USS LCT 178 (LCT 178)
Landing craft tank of the LCT (Mk 5) class
|Navy||The US Navy|
|Type||Landing craft tank|
|Class||LCT (Mk 5)|
|Built by||Quincy Bargebuilders (Quincy, Illinois, U.S.A.)|
|Laid down||7 Oct 1942|
|Launched||8 Nov 1942|
|Commissioned||8 Nov 1942|
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Notable events involving LCT 178 include:
15 Dec 1943
Landings at Arawe on New Britain.
Around 0700L/14, Task Group 74.1, made up of Task Group 74.1.1, which were 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) and Task Group 74.1.2 which were the destroyers HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. E.F.V. Dechaineux, DSC, RAN (now Commander Destroyers Task Force 74)) and HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, RAN) , USS Ralph Talbot (T/Lt.Cdr. R.D. Shepard, USN) and USS Helm (T/Lt.Cdr. S.K. Santmyers, USN) departed Milne Bay to support the landings at Arawa on New Britain (operation Director) as part of operation Dexterity which in itself was part of operation Cartwheel which objection was to neutralise the major Japanese base at Rabaul. Task Group 74.1 was the cover group for operation Director.
The landings were to be carried out by Task Force 76 which was organised as follows; CTG 76 (Headquarters Group) was on board the destroyer USS Conyngham. COMTASKFOR 76 was T/R.Adm. D.E. Barbey, USN. Task Group 76.1 was the Transport Task Group of the amphibious transport HMAS Westralia and the dock landing ship USS Carter Hall. Task Group 76.2 was the APD Task Group made up of seven APD's (APD = High Speed Transport). Task Group 76.5 was the LCT Task Group made up of LCT from LCT Flot 7. Task Group 76.6 was the Destroyer Task Group. This group was divided into Task Group 76.6.1 which was the escort unit made up of the destroyers USS Shaw, USS Drayton, USS Bagley and USS Mugford. Task Group 76.6.2 which was the bombardment unit made up of the destroyers USS Mahan, USS Lamson, USS Flusser, USS Reid and USS Smith. Task Group 76.7 was the Escort and Minesweeping Group and was made up of 4 PC's, 9 SC's, 5 YMS and 1 APc. But more ships were in available in the forward area. Task Group 76.8 was the Service Group and was made up of a repair ship, two landing craft repair ships (LST's), a 'medical' landing ship (LST) and two tugs. Task Group 76.9 was the landing craft control group and was divided into four sub groups; 76.9.1 was the Buna Unit. 76.9.2 was the Cro Bay Unit. 76.9.3 was the Goodenough Unit. 76.9.4 was the Cape Cretin Unit. Task Group 76.10 was the Beachmaster Unit.
At 1530L/14, CTF 76 in USS Conyngham (T/Cdr. J.H. Ward, USN, with T/R.Adm. D.E. Barbey, USN on board) departed Buna for Arawe in company with the first and second attack echelons and their escorts. The other ships in the convoy were the following, amphibious transport HMAS Westralia (Cdr. A.V. Knight, RD, RANR(S)), dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Harris, USNR), high speed transports USS Humphreys (T/Lt.Cdr. Frank Dewey Schwartz, USN) and USS Sands (Lt.Cdr. L.C. Brogger, Jr., USNR), 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 Bagley (T/Cdr. T.E. Chambers, USN), USS Mugford (T/Cdr. H.G. Corey, USN), USS Mahan (T/Cdr. J.T. Smith, USN), USS Lamson (T/Cdr. J.R. Rubins, USN), USS Flusser (T/Cdr. J.A. Robbins, USN), USS Reid (T/Cdr. H.H. McIlhenny, USN, with COMDESDIV 10, T/Capt. C.D. Reynolds, USN on board), USS Smith (T/Cdr. R.A. Theobald, Jr., USN), patrol craft USS PC-479 (Lt. M.C. White, USNR), USS PC-1122 (Lt. J.J. Peck, USNR), USS SC-742 (Lt. R.H. Blake, USNR), USS SC-981 (Lt.(jg) R.A. Campbell, USNR) and minesweeper USS YMS-51 (Lt. F.P. Allen, Jr., USNR).
1800L/14, after passing Cape Ward Hunt this force set course for Finschhaven as a deceptive move. Two Catalina flying boats provided A/S escort for the convoy.
1900L/14, the third attack echelon was scheduled to depart Cape Cretin. This echelon was made up of seven LCT's; USS LCT 172, USS LCT 174, USS LCT 176, USS LCT 374, USS LCT 378, LCT 380 and USS LCT 381. They were escorted by the patrol vessel USS SC-699 (Lt.(jg) J.W. Foristel, USNR), minesweeper USS YMS-70 (Lt. B.M. Brink, USNR) and coastal transport USS APc-4 (Lt.(jg) E.R. Edwards, USNR). USS LCT-378 and USS LCT-380 however were stuck on the beach and could not sail with the third attack echelon and remained behind but were able to departed around 1945L/14.
1900L/14, Task Group 74.1 passed north of Kiriwina Island and proceeded to the north-west at 27 knots.
2030L/14, the convoy with the first and second echelons changed its course to 040 to proceed to Arawe.
0100L/15, Task Group 74.1 was now about 25 nautical to the east of the first and second attack echelons. Task Group 74.1 remained 25 nautical miles to the east of the Arawe attack force until 0400L/15.
0315L/15, an enemy floatplane circled the convoy and dropped a stick of bombs near USS Reid. It was now apparent that the Allied movement had been spotted and that the element of surprise had been lost.
0400L/15, the convoy was led into the Transport Area by USS Conyngham. USS Humpreys and USS Sands had previously left the formation (around 0320L/15) escorted by USS Lamson and USS Shaw, they were to proceed to vicinity of Cape Merkus. HMAS Westralia and USS Carter Hall immediately began unloading. By 0500L/15, USS Cartel Hall had launched all her 41 DUKW's, Buffaloes and Alligators.
Task Group 74.1, the cover group, at this moment still 25 nautical miles to the east of the Arawe attack force commenced to sweep eastwards along the south coast of New Britain about 15 miles from the coast.
0500L/15, Task Group 74.1 had just increased speed to 27 knots and set course for a position to the north of Kiriwina Island when HMAS Warramunga got a sound contact and dropped a full pattern of depth charges on it. The attack could not be followed up as dawn was approaching and HMAS Warramunga was ordered to rejoin the Task Group.
0505L/15, HMAS Westralia and USS Carter Hall had completed unloading and then left the area for Buna escorted by the destroyers USS Bagley, USS Mugford, USS Drayton and the patrol vessels USS PC-1120 and USS PC-1129. They arrived at Buna around 1625L/15. HMAS Westralia, USS Carter Hall then immediately departed for Milne Bay, escorted by USS Conyngham and USS Bagley.
0515L/15, the leading wave of amphibious tractors was sighted heading full speed towards Arawe harbour, which if continued, would place them well ahead of schedule. USS SC-742, having learned from the leader that he had misunderstood his orders, ordered them to turn back to kill time.
0530L/15, the landing plan for Blue Beach called for three waves of five rubber boats each, but the troop commander desired to use four waves of four boats each. Due to the narrowness of the beach, this change appeared feasible and was accepted. Just as the first wave was about to land, Japanese, entrenched along and in the general vicinity of Blue Beach opened up with machine gun and mortar fire. The Japanese fire raked back and forth across all waves. The situation became most critical since it was not possible to determine the exact location of our troops, and it was considered better not to open ship counter battery fire until our troops could be located definitely.
0533L/15, USS Shaw proceed to a firing position where she was able to open fire without endangering our own troops. Two salvos silenced the Japanese. As far as is known, no troops reached the beach. The succeeding waves scrattered and returned to USS Shaw. After daylight survivors were recovered by destroyers and landing craft in the area.
USS SC-742 escorted the amphibious tractors of the first wave toward Orange Beach, via Pilelio Passage, but the succeeding waves failed to join up. The control LCVP was sent to herd them on, while the first wave stalled along losing time rapidly.
0615L/15, the Naval Gun Fire Support Group commenced bombardment on Orange Beach five minutes behind schedule, anticipating a delay in the first wave.
0625L/15, Six B-25 bombers reported on station in the Arawe Area for close support.
0637L/15, the naval bombardment ceased on Orange Beach and USS Shaw opened fire for three minutes on the ridge east of Cape Merkub. The bombardment did not draw enemy fire.
0645L/15, USS SC-742 fired 20mm on Cape Merkub as she entered the pass into Arawe Harbour. At the same time USS SC-981 laid a heavy and accurate rocket barrage on the beach and bluff east of the Cape. They drew no return fire.
0705L/15, USS SC-742 fired 49 rockets on Orange Beach as the first wave was 200 yards from the shore.
0708L/15, the B-25 bombers were ordered to bombard and stafe Cape Merkub and the area behind Orange Beach.
