The first U.S. Navy ship named for George Mifflin Bache Jr. (1841–1896) -- born in Washington D.C., on 12 November 1841 to Lt. George M. Bache Sr., and Eliza Bache née Patterson. He came from a very distinguished family tree, boasting Benjamin Franklin as his great-great-grandfather and David D. Porter -- son of the War of 1812 hero David Porter -- as his uncle. Another uncle, Alexander D. Bache, headed the U.S. Coast Survey in the Antebellum Era. When he was only five years old, Bache’s father and namesake was lost at sea. A savage storm swept the elder Bache overboard while he served as a lieutenant on board coastal survey brig Washington. His father’s death, however, did not deter the younger Bache from a career at sea, and in 1857 he entered the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. He graduated in 1861, just in time to take part in the American Civil War.
Bache served on board sloop-of-war Jamestown in the Atlantic Blockading Squadron and in side wheel steamer Powhattan in the early months of the war. He was appointed a lieutenant on 16 July 1862, and that November assigned command of Cincinnati, a stern-wheel casemate gunboat. The fighting for control of the Mississippi basin raged through the rest of the year and into 1863, and the Union Army of the Tennessee, Maj. Gen. of Volunteers Ulysses S. Grant in command, invested Vicksburg, Miss. -- the garrison led by Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton, CSA -- a Confederate bastion that controlled part of that strategic river. The Northern operations included plans to bypass Vicksburg but a combination of Confederate actions, foul weather, the terrain, and logistics issues blocked several such moves.
Acting Rear Adm. David D. Porter, Commander, Mississippi River Squadron, therefore arranged with Grant to launch a joint expedition up Steele’s Bayou to gain entrance to the Yazoo River and take Vicksburg in the rear. Ironclad river gunboat Carondelet, Cincinnati, ironclad centerwheel gunboat Louisville, ironclad screw steamer Mound City, side wheel gunboat Pittsburg, four mortar schooners, and four tugs set out from Millikin’s Bend and proceeded northward to Black Bayou, which Porter afterward reported to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles as “a place about 4 miles long leading into Deer Creek.” A dense forest impeded their advance, and the admiral directed men to clear the way by pulling up trees or steering ironclads to push them over. “It was terrible work,” he elaborated to Welles, “but in twenty-four hours we succeeded in getting through these 4 miles and found ourselves in Deer Creek, where we were told there would be no more difficulties.” Porter reached Rolling Fork on 19 March, but the Confederates felled trees behind the squadron to trap the vessels, and only the timely arrival of Union soldiers, who forced-marched overnight and reached the ships on the 21st, enabled them to retreat.
Cincinnati engaged Southern batteries and sharpshooters at Haines Bluff in March 1863. The Union ships continued to threaten the Confederate works there and the Southern troops evacuated the fortifications, which offered the Federals a rare look at the extent of the defenses. “The works at Haines’ Bluff are very formidable,” Porter wrote Welles on 24 May. “There are fourteen of the heaviest kind of mounted eight and ten inch and seven and a half inch rifled cannon, with ammunition enough to last a long siege.” The Northerners destroyed some of the ordnance after they seized the positions.
Acting Rear Adm. Porter, Commander, Mississippi River Squadron, at the request of Maj. Gen. of Volunteers William T. Sherman, who led the XV Corps, ordered Bache’s ship to assault a series of Confederate rifle pits blocking the Union advance. Cincinnati’s crewmen packed the ship with logs and hay to protect her but the Confederate batteries proved stronger than anticipated and took Cincinnati under withering fire, on 27 May 1863. A round tore through the magazine, and the ship began “filling rapidly” with water, while another shot tore away her tiller. “Before and after this time the enemy fired with great accuracy,” Bache reported to Porter, “hitting us almost every time. We were especially annoyed by plunging shots from the hills, and an 8-inch rifle and a 10-inch smoothbore doing us much damage. The shots went entirely through our protection — hay, wood, and iron.” With the pilot cut down by enemy fire, Bache himself steered the damaged vessel as close to shore as possible before giving the order to abandon ship. She then went down with her colors still nailed to the mast. About 15 men drowned and another 25 were killed or wounded. Bache and his crew received lavish praise for their conduct under fire, with Sherman reporting that the “style in which the Cincinnati engaged the battery elicited universal praise.” Secretary Welles commended Bache for his courage and gallantry.
In the wake of the loss of Cincinnati, Bache received command of gunboat Lexington and almost immediately returned to battle when Confederate soldiers attacked Union troops during the Battle of Millikin’s Bend (6–7 June 1863). The Union troops, who included African American soldiers, fought bravely but the attackers threatened to overwhelm the defenders, who fell back to the river bank, where Lexington, in company with ironclad ram Choctaw, Lt. Cmdr. Francis M. Ramsay in command, brought their guns into action. “There,” Porter noted, “the gunboats opened on the rebels with shell, grape, and canister” and compelled the Confederates to withdrawal. “It must be remembered,” Maj. Gen. John G. Walker, CSA, who led the Texas Division of the Trans-Mississippi Department, observed, “that the enemy behind a Mississippi levee, protected on the flanks by gunboats, is as securely posted as it is possible to be outside a regular fortification.”
Bache broke his flag in Lexington when he led a squadron also comprising a pair of stern wheel steamers converted into gunboats: Cricket, Acting Lt. Amos R. Langhorne in command, and Marmora, Acting Lt. Robert Getty, along the White River above Clarendon, Ark. (13–14 August 1863). Bache’s orders directed him to gain information concerning the whereabouts of Confederate troops led by Maj. Gen. Sterling Price, CSA, to seize the last two Confederate army transports in the area, steamboats Kaskaskia and Thomas Sugg, and to destroy a telegraph at Des Arc (and to capture its operator). The trio of Union ships embarked troops and proceeded toward their objectives, landed soldiers that burned a warehouse at Des Arc and destroyed nearly a half miles of telegraph lines, and gathered intelligence information. Lexington and Marmora continued to Augusta the following day, where Bache learned that “the Southern army were [sic] concentrating at Brownsville, intending to make their line of defense on Bayou Meto. Price was there and Kirby Smith [Gen. Edmund K. Smith, CSA] in Little Rock. Marmaduke [Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke, CSA] had recrossed the White some days before, and was then crossing the Little Red.” Cricket meanwhile detached and continued into the Little Red River, where, on 14 August she captured Kaskaskia and Thomas Sugg, carrying cargoes of arms, horses, and cotton, at Searcy, and destroyed Marmaduke’s pontoon bridge across the river, thereby hindering Confederate movements. “The capture of the two boats, the only means of transportation the rebels had on this river,” Bache succinctly analyzed, “is a great to service to us.” Lexington and Marmora returned downstream, and Bache detached the latter to guard the mouth of the Little Red River while he ascended the tributary in Lexington, where he rendezvoused with Cricket. Southern troops ashore frequently fired at the ships during the raid, which offers an example of successful joint Army-Navy riverine operations.
Lexington participated in the ill-fated Red River Campaign the following spring, beginning when Porter directed Ramsay to scout up the Black and Ouachita Rivers, La. Ramsay led a squadron consisting of Lexington, monitor Osage, and gunboats Conestoga, Cricket, Fort Hindman, and Ouachita, up the Black River (29 February–5 March 1864). During the afternoon of the 1st, Confederate sharpshooters fired on the ships below Trinity, but they countered with a thunderous hail of grape, canister, and shrapnel and steamed above the city and anchored for the night. The Union ships entered the Ouachita River the following day, but Ouachita, Acting Master Thomas Wright, suffered a casualty which disabled her turret. The vessels shelled Harrisonburg, La., and the enemy returned fire, striking Fort Hindman 27 times and knocking out her starboard engine, and the ship dropped back. The Southerners shifted fire to Ouachita and hit the vessel three times but her heavier guns silenced the fire from ashore. The squadron penetrated to Catahoula Shoals and Bayou Louis, and the falling water persuaded Ramsay to come about. The ships landed troops at various places and captured field pieces and cotton (3–4 March) during their return voyage.
Bache’s vessel took part in a clash between Union gunboats and Confederate cavalry, led by Brig. Gen. Thomas Green, CSA, near Blair’s Landing on 12 April 1864. Lt. Cmdr. Thomas O. Selfridge Jr., led a Union squadron, consisting of Lexington and Osage, which escorted Army transports Black Hawk, Clara Bell, Emerald, Hastings, Meteor, Rob Roy, and Vivian, as they carried soldiers of the XV Corps’ Provisional Division, Brig. Gen. of Volunteers Thomas K. Smith in command, down the Red River. The Confederates attempted to block their progress but despite deadly accurate fire from Green’s forces from ashore, the Northern gunboats and the embarked troops, many of whom sheltered behind cotton bales and other cargo, returned fire and prevailed and Green lost his life. “I waited till they got into easy shelling range,” Selfridge reported, “and opened upon them a heavy fire shrapnel and canister. The rebels fought with unusual pertinacity for over an hour, delivering the heaviest and most concentrated fire of musketry that I have ever witnessed.”
Later, Bache played a major role in preventing the loss of the Union squadron to the enemy. The Red River fell unusually low that May, and Federal forces scrambled to build a series of makeshift dams to get the water levels over a series of dangerous rapids high enough to evacuate the ships. On 9 May 1864, just before Union engineers and troops finished Bailey’s Dam, named for Lt. Col. Joseph Bailey, who conceived of the barrier at Alexandria, La., the fierce current tore away two stone barges that had been sunk to support the obstruction. The barges swung into position to form a chute over the rapids, and seeing this accident, Porter raced to get his gunboats through as quickly as possible before the falling waters entrapped them. Osage, monitor Neosho, and Fort Hindman and Lexington careened over the falls. Porter described the stirring moment to Welles in his report on 16 May:
“The ‘Lexington’ succeeded in getting over the upper falls just in time, the water rapidly falling as she was passing over. She then steered directly for the opening in the dam, through which the water was rushing so furiously that it seemed as if nothing but destruction awaited her. Thousands of beating hearts looked on anxious for the result. The silence was so great as the ‘Lexington’ approached the dam that a pin might almost be heard to fall. She entered the gap with a full head of steam on, pitched down the roaring torrent, made two or three spasmodic rolls, hung for a moment on the rocks below, was then swept into deep water by the current, and rounded-to safety into the bank. Thirty thousand voices rose in one deafening cheer, and universal joy seemed to pervade the face of every man present.”
Bailey and his men redoubled their efforts to repair the dam and the remaining vessels eventually passed the area and thereby escaped all but certain oblivion. Lexington continued her riverine operations and when Bache learned that Confederate steamers Hill, Mattie, and M. Walt “openly” received and traded with Southern troops, he boldly sortied and, reinforced by a boat crew from gunboat Tyler, seized the three steamers off Beulah Landing, Miss., on 15 June 1864. Shortly thereafter Bache grew increasingly familiar with Tyler when he became her commanding officer. Despite the apparent Union preponderance in numbers and ordnance, Confederate cavalry and artillery surprised and disabled Queen City, Acting Master Michael Hickey, a wooden, side wheel steamer converted into a “tinclad” gunboat, while she lay at anchor off Clarendon on 24 June. Hickey struck his colors, and Bache took Tyler to rescue the ship but when she reached a few miles from the landing, the raiders learned of her approach and blew up their prize. Tyler continued in company with wooden gunboats Fawn, Acting Master John R. Grace, and Naumkeag, Acting Master John Rogers, to Clarendon, where they dueled with enemy guns for 45 minutes. Naumkeag recaptured a howitzer and several crewmen from Queen City as the Confederates fell back.
In 1864, Bache became executive officer of steam sloop Powhatan, and participated in the unsuccessful assault on Fort Fisher, located at one of the two entrances of Cape Fear River and which guarded Wilmington, N.C. (24–26 December). Screw steamer Wilderness towed powder boat Louisiana, Lt. Cmdr. Alexander C. Rhind in command, to a position about 250 yards from Fort Fisher overnight (23–24 December). Rhind and his crewmen set the fuses and a fire in the stern and escaped in a small boat to Wilderness. The clock mechanism failed to ignite the powder at the set time of 1:18 a.m., but the fire touched off the charges several minutes later. The huge explosion shook the Confederates ashore but failed to materially harm the fort. A number of the Union ships rendezvoused in an area 12 miles from the fort, and during the forenoon watch on 24 December 1864, formed in line of battle, the fort bearing west-southwest, and began to bombard the enemy positions. The Confederates initially shot at the ships, but the Federal cannonade compelled most of the defenders to seek shelter in their bombproofs, though some gunners resolutely fired their heavier pieces at the attackers. Five 100-pounder Parrott guns burst on board five different Union ships, but the Northerners otherwise suffered few casualties. Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, who led the assault troops, had intended to land the men in the wake of the explosion without meeting heavy resistance, but the transports did not arrive from Beaufort, N.C., until dusk, and the attackers consequently postponed the landings until the following day.
The Union ships opened fire on Fort Fisher again at 10:30 a.m. on Christmas 1864, and one-by-one the wooden ships took their positions and subjected the bastion to a tremendous onslaught of shot and shell. “The whole of the interior of the fort,” Lt. Aeneas Armstrong, CSN, afterward recalled, “which consists of sand, merlons, etc., was as one eleven-inch shell bursting. You can now inspect the works and walk on nothing but iron.” Despite the fury of the gunfire, the defenders held their positions. The ships also supported Butler while he landed troops to the north of the fort near Flag Pond Battery, but the general considered the citadel too strong for assault and ordered the soldiers back to the vessels by the 27th. Some of the Union ships remained in the area and frequently shelled the Confederates to disrupt their efforts to repair the fort, while the transports returned the troops to Hampton Roads, Va. Lt. Gen. Grant, now General-in-Chief of all Union Armies, relieved Butler with Maj. Gen. of Volunteers Alfred H. Terry.
The Northerners returned for a second assault against Fort Fisher early on the morning of 13 January 1865. Rear Adm. Porter commanded 58 ships, and Terry led nearly 8,000 soldiers, primarily from the XXIV and XXV Corps, augmented by a naval landing force of 2,000 sailors and marines. The Confederate garrison numbered almost 1,900 men. The Union ships ferociously blasted the enemy, and Porter afterward attested to the effectiveness of the ironclads: “It was soon quite apparent that the iron vessels had the best of it; traverses began to disappear and the southern angle of Fort Fisher commenced to look very dilapidated.” Terry landed 8,000 men on the peninsula beyond the range of the guns in the fort and raised breastworks to defend his encampment. The ships renewed the barrage the following day. “It was beyond description, no language can describe that terrific bombardment,” Maj. Gen. William H. C. Whiting, CSA, recalled. The attackers repeated their shelling the next morning, ultimately inflicting nearly 300 casualties and knocking out many of the fort’s guns. Porter ordered the ships to cease fire at 3:00 p.m. on 15 January, and the men attacked Fort Fisher. The sailors formed in three divisions, under the command of Lieutenant Commanders Charles H. Cushman, James Parker Jr., and Selfridge, respectively, and the marines in a fourth division led by Capt. Lucien L. Dawson, USMC. The sailors and marines of these divisions suffered grievous losses while they advanced across relatively open ground into the teeth of the Southerner’s fire, which ploughed “lanes in the ranks.” Bache was hit in the shoulder, but suffered only minor injuries. The Northerners lost more than 1,000 men but carried the works, and the operation closed Wilmington, denying the Confederates the use of the valuable port.
