Makin Island searched for targets later in the afternoon but found none and no firing was done.|
|1518||Went to AIR DEFENSE on account of bogey reports.|
|1550||Secured from AIR DEFENSE.|
At sundown joined TF 54 formation and retired form area for night.
|0745||One plane catapulted for spotting.|
|0800||Went to GENERAL QUARTERS. We are in Fire Support Area 6. Ship in condition Modified ZEBRA.|
|0836||Commenced firing Secondary Battery at various targets reported by spotter to be active.|
|1200||Secured from GENERAL QUARTERS. Ship placed in condition YOKE.|
|1220||Informed by CTG 52 that enemy artillery was located in area 199 "Charlie", and requested us to take it under fire immediately. We had recalled our plane.|
|1245||Plane hoisted out and sent to spotting position.|
|1300||U.S.S. H.L. Edwards (DD663) informed all stations that a major caliber shell ricocheted 1000 yards astern of her. Her position was in grid 8354.|
|1420||We requested permission from CTF 52 to use small number of rounds of Main Battery in target area 236 "Uncle", where CTF 52 had reported gun flashes and our spotter sees pillboxes.|
|1420||Permission was granted. Fired 5" Common in this area which silenced guns. Main Battery did not fire.|
|1522||Flash RED received from CTF 52.|
|1525||We were advised that we were to furnish general support for the night, using no Main Battery unless later authorized.|
|1527||Flash WHITE received from CTF 52.|
|1745||We reported to CTF 52 that we had relieved the USS Bradford (DD545) on station.|
|1909||Went to AIR DEFENSE.|
Steamed at various speeds and courses to maintain station in fire support area.
|2027||Secured from AIR DEFENSE. Set watch and watch on Secondary Battery.|
|2037||Commenced firing Secondary Battery harassing fire. Fired intermittently all night.|
|From midnight on we remained in Fire Support Area 6.|
|0947||Proceeded to Fire Support Area Four in accordance with orders from CTF 52, arriving at 1100.|
|1042||Went to GENERAL QUARTERS.|
|1115||Commenced firing Secondary Battery. Plane from a carrier is spotting for us today. Fired Main and Secondary Batteries intermittently all day at targets picked out by our spotter. He was very complimentary about our shooting.|
|1403||We advised CTF 52 that the Naval Liaison spotter for us reported that 199 "Able", "Baker", and "Fix", was unsafe to fire in on account of danger to our front lines.|
|1410||We were assigned area 216 "Uncle" and "Victor" in lieu of area 199 "Able", "Baker", "Fox", and "George".|
|1545||USS Tuscaloosa was ordered by CTF 52 to relive us on station for night support firing. At sundown joined TF 54 and retired from area for night.|
|0745||Both planes catapulted for spotting.|
|0800||Went to GENERAL QUARTERS. Set condition ZEBRA in ship.|
Weather is clear, visibility good. We are in Fire Support Area 4.
|0840||Commenced firing Main and Secondary batteries, exactly on time scheduled. Target area 216.|
|0845||First salvo "No change, No change". Spotters reported firing was excellent, and targets well covered. To conserve ammunition, only good live targets were fired on.|
|1140||Secured from GENERAL QUARTERS. Set condition YOKE.|
|1200||Planes brought in for refueling.|
|1300||Sounded AIR DEFENSE.|
|1322||Commenced firing Secondary Battery at targets picked by spotter.|
|1635||Catapulted second plane for spotting, to relieve first plane on station.|
|1730||Recovered first plane.|
|1805||Secured from AIR DEFENSE.|
|1812||Underway for night retirement.|
|0340||Received following assignment for today from CTF 52: Take station in sector 4, firing from K minus 30 hour until mission is completed. target areas 216 "Love", 218 "Tare", 218 "Fox" and "George", 215 "Oboe" and 218 "Peter", "Baker", "Charlie", "Dog" and "Easy". Allowed all remaining rounds of Main Battery HC projectiles for this firing and up to 300 rounds of Secondary Battery ammunition.|
|0700||Went to GENERAL QUARTERS. Set condition Modified ZEBRA throughout the ship. One plane catapulted for spotting. moved to firing position in Fire Support Area 4, about 8000 yards west of island.|
|0730||First shot fired at one second after 0730, which was the scheduled time to commence firing. Sky is overcast, visibility poor. Haze and smoke is thick over the island so after firing we have to wait for our plane to go down low to see what damage had been done.|
