Action Report: USS Ward

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Subject: Sinking of a Japanese Submarine by U.S.S. Ward.

While patrolling Pearl Harbor Entrance on Sunday, December 7, 1941, the U.S.S. Ward attacked an unidentified submarine in the Restricted Area off the Harbor.

The facts are as follows:

    Damage Reports: Ships

    This is an enclosure as part of the Commander-in-Chief, United States Pacific Fleet, 15 February, 1942. Read the full Report.

    BATTLESHIPS

    USS Arizona sank at her berth as a result of one or more aircraft torpedoes and about eight heavy bomb hits. One of the bomb hits (estimated as 2,000 pounds) exploded the forward magazines. The ship is considered to be a total wreck except for material which can be salvaged and reassigned.

    USS California sank at her berth as a result of hits by two aircraft torpedoes and one or more near bomb misses. Also received one large bomb hit on starboard upper deck abreast of foremast, which caused a serious 5-inch powder fire. It sank gradually for about three or four days and is now resting rather solidly on a mud bottom. The quarterdeck is under about twelve feet of water, and the port side of forecastle is under about three feet of water.

    USS Nevada struck by one or more aircraft torpedoes and by at least five bombs and two near misses. Each of the near misses caused rupturing of the hull on the port and starboard bows, respectively. One bomb hit in way of foremast caused explosion and fire damage which wrecked the vertical area extending from the second deck to the bridge. Several bomb hits wrecked the forecastle from side to side forward of No. 1 turret, and this damage extended down to the second deck. Fragments from a bomb hit amidships caused considerable local damage to the mainmast, stack, and other structure, and caused many casualties to 5-inch gun crews.

    USS Oklahoma capsized at her berth within eight to eleven minutes after receiving three or more hits by aircraft torpedoes. the hull is 20° to 30° to being up-side down, with a considerable portion of the bottom and starboard side above water.

    USSPennsylvania one bomb hit in way of after 5-inch gun starboard side. The vessel was in drydock No. 1. The damage from bomb explosion was considerable but not of a vital nature, although there were a large number of casualties and one gun was put out of commission. The damage did not extend below the second deck.

    USS Maryland two bomb hits on forecastle. One small bomb (probably 100 pounds) passed through the forecastle deck forward of the chain pipes and exploded on the maindeck causing only a small amount of damage. The second bomb, (probably 500 pounds) passed through port side of the sip about twelve feet under water and exploded in the C&R storeroom. This explosion wrecked flats and bulkheads in that area, and fragments caused numerous leaks through the sides and bottom. These leaks were temporarily patched without going into drydock.

    USS Tennessee two bomb hits (probably 15-inch shell type). One of the bombs struck the center gun of No. 2 turret causing a large crack which necessitated replacement of the gun. This bomb exploded and did considerable local fragment damage. Another similar bomb struck the top of No. 3 turret and penetrated same in way of a riveted joint. This bomb was a dud and did no serious damage except for putting one rammer out of commission. The USS Tennessee suffered serious damage aft in officers' quarters due to fire resulting from the great heat caused by the oil fire starting from the USS Arizona. The shell plates around the stern were somewhat buckled and joints broken.

    USS West Virginia sank at her berth as a result of four or five aircraft torpedo hits and at least two bomb hits. The vessel rests on a hard bottom with all spaces flooded up to two or three feet below the main deck. Most of the damage from torpedoes is in the midship area, which is badly wrecked both below water and above water. A large bomb passed through the foretop and the boat deck and apparently exploded near the port side on the main or second deck. This explosion caused considerable wreckage and a terrific powder and oil fire, which burned out the whole area and extended to the foremast structure up to and including the bridge. A second bomb hit the top of turret III and passed through the 6-inch top. The nature of the penetration indicated defective material. This bomb did not explode but caused damage to the slide of the left gun. Recently another torpedo hole, and parts of the torpedo, have been located aft under the counter. The steering engine room appears to be wrecked and the rudder is lying on the bottom.

    CRUISERS

    USS Helena hit at frame 80 starboard side by aircraft torpedo causing the flooding of No. 1 and firerooms and the forward engineroom. The starboard engine was found to be seriously damaged. Temporary repairs to hull were completed at Pearl Harbor, T.H., and the vessel has proceeded to mare Island under two shafts to await permanent repairs.