Bache received his promotion to lieutenant commander on 25 July 1866. Following the war, he returned to sea as the second mate in screw sloop-of-war Sacramento, Capt. Napoleon Collins in command, on a voyage that carried her to Chinese and Japanese waters and into the Indian Ocean, until she was destroyed on a reef at the mouth of the Godavari River in India on 19 June 1867. Although battered into a total wreck, all hands from Sacramento were saved and eventually embarked on board steamship General Caulfield, which arrived in New York on 19 November 1867. Bache then (1869–1872) served on board screw sloop-of-war Juniata while she fitted out at Philadelphia [Pa.] Navy Yard, and as she set out for the European Station. After that, he went ashore to ordnance duty at the Washington Navy Yard until he retired on 5 April 1875.
His naval career over, Bache settled in Washington, D.C., and married the former Harriet Dubois, a union that produced three daughters, Elizabeth D., Harriet P., and Louise F. George Bache died very unexpectedly of what doctors concluded was a heart attack on 11 February 1896. He lies buried in Washington’s Oak Hill Cemetery.
In addition, steamer Bache (sometimes referred to as A.D. Bache) served the Navy in World War I and was named for his uncle Alexander.
(DD-470: displacement 2,050; length 376'6"; beam 39'8"; draft 17'9"; speed 35 knots; complement 273; armament 5 5-inch, 4 40 millimeter, 4 20 millimeter, 10 21-inch torpedo tubes, 6 depth charge projectors, 2 depth charge tracks; class Fletcher)
The second Bache (DD-470) was laid down on 19 November 1941 at Staten Island, N.Y., by Bethlehem Steel Company; launched on 27 July 1942; and sponsored by Miss Louise F. Bache of New Rochelle, N.Y., daughter of the late Cmdr. Bache.
Commissioned on 14 November 1942 at the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y., Cmdr. John N. Opie III, in command, Bache fitted out, then proceeded to her shakedown and training cruise in New England waters, primarily off Casco Bay and Buzzard’s Bay, Maine. Upon completing maneuvers there, the Navy accepted the ship into service on 14 November 1942, and on the 27th Bache anchored off the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal and Cmdr. Opie reported to the office of Adm. Ernest J. King, Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet, that the ship stood ready to fight German U-boats during the Battle of the Atlantic. The new destroyer carried out antisubmarine training exercises and short range battle practice off Casco Bay (30 November–1 December) and continued with a variety of gunnery, searchlight, antiaircraft, antisubmarine, and ship handling drills into the New Year. Bache trained at times with destroyers Aulick (DD-569), Corry (DD-463), Ellyson (DD-454), Jeffers (DD-621), Macomb (DD-458), and Maddox (DD-622), submarines R-6 (SS-83) and S-17 (SS-122), and fired at targets in tow by minesweeper Chickadee (AM-59) and ocean tugs Iuka (AT-37) and Kalmia (AT-23), or sleeves towed by Consolidated PBY-4 Catalinas of Utility Squadron 4 flying out of Squantum, Mass. The ship completed repairs while alongside destroyer tender Denebola (AD-12) at Casco Bay (6–10 December), and attained a flank speed of 38.4 knots during a trial run on 17 December, though at 1155 the following day the crew’s elation soured when she worked with Maddox and fired a torpedo from Mount 1’s Tube 5, but the weapon suffered a punctured head and sank. Three days before Christmas Bache took station off the starboard quarter of Massachusetts (BB-59) and helped screen the battleship from U-boats while she trained off Casco Bay. Heavy cruiser Tuscaloosa (CA-37) served as the officer in tactical command (OTC) during the exercise.
Bache set out in company with Pringle (DD-477), Lt. Cmdr. Harold O. Larson in command, to rendezvous with Convoy ON 54 as the merchantmen and their escorts steamed westbound from European waters to Halifax, Nova Scotia (29 December 1942–9 January 1943). Pringle sailed as one of six Fletcher (DD-445) class destroyers fitted with planes, catapults, and aircraft handling gear — Halford (DD-480), Hutchins (DD-476), Leutze (DD-481), Stanly (DD-478), and Stevens (DD-479). Two days before Christmas she received the first wartime aircraft among these destroyers, a Vought OS2U-3 (BuNo. 5870), and operated the Kingfisher during the voyage. The destroyers met the convoy at 2217 on New Year’s Day 1943, at the Mid-Ocean Meeting Point (MOMP), a dangerous area in the mid-Atlantic out of range of shore-based Allied planes where U-boats prowled. Bache and Pringle came about and helped escort the merchantmen while on the port flank of the convoy, plowing through what Bache reported as “wet and snowy weather with high seas.” Canadian corvette Chicoutimi (K.156) joined the convoy on the 4th, but her welcome addition to the screen proved illusory as the storm scattered the ships on the night of the 6th and the escorts frantically scoured the seas to round up stragglers. Bache found one of these stragglers, a merchantman code named Stretcher, and as they returned to the convoy at 1330 on 8 January, Bache made a sound contact on a possible German U-boat and delivered three depth charges against the enemy boat. The destroyer hunted her elusive prey until 1710, when she broke off the battle due to low fuel. Bache claimed positive results but a search of postwar records failed to substantiate her claim. The destroyer brought her charges into Halifax early on the morning of the 9th, refueled, and that day began a high speed run to New York, where she completed an availability, including repairs to No. 3 boiler, at New York Navy Yard (11 January–3 February).
The fighting against the Japanese reduced the number of U.S. carriers available in the South Pacific, and the British responded to a request for reinforcements by dispatching their carrier Victorious (R.38). Bache, Converse (DD-509), and Pringle set out with their charge from Hampton Roads for the voyage to the Pacific (6 February–4 March). The destroyers shepherded the British carrier down the east coast to the Caribbean, passed through the Panama Canal on the 11th, moored at Balboa (12–18), and then set out on the last leg of their journey for Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands. Bache completed repairs and alterations that included installing extra automatic weapons, and refueled at Pearl Harbor, followed by several weeks of intense training off Oahu with Task Group (TG) 52.2. The highlight of these exercises included training with Victorious on 9 March, practicing shore bombardment with Salt Lake City (CA-25) and Pringle two days later, on 12 April with the British carrier and Converse, gunnery and night battle practice with newly arrived North Carolina (BB-55) on the 25th, and (5–6 May) with Mississippi (BB-41) and New Mexico (BB-40). Victorious sailed for Nouméa, New Caledonia, on 8 May, and into the summer operated with TG 36.3 including U.S. aircraft carrier Saratoga (CV-3) in the Solomons. The British ship eventually embarked Martlet IVs (Grumman F4F-4B Wildcats) of Nos 882, 896, and 898 Squadrons, and Tarpon Is (Grumman TBF-1 Avengers) of No. 832 Squadron.
Bache was meanwhile ordered north for screening duty in Alaskan waters during the Allied operations to recapture Attu and Kiska in the Aleutians, which the Japanese had occupied during the Battle of Midway. The fog that often shrouded the islands rendered air support for any undertaking uncertain, and the Navy dispatched Mississippi and New Mexico, screened by Bache and Lansdowne (DD-486), to provide gunfire support. The ships cleared the Hawaiian Islands to reinforce the North Pacific Force in the Aleutians (10–18 May 1943). Destroyer seaplane tender Gillis (AVD-12) and Coghlan (DD-606) joined them while they steamed en route. Task Force (TF) 16, Rear Adm. Thomas C. Kinkaid in command, and TF 51, Rear Adm. Francis W. Rockwell, covered soldiers of the 7th Infantry Division when they landed on Attu during Operation Landcrab on 11 May. Pennsylvania (BB-38) bombarded Holtz Bay and Chicagof Harbor in support of the landings but as the battleship retired from Attu about nine miles northeast of Holtz Bay on 12 May, a Catalina spotted a torpedo wake headed for her. Pennsylvania maneuvered at full speed as the torpedo passed astern, and Edwards (DD-619) teamed with Farragut (DD-348) to hunt down the attacker. After ten hours of relentless depth charge attacks, submarine I-31, Cmdr. Inoue Norikane, in command, surfaced and Edwards shelled I-31 but she survived until the next day, when Frazier (DD-607) sank the enemy boat.
Bache, Coghlan, and Lansdowne detached on the 17th meanwhile and escorted transport St. Mihiel (AP-32) from Adak to Massacre Bay at Attu (18–19 May), but as I-31’s attack emphasized, the enemy submarine menace compelled the Allies to vigilantly guard the bombardment ships. Bache and Lansdowne thus rejoined the main force to the north of Massacre Bay and escorted Pennsylvania and auxiliary aircraft carrier Nassau (ACV-16). As American troops slowly squeezed the Japanese from north and south during the bloody fighting ashore, Bache and Lansdowne screened Pennsylvania while the battleship steamed to the north and east of Attu and pounded the Japanese. The pair of destroyers detached and rendezvoused with a trio of landing craft at Adak (19–21 May), and then (21–23 May) came about and escorted Indianapolis (CA-35) and Salt Lake City south of Amutka Pass, a strait between the Bering Sea and the north Pacific, safely into Adak. Indianapolis, Salt Lake City, Bache, and Lansdowne stood out to sea on the 24th, and the following day rendezvoused with the Northern Covering Force, which at times also included Mississippi, New Mexico, Wichita (CA-45), and light cruiser Santa Fe (CL-60).
Col. Yamazaki Yasuyo, the enemy commander, led most of the surviving Japanese on a final, desperate attack on 29 May, after which most of the survivors committed suicide. Bache nonetheless continued to screen ships as they supported the soldiers ashore into the next month. Ships carried out underway replenishments to remain on station, but on 3 June Bache replenished from Salt Lake City during an icy rainstorm that turned the otherwise routine procedure into a dangerous evolution, though both ships completed the process and broke away without mishap. Intelligence analysts reported “increased sub activity in Attu-Kiska area” on the 6th, and the ship continued her efforts to guard the vulnerable bombardment ships. At 1100 on 7 June an OS2U-3 of Cruiser Scouting Squadron 13 flying from Santa Fe crashed and flipped over while landing near the light cruiser, but Bache recovered the Kingfisher’s pilot and observer. Tennessee (BB-43) and Portland (CA-33) joined the formation on 11 June, and the following day Bache steamed with Mississippi, New Mexico, and Detroit (CL-8) as they parted company from the task force and made for Adak. The harsh northern weather tore into the ship and she completed repairs alongside Black Hawk (AD-9) (14–18 June), and on the 20th foul weather prevented her from carrying out antiaircraft practice. The hardy destroyer joined the Northern Covering Force, including Idaho (BB-42), Mississippi, Nevada (BB-36), New Mexico, Tennessee, Indianapolis, Portland, Salt Lake City, Raleigh (CL-7), and Richmond (CL-9) on 21 June, and patrolled the Northern Covering Area, keeping a close watch on Mississippi and New Mexico, the two battleships of TG 16.12.
The ship’s vigilance appeared to bear fruit when she detected a sound contact at about 1830 on 25 June 1943, near 54°N, 174°E. The sonarmen experienced poor conditions, and although lookouts initially searched the relatively clear sky and sea, fog rolled in and blanketed the area, obstructing their visibility. Bache depth charged the possible submarine twice, setting her lethal explosives on medium and deep settings, respectively, but without result. Hull (DD-350) reinforced Bache and the ships unsuccessfully searched the area until 0220 on the 26th, and Bache then rejoined her charges. On the 28th Bache took on fuel and provisions from oiler Neches (AO-47) during dangerous thick fog, but both ships broke away without mishap.
The Allies next invaded Kiska, and Bache again guarded battleships during their daily bombardment runs. The ship logged that she faced “heavy weather” on 1 July, and as the formation steamed through Amchitka Pass and into the open sea at 0545 on 5 July, Wichita, which held the van, reported a contact on her radar, near 51°5ˈN, 179°47ˈW. The heavy cruiser believed that she held a surfaced submarine on her scope, and the ships took evasive action and Santa Fe opened fire. The target disappeared from the radar screen after several 6-inch salvoes, and Morris (DD-417) and Mustin (DD-413) hunted for the submarine while the other ships continued to steer southerly courses. Morris detected an apparent submarine on the surface close aboard in fog and unsuccessfully depth charged her. A lookout on board Abner Read (DD-526) believed that he sighted a periscope at 1400, and Abner Read and Bache carried out a short sound search until directed to return to the screen. Bache’s historian succinctly summarized the battle: “All in all, not a very dull day.” The next day Lansdowne depth charged a possible submarine and the formation again took evasive action, but confirmation again eluded the force.
The ship repeatedly contended with the weather and when she put in to Adak on 12 July, dense fog drove the warship to anchor until the fog shifted, and she then proceeded to the assigned anchorage. Two Japanese auxiliaries were reported to westward during the forenoon watch, and a number of ships prepared for battle, but the reports proved erroneous and Bache and her consorts stood down. While on patrol at 0502 the following day, Bache made sound contact and launched a five depth charge pattern, only for her chastened sonarmen to reevaluate the contact as a whale. The ship rejoined the formation at 0649, but the radio sprang to life on the busy day and reported that a USAAF North American B-25 had crashed in the water some distance ahead. Abner Read detached from the formation and “charged off to the rescue”, but an amplifying report revealed that the Mitchell had not crashed and completed its mission, and Abner Read returned to the screen. Bache then (12–18 July) completed repairs alongside Markab (AD-21). On 20 July the ship stood out of Adak with TG 16.7, consisting of San Francisco (CA-38), Louisville (CA-28), Wichita, Santa Fe, and the ships of Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 2, and steamed through Amchitka Pass overnight. The ships began to bombard the enemy positions on Kiska from the south two days later, while those of TG 16.12 shelled the island from the north, and USAAF Consolidated B-24 Liberators bombed the garrison. Bache alternated between screening the heavier vessels and refueling and provisioning.
TG 16.7, Rear Adm. Robert C. Giffen, in command, and TG 16.17, Rear Adm. Robert M. Griffin, fought an intangible foe during what veterans of the action dubbed the “Battle of the Pips [radar contacts].” Cmdr. Frank M. Adamson, Bache’s commanding officer, reported that she took part in the battle “in order to intercept and destroy any Japanese Task Force which might attempt a sneak surface raid in the Aleutians from the south or southeast.” Beginning at 0047 on 26 July 1943, the Americans detected a series of contacts that apparently indicated Japanese ships about 90 miles southwest of Kiska. Abner Read, Farragut (DD-348), and Perry (DD-340) acted as the antisubmarine screen for Idaho and Mississippi of TG 16.12. Bache and Hughes (DD-410) formed the section that should go astern so they took station aft of Santa Fe, the last ship in the cruiser column. Farragut detected her initial contact bearing 060° (all bearings are True unless otherwise noted), range 15 miles, and sounded general quarters at 0055. Within minutes, ships commenced firing at their radar contacts but confusion reigned, and watchstanders on board multiple vessels repeatedly asked other vessels via line-of-sight voice radio (TBS): “Do you have target on your screen?” Ships checked fire more than once only to resume shooting, and Bache steamed out of range and did not fire. A “high pitched squeak” accompanied Bache’s attempted TBS transmissions and at 0116 her system failed. Her crewmen checked the equipment and Hughes confirmed the garbled voice transmissions. Bache followed maneuvering signals but observed that she would have been unable to launch a torpedo attack because of the problems with the TBS channel. Some of the ship’s crewmen believed that they sighted a torpedo wake slice through the water from starboard to port about 100 yards aft, but Adamson wryly noted that “due to phosphorescence of sea and numerous large fish in this area, it could not be positively said to be a torpedo wake.” Idaho and Mississippi fired 518 rounds of 14-inch and Portland, San Francisco, and Wichita shot 487 rounds of 8-inch ammunition without scoring a single hit. Phantom echoes on the radar screens produced the embarrassing episode.
