Allied Warships

USS Lamson (DD 367)

Destroyer of the Mahan class

NavyThe US Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassMahan 
PennantDD 367 
Built byBath Iron Works (Bath, Maine, U.S.A.) 
Ordered 
Laid down20 Mar 1934 
Launched17 Jun 1936 
Commissioned1 Oct 1936 
End service 
History

Sunk in the atomic bomb test at Bikini Atoll on 25 July 1946
Stricken 15 August 1946.

 

Commands listed for USS Lamson (DD 367)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt.Cdr. Byron Hall Hanlon, USN16 Jun 1938Apr 1940 (1)
2Lt.Cdr. Phillip Henry Pendleton, USNApr 1940Apr 1941 (1)
3Lt.Cdr. Preston Virginius Mercer, USNApr 194112 Jun 1942
4Lt. Walter Terry Jenkins, USN12 Jun 194223 Jun 1942
5Lt.Cdr. Phillip Henry Fitzgerald, USN23 Jun 1942Nov 1943
6T/Cdr. Joseph Russell Rubins, USNNov 194319 May 1944
7T/Cdr. John Vavasour Noel, Jr., USN19 May 194416 Aug 1945 (1)
8Lt. Cmdr. Robert McCormick Ayer, USNR16 Aug 194524 Nov 1945

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Notable events involving Lamson include:


26 Jun 1943
Around 0600K/26, the destroyer HMAS Arunta (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN) departed Challenger Bay with mails for Cairns.

Around 1000K/26, Task Force 74, made up of the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, MVO, DSO, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and the destroyers HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. E.F.V. Dechaineux, DSC, RAN) and USS Lamson (T/Cdr. P.H. Fitzgerald, USN) departed Challenger Bay for the Flinders Group.

Around 1600K/26, Task Force 74 was joined by HMAS Arunta.

Around 0915K/27, Task Force 74 arrived in the Fly Channel, Flinders Group. (2)

29 Jun 1943
Around 0645K/29, Task Force 74, made up of the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, MVO, DSO, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and the destroyers HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. E.F.V. Dechaineux, DSC, RAN) and USS Lamson (T/Cdr. P.H. Fitzgerald, USN), departed Flinders Group to provide cover for operations in the Solomon Islands area. They were to patrol to the south of the Louisiades.

The destroyer HMAS Arunta (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN) was to have departed with them but was delayed due to mechanical problems. After repairs she sailed to join at sea which she did around 1300K/29.

At 1200K/30, Task Force 74 was in position 11°59'S, 150°52'E.

At 1200K/1, Task Force 74 was in position 13°07'S, 151°30'E.

After sunrise on 2 July, HMAS Warramunga and HMAS Arunta were fuelled by HMAS Australia.

At 1200K/2, Task Force 74 was in position 13°50'S, 150°48'E.

At 1200K/3, Task Force 74 was in position 12°27'S, 149°54'E.

At 1200K/4, Task Force 74 was in position 12°42'S, 151°05'E.

At 2200K/4, Task Force 74 set course to return to the Flinders Group to fuel and resupply.

At 1200K/5, Task Force 74 was in position 12°42'S, 148°12'E.

At 0915K/6, Task Force 74 anchored off the western side of Stanley Island, Flinders Group.

During the day Task Force 74 was provisioned by the stores ship USS Mizar and fuelled from the Mizar and the chartered tanker Aase Maersk (British, 6184 GRT, built 1930). (3)

10 Jul 1943
Around 0800K/10, Task Force 74, made up of the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, MVO, DSO, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and the destroyers HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. E.F.V. Dechaineux, DSC, RAN), HMAS Arunta (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN) and USS Lamson (T/Cdr. P.H. Fitzgerald, USN), departed Flinders Group first for a few hours of exercises after which they proceeded to provide cover for operations in the Solomon Islands area. They were again to patrol to the south of the Louisiades.

At 1200K/11, Task Force 74 was in position 12°04'S, 150°15'E.

At 1200K/12, Task Force 74 was in position 13°25'S, 151°10'E.

During the morning of 13 July, HMAS Warramunga and HMAS Arunta were fuelled by HMAS Australia.

At 1200K/13, Task Force 74 was in position 13°45'S, 150°45'E.

As three Allied cruiser had been damaged in a naval battle with the Japanese and one destroyer had been sunk it was anticipated by Rear-Admiral Crutchley that his force would be called up to reinforce the Allied Fleet in the Solomons. Course was therefore set accordingly and the Commander-in-Chiefs were informed. These later indeed ordered Task Force 74 to proceed to Tulagi. This was later changed to Esperitu Santo.

At 1200K/14, Task Force 74 was in position 13°06'S, 156°16'E.

At 1200L/15, Task Force 74 was in position 14°17'S, 162°58'E.

Around 0900L/15, Task Force 74 arrived at Esperitu Santo. (4)

17 Jul 1943
Around 0830L/17, the destroyers of Task Force 74, HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. E.F.V. Dechaineux, DSC, RAN), HMAS Arunta (Cdr. J.C. Morrow, DSO, RAN) and USS Lamson (T/Cdr. P.H. Fitzgerald, USN) departed Esperitu Santo for an A/S sweep off the harbour.

Around 0900L/17, the cruisers of Task Force 74, HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, MVO, DSO, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN) and HMAS Hobart (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) departed the harbour and joined the destroyers.

Course was then set for position 12°30'S, 163°00'E.

Around 0700L/18, rendezvous was made with DESRON 21, made up of the destroyers USS Nicholas (T/Cdr. A.J. Hill, Jr., USN, with COMDESRON 21, T/Capt. F.X. McInerney, USN on board), USS Redford (T/Cdr. W.K. Romoser, USN), USS Jenkins (T/Cdr. M. Hall, Jr., USN) and USS O'Bannon (T/Cdr. D.J. MacDonald, USN). The destroyers of Task Force 74 were then detached. Course was set to operate between position 11°30'S, 164°20'E and 12°30'S, 166°30'E.

At 1200L/18, Task Force 74 was in position 12°30'S, 163°58'E.

At 1300L/18, USS Jenkins was detached to perform escort duties.

At 1200L/19, Task Force 74 was in position 12°06'S, 164°56'E.

At 1515L/19, Task Force 74 was ordered to operate in the northern half of area ' Fox ' (Area ' Fox ' was a circle with a radius of 100 miles from position 14°30'S, 162°00'E.)

At 1115L/20, orders were received from the Commander 3rd Fleet directing Task Force 74 to proceed to Esperitu Santo via Bougainville Strait so as to arrive at daybreak the next morning. Course was then set to 105°, speed 23 knots. The Force was zig-zagging.

At 1846L/20, in position 15°07'S, 163°34'E, HMAS Hobart was struck on the port side aft by a torpedo fired by a submarine. [This was the Japanese I-11 (offsite link).] At this time HMAS Australia and HMAS Hobart were formed in column 600 yards apart and were screened by USS Nicholas, USS Radford and USS O'Bannon. Base course was 105°, speed 23 knots and British zig-zag no.38 was being carried out. The night was clear and dark (starlit) and the moon had not yet risen. Sea slight.

in accordance with the zig-zag plan, course had been altered to 115° (10° right of base course) at 1835L/20 and at 1845L/20 course was altered to 135° (30° right of base course). HMAS Australia had just made or were making this latter alteration of course of course but, by HMAS Hobart's clock the wheel would have been put over in another 20 seconds.

