APRIL 14, 1945
At time of this action, USS Sigsbee was on picket duty with DesDiv 104 plus USS MCKEE and USS Dashiell making up TG 58.8, 25 miles northeast of the main body, at about Lat. 27 degrees-15 minutes N, long 130 degrees-25 minutes E. Our formation was a circular screen with SIGSBEE in station No. 1. CIC reported approximately 15 bogeys in the immediate vicinity on various bearings and apparently maneuvering to attack the picket formation. Such enemy plane activity was verified by the CAP. 1337 Affirm General Quarters, course 060 degrees T, speed 17 knots. Several bogeys bearing 335 degrees T, distance about 30 miles. 1341 Mk 37 director on a twin engine bomber bearing 345 degrees T, distance 37000 yards. At this time a single engine plane apparently trailing the larger plane, was shot down probably by the bombers' gun fire 1344 Bogey reported 330 degrees T, 14 miles. Friendly fighters were reported in that vicinity 1346. About four planes observed on port beam, distance about six miles, altitude 2000 feet identified by CIC as CAP. 1348 Suddenly this group of planes began to maneuver radically and although a dog fight appeared to be ensuing, the enemy plane was not distinguishable until it commenced to dive on a destroyer on the port beam about 1500 feet, course about 090 degrees T, speed 200 knots. Four friendly fighters dived in pursuit of the enemy plane and turned away after this plane, identified as a Judy, missed the destroyer on the port beam and seemed certain to crash into the sea. At this point to port midship guns #44 and #24 opened fire in local and tracer control on the plane when it was only about 25 feet from the water, bearing 250 degrees T, distance about 1500 yards, gun #42 could not fire because it hit the stops. Gun #45 and #22 were not on target. The Judy zoomed to an altitude of about 150 feet and banked to the right crossing our stern at about 2000 yards. During this time guns #25 and #27 on the fan tail opened fire and gun #43 picked up plane as it headed for the USS HUNT and commenced firing in local control. As the Judy began its original drive on the port beam the Mk 37 director was on target and 5" guns were trained out. The danger to the destroyer on which the enemy dived, the low point to which he dived, and the position of pursuing fighters all worked to the disadvantage of the 5" battery and it was unable to fire until target was 190 degrees T, distance 2000 yards, at which time only guns #4 and #5 could bear. Gun 4 fired 2 rounds (MK 40) gun 5 fired 4 rounds in director control, rapid continuous, with rangefinder ranges and no track of the target. Machine guns ceased fire at about 160 degrees T, distance 4000 yards, the main battery ceased firing at 160 degrees T, distance 5000 yards, altitude about 100 feet as the Judy dived on the USS HUNT, whom she grazed and then crashed into the sea on the starboard side of her intended victim.
Total rounds expended, 6 - 5" , 32 - 40 MM, 134 - 20 MM. Ammunition performance was excellent. There were no casualties. No damage became visible, although many machine gun tracers appeared to be hitting.
Communications were satisfactory. No strafing observed.
(Copied from "A History of the USS Sigsbee DD 502 by: Lyle Buss with minor editing by Billy Roberts)
Several bogeys were reported immediately after the USS HUNT was hit, and CAP were attempting to intercept. At about 1351 CIC reported bogey at 240 degrees T, distance four miles and closing. The main battery director was searching on this bearing with 5" guns fore and aft, when machine gun control reported and opened fire on an enemy plane probably a ZEKE, closing rapidly on the starboard bow at about 025 degrees T, distance 3200 yards altitude 100 feet, course approximately 210 degrees T, speed 200 knots. The forward gun #41 and midship gun #43 opened fire almost simultaneously in local control. The Captain gave full left rudder and emergency flank. Both orders were executed. As soon as they were able to bear, the midship guns #21 and #23 opened fire followed by gun #45, director controlled (expended 16 rounds) and fantail guns #25 and #27. Plane appeared to be strafing but no tracers were seen. Ship's shell plating aft on starboard side however, had holes which evidently were made from the outboard side. The enemy plane approach was too rapid and the range too short for the main battery to be effective. Only gun #1 (3 rounds) and gun #2 (2 rounds) were able to fire, using director control, line of sight barrage . Machine gun fire was apparently hitting, but no visible damage was observed until flames appeared from the plane about 75 yards before it crashed. The plane banked to the right and crashed into the fantail. A dull heavy explosion occurred, clouds of black and white smoke, accompanied the concussion and a great deal of shrapnel was cast about the ship. All engines stopped, steering control was lost. Ammunition performance was excellent, expended 5 rounds of 5" (2 influence fuze) 96 rounds of 40MM, about 180 rounds of 20MM.
