"THE U.S.N. AT CORREGIDOR"
During the period of 13 February
through 17 February, 1945, the U.S. Navy participated in pre-invasion shore
bombardment, counter-battery fire, minesweeping and mine-sweeper covering
operations in the Manila Bay area, in support of the amphibious landings of Task
Group 78.3 at Mariveles and Corregidor.
A Medal of Honor was awarded,
posthumously, for action on the USS Fletcher. At
1326, February 14, 1945, Fletcher was struck by a projectile estimated to
be at least 6 inches in size. An explosion occurred as the projectile passed
through the main deck, starboard side forward at frame 25, about 3 feet
in-board. Fragments killed three men in gun #1, two men in gun #1 handling room
and wounded six others. Gun #1 was immediately out of commission and gun #2 had
to be secured shortly because of severed hydraulic leads and oil leakage making
loading impossible. Other fragments penetrated below to gun #1 magazine where
three powder cases were hit and set afire. Numerous electrical leads were also
cut which rendered the sonar gear and fathometer inoperative.
USS FLETCHER (DD-445)
The USS Fletcher's Combat Action Report is courtesy of USS Fletcher Reunion Group, Webmaster Earl Faubion. Official U..S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, courtesy of Naval Historical Center.
Below - the Shell entry hole on the fo'c'sle of the USS Fletcher, 14 Feb, 1945.
When the explosion occurred and the fire broke out
in the magazine, the magazine crew bailed out without hesitation and made their
way topside at high speed. Seeing these men, Elmer Bigelow, WT2c, a member of
Repair II, and Mackin, SSML3c, sensed that the magazine was on fire. They
rushed below with CO2 extinguishers and Bigelow, sensing the extreme urgency of
the situation, went down into the heavy smoke of the magazine without a mask
while Mackin handed him the bottles. Bigelow later reported that he could see
nothing but the glow of the fire in the thick smoke and that the two bottles of
CO2 directed at this glow put it out.
The following day, February 15, D-1, Elmer Bigelow died of pneumonia brought on by breathing the CO2 fumes.
Also on D-1, USS La Vallette ("La Vadilly") was operating in support of minesweepers in the North Channel, and fouled a mine herself, sustaining major damage and losing six dead and 23 wounded. While maneuvering to take her in tow, USS Radford also struck a mine. Both ships were able to retire under their own power.
OPERATION AS SEEN FROM THE
Column of five light cruisers leaving Subic Bay en route to bombard Corregidor, 13 February 1945. Phoenix is followed by (from left to right): USS Boise (CL-47); USS Denver (CL-58); USS Cleveland (CL-55); and USS Montpelier (CL-57).Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, courtesy of Naval Historical Center ,
Shore Bombardment Off Corregidor , D-1
15 February 1945
Fire Support Unit "A" under the command of Rear Admiral Berkey included the destroyers Hopewell, Nicholas, Taylor and O'Bannion. Pictured are the light cruiser USS Boise (CL-47) and the destroyer Taylor conducting close-in bombardment of Corregidor. Source: USS Taylor World War II cruise book, courtesy of Dome Island Press.
Bombardment of Corregidor
At 1440 hrs., Fletcher sighted two shore installations on Corregidor bearing 133°(T), range 3800 yards. Obscured by smoke, and with the assistance of a cruiser-based spotter aircraft, Fletcher was able to pump round after round into the area of a tunnel from where the fire was thought to be originating. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, courtesy of Naval Historical Center ,
Rear Admiral Russell S. Berkey, USN
Speaks to another ship via electric megaphone (or "loud hailer") from the bridge of his flagship, USS Phoenix (CL-46), during the pre-landing bombardment of Corregidor, 15 February 1945. The original caption identifies the ship being spoken to as HMAS Australia, which was not present. It may refer to HMAS Shropshire, whose appearance was similar to that of Australia. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, courtesy of Naval Historical Center
La Vallette at
Corregidor hit by land based controlled mine
Radford and La Vallette relieved the damaged Hopewell and Fletcher on 14 February. The following day, D-1, "LaVadilly" was operating in support of minesweepers there, and fouled a mine herself, sustaining major damage and losing six dead and 23 wounded. While maneuvering to take her in tow, USS Radford also struck a mine. Both ships were able to retire under their own power. Photo courtesy of Dave McComb, of USS Nicholas Association Website
Bombardment , North Channel,
Preparation for the invasion took three days, and persuaded Corregidor's Japanese Commander that his forces would be facing a seaborne invasion from Mariveles. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, courtesy of Naval Historical Center ,
U. S. N. K.I.A.'s O F F C O R R E G I D O R
(Losses/Dates are extracted from the Official Chronology of the US Navy in World War II)
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USS Fletcher DD-445
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By permission courtesy of Earl Faubion