Allied Warships

USS Brownson (i) (DD 518)

Destroyer of the Fletcher class

NavyThe US Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassFletcher 
PennantDD 518 
Built byBethleham Steel Co. (Staten Island, New York, U.S.A.) 
Ordered9 Sep 1940 
Laid down15 Feb 1942 
Launched24 Sep 1942 
Commissioned3 Feb 1943 
Lost27 Dec 1943 
Loss position5° 20'S, 148° 25'E
History

Sponsored by Mrs. Cleland S. Baxter, granddaughter of Admiral Brownson.

While escorting landing craft to New Britain, a Japanese dive bomber released two 500 pound bombs, blowing away the Brownson's upper structure. She took on a list to starboard and settled rapidly, her back broken. Brownson (Lt Cdr Joseph Benedict Maher) sank off Cape Gloucester, New Britain, in position 05º20'S, 148º25'E. 109 died and 42 were wounded and the 169 survivors, including the Commanding officer, were rescued by the USS Daly/Lamson.

 

Commands listed for USS Brownson (i) (DD 518)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

CommanderFromTo
1T/Cdr. Joseph Benedict Maher, USN3 Feb 194327 Dec 1943

You can help improve our commands section
Click here to Submit events/comments/updates for this vessel.
Please use this if you spot mistakes or want to improve this ships page.

Notable events involving Brownson (i) include:


12 Apr 1943
USS Iowa (Capt. J.L. McCrea, USN) departed Gravesend Bay, New York to begin her sea trials. She was escorted by USS Gillespie (Cdr. C.C. Clement, USN), USS Dyson (Cdr. R.A. Gano, USN) and USS Brownson (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Maher, USN).

13 Apr 1943
USS Iowa (Capt. J.L. McCrea, USN) conducted sea trials off New York. She was escorted by USS Gillespie (Cdr. C.C. Clement, USN), USS Dyson (Cdr. R.A. Gano, USN) and USS Brownson (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Maher, USN).

14 Apr 1943
USS Iowa (Capt. J.L. McCrea, USN) departed New York for Hampton Roads, Virginia. She was escorted by USS Gillespie (Cdr. C.C. Clement, USN), USS Dyson (Cdr. R.A. Gano, USN) and USS Brownson (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Maher, USN).

6 May 1943

Combined convoy OS 47 / KMS 14.

This combined convoy was assembled off Oversay on 6 May 1943.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Albion Star (British, 7946 GRT, built 1919), Amstelkerk (Dutch, 4457 GRT, built 1929), Baron Dunmore (British, 3938 GRT, built 1933), Baron Yarborough (British, 3388 GRT, 1928), Brika (British, 4412 GRT, built 1929), Chateauroux (British, 4765 GRT, built 1921), City of Agra (British, 6361 GRT, built 1936), City of Auckland (British, 8336 GRT, built 1914), City of Calcutta (British, 8063 GRT, built 1940), City of Hereford (British, 5101 GRT, built 1927), City of Oran (British, 7323 GRT, built 1915), Clan Forbes (British, 7529 GRT, built 1938), Clan MacBean (British, 5000 GRT, built 1918), Clumberhall (British, 5198 GRT, built 1930), Collegian (British, 7886 GRT, built 1923), Daldorch (British, 5571 GRT, built 1930), Egret (British, 1391 GRT, built 1937), Eildon (British, 1447 GRT, built 1936), Empire Barrie (British, 7168 GRT, built 1942), Empire Beatrice (British, 7046 GRT, built 1943), Empire Brook (British, 2852 GRT, built 1941), Empire Carpenter (British, 7025 GRT, built 1943), Empire Chamois (British, 5684 GRT, built 1918), Empire Clive (British (CAM ship), 7069 GRT, built 1941), Empire Commerce (British, 3722 GRT, built 1943), Empire Cougar (British, 5758 GRT, built 1919), Empire Eve (British (CAM ship), 5979 GRT, built 1941), Empire Galahad (British, 7046 GRT, built 1942), Empire Geraint (British, 6991 GRT, built 1942), Empire Lake (British, 2852 GRT, built 1941), English Prince (British, 7275 GRT, built 1943), Explorer (British, 6235 GRT, built 1935), Filleigh (British, 4856 GRT, built 1928), Fort Anne (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Fort Douglas (British, 7129 GRT, built 1942)), Fort Drew (British, 7134 GRT, built 1943), Fort Thompson (British, 7134 GRT, built 1942), Fort Vermillion (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Govert Flinck (Dutch, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Groix (British, 9975 GRT, built 1922), Guinean (British, 5205 GRT, built 1936), Harmonic (British, 4558 GRT, built 1930), Havildar (British, 5401 GRT, built 1940), Indian Prince (British, 8587 GRT, built 1926), James Barbour (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John Holt (British, 4964 GRT, built 1943), Kingsland (British, 3669 GRT, built 1930), Kong Haakon VII (Norwegian, 7073 GRT, built 1942), Liberian (British, 5129 GRT, built 1936), Llancarvan (British, 4910 GRT, built 1937), Lombardy (British, 3379 GRT, built 1921), Lwow (Polish, 1409 GRT, built 1932), Macharda (British, 7998 GRT, built 1938), Manchester Port (British, 7071 GRT, built 1935), Maplewood (British, 4566 GRT, built 1930), Masirah (British, 6578 GRT, built 1919), Merkland (British, 1363 GRT, built 1934), Myrtlebank (British, 5150 GRT, built 1925), Nea (Norwegian, 1877 GRT, built 1921), Nestor (British, 14629 GRT, built 1913), Nigerstroom (Dutch, 4639 GRT, built 1939), Ocean Valour (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Vanity (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Verity (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Pencarrow (British, 4841 GRT, built 1921), Phrontis (Dutch, 6616 GRT, built 1926), Prince de Liege (Belgian, 2588 GRT, built 1938), Rallus (British, 1871 GRT, built 1922), Salawati (Dutch, 6643 GRT, built 192), Sellinge (British, 2327 GRT, built 1916), Silversandal (British, 6770 GRT, built 1930), Spero (British, 1589 GRT, built 1922), Stad Vlaardingen (Dutch, 8501 GRT, built 1925), Stanforth (British, 1817 GRT, built 1915), Tactician (British, 5996 GRT, built 1928), Thurland Castle (British, 6372 GRT, built 1929), Topsdalfjord (Norwegian, 4271 GRT, built 1921), Trader (British, 6087 GRT, built 1940), Tynemouth (British, 3168 GRT, built 1940) and Umvuma (British, 4419 GRT, built 1914).