0710L/15, The first wave of amphibious tractors hit the beach, 40 minutes late, due partly to the late start, partly to the slowness in joining up, and partly to the unexpected current in Pilelio Passage.
0715L/15, Eight P-38 aircraft arrived on station as air cover over the landing area. USS Shaw was acting as fighter director ship, with USS Reid standing by.
0730L/15, Seven B-25 bombers comprising the second air support group relieved the first which departed to the eastward to find alternate targets to bomb on the track leading to Cape Bali.
0750L/15, The third wave of alligators landed, followed closely the fourth and fifth waves. The following three waves (ESB craft) were forced to lay to in Pelelio passage due to the slowness of the alligators.
0800L/15, Sixteen P-38's were on aircombat patrol over the landing area.
0810L/15, The sixth wave landed. The LCP's beached 30 yards from the shore and the troops waded ashore in three feet of water over the reefs.
0820L/15, USS Shaw, standing by as support off Blue Beach, picked up one officer and 19 men of the assault troops who failed to reach the beach.
0830L/15, The beachmaster reported the landing going well, but thst he was having difficulty in finding suitable landing points for boats.
0835L/15, Echelon number three arrived on schedule from Cape Cretin. While entering Pilelo Passage, numerous army personnel were picked up from the rubber boats and from the water. These men were the survivors of the unsuccessful attack on Blue Beach. At 0855, while waiting on the signal to beach, units of this echelon were subjected to an attack by 15 enemy dive bombers. Fortunately the craft had been dispersed and were thus able to maneuver and avoid serious damage. Three enemy planes were shot down.
0841L/15, USS Reid reported two groups of unidentified planes bearing 052°, 55 miles at 18000 feet and then lost them in the land echo in the vicinity of Gasmata.
0850L/15, Both USS Reid and USS Shaw regained radar contact of the enemy planes bearing 054°, 34 miles, course 190° and speed 180 knots. USS Shaw vectored our fighter patrol out at 23000 feet. USS Conyngham departed the Arawa area at 30 knots.
0857L/15, Our planes made contact with enemy planes.
0901L/15, USS Shaw reported enemy aircraft, 335°, 14 miles. This placed the enemy over USS Conyngham, which was indeed correct. Thirty or more planes were starting an attack. About 24 enemy Val aircraft released bombs on Arawe harbour. One Val bombed USS Conyngham but skillful maneuvering caused the bombs to miss, resulting in no damage.
0909L/15, USS Shaw reported enemy aircraft bearing 030°, 30 miles.
0926L/15, USS Shaw and USS Reid lost radar contact with the enemy aircraft at 080° at a range of 59 miles.
1600L/15, All destroyers of the gunfire support and escort group joined the return convoy south of Cape Ward Hunt. USS Conyngham proceeded independently to Buna.
1800L/15, Task Group 74.1, the cover group, which had spent the day to the north of Kiriwina Island now set corse to return to the Arawe area to protect the landing forces from possible enemy attack by surface ships but at 2000L/15, when it became clear that no enemy surface ships were to interfere with the landings, Task Group 74.1 was ordered to return to Milne Bay.
1830L/15, Echelon four departed Cape Cretin for Arawe. It was made up of six LCT's; USS LCT-82, USS LCT-88, USS LCT-384, USS LCT-386, USS LCT-387 and USS LCT-388. They were escorted by the patrol vessel USS SC-743 (Lt. W.W. Robinson, USNR) and the coastal transport APc-21 (Lt.(jg) W.J. Bates, USNR). Later the same evening they were ordered to return to Cape Cretin.
1900L/15, Echelon three completed unloading at Arawe and departed to return to Cape Cretin.
0630L/16, Echelon four again departed Cape Cretin for Arawa. It was made up of the same ships listed as above with the addition of LCT-378 and LCT-380. Also the minesweeper YMS-50 had joined as escort.
0800L/16, The cover group, Task Group 74.1 arrived at Milne Bay from the Arawe area. They now remained at Milne Bay at two hours readiness for sea.
1630L/16, Echelon four, en route from Cape Cretin to Arawe was attacked by twelve Japanese Val and Zeke aircraft but no damage was done by the enemy.
0130L/17, Echelon four, which was unloading at Arawe was submitted to intermittent air attacks during the night. The enemy attacks lasted until 0845L/17. At 0810L/17 around 50 enemy Val and Nate aircraft attacked by dive bombing and strafing. USS APc 21 was sunk by a direct hit at 0815L/17. USS YMS-50 sustained underwater damage by a near miss. USS LCT-88, USS LCT-378, USS LCT-380, USS LCT-384 and USS LCT-386 all sustained hull damage. USS LCT-380 had to be beached but was later able to return to Cape Cretin under her own power.
Sailing of echelon five was cancelled.
1900L/17, Echelon six departed Cape Cretin for Arawe. It was made up of six LCT's; USS LCT-142, USS USS LCT-166, USS LCT-245, USS LCT-248, USS LCT-391 and USS LCT-393. They were escorted by the patrol vessel USS SC-699, minesweeper USS YMS-49 (Lt. J.R. Lewis, USNR) and the coastal transport APc-15 (Lt.(jg) K. Goffigon, III. USNR).
2300L/17, Echelon four returned to Cape Cretin from the Arawe area only half unloaded.
0800L/18, Echelon six arrived at Arawe and unloaded as scheduled.
1900L/18, Echelon six, having completed unloading at Arawe, departed that place to return to Cape Cretin. During the unloading operations they had not been attacked. Fighter cover of the area had now been much inproved compared to the previous day.
0800L/19, Echelon six arrived at Cape Cretin from Arawe.
1700L/19, Echelon seven departed Cape Cretin for Arawe. This echelon was made up of six LCT's; USS LCT-61, USS LCT-177, USS LCT-179, USS LCT-183, USS LCT-184 and USS LCT-371. They were escorted by the patrol vessel USS SC-703 (Lt.(jg) R.M. Baird, USNR), minesweeper YMS-70 and the coastal transport APc-22 (Lt.(jg) V.G. Martin, USNR). Very bad weather was encountered and USS LCT-179 sustained weather damage and after two hours had to turn back to Cape Cretin.
0620L/20, Echelon seven arrived at Arawe from Cape Cretin.
1645L/20, Echelon seven completed unloading at Arawe and departed that place to return to Cape Cretin.
1700L/20, Echelon eight departed Cape Cretin for Arawe. This echelon was made up of six LCT's; USS LCT-85, USS LCT-171, USS LCT-172, USS LCT-176, USS LCT-374 and USS LCT-381. They were escorted by the patrol vessels USS SC-738 (Lt.(jg) R.B. Woodcock, USNR), USS SC-743 and the coastal transport APc-2.
0330L/21, Three enemy aircraft attack Arawa but no damage was done.
0630L/21, Echelon seven arrived at Cape Cretin from Arawe.
0715L/21, Echelon eight arrived at Arawe from Cape Cretin.
1150L/21, While unloading at Arawe, echelon eight was attacked by enemy aircraft, 30 Vals and 15 Zero's dive bombed and strafed them. USS APc-2 was near missed and started to take on water. USS LCT-171, sustained multiple holes on her starboard side forward, from shrapnel.
1700L/21, Echelon eight, still at Arawe, was again attacked by Japanese aircraft. 45 Vals and 15 Zero's again dive bombed and strafed them but no further damage was done by the enemy. Echelon eight then departed Arawe to return to Cape Cretin.
1200L/22, Echelon eight arrived at Cape Cretin from Arawe.
1 Jul 1945
Operation Oboe II, Allied landings at Balikpapan.
Part I, the pre-landing phase.
