|U.S.S. ENTERPRISE (CV6)|
MAY 22 1945
|From:||The Commanding Officer, U.S.S. ENTERPRISE.|
|To:||The Commander in Chief, United States Fleet.|
|Via:||(1) The Commander Task Group 58.3|
(2) The Commander Task Force 58.
(3) The Commander Fifth Fleet.
(4) The Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas.
|Subject:||Action Report of U.S.S. ENTERPRISE (CV6) in connection with operations in support of amphibious landings at OKINAWA 3 May to 16 May 1945 - Phase III.|
|Reference:||(a) Cominch Ltr. Serial 7152 of 29 October 1943.|
(b) PacFlt Conf. Ltr. 1CL-45.
(c) ComSevRon 10 Conf. despatch 020337 of May 1945.
(d) CTF 58 visual despatch 052050 of May 1945.
(e) CTF 58 despatch 140517 of May 1945.
(f) CTG 58.3 operation order CCD-1 #5-45.
|Enclosure:||(A) Subject Report.|
(Signed) G.B.H. HALL.
|Cominch (Air Mail) (1)|
|CinCPac (Air Mail) (3)|
|ComAirPac (Air Mail) (1)|
|CO, U.S.S. BON HOMME RICHARD (1)|
|CinC Fighter Directory School, Radar Center, Camp Catlin (1)|
|CTF 38 (1)|
|TABLE OF CONTENTS|
|ACTION REPORT 3 - 16 May 1945 - PHASE III|
|PART I||Brief Summary.||Page 1 - 2|
|PART II||Preliminaries.||Page 3|
|PART III||Chronological Account of the Action|
|A. Narrative||Page 4 - 12|
|B. Track Chart.||Page 13|
|PART IV||Ordnance.||Page 14 -20|
|PART V||Damage.||Page 20 - 28|
|PART VI||Special Comments and Information.|
|(A) Surface Gunnery||Page 29 -32|
|(B) Air Operations|
|1. Table of Sorties.||Page 33|
|2. Table of Bombs.||Page 34 - 36|
|3. Table of losses.||Page 37|
|4. Damage to enemy.||Page 37 - 39|
|5. Patrols||Page 40 - 42|
|6. Important missions||Page 43 - 46|
|C-1 C.I.C.||Page 47 - 54|
|C-2 Communications.||Page 55 - 56|
|C-3 Engineering||Page 56 - 57|
|C-4 Supply||Page 57|
|C-5 Medical||Page 58 - 60|
|(D) Comments on Air Operations||Page 61 - 64|
|PAGE VII||Personnel Performance and Casualties||Page 65 - 81|
|PAGE VIII||Lessons Learned.||Page 82 - 84|
|Appendix (A)||Report of AA Action by Surface Ships.|
- The ENTERPRISE operating as a night carrier with Air Group 90 embarked during the period 3-16 May carried out operations against the enemy in the NANSEI SHOTO and KYUSHU areas. The ENTERPRISE rendezvoused at sea on 6 May with a group of T.F. 58 and in accordance with reference (d) was assigned to and joined T.G. 58.3.
- When the BUNKER HILL was damaged on 11 May the ENTERPRISE became the Flagship of C.T.F. 58 (Vice Admiral M.A. MITSCHER, USN), and so remained until 15 May.
- The ENTERPRISE was damaged by a suicide bomber at 0656 on 14 May and as a consequence was ordered to report to C.T.G. 50.8 for onward routing at the next fueling rendezvous (reference (a)). At the fueling rendezvous on 16 May, T.U. 50.18.85 was formed with the ENTERPRISE, KALK (DD) and SILVERSTEIN (DE) and proceeded to Ulithi at 1302.
- As in previous operations this ship's participation was essentially defensive. However, the offensive employment of the night group in the strikes against KYUSHU on the night of 12-13 and 13-14 May demonstrated the real potential value of the night air group.
- A recapitulation of Air Operations for the period 0614 (I) 3 May to 0551 (I) 14 May
Number Percent of Total (a) Total Sorties flown (less abortive sorties, replacement and ferry hops, test hops, message drops and tow plane flights). 289 (b) Night Sorties 158 52.94 % (c) Daylight Sorties 131 48.06 % (d) Types of Missions Flown: Total Defensive Missions (as listed) 157 54.32 % Ships CAP 69 23.87 % ASP and SNASP 40 13.84 % Target CAP 48 16.60 % Total Offensive Missions Flown: 48 Hecklers 48 16.60 % Total Other Missions: 84 Training 84 29.06 % (e) Total Pilot hours (VFN) spent in Condition 10 101 hours Condition 11 186 hours Total 287 hours (f) Own Aircraft Losses: 1 F6F-5P 2 F6F-5E 25 F6F-5N 9 TBM-3D *Total 37 *1 F6F-5N missing on combat mission; 24 F6F-5N, 1 F6F-5P, and 2 F6F-5E jettisoned due irreparable damage received as result of enemy suicide attack on 14 May; 9 TBM-3D considered beyond repair and due for survey as result of damage received in same attack. (g) Enemy Aircraft Destroyed In Air - At Night 3 - Daylight 10 On Ground - At Night 1 plus uncertain no. by heckler Total 14 (h) Damage to Shipping and Land Targets as shown in Part VI, B, 4.