On being struck HMAS Hobart immediately reported ' Jig Emerg '. This was by night the emergency turn procedure. So the remainder of the force was manoeuvred clear to starboard. The destroyers USS Nicholas and USS Radford were ordered to stand by HMAS Hobart while HMAS Australia screened by USS O'Bannon continued on. By TBS Rear-Admiral Crutchley informed T/Capt. McInerney that he would make the initial report (signal) of the happening and that he was to make subsequent reports in order to keep all authorities advised of Hobart's condition and off progress being made in getting her clear of the area.

The initial report of Rear-Admiral Crutchley was passed only after considerable communication difficulty for, in spite of the urgent priority given in the transmission, no station answered immediately except Thursday Island (which answered within two minutes). There was much traffic between ships and shore stations on both Task Force Commander's frequency and ship-shore wave. Radio Noumea eventually accepted the message after considerable delay.

After clearing to the southward, HMAS Australia and USS O'Bannon shaped course for Bougainville Strait and re-commenced zig-zag.

On receipt of the report of the casualty to HMAS Hobart, the Commander 3rd Fleet immmediately despatched tugs and additional escorts and also ordered COMPATWING 1 to provide A/S cover from dawn on 21 July until HMAS Hobart and escorts reached Esperitu Santo.

HMAS Australia and USS O'Bannon arrived at Esperitu Santo around 0700L/21. Shortly afterwards USS Jenkins arrived having completed her escort duties. All three then immediately completed with fuel and stores.

Shortly afterwards USS O'Bannon was ordered to proceed on escort duties. HMAS Australia and USS Jenkins were kept at one hour notice for sea.

During the day, reports from COMDESRON 21 in USS Nicholas with HMAS Hobart and escorts showed that the damaged ship was making good progress towards Espiritu Santo and would arrive after dark.

At 0510K/21, the destroyer USS Saufley (T/Cdr. B.F. Brown, USN) had joined HMAS Hobart, she was followed by three tugs, at 0815K/21, the USS Apache (Lt. C.S. Horner, USN) joined, followed at 0930K/21 by the USS Sioux (Lt.(jg) L.M. Jahnsen, USN) and at 1015K/21 by the USS Vireo (T/Lt. C.H. Stedman, USN).

At 1230K/21, USS Apache was detached.

At 1440K/21, USS Saufley was detached.

At 1700K/21, USS Sioux secured to HMAS Hobart forwards and took her in tow.

At 1725K/21, USS Vireo secured alongside on the starboard side. She casted off after 15 minutes.

At 0145L/22, HMAS Hobart safely reached Segond Channel and she dropped anchor around 0230K/22. USS Nicholas and USS Radford were ordered to hasten completion of logistic requirements and Rear-Admiral Crutchley reported to the Commander 3rd Fleet that HMAS Australia, USS Nicholas, USS Radford and USS Jenkins would be ready on two hour's notice from 1600K/22.

Damage to HMAS Hobart was severe. She was taken in hand at Esperitu Santo for temporary repairs before she was able to proceed to Sydney for permanent repairs. (4)

15 Dec 1943

Operation Director

Landings at Arawe on New Britain.

Cover Force

Around 0700L/14, Task Group 74.1, made up of Task Group 74.1.1, which were the heavy cruisers HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, MVO, DSO, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), HMAS Shropshire (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN) and Task Group 74.1.2 which were the destroyers HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. E.F.V. Dechaineux, DSC, RAN (now Commander Destroyers Task Force 74)) and HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, RAN) , USS Ralph Talbot (T/Lt.Cdr. R.D. Shepard, USN) and USS Helm (T/Lt.Cdr. S.K. Santmyers, USN) departed Milne Bay to support the landings at Arawa on New Britain (operation Director) as part of operation Dexterity which in itself was part of operation Cartwheel which objection was to neutralise the major Japanese base at Rabaul. Task Group 74.1 was the cover group for operation Director.

Task Group 74.2, made up of the light cruisers USS Nashville (Capt. H.A. Spanagel, USN) and USS Phoenix (Capt. A.G. Noble, USN), remained at Milne Bay at two hours notice for the moment.

Landing Force

The landings were to be carried out by Task Force 76 which was organised as follows;
CTG 76 (Headquarters Group) was on board the destroyer USS Conyngham. COMTASKFOR 76 was T/R.Adm. D.E. Barbey, USN.
Task Group 76.1 was the Transport Task Group of the amphibious transport HMAS Westralia and the dock landing ship USS Carter Hall.
Task Group 76.2 was the APD Task Group made up of seven APD's (APD = High Speed Transport).
Task Group 76.5 was the LCT Task Group made up of LCT from LCT Flot 7.
Task Group 76.6 was the Destroyer Task Group. This group was divided into Task Group 76.6.1 which was the escort unit made up of the destroyers USS Shaw, USS Drayton, USS Bagley and USS Mugford. Task Group 76.6.2 which was the bombardment unit made up of the destroyers USS Mahan, USS Lamson, USS Flusser, USS Reid and USS Smith.
Task Group 76.7 was the Escort and Minesweeping Group and was made up of 4 PC's, 9 SC's, 5 YMS and 1 APc. But more ships were in available in the forward area.
Task Group 76.8 was the Service Group and was made up of a repair ship, two landing craft repair ships (LST's), a 'medical' landing ship (LST) and two tugs.
Task Group 76.9 was the landing craft control group and was divided into four sub groups; 76.9.1 was the Buna Unit. 76.9.2 was the Cro Bay Unit. 76.9.3 was the Goodenough Unit. 76.9.4 was the Cape Cretin Unit.
Task Group 76.10 was the Beachmaster Unit.

At 1530L/14, CTF 76 in USS Conyngham (T/Cdr. J.H. Ward, USN, with T/R.Adm. D.E. Barbey, USN on board) departed Buna for Arawe in company with the first and second attack echelons and their escorts. The other ships in the convoy were the following, amphibious transport HMAS Westralia (Cdr. A.V. Knight, RD, RANR(S)), dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Harris, USNR), high speed transports USS Humphreys (T/Lt.Cdr. Frank Dewey Schwartz, USN) and USS Sands (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Brogger, Jr., USNR), destroyers USS Shaw (T/Cdr. R.H. Phillips, USN, with COMDESRON 5, T/Capt. J.H. Carter, USN on board), USS Drayton (T/Cdr. R.S. Craighill, USN), USS Bagley (T/Cdr. T.E. Chambers, USN), USS Mugford (T/Cdr. H.G. Corey, USN), USS Mahan (T/Cdr. J.T. Smith, USN), USS Lamson (T/Cdr. J.R. Rubins, USN), USS Flusser (T/Cdr. J.A. Robbins, USN), USS Reid (T/Cdr. H.H. McIlhenny, USN, with COMDESDIV 10, T/Capt. C.D. Reynolds, USN on board), USS Smith (T/Cdr. R.A. Theobald, Jr., USN), patrol craft USS PC-479 (Lt. M.C. White, USNR), USS PC-1122 (Lt. J.J. Peck, USNR), USS SC-742 (Lt. R.H. Blake, USNR), USS SC-981 (Lt.(jg) R.A. Campbell, USNR) and minesweeper USS YMS-51 (Lt. F.P. Allen, Jr., USNR).

