Biak

USS Fletcher DD-445

Biak Island Action Report

June 8 - June 9, 1944

DD445/A16-3
Serial 001

U.S.S FLETCHER (DD445)
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, Calif.

S-E-C-R-E-T (DECLASSIFIED)                                                      10 June, 1944

From:    The Commanding Officer.
To :      The Commander in Chief of United States Fleet.
Via :      (1) ComDesDiv 42.
               (2) ComDesRon 24.
               (3) Commander Task Force 74 (Rear Admiral V. CRUTCHLEY, R.A.N.).
               (4) Commander Seventh Fleet.
               (5) Supreme Commander, Allied Forces, Southwest Pacific Area.

Subject:         Action Report.

Reference:   (a) PacFlt. Confidential Letter 2CL-44.
                         (b) U.S. Navy Regulations, 1920.

Enclosures:  (A) Track Chart, U.S.S. FLETCHER.
                   (B) CTF 74 Operation Order #5-44.
                   (C) TBS Log, U.S.S. FLETCHER.

PART I

  1. This vessel in company with combined task force 74 and 75 contacted an enemy force of five Japanese destroyers on a south-easterly course, speed 15 knots, at 2219, Zone minus 10 time, 8 June, 1944, in position Latitude 00° 33' South, Longitude 135° 48' East which is seven miles north of Biak Island, New Guinea.  Ships of DesDiv 42 and 47 were ordered to attack and pursue the enemy, pursuit to be broken off not later than 0230 or prior as the situation dictated. The enemy force had barges in company and were believed headed for Korim bay, Biak Island where they were either to reinforce or evacuate enemy troops there. On contact, the enemy force turned northwest and retired in the direction of Mapia Island at high speed emitting dense columns of smoke. The enemy destroyers were taken under fire at maximum gun range at intervals for a period of about two hours.  The only observed results was a large explosion on one of the ships at 0211, 9 June, indicating probable damage although the track did not indicate a change of course or a decrease in speed.

  2. Preliminaries:

  (a)  Brief of operations prior to action.

   This vessel as part of combines Task Force 74 and 75 departed Humboldt Bay, New Guinea at 2300, 7 June, 1944, enroute Korim bay, Biak Island, New Guinea to arrive there about 2200 8 June, 1944 in order to intercept any enemy forces which might be attempting to reinforce Biak Island.  During afternoon and evening 8 June, several enemy planes were contacted but none attacked. On arrival in vicinity of Korim Bay, the U.S.S. MULLANEY was detached to search the Bay and while on this mission was attacked at 2229 by one plane which dropped bombs which missed from fifty to one hundred yards.

  (b)  Mission

   It was believed that the enemy would attempt to reinforce or evacuate his forces under attack on Biak Island, that such operations would most probably be attempted at night, and that the troops would be carried in enemy naval vessels, probably cruisers or destroyers.  It was believed that Korim Bay on the north coast of Biak Island would be one of the most likely landing points. The combined Task Force 74 and 75 were assigned to patrol in the area north and west of Biak Island during the night of June 8 - 9, 1944 in order to intercept and destroy equal or inferior forces encountered. Several contacts had been made in the area 300 miles west of Biak Island in the previous two days, including a force reported as two cruisers and four destroyers.

  (c)  Our Forces.

Task Organization.

  Combined Task Force 74 and 75 - Rear Admiral V. CRUTCHLEY, R.A.N., Commander Task Force 74.

  Cruisers:  HMAS AUSTRALIA (F), U.S.S. BOISE, PHOENIX.

  Destroyers:  DesRon 24 less BUSH plus TRATHEN, DesDiv 42.  HMAS ARUNTA and WARRAMUNGA.

  At the time of contact, the combined Task Forces were in cruising disposition V-3, formation axis 300°(T) with cruisers in triangular formation, and DesRon 24 plus ARUNTA and WARRAMUNGA in close circular AA screen.  DesDiv 42 was formed in column and maneuvered as a station unit 6000 yards bearing 270°(T) at speed 15 knots in Latitude 00° 33' South, Longitude 135° 48' East.  See enclosure (B).

  (d)  Enemy Composition.

  An enemy force of five (5) Japanese ships were contacted on SG radar at 2319, bearing 292°(T) distance 23,400 yards, on course 100°(T), speed 15 knots. On first contact the enemy force appeared to be formed in a semi-circular screen of four ships ahead and around a fifth. THe ships were sighted visually shortly after contact was made and were identified as being destroyers. No other details were discernible because of heavy black smoke emitted by the enemy. A few minutes after contact, the enemy force turned north-east and then north-west and retired at 32 knots on a course of about 310°(T) in two columns, three ships in the left and two ships in the right hand on line of bearing 090°.

