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USS Sumner, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack

  U.S.S. Sumner  
Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor, T.H.,
11 December 1941


From: Commanding Officer.
To: The Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet.
Subject: Report of raid by Japanese planes, 7 December 1941.
Reference: (a) Cincpac confidential dispatch 102102 of December 1941.
Enclosure: (A) Detailed report of raid.
  1. In accordance with reference (a), enclosure (A) is forwarded herewith.





U.S.S. Sumner


USS Sumner
DECEMBER 7, 1941

Sumner was moored to the new dock at the southern end of the Submarine Base, port side to, bow to eastward. Her armament consists of four 3" 23-cal. AA guns, four 50-cal machine guns, and one 5" 51-cal, broadside gun.

0757 Signal watch and quartermaster on bridge sighted approximately 10 dive bombers, marked with red discs, attacking Navy Yard. Planes believed light type 97-VIB class. Observed 2 explosions at Navy Yard. Gave the alarm.

0759 Went to general quarters. Observed torpedo planes approaching from S.E. over Southeast loch, attacking BB's at Ford Island Mooring Platform, circling Ford Island, and flying off to S.W. Red discs plainly visible on planes.

0801 Opened fire with 3" 23-cal. AA guns and 50-cal. MG's, using ready service ammunition. Gun crews opened fire immediately on manning guns without waiting to establish communication with control. Number 3 A.A. gun was first to open fire, followed shortly afterwards by other guns of battery. Sumner was first ship in vicinity to open fire. First target was a torpedo plane on N.W. course distance about five hundred yards, altitude about one hundred feet, with plane leveled off for launching torpedoes at BB's. This plane was not hit by Sumner guns and is believed to have launched torpedo at California. Saw dense cloud of black smoke rising behind Kuahuai peninsula (believed from Arizona). Saw blazing oil float down along line of BB's and blot out California.

0803 Torpedo plane passed close aboard, within about 100 yards of Sumner's stern, on W. course, altitude about 75 feet, leveled off for launching torpedo at BB's. Plane continued on its course until it was about 300 yards distant from Sumner's stern, whit it was struck by a direct hit from Sumner's No. 3 A.A. gun. Plane's gasoline tank believed ignited, as plane immediately disintegrated in flames and sank in fragments. Torpedo believed sunk without exploding; Gun Captain, CAMPBELL, H.L., BM2c, and Pinter, PASTOR, J.M., MM2c, are believed worthy of special commendation for their coolness and promptness in bringing their gun into action and in scoring a hit on the plane.

Torpedo planes continuing their attacks on BB's. Planes approaching from S.E. along southern shoreline of Southeast Loch. Total planes approximately 12. Continued fire on these planes but no hits believed made.

0815 Checked fire, no targets within range. Sixty rounds 3" 23-cal. ammunition expended.

0825-0830 Observed, and opened fire with all guns on approximately 10 dive bombers attacking Navy Yard drydocks. These planes approached from cloud bank in the southeast, passing within about 700 yards of Sumner enroute to position over the Navy Yard. Heard terrific explosion in Navy Yard, apparently in vicinity of drydocks, followed by dense cloud of smoke. One dive bomber passed about 300 yards from Sumner, under fire from Sumner and from DD's Hulbert and Thornton, which were moored at Sub Base S.W. pier. Tail of plane ignited. Plane turned southward and disappeared over Halawa district.

Observed fight of 6 horizontal bombers approaching from S.E. at about 8000 feet altitude. Planes circled and approached Ford Island from S.W. and dropped bombs over BB's. Planes then circled to S.E., passed over oil tank farm, and disappeared in clouds. Just before flight disappeared, one plane left formation and turned towards Navy Yard, losing altitude rapidly. Passed Sumner at about 400 foot altitude, slant range about 500 yards, and was fired on by Sumner. When approximately over center of Southeast Loch, plane began to smoke and was lost to sight in thick smoke over the Navy. Plane was a two-seater monoplane with gunner in rear seat, protected by a shield. Red disc on side of plane just abaft rear cockpit.

