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Formerly Classified Documents Subsequent to 4 August
USS Turner Joy (DD-951)
Care of Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California
11 September 1964
OPNAV Report Symbol 3480-5
From: Commanding Officer, USS Turner Joy (DD-951)
To: Chief of Naval Operations
Via: (1) Commander Destroyer Division ONE NINETY-TWO (CTG 72.1)
(2) Commander Carrier Division FIVE (CTF 77)
(3) Commander SEVENTH Fleet
(4) Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet
Subj: Action Report for Gulf of Tonkin, 4 August 1964
Ref: (a) United States Navy Regulations, Article 0705
(b) NWIP 10-1(a) Art. 220
Encl: (1) Action Report
1. In accordance with references (a) and (b), enclosure (1) is submitted herewith.
R. C. BARNHART, Jr.
[end of cover sheet]
1. On 2 August 1964, Task Group 72.1 consisting of USS Maddox (DD-731), commanded by CDR Herbert L. OGIER, Jr., USN, with Commander Destroyer Division 192 (CTG 72.1), Captain J. J. HERRICK, USN, embarked, was conducting a surveillance and intelligence patrol (DESOTO) in the Gulf of Tonkin. During the afternoon of that date, Maddox, while in international waters about 28 miles from the coast of North Vietnam was attacked by three North Vietnamese (DRV) PT boats. Maddox successfully evaded three observed torpedoes and took the attacking PT boats under fire. Maddox suffered no damage.
2. USS Turner Joy (DD-951), commanded by CDR Robert C. BARNHART, Jr., USN, was directed to proceed into the Gulf of Tonkin and join Maddox in retiring to the Southeast. By MSG 022225Z August 1964, Commander SEVENTH Fleet directed CTG 72.1 to take operational control of Turner Joy for resumption of the DESOTO patrol in company with Maddox. A newly prescribed patrol route was specified in CINCPACFLT MSG 021104Z August 1964.
3. Turner Joy's specific mission was to assist Maddox in the continuance of the DESOTO patrol. The Order of Battle and composition of hostile forces were only vaguely known to Turner Joy prior to the engagement due to her late entry into the patrol. As the patrol progressed Turner Joy received various amplifying information from CTG 72.1 concerning the patrol route and possible hostile forces.
4. CTG 72.1 outlined the maneuvering instructions for Turner Joy and Maddox in his 030303Z August 1964. Turner Joy was directed to conform to the general movements of Maddox, 1000 to 2000 yards astern, maneuvering independently to unmask batteries and evade torpedoes. In the event of a combined air and surface attack Turner Joy would engage air contacts with her 5-inch mounts (5"/54 cal. rapid-fire) and surface contacts with her 3-inch mounts (3"/50 cal. rapid-fire), while Maddox took surface contacts under fire with both her 5-inch (5"/38 cal.) and 3-inch (3"/50 cal.) mounts. Both ships were alerted to the possibility of attack by hostile high-speed small craft.
5. The prescribed patrol was carried out during daylight hours on 3 and 4 August 1964. At 1608G on 4 August the two ships turned East (090) to retire for the night to a predetermined 24-mile square area contered about 100 miles from the DRV coast. At no time during the day did the patrol approach closer than 16 miles to the coast of North Vietnam.
6. While proceeding East on the evening of 4 August 1964, enroute to the night steaming area, Turner Joy and Maddox maintained a column formation with Maddox the guide and Turner Joy 1000 yards astern. Both ships were completely darkened. Turner Joy's Surface Search Radar (AN/SPS-103) was tuned for a short range search to facilitate station keeping while operating at high speeds at darkened ship. The visibility was poor, there being a very thick cloud cover and no moonlight. Ceiling was approximately 2000 feet, and occasional flashes of lightning were observed on the horizon. The horizon was undistinguishable except during the lightning flashes.
7. Condition of Readiness III and Modified Material Condition ZEBRA were set on Turner Joy. Maddox was Surface Raid Reporting Control Ship (SRRCS) and all "SKUNKS" (unidentified surface contacts) were designated by her CIC.
8. At 1945G Maddox held a surface contact at 070T, range 36.4 miles. Within the next five minutes two more contacts were detected in the same general locale. These contacts were tracked on a southerly course at speeds up to 33 knots. At 2007G Maddox held these three contacts merging at approximately 32 miles. A navigational plot at this time placed all three contacts in the northern section of the night steaming area utilized by Maddox and Turner Joy on the night of 3 August. It is believed that the location of these contacts together with their southerly heading at high speed, led to the OTC's evaluation of a possible trap for the two destroyers.
9. Upon detection and evaluation, CTG 72.1 turned the formation on a south-easterly course (130T) to open the threat and ordered maximum boiler power. Approximately one half hour later, when the OTC altered the formation course to 160T, the contacts were tracked on a parallel course, but were held to be adjusting speed in an attempt to gage the destroyers' track.
