U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Norman Friedmann .The standard history of the development of American destroyers, from the earliest torpedo boat destroyers to the post-war fleet, and covering the massive classes of destroyers built for both World Wars. Gives the reader a good understanding of the debates that surrounded each class of destroyer and led to their individual features.
USS Walke (DD-34)
The first USS Walke (DD-34) was a Paulding-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War I. She was named for Rear Admiral Henry A. Walke.
Walke was laid down on 5 March 1910 at Quincy, Massachusetts, by the Fore River Shipbuilding Company launched on 3 November 1910 sponsored by Miss Mildred Walke Walter, granddaughter of Rear Admiral Walke and commissioned on 22 July 1911 at the Boston Navy Yard, Lieutenant Charles R. Train in command.
USS Walke (DD-34) undergoing repairs, March 1914 - History
USS Terry , a 742-ton Paulding class destroyer built at Newport News, Virginia, was placed in commission in October 1910. During the years prior to U.S. involvement in World War I, she took part in exercises and other routine operations in U.S. East Coast and Caribbean area waters, sometimes while technically in reserve status. In June 1916 Terry was nearly lost in a grounding accident and spent much of the next year undergoing repairs at the Charleston Navy Yard, South Carolina.
By the time this work was completed, the United States was at war, and Terry was soon engaged in patrol duty and convoy escort work in the western Atlantic. The destroyer crossed the ocean to Ireland early in 1918 to conduct combat operations against German U-Boats then threatening the British Isles. She returned home following the November 1918 Armistice and was decommissioned a year later.
Terry was inactive at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, until June 1924, when she was transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard. As USCGC Terry (CG-19) she was employed for the rest of the decade, and then some, in the intense struggle against liquor smugglers. Given back to the Navy in October 1930, she was again laid up. USS Terry was sold for scrapping in May 1934.
This page features, and provides links to, all the views we have concerning USS Terry (Destroyer # 25, later DD-25).
|If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."|
Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.
At anchor, prior to World War I
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
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In harbor with her crew standing in formation on deck, prior to World War I
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
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Photographed in 1918, while painted in pattern camouflage.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
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In a British Isles port, 1918.
Note her pattern camouflage.
Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
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Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.
USS Terry is seen in the background in the following photographs of other subjects:
At Queenstown, Ireland, in 1918.
Third ship from the left (just inboard of the outboard destroyer) is USS Terry (Destroyer # 25).
USS Melville (Destroyer Tender # 2) is in the right background.
Courtesy of Jack Howland, 1982.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
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Charleston Navy Yard, South Carolina
"O" type submarines in drydock, circa 1919.
USS O-10 (Submarine # 71) is identifiable, flanked by two of her sisters.
The drydock is in the process of being filled.
USS Terry (Destroyer # 25) is outside the dock, in center. Traces of her World War I camouflage pattern remain on her middle smokestack, though her hull has been repainted and her number ("25") can be seen on her bow. Three other destroyers and the partially completed gunboat Asheville (Gunboat # 21) are also present.
Note details of the drydock caisson, and the crane on the pier in the distance.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
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Charleston Navy Yard, South Carolina
Seven "O" type submarines in drydock, circa 1919.
USS O-1 (Submarine # 62) is in the foreground. USS O-3 (submarine # 64) is next astern, to left. USS O-10 (Submarine # 71) is the most distant, in the right center.
Outside the drydock (center background) are three destroyers, one of which is USS Terry (Destroyer # 25), and USS Asheville (Gunboat # 21), which is under construction.
The drydock is being filled.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 128KB 610 x 765 pixels
Charleston Navy Yard, South Carolina
Seven "O" type submarines in drydock, circa 1919.
USS O-1 (Submarine # 62) is in the foreground. USS O-3 (submarine # 64) is next astern, to left. USS O-10 (Submarine # 71) is the most distant, in the right center.
Outside the drydock (center background) are three destroyers, one of which is USS Terry (Destroyer # 25), and USS Asheville (Gunboat # 21), which is under construction.
The drydock is in the process of being filled.
USS Walke (DD-34) undergoing repairs, March 1914 - History
Following trials off the East Coast, Terry joined the Atlantic Fleet Torpedo Flotilla in winter operations in Cuban waters. She conducted both torpedo exercises with the flotilla and general maneuvers with the Fleet as a whole. The routine of winter maneuvers in the Caribbean alternated with spring and summer operations along the New England coast continued until November 1913, when the torpedo boat destroyer arrived at Charleston, South Carolina, for overhaul.
Soon after entering the navy yard there, Terry was placed in reserve. Though still in reserve after her overhaul was completed, Terry continued to be active. During 1914, she cruised the coast of Florida and, by February 1915, she was back in Cuban waters for winter maneuvers. That summer, Terry steamed as far north as Newport, Rhode Island, to conduct another round of torpedo exercises. Upon completion of the mission, she returned to her base at Charleston.
By 1 January 1916, Terry was operating with a reduced complement destroyer division. On the 31st, she cruised with units of the Atlantic Fleet to Key West, Florida. In May, she steamed from there to Santo Domingo. On 10 June, while maneuvering in the inner harbor at Puerto Plata, she struck a reef and settled until the greater part of the main deck was submerged. On the 13th, under the supervision of the commanding officer of Sacramento (Gunboat No. 19), Terry&rsquos officers and men joined the staff of a wrecking company in salvage operations. The warship was refloated on 26 July, temporarily repaired by 7 July, and returned to the Charleston Navy Yard on 15 July.
America&rsquos entry into World War I saw Terry undergoing extensive repairs at Charleston. Upon completion of the yard work, she began duty patrolling along the Atlantic coast and escorting merchantmen bound for Europe. In January 1918, Terry put to sea for operations with the destroyer force based at Queenstown, Ireland. There, she escorted convoys through the submarine-infested waters surrounding the British Isles. Her tour of duty at Queenstown was a relatively peaceful though rigorous one. While she never sighted a German U-boat nor engaged in combat operations, on one voyage she escorted a convoy which lost one ship to a submarine. On another occasion, on 19 March 1918, she assisted Manley (Destroyer No. 74) with casualties after that destroyer was damaged by an accidental depth charge explosion.
In December 1918, Terry returned to the United States and, after 11 months of extremely limited service, was decommissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 13 November 1919. She remained there until she was transferred to the Coast Guard on 7 June 1924. She served in the Coast Guard until 18 October 1930, when she was returned to the Navy and restored on the Navy list in a decommissioned status, listed as a &ldquovessel to be disposed of by sale or salvage.&rdquo
On 2 May 1934, Terry was sold for scrapping. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 28 June 1934.
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
Edwin Alexander Anderson, Jr.--born in Wilmington, N.C., on 16 July 1860--was appointed a cadet midshipman, from the 3d Congressional District of North Carolina, on 28 June 1878, and graduated with the Class of 1882, receiving his ensign's stripe on 1 July 1884 after the customary two years' sea duty.
Anderson advanced slowly up the promotion ladder, such advancements in those times being received on basis of seniority he remained an ensign for ten years before becoming a lieutenant (jg.). Detached from Columbia (Cruiser No. 12), Anderson reported on board Marblehead (Cruiser No. 11) on 28 January 1897, and was serving in that ship at the time of the outbreak of war with Spain in the spring of 1898.
At that time, the United States Navy threw a blockade around Cuba by early May 1898, Marblehead was operating off the south coast of the island, off the port of Cienfuegos--a cable terminus important to Spanish communications--in company with the converted yacht Eagle, Nashville (Gunboat No. 7), the revenue cutter Windom and the collier Saturn.
To sever this vital link, Captain Bowman H. McCalla, senior officer in the group, planned an operation to cut the cable at Cienfuegos, designating Lt. Cameron McRae Winslow as the commanding officer, with Lt. (jg.) Anderson as his second-in-command. Winslow accordingly gave Anderson command of the sailing launches from Marblehead.
After the guns of the two warships smashed Spanish positions ashore, the boats moved in to carry out the operation. Anderson's boat quickly snatched up the first cable, and, assisted by Nashville's boat, cut it. The soon grapneled a second cable and were in the process of cutting it, too, when the Spaniards opened a slow fire that soon grew to volley proportions, from rifles, automatic weapons and 1-pounders. After a Spanish bullet felled the coxswain of Anderson's boat, the latter took the helm himself and began steering the boat seaward, directing his men to keep down between the thwarts. The Spanish fire, however, wounded three more men and holed the boat in many places. After the action, Anderson had nothing but praise for his sailors and marines, commending their intelligent and cheerful work in the exhausting labor of picking up and cutting the heavy cables, working even under heavy fire until ordered to stop. The operation proved successful in another aspect. The ships' gunfire decimated a large Spanish force sent to the area to contest the operation.
Subsequently, Anderson delivered the prize steamer Adula to Savannah, Georgia, in July 1898, and was given command of another Spanish prize, the gunboat Alvarado. Recommended for advancement in grade for his heroism at Cienfuegos in August 1898, this advancement (five numbers in grade) came finally on 11 February 1901.
Over the first decade of the 20th century, Anderson advanced to commander among his tours of duty included a stint at the Navy Recruiting Station, Cincinnati, Ohio, and at the Mare Island Navy Yard as ordnance officer, before being given command of Yorktown (Gunboat No. 1) in the autumn of 1910. he briefly commanded Iowa (Battleship No. 4) during the assemblage of the fleet in New York City before being detached for duty as Captain of the Yard at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
Late in 1913, Anderson was given command of New Hampshire (Battleship No. 25) and while in command of that ship, took part in the American intervention at Veracruz, Mexico, in April of 1914. Given command of the Second Seaman Regiment, Anderson led that bluejacket landing force ashore and so distinguished himself in the fighting that followed that he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Subsequently attending the Naval War College, Anderson served as Supervisor of Naval Auxiliary Reserves, Norfolk, and later as Commander, Squadron 3, Patrol Force, assigned defense duties out of Key West, Fla., during World War I, with Dolphin as his flagship. Appointed a rear admiral to rank from 31 August 1917, Anderson commanded Squadron 1, Patrol Force, Atlantic Fleet, for the duration of the First World War.
Over the next few years, Anderson flew his flag as Commander, Division 1, Cruiser Squadrons, Atlantic Fleet, and as Commandant, 6th Naval District, headquartered at Charleston, S.C., before assuming command of United States Naval Forces in European Waters, with the rank of vice admiral. He was soon redesignated as Commander in Chief, Asiatic Fleet, however, from 28 August 1922.
A severe earthquake rocked Japan, causing heavy damage to such cities as Tokyo and Yokohama. As Secretary of the Navy Edwin Denby reported in 1923, "One of the brightest pages in the history of the Navy has recently been written by the Asiatic Fleet in its mission of mercy to the stricken people of Japan . " Admiral Anderson promptly placed his fleet at the disposal of the Japanese, immediately dispatched a division of destroyers from Chinese waters to Yokohama with medical supplies to render assistance. The ships of Destroyer Division 38, led by Stewart (DD-224), were in fact the first ships to render assistance to the city of Yokohama. All available naval vessels were laden with clothing, food, medicines, and supplies, and rushed to Japanese waters. Admiral Anderson himself arrived at Yokohama in his flagship, the armored cruiser Huron (CA-9) on the afternoon of 6 September 1923.
Within two weeks' time, the United States Ambassador in Japan, Cyrus E. Woods, could cable: "I have been informed by the Foreign Office that food emergency has been met. Only problem remaining is question of distribution. This the Japanese with their organizing ability and their ability to recover from shock desire to handle themselves. it will gratify the American people to know that the prompt action of Admiral Anderson has had much to do with this. American Navy's assistance thoroughly appreciated by the men in the street as well as the Japanese government. I wish to emphasize that in this critical emergency the first assistance from the outside world since the catastrophe was brought by our Asiatic Fleet." Subsequently, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States, M. Hanihara, expressed gratitude for Admiral Anderson's "unflagging zeal and efficiency" that led to the "prompt and gallant assistance" that enabled the situation to be brought "well under control in a short time."
Relieved by Admiral Thomas Washington on 11 October 1923, Anderson returned to the United States, and was placed on the retired list with the permanent rank of rear admiral on 23 March 1924. Anderson died on 23 September 1933, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
(DD-411: dp. 1,620 l. 347'11" b. 36'1" dr. 13'4" s. 38.7 k. cpl. 251 a. 5 5", 4 .50-cal. mg., 8 21" tt., 2 dct. cl. Sims)
Anderson (DD-411) was laid down on 15 November 1937 at Kearny, N.J., by the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. launched on 4 February 1939 sponsored by Mrs. Mertie Loraine Anderson, the widow of the late Rear Admiral Anderson towed to the New York Navy Yard, and delivered there to the Navy on 18 May 1939 and commissioned on 19 May 1939, Lt. Comdr. William M. Hobby, Jr., in command.
Anderson remained at the New York Navy Yard through June, fitting out, during which time she contributed a landing party of sailors to march in the New York City Flag Day parade on 14 June 1939. Underway from her berth on 5 July 1939, Anderson reached Newport, R.I., on the 7th mooring to the east dock at the Naval Torpedo Station and taking on board torpedo warheads, exploders, and test equipment before returning to the New York Navy Yard the next day, pausing there only briefly before getting underway later that afternoon for Washington, D.C.
On 12 July, assisted by the tugs Tecumseh (YT-24) and Undaunted (YT-125), Anderson got underway for Yorktown, Va. She loaded depth charges at the mine depot at Yorktown before moving to the naval operating base (NOB) at Norfolk, pausing there briefly on 12 and 13 July before getting underway on the 14th for Wilmington, N.C. This port visit had a special quality about it, for Wilmington was the hometown of the man for whom the ship had been named, Admiral Anderson and it accorded the ship a warm welcome. The local paper editorialized: "It is a pleasure to have you in port and to inspect the magnificent new destroyer named in honor of a distinguished son. The ship and its personnel are a credit to the record and memory of the man for whom your ship is named . Therefore, we bid you welcome, and if there is aught that can add to your entertainment while here, you have but to ask any resident and it is your . " Anderson reciprocating this expressed hospitality, gave a tea for Mrs. Anderson, members of the late flag officer's family, and the city officials of Wilmington on the afternoon of 17 July. On the next day, assisted out into the stream by the tug Battler, the destroyer made departure from Wilmington.
Reaching NOB Norfolk on the 19th, Anderson shifted to the Norfolk Navy Yard that same day to take on board ammunition. After embarking six enlisted marines for transportation to the marine barracks at Guantanamo Bay, Anderson got underway on the 21st for Cuban waters and the initial part of her shakedown cruise. Arriving at Guantanamo on the 24th, the destroyer disembarked her passengers before operating locally over the next few days.
