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*Special Note*
While the authors of this document did not consider the identity of the ship that created this report important, Rich Miller went through various records and suggested that this was DD-557 Johnston of Taffy 3 fame. USS Johnston's report for this action confirms it and the first page can be examined here for those curious or wanting to decide for themselves.



Cincpac File No.
Serial 36CN-44

18 November 1944


From: Commander in Chief, U. S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas.
Subject:     Gunnery Information.
Enclosure:     (A) Gunnery Bulletin No. 5-44.

     1.      Enclosed extracts from a report of landing operations at Guam are of interest in showing some of the many situations that confront a fire support ship and how one destroyer ably solved them.


C. H. McMorris
Chief of Staff


  Case 2
  List I    A-U.
  List II   D, F, H, O.
  List IV   J-R.
  List V    A, B, M-P, DD, GG, II, LL.
  List VI   A.


O. L. Thorne,
Flag Secretary.







A.   Chronological Extracts

     This vessel supported the landing of the First Provisional Marine Brigade on the Agat beaches of Guam, commencing at 0530 21 July 1944, until Orote Peninsula was secured, about 1800, July 29th. During this period the ship fired various call fires and neutralizing and harassing fire missions as detailed chronologically below, expending a total of 3546 rounds of 5"/38 AAC, 50 WP, 135 5"/38 common, 289 Star shells, and 3200 rounds of 40mm ammunition:

21 July 1944

0530  Ship on station in fire support area, crew at general quarters, ship in material condition ABLE. BB opened fire with secondary battery.
0550 Ship opened fire on Pelagi Rock, one-gun salvos, common and AAC.
0557 Put 40mm battery on main battery director and opened fire on Pelagi Rock to clear away vegetation. . . .
0610 Resumed main battery fire using Agat church as target. 1-gun salvos. Church was camouflaged and had the appearance of being enemy strong point headquarters.
0615 Checked fire, shifting targets, having expended 10 rounds ammunition.
0618 Resumed fire, using block house south Agat as target, 1-gun salvos.
0625 Checked main battery fire, shifting targets, having expended 7 rounds ammunition. . . .
0715 Checked fire, shifting targets, having expended 6 rounds ammunition. Air strike.
0717 Resumed fire, targets of opportunity along south Agat Beach, 1-gun salvos.
0720 Checked fire, shifting targets, having expended 7 rounds ammunition. . . .
0804 Resumed fire, white building just to north of church, 1, 2, & 3-gun salvos.
0805 LCI's passed astern nearing beach, opened fire.
0809 Stepped up rate of fire.
0820 White cluster over island; stepped up rate of fire to 3 3-gun salvos per minute. Reported to CTG that only LCI's were on minus 8 line.
0821 Checked fire, having expended 27 rounds ammunition; white cluster over landing beach.
0822 First wave of landing craft approaching beach—resumed fire—rapid fire all guns. All ahead two thirds, moving in on left flank of landing craft and working over landing beach. Reported to CTG via TBS, SCR 610 and fire support common, first wave on minus 8 line.
0830 Checked fire, having expended 368 rounds ammunition.
0831 First wave landed on Agat beach.
0832 Resumed fire, working over Agat beach, moving north from Pelagi Rock, 2 3-gun salvos per minute.
0838 Shifted target to Agat beach south of Pelagi Rock.
0840 Shifted to counter-battery fire, 3-gun salvos; target: shore battery bearing 088 true in area 396-KPQ. Battery silenced and fire checked after having fired six salvos.
0850 Established communication with shore fire control party.
0856 Having received target from shore fire control party, opened fire on area 363-J (enemy troop concentration), with one round white phosphorous. Immediately fired five 5-gun salvos, rapid fire, and fire checked by shore fire control party—"target destroyed, beautiful shooting".
0915 Ship having been taken under fire by shore battery, opened fire on gun emplacement bearing 039 true (north of Agat), target area 410-J, 3-gun salvos. On 6th salvo ammunition dump exploded, razing large area and destroying four inch gun; checked fire.
0921 Opened fire on earth works and 4" or 5" CD gun, area FIX ME 410-0, bearing 048 true. Target destroyed after having fired 5 5-gun salvos; checked fire. . . .

