Allied Warships

USS Pope (i) (DD 225)

Destroyer of the Clemson class


USS Pope being sunk by the Japanese

NavyThe US Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassClemson 
PennantDD 225 
Built byWilliam Cramp and Sons (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.) 
Ordered 
Laid down9 Sep 1919 
Launched23 Mar 1920 
Commissioned27 Oct 1920 
Lost1 Mar 1942 
Loss position4° 00'S, 111° 30'E
History

USS Pope (Lt.Cdr. Welford Charles Blinn, USN) departs Surabaya, Netherlands East Indies on 28 February 1942 together with the British heavy cruiser HMS Exeter and the British destroyer HMS Encounter. The ships are ordered to try to escape through the Sunda Strait to Tjilatjap. Unfortunately they are spotted by Japanese warships and the Exeter and Encounter are sunk during the following engagement. Pope manages to escape only to be bombed by Japanese aircraft which leaves her unmanouverable after a near-miss. She is finally sunk by gunfire from Japanese warships in position 04º00'S, 111º30'E on 1 March 1942.only one rating is killed and 8 wounded which include the Commanding officer however 152 of the crew are Rescued by the IJNS Inazuma and Kawakaze and made Prisoners of war. Only 123 are liberated which include the Commanding officer and 29 died in captivity.

For the full action report see this website (offsite link).

 

Commands listed for USS Pope (i) (DD 225)

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CommanderFromTo
1Welford Charles Blinn, USN 1 Mar 1942

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Notable events involving Pope (i) include:


19 Feb 1942

Battle of Badoeng Strait

It was expected that the Japanese would soon land (night of 19/20 February 1942) on the south-east coast of Bali (Badoeng Strait). Rear-Admiral Doorman therefore wanted to attack them in three waves. The first wave came from Tjilatjap on the south coast of Java and consisted of the Dutch light cruisers HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN) and HrMs Java (Capt. P.B.M van Straelen, RNN), escorted by the Dutch destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN) and HrMs Kortenaer (Lt.Cdr. A. Kroese, RNN) as well as the US destroyers USS John D. Ford (Lt.Cdr. J.E. Cooper, USN) and USS Pope (Lt.Cdr. W.C. Blinn, USN). However while leaving Tjilatjap in the evening of the 18th the Dutch destroyer Kortenaer grounded and was only able to get of at high tide therefore was no longer part of this force.

The second wave was made up of the Dutch light cruiser HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and four US destroyers; USS Stewart (Lt.Cdr. H.P. Smith, USN), USS Parrott (Lt.Cdr. J.N. Hughes, USN), USS Pillsbury (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Pound, USN) and USS John D. Edwards (Lt.Cdr. H.E. Eccles, USN). They sailed from Surabaya in the afternoon of the 19th

Finally the third wave was made up of the Dutch Motor Torpedo Boats; HrMs TM-4 (Lt. J.E. Gobée, RNN), HrMs TM-5 (S.Lt. E.J. Hoeksel, RNN), HrMs TM-6 (S.Lt. P. van Rees, RNN), HrMs TM-8 (Lt. J.G. Treffers, RNN), HrMs TM-9 (Lt. J.A. van Beusekom, RNN), HrMs TM-10 (S.Lt. J.W. Boon, RNN(R)), HrMs TM-11 (S.Lt. A.A.F. Schmitz, RNN), HrMs TM-15 (Lt. H.C. Jorissen, RNN). HrMs TM-13 (?) was also part of this force but acted as 'rescue boat'. Shortly after their sailing from Surabaya in the evening of the 18th HrMs TM-6 was forced to return due to engine trouble. These Motor Torpedo Boats proceeded through Strait Bali and anchored in three bay's on the Java side to refuel which took the whole day. In the evening of the 19th they departed for Badoeng Strait.

The Japanese attack on Bali was carried out by two transport ships Sasako Maru (7180 GRT, built 1941) and Sagami Maru (7189 GRT, built 1940). They had on board part of the Imperial Japanese Army’s 48th Infantry Division and had departed Makassar for Bali during the night of 17/18 February. They were escorted by four destroyers; Asashio (Lt.Cdr. G. Yoshii), Oshio (Cdr. K. Kikkawa) Arashio (Cdr. H. Kuboki) and Michishio (Lt.Cdr. M. Ogura). Distant cover was provided by the light cruiser Nagara (Capt T. Naoi, flagship of Rear-Admiral K. Kubo) escorted by three destroyers Hatsushimo (Lt.Cdr. S. Kohama), Nenohi (Lt.Cdr. T. Chihagi) and Wakaba (Lt.Cdr. M. Kuroki).

The Japanese landed around 0200/19 on the south coast of Bali. The transports were attacked unsuccessfully by the American submarine USS Seawolf. Seawolf herself was then counter attacked with depth charges by the destroyers but managed to escape.

