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USS LST 125
FLEET POST OFFICE
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
28 June 1944
FROM: The Commanding Officer
TO: The Commander in chief, United Staes Fleet
Via (1) The Commander Task Group 53.16
(2) The Commander Task Froce 53
(3) The Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Area
Subject: Action Report - 17 June 1944
References: (a) Cominch ltr File FFl/A12-1/A16-3, Serial 7152, of 29 October 1943
(b) Pacific Fleet conf. ltr. #2CL-44
Enclosures: (A) Executive Officers Report
(B) Sketch of Action
(C) Assistant Gunnery Officer's Report
(D) Gunnery Officer's Report
(E) First Lieutenant's Report
(F) Damage Control Officer's Report
1. On June 15, 1944, Zone time -10, in the vicinity of latitude 13 Degrees - 24'N; 147 Degrees - 03'E, while Task Group 53.16 of which this vessel is a unit, was operating in accordance with CTF 53, operation plan A162-44, Task Group 53.17 astern on the horizon was observed to be undergoing an air attack. At 1725 ComTaskGrp 53.17 reported via voice radio that they were being attacked on the port bow by three torpedo planes. At 1730 all ships of this group went to General Quarters on signal, course 262 Degrees T, speed 6 knots. At 1731 observed two planes bearing 082 Degrees T on the horizon. The USS STEMBLE (DD644)(CTG 53.16) immediately took station astern in order to interpose between enemy aircraft and this group in case of attack. At 1742 CTG 53.17 reported via voice radio having successfully repelled torpedo attack. No attack developed on this group and we set condition III at 1807.
2. On June 16, 1944, Zone time -10, at 0402, CTG 53.16 reported bogie dead astern closing. This ship went to general quarters at 0403. At 0407 received voice message from Task Group Commander to make smoke. Some of the screening vessels at this time, astern and on the starboard beam, were observed to fire short bursts with machine guns, but no plane was observed from this vessel. The moonlight was not very bright, however, believed it possible for this group to be sihouetted to low flying planes astern. Course at this time was 082 Degrees T, speed 8 knots. The condition for making smoke seemed favorable and at the same time being blown down towards the bogie. At 0415 received order to cease making smoke; bogie faded. At 0536 set condition III.
3. Owing to before-mentioned incidents, and to the fact that bogies had been reported on several occasions since June 9th, believed an air attack on this group inevitable.
4. On June 17, 1944, Zone time -10, in the vicinity of latitude 13 Degrees - 19'N; longitude 148 Degrees - 16'E, this task group was in cruising formation #2 (see enclosure B) course 082 Degrees T, speed 8 knots. Ships were all in reverse order because of having countermarched earlier that morning. The screen had not re-oriented. At 1700 executed ships right 60 Degrees to course 142 Degrees T, as first step of nightly countermarch to 262 Degrees T. At 1745 hydraulic steering control failed and control was shifted to the auxiliary trick-wheel in the auxiliary steering control room. At 1750, CTG 53.17 reported via voice radio three unidentified planes on starboard beam, distance 25 miles. This vessel went to general quarters. On arriving on the Conn, I relieved the O.O.D. and observed three (3) planes very low about three or four miles distance on our starboard beam. The USS STEMBLE had already commenced firing with her 5" battery. Almost immediately, I observed thes!e three planes break up into two groups; Two of the planes preparing to attack on the starboard bow of the formation. One plane reversed her direction going on an opposite and parallel course to this unit. This plane changed course at about 115 Degrees Rel. and headed in directly towards this vessel or the USS LST 488 which was about 300 yards on our port quarter - this vessel being off station so that I would not hinder other vessels manoeuvering. At 1752, I gave the order to commence firing on the plane coming in at 115 Degrees Rel; The range at this time being approximately 2500 to 3000 yards as judged by the screen moving in to AA defense at 2000 yards. Three 40MM and three 20MM that could bear took this plane under fire. The plane was observed to drop a torpedo at about 2500 yards then turn off immediately towards the stern of the formation. Our fire seemed to be fairly close and I believe it responsible for turning plane off. Plane looked like "Kate". Speed see!med relatively slow, about 150 knots. The after machine-gun group continued to fire on this plane until the USS LST 488 blocked their line of fire. The Navigator, and the After Group Gunnery Control Officer observed this plane to be smoking slightly, but saw her get away astern of formation.