- Composition of Forces: On 3 May the ENTERPRISE proceeded in company with the
TRATHEN to rendezvous at sea with T.G. 58.3 on 6 May. During the actual operations against
the enemy the ENTERPRISE was assigned to T.G. 58.3 (Rear Admiral F.C. SHERMAN, USN) which
was composed as follows:
BUNKER HILL (until 11 May) 1 CV RANDOLPH 1 CV ENTERPRISE 1 CV(N) BATAAN 1 CVL MONTEREY (joined on 15 May) 1 CVL ComBatDiv 6 SOUTH DAKOTA (until 10 May) 1 BB WASHINGTON 1 BB ALABAMA (joined on 12 May) 1 BB ComCruDiv 17 PASADENA, SPRINGFIELD 2 CL ASTORIA, WILKES BARRE 2 CL OAKLAND 1 CL(AA) DesDiv. 123 (less HAYNESWORTH), DesDiv. 124 (less HANK), DesDiv. 95 (less ABBOT & HALE), DesDiv. 96 (less KIDD), DesDiv. 103, and DesDiv 104 (less HUNT).
- Sortie and Approach: The sortie from Ulithi at 0800 on 3 May was made for post battle repair engineering trials. On the successful completion of these trials the ENTERPRISE proceeded from a point at sea off Ulithi to a fueling area south east of OKINAWA in which T.G. 50.8 was operating and joined T.G. 58.3. From the fueling area T.G. 58.3 proceeded on 6 May to an operating area to the east of OKINAWA. The Task Group remained in this area until the night of 9 May when a retirement was started to a fueling area in order to refuel on 10 May. After fueling the Task Group returned to the operating area off OKINAWA and remained there until a high speed run in to strike KYUSHU was started on the afternoon of 12 May. On completion of the strikes on 14 May the Task Group again retired to a fueling area.
- Own Mission, Doctrine, Plans and Assumptions: The general missions as set for in reference (f) for this ship were to provide night fighter air patrols, night searches, heckler and intruder missions.
3 May 1945.(-10 time). Sunrise 0624. Sunset 1850. Weather: Partly cloudy with four to five tenths cumulus at 1500 feet. Ceiling 1500 feet to unlimited. Visibility unlimited. Surface wind E.S.E., 8 knots. General: Preparations for sortie completed. Ship underway from ULITHI escorted by TRATHEN. Conducted engineering post repair trials which were successful. Conducted anti-aircraft practice for 5" batteries against "drone" targets and for all batteries using sleeve targets. Conducted refresher flights operations for the Torpedo Squadron. Maintained a CAP and ASP throughout the day. Operated in vicinity of ULITHI until 1840. 0714 - Underway from ULITHI escorted by TRATHEN. 0848 - 1158 Conducted anti-aircraft practice. 1241 - 1430 Refresher flights for VT(N) squadron. 1432 - 1439 Landing 2 VF(N) CAP #2, 3 VT(N) ASP #2 - launched from FALALOP. 1518 - 1520 Launched 3 VT(N) for refresher flight. 1526 - 1546 Landed 18 VF(N), 2 VT(N) from FALALOP and 3 VT(N) refresher 1646 - 1648 Launched 2 VF(N) CAP #4 and 2 VT(N) ASP #4. 1652 - 1655 Landed 2 VF(N) CAP #3 and 2 VT(N) ASP #3 - launched from FALALOP. 1812 - Launched 2 VT(N) to transport JASON engineering observer officers to FALALOP. 1817 - 1839 Landed 2 VF(N) CAP #4, 2 VT(N) ASP #4 and 2 VT(N) transportation flight. 1840 - Set course for forward area to join Task Force 58. 4 May 1945. (-10 time until 2000. Thence -9 time) Sunrise 0627. Sunset 1914. Weather: Partly cloudy. Scattered swelling cumulus with light rain showers. Ceiling 1500 feet at base of cumulus to unlimited. Visibility 15 miles. Surface wind S.E. 8 knots. General: Proceeding to rendezvous with Task Force 58. During morning launched two attack groups for simulated attacks on ship and for bombing and strafing practice on towed sleeve. During afternoon held anti-aircraft practice for all batteries against towed sleeve targets. Maintained a CAP and ASP during day. Pilot hours in condition 10 were 3, and in condition 11 were 3. 0603 - 0614 Launched 4 VF(N) DCAP #1, 4 VT(N) ASP #1 and 4 VF(N), 5 VT(N) simulated attack #1. 