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Heermann DD- 532 - History

Heermann DD- 532 - History

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(DD-532: dp. 2,100- 1. 376'3"; b. 39'8", dr. 13', s. over 30 k.; cpl. 273; a. 5 5", 10 21" tt., 6 dcp.; 2 dct.; cl.Fletcher )

Heermann (DD-532) was launched 5 December 1942 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co. of San Francisco; sponsored by Mrs. Edward B. Brigs, wife of Lt. E. B. Brigs, USCGR, great grandson of the namesake, and commissioned 6 July 1943, Cmdr. Dwight M. Agnew, USN. in command.

After shakedown training out of San Diego, Heermann joined the 5th Fleet 21 October 1943 for the assault on the Gilbert Islands, the second major offensive thrust in the Navy's conquest of Japan's far-flung Pacific empire. She arrived off Tarawa in Rear Admiral Harry W. Hill's Southern Attack Force 20 November. Her guns sank a small enemy craft inside the lagoon and the next 2 days powerfully assisted troops ashore with close-in fire support. With the island secured, she returned to Pearl Harbor for voyage repairs and training which ended 23 January when she sailed in the screen of an attack transport reserve force. The ships steamed east of Kwajalein while Rear Admiral Turner's Joint Expeditionary Force landed on that atoll 31 January. In the ensuing 2 weeks Heermann patrolled off Kwajalein and operated in the screen of escort carriers which were launching strikes in support of troops ashore. Then she steamed to Eniwetok Atoll where she joined in the preinvasion bombardment of Japan and Parry Islands, gave close fire support to the troops once they were ashore, and then patrolled off the atoll during mop-up operations.

Heermann set course first for Majuro Lagoon and then Purvis Bay, Florida Island, Solomons and reported to Commander 3d Fleet and Task Force 39, 18 March 1944. For the next month she divided her time between protecting troop and resupply convoys which were occupying Emirau Island and hunting enemy supply barges along the coast of New Hanover.

Back in Port Purvis 3 June, Heermann participated in the bombardment of a tank farm on Fangelawa Bay, New Ireland, 11 June, and then searched for submarines along sealanes leading from the Solomons towards the Admiralties, the Carolines, and the Marshall Islands until 26 June. The summer of 1944 found Heermann busy escorting Navy and Merchant shipping to rendezvous where they joined convoys bound for various ports. This duty took her to Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides Islands and Noumea, New Caledonia Island.

Heermann cleared Port Purvis 6 September 1944 with Rear Admiral William D. Sample's escort carrier force that provided air support during the invasion of the Palau Islands. After replenishing at Seeadler Harbor, Admiralty Islands, she sortied 12 October 1944 with a fire support group for the liberation of the Philippine Islands.

Heermann screened transports and landing ships safely to the beaches of Leyte and then joined Rear Admiral Thomas L. Sprague's.Escort Carrier Group (Task Group 77.4) which was made up of three escort carrier task units, known as the "Three Taffles" because of their voice calls: "Taffy 1", "Taffy 2", and "Taffy 3". Destroyers Joel and Johnston joined her in screening Rear Admiral Clifton A. F. Sprague's unit, "Taffy :" which also included his flagship Fanshaw Bay (CVE-70) and three other escort carriers.

Dawn of 25 October 1944 found "Taffy 3" east of Samar steaming north as the Northern Air Support Group. "Taffy 2" was in the central position patrolling off the entrance to Leyte Gulf, and "Taffy 1" covered the Southern approaches to the Gulf some 130 miles to the southeast of Heermann's "Taffy 3". At 0645 "Taffy 3's" lookouts observed antiaircraft fire to the northward and within 3 minutes were under heavy fire from Japanese Admiral Kurita's powerful Center Force of four battleships, 6 heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers, and 11 destroyers. The battle off Samar was thus joined.

The only chance for survival of the little group of light American ships lay in slowing the advances of the enemy warships while withdrawing toward Leyte Gulf and hoped-for assistance. The carriers promptly launched their planes to attack the Japanese vessels, and the escorts promptly set to work generating smoke to hide the American ships.

Heermann, in a position of comparative safety on the disengaged side of the carriers at the start of the fight, steamed into the action at flank speed through the formation of "baby flattops" who, after launching their last planes, formed a rough circle as they turned toward Leyte Gulf. Since smoke and intermittent rain squalls had reduced visibility to less than 100 yards, it took alert and skillful seamanship to avoid colliding with friendly ships during the dash to battle. She backed emergency full to avoid destroyer escort Samuel B. Roberts and repeated the maneuver to miss destroyer Joel as Heermann formed column on the screen flagship in preparation for a torpedo attack.

As she began the run, dye from enemy shells daubed the water nearby with circles of brilliant red, yellow., and green. Heermann replied to this challenge by pumping her 5-inch shells at one heavy cruiser, Chikuma, as she directed seven torpedoes at another, Haguro. When the second of these "fish" had left the tube, Heermann changed course to engage a column of four battleships whose shells began churning the water nearby. She trained her guns on Kongo, the column's leader, at whom she launched three torpedoes. Then she quickly closed Haruna, the target of her last three torpedoes, which were launched from only 4,400 yards. Believing that one of the "fish" had hit the battleship, she nimbly dodged the ~salvoes which splashed in her wake as she retired. Japanese records claim that the battleship~successfully evaded all of Heermann's torpedoes, but they were slowed down in their pursuit of the American carriers. The giant, Yamaha, with her monstrous 18.1-inch gun~s, was even forced out of the action altogether when, caught between two spreads, she reversed course for almost 10 minutes to escape being hit.

Heermann sped to the starboard quarter of the carrier formation to lay more concealing smoke and then charged back into the fight a few minutes later, placing herself boldly between the escort carriers and the column of four enemy heavy cruisers. Here she engaged Japanese cruiser Chikuma in a duel which seriously damaged both ships. A series of 8-inch hits flooded the forwrard part of the plucky destroyer, pulling her bow down so far that her anchors were dragging in the water. One of her guns was knocked out but the others continued to pour a deadly stream of 5-inch shells at the cruiser, which also came under heavy air attack during the engagement. The combined effect of Heermann's guns and the bombs, torpedoes, and strafing from carrier-based planes was too much for Chikama who tried to withdraw but sank during her flight.

As Chikuma turned away, heavy cruiser Tone turned her guns on Heermann who replied shell for shell until she reached a position suitable to resume laying smoke for the carriers. At this point plants from Admiral Stump's "Taffy 2" ~swooped in to sting Tone so severely that she too broke off action and fled. The courageous attacks as the destroyers and aircraft thus saved the outgunned task groups.

Heermann retired to Kossol Passage for temporary repairs before getting underway for Mare Island and overhaul watch was completed 15 January 1946. She then returned to the Western Pacific to join fast carrier task forces in raids against the Japanese mainland which helped to demoralize the Japanese people and to prepare them for surrender. During the fighting to take Iwo Jima, Heermann supported operations ashore by radar and antisubmarine picket duty. On 20 March 1945-, she sank a small surface vessel and rescued seven of her crew after she went down. Seven day~s later she took part in the night bombardment of Minamo Daito Jima. During the Okinawa campaign she took several enemy planes under fire as she guarded carriers which provided air support for troops ashore. On 18 April with the assistance destroyers Mertz, McCord, Collett, and Uhlmann and planes from aircraft carrier Bataan, Heermann sank Japanese submarine I-55, a carrier of the dreaded "kaitens". human-guided suicide torpedoes. She continued to support carrier operations off Okinawa until retiring to Leyte Gulf for replenishment and voyage repairs late in June. On 1 July she helped to !screen the fast carrier force which devoted the ensuing 5 weeks to almost continuous air strikes and bombardment.

