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Apr '45

 

1 APRIL '45

THE INVASION OF OKINAWA BEGINS. THE INVASION BEGINS WITH COMPARATIVELY LIGHT OPPOSITION WITH COVER FROM 500 PLANES FROM THE ESCORT AND LIGHT CARRIERS.

THE BATAAN PLANES BOMB CAVE DEFENSES, DESTROYING ONE BUILDING, ONE TRUCK, AND LEAVE BUILDINGS BURNING IN TANCHEA AND YAKADA. THE SHIP IS MADE SECURE AT 2000 BECAUSE OF HEAVY WEATHER.

2 APRIL '45

NO FLIGHT OPERATIONS. THE BATAAN GETS FUEL FROM AO CACAPON, BUT, NO AMMUNITION REPLENISHMENTS RECEIVED BECAUSE OF HEAVY SEAS. TASK GROUP 58-3 RETURNS FOR A RESUMPTION OF ATTACKS ON OKINAWA.

3 APRIL '45

STEAMING IN THE OPERATION AREA OF OKINAWA WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS FROM OUR MORNING CAPS. THE 12 VFS LAUNCHED FOR AMAMI SWEEP AT 1522 WERE JUMPED BY 14 JAPS. THE SWEEP SHOT DOWN 4 ZEKES AND 3 TOJOS. ONE HELLCAT WITH ITS PILOT, ENSIGN R. L. WESTBROOK, IS MISSING AFTER THE ENGAGEMENT (SEARCHES WERE CONDUCTED OVER THE AREA WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS). ANOTHER HELLCAT IS LOST -- THAT OF ENSIGN C. L. SWISHER. HIS F6F WAS DAMAGED WHEN HIT BOTH BY FLAK AND ENEMY FIGHTERS IN AN ENGAGEMENT OVER KIKAI ISLAND. HE WAS ABLE TO RETURN TO THE FORMATION BUT DID NOT LAND ABOARD BECAUSE OF A LOOSE BELLY TANK. ON MAKING A WATER LANDING ABEAM OF THE DESTROYER KEARNY, HIS ENGINE CUT OUT. HE INFLATED HIS LIFE JACKET AND STEPPED INTO THE WATER CARRYING HIS CHUTE. THE WATER LOGGED CHUTE STARTED TO DRAG HIM DOWN, AT WHICH TIME A SAILOR FROM THE DESTROYER JUMPED INTO THE WATER AND CUT THE PARACHUTE CLEAR. HE WAS PICKED UP BY THE DESTROYER AND RETURNED TO THE BATAAN, 5 APRIL, IN GOOD CONDITION. OUR CAP 4 WAS RECOVERED AT 1842 WITH GOOD RESULTS -- 2 NICKS AND 1 TONY SPLASHED.

4 APRIL '45

STEAMING IN OPERATING AREA EAST OF OKINAWA. AIR STRIKES AGAINST KIKAI AND TORUNO AIRFIELDS CONDUCTED. A RESERVE FLIGHT FOR ENSIGN WESTBROOK WAS NEGATIVE. LT. WHEELER OF VT 47 KNOCKS OVER THE LE SHIMA LIGHTHOUSE WITH FIRST BOMB DROPPED. FLAK REPORTED TO BE INTENSE AND ACCURATE. COURSE SET FOR REFUELING TO THE SOUTHEAST.

5 APRIL '45

FUELED FROM THE AO LACKAWANA AND AMMUNITION REPLENISHMENT FROM AE MAUNA LOA. TASK GROUP 58-3 SETS ITS COURSE FOR THE OPERATING AREA.

6 APRIL '45

STEAMING IN THE OPERATING AREA EAST OF OKINAWA. AIR STRIKES ARE CONDUCTED OVER KIKAI. SHIPS OF TASK GROUP 58-3 UNDER ATTACK BY ENEMY AIRCRAFT. TASK GROUP IS CREDITED WITH SPLASHING TWO ENEMY AIRCRAFT THAT TRIED TO BOMB THE CABOT. A SUICIDE BOMBER MISSED THE CABOT, CRASHING CLOSE ABOARD ON THE STARBOARD BEAM. CAP OF 8 VFS RECOVERED HAVING SHOT DOWN ONE ZEKE.