10. In the ensuing action standard evasion doctrine was employed for torpedo evasion: If a torpedo is fired from abaft the beam the ship turns away from the torpedo and steadies 30 degrees short of the reciprocal of the torpedo bearing (ref. ATP 1(a) Vol. 1 Art. 1013). At 2143G, when the first torpedo was launched at this ship, this tactic was employed and a torpedo wake was observed paralleling the ship's course at a distance of 300 feet from the port beam. On two other occasions when torpedoes were reported by Maddox and were evaluated as threat to Turner Joy, the same evasion tactic was followed but no wakes were sighted by Turner Joy personnel.
Steaming in the Tonkin Gulf off the coast of North Vietnam on DESOTO patrol as a unit of Task Group 72.1 composed of USS Maddox (DD-731) (CTG 72.1/COMDESDIV 192 embarked) and this ship in a column formation 1000 yards astern of Maddox on course 090T speed 20 knots, proceeding to night steaming area. At 1945 Maddox detected a contact bearing 070T, range 36.4 miles, on course 170, speed 33 knots. Designated skunk "N". Considered to be a threat in that it was closing rapidly. Shortly thereafter two other contacts were detected to the Northeast by the Maddox at an approximate range of 40 miles, also closing.
1945 -- Maximum boiler power ordered by OTC.
1946 -- Changed base course to 130T.
2005 -- Set Condition of Readiness I AA and Material Condition ZEBRA throughout the ship. Changed base speed to 28 knots.
2012 -- Maximum boiler power available. Changed base speed to 30 knots.
2020 -- Changed base course to 160T.
2111 -- Hold surface contact bearing 090T, range 13 miles on course 160T, speed 30 knots. Held on Fire Control Radar. Contact intermittent on Surface Search Radar. Designated skunk "U" by Maddox.
2116 -- Evaluated skunk "U" as three contacts proceeding together in close formation.
2133 -- Lost contact. Last position: Bearing 087T, range 12 miles.
2137 -- Held contact bearing 086T, range 8000 yards on fire control radar. Contact course 210T speed 50 knots.
NOTE: For purpose of continuity this contact will be called skunk "V-1".
2139 -- Commenced firing at skunk "V-1" bearing 090T. (Range 4000 yards reported by Plot II on Turner Joy).
2141 -- Ceased firing.
2141 ½ - Resumed firing at skunk "V-1".
2142 -- Ceased firing.
Evaluated as positive high speed small craft.
2143 -- Changed course to 210T to evade torpedo reported by Maddox. Sighted torpedo wake passing on port side, aft to fwd, at estimated distance of 300 feet from the ship.
2145 -- Changed course to 280T.
2147 -- Changed course to 300T.
2153 -- Changed course to 090T, changed speed to 25 knots.
2157 -- Changed speed to 30 knots.
2200 -- Changed course to 140T to evade torpedo reported by Maddox. No wake sighted.
2201 -- Hold surface contact bearing 278T, range 2000 yards. Fire Control Radar locked on. Contact held opening to the West. Designated skunk "V-2".
2204 -- Changed course to 010T.
2210 --Changed course to 060T, to unmask batteries. Continued to course 180T. Commenced firing at skunk "V-2".
2211 -- Ceased firing. Lost radar contact.
2212 -- Regained contact. Range 6000 yards. Resumed firing.
2212 ½ - Ceased firing. Estimated three hits on contact. Changed course to 160T.
2216 -- Changed course to 185T.
2218 -- Changed course to 210T.
NOTE: The previous two maneuvers were made to unmask batteries and open fire on an intermittent radar contact. Contact was possibly a false echo, since no track correlation could be made with any part of skunk "V-1" or "V-2". Contact persisted for only two minutes, raising possibility of a rip from a high speed wake and knuckle.
2219 -- Proceeding South to rejoin Maddox.
2221 -- Hold contact on Surface Search Radar bearing 008T, range 3600 yards. Designated skunk "V-3" closing at 48 knots.
2224 -- Contact closed to 2500 yards. Fire Control Radar locked on. Commenced fire at skunk "V-3". Explosions observed by several topside personnel.
2228 -- Contact disappeared on Fire Control and Surface Search Radar, and was believed sunk. Commanding Officer and at least four other persons observed a thick column of smoke rising from the vicinity of the contact. No flames were seen. Believe contact did not burn on surface but sank immediately.
NOTE: At this point mechanical difficulties developed in both Mount 52 and Mount 53. No contacts were held on either the Surface Search Radar or Fire Control Radar. For the next few minutes only one intermittent contact was held closing rapidly from the North. (Called skunk "V-4" for identification). Casualties to both mounts were corrected within a few minutes.
2237 -- Aircraft from VF-51 and VA-53 (embarked in Ticonderoga) arrived on the scene and commenced strafing vicinity of contact bearing 340T, range 5000 yards. Commenced narrow weave on base course160T.