0806 - 0812 Landed 4 VF(N), and 5 VT(N) attack #1. 0921 - 0931 Launched 4 VF(N) DCAP #2, 4 VT(N) ASP #2, and 3 VF(N), 1 VT(N) attack #2 0931 - 0941 Landed 4 VF(N) DCAP #1 and 4 VT(N) ASP #1. 1127 - 1129 Landed 3 VF(N), 1 VT(N) attack #2. 1250 - 1256 Launched 3 VF(N) DCAP #3, 4 VT(N) ASP #3, and 2 VT(N) towplanes. 1258 - 1306 Landed 4 VF(N) DCAP #2, 4 VT(N) ASP #2, and 1 VF(N) DCAP #3. 1311 - 1530 Target practice on sleeves for all batteries. 1330 - 1331 Launched 2 VF(N) DCAP #3. 1602 - 1608 Launched 4 VF(N) DCAP #4, and 4 VT(N) ASP #4. 1607 - 1617 Landed 4 VF(N) DCAP #3, 4 VT(N) ASP #3, and 2 VT(N) towplanes. 1815 - Landed 1 VF(N) DCAP #4. 1924 - 1931 Landed 3 VF(N) DCAP #4, and 4 VT(N) ASP #4. 2000 - Set clocks back one hour to Zone -9 time. 5 May 1945. Sunrise 0535. Sunset 1835. Weather: Partly cloudy to clear. Ceiling unlimited. Visibility unlimited. Surface wind S.E. to S.W. 4 knots. General: Conducted night refresher flights. During morning fueled TRATHEN. Conducted anti-aircraft practice for all batteries, using towed sleeve targets. During afternoon launched two attack groups for simulated attacks on ship and for bombing and strafing practice on towed sled target. Maintained CAP and ASP during the day. Pilots maintained 22 hours in condition 10 and 22 hours in condition 11. 0034 - 0405 Requalification landings made by night pilots. 0506 - 0512 Launched 4 VF(N) DCAP #1, and 4 VT(N) ASP #1. 0632 - 0728 Fueled TRATHEN. 0833 - 0840 Launched 4 VF(N) DCAP #2, and 4 VT(N) ASP #2, and 2 VT(N) towplanes. 0840 - 0847 Landed 4 VF(N) DCAP #1, and 4 VT(N) ASP #1. 0910 - 1030 Target practice for all batteries. 1149 - 1202 Launched 4 VF(N) DCAP #3, 4 VT(N) ASP #3, and 4 VF(N), 3 VT(N) simulated attack #1. 1207 - 1213 Landed 4 VF(N) DCAP #2, 4 VT(N) ASP #2, and 2 VT(N) towplanes. 1348 - 1352 Landed 4 VF(N), and 3 VT(N) attack #1. 1521 - 1532 Launched 4 VF(N) DCAP #4, 4 VT(N) ASP #4, and 3 VF(N), 4 VT(N) attack #2. 1538 - 1544 Landed 4 VF(N) DCAP #3, 4 VT(N) ASP #3, and 1 VF(N) attack #2. 1718 - 1722 Landed 2 VF(N), 4 VT(N) attack #2. 1820 - 1829 Landed 4 VF(N) DCAP #4, and 4 VT(N) ASP #4. 6 May 1945. Sunrise 0540. Sunset 1844. Weather: Partly cloudy until 0200, then overcast with squalls accompanying the passage of moderate cold front. Partly cloudy in afternoon. Ceiling 1000 feet in frontal zone, to unlimited after clearing. Visibility 12 miles except during frontal passage when it lowered to less than 2 miles. Surface wind S.W. 4 knots; shifted to N.N.E. 23 knots at 0200. General: Reported to CTF 58 and was assigned to Task Group 58.3; reported to CTG 58.3. Rear Admiral F. C. Sherman, U.S.N., is CTG 58.3. Began operating under CTG 58.3's Operation Order No. 5-45. Re-armed from MAUNA LOA and fueled from MARIAS. Held battle and damage control problem. Pilots maintained 14 hours in condition 10 and 12 hours in condition 11. 0508 - 0518 Launched 4 VF(N) CAP and 4 VT(N) ASP. 0620 - Rendezvoused with Task Force 58 at fueling rendezvous, reporting to CTF 58, assigned to TG 58.3 and reported to CTG 58.3. 0627 - Released TRATHEN. 0640 - Joined TG 58.3. 0655 - 0656 Landed 4 VF(N) CAP and 4 VT(N) ASP. 0806 - 1031 Alongside MAUNA LOA to receive ammunition. 1135 - 1412 Alongside MARIAS to receive fuel. 1515 - Launched 1 VT(N) for passenger flight to BUNKER HILL. 1800 - Landed 1 VT(N) returned from BUNKER HILL. 7 May 1945. Sunrise 0540. Sunset 1859. Weather: Partly cloudy until 0900, then became overcast at 14,000 feet. Overcast lowered to 8000 feet by midnight with scattered lower clouds and light, intermittent rain. Ceiling 2500 to 8000 feet. Visibility 8 miles; lowered to 4 miles late in the period. Surface wind E. 18 knots, veering to S.E. 16 knots during latter half of day. General: Provided Target Dusk CAP and Target Night CAP over KIKAI SHIMA. Provided dawn and dusk CAP for the Task Group. Pilots maintained 6 hours in condition 10 and 12 hours in condition 11. 