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 of 72
Page 16 of 72



Pennsylvania (BB 38) - Naval Cruise Book online yearbook collection, 1946 Edition, Page 15
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Page 16 text:

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-

Page 15 text:

I Bering Sea, and on westward. Its objective was Attu. Japanese forces were known to have oc- cupied two islands in the Aleutians, Attu and Kiska. It was decided to strike first at Attu, the less strongly garrisoned of the twovand the westernmost island in the chain. .The weather in the Aleutians is notoriously bad. It is cold, the fogs are thick and almost continuous, and the seas are usually rough. More unfavorable conditions for an amphib'-Q ious operation would be difficult to find. "Dog" Day was set tentatively for the eighth of May, but on that day the seas were too heavy to permit a landing. The PENNSYL- VANIA patrolled first to the northeast of Attu and then with the two other battleships and a cruiser force to the west. "Dog" Day was set definitely for II May. On the afternoon of the IOth the battleships ioined with the transports of the task force, and that night in a dense fog two approach dispositions were formed, one of the transports and fire support ships, including the PENNSYLVANIA and IDAHO, to operate in the Holtz Bay-Chi- chagof Harbor area and the other of the ves- sels to operate in the Massacre Bay area. On the morning of II May the task group to which the PENNSYLVANIA had been as- signed arrived in the vicinity of Red Beach, which had been occupied before daylight by scout troops landed from submarines and an UPPER LEFT: lnformal attire is the order of the day in the press shop. UPPER RlGHTg War and peace make little difference to the barber. LOWER LEFT: Captain William A. Corn, Commanding Officer, and Commander Thomas H. Templeton, Executive Officer, 1943. LOWER RIGHT: Coming up in the wake is the quarterdeck dive bomber. 4, V 1 :WZ f "mag: A.:



Page 17 text:

ning of June the second, while the ship was in drydock, a second explosion occurred in the gasoline stowage compartment. Two men on fire watch duty were iniured, one seriously and one fatally. U On I August the PENNSYLVANIA departed from Bremerton for Adak. She waited there six days, and on the I3th of August the Kiska Attack Force got underway. Again the PENN- SYLVANIA was serving as flagship for Ad- miral Rockwell. However, she had not also been assigned the duties of a fire support vessel in this operation, as this would reduce the efficiency of the ship as a command ship, particularly by restricting her freedom of movement. If needed, though, the ammuni- tion was ready. By August the weather in the Aleutians was considerably milder than it had been in May for the Attu Operation, although it was still cool by ordinary standards and the area was as always, covered by patches of dense fog. Assault troops landed without opposition on the western beaches of Kiska on the morn- ing of August I5th and pressed inland. By the evening of the I6th it was evident that the island was completely uninhabited, that the Japs had evacuated under cover of fog sometime prior to the landing. The only living creatures found on the island were tworag- ged, lonely dogs. As a memento of the opera- tion, shipfitters aboard the PENNSYLVANIA made and presented to Admiral Rockwell a miniature fire hydrant. The PENNSYLVANIA cruised off.Kiska for a week and then returned to Adak. From there she steamed, southward for Pearl Harbor. In September, with no other iob to do at the time, she was assigned the duty of transport- ing 790 men from Pearl Harbor to the West Coast and of bringing another draft out. The ship remained at San Francisco only five days. She was not to see the States again for over I7 months. The PENNSYLVANIA at Bremenan r I I

Suggestions in the Pennsylvania (BB 38) - Naval Cruise Book collection:

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1946, pg 55

Pennsylvania (BB 38) - Naval Cruise Book online yearbook collection, 1946 Edition, Page 32

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Pennsylvania (BB 38) - Naval Cruise Book online yearbook collection, 1946 Edition, Page 9

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