Anderson then visited San Juan, Puerto Rico (from 1 to 5 August) Coco Solo, Canal Zone (8 to 14 August) and Hamilton, Bermuda (19 to 21 August) before she reached Montreal, Canada, on the morning of 31 August. The outbreak of war in Europe the following day found Anderson still moored to the Laurier Dock at Montreal. Underway on 5 September, the destroyer called briefly at Quebec (5 to 6 September) before she headed for Newport. On 8 September, while still en route to her destination, subtle reminders of wartime conditions presented themselves: at 1008, Anderson sighted a merchantman eight miles distant, identifying her as Norwegian by the display of national colors on ships' side. Soon thereafter, a plane identified as "British" (possibly Royal Canadian Air Force) by the wing markings, circled Anderson at low altitude, obviously scrutinizing the ship thoroughly before banking away and heading for the coast.
Anderson made arrival at the Naval Torpedo Station at Newport the following day, 9 September, and over the next few days served as the underway "target" for torpedo practice conducted by Jouett (DD-396) on the testing range in Narragansett Bay. On the 16th, Anderson arrived back at the New York Navy Yard, her shakedown completed, for the installation of her main battery director. After brief periods underway for testing fire control equipment (21 to 22 September), Anderson took departure from New York for NOB Norfolk, arriving on the 24th.
Anderson conducted gunnery exercises on the Southern Drill Grounds off the Virginia capes, firing at a target towed by the fleet tug Acushnet (AT-63) on 26 September before firing antiaircraft battery practice on the 28th. Pausing briefly at the Norfolk Navy Yard the following day, 29 September, she took departure the same day for New York, arriving at the New York Navy Yard for post-shakedown availability on the morning of 1 October, these repairs and alterations continuing through the end of January 1940.
The destroyer then touched briefly at the Boston Navy Yard before she ran her final acceptance trials off Rockland, Maine, on 7 February 1940, with Rear Admiral H.L. Brinser, president of the Board of Inspection and Survey, embarked. Anderson then paid a return visit to the Boston Navy Yard on 9 February before returning to New York, via the Cape Cod Canal, Buzzard's Bay and Oyster Bay, on 12 February.
Anderson remained in the navy yard through the end of March, after which time she sailed for Newport, for torpedo firing tests on 10 April. At 1130 on the 12th, the destroyer embarked the Honorable John Z. Anderson, a California congressman and member of the House Naval Affairs Committee, and got underway shortly thereafter, reaching NOB Norfolk, and mooring to pier 6, at 2008 the following day, disembarking her passenger the next morning.
Underway in company with the prototype fast transport Manley (APD-1), Anderson stood out, headed for Guantanamo Bay, on the afternoon of 15 April. The next day, 14 hours out of Norfolk, the ships ran into heavy weather. At 0440 on the 16th, the strongback of the port lifeboat was reported to be cracked. Lt. George R. Phelan, the executive officer, gather men of the deck force in the lee of the galley, amidships, as the ship steered various courses in an attempt to lessen the roll and thereby facilitate efforts to secure the port lifeboat. Between rolls, Lt. Phelan and his men attempted to recover the boat and make it fast, but the effort soon became too dangerous--not worth the lives of the men--and the work had to be abandoned, the boat carrying away completely at 0718. Ultimately, Anderson reached Guantanamo Bay at 0618 on 19 April.
Underway again nine hours later, Anderson, again in company with Manley, reached the submarine base at Coco Solo, Canal Zone, on the 21st. Transiting the Panama Canal on the 23d, Anderson proceeded independently up the west coast of central America, reaching Acapulco, Mexico, on the 27th. the next morning, following by nine hours the visit of Comdr. W.M. Dillon, the naval attaché at the United States Embassy in Mexico City, Anderson sent ashore a working party to bring off "naval stores salvaged from the wreck" of the 5,500-ton merchantman SS Timber Rush (listed in the 1941 merchant Vessel Register as "abandoned" during the previous year). Underway again four hours later, Anderson rejoined Manley on the 30th, and reached San Diego at 0900 on 1 May 1940.
After conducting a brief harbor cruise with 85 Army reservists embarked on 18 May, Anderson got underway to conduct a neutrality patrol off the coast of southern California. During the course of this operation on the 20th, the destroyer sighted a tug five miles away at 0945 and altered course to close and investigate. Closer examination revealed the tug, Ray P. Clark, towing a barge laden with horses and bales of hay and flying a distress signal. Anderson immediately called away her fire and rescue party and stopped to render assistance--help which only turned out to be giving directions to the tug, that had become lost and needed the course to San Nicolas Island! The assistance duly rendered, Anderson continued on her appointed rounds, arriving back at San Diego on the morning of the 23d.
The warship commenced the month of June as plane guard for Yorktown (CV-5), as that carrier conducted local operations out of North Island she later plane-guarded for Yorktown's sister ship, Enterprise (CV-6) on 19, 20, and 21 June, interspersed with type training and gunnery practice out of Pyramid Cove, San Clemente Island. At 0938 on 22 June, as the ship prepared to sail for Hawaiian waters, Comdr. Allen E. Smith reported on board and broke his pennant in Anderson as Commander, Destroyer Division (DesDiv) 3 Anderson subsequently took departure from San Diego on the morning of 25 June, sailing in company with Enterprise and the destroyers Hammann (DD-412), Mustin (DD-413), Sterett (DD-407), Hopkins (DD-428) and Rowan (DD-405).
During the passage to Hawaii, Anderson alternated with the other destroyers in standing plane guard duty for Enterprise and then serving as antisubmarine screen. On 28 June, during morning flight operations, a plane from Scouting Squadron (VS) 6 lost power after being catapulted from the flight deck and was forced to ditch. Hammann arrived on the scene first and rescued the pilot and his radioman. Enterprise later drew alongside the plane and recovered it. Subsequently, Anderson covered the arrival of the force at Pearl Harbor and then followed it in, mooring on the morning of 2 July.
For the next five months, Anderson operated locally out of Pearl Harbor and Lahaina Roads. Her operations within the Hawaiian chain took her to Palmyra (22 July) and Christmas Island (23 July) and included such evolutions as antiaircraft and machine gun practices battle depth charge practices, and torpedo practices, often operating in company with destroyers, light cruisers, and battleships. Interspersed were periods of upkeep back at Pearl harbor alongside Altair (AD-11) between 26 and 28 October, and drydocking (28 to 29 October, and again from 30 October to 4 November). The ship also patrolled assigned areas adjacent to the Lahaina Roads anchorage, off Maui, and off Honolulu and Pearl Harbor, intercepting and identifying many merchantmen, and local craft, such as fishing boats, as well as noting the movements of American warships. Following this intensive period of operations in Hawaiian waters, Anderson took departure from Pearl Harbor on 2 December 1940, bound for the west coast in company with the rest of Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 8.
Arriving at San Diego on the afternoon of 8 December, Anderson steamed to the Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., San Pedro, Calif., the day after Christmas, and underwent an overhaul there through the first week of January 1941. Then, after operating locally out of Long Beach and San Diego, Anderson took departure from San Diego on the morning of 14 January and rendezvoused with Enterprise and Lexington (CV-2) off San Pedro. The force conducted drills and exercises en route to the Hawaiian Islands, reaching Pearl Harbor on the morning of 21 January.
Anderson resumed operations in the Hawaiian area on 12 February, conducting such evolutions as depth charge practices, night battle practice runs, and gunnery drills, until returning to Pearl Harbor on the 19th. Underway again two days later she conducted more gunnery runs and damage control problems before returning to port that afternoon to provision from the storeship Arctic (AF-7). Underway again on the morning of the 22d, Anderson patrolled off the entrance to Pearl Harbor and encountered a fishing craft trespassing in a security zone lowering her motor whaleboat, Anderson investigated the craft and warned her owner to keep away from those waters. Anderson returned to Pearl Harbor the next morning, 23 February, before resuming the intensive schedule of operations with the other ships in her division that lasted through the end of February.
During March 1941, Anderson continued the rapid pace of operations out of Pearl Harbor, operating with the fleet and honing her skills in antisubmarine warfare tactics and in gunnery. She also operated for a time with Yorktown, as plane guard. During flight operations on the morning of 17 March 1941, two Douglas TBD-1s from Torpedo Squadron 5 collided at 1,000 feet and crashed into the sea, 2,500 yards from the carrier. Yorktown's boats recovered the bodies of the pilots, but both planes sank in 2,910 fathoms of water, carrying the other four men--two in each aircraft--with them. Anderson--detailed to remain in the vicinity and continue the search--found only small parts of the planes and pieces of clothing.
These evolutions in Hawaiian waters proved to be the last for some time Anderson got underway for the west coast of the United States shortly after noon on 24 March, and reached Mare Island Navy Yard on the last day of the month after first disembarking at San Francisco, enlisted passengers transported from Pearl Harbor. The destroyer spent all of April 1941 undergoing repairs and alternations at the west coast yard, and on 16 May got underway for her post-repair trials.
After operating briefly in San Francisco Bay, Anderson shifted to Long Beach on the 21st, and eight days later, took departure, ostensibly for the Hawaiian Island, in company with her division mates Hammann, Mustin, and Rowan. Interestingly, the ships soon received a change of orders they rendezvoused with Philadelphia (CL-41) on the afternoon of 30 May, and soon proceeded down the coast, bound for Panama, as another increment of the Pacific Fleet was withdrawn to augment the Atlantic Fleet in its undeclared war with the German Navy in the Atlantic.
Transiting the Panama Canal on the night of 8-9 June, Anderson--her hull number and name painted out for security reasons--passed the Cristobal breakwater at 0125 on the 9th, en route to Guantanamo Bay. Fueling there on the 11th, Anderson got underway the same afternoon, quickly taking up antisubmarine screening station off the port bow of the battleship Idaho (BB-42), which she escorted up the eastern seaboard to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, arriving there on 15 June.
The respite in port proved brief, however, since Anderson took departure early on the morning of 19 June. Joined by Rowan shortly thereafter, the destroyer stood down the Delaware River, and out into the Atlantic. They joined the heavy cruiser Tuscaloosa (CA-37) the following morning, and, later, the aircraft carrier Wasp (CV-7) shortly after noon on the 21st.
Together, these ships proceeded out into the central Atlantic on neutrality patrol, cruising almost as far as the Cape Verde Island, "safeguarding the neutrality of the United States." Their voyage took them almost to the edge of the zones defined in operations orders of April and June 1941. Anderson served as plane guard for Wasp and as antisubmarine screen for the carrier and for Tuscaloosa during the patrol that ultimately came to an end at Bermuda on Independence Day, 1941.
After a brief period in Bermudan waters, a break she utilized for a short stint of close range battle practice, Anderson took departure on 12 July for Norfolk, reaching her destination the following day. After getting underway from the Tidewater region for torpedo practice on the 17th, the warship sailed north for Boston, and reached the Boston Navy Yard on the afternoon of the 19th.
Anderson then underwent repairs and alterations into early August during her time in the yard, her number three 5-inch mount was removed to save topside weight and allow the fitting of additional .50-caliber machine guns, extensions to her depth charge tracks, and a "Y"-gun (depth charge projector), in addition to two dozen additional depth charges. Thus refitted to better perform the escort role needed in the developing Battle of the Atlantic, she participated in intensive antisubmarine exercises out of Provincetown, Mass., during the latter half of August 1941 before returning to Boston on the 30th. Anderson's operations now carried her farther north, as she sailed for Casco Bay, Maine, on 2 September, exercising with Tuscaloosa en route.
Assigned to Task Force (TF) 15, Anderson steamed as part of the escort force for the first major reinforcement convoy bound for Iceland, carrying an Army brigade to augment the Marines who had been there since July. The ships reached Reykjavik on the evening of 15 September after a passage enlivened by two "submarine" contacts in Anderson's vicinity: one summarily depth-charged by Walke (DD-416) on 8 September the other by Hilary P. Jones (DD-428) on the 10th. Then, between 26 September and 3 October, Anderson escorted a convoy to Placentia Bay, Newfoundland.
Anderson remained in Placentia Bay for almost a week before getting underway on the 10th as part of the antisubmarine screen for TF 14, formed around Yorktown. This force reached Casco Bay, Maine, on the afternoon of the 13th. Moving down to Provincetown, Anderson again conducted antisubmarine exercises and, as in previous practices, the ship's performance was "outstanding in detecting the presence of a submarine and carrying out a successful attack." Later, after a tender availability alongside Denebola (AD-12) at Casco Bay, she resumed her operations at sea with TF 14.
Standing out of Casco Bay on the afternoon of the 26th, with Task Group (TG) 14.3--Savannah (CL-42) (the flagship of Rear Admiral H. Kent Hewitt, Commander, Cruisers, Atlantic Fleet), Philadelphia (CL-41), New Mexico (BB-40), Yorktown, and seven destroyers as the escort for a convoy of six British cargo ships bound for the British Isles--Anderson, in the inner antisubmarine screen, plane guarded for the carrier as she conducted flight operations covering the convoy as it moved out into the Atlantic.
On 30 October, 700 miles from St. John's, Newfoundland, Yorktown had just completed recovering planes and was proceeding ahead to refuel Sims (DD-409) when, at 1219, Anderson made an underwater contact, 1,300 yards distant. Anderson went to general quarters immediately and proceeded ahead to develop the contact, dropping a standard pattern of six depth charges at 1225. Five minutes later, Morris (DD-418) dropped an "embarrassing barrage". Other ships in the vicinity, however, began sighting porpoises and blackfish, leading Comdr. Frank G. Fahrion, Commander, DesDiv 3 in Anderson, to report over the high-frequency radio (TBS) to Morris that, in view of the fish sightings, the contact was a false one.
Soon thereafter, however, Anderson's men saw an oil slick and lowered a bucket that, when drawn up, contained a mixture of oil, water, and burnt TNT. At 1305, the destroyer picked up a propeller noise and attacked with a second pattern of six depth charges. Soon thereafter, Hughes (DD-410), also in on the "hunt," picked up a contact and requested Anderson to develop it. The latter dropped another pattern at 1409.
Anderson secured from general quarters at 1421 and the, in company with Hughes, tried to develop further contacts or to obtain concrete evidence of a "kill." Unfortunately, it appeared that their quarry had escaped.
After securing from the search at 1503, Anderson remained with TF 14 until detached on 6 November. At 1637 on that same day, while steaming in company with Hammann, Anderson sighted an unidentified ship which instituted radical course changes when she apparently sighted the two American destroyers. As Hammann parted company with her sister ship, Anderson investigated the stranger, finding her to be the Norwegian-registry tanker SS Trondheim, steaming singly from Belfast, Northern Ireland, to Halifax, Nova Scotia. The destroyer then trailed the tanker for a time until securing from the effort at 2246.