7 APRIL '45

STEAMING IN THE OPERATION AREA EAST OF OKINAWA TO MAKE GOOD POINT OPERATION FOR ATTACK ON ENEMY FLEET UNDERWAY OFF THE COAST OF KYUSHU. OUR SUBMARINES REPORT THAT THE YAMATO WAS STEAMING TOWARD OKINAWA.

1016

STRIKE AGAINST THE JAPANESE FLEET LAUNCHED; 12 VFS WITH TWO FIVE HUNDRED POUND BOMBS EACH, AND 9 VTS CARRYING ONE TORPEDO EACH. FLEET REPORTED TO CONSIST OF 1 BB, 1 OR 2 CLS AND 8 TO 10 DDS. ONE VT RETURNED TO BASE EARLY BECAUSE OF PROPELLER PITCH TROUBLE.

1211

A KAMIKAZE DIVING ON THE HANCOK IS TAKEN UNDER FIRE BY THE BATAAN'S GUNS. THE PLANE HIT THE HANCOCK, STARTING FIRES ABOARD HER.

1420

BATAAN OPENS FIRE ON ENEMY PLANE DIVING ON THE ESSEX. THE PLANE IS SHOT DOWN BY CONCENTRATED FIRE OF THE ENTIRE TASK FORCE.

1529

STRIKE RECOVERED. RESULTS OF THE BATTLE OF THE EAST CHINA SEA IS REASON FOR JOY. THE BATAAN'S CONTRIBUTION IS 4 TORPEDO HITS ON THE STARBOARD SIDE OF THE BATTLESHIP IDENTIFIED AS THE YAMATO; ONE DIRECT HIT ON A CL, FOLLOWED BY AN EXPLOSION WITH CLOUDS OF SMOKE; 2 DIRECT BOMB HITS ON A DESTROYER, FOLLOWED BY EXPLOSIONS, SMOKE AND FLAMES; ONE DIRECT BOMB HIT PLUS A NEAR MISS ON A SECOND DESTROYER FOLLOWED BY AN EXPLOSION, SMOKE, AND FLAMES. ON DEPARTURE OF STRIKE, ALL 4 SHIPS WERE DEAD IN THE WATER. ANTI-AIRCRAFT WAS INTENSE, ACCURATE, AND OF ALL TYPES, INCLUDING THE MAIN BATTERIES OF THE YAMATO. FOUR PLANES OF THE STRIKE WERE BADLY DAMAGED. NO ENEMY AIRCRAFT WAS SEEN. LT. TRIGG MADE A WATER LANDING BECAUSE OF FLAK DAMAGE TO HIS HELLCAT WHICH CAUSED LOSS OF RUDDER CONTROL. HE LANDED IN THE WATER CLOSE TO THE DD JOHN W. WEEKS, AND WAS PICKED UP IN GOOD CONDITION FROM HIS RUBBER RAFT.

1640

CAP RECOVERED, HAVING SHOT DOWN 2 FRANCES OVER THE TASK FORCE.

8 APRIL '45

STEAMING IN THE OPERATING AREA OF OKINAWA. CAPS LAUNCHED WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS. AT THE CONCLUSION OF FLIGHT OPERATIONS, TASK GROUP 58-3 HEADED IN A SOUTHEASTERLY COURSE TOWARDS THE FUELING AREA.

9 APRIL '45

FUELING FROM THE AO MILLICOMA AND AMMUNITION FROM THE AE LASSER AND WRANGELL. TASK GROUP, AFTER REFUELING, RETURNS TO THE OPERATING AREA.

10 APRIL '45

STEAMING IN OPERATING AREA. CAPS OVER OKINAWA AND STRIKES AGAINST MINAMI DAITO. TWO OF OUR PLANES ARE IT BY FLAK, BUT BOTH RETURN SAFELY.

