U.S.S. Allen M. Sumner DD-692
Commander Destroyer Squadron 60 Action Report

OF6-60/A16-3

Commander Destroyer Squadron Sixty,

Serial 0183 c/o Fleet Post Office,
San Francisco, California,
CONFIDENTIAL 31 December 1944.

From:

Commander Destroyer Squadron SIXTY.
To: Commander in Chief, U. S. Fleet.
Via: (1) Commander Task Group 77.3 (Rear Admiral BERKEY, USN, ComCruDiv 15).
(2) Commander Task Group 78.3 (Rear Admiral A. D. STRUBLE, USN, Comdr. Ninth Amphibious Group).
(3) Commander Task Force 77.
(3) Commander SEVENTH Fleet.
(4) Commander in Chief, U. S. Pacific Fleet.

Subject:

Action Report - Support of the MINDORO Landing Operation, 12-18 December 1944.

References:

(a) PacFlt ltr. 2CL-44.
(b) Alnav 215 of 30 November 1944.

Enclosure:

(A) Action Report of U.S.S. BARTON (DD722).
(B) Action Report of U.S.S. WALKE (DD723).
(C) Action Report of U.S.S. LAFFEY (DD724).
(D) Action Report of U.S.S. O'BRIEN (DD725).
(E) Action Report of U.S.S. ALLEN M. SUMNER (DD692) and endorsement by Comdesdiv 120.
(F) Action Report of U.S.S. MOALE (DD693).
(G) Action Report of U.S.S. INGRAHAM (DD694).


PART I - NARRATIVE


     1.     The MINDORO Operation was designed to land troops on southwest MINDORO, to seize control of the SAN JOSE area, and to establish there a base for Allied Air Forces. Task Group 77.3, in the role of the close covering group, was to operate as a part of Task Group 78.3 enroute and to cover the attack group against possible enemy attack while in the objective area.

     2.     The MINDORO Operation, designated as Love Three, was under the command of Commander Task Group 78.3, Read Admiral A. D. STRUBLE, U.S.N., in the NASHVILLE. Task Group 77.3 was composed as follows:

     CruDiv 15
            PHOENIX (CTG 77.3, R. Adm. R. S. BERKEY, ComCruDiv 15).
            BOISE
            PORTLAND

     Desron 60
            BARTON (Commander Destroyer Squadron 60, Capt. W. L. FRESEMAN, U.S.N.)
            WALKE
            LAFFEY
            O'BRIEN
            SUMNER (Comdesdiv 120)
            MOALE
            INGRAHAM

     3.     Task Group 77.3 sortied from SAN PEDRO BAY at 1330, 12 December, formed disposition V (See Part II, Appendix 1), and proceeded on deceptive easterly courses until dark. At that time course was changed to the west, and the task group took position ahead of Task Group 78.3 as the latter entered SURIGAO STRAIT.

     4.     Early in the morning of 13 December, CTG 78.3 ordered that disposition M-1 be formed, and the units of Task Group 77.3 assumed assigned stations. During the morning TG 77.12 (Heavy Covering Group), which was supplying air and surface coverage enroute, passed the disposition to the southward.

     5.     At 1457, 13 December, a Jap plane dove out of a cloud over the disposition, pulled out near the NASHVILLE, crossed astern and crashed the NASHVILLE on the port side amidships, causing considerable damage and many casualties. Severe damage to all communication facilities forced CTG 78.3 to transfer to the DASHIELL, and after dark the NASHVILLE, escorted by the STANLY, returned to SAN PEDRO BAY. From 1500 to 1900 while passing between the islands of MINDANAO and NEGROS, the task group was under intermittent air attack and several planes were shot down by both CAP and AA fire. No damage was suffered and although bogies were reported from time to time, no further attacks were made until the morning of the 15th.

     6.     At dusk on 14 December, TG 78.3 was formed in M-2 disposition, and TG 77.3 proceeded to take station about 5000 yards ahead in disposition V.

     7.     While approaching MINDORO before dawn on the 15th, a wooden Jap cargo vessel of about 500 tons was discovered and the BARTON and INGRAHAM were ordered to destroy it. The target was attacked by gunfire and set ablaze from stem to stern. It sank later in the morning.

     8.     At 0630 the BOISE, MOALE, and O'BRIEN proceeded to take station in fire support area FOUR. At 0715 the shore bombardment commenced with the first wave landing 15 minutes later on schedule. The beaches were reported as excellent and no opposition was encountered.

