Lingayen Gulf, 2-8 January 1945

USS Ommaney Bay, January 1945

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The USS Louisville is struck by a kamikaze Yokosuka D4Y at the Battle of Lingayen Gulf, 6 January 1945

On 2 January, the US carrier, USS Ommaney Bay, was severely damaged by a kamikaze aircraft and would later need to be scuttled.  Three days later, the cruiser, USS Columbia, was also damaged when she was hit by 2 of the Japanese suicide planes.  US shipping received relentless kamikaze strikes that cost the Navy more than 1000 men due to those 30 hits.

Beginning on 6 January, a heavy naval and air bombardment of suspected Japanese defenses on Lingayen began.  Aircraft and naval artillery bombardment of the soon-to-be landing areas occurred, with kamikazes attacking again on the 7th.

USS Columbia hit by kamikaze

On the 8th, it was observed that in the town of Lingayen, as a response to the prelanding shelling, Filipinos had begun to form a parade, complete with United States and Philippine flags – firing was shifted away from that area.

The USS Louisville had been hit on the 5th of January with one man killed and 52 wounded, including the captain.  The following day she was attacked by six successive plane, 5 were shot down, but one got through.

USS Louisville, hit by kamikaze

The strike on the Louisville was also notable for the death of RAdmiral Theodore Chandler, commanding the battleships and cruiser in Lingayen Gulf.  He was badly burned when his Flag ship was engulfed in flames, but jumped down to the signal deck and deployed hoses to the enlisted men before waiting in line for treatment with the other wounded sailors.  However, his lungs had been scorched by the petroleum flash and he died the following day.

Rear Admiral Theodore Edson Chandler

An eye witness account of the attack on the USS Louisville, from John Duffy:

“All of a sudden, the ship shuddered and I knew we were hit again.  I was in charge of the 1st Division men and I yelled, “We’re hit, let’s go men!”  I was the first man out the Turret door followed by Lt.Commmander Foster and Lt. Hastin, our Division Officer, then a dozen more men.

“The starboard side of the ship was on fire from the forecastle deck down.  One almost naked body was laying about ten feet from the turret with the top of his head missing.  It was the kamikaze pilot that had hit us.  He made a direct hit on the Communications deck.

“As the men poured out of the turret behind me, they just stood there in shock.  Explosions were still coming from the ammunition lockers at the scene of the crash.  We could see fire there too.  Injured men were screaming for help on the Communications Deck above us.  I ordered 2 men to put out the fire on the starboard side by leaning over the side with a hose.  That fire was coming from a ruptured aviation fuel pipe that runs full length of the forecastle on the outside of the ship’s hull.  That fuel pipe was probably hit by machine-gun bullets from the kamikaze just before he slammed into us.

“Although there was no easy access to the deck above us, I ordered several men to scale up the side of the bulkhead (wall) and aid the badly burned victims who were standing there like zombies.  I also ordered 3 men to crawl under the rear Turret 1’s overhang, open the hatch there and get the additional fire hose from Officers Quarters.  These 3 orders were given only seconds apart and everyone responded immediately, but when they got near the dead Jap’s body, which was lying right in the way, it slowed them down…”

For some additional information on the Kamikaze, Click HERE.

The HMAS Australia was included in this fleet and would also come under heavy attack.  Her full story will be the following post.

Click on images to enlarge

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Military Humor – 

“I wish they’d get someone else to make up the mess duty roster!”

“Hold it , sailor! – Let’s see your orders!”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Chapman – Macon, GA; US Army, WWII, PTO

George Cramer – Prichard, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Major, B-17 belly gunner

Peter Ferracuti – Ottawa, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Charles Galloway – Clinton, SC; US Army (Ret.), WWII, Korea & Vietnam

Margaret Glazener – NC; US War Dept.; code breaker

William Hayes – London, ENG; RAF, CBI

Vance Larson – Saskatoon, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, Captain

Richard Nichols – Billings, MT; US Army (Ret. 22 y.), 11th, 82nd & 101st Airborne Divisions, 2 bronze Stars

Thomas O’Brien – Broad Channel, NY; US Navy, WWII

Daphne White – Melbourne, AUS; Women’s British Air Force, WWII

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About GP

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GP is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on December 4, 2017, in First-hand Accounts, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 70 Comments.

  1. I believe this was the attack my grandfather was burned in, he told a story of a kamikaze plane hitting his ship (he served on the Louisville), and seeing a head rolling down the deck. He survived, talked about seeing himself for the first time in the mirror in the bathroom, blisters big as teacups over his ears, did not recognize himself, turned around to see who else was there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I believe it just might have been the area, Becky. The Louisville was at Lingayen Gulf and it was attacked by kamikaze. You must be very proud of him!!