Composition of the forces taking part was as follows; Task Group (TG) 78.2 was the Balikpapan Attack Group under Vice-Admiral D.E. Barbey, USN, made up of the following units. TG 78.2.1 was the Group Flagship Unit under T/Capt. K.D. Ringle, USN, made up of the Amphibious Force Command Ship USS Wasatch (T/Capt. K.D. Ringle, USN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral A.G. Noble, USN) and fighter direction ship USCGC Spencer (Cdr. J.R. Hinnant, USCG). TG 78.2.2 was the Transport Unit under A/Capt. A.P. Cousin, RANR(S), made up the Landing Ships HMAS Manoora (A/Capt. A.P. Cousin, RANR(S)), HMAS Westralia (A/Cdr. E.W. Livingston, RANR(S)), HMAS Kanimbla (Cdr. A.V. Bunyan, RANR(S)), Landing Ship Dock USS Carter Hall (Lt.Cdr. H.L. Host, Jr., USNR) and the Attack Cargo Ship Titania (T/Cdr.(Retd.) M.W. Callahan, USN). TG 78.2.3 was the Fast Transport unit under T/Cdr, Wm.S. Parsons, USN, COMTRANSDIV 103, made up of the High Speed Transports USS Lloyd (Lt.Cdr. W.R. Taylor, USNR, with T/Cdr, Wm.S. Parsons, USN, Commanding Officer COMTRANSDIV 103, on board), USS Newman (Lt.Cdr. R.I. Thieme, USNR), USS Liddle (Lt.Cdr. W.D. Kennedy, USNR), USS Kephart (Cdr. I.H. Cammarn, USNR) and USS Diachenko (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Johnson, USNR). TG 78.2.4 was the LSM Unit under T/Capt. D.J. Wientraub, USN on board the Landing Craft Flotilla Flagship USS LCFF-789 (Lt. R.J. Minnich, USNR), made up of the following units; LSM Group 4; under Lt.Cdr. R.C. Johnson, USN, up of the following LSM's; USS LSM-18 (Lt. W.B. Wilder, USNR, with T/Lt.Cdr. R.C. Johnson, USN on board), USS LSM-19 (Lt. E.L. McComb, USNR), USS LSM-21 (Lt. C.L. Crayne, USN), USS LSM-22 (Lt. W.E. Rivinius, USNR), USS LSM-257 (Lt. E.C. Nufer, USNR), USS LSM-258 (Lt.(jg) J. Black, USNR), USS LSM-310 (Lt. E.P. White, USNR) and USS LSM-311 (Lt. P.M. Brooks, USNR). LSM Group 5; under Lt.Cdr. E.G. Smith, USNR, made up of the following LSM's; USS LSM-36 (Lt. M.S. McLeod, USNR, with T/Lt.Cdr. E.G. Smith, USNR on board), USS LSM-37 (Lt. G.W. Smith, USNR), USS LSM-130 (Lt. L.R. French, USNR), USS LSM-141 (Lt. E.A. Quinlan, USNR), USS LSM-148 (Lt. F.W. Cely, USN), USS LSM-150 (Lt. G.B. McCauley, USNR) and USS LSM-205 (Lt. D.W. Barton, USNR). LSM Group 6; under T/Lt.Cdr. E.E. Weire, USN, made up of the following LSM's; USS LSM-42 (Lt. S.I. Burton, USNR, with T/Lt.Cdr. E.E. Weire, USN on board), USS LSM-38 (Lt. H.A. Seitz, USNR), USS LSM-39 (Lt. G.C. Hollowell, USNR), USS LSM-40 (Lt. C.L. Garrett, USNR), USS LSM-223 (Lt. P.C. Hawn, USNR), USS LSM-224 (Lt. D.B. Wrensch, USNR) and USS LSM-267 (Lt. R.F. Ruben, USNR). TG 78.2.5 was the LST Unit under T/Capt. F.J. Mee, USN, made up of the following units; LST Flot 22 under T/Capt. F.J. Mee, USN, made up of the following LST's; USS LST-632 (Lt. G.W. Chandler, USNR, with COMLSTFLOT 22, T/Capt. F.J. Mee, USN on board), USS LST-639 (Lt. G.M. Brown, USNR), USS LST-714 (Lt. R.F. Williams, USNR), USS LST-721 (Lt. R.B. Safford, USNR), USS LST-935 (Lt. B.B. Wells, USN) and USS LST-938 (Lt. H.W. Limes, USNR). LST Flot 7 under T/Capt. G.A. Sinclair, USN, made up of the following LST Groups; LST Group 19, under Cdr. J.E. van Zandt, USNR, made up of the following LST's; USS LST-466 (Lt. J.P. Witherspoon, USNR, with COMLSTFLOT 7, T/Capt. G.A. Sinclair, USN, on board), USS LST-181 (Lt.(jg) C.V. Lynch, USNR), USS LST-245 (Lt. M.J. McCabe, USNR), USS LST-470 (Lt. M. Loring, USNR), USS LST-471 (Lt. J.K. Haman, USNR) and USS LST-474 (Lt. G.L. Hull, USNR, with COMLSTGR19, Cdr. J.E. van Zandt, USNR on board). LST Group 20, under Cdr. D.M. Baker, USNR, made up of the following LST's; USS LST-452 (Lt. R.D. Jones, USNR, with COMLSTGR20, Cdr. D.M. Baker, USNR on board), USS LST-454 (Lt. D.J. Morrison, USNR), USS LST-456 (Lt.(jg) E.J. Lambert, USNR), USS LST-457 (Lt. W.W. Hacker, USNR) and USS LST-462 (Lt. W.D. Gregory, USNR). From LST Group 21 were the following LST's; USS LST-66 (Lt. W.J. Holbert, USCGC), USS LST-168 (Lt. H. Twiford, USCG) and USS LST-206 (Lt. S.F. Regard, USCG). From LST Flot 8 LST Group 23, under T/Cdr. T.C. Linthicum, USN, made up of the following LST's; USS LST-1018 (Lt. P.F. Williams, USNR, with COMLSTGR23, T/Cdr. T.C. Linthicum, USN on board), USS LST-395 (Lt. C.W. Saale, USNR), USS LST-397 (Lt. E.W. Teasley, USNR), USS LST-911 (Lt. M.T. Saffield, USNR), USS LST-1016 (Lt. J.W. Chapman, USNR) and USS LST-1017 (Lt. B.I. Sobel, USNR). From LST Groups 22 and 24 were the following LST's; USS LST-666 (Lt. J.H. Reid, USNR), USS LST-673 (Lt. J.K. Athow, USNR), USS LST-694 (Lt. J.D. McLaughlin, USNR), USS LST-740 (Lt. A.G. McMahon, USNR) and USS LST-910 (Lt. H.V. Ruble, USN). From LST Flot 15 were the following LST's; USS LST-579 (Lt. H.B. Severs, USNR), USS LST-703 (LT. E.H. Marsland, USNR), USS LST-753 (Lt. T.J. Dailey, USNR) and USS LST-777 (Lt. W.F. Lagotic, USN). TG 78.2.6 was the LCI Unit under Cdr. A.V. Jannotta, USNR, made up of the following LCI(L)'s from LCIFLOT24; USS LCI(L)-624 (Lt. E.F. Harris, USNR, with COMLCIFLOT 24, Cdr. A.V. Jannotta, USNR, on board), USS LCI(L)-622 (Lt. H.V. Smith, USNR), USS LCI(L)-625 (Lt.(jg) C.E. Bole, USNR), USS LCI(L)-634 (Lt.(jg) J.J. Connolly, USNR), USS LCI(L)-636 (Lt. J.A. Moore, USNR), USS LCI(L)-655 (Lt. E. Kingdon, Hurlock, USNR), USS LCI(L)-699 (Lt. P.B. Gates, USNR), USS LCI(L)-700 (Lt.(jg) J.E. Howe, USNR), USS LCI(L)-712 (Lt. R.I. Basch, USNR), USS LCI(L)-999 (Lt.(jg) C.P. Castle, USN), USS LCI(L)-1002 (Lt. E.B. Schicker, Jr., USNR), USS LCI(L)-1003 (Lt.(jg) J.W. Jessee, USNR), USS LCI(L)-1008 (Lt.(jg) W.A. Green, USNR), USS LCI(L)-1025 (Lt. W.C. Kingsley, USNR), USS LCI(L)-1072 (Lt. M.B. Kirby, USNR) and USS LCI(L)-1076 (Lt. O.E. Caldcleugh, USNR). TG 78.2.7 was the Control Unit under Cdr. A.J. Petersen, USNR, made up of the following patrol vessels; USS PC-1134 (Lt. O.A. Barge, Jr., with Cdr. A.J. Petersen, USNR on board), USS PC-610 (Lt. J.K. Winter, USNR), USS SC-698 (Lt. J.C. Hedges, USNR), USS SC-747 (Lt.(jg) R.E. Oberfeld, USNR) and USS SC-750 (Lt.