  (e)  Weather Conditions:  2300, June 8, 1944.

  Wind - N.W., force 3.
  Sea - Slight sea with moderate swell from N.W.
  Visibility - 10 miles at initial contact but during pursuit passed through frequent rain squalls which reduced visibility to about two miles.
  Moon - About three-quarters.
  Clouds - Completely overcast.

PART II

  1 .Chronological account of action.  See Enclosures (A) and (C).

2319 - Surface contact was made on SG radar with a group of unidentified ships bearing 292°(T), at speed 15 knots in a screening formation with four ships forming a bent line screen about the fifth.
2323 - Enemy ships changed course to North East and increased speed throwing out dense columns of smoke which made visual observations difficult.  However, lookouts and signalmen reported them to be destroyers.  The ships increased speed and commenced forming into two columns on line of bearing 090° with three ships in left and two ships in right hand column.
2325 - Task Force ordered deployed on course 000° with cruisers in column, DesDiv 47 in the van, DesDiv 48 in the rear, ARUNTA and WARRAMUNGA on disengaged bow and DesDiv 42 in column bearing 335° distance 10,000 yards.
2327 - Enemy changed course to 310° increased speed to 32 knots. Range 16,100 yards.
2328 - Before deployment could be completed ComDesDiv 42 with DesDiv 42 and ComDesRon 24 with DesDiv 47 were ordered to attack and pursue the enemy who was by this time getting away on a north-westerly course at high speed.
2329 - Changed course to 000°(T) and increased speed to 30 knots, Range to enemy 17,000 yards, bearing 319°.
2333 - Changed speed to 33 knots.
2334 - Changed course to 305° to prosecute a stern chase.  Range to enemy 19,000 yards, bearing 308°.
2344 - Changed speed to 35 knots but due to injection temperature of 86° a speed of only 33.5 to 34 knots could be obtained.
2346 - Sighted enemy barge on port beam distance about 4000 yards but passed out of range before 40MM battery could fire.
2352 - Range to enemy 19,500 yards, bearing 302°.
2355 - DesDiv 48 opened fire on barge broad on port quarter.
0000 - Changed course to 310°, range of 18,700 yards bearing 301°.
0015 - Changed course to 296°, range 17,600 yards bearing 298°.
0017 - Opened fire with guns #1 and #2 five inch in hope of a lucky hit or to force enemy to zigzag. Range 17,000 yards bearing 299°.
0019 - Ceased fire to conserve ammunition with orders to fire intermittently only.
0021 - Resumed fire with forward guns range 16,800 yards bearing 301°.
0024 - Ceased firing.
0025 - Resumed fire with forward guns. Enemy commenced returning fire but no bursts or splashes noted and continued to return fire throughout remainder of the action. Bright gun flashes were observed which indicated that he was using smokeless power.
0031 - Changed course to 308° range 16,500 yards bearing 306°.
0034 - Resumed fire with forward guns, changed course to 310°.
0035- Ceased firing.
0043 - Changed course to 313°, range 16,000 yards, bearing 309°.
0057 - Changed course to 308°, range 15,400 yards, bearing 308°.
0059 - Resumed fire with forward guns.
0100 - Ceased firing.
0107 - Resumed fire with forward guns.
0108 - Ceased firing.
0119 - Changed course to 314°.
0125 - First splash from enemy return fire observed dead ahead.
0126 - Changed course to 280° and opened fire with entire main battery in hopes of slowing or damaging the enemy with a lucky salvo. Range 13,600 yards, bearing 327°.  Straddles observed on PPI screen on the last ship.
0127 - Changed course to 270°.
0128 - Changed course to 280°.
0133 - Ceased firing and changed course to 348°. Splashes from enemy fire observed, one on starboard beam and three broad on starboard quarter. Range 16,500 yards, bearing 334°.
0135 - Many air bursts observed over the ship which indicated that he was using AA common which was bursting prematurely or that he had a short fuze setting.  Range 15,000 yards, bearing 334°.
0138 - Changed course to 290°. Resumed fire with main battery.  Range 15,500 yards bearing 328°.  Straddles noted on PPI screen.
0140 - Lookouts reported flashes of light on one ship which began to smoke more heavily than before.
0141 - Ceased firing, changed course to 310°.  Enemy ceased firing.
0142 - Changed course to 350°. Enemy appeared to be splitting up, left hand column remaining on 334° and right hand column turning to a northerly course.  ComDesDiv 42 pursuing left hand column, ComDesRon 24 the right hand one.
0155 - Changed course to 325°.
0204 - Changed course to 000°. Range 20,100 yards, bearing 326°.
0206 - Changed course to 320°.
0211 - Lookouts and bridge personnel saw an explosion on one of the enemy ships about 150 feet high which mushroomed upward leaving a pillar of white smoke on which a bearing of 330° was obtained.
0215 - ComDesRon 24 opened fire on right hand column.
0216 - Changed course to 330°.
0217 - Changed course to 340°.
0228 - After consulting with ComDesRon 24, ComDesDiv 42 broke off the action, as 0230 was the limit set by CTF 74 retiring on course 105°, speed 31 knots, range to the enemy 35,000 yards, bearing 319°.