On 15 August 1945 Heermann was on radar picket station some 200 miles southeast of Tokyo when. several hours after the announcement of the end of hostilities, a suicide plane emerged from a cloud bank and began to dive in Heermann's direction only to be splashed by the destroyer's alert gunners in one of the final naval actions of World War II. In the following weeks Heermann operated in the screen of the fast carrier task force providing air cover and air~sea rescue service while General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz were preparing to occupy Japan. She entered Tokyo Bay 16 September 1945-, and remained in the area to support the occupation forces until 7 October when she sailed for the United States. She decommissioned at San Diego 12 June 1946.

Heermann remained in reserve at San Diego until recommissioning 12 September 1951. After training in local waters and upkeep in San Francisco, she departed San Diego 4 January 19F;2 for her new base, Newport, R.I., where she arrived 23 January. She spent the year 1952 training in waters stretching from the New England coast to the Virginia Capes, followed by intensive antisubmarine warfare and fleet problems during winter cruising in the Caribbean. She returned to Newport to resume operation along the Northeastern seaboard. After a voyage to Plymouth, England, in June and July 1953, she participated in antisubmarine maneuvers between Newport and the Virginia capes.

Heermann departed on a world cruise 3 December 1953. First she sailed for Yokosuka, Japan, by way of the Panama Canal, San Diego, and the Hawaiian Islands. After a 2-day replenishment in Yokosuka, she set course for Okinawa where she acted as part of the escort for 3d Marine Division amphibious warfare landings and conducted barrier patrol in support of the exercise. After more maneuvers took her to Korea, Iwo Jima, and the South Coast of Japan, she returned to Yokosuka which she cleared 22 May 1954 to resume her world cruise, calling at Hong Kong and Singapore on her way to the Suez Canal. In the Mediterranean she visited Port Said, Naples, Villa Franche, and Barcelona before returning to Newport 17 July 1954.

For the next year and a half Heermann participated in training exercises along the Atlantic coast. On 1 February she sailed to join the 6th Fleet in exercises along the coast of Lebanon, Israel and Egypt. In April she was invited by Prince Ranier to be in port for his wedding to Miss Grace Kelly 19-24 April 1956. She furnished a 40 man honor guard for the occasion. From Monaco she joined the 6th Fleet off Greece, and then departed for Fall River, Mass., where she arrived 28 May 1956. Heermann operated out of Newport until 6 November when she sailed Por the Mediterranean where she proved to be a first-rate antisubmarine ship in joint exercises with the Italian Navy. After revisiting Monaco at the invitation of Prince Ranier and Princess Grace, she returned to Fall River 20 February 1957. She served as gunnery schoolship out of Newport until 30 June when she joined Badger in the screen of antisubmarine warfare carrier Leyte for 2 weeks of' air operations for the training of Academy midshipmen. She decommissioned at Boston 20 December 1957 and was assigned to the Boston Group of the U.S. Atlantic Reserve Fleet. On 14 August 1961 she was transferred on a loan basis to the government of Argentina under terms of the Military Assistance Program she serves in the Argentine Navy under the name Brown (D 20).

In addition to the Presidential Unit Citation, Heermann received the Philippine Republic Unit Citation Badge and nine battle stars for World War II service.

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1951–1957 [ edit | edit source ]

Heermann remained in reserve at San Diego until re-commissioning 12 September 1951. After training in local waters and upkeep in San Francisco, she departed San Diego 4 January 1952 for her new base, NS Newport, Rhode Island, where she arrived 23 January. She spent the year 1952 training in waters stretching from the New England coast to the Virginia Capes, followed by intensive antisubmarine warfare and fleet problems during winter cruising in the Caribbean. She returned to Newport to resume operation along the Northeastern seaboard. After a voyage to Plymouth, England, in June and July 1953, she participated in antisubmarine maneuvers between Newport and the Virginia Capes.

Heermann departed on a world cruise 3 December 1953. First she sailed for Yokosuka, Japan, by way of the Panama Canal, San Diego, and the Hawaiian Islands. After a 2-day replenishment in Yokosuka, she set course for Okinawa where she acted as part of the escort for 3d Marine Division amphibious warfare landings and conducted barrier patrol in support of the exercise. After more maneuvers took her to Korea, Iwo Jima, and the South Coast of Japan, she returned to Yokosuka which she cleared 22 May 1954 to resume her world cruise, calling at Hong Kong and Singapore on her way to the Suez Canal. In the Mediterranean she visited Port Said, Naples, Villefranche, and Barcelona before returning to Newport 17 July 1954.

For the next year and a half Heermann participated in training exercises along the Atlantic coast. On 1 February She sailed to join the 6th Fleet in exercises along the coast of Lebanon, Israel, and Egypt. In April she was invited by Prince Rainier to be in port for his wedding to Miss Grace Kelly 19–24 April 1956. Heermann furnished a 40-man honor guard for the occasion. From Monaco she joined the 6th Fleet off Greece, and then departed for Fall River, Massachusetts, where she arrived 28 May 1956. Heermann operated out of Newport until 6 November, when she sailed for the Mediterranean where she proved to be a first-rate antisubmarine ship in joint exercises with the Italian Navy.

After revisiting Monaco at the invitation of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace, she returned to Fall River 20 February 1957. She served as gunnery school-ship out of Newport until 30 June when she joined USS Charles J. Badger (DD-657) in the screen of antisubmarine warfare carrier USS Leyte (CV-32) for 2 weeks of air operations for the training of Naval Academy midshipmen. She decommissioned at Boston 20 December 1957 and was assigned to the Boston Group of the U.S. Atlantic Reserve Fleet.

Mục lục

Heermann được đặt lườn tại xưởng tàu của hãng Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, ở San Francisco, California vào ngày 8 tháng 5 năm 1942. Nó được hạ thủy vào ngày 5 tháng 12 năm 1942 được đỡ đầu bởi bà Edward B. Briggs, phu nhân Đại úy Hải quân E. B. Briggs, chắt của Bác sĩ Heermann và nhập biên chế vào ngày 6 tháng 7 năm 1943 dưới quyền chỉ huy của Hạm trưởng, Trung tá Hải quân Dwight M. Agnew.

1943 Sửa đổi

Sau khi hoàn thành chạy thử máy huấn luyện ngoài khơi San Diego, California, Heermann gia nhập Đệ Ngũ hạm đội vào ngày 21 tháng 10 năm 1943 để tham gia Chiến dịch Galvanic, cuộc tấn công lên quần đảo Gilbert. Nó đi đến ngoài khơi đảo san hô Tarawa vào ngày 20 tháng 11 trong thành phần Lực lượng Tấn công phía Nam dưới quyền Chuẩn đô đốc Harry W. Hill. Các khẩu pháo của nó đã một tàu nhỏ đối phương trong vũng biển, và trong hai ngày tiếp theo đã trợ giúp lực lượng trên bờ bằng hỏa lực pháo hỗ trợ. Khi đảo này được bình định, nó quay trở về Trân Châu Cảng để sửa chữa và huấn luyện, trước khi lên đường vào ngày 23 tháng 1 1944 trong thành phần hộ tống cho một lực lượng vận chuyển lực lượng tấn công dự bị.

1944 Sửa đổi

Các con tàu di chuyển về phía Đông Kwajalein trong khi Lực lượng Viễn chinh Hỗn hợp dưới quyền Chuẩn đô đốc Richmond K. Turner đổ bộ lên hòn đảo san hô này vào ngày 31 tháng 1 năm 1944. Trong hai tuần lễ tiếp theo, Heermann tuần tra ngoài khơi Kwajalein và hoạt động bảo vệ cho các tàu sân bay hộ tống khi chúng tung ra các cuộc không kích hỗ trợ binh lính trên bờ. Sau đó nó di chuyển về phía đảo san hô Eniwetok, nơi nó tham gia bắn phá chuẩn bị xuống các đảo Japtan và Parry, bắn pháo hỗ trợ cho lực lượng đổ bộ, và tuần tra ngoài khơi đảo san hô.