(jg) F.C. Cuthbertson, USNR). TG 78.2.8 was the Close Support Unit under T/Cdr. D.H. Day, USN, was made up of the following LCS(L)'s; USS LCS(L)-8 (Lt.Cdr. E.C. Thomas, USNR), USS LCS(L)-27 (Lt.(jg) J.M. Bledsoe, USNR), USS LCS(L)-28 (Lt. R.H. Bost, USNR), USS LCS(L)-29 (Lt. J.F. McNamara, USNR), USS LCS(L)-30 (Lt. C.H. Sanders, USNR), USS LCS(L)-41 (Lt.(jg) A.P. Marincovich, USNR), USS LCS(L)-43 (Lt.(jg) E.A. Blakley, USNR), USS LCS(L)-44 (Lt. J.M. Leggat, USNR), USS LCS(L)-48 (Lt. D.E. Widel, USNR) and USS LCS(L)-50 (Lt. B.T. Clark, USNR). The following LCI(R)'s; USS LCI(R)-230 (Lt.(jg) E.L. Grimes, USNR, with T/Cdr. D.H. Day, USN on board), USS LCI(R)-31 (Ens. D.B. Hummel, USNR), USS LCI(R)-34 (Lt.(jg) F.W. Schwarz, USNR), USS LCI(R)-73 (Lt.(jg) W.V. Ferguson, USN), USS LCI(R)-226 (Ens. J.W. Joyce, USNR), USS LCI(R)-331 (Lt.(jg) E.F. Sheeran, USNR), USS LCI(R)-337 (Ens. G.W. Green, USN) and USS LCI(R)-338 (Ens. J.S. Hageman, USNR). The following LCI(G)'s; USS LCI(G)-21 (Lt.(jg) J.G. Gent, USNR), USS LCI(G)-22 (Lt.(jg) W.F. Saul, USNR), USS LCI(G)-24 (Lt.(jg) G.D. Rankin, USNR), USS LCI(G)-61 (Lt.(jg) R.M. Prann, USNR), USS LCI(G)-66 (Lt.(jg) J.A. Kraus, USNR) and USS LCI(G)-67 (Lt.(jg) G.J. Puhl, USNR). TG 78.2.9 was the Minesweeping Unit under Lt.Cdr. T.R. Fonick, USNR, made up of the following units; Task Unit (TU) 72.2.91 was made up of the minesweepers USS Sentry (Lt.Cdr. T.R. Fonick, USNR, (COMMINDIV 34)), USS Scout (Lt. E.G. Anderson, USNR) and USS Scuffle (Lt.Cdr. E.A. Johnson, USNR). TU 72.2.92 under Lt.Cdr. D.W. Blakeslee, USNR, was made up of the YMS's; USS YMS-9 (Lt.(jg) W.E. Vermillion, USNR), USS YMS-10 (Lt.(jg) R.D. Waterman, USNR), USS YMS-39 (Lt. R.M. Sullivan, USNR), USS YMS-46 (Lt.(jg) T. Markin, USNR), USS YMS-47 (Lt. R.H. Heller, USNR), USS YMS-49 (lt.(jg) D.E. Reysa, USNR), USS YMS-50 (Lt(jg) B.G. Stern, USNR), USS YMS-51 (Lt.(jg) A.L. Giesenschlag, USNR), USS YMS-53 (Lt.(jg) F.W. Ketner, USNR), USS YMS-65 (lt. C.R. Silk, USNR), USS YMS-73 (Lt. J.H. Frederick, USNR), USS YMS-84 (Lt. J.V. Barton, USNR), USS YMS-95 (Lt.(jg) G.E. Newby, Jr., USNR), USS YMS-224 (Lt.(jg) F.J. Weingartner, USNR), i>USS YMS-269 (Lt. P.J. Ganey, USNR), USS YMS-314 (Lt.(jg) J.W. Easton, USNR), USS YMS-315 (Lt. E.E. martin, Jr., USNR), USS YMS-335 (Lt.(jg) R.F. Klick, USNR), USS YMS-336 (Lt.(jg) J.A. Reid, USNR), USS YMS-339 (Lt.(jg) M.E. Fitzgerald, USNR), USS YMS-364 (Lt. C.K. Soper, USNR), USS YMS-365 (Lt.(jg) F.C. Huff, USNR), USS YMS-366 (Lt. (jg) T.J. Duncan, Jr., USNR), USS YMS-367 (Lt.(jg) E.E. Huppenbauer, Jr., USNR), USS YMS-368 (Lt.(jg) C.D. Drago, USNR) and USS YMS-392 (Lt. W.H. Kendrick, USNR). As tenders for the minesweepers there were the high speed transport USS Cofer (Lt. H.C. McClees, USNR) and the LSM USS LSM-1 (Lt. E.J. Flowers, USNR). TG 78.2.10 was the Beach Party Unit. TG 78.2.11 was the Demolition Unit under Lt. States, was made up of the high speed transports USS Kline (Lt. B.F. Uran, USNR) and USS Schmitt (Lt. T.A. Melusky, USNR) and two underwater demolition teams. TG 78.2.12 was the LCT Unit under Lt. Buckley. This unit was made up of the following LCT's; LCT Group 73 was made up of USS LCT-1293 (with Lt. Buckley on board), USS LCT-1081, USS LCT-1289, USS LCT-1291, USS LCT-1295, USS LCT-1297, USS LCT-1299, USS LCT-1301, USS LCT-1302, USS LCT-1304, USS LCT-1306, USS LCT-1308, USS LCT-1325 and USS LCT-1329. LCT Group 21 was made up of USS LCT-1298 (with Lt. Coffin (COMLCTGR21) on board), USS LCT-83, USS LCT-178, USS LCT-372, USS LCT-373, USS LCT-864, USS LCT-898, USS LCT-990, USS LCT-992, USS LCT-1016, USS LCT-1296 and USS LCT-1327. TG 78.2.13 was the Salvage and Firefighting Unit under Lt.Cdr. H. Pond, USNR, made up of the salvage vessel Cable (Lt.Cdr. H. Pond, USNR), USS LCI(S)-700 (?), USS LCI(S)-702 (?), USS LCI(S)-1000 (?) and USS LCI(S)-1071 (?) and the tug USS ATR-61 (Lt. W.M. Heywood, USNR). TG 78.2.14 was the Service Unit under Lt.Cdr. Wallace, made up of the following ships; oiler USS Chepachet (Lt.Cdr. H.K. Wallace, USNR), gasoline tankers USS Sakatonchee (Lt. F.C. Steinmetz, USNR), USCG Gualala (?), landing craft repair ship USS Creon [Former LST-1036] (Lt. M.G. Pooley, USNR), landing craft LST's USS LST-67 (serving as ammunition ship) (Lt. R.L. McGirl, USNR), USS LST-171 (Lt. M.B. Taylor, USNR), USS LSM-129 (Lt. W.A. Farmer, USNR), cargo ship USS Poinsett (Lt.Cdr. R.M. Baughman, USNR), army cargo ships FS 164, FS 361, auxiliary Banshee (?), auxiliary trawler USS YP-421 (Lt.(jg) W.E. Baker, USN), tug USS Pinto (Lt. R. Brown, USNR) and floating crane USS YD-65. TG 78.2.15 was the Screening Unit under COMDESRON 5, T/Capt. F.D. McCorkle, USN, made up of the following units; Destroyer Squadron 5 was made up of the following destroyers; USS Flusser (T/Lt.Cdr. K.G. Robinson, USN with COMDESRON 5, T/Capt. F.D. McCorkle, USN on board), USS Drayton (T/Lt.Cdr. V.A. Dybdal, USN), USS Conyngham (T/Lt.Cdr. F.W. Bampton, USN) and USS Smith (T/Lt.Cdr. E.H. Huff, USN). Destroyer Squadron 14 was made up of the following destroyers; USS Frazier (T/Lt.Cdr. J.N. Renfro, USN, with COMDESRON 14, T/Capt. G.L. Sims, USN on board) and USS Bailey (T/Lt.Cdr. A.F. Johnson, USN). Destroyer Squadron 22 was made up of the following destroyers; USS Robinson (T/Cdr. R.E. Malpass, USN, with COMDESRON 22, T/Capt. R.H. Smith, USN on board), USS Saufley (T/Lt.Cdr. F.W. Silk, USN), USS Waller (T/Cdr. H.leR. Thompson, Jr., USN), USS Philip (T/Cdr. J.B. Rutter, Jr., USN). There were also five destroyer escorts part of the Screening Unit, these were; USS Chaffee (Lt.Cdr. A.C. Jones, USNR), USS Edwin A. Howard (Lt.Cdr. F.D. Denfeld, USNR), USS Jesse Rutherford (Lt.Cdr. J.W. Jordan, USNR), USS Key (T/Lt.Cdr. F.D. Buckley, USN) and USS Leland E. Thomas (Lt.Cdr. B.J. Dunn, USNR). The frigate HMAS Gascoyne (Lt. E.J. Peel, RAN) was also part of Screening Unit. TG 78.2.16 was the Press Unit, made up of the USS LCI(L)-635 (Lt. H. Hopkins, USNR) and the small army cargo ship FP 47. TG 78.2.17 was the Hydrographic Unit under A/Cdr. C.G. Little, DSC, RAN, made up of the sloop HMAS Warrego (A/Cdr. C.G. Little, DSC, RAN), USS YMS-196 (Lt. C.W. Griffith, USNR) and USS Mango (Lt. H.R. Greenley, USNR).
