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Measure 31, Camouflage Design 11D for Sims Class Destroyers, Starboard Side

Measure 31, Camouflage Design 11D for Sims Class Destroyers, Starboard Side

Measure 31, Camouflage Design 11D for Sims Class Destroyers, Starboard Side

This plan shows the port side of Measure 31, Camouflage Design 11D, on a Sims class (DD-409) destroyer.

The design is described as being adaptable to DD 380, 381, 386 and 397 classes, the Gridley, Somers, Bagley and Benham classes, also single class destroyers.


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                  Compatible Upgrades

                  Performance

                  Mahan is a fairly well-rounded destroyer by the standards of the class. She is the first American destroyer to have the capability to fire torpedoes from beyond her detection range — via the upgraded torpedoes she has access to upon equipping Hull (B) — as well as sporting a solid pool of hit points and fast firing guns that turn quickly.

                  Overall, Mahan is good at almost anything her enemies can throw at her. She is able to defend herself from enemy destroyers adequately even more so once she gains additional hit points from upgrading to Hull (B). Her upgraded torpedoes are somewhat slow, but hit decently hard and can be fired from stealth. One thing of note about her torpedo launchers: she has one port, one starboard, and one centerline. This allows her to put a very respectable eight fish into the water on either side however, many opponents forget about the launcher on the opposite side of the ship. It can make for a nasty surprise at close range if they believe that she's launched all of the torpedoes she had loaded.

                  Mahan’s primary weakness is her large detection range. Lacking access to Upgrade Slot 5, there is little that Mahan can do for her large detection radius other than spend commander skill points on Concealment Expert even then, she remains one of the easiest Tier VII destroyers to spot.

                  Overall, Mahan is a definite upgrade from Farragut and a solid Tier VII destroyer.

                  • Outstanding main battery rate of fire.
                  • Fast turret rotation compared to other Tier VII destroyers.
                  • Three torpedo tube launchers provide additional flexibility and will frequently catch opponents off-guard.
                  • Long range torpedoes reach out to 9.2 km, making her the first American destroyer capable of firing torpedoes from beyond her detection range.
                  • Fairly good AA defense.
                  • Has access to the Defensive AA Fire () consumable.
                  • Very weak armor.
                  • Large silhouette and a fairly large detection range.
                  • Shorter main battery range compared to Farragut.
                  • One of the slowest Tier VII destroyers at 35 knots.

                  Research

                  Availability of researchable upgrades for Mahan is as follows:

                  • Hull: Upgrade to Hull (B) for additional health and improved rudder shift time researching Hull (B) unlocks progression to Benson.
                  • Torpedoes: The Mk15 mod. 0 torpedoes don't hit quite as hard and also travel slower, but they have far more range than her stock fish. Hull (B) must be equipped before they can be installed.
                  • Gun Fire Control System: Upgrade to Mk7 mod. 2 for an extra 10% range on the main battery.

                  Design of the New Orleans class


                  An explicit comparison of the four classes: The New Orleans are shorter, smaller, but the spared displacement weight is used to improve protection dramatically, although by figures alone it was still modest, 5-in at best for the shorter belt and conning tower. Speed was untouched as well as armament. Overall when introduced in service these cruisers became popular, with their distinctive appearance with two heavenly spaced raked funnels, and tall three-bridges superstructure and were considered very good-looking vessels.

                  They also differed from previous ships by dispensing of the aft tripod mast: They had a raked bow instead of the clipper bow of previous vessels, the hull was overall lower, thus saving weight and making a less exposed silhouette.
                  The forecastle deck was extended back to the second funnel, allowing the more ideal placement of dual purpose guns. The two funnels were closer together and a large search light tower was placed in between. Aircraft facilities were now relocated further aft and the hangar also integrated on its roof the second conning station, saving space, with a single, light mainmast between two pedestal cranes. The letter served both the spotter planes and onboard boats.

                  Powerplant:

                  Four Westinghouse gearing steam turbines, mated each on their own propeller shaft, were fed by eight Babcock & Wilcox high-pressure steam boilers. In total they produced an output of 107,000 hp (79,800 kW), for a rated speed of 32.75 knots (60.7 km/h), the same as the previous Portland. Their range was approximately 14,000 nautical miles (26,000 km) obtained at a cruise speed of 10 knots or 5,280 nautical miles at 20 knots, thanks to a capacity of 3,269 long tons (3,321 t) of bunker oil. This could be expanded in wartime, notably by using the ASW compartments. But they were also fitted in order to be refuelled at sea by a fleet oiler or another ship underway. Their sea trials and peacetime exercises shown no serious shortcomings either ith their powerplant or seakeeping qualities and the treaty limit was not exceeded. They were overall successful in reaching their own goals, but still were inferior to some Japanese and German designs (like the Myoko class or Hipper class).

                  Armament:


                  The damaged bow of USS New Orleans after the battle of Tassafaronga, showing her upper 8-in turret and associated barbette, now exposed.

                  Main armament: Nine 8 in/55 caliber Mark 14 guns (Mark 9 guns after World War II broke out) in triple mounts, like previous classes. Two turrets, with one superfiring were on the forecastle and on aft, one level lower.
                  however they differed as USS New Orleans was given the Mark 14 Mod 0 model, USS Minneapolis had the Mark 15 Mod 1 while the remainder had the Mark 12 Mod 0. Turrets faces also differed as Mark 14 guns ships were protected by rounded face turrets while the Mark 12/15 were housed in flat faced turret.
                  These 8 in guns fired an armor-piercing round of 260 pounds (118 kg) at 2,800 feet per second (853 m/s) and up to a range of 31,860 yards (29,130 m). As tested it can penetrate 5 inches of armor plate at 19,500 yards (17,830 m). Each turret had a provision of xxx rounds, xxx in total.


                  5-in/50 dual purpose guns onboard USS New Mexico in 1944: New Orleans cruisers also had open mounts, four on each side amidships.

                  Secondary armament: As previous ships also, the New Orleans carrier eight single mount dual purpose rapid fire 5 in/25 cal. Against surface targets they were able to deal with destroyers and small vessels, and aerial targets thanks to fragmentation shells. This ubiquitous gun equipped a large number of battleships and cruisers during WW2. It was given 52 to 54.5 lb (23.6 to 24.7 kg) shells at a 2,100 ft/s (640 m/s) and thanks to a mount allowing a -15 – +85° elevation and 360° traverse, it could hit a target at 14,500 yards (13,300 m) on the surface at 40° angle, and up to 27,400 feet (8,400 m) in ceiling.

                  Anti-aircraft armament:
                  The New Orleans class still had the old scheme of anti-aircraft defense and apart the heavy 5-in had no intermediate caliber but the low end of it: Eight .50 caliber water-cooled machine guns in single mounts were opposed to deal with low-flying aircraft in close defense. Acceptable by the early 1930s standard, it was replaced by modern 40 mm and 20 mm guns after WW2 broke out. But December 1941 however the whole New Orleans class was still clearly deficient for air defense as shown by the relative impunity of the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. The designers chose to enlarge the forecastle deck, allowing this battery of 5-inch guns to be mounted closer, thus facilitating ammunition delivery.

                  When available, quadruple 1.1 in guns (28 mm “Chicago Piano”) and Oerlikon autocannons replaced the .50 caliber guns). Early radar units and fire control directors were also added but radar developments gave the Allies an edge over the enemy. By late 1942, 40 mm Bofors in twin and quadruple mounts gradually replace the quadruple 1.1-in mounts, without regret. This went on gradually as, to make room and save weight, aircraft, cranes and catapults were removed thanks to better radars, more 40 and 20 mm guns were added, including their associated electrical and guiding equipment, making the ships dangerously unstable, but in late 1945 captains wilfully accepted this to get a proper air defence.


                  USS Quincy underway on 1 May 1940, as seen from a Utility Squadron One aircraft. Note identification markings on her turret tops: longitudinal stripes on the forward turrets and a circle on the after one. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center

                  Armour protection:

                  By far the most interesting aspect of the class was its clearly improved armour, thanks to weight savings by reducing dimensions. The New Orleans class were indeed the last to respect the Washington Naval Treaty tonnage limitations, which imposed draconian measures to not sacrifice protection. With a hull 12 feet (3.7 m) shorter than previous cruisers, this also traduced into a lesser gap between barbettes and therefore also a shorter belt and citadel. Only the machinery and vital internal spaces were protected, and armour plates were increased to 5 inches (127 mm). The machinery bulkheads were also thicker at 3.5 inches (89 mm). The deck armor rose to 2.25 inches (57 mm). It was a first as indeed calculations showed that the barbette and turret armor with their slopes would withstand a 8-in shell. Turrets had 8 inches on the front, 2.75 inches (70 mm) on either side and the roof was covered by one inch (25 mm) while barbettes had 5 inches walls, while USS San Francisco tested barbettes protected by 6.5 inches (170 mm) thick plates. The main 8-inch turrets were actually smaller but had a more effective angular faceplate.

                  In detail, 1520 tons of armour total.
                  -5″ (127mm) belt tapering to 3″ (76mm) on 0.75″ (19mm) STS plating
                  -3″ (76mm) machinery bulkheads tapering to 2″ (51mm)
                  -4.7″ (119mm) magazine sides tapering to 3″ (76mm)
                  -1.5″ (38mm) magazine bulkheads
                  -2.25″ (57mm) armor deck
                  -8″/1.5″/2.25″ (203mm/38mm/57mm)) turret faces/sides and rear/roof
                  -5″ (127mm) barbette
                  -2.5″ (64mm) conning tower

                  To put things in perspective, the Northampton belt was up to 95 mm or 3.75 inches, its Barbettes walls were just 1.5 in (38 mm) in thickness, while the turrets were protected by 2.5 inches (64 mm) and the conning tower was given walls 1 1⁄4 in (32 mm) strong. Although in some cases they could withstand 5 in shells, they were not immune to 6-inches shells, let alone 8-inches shells. This was the “paper cruiser” era. All in all, this Protection total combined weight represented 15% of the overall displacement against only 5.6% in the Pensacolas and 6% in the Northampton and Portland. So it almost tripled, but this was traduced by smaller fuel bunkerage, thus, reducing their range, compensated by their ability for refuelling at sea. This proved quite helpful in operations indeed.


                  Preliminary design details (ship review)


                  Preliminary design compared to the following Brooklyn class

                  The New Orleans class had their magazine protected by 4 inches (100 mm), much better than previous vessels, and in addition it was decided to place them a deck lower, below the waterline. This forced any incoming shell to go through several decks before going there, dissipating its energy, in addition to the internal splinter belt and armor deck.
                  This was by all accounts, an exceptionally good level of protection for the vitals, however the hull volume was still vulnerable to underwater damage and massive flooding. This was shown when the forward section of the New Orleans went off at the Battle of Tassafaronga.


                  USS Tuscaloosa 1930s


                  USS San Francisco enters San Francisco bay December 1942, giving a good sense of the scale of the bridge.

                  Characteristics (1941):
                  Displacement: 9,950 tonnes, 12,400 tonnes fully loaded
                  Dimensions: 179,27 x 18,82 x 5,9 m ()
                  Propulsion: 2 shafts, 4 turbines Westinghouse, 8 B&C boilers, 107 000 cv. 32,7 knots.
                  Armour: Turrets 30-70 mm, belt 120mm, CT 5-in (130) casemate 80 mm, deck 60 mm.
                  Armament: 9 x 203 mm (3ࡩ), 8 x 127 mm, 8 x 12,7 mm HMG, 4 seaplanes


                  ZR-3, Meet CV-3: Spotting Deck Space for a Zeppelin

                  On 27 January 1928, the Navy airship USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) conducted a landing on the brand-new Lexington-class battlecruiser/carrier conversion, USS Saratoga (CV-3).

                  The event saw the Zeppelin deliver fuel, supplies and passengers

                  Some 658-feet long, Los Angeles was crafted by the Zeppelin company in Friedrichshafen, Germany, as a Great War reparation, and was commissioned 25 November 1924 after delivery to the States by a German crew, just a few years before the above meeting.

                  200 meter USS Los Angeles ZR-3 compared to the 271-meter carrier USS Saratoga

                  Scrapped in 1939 after the tragic loss of the Navy’s airships Shenandoah, Akron, and Macon, by default she was the luckiest of the American Z-craft. On the other hand, the Navy’s non-rigid Blimp Program was wildly successful and had an excellent safety record. The last flight of a U.S. naval airship occurred on 31 August 1962.