2242 -- Hold skunk “V-4” bearing 348T, range 2100 yards, closing rapidly.
2243 -- Changed course to starboard to unmask batteries. Contact overshot wake.
2247 -- Commenced firing on contact, bearing 033T, range 2000 yards. PT boat sighted by six topside personnel at various times while contact was attacking. Dropped one depth charge and changed course to starboard as contact overshot wake again. Many topside personnel observed searchlight approximately due North. At this time ship was on course 310T and Maddox bore 305T.
2248 -- Ceased firing.
2252 -- Skunk "V-4" 105T, range 2200 yards.
2254 -- Hard left rudder to attempt ramming contact. Contact lost in sea return at 700 yards.
2259 -- Regained contact bearing 320T, range 1500 yards. Contact appeared on starboard side, having evaded ram. Fire Control Radar locked on.
2300 -- Commenced firing. Four bursts observed on contact by Fire Control Radar (MK-35).
2303 -- Ceased firing. Contact disappeared on all scopes. Fire Control Radar lost contact.
2304 -- Hold intermittent contact astern of Maddox, too close to Maddox for this ship to take under fire.
2306 -- Changed course to 270T to close Maddox bearing 272T, range 9.5 miles.
2309 -- Hold contact on Surface Search Radar drifting toward wake. At range 2800 yards.
2310 - Launched one depth charge to shake PT boat.
2310 ½ - Fire Control Radar locked on. Commenced firing at contact astern. No hits observed.
2311 -- Ceased firing. Lost contact.
2319 -- Maneuvering to take station 4000 yards astern of Maddox.
2321 -- Hold contact bearing 005T, range 1300 yards. Commenced firing. Contact evaluated same as contact lost at 2311.
2322 -- Ceased firing. No hits observed. Contact opening.
2342 -- Hold contact to the North at range 4000 yards. Commenced firing. Contact closing at speed of 39 knots.
2343 -- No hits observed. Ceased firing.
2345 -- Lost contact.
0010 -- Commenced retiring from Gulf of Tonkin at 30 knots 4000 yards astern of Maddox.
0010 -- Gained radar contact with USS Samuel N. Moore (DD-747). All three ships completed retirement from Gulf of Tonkin.
PRIMARY TACTICAL LOG
USS Turner Joy (DD-951)
4 AUGUST 1964
TEXT: Execute to follow speed 20. Standby execute.
TEXT: Execute to follow CORPEN 130. Standby execute.
TEXT: Immediate execute CORPEN 140. I say again CORPEN 140. Standby execute.
TEXT: Execute to follow speed 25. Standby execute.
TEXT: Go to General Quarters. Immediate execute speed 28. I say again speed 28. Standby execute.
TEXT: Immediate execute speed 30. I say again speed 30. Standby execute.
TEXT: Immediate execute CORPEN 160. I say again CORPEN 160. Standby execute.
TEXT: (several transmissions not logged)
TEXT: Shine red truck lights.
TEXT: Strangle red truck light.
TEXT: Turn on running lights.
TEXT: Turn off running lights.
TEXT: Torpedo bearing 340 passing to left.
TEXT: My CORPEN 160 speed 30.
TEXT: (Torpedo bearing) 300.
TEXT: (Torpedo bearing) 085.
TEXT: (Do you need assistance).
TEXT: (I will close you and fall in astern of you).
TEXT: MY CORPEN 112 speed 31.
TEXT: Stay 4000 yards astern
TEXT: Torpedo (bearing) 314.
TEXT: My CORPEN 160.
TEXT: Suggest we clear to the South.
TEXT: Am clearing to the Southeast.
5 AUGUST 1964
TEXT: Immediate execute speed 25, I say again speed 25, standby execute.
TEXT: Immediate execute speed 20, I say again speed 20, standby execute.
BR -- BALLROOM -- USS Turner Joy (DD-951)
SB -- SINBAD -- USS Maddox (DD-731)
SR -- STREETRENT -- CTG 72.1 (COMDESDIV 192)
Text in parenthesis is reconstructed from talkers memory and amplifies the short notations appearing in the log.
Certified to be a true copy of the PRIMARY TACTICAL LOG.
/signed/ A.G. MARSH
PRI CI AUGUST 4, 1964 USS Turner Joy (DD-951)
TEXT: MY SK 002 31 MILES CLOSING.
TEXT: UNABLE TO ACT AS ILLUMINATING SHIP.
TEXT: SK "P" COURSE 125 SPEED 18 KTS.
TEXT: SK "N" COURSE 293 SPEED 21 KTS.
TEXT: SK COURSE 115 34.1 MILES
TEXT: SK "N" BR. 020 32.2 MILES COURSE 298 SPEED 33.5 KTS.
TEXT: SK "R" BR. 113 32.7 MILES PLOTTING DIN.
TEXT: A/C BOGEY 2 BR. 290 35 MILES BOGEY 3 BR. 300 35 MILES.