On assembly the convoy was escorted by the sloops HMS Scarborough (Lt.Cdr. E.B. Carnduff, RN), HMS Deptford (Lt.Cdr. H.R. White, RN), corvettes HMS Azalea (Lt. G.C. Geddes, RNR), HMS Balsam (Lt. J.E.L. Peters, RNVR), HMS Coltsfoot (T/Lt. the Hon. W.K. Rous, RNVR), HMS Mignonette (Lt. H.H. Brown, RNR), minesweepers HMS Fort York (Lt.Cdr. C.H. Corbet-Singleton, DSC and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Parrsboro (T/A/Lt.Cdr. J.G. Raven, DSC, RNVR), HMS Qualicum (T/Lt. H. Stevens, RNVR), HMS Wedgeport (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.L. Fetherstonhaugh, RNR), HMS Hazard (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Smith, RN) and the M/S trawler HMS Prodigal (T/Lt. G.C. Norman, RNR).

Later, between latitudes 49°N and 42°N, the AA cruiser HMS Scylla (Capt. I.A.P. Macintyre, CBE, DSO, RN) was near the convoy to provide cover.

On 7 May 1943, the Ocean Valour developed a fire in her lower bunker. As she was carrying ammunition and at 0800Z/7 she was detached in position 55°18'N, 08°58'W to return to Belfast.

Around 0200Z/9, HMS Mignonette was detached to make rendezvous with the merchant vessel Empire Guinevere (British, 7072 GRT, built 1942) which had been unable to sail with the convoy and had left Barrow-in-Furness later to proceed and join the convoy via the south of Ireland.

Around 0800Z/10, HMS Mignonette and the Empire Guinevere joined the convoy in position 49°16'N, 14°12'W as did the corvette HMS Spiraea (Lt. A.H. Pierce, OBE, RNR) and the merchant vessel Ocean Volunteer (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942) which came from Milford Haven.

At 0722Z/11, when the convoy was in position 47°07'N, 14°19'W, the air cover, a Halifax aircraft (Sqdn. 58/D), reported sighting a submarine bearing 217° - 10 nautical miles from the convoy. On receipt of this report HMS Mignonette was ordered to proceed to this position and she was ordered to rejoin by 1000Z/11 if not in contact. The convoy changed course to 150°.

At 0749Z/11, the aircraft reported that she had sighted and attacked a submarine in position 280° - 8 nautical miles. HMS Fleetwood was ordered to proceed to this position and she was ordered to rejoin by 1030Z/11 if not in contact. At 0820Z/11, HMS Fleetwood reported that she was in the position marked by the aircrafts smoke float and at 0856Z/11, she reported that she was in contact. On receipt of this info, HMS Mignonette and HMS Wedgeport were ordered to join HMS Fleetwood.

The convoy altered course to 200° at 1200Z/6.

At 1345Z/11, HMS Fleetwood reported that the submarine had been sunk and that she had picked up 39 survivors and HMS Mignonette another 6. The submarine in question was U-528 which had been damaged by the depth charges from the aircraft and HMS Fleetwood. The damaged U-boat managed to surface and was then scuttled by her crew.

At 1500Z/11, HMS Fleetwood, HMS Mignonette and HMS Wedgeport were ordered to rejoin the convoy. HMS Fleetwood and HMS Mignonette were back in station by 2130Z/11. HMS Wedgeport could not find the convoy in the bad visibility and was ordered to remain behind the convoy until the following morning. At 2000Z/11, the convoy altered course to 182°

On the 12th, HMS Wedgeport was homed on to the convoy and resumed station at 1140Z/12. Earlier, the Llancarvan had to stop in approximate position 45°35'N, 14°10'W with engine trouble and at 0608Z/12, HMS Qualicum was ordered to remain with her until further orders. They were subsequently ordered to proceed to Lisbon which was the port of destination of the Llancarvan.

At 0800Z/12, the convoy was in position 44°56'N, 14°03'W, course 182°, speed 6.75 knots.

At 1315Z/14, in position 38°50'N, 12°17'W, HMS Prodigal was detached to escort Merkland to the territorial waters of Lisbon and the Brika to Huelva. HMS Prodigal was then to proceed to Gibraltar. In the end the destination of the Brika was changed to Gibraltar and HMS Prodigal escorted her to her new destination.

Also on the 14th, HMS Mignonette transferred her six German survivors from U-528 to HMS Fleetwood.

At 0600Z/15, the convoy was in position 37°15'N, 11°32'W when course was altered to 135°. HMS Fleetwood was now detached to Gibraltar to land her prisoners and complete with depth charges, ammunition and fuel and then rejoin the convoy.

At 1830Z/15, in position 36°02'N, 10°36'W, convoy KMS 14 parted company to make rendezvous with convoy UGS 8 which was effected in the afternoon of the 16th in position 35°44'N, 08°15'W. Convoy KMS 14 was made up of the following merchant vessels; Baron Yarborough, City of Agra, City of Auckland, Clan Macbean, Collegian, Daldorch, Egret, Eildon, Empire Beatrice, Empire Carpenter, Empire Clive, Empire Commerce, Empire Eve, Empire Guinevere, English Prince, Explorer, Filleigh, Fort Anne, Fort Vermillion, Govert Flinck, Havildar, Indian Prince, James Barbour, Kingsland, Kong Haakon VII, Lwow, Macharda, Manchester Port, Masirah, Myrtlebank, Nea, Nigerstroom, Ocean Vanity, Ocean Verity, Ocean Volunteer, Pencarrow, Prince de Liege, Rallus, Salawati, Sellinge, Spero, Stanforth, Tactician, Thurland Castle, Topsdalfjord, Trader and Tynemouth.