To provide cover for the operation the following Units were deployed. TU 70.1.5 was the Motor Torpedo Boat Unit under Lt.Cdr. Tappan, made up of two Motor Torpedo Boat Tenders; USS Mobjack (Lt.Cdr. J.H. McClain, USNR) and USS Varuna (Lt. C.J. Kalb, USN) and the tug USS ATR-56 (Lt. E.C. McCoy, USNR). These ships served 23 Motor Torpedo Boats of MTB Squadrons 10 and 27. MTBRON 10 was made up of the following Motor Torpedo Boats; USS PT-108, USS PT-116, USS PT-124, USS PT-125, USS PT-163, USS PT-167, USS PT-168, USS PT-169, USS PT-170, USS PT-171 and USS PT-174. MTBRON 27 was made up of the following Motor Torpedo Boats; USS PT-356, USS PT-357, USS PT-358, USS PT-359, USS PT-360, USS PT-361, USS PT-372, USS PT-373, USS PT-374, USS PT-375, USS PT-376 and USS PT-377. Task Force (TF) 74 was the Support and Covering Group under T/Rear-Admiral R.S. Riggs, USN, made up of the following units. TG 74.1 under Commodore H.B. Farncomb, DSO, MVO, RAN, was made up of the heavy cruiser HMAS Shropshire (Capt. C.A.G. Nichols, MVO, DSO, RN, flying the broad pendant of Commodore H.B. Farncomb, DSO, MVO, RAN), light cruiser HMAS Hobart (Capt. R.S. Dowling, RAN) and the destroyers USS Hart (T/Cdr. W.D. Coleman, USN) and USS Metcalf (T/Cdr. D.L. Martineau, USN). TG 74.2 under T/Rear-Admiral R.S. Riggs, USN, was made up of the light cruisers USS Montpelier (T/Capt. W.A. Gorry, USN, flying the flag of T/Rear-Admiral R.S. Riggs, USN (COMCRUDIV 12)), USS Cleveland (T/Capt. H.G. Hopwood, USN), USS Columbia (T/Capt. M.E. Curts, USN), USS Denver (T/Capt. T.F. Darden, Jr., USN), HrMs Tromp (A/Capt. F. Stam, RNN) and the destroyers USS Conway (T/Cdr. J.H. Besson, Jr., USN, with COMDESDIV 44, T/Capt. S.G. Hooper, USN on board), USS Stevens (T/Cdr. G.W. Pressey, USN), USS Cony (T/Lt.Cdr. T.C. Siegmund, USN), USS Eaton (T/Cdr. C. Brown, USN), USS Killen (T/Cdr. J.L. Semmes, USN), USS Albert W. Grant (T/Cdr. G.S. Higginbotham, USN, with COMDESDIV 112, T/Capt. B.J. Mullaney, USN, on board) and HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, DSO, RAN). TG 74.3 under T/Rear-Admiral R.S. Berkey, USN, was made up of the light cruisers USS Nashville (T/Capt. A. MacOndray, Jr., USN, flying the flag of COMCRUDIV 15, T/Rear-Admiral R.S. Berkey, USN), USS Phoenix (T/Capt. H.L. Challenger, USN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral D.E. Barbey, USN, Commander Balikpapan Attack Force, CTF 78) and the destroyers USS Conner (T/Lt.Cdr. W.A. Sissons, USN, with COMDESRON 51, T/Capt. H.J. Martin, USN), USS Charette (T/Lt.Cdr. G.P. Joyce, USN, with COMDESDIV 102, T/Capt. J.W. Callahan, USN on board), USS Bell (T/Lt.Cdr. B.H. Shupper, USN) and USS Burns (T/Cdr. J.T. Bullen, Jr., USN). TG 78.4 was the Escort Carrier Group under T/Rear-Admiral W.D. Sample, USN, made up of the following escort carriers; USS Suwanee (T/Capt. D.S. Cornwell, USN, with COMCARDIV22, T/Rear-Admiral W.D. Sample, USN on board), USS Block Island (T/Capt. F.M. Hughes, USN), USS Gilbert Islands (T/Capt. L.K. Rice, USN). They were escorted by the destroyer USS Dale (T/Lt.Cdr. S.M. Zimny, USNN) and the destroyer escorts USS Mitchell (Lt.Cdr. J.K. Carpenter, USNR), USS Donaldson (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Hartmann, USNR), USS Cloues (Lt.Cdr. K.G. Rich, USNR), USS Lamons (Lt.Cdr. H.C.M. Lamkin, USNR) and USS Kyne (Lt.Cdr. C.F Sweet, Jr., USNR).
The day of the landings was set at 1 July 1945, which was known as 'Fox' day. But as usual before a landing operation a period om minesweeping and bombardments preceeded the landings. We deal with these operations first.
The mission of the minesweepers was to clear the channels, approaches, anchorages, landing beaches and other designated areas of Allied and enemy mines prior to 'Fox' day in Balikpapan Bay, Borneo, NEI, to allow safe passage for the Balikpapan Attack Group.
Enemy minefields were reported off shore southeast of Balikpapan and also across the harbour entrance. Sutstantial enemy ground forces and many coast defence and duel purpose guns were known to be present defending the beaches. The enemy was expected to make every effort to harass and repulse the pre-'Fox' day operations.
Extensive Allied minelaying activity was conducted by RAAF Caralinas between February and October 1944 in Balikpapan Harbour and approaches. Of the total of 126 Allied infuence mines planted a possible 93 were still assumed to be active and requested sweeping prior to the landings on 'Fox' day. Due to the quantity and types of Allied mines present in the area it was agreed that a minimum of 16 days would be required to provide an approach chennel and to cover fire support areas to a reasonable degree of safety for landing operations to be conducted.
Minesweeping operations pre-'Fox' day
On 11 June 1945 ('Fox' day-20), at 0700I Oboe II, 'A' echelon got underway from Morotai for Balikpapan. The following vessels were part of this echelon. USS Smith, USCG Gualala, USS YMS-10, USS YMS-46, USS YMS-47, USS YMS-49, USS YMS-50, USS YMS-52, USS YMS-53, USS YMS-95, USS YMS-315, USS YMS-335, USS YMS-336, USS YMS-339, USS YMS-364, USS YMS-366, USS YMS-368 and USS YMS-392.
At 0900I/13, USS Drayton departed Morotai to rendezvous with 'A' echelon.
At 1430I/13, TG 74.2 departed Tawi Tawi to rendezous with 'A' echelon. TG 72.2 was divided into five groups for fire support duty, these were; TU 74.2.1 was Fire Support Unit Able, made up of USS Montpelier and USS Conway. TU 74.2.2 was Fire Support Unit Baker, made up of USS Denver and USS Eaton. TU 74.2.3 was Fire Support Unit Charlie, made up of USS Columbia and USS Cony. TU 74.2.4 was Fire Support Unit Dog, made up of HrMs Tromp (to join later) and USS Stevens. TU 74.2.5 was Fire Support Unit Echo (to join later), made up of USS Cleveland, USS Killen and USS Albert W. Grant. USS Hart, USS Medcalf and HMAS Arunta were still operating off Brunei Bay on the 13th and only joined later.
At 1745I/13, USS Cofer departed Tawi Tawi to rendezvous with 'A' echelon.
Around 0720I/14, all groups joined in position 01°01'N, 119°38'E. USS Smith and USS Drayton then departed for Morotai. The other ships then set course for the operations area.
At 0642I/15, TU 78.2.92 arrived at the 100 fathom curve due east of the objective. YMS commenced streaming minesweeping gear and began sweep of apporach track for moored and acoustic mines in wedge formation. USS Cofer, USCG Gualala and TG 74.2 following them into swept water. At 1324I/15 the right and left flank of the YMS formation proceeded independently as had been planned. At 1622I/15 the right and left flank reformed wedge formation and commenced sweeping the approach track on an easterly course. At 2222I/15 sweeping ceased and the gear was recovered at the 100 fathom curve. All results of sweeping were negative.
At 0650I/16, the YMS Unit was detached to carry out assigned moored, magnetic and acoustic exploratory sweep of the fire support areas. At 0901I/16, minesweeping LCVP's commenced exploratory sweep of reported Japanese minefields. They returned at 1425I/16 from their minesweeping operations. At 1915I/16, all sweeping ceased and the YMS also retired for the night. Again no mines were swept this day.
At 0625I/17, minesweeping operations commenced in the fire support areas. These operations ceased at 1905I/17 when the YMS retired for the night. All results were again negative.
At 0630I/18, minesweeping operations commenced in the assault and close fire support areas. At 1253I/18, USS YMS-50 exploded an allied influence mine under her bow and was seriously damaged. At 1300I/18, USS YMS-50 was taken under fire by enemy shore batteries. The cruiser support group opened up with counter battery fire. At 1312I/18, LCVP's from USS Cofer proceeded to the rescue of personnel and also attempted to tow USS YMS-50. At 1448I/18, the LCVP's were also taken under fire and the attempts to tow USS YMS-50 were abandoned. All personnel was rescued. USS Denver then opened fire on the hulk of USS YMS-50 which then finally sank. At 1815I/18, minesweeping operations ceased and the YMS retired for the night. At 1855I/18 a Japanese float plane (Pete) closed TU 78.2.92, USS Cofer opened fire. The Combat Air Patrol took up chase of the aircraft. No further enemy air activity was reported. One influence mine was swept which damaged USS YMS-50.
