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SERIAL 030 20 January 1945
ACTION REPORT COVERING AIR ATTACK ON TASK UNIT 78.1.3 - 7 JANUARY 1945
COVERS ANTI-AIRCRAFT ACTION WHILE EN ROUTE LINGAYEN GULF IN TASK UNIT 78.1.3
OFFICE OF NAVAL RECORDS AND LIBRARY
USS LST 125
FLEET POST OFFICE
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
From: The Commanding Officer
To: The Commander in Chief, United States Fleet
Via: (1) The Commander Task Unit 78.1.3
(2) The Commander Task Group 78.1 and The Commander Seventh Amphibious Force
(3) The Commander Seventh Fleet
Subject: Action Report Covering Air Attack on Task Unit 78.1.3, 7 January 1945
Enclosures: (A) Special Anti-Aircraft Action by Surface Ships form
1. On 7 January 1945 in latitude 13 Degrees - 31' N, longitude 119 Degrees - 40 E, Task Unit 78.1.3 comprising the LST's of the San Fabian Attack Force was attacked by one enemy plane. The cruising formation was five columns of LST's in column open order at standard interval of 1000 yards and distance 500 yards. Base course 325 Degrees T; standard speed 8 knots.
At 1810 "Flash Red" was received by high frequency voice radio from CTU 78.1.3 *USS LST 466). This vessel was already at General Quarters as all guns were constantly armed during daylight hours in this phase of the operation. At 1817 intense anti-aircraft fire was observed off the port bow of the formation discharged by the Cruisers and Destroyers of the Close Covering Group.
All gun stations were cautioned and told to keep a good lookout. Surveillance on the port side was especially emphasized. The sun at this time was at such an elevation as to afford excellent cover for attacking aircraft. At 1822 aircraft were observed at 270 Degrees Relative, position angle 20 Degrees, proceeding on a course opposite to that of this unit. These aircraft were too far away to identify. Due to scattered clouds at low altitude it was possible for aircraft to approach the formation to close range before they could be visually identified.
At 1826 one Japanese plane dropped out of a cloud bearing 185 Degrees R at position angle 30 Degrees and headed directly for the stern of column two. Passing to port of the last PCE in column, it dropped two bombs over the USS LST 486. Both bombs hit the water close aboard to port of the USS LST 486. The plane passed over the USS LST 486, somewhat to starboard of this vessel and headed directly for the stern of this vessel at an elevation of about 150 feet. The USS LST 486 had the plane under fire at this time and this vessel opened fire simultaneously as the plane released its bombs.
I believed it would crash us but it banked to the right and crashed in the water 200 yards off our starboard bow. It showed.visible signs of damage before it hit the water, but there was no wreckage as it submerged immediately upon crashing. At the time of the attack all ships of the formation were in line of bearing preparing to execute column right to 350 Degrees T. There were no evasive maneuvers or speed changes because of the sudden appearance and speed (estimated at 300 mph) of the attacking plane.
2. No high frequency voice messages were received other than the "Flash Red" mentioned above. No other attacks occured upon this vessel. "Flash White" was received from CTU 78.1.3 at 1840.
3. All guns in action during this attack operated normally except number 21 20 mm on the fantial which jammed after firing six rounds and which was not fired again during this attack. Numbers 20, 22 and 23 20mm guns on the fantail all expended full magazines. Number 18 40mm gun on the port quarter fired five rounds and number 24 40mm in the after gun tub fired nine rounds. Just before the plane crashed numbers two and three 20mm guns on the foc'sle fired nine and fifteen rounds respectively. Total ammunition expended was 195 rounds of 20mm and 14 rounds of 40mm. It was my observation that the 20mm fire from the fantail of this vessel was making direct hits.
4. This vessel received no damage.
5. The performance of personnel, especially those firing, was very satisfactory. There were six personnel casualties, all minor shrapnel wounds which resulted from the explosion of a 20mm shell on the boom of the Crawler Crane located just aft of the starboard booby hatch. It is believed that this shell was of the fire of the LST's in the starboard column.
6. All departments aboard functioned in a satisfactory manner
C. S. V. Moore,