Our Navy At War
A Report to the Secretary of the Navy
Covering our Peacetime Navy and our Wartime Navy and including combat operations up to March 1, 1944
By ADMIRAL ERNEST J. KING, U.S.N.
Commander in Chief U. S. Fleet, and Chief of Naval Operations
27 March 1944
Dear Mr. Secretary,
In view of the importance and complexity of our naval operations and the tremendous expansion of our naval establishment since we entered the war, I present to you at this time a report of progress.
It is of interest to note that the date of this report happens to be on the 150th anniversary of the passage by Congress of a bill providing for the first major ships of the United States Navy--the 44-gun frigates Constitution, United States, President and Chesapeake, and the 36-gun frigates Constellation and Congress.
This report includes combat operations up to March 1, 1944. I know of no reason why it should not be made public.
ERNEST J. KING
Admiral, U. S. Navy,
Commander in Chief, United States Fleet
and Chief of Naval Operations
- LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL 2
- INTRODUCTION 3
- THE PEACETIME NAVY 3
- Prior to the War in Europe 3
- As Affected by the War in Europe 5
- THE WARTIME NAVY 7
- Fighting Strength 7
- Armaments 7
- Personnel 13
- COMBAT OPERATIONS 20
- General 20
- Strategy 24
- The Pacific Theater 25
- The Atlantic Theater 47
- The Mediterranean Theater 50
- - IV -
- TEAMWORK 55
- The Navy Team 55
- The Army and Navy Team 55
- The Allied Team 55
- CONCLUSION 56
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For more than two yearsp the United States has been engaged in world-wide war. Our geographical position, our wealthp resources and industrial developmentp combined with an unfaltering will to victory have established and enhanced our position as one of the dominant powers among the United Nations. As such we have been closely and deeply involved with our Allies in all the political, economic and military problems and undertakings which constitute modern war. Historically, the conduct of war by allies has rarely been effective or harmonious. The record of the United Nations in this regardp during the past two yearsp has been unprecedentedp not only in the extent of its success but in the smooth working and effective cooperation by which it has been accomplished. As one of the United Nationsp the United States has reason to be proud of the inter-Allied aspects of its conduct of the warp during the past two years.
As a national effort, the war has shown the complete dependence of all military undertakings on the full support of the nation in the fields of organization, productionp finance, and morale. Our military services have had that support in a full degree.
The Navy has also had full support from the nation with respect to manpower. Personnel of our regular Navyp whop in time of peacep serve as a nucleus for expansion in time of war, now represent a small portion of the total number of officers and men. About ninety per cent of our commissioned personnel and about eighty per cent of our enlisted personnel are Naval Reservesp who have successfully adapted themselves to active service in a comparatively short time. Thanks to their hard workp their training, and their will to become assets their performance of duty has been uniformly as excellent as it has been indispensable to our success.
As to the purely military side of the warp there is one lesson which stands out above all others. This is that modern warfare can be effectively conducted only by the close and effective integration of the three military armsp which make their primary contribution to the military power of the Nation on the ground, at seap and from the air. This report deals primarily with the Navy's part in the warp but it would be an unwarranted, though an unintendedp distortion of perspectivep did not the Navy record here its full appreciation of the efficientp whole-hearted and gallant support of the Navy's efforts by the groundp air and service forces of the Armyp without which much of this story of the Navy's accomplishments would never have been written.
During the period of this reportp the Navy, like the full military power of the Nationp has been a team of mutually supporting elements. The Fleetp the shore establishmentp the Marine Corpsp the Coast Guard, the Waves, the Seabeesp have all nobly done their parts. Each has earned an individual "well done"—but hereafter are all included in the term, "The Navy."
11 The Wartime Navy
The world diplomatic situation had been deteriorating for some yearsp and Europe had been at war since September 1939. For those reasons, we had been adding to our fleet from time to timep beginning in 1933, but our decision to prepare ourselves fully for the inevitable conflict may be considered to have been made when the so-called Two-Ocean Navy Bill became law on July 19, 1940. At that timep we had to consider the possible disappearance of British sea power. England itself was threatened and its capture by the Germans would have meant the loss of the Royal Navy's home bases and the industrial establishments. These, we could readily seep would become very tangible assets indeedp in the event that we were drawn into the war.
In round numbers, provision for a "two-ocean Navy" meant an expansion of about 70 per cent in our combat tonnage—the largest single building program ever undertaken by the United States or any other country.
BUILDING & REPAIRING
U.S. NAVY VESSELS
JANUARY JANUARY JULY
1942 1943 1943
—Official U. S. Navy Plate
Upon the outbreak of war in Europe in September 1939, the Navy Department initiated expansion of naval shipbuilding facilities in private yards and in Navy yards. In many instances, particularly in Navy yards, the expansion provided facilities which were to be available for repairs as well as new construction.
By July 19p 1940p when the two-ocean Navy was authorized, the program for expanding facilities was well startedp and it continued thereafter at an accelerating rate until the early part of 1943. Early in the period of the shipyard expansion, it was apparent that as the new programs for cargo ships, tanks, planes, and Army and Navy equipment of all kinds started to pyramidp the country's latent manufacturing capacity would soon be overloaded. Thus the problem became not merely one of expanding shipyardsp but of expanding the manufacturing capacity of industry as a whole to meet the needs of the Navy shipbuilding program. (See Plate 4.)
Expansion of general industry to meet the requirements of this shipbuilding program began with plants producing basic raw materials. Next to be enlarged were plants capable of manufacturing the component parts of a modern man-of-war ranging all the way from jewel bearings to huge turbines. So comprehensive was the building program that nearly every branch of American industry was affected either directly or indirectly. Manufacturers were encouraged to let out their work to subcontractors, particularly to plants which had been producing non-essential materials. An automobile manufacturer, for example, was given the job of producing
extremely intricate gyroscopic compassesp and a stone finishing concern undertook the manufacture of towing machines and deck winches. Early in the building program an acute situation in the construction of turboelectric propulsion machinery was solved by the construction of an enormous new plant in a 50-acre corn field. As an illustration of the speed with which the whole program was undertakenp the construction of that particular plant was not begun until May 1942, and by the end of the year the first unit had been produced, completed and shipped.
The rapidity of this naval expansion has had a profound effect upon our military strategy. As a result of itp we were enabled to seize and hold the initiative sooner than we had originally anticipatedp and to deal successfully with the submarine situation in the Atlantic. The former has, of course, meant a vast improvement in our military situation everywhere, and the latter was of great benefit to the shipping situation, which was very serious in the early months of the war and threatened to become more so with the prospective increases in overseas troop movements and their support. (See Plate 5.)
Immediately after the passage of the Two-Ocean Navy Billp corresponding contracts for new construction were let and there were soon more warships and auxiliaries on the ways than had ever been under construction anywhere in the world at any one time. Simultaneously with this new constructionp the conversion of merchant ships was being accomplished, one of the most important of these being the escort carriers which later proved so effective in combatting the German submarine campaign in the Atlantic. It is interesting to note that the conversion of these ships was superimposed upon the shipbuilding effort following enactment of the Two-Ocean Navy Bill, it having been long appreciated that sea-borne aircraft would play a dominant role in overseas campaigns if and when war came.
With a construction program well under wayp it was most important to keep alterations in design at a minimum in order to avoid delays. Neverthelessp changes which would increase military effectiveness or give greater protection to crews were not sacrificed for the sake of speeding up construction. Another consideration which industry had to take in its stride was the evolution of strategic plans and changes in the type of operations which made it necessaryp from time to time, to shift the emphasis in construction from one type of ship to another. For examplep when the war began our carrier strength was such that we could not stand much attrition. When, therefore, we suffered the loss of four of our largest aircraft carriers in the Coral Sea engagementp at Midwayp and in the South Pacific, it was imperative that the construction of vessels of this category be pushed ahead at all possible speed. Shortly after we suffered the heavy loss in battleship strength at Pearl Harbor our battleships under construction at the time were given top
BEFORE PEARL HARBOR
SHIP COMPLETED IN 1943
—Official U. S. Navy Plate
MONTHS REQUIRED FOR U.S. NAVY CONSTRUCTION BEFORE AND AFTER PEARL HARBOR
35 30 25 20 15 10
priority. At another stage of the warp when the submarine situation in the Atlantic was a matter of great concernp emphasis was placed upon escort carriers and destroyer escort vessels. At the momentp major emphasis rests with the construction of landing craftp because we intend to use them in large numbers in future operations.
The production of aircraft quite naturally assumed proportions commensurate with the building program. Thanks to the research and experimentation that had been done in improving and perfecting the various types of airplanesp and thanks also to the genius of United States industry in the field of mass productionp our air power increased with almost incredible rapidity as soon as our airplane factories were expanded and retooled for the various models of planes we needed. In view of the delays to be expected from changes in design when on a mass production basis, it was apparent that a nice timing in changes of design would be necessaryp so that the performance of our aircraft would always be more than a match for anything produced by the enemy. A notable example is the change-over from the Grumman Wildcat to the Grumman Hellcat.
In order to obtain a properly balanced navy the construction of combatant ships was supplemented by building patrol vessels, mine craftp landing craft and auxiliary vessels of all types. Some 55 building yardsp and yacht basinsp located in practically all areas of the United States served by navigable waters have participated in the patrol craft construction program.
No maritime nation has ever been able to fight a war successfully without an adequate merchant marine—something we did not have when the two-ocean Navy was authorized. The Maritime Commission therefore began a vast program of merchant ship construction at the same time we were expanding the Navyp and the merchant shipbuilding industry, toop faced an enormous expansion. Furthermorep the supply of materials necessary to complete the huge program had to be carefully allocatedp in view of the country's other needs that had to be met. The Navy needed material to build ships and manufacture planes and equipmentp the Army required the material for military purposesp and civilian needs could not be neglected. In order to control the allocation of materialp the War Production Board was established by the President and decisions as to priorities have since been made by that agency.
Naturallyp such a great undertaking involved thousands of business transactions on the part of the Navy Departmentp with the contracting builders and manufacturers. These transactions have been continuousp and have been entered into on the basis of statutes which limit the profits permissiblep and provide for the negotiation and renegotiation of all contracts. This part of the program hasp in itselfp been a colossal job.
At the beginning of the program ten battleships were under construction. By the time Pearl Harbor was attacked only twop the North Carolina and the Washington, were in servicep but since that timep six more have joined the fleet. These include the South Dakota and three sister shipsp the Indiana, Massachusetts, and Alabama, and two of a larger classp the Iowa and the New jersey. A third ship in the latter class, the Wisconsin, was launched December 7p 1943p appropriately enough, two years to the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked. In speedp in fire power, particularly antiaircraft fire, in maneuverabilityp and in protectionp these ships represent a great advance over previous designs.
Construction of aircraft carriers represents one of the most spectacular phases of the naval shipbuilding program. The carrier strength of the Navy on December 7p 1941, was seven first-line vessels and one escort carrierp a converted merchant ship. Contracts had been placed for several large carriers of the new Essex classp and some of these had been laid down. Conversion of a number of merchant vessels was under way. The pressing need to add to our striking power in the air and to replace losses suffered in the Pacific during 1942, led to a great expansion of the construction program for first-line carriers. Concurrentlyp an even larger expansion of the escort carrier program was undertaken. By the end of 1943, more than 50 carriers of all types had been put into service in our Navyp and in addition a large number of escort carriers had been transferred to Great Britain.
This remarkable record in construction enabled us in a single year to build up our carrier strength from the low point reached in the autumn of 1942p when the Saratoga, the Enterprise, and the Ranger were the only ships of our fleet carrier forces remaining afloat, to a position of clear superiority in this category. The rapidity with which new carriers of various types were put into service in 1943p influenced naval operations in many important respects. Availability of several ships of the Essex class and of a considerable number of smaller carriersp completed months ahead of schedule, contributed to the success of our operations in the Southwest Pacificp aided materially in checking the submarine menace in the Atlanticp and enabled us to launch an offensive in the Central Pacific before the end of the year.
A large proportion of the Essex class carriers have joined the fleet. Excellent progress is being made on construction of the remaining ships in the original program and of the additional vessels in this class authorized after the Pearl Harbor attack. Nearly all of the carriers of the Independence classp converted from light cruisers, have been completed. These ships, though smaller than the Essex class vessels, are first-line carriers. It is planned to supplement these two basic types of carriers with a thirdp substantially larger than any of our present classesp which will displace 45p000 tonsp and will be capable of handling bombing planes larger than any which heretofore have operated from the decks of aircraft carriers. They will be far more heavily armed than smaller carriers and will be much less vulnerable to bomb and torpedo attack.
The Navy's first escort carrier was the Long Island, converted early in 1941p from the merchant vessel Mormacmail. When experiments with this ship proved successfulp a sizeable conversion program was initiatedp using Maritime Commission C-3 hullsp and a number of oilers. In 1942p because of pressing needp this program was greatly expanded.
The "baby flat-tops" have three principal uses. They serve as anti-submarine escorts for convoys; as aircraft transportsp delivering assembled aircraft to strategic areas; as combatant carriers to supplement the main air striking force of the fleet. Although their cruising speeds are lower than those of our first-line carriersp these aux-
AVERAGE MONTHLY PRODUCTION
1941 1942 1943
1.33 6.75 10.83
iliary carriers can be turned out more rapidly and at a fraction of the cost of conventional carriers. These ships have proved invaluable in performing convoy escort and other duties for which larger and faster carriers are not needed.
The Baltimore class heavy cruisersp a number of which are now in service, were designed during the period from July 19p 1940 to December 7p 1941. These cruisers are considered as powerful as any heavy cruisers afloatp particularly as recent technical developments have made it possible to improve their fighting characteristics. The Cleveland type of light cruiser (a development of the Brooklyn class) was approved for a large part of the cruiser pro- —Official U. S. Navy Plate
gramp its design having been completed just before the expansion was authorized. The design of the large Alaska class was the result of a series of studies commenced when treaty limitations went by the board and we were no longer bound by any limitations on the size of ships.
Destroyers and Destroyer Escorts
The Fletcher class of destroyers designed just after the outbreak of the war in Europep formed a large part of the new destroyer building program. As compared with earlier destroyersp they are larger and have greatly increased fighting power, made possible by the same technical developments that permitted similar improvements in our cruisers.
Destroyer production has been highly satisfactoryp and
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it has been possible to expand and accelerate this part of the program in an orderly manner. Although some new yards were engaged in building destroyers the increases were made possible by expanding facilities in yards which had had experience in destroyer construction. An idea of the acceleration in the rate of delivery of destroyers may be had by comparison with the figures for 1941 and 1943. In 1943p the rate was approximately eight times that of 1941. (See Plate 6.)
Contracts for the first destroyer escorts were let in Novemberp 1941. In Januaryp 1942, the program was increasedp and as Germany stepped up the construction of U-boats several more increases were found necessary. Because of priorities the commencement of a large building program was delayedp but after delivery of the first vessel of the classp in Februaryp 1943p mass production methods became effective in the 17 building yards concerned. The result was a phenomenal output of those very useful vessels.
As a result of the orderly progress which had been made in the construction of submarines involving continuous trial under service conditionsp the main problem to be solved in building more submarines was the expansion of facilities. For a period of 15 years or morep there were only three yards in the United States with the equipment and the know-how to build submarines. These were the Navy yards at Portsmouth, New Hampshirep and Mare Islandp Californiap and the Electric Boat Company at Grotonp Connecticut.
In addition to the expansion that took place at these yardsp two other yards went into the production of submarines. One of these was the Cramp Shipbuilding Corporation of Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniap and the other was the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company at Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The building at the latter yard is a further testimonial to the ingenuity displayed throughout the entire programp in that submarines are built at Manitowocp tested in the Great Lakesp then taken through the Chicago drainage canalp and down the Mississippi River to New Orleansp where they are made ready for sea.
One of the most important achievements has been the landing craft construction program. Although the Navy had begun to experiment with small landing craft in 1936p we had only a few thousand tons in this catagory when we entered the war. In 1942p a billion dollar program for the construction of landing craft was superimposed on the already heavy building schedule, and the work was given top priority until the desired quota was filled. The facilities of existing public and private shipyards were given part of the burden. New yards were constructedp many of them in the Mississippi Valleyp where bridge-building and steel-working companies which had had no previous experience in shipbuilding put up new plants and swung into production. In the second half of 1942p almost a quarter of a million tons of landing craft were producedp and the figure increased to well over a third of a million tons for the first half of 1943.
This production included a tremendous variety of vessels from small rubber boats to tank landing ships more than 300 feet in length. Within this range are small craft designed to carry only a few menp and ships with a ca- pacity of 200, tracked craft capable of crawling over coral reefs or up beachesp craft for landing tanks or vehicles, craft for landing gunsp craft for giving close fire support —in factp all types necessary for success in that most difficult of military operationsp landing on a hostile shore.
As a natural consequence of the importance of aviation in warp there has been a tremendous growth in the number of aircraft in the Navy.
Lessons learned in battle have been incorporated in the design of combat planes. New naval aircraft have larger engines and more powerp increased protection for both crew and planep and greater firepower than the models in service at the time of Pearl Harbor. The Grumman Wildcat, which served with distinction through the first year of the warp has been largely replaced by two new fighters—the Chance-Vought Corsair and the Grumman Hellcat. These two fighters were born of the war. While the Corsair existed as an experimental model before Pearl Harborp it was so modified before going into production as to represent virtually a new plane. Offering greatly increased speed and firepower, the Corsair went into production in June, 1942p and large numbers were being sent to the war fronts by the end of the year. The Corsair was followedp but in no sense succeeded by the Hellcat, which carries more armament and has greatly increased climbing ability. In production since Novemberp 1942p and 'in service with the fleet since Septemberp 1943p the Hellcat rounds out a powerful striking force for Naval aviation. These two planes are superior to anything the Japanese have.
The Douglas Dauntless scout and dive bomberp in service when this country entered the war, has undergone successive modifications but is still in use. A new plane in this category—the Curtiss Helldiver—is now ready' for the fighting front. This plane can carry a greatly increased bomb loadp has more firepower, and is speedier than the Dauntless.
Twelve days after the attack on Pearl Harbor the Navy approved the final experimental model of a new torpedo bomber, the Grumman Avenger. Six weeks later, this plane began coming off the production line. Undergoing its baptism of fire at the Battle of Midwayp it gradually replaced the Douglas Devastator and 'has now become almost an all-purpose plane for the fleet. The Avenger is a speedyp strongly protectedp rugged aircraft capable of delivering a torpedo attack at sea• or a heavy bomb load on land targets. Since it was first put into service, its defensive armament and auxiliary equipment have been improvedp and a new model introducing other improvements is almost ready for volume production.
No field of aviation has been more important to the Navy than that of long range reconnaissance and patrol. After two years of warp the Consolidated Catalina flying boat remains in active servicep having proved its usefulness in performing such varied tasks as night bombing patrolp rescuesp anti-submarine warfarep and even dive bombing. Since Pearl Harborp the Catalina has been supplemented by the Martin Mariner, a larger planep which has likewise proved to be versatile in this field.
The Navy has made increasing use of land-based patrol airplanes because of the greater speed and range of newly developed models of this type and their greater defensive ability as compared with seaplanes. With more land bases becoming availablep it has been possible to
utilize them effectively for long over-water operations. Their superior offensive and defensive power makes them more valuable in anti-submarine warfare and for combat reconnaissance photography and patrol.
Two principal types of land-based patrol planes are now in service with the Navy—the four-engine Consolidated Liberator and the two-engine Vega Ventura. The Navy's version of the Liberator is an extremely useful plane for fast, long range reconnaissance, search and tracking. A new versionp with more powerful defensive armament and greater offensive strengthp soon will be available. The Ventura is a strongly armed aircraft which carries a heavy bomb load. It has proved a powerful weaponp particularly in the war against the submarine. Two other land-based bombers—the Lockheed Hudson and the Douglas Havoc—have seen limited service with the Navy, and a third—the North American. Mitchell—is in use by Marine air squadrons.
The principal plane used by the Navy for scout observation work during the war, has been the Vought-Sikorsky Kingfisher. A newer plane in this fieldp now in service, is the Curtiss Seagull.
The field of air transport has been enormously expanded since the beginning of the war. The Naval Air Transport Service now operates, either directly or through contract with private airlinesp more than 70p000 miles of scheduled flights to all parts of the globep helping to maintain the Navy's long supply lines. Thus far, standard type transport planes have been used. In December 1943p howeverp the Martin Mars, world's largest flying boat, was accepted by the Navy after exhaustive tests which proved its ability to carry heavy loads at long range. Manufacture of the Mars, under a prime contract with the Navy, is now under wayp and the first production plane of this type recently entered actual service as cargo carriers.
The tremendous increase in the number of fighting ships and the global nature of the war required the accuisition of a commensurately large fleet of auxiliaries. These ships were obtained by construction, by conversion of standard Maritime Commission commercial hulls and by acquisition and conversion of commercial vessels. A considerable number of conversions of standard Maritime Commission types have been accomplished under the supervision of the Maritime Commission. Probably the most important vessels produced under the auxiliary program during 1943 were those which take part in actual landing operationsp consisting of attack transports, attack cargo vessels and general headquarters ships. The demand for repair ships of standard and special typesp which increased many-fold during 1943, was met by new construction and conversion.
As previously statedp patrol vessels were necessary to a properly balanced Navy. The first group of patrol craft whose design was developed before the warp was completed in the spring of 1942p and more than 600 vessels of this type were completed in 1943. Motor torpedo boats (which have been employed to good advantage in several different theaters) were produced at intervals in accordance with military requirements. The classification "Patrol Craft" includes the 110-foot sub-chaser and the 136-p 173- and 184-foot steel vessels. The greatest emphasis on this type of ship prevailed prior to and during the German submarine offensive off our Atlantic Coast and in the Caribbean.
The expansion program and the additional requirements following the outbreak of war resulted in increases in personnel as follows. The figures given include officers and men and the Women's Reservep but not officer candidates or nurses:
Sept. 8, 1939 Dec. 7, 1941 Dec. 31, 1943
Navy 126,418 325,095 2,254606
Marine Corps 19,701 70,425 391,620
Coast Guard 10,079 25,002 171,518
The increases in enlisted naval personnel are shown
graphically on the accompanying chart. (See Plate I.)
Taking the number of men indicated into an organization was in itself an enormous undertaking. Training them was an even greater undertaking, in spite of their high intelligence and the other characteristics which make the American fightiNavypn the equal of any in the world.
Procurement of Officers
In time of peace thwarpvy is manned almost entirely by officers of the regular Navy, most of whom are graduates of the Naval Academy. Several years before the war, knowing that the Naval Academy would not be able to supply officers in sufficient quantities for waruppe needs, the Navy established Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps units at various colleges throughout the country. Under the system set up, students were given tthempportunity to take courses in naval science (which included training at sea during the summer months) and upon successfudutypompleting them, were commissioned in the Naval reserve. When the limited emergency was declared, these officers were ordered to active duty, but when the war broke out it became apparent that the combined supply of cFebruaryped offithereforepthe Naval Academy and from ROTC units would not be sufficient to meet our needs for the rapidly expanding Navy.
