USS LST 696 (LST 696)
Tank landing ship of the LST (Mk 2) class
|Navy||The US Navy|
|Type||Tank landing ship|
|Class||LST (Mk 2)|
|Built by||Jeffersonville Boat and Machine Co. (Jeffersonville, Indiana, U.S.A.)|
|Ordered||26 Jul 1943|
|Laid down||25 Feb 1944|
|Launched||27 Apr 1944|
|Commissioned||25 May 1944|
|End service||16 Jul 1946|
Decommissioned on 16 July 1947.
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Notable events involving LST 696 include:
10 Jun 1945
Operation Oboe VI, Allied landings at Brunei.
Composition of the forces taking part was as follows; Task Group 78.1 was the Brunei Attack Group under Rear-Admiral Royal and was made up of the Amphibious Force Command Ship USS Rocky Mount (T/Capt. F.A. Hardesty, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral F.B. Royal, USN). Task Group 74.3 was the Cruiser Covering Group under Rear-Admiral Berkey and was made up of the following units. Task Unit 74.3.1, was Fire Support Unit One (Brown Beach), and was made up of the light cruisers USS Boise (T/Capt. W.M. Downes, USN), USS Phoenix (T/Capt. H.L. Challenger, USN), HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN, flying the broad pendant of Commodore H.B. Farncomb, DSO, MVO, RAN) and the destroyers USS Killen (T/Cdr. J.L. Semmes, USN) and USS Albert W. Grant (T/Cdr. G.S. Higginbotham, USN). Task Unit 74.3.2, was Fire Support Unit Two (Green Beach), and was made up of the light cruiser USS Nashville (T/Capt. A. MacOndray, Jr., USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral R.S. Berkey, USN) and the destroyers HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, DSO, RAN) and USS Conner (T/Lt.Cdr. W.A. Sissons, USN). Task Unit 74.3.3, was Fire Support Unit Three (White Beach), and was made up of the destroyers USS Charette (T/Lt.Cdr. G.P. Joyce, USN), USS Bell (T/Lt.Cdr. B.H. Shupper, USN) and USS Burns (T/Cdr. J.T. Bullen, Jr., USN). Task Group 74.2 provived distant cover from a position to the west of Brunei Bay. This force was made up of the light cruisers USS Montpelier (T/Capt. W.A. Gorry, USN, flying the flag of T/Rear-Admiral R.S. Riggs, USN (COMCRUDIV 12)), USS Cleveland (T/Capt. H.G. Hopwood, USN), USS Columbia (T/Capt. M.E. Curts, USN), USS Denver (T/Capt. T.F. Darden, Jr., USN) and the destroyers USS Conway (T/Cdr. J.H. Besson, Jr., USN, with T/Capt. S.G. Hooper, USN (COMDESDIV 44) on board), USS Stevens (T/Cdr. G.W. Pressey, USN), USS Cony (T/Lt.Cdr. T.C. Siegmund, USN), USS Eaton (T/Cdr. C. Brown, USN), USS Hart (T/Cdr. W.D. Coleman, USN) and USS Metcalf (T/Cdr. D.L. Martineau, USN). Task Group 70.1 was the Motor Torpedo Boat Group under T/Capt. S.S. Bowling, USN and was made up of the following units. Task Unit 70.1.7 which was made up the Motor Torpedo Boat Tender USS Willoughby (T/Lt. J.P.E. Brouilliette, USN, with COMMTBRON 13, Lt.Cdr. A.W. Fargo, Jr., USNR on board). The following Motor Torpedo Boats were part of this Task Unit, from MTBRON 13; USS PT-74, USS PT-75, USS PT-76, USS PT-78, USS PT-80, USS PT-81, USS PT-82, USS PT-83, USS PT-84 and from MTBRON 16; USS PT-223, USS PT-241 and USS PT-298. Task Group 78.1.1 was the Transport and Landing Craft Unit under T/Capt. H.B. Hudson, USN and was made up of the following units. Task Unit 78.1.11 was the Transport Unit under A/Capt. A.P. Cousin, RANR(S) which was made up the Landing Ships HMAS Manoora (A/Capt. A.P. Cousin, RANR(S)), HMAS Westralia (A/Cdr. E.W. Livingston, RANR(S)), HMAS Kanimbla (Cdr. A.V. Bunyan, RANR(S)), Landing Ship Dock USS Carter Hall (Lt.Cdr. H.L. Host, Jr., USNR) and the Attack Cargo Ship Titania (T/Cdr.