Lingayen Gulf | January 1945

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.

Rear Admiral Theodore Chandler

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.

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. Commander 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.

USS Louisville during kamikaze attack

“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.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

R.B. Cherry – Dallas, TX; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. G/2/24th Infantry Division, POW, KIA (Camp 5, NK)

Naomi Clark – Lima, OH; Civilian, WWII, Lima Army Tank Depot

The Flag flies in all weather, courtesy of Dan Antion

Alfred Guglielmetti (103) – Petaluma, CA; Civilian, WWII, Mare Island welder, battleship repair

Nancy Hussey – Bronxville, NY; US Coast Guard SPARS, WWII, Company Comdr. & coxswain

John M. Loncola (100) – Old Forge, PA; US Navy, WWII, CBI & PTO, Chief Petty Officer

Jocelyn L. Martin – Orewa, NZ; WRNZ Air Force, LACW # 77239

John R. Melton – Liberty, MS; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 1st Class # 2744530, USS West Virginia, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

George Pendleton – Bristol. RI; US Navy, WWII

Robert E. Smith – San Francisco, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, fighter pilot

Robert Teza – Syracuse, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO

Richard Watson – Gorham, ME; US Army, 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 January 17, 2022, in First-hand Accounts, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 116 Comments.

  1. Wat een gruwel wat kan oorlog onmeedogenloos zijn

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reading Mr Duffy’s testimony I am amazed that anyone in that situations could think rationally enough to save themselves, let alone organise others in the rescue of the wounded.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ship, shipmate, self. That’s the order of how it is in the Navy, and how it should be for everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for this post. My Dad survived a kamikaze attack on his ship in WWII. Horrible stuff those folks had to endure. Thank you for keeping these memories alive.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My pleasure, Tim, but I am very sorry your father and so many others were forced to endure such an experience.

      Like

      • The things that those folks faced and endured are unimaginable to most of us today. I have a small piece of the rising sun emblem office one of those kamikaze planes that Dad had brought home.

        I am just thankful that you and a few others are telling these stories and keeping these memories alive for the younger generations to be able to see.

        We all must remember the absolute evil that precipitated World War II. And your stories help us all remember, so that hopefully it cannot happen here.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. So much loss of life… and it seems we (humanity) never learn. Thanks for continuing these histories, GP. Maybe someday we’ll learn from it. Love the tank-turtle. 🙂
    Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. OMG the horrors of war. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hello! Your blog is quite fantastic! I am a researcher working on the 187th and 188th PIR actions on Leyte, specifically on the Purple Heart Hill assault. I am interested in locating additional resources and accounts related to this incident as well as Leyte in general.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. GP, I’ll catch up soon. My brain is so fogged up. I got tested positive. I have been sick for the last two weeks.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. So many many astounding feats of Heroism – a great many of which are not even recorded. I shudder when I think what these guys did and what they went through – all because of the madness and insanity of a fistful of demi-gods. So tragic.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So true. I so wish I had known all this when my father was still alive!! I always admired and loved him, but I sure would have said Thank You a whole lot more!!

      Like

  10. Re “George O Pendelton” final salute: The name should read: “George O Pendleton,” like the Marine base. Thanks for posting these notices. I know the original reports are often garbled when printed elsewhere.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. The horror of what all went through is breathtaking.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. GP, you might like this post by our old veterinarian who retired some years back. One of his mentors in vet school was the same veterinarian who cared for the mules used by Merrill’s Marauders in Burma during WWII.
    https://docsmemoirs.com/2022/01/17/robert-w-davis-dvm/

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have already heard back from your doctor and he is giving me permission to leave the link, plus he will be looking for more WWII info for Dr. Davis as well.
      Thanks again, Lavinia!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Any bad day I have had is nothing by comparison to what these men on both sides went through. The young boys being drafted to be kamikaze pilots – what a sad waste of life.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Hi G
    I like the quotes text with direct testimony of what Happened – and it would slow most people down to see a headless attacker – ugh!
    And sounds like RAdmiral Theodore Chandler went out with heroic actions!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Horrifying. 😦
    Reminds us how VERY much we need to share our gratefulness, support, help, and love to all of our military…past, present AND future. ❤
    (((HUGS)))