|0748||Several splashes observed near the Vicksburg about 2500 yards off our starboard bow. probably these splashes were from ricochets fired by our own ships on other side of island.|
|1050||Sent plane out to relieve spotter on station.|
|1115||One plane recovered.|
|1230||Second plane recovered because of rain and low visibility.|
|1605||Plane sent out to spot.|
|1740||Plane recovered. At sundown joined TF 54 and retired from area for night.|
|0839||Standing by in Fire Support Area 6 to furnish counter-battery and call fire.|
|1114||Commenced firing Secondary Battery in area where gun flashes had been observed. Believed to be the coastal defense guns that were firing at USS O'Brien (DD665).|
|1140||Ceased firing Secondary Battery.|
|1202||We informed CTF 52 that we observed the gun flashes reported previously by the USS O'Brien (DD665), had taken them under fire, and that we are keeping area 219 under observation.|
|1514||We informed CTF 52 that the area where we observed gun flashes reported by the USS O'Brien was near 219 "Love" and "Mike", and may have been a little father north. No further activity is observed in that area.|
|1714||Commenced steaming on various courses proceeding to join TF 54 for night retirement.|
|0643||Arrived in Iwo Jima area and proceeded to area 2 miles south of Iwo where we received 29 charges of 16" H.C. powder from USS Wrangle. We were to receive 5" ammunition also, but because of our low priority we received none. Proceeded to Fire Support Area 4 to stand by for call fire.|
|0933||Requested planes, if available, after 1100 in order to work on our catapult.|
|1643||We received instruction CTF 52 to proceed to Sector 5 and relieve the Tennessee, furnishing general support using VOC (USS Wake Island plane) on 5285 KC's.|
|1804||Reported to CTF 52 that we had relieved the Tennessee on station.|
|1814||We received the following assignments from CTF 52 in the execution of our night harassing mission: Areas 234, 235 "Mike" through "Yoke"; 218 "Able" through "Jig"; 219 "Queen", "Roger", "Victor", and "William"; 202 "Baker", "Charlie", "George", "How", "Love", "Mike", "Queen" and "Roger". Authorized to expend 150 rounds of 5" AA Common and 50 rounds of star shells. Authorized to fire 40 MM at our discretion. The ship will be stationed in Sectors 4 and 5.|
|1949||Commenced firing on assigned target areas.|
|1959||We were directed by CTF 52 to cancel harassing fire in area 218 due to the advance of our troops.|
|2142||Requested by CTF 52 to deliver counter-battery fore for TG 52.6.3 until the Pensacola is in position to take over, using radio circuit 3980 KC's. Continued harassing fire until daylight.|
|0238||Received Flash RED control GREEN from CTF 52.|
|0248||Received Flash RED control YELLOW from CTF 52.|
|0700||Catapulted both planes to spot for Main and Secondary Batteries.|
|0737||Went to GENERAL QUARTERS. Set condition ZEBRA in ship. KING hour is 0830. We are to fire 25 rounds of 16" in the period KING minus 30 to KING minus 15. Weather is very clear today.|
|0800||Commenced firing Main and Secondary Batteries.|
|0835||Many 4-gun salvos, rapid fire, seen splashing about 1000 yards north of island. This was reported to CTF 52.|
|0910||Commenced firing Main Battery on blockhouses commanding road intersection in area 133 "Tare" and obtained 3 hits.|
|0938||Secured from GENERAL QUARTERS. Set condition watches. Fired a few rounds of 5". We have expended 80% of our 5" AA common ammunition.|
|1016||CTF 52 informed us that the USS Calhoun (DD801) had been hit by a major caliber shell in area 168 "Tare". He requested our line of fire. We answered that we had ceased fire at 0920 on area 233 "Tare" and "Yoke" on bearing 086°.|
|1040||Observed funs firing from 216 "George", "How" on an AK near Western Beach. Took site under fire.|
|1100||Recalled planes. Do not desire to expend any more ammunition unless an urgent call is received. Have plane from carrier as spotter. he can not find good targets.|
|1600||Relieved by Tennessee and left firing area in accordance with orders to depart for base.|
PART IV. Ordnance.