  During the entire chase the enemy emitted large quantities of black smoke which made visual observation very difficult.

PART III

  1. (A) Ordnance equipment functioned as designed with following exceptions:

  (a) A bent lip on a cartridge case caused breech block to fail to fully close on gun #1 on second salvo. Breech block was opened, cartridge thrown overboard and fire resumed.

  (b) The ammunition hoist on gun #5 due to worn parts came out of adjustment because of vibration.  Shifted immediately to hand power, hoist was readjusted and normal operation was resumed.

  (c) The FD radar would not range satisfactory due to failure of tube #884, and the SG provided ranges and bearings to the computer. Under 15,000 yards the SG was able to spot both in range and deflection and these spots were applied.

  (B) Ammunition expended as follows:

  (1) AA Common - 272 rounds.
  (2) Common, orange dye loaded - 176 rounds.
  (3) Mk 32 fuzed projectile - 40 rounds.

  Total rounds fired - 488.

  (b) Although all gun crews had been instructed as to the use of Mk 32 fuzed projectiles, the gun crew of gun #2 in order to maintain their rate of fire used projectiles from ready racks which were Mk 32 because regular projectiles were not coming up from the magazine fast enough.  Gun #2 was the only gun which fired any Mk 32 and steps have been taken to prevent reoccurrence.

  (c) Range, existence of smoke from the enemy and occasional light rain made visual observations of the results of the firing impossible but the PPI screen of the SG radar at ranges of 15,000 and below indicated many straddles on the last ship in column.

  2. The enemy was apparently firing AA common projectiles, the majority of which were prematures which burst over the ship with a few splashes noted. It is believed that the enemy was using radar to control his fire as the range was great and his vessel was using flashless powder which at that distance would not give sufficient data to fire as accurately as observed without the use of radar.  Air bursts and splashes were not observed until the range had closed to about 15,000 yards although the enemy had commenced fire at range of 17,000 yards.

PART IV

  1. Own Battle damage.

  None.

  2. Enemy Battle damage.

  (a) At 0139 lookouts reported several flashes of white light on one of the enemy vessels and also it was observed to smoke more heavily than before.  At 0211, thirty minutes after ceasing fire, an explosion was observed, a bright flash extending about 150 feet in the air which mushroomed upward and left a column of dense white smoke on which a bearing of 330° was obtained.

  (b) Because the track in C.I.C. did not indicate a reduction in speed, it is believed that this was a topside ammunition explosion which damaged the vessel but did not affect his mobility.

PART V

  1. C.I.C was used to coach main battery directory on the target and the SG radar provided ranges and bearings to the computer.  This interfered with plotting of own forces in the vicinity.  As this vessel is the Division Flagship C.I.C. must maintain a continuous plot of all enemy and own forces in the vicinity and other considerations become secondary.  This situation is being corrected and in a future similar case the SG would provide range and bearings to the computer only as incidental to plotting. During protracted firings such as above in hot weather the men in the handling rooms suffered from the heat and in the handling rooms of guns #1 and #2 several had to be relieved by the repair party. it is recommended that for future actions in hot weather that magazine and handling rooms ventilation be left on when Condition Affirm is set.