                  Speaking of lucky, the 888-foot long Sara, commissioned 16 November 1927, would be one of only three pre-war American flattops to survive WWII, earning eight battlestars. Her reward was slight, being disposed of in the Bikini Atoll A-bomb tests in 1946.

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                  Troop Convoy AT-20: USS Ingraham, DD-444 sinks. USS Buck DD-420, oiler Chemung damaged, troopship SS Awatea disappears.

                  Navy Logs, USS Chemung Court of Inquiry fill Record Gaps stories received in 2011 tell of survior's life challenges

                  Copyright 2012 Franklyn E. Dailey Jr.

                  Part I Background :. Convoy AT-20, a fast (15-knot) convoy with a heavy troop load and priority supplies, left Halifax, Nova Scotia for Greenock, Scotland during the 04-08 watch on August 22, 1942. In a five-minute period in heavy fog on the 20-24 watch that same day, two modern U.S. destroyers were rammed. One (the USS Buck DD-420) had her stern almost sliced off and eventually lost both propellers. Her after steering engine compartment personnel became casualties. The other destroyer (USS Ingraham DD-444) blew up and sank. Only 11 survivors were recovered. Transport SS Awatea with 5000 Canadian troopers bound for England disappeared but later turned up back in Halifax. A U.S. Navy tanker (USS Chemung AO30) was left on fire in her forward bos'n stores hold. No enemy action was involved. What occurred during this event was first recounted in my book, "Joining The War At Sea 1939-1945." I was a just-graduated Navy Ensign and Convoy AT-20 was my first experience at sea in World War II. My book was published in late 1998 and has now seen several edtions. More details on this tragedy have since been adduced from ship logs and from the report of the Court of Inquiry examining the collision role played by the Navy tanker, USS Chemung. Book buyers are invited to download this page as some of this narrative has exapanded beyond the scope of the book.

                  (Note: For those not accustomed to naval time, 0400 is 4 a.m. in the morning, 1200 is noon, 2000 is 8 p.m. and 2400 is 12 p.m or midnight. Watch officers shortened their initial time entry for each watch period by leaving off two zeroes.)

                  The battleship USS New York and the light cruiser USS Philadelphia provided the Ocean Escort for Convoy AT-20. Embarked in Philadelphia was CTF 37, Rear Admiral Lyal Davidson, commanding the entire operation. Captain John Heffernan USN, as ComDesRon 13, led a destroyer screen consisting of a full destroyer squadron of nine of the newest U.S. destroyers. Heffernan had his flag on the USS Buck, DD420. USS Woolsey DD437, USS Ludlow DD438, USS Edison DD439, USS Wilkes DD441, USS Nicholson DD442, USS Swanson DD443, USS Ingraham DD444 and USS Bristol DD453 completed the ASW screen. Buck was a one stacker of the Sims class. The rest were Benson-Livermore two stackers with elevated foc'sle decks. Davidson's Task Force had been assembled to make sure that neither Germany's subs nor its surface forces could interfere with AT-20's passage. Chapter Four of the published book addressed the events of the night of August 22, 1942. An important addition to this Appendix is the cruising disposition of Convoy AT-20 on the night of August 22, 1942. It is Exhibit 6 of the Court of Inquiry Record and was furnished to me by Robert McBrayer. In the 12-ship convoy with New York and Philadelphia were just ten other ships. These ships bore vital resources. Heavy in troop transports, AT-20 was conveying approximately 50,000 soldiers to the British Isles. Its tanker conveyed vital oil and aviation gasoline and its supply ships bore essential components for infrastructure in a massive manpower buildup for Britain. Few convoys merited a battleship and cruiser. Earlier convoys would have been wonderstruck at a screen escort of nine new destroyers.

                  Part II-Official Navy Records on Convoy AT-20 : In 1985, I visited the National Archives on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC to re-acquaint myself with the logs of the USS Edison, DD439, on which I served from July 1942 to October 1944. Many of Edison's logs were written in my hand. My notes taken during that visit furnished the basis for some of the events covered in my story. That story is now available in book form. In its summary of the sinking of the USS Ingraham, DD444, a screening destroyer assigned to Convoy AT-20, one naval website mis-identified the ship that struck her. Understandable! Fog was the first enemy encountered after the convoy's departure from Halifax. Fog hides facts. Then, I received e-mail feedback from the book Some e-mails addressed the very same matter in which that one website erred, specifically, in mis-identifying the ship that struck the Ingraham causing her to explode and sink. As a result, I went into greater detail on the website www.daileyint.com, in an Appendix D (see "Self Inflicted Wounds" in the left column) to the original draft version on the web. Up to this point, there was substantial agreement as to what had occurred in terms of damage and losses on that fateful night but there was little public information as to why two collisions occurred in this powerful convoy. I was drawn back into this tragic episode and felt that further insight might come from examining a number of ship's logs for the 2000-2400 watch of August 22, 1942, and for as many subsequent watch periods as seemed fruitful.

                  In company with David Shonerd, Captain USN (Ret), my Naval Academy roommate for our Plebe Year (1939-40), on the 13 th of November 2000, he as my driver, guide and overnight host, I visited the new National Archives in College Park, Maryland. David had telephoned the Archives that morning. The ship's logs that we needed had been pulled from the stacks and were ready for examination. I consulted the logs of the USS Philadelphia CL41, the USS Buck DD420, the USS Bristol DD453 and the USS Chemung AO30. This examination provided important details on the two collisions that occurred in Convoy AT-20 during its first night out of Halifax.

                  It did not take long to find what we were looking for, watch log information identifying specific vessels in specific incidents. In the paragraphs with quote marks that follow, I have transcribed ship's logs for selected watch periods. I might note here that David and I were not typical of the many doing research that day in November 2000. We were both about to be 80 years old. One of us had participated in the World War II event that we were examining. The other was a warship and wartime qualified watch officer who served in the Pacific during most of World War II. Rapid focus on the key paragraphs of the 1942 logs was achieved. I am indebted to Dave Shonerd not only for the physical transport and Archives arrangements but also for helping to pinpoint so quickly the essential log entries related to the loss of the USS Ingraham and the damage to the USS Buck.

                  ( An important additon to official Navy Records of Convoy AT-20) : Those who read these lines need to know that on March 5, 2001, I, Franklyn E. Dailey Jr., received from Robert McBrayer, a U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail pack containing excerpts from the copy of the report of the Chemung's Court of Inquiry , which met first on August 28, 1942, to examine the causes for the loss and damage incurred in Convoy AT-20. The next paragraph is substantially more complete based on those Court of Inquiry excerpts, one important element of which was the complete cruising disposition of the entire convoy and ASW screen. In my original write-up, I had the convoy in three columns when actually four columns existed, though Column 1 still remains the troubled column. Captain Robert McBrayer USNR (Ret) served on the USS Chemung from 7/55 to 7/57. Chemung was in service in the Pacific during this period. McBrayer's experiences include many rough weather refuelings including one when the oil hose parted while pumping to a carrier. He recalls, "The Chemung was hit several times by carriers while refueling them. The Bonhomme Richard was particularly a problem. She hit us almost every time she came alongside. Our gun tubs showed it. We took to putting heavy fenders over each time." Captain McBrayer is involved with the Chemung reunion group, helping with their newsletter and their get togethers. He reports that Chemung plankowner George Bird , one of the witnesses before the Court of Inquiry convened on August 28, 1942, is still active in the group, with wife Karen Bird also taking an active part. There are 274 on Chemung's mailing list and Captain McBrayer states that interest in Chemung's WW II record remains high.)

                  For a better understanding of transcribed mateial, let me lay out how Convoy AT-20 would have appeared on August 22, 1942 to an aircraft flying overhead. For the convoy cruising disposition, and other details in this Appendix, I am indebted as noted above to Robert McBrayer and excerpts he forwarded to me from the Court of Inquiry Record. His copy of the Court of Inquiry Record had been made available by George and Karen Bird. George was serving on the Chemung in Convoy AT-20 and was injured in the collision which occurred when the Ingraham steamed into the path of Column 1 of the convoy. (On January 22, 2011, the website author was able to add the story of Seaman 2/c Robert Francis McLaughlin USN , on watch in the Chemung's radio shack, who received major injuries in the collision. This story is added to the Chemung story below as Part III-Survivors Stories from USS Chemung received in 2011 .)

                  Steaming on base courses a bit south of east at 14.5 knots, AT-20 was formed in four ship columns. Column 1 would be on the port or north flank of the eastbound convoy, Column 2 would be next to the right (south), Column 3 next right and Column 4 on the starboard or south flank. ( the number of a ship in the convoy will be preceded by # ) The lead ship in Column 1 was the cruiser, USS Philadelphia aka #11, the lead ship in Column 2 was the SS Letitia aka #21, the lead ship in Column 3 was the USS New York aka #31, the convoy guide, and the lead ship in Column 4 was U.S.A.T. Siboney aka #41. The columns were to maintain spacing between columns of 1000 yards. Each column contained three ships. The distance to be maintained between ships in column was 600 yards. Behind Philadelphia in Column 1 came the SS Awatea #12 with the Navy oiler USS Chemung #13 next astern. Behind Letitia in Column 2 was SS Strathmore #22 followed by SS Duchess of Bedford #23. Behind New York in Column 3 came MV Winchester Castle #32 followed by SS Ormonde #33. Behind Siboney in Column 4 came SS Reina del Pacifico #42, then a 'reefer' (a refrigerator ship, AF-11) Polaris #43 in that order. Carrying the Screen Commander, the destroyer USS Buck aka #2 had an assigned screen station in an arc from dead ahead of the convoy to about relative 320 degrees from the convoy base course. USS Ingraham aka #4 was next on the port side to about 270 degrees relative to the lead flank of the convoy ships. USS Bristol, #6, had the port quarter. Matching Buck's position on the port bow, was USS Ludlow on the starboard bow as #3, next behind her was USS Woolsey #5 and on the starboard quarter was my ship, USS Edison #7. This screen patrolled from 4000 to 6000 yards from the nearest convoy ships. The remaining destroyers were ahead 7 miles with USS Wilkes #15 patrolling dead ahead on either side of the base course, USS Swanson #16 broad on the port bow of the convoy and USS Nicholson #17 broad on the starboard bow. It is understandable that the Buck and Philly would wish to maintain best visual contact for use of visual signals, especially flag hoists and blinker. Convoy ceased zigzagging at 1938 in preparation for night steaming, sunset was at 1955 and at 2035 the fog towing spars were ordered streamed for all convoy ships by flag hoist. Buck's report of an unidentifed ship on her port side steaming south sent the convoy into a ship's turn 45 degrees to starboard. When that ship identified herself as USCG Menemsha, and had passed the convoy close to port, a second emergency ship's turn of 45 degrees back to the base course of 110 degrees true was executed. Admiral Davidson noted in the Court of Inquiry Record that ship #21, Letitia, not only failed to execute the two emergency turns three minutes apart but appeared to be on a base course which brought her closer to Philadelphia and away from New York. The failure of Letitia to respond to proper course instructions given by flag hoist prompted Admiral Davidson to send the Buck on its mission to correct Letitia's actions. This put in motion the chain of events, which in an under-evaluated fog condition, led to the disasters of the evening.