At 0625I/19, YMS's commenced scheduled sweep of assault and close support areas. At 1100I/19, the sweepers were taken under fire by shore batteries and the support group then silenced these. At 1250I/19, the YMS minesweepers were again taken under fire by shore batteries but no damage was sustained. At 1900I/19, the minesweepers recovered their gear and then got underway again to retire for the night.
At 0640I/20, the YMS commenced scheduled sweep of fire support areas. At 1322I/20, USS YMS-368 exploded an Allied influence mine near her stern causing severe structural damage. USS Cofer effected temporary repairs and the vessel remained afloat. At 1850I/20 minesweeping was ceased, gear recovered and the minesweepers retired for the night. One influence mine was swept on this date which damaged USS YMS-368.
At 0600I/21, the YMS commenced scheduled operation in assault and close support areas. At 1038I/21 the YMS Unit came under fire from shore batteries. No damage was sustained. At 1258I/21, they again came under fire by enemy shore batteries and yet again at 1450I/21. At 1455I/21, USS YMS-335 was struck by a shell on her 3" gun platform. She sustained four killed and five wounded. At 1916I/21, minesweeping operations ceased and the YMS retired for the night. No mines were swept on this day.
At 0530I/22, YMS commenced scheduled sweep in assault and close support areas. At 1006I/22, the YMS came under fire from shore batteries. At 1014I/22, USS YMS 10 was struck in the bow, above the waterline, by a shell. There were no personnel casualties. At 1430I/22, USS Sentry, USS Scout, USS YMS-39, USS YMS-314, USS YMS-365 and USS LSM-1 arroved on the objective area. Lt.Cdr. Fonick then took over command of TU 78.2.9 from Lt.Cdr. Blakeslee. At 1658I/22, the YMS again came under fire. They retired for the night at 1956I/22. No mines were swept on this day.
At 0530I/23, YMS commenced operations in assault and close support areas. At 1006I/23 they again came under fire from shore batteries. USS YMS-364 was struck by an enemy shell which failed to explode. At 1310I/23, USS YMS-368 was damaged by a mine explosion. She was taken in tow by USS YMS-335 and they departed for Tawi Tawi. At 1515I/23, shore batteries again opened fire on the YMS. No damage was sustained. At 1841 the YMS retired for the night. Again no mines were swept on this day.
At 0540I/24, YMS commenced scheduled operations in the assault area. USS Scout with 6 YMS conducted a moored sweep of the approach track to broaden the existing swept channel. At 1253I/24, USS YMS-9 reported for duty with TU 78.2.9. The TU came under sporadic fire from shore batteries during the day. No damage was sustained. At 1920I/24, TU 78.2.9 units retired for the night. Once again no mines were swept during this day.
At 0530I/25, YMS commenced scheduled operations in assault lane and close support area. At 0905I/25, the leading YMS were taken under fire by shore batteries but no damage was sustained. At 1105I/25, USS YMS-52 exploded an influence mine. At 1343I/25, USS YMS-365 detonated an influence mine which damaged her sweep. She retired from the area to effect repairs. Also YMS-39 detonated one influence mine and cut one moored mine in her sweep which was sunk by gunfire. At 1845I/25, TU 78.2.9 proceeded to the anchorage area of Balikpapan. Three influence and one moored mine were swept during the day. At 2030I/25 they came under attack by four enemy aircraft. At 2033I/25, USS Cofer was attacked by three enemy aircraft which fired torpedoes which passed under her bow. One aircraft was shot down by USS Cofer. Another aircraft was shot down by USS Cofer in conjunction with other ships of TU 78.2.9. A third aircraft was shot down by USS Sentry.
At 0611I/26, YMS commenced scheduled operations in the assault area. At 0700I/26, USS Scuffle and USS YMS-196 reported for duty with TU 78.2.9. At 1008I/26, an influence mine exploded during minesweeping operations in the assault area. At 1200I/26, three more contact mines were swept in the area which were destroyed by USS Stevens. At 1343I/26, USS YMS-365 detonated an influence mine with magnetic sweep. At 1424I/26, USS YMS-365 exploded a mine, thought to be of influence type, directly beneath her. The keel was broken amidships. USS YMS-364 proceeded to remove her survivors. All personnel was saved. USS YMS-196 joined in the rescue and opened fire on the hulk of the damaged minesweeper which resulted in her bow section being sunk. The stern finally sank at 1645I/26. At 1547I/26, USS YMS-39 exploded a mine, believed to be an Allied magnetic mine. Her superstructure disintergrated and the vessel capsized and sank in less than one minute. Two additional mine explosions occurred in short succession the first approximately 100 yards abean and the second near electrode of long log. USS YMS-196 proceeded to rescue the survivors. Three of the crew were killed and one was missing. LCVP's from USS Cofer and USS Schmidt assisted in the rescue of surivors from USS YMS-39 and USS YMS-365. At 1855I/26, minesweeping ceased and the minesweepers proceeded to the anchorage. Six influence and three moored mines had been swept. Destroyers took fire support stations on this day to render close support during sweeping operations. Further enemy gunfire directed against the minesweepers was sporadic and inaccurate.
At 0610I/27, YMS commenced scheduled operations in the assault area. At 1310I/27, USS YMS-392 detonated an influence mine without sustaining damage. At 1840I/27, minesweeping operations ceased and the minesweepers proceeded to the anchorage. One influence and one moored mine were swept on this date.
At 0614I/28, YMS commenced scheduled operations in the assault area. At 1405I/28, USS YMS-47 exploded an Allied influence mine under her stern. A large hole was the result and the after compartments were flooded. USS YMS-366 and USS YMS-49 assisted by LCVP's from USS Cofer, USS Kline and USS Schmitt succeeded in rescuing all personnel and in towing USS YMS-47 out of the mine field. USS YMS-47 was taken alongside USS Scout for pumping and emergency repairs. Although the after deck was awash the engine room compartments were pumped out and the vessel stayed afloat. At 1920I/28, minesweeping ceased and the minesweepers returned to the anchorage. two influence mines were swept on this day, one of which damaged USS YMS-47.
At 0610I/29, YMS commenced scheduled operations in the assault area. These operations were ceased at 1850I/29 when they returned to the anchorage. Four moored contact mines were swept on this date.
YMS again commenced minesweeping operations in the assault area on 30 June [no time given in the report but must have been after dawn.] At 0945I/30, USS YMS-314 exploded an Allied influence mine about 100 feet astern. She sustained minor damage. At 1300I/30, USS YMS-65 and USS YMS-269 reported for duty with TU 78.2.9. At 1927I/30, minesweeping operations ceased and all YMS returned to the anchorage. One influence and three moored contact mines were swept this date.
At 0615/1, on 'Fox' day, YMS commenced scheduled sweeping operations in the area adjacent to the landing beach. USS YMS-196 was released from duty with TU 78.2.9 and she joined the Hydrographic Unit. At 1815I/1, USS YMS-84, USS YMS-224 and USS YMS-367 reported for duty with TU 78.2.9. At 1917I/1, minesweeping operations ceased for the day and the YMS returned to the anchorage. One moored mine was swept on this day. Total to this date, 15 Allied influence mines and 13 enemy moored contact mines were swept.
Pre-'Fox' day operations by Underwater Demolition Teams.
At 1700I/20, the temporary formed TU 78.2.93 departed Morotai for the operations area. This TU was to render close in fire support to the Underwater Demolition Teams during their pre-invasion operations of destroying underwater obstacles in the landing areas. These opertions would cover a day of six days in which reconnaissance and three days in which obstacle demolition operations were successfully carried out. TU 78.2.93 was made up of USS LCS(L)-30 (with COMLCS(L)GR 1, Lt.Cdr. W.F. Hunt, USNR on board), USS LCS(L)-8, USS LCS(L)-28, USS LCS(L)-29, USS LCS(L)-41, USS LCS(L)-43, USS LCS(L)-44 and USS LCS(L)-48. Taking passage with them from Morotai were also USS Schmitt, USS YMS-9 and USS Mango.
Around 1100I/24, TU 78.2.93 entered the Balikpapan area and reported to CTU 74.2 and 78.2.9 for duty. No assignment was given for the remainder of the day.
Around 0715I/25, The LCS(L) were in position to give fire support for underwater demolition work in the alternate landing areas at Manggar and Manggar Ketjil. A heavy concentration of 3", 40mm and 20mm was delivered into the immediate beach areas to eliminate, if possible, any sniper and machine gun positions. At 0800I/25, when the swimmers were taken into the beach, the fire was decreased and was concentrated in the tree tops along the beach. By 1000I/25 the reconnaissance was completed and all units retired and anchored.