Reaching Hvalfjordur on the 7th and fueling from Sapelo (AO-11) upon arrival, Anderson then spent the next month operating in Icelandic waters, out of Hvalfjordur ("Valley Forge") and Reykjavik ("Rinky Dink"). The ship's last "peacetime" operations consisted of a sweep, in company with battleships Idaho and Mississippi (BB-41) from Reykjavik across the southern end of the Denmark Strait, between Iceland and Greenland, between 1 and 6 December 1941.
Underway from Hvalfjordur, Iceland, on the morning of 9 December 1941, two days after the Japanese attack upon the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, halfway across the globe, Anderson reached the Norfolk Navy Yard on the 17th, tarrying only a short time before taking departure at 0537 on the 18th for Charleston, S.C. in company with her division mates Hammann, Mustin, and Morris, and reaching their destination the following morning. Unloading ammunition the following day, Anderson spent the rest of 1941 undergoing repairs and alterations at the Charleston Navy Yard, including the replacement of her .50-caliber machine guns with 20-millimeter antiaircraft guns.
Three days in to 1942, Anderson sailed for Norfolk, and after calibrating her degaussing gear on the Wolf Trap degaussing range, near Norfolk, the destroyer arrived at NOB, Norfolk, on the morning of 5 January. Once again, the respite in port proved brief, and at midday on the 6th, Anderson cleared Hampton Roads in company with Morris and Hammann, ultimately taking a screening position on the port beam of Mississippi in the force escorting the battle wagons of BatDiv 3 back to the Pacific.
Over the next four days, the destroyers guarded the two battleships, New Mexico and Mississippi, and the transport President Hayes (AP-39) as they headed down the east coast of the United States and across the Gulf of Mexico. Reaching Cristoobal on the morning of 11 January, Anderson transited the Panama Canal during the day, mooring at Balboa that afternoon. After taking on fuel the destroyer was underway once more, that evening, bound for San Diego. On the second leg of the voyage, all ships remained alert: within two days of departure from Panama, Anderson's lookouts reported a torpedo track at 0113 on 13 January the sighting is puzzling, since no other ship in the formation reported sighting a torpedo track! Overt the next four days, the ships sighted, challenged and identified two ships, both of which proved to be friendly: the British-registry Ocean Voice and the American-registry Kishacoquillas, on 15 and 17 January, respectively.
During the passage, the ships honed up their gunnery skills, and the battleships' Vought OS2Us simulated dive, torpedo, and high-level bombing attacks on the convoy. Off San Francisco Bay, the submarine jitters struck again, this time as Hammann reported a contact on the morning of 22 January and depth-charged the "contact" with negative results. The odyssey from the east coast completed, Anderson moored in a nest at pier 54, San Francisco, at 1250, 22 January 1942.
Anderson subsequently unmoored on the morning of 25 January, after having undergone a brief tender availability in a nest alongside Dixie (AD-14) and stood out of San Francisco Bay, bound for a rendezvous with Convoy 2019.
Hampered by the typical foggy conditions surrounding the bay area, assembly took some time, but ultimately, with all units present and accounted for, the convoy set out for the Hawaiian Islands. Anderson covered the entry of the ships into the Pearl Harbor channel shortly before noon on 2 February.
Underway at 0817 on 16 February, Anderson stood out to sea, joining up with TF-17--consisting of Yorktown, the heavy cruisers Astoria (CA-34) and Louisville, and Anderson's sisterships Hammann, Sims and Walke, under Rear Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher--later that afternoon. The next two weeks found the Yorktown task force working its way toward the southwest Pacific. On 6 March 1942, TF 17 rendezvoused with TF 11 under Vice Admiral Wilson Brown, to raid the Japanese stronghold of Rabaul.
While Brown's and Fletcher's ships were en route to that area, however, Australian reconnaissance planes detected a Japanese invasion force moving toward the settlements of Lae and Salamaua, on the eastern coast of New Guinea. Both fell with little resistance, but the incipient enemy base, and the airfields at both places, presented the Allies with a fine new target, and a chance to get back at the enemy at his most vulnerable time-- before he had consolidated his beachhead. The raid on Rabaul was shelved.
To provide security for the carriers' operations in the Gulf of Papua, Brown detached a surface force to remain in the waters of the Louisiade Archipelago, near Rossel Island, to intercept any enemy thrust toward Port Moresby and cover the arrival of Army troops scheduled to arrive at about that time at Noumea, New Caledonia. He placed this force--Astoria, Chicago (CA-29), Louisville, and HMAS Australia and the destroyers, Anderson, Sims, Hammann, and Hughes--under Rear Admiral John C. Crace, Royal Navy. While the patrol proved uneventful for Crace's ships, which rejoined TF 11 on 14 March, the Lae-Salamaua raid carried out by the planes from Yorktown and Lexington forced the Japanese to husband carefully their amphibious resources, already on the proverbial "shoestring," for their planned operations in the Solomons.
Anderson operated with Yorktown through late April, patrolling the Coral Sea as the sole barrier against Japanese expansion in that region, putting into Tongatabu, in the Tonga (or "Friendly") Islands, late that month. With intelligence data indicating that the postponed movement against Tulagi, in the Solomons, was imminent--confirmed by the Japanese landing men and supplies there on 29 April and establishing a seaplane base on the heels of the retreating Australian garrison, TF 17 moved north to deal with this threat.
On 4 May, Anderson--her men "anxious to get a chance to attack" the enemy--screened Yorktown as she launched three attacks on the incipient base at Tulagi, the carrier's planes sinking a destroyer and some small auxiliaries, at the relatively modest cost of only three aircraft (whose crews were later recovered). Reinforced on 6 May by rear Admiral Aubrey W. Fitch's TF 11, Rear Admiral Fletcher planned to meet the Japanese in the Coral Sea on 7 may, to stop the enemy thrust toward Port Moresby.
On that day, each side attempted to strike blows with carrier aircraft the Americans enjoying more success in that planes from Yorktown and Lexington sank the light carrier Shoho. Japanese planes, attempting to strike the Americans, could not find them in the gathering darkness, and a twilight encounter between the returning Japanese air groups and American fighters robbed the enemy of experienced crews as well as virtually irreplaceable aircraft. Anderson, assigned to the Air Group (TG 17.5), operated in the screen of Lexington.
The Japanese Striking Force, however, formed around the fleet carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku was, on the 7th, well south of Guadalcanal. The same day that American planes had dispatched Shoho, planes from the enemy carriers sank the destroyer Sims and damaged the oiler Neosho (AO-23) so severely that she had to be sunk later.
The next morning some 170 miles separated the two forces. The Americans struck first, crippling Shokaku antiaircraft fire and combat air patrol aircraft soon decimated the Zuikakau air group. Meanwhile, the American carriers had taken divergent courses as the incoming Japanese strike neared them. Yorktown, Lexington and their respective screens drawing three of four miles apart Anderson continued to screen Lexington. About 1116t on 8 May, the first of the Japanese planes came in on the attack, which lasted until 1200. During the attack, Anderson maintained station on Lexington, constantly firing at the enemy, but scoring no hits. With the exception of one burst of machine gun fire, the destroyer was not attacked, the enemy concentrating his attack on Lexington.
"Lady Lex" took two hits on the port side. Then dive bombers ("Vals") punctured her with near misses and staggered her with two direct hits. A bomb smashed into the port forward gun gallery, and another exploded inside the carrier's funnel. During the afternoon her fires ere brought under control and her list corrected. But the explosions had ruptured her gasoline pipes, and about 1445 a series of explosions occurred, setting off internal fires. Anderson stood by to render assistance and pick, up survivors as the big carrier was abandoned, and rescued 377 men. Eventually, Phelps (DD-361) had to sink Lexington with torpedoes.
The first battle fought with neither side sighting the other except from the cockpits of their respective aircraft, the engagement in the Coral Sea stopped the Japanese thrust toward Port Moresby. It was a strategic victory for the Allies, but a tactical one for the enemy, since the Japanese had inflicted heavier damage on the American carriers. Besides the loss of Lexington, Yorktown had been badly damaged.
On 4 June, Japanese planes struck the island of Midway with little opposition, and returned to their carriers to re-arm for a second strike. Confusion on the Japanese side as to what forces they found themselves facing proved fatal, as the American air attack from Yorktown, Enterprise, and Hornet (CV-8) caught the enemy at a vulnerable moment. While torpedo planes from the three carriers successively drew off the combat air patrols, dive bombers from Yorktown and Enterprise wrought mortal damage on three of the four enemy carriers engaged.
Planes from Hiryu, the one enemy flattop that had escaped destruction that morning, however, soon sought out the Americans and located TF 17. Although decimated by TF 17's combat air patrol, the Japanese strike group ("Vals") managed to score damaging hits on Yorktown, causing her to go dead in the water. Anderson's gunners claimed two Japanese planes downed as they retired from the scene. Yorktown, however, was underway again two hours later, her fires put out and power restored, and commencing to launch fighters when a second attack wave--this time composed of torpedo planes ("Kates")--showed up. In the developing melee, Anderson splashed one "Kate" before it had a chance to launch its torpedo, but others managed to penetrate the terrific barrage and drop their deadly ordnance, scoring two hits on the carrier's port side amidships.
Anderson's gunners claimed one of the retiring planes with a direct hit. As Yorktown, mortally wounded, slowed to a halt for the second time that day, Anderson picked up Ens. Milton Tottle, IV, USNR, a pilot from the carrier's Fighting Squadron (VF) 3, who had been shot down attacking a Japanese torpedo plane. The destroyer then closed Yorktown and picked up 203 more men.
While TF 17 gathered Yorktown's men and then cleared the area, the ship remained stubbornly afloat. When it became evident that the carrier would not sink immediately and might be saved, Admiral Fletcher ordered a salvage party put on board. Under tow by the fleet tug Vireo (AT-144) and with a salvage party on board composed of volunteers from the various ship departments, Yorktown appeared to be on the threshold of salvage. The arrival of the Japanese submarine I-168, however, changed all that, and the gallant carrier was torpedoed on 6 June, along with Hammann. The latter sank immediately Yorktown lingered until the following morning when she, too, sank.
Anderson returned to Pearl Harbor on 13 June. Between 8 and 15 July she escorted Fulton (AS-11) to Midway, and between 22 and 27 July, she escorted the escort carrier Long Island (AVG-1) to Palmyra Island and back to Pearl Harbor.
On 17 August, Anderson sortied from Pearl Harbor with TF 17 enroute to the Solomons area, where she sighted and joined TF 61 on 29 August. Anderson was assigned as screen for Hornet in TG 61.2. The Battle of the Eastern Solomons, which had taken place on 24 August, had turned back a major Japanese attempt to recapture Guadalcanal. Enemy submarines, however, still lurked in the waters east of Guadalcanal. On 31 August, Saratoga (CV-3), in TG 61.1, was torpedoed and damaged, and forced to retire to Tongatabu. On 14 September, six transports carrying reinforcements and supplies for Guadalcanal departed Espiritu Santo, with the task groups formed around Wasp (CV-7) and Hornet in support.
Enemy submarines, however, again made their deadly presence felt. On 15 September, I-19 torpedoed Wasp. At that time, Anderson was screening Hornet, about six miles northeast of Wasp. A few minutes later, torpedoes were spotted racing toward Hornet, which maneuvered to avoid them. They passed ahead, one smashing into North Carolina (BB-55) and the other into O'Brien. Anderson was ordered to stand by the stricken battleship, and escorted her to Tongatabu on the 19th.
During the remainder of September 1942, Anderson escorted a Dutch convoy to Dumbea Bay, New Caledonia, then on 3 October, sortied with TF 17 enroute to launch an air attack against enemy vessels in the Buin-Faisi area. On 3 October, Anderson was detached to proceed to the rescue of a downed pilot. The pilot was not found, and since the task force was by that time too far away to enable her to rejoin before the mission was accomplished, she proceeded singly to Noumea.
She rejoined TF 17 on 8 October, and on the 15th, received orders to proceed north to the Guadalcanal area to strike enemy forces in order to relieve pressure there. Hornet launched strikes on the 16th, and on the 24th the force joined with TF 16 to form TF 61. On 26 October, the American ships engaged a numerically superior Japanese striking force in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. Contact between the two opposing forces, as at Coral Sea, was almost simultaneous. During the day planes from the Enterprise and Hornet damaged two enemy carriers, a cruiser, and two destroyers. American ship casualties, however, were considerably heavier.
At 1010 on that morning some 27 planes attacked Hornet. Anderson opened fire, scoring hits on two planes, and splashing one. One bomb hit Hornet's flight deck, then a "Val" crashed the ship. A moment later two "Kates" swept in, launching torpedoes which hit the carrier's engineering spaces. As she slowed to a halt, she was hit by three more bombs and another "Val." During this melee, Anderson succeeded in downing another torpedo plane, scored hits on several others, and took one machine gun bullet hit, causing a small crack and dent in her side plating amidships.
At noon, Northampton attempted to take Hornet in tow, but at 1815 another flock of enemy dive-bombers and torpedo planes roared in to attack the crippled carrier. A veritable sitting duck, she took a torpedo and a bomb hit, and abandoned ship. Anderson moved in to pick up survivors, taking on board 246 men. Mustin was ordered to sink the hulk, and scored three torpedo hits, but Hornet remained stubbornly afloat. Anderson and Mustin shelled Hornet, but the arrival of Japanese destroyers on the horizon forced the two American destroyers to take a hurried departure. on the morning of 27 October, Japanese destroyers performed the final rites for Hornet with four torpedoes.
During the Japanese attack on Hornet, the Enterprise group over the horizon had not gone unscathed. The destroyer Porter (DD-356) was sunk inadvertently by an American aircraft torpedo, Enterprise suffered three bomb hits the destroyer Smith (DD-378) was severely damaged by a suicider and both South Dakota (BB-57) and San Juan (CL-53) suffered minor damage from bomb hits. Although the American forces had suffered heavier damage, they had succeeded in stopping the Japanese thrust toward Guadalcanal.
During November 1942, Anderson participated in further operations in the waters off Guadalcanal, screening a transport group landing troops in Lunga Roads and providing call fire during landings on 4 to 6 November, and screening Enterprise during strikes against enemy shipping at Guadalcanal on 13 and 14 November.
Anderson continued to operated out of the New Hebrides Islands on hunter-killer missions, and escort runs for a fueling rendezvous with TF 67 and TF 68 until 7 March 1943. She arrived at Pearl harbor on 22 March and received onward routing back to the United States. From 9 April to 8 June she lay at San Francisco undergoing overhaul and repairs.
Following an escort run to Pearl Harbor and back in June, Anderson departed San Francisco on 11 July with TG 96.1 enroute to Kodiak, Alaska, arriving on the 21st. joining TG 16.17 on 30 July, she participated in bombardments of Kiska on 2 and 15 August 1943. The ship remained in the Aleutians on patrol duty until 21 September, when she departed for Pearl harbor.