                  During the 20-24 watch on August 22, 1942, Convoy AT-20 sailed into fog conditions which were shallow vertically, but horizontally were tantalizingly, dense and light, moment to moment! Fog became the master of the evening. The Philadelphia's 16-20 log notes that she streamed her towed spar astern (referred to in the Court of Inquiry Record as a "fog buoy.") with 400 yards of line. This was a fog-induced measure to provide the next ship in line a visual object on which to keep station. Let me introduce a personal observation about the fog of that evening. From Edison's position abaft the right beam of the convoy, no other ships were visible. Understandable, as we were 5000 yards out from the convoy. We encountered a wreathy swirling treacherous fog right down on the water. We could occasionally see the moon up above so vertical visibility was better than horizontal visibility. I now have an Navy pilot's experience in fog and I believe that all persons interrogated by the Court of Inquiry answered the visibility estimate question with honest but flawed responses. Most erred in reporting visibility at one or two or three thousand yards. One witness stated "one quarter to three quarters of a mile." Instead of the inference of uncertainty in distance from such a report, if it had been understood as "now one quarter and then moments later three quarters" the report would have been more realistic. But the interrogator never pressed the witness on how he arrived at his estimate and what he meant by it. On Edison's bridge, we used a handheld device whose tradename I believe was a Statimeter, to deduce an estimate of distance to nearby ships. One had to enter the other ship's masthead height into the device, bracket that masthead in the arms of the device by capturing it from its top to the waterline, and read out the distance to that ship on another point of the device. That night a masthead might have been seen but the waterline below it obscured. No Inquiry witness mentioned use of anything but seaman's eye in the estimates they gave. In fog, keeping station on a towing spar ahead, there would be a tendency to "inch up" to give the helmsman and OOD the best look at the spar. In column to column spacing the tendency would be to close in a bit to keep the next ship over in sight. I believe that some of the witnesses certainly did see some ships at greater distances when the fog in that direction would momentarily break, but they might easily miss a ship close aboard wreathed in fog. Only the Philadelphia bridge or flag bridge personnel might have had better visibility estimates because the Inquiry Record has a number of references to a "radar plot" on Philadelphia. We (on a destroyer) had no such plot. Nor did the other ships present. In Column 1, for activities behind the Philadelphia, conning officers and OODs had no time to react due to these conditions yet the two destroyers sent on convoy intervention missions into Column 1 of AT-20 acted as though they fully believed their own estimates of visibility. Case in point: The USS Buck attempted to penetrate Column 1 in a crossing situation and testimony reveals that she momentarily slowed her engines to avoid hitting Philadelphia's towing spar. That spar would have been 400 yards behind Philly and the next ship in line was to keep station 600 yards behind Philly. I am sure that Buck knew this, but, because of a false sense of security about visibility, and not seeing Awatea, assumed Awatea was in fact not 200 yards behind that spar but even further back. The Inquiry Record shows that Buck almost made it. Awatea sliced into Buck's starboard side behind Gun 4 almost at right angles as Buck attempted to accelerate past Philly's towing spar on her port side. The Inquiry Court noted that had Awatea turned to port (toward Buck's stern, as the General Prudential Rule would advise), Buck might have made it across Awatea's path. We are dealing with seconds now in this re-creation and making assumptions that Awatea's conning officer had a full appreciation for Buck's prior movements which he did not have ! When Ingraham came into Column 1, on a mission to offer aid to the Buck/Awatea collision event, although the ship to ship final aspects to each other were quite different from the Buck/Awatea event, the misjudgments due to erratic estimates of visibility led to sudden sightings at distances so close that only emergency mitigation maneuvers could be attempted. These desperate final and unsuccessful efforts to avoid collision had their origins in the same fog problems that Buck and Awatea just minutes earlier had failed to resolve . And again in the final minute or two, if either ship had a prior plot of the movements of the other before sighting , there was a chance that the collision might have been avoided. Chemung had moved slightly to port out of her lane to port to avoid the Buck/Awatea collision. Ingraham was hit abaft midships by Chemung at an acute angle with the ships passing port to port on opposite courses. The consequences proved disastrous. One officer, Ensign Melvin Brown USN, my Naval Academy classmate, who was in the Mark 37 Director, and 10 enlisted ratings, survived the collision, and subsequent explosion of Ingraham's armed depth charges as she sank.

                  The aspect that I wished the Inquiry interrogator had pressed a little harder was Ingraham's speed in her convoy entry maneuver, and whether it related to any TBS orders from CTF 37. I relieved Ensign R. F. Hofer USN on Edison as JOOD underway at midnight and he told me in our 2330-2400 discussion that Ingraham has been directed to "close the convoy at high speed." A member of the destroyer Swanson (DD-443) bridge crew has stated on a web page that the TF Commander, using the TBS, advised the Ingraham to use caution in approaching a ship column in the convory. The lowest estimate given in the Inquiry Record of Ingraham's speed entering that convoy was 20 knots and many gave estimates of 25 knots. I believe that is too high. Ships approaching on opposite or near opposite courses leave an impression of higher speeds due to the relative motions. The Inquiry Record of Admiral Davidson's TBS orders, and the same orders as understood by the Ingraham watch officer on the bridge, leave us with the Ingraham's actual speed about as wreathy as that fog.

                  From the log of the USS Philadelphia , CL41

                  Log approved by Paul S. Hendren, Commanding Officer date is August 22, 1942.

                  "20-24 Steaming as before. 2002 USS Edison cast off. 2015 Changed course to 115 deg. (T) Changed speed to 13.5 knots. 2020 Changed course to 110 deg. (T), changed speed to 15.5 knots. 2030 Changed speed to 14.6 knots. Strange ship entered formation, bearing 270 deg. Relative, distant 1000 yards, passed well clear. 2055 Streamed towing spar, 400 yards line. 2100 Ship sighted at 2005 identified as USCG Menemcoe. (Log should have identified her as the Coast Guard manned USS Menemsha, according to Pieter Graf of The Netherlands, who did extensive research in 2008 to enable this correction.) 2230 Destroyer assumed to be #2 (USS Buck) sighted passing astern from port quarter. 2233 Collision astern, presumed to be between #2 (USS Buck) and #12 (SS Awatea). 2235 Destroyer sighted bearing 250 deg. Relative, on opposite course. 2238 Violent explosion on port quarter. 2238 General Quarters, all hands in life jackets. 2238 Emergency turn to starboard to course 155 Deg. (T) 2250 Changed course to 110 deg. (T) 2310 Radar contact bearing 034 deg. Relative. 2334 Secured from General Quarters, set Condition of readiness " II Mike" set material condition "Baker Plus."

                  (1) The "emergency turn" noted above was 45 degrees starboard. U.S. convoys used the British Mersigs signal book when steaming with mixed nationality convoys and escorts. The 45-degree emergency turn to starboard was signaled at night with flares and was executed immediately. It was a "ship's turn" with all ships turning at once.

                  (2) There have been some questions raised in earlier queries concerning the time of the events on the 20-24 watch on August 22, 1942. I discovered in Philadelphia's next watch period entry, the 00-04 mid-watch, that her clocks were set ahead one hour to Zone +2 time on that ship. All ships were not necessarily keeping the same local time and even when they were, clocks used as reference by log writing officers varied.

                  (3) The watch stander on the Philadelphia was recording Philadephia's actions and observations on his watch. CTF 37, aboard Philadelphia, gave the USS Buck an order over the TBS to "drop back" to enter the convoy. Buck's log shows that her mission on that fateful evening was to give the Letitia, leading Column 2 in the convoy, a message about where CTF 37 wanted her to keep station. Very likely a bull horn (loud voice) or a gun to shoot across a written message would be used to pass the information. Radio silence was being observed to deny German U-boats low frequency radio signals that the latter might intercept to locate convoys. The Navy vessels had TBS transmitters for voice communication with each other on higher radio carrier frequencies around 70 megacycles. These shorter radio waves were assumed to be line of sight and would not give location away. (Lack of discipline in the form of unnecessary chit chat in some convoys revealed that TBS transmissions could actually carry beyond the horizon.) The merchant ships did not have TBS equipment and relied on low frequency radio, which would bounce through the atmosphere in sky waves and in ground waves. The USS Chemung had TBY, a battery powered version of the TBS. So, to maintain radio silence, messages to and from merchant ships relied on MERSIGS visual flag signals in good visibility and flares for emergency turns at night. In fog, the only option for a vital message, if radio silence was to be maintained was to have a messenger ship go alongside, as the Buck was assigned to do, for passing information to the SS Letitia. (Why the Buck did not drop back astern of convoy and come forward between columns to accomplish her message mission, but rather chose to double back down the port side of the convoy and attempt to enter the convoy behind Philadelphia and then pull up alongside Letitia was questioned without resolve in Court of Inquiry excerpts available to me on March 15, 2001. It is possible the Buck had a break in the fog that closed in just as she attempted her maneuver.) The papers I do have from the Inquiry Record do clarify a point on what CTF 37 wanted Letitia to do. Apparently Letitia was not holding her assigned position as ship 21 in the convoy directly between 11, the Philadelphia and 31, the New York. RAdm Davidson wanted to clarify to Letitia what her assigned position was and to tell her to go there.

                  (4) Except for rare breaks, fog obscured the transit path of AT-20. The Philly had launched a towing spar with 400 yards of line behind her.. She saw ships only at close range and even then only in "patches" where the fog would have lifted. The Philly watch stander noted the second destroyer, five minutes later on "opposite course," proceeding, as the Buck had, down Philly's port side similar to the route the Buck had taken just before her. The Buck had been noted crossing astern after which a first collision occurred. The second destroyer barely made it down the port side, and was not noted in the Philly log entry as having crossed astern. Philly's last visual sighting of this second destroyer, noted to be on an opposite course, was followed by a "violent explosion." Fog did not obscure the flash of that explosion but did obscure the ships involved. That violent explosion was the Ingraham DD444, and though the writer of the log on the Philly ventured no collision explanation to go along with the explosion, we know from other records that it was the oiler, USS Chemung, that hit that second destroyer, the USS Ingraham. Following this collision, Ingraham exploded. These collisions were no fault of the ships in convoy. Those ships did not even have the knowledge that destroyers would be moving about in the paths of the convoy ships. For their part, the destroyers involved had orders to "deliver a message" (Buck) or to investigate a collision in the convoy (Ingraham), but could see little. The destroyers involved could not even be sure that the towing spars being used in the fog would keep ships in the convoy perfectly lined up. Current or wind could cause the second ship in column to be offset from the line of the one ahead and such an offset would become greater the further back a ship was.

                  From the log of the USS Buck DD420

                  L.R. Miller, Lieut. Comdr. USN Commanding, approved this entry.

                  Steaming as before. 2005 formation base course changed to 110 deg., true, 135 deg. PSC 2025 Sighted strange ship on starboard bow, this ship proceeded to investigate. Convoy executed emergency turn to starboard. Ship identified as friendly, USCGS Menemcoe. (Note: The Indian name of this Coast Guard ship sounded different to the watch stander on the Philly.) This ship proceeded to overtake convoy at 20 kts 190 RPM. (Note: "this ship" is the Buck, not the stranger.) 2150 Passed close by Column 3 of convoy, leaving USS New York to starboard. 2210 Prior to reaching screening station, while still only 3000 yards ahead of convoy, this ship was ordered by CTF37 to deliver a message to the SS Letitia, stationed in main body. This ship reversed course to port, steaming at 10 kts, 90 RPM. Contact maintained with main body by radar. (Note: No ships had short wave radar such as SG. The best any U.S. destroyer in this convoy had was air search radar, the SC. It was worse than useless for penetrating the main body of a convoy in fog.)This ship on opposite and parallel course to convoy, sighted USS Philadelphia. Captain at the conn: This ship turned to port in order to pass astern of the Philadelphia, after which proposed plan was to parallel the convoy and deliver message to Letitia from between columns 1. and 2. 2222 Maneuvering on various courses and various speeds as necessary to pass close astern of Philadelphia 2225 This ship was rammed on starboard side of fantail just aft of gun #5 by the bow of the SS Awatea. Ship just astern of Philadelphia. Collision took place at 90 degree angle, the bow of the SS Awatea piercing two thirds of the way through this ship at point of collision this ship showing turns for 20 kts, 190 RPM 2226 Explosions felt below stern of this ship as a depth charge which had shaken loose exploded. (Note: A lanyard was attached to the safety fork and to a fixed portion of the mount so that when the charge rolled off into the water, the safety fork was withdrawn and the charge exploded a few seconds after rolling off into the water. This was a violation of safety orders. The Court of Inquiry Record also reveals that the #4 and $5 projectors on Ingraham racks had their depth charge safety forks removed at dusk and were therefore "live" if they rolled off or were knocked off that ship. Again, a violation of instructions.) 2229 All engines stop. Stern of this ship clear of transport. Fantail reported damaged such that any use of engines might prove fatal to stern of ship and men trapped there. (Note: Men were in after crew's compartment.) Reported that port shaft was intact and that port engine might still be used. Damage control party investigating damages and commencing rescue work. Wounded men taken to ward room as soon as extracted ship's doctor in charge of caring for wounded personnel. After compartments reported flooded. Watertight integrity reported to have been investigated and found to be satisfactory. Ship adrift and darkened top side as rescue work proceeding on stern."

                  This log was signed by C.R. Barton Lieut. (jg) D-V (G) USNR

                  Barton added a correction:

                  "Correction: this speed being made just prior to collision. When collision was seen to be unavoidable, all engines were stopped upon stern becoming free of transport, the port engine was given 1/3 ahead, then standard, and responded to take stern somewhat clear of depth charge explosion."

