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The FReeper Foxhole Remembers The Taking Of Wolmi-Do (9/15/1950) - Dec. 4th, 2003
Sea Classics Volume 33 Number ^
| 10 October 2000
| Malcolm W. Cagle, CMDR, USN
Posted on 12/04/2003 12:01:11 AM PST by SAMWolf
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Wolmi-Do - 1950
Like a mini-Gibraltar, the heavily fortified islands of Wolmi-do guarding the entrance to Inchon had to be silenced before MacArthur's amphibious troops could mount their perilous invasion. And no finer sacrificial lambs could lure the fire of the North Koreans better than the reliable WWII-era destroyers of DESRON 9, classified 'EXPENDABLE' by the Pentagon.
Koreans have a peaceful and picturesque name for Wolmi-do - Moon Tip Island. The pyramidal hump of land that thrusts 351 feet up from the sea is by far the highest point of land in the Inchon vicinity. Wolmi was the resort area for that sultry, humid seaport. Across its narrow eastern causeway picnickers, swimmers, family parties, and lovers streamed in the summertime.
After South Korea was invaded, Wolmi's complexion changed abruptly. It became "out of bounds" to the local populace, and the once- placid island vibrated with activity. Trenches were dug; pillboxes built; guns were brought in; barbed wire was strung; mine-fields were planted. Along the southern causeway, which stretched 1,000 yards into the channel, barricades of heavy mesh wire were stretched, supplemented with coils of barbed wire, and every seven feet cast-iron land mines were laid. These deadly cylinders each I contained a third of a pound of du Pont dynamite. At the end of the causeway, the tiny island of Sowolmi was a nest of harbor defense guns.
In military jargon, Wolmi-do thus "commanded" the sea approaches to Inchon, the harbor, and the beaches. No ship could pass into the port's tidal basin, the inner harbor, or transit Flying Fish channel without coming under fire of the island's guns. Like an unsinkable battleship, it stood flat-footedly in the path of any invasion scheme - formidable, deadly, immovable. To capture Inchon first demanded capture or at least neutralization of Wolmi. The Reds calculated their advantages and the enemy's disadvantages: First, the tides; second, the current; third, the small, winding channel, which would expose them to point-blank enfilade fire; fourth, the water's lack of depth. Obviously, the Reds concluded, only small ships such as destroyers could get up there, and on their arrival they would be forced to anchor because the current would otherwise dash them into the mud. And if they anchored, the destroyers automatically gave up their prime advantages - speed and maneuverability. Such ships would indeed be sitting ducks for Wolmi's guns. Or so thought the Reds.
"Flying Fish channel was well named," commented Capt. Norman W. Sears, who commanded the Advance Attack Group that captured Wolmi-do. "A fish almost had to fly to beat the current, and to check his navigation past the mudbanked islands and curves in the channel. Wolmi-do was the whole key to success or failure of the Inchon operation. Admiral Doyle told me that this mission must be successfully completed at any cost; that failure would seriously jeopardize or even prevent the Inchon landing. He emphasized that we had to capture Wolmi no matter what the losses or difficulties."
Korean weather, like Washington's, is often unpredictable and usually irascible. Reminding the Inchon planners of its continuing and critical importance, the local weather devil whizzed typhoon "Jane" through Kobe, Japan, on 2 September.
The eye of the typhoon passed the city at 1320, bringing 120-mile-an-hour winds. Pierside ships were wrenched so violently that many parted their cables and were tossed adrift into the crowded harbor. The attack cargo ship WHITESIDE suffered a damaged propeller and a buckled bulwark. The WASHBURN sprung 125 rivets in her engine-room plating. LST-1123, loading Seabee equipment, had a portable pontoon shaken loose.
The Marines, hastily shifting, sorting, and repacking cargo in the reverse order for invasion, saw green water two feet high roll over their stacks of supplies.
>From the outer harbor, an emergency message from SS NOONDAY:
"Uncontrolled fire in hold three. This hold contains clothing. Adjacent holds two and four contain ammunition. Expedite assistance." Fire tugs rushed through the boiling harbor to put out the fire.
Jane crossed Japan and disappeared eastward, having succeeded in interrupting a very tight loading schedule for almost 36 hours. This, or any subsequent delay, would not postpone the invasion by hours or days, but a whole month until the next high tide. Neither Inchon's tight secret nor the weary GIs along the Naktong could hold that long. The loss of a month might mean the loss of the entire campaign. So all hands worked overtime to make up the lost hours, hoping, not unreasonably, that they'd had their typhoon for the season.
But this fervent hope was to be denied. On 6 September, 200 miles west of Saipan, Navy weathermen spotted a weak and nearly stationary tropical depression. It might be nothing; or it might be the birth of a typhoon.
It was. On 7 September, Navy patrol planes flew out to look at the storm. Now moving northwestward at four knots, the cyclone had ominously intensified. Already the baby typhoon was producing moderate swells along Japan's east coast. By the next day it had matured to full size and was big enough to warrant a name, "Kezia." Meteorologists charted the path of the storm and shook their heads. At its present speed and course, it would hit the Korean straits on 12 or 13 September. Winds of 100 miles per hour were already being recorded in Kezia's core.