11 APRIL '45

STEAMING EAST AND NORTHEAST OF OKINAWA. THE ENEMY MAKES AN ALL OUT ATTACK ON THE TASK FORCE WITH COUNTLESS SUICIDE PLANES. EARLY CAPS AND SWEEPS WERE RECOVERED WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS, BUT THE AMAMI SWEEP RESULTED IN 8 LUGGERS, SMALL FREIGHTERS AND BOATS STRAFED IN KOURYA KO AND OTHER INLETS, SHOP BUILDINGS AT KOUIYA SEAPLANE STATION ROCKETED.

1355 - 1404

ANTI-AIRCRAFT FIRE BY OTHER SHIPS OBSERVED ON THE STARBOARD QUARTER.

1406

SUICIDE PLANE CRASHED CLOSE ABOARD THE PORT QUARTER OF THE ENTERPRISE.

1407

ENEMY AIRCRAFT, HIT REPEATEDLY BY ANTI-AIRCRAFT, FELL INTO THE SEA CLOSE ABOARD THE STARBOARD BEAM OF THE BUNKER HILL.

1410

BATAAN'S ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUNS SHOT DOWN OR ASSISTED IN SHOOTING DOWN A ZEKE 1500 YARDS OFF THE SHIP'S PORT QUARTER.

1414

FIRING FROM SHIPS ON THE STARBOARD QUARTER OBSERVED; AN ENEMY PLANE BURST INTO FLAMES AND CRASHED INTO THE SEA.

1430

A ZEKE MADE A RUN ON THE ENTERPRISE, CROSSING AFT OF THE BATAAN, WHICH TOOK IT UNDER FIRE. THE ZEKE CRASHED IN THE WATER. A PROJECTILE FROM ANOTHER SHIP, BELIEVED TO BE A 20MM SHELL, STRUCK THE BATAAN AND EXPLODED A 40 MM SHELL ON A GUN MOUNT; MEN WERE WOUNDED BY SHELL FRAGMENTS.

1444

FIRING TO STARBOARD FROM OTHER SHIPS.

1454

KAMIKAZE HIT OFF THE BOW OF THE ENTERPRISE. A FIRE BROKE OUT SHORTLY AFTERWARD ON A PLANE ON ONE OF THE CATAPULTS, CAUSE UNKNOWN. THE PLANE WAS JETTISONED BY BEING CATAPULTED OVERBOARD.

1459

BATAAN OPENED FIRE ON 2 ENEMY PLANES ; THEY PASS OVERHEAD FROM AFT FORWARD AND ESCAPED.

1504

OPENED FIRE WITH OTHER SHIPS ON AN ENEMY PLANE DIVING ON THE ESSEX; THE PLANE DROPPED ITS' BOMB NEAR THE ESSEX AND CRASHED. FIRING CONTINUED AT OTHER ENEMY AIRCRAFT.

1506

ENEMY PLANE CRASHED OFF THE STARBOARD BOW.

1510

OPENED FIRE WITH OTHER SHIPS AT A BOGIE WHICH DUCKED INTO THE CLOUDS; CEASED FIRE WHEN BOGIE WAS EVALUATED AS A FRIENDLY PLANE.

1558

CAP 4 OF 8 VF LAUNCHED; RESULTS NEGATIVE.

1616

FIRING FROM SHIPS ON THE STARBOARD QUARTER AT A ZEKE 12,000 FEET OVERHEAD. ZEKE DEPARTED, APPARENTLY UNDAMAGED.

1634

FIRING OBSERVED ON BOTH PORT AND STARBOARD QUARTERS.

1639

AMAMI SWEEP 2 RECOVERED. RESULTS INCLUDE 15 SMALL FREIGHTERS, LUGGERS AND OTHER SIMILAR CRAFT IN ANCHORAGE. ONE TOJO, CARRYING A BOMB, SHOT DOWN.

1708

ENEMY PLANE SHOT DOWN IN FLAMES BY 5 INCH FIRE FROM OTHER SHIPS AT NIGHT RAIDERS OR HECKLERS USING FLAMES.

12 APRIL '45

STEAMING IN WATERS OFF OKINAWA. IN ANTICIPATION OF A RENEWAL OF ENEMY ATTACKS OF 11 APRIL, AIR OPERATIONS WERE CONFINED TO 36 CAP SORTIES, ALL WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS.