Pre-dawn on the 26th, all ships of TU 78.2.93 got underway towards the Manggar Ketjil area to support obstacle demolition activities of the Underwater Demolition Teams. At 0700I/26 ships on station commenced strafing the beach. Between 0700 and 0820 hours, when swimmers embarked, fire was ceased several times to allow low level air strikes to be carried out. At 1025I/26, swimmers completed their assignment and charges were set off. Shortly thereafter units withdrew from a successful days work and anchored as before.
At 0430I/27, ships got underway and proceeded towards the assault beach at Klandasan. The passage was through unswept and hazardous water and a maximum speed of five knots was maintained at all times. To insure safe navigation the USS Stevens maintained an accurate radar plot and transmitted instructions via voice radio. By 0740I/27, all ships were anchored at short stay 2300 yards from the beach and commenced firing into the beach area. Eight small enemy mortar and gun fire was received from the beach. At 0840I/27, the swimmers commenced their reconnaissance work and completed this around 1030I/27. Several ships observed enemy gun emplacements and either took them under fire or reported them to enable larger units to do a more effective job. On completion of the operation all ships retired to the anchorage.
At 0345I/28, TU 78.2.9 got underway. USS Stevens again did an excellent job of plotting the ships through the mine fields. At 0745I/28, all ships anchored 1200 yards from the beach and the order to open fire was given. At 0840I/28, obstacle demolition began. Several enemy gun emplacements began to fire on the demolition teams and the support ships. At 1020I/28, USS LCS(L)-8 received a hit in the conn and at 1041 she received two more. Four men were slightly injured from shrapnel. Prior to this at 0740I/28, USS LCS(L)-41 received four hits from small automatic weapons. Damage was slight. At 1040I/28, the demolition charge was detonated and retirement commenced. The ships then returned to the anchorage.
On 29 June TU 78.2.9 conducted no operations.
At 0610I/30, the ships of TU 78.2.9 again go underway for the Klandasan area where the Underwater Demolition Teams were to complete their operations. Heavy air strikes and bombardment aided greatly in keeping enemy fire to a minimum. The Demolition Teams commenced operations at 0840I/30 and at 0945I/30 they were finished and detonated the charges. No damage was inflicted by the enemy on this day.
Pre-'Fox' day operations TG 74.2.
TG 74.2, at that moment made up of the light cruisers USS Montpelier, USS Columbia, USS Denver and the destroyers USS Conway, USS Stevens, USS Cony and USS Eaton, departed Tawi Tawi around 1430I/13. They then made rendezvous with TU 78.2.92 around 0720I/14 in position 01°01'N, 119°38'E. They then escorted this TU to the Balikpapan area.
It was the mission of TG 74.2 to destroyer enemy personnel, defences, installations and facilities in the Balikpapan Area in the vicinity of the landing beaches by gunfire and by directing air force aircraft in attack missions until the arrival of the Attack Group Commander.
On 15 June TG 74.2 with TU 78.2.93 arrived in the Balikpapan area. At 0745I/15 the COMTASKGR 74.2 directed the group to form the Fire Support Units as listed above (HrMs Tromp was to arrive later) and then for the Units to proceed independently with the cruisers streaming paravanes.
At 0807I/15, USS Denver completed streaming paravanes and proceeded with USS Stevens and USS Eaton in support of the minesweepers.
Shortly after noon a flight of B-24's bombarded Balikpapan. Following the read a large column of black smoke was sighted rising from the Manggar area and later also from the area of Signal Hill.
At 0719I/16, USS Stevens was ordered to assist the minesweepers with navigation using her SG radar.
At 1027I/16, USS Conway made a depth charge attack on an A/S contact but it was later thought to have been a submerged wreck.
At 0720I/17, USS Stevens was again detached to assist the minesweepers with navigation.
Around 1230I/17, a flight of B-24's bombarded Balikpapan. They did not made contaced with the Commander Support Aircaft on board USS Montpelier.
Around 1430I/17, three squadrons of Liberators bombarded the target area. These had contacted the Commander Support Aircraft on board USS Montpelier successfully before they started their attacks.
At 1450I/17, USS Denver commenced a bombardment from long range with an aircraft spotting.
At 1500I/17, USS Montpelier commenced a bombardment with an aircraft spotting.
In the evening of the 17th TU 74.2 was attacked by enemy aircraft but no damage was sustained. It was estimated that seven aircraft had attacked. Their result was several near misses.
At 1000I/18, B-24 bombers attacked Balikpapan again. The entire area of the attack was shrouded by smoke. One hour later eight more B-24 squadrons were over the target area but six of them bombard the secondary target, the Manggar area, due to bad visibility over the primary target.
At 1256I/18, the Fire Support Units opened a counter battery fire after USS YMS-50 had been mines and taken under fire by the enemy.
At 1516I/18, wounded and survivors from USS YMS-50 were put on board USS Montpelier.
At 1602I/18, USS Denver sank the wreck of USS YMS-50 with gunfire.
Around 1000I/19, the first B-24's of the day arrived over the target area. More strikes followed during the day.
At 1230I/19, USS YMS-10 reported being fired upon. USS Stevens was ordered to give her support and she was able to silence the enemy gun.
At 1340I/19, USS Conway was detached to give navigational aid to the YMS minesweepers. She rejoined on completion of this task at 1725I/19.
At 1625I/19, HrMs Tromp arrived from Morotai and reported for duty with TG 74.2.
During the morning of 20 June the destroyers fuelled from the cruisers.
Around noon air strikes commenced. More strikes followed during the afternoon.
At 1530I/20, HrMs Tromp dropped two depth charges on an A/S contact but lost the contact immediately afterwards. The A/S contact was probably a wreck.
In the afternoon of the 20th some wounded men from the damaged USS YMS-368 were put on board USS Denver for treatment.
Around 0920I/21, B-24's arrived to commence this day's air attacks.
Around 1140I/21, USS Denver opened fire on enemy coast batteries.
Around 1255I/21, cruisers and destroyers again opened fire on enemy coast batteries after USS YMS-52 had been fired upon.
At 1452I/21, YMS's were taken under fire by a previously unreported enemy battery. USS YMS-335 was hit. The destroyers were ordered to take silence this enemy coast battery. Four casualties and five wounded from USS YMS-335 were later transferred to USS Montpelier.
At 1535I/21, USS Conway was detached to give navigational aid to some YMS minesweepers. On completion of this duty she rejoined her Unit. Some cover fire was provided from time to time by the cruiser and destroyers of TU 74.2.
At 0915I/22, the first air strike of the day hit the target area. As usual air strikes continued throughout the day.
At 1000I/22, the leading YMS was taken under fire by enemy guns. TF 74.2 replied with a heavy barrage.
At 1657I/22, USS YMS-53 was taken under fire by the enemy. TF 74.2 replied with gunfire.
During 23 June 1945, USS Montpelier, USS Denver, USS Columbia, HrMs Tromp, USS Conway, USS Stevens, USS Cony, USS Eaton, USS Cofer, USS Schmitt and USCG Gualala were fuelled by USS Chepachet which had arrived escorted by USS Leland E. Thomas. On completion of the fuelling operations they left for Tawi Tawi.
At 0835I/23, USS Denver and USS Conway were fired upon by enemy coastal batteries. these were immediately taken under fire and the enemy guns ceased fire.
At 1130I/23, a target that had been taken under fire by USS Montpelier blew up with a series of violent explosions. This must have been an ammunition dump.
At 1145I/23, air strikes commenced.
At 1303I/23, YMS were taken under fire by enemy shore batteries. These were quickly silenced by counter battery fire from the cruisers and destroyers.
On 24 June 1945, several ships of TG 74.2 were ammunitioned by USS LST-67 which had arrived escorted by USS Bell. This continued also on 25 June. Upon completion of ammunitioning these were ordered to proceed to Tawi Tawi.
At 0415I/24, USS Cony was detached to aid the YMS with navigation during their operations.
At 0840I/24, an enemy AA battery, which had opened fire on spotting aircraft, was taken under fire and silenced by USS Columbia.
At 1015I/24, USS Denver reported having knocked out an enemy gun.
Around 1100I/24, heavy air strikes commenced. Several bombs however landed way too close to Allied ships.
At 0400I/25, USS Denver, USS Conway and USS Cony were ordered to provide fire support during operations of Underwater Demolition Team 11 during operations on the Manggar and Manggar Ketjil beaches. B-25's also supported the operation with low level bombing attacks. One B-25 crashed, its crew being rescued by USS Cony.
At 0959I/25, the leading YMS was taken under fire by enemy shore batteries. USS Montpelier, USS Eaton and USS Stevens replied with counter battery fire.
Around 1113I/25, B-24's commenced the days air attacks on Balikpapan.
At 1155I/25, USS Bell silenced an enemy gun with several salvoes.