Ironically, the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters decided to abandon Kiska and launched Operation KE-Go and secretly evacuated their garrison (26 May–28 July 1943). The Allies remained unaware of the evacuation and proceeded with their plans, and during Operation Cottage landed the 7th Infantry Division, 1st Special Service Force, and the Canadian 13th Brigade on Kiska, the first wave of which went ashore on 15 August. Bache began the day steaming to the south of Kiska and at 0430 left the formation and took up her station off Gertrude Cove, and an hour and a half later opened fire on the (abandoned) enemy positions in the area. The destroyer completed shooting at her assigned targets and then joined Tennessee in the fire support area south of Kiska. Santa Fe and Brownson (DD-518) rendezvoused with the battlewagon and her escort, and the ships navigated through heavy fog as they patrolled off the island. The American and Canadian soldiers on Kiska finally learned that the Japanese had pulled their troops off the island, and Bache came about on the 19th, Adamson observing: “No opposition on Kiska so we are no longer needed.”
Heavy winds drove the ship to anchor in the shelter of Kuluk Bay the following day, and on the 21st she escorted merchant ship A.M. Baxter into Kiska Harbor. Bache operated in the Aleutians until 24 August 1943, when she stood out of Kuluk Bay with TG 16.14, also comprising Tennessee, Indianapolis, Detroit, Raleigh, and Richmond, along with attack transports Harris (APA-21) and J. Franklin Bell (APA-16), for a voyage to San Francisco, Calif. Gunners accidentally fired one of Bache’s 40 millimeter guns on 28 August, killing EM1c Elmer F. Lumis, GM2c John W. Michalski, and TM3c James E. Howard, plankowners all, and slightly wounding six men. The blast blew Lumis overboard and he vanished into the foam, but the ship’s company forlornly held burial services for their fallen shipmates the next day. The destroyer anchored in San Francisco harbor at 1053 on the last day of the month, and spent two weeks there engaged in leave and upkeep, including time moored at Hurley Marine Works in Oakland.
Bache then (15–22 September 1943) turned her prow back toward the cold northern waters in company with Detroit, Raleigh, and Richmond of Cruiser Division (CruDiv) 1 and escort ship Doherty (DE-14) and returned to Kuluk Bay. The ship searched unsuccessfully for downed aviators believed adrift in a life raft north and west of Kiska on 3 October, and two days later cut short her participation in joint torpedo exercises when the engineering team suspected trouble in the bearing or reduction gear in the starboard engine. Bache completed repairs while moored alongside Markab in Sweeper Cove on Adak (5–10 October). Heavy weather compelled Bache to stand out of Massacre Bay and make for Kiska (14–15 October). The following day the task designation of TG 16.6 changed to TF 94, consisting of CruDiv 1 and DesRon 24, including Bache. While the destroyer took part in exercises with the task force on the morning of 26 October, she received an urgent distress message that tank landing craft LCT-320 required immediate assistance. Bache and Beale detached at 1137 and plowed through heavy seas to the area, but discovered that Cree (AT-84) had two LCTs in tow and had the situation in hand, so they escorted the tug and her charges into Adak. The ship sortied with TF 94 from Kuluk Bay and conducted fighter direction exercises, anchored in English Bay on St. Paul Island in the Pribilof Islands, and ended the month at Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians (27–31 October).
The ship then (13–16 November 1943) set out with Richmond and TG 94.2 and escorted a small convoy to Adak. Bache entered Kuluk Bay and permitted the convoy to pass through the nets, but very high winds and snow squalls struck the area, so Adamson made the difficult decision to stay at sea rather than risk anchoring. The weather battered the destroyer as she rounded the headland to sea and entered Sweeper Cove in the face of heavy snow squalls and moored to Markab. Bache stood out for drills with the force the next day, but on the 18th a gale swept through the area and high seas and winds prevented the ship from entering harbor at Attu, and she rode out the storm north of the island. “Worst weather this ship has ever seen”, Adamson summarized. Japanese submarines continued to stalk Allied ships and Bache patrolled off Massacre Bay and Attu (19–20 and 23–27 November, respectively), and in between steamed in a scouting disposition with the task force on a sweep for the enemy around the Komandorski Islands and the Kamchatka Peninsula from the north (20–23 November). The ship then (27 November–3 December) set out from Adak and turned her prow southward for warmer climes in company with Ammen (DD-527), Bush (DD-529), and a convoy of four patrol craft and four submarine chasers. The vessels plunged through heavy seas and returned to Pearl Harbor, where Bache completed repairs in dry dock (7–8 December) and prepared for another deployment.
Bache and Brownson cleared Pearl Harbor on 12 December 1943, and charted southerly courses for the south Pacific. The two ships crossed the equator at 0853 on 14 December, at 173°48ˈW, and Adamson noted that Bache welcomed “Neptunus Rex” on board, and that during the ensuing mayhem “all pollywogs properly initiated into the ancient mysteries of the deep.” Bache and Brownson crossed the 180th meridian on 15–16 December, and during the afternoon watch reached Funafuti [Tuvalu], where they refueled. The pair continued their journey and on the 19th briefly touched at Espíritu Santo in the New Hebrides [Vanuatu], and then resumed their voyage accompanied by Mullany (DD-528). The trio joined the Seventh Fleet when they anchored in Gili Gili Anchorage at Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea, on 21 December.
Two days before Christmas 1943, Bache joined TF 74, British Rear Adm. Victor A. C. Crutchley, RN, in command, a task force of two groups. TG 74.1 consisted of Australian heavy cruisers Australia (D.84) -- the flagship -- and Shropshire (83), Helm (DD-388) and Ralph Talbot (DD-390), and Australian destroyers Arunta (I.30) and Warramunga (I.44). TG 74.2 comprised Nashville (CL-43) and Phoenix (CL-46), and Ammen, Bache, Bush, and Mullany. The Seventh Amphibious Force, led by Rear Adm. Daniel E. Barbey, meanwhile bombed and shelled the Japanese on Cape Gloucester, New Britain, and Crutchley led the task force out to sea during the afternoon and 1st dog watches on Christmas Eve to support the landings. The sea was smooth and the wind calm on the morning of 26 December 1943, as the 1st Marine Division, Maj. Gen. William H. Rupertus, USMC, landed at the cape during Operation Backhandler. Bache steamed with Fire Support Group Baker, which formed a column (in order) of Bush, Nashville (the OTC), Phoenix, and Bache, and entered their firing area before sunrise. Ammen and Mullany broke away from the column and screened the vessels from submarines to the northeast. The ships and landing craft of the Eastern Assault Force passed close aboard on their way to the transport area in Borgen Bay on western New Britain.
Bache shot 147 rounds of 5-inch ammunition at her assigned targets in salvoes of ten second intervals from a range of 14,000 yards (0718–0724). The ship attempted to use a small island to sight her salvoes on Target No. 4, but Adamson reported that “an increasing pall of dust and smoke” obscured the island and handicapped her sighting. The ship finished shooting and spent the rest of the day screening the invasion fleet from aerial and submarine attack. Bache sighted enemy planes to the eastward as they retaliated and during one such raid the Japanese tragically sank her former consort Brownson off the cape near 05°20'S, 148°25'E. Enemy aircraft, some of them tentatively identified as Kawasaki Ki-61 (Hien — Flying Swallows) Tonys, carried out a dive and glide bombing attack on the column, and one of the planes dropped a 500 pound bomb that splashed in the water near the cruisers. Bache fired at the attackers without result, and then patrolled overnight to the northward of Cape Torokina.
Following the Japanese air strikes the Allied planners decided to increase protection and Bache and Drayton (DD-366) escorted the tank landing ships (LSTs) and infantry landing craft (LCIs) of Task Unit (TU) 76.2.4 northward between Torokina and Umboi Island to Borgen Bay. Radar proved to be an innovative addition to warfare but continued to experience teething problems from operators’ inexperience, and on the evening of the 28th Mullany reported aircraft on her radar, apparently just orbiting to the westward of the formation, only to discover U.S. motor torpedo boats (PT boats) making a barge sweep up the northern New Guinea coast. Bache refueled and provisioned on the 29th, and then moored to Yunan, a steamer registered with the China Steam Navigation Company and requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy, and loaded ammunition. She joined Bush and they shepherded five LSTs of the 10th Echelon through shoals to Cape Gloucester on 30 December. On New Year’s Eve of 1943, Bache rounded out the year dramatically when she made a good sound contact while in Vitiaz Strait and attacked with an 11 charge pattern, though the (apparent) submarine escaped.
Bache guarded the invasion fleet into the New Year, and patrolled off the Buna and Cape Cretin area of New Guinea (6–13 January 1944), back to Cape Gloucester, and then again off the northern New Guinea coast from Buna to Milne Bay (20–27 January). GM3c Donald P. Robinson was absent during the morning muster on 23 January, and sailors last saw him on the fantail during the mid watch and feared that he fell overboard. The ship came about and searched back up her wake into the afternoon but without results, and held a memorial service for Robinson and lowered her flag to half-mast until sunset. At times the destroyer operated with Beale, Daly (DD-519), Hutchins, submarine chaser PC-1124, and Australian infantry landing ship Kanimbla (C.78). Bache screened four tank landing ships of Echelon B-17 and during the afternoon watch on the 24th lookouts sighted a geyser of water erupt near the LSTs. Bache sounded general quarters but did not detect enemy aircraft or submarines. On the morning of 26 January Boise (CL-47), Phoenix, Ammen, Bush, and Mullany passed Bache, Beale, and Daly at high speed in Vitiaz Strait as they returned from shelling the Japanese on Alexishafen and Madang on the north coast of New Guinea. Bache detached and escorted LST-457 and LST-463 to Cape Cretin on the 26th, and then (30–31 January) Bache and Beale guarded four tank landing ships of Echelon B-19 as far as the cape, and then Echelon B-18 to Buna.
Bache enjoyed an all too fleeting respite from the carnage when she completed voyage repairs and upkeep at Sydney, Australia (6–20 February 1944). The ship returned to the war and patrolled off Milne Bay to Buna (24 February–2 March). Bache supported TG 76.1, Rear Adm. William M. Fechteler, comprising nine destroyers and three high speed transports, when the group landed the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division on Los Negros Island in the Admiralty Islands during Operation Brewer on 29 February. The landings primarily continued the Allied strategic encirclement of the Japanese garrison at Rabaul on New Britain. Nashville, Bache, and Beale (DD-471) formed Group Baker of TG 74.2 and arrived off Los Negros about two hours into the morning watch on 29 February, and steamed to a station north of Seeadler Harbor in the Admiralty Islands off Ndrilo Island, to provide gunfire support for reconnaissance troops as they landed. The sea was calm and a gentle breeze touched the air as the trio opened fire at 0740 and for about 15 minutes pounded suspected enemy positions. “A conspicuous coconut tree in the target area,” Cmdr. Robert C. Morton, Bache’s commanding officer and originally from Arlington, Mass., observed, “furnished an excellent point of aim.” Japanese machine guns emplaced on the north edge of Hyane Harbor fired at the assault troops, and destroyers blasted those positions, and Mitchells strafed and bombed them until heavy rain blotted out views of the area. During the afternoon Hutchins made a sound contact and Group Able quickly retired to the southward, but failed to discover the submarine and returned to patrolling the area. The landing force’s initial successes obviated the need for a second bombardment scheduled for the beginning of the forenoon watch. With all apparently going well ashore, the warship cleared the area in company with the rest of the task force, less two destroyers that remained behind to provide call fire, and steamed back to Cape Sudest.
The task force’s ships rounded Cape Sudest on 2 March 1944 and patrolled the area between the Admiralties and the equator. After shelling an enemy gun emplacement on Huawei Island, the task force took up a patrol station about 30 miles north of Manus. Bache remained on that station for three days guarding the approaches to the Admiralties while the troops ashore consolidated their hold on Los Negros and moved over to Manus. On the 7th, her task force bombarded enemy positions at the entrance to Seeadler Harbor, and Bache fired 276 5-inch and 117 40 millimeter rounds against a Japanese double purpose gun located east of the center of Koruniat Island. Morton noted that the 5-inch guns fired well in automatic control from the director, but recommended that in the future the ship close the range below 3,000 yards when firing 40 millimeter guns, “so that instead of plunging fire which is quite erratic with 40mm guns a raking or shallow fire can be used.” In addition, Bache’s Combat Information Center (CIC) experienced “difficulty in getting set up for blind fire as visual bearing would not cut in closely enough. A visual bearing combined with a radar range was finally used to the correct initial set up.” Bache left the Admiralties once again and returned to Cape Sudest on 9 March. Maj. Gen. Innis P. Swift, USA, who led the 1st Cavalry Division, heaped praise on his sea-borne counterparts for the success of the operations:
“The bald statement, “The naval forces supported the action,” appearing in the chronology, is indeed a masterpiece of understatement. When asked regarding the effect of naval gunfire support the commanding general of one brigade made the laconic reply, “The Navy didn’t support us, they saved our necks!” All commanders firmly believe that, especially during the initial phases, the balance of war was tipped in our favor by the superb support rendered by the naval forces…“The Naval forces supported the action.”
Bache returned to patrol off Milne Bay on 16 March 1944, and on 10 April took part in a bombardment of Japanese troops at Alexishafen, Hansa Bay, Mandang, and Ulingen Harbor along New Guinea’s north shore. The ship fired 449 rounds of antiaircraft 5-inch and 11 white phosphorus rounds against a variety of Japanese targets including: a new airstrip at Alexishafen; six barges drawn up on the beach and -- when the smoke obscured the barges -- a cluster of huts at Ulingen; and made a run around Awar Point into Hansa Bay and damaged five of six beached barges and bombarded Laing Island. The gunners fired the white phosphorus shells in the hope of starting fires that would aid their shooting, and although they failed in that purpose, the rounds proved “excellent” for spotting. The ship plotted her courses on a special chart set up on the Dead Reckoning Tracer (DRT), a device that graphically recorded her position through displays for latitude and longitude, but a burned out motor knocked its pit log out of commission just before she opened fire at Hansa Bay. The CIC team doggedly advanced the DRT manually from fixes and put the guns on the assigned target areas. The Allies suffered from a lack of updated navigational information about the areas and Bache used visual bearings and radar range on Laing Island and radar ranges and bearings on Condor Point during the battle at Hansa Bay, but utilized F.055, a chart provided by the Australians, during the shooting at Ulingen, and a U.S. Army strategic grid chart while bombarding Alexishafen and Mandang. Sixty Allied bombers attacked the enemy at Hansa but at 1026 men on board Bache saw ground fire shoot down a Consolidated B-24D (Ser. No. 42-41188), 1st Lt. William D. Bernier, USAAF, of Augusta, Mont., in command, of the 321st Bomb Squadron of the 90th Bomb group. The burning Liberator turned westerly but disintegrated and fell into a dense bamboo forest a few miles inland. At least four of the 12 crewmen escaped the crash but died in Japanese captivity; however, Bache continued shooting and was unable to render assistance to the stricken plane.