     9.     During the unloading operation enemy planes made an attack on ships in the transport area. Two LST's were crashed by suicide planes and set afire, while the HOWORTH incurred some damage from a third suicide crash. The MOALE was almost hit by a suicide plane before she managed to splash it. The O'BRIEN and MOALE assisted in rescuing LST survivors, the MOALE going alongside one LST in a daring operation to take all survivors. The fires could not be gotten under control at this time and the LST's were finally ordered abandoned. After transferring survivors to other units, the O'BRIEN and MOALE, together with the BOISE, rejoined TG 77.3 then patrolling on various courses and speeds about five miles off the objective area.

     10.    An abandoned enemy destroyer of the ASASHIO Class, discovered in PANDAROCHAN BAY, was shelled during the afternoon by the WALKE on orders from CTG 78.3 and set afire. As the destroyer was already beached and badly damaged, no further action appeared necessary.

     11.    The first returning echelon, including the LAFFEY, departed for SAN PEDRO BAY at 0900 and all remaining landing craft that could be retracted were combined into one group under the command of CTG 78.3 and departed for LEYTE shortly after dark.

     12.    TG 77.3 continued to patrol off the beach during the night, and combined AA fire of the group accounted foe one enemy plane at 1925.

     13.    In accordance with CTF 77's orders, TG 77.3 rejoined TG 78.3 in the morning of the 16th, and at 2320 proceeded independently to SAN PEDRO BAY, arriving about 0800 on the 17th. The LAFFEY with the first returning convoy anchored shortly afterwards, while TG 78.3 arrived at 0800 on the 18th.


PART II
CHRONOLOGICAL SEQUENCE OF EVENTS


12 December 1944.

1430 - Comdesron 60 in BARTON, with Desron 60, less LOWRY, sortied from SAN PEDRO BAY, LEYTE, in accordance with sortie plan of CTG 78.3, and stood out into LEYTE GULF to join the rest of Task Group 77.3.

1500 - Passed the amphibious craft of Task Group 78.3 moving out of SAN PEDRO BAY.

1555 - Ordered Desron 60 to form a seven ship circular screen on circle three, disposition V. (See Part II, Appendix 1). A southeasterly deceptive course was set so that the formation appeared to be heading out through the eastern exit from LEYTE GULF, speed 15 knots, axis 180T. Task Group 78.3 was forming cruising disposition M-2 in LEYTE GULF on a southerly course heading for SURIGAO STRAIT.

1803 - Unidentified planes were reported 15 miles to the east. Task Group 77.3 increased speed to 25 knots and formed cruising disposition C-V, the destroyers closing in to circle 1.5.

1839 - Commenced zigzagging in accordance with plan No. 6.

1845 - The LAFFEY on which one of the fighter director teams was embarked, reported that the CAP had returned to base.

1848 - The aircraft in the area were reported identified as friendly and the destroyers in Task Group 77.3 resumed stations on circle 3.

1905 - Ceased zigzagging and slowed to 15 knots.

1921 - It was dark by now and the feint to the southeast had been completed, so course was reversed to the westward toward SURIGAO STRAIT to take position ahead of Task Group 78.3 which by now had formed into a long column, disposition M-2, screened by its destroyers.

1957 - Speed was increased to 25 knots to pass clear of HIBUSON ISLAND and pass ahead of TG 78.3, as SURIGAO STRAIT was entered.

2033 - Course was changed to 190, speed 10 knots.

2100 - Task Group 77.3 took station ahead of TG 78.3, course 180, axis 180, fleet speed 8 knots.

2238 - With BOLOBOLO POINT abeam to starboard, TG 77.3 changed course to 230 and entered the MINDANAO SEA.

2239 - BOISE reported a surface contact bearing 217, range 31,200 yards, which was subsequently identified as the slow-tow convoy group.

13 December 1944.

0025 - CTG 78.3 reported a surface contact at 337, 12 miles, course 120, speed 11 knots, and LAFFEY and WALKE were ordered to investigate.

0058 - CTG 77.3 reported that there were two Black Cats patrolling ahead of the disposition.

0110 - LAFFEY having challenged the surface contact with dimmed signal light, reported that it was two LCI's which were warned to stay clear of TG 78.3. WALKE and LAFFEY then rejoined the disposition.

0630 - TG 77.3 and TG 78.3 combined to form disposition M-1, with units of TG 77.3, taking assigned stations.

0700 - LAFFEY took control of Army CAP as primary fighter director ship.

0802 - The BARTON fired on two planes approaching the formation which were subsequently identified as friendly.

0815 - Task Group 77.12 (Heavy Covering Group) was sighted passing TG 78.3 to the southward. This group was employed as a covering force against possible enemy surface movements and to furnish air cover enroute.

0937 - Fleet course and axis were changed to 230.

1010 - Formed disposition M-1V, all destroyers moving in 1000 yards.

