Commander Mine Division TWO, Report for Pearl Harbor Attack
17 December, 1941.
|From:||Commander Mine Division TWO.|
|To:||Commander-in-Chief, United States Pacific Fleet.|
|Subject:||Japanese Air Raid on Pearl Harbor, T.H., December 7, 1941 – Report of.|
|Reference:||(a) CinC Pac, 102102 of December 1941.
(b) Article 712, Navy Regulations.
- When the first Japanese planes were observed to attack Ford Island at 0756, December 7, 1941, all vessels of Mine Division TWO went to general quarters, set condition AFIRM, and opened anti-aircraft fire with 3"-23 calibre and .50 calibre guns within an average time of four minutes. Boats were sent for liberty parties and information concerning the raid telephoned to personnel ashore in accordance with doctrine. These measures were effective since but one officer and a handful of men missed the sailing of the Division which effected the sortie a relatively short time after it was ordered. The sortie plan designation was received at 0850 and vessels got underway from Buoy D-3, Middle Loch, as follows: Ramsay 0855; Breese 0917; Gamble 0930; Montgomery 1017.
- While at the buoy, offensive measures consisted of anti-aircraft fire directed at Japanese strafing planes by all means available. No bombs were dropped near the division although enemy small calibre machine gun bullets as well as shrapnel were observed to fall on and near the ship. While a number of planes under fire by the Division were seen to crash, gunfire of other surface vessels contributed to their destruction. One dive bomber, however, passing near this Division which was the last unit to take it under fire, was observed to be hit and to crash nearby in Middle Loch. Individual ships reports of action as well as my mailgram 140135 covering the air raid have been forwarded under separate cover to the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
- Main radio antennae were partly shot away on two of the ships, probably by their own machine gun fire and the Gamble had a foremast stay stranded by enemy machine gun bullet. Enemy action caused no injury to personnel either on board ship or in boats returning to the berth.
- Shortly after the Gamble got underway a number of communications were received. The Curtiss reported a submarine in sight and submarines were reported both inside and outside the harbor. Japanese planes were dropping heavy charges which did not explode off the harbor entrance, and vessels were warned to watch for mines. Battleships were ordered to stay in the harbor while destroyers were to proceed to sea in order to destroy submarines. It was apparent that the term destroyer included minelayers, and the last two ships of the Division cleared the harbor at speeds up to fifteen knots. Just the previous day, Commanding Officers of the Division had been informed that they would be assigned duty with the Off-shore Patrol on M-day, and they accordingly proceeded to search for submarines off Pearl Harbor entrance in the Off-shore area. All ships of the Division made repeated depth charge attacks during the next few days on supersonic indication of the presence of submarines. While submarines may have been destroyed during these attacks, positive proof is lacking. The deterrent effect on any enemy submarine present, however, must have been considerable.
- While conducting a depth charge attack shortly after noon off Diamond Head, the Gamble received three despatches from the Commander-in-Chief addressed to All Ships Present in the Hawaiian Area. Ships were ordered to attack transports reported four miles off Barber's Point. All vessels which had departed from Pearl Harbor were to organize as Task Force ONE with Commander Destroyers assuming command and reporting to Commander Task Force EIGHT. Ships of Task Force ONE were ordered to take course West after clearing the harbor entrance and to report position, composition and speed. The Gamble continued with the depth charge attack until all contact was lost and then proceeded toward Barber's Point where no transports were found. She continued westward until at 1735 contact was made with the Enterprise and Commander Aircraft Battle Force ordered her to join that vessel as part of the anti-submarine screen. This duty continued until 0723 the following morning when orders were received to report to the Off-shore Patrol at Pearl entrance, informing the Commandant, Fourteenth Naval District and the Commander-in-Chief. By this time temporary emergency repairs had been made to the main radio antenna and communications were reestablished. it was learned that the other three ships of the Division had received orders to maintain stations with the Off-shore Patrol. The Division continued with this duty making investigations and anti-submarine search and attacks until shortage of fuel required return to port on the evening of December 12, 1941.
- While no individual were conspicuous or distinguished in their action during the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor, the conduct of the personnel was uniformly courageous, energetic, steady and effective. Without exception, the behavior of the crews under fire was excellent.
ROSS P. WHITEMARSH.
Combat for (1)
MINECRAFT, BATTLE FORCE
MINE DIVISION TWO
U.S.S. Gamble, Flagship
14 DECEMBER 1941
CINCPAC 111310 FIRST ATTACK ON FORD ISLAND OBSERVED AT 0756 X DIVISION COMMENCED FIRE ON RETIRING ENEMY PLANES BEGINNING 0758 AS THEY PROCEEDED OUT OVER MIDDLE LOCH X AT ABOUT 0815 OBSERVED TO GROUPS OF SIX TOTAL TWELVE HORIZONTAL BOMBERS IN V FORMATION ALTITUDE ABOUT 16000 FEET PROCEED FROM DIRECTION OF FLEET LANDING TO SUBMARINE BERTHS DROPPING STICK OF BOMBS NEAR SUBMARINE BASE AND OIL TANKS X ABOUT 0825 OBSERVED DIVE BOMBING ATTACK ON NEVADA BY ABOUT TWELVE PLANES WHICH APPROACHED FROM DIRECTION OF HICKAM FIELD PASSED OVER THE NEVADA AND DOVE INTO THE STARBOARD SIDE RELEASING BOMBS AT ABOUT 500 FEET X OBSERVED TORPEDO BOMBING ATTACK ON UTAH AND RELEASE OF FOUR AND TWO TORPEDOES FROM DISTANCE ABOUT 400 YARDS ALTITUDE PROBABLY UNDER FIFTY FEET X FIRST TORPEDO AFTER PROCEEDING SOME DISTANCE ON SURFACE CARRIED AWAY RUDDER OF MONTGOMERY MOTOR WHALEBOAT X MOST TORPEDOES RAN ON SURFACE OR AT SHALLOW DEPTHS X ABOUT 0900 MINE DIVISION TWO SHOT DOWN ENEMY DIVE BOMBER WHICH WAS STRA! ! FING THE DIVISION FROM ABOUT 500 FEET X PLANE OBSERVED TO CRASH IN MIDDLE LOCH X THIRTY CALIBRE OR SMALLER MACHINE GUN HITS SUSTAINED BY SHIPS WITHOUT INJURY TO PERSONNEL X BEHAVIOR OF CREW UNDER FIRE WAS SPLENDID
AUTHENTICATED _ _ H.W. _ Calhoun_/S/_ _ _
H.W. CALHOUN, ENSIGN, U.S. NAVY
Source: Enclosure (E) to CINCPAC action report Serial 0479 of 15 February 1942, World War II action reports, Modern Military Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740.