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USS Perry, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack


Serial 0234

U.S.S. Perry (DMS17)

Pearl Harbor, T.H.,

December 22, 1941.


From: The Commanding Officer.  
To: The Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.  
Subject: Japanese Air Raid on Pearl Harbor, December 7 1941.  
Reference: (a) Cincpac despatch 102102 of December 1941.  
  1. The following report is submitted in compliance with reference (a):
    1. Offensive measures:

      Commencing at 0759, approximately one minute after the raid began, all machine guns (6 - .50 caliber and 2 - .30 caliber) were manned and opened fire at Japanese planes within range. General quarters was sounded about this time. (Ammunition was kept at the guns in the ready ammunition lockers; was thus immediately available.) Four planes were shot down within range of Mine Division FOUR. Due to the promptness and accuracy with which fire was opened and the high volume of fire that was maintained, at least one and probable more of these planes can be credited to the Perry.

      Some time after the start of the raid, personnel on the after deck house of the Perry say a submarine partially surfaced, heading toward Middle Loch and swinging toward the moorings of the Medusa, Curtis and Vestal. Number four (4") gun was promptly manned and two shots were fired. The first was well over, then the sights were reset to 300 yards and a second salvo was fired. No one observing the fall of shot saw the splash of this projectile. Unofficially it was reported to have passed through and exploded in the conning tower or hull of the submarine. The Medusa was also firing on the same enemy. No more shots were fired by this ship as the MacDonough was seen coming up fast. The submarine may have fired a torpedo at the MacDonough – one was seen to be fired just as the Perry second shot was fired. She dropped depth charge beside the sub and narrowly avoided running aground beyond. The submarine disappeared from view.

      The Commanding officer would appreciate the information as to whether, in the conning tower of hull of the submarine sunk off the moorings of the Curtiss, there is a hole made by a 4" projectile. It is believed that no other ship was firing a 4" gun at this enemy target.

    2. Damage to enemy.

      Partial or total destruction of from one to four enemy planes shot down within range of Perry guns which were firing.

      Possible sinking of one submarine in Pearl Harbor.

    3. Own losses and damage.

      There were no personnel lost in the Perry. One casualty occurred when the gun captain of #3 .50 caliber machine gun, J.C. COLE, F.C.3c USN., received a flesh wound from an enemy machine gun bullet in his throat. He received a temporary treatment on board and was later transferred to the Pearl Harbor Naval Hospital for removal of the bullet.

      Minor damage to rigging and antennae was sustained from machine gun fire and bomb fragments.

    4. Distinguished conduct of personnel.

      Too much can not be said for the high order of conduct of all hands, who, totally inexperienced under fire, went about their duties with superb coolness and disregard of danger. To my mind this applies particularly to the men who had jobs giving them no opportunity to shoot back – the ship was ready to get underway 32 minutes after the raid started. The ammunition parties functioned smoothly, efficiently, and quickly. Early in the engagement, when COLE was wounded on #3 .50 caliber machine gun, G.A. CHRISTIAN, F.C.3c USN., who has been secured from his normal station on the 4" director, quickly ran to the gun and took up the fire.

      Ensign G.G. BALL, USN., of the class of 1941 U.S. Naval Academy, got the ship underway, when ordered by the senior officer in the next, and took the ship to sea, screened the U.S.S. Louisville, commenced the streaming of the magnetic sweep preparing for a sweep of the vicinity of the harbor entrance and acted as Commanding Officer until the arrival on board, via navy yard boat, of the Captain off the entrance buoys about four hours later. His action were those of an officer of far greater experience. See paragraph "E" for further remarks on this officer.

      I believe these to be but two of many acts worthy of the term distinguished but which go unheralded by their similarity.

    5. Other items of interest.

      When the air raid on Oahu started, Ensign G.G. BALL USN, class of 1941, U.S. Naval Academy, was having breakfast in the home of his parents, Colonel and Mrs. R. M. Bathurst at Schofield Barracks. At the first bomb burst at Wheeler Field, about 0730, Ensign BALL quickly got out of his car and tore for the Pearl City Landing, pursued by enemy strafers firing on the roads. He arrived at the landing and commanded a boat to the nest and took charge of operations in the Perry. On board besides himself were two young reserve officers. One of them was senior to Ensign BALL, but deferred to BALL's poised and cool reactions. BALL's conduct deserves the utmost praise. His readiness was due in my opinion, first, to a fine background and second to the training received by him from my predecessor Lieutenant Commander R.E. ELLIOTT, USN., in ship handling and in accepting responsibility. I am proud to have him on board. Incidentally, Ensign BALL has been Chief Engineer of the Perry since June 1, 1941, filling the bill completely.

      I wish to invite attention to the fact that all hands in the Perry went to their battle stations, in advance of the sounding of the general alarm.


Copy to:

    Cominron 2
    Comindiv 4 

    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: Wed Feb 21 11:03:39 EST 2018