1800L/14, after passing Cape Ward Hunt this force set course for Finschhaven as a deceptive move. Two Catalina flying boats provided A/S escort for the convoy.

1900L/14, the third attack echelon was scheduled to depart Cape Cretin. This echelon was made up of seven LCT's; USS LCT 172, USS LCT 174, USS LCT 176, USS LCT 374, USS LCT 378, LCT 380 and USS LCT 381. They were escorted by the patrol vessel USS SC-699 (Lt.(jg) J.W. Foristel, USNR), minesweeper USS YMS-70 (Lt. B.M. Brink, USNR) and coastal transport USS APc-4 (Lt.(jg) E.R. Edwards, USNR). USS LCT-378 and USS LCT-380 however were stuck on the beach and could not sail with the third attack echelon and remained behind but were able to departed around 1945L/14.

1900L/14, Task Group 74.1 passed north of Kiriwina Island and proceeded to the north-west at 27 knots.

2030L/14, the convoy with the first and second echelons changed its course to 040 to proceed to Arawe.

0100L/15, Task Group 74.1 was now about 25 nautical to the east of the first and second attack echelons. Task Group 74.1 remained 25 nautical miles to the east of the Arawe attack force until 0400L/15.

0315L/15, an enemy floatplane circled the convoy and dropped a stick of bombs near USS Reid. It was now apparent that the Allied movement had been spotted and that the element of surprise had been lost.

0400L/15, the convoy was led into the Transport Area by USS Conyngham. USS Humpreys and USS Sands had previously left the formation (around 0320L/15) escorted by USS Lamson and USS Shaw, they were to proceed to vicinity of Cape Merkus. HMAS Westralia and USS Carter Hall immediately began unloading. By 0500L/15, USS Cartel Hall had launched all her 41 DUKW's, Buffaloes and Alligators.

Task Group 74.1, the cover group, at this moment still 25 nautical miles to the east of the Arawe attack force commenced to sweep eastwards along the south coast of New Britain about 15 miles from the coast.

0500L/15, Task Group 74.1 had just increased speed to 27 knots and set course for a position to the north of Kiriwina Island when HMAS Warramunga got a sound contact and dropped a full pattern of depth charges on it. The attack could not be followed up as dawn was approaching and HMAS Warramunga was ordered to rejoin the Task Group.

0505L/15, HMAS Westralia and USS Carter Hall had completed unloading and then left the area for Buna escorted by the destroyers USS Bagley, USS Mugford, USS Drayton and the patrol vessels USS PC-1120 and USS PC-1129. They arrived at Buna around 1625L/15. HMAS Westralia, USS Carter Hall then immediately departed for Milne Bay, escorted by USS Conyngham and USS Bagley.

0515L/15, the leading wave of amphibious tractors was sighted heading full speed towards Arawe harbour, which if continued, would place them well ahead of schedule. USS SC-742, having learned from the leader that he had misunderstood his orders, ordered them to turn back to kill time.

0530L/15, the landing plan for Blue Beach called for three waves of five rubber boats each, but the troop commander desired to use four waves of four boats each. Due to the narrowness of the beach, this change appeared feasible and was accepted. Just as the first wave was about to land, Japanese, entrenched along and in the general vicinity of Blue Beach opened up with machine gun and mortar fire. The Japanese fire raked back and forth across all waves. The situation became most critical since it was not possible to determine the exact location of our troops, and it was considered better not to open ship counter battery fire until our troops could be located definitely.

0533L/15, USS Shaw proceed to a firing position where she was able to open fire without endangering our own troops. Two salvos silenced the Japanese. As far as is known, no troops reached the beach. The succeeding waves scrattered and returned to USS Shaw. After daylight survivors were recovered by destroyers and landing craft in the area.

USS SC-742 escorted the amphibious tractors of the first wave toward Orange Beach, via Pilelio Passage, but the succeeding waves failed to join up. The control LCVP was sent to herd them on, while the first wave stalled along losing time rapidly.

0615L/15, the Naval Gun Fire Support Group commenced bombardment on Orange Beach five minutes behind schedule, anticipating a delay in the first wave.

0625L/15, Six B-25 bombers reported on station in the Arawe Area for close support.

0637L/15, the naval bombardment ceased on Orange Beach and USS Shaw opened fire for three minutes on the ridge east of Cape Merkub. The bombardment did not draw enemy fire.

0645L/15, USS SC-742 fired 20mm on Cape Merkub as she entered the pass into Arawe Harbour. At the same time USS SC-981 laid a heavy and accurate rocket barrage on the beach and bluff east of the Cape. They drew no return fire.

0705L/15, USS SC-742 fired 49 rockets on Orange Beach as the first wave was 200 yards from the shore.

0708L/15, the B-25 bombers were ordered to bombard and stafe Cape Merkub and the area behind Orange Beach.

0710L/15, The first wave of amphibious tractors hit the beach, 40 minutes late, due partly to the late start, partly to the slowness in joining up, and partly to the unexpected current in Pilelio Passage.

0715L/15, Eight P-38 aircraft arrived on station as air cover over the landing area. USS Shaw was acting as fighter director ship, with USS Reid standing by.

0730L/15, Seven B-25 bombers comprising the second air support group relieved the first which departed to the eastward to find alternate targets to bomb on the track leading to Cape Bali.

0750L/15, The third wave of alligators landed, followed closely the fourth and fifth waves. The following three waves (ESB craft) were forced to lay to in Pelelio passage due to the slowness of the alligators.

0800L/15, Sixteen P-38's were on aircombat patrol over the landing area.

0810L/15, The sixth wave landed. The LCP's beached 30 yards from the shore and the troops waded ashore in three feet of water over the reefs.

0820L/15, USS Shaw, standing by as support off Blue Beach, picked up one officer and 19 men of the assault troops who failed to reach the beach.

0830L/15, The beachmaster reported the landing going well, but thst he was having difficulty in finding suitable landing points for boats.

0835L/15, Echelon number three arrived on schedule from Cape Cretin. While entering Pilelo Passage, numerous army personnel were picked up from the rubber boats and from the water. These men were the survivors of the unsuccessful attack on Blue Beach. At 0855, while waiting on the signal to beach, units of this echelon were subjected to an attack by 15 enemy dive bombers. Fortunately the craft had been dispersed and were thus able to maneuver and avoid serious damage. Three enemy planes were shot down.

0841L/15, USS Reid reported two groups of unidentified planes bearing 052°, 55 miles at 18000 feet and then lost them in the land echo in the vicinity of Gasmata.