TEXT: SK "R" BR. 110 30 MILES COURSE 243 SPEED 10 KTS.
TEXT: BOGEY 2 AND BOGEY 3 IN A FADE TIME 31.
TEXT: SK "R" BR. 109 38.7 MILES COURSE 304 SPEED 28 KTS.
TEXT: BOGEY 2 AND BOGEY 3 IN A FADE.
TEXT: SK "S" BR. 095 22.5 MILES CPA 050 15.7 MILES.
TEXT: SK "S" COURSE 200 SPEED 12 KTS.
TEXT: SK "R" IN A FADE.
TEXT: EVALUATE SK "S" WEATHER.
TEXT: SK "N" COURSE 286 SPEED 12 KTS. OPENING.
TEXT: CARRIER 130 112 MILES.
TEXT: H/F 3110 BR. 147 DES. RK 5.
TEXT: EVALUATE H/F AS HARMONIC.
TEXT: HAVE POSITIVE CONTROL OF BU 108 AND 114.
TEXT: FRIENDLY A/C 111 108 MILES.
TEXT: SK "T" BR. 091 39.2 MILES.
TEXT: SK "R" LOCKED ON WITH F/C EVALUATE WEATHER.
TEXT: SK "U" BR. 090 13 MILES COURSE 214 SPEED 30.
TEXT: SK "U" STEADY BR. DECREASING RANGE.
TEXT: SK "U" BR. 088 12.3 MILES.
TEXT: HOLD 3 CONTACTS WITH MY F/C GEAR.
TEXT: SK "U" BR. 087 12.1 MILES.
TEXT: SK "U" COURSE 135 SPEED 40 KTS.
TEXT: SK "U" 086 22550 YARDS.
TEXT: SK "U" 085 11.6 MILES.
TEXT: SK "U" 084 12.2 MILES.
TEXT: SK "U" COURSE 164 SPEED 33 KTS.
TEXT: SK "V" BR. 160 37 MILES COURSE 161 SPEED 41 CLOSING.
TEXT: SK "V" COURSE 325 SPEED 20.
TEXT: SK "V" BR. 162 36.1 MILES.
TEXT: MY F/C LOCKED ON CONTACT 080 8,500 YARDS.
TEXT: FIRING STAR SHELL 080 8,000 YARDS.
TEXT: SK "V" COURSE 236 SPEED 35 KTS.
TEXT: HOLD MY CONTACT TURNING PORT.
NOTE: No additional messages were recorded until after the action was completed. Almost continuous exchange of information rendered logging impossible.
Certified to be a true copy of the PRIMARY COMBAT INFORMATION NET. Validity of transmissions 2133-2135 in doubt due to confusion in log keeping.
/signed/ A.G. MARSH
OWN SHIP'S ORNDANCE PERFORMANCE
1. The performance of Turner Joy's ordnance equipment was excellent insofar as fire control equipment was concerned, but performance of weapons was only satisfactory.
2. Prior to the engagement Turner Joy's AN/SPG-53 Main Battery Fire Control radar had become inoperative due to a broken feedhorn. This part was ordered on 9 July 1964 but had not been received by the time the ship was ordered into action. As an emergency jury rig, fire control and electronics personnel utilized a piece of the top of an OBA cannister and some plastic to fabricate an end reflector as a replacement for the damaged part of the old feedhorn. After tuning and adjusting, the radar performed acceptably by tracking junks out to 50,000 yards. However, at close range -- inside 2500 yards -- performance was marginal. In addition to this problem the forward 5"/54 (MT 51) was inoperative (explained later). For these reasons the primary director was designated as Director 52. Fire could be best concentrated by keeping the targets abaft the beam where Director 52 and after mounts could bear at all times. (The two MK 70 GFCS installed on Turner Joy are useless during a night surface engagement where targets cannot be seen. Though this system has an automatic range tracking capability it must be held on target by the director operator who must see the target to do so).
3. Director 52 had not previously been used to control fire in surface gunnery exercises, because its computer is not as accurate for surface fire as that of the MK 68 GFCS and no competitive exercises require its use for surface fire with 5” battery.
4. The first contact -- skunk "U" -- was detected by Surface Search Radar about 13 miles and immediately designated to and acquired by Fire Control Radar. Target was tracked by Director 52's MK 35 Radar (MK 56 GFCS) until 20,000 yards when the target split into three contacts. Track was regained at 8000 yards and held until Turner Joy maneuvered to avoid a torpedo. Initial fall of shot was over and ahead of the target due to the very low silhouette of the PT boats and probable turn away executed by the PT as he fired the torpedo. Initial spot made at Plot II was down 3 mils and left 5 mils. Firing was resumed immediately and another 5 mils left deflection spot was made. Firing became effective and hits were observed on both Surface Search and MK 35 F/C Radar scopes.