(Retd.) M.W. Callahan, USN) and the high speed transports (Transport Division 103), USS Lloyd (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Taylor, USNR, with T/Cdr, Wm.S. Parsons, USN, Commanding Officer COMTRANSDIV 103, on board), USS Newman (Lt.Cdr. R.I. Thieme, USNR), USS Liddle (Lt.Cdr. W.D. Kennedy, USNR), USS Kephart (Cdr. I.H. Cammarn, USNR) and USS Diachenko (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Johnson, USNR). Task Unit 78.1.12 was the LST Unit under T/Capt. H.B. Hudson, USN, which was made up the following LST's from LST Flotilla 24; USS LST-640 (Lt. F.B. McKenney, Jr., USNR, with COMLSTFLOT 24, T/Capt. H.B. Hudson, USN on board), USS LST-560 (Lt. H.T. Holsapple, USNR), LST-591 (Lt. R.C. Allen, USN), USS LST-595 (Lt. A.C. Jackson, USNR), USS LST-619 (Lt. J.M. Brennan, USNR), USS LST-638 (Lt. F. Data, USN), LST-696 (Lt. G.A. Hayward, USN), LST-806 (Lt. J.E. Montgomery, USNR), LST-912 (Lt. L.R. White, USN), LST-936 (Lt. M.E. Bolen, USN), LST-937 (Lt. G.W. Mitchell, USN), USS LST-941 (Lt. L.M. Edwards, USN) and LST-942 (Lt. H.F. Austin, USNR). From LST Flotilla 15 under T/Capt. L.J. Manees USN, USS LST-574 (Lt. W.F. Kruaeger, Jr., USNR, with COMLSTFLOT 15, T/Capt. L.J. Manees USN on board), USS LST-573 (Lt. G.W. Hessemer, USNR), USS LST-626 (Lt. M.J. Codoner, Jr., USNR), USS LST-709 (Lt. V.N. Jamieson, USNR), USS LST-751 (Lt. R.E. Garris, USNR), USS LST-922 (Lt. R.A. Stallings, USN), USS LST-1025 (Lt. C.L. Curfman, USNR) and USS LST-1027 (Lt. P.J. Shropshire, Jr., USNR). From LST Flotilla 22, USS LST-584 (Lt. D.B. Russell, USNR), USS LST-585 (Lt. A.P. Morse, USNR), USS LST-590 (Lt. B.J. Arnett, USN), USS LST-637 (Lt. R.A. Vielhaber, USNR) and USS LST-1035 (Lt. M. Perry, USNR). From LST Flottila 8 under T/Capt. E. Watts, USN, USS LST-614 (Lt. J.F. Stanfill, USN, with COMLSTFLOT 8, T/Capt. E. Watts, USN on board), USS LST-562 (Lt. F.P. Lawrence, USNR), USS LST-613 (Lt.(jg) D.B. Emmons, USNR), USS LST-667 (Lt. W.S. Biernat, USN), USS LST-697 (Lt. J.E. Tanner, USNR), USS LST-742 (Lt. W.W. Holmes, USNR), USS LST-743 (Lt. F.H. Emerick, USNR) and USS LST-993 (Lt. A.W. Bates, USNR). Task Unit 78.1.13 was the LCI Unit under T/Capt. F.B.C. Martin, USN (COMLCI(L)FLOT 8), which was made up the following LCI(L)'s; USS LCI(L)-546 (Lt.(jg) H.K. Wells, USNR with T/Capt. F.B.C. Martin, USN, on board), USS LCI(L)-544 (Lt.(jg) W.L. Hall, USNR), USS LCI(L)-577 (Lt. E.J. Morgan, USNR), USS LCI(L)-636 (Lt. J.A. Moore, USNR), USS LCI(L)-661 (Lt.(jg) P.B. Pylant, USNR), USS LCI(L)-662 (Lt. G.L. Gates, USNR), USS LCI(L)-701 (Lt. H.O. Cheney, USNR), USS LCI(L)-702 (Lt. H.A. Hamilton, USNR), USS LCI(L)-703 (Lt.(jg) V.E. Harris, USNR), USS LCI(L)-713 (Lt.(jg) W.W. Parris, USNR), USS LCI(L)-744 (Lt.(jg) J.B. Vallely, USNR), USS LCI(L)-745 (Lt.(jg) J.R. Garland, USNR), LCI(L)-746 (Lt.(jg) W.F. Foley, USNR), USS LCI(L)-749 (Lt.(jg) W.F. Foley, USNR), USS LCI(L)-753 (Lt. G.B. Strother, USNR), USS LCI(L)-955 (Lt.(jg) D.C. Alexander, USNR), USS LCI(L)-958 (Lt. W.R. McCracken, USNR), USS LCI(L)-960 (Lt.(jg) E.H. Chittenden, USNR), USS LCI(L)-1019 (Lt. H.D. Curtman, USNR), USS LCI(L)-1060 (Lt. C.J. Wolfe, USNR), USS LCI(L)-1074 (Lt. R.G. Harvey, USNR) and USS LCI(L)-1075 (Lt. R.B. Smiley, USNR). Task Unit 78.1.14 was the LSM Unit under T/Cdr. W.E. Verge, USN (COMLSMFLOT 7), which was made up the following LSM's; USS LSM-54 (Lt. D.L. Newborg, USNR, with T/Cdr. W.E. Verge, USN on board), USS LSM-50 (Lt. J.C. Rogers, Jr., USNR), USS LSM-51 (Lt. J.O. Potts, Jr., USNR), USS LSM-52 (Lt. J.H. Colquitt, USNR), USS LSM-53 (Lt. A.H. Nelson, USNR), USS LSM-63 (Lt. R.B. Hinze, USNR), USS LSM-64 (Lt. S.B. Whitehead, USNR), USS LSM-65 (Lt. L.D. Stephens, USNR), USS LSM-67 (Lt. K.D. Higgins, USNR), USS LSM-68 (Lt. W.R. Walker, USNR), USS LSM-128 (Lt. M.M. de Picabia, USNR), USS LSM-133 (Lt. C.D. Davis, USNR), USS LSM-138 (Lt. W.G. Arnold, USNR), USS LSM-139 (Lt. L.R. Mapes, USNR), USS LSM-168 (Lt. R. Whelan, USNR), USS LSM-203 (Lt. F.L. Townsley, USNR), USS LSM-219 (Lt. H. Burns, USNR), USS LSM-225 (Lt.