Performance of the ordnance material and equipment during this action was excellent. There were no casualties or personnel errors in the main battery. The 5 inch mounts again developed slight leaks in hydraulic lines due to continues shock from main battery fire. none of those leaks was serious and they were readily repaired during lulls in the firing. Mount 5, left gun had a jammed cartridge case on the night AA action due to deformity of the case. It was forced home and the gun unloaded. This was the first instance of this trouble in the last 8,000 rounds fired. Both batteries continued to be quite accurate which indicates excellent solution and alignments.
|16"/45 Cal --||46||AP Projectiles|
|5"/38 Cal --||4726||AA Com. Mk 18 Fuze|
As fire support plans, grid charts, targets positions, area assignment and etc. were not received until after arrival at Iwo, no prearranged schedule of fire could be prepared. Fire support sectors, areas of responsibility, known targets, and ammunition allowances were received daily by despatch. High priority targets and instructions were received during the day be despatch as they occurred. Some times these orders came so rapidly we could execute only a few f them. The majority of the firing was indirect in both main secondary batteries. Direct fire was used on gun flashes seen from the ship. Both main and secondary plot maintained their own ship's track by use of Mk 8 Mod 2 radar. Both plotting rooms controlled plane spotting communications on a common frequency. On two occasions a VOF spotting plane was utilized. The ship was slow in shifting to this planes spotting frequency but once established, there was no difficulty. Fire discipline, interior and exterior communications were considered excellent.
The effectiveness of the gun fire is as outlined under the statistical record of fire, enclosure "A". There was very little area coverage for neutralization except as directed by CTF 52 as pro - H Hour preparation. Fire at all other times was slow, deliberate, and destructive. it was thoroughly impressed on all hands that each projectile fired must count, therefore it is believed that very few were wasted.
There were no material deficiencies. no special preparation or training was performed for this operation.
There was considerable shore battery fire on D day and D plus 1 day but the majority of it was directed at our landing beach and party. There were numerous splashes around the ship, some within 300 yards, of 5 to 8 inch in size but it could not be determined if they were from enemy guns or ricochets from our own ships. If from enemy it was sporadic and inaccurate.
PART V. Damage.
PART VI. Special Comments and Information.
Air contacts were tracked on both air and surface search gear; the results were well above average and very satisfactory. The performance of the SK (with the CG-AFR antenna) was notably improved over previous operations, due to technical information received from a General Electric Company representative concerning the antenna and its optimum operating frequency. Results of surface tracking by the SG-1's were uniformly excellent. Surface plotting procedure is to throw the SG-1 presentation on the V-D RPPI, and track from the latter instrument using the cursor line to such an advantage that it is not necessary to stop the sweep of the antenna. This has proved a most satisfactory procedure, as the stopping of the sweep often interrupts the picture for those using other RPPI's. The Mark 8 Mod 2 radar was used for maintaining the ship's track in both Main and Secondary Plot. It performed with its usual high standard of accuracy and efficiency.
Except when having a definite guard assignment when no choice was offered, the following surface search was conducted: Radar 2 (forward high-antenna SG-1) was set on the 75,000 yard scale with medium gain; Radar 3 (After, low-antenna SG-1_ was set on the 15,000 yard scale with low gain. Radar 2 was used for long range search, and Radar 3 for station keeping. However, the recent installation of a "sea-return eliminator" on Radar 2 made it possible to keep station extremely well on that unit. Constant rotation of antennae was emphasized on all search radars. In air search, Radar 1 (SK) was set on the 75 miles scale, both "A" scope and PPI. In addition to the foregoing, there are two VC-1 and one BD RPPI's in C.I.C. which were set as follows:
Only momentary pauses for identification purposes were permitted; otherwise antennae were kept rotating. Surface tracking was done, as previously explained, from the VD RPPI. Exceptions were made when targets appeared only on "A" scopes, and momentary stops of the sweep were then permitted.
C.I.C. with its SG-1's furnished all possible data to the Mark 8's and Mark 12's for the purpose of coaching them on to targets.
During shore bombardment, the ship's position was accurately kept by one of the two Mark 8's in Main Battery Plot, the Mark 8 bearings and ranges were passed simultaneously to C.I.C. as a check on the ship's position as established by the SG-1's. The Mark 27's were not used.
