USS SIGSBEE DD-502
The above painting by Naval artist Peter Hsu (copyright authorized) shows the 502 under air attack 4/14/45
ACTION REPORT SERIES:
SIGSBEE'S 10th WAR ACTION
*Note: this is the last action for the Sigsbee in WW II.
* This chronological sequence of events as been edited due to the length of the report that was filed.
ACTION REPORT: Operations in support of the invasion of Okinawa, period 14 March to 20 April 1945.
From: The Commanding Officer.
To: The Commander Destroyer Division FIFTY.
Subject: Okinawa Operations
0845 Underway from ULITHI to join CruDiv 10 for gunnery exercises. Conducted various surface and AA gunnery exercises throughout the day and night.
0737 Joined TF 59, took station in screen, disposition 4-V, conducting various gunnery exercises. 1742 Took station in screen with CruDiv 14 proceeding to join TG 58.1
0546 Joined TG 58.1, took station right flank of screen for fueling exercises. 0912 Fueled from USS MARIAS.
0601 Fueled from USS WASP. 0740 Joined DASHIELL and MURRAY ahead of formation proceeding to rendezvous with TG 58.8.
0356 Bogey 032 degrees, distance 58 miles. Sighted flares being dropped on TG 58.8. 0518 Flares dropped close abeam, commenced firing, plane identified as twin engine bomber. 0539 Ceased firing plane out of range.
0625 Took control of 2 divisions of CAP. Formed radar picket line, consisting of DesDiv 50, less USS SCHROEDER and RINGGOLD plus USS MURRAY and DesDiv 96, SIGSBEE station 1 with MURRAY and DASHIELL, BULLARD, and KIDD station No. 2
1005 CAP reported bogey dropped torpedo. 1006 Bogey and CAP in sight bearing 110 degrees, 3 miles. Bogey identified as JILL, shot down by CAP.
0546 Sighted southeastern point of SHIKOKU Island bearing 270 degrees, distance 18 miles.
1004 Picked up Ensign A.V. Ramsey, and Evans, H.E. airman3/c, who crashed in SB2c plane from USS INTREPID.
1128 CAP splashed 1 JILL.
1027 CAP reported splashing 1 KATE. 1353 Fueled from USS WASHINGTON
1456 Sighted enemy plane making dive bombing attack on USS HANCOCK. 1458 Plane crashed into fantail of USS HALSEY POWELL. 1612 Enemy plane dive bombing on USS ENTERPRISE, bombs dropped near ENTERPRISE. 1627 Bogey sighted making dive bombing attack on USS ENTERPRISE, bomb hit, observed heavy smoke and fire.
1640 Enemy plane sighted diving on USS ENTERPRISE, bombs dropped close aboard. 1650 Enemy plane diving on USS HANCOCK, bomb dropped on her starboard beam, plane shot down. 1710 Enemy plane in sight, opened fire. Enemy plane identified as JILL shot down by SIGSBEE, crashed abeam to port about 800 yards. 1713 Enemy plane making run on formation shot down.
Action report II: 1710 Plane probably a JILL commenced dive on ENTERPRISE heading across our bow, guns #41 and #43 and starboard-midships 20 mm, commenced firing. Several 5: bursts near plane, and 40 mm fire seemed to be hitting. As plane crossed bow at about 300 ft, main battery ceased firing, but guns #42, #44, and #45 opened in that order. Three portside 20 mm guns opened fire also. Plane swerved erratically at 100 ft altitude and crashed into water about 800 yrds on our port beam. Ceased firing. Claim sure hit!
0052 All bogeys clear of area. 1047 Formed cruising disposition 5-VD, bogeys reported in area. 1153 CAP shot down enemy plane at 48 miles. 1228 Bogey at 28 miles. 1234 Commenced firing at twin engine bomber, plane diving on formation, plane identified as FRANCIS, dropped several bombs, hit by AA firing, burst into flames and crashed.
1238 Formed cruising disposition 5-R. During afternoon USS BATAAN and ENTERPRISE conducted burial services.
0717 Joined TU 58.8.2 and other parts of 58.4 for fueling. 0959 Fueled from USS LACKAWANN.
1224 Joined USS MURRAY and DASHIELL proceeding to rejoin TG 58.1 1251 Received radio gear from USS ENTERPRISE proceeding to deliver to USS ESSEX. 1551 Transferred RAMSEY, A.V. Ensign and EVans, H.E. airman3/c to USS HORNET, took station in screen.
0600 Proceeded to radar picket station 30 miles to the west of TG 58.1, SIGSBEE fighter director. 1606 CAP shot down one enemy plane 5 miles on port beam. 2002 Investigated surface contact with SCHROEDER and HARRISON, contact identified as USS SAWFISH.