PART VI

  1. All personnel performed in accordance with highest traditions of the Naval Service. There were no casualties.

J. L. FOSTER

Copies to:
  Cominch  (Advance copy)
  CinCPac  (Advance copy)
  ComSoPac
  ComThirdFleet
  ComDesPac
  RepComDesPac, SoPac
  ComDesRon 21
  War Diary (2)
  CTF 74 (Advance copy)
  CInCPOA (Advance copy)

TASK ORGANIZATION (Enclosure B)

  Combined Task Force 74 (less "NASHVILLE") and 75 - Rear Admiral Crutchley (C.T.F. 74).
  "AUSTRALIA"(F), "BOISE", PHOENIX 1 CA, 2 CL.
  Desron 24, less "BUSH", plus "TRATHEN" - 8 DD
  DesDiv 42 - 4 DD
  "ARUNTA", "WARRAMUNGA" - 2 DD
  O.T.C. Combined Task Forces - C.T.F. 74.
  Commander Destroyers - COMDESRON 24.

INFORMATION

  1. (a) On south coast BIAK our land forces hold an area which extends as far west as the eastern outskirts of MOKMER aerodrome. These forces are currently fighting to extend to the westward and to capture the air strips at Mokmer, Sorido and Morokoe.  Seaborne reinforcement and re-supply are currently proceeding in accordance with C.T.F. 77 Opplan 5-44 and as arranged by C.T.F. 77 and promulgated by despatch.

     (b)  Landing on Biak Island of seaborne enemy reinforcements is considered a likely enemy reaction. It is further considered that such a reinforcement operation would most probably be attempted at night and that the troops would be carried in enemy naval vessels, probably cruisers and destroyers.  It is considered that Wardo and/or Korim Bay are the points most likely to be selected by the enemy for the landing of his troop reinforcements.

     (c)  Allied Air Force in addition to carrying out Search Plan Able, will conduct afternoon and night searches over the most probable hostile approach routes towards BIAK and will destroy hostile force detected.

     (d)  When ordered by Commander 7th Fleet, Combined Task Forces 74 (less "NASHVILLE") and 75 will operate in a covering position to intercept and destroy equal or inferior enemy forces encountered. In case superior forces are encountered, our force will retire towards Hollandia.

     (e)  During daylight, our Combined Task Force will operate South of the Equator and East of Longitude 135°43'E.
  During the night, our Combined Task Force will operate South of the Equator and East of Longitude 134°50'E.
  It is assumed daylight begins 0615K and night begins 1915K.
  Bombing restrictions have been imposed accordingly.  If battle or pursuit of the enemy takes our forces or any part of it outside these areas, O.T.C. will broadcast instructions on 4475 Kc/s to all aircraft, to ADVON FIVE and to C.T.F. 73.
  In event of C.T.F. 74 (or O.T.C.) deciding NOT to engage, he will broadcast such decision on 4475 Kc/s.  This signal automatically removes night bombing restrictions westward of 136°25'E.

     (f)  Fifth Fighter command will provide daylight air cover for our Combined Task Force.
  Primary fighter director ship is "BOISE", call RED APPLE.
  Standby fighter director ship is "AUSTRALIA".

     (g)  TOMCAT co-operation has been arranged with CTF 73 and C.T.U. 73.1.2.
  Details in ANNEX TWO - Air Support.

  2. When ordered by Commander Seventh Fleet, this combined Task Force will depart Humboldt Bay and proceed to covering position to operate against enemy forces attempting to land seaborne reinforcements on Biak.

  3. Whilst on covering patrol it is my intention to operate to eastward of Biak during the day, closing the island so as to be in the general vicinity of Point Erg (1°00'S, 136°34'E) by 1900 daily.
  This vicinity has been chosen for night patrol area because our force must be prepared to proceed to either side of Biak Island on receiving reports from our TOMCATS in Sector One or Two.

  4. CRUISING DISPOSITION. (Refer T.F. 74 Supplement to Appendix I, USF. 10A.)

  In the covering area there is much air activity but so far there has been no report of enemy submarines in the area.
  With a combined Task Force of 2 cruisers and 14 destroyers I intend to use 10 destroyers as a close A.A. screen and to station 4 destroyers (DESDIV 42) as an A/S and outer A.A. screen.
  COMDESDIV 42 will be given station assignment by POSIT CHARLIE and will form the ships of his division equally each side of the assigned TRUE BEARING, 2000 yards between ships and on given circle given by TRACK DISTANCE.
  Normally DESDIV 42 will be stationed towards the direction of advance and on circle FIVE to act as A/S screen.
However, when the force is under threat of air attack, DESDIV 42 will be re-oriented to stations in the direction from which the attack is expected.

CRUISING DISPOSITION V.

