War Diary, Submarine Chaser Detachment Two
The Bombardment of Durazzo, Albania, October 2, 1918.
Activities of Sub Chaser Force, Detachment Two Based on Corfu, Greece.
September 29, 1918. Sub Chaser Force of Detachment Two based on Corfu, composed of Unit “B” (SC’s 215-128 and 129); Unit “D” (SC’s 225,327 and 244);Unit “G” (95-179 and 338) and Unit “H” (SC’s 130-324 and 337); left Corfu for Brindisi, Italy, to join in an Allied Naval expedition against Durazzo, Albania. The “Sub Chaser Force was under the Command of Captain Charles P. Nelson, U. S. N.
Sub Chaser arrived Brindisi September 30, 1918 at 12:55 P. M. On October 2, 1918 at 1:30 A.M. Units “B”, “D” less S.C. 244 which fouled her propeller and was unable to leave port, Unit “G” and Unit “H” left Brindisi for the bombardment of Durazzo. At 8:40 A.M. they arrived off Durazzo and stood by at a distance of about 6 miles to await the approach of the bombing groups of Italian Battleships and British Cruisers. At 9:07 A.M. the Italian main Force with screen was approaching and when at a distance of about 7 miles from the Chasers orders were given to the Units to proceed to their assigned stations.
The duty performed by Unit “H” (130-324 and 337) at the bombardment of Durazzo, October 2, 1918.
October 2, 1918. Unit “H” (130-324 and 337) at the Bombardment of Durazzo screened the right (off shore) flank of the Italian bombing squadron. When this force had finished firing and turned out of the bombing sector, Unit “H” turned and took station on the right (off shore) flank of the British bombing squadron and remained in this position till the bombardment finished. Unit “H” arrived in screening position 1000 yards on the starboard beam of the Italian Bombarding Squadron before this squadron opened fire. Upon completion of the firing Unit “H” stood to the northward and gained a similar screening position on the British Bombing Squadron, shortly after this opened fire. Upon completion of the bombing of Durazzo, this Unit received orders to screen the H.M.S. WEYMOUTH. S.C. 324 took station accordingly. S.C. 337 had engine trouble and was unable to take position. S. C. 130 while proceeding Screening Station, sighted a mine, similar to the German type Mark IV. This mine was in the path of four British Destroyers, one of which was H.M. SHARK, the “08”. S. C. 130 left formation and fired one three-inch shell which sank the mine. A second mine was sighted about 500 yards distant, and 130 stood close to the mine in order to warn off the approaching British Destroyers, all of which altered course to clear the mine. S. C. 324 was one of the escort of the H.M.W. [i.e., H.M.S.] WEYMOUTH to Brindisi.1
Source War Diary S. C. Detachment Two.
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 520, Box 416.
Footnote 1: Durazzo (Durrës) was a major port in Albania, and was a key source of supplies for the Central Powers’ forces in the Balkans. A multinational Allied force began bombardment on 2 October. The destruction of the city – and an accompanying minor naval skirmish – was the last fighting to occur in the Adriatic Sea. Halpern, Naval History of World War I: 175-176. For more on this operation, see: Subchaser Detachment 2 War Diary, 2 October 1918; Spafford to Sims, 4 October 1918; and Kelly to Sims, 5 October 1918.