5. A few seconds behind this plane, the other two planes commenced their run on the starboard bow of the formation, one plane about 30 seconds behind the other and about a hundred feet higher. The forward and Midships Group of machine-guns fired as they could bear on these planes, and all guns on the port side opened fire as soon as they could bear when the planes had crossed the bow. At about 1757 observed one plane explode, after every ship in the group seemed to have it under fire. At this time USS LCI 468 was hit by a torpedo. I observed the flash and thought it was another plane exploding. At 1800 executed ships right to 202 Degrees T. At 1900 shifted steering control back to wheel house and executed ships right to 262 Degrees T. At 1915 set Condition III.
6. The following messages were received via high frequency voice radio at the approximate times as listed below;
TG 53.16 from CTG 53.16
1750 - "THREE UNIDENTIFIED PLANES ON STARBOARD BEAM."
1751 - "STAND BY TO REPEL TORPEDO ATTACK ON STARBOARD BEAM"
"THEY ARE COMING IN ON STARBOARD BEAM."
1757 - "CTG 53.16 FROM USS LCI468" "WE HAVE BEEN HIT - SIXTY FEET OF BOW HAS BEEN BLOWN OFF."
"CTG 53.16 FROM USS LST 488." "WE HAVE TWO (2) PERSONNEL CASUALTIES."
1800 - "TG 53.16 FROM CTG 53.16." "BOGIE BEARING 200 DEGREES T - DISTANCE TWENTY MILES."
1835 - "MANY AIRCRAFT BEARING 155 DEGREES T - DISTANCE SIXTY MILES."
7. All Ordnance equipment functioned very well except for #3 20MM on the starboard bow, which jammed on the second round and was not fired for rest of action. #1 40MM in the bow expended sixty-four (64) rounds of ammunition. #4 40MM on the port bow expanded thirty-two (32) rounds of ammunition; #5 40MM on the starboard bow expended seventy-four (74) rounds of ammunition; #19 40MM on the starboard quarter expended twenty (20) rounds of ammunition; #24 40MM amidships expended thirty-nine (39) rounds; #25 40MM on the fantail expended eighteen (18) rounds of ammunition - totaling two hundred eighty seven (287) rounds of 40MM ammunition expended. The total number rounds of 20 MM ammunition expended by seven guns firing was four hundred and twelve (412) rounds. .50cal. machine guns expended approximately three hundred (300) rounds total.
8. No casualties to personnel or damage was experienced by this vessel.
9. All departments aboard this vessel functioned satisfactorily, except it is recommended that immediate steps be taken to improve the steering gear equipment and communications system in this type of vessel. It is believed that a satisfacory public address system be installed in these vessels as standard equipment in order to correct the hazardous condition of operating with only sound-powered telephones (subject to much failure) between vital ship control stations.
10. All personnel aboard this vessel performed their assigned duties in a very satisfactory manner.
(Signed) W. R. Tenney, Jr.
USS LST 125
FLEET POST OFFICE
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
4 July 1944
From: The Commanding Officer
To: The Commander in Chief, United States Fleet
Subject: Action Report - 17 June 1944 - corrections to
Reference: (a) Action Report File LST 125/A16-3, Serial 183 of 28 June, 1944
1. Correct Page 2 Paragraph 4 Line 3 to read - "speed 8 knots."
2. Correct Page 2, Paragraph 4, Line 8 to read - "CTG 53.17"
W. E. Tenney, Jr.
cc: CTG 53.16