On 9 September, the prospect for a collision between Kezia and Joint Task Force 7 seemed unavoidable. Kezia by now was a raving, rampaging 125 mile-an-hour catastrophe heading straight for the invasion staging area.
Blue Beach Control Ship USS Wantuck, APD-125. Positions 9/15/50.
"By 10 September," said Adm. Morehouse, "the storm situation had become critical, and in Tokyo we were almost on the ropes with anxiety."
But the harassed planners of Inchon were to have another headache added to their aching brains the next day. At 0600 that morning, ROK PC boat 703 (Cmdr. Lee Sung Ho), while patrolling north of Inchon Harbor, discovered an enemy boat laying mines. PC-703 fired one round, whereupon the boat disappeared in a big explosion. Intelligence reports were rushed to CINCFE headquarters that Inchon was being mined!
Admiral C. Turner Joy dispatched Admirals Sherman, Radford, and Struble:
"The Reds have started mining west-coast Korean ports. So far, efforts are small but believe will accelerate. Recommend high-rate reactivation of minesweepers."
If there was ever a good place for mines, V/Adm. Struble observed, Inchon was it. First of all, the muddy water would make mine detection extremely difficult. And, secondly, any ship which struck a mine might block the fleet's passage up, or retirement down, the narrow Flying Fish channel.
10/20/50, Wantuck with UDT 1 helped Mine Clearing Operations at Wonsan
This Korean Minesweeper wasn't lucky, and was lost
Then Kezia commenced a tantalizingly slow curvature to the north on the afternoon of II September. If the turn-off continued, there would be no collision of typhoon and task force. Admiral Doyle gambled that the slight right-hand turn was not a feint, and ordered the Transport and Advance Attack Groups to get underway from Kobe and Pusan, respectively, one day ahead of schedule.
Admiral Doyle's flagship, the USS MOUNT MCKINLEY, cleared Kii Suido the same afternoon and promptly ran into extremely heavy swells, estimated 25 feet from trough to crest. The gamble, nevertheless, paid off, for by the next afternoon all the assault forces had rounded Japan's southern corner, and had transited the Van Diemen Strait into South Korean waters. Except for three tanks which broke their moorings on various LSTs, only to be quickly rechained, the assault shipping suffered little damage.
The MOUNT MCKINLEY had orders to pick up Gen. MacArthur and his party at Fukuoka, Japan. Kezia diverted the rendezvous to Sasebo and MOUNT MCKINLEY ran before the typhoon two more times - once going in, and again coming out, that landlocked harbor.
Among the recently returned-to-active-duty officers aboard the MOUNT MCKINLEY was Lt. Preston C. Oliver, who only a month before had been enjoying a tranquil civilian life in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley.
The Fighting Wantuck, APD 125, 09/12/50
I arrived aboard the MOUNT MCKINLEY late in August, said Lt. Oliver, "and it was immediately apparent that something big was afoot. No one knew what, exactly, but with the many transports and LSTs on hand, plus all the bustle, it had to be something big.
"One morning I looked at the harbor of Kobe and noted that the LSTs had shoved off. This meant that we too would soon be on our way, since the LSTs needed a head start because of their slower speed.
"Those first days out of Kobe were rugged. The MOUNT MCKINLEY has a lot of topside weight and made the most of every roll in those typhoon-tossed seas. Seasickness became the rule for those long hours and days.
"I had the junior officer bridge watch the night the word came up to change course for Sasebo. That was a surprise to us, but a bigger surprise was ahead. Sasebo's smooth waters were a relief, if short-lived, as we went in darken-ship.
"Captain Printup brought the ship alongside quickly and masterfully. The Japanese line- handling crews were standing by to receive our lines, and we made fast and lowered our gangway with unusual speed. A long column of staff cars lined the dock, attended and guarded by snappy Marines. Then Gen. MacArthur strode aboard, followed by his considerable staff; there was a quick transfer of mail, and we were off again.
"Now we knew that Korea would be our next stop. Generals like MacArthur don't ride ships on typhoon-troubled waters just to kill time. We were on our way."
Typhoon Kezia was also playing hob with the flattop BOXER, which was frantically trying to make the Inchon deadline. The BOXER'S deck was jammed with 96 planes ready and eager for the fight; at Pearl Harbor, however, 14 additional spare aircraft had been crammed aboard, destined for the spare aircraft pool at Japan's Kisaruzu Air Force base. These 14 planes effectively locked the operating deck, and until they could be catapulted clear, Air Group 2's planes could not operate.
As BOXER neared launching distance of Kisaruzu, the field set Typhoon Condition II and closed her runways to all traffic. The BOXER swung south, trying to circle around Kezia clockwise.
"We tried to sneak into Sasebo on the evening of 12 September," said Capt. Cameron Briggs, "but Kezia got in there ahead of us and was already in the landing circle. We got out of there as fast as we could but not before we had some 80-knot winds."