As stated above, one of the two Mark 8 Radars was "beamed" on a reference point usually obtained from the SG-1's, and the ship accurately position. Indirect fire was used almost entirely during this operation.
C.I.C. proved of great assistance to the Navigator in positioning the ship in the hours of darkness, and for obtaining radar ranges for use with visual (alidade) bearings.
The RPPI in the Pilot House was kept set on the short (four mile) scale of either Radar 2 or Radar 3, and manned by a Junior Officer of the Deck or one of the Assistant Navigators during hours of darkness. In addition, up-to-the-minute plot of immediate and adjacent formations was kept by CIC on its short range summary plot, so that the positions of all units were known at all times.
C.I.C. estimates as to the nature and size of targets with respect to air contacts were very gratifying. The improved performance of the air search gear (SK) was in a large part responsible for this. The same long ranges were obtained from Radar 2 as in previous operations, excellent range and bearing resolutions being obtained on targets over 40 miles distant (on the RPPI).
Constant rotation of the antennae of all the search gear was emphasized, stops being made only momentarily for the following reasons:
The excellent performance of all radar equipment bears testimony to the constant vigilance of this vessel's technical staff. In addition, the installation of the VD RPPI in C.I.C., and the sea-return eliminator in Radar 2 were excellent additions, and many times during the operation proved themselves worthy of the hard work of installation. The SK had been re-tuned many times, and set on various operating bands in an effort to find the optimum operating set-up, and its is believed that this now has been achieved; performance was excellent. There was no noticeable effect of weather on radar performance.
Interior communications were completely satisfactory, and external communications were good, some interference being experienced on 3845 KC and 3905 KC.
This vessel did no fighter direction.
In general, communications were very good during this operation. No enemy interference or jamming was noted. Most voice circuits were crowded because of needless transmissions and numerous repeats.
The TBS continues to improve but this circuit is still over-used. During air alerts the circuit was cleared except for contact and bogey reports. This is a decided improvement over conditions experienced by this vessel in previous bombardments. This command enforced rigid discipline over the circuit, using visual whenever possible, and even replied to many TBS messages from other ships by visual.
At least two places on the island constantly emitted volcanic steam. The steam looked like smoke and was taken under fire repeatedly by ships and planes. One fissure in Target Area 219 seemed to attract plane strafing and bombing day after day.
This vessel utilized the VOF spotting planes that were available on two occasions. It is unknown what experience the Spotters have had but the results were very satisfactory. There were no difficulties in spotting procedure or communications and the spotters were quite confident. As their planes were faster and more maneuverable than our OS2U-3's they were able to fly at a lower altitude which gave them better observation. In order for the spotter to be in a position to see the fall of shot, he was allowed to give the order to "Fire" for the Main Battery. This worked fine and did not cause undue delay.
PART VII Personnel performance.
PART VIII Lessons learned, conclusions, and recommendations.
It was demonstrated in this bombardment that the Main Battery of this vessel is more effective using indirect fire than direct fire for ranges greater than 3000 yards. It is also much more effective than direct fire when air spotting is available. It is very seldom that the top spotters are able to identify targets and their spotting is inaccurate unless on a fairly level surface.
Considerable reliance was again placed on the air spotters to locate and direct the gunfire to destroy targets. In an operation of this kind when ammunition is low, spotters must be briefed and instructed prior to launching as to the kind of targets to search for in order that maximum benefit may be derived from the ammunition.
Due to sudden movements of this vessel and other reasons, the mail service to this ship has been practically non-existent. No mail was received between 24 December and 10 February. To 8 March the last airmail received was dated about 12 January in the United States. Non-receipt of mail made us enter upon the operation with no intelligence reports, knowledge of organization of the 5th Fleet, charts, maps and grid charts, etc. Also, officers and men ordered to the ship have traveled for months and many miles, without being able to locate the ship. It is suggested that the reasons for this situation are:
It is believed that the strategic situation now permits a reduction in the security classification of ships movements. This would expedite much official business now severely handicapped.
Due to previous experience and indoctrination this command was able to function efficiently without the usual volumes of operation orders, instructions, etc. The only operation order received was that of CTF 51. Except for the day of arrival when we asked for the night rendezvous, we got along very well. however, the arrival of only one grid chart in the first delivery of Officer Messenger mail delayed our taking station for bombardment until sufficient copies could be obtained.