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Stories on war are hard to digest. At least to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Thank you for the post, GP. Reminded me of my father’s memories of the Japanese plane that hit the Lexington (CV 16). The cruise yearbook has photos of near misses. Very frightening.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. As I read somewhere, these attacks were exceptionally horrific and the men facing them were really scared, rather like we would be nowadays when faced by an unknown monster. Each successful kamikaze killed about 30 men on average.
    To the immense credit of the US Navy, though, at no point did anybody say that the plan for dealing with the Japanese should be changed, in an effort to save lives. Instead, they carried on until finally,the Japanese realised that their best laid plans were as naught.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Terrible tragedy!
    I enjoyed today’s Military Humor, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I remember reading that those pilots were not all willing…peer pressure playing a large part.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. What a first hand story. It’s amazing how calm this soldier remained. Belated thanks to him.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I was struck not only by the obvious horror of the attacks, but also by the disproportionate damage inflicted by the Kamakazi pilots. A thousand deaths due to thirty attacks is nearly unbelievable. I saw your comment above that expanded on that detail, and was astonished.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Most of their top pilots had been eliminated by now. The young ones were basically ineffective and they had a lack of parts to repair planes – so, you barely train a young boy to fly and let him have at it. Being as they were losing and desperate, this was their solution.

      Liked by 2 people

  23. Love your toons! Always nice to have a smile after reading about history of war. Thanks for always educating me in history.😃👍

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Such an alien attitude to war and death

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I love the first-hand account, GP. I wonder what I would do if ordered into such a situation and I honestly do not know. I was appalled at all 3 contestants in Jeopardy getting the Final Jeopardy question wrong last week. Today’s Final Jeopardy question (1/14/2022) in the category “Cemeteries and Memorials” was:

    60,000 are at rest in a National Memorial Cemetery opened in 1949 in the crater of an extinct volcano in this state
    Nobody guessed Hawaii (unless the fact that Hawaii was still a territory then threw them off.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • I doubt it, they just don’t know. IMO
      How many hear about that amazing cemetery or the POW/MIA accounting Dept. determined to identify as many as they can? History and its details are lost to the media’s concentration on petty grievances and the atrocities today’s people do to each other. Oh, don’t get me started!!!
      But – com’on, the volcano should have partly given it away!!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Reblogged this on T. W. Dittmer and commented:
    Again, I am in awe when reading about the fortitude and bravery of the men in World War II.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. What a admirable trait of the Rear Admiral, GP! Looks like we had a change in the theatre of war from Leyte (Visayas) to Pangasinan (Luzon), where Lingayen is located. Blessings to you and your family!

    Liked by 2 people

  28. These first hand accounts bring to life the full horror of these attacks. Burned, broken men waiting for help and able men doing whatever it takes to provide help. Men working to save their ship. And a bit of shock at the face of the enemy. This one will stick with me for a while, GP.

    I hope you have a nice week.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. I can’t begin to imagine how horrific those attacks must have been.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. so hard to wrap my head around and it must have been horrible to see this for all of them

    Liked by 1 person

  31. My father witnessed these attacks on neighboring ships during the invasion of Leyte. The numbers are eyewitness accounts here are horrific.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Although the concept is rather alien to our western way of thinking, Kamikaze attacks on shipping often proved to be a very efficient way of inflicting heavy casualties, and sinking or disabling warships. And all for the cost of a few aircraft and the lives of those willing to die to crash onto ships.
    Removing our normal human feelings about such things, the ‘cost to success’ ratio of those tactics was incredibly effective.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    • According to the US Air Force, “Approximately 2,800 Kamikaze attackers sunk 34 Navy ships, damaged 368 others, killed 4,900 sailors, and wounded over 4,800”. According to PBS: “By war’s end, kamikazes had sunk or damaged more than 300 U.S. ships, with 15,000 casualties.”.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. This is a vivid account of the true horrors of war. The descriptions are haunting.

    Liked by 4 people

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