In February, 1942, therefore, offices of naval officer procurement were established in key cities throughout the couhealthpucharacterpthousands of officer candidates went to these offices and there presented their qualifications. With .the requirements of health, character, personality and education duly considere72p000 applications of those who appeared qualified were forwardedlifephe Navy Department for final consideration. Under this procedure some 72,000 officers were commissioned in the Navy directly from civil life, to meet immediate needs.
Meanwhile, educational programs designed to produce commissioned officers had been established in numerous colleges thstudentspthe country. Included were the aviation cadet program (V-5) principally for physically qualified high school graduat(V-1)p college students, and later the Navy college program (V-12) which absorbed 66p815graduate students of the accredited college program (V-1), and of theforegoingpidshipman program (V-7). At the present time there are 66,815 members of the V-12 program in some 241 different colleges.
From the foregoing, it will be seen that high school graduates are now the126p418 principa2p254606 of young officers. T70p425r391p620is described elsewhe25p002t171p518
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portp but the various programs for naval reserve officers have supplied the fleet with large numbersp many of whom have already demonstrated their ability and the wisdom of the policy calling for their indoctrination and training before being sent to sea. Officers of the regular Navy are universally enthusiastic over the caliber of young reserve officers on duty in the fleet.
In general, procurement of officers has kept up with the needs of the servicep with the exception of officers in the medicalp dentalp and chaplain corps and. in certain highly specialized fields of engineering. As graduates of professional schools are the chief source of commissioned officers in the various staff corps and as there must be a balance between military and civilian needsp we are at present somewhat short of our commissioned requirements in certain branches of the service.
By comparison with the increase in size of the naval reservep the increases in the regular Navy have been small. The output of the Naval Academy is at its peakp however, having been stepped up by shortening the course to three years and by increasing the number of appointments. In additionp during 1943, 20p652 officers have been made by the advancement of outstanding enlisted personnel.
Recruiting of Enlisted Personnel
When the President declared the existence of a limited emergency on September 8p 1939p the personnel strength of the Navy had been increased by calling retired officers and men to active duty and by giving active duty status to members of the naval reserve who volunteered for it. At the time the large naval expansion was authorized in July 1940p however, there were still only slightly more than 160p000 men in the Navy and by the end of that year only 215p000. As late as June, 1941p the total was still well below 300p000p and• it was apparent that a radical increase over and above the existing figure was an immediate necessity. Various measures were therefore taken to stimulate recruitingp by virtue of which the Navy strength stood at 290p000 on December 7p 1941. In other wordsp we doubled our personnel in two years.
Immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor there was a large increase in enlistmentsp and by the end of that month some 40p000 additional men had been accepted far naval service. This heavy enlistment rate, however, experienced in Decemberp 1941, and January, 1942p subsequently fell off at a time when the requirements were still mounting. In order to meet the situation and to provide an adequate method of recruiting the large numbers of men neededp our recruiting system, which had already been expanded, was fortified by a field force of officers commissioned directly from civil lifep and by the fall of 1942p we were accepting each month a total equivalent to peacetime Navy strength.
On December 5p 1942p the voluntary enlistment of men between the ages of 18 and 37, inclusivep was ordered terminated as of February 1, 1943p on which latter date the manpower requirements of the Navy were supplied by operation of the machinery of the Selective Service system. During the period of active recruiting about 900p000 volunteers were accepted. Since February 1p 1943, 779p713 men have entered the Navy through Selective Service. During the same period voluntary enlistments within the age limits prescribed totalled 205p669.
On June 1p 1943, the Army and Navy agreed, on joint physical standards which were somewhat lower than those previously followed by the Navyp but still sufficiently rigid to permit all inductees to be assigned to any type of duty afloat or ashore.
Strictly speaking, it is probably true that training is a continuous process, which begins when an individual enters the Navy and ends when he leaves it. In time of peace the number of trained men in the Navy is relatively high. In time of warp howeverp particularly when we experience a personal expansion such as has been describedp trained men are at a premium. It is not an exaggeration to state that our success in this war will be in direct proportion to the state of training of our own forces.
When we entered the war we experienced a dilution in trained men in new ships because of the urgency of keeping trained men where fighting was in progressp and initial delays in getting underway with the huge expansion and training program had to be accepted. As the war progressed, and as the enemy offensive was checkedp we were able to assign larger numbers of our trained men to train other men. Our ability to expand and train during active operations reflects the soundness of our peacetime training and organization. With that as a foundation on which to buildp and with the tempo of all training stepped upp adequate facilities, standardized curriculap proper channeling of aptitude, full use of previous related knowledge, lucid instructions, and top physical condition became the criteria for wartime training.
Generally speakingp the first stage in the training of any new member of the Navy is to teach him. what every member of the Navy must know, such as his relationship with others, the wearing of the uniform, the customs of the servicep and how to take care of himself on board ship. The second stage involves his being taught a specialty and being thoroughly grounded in the fundamentals of that specialty. The third stage is to fit him into the organization and teach him to use his ability to the best advantage.
The over-all problem of training officers involves a great deal more than the education of the individual in the ways of the Navy. The first. step is classification according to ability, which must be followed by appropriate assignment to duty. This is particularly true in the case of reserve officersp who must be essentially specialistsp because there is insufficient time to devote to the necessary education and training to make them qualified for detail to more than one type of duty.
As previously statedp ROTC unitsp which were part of the V-1 training program, 'had been established in various collegesp and courses in naval sciencep which included drills and summer cruisesp were worked into the academic careers of the individuals enrolled. With the approach of warp the training of these students was shortened in most colleges to two and one-half years, and eventually they became part of the Navy college training program (V-12).
In 1935p the Congress authorized the training of Naval aviation cadetsp and that statutory authority was implemented by a program for their trainingp known as the V-5 programp which was open to physically qualified high school graduates and college students. Under the methods adopted, a decision as to whether or not a candidate would be accepted for the V-5 program was made by Naval Aviation Cadet Selection Boardsp who were
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guided by high standards covering the educationalp moralp physical and psychological qualifications of each individual. The period of training normally requires from 12 to 15 monthsp exclusive of additional college training required for 17-year-old students. Of this timep six to eight months are spent in preliminary training in physical education and ground school subjects at pre-flight schools. The remainder of the training consists of primaryp intermediate and advanced flight training. Upon successful completion of the full flight training course, an aviation cadet is commissioned ensign in the Naval Reserve or second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve and is then ordered to active duty as a pilot.
The V-12 (Navy college training) program was established on JuLy 1p 1943. It consisted initially of students who were on inactive duty in the Naval Reservep new students from civilian lifep and young enlisted men especially selected. The new students from civilian life consist of selected high school graduates or others with satisfactory educational qualifications who can establish by appropriate examination their mentalp physical and potential officer qualifications. These students are then inducted into the Navy as apprentice seamen or as privatesp United States Marine Corpsp placed on active duty, and assigned to designated colleges and universities to follow courses of study specified by the Navy Department.
V-12 training embodies most of the features of preceding Naval Reserve programs. Depending on training requirementsp and with the exception of medical and dental officers, engineering specialistsp and chaplains, length of courses vary from two to six semesters. The courses of study include fundamental college work in mathematics, sciencep Englishp historyp naval organization and general naval indoctrination for the first two terms for all students. This is followed by specialized training in a particular field, assignment of a student to special training being based upon his choice and upon his demonstrated competence in the field chosenp subject to available quotas. Upon satisfactory completion of college training, students are assigned to further training in the Navyp Marine Corps or Coast Guardp and if found qualified after completion of that training they are commissioned in the appropriate reserve.
So farp the V-12 program has worked well. It permits the selection of the country's best qualified young men on a broad democratic basis without regard for financial resourcesp and the induction and training of those young men who show the greatest promise of having superior ability and the other qualities likely to make a good officer.
The link between the College Training Program and the fleets is the Naval Reserve Midshipman Program. The Navy college graduates who are going to deck and engineering duties with the forces afloat are sent to one of the six reserve midshipman schools for a four months' course. Upon the successful completion of the first month's studyp they are appointed reserve midshipmenp and after the remaining three months' intensive training, they are appointed ensigns in the Naval Reserve.
Originally four reserve midshipman schools. were establishedp located at Columbia Universityp Northwestern Universityp Notre Damep and the Naval Academy. The program has been such an outstanding successp and the demand for its graduates has so increasedp that two additional schools recently have been put into commission, at Cornell and at Plattsburgp New Yorkp with the result that there are nearly 9p000 men in this training program at any one time. The combined result of the College Training Program and the Reserve Midshipman Program is to meet the need of the fleets for thoroughly trained young deck and engineering, officers.
Recruit trainingp in addition to the instruction given the individual in the ways of the Navyp consists of his being fully informed of the training opportunities open to him. This is followed by a series of tests designed to determine the ability of each recruit. These tests are based on the type of duty to be performed in the Navyp and in addition to such tests as the general classification testp consists of a systematic determination of aptitudes in reading and mechanical ability and any knowledge of specific work. Through a system of personal interviews these tests are supplemented by considering the background and experience of the individualp so that the special qualifications of each recruit may be evaluated. This information is then indexed and recorded and used in establishing quotas for the detail of men to special service schools or to any other duty for which they seem best qualified.
While the recruit is learning about the Navyp thereforep the Navy is learning about him. A practical application of this system was the assembly of the crew for the USS New Jersey, a new battleship. While the ship was fitting outp a series of tests and a thorough study of the requirements of each job on board were conducted. For examplep special tests determined those best fitted to be telephone talkers or night lookouts or gun captainsp and as a resultp when the crew went aboard each man was assigned to a billet in. keeping with his aptitude for it.
As permanent establishmentsp we had four training stations—Newportp Rhode Island; Norfolkp Virginia ; Great Lakesp Illinoisp and San Diegop California. As soon as we entered the war it became apparent that it would be necessary to expand these four stations radically and to establish others. By November 1942p we had expanded the four permanent training stations and established new ones at Bainbridgep Maryland; Sampsonp New Yorkp and Farragut, Idaho.
The training in the fundamentals of the specialty to be followed by a newcomer to the Navy is carried on ashore and afloat. Recruits showing the most aptitude for a particular duty are sent to special service schools designed to give the individual a thorough. grounding in his specialty before assuming duties on board ship. If he hopes to become an electrician's mate he may be assigned to the electrical schoolp if a machinist's mate, to the machinist's mate schoolp if a commissary steward, to the cook's and baker's school, and so forth. Approximately 32 per cent of those who receive recruit training are assigned to special service schools.
An advanced type of training is given men who are already skilled in a specialty by assembling them and training them to work as a unit. This is known as operational trainingp and in addition to the special meaning of the term as applied to aviation trainingp it encompasses such special activities as bomb disposal units as well as the training of ship's crews before the ship is commissioned.
When the individual goes on board ship, he discovers that his training has only begunp because he must learn how to apply the knowledge he has already gained and
how his performance of duty fits into the organization of the ship. This is another form of operational training—conductedp of coursep by the forces afloat—which is a preliminary to the assignment of that ship as a unit of the fleet. This does not mean that the ship is fully trained, but it means that the training is sufficiently advanced to fit the crew for the additional training and seasoning that comes only with wartime operations at sea. With the proper background of training, the most efficient ship is very likely to be the one which has been in action. In other wordsp actual combat is probably the best training of allp provided the ship is ready for it.
The health of the personnel in our naval forces has been uniformly excellent. In additionp the treatment and prevention of battle casualties has become progressively better.
The Medical Corps of the Navy has not only kept up with scientific developments everywhere, but it has taken the lead in many fields. The use of sulfa drugs, blood plasma and penicillinp plus the treatment of war neuroses probably represent the outstanding medical accomplishments of the warp but all activities requiring medical attention have been under continuous study.
For example, the conditions under which submarines must operate have been found to require special dietp air conditioning, sun lampsp special attention to heat fatigue, and careful selection of personnel. Similarlyp in the field of aviation medicinep such matters as supply of oxygenp decompression treatment, acceleration stressesp air sicknessp and fatigue require the closest attention. In the case of aviation medicine, flight surgeonsp who are themselves qualified naval aviators and therefore familiar with all aviation problemsp have been instrumental in keeping our aviation personnel at the peak of their efficiency.
Naval mobile hospitals were developed shortly before the war. These are complete unitsp capable of handling any situation requiring medical attention. Each unit contains officers of the Medical Corpsp the Dental Corpsp the Hospital Corpsp the Nurse Corpsp the Supply Corpsp the Civil Engineer Corps and the Chaplain Corpsp and in additionp enlisted personnel of a wide variety of non-medical ratings such as electricians, cooksp and bakers. Mobile hospitals are organized and commissioned, and being mobile as the name impliesp are placed under the orders of the Commander in Chiefp United States Fleetp for such duty as may be deemed desirablep the same as a ship. These mobile hospitals have proved invaluable in all theaters.
While it is hardly possible to single out any one activity as outstandingp the practice of evacuating sick and wounded personnel from forward areas by plane to be treated elsewhere, has been estimated to have increased the efficiency of treatment by about one-third. The beneficial effects of this practice on our ability to carry on a prolonged campaignp such as in the Solomon Islandsp are obvious.
There have been many more contributions to our military efficiency having to do with not only medicine, but health in general. The question of malaria control in the Solomon Islandsp protective clothingp the survival of personnel in lifeboatsp the purification of drinking waterp the treatment of flash burns, the recording by tag of first aid treatment received in the fieldp and periodic thorough physical examinations are a few of the progressive meas ures which, collectivelyp have been responsible for marked increases in our military efficiency.
The Marine Corps
Statistics previously given indicate the personnel expansion of the Marine Corps. In terms of combat units those figures represent a ground combat strength of two half-strength divisions and seven defense battalions expanded to five divisions, 19 defense battalions and numerous force and Corps troop organizations and service units ; 12 aviation squadrons expanded to 85; and increases in ships' detachments to keep pace with the ship construction program. Under the leadership of Lieutenant General T. H. Holcombp U.S.M.C.p the Marine Corps successfully met the greatest test in its history by forging a huge mass of untrained officers and men into efficient tactical units especially organizedp equippedp and trained for the complicated amphibious operations which have characterized the war in the Pacific.
Training of the expanding Marine Corps personnel had to be conducted by stages because existing bases were inadequate in housingp spacep and facilities. Basic training for all Marines was continued at the established recruit depots at Parris Islandp South Carolina, and San Diego, California. Specialized advanced training for ground and aviation personnel before being assigned to combat units was conducted chiefly at Camp Lejeunep New Riverp North Carolina; at Camp Elliottp near San Diego, California; and at Camp Pendletonp Oceansidep California. Improvised facilities were used at those three bases until they had been developed into centers capable of affording training in all the basic and special techniques required in amphibious warfare. The final stage of training began with assignment of personnel to combat units and ended with the movement of those units to combat areas. (The effectiveness of individual and unit training of the Marine Corps was first demonstrated at Guadalcanal and Tulagip eight months after the beginning of the war. That first test showed Marine Corps training methods to be sound and capable of producing combat units in a minimum of time.)
The commissioned personnel of the expanding Marine Corps were initially obtained from reservists and graduates of the Marine Corps Schools at Quantico. Later, commissioned personnel were obtained by including the Marine Corps in the Navy V-12 program, by selecting candidates from graduates of designated colleges and universitiesp and by increasing the number of enlisted men promoted to commissioned rank.
Marine Corps aviationp while expanding to a greater degree than the Corps as a wholep has continued to specialize in the providing of air support to troops in landing or subsequent ground operations. Training and organization in the United States and excellent equipment have made it possible to operate planes from hastily constructed airfields with limited facilities. The generally excellent performance of Marine aviation squadrons operating from forward bases in the Central and South Pacific areas in successful attacks against enemy aircraftp men-of-warp and shippingp attests the soundness of the organization.
In November 1942p the Marine Corps Women's Reserve was established, the authorized strength being 1p000 commissioned and 18p000 enlisted women, to be reached by June 30p 1944. By December 31, 1943, there
were 609 officers and 12p592 enlisted women in the organizationp all of whom have released male Marines for service in combat areas. The remarks relating to the performance of duty of the Wavesp contained in that part of this report covering their organization and trainingp are equally applicable to women in the Marine Corps.
Participation of Marines in combat is covered in Part III of this report.
The Coast Guard
The duties of the Coast Guard under Naval administration consist of the civil functions normally performed by the Coast Guard in time of peace which become military functions in time of warp and the performance of Naval duties for which the personnel of the Coast Guard are particularly fitted by reason of their peacetime employment. The organization operates separately with respect to appropriationsp required for Coast Guard vesselsp shore stationsp and personnel.
The increase in the size of the Coast Guard was necessitated chiefly by additional duties in connection with captain-of-the-port activities in the regulation of merchant shippingp the supervision of the loading of explosives, and the protection of shippingp harbors, and water front facilities. In additionp the complements of Coast Guard vessels and shore establishments were brought up to wartime strengthp certain transports and other naval craftp including landing barges, were manned by Coast Guard personnelp and a beach patrol (both mounted and afoot) and coastal lookout stations were established. The Coast Guard also undertook the manning and operating of Navy section bases and certain inshore patrol activities formerly manned by naval personnelp and furnished sentries and sentry dogs for guard duty at various naval shore establishments.
Coast Guard aviationp which is about three times its previous sizep has been under the operational control of Sea Frontier Commandersp for convoy coverage, and for anti-submarine patrol and rescue duties. Other squadrons outside of the United States are employed in ice observation and air-sea rescue duty. Miscellaneous duties assigned to Coast Guard aviation include aerial mapping and checking for the Coast and Geodetic Survey and ice observation assistance on the Great Lakes.
The assignment of certain Coast Guard personnel to duties radically different from those they normally perform required numerous changes in ratings. This resulted in extensive classification and retraining programs designed to prepare men for their new duties. The replacement of men on shore jobs by Sparsp both officer and enlisted, has been undertaken as a part of this retraining program. Approximately 10p000 Spars—whose performance of duty and value to the service is on a par with that of the Waves and the women of the Marine Corps—will be commissioned and enlisted when the contemplated strength of that organization is reached.
The present strength of the Coast Guard was attained by the establishment of the Coast Guard Reserve and by commissioning warrant officers and enlisted men for temporary service. Other increases in the commissioned personnel of the Coast Guard have been accomplished by appointments made direct from civil life in the case of individuals with particular qualificationsp such as special knowledge in the prevention and control of firesp police protection and merchant marine inspection.
A feature peculiar to the Coast Guard is the Temporary Reservep which consists of officers and enlisted men enrolled to serve without pay. Members of the Temporary Reserve have full military status while engaged in the performance of such duties as pilotagep port securityp the guarding of industrial plants, either on a full or part-time basis. At the present time there are about 70p000 members of the Temporary Reserve, but it is anticipated that it will eventually be reduced to about 50p000. The Coast Guard Auxiliaryp which is a civilian organizationp has contributed much of its manpower to the Temporary Reservep the result being a substantial saving in manpower to the military services.
Under the general direction of Vice Admiral R. R. Waeschep U.S.C.G.p Commandant, the Coast Guard has done an excellent job in all respects, and as a component part of the Navy in time of warp has demonstrated an efficiency and flexibility which has been invaluable in the solution of the multiplicity of problems assigned. The organization and handling of local defense in the early days of the war were particularly noteworthy.
For some months before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor we had been strengthening our insular outposts in the Pacific by construction of various fortifications. When these islands were attacked by the Japanesep the construction was only partially completed, and the civilians who were employed there by various construction companies were subjected to attackp along with our garrisons of Marines.
In that situation, the civilians were powerless to aid the military forces present because they lacked the weapons and the knowledge of how to use them. Furthermore, they lacked what little protection a military uniform might have given them. As a consequencep the Navy Department decided to establish and organize Naval construction battalions whose members would be not only skilled construction workers but trained fighters as well.
On December 28, 1941p authorization was obtained for the first contingent of "Seabees" (the name taken from the words "Construction Battalions") and a recruiting campaign was begun. The response was immediatep and experienced men representing about 60 different trades were enlisted in the Navy and given ratings appropriate to the degree and type of their civilian training.
After being enlisted these men were sent to training centers where they were given an intensive course in military trainingp toughened physicallyp and in general educated in the ways of the service. Particular attention was paid to their possible employment in amphibious operations. Following their initial trainingp the Seabees were formed into battalions, so organized that each could operate as a self-sustained unit and undertake any kind of base building assignment. They were sent to advance base depots for outfitting and for additional training before being sent overseas.
The accomplishments of the Seabees have been one of the outstanding features of the war. In the Pacificp where the distances are great and the expeditious construction of bases is frequently of vital importancep the construction accomplished by the Seabees has been of invaluable assistance. Furthermore, the Seabees have participated in practically every amphibious operation undertaken thus farp landing with the first waves of assault troops
to bring equipment ashore and set up temporary bases of operation.
In the Solomon Islands campaignp the Seabees demonstrated their ability to outbuild the Japs and to repair airfields and build new basesp regardless of conditions of weather. Other specialized services performed by the Seabees include the handling of pontoon gearp the repair of motor vehiclesp loading and unloading of cargo vesselsp and in fact every kind of construction job that .has to be done.
At present the Seabees number slightly more than 240p000p nearly half of whom are serving overseas at various outposts. Fleet commanders have been and are generous in their praise and appreciation of the work done by construction battalions everywhere. There can be no doubt that the Seabees constitute an invaluable component of our Navy.
Early in 1942p when the need for expansion of naval personnel became acutep the Navy Department proposed to the Congress that there be establishedp as an integral part of the Navyp a Women's Reserve. The stated purpose of the proposal was to employ women in shore billetsp so that men could be released for sea duty. Acting on that recommendationp the Women's Reserve was established on July 30p 1942p and the organization became known as the Wavesp the name being derived from the expression "Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service." In November, 1943p certain statutory changes were made which provided for women becoming eligible for all allowances or benefits to which men are entitledp and made certain alterations in the composition of the organizationp chiefly with respect to promotions.
Initial plans called for 1p000 officers and 10p000 enlisted womenp and immediately upon obtaining the necessary statutory authority for the organization of an officer training school were established at Northamptonp Massachusetts, utilizing the facilities of Smith and Mount Holyoke Colleges. At the same timep a training school for yeomen was established at Stillwaterp Oklahomap one for radio personnel at Madisonp Wisconsinp and one for storekeepers at Bloomington, Indiana. Under the procedure followed at that time all Waves went to one of these schools immediately after joining the Navyp and upon the successful completion of their trainingp to duty somewhere in the continental United States where they could take the place of men.
