Noemfoor

USS Fletcher DD-445

Noemfoor Action Report

July 2, 1944

USS Fletcher DD445
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California

C-O-N-F-I-D-E-N-T-I-A-L (DECLASSIFIED)                                                               15 July, 1944

From:  The Commanding Officer.
To:    The Commander in Chief, United States Fleet.
Via:   (1) The Commander Destroyer Division 42.
           (2) The Commander Destroyer Squadron 2.
           (3) The Commander Task Force 77 (Rear Admiral FECHTELER, USN)
           (4) The Commander Seventh Fleet.
           (5) The Supreme Commander, Allied Forces, Southwest Pacific Area.
           (6) The Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet.

Subject: Action Report - Noemfoor Bombardment.

Reference: (a) PacFlt Conf. ltr 2CL-44.
               (b) U.S. Navy Regulations - 1920.
               (c) Commander Task Force 77 Operation Plan 6-44.

PART I

  1. This vessel in company with units of Task Force 77 conducted a bombardment of enemy shore installations and personnel in support of landings by U.S. troops at Kamiri Airdrome, Noemfoor Island from 0737 to 0755, Zone minus 10 time, on July 2, 1944. The bombardment was carried out as per schedule using full radar control throughout, the entire beach area being obscured by smoke from other ship's gunfire during the bombardment. A total of 529 rounds of 5"/38 cal. AA common projectiles were fired in the target area at the center of Kamiri Airdrome. Results were unobserved.

  2. PRELIMINARIES
     (a) Brief of operation prior to action.
       This vessel as part of Echelon T-1 composed of Task Groups 77.1 and 77.3 departed Toem, New Guinea at 1719 (zone -11 time) on June 30, 1944 and proceeded via route south of Biak Island, arriving off Kamiri Airdrome at 0600 on July 2, 1944. Upon arrival at the objective, Destroyer Division 42 was ordered to proceed to its assigned station in Fire Support Area No. 2 preparatory to the bombardment.

     (b) MISSION
       The assigned mission of Fire Support Groups "B", "C", and "D" were (1) to provide protection against enemy air forces and submarines during the approach and retirement of echelons to and from this landing area, (2) to provide naval gunfire support for the landing in accordance with Naval Gunfire Support Plan, (3) to provide anti-aircraft and anti-submarine screen around the transport areas during unloading operations.

     (c) Own Forces
TASK ORGANIZATION

ATTACK FORCE (TF 77)                                                                 Rear Admiral Fechteler
  (a) 77.1 Force Flagship
           REID                                                                                  (1 DD)      Comdr McCornock
  (b) 77.2 Covering Force                                                                               Read Adm. Berkey
     (Fire Support Group A)
     Task Force 74                                                                                        Commodore Collins
         AUSTRALIA                                                                        (1 CA)
         WARRAMUNGA, ARUNTA, AMMEN, MULLANY                         (4 DD)
     Task Force 75                                                                                          Rear Adm. Berkey
         PHOENIX, BOISE                                                                 (2 CL)
         HUTCHINS, BEALE, BACHE, DALY, ABNER READ, TRATHEN      (6 DD)
  (c) 77.3 Main Body                                                                                       Rear Admiral Fechteler
     77.3.1 Fire Support Group B                                                                     Captain Solomons
         MORRIS, HUGHES, RUSSELL(FD), MUSTIN, GRAYSON(FD)       (5 DD)
     77.3.2 Fire Support Group C                                                                     Comdr. Jarrell
         FLETCHER, RADFORD, JENKINS, LA VALLETTE                        (4 DD)
     77.3.3 Fire Support Group D                                                                     Comdr. Pahl
         STEVENSON, STOCKTON, SWANSON, HOBBY, WELLES          (5 DD)
     77.3.4 LCI Unit (LCI 28(F))                                                                       Comdr. McGee
         LCI 447(F), 363, 364, 432, 344
         343, 543, 544, 444, 342                                                      (11 LCI)
     77.3.5 LST Unit                                                                                       Captain Scruggs
         LST 466(F), 339, 397, 457, 485
         459, 467, 472                                                                    (8 LST)
     77.3.6 LCT-LCM Unit                                                                               Lt. Comdr. Blake
         13 LCTs                                                                            (13 LCT)
         40 LCMs                                                                            (40 LCM)
         PC 1122, 1119, 477                                                             (3 PC)
     77.3.7 Special Service Unit                                                                     Captain Anderson
           77.3.71 Control Unit
               PC 1134(F), 1132, 1133, 1120                                        (4 PC)
           77.3.72 Rocket and Demolition Unit                                                     Comdr. Day
               LCI 31, 34, 73 (Rocket)                                                   (3 LCI)
               LCI 227, 338 (Demolition)                                               (2 LCI)
           77.3.73 Salvage Unit
               YUMA                                                                            (1 ATF)
  (d) 77.4 Beach Party                                                                                   Lieut. Andrews
           Special Beach Party
  (e) 77.5 First Reinforcement Group                                                             Comdr. Greenacre
     77.5.1 LST Unit
         4 LSTs                                                                               (4 LST)
     77.5.2 Escort Unit
         WILKES, NICHOLSON, GILLESPIE(FD), ROE                            (4 DD)
  (f) 77.6 Second Reinforcement Group                                                         Captain Solomons
     77.6.1 LST Unit
         4 LSTs                                                                               (4 LST)
     77.6.2 Escort Unit
         MORRIS, HUGHES, RUSSEL, MUSTIN(FD)                             (4 DD)