In the evening of the 25th, enemy aircraft attacked the forces in the Balikpapan area but no damage was done by them. Several attackers were shot down.
During the night of 25/26 June 1945, USS Cony conducted a night harassing mission off the Manggar / Manggar Ketjil beaches.
At 0500I/26, USS Denver and USS Conway were ordered to join USS Cony off the the Manggar / Manggar Ketjil beaches to give support to the Underwater Demolition Teams that were to operate there this morning. On completion of the operations they rejoined the remainder of TF 74.2.
At 0735I/26, the operations by the Underwater Demolition Teams commenced. B-24's and B-25's also assisted with bombing strikes which were very effective and were completed around 0815I/26. More air strikes on the Balikpapan area were conducted later in the morning and very early in the afternoon.
After USS YMS-365 had hit a mine. Her survivors were later put on board USS Columbia as did the survivors from USS YMS-39 which had also been mined later the same afternoon.
At 0610I/27, USS Stevens was detached to aid the LCS with navigation during their support of the Underwater Demolition Teams at Klandasan beach.
Around 0815I/27, air strikes commenced.
At 0950I/27, fire was opened on enemy guns in the beach area.
Around 1000I/27, TG 74.1, made up of HMAS Shropshire, HMAS Hobart, HMAS Arunta, USS Hart and USS Metcalf arrived in the area from Tawi Tawi.
Around 1105I/27, USS Edwin A. Howard, USS Mobjack and eight Motor Torpedo Boats (from MTB RON 10; USS PT-163, USS PT-167, USS PT-170, USS PT-174 and from MTB RON 27; USS PT-361, USS PT-372, USS PT-373 and USS PT-377) arrived in the area from Tawi Tawi.
During the night of 27/28 June 1945, four Motor Torpedo Boats patrolled the area. These were from MTB RON 10; USS PT-167 and USS PT-170 and from MTB RON 27; USS PT-372 and USS PT-377.
At 0425I/28, USS Stevens was detached to again aid the LCS with navigation during their support of the Underwater Demolition Teams.
At 0547I/28, Both TG 74.1 and 74.2 were ordered to take up their assigned bombardment stations.
At 0650I/28, firing from the beach against the LCS(L)'s was reported. The cruisers were ordered to commence a bombardment.
At 0758I/28, B-25's commenced bombarding the beach area in support of the Underwater Demolition Teams. The strike lasted for about 10 minutes.
The enemy was much more active this day and from time to time engaged our forces which each time replied with gunfire to silence the enemy guns.
At 1026I/28, USS LCS(L)-28 was hit. Five minutes afterwards she reported to have lost steering control but last she regained control after having effected repairs.
At 1030I/28, the demolition charges set by the Underwater Demolition Units went off, on schedule despite the enemy's efforts to frustrate their work.
During the night of 28/29 June 1945, USS Stevens conducted a night harassing mission along the Klandalan beaches while MTB's (from MTB RON 27; USS PT-361 and USS PT-373) operated off the Manggar beaches. Also patrolling were from MTB RON 10; USS PT-163 and USS PT-174 to the south of Balikpapan and from MTB RON 27; USS PT-372 and PT-377 off the Pengah River mouth.
At 1142I/29, the first flight of B-24's started to attack targets in the vicinity of Signal Hill. More attacks followed throughout the day.
At 1245I/29, a B-25 crashed into the sea. Two survivors were picked up by a floatplane from USS Montpelier and later put on board the cruiser.
Late in the afternoon / early in the evening, the destroyers, less USS Stevens, fuelled from the cruisers.
During the night of 29/30 June 1945, USS PT-163 and USS PT-170 patrolled to the south-west of Balikpapan. PT-167 and USS PT-377 patrolled between the Manngar River estuary and Sepinggan.
At 0830I/30, the LCS(L)'s were in position off Klandasan beach and opened fire to cover the Underwater Demolition Team swimmers. Air strikes also commenced shortly before 0900 hours.
At 0924I/30, the Underwater Demolition Teams reported having completed their objective. They had sustained no casualties, opposition had been light this morning.
USS Chepachet, escorted by Leland E. Thomas, had also returned from Tawi Tawi to fuel ships from TU's 74.1 and 74.2. During the day she fuelled; USS Montpelier, USS Conway, USS Denver, USS Stevens, USS Columbia, USS Edwin A. Howard, HMAS Shropshire, USS Schmitt, HMAS Hobart and USS Killen.
At 1645I/30, fire was opened on enemy shore batteries by USS Hart after USS YMS-314 was taken under fire which herself also replied with her 3" gun.
Around 1925I/30, TG 74.1 and 74.2 retired from the area for the night minus USS Denver and USS Hart remained off Klandasan to cover the area from possible minelaying operations by the enemy. Also USS Metcalf remained behind for a night harassing fire mission.
During the night of 30 June / 1 July, USS PT-372 and USS PT-377 patrolled between Manggar and Sambodja and USS PT-361 and USS PT-373 patrolled between between Stalkoedo and Manggar Ketjil.
'Fox' day approaching, more cover forces arriving in the area.
As 'Fox' day (1 July 1945) was now approaching more cover forces were despatched to the area.
At 0610I/26, TG 78.4, the Escort Carrier Group departed Leyte for Balikpapan. It was made up of the escort carriers USS Suwanee, USS Block Island and USS Gilbert Islands which were escorted by They were escorted by the destroyer USS Dale and the destroyer escorts USS Mitchell, USS Donaldson, USS Cloues USS Lamons and USS Kyne.
At 1900I/28, USS Nashville, USS Charette and USS Bell from TG 74.3 departed Tawi Tawi to make rendezvous with the Escort Carrier Group which they did at 0809I/29.
At 0838I/29, the light cruiser USS Phoenix and the destroyers USS Conner and USS Burns also joined. They had departed Morotai around 0630I/28.
After these forces had joined company the organisation now became as follows; TG 78.4 under command of T/Rear-Admiral W.D. Sample, USN, was divided into the following Units; TU 78.4.1 was the Escort Carrier Unit under T/Rear-Admiral W.D. Sample, USN (COMCARDIV 22), made up of the escort carriers USS Suwanee, USS Block Island and USS Gilbert Islands. On board USS Block Island was T/Rear-Admiral D. Ketcham, USN (COMCARDIV 27) as Second in Command). TU 78.4.2 was the Screen under T/Capt. J.H. Martin, USN (COMDESRON 51), made up of the destroyers USS Conner, USS Charette, USS Bell, USS Burns, USS Dale and the destroyer escorts USS Mitchell, USS Donaldson, USS Cloues, USS Lamons and USS Kyne. TU 78.4.3 was the Cruiser Unit under T/Rear-Admiral R.S. Berkey, USN, made up of the light cruisers USS Nashville and USS Phoenix (with CTF 78 embarked).
After TG 78.4 had formed up course was set for the Balikpapan area.
These was also TG 74.2 which departed Manila Bay for Balikpapan via Tawi Tawi at 1800I/27, TG 74.2.5, made up of the light cruiser USS Cleveland and the destroyers USS Albert W. Grant and USS Killen. On board the USS Cleveland was Army General MacArthur, Commander in Chief Southwest Pacific Aera (CinCSWPA), and his staff. In the morning of the 29th of June they made a short call at Tawi Tawi to pick up the latest mail for the CinCSWPA.
Now back to TG 78.4, at 1448I/29, USS Lamons obtained an A/S contact in position 01°34'N, 119°59'E and an emergency turn was made.
At 1454I/29, USS Lamons dropped a full pattern of depth charges. USS Dale went over to assist and both remained at the scene to hunt the possible enemy submarine while the remainder of the TG continued their passage towards Balikpapan. They rejoined the TG at 1924I/29.
During the 29th a continues CAP and A/S patrol had been maintained for the TG from 0636I/29 to 1920I/29.
On 30 June 1945 CAP and A/S patrol were maintained over the Balikpapan area from 0657I/30 to 1918I/30 and also over the own TG from 1352I/30 to 1918I/30. In the afternoon some of the escorts (USS Burns, USS Conner, USS Charrette, USS Dale and USS Bell) fuelled from either USS Suwanee and USS Block Island. Otherwise passage was uneventful and TG 78.4 arrived east of Balikpapan around 0730I/30.
TG 74.2 arrived in the Balikpapan area in the evening of 30 June.
Passage of the landing forces to the Balikpapan area.
The bulk the Balikpapan Attack Group (TG 78.2, see above) departed Morotai for the landing area on 26 June 1945 so as to arrive in the operations area on 30 June ('Fox'-1). Passage was uneventful and the first units crossed the 100 fathom curve shortly before midnight during the night of 30 June / 1 July. (1)
- Report by COMTASKGROUP 78.2 on the Balikpapan operation + Report by COMTASKGROUP 78.2.9 on the Balikpapan operation