Battle Damage to the Battery during Action II
A. Gun #5 was put out of commission by the hit and suffered the following damage
1. Hydraulic and electrical transmission out of commission
2. Entire front of shield smashed inward and both pointer and trainer telescopes irreparably damaged.
3. Top part of gun consisting of top plate rammer motor tank and piston rod bent upward from rest of gun.-
4. Forward trunnion check plate bolts pulled part way up. Gun must have been lifted from trunnions.
5. Wires and switch boxes broken loose from interior bulkheads.
6. Voice tubing broken loose.
7. Blast moved gun in elevation from approximately 10 degrees elevation to eighty five degrees elevation and jammed at that point.
B. Gun # 3
1. Concussion broke off one of the hydraulic lines to the elevation constant horsepower box causing loss of power and a large quantity of hydraulic oil.
2. However, in the action that followed a few minutes later gun # 3 fired in manual control and matched pointers that got on target. Fired 9 rounds in this manner. In about one hour and a half this line was temporarily repaired by using parts from gun #5 and replacing oil. Gun then functioned normally.
C. Gun # 4 was put out of commission as a result of the following damage:
1. A large section of the main deck, starboard side, "peeled up" over the side and top of the gun shield making it impossible to train the mount.
2. Several hydraulic lines were ruptured, and the filling plug in the top of the elevation constant horsepower box was shattered.
3. Wiring and connection boxes on starboard bulkhead of shield were torn loose.
4. Sight deflection handle was badly bent.
5. All electrical transmissions to gun were severed by blast. When deck section was cut off a few days later gun could be trained and elevated in manual.
D. Gun # 45- Blast damaged controller panel and amplifier panel as follows:
1. Elevation line contactor damaged.
2. Elevation and train overload relays damaged.
3. Train under voltage relay damaged. Result was that gun was operated in manual only. Damage was repaired the following day and could then operate gun normally.
E Gun # 43 Had loading jam toward latter part of run of left gun, but continues to fire right barrel. Loading jam was cleared immediately after hit and gun continued to operate normally.
1. All three fantail 20MM guns were lost in the explosion along with the fantail depth charges.
2. Immediately following the action, port and starboard depth charges were jettisoned to maintain trim of the ship. Although set on safe, two of the depth charges exploded, but at considerable depth and only slight tremble was felt. Thereupon all pistols were removed from the remaining depth charges that were jettisoned.
3. The ten torpedoes on board were jettisoned. Propeller locks on, tripping lashes tied back and stop valves closed. No difficulty was experienced.
4. Apparently, none of our own ammunition exploded as a result of the explosion.
At 1358 while dead in the water, all engines stopped and no steering control, enemy air attack continued. There were four enemy planes in sight and poised for attack. One starboard bow and second on port bow, the third on starboard quarter, the fourth on port beam. All four were taken under fire as follows:
(1) A ZEKE on starboard bow 290 degrees T, distance about 4200 yards, altitude 2300 feet, course about 230 degrees T, turned to make a diving run on the SIGSBEE and destroyer 300 yards on starboard bow, Mk 37 director on target, in turn commenced tracking and almost immediately opened fire in director control, rapid continuous fire, with range finder ranges at 290 degrees T, range 3500 yards, speed 210 knots, altitude 1800 feet. Only guns #1 and #2 of the main battery could bear on targets at first. Gun #41 opened fire slightly ahead of the main battery. Target closed to 3000 yards on the starboard beam, altitude about 500 feet and then turned left and opened out. Gun #3 was able to fire nine rounds. Gun #43 shifted to this plane. As it approached the beam, midship guns #21 & #23 opened fire also. Main battery continued to fire on target as it opened to 12000 yards on course of about 010 degrees T. At least two other destroyers were firing at this plane as it opened out. Plane burst into flames at about 340 degrees T, range 12000 yards, altitude about 700 feet and crashed into the sea. Total rounds expended 72 rounds of 5 inch (50 influence fuze and 22 AA common) 96 rounds of 40MM, 120 rounds of 20MM. Ammunition performance was excellent. No casualties. Plane did not drop any bombs and was not strafing. Claim sure assist for SIGSBEE.