0308 - 0315 Launched 4 VF(N) DADCAP, and 4 VF(N) TNCAP over KIKAI SHIMA. 0649 - 0657 Landed 4 VF(N) DADCAP, and 4 VF(N) TNCAP. Also 1 VF from RANDOLPH (Forced landing). 0721 - Landed 1 VF from RANDOLPH (Forced landing). 1309 - Landed 1 VF from BATAAN (Forced landing). 1732 - 1735 Launched 4 VF(N) TDADCAP over KIKAI SHIMA. 2116 - 2120 Landed 4 VF(N) TDADCAP. 8 May 1945. Sunrise 0539. Sunset 1855. Weather: Overcast at 8000 feet, lowered near daylight to 700 feet as a low pressure center, moving ENE, passed to the south of our cruising area. Steady rain from 0400 to 1700. Surface wind east to east-northeast 32 knots. Ceiling variable, from near zero in rain to 1000 feet. Visibility from zero in rain to 4 miles. General: No flight operations were conducted because of adverse weather. Pilots maintained 5 hours in condition 10 and 53 hours in condition 11. 9 May 1945. Sunrise 0540. Sunset 1858. Weather: Partly cloudy with three to four tenths cumulus at 1800 feet. Ceiling 1800 feet to unlimited. Visibility unrestricted. Surface wind NNE 20 knots. General: Provided dawn and dusk CAP over KIKAI SHIMA. One VF(N) and pilot was lost during pre-dawn launch. Conducted refresher landings for six replacements VF(N) pilots received aboard for training. Pilots maintained 22 hours in condition 11. 0351 - 0403 Launched 5 VF(N) TDADCAP over KIKAI SHIMA. One VF(N) crashed on take-off - plane and pilot lost. 0526 - Landed 1 VF(N) TDADCAP. 0649 - 0650 Landed 3 VF(N) TDADCAP. 0712 - 0716 Landed 2 VF from BUNKER HILL, 1 VF from ESSEX, and 1 VF from RANDOLPH. 0835 - 0838 Launched 1 BUNKER HILL VF, 1 RANDOLPH VF, 2 VF(N) for refresher flight. 0841 - 0845 Landed 2 VF(N) refresher flight. 1003 - Launched 2 VF(N) refresher flight. 1009 - 1015 Landed 2 VF(N) refresher flight. 1144 - 1147 Launched 2 RANDOLPH VF, and 2 VF(N) refresher flight. 1149 - 1152 Landed 2 VF(N) refresher flight. 1459 - 1503 Launched 2 BUNKER HILL VF, and 1 ESSEX VF. 1730 - 1732 Launched 4 VF(N) TDADCAP over KIKAI JIMA. 1948 - 1949 Landed 2 VF(N) TDADCAP. 2117 - 2119 Landed 2 VF(N) TDADCAP. 10 May 1945. Sunrise 0539. Sunset 1847. Weather: Mostly clear. Ceiling unlimited. Visibility unlimited. Surface wind E. 16 knots. General: Rendezvoused with fueling group and fueled. Rear Admiral G. F. Bogan, U.S.N., in RANDOLPH was designated O.T.C. of TG 58.3 at 1936 to conduct night operations. Conducted training flights for six replacements VF(N) pilots. During nights 10-11 May maintained VT(N) hecklers over MINAMI DAITO. Pilots maintained 11 hours in condition 10 and 11 hours in condition 11. 0556 - Task Group rendezvoused with fueling group. 0600 - 0700 Fired anti-aircraft for 40 and 20 mm. batteries using T.D.D. drone provided by ASTORIA. 0802 - 0958 Alongside KANKAKEE to receive fuel and aviation gasoline. 1005 - 1006 Launched 6 VF(N) with replacement pilots for training flight. 1025 - 1112 Conducted anti-aircraft firing of 5" batteries on towed sleeve targets. 1222 - 1236 Landed 6 VF(N) training flights. 1306 - 1340 Continuous launch-land of 6 VF(N) for training of replacement pilots. 1802 - 1808 Launched 6 VT(N) for heckler flight #1 over MINAMI DAITO. 1936 - Rear Admiral G. F. Bogan, U.S.N., in RANDOLPH designed O.T.C. of TG 58.3. 2207 - 2211 Launched 4 VT(N) for heckler flight #2 over MINAMI DAITO. 2319 - 2336 Landed 6 VT(N) heckler flight #1. 11 May 1945. Sunrise 0540. Sunset 1858. Weather: Clear with ceiling and visibility unlimited. Surface winds light and variable 2 - 7 knots. General: In morning continued heckler flights over MINAMI DAITO, and maintained dawn CAP over KIKAI and TOKUNA. During evening flew Task Group NCAP and VT(N) heckler flights over southern KYUSHU fields. CTF 58 (Vice Admiral M. A. MITSCHER, U.S.N.) and staff embarked in ENTERPRISE. Pilots maintained 5 hours in condition 10. 