1200 - INGRAHAM assumed control of CAP as primary fighter director ship, LAFFEY becoming secondary.

1239 - Fleet course and axis were changed to 265.

1448 - A small native sail boat was sighted on the port bow of the convoy and investigated by the STEVENS, who reported that it did not appear suspicious in any way.

1458 - A plane, which was tentatively identified as a Jap Jill, dove out of a cloud over the disposition, passed across the stern of the NASHVILLE, banked very steeply to starboard and crashed port side of the main deck just abaft the bridge structure. There was a violent explosion and fire broke out immediately, causing considerable damage and a large number of casualties. So sudden was this attack that not a single ship opened fire before the plane crashed.

1501 - STANLY went alongside the NASHVILLE to render aid and CTG 77.3 assumed the duties of OTC temporarily.

1505 - The STEVENS and WALKE reported a Frances approaching the disposition and the ships on the starboard beam and quarter of the convoy opened fire. The plane closed to a range of about 6,000 yards and then turned away to starboard.

1552 - DASHIELL assumed the duties of force fighter director ship.

1701 - CTG 78.3 transferred to the DASHIELL and resumed duties as OTC.

1710 - Several bogies were picked up approaching the group and were tracked circling the disposition at a range of 8 miles.

1730 - Enemy planes were reported to the north of the task group and all ships were directed to be on the alert for low-flying craft.

1737 - WALKE tracked four bogies passing clear of disposition to the westward.

1741 - Enemy planes bearing 250, distance 10 miles, were sighted closing the disposition at high altitude. Several were driven off by CAP, but one Betty flew down port side of disposition and attempted to bomb ships astern. All bombs missed, and the plane was driven off by CAP.

1747 - AA fire was seen coming from Task Group 77.12, the heavy covering group, which was about 20 miles to the westward.

1755 - Two enemy planes approached the disposition from the south pursued by P-38's of the CAP. One was driven off, while ships opened fire on the other with 5 inch batteries and automatic weapons. A P-38 chased the enemy plane through the AA fire, scored a hit, and the Sally commenced a long dive, apparently aiming at the MOALE or BOISE. One engine was smoking and during the dive the plane released a bomb which splashed harmlessly. The MOALE, HOPEWELL, assisted by other destroyers in the area, continued a heavy fire, and the plane was finally splashed and exploded among them, and just short of hitting the MOALE.

1758 - A few minutes later another twin-engine bomber approached the disposition from the port side by cloud-hopping, and was taken under fire by all ships in the forward part of the screen. The plane attempted to bomb the PHOENIX, but these bombs also missed, and the plane escaped to the north. Two Wildcats took up the chase and splashed the plane, now identified as a Betty, bearing 340, about 8 miles.

1809 - Sighted Jap twin-engine bomber (probably a Sally) on port bow being chased by two CAP fighters who took turns at making passes. The Sally was flying very low and maneuvering radically. The dogfight lasted several minutes, during which the Sally hit the water with one wing, pulled up into the air, and flew for several hundred yards before finally crashing.

1815 - BARTON and SUMNER in succession sighted possible periscopes on the port bow of convoy. However, further investigation revealed them to be merely fishing stakes projecting above the surface. Many more of these were sighted during the operation.

1820 - CAP, controlled by LAFFEY, sighted enemy planes 12 miles west of disposition.

1825 - Passed SIATON POINT to starboard, entered SULU SEA, and changed course and axis to 270.

1850 - Ships on port side of disposition fired at enemy plane passing along port beam, but no results were observed. At the same time another plane, approaching from the northwest flew over the formation at great altitude. Two splashes were seen between the MOALE and the BOISE which may have been small bombs.

1854 - The WALKE sighted a plane splashing at 6 miles, bearing 130.

1903 - Fleet course and axis were changed to 315, as the southern tip of NEGROS ISLAND was rounded.

1915 - It was dark now and the NASHVILLE, escorted by the STANLY, left the group to return to SAN PEDRO BAY.

2000 - Surface contact was reported bearing 250, range 27,000 yards on course 070, speed 15 knots.

2025 - The surface contact was identified as the HARADEN escorted by the TWIGGS. The HARADEN had been hit during air attack on TG 77.12, and the TWIGGS was acting as escort until rendezvous with STANLY could be effected.

2334 - CTU 78.3.6 (Minesweeper Group) on starboard flank of disposition reported seeing survivors on a life raft. The HOPEWELL was ordered to investigate, but subsequently reported that search had been negative and rejoined the formation.

During the night numerous bogies were reported by various ships, but none closed the disposition.