0850L/15, Both USS Reid and USS Shaw regained radar contact of the enemy planes bearing 054°, 34 miles, course 190° and speed 180 knots. USS Shaw vectored our fighter patrol out at 23000 feet. USS Conyngham departed the Arawa area at 30 knots.

0857L/15, Our planes made contact with enemy planes.

0901L/15, USS Shaw reported enemy aircraft, 335°, 14 miles. This placed the enemy over USS Conyngham, which was indeed correct. Thirty or more planes were starting an attack. About 24 enemy Val aircraft released bombs on Arawe harbour. One Val bombed USS Conyngham but skillful maneuvering caused the bombs to miss, resulting in no damage.

0909L/15, USS Shaw reported enemy aircraft bearing 030°, 30 miles.

0926L/15, USS Shaw and USS Reid lost radar contact with the enemy aircraft at 080° at a range of 59 miles.

1600L/15, All destroyers of the gunfire support and escort group joined the return convoy south of Cape Ward Hunt. USS Conyngham proceeded independently to Buna.

1800L/15, Task Group 74.1, the cover group, which had spent the day to the north of Kiriwina Island now set corse to return to the Arawe area to protect the landing forces from possible enemy attack by surface ships but at 2000L/15, when it became clear that no enemy surface ships were to interfere with the landings, Task Group 74.1 was ordered to return to Milne Bay.

1830L/15, Echelon four departed Cape Cretin for Arawe. It was made up of six LCT's; USS LCT-82, USS LCT-88, USS LCT-384, USS LCT-386, USS LCT-387 and USS LCT-388. They were escorted by the patrol vessel USS SC-743 (Lt. W.W. Robinson, USNR) and the coastal transport APc-21 (Lt.(jg) W.J. Bates, USNR). Later the same evening they were ordered to return to Cape Cretin.

1900L/15, Echelon three completed unloading at Arawe and departed to return to Cape Cretin.

0630L/16, Echelon four again departed Cape Cretin for Arawa. It was made up of the same ships listed as above with the addition of LCT-378 and LCT-380. Also the minesweeper YMS-50 had joined as escort.

0800L/16, The cover group, Task Group 74.1 arrived at Milne Bay from the Arawe area. They now remained at Milne Bay at two hours readiness for sea.

1630L/16, Echelon four, en route from Cape Cretin to Arawe was attacked by twelve Japanese Val and Zeke aircraft but no damage was done by the enemy.

0130L/17, Echelon four, which was unloading at Arawe was submitted to intermittent air attacks during the night. The enemy attacks lasted until 0845L/17. At 0810L/17 around 50 enemy Val and Nate aircraft attacked by dive bombing and strafing. USS APc 21 was sunk by a direct hit at 0815L/17. USS YMS-50 sustained underwater damage by a near miss. USS LCT-88, USS LCT-378, USS LCT-380, USS LCT-384 and USS LCT-386 all sustained hull damage. USS LCT-380 had to be beached but was later able to return to Cape Cretin under her own power.

Sailing of echelon five was cancelled.

1900L/17, Echelon six departed Cape Cretin for Arawe. It was made up of six LCT's; USS LCT-142, USS USS LCT-166, USS LCT-245, USS LCT-248, USS LCT-391 and USS LCT-393. They were escorted by the patrol vessel USS SC-699, minesweeper USS YMS-49 (Lt. J.R. Lewis, USNR) and the coastal transport APc-15 (Lt.(jg) K. Goffigon, III. USNR).

2300L/17, Echelon four returned to Cape Cretin from the Arawe area only half unloaded.

0800L/18, Echelon six arrived at Arawe and unloaded as scheduled.

1900L/18, Echelon six, having completed unloading at Arawe, departed that place to return to Cape Cretin. During the unloading operations they had not been attacked. Fighter cover of the area had now been much inproved compared to the previous day.

0800L/19, Echelon six arrived at Cape Cretin from Arawe.

1700L/19, Echelon seven departed Cape Cretin for Arawe. This echelon was made up of six LCT's; USS LCT-61, USS LCT-177, USS LCT-179, USS LCT-183, USS LCT-184 and USS LCT-371. They were escorted by the patrol vessel USS SC-703 (Lt.(jg) R.M. Baird, USNR), minesweeper YMS-70 and the coastal transport APc-22 (Lt.(jg) V.G. Martin, USNR). Very bad weather was encountered and USS LCT-179 sustained weather damage and after two hours had to turn back to Cape Cretin.

0620L/20, Echelon seven arrived at Arawe from Cape Cretin.

1645L/20, Echelon seven completed unloading at Arawe and departed that place to return to Cape Cretin.

1700L/20, Echelon eight departed Cape Cretin for Arawe. This echelon was made up of six LCT's; USS LCT-85, USS LCT-171, USS LCT-172, USS LCT-176, USS LCT-374 and USS LCT-381. They were escorted by the patrol vessels USS SC-738 (Lt.(jg) R.B. Woodcock, USNR), USS SC-743 and the coastal transport APc-2.

0330L/21, Three enemy aircraft attack Arawa but no damage was done.

0630L/21, Echelon seven arrived at Cape Cretin from Arawe.

0715L/21, Echelon eight arrived at Arawe from Cape Cretin.

1150L/21, While unloading at Arawe, echelon eight was attacked by enemy aircraft, 30 Vals and 15 Zero's dive bombed and strafed them. USS APc-2 was near missed and started to take on water. USS LCT-171, sustained multiple holes on her starboard side forward, from shrapnel.

1700L/21, Echelon eight, still at Arawe, was again attacked by Japanese aircraft. 45 Vals and 15 Zero's again dive bombed and strafed them but no further damage was done by the enemy. Echelon eight then departed Arawe to return to Cape Cretin.

1200L/22, Echelon eight arrived at Cape Cretin from Arawe.

26 Dec 1943

Operation Dexterity

Landings at Cape Gloucester on New Britain.

Plan.

Operation Dexterity comprised the second phase of the operations against the Japanese on New Britain. The first phase had been the landings at Arawe.

Troops were to be landed in the Cape Gloucester area by the Cape Gloucester Task Force which would be transported to the combat area by ships from Task Force 76 which were given cover by ships from Task Force 74.

Cover Force, Task Force 74.

The Corver Force was given three main tasks;
Covering the overwater transport of the amphibious force which would land in the Cape Gloucester area on 26 December 1943 at 0745L.
Bombardment of shore targets prior to the landing of troops.
Subsequent to the initial assault, providing a covering force in the combat area.

Task Force 74, made up of the heavy cruisers HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, MVO, DSO, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), HMAS Shropshire (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN), light cruiser USS Nashville (Capt. H.A. Spanagel, USN), USS Phoenix (Capt. A.G. Noble, USN) and the destroyers USS Bush (T/Cdr. T.A. Smith, USN, with COMDESDIV 48, T/Capt. W.F. Petersen, USN on board), USS Bache (T/Cdr. F.M. Adamson, USN), USS Ammen (T/Cdr. H. Williams, Jr., USN), USS Mullany (T/Cdr. B.J. Mullaney, USN), USS Ralph Talbot (T/Lt.Cdr. R.D. Shepard, USN), USS Helm (T/Lt.Cdr. S.K. Santmyers, USN), HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. E.F.V. Dechaineux, DSC, RAN) and HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, RAN).