5. Director 52 had little difficulty in holding track inside 4000 yards although targets were small -- about the equivalent of an LCM -- and making high speed. Radar acquisition was rapid after designation from MK 5 TDS primarily due to a very good alignment check which had been accomplished on 2 August 1964. The most important single fire control lesson learned in this battle was the vital importance of rapid and accurate target designation under conditions of full radar control. Of the 220 rounds fired approximately 30 "effectives" (detonations in close proximity to the target) were observed on radar. Two direct hits were observed on skunk "V-3" and one direct hit was observed on skunk "V-4".
MT 52: 134 VT FRAG
MT 53: 86 AAC
MT 31: 9 VT FRAG
MT 32: 19 VT FRAG
DEPTH CHARGE MK 9: TOTAL 3
6. Overall weapons performance during the night engagement on 4 August was only barely satisfactory. The 5"/54 system was plagued with minor problems -- caused by mechanical malfunctions and personnel errors -- while the 3"/50 system was plagued by unsatisfactory personnel performance.
7. Prior to the engagement MT 51 (forward 5"/54 Mount) had become inoperative due to various malfunctions which prevented automatic elevation of the gun. These were:
a. Valve VE8 stuck closed and resulted in a hydraulic block which prevented stroking pistons PE7 and PE8 from returning to the neutral position or responding to signals from the torque motor.
b. Elevation torque motor burned out because of the excessive error signal from the power amplifier when gun elevated due to the hydraulic block.
c. The upper limit stop connecting rod fell out of socket.
With this condition in existence, Mounts 52 and 53 were used to conduct all five inch fire. Both these mounts had loader drums filled throughout the patrol and were ready to fire on short notice.
8. Both mounts began firing together and operations were normal while firing on skunks "V-1" and "V-2". The first casualty occurred in Mount 53, about 2 ½ hours after going to condition I, when both ammunition hoist pawls drifted off flight level necessitating temporary shut-down to reposition pawls in local control. The cause of this casualty was a slight leakage of oil past servo valves VC5 and VD5. Inspection of the valve after the action indicated that scribe marks on valve and casing were in proper alignment. It is believed that overheating caused oil to "boil over".
9. A casualty then occurred in Mount 52 which forced the gun into one sided operation "or half rate of fire". The casualty was caused by an overanxious loader in the loader deck crew who attempted to force projectiles into "B" drum during indexing cycle overriding projectile locking solenoid. The rib of the drum then jammed against the extended shutter and prevented further use of "B" cycle. Such a casualty had to be anticipated in a first action since loader crews are not required to load a 5"/54 mount under sustained fire conditions in any competitive or training exercise. All air and surface exercises for 5"/54 guns can be conducted utilizing drum loaded ammunition. The drums are usually refilled, if needed, during breaks or "opening out" phases of exercises.
10. Undermanning was also a factor. 19 men were required to fully man each 5"/54 loader deck and magazine but only 11 were available on 4 August. No qualified Gunner's Mate is available for assignment to loader deck. Damage Control parties were not utilized as they were kept on station ready for other emergencies.
11. Another minor casualty held up firing at Mount 52 when projectile interlock switch 1A5B momentarily stuck closed and permitted two rounds of powder to be cycled through the loading system to the transfer tray. The Mount Captain corrected the casualty by manually jacking open the transfer tray solenoid and then removing the two powder charges. Fire was resumed promptly.
12. Mount 52 had no gas ejection air during the entire period of engagement. Without gas ejection air the two doors to MT 52 had to be opened to ventilate the mount after each firing. A subsequent inspection of the system revealed that a spring-loaded pressure regulating valve (125PSI) had stuck shut. When the valve was actuated manually the system operated satisfactorily. Failure of this valve to open is attributed to infrequent and/or irregular testing. Repair party personnel who investigated the system soon after the ship went to General Quarters at 2005 were unable to discover the cause of failure until after 0200 5 August.
13. The three inch battery suffered two casualties both of which were caused by personnel error. Mount 31 (forward 3"/50 cal. MK 33 MOD O) suffered a casualty caused by the loading solenoid on the right side of the right gun remaining in the extended position due to micro switch being out of alignment.
14. Mount 32 -- the after two 3"/50 guns -- suffered a broken shear pin on the sprocket caused by the loader jamming a round. The pin was quickly replaced from battle spares. Improper loading also caused a round to be cycled through the hopper with the shell carriage removed with the result that a shell finger was broken and one of the two guns made inoperative for the remainder of the battle.
15. It must be recalled that these mounts are not enclosed and that the crew was firing on an absolutely black night. In addition, the 3"/50 guns on Turner Joy had not been fired since June 1964 due to lack of target services and a 10% limitation on expenditures of annual training ammunition. Use of dummy rounds for loading practice had been accomplished regularly and as late as 3 August 1964, however these exercises are conducted at a slow pace and under ideal conditions. Inadequately trained personnel were primarily responsible for all 3"/50 casualties.
