Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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USS Rail, Report of Pearl Harbor Attack 

AM26/A16-3/(415) 

U.S.S. RAIL   

Pearl Harbor, T.H.

December 11, 1941 

 

From: The Commanding Officer.
To: The Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet.
 
Subject: Report on Attack December 7, 1941, against Pearl Harbor.  

     

  1. The Commanding officer was not on board. The Rail was at the Coal Docks nested in a group of four minesweeps port side to.

     

  2. Offensive measures taken:

       

    1. Opened fire with 3" Anti Aircraft 15 minutes after first bomb hit on Pearl Harbor.

       

    2. Opened fire with .30 Cal. machine guns and Rifles and Pistols 20 minutes after attack on Pearl Harbor.

       

    3. Ships at Coal Docks got underway and moored to buoys in target basin, in order to utilize all batteries and scatter own ships, and set up cross fire. Inboard ship, under upkeep remained at Coal Dock.

       

    4. From position at buoys ships had clear range to fire at planes attacking Hickam Field and those attacking Pearl Harbor.

       

    5. It is estimated at total of 100 dive bombers and torpedo planes plus 50 high altitude bombers took part in attack.

       

    6. A string of about 20 bombs from high altitude bombers fell in channel astern of Rail about 60 yards. It is estimated two strings of bombs 20-25 each, hit Hickam Field.

       

    7. About 40 dive bombers concentrated on Hickam Field.

       

    8. Planes disappeared in direction of Barbers Point.

     

  3. No material or personnel losses sustained. Shrapnel fell throughout ship during attack.

     

  4. One plane was shot down.

     

  5. Ensign R.W. WHALEN, USNR was senior officer on board, and had the duty, and Machinist W.F. FENSKE was on board to relieve the duty officer.

     

  6. The timely action of Ensign WHALEN, and Machinist FENSKE, was exemplary as was that of the entire crew.

     

  7. Ensign WHALEN, suggested getting out into stream, and preparation was immediately made to get underway.

     

  8. The Commanding Officer commends these two officers for their cool judgement and performance of duty.

     

  9. The morale of the entire crew is as high as could be desired; and their steadiness during the action was excellent.

     

  10. Ensign WHALEN, and Machinist, FENSKE, knowledge of planes was invaluable in not firing on friendly planes.

[signed]
F.W. BEARD

C. Copy to:

Comtrainron Six

Source: World War II action reports, Modern Military Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740. 

 

 

Published:Wed Feb 21 11:39:51 EST 2018