From 14 October to 1 November, Anderson lay at Wellington, New Zealand, staging with the transports for the next operation. With TF 53, she arrived at her objective on 10 November 1943--Tarawa. As a part of Fire Support Group No. 3, she took station off the eastern end of Betio on D-day, 20 November, and began conducting bombardments of assigned targets. Betio was captured by the 24th, but Anderson remained in the general area on radar picket patrol and rendered intermittent call fire until 29 November, when she departed for Pearl Harbor.
By 21 December 1943, she was back in San Diego to escort the 4th marine Division to Kwajalein. Enroute, Anderson was one of the units designated to conduct a diversionary strike at Wotje on 30 January 1944. As one of the leading destroyers she opened the bombardment at 0542 and began to maneuver to avoid enemy return fire. At 0646, a shell hit in her combat information center (C(C), killing the commanding officer, Lt. Comdr. John G. Tennent, III, two ensigns, and three enlisted men, and wounding 14 others. her executive officer immediately assumed command and kept her firing until she could maneuver to seaward to act as antisubmarine screen until completion of the Wotje bombardment at noon. The next day, Anderson approached the objective islands of Roi and Namur, Kwajalein Atoll, and screened to seaward as the heavy units began the bombardment. on 1 February, while transferring her wounded, she struck an uncharted pinnacle and had to be towed to Pearl Harbor.
Following the completion of repairs on 15 June, the destroyer sailed to the southwest Pacific. Following an escort run to Oro Bay, New Guinea, Anderson arrived off Cape Sansapor, New Guinea, on 1 August with TG 77.3. During the landing operations she operated on antisubmarine station between Amsterdam Island and Cape Opmarai, then conducted patrols off Woendi harbor, and Cape Sansapor until 25 August. During the Morotai landings on 15 September 1944, the ship rendered call fire and conducted patrols off White beach.
On 12 October, Anderson departed Seeadler harbor with TG 78.2 for the landing operations at Leyte Gulf. Arriving in the area on 20 October, she took up patrol during the initial assault and until she joined TG 77.2 on the 25th. This group was under enemy air attack and Anderson fired on several planes without results. On 1 November, enemy air attacks were intense. The ship scored hits on several planes, splashing one. At 1812 on that day an "Oscar" (Nakajima Ki. 43 fighter) crashed into the ship's port side, after of the break in the deck. Anderson suffered 14 dead and 22 wounded. Two of the wounded later died.
Departing Leyte on 3 November 1944 and steaming via Hollandia, Manus, and Majuro, Anderson arrived at Pearl harbor on 20 November 1944. There she received orders to proceed to San Francisco, where she moored on 9 December to begin repairs.
On 11 May 1945, she arrived at Attu, Alaska where she was assigned to TG 92.2. Eight days later, Anderson took part in a bombardment of Suribachi Wan and a sweep in the Sea of Okhotsk. Between 10 and 12 June, she participated in the bombardment of enemy shore installations on Matsuwa To, Kuril Islands, and another anti-shipping sweep in the Sea of Okhotsk. While the remainder of the task group entered that body of water to intercept an enemy convoy headed south from Paramushiro on 23 to 25 June, Anderson, Hughes, and Trenton (CL-11_ established a patrol east of the Kurils to thwart any attempt of the convoy to escape into the Pacific. Between 15 and 22 July, Anderson conducted a patrol east of the Kurils, and anti-shipping sweep in the Sea of Okhotsk, and another bombardment of Suribachi Wan, Paramushiru To, Kurils. Another sweep was made in the Sea of Okhotsk, coupled with another bombardment of Matsuwa To, Kurils, on 11 and 12 August 1945.
Anderson remained with the Northern Pacific Force for the remainder of the war, and departed Alaskan waters for Japan on 27 August. She reached Ominato, Japan, on 8 September, and supported the occupation of northern Honshu through 30 October. She departed Japanese waters on that date, bound for the United States, and arrived at San Diego on 1 December. She was earmarked for retention in an inactive status in view of the experimental test to which she would be subjected. Two days after Christmas, she got underway for Hawaiian waters. Arriving at Pearl Harbor on 3 January 1946, Anderson was assigned to joint Task Force 1 on 15 May, and was slated to be utilized in the tests of the atomic bomb at Bikini Atoll. She reached her ultimate destination on 30 May 1946.
On 1 July 1945, the bomb used in Test "Able" sank Anderson in Bikini lagoon. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 25 September 1946.
Anderson was awarded ten battle stars for her World War II service. Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey
USS Walke (DD-34) undergoing repairs, March 1914 - History
Built at Virginia&rsquos Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Russell was named for a Civil War-era captain who later commanded the Mare Island Naval Shipyard and commissioned 3 November 1939, the sixth ship of the Sims class.
Assigned to Destroyer Squadron 2 with other ships of her class, Russell initially cruised in the western Atlantic and in the Caribbean on Neutrality Patrol but, with the squadron, was transferred to the Pacific after Pearl Harbor was bombed, 7 December 1941.
With Yorktown&rsquos Task Force 17, which included cruisers Louisville and St. Louis and DesRon 2 destroyers Hughes, Sims and Walke under RAdm. Fletcher, Russell escorted a troop convoy from San Diego to Samoa in January 1942 and returned via the Gilbert Islands, where Yorktown&rsquos planes raided Makin, Mili and Jaluit on 1 February.
In midmonth, the force sailed again. Diverted from its original destination, Wake, it covered forces establishing an airbase on Canton Island, important on the Hawaii&ndashSamoa&ndashFiji route to Australia and less than 1,000 miles from Makin. Raids on Rabaul and Gasmata were next ordered to cover a movement of troops to New Caledonia, but on 8 March the Japanese landed at Salamaua and Lae in New Guinea and Port Moresby was threatened. The force, again joined by the Lexington force as in the Gilberts raid, steamed into the Gulf of Papua, whence, on the 10th, planes were sent over the Owen Stanley Range to bomb the newly-established Japanese bases on the Huon Gulf.
Through April, Russell continued to screen the Yorktown force, operating primarily in the ANZAC area. Detached on 3 May to screen Neosho during fueling operations with TF 11 she rejoined TF 17 early on the 5th and resumed screening duties for the force&rsquos heavier units. On the 7th, in the Coral Sea, she engaged enemy planes closing the formation to threaten Yorktown and Lexington, CV 2, and to support Japanese forces in an assault on Port Moresby. Lexington, hit and heavily damaged, but still in action, continued to recover and launch planes. Three hours later, however, she reported a serious explosion. A second followed. Her fires were no longer under control. She soon commenced abandoning ship. Russell joined her screen circled the crippled ship as rescue ships evacuated personnel, and, with the completion of that work, departed the scene of the Battle of the Coral Sea.
Retiring to Tonga, Russell debarked 170 survivors from Lexington and sailed for Pearl Harbor. Arriving on the 27th she headed out again on the 30th, this time toward Midway. On 4 June, Task Forces 16 and 17 again met the enemy in an air duel, through which Russell steamed in the screen of Yorktown. In the afternoon, enemy torpedo planes broke through the screen and scored successfully on the carrier. The patched-up survivor of the Coral Sea was abandoned. Russell took on 492 of her crew and aviation personnel. The next day she transferred 27 to Astoria (CA-34) to assist in salvage operations on the carrier, but the Japanese torpedoes negated the effort and Yorktown and Hammann were lost. On the 10th, Russell covered the transferral of replacements from Saratoga (CV-3) to Hornet (CV 8) and Enterprise (CV 6) and, on the 13th, she returned to Pearl Harbor.
Engaged in training exercises for the next 2 months, Russell again sortied with TF 17 on 17 August, took station screening Hornet and headed southwest. On the 29th, TF 17 joined TF 61, becoming TG 61.2. On the 31st Saratoga took a torpedo and Russell conducted an unsuccessful submarine hunt, the first of many in the long and costly campaign for Guadalcanal. On 6 September, one of Hornet&rsquos planes dropped an explosive off Russell&rsquos starboard quarter to detonate a torpedo. Another submarine search commenced At 1452 she established contact and dropped six 600-pound depth charges. At 1513, she sighted an oil slick 1 mile by one-half mile, but contact was lost at 700 yards and never regained.
Through the remainder of the year, and into the new, Russell continued to operate in support of the Guadalcanal campaign. On 25 and 26 October, she participated in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, during which she again joined in rescue operations for a sinking carrier, this time Hornet, from which she transferred the commander of Task Force 17, Rear Adm. George D. Murray and his staff to Pensacola (CA 24), seriously wounded personnel to Northampton (CA 26), and other survivors to Nouméa where Russell&rsquos superstructure, damaged during rescue work, was repaired. During December and into January 1943, she screened convoys to Guadalcanal and Tulagi, then to Rennell. In February, she screened Enterprise then, in March, resumed convoy escort work, making one run to Australia and back by mid-April.
On 1 May the destroyer set a course for the West Coast. At the end of July, after overhaul at Mare Island, she steamed north to join forces staging for the &ldquoinvasion&rdquo of Kiska. Aleutian patrol duty followed, and, with the arrival of autumn, she turned south to escort landing craft to Hawaii. In October, she continued on to Wellington, New Zealand and, in early November, she escorted transports to the New Hebrides where she joined TF 53, then preparing to push into the Gilberts. Underway on the 13th with the Task Force, she arrived with the troop transports off Betio, Tarawa, on the 20th, then screened heavier units as they shelled the shore. Remaining in the area until the 25th, she provided gunfire support and screened the transports as they filled with Marine casualties. On the 27th, she joined TG 50.:3 and, with TG 50.1, sailed for the Marshalls. On 4 December, carrier planes raided Kwajalein and Wotje, and, on the 9th, the force returned to Pearl Harbor, whence Russell continued on to the West Voast.
On 13 January 1944, Russell, screening TG 53.5, departed the California coast. Training in the Hawaiian Islands followed. On the 22d the force headed west. On the 30th, Russell joined other destroyers and heavier units in shelling Wotje. On the 31st, she rejoined the main force off Kwajalein and after initial screening duties, added her guns to the naval gunfire support line. On 2 February, she screened CarDiv 22 and on the 3d, entered Kwajalein lagoon. Standing out 5 days later, she arrived at Pearl Harbor on the 15th and was directed on to Puget Sound for repairs.
Repairs completed in March, Russell returned to Hawaii in early April then escorted U.S. Army tug, Willard Holbrook to New Guinea where she rejoined her squadron, DesRon 2. Arriving at Finschhafen 4 May, she reported to the commander of TF 76 at Sudest on the 6th and commenced 5 months of intensive and navigationally difficult escort work along the New Guinea coast. Assigned initially to escort LST's resupplying Hollandia and Aitape, she joined TF 77 on the 16th and covered LCIs and ATs to the Wakde-Sarmi area. From the 17th to the 20th, she stood off Wakde, marking the approach channel on the first day of the campaigns there and providing fire support and screening services on the others. On the 20th, she returned to Humboldt Bay and 5 days later sailed with LSTs for Biak to commence Operation &ldquoHorliek.&rdquo On the 27th, she shelled Padiator Island, patrolled between Pai and Pandiadori Islands, blasted targets on Biak, and then got underway to return to Humboldt Bay. Into June, she continued to escort convoys to and provide cover for operations at Biak and Wakde. In mid-June, she participated in a bombardment of the Toem area, then resumed escort runs along the coast. In early July, Noemfoor, with its two Japanese airfields, became the target. At midmonth Russell gained a brief respite at Manus, then at the end of the month commenced Operation &ldquoGlobetrotter,&rdquo the capture of Sansapor. Through August, she continued operations in support of the campaign and, in mid-September, moved forward to the Moluccas to cover the occupation of Morotai, the last stepping stone on the southern route to the Philippines and on the eastern route to Borneo and the Netherlands East Indies.
On 13 October Russell sailed with TF 78 for the Philippines and on the 20th, as the troops of the Northern Attack Force landed south of Tacloban, patrolled off Alabat Point. 0n the 21st she took up fire support duties to the north of the unloading area. Through the 24th she remained in San Pedro Bay resumed patrol in Leyte Gulf on the 25th and, on the 26th, got underway for New Guinea, whence during November and December, she escorted reinforcements to Leyte.
On 28 December, Russell departed Aitape for her next amphibious operation the invasion of Luzon and steamed into the Mindoro Sea on 5 January 1945. Two days later, she joined three other destroyers in forming an interceptor force 5 miles on the starboard of the San Fabian Attack Force to destroy any enemy ships attempting a sortie from Manila Bay against the convoy. At 2230 an enemy destroyer, Hinoki, was detected and fired on. The shells found their mark Hinoki exploded and sank within 20 minutes.
On the 9th, the force, having survived harassing attacks by planes, boats and ships, arrived in Lingayen Gulf and Russell assumed screening duties off the transport area. For 9 days she patrolled, illuminated, bombarded, and fought off kamikazes. From the 18th to the 23rd, she escorted damaged ships back to Leyte and, on the 27th, sailed north again. On the 31st, she arrived off Nasugbu Bay, covered YMSs as they cleared approach channels, then fired on enemy emplacements on Nasugbu Point. Relieved in late afternoon she returned to Lingayen Gulf, thence, on 2 February, to Leyte, New Guinea, and the Solomons.
Russell arrived at Guadalcanal 15 February rejoined the Fifth Fleet and prepared for Operation &ldquoIceberg&rdquo the Okinawa offensive. On 1 April, she arrived off the assault beaches and commenced screening the Northern Transport area. From the 3d to the 5th, she patrolled north of Ie Shima, then returned to the transport area to escort a convoy to Ulithi. Returning to the Hagushi beaches with reinforcements on the 21st, she shifted to Kerama Retto, whence she patrolled in carrier operating area &ldquoRapier,&rdquo south of Okinawa, into May. Detached from carrier screening duty on the 27th, she proceeded to the Hagushi anchorage and got underway the following day for the United States and a yard overhaul.
Still undergoing overhaul at Seattle when the war ended RusselI was prepared for inactivation during September and, on 15 November, she was decommissioned. Thirteen days later she was struck from the Navy list and, in September 1947, she was sold for scrap to the National Metal & Steel Corp., Terminal Island, California.
In 1995, a second USS Russell, DDG 59, was commissioned&mdashthe ninth guided missile destroyer of the Arleigh Burke class.
Short, Squat, Powerful and Well Protected: The South Dakota Class Battleships
Friends of Padre Steve’s World,
I am still on my holiday from writing about the novel Coronavirus 19 and President Trump and his Administration’s incompetent response to it. It is a response that has already claimed 87,000 American lives, and every day more damning evidence shows the results for the President’s use of it for political purposes, almost all of which are backfiring as much as his malfeasance and willingness to see Americans die by the tens of thousands to maintain his cloud-cuckoo-land fantasy that this will go back to normal as if by magic. But, I won’t go any farther tonight on that tonight.