14 December 1944.

0620 - CAP from the CVE's of TG 77.12 reported to LAFFEY, fighter director ship. During the day the LAFFEY controlled a total of seven divisions of CAP, all but one of which were from the CVE's. Weather conditions at LEYTE grounded Army fighters, and the only Army coverage arrived at 1720. CAP controlled by LAFFEY made no interceptions and sighted no enemy aircraft in their sector. Numerous bogey reports were received, but all of them faded or proved to be the A/S patrol which often approached close to the task group, and rarely showed IFF.

0740 - Changed course to 339T, Speed 7 knots.

0800 - The minesweeper group, TG 78.3.6, proceeded to a position about eight miles ahead of the convoy, and conducted sweeping operations through CUYO PASS and thence toward the objective area on MINDORO.

1029 - The minesweeper unit reported that they had been attacked, four bombs had been dropped, but all had missed. The minesweepers had fired on the plane, but no hits were observed.

1205 - With the southern tip of PANAY abeam to starboard, course and axis were changed to 005, and task group proceeded up swept channel through possible enemy minefields.

1350 - WALKE reported AA firing astern, probably from TG 77.12, and shortly thereafter a plane was seen to crash bearing 160, distant about 8 miles.

1355 - WALKE sighted another plane crashing at 140, about 10 miles.

1515 - Changed course to 337T, speed 6 knots.

1611 - TG 78.3 commenced to form cruising disposition M-2, TG 77.3 remaining on M-1 stations until M-2 was formed.

1733 - O'BRIEN sighted AA fire to the southward, probably from TG 77.12.

1830 - Army CAP, controlled by LAFFEY, reported it was returning to base.

1842 - Task Group 78.3 reformed to disposition M-2, TG 77.3 increased speed to draw ahead and form cruising disposition C-V, course 337, speed 10 knots, destroyers patrolling their stations on circle three.

1904 - Enemy plane, probably a Betty, was sighted on the port beam heading in southerly direction, range 10 miles. Plane was apparently on reconnaissance mission as no attack was attempted.

1942 - Changed course to 342T.

2015 - Ordered Desron 60 to close in to circle 1.5.

2245 - Changed course to 350, speed 8 knots.

15 December 1944.

0020 - A number of radar contacts on unidentified aircraft were reported between 0000 and 0400. Three PBY's operating in the area as patrol planes showed weak IFF, and it was difficult to distinguish these from bogies.

0129 - One of the PBY's reported a surface target off the MINDORO BEACH, was ordered to attack, and subsequently reported that a Jap AK had been set afire. AA firing was observed by TG 77.3.

0220 - Course was changed to 331.

0445 - The SUMNER reported an unidentified surface contact bearing 242, distant 9 1/2 miles on course 090, speed 12 knots.

0500 - CTG 77.3 directed Comdesron 60 to attack reported surface target with two DD's. The BARTON and INGRAHAM left the screen and proceeded on course 230, speed 15 knots, while the remaining 5 ships equalized circle spacing. Comdesdiv 120 took charge of screen.

0526 - BARTON and INGRAHAM had closed target at 15 knots, and BARTON opened fire at 5440 yards, followed immediately by INGRAHAM. The target was seen to be a Jap coastal freighter of the SC type, wooden construction, about 500 tons. It caught fire immediately and burned brightly. No return fire was observed.

0535 - The INGRAHAM closed to 1000 yards and reported that the SC was camouflaged with branches. It was burning from stem to stern, and subsequently sank at about 0845. It apparently had a very inflammable cargo.

0538 - The minesweeper group reported that they were under attack from a float plane. AA fire was observed to the north, range 5 miles.

0540 - BARTON and INGRAHAM left the target and proceeded to rejoin the disposition.

0605 - TG 77.3 changed course to 320 and increased speed to 15 knots. The group was now about 8 miles off the MINDORO landing beaches, and commenced steaming various courses and speeds, providing close cover for the assault forces.

0630 - The BOISE, screened by MOALE and O'BRIEN, left the disposition to take assigned stations in Fire Support Area No. 4.

0638 - CTG 78.3 ordered his forces to deploy for the assault.

0650 - BARTON and INGRAHAM rejoined, taking station in 5 ship circular screen around PHOENIX and PORTLAND.

0652 - CTG 78.3 announced that HOW hour was postponed 10 minutes, to 0730.

0700 - A ship near the beach reported that there were many natives and some cattle on the beaches. CTG 78.3 ordered a few high air bursts prior to commencement of the bombardment to warn the natives, and directed the bombardment ships not to "unnecessarily demolish" the village.

0710 - Air bursts were fired high over the beaches.

0714 - The fire support ships commenced the shore bombardment.

