The Seaweed

USS Champlin DD-601  

Spring 2000 - Page 3

( U-856...continued from page 2 )

2. Gun captain's hatch on 5"38 mount #3 fell down due to shock of gunfire and severely lacerated the left hand of the gun captain.

3. In all 5"/38 mounts various items such as 17MC speaker, light fixtures, and first aid boxes shook loose from bulkheads from shock of firing. In some instances the close range forced such low depression of guns that ejected cartridge cases would strike wiring and selector switches installed on after bulkheads of the mounts.

4. The close proximity of the muzzle blast of 5"/38 gun #3 to the port 40MM mount when trained on the port bow forced the 40MM gun crew off the mount and caused the following damage to the mount:
(a) Trainers open sight rendered useless.
(b) Trainer's hand wheel shaft distorted.

5. The 20 MM gun on the port side of the bridge fired into the opened top of the adjacent 20MM ready service box due to the design of the cut-out cam which was evidently cut with the ready box top in closed position. This caused the injuries to the commanding officer and three other men.

Ammunition expenditures were as follows:
(a) 5"/38 - 110 rounds
(b) 40MM - 150 rounds
(c) 20MM - 1760 rounds

PART IV Battle Damage - own and enemy.

The submarine is believed to have been seriously hurt with the very deep depth charge pattern. Gunfire, subsequent to surfacing, riddled the conning tower and adjacent hull as many well directed 5"/38 caliber hits were seen to hit and the 40MM and 20MM guns sprayed the entire portion of the submarine which was visible.

Damage to this vessel consisted of the following due to the ramming of the submarine:

(1) Compartment A-204L flooded to a depth of three feet from gash eight feet long and eight inches wide in port plating at frame 41-45 at an average of one and one half feet above waterline.

(2) Compartment A-205L flooded to depth of three feet from gash five feet long and one foot wide in port plating at frame 45-48 also above waterline.

(3) Entire length of port bilge keel beat down against hull. It is believed that this alone saved engineering spaces from being ruptured.

(4) Fuel oil tanks A-4F, C-2f, C-4f and C-10F contaminated due to minor leaks.

(5) Portside plating bulged at frame 27 in Compt. A-2.3L and transverse and longitudinal strength members slightly twisted and distorted from 27 to 40.

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PART V Special comments.

CIC - Functioned well but had difficulty in maintaining plot on 200 yard per inch scale because compass rose was continually running against stops necessitating (sic) shifts in plotting.

Engineering - Functioned well throughout. Suffered no casualties from depth charging or ramming.

Damage Control - Tendency for handy billy pump strainers to clog with debris and shorted jack boxes for submersible pump caused delay in pumping water out of flooded compartments. Use of bucket brigade facilitated and patching above waterline holes was successfully accomplished by means of locker tops, mattresses, and shores. Considerable difficulty was experienced with sheathing around holes which prevented sound patching until removed.

Part VI With one exception all personnel performed their duties in a manner in keeping with the highest traditions of the service. Outstanding performances of duty were noted in the work of the Sound Officer, Lt(jg) Byron Dolan, USNR., and Huthnance, E.D., SoM1c USNR: in the repair of damage by Henke, W.J., MoMM1c, USNR. Sales, R.E. CM1c, USNR., and MAYO, G. B. M1c, USNR.

Casualties included the following:
SHAFFER, JOHN J., COMMANDER, USN - shrapnel wounds;
HOLLINGSWORTH, R.P. SM1c, USN - shrapnel wounds;
OKUN, J.A., SoM3c, USN - shrapnel wounds;
ESTES, G.L, S1c, USNR - shrapnel wounds;
LOYD, J.E., Cox, USN - lacerated hand;
MILLER. E.W., GM3c, USNR - minor concussion from 5" gunfire.
Only the wounds of Commander Shaffer proved fatal..

Wake Island Bombardment

The following entries are from the diary of Richard I. Berman and cover the period July 29, 1945 - August 8, 1945.

July 29. Sunday. At sea. Passed the International Date line today so we skipped Saturday. Sea calm as usual, very hot and sunny.

July 30. Monday. At sea. Refueled from USS Pennsylvania about 1330. Yesterday we were plane-crash party for carrier. Also had sea-mail duty.

July 31. Tuesday. At sea. Tomorrow we strike at Wake Island. The Pennsylvania will begin bombarding at approximately 0730. If they return fire, we three destroyers will try to knock out their shore batteries.

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