Sau khi ghé qua Majuro và cảng Purvis, đảo Florida trong quần đảo Solomon, Heermann gia nhập Lực lượng Đặc nhiệm 39 trực thuộc Đệ Tam hạm đội vào ngày 18 tháng 3. Trong một tháng tiếp theo, nó xen kẻ nhiệm vụ hộ tống các đoàn tàu vận tải chở quân và tiếp liệu để chiếm đóng Emirau, và săn đuổi các sà lan tiếp liệu đối phương dọc theo bờ biển New Hanover.

Quay trở lại cảng Purvis vào ngày 3 tháng 6, Heermann tham gia bắn phá vịnh Fangelawa, New Ireland vào ngày 11 tháng 6, rồi truy lùng tàu ngầm đối phương dọc theo các tuyến hàng hải từ Solomon đến các quần đảo Admiralty, Caroline và Marshall cho đến ngày 26 tháng 6. Trong mùa Hè, nó bận rộn hộ tống tàu bè Hải quân và tàu buôn các loại đi Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides và Nouméa, New Caledonia.

Heermann rời cảng Purvis vào ngày 6 tháng 9 cùng một lực lượng tàu sân bay hộ tống dưới quyền Chuẩn đô đốc William Sample, để hỗ trợ trên không cho việc chiếm đóng quần đảo Palau. Sau khi được tiếp liệu tại cảng Seeadler thuộc quần đảo Admiralty, nó lên đường vào ngày 12 tháng 10 cùng một đội hỗ trợ hỏa lực cho chiến dịch nhằm tái chiếm Philippines.

Trận chiến ngoài khơi Samar Sửa đổi

Heermann hộ tống các tàu vận chuyển và tàu đổ bộ đi đến các bãi đổ bộ tại Leyte, dưới quyền chỉ huy của Hạm trưởng vừa mới được thăng chức, Trung tá Hải quân Amos T. Hathaway. Nó gia nhập Đội đặc nhiệm 77.4, đội tàu sân bay hộ tống dưới quyền Chuẩn đô đốc Thomas L. Sprague, bao gồm ba đơn vị đặc nhiệm tàu sân bay hộ tống được biết đến như là "Taffies" do mã gọi truyền tin "Taffy 1", "Taffy 2" và "Taffy 3". Nó tham gia cùng các tàu khu trục USS Hoel (DD-533) và USS Johnston (DD-557) để hộ tống cho đơn vị "Taffy 3" của Chuẩn đô đốc Clifton Sprague, vốn bao gồm soái hạm USS Fanshaw Bay (CVE-70) của ông cùng năm tàu sân bay hộ tống khác.

Lúc bình minh ngày 25 tháng 10, "Taffy 3" có mặt về phía Đông đảo Samar, di chuyển về phía Bắc như đội hỗ trợ trên không phía Bắc "Taffy 2" ở vị trí trung tâm tuần tra lối ra vào vịnh Leyte, và "Taffy 1" bảo vệ lối ra vào phía Nam, khoảng 130 dặm (210 km) về phía Đông Nam "Taffy 3" của Heermann. Lúc 06 giờ 45 phút, trinh sát viên của "Taffy 3" phát hiện hỏa lực phòng không về phía Bắc, và chỉ sau ba phút, họ chịu đựng hỏa lực hải pháo nặng nề từ Lực lượng Trung tâm Nhật Bản hùng mạnh dưới quyền Phó đô đốc Takeo Kurita, bao gồm bốn thiết giáp hạm, sáu tàu tuần dương hạng nặng, hai tàu tuần dương hạng nhẹ và 11 tàu khu trục, khởi đầu Trận chiến ngoài khơi Samar.

Cơ hội sống sót duy nhất của nhóm tàu chiến Hoa Kỳ nhỏ bé dưới sự tấn công của đối phương là rút lui về phía vịnh Leyte, hy vọng có được sự trợ giúp. Các tàu sân bay nhanh chóng phóng máy bay của chúng lên để tấn công các tàu chiến đối phương, trong khi các tàu hộ tống thả các màn khói ngụy trang để che giấu các tàu sân bay hộ tống.

Ở vào một vị trí tương đối an toàn bên phía rút lui của các tàu sân bay vào lúc trận chiến bắt đầu, Heermann bước vào chiến đấu khi di chuyển hết tốc độ xuyên qua đội hình của các tàu sân bay nhỏ, vốn sau khi phóng hết số máy bay ra đã hình thành nên một vòng tròn khi chúng rút lui về phía vịnh Leyte. Khói ngụy trang cùng các cơn mưa rào đã làm giảm tầm nhìn xuống thấp hơn 100 thước Anh (91 m), nên nó phải cẩn thận và khéo léo để tránh va chạm với các tàu bạn. Nó đã phải chạy lui hết tốc độ để né tránh tàu khu trục hộ tống USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413), rồi lại phải né tránh Hoel khi nó hình thành nên đội hình sau soái hạm của lực lượng hộ tống, chuẩn bị tấn công bằng ngư lôi.

Khi Heermann bắt đầu di chuyển, đạn pháo hạng nặng đối phương bắt đầu nổ vây quanh con tàu nó chống trả bằng hải pháo 5 inch (130 mm) nhắm vào một tàu tuần dương hạng nặng Nhật Bản, chiếc Chikuma, trong khi nhắm bảy quả ngư lôi vào một tàu tuần dương khác, chiếc Haguro. Sau khi phóng xong số ngư lôi, nó đổi hướng để đối đầu một đội hình bốn thiết giáp hạm, mà hỏa lực hải pháo của chúng bắt đầu vây quanh con tàu. Chiếc tàu khu trục xoay các khẩu pháo nhắm vào thiết giáp hạm Kongō dẫn đầu đội hình, đồng thời phóng ba quả ngư lôi rồi nhanh chóng tiếp cận thiết giáp hạm Haruna, mục tiêu của ba quả ngư lôi cuối cùng của nó vốn được phóng ở khoảng cách chỉ có 4.400 thước Anh (4.000 m). Tin rằng các quả ngư lôi của mình trúng đích, nó cơ động né tránh các loạt đạn pháo vây quanh con tàu khi rút lui. Ghi chép của phía Nhật Bản thu được sau chiến tranh cho thấy chiếc thiết giáp hạm Nhật đã né tránh được các quả ngư lôi của Heermann, nhưng bị chậm lại trong khi theo đuổi các tàu sân bay Hoa Kỳ. Thiết giáp hạm khổng lồ Yamato với những khẩu hải pháo siêu nặng 18,1 inch (460 mm) cũng bị tách ra khỏi trận chiến nó bị kẹt giữa hai loạt phóng ngư lôi, và phải chạy lui trong gần 10 phút để tránh bị đánh trúng. Nó né tránh thành công hai loạt ngư lôi, nhưng không thể tham gia trở lại trận đánh.