Task Force 74 was divided in several Task Units;
Task Unit 74.1.1 were HMAS Australia and HMAS Shropshire.
Task Unit 74.1.2 were HMAS Warramunga, HMAS Arunta, USS Ralph Talbot and USS Helm.
Task Unit 74.2.1 were USS Nashville and USS Phoenix.
Task Unit 74.2.2 were USS Bush, USS Bache, USS Ammen and USS Mullany.

Amphibious Force, Task Force 76.

Task Group 76.1 was the 'Eastern Assault Group', it was made up of the following Task Units;

Task Unit 76.1.1 was the Headquarters Unit. It was made up of the destroyer USS Conyngham (T/Cdr. J.H. Ward, USN, with the commander Task Force 76 (CTG 76), T/R.Adm. D.E. Barbey, USN on board).

Task Unit 76.1.2 was the APD Task Unit under T/Capt. J.D. Sweeney, USN. It was made up of Task Units 76.1.21 and 76.1.22.
Task Unit 76.1.21 was made up of the high speed transports USS Stringham (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Moureau, USNR, with T/Capt. J.D. Sweeney, USN on board), USS Kilty (T/Lt.Cdr. D.L. Mattie, USN), USS Ward (Lt.Cdr. F.W. Lemly, USNR) and USS Crosby (Lt. W.E. Sims, USNR).
Task Unit 76.1.22 was made up of the high speed transports USS Brooks (Lt.Cdr. C.V. Allen, USNR, with T/Cdr. J.S. Willis, USN on board), USS Gilmer (Cdr. J.S. Horner, USNR), USS Humphreys (T/Lt.Cdr. F.D. Schwartz, USN), USS Sands (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Brogger, Jr., USNR) and USS Noa (Lt. H.W. Boud, USNR).

Task Unit 76.1.3 was the LCI Unit. It was made up of Task Units 76.1.31, 76.1.32 and 76.1.33.
Task Unit 76.1.31 (for Beach Yellow One) was made up of the LCI's USS LCI(L)-71 (?, with Lt.Cdr. J.P. Hurndall, USNR on board), USS LCI(L)-30 (?), USS LCI(L)-72 (Lt.(jg) S.Z. Kepner, USNR), USS LCI(L)-74 (Lt.(jg) R.J. Liechti, USNR), USS LCI(L)-226 (Lt.(jg) O.L. Miles, USNR) and USS LCI(L)-338 (Ens. C.W. Griffin, USNR).
Task Unit 76.1.32 (for Beach Yellow Two) was made up of the USS LCI(L)-73 (Lt.(jg) N.M. Taylor, USNR), USS LCI(L)-337 (Lt.(jg) M.D. Skelton, USNR), USS LCI(L)-340 (Lt.(jg) H.F. Eckenrode, USNR), USS LCI(L)-342 (Lt.(jg) R.A. Smith, USNR), USS LCI(L)-343 (Lt.(jg) C.P. Heinrich, USNR) and USS LCI(L)-344 (Lt.(jg) R.B. Ruby, USNR).
Task Unit 76.1.33 (Rocket Section) was made up of the LCI(R)'s USS LCI(R)-31 (Lt.(jg) T.J. Morrissey, USNR) and USS LCI(R)-34 (Lt.(jg) J.F. Keefe, USNR).

Task Unit 76.1.4 was the Destroyer Unit. It was made up of Task Units 76.1.41 and 76.1.42.
Task Unit 76.1.41 was the Escort Section and was made up of the destroyers USS Shaw (T/Cdr. R.H. Phillips, USN, with COMDESRON 5, T/Capt. J.H. Carter, USN on board), USS Drayton (T/Cdr. R.S. Craighill, USN), USS Lamson (T/Cdr. J.R. Rubins, USN), USS Bagley (T/Cdr. T.E. Chambers, USN), USS Mugford (T/Cdr. H.G. Corey, USN), USS Hutchins (T/Cdr. E.W. Herron, USN, with COMDESRON 24, T/Capt. K.M. McManes, USN, on board), USS Beale (T/Capt. J.B. Cochran, USN), USS Brownson (T/Cdr. J.B. Maher, USN) and USS Daly (T/Cdr. R.G. Visser, USN).
Task Unit 76.1.42 was the Close Fire Support Section and was made up of the destroyers USS Flusser (T/Cdr. J.A. Robbins, USN) and USS Mahan (T/Lt.Cdr. E.G. Campbell, USN).

Task Unit 76.1.5 was the Cruiser Bombardment Unit. It was made up of Task Units 76.1.51 and 76.1.52.
Task Unit 76.1.51 was made up of Task Unit 74.1.1 (see above).
Task Unit 76.1.52 was made up of Task Unit 74.1.2 (see above).

Task Unit 76.1.6 was the Beach Yellow harbour Unit. It was made up of Task Units 76.1.61 and 76.1.62.
Task Unit 76.1.61 was the Control Section which was made up of the patrol vessels USS SC-742 (Lt. R.H. Blake, USNR) and USS SC-981 (Lt.(jg) R.A. Campbell, USNR).
Task Unit 76.1.62 was the Minesweeping Section made up of the motor minesweepers USS YMS-51 (Lt. F.P. Allen, Jr., USNR), USS YMS-52 (Lt. A.I. Roche, USNR) and USS YMS-70 (Lt. B.M. Brink, USNR). Task Group 76.2 was the 'Eastern Supply Group', it was made up of the following Task Units;

Task Unit 76.2.1 was the First Supply Section. It was made up of seven LST's; USS LST-466 (Lt. H.M. Graham, USNR with COMLSTFLOT 7, T/Capt. J.B. Mallard, USN on board), USS LST-18 (Lt. J. Lencie, USCG), USS LST-66 (Lt. H.A. White, USCG), USS LST-67 (Lt.(jg) G.A. Gyland, USCG), USS LST-68 (Lt. K.A.E. Linquist, USCG), USS LST-202 (Lt. B. Ayesa, USCGR) and USS LST-204 (Lt. A.I. Roberts, USCG).
Task Unit 76.2.2 was the Second Supply Section. It was made up of seven LST's; USS LST-452 (Lt. R.D. Jones, USNR, with COMLSTGR20, T/Capt. R.M. Scruggs, USN on board), USS LST-22 (Lt. G.P. Phillip, USNR), USS LST-26 (Lt. E. Kiernan USCGR), USS LST-454 (Lt. E.R. Swanton, USNR), USS LST-456 (Lt.(jg) G.W. Prue, USN), USS LST-457 (Lt.Cdr. J.E. van Zandt, USNR) and USS LST-465 (Lt.Cdr. M.F. Stiling, USNR).
Task Unit 76.2.3 was the Third Supply Section. It was made up of five LST's; USS LST-459 (Lt. E.F. Arthur, USNR), USS LST-168 (Lt. A.S. Moreau, USCGR), USS LST-170 (Lt. T.N. Kelly, USCGR), USS LST-171 (Lt.Cdr. H.A. West, USNR) and USS LST-458 (Lt. F.W. Hinrichs, USNR) and the patrol vessels USS PC-1119 (Lt.Cdr. H.M. Blake, USNR), USS PC-1120 (Lt.Cdr. C.S. Molitor, USNR) and USS PC-1122 (Lt. J.J. Peck, USNR). Task Unit 76.2.3 was the Fourth Supply Section. It was made up of five LST's; USS LST-474 (Lt. R.W. Langworthy, USNR), USS LST-467 (Lt.(jg) M.B. Taylor, USNR), USS LST-468 (Lt. I.K. Stevenson, USNR), USS LST-470 (Lt. D.J. Guthridge, USNR) and USS LST-475 (Lt. M.S. Whitsett, USNR) and the patrol vessels USS SC-703 (Lt.(jg) R.M. Baird, USNR), USS SC-734 (Lt. R.B. MacLean, USNR) and USS SC-738 (Lt.(jg) R.B. Woodcock, USNR).