0106 - 0119 Launched 5 VT(N) heckler #3 for MINAMI DAITO. 0307 - 0313 Landed 4 VT(N) NDADCAP #2. 0346 - 0348 Launched 4 VF(N) TDADCAP for KIKAI and TOKUNO. 0440 - Rear Admiral F. C. Sherman, U.S.N., in ESSEX assumed tactical command of TG 58.3. 0548 - 0551 Landed 5 VT(N) heckler #3. 0711 - 0714 Landed 4 VF(N) TDADCAP. 0846 - 0918 Conducted launch-land training flights for VF(N) replacement pilots. 0856 - Bogie detected bearing 315°, distance 15 miles. 1012 - BUNKER HILL hit by two enemy planes. 1112 - 1222 Landed 15 BUNKER HILL VF. 1140 - Rear Admiral F. C. Sherman, U.S.N., in ESSEX designated O.T.C. of Task Force 58. 1600 - BUNKER HILL escorted by AULT, WALDRON, STEPHEN POTTER, and THE SULLIVANS detached from TG 58.3 to proceed and report to CTG 50.8. 1733 - Vice Admiral M. A. MITSCHER, U.S.N., CTF 58, and staff embarked in ENTERPRISE. 1904 - 1912 Launched 4 VF(N) TDADCAP for KIKAI-TOKUNA and 4 VT(N) hecklers for southern KYUSHU fields. 2231 - 2300 Landed 4 VF(N) TDADCAP and 1 VT(N) heckler (returned early). 12 May 1945. Sunrise 0539. Sunset 1858. Weather: Clear until 0300 when sharp cold front passed over the cruising area. At front, wind shifted from SSW 4 knots to North 26 knots. Front accompanied by intermittent showers. Following frontal passage, winds remained northerly 22 knots for remainder of day, accompanied by partly cloudy skies. General: Further heckler flights during night 11-12 May were cancelled because of bad weather. In afternoon began approach for strikes against KYUSHU. In evening provided dusk CAP for Task Force and launched heckler missions to cover KYUSHU fields. Pilots maintained 17 hours in condition 10 and 31 hours in condition 11. 0109 - 0115 Landed 3 VT(N) heckler #1. Further heckler flights cancelled because of weather over the target area. 0800 - Vice Admiral M. A. MITSCHER, U.S.N., in ENTERPRISE assumed tactical command of Task Force 58. 1200 - ALABAMA joined the formation. 1210 - 1316 Fueled ERBEN. 1326 - 1338 Launched 15 BUNKER HILL VF for transfer to YONTAN field, OKINAWA. 1343 - 1447 Fueled ENGLISH. 1509 - 1634 Fueled BORIE. 1522 - AULT, WALDRON, STEPHEN POTTER, and THE SULLIVANS rejoined the formation. 1730 - 1736 Launched 4 VF(N) for dusk CAP over Task Force and 4 VT(N) heckler #1 for KYUSHU fields. 1929 - 1935 Launched 4 VT(N) heckler #2 for KYUSHU and 1 VF(N) force NCAP replacement. 1939 - Landed 1 VF(N) Force NCAP dud. 2130 - 2138 Launched 4 VT(N) heckler #3 for KYUSHU fields. 2141 - 2150 Landed 4 VF(N) Force NCAP. 2336 - 2340 Launched 4 VT(N) heckler #4 for KYUSHU fields. 2346 - 2355 Landed 4 VT(N) heckler #1 and 1 VT(N) of heckler #2. 13 May 1945. Sunrise 0517. Sunset 1855. Weather: Mostly clear until mid-afternoon; then partly cloudy with scattered high clouds above 20,000 feet. Ceiling and visibility unlimited. Surface winds westerly to southwesterly 14 knots. General: Operating southeast of southern KYUSHU. During nights of 12-13 May maintained VT(N) hecklers over KYUSHU fields and provided DADCAP and NCAP for the Task Force. Pilots maintained 11 hours in condition 10 and 11 hours in condition 11. 0152 - 0153 Launched 2 VF(N) NCAP over Task Force. 0214 - 0224 Landed 3 VT(N) heckler #2 and 1 VT(N) heckler #3. 0234 - 0241 Launched 7 VF(N) for dawn patrol over KANOYA fields. 0439 - 0453 Landed 2 VT(N) heckler #3, 2 VT(N) heckler #4 and 1 VF(N) of dawn patrol. 0538 - 0559 Landed 2 VF(N) from dawn patrol, 2 VF(N) force NCAP, and 1 VT(N) heckler #4. 0732 - Landed 1 ESSEX VF forced landing. 1729 - 1733 Launched 4 VF(N) TDADCAP for KYUSHU fields. 1934 - 1937 Launched 4 VT(N) heckler #1 for KYUSHU fields. 1941 - Landed 1 VF(N) DADCAP dud. 2132 - 2146 Launched 4 VF(N) NCAP #1 for Task Force and 4 VT(N) heckler #2 for KYUSHU fields. 