(jg) F.C. Sheppard, USNR), USS LSM-237 (Lt. J.L. Poole, USNR) and USS LSM-269 (Lt. H.T. Turner, Jr. USNR). Task Unit 78.1.15 was the LCT Unit under Lt. DeMoss, USNR (COMLCTGR 74), which was made up the following LCT's; USS LCT-1310, USS LCT-1312, USS LCT-1314, USS LCT-1317, USS LCT-1319 and USS LCT-1331. Task Unit 78.1.16 was the 'Brown' Assault Unit under T/Capt. H.B. Hudson, USN. It was made up of ships listed above; HMAS Manoora, HMAS Westralia, USS Carter Hall, USS Titania, USS LST-640, USS LST-560, USS LST-585, USS LST-591, USS LST-595, USS LST-619, USS LST-637, USS LST-638, USS LST-696, USS LST-709, USS LST-806, USS LST-912, USS LST-936, USS LST-937, USS LST-941, USS LST-942, USS LST-1025, USS LCI(L)-744, USS LCI(L)-745, USS LCI(L)-746, USS LCI(L)-749, USS LCI(L)-955, USS LSM-168, USS LSM-50, USS LSM-51, USS LSM-52, USS LSM-53, USS LSM-63, USS LSM-64 and USS LSM-65. Task Unit 78.1.17 was the 'Green' Assault Unit under T/Capt. L.J. Manees, USN. It was made up of ships listed above [except for USCGC Spencer]; fighter direction ship USCGC Spencer (Cdr. J.R. Hinnant, USCG), HMAS Kanimbla, USS LST-574 and USS LSM-237. Task Unit 78.1.18 was the 'White' Assault Unit, also under T/Capt. L.J. Manees, USN. It was made up of ships listed above; USCGC Spencer, USS Lloyd, USS Newman, USS Liddle, USS Kephart, USS Diachenko, USS LST-574, USS LST-584, USS LST-667, USS LST-751, USS LST-922, USS LCI(L)-636, USS LCI(L)-701, USS LCI(L)-702, USS LCI(L)-703, USS LSM-168, USS LSM-67, USS LSM-68, USS LSM-138, USS LSM-203, USS LSM-219 and USS LSM-225. Task Unit 78.1.19 was the Reinforcement Unit under T/Capt. E. Watts, USN. It was made up of ships listed above; USS LST-614, USS LST-590, USS LST-613, USS LST-626, USS LST-697, USS LST-742, USS LST-743, USS LST-993, USS LST-1027, USS LST-1035, USS LCI(L)-960, USS LCI(L)-544, USS LCI(L)-577, USS LCI(L)-661, USS LCI(L)-662, USS LCI(L)-753, USS LCI(L)-1019 and USS LCI(L)-1060. Task Unit 78.1.20 was the Reserve Unit under T/Cdr. W.E. Verge, USN. It was made up of ships listed above; USS LST-562, USS LST-573, USS LCI(L)-713, USS LCI(L)-958, USS LCI(L)-1074, USS LCI(L)-1075, USS LSM-54, USS LSM-133, USS LSM-139 and USS LSM-269. Task Group 78.1.2 was the screen under T/Capt. R.H. Smith, USN (COMDESRON 22) and was made up of the following units. Task Unit 78.1.21 was the Destroyer Unit which was made up of the following destroyers; from DesRon 22, DesDiv 43, USS Robinson (T/Cdr. R.E. Malpass, USN, with T/Capt. R.H. Smith, USN (COMDESRON 22) on board), USS Saufley (T/Lt.Cdr. F.W. Silk, USN), USS Waller (T/Cdr. H.leR. Thompson, Jr., USN), USS Philip (T/Cdr. J.B. Rutter, Jr., USN), from DesDiv 28, USS Bancroft (T/Lt.Cdr. C.E. Pond, USN, with T/Capt. L.W. Pancoast, USN (COMDESDIV 28) on board), USS McCalla (T/Lt.Cdr. E. Vinock, USN), USS Caldwell (Lt.Cdr. D.R. Robinson, USNR), USS Edwards (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Weiss, USNR), USS Frazier (T/Lt.Cdr. J.N. Renfro, USN, with T/Capt. G.L. Sims, USN (COMDESRON 14) on board) and USS Bailey (T/Lt.Cdr. A.F. Johnson, USN). Task Unit 78.1.22 was the Destroyer Escort Unit which was made up of the following destroyers escorts; from ComCortDiv 77, USS Douglas A. Munro (Lt.Cdr. E.S. Stevens, USNR, with COMCORTDIV 77, Cdr. H.G. White, USNR on board), USS Dufilho (Lt.Cdr. A.H. Nienau, USNR), USS Charles E. Brannon (Lt.Cdr. O.M. Shirey, Jr., USNR), USS Albert T. Harris (T/Lt.Cdr. S. King, USN), USS Jobb (Lt.Cdr. N.L. Field, USNR) and USS Day (Lt.Cdr. K.E. Read, USNR). Task Unit 78.1.23 was the Frigate Unit under Lt.Cdr. H.J. Weston, RANR(S), which was made up of the following frigates; HMAS Hawkesbury (Lt.Cdr. H.J. Weston, RANR(S)) and HMAS Barcoo (A/Lt.Cdr. C.G. Hill, RANR(S)). Task Group 78.1.3 was the Support Unit under T/Capt. R.E. Arison, USN, which was on board the USS LCI(L)-778 (Lt. W.B. Chinn, USNR) and was made up of the following units. Task Unit 78.1.31 was the LCS Unit, under T/Capt. R.E. Arison, USN, which was made up of the following LCS's; USS LCS(L)-42 (Lt. R.S. Sondree, USN), USS LCS(L)-45 (Lt. E.M. Lang, USNR), USS LCS(L)-46 (Lt. W.P. McCarthy, USNR), USS LCS(L)-47 (Lt. F.E. Butler, USN), USS LCS(L)-58 (Lt. D. Gregory, USNR), USS LCS(L)-59 (Lt. N.L. Claxton, USNR) and USS LCS(L)-60 (Lt. W.H. White, Jr., USNR). Task Unit 78.1.32 was the LCI(G) Unit, under Lt.Cdr. A.M. Holmes, USNR, which was made up of the following LCI(G)'s; USS LCI(G)-69 (Lt.(jg) H.R. Roesti, USNR, with Lt.Cdr. A.M. Holmes, USNR, on board), USS LCI(G)-23 (Lt. E.P. Wurtzebach, USNR), USS LCI(G)-64 (Lt.(jg) R.K. Call, USNR), USS LCI(G)-65 (Lt.(jg) W.J. McKeon, USNR), USS LCI(G)-68 (Lt.(jg) J.D. Devaney, USNR) and USS LCI(G)-70 (Lt.(jg) V.B. Millsap, USNR). Task Unit 78.1.33 was the LCI(R) Unit, under Lt.Cdr. R.E. Sargent, USNR, which was made up of the following LCI(R)'s; USS LCI(R)-71 (Lt.(jg) C.C. Benson, USNR, with Lt.Cdr. R.E. Sargent, USNR, on board), USS LCI(R)-31 (Ens. D.B. Hummel, USNR), USS LCI(R)-34 (Lt.(jg) F.W. Schwarz, USNR), USS LCI(R)-72 (Ens. C.R. Weiner, USNR), USS LCI(R)-74 (Ens. V.J. Goerke, USNR) and USS LCI(R)-338 (Ens. J.S. Hageman, USNR). Task Unit 78.1.34 was the LCI(M) Unit which was made up of the following LCI(M)'s; USS LCI(M)-362 (Lt.(jg) H.A. Petersen, USNR), USS LCI(M)-359 (Ens. T.S. Adair, USNR) and USS LCI(M)-431 (Lt.(jg) J.C. Elkins, USNR). Task Unit 78.1.35 was the Demolition Unit which was made up of the high speed transport USS Kline (Lt. B.F. Uran, USNR) and the LCI(D)'s USS LCI(D)-29 (Lt. R.M. Burnes, USNR) and USS LCI(D)-228 (Lt.(jg) R.W. Kearns, USNR). Also part of this Task Unit were four Naval Combat Demolition Units (frogmen). Task Unit 78.1.36 was the 'Brown' Support Unit under Lt.Cdr. Holmes and was made up from ships from the above units; USS LCS(L)-58, USS LCS(L)-59, USS LCS(L)-60, USS LCI(S)-1000 (?) and USS LCI(S)-1071 (?), USS LCI(R)-31, USS LCI(R)-34, USS LCI(G)-69, USS LCI(G)-70, USS LCI(M)-359, LCI(M)-362, LCI(D)-29 and two of the Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDU 20 and 24). Task Unit 78.1.37 was the 'Green' Support Unit under Capt. Arison and was made up from ships from the above units; USS LCI(L)-778, USS LCS(L)-42, USS LCS(L)-47, USS LCI(G)-65, USS LCI(G)-68, USS LCI(R)-74, USS LCI(R)-338 and USS LCI(S)-961. Task Unit 78.1.37 was the 'White' Support Unit under Lt.Cdr. Sargent and was made up from ships from the above units; USS LCS(L)-45, USS LCS(L)-46, USS LCI(S)-985, USS LCI(G)-23, USS LCI(G)-64, USS LCI(R)-71, USS LCI(R)-72, USS LCI(M)-431, USS LCI(D)-228 and two of the Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDU 2 and 3). Task Group 78.1.4 was the Landing Craft Control Unit under Lt. Goodrich, USNR. It was made up of the patrol vessels USS PC-1120 (Lt. J.R. Goodrich, USNR), USS PC 1122 (Lt. J.S. Fullerton, USNR), USS SC-698 (Lt. J.C. Hedges, USNR), USS SC-732 (Lt.(jg) I.L. Mann, Jr., USNR), USS SC-741 (Lt.(jg) P.L. Schilling, USNR) and USS SC-750 (Lt.