                  "00-04 condition Affirm set rescue and repair work in progress. 0211 USS Edison arrived at scene standing by 0235 Rescue work in damaged compartments completed following named men missing, Rowse, Louis Glennwood, 372-23-21, SC 3/c, USN Dungan, Raymond Lee, 272-43-99, Sea 1/c, USN Evans, Roy, 311-36-50, Sea 2/c, USN Davis, Arthur Edward, 283-64-91, Sea 2/c USNR Duro, Howard Arthur, 646-18-49, Sea 2/c, USNR Nemeth, Wendell 633-88-33, A.S., USNR. 0310 Commenced maneuvering various speeds on port engine using varying amounts of rudder to bring the ship to heading 310 deg.t. 0345 Commenced lying to port engine racing, propeller believed lost no way on ship. Set condition of readiness two mike on gun and torpedo. On batteries.

                  Robert K. Irwin, Lieutenant, US Navy"

                  Lying to as before. 0427 secured main engines 0530 sighted USS Chemung standing by to receive tow line from her .0630 USS Chemung maneuvering alongside starboard motor whaleboat lowered to transfer medical supplies to that ship and assist in passing tow line. 0740 starboard motor whaleboat hoisted and secured. 0750 Tow line from Chemung, consisting of 600 feet of mooring wire in place, that ship commencing to steam ahead slowly."

                  Underway as before 0924 tow line parted, lying to waiting to receive another line 1100 tow line secured consisting of 120 fathoms of 10 inch manila and 15 fathoms of anchor chain 1135 tow line parted, lying to, waiting to receive another line."

                  From the log of the USS Bristol DD453: Approving these entries,

                  C.O. LCDR Chester Clark Wood USN

                  Nav. LCDR Morton Sunderland USN

                  Bristol's log shows that she passed through the boom at Halifax NS on the 04-08 watch on August 22, 1942 and proceeded to join the screen of Convoy AT-20 which was in the process of forming up for transit to Greenock, Scotland. Transcription from this log begins for the evening watches of August 22, 1942.

                  "18-20 Steaming as before 1850 Swanson (Note: USS Swanson DD443) laying depth charges. This ship (Note: meaning Bristol) drawing ahead in screen. (Note: Likely covering part of Swanson's sector.) 1940 Screening vessels returning to normal stations 1940 Sunset. Darken ship"

                  Steaming as before. 2040 USS Ingraham reported to be resuming station. USS Bristol moved to regular station on port quarter of convoy. 2142 USS Swanson passed about 2000 yards on our port beam resuming station. 2225 Observed explosion on starboard beam, distance about 4000 yards 2226 On orders from SOPA (Note: Senior Officer Present Afloat, CTF 37) USS Bristol stood over to investigate. Picked up two officers and nine enlisted men from USS Ingraham which ship had just sunk."

                  "00-04 Standing by USS Chemung and continuing search of area for other possible survivors. List of survivors from USS Ingraham picked up: Owen, Roy, Ens USNR Brown, Melvin Ens USNR (Note Mel Brown was a June 19, 1942 graduate of the US Naval Academy and classmate of the author. He was commissioned an Ensign USN) Scaffe, Charles PCBM USN 261-69-57 Cooper, Priest G. Jr. Cox. USN 311-26-71 Anderson, Ray M. Cox. USN 371-59-76 Woody, Coleman E. S 2/c USN 355-69-50 Wilhelm, Luther Leonard S 1/c 266-39-37 Allen, Frank Edward, F 1/c USN, # unknown Corcoran, Thomas Phillips S 2/c USNR # 642-03-40 Kennedy, Leon L., F 1/c USN #256-36-75 Cooper, Ernest Charles S 2/c USNR #614-06-92.

                  0215 Joined USS Buck DD420, badly damaged by collision. Circling Buck and Chemung as protective screen. Boilers #1 & 4 in use. Ship darkened, condition of readiness three, material conditions "Baker." Medical care being given to men rescued."

                  "04-08 Steaming as before. Screening USS Buck and USS Chemung. Screened ships lying to, this ship circling at 12 knots. USS Chemung passing tow line to USS Buck. All survivors under medical care."

                  "8-12 Steaming as before. USS Chemung has USS Buck in tow on course 310 deg. T. 0928 Tow line parted. Began steaming in circle screening both ships. 1015 USS Buck again in tow. Began patrolling at 12 knots area 45 deg either side of tow of USS Chemung distance about 400 yards. Base course 270 deg. T."

                  "12-16 Steaming as before. Patrolling station ahead of Chemung and Buck in semicircle of 4000 yard radius beam to beam. 1427 Heavy rain squall with reduced visibility 1500 Squall passed over. Chemung estimated to be on course 260 deg. PGC speed 5 knots."

                  From the log of the USS Chemung AO-30 :

                  Log page approved by J.J. Twomey

                  "20-24 Steaming as before. 2235 Collision with destroyer.

                  Major injuries. Commander John J. Twomey USN Ensign Neal McEwen Craig Jr. USNR Holland, John - Service number unknown RM 3/c USN McLaughlin, Robert F. #642-05-58 S 2/c USNR Minor injuries: Lieut. Ray E. Wingler USNR Dehm, Francis A. 403-57-29 S 2/c USNR Hymmel, Walter M. 328-49-10 FC 1/c USN Sokolowski, John A. 311-93-79 S 2/c USNR White, Ralph Iron Jr. 614-09-17, S 2/c USNR."

                  The log entry immediately above is the total mention in Chemung's logs of a collision that left Chemung on fire forward, with flames visible for miles as the fog cleared. I surmise that Commanding Officer Twomey's major injuries may have incapacitated him, possibly requiring his Executive Officer to take over. Such a change of command could have influenced the pace of Chemung's immediate damage actions and also kept the CO from supervising some of the later record keeping. In the story "Joining The War At Sea 1939-1945", I recount how the Chemung asked Edison to come alongside and put Chemung's fire out. Had their CO not been injured, I doubt that Chemung would have asked a destroyer to put her fire out when her own equipment and training were so much more extensive. With understandable delay due to their skipper's injuries, Chemung's crew did then deal effectively with the damage and with the subsequent fire.)

                  Another interesting event which preceded the events above by not more than half an hour was recorded in Admiral Davidson's testimony to the Court of Inquiry. He directed the Edison in the inner screen on the starboard flank of the convoy to come alongside the Philadelphia, take aboard meningitis serum, and deliver it to to the U.S. Army Transport Siboney, convoy ship #41. The fog had not yet intervened and that transfer proceeded without incident. That transfer also occurred without the knowledge of Ensign Dailey who was completely unaware of it until he read the Inquiry Record sent him by Robert McBrayer on March 5, 2001.

                  Epilogue : Ingraham was lost while escorting Convoy AT-20. Within 15 months, torpedoes coursing through the Mediterranean Sea had sunk the USS Buck, the USS Bristol and the SS Awatea. Only my ship, and the Chemung, of this mini-convoy back to Halifax, on August 23, 1942, managed to survive World War II. The other damaged ship from AT-20, SS Awatea was lost at sea off Tunisia. So, in the episode of AT-20 that began on August 22, 1942, shared by the SS Awatea, the USS Buck DD-420, the USS Ingraham DD-444, the USS Edison DD-439, and the USS Chemung AO-30, only the last two named, survived the war.

                  Part III-Survivor Stories from USS Chemung AO-30 received in 2011.

                  Here is the first, received 01/17/2011, reproduced verbatim:

                  I have wondered for many years what happened to my father's legs in the North Atlantic. You have answered my questions.

                  My father was born in 1922, Robert Francis McLaughlin. In August of 1942 (the 22nd to be exact), he lost his legs in a ship collision in naval convoy in the North Atlantic. He was a radioman on the Chemung. I thought he was 19 when it occurred but I find he was just 20 when the accident occurred. I thought it was a great battle with a German ship that took his legs. He wouldn't talk about it. I was 14 when he died and we never had any of the deeper discussions that might have occurred if he had been with us longer. The only thing I remember him saying is that the other ship sunk. It makes sense to me now.

                  Thank-you for answering many of my questions. I am looking to buy your book and get more information about that fateful day.

                  Anne Marie (McLaughlin) Harris"

                  The e-mail above leads, directly, to a remarkable discovery. As the expression goes, we can "put two and two together," after 69 years! In the compilation of the injury summary contained in the 08/22/1942 log of the USS Chemung, we find (above, see Chemung log excerpt) one of the names after "major injuries," "McLaughlin, Robert F. #642-05-58 S 2/c USNR." It was forwarded to me and included in Captain Robert McBrayer USNR's material forwarded to me after he, McBrayer commanded the USS Chemung, from 1955-57. He had the benefit of the ship's history of the USS Chemung, including passages from her log on the night of August 22, 1942. This log was approved by Commander Twomey, Chemung's Commanding Officer, himself among the "major injuries" noted. This will come as discovery by Anne Marie Harris, who received from her father, and that reluctantly, only that he was on duty in the Chemung's radio shack when the collision occurred. I have learned from Anne Marie that her Dad mentioned "a barrel rolling around." He had left the radio shack to find out what had occurred, and while out on deck encountered a 'barrel' that had come loose, and that barrel injured one leg above the knee , the other below the knee, resulting in amputation, prostheses, and crutches for the rest of his life. ( Entered 01/23/2011, based on input from Robert McBrayer, George and Sue Bird, and Anne Marie Harris. )

                  Robert Francis McLaughlin was born in 1922. He was in the Navy, serving in the 'radio gang' of the USS Chemung AO-30, when that ship collided with the destroyer, USS Ingraham DD-444, while both were in Convoy AT-20, eastbound from Halifax, NS, to Greenock Scotland, during the 20-24 watch on August 22, 1942. McLaughlin sustained major injuries in the collision, eventually losing parts of both legs, one above the knee, the other below the knee. It is not known when he was actually discharged from the Navy but rehab at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington DC very likely took place, since he married, and then raised a family of three children while living in a Maryland suburb adjacent to the District of Columbia. One of those children is now Anne Marie Mclaughlin Harris, an ER nurse, who has a brother, Robert Francis Harris, whose twin sister has passed. It is known that her father, despite his injury, with prostheses and crutches, held a responsible position with the U.S. Navy's civilian personnel division located in the Pentagon. He passed in 1966 and is buried at Arlington. ( Entered 01/28/2011, based on information from Anne Marie Harris. )

                  Navy ID for Robert F. McLaughlin issued just days before USS Chemung AO-30 sustained a major collision in Convoy AT-20 (received under postmark 08/12/2011, entered here 09/24/2011)

                  Anne Marie Harris' husband, Richard A. Harris, served in the U.S. Air Force during the Viet Nam conflict. The couple have four children, Laura Jean and Robert, twins, age 40, Sean Michael 38 and Heather Michelle 36. Anne Marie's father, Robert Francis McLaughlin married Mary Elizabeth Goodwin in Hartford Ct. in 1949. ( 01/30/2011, based on information from Anne Marie Harris. )

                  More discovery is contained in an e-mail dtd 09/19/2011 rec'd 09/20/2011 from Brian Rice:

                  "Sorry Frank it took so long to get this together. My dad Thomas W. Rice was in the Navy during WW2. One of the ships he was on was the USS Chemung. He was a gunner's mate. He was born in Fargo N.D. April 24, 1923. He passed away Oct 15, 2009.

                  My father didn't talk about the war much. I talked with him a few times when I was a kid. He told me about a collision in the Atlantic where the Chemung collided with a destroyer or cruiser on a foggy night and sank. I think it took the rear end off. The ship was on fire and he aided a medical Dr. with the amputation of a crew member's leg or legs and he dumped them overboard.

                  I have some pictures and I will forward them to you. Brian Rice" (He forwarded the three below/Author)

                  Navy ID and photo if Gunner's Mate Tom Rice

                  Tom Rice and shipmates from USS Chemung AO-30 in 1942 Rice is third from right


                  Prior to July 1941, the logistic needs of the U.S. Fleet, renamed the Pacific Fleet after its move to Hawaii, was supplied by the Base Force. This command was responsible for providing fuel, food, ammunition, and provisions. The Base Force also provided the fleet with ancillary services, encompassing such mundane tasks as arranging for its water supply, taking care of garbage disposal, and running the shore patrol. To provide these services, a variety of auxiliaries comprised of oilers, fresh- and frozen-provision ships, repair ships, fleet tugs, and a variety of small craft, from target ships to garbage scows, were assigned to this force. Excluded were the specialized tenders--repair ships, destroyer tenders, seaplane tenders, submarine tenders--consigned to the various type commands. 1 As a major element of the fleet, the Base Force was commanded by a rear admiral who was responsible for the operation and administration of all vessels and personnel assigned to his command.