Heermann di chuyển sang phía đuôi mạn phải của đội hình các tàu sân bay để tiếp tục thả thêm khói ngụy trang, rồi quay trở lại trận chiến vài phút sau đó, chen giữa các tàu sân bay hộ tống và một đội hình bốn tàu tuần dương hạng nặng đối phương. Nó đối đầu với Chikuma trong một trận đấu pháo tay đôi vốn gây hư hại đáng kể cho cả hai. Một loạt đạn pháo 8 inch (200 mm) bắn trúng đã làm ngập nước phần mũi tàu, đến mức mỏ neo phía mũi chạm xuống mặt nước một trong các khẩu pháo của nó bị bắn hỏng, nhưng các khẩu pháo 5 inch (130 mm) còn lại tiếp tục bắn vào tàu đối phương, vốn cũng chịu đựng các đợt không kích trong suốt trận đánh. Hiệu quả kết hợp của pháo từ Heermann cùng bom, ngư lôi và hỏa lực bắn phá từ máy bay cất cánh từ tàu sân bay đã khiến Chikuma đắm trong khi cố gắng rút lui.

Trong khi Chikuma đổi hướng, tàu tuần dương hặng Tone nặng xoay các khẩu pháo của nó nhắm vào Heermann chiếc tàu khu trục bắn trả cho đến khi nó đi đến một vị trí để thả khói ngụy trang cho các tàu sân bay. Vào lúc này, máy bay cất cánh từ "Taffy 2" dưới quyền Chuẩn đô đốc Felix Stump tập trung tấn công mạnh vào Tone đến mức nó bỏ dỡ trận chiến và rút lui. Cuộc tấn công từ các tàu khu trục và máy bay đã cứu được đội đặc nhiệm tàu sân bay hộ tống bị áp đảo về lực lượng. Hạm trưởng của Heermann, Trung tá Hải quân Amos Hathaway, được tặng thưởng Huân chương Chữ thập Hải quân do đã cơ động khéo léo chỉ huy can đảm trong trận này. [1]

1945 Sửa đổi

Heermann rút lui về Kossol Passage để được sửa chữa tạm thời trước khi lên đường quay trở về Xưởng hải quân Mare Island để được đại tu toàn diện, vốn chỉ hoàn tất vào ngày 15 tháng 1 năm 1945. Nó quay trở lại khu vực Tây Thái Bình Dương để tham gia lực lượng đặc nhiệm tàu sân bay nhanh trong các cuộc không kích xuống chính quốc Nhật Bản, làm mất tinh thần người dân Nhật và chuẩn bị tâm lý cho việc đầu hàng. Trong Trận Iwo Jima, nó hỗ trợ các hoạt động trên bờ trong vai trò cột mốc radar phòng không và chống tàu ngầm. Vào ngày 20 tháng 3, nó đánh chìm một tàu nhỏ rồi giải cứu bảy thủ thủ từ con tàu bị đắm. Bảy ngày sau, nó tham gia đợt bắn phá ban đêm xuống Minami Daito Jima.

Đang khi hộ tống bảo vệ các tàu sân bay nhanh đã hỗ trợ lực lượng trên bờ trong Trận Okinawa, Heermann bắn trúng nhiều máy bay đối phương. Vào ngày 18 tháng 4, dưới sự giúp đỡ của các tàu khu trục Mertz (DD-691), McCord (DD-534), Collett (DD-730) và Uhlmann (DD-687) cùng máy bay từ tàu sân bay hạng nhẹ Bataan (CVL-29), nó đánh chìm tàu ngầm Nhật I-56, một tàu ngầm mẹ mang ngư lôi tự sát có người điều khiển Kaiten. Nó tiếp tục hỗ trợ các hoạt động của tàu sân bay ngoài khơi Okinawa, cho đến khi rút lui về vịnh Leyte để tiếp liệu và sửa chữa vào cuối tháng 6. Vào ngày 1 tháng 7, nó lên đường cùng lực lượng đặc nhiệm tàu sân bay nhanh cho các cuộc ném bom và bắn phá cuối cùng xuống chính quốc Nhật Bản, kéo dài trong năm tuần.

Vào ngày 15 tháng 8 năm 1945, Heermann đang làm nhiệm vụ cột mốc radar phòng không ở khoảng 200 dặm (320 km) về phía Đông Nam Tokyo, lúc nhiều giờ đã trôi qua từ khi có thông báo chính thức về việc Nhật Bản đầu hàng kết thúc xung đột, một máy bay tấn công tự sát đã ló ra khỏi mây và đâm bổ vào Heermann. Nó bị hỏa lực phòng không của con tàu bắn rơi, một trong những hoạt động tác chiến cuối cùng của Thế Chiến II. Trong những tuần lễ tiếp theo, nó hoạt động hộ tống các tàu sân bay nhanh trong việc hỗ trợ trên không và giải cứu không-biển trong khi tướng Douglas MacArthur và đô đốc Chester Nimitz chuẩn bị cho việc chiếm đóng Nhật Bản. Con tàu tiến vào vịnh Tokyo vào ngày 16 tháng 9, và tiếp tục ở lại khu vực để hỗ trợ lực lượng chiếm đóng cho đến ngày 7 tháng 10, khi nó lên đường quay trở về Hoa Kỳ. được cho xuất biên chế tại San Diego vào ngày 12 tháng 6 năm 1946.

1951–1957 Sửa đổi

Heermann nằm trong thành phần dự bị tại San Diego cho đến khi được cho nhập biên chế trở lại vào ngày 12 tháng 9 năm 1951. Sau khi được huấn luyện tại chỗ và được bảo trì tại San Francisco, nó rời San Diego vào ngày 4 tháng 1 năm 1952 để chuyển sang cảng nhà mới Newport, Rhode Island, đến nơi vào ngày 23 tháng 1. Nó trải qua năm 1952 huấn luyện tại vùng biển ngoài khơi bờ Đông, kéo dài từ New England cho đến Virginia Capes, và tham gia các cuộc thực tập chống tàu ngầm và cơ động hạm đội vào mùa Đông tại vùng biển Caribe. Nó quay trở lại Newport để hoạt động dọc theo khu vực bờ biển Đông Bắc trong năm 1953, thực hiện chuyến đi sang Plymouth, Anh Quốc trong tháng 6 và tháng 7, rồi tham gia các cuộc thực tập chống tàu ngầm tại khu vực giữa Newport và Virginia Capes.

Heermann lên đường vào ngày 3 tháng 12 năm 1953 cho một chuyến đi vòng quanh thế giới, đi sang Yokosuka, Nhật Bản ngang qua kênh đào Panama, San Diego và quần đảo Hawaii. Sau khi được tiếp liệu trong hai ngày tại Yokosuka, nó đi đến Okinawa trong thành phần hộ tống cho cuộc thực tập đổ bộ của Sư đoàn 3 Thủy quân Lục chiến, tuần tra ngăn chặn để bảo vệ cho cuộc tập trận. Sau các cuộc cơ động tại khu vực giữa Triều Tiên, Iwo Jima và bờ biển phía Nam Nhật Bản, nó quay trở về Yokosuka để rồi lại lên đường tiếp nối hành trình vào ngày 22 tháng 5 năm 1954. Chiếc tàu khu trục đã ghé qua Hong Kong và Singapore trên đường đi sang kênh đào Suez, và trong Địa Trung Hải nó đã viếng thăm Port Said, Naples, Villefranche-sur-Mer và Barcelona trước khi quay trở về Newport vào ngày 17 tháng 7.

