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January 5, 2018

Action Report of the Destroyer Squadron Five on the Nasugbu Landing, Jan 1945

Transcription of an action report filed by COMDESRON 1 FIVE on the Nasugbu Landing of 31 January 1945. This is a declassified document2 taken from the United States National Archives.
[p. 1]
FC4-5/A16-3
Serial (012)
DESTROYER SQUADRON FIVE,
7 February 1945
CONFIDENTIAL

From:
To:
Via:



Subject:

Reference:


Enclosure:

The Commander Destroyer Squadron FIVE (CTU 78.2.8)
The Commander in Chief, United States Fleet.
(1) The Commander Amphibious Group EIGHT (CTG 78.2).
(2) The Commander SEVENTH Amphibious Force (CTF 78).
(3) The Commander SEVENTH Fleet (CTF 77).

Action Report, Assault Landing, Nasugbu Area, Luzon, 27 January - 2 February 1945.

(a) PacFlt Conf. Ltr. 1CL-45.
(b) CTG 78.2 OpPlan 1-45.

(A) Action Report, U.S.S. FLUSSER
(B) Action Report, U.S.S. SHAW
(C) Action Report, U.S.S. CONYNGHAM
(D) Action Report, U.S.S. RUSSELL
(E) Action Report, U.S.S. CLAXTON
(F) Action Report, U.S.S. SAUFLEY
(G) Action Report, U.S.S. RICHARD W. SUESENS
(H) Action Report, U.S.S. LOUGH
(I) Action Report, U.S.S. TINSMAN
PART I

Brief Summary

1. This Command was engaged in the subject operation as Commander of the Screen. No contacts were made with the enemy while proceeding to and from the objective area. Four destroyers of the screen conducted bombardment prior to the landing and provided subsequent call fire; no enemy gunfire was encountered by these ships. During the night of 31 January – 1 February an attack by 25 to 30 Japanese “Q” boats against the beach area was driven off by the outer screening vessels; during this action PC 1129 was sunk by an estimated 5 to 6 “Q” boats destroyed. During the night of 1-2 February ships of the screen engaged and sank two motor torpedo boats, which were later established as our own MTB’s 77 and 79.

PART II


Preliminaries

Task Unit 78.2.8 consisted of the following ships:

[p. 2]
FC4-5/A16-3
Serial (012)
DESTROYER SQUADRON FIVE,
7 February 1945
CONFIDENTIAL

Subject: Action Report, Assault Landing, Nasugbu Area, Luzon, 27 January - 2 February 1945.
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U.S.S. FLUSSER (DD368)4 (F)
U.S.S. SHAW (DD373)
U.S.S. CONYNGHAM (DD371)
U.S.S. CLAXTON (DD571)
U.S.S. RUSSEL (DD414) (detached1 February)
U.S.S. SAUFLEY (DD465) (joined 1 February)
U.S.S. LOUGH (DE586)5
U.S.S. TINSMAN (DE589)
U.S.S. RICHARD W. SUESENS (DE342)

The mission of this unit was to protect troop and cargo carriers of Task Group 78.2 from enemy air, submarine or surface attacks during passage from Leyte to Nasugbu and while in the objective area, and to provide Naval Gunfire Support at the objective area for the landing of assault troops of the 11th Airborne Division.

PART III

Chronological Account

3. 27 January

0630 – Screening vessels less TINSMAN and RICHARD W. SUESENS underway from Tolosa, Leyte and joined Task Group 78.2 in landing exercises off Tarrangona, Leyte.

1030 – Exercises complete; anchored.

1800 – Task Group underway for objective area. Ships of this unit took stations in anti-submarine and anti-aircraft defense screen in accordance with reference (b). PC 1129, PC 623 and 4 YMS6 were stationed additionally in screen. Station assignments were as follows:
STATION
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
SHIP
FLUSSER
YMS 340
YMS 52
YMS 10
YMS 368
CLAXTON
RUSSELL
COORDINATES
3.5000
3.2320
3.2040
   3280
   3080
3.5250
3.5110
STATION
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
SHIP
PC 623
PC 1129
SUESENS
TINSMAN
SHAW
CONYNGHAM
LOUGH
COORDINATES
4235
4125
5220
5140
6.2205
6.2155
6.9180
[p. 3]
FC4-5/A16-3
Serial (012)
DESTROYER SQUADRON FIVE,
7 February 1945
CONFIDENTIAL

Subject: Action Report, Assault Landing, Nasugbu Area, Luzon, 27 January - 2 February 1945.
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28 January

Shifted PC 623 to station 4, YMS 10 to station 8.