Enclosure (A)



1838  Secured from call fires by shore fire control party. Left fire support area and assumed station in anti-submarine screen in vicinity of station sixteen, three to 10 thousand yards southwest of Orote Point. Maintained this station until 0700, 22 July, when proceeded to fire support area six, ready for call fires.

22 July 1944

0810  Anchored in Agat bay in 48 fathoms of water with Yona Island bearing 180 true, Facpi Point bearing 099 true, and Orote Point bearing 326 true.
0853 Established communications with SFC. Given area 395-R as target, enemy troop concentration.
0857 Commenced firing. Fired as directed by shore fire control and as shown by communication log until—
0905 Checked fire due to visual sighting of own tanks in immediate vicinity of designated target area.
0907 Resumed fire as shown by radio log.
0919 Checked fire due to shore artillery fire on "C" company's lines.
0927 Resumed fire in close fire support, continuing fire until—
0940 When directed by CTU to replenish ammunition.
1027 LST 122 came alongside and transferred eight hundred rounds of 5"/38 AA-common and eight hundred charges of mixed flashless and smokeless powder. . . .
1527 Completed neutralization of area and ceased firing. . . .

24 July 1944

0537 Completed night illumination and harassing fire, having expended 73 star shells and 202 rounds AA-common.
0747 Commenced firing neutralizing fire into the neck of Orote Peninsula.
0900 Ceased firing, having expended 496 rounds AA-common.
0929 Received increased allowance of 150 rounds AA-common to be expended in the neck of Orote Peninsula in neutraling fire.
0953 Commenced firing.
1000 Ceased firing on orders of CTG as own troops were advancing. At this time observed LVT-A's proceeding toward Neye Island to be under fire from enemy shore battery and stood toward them to provide cover. . . .
1423 Area 472-P designated as target by NL0221. Requested NL0221 to verify and repeat target area.
1432 Target changed to 410-J-O (enemy artillery emplacement). Closed in to bight between Neye Island and Pelagi Rock in very constricted waters and took enemy cave in cliff in area 410-J&0 under fire with pointer fire, five inch battery. . . .
1610 Ceased firing, target neutralized. Obtained three direct hits on caves which were believed to have contained batteries at ranges from six to eight hundred yards.

27 July 1944

0600 to 1250   Available in area two for call fires.
1446 Commenced firing on Sumay town, target designated by NL043, with Cruiser plane spotting. Was requested by NL043 to work over rifle range on Orote Peninsula. Cruiser plane furnished excellent spotting services. Believe Jap command post destroyed.
1635 Fire in ventilation system, after engineroom, caused by burnt cork from flashless powder being sucked into ventilator.
1640 Fire extinguished.
1649 Ceased firing, having expended 570 rounds AA-common and 66 rounds common.
1835 Proceed to fire support area two for night illumination and harassing fire.
1945 Commenced firing, illuminating for own front lines on Orote Peninsula as directed by NL040,

Enclosure (A)


28 July 1944

0531 Ceased firing illuminating and harassing fire on Orote Peninsula, haying expended 25 star shells and 53 rounds AA-common. Remained available for call fires in area two throughout the day until—
1933 Started night harassing fire on Orote Peninsula on targets designated by NL040 as follows: 473-Q, 473-southwest-G, 472-D, 497-U, 496-T, and 496-northwest-X. Fired night harassing fire until 0530, 29 July 1944, having expended 178 rounds AA-common. Remained in area two to furnish close support plunging fire on Orote Peninsula as called for.

29 July 1944

1555 Observed Stars and Stripes flying over Sumay Marine Barracks.
1640 Observed own tanks on western tip Orote Peninsula.

B.   General Comments.

 1.  The decision to move in ahead of the landing assault waves as close to the beach as possible on the flank proved to be a fortunate move, as several enemy batteries took the ship under fire rather than the landing beaches and leading waves and thereby reduced our personnel losses on the landing beaches considerably. Also the control officer was able to locate several heretofore undisclosed batteries and destroy them with counter-battery fire. The Jap powder smoke was of blue color very similar to green wood smoke and was easily located except in very dense woods where it was often confused with wood smoke. The ship was straddled repeatedly but small amounts of maneuvering prevented any hits and there were no personnel casualties. This latter is believed largely due to the conscientious efforts of the officers to keep "sight-seers" clear of the engaged side.