16. It is felt that the 5"/54 is the most effective surface weapon available for use against Motor Gunboats and PT craft because of the larger projectile and higher rate of fire.
17. The 3"/50 mounts were used sparingly because they very seldom could bear on target. Mount 32 cannot fire against surface targets over the stern and for approximately 30 degrees either side thereof.
18. Mount 31 was little used because it couldn't bear on the targets which were generally astern. It is felt that the 3"/50 would be an effective weapon against Gunboats and PT craft in daylight where secondary directors could be utilized in control fire. At night, it is desired to show the stern to the PT boats in order to prevent the PT boats from attaining a good torpedo firing position. Such a tactic prevents the 3"/50 mount from bearing.
19. At time 2143 Maddox reported a torpedo in the water bearing 047T from her. After plotting the torpedo bearing, Turner Joy altered course to starboard and successfully evaded the torpedo. The standard torpedo evasion doctrine is to turn away from a torpedo fired abaft the beam and steady on a course 30 [degrees] short of the reciprocal of the original torpedo bearing. The torpedo wake was sighted by four personnel on the port side about 300 feet from the ship, traveling from aft to forward. At no time did Turner Joy's sonar, AN/SQS-23, detect any torpedo noises. All subsequent torpedoes reported by Maddox were not detected. No visual confirmation of these torpedoes was made.
20. There are several possible reasons why Turner Joy's sonar did not detect the first torpedo.
a. The ship was following 1000 yards directly astern of Maddox at 32 knots. At this speed a considerable amount of turbulence and wake is created which quenches all returning echoes and outside noises. Maddox's screws could not be detected, though only 1000 yards away.
b. The baffle area astern of the ship, normally a 60 [degree] sector at speeds less than 25 knots, had increased to a 90 [degree]-100 [degree] sector due to the increased speed raising own ship's noise level. This extended arc resulted in a "blind" zone running aft from both quarters. The first torpedo was fired from the port quarter about 230 [degrees] relative and probably was in the "blind zone."
c. Operators are not familiar with high speed noises. Normal ASW speeds are between 18 and 22 knots, and operators have not become sufficiently acquainted with noise responses at speeds in excess of 27 knots to distinguish otherwise detectable echoes and noise spokes.
21. Equipment performance was not a factor. Receiver sensitivity and source level measurements were performed at anchor, Subic Bay, Philippine Islands, on 19 July 1964. The receiver sensitivity test result was -- 15.3 db, well within the tolerance of -- 10 db to 18 db. The source level test result was 134.5 db, only .5 db below the allowed limit of 135 db to 137 db.
22. In the past, Turner Joy has fired torpedoes which were tracked out to a range of over 1000 yards. However, at each time of firing, the ship's speed was only 10 knots. On another occasion, when an exercise torpedo was fired at the ship, sonarmen were not able to detect it or its wake, even though the torpedo was sighted visually during the run.
SUMMARY OF DAMAGE
1. During the course of action Turner Joy suffered no damage resulting from attack by hostile high-speed small craft. The extent of damage to hostile forces is evaluated as follows:
a. Skunk "V-1" -- Observed burning on surface. Hits observed on contact by MK 35 Radar operator and Surface Search Radar operator. Extent of actual damage unknown.
b. Skunk "V-2" -- Three hits observed to be on target by MK 35 Radar operator and Surface Search Radar operator. Extent of actual damage unknown.
c. Skunk "V-3" -- Numerous explosions on target observed by topside personnel. Contact disappeared from all radar scopes at 2228. A column of thick black smoke was seen rising from the contact, but no flames. Evaluated as sunk without burning on the surface.
d. Skunk "V-4" -- Four bursts observed on target, contact made one unsuccessful attempt to attain torpedo firing position, however attempt to ram by Turner Joy deterred firing. Contact under fire about 4 minutes and disappeared from all radar scopes at 2303. Visually identified as a PT boat. Evaluated sunk at time 2304.
PERSONNEL PERFORMANCE AND CASUALTIES
1. Personnel performance was generally outstanding and in the highest Naval tradition. Each man responded to the situation in a positive manner and a dynamic sense of team cooperation.
2. Personnel casualties were minor and limited to the following:
a. DESHONG, Willard L., GMG1, Mount 53 Gun Captain, suffered a minor laceration on his right hand while holding closed the left-hand door of his mount during firing. The blast from Mount 52 caused the door handle on Mount 53 to fall off and DESHONG held the door closed to prevent light leakage during repeated slamming of the door. Three stitches were taken by the Ship's Chief Hospital Corpsman in order to close the wound.
b. MABRY, "T" "W", TM3, and McCOWN, Jerry W., TM3, manning the stern Depth Charge rack, received very minor burns when burning powder particles from Mount 53 engulfed them as they were releasing a Depth Charge.
c. Two personnel from Mount 52 became ill during the battle, because gas ejection air failed in this mount and noxious fumes fouled air in mount. These personnel were:
VAUGHAN, James W., BM2
COBB, Robert E., GMG2
Both personnel were able to return to action after getting fresh air outside mount.
