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USS Dale, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack


Serial (0667)


U.S.S. Dale (353)

Pearl Harbor, T.H.,

December 28, 1941.


From: The Commanding Officer.
To: The Commander-in-Chief, United States Pacific Fleet.
Subject: Detailed report of offensive measures taken during Air Raid, December 7, 1941.
Reference: (a) CincPac Despatch 102102 of December 1941.
(b) Condesbatfor mailgram 130143 of December 1941.
  1. At the commencement of the raid on Pearl Harbor, T.H., at 0750, December 7, 1941, the Dale was moored with ships of Destroyer Division TWO at Berth X-14, Pearl Harbor, T.H. The order of ships in the nest from starboard to port was as follows: USS Aylwin, Farragut, Dale, Monaghan. The ship's head was 030. Boiler number three was in use for auxiliary purposes.
  2. The Officer-of-the-deck, Ensign F.M. RADEL, U.S.N., acting Commanding Officer, saw the first plane attack the U.S.S. Utah from Westward. General Quarters was immediately sounded and orders given to set material condition Afirm and to light off all boilers. At 0810 fire was opened on Japanese planes using the after .50 caliber machine guns, followed shortly thereafter by the after five inch A.A. guns. The presence of the ships on either side of the Dale prevented the use of all forward guns. The forward 24" searchlight made it impossible to bring the director to bear in the direction of the level bombing attacks on the battleships. The 5" guns operated in local control with very poor results, the shots bursting well behind and short of the targets, a squadron of level bombers flying at about 10,000 feet above the battleships on alternately northerly and southerly courses. 0815, an enemy dive bomber attacking the U.S.S. Raleigh from westward came under severe machine gun fire from all the ships in the nest, nosed down and crashed into the harbor. At 0820 it was reported to the senior officer in the nest, Lieutenant Commander W.P. BURFORD, U.S.N., commanding U.S.S. Monaghan that the Dale was ready to get underway. While backing clear a torpedo apparently aimed at the USS Raleigh passed under the bow of the Dale and exploded on Ford Island. 0844, stopped while the U.S.S. Monaghan dropped depth charges on enemy submarine close aboard the starboard side of the U.S.S. Curtiss. Changed speed to 25 knots and proceeded out of harbor ahead of U.S.S. Monaghan. Until the Dale neared the submarine net she did not come under the direct fire of the planes. Apparently the enemy wished to sink a ship in the entrance, thereby blocking the harbor, as the Dale came under severe dive bombing and machine gun attacks near the entrance. Machine gun fire from the ship served to keep the attackers from approaching too closely, although there were several close misses, which caused no damage. The bombs buried themselves in the bottom of the channel before exploding. At 0907, cleared the entrance buoys and by stopping the port engine and coming hard left rudder, caused a flight of three enemy dive bombers to overshoot their mark. As they went by the starboard side close to the water, machine gun fire from the Dale struck the leading plane causing it to burst into flame and to crash into the water on the outer starboard side of the restricted area. The remaining two planes made a very half-hearted attempt to attack again but were driven off by machine gun fire. 0911, the Dale established offshore patrol in sector one. Due to repeated airplane attacks the ship was force to make frequent changes of course and to run at high speed, thereby rendering the sound gear inoperative. It may be of interest to note that a great number of the bursts on the water were of the nature of exploding 5" shells rather than bombs. It is believed that either the fuses were not cut on many of the 5" A.A. projectiles or that they were not operative. Several sampans running for the port of Honolulu were past close aboard. White FLAGS, not rags or pieces of wearing apparel, were flown from the masts of these craft. Although difficulty was had in restraining several members of the crew, fire was not opened on the sampans. 0927, changed speed to 12 knots, patrolling sector one. Did not go close inshore as the degaussing girdle had not been calibrated since its installation. High speed wakes and depth charging from other destroyers in the vicinity rendered the sound gear practically useless. 1114, the U.S.S. Worden (Commander Destroyers Squadron ONE) sortied. The Dale formed on the Worden as third ship in column. After investigating the falsely reported presence of the three enemy transports off BARBERS POINT, formed inner anti-submarine screen on the U.S.S. Detroit, Phoenix, St. Louis, and Astoria. The Dale was assigned station nine. The Task Force speed was 25 knots. At 1410, the L.P. pinion bearings on the reduction gear of the port engine wiped. An attempt was made to stay with the assigned task force out as the maximum speed obtainable with one engine was 22 knots, the Dale fell steadily behind. The starboard engine began heating excessively, forcing a further reduction of speed to 10 knots. Retired to the southward at 1654. Stopped at 1930 and lay to until 0500 the following morning attempting repairs. Rendezvoused with Task Force at dawn but as full repairs to the engine were impossible without the assistance of the tender, the Dale could not maintain her assigned screening station. Under orders of Commander Destroyers, Battle Force, the Dale established off shore patrol in sector one until the entrance of Task Group 8.4 on Monday, December 8, 1941.
  3. There were no casualties on board this vessel and no damage was caused by the enemy. The conduct of the personnel was excellent. After the first feeling of numbed shock and disbelief that we were being attacked, a cold rage swept over the crew. There was absolutely no panic or confusion. Orders were implicitly carried out. The ship was made ready for sea and ready to fire within ten minutes from the time General Quarters was sounded.
  4. The enemy plane shot down by the Dale off the entrance buoys was observed to the Commanding Officer. Two other planes, both dive bombers, were claimed by many members of the crew, including several reliable Chief Petty Officers, to have been shot down by the Dale.


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. 


Published: Tue Feb 20 09:47:55 EST 2018