They were escorted by HMS Fort York, HMS Parrsboro, HMS Wedgeport and HMS Hazard.

In the early hours of 16th May 1943, the Maplewood straggled from the convoy and was not seen again. She proceeded independently to Freetown.

Around 0700Z/6, in position 34°43'N, 10°14'W, rendezvous was made with convoy OS 47G, the Gibraltar section of the convoy. The following merchant vessels now joined the convoy; Anglo-African (British, 5601 GRT, built 1929), Benledi (British, 5943 GRT, built 1930), Carlton (British, 7210 GRT, built 1942), Cefn-Y-Bryn (British, 5164 GRT, built 1939), Clan Murray (British, 5953 GRT, built 1918), Empire Ruskin (British, 7037 GRT, built 1942), Empire Torrent (British, 7076 GRT, built 1942), Fort Ellice (British, 7129 GRT, built 1942), Fort Livingstone (British, 7135 GRT, built 1942), Fort Simpson (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Jan Lievens (Dutch, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Mahout (British, 7921 GRT, built 1925), Ocean Messenger (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Pilgrim (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Trader (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Wayfarer (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942) and Stancleeve (British, 5970 GRT, built 1942).

They were escorted by the destroyer HMS Wishart (Cdr. H.G. Scott, DSC, RN) and the ASW trawlers HMS Foxtrot (T/Lt. J.B. Bald, RNVR) and HMS Reighton Wyke (Skr. G.M. Sutherland, RNR).

At 1000Z/16, rendezvous was made with the Casablanca section of the convoy which had departed that port on the 15th. The following merchant vessels now joined the convoy; Empire Addison (British, 7010 GRT, built 1942), Essex Trader (British, 7237 GRT, built 1943), Fort Rupert (British, 7142 GRT, built 1942) and Orient City (British, 5095 GRT, built 1940).

These had been escorted to the rendezvous with the convoy escorted by the destroyers USS Guest (T/Cdr. H. Crommelin, USN), USS Thatcher (T/Cdr. L.R. Lampman, USN) and USS Brownson (T/Cdr. J.B. Maher, USN).

These destroyers then returned to Casablanca where they arrived on the 17th having taken the following merchant vessels with them; Baron Dunmore, Empire Barrie, Fort Douglas, Fort Drew and Fort Thompson.

Around the same time the HMS Foxtrot and HMS Reighton Wyke were detached to proceed to Gibraltar. HMS Wishart was to join the combined convoy UGS 8 / KMS 14.

At 0700Z/19, in position 25°57'N, 16°27'W, the RFA tanker Fortol (2629 GRT, built 1917) and her escorts, the corvette HMS Bellwort (A/Lt.Cdr. N.F.R. Gill, RNR) and the ASW whaler HMS Wastwater (T/Lt. W.J.L. Storey, RNVR) joined the convoy. The Fortol was to fuel the escorts which commenced at 0900Z/19 when HMS Scarborough went alongside.

At 1106Z/19, when the convoy was in position 25°38'N, 16°51'W, the air escort, a Sunderland flying boat, reported having sighted a periscope bearing 120° - 14 nautical miles from HMS Scarborough, the escort leader. Immediately HMS Balsam was ordered to proceed to this position and at 1114Z/19, HMS Coltsfoot was ordered to join her. HMS Scarborough slipped from the Fortol at 1120Z/19 to also proceed to the scene.

At 1120Z/19, HMS Scarborough arrived on the reported location and with the two corvettes a large square search was carried out until 1615Z/19, but no contact was obtained. The escorts then made off to rejoin the convoy after having dropped a depth charge pattern each for exercise purposes. [No enemy submarine appeared to have been in the immediate area, closest one was U-511 but she was further to the west.]

Around 0200Z/20, HMS Scarborough, HMS Balsam and HMS Coltsfoot rejoined the convoy.

Around 1050Z/20, HMS Fleetwood rejoined the convoy from Gibraltar.

During the 20th, all escort vessels fuelled from the Fortol.

Around 1600Z/22, in position 14°52'N, 18°05'W, two merchant vessels joined the convoy coming from Dakar [No clue on their identity] escorted by local escorts. Four of the merchant vessels then parted company to proceed to Dakar escorted by the local escorts. These were the Empire Addison, Empire Cougar and Fort Livingstone. [No clue on the identity of the fourth.]

At 1100Z/23, in position 12°45'N, 18°30'W, one of the mercant vessels which was to proceed to recife was detached. This was most likely the City of Hereford.

At 1700Z/23, in position 11°08'N, 18°41'W, two additional escorts joined, these were the corvette HMS Armeria (Lt. M. Todd, RNR) and the ASW whaler HMS Buttermere (Lt. J.D.E. Lewis, RNR).

Around 1100Z/25, the convoy was approaching the end of the swept channel into Freetown. Some ships of the convoy split off forming convoy OSS 47 escorted by HMS Bellwort, HMS Armeria, HMS Buttermere and HMS Wastwater. [The ships that split off were probably the following (to be researched further); Albion Star, Amstelkerk, City of Calcutta, Clan Forbes, Empire Galahad, Empire Geraint, Guinean, Harmonic and Lombardy.]

Three merchant vessels; Lida (Polish, 1387 GRT, built 1938), Peterston (British, 4680 GRT, built 1925) and Rhesus (British, 6530 GRT, built 1911) joined convoy OSS 47 coming from Freetown escorted by the armed boarding vessel HMS Corinthian (Cdr. E.J.R. Pollitt, RNR), corvette HMS Burdock (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Lynes, RD, RNR) and the ASW trawlers HMS Birdlip (Lt. E.N. Groom, RNR) and HMS Duncton ( Lt. J.N. Burgess, RANVR).