(jg) F.C. Cuthbertson, USNR). This Task Group was split up into the following Task Units; Task Unit 78.1.41 was Control Unit 'Brown' and was made up of USS PC-1120, USS SC-698 and USS SC-732. Task Unit 78.1.42 was Control Unit 'Green' and was made up of USS SC-741 and USS SC-750. Task Unit 78.1.43 was Control Unit 'white' and was made up of USS PC-1122 and USS LCI(L)-546. This last was attached for the duration of the assault only. Task Group 78.1.5 was the Minesweeping Group under Lt.Cdr. T.R. Fonick, USNR. It was made up of the following units; Task Unit 78.1.51 was Sweep Unit One which made up of the minesweepers USS Sentry (Lt.Cdr. T.R. Fonick, USNR, (COMMINDIV 34)), USS Salute (Lt. J.R. Hodges, USNR), USS Scout (Lt. E.G. Anderson, USNR), USS Scrimmage (Lt. R. van Winkle, USNR) and USS Scuffle (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Johnson, USNR). Task Unit 78.1.52 was Sweep Unit Two which made up of the YMS's; USS YMS-51 (Lt.(jg) A.L. Giesenschlag, USNR), USS YMS-68 (Lt. G.L. O'Neil, USNR), USS YMS-73 (Lt. J.H. Frederick, USNR) and USS YMS-363 (Lt. F.A. Struve, Jr., USNR). Task Unit 78.1.53 was Sweep Unit Three which made up of the YMS's; USS YMS-4 (Lt.(jg) F.D. Bender, USNR), USS YMS-39 (Lt. R.M. Sullivan, USNR), USS YMS-340 (Lt. P. Schminke, USNR) and USS YMS-365 (Lt.(jg) F.C. Huff, USNR). Task Unit 78.1.54 was Sweep Unit Four which made up of the YMS's; USS YMS-6 (Lt. M. McVickar, USNR), USS YMS-259 (Lt. M. Goedjen, USNR), USS YMS-313 (Lt.(jg) W.H. Reibold, USNR) and USS YMS-314 (Lt.(jg) J.W. Easton, USNR). Task Unit 78.1.55 was Sweep Unit Five (Support Unit) which made up of the high speed transport USS Cofer (Lt. H.C. McClees, USNR), LSM USS LSM-1 (Lt. E.J. Flowers, USNR), 4 LCVP's and 2 ML's. Task Group 78.1.6 was the Hydrographic Survey Group under Lt.Cdr. G.D. Tancred, RAN. It was made up of the following ships; frigate HMAS Lachlan (Lt.Cdr. G.D. Tancred, RAN), net tender USS Satinleaf (Lt. Lt. P.F. Taylor, USN) and the YMS USS YMS-160 (Lt. E.C. Bolton, USNR). Task Group 78.1.7 was the Salvage and Service Group. It was made up of the following units; Task Unit 78.1.71 was the Salvage Unit and was made up of the tugs USS Pinto (Lt. R. Brown, USNR) and USS ATR-61 (Lt. W.M. Heywood, USNR). Task Unit 78.1.72 was the Fire Fighting Unit and was made up of the LCI(S)'s; USS LCS(L)-961 (?), USS LCS(L)-985 (?), USS LCS(L)-1000 (?) and USS LCS(L)-1071 (?). Task Unit 78.1.73 was the Service Unit and was made up of the tanker USS Winooski (Lt.Cdr. T.B. Christenson, USNR), landing craft repair ship USS Achilles [former LST-455] (Lt.Cdr. F.A. Gherini, USNR) and the LST (as logistics ship) USS LST-473 (Lt. E.H. Davis, USNR). Task Unit 78.1.74 was the Press Unit and was made up of the patrol vessel USS PCE(R)-849 (Lt. C. Sanders, USNR), USS LCI(L)-635 (Lt. H. Hopkins, USNR) and the small army cargo ship FP 47.
At 1400I/4, the Brunei Attack Group under the command of Rear-Admiral Royal, USN in his flagship USS Rocky Mount departed Morotai for the objective area (Brunei Bay). The mission of this Attack Group was to transport, protect, land, firmly establish on shore the 9th Australian Division in the Brunei Bay area and support it in subsequent operations in order to secure Brunei Bay for use as and advanced fleet base and to protect resources in the area. The assault troops were the veteran 9th Australian Division and such supporting elements, equipment and supplies as would be needed immediately on Zebra Day (wich was set for June 10th). The main assault echelon contained 85 ships with an additional screening force of 6 destroyers, 3 destroyer escorts, 2 PC's and 4 SC's (patrol vessels). A second echelon consisting mainly of LST's and LCI's plus escorts departed Morotai on 5 June and arrived at Brunei Bay on 11 June. Other units, including LCM's and LCT's sailed from Tarakan via Tawi Tawi and also arrived on 11 June. One MTBRON with its tender from Mindoro joined the main assault echelon at sea on 9 June.