Trong một năm rưỡi tiếp theo, Heermann tham gia các cuộc thực tập huấn luyện dọc theo bờ biển Đại Tây Dương. Vào ngày 1 tháng 2 năm 1956, nó lên đường tham gia các cuộc tập trận của Đệ Lục hạm đội dọc theo bờ biển Liban, Israel và Ai Cập. Sang tháng 4, nó được Hoàng tử Rainier III mời đến cảng Monaco để đại diện cho Hoa Kỳ tham gia lễ kết hôn của ông với Công nương Grace Kelly từ ngày 19 đến ngày 24 tháng 4 chiếc tàu khu trục đã cử một đội vệ binh danh dự 40 người tham gia buổi lễ này. Từ Monaco, nó tham gia Đệ Lục hạm đội ngoài khơi Hy Lạp, rồi lên đường quay trở về Hoa Kỳ, về đến Fall River, Massachusetts vào ngày 28 tháng 5. Nó tiếp tục hoạt động từ Newport cho đến ngày 6 tháng 11, khi nó lại lên đường đi sang Địa Trung Hải, tham gia các cuộc thực tập chống tàu ngầm phối hợp cùng Hải quân Ý.

Sau khi viếng thăm trở lại Monaco theo lời mời của Hoàng tử Rainier và Công nương Grace, Heermann quay trở về vào ngày 20 tháng 2 năm 1957. Nó phục vụ như một tàu huấn luyện tác xạ ngoài khơi Newport cho đến ngày 30 tháng 6, khi cùng với tàu khu trục Charles J. Badger (DD-657) tham gia thành phần hộ tống chống tàu ngầm cho tàu sân bay Leyte (CV-32), trong một chuyến đi huấn luyện kéo dài hai tuần dành cho học viên sĩ quan thuộc Học viện Hải quân Hoa Kỳ. Con tàu được cho xuất biên chế tại Boston, Massachusetts vào ngày 20 tháng 12 năm 1957, và được đưa về đội Boston của Hạm đội Dự bị Đại Tây Dương.

ARA Almirante Brown (D-20) Sửa đổi

Chiếc tàu khu trục được chuyển cho chính phủ Argentina mượn vào ngày 14 tháng 8 năm 1961, trong khuôn khổ Chương trình Viện trợ Quân sự, và phục vụ cùng Hải quân Argentina như là chiếc ARA Almirante Brown (D-20). Con tàu ngừng hoạt động và bị tháo dỡ vào năm 1982.

Ngoài phần thưởng Đơn vị Tuyên dương Tổng thống và Đơn vị Tuyên dương Tổng thống (Philipines), Heermann còn được tặng thưởng chín Ngôi sao Chiến trận do thành tích phục vụ trong Thế Chiến II.

USS Heermann (DD-532)

O USS Heermann foi um navio contratorpedeiro operado pela Marinha dos Estados Unidos e a quinquagésima segunda embarcação da Classe Fletcher. Sua construção começou em maio de 1942 nos estaleiros da Bethlehem Shipbuilding e foi lançado ao mar em dezembro do mesmo ano, sendo comissionado na frota norte-americana em julho de 1943. Era armado com uma bateria principal de cinco canhões de 127 milímetros e dez tubos de torpedo de 533 milímetros, tinha um deslocamento de mais de duas mil toneladas e conseguia alcançar uma velocidade máxima de 35 nós. [ 1 ]

USS Heermann
Carreira Estados Unidos
Operador Marinha dos Estados Unidos
Fabricante Bethlehem Shipbuilding
Homônimo Lewis Heermann
Batimento de quilha 8 de maio de 1942
Lançamento 5 de dezembro de 1942
Comissionamento 6 de julho de 1943
Descomissionamento 20 de dezembro de 1957
Número de registro DD-532
Destino Transferido para a Argentina
Carreira Argentina
Nome ARA Almirante Brown
Operador Armada Argentina
Homônimo William Brown
Aquisição 14 de agosto de 1961
Descomissionamento 1982
Número de registro D-20
Destino Desmontado
Características gerais (como construído)
Tipo de navio Contratorpedeiro
Classe Fletcher
Deslocamento 2 500 t (carregado)
Maquinário 2 turbinas a vapor
4 caldeiras
Comprimento 114,76 m
Boca 12,09 m
Calado 5,41 m
Propulsão 2 hélices
- 60 000 cv (44 100 kW)
Velocidade 35 nós (65 km/h)
Autonomia 6 500 milhas náuticas a 15 nós
(12 000 km a 28 km/h)
Armamento 5 canhões de 127 mm
10 canhões de 40 mm
7 canhões de 20 mm
10 tubos de torpedo de 533 mm
Tripulação 336

O Heermann entrou em serviço no meio da Segunda Guerra Mundial. Ele participou de operações de escolta de comboios e porta-aviões nas campanhas das Ilhas Gilbert e Marshall e Nova Guiné entre 1943 e 1944, em seguida deu apoio para Invasão das Filipinas em outubro de 1944 e participou da Batalha de Samar. O navio foi danificado no combate e ficou em reparos até janeiro de 1945, depois foi apoiar operações nas batalhas de Iwo Jima e Okinawa no início do ano. Ele foi descomissionado em junho de 1946 e colocado na reserva depois do fim da guerra. [ 1 ]

A embarcação voltou ao serviço em setembro de 1951 e inicialmente ocupou-se de exercícios de rotina na Costa Leste dos Estados Unidos, embarcando entre dezembro de 1953 e julho de 1954 em uma viagem ao redor do mundo. O Heermann foi realizar exercícios no Mar Mediterrâneo no início de 1956 e foi descomissionado em dezembro de 1957. Foi de novo colocado na reserva, onde ficou até agosto de 1961, quando foi transferido para a Argentina. Foi renomeado para ARA Almirante Brown e serviu na Armada Argentina até ser tirado do serviço em 1982 e desmontado. [ 1 ]


Ninth Escort Carrier of the Casablanca class


  • Length: 512 feet
  • Beam: 65 feet
  • Draft: 22 feet, 6 inches
  • Flight Deck: 498 X 108 feet
  • Speed: 18 Knots
  • Engines: Skinner Uniflow 11,200 Horsepower, Twin Screws
  • Loaded displacement: 10,200 tons



Following a shakedown cruise, the ship made two trips to Pearl Harbor and a trip to Brisbane, Australia, transporting planes. Upon returning to our home port of San Diego, Composite Squadron 65 (VC-65) which had been in training, was received aboard and continued training.

In June 1944, the Midway joined Carrier Support Group 1 for the invasion of the Marianas (Guam, Saipan and Tinian) and the “Marianas Turkey Shoot,” a huge Japanese air attack in which many enemy planes were shot down by ship anti-aircraft fire and fighter aircraft. During this campaign, through June and July, 1944, 9 pilots and crewmen were lost to enemy action, and the ship fought off many air attacks.

After repairs and resupply, the Midway was assigned to the 7th fleet, sailed to Seeadler harbor at Manus Island in the Southwest Pacific (off New Guinea), and was soon in action again providing air cover for the invasion of Morotai in the Moluccas island group. Morotai was the closest island to the Philippines and was needed to provide land-based air cover for the coming invasion of Leyte.

During this time, a Japanese submarine fired torpedoes at the Midway. Fortunately, they missed, but tragically continued on to strike and sink the Shelton (DE 407). Again a price was paid, as one pilot and 2 crewmen were lost. Upon returning to Manus, the news was received that on October 10, 1944, the name would be changed to St. Lo to free the name of Midway for a giant new aircraft carrier CV-41, and to commemorate the victory by American forces at St. Lo in France.

Preparations were then made for the invasion of the Philippines at Leyte on October 20, 1944, and Task Group 77.4 was formed and divided into three Task Units: 77.4.1, 77.4.2 and 77.4.3, respectively code named: “Taffy 1,” Taffy 2,” and “Taffy 3.”

Taffy 3, under Admiral C.A.F. “Ziggy” Sprague, consisted of CVEs St. Lo, White Plains, Kitkun Bay, Kalinin Bay, Fanshaw Bay and Gambier Bay, escorted by the Destroyers: Heermann, Hoel and Johnston and Destroyer Escorts: Dennis, Samuel B. Roberts, John C. Butler and Raymond.