The BOXER fought Kezia all night, and at daybreak launched her 14 spare aircraft for Naha base in Okinawa, 400 miles to the south.
"When we finally did get into Sasebo," said Capt. Briggs, "we only had a few hours until darkness to load cargo and ammunition, and get underway for Korea. As soon as we hit the pier, Capt. Walter F. Rodee and three members from Adm. Hoskins's staff came aboard with armfuls of effective operation orders and to brief us. So little time was available that we had to decide whether to read the orders first or to listen to the briefing. We wisely decided to do the latter, although when we finally got time to read the Inchon orders three days after the landing, we found we had unknowingly overlooked many planned details."
At dusk, 14 September, BOXER slipped out of Sasebo and cranked up full speed for Inchon. The BOXER made the rendezvous, launching her first strike on the afternoon of 15 September. However, just before turning into the wind to launch aircraft, BOXER damaged her number four reduction gear. The rest of her combat was served using only three of her four engines.
Red-mustached R/Adm. Higgins had returned aboard the TOLEDO on 8 September, carrying with him the rough plans for the bombardment ofWolmi-do. Immediately, his staff commenced a 72-hour marathon to prepare the operation order.
"The intelligence information we had for Wolmi-do," said Adm. Higgins, "was sufficient to plan the destruction of some guns but the destroyers had to go in there to find new ones and to check the reports on the old ones as well."
Lieutenant Eugene F. dark, ensconced on Inchon's Yong-hung-do, was getting all the information he could and nightly radioing it back to Tokyo.
Report: "A company of North Korean troops are in entrenchments along the sea wall of Inchon tidal basin."
Report: "Two antiaircraft guns are located on Wolmi adjacent to the former US Communications Building~
Report: "Wolmi gun defenses consist of three large guns at Sowolmi-do, one gun, size unknown, at south end of breakwater. Four or five machine guns on west side, two on southwest side. Infantry trenches are a few feet back from waterline."
Report: "There is a gunfire observation post in the tower of a large red building on Wolmi-do."
Report: "Twenty-five machine guns and five 120mm mortars have been located on Sowolmi-do by observing their fire."
Report: "Wolmi-do has 20 heavy coastal defense guns placed on island's seaward side. Extensive concrete trench and tunnel system combs island. Estimated 1,000 troops on island which is restricted; only laborers admitted."
Five U.S. Navy destroyers steam up the Inchon channel to bombard Wolmi-Do island on 13 September 1950, two days prior to the Inchon landings. Wolmi-Do is in the right center background, with smoke rising from air strikes.
The ships are USS Mansfield (DD-728); USS DeHaven (DD-727); USS Lyman K. Swenson (DD-729); USS Collett (DD-730) and USS Gurke (DD-783).
While Clark was sending in dozens of these reports, Higgins's staff was plotting the intelligence and discussing how best the strong points could be knocked out.
"One thing we all agreed on," Adm. Higgins reported, "and that was the desirability of making the attack in broad daylight despite the fact that this forced us to give up the surprise element and made us better targets. But if we went up there at night and hit heavy opposition, there'd be a lot of confusion in that narrow channel."
The destroyer sailors were anxious not to be worried about colliding with one another; and in case of damage, a daylight tow job would be easier to accomplish than one at night.
"After much discussion about the tides," said Capt. Halle C. Allan, Jr., Commander Destroyer Squadron 9, "we decided that it would be best for our cans to ride the flooding tide while anchored off Wolmi. This meant that the tide would be coming in, and our destroyers could ride their anchors facing into the current, or out of the harbor. Obviously, this enabled our ships to be headed in the right direction so they could make a quick getaway. There wasn't any turn-around room around Wolmi."
Wolmi-Do island under bombardment on 13 September 1950, two days before the landings at Inchon. Photographed from USS Lyman K. Swenson (DD-729), one of whose 40mm gun mounts is in the foreground. Sowolmi-Do island, connected to Wolmi-Do by a causeway, is at the right, with Inchon beyond.
"Another reason we chose the flood tide," added Capt. Paul C. Crosley, Higgins's chief of staff, "was that it meant the destroyers could ride broadside to the island and bring all ships' mounts to bear."
"The decision to sail into Inchon on a low tide and to arrive just before the flood proved to be a most fortunate choice," Adm. Higgins emphasized. "In the first place, the presence of mines at Inchon was a surprise to me, although we had accepted them as a calculated risk. by going at it at low tide, lead destroyer MANSFIELD was able to spot a minefield and to avoid it in ample time, because of the low water.
"And in the second place, going in on the low tide meant that we could depress our guns low enough to hit the targets. As it turned out, our guns were barely able to depress low enough to hit some of them. At the peak of a 30-foot high tide, we couldn't have hit 'em."
It was decided to leave the four cruisers outside, but close enough to cover the destroyers.
"The restricted waters and the heavy tides," said Capt. Edward L. Woodyard of USS ROCHESTER, "necessitated that the cruisers remain clear. Most of the cruiser stations were 14,000 yards to 20,000 yards away from Wolmi-do."