Bache then turned to on-duty screening for Nashville while the cruiser served as the headquarters ship for Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur, USA, Commander, Southwest Pacific Area. Bache patrolled the entrance to Borgen Bay on 19 April 1944 while MacArthur and his staff planned further operations from on board Nashville as the cruiser anchored inside the bay. On 20 April the destroyer moved on to the next assignment as TF 58, Vice Adm. Marc A. Mitscher in command, supported the assault of the Army’s I Corps at Aitape and Tanahmerah Bay (Operation Persecution) and at Humboldt Bay on Hollandia (Operation Reckless). Five heavy and seven light carriers launched preliminary strikes on Japanese airfields around Hollandia, Sawar, and Wakde, on 21 April, the following day covered landings at Aitape, Tanahmerah Bay, and Humboldt Bay, and into 24 April supported troop movements ashore. Bache’s duties consisted of screening Nashville and the shore bombardments. Afterward, she moved on to Humboldt Bay and the enemy’s defenses around the port at Hollandia. Assault troops hit the beaches on the morning of 22 April, and Bache fired at enemy positions at Challenger Cove. Two bombs splashed close aboard Mullany during the afternoon watch, and Bache reported the culprits as evidently “friendly aircraft jettisoning bombs.” At midnight on 30 April, Bache formed column astern of Abner Read with Phoenix, Nashville, Boise, Hutchins, Daly, and Beale (in order) astern of Bache. The ships then (0027–0047) fired at a Japanese airstrip on Sawar, where Bache noted that the gunfire ignited a “heavy fire”, and changed course and shot at the eastern end of an airfield on Wakde and ignited two fires (0127–0158). Bache fired 371 5-inch antiaircraft common and six white phosphorous rounds.
Bache next took part in Operation Straightline — landings in the Wakde-Toem area of New Guinea. A Japanese shore battery on Biak threatened PT boats and Bache and Hutchins attempted to knock out the position on 7 May 1944. Enemy counter battery fire damaged Hutchins and a shell bounced off her foremast, tore a hole in the deck but never detonated, and wounded three men. On the 12th Bache fired 501 5-inch rounds at enemy airfields in the vicinity of Dagua and But. Observers sighted a dozen “well-camouflaged” but wrecked Japanese single and twin engined planes at Dagua, and although the ship’s gunners apparently missed most of the aircraft, they hit a gun emplacement at Dagua, and a barge hidden under trees at Kairiru Island, where the enemy had established a seaplane anchorage. The Japanese also shot at Bache and enemy rounds, possibly 25 millimeter, straddled her, but the enemy guns fell silent under the two ships’ bombardment. Bache continued to fight the enemy ensconced on that island and supported the soldiers of the 41st Infantry Division when they landed on Biak on 27 May. The ship blasted Japanese troops ashore and patrolled the contested waters for enemy submarines or planes.
The Japanese attempted to reinforce their troops on the island and on 8 June 1944 USAAF B-25s of the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron, escorted by Lockheed P-38 Lightnings of the 475th Fighter Group, attacked an enemy convoy about 30 miles northwest of Manokwari, near 00°05'S, 132°45'E. The convoy consisted of seven destroyers, each towing a large landing barge, bound for Biak, and the planes sank destroyer Harusame and three barges, and damaged Shikinami and Shiratsuyu. Enemy fire downed several of the Mitchells, including one flown by Maj. William G. Tennille Jr., USAAF, who received the posthumous award of the Army’s Distinguished Service Cross for his valor during the attack.
Later that same day, Crutchley’s TF 74 and TF 75 set out to intercept the remaining enemy vessels and reached a position north of Biak just before dark. Japanese planes flew near the ships more than once but apparently did not spot them in the darkness. Just before midnight at 2320, Bache steamed last in the column as the Allied ships steered in the general direction of the enemy while in an antiaircraft formation, when they detected the Japanese ships on their radar, bearing 293° at 24,000 yards. The Japanese reversed course and attempted to escape and both sides steered northwesterly courses as the battle continued into 9 June 1944. Allied gunfire damaged Shigure and Morton observed that at 0212 “a large orange flame was seen to rise one hundred feet in the air” from the Japanese destroyer’s likely position. The enemy ships reached to within about 25 miles of Mapia Island when the Allied OTC ordered the ships to break off the engagement at 0230. Bache fired 126 rounds of 5-inch ammunition in full radar director control, the computer in semiautomatic and her guns in full automatic. The Navy had ironed-out some of the problems with the TBS and Morton reported that the system functioned without “interference”. Although Hamakaze claimed to damage a U.S. cruiser the enemy failed to hit any Allied ships, and Crutchley turned back the Japanese before they could accomplish their mission.
Bache shelled enemy positions in the vicinity of Wewak, New Guinea, over two nights (18–19 and 19–20 June 1944), and screened British minelayer Ariadne (M.65) as she laid 146 mines in the approaches to that harbor. The ship completed repairs alongside Dobbin (AD-3) at Seeadler Harbor (21–28 June) and served in Rear Adm. Russell S. Berkey’s TF 75 during Operation Cyclone — landings by the 158th Regimental Combat Team on Noemfoor, an island to the west of Biak. The Allies required the island’s three airfields to support operations in New Guinea. The task force also included Phoenix, Boise, Abner Read, Beale, Hutchins, and Trathen (DD-530), and operated with TF 74, consisting of Australia, Ammen, Mullany, Arunta, and Warramunga. The two forces stood out from Seeadler on 29 June, and on 1 July Bache took up her station in Fire Support Area No. 1 off Noemfoor’s north coast. The sun rose the following day over a calm sea but in a heavily overcast sky, and during the morning watch (0710–0735) the ship shot 504 rounds of 5-inch ammunition by indirect fire as the troops landed. Morton alternatively maneuvered the ship slowly ahead and astern in a limited area because she targeted the Japanese positions in enfilade from a position only 500 to 1,000 yards off a coral reef, whose exact location “was doubtful”. The destroyer laid her gunfire from information obtained by radar and visual navigational fixes, plotted on a special bombardment chart made up for the DRT. Morton observed that “persistent” Japanese antiaircraft batteries in Areas 21 and 33 required additional fire. The soldiers faced “slight opposition” and overran the enemy airfield at Kamiri by noon, and Bache shaped a course for Humboldt Bay, where the destroyer rearmed from ammunition ship Pyro (AE-1) as she celebrated Independence Day.
The seasoned ship followed that action by coordinating with a plane that spotted her fire against an enemy supply dump at Matapan with “excellent results” on the 13th, and bombarding a Japanese barge depot in the Sowan-Marubian area east of Aitape. Bache, Arunta, Warramunga, and two PT boats went on a “barge hunt” overnight (15–16 July 1944) off Aitape to prevent the enemy from reinforcing their garrison but failed to sight any infiltrators. Bache shelled a supply dump at Boiken village on 16 July during two runs past the area, but a previously laid Allied minefield restricted her maneuvering. The Americans and Australians often operated together and Bache, Beale, and Hutchins screened Shropshire as she fired at Japanese soldiers at Niap, New Guinea, during the afternoon watch on 17 July. The heavy cruiser launched her Supermarine Walrus amphibious biplane to spot the fall of shot and the ships returned to Aitape, where Bache patrolled against submarines northeast of Ali Island overnight, and then loaded ammunition from Australian ship Poyang (FY.20), another former China Steam Navigation Company steamer.
Bache joined PT boats again for an unproductive coastal sweep on the night of the 21st and 22nd, during the mid watch fired at a possible Japanese 3-inch gun at Sowam, which did not return fire, and during the morning watch shot at stores near that village. Soldiers fighting the tenacious enemy in the jungles just north of the Driniumor River on the night of the 22nd requested starshell illumination, and the ship steamed offshore and fired ten starshell rounds that night, and a single five-gun salvo the following night. She then (27–31 July 1944) joined Operation Globetrotter as soldiers landed on Cape Sansapor and nearby islands of New Guinea. The men landed without serious opposition and when Bache learned that her services would not be needed for shore bombardment, she patrolled in the area until 3 August and next (13–25 August) accomplished repairs while moored alongside Boise at Woolloomooloo Dock, Sydney. The destroyer returned to the fighting and intermittently patrolled off Manus in the Admiralties and then Milne Bay through the end of the summer. She accomplished repairs and upkeep while alongside patrol gunboat Tulsa (PG-22), moored starboard side to Whitney (AD-4), at Seeadler (29 September–7 October), and then set out to take part in the liberation of the Philippines.
The carriers of Vice Adm. John S. McCain’s TG 38.1 detached from the main forces on 14 September 1944, and attacked Mindanão in the Philippines and supported Operation Trade Wind — landings by the 41st Infantry Division on Pulau Morotai, an island in the Netherlands East Indies [Indonesia]. Rear Adm. Barbey’s TF 77 landed the soldiers on Morotai the following day, and Bache sailed with the two heavy cruisers, three light cruisers, and nine other destroyers of Berkey’s TG 77.2 during the battle, and shelled enemy bivouac areas and supply dumps in the Galela Bay area of nearby Pulau Halmahera. Off-shore reefs and islands impeded Bache’s maneuvering and she fired 332 5-inch shells from a range of 10,000 yards, and the ship’s historian thus noted that any “endeavor in the area was certainly well camouflaged and from our range the area did not appear to be very productive.” The Allies used airfields on Morotai to support their operations against Japanese positions in the Philippines. Bache completed repairs to her sonar dome while in non-self-propelled auxiliary repair dock ARD-20 at Seeadler Harbor (8–9 October).
MacArthur intended to develop the island of Leyte as an air and logistics base to support the liberation of the Philippines. The Army’s 6th Ranger Battalion attacked Japanese installations on Dinagat and Suluan Islands at the entrance to Leyte Gulf, which were capable of providing early warning of a U.S. offensive, on 17 October 1944. The Japanese had prepared four Shō-gō (Victory) plans to counterattack Allied moves including Shō-gō 1 countered operations against the Philippines. During the Rangers’ raids the Japanese garrison on Suluan transmitted an alert that prompted Adm. Toyoda Soemu, Commander in Chief Combined Fleet, to order Shō-gō 1, thus helping to bring about the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
Bache meanwhile steamed to Hollandia, where she operated as part of Vice Adm. Kinkaid’s Seventh Fleet. The ship stood out of that harbor on 13 October in company with the transports and amphibious craft of TF 78, and with Boise, Phoenix, Beale, Daly, Hutchins, and Killen (DD-593) of TG 77.3 (formerly TFs 74 and 75). Rear Adm. Barbey led the Northern Attack Force and broke his flag in amphibious force flagship Blue Ridge (AGC-2). Bache summarized her mission: “to seize and occupy beachheads and airfield on Leyte Island to the NE near SAN JUANICO STRAITS. TF 78 will make up the Northern Attack Force. The mission of TG 77.3 will be one of fire support. Our mission will be to act as A/S [antisubmarine] screen en route Leyte Island, provide initial bombardment, and stand by for call fire from the shore fire control party.”
The ships of the group turned into their approach formation beginning at 2200 on 19 October 1944, and closed to form as narrow a column as possible consistent with the large number of vessels, to pass through the previously swept enemy minefields between Dinagat and Homonhon Island. The Sixth Army, Gen. Walter Krueger, USA, comprising initially the X and XXIX Corps’ 1st Cavalry Division, and the 7th, 24th, and 96th Infantry Divisions, landed on Leyte on the morning of 20 October. Bache swung into position in Fire Support Area A to bombard Japanese troops entrenched near San Ricardo Bay on the southern tip of Leyte (0928–0946). At 1019 the ship raked the enemy on Dio, a small island off the town of Tacloban, with 5-inch and 40 millimeter rounds. The destroyer then took station off Cataisan Point and provided call fire against an airstrip there until the troops overran the area by 1430. Watchstanders sighted a Japanese Nakajima Ki-49 Donryu flying at an altitude of about 12,000 feet but the Helen continued on its mission without attacking the ship. The ship shot 222 5-inch and 169 40 millimeter rounds that first day of the battle. She anchored overnight and returned to the fray the following morning and shelled the enemy. Bache manned her battle stations during the secnd dog watch on the 23rd when a Japanese medium bomber flew off her starboard quarter, and fired 40 millimeter guns ineffectually at the intruder, which winged off unscathed. Later that night she stood to again and fire starshell to help soldiers of the 24th Infantry Division fighting the sJapanese near Hill 522 just north of Palo, a height that commanded the northern end of the beachhead. Another medium bomber attacked the ships on the evening of the 24th, and Bache maneuvered to clear the area and fired at the attacker as it hurtled past the formation and dropped two bombs that splashed near ships. Another plane roared in a short while afterward and the ship again sounded general quarters during the busy night. Bache hurled a total of 400 5-inch shells into the enemy’s lines during the landings.
The Japanese fleet counterattacked the landings but most of their larger ships lay near Lingga Roads off Singapore or in Japanese waters, providing them the strategic flexibility to respond to the Shō-gō plans — and access their dwindling fuel reserves. MacArthur’s landings at Leyte compelled the Japanese to redeploy their forces. The Japanese charged Vice Adm. Fukudome Shigeru, Commander Second Air Fleet and Sixth Base Air Force, to provide air support for Shō-gō 1, but the ongoing U.S. strikes depleted his air strength. In addition, Japanese shortages of fuel constrained their operations and they dispersed their fleet into the Northern, Central, and Southern Forces, which converged separately on Leyte Gulf. Attrition had reduced the Northern Force’s 1st Mobile Force, led by Vice Adm. Ozawa, to a strike group that operated as a decoy to lure the U.S. carriers from the transports, to enable Vice Adm. Kurita Takeo’s Central Force to savage the auxiliaries offshore. Dace (SS-247) and Darter (SS-227) reported Kurita’s approach in Palawan Passage on 23 October 1944, and submarine and air attacks decimated the enemy ships. Ozawa’s Northern Force meanwhile threatened the Americans, and Adm. William F. Halsey Jr., Commander, Third Fleet, ordered Vice Adm. Mitscher, who led TF 38, to proceed with the task force northward to be in position to strike Ozawa the following morning, but thus steamed beyond range to immediately support the ships off Samar.
Reports of the approaching Japanese Southern Force, Vice Adm. Nishimura Shoji and Vice Adm. Shima Kiyohide, in command, finally reached the Americans during the afternoon watch on 24 October 1944. A low ceiling of clouds drifting overhead made the night black as pitch, but a cool breeze brought a welcome relief from the sweltering tropical weather as they deployed to face the Japanese. Bache fought in company with Boise, Phoenix (the group’s flagship), Shropshire, Arunta, and Beale, Daly, Hutchins, and Killen of DesRon 24 as part of TG 77.3, near the shore of Leyte Island on the right flank. Rear Adm. Jesse B. Oldendorf, Commander, Bombardment and Fire Support Group, also led the heavy cruisers of CruDiv 4 of the Left Flank: Louisville (flagship), Minneapolis (CA-36), and Portland (CA-33); reinforced by Rear Adm. Robert W. Hayler’s light cruisers of CruDiv 12: Columbia (CL-56) and Denver (CL-58). The Right Flank, Rear Adm. Berkey in command, comprised Shropshire and Boise and Phoenix of CruDiv 15. Additional destroyers screened the cruisers and the heavy firepower of the Battle Line, Rear Adm. George L. Weyler in command, which formed behind them and consisted of six battleships from east to west in order: West Virginia (BB-48), Maryland (BB-46), Mississippi (BB-41) — the flagship), Tennessee (BB-43), California (BB-44), and Pennsylvania. All but one of the battleships had been at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked in December 1941 (as had Phoenix).