0830 Checked fire. Expended 20 rounds 3" ammunition this phase.

0905-0932 Fired on wave of dive bombers approaching Navy Yard in manner similar to preceding phase. Dive bombers also attacking Hickam Field and BB's. Fired on latter planes when in range. Expended 135 rounds 3" ammunition this phase. No hits.

At end of phase observed plane (apparently light dive bomber, with conspicuous red tail) zig-zagging over the Navy Yard as if observing casualties.

1010 Fired 2 rounds 3" at bomber on port beam, altitude 8000 feet, no hits. Also fired 50-cal. machine guns No. 2 and 4.

1055 Fired 2 rounds 3" at plane dead ahead, altitude 8000 feet. No hits. Also fired all 50-cal. machine guns.

1125 Fired 4 rounds 3" at plane crossing ahead from starboard, altitude 6000 feet. No hits. Also fired 50-cal. machine guns No. 1 and 2.

1135 Fired 11 rounds 3" at formation of 5 bombers crossing ahead from port. No hits. Also fired all machine guns.


Rounds fired, 3" 23-Caliber A.A.: 234.

Rounds fired, 50-Caliber Machine Gun: 8000.


  1. One torpedo plane at 0803. Plane destroyed close aboard.
  2. One dive bomber at 0825. Plane under fire from Sumner, Hulbert and Thornton. Ship making hit indeterminate. Plane in flames when disappeared over Halawa district.
  3. One light bomber at 0828 possibly hit, though plane obviously in difficulties before fired on. Plane disappeared in smoke over Navy Yard.

Casualties: Personnel, only minor injuries. One man injured, not seriously, by recoil of #1 gun when shell exploded prematurely from heat of gun. Gun captain #3 gun received broken finger. Pointer #3 gun received ruptured ear drum.

Material. No. 3 gun at end of engagement showed annular swelling about 4 inches from muzzle, with total diameter of barrel increased about 1/4" at seat of swelling. Gun replaced later by spare from Navy Yard ordnance stores.

Remarks on Personnel. The Commanding Officer was very much gratified at the manner in which all hands performed throughout the engagement, particularly in their prompt manning of stations and opening fire, their excellent discipline, and their consistent coolness. He believes that the crew of No. 3 gun, particularly the gun captain, CAMPBELL, and the pointer, PASTOR, are worthy of special commendation. This gun was manned and opened fire on enemy planes at 0801, four minutes after the attack on the Navy Yard was first observed, and before any other gun on the Sumner or on any ship in the vicinity had commenced firing. At 0803 this gun made a direct hit on, and destroyed, an enemy torpedo plane which was making an approach on the BB's. The gun continued to perform with consistent smartness throughout the engagement, although the gun captain had received a broken finger and the pointer a ruptured ear drum. The list of the gun crew is as follows:


Gun Captain, CAMPBELL, H.L., BM2c.
Pointer, PASTOR, J.N., MM2c.
Sightsetter, TATUM, R.T., Sea1c.
1st Loader, HUFFINGTON, R.P., F2c.
2nd Loader, FLOYD, J.A., Sea2c.
Fuse Setter, HEDRICK, F.L., Bmkr2c.
Hot Shellman, HOOK, C., Sea2c.
Shell Passer, WOOTEN, F.B., F2c.
Shell Passer, ELDRIDGE, Z.E., Sea1c.


Security Measures Taken. During lulls in the engagement all cylinders containing explosive gases and drums containing gasoline and kerosene were removed from the topsides and taken ashore. Loose gear generally was secured. Mounted 4 Lewis machine guns on boat deck. After the engagement a large quantity of lumber, carried on the upper decks as material for survey operations, was removed from the ship as a fire hazard and stacked on the Sub Base grounds. Acid and ether were relocated to place them at the maximum possible distance from the A.A. gun crews.

0820 Ship ready for getting under way. Members of broadside gun crew and available engineers were armed with rifles and B.A.R.'s and stationed in upper works to act as snipers.

0850 Dispatched ship's boats to Ford Island to assist with hauling ammunition.

Lieut-Comdr., 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.


Published: Tue Mar 13 15:26:57 EDT 2018