From - To
Description and Damage
|1345-1348||184GH||Gun emplacement --- Explosions||3150||Indirect||3||H.C.|
|1351-1359||184W||A.A. Gun -- Silenced||2620||Indirect||10||25%|
|1402-1415||184RS||AA Gun emplacement -- Neutralized.||2700||Indirect||13||Plug|
|1647-1657||184M||Gun, Revetments, Trenches -- Neutralized||2800||Indirect||5||75%|
|1705-1707||184Y||Concrete Artillery Emplacement -- Demolished||2700||Direct||3||Inst|
|20 February 1945|
|0816-0831||184M||Guns, Revetments & Trenches -- Large explosion in area.||3300||Indirect||13||H.C.|
|0833-0845||184M||Underground emplacements & Supply dump -- Well Covered.||3500||Indirect||10||50%|
|1012-1021||234J||AA Empl. (RdoSta) -- Well Covered.||5725||Indirect||10||Plug|
|1025-1115||218O||Gun Empl. -- Destroyed||5550||Indirect||27||50%|
|1205-1227||218O||Gun Empl. & AA Guns in valley. -- Neutralized except AA guns in valley could not be reached due to reverse slope.||7700||Indirect||21||50%|
|1340-1351||219K||Road intersection & Gun emplacements -- Well covered.||8320||Indirect||10||Inst.|
|21 February 1945|
|0814-0817||235L||Gun Firing. Gun emplacement hit. Area well covered.||8000||Indirect||1||6||H.C.|
|0818-0820||235G||Enemy activity, cross road||8000||Indirect||3||H.C.|
|0824-0830||218J||Heavy AA Fire & Caves. -- Direct hit.||7800||Indirect||1||6||H.C.|
|0831-0839||218E||Caves and Possible gun empl. -- Area well covered||7800||Indirect||6||50%|
|0856-0901||251X||Artillery, Caves and possible revetments. -- Direct hit on caves.||7450||Indirect||1||9||Plug|
|0905-0909||251Q||Underground Emplacements -- Well covered.||7730||Indirect||7||Plug|
|0910-0919||251P||Troop concentration. -- Dispersed with casualties.||7750||Indirect||9||Plug|
|0920-0942||251K||Underground Empl. & Enemy Activity. -- Dispersed with casualties.||7750||Indirect||25||Plug|
|1010-1022||218I||Concrete Emplacement. -- Direct hit, target disappeared.||8300||Direct||1||5||Plug|
|1105-1118||251QR||Caves and covered emplacements. -- Numerous hits. Area well covered.||10,300||Indirect||15||Plug|
|1126-1147||235J||Gun Position -- Good hits.||10,400||Indirect||2||14||Plug|
|1529-1559||235G||Caves & Shacks -- Direct hits on caves, shacks knocked down.||10,310||Indirect||2||9||50%|
|1607-1611||218E||Caves & AA -- Unknown||11,200||Indirect||5||Inst.|
|1617-1637||235Y||Artillery -- Area well covered.||11,200||Indirect||6||Inst.|
|22 February 1945|
|0852-0902||235P||Large caliber gun firing. -- Area well covered and gun silenced.||10,700||Indirect||12||H.C.|
|0905-0912||234O||Guns firing -- Area well covered and gun silenced.||10,900||Indirect||7||50%|
|24 February 1945|
|Gun Post., emplacement and command post in cliffs. -- 2 guns & CP destroyed. Rest of area neutralized.||7280||Indirect||3||28||Plug|
|1307-1317||216R||Gun posts. and possib. command post in cliffs. -- Area well covered.||7500||Indirect||10||50%|
|1433-1605||216UVQK||Fortified cliff area with mortars, guns, rocket launchers and caves. -- Two revetments destroyed. Numerous cave entrances uncovered and blocked or destroyed causing many troops to be flushed. Spots of as little as 10-25 yds were used to obtain accuracy in demolishing caves. Near end of firing plane reported Japs were leaving area. The plane (from a carrier) described the firing as the most accurate he had observed in this operation.||6800||Indirect||46||Inst.|
|25 February 1945|
|0840-0855||216XY||King hour preparation fire. -- Two direct hits in cave entrance. Several good hits on area. Entire area well covered.||9475||Indirect||2||30||Inst.|
|0855-0930||216QRS||King hour preparation fire. -- Emplacements, caves and trenches destroyed by direct hits. Area covered.||9600||Indirect||55||25 AP|
|1632-1646||200I||Two heavy emplacements destroyed by direct hits. Firing was tried with AP but ricochet resulted.||7300||Indirect||2||11||1 AP|
|1654-1656||198D||Blockhouses set flush with ground reported by HQ Landing Force. -- Two revetments observed and destroyed by 2 direct hits and 2 near hits.||5500||Indirect||2||5||AP|
|1721-1725||217G||Two rocket launchers in large round open emplacements. -- Destroyed by 2 direct hits.
