USS SIGSBEE DD-502
The above painting by Naval artist Peter Hsu (copyright authorized) shows the 502 under air attack 4/14/45
ACTION REPORT SERIES:
SIGSBEE'S 9th WAR ACTION
ACTION REPORT: Invasion and occupation of Panaon Island Philippine Islands 13 Oct to 25 Oct. 1944
From: The Commanding Officer.
To: The Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet
Subject: Invasion and occupation of Panaon Island
References: Commander Seventh Amphibious Force Confidential letter serial 0212 of 17 Feb. 1944
Sigsbee participated in the invasion and occupation of Panaon Island, Philippine Islands beginning 13 October. This vessel was assigned to T.U. 78.3.4 (Escort Unit) and as Fire Support Group 2 for Task Group 78.3
Fire Support Group 2 was assigned the following duties:
1. Reconnoiter area to northward of Green Beach 2 and report observations to CTG 78.3
2. Deliver supporting fire on prearranged targets on Green Beach 2 area.
3. Execute counter-battery fire and fire upon targets of opportunity
4. Furnish call fire in direct support of the 3rd Battalion of the 21st R.C.T. as directed by shore fire control party 14.
Sigsbee departed with T.F. 78 from Humboldt Bay on 13 Oct. 1944. This Task Force was fueled at sea on 16 and 17 Oct. 1944. The mission of this Task Force was the invasion and occupation of Leyte, Panaon, Dinigat, and Homonhom Islands.
Enemy force encountered was a single plane believed to be a reconnaissance plane on evening of 20 Oct. 1944
*The following is a condensed version of the events surrounding this action:
20 Oct. 0102 Making approach to Surigao Strait. Area north of line bearing 283 degrees from point Fin not swept clear of mines. All ships are to remain clear of this line.
0335 Took station on starboard beam of HMAS Ariadne, distance 250 yards.
0715 USS Schroeder reported enemy plane on port beam of USS Ringgold, USS Schroeder opened fire. Enemy plane not observed from this vessel.
820 Proceeding to fire support area. Transports proceeding to inner transport area.
0841 Lying to in Cabalian Bay off transport area Green Beach 2, standing by for counter-battery fire and call fire.
0928 First wave landed on Green Beach 2, no opposition encountered by troops, met by friendly natives on beach.
1030 Received aboard four officers and four enlisted men of CTG 78.3's staff from USS Stack.
1807 Enemy plane sighted in area. USS Schroeder opened fire. Commenced firing at enemy plane. 1816 Ceased firing.
1827 Commenced firing on enemy plane. 1830 Ceased firing.
1842 Commenced firing on enemy plane. 1844 Ceased firing: Expended 126 rounds of 5" 38 cal. AA common, 512 rounds of 40 mm and 270 rounds of 20 mm.
1847 Enemy plane again sighted. Movements of plane indicated tat plane was a reconnaissance plane.
1910 Enemy plane disappeared, no further contact reported.
21 Oct. 0006 USS Dashiell reported surface contact bearing 255 degrees T, 1500 yards from her. Contact definitely identified as friendly PBY.
0358 Formed A/S screen 55, Sigsbee taking station 3, HMAS Mancora, fleet guide.
22 Oct. 1749 T.U. 78.2.1 consisting of Harris, Elmore, Barnstable, Herald of the Morning, Leonard Wood, Pierce, O'Hara, Lasalle escorted by Ringgold, Schroeder took departure from formation as previously directed, formed screen 53 on remaining transports, Sigsbee station 2.
1946 Proceeded astern of formation to stand by USS Wayne which had breakdown.
25 Oct. Entered Humboldt Bay
Post Action Report:
1. Ordnance equipment and material worked very well except for a small fire in gun #1 5-inch and a jam on gun #6 20 mm. All MK17 and MK 46 auxiliary detonators functioned satisfactorily and all bursts were normal, high order on both 40 mm and 5 inch projectiles.
2. Several new personnel were in key positions for this action. Drills had been scheduled in route, but there was no opportunity to fire a practice. No material or training deficiencies existed other than this inexperience. The action disclosed that the director crew was not proficient in the rapid switch necessary from rangefinder to radar or from radar to rangefinder, especially when getting on a target in twilight over land. A practice employing such a shift is planned to insure that the results of teamwork may be demonstrated.
Casualties to the guns were as follows:
A). 5 inch guns...........
1. Gun #4 indicated an overload and was cut out at the switchboard. The gun captain observed the gun #5 for train and elevation before shifting to automatic.
2. Gun #4 JP jackbox shorted out. Communications were established by crossing the JP and JQ circuits. Talker discipline was excellent and no impairment of communications developed.
3. Gun #1 had a small fire after firing about 8 rounds on first run. The round was loaded normally and fired normally. The explosion was much less sharp and louder than usual, but the gun recoiled normally and the projectile was expelled. On counter recoil the cartridge case was extracted. At this point a very dull blue flame was noted at the breech of the gun followed by a cloud of heavy smoke which filled the mount. The gas ejection system acted quickly to clear the barrel and normal draft soon cleared the mount. The breech, slide, housing and adjacent equipment was covered with a layer of blackish brown dust which smelled like powder smoke. The case was thrown over the side before it could be examined. The rear face of the gun barrel has two patches about 2 square inches where brass from the cartridge case melted and fused to the steel. It is believed the that the powder did not burn rapidly, but rather underwent a slow combustion which was not completed until after the breech opened. It is believed this flame, although short-lived, was enough to melt the lip of the brass cartridge case so that molten brass was thrown off as the case was extracted. The idea is advanced that the powder was not wet but it might have been too large a dose of flash-less pellets added by mistake to a normal powder.
B). 20 mm...........
1. Gun #26 was loaded with a magazine without tension. After 3 rounds the gun jammed. The jam was cleared and firing resumed without incident after putting tension on the magazine
Personnel performances and casualties: The conduct of the officers and crew of the Sigsbee during the period of this action report was on a par with past performance and left nothing to be desired. There were no personnel casualties.
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