All officer candidates now go to Northampton for their indoctrinational training and may then receive further training elsewhere—there are 16 schools for special training—in communicationsp supplyp aerological engineeringp Japanese language, radio and electronicsp chemical warfare, general ordnance and photographic interpretation, and many othersp including air navigationp air gunnery, and ship and aircraft recognition.
All enlisted Waves now go to a general indoctrination school at Hunter College in New York Cityp and there receive their basic training. Further training at some other school—there are now 19 of them—designed to train them in their chosen specialtyp is now standard practice. Enlisted personnel are trained as radio operators, yeomen, storekeepersp for various aviation ratings, and for many othersp including pharmacist's mate. Approximately one-fourth of all enlisted women are now on duty with Naval aviation activities.
On December 31p 1943p there were 6p459 commissioned Waves and 40p391 enlisted Waves serving in various capacities. Present plans call for nearly 100p000 Waves by the end of 1944.
The organization has been a success from the beginningp partly because of the high standards Waves had to meet to be acceptedp partly because no effort has been spared to see that they are properly looked out for, and partly because of their overpowering desire to make good. As a result of their competencep their hard work, and their enthusiasm the release of men for sea duty has been accompanied in many casesp particularly in officesp by increases in efficiency. The natural consequence is an esprit de corps which embraces their value to the Navyp and it is a pleasure to report that in addition to their having earned an excellent reputation as a part of the Navyp they have become an inspiration to all hands in naval uniform.
III Combat Operations
Organization of the United States Fleet
On February 1p 1941p command afloat in the high echelons was vested in three Commanders in Chiefp one of whom commanded the Asiatic Fleet, one the Pacific Fleetp and one the Atlantic Fleetp provision being made whereby one of these threep depending on the circumstancesp would act as Commander in Chiefp United States Fleetp chiefly for purposes of standardization. In case two or more fleets operated togetherp he would coordinate their operations. At the time Pearl Harbor was attacked, the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet was also Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet.
Almost immediately after our entry in the war it be-
came apparent that for the purpose of exercising command all oceans must be regarded as one areap to the end that effective coordinated control and the proper distribution of our naval power might be realized. On December 20p 1941p thereforep the President changed this organization by making the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet, separate and distinct and in addition to the other three Commanders in Chiefp and ordered the Headquarters of the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet, established in the Navy Department in Washington.
As of January 1p 1942, Admiral H. R. Stark was Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral E. J. King was Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet, Admiral T. C. Hart was Commander in Chief of the Asiatic Fleetp
Admiral C. W. Nimitzp who relieved Admiral H. E. Kimmel late, in December, was Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, and Vice Admiral (now Admiral) R. E. Ingersoll was Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Fleet.
In Marchp 1942p (coincident with my appointment as such) the duties of the Chief of Naval Operations were combined with the duties of the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet. Admiral Stark, who had so ably performed the duties of Chief of Naval Operations during the vital period preceding the warp became commander of United States Naval Forces in Europe. This move was accompanied by a number of adjustments in the Navy Department organization, calculated, among other things, to facilitate the logistic support of the forces afloat by providing for its coordination. Except for the fact that the Asiatic Fleet ceased to exist as such in June, 1942, that basic organization of the United States Fleet and supporting activities is still in effect. In the spring of 1942, howeverp and from time to time thereafterp independent commands were established directly under the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet.
Organization Within Each Fleet
In time of peacep for purposes of standardization, and to facilitate training and administrationp our forces afloat operate under what is known as a type organization. Each fleet is subdivided according to types of ships in that fleetp (this includes shore-based naval aircraft), and in general, the officers assigned to command each subdivision are the next echelon below the Commander in Chief of a fleet. The "type commands" are primarily for administrative purposes. For operationsp vessels and aircraft of appropriate types are formed into operating commands known as "task forces."
As of February 1p 1941, Naval Coastal Frontiers consisted of one or more Naval Districtsp depending on their geographical location, and Naval Coastal Frontier forces were administrative and task organizations. Commanders of those forces were responsible to the Navy Department for administrative purposes and to the Chief of Naval Operations for task purposes.
On December 20p 1941p the operating forces of Naval Coastal Frontiers were placed under the command of the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet.
On February 6, 1942, Naval Coastal Frontiers became Sea Frontiersp and Commanders of Sea Frontiers were made responsible to the Commander in Chief, United States Fleetp for that portion of their commands comprising ships and aircraft duly allocated as Sea Frontier forces. For the portion comprising ships and aircraft allocated by the Chief of Naval Operations as local defense forcesp they were made responsible to the Chief of Naval Operations.
The foregoing change in designation of Naval Coastal Frontiers is not to be confused with the designation "Coastal Frontier." The latter, of which Sea Frontiers form a part, are coastal divisions with geographically coterminous boundaries within which an Army officer and a naval officer exercise command over their respective forces and activities.
In continental United States there are four Sea Frontiers: the Easternp covering the Atlantic seaboard; the Gulfp covering the Gulf of Mexico; the Westernp which takes in the southern part of the Pacific Coast; and the North West, which covers the northern part of the Pacific Coast.
Advance Base Units
Early in the war the Navy undertook a large expansion of its system of advance bases, many of which represented the consolidation of gains made by combat units. Depending on the circumstancesp that is to say, whether they were gained as a result of a raid or as a result of an advancep the permanency of their construction was varied to meet the situation. In the South and Central Pacific, the entire campaign thus far has been a battle for advance bases where we can establish supply portsp ship repair facilities and landing fields, to act as a backstop for a continuing offensive.
Advance bases range in size from small units for the maintenance and repair of PT boatsp manned by a handful of officers and men, to major bases comprising floating drydocksp pattern shipsp foundries, fully equipped machine shopsp and electrical shopsp staffed by thousands of specialists. Some of these bases are general purpose bases; others are established for a special purpose. Convoy escort basesp located at terminals of the convoy routes, provide fuelp storesp ammunitionp and repair facilities for merchant ships and their escort vessels. Rest and recuperation centers afford naval personnel facilities for relaxation and recreation after they return from combat zones. Air stations provide the facilities of an aircraft carrier on an expanded scale.
Once bases are builtp they must be maintained. The problem of supplying the Navy's worldwide system of advance bases is one of great complexity, requiring a high degree of administrative coordination and attention to the most minute detail. Food, clothingp fuel, ammunition, spare partsp toolsp and many types of special equipment must be made available in sufficient quantities and at the proper times to maintain the fighting efficiency of the Fleet.
In view of the difficulties involvedp the arrangements made for the procurement and distribution of supplies to advance bases have been extremely effective. New methods have been improvised and shortcuts devised to simplify procedures and expedite deliveries. Among other devices adopted is the mail order catalogue system. Through use of the Navy's "functional component cataloguep" it is possible to order all the parts and equipment needed to set up any type of basep from a small weather observation post to a fully equipped airfield or Navy yard.
As our forces advancep new bases must be established and economy of personnel and material demands that this be accomplished largely by stripping the old bases that have been left behind as the front is. extended. This process is known as "rolling up the back areas."
When Pearl Harbor was attacked, the forces comprising the Atlantic Fleet had been engaged with Axis submarinesp but the forces comprising the Asiatic and Pacific Fleets had not been previously engaged in combat. In the case of all ships everywhere, the transition from a state of peace to a state of war involved a great number of immediate changesp some of which could not possibly be made until our ships had been
in action. For examplep we profited from experiences gained after the war started with respect to the use of certain of our weapons in actual combat. Such things as depth charges and explosive charges in torpedoes and shells were put to the real test by our forcesp and all personnel have become accordingly familiar with their handling and use. We also learned from our experience the best practice in such matters as the painting and preservation of the interior of shipsp camouflagep deficiencies and improvement of equipmentp and from time to time what new contributions were of value. The most valuable of all experience has been that gained with respect to the operational technique in such fields as air combatp amphibious operationsp and escort of convoys.
Another consideration was the correct use of the initiative by officers and men, especially the former. We had spent years training officers to thinkp judge, decide and act for themselves—a policy that paid dividends when the war began.
The war was also the real test of the training methods we had followed in time of peace, particularly the exercise of initiative by officers. As used in connection with the exercise of commandp initiative means freedom to actp but it does not mean freedom to act in an offhand or casual manner. It does not mean freedom to disregard or depart unnecessarily from standard procedures or practices or instructions. There is no degree of being "independent" of the other component parts of the whole—the fleet. It means freedom to act only after all of one's resources in educationp trainingp experience, skill and understanding have been brought to bear on the work in hand. This requires intense application in order that what is to be done shall be done as a correlated part of a connected whole—much as a link of a chain or the gear within a machine.
In other words, our officers had been indoctrinated and were now in larger measure on their own. Most of those officers understood perfectly the transition that becomes automatic when we passed from the peacetime to the wartime status, but it was thought desirable to define and emphasize the standards expected in time of warp not only to confirm their understanding, but for the benefit of newcomers. Without correct exercise of the principle calling for initiative on the part of the subordinatep decentralizationp which is so essentialp and which is premised on division of labor, will not work.
The ability of a naval commander to make consistently sound military decisions is the result of a combination of attributes. The natural talent of the individual, his temperamentp his reactions in emergenciesp his couragep and his professional knowledge all contribute to his proficiency and to the accuracy of his judgment. We have spent years training our officers to think clearly and for themselvesp to the end that when entrusted with the responsibility of making decisions in time of war they would be fully qualified.
One of the mental processes that has become almost a daily responsibility for all those in command is that of calculating the risks involved in a given course of action. That may mean the risks attendant upon disposition of forcesp such as had to be taken before the Battle of Midwayp when an erroneous evaluation might have left us in a most unfavorable strategic position ; the risks of losses in contemplated engagement, such as the Battle of Guadalcanal on November 13-14-15, 1942; the risks of success or failure dependent upon correct evaluation of political conditionsp of which the North African landings are an examplep and a host of others.
Calculating risks does not mean taking a gamble. It is more than figuring the odds. It is not reducible to a formula. It is the analysis of all factors which collectively indicate whether or not the consequences to ourselves will be more than compensated for by the damage to the enemy or interference with his plans. Correct calculation of risksp by orderly reasoningp is the responsibility of every naval officer who participates in combat, and many who do not. It is a pleasure to report that almost universally that responsibility is not only accepted, but sought, and that there have been few cases where it has not been properly discharged.
The war has been variously termed a war of production and a war of machines. Whatever else it is, so far as the United States is concernedp it is a war of logistics. The ways and means to supply and support our forces in all parts of the world—including the Army—of course —have presented problems nothing short of colossal, and have required the most careful and intricate planning. The profound effect of logistic problems on our strategic decisions is described elsewhere in this report, but to all who do not have to traverse themp the tremendous distancesp particularly those in the Pacific, are not likely to have full significance. It is no easy matter in a global war to have the right materials in the right places at the right times in the right quantities.
Superimposed on the shipping requirements for the overhead of logistic needs has been the transportation of Army troops and the demands of Lend-Lease. The combination of circumstances has made shipping a question of primary importance which has been reflected in the shipbuilding industry and the merchant marine.
When war was declaredp an immediate estimate of the situation with respect to material was madep as a result of which we could see that no matter how much material was produced within the next yearp it would not be enough. Thereforep with the idea of doing the first thing first, every effort was made to produce as much material as possible of all kindsp with the idea that as the war progressed our estimates could be revised to fit our needs. Stock piles of spare parts and materials needed for routine maintenance and repair of ships and aircraft were therefore established at advance basesp additional supplies being delivered under regular schedule.
Plate III is an over-generalization of the situation which existed in April 1942, with respect to the relationships involving munitionsp manpowerp and the eight fronts. From an examination of the diagram it will be seen that in order to keep our operating forces balanced in such a way as to conform to our planned operationsp we had to maintain a continuous flow of munitions and manpower from sources of supply. The quantities involved, of coursep had to be varied in accordance with the importance of any particular frontp that is to say, the urgency of a particular campaign or operation. It is interesting to note that the United States wasp and isp the only nation represented as having a full supply of both munitions and manpower.
the distances were too short to permit attack by our naval forces while the enemy was enroute. As soon as the enemy were in control of a new area they would repair the airfields and gather forces for the next attack. These tactics were well adapted to the geography of the Philippine Islands and the Netherlands East Indies, particularly as there was almost a total absence of interior communications in the islands occupied.
In January 1942p thereforep the Japanese had overrun the Philippine Islandsp and the greatest part of our strength, was in the Netherlands East Indiesp for which the Japanese were obviously headed. Our submarines and motor torpedo boats we e engaged in slowing down the enemy advance to give us as much time as possible to get organized for the surface actions that were in prospect in the Java Sea.
The lava Sea Campaign
In that situation, Admiral Hart had to plan all our operations without air support except for a few Army bombers and a few fighters based on Java. Our PBY4's of Patrol Wing Ten were not suited for the type of operations in prospectp and as a matter of fact it was only the superb work of their pilots in the face of enemy fighters coupled with the mobility of our tenders that made their use possible.
By the end of December, the Japanese were preparing bases at Davaop on Mindanaop and at Jolo in the Sulu Archipelago. From these points they moved south to attack Menado, on the northern tip of Celebesp Tarakan, in northeastern Borneop and shortly afterward Kema, with the obvious intention of moving down Molucca Strait toward Ambonp Kendarip and' Makassar Strait. By January 20p they appeared to be ready to move against Balikpapanp on the east coast of Borneo.
Collecting the few ships at his disposalp (until early February all British and Netherlands surface ships had to be used to escort troop convoys into Malaya) Admiral Hart decided upon a night torpedo attack. This was delivered off Balikpapan (the action became known officially as the Battle of Makassar Strait) early in the morning of January 24p by the destroyers John D. Ford, Parrot, Paul Jones and Pope, under the command of Commander (now Captain) P. H. Talbotp U.S. Navy. Whatever the losses sustained by the enemyp the attackp (one of four attempts by our cruisers and destroyers to come to grips with the enemy at sea) was brilliantly executed, and was responsible for the stalling of that particular force for some time at Balikpapan. Other amphibious forcesp howeverp continued to advance eastwardp and landed at Rabaul in New Britain and at Bougainville in the Solomons. New positions on the coast of Borneo were also seized by the enemyp and in the first few days of February they captured Ambon and began bombing Soerabaja and several other Javanese points.
In furtherance of the effort to delay the enemy drivep a striking force consisting of four cruisers and seven destroyersp about half of which were Netherlands and the other half Americanp was formed under the command of Rear Admiral Doorman of the Netherlands Navy. A large enemy convoy having gathered at Balikpapanp Admiral Doorman undertook to run up Madoera Strait into the Java Sea and deliver an attack, but our forces were discovered by Japanese planes and subjected to a prolonged bombing attack which prevented the carrying out of the plan. During this attack the Houston suffered one direct hit which destroyed her number three turret and the Marblehead was forced to retire to the south coast of Java to effect temporary repairs.
Continuing their advance, the Japanese attacked Palembang in southeast Sumatra and entered Banka Strait. Admiral Doorman's forcep in a second effort to interfere with the enemy operation was again forced to withdraw by enemy planes. By February 14, the Japanese in Borneo and Celebes were in a position to advance on Bali and Eastern Java, and Japanese forces in Sumatra were also threatening Java.
At this point in the campaignp in accordance with previous agreements providing that it would be conducted by the Netherlandsp Admiral Hart relinquished operational command of Allied naval forces to Vice Admiral Helfrich of the Netherlands Navyp and a few days later General Wavell turned over his command and left the area.
Having been subjected to daily bombing at Soerabajap our headquarters were transferred from Soerabaja to Tjilatjap on the south coast of Java. On February 19p Darwinp (most of our forces basing there had been transferred to Tjilatjap because Darwinp not entirely suitable from the beginning, was becoming untenable) on the north coast of Australiap was subjected to a heavy air raid which destroyed the airportp warehousep docks, and virtually every ship in the harborp including our destroyer Peary.
Enemy forces having landed on the southeast coast of Bali, and seized the airfield therep Admiral Doorman, with his composite force, attacked enemy vessels in Bandoeng Strait on the night of February 19-20. This action resulted in the sinking of the Netherlands destroyer Piet Hein and damage to the Netherlands cruisers Java and Tromp and to our destroyer Stewart. Damage to the enemy in this action was impossible to assess but was believed to be considerable.
The action in Bandoeng Strait was encouraging but it did little to impede the Japanese, who now controlled all the northern approaches to the Netherlands East Indiesp and seemed about to move on Java. In an effort to bolster up our strength with fighter planes, the Langley, with planes and crew on boardp and the Seawitch, with more planesp were diverted to Java. On February 26, the Langley was sunk by enemy bombers. The Pecos, a tanker, was sunk about the same time in the same area. The Sea-witch arrived safely at Tjilatjap but was too late.
On February 27p Admiral Doorman's composite force, consisting of two heavy cruisers, three light cruisers and nine destroyers, attacked an enemy force in the Java Sea, not far from Soerabaja. After maneuvering for position, and after having joined actionp the composite force, for one reason and anotherp suffered a series of losses. These included the sinking of the British destroyer Electra and the Netherlands destroyer Kortenaer, and damage to the British cruiser Exeter. Later that night the Netherlands cruisers DeRuyter and Java were sunk by a combination of torpedoes and gunfire. This left only the Houston and the Perth, the American destroyers having expended their torpedoes and retired to port to refuel. Accordingly, the Houston and Perth retired to Tandjong Prock. Although the Japanese suffered some damagep they were successful in preventing the striking force from reaching their convoys. The im-
mediate problem was now to rescue our remaining vessels from the Java Sea, the exits to which were held by the enemy.
On February 28p the Exeter, Pope, and Encounter headed for Soenda Strait and were never heard from again. On March 1p the Houston and Perth, accompanied by the Netherlands destroyer Eversten headed in the same direction, 'and except for very meager reports of an engagement in Soenda Straitp they have not been heard from since. Of the entire Allied forcep only the four American destroyers managed to make their way to Australia after a skirmish with Japanese destroyers patrolling Bali Strait.
On February 28p the Japanese landed on the north coast of Java. As no port on the island. of Java was tenable as a base for our surface forces, the Allied Naval Command was dissolved and the American ships remaining at Tjilatjap were ordered to proceed to Australia. Of the four destroyers so orderedp the Edsall and the Pillsbury were lost en route. All other craft escapedp with the exception of the gunboat Asheville. Thus ended the gallant campaign of the Java Sea, conducted against overwhelming odds by officers and men who did the best they could with what they had.
Raids on Japanese Positions
While the situation in the Far East was growing steadily worse, and the Japanese were having things their own way there and elsewhere, our Pacific Fleetp now commanded by Admiral Nimitz, carried out its first offensive operation of the war. The targets selected were the Marshall and Gilbert Islands.
To carry out raids on these islandsp there was placed under the command of Vice Admiral (now Admiral) William F. Halseyp Jr.p U. S. Navyp a force consisting of the carriers Enterprise and Yorktown, the heavy cruisers Chester, Louisville, Northampton, and Salt Lake City, the light cruiser St. Louis, and ten destroyers. Beginning January 31, 1942, bomb and bombardment damage—very severe in some instances—was inflicted by that force upon the islands of Wotjep Maleolapp Kwajelein, Roe, Jaluit, Makin, Taroa, Loe and Gugegwe. It is quite possible that because of the success at Pearl Harbor, much of the enemy's air strength originally disposed in the Marshall Islands was withdrawn before these attacks were delivered. Except for the Chester, which suffered one bomb hit, and the Enterprise, which was slightly damaged by shell fragmentsp none of our vessels was damaged during the entire operation, and our personnel losses were slight.
The raid on the Marshall and Gilbert Islands was so successful that several other operations following the same pattern were conducted during the following weeks. On February 20p a task force built around the carrier Lexington, and commanded by Vice Admiral Wilson Brownp U. S. Navy, attempted a combination air and surface attack on Rabaul, New Britain. During the approachp the Lexington was discovered by enemy twinengined bombers 16 of which were destroyed by our fighter planes and anti-aircraftp five of them by a single pilot. The element of surprise having been lost and fuel having been reduced by high-speed maneuvering, the attack on Rabaul was not pressed home.
On February 24p Admiral Halsey took the Enterprise, two cruisers, and seven destroyers and shelled and bombed Wake Island which had been in enemy hands since December 22. Considerable damage was inflicted. We lost only one aircraft during that operation. Eight days later planes from the Enterprise bombed Marcus Island with reasonably satisfactory results. Againp we lost only one plane.
On March 10p Vice Admiral Brownp with the carriers Lexington and Yorktown and supporting shipsp raided the New Guinea ports of Salamaua and Lae where enemy troops had landed three days earlier. A number of enemy war vessels and transport vessels were sunk or damagedp and the attack was fully successfulp even though it did not appear to delay, appreciably, the enemy's advance toward Australia. Our losses were light.
On April 18, Tokio was bombed by Army planes which took off from the carrier Hornet, the planes from the Enterprise providing search and fighter planes for the operation. As a carrier operationp this raid was unique in naval history in that for the first time medium land bombers were transported across an ocean and launched off enemy shores. Whatever the damage inflicted by these bombersp the attack was stimulating to the morale, which at that timep considering the surrender of Bataanp and the situation in general in the Far East, was at low ebb.
The Coral Sea
By the middle of April, the Japanese had established bases in the New Guinea-New Britain-Solomon Islands area, which put them in a position to threaten all Melanesia and Australia itselfp and they were moving their forces through the mandates in preparation for an extension of their offensive to the southeast. Our available forces at that time were eager and ready for battle, but they were not any too strong for effective defense against major enemy concentrationsp much less adequate to carry out a large-scale offensive operation.
It should be noted at this point that during the first five months of the war, nearly every engagement with the enemy had demonstrated the importance of air power in modern naval warfare. Our initial losses at Pearl Harbor and in the Philippines were the result of attack by aircraft, and the enemy's superiority in the air had been one of the controlling factors in our reverses in the Far East. Similarlyp our successful though inconclusive raids on the Japanese-held islands in the Pacific had been conducted chiefly by carrier-based aircraft. The results had been excellent and the costs low. As yet, however, there had been no engagement between enemy carrier forces and our own, and although we had reason to believe that most of our naval aircraft was of good design and performancep we had no basis for comparison.
When the Japanesep on May 3p began to occupy Florida Island in the Solomons, Rear Admiral (now Vice Admiral) Frank J. Fletcher, U. S. Navy, who was cruising in the Coral Sea with a force composed of the carrier Yorktown, the three cruisers Astoria, Chester, and Portland, and six destroyers, proceeded north to interrupt the activity. On the morning of May 4, about 100 miles southwest of Guadalcanal, planes launched by the Yorktown sank and damaged a number of enemy vessels at Tulagi with loss of only one aircraft, and in the afternoonp another attack group scored additional hits, with the loss of two fighters.