The bombardment plan began to take shape and few changes were made in it. The one major alteration in the bombardment plan -- to hit Wolmi for two days, 13 and 14 September, instad of just D-minus-one -- was prompted by Clark's reports of the island's heavy strength.
In retrospect," Capt. Allan reported later, "my destroyers could have silenced Wolmi's defenses on the morning of 15 September, but of course our losses would have been much greater. Evn so, we'd have made it stick. The two-day bombardment of Wolmi-do certainly eliminated much of the enemy's D-day fire.
"I felt we could neutralize Wolmi because of my squadron's heavy experience along the east coast. They were top-notch gunners and quick on the draw. Even so, we might take some damage, so I took the personal precaution of sending a new set of expensive full-dress clothing home."
The LSMR's crossed the bows of our assault LCVPs for a culminating rocket assault on Wolmi just before we landed our Marines.
Thus the six destroyers and four cruisers of Adm. Higgins' Fire Support Group would start up Flying Fish channel at 0700 on 13 September, the cruisers droppping of some seven to ten miles southwest. As the destroyers neared the island, the planes from Task Force 77's carriers would conduct an air strike. The destroyers would steam past Wolmi-do, anchor behind some of the guns in a rough semicircle and commence a one-hour bombardment at 1300 -- 1:00 p.m. If the Reds took the bait, the hidden and uncharted guns would open fire on the destroyers and would themselves then be taken under fire.
At 1400 the destroyers would steam out of Inchon Bay, covered again by carrier aircraft attacks and the protective fire from the four cruisers.
Which destroyers should be chosen? Destroyer Squadron 9 was the logical choice. They had been in action in Korean waters from the first day. The east-coast blockade had given them ample opportunities to perfect their gunnery. Also, Desron 9 ships were older destroyers with little of the brand-new electronic equipment. If destroyers had to be sacrificed, these older ships were most "expendable."
Thus, then, the bold yet simple plan for drawing Inchon's longest fangs.
The early light of 12 September saw the gunfire support group sortie from Sasebo. The GURKE detached the same evening to rendezvous briefly with the carrier task force directly west of Kunsan. Task Force 77's carrier photographic planes had been taking pictures of Wolmi-do all day, and these were now ready for the destroyers. The GURKE rejoined her group next morning just after the ROCHESTER, flying Adm. Struble's flag, had likewise rendezvoused.
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At 0700, 13 September, the task group commenced passage up Flying Fish channel.
"There hadn't been time for rehearsals or preliminary operations," said Cmdr. Fredrick M. Radel, commanding USS GURKE. "About the only preparations we made were to prepare ship for towing, to rig fenders and to get ready for going alongside a damaged or stranded vessel, and to brief and arm repair parties to repel possible borders."
The Inchon planners were forced to accept the possibility that a destroyer might go hard and fast aground. In this condition, it was conceivable that enemy troops might try to board. Hence, crews were issued sidearms and rifles, and briefed in the ancient art of repelling boarders.
Most of the destroyer main decks were stacked with extra ammunition -- mostly 40mm -- the magazines were already full.
Tension mounted as the ships continued of the channel. The Korean interpreter aboard MANSFIELD was tuning around the broadcast band when he heard an announcement in his native tongue warning that enemy vessels were steaming toward Inchon, and ordering coastal defense batteries manned.
Formidable Wolmi-do was battered, but awaiting I Company, 3rd Battalion 5th Marines, who had just debarked down Wantuck's nets into our LCVPs.
In Tokyo, meanwhile, an official Communist dispatch was intercepted. Addressed to Red Headquarters, Pyongyang, it was uncoded and obviously urgent.
"Ten enemy vessels are approaching Inchon," it read. "Many aircraft are bombing Wolmi-do. There is every indication the enemy will perform a landing. All units under my command are directed to be ready for combat; all units will be stationed in their given positions so that they may throw back enemy forces when they attempt their landing operation."
The dispatch was signed, "From Commanding General."
The bombing attack mentioned in the dispatch was indeed underway. Of the first group of bombs that struck the island, one chunked into the garrison mess hall just as the noon meal commenced, inflicting many casualties. It was but a taste of the sudden death to come from the destroyers, at that moment relentlessly headed for the island.
In Flying Fish channel, meanwhile, the task group had gone to general quarters as the dark-visaged island of Wolmi rose on the horizon. In single-file column, the destroyers MANSFIELD, DE HAVEN, SWENSON, COLLETT, GURKE, and ENDERSON, 700 yards between ships, rounded Palmi-do light and turned northward, their four-plane CAP from the PHILIPPINE SEA droning circles overhead.
As the column steamed northward past junks and fishing boats, white-robed spectators thronged the shore of each of the innumerable islands to watch the US Navy steam into battle.