Task Group 76.3 was the 'Western Assault Group', under T/Capt. C.D. Reynold, USN, it was made up of the following Task Units;
Task Unit 76.3.1 was the Escort and Bombardment Unit and was made up of the destroyers USS Reid (T/Cdr. H.H. McIlhenny, USN, with COMDESDIV 10, T/Capt. C.D. Reynolds, USN on board) and USS Smith (T/Cdr. R.A. Theobald, Jr., USN).
Task Unit 76.3.2 was the Small Craft Unit and was made up of 12 LCT's and several smaller landing craft including 16 LCM's. They were escorted by the patrol craft USS PC-479 (Lt. M.C. White, USNR), USS SC-637 (?) and USS SC-699 (Lt.(jg) J.W. Foristel, USNR).
Task Unit 76.3.3 was the LCI Unit and was made up of the following LCI's; USS LCI(L)-25 (Lt.(jg) W.R. Maliek, USNR), USS LCI(L)-26 (Lt. H.J. Adams, Jr., USNR), USS LCI(L)-27 (Lt.(jg) H.G. Hibbard, USNR), USS LCI(L)-29 (Lt. T.R. Hopkins, USNR) and USS LCI(L)-224 (Lt. W.A.P. Watkins, USNR).

Task Group 76.4 was the Service group which was made up of the repair ship USS Rigel (Capt. R. Dudley, USN), landing craft repair ship USS LST-455 (Lt. W.E. Peterton, Jr., USNR) and the landing craft (medical) USS LST-464 (Lt. A.K. Ridgway, USNR).

Task Group 76.5 was the Landing Craft Control Group. It was made up of the following Task Units;
Task Unit 76.5.1 was the Buna Unit and it was made up of the landing craft repair ship USS Amycus (Lt. J.J. Reidy, Jr., USNR).
Task Unit 76.5.2 was the Oro Bay Unit and it was made up of the coastal transport USS APc 15 (Lt.(jg) K. Goffigon, III. USNR).
Task Unit 76.5.3 was the Cape Cretin Unit and it was made up of the landing craft repair ship USS LST-453 (Lt.Cdr. O.L. Norman, USNR) and coastal transport USS APc 6 (Lt. C.R. Rosebro, Jr., USNR).

Task Group 76.6 was the Reserve Group made up of the amphibious transport HMAS Westralia (Cdr. A.V. Knight, RD, RANR(S)), dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Harris, USNR) and the attack cargo ship USS Etamin (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Stedman, USCGR).

Task Group 76.7 was the Salvage Group and was made up of the tugs USS Sonoma (Lt.(jg). N.G. Irwin, USN) and HMAS Reserve (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.A. Keith, RANR(S)).

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1400L/24, The fifth echelon, made up of seven LST's; USS LST-452, USS LST-452, USS LST-22, USS LST-26, USS LST-454, USS LST-456, USS LST-457 and USS LST-465 departed Cape Sudest for the Cape Gloucester area via Cape Cretin. They were escorted by the destroyers USS Beale, USS Hutchins, USS Brownson and USS Daly. HMAS Reserve also accompanied this echelon.

1630L/24, Task Force 74, the cover force, departed Milne Bay.

0100L/25, The third echelon, made up of seven LST's; USS LST-466, USS LST-18, USS LST-66, USS LST-67, USS LST-68, USS LST-202 and USS LST-204 departed Cape Sudest for Cape Gloucester. They were escorted by the destroyers USS Drayton, USS Lamson, USS Bagley and USS Mugford.

0600L/25, Task Force 76's flagship for the operation, the destroyer USS Conyngham departed Cape Sudest for the Cape Gloucester area. With the flagship were the first and second echelons which were made up of the high speed transports USS Stringham, USS Kilty, USS Ward, USS Crosby, USS Brooks, USS Gilmer, USS Humphreys, USS Sands, USS Noa, the LCI(L)'s USS LCI(L)-30, USS LCI(L)-31, USS LCI(L)-34, USS LCI(L)-70, USS LCI(L)-71, USS LCI(L)-72, USS LCI(L)-73, USS LCI(L)-74, USS LCI(L)-226, USS LCI(L)-337, USS LCI(L)-338, USS LCI(L)-340, USS LCI(L)-342, USS LCI(L)-343, USS LCI(L)-344, [USS LCI(L)-28 (Lt.(jg) E.A. Winton, USNR) apparently was also with them though she is not listed in the Task Force originsation form for the operation]. They were escorted by the destroyers USS Shaw, USS Mahan, USS Flusser, USS Reid, USS Smith, patrol vessels USS SC-742, USS SC-981 and the minesweepers USS YMS-50, USS YMS-51 and USS YMS-70.

1130L/25, Task Force 74 cleared Cape Ward Hunt and began to overtake the attack echelons. It was the plan that Task Force 74 would be about 12 miles ahead of the leading echelon before dark and during the night approach would therefore be covering all the echelons which were following.

1600L/25, The fourth echelon made up of 12 LCT's and 16 LCM's departed Cape Cretin for Cape Gloucester. They were escorted by the patrol vessels USS PC-479, USS SC-637 and two PT-boats. This echelon was to land on Green Beach in the Western area.

2000L/25, When it was now just dark Task Force 74 was ahead of the leading echelon.

2120L/25, USS YMS-50 had to part company with the first en second echelon due to engine trouble. She was ordered to proceed to Cape Cretin.

2130L/25, the sixth echelon departed Cape Sudest for Yellow Beach, Cape Glouceter. It was made up of LST's USS LST-459, USS LST-168, USS LST-170, USS LST-171 and USS LST-458. They were escorted by the patrol vessels USS PC-1119, USS PC-1120 and USS PC-1122. The destroyers USS Flusser and USS Mahan were to join this echelon about 25 nautical miles south of Langemak Bay and shortly afterwards also USS Reid and USS Smith around 1600L/26.