On these ships joining, HMS Bellwort, HMS Buttermere and HMS Wastwater parted company with convoy OSS 47 and also entered Freetown.

Convoy OSS 47 continued on to Takoradi though most of the merchant vessels were detached to proceed independently before arrival at Takoradi. (1)

26 Dec 1943

Operation Dexterity

Landings at Cape Gloucester on New Britain.

Plan.

Operation Dexterity comprised the second phase of the operations against the Japanese on New Britain. The first phase had been the landings at Arawe.

Troops were to be landed in the Cape Gloucester area by the Cape Gloucester Task Force which would be transported to the combat area by ships from Task Force 76 which were given cover by ships from Task Force 74.

Cover Force, Task Force 74.

The Corver Force was given three main tasks;
Covering the overwater transport of the amphibious force which would land in the Cape Gloucester area on 26 December 1943 at 0745L.
Bombardment of shore targets prior to the landing of troops.
Subsequent to the initial assault, providing a covering force in the combat area.

Task Force 74, made up of the heavy cruisers HMAS Australia (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, MVO, DSO, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), HMAS Shropshire (Capt. J.A. Collins, CB, RAN), light cruiser USS Nashville (Capt. H.A. Spanagel, USN), USS Phoenix (Capt. A.G. Noble, USN) and the destroyers USS Bush (T/Cdr. T.A. Smith, USN, with COMDESDIV 48, T/Capt. W.F. Petersen, USN on board), USS Bache (T/Cdr. F.M. Adamson, USN), USS Ammen (T/Cdr. H. Williams, Jr., USN), USS Mullany (T/Cdr. B.J. Mullaney, USN), USS Ralph Talbot (T/Lt.Cdr. R.D. Shepard, USN), USS Helm (T/Lt.Cdr. S.K. Santmyers, USN), HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. E.F.V. Dechaineux, DSC, RAN) and HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, RAN).

Task Force 74 was divided in several Task Units;
Task Unit 74.1.1 were HMAS Australia and HMAS Shropshire.
Task Unit 74.1.2 were HMAS Warramunga, HMAS Arunta, USS Ralph Talbot and USS Helm.
Task Unit 74.2.1 were USS Nashville and USS Phoenix.
Task Unit 74.2.2 were USS Bush, USS Bache, USS Ammen and USS Mullany.

Amphibious Force, Task Force 76.

Task Group 76.1 was the 'Eastern Assault Group', it was made up of the following Task Units;

Task Unit 76.1.1 was the Headquarters Unit. It was made up of the destroyer USS Conyngham (T/Cdr. J.H. Ward, USN, with the commander Task Force 76 (CTG 76), T/R.Adm. D.E. Barbey, USN on board).

Task Unit 76.1.2 was the APD Task Unit under T/Capt. J.D. Sweeney, USN. It was made up of Task Units 76.1.21 and 76.1.22.
Task Unit 76.1.21 was made up of the high speed transports USS Stringham (Lt.Cdr. R.H. Moureau, USNR, with T/Capt. J.D. Sweeney, USN on board), USS Kilty (T/Lt.Cdr. D.L. Mattie, USN), USS Ward (Lt.Cdr. F.W. Lemly, USNR) and USS Crosby (Lt. W.E. Sims, USNR).
Task Unit 76.1.22 was made up of the high speed transports USS Brooks (Lt.Cdr. C.V. Allen, USNR, with T/Cdr. J.S. Willis, USN on board), USS Gilmer (Cdr. J.S. Horner, USNR), USS Humphreys (T/Lt.Cdr. F.D. Schwartz, USN), USS Sands (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Brogger, Jr., USNR) and USS Noa (Lt. H.W. Boud, USNR).

Task Unit 76.1.3 was the LCI Unit. It was made up of Task Units 76.1.31, 76.1.32 and 76.1.33.
Task Unit 76.1.31 (for Beach Yellow One) was made up of the LCI's USS LCI(L)-71 (?, with Lt.Cdr. J.P. Hurndall, USNR on board), USS LCI(L)-30 (?), USS LCI(L)-72 (Lt.(jg) S.Z. Kepner, USNR), USS LCI(L)-74 (Lt.(jg) R.J. Liechti, USNR), USS LCI(L)-226 (Lt.(jg) O.L. Miles, USNR) and USS LCI(L)-338 (Ens. C.W. Griffin, USNR).
Task Unit 76.1.32 (for Beach Yellow Two) was made up of the USS LCI(L)-73 (Lt.(jg) N.M. Taylor, USNR), USS LCI(L)-337 (Lt.(jg) M.D. Skelton, USNR), USS LCI(L)-340 (Lt.(jg) H.F. Eckenrode, USNR), USS LCI(L)-342 (Lt.(jg) R.A. Smith, USNR), USS LCI(L)-343 (Lt.(jg) C.P. Heinrich, USNR) and USS LCI(L)-344 (Lt.(jg) R.B. Ruby, USNR).
Task Unit 76.1.33 (Rocket Section) was made up of the LCI(R)'s USS LCI(R)-31 (Lt.(jg) T.J. Morrissey, USNR) and USS LCI(R)-34 (Lt.(jg) J.F. Keefe, USNR).

Task Unit 76.1.4 was the Destroyer Unit. It was made up of Task Units 76.1.41 and 76.1.42.
Task Unit 76.1.41 was the Escort Section and was made up of the destroyers USS Shaw (T/Cdr. R.H. Phillips, USN, with COMDESRON 5, T/Capt. J.H. Carter, USN on board), USS Drayton (T/Cdr. R.S. Craighill, USN), USS Lamson (T/Cdr. J.R. Rubins, USN), USS Bagley (T/Cdr. T.E. Chambers, USN), USS Mugford (T/Cdr. H.G. Corey, USN), USS Hutchins (T/Cdr. E.W. Herron, USN, with COMDESRON 24, T/Capt. K.M. McManes, USN, on board), USS Beale (T/Capt. J.B. Cochran, USN), USS Brownson (T/Cdr. J.B. Maher, USN) and USS Daly (T/Cdr. R.G. Visser, USN).
Task Unit 76.1.42 was the Close Fire Support Section and was made up of the destroyers USS Flusser (T/Cdr. J.A. Robbins, USN) and USS Mahan (T/Lt.Cdr. E.G. Campbell, USN).