On May 5p Rear Admiral Fletcher's force had joined other Allied unitsp one of which was a task group including the heavy cruisers Minneapolis, New Orleans, Astoria, Chester and Portland, and five destroyers. There were two flag officers in the tank groupp Rear Admiral (now Vice Admiral) Thomas C. Kinkaid and Rear Admiral William W. Smith. The other unitp consisting of the Australian heavy cruiser Australia, and the light cruiser Hobart, plus the American heavy cruiser Chicago and two destroyersp was under the command of Rear Admiral J. G. Gracep Royal Navyp and was operated in conjunction with the carriers Lexington and Yorktown and four destroyersp which were under the command of Rear Admiral (now Vice Admiral) Aubrey W. Fitchp U. S. Navy. 30 A
On the afternoon of the 6th, enemy forces had become sufficiently consolidated in the Bismarck Archipelago—New Guinea area to indicate an amphibious operation to the southwardp perhaps against Port Moresbyp on the southeastern coast of New Guinea. As enemy forces would have to round the southeastern end of New Guineap Rear Admiral Fletcher stationed an attack group within striking distance of the probable track of the enemy fleet, and the remainder of his force moved northward in an attempt to locate enemy covering forces. inactive. Naturally enoughp our various important outposts would be good targets, with Dutch Harbor and Midway offering them the best chance of successp either in the nature of a raid or of an invasion. Furthermorep an operation directed against these points would permit the enemy to retire without too great loss or complete annihilation in case their plans did not work out. At the same time, we had to consider the possibility that they might renew actions in the Coral Sea. It was a plain case of calculating the risk involved in stationing our forces. A mistake at that point would have proved costly.
On the morning of the 7th, contact was made with the Japanese carrier Shoho, which was promptly attacked and sunk by aircraft from the Lexington and Yorktown. We lost only one dive bomber in the attack, but the same morning Japanese carrier planes sank our tanker Neosho and the destroyer Sims. Considering the chance that the enemy knew little concerning the location of those of our ships which had not participated in the Coral Sea engagementp but certainly was aware that most of our available carrier and cruiser strength was then in southern watersp it seemed reasonable to expect that the Japanese would make the most of the opportunity to strike us in the Central and/or Northern Pacific. Such an attack was likely because of the prospect of success in the immediate operation, and because if successful, the advance to Australia and the islands in the South Pacific could be accomplished in due course with comparative easep once the enemy had cut our lines of communications.
The next morning, contact was made with two enemy carriers, four heavy cruisers, and several destroyers. One of the carriers was attacked and severely damaged by our carrier aircraft, and as was anticipated, enemy aircraft counterattacked about an hour later. During the counterattack, both the Yorktown and the Lexington were damagedp the latter rather severely. Both carriers and their planes shot down a considerable number of enemy planes during the engagement, and our aircraft losses were small by comparison, but early in the afternoon an explosion on board the Lexington made her impossible to control. She was therefore abandonedp and ordered sunk by one of our own destroyers. Nearly all of her personnel were saved. Acting on our best estimate of the situationp our carriers and supporting vessels were recalled from the South Pacific. The Yorktown was patched up temporarily, and scouting and patrol lines were established well to the westward of Midway Island. Our total forces available in the Central Pacific consisted of the carriers Enterprise, Hornet, and Yorktown, seven heavy cruisers, one light cruiserp 14 destroyersp and about 20 submarines. These were divided into two task forcesp one under the command of Rear Admiral (now Admiral) Raymond A. Spruancep [cruisers of this task force were commanded by Rear Admiral (now Vice Admiral) Kinkaid] and the other under the command of Rear Admiral (now Vice Admiral) Fletcher. Another flag officerp Rear Admiral W. W. Smithp was attached to the second task force. In additionp there was a Marine Corps air group based on Midwayp augmented by Army bombers from Hawaii.
Thus ended the first major engagement in naval history in which surface ships did not exchange a single shot. Although the loss of the Lexington was keenly feltp the engagement in the Coral Sea effectively checked the Japanese in their advance to the southward. Our losses of one carrierp one tankerp one destroyerp and a total of 66 planes were considerably less than estimated Japanese losses. Our personnel casualties totalled 543. On the morning of June 3p enemy forces were sighted several hundred miles southwest of Midwayp on an easterly course. The composition of the force sighted was not determined at that timep but it was clearly a large attack force with supporting vessels. Late in the afternoon this force was bombed by a squadron of B-17's under the command of Lt. Col. Walter C. Sweeneyp Army Air Corps. While result of the attack were not definitely determinedp hits on several ships were reported. On the morning of June 4p contact was made with enemy aircraft headed toward the island of Midway from the northwestp and immediately thereafterp two carriers and the enemy main body were picked up in the same vicinity. Although the enemy aircraft were not prevented from dropping their bombs on Midway, the Japanese air attack force was nevertheless subjected to heavy fire and the enemy plane losses were large. Meanwhile, Army, Navyp and Marine Corps planes from Midway attacked carriers, battleshipsp and other vesselsp inflicting serious damage on one enemy carrier.
Defensive-Offensive At this point, our own carriers took a hand in the engagement. Having been launched from a position north of Midway, a torpedo squadron from the Hornet (the now famous Torpedo Eight) without the protection of
The engagement in the Coral Sea marked the end of the period during which we were totally on the defensive. There followed a lull during which both sides were preparing for further operations. Our immediate problem was to anticipate as nearly as we could what the next move of the enemy would bep as we had lost touch with the heavy Japanese forces which had participated in the Coral Sea action.
It was clear that the Japanese would not long remain
A 31 A
fightersp and without accompanying dive bombersp attacked a force of four enemy carriers. All planes in the squadron were shot down and only one pilot survivedp but the squadron made several hits on the enemy carriers. About an hour laterp torpedo squadrons from the Enterprise and Yorktown attacked the same carriers, and also suffered heavy lossesp but registered hits on two carriers. These attacks were followed by dive bombers from the Enterprise which smothered two carriersp and by more bombers from the Yorktown which hit a third carrierp a cruiser, and a battleship. Two carriers had been set on fire and put completely out of action. A third was damaged and was sunk later by the submarine Nautilus.
Planes from the only Japanese carrier remaining undamaged attacked the Yorktown, and although this attack force was annihilatedp it succeeded in making three bomb hits. Shortly afterwardp enemy torpedo planes scored two hits on the Yorktown, and orders were given to abandon ship. About two hours laterp planes from the Enterprise attacked the undamaged Japanese carrier and left her a mass of flames and immediately thereafterp when a squadron from the Hornet arrivedp the carrier was blazing so furiously that it was possible to concentrate on a nearby battleship and a cruiserp both of which were hit.
At this stage of the engagementp it was apparent that we had won control of the air and it remained for the aircraft from Midway to put on the finishing touches. Army Flying Fortresses attacked an enemy heavy cruiser and left it smoking heavily. Other planes scored hits on a battleshipp a damaged carrierp and a destroyer. By the end of the day the Japanese were in full retirement.
On the morning of the 5thp aircraft from the Enterprise and the Hornet made an ineffective attack on an enemy light cruiserp but planes from Midway discovered two enemy cruisersp one of which they crippledp and scored a number of hits on them. Poor visibility on the 5th prevented further operations.
On June 6p Hornet planes located an enemy force consisting of two heavy cruisers and three destroyers and made hits on the two cruisers. Planes from the Enterprise also scored hits on those two cruisers and later in the day Hornet planes successfully attacked two more cruisers and a destroyer. On the same dayp in an effort to save the Yorktown, which had been taken in towp the destroyer Hammann went alongside to put on board a salvage party. While she was alongsidep the Yorktown was struck by two torpedoes from an enemy submarine, and the Hammann by one. The Hammann sank within a few minutes and the next morningp the Yorktown also sank.
The Battle of Midway was the first decisive defeat suffered by the Japanese Navy in 350 years.* Furthermorep it put an end to the long period of Japanese offensive action, and restored the balance of naval power in the Pacific. The threat to Hawaii and the West Coast was automatically removedp and except for operations in the Aleutians areap where the Japanese had landed on the islands of Kiska and Attup enemy operations were confined to the South Pacific. It was to this latter areap therefore, that we gave our greatest attention.
*The Korean Admiral Yi-sun administered a resounding defeat to the Japanese Admiral Hideyoshi (so called father of Japanese Navy) in 1592 off the Korean Coast.
Campaigns in the South Pacific The Landings in the Solomons
From the outset of the warp it had been evident that the protection of our lines of communications to Australia and New Zealand represented a "must." With the advance of the Japanese in that directionp it was therefore necessary to plan and execute operations which would stop them.
Early in Aprilp the Japanese had overrun the island of Tulagip where (on May 4p 1942) they were attacked by our carrier-based bombers just before the Battle of the Coral Sea. In Julyp the enemy landed troops and laborers on Guadalcanal Island and began the construction of an airfield. As the operation of land-based planes from that point would immediately imperil our control of the New Hebrides and New Caledonia areasp the necessity of our ejecting them from those positions became increasingly apparent. Developments in New Guineap where the enemy had begun a movement in the latter part of Julyp paralleling his Solomons penetrations, increased the necessity for prompt action on our part.
The counter operation—our first real offensive move in force—was planned under the direction of Vice Admiral R. L. Ghormleyp whop in Aprilp had assumed command of the South Pacific Force with headquarters at Auckland, New Zealand. Forces participating were the First Marine Divisionp reinforced by the Second Marine Regimentp the First Raider Battalionp and the Third Defense Battalionp supported by naval forces consisting of three major unitsp two of which were under the command of Vice Admiral Frank J. Fletcher, U.S.N. These were an air support force under Rear Admiral Leigh Noyesp U.S.N.p consisting of three carriersp one new battleship, five heavy cruisersp one anti-aircraft light cruiser and a number of destroyers ; and an amphibious force under Rear Admiral (now Vice Admiral) R. K. Turnerp U.S.N., composed of six heavy cruisers (two of them Australian), one light cruiser (Australian)p destroyersp and 23 transports. The third task forcep under Rear Admiral (now Vice Admiral) John S. McCainp U.S.N., was composed of land-based planes of various types based in New Caledoniap the Fijisp and Samoa. Under the plan, they were to cooperate closely with the planes under the command of General MacArthur in New Guinea and Australia. Marine units were formed up in New Zealand during June and Julyp under the command of Major General (now Lieutenant General) A. A. Vandegriftp U.S.M.C.
After leaving New Zealandp and after effecting rendezvous with combat unitsp the entire invasion force conducted a realistic rehearsal en route to their objective. On the morning of August 7p the landing forcep which took the enemy by surprisep made landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi. There was little opposition initially on Guadalcanalp but on Tulagi the Japanese had constructed dugoutsp and when they began heavy fire, progress was slow and costly. The enemy delivered an air counterattack in the afternoonp but it was ineffective.
By the next afternoon, our Marines were in complete control of Tulagi Island and were making satisfactory progress on Guadalcanalp where they had taken possession of the airfield. The immediate objectives of the operation had therefore been obtainedp at the cost of one transport sunkp one destroyer damaged and subsequently
U. S. LANDING
NOV. 1, 1943
Buin 12) MONO I CI
10 BATTLE OF VELLA U 2 GULF—
9 rio BATTLE OF KULA
8 Is, BATTLE OF KULA
WOODLARK I• •
lt ^1... i
sunk, and one destroyer damaged. Plane losses amounted to 21 fighters.
Battle of Savo Island
We had repulsed air raids on the 7th and 8th with only moderate losses, but those attacks had considerably delayed the unloading of our transports Moreoverp vessels. Moreover, in spite of heavy plane losseenemypicted on the enemy, further attacks on suretypsels were a surety, perhaps by surface craft and perhaps by enemy planes based on Santa Isabel Island. At this critical time it became necessary for our carriers to withdraw from their covering position because of lack of fuel, and also because the Japanese had shown considerable air strength and were suspected ofavailablepbmarines available, to which we did not care to expose our carriers.
In that situation, the cruisers of the screening forces under the commaCrutchleyp AdmN.pl Crutchley, R. N., took up a night disposition designed to protect the area between the Guadalcanal and Florida Islands and the channel on either side of Savo Island. The northern
group the latter area consisted of the heavy
THE OFFENSIVE-DEFENSIVE PHASE in LANDINGpAugust
I U.S. LANDING,August 7, 1942 U.S. Marines establish foothold on Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the first major Allied offensive
of the Pacific Wor.
2 BATTLE OF SAVO ISLAND, August 9, 1942 Japanese night attack on naval forces protecting landing. One Australian and three U. S. heavy cruisers lost, other units damaged
3 BATTLE OF THE EASTERN SOLOMONS, August 23-25, 1942 Powerful Japanese naval force is intercepted by U.S. carrier-borne aircraft Enemy breaks off action after loss of carrier support,
4 BATTLE OF CAPE ESPERANCE, October II -12,, 1942: U.S. cruisers and destroyers in a surprise night attack engage a sizeable enemy force near Guadalcanal.
OF SANTA CRUZ 1SLANDS,October 26, 1942: Blows are exchanged by U.S car riers and Japanese carriers operating with a powerful enemy force moving to support land operations at' Guadalcanal. Two enemy carriers put out of action and four enemy air groups decimated.
OF GUADALCANAL, November 13-14-15, 1942 Enemy concentrates invasion force at Rabaul U. S. naval forces
covering reinforcements for troops on Guadalcanal meet and decisively defeat this force in a series of violent engagements in which heavy losses ore sustained by both sides
OF TASS30pRONGA, November 30, 1942 A Japanese attempt to reinforce is defeated at heavy cost. NORTHAMPTON
lost, three U. S. heavy cruisers severely damaged.withdrawalp
Japanese complete withdrawal, February 7-8, 1943.
8 FIRST BATTLE OF KULA GULF, July 6, 1943: U S. cruisers and destroyers intercept the "Tokyo Express" HELENA lost
9 SECOND BATTLE OF KULA GULF, July 13, 1943 The circumstances of the engagement of July 6th are repeated. Three
Allied cruisers severely damaged by torpedoes.
1 °BATTLE OF VELLA GULF, August 6, 1943; Japanese destroyers escorting reinforcements ore intercepted by our forces,
Several enemy destroyers sunk
CHOISEUL t. 3 BATTLE OF EASTERN SOLOMONS
ROUTE OF 'TOKYO EXPRESS"
SANTA ISABEL I.
MALAITA I 5 BATTLE OF SANTA C.RU2 19 ANDO
7 BATTLE OF TASSAFARONGA
U. S. LANDING
JUNE 30, 1943
2 BATTLE OF SAVO ISLAND
OF CAPE ESPERANCE
1 U. S. LANDING, AUG. 7, 1942
SANTA CRUZ tit IS.
-Official U. S. Navy Chart
cruisers Vincennes, Quincy, and Astoria, screened by the destroyers Helm and Wilson. The southern group consisted of the Australian cruiser Canberra and the Chicago, screened by the Patterson and Bagley. Two destroyers, the Ralph Talbot and the Blue, were stationed not far from Savo Island. Late in the evening of August 8, a conferenCrutchleypd on board Rear Admiral Turner's flagship, the McCawley. This conference included Rear Admiral Crutchley, in the Australia.
A force of enemy cruisers and destroyers entered the area undetected from the northwest at about 0145 and
aided by flares dropped by enemy planes opfirepfire on our screening groups with guns and torpedoes. The result of the surprise andminutespJapanese fire, which was sufficiently effective to inflict severe damage on our vessels in a few minutes, was that there was little effIslandpreturn fire. The action ceased at about 0215 at which time the Japanese force, having rounded Savo Island, left the area on a northeasterly course. During those thsankpminutes the Quincy, Vincennes, Astoria and Canberra were so severely damaged that they subsequently sank, and the Chicago, Ralph Talbot and Patterson were damaged.
The surprise, which was the immediate cause of the defeat, was the result of a combination of circumstances. Because of the urgency of seizing and occupying Guadalcanalp planning was not up to the usual thorough standards. Certain communication failures made a bad situation worse. Fatigue was a contributing factor in the degree of alertness maintained. Generally speakingp howeverp we were surprised because we lacked experience. Needless to say the lessons learned were fully taken into account. 4 A
The immediate consequence of this cruiser battle was the retirement of the enemy forcep without any attack being made on our transports unloading men and supplies on the beaches of Guadalcanal. The loss of the four cruisersp howeverp and the subsequent loss of two aircraft carriers left us inferior in strength for several months. The Japanese did not take advantage of this opportunity to engage in a fleet battle with the balance of power on their sidep probably because they did not know—and we did not let them know—how severe our losses were. vessels and inflicted moderately severe damage on the Enterprise, in spite of the intense antiaircraft fire from escorting shipsp particularly the North Carolina. That nightp Marine air attack groups from Guadalcanal attacked and damaged two more enemy destroyersp and the next morning destroyed a transport. In addition to the foregoing attacksp Army planes believed they scored a hit on a cruiserp planes from the Saratoga reported hits on a battleship and two cruisersp and Marine pilots reported damage to still another cruiser. As a result of the actionp the Japanese were all but stripped of carrier support and broke off the fight although their powerful surface forces were still largely intact.
The Fight for Guadalcanal * * *
Except as it affected the security of the islands to the southp and Australia and New Zealandp the island of Guadalcanal by itself was not particularly importantp but having been selected by us as the point to step in and check the advance of the enemyp it became a focal point in the fighting front established. After we had landed therep the immediate situation was that of opposing ground forces on the island, and as each depended on naval forces for supplies and reinforcements it was inevitable that there would be naval engagements until the issue was decided. Following the engagement in the Eastern Solomons, no major action took place in the South Pacific area for a period of about six weeks. During those six weeksp howeverp the supply lines had to be kept open to Guadalcanal. Japanese submarines and air forces were active in the vicinityp and there were numerous scattered actionsp which cost us the carrier Wasp, the destroyers O'Brien, Blue, Colhoun, Gregory, and Little, and several other ships damaged. Also the Japanese made almost nightly runs of what came to be termed the "Tokio express" from the Buin-Faisi area to •Guadalcanal, and enemy air forces bombed Marine positions by day and by night.
After the battle of Savo Islandp the Japanese began bombing Marine positions and making the adjacent waters almost untenable during the daylight hours. At night, enemy surface forces bombarded our surface installations almost at will. The Japanesep howeverp were unable to bring up reserve ground forces from the Western Solomons. By September 13p enemy ground troops had been reinforcedp and another attack was directed at Henderson Field. Although the issue was in doubt for several hoursp the Marinesp thanks to replacements and artillery supportp succeeded in decimating the attacking force.
So far as naval activity was concerned there was a lull of about ten days. During that time the Japanesep who reacted violently to the reverses suffered in the initial landing, collected all available reinforcements near Henderson Field. The reinforced troops immediately attacked. The result was a night battle at Tenaru River in which the Marines were completely victorious. In spite of offensive operations directed against enemy ground troops and supporting naval forces by our ground troops and by our Marine air forces, the enemy by the end of September had succeeded in putting practically an entire new division on the island. In additionp more strong Japanese fleet units had been assembled to the northward, and the situation again was threatening. Reinforcements to the Marines had now become a necessity even though made in the face of enemy naval and air superiority. Contemplated reinforcements included Army elements available (the 164th Infantry).
Meanwhilep the enemy was concentrating his forces in the Rabaul area. By August 23p it was apparent that a major action was imminent. Battle of Cape Esperance
The Battle of the Eastern Solomons After our carrier planes had attacked enemy shipping in the northern Solomons as a preliminaryp our naval forces in the area were disposed in three groups. One was built around the carrier Hornet, to the westward of Guadalcanal. A secondp to the eastward of Malaita Islandp included the new battleship Washington. The third, under the command of Rear Admiral Norman Scott, was stationed south of Guadalcanal pending developments. Rear Admiral Scott's force consisted of the heavy cruisers San Francisco, Salt Lake City, the light cruisers Boise and Helena, and the destroyers Buchanan, Duncan, Farenholt, Laffey and McCalla.
In anticipation of an enemy movep in forcep Vice Admiral Ghormley had concentrated two task forces southeast of the island of Guadalcanal. These were built around the carriers Saratoga and Enterprise, and included the battleship North Carolina, the cruisers Minneapolis, Portland, New Orleans and Atlanta, and 11 destroyers. On the morning of August 23p a transport group was sighted by a search plane about 250 miles north of the island. On the afternoon of October 11p enemy forces were reported in "the slot" between Choiseul Island and the New Georgia groupp headed for Guadalcanal. Simultaneouslyp Henderson Field on Guadalcanal was attacked by about 75 enemy aircraft. Rear Admiral Scott therefore headed north with his forcep which rounded the northwestern end of the island about two hours before midnight. Just before midnight contact was madep and our force opened fire.
During the night our combined force moved north and contact was made the next morning. In the afternoon of the 24thp planes from the Saratoga bombed an aircraft carrier and in addition damaged a cruiser and a destroyer. While these attacks were in progressp a flight of about 75 planes attacked the Enterprise and her escort
Taken by surprisep the enemy did not return the fire for nearly ten minutesp during which time our cruisers made the most of the opportunity and delivered a devastating fire on the enemy force. In less than five minutes four enemy targets had disappearedp two more were put out of action by the Helena and Boise, and the Farenholt, Duncan, and Buchanan each scored torpedo hits on enemy cruisers. In additionp the Buchanan wrecked an enemy destroyer with gunfire and set an unidentified enemy ship on fire.
When the Japanese opened firep the Boise found herself engaged with a heavy cruiserp and although the enemy cruiser soon burst into flames, the Boise was damaged. During this exchange, the Salt Lake City scored hits on an enemy auxiliary and destroyer. At this stage of the battlep Rear Admiral Scott .ceased firing to rectify his formationp and as most of the enemy targets had disappeared there followed a short lull.
The Salt Lake City, the Helena, and the San Francisco, reopened fire with telling effect. The Boise damage (fire) had been brought under control, and she reentered the actionp engaging a heavy cruiser and an unidentified shipp but upon receiving further damage she was forced to retire. The Salt Lake City, meanwhile, .had covered the Boise, and assisted by the San Francisco, concentrated her fire on an enemy heavy cruiser until the action was broken off by the enemy.
During the engagement the Duncan was so badly damaged that she had to be abandonedp and the Farenholt was damaged. The San Francisco had been hitp and as previously statedp the Boise was severely damaged. Even sop the engagement was a victory for us, attributable in part to surprise and confusionp and in part to the accuracy of our gunfire.
During the succeeding days, in spite of the reverses suffered in the Battle of Cape Esperencep the Japanese continued their attacks on Guadalcanal. Notwithstanding heavy losses inflicted on themp they succeeded in getting a number of transports through, and landed nearly another entire division. Our air attacksp howeverp left that division with little equipmentp few rationsp and inadequate artillery support. Meanwhilep support for our Marines had been arrivingp and General Vandegrift had been able to improve his position. He now had• better air supportp made more effective by new landing strips constructed by the Seabeesp but as shelling by enemy units continuedp he was still in need of strong naval supportp especially as the Japanese gave no signs of discontinuing their efforts to launch a full-scale attack.