      Like

  2. One can only imagine the feelings of the crew when their ship is hit. I guess they didn’t have much defense for kamikaze attacks

    Liked by 1 person

    • If the guns didn’t shoot the planes down beforehand – no. It was a good thing we destroyed as many planes on the Philippines as they did or our navy would really have been in dire straights.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Terror at sea indeed. So much sacrifice on both sides.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Always makes me wonder when I read articles about Kamikaze pilots, pure indoctrinated loyalty. Your reference to Filipinos forming a parade, complete with United States and Philippine flags, suggests there’s a story behind that moment leading up to the attack.
    Again a great post gp that makes one ponder on all the various moments that combined to paint a picture of the War at that time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Land based and carrier aircraft alike had been hitting Luzon for a while, and we were already on a few of the islands, so the Filipinos had to know we were on our way. We know so many other events were taking place on other islands, planning in different HQ’s, engineers building, etc, but it’s impossible to fit it all in here. Always great to see you here, Ian!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This post really brought home the terror unleashed by the kamikazes in the war in the Pacific. A very desperate Japan correctly calculated that kamikaze assaults would do as much psychological as physical damage, magnifying the effect of those attacks.

    This account also highlights the amazing and selfless bravery of the men on those attacked ships.

    Like

  6. Excellent read, thank you once again for the history lesson Sir, I appreciate you. I am going to reblog this article for you Sir.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a dreadful way for the admiral to die. Just gruesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rear Admiral Theodore Edson Chandler, the epitome of an Admiral. A brave man who put his ship and men first.
    It’s what we expected, whether Australian, British or American, of our fleet commanders, and they never failed

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Your writing gets better and better. This post is outstanding!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Graphic and necessary, G. Thanks. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Horrible story, yes. But don’t close your eyes to what a determined enemy is capable of. And always remember the warning “… those who cannot remember the past are condemned to relive it!”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You did a great job, GP. My dad was on the Lexington when a Kamakasi hit the sail. When he got stateside at the end of the war my uncle asked if he was hurt and he said, “Only skinned knees from trying to get under a low table bolted to the floor.”

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dear GP Cox
    What a nightmare! We are so grateful that we never experienced a war.
    With lots of love from the rough sea – it’s forecasted to get real rough with snow and freezing temperatures (untypical for here, but I am looking forward to it) –
    The Fab Four of Cley

    Liked by 1 person

    • Be ready to build a snowman for Christmas, Klausbernd!
      I never served because Dad insisted I not go in during the height of the Vietnam war. Although I saw it as part of the press – I thank him for sparing me the worst.

      Like

  14. I can only imagine how horrifying it would be to know your ship has been hit and death imminent.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I know, at least in theory, that there’s little difference between these attacks and a modern day guided missile, but it seems worse, somehow, knowing that a pilot is choosing to die in the process of attacking your ship.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. As horribly graphic as the descriptions of war are, I think it is better that the young learn the consequences of war, rather than glorify it. Keep the stories of what these men and women went through coming, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Oh That’s scary. Even more so since this is no fiction

    Liked by 1 person

  18. What a terrible story. And what valor, among the men who obeyed orders to carry out such difficult — if not impossible — tasks. Never mind our young people — we need a little such courage in our country’s leadership today.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Ik begrijp heel goed dat je naar waarheid dingen moet plaatsen maar ik ben een heel gevoelig persoon en heb er dus maar een klein stukje van gelezen.Het was me t wreed.
    Sorry

    Like

    • Ik begrijp het volledig, Mary Lou. Ik waardeer het dat je überhaupt voorbij komt. Zoveel van de oorlog, wreed en onmenselijk, en je land hebben er veel van meegemaakt. Omdat we als onze schoolsystemen niet leren wat onze voorouders deden voor onze vrijheden, en dat waarderen, heb ik het gevoel dat iemand dat moet doen – en ik probeer dat hier te doen. Als een bericht te zwaar voor je is, geef dit dan door.

      Like

  20. very sobering—acts of heroism in simply carrying out orders—lessons deeply needed upon today’s youth……

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I am often left speechless, by what our forebears endured on our behalf. Thank you for sharing this story, sir.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. What a gruesome sight it must have been to look at the half-naked body of the Japanese pilot! The graphic description of the kamikaze attack made me shudder.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. The personal account of the aftermath of the attack on the Louisville was hard to read, and terrifying to imagine. For the loss of one aircraft, and one pilot, the effect on the warship was phenomenal. It goes some way to explaining the Japanese tactics in that sea war.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. You captured the nightmare perfectly.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you. The stories of Lingayen Gulf are usually centered on one particular ship and I wanted the entire battle, so it had to be collected from numerous sites. I appreciate your opinion.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Pingback: Pacific Paratrooper – Lingayen Gulf, 2-8 January 1945 | PROFILES IN COURAGE

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