0455L/26, the seventh echelon departed Cape Sudest for Yellow Beach, Cape Glouceter. It was made up of LST's USS LST-474, USS LST-467, USS LST-468, USS LST-470 and USS LST-475. They were escorted by the patrol vessels USS SC-703, USS SC-734 and USS SC-738. The destroyers USS Lamson, USS Drayton, USS Bagley and USS Mugford were to join this echelon near Langemak Bay.

0445L/26, Taks Force 74 split into Task Group 74.1 and 74.2 (see above) to enter their respective fire support areas.

0600L/26, As scheduled HMAS Australia, HMAS Shropshire, HMAS Warramunga and HMAS Arunta commenced bombarding the vicinity of Gloucester aerodrome. The objects of the bombardments were to destroy enemy installations and to prevent the enemy from reorganising counter measures to the landing. Also the enemy artillery was to be silenced. The bombardment was continued until 0720L/26 by which time over 700 round of 8" high explosive, nearly 900 rounds of 4.7" high explosive and nearly 100 rounds of 4" high explosive had been fired. There was no enemy opposition to this intense bombardment.

0625L/26, USS Nashville and USS Phoenix commenced bombarding targets on the western coastline of Borgen Bay,including targets in the vicinity of 'Yellow Beaches' where the assault landing would be made. This bombardment, with USS Bache joining in for ten minutes to fire 300 rounds of 5", continued until 0727L/26. Over 1600 rounds of 6" were fired by USS Nashville and USS Phoenix.

USS Flusser and USS Mahan intermittently bombarded 'Yellow Beaches' up to H-hour, firing a total of about 400 rounds of 5".

0700L/26, between 0700 and 0720 hours, five squadrons of B-24 bombers, from medium altitude, bombed targets in the Cape Gloucester area. As far as could be seen these bombers had no AA opposition. This was thought to be due the the effective naval bombardment of the area.

0728L/26, between 0728 and 0743 hours, four squadrons of B-25 bombers swept in from seaward and bombed and strafed the Yellow Beaches from very low altitude.

0743L/26, between 0745 and 0745 hours, rocket boats laid a creeping rocket barrage up the Yellow Beaches and from behind this barrage the main assault was made without opposition.

0750L/26, Green Beach at Tauali, had been similarly prepared by naval and air bombardment and here, too, the assault force got ashore without opposition.

Fighers on air alert were over the combat area soon after sunrise. The first fighter sortie was four flights (16 planes in total) but from 0800L/26, the air support plan allowed for 12 flights (48 planes) being continually over the combat area and other squadrons of fighters were on ground alert available on call.

0800L/26, HMAS Shropshire, which was the fighter direction shop for all fighter planes in the combat area, began tracking a large group of bogies approaching from the direction of Rabaul and it was thought that the enemy reaction was on its way. However these bogies crossed to southward over New Britain and a group of fighters sent down to southward saw the enemy planes retiring after attacking Awawe.

0830L/26, with the assault proceeding favourably, CTF 76 released Task Force 74 which then began a high speed retirement to west and south through Vitiaz Strait.

0840L/26, LST's of the third echelon beached on Yellow Beach and commenced unloading.

0900L/26, Four squadrons of heavy bombers attacked Target Ridge from medium altitude and at 0930L/26 four squadrons of attack bombers struck targets in the Gloucester-Borgen Area.

Shortly after Task Force 74 entered Vitiaz Strait, HMAS Shropshire radar detected two large groups of bogies coming in from the westward and these were reckoned to be an enemy strike from his New Guinea air bases. Additional fighters were summoned and in all 96 fighters planes were disposed to meet this attack. However at this time the radar was confused by land all round and the bogies were lost. At about the time these bogies were estimated by dead reckoning to be approaching an attacking position, Task Force 74 was in rain an temporary low overcast so that the force may have avoided detection, though it has not been ascertained exactly where these enemy groups did actually go.

0920L/26, The commander General Cape Gloucester Task Force departed USS Conyngham which then left the area for the Buna / Cape Sudest area. En-route she overtook the high speed transports of the first echelon which had already left the landing area. The LCI's of the second echelon also departed the landing area around this time, having retracted from the beach successfully.

1330L/26, The LST's of the third echelon retracted as scheduled to make room for the incoming echelon five. Echelon three had however not yet been completely unloaded. The delay in unloading had been due to the difficulty in preparing the dispersal area. The thick growth and soft ground behind the beach was the retarding factor. Approximately 100 tons of bulk and a few vehicles were returned to Cape Sudest but were later shipped back in following echelons.

1415L/25, USS Shaw, the fighter director ship in the Cape Gloucester area, picked up two large groups of enemy planes, one group bearing 010°, 65 miles and the other bearing 080°, 50 miles.

1430L/26, Task Force 74 was now south-east of Finschhaven, Task Unit 74.2.2 (four destroyers, see above) were detached to return to the Cape Gloucester area and during the night to carry out a covering patrol.

Around 1445L/26, an enemy air attack consisting of a large number of dive bombers with fighter escort and a group of high level bombers was made on our ships off Cape Gloucester. Fighter interception was made and is estimated to have shot down 56 enemy planes. However a number of dive bombers got through and attacked our ships. USS Brownson was sunk, USS Shaw was badly damaged by near misses and USS Lamson and USS Mugford were slightly damaged. USS LST-66 also sustained minor damage due to a near miss.

1530L/26, USS Lamson and USS Daly had picked up 34 and 163 survivors from the USS Brownson. These included 11 of the ships officers. While picking up the survivors USS Daly suffered some minor damage due to a heavy underwater explosion, most likely depth charges exploding on board the sinking USS Brownson.

1700L/26, A second air attack on our destroyers off Cape Gloucester developed. Approximately 50 enemy aircraft, 18 of which were torpedo carrying Bettys approached at low altitude. At least 13 were destroyed by fighters and 3 by AA gunfire from ships. No damage was sustained and it is believed that none of the enemy aircraft had been able to release torpedoes. This action ended the days air activity.

1800L/26, Echelon five (7 LST's), plus USS LST-466 from echelon three, departed Yellow Beach for Cape Sudest escorted by USS Hutchins and USS Beale. A total of about 200 tons of bulk stores were still on board. Departure was made on schedule as it was condidered to dangerous to navigate the reef during darkness.

1815L/26, Task Units 74.1.1, 74.1.2 and 74.2.1 arrived at Buna where they immediately refueled on completion of which they came short notice to proceed to sea if required.

2300L/26, the first echelon, made up of the high speed transports, USS Stringham, USS Kilty, USS Ward, USS Crosby, USS Brooks, USS Gilmer, USS Humphreys, USS Sands, USS Noa, arrived at Cape Sudest from the Cape Gloucester area.

2330L/26, USS Conyngham with CTF 76 on board, arrived at Buna from the Cape Gloucester area.

During the night of 26/27 December, Task Unit 74.2.2 carried out a covering patrol in the Cape Gloucester area without incident.

0730L/27, the sixth echelon, made up of the LST's USS LST-459, USS LST-168, USS LST-170, USS LST-171 and USS LST-458 arrived at Cape Gloucester escorted by the destroyers USS Flusser, USS Mahan, USS Reid, USS Smith and the patrol vessels USS PC-1119, USS PC-1120 and USS PC-1122.