NOTE: All HC fired with 15% inst. fuzes and 85% steel nose plugs.
|26 February 1945|
|0730-0740||216L||Gun firing from area of canyons and caves. -- Area neutralized. No activity apparent after firing.||7600||Indirect||6||HC|
|0743-0750||215T||Firing (possibly Mortars) silenced, Personnel flushed in area were then fired on with 5" air bursts.||6960||Indirect||7||HC|
|0800-0816||233XY||Pillbox-King hour preparation fire. -- Area completely covered by own and two batteries firing into area. All of own salvos landed in area.||10,250||25||HC|
|0910-0920||233T||One hit on small blockhouse and two on a large blockhouse. Smoke and fire started in latter.||10550||3||12||HC|
From - To
Description and Damage
|1240-1246||---||Enemy gun firing -- silenced||2820||Direct||68||Mk 18|
|1247-1252||184F||Enemy installations -- No observation||2820||Indirect||72||Mk 18|
|1253-1259||183H||Guns firing -- Destroyed.||2820||Direct||64||Mk 18|
|Gun Positions -- No Obser.||2850||Indirect||216||Mk 18|
|1440-1445||183H||Guns firing -- Silenced.||2660||Direct||40||Mk 18|
|1506-1533||184R||Enemy Installations -- No Obser.||3400||Indirect||100||Mk 18|
|1529-1532||184E||Guns firing -- Silenced.||3000||Direct||10||Mk 18|
|1608-1611||184M||AA Gun Positions -- Silenced.||4050||Indirect||20||Mk 18|
|1620-1648||184F||Install., Mortar Posit. -- Damaged.||3720||Indirect||82||Mk 18|
|1750-1755||---||Guns firing -- Silenced.||4250||Direct||8||Mk 18|
|20 February 1945|
|0738-0742||184I||Enemy Installations. -- No Obser.||2650||Indirect||8||Mk 18|
|0747-0754||184F||Pillbox or Blockhouse. -- No Obser.||2900||Indirect||22||Mk 18|
|0807-0921||184P||Enemy emplacements. -- Well covered.||3500||Indirect||186||Mk 18|
|0817-0825||184M||Installations and tanks. -- Several direct hits.||3400||Direct||54||Mk 18|
|0827-0844||184P||Installations. -- No Obser.||3250||Direct||30||Mk 18|
|0905-0916||184P||Blockhouse. Destroyed.||2560||Direct||24||Mk 18|
|1017-1025||235F||Caves filled with Japs. Well covered.||5800||Indirect||52||Mk 18|
|1031-1038||202M||Gun emplacement -- Destroyed.||5900||Indirect||75||Mk 18|
|1040-1047||202M||Caves -- Many salvos into mouth.||5860||Indirect||28||Mk 18|
|1059-1113||202M||caves & Gun emplacements. Damaged.||6550||Indirect||92||Mk 18|
|1358-1419||219L||Caves and Guns -- Damaged.||8550||Indirect||99||Mk 18|
|Gun emplacements -- Several hits, 1 wiped out.||8500||Indirect||68||Mk 18|
|21 February 1945|
|5-10 gun emplacements -- 1 knocked out, silenced. Troops -- Well covered. Supplies & buildings set afire.||8500||Indirect||580||Mk 18|
|1015-1029||234M||Caves -- Damaged.||9450||Indirect||6||Mk 18|
|1047-1112||210X||AA Gun position -- Silenced.||8300||Direct||80||Mk 18|
|1119-1144||234K||Enemy Installations -- Damaged.||11,000||Indirect||98||Mk 18|
|1425-1444||218O||AA Guns -- Silenced. Underground entrance covered.||8100||Indirect||110||Mk 18|
|1445-1510||218X||Enemy installation -- No Obser.||9500||Indirect||44||Mk 18|
|1637-1653||251Q||Houses & Caves entrances||12,200||Indirect||34||Mk 18|
|22 February 1945|
|1001-1013||235B||Stone blockhouse -- Many near misses.||9850||Indirect||6
|1059-1121||218G||Brick building -- Damaged.||9900||Indirect||42
|23 February 1945|
|0836-0901||219L||Camouflaged pits and gun positions -- Destroyed.||7900||Indirect||129||Mk 18|
|0933-1008||235F||Buildings -- Damaged.||10,300||Indirect||52