Task Unit 76.1.5 was the Cruiser Bombardment Unit. It was made up of Task Units 76.1.51 and 76.1.52.
Task Unit 76.1.51 was made up of Task Unit 74.1.1 (see above).
Task Unit 76.1.52 was made up of Task Unit 74.1.2 (see above).

Task Unit 76.1.6 was the Beach Yellow harbour Unit. It was made up of Task Units 76.1.61 and 76.1.62.
Task Unit 76.1.61 was the Control Section which was made up of the patrol vessels USS SC-742 (Lt. R.H. Blake, USNR) and USS SC-981 (Lt.(jg) R.A. Campbell, USNR).
Task Unit 76.1.62 was the Minesweeping Section made up of the motor minesweepers USS YMS-51 (Lt. F.P. Allen, Jr., USNR), USS YMS-52 (Lt. A.I. Roche, USNR) and USS YMS-70 (Lt. B.M. Brink, USNR). Task Group 76.2 was the 'Eastern Supply Group', it was made up of the following Task Units;

Task Unit 76.2.1 was the First Supply Section. It was made up of seven LST's; USS LST-466 (Lt. H.M. Graham, USNR with COMLSTFLOT 7, T/Capt. J.B. Mallard, USN on board), USS LST-18 (Lt. J. Lencie, USCG), USS LST-66 (Lt. H.A. White, USCG), USS LST-67 (Lt.(jg) G.A. Gyland, USCG), USS LST-68 (Lt. K.A.E. Linquist, USCG), USS LST-202 (Lt. B. Ayesa, USCGR) and USS LST-204 (Lt. A.I. Roberts, USCG).
Task Unit 76.2.2 was the Second Supply Section. It was made up of seven LST's; USS LST-452 (Lt. R.D. Jones, USNR, with COMLSTGR20, T/Capt. R.M. Scruggs, USN on board), USS LST-22 (Lt. G.P. Phillip, USNR), USS LST-26 (Lt. E. Kiernan USCGR), USS LST-454 (Lt. E.R. Swanton, USNR), USS LST-456 (Lt.(jg) G.W. Prue, USN), USS LST-457 (Lt.Cdr. J.E. van Zandt, USNR) and USS LST-465 (Lt.Cdr. M.F. Stiling, USNR).
Task Unit 76.2.3 was the Third Supply Section. It was made up of five LST's; USS LST-459 (Lt. E.F. Arthur, USNR), USS LST-168 (Lt. A.S. Moreau, USCGR), USS LST-170 (Lt. T.N. Kelly, USCGR), USS LST-171 (Lt.Cdr. H.A. West, USNR) and USS LST-458 (Lt. F.W. Hinrichs, USNR) and the patrol vessels USS PC-1119 (Lt.Cdr. H.M. Blake, USNR), USS PC-1120 (Lt.Cdr. C.S. Molitor, USNR) and USS PC-1122 (Lt. J.J. Peck, USNR). Task Unit 76.2.3 was the Fourth Supply Section. It was made up of five LST's; USS LST-474 (Lt. R.W. Langworthy, USNR), USS LST-467 (Lt.(jg) M.B. Taylor, USNR), USS LST-468 (Lt. I.K. Stevenson, USNR), USS LST-470 (Lt. D.J. Guthridge, USNR) and USS LST-475 (Lt. M.S. Whitsett, USNR) and the patrol vessels USS SC-703 (Lt.(jg) R.M. Baird, USNR), USS SC-734 (Lt. R.B. MacLean, USNR) and USS SC-738 (Lt.(jg) R.B. Woodcock, USNR).

Task Group 76.3 was the 'Western Assault Group', under T/Capt. C.D. Reynold, USN, it was made up of the following Task Units;
Task Unit 76.3.1 was the Escort and Bombardment Unit and was made up of the destroyers USS Reid (T/Cdr. H.H. McIlhenny, USN, with COMDESDIV 10, T/Capt. C.D. Reynolds, USN on board) and USS Smith (T/Cdr. R.A. Theobald, Jr., USN).
Task Unit 76.3.2 was the Small Craft Unit and was made up of 12 LCT's and several smaller landing craft including 16 LCM's. They were escorted by the patrol craft USS PC-479 (Lt. M.C. White, USNR), USS SC-637 (?) and USS SC-699 (Lt.(jg) J.W. Foristel, USNR).
Task Unit 76.3.3 was the LCI Unit and was made up of the following LCI's; USS LCI(L)-25 (Lt.(jg) W.R. Maliek, USNR), USS LCI(L)-26 (Lt. H.J. Adams, Jr., USNR), USS LCI(L)-27 (Lt.(jg) H.G. Hibbard, USNR), USS LCI(L)-29 (Lt. T.R. Hopkins, USNR) and USS LCI(L)-224 (Lt. W.A.P. Watkins, USNR).

Task Group 76.4 was the Service group which was made up of the repair ship USS Rigel (Capt. R. Dudley, USN), landing craft repair ship USS LST-455 (Lt. W.E. Peterton, Jr., USNR) and the landing craft (medical) USS LST-464 (Lt. A.K. Ridgway, USNR).

Task Group 76.5 was the Landing Craft Control Group. It was made up of the following Task Units;
Task Unit 76.5.1 was the Buna Unit and it was made up of the landing craft repair ship USS Amycus (Lt. J.J. Reidy, Jr., USNR).
Task Unit 76.5.2 was the Oro Bay Unit and it was made up of the coastal transport USS APc 15 (Lt.(jg) K. Goffigon, III. USNR).
Task Unit 76.5.3 was the Cape Cretin Unit and it was made up of the landing craft repair ship USS LST-453 (Lt.Cdr. O.L. Norman, USNR) and coastal transport USS APc 6 (Lt. C.R. Rosebro, Jr., USNR).