I was so inflamed about what was happening earlier today I decided that it was best to continue my series on the battleships designed and built by the British, French, Germans, Italians, and Americans from after the Battleship Holiday mandated by the Washington Naval Treaty, and the restrictions of the London Naval Treaty.The Germans were not signatories to these treaties as they were already under the much more severe provisions of the Treaty of Versailles,until the Hitler regime began to clandestinely violate it in 1934, and publicly in 1935. The British signed at bilateral naval accord with Germany in June of 1935, which the Germans renounced in 1938 in order to build a fleet of battleships that Hitler believed would allow him to achieve naval parity or superiority over the British, which he renounced in 1938 during the Czechoslovakia crisis.
This is the fifth and last in a series of articles about the battleships built under the provision of the Washington and London Naval Treaty limitations in the 1930s. I am not including the ships which were already in service or completed in the immediate aftermath of the Washington Treaty. That treaty required the British to scrap 23, the Americans 30, and Japanese 17 Battleships or Battlecruisers to comply with the treaty. Some were allowed to be converted to Aircraft Carriers, and some demilitarized to serve as training or target ships.
This series looks at the modern battleships built by the future World War II combatants between 1932 and 1939. This article covers the American South Dakota Class. Previous articles dealt with the British Royal Navy’s King George V Class,The German Kriegsmarine Scharnhorst Class,the Italian Reginia Marina’s Vittorio Veneto Class, the United States Navy’s North Carolina Class, and the French Dunkerque and Richelieu Classes.The German Bismarck, Japanese Yamato, British Vanguard and American Iowa classes will be covered in a subsequent series.
I think that I will also go back and deal with various classes of ships that were allowed to be kept after the Washington Naval Treaty. These included two of the three partially built American Colorado Class, the two ship British Nelson Class,and the second of the Japanese Nagato Class, the Mutsu and the battleships and battlecruisers that were completed as Aircraft Carriers by the United States, Britain, Japan, and France. From there I could move on and write about and the new battleships and battlecruisers planned or under construction at the time the treaty came into effect, the ships that had they been built would have launched a major naval arms race in the 1920s, something that few nations could have afforded, especially Great Britain. I think I will even go back to the Dreadnoughts and Battlecruisers of the First World War. Of course there are a lot of them, so I will probably focus on the ships that continued serving through the Second World War. I might even delve into the German H type battleships which were more fanciful than realistic, only satisfying the need of Hitler for nothing but the biggest, the American Montana Class, the British HMS Vanguard, the French Alsace Class, and the Japanese A-150 or Super Yamato’s.
Since there is much disagreement about which of the ships that I have written about in this series, I may try to do a comparison to determine which was the best of these classes in the categories, of armament, speed and range, armor protection, reliably, and performance in combat. One has to remember that these were the first battleships built by their respective navies since the First World War, each was built under the constraints imposed by the naval treaties, and their influenced by the developments of potential opponents and the changing world situation. In some cases sacrifices were made on each design due to expediency and the need to get them to the fleet.
As the world edged closer to war in the late 1930s the U.S. Navy followed up its decision to build the two ship North Carolina class battleships with additional fast battleships. Initially the General Board wanted two additional North Carolina’s the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral William H. Standley wanted a different design, which may have created the toughest and best of the battleships in this series. Compared to the other battleships built in this era, the South Dakota Class was short, fat, a bit slower, but was superbly protected with a well designed armored citadel, excellent main, secondary, and anti-aircraft batteries, and superior radars, fire direction systems and combat operation centers. They demonstrated a knack for survival as well as an ability to inflict damage, as was shown by the South Dakota and Massachusetts.
USS South Dakota BB-57 in 1943
Design work started in 1937 and several designs were proposed in order to correct known deficiencies in the preceding North Carolina class to include protection and the latest type of steam turbines. As in the North Carolina’s the Navy struggled to find the optimal balance between armament, protection and speed. In the end the Navy decided on a shorter hull form with greater beam which necessitated greater power to maintain a high speed. The armor protection was maximized by using an interior sloped belt of 12.2 inch armor with 7/8” STS plates behind the main belt which made the protection the equivalent to 17.3 inches of vertical armor. The Belt continued to the bottom of the ship though it was tapered with the belt narrowing to 1 inch to provide addition protection against plunging fire which struck deeper than the main belt. As an added feature to protect against torpedo hits a multi-layered four anti-torpedo bulkhead system was included, designed to absorb the impact of a hit from a 700 pounds of TNT.
In order to accommodate the machinery necessary to provide the desired speed of 27 knots on the shorter hull the machinery spaces were rearranged. The new design placed the boilers directly alongside the turbines with the ship’s auxiliaries and evaporators also placed in the machinery rooms. Additional design changes made to save space included making the crew berthing areas smaller. This included that of officers as well as the senior officers and shrinking the size of the galley’s and the wardroom from those on the North Carolina’s. The resultant changes allowed the ships to achieve the 27 knot speed, improved protection and carry the same armament of the North Carolina’s within the 35,000 treaty limit.
Two ships of the design were approved and with the escalator clause invoked by the Navy two more ships were ordered all with the nine 16” gun armament of the North Carolina’s. The leading ship of the class the South Dakota was designed as a fleet flagship and in order to accommodate this role two of the 5” 38 twin mounts were not installed leaving the ship with 16 of these guns as opposed to the 20 carried by the rest of the ships of the class. The final design was a class of ships capable of 27.5 knots with a range of 17,000 miles at 15 knots mounting nine 16” guns with excellent protection on the 35,000 tons and full load displacement of 44,519 tons.
The lead ship of the class the USS South Dakota BB-57 was laid down 5 July 1939 at New York Shipbuilding in Camden New Jersey, launched on 7 June 1941 and commissioned on 20 March 1942. Following her commissioning and her shakedown cruise South Dakota was dispatched to the South Pacific. Soon after her arrival she struck a coral reef at Tonga which necessitated a return to Pearl Harbor for repairs.
When repairs were complete she was attached to TF 16 escorting the USS Enterprise CV-6 during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands on 26 October 1942. During the battle she was credited with shooting down 26 Japanese aircraft but was struck by a 500 lb bomb on her number one turret which caused no damage.
The Dent in South Dakota’s Number Three Turret from a hit from a 14” Shell from Kirishima
She joined TF-64 paired with the battleship USS Washington during the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on14-15 November 1942. During the action South Dakota suffered a power outage and was hit by over by a minimum of 26 enemy shells, and possibly up to 40. At least one of a 14” shell from Kirishima, 18 8” shells from the Heavy Cruisers, 6 6” shells from from Japanese light cruisers, and at least one 5” shell from a destroyer. The damage was superficial, once her power was restored much of the damage was repaired ship’s crew. The shellfire knocked out three of her fire control radars, her radio and main radar set which were also repaired.
Three of the escorting destroyers, USS Preston, USS Walke, and USS Benham were sunk or mortally wounded, and USS Gwin was damaged.destroyers were also lost but the Washington mortally wounded the fast battleship Kirishima and destroyer Ayanamiwhich were scuttled the next day and damaged the heavy cruisers Atago and Takao.
South Dakotareturned to New York for repairs which completed in February 1943. She joined the carrier USS Ranger CV-4 for operations in the Atlantic until April when she was attached to the British Home Fleet. She sailed for the Pacific in August 1943 and rejoined the Pacific Fleet in September. The battleship joined Battleship Divisions 8 and 9 and supported the invasion of Tarawa providing naval gunfire support to the Marines.
South Dakota spent the rest of the war was spent escorting carriers as well as conducting bombardment against Japanese shore installations. She participated in almost every action of the U.S. drive across the Central Pacific. She was struck by a 500 pound bomb during the Battle of the Philippine Sea that destroyed several anti-aircraft mounts and killed 26 of her crew.
A Photo taken from South Dakota while anchored in Tokyo Bay with Mount Fuji in the Background
South Dakotawas present at the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay and returned to the United States in 1945. She was decommissioned and placed in reserve on 31 January 1947. She was stricken from the Naval Register on 1 June 1962 and sold for scrap in October of that year. Various artifacts of this gallant ship to include a propeller, a 16” gun and the mainmast are part of the USS South Dakota Memorial Park in Sioux Falls South Dakota. 6,000 tons of armored plate were returned to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission for use in civilian nuclear programs and a second screw is displaced outside the U.S. Naval Museum in Washington D.C. She received 13 battle stars for World War II service.
South Dakota also had the dubious distinction of having the youngest sailor of the war 12 year old Calvin Graham who confessed lying about his age to the Gunnery Officer, LT Sergeant Schriver. Graham was court-martialed and given a dishonorable discharge spending 3 months in the ship’s brig before he was able to be returned to the United States where just after his 13 th birthday he entered 7 th grade. Shriver was wounded at Guadalcanal and was awarded the Purple Heart. He left the Navy in in 1945 as a Lieutenant Commander. He later became the Brother in law of John F. Kennedy, and the first Director of the Peace Corps, and became the the running mate of Senator George McGovern in the 1972 Presidential Election, to Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.
USS Indiana BB-58 Bombarding Japan in 1945
The second ship of the class the USS Indiana BB-58 was laid down at Newport News Naval Shipyard on 20 November 1939 launched on 21 November 1941 and commissioned on 30 April 1942. She served throughout the Pacific War by serving with the fast battleships of Vice Admiral Willis Lee’s TF-34, escorting carriers during major battles such that the Battle of the Philippine Seaor as it is better known the Marianas Turkey Shoot. She returned to the United States for overhaul and missed the Battle of Leyte Gulf but served at Iwo Jima, Okinawa and operations against the Japanese home islands. During the beginning of the Marshall Islands campaign Indiana received her heaviest damage. During night operations with a carrier task group she turned in front of USS Washington. A collision ensued which caused heavy damage to Indiana, including the loss of nearly 200 feet of her armored belt. The collision took off about 20 feet of Washington’s bow which remained imbedded in the Indiana until she was repaired. Washington also required a return to the United States for repairs.
Following the war she was decommissioned in 1947 and sold for scrap in September 1963. A number of her relics are preserved at various locations in Indiana and her prow and mainmast are centerpieces of a display at the University of Indiana’s football stadium. Much of her armor was provided to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission for use in civilian programs.
USS Massachusetts BB-59 in January 1946 in the Puget Sound
The third ship of the class the USS Massachusetts BB-59 was laid down on 20 July 1939 at Bethlehem Steel Corporation Fore River Yard in Salem Massachusetts and launched on 23 September 1941 and commissioned on 12 May 1942. After her shakedown cruise she was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet where she took part in Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of French North Africa. During the operation she engaged French shore batteries, damaged the battleship Jean Bartand sank 2 cargo ships and along with the heavy cruiser Tuscaloosa sank the destroyers Fougueuxand Boulonnaisand the light cruiser Primauguet.
Following her assignment in the Atlantic she sailed for the Pacific where she began operations in January 1944. She took part in almost every major operation conducted by the Pacific Fleet escorting the Fast Carrier Task Forces and operating as a unit of TF-34 the Fast Battleship Task force including the Battle of Leyte Gulf. She ended the war conducting operations against the Japanese home islands. She was decommissioned in 1947 and stricken from the Naval Register on 1 June 1962.
USS Massachusetts BB-59 at Battleship Cove, Fall River Massachusetts
She was saved from the fate of Indiana and South Dakotaas the people of Massachusetts with the assistance of schoolchildren who donated $50,000 for her renovation and preservation as a memorial. She became that in 1965 at Battleship Cove in Fall River Massachusetts and she remains there designated as a National Historic Landmark. During the naval build up of the 1980s much equipment common to all modern battleships was removed for use in the recommissioned battleships of the Iowaclass.
The final ship of the class the USS Alabama BB-60 was laid down on 1 February 1940 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. She was launched on 21 February 1942 and commissioned 16 August 1942. Following her shakedown cruise and initial training off the Atlantic coast she joined the repaired South Dakota and operated as part of TF 22 attached to the British Home Fleet.
She conducted convoy escort operations, participated in the reinforcement of Spitsbergen and in an operation which attempted to coax the German battleship Tirpitz out of her haven in Norway. Tirpitz did not take the bait and Alabama and South Dakota returned to the United States in August 1943.
Following a brief refit she and South Dakota transited to the Pacific were the trained with the fast carriers. She took part in the invasion of the Gilberts taking part in Operation Galvanic against Tarawa and the Army landings on Makin Island.
As 1944 began Alabama continued her operations with the fast carriers of TF-38 and the fast battleships of TF-34. She took part in operations against the Marshalls and took part in the invasion of the Marianas Islands and the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot. From there she supported the invasion of Palau and other islands in the Caroline Islands followed by operations against New Guinea and the invasion of the Philippine and the Battle of Leyte Gulf before returning to the United States for overhaul.
Chief Petty Officer Bob Feller
Alabamareturned to action during the invasion of Okinawa and in shore bombardment operations against the Japanese Mainland. When the war ended the Alabama had suffered no combat deaths and only 5 wounded following the misfire of one of her own 5” guns earning her the nickname of “Lucky A.” Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller served as a Chief Petty Officer and gun mount captain on Alabama during the war.
She was decommissioned on 9 January 1947 and stricken from the Naval Register on 1 June 1962. The people of the State of Alabama formed the “Alabama Battleship Commission”and raised $1,000,000 including over $100,000 collected by schoolchildren to bring her to Alabama as a memorial. She was turned over to the state in 1964 and opened as a museum on 9 January 1965. She was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986. She has been used as a set in several movies and continues to serve as a museum preserving the legacy of the men that served aboard her and all of the battleship sailors of World War II.
another thing about the South Donata Class was that their design was evident in the rebuilding of the USS California, USS Tennessee, and USS West Virginia when they were completely modernized after Pear Harbor.
USS West Virginia after her complete modernization after being sunk at Pearl Harbor
In the 1950s a number of proposals were considered to modernize the ships of the class to increase their speed to 31 knots using improved steam turbines or gas turbines. The Navy determined that to do this would require changes to the hull form of the ships making the cost too prohibitive. The ships were certainly the best of the treaty type battleships produced by any nation in the Second World War. The damage sustained by South Dakota at the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal would have not only put most battleships of her era out of action but might have caused enough damage to sink them. Their armament was equal or superior to all that except the Japanese YamatoClass and their protection was superior to most ships of their era, and it was was exceptional, as was evident by the damage sustained by South Dakota.