  Station Assignments:

Cruisers:
  "AUSTRALIA"    000 (Guide)
  "BOISE"        1.5 180
Destroyers:
  (1)  1.5 025)                  (2) 1.5 335)
  (3)  1.5 070) DESDIV 47. (4) 1.5 290) DESDIV 48
  (5)  1.5 120)                  (6) 1.5 240)
  (7)  2.5 145)                  (8) 2.5 215)
  (9)  3 165) "ARUNTA"     (10) 3 195) "WARRAMUNGA"

DESDIV 42 - Stationed by POSIT C Tack Distance as described above.
Circles in thousands of yards.
Rotation of the axis will be about the Guide.
Deployment - as described below.

  5. DEPLOYMENT

  (a) To deploy from a circular or nearly circular cruising disposition takes appreciable time.

  (b) If contact is made ahead I may reverse the course of our disposition BY SHIP TURN SIGNAL in order to gain time for regular deployment and for our destroyers to move out, BEFORE THE HEAVY SHIPS OF BOTH SIDES ARE IN GUN RANGE.  The next step would be to deploy, whilst still proceeding in roughly the same general direction of advance as the enemy. In this step (AUSTRALIA and BOISE) will be ordered to form column and the signal PREP DEPLOY COURSE (-) may now be made and cruisers will turn in succession to the deployment course - or the whole force may first be turned towards the enemy before the signal DEPLOY COURSE (-) is executed.

  (c) If the position of the enemy is known (e.g., by TOMCAT tracking), deployment will probably be ordered before contact is made.

  (d) STATIONS OF DESTROYERS IN DEPLOYMENT.

  With fourteen destroyers present, it is my intention that in deployment they will form FOUR DIVISIONS, namely DESDIV 47, DESDIV 48, DESDIV 42 and a fourth division composed of "ARUNTA", "WARRAMUNGA".
  The stations of DESDIV 47 and 48 on deployment will be determined by the basic rule, viz., the division on the side of the axis TOWARDS the direction of deployment will become the VAN force and the division on the side of the axis AWAY from the direction of deployment will become the REAR FORCE.
  On signal PREP DEPLOY COURSE (-) or DEPLOY COURSE (-) COMDESRON 24 and COMDESDIV 48 will concentrate their divisions in deployment stations (see Figure 8 on page 4-12 of USF10A and also green page article 4230).  DESDIV 42 will form a third division on deployment. O.T.C. will assign deployment station by POSIT CHARLIE tack DISTANCE.
  "ARUNTA", "WARRAMNUGA" will form a fourth division and will support the attack of either the VAN or REAR division as ordered by O.T.C.  On signal PREP DEPLOY COURSE (-) or DEPLOY COURSE (-), "WARRAMUNGA" will form on "ARUNTA" and this division will keep about 3000 yards on the disengaged side ready to move out to support the Van or Rear divisions as ordered.

  6. If required to proceed to the west of BIAK to prevent an enemy landing attempt, our force will proceed between Owi and Biak.
  Before reaching restricted water, DESDIVS 47 and 48 will form column on their divisional commanders and will precede cruisers.
  DESDIV 42 and "ARUNTA", "WARRAMUNGA", will follow cruisers.  When to Westward of Owi, DESDIVS 47 and 48 maintain station one on either bow of cruisers, distant about 3000 yards, DESDIV 42 remain on starboard quarter of rear cruiser, distance about 1500 yards and "ARUNTA", "WARRAMUNGA" in a similar position on port quarter.
  Retirement from west side of Biak will probably be made passing to southward of Padeaido Island.

7. "SONOMA" (AT) will be at Hollandia at short notice.

8. COMMUNICATIONS in accordance with Annex No. I.

9. This operation order effective when ordered by despatch.

V. CRUTCHLEY

REAR*ADMIRAL
COMMANDER TASK FORCE 74

COPY OF T.B.S LOG  (Enclosure C)