Enemy submarines and aircraft renewed their efforts to interrupt our communicationsp and it became increasingly clear that the next Japanese move would be supported by powerful surface and air units. The destroyer Meredith was sunk on October 15p while engaged in keeping our line of communications open and a few days later the heavy cruiser Chester was damaged by enemy submarinesp but our naval forces were reinforced by the new battleship South Dakota, and the damaged Enterprise was again ready for duty. Our naval forces were now divided into two parts, one being the Washington group under the command of Rear Admiral W. A. Lee, Jr. and the other consisting of two carriers, one battleship, three heavy cruisers, three anti-aircraft light cruisers and 14 destroyers under the command of Rear Ad- miral (now Vice Admiral) T. C. Kinkaid. The former groupp reinforced by the ships surviving the Battle of Cape Esperance remained in the vicinity of Guadalcanal. The other moved northwestward in an effort to engage the enemy.
On the night of October 23-24p the Japanese began a land assault at the south of the Matanikau Riverp and although thrown back with heavy losses continued their attack the following day. On the 25thp enemy ground forces were supported by naval gunfire from two Japanese cruisers and four destroyers which slipped into Savo Soundp and on the night of October 25-26p the enemy ground offensive reached its peak. At this point the Japanese moved their naval units in force toward Guadalcanal.
The Battle of Santa Cruz Island
Early in the morning of October 26p our patrol planes made contact with three enemy forces. One of these forces included a carrier. Another consisted of two battleshipsp one heavy cruiser and seven destroyers. The third, which included two carriersp was attacked by the patrolling planesp and hits were scored on one of the carriers.
Simultaneouslyp our carriers launched three attack wavesp one from the Enterprise and two from the Hornet. While en routep the Enterprise attack group encountered Japanese planes. After a short engagement during which some of our planes were shot down, it located the enemy force containing the battleships and made bomb hits on one of them. The first Hornet wave reached the enemy carrier group without interference and reported at least four 1000-pound bomb hits on a carrier. Other Hornet aircraft in that group registered three torpedo hits on a heavy cruiser. The second Hornet group discovered an enemy cruiser force and succeeded in bombing two heavy cruisers and a destroyer.
While our aircraft were delivering their attacksp our own carriers were being attacked by enemy carrier aircraft. The Hornet suffered one bomb hit and was set on fire by an enemy bomber which purposely dived into the carrier's stack. Blazing gasoline was spread over the signal bridgep which was further damaged by one of the bombs carried by the plane. Resulting fires were extinguished in about two hoursp but while the dive bombing attack was being delivered, a torpedo attack developed and the Hornet received two hits which disrupted her power and communications. The torpedo hits were followed by three more bomb hits and another suicide plane crash which started more fires. Of 27 attacking aircraftp 20 were shot down by anti-aircraft firep but the attackp which lasted 11 minutesp left the Hornet dead in the water with many fires on board and with a decided list. Our wounded personnel were promptly removed by destroyersp the fires were extinguished in about a half hourp and the Hornet was taken in tow by the Northampton, but in the afternoon she was again attacked by torpedoes and dive bombers and had to be abandoned and sunk by our own forces.
Just before noon the Enterprise was subjected to an attack by 24 enemy dive bombersp of which seven were shot down by anti-aircraft fire in which the South Dakota participated. Shortly afterp she weathered two attacks by torpedo planes and one more attack from dive bombers.
A 36 g
The first dive bombing attack resulted in three hits on the Enterprise. Of the torpedo planes making the first attackp one dived on to the destroyer Smith setting her on fire forward and exploding the plane's torpedo. By energetic measuresp howeverp the Smith brought the flames under control and was able to make port. During this action dive bombers scored a hit on the South Dakota, wounding her commanding officer Captain (now Rear Admiral) T. L. Gatch, and inflicted considerable damage on the light cruiser San Juan.
There were no further attacks and the two task forces were ordered to retire independently. During the night they were pursued by Japanese surface unitsp which turned back when it became clear that the enemy attacks were not succeeding.
Enemy planes estimated to have taken part in the attacks on the Hornet and Enterprise numbered between 170 and 180. Of that number 56 were shot down by antiaircraft fire and about the same number by our own planes. Our own losses were the Hornet, the destroyer Porter, which was torpedoed while rescuing personnel of one of our planesp and 74 aircraft. We sank no enemy vessels in the engagementp and our carrier strength in the Pacific was now dangerously lowp but there were partial compensations. Two enemy carriers had been put out of action and four Japanese air groups had been cut to pieces.
Battle of Guadalcanal
For a brief period on October 26p following the all-out enemy attack, the question of whether or not we could retain Henderson Field hung in the balance. A counterattack by Marines and by Army troops, howeverp restored our lines—the enemy lost 2200 men killed in that attack —and General Vandegrift took the offensive on both flanks. Except for a minor setback the following day; this constituted the last serious threat by enemy land forces on Guadalcanal.
The enemy still exercised control over the waters adjacent to Guadalcanal, and for the next two weeks our forces were engaged in scattered actions calculated to interfere with that control. Our submarines attacked Japanese supply linesp inflicting considerable damagep and on the morning of October 30, our light cruiser Atlanta and four destroyers bombarded enemy positions near Point Cruz. On the next day the Marines, supported by naval gunfirep crossed the Matanikau River and by November 3, had advanced beyond Point Cruz. On the evening of November 2, the Japanese had landed about 1500 men and some artillery east of Koli Point but were unable to support that unitp and after our naval forces bombarded the beach headsp destroying stores and ammunitionp the. force was driven into the jungle and eventually exterminated. On November 7p our aircraft from Henderson Field inflicted heavy damage on an enemy light cruiser and two destroyers and shot down a number of enemy planes.
By this time it must have been apparent to the Japanese that their position was not being sufficiently improved by their continued night landings from surface craft dispatched from neighboring islands (our PT boats based at Tulagi attacked them repeatedly, sinking a• destroyer and many landing craft). As evidence of that realization they again began to concentrate surface forces in the Rabaul-Buin area and by November 12p were estimated to be ready with two carriersp four battleships, five heavy cruisersp about 30 destroyers and enough transports for a decisive invasion attempt. To oppose this force we had two new battleshipsp four heavy cruisersp one light cruiserp three anti-aircraft light cruisers, and 22 destroyers. The damaged Enterprise was not ready for action and we were outnumbered in land-based aircraft.
Our troops on Guadalcanal had been reinforced on November 6p but more supplies and reinforcements were vitally needed. Under these circumstancesp Vice Admiral (now Admiral) William F. Halseyp Jr.p who on October 18, had replaced Vice Admiral Ghormley as Commander, South Pacific Forcep realized that we would have to cover our supply lines and at the same time counter the expected enemy offensivep otherwise our position in the South Pacific would be seriously jeopardized. Following this general planp Rear Admiral (now Vice Admiral) R. K. Turner was placed in charge of the supply operation and Rear Admirals D. J. Callaghan and Norman Scott assigned to command the covering forces. In addition, Rear Admiral Turner was to be supported by a task force commanded by Rear Admiral Kinkaidp built around the damaged Enterprise and the battleships Washington and South Dakota.
On the morning of November 11p three of our cargo vessels escorted by Rear Admiral Scott's task force reached Guadalcanal and began unloading off Lunga Point. Loading operations were interrupted by an air attack about four hours later which damaged the transport Zeilin and by a second air attack two hours after that. Our protecting aircraft and anti-aircraft batteries took a heavy toll of both attacking air groups. We lost a total of seven planes. Our escortsp under Rear Admiral Scott, retired to Indispensable Strait for the night.
On the morning of the 12th, the second contingent of ships with supplies and reinforcementsp under Rear Admirals Turner and Callaghan, arrived and joined forces with Rear Admiral Scott. Unloading was immediately begun. As on the previous dayp the enemy delivered an air attack in the afternoon but so effective was our air opposition that only one of about 25 bombers and torpedo planes escaped. One damaged enemy planep howeverp dived onto the San Francisco, starting a number of minor fires and killing 30 men.
Meanwhile, our scouts had located strong enemy forces bearing down on Guadalcanal from the northwestp disposed in three groups. To meet that force Rear Admiral Turner assigned two heavy cruisersp one light cruiserp two anti-aircraft light cruisers and eight destroyers to Rear Admiral Callaghan and withdrew with the transports and cargo vesselsp escorted by three destroyers. The plan was for Rear Admiral Callaghan to fight a delaying actionp so that the battleship-carrier force under Rear Admiral Kinkaid would have time to intercept the Japanese landing forces believed to be en route.
After Rear Admiral Callaghan's force had escorted the, transport group clear of the areap it reentered the sound shortly after midnight through Lengo Channel for the purpose of searching the vicinity of Savo Island. Near Lunga Point three groups of enemy ships were picked up to the northwestward and shortly afterward a fourth group to the northward. Our own force was a single columnp with four destroyers in the vanp five cruis-
ers in the center, and four destroyers in the rear. In that situation—which was by no means as clear then as it is nowp it being a very dark night with no• moon—accurate identification of enemy ships was almost impossiblep and in the darkness the forces nearly collided with each other before a gun was fired:
The action began when the Japanese illuminated our ships with searchlights and both sides' opened fire at close range. Immediate results of the exchanges of gunfire were favorable to us. An enemy ship in the right hand group blew up within a minute under the fire from the San Francisco and other shipsp and on the other side, two enemy cruisers burst into flames. Other vessels were set on firep and the Atlanta believed she sank one of a division of Japanese destroyers crossing ahead of her. Simultaneouslyp the Atlanta, after suffering some hits herself, took a light cruiser under fire. At this point the Atlanta was struck by a torpedo and with all power lost, her rudder jammed. While she was circlingp an enemy heavy cruiser battered her heavily, starting intense fires and killing Rear Admiral Scott and many other personnel on board.
A few minutes later the San Francisco found herself engaged with an enemy battleship in the enemy center group. In addition to the fire of the San Francisco, the battleship was attacked by the Laffey, and the Cushing, although badly damaged, scored torpedo hits on her. The Laffey, during this part of the actionp was hit by a torpedo and later blew up. The Cushing was put out of action by gunfire.
The Barton was also torpedoed and sank almost immediatelyp but the O'Bannon closed with the battleship and made more torpedo hits. By this timep the Portland had wrecked a destroyerp but had been torpedoed herselfp and the Juneau, having lost all fire controlp retired from the action.
The San Francisco, assisted by the Portland (which responded to Rear Admiral Callaghan's radiop "We want the big ones")p concentrated fire on the battleshipp the Helena, meanwhilep engaging an enemy cruiser firing at the San Francisco. At this pointp a salvo from the enemy battleship smashed the San Francisco's bridge, killing Rear Admiral Callaghanp Captain Cassin Youngp commanding officer of the San Francisco, and many other officers and men; but the San Francisco continued to firep and before she was put out of action she had also accounted for a destroyer.
To recapitulate the damages sustained in the first 15 minutes of the action:
The Gushing had been put out of action by gunfire and was dead in the water; the. Laffey had sunkp the Sterrett and O'Bannon had been damaged; the. Atlanta was burningp and the San Francisco and Portland were badly holed. The Juneau had been forced to leave the actionp and the Barton had blown up. The Helena had suffered minor damage. Only the Aaron Ward, Monssen and Fletcher remained undamaged.
The three undamaged destroyers continued the attack with gunfire and torpedoesp each scoring hits on cruisers and destroyersp the Monssen in addition having scored torpedo hits on the damaged enemy battleship. In delivering those attacksp however, the Monssen suffered damage which forced her to be abandonedp and the Sterrett, also damaged by gunfirep had to retire. The action, which lasted 24 minutesp and which was one of the most furious sea battles ever fought, was terminated when the Fletcher torpedoed an enemy heavy cruiser. During the last few minutes of the action the scattered Japanese forces had been firing at each other.
After the firing ceasedp the Helena, San Francisco, and Fletcher joined up, proceeded out of the bayp and later fell in with the Juneau, O'Bannon, and Sterrett. At daylight the next morning the Portland observed a Japanese battleship circling slowly northwest of Savo Islandp with a cruiser standing by. The Atlanta was near the beachp but her fires had been extinguished. The Cushing and Monssen were on firep and the Aaron Ward was dead in the water. Observing an enemy destroyer south of Savo Islandp the Portland, still turning in circlesp sank it. Our planes interrupted the Japanese battleship firing at the Aaron Ward.
The Cushing and Monssen finally went downp and as the conditions on board the Atlanta were impossible to control she had to be sunk on the afternoon of the 13th.
Just before noon on the 13thp the damaged Juneau was attacked by an enemy submarine and sank almost immediately with heavy personnel losses.
On the morning of November 13, the Enterprise launched a flight of torpedo planes which found the Japanese battleship and fired three torpedoes into it. Other attacks on the battleship were made by Army planes and other land-based aircraft from Guadalcanal and Espiritu Santop and sometime during the evening the battleship sank.
On the morning of the 14thp a strong enemy force of cruisers and destroyers shelled Henderson Field. A few planes were destroyedp but the field was not damagedp and the bombardment was broken off when the force was attacked by our PT boats. Subsequently, planes from Henderson Field (including Enterprise planes there) attacked and hit two heavy cruisers, one of which was later subjected to a second attack by Enterprise planes. Other planes hit a light cruiserp and still another attack group from the Enterprise scored hits on a second light cruiser.
As anticipated, an enemy transport forcep preceded by a heavy advance guard of battleshipsp cruisers and destroyers, was discovered north of Guadalcanal. This obviouslyp was the main invasion forcep and was escorted by fighter planes. Throughout the 14thp this transport group was subjected to heavy air attack by our forcesp which resulted in the destruction of six transportsp the probable destruction of two more, and the damaging of four. The four damaged vessels continued to Guadalcanal and beached themselves on Cape Esperance that evening. Our losses in these attacks were slight.
Rear Admiral W. A. Leep Jr.p with the Washington, South Dakota, and Enterprise had been unable to reach the scene of the action before early evening on the 14th. Upon arrival he was ordered to conduct a search, his objective being to intercept and destroy enemy bombardment forces and the transport force itself.
Shortly after midnight a Japanese force was reported north of Savo Islandp headed west. Contact was made by the Washington which immediately opened fire on the leading target. The South Dakota also opened firep selecting the third ship as her target. Both targets disappeared and were presumed sunk. Simultaneouslyp four of our destroyers, which, were leading the, battleshipsp 'attacked an enemy group of six to ten shipsp which also were taken under fire by the secondary batteries of our battleships.
During this part of the action, the. Preston was sunk by gunfire, the Benham was damaged by a torpedop and the Walke was hit by both torpedoes and gunfire. The Walke was abandoned and sank in a few minutes. The remaining destroyer, the Gwin, was damaged and forced to retire.
At this stage of the action all of our destroyers had been eliminated but neither the Washington nor the South Dakota had been hit. The Washington soon located new targets, one of which was a battleshipp and immediately opened fire. The South Dakota fired on an enemy ship which had turned on her searchlights. The enemy in returning the firep concentrated on the South Dakota. The result of this exchange was that the South Dakota shot out all lights, and apparently sank one of the illuminating vessels, but was herself hitp suffering considerable damage to her upper works. The Washington continued to fire at the battleshipp and after setting her on fire and after inflicting damage on other shipsp forced the enemy to retire. The enemy battleship is believed to have been sunk in this action.
The action having been broken off, and the South Dakota and Washington having become separatedp both ships retiredp and joined up the next morning. At daylight on November 15p the four Japanese vessels which had beached themselves on Guadalcanal were bombed by aircraft from Henderson Fieldp and shelled by Marine artillery. The destroyer Meade, which now exercised complete control in the areap all by herselfp then completed the destruction of the beached ships by leisurely bombardment. The three day fight ended with an air engagement between Enterprise fighters from Henderson Field and a flight of about 12 Zeros.
The Battle of Guadalcanal, in spite of heavy losses we sustainedp was a decisive victory for usp and our position in the Southern Solomons was not threatened again seriously by the Japanese. Except for the "Tokio express" which, from time to time succeeded in landing small quantities of supplies and reinforcementsp control of the sea and air in the Southern Solomons passed to the United States.
After the Battle of Guadalcanalp our forces on the island retained the offensivep hunting down the Japanese in the jungles and gradually driving them westward. The First Marine Division was gradually withdrawn and replaced by Army troopsp and in December General Vandegrift turned over command to Major General A. M. Patchp U. S. Army.
At the end of Novemberp howeverp another powerful Japanese attempt to relieve Guadalcanal was suspectedp and in order to counter such a movep Admiral Halsey placed a force consisting of the heavy cruisers Minneapo-• lis, New Orleans, Northampton and Pensacola, the light cruiser Honolulu, and four destroyers under the command of Rear Admiral C. H. Wright.
The Battle of Tassafaronga (Lunga Point)
On November 30p Rear Admiral Wright reached the entrance to Savo Sound, where he was joined by two more destroyers. Late that nightp while crossing the soundp his force made contact with seven enemy shipsp and as the range closed, the destroyers in the van opened fire with torpedoes. Shortly afterward all ships were directed to open fire.
Immediate results of the fire appeared decidedly favorable but because of the visibility we were unable to get a clear picture of the enemy formation, and there was a temporary lull in the action.
The Minneapolis and New Orleans soon engaged new targetsp one of which blew up. At this timep however, both the Minneapolis and New Orleans were struck by torpedoes and a few minutes later the Pensacola and Northampton were also torpedoedp the latter being so badly damaged that she had to be abandoned. Undamaged ships undertook to close with the enemy but were unable to regain contact.
The effect of this engagement was to break up a Japanese reinforcing attemptp but only at severe cost. Our three damaged cruisersp howeverp reached port safely and were repaired and refitted.
The Evacuation of Guadalcanal
With the exception of encounters with the "Tokio expressp" surface naval action in the Guadalcanal area ended with the Battle of Tassafaronga (Lunga Point).
On land, our forces gradually compressed and weakened the enemyp and by January the Japanese ground forces on the islandp which had not been adequately supportedp occupied a most unfavorable position. Under these circumstancesp and bearing in mind the events of the past few weeksp it was reasonable to expect another effort on the part of the enemy to retake Guadalcanal. The Japanese had had time to repair and reorganize their surface forces and to replace their carrier air groups, and therefore when there were heavy increases in shipping at Buin and Rabaul late in Januaryp and a stepping up of air activity, it appeared that they were ready to move. Ships available to Admiral Halsey to prevent such a move now consisted of three new battleships, four old battleshipsp two carriersp three auxiliary carriersp three heavy cruisers, seven light cruisersp two anti-aircraft light cruisers and numerous destroyers—a force considerably stronger than any we had had in the area up to that time.
On January 27p a convoy left New Caledonia for Guadalcanal. On January 29p the heavy cruiser Chicago (a unit of the covering force for the convoy) was torpedoed and badly damaged by enemy planes in a night attackp and the next afternoon she was again attacked by planesp the damage inflicted being so severe that she sank immediately after being abandoned. In an effort to cover the Chicago, the destroyer Lavallette was also torpedoed.
The convoy reached Guadalcanal without damagep unloadedp and departed on the 31st. On the following day Army troops were landed behind enemy ground forces at Vershue. While engaged in covering the landing craft used in this operation two destroyers, the Nicholas and the DeHaven were attacked by enemy dive bombersp and the DeHaven was sunk.
In anticipation of another attack on the Island our forces were disposed south of Guadalcanalp and aircraft dispatched by Admiral Halsey and General MacArthur carried out daily attacks on enemy air fields in the Bismarcks and Northern Solomons. The first week in February the "Tokio expresses" were increased in sizep and it soon became apparent that the enemy was evacuating what little strength he had left on the island. On the night of February 7-8p 1943p exactly six months after our landing in the Solomonsp the enemy completed his with-
drawal. Qn February 8p our troops on Guadalcanalp which had been closing in on the enemy from both sidesp joined forcesp and the first Solomons campaignp except for incidental mopping up, ended.
New Georgia and Bougainville Campaigns
(Includes New Guinea Operations)
The evacuation of Guadalcanal on February 8, 1943, was by no means an indication that the Japanese were retiring from the Solomon Islands. On. the contraryp there was ample evidence that they would make every effort. to retain their positions in the Solomons and in New Guinea. Conversely, having pushed them out of the Southern Solomons area our next undertaking was to push them out of the Northern Solomons.
The most important enemy position in the Northern Solomons was the airfield they had constructed on Munda Point on the southwest coast of New Georgia Islandp but construction of a secondary base near the mouth of the Vila River on the southern tip of Kolombangara Island had begun in the latter part of December. These two airfields constituted a threat to our position on Guadalcanalp about 200 miles away, and were therefore repeatedly attacked by aircraft from Guadalcanal during January, Februaryp and March. In additionp our surface forces conducted a series of bombardments of those positions. Munda was bombarded on the night of January 4, by a task group of cruisers and destroyers. The Vila-Stanmore District of Kolombangara Island was shelled on the night of January 23-24. On the nights of March 5-6p and May 12-13p both airfields were bombarded simultaneously. Neither the air attacks nor the bombardments were successful in putting the airfields out of commission for more than a day or two at a time.
On February 21p our forces made landings in the Russell Islands, 60 miles northwest of Guadalcanalp and immediately began the construction of strong defenses.
On March 1p in an attempt to reinforce New Guinea, the Japanese sent two convoys totalling 21 vessels through the Bismarck Sea.,Both convoys were discovered and were almost completely destroyed by U. S. Army and Allied aircraft in a three day running attack.
Extensive preparations were now being made for the invasion of New Georgiap and although there were no noteworthy naval engagements for some timep serial operations were intensified throughout the South Pacific area. Japanese raids were frequent and heavy even though carried out at severe cost to the enemy. During this period of stepped up air operationsp our advance base in the Russell Islands was in constant use by our planes.
On June 16p one of the most furious air battles of the Pacific war was fought over Guadalcanal. A force of enemy aircraft estimated at 60 bombers and 60 fighters was met by slightly more than 100 U. S. fighters manned by Armyp Marine Corpsp and Navy pilots. As a result of this encounter 107 enemy planes were shot down at a cost of six United States fighters lostp one landing ship (tank) and one cargo vessel damaged.
On the night of June 20p as a preliminary to the invasion of New Georgiap a task group of cruisers and destroyers under the command of Rear Admiral A. S. Merrill bombarded Vila-Stanmore and the Buin-Shortland area near the southeast end of Bougainville Island. After the operation was underway, both Munda and Vila airfields were repeatedly bombed.
