U.S.S. Allen M. Sumner DD-692
Operation Love Three Action Report

DD692/A9 U.S.S. ALLEN M. SUMNER (DD692),
c/o Fleet Post Office,
San Francisco, Calif.,
17 December 1944.
S E C R E T
From: The Commanding Officer.
To: The Commander in Chief, U. S. Fleet.
Via: (1) Commander Destroyer Division 120.
(2) Commander Destroyer Squadron 60.
(3) Commander Task Unit 78.3.5 (ComDesRon 51).
(4) Commander Task Group 77.3.
(5) Commander Task Group 78.3.
(6) Commander Task Force 77.
(7) Commander Seventh Fleet.
(8) Commander in Chief, U. S. Pacific Fleet.
Subject: Action Report, Love Three Operation 12-18 December 1944.
References: (a) Pacific Fleet conf. ltr. 2CL-44.
(b) CTG 78.3 Operation Plan 4-44 and changes thereto.
Enclosures: (A) General Track Chart showing route from San Pedro Bay, Leyte, P.I., to Mindoro and return.
(B) Track Chart during air attack 1505 - 1900 13 December 1944.
(C) Extracts from TBS log 12-17 December 1944.

PART I

          1.           All times are Item.  At about 1600 12 December 1944, Task Group 78.3 sortied from San Pedro Bay, Leyte, P. I., in accordance with CTG 78.3 sortie order and formed cruising disposition M-2 of Op-plan 4-44 on a general southerly course.  Task Group 77.3 formed anti-aircraft disposition 3-Victor with DesRon Sixty less LOWRY as a circular screen (0735 USF10(A)).  ALLEN M. SUMNER in station number two (2).  A general southeasterly course was followed, north of Dinagat Island, as a deceptive move prior to darkness.  At about 1900 course was reversed and Task Group 77.3 joined Task Group 78.3 taking station ahead distant about three (3) miles.  At about 0630 13 December 1944 Task Group 77.3 formed with Task Group 78.3 in disposition Mike-1 of Op-plan 4-44.  ALLEN M. SUMNER took station number eight (8) in screen.  At 0730 14 December 1944 AMs left formation to sweep a channel to the eastward of Cuyo Islands.  Shortly thereafter they were attacked by bombers but no hits were made.  At about 0730 15 December the landing on Mindoro Island, P. I., was effected according to plan with only light damage by suicide bombers.   Echelons departed from the area in accordance with Op-plan 4-44.  TG 77.3 remained in the objective area providing close support until 0700 16 December at which time it departed to join TG 78.3 about one hundred (100) miles to the southward.  At 1030 TG 77.3 joined TG 78.3 and took stations in formation Mile-1-Victor.  SUMNER in station number three in the screen.  At 2300 TG 77.3 less ALLEN M. SUMNER and WALKE left TG 78.3 in order to return to Leyte Gulf.  The remainder of the night was quiet.   TG 78.3 returned to San Pedro Bay, Leyte, P. I., as scheduled on the morning of 18 December 1944.
          2.           (a) U.S.S. ALLEN M. SUMNER acted as part of the screen for Task Groups 78.3 and 77.3.
                       (b) Mission, doctrine, plans and assumptions as set forth in CTG 78.3 Op-plan 4-44.
                       (c) Own forces as set forth in Op-plan 4-44 while acting with TG 78.3 and as organized by CTG 77.3 Op-order 5-44 when acting with TG 77.3.
                       (d) Enemy aircraft were encountered in varying numbers as set forth in Part II of this report.   An unidentified vessel of about 500 tons was set on fire by USS BARTON and INGRAHAM as set forth in Part II at 0527 15 December 1944.  An abandoned, scuttled Jap Destroyer of the Asashio class was set afire by USS WALKE on 15 December 1944 when discovered in the vicinity of Pandarochan Bay, Mindoro, P. I.
                       (e) In general the weather was good to excellent with scattered clouds, sea smooth, and visibility good.  Wind was light and in the northeast.  Nights were dark.   During the afternoon and night of 16 December light showers were encountered.