9/15/50 -- LCVPs including three from USS Wantuck, APD 125, at Inchon
Carrying elements of 3/5 1st Mar Div to assault at Green Beach, Wolmi-Do
At 1145, 800 yards off the port bow, MANSFIELD'S lockouts spotted what appeared to be a string of mines. Commander Lundgren of DE HAVEN, next in line, announced that it was a minefield. The suspicious objects were barely awash in the muddy, low-tide water. Identification was still uncertain. Anxious binoculars examined the area. From this particular spot, two weeks earlier, the British cruiser JAMAICA had blasted the Inchon coast. Had mines been laid here in anticipation of a return visit?
There was only one way to find out. The destroyers opened fire. The GURKE's 40mm mount hit the first mine at 1146 to confirm the suspicions as the sea bomb threw skyward an enormous cascade of water and black smoke.
Captain Allan detached HENDERSON and ordered her to remain temporarily in the vicinity as long as the rising tide allowed to destroy the pestilent mines, and then to rejoin formation at high speed. With the fast-rising tide rushing to cover the exposed mines, only four out of the twelve could be destroyed. But the presence of mines had at least been confirmed. The big question was, how many more were there?
The other destroyers continued northward and Wolmi's green-brown hulk was now plainly visible. Still its guns did not speak.
First wave of U.S. Marines head for the landing beach in LCVPs, 15 September 1950.
Lighting in sky indicates that these Marines may be bound for the "Green" Beach landings on Wolmi-Do island. Photographer: Kircher.
Inchon Harbor was crowded with small craft. The brown sails of 30-odd junks flapped idly in the breeze. From the destroyers' decks sailors could see idle sunbathers, sportive swimmers, fishermen mending their nets, and townsfolk hurrying to the waterfront to see the parade of warships. It was a curiously unrealistic background to battle.
The destroyers sailed past Wolmi, only 800 yards distant from the hidden guns. The GURKE reached her anchorage first at 1242, and her anchor chain rattled and flashed in the bright sunshine. The HENDERSON, COLLETT, SWENSON, DE HAVEN, and finally MANSFIELD splashed their hooks; the ships rode to a short anchor to be able to move quickly. Navigators took their usual anchoring bearings and recorded them in their logs with the same drab, official phrasing as if another routine anchorage in San Diego Bay had just occurred.
The COLLETTs log:
"1253, Anchored in Flying Fish channel off Inchon Harbor, Korea, with 30 fathoms of chain to starboard anchor, mud bottom."
For several long minutes the destroyers waited, each flying the prosaic flag hoist "execute assigned mission." When these flags came fluttering down at 1300, the bombardment would commence.
The minutes crawled by devilishly slow. In the DE HAVEN director Lt. Arthur T. White had his mounts loaded and pointed at a Wolmi battery. As DE HAVEN had stood up the channel, White had seen North Korean artillerymen scurrying into the gun pits through the magnifying lenses of the range finder. Any second they might fire first.
A LSMR fires rockets as LVTs cross the line of departure to take Marines to Blue Beach on the first day of landings, 15 September 1950. Wolmi-Do island is in the left center background. The Inchon waterfront is in the right center distance, with heavy smoke rising from pre-invasion bombardment.
White called the bridge. "Permission to commence fire?" The answer was "Stand by - our carrier planes are still on target."
On DE HAVEN'S forecastle, beneath the loaded and ready-to-fire guns of mount number one, two sailors were crawling around on their bellies securing the anchor gear: Chief Boatswain's Mate Tom A. Lewis and Boatswain's Mate 2/C Frank L. Jackson. They were the only exposed people forward, unless you could count the several grotesque dummies that had been placed on the forecastle to attract fire. Close up, the dummies were crude affairs - old dungaree shirts and trousers stuffed with life jackets and rags - but from Wolmi's distance it was hoped that the Red gunners might be tempted to take potshots and thereby reveal their positions.
At five minutes before 1300, unable to look down the barrels of the Red battery any longer, White's itching trigger finger depressed the firing key, and the Wolmi bombardment began. The DE HAVEN'S shells were dead-center bull's-eyes as the Wolmi battery disappeared in a mushroom of dust and debris.
First wave of U.S. Marines head for the landing beach in LVTs, 15 September 1950. Island in the background is Wolmi-Do
This may show the landings on Wolmi-Do's "Green" Beach in the morning of 15 September. Control ship in the right center background is a PCE. Photographer: Kircher.
On DE HAVEN'S forecastle, however, the surprise was no less. Chief Lewis and Boatswain Jackson were flattened by the unexpected eruption of two 5-inch guns going off inches above their heads. "I was deaf for two days," said Chief Lewis.
Several of the dummies on DE HAVEN'S bow were also casualties of the overeager shooting. They caught fire in the muzzle-blast flame of the first salvo and had to be doused by the Forward Repair Party's fire hoses.
The other ships opened fire at 1300, slowly at first and with great deliberation. Not a gun had yet fired on them.
The COLLETTs first target was the large guns at Sowolmi-do. At 1,600 yards range, COLLETTs first salvos knocked out two of them. One gun was hit directly and the second's emplacement was destroyed with only 13 rounds.
09/15/50, about 7:00 a.m.