Allied planes, PT boats, and destroyers attacked the Japanese Southern Force as it proceeded through the Sulu Sea and then Surigao Strait. Just past midnight at 0108 on 25 October 1944, California sighted flares or starshells lighting the Stygian gloom. Despite the darkness the weather otherwise cleared, with a smooth sea with an eight to ten knot wind from 052°, and a half moon obscured from time to time by moving clouds in a sky five to sixth tenths overcast. The visibility ranged from six to eight miles, but men could see flares, searchlights, and gunfire at some distance.
Bache learned that PT boats began attacking the Japanese at 0209 and at 0250 her SG radar detected the approaching enemy ships bearing 162° at 31,000 yards. The ship sounded general quarters a minute later, and the opponents closed the range and Capt. Jesse G. Coward, Commander, DesRon 54, led destroyers on the east flank in the first of two torpedo attacks, possibly temporarily distracting the enemy. The task group meanwhile lunged southward toward the Japanese in two sections, comprising Bache, Daly, and Hutchins (Capt. Kenmore M. McManes, Commander, DesRon 24, who broke his flag in Hutchins and served as the section’s OTC), and Arunta (Cmdr. Alfred E. Buchanan, RAN, the OTC), Beale, and Killen. The group’s lookouts sighted starshells and 40 millimeter rounds piercing the darkness as the PT boats attacked the Japanese column and the enemy fought their tormentors, but the illuminating rounds fell short thousands of yards from the U.S. battleships, and the glare of their searchlights loomed on the horizon but they inadvertently silhouetted some of their own ships.
“Boil up! Make smoke!” McManes signaled Buchanan at 0317. “Let me know when you have fired.” Bache, Daly, and Hutchins made smoke and hugged the shoreline off Cabugan Grande and Cabugan Chico, a pair of islands, and thereby believed that they surprised the Japanese. Because of the darkness Bache fought the battle entirely under radar control and as she turned toward the enemy an estimated 14 pips filled her radar screen. Bache, Daly, and Hutchins steamed into range and at 0335 Bache changed course to 350° and the trio fired 15 torpedoes at the nearest Japanese ships, the largest of which Bache believed to be heavy cruiser Mogami, bearing 109°T at 10,300 yards. Bache turned to 150° seven minutes later and opened fire at the ship, which appeared dead in the water. Bache’s first two salvoes fell short but her third through fifteenth salvoes straddled the enemy. Observers on board the ships believed that they hit Mogami, which Bache noted had “a single large inverted “Y” type stack, long bow, and square turrets.” The destroyer laid it on and shot 134 5-inch shells at the cruiser, and “responsible observers” believed that at least one of the rounds hit a handling room or ready ammunition of Mogami’s after turret and flames leapt into the night sky. The only problem with that assessment stemmed from ship identification issues in the night, because the Japanese had converted her into an aircraft cruiser, and it is possible that Bache’s fire ignited aviation fuel — or that she hit one of the other warships. McManes led his ships in a loop and came about to northeast to close the range, but in doing so passed within range of Japanese battleship Yamashiro. The enemy battlewagon shot at the U.S. battleships with her main battery of 14-inch guns but suddenly fired some of her secondary battery at the retiring destroyers, and the 6-inch shells roared overhead and missed. Additional U.S. destroyers in the other groups made torpedo attacks and at 0402 McManes ordered the squadron’s ships to cease firing, and they made smoke and cleared the area to the northwest to allow the battleships and cruisers to open fire. Bache fired a total of 209 5-inch rounds during the battle.
The surviving Japanese ships retired and only 16 minutes after opening fire California ceased shooting, at 0435 adding grimly that “all targets had either disappeared from screens or were retiring at ranges of 30,000 yards or more on a relative bearing of about 180°.” Bache and the other ships of DesRon 24 received credit with torpedo hits on one of the battleships and a destroyer, plus their main battery strikes on Mogami. Japanese and friendly fire damaged Albert W. Grant (DD-649) but the Allies defeated the Southern Force, and sank battleships Fusō and Yamashiro, light cruiser Abukuma, and destroyers Asagumo, Michisio, Wakaba, and Yamagumo. Destroyer Akebono later scuttled Mogami, and the enemy lost additional ships during the days following the action. Meanwhile, Kurita made a night passage through San Bernardino Strait and at daylight off Samar attacked TU 77.4.3 (Taffy 3), Rear Adm. Clifton A. F. Sprague in command. Kurita’s battleships and cruisers tore into Sprague’s escort aircraft carriers and their screen, and the lighter ships frantically sent repeated calls for help. A number of the vessels came about and made speed for the fighting, but valiant rearguard efforts by Taffy 3 threw Kurita’s ships into disarray and compelled his retirement, despite the Japanese superiority in weight and firepower, and he eluded the Americans.
“In both the bombardment of Leyte,” Kinkaid wrote, “and the subsequent Battle of Surigao Strait, the performance of BACHE and BEALE were excellent.” Morton received the Navy Cross for taking “his ship into action” and for skillfully “maneuvering in the congested seaway while directing the firing of his gun and torpedo batteries.” The commander’s “gallant fighting spirit”, and “his fortitude and unwavering devotion to duty” contributed “materially” to the Allied victory. The Battle of Leyte Gulf effectively finished the Japanese surface fleet.
Japanese resistance, reinforcements of enemy aircraft staged through Luzon, and torrential monsoon rains that turned the ground into a muddy quagmire and washed out bridges, delayed constructing airfields on Leyte. The enemy consequently contested the skies and the advance slowed to a crawl, impeding MacArthur’s plans to develop Leyte as a base. Halsey received orders to deploy the Third Fleet to ease the pressure on MacArthur’s troops by striking Japanese planes and aircraft installations. As for Bache, she took part in the battle for the island and repeatedly patrolled off the entrance to Leyte Gulf. Japanese planes counterattacked multiple times and in one such raid during the first dog watch on 28 October, a dive bomber turned into a suicide dive on the formation and although Bache and other ships fired at the kamikaze it crashed close aboard Denver. The long period of forward area operation and battle toil began to show traces on both the ship and her men, and on 29 October Bache joined Tennessee and West Virginia and a large formation of ships and departed the Leyte area en route to the U.S. and overhaul. The ship stopped briefly at Ulithi Atoll in the Carolines (1–5 November) and reached Pearl Harbor on 16 November, refueled and resumed her journey home and completed repairs in Moore Dry Dock Company at Oakland and Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton, Wash. (27 November–30 December 1944). Bache’s familiar companions, Beale and Daly, joined her at times in the yards and the work-ups.
Following her yard work Bache steamed down the west coast and stopped at San Francisco and San Diego, and on 26 January 1945 proceeded in company with Daly back to the forward Pacific. The ships lay at Pearl Harbor (29 January–4 February), and Bache then took part in Operation Detachment — landings by the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions on Iwo Jima in the Kazan Rettō [Volcano Islands]. Bache joined Cabana (DE-260), Dionne (DE-261), and Elden (DE-264) as they shepherded transports carrying marines to Eniwetok in the Marshalls and Ulithi at times (11 February–12 March). On 28 February she escorted netlayers of Garrison Group 1 from Saipan in the Marianas into the fighting at Iwo Jima, and swung into position to blast the enemy ashore, and also screened transports. Bache finished the battle by escorting ships of Transport Squadron 11 carrying wounded marines to Saipan.
The ship next steamed into action during Operation Iceberg — the invasion of Okinawa in the Ryūkyū Islands. Bache reported that enemy aircraft “heckled” but did not close the ship several times while she supported the landings on 1 April 1945, and during the following days screened transports and landing craft. Cmdr. Alan R. McFarland, the ship’s commanding officer, acted as the sector commander for LCI-77, LCI-78, LCI-422, and LCI-565 as they patrolled shorter sectors inboard of Bache’s patrol on 5 April. The destroyer briefly (5–22 April) came about from the battle for Saipan and Guam. She rendezvoused with ships of Transport Division 35 off Hagushi and then made for the Marianas, and on the 6th destroyed a mine sighted to starboard of the disposition. The day after she departed the fighting the Japanese launched the first of a series of ten mass kamikaze attacks, interspersed with smaller raids, named Kikusui (Floating Chrysanthemum) No. 1, against Allied ships operating off Okinawa. These attacks involved 1,465 aircraft through 28 May.
Bache fueled and provisioned at Apra, Guam (8–12 April 1945), but returned to the fighting and guarded transports and auxiliaries as a radar picket ship. Bache had no sooner returned to the battle on the 22nd then the Japanese attacked and she helped drive off a raid with her antiaircraft fire. The following day she steamed to Radar Picket Station No. 14, which shifted each night and lay 50 miles from Zampa Misaki during the day and 72 miles at night. Bache relieved Van Valkenburg (DD-656) and operated with Wickes (DD-575), support landing craft LCS-37 and LCS-83, and medium landing ship LSM-195. The latter three served primarily as rescue vessels, which indicated the savagery of the battle. Some of these vessels stood out of the sector at times but others relieved them, and the ebb and flow of battle surged over Bache as she repeatedly fought off aerial assaults, though without confirming that she splashed any of the attackers. On the last day of the month smoke vessels covered the anchorage with heavy smoke in an effort to shield the ships from kamikazes, a ploy that apparently worked because they emerged without harm that day. Bache then patrolled off the Japanese-held southwestern end of Okinawa.
The ship began May 1945 operating as part of TG 51.5, Capt. Frederick Moosbrugger, who broke his flag in Biscayne (AGC-18). On the 1st day of the month LCI-816 ran aground on shoals at Oshe west of enemy-held Omimi Misaki, Okinawa. Bache rushed to the scene and protected the landing craft while rescue tug ATR-77 pulled LCI-816 clear of the shoals. Bache came about and proceeded to Radar Picket Station No. 9, bearing 240°, 52 miles from Zampa Misaki and relieved the light minelayer Gwin (DM-33) as the support vessel to Macomb, which had been reclassified to a high speed minesweeper (DMS-23) on 15 November 1944. Bache became the senior patrol vessel of the group, which also included LCI-89 and LCS-117. Heavy overcast and poor visibility prevailed throughout the 2nd and impeded Japanese aerial attacks.
The weather cleared, however, and while Bache and Macomb steamed off Okinawa near 26°01'N, 126°53'E, at 1828 on 3 May 1945, enemy aircraft attempted to penetrate the combat air patrol (CAP). Bache and Macomb opened fire, but a Japanese plane identified as a Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien, crossing from starboard to port and breaking up from gunfire, hurtled in close and sliced through the life lines on Bache’s forecastle, causing but slight damage as the Tony overshot its mark and crashed into the sea. Macomb, however, proved less fortunate and as the ship steamed 1,000 yards astern of Bache she took a devastating hit from a suicide plane on the No. 3 5-inch mount, killing four men, wounding 14, and damaging the ship to such an extent that it was necessary to return to Saipan for repairs. Small craft rescued some of her men blown overboard during the raid. Kamikazes meanwhile assailed the ships operating at Radar Picket Station No. 10, which lay 30 miles to the northwest, and sank Little (DD-803) and LSM-195, and damaged Aaron Ward (DM-34). As Bache’s companion limped from the area she thus sped northward to assist in the rescue of those ships, rendezvoused with Shannon (DM-25) while en route, and the pair reached the scene of the devastating attack at 2040. Shannon took Aaron Ward in tow, and Bache searched for survivors, and within two hours brought 74 of LSM-195’s crewmen on board — along with the landing ship’s dog mascot. Additional vessels in the meantime reached the area and also searched for survivors, and Bache assumed control of the search. Lt. Granville I. Walker, MC, USNR, the ship’s medical officer from Hominy, Okla., treated the casualties. Bache joined Bennion (DD-662) during the mid watch and they monitored enemy aircraft attempting to penetrate the CAP to the west of the group. After sunrise Bache swept the area and recovered a body floating in the water, and later that morning transferred all of the survivors to the attack transport Crescent City (APA-21) off Hagushi.
Bache refueled at Kerama Rettō near Okinawa on 5 May 1945, and the following day steadfastly continued on her picket station and screened transports off Zampa Misaki. Low overcast and rain shielded the ships during the next couple of days, and on the 9th the ship replenished ammunition at Kerama Rettō and then guarded transports from aerial raiders. Bache relieved Putnam (DD-757) as the support vessel to William D. Porter (DD-579) on Radar Picket Station No. 9 on 10 May. LCS-23, LCS(L)-56, LCS(L)-87, and LSM(R)-198 also patrolled the station. During the second dog watch on the 10th the ship obtained intermittent radar plots on unidentified enemy aircraft in and around land masses to the north and east. At 2025 one of the planes, which appeared to be a twin engine bomber, flew directly toward Bache from 218°T and passed down the port side of the ship at barely 3,000 yards. The destroyer fired at the attacker and the plane burst into flames and crashed. Bache obtained occasional radar plots thereafter on unidentified aircraft that cunningly flew low or took advantage of the radar shadows provided by the nearby land. The ship patrolled her station during the next couple of days and shot at an unidentified plane after dark on the 12th but it winged off.
Bache once again became a target for deadly suicide fighters and kamikazes made their second, and final, assault on the ship on 13 May 1945. Cowell (DD-547) relieved William D. Porter and the day passed relatively uneventfully until the first dog watch. At 1740 Bache detected many unidentified aircraft to the southwest at 72 miles flying an easterly course. The ship developed six radar plots but then lost contact and failed to regain the plots, and the CIC team surmised that the Japanese planes dropped in altitude and flew low on the water directly toward the ship. Bache vectored fighters of the CAP toward 260° to investigate the intruders, which intercepted and claimed to splash at least three Petes (Mitsubishi F1M Type 0 observation seaplane) about 25 miles from the ship. The CAP fighters did not discover additional attackers, but at 1846 watchstanders on board Bache sighted several enemy planes, tentatively identified as Aichi D3A1 Type 99 carrier bombers (Val), to the northeast about nine miles, which began a concerted attack.
American fighters and antiaircraft fire splashed at least two of the assailants but despite the stout resistance a Val broke through and headed straight for the destroyer. Split seconds before the kamikaze hit at 1850, its bomb exploded and a devastating blast split the aircraft as it slammed into the ship’s starboard side amidships. Bomb fragments flew in all directions and the plane and its fuel began to burn violently. Some of the shards penetrated the main deck, entered the main engine room and perforated the high pressure turbine exhaust deep within the ship’s hull, which caused horrific steam burns to the men there. The attack demolished the No. 2 stack, as well as the reduction gear in the forward engine room, and Bache burned furiously, dead in the water. The Val furthermore devastated the sick bay, emergency radio station, and pay office, killing everyone manning those spaces, and struck down men as far forward as the starboard forward 40 millimeter guns and the bridge. All told, the attack killed 25 men with another 16 missing “under circumstances which exclude the possibility of survival;” 22 sustained serious wounds, and ten others suffered lesser injuries and were treated on board. “Practically every person on the ship in direct line with the bomb,” Cmdr. McFarland lamented, “was killed or injured by blast effect or shrapnel.”
