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l. There is transmitted herewith, in advance of its submission through routine channels, the report of the Commanding Officer, Naval Air Station, Dutch Harbor, on the bombing of that station on June third and fourth.
2. No enclosures accompany this advance copy.
C. S. FREEMAN
July 6, 1942
l. On 3 June in accordance with the daily routine, the Naval Air Station went to "General Quarters" at 0430. At 0545 (zone plus ten time), battle stations being fully manned, a flight of about fifteen wheel-type fighting planes appeared without previous warning. Guns were laid awaiting definite identification; enemy character was made positive as the planes commenced to machine-gun installations near the Air Station. Anti-aircraft fire of great intensity was opened; the planes made but one flight over the Station, from south, disappearing to northward, and did no damage except that resulting from strafing a PBY airplane taxiing in the harbor. This plane, preparing to take-off for Kodiak, had one crew member killed; an enlisted passenger was wounded, jumped overboard and drowned.
2. About 0550, a flight of four bombers was sighted on a course of about 30° true, Sixteen bombs were released at 0555; fourteen dropped in the congested area of Fort Mears, killing about twenty-five men and seriously wounding approximately the same number. The other two bombs dropped in the water. Three warehouses, two barracks buildings and three Quonset huts were totally destroyed by the bomb hits and the resulting fire. Three barracks, two officer's quarters, one officer's mess building, one cold storage, and one temporary cold storage building were damaged.
3. A second flight of three bombers then appeared over Mount Ballyhoo. Flying southerly, then circling around to the left to about course 55°, they dropped a stick of six bombs which over-shot Fort Mears and struck in the soft ground to the north, killing one Army man in a trench but doing no material damage.
4. A third flight of three bombers on a southwesterly course dropped six bombs near the Naval Radio Transmitting Station. One bomb landed in hard ground, severed a transmitting antenna, shattered all the windows and doors, and pock-marked the brick front of the radio station apartment house, Another bomb made a direct hit, on a Quonset hut, (Click here for picture) completely demolishing it. Another buried a Siems-Drake Puget Sound employee in a trench, and killed him. The other three bombs exploded in the soft ground.
5. The fourth and last flight of planes on this day were bombers which approached on an easterly course and over-shot the wooden oil tanks. One bomb struck hard ground near a Navy fire-watchers pill-box and killed one enlisted man outside and severely wounded one man inside. Another struck on the edge of a road, demolishing an Army truck and killing the driver. A
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third struck in soft ground near a trench and killed one Marine private. The other three bombs exploded harmlessly in soft ground.
6. After the attack, all planes disappeared to the northward. They were again sighted about 0800 to the West of the Station, flying South. They were seen by the M.V. POINT REYES, flying northeast over Beaver Inlet and then southwest to sea over Udagak Strait. At 0855, a Catalina reported being attacked by enemy planes south of Cape Aiak. The assumption is that the carrier was southwest of Unalaska Island. The attack was made from the north and all planes retired to the north. They circled to the south and passed to the west of Dutch Harbor, flew down Captain's Bay, and crossed over the mountain passes to Beaver Inlet, travelled down Beaver Inlet and thence out to sea over Udagak Strait. There they turned southwest and followed the coast of Unalaska Island at least as far as Cape Aiak.
7. The morning of June 3 was clear over Dutch Harbor, following three days of unusally bad weather. It is believed that the enemy followed the atmospheric disturbance as it moved westward, taking concealment in its westward edge. He attacked Dutch Harbor during the first clear weather after the storm, probably knowing that air assistance from the east could not get through. The ceiling was about 10,000 feet. Bombing approaches were tracked at an average altitude of 9000 feet.
8. The first stick of sixteen bombs, dropped on Fort Mears, was spaced in range pattern 1500 feet with a deflection spread of 250 feet. The three six-bomb patterns measured 510' x 125', 500 x 200', and 350' x 240'.
9. Anti-aircraft fire was intense. At least one bomber appeared to have been hit and several of the fighters are believed to have been hit. Some hits were definitely made as indicated by the recovery of shattered parts of aircraft structures. However, no planes were brought down, at least none has been found in the vicinity,
10. Enemy targets appear to have been Fort Mears, the Radio Station, and the wooden oil tanks. The last two targets have been here for years, and the enemy has had opportunity to know their positions. Fort Mears is a congested area of white frame buildings, and is the most conspicuous target on Amaknak Island or vicinity.
11. At 1110, Fort Glenn (at Otter Point on Umnak Island) reported two enemy cruiser type planes engaged, one shot down and one escaped. This may have been the first intimation to the enemy of the existence of Fort Glenn and the airfield there. At 1200, a Catalina reported that enemy fighters over fort Glenn had been driven off by Army fighters. This attack may have been directed at Dutch Harbor but then diverted to fort Glenn when Fort Glenn
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was discovered by the enemy.
12. The enemy was not sighted again on June 3. The good weather was succeeded by another small low, and fog, rain and overcast skies were prevalent in the general area.