0715 - Three divisions of carrier-based CAP from TG 77.12 reported on station for control by the LAFFEY.

0725 - Shore bombardment ended, as the assault boats moved in toward the beach.

0728 - TG 77.3 screen closed in to circle 1.5.

0729 - The first troops landed, just one minute ahead of schedule.

0734 - Reports began to come in that the beaches were good, no opposition was met, and that there were no casualties.

0750 - CAP reported a disabled Jap cruiser in MANGARIN BAY.

0815 - TU 77.3.4 reported they were under air attack.

0817 - Three bogies were reported, bearing 300, 28 miles.

0841 - A number of bogies were reported to be in the area.

0846 - The MOALE sighted two enemy planes shot down by CAP, one of them bearing 170, distant 5 miles.

0847 - CAP reported splashing three Jap planes. The LAFFEY was released by CTG 77.3 to join Task Unit 78.3.2, the first returning echelon, as fighter director ship.

0850 - Ten Jap planes came in to attack the ships near the beaches. They cam around both sides of ILIN ISLAND, flying very low and maneuvering radically.

0854 - The MOALE, O'BRIEN, and other ships in the transport area opened fire on the attacking planes.

0856 - An already smoking Jap plane crash-dived the LST 738, causing a large fire. Another suicide plane crashed the LST 472, and a third hit the water close aboard on the port beam.

0859 - One plane passed over the LST column and header for the MOALE. This plane was taken under fire by all the guns the MOALE could bring to bear, and was shot down in flames 200 yards short of the ship.

0900 - The MOALE took two other planes under fire near the White Beach column of LST's which were also firing. Both were shot down. The O'BRIEN reported 5 enemy planes of this group definitely destroyed, while remaining planes retired rapidly, pursued by our fighters. The MOALE left her screening station (near the BOISE) to rescue survivors from the LST 738. The LST was blazing and drifting, and swinging too much to go alongside.

0915 - The O'BRIEN went alongside the LST 472 to assist in extinguishing the fire. The HOPEWELL, and PCE 851 were also alongside to take on survivors and assist in fire fighting.

0916 - A Jap plane was observed splashed by the CAP, on bearing 120, distant 4 miles, between TG 77.3 and the burning LST's.

0928 - A Jap Val passed overhead at 20,000 feet. The SUMNER opened fire, but no hits were observed.

0929 - The MOALE which was about 50 feet to windward of the blazing LST 738 fighting the fire (it was later discovered that this lST had been loaded with high octane gasoline and ammunition), then placed her bow alongside to pick up survivors, when a large explosion occurred on board the LST. Flying debris and fragments put five holes in the starboard bow of the MOALE, cut radio antennae, the SC radar wave guide, and wounded ten men.

0930 - The MOALE picked up or took aboard directly all the survivors she could find--23 naval personnel, including the LST's Commanding Officer, and 73 Army personnel--and headed back to screen the BOISE.

0945 - The LAFFEY, PRINGLE, and eight APD's, screening the 31 LCI(L)'s and 12 LSM's of the first returning echelon, departed for LEYTE. The LAFFEY was designated fighter director ship for this unit.

0950 - Two men on the forecastle of the O'BRIEN, fighting the LST fire, were slightly wounded by fragments of exploding ready ammunition.

0952 - The Commanding Officer of the LST 472 (alongside the O'BRIEN) reported that the fire was out of control and gave the order to abandon ship.

0955 - All LST 472 survivors were picked up by the O'BRIEN, HOPEWELL, and PCE 851.

1012 - The HOWORTH reported that two Jap planes had dived on her. One crashed close aboard; the other hit the SC and FD radar antennae and then struck the edge of the forecastle deck before plunging into the water. No fire resulted.

1028 - The HOPEWELL which was to leave for LEYTE in the first returning echelon, came alongside the O'BRIEN and transferred LST survivors. Of the 198 survivors on board the O'BRIEN, 25 were wounded, ten of them seriously.

1053 - O'BRIEN resumed station screening the BOISE.

1057 - Enemy planes were reported approaching form the vicinity of MOUNT BACO.

1139 - The BROOKS (APD 10) sent alongside the MOALE and received 72 Army personnel. The remaining Army men were not transferred because of wounds.

1205 - The BROOKS went alongside the O'BRIEN and took off unwounded survivors from the LST 472, in accordance with orders from CTG 78.3.

1214 - Task Group 77.3, in accordance with orders from CTG 78.3, proceeded at 28 knots toward PANDAROCHAN BAY to destroy a damaged enemy cruiser reported there.

1240 - CTU 78.3.6 conducting sweeping operations in PANDAROCHAN BAY, reported that the enemy ship was a destroyer. The WALKE was sent on alone to polish her off, with Task Group 77.3 returning to patrol off the MINDORO beaches.