Alabama as a Museum Ship
It is good that both the Massachusetts and the Alabama have been preserved as memorials to the ships of the class, their sailors and the United States Navy in the Second World War. Because of the efforts of the people of Massachusetts and Alabama millions of people have been able to see these magnificent ships and remember their fine crews. Both have hosted reunions of their ships companies since becoming museum ships and with the World War Two generation passing away in greater numbers every day soon these ships as well as the USS Texas, USS North Carolina, USS Missouri, USS New Jersey,USS Wisconsin aUSS Iowa which stricken from the Naval Register awaits an uncertain fate as a resident of the “Ghost Fleet” in Suisun Bay California. No other nation preserved any other dreadnought or treaty battleship thus only these ships remain from the era of the Dreadnought. I so much wish that the British had preserved one of the King George V ships, or maybe the mostend celebrated Royal Navy Battleships of both World Wars, the HMS Warspite had been preserved. I also regret that none of the survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor were preserved, nor any of the standard battleships of the Nevada, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, California, or Colorado Classes.
I am fortunate. I have been able to go aboard the North Carolina, Alabama, Texas, and Wisconsin, as well as a number of the surviving aircraft carriers, destroyers, and submarines preserved in the United States. However, too few, especially the ships which bore the brunt of the war like the carrier USS Enterprise were never saved, despite the pleas of men like Admiral William “Bull” Halsey.
I habe also been able to visit ships like the USS Constitution, USS Constellation, Clipper ship Star of India, the Japanese Battleship Mikasa, the USS Nautilus, the German Tall Ship Gorch Fock II, and so many more, but I still have a bucket list of ships I want to visit in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Sweden, Russia, France, Australia, Italy, Turkey, Japan, and Finland.
With those pipe dreams in mind, I wish you all the best. Until tomorrow when I decide to weigh in again on novel Coronavirus 19 and the crisis being fostered by the Trump Administration in this country please be safe. Don’t do dumb things like going into crowded places with few people wearing masks and the vast majorly of people not adhering to social distancing. Even if other people decide to be stupid and put others and well as their own lives at risk, don’t be like them. I speak this from the heart and I don’t care if someone disagrees with my politics, faith, or social commentary, I would prefer that they not die or through their stupidity and arrogance get other people sick or die. Darwin is not Kind when it comes to the stupidity and arrogance of people regardless of the race, ethnicity, faith, ideology, political leanings, social standing, economic position, or nationality.
I don’t care if people agree with me or not, but don’t do dumb things. This may sound harsh but I tend to speak from my heart when lives and civilization itself are at stake. But please remember the words of Robert Henlein:
“Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime the sentence is death. There is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.”
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Probabilistic models of decompression sickness (DCS)
The US Navy's development of probabilistic decompression models starts with Dr Weathersby Paper:
Weathersby PK, Homer LD, Flynn ET. On the Likelihood of Decompression Sickness. J Appl Physiol: Respir Environ Exercise Physiol 1984 57:815-825 Available from: http://jap.physiology.org/
The model was expanded to use the time of occurrence of the DCS outcomes as part of the fitting process:
Weathersby PK, Survanshi SS, Homer LD, Parker E, Thalmann ED. Predicting the Time of occurrence of decompression sickness. J Appl Physiol 1992 72:1541-1548 Available from: http://jap.physiology.org/
Most of the Navy's technical reports issued out of NEDU, NMRC, and NSMRL (and other diving labs) that have been deemed to be suitable for public release (distribution statement A) are available for free download through the Rubicon Foundations website. The research that was behind the above two papers was documented in greater detail in a series of Technical Reports entitled "Statistically Based Decompression Tables" Numbered I through XII that should be easier to access. Eleven of the Statistically Based Decompression Tables" Technical reports are available from Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) Collection on the Rubicon site: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/dspace/handle/123456789/3126
An additional probabilistic decompression model that was developed at Duke University is BVM3, a bubble volume model. BVM3 changes the risk function from being a function of the gas content of the tissues, to being a function of the volume of a bubble that is created in the compartment as a result of the decompression. The shape of the resulting risk function shift the maximum instantaneous risk to later after the diver has surfaced compared to the gas content models. This was a desired feature as DCS symptoms are observed to have a latency after surfacing. The reference for BVM3 is: Gerth WA, Vann RD. Probabilistic gas and bubble dynamics models of decompression sickness occurrence in air and nitrogen-oxygen diving. Undersea Hyer Med 1997 24(4):275-292
The proceedings of the fifty-first workshop of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society summarizes the techniques behind probabilistic physiological models (including decompression sickness). The proceedings can be downloaded from:
Two good overviews of the state of US Navy decompression research and the use of probabilistic decompression models are available in proceedings of recent conferences. The first presentation was given at the DAN Technical Diver Conference with a presentation aimed at Technical Divers (pg 138-158):
The second is found in a chapter in the "Decompression and the Deep Stops Workshop Proceedings" June 24-25th, 2008 Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (pg 165-185) which includes the documentation of a dive trial conducted to attempt to differentiate between the two leading probabilistic models.
Gordon Campbell and the Crew that Won 5 VCs
The 11 medals, including the Victoria Cross, awarded to Vice Admiral Gordon Campbell were recently sold at auction for £840,000, a record for a set of British medals. Most VCs sold in recent years have been bought by Lord Ashcroft, part of whose collection is on display at the Imperial War Museum. Campbell’s medals, however, were bought by his great nephew Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza. He intends to display them in a British museum. The seller, the Fellowship of St John (UK) Trust Association, intends to use the proceeds to support a number of charitable projects.
Campbell was born in Croydon, Surrey on 6 January 1886, although his family were originally from Airds, Argyll. He was educated at Dulwich College. At the outbreak of the First World War he was a Lieutenant-Commander captaining HMS Bittern, an elderly destroyer. In September 1915, bored with escort duties, he volunteered for ‘special service’ and found himself captain of an elderly collier called Loderer that was fitted as a Q-ship, one of a number of apparently innocuous merchant ship that were manned by the RN and given heavy but concealed armaments. She was renamed HMS Farnborough before going into action.
Farnborough was initially armed with a Maxim machine gun in a fake hen coop abaft the funnel, a 12 pounder gun in a fake engine housing aft and two 12 pounder amidships, one on each side, hidden behind gunwales. The gunwales and the walls of the fake hen coop and engine housing were hinged so that they could easily fall and the staff that would fly a neutral flag would fall with the fake engine housing to avoid any risk that Farnborough might open fire whilst flying neutral colours. Campbell managed to obtain two more 12 pounders, which were housed in fake extensions to cabins just forward of the funnel, and two 6 pounders, which were placed on the wings of the bridge, behind easily removable screens.
The early drafts of men for Q-ships had mostly comprised hard men with poor disciplinary records, either because such men were thought to be suited to this type of work or because they were the most expendable. In fact it required very disciplined men. Eventually highly disciplined and efficient men were recruited and trained.
Farnborough would have carried a crew of about six officers and 24 men but as a warship needed 11 officers and 56 men in order to work her armament. It would have been very suspicious if they had appeared on deck on their way to their action stations, so Campbell arranged a series of trap doors and hidden alley ways to allow them to get to their gun and lookout positions without being seen.
Although most of a Q-ship’s crew would remain concealed when a U-boat was sighted, a small number would appear on deck and pretend to panic, making deliberately clumsy attempts to abandon ship. The last man off HMS Farnborough would carry a large cage containing a stuffed parrot.
Farnborough was commissioned on 21 October 1915, but did not encounter any U-boats until 22 March 1916 She was off the coast of Kerry when U68 (Kapitänleutnant Ludwig Güntzel) fired a torpedo at her. Farnborough ignored the torpedo, so U68 surfaced and fired a shot across her bows. The British ship’s crew appeared to be abandoning ship, so U68 closed to 800 yards and attempted to sink her by gunfire.
Farnborough, however, raised the White Ensign, revealed her guns and opened fire. Her crew believed that they scored hits before U68 dived. Campbell took his ship over the spot at which the U-boat had dived and dropped a depth charge. U68 shot out of the water, her bow clearly damaged. Five more shots were fired into the base of her conning tower before she dived again. Farnborough dropped two more depth charges. A lot of oil and some wood fragments came to the surface. Nothing more was seen of U68 or her crew. Campbell was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, two other officers the Distinguished Service Cross and three men the Distinguished Service Medal.
Farnborough’s next action came on 17 February 1917. At 9:45 am on she was flying a Norwegian flag when U83 (Kapitänleutnant Bruno Hoppe) fired a torpedo at her. Her guns and most of her crew remained concealed whilst the panic party attempted to abandon ship.
U83 at first watched through her periscope, coming within 10 yard of Farnborough. She then surfaced about 300 yard from the Q-ship. Campbell held his fire until all his ship’s guns were bearing. Her first shot hit the conning tower and allegedly decapitated Hoppe. Farnborough fired 45 shells at U83 from point blank range.
Only eight of the submariners managed to get into the oily water as their boat sank, and Farnborough’s boat could find only two of them, one of whom died after being rescued.
Farnborough was badly damaged and sinking. Campbell signalled:
From Q5. To Vice-Admiral Queenstown, via Valencia. 12.00 hours, Feb 17th, Q5 slowly sinking respectfully wishes you goodbye 1110.
However, the destroyer HMS Narwhal arrived before noon and took Farnborough’s crew off her. The sloops HMS Buttercup and Laburnum took her under tow. She listed badly at 3:30 am on 18 February, but managed to reach Mill Cove in County Cork, where she was beached at 9:20 pm.
Campbell, by now promoted Commander, was awarded the VC, two other officers the DSO, three the DSC, seven petty officers or ratings the DSM and another a bar to a DSM previously awarded. The other 25 members of the crew were Mentioned in Dispatches.
Following the loss of HMS Farnborough, Campbell was given command of another Q-ship. She was a 3,000 ton 10 year old tramp steamer, originally called Vittoria and at first named HMS Snail. This was then changed to HMS Pargust. She was armed with a 4 inch gun aft under a dummy boat four 12 pounders, two 14 inch torpedo tubes and an 11 inch bomb thrower. All were concealed but could be quickly brought into action, Most of Farnborough’s crew volunteered to follow Campbell to Pargust. Campbell was unable to discover what the name of his new ship meant or any previous ship of any country that had been called Pargust. Neither have I, even though unlike him I have Google.
On 8:00 am on 7 June 1917 Pargust was about 90 miles off the coast of southern Ireland when a torpedo struck her, killing Petty Officer Isaac Radford and badly injuring Engineer Sub-Lieutenant John Smith RNR. The explosion dislodged the pins that held in place the screen concealing one of the 12 pounders. Able Seaman William Williams, DSM, RNR [Royal Naval Reserve, then a reserve of professional seamen from the Merchant and fishing fleets], a 26 year old Welshman, took the weight of the screen on himself in order to keep the gun hidden, Campbell could not see any sign of the U-boat, but ordered the panic party to abandon ship. Eventually, he spotted a periscope 400 yards away.
The submarine, UC29 (Oberleutnant Ernest Rosenow), approached Pargust. U-boat captains had now learnt to be wary of apparently innocuous merchantmen, so Rosenow spent half an hour examining Pargust and her lifeboat before surfacing 50 yards away from Pargust. At first nobody came onto the U-boat’s bridge or deck, but an officer eventually appeared, shouting at the men in the lifeboat to hand over the ship’s papers. Lieutenant F. R. Hereford, DSC, RNR, the man with the parrot and apparently the merchantman’s captain, pretended not to answer. A man with a rifle then appeared on the bridge.
Pargust now had a good angle of fire on UC29, whilst the lifeboat was out of Pargust’s arc of fire but at risk from the rifleman. At 8:36 am Campbell ordered gunners to open fire. A number of hits were scored, slowing UC29. She was listing to port and leaking oil and men appeared on her deck and conning tower with their arms raised. The U-boat, however, gained speed, washing the men on her casing overboard. Campbell ordered his guns to recommence firing. Only one 12 pounder could now bear, but UC29 exploded and sank about 300 yards away. Only two survivors were found. Pargust had fired 38 shells, plus a torpedo that missed, in four minutes. She was immobile but afloat. She was towed to Queenstown (now Cobh) by HMS Crocus, escorted by HMS Zinnia and the USS Cushing.
It was decided that one officer and one other rank from Pargust’s crew should receive the VC as recognition of the entire crew’s gallantry. The warrant establishing the VC allows for a secret ballot to be held amongst the survivors of a unit of ship’s crew to choose one or more of their number when it is impossible for the higher command to single out any individuals. The officers wanted Campbell to be the officer recipient, but he refused on the grounds that he already had a VC, which he regarded as having been awarded to the entire crew.
The ballot chose Lieutenant Ronald Stuart, RNR, a 30 year old from Liverpool, and William Williams as two men to be awarded the VC. Coincidentally, Seaman William Charles Williams had been awarded a posthumous VC at Gallipoli in 1915. He and Commander Edward Unwin used the weight of their own bodies to secure lighters that were intended to provide a bridge for troops to land from the steamer River Clyde. Campbell, now a Captain, did receive a bar to his DSO.
Pargust was too badly damaged to be repaired, so Campbell was given command of another Q-ship, HMS Dunraven, a 3,117 ton collier. Her modifications incorporated various lessons learnt from previous Q-ships, including armouring the bridge and fitting a perforated pipe that would give off enough steam to make it appear that the ship had been hit in the boiler or engine room. Many British merchantmen heading for the Mediterranean carried railway trucks on their deck. Dunraven had four fake ones made of canvas, which could be collapsed in order to change her appearance.
Most of Pargust’s crew volunteered to transfer to Dunraven, but Stuart had been appointed to command the Q-ship HMS Tamarisk. He was replaced as First Lieutenant by Lieutenant Charles Bonner, RNR, Second Office of Pargust. Smith tried to join Dunraven, but Campbell insisted that he had not recovered fully from his wounds.
U-boats were now wary of solitary merchantmen that might turn out to be Q-ships. On 5 August HMS Chagford (Lieutenant Douglas Jeffrey, RNR) was torpedoed by a U-boat. Jeffrey launched the panic party and the U-boat surfaced 800 yards away. The first explosion, however, knocked down the screens hiding Chagford’s guns, so Jeffrey had to open fir at once. The U-boat dived and fired two more torpedoes into Chagford. The Q-ship was badly damaged and sank the next day, although most of her crew were saved.
Three days after Chagford was attacked Dunraven was about 100 miles west of Ushant. Campbell had decided that his ship would act as if she was one of a number of British merchantman that by then were armed instead of as a helpless victim.
On 10:58 am Dunraven spotted UC71 (Oberleutnant Reinhold Satzwedel) but proceeded on her way as if she had not seen the submarine, which dived. Satzwedel was a leading U-boat captain who sank 111 Allied ships of a total tonange of 172,824 tons before being killed on 2 December 1917 when his new command, UB81, hit a mine. He was awarded Germany’s highest decoration, the Pour Le Mérite, nicknamed the Blue Max.