The Brunei Attack Group, enjoining fair weather, sailed without incident through the Celebes and Sulu Seas, and overcame the navigational difficulties presernted by Basilan and Balabac Straits without mishap. Although air protection was provided, and dawn and dusk alerts maintained, no enemy planes appeared enroute and no submarine contacts were reported by the screening vessels.
On 9 June (Zebra minus one), off the northwest coast of Borneo, the convoy was joined by USS Boise, USS Killen and USS Albert W. Grant. USS Boise had on board General MacArthur (CinCSWPA) to observe the landings at Brunei Bay.
The Cruiser Covering Group (TG 74.3) departed Subic Bay on 5 June. The Cover Group (TG 74.2) got underway from Subic Bay on 7 June.
The Minesweeping and Hydrographic Groups, which had departed Morotai on 2 June arrived off Brunei Bay in the early morning of 7 June. These units then began operations under the protection of the Cruiser Covering Group and the Fire Support Group commanded by Rear-Admiral Berkey, USN. On 7 June the minesweepers swept 34 contact mines on a north-south line at the main (southwestern) entrance to Brunei Bay in area 'Piccolo'. Areas 'Cornet', 'Trumpet', 'Bassoon' and 'Flute' were swept with negative results. Preliminary hydrographic survey work by HMAS Lachlan indicated that British Admiralty charts were accurate for the area. All sheduled operations were completed without enemy interference. Several large smoke columns in the vicinity of Brunei town indicated that enemy had begun destruction of installations in that area.
On 8 June minesweeping operations continued on shedule and 34 contact mines were swept in area 'Picollo' making a total of 68 mines swept through the second day of operations. At 1516I/8, USS Salute struck a mine which resulted in serious damage. Casualties were reported as 6 enlisted men killed, 3 enlisted men missing in action and 37 wounded. She subsequently sank at 2300I/8 in position 05°08'5"N, 115°05'E, the spot being marked by an obstruction buoy. Reconnaissance of 'Brown' Beeach, Labuan Island was carried out by an underwater demolition team. Swimmers closed to the high water mark along the entire beach, and found a firm sandy bottom. A thorough search revealed no underwater obstacles or mines, and there was little sign of recent activity along the beach. Light enemy opposition on shore inflicted no casualties. Planes of a scheduled bombing strike which failed to check in with the Advance Commander Support Air in USS Nashville dropped their bombs in the water of 'Brown' Beach while the swimmers were approaching the beach and inflicted casualties to the extent of 1 missing and 3 wounded. Buoys number 6 to 16, inclusive, were placed in position, and the original beach on the outer shoal was found still in position.
Reconnaissance of 'Green' Beach revealed a sandy bottom with gradual gradient. No obstructions or mines were found and the beach was marked with small white flags on either flank.
On the same day, the Fire Support Group gave the various landing beach areas a thorough bombardment. USS Phoenix and USS Conner plus gunboats gave 'Brown' Beach good coverage and exploded a large ammunition dump. HMAS Hobart, USS Charette and USS Burns covered 'White' Beach destroying serveal suspected gun emplacements and other targets.
On 9 June, Areas 'Trombone', 'Xylophone', 'Drum', 'Harp', 'Horn' and 'Piccolo' in Brunei Bay were swept with negative results. One mine was swept at the southern boundary of Area 'Piccolo' during a check-sweep making a total of 69 mines swept through the 3rd day of operations. USS Scuffle reported that the explosion of mines in gear streamed to 60-foot depth might indicate that an anti-sweep feature was used by the enemy to blow the mines when they were caught by the sweeping gear. A reconnaissance of 'White' Beach, Maura Island, revealed a hard sandy bottom with no obstructions or mines. Buoys 17, 18 and 19 were laid as hydrographic boats made a complete circuit of Maura Island unmolested. Soundings agreed with the charts.
'Brown', 'Green' and 'White' Beach Areas were again well covered by naval gunfire and a suspected gun emplacement on Pappan Island was thoroughly saturated. Heavy air strikes on Labuan Island and Brunei Bluff drew light inaccurate AA fire. USS LCI(G)-23 ran hard aground south of Maura Island. Commander of 'White' Support Unit assisted by PT boats stood by until she could get off at high tide.
Four PT boats arrived in Brunei Bay at 1500I/9 and commenced patrolling the objective area. Two boats strafed Sipitang town the night of the 9th with no return fire. The other two boats patrolled with no enemy contact to Mangalong River.
On Zebra Day (10 June), the Brunei Attack Group sailed into Brunei Bay in the early morning hours under the protecting guns of the Fire Support Group. At Point 'Lamb', inside the Bay, the assault units broke off and proceeded to the respective Transport Areas to deploy in accodance with directives of the Assault Unit Commanders.
After the 'Brown' Assault Unit had taken up its position of Labuan Island, it was attacked by an enemy plane at 0650I/10. This plane, identified as a twin-engined 'Nick', dropped one bomb near the Transport Area without damage to shipping. The plane was at about 500 feet altitude. It was fired upon but managed to get away.