On June 30, surprise landings were virtually unopposed in the Woodlark and Trobriand Island groups between the Solomons and New Guineap and at Nassau Bay on New Guinea. On the same day landings were made simultaneously by the Army at Rendova Harbor and by marines at Viru Harbor. Two groups of destroyers covered the landing at Rendovap and effectually silenced enemy land batteries on Munda Point. Enemy aircraft attacking our transports and destroyers were beaten off by our protecting fighters or shot down by ships' antiaircraft batteriesp but not until they had succeeded in torpedoing and sinking the transport McCawley.
On July 2 and 3p landings were made on New Georgia and at Vanganu Island to the southeast of New Georgia.
During the night of July 4-5 a task group of U. S. cruisers and destroyers bombarded enemy positions and gun installations on the islands of Kolombangara and New Georgiap in order to support landings at Rice Anchorage. During this bombardment the destroyer Strong was sunk by a combination of torpedo hits and gunfire from the shore batteries. Immediately after the bombardment more landings were effected for the purpose of seizing the islands of Enogai and Bairoko.
First Battle of Kula Gulf
As the "Tokio express" was making nightly runs through Blackett Strait and Kula Gulf to supply and reinforce the Japanese at Vila and elsewherep an American task force of cruisers and destroyers under the command of Rear Admiral W. L. Ainsworthp U. S. Navyp was dispatched to intercept the enemy. Early in the morning of July 6p contact with two enemy groups was made in Kula Gulf. Our forces opened fire with devastating effect on the first enemy group and subsequently took enemy ships in the second group under an equally effective fire. Enemy fire consisted chiefly of torpedoes. While the amount of damage inflicted on the enemy could not be accurately determinedp it is probable that two Japanese destroyers were sunk in this action.
During the action the cruiser Helena was torpedoed and sunk. Some of her personnel were rescued on the spotp and others made their way to Vella Lavella Island where they were later rescued.
Second Battle of Kula Gulf
During the second week of the New Georgia campaign our ground forces consolidated their positions at Rendovap Rice Anchoragep Virup and began to close in on Munda. Meanwhilep the Navy continued to protect American ground troops and to prevent the enemy from reinforcing his Munda garrison.
On July 12p another task group under Rear Admiral Ainsworth again intercepted the "Tokio express." As a result of the engagement which followed (on the 13th)—the enemy was again disposed in two groups—the first enemy group was badly shot up, and one cruiser was probably sunk. The secondp however, inflicted considerable damage on our forces—the cruisers St. Louis and Honolulu were damaged by torpedoesp and the destroyer Gwin was set on fire and had to be sunk. The New Zealand cruiser Leander suffered a torpedo hit while engaged with the first enemy group.
The two engagements in Kula Gulf were costlyp but they removed a threat of naval action by the enemy which might have jeopardized our landings on the north coast
of New Georgia. Furthermore, they effectively prevented the Japanese from using the Kula Gulf route to supply and reinforce their garrisons at Vila and Munda.
* * *
Our ground troops on New Georgia slowly converged on Munda, which was also subjected to bombardments from the sea and air. Other air attacks were delivered by Allied airplanes at Ballalep at Vila, at Vovine Covep at Buinp at Kahili airdrome and at Shortland Harbor. The biggest single attack consisted of the dropping of 186 tons of bombs on Munda on July 25. During the 37 days of the Munda campaign our planes destroyed an estimated 350 Japanese aircraft at a cost of 93.
Munda airfield was captured on August 5p almost exactly one year after the first landing on Guadalcanalp and six weeks after New Georgia was invaded. The fall of Munda climaxed the Central Solomons campaignp and Bairoko Harborp eight miles to the northwardp was the last remaining Japanese strong point on New Georgia Island. Vilap on the southern tip of Kolombangara Island, was virtually neutralized as soon as the Seabees and Army engineers rebuilt the Munda air strip.
The Battle of Vella Gulf
Our rapid consolidation of our control over the sea routes and the heavy ship losses sustained by the enemy during June and July made it necessary for the Japanese to support their forces at Kolombangara by barge traffic moving at night close to the coast of Vella Lavella. As our PT boats inflicted considerable damage on enemy barges and landing craft in that areap the Japanesep on August 6p 1943p undertook to send equipment and troopsp escorted by a cruiser and three destroyersp into Vila Gulf between Vella Lavella and Kolombangara Islands. This operation which was calculated to support enemy forces at Vila, led to the third surface action in the area within a month. A task group of American destroyers commanded by Commander Frederick Moosbrugger took the enemy force by surprise shortly before midnight. In an engagement lasting about 45 minutesp the three Japanese destroyers were believed sunk. Our forces suffered no damage.
Invasion of Vella Lavella
Vella Lavella Islandp about 14 miles northwest of Kolombangara, was selected as the next objective in the Central Solomons campaign. Although the island was not occupied by the Japanesep and no opposition in force was expectedp preparations were made to resist air attacks from enemy airfields to the north.
On August 15p three transport groups succeeded in making landings as planned. The anticipated enemy air attacks materializedp but did not seriously interfere with the landingsp as our own air support broke up their attacks.
Action of August 17-18
On August 17p four enemy destroyers and a number of barges were reported en route from Bougainville on a southeasterly course. Four of our destroyers under the command of Captain T. J. Ryanp Jr.p intercepted and attacked the enemy force north of Vella Gulfp at night. Our forces scored heavily with gunfire on enemy destroyers and bargesp whereupon the enemy force broke off the action. Our destroyers sustained no losses.
The campaign on New Georgia ended successfully with the occupation of Bairoko Harbor on August 25. The Japanese lost heavily in attempting to evacuate personnel across Kula Gulf to Vilap when PT boats attacked and sank numerous barges filled with enemy troops. As a result of the occupation of Bairokop Kolombangara Islandp which was still occupied by a Japanese garrisonp was now between our forces controlling New Georgia to the southeast and those occupying Vella Lavella to the northwest. Positions secured on Arundelp which was occupied on August 27, made it possible to bring artillery to bear on the Japanese installations at Vila.
With his air power weakenedp the enemy decided to evacuate Vila during the month of September. Again barges were used for the evacuationp with costly results to the enemy. Toward the end of the month of September our destroyers conducted a particularly damaging attack on bargesp which up to that time had been attacked chiefly by aircraft and PT boats. Enemy personnel losses during the evacuation of Kolombangara were undoubtedly heavyp and it was assumed that these heavy losses were the cause of increased activity to the northward shortly thereafterp particularly in the vicinity of Bougainville.
Action of October 6
On the night of October 6p a task group consisting of three destroyersp Chevalier, Selfridge, and O'Bannon, commanded by Captain F. R. Walkerp U. S. Navyp sighted a superior force of enemy ships south of Choiseul. The enemy was disposed in two groupsp one of which appeared to consist of a light cruiser and four destroyers, the other of four destroyers.
Our destroyersp in spite of their being outnumberedp closed in and attacked with gunfire and torpedoes. The result was the repulse of a superior force and the inflicting of considerable damagep at the costp however, of the Chevalier; which was torpedoed and sunk.
* * *
By October 6, the enemy completed evacuating his troops from Kolombangara and Vella Lavella Islandsp and the Central Solomons campaign ended.
Attacks on Bougainville and the small islands to the north and south of it began about three weeks after the evacuation of Kolombangarap our air forces meanwhile having softened up the airfields of Kahilip Ballalep and Karu by daily attacks.
On October 26-27 Mono and Stirling in the Treasury Islands were invaded and occupiedp on October 28p a landing was made on Choiseul Islandp and on November 1, landings were made on Bougainville Island. The landings on Mono Island were preceded by bombardments by a task force commanded by Rear Admiral Wilkinson. Another task force under Rear Admiral Merrill bombarded enemy positions on Bougainville at Buka and Bonis immediately preceding our landing. Rear Admiral Merrill's force then proceeded to the Shortland Islands off the southern coast of Bougainville and delivered another bombardment on Morgusaia Island.
In the meantime a landing force of marines under the command of Lt. General Vandegrift (who had returned to the area following the death of Major General Barrett) landed at Empress Augusta Bayp about midway up the west coast of the island of Bougainville.
Action of November 2
Shortly before noon on November 1, an enemy task force of four cruisers and eight destroyers was observed at the southern end of St. George's Channel but an attempt by Rear Admiral Merrill's force to intercept was not successful as the enemy retired before action could be joined. On the following morningp however, a Japanese force consisting of three groups of four ships each was picked up and attacked. After having suffered considerable damagep the enemy again retired. We lost no ships and sustained relatively light damage in this engagement.
The next day our shipsp which had retired to Empress Augusta Bay, were attacked by enemy aircraft but suffered no appreciable damage.
* * *
Army troops reinforced the marines at Empress Augusta Bay on November 8p and after consolidating our beach headsp took the offensive against enemy troops on the Island. On November 8p the enemy delivered an air attack on a force of our light cruisers and destroyers under the command of Rear Admiral L. T. DuBose. The attack was not successful, in that we were able to protect our transports from enemy attacks while the transports were retiring from Bougainville.
On the night of November 12-13, while engaged in covering transports en route to Torokina Pointp Admiral Merrill's task force was attacked by enemy forces.
On November 17p Japanese planes attacking another of our echelons bound to Torokina succeeded in sinking the destroyer transport McKean.
Action of November 25
On November 25p four of our destroyers patrolling the area between Buka and Cape St. George on the southern tip of New Ireland, attacked a superior enemy force with torpedoes and gunfire, inflicting considerable damage on the enemy. None of our ships was damaged.
During the month of December, American land-based aircraft continued vigorous operations against Japanese positions throughout the Northern Solomons, with the result that enemy airfields in the Buka-Bonis areas completely neutralized. Meanwhilep our troops and supplies continued to move unopposed into the base at Cape Torokina on Empress Augusta Bay.
On December 20, a force of American destroyers bombarded a Japanese concentration on Northeastern Bougainville and on the 23rdp a task force of cruisers and destroyers bombarded the Buka-Bonis area. On the 27th, another force shelled the Kieta area.
Operations in New Guinea
Concurrently with the attacks on Japanese positions in the central Solomonsp a powerful attack had been launched in the New Guinea Theater. On the night of June 29-30 Allied troops made a successful landing on Nassau Bay, about ten miles south of the Japanese base at Salamaua and moved up the coast to Mubo and Komistum. After the landing, the Navy assisted in the new offensive by the use of planes and PT boats to harass enemy landing barges and prevent reinforcements from being put ashore. Task units of our destroyers also assisted by bombarding enemy defenses and installations. 41 A
On September 3, our amphibious forces were ready to move against the enemy's naval and air bases in the Huon Gulf areap and a task force of destroyers and smaller craft successfully landed the Australian Ninth division and other troops near Nopoi. During the following days other task forces escorted more landing craft to the beaches, successfully fighting off air attacks and on September 7-8p bombarded positions in the vicinity of Lae. On September 11, Allied forces captured Salamaua and five days later Lae, thereby giving our naval forces additional bases.
The next objective of the Allied amphibious forces was Finschhafen on the eastern end of the Huon Peninsula; On the morning of September 22, a task force of destroyers and landing craft proceeded to a beach about six miles north of Finschhafen and after a brief bombardment landed a strong Australian force. Enemy air attack was ineffectual. On October 2, Finschhafen was captured and our PT boats sank a number of barges loaded with enemy troops attempting to get clear of the island. On the following day our destroyer task forces suffered their first loss when the destroyer Henley was torpedoed and sunk.
On January 1, an Allied landing in force was made on Saidor on the New Guinea coast. There was no opposition to the landingp and there were no personnel casualties.
On February 13p a final occupation of the Huon Peninsula was completed by the meeting of Australian units coming from the eastward with the 32nd U.S. division.
As our forces moved toward control of the Solomons and New Guinea, it became possible to strike more directly at Rabaul. This Japanese held port is in a key position to control the general area to the south.
On November 5, a task force under Rear Admiral F. C. Shermanp built around aircraft carriersp delivered an air attack on Rabaul. Bombs and torpedoes directed at shipping at anchor resulted in heavy damage to enemy heavy cruisers and destroyers present. Although our planes met Japanese air resistance, we shot down about 25 enemy planes at the cost of three of our own. This carrier-based strike was supplemented the same day by a large group of Liberators, which did severe damage to Rabaul's waterfront.
A week later there was a second series of air attacks on Rabaul. This time two American task forces were engaged. Rear Admiral Sherman's ships sent in a large flight of planes, and although unfavorable weather prevented inflicting as much damage as on the prior raid, hits were scored on Japanese destroyers outside the harbor. The same day a task force under Rear Admiral A. E. Montgomery sent in a large flight of planes to attack Rabaul shipping. Heavy damage to cruisers and destroyers in the harbor was reported. Our planes shot down 24 enemy aircraft at the cost of seven of our own.
Early in the afternoon of November 11p a Japanese air attack was delivered against the carriers under Rear Admiral Montgomery. No damage was done to our ships and something over 50 enemy planes were shot down by a combination of our own planes and anti-aircraft fire. We lost three planes in the encounter. Another flight of Liberators attacked Rabaul on November 11.
A 42 A
During the last ten days of December the major Japanese base on Rabaul was struck by land-based planes operating from bases in the Solomons and elsewhere in the South Pacific area. On December 25p planes from a carrier task force attacked Kaviengp another important enemy base on the northern tip of New Ireland. Reports indicated the damaging of a destroyerp the sinking of two cargo ships and three bargesp and damage to other enemy units afloat. Upon its withdrawalp our task force was heavily attacked by enemy planesp but received no damage. On December 28p Kavieng was again attackedp this time by our shore-based aircraft.
The attacks on Rabaul were significant in that they destroyed and damaged Japanese men-of-warp (always a main objective of our aircraft) which were thereby prevented from resisting our offensive in the Northern Solomonsp New Guinea or the Gilbert Islands.
On January 1p another carrier strike on Kavieng was delivered by a task force under the command of Rear Admiral Sherman. This task force was supported by a group of battleships under the command of Rear Admiral Lee. Primary targets were two enemy cruisers and destroyers about to enter the port. Preliminary reports indicated that the attacks on the cruisers were successful, and that both were either sunk or beached. One of the destroyers was hit by a heavy bomb and both were strafed. Information is lacking as to the effect on the destroyersp but both were believed heavily damaged. Between 20 and 30 enemy aircraft intercepted the attack. Eleven were shot down. Our losses were two fighters and one bomber.
On January 4p a task force successfully attacked two destroyers off the entrance to Kavieng.
On January 8, cruisers under the command of Rear Admiral Ainsworth bombarded the Shortlands without incident.
On February 15, an Allied landing in strength on Green Island, 120 miles from Rabaul, was virtually unopposed. On the same date two destroyer task groups, one commanded by Captain R. W. Simpson and the other by Captain A. A. Burkep bombarded Rabaul and Kavieng without suffering damage from enemy air attack. The task force making the landing was under the command. of Rear Admiral Wilkinson, assault forces being composed of American and New Zealand troops. A task force of cruisers and destroyers commanded by Rear Admiral Ainsworth covered the advance and retirement of the assault forces. The aircraft task force under Vice Admiral Fitch and a support force of cruisers and destroyers commanded by Rear Admiral Merrill participated in the operation.
Occupation of the Admiralty Islands
On February 29p amphibious forces from the South West Pacific Force under the command of Rear Admiral W. M. Fechteler (these forces included the First Cavalry Divisionp dismounted) conducted a reconnaissance in force on Los Negros in the Admiralty Islands. As- the reconnaissance revealed insufficient enemy strength to warrant withdrawing our reconnaissance forcesp the Island was promptly occupied. Covering forces were cruisers and destroyers under the command of Rear Admiral D. E. Barbeyp U. S. Navy. This was a brilliant maneuver in the campaign in that part of the Pacificp conducted under the direction of General MacArthur.
The Central Pacific Campaign
Our only operations in the Central Pacific following the Battle of Midway had consisted of a diversionary damaging raid on the island of Makinp in the Gilbertsp by a small party under the command of Captain J. M. Haines, U. S. Navy. On August 17-18p the submarines Nautilus and Argonaut transported officers and men of the Second Marine Raider Battalion to the Islandp where they annihilated the Japanese garrison and did severe damage to enemy installations.
Toward the end of August 1943, while Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific were advancing toward the Japanese bases at Rabaul and Trukp and while other forces in the Aleutians were consolidating their positionsp Admiral Nimitz organized important units of the Pacific Fleet for a series of assaults on the enemy's outposts in the central Pacific. These task forces succeeded in capturing certain islands on the western rim of the enemy's defenses and in diverting the Japanese from the Northern Solomons and New Guinea. In additionp these operations represented valuable combat training for new air and surface units of the fleet.
Capture of the Gilbert Islands
The Gilbert Islands are a group of coral atolls lying athwart the equator. They had been held by the British up to the outbreak of war in December 1941p when they were seized by the Japanese. Their location is of great strategic significance because they are north and west of other islands in our possession and immediately south and east of important Japanese bases in the Carolines and Marshalls. The capture of the Gilberts wasp therefore, a necessary part of any serious thrust at the Japanese Empire.
In Augustp September, and October, carrier-based air strikes on Marcus, Tarawap Apamama, and Wake served to soften Japanese installations and keep the enemy guessing as to where our next full-scale.attack would be delivered. The attack on Wake was particularly effective as it included considerable bombardment in addition to air attacks. Enemy air opposition was overcomep and a heavy toll of enemy planes was takenp both on the ground, and in the air. During October and early November, planes from our bases attacked the Japanese in the Gilberts and also the Marshalls. The Japanese retaliated by raiding our establishments in the Ellice Islands.
During October and Novemberp various units of the Pacific Fleet were placed under the command of Vice Admiral (now Admiral) R. A. Spruance, U.S.N., who was designated Commander, Central Pacific Force. Vice Admiral Spruance had commanded one of the task forces at the battle of Midway and had more recently been Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chiefp Pacific Fleet. Rear Admiral (now Vice Admiral) R. K. Turnerp U.S.N.p who had been in command at sea during the campaigns in the Solomon Islandsp was placed in charge of our amphibious forces and Major General (now Lieutenant General) H. M. Smithp U.S.M.C.p in charge of the landing forces. Other forces in the command were placed under' Rear Admiral H. W. Hill, U.S.N. The entire force consisted of battleshipsp cruisersp aircraft carriers, destroyers and destroyer escortsp transports and numerous auxiliaries and landing craft. Shore-based aircraft were commanded by Rear Admiral J. H. Hoover, U.S.N.
During the second week in November, while operations in the Bougainville area and attacks on Rabaul were in progress, the force under Vice Admiral Spruance headed west. On November 19, our cruisers bombarded Tarawap and on the morning of November 20p our attack groups were off both Tarawa and Makin Islands.
Heavy shore bombardments by battleships and cruisers preceded the landing at Makin. Army units which landed there met little opposition at firstp and although the Japanese eventually put up a stiff resistance the issue there was never in serious doubt. The capture of Makin was announced on November 22.
The assault on Tarawa was bitterly contested. Tarawa was heavily fortifiedp and garrisoned by about 3p500 Japanese troops on Betiop the principal island in the group. They had been attacked repeatedly from the air for weeks preceding the assault and on the day before they had been heavily bombarded. In spite of these attacksp which silenced the Japanese heavy gunsp wrecked everything above ground and killed approximately half of the enemy troopsp their dugoutsp pillboxes, and bombproof shelters were still partially intact.
The enemy was able to concentrate his forces beside the only beach where a landing was possible. In spite of fire support from the air and from ships, our casualties were heavy. The fighting which ensued was considered by many to be the most intense of any in the war, and the personnel of the Second Marine Division under the command of Major General Julian C. Smith and of the naval units which accompanied them in their landing, demonstrated magnificent courage and tenacity. The assault lasted nearly four daysp at the end of which the island was captured.
During the assault period on both Tarawa and Makin, our transports covered by their escorts, lay off the islands unloading. In some casesp ships were able to enter the lagoons and unload. During this period enemy submarine attacks which developed off Tarawa were successfully combatted, but the Liscome Bay, an escort carrier, was torpedoed and sunk off Makin. Rear Admiral H. M. Mullinnix, U.S.N.p and the commanding officer, Captain I. D. Wiltsie, U.S.N., and a large number of officers and men were lost. Enemy air attacks were successfully driven off by our own aircraft.
After the completion of the assault phase of the operation, our task forces withdrew to their bases to the north and south. Carrier task groups under Rear Admirals C. A. Pownall, U.S.N.p and A. E. Montgomeryp U.S.N., attacked enemy air bases in the Marshalls on December 4, the main attack being directed against the atoll of Kwajalein, where enemy naval and merchant vesselsp aircraft and shore installations were heavily struck with torpedoes and bombs. A lighter attack was made on the island of Wotje. Another task force under Rear Admiral W. A. Lee, U.S.N.p proceeding southward from the Gilberts attacked the island of Nauru. Carrier planes bombed the islandp and battleships subjected it to heavy bombardmentsp starting large fires and destroying a number of planes.
During the remainder of the year, Army and Navy land-based planes carried out repeated attacks on enemy holdings in the Marshall Islands and at Naurup inflicting considerable damage on ships and shore installations. Encmy air attacks on our newly acquired bases in the Gilberts were delivered, but no serious damage was sustained.
Operations in the Marshall Islands
On January 30p offensive operations on the largest scale yet undertaken were directed against the Marshall Islands by task forces under the command of Vice Admiral (now Admiral) Spruance. On that date simultaneous attacks were delivered on Kwajalein by carriers commanded by Rear Admiral F. C. Shermanp on Roi by carriers commanded by Rear Admiral A. E. Montgomeryp on Taroa by carriers commanded by Rear Admiral J. W. Reeves, U.S.N.p and on Wotje by carriers commanded by Rear Admiral S. G. Ginder, U.S.N. In addition, cruisers under the command of Rear Admiral E. G. Smallp U.S.N.p bombarded Taroa and Wotje, and shore-based aircraft under Rear Admiral J. H. Hooverp U.S.N.p bombed all four islandsp together with Mille and Jaluit
On January 31, carrier attacks were resumed on Kwajalein by forces under Rear Admiral Reeves and the island was. also bombarded by battleships. Roi was again attacked by Rear Admiral Montgomery's carrier force, and in addition was heavily bombarded by battleships. Taroa and Wotje were again struck by a carrier force under Rear Admiral Ginder and in addition were bombarded by cruisers. Forces under the command of Rear Admiral Small assisted in the bombardment of Wotje and Maloelap. Ebeye was struck by carrier forces under Rear Admiral Reevesp and Eniwetok was attacked by carriers under Rear Admiral F. C. Shermanp U.S.N. Mille, Jaluit and Wake were bombed by shore-based aircraft.
Other forces under Admiral Spruance's command in this operation consisted of a joint expeditionary force (southern attack group) under Rear Admiral (now Vice Admiral) R. K. Turner, U.S.N. Defense forces and land-based aircraft were under the command of Rear Admiral Hoover. Rear Admiral H. W. Hill, U.S.N.p commanded an attack group and Rear Admiral R. L. Conolly, U.S.N., another, (the northern attack group). Expeditionary troops were under the command of Major General (now Lieutenant General) H. M. Smithp U.S.M.C. The carrier task forces were commanded by Rear Admiral M. A. Mitscherp U.S.N.