The St. Lo burns after a kamikaze hits the flight deck on the morning of October 25, 1944.

The Taffies were assigned stations from the North off Samar and extending South off Mindanao, with Taffy 3 in the northernmost position. After providing air cover for the Army on Leyte for five days, on the morning of October 25, 1944, while steaming off the island of Samar, the crew awakened to a desperate situation. Admiral Kinkaid, in command of the Seventh fleet, assumed from dispatches, that Admiral Halsey who was in command of the powerful Third Fleet intended to leave his new, fast battleships with their escorting cruisers and destroyers to guard San Bernardino Strait North of Samar. This he failed to do.

Following the sinking, the four remaining escort ships, Heermann (DD 532), Dennis (DE 405), John C. Butler (DE 339) and Raymond (DE 341) were directed to pick up survivors. Heermann and Dennis were severely damaged and were ordered to Kossol Passage at Palau. Butler and Raymond had suffered no damage, but were directed to Leyte Gulf. From there we were scattered to the four corners of the world, rarely to see each other until the 1980s when we began gathering at annual reunions.

USS Heermann (DD 532)

Decommissioned 12 June 1946.
Recommissioned 12 September 1951.
Decommissioned 20 December 1957.
Stricken 1 September 1975.
Transferred to Argentina 14 August 1961 being renamed Almirante Brown.
Almirante Brown was stricken and scrapped in 1982.

Commands listed for USS Heermann (DD 532)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

1T/Cdr. Dwight Merle Agnew, USN6 Jul 1943May 1944
2T/Cdr. Amos Townsend Hathaway, USNMay 194419 Aug 1945
3William King Yarnell, USN19 Aug 194512 Jun 1946

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Notable events involving Heermann include:

9 May 1945
USS Iowa (Capt. J.L. Holloway, Jr., USN) topped off two of the destroyers of the Task Group, USS Heerman (Cdr. A.T. Hathaway, USN) and USS McCord (Cdr. F.D. Michael, USN), with fuel.

28 May 1945
USS Iowa (Capt. J.L. Holloway, Jr., USN) topped off two of the destroyers of the Task Group, USS Mertz (Cdr. W.S. Maddox, USN) and USS Heerman (Cdr. A.T. Hathaway, USN), with fuel.

31 May 1945
USS Iowa (Capt. J.L. Holloway, Jr., USN) topped off one of the destroyers of the Task Group, USS Heerman (Cdr. A.T. Hathaway, USN), with fuel.

4 Jun 1945
USS Iowa (Capt. J.L. Holloway, Jr., USN) topped off two of the destroyers of the Task Group, USS Heerman (Cdr. A.T. Hathaway, USN) and USS USS Uhlmann (Cdr. S.C. Small, USN), with fuel.

7 Jun 1945
USS Iowa (Capt. J.L. Holloway, Jr., USN) topped off two of the destroyers of the Task Group, USS Heerman (Cdr. A.T. Hathaway, USN) and USS McCord (Cdr. F.D. Michael, USN), with fuel.

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USS Heermann DD 532

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This CD will Exceed your Expectations

A great part of Naval history.

You would be purchasing an exact copy of the USS Heermann cruise book during World War II. Each page has been placed on a CD for years of enjoyable computer viewing. The CD comes in a plastic sleeve with a custom label. Every page has been enhanced and is readable. Rare cruise books like this sell for a hundred dollars or more when buying the actual hard copy if you can find one for sale.

This would make a great gift for yourself or someone you know who may have served aboard her. Usually only ONE person in the family has the original book. The CD makes it possible for other family members to have a copy also. You will not be disappointed we guarantee it.

Some of the items in this book are as follows:

  • First cruise (Oct 43 - Dec 44)
  • Second cruise (Jan 45 - Oct 45)
  • Presentation of awards (name rank type and photo)
  • Divisional group photos
  • Crossing the equator
  • Crew roster (name and hometown)

Over 82 pictures and the ships story told on 56 pages.

Once you view this CD you will know what life was like on this Destroyer Escort during World War II.

Additional Bonus:

  • 22 Minute Audio " American Radio Mobilizes the Homefront " WWII (National Archives)
  • 22 Minute Audio " Allied Turncoats Broadcast for the Axis Powers " WWII (National Archives)
  • 20 Minute Audio of a " 1967 Equator Crossing " (Not this ship but the Ceremony is Traditional)
  • 6 Minute Audio of " Sounds of Boot Camp " in the late 50's early 60's
  • Other Interesting Items Include:
    • The Oath of Enlistment
    • The Sailors Creed
    • Core Values of the United States Navy
    • Military Code of Conduct
    • Navy Terminology Origins (8 Pages)
    • Examples: Scuttlebutt, Chewing the Fat, Devil to Pay,
    • Hunky-Dory and many more.

    Why a CD instead of a hard copy book?

    • The pictures will not be degraded over time.
    • Self contained CD no software to load.
    • Thumbnails, table of contents and index for easy viewing reference.
    • View as a digital flip book or watch a slide show. (You set the timing options)
    • Back ground patriotic music and Navy sounds can be turned on or off.
    • Viewing options are described in the help section.
    • Bookmark your favorite pages.
    • The quality on your screen may be better than a hard copy with the ability to magnify any page.
    • Full page viewing slide show that you control with arrow keys or mouse.
    • Designed to work on a Microsoft platform. (Not Apple or Mac) Will work with Windows 98 or above.

    Personal Comment from "Navyboy63"

    The cruise book CD is a great inexpensive way of preserving historical family heritage for yourself, children or grand children especially if you or a loved one has served aboard the ship. It is a way to get connected with the past especially if you no longer have the human connection.

    If your loved one is still with us, they might consider this to be a priceless gift. Statistics show that only 25-35% of sailors purchased their own cruise book. Many probably wished they would have. It's a nice way to show them that you care about their past and appreciate the sacrifice they and many others made for you and the FREEDOM of our country. Would also be great for school research projects or just self interest in World War II documentation.

    We never knew what life was like for a sailor in World War II until we started taking an interest in these great books. We found pictures which we never knew existed of a relative who served on the USS Essex CV 9 during World War II. He passed away at a very young age and we never got a chance to hear many of his stories. Somehow by viewing his cruise book which we never saw until recently has reconnected the family with his legacy and Naval heritage. Even if we did not find the pictures in the cruise book it was a great way to see what life was like for him. We now consider these to be family treasures. His children, grand children and great grand children can always be connected to him in some small way which they can be proud of. This is what motivates and drives us to do the research and development of these great cruise books. I hope you can experience the same thing for your family.