Task Group 76.6 was the Reserve Group made up of the amphibious transport HMAS Westralia (Cdr. A.V. Knight, RD, RANR(S)), dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Harris, USNR) and the attack cargo ship USS Etamin (Lt.Cdr. G.W. Stedman, USCGR).

Task Group 76.7 was the Salvage Group and was made up of the tugs USS Sonoma (Lt.(jg). N.G. Irwin, USN) and HMAS Reserve (T/A/Lt.Cdr. G.A. Keith, RANR(S)).

-------------------------------------------------------

1400L/24, The fifth echelon, made up of seven LST's; USS LST-452, USS LST-452, USS LST-22, USS LST-26, USS LST-454, USS LST-456, USS LST-457 and USS LST-465 departed Cape Sudest for the Cape Gloucester area via Cape Cretin. They were escorted by the destroyers USS Beale, USS Hutchins, USS Brownson and USS Daly. HMAS Reserve also accompanied this echelon.

1630L/24, Task Force 74, the cover force, departed Milne Bay.

0100L/25, The third echelon, made up of seven LST's; USS LST-466, USS LST-18, USS LST-66, USS LST-67, USS LST-68, USS LST-202 and USS LST-204 departed Cape Sudest for Cape Gloucester. They were escorted by the destroyers USS Drayton, USS Lamson, USS Bagley and USS Mugford.

0600L/25, Task Force 76's flagship for the operation, the destroyer USS Conyngham departed Cape Sudest for the Cape Gloucester area. With the flagship were the first and second echelons which were made up of the high speed transports USS Stringham, USS Kilty, USS Ward, USS Crosby, USS Brooks, USS Gilmer, USS Humphreys, USS Sands, USS Noa, the LCI(L)'s USS LCI(L)-30, USS LCI(L)-31, USS LCI(L)-34, USS LCI(L)-70, USS LCI(L)-71, USS LCI(L)-72, USS LCI(L)-73, USS LCI(L)-74, USS LCI(L)-226, USS LCI(L)-337, USS LCI(L)-338, USS LCI(L)-340, USS LCI(L)-342, USS LCI(L)-343, USS LCI(L)-344, [USS LCI(L)-28 (Lt.(jg) E.A. Winton, USNR) apparently was also with them though she is not listed in the Task Force originsation form for the operation]. They were escorted by the destroyers USS Shaw, USS Mahan, USS Flusser, USS Reid, USS Smith, patrol vessels USS SC-742, USS SC-981 and the minesweepers USS YMS-50, USS YMS-51 and USS YMS-70.

1130L/25, Task Force 74 cleared Cape Ward Hunt and began to overtake the attack echelons. It was the plan that Task Force 74 would be about 12 miles ahead of the leading echelon before dark and during the night approach would therefore be covering all the echelons which were following.

1600L/25, The fourth echelon made up of 12 LCT's and 16 LCM's departed Cape Cretin for Cape Gloucester. They were escorted by the patrol vessels USS PC-479, USS SC-637 and two PT-boats. This echelon was to land on Green Beach in the Western area.

2000L/25, When it was now just dark Task Force 74 was ahead of the leading echelon.

2120L/25, USS YMS-50 had to part company with the first en second echelon due to engine trouble. She was ordered to proceed to Cape Cretin.

2130L/25, the sixth echelon departed Cape Sudest for Yellow Beach, Cape Glouceter. It was made up of LST's USS LST-459, USS LST-168, USS LST-170, USS LST-171 and USS LST-458. They were escorted by the patrol vessels USS PC-1119, USS PC-1120 and USS PC-1122. The destroyers USS Flusser and USS Mahan were to join this echelon about 25 nautical miles south of Langemak Bay and shortly afterwards also USS Reid and USS Smith around 1600L/26.

0455L/26, the seventh echelon departed Cape Sudest for Yellow Beach, Cape Glouceter. It was made up of LST's USS LST-474, USS LST-467, USS LST-468, USS LST-470 and USS LST-475. They were escorted by the patrol vessels USS SC-703, USS SC-734 and USS SC-738. The destroyers USS Lamson, USS Drayton, USS Bagley and USS Mugford were to join this echelon near Langemak Bay.

0445L/26, Taks Force 74 split into Task Group 74.1 and 74.2 (see above) to enter their respective fire support areas.

0600L/26, As scheduled HMAS Australia, HMAS Shropshire, HMAS Warramunga and HMAS Arunta commenced bombarding the vicinity of Gloucester aerodrome. The objects of the bombardments were to destroy enemy installations and to prevent the enemy from reorganising counter measures to the landing. Also the enemy artillery was to be silenced. The bombardment was continued until 0720L/26 by which time over 700 round of 8" high explosive, nearly 900 rounds of 4.7" high explosive and nearly 100 rounds of 4" high explosive had been fired. There was no enemy opposition to this intense bombardment.

0625L/26, USS Nashville and USS Phoenix commenced bombarding targets on the western coastline of Borgen Bay,including targets in the vicinity of 'Yellow Beaches' where the assault landing would be made. This bombardment, with USS Bache joining in for ten minutes to fire 300 rounds of 5", continued until 0727L/26. Over 1600 rounds of 6" were fired by USS Nashville and USS Phoenix.

USS Flusser and USS Mahan intermittently bombarded 'Yellow Beaches' up to H-hour, firing a total of about 400 rounds of 5".

0700L/26, between 0700 and 0720 hours, five squadrons of B-24 bombers, from medium altitude, bombed targets in the Cape Gloucester area. As far as could be seen these bombers had no AA opposition. This was thought to be due the the effective naval bombardment of the area.

