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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

USS Breese, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack
  U.S.S. Breese  
S16-3/DM18   At sea, off Pearl Harbor,
December 9, 1941.

From: Commanding Officer.  
To: Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.  
Via: Commander Mine Division TWO.  
   
Subject: Action, Pearl Harbor Air Raid, Report of -
Reference: (a) U.S. Navy Regulations, Article 712.
(b) U.S. Breese dispatch 081807 of December.
(c) CinCpac dispatch 081900 of December.
 
   
Enclosure: (A) Report of Executive Officer, U.S.S. Breese.

  1. In accordance with reference (a), the following report is submitted.
  2. This vessel was moored in berth D-3, Middle Loch, in nest with division, order of ships from starboard U.S.S. Ramsay, Breese, Montgomery, and Gamble (flagship). This vessel had division guard. Following officers were on board:
  3. At 0755 first indication of action occurred with bombing of old hangar on Ford Island. Went to general quarters, set condition "A" and made preparations for getting underway. Started boats for Pearl City landing to pick up returning men. At 0757, opened fire with starboard .50 calibre machine gun, manned by gangway watch who was a qualified machine gunner. At 0805 opened fire with 3"/23 cal. gun, using fuze settings 3 to 12 seconds, pre-set. Dismissed crews of waist guns to attend to getting underway.
  4. At 0825 received signal from tower to get underway immediately but being interior position in nest could not do so. At 0826 a submarine was reported in harbor. About 0830 sighted conning towers of two small submarines in North Channel; could not be taken under fire because of our interior berthing in nest. The U.S.S. Monaghan proceeded down channel at high speed, appeared to ram leading submarine which had just fired a torpedo apparently at the U.S.S. Curtiss, but which missed. The Monaghan dropped two depth charges, the first directly upon the leading submarine and the second in the approximate position of the second which was no longer visible. About ten seconds later a submarine of approximately 250 ton type, came up upside down and immediately sank.
  5. At about 0900 a third wave of dive bombers made a determined attack apparently on the U.S.S. Curtiss. One medium bomber descending in flames deliberately crashed the superstructure of the Curtiss.
  6. At 0913 a projectile from our 3"/23 caliber AA gun set at 3 seconds, struck a dive bomber, winging over after an attack on the Curtiss, just aft of the pilot's cockpit. The plane fragmented in the air and caught fire, the forward section with motor landing on the north shore of Waipio Peninsula and burning for some time. While this hit was probably accidental, it was direct, as the tracer could be easily followed at the short range involved.
  7. 0917 cleared nest and proceeded down channel. Lookout reported a periscope at 0930 off coal docks but it was not seen from bridge nor picked up on supersonics. Cut in degaussing gear and cleared channel entrance at 0942. Took station as offshore patrol in sector three.
  8. At 1108 a motor torpedo boat reported a periscope; at 1115 dropped two depth charges in spot indicated by them with no result. Bearings: Barber point 297° (t), Diamond Head 078°(t), and Hickham Tower 357° (t). However, at 1135, in same vicinity, picked up sounds of submarine. Attacked, dropping first charge at 40 yards by supersonic. The second charge brought up an oil slick and some debris. No further sound was heard but on second pass at target, it gave positive results to "pinging." This was reported in reference (b). In accordance with reference (c), a second attack with four deep-set depth charges was made, with no tangible result. Meanwhile, probably as a result of conditions described in reference (b), several other destroyers were observed to make attacks in same locality. There is good reason to believe if submarine were not sunk by our first attack that it was destroyed by the heavier charges of the other attacks by new destroyers.
  9. Ammunition expended:

    45 rounds 3"/23 cal. fused and tracer, AA.
    1700 rounds .50 caliber M-2 AP and tracer.
    11 depth charges.

  10. There were no casualties from enemy action although a considerable amount of shell fragments fell on deck. Two men injured slightly during the firing of the 3"/23 caliber by recoil while acting as loaders:

    FORD, Wesley Ernest, #337-24-95, F2c, USN, abrasions right index finger.
    FAUCETT, Kenneth #410-01-43, F1c, USN, deep laceration palm of right hand.

