|USS WEST VIRGINIA||BB 48|
|SERIAL 0666||1 NOVEMBER 1944|
18 TO 24 OCTOBER 1944.
|COVERS BOMBARDMENT IN SUPPORT OF LANDINGS BY TASK FORCE 78 IN SAN RICARDO-PALO-TACLOBAN AREA, IN TASK UNIT 77.2.1.|
|U.S.S. West Virginia (BB48)
c/o Fleet Post Office,
San Francisco, California.
|1 November 1944.|
|To:||Commander in Chief, United States Fleet.|
|Via:||(1) Commander Battleship Division FOUR.|
(2) Commander Battleship Division THREE (Commander Battle Line).
(3) Commander Cruiser Division FOUR (Officer in Tactical Command) (Commander Task Group 77.2).
(5) Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
|Subject:||U.S.S. West Virginia -- Report of Fire Support; LEYTE Island Operation -- 18 to 24 October 1944.|
|References:||(a) Article 712, U.S. Navy Regulations.|
(b) CincPac Letter 2CL-44.
(c) CTG 77.2 Secret Operation Plan 2-44.
|Enclosures:||(A) Chronological Record of Events.|
(B) Comments by Commanding and Gunnery Officers.
(C) Statistical Record of Fires.
(D) Schedule of Bombardment.
cc: Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet (Advance copy)
CincPac (Advance copy)
ComGen 24th Corps APO 235 San Francisco, Calif.
|19 October 1944.|
|0600||-||Steaming into LEYTE Gulf. Numerous contacts have been reported during the night, all proving to be friendly.|
|0700||-||Approximately 18 miles from bombardment station.|
|0746||-||Launched planes for gunnery observation.|
Weather not clear, but visibility good. Ceiling about 5000 feet.
|0807||-||GENERAL QUARTERS sounded.|
|0818||-||Ship reported to be in condition ZEBRA, all battle stations manned and ready. About 8 miles from bombardment station. Speed 10 knots.|
|0907||-||On bombardment station, all engines stopped.|
|0910||-||Commenced firing, both Main and Secondary Batteries. Target for Main Battery was the Tacloban Air Strip. Target for Secondary Battery was a road intersection south of the Tacloban Air Strip. Distance to target about 7500 yards. Main Battery using HC reduced charge ammunition and Secondary Battery using AA Common Mk 18 Fuse. Firing to port. Target areas were shifted approximately every half hour. Heavy concentrated fire was directed at the White Beach Area, as a message was received stating that enemy defenses were very deep in that area and needed some special attention. No enemy aircraft sighted.|
|1100||-||Air strike in progress over target area.|
|1120||-||Gunfire from Jap positions on White Beach falling around UDT boats.|
|1207||-||Eleven Jap bombers and 12 fighters reported to south of us, distance about 70 miles. Escort carrier planes broke up this formation and the Japs turned back.|
|1212||-||Air flash RED.|
|1214||-||Air flash BLUE.|
|1215||-||Planes recovered, refueled, and sent back to gunnery observation stations.|
|1215||-||Three casualties from UDT boat were brought aboard for medical attention.|
Three sixteen inch salvos directed at DIO Island, from which enemy gunfire was observed. Direct hits.
|1500||-||UDT's going in to White Beach.|
|1553||-||Air contacts reported intermittently.|
|1600||-||Ceased firing. Planes recovered.|
|1600||-||Underway to moved out of the San Pedro Bay area. To rendezvous with Task Group 77.2 U.S.S. Welles as screen.|
278 rounds of 16" and 1586 rounds of 5"/38 were expended in the bombardment.
|1900||-||Unidentified contacts reports.|
During the night several contacts made, all proving friendly or false.
This is a day.
|20 October 1944.|
|0100||-||Proceeding inside Leyte Gulf to bombardment station.|
|0545||-||One type "OSCAR" attacked and was fired on.|
|0613||-||Opened fire on an enemy plane, identified as a "VAL", bearing 060°T. No hits.|
|0642||-||Launched planes for gunnery observation.|
|0700||-||On bombardment station. Commenced bombardment with Main and Secondary Batteries. Target White Beach Area.|
|1000||-||Troops began landing on White and Red beaches, with little opposition. Standing by for call fire.|
|1831||-||Air flash RED, Smoke screen being laid down in Southern area.|
|1845||-||Opened fire on enemy plane. No hits scored. Type "Unidentified."|
|1920||-||Air is clear.|
|1925||-||Anchored in San Pedro Bay.|
Gunnery Officer's Comments and Recommendations on the Bombardment of Leyte Island from 18 to 24 October 1944.
It was difficult for the gunnery department to properly prepare for this bombardment due to the inadequate supply of information. There were insufficient copies of bombardment and fire support plans and grid charts for the necessary officers. All Officers and a majority of the enlisted personnel were briefed a day or so before A-2 Day, and drills were held on the procedure for counter battery fire. Radar operators were especially instructed in prominent radar objects to be used.