                  In the spring of 1941, discussions were held concerning the growing needs of the rapidly expanding Pacific Fleet and the possible reorganization of the Base Force, then headquartered aboard the Argonne (AG-3) with the fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The chief of naval operations, Adm. Harold Stark, recommended that the Base Force be divided into four separate squadrons: (1) troop transport (2) units primarily concerned with harbor, towing, and auxiliary services (3) units engaged in transportation of bulk cargoes and (4) units for offensive and defensive mine operations. 2 Under the new arrangement, the Train would be divided into four service squadrons: Squadron 2--Harbor services Squadron 4--Transport of personnel and landing force equipment Squadron 6--Offensive and defensive mining and Squadron 8--Transport of bulk fuel. The major task of the Base Force, and of Squadron 8 in particular, would still be to furnish logistic support to the main elements of the Pacific Fleet then based at Pearl Harbor.

                  When Squadron 8 (Base Force) was officially established in July 1941, it included oilers, ammunition ships, store ships, and provision

                  ships, which were essential for the mission of supplying the Pacific Fleet with fuel, ammunition, provisions, clothing, small stores, and ship's stores. By August the squadron had a total of eighteen ships assigned including the following vessels: Stores issue ships--Antares (AKS-3), Castor (AKS-1), Ammunition ships--Pyro (AE-1), Provision ships--Bridge (AF-1), Arctic (AF-7), Boreas (AF-9), and Aldebaran (AF-10), Oilers--Kanawha (AO-1), Cuyama (AO-3), Brazos (AO-4), Neches (AO-5), Ramapo (AO-12), Sepulga (AO-20), Tippecanoe (AO-21), Neosho (AO-23), Platte (AO-24), Sabine (AO-25), and Kaskaskia (AO-27). 3

                  Early Operations

                  During the first six months of the war, the activities of the Base Force, renamed the Service Force in March, were limited to supporting the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. No aid was given west of the Hawaiian Islands, leaving the old Asiatic Fleet in the Southwest Pacific to fend for itself (fuel for these ships was provided by the fleet oilers Pecos, Tippecanoe--assigned to the Asiatic Fleet, not the Base Force--and the Standard Oil tanker George G. Henry). With the exception of the delaying actions in the Philippines and the Battle of the Java Sea, the activities of the U.S. Navy during this period were limited to local patrols and hit-and-run raids on some of the Japanese-held islands, primarily in the Marshall and Gilbert groups. Except for fueling-at-sea by fleet oilers, the raiders depended on the facilities at Pearl Harbor for their logistic needs, returning to base after each mission.

                  The accomplishments of the fleet oilers supporting these missions should not be underestimated, however, since these important raids could not have been undertaken without the improved techniques for underway refueling developed by the Base Force during the prewar months. Fleet oilers, primarily those of the new Cimarron class, accompanied every major task force during this period and were instrumental in proving the concept of underway replenishment as a means of extending the combat range of the fleet (see table 17).

                  The first of these raids, Rear Adm. Frank J. Fletcher's abortive attempt to relieve Wake Island with Task Force 14, serves to illustrate the importance of accompanying oilers and the problems of fueling under way. In the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Adm. Husband E. Kimmel, commander in chief, Pacific Fleet, assigned Fletcher to deliver reinforcements to Wake Island, attacked on 11 December. Fletcher, then commander of Cruiser Division 6, was "one of the senior cruiser commanders in the Pacific Fleet, deemed able and ready to command a task force on an independent mission." 4 Task Force 14 was formed around the heavy cruisers Minneapolis (CA-36), Astoria (CA-34), and San Francisco (CA-3), the Saratoga (CV-3), and the eight destroyers of Destroyer Squadron 4. To relieve the Wake garrison, a Marine fighting squadron was embarked on board the Saratoga and

                  TABLE 17
                  Early Operations Involving Fleet Oilers
                  Task Force(s) Oiler(s)[1] Action Strike Date
                  TF-14 Saratoga Neches Relief of Wake Canceled because of fueling problems
                  TF-11 Lexington Neches[2] Strike on Wake Canceled, Neches sunk by submarine
                  TF-8
                  TF-17
                  Enterprise
                  Yorktown
                  Platte
                  Sabine
                  Strikes on the Marshalls and Gilberts 1-2 February 1942
                  TF-16 Enterprise Sabine Bombardment of Wake 2-4 February 1942
                  TF-17
                  TF-11
                  Yorktown
                  Lexington
                  Guadalupe
                  Platte
                  Tippecanoe
                  Neosho
                  Kaskaskia
                  Strikes on Salamaua and on Lae on the New Guinea coast 10 March 1942
                  TF-18
                  TF-16
                  Hornet
                  Enterprise
                  Cimarron
                  Sabine
                  Tokyo raid 16 April 1942
                  TF-11
                  TF-17
                  Lexington[2]
                  Yorktown
                  Kaskaskia
                  Tippecanoe
                  Neosho
                  Battle of the Coral Sea 7-8 May 1942
                  TF-16

                  TF-17

                  Enterprise
                  Hornet
                  Yorkton
                  Platte
                  Cimarron
                  Guadalupe
                  Battle of Midway 6-7 June 1942
                  [1] With the exception of Tippecanoe and Neches, both of which were built in 1920, all of these oilers were of the new (18-knot) Cimarron class.
                  [2] Ships sunk by enemy action.

                  the seaplane tender Tangier (AV-8) was loaded with troops and supplies. The fleet oiler Neches (AO-5) accompanied the force to provide fuel for the short-legged destroyers. 5

                  Although the round-trip voyage from Pearl Harbor to Wake Island was well within the cruising range of the destroyers, they would have had virtually no reserves for battle. They would need to take on oil en route to insure sufficient fuel for engaging the enemy. 6 Ordered to "fuel at [his] discretion," Fletcher decided to wait until he was just outside the air-search range of the enemy forces attacking Wake before refueling. By the evening of 21 December, the task force was closing to within 600 miles of Wake, close enough to the battle zone to begin topping off the accompanying destroyers on the next day. Unfortunately for Fletcher's reputation, the ensuing operation was hampered by moderate winds and a long cross-swell that made fueling extremely difficult. "Several towlines parted, seven oil hoses were ruptured, and only four destroyers were filled during a ten-hour fueling period." The force was still 425 miles from Wake on the morning of 23 December, yet four of the destroyers still had to be fueled. By then it was too late to save the island and Fletcher's force was recalled. 7

                  There is no question the task force's speed of advance was greatly hindered by the slow steaming speed of the Neches (she could make no more than 12 3 /4 knots) and the two days it took to refuel the destroyers' accompanying escorts (see table 17). Because of these delays

                  Fletcher was unjustly blamed by some naval officers for the failure to relieve Wake. After the war, the esteemed naval historian Rear Adm. Samuel Eliot Morison went so far as to suggest that Fletcher should have elected to make a 20-knot run in without the destroyers commencing at 2000 on 21 December. Had this been done, Saratoga's planes might have surprised the Japanese forces on 23 December. 8 This marvelous example of Monday morning quarterbacking takes into account neither Fletcher's orders (presumably to land reinforcements and deliver the marine fighters) nor the prevailing doctrine within the fleet with regard to the operational use of carriers, which stressed their scouting (they were the "eyes of the fleet") and defensive capabilities. Admiral Fletcher flew his flag from the heavy cruiser Astoria throughout the operation and was known to leave the carrier behind when the latter swung into the wind to launch or recover aircraft. 9 From these actions, it is clear that he did not consider the Saratoga's air group his most important asset. Like most of his contemporaries in the navy at the start of World War II, Fletcher had not worked closely with a carrier force before December 1941 and thus was not familiar with the potential striking power of aircraft. It is probable that Fletcher hoped to engage the enemy in a surface action consistent with fleet war plans prepared in July. 10 If such an action materialized, Fletcher would have been in dire need of his destroyers and it is most unlikely that he would have left them behind under any circumstances. 11

                  It is interesting to speculate about the outcome had Fletcher reached Wake before 23 December. The Saratoga, with an inexperienced air group on board and outnumbered two-to-one, would have been hard pressed to give a good account of herself. Had she engaged the enemy, it is likely that the results would not have been favorable to the U.S. Navy. Fletcher's inability to close Wake Island was a blessing in disguise, since the loss of the Saratoga at this early stage of the conflict could have had disastrous consequences. 12

                  The refueling problems encountered by the Wake task force during its abortive effort to relieve the beleaguered island are understandable. Although fueling exercises were routinely included in the prewar war games, they were rarely, if ever, attempted in anything but a calm sea. Not all oilers participated in these exercises either, and there is no evidence to suggest that Neches's crew was particularly proficient in the techniques needed to fuel ships while under way. Although her fueling gear was probably marginal, the frequent parting of fuel lines does not appear to have caused undue delay. In all likelihood, Neches's fueling rig was unable to support the extra lengths of hose needed to span the raging waters that gapped between ships attempting to fuel in rough seas. The Kaskaskia had experienced a similar problem during her first practice exercises conducted off Johnston Island earlier in the year. 13 Larger kingposts and/or better placement would have

                  permitted more hose to be suspended between fueling ships thereby providing a greater margin of safety during marginal conditions. It appears that this deficiency in the fueling-at-sea gear installed on the new oilers was quickly identified and soon remedied by enlarging kingposts on these ships so that they could handle larger booms. 14

                  Neches's inability to exceed 12 3 /4 knots was an inescapable liability, which surely contributed to the twenty-two-year-old oiler's demise on 23 January 1942 when she was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Neches was sunk while steaming in company with the Lexington task group en route to Wake for what was to have been the first scheduled carrier raid in the Pacific. The raid had to be canceled after the loss of the Neches "as the force could not proceed without fueling at sea and Cincpac had no other tanker to spare." 15 Though oilers continued to be scarce, Nimitz would make sure that at least one of the new Cimarrons was available to accompany all future raids.

                  The important capabilities of the fast, highly maneuverable 25,000-ton, T3 oilers was not long in coming. One week after the Neches sinking, the Platte fueled the entire Enterprise (TF-11) task group during a marathon dawn to dusk operation in preparation for the high-speed run-in for the planned attack on Kwajalein and Roi in the Marshalls. Developed during the fleet problems of the 1930s, the highspeed run-in was a tactic devised by carrier forces for attacking enemy air bases. Carriers were considered highly vulnerable to attack from land-based aircraft so it was deemed necessary to launch a surprise raid on the enemy's base before the carrier's presence became known. This could only be achieved by approaching the target under cover of darkness so that the carrier would arrive at the scheduled launching point just before first light, allowing for a dawn attack on the enemy's airbase to catch his planes on the ground. Similar tactics were employed by the Japanese on their highly successful attack on Pearl Harbor.

                  TABLE 18
                  Fueling at Sea during Fletcher's Abortive Attempt to Relieve Wake

                  Date Name Came
                  alongside
                  Pumps
                  started
                  Break
                  away
                  Fuel
                  transferred
                  (bbls)
                  22 Dec 41 Bagley DD-386 0710 0805 0916 800
                  Ralph Talbot DD-114 1105 1121 1159 830
                  Henley DD-391 1323 1357 1438 715
                  Hammann DD-393 1521 1549 1701 1,325
                  23 Dec 41 Selfridge DD-357 0645 0714 0911 1,430
                  Mugford DD-389 0945 0952 1137 1,071
                  Patterson DD-392 1207 1225 1402 1,060
                  Blue DD-387 1532 1553 1718 1,319
                  SOURCE : Data extracted from Neches deck log.
                  Cimarron(AO-22), wearing Measure 32 camouflage in February 1942. Bound for the Pacific, she was destined to provide logistic support for the carrier task forces taking part in the Tokyo Raid. Note the longer fueling booms fitted to stations three and four and their effectiveness in rough seas. (National Archives)

                  An eight- to ten-hour run-in at 25 to 30 knots was generally required to meet these objectives, and could be easily accomplished by the ships in the task force provided the carrier and her escorts had sufficient fuel reserves needed for the high-speed sprint to the target, any ensuing action that might develop, and the high-speed withdrawal. In preparation for the task, the entire Lexington group beginning with the escorts commenced refueling in the early morning hours on 28 January. At dawn, the first of the escorts approached the oiler to take on fuel urgently needed to fill her nearly depleted bunkers. In preparation for this task, Platte's crew spent the predawn hours rigging the specialized gear that would soon be called upon to transfer thousands of tons of "navy special" fuel oil carried by the big ship (when fully loaded the Platte displaced almost as much as the Enterprise). As each ship came alongside in an unending progression that would last well into the night, a heaving line would be passed to the approaching ship followed in rapid succession by messengers, hawsers, a telephone line, and finally the fuel hoses that had to be secured before the pumps could be started.