|1031-1042||235G||Buildings & Vehicles -- Two good fires started.||9900||Indirect||52
|1108-1121||219K||Vehicles -- Destroyed truck 4 large guns -- area well covered||8600||Indirect||62
|1125-1136||235G||Mobile equipment -- 2 truck destroyed. Buildings -- 4 fires started.||9800||Indirect||28
|1141-1152||201Y||Troops -- dispersed||8400||Direct||4||Mk 18|
|1316-1326||219H||Battery in cave position and covered area. -- Hit.||8350||Indirect||46||Mk 18|
|1347-1357||236U||Pillboxes & Gun emplacements -- Pillboxes hit and gun destroyed.||8400||Indirect||28
|1422-1435||235I||Large camouflaged blockhouse -- Many direct hits, damaged.||8750||Indirect||8
|1504-1520||236U||Houses and blockhouse -- Buildings hit and set afire, 3 hits on blockhouses.||7620||Indirect||
|23-24 February 1945 (Night)|
|Harassing and interdiction fire at road junctions.||8000(AV)||Indirect||250||Mk 18|
|24 February 1945|
|1116-1125||233X||Guns firing -- Silenced.||8400||Indirect||20||Mk 18|
|1151-1221||234U||Trucks, houses -- Truck and half-track destroyed.||7750||Indirect||82
|1259-1316||233RS||Gun emplacement, house -- 12 direct hits, destroyed||6000||Direct||12||82||Mk 18|
|1441-1456||217X||Gun emplacement -- Destroyed.||6550||Direct||72||Mk 18|
|1603-1616||217P||Gun emplacement, troops -- No observation.||7700||Direct||8||Mk 18|
|1643-1736||234E||Buildings, pillboxes, revetments. 2 houses holed and fired, 6 direct hits on pillboxes, revet. covered.||8350||Indirect||6||117||Mk 18|
|25 February 1945|
|0959-1045||233T||Emplacements, truck, houses -- hit 2 trucks, houses set afire, emplacements hit, direct hit with WP||10,000||Indirect||
|1047-1114||234D||Wooded area, houses -- Small houses set afire, big ones hit and fired with WP, many hits in area.||7000||Indirect||24
|1121-1135||234D||Caves -- Well covered||7720||Indirect||46||Mk 18|
|1322-1330||217R||Gun position -- Gun Silenced and area covered nicely.||6860||Indirect||64||Mk 18|
|1340-1349||216S||Gun firing -- direct hits -- Silenced.||6400||Indirect||80||Mk 18|
|1358-1414||233J||Troop concentration and enemy installations -- Installations fired, Troops shot and burned.||7000||Indirect||15
|1428-1443||233J||Buildings and trucks -- Many direct hits on buildings, near misses on truck.||7200||Indirect||78||Mk 18|
|1453-1507||216G||Reinforced gun emplacement on cliff, nearby gun position. 3 direct hits on emplacements, 2 hits on positions.||6400||Indirect||5||80||Mk 18|
|1533-1603||200I||Reinforced blockhouse, pillbox -- 2 direct hits on blockhouse, many on pillbox.||7400||Indirect||
|1652-1719||216K||Gun emplacement, pillboxes. -- Direct hit on emplacement, 2 hits on 1 pillbox, several on another.||5910||Indirect||
|1730-1754||217G||2 rocket launchers, 3 gun emplacements -- 2 direct hits on R.L.'s 3 con guns, many near misses.||7450||Indirect||5||102||Mk 18|
|26 February 1945|
|0754-0803||215T||Troop sin slit trenches. -- Destroyed with air bursts.||6900||Indirect||22||Mk 18|
|0939-1022||215T||Installations, gun emplacements, trenches. -- Emplacements "chewed up" and trenches opened up.||6870||Indirect||114||Mk 18|
|27 February 1945|
|Gun flashes observed. Believed to be guns that were firing at USS Bryant (DD665) if 6 inch caliber. Guns were silenced and area kept under observation for several hours.||7900||Direct||94||Mk 18|
|28 February 1945 (Night)|