Crewmen valiantly fought the ship through the battle, a number of whom afterward received the Bronze Star for their heroic actions. Lt. Harold S. Taylor, USNR, the executive officer, who hailed from Thermopolis, Wyo., directed the repair parties in extinguishing the flames “with complete disregard for his own safety.” Taylor then lay below and skillfully directed the salvage work while the forward engine room rapidly flooded. Lt. Walker “demonstrated outstanding skill and initiative” as he tirelessly tended to the wounded, “in spite of the limited medical facilities on board the ship”. Ens. Arthur P. Peterson Jr., USNR, of Park Ridge, Ill., jettisoned four torpedoes which were in danger of exploding. Peterson was also awarded the Bronze Star for his “outstanding performance of duty, achieved under difficult conditions [that], contributed in a large measure to the saving of the ship.” “Without regard for his own personal safety,” MM1c William L. Wilde of Yarmouthport, Mass., “entered the flooding engine room and with water up to his waist, assisted in closing valves which were suspected of causing the flooding.” GM2c Francis V. Boland of Oil City, Pa., “climbed over the burning after torpedo mount to the wreckage and evacuated two wounded shipmates.”
The Japanese took advantage of the confusion and the ship’s loss of power and several more aircraft attacked. A Mitsubishi Ki-46 reconnaissance aircraft turned toward Bache but her No. 1 40 millimeter gunners stayed at their station and fired the guns manually, and the Dinah broke off its dive and jettisoned its bombs. Fighters of the CAP faithfully protected Bache and splashed two more attacking planes close aboard the ship. Small craft in company closed quickly and helped the crew bring the fires under control in about 20 minutes. Fleet ocean tug Lipan (ATF-85) hastened to Bache’s aid and by 2204 took her in tow toward Kerama Rettō. Japanese aircraft continued to probe Allied defenses overnight and another Dinah approached to within five miles as the tug and her damaged charge limped along but a CAP night fighter splashed the plane. Lipan towed Bache into the anchorage at 0606 on 14 May, where the destroyer moored alongside battle damage repair ship Nestor (ARB-6) in berth K-53 for temporary repairs. The survivors buried their fallen shipmates at the U.S. Armed Forces Cemetery at Zamami on Zamami-jima on the 16th. Bache completed temporary repairs by the 24th, when she fueled from station tanker Whippet (IX-129) and shifted to berth K-37.
The kamikaze’s attack had wreaked too much destruction to make her battle-worthy again without a sojourn in a navy yard, however, and men merely patched the ship enough for the long journey home. Bache joined the screen of Convoy OKS-5, which consisted of 18 ships of Transport Division 106, and stood out of the anchorage at 0740 on 27 May 1945. Capt. Frank C. Huntoon, USNR, the convoy’s commodore, broke his flag in cargo ship Castor (AK-51), and Cmdr. James R. Cain Jr., USNR, led the escorts from his flagship, high speed transport Register (APD-92), accompanied by Barr (APD-39), Sims (APD-50), John C. Butler (DE-339), and Pursuit (AM-108). The convoy reached Saipan on 2 June, and Bache detached and completed voyage repairs at Guam (2–8 June), where she also refueled from Manileno (IX-141) and removed and transferred a 5-inch gun and mount to Stanley (DD-478). The ship resumed her journey and refueled from Meredosia (IX-193) at Eniwetok on the 12th, and then (18–21 June) put in to Pearl Harbor before she reached San Diego on 27 June. The next day Bache continued the voyage to the east coast, passed through the Panama Canal (6–7 July), and on the 13th slid into New York. The battered destroyer completed repairs and an overhaul at New York Naval Shipyard (formerly the New York Navy Yard) but the Japanese surrendered by the time that she wrapped-up the work on 19 October. On 27 October Bache joined nearly 50 ships as they fired a 21-gun salute in honor of President Harry S Truman while he reviewed some of the vessels during the Navy Day celebrations. Following the observance, Bache and Renshaw (DD-499) stood out of that busy harbor and sailed down the coast to Charleston Navy Yard, S.C. (1–3 November 1945), where, at Charleston [S.C.] Naval Shipyard on 4 February 1946, Bache was placed “in commission in reserve.”
As the Cold War escalated the Navy decided to convert a number of inactive destroyers into antisubmarine destroyers. Auxiliary ocean tug Catawba (ATA-210) accordingly took Bache in tow from Charleston to Boston Naval Shipyard, Mass. (21–27 June 1950), where she was converted and, on 3 January 1951, reclassified to an antisubmarine destroyer (DDE-470). Bache was commissioned a second time on 1 October 1951, Cmdr. John W. Reed in command. The newly-redesigned ship joined the Atlantic Fleet and steamed (23–24 November 1951) to Norfolk, Va., which became her permanent homeport. Otherwise, she finished out the year engaging in short, one-day operations in local waters to test equipment and train.
With the dawn of 1952, Bache’s preparations for return to service began in earnest. She spent the early part of the year (3 January–25 February) on a shakedown cruise off Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and visited Santiago in that country (2–3 February) and Culebra, P.R. (21–22 February), before turning her prow northward and putting back in at Boston for a short (27 February–17 April) stint in dry dock. Bache then returned to warmer climes and lay to at Key West, Fla. (23–24 May), and visited Havana, Cuba (24–26 May). During this cruise Bache began intensive exercises in antisubmarine warfare, which would become the ship’s chief occupation for the remainder of her life. Once she completed the sojourn into Caribbean waters she put back in at Norfolk, and carried out a series of training exercises that included shelling targets on Bloodsworth Island in Chesapeake Bay (16–17 October), and a visit to New York (4–5 November 1952). Bache carried out a cursory training cruise to Mayport, Fla. (23–28 January 1953), and then (17 February–14 March) headed southward for Operation Springboard, a naval readiness exercise in the Caribbean, with short stops in San Juan -- followed by training off Culebra and Vieques Island -- P.R. (21–24 February); St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands (28 February–2 March, broken by a quick thrust to sea and then again 3–6 March); Kingston, Jamaica (8–10 March); and Guantánamo Bay (10–11 March) along the way.
Bache returned home but the stay in her homeport became a short one as the ship made her maiden Cold War deployment to European waters (17 April–25 June 1953). The voyage marked the first of what became increasingly routine cruises to those waters, during which she usually took part in maneuvers and antisubmarine training, primarily with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. Bache screened the fleet while the ships crossed the Atlantic and visited Londonderry, Northern Ireland (4–15 May), Plymouth, England (16–19 May) Golfe Juan, France (27 May–3 June), and Naples, Italy (10–13 June). Following her return Bache carried out a short (3–13 September) plane-guarding cruise to Mayport and Jackonsville, Fla., and finished out the year in New York Naval Shipyard (29 September 1953–4 January 1954).
The veteran warship underwent a follow-up refresher cruise to the Caribbean (15 January–22 March) and stopped at Key West (18–26 January), Guantánamo Bay (28 January–27 February and 1–5 March), Santiago (27–28 February), and Kingston (6–7 March) before returning to Norfolk to prepare for another tour of duty with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. She reported that she “took departure from continental limits of the United States” on 11 May 1954 and in nine days crossed the Atlantic. Taking her place with the fleet, the ship engaged in a variety of operations, from lone submarine-hunting tactics to grand fleet exercises. She also touched at multiple ports: Lisbon, Portugal (20–24 May); Marseilles and Saint-Raphaël, France (9–17 June and 9–15 July); Naples, Palermo, Taranto, Sanremo, La Spezia, and Naples, Italy (23 May–1 June, 2–3 June, 23–28 June, 3–9 July, 9–15 July, 23–27 July, and 28–29 July, respectively); Tarragona, Spain (3–9 August); Salonika and Phaleron, Greece (19–24 and 25–30 August), and Kalkan Bay, Turkey (4–5 September). The ship then came about from the eastern Mediterranean and headed westward, stopped once more at Marseilles (10–17 September), and then turned around again and steamed up the Adriatic Sea to Venice and Trieste, Italy (20–23 and 23–25 September). The destroyer reached Trieste at a tense time as the Allied Military Government, UN, Italians, and Yugoslavs debated the future of the city. The rival claimants finally signed the London Memorandum on 5 October, just after Bache pulled away from the port, which awarded Zone A, the Allied administered section, to the Italians, and Zone B, the communist-ruled section, to the Yugoslavs. Liberty and shore leave was nonetheless plentiful and varied during the deployment, and crewmen eagerly took advantage of opportunities to tour Rome, Paris, Marseilles, Florence, Barcelona, and several Greek cities.
Bache left the Adriatic and on 30 September 1954 stopped at Gibraltar, and then steered westerly courses across the Atlantic. The ship’s company thought that they would cap off the trip with a short stop in Bermuda on 8 October, but returned to their home port in Norfolk during a dramatic rescue. U.S. ship Mormackite of the Moore-McCormick Lines had set out with a cargo of iron ore from Victoria, Brazil, bound for Baltimore, Md., but a nor’easter tore into her about 150 miles off Cape Henry, Va., on 7 October 1954.
“I was asleep,” SN Charles Williams of Mobile, Ala., one of the rescued crewmen recounted, “and about 9:15 in the morning we took a big roll and never straightened out. I got out of bed and rushed to the main deck to see the ship with a permanent list at about 45 degrees. The iron ore had shifted to the portside and she wouldn’t straighten out. In 30 minutes the water was running in the stacks and she sank. We had no life rafts aboard and were unable to get boats into the water.”
Forty-two-year-old Capt. Patrick J. McMahon, the ship’s master, and ABSN Leonard Kelder, who manned the wheel, valiantly stayed at their stations until Mormackite heeled over and they went down with the ship, which sank so suddenly that the crew did not have time to send an S.O.S. or launch their lifeboats. The men entered the water in only their lifejackets for survival and clung to debris while they battled sharks and the unforgiving sea, and suffered exposure from the wind, sun, and salt water. The shipping company reported the ship 26 hours overdue and at 1600 on 8 October 1954, the Coast Guard Search and Rescue Branch, Capt. Edward E. Fahey, USCG, in command, began to organize a search for the stricken ship. Fahey dispatched two planes from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., and cutters Cherokee (WAT-165), Chincoteague (WHEC-375), and Marion (WSC-145) sailed from Norfolk and made for the scene, while that service also alerted all of the vessels in the area. Greek freighter Macedonia passed through the area that night and her crew chillingly reported that they heard voices in the water, and she was ordered to stand by with a lifeboat lowered to pick up survivors spotted by aircraft. The authorities expanded the search and at dawn the following day 11 aircraft, including six Martin P5M-1 Mariners of Patrol Squadron 44 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Norfolk, took off and flew regular search flight patterns. A pair of Coast Guard blimps from Aid Ship Squadrons 1 and 4 at Elizabeth City augmented the search. Additional merchantmen steaming through the area also took part in the search, including Diane, Dorothy L., Maritime Trader, Monroe Victory (79), and Grace Line’s ocean liner Santa Rosa. Bache, Beale, and Eaton (DDE-510) diverted from their return voyage to Norfolk and rushed to the area, and when Bache arrived on the scene, she took on eight survivors and two bodies from Macedonia, while Eaton received the other four men. Bache and Eaton then proceeded to port at flank speed, to be met by ambulances, doctors, reporters, and photographers. One of Mormackite’s rescued survivors subsequently died and only 11 of the 48 men on board lived through the ordeal.
Bache remained in Norfolk until 6 December 1954 when she left for Mayport for 12 days duty plane-guarding attack aircraft carrier Midway (CVA-41). Afterward the ship returned to Norfolk for the Christmas holidays and remained in the Virginia area for routine operations and training until she departed for the Caribbean to take part in another round of Springboard (3 February–4 March 1955. The voyage got off to an unfortunate start when a Bache sailor had his foot entangled in a line and fractured his right ankle just five days in. He was transferred to a hospital in Puerto Rico and the rest of the crew resumed their work in Springboard. In addition to the usual fleet and antisubmarine exercises, she also visited Ciudad Trujillo [Santo Domingo], Dominican Republic (12–14 February); Guantánamo Bay on the 19th; San Juan, P.R. (21–28 February); and St Thomas and Christiansted in the Virgin Islands. Bache spent a couple of months at home and departed for the Caribbean again (9–27 May). The ship put in to Key West (11–12, 16–19, and 24 May), visited Havana (12–16 May), and welcomed over 3,000 guests on board when she celebrated Armed Forces Day at Gulfport, Miss. (20–21 May). During the summer (6 July–6 August) she engaged in antisubmarine exercises with Nautilus (SSN-571), the world’s first atomic-powered submarine, off Narragansett, R.I., visited Newport (7–11 and 16–25 July), and operated off Bermuda. Bache set out to train with NATO forces in the Bay of Biscay (7 September–22 October). During these exercises, Bache steamed at sea consecutively for 28 days, and afterward her men spent a well-earned week of liberty and recreation when the ship put in to Lisbon (3–10 October). The seemingly relentless tempo took its toll and in the span of a week, a man in the Engineering Department cut off half his index finger, while another badly lacerated his upper lip. Following those exercises, Bache spent several months (November 1955–January 1956) in a tender availability period at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
The warship started off the New Year (13 February–22 March 1956) with another round of Springboard in the Caribbean. Her six weeks of intensive training included antisubmarine warfare exercises with Murray (DD-576) and plane-guarding duty with antisubmarine warfare support aircraft carrier Valley Forge (CVS-45). Midway through the operation, she was called on to head to the site of a suspected plane crash and look for survivors. On 23 February she spotted debris floating in the water that confirmed the crash site, but the efforts to find any survivors proved fruitless. The destroyer also visited Cristóbal at the Panama Canal Zone (7–12 March) and Guantánamo Bay (16–19 March). She spent much of the rest of the year conducting short-term operations off the Virginia capes, duties that included exercising closely with Forrestal (CVA-59), as well as plane-guarding Randolph (CVA-15) (18–22 June). Bache celebrated Independence Day at Mayport (4–10 July), and then (17 July–1 November) received extensive repairs and alterations during an overhaul at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia.
The Suez Crisis in the Middle East erupted into open warfare on 29 October 1956, and all of the available ships and submarines of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean went to sea under conditions of maximum readiness as the fleet received orders to evacuate U.S. citizens from the threatened area. On 7 November the U.S. received information that the Soviets intended to deploy six ships from the Black Sea to the eastern Mediterranean, and Adm. Arleigh A. Burke, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) dispatched Coral Sea (CVA-43) and Randolph to sail off the Egyptian coast, from where they could support the evacuation of Americans or strike against the Soviets, and Forrestal and Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) to the vicinity of the Azores to reinforce the Sixth Fleet. Two additional carriers sailed to the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean. The Atlantic Fleet Dispersal Plan meanwhile went into effect and Bache worked out of Guantánamo Bay as one of the destroyers earmarked to support these operations (14 November–15 December). On 13 December the Sixth Fleet stood down from a 24-hour alert status but Cold War tensions continued, and Bache stood ready while at Newport News (18 December 1956–4 January 1957) and Lynnhaven Roads, Va. (4–15 January). The ship spent two weeks in mid-February as a plane guard for Franklin D. Roosevelt and Randolph.