Half an hour later UC71 surfaced and opened fire. Dunraven opened fire with her single unconcealed gun, but its crew, including William Williams, deliberately fired short and acted clumsily in order to tempt UC71 closer.
Campbell and his crew gave the impression that they were panicking by making lots of smoke and sending uncoded distress signals. UC71 ceased fire, closed to 1,000 yards and reopened fire. Campbell used Dunraven’s perforated pipe to make it appear that she had been hit in the boiler or engine room and ordered the panic party to abandon ship.
A massive explosion made Campbell think that Dunraven’s magazines had been hit, so he sent a genuine distress call. A nearby battleship sent one of her escorting destroyers to help, but Campbell signalled her to stay away once he learnt that it was a depth charge that had exploded and that Dunraven’s secret was still safe.
Dunraven was, however, badly damaged. A fire on the poop deck was close to setting off the 4 inch gun’s magazine. The heat of the deck meant that the gun crew had to sit with boxes of shells and cordite on their knees, as they might otherwise explode. Campbell did not want to open fire until UC71 was in the arc of his three hidden 12 pounders. At 12:58, however, an explosion sent the gun into the air. Remarkably all the crew survived. One ended up in the water and the fall of the others was broken by the canvas fake railway trucks.
Dunraven was now revealed to be a warship and UC71 dived. At 1:20 pm she torpedoed Dunraven, which was now sinking and on fire. UC71 observed the Q-ship through her periscope for nearly an hour. Unknown to Campbell she had no torpedoes left. At 2:30 UC71 surfaced and opened fire. She was astern of Dunraven, which no longer had any guns able to bear on her. One shell hit the bridge and would have killed the four men on it had it not been armoured.
At 2:55 UC71 dived to periscope depth. Dunraven fired both her torpedoes, but one missed and the other failed to explode. The armed yacht USS Noma then appeared and fired at UC71’s periscope. The U-boat dived deeper at 4:00 and the action was over.
The destroyers HMS Attack and Christopher then arrived. The wounded were treated and Dunraven taken under tow. She sank at 3:17 am but all the crew had been taken off. However, on 19 September Seaman Alex Morrison died of wounds received in this action.
Again two VCs were awarded. The one for an officer went to Bonnar, whilst the lower deck one was awarded to Petty Officer Ernest Pitcher, DSM of the 4 inch gun crew by ballot. The other members of the 4 inch gun crew received the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal. Campbell was awarded a second bar to his DSO and his crew received a DSO, three bars to DSCs, three DSCs, seven CGMs, 3 bars to DSMs, including one to William Williams, 21 DSMs and 14 Mentions in Dispatches. As well as the VC Pitcher received two French medals, the Croix de Guerre and the Médaille Militaire, to add to the DSM he was awarded after Pargust sank UC29.
On 14 August the Q-ship HMS Prize was sunk with all hands by UB48: a previous post in this series told the story of how her captain William Sanders earned the VC. Q-ships did not destroy any more U-boats. A significant number of British merchantmen were now armed. U-boats would often surface to engage them but would take up a position that favoured the submarine. Dunraven’s action with UC71 showed that a Q-ship then had the choice of taking heavy damage before fighting back or revealing her guns early, in which case the U-boat would dive and escape.
Campbell, who also received two French decorations, the Croix de Guerre and another French award, the Legion d’Honneur captained the cruisers HMS Active and Patrol later in the war. His final seagoing appointment was as captain of the battlecruiser HMS Tiger in 1925-27. He was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1928 but immediately retired. He was briefly an MP and returned to the RN in WWII. He died in 1953.
Pitcher retired from the RN in 1927 with the rank of Chief Petty Officer. He was then a woodwork teacher and a publican. He returned to the RN in WWII and died in 1946. Bonner became a marine salvage expert after the war and died in 1951. Williams was a founder member of his local branch of the British Legion and died in 1965. Stuart, who received the DSO, Croix de Guerre and US Navy Cross as well as the VC, returned to the Merchant Navy after the war. His final sea going command was the 42,000 ton transatlantic liner RMS Empress of Britain. In WWII she became the largest ship to be sunk by a U-boat, but he had by then moved to shore duties.
One of Stuart’s sons was awarded the DSC and the other a Mention in Dispatches in the WWII Battle of the Atlantic. Campbell’s nephew, Brigadier Lorne Campbell received the VC, DSO and Bar, OBE, four Mentions in Dispatched and the US Legion of Merit in WWII.
Because of the secrecy behind Q-ships the medals awarded to their crews were announced without any details of why they were awarded. The names of the men decorated can be found on Naval-History.net. They were announced in the London Gazette issue 29603 of 30 May 1916 for Farnborough’s first action, 30029 of 20 April 1917 for her second, 30194 of 20 July 1917 for Pargust and 30363 of 30 October 1917 for Dunraven. The VCs citations were finally published in full in issue 31021 of 19 November 1917.
 T. Bridgland, Sea Killers in Disguise: The Story of the Q Ships and Decoy Ships in the First World War (London: Leo Cooper, 1999), pp. 12-15.
 Naval Staff Monograph (Historical) 1926 vol. xv, Home Waters part vi, October 1915 to May 1916, pp. 101-2.
 Naval Staff Monograph (Historical) 1933 vol. xviii, Home Waters part viii, December 1916 to April 1917, pp. 204-5.
 Bridgland, Sea Killers, pp. 73-74.
 Naval Staff vol. xviii, p. 205.
 This account of Pargust’s story is based on Bridgland, Sea Killers, pp. 90-96 and websites linked in the text R. H. Gibson, M. Prendergast, The German Submarine War, 1914-1918 (London: Constable, 1931), p. 181.
 This account of Dunraven’s story is based on Bridgland, Sea Killers, pp. 105-15 J. S. Corbett, H. Newbolt, Naval Operations, 5 vols (London: HMSO, 1938) vol. v, pp. 107-9 and websites linked in the text.
 Corbett, Newbolt, Naval vol. v, 109-111.
Korea: The Sea Fury Years I
A striking shot of a Sea Fury being moved. The chockmen so close to the undercarriage and the very reduced team numbers pushing it off the lift suggests the aircraft had no brake pressure. That, and the close-by Doggy, indicates it may have been a hangar reshuffle after flying was completed for the day and before a high-line or message bag transfer. Sometimes a reduced hangar handling team, like this, might pop up one or two aircraft to enable access to a potentially serviceable craft for the next day’s flying or to put a potentially extended service aircraft out of the way, up against the fire curtain that divided A and B hangars. HMAS Anzac, a Battle Class destroyer, crosses close astern. (RAN image).
The carrier that replaced Triumph, HMS Theseus, had been completed for service in February 1946 and had initially been allocated to the Far East Fleet with No.804 NAS and its Seafires plus No.812 NAS and its Fireflies aboard. After a refit in Rosyth Dockyard during 1947 the air wing was re-equipped with Sea Furies and Fireflies of Nos 807 and 813 NAS. After working-up the carrier departed for Sasebo on 8 October 1950 in company with the cruiser HMS Kenya plus Constance, Sioux and Cayuga. En route to Sasebo extensive and concentrated flying training was carried out to ensure that the pilots could land their aircraft safely thus reducing the workload overall on the maintenance teams, who would be fully stretched keeping the aircraft rearmed and maintained during operations, without having to repair damaged airframes. The deck parties also worked hard to ensure that their duties were performed without mistakes and, in particular, the deck landing officers studied each approaching aircraft and would wave it off if there was any doubt.
Having arrived in Hong Kong on 29 September the carrier would depart for Sasebo on 2 October, the air wing arriving back on board after having been ashore at Kai Tak from 24 September. The journey was slowed slightly as there was a typhoon warning in force and the aircraft were secured for this eventuality and the carrier and escorts slowed down to reduce the possibility of damage to the smaller ships. The delay meant that the ships did not arrive until 4 October. Once secured in Sasebo Theseus received extra aircraft from HMS Warrior which had replaced Unicorn as the carrier support vessel. Unlike Unicorn HMS Warrior had been built as fully functional aircraft carrier before assuming its new role in June 1950. With its full inventory of aircraft aboard the ground crews applied black and white striping to all the aircraft for recognition purposes. With a full complement of vessels available Admiral Andrewes decided to reorganise the ships so that Task Element TE 95.11 comprised Theseus plus escorts, TE 95.12 was for surface patrol and blockade, TE 95.13 was the screen element while another handful of small ships and aircraft covered minesweeping and general tasking. On 9 October Theseus undertook its first operational patrol off the Korean coast, combat cover was provided by the Sea Furies while the Firefly squadron carried out anti-submarine patrols. By this time the Firefly had been fitted with a radar pod in place of one of the under-wing fuel tanks it detracted little from the aircraft’s performance and its addition gave the aircraft better capabilities. The main patrol area for Theseus was the Yellow Sea close by the Shantung Peninsula. While the carrier was fitted with a very good air warning radar it was decided that the standing air patrols would be maintained during daylight hours for increased security. During these patrols the Sea Fury pilots felt themselves to be most unlucky not to engage in any air to air combat although they did manage to intercept various Neptunes, Sunderlands and B-29 Superfortress bombers heading to bomb the bridges on the Yula River.
Missions selected for Theseus included the usual selection of standing air patrols and anti-submarine patrols to which were added armed reconnaissance and air strikes, the latter being handed down by the Joint Operations Centre, initially located in Seoul and later in Taegu. Prior to departure on patrol the carrier was provided with all the intelligence and target data current at that time, any updates concerning new targets and bombing missions would be sent by immediate signal. To improve targeting the aerial operational areas were marked out on special maps that broke the country up into designated squares which were also marked with roads that were allocated colours and numbers. As soon as a target was spotted within any area it could be quickly identified on the armed reconnaissance map and aircraft assigned to attack. This method of attacking available targets soon drove the North Koreans to find another way of using the roads. By night it was far easier while in daylight extremely good camouflage was needed, even so as aircrews became familiar with their assigned territories any unusual changes were quickly spotted and these potential targets could be dealt with. In order to protect the aircraft and crews it was recommended that general area over flights be carried out at 1,500 ft while over zones with a greater concentration of defences the recommended height was 5,000 ft. Ground strikes in support of ground forces was normally managed using the British method of strike management. This consisted of an aerial controller flying in an NAA T.6 Harvard in contact by radio with spotters on the ground. Using this method of control allowed fast moving aircraft to come close to their targets as they sprayed the area with bombs, rockets and cannon fire. Obviously this lack of accuracy meant that the targets suffered only minor damage so the Americans developed and deployed napalm bombs while the Fleet Air Arm concentrated upon improving their accuracy which in turn caused greater casualties amongst the enemy. The crews of both Fireflies and Sea Furies also had to contend with the fact that their area of operations was highly mountainous, to their credit not a single aircraft was lost to terrain collision accidents. As the flights from the aircraft carriers were over nearly 80 miles of sea it was common practice to have a destroyer placed approximately at the mid-flight point between the carrier operating point and Inchon this being known as ‘Bird Dog’.
When Theseus arrived in theatre its air wing complement consisted of 23 Sea Furies of No.807 NAS commanded by Lt Cdr A J Thomson DSC and No.813 NAS commanded by Lt Cdr L W A Barrington with 12 Fireflies plus a Sea/Air Rescue (SAR) component consisting of either a Sea Otter amphibian or a helicopter. The vessel’s captain was Captain A S Bolt DSO, DSC. When the air wing was tasked with sorties the single-seater fighters were fitted with 45 gallon external fuel tanks while the two-seaters had 55 gallon tanks installed. These were needed because the sortie lengths were timed at two and a half hours. Added to the extra fuel load was the internal and external weapons loads which required that either the catapult be used for launching or, if that was out of action, each aircraft had to be boosted by RATOG packs. Initially the Sea Furies were launched with a weapons load of two 500 lb bombs, although this was later changed to the lighter 60 lb rockets as the required over-deck speed of 28 knots was not achievable by Theseus as the carriers hull required scraping and was therefore only capable of 22 knots. Changing the bomb loads to the Fireflies meant that the carrier needed only to achieve a top speed of 21 knots. As the handling crews became more experienced the launch and recovery rates improved when operating with the US 7th Fleet carriers they were well able to match the launch rate of the Americans even though Theseus only had the one catapult. During the carrier’s deployment it was found that the best launch rate was 50 sorties per day however this could be pushed to 66 per day should the need arise. The first strike launched by Theseus on 9 October consisted of six Sea Furies carrying eight 60 lb warhead rockets and four Fireflies armed with a pair of 500 lb bombs each, the strike leader being Lt Cdr Stovin-Bradford DSC, the air wing commander. The assigned targets were Paengyong-do and the Fireflies concentrated upon the more hardened targets while the fighters strafed and rocketed everything that moved and much that did not. All aircraft returned to Theseus without damage after two hours airborne. The afternoon saw the next strike launched this time only five Sea Furies were sent although the Firefly complement remained the same. The target was the harbour area at Chinnampo. As before the Fireflies attacked the more hardened targets with better success than the morning raid while yet again the fighters attacked the slightly softer targets. During both sorties very little anti-aircraft fire was encountered and was restricted to some rifle fire.
The following day the air wing resumed the more mundane duties of anti-submarine patrols which were coupled with searching for mines. During one of these flights an 810 NAS Firefly crew reported the possible existence of a minefield to the north of the carrier group. Although not an immediate threat efforts were promptly made to remove it. While the rolling patrols were being undertaken Theseus launched four Fireflies escorted by a pair of Sea Furies tasked with attacking the railway bridge at Chang-you and two spans were successfully downed. Once the Fireflies had finished, one being slightly damaged by blast from its own bombs, the Sea Furies attacked rail and road vehicles in the vicinity of the railway station. While one strike force was demolishing a bridge and giving the locals a hard time a further four Sea Furies led by the air wing commander attacked other buildings and positions around the area. During these attacks a Sea Fury, VW628, flown by Lieutenant Leonard was damaged causing the engine to fail. The pilot managed to retain control long enough to crash land in a local paddy field. In an effort to protect the pilot who had remained trapped in his wrecked aircraft a pair of his companions in Sea Furies circled the area until fuel ran short at which point another Sea Fury took over. While providing support for their downed compatriot a request had been made for a rescue helicopter from Kimpo. Within the hour the helicopter touched down to be met by gunfire from a nearby building. As the onboard doctor helped the seriously injured airman from his cockpit the helicopter pilot laid down covering fire from his aircraft while urging the doctor to hurry. Eventually Lt Leonard was extracted from his aircraft and both the patient and doctor returned to the helicopter which took off safely. While the USAF helicopter was performing its rescue, support was given by an USMC Grumman F7F Tigercat which destroyed the Sea Fury as the final act of this drama.
