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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive
A BRIEF HISTORY OF USS LCS(L) (3)-8
The USS LCS (L)(3) #8 was commissioned on 31 August 1944 at George Lawley and Sons Shipyards, Neponset, Massachusetts.
The following officers reported aboard for duty as assigned:
Lt.(jg) Bert R. Durkee, D-V(S) USNR, Commanding officer
Ens. Sammie J. Harris, D-V(G) USNR, Executive officer
Ens. James W. Kronenberger, D-V(G) USNR, Gunnery officer
Ens. Robert E. Zwick, E-V(G) USNR, Engineering officer
Ens. Bobby N. Herr, D-V(G) USNR, Communication officer
Ens. Harold W. Stoddart, Jr., D-V(G) USNR, First lieutenant
The ship left Boston on 7 September 1944 for Solomons, MD, arriving on 9 September. After a one-week shakedown cruise in the Chesapeake Bay, Ens. Royal T. Daniel, Jr., USN, reported aboard to relieve Lt.(jg) Bert R. Durkee as commanding officer. The ship completed her shakedown cruise on 20 September and had post shakedown availability at Lamberts Point, Norfolk, VA. Availability was completed on 3 October.
In company with LCS (L) 7, the ship departed from Norfolk, VA for the southwest Pacific area. The following ports were visited enroute: Key West, FL – arrived 7
October and departed 11 October; Coco Solo, Panama – arrived 15 October and
departed 17 October; Galapagos Islands – arrived 21 October and departed 21
October; Bora Bora, Society Islands – arrived 4 November and departed 6
November; and Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides – arrived 15 November and departed
The LCS 8 arrived at Manus Island on
27 November and remained there until 27 December, when orders were received to
proceed to Hollandia, New Guinea, to join Commander LCS Flotilla ONE for
duty. Eleven days were spent at
Hollandia staging for the pending operations on Luzon, in which LCS Flotilla
ONE was due to participate.
On 8 January 1945 the ship departed
from Hollandia, in convoy, for San Pedro Bay, Leyte, Philippine Islands. Upon arrival at Leyte on 15 January the ship
reported to Commander Task Group 78.3 for duty.
Our first combat assignment was to
participate in the Zambales area landings, scheduled for 29 January. We were part of the close fire support
group, Task Unit 78.3.8, commanded by Commander LCS Flotilla ONE. The ship departed from Leyte on 25 January with the other ships in the attack force. At 0605 on 29 January, attack unit 78.3.8, consisting of 3 PCs, 4 SCs, 6 LCI (R)s and 6 LCSs, with other units of TG 78.3, arrived at the rendezvous
area. The primary mission was to precede the first assault wave and provide close inshore fire support for it
and the following waves. The ship took position at H-hour minus 60, 200 yards inshore from the line of departure. At H-hour, the LCS 8, in company with the rest of the task unit, led the first assault waves to the beach. Fire was withheld in compliance with orders of CTG 78.3. No enemy activity were encountered and the operation proceeded without incident. The 8 was then ordered by CTG 78.3 to proceed independently and investigate enemy activity in Salinguin Bay and Nagasa Bay. No enemy activity was observed and the ship returned to the beaching area and reported to CTG 78.3. The ship was then assigned screening duty in the area south of the beaching area for the night.
TU 78.3.8 departed from the area at 0400 on 30 January for Subic Bay. This
task unit was made up of 1 PC, 4 LCI (R)s and 6 LCSs. Together with other ships of the task group, we arrived in the rendezvous area at 0815 on 30 January. The primary mission of the unit was to lead the assault waves to the beach on Grande Island, guarding the mouth of Subic Bay, and to furnish
close-in fire support. The ship took position at 1000, a thousand yards from the beach, and preceded the assault waves to the beaching area. We withheld our fire, having been previously instructed to do so. No enemy activity was encountered and the operation proceeded without incident. The next few
days were spent in routine work such as minor patrol and smoke screen
Our rest was ended on 14 February when
task unit 78.3.8, consisting of 2 PCs, 6 LCI (R)s and 6 LCS (L)s, in company
with other units of TG 78.3, arrived at the rendezvous area outside Mariveles
Bay. At 0800, preparatory to launching
an amphibious assault on the Mariveles Bay area, our unit was given the task of
providing close inshore fire support on both flanks of the boat lane. After preliminary shelling by Destroyers,
and high level bombing by B-24 Liberators, this unit proceeded into the bay
along the left flank of the boat lane. Opening fire with all guns and rockets, we strafed the left flanks of
the harbor area. No enemy activity was
observed in our area. At 1100 we
proceeded to patrol the entrance of Mariveles Bay with the LCS (L) 26, on
orders of CTU 78.3.8.