                  It was dark by the time the Enterprise came alongside for her turn. No heavy ship had ever been fueled in the open sea at night, but the carrier had to have oil for the fast run-in. Smoothly and steadily, Capt. George Murry eased the carrier toward the Platte to a position close abreast "as if it were a summer noon in Long Island sound." The seamen and engineers did the rest. Below decks the "oil king" and his helpers on both ships directed the flow of

                  Sabine(AO-25), with three hoses deployed, refuelsEnterprise (CV-6) during the approach phase of the Tokyo Raid. (National Archives)

                  oil from one tank to another as the two ships steamed side-by-side for five and a half hours. 16 As the gap between the two vessels widened and contracted the topside crew tended the lines and hoses making sure that none parted, though ironically, other men stood by with axes to cut everything away in the event of enemy attack or other emergency. 17

                  Replenishing Enterprise's depleted bunkers or for that matter any large ship while under way at sea was, as it continues to be today, an exacting task that demands superb seamanship. The dynamic forces involved when a 30,000-ton (or larger) aircraft carrier and a 25,000-ton oiler are maneuvering at 8 to 12 knots within 50 feet of each other are difficult to comprehend or image. Yet the two vessels had to steam at identical speeds within 20 to 70 feet of one another for hours while a trickle of black oil flowed through 6-inch rubber fuel hoses suspended from saddles rigged to booms projecting over the oiler's side. Quick, skilled hands and precise judgment were necessary to keep the two ships separated. It may have looked easy, but it

                  Wartime experience with fueling alongside during the first six months of World War II led to improvement in fueling gear carried by oilers. Changes made to Sabine while undergoing refit at Mare Island Navy Yard in July 1941 were typical of those made to other oilers and included installation of electric winches, addition of a raised cargo deck, and extension of kingposts. The need for more AA defense was addressed by adding more 20 mms (note circled gun platforms indicating changes). (National Archives)

                  wasn't, and although collisions did not occur often, they could have disastrous effects. On one occasion, Kaskaskia lost every one of her portside booms and had to put into Pearl for emergency repairs after being sideswiped by the Yorktown. 18

                  The Loss of Neosho

                  When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor at 0755 on 7 December 1941, the Neosho, second of the Cimarron-class oilers to be launched and the only one of her class in the Pacific, was tied to the fueling dock on Ford Island having just finished unloading a full cargo of high-octane aviation gasoline. No one knows for sure, but her small 3-inch,

                  Neosho(AO-23) backs away from the Ford Island loading dock during the air raid on Pearl Harbor. (National Archives)

                  23-caliber deck guns may have been the first to open fire that fateful morning. It took 30 minutes to raise enough steam before Capt. John Phillips could clear the berth, ordering the mooring lines cut with fire axes. Backing away slowly, she cleared the dead Oklahoma, passing the Tennessee and the West Virginia, and came close enough to the Arizona to feel the heat of the flaming funeral pyre consuming the stricken ship. With the engine-room telegraph ringing "Full ahead," the big gray oiler threaded her way through the channel. Twisting and dodging but never slowing down, Captain Phillips reached Merry Point and brought up there without having lost a man or a bit of paint--an act of seamanship under fire that earned him the Navy Cross. 19 For the next five months, she fueled fighting ships all over the Pacific--the Lexington (CV-2), Astoria (CA-34), Hammann (DD-412), Hammann (DD-393), Sims (DD-409), and Yorktown (CV-5)--filling their bunkers with black oil from Neosho's cargo holds. There was a short breathing space when she hurried off to the United States for better armament taking on one new 5-inch 38, three 3-inch 50s, and eight 20 mms before hurrying back to duty.

                  Her journeys to the islands and back to sea with fuel were tense junkets. Often she made them alone, for an escort could not be spared to protect an oiler then alone. She waddled about on the fringes of disaster, doing her wet-nurse's tasks and taking the kidding of men who lined the rails of the real fighting ships and called her their "Fat Girl," their "floating gas station." 20

                  On 1 May 1942, the Neosho met the two carrier task groups that had come together under Fletcher's tactical command at a point some 250 miles southwest of Espiritu Santo in the Coral Sea and immediately commenced fueling the Yorktown group, TF 17. Fueling continued through 3 May with Fletcher topping off his destroyers during the daylight hours. At 1900, Fletcher received a report from MacArthur that "gave him a hot foot." Allied planes had sighted Japanese transports debarking troops off Tulagi in the Solomon Islands. This startling news brought an immediate change in Fletcher's plans and he turned north to strike with the one carrier available (refueling the Lexington group had taken longer than expected and she had been left behind the previous evening 21 ). The Neosho was ordered to peel off and proceed in company with the destroyer Russell (DD-414) to Point "C ORN ." The oiler was directed to pass through this position one hour after sunrise on even days and Point "R YE " 120 nautical miles further east on odd days. 22

                  Fletcher's planes hit Tulagi early the next morning. After recovering her aircraft, the Yorktown headed south, arriving at the scheduled rendezvous point at 0816 where she met the Lexington and the Neosho. Admiral Fletcher spent the rest of the day refueling from the oiler, which had become an invaluable asset. The Neosho accompanied the Yorktown task force group until the evening of 6 May when she was once again detached, this time with Sims (DD-409) in escort.

                  Proceeding south, the two ships arrived at the next designated fueling point before daylight. The Sims was patrolling about a mile ahead of Neosho shortly after 0900 when a single plane appeared and dropped a bomb nearby. Both ships went to General Quarters. Half an hour later, the first of two waves of horizontal bombers attacked the two ships without achieving any hits. At noon, dive bombers from the Japanese carriers Shokaku and Suikaku arrived overhead. The Sims went to flank speed and turned left to take position on the Neosho's port quarter as the lead plane peeled off and plummeted down aiming for the big oiler. The stark terror of the attack that followed and its aftermath was later described in the Saturday Evening Post:

                  The dives were not steep, but long, holding on until four and five hundred feet before releasing. From below, the 20-mms spat and sprayed. The 3-inch 50s barked. The sea around the two ships was

                  Neosho refuels Yorktown (CV-5) just prior to the Battle of the Coral Sea. Note the difficulty the crew was having while trying to work in the heavy seas smashing over the well deck (one seaman in the center has even fallen down). Problems such as these led to the universal adoption of the elevated cargo spar decks for winches and other handling gear. (National Archives)

                  crowded with noise and terror and death. The Sims was hit amidships almost at once. She exploded, shot up a tremendous cloud of flame and steam, and then, broken in two, quickly sank. . . .

                  The Neosho's first hit was a demolition bomb on the starboard side. Its fragments shrieked up at the bridge. A machine gunner there was decapitated through his helmet and a battlephone operator was also killed. Captain Phillips standing close, had their blood washed off his face by the water blown inboard by the explosion. . . .

                  A dive bomber aiming at the port quarter was met coming in by the stern 20 mm at 600 feet. It set him ablaze and killed his engine.

                  He came on in a glide, losing altitude and streaming fire like a thrown torch. The ship was turning and the Nip pilot, turning with her, could be seen sitting in a solid cockpit of flame trying to die for Japan. If the Neosho had more knots in her screws, he would have landed in the wake and failed. Instead, he floated against the No. 4 gun station on the stack deck. The plane exploded in a blazing floor. The pilot's body, hurtling free, struck the No. 4 gun, then slumped down against its base like a flung mudpie. 23

                  Chaos reigned aboard the Neosho. The after deck was untenable. Men with clothes and life preservers burning, cut off by flames, hurled themselves into the sea. Below decks, damage-control parties worked desperately to save their ship.

                  Forty-two-year-old Chief Water Tender Oscar V. Petersen was in charge of one such party. They were waiting in the crew's mess when a 500-pound bomb exploded in the fireroom. The force of the blast demolished the bulkhead separating his party from the fireroom injuring all his men, knocking him down, and burning his face and hands. Petersen worked his way into the fireroom to shut off the four main steam valves, his job in the event of battle damage. He lay there with his head pillowed in his arms until the steam in the compartment had dissipated enough that he could reach the valves without dying on the way. He went in and closed the valves, then worked himself out of the compartment. When he reached the open air, the skin on his hands, not waiting to blister, sloughed off at once, "like the leather in the fingers of a half-pulled-on suede glove." He died six days later, though his heroic action earned him the Medal of Honor (posthumously).

                  The ship took seven hits before the attackers departed. Without power and nearly gutted throughout, the Neosho "looked more like a smoldering volcanic reef than a ship." For four days she drifted westerly with the trade winds while her crew tried frantically to keep her afloat. The destroyer Henley (DD-391) arrived on the afternoon of 11 May to rescue the 123 survivors still on board, then scuttled the "Fat Lady" ending her short, but glorious career.

                  The Emergence of the At-Sea Fueling Group

                  From the summer of 1942 to the summer of 1943, the South Pacific was the most active theater of operations in the Pacific. Because of the great distances involved, ships operating there were supplied from a number of advance bases that had been rapidly constructed and stockpiled with all sorts of supplies needed by both combatants and auxiliaries. Supply lines for this area of operations ran directly from the West Coast to bases in Samoa, the Fijis, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. Advance bases were also established at Segond Channel in Espiritu Santo and at Tulagi, once the Solomons had been taken. A number of supply ships, tankers, and provision and store ships,

                • The general functions of Service Squadron 8 are the supply, transportation, and distribution of fuel oil, diesel oil, lubricating oils, gasoline, provisions, general stores, and ammunition to the fleet.

                • All Service Force oilers, provision ships, stores issue ships, and ammunition ships are assigned to Service Squadron 8. Chartered tankers and chartered provision ships are also assigned to the squadron, and, at Pearl Harbor, self-propelled barges and small craft are included for the delivery to ships of fuels, provisions, and stores.

                • Commander Service Squadron 8 is directly responsible for the administration and operation of the Squadron to best meet the logistic requirements of the Fleet and bases and to comply with directives of the commander, Service Force.

                • Requests by ships at Pearl Harbor for fuels, provisions, stores, and water will be made direct to commander Service Squadron 8, except where otherwise directed by current instructions. 24

                • The Gilberts (Operation G ALVANIC ), November-December 1943

                  The first large-scale amphibious operation planned by the navy in the Pacific was the invasion of Tarawa atoll in the Gilbert Islands. 27 During the planning stages for this operation, code-named G ALVANIC , it was anticipated that large numbers of the fleet would be required to remain at sea within the forward operations area for extended periods of time. Pearl Harbor, which had previously served as the main naval base for the Pacific Fleet, was considered too far from Tarawa (over 2,100 nautical miles) to support the massive advance planned for the fleet.

                  Further evidence of the difficulties experienced by oiler crews as they attempted to conduct fueling operations in heavy seas. Here, Kaskaskia (AO-27) with "white water" on the well deck refuels Enterprise (CV-6) on 18 August 1942. (National Archives)

                  Although some advance bases had been established in the South Pacific, the nearest to the invasion beaches, Espiritu Santo, was still over a thousand miles away. To eliminate the time-consuming need to return to base for fuel, a round-trip of at least five days at 15 knots, it was decided to refuel all major elements of the invasion fleet at sea. Thus the Gilberts became the first operation in history in which an entire fleet was refueled at sea, eliminating the need for warships to leave the combat area for fuel.