During the day the Japanese transports were attacked from the air and the Sagami Maru was damaged. She left the landing zone escorted by the destroyers Arashio and Michishio. The undamaged Sasako Maru remained in the landing zone to pick up the landing barges. The destroyers Asashio and Oshio remained with her.

The allied first attack wave arrived south of Bali around 2130/19. A line was then formed in the order, HrMs De Ruyter, HrMs Java, HrMs Piet Hein, USS John D. Ford and finally USS Pope. Speed was increaded to 27 knots and they proceeded up Badoeng Strait. Around 2230 hours HrMs De Ruyter and HrMs Java opened fire on the Japanese which were taken by surprise. The Asashio turned a searchlight on which was quickly taken out by a salvo from the Java. The Dutch cruisers claimed heavy damage on the enemy but according to Japanese reports on the battle damage was only minor and after being initially taken by surprise the Japanese soon counter attacked. By that time however the Dutch cruisers had moved on.

The Allied destroyers were further behind the cruisers then intended and now arrived on the scene. Piet Hein was a little ahead of the US destroyers and opened fire with her 4.7” guns and also fired two torpedoes. Shortly afterwards two more torpedoes were fired but none found their intended target. Piet Hein then turned around towards the US destroyers with the intention to attack the Japanese again. While doing so her smoke generator was started. It is not completely clear but it is possible that one of these US destroyers then engaged Piet Hein with gunfire thinking she was Japanese. It is also possible that it were the Japanese that engaged Piet Hein. At this time Piet Hein was hit several times, resulting in her to come to a stop. After about 15 minutes Piet Hein was illuminated by a Japanese searchlight and taken under fire. The crew was ordered to abandon the doomed destroyer and she soon sank.

USS John D. Ford and Pope sighted a Japanese transport vessel (this must have been the Sasaga Maru) and what they thought to be a Japanese cruiser but this must have been the destroyer Oshio. They launched torpedoes (Ford – three, Pope - five) and turned away. Asashio and Oshio when went after them. The Americans thought they faced a very powerful enemy, even heavy cruisers were thought to be present. Both destroyers then retired to the south-east to return to Tjilatjap. Shortly afterwards they heard gunfire. This gunfire was coming from both Japanese destroyer that were now engaging each other by mistake. After a few minutes the mistake was noticed and both Japanese destroyer retired up the Strait to the north.

Meanwhile the Allied second attack wave was nearing the scene of the action. They had arrived south of Bali around 0100/20. The four US destroyers were ahead of the Tromp. It was intended that the four US destroyer would enter Badoeng Strait and attack with torpedoes first and that the Tromp would come behind them to finish off the Japanese after the confusion of the torpedo attack. During the torpedo attack a total of fifteen torpedoes were fired, six each by USS Stewart and USS Pope and three by USS Pillsbury. Their targets, Asashio and Oshio were not hit and both Japanese destroyers now went after their attackers. Stewart was then hit with gunfire. The US destroyers then set course to the east to leave Badoeng Strait. Now Tromp went in. Soon she was illuminated by a searchlight and the Japanese opened fire. Thy obtained eleven hits on the Tromp causing heavy damage to the Dutch cruiser. The Oshio on her turn was seriously damaged by the Tromp. The action was over around 0215/20 and Tromp retired from the Strait to the north-east. When north of Bali she went to full speed and returned to Surabaya for repairs.

Japanese Rear-Admiral Kubo, on board the Nagara, had meanwhile ordered the Arashio and Michishio to return to Badoeng Strait (Nagara and her three escorting destroyers were too far off). When the two Japanese destroyers entered the Strait they encountered the four US destroyers. Both sides launched torpedoes but all missed their intended targets and then a gunfight was started. During this gunfight the Michishio was heavily damaged and in the end she had to be towed back to Makassar. The US destroyer meanwhile continued to retire from the area.

The third wave then entered the Strait. The Dutch MTB’s had seen the second wave attacking but when they entered Badoeng Strait the Japanese were not sighted and they left without being able to fire torpedoes.

The Allies were at that time under the impression that they had obtained a victory. They thought to have sunk a Japanese cruiser and have damaged two more cruisers and two destroyers. This was not the case, one Japanese destroyer was heavily damaged and one seriously. In return the Japanese sank a Dutch destroyer and damaged the Dutch cruiser Tromp heavily. As the Dutch naval base at Surabaya was now under daily air attack it was deemed wise to sent the Tromp to Australia for repairs.

Media links


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


Blood on the Sea

Parkin, Robert Sinclair


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(EUR 27.49)


U.S. Destroyers

Friedman, Norman


United States Destroyer Operations In World War II.

Roscoe, Theodore


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