2320
 CTF 74 this is BOISE:  Surface contact bearing 290 - 26,000 yards.
         CTF from CDD 42:  We have same bearing 290 - 21,000.
2322 TF 75 from CTF 74: Speed 15, standby, execute.  PHOENIX acknowledge.
2324 TF 74 and TF 75 from CTF 74:  Prep Deploy 000.
2325 All cruisers from CTF 74:  Form 18, execute.
         CDD 42 from CTF 74: 335 at 5 miles.
         CTF 74 from BOISE:  Bearing 270, range 23,700, course 015, speed 12.
         TF 75 from CTF 74:  Deploy 000. Execute. Support the Van.
2327 CTF 74 from CDD 42: Target breaking up into two groups.
2328 CTF 74 from CDD 42: I am assuming position to move in.
2330 CDRon 24 & CDD 48 from CTF 74: Are you ready to move out?
         CTF 74 from CDRon 24: Ready.
2331 CTF 74 from CDD 42:  I could not get your last message. I am moving ahead at 30 knots on his                           starboard bow. I think he fired torpedoes.
         From CTF 74:  CDRon 24 & CDD 42, Attack.
2332 CDD 42 from CDRon 24:  Go in first.
         DesDiv 47 from CDRon 24:  Standby with half salvos to port.
2333 All cruisers from CTF 74:  Speed 25. Standby - Execute.
         From CTF 74:  What is your description of target?
         From CDRon 24:  I have no dope. My jeep is out.
2335 DesDiv 42 from CDD 42: Make 33 knots. Boost your superheat.  Keep up.
         CTF 74 from CTF 75: We have them on course 300.
         From DesDiv 47: Be prepared for 30 knots.  Make everything you've got.
         All cruisers from CTF 74: 330 turn.  Standby, execute.
2337 DesDiv 47 from CDRon 24: Up to 32.  Pump her up.
         All cruisers from CTF 74: Speed 28.  Wait. Negat to this message.
         DesDiv 48 from CDD 48:  My speed 33.
2338 All cruisers from CDD 48:  Speed 28. Standby, execute.  My course 338.
         DesDiv 48 from CDD 48:  My speed 33.
2340 CTF 74 from DesDiv 42: Four ships in two columns on line making 30 knots, course 310 appears to be                    DD's.
2341 All cruisers from CTF 74:  310 turn. Standby, execute.
         CTF 74 from BOISE:  A torpedo just passed my stern.
         CTF 74 from CDD 42: Before leaving TBS range, the ships are making 32 knots. Will do my best to catch              them.
2344 All cruisers from CTF 74:  Four turn.  Standby, execute.
         DesDiv 42 from CDD 42: FLETCHER is moving up to 35 knots. Keep up.
2347 TF 75 from CTF 74: Turn 290.  Standby, execute.
2349 DesDiv 42 from CDD 42: There is one DD with barges. Let him have it.
2350 DesDiv 42 from CDD 42: Do not fire on DD.
         DesDiv 42 from CDD 42:  Floodlights out.
         DesDiv 47 from CTF 74:  Have you still got enemy on your jeep?
         CTF 74 from BOISE:  Have reasonably good solution.
2352 All cruisers from CTF 74:  Speed 29. Standby, execute.
         DesDiv 47 from CDRon 24:  Check your floodlights.
2353 CTF 74 from BOISE: Surface contact 298, distance 3180.
         Ammen from CDD 48:  Open fire.
         CDD 42 from CTF 74: Keep me advised of enemy bearing from you.
2354 CTF 74 from CDD 42:  Bearing 298, range 20,000
         CDRon 24 to CTF 74: Have lost target but am keeping up with CDD 42.
2355 CDD 48 from CDD 42:  You are firing on me. The enemy is 297 - 18,000 from me.
2357 CDD 42 from CDD 48:  I am not firing on you. Firing on small targets.
2359 CDD 42 from CDRon 24:  Give me dope as you can from time to time.  My jeep is out.
         CDRon 24 from CDD 42: Bearing 296, range 18,300 yards.
0001 Trathen from CDD 48: Keep sharp lookout for small targets.
         CDRon 24 from CDD 42: Range 18,000 bearing 296 from FLETCHER.
0002 DesDiv 42 from CDD 42: FLETCHER is going to start firing bow guns.  Move out slowly.  First section to port, second to starboard so you can use your bow guns.
0004 DesDiv 42 from CDD 42: I want a short scouting line with intervals 600 yards between ships.
0007 DesDiv 42 from CDD 42:  Cancel my last message. Remain in column.
0009 CDRon 24 from CDD 42:  Range 17,800 bearing 297.
0010 From CDD 42 to All Hands:  Enemy course is 315 from FLETCHER his bearing is 297, range 17,600.
0011 This is CDD 42:  Revise my last report of enemy. There are five.  Three in left column, two in right.