The bombardment of 'Brown' Beach began at 0805I/10 by the large fleet units of Fire Support Unit One, being joined 5 minutes later by the small support craft with rockets and guns of smaller calibre. Fire Support Unit Two began the bombardment of 'White' and 'Green' Beaches at 0813I/10 and 0815I/10 respectively. Fire at all three points was so heavy and accurate that enemy troops retreated from the landing areas, enabling landings at all three beaches to be made unopposed. The hulk of a merchant vessel in Victoria Harbour was hit repeatedly by close support craft to insure that there were no operational guns aboard to fire on our landing craft.
At 0915I/10, the first waves in LCVPs and LVT's landed simultaneously at 'Brown', 'Green' and 'White' beaches, on shedule. These three separate landings, at different points as far apart as 18 miles, were carried out with precision and dispatch. The beaches were quickly secured and all assault waves were landed by 1003I/10, with the remaining waves on call. Fire support from naval craft was reported to be most effective as was that of the close support craft near shore. B-24's, although somewhat delayed in arriving, carried out attacks on areas in rear of the beaches with good results.
After the 'Brown' Beach Area was secured at 1100I/10, General MacArthur went ashore from USS Boise, accompanied by Lt.Gen. Morshead, COC I Australian Corps, Rear-Admiral Royal, Air Vice Marshal Bostock, General Kenney and others, for an inspection tour of Labuan Island.
The LSM's began unloading on 'Brown' Beach before 1200I/10 and the LST's at approximately 1500I/10.
Vitoria Town on Labuan Island was found deserted and almost completely destroyed. Australian Infantry and Tanks moved inland from 'Brown' Beach against little opposition and by 1129I/10 the 24th Brigade was within sight of Labuan airfield. From this point on the opposition increased. Maura Island was completely reconnoitred without locating any enemy. At 'Green' Beach by nightfall the Australians had captured Brooketon and had avanced 3000 yards towards Brunei Town. At 1724I/10 troops were landed on Hamilton Peninsula, Labuan Island, and at 1830I/10, Major General Wootten, GOC 9th Australian Division assumed command ashore.
During minesweeping on Zebra day, 3 mines were swept in Area 'Banjo', making a total of 72 mines swept up to date.
Before nightfall of Zebra day the transports and cruisers moved out to the middle of Brunei Bay to anchor in Transport Area 'Tare' as a precaution against enemy planes and suicide craft. Support craft and ships of the screen (TU 78.1.2) formed two concentric screening circles around the anchorage area as anti-aircraft, anti-submarine, and anti-boat protection.
On 11 June (Zebra +1), a YMS unit in area 'Banjo' off Labuan Island, swept 25 contact mines making a total of 97 mines swept since the beginning of the operation. There were 9 gear casualties from uncharted pinnacles. Areas 'Tenor', 'Ceillo', 'Chimes' and 'Violin' were swept with negative results.
During the morning, General MacArthur, Lt. Gen. Morshead, Rear-Admiral Royal, and Maj. Gen. Wootten inspected Brooketon area including 'Green' and 'White' beaches.
During the day, troops of the 24th Brigade advanced 3500 yards north of Labuan airstrip encountering opposition to the west and northwest. In the 'Green' Beach area troops advanced 7400 yards southwest on the Brunei Road and those on the Hamilton Peninsula went forward 800 yards. Maura Island was reported secured. A total of 30 Australian casualties were reported to date in all sections.
B-24's and Beaufighters continued to bomb and straft in the various areas as directed by Commander Support Air in USS Rocky Mount.
Durnig the night of 10/11 June, PT boats strafed Tutong, seria, Kuala Belait, Lutong and Miri. Damage was inflicted without drawing any enemy fire. The Japanese were observed to be setting fire to oil well and tanks in the Seria area. PT boat patrols within Brunei Bay were negative, and were discontinued after this day's work.
During the day the LCI's and one attack cargo ship were unloaded and departed. LST unloading progressed rather slowly owing to slow handling ashore.
It was reported that 50 Japanese troops with machine guns and rifles had landed at Menumbok.
Around 0800I/11, USS Cleveland, USS Hart and USS Metcalf parted company with TG 74.2 to report for duty with TG 74.3. The remainder of TG 74.2 then left the Brunei Bay area to proceed towards the Balikpapan Area via Tawi Tawi.
After a final inspection ashore General MacArthur departed the Brunei Bay area around 1315I/11 in USS Boise escorted by USS Killin and USS Albert W. Grant. They proceeded to Jolo.
On 12 June, 5 additional mines were swept in Area 'Banjo', bringing the total to 102. Other areas in Brunei Bay were swept with negative results.
HMAS Hobart and USS Metcalf effectively bombarded towns on the southern tip of the Klias Penisula.
Air strikes were staged on target areas in the objective area as well as Beaufort, Weston and Keningau. Good support was furnished to ground troops.
The Australian lines on Labuan remained virtually unchanged. However, good advantages were made toward Brunei Town resulting in the capture of Brunei airstrip. Hamilton Peninsula was completely secured. Australian casualties to date totaled 15 killed and 49 wounded.
General unloading of shipping was proceeding at a satisfactory rate.
There were indications that the enemy might be staging an evacuation of Jesselton where some small ship activity was reported.
On the night of 11/12 June, PT boats had again strafed Miri and Tutong starting fires. Boats received return machine gun and rifle fire from Miri without sustaining damage.