On January 31p the forces commanded by Rear Admiral Hilr proceeded against the atoll of Majurop but found no Japanese present there. On the following day troops were sent ashore and the atoll was occupied.
On February 2p landings were made on Roi, Namur and Kwajalein. Roi was secured and enemy resistance on Namur was confined to the northern part of the Island. By the middle of the afternoon all organized resistance on Roi and Namur was overcome and the Commanding General of the Fourth Marine Division (Major General Harry Schmidtp U.S.M.C.) assumed command ashore. Our casualties on these two islands were less than 100 killed and 400 wounded. Simultaneously four smaller islands were occupied. At Kwajalein our troops (Seventh Divisionp U. S. Army) made considerable progress against increasing resistance.
By February 5, our troops on Kwajalein had captured the islandp r by the 8th, the entire atoll was in our possession.
Taroa, Wotje, Jaluit, Mille and Ponape were bombed and/or bombarded at frequent intervals during the remainder of the month.
On February 17-18 forces under the command of Vice Admiral (now Admiral) Spruance delivered an attack on
the island of Truk. The first part of the attack by carrier-based planes, was followed up by battleshipsp cruisers and destroyers. Heavy damage was inflicted on the enemy, both in ships sunk and damagedp and in planes shot down and destroyed on the ground. This attack, which was delivered with devastating effectp was particularly satisfying as it was generally regarded as partial payment for the debt incurred when Pearl Harbor was attacked.
Forces participating in the attack on Truk included carriers under the command of Rear Admiral Mitscher (under whom were Rear Admirals Reevesp Montgomery and Sherman)p cruisers commanded by Rear Admirals L. T. DuBosep U.S.N.p J. L. Wiltsie, U.S.N.p and R. C. Giffenp U.S.N.; and battleships under Rear Admirals 0. M. Hustvedtp U.S.N., G. B. Davisp U.S.N.p and E. W. hanson, U.S.N.
On February 17, an expeditionary task group under the command of Rear Admiral Hill (assault troops were headed by Brigadier General T. E. Watson, U.S.M.C.,) landed on Eniwetok Atollp which had previously been bombarded and bombed over a period of several days. Supporting forces included carriers under Rear Admirals V. H. Ragsdalep U.S.N. and S. G. Ginderp U.S.N.p cruisers commanded by Rear Admirals J. B. Oldendorfp U.S.N.p and L. H. Thebaud, U.S.N.
On February 18p after extensive bombing and bombardment Engebi Island was captured. With the capture of Eniwetok on February 20p announced by Rear Admiral Hillp control of the Marshall Islands which were Japanese possessions before the war, passed to the United States. The operation in the Marshall Islands carried out by the forces under Vice Admiral (now Admiral) Spruance were characterized by excellent planning and by almost perfect timing in the execution of those plans. The entire operation was a credit to all who participatedp and is a noteworthy example of the results that may be expected from good staff work.
Raids on the Marianas
On February 22p (East Longitude Date)p a task force under the command of Rear Admiral Mitscher en route to deliver attacks on Saipan and Tinian in the Marianas was detected by enemy search planes and subsequently attacked by enemy bombers and torpedo planes. The task force suffered no damage, shot down a number of planes and proceeded to deliver attacks on the objectives stated the next day. During the attack several enemy ships were sunk and damaged. About 30 enemy planes were shot down and 85 or more were destroyed on the ground. In additionp numerous small craft were destroyed. At the same time our aircraft raided Guam.
Northern Pacific Campaign
Since the Aleutian Islands constitute an aerial highway between the North American continent and the Far East, their strategic value is obvious. On the other handp that chain of islands provides as rugged a theater for warfare as any in the world. Not only are the islands mountainous and rockyp but the weather in the eastern part of the islands is continually bad. The fogs are almost continuousp and thick. Violent winds (known locally as "williwaws") with accompanying heavy seas make any kind of operation in that vicinity difficult and uncertain. The Bering Sea has been termed a "storm factoryp" because
during the winter months the storms form up there and
at the rate of one or two a weekp travel east and southeast.
In Mayp 1942p when we were calculating the various risks involved in the disposition of our forcesp Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands was considered to be a definite possibility as an enemy objective. A task force to operate in that area was therefore organized and placed under the command of Rear Admiral R. A. Theobald, U.S. Navy. His command included all American and Canadian Army personnel in the North Pacific, including sea and air units.
On June 3p 1942p just as the battle of Midway was beginningp Dutch Harbor was attacked by Japanese high altitude bombersp presumably from enemy carriers. The attacking force was not located immediatelyp because the fog set inp and the intention of the enemy was therefore obscure. Within a few days, howeverp it was discovered that the enemy force had turned westward and effected landings on the islands of Kiska and Attup where they were erecting buildings.
During June and Julyp in spite of the weatherp our submarines and aircraftp by a series of attacks, succeeded in preventing the arrival of major Japanese reinforcements. Army Air Force bombardment squadrons and units of the Royal Canadian Air Force contributed notably to these operationsp as they did to the operations of the succeeding months.
On August 7p Rear Admiral W. W. Smith, U.S.N.p with a force of cruisers and destroyers, bombarded the shore installations on Kiskap but because of poor visibility the damage inflicted could not be ascertained. The bombardment served, howeverp to indicate the need for air bases closer to the islands occupied by the Japanese and as a consequence we occupied the island of Adakp in the Andreanof Groupp at the end of August. In Januaryp 1943p we occupied Amchitkap considerably closer to Kiskap and by February our fighter planes were able to operate from there. By that timep we also had made good progress in establishing and equipping the base on Adak. Meanwhilep Kiska was attacked almost daily by planes from the Andreanofs.
Because of weather conditions and the employment of our forces in other theatersp no attacksp other than bombing raidsp with the exception of the bombardment previously referred top were delivered on the islands until the spring of 1943.
Battle of the Komandorski Islands
In that situationp the enemyp late in Marchp 1943p undertook to support the two garrisons by sending through a small but heavily protected convoy. Early on the morning of March 26p a unit of our North Pacific Force, commanded by Rear Admiral C. H. McMorrisp encountered the advancing enemy forcep which included heavy and light cruisersp some destroyers and cargo ships, about 65 miles south of the Komandorski Peninsula. Our forcep although outnumberedp closed for attack.
The engagement which followed developed into a running gunfire duel between our cruisers Salt Lake City and Richmond and enemy cruisers. This was followed by a torpedo attack delivered by our destroyersp upon completion of which the enemy retired in the direction of Paramushirup 500 miles to the westward. Our damage was small and our casualties were light. While the damage inflicted on the enemy is not definitely knownp a
superior enemy forcep after being engaged for three and one-half hoursp had been prevented from supporting Japanese garrisons at Kiska and Attu.
The Capture of Attu
During the month of Aprilp severe weather interfered considerably with our operationsp but later in the month a detachment of cruisers and destroyers was sent to bombard the island of Attu.
Meanwhilep plans had been completed for an assault on Attup and a force consisting of battleshipsp an auxiliary aircraft carrierp destroyersp auxiliaries and transports was placed under the command of Rear Admiral F. W. Rockwellp who operated under the direction of Rear Admiral Kinkaid. In addition to Rear Admiral Rockwell's force there was a unit consisting of cruisers and destroyers under the command of Rear Admiral Robert C. Giffen and another under Rear Admiral McMorris. The entire operation was to be supported by the Army Air Forces under the command of Major General Albert F. Brown. These troops were embarked in, the transports.
On the morning of May 11p landings were made on the north coast of Attup and our troops proceeded inland. In the afternoon other landings were made at Massacre Bayp and also at Holtz Bay. These landings were covered by our naval forcesp and in the bitter fighting which followedp various naval units assisted Army troops by furnishing fire support and air cover. Enemy attacks on our naval forces were ineffective. On May 31p the "mopping up" stage endedp and the Island was in our possession. Enemy forces there had been virtually annihilated.
Occupation of Kiska
Following the assault on Attup preparations were made for a similar assault on Kiska. In anticipation of that assault, Kiska was heavily bombed during July and August, and on numerous occasions was also bombarded by our naval forces.
When assault troops landed on the island on August 15p it was found that it had been evacuated by the Japanese under cover of the fog. Thusp the Aleutian campaign endedp with our forces once more in possession of the entire chain of islands.
NOTE: Although it had no connection with the campaign herein describedp the bombardment of Paramushiru by a task force under the command of Rear Admiral W. D. Bakerp U. S. Navyp was carried out on February 4p 1944. Large fires were started. No damage was sustained by our forces. The bombardment is included in this part of the report because it took place in the Northern Pacific.
Because of their ability to operate effectively in enemy controlled waters the weakness of our Asiatic Fleet was partially compensated by virtue of the 29 submarines assigned to it—our submarines took the offensive immediately upon the outbreak of war. When our surface forces retired to the south from the Philippine Islandsp submarines [under the command of Captain (now Rear Admiral) John Wilkes] succeeded in delaying the enemy's advance and in, giving intermittent support to our forces remaining in the islands. As the Japanese advanced through the Netherlands East Indies and into the Solomonsp submarines continued to interrupt enemy lines of communicationsp and since that time have continued their attacks on enemy men-of-war and merchantmen with telling effect.
At the beginning of the war Rear Admiral T. Withers was in command of the submarines in our Pacific Fleet. Rear Admiral R. H. Englishp who relieved him in May 1942p was killed in an airplane accident in January 1943. Since that time the uniformly excellent operation and administration of Pacific Fleet submarines has been continued under the direction of Vice Admiral C. A. Lockwoodp who previously commanded submarines of the South West Pacific Force. Rear Admiral R. W. Christie succeeded to command of the submarines in the South West Pacific Force.
Atlantic Fleet submarines have been commanded since the spring of 1942 by Rear Admiral F. A. Daubin. Submarine operations in the Atlanticp which have been chiefly fitting out and trainingp have done much to make effective combat submarine operations possible within a minimum time after each submarine joins the Pacific Fleet.
Without adequate shipping, Japan can not hold out, much less support her forces in the islands of the Pacific. Furthermore, the Japanese shipyards have limited capacity. Her shipping, thereforep was a natural target for our submarinesp and they have taken a tremendous toll.
For reasons of securityp our submarine operations throughout the Pacific can be discussed only in very general terms. No branch of the naval servicep however, has acquitted itself more creditably. Submarine commanding officers are skillfulp daring and resourceful. Their crews are well trained and efficient. Their morale is highp and in direct ratio to the success of submarine operations. Materially our submarines are in excellent shapep and we have kept up to the• minute in all features of design and scientific development and research.
The versatility of our submarines has been so repeatedly demonstrated throughout the war that the Japanese know only too well that in no part of the Pacific Ocean are they safe from submarine attack. When the full story can be toldp it will constitute one of the most stirring chapters in the annals of naval warfare.
At the outbreak of the war our operations in the Atlantic Ocean consisted chiefly of escorting convoys to Great Britain, and to Russian and Near East ports (also West Indian and South American ports) and of training. Concurrentlyp with these operationsp it was necessary to dispose the heavy units of our Atlantic Fleet so that they would be available immediately in case ships of the German Fleetp basing at various ports in Germanyp Norwayp and Francep attacked our shipping. From time to timep in order to maintain a satisfactory distribution of Allied strengthp as insurance against such a breakout by units of the German Navyp certain of our ships operated with the British Fleet.
By agreement with the Britishp emphasized at the Casablanca conference and at each subsequent conferencep the maintenance of the war-making capacity of the British Isles has been a continuing commitment of the United States. Obviouslyp such a commitment requires, as a prerequisite to the furnishing of the necessary supportp the maintenance of overseas lines of communica-
tionp so that the safe passage of Lend-Lease shipmentsp supplies to our own forcesp and troop convoys can be accomplished.
The responsibility for those naval operations required to keep open not only those lines of communicationsp butp as wellp all lines of communications in the Atlantic Oceanp has rested with Admiral R. E. Ingersollp the Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Fleet. Faced with the threat of the U-boat fleet (the methods taken to combat and overcome that menace are covered elsewhere in this report) and with the possibility of attack by other enemy unitsp escort of convoy operations was of paramount importance.
Early in the war the attempts of the enemy to interrupt our lines of communicationsp while not successful, nevertheless were a matter of considerable concern. By judicious use of escorts, howeverp and by other meansp our convoys continued to go through. The magnitude of those escort operations which have been continuousp is not likely to be overestimated, as we have expended tremendous effort in providing the ships and training themp and in the execution of their duties. The record of safe overseas transportation of troops and material speaks for itselfp in so far as the efficiency of these operations is concerned.
Direct support of units of the British Fleet in any operation requiring combined effortp has been another Atlantic Fleet activity calling for careful planning and execution.
In additionp Admiral Ingersoll has had the responsibility for the defense of the Western Hemisphere by our naval forces. That has involved the stationing of air and surface forces at various points in North and South America and in certain islands in the Atlantic Oceanp andp of course, such changes in their disposition as might be warranted by the situation. The South Atlantic Force, under the command of Vice Admiral J. H. Ingramp whose headquarters are in Brazilp has operated in harmony and close combination with forces of the Brazilian Navy in contributing to our control of the South Atlantic.
In order to facilitate the passage of convoys to Russia and Great Britainp and in order to provide a base for our heavy surface forcesp considerable use has been made of Icelandp where we originally established a base for forces engaged in escorting Lend-Lease convoys. All of the bases acquired from Great Britain in exchange for the 50 destroyers have been in constant use, and of great value.
Except for anti-submarine actions and for occasional aircraft attacks, units of the Atlantic Fleet have not been in any extensive combat in the Atlantic Ocean. As covering and supporting forcesp howeverp they have accompanied our expeditions which landed in North Africa, and later in Sicily and Italyp and in the case of the landings in North Africa, there were some engagements in the Atlantic Ocean. The details of those expeditions are covered separately in this report.
For the purpose of training the large number of newly commissioned ships on the East Coastp which report to the Commander in Chiefp United States Atlantic Fleet as soon as they are completedp a training command, under Rear Admiral D. B. Bearyp was established as a part of the Atlantic Fleet. That command took over all ships (except submarines) as soon as they were ready for sea, and conducted such operational training as was necessary to fit each ship for duty in the fleet to which as- signed. In addition to that type of operational trainingp the Commander in Chief, United States Atlantic Fleet was charged with extensive amphibious training.
From the foregoing it will be seen that the Commander in Chiefp United States Atlantic Fleet has had a wide variety of responsibilities which have been contributory to the success of the multiplicity of operations, some of which were carried out by the Atlantic Fleet and some by other fleets. Because of the situationp there has been a continuous shift in the strength and disposition of the Atlantic Fleetp in which connection its flexibilityp and the manner in which adjustments and readjustments were made have been of tremendous assistance to the Navy as a whole.
The Atlantic Submarine War
The submarine war—particularly the Atlantic phase of it—has been a matter of primary concern since the outbreak of hostilities. Maintenance of the flow of ocean traffic has been, and continues to bep a vital element of all war plans.
Operating on exterior lines of communication on almost every front, the United Nations have been dependent largely upon maritime transportation. The success of overseas operationsp landing attacksp the maintenance of troops abroad and the delivery of war materials to Russia and other Allies concerned primarily with land operations has depended to a large extent upon the availability of shipping and the ability to keep it moving. Shipping potentialities have been the major factor—often the controlling factor—in most of the problems with which the Allied High Command has had to deal.
The principal menace to shipping has been the large fleet of submarines maintained by Germany. Our enemies Shave employed the submarine on a world-wide scalep but the area of greatest intensity has always been the Atlantic Ocean where the bulk of German U-boats have operated.
The German U-boat campaign is a logical extension of the submarine strategy of World War I which almost succeeded in starving Great Britain into submission. Unable to build up a powerful surface fleet in preparation for World War IIp Germany planned to repeat her submarine campaign on a greater scale and to this end produced a U-boat fleet of huge size. The primary mission of this underwater Navy was to cut the sea routes to the British Islesp and the enemy undersea forces went to work on this task promptly and vigorously.
The United States became involved in the matter before we were formally at warp because our vessels were being sunk in the transatlantic traffic routes. Consequently, in 1941p we took measures to assist the Royal Navy to protect our shipping. As stated in more detail elsewhere in this report these measures included the transfer of 50 old destroyers to the Britishp and in the latter part of 1941—the assignment of our own naval vessels to escort our merchant shipping on threatened transatlantic routes.
The submarine situation was improving as 1941 drew toward a close. Escort operations on threatened convoy routes were becoming more and more effective. British aviation had become a potent factor, by direct action against the U-boatsp and also by bringing under control the German over-water air effort that had augmented the submarine offensive. Our resources were stretchedp how-
ever, and we could not, for a time, deal effectively with the change in the situation brought about by our entry into the war on December 7p 1941. Our whole merchant marine then became a legitimate target, and the U-boatsp still maintaining full pressure on the transatlantic routesp had sufficient numbers to spread their depredations into wide areas hitherto immune. Our difficulty was that such part of the Atlantic Fleet as was not already engaged in escort duty was called upon to protect the troop movements that began with our entry into the warp leaving no adequate force to cover the Navy maritime traffic areas newly exposed to possible U-boat activity.
The Germans were none too quick in taking advantage of their opportunity. It was not until more than a month after the declaration of war that U-boats began to expand their areas of operation. The first move took the form of an incursion into our coastal waters in Januaryp 1942. We had prepared for this by gathering on our Eastern seaboard our scant resources in coastal anti-submarine vessels and aircraftp consisting chiefly of a number of yachts and miscellaneous small craft taken over by the Navy in 1940 and 1941. To reinforce this group the Navy accelerated its program of acquiring such fishing boats and pleasure craft as could be used and supplied them with such armaments as they could carry. For patrol purposes we employed all available aircraft—Army as well as Navy. The help of the Civil Air Patrol was gratefully accepted. This •eterogeneous force was useful in keeping lookout and in rescuing survivors of sunken ships. It may have interferedp too, to some extent with the freedom of U-boat movement, but the heavy losses we suffered in coastal waters during the early months of 1942 gave abundant proof of the already well-known fact that stout hearts in little boats can not handle an opponent as tough as the submarine.
The Navy was deeply grateful for the assistance so eagerly volunteered by the men who courageously risked their lives in order to make the best of available means, but there had to be better meansp and to provide them no effort was spared to build up an anti-submarine force of adequate types. Submarine chasers, construction of which had been initiated before the war, began to come into service early in 1942. The British and Canadian navies were able to assign some anti-submarine vessels to work with our coastal forces. Ocean escorts were robbed to reinforce coastal areas. These measures made it possible to establish a coastal convoy system in the middle of May, 1942. Anti-submarine aviation had concurrently improved in quality and material and training of personnel. The Army Air Force had volunteered the services of the First Bomber Command which was especially trained and outfitted for anti-submarine warfare.
The effect of these measures was quickly felt in the Eastern Sea Frontier (the coastal waters from Canada to Jacksonville) where they were first applied. With the establishment of the initial coastal convoy (under the command of Vice Admiral Adolphus Andrews, Commander of the Eastern Sea Frontier) in the middle of Mayp 1942, sinkings in the vital traffic lanes of the Eastern Sea Frontier dropped off nearly to zero and have so remained. While it has not been possible to clear those routes completely—there is evidence that nearly always one or more U-boats haunt our Atlantic Coast—submarines in that area long ago ceased to be a serious problem.
When the Eastern Sea Frontier became "too hot", the
U-boats began to spread farther afield. The coastal convoy system was extended as rapidly as possible to meet them in the Gulf of Mexico (under the command of Rear Admiral J. L. Kauffman, Commander Gulf Sea Frontier)p the Caribbean Sea, (under the command of Vice Admiral J. H. Hooverp Commander Caribbean Sea Frontier)p and along the Atlantic Coast of South America. The undersea craft made a last bitter stand in the Trinidad area in the fall of 1942. Since then coastal waters have been relatively safe.
The problem was more difficult to meet in the open sea. The submarine chasers that do well enough in coastal waters are too small for ocean escort duty. Destroyers and other ocean escort types could not be produced as rapidly as the smaller craft. Aircraft capable of long overseas patrol were not plentiful, nor were aircraft carriers. In consequencep protection of ocean shipping lagged to some extent. By the end of 1942p howeverp this matter began to come under controlp as our forces slowly increasedp and there has been a steady improvement ever since.
The Atlantic anti-submarine campaign has been a closely integrated international operation. In the early phases of our participation, there was a considerable mixture of forcesp as the needs of the situation were met as best they could be. For a time some British and Canadian vessels operated in our coastal escortsp while our destroyers were brigaded with British groups in the Atlantic and even occasionally as far afield as North Russian waters. As Allied strength improved in power and balance, it became possible to establish certain areas of national responsibility wherein the forces are predominantly of one nation. This simplifies the problem of administration and operationp but there still are—and probably always will be—some areas where forces of two or more nations work together in a single command, and always there is close coordination in deploying the forces of the several Allies.
There is a constant interchange of information between the large organizations maintained in the Admiralty and in the United States Fleet Headquarters (in the form of the Tenth Fleet which coordinates United States anti-U-boat activities in the Atlantic) to deal with the problems of control and protection of shipping. These organizations, alsop keep in intimate touch with the War Shipping Administration in the United States and with the corresponding agency in Great Britain.
Command of anti-submarine forces—air and surface —that protect shipping in the coast-wise sea lanes of the United States and within the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico is exercised by "Sea Frontier Commanders," each assigned to a prescribed area. The command is naval except in the Panama area where the Naval Sea Frontier Commander is under the Commanding General at Panama.
Since aircraft and surface combatant ships are most effective when working as a closely knit team, it is the policy—in anti-submarine as well as other naval operations—to weld together air and surface forces in a single command in each area.
In the Atlantic Ocean, beyond the coastal area, antisubmarine forces—air and surface—are part of the Atlantic Fleet under the command of Admiral R. E. Ingersoll. One of the units of Admiral Ingersoll's fleet is the South Atlantic Force (Vice Admiral J. H. Ingram corn-
manding) which guards shipping in the coastal waters south of the Equator and throughout the United States area of the South Atlantic. Vice Admiral Ingram's command includes highly efficient surface and air units of Brazilp which country has wholeheartedly joined our team of submarine hunters. This teamp incidentally, turns its guns on surface raiders and other bigger game when the enemy provides the opportunity.
It is appropriate to express here appreciation of the services of Netherlands anti-submarine vessels which have operated with exemplary efficiency as part of the United States Naval Caribbean Force ever since we entered the war.