Off Green Beach, as Inchon burns beyond Wolmi Do
The SWENSON commenced fire into Red Circle Area Two - this was to be the scene of Red Beach two days later. Directing the fire of the destroyer's quadruple 40mm mounts was a young officer whose surname by no coincidence at all was the same as the ship's - Lt. (j.g.) David H. Swenson. The destroyer was named for his uncle, Capt. Lyman K. Swenson, who was lost with his cruiser JUNEAU early in World War II. The Korean War was Dave's first combat.
At 1303, Capt. Allan radioed Adm. Higgins: "Not even a pistol's been fired at us yet," he reported somewhat optimistically. The words were scarcely spoken when Blam! Blam! Blam! - Wolmi's guns opened fire.
The North Koreans concentrated their fire on the destroyers nearest their guns - SWENSON, COLLETT, and GURKE. The first shells were over, then short. At 1306, six minutes past 1:00 p.m., COLLETT took the first hit. A 75mm shell struck forward on her port side, exploding in the forward crew's compartment. The damage was not great, but at least one of the Red guns had found the range. Four minutes later COLLETT was hit again, this time by a larger projectile, and right on the waterline. The shell exploded on contact, opening a two-foot hole in COLLETTs skin, and flooding the stewards' living compartment with oil and water.
Twenty minutes after the first wound, COLLETT took hit number three, this one in the wardroom. It was a dud shell, which walked through the door, knocked down a shelf of books, dented the opposite steel bulkhead, and fell to rest-on the wardroom sofa.
So far, the three hits received by COLLETT were trivial. No one had been hurt, and the ship was only superficially damaged. Commander Close did not yet see fit to report to Adm. Higgins. The fourth missile to strike COLLETT, nine minutes later, did more damage than the other three together. The 75mm armor-piercing shell broke into two pieces, one tearing into the fireroom and rupturing a low-pressure air line; the other and larger chunk dug its way into the plotting room, where it broke the firing selector switch of the computer and wounded five men. The COLLETTs 5-inch guns could no longer be operated by the computer, and control was shifted to each individual mount.
Wolmi-do Island, Inchon, 9/14/50 Before Assault
A minute later, COLLETT sustained her fifth hit. None of the other destroyers had been so much as splashed.
"It was obvious by then," said Cmdr. Close, "that they had my ship boresighted, so I asked Adm. Higgins for permission to get underway and shift my anchorage. At that moment, with our guns in local control, we were getting more than we were giving. My request to get underway did not reflect, I hope, any lack of initiative. I simply considered our mission was to locate hidden enemy batteries - and we were doing that maybe too well. At any rate, I asked the permission to shift berths because I felt that a sound decision could be better made by someone with a broader view, as mine was somewhat limited then by the numerous splashes close aboard."
Destroyer GURKE was next to be taken under fire. At 1330, shells started splashing all around, and it was a seeming miracle that no shell struck her until almost 15 minutes of near misses had covered the ship with sea water. The GURKE also raised her hook to shift her position, but as she did, three shells hit amidships in quick succession. The first one went into the empty gunnery office, holing it in a hundred places, the nose of the shell continuing into sick bay. The second shell hit the ship's gig; the third holed the smokestack. Damage was not serious and only two men were slightly wounded.
By now, the bombardment of Wolmi was at full fury. The cruisers joined in against the harbor guns as each enemy battery exposed itself. The TOLEDO and ROCHESTER showered 8-inch shells on the fortress, while the 6-inch guns of the British cruisers KENYA and JAMAICA spat incessantly.
At 1400, "the longest hour I have ever lived," said one sailor, the destroyers moved out of the trap.
"As all ships steamed south of Wolmi-do," said Cmdr. Edwin H. Headland, Jr., of the MANSFIELD, "each vessel started receiving counterfire from the remaining shore batteries. My ship answered from 3,500 yards with the full battery. Our five-inch salvos landed very close to the enemy guns, but by this time there was so much smoke and dust that visibility was obscured. As we got past Wolmi, and able to fire only our after mount, splashes again started falling around us. I rang up emergency full speed. I distinctly remember seeing one shell pass between my stacks and strike the water 15 yards to starboard."
"In view of the great number of projectiles which landed in our immediate vicinity," reads COLLETTs action report, "God must be credited with keeping a watchful and protective eye on us."
Afternoon, 9/15/50, Marines mop up Wolmi
The LYMAN K. SWENSON was not so fortunate. A single enemy shell crashed into the sea near her. Lieutenant (j.g.) David H. Swenson fell dead from a flying fragment, and his assistant, Ens. John M. Noonan, dropped wounded. Swenson's death was the only casualty of the bold bombardment of Wolmi-do.
The first-inning box score looked good. Only COLLETTs damage was measurable. The DE HAVEN and GURKE's wounds were mere scratches, and the death of one man and injuries to eight seemed a small price for the demolition of Wolmi. Even the wounded could laugh that night, while the destroyers were slowly steaming off Inchon awaiting the morning tide, when the Communist radio at Pyongyang was heard to claim that 13 UN warships had been sunk, or damaged in the battle. Listed by the Reds as sunk were three "small" destroyers, four landing craft, and three barges.