Bache deployed in company with Beale, Eaton, and Murray to the Indian Ocean (18 March–26 July). The Suez Crisis had temporarily closed the Suez Canal to ships, and so the destroyers made the long voyage around Africa to reach the Middle East. Along the way, Bache stopped to refuel and grant short liberties to her men at: Ponta Delgada in the Azores (24–25 March); Freetown, Sierra Leone (30–31 March); Simonstown, South Africa (10–12 April); and Mombasa, Kenya (19–21 April). Bache visited Aden, a British protectorate port on the Arabian Peninsula (25 April–2 May), and then joined Eaton and patrolled the Red Sea for the next month. The ship and her crew endured the sweltering tropics while they operated under the command of the Middle East Force, and at times (5–7 and 17–20 May) stopped at Massawa at Eritrea, Ethiopia. Massive salvage efforts finally cleared the wreckage of the fighting from the Suez Canal and the vital waterway was reopened. Bache and Eaton proceeded northward, reached Port Suez (22–23 May), and in 16 hours passed through the canal into the Mediterranean. A heavy thunder and lightning storm greeted the ships during their passage, followed by a hailstorm. Bache then made for Piraeus, Greece, for a short (25–26 May) fueling and liberty stop. Afterward, she took part in Sixth Fleet exercises, and all hands enjoyed liberty calls in Palma on Mallorca (29 May–7 June), Valencia (14–21 June), and Barcelona (9 June and 3–12 July), Spain. Thirteen first class midshipmen joined during this period for their summer cruise, receiving thorough on the job training and indoctrinating them into life at sea. Finally, after a short (14–16 June) stop Gibraltar, Bache, Beale, Eaton, and Murray made their way back across the Atlantic, stopped at Bermuda on the 24th, and returned to Norfolk. In a little over four months at sea, Bache logged about 30,000 miles and saw a part of the world that few American warships visited at the time.
The next five weeks passed quickly while the ship carried out repairs alongside a tender, and then (3 September–22 October 1957) stood out to sea to join the Atlantic Fleet for NATO exercises. The destroyer served at times as a plane guard for Intrepid (CVA-11), with Carrier Air Group (CVG) 6 embarked, during a sojourn that carried her northward almost to Iceland and into the Irish Sea, English Channel, and Bay of Biscay. The voyage also enabled her to visit Plymouth, England (14–18 September), and Brest, France (1–12 October 1957). The ship spent the holidays alongside a tender, and returned to sea for type training and antisubmarine exercises (22 January–24 February 1958), which also (7–10 February) included a brief visit to Savannah, Ga. Bache set out for the Caribbean for a further stint in Springboard (27 February–30 March). In addition to intensive exercises in all phases of destroyer operations primarily off Puerto Rico, the crew enjoyed port calls at San Juan (2–3, 14, 18–21, and 26–27 March), Ciudad Trujillo (7–10 March), and Port-of-Spain, Trinidad (22–24 March).
Bache visited New York (19–23 June 1958) and was scheduled to spend most of the succeeding months alternatively accomplishing upkeep at Norfolk and training off the Virginia capes before another deployment with the Sixth Fleet. Almost immediately after returning to Norfolk, however, she received word that the fleet exercises had been canceled and that an antisubmarine defense group, dubbed TG Alpha, was being formed to accelerate the development of antisubmarine tactics and to improve fleet readiness in antisubmarine warfare. Rear Adm. John S. Thach issued the first operation order to the group on 11 April, and (21 April–9 May) Bache got underway with Alpha for antisubmarine warfare exercises. The destroyer accomplished a tender availability period at Norfolk before setting out with Alpha again in June, and at times operated with the task group until the last day of August. During this period NROTC students came on board for six weeks of training during ASWEx 2-58, an antisubmarine warfare exercise, which included a liberty stop in New York.
Rebellion broke-out in Lebanon, however, followed by the assassination of the Iraqi king and the consolidation of power in that country by the Ba’aths. The Jordanian and Lebanese governments requested assistance, and the U.S. and British launched Operation Bluebat to restore order and to protect Americans and Britons in the area. On 15 July 1958 aircraft flying from Essex (CVA-9) and Saratoga (CVA-60) covered about 1,800 marines when they landed on a beach near Beirut. Marine helicopters from Wasp (CVS-18) flew reconnaissance missions and evacuated the sick and injured from Beirut International Airport. The crisis compelled the Navy to cancel another scheduled liberty call for Bache, this time in Montreal, Canada, and the group’s ships rushed back to their homeports to load war allowances of ammunition and supplies. Bache completed loading and put to sea again on 11 July, but by 3 August the dispatch of reinforcements to the area stabilized the situation, and the U.S. and British forces subsequently withdrew. Bache returned home on 30 August for inspections, and then completed upgrades and repairs during an overhaul (31 October 1958–6 March 1959).
Bache carried out a series of equipment tests and then (3 April–5 May 1959) evaluators put the ship through her paces during grueling refresher training off Guantánamo Bay (3–21 April, and 23 April–1 May, and 4 May), and she (2–3 May) wrapped-up the cruise with a visit to Kingston. Following the training the ship joined Destroyer Division (DesDiv) 282 and returned to Norfolk. She put to sea again (18 May–13 August) with Alpha for ASWEx 2-59. As before, a portion of these exercises included training for NROTC classmates, and a visit to Halifax (5–10 July). Bache followed that cruise with a two-week period in Norfolk alongside Cascade (AD-16). She spent the rest of 1959 and the first several months of 1960 conducting operations with Alpha, including several unidentified contact investigations as part of its mission as an at-sea submarine warfare ready group, whose job was to protect the east coast from East Bloc submarines.
The weathered ship entered another decade of service by hurriedly standing out to sea to evade a storm that lashed the Norfolk area (14–20 February 1960). The submarine-hunting destroyer returned to Norfolk, lay to at Yorktown, Va. (14–15 March), then visited New York (17–22 March). The ship conducted ASWEx 1-60 and further training for NROTC students off Bermuda (21 June–13 August), which included visits to the British crown colony (31 July–7 August), Québec, Canada, and New York. For the rest of the year, she continued working with Alpha at sea, visited New York (19–21 September) and on 25 September NAS Quonset Point, R.I., and on 21 November 1960, began a three-week availability period at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
Friction between the United States and Cuba meanwhile flared and on 17 April 1961, brigadistas -- Cuban exiles opposed to Fidel Castro and his regime who formed Brigade 2506 -- sailed from British Honduras [Belize] for Bahía de Cochinos [Bay of Pigs] in Cuba to overthrow Castro during Operation Zapata. The U.S. concentrated potential naval support for the émigrés initially within TG Alpha as TG 81.8, including Essex (CVS-9), with Antisubmarine Carrier Air Group (CVSG) 60 embarked. In the event that the Americans intervened, aircraft from Essex were to fly CAP over the brigadistas’ landing craft and reconnaissance flights over Castro’s forces.
Bache trained with Essex during the days leading up to Zapata and on the 14th began steaming as one of the ships that screened the carrier during the operation. “Involved in Special ASW [antisubmarine warfare] Exercises” is how Bache logged her mission, and the long hours at sea wore on the crew. Cmdr. Waldo W. Scheid, the commanding officer, held a non-judicial punishment, traditionally known as “Captain’s Mast”, during the afternoon watch on the 25th, and imposed his punishments as follows: EM3 H. E. Arnold was reduced to his next inferior rate, punishment suspended for six months, because of “Misbehavior of a sentinel, to wit: Sleeping on watch and dereliction of duty”; BT3 D. L. Short also received a reduced rate (suspended) action due to his dereliction of duty; and SA J. M. Long was restricted to the ship for 14 days because he slept on watch. Independence (CVA-62), with CVG-7 embarked, meanwhile set out from Norfolk to host President John F. Kennedy for a scheduled naval firepower demonstration. The crisis compelled the cancellation of the chief executive’s visit and Independence also made for the area south of Guantánamo Bay. The U.S. did not intervene, however, and Castro rushed reinforcements that forced the brigadistas to evacuate or surrender by 20 April. Essex returned to Quonset Point on 29 April, while Bache was detached and at 0821 on that date moored starboard side to Pier 20 at Norfolk. Independence did not reach Cuban waters in time to affect the outcome, came about, and on the 30th anchored in Hampton Roads.
The following month and after five months of operations with Alpha, DesDiv 282 was reassigned to TG 83.4 for continued work in antisubmarine warfare. Bache embarked NROTC students on 26 June 1961 for a six-week summer cruise that included port visits in Québec and Boston. She spent most of August and September training in the Caribbean, interrupted with a weekend visit to Kingston (26–28 August). Bache returned home in early September 1961 and spent the next two months conducting brief exercises in the Virginia capes, before spending the latter half of December in Norfolk for the holidays. January of 1962 brought more of the same and the ship made short trips to the Virginia capes for exercises and maneuvers. Bache capped off the month with a pleasant three-day (27–30 January) trip to New York, before returning to homeport for an extended stay. After two months in port, the ship went into dry dock (3–25 April), following which she set out for the Virginia capes and Guantánamo Bay to test out her new equipment and provide the crew with refresher training (10 May–10 June). Bache was reclassified back to a destroyer (DD-470) on 30 June 1962. She spent the rest of the summer conducting exercises at Guantánamo Bay and Key West before returning to Norfolk on 6 August. The rest of 1962 was marked by frequent trips into the Virginia capes to run through a host of exercises with TG 83.2, most of which only involved being away from port for three to four days at a time. Bache then deployed for a series of NATO exercises in the North Atlantic (3 September–21 October), a voyage that included stops at Plymouth and Brest.
The Cuban Missile Crisis in the meantime broke out, and although the ship had just returned from a deployment she consequently carried out her last test of the year (17–29 November 1962) performing surveillance exercises with Murray. Just one day out of Norfolk and six after Thanksgiving on 28 November, however, the dreaded cry “Man Overboard, port side!” resounded through the ship as ICFA George Hyduck fell overboard. Sailors sighted Hyduck at times for nearly an hour as he battled the high seas but the ship proved unable to rescue him and he faded into the maelstrom in the gathering darkness. Bache held a memorial service for Hyduck on 29 November 1962, and spent the holidays nestled in homeport.
January of 1963 saw Bache in her homeport, Norfolk, for upkeep and repair. The ship sailed for hunter-killer training operations off the Virginia capes (2–10 January), and then (11–17 February) participated in joint antisubmarine warfare training operations with the British Royal Navy off Nova Scotia. For the latter operations, a nuclear submarine acted as the fleet’s “enemy.” Extremely cold weather and severe icing strained both the ship and her crew, so a visit to New York (19–21 February) provided a well-earned liberty after two weeks of rugged operations. She set out from Norfolk again on 5 March to patrol East Bloc ships off the coast of Cuba as they withdrew Soviet SS-4 (R-12) Sandal medium-range ballistic missiles and SS-5 (R-14) Skean intermediate-range ballistic missiles and their supporting troops from that island. The destroyer also conducted further exercises with her task group while there, and managed to squeeze in a visit to Bermuda (23–27 March).
Bache returned to Norfolk on 2 April 1963 and finally received her tender availability period, but on the 10th a coup failed to overthrow Haitian President François Duvalier and tensions flared in that country as Duvalier clamped down on the opposition. Bache turned her stem southward and patrolled off those troubled waters in Haitian Contingency Operations (10 May–June), then came about and spent a three-day liberty visit in New York City (25–28 June). The following month (8–12 July) the warship served as a ready-duty destroyer plane guarding Forrestal off the Virginia capes. The ship returned to sea in August as a ready-duty destroyer, developing and perfecting her antisubmarine warfare and gunnery capabilities in the now-thoroughly familiar Virginia capes, before returning home on the 8th and spending the remainder of the month there. On 10 September she turned northward for a trip to Boston, with plenty of at-sea exercises along the way, and spent several days (13–16 September) in that city. She then returned to Norfolk, and spent October training off the capes.
On 29 November 1963, the words “cast off all lines” passed through the ship’s 1MC main circuit public address system signaled the beginning of a five-month cruise to the Mediterranean with the Sixth Fleet. Turnover to the fleet took place in Pollensa Bay, Minorca, on 11 December, followed by a two-day visit to Barcelona. After a week (14–21 December) of fleet operations, she anchored in Golfe Juan and lighted her friendship lights for the Christmas holidays. The ship stood out of the picturesque French Riviera on 3 January 1964 and made for Naples, where she underwent a tender availability alongside Tidewater (AD-31). Bache found time for one more liberty visit to Athens, Greece, but cut the port call short after a single day because she was directed to carry out an unexpected patrol off Cyprus. The Greeks and Turks had historically clashed on the island and tensions increased. Two days after Christmas of 1963, Sixth Fleet Operation Order 53-63 had assigned forces to “stand by Cyprus should evacuation of U.S. nationals be directed.” International negotiators briefly defused the tensions but they flared again, and on 27 January 1964, the fleet’s Operation Order 51-64 re-established the patrols. Bache thus steamed within three hours sail of Cyprus, and Amphibious TF 61 within ten hours. During the following weeks ships operated in Cypriot waters to pull Americans from the island and as a show of force.
Revolutionaries overthrew Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah of Zanzibar on 12 January 1964, however, and after five days off Cyprus, the destroyer was directed on the last day of the month to proceed through the Suez Canal to East African waters, as American and British ships made for the area in order to evacuate their nationals trapped in the fighting. Bache passed southward through the Suez Canal and accomplished a speed of advance of 20 knots as she raced toward the crisis. “King Neptune” and “Davy Jones” visited the ship and inducted the pollywogs into their realm as full-fledged shellbacks when she crossed the equator on 7 February 1964. Bache made only brief stops to fuel at Aden and Mombasa and reached Zanzibar on schedule 12 February, and spent two days there before additional British ships reached the area, and then entered Mombasa for a one day logistics visit.
Bache then proceeded to the Persian Gulf and Abadan, Iran, where she arrived on 24 February 1964 to embark U.S. Ambassador to Iran Julius C. Holmes and his staff. Over the next ten days, she served as the host ship for a familiarization and goodwill cruise to ports along the Iranian coast for Holmes. Her Iranian venture complete, Bache departed for Karachi, Pakistan, where she made a goodwill visit (5–9 March), followed (12–16 March) by another in Cochin, India. The crew also furthered Project Handclasp, the goodwill mission of the Navy, by distributing over 3,000 pounds of medical supplies, clothing, playground equipment, and other articles. The ship’s 15-piece band and her honor guard performed at several receptions on board for officials, Bache’s basketball, soccer, and volleyball teams played local athletic clubs. Bache stopped briefly in Aden before making her way to the Mediterranean for fleet exercises. She also put in to Elba, Livorno, and Naples, Italy, and Saint-Raphaël and Toulon, France. On 23 May 1964, after having traveled over 30,000 miles and visited 24 ports in four continents, the destroyer set course for home.