     (d) Enemy Forces
     No enemy air or surface forces were encountered. No return fire from shore batteries was noted.
     (e) Weather Conditions - 0730, July 2, 1944.
         Wind - South-Southwest, force 1.
         Sea - Calm with moderate swells from SSE.
         Visibility - Unlimited.
         Clouds - Alto-cumulus, 90% coverage.

PART II

               Chronological Accounts of Action
0635 - DesDiv 42 detached from main body and ordered to take bombardment positions in Naval Gunfire Support Area No 2.
0640 - Vessels of Task Force 77.2 commenced bombardment.
0700 - Took station 500 yards on outboard quarter of USS JENKINS to provide counter-battery fire during USS JENKINS bombardment.
0710 - USS JENKINS commenced bombardment of center portion of Kamiri Airdrome.
0730 - USS JENKINS ceased firing.
0737 - Commenced firing Main Battery at center portion of Kamiri Airdrome.
0740 - Commenced firing automatic weapons at target area.
0742 - Ceased firing automatic weapons.
0754 - Ceased firing Main Battery. Bombardment completed.
0756 - Left Gunfire Support Area and relieved vessels of Fire Support Group "B" on patrol in AA screen.

PART III

  1. (a) Ordnance equipment functioned as designed. There were no casualties. The main battery director was laid in elevation and train by means of ranges and bearings supplied from CIC, and by FD radar ranges to the shore-line. During the bombardment the ship lay-to at a range of 2100 yards from the target area. Coverage of target area was obtained by getting an arbitrary target course across the target area at a uniform rate, reversing target course as necessary. Provision was made for applying spots if such became necessary; however the obscured target prevented this spotting of fall of shot. No "short" in the water were noted on the SG radar screen, so it was assumed that all shot fell in or over the target area.
     (b) Ammunition expended as follows:
         529 rounds 5"/38 cal. AA Common.
         140 rounds 40mm.
         540 rounds 20mm.
     (c) Effectiveness of gunnery was unobserved, aside from lack of short as noted on the SG radar screen.
  2. No enemy return fire was noted.

PART IV

  1. There were no personnel or material casualties.
  2. Damage to enemy installations was unobserved.

PART V

  1. CIC was used to coach the main battery director on the target as previously described.
  2. The Contour Method of obtaining navigational fixes as described in BuShips Radar Information Notes Number 8 of 1 April, 1944 was used to establish the ships position and provide a range and bearing of the target area. The Contour Method of plotting was entirely satisfactory and reasonably accurate, and is considered superior to other methods of Radar Navigation, especially when the coast-line has very few distinguishing features.

PART VI

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

J. L. FOSTER

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