13 APRIL '45

STEAMING IN WATERS EAST OF OKINAWA. ALL PATROLS NEGATIVE. AT THE CONCLUSION OF FLIGHT OPERATIONS; TASK GROUP 58-3 PROCEEDED ON A SOUTHWESTERLY COURSE TOWARDS THE FUELING RENDEZVOUS.

14 APRIL '45

WE AGAIN RENDEZVOUS WITH OILERS AND SUPPLY SHIPS TO TAKE ON FUEL, AMMUNITION, AND PROVISIONS. OUR FRESH FOOD HAS BEEN GONE, SO, THE PRESENCE OF THE "REEFER", AS THE REFRIGERATOR SHIPS WERE CALLED AMONG THE SHIPS OF THE SUPPLY TRAIN, WAS PARTICULARLY WELCOME. EGGS, POTATOES, AND ORANGES AGAIN! ANOTHER CAUSE FOR REJOICING; NEW MOVIES ARE ACQUIRED BY THE SHIP, AND ABOVE ALL IN IMPORTANCE, WE RECEIVED MAIL -- "UNCLE SUGAR MAIL."

15 APRIL '45

STEAMING AT A DISTANT POINT FROM THE NORTH TIP OF OKINAWA. CAPS LAUNCHED WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS. SWEEPS FROM TOKINO RECOVERED WITH REPORTED DAMAGES TO THE AIRFIELD, AIRCRAFT NORTH OF THE FIELD, AND BUILDINGS SET AFIRE.

16 APRIL '45

CAP OF 12 VF LAUNCHED AT 0537. A REPORT WAS RECEIVED THAT A LARGE GROUP OF ENEMY PLANES WERE APPROACHING. AT 0754, A SCRAMBLE OF 8 VF WERE LAUNCHED TO REINFORCE OUR CAP. THE BATAAN PLANES ENGAGED ABOUT 40 SOUTHBOUND ENEMY AIRCRAFT IN THE VICINITY OF AMAMI AND KIKAI ISLANDS. THE RESULTS WERE VERY GOOD -- 13 ZEKES, 7 TOJOS, 2 TONYS, AND 1 FRANCES SHOT DOWN -- TOTAL 23 ENEMY PLANES. BATAAN LOSES ONE PLANE. ENSIGN RICHARD STEPHANSKY USNR, RESCUED AT SEA AFTER HIS F6F HAD BEEN DAMAGED BY ENEMY FLAK AND MACHINE GUN FIRE IN THE AERIAL ENGAGEMENT. ENSIGN STEPHANSKY WAS ABLE TO FLY FROM THE SCENE OF THE ENGAGEMENT, BUT WAS FORCED TO MAKE A WATER LANDING WHEN HIS ENGINE CUT OUT. HE INFLATED HIS LIFE JACKET AND ENTERED THE WATER WITH HIS PARACHUTE PACK STILL STRAPPED TO HIM. WHEN THE WATER LOGGED CHUTE STARTED TO PULL HIM DOWN, HE WAS FORCED TO CUT IT LOOSE SO THAT HE COULD REMAIN AFLOAT. HE WAS RESCUED BY THE DESTROYER CHARLES S. SPERRY AND RETURNED TO THE BATAAN.

ENSIGN VICTOR RINK IS WOUNDED AND HIS HELLCAT SHOT-UP. AS HE LANDS ABOARD THE BATAAN, HIS PLANE TURNS OVER ON ITS' BACK AND BREAKS IN TWO. (A FEW WEEKS LATER, ENSIGN RINK IS BACK IN THE AIR AGAIN.)

THE BATAAN OPENS FIRE, WITH OTHER UNITS OF THE TASK GROUP, ON A TWIN ENGINE ENEMY BOMBER. THE BOMBER IS SHOT DOWN 3000 YARDS OFF THE PORT QUARTER AS A RESULT OF THE CONCENTRATED FIRE OF THE GROUP.