0728L/26, between 0728 and 0743 hours, four squadrons of B-25 bombers swept in from seaward and bombed and strafed the Yellow Beaches from very low altitude.

0743L/26, between 0745 and 0745 hours, rocket boats laid a creeping rocket barrage up the Yellow Beaches and from behind this barrage the main assault was made without opposition.

0750L/26, Green Beach at Tauali, had been similarly prepared by naval and air bombardment and here, too, the assault force got ashore without opposition.

Fighers on air alert were over the combat area soon after sunrise. The first fighter sortie was four flights (16 planes in total) but from 0800L/26, the air support plan allowed for 12 flights (48 planes) being continually over the combat area and other squadrons of fighters were on ground alert available on call.

0800L/26, HMAS Shropshire, which was the fighter direction shop for all fighter planes in the combat area, began tracking a large group of bogies approaching from the direction of Rabaul and it was thought that the enemy reaction was on its way. However these bogies crossed to southward over New Britain and a group of fighters sent down to southward saw the enemy planes retiring after attacking Awawe.

0830L/26, with the assault proceeding favourably, CTF 76 released Task Force 74 which then began a high speed retirement to west and south through Vitiaz Strait.

0840L/26, LST's of the third echelon beached on Yellow Beach and commenced unloading.

0900L/26, Four squadrons of heavy bombers attacked Target Ridge from medium altitude and at 0930L/26 four squadrons of attack bombers struck targets in the Gloucester-Borgen Area.

Shortly after Task Force 74 entered Vitiaz Strait, HMAS Shropshire radar detected two large groups of bogies coming in from the westward and these were reckoned to be an enemy strike from his New Guinea air bases. Additional fighters were summoned and in all 96 fighters planes were disposed to meet this attack. However at this time the radar was confused by land all round and the bogies were lost. At about the time these bogies were estimated by dead reckoning to be approaching an attacking position, Task Force 74 was in rain an temporary low overcast so that the force may have avoided detection, though it has not been ascertained exactly where these enemy groups did actually go.

0920L/26, The commander General Cape Gloucester Task Force departed USS Conyngham which then left the area for the Buna / Cape Sudest area. En-route she overtook the high speed transports of the first echelon which had already left the landing area. The LCI's of the second echelon also departed the landing area around this time, having retracted from the beach successfully.

1330L/26, The LST's of the third echelon retracted as scheduled to make room for the incoming echelon five. Echelon three had however not yet been completely unloaded. The delay in unloading had been due to the difficulty in preparing the dispersal area. The thick growth and soft ground behind the beach was the retarding factor. Approximately 100 tons of bulk and a few vehicles were returned to Cape Sudest but were later shipped back in following echelons.

1415L/25, USS Shaw, the fighter director ship in the Cape Gloucester area, picked up two large groups of enemy planes, one group bearing 010°, 65 miles and the other bearing 080°, 50 miles.

1430L/26, Task Force 74 was now south-east of Finschhaven, Task Unit 74.2.2 (four destroyers, see above) were detached to return to the Cape Gloucester area and during the night to carry out a covering patrol.

Around 1445L/26, an enemy air attack consisting of a large number of dive bombers with fighter escort and a group of high level bombers was made on our ships off Cape Gloucester. Fighter interception was made and is estimated to have shot down 56 enemy planes. However a number of dive bombers got through and attacked our ships. USS Brownson was sunk, USS Shaw was badly damaged by near misses and USS Lamson and USS Mugford were slightly damaged. USS LST-66 also sustained minor damage due to a near miss.

1530L/26, USS Lamson and USS Daly had picked up 34 and 163 survivors from the USS Brownson. These included 11 of the ships officers. While picking up the survivors USS Daly suffered some minor damage due to a heavy underwater explosion, most likely depth charges exploding on board the sinking USS Brownson.

1700L/26, A second air attack on our destroyers off Cape Gloucester developed. Approximately 50 enemy aircraft, 18 of which were torpedo carrying Bettys approached at low altitude. At least 13 were destroyed by fighters and 3 by AA gunfire from ships. No damage was sustained and it is believed that none of the enemy aircraft had been able to release torpedoes. This action ended the days air activity.

1800L/26, Echelon five (7 LST's), plus USS LST-466 from echelon three, departed Yellow Beach for Cape Sudest escorted by USS Hutchins and USS Beale. A total of about 200 tons of bulk stores were still on board. Departure was made on schedule as it was condidered to dangerous to navigate the reef during darkness.

1815L/26, Task Units 74.1.1, 74.1.2 and 74.2.1 arrived at Buna where they immediately refueled on completion of which they came short notice to proceed to sea if required.

2300L/26, the first echelon, made up of the high speed transports, USS Stringham, USS Kilty, USS Ward, USS Crosby, USS Brooks, USS Gilmer, USS Humphreys, USS Sands, USS Noa, arrived at Cape Sudest from the Cape Gloucester area.

2330L/26, USS Conyngham with CTF 76 on board, arrived at Buna from the Cape Gloucester area.

During the night of 26/27 December, Task Unit 74.2.2 carried out a covering patrol in the Cape Gloucester area without incident.

0730L/27, the sixth echelon, made up of the LST's USS LST-459, USS LST-168, USS LST-170, USS LST-171 and USS LST-458 arrived at Cape Gloucester escorted by the destroyers USS Flusser, USS Mahan, USS Reid, USS Smith and the patrol vessels USS PC-1119, USS PC-1120 and USS PC-1122.

0740L/27, Task Unit 74.2.2 which was withdrawing from night patrol, was ordered to join the seventh echelon consisting of USS Drayton, 4 LST's and 3 SC's proceeding the the Cape Gloucester area. The radar intallation on board USS Drayton was defective. The fighter direction party was transferred at sea from USS Drayton to USS Bush.

