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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060
USS Thornton, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack
U.S.S. Thornton (AVD-11)
Pearl Harbor, T.H.
December 17, 1941.
The Commanding Officer.
The Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Engagement, report of, December 7, 1941.
(a) US Navy Regulations, Art. 874.
(b) CinCPacFlt Conf. Dispatch 102102 of December 1941.
- U.S.S. Thornton was moored port side to dock at berth
S-1, Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, T.H. The following officers
were on board: Ensign J.S. BURNS, jr., D-V(G), U.S.N.R., Gunnery
Officer and First Lieutenant; Ensign I.D. PUTMAN, D-V(G), U.S.N.R.,
Communication Officer; Ensign H.T. McCABE, E-M, U.S.N.R., Engineer
Officer; Ensign J.H. LEONARD, E-V(G), U.S.N.R., Stores Officer.
Eighty five percent of the crew were on board.
- At 0756 attack by Japanese aircraft commenced; general alarm
was sounded immediately and all hands went to air defense stations.
Stations manned were as follows:
Control, Machine gun Battery Control, Repair, and the following
4 - .50 caliber
3 - .30 caliber
Lewis machine guns.
3 - .30 caliber
Browning automatic rifles.
12 - .30 caliber
This represents the Air Defense Bill effective on this vessel
to employ all pieces including landing force allowances, in case
of air attack.
- At 0758 commenced firing with .50 caliber machine gun battery
followed immediately by other weapons as listed above. At 0810
first dive bombing attack ended. At 0910 second dive bombing
attack commenced. At 0917 second dive bombing attack ended. Throughout
the entire period there was horizontal bombing in various Pearl
- One enemy torpedo plane was shot down in mid-channel between
Submarine Base and Officers' Club landing by combined fire of
.50 caliber machine guns of Thornton and Hulbert.
This plane burst into flames and fell into the water. The torpedo
fell clear, but was not launched.
- Neosho was shifted berth from Fox 4 to Mike 3 when
second dive bombing attack commenced. Neosho proceeded
to berth Mike 3 as Sumner, Hulbert, and Thornton
directed fire at planes appearing to make attack on her. Two
attacking planes turned away when put under fire; the third plane
strafed personnel on the Fleet Landing at Merry Point.
- All planes attacking in vicinity of this vessel were torpedo
planes excepting the three seen to attack the Neosho.
These appeared to be light bombers or fighters. They only fired
machine guns at the Neosho. There were about eighteen
torpedo planes attacking the battleships from the Merry point
channel area near this vessel. These torpedo planes were seen
to approach from over the Merry point landing and level off at
between twenty-five and fifty feet altitude. Torpedoes were launched
at the battleships from points opposite the Submarine Base to
points opposite Kuahua Island.
- Fifteen horizontal bombers flying at an estimated eight thousand
feet altitude were seen to bomb Hickam Field and the battleships.
These planes were flying in Vee formation with five planes in
each group. Dive bombers were seen attacking area near Pennsylvania
in angles between 65 and 75 degrees. These planes came in from
the Northwest and Southeast almost simultaneously.
- There were no material or personnel casualties suffered by
this vessel. The performance of all personnel as very creditable.
All hands manned their stations rapidly and kept the enemy under
fire at all times when within range. The efforts of all were
well co-ordinated and no one man is deserving of special credit.
- Ammunition expended was as follows:
6000 rounds .50 caliber.
2000 rounds .30 caliber.
[signed] W.F. KLINE.
Source: Enclosure (E) to CINCPAC
action report Serial 0479 of 15 February 1942, World War II
the Modern Military Branch, National Archives and Records Administration,
8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740.