1245 - The BOISE and MOALE rejoined Task Group 77.3.

1325 - O'BRIEN rejoined Task Group 77.3, which then consisted of the PHOENIX, BOISE, PORTLAND, BARTON, O'BRIEN, SUMNER, MOALE, and INGRAHAM--the WALKE still being in PANDAROCHAN BAY, and the LAFFEY departed for LEYTE with TU 78.3.2.

1330 - The last of the CAP controlled by the LAFFEY returned to base. No further CAP was available for this unit, as the Army planes were grounded at LEYTE by weather conditions, and the available carrier aircraft were already employed on other assignments.

1330 - The WALKE sighted a Jap destroyer in a cove on the western side of SEMIRAR ISLAND, bearing 106, distant 6 1/2 miles, and commenced approach.

1340 - The WALKE commenced fire at a range of 9,300 yards. No activity was seen on the Jap destroyer. After checking fire, WALKE closed, resumed fire, ceased fire, and closed the range to investigate. The target was an ASASHIO class destroyer which had been previously damaged and beached. It was left burning, and the WALKE proceeded to rejoin the task group.

1405 - While rejoining, the WALKE was ordered to investigate the burning LST 472 which was drifting south past AMBULONG ISLAND.

1446 - The MOALE transferred three seriously wounded men to the PORTLAND, one being from the LST 738, and the other two from the MOALE.

1450 - The WALKE reported that the fires on the LST 472 were beyond control, and continued on to rejoin the disposition.

1542 - The WALKE took station in six ship circular screen on circle 3.

1630 - TG 77.3 commenced zigzagging, following Plan No. 20.

1851 - The O'BRIEN picked up a bogey at 260, 10 miles.

1900 - O'BRIEN commenced firing with automatic weapons at bogey bearing 260, 3 miles, very high. No hits were observed.

1900 - TG 78.3 was reformed and commenced the trip back to LEYTE, leaving one LST on Red Beach.

1914 - A bogey was reported at 275, 18 miles, closing.

1919 - Bogey closed to 10 miles, on course 090, speed 225 knots.

1921 - SUMNER, MOALE, and INGRAHAM opened fire on the bogey which had turned to course 150, speed 150 knots, at a range of between 7,000 and 10,000 yards. The plane was hit many times, came down on a long glide, crashed, and burned furiously for some time.

2015 - The screen opened to 3,000 yard circle for night cruising.

2123 - INGRAHAM reported possible sound contact on port beam of formation, range 2,300 yards. While the disposition executed "Emergency Turn 6", the INGRAHAM investigated and reported contact as non-sub.

2140 - SUMNER reported a sound contact on port beam of formation, range 2,300 yards. The disposition executed "Emergency Turn 6", but the SUMNER reported after investigation that this contact was also non-sub.

16 December 1944.

0318 - An unidentified plane was picked up by the WALKE at 080, 14 miles, and AA fire was seen coming from the direction of the beach.

0548 - Ceased patrolling off the MINDORO beaches and headed for TU 78.3.12, the slow-two convoy approaching from the south.

0700 - TG 77.3 changed course to 120 and increased speed to 20 knots.

0707 - Speed was increased to 25 knots.

0717 - Upon receipt of orders to rejoin TG 78.3, course was altered to 155T.

0732 - Friendly plane reported one Sally splashed at 300, 20 miles.

0840 - Changed course to 180.

0900 - Changed course to 185.

0955 - Changed course to 160.

1000 - Sighted Task Group 78.3, 18 miles ahead.

1038 - Task Group 77.3 was ordered to take stations in 78.3's M-1V disposition, the ships of Desron 60 being evenly distributed about the circular screen.

1207 - Two bogies were reported, but were chased off by CAP. (INGRAHAM was fighter director ship.)

1400 - During the afternoon a carrier-based CAP intended for the LAFFEY, reported to INGRAHAM by mistake, was sent off to find the LAFFEY, but could not do so because of poor visibility, and so returned to the INGRAHAM.

1822 - Course and axis were changed to 109.

2120 - Task Group 77.12 (the heavy covering group) was contacted 50 miles astern.

2300 - Pursuant to Com 7th Fleet's order, TG 77.3 (less WALKE and SUMNER) were detached from TG 78.3 and proceeded ahead to LEYTE. TG 77.3 encountered no further action during this trip and anchored in SAN PEDRO BAY at 0825, 17 December 1944.

The first returning echelon anchored about one half hour later, while TG 78.3 returned to SAN PEDRO BAY early in the morning of 18 December.