PART II

         1.          At 1010 13 December formed cruising disposition M-IV.  At 1548 USS NASHVILLE hit by suicide bomber; observed dense cloud of black smoke followed by flames in vicinity of number one stack.  Went to General Quarters, increased speed and fishtailed.  From 1507 to 1900 many bogies reported by ships of the formation.  At 1756 sighted Jap plane bearing 125 T., distant six (6) miles with two (2) P-38s on his tail.  One P-38 set Jap port wing on fire with machine guns.  The Jap then put his plane in a left turn and dive, and dove for a destroyer in the screen in about station number 16.  On the way down he dropped his bomb.  Machine gun fire caused the plane to miss and crash astern by 200 yards.   At 1758 opened fire with main battery on Jap Betty, bearing 260 T., range 5 miles. crossing bow from port to starboard.  Plane turned left and was engaged by CAP which shot him down bearing 340 T., distant about 8 miles.  This plane caught fire on crashing.  At 1812 a low flying Jap plane was sighted, being engaged by six or eight planes of the CAP which first set him on fire and then splashed him bearing 340 T., distant about 6 miles at 1814.  At 1813 another low flying Jap plane was engaged by two (2) planes of the CAP and splashed by them one minute later bearing 349 T., distant about 3 miles.  This plane bounced off the water two or three times at altitudes of about 50 feet, then dropped its right wing and crashed.  All Japs were twin engine bombers.  At 1815 possible periscope reported by USS BARTON.  At 1816 headed for periscope at flank speed.  Investigation showed object to be ends of poles used by native fishermen.  At 1851 fired at Jap plane, no results.  At 1935 secured from General quarters.  From 1935 13 December to 1630 14 December all quiet except for occasional bogey reports from ships of the formation.


15 December 1944.
At 1630 formed formation Mike-2.  SUMNER station #4.   About 1845 TG 77.3 proceeded ahead of TG 78.3 ten thousand yards and took formation 3V with screen on 1.5 circle.  Various bogey reports were made by ships of the formation during the night.  At about 0450 15 December 1944 SUMNER reported surface contact bearing 242 T., range 18,800 yards.  At 0503 USS BARTON and INGRAHAM were ordered to attack surface contact reported by SUMNER.  At 0527 BARTON and INGRAHAM opened fire on target and set it on fire.  At 0540 General Quarters.  Full boiler power available.  At 0650 H hour originally set for 0720 was delayed 10 minutes.  At 0730 assault units commenced bombardment of objective area.   Landing effected without opposition.  At 0916 the CAP splashed a Jap plane bearing 113 T., distant about 4 miles.  At 0928 commenced firing at a VAL directly overhead, altitude 20,000 ft.  No results.  0900-0915 15 December various courses and speeds acting as a part of close covering group.  At 1921 opened fire in full radar control using Mk32 fuzes on plane bearing 230 T., range 9,000 yards.   Plane's course 150 T., speed 140 knots, altitude 6,000 feet.  After five salvos, checked fire.  A red glow was seen to break out on the plane.  INGRAHAM and MOALE commenced fire and fire resumed by SUMNER.  At 1924-30 plane crashed and burst into flames bearing 165 T., distant about 5 miles.  Fifty rounds of five inch expended.  At 1945 secured from General Quarters having been in that condition since 0540.  At 2133 after reporting sound contact, rejoined formation.  Sound contact was long and drawn out, had no doppler effect, and range rate equaled the speed of the ship.  Except for various reports of bogies during the night, the night was quiet.

16 December 1944
At 0615 General Quarters.  At 0700 increased speed to 25 knots having received orders to join TG 78.3 for mutual support against probable heavy air attack and to consolidate the CAP.  At 0731 CAP reported one Sally splashed bearing 300 T., distant 20 miles from TG 78.12 which was then about 6 miles NW of TG 77.3.   At 1115 took station number three (3) in fourteen (14) ship circular screen around TG 78.3.  At about 2300 TG 77.3 less ALLEN M. SUMNER and WALKE left formation for Leyte Gulf.  SUMNER took station number five in circular screen.