2153 - 2243 Landed 4 VF(N) TDADCAP, 3 VF(N) force DADCAP, 2 VF(N) NCAP #1, and 1 VT(N) of heckler #2. 2222 - 2228 Launched 2 VF(N) force NCAP #2. 2350 - 2356 Launched 4 VT(N) heckler #3 for KYUSHU fields. 14 May 1945. Sunrise 0515. Sunset 1856. Weather: Partly cloudy with two to three tenths cumulus at 3000 feet, and four to five tenths high clouds above 14,000 feet. Ceiling 3000 to unlimited in breaks. Visibility 8 to 12 miles. Surface winds southwesterly to southerly 15 knots. General: During nights of 12-14 May continued to maintain Task Force NCAP and hecklers over KYUSHU fields. Launched 15 VF(N) for dawn CAP over KYUSHU fields. ENTERPRISE hit by ZEKE with bomb just abaft number one elevator. At 1900 Task Force began retirement to fueling rendezvous at 25 knots. Pilots maintained 7 hours in condition 10 and 7 hours in condition 11. 0125 - 0129 Launched 4 VF(N) NCAP #3. 0136 - 0155 Landed 2 VF(N) NCAP #1, and 2 VF(N) NCAP #2. 0304 - 0320 Launched 15 VF(N) TDADCAP for KYUSHU and SHIKOKU fields. Launched 2 VT(N) heckler #4 for KYUSHU fields. 0329 - 0336 Landed 3 VT(N) heckler #2. 0459 - 0504 Landed 4 VT(N) heckler #3 and 1 VF(N) NCAP #3. 0530 - 0551 Landed 3 VF(N) NCAP #3, 2 VT(N) heckler #4, and 2 VF(N) of TDADCAP returned early. 0622 - Bogies detected 20 miles to northwest. From this time until 0800 eleven raids approached and attacked the Task Force. 0656 - ZEKE carrying a bomb hit ship just abaft number one elevator. See Part Five (V) for damage, and Part VIII for casualties. Eight men were blown overboard, all of whom were expeditiously picked up by WALDRON. 0708 - Our remaining planes - 13 VF(N) of TDADCAP - have landed aboard carriers of TG 58.1. 1900 - Task Force began retirement to fueling rendezvous at 25 knots. 15 May 1945. Sunrise 0537. Sunset 1855. Weather: Overcast at 400 to 900 feet. Intermittent heavy rain. Visibility variable from zero to 6 miles. Surface wind southwest 18 knots. General: Transferred seriously wounded to hospital ship. Vice Admiral M. A. MITSCHER U.S.N., CTF 58, and staff transferred to RANDOLPH. 1100 - Rendezvoused with fueling group. 1211 - 1310 Alongside BOUNTIFUL to transfer 13 seriously wounded patients. 1249 - 1308 WALDRON alongside to return seven men picked up. 1548 - Vice Admiral M. A. MITSCHER U.S.N., and staff left ship for transfer to RANDOLPH. During the afternoon transferred a large quantity of spares and stores to other ships. 1923 - Task Group departed fueling group to rendezvous again tomorrow morning. 16 May 1945. Sunrise 0538. Sunset 1852. Weather: Overcast at 2500 feet; occasional light rain. Ceiling 2500 to 4000 feet. Visibility 8 miles. Surface wind ENE 11 knots. General: Reported to CTG 50.8 for onward routing for repairs. 0533 - Rendezvoused with fueling group. 0740 - CTG 58.3 detached ENTERPRISE to report to CTG 50.8. 0741 - Reported to CTG 50.8.
- Performance of Own Ordnance Material
- Detail information on ship's gunnery.
During the period covered by this report the ship's guns were fired in action against enemy aircraft on the 14th of May only. Target practice was conducted while enroute to operating area on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 10th of May.
The ammunition expenditures involved are given below:
In Action Date 5"/38 40MM 20MM Targets 14th 161 2,460 unknown 4 Zekes, 1 F4U, 2 F6F 14th 197 1,450 unknown Jettison during fire. Totals 358 3,910 5,210 % Allowance 11.4% 6.1% 1.8%
Target Practice Date 5"/38 40MM 20MM Targets 3rd 250 2,748 12,120 Drone and Sleeve 4th 78 2,446 11,500 Sleeve 5th 40 2,919 8,157 Sleeve 6th -- 2,902 - - - Sleeve 10th 81 535 4,938 TDD and Sleeve Totals 449 11,550 36,715 % Allowance 14.1% 18.0% 11.9%
NOTE: A.A. Action Report Forms (ComInCh F-01 AA-1) covering the action are appended to this report as Appendix (A).
- Narrative of the Action on 14th May.