COMMENTS ON DOCTRINES AND PROCEDURES
Prior to the engagement, Mount 52 had been loaded with VT fragmenting ammunition and Mount 53 with AA common fuzed for 50 foot detonation in accordance with CTG 70.8 MSG 021430Z August. During the period of action a large number of premature bursts were observed from the VT fragmenting projectiles. It is believed that this was due to the number of rounds fired at contacts under 5000 yards away. At this range the maximum ordinate for the 5"/54 cal Mount is 199 feet. The proximity of the shell to the water is believed to be responsible for the premature detonations. All AA common ammunition performed satisfactorily. Inasmuch as nearly two-thirds of all five-inch ammunition expended was VT frag, there is a possibility that a better mixture of projectiles could be determined. Due to the large number of premature VT frag bursts a study of a more effective mixture of ammunition would be warranted.
2. Combat Information Center:
The necessity for providing the Commanding Officer with first-hand evaluated information was demonstrated during the engagement owing to the poor visibility. Only CIC was capable of maintaining a complete and accurate picture of the engagement. The Bridge received the bulk of the tactical information over sound-powered phone circuits with the result that the Bridge was required to rely on recommendations from CIC as to torpedo evasion and engagement of attacking forces. All information coming into the ship was evaluated in CIC prior to being passed to the Bridge where it could neither be displayed, recorded nor re-evaluated due to darkened ship conditions. In effect, this placed the Commanding Officer in a semi-isolated condition and was not the most efficient employment of his superior experience. The Commanding Officer should be provided with some means for obtaining first-hand information which must be displayed under darkened ship conditions and recorded at his battle station in order to maintain an accurate overview of the action. CIC is the only station onboard a destroyer with the facility for accomplishing this at night and in poor visibility.
All communications circuits functioned well throughout the action. Logs were impossible to maintain due to the rapidity of transmissions over the Primary Combat Information net and the darkened Bridge for the Primary Tactical circuit.
Normal Engineering procedures and doctrine were followed throughout the period of action and no special modifications were required. Existing doctrine was found to be adequate in all situations.
5. Damage Control:
Since no damage was sustained, no special damage control procedures were necessary. Such minor casualties as did develop were corrected immediately following standard procedures.
This ship's Condition I ECM operator had been instructed to concentrate his intercept search in the frequency band surrounding known DRV Shipborne Search Radar (Skinhead). At no time during the engagement did he intercept any signal in this frequency band. This could lead to the conclusion that no such radar was installed on the DRV PT boats encountered, or that the radar installed (if any) was operating in a different frequency band.
The P-4 class PT boats used by DRV forces are of the older design and have no installed radar, while newer P-4 class boats, used by CHICOMS do carry a Skinhead Seaborne Radar. Prior to the engagement, and on subsequent days, several Skinhead Radars were detected by ship's ECM operators. These signals were concurred by Maddox, but all were evaluated as being Shore-Based Radars at previously known locations. Therefore, a familiarity with anticipated signals had already been accomplished.
1. It was observed by evaluator personnel on this ship, as plotted on the DRT, that the DRV PT boats were able to parallel the destroyer's course without much trouble, but that considerable adjustment of speed was necessary for the PT boats to get an accurate track prior to attacking. At a range of 12-13 miles this could not be accomplished visually, since the visibility was poor and both destroyers were completely darkened. Therefore, some radar or ECM assistance must have been involved in vectoring the PT boats into the proper position. It is believed that a 35 knot gunboat acted as mother ship.
2. During the actual period of engagement, it appeared that the PT boats were using the Destroyer's wakes as a means of maintaining contact for attack, and on several occasions the PT boats were held drifting into ship's wakes in order to detect course changes. Once a course change had been observed the PT boats veered out from the wake to attain a more advantageous torpedo firing position.
3. The one torpedo sighted was fired from the port quarter at a range of approximately 2500 yards and gave Turner Joy about 2 minutes to take evasive action. In daylight this is a very poor tactic. At night against an unalerted contact or one without Sonar, tactic would be considered very good. It was further observed that radical maneuvering by the destroyers made "trailing" by the PT boats difficult. The attackers overshot ship's wakes repeatedly and failed to obtain torpedo firing position on many occasions despite their great speed advantage.
1. It is recommended that steps be taken to improve Destroyer performance in surface gunnery by:
a. Increased annual training allowances which are not reduced periodically due to production and funding limitations.