PART III

         1.          (a) During the anti-aircraft firings no material or training deficiencies were noted.  Fire discipline and gunnery communications were considered good.  Partial radar control was used during the first three raids and full control during the fourth.
                     (b) Ammunition expended: raid one 82 rounds; raid two 44 rounds; raid three 8 rounds; raid four 50 rounds, all 5"/38 cal. AA common.  Total ammunition expended 184 rounds, 10.6% of allowance.
                     (c) The gunnery is considered effective for this type vessel.
         2.          (a) The effectiveness of enemy gunners was not observed.  Suicide dive tactics are effective.

PART IV

         1.          This vessel suffered no damage.
         2.           SUMNER gun fire plus contributing gun fire from USS MOALE and INGRAHAM splashed one Jap plane as set forth in PART II (see item at 1921 15 December 1944).

PART V

          1.          (a) Communications functioned properly.
                      (b) With land background it is difficult and almost impossible to pick up bogies on SC-3.   Mark 12 radar has a similar difficulty when near land.
                      (c) All attacks observed by this vessel were from single planes.  No planes approached close enough to be termed attacks on this vessel, although those approaching within gun range were fired upon when CAP was not in close pursuit.  All planes attacking appeared to use approach from below 200 ft. altitude and from nearest land direction.
                      (d) The following problem is submitted for consideration.  What is the best method of defense, if the enemy decides to illuminate a formation by the use of flares in conjunction with suicide bombers?  Radical maneuvers at high speed are limited within a formation and gun fire will probably be ineffective due to difficulty in finding the target.
                      (e) Use of smoke, camouflage, deception.
                            The use of smoke would greatly aid in defense against tactics described in (d) above, provided it could be laid quickly by all upwind vessels.
                      (f) CIC - no comments.
                      (g) Navigation - no comments.
                      (h) Engineering - no comments.
                      (i) Supply - fresh provisions were unobtainable in the Leyte area prior departure for operation.
                      (j) Medical - no comments.
          2.          Lessons learned, conclusions, recommendations:
                      Firing at a low flying suicide bomber within the formation cannot be done.  More damage is likely from friendly gun fire than from a single suicide pilot.  Fishtailing at high speed makes it difficult for Mark14 sight operators.  Most bogies have appeared astern which seriously handicaps the main battery on this type of vessel.  It is necessary to swing broadside to the plane at the most critical moment of the attack, thereby presenting an enlarged target for the crazy Jap to shot at.  If ship control on the bridge and director control were both lost due to a suicide crash, I do not believe that the ship could further defend itself.  Steering control should be provided at secondary conn.  At present this station is equipped with a 1JV and a JA telephone outlet, a magnetic compass and a gyro repeater.  A second gyro is considered essential for this type of vessel.  Gun blast from Mount 2 when fired at elevations above 10 degrees and trained abaft the beam makes the open bridge impossible for conning.   Passageways on the open bridge are too narrow for two people to pass in haste when wearing Kapok life jackets.  The Mark 14 sight operator controlling Mounts 41 and 42 cannot be passed when he is trained on the beam.  Necessary bridge talkers further confuse and congest the forward area.

PART VI

          1.          Personnel performance was of a high standard.  Meals were served on battle stations by the repair parties and it was possible to remain at general quarters stations for a period of fourteen (14) hours without difficulty.  There were no casualties.

N. J. SAMPSON
cc: Cominch (1 advance copy, less enclosures)
      Cincpac (2 advance copies, less enclosures)
      ComDesPac

Captain J. C. Zahm's First Endorsement
These are scans of electrostatic copies of original typewritten carbon copies.
As such they may be a bit difficult to read, they have been scanned at higher resolutions to make it a bit easier on your eyes.
Many thanks to Ron Babuka who supplied us with these copies.