Pennsylvania (BB 38) - Naval Cruise Book

 - Class of 1946

Page 16 of 72

 

Pennsylvania (BB 38) - Naval Cruise Book online yearbook collection, 1946 Edition, Page 16
Page 16



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THE NORTH PACIFIC CAMPAIGN-C0n1'il1UeCI APD. The J. FRANKLIN BELL commenced land- ing troops and supplies on Red Beach while the PENNSYLVANIA cmd IDAHO withdrew to the northward and prepared to execute fire support missions as directed. BLIND FIRING ' The PENNSYLVANlA'S first bombardment mission was ordered that afternoon. A heavy fog covered the area, and the approach had to be made entirely by radar. Likewise the bombardment had to be conducted entirely by indirect fire methods, land was never sighted. At 1514 the starboard secondary battery opened fire at a range of about 9000 yards. 672 rounds of A.A. common, set for both air and ground bursts, were expended during the shoot, and only the secondary bat- tery fired. There was no observation of the fall 'of shot. The second bombardment mission was or- dered the following morning..Again there was a dense fog, and again the approach was made by radar. Both the main and sec- ondary batteries fired, simultaneously during part of the run. The fire was spotted by a shore fire control party and, after the fog had lifted, by surface spotters. L I AN ENEMY TORPEDO The PENNSYLVANIA bombarded a third time on the afternoon of the 14th in support of the "Love" Hour infantry attack on the west arm of Holtz Bay. This time there was sufficient visibility to make the approach and first leg of the firing run by visual bearings, but then fog set in, and visibility remained low for the remainder of the day. All firing on the Holtz Bay area was spotted by a shore fire control party. The secondary battery, while firing at targets in the Chichagof Harbor area, was controlled by the ship's planes. The ship was maneuvered in a restricted area en- tirely by radar for over two hours, during which the main and secondary batteriesfired indirect fire atdesignated target areas with- out endangering our own infantry 500 yards to the right of the area and our scout troops 1500 yards beyond. This bombardment ma- terially weakened enemy resistance in the west arm of Holtz Bay, permitting our ground forces to advance into and occupy the area. Torpedoes were fired at the PENNSYL- VANIA on twouoccasions. First, on 12 May, as the ship was proceeding to the northward, away from the island, to reioin the IDAHO, a PBY on anti-submari ne patrol suddenly ra- clioed, "Look out for torpedo, torpedo headed for ship!" The ship was maneuvered at full speed, and lookouts sighted the torpedo wake passing safely astern. The PBY which had made the report flew back along the track of the torpedo and dropped a smoke bomb on the point from which it had been fired. Two destroyers, the EDWARDS and FARRA- GUT, were detached to destroy the subma- rine. They conducted a relentless attack for about ten hours, until the sub was finally forced to the surface and sunk by gunfire from the EDWARDS, in water more than 1000 fathoms deep. Five days later a definite oil slick covering about five square miles was still visible. . GASOLINE EXPLOSIONS ln the morning, two days later, the ship's OS2U's were launched and directed to pro- ceed to the CASCO, a seaplane tender, an- chored in Unnamed Cove, Massacre Bay. The planes and pilots operated from the CASCO until the 24th of May, spotting supporting naval gunfire and army. artillery fire and bombing and strafing enemy positions on Attu. From the 16th until the 19th the PENNSYL- VANIA operated with the NASSAU in an area about fifty miles north and east of Attu. Cn the 19th she headed for Adak. That after- noon, during a false air alert, an explosion occurred in the gasoline stowage compart- ment in the forward part of the ship. There were no casualties, but there was some struc- tural damage. - . The PENNSYLVANIA paused for one day at Adak and then proceeded to Bremerton. She remained in the Puget Sound Navy Yard through all of June and July, undergoing re- pairs and overhaul. Also additional radar and radio equipment was installed. On the eve-

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