0800L/27, the second echelon, made up of the LCI(L)'s, USS LCI(L)-28, USS LCI(L)-30, USS LCI(L)-31, USS LCI(L)-34, USS LCI(L)-70, USS LCI(L)-71, USS LCI(L)-72, USS LCI(L)-73, USS LCI(L)-74, USS LCI(L)-226, USS LCI(L)-337, USS LCI(L)-338, USS LCI(L)-340, USS LCI(L)-342, USS LCI(L)-343 and USS LCI(L)-344 arrived at Cape Sudest from the Cape Gloucester area.

0830L/27, the seventh echelon, made up of the LST's USS LST-474, USS LST-467, USS LST-468, USS LST-470 and USS LST-475 and escorted by the destroyers USS Drayton, USS Bush, USS Bache, USS Ammen and USS Mullany.

0900L/27, The fourth echelon made up of 12 LCT's arrived at Cape Cretin from Cape Gloucester escorted by the patrol vessels USS PC-479, USS SC-637 and SC-699.

1000L/27, Task Unit 74.1.2 (four destroyers, see above) departed Buna to carry out a night covering patrol to the north-eastward of Cape Gloucester.

1800L/27, Task Unit 74.2.2 and USS Drayton took up patrol off the reefs. During the night USS Mullany made three depth charge attacks on a sound contact with no observed results.

1800L/27, As four destroyers of Task Force 76 had been sunk or damaged, the destroyers of Task Force 74 were now assigned for temporary escort duty with Task Force 76.

2200L/27, Echelon 5 (7 LST's) and LST-466, escorted by USS Hutchins and USS Beale arrived at Cape Sudest from the Cape Gloucester area.

0300L/28, Task Unit 74.1.2 left patrol and retired towards Cape Cretin.

0400L/28, The fifth echelon, made up of USS LST-452, USS LST-452, USS LST-22, USS LST-26, USS LST-454, USS LST-456, USS LST-457 and USS LST-465 arrived at Cape Sudest from the Cape Gloucester area escorted by USS Beale, USS Hutchins and USS Daly.

0700L/28, The seventh echelon had completed unloading and by 0830L/28, it was retiring from the Cape Gloucester area escorted by Task Unit 74.2.2 and USS Drayton.

1430L/28, The eight echelon departed Cape Sudest for the Cape Gloucester area. It was made up of the high speed transports USS Stringham, USS Kilty, USS Ward, USS Crosby, USS Brooks, USS Gilmer, USS Humphreys, USS Sands and USS Noa. They were escorted by the destroyers USS Hutchins and USS Lamson and would later be joined by USS Bush, USS Bache, USS Ammen and USS Mullany.

1600L/28, Task Unit 74.1.2 departed Cape Cretin to make a high speed dash up towards the Cape Gloucester area to repeat the night covering patrol of last night and to return to Cape Cretin afterwards.

At 1700L/28, Task Unit 74.1.2 departed Cape Cretin to proceed to the southward to join the escort of the ninth echelon that was to proceed from Cape Sudest to the Cape Gloucester area. As HMAS Warramunga and HMAS Arunta were short of fuel they arrived at Buna around 2200L/29 where they took on board 100 tons of fuel from HMAS Australia and HMAS Shropshire respectively. They departed around 2330L/28 to rejoin the other two destroyers of their Task Unit which meanwhile had joined the ninth echelon.

2100L/28, The ninth echelon, made up of six LST's; USS LST-466, USS LST-18, USS LST-66, USS LST-67, USS LST-68, USS LST-202 departed Cape Sudest for the Cape Gloucester area. USS LST-204 was unable to retract and had to proceed to Cape Gloucester with the next (tenth) echelon. They were escorted by HMAS Warramunga, HMAS Arunta, USS Ralph Talbot and USS Helm although the two Australian destroyers only joined later as they first had to fuel (see above). The ninth echelon arrived at Cape Gloucester around 0700L/30. After unloading they departed for Oro Bay around 1300L/30 still escorted by the four destroyers from Task Unit 74.1.2 which then detached after having passed Cape Ward Hunt. The destroyers of Task Unit 74.1.2 arrived at Buna around 1800L/31 minus HMAS Warramunga which arrived at 2030l/31 having trouble with salt water contamination in her boiler feed water.

2200L/28, the sixth echelon, made up of USS LST-459, USS LST-168, USS LST-170, USS LST-171, USS LST-458 and escorted by USS Flusser, USS Mahan, USS Reid, USS Smith and the patrol vessels USS PC-1119, USS PC-1120 and USS PC-1122 arrived at Cape Sudest from Cape Gloucester.

At 1700L/28, Task Unit 74.1.2 departed Cape Cretin to proceed to the southward to join the escort of the ninth echelon that was to proceed from Cape Sudest to the Cape Gloucester area. As HMAS Warramunga and HMAS Arunta were short of fuel they arrived at Buna around 2200L/29 where they took on board 100 tons of fuel from HMAS Australia and HMAS Shropshire respectively. They departed around 2330L/28 to rejoin the other two destroyers of their Task Unit which meanwhile had joined the ninth echelon.

0650L/29, the eight echelon, made up of the high speed transports USS Stringham, USS Kilty, USS Ward, USS Crosby, USS Brooks, USS Gilmer, USS Humphreys, USS Sands and USS Noa escorted by the destroyers USS Lamson, USS Bush, USS Bache, USS Ammen and USS Mullany arrived at Cape Gloucester. Unloading was completed at 0930L/29 when they departed to return to Cape Sudest where they arrived around 2300L/29. USS Gilmer had on board 50 wounded Marines.

1400L/29, the seventh echelon arrived at Buna from Cape Gloucester. Task unit 74.2.2 was still with the seventh echelon.

Media links


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


Blood on the Sea

Parkin, Robert Sinclair


amazon.com
($ 15.98)


U.S. Destroyers

Friedman, Norman


United States Destroyer Operations In World War II.

Roscoe, Theodore

Sources

  1. ADM 199/963 + ADM 199/975 + ADM 199/2201

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


Return to the Allied Warships section



As an Amazon Associate uboat.net earns a commission from qualifying purchases.