    The Fletcher-class design departed from US destroyer design, having a larger displacement than previous classes and more extensive armament. USS Heermann (DD-532)_sentence_8

    The flush deck added to the strength, but the number of systems aboard the ship led to a cramped design. USS Heermann (DD-532)_sentence_9

    Heermann was among the Fletcher-class ships that got a new bridge design. USS Heermann (DD-532)_sentence_10

    The standard Fletcher-class ship had a standard displacement of 2,325 long tons (2,362 t) and was 2,942 long tons (2,989 t) at full load. USS Heermann (DD-532)_sentence_11

    The destroyers were 376 ft 5 in (114.7 m) long overall and 369 ft 1 in (112.5 m) long at the waterline with a beam of 39 ft 7 in (12.1 m) and a draft of 13 ft 9 in (4.19 m) at full load. USS Heermann (DD-532)_sentence_12

    The Fletcher class were powered by steam from four Babcock & Wilcox boilers driving two General Electric turbines turning two shafts rated at 60,000 shaft horsepower (45,000 kW). USS Heermann (DD-532)_sentence_13

    The destroyers carried 492 long tons (500 t) of fuel oil. USS Heermann (DD-532)_sentence_14

    The ships had a maximum speed of 38 knots (70 km/h 44 mph) and a range of 6,500 nautical miles (12,000 km 7,500 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h 17 mph). USS Heermann (DD-532)_sentence_15

    The ships had a complement of 273 officers and enlisted personnel. USS Heermann (DD-532)_sentence_16

    The class were initially armed with five 5-inch (127 mm)/38 caliber guns in Mk30 dual-purpose turrets for anti-aircraft and surface warfare, aligned along the centreline. USS Heermann (DD-532)_sentence_17

    Ten 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes were also equipped. USS Heermann (DD-532)_sentence_18

    Four single-mounted 1.1-inch (27.9 mm) guns and four 20 mm cannon were equipped for anti-aircraft (AA) defense. USS Heermann (DD-532)_sentence_19

    For anti-submarine defense, six depth charge throwers and two depth charge racks were installed. USS Heermann (DD-532)_sentence_20

    Later, three twin-mounted 40 mm guns and the number of 20 mm cannon increased to eleven on Heermann. USS Heermann (DD-532)_sentence_21

    This would later change again to five twin 40 mm gun mounts and seven 20 mm cannon. USS Heermann (DD-532)_sentence_22

    The destroyers also had some armor, with 0.75-inch (19 mm) side armor and 0.5-inch (13 mm) armor on the decks over the machinery. USS Heermann (DD-532)_sentence_23

    The Iconic Destroyers of the Fletcher Class

    Once again I continue to take some time off and re-post some articles from the deep abyss of my archives about some of the greatest warship classes in history. In the past few days I have posted articles about different U-Boat types, the Wickes and Clemson Class destroyers, and the Japanese Fubuki Class destroyers. Today, an article about possibly the most iconic destroyer class ever made, the United States Navy Fletcher Class.

    I hope that you have a great day.

    The USS Fletcher DD-445

    If ever a class of warships can define a ship type the destroyers of the Fletcher Class were that. The most numerous of all United States Navy destroyer classes the Navy commissioned 175 of these ships between June 1942 and February 1945. There were two groupings of ships the 58 round or “high bridge” ships and the 117 square or “low bridged” ships. It was a sound design that would be modified for use in the later Allen M. Sumner and Gearing Class destroyers. Eleven shipyards produced the ships fast, heavily armed and tough the ships would serve in every theater of the war at sea but would find their greatest fame in the Pacific where many became synonymous with the courage and devotion of their officers and crews.

    USS Stevens one of the 6 Fletchers equipped with an aircraft catapult

    The ships were a major improvement on previous classes of destroyers and were equal or superior to the destroyers of our allies and our enemies in the war. At 2050 tons displacement and 2900 tons full load the ships were significantly larger than preceding classes and were designed to mount a superior anti-aircraft armament to compliment their main battery of five 5” 38 caliber dual purpose guns and ten 21” torpedo tubes. 376 feet long and flush decked they were an exceptionally tough class of ships which was demonstrated often in the brutal surface battles in the South Pacific, Leyte Gulf and in the battles with Kamikazes off the Philippines, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and the Japanese mainland. They were the first destroyers of the US Navy which were built with radar as part of the initial design.

    USS O’Bannon DD-450 in 1961

    The anti aircraft armament was increased throughout the war. Initially this was composed of: 4 x 40mm Bofors in two twin-mounts and 6 to 13 x 20mm Oerlikon in single-mounts. By June of 1943 new ships of the class mounted 10 x 40mm Bofors in five twin-mounts 7 x 20mm Oerlikon in single-mounts. As the Kamikaze threat became dire ships returning to the United States for refit lost one of their torpedo tube mounts and had their AA armament increased to 14 x 40mm Bofors in three twin and two quad mounts and 12 x 20mm Oerlikon in six twin mounts. One of the more unusual experiments was to equip six ships with a catapult for a float plane. This eliminated some of their AA guns and one torpedo tube mounting. It was not successful and the mounts were removed before the end of the war.

    USS Nicholas in action at Kula Gulf

    The first ships of the class saw action in the Solomons during the Guadalcanal campaign. Fletcher and O’Bannon took part in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal where O’Bannon was one of several destroyers that ganged up on the Japanese Battleship Hieiat ranges as low as 500 yards causing heavy damage to the Battleship which was sunk by naval aircraft the following day. The O’Bannon would be awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for her actions around Guadalcanal which read:

    “For outstanding performance in combat against enemy Japanese forces in the South Pacific from October 7, 1942, to October 7, 1943. An aggressive veteran after a year of continuous and intensive operations in this area, the U.S.S. O’BANNON has taken a tremendous toll of vital Japanese warships, surface vessels and aircraft. Launching a close range attack on hostile combatant ships off Guadalcanal on the night of November 13, 1942, the O’BANNON scored three torpedo hits on a Japanese battleship, boldly engaged two other men o’ war with gunfire and retired safely in spite of damage sustained. During three days of incessant hostilities in July 1943, she gallantly stood down Kula Gulf to bombard enemy shore positions in coverage of our assault groups, later taking a valiant part in the rescue of survivors from the torpedoed U.S.S STRONG while under fierce coastal battery fire and aerial bombing attack and adding her fire power toward the destruction of a large Japanese naval force. In company with two destroyers, the O’BANNON boldly intercepted and repulsed nine hostile warships off Vella Lavella on October 7, 1943, destroying two enemy ships and damaging others. Although severely damaged, she stood by to take aboard and care for survivors of a friendly torpedoed destroyer and retired to base under her own power. The O’BANNON’s splendid acheivements and the gallant fighting spirit of her officers and men reflect great credit upon the United States Naval Service.”

    The Fletcher class composed all of DESON 23 the Little Beavers commanded by Commodore Arleigh “31 knot” Burke. The squadron which covered the initial landings at Bougainville in November 1943 fought in 22 separate engagements during the next four months. During this time the squadron was credited with destroying one Japanese cruiser, nine destroyers, one submarine, several smaller ships, and approximately 30 aircraft. Under Burke the squadron was composed of USS Foote (DD-511), USS Charles Ausburne (DD-570), USS Spence (DD-512), USS Claxton (DD-571), USS Dyson (DD-572), USS Converse(DD-509) and USS Thatcher (DD-514). At the Battle of Cape St. George the squadron intercepted a Japanese force of 5 destroyers sinking 3. At the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay the ships were in action as part of Task Force 39 based around Cruiser Division 12 comprised of the Cleveland Class Light Cruisers Montpelier, Cleveland, Columbiaand Denverthe took part in the sinking of the Japanese Light Cruiser Sendaiand a destroyer. For their efforts DESRON 23 would be awarded the Presidential Unit Citation which stated:

    “For extrordinary heroism in action against enemy Japanese forces during the Solomon Islands Campaign, from November 1, 1943, to February 23, 1944. Boldly penetrating submarine-infested waters during a period when Japanese naval and air power was at its height, Destroyer Squadron TWENTY THREE operated in daring defiance of repeated attacks by hostile air groups, closing the enemy’s strongly fortified shores to carry out sustained bombardments against Japanese coastal defenses and render effective cover and fire support for the major invasion operations in this area. Commanded by forceful leaders and manned by aggressive, fearless crews the ships of Squadron TWENTY THREE coordinated as a superb fighting team they countered the enemy’s fierce aerial bombing attacks and destroyed or routed his planes they intercepted his surface task forces, sank or damaged his warships by torpedo fire and prevented interference with our transports. The brilliant and heroic record achieved by Destroyer Squadron TWENTY THREE is a distinctive tribute to the valiant fighting spirit of the individual units in this indomitable combat group and of each skilled and courageous ship’s company.”