  11. The behavior of the crew and officers was excellent and in keeping with traditions of the naval service. The speed with which the guns were manned and put into action under very unfavorable circumstances speaks for itself.

[signed]
H.F. STOUT


  U.S.S. Breese  
A16-3/DM18   At sea,
December 9, 1941.

From: Executive Officer.  
To: Commanding Officer  
   
Subject: Japanese Air Raid on Pearl Harbor, T.H., 7 December 1941.

  1. In compliance with reference (a) the following report is submitted:
  2. The Breese was nested in berth D-3, Middle Loch, in company with Mindiv 2, order of ships from north: Gamble, Montgomery, Breese, and Ramsay.
  3. The Breese was the division guard ship with the Executive Officer as nest duty officer.
  4. At 0755 two dive bombing planes approached Ford Island from the west at an altitude of 200 ft., in horizontal flight and bombed the sea plane hangar and adjacent gasoline tanks on the west end of Ford Island. The general alarm was sounded and the anti-aircraft battery manned. This ship opened fire with 50 cal. machine guns at 0757, the first ship to open fire in the Middle Loch area. The duty officers of all ships were instructed to prepare to get underway. By this time there were many planes coming in from the north and west. The U.S.S.Utah was bombed immediately after the Ford Island Hangar. Fires broke out on Ford Island and there was heavy black smoke coming across the harbor from the direction of the submarine base. The sky was filled with H.E. bursts. There were many bombs exploding in the vicinity of the Medusa, Curtiss, and Cruisers moored next to the Utah. The Utah listed badly to starboard and subsequently turned bottom up. The stern of the Curtiss was on fire. During this melee a PBY took off from Ford Island and passed directly overhead.
  5. The effectiveness of the bombing decreased noticeably with the increase of AA fire.
  6. Four planes were observed by this officer as they were shot down in the Middle Loch area. One of these was hit by a 3" projectile from this ship, which blew the after part of the fuselage away the remainder of the plane crashed into the west bank of the channel in flames. A fifth plane was observed by members of the crew as it caught on fire and was deliberately flown into the stern of the Curtiss.
  7. It is estimated that about 70 planes were used in the attack. The dive bombers seemed to be very slow. They were equipped with two machine guns forward and one machine gun aft. Most bombs were released from a horizontal position. About 30 high altitude bombers were observed. These planes flew in formation and were painted white on their underside, which made them blend in perfectly with the high alto cumulus clouds. This was highly effective camouflage. All anti-aircraft fire was below these planes.
  8. At about 0900 a submarine was sighted in the middle of the channel north west of Ford Island with its conning tower above the water proceeding at high speed. At the moment the conning tower broke water the vessel was hit with a hail of machine gun fire. The Destroyer Monaghan was leaving the north channel at high speed and attempted to ram the submarine. As the Monaghan stern passed over the submarine two depth charges were dropped.
  9. The Breese got underway at 0917 and proceeded out of the harbor. A supersonic search was conducted off the harbor entrance. At 1108 followed a motor torpedo boat to a position where a periscope had been sighted. Dropped two depth charges. Bearings: Barbers point 297°(t), Diamond Head 078°(t), Hickam Tower 357°(t). Continued supersonic search. At 1133 picked up and traced a submarine, dropped 5 depth charges. Bearings: Barbers Point 296°(t), Diamond Head 088°(t), Hickam Field 013°(t).
  10. Ammunition expended:

    45 rounds 3" 23 cal. AA.
    1700 rounds .50 cal. AP and tracer.
    11 depth charges.

  11. Casualties:
  12. The spirit and behavior of the crew was in accordance with the traditions of the Naval Service.
  13. The following members of the ship's company were not on board
  14. The anti-aircraft battery of this vessel in considered inadequate. It is composed of two .50 cal. machine guns and one 3" 23 cal. AA gun. The following landing force equipment was used to augment the anti-aircraft battery; and although its effectiveness is doubtful it served a means of satisfying the offensive spirit of the crew, 3" 30 cal. Lewis machine guns, 3 Browning automatic rifles.

[signed]
A.B. COXE Jr.


Source: Enclosure (E) to CINCPAC action report Serial 0479 of 15 February 1942, World War II action reports,
the Modern Military Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740.
16 May 2001