Action Report
PC 803

 


CONFIDENTIAL  DECLASSIFIED

 USS PC 803  SERIAL- NONE 31 JULY 1945

 ACTION REPORT COVERS SUBMARINE ATTACKS ON TASK UNIT 99.1.18 ENROUTE FROM OKINAWA TO LEYTE ON 24 JULY 1945

 DECLASSIFIED 135553
CONFIDENTIAL 31 JULY 1945
FROM: USS PC 803
TO COMMANDER IN CHIEF, US FLEET
VIA (a) ComLST GRP.46
(b) ComPhipSeaFrontier
(c) ComServPac
(d) CincPac

Subject: Action Report
References: U. S. Navy Regulations, 1920, Art. 712, 874(6).
Enclosure: (A) List of Survivors removed by PC 803 from Underhill

 

PART I. Brief Summary.
A. On 22 July 1945, this vessel left Okinawa attached to Task Unit 99.1.18, Escort Commander in U. S. S. Underhill DE 682. The mission was to escort ComLst46, consisting of 7 L.S.T.'s and the U. S. S. Adria (AF30) to Leyte.

B. On 24 July 1945, this group was attacked by several enemy underwater craft. The U. S. S. Underhill was lost will carrying out an attack on one of these craft. The U. S. S. PC 803 developed contact on several occasions with the enemy, and initiated several attacks. This vessel rescued 82 survivors from the U. S. S. Underhill.

Part II Preliminaries.
All times given, Item

A. The U. S. S. PC 803 was operating with T. U. 99.1.18. consisting of the U. S. S. Underhill (DE 682) U. S. S. PC's 1251, 803, 804, 807, U. S. S. SC's 1306, 1315, 1309, U. S. S. PCE 872.

B. At 1344 22 July 1945, this group was underway from Okinawa. This vessel took assigned screening station and commenced patrol plan from F. T. P. 223 Able. During the trip the patrol plan was changed several times to adjust to the convoy's speed. Escort stations were also changed by the T. U. C. on several occasions. The speed of advance was 8.5 knots, but due to set and drift, it was necessary to vary speeds from 8 to 10 knots an several occasion.. At 0745 on 24 July 1945 this vessel had a sound contact. The depth charges were set for a shallow pattern and the contact further investigated at 0750, contact was defined as non sub, and patrol resumed. At 0907 aircraft was reported by lookout bearing 060 True position angle 03 degrees, range 10 miles. At 0909 U. S. S. Underhill reported by radio, "bogey bearing 090 True, range 10 miles". At 0920 escorts were ordered to form anti-aircraft screen. This vessel went to GQ and assumed station. Plane had characteristics of a "Dinah and was so reported. At 0940 resumed submarine patrol and secured from G.Q. At 1415 the Undehill reported sighting a mine, and shortly after reported a sound contact. The sea was calm no wind Latitude 19* 19n Longitude 126*30w

C. At 1415, when the mine was sighted the convoy was on base course 183, speed 10 knots.

D. The Underhill was patrolling 4,000 yards front of the convoy. One SC was patrolling station 3315, the PC 1251 was patrolling station 5270, one SC was patrolling station 5090 and the PC 803 was patrolling station 3045. The PCE 872 and PC 807 had left the convoy in the morning to take the SC 1315 in tow.

E It is believed the enemy group encountered consisted of about 8 one man human torpedoes, and possibly one or two midget subs and a parent sub.

Part III Chronological Account of the Action.
Time Item

1415 U. S. S. Underhill reported sighting a mine bearing dead ahead of the convoy
1417 Convoy stopped
1417 Underhill lay to, off the mine, and reported it would sink the mine with gunfire. The Underhill ordered the other escorts to readjust their stations due to her absence.
1420 The convoy made a 4 ans. turn
1424 The convoy made a 4 ans. turn
1440 The Underhill opened fire on the mine , but did not sink it.
1442 The Underhill called the PC 804, who was nearby, and reported a sub contact, she asked the PC 804 to investigate.
1445 The convoy made a turn 9 and resumed the base course, speed 10 knots
1450 The Underhill reported attacking sub contact.
1451 The PC 804 reported sound contact.
1453 The Underhill dropped depth charges.
1455 The PC 804 reported sighting a periscope and shape of a sub near the surface
1502 The Underhill reported chasing a one man sub doing about 15 knots. Underhill broadcast over 3000 kc., "She is going like Hell"
1504 Underhill reported torpedoes in the water.
1505 The Underhill reported she was going to ram. Underhill broadcast over 3000 kc., " I wish these little bastards would get out from under us."
1507 The Underhill blew up. At this time the Underhill was bearing 330* T distance 8000 yards from the PC 803. There was a terrific explosion, the flame and debris going 1000 feet in the air, the smoke rising to about 2 miles.
1507 The PC 803 went to General Quarters.
1510 The PC 804 requested immediate aid from the PC 803. The PC 804 was about 3000 yards from the disaster.
1511 The PC 803 requested permission to leave the convoy, to assist the PC 804
1514 The PC 804 requested the PC 803 to pick up a doctor from the convoy and return with him.
1515 The O. T. C. gave the PC 803 permission to leave the convoy, and arranged to pick up a Navy doctor from the L. S. T. 647.
1530 The PC 803 maneuvered alongside the L. S. T. 647 at various courses and speeds to remove the Navy doctor. Transfer was made at speed of 10 knots.
1538 PC 803 away from the L. S. T. with doctor and pharmacist mate aboard.
1539 Mousetraps placed in firing position.
1540 Gun crews given permission to open fire on any subs sighted surfacing, without further orders from conn.
1540 Course set for Underhill and PC 804, speed 15 knots. During this return course a zig zag plan was used with fast rudder turns and course changes from 10 degrees to 50 degrees. The Underhill was about 18000 yards distant.
1607 Sound contact bearing 240*T ( 270* relative ) range 700 yards. Down doppler.1607.5 Speed reduced to 10 knots, order given to standby for a mousetrap attack, left standard rudder to course 230* T.
1608 Steady on course 230*T range to target 400 yards. ( It is to be noted that by this time the ship had turned 90 degrees, the target range decreased 300 yards.)
1608.3 Target bearing 240*t, range 180 yards. Very high range rate.
1608.6 Message from PC 804, " do not ram any targets."
1608.9 All ahead flank, right full rudder.
1610 Contact regained bearing 200* true, 145* relative, range 300 yards
1610.5 All engines ahead standard ( 15 knots ) order given to set shallow pattern and standby for depth charge attack.
1612 Attempt was made to open the range for a good attack, but since the target seemed to be chasing us, it was decided to make the attack at 700 yard range.
1613 Order was given for right standard rudder to head for the target. At this time the target was bearing 120* relative. It is to be noted that bearing width was never over 10 degrees in width.
1614 Heading for target range 150 yards. ( It is to be noted that the target closed 550 yards while the ship was in its turn. Since it was impossible to attack on this short range, and the target appeared to be attempting to ram us, order was given for left full rudder, all engines ahead flank. )
1615 Contact was lost in our own wake during the turn.
1617 Observation Observant initiated, at 15 knots and steering zig zag courses. ( It is to be noted that maximum range received during day was 1000 yards.)
1645 Observation Observant completed without regaining contact.
1646 Base course 000*t laid for the Underhill and PC 804. Zig zag courses were used at 15 knots.
1650 One man torpedo hull sighted bearing 280* T, range 1200 yards. This hull was about 3 feet out of the water, and appeared to be on a slight angle. No wake or movement was observed.
1651 Opened fire on hull with 3"50. No hits were made.
1652 Hull disappeared below surface.
1710 Sighted periscope bearing 290*T, range 300 yards.
1710 Guns ordered to open fire on periscope bearing. No hits observed.
1712 Periscope sighted on starboard bearing 060* true, range 500 Yards.
1712 All engines ahead flank. It appeared at this time that we were between 2 subs, and the best maneuver was to get the ship clear.
1715 Mine sighted 500 yards off starboard bow.
1716 PC 804 reported to be careful entering her area as sub was following her.
1716 Reported sighting mine to PC 804
1718 One man torpedo broached surface bearing 200* true 190* relative range 4000 yards. This was a different sub than the two just previously. It was about 3000 yards from the first one observed broaching, and may have been the same one.
1719 Course altered 90* to the left. All guns ordered to train on target and open fire. 40mm opened fire, gun casualty after one round, no hits.
1720 Target disappeared before any rounds were fired from 3"50.
1722 Resumed course for Underhill and PC 804.
1728 Ship sighted on horizon bearing 040*T. Challenged and identified as PCE 872.
1730 Arrived in area of Underhill and PCE 804.
1731 PC 803 warned PCE 872 to be careful of suicide subs and mines in area
1732 Commenced circling and screening Underhill while PC 804 went alongside to remove survivors.
1734 PCE 872 reported sound contact ( bearing 070*, 4 miles from Underhill ).
1740 PC 804 reported she was clearing Underhill, and would screen us, while we went alongside for the remaining survivors.
1745 Sound contact bearing 080* True, range 300 yards down doppler. This contact was between this ship and the PC 804 and the Underhill. Range to the Underhill was about 1700 yards..
1746 Course was altered to get between Underhill and target, and initiate mousetrap attack
1748 Speed reduced to 10 knots ship headed for target range 500 yards bearing 200 true.
1749 Mousetrap fired. The wrong recorder trace was used on this attack. The recorder trace showed 2 traces. One was our own wake and the other trace was the sub. The sub trace was inside of our wake trace and showed a range rate of about 25 knots.
1749 Right full rudder all engines ahead standard.
1750 Doubtful contact regained bearing 179* true, range 300 yards.
1750 Order given to standby for depth charge attack.
1751 Right standard rudder, contact last course 200*T.
1752 Order given to drop 2 depth charges over approximate location of last contact.
1752 Roll one depth charge.
1753 Roll two depth charge.
1754 No hits observed.
1755 PC 803 informed PC 804 sound contact lost, and to clear Underhill to enable us to come alongside Underhill..
1756 PC 804 cleared Underhill.
1800 PC 803 alongside Underhill with PC 804 screening us.
1810 82 survivors removed from Underhill. Senior Officer survivor reported Underhill was sinking slowly.. Senior Officer made last check of Underhill to be certain all survivors were off ship.
1811 Reported condition of Underhill to PC 804 and requested permission to sink hull.
1813 Permission granted.
1815 PC 803 clear of Underhill
1819 Line formed, PC 804, PC 803, PCE 872.
1821 Steaming by Underhill, opened fire.
1917 Underhill sunk.
1920 Course 135* T. set to return to convoy ,speed 14 knots. This was an evasive course, and also cleared the mine area.
1933 Sound contact bearing 090* , range 150 yards.
1933 PC 804, PCE 872 informed of contact. All engines ahead flank right rudder. No attack was initiated on this target. It was assumed by this time that we were combating suicide subs or torpedoes, and the risk of the ship with 158 persons aboard against a one man sub was not warranted.
2010 Transferred doctor to PC 804, to aid survivors.
2030 PCE 872 detached to return to escort PC 807 and SC 1509 through the area.
2031 All engines ahead flank.
2130 Course changed to 207* to intercept convoy.
2145 Light reported by lookout bearing 270* true.
2155 Light reported by lookout bearing 280* true.
2235 Secured from General Quarters.
0140 Rejoined convoy
0653 Transferred DE personnel to L. S. T. 768.

PART IV Ordnance.
A. All ordnance performed normally except the 40MM. This gun had a loading casualty on the first firing. The gun was back in operation after 4 minutes.

1 Rounds expended: Expended
Depth Charge-MK-9-2 2
Pistols-MK-6-1 2
Booster-Cans-MK-6-1 2
Extender's-MK-6-1 2
DetonatorsMK-1-1 2
Rockets-7' -2-MK-5 16
Fuses-MK-131 16
3"50 SPIM-AP 6249 26 rounds
3"50 SPIM-AA 3541 36 "
40MM-HEIT-16 cans or 256 rounds
40MM-APT-7-cans or 112 rounds
20MM-HEI-1 Magazine or 55 rounds

2. Fire discipline was excellent, however targets being so low in the water offered very little target to shoot at. Gun crews had difficulty in spotting on targets for this reason.
3 Gunnery was not effective because of small targets.
4 All gun crews were ordered to open fire an any sub target spotted, but because of the speed of action, they were unable to train on targets.
5 All ammunition performed normally.

B. 1 The enemy did not fire any guns.
2 The enemy's weapons were effective in disabling the Underhill. It is not known by this command what type of weapon struck the Underhill.
3 The enemy was trying to ram this vessel with several one man torpedoes.  However it is felt by this command that by reason of this ship changing course and speed every five to twenty seconds, the enemy craft were not maneuverable enough to make a destructive run.

C This command feels it did not have proper ordnance to combat the enemy. Because of the excessive speed of the targets, it was impossible to use mousetraps or depth charges effectively. Because of the small target presented when the subs broached the surface guns were not effective. Aerial bombs would have been the most effective weapon against this enemy.

PART V Damage.
A The Underhill disintegrated from the stack forward in the explosion, with the exception of a small part of the bow, which was still seen floating about 200 yards from the Underhill after the explosion. No damage was done to any other ship in the group.

B The Commanding Officer of the Underhill reported to his crew, that they had sunk one sub after dropping depth charges. If a one man torpedo rammed the Underhill causing the explosion it also was destroyed.

Part VI Special Comments.
A 1. Patrol Plan FTP 223A was in effect before contact was established.

2 This vessel used radical changes of courses and various speeds in maneuvering against the enemy.

3 Enemy tactics were to ram the surface ships. It is believed they were operating in pairs, and tried to get the surface ships into traps to enable one of them to ram. It is felt that their broaching the surface, was a trap to have the surface vessel to head for the broached sub, while another waited to ram. It is also felt by this command that the mine spotted by the Underhill, was planted by the enemy to stop the convoy and possibly upset the sound screen.

Part VII Personnel Performance and Casualties.
1. Possibly the best offense this vessel could have employed, was to have fired its K guns at the enemy, when the periscope was sighted. It was virtually an impossibility to conduct a sound attack, because of the excessive speed of the targets.
2 When there is evidence showing one man torpedoes in the area, do not ram. Three signs of this evidence are first excessive speed of the target, second, numerous contacts, and third small target width.
3 Air coverage is the best defense against one man torpedoes.
4 A convoy spotting a snooper should alter course to avoid any traps.
5 If the enemy is commencing this type of warfare, some new weapons will have to be placed on anti-submarine ships, to successfully combat them.
6 The present anti-submarine doctrines can not be used against one man torpedoes.
7 The plane sighted in the morning, was no doubt spotting for the submarine later encountered.

Dennis P. Jordon
Commanding

ENCLOSURE A

WOUNDED

Parvis, W. A. 834-61-74 S1c Hamilton,Jr.,J.A. 827-07-34
Amato, P. A. 810-20-92 EM2c Matheny, W. A. 928-72-03
Grady, W. J. 820-20-29 SSML3c Baumgartner, C. E 858-89-08
Strickland, R. L> 845-20-06 S2c Weeks, F. 897-07-50
Martin, R. L. 727-59-29 F2c Deatley, H. R. 612-19-24
Pisegna, F. A. 862-33-79 MM3c Steinberg, H. 804-09-11
Patterson, L. C. 931-02-61 GM3c Patterson, T. F. 885-19-96
Natelson, N. R. 705-40-05 MM1c Phillips, C. W. E. 273-10-96
Loveday, J. C. 314-22-38 F2c Kruse, D. J. 601-04-34
Bush, B. J. 249-74-07 S1c Thompson, L. K. 378-11-00
Dougherty, F. A. 821-66-68 Soucy, W. J. 806-77-95
Lt. Joe H. Timberlake242055

Able Bodied

Pierce, H. N. 809-31-09 EM2c Spengler, H. D. 852-86-26 WT3c
Formichella, G. A. 822-81-61 S1c Canon, J. W. 657-82-53 Mam3
Wagstaff, E. L. 878-11-46 EM2c Abney, E. W. 357-31-57 Cox
Patterson, N. 671-87-88 S1c Wekenmann, R. L. 806-43-94 S1c
Parker, L. B. 931-02-66 S1c Phillips, C. W. 407-69-02 S1c
Vogel, W. A. 832-54-86 WT2c Palmer, U. 838-88-95 S1c
Bordeux, V. H. 656-40-81 FC2c Charlock, C. 820-57-96 F1c
McAfee, R. J. 953-31-79 F1c Klinger, L. J. 817-98-93 MM2c
Worden, I. M. 256-53-27 MM2c Clackum, E. 832-17-67 GM2c
Chambers, E. 822-80-83 GM3c Kelly, J. V. 813-33-63 MM1c
Beers, W. A. 800-43-97 SK3c McCarthy, N. F> 607-62-89 MM1c
Wanat, J. 249-57-12 S1c Maiorana, P. 905-74-09 F2c
Gearin, N. R. 204-94-48 S1c Page, W. A. 627-88-74 FC3c
Zakutny, J. 653-49-79 EM1c Manory, J. F. 800-58-47 PHm3
Livingston, R. G. 322-29-93 G1c VanDreiel, H. J. 712-71-98 F1c
Thompson, G. K. 274-33-29 CEM Manke, E. P. 959-14-11 F1c
Hancock, Ed., N. 560-77-25 TM2c Kaiser, J. H. 818-11-84 MM2c
Meunier, L. J. 202-50-01 CMM Crum, R. J. 225-28-77 EM1c
Goulet, E. P. 212-29-30 CMM Varraso, B. A. 803-68-71 S1c
Waszkiewicz, J. C. 601-23-70 GM3c Praskevich, A. 643-17-30 S1c
Phelps, C. W. 936-33-20 S1c Marshall, W. R. 753-54-79 F2c
Jones, F. H. 637-53-45 Y2c Downs, L. B. 653-98-82 MM3c
Sheribel, W. L. 302-31-52 SoM3c Tomkowiak, F. J 39-23 EM2c
Matter, H. E. 819-51-03 F1c Perry, G. 784-25-17 S1c
Morris, R. J. 368-44-71 Patterson, M. L. 931-97-74 S1c
Baker, J. O. 320-77-85 CWT Dace, S. W. 337-23-27 CBM
Umlauf, J. R. 243-58-18 CWT Dodson, F. J. 846-02-24 F1c
Woods, J. E. 847-73-10 F1c Simon, H. L. 706-34-87 RTT2c
Schweighardt, S.R. 809-83-71 Y3c
Lt.. (JG) E. H. Rich 185968 Ens. F. G. Kearney, 338634

S E C R E T

 Subject: Sinking of U. S. S. Underhill- report of circumstances.
4, The operation appears to have been a coordinated attack by midgets or piloted torpedoes based on a nearby parent submarrine. It is also possible two or more large sumarines participated in the attack. The mine may have been a definite part of the attack plan serving as a decoy. To combat similar attacks in the future the following counter measures have been proposed:

(a) After snooper plane has departed convoy make radical change in base course to depart 30 or more miles from normal track if practicable.
(b) Approach mines with caution and avoid slow speed while attempting to sink mines.
(c) Keep all periscopes under continuous gunfire including heavier guns.
((d) Use depth charges even on poor sonar contacts.
(e) Avoid ramming unless large submarine is definitely indicated.
(f) Use highest speed consistent with necessary fuel economy.
(g) Maintain continuously alert lookouts in all sectors.

5. To cover vital routes, where increased enemy submarine activity is indicated, additional air patrols and hunter-killer groups are being operated.

N. C. Gillete
Chief of Staff
Copies to:
ComLSTGr 46 LSTFlot 16 CO LST 765
ComLSTDivv 172 CO PC 803


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