Prior to sunset we took position in
screen and anchored in line with four other LCS (L)s between Gorda Point and
Cockines Point, our ship being anchored 500 yards off Gorda Point with the
other stations occupied respectively by the LCS(L)s 7, 49, 27 and 26. All ships were ordered to stand a strict
condition II watch. The situation
remained normal until 0310 on 16 February when General Quarters was
sounded. Two LCS(L)s were seen afire
(caused by explosions). One was known
to be the LCS(L) 7 and the other believed to be the LCS(L) 26. Men and officers on watch claimed to have
seen the LCS(L) 49 explode and sink within 30 seconds; the 26 sank prior to the
time our battle stations were fully manned. At 0315 our radar picked up a small target bearing 240 relative, range 600 yards. All guns were fired into the water in that area and several men
claimed to have seen an explosion, but no known target was authentically
observed.At 0320 our ship was
underway, making tight circles in our own anchorage area.
At 0330 another target was picked up
by radar, bearing 110º relative, range 700 yards. All guns were fired into that area, but no results were observed
except that the target disappeared from the radar screen. At 0345 the LCS(L) 7 rolled over on its port
side and sank. Its engines were
observed to be running. We later picked
up from the water one survivor off the LCS(L) 7, and a PT boat transferred 5
more men to us from the ill-fated 7. At
0600, on orders from CTU 78.3.8, we followed the LCS(L) 48 out of the harbor,
returning at 0640 to find that the LCS(L)s 7, 26 and 49 had been sunk and the
27 beached and badly damaged.
The remainder of TU 78.3.8 was
organized into a close fire support force for the landing on Corregidor. Commencing at 0900 on the morning of
February 16th we started our primary mission of providing close-in fire support
for the assault waves. During the
landing of the first waves on the beach, the LCI(R)s were badly damaged by
enemy fire from the beach, and had to be withdrawn.
The LCS(L)s 8 and 48 were left to
support the incoming boat waves. The
enemy used controlled mines, machine guns and artillery fire to oppose the
landing. Definite targets were taken
under fire by our ship and all were silenced before our troops hit the
beach. During the landing we were
forced to withdraw several times to let the guns cool. We received no casualties during the
operation but the men were very tired and nervous after their close escape the
night before and the day-long firing into Corregidor after the Mariveles
attack, with no rest between. At 1430
our mission was completed and we returned to Mariveles and thence to Subic Bay.
The next week was spent having liberty
on Grande Island in Subic Bay. It was a
very welcome respite for all hands. Our
rest ended when we were ordered on 24 February to join the Manila-San Bernadino
Straits mine sweeping operation, consisting of TU 78.9.4, made up of 1
Destroyer Escort, 2 LCS(L)s and 1 LCI(FF); and TU 78.9.1, consisting of 1 AM
(Minesweeper) and 15 YMSs (Auxiliary minesweeper), which was assigned the task
of sweeping the destroying mines from the aforementioned areas.
On 24 February we entered Manila Bay at
0900. The sweeping proceeded without
incident; one floating mine and several floating oil drums were sunk. At night, we cleared the area and cruised
outside the harbor. The next morning we
entered the bay and resumed sweeping the harbor area. Several native boats in the area were investigated, but only one
was found to contain Japanese. At 1350
we destroyed a Jap barge containing 6 or 7 Japs. Several Jap suicide swimmers were observed in the area, and
several attempts were made on ships of our unit. The sweeping operations carried us to within 2 miles of the
Manila breakwater. No important enemy
activity was observed, although fires and explosions were noted in the old
walled city of Manila. We returned to
Subic Bay at sunset, with the Manila Bay operation completed.
The San Bernadino operation began on
27 February. We proceeded with TU
78.9.4 on sweeps through the straits.
No mines were encountered and no enemy activity was noted. This operation was completed at 0830 on 1
March 1945, at which time the LCS(L)s 8 and 48 were detached.
The 8 and 48 then proceeded to
Catbologan, Samar, to report to the Burias and Ticao attack group. We then joined task unit 78.9.10, and the
LCS(L) 8 was assigned to the Ticao landing.
We departed for Ticao at 1830 in company with the LSM 316. Several native boats were intercepted
enroute to the landing beach, but all proved to be friendly. We arrived off San Fernando, Ticao, at 0615
on 3 March and were guided into the beach by fires lit by the natives. The troops disembarked by the LSM 316 met no
enemy opposition. We remained in the
beaching area during the daylight hours and patrolled in the vicinity of San
Fernando at night.
On 5 March we proceeded to Bulon Cove,
Luzon to pick up 5 wounded guerrillas for transport to San Fernando. On
6 March we departed from Ticao for Allen, Samar, to pick up guerrilla troops
for transportation back to Leyte. The
troops were embarked on the LSM and the trip was made without incident. We stopped off, in company with the LCS(L)
48, at Catbologan Bay. Both ships
anchored in the outer harbor waiting for the return of the LSM from Leyte. At 2230 we destroyed a small boat that
ignored warning shots and kept approaching our ship.