|Harassing interdiction at road intersection. -- Area illuminated intermittently. Gun firing at front line positions taken under fire at request of SFCP and destroyed. Some air burst used.||6500(AV)||Indirect||277
|1 March 1945|
|0801-0830||233UVXY||Pre-king hour area neutralization . -- Area thoroughly covered.||10,000||Indirect||80||Mk 18|
|0904-0935||233Y||Blockhouses, vehicle bivouac area, trenches -- all targets hit repeatedly and damaged, direct hit on stores. 6-7 vehicles destroyed.||10,450||Indirect||72||Mk 18|
|1040-1045||216GH||Assisted in silencing battery firing at AK.||8850||6||Mk 18|
From - To
Description and Damage
|1315-1325||167A||Gun firing -- Silenced||2000||Direct||411||HET|
|20 February 1945|
|Appeared to be a gun emplacement -- Well covered.||2550||Direct||168||HET/td>|
Location of ship (area) Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, U.S.S. West Virginia.
Zone Time 1922, Z.D., (-)10 Date 21 February 1945.
2. Method picking plane up (Radar, binoculars, naked eye) Radar
3. Range plane was picked up (50, 30, 10, less than 5 miles) 32,000 yards
4. Total number of planes observed one radar pip Type - - -
5. Number of planes attacking own ship One Type - - -
6. Number of planes taken under fire by own ship One
(a) Of those attacking own ship one Type - - -
(b) Others Type -- - -
7. Speed and altitude of approach in knots and feet 4500 feet 165 knots
8. Number of guns firing -- by caliber 4 - 5"/38 cal. guns
9. Ammunition expended -- by caliber 16 rounds 5"
10. Percent service allowance expended .26%
11. Method of control Mk 37 director Method of Spotting no spots made
12. Approximate time-tracking to first shot 90 seconds
13. Approximate time of first hits No hits observed
14. Approximate time first shot to last shot 25 seconds
15. Approximate position angel open fire 9°
16. Approximate position angel cease fire 8 °
17. Approximate bearing first shot 020°
18. Approximate bearing last shot 000°
19. Approximate range first shot 9500 yards Altitude of plane 4500 feet
20. Approximate minimum range aircraft approached 9000 yards Altitude 4500 feet
21. Approximate range last shot 11,000 yards Altitude of plane 4500 feet
22. Approximate altitude of bomb release - - - Size of bomb - - -
23. Approximate range torpedo release - - - Size of torpedo - - -
24. Number hits on ship by bombs
- - -
- - -
Was ship strafed? - - - Size gun - - -
25. Number of near bomb misses damaging ship
26. Planes shot down:
(By own ship
|(a)||These attacking own ship|
|(b)||By other aircraft|
27. Best estimate of size gun or guns responsible for each "SURE" - - -
28. Performance of ammunition (excellent, good, bad, poor) Good
29. What failures in material occurred in this action? The breech block of the left gun of 5" mount 3 failed to close completely on the 6th round, because of an oversize cartridge case.
30. Sketch: (a) Indicate direction of attack relative ship's head.
(b)Show relative position of sun.
(c) Indicate own maneuvers.
At approximately 1920, the SK radar picked up a bogey, bearing about 060° relative, range approximately 20 miles. This contact was transferred to the fire control radar of 5" director No. 3, and the bogey was tracked in by the director from 32,000 yards. Fire was opened with the two forward starboard side 5" mounts at a range of about 9,500 yards, relative bearing 020°. Fire was ceased when the bearing reached 000° relative, as the range was rapidly opening, and the mounts could no longer bear.