                  The logistics of providing fuel for the two hundred combatants in the Gilberts operation was handled by Service Squadron 8 under the command of Captain Gray, headquartered at Pearl Harbor. While plans were being developed for the operation, it was decided that the fuel tanks of all ships would be topped off before leaving port and that each attack force would be accompanied by two fleet oilers. Additional fuel sources also had to be provided, since it was anticipated that the high maneuvering speeds required during combat operations would consume more fuel than could be provided by the two oilers. Accordingly, a task group of thirteen fleet oilers drawn from ServRon 8 (see

                  table 19) was set up as a roving fueling group. Fleet oilers in "deuces" and "treys" escorted by destroyers were dispatched to designated positions near the Gilberts where they refueled relays of combatant ships at a standard fueling speed of between 8 and 12 knots. 28 Fueling at sea was done at predetermined fueling rendezvous these were changed daily and unnecessary radio traffic was held to a minimum to reduce the possibility of submarine attack. As the groups of oilers were emptied, they returned to Pearl Harbor to reload before returning to rendezvous once again with the fleet. A separate fleet of commercial tankers was kept busy shuttling fuel between the West Coast and Pearl insuring that the underground storage tanks at Oahu were always kept full. 29

                  A major change occurred in the doctrine of fueling carriers at sea during the Gilberts operation. Until then, oilers had always approached the carrier instead of vice versa. Capt. Truman J. Heeding, chief of staff to commander Carrier Division 3, thought this was silly. [30 Heeding had frequently chaired the board set up by Nimitz to revise the tactical instructions for carriers during the planning stages of the operation and was in the forefront on the efforts to develop new carrier tactics. While conducting operations off Tarawa, Heeding saw a tanker with a cruiser alongside making an approach on a carrier. Turning to his boss, Rear Adm. Charles A. Pownall, Heeding made the following comment: "Look, isn't this the silliest thing you ever saw? We all know how to fly formation. Let's set the tanker up there, and let everybody come up and make an approach on the tanker and just run the fuel lines across." "Maybe that will work," replied Pownall. "Let's try it." Apparently they did, finding that it was possible to fuel without

                  TABLE 19
                  Fueling Group, Service Squadron 8, Gilberts Operation, 10 November to 10 December 1943

                  Name Hull no. Program Type Data ordered Commissioned Cargo oil
                  (bbls)
                  Cimarron AO-22 NDF T3-S2-A1 1/38 20-Mar-39 103,233
                  Platte AO-24 NDF T3-S2-A1 1/38 1-Dec-39 101,638
                  Sabine AO-25 NDF T3-S2-A1 1/38 25-Sep-40 104,938
                  Guadalupe AO-32 NDF T3-S2-A1 1/38 5-Jun-41 104,938
                  Lackawanna AO-40 NDF Kennebec 1/40 10-Jul-42 93,195
                  Tappahannock AO-43 NDF Mattaponi 4/40 22-Jun-42 103,233
                  Neches AO-47 NDF Mattaponi 4/40 16-Sep-42 103,233
                  Neosho AO-48 NDF Kennebec 1/40 16-Sep-42 93,195
                  Suamico AO-49 L/L T2-SE-A1 4/41 10-Aug-42 106,710
                  Tallulah AO-50 L/L T2-SE-A1 4/41 5-Sep-42 106,710
                  Pecos AO-65 L/L T2-SE-A1 4/41 5-Oct-42 106,710
                  Neshanic AO-71 EMSCF T3-S-A1 8/41 20-Feb-43 91,929
                  Schuylkill AO-76 L/L T2-SE-A1 4/41 9-Apr-43 106,710
                  TOTAL 1,326,332
                  NDF = National Defense Feature Tanker Program, L/L = Lend-Lease Bill, EMSCF = Emergency Ship Construction Fund.

                  running into the wind and doing away with the encumbrance (and time-consuming procedure) of rigging breast or spring lines. All that was needed was to run messenger lines across, a distance line, and fuel lines. According to Heeding, "It was very simple you just flew formation, and it worked fine." 31

                  Kwajalein Island in the Marshalls (Operation F LINTLOCK ), January-February 1944

                  When plans for penetrating the Marshall Islands were being formulated, it became evident that the projected fueling-at-sea areas designated for the Fifth Fleet would be subject to attack from land-based enemy aircraft. At the insistence of Adm. Raymond Spruance, the atoll of Majuro was taken at the beginning of the operation to provide a secure base for refueling and repair. As a result of this action, fueling-at-sea activities during Operation F LINTLOCK were limited to refueling ships at prescribed points en route to operation. As in the Gilberts operation, fueling was done at prescribed points on a predetermined schedule. Better coordination and control of the at-sea fueling operation was achieved by placing Capt. Edward E. Paré, chief of staff for ComServRon 8, in command of the oiling group at sea. It should be noted that this was the first time an officer assigned to the Service Force had been given command of a task unit in the order of battle. 32

                  The Marianas (Operation F ORAGER ), February-June1944

                  With the capture of the Marshalls, the islands of Majuro, Kwajalein, and Eniwetok became the staging points for the next major push in the Pacific: the advance on the Marianas. During the planning stages for the operation, code-named F ORAGER , it was anticipated that the total fuel needs for all of the forces involved would be about 100,000 barrels per day. To meet this demand, fleet oilers would have to deliver at least 1,400,000 barrels (one oiler a day) to the forward areas every two weeks. The man in charge of executing this plan was August Gray, now a commodore (an unusual rank for the navy at this time) and known as the "Oil King of the Pacific." As commander of Service Squadron 8, Commodore Gray would be responsible for getting the oil to the advance bases. From there, Capt. Burton B. Biggs, an experienced logistics officer on Admiral Spruance's staff, would direct the fueling operation. 33

                  Fueling at sea was considered so important to the operational plan of the fleet that the fueling group was included in the order of battle as Task Group 50.17. The twenty oilers within the group were divided into eight task units, 16.7.1 through 16.7.8 inclusive, which were formed to provide fueling at sea. Each consisted of three oilers and at least two destroyer escorts, which were reinforced with a destroyer whenever possible. Four escort carriers were added to the group to provide replacement aircraft. Two of these, the Copahee (CVE-12) and the Breton (CVE-23), carried navy replacement aircraft. The other two, the Manila Bay (CVE-61) and the Natoma Bay (CVE-64), transported

                  Fueling two ships at one time became the norm in the latter part of World War II. Here, Kankakee refuels light cruiser Montpelier (CL-57) in the Solomons on 13 January 1944 while a Fletcher-class destroyer approaches to starboard to receive fuel from that side of the oiler. Note the modifications that have been made to improve oiling at sea particularly prominent are the large combination kingpost/ventilator shafts aft with their huge fueling booms. Other notable features include elevated cargo winches, a spar deck with its cargo of lube oil drums, and the addition of twin 40 mm gun positions atop the after deck house. (National Archives)

                  army aircraft (P-47s) for Saipan once it was secured. Four hospital ships were also included in Task Group 50.17 to take advantage of the always scarce escorts attached to the task force.

                  As in the Gilberts and Marshalls operations, fueling was done at prescribed points on a predetermined schedule. Capt. Edward Paré was again charged with directing and coordinating the fueling operations at sea. Designated commander Task Group 50.17, he embarked in the destroyer John D. Henley (DD-553) to direct and coordinate the

                  operations of oiler and aircraft replacement units in support of Vice Adm. Marc A. Mitscher's Fast Carrier Task Force 58. In addition to exercising tactical command, Captain Paré was also responsible for consolidating the cargoes of fleet oilers as they became empty, dispatching back to Eniwetok for reloading any oiler that had been emptied or had been reduced to less than 20,000 barrels of its cargo of black oil.

                  Late in the campaign, three of Captain Paré's tankers--the Saranac (AO-74), Neshanic (AO-71), and Saugatuck (AO-75)--were attacked by Japanese bombers while fueling four destroyers and destroyer escorts. The attack, which occurred at 1630 on 18 June 1944, was the first upon navy oilers in the Central Pacific. Of the three ships (all were hit), Saranac with eight killed and twenty-two wounded was the most heavily damaged and had to proceed to a navy yard for repairs. The Neshanic had a close call when a bomb exploded among gasoline drums stowed on deck, starting a fierce fire. Although the flames rose mast high, the fire was quickly extinguished by a damage-control party. 34

                  Fuel Logistics after the Marianas Campaign

                  Prior to 1944 much of the fuel for Pearl Harbor, other bases, and the fleet at sea was transported in navy oilers. Even though tankers of large capacity were reporting every month, the demand for their services increased so rapidly that after the Marshalls campaign, fleet oilers were used primarily to distribute oil directly to ships at sea. The long haul from southern California, and the longer one from the Caribbean through the Panama Canal, was made almost entirely by an endless chain of large commercial tankers, which then discharged to the fleet oilers in such anchorages as Majuro, Eniwetok, and Ulithi. In spite of the broad functions originally assigned to Service Squadron 8 and the manner in which it had expanded in number of ships and logistic planning, the existing organization could not keep up with the increasing complexity of the logistics of trying to provide enough fuel to every command in the Pacific. The first organizational change came in July 1944 when, at the request of the Army-Navy Petroleum Board in Washington, a separate Area Petroleum Office was established within Service Squadron 8. By December 1944, the magnitude of this office and the increasing importance of high-octane gasoline (used primarily by the army air force) was such as to warrant its separation from the fleet, and with it responsibility for several hundred merchant tankers and the distribution planning for oil and petroleum products.

                  Operations in the Philippines (S TALEMATE ), September-December 1944

                  Operations conducted for the invasions in the Philippines were divided between the Third and Seventh Fleets. Supplies and fuel for the combined forces in the Southwest Pacific under Gen. Douglas MacArthur, that is, those of the army and part of the Seventh Fleet, were handled through the normal logistic channels and came by way

                  Aircraft carriers also conducted fueling at sea, especially to top off the short-legged DEs that accompanied the CVEs. Here, the crew of the Paul G. Baker (DE-642) is taking a fuel hose from Altahama (CVE-18). Note the seaman with the line-throwing gun standing in front of the 1.1-inch mount. (National Archives)

                  of Australia and the Admiralty Islands. Before the invasion of Leyte, the Seventh Fleet was composed largely of submarines, amphibious craft, and motor torpedo boats. Consequently, it had a small Service Force that was ill equipped to provide logistic support for the dozens of warships from battleships down that were lent by the Pacific Fleet for this operation. Fuel oil, gasoline, and lubricants for the Seventh Fleet came largely from Aruba in the West Indies and the West Coast of the United States. Commercial tankers carried petroleum products to Australia, Manus, and Hollandia, where shore and floating storage facilities were used to produce a quick turnaround of the fast-fleet oilers. Before the operation began, Seventh Fleet possessed only three fleet oilers that were equipped for fueling at sea: the Salamonie (AO-26), Chepachet (AO-78), and Winooski (AO-38). Three more--the Ashtabula (AO-51), Saranac (AO-74), and Suamico (AO-49)--were lent from Service Squadron 8 to make another fueling unit. 35

                  The Third Fleet, consisting of Mitscher's fast carrier groups and Vice Adm. Theodore S. Wilkinson's southern attack force, continued

                  Fueling rig typical of that utilized by the large fleet carriers to refuel their escorts while under way. The second Yorktown (CV-10) refuels a Fletcher-class destroyer during the campaign to capture Okinawa. (National Archives)

                  to receive its supplies through the Service Force Pacific Fleet. When Service Squadron 10, the second mobile service force, was shifted from Eniwetok in the Marshalls to Ulithi in the Marianas, 1 October 1944, another 2,800 miles was added to the round-trip voyage of the commercial oilers that were being used to ferry oil directly to the advance bases. Although greatly expanded, the number of oilers available for this purpose was still limited. The added distance extended the turnaround time of the oilers involved in this task, restricting the amount of oil that could be delivered while an operation was in progress. To insure that the fleet would not run short of fuel during this period, a number of obsolete tankers were moved to Ulithi to form a floating tank farm for storing an oil reserve. This made more sense than building permanent storage facilities (as was the case with Guam and Saipan), since the navy did not intend to develop Ulithi into a permanent base once the war was over.

                  Once again, the task of transferring fuel from the storage facilities at the advance bases to the ships at sea was delegated to fleet oilers drawn


                  Suamico (AO-49) as she looked during Operation S TALEMATE . (National Archives)

                  from Service Squadron 8. As in the Marianas campaign, they were assigned to their own task group, the At-Sea Logistics Group Third Fleet, designated Task Group 30.8. In addition to oilers and escort carriers, fleet tugs and ammunition ships were added to the logistics group now numbering 114 ships under the command of Capt. Jasper T. Acuff. The logistic group contained thirty-four fleet oilers, eleven escort carriers, nineteen destroyers, twenty-six destroyer escorts, ten fleet tugs, and fourteen ammunition ships. It is an interesting commentary on the navy's command policy during World War II that command of the At-Sea Logistics Group at this time was not considered worthy of flag rank, although an aviation rear admiral had to be temporarily removed from command of the escort carriers in order to permit them to operate under the command of a captain from the Service Force! The fact that a service squadron such as ServRon 8 was only accorded a commodore in command even though it consisted of several hundred ships, 36 is further evidence of the second-class status of the service forces.