The "sunk" destroyers repeated the Wolmi bombardment at the exact same time the next day, D- minus-one. This time the destroyers would not anchor.
On the return journey up Flying Fish channel, the minefield was sighted again. Admiral Higgins detached COLLETT and fleet tug MATACO and assigned them the duty of destroying the mines. (Five mines were destroyed on D-minus-one.) All ships stopped briefly at 0800 and conducted burial-at-sea services for Lt. (j.g.) David H. Swenson. British flags as well as American flew at half-mast. The Guard of Honor stood by while Marine sentries fired three volleys. Swenson's body was, in the words of the service, committed to the deep. There was a minute of silent prayer.
Underway after the short but impressive ceremony the cruisers dropped anchor at 1059, and as the five destroyers (HENDERSON, MANSFIELD, DE HAVEN, SWENSON, GURKE) filed up the channel, the cruisers opened their covering bombardment. Overhead the carrier planes started work again on the island.
Lieutenant Commander Marvin L. Ramsey, flying a VALLEY FORGE Skyraider, gave this description of the island:
"There was a slope leading down to a cove that I had noticed on the first day. It was covered with grass and shrubbery. When I was directed to work the same area over again the second day, every bit of grass was gone and only a few trees remained. The whole island looked like it had been shaved."
The airplanes lifted their attack at the exact time the destroyers resumed the pummeling.
Commander Radel of the GURKE noticed a big difference that second day.
"We fired at Wolmi for a steady 40 minutes," he said, "before we received any counterfire. Even then, the enemy fire was brief, inaccurate and unsuccessful. I only saw two splashes near us, and the closest one was still 200 yards short."
The destroyers raked the island with methodical, unhurried deliberation. At 1415, after 75 minutes of bombardment, the destroyers moved clear and repassed the shattered island. In an hour and 15 minutes, five destroyers had fired 1,732 5-inch shells into Wolmi and Inchon's defenses - a better than 50 percent increase over the previous day, and with one less destroyer on the firing line. Best of all, there had been no slightest damage to ships or personnel. And, unlike 13 September, the retiring destroyers left the island silent.
The carrier planes resumed their pasting as the destroyers drew clear. This time, Marine fliers from the jeep carrier BADOENG STRAIT joined in, spotting fire for the still-shooting cruisers.
"When I was circling over Wolmi," said 1st Lt. Gene Oster, one of the Corsair pilots from VMF-323, "an AA gun opened up on me from the corner of Wolmi. I radioed the gun's location to the ROCHESTER, and in seconds I saw three quick explosions where that gun used to be."
"Wolmi was one worthless piece of real estate," said Marine 1st Lt. Sidney Fisher. "It had been hit so hard and so long with so many things that it looked like it was quivering. I expected it to roll over and sink any minute."
Wolmi-do was thus made ready for D-day.
posted on 12/04/2003 12:01:12 AM PST
The two-day pounding Wolmi and Inchon had taken must have all but convinced the Reds that the invasion was on its way to that, the most unlikely of targets. But could they be sure? To the north of Inchon, a British task force was hammering Chinnampo. To the south, the harbor of Kunsan was simultaneously under attack: A raiding party had actually landed there the night of 12 September.
The bewildered Communists could not be sure of anything but the undisguisable fact that the invasion was coming. Inchon, they reasoned, might be the diversion and Kunsan the main attack, for their intelligence reports from as far distant as Tokyo declared that Inchon was so freely named in the gossip that it could only be a transparent trick to conceal the real objective.
Planned enemy bewilderment is, of course, a cardinal principle of any amphibious attack. As early as 8 September, Gen. George E. Stratemeyer issued orders to his Fifth Air Force:
"Initiate immediate and increasing intensive bombing and strafing attacks on rail and highway junctions and bridges within 30-mile radius of Kunsan."
First Lieutenant Baldomero Lopez, USMC, leads the 3rd Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines over the seawall on the northern side of Red Beach, as the second assault wave lands, 15 September 1950. Wooden scaling ladders are in use to facilitate disembarkation from the LCVP that brought these men to the shore.
Lt. Lopez was killed in action within a few minutes, while assaulting a North Korean bunker.
Note M-1 Carbine carried by Lt. Lopez, M-1 Rifles of other Marines and details of the Marines' field gear.
The plans for the hit-and-run amphibious raid on Kunsan were issued the same day from Adm. Joy's Tokyo headquarters. A miniature but truly unified force was designated - the British frigate HMS WHITESAND BAY Lt. Cmdr. J.V. Brothers, RN) would carry a mixed British-American force of raiders under command of Col. Louis B. Ely of the United States Army. Part of the order read:
"Conduct beach recon and amphibious landing Kunsan during the period 9-14 September. Purpose of this plan is to obtain essential beach information, to disrupt coastal communications, and to hamper enemy reinforcement in the Kunsan area."