PART III

ORDNANCE AND GUNNERY


1. PERFORMANCE OF OWN ORDNANCE EQUIPMENT.

     (a) Practically all firing by the 2200 ton destroyers was done in partial radar control. The Mark 12 radar gave an excellent performance in all ships, even in proximity to land.

     (b) The same cannot be said for the Mark 22 radar. Attention is invited to paragraph 1(b), Part V of Enclosure (C). The condition apparently exists on all destroyers of Desron 60 and an extraordinary amount of time is required to keep the Mark 22 in operative condition. Furthermore, little success has been attained in picking up low-flying planes with this radar. Comdesron 60 is investigating the entire matter, and will submit a separate and complete report when the data is available.

     (c) All other ordnance and gunnery equipment functioned in a highly satisfactory manner, with but few minor casualties. Fire discipline and training appeared to be satisfactory.

2. It is recommended that the MOALE be credited with one enemy plane shot down. This was the one attempting to crash the MOALE in the assault area during the landings. (About 0859, 15 December.) It is considered that all other planes shot down by anti-aircraft fire resulted from the efforts of two or more ships.

2. Ammunition Expended:

5"/38

40 MM.

20 MM.

     BARTON 216 175 800
     WALKE 239
     LAFFEY 162
     O'BRIEN 342 833 634
     SUMNER 184
     MOALE 350 384 1280
     INGRAHAM 388 36
          TOTALS 1881 1428 2714


PART IV


1. Own Battle Damage - Destroyers.

     (a)     While rendering assistance to the LST 738, MOALE incurred the following damage due to explosion of ammunition in LST 738:

             (1) 5 small holes in shell plating above water line.
             (2) One radio antennae destroyed.
             (3) Section of SC radar wave guide ruptured.

2. Enemy Battle Damage.

     (a) One "SC" wooden cargo vessel of about 500 tons set afire and sunk.

     (b) One damaged and abandoned ASASHIO class DD set afire with additional damage causing it to settle further.

     (c) Approximately 25 enemy planes observed destroyed by CAP, AA fire of screen, or crashes.


PART V - COMMENT


     1.     Too much confusion and concern were caused by the ASP planes, as no IFF could be obtained on them. Whether or not this was due to weak or non-functioning equipment in the planes is unknown. With the possibility of the presence of low-flying suicide planes, every precaution should be taken to insure that the IFF in these planes is functioning properly.

     2.(a) With reference to paragraph 1(a), Part V, of enclosure (C) (U.S.S. LAFFEY), the larger CIC spaces in the 692 class destroyers, with modern equipment, it is a distinct advantage over other types. It is recommended that a number of these ships be fitted with the necessary additional communication facilities for fighter director work.

        (b) With reference to paragraph 3, Part V, of the same enclosure, Comdesron 60 does not concur that the use of the Army Fighter Grid System should be adopted. This system does not appear to lend itself readily to vectoring of CAP, but directs a plane to a prescribed grid area where the bogey may or may not be when the CAP arrives. If the approximate course and speed of the bogey is known, vectoring must be used to produce a quick interception.

     3.     With reference to paragraph 2, Part V, of enclosure (E), the statements made concerning bridges on the DD692 class are true. Comdesron 60 has observed Mark 51 director operators and other key personnel on the bridge knocked flat on the deck while in action, from the blast of 5" guns. As the ships have already had three versions of bridges, as they are urgently required for current operations, and since they can be fought successfully with some reduction in gunpowder in the automatic battery due to blast interference and with some handicap to ship and unit control from the bridge, it is recommended that no further modifications to the bridge be considered at this time.

     4.     Attention is invited to the work of the MOALE effecting repairs.  Less than two weeks before the MINDORO landing, she was damaged considerably by air attacks in a night raid in ORMOC BAY. Although a number of repair personnel were wounded, necessary equipment could not be obtained, and no tenders or repair ships were available, she managed by hard work and improvisation to complete repairs prior to leaving for MINDORO. In a courageous and effective effort to receive personnel from an LST and save the ship during the MINDORO assault, she was damaged again by fragments from exploding ammunition, which also knocked out all remaining repair personnel, except for one seaman. However, under greater difficulties than before, she made repairs and with an ingenious temporary construction of an SG radar wave guide, managed to attain almost 100% material readiness shortly after the damage. Ability to improvise and effect repairs normally considered well beyond the capacity of the ship's force, is a necessity in the forward combat areas.