0013 CTF 74 from BOISE: Bogie bearing 220, 38 miles. Closing.
         CDD 42 from CDRon 24: Does range show any sign of closing?
0015 CDRon 24 from CDD 42:  Very slowly.  Now 17,500 bearing 296. FLETCHER will fire soon in hope to make them zigzag.
         DesDiv 42 from CDD 42:  My course is 296.
0017 From CDD 42: Range is now 17,300.
0018 From CDD 42:  Range is now 17,000.
0020 DesDiv 42 from CDD 42:  My Corpen 302.
         CDD 42 from CDRon 24: What do you think?
0022 CDRon 24 from CDD 42:  My answer - I think there is a chance to catch him. I think he has expended his torpedoes and if he turns left to Manokwari I think I can head him off.  What do you think?
0025 CTF 74 from BACHE:  DesDiv 47 is at 24,000. DesDiv 42 17,000.
0027 CTF 74 from CDD 42:  All pips appear to be same size. I am reasonably certain nothing heavier than DD's. However, I am not certain.
0029 CDRon 24 from CDD 42:  I think the Japs fired a few rounds at us.
         CDD 42 from CDRon 24: Yes, I have been watching.
0030 CDRon 24 from DALY: Target changed course to 295, speed 31.
0031 DesDiv 42 from CDD 42: My Corpen 308.
         CDD 42 from CTF 74: What is the range?
         CTF 74 from CDD 42: Range is 16,000.
0034 From CDD 42: Bearing 310 from FLETCHER, range 16,100.
0035 CDD 42 from CDRon 24:  A couple of our BLACK CATS are over us and have bombs.  I think they will ask permission to drop them.
0037 From CDD 42: Bearing 311, range 16,000.
0040 From CDD 42: Range 15,850.
         CDD 42 from CDD 48: We have them now on 318.
0042 CDD 42 from CDD 48:  We are tracking them on 311.
         DesDiv 42 from CDD 42.  My course is 313.
0043 This is CDD 42:  The enemy appears to be heading for Mapia.
         CDD 48 from CDD 42: Range 15,650.  In one hour range will be 10,000.
         CTF 74 from CDRon 24: Did you hear CDD 42 report?
         CDRon 24 from CTF 74: Affirmative.
0051 CDRon 24 from CDD 42:  Range now 15,500.
         CDD 42 from CTF 74: Message to CDRon 24 and CDD 42.  Chase with your divisions until 0230 or earlier at discretion and return at high speeds to rendezvous at 1000 Lat 00 -- 30 S, Long. 138 -- 20 E.
         From CDRon 24 and CDD 42: Roger, Wilco, out.
         From CTF 74:  Retire with all cruisers, ARUNTA and the WARRAMUNGA.
0054 All cruisers from CTF 74:  Speed 27.
         ARUNTA from WARRAMUNGA: Speed 30.
         DesDiv 48 from CDD 48:  My course 120.
0058 All cruisers from CTF 74:  Turn 090. Standby, execute.
         DesDiv 42 from CDD 42:  If that fellow is going to lay eggs and slow them down, I intend to close to 8,000 yards and then come left. Be sure to have common ready, not AA common.
0102 ARUNTA and WARRAMUNGA from CTF 74: Go back over enemy routes and mop up enemy barges that are left.  Rendezvous, 1000, same rendezvous that was given to CDRon 24 and CDD 42.
0105 CDRon 24 from CDD 42:  Range is now 14,900.  Do you think the CAT is going to drop the eggs?
0106 CDD 42 from RADFORD: At the moment, it appears he is not.
0110 CDRon 24 from CDD 42:  Bearing 310, range 14,860.
0118 CDRon 24 from CDD 42: One rear enemy seems to be dropping back and can't keep up.
         CDD 42 from CDron 24: Erase my last message.
0120 CDRon 24 from CDD 42: Range now 14,450, closing very slowly.
         DesDiv 42 from CDD 42:  My course is 314.
0123 CDD 42 to DesDiv 42: My course is 320.
0125 CDRon 24 from DALY:  My range 21,000.
         CDRon 24 from CDD 42: Target is changing course to right and firing at us. You may be able to close.
         DesDiv 42 from CDD 42:  My course 330.
0127 CDRon 24 from DALY:  Target course 000, speed 33.
0128 DesDiv 42 from CDD 42:  Commence firing as soon as you can bear.
0130 DesRon 24 from CDD 42:  He is coming way right. Possibly you can do better.  Enemy course is about      000.
0132 DesDiv 47 from DALY: Standby for common.
         DesDiv 42 from CDD 42:  Cease firing. I am going to head for him again.
0133 DesDiv 42 from CDD 42: My course is 340.
0135 ComDesDiv 42 from LA VALLETTE: I am unloading 4 duds.