On 13 June, in minesweeping operations of Miri-Lutong-baram Point Area, minesweepers swept 31 contact mines on their first sweep, losing 5 sets of gear due to exploding mines. An additional 61 mines were swept later the same day making a total of 92 for the day. Additional sweeping gear was requisted by Commander Minesweeping Unit because of the heavy loss of gear to mine explosions since the beginning of the operations on 7 June. While sweeping, the minesweepers were fired upon by 3" guns ashore. About 25 rounds were fired all falling short. The battery ceased fired when destroyers heading in towards the shore. They were unable to close within range due to floating mines.
USS Metcalf bombarded caves and gun positions in hills on the northern end of Labuan Island. The caves appeared unused and the gun positions unoccupied.
The 20th Brigade captured Brunei Town, and made further advances on Labuan Island occupying the road west of Timbalai airfield and also advancing two-thirds of the way up the east coast.
Mitchell and Lightning aircraft rendered support to ground troups. One enemy aircraft (Dinah) approached our aircraft which were strafing Miri airstrip, but retired when fired upon. One other enemy aircraft (a Nick) was shot down over Brunei Bay at 1934I/13 by night fighters capably vectored by the fighter director team in USCGC Spencer.
During the night of 13/14 June 1945, PT boats strafed Cape Lobang and Miri. They reported receiving either 75mm or 90mm return fire from the vicinity of Pujut.
On 14 June, minesweepers of Miri cut 29 contact mines on their first sweep. A total of 72 mines were swept this day, giving 164 mines to date in this area. USS Scrimmage lost all gear and USS Scout and USS Sentry were able to sweep with starboard gear only. YMS vessels had such difficulty in cutting mine moorings that they planned to use explosive cutters. Mines caught in YMS gear slowed ships almost to a stop. Mines appeared deeply set and thickly planted. The minesweepers drew fire from the beach on their first pass, but the remainder of the day was quiet.
The 24th Brigade advanced to the northern tip of Labuan Island and advanced down Brunei-Tutong road with little opposition.
All assault shipping was unloaded as of this date. However the Reserve Unit was not yet committed.
At 2055 all ships went to General Quarters as enemy aircraft were reported. Two bombs were dropped on Labuan Island at 2103I/14 and one bomb fell in the anchorage area without damage to shipping. At 2230I/14, three enemy planes approached from the east. AA fire from ships shot down one of them.
On the night of 14/15 June 1945, PT boats worked south to Niah River (south of Miri) and north to Usukan Bay. Both patrols were negative.
On 15 June minesweeping continued in the Miri-Lutong area. Mines swept in that area to date total 246 mines. Minefield appears to be a continuous line extending from shoal water west of Baram Point in a southeasterly direction, following curve of shore line approximately 9 miles off shore. Heavy loss of minesweeping gear necessitated recalling the minesweepers to Brunei Bay. 9 YMS's continued to sweep. The channel east of Labuan was swept for five days with negative results and it is now considered safe for navigation.
Troops reached Kilanis settlement on Brunei-Tutong Road without enemy contact. On Labuan, the enemy pocked 1000 yards west of Labuan airstrip continued to resist.
USS McCalla and USS Philip bombarded targets in the Miri-Lutong area. Hits were scored on suspected gun emplacements and targets of opportunity. No return fire was observed.
On 16 June, 92 additional mines were swept in the Miri-Lutong area making a total of 338 swept to date. Many sets of YMS gear fouled with mines are in the area, but it was considered inadvisable to attempt recovery at this time since such efforts would interfere with sweeping. Progress in sweeping continued slow due to numerous losses of gear and the heavy chain mooring by which the mines are anchored.
Mopping-up activity continued on Labuan Island and troops advanced to a point halfway to Tutong along the Brunei-Tutong road.
At 0840I/16, the Liberty ship Helena Modjeska (American, 7176 GRT, built 1944) ran aground in Victoria Harbour but was pulled off by USS Pinto at 0947I/16.
Weston was reported to have been evacuated by the enemy. Troops are scheduled to land there on the 17th.
Captain H.B. Hudson, USN, is to assumme status of senior commander on 17 June for operational and administrative control of naval units except for Task Force 74 when CTG 78.1 will leave the area.
As of 1800I/16, Australian casualties in all sectors were 40 killed and 100 to 120 wounded. Enemy casualties on Labuan Island as of 1800I/16 were as follows; 205 counted dead, 29 estimated dead. 20 Wounded. 5 POW's. Enemy casualties in the Brunei Area as of 1800I/15 were as follows; 70 counted dead, 20 estimated dead. 6 POW's.
At 0930I/17, Weston was captured. Minesweeping in the Miri-Lutong Area was continued this date. CTG 78.1, Rear-Admiral Royal in USS Rocky Mount, departed the area at 1800I/17. The Cover Force, Task Group 74.3, also departed the area on this day arriving at Tawi Tawi on the 19th. Earlier that day the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Shropshire (Capt. C.A.G. Nichols, MVO, DSO, RN) had arrived. Commodore Farncomb now took over the fire support duties for which HMAS Hobart, HMAS Arunta, USS Hart and USS Metcalf remained with him. he hoisted his broad pendant in HMAS Shropshire. (1)
- Report on operation Oboe VI by CTG 78.1