17 APRIL '45

ENEMY AIR ATTACKS CONTINUE. FIRING IS OBSERVED EARLY AS OTHER UNITS FIRE ON ENEMY AIRCRAFT. 40 CAPS ARE FLOWN FROM THE BATAAN AND THE EARLLY RAPCAP REPORTS 2 ZEKES SHOT DOWN. A JUDY STARTS A DIVE ON THE BUNKER HILL. THE BATAAN GUNNERS OPEN FIRE AS THE JUDY HITS THE WATER ON THE PORT SIDE OF THE BUNKER HILL. AN ENEMY PLANE, IDENTIFIED AS A RADIALENGINE JUDY, DIVES ON THE BATAAN. OUR 40MM AND 20MM GUNS OPEN FIRE WITH DEADLY ACCURACY. THE JUDY PASSES JUST AFT OF THE ISLAND, BARELY CLEARING THE RADAR ANTENNA AND CRASHING IN THE WATER ABOUT 100 FEET ON THE PORT BEAM AND SPRAYING THE DECK WITH FRAGMENTS.

ON TWO OCCASIONS DURING THE FIRING AT ENEMY AIRCRAFT, ANTI-AIRCRAFT SHELLS, BELIEVED TO BE 40MM FROM UNKNOWN SOURCES, HIT THE BATAAN CAUSING CASUALTIES AMONG PERSONNEL STATIONED ON THE FORECASTLE AND SINGLE BRIDGE. ONE MAN WAS DEAD OF WOUNDS RECEIVED AND 14 OTHERS WOUNDED.

AT 1729, BATAAN LEAVES TASK GROUP 58-3 TO REPORT TO REAR ADMIRAL RADFORD, COMMANDER TASK GROUP 58-4.

JUST BEFORE MIDNIGHT, SUBMARINE CONTACT REPORTED BEARING 310 TRUE, DISTANCE 8 MILES.

18 APRIL '45

THE BATAAN LAUNCHES THREE SUCCESSIVE FLIGHTS OF 2 VT EACH FOR HUNTER-KILLER OPERATIONS WITH DESTROYERS OF THE FORMATION AGAINST THE ENEMY SUBMARINE REPORTED 17 APRIL. THE SUBMARINE IS CONSIDERED SUNK WHEN EVIDENCE, INCLUDING THREE HUMAN LUNGS AND A BREADBOARD WITH RICE IMBEDDED IN IT IS FOUND. A BATTLE STAR IS AWARDED TO THE PILOTS AND CREW OF THE HUNTER-KILLER VTS THAT ASSISTED THE DD COLLETT IN SINKING THE JAP SUB.

19 APRIL '45

THE BATAAN LAUNCHES STRIKES AGAINST OKINAWA COORDINATED WITH THE PUSH SOUTHWARD BY THE 10TH ARMY FORCES THE CITY OF SHURI IS BOMBED, ROCKETED, AND DOUSED WITH NAPALM BY PLANES OF THE BATAAN AND OTHER SHIPS OF TASK GROUP 58-4. IN THE EVENING, TASK GROUP 58-4 SETS COURSE FOR THE FUELING RENDEZVOUS.

20 APRIL '45

FUELING AND REPLENISHING FROM THE AE MAUNA AND AE ESCALANTE. CAP OF4 VF ARE LAUNCHED WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS. AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE FUELING OPERATIONS, TASK GROUP 58-4 RETURNED TO THE OPERATING AREA OFF OKINAWA.

21 APRIL '45

4 CAPS OF 29 VFS ARE LAUNCHED WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS. ONE SUPPORT OF 4 VTS LAUNCHED FOR A STRIKE AGAINST OKINAWA. THE SUPPORT BOMBED AND ROCKETED AN AREA CONTAINING BARRACKS AND SUPPLY DEPOT, AND STRAFED JAPANESE TROOPS IN A LARGE CAVE.

22 APRIL '45

AIR STRIKES CONTINUE. OUR TARGETS TODAY ARE ENEMY CAVES AND DEFENSE POSITIONS IN SOUTHERN OKINAWA AND GUN POSITIONS IN SENAGA SHIMA BY OUR SUPPORTS. THE CAPS RETURN WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS.