Comment: In FY 65 ships with 5"/54 guns are being allowed only ¼ annual training allowance of AAC ammunition with prospects of a further reduction to 1/12 annual. In addition allowance of 5"/54 illuminating projectiles have been reduced to 1/12 annual training allowances and procurement must be authorized by TYCOM (Ref COMCRUDESPAC 091935Z JULY 64). Such restrictions on the use of the two primary surface ammunitions preclude development of anything more than familiarity with surface gunnery procedures, techniques and employment. (See Part III paragraph 9)
b. Increased emphasis on realistic gunnery exercises employing full radar control, maneuvering targets and sustained rates of fire.
Comment: Present gunnery exercises utilize large targets towed by a slow ATF/ATA. No radar acquisition is used, no transfer of directors is required and maneuvers are limited. In addition no sustained rates of fire are allowed. These restrictions take away most of the realism actually encountered in combat and detract greatly from the value of the exercise. (See Part III paragraph 3).
c. Development of a small high speed remote control target for use in radar controlled acquisition and tracking exercises as well as in firing practices.
Comment: The need for a high speed target is more urgent then ever in view of the threat imposed by the large number of gunboats and PT craft employed by Soviet and Chinese bloc countries. Remote controlled high speed targets would provide ideal simulation for tracking exercises as well as target for firing exercise. (See Part III paragraph 3 and 4)
2. It is recommended that a full study be made of the most effective ammunition or mix of ammunitions for use against small surface targets including development of a new projectile if needed.
Comment: All Gunnery notes received after the battle on 4 August call for use of AAC projectiles with grazing fuze setting against small PT boats type craft. The use of VT did create many premature bursts however the effectiveness of Turner Joy's overall fire indicates that VT frag projectiles may also have high value against small targets. It is also questioned whether or not combinations of projectile might not produce better results. (See Part VI paragraph 1).
3. It is recommended that the reliability of the complex 5"/54 gun be improved by increasing the number of required firing exercises as well as requiring that sustained fire -- over 100 rounds -- be made a part of the regular periodic exercises.
Comment: The 5"/54 is a very complex weapon which has no alternate or manual means of operation in the event of a malfunction. It is imperative that these mounts be reliable enough to be capable of sustained rates of fire. It is felt that only through repeated fleet exercises under sustained fire conditions will many of the marginal "weak links" come to light and permit correction. (Part III paragraphs 6 through 12).
4. It is recommended that the number of personnel assigned to ships deployed to the overseas fleets be increased to "compliment" vice "allowance" level by an overall Navy increase rather than at the expense of ships in the First and Second Fleets.
Comment: Turner Joy has insufficient personnel to adequately man its magazine and loader deck crews even though near allowance in total personnel strength. 19 men are required to make up each 5"/54 mount's loading crew. On 4 August only 11 were available. No Gunner's Mate supervisor was assigned due to lack of personnel. On one occasion during this battle the loader drum of Mount 52 was emptied -- fortunately just at "cease fire". The undermanned crews also caused a malfunction in mount 52 in their rush to make up for missing personnel. (See Part III paragraph 9). In addition, fireroom crews were required to man their stations on a watch in watch basis whenever four boiler operations were required. Radio, CIC and Signal Bridge personnel are placed in two section watches quite regularly in SEVENTHFLT. Such conditions seriously degrade "long term" combat effectiveness. It is believed these deficiencies are of such a nature to warrant corrective action by requests for additional personnel.
5. It is recommended that a Captain's Battle Station be established in the ship's CIC and that Commanding Officers be authorized and directed to utilize this space as the tactical situation dictates.
Comment: This entire Battle was fought in pitch darkness where almost all Combat Information was processed in CIC. The Commanding Officer's Battle station on the Bridge was completely darkened, had no status boards, only two radar repeaters, no DRT etc. In a night battle, the Bridge station is one of the poorest on the ship insofar as facilities are concerned. CIC has sufficient equipment, facilities and status boards to function efficiently as the Captain's Battle Station. (See Part VI paragraph 2).
6. It is recommended that all ships be appraised of such combat experiences as Turner Joy's to serve as an incentive for continued emphasis on realistic training.
Comments: The most obvious lesson learned by everyone onboard Turner Joy was that people make the difference in a combat situation. Where personnel are not adequately trained as was the case with Turner Joy's 3"/50 loading crews or where equipments were undermanned as was the case with the loader crews in the handling rooms of 5" Mounts, malfunctions and casualties will occur which impair the safety of the ship. These faults cannot be corrected in combat but must be eliminated through realistic training beforehand. A specific lesson learned is that 3"/50 crews must practice and fire at night under adverse conditions if they are to be effective in battle. Routine, leisurely paced and day time training do not qualify crews for night action. On the positive side, CIC and Fire Control crews were battle ready because of repeated practice in target acquisition and designation drills against high speed aircraft in Z-17-G exercises. Aggressive and realistic training is the cornerstone upon which the success or failure of any engagement is based.
Source: Tonkin Gulf Collection, 1962-1984 [1964 and 1968], Series I: Misc. Subject Files, 1964, Box 1 of 12, Operational Archives Branch, Naval Historical Center, Washington, DC.