(2) In the course of the attack on the starboard bow, an enemy plane probably a ZEKE was closing on the starboard quarter, bearing about 060 degrees T, distance 4500 yards. This plane had apparently made a run on a destroyer on our starboard quarter and missed. Gun #43 was the only ship's gun to fire on the target. Plane was splashed on starboard quarter at about 3200 yards. Gun #43 expended about 32 rounds on this run and then shifted to the plane coming in on the starboard beam is mentioned in the preceding action. Ammunition performance was excellent. Gun #43 appeared to be hitting target. Claim sure assist. Expended 32 rounds of 40MM. No casualties. No bombs dropped by plane, no strafing seen.
(3) During the action just discussed, the third plane, probably a ZEKE or JUDY appeared on the port bow at about 250 degrees T, range 4200 yards, altitude 2200 feet. This plane seemed to hover about and was apparently undecided as to his choice of a target. Destroyer 3000 yards on starboard bow placed several 5 inch bursts close to the plane. Guns #42 and #44 opened fire on target as it headed on course of about 190 degrees T, closing slightly. Plane burst into flames at about 230 degrees T, range 3300 yards and crashed into the water. Ammunition performance was excellent. Expended 128 rounds of 40MM. Claim sure assist. No casualties. Enemy did not drop any bombs, no strafing was observed.
(4) While most of the battery was thus engaged, a fourth enemy plane identified as a probable ZEKE made a diving attack upon a destroyer about 4000 yards on our port beam. As he missed his target, turned to right and headed on a course of about 090 degrees T, altitude 150 feet. Midship guns #22 and #24 opened fire on the plane, gun #22 had loading jam after firing about six rounds. Gun #24 remained on target until plane burst into flames and crashed into sea at about 140 degrees T, range 2800 yards. Ammunition performance was good. Expended 61 rounds of 20MM. Jam on gun #22 after firing 6 rounds, due to short blow back, cleared gun, and ready for further action in a few minutes. Claim sure assist. Did not observe enemy dropping bomb, no strafing.
The following night action occurred while SIGSBEE was being towed by the USS MIAMI on course 180 degrees T, speed about 7 knots. Position about 25 degrees- 40 minutes N, Lat, 130 degrees-15 minutes E Long. Several bogeys had been reported in the vicinity and at 1947 a bogey was shot down by night fighters at 038 degrees T, distance 11 miles. Flares were also dropped in the area by the enemy. 2046 Bogey at 140 degrees T, distance 11 miles, speed 230 knots, control on the target with FD radar, commenced tracking. 2048 USS MIAMI opened fire on this bogey at 145 degrees T, range 14700 yards, immediately followed by this ship. Guns #1 and #2 of the main battery fired for approximately l 1/2 minutes in director control rapid continuous fire. Ceased firing at 155 degrees T, range 2000 yards. Expended 20 rounds (10 influence fuze) plane reversed course and opened rapidly. In a few minutes the bogey had opened to 145 degrees T, distance 8 miles. 2055 Plane was at 130 degrees T, distance 32 miles and still opening. Ammunition performance was excellent. Expended total of 20 rounds of 5 inch (10 were influence fuze). No casualties. No hits observed. Enemy evidently dropped no bombs, there was no strafing.
Ordnance material and ammunition performance were excellent throughout all actions. Communications to all stations except those hit by the suicide plane remained normal. Difficulty was experienced in reporting on target by the Mk 51 director operator to the 40MM gun captain in time to switch to director control. The human time lag and the noise level were detrimental to the efficiency of this procedure. It is recommended that a signal light be used at the gun when the Mk 51 director is on target so that the shift to director control can be made more expeditiously. (Editors note: gun #43 was in local control in all April 14, 1945 actions described above.)
Personnel discharged their duties efficiently and effectively. There is no question as to their courage as is amply proven by their performance of duty after being hit.
END OF BATTLE ACTION REPORTS FOR APRIL 14, 1945