On 10 March we got underway with LSM
217 for Ticao. The next morning the LSM
withdrew the remainder of our troops from the island. We were then detached from TU 78.9.10 and with the LCS 48
returned to Subic Bay. The 8 was idle for the rest of the
month, during which time minor repairs were accomplished.
On the morning of 1 April we arrived
at Legaspi, Luzon, Philippine Islands.
This operation was to be carried out by TU 78.4.2, consisting of 2
LCS(L)s, 2 SCs, 1 LCI(L) and 1 LCI(R).
The primary mission of the force was to affect a landing at the town of
Legaspi. Our ship was assigned to
accompany TU 78.4.7 (minesweeping unit) into Albay Gulf and Legaspi Harbor as
fire support for the unit, and later to provide support and counter-battery for
the assault waves in the landing operation.
The sweeping of Albay Gulf and outer
Legaspi Harbor proceeded without incident.
At 0630 we accompanied two LCVPs, which were to sweep inner Legaspi
Harbor and clear the boat lanes. During
this phase we approached within 350 yards of the beach and at 0845 drew fire
from the beaching area. Three near
misses struck simultaneously about fifty feet off our starboard side. We returned fire with all guns and succeeded
in silencing the enemy battery, which was evidenced by two heavy explosions in
the target area. The explosions from
the near misses opened seams in our side, but not to a dangerous degree.
Following this phase of the operation,
and preliminary air bombardment, we shelled and strafed the beach in our
assigned area. The landing proceeded
without further incident. At 1135, with
our primary mission accomplished, we were detached from the task unit 78.4.2
and assigned, along with LCS(L) 48, to accompany TU 78.4.7 in minesweeping
operations in the San Bernadino Straits area.
We were engaged in this operation until 1730 on 3 April, at which time
we were detached and ordered to proceed to Leyte to report to CTG 78.3.
On 7 April the 8 was ordered to escort
a convoy to Iloilo, Panay, by CTG 78.3.
We departed from Leyte that day and arrived at Iloilo at 0900 on 9
April. Upon arrival the 8 and 48 were
ordered to Cebu, where we reported to CTU 78.3.3 for duty. On 11 April we were assigned as escort for a
convoy returning to Leyte.
We had availability at Leyte for minor
repairs. Upon completion of the repairs
we were assigned to TU 78.1.5, which was to report to Zamboanga and thence to
Tarakan, Borneo. We departed on 22
April 1945 and arrived off Tarakan on 27 April and were assigned to TU
78.1.31. Our mission was to support
minesweeping operations on Peter (invasion) Day -4, -3, -2 and -1, by gunfire
and mine destruction. In addition we
were assigned to support the minor landing on Sadau Island, and the obstacle
demolition operation of Peter Day. On
Peter -4 and –3 we were anchored in assigned station as navigational market to
the minesweeping units. On Peter –2 we accompanied the minesweeping unit into
Tarakan Harbor. During the operation we
exploded 3 mines by gunfire.
At 1315, LCVPs engaged in close inshore
sweeping were fired upon and requested our aid. We immediately proceeded to the beach area, shelling and strafing
with all guns. No further fire was
observed from the area. At 1415 we
destroyed two enemy anti-aircraft open emplacements, believed to be of
three-inch caliber. Two more suspected
AA emplacements were shelled, but no results could be observed. On Peter –1 we entered the objective area as
standby fire support for demolition units, but we did not take part in the
actual operation. At 0700 on Peter Day
we took assigned station with the ships of TU 78.1.3, proceeding with the
assault boat waves. At 0800 we opened
fire on our assigned target area, firing all guns and rockets. At 0815 we ceased firing and stood by to
permit passage of boat waves. Sporadic
automatic weapons fire was the only enemy activity noted and the operation was
completed as planned.
At 1630 we got underway, in accordance
with orders from the Task Unit Commander, to destroy a small boat. The boat was intercepted and returned to the
task group commander for inspection.
During the night we were anchored on our assigned radar picket station
and no incidents occurred. On 2 May we
were ordered by the task unit commander to proceed north to Tarakan Island to
support the minesweeping unit. Enroute
we intercepted a Jap speed boat and destroyed it by gunfire. After joining the minesweeping unit, we were
ordered to anchor on the outer edge of an influence mine field. At 1530 the minesweepers were taken under
artillery fire from the beach. We went
to general quarters and took the gun position under fire. After getting underway we closed the target
at flank speed in order the get in 40MM range.