PART VI


     1.     Personnel Casualties.

KILLED WOUNDED
MOALE 1 enlisted 10 enlisted

     2.     Personnel performance was considered to be in accordance with the high standards of the Service.

W. L. FRESEMAN.

cc:
Cominch (Advance)
Cincpac 3 (Advance) (1 copy less enclosures)
Comdespac
CTU 78.3.5 (CDS 51) (Less enclosures)
CDD 120                         "          "
BARTON                        "          "
WALKE                          "          "
LAFFEY                         "          "
O'BRIEN                        "          "
SUMNER                       "          "
MOALE                          "          "
INGRAHAM                  "          "
LOWRY                         "          "


APPENDIX 1

SCREENING PLAN FOR DESTROYERS OF TASK GROUP 77.3

Reference: ComCruDiv 15 (Comdr. Close Covering Group) Operation Order No. 5-4.

     1.     A circular screen is stationed with respect to a fixed screen axis of 000 T, station one always being on the axis. Destroyers are always stationed in the screen in the same basic screening order, their stations being determined by the ship assigned to number one station. With a circular screen, the screen axis is never rotated with the axis of the disposition. If it is desired to reorient the screen to place torpedo attack group leaders toward the direction of the probable enemy threat, another ship is designated to fill station number one, which automatically rotates the entire screen. A closed circular screen is not reoriented for a corpen signal.

     2.     Open circular screens and bent line screens are reoriented for all corpen signals but not for turn signals.

     3.     When a ship leaves the screen for any reason, the gap will be equalized by adjacent screening ships, unless a new screen is ordered by the Screen Commander. Ships returning to the screen will take the station that will preserve the basic screening order of ships.

     4.     The basic screening order remains effective until a new order is promulgated. The initial basic screening order is as follows reading clockwise around the screen:

     (8DD) BARTON, LAFFEY, LOWRY, O'BRIEN, WALKE, MOALE, INGRAHAM, SUMNER
     (7DD) BARTON, LAFFEY, WALKE, O'BRIEN, MOALE, INGRAHAM, SUMNER

     5.     Initial station assignments:

     For Disposition V - Station one - LAFFEY.
     For Disposition C-3 - Station one - BARTON.

     6.     Screening ships will patrol stations at all times for all disposition speeds below fourteen knots, except when navigational or swept channels prevent.

     7.     (a) For disposition V, stations are as follows: for 8 DDs, 8 stations, equally spaced on circle four, with number one on the screen axis (000T). If only 7 DDs are available screen will be formed on circle 3.5 with 7 stations.

             (b) For disposition C-3 (Screen reorients for all corpen signals.)

                            FOR 8 DESTROYERS
                 Station 1 - 2.5000    Station 2 - 2310
                 Station 3 - 2050       Station 4 - 2260
                 Station 5 - 2100       Station 6 - 3225
                 Station 7 - 3135       Station 8 - 3.5180

                            FOR 7 DESTROYERS
                 Station 1 - 2000       Station 2 - 2290
                 Station 3 - 2070       Station 4 - 2.5240
                 Station 5 - 2.5120    Station 6 - 3.5200
                 Station 7 - 3.5160

     8.     The signal "TARE BAKER CHARLIE FOUR TACK (NUMERALS)" forms a closed circular screen, the numerals indicating the number of stations, equally spaced, in the screen.

     9.     ATTACK GROUPS. Destroyers in the screen are separated into torpedo attack groups as follows:

                                             8 DESTROYERS PRESENT
            TWO              (a) DesDiv 119 less LOWRY (RIGHT)
            ATTACK
            GROUPS       (b) DesDiv 120 plus LOWRY (LEFT)

            THREE          (a) BARTON, LAFFEY, LOWRY (RIGHT)
            ATTACK      (b) O'BRIEN, WALKE (CENTER)
            GROUPS      (c) SUMNER, INGRAHAM, MOALE (LEFT)

                                             7 DESTROYERS PRESENT
            TWO             (a) DesDiv 119 less LOWRY (RIGHT)
            ATTACK
            GROUPS      (b) DesDiv 120 (LEFT)

            THREE          (a) BARTON, LAFFEY, WALKE (RIGHT)
            ATTACK      (b) O'BRIEN, MOALE (CENTER)
            GROUPS      (c) SUMNER, INGRAHAM (LEFT)

     10.    When in disposition V, upon receiving the signal "FLASH RED" by voice circuit, destroyers will take station on circle 1.5, disposing themselves as equally as possible between cruisers. Upon receiving the signal "FLASH WHITE", destroyers will resume their regular stations in disposition V.

W. L. FRESEMAN
Captain, U.S.N.
Commander Screen,
Close Covering Group
cc
CTG 78.3 - 2
CTG 77.3 - 2
ComDesRon 51 - 1
ComDesDiv 120 - 2
Portland - 1
Nashville - 1
Phoenix - 1
Boise - 1
Each DD - 2