Between midnight and sunrise on the 14th several bogies were picked up in the vicinity of the Task Force. Flares were dropped in the area around Task Group 58.1. No targets closed to within gun range of Task Group 58.3.
At about 0600 an intelligence report was received indicating that five groups of suicide planes were airborne and headed toward our reported position. At this time a bogie was reported by C.I.C. bearing 270°T distance 70 miles.
This was just a flash plot indicating the possibility that the bogie was at a very low altitude. During the next 30 or 40 minutes there were several tallyhoes of Zekes by the CAP. Several of these as well as Myrts were splashed on the horizon in view of the formation.
At 0622 a bogie was reported by C.I.C. bearing 200°T, distance 20 miles, estimated altitude 8,000 feet. At this time the ship was on a course of 150°T. The after director was designated to the bearing of the bogie reported by C.I.C. After a short search the F.D. radar operated reported what appeared to be a single aircraft target closing range rapidly. During this period the ship made several changes on course finally arriving on 135°T. When the range reached 18,000 yards the bogie began to lose altitude breaking through the low clouds to the southwest. He was visually identified as a Zeke and fire was commenced with 5 inch immediately.
The bearing at the time of the first shot was approximately 100°T relative. Pertinent information was relayed from the gunnery plot to other ship via the AA Coordination Circuit, inducing the latter to take the target under fire also.
The Zeke immediately maneuvered to regain the cloud cover necessitating tracking in full radar control. At 0654 formation course was changed left to 075°T. This maneuver placed the Zeke at a relative bearing of approximate 170°T. Occasional glimpses were obtained of him while he was "cloud-hopping". For a short time he paralleled the ship's course and after closing to 4,000 yards opened again to 6,000 yards. Continuous 5 inch fire was maintained during this entire period. At 0656 the formation course was again changed to 345°T. During this turn the stern of the ship swung through the last cloud the Zeke was seen to enter. At this time to 40MM's at the after end of the island structure commenced firing into the cloud in an attempt at "lucky" hits on a then invisible target. When the ship's head was approximately 020°T the Zeke again appeared diving out of the base of the cloud. The relative bearing at this time was about 170°T, altitude approximately 1,500 ft, and position angle 20°-30°. The dive was very shallow, not at any time exceeding 30°. Previously his speed, as indicated by computer solution, had been in the vicinity of 250 knots. As the ship turned, his relative bearing increased to 185 or 190. No evasive tactics were employed although slight changes in the attitude of the plane indicated the pilot was correcting his point of aim as the ship turned. At an estimated distance of 100-200 yards from his point of impact he flipped over in a left hand snap roll ending up on his back. When the plane passed Air Defense Forward a distance of 140 feet from the terminal point the pilot had steepened his inverted dive so that he finally struck in a 40°-50° dive.
When the plane issued from the cloud all the guns that could effectively bear opened fire immediately. The port after 5 inch group opened fire in local (Mk. 51 Director) control as soon as it guns were unmasked, followed in turn by the port forward 5 inch group. Thirty-five barrels of 20MM, (eleven of these on the starboard side firing across the flight deck) and sixteen barrels of 40MM were able to bear, but these not simultaneously. Firing cut-out cams on the port 40MM and 5 inch caused fire in many cases to be intermittent. A few 20MM and/or 40MM hits were observed.
The bomb explosion in the #1 elevator pit caused fires to break out on 5 inch groups I and II (forward starboard and port respectively), and the forward starboard 20MM battery. The fire was extinguished in approximately thirty minutes, the abandoned guns remanned, and jettisoned ammunition replaced.
The next attack on the formation occurred about one hour later at 0802. The formation course at that time was 150°T. The forward director was coached on by bearings from C.I.C. and picked up the target with the FD at bearing 160°T distance twelve miles at 0803. The formation course was changed left to 090°T at this time again preventing opening fire due to the masking of the battery, until the planes finally crossed the bow at 0804. The bogie was visually identified as two Zekes. Fire was opened on the aftermost of the targets with both 5 inch and 40MM. Target maneuvered radically as shown in accompanying sketch.
Five inch fire was ceased and recommenced as noted in sketch; 40MM continuously until he caught fire and crashed.
The last attack at which this ship was able to fire effectively occurred ten minutes later at 0814. The formation was then on course 270°T. A single Zeke was picked up visually at bearing 150° relative making a run from astern on the BATAAN. Five inch and 40MM fire was opened immediately and continued until the plane which had then been hit and was burning commenced its final dive into the water close aboard to the BATAAN. During the firing the course was being changed right to 000°T but the turning of the ship on this occasion did not interfere with the effectiveness of the five inch fire. Almost simultaneously with the crashing of the Zeke, one or more explosions (presumably five inch fire) was seen to occur on the port quarter of the BATAAN near the waterline.
At 0817 the next and last attack of the day, also a Zeke, approached from dead astern and was picked up too late to open fire effectively with the after five inch guns because of the proximity to ships in the formation. A few rounds of 40MM were fired but the Zeke was already afire and cease fire was ordered to prevent firing into other ships.