         LA VALLETTE from CDD 42:  Go ahead. Be sure you are clear.
0137 CDRon 24 from CDD 42:  It appears that right hand group is closing to right. That should help you a little.
         DesDiv 42 from CDD 42:  I am coming left to 290.  Standby to open guns to starboard.  Splashes are        coming close.
0140 CDRon 24 from CDD 42:  The right column is bearing 000, range 26,000.  The left column is 16,000. I am going to do what I can with the left column.
         CDRon 24 from CDD 42: I think these Japs do not know you are here.
0144 DesDiv 42 from CDD 42: Cease firing.  My Corpen 350.  Torpedo track going down starboard side of        FLETCHER.
         DesDiv 42 from CDD 42:  Torpedo appeared to be heading about south.
0146 CDRon 24:  I am going to come right as soon as you are on open with five inch.
         CDRon 24 from DALY: Target course 335.
0148 DesDiv 42 from CDD 42: My course is 020, coming right.  They may have fired fish.
0155 CDRon 24 from DALY:  Target course 000 speed 33.
         DesDiv 42 from CDD 42:  My course is 325.
0200 CDRon 24 from CDD 42:  What do you think?
         CDD 42 from CDRon 24: How far are you from second column?
         CDRon 24 from CDD 42: About 15,000 yards, closing.
         CDRon 24 from CDD 42: Can you swing your column right? They may swing toward me.
         CDD 42 from CDRon 24: How about 10 salvos of rapid fire and then to rendezvous?
         CDRon 24 from CDD 42: Affirmative.
         CDRon 24 from DALY: Target course 300.
0205 DALY from CDRon 24: I am going to turn left.
         DesDiv 42 from CDD 42:  My Corpen 000.
         DesDiv 42 from CDD 42:  If this right hand column turns left we can open fire on him to starboard.
         DesDiv 42 from CDD 42:  I am coming left to 300.
0208 DALY from CDRon 24:  I am coming left to 280.
         DALY from CDRon 24: We are coming right to 300.
0212 CDRon 24 from CDD 42:  It appears a Jap ship on the left column just blew up.
0215 CDRon 24 from BEALE: We are going to start firing now.
0216 DALY from CDRon 24: I am on course 000, speed 26.
0218 DALY from CDRon 24:  I am on course 030, speed 24. I am on course 040.
0220 DALY from CDRon 24:  We are going to swing right and let them have some torpedoes.
0221 DALY from CDRon 24: I am going to hold that last one up until I get closer.
         CDRon 24 from DesDiv 47:  I am coming right to 300.
0225 CDRon 24 from CDD 42:  Am coming around and head east. I think nothing can be done before 0230.  What do you think?
         DesDiv 42 from CDD 42:  My course is 105.
         CDD 42 from CDRon 24: I am going to hold on a little longer. I am going to try 10,000 yard range.
         DesDiv 47 from CDRon 24:  I am going back east. We do not seem to be closing the range.
         CDRon 24 from CDD 42: If you want to stick, I can take the other side. I am on 105 now.
         CDD 42 from CDRon 24: I am swinging right.
0128 DesDiv 47 and CDD 42 from CDRon 24:  I am coming around to 105 and heading for rendezvous.  The     show is over.
         CDD 42 from JENKINS:  I have a couple I would like to unload through the muzzle.
         Jenkins from CDD 42:  Affirmative.

Webmaster’s note - The Japanese destroyers being pursued were the SHIGURESAMIDARE,SHIKINAMISHIRATSUYU and URANAMI. According to naval historian Samuel Eliot Morison the Japanese destroyer that was hit at 0211 was the SHIRATSUYU which dropped back about 1000 yards before regaining speed. He adds that destroyers SHIKINAMI and SAMIDARE were slightly damaged by near misses. Another source on the Web indicates it was the SHIGURE that was hit killing 7 and wounding 15 Japanese sailors and that damage to the SHIRATSUYU was caused by an air attack by U.S. aircraft later this same day. A third source, the book, “The Imperial Japanese Navy” by Paul S. Dull, agrees it was the SHIGURE that was hit and adds that SHIKINAMI had some casualties. None of these Japanese destroyers survived the War. Three were torpedoed, one was lost to air attack and the fifth to a collision with a Japanese Maru.

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