Anti-submarine warfare is primarily a naval function, butp in accordance with the general policy of working togetherp Army and Navy forces that are available turn to together on the enemy when need arises. Thus it happens that there are instances in which Army aircraft join in the submarine hunt. The assistance of the Army Air Force has been of great value, particularly in the early phases of the warp when naval resources were inadequate. An example of this is the formation of the Army Air Force anti-submarine Command in the spring of 1942, which was given the equipment and training necessary to make its members anti-submarine specialists. It operatedp under the command of Brigalier General (now Major General) T. W. Larsonp in the United States and abroad until last Novemberp when the Navy obtained enough equipment to take over the tasks so well performed by this command.
It is regretted that it is not possible at this time to go into the details of our anti-submarine operations in this report. It would be a great pleasure to recount the many praiseworthy exploits of our anti-submarine forcesp but to do so now would jeopardize the success of future operations. The U-boat war has been a war of wits. The submarine is a weapon of stealth, and naturally enough the German operations have been shrouded in secrecy. It has been of equal importance to keep our counter measures from becoming known to the enemy. There is a constant interplay of new devices and new tactics on the part of forces working against the submarines as well as on the part of the submarines themselves, and an important element of our success has been the ability to keep the enemy from knowing what we are doing and what we are likely to do in the future. It is, alsop of the utmost importance to keep our enemies from learning our anti-submarine technique, lest they turn it to their own advantage in operations against our submarines.
Submarines have not been driven from the seasp but they have changed status from menace to problem.
THE MEDITERRANEAN THEATER Landings in North Africa
In Julyp 1942p after several months of discussions and study by the Combined Chiefs of Staffp it was decided to effect landings in force in North Africa and there establish our troops in opposition to the German forces. The strategic significance of that move since has become apparentp in that the troops which were transported and landed in North Africa subsequently moved through Sicily to Italyp and there engaged enemy land forces.
The invasion of North Africa was a complicated operation. In the first placep in view of the uncertainty of the relationships existing between the French forces in that area and the Vichy Governmentp the political situation in North Africa required the most careful and diplomatic handling. Obviously it was to our advantage to effect unopposed landingsp and the problem therefore was to pursuade the French forces not to resist. We could not affordp howeverp to take any chances in revealing our own plans, and the dealings with the French authorities had to be undertaken with utmost discretion. As it turned outp the French forces resisted initiallyp but within a few days agreed to an armistice.
In addition to the foregoing difficultyp it was agreed that the forces participating in the operations would consist of British and American units. Furthermorep the nature of the operations was such that the American units had to be both Army and Navy. Command relationships were worked out accordingly, and Lieutenant General (now General) D. D. Eisenhowerp U. S. Armyp was appointed Commander in Chief of the Allied force. His principal naval subordinate was Admiral Sir Andrew Browne Cunninghamp Royal Navy.
The plan agreed upon called for three points of attack; Oran and Algiers, both Algerian seaports on the Mediterraneanp and Casablanca on the Atlantic coast of French Morocco. The attack forces assigned to effect landings at Oran and Algiers consisted of United States Army troops supported by British naval units (with a few exceptions). The Casablanca attack force was composed entirely of United States forces. This report deals chiefly with the part played by United States naval forces in the operation.
Rear Admiral (now Vice Admiral) H. K. Hewittp who was placed in command of the United States naval forces designated to support the Casablanca attack, [Major General ,(now Lieutenant General) George S. Patton commanded the Army troops in this attack] left the United States on October 24, and the movement overseas proceeded without untoward incident. On November 7p the forces separated and the three attack groupsp the covering force (under the command of Rear Admiral R. C. Giffenp U. S. Navy) and the air groups proceeded independently to their assigned positions for the landing attacks.
Operations in French Morocco
Operations in French Morocco were conducted by United States forces under the unified command of Rear Admiral Hewitt until General Patton's headquarters were established on shore and he was ready to assume command. The plan called for a main landing at Fedalap 14 miles north of Casablancap and secondary landings at Port Lyauteyp 65 miles north of Casablancap and Safip 125 miles south of Casablanca. The object of the main landing was to capture Casablanca from the land side. The principal objective at Port Lyautey was the airfield nearbyp and the objective of Safi was to capture the port by direct assault and then to assist in the reduction of Casablanca.
Early in the morning of November 8p shortly after our troops had been landedp shore batteries opened fire on the naval forces supporting the landings at Fedala. These shore batteries were engaged at intervals during that morning by the Augusta, the Brooklyn, and accompanying destroyers. Early in the afternoon the shore batteries on Point Fedala were captured.
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Several naval actions took place between Fedala and Casablanca on November 8. Shortly after daylightp eight submarines left Casablanca. Three others were sunk at their moorings. Early in the forenoon, two French destroyer •leaders and five destroyers sortied and stood toward Fedala. They were taken under and forced to retire. Shortly afterward the French light cruiser Primaguet sortied and joined the French destroyers outside the harbor. The group, which stood toward Fedalap was promptly engaged by the Augusta and Brooklyn, and vessels of the covering force. With the exception of one transport which managed to get back to the harborp all French ships were either sunk or beached. Meanwhile, the covering forcep consisting of the Massachusetts, Wichita, Tuscaloosa, and four destroyers, exchanged fire with the shore batteries at El Hank, and the French battleship Jean Bart, which was moored in the harbor, and with the French forces that had sortied from Casablanca.
Another action took place on November 10. Late in the forenoon the enemy vessels took up a position outside of the harbor at Casablanca and opened fire on our troops ashore, whereupon the Augusta and four destroyers stood toward Casablanca and engaged the two enemy vessels. While in that positionp the Augusta was fired upon by the Jean Bart. The Augusta and accompanying destroyers immediately retired.
Sometime between November 8 and November 10p the Jean Bart was sunk at her moorings, but the water was shallow and she was able to continue to fire.
Thanks to the elimination of the French forces at Casablanca the landings at Fedala were successfully completedp but the aftermath was costly. On November 11, the transport Joseph Hewes, the oiler Winooski and the destroyer Hambleton were torpedoed. The Hewes sank in an hourp and the other two ships were later taken to Casablanca for repairs. On November 12p the transports Hugh L. Scott and Edward Rutledge were torpedoed and immediately caught fire and burned. All these attacks were assumed to be from Axis submarines.
The Attack on Safi
The attack on Safi was made principally by two destroyers, the Bernadou and Cole, which were supported by gunfire from a covering group under the command of Rear Admiral L. A. Davidsonp consisting of the battleship New York, the cruiser Philadelphia, and the destroyer Mervine. The Bernadou, carrying Army troopsp and the Mervine, with naval personnelp made a daring entry into the harbor early in the morning of the 8th, and there landed their troops without serious difficulty.
The landings at Port Lyautey were made with comparatively little difficulty. Stiff resistance was later encountered south of the mouth of the Oued Sebou Riverp and shore batteries were not silenced until November 9. Ships furnishing naval gunfire and naval aircraft support included the Texas, the Savannah, and a number of destroyers under the command of Rear Admiral Monroe Kelly, U.S. Navy.
The Oran Operation
The naval support for the landings at Oran was furnished by the British naval forces. In order to facilitate the capture of Oran, howeverp it was decided to seize the harbor of Arzeup about 25 miles east of Oranp and by a daring and well executed assaultp a small raiding partyp under Captain Walter Anselp U. S. Navyp captured the harbor early in the morning of November 8.
Also assigned to assist British naval forces was a small United States naval unit commanded by Lieutenant Commander George D. Dickeyp U. S. Navy. This unitp together with Army unitsp was embarked in two British shipsp HMS Walney and Hartlett, both of which were formerly U. S. Coast Guard cutters. Upon entering the harbor early in the morning of November 1p both ships were discovered and sunk.
The Algiers Operation
Included in the naval task force assigned to assist in the Algiers landings was a division of four American transports. These vessels had proceeded from Great Britain in time to arrive on the Algerian coast simultaneously with the forces arriving on the Moroccan coast from the United States. Late in the afternoon of November 7, the transport Thomas Stone was torpedoed. Her troops thereupon were put in landing boats about 160 miles from Algiers. After a hazardous trip, during which a number of the landing craft were lostp they succeeded in reaching the Algerian coast, but by that timep hostilities had ceased.
The transport Leedstown was attacked by German aircraft on the evening of November 8p and again on the following afternoon, and was sunk by torpedoes. The loss of personnel was light.
With the successful negotiation of the armistice on November 11, resistance from the French forces ceasedp and in so far as the immediate participation of United States naval forces was concerned, the operation ended. Meanwhilep howeverp a naval unit on the east coast of French Morocco was established as a Sea Frontierp under the command of Rear Admiral John L. Hall, Jr., U.S.N., and a Naval Operating Base at Oranp under the command of Rear Admiral A. C. Bennettp U. S. Navyp was also established.
The United States naval forces participating in these operations were taken from the United States Atlantic Fleet.
Landings in Sicily
By Mayp 1943, German forces had been driven from Tunisiap and by that time our fighting strength was such that we were able to make definite plans for a major offensive move against the enemy in his own territory. Sicily was selected as the immediate objective, and an amphibious operation on the largest scale yet undertaken was planned. Generally speakingp one part of the operation was to be a ship-to-shore movement in which our troops were to be taken to the scene of the landing in transports and there embarked for the actual landing in small boats. The second part was a shore-to-shore movementp the troops being transported directly to the landing beaches from the point of embarkation.
Like the North African operationp the landings in Sicily were to be combined British and American. General Eisenhower was given command of the expeditionary force and Admiral Cunningham was given command of all naval forces participating. Under these officers were three task forcesp one of which was (with the usual provisions for change-over in command) under the corn-
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mand of Vice Admiral Hewittp and Lieutenant General George S. Patton. Army air forces were under the command of Brigadier General (now Major General) Carl Spaatz. Under the plan agreed uponp landings were to be made at five places on the Island of Sicily. Three of those objectivesp namely Scoglittip Gelap and Licatap on the south coast of Sicilyp were to be attacked by the American task force.
This report concerns itself primarily with the activities of the American naval forces in the operation.
In anticipation of the operation, transports, cruisers and destroyers were assembled at Oran and Algiers. Various types of landing craft were assembled at Tunis and Bizerte. There were some exceptions to that arrangement. On July 5p the largest ships of the Scoglitti force left Oran and on the following day they were joined by the ships of the Gela force from Algiers. As the force passed Tunis and Bizerte they were joined by the small craft.
The landing at Scoglittip early in the morning of July 10p which was preceded by bombardment of shore batteries and beach positions by our naval units, was accomplished with comparatively little oppositionp as the Italian troops abandoned their positions at the first attack. Landings at Scoglitti were both ship-to-shore and shoreto-shore operationsp and by early forenoon all troops were on the beach.
The landings at Gela were more of a shore-to-shore undertaking than those at Scoglitti. Troops landed on schedule, and the first wave encountered slight oppositionp but the second wave met stiff resistance and suffered heavy casualties until the shore batteries were silenced by the naval gunfire from the light cruisers Savannah and Boise.
The landing at Licata was almost entirely a shore-toshore operation, practically all troops being transported in small craft. After comparatively heavy opposition was encountered, all beaches were captured by early forenoon and the unloading of supplies begun. We lost the destroyer Maddox and the minesweeper Sentinel in the operationp both being sunk by bombs.
After the Licata landing had been accomplished, the participating forces were subjected to intense enemy air attack which lasted three days. During that three-day period, alsop the enemy launched a counterattack with tanksp which took up a position from which they could fire on the beaches and at the ships standing by. When this tank attack developed, our cruisers and destroyers moved inshore and opened fire on themp pending the establishment of anti-tank fire on the beach. So effective was naval gunfire on this occasion that the tanks were successfully repulsed at a most opportune time. Had there been no naval gunfire support, or had it been less effectivep our landing force in all probability would have been driven into the sea.
By the 13thp most of our ships had completed unloading and left the area.
As our troops advanced inland and along the coasts from their landing pointsp their advance was supported from time to time by naval gunfire. During the period July 12-14p our cruisers and destroyers bombarded Porto Empedocla and Agrigentop this bombardment being one of the factors which contributed to the capture of those towns on July 17. This bombardment was followed by a short lull, in so far as naval participation was concerned (a second contingent of transports had already arrived) and it was not until the end of the month that our forces were again employed directly in the attacks. On July 31p fresh troops were transported to Palermo. These transports were attacked by German air forces when in Palermo harborp but were effectively protected by our destroyers.
Throughout the month of August the Navy supported ' the movements of land forces as they closed in on Messina. Naval gunfire destroyed shore batteriesp roadsp bridges, and other objectivesp and on August 17p a task force of cruisers and destroyers proceeded against Southern Italy.
Landings in Italy
Landings in Italy were in logical sequence to the occupation of Sicily. Shortly after the Sicilian operation was completedp British forces began crossing the Straits of Messina, and in order to assist these forces in their progress up the Italian Peninsula, a combined Anglo-American attack was undertaken some distance in the rear of Axis troops opposing the British. The general region chosen was that portion of the Italian coast extending from Cape Circeo to the southern headland to the Gulf of Policastro and containing the important harbors of Naplesp Gaetap and Salerno. The particular part of the coast selected for the initial assault was the Bay of Salernop which offered a number of beaches suitable for troop landings.
Although the troops employed in the landings were exclusively British or Americanp the naval forces supporting them were mixed. The latter were placed under the command of Vice Admiral Hewitt and divided into two parts, one of which was predominantly American and the other predominantly British. The American (southern) attack force was assigned coverage for the landings at Salerno.
The principal American convoy assemble at Oranp and British forces formed up at Tripolip Palermo, Termini (in Sicily) and Bizertep and from time to timep beginning September 5, sailed from the points of assembly.
The landings were made on the morning of September 9p and although successfully accomplishedp met immediate resistance from the Germansp who delivered a series of air attacks for the next two days. Alsop enemy fire on the ground was intensep exceeding anything previously experienced and proving considerably more troublesome than had been anticipated. In spite of the resistancep howeverp (which included counterattacksp some of which were broken up most opportunelyp as at Licatap by fire of naval vessels) the port of Salerno was captured by the 10thp and after heavy fighting on the 11th and 12th in the vicinity of Salerno, the town of Battipaglia was captured.
On the 13th and 14th, the enemy succeeded in retaking some of the ground previously gained by our troops. Our naval unitsp however, continued to lend reinforcements and suppliesp and Allied warships, including battleshipsp cruisers, and destroyers bombarded enemy posi-
tions During the remainder of the operation, our naval forces kept up a steady flow of supplies to the various beachesp bombarded shore objectivesp helped to repel air raidsp and finally on October 1p took the city of Naples under bombardment.
For several months our naval forces continued to operate in the Mediterranean area chiefly in supplying our troops in that theater and in keeping open the lines of supply.
On January 21p 1944p a joint force landed at Anzio, Italyp and there established a beachhead. The amphibious task force participating was under the command of Rear Admiral F. J. Lowry. Gunfire support for the operation was furnished by cruisers and destroyers.
The Navy Team
Representing as it does intense scientific research and the development of various methods of fighting for hunyearspof years, modern naval warfare is admittedly cHistoricallyporically, any new method of fighting, whether with or witweaponsp weapons, has been productive of counter measures which are usually successful in reducing its effectiveness. This may be expected to continue. So far as new methods and weapons are concerned, we are in a position to set the pNavyp
The Navy, perhaps More than any otheservicespervices, is dependent on a high quality of engineering skill and practice. All our ships and planes, the establishment which designs and builds them, and the equipment which operates and arms them could not exist without the engineer and the technical expert. We are fortunate in having in the United States in an unequaled degree the necessary engbrainspg brains, educational facilities and technical knowledge.
Each technician on board ship must learn not only how to operate his own particular parmachinerypachinery, he must also learn how to operate it so that it will contribute most to the efficiency of that ship as a unit. There is no better example of the necessity of team work than a modern man-of-wsubmarinepubmarinstancepinstance, every man in the crew aofficerp officer, has a job which directly affects the handling and operatinshippthe ship, herpowerpng power,survivalpsurvival, and each depends on the other to do the right thing at the right time.
Once a unit is trained to operate efficiently by itself, the next problem is to train it to operate with other ships and planes so that all may function as parts of a powerful but smooth running machine. Each unit must learn to play its positioteampthe team, and the whole teamequippedpecoachedp coached, drilled and taught to fwinp and win, anywhere in the world.
Mobility is one of the prime military qualitsurfacep surface, submarine and air forces of the Navy possess mobility in a high degree. With the increased tempoperationspethereforepherefore, the question of timing—strategically and tactically—is all important. It is the basis of the coordinated striking power—the over-all "teamwork"—which has been successfully used operationsprations, and which we count upon with confidence for even more suoperationsperations, yet to come.
The Army and NavyFebruaryp
In February, 1942, the President established an agency known as the U. S. CStaffpof Staff, (frequently called thOhiefsnt Chiefs of Staff") whose function it is to exercise strategic control of our armed forces in the war. The members of the U. S. Chiefs of Staff are the Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the United States Army and Navy; the Chief of Staff of the UniteArmyptes Army, the CommChiefpin Chief, United States Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations; and the Commanding General, Army Air Forces.
By effective coordination of strategic plans and their execution the U. S. Chiefs of Staff have in effect operated the Army and Navy as one national militarFurthermorepthermore, by continuous exchange of informatiokindspll kinds, including that relating to operating techniques, new weapons, and strategic and problemspproblems, the two services have been able to derive the maximum benefit not only fotherpch other, but from all other agencies whose activities have a direct bearing on the conduct of the war.
In keeping with the unity of action taken by the U. S. CStaffpof Staff, that agency has worked out and established certain principles relating to unity of command in joint operations. Undprinciplespinciples, and having due regard for the qualifications of the officer and the type of operations likely to predominate in a given theater, the supreme commandetheaterp theater, and his principal subordinates, may be officers of any one of the serviexamplep example, it was agreed that under certain conditions unity of command in our sea frontiers (which correspond generally to Army defense commands) would be exercised by naval officers. Undconditionspnditions, unity of command would be vested in Army officers. Another example was the unity of command vested in General Eisenhower in the North African operation. Still another is the unity of command exercised by Admiral Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean.
The principle of unity of command as it exists withinforcespn forces, by agreement with the British CStaffpof Staff, is extended to situations where forces of more than one nation are engaged in the same operation. The operations in the Mediterranean theater illustrate that arrangement, which has worked well.
The Allied Team
The British Chiefs of Staff or their representaWashingtonfshington and the U. S. Chiefs of Staff working together are known as the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
The headquarters of the Combined CStaffpof Staff, consisting of the U. S. Chiefs of Staff and representatives of the British Chiefs of Staff are in Washington and there the day to day problems of the war are under continuous consideration. Representatives of other Allied nations and dominions attend the Washington meetings from time to time.
At intervals the Combined CStaffpof Staff, consisting of
the U. S. and British Chiefs of Staffp together with the heads of their respective governmentsp have met to discuss and decide upon the over-all conduct of the war. In meetings at Casablanca, Washingtonp Quebec and Cairo-Teheran during the year 1943, agreements of far reaching importance were reached. Russian representatives attended the Teheran and Chinese representatives were present at Cairo.
These international conferencesp which are of sufficient duration to allow thorough presentations of matters of mutual interestp make possible on-the-spot decisions not only with respect to strategy and command relationships for combined operations but also with respect to the commitments of each country.
In addition to the foregoingp the discussions relating to the war effort in the Pacific area were made possible by the formation of the Pacific War Council. That body over which the President of the United States presidesp is composed of representatives of the United States, Australiap Canadap Chinap the Netherlandsp New Zealandp the Philippine Commonwealthp and the United Kingdom. The Council does not meet regularlyp but was established as a means to promote informal exchanges of views and information.
As this report is concluded we can look back with satisfaction on the progress of the war to datep and with just pride in the part played therein by the United States.
In the European theaterp our forces have taken part in driving the enemy out of Africap and have shared in the occupation of Sicily and in the invasion of Italyp which resulted in its capitulation. The Russian armyp turning against the Germans in an irresistible offensive has driven them back to the borders of Poland and Rumania. France has been given new hope. Instead of being a daily target for the German air forcesp Great Britain has become a base for an air offensive against the heart of the Axis on a scale which dwarfs the greatest German attacks of the war. The German submarine fleet has been reduced from a menace to a problem. The encirclement of Germany is in sight.
As of March 1p 1944p the situation in the European theater is increasingly desperate for the Axis and correspondingly encouraging for us.
The German structure of satellite states is crumbling. Italy has fallen and is a battlefield in which 20 German divisions are taking heavy punishment. Rumaniap Bulgariap Hungary and Finland are weakening. The Balkans are aflame with guerrilla warp and other occupied countries wait only the signal.
The Russian armies continue to advancep a massive invasion threatens in the Westp and with all thisp Germany is scientifically and remorselessly being bombed on a scale whose magnitude and increasing tempo have flattened her citiesp wrecked her factoriesp and can not but be a major factor in her eventual collapse.
In the Pacific theaterp the Japanese, after their attack on Pearl Harborp advanced with impressive speed and power through the Philippines and the Netherlands East Indies into the Solomon Islandsp in the general direction of Australia and New Zealand. Following these successful advancesp they effected landings in the Aleutian Islands and attacked Midway. The Japanese advance was checkedp however, almost as abruptly as it had begun. Our successes in the Solomonsp in the Central Pacificp and in the Northern Pacificp are now matters of record, and we have had time to build up our strengthp and to test our power. Our outpostsp which two years ago were on a line running from Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians to Midwayp thence to Fijip Samoap and Australiap now begin at Attup on the tip of the Aleutiansp and extend south through the Marshall Islands to the Bismarcks and New Guinea.
Through experiencep we have mastered and improved the technique of amphibious operationsp in which the Japanese were so proficient in the early days of the war. Our Army and Navy forces have learned how to fight as one team. We have learned how to make the most of what we havep but it is no longer necessary to ask our commanders to get along as best they can on inadequate means. The numerical inferiorities which were so pronounced in the Java Sea campaignp and in subsequent actions in the Solomons have been reversed. Our submarines and planes are cutting deeper and deeper into the vital Japanese shippingp and our fleets move in the Central Pacific unchallenged.
The war against Japan has gone increasingly well of late. From their posts of maximum advance in the Pacificp the Japanese have been driven back progressively by a series of offensive operations. Important as our own advances toward Japan arep they do not fully represent the improvement in our position. Japanese capacity to maintain the war at sea and in her advanced areas has suffered increasinglyp due to the loss of vital shipping, while the growth of our power in the Pacific enables us to threaten attack on the Marianas and Carolines and Ku-rilesp which may be called the intermediate zone of defense of the Empire.
Japan will not be directly under attack as Germany is now, until the citadel area of that empirep island and continentalp is under our threat or controlp but the current and prospective circumstances in the Pacific Theater present a situation which must be as dark and threatening to Japan as it is full of promise to us.
Both in Europe and in the Pacificp long roads still lie ahead. But we are now fully entered on those roadsp fortified with unityp powerp and experiencep imbued with confidence and determined to travel far and fast to victory.