The Navy disestablished DesRon 28 on 1 July 1964, and Bache was transferred to DesRon 36, under the operational control of Antisubmarine Forces, Atlantic Fleet. She hosted over 3,000 visitors during Independence Day at Baltimore, Md., before spending three weeks conducting antisubmarine exercises off the Atlantic coast. During August and September she took part in several hunter-killer exercises, and CanUS-SlamEx 2-64 became especially grueling, as the ship weathered not one but two tempests as Hurricanes Cleo and Dora roared through the region over the course of the exercise. October and November brought another round of exercises off Bermuda, which proved more pleasant as the men traded hurricanes for two liberty visits. On 3 December the destroyer set out for her last cruise of the year, which consisted of a week of gunnery exercises followed by a weekend in New York City. For the rest of the year, all Bache’s energies were focused on preparing for a three-month (6 January–8 March 1965) overhaul at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
Bache began post-overhaul maneuvers on 5 April 1965, spent the rest of the month conducting local operations off the Virginia capes, and on the 30th set out for her first cruise since drydocking. After stopping off at Key West (2–7 May) Bache made for Guantánamo Bay for a shakedown, and spent the rest of the month going through various maneuvers and exercises. Her time in the Caribbean continued in June, and included visits to Roosevelt Roads, P.R. on the 28th and St. Croix in the Virgin Islands on the 29th. She started for home on the last day of June and arrived on 2 July. The return was a short one though, as she was back in Key West as a test ship for the Sonar School (18 July–15 August), and in late September completed minor maintenance at Davisville, R.I. Bache set out afterward with DesRon 36 for the long journey back across the Pacific and into the heart of the war in Vietnamese waters. On 7 October she passed through the Panama Canal, and set course for Pearl Harbor the next day. She changed course almost immediately and instead put in to Puntarenas, Costa Rica, late on the 8th. At 2042 the destroyer collided with the pier, destroying a small shack that functioned as someone’s home, tearing down electrical lines, and damaging a stanchion and bulwark on board. Cmdr. Robert R. Clement, the commanding officer, feared that a significant rise in the tide expected later that night would ride the ship further up onto the pier, and the crew worked well into the night trying to get her free. Their efforts to get her loose before the tide rose were unsuccessful, but the next morning they finally broke Bache free and on 10 October took leave of Costa Rica.
After short stops in Pearl Harbor, Midway Island, and Yokosuka, Japan, Bache reached Da Nang, South Vietnam, on 11 November 1965. She carried out her first combat mission in more than two decades on 14 November when she shelled suspected enemy positions in the hills surrounding Da Nang. Less than a fortnight later, at about noon on the 23rd, she joined O'Brien (DD-725) near Thach Tru in Quang Ngai province, and together they helped South Vietnamese rangers repulse a determined People’s Liberation Armed Forces of South Vietnam (PLAF) assault on their defensive perimeter around the airfield at An Thinh. “You’re on, you’re on,” a ground spotter radioed O’Brien at one point, “shoot the hell out of them!” The enemy pressed their attack, however, and a short while later he added: “I’ve got VC [PLAF] hanging by their toes from my barbed wire. I’m going to put down the radio and pick up my rifle, they’re getting awfully close.” At 0815 Bache reached the area and added her gunfire to the fighting. O'Brien saw the 26-hour battle through to its conclusion, but around sundown Bache relinquished her place to Fletcher (DD-445) and retired. The enemy dragged off most of their casualties but left a 75 millimeter recoilless rifle, a 57 millimeter piece, three light machine guns, and about 40 personal weapons on the battlefield, mute testimony to the ferocity of the fight.
After upkeep at Subic Bay in the Philippines (9–20 December), Bache made her way to the firing line off Tuy Hòa and bombarded suspected PLAF positions, whom the ship reported “heavily infested” the area. Bache fired salvoes ranging from night illumination to direct fire on enemy gun emplacements, 13 caves, and grain storage areas in support of beleaguered South Korean soldiers and South Vietnamese paratroopers on the ground near the small coastal enclave. After blasting the enemy the ship’s gunners referred to themselves as “Cong Cave Crushers.”
The year 1966 dawned with Bache still on the firing line at Tuy Hoa, and in a time-honored tradition a young officer penned a short poem with aplomb in the deck log at the start of the mid watch:
Though Bache is quite old and far, far from home
On gunfire support she’s left all alone
On the whole Viet Nam Coast not another ship’s firing
But when Bache arrives VC start retiring
Though left all alone we raise not a fuss
That simply means there’s more targets for us!
Bache received the Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation for this first line period of the year (1–4 January 1966). The ship fired altogether more than 4,000 rounds during her time on the gunline, and on 7 March came about for upkeep at Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Bache then made her way to the Gulf of Tonkin to plane guard for Kitty Hawk (CVA-63), before enjoying a pleasant stop in Hong Kong. After minor upkeep in Subic Bay she set out for home and completed the last half of what became a circumnavigation. Bache crossed the equator and visited Port Dickson, Malaysia, Cochin, and Aden, passed northward through the Suez Canal, and put in to Naples, Barcelona, and Ponta Delgada before she returned to Norfolk on 8 April.
Following her post deployment stand down, Bache returned to sea in company with Wasp for experiments with advanced submarine detection techniques on 21 June 1966. Bache reported that Mount 51, her forward 5-inch gun mount, had “deteriorated beyond economical repair” and that it represented a “significant hazard to the safety of the gun crew.” Consequently, the ship replaced the entire system -- hoist, hydraulics, electronics, splinter shield, and barrel -- at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (1–24 July). She then got underway again on 25 July for a trip to Key West to serve as a Sonar School ship training sonarmen, at times in company with radar picket escort ship Calcaterra (DER-390) and target and training submarine Marlin (SST-2), but an engineering casualty forced her to return to Portsmouth on 6 August. Shipyard crews scrambled to replace a severely damaged condenser, and it took 27 days to get the aging destroyer seaworthy again.
Afterward, Bache held a dependents cruise on 2 September 1966, and next (7–10 September) set out for further gunnery exercises and casualty drills off the Virginia capes. She remained only five days at the Destroyer/Submarine Piers before returning to the capes for additional exercises, and marked the highlight of this trip as a weapon “A” war shot. Carrying three remote controlled, Firefish motorized surface targets on the fantail, Bache provided maneuvering surface targets for aircraft, but fought heavy seas and encountered hoist problems before she completed the exercises on 16 September. The ship joined destroyers of DesRon 12 out of Newport for antisubmarine task group operations (26 September–8 October), and then accomplished a quarterly tender availability for repair and upkeep with Sierra (AD-18), because her assigned tender, Shenandoah (AD-26), was unavailable.
Bache steamed again with DesRon 12 for antisubmarine warfare training (18 November–31 October 1966). Bache stood out to sea for her final exercise of 1966 on 28 November for LantFlex 66 in the Caribbean. This, the largest, most all-encompassing Atlantic Fleet exercise of the year, included a total of 94 vessels -- including three Canadian destroyers -- and over 42,000 people including 5,000 marines. Bache screened, plane guarded, and provided live shore bombardment and night illumination for deployment of marine landing and amphibious forces. In addition, she acted as a rescue destroyer for Randolph and took part in antisubmarine and antiair exercises, as well as a visit to Vieques on 8 December. Upon her return, Bache also hosted the children of crewmen from Waller (DD-466), her sister ship, while Waller spent the holiday season deployed to the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.
The cold and rainy dawn of 1 January 1967 found Bache in Norfolk completing work while moored alongside Sierra. The ship screened Randolph in company with DesRon 36 during antisubmarine exercises (13–18 January), and next (26 January–24 February) set out on southerly courses with Wasp and the other destroyers of the squadron to enable student aviators to qualify in carrier operations on board Wasp. The voyage included brief stops at Mayport and Pensacola, Fla., but the highlight of the cruise included five days (3–8 February) to enjoy Mardi Gras festivities at New Orleans, La. Bache trained intermittingly off the Virginia capes into the spring, a series of periods underway often escorting Randolph. She accomplished repairs alongside Shenandoah (1–20 April), and then tested the work at sea, a voyage that included a visit to New York (5–8 May). The destroyer fired at targets at Bloodsworth Island, and returned to Norfolk on 19 May. The ship but went into dry dock for hull and superstructure repairs at Norfolk Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Corp. (30 August–15 September), and then (27 September–16 October) completed refresher training off Guantánamo Bay, followed by additional work alongside Tidewater (19 October–3 November).
On 14 November 1967, Bache celebrated the silver anniversary of her commissioning as she left Norfolk for the Atlantic with Shangri La (CVA-38), with CVW-8 embarked, crossing with four other ships from DesRon 32 and Beale of DesRon 36. The ships passed through the Strait of Gibraltar on 23 November and the following day reached Pollensa Bay, Mallorca, for turnover. Joining up at times with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Shangri La, Bache’s rigorous duty schedule of antisubmarine warfare exercises, gunnery exercises, and rescue destroyer duty began. On 27 November she transited the Strait of Messina between Italy and Sicily en route to a 29 November Sixth Fleet commanders’ conference held at anchorage in the Italian port of Taranto. Swinging back west, Bache again passed through the Strait of Messina and the Strait of Bonifacio on the way to the liberty port of Sète, France (4–11 November). The ship welcomed nearly 700 visitors including 80 French soldiers of the 81st Infantry Regiment and 34 children from a local orphanage. Bache operated with TG 60.1 but carried out repairs to a ruptured fuel oil tank while at Naples (18–22 December), which enabled some crewmen to enjoy tours of nearby Pompeii and Sorrento. The ship anchored at Beaulieu, France, for the holiday season (23 December 1967–3 January 1968). Crewmen set up decorations throughout the messes, cooks prepared a special Christmas dinner for all hands, and sailors traveled to Monte Carlo, Nice, and Paris.
Brisk chill winds ushered in the start of 1968 and on 3 January Bache charted a course for Naples, stopping en route at Valletta, Malta. Following that visit Bache trained and set out for a goodwill visit to the Greek island of Rhodes. While she approached the island on the evening of 5 February, 45 knot winds and choppy seas began hammering the ship. Cmdr. Edward A. Broadwell, the ship’s 39-year-old commanding officer from Birmingham, Mich., dropped anchor 12 miles off the coast, but the hurricane-force winds soon began dragging Bache, anchor and all, inexorably toward the coast. All hands scrambled to a avert disaster, but with a sickening crunch, Bache grounded herself on the rocks just off the Rhodes Yacht Club at Mandraki Shores. The grounding tore multiple holes in the ship, partially sheared off the rudder, bent the port shaft, drove part of the port screw to pierce the hull, and buckled the main deck on the centerline between frames 100–104 over a stanchion of the forward engine room. Water poured into damaged compartments, and Broadwell gave the order to abandon ship.
The captain remained on board with a skeleton crew of 28, while the remaining crewmen clambered on board life rafts and plunged into the raging waters. Lt. Cmdr. James H. Carrington Jr., the ship’s executive officer, supervised the evacuation, earning effusive praise from the crew for his steady calm and the numerous abandon ship drills he had conducted during his tenure to make every man ready to survive. More than 15 men jumped into each inflated life raft and then flailed away wildly at the violent seas with their arms and paddles to clear the rocks. Hundreds of local people congregated ashore, and drivers parked their automobiles in a semi-circle array and shone their lights to seaward to mark the course to safety. Fierce breakers churned to froth by the storm pounded the survivors as the rafts approached shore, tumbling their passengers off in all directions. As the men dragged themselves through the waves onto the beach, a powerful undercurrent tore the lifejackets off many of the battered survivors. People rushed into the water and worked in pairs to drag the exhausted and oil-covered men from the water. Thanks in no small part to the locals’ aid, every single man made it ashore, mostly suffering only minor injuries despite their harrowing ordeal. Several hotels opened their doors to the sailors, and the Navy Times noted that “Brandy, hot water and soap and dry clothes, in that order, improved their situation.” Grand Canyon (AD-28) took on crewmen, and the tender issued each man sufficient uniforms, hot showers, and haircuts. Those who lost their wallets were issued with new documents, and all were paid up to date.
A Lockheed SP-2H Neptune from Naval Air Facility Sigonella, Sicily, flew over Bache to examine the extent of the disaster, and ships and additional aircraft rushed to the scene to render assistance. Franklin D. Roosevelt had just wrapped-up her part in exercise Quickdraw 1-68 and put in to Souda Bay, Crete, but cut short her visit and made for the area, where she provided divers and damage control sailors to help Bache. Salvage ship Hoist (ARS-40) diverted from Athens, Greece, to Rhodes (8 February–27 March). Aided at times (17 February–5 March) by Petrel (ARS-14), Hoist removed ammunition from the stricken destroyer and the surrounding area, a laborious process because the destroyer’s power failure meant that the men had to rig hoists or cut holes in the hull to safely remove munitions from flooded compartments. Hoist then came about for Naples. Charles H. Roan (DD-853), Suribachi (AE-21), and Greek destroyer Ierax (D.31) (ex-Ebert (DE-768) also helped at times. A second storm pounded Bache, however, and her position prevented divers from safely examining the keel. The divers checked the rest of the ship and surmised that the keel would “no longer” be intact, and Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) inspectors summarized the starboard propeller as a “nub”. The investigators determined that the ship was beyond saving, and Rear Adm. John D. Bulkeley, who directed the board and had received the Medal of Honor during World War II, therefore gave orders to dispose of her.
“Inspection results reveal that,” the board reported, “as a result of grounding, there has been extensive flooding throughout the ship due to major damage to the basic hull structure from bow to stern. Due to excessive working of the ship, much installed machinery is off the foundations or severely misaligned. Damage to components has been estimated to range from severe to total. Since the INSURV inspection, severe weather during the period 17–18 February has resulted in gross crushing of the bottom, setting the main deck awash from mid-length, aft, making all efforts to refloat the ship impracticable.”
As for Cmdr. Broadwell, despite his efficiency in handling the evacuation, he faced a three-day (April 23–25 1968) court-martial. The maximum penalty for conviction was two years in prison and expulsion from the Navy, but the court opted for a more lenient sentence. In light of mitigating circumstances and Broadwell’s record of distinguished service including the Korean War, he was sentenced to a reprimand for “negligently hazarding” the ship.
Bache was placed “out of commission special” on 23 February 1968, and on 1 March stricken from the Naval Vessel Register. The Navy turned the ship over to a Greek salvage company and reported that she was dismantled during June 1969.
Bache received eight battle stars for her service in World War II and two campaign stars for her service in the Vietnam War.
||Date Assumed Command
|Cmdr. John N. Opie III
||14 November 1942
|Cmdr. Frank M. Adamson
||15 January 1943
|Cmdr. Robert C. Morton
||14 February 1944
|Cmdr. Alan R. McFarland
||20 December 1944
|Lt. Cmdr. William K. Ratliff
|Cmdr. John P. Aymond
||7 February 1946
|Lt. Cmdr. Louis H. Mayo, USNR
||27 June 1946
|Lt. Cmdr. Joseph B. Linehan
||18 July 1946
|Lt. Robert M. Stuart
||2 September 1946
|Cmdr. John W. Reed
||1 October 1951
|Cmdr. John H. King Jr., USNR
||30 June 1953
|Cmdr. Daniel F. Harrington Jr.
||8 April 1955
|Cmdr. Paul J. Hidding
||12 February 1957
|Cmdr. Raymond W. Allen
||1 October 1958
|Cmdr. Waldo W. Scheid
||29 November 1960
|Cmdr. Richard D. Faubion
||2 May 1962
|Cmdr. Robert R. Clement
||17 July 1963
|Cmdr. Arthur R. Hasler Jr.
||18 May 1965
|Cmdr. Edward A. Broadwell
||20 October 1966
|Lt. Clyde L. Carter
||12 February 1968
Mark L. Evans and Thomas Sheppard
7 November 2017