    USS Johnston DD-557

    Fletcher’s served heroically with “Taffy-3” in the Battle of Samar at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Taffy-3 which was composed of 6 escort carriers, the Fletcher Class destroyers Hoel, Johnston, and Heermann and 4 destroyer escorts was assigned the task of providing close air support for troops ashore and anti-submarine protection for transports. On the morning of October 25th Admiral Halsey took Third Fleet north to engage a Japanese carrier force believing a Japanese surface force of battleships and cruisers to have withdrawn after being heavily hurt by submarine and air attacks. The carrier force had few aircraft and was considered a decoy by the Japanese. This left the San Bernardino Strait unguarded and the Japanese surface force which by now was comprised of 4 battleships including the Yamato as well as 6 heavy and 2 light cruisers and 11 destroyers doubled back going through the strait during the early morning hours of the 25th. Just before dawn a patrol aircraft spotted the Japanese force and at 0659 Yamato opened fire on the task group.

    USS Hoel DD-533

    The three Fletcher’s and the Destroyer escort Samuel B Robertswere launched into a suicidal counter-attack against the Japanese force. Led by Johnston under the command of Ernest E. Evans the little ships engaged their vastly superior foe as the escort carriers edged away as they launched and recovered their aircraft to keep a continuous air assault on the Japanese force. Johnstonscored numerous hits with her 5” guns on the Heavy Cruiser Kumanoand when she reached torpedo range launched her 10 “fish” one of which blew off Kumano’sbow and another of which crippled Kumano’ssister Suzuya before she was hit in quick succession by a 14” shell from the Battleship Kongo which hit her engine room and three 6” shells from Yamato which struck her bridge. Evans kept the crippled ship in the fight drawing fire away from other attacking destroyers and fending off a Japanese destroyer squadron that was trying to flank the carriers. Johnston continued to be hit and was abandon at 0945 sinking 25 minutes later with 186 of her crew. Evans did not survive and was awarded the Medal of Honor.

    USS Heermann DD-532 in action at Samar

    Hoel under the command of Commander Leon S. Kintberger took on the Battleship Kongo and a column of cruisers lead by the Heavy Cruiser Haguro. Hoel’s torpedo attack on Kongo forced that ship to turn away and torpedo hits were claimed on the Haguro, although that ship remained in action and the Japanese denied any torpedo damage from the attack. The Japanese concentrated on Hoelsinking her at 0855 taking all but 86 of her crew to a watery grave.

    Heermann under Commander Amos Hathaway threw herself into the fight engaging Japanese battleships and cruisers. Heermann engaged Heavy Cruiser Chikuma with her guns while mounting a torpedo attack on Haguro. She then attacked the Japanese battleships directly engaging Haruna and forcing Yamatoto head away from the action for 10 minutes as she was bracketed by two of Heermann’s torpedoes running on a parallel course. She engaged the other battleships at such close range that they could not hit her and broke off to intercept a column of cruisers. Once again she engaged Chikuma in a bloody duel with both ships taking heavy damage. Crippled by a series of 8” shell hits from the heavy cruisers Heermannwas down heavily at the bow, so much so that her anchors dragged the water. Carrier aircraft joined the battle and Chikumawithdrew from the fight and sank during her withdraw. Heermann then engaged Heavy Cruiser Tone before that ship, also damaged by air attack withdrew from the fight. Though she was heavily damaged the Heermann was the only destroyer to survive the action. Despite their terrible losses the ships and aircraft of Taffy-3 sank 3 heavy cruisers and a destroyer and heavily damaged 3 battleships and 3 heavy cruisers.

    Just a bit wet, USS Halsey Powell unrep with USS Wisconsin

    For their heroic actions which kept the Japanese from getting to the vulnerable transports Taffy-3 including the valiant destroyers Johnston, Hoel, Heerman and Destroyer Escort Samuel B Roberts was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation which read:

    “For extraordinary heroism in action against powerful units of the Japanese Fleet during the Battle off Samar, Philippines, October 25, 1944. Silhouetted against the dawn as the Central Japanese Force steamed through San Bernardino Strait towards Leyte Gulf, Task Unit 77.4.3 was suddenly taken under attack by hostile cruisers on its port hand, destroyers on the starboard and battleships from the rear. Quickly laying down a heavy smoke screen, the gallant ships of the Task Unit waged battle fiercely against the superior speed and fire power of the advancing enemy, swiftly launching and rearming aircraft and violently zigzagging in protection of vessels stricken by hostile armor-piercing shells, anti-personnel projectiles and suicide bombers. With one carrier of the group sunk, others badly damaged and squadron aircraft courageously coordinating in the attacks by making dry runs over the enemy Fleet as the Japanese relentlessly closed in for the kill, two of the Unit’s valiant destroyers and one destroyer escort charged the battleships point-blank and, expending their last torpedoes in desperate defense of the entire group, went down under the enemy’s heavy shells as a climax to two and one half hours of sustained and furious combat. The courageous determination and the superb teamwork of the officers and men who fought the embarked planes and who manned the ships of Task Unit 77.4.3 were instrumental in effecting the retirement of a hostile force threatening our Leyte invasion operations and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

    USS Isherwood (DD-520) underway in heavy weather as she comes alongside the heavy cruiser USS Tuscaloosa (CA-37) in August 1943. National Archives and Records Administration. Photo # 80-G-79429. [Navsource]

    During the war 19 of the class were lost and 6 damaged so badly that they were not repaired. 44 of the ships were awarded 10 battle stars or more while 19 were awarded Naval Unit Commendations and 16 Presidential Unit Citations. Following the war all were decommissioned and placed in reserve. Many were re-commissioned during the Korean War and served through Vietnam. Some of these ships were modernized with newer ASW weapons and re-designated Escort Destroyers (DDE) while others had their air search radar modernized and were re-classified as Radar Picket Destroyers or (DDR). The last Fletcher in US Service decommissioned in 1971. 52 were sold or transferred under military assistance programs to other navies in the 1950s. The ships served well and the last one in active service the Mexican Navy Destroyer Cuitlahuacthe former USS John C Rodgers DD-874 was decommissioned in 2001.

    Ex USS Twinning in Republic of China Navy Service, note weaponmodifications

    Zerstörer Z-1 Rommel

    USS Kidd as Museum and Memorial

    Four are currently open as memorial ships the USS Cassin YoungDD-793 at Buffalo NY, the USS The Sullivans DD-537 at Buffalo, NY, and USS Kidd DD-661 at Baton Rouge LA can be seen in the United States. The Cassin Young is berthed at the old Charlestown Naval Yard in Boston across the pier from the Frigate USS Constitution. The the Greek destroyer Velos the ex-USS Charette DD-581 is located in Athens. The John Rodgers was scrapped in Mexico in 2011.

    Greek Destroyer Velos ex-USS Charente

    The Fletcher Class really symbolizes more than any class of destroyer the classic look of what a destroyer should be. Their clean lines and classic design are iconic not just in this country but in the 15 other countries that they would serve in during the following years. Their amazing record and service in World War Two and in the following years in both the US Navy and the navies of our Allies is one that will probably never be surpassed.

    USS Cassin Young

    I have visited the Cassin Young in Boston it is well worth the time to see. I hope that I might see The Sullivans and Kidd in the coming years.

    The Zerstörer Z-4 ex USS Dyson in heavy seas

    I salute the ships of the class and the officers and sailors that served on them in peace and war.

    Watch the video: Ls19 4K Untergriesbach #19 Eicher 3145 ist Einsatzbereit und Silberner Schlepper! (May 2022).


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