13. The U.S. Army Transport PRESIDENT FILMORE, U.S.S. S-27, U.S.S. KING, U.S.S. TALBOT, U.S.S. GILLIS, U,S.C.G. ONANDAGO and the U.S.A.T. MORLEN were in the harbor but got underway and stood out to sea with no damage done. All but the MORLEN and the S-27 adding to the volume of anti-aircraft fire. The PRESIDENT FILMORE's fire was notable. In addition to her own armament she had mounted on deck a battery of 37mm guns consigned to Cold Bay, which gave her twenty-two anti-aircraft guns, all of which were served with such rapidity that the FILMORE appeared to be (and was reported) on fire.
14. The morning of June 4, 1942, was rainy and overcast. Catalinas were in contact with the enemy under conditions of low ceiling and reduced visibility most of the morning. Contact was lost when the tracking Catalina had an engine shot out of action by anti-aircraft fire. The weather improved during the day as the enemy approached the Southwest end of Umnak Island; by 1800, the time of the enemy attack on June 4, the weather was clear with scattered clouds at about 3000 feet.
15. At 1737, Fisherman's Point Army observation post reported a Catalina shot down in flames near Egg Island and at 1740 it sighted three flights of bombers headed for Dutch Harbor. At 1745, Priest's Rock and Eider Point (Army observation posts) reported sighting a large number of planes. At 1752, Mount Ballyhoo observation post reported enemy aircraft circling Mount Ballyhoo and warned to watch for three flights of bombers. At 1753 seven fighters and eleven bombers were seen flying south close to the west slope of Mount Ballyhoo. All continued South until lost from sight. The seven fighters, now joined by three more fighters, made a fast low-flying strafing attack from the south. At 1800, fire was opened with anti-aircraft guns. The fighters continued on over the station, firing their machine guns, and disappeared to the northward.
16. The eleven bombers delivered a dive bombing attack through the openings in the overcast. The dives were shallow, estimated as between thirty and forty degrees; bombs were released at altitudes between 1000 to 1500 feet. Each plane appeared to carry but one large bomb. Hits were scored as follows:
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17. At 1821, three level bombers approached from the Northeast and dropped five bombs into the harbor between the sand spit and the Naval Air Station dock. These planes were flying high over the broken clouds and smoke from the tank farm fire. They turned to the West over the harbor and disappeared over Mount Ballyhoo. One bomb was dropped on the South summit of Mount Ballyhoo.
18. At 1825, five bombers flying high approached from the northwest and delivered a horizontal attack on the magazine area on the south slope of Mount Ballyhoo. Ten bombs were dropped along the magazine road with a range pattern of 1500 feet, The first nine exploded harmlessly; the tenth bomb struck near a Navy 20mm gun emplacement and killed the battery officer and three of the gun's crew.
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19. At 1915, planes were sighted behind Mount Ballyhoo. At 1926, planes were reported over Hog Island. At 1945, three planes were reported by Eider Point Army observation post. At 1950, twenty one planes heading south were sighted west of the Station by Mount Ballyhoo. At 1955, planes were sighted to the northwest of Mount Ballyhoo; these disappeared in the South at 2010.
20. It is believed that the heavy anti-aircraft fire and the cloud conditions prevented the horizontal bombers from making successful attacks.
21. The low loss of life to Navy and Contractor's personnel is attributed to the fact that they were dispersed under cover, and to the heavy anti-aircraft fire that caused the quick retirement of the fighters. Special credit is due to the Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander T. C. Thomas, USN, for the thorough and effective manner in which he prepared for all emergencies and for organizing the personnel to resist attack. No officer or man of the Navy or Marins Corps was observed by the Commanding Officer to flinch in the performance of duty; all hands conducted themselves like veterans. The untried and inexperienced gun crews stuck to their posts under a hail of bullets and never ceased fire as long as an enemy was in range. It is to be regretted that their energetic fire did not produce more tangible trophies.
22. Five civilian nurses employed by the Contractor cooly and efficiently manned station in exposed areas during attacks, gave aid to wounded civilians, soldiers, sailors, and marines and assisted the surgeons in performing operations. They are Miss Mary Kain, Mrs. Margaret Jaklan, Miss Fern Tellifson, Miss Veronica Janastch and Miss E. Lucille De Well. They are considered to be worthy of commendation for their helpful and brave conduct under extraordinary conditions.
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The type of aircraft used by the enemy have been variously identified. All were wheel-type, single-engined monoplanes; it is believed that all had retractable landing gear.
The only serious material casualties were the loss of four 6666 barrel fuel oil tanks, (Click here for picture #1 and here for Picture #2) 22,000 barrels fuel oil, 625,000 gallons diesel oil, the burning of the Northwestern upperworks and interior, and the burning of the issue warehouse. (Click here for picture) Efficient fire fighting supervised by Major G. P. Groves, U.S.M.C. and Fire Chief Harold Joe Davis prevented the spreading of fire from the warehouse to the wooden oil tanks.
W. N. UPDEGRAFF
Transcribed by RESEARCHER @ LARGE. Formatting & Comments Copyright R@L.
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