    USS Honolulu damaged by near miss of large bomb (probably 500 pounds) which passed through dock and exploded fifteen or twenty feet from the port side at frame 40. This explosion caused considerable damage to the hull and resulted in the flooding of storerooms and magazines in that area, and also drowned out the electric power cables of turret II. Most of the flooding resulted from rupture of a magazine flood seachest; the hull of the ship was not opened up but leaked some due to pulled joints and rivets. Permanent repairs were completed at Pearl Harbor, T.H.

    USS Raleigh hit by one aircraft torpedo amidships on port side which flooded out the forward half of the machinery plant. The ship was also hit by one bomb (probably 500 pounds) which passed through three decks and out the ship's side, and finally exploded about fifty feet away. The damage from the explosion was not extensive, but together with the hold made in the side, caused serious flooding on the port side aft. This flooding was out of all proportion to the extent of damage and resulted from inability to close armored hatches tightly against the water head. The bomb struck only a few feet abaft the gasoline stowage. permanent repairs to the hull are being completed at Pearl Harbor, T.H. The vessel will return to Mare Island about the middle of February for permanent repairs to machinery and power leads, this being necessitated primarily by replacement of one boiler and the cast iron turbine casings of engine No. 4.

    DESTROYERS

    USS Shaw hit by one bomb while docked on floating drydock; also hit by many fragments from another bomb which struck the drydock. The serious fire following bomb hits resulted in blowing up of forward magazine and heat damage to shell plating in the forward areas. The after part of the ship was not seriously damaged. The Shaw was re-docked on the same drydock on January 26, 1942, for installation of a false bow at about frame 50. The vessel will be ready to proceed to Mare Island under her own power between 01 and 15 February.

    USS Cassin and USS Downes: Cassin was struck by one bomb and Downes by two (probably 500 pounds). These vessels were in drydock No. 1 ahead of the Pennsylvania. One bomb explosion aft between the two vessels apparently knocked the Cassin partly off the drydock blocking and caused her to fall over on the Downes when the dock was being flooded during the raid. This caused a serious structural failure amidships and considerable local damage in way of the bridge. The torpedo warheads in the starboard tube of the Downes were set off and blew out the maindeck and starboard side of the vessel in that area. This caused some damage to boilers and engines. A serious oil fire followed the explosion and caused extensive damage to the hull of both vessels. Fragments and explosions have caused over 200 holes in the hull of the Cassin and probably well over 400 in the hull of the Downes.

    Most of the machinery of both ships has been removed for examination and re-conditioning, and it now appears that the machinery of the Cassin is 98% good and the Downes about 95% good. Permanent and temporary repairs have been made on the hull of the Cassin to permit her re-floating about February 5, and similar work is proceeding on the Downes.

    At present it appears inadvisable to count on the recommissioning of these two vessels as first-line destroyers, but it is likely that repairs can be effected within two to four months which will make the vessels entirely suitable for escort vessels, thus releasing two first-line destroyers from this duty.

    AUXILIARY VESSELS

    USS Oglala sunk by one aircraft torpedo which passed under the ship from the starboard side and exploded against the starboard side of the Helena. Vessel sank slowly at ten-ten dock, capsized against the dock about 11/2 hours after being struck. This vessel is probably not worth salvaging but plans are being made to remove her from the berth that she now occupies.

    USS Curtiss struck on kingpost starboard crane by Japanese airplane out of control. This resulted in some wreckage and damage due to fire. machinery of the crane was seriously damaged and the radio antennae were put out of commission. one bomb (probably 500 pounds) struck the forward end of the hangar on the port side off the center line, exploding on the second deck. The explosion and resulting fire caused a great amount of wreckage and loss of material. Temporary repairs have been completed and permanent repairs await availability of the ship at the Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor.

    USS Vestal struck by two bombs (probably 500 pounds). One bomb hit forward and exploded in the steel shape storage, which stopped a large part of the fragments and minimized damage considerably. The other bomb struck aft and exploded in the hold, causing a large number of fragment holes through the shell. Flooding aft caused the after part of the vessel to submerge almost to the main deck. The vessel was alongside the Arizona when the raid commenced and was beached at Aeia to prevent further sinkage. Temporary repairs have been completed during a short stay in drydock, and permanent work will be completed when a dock is available.

    USS Utah struck by two, and possibly three, aerial torpedoes capsized at berth. Ship is within a few degrees of being exactly upside down.