0740L/27, Task Unit 74.2.2 which was withdrawing from night patrol, was ordered to join the seventh echelon consisting of USS Drayton, 4 LST's and 3 SC's proceeding the the Cape Gloucester area. The radar intallation on board USS Drayton was defective. The fighter direction party was transferred at sea from USS Drayton to USS Bush.

0800L/27, the second echelon, made up of the LCI(L)'s, USS LCI(L)-28, USS LCI(L)-30, USS LCI(L)-31, USS LCI(L)-34, USS LCI(L)-70, USS LCI(L)-71, USS LCI(L)-72, USS LCI(L)-73, USS LCI(L)-74, USS LCI(L)-226, USS LCI(L)-337, USS LCI(L)-338, USS LCI(L)-340, USS LCI(L)-342, USS LCI(L)-343 and USS LCI(L)-344 arrived at Cape Sudest from the Cape Gloucester area.

0830L/27, the seventh echelon, made up of the LST's USS LST-474, USS LST-467, USS LST-468, USS LST-470 and USS LST-475 and escorted by the destroyers USS Drayton, USS Bush, USS Bache, USS Ammen and USS Mullany.

0900L/27, The fourth echelon made up of 12 LCT's arrived at Cape Cretin from Cape Gloucester escorted by the patrol vessels USS PC-479, USS SC-637 and SC-699.

1000L/27, Task Unit 74.1.2 (four destroyers, see above) departed Buna to carry out a night covering patrol to the north-eastward of Cape Gloucester.

1800L/27, Task Unit 74.2.2 and USS Drayton took up patrol off the reefs. During the night USS Mullany made three depth charge attacks on a sound contact with no observed results.

1800L/27, As four destroyers of Task Force 76 had been sunk or damaged, the destroyers of Task Force 74 were now assigned for temporary escort duty with Task Force 76.

2200L/27, Echelon 5 (7 LST's) and LST-466, escorted by USS Hutchins and USS Beale arrived at Cape Sudest from the Cape Gloucester area.

0300L/28, Task Unit 74.1.2 left patrol and retired towards Cape Cretin.

0400L/28, The fifth echelon, made up of USS LST-452, USS LST-452, USS LST-22, USS LST-26, USS LST-454, USS LST-456, USS LST-457 and USS LST-465 arrived at Cape Sudest from the Cape Gloucester area escorted by USS Beale, USS Hutchins and USS Daly.

0700L/28, The seventh echelon had completed unloading and by 0830L/28, it was retiring from the Cape Gloucester area escorted by Task Unit 74.2.2 and USS Drayton.

1430L/28, The eight echelon departed Cape Sudest for the Cape Gloucester area. It was made up of the high speed transports USS Stringham, USS Kilty, USS Ward, USS Crosby, USS Brooks, USS Gilmer, USS Humphreys, USS Sands and USS Noa. They were escorted by the destroyers USS Hutchins and USS Lamson and would later be joined by USS Bush, USS Bache, USS Ammen and USS Mullany.

1600L/28, Task Unit 74.1.2 departed Cape Cretin to make a high speed dash up towards the Cape Gloucester area to repeat the night covering patrol of last night and to return to Cape Cretin afterwards.

At 1700L/28, Task Unit 74.1.2 departed Cape Cretin to proceed to the southward to join the escort of the ninth echelon that was to proceed from Cape Sudest to the Cape Gloucester area. As HMAS Warramunga and HMAS Arunta were short of fuel they arrived at Buna around 2200L/29 where they took on board 100 tons of fuel from HMAS Australia and HMAS Shropshire respectively. They departed around 2330L/28 to rejoin the other two destroyers of their Task Unit which meanwhile had joined the ninth echelon.

2100L/28, The ninth echelon, made up of six LST's; USS LST-466, USS LST-18, USS LST-66, USS LST-67, USS LST-68, USS LST-202 departed Cape Sudest for the Cape Gloucester area. USS LST-204 was unable to retract and had to proceed to Cape Gloucester with the next (tenth) echelon. They were escorted by HMAS Warramunga, HMAS Arunta, USS Ralph Talbot and USS Helm although the two Australian destroyers only joined later as they first had to fuel (see above). The ninth echelon arrived at Cape Gloucester around 0700L/30. After unloading they departed for Oro Bay around 1300L/30 still escorted by the four destroyers from Task Unit 74.1.2 which then detached after having passed Cape Ward Hunt. The destroyers of Task Unit 74.1.2 arrived at Buna around 1800L/31 minus HMAS Warramunga which arrived at 2030l/31 having trouble with salt water contamination in her boiler feed water.

2200L/28, the sixth echelon, made up of USS LST-459, USS LST-168, USS LST-170, USS LST-171, USS LST-458 and escorted by USS Flusser, USS Mahan, USS Reid, USS Smith and the patrol vessels USS PC-1119, USS PC-1120 and USS PC-1122 arrived at Cape Sudest from Cape Gloucester.

At 1700L/28, Task Unit 74.1.2 departed Cape Cretin to proceed to the southward to join the escort of the ninth echelon that was to proceed from Cape Sudest to the Cape Gloucester area. As HMAS Warramunga and HMAS Arunta were short of fuel they arrived at Buna around 2200L/29 where they took on board 100 tons of fuel from HMAS Australia and HMAS Shropshire respectively. They departed around 2330L/28 to rejoin the other two destroyers of their Task Unit which meanwhile had joined the ninth echelon.

0650L/29, the eight echelon, made up of the high speed transports USS Stringham, USS Kilty, USS Ward, USS Crosby, USS Brooks, USS Gilmer, USS Humphreys, USS Sands and USS Noa escorted by the destroyers USS Lamson, USS Bush, USS Bache, USS Ammen and USS Mullany arrived at Cape Gloucester. Unloading was completed at 0930L/29 when they departed to return to Cape Sudest where they arrived around 2300L/29. USS Gilmer had on board 50 wounded Marines.

1400L/29, the seventh echelon arrived at Buna from Cape Gloucester. Task unit 74.2.2 was still with the seventh echelon.

29 Dec 1944
USS Iowa (Capt. J.L. Holloway, Jr., USN) was undocked and then departed Seeadler Harbour for Pearl Harbour. No.3 propeller had been removed and sucured on the deck of the ship. During the trip to Pearl Harbour Iowa was escorted by the destroyers USS Caldwell (Lt.Cdr. D.R. Robinson, USNR), USS Killen (Cdr. H.G. Corey, USN) and USS Lamson (Cdr. J.V. Noel, Jr., USN).

For the daily positions of USS Iowa during this passage see the map below.

Media links


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


U.S. Destroyers

Friedman, Norman


United States Destroyer Operations In World War II.

Roscoe, Theodore

Sources

  1. http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/367.htm
  2. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for June 1943 + Report of proceedings of Task Force 74 for June 1943
  3. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for June 1943 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for July 1943 + Report of proceedings of Task Force 74 for June 1943 + Report of proceedings of Task Force 74 for July 1943
  4. Report of proceedings of HMAS Hobart for July 1943 + Report of proceedings of Task Force 74 for July 1943

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