Shifted SUESENS to station 2 and TINSMAN to station 3 to provide better anti-submarine protection. YMS 52 was shifted to station 5. YSM 340 and YSM 368 were taken out of screen and joined main body; stations 10 and 11 abandoned.

29 January

No remarks.

30 January

1900 – Shifted PC 1129 to station 5. YMS 10 detached to return Mindoro. YMS 52 joined main group. CONYGHAM and SHAW took stations 11 and 10 respectively; stations 8, 9, 12, and 13 now empty.

2200 – RUSSELL proceeded ahead with mine sweeping unit to act as navigational guide and mine destruction ship.

31 January

0618 – Task Group deployed for landing operations. Ships of Task Group 78.2.8 took stations as follows:

CLAXTON – Fire Support Area A.
RUSSELL, FLUSSER, CONYNGHAM – Fire Support Area B.
SHAW – Outer radar picket and fighter director.
LOUGH, RICHARD W. SUESENS, TINSMAN – Outer A/S screen.

0625 – TINSMAN detached to rendezvous with Task Unit 77.2.2 (DENVER, FLETCHER, O’BANNON).

0715 – Fire Support ships commenced bombardment in accordance with AnnexC of reference (b). Schedule of fires was strictly adhered to. No return fire was encountered.

0812 – All fire support ships ceased firing.

0818 – Fire assault wave landed.

TINSMAN returned to outer screening station.

CLAXTON delivered counter better fire against machine gun nest at Wawa.

[p. 4]
FC4-5/A16-3
Serial (012)
DESTROYER SQUADRON FIVE,
7 February 1945
CONFIDENTIAL

Subject: Action Report, Assault Landing, Nasugbu Area, Luzon, 27 January - 2 February 1945.
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31 January (cont’d)

1117 – RUSSEL delivered counter battery fire against machine gun nest on Nasugbu Point.

1600 – SAUFLEY reported for duty and was stationed in outer screen.

1648 – RUSSEL detached and departed.

1830 – CTG 78.2 in SPENCER with SHAW, CONYNGHAM and SAUFLEY retired from beachhead area for night.

1900 – Stationed screeing vessels as follows:

Screen was formed along the area of a circle of five mile radius centered at Nasugbu, which placed the northern extremity at Fuego Point and the southern extremity at Talin Point, with Fortune Island about two miles west of the outer area of the arc. Ships are stationed along the arc in the following order from north to south: PC 623, RICHARD W. SUESENS, TINSMAN, LOUGH, PC 1129. FLUSSER and CLAXTON were stationed as screen support ships within the arc, off San Diego and Nasugbu Points respectively.

1909 – Bright moonlight (3/4 moon), sea smooth, light variable winds.

2257 – LOUGH reported numerous small boats in her vicinity.

2266 – PC 1129 reported several small boats close aboard (this was the only and last communication from PC 1129) and was told be alert for enemy “Q” boats.

2309 – LOUGH identified boats as enemy suicide craft and commenced firing. At about this time, unknown to this Command, PC 1129 was sunk.

2300-2400 – TINSMAN, CLAXTON and FLUSSER were directed to close and engage. LOUGH reported 25 to 30 “Q” boats in area.

Individual actions are reported in enclosures (A), (B), (E), and (I). In general, FLUSSER and CLAXTON illuminated with star shells from the north ward, and engaged with automatic weapons the few boats that had passed through to their areas, while LOUGH and TINSMAN closely engaged with automatic weapons the many boats that surrounded them further south. No “Q” boats penetrated beyond San Diego Point.

2340 – LOUGH reported having sunk two boats.

[p. 5]
FC4-5/A16-3
Serial (012)
DESTROYER SQUADRON FIVE,
7 February 1945
CONFIDENTIAL

Subject: Action Report, Assault Landing, Nasugbu Area, Luzon, 27 January - 2 February 1945.
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31 January (cont’d).

2340 – FLUSSER first observed capsized PC 1129 and survivors.

1 February

0000 – Action continuing with illumination and gunfire against targets of opportunity.

0023 – CLAXTON reported torpedo wake close aboard to starboard.

0030 – (about) All contacts lost, attack successfully repelled. LOUGH was directed to pick up survivors of PC 1129, screened by CLAXTON.

0105 – LOUGH completed picking up survivors, having recovered 7 officers and 56 enlisted men, of whom 14 were wounded (only one man was missing). LOUGH proceeded to beach to transfer wounded.

0100-0230 – TINSMAN, CLAXTON and FLUSSER swept and searched area, no further encounters with “Q” boats, no survivors (friend or enemy) found.

0230 – Ships resumed former screen stations.

0508 – LOUGH opened fire on single large enemy boat.

0513 – FLUSSER provided star shell illumination for LOUGH’s contact.

0515 – LOUGH reported boat sunk.

0538 – No further contacts, search discontinued, reformed screen.

0755 – FLUSSER discovered and shot Japanese survivor after he steadfastly refused to be picked up.

0800 – SAUFLEY (returning with CTG 78.2) engaged and sank one enemy “Q” boat.

0830 – CTG 78.2 in SPENCER, with SHAW, CONYNGHAM, and SAUFLEY returned to anchorage area. SHAW was stationed as radar picket and fighter director ship west of Fortune Island as before. CONYNGHAM and CLAXTON were stationed in outer screen.



[p. 6]
FC4-5/A16-3
Serial (012)
DESTROYER SQUADRON FIVE,
7 February 1945
CONFIDENTIAL

Subject: Action Report, Assault Landing, Nasugbu Area, Luzon, 27 January - 2 February 1945.
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1 February (cont’d)

1039-1100 – SAUFLEY engaged in call fire mission in vicinity of San Diego Point.

1145-1346 – CONYNGHAM and CLAXTON supported three LCI(G)8 on “Q” boat hunt in coves around Talin Point.

1900 – Formed screen along arc as on 31 January with ships in following order from north to south: PC 623, RICHARD W. SUESENS, CLAXTON, TINSMAN, CONYNGHAM, LOUGH. SHAW remained in picket station. FLUSSER and SAUFLEY stationed inside screen as support. SPENCER inside screen.

2250 – LOUGH reported surface contact and proceeded to investigate.

2250 – LOUGH reported visual contact with two large boats. CONYNGHAM was directed to support LOUGH.

2258-2348 – The two boats were taken under fire by LOUGH and CONYNGHAM, resulting in their destruction. Details are contained in enclosures (C) and (H).

2308 – LOUGH reported flotilla of small boats approaching (later identified as reefs). TINSMAN and CLAXTON were directed to close for further support. SHAW joined screen.

2330 – LOUGH reported small boats close inshore.

2332 – FLUSSER illuminated coastline between San Diego Point and Talin Point with star shells, results negative.

2400 – Screening ships resumed stations.

2 February

0110 – LST’s9 departed from beach area. Formed disposition for departure from Nasugbu area.

0240 – CTG 78.2 in SPENCER with LOUGH proceeded ahead, placing this Command as C.T.G. Group then consisted of 8 LST’s, 20 LCI(G), (M) and (R), U.S.S. GRASP, screened by FLUSSER, SHAW, CONYNGHAM, SAUFLEY, CLAXTON, RICHARD W. SUESENS, TINSMAN and PC 623. Set course for Mangarin Bay, Mindoro, at 10.5 knots.

1450 – TINSMAN detached, proceeding ahead.

[p. 7]
FC4-5/A16-3
Serial (012)
DESTROYER SQUADRON FIVE,
7 February 1945
CONFIDENTIAL

Subject: Action Report, Assault Landing, Nasugbu Area, Luzon, 27 January - 2 February 1945.
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2 February. (Continued)

1730 – Task Group arrived Mangarin Bay and proceeded to Anchorage.

PART IV

Ordnance

A. The following ammunition was expended in fire support of the landing.
FLUSSER
CONYNGHAM
RUSSELL
CLAXTON
SAUFLEY
415 rounds 5" AA  Common
451    "          "          "
490    "          "          "
581    "          "          "
 63     "          "          "

No difficulty was experienced by the fire support ships in fixing their positions and identifying their targets. The schedule of fires was followed closely. Cross-fire was used initially because of the indicated locations of possible shore batteries; as H hour approached the fire was fanned across the beach area, with ships finally ending up abreast their areas. Since there were no fixed defenses or opposition to the landing, the effectiveness of the fire cannot be judged. All targets were well covered, however. The details of performance of ordnance material will be found in the enclosed individual ship reports.

PART V

Damage

5. Battle damage to own units consisted of the sinking of the PC 1129. Full details are not available to this command, however it is considered that she was sunk by one or two depth charges being placed close aboard by suicide “Q” boats.

Battle damage to enemy units consisted of the loss of an estimated six suicide “Q” boats or similar craft.

PART VI

Special Comments

6. These comments are concerned principally with the night action against small craft on the night of 31 January – 1 February.

[p. 8]
FC4-5/A16-3
Serial (012)
DESTROYER SQUADRON FIVE,
7 February 1945
CONFIDENTIAL

Subject: Action Report, Assault Landing, Nasugbu Area, Luzon, 27 January - 2 February 1945.
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PART VI – Special Comments (Cont’d)

The approach of the Japanese “Q” boats was most difficult to detect. They were not picked up by any radars. They could be sighted with binoculars in bright moonlight at a range of about one thousand yards. When making speed, only the bow wave could be seen on first sighting, giving the appearance of a ski-board. At about five hundred yards, this bow wave could be seen with the naked eye.

It is estimated that the speed of these “Q” boats was between 10 and 15 knots. Their tactics seemed to be approach in column and then separate and surround a ship in groups of four to six. It is believed that their armament was principally depth charges which required them to approach practically alongside their victim. No machine gun fire from these boats was experienced. At least one torpedo seems to have been fired, and it is considered probable that a few torpedo launching craft or midget submarines accompanied the others. One “Q” boat was seen to jettison a depth charge, which exploded in his wake, and then retire to the shore line. There were several unexplained underwater explosions.

No main battery gunfire was directed at the “Q” boats because they could not be picked up and held by the director while the ships were maneuvering. The automatic weapon pointers were blinded by the tracers and lost sight of the targets after the first shot, however at very close ranges these weapons accounted for all boats that were sunk. Fifty caliber machine guns should be quite effective. Star shell illumination was useful for detection but did not prove to be of much assistance to the gun pointers. Searchlight illumination was not effective and is not recommended with multiple targets. Small arms were distributed about the ships and these should prove invaluable in some cases.

The tactics used against “Q” boats in this instance (where the problem was to deny them passage to an anchorage) provided a defense in depth with mutual support, and at the same time avoided too close a concentration with mutual interference. If only “Q” boats are present the best individual tactics are to employ moderate speed and modest maneuvering in order to avoid running them down and to prevent too many closing at once. However, if torpedo launching boats are also present, as is suspected in this case, it becomes necessary to maneuver constantly and requires extra vigilance by lookouts and extra skill by automatic weapon gunners.

Although there is a natural desire to destroy these boats at safe distances, it was found the “kills” could not be expected beyond ranges of about 100 yards, and some were destroyed as close as 25 yards. Therefore it is necessary to close them (or permit them to

[p. 9]
FC4-5/A16-3
Serial (012)
DESTROYER SQUADRON FIVE,
7 February 1945
CONFIDENTIAL

Subject: Action Report, Assault Landing, Nasugbu Area, Luzon, 27 January - 2 February 1945.
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PART VI – Special Comments (cont’d)

to close) to dangerously short ranges if they are to be destroyed. To stand off and engage at long ranges will permit them to pass through a screen and reach their objectives. They must be closely engaged by the screening vessels.

7. The sinking of two of our own MTB’s on the night off 1-2 February was most unfortunate, but from the viewpoint of the OTC and the screening vessels, entirely justifiable. The initial tactics of the MTB’s appeared menacing. At no time was satisfactory recognition established, either by visual challenge, IFF, voice, radio, or pyrotechnics. The possible presence of friendly MTB’s was questioned both by the LOUGH and by the screen commander, and any plain and simple gesture on their part would have sufficed to withhold action. However, they continued to maneuver within a limited area in a manner which was interpreted as a combination of evasion and repositioning for attack. Thirty minutes passed from the time of first contact until the first boat was hit by gunfire, during which time there was ample opportunity for the MTB’s to withdraw, call or answer on voice radio, fire recognition pyrotechnics, or even stop and turn on running lights. Having failed to do any of these things over this period, it not surprising that the infect role signaling by blinker light was disregarded by the attacking ship.

8. Comments concerning the operation of CIC, radar, and communications are contained in the individual action reports. The U.S.S. SHAW’s report contains comments on fighter direction. This command concurs in the various remarks.

PART VII

Personnel Performance and Casualties

9. The aggressive offense action of the U.S.S. LOUGH on the night of 31 January – 1 February was largely responsible for repelling the “Q” boat attack. This ship was handled skillfully and her gunfire produced the desired net result of sinking and dispersing the boats and forcing them to retire. Again on the night of 1-2 February the LOUGH turned in a highly creditable performance in the engagement with motor torpedo boats. The CONYNGHAM’s actions in this latter engagement were also skillful and effective. On both nights, the TINSMAN, CLAXTON and FLUSSER provided capable and effective support. The conduct and handling of all ships throughout the entire operation left nothing to be desired.

[p. 10]
FC4-5/A16-3
Serial (012)
DESTROYER SQUADRON FIVE,
7 February 1945
CONFIDENTIAL

Subject: Action Report, Assault Landing, Nasugbu Area, Luzon, 27 January - 2 February 1945.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PART VIII

Conclusions and Recommendations

10. The formation screening and fire support missions of TU 78.2.8 was more less routine and produced no unusual features calling for comment.

11. It is believed that the “Q” boat attack on 31 January – 1 February was the first occasion in which the enemy has made a concerted large scale attack by such craft. On the basis of this experience, and in anticipation of further similar attacks by the enemy, the following observations are made:

(a) First detection will probably be made visually.
(b) “Q” boats are not necessarily suicidal, they may drop depth charges and retire.
(c) “Q” boats may be accompanied by torpedo launching boats or midget submarines.
(d) “Q” boats must be closed to about 100 yards to be taken under effective fire by automatic weapons.
(e) “Q” boat tactics will probably be to surround a ship and so trap all directions of escape.
(f) Star shell illumination will assist detection and produce a demoralizing effect.
(g) Searchlight illumination is ineffective and potentially dangerous.
(h) Ships should be prepared to use small arms fire against “Q” boats.

12. It is recommended that our MTB’s be impressed with the value of pyrotechnic signals for recognition as a last resort. Such signals can do no harm and should at least serve as a warning to initiate further substantiation of an identity.

W.M. COLE.

CC:
Cominch (advance copy)
Comdespac

To view or download the original document, please refer to Item 2 below under Notes and References.

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Notes and references:
1 COMDESRON stands for Commander, “Destroyer squadron,” Wikipedia.
2COMDESRON 5 - Report of operations in support of the assault landing at Nasugbu, Luzon Island, Philippines, 1/31/45 2/1/45,” online at the United States National Archives.
3 PC stands for Patrol Vessel, Submarine Chaser. “Glossary of U.S. Naval Abbreviations – P,” online at Ibiblio.org.
4 DD stands for Destroyer. “Glossary of U.S. Naval Abbreviations – D,” online at Ibiblio.org.
5 DE Stands for Destroyer Escort. Glossary – D, ibid.
6 YSM stands for District Motor Mine Sweeper. “Glossary of U.S. Naval Abbreviations, Y,” online at Ibiblio.org.
7 “Q” boats were “Shin'yō-class suicide motorboat,” Wikipedia.
8 LCI(G) stands for “Landing Craft Infantry (Gunboat),” Wikipedia.
9 LST stands for “Landing Ship, Tank,” Wikipedia.

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