The one-ship task group left Kobe on Sunday, 10 September, proceeded via the Shimonoseki Strait and arrived offKunsan on 12 September. Led by Ely, the raiders went in that night and reconnoitered 3,000 yards of the beach and found it unsuitable for a major landing. The raiding party was discovered, however, and was fired upon by machine guns from the northern end of the beach. Two men were lost and one seriously wounded. It was not highly successful in the raider sense, but the fact that troops had tried to get ashore near Kunsan was disturbing to the Reds.
Commander Seventh Fleet also helped perpetuate the deception. The period from 5 September to 13 September was chosen for striking Kunsan both by carrier air strikes and by naval bombardments in an effort, as the order read, to "effect a realistic pattern of preassault softening up to the approaches and defenses of Kunsan." Struble sent Brothers this dispatch: "Fast carriers will strafe beaches and deliver, napalm attacks on Kunsan during daylight of 12 September."
Nature dealt generously with the United Nations forces for the big landing scheduled for the next morning, 15 September. The weatherman made his prediction for D-day: "Typhoon Kezia no longer a threat and no new typhoons brewing. Weather to be clear, visibility at least ten miles, wind six knots from the northeast. Some cloudiness by midmorning and perhaps a moderate squall by late evening." Generally speaking, predicted the meteorological swami, the next several days looked favorable.
Securing the causeway from Wolmi-do to Red Beach, Inchon. Tanks would cross this later that evening
The four ships that were actually to take troops in to capture Wolmi-do were the FORT MARION (LSD- 22), the DIACHENKO (APD-123), the HORACE A. BASS (APD-124) and the WANTUCK(APD-125).
The converted destroyer escort HORACE A. BASS embarked Marines on 8 September 1950, in Pusan Harbor.
"In order to accommodate the 289 Marines we jammed aboard," said Lt. Cmdr. Alan Ray, commanding the BASS, "we rigged bunks in the after cargo hold and in our messing spaces. Then we rigged portable blowers for ventilation. In spite of a 100 percent overload of people, we managed to give everybody a bunk and three hot meals a day.
"While waiting to depart Pusan, we conducted two debarkation drills. They proved to be of tremendous value both for the Marines, some of whom had never done it, and for my ship's company, a lot of whom were new."
"The FORT MARION was my flagship," said Capt. Norman W. Sears, "and the Marine team was the 3rd Battalion of the 5th Marine Regiment under the command of Lt. Col. Robert D. Taplett. I ordered the departure from Pusan on 12 September, one day early, because of Kezia, and en route we were escorted by the HMS MOUNTS BAY and the New Zealand ship HMZS PUKAKI, Capt. Unwin, RN, screen commander. We arrived 30 minutes past midnight."
Observatory Hill Inchon
At a little after 2:30 a.m. the assembled ships assumed their special formation at the entrance to Inchon channel. The long column started out, led again by MANSFIELD, followed in order by DEHAVEN, SWENSON, DIACHENKO, FORT MARION, WANTUCK, BASS, LSMR-401, LSMR-403, LSMR-404, SOUTHERLAND, GURKE, HENDERSON, TOLEDO, ROCHESTER, KENYA, JAMAICA, COLLETT, andMATACO. The group rounded Palmi-do, its light shining brightly in the darkness.Lieutenant Eugene F. dark, his work done, sat atop the lighthouse, with a blanket around his shoulders, watching the ships steam past. Aboard those ships men were eating cold breakfasts at 4:00 a.m. - hard- boiled eggs and corned-beef hash. They were blacked-out, but still Clark could see them.
The journey up the mined Flying Fish channel at nighttime was no parade, even if for the destroyers in the column it was the third trip.
"There was no moon that night," said Capt. Sears, "and at first it was as dark as the inside of a cow's belly. As we stood up the channel, we could smell smoke from the burning area ten miles away. There were fires still burning from the previous bombardments."
"Because of the dangerous navigation conditions in the channel," said Maj. Gen. Oliver P. Smith, "the Navy at first wanted to make a daylight approach to Wolmi. But to capture the island we had to land at daybreak. In our early planning, we figured to capture Wolmi by noon, so that by the evening tide we could land a battalion of artillery there and use it in support of the afternoon assault on Inchon. Even so, the two-pronged assault gave the Reds twelve hours to bring up reinforcements. I therefore asked the Navy to make a night approach and land us on Wolmi at daybreak, and they agreed with no protest."
The skipper of one of the rocket ships, Lt. Frank G. Schettino (commanding officer, LSMR-403), commented about the passage:
"Passage through Flying Fish channel was simplified by our excellent radar performance although we mistook buoys for suicide boats on one occasion. Obviously we couldn't use our searchlights. The numerous islands lining the channel gave a clear presentation on the radar scope so that navigation was relatively simple. The only trouble was the three and one-half knot tide, and its effect was very noticeable."
Inchon dominated by Observatory
At 5:00 a.m. all ships were in their assigned bombardment stations. "Before my ships had anchored," said Capt. Sears, "we received word that some of the Inchon shore batteries covered our southernmost anchorages, so I gave orