Battle Report – U. S. S. PC 804
U. S. S. Underhill ( DE682 ) 24 July 1945
PC 804 1420 Sonar contact
PC 804 1423 Convoy made turn to port.
PC 804 1427 Battle Stations
PC 804 1432 Underhill reported sonar contact
PC 804 1436 Sonar contact
PC 804 1438 Set shallow pattern Able
PC 804 1440 Underhill opened fire on mine.
PC 804 1441 Lost contact.
PC 803 1442 Underhill called PC 804 and reported a sub contact and asked PC 804 to investigate
PC 804 1442 Periscopes reported close aboard on port quarter and sub passed under ship.
PC 804 1445 Convoy made turn 9.
PC 804 1445 Periscope sighted aboard on starboard bow 100 yards heading for ship at high speed. Starboard 20 mm. guns fire. Sub passed close astern.
PC 803 1450 Underhill reported sub contact.
PC 803 1453 Underhill dropped depth charges.
PC 803 1455 PC 804 sighted periscope.
PC 803 1502 Underhill chasing one man sub doing 15 knots.
PC 803 1504 Underhill reported torpedoes in water.
PC 803 1505 Underhill reported she was going to ram. Underhill broadcast over 3000 KC " I wish these little bastards would get out from under us "..
PC 804 1506 Sonar contact 280 degrees range 30 yards.
PC 803 1507 Underhill blew up. PC 803 was 8000 yards from Underhill.
PC 803 1507 PC 803 went to General Quarters.
PC 804 1507 Radio report from Underhill chasing one man sub going about 15 knots.
PC 804 1507 Sub sighted by conn broaching ahead of Underhill very close to bow.
PC 804 1508 Underhill observed by conn to make sharp turn to starboard, immediately followed by explosion.
LST 768 1520 PC 1251 reported sub contact ahead of convoy, close by.
Underhill was 700 yards from sub for second ram. Felt two jars as though ship had scrapped something. Then came the explosion. There were two explosions in quick order, the second seemed to be the biggest.
Felt two decided bumps. I commented we had gone over the sub and missed. Just as this comment was made, a terrific explosion seemly, two right together.
After the depth run we maneuvered a good bit during which time all hands maintained a very alert lookout. After considerable maneuvering a sub was sighted at about 1500 yards bearing 200 degrees relative. This sub was broaching, breaking the surface intermittently. After some additional. searching the word " Stand by to ram " was passed again. Almost simultaneously with the word I sighted what appeared to be a piloted torpedo bearing 080 degrees, range about 150-200 est. This object was breaking the water intermittently. It was on a course relative to ours of 325 degrees and was going as fast as we were or a little faster. The object broke water three times before my view was obscured by the superstructure. Only a moment after the object disappeared from view there occurred an explosion followed by an enormous blast that put up a curtain of flame that more than enveloped the bridge. I turned to put my back to the flame and my conscious movement--I do not think I was knocked out-- was to fight against enormous volume of water. There was no apparent damage to the bow from the attempt to ram the object. I am positive that that the volume of water knocked over the decks prevented many serious burns among the men.
PC 803 SPECIAL COMMENTS
Enemy tactics were to ram surface ships. It is believed they were operating in pairs and tried to get surface ships into traps to enable one of them to ram. It is felt that their broaching the surface was a trap to have surface vessel head for broached sub while another waited to ram.
PC 804 STANLEY FLETCHER RM2C
I was on radio watch at the time and my battle station was in the shack so I heard every message received and sent. we arrived at the spot where the contact was located, but didn't see anything immediately. We were there for a few minutes when suddenly periscopes started popping up all around us. There must have bee six or seven of them.
I turned on the lights, gave all the meters and gauges a second quick check , then worked the periscope. The men that designed the kaiten left little room for movement. Directly before my face was a single eyepiece periscope and its pair of handles. To my right was a crank for raising and lowering the periscope. Overhead on the right was the valve for controlling speed, by regulating the flow of oxygen to the mighty engine astern. I released the starter bar, then opened the fuel valve. Overhead on the left was a crank for controlling the angle of my weapon's diving planes. They would regulate my rate of descent or climb underwater. Overhead to my left was a valve for letting in sea water. That was necessary for maintaining stability as I used oxygen that served as fuel. At my right was the rudder control lever used in steering left or right. When sent on mission, that would be the last control I touched as I straightened out on final course headed for enemy ship. A man had to have six hands for operating a kaiten. And about the same number of eyes for watching the control panel. There was an air- drive gyrocompass, a clock, a depth meter, a fuel gauge and an oxygen pressure gauge to keep an eye on and that periscope was close by, and always ready to gash your skull if you moved too quickly or knocked into some underwater object.