 2.  The use of white phosphorous shells for spotting in dense foliage again proved very effective. The only difficulty being that with only fifty on board, they were soon expended after call fire was started.

 3.  CIC performed exceptionally well in furnishing ranges and bearings to the gun battery and in exercising control over exterior communications and generally keeping the commanding officer and gunnery officer informed of the situation. Grid charts were accurate and adequate.

 4.  This is the first time this ship has been engaged for such a length of time, and several items cropped up which were new. The condition watches are capable of furnishing night illumination and harassing fire so long as the volume of fire does not exceed two gun salvos. After strenuous operations, the crew experienced no trouble sleeping while the battery was firing.

 5.  The flashless powder creates an objectionable amount of burning debris which is a fire hazard with ventilation system in use, and the ship is unlivable when buttoned up for very long periods.

 6.  Feeding becomes quite a problem. The bakers could not turn out enough bread to feed entirely on sandwiches, and there was no suitable substitute.

 7.  The star shell illumination for front line observers presents a somewhat different problem than that for surface targets at sea. This ship used this procedure: determine point to be illuminated, determine point of observation, and put star burst on line through the two points and two thousand yards behind point to be observed (i.e. away from observer and at an altitude of twenty-five hundred feet). This procedure brought several favorable comments.

 8.  The silencing of enemy batteries in the area just to the east of Neye Island presented an interesting problem. These batteries were protected from seaward by the high outline of Neye Island, and were in caves which could be seen only when directly between Neye Island and Pelagi Rock very close to the surf. The problem was solved by putting the ship's bow within 50 yards of the surf and holding her there by jockeying the engines ahead and astern so as to keep the screws in deep water.

Enclosure (A)



 9.  Two pinnacle reefs in the area added a further hazard. The sound chemical recorder with the gain turned well down proved effective for keeping off the reef and the pinnacles.

 10.  The range was so short that only pointer fire could be used. It was also found necessary to use the gun at the same approximate height as the target. The hours of practice spent in pointer and trainer control in manual operation which had looked so useless to the tyros paid long dividends. The Nips seemed to realize that they had a good thing here because they repeatedly remanned the area after it had been cleared.

 11.  The Island of Guam lends itself ideally to the performance of the Sugar George radar, and the performance of CIC in controlling night firing was well nigh miraculous.

 12.  Pre-operation briefing of radar operators on the topography at the objective paid dividends in that precise radar fixes were obtained smoothly from time of arrival until completion of operation. Further, condition watch teams were able to carry out this function during night illumination and harassing fire as ably as the general quarters crew.

 13.  Guard of three voice radio circuits (TBS, fire support Common, and shore fire control frequency) was kept by CIC. This is felt to be the maximum capable of being handled; even when, as in this operation, the TBS is providently reserved for urgent traffic only. Headsets were used with TBS and fire support common, and the shore fire control frequency was put on a speaker. The attention and efforts of the evaluation, radar officer, and all unoccupied hands were necessary to be able to receive our traffic on this badly overworked frequency. It is recommended that, when possible, each firing ship with shore control party be assigned a frequency which will not be shared with other units ashore (as tank groups), and which will be shared by a minimum number of other firing groups.

 14.  When firing at targets on hillsides, the rangefinder operator should have his independent elevation correction knob zeroized. If he doesn't he may possibly start ranging on a different target than the one the pointer and trainer are on.

 15.  If necessary to open fire while the ship is backing down, own ship's course (gyro reading plus 180°) and speed should be set manually in the computer.

 16.  In control of 40 mm guns with the mark 37 director, the Syn E knob should be kept out and the control officer should adjust fall of shot in range and/or elevation with the elevation spot knob. If there is time, fire only one 40 mm gun at a time for more accurate control, as there is no horizontal parallax compensation in this setup.

 17.  There were no personnel casualties. The performance of the officers and crew was marvelous. For practically eight consecutive days and nights we were either shooting, standing by to shoot, loading ammunition or fueling ship. Their only fear was that we would run out of ammunition, and have some other destroyer ordered to replace us. It was an inspiring performance.





Enclosure (A)


National Archives & Records Administration, Seattle Branch
"13th Naval District, Commandant's Office Classified Central Subject Files, 1944"

Transcribed by RESEARCHER @ LARGE. Formatting & Comments Copyright R@L.

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