23 APRIL '45

OUR TARGETS ARE KIKAI AND TOKUNO. CAPS OF 16 VFS ARE LAUNCHED AGAINST KIKAI. OUR CAPS CRATERED WAM AIRFIELD AND SHOT DOWN ONE JUDY AFTER IT HAD TAKEN OFF FROM THE AIRFIELD. ON THE WAY BACK TO THE SHIP, AN OIL SLICK IS OBSERVED IN THE AREA OF REPORTED ENEMY SUBMARINES -- APPROPRIATE UNITS OF THE TASK GROUP WERE NOTIFIED. TOKUNO AIRFIELD AND BARRACKS WERE STRAFED BY A CAP OF 4 VFS. THE SUPPORT GROUP BOMBED AND ROCKETED ENEMY ARTILLERY POSITIONS IN SUPPORT OF GROUND FORCES. CAPS AND RAPCAP WERE LAUNCHED WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS. AFTER CONCLUSION OF FLIGHT OPERATIONS, TASK GROUP 58-4 SETS COURSE FOR THE FUELING RENDEZVOUS.

24 - 25 APRIL '45

THE BATAAN IS FUELED BY THE AO AUCILLA AND RECEIVES AVIATION LUBRICATING OIL FROM THE OA MANATEE AND AMMUNITION FROM THE AE VESUVIUS.

26 APRIL '45

BATAAN LEAVES TASK GROUP 58-4 TO REPORT TO 58-3. THE TASK GROUP SETS COURSE FOR THE FUELING RENDEZVOUS.

27 APRIL '45

BATAAN IS FUELED BY THE AO SARANAC. GUNNERY EXERCISES FOR ANTI-AIRCRAFT BATTERIES ARE HELD. A CAP OF 8 VFS ARE LAUNCHED WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS.

28 APRIL '45

STEAMING EAST OF OKINAWA; 2 RCAPS OF 16 VFS ARE LAUNCHED WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS. KIKAI AGAIN IS THE TARGET FOR OUR VFS. WAN AIRFIELD WAS CRATERED AND WOODED AIRCRAFT DISPERSAL AREAS ADJACENT TO THE FIELD WERE ROCKETED. A REPORT WAS RECEIVED THAT A FRIENDLY SUBMARINE WAS IN TROUBLE NORTH OF KIKAI. OUR CAP OF 8 VFS WAS ORDERED TO THE AREA, BUT WAS UNABLE TO LOCATE THE SUBMARINE. THE FLIGHT DID FIND A MYRT FLYING IN THE AREA BUT COULD NOT DESTROY IT AS THE ENEMY HEADED NORTH AND OUTRAN THE CAP. OUR SUPPORT WAS RECOVERED, HAVING BOMBED AND ROCKETED AN ENEMY CAVE AND THE TOWN OF DAKESHI. AT 2040 - 2105, THE BATAAN MADE SMOKE TO CONCEAL THE FORMATIONS.

29 APRIL '45

RAPCAP LAUNCHED WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS. A SUPPORT WAS LAUNCHED FOR STRIKES AGAINST ENEMY ARTILLERY INSTALLATIONS AND DEFENSE POSITIONS ON OKINAWA. UNITS TO THE PORT AND STARBOARD OF THE BATAAN OPEN FIRE AT ENEMY PLANES WITH THEIR 5 INCH GUNS.

30 APRIL '45

0150, GUN FLASHES ARE OBSERVED ON THE PORT QUARTER FROM TASK GROUP 58.4; NO FIRING BY TASK GROUP 58.3. OUR GROUND FORCES REPORT THAT THERE IS HEAVY FIRING FROM AN ENEMY CAVE POSITION. TEN TONS OF BOMBS ARE DROPPED ON THE CAVE DEFENSE BY OUR SUPPORT OF 4 VFS AND 8 VTS. TWO OPENINGS TO THE CAVES ARE BELIEVED SEALED, CAVE STORAGES ARE BOMBED, AND TWO BUILDINGS ARE DAMAGED. AT THE END OF OPERATIONS, THE BATAAN SETS FOR FUELING RENDEZVOUS.

 

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