On two occasions during the afternoon fire was opened on what later proved to be friendly planes.
In the first instance a few rounds of 40MM were fired at an F4U making a low level glide run on the ship from a relative bearing of about 110°. The fighter immediately turned away and fire was ceased as soon as positive identification was made.
Later in the afternoon at 1640, C.I.C. reported a group of bogies approaching from the west. At 1642 one ship reported over the AA Coordination Circuit that they had sighted a "bandit" in the sun. Visual identification was made by the range finder operator in the after director and reported as 4 F6F's. However, when several other ships opened fire and the fighters pushed over into steep dives to evade the bursts, the five inch Battery Officer on the after starboard group opened fire in local (Mk 51 Director) control. Cease firing was given but not until a few rounds had been fired at the friendlies.
Several erroneous "bogie" reports were received during the late afternoon but all proved to be friendly fighters.
- Performance of Equipment.
Performance of guns was satisfactory in all respects. The only casualty occurred when a magazine became jammed on a 20MM gun. Several attempts were made to remove the magazine before fire spread to the area but without success. In an effort to prevent "cook-offs" an attempt was also made to fire the gun in order to empty the magazine. This also failed.
- Fire Control.
The performance of fire control left much to be desired. Although all attacks, with the exception of that crashing this vessel, were made in a manner permitting considerable visual tracking, no definite five inch hits were observed except on the plane attacking the BATAAN. The FD radar proved inadequate for tracking a radically maneuvering target obscured by cloud cover. Apparently the Mk 12 is not a great improvement as an estimated minimum of 1,500 rounds of five inch were expended by the ships in this formation in the general area of the suicide plane with no apparent results.
Smoke from gunfire is still a critical drawback. The target is seldom visible in the Mk 14 sight reticule of the 20MM guns. This is also true in the case of the majority of the Mk 51 Directors which are situated disadvantageously close to the guns they control. The new "blind firing" directors may be a solution to the difficulties of both smoke and low clouds.
Performance of ammunition was improved but the high percentage of premature bursts in VT projectiles still causes some confusion. Any proximity between the target and the AA bursts appears to be purely coincidental. Practically all VT projectiles carried aboard were fitted with ethyl cellulose caps. This, test firing proves, materially reduced the number of prematures at the expense of a slight increase in duds. If these caps do not reduce the overall effectiveness of the ammunition it is believed that their installation is highly desirable.
- Fire Discipline.
Evidence of poor fire discipline is brought out by the hits sustained by the BATAAN. As carriers are still high priority targets and are a ready source of conflagration, intensive training must be given to all control personnel. This applies particularly to ships with enclosed mounts where personnel are denied a clear picture of the position of targets in relation to friendly forces.
This ship has recently been the recipient of friendly AA fire and it has been noted that the effect upon the morale of the exposed gunners is very noticeable.
- Battle Damage.
All damage to ordnance equipment occurred as a result of the suicide attack by a Zeke on 14 May.
A summary of battle damage appears below:
- Damaged by fire and beyond repair.
- 5"/38 Gun No. 3.
- Mk 51 Director controlling above.
- 2 - 20MM Guns.
- Damaged by explosion (jammed).
- #3 and #4 Bomb Elevators.
- Lost power due to cut cables.
- 6 - 20MM Guns in batteries 1 and 2.
- 5 - 40MM Twins, Mounts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 and their controlling Mk 51 Directors.
- 3 - 5"/38 Guns, Nos. 1, 2, and 4 and their controlling Mk 51 Director.
- All equipment in the ordnance storerooms (A-404) was under water for several hours. Although some items may be uneffected it is intended to treat the majority of the spare parts with preservative and turn in to Navy Yard for salvage and/or survey.
The bomb elevators mentioned in 2(a) above were parked between the hangar and flight deck levels. This placement of the elevators was ordered at all times when not in use in an area where air attack was possible. It is believed that in the event of a possible bomb hit in the elevator shaft, that the elevator platform might detonate the bomb before it arrives in the magazine areas.
- Damaged by fire and beyond repair.
- Performance of Aviation Ordnance Equipment.
- Aviation Ammunition Expended.
500 lb. G.P. Bombs - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 100 lb. G.P. Bombs - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 197 100 lb. I.B.C. (M6 & M12)- - - - - - - - - - - - - 375 5" HVAR - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 104 3.25 Rockets - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 209 .50 Caliber - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 90,500
- The performance of the above equipment was satisfactory as far as could be determined.
- Aviation Ammunition Expended.
- Detail information on ship's gunnery.
- Performance of Enemy Ordnance Material
The only enemy ordnance equipment encountered was what was believed to be a 250 Kg. G.P. bomb (Navy type, streamlined). As the bomb disposal Officer was killed in the action, no professional substantiation is available. The recovered fragments will be turned over to an M.E.I. Unit in the forward area for examination and identification.
Information regarding the effectiveness of the bomb may be obtained from the damage report (Part V).