As we closed their position the Jap gun shifted fire from the YMSs to
the LCS(L)s 8 and 28. When we were 1800
yards away from the enemy position the YMSs had cleared the area and we were
ordered to retire. Because of the
aforementioned gun battle 1 YMS was sunk and 3 received direct hits. After retiring from the target area we were
ordered to proceed back to Tarakan Harbor.
The next few days were spent on picket station without incident.
On 10 May our ship was engaged in the salvaging of an LST off the
beach. The first LST was retracted
without difficulty on the morning of 11 May.
That night we went alongside another LST in order to assist in
retracting it the next morning. In the
retracting process the next morning both our screws were damaged. We anchored after clearing the beach on
orders of the Task Unit Commander. On 13 May 1945, we were taken in tow by a
fleet tug, which took us to Morotai, arriving on 16 May.
We were assigned to TU 78.2.32 on 20
June. This unit was scheduled to
participate in the coming Balikpapan operation. We arrived in the objective area with the close support unit on
24 June, under temporary orders to work with CTU 78.2.93, supporting underwater
demolition operations prior to F-day.
On 25 June we started our work between 0730 and 0930 by supporting the
demolition teams, which worked on the alternate beach area. The only enemy activity noted was sporadic
small arms fire, which was silenced by the strafing of the support ships. At 2020 that night Japanese “Betty” bombers attacked
shipping in our immediate area. We took
one plane under fire as it passed over our fantail, but results could not be
On 26 June at 0625 we again took
station in the alternate beach area in support of underwater demolition. Enemy small arms fire was again noted coming
from the beach, but effective strafing prevented interference with our
On 28 June at 0730 we shifted to the
main landing area with the demolition teams.
A torpex mine field guarded the beaching area. One exploratory sweep had been made by our minesweeps through
this field, resulting in considerable loss of our minesweeps. The operation had to continue on schedule,
so it was decided to send LCS(L)s through the field with the benefit of radar
plotting from a DD. We cut our speed to
four knots due to the strong possibility that the torpex mines would be set off
by too great a vibration from our engines.
This was accomplished successfully and we anchored in the field 1700
yards from the beach. Automatic weapons
fire was observed coming from the beach, and the small boats carrying the
demolition teams were taken under enemy fire.
We opened fire, strafing and shelling the suspected area, and operations
proceeded as planned.
At 0945 several near misses were observed
on the starboard flank of the LCS(L) support line. At 1015 our ship was taken directly under fire by an enemy
battery and at 1020 we were hit through the base of the conn on the portside,
resulting in shrapnel wounds to one officer and two men. Skillful evasive action by our commanding
officer was immediately employed and return fire was directed at the enemy
battery, while the wounded were being attended to. The enemy battery ceased fire soon thereafter and we resumed our
station. At 1045 we were again taken
directly under fire by the same battery.
Again evasive maneuvers were employed, but the enemy succeeded in
hitting us on the starboard side below the water line, after several near
misses. This hit knocked out our #1
generator, and the live shell remained lodged in the generator’s base. Effective damage control measures were
immediately employed to keep the ship in its assigned station. At about the same time a third hit was taken
through the port flag bag. At 1050 we
withdrew, with other ships of the unit, under sporadic fire from the same
battery. The operation was successfully
concluded for the day and no casualties were suffered by the demolition team.
On 1 July we reported to CTU 78.2.8
and were ordered to stand by on call for the F-day landing. At 0810, while proceeding with other ships
of our unit to a new anchorage area, we were taken under fire and were forced
to move to a new anchorage. At 1855, on
orders from CTU 78.2.8, we took position in our assigned screening station off
the main beach and anchored for the night.
We cleared the beaching area each day and returned each night to our
screening station. Except for an
occasional shell burst in the water from Jap artillery, things were quiet on
On the night of 3 July, radar picked
up a fast-moving target closing our ship.
General quarters was sounded and a boat was taken under fire when it
came into 40MM range. Due to the shortage
of star shells, we were able to
illuminate the target for only a few seconds.
The boat closed our ship to 1100 yards before our 40MM fire stopped it.
On the afternoon of the 4th
of July we departed from Balikpapan for Morotai. As a result of our part in this operation a Silver Star was
awarded to the Electrician’s Mate who applied damage control measures after the
live shell lodged in the #1 generator.
The Bronze Star was awarded our Commanding Officer for his brilliant
ship handling under point-blank enemy fire.
Four Purple Hearts were also awarded for wounds received in action.
We received emergency repairs and a
well-needed rest at Morotai, where we remained until 23 July. We then departed for Subic Bay. Upon our arrival we were assigned by Commander
LCS Flotilla ONE to train new Army personnel for the planned landing of
Japan. The war ended on 15 August and
the training program was cut short. We
were then assigned to Task Force 71, the North China occupational force.
The LCS 8’s outstanding success was
the direct result of complete coordination achieved by fine training and
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