                  Fueling operations during the retaking of the Philippines differed from previous campaigns in the manner in which fuelings were scheduled.

                  Unlike previous operations, when fast-carrier forces rendezvoused with the oilers according to a predetermined plan, times and locations were established by Adm. William F. Halsey as needed, thus allowing him maximum freedom of action. To ensure a constant source of fuel oil, Task Group 30.8 was divided into ten or twelve task units, each consisting of three oilers, and assigned to fueling groups made up of three or four task units so that one group was always at sea within easy reach of fast carriers. Halsey's fleet was fueled in echelons so that the oilers in the fueling group were kept steaming from one rendezvous to another located just beyond the reach of enemy land-based air. About every three or four days, a fresh task unit from Task Force 30.8 would be sent to the fueling group to relieve those oilers that had already issued most of their oil. Those oilers that were low or close to empty would transfer the remainder of their oil to other tankers and retire to Ulithi for a new load of fuel. Each task unit was accompanied by an escort carrier that brought up replacement planes and pilots for the fast carriers. One or two fleet tugs also operated with the fueling group in readiness to be sent forward, if required, to pass a towline to a damaged combat ship.

                  From the beginning of September when operations in the Palau Islands began, through the first phase of the liberation of the Philippines, which ended on 23 January 1945, fleet tankers of the At-Sea Logistics Group delivered over eight million barrels of fuel oil and fourteen and one-half million gallons of aviation gasoline to the fast carrier forces at sea. The thirty-four oilers assigned to the group constituted the principal means of supplying the fast-carrier task group, which was at sea for thirteen out of sixteen weeks between 6 October 1944 and 26 January 1945. In addition to fuel, fleet oilers delivered everything from drums of lubrication oil, compressed gases, bottled oxygen, food, spare belly tanks, and personnel replacements, to mail. 37


                  Modules

                  Rate of Fire
                  (shots/min)
                  180° Turn Time
                  (sec)
                  Maximum Dispersion
                  (m)
                  Maximum HE Shell Damage
                  (HP)
                  Chance of Fire on Target Caused by HE Shell
                  (%)
                  Maximum AP Shell Damage
                  (HP)
                  Research price
                  (exp)
                  Purchase price
                  (  )
                  127 mm/38 Mk.12 on a Mk.30/Mk.30 mod.0 mount18.261091,80052,100 00
                  Hit Points
                  (HP)
                  Armor
                  (mm)
                  Armor
                  (mm)
                  Main Turrets
                  (pcs.)
                  Secondary Gun Turrets
                  (pcs.)
                  AA Mounts
                  (pcs.)
                  Torpedo Tubes
                  (pcs.)
                  Hangar Capacity
                  (pcs.)
                  Research price
                  (exp)
                  Purchase price
                  (  )
                  Benham14,5006204 4/440 00
                  Rate of Fire
                  (shots/min)
                  Torpedo Tubes Reload Time
                  (sec)
                  180° Turn Time
                  (sec)
                  Maximum Damage
                  (HP)
                  Torpedo Speed
                  (knot)
                  Torpedo Range
                  (km)
                  Research price
                  (exp)
                  Purchase price
                  (  )
                  533 mm Mk150.7857.215,2006510.5 00

                  Modules

                  Rate of Fire
                  (shots/min)
                  180° Turn Time
                  (sec)
                  Maximum Dispersion
                  (m)
                  Maximum HE Shell Damage
                  (HP)
                  Chance of Fire on Target Caused by HE Shell
                  (%)
                  Maximum AP Shell Damage
                  (HP)
                  Research price
                  (exp)
                  Purchase price
                  (  )
                  127 mm/50 3rd Year Type on a Type B / Type C mount6.7301032,15092,200 00
                  Hit Points
                  (HP)
                  Armor
                  (mm)
                  Armor
                  (mm)
                  Main Turrets
                  (pcs.)
                  Secondary Gun Turrets
                  (pcs.)
                  AA Mounts
                  (pcs.)
                  Torpedo Tubes
                  (pcs.)
                  Hangar Capacity
                  (pcs.)
                  Research price
                  (exp)
                  Purchase price
                  (  )
                  Yūdachi13,20010202/1 220 00
                  Rate of Fire
                  (shots/min)
                  Torpedo Tubes Reload Time
                  (sec)
                  180° Turn Time
                  (sec)
                  Maximum Damage
                  (HP)
                  Torpedo Speed
                  (knot)
                  Torpedo Range
                  (km)
                  Research price
                  (exp)
                  Purchase price
                  (  )
                  Type900.61007.215,6335715 00
                  Firing Range Increase
                  (%)
                  Maximum Firing Range
                  (km)
                  Research price
                  (exp)
                  Purchase price
                  (  )
                  Type7 mod. 1011.8 00

                  Historical Info

                  Construction

                  Specifications

                  Machinery

                  Performance

                  Armament

                  Anti-aircraft
                  Torpedoes

                  History

                  Design

                  The Hatsuharu-class (初春) destroyers were designed to accompany the Japanese main striking force and to conduct both day and night torpedo attacks against the United States Navy as it advanced across the Pacific Ocean, according to Japan's naval strategic projections. They were to be armed much as the Fubuki-class despite displacing only 1400 tons compared to the 1700 tons of the earlier destroyers. Furthermore their fire control systems were to be more modern than the older systems and suitable for anti-aircraft use. This required the gun turrets to be modified for high-angle fire, which also meant more powerful motors to traverse and elevate the guns more quickly to engage high-speed aircraft. The torpedo launchers were to be given a protective shield to allow for use in heavy weather and to protect against splinter damage. And the Hatsuharu vessels were to be fitted with modern, enclosed command spaces protected against strafing aircraft. These requirements could only be met by adding weight high up on the ship and increased the ship's center of gravity. The only way to adhere to the allotted displacement was to try to reduce the weight of the hull and other equipment below the waterline as much as possible. But this put the ship's designers in a no-win situation as any reduction of weight below the waterline further raised the ship's center of gravity and reduced her stability.

                  The weight of the hull could generally be reduced by using higher grades of steel that were lighter and smaller for the same strength, reducing dimensions, particularly length, or using advanced construction techniques like welding that saved weight over the conventional riveting. The Japanese used the same high tensile steel for the Hatsuharu class as they did for the older destroyers and chose not to increase the power of the turbines and boilers to achieve the desired high speed, but lengthened the hull to offset the reduced power of the light-weight machinery. The beam was increased to counter some of the extra top-weight, but the draft was reduced to reduce hull resistance, which also reduced stability by lessening the area of the hull beneath the waterline in comparison to the area above it, which was subject to pressure from the wind. Electric welding was extensively used to reduce weight although it was at an early stage of development in Japan and was still problematic.

                  Extensive weight-saving measures were used during the design and construction of the hull. More frames of lighter construction were spaced more closely together to reduce the thickness of the hull plating and the extensive use of welding (only the longitudinal strength members and a few other parts were riveted) were some of the techniques utilized to reduce hull weight by 66.5 tonnes (65.4 long tons 73.3 short tons) in comparison to the Fubuki class. The Hatsuharu vessels were some 10 meters (32 ft 10 in) shorter than the Fubuki-class vessels, but weighed 4.9 tonnes (4.8 long tons 5.4 short tons) per 1 meter (3.3 ft) of hull length compared to the latter's 5.09 tonnes (5.01 long tons 5.61 short tons) per 1 meter (3.3 ft).

                  The Hatsuharu-class ships were shorter than their predecessors, at 109.5m (359 ft 3 in) overall. The ships had a beam of 10 metres and at full load a draft of 3.35 m (11 ft 0 in). Despite the emphasis on weight-saving during construction, the ships were significantly overweight as completed and displaced 1,530 metric tons (1,510 long tons) at standard load, and 1,981 metric tons (1,950 long tons) at full load, nearly 130 metric tons (100 long tons) more than planned.

                  The hull of the Hatsuharu-class vessels retained the general configuration of the Fubuki-class destroyers with a long forecastle and a pronounced flare of the forecastle to improve sea-keeping at high speeds by adding buoyancy and reducing the spray and water coming over the deck. A large bridge structure was located at the aft end of the forecastle deck topped by four fire control stations of various types. Lowest, just above the compass bridge, was the torpedo director (Hassha shikisho), with the gunnery fire direction station (Shageki shikisho) next above. The fire director tower (Hōiban shagekito) was third from the bottom and behind it was the 3m (9 ft 10 in) rangefinder. Each of these was protected by 10mm (0.39 in) plates of Dücol steel against strafing and shell splinters.

                  For the first time in a Japanese destroyer a superfiring turret was fitted forward of the bridge. It was only a single gun Model A turret, to save weight high in the ship, and was mounted on a deckhouse to elevate it above the twin gun Model B Mod 2 (B-gata kai-2) turret mounted on the forecastle deck. The second twin gun turret was mounted at the rear of the ship on the main deck. These turrets were slightly heavier than the earlier Model A and Model B turrets fitted on the Fubuki’s. All turrets were fitted with the 127mm (5.0 in) Type 3 gun.

                  The uptakes of the two forward boiler rooms were trunked together aft of the break in the forecastle into the fore funnel while the rear boiler room exhausted into the smaller rear funnel. Both funnels were inclined to the rear to reduce the amount of smoke that might reach the bridge. A tripod mast was fitted between the bridge and the fore funnel. Between the two funnels was the forward 61 centimeters (24 in) triple torpedo tube mount fitted on a low platform. Behind it "was a torpedo locker with its mechanical quick reload system (Kiryoku sōtenshiki jihatsu sōten sochi) for the three reserve torpedoes inside." To preserve lateral stability the aft funnel was offset to starboard while the torpedo mount was offset to port. The reload locker was also offset slightly to port and angled inboard to facilitate reloading. The middle torpedo mount was positioned behind the aft funnel on the center line, but its reload locker was positioned identically to that of the forward mount. Superimposed to starboard and overlapping the middle mount was the rear triple torpedo mount positioned on the rear deckhouse. Immediately behind the mount was its locker positioned on the center line, but angled slightly to the right so that its mount only had to traverse slightly to align with the locker and begin reloading. This was the first ship in history to be fitted with superimposed torpedo tubes, made necessary by the designer's insistence on fitting nine torpedo tubes despite the Navy's requirement for only six.

                  A small platform that carried a 2m (6 ft 7 in) rangefinder was mounted above the rear torpedo locker and a 90cm (2 ft 11 in) searchlight was mounted on a tower behind the rear funnel. The two license-built Vickers 40mm (1.6 in) (pom pom) anti-aircraft guns were mounted on an elevated platform at the front of the rear funnel. Curiously they were another case where the designer exceeded the requirements laid down by the Navy.

                  Service

                  Six Hatsuharu class destroyers were built and commissioned in the mid-1930s.

                  DesDiv 27 (Ariake, Yugure) Joined with CarDiv 2 (Hiryu, Soryu) in the Netherlands East Indies to support landings there. Engaged in convoy escort until April, 1942. Participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Assigned to the Aleutian diversionary force for the Battle of Midway. Participated in operations against the US landing at Guadalcanal. Continued transport and escort operations to reinforce Japanese garrisons in the Solomons.

                  Ariake was torpedoed and sunk by submarine on 28 July 1943. Yugure was bombed and sunk by air attack on 20 July 1943.

                  DesDiv 21 (Hatsuharu, Hatsushimo, Nenohi, Wakaba) Joined operations in support of landings in the Netherlands East Indies. Participated in the Aleutian campaign. Performed convoy escort operations in the Central Pacific, 1943-1944. Participated in the Leyte campaign. Escorted Yamato in her attempt to reach Okinawa.

                  Hatsuharu was sunk by air attack in Manila Bay on 14 November 1944. Hatsushimo was sunk by mine as she was evading air attack on 30 July 1945. Nenohi was torpedoed and sunk by submarine on 4 July 1942. Wakaba was sunk by air attack during the Battle of Leyte Gulf on 24 October 1944.