0451 Detached from TG 58.1 to join special bombardment group, TU 59.7.3. 0740 TG 59.7 split up into respective bombardment groups proceeding to bombard OKINAWA GUNTO. 820 Took eastern screening station on east west course off western end of OKINAWA, battleships conducting bombardment. 1308 Recovered pilot and radioman from OS2U off USS MASSACHUSETTS. 1758 Investigating report of man in water, searched area in vicinity, only boxes seen in water. 2017 Rejoined TG 58.1 took station in 16 ship A/S screen.
0636 Fueled from USS HORNET
0741 Fueled from USS CHICOPEE. 1123 Provisioned from USS MERCURY. 1612 AA exercise
0621 Bogeys in area. 0629 Night fighter reported shooting down enemy plane. 0638 Enemy plane sighted diving on USS BENNINGTON, no apparent damage, plane shot down by AA fire astern of formation. 0650 USS SWENSON reported shooting down enemy plane. 0702 USS MURRAY on picket station reported shooting down one enemy plane after being hit by torpedo above water line.
0654 Fueled from USS BENNINGTON
1501 Sunk mine by machine gun fire.
0644 Fueled from USS TAPPAHANNOCK 1510 Sunk mine by machine gun fire.
1343 Fueled from USS INDIANA
1007 Fueled from USS MASSACHUSETTS
0325 Proceeding to station in radar picket line, SIGSBEE to control CAP. 0443 Night fighter splashed bogey.
Steaming as before
0644 Fueled from USS MANATEE
0454 Proceeding to station in radar picket line, SIGSBEE to control CAP. 1151 Fueled from USS BENNINGTON
1200 CAP reported shooting down enemy plane. 1205 CAP shot down two more enemy planes. 1240 CAP reports shooting down one enemy plane. 1252 Bogey bearing 0680 degrees 6 miles, plane shot down by gunfire from formation, crashed close aboard USS HARRISON. 1255 Second enemy plane shot down by formation. 1256 Enemy plane shot down while making suicide attack on DASHIELL. 1757 CAP reported shooting down 2 ZEKES.
Action Report II: 1252 Bogey bearing 080 degrees 6 miles closing, main battery on target with rangefinder, ZEKE sighted diving on USS HARRISON on our starboard beam. Opened fire with main battery, rangefinder ranges, director control, rapid continuous fire at 2600 yards. Ceased firing at about 1500 yards as plane missed HARRISON at almost masthead height and crashed into sea on her port beam. 1256 Another ZEKE making suicide attack on DASHIELL on our starboard quarter, guns #43, #45 and midship 20mm opened fire on plane as it crossed bow of DASHIELL at about 170 degrees, distance 2000 yards at about 60 feet. Plane seemed headed for our fantail but swerved erratically and crashed into sea at about 1200 yards. Machine gun fire seemed to be very accurate and hitting. Claim sure assist!
0815 Enemy plane shot down by CAP. 1159 Bogey 9 miles, identified as GEORGE shot down by CAP. 1214 Bogey shot down at 13 miles by CAP. 1551 JUDY shot down by CAP at 8 miles. 1800 Rejoining TG, CAP reports shooting down bogey.
8, 9, 10,11 April
Radar picket station with no enemy contact
1505 Large group of bogeys 68 miles. 1524 Two groups of bogey's bearing 030 degrees and 050 degrees, distance 14 miles. 1526 Enemy planes attacking formation, three enemy planes shot down near formation. 1844 CAP shot down 1 ZEKE. 2047 Bogeys 26 miles and closing, flares dropped.
0615 Fueled from USS HORNET 0651 Proceeding to picket station # 2.
0447 Proceeding to form picket station line with DesDiv 104 plus MCKEE and DASHIELL. 1315 CAP shot down one ZEKE. 1327 CAP reports shooting down one BETTY, many bogeys in the area. 1348 Enemy planes closing formation for attack, single engine fighter plane made suicide run on USS HUNT grazing that vessel and cr4asing in the water. 1534 Enemy plane closing on starboard bow, made emergency ahead flank speed, full left rudder. 1455 Enemy planed crashed aft of gun No. 5, at main deck level, heavy dull explosion occurred, lost steering control, stopped all engines. 1404 Jettisoned depth charges and torpedoes, using starboard engine to alter heading , port engine out of commission.
Action Report II cont': Several bogeys were reported immediately after the HUNT was hit, and friendly fighters were attempting to intercept. At about 1351 CIC reported bogey at 240 degrees, distance 4 miles and closing. The main battery director was searching on this bearing with 5" guns fore and aft, when machine gun control reported and opened fire on enemy plane probably a ZEKE, closing rapidly on starboard bow at about 025 degrees, distance 3200 yards altitude 100 feet, speed 200 knots. The forward 40mm #41 and mid-ship 40mm #43 opened fire almost simultaneously in local control. The Captain gave full left rudder and emergency flank. Both orders were executed. As soon as they were able to bear, the mid-ship 20mm #21 and #23 opened fire followed by gun #45, director controlled and one fantail 20mm #25 and probably #27. Plane appeared to be strafing but no tracers were seen. Ship's shell plating aft on starboard side however, had holes which evidently were made from outboard side. The enemy planes approach was too rapid and the range too short for the main battery to be effective. Only Gun #1 (3 rounds) and Gun #2 (2 rounds) were able to fire, using director control, line of sight barrage machine gun fire was apparently hitting, but no visible damage was observed until flames appeared from the plane about 75 yards before it crashed. The plane banked to the right and crashed into the fantail. A dull heavy explosion occurred, clouds of black and white smoke, accompanied the concussion and a great deal of shrapnel was cast about the ship. All engines stopped, lost steering.
Action Report II cont': All fantail 20mm guns were completely lost in the explosion along with the fantail depth charges. Immediately following the action, port and starboard depth charges were jettisoned to maintain trim of the ship. Although set on safe, two depth charges exploded, but at considerable depth and only slight tremble was felt. Thereupon all pistols were removed from the remaining depth charges that were jettisoned. The ten torpedoes on board were jettisoned. Propeller locks were on, tripping latches lashed back and stop valves closed. No difficulty was experienced. Apparently, none of our own ammunition exploded as result of the blast.
Action Report II cont': At 1358 while dead in the water, all engines stopped and no steering control, enemy air attack continued, there were 4 enemy planes in sight and poised for attack. One on starboard bow and second on port bow, the third on starboard quarter, and the fourth on port beam. All four were taken under fire as follows:
1. A Zeke on starboard bow 290 degrees, distance 4200 yards, altitude 2300 feet, turned to make a diving run on this ship and a destroyer 300 yards on starboard bow, Mk 37 director on target, commenced rapid continuous fire. Only guns #1 and #2 of the main battery could bear on targets at first. Gun #41 opened fire slightly ahead of main battery. Target closed to 3000 yards on the starboard beam, altitude about 500 feet and then turned left and opened out. Gun #3 was able to fire 9 rounds. Gun #43 shifted to this plane. As it approached the beam, mid-ships 20mm opened fire also. Main battery continued to fire on target as it opened to 12000 yards, altitude 700 feet. At least two other destroyers were firing at this plane as it opened out. Plane burst into flames an crashed into the sea. Claim sure assist for SIGSBEE.
2. In the course of the attack on the starboard bow, an enemy plane probably a ZEKE was closing on the starboard quarter, bearing about 060 degrees, distance 4500 yards. This lane had apparently made a run on a destroyer on our starboard quarter and missed the target. Gun #43 was the only ships gun to fire on the target. Plane was splashed on starboard quarter at about 3200 yards. Gun #43 expended about 32 rounds on this run and then shifted to the plane coming in on the starboard beam as mentioned in preceding action. Gun #43 appeared to be hitting the target. Claim sure assist.
3. During the action just discussed the third plane, probably a ZEKE or JUDY appeared on the port bow at about 250 degrees, range 4200 yards, altitude 2200 feet. This planed seemed to hover about and was apparently undecided as to his choice of targets. Destroyer 3000 yards on starboard bow placed several 5" bursts close to the plane. Guns #42 and #44 opened fire on target as it headed on course of about 190 degrees, closing slightly. Plane burst into flames at a range of 3300 yards and crashed into the water. Claim sure assist.
4. While most of the battery was thus engaged, a fourth enemy plane identified as a probable ZEKE made a diving attack on a destroyer about 4000 yards on our port beam. As he missed his target, turned to right and headed on a course of about 090 degrees, altitude 150 feet. Mid-ships 20mm's #22 and #24 opened fire on the plane, gun #22 had loading jam after firing about 6 rounds. Gun #24 remained on target until plane burst into flames and crashed into the sea at about 2800 yards. Claim sure assist.
1420 Engaged jacking gear, awaiting to be taken in tow by USS DASHIELL DD-659. 1500 Towing line over 1623 Being towed by DASHIELL. 1757 Tow line parted, USS MIAMI standing by to take ship in tow. 1843 Sunset 1937 Bogey 11 miles shot down by night fighter. 1948 Being towed by MIAMI making 7 1/2 knots course 180 degrees. 1950 Bogey 11 miles, many flares dropped in vicinity. 2025 Bogey 4 miles 2030 Enemy plane shot down 2046 Commenced firing on bogey 2049 Ceased firing.
Being towed by MIAMI, speed of advance 7.5 knots. 0609 Let go cable to MIAMI. 0612 Received towing cable from USS MUNSEE AT107. 0855 Conducted burial services for personnel killed in action.
Formed T.U 50.18.16, OTC in USS WELLES, MUNSEE, and SIGSBEE in tow proceeding to GUAM.
1653 Standing into Apra harbor, Island of GUAM. 1839 Moored to buoy in berth #703.
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