The afternoon sorties went ahead as planned comprising four Fireflies and six Sea Furies armed with bombs and rockets respectively. While the Fireflies caused some damage to their target the Sea Furies, operating in pairs, attacked lesser targets of opportunity. All aircraft would later return to Theseus safely. Of the strikes planned for 11 October only the morning sorties were launched in an effort to catch the North Koreans still in the open. Unfortunately, they quickly disappeared as the fighters came near but even so some targets were found and attacked with some success. A further mission was launched later that morning against the islands off the west coast but this was the last attack possible before the weather deteriorated below flying minima. As no further flying was possible that day Theseus moved off to the replenishment area near Inchon to refuel the destroyer escort before returning to its station the next morning. No sorties were flown on the morning of 12 October, the plan being to launch a major attack against targets in the vicinity of Chang-yong. Although the attempt to take out the bridge failed, strafing and rocket attacks against troop trenches, ammunition dumps and antiaircraft emplacements were more successful, at least one dump blowing up most satisfactorily. These continued harassing attacks seemed to be driving enemy forces out of the Haeju-Ongjin area, however, Admiral Andrewes decided that Theseus would continue operations in the area as the harbour at Haeju was a useful port and that the enemy could still have his communications harassed in the Chinnampo area. The following day was a relatively quiet one for the Theseus air wing, the Fireflies carried out their assigned patrols while the Sea Furies strafed some junks suspected of being mine layers. A further sortie launched that afternoon saw the Sea Furies attacking various small vessels suspected of being employed by the enemy during these attacks both rockets and cannons were utilised garnering some success.
The original mission planned for 14 October was against targets in the Sariwon area but the alternative at Chinnampo was selected. The Firefly contingent bombed buildings with some success while the fighters used their rockets and cannons to attack targets of opportunity. On their way home from the harbour the Sea Furies attacked some junks and troop trenches. As some of the junks had escaped from the fighters attention it was decided to refuel and rearm them quickly so that they could return to finish the job. The attack was successful and the junks destroyed. Having dealt with the shipping the fighters went onto harass troops positions in the area surrounding Chinnampo harbour while the Fireflies concentrated upon the docks. The weather on the following day played a part in curtailing the aerial operations from Theseus although one attack was made again on the bridge at Sariwon although it survived the attentions of the Fireflies. One of the Fireflies would just manage to return to the carrier as its engine was close to failing. A similar fate befell the air wing commander whose engine failed just after touchdown. Once the strike force had landed it was the turn of the combat patrol to make the attempt, by that time visibility had reduced drastically although both did manage to touch down safely. Both the damaged aircraft were struck down into the hanger where engine changes were carried out bringing them both up to a serviceable status. On 16 October the Sea Furies were launched in late morning to attack some minelaying junks proceeding up the coast which blew up dramatically after being hit by fire from all aircraft. Following this spectacular part of the mission the fighters attacked warehouses at Chinnampo destroying them with their remaining rockets. Once the fighters were safely recovered HMS Theseus departed for Inchon for refuelling from the tankers RFA Green Ranger and Wave Premier. During this phase of the deployment serviceability amongst the aircraft was at least 99 per cent, a credit to the ships engineering staff.
Around breakfast time on 18 October HMS Theseus departed from Inchon and the first flights were launched soon afterwards, as normal the Firefly squadron put up an anti-submarine and mine patrol while the Sea Furies provided air cover. While Theseus had been in port the ground forces had pushed the North Koreans hard and the designated bomb line, the movable point on the tactical map above which weapons could be used without restriction, was moving northwards rapidly. This meant that targets were few and far between. As there was little trade for the aircraft the Fireflies over flew the frontlines while the Sea Furies took a look at the harbours along the coast, while little was to be seen one Sea Fury experienced anti-aircraft fire which damaged the engine, fortunately the pilot was able to make an emergency landing on the carrier. With so little to do in their assigned area the Theseus Task Force moved further north taking up a position which enabled the air group to fly comfortably in the Sinanju-Chongju-Sonchon zone, arriving on 19 October. The first operations were launched the next morning, their targets being in the vicinity of Chongju. The Fireflies attacked buildings used for storage while the Sea Furies attacked various warehouses and the infrastructure of the local railway. As the town had been severely bombed by the USAF B-29 force there was very little of significance left to attack. While further sorties were launched in the afternoon and the following morning not enough targets remained in the area to justify Theseus remaining on station, therefore, the Task Force was ordered back to port at Sasebo. The return to Sasebo was well timed as the reeving of the catapult was found to be worn through while the arrester cables were also in need of an overhaul.
Such was the need for Theseus to resume patrol duties that the carrier was ordered back to sea earlier than expected. Prior to leaving Sasebo on 27 October three damaged Sea Furies were returned ashore and six Fireflies would fly off for Iwakuni as Theseus had no catapult available. In return a US Navy helicopter would land aboard the carrier for the task acting in concert with the minesweepers to clear the approaches of Chinnampo harbour. With a reduced number of Fireflies aboard their task was restricted purely to anti-submarine and mine spotting. In contrast the Sea Furies undertook armed reconnaissance duties throughout their assigned patrol area. As there were weight restrictions due to the lack of a catapult the fighters had to fly without external fuel tanks, rockets or bombs which left the 20 mm cannon as their only offensive capability Having taken off under their own power for their first patrol it was decided for the next day’s flying that due to the lack of a decent headwind that RATOG would be used to get the patrol airborne. The first three departed in accordance with the pilots notes however the fourth suffered a possible misfire and flipped over on its back just after take-off. Fortunately quick reactions by the pilot saved it from crashing into the sea and the patrol continued after the RATOG had been jettisoned. As there was little work for the carrier to do it was decided to return the vessel to Sasebo. En route to port the six missing Fireflies were flown on, a further three would be transhipped from HMS Unicorn in port. While en route the ships engineering department replaced the acceleration and retardation ropes for the catapult which was a feat in itself as it was normally a task reserved for a well equipped dockyard. This practice would later become the norm for this class of aircraft carrier. On 8 November Theseus, in company with HMS Sioux, departed for Hong Kong. During the passage to Hong Kong the ships were warned that the remnants of Typhoon Clare was headed their way. While the carrier rode out the storm quite well the smaller ship suffered some damage but, even so, both vessels arrived safely on 11 November.
After completing re-storing Theseus put to sea for catapult trials which were successfully carried out. With the carrier fully serviceable the air wing was put through its paces and while some incidents occurred, both squadrons passed muster, the final aircraft arriving from Kai Tak on the evening of 30 November. On 1 December HMS Theseus departed from Hong Kong arriving in Sasebo some three days later. The continued presence of a carrier in the far east was fortuitous as it had been intended to reduce the Royal Navy contingent in the war zone as the United Nations forces appeared to be winning, however the tone of the war was soon to change. On 25 October the UN forces had reached the Yula river and were in the process of consolidating their positions when they were subject to heavy attacks by units of the Chinese Red Army Further incursions saw the UN frontline reversing course rapidly finally reaching the Chongchon river where a new front line was established. In support of the ground forces the US 7th Fleet launched every aircraft to attack the advancing Chinese forces with further attacks being mounted by the USAF units in theatre. In order not to lose too many troops it was decided to lift off an many as possible by sea. Evacuation was already underway from Wonsan with the rescued troops being deposited further south where they could be redeployed.
HMS Theseus with Admiral Andrewes aboard departed from Sasebo on 4 December as part of Carrier Task Group 95.1 with three escorts. Their role was to provide air cover for the amphibious rescue effort. To that end a constant stream of Fireflies and Sea Furies began operations on 5 December attacking targets in the area on Chinnampo. The railways in that area, so vital for moving supplies, were heavily hit. Flying throughout that day was hampered by the first fingers of winter as snow showers were hampering either launches or recoveries. The following day was similar but, even so, targets along the coast were attacked with rockets. With all aircraft safely returned the carrier departed to Inchon as one of the propeller glands was exhibiting signs of overheating and needed repacking. Fortunately this was quickly carried out and Theseus was back on station in the early hours of the following day. Over the following two days the Sea Furies and the Fireflies attacked various enemy targets along the coast and around the outskirts of Chinnampo. The following day the weather worsened resulting in the aircraft from Theseus landing at Kimpo.
Strikes resumed on 11 December and were particularly successful as a pair of rail bridges were attacked while the Sea Furies totally wrecked a moving train. Pyongyang was the focus for the air wing the following day with a dam and two bridges attacked. While in the area the aircraft also took the opportunity to destroy buildings once occupied by the UN and to destroy any stores remaining in the area. The following day a similar range of targets were treated to some destruction as were some truck convoys and small shipping off the coast. After four days on station Theseus returned to Sasebo. The time in port was short as Theseus departed the next day complete with its usual selection of escorts. The carrier’s arrival on station was a bit premature because the weather deteriorated rapidly which meant that although flying was possible it was delayed as the aircraft needed de-icing and the flight deck required clearing of snow. However, the usual range of patrols was launched as was a small Sea Fury strike group. While the patrols had an uneventful time the strike mission enjoyed the freedom to attack trucks trapped by the weather near the Chongchon river. Once the Sea Furies had returned the patrols were quickly recalled as the weather was worsening. On 19 December the Sea Furies had a field day in Hangju-Sariwon area where they successfully destroyed a large amount of trucks and some tanks. The Fireflies also undertook bombing raids along the roads although they had to do it through gaps in the clouds.
The following day also saw further strikes being launched with Sea Furies attacking buildings in the area of Chinnampo and Sariwon after which they strafed a bulldozer, hit two petrol, oil and lubricant (POL) dumps and some lorries. Over the next two days similar sorties were undertaken although all were interrupted occasionally by the snow. Even so bridges, trucks and buildings were given close attention by the roving aircraft. On 22 December the carrier had a rest day for refuelling with flying resuming the following day. This time the sorties by the Fireflies were unproductive and some aircraft jettisoned their rockets before landing. However, the Sea Furies had more joy attacking a troop concentration near Pyongyang and trucks and buildings with good results. While most of the world was looking forward to Christmas the Theseus air wing was again in action on Christmas Eve successfully attacking a column of troops en route to Sariwon after which Sariwon itself was subject to attack. On Christmas Day two strike sorties were launched against Sariwon again where, once more, troops, vehicles and buildings were hit. The follow-up mission and the standing patrols were halted when fuel checks revealed that the fuel in some of the aircraft was contaminated by water. Once all available aircraft had been checked those confirmed as clear were launched to provide the standing patrols which remained airborne until the strike sortie had returned. Once all aircraft had landed-on, the carrier plus escorts set course for Sasebo. When in Sasebo on 26 December the carrier picked up a new group of pilots before departing for Kure. Arriving in port the carrier moored alongside Unicorn where damaged aircraft were replaced by serviceable machines. It would be New Year’s Eve when Theseus finally celebrated Christmas, a good time being had by all.
While Theseus was enjoying a belated Christmas the UN forces had established a defensive line from Munsan-ni and partly along the 38th parallel towards Yangyang on the east coast. Again this line across Korea would be shattered when large Chinese forces started assaulting the whole front, massively outnumbered, the UN forces withdrew south in good order. The 8th Army and the Republic of Korea forces had to pull back further, by 3 January 1951 Seoul had been abandoned again and the President and the government were resettled in Pusan. Further advances by the Chinese saw the defensive line stretching from Pyongtack in the west to Wonju in the east. On 5 January Theseus departed from Kure arriving off the Korean coast on 7 January. Flying operations started immediately, the task being to carry out armed patrols up towards Chinnampo and to destroy any enemy shipping and other targets found in their area. As the harbours and various inlets were frozen there was little activity at sea therefore Admiral Andrewes contacted the Joint Operations Centre and offered his fighters for close support work. On 8 January the Sea Furies from Theseus provided support for the US 25th Division operating under the control of the USAF forward air controllers flying modified North American T-6A Texans known as Mosquitoes.
While the air wing was engaged with attacking targets on behalf of UN commanders they were also undertaking patrols along the coast and over the airfields at Chinnampo, Haeju and Ongjin which, although abandoned, were still capable of usage by the North Korean air force. As Theseus was stationed quite a distance away from its area of operations the decision was taken to place a rescue ship halfway between each point which greatly reassured the air crew. An alteration in operations began on 15 January when the airfields at Suwon and Kimpo were recaptured as was the port at Inchon. During the run-up to these recaptures many of missions were interrupted by bad weather as snow showers were frequent and heavy. Even so the air wing was able to give air support to the US 25th Army Division at a crucial time in its operations. Over the following few days the Sea Furies were heavily engaged in attacking ground positions in support of the US Army always under the control of a Mosquito Forward Air Controller (FAC). Given the accuracy of their supporting fire the FAC pilots preferred the Sea Fury in support in preference to other forces. Occasionally when the FAC had to return to base for a refuel he was able to designate specific areas as weapons free. On 14 January the Sea Furies were given such an order and operating in severely cloudy conditions they rocketed and strafed the airfield at Suwon blowing up two supply dumps in the process. Also attacked were obvious groups of troops plus lorries, bridges and a haystack that blew up with a large bang.
The weather also played a part in delaying operations on 15 January as the over-deck wind speed was too low to launch aircraft, however, some juggling of the deck park and the use of RATOG allowed the patrols and strike sorties to get airborne. As Theseus had moved closer to the area of operations the sortie lengths were reduced and the air wing was able to generate 58 sorties that day. By this time the UN forces were pushing back successfully and the fleeing enemy forces were easier to spot and extensive casualties resulted amongst these troops. The following day saw the sortie rate increase to 60 during which vehicles, oil tanks and sampans were destroyed. Having completed this phase of operations Theseus returned to Sasebo being replaced by USS Bataan, a light carrier. Bataan’s escorts took over the responsibility of patrolling the area and became CTE 95.11 in the process. This addition to his forces allowed Admiral Andrewes to create an 18 days operational cycle for each vessel which meant that up to nine days were available for operations, one was allocated to sea replenishment, two were required for transit and six days were in port for rest, recuperation and repair.
By 24 January the Chinese had been halted on a line from Pyongtaek to Wonju. Further advances by UN forces resulted in Seoul being recaptured again on 14 March. This situation would change on 22 April when the Communist forces began their Spring Offensive on the left flank. Although the UN forces were pushed back to the Han river the capital was still held by Allied forces. It was during this offensive that the Gloucestershire Regiment suffered grievous losses with only 169 men left out of the original 850 men. Although these losses were grievous the Allied counter attack was successful and pushed the enemy back further. It was during this period that General MacArthur was replaced as Supreme Commander by General Ridgway with General Van Fleet replacing Ridgway as Commander of the 8th Army. A further Communist offensive was launched in mid-May against the right flank although this was quickly countered by the UN forces. The resulting defensive line would remain virtually unchanged for the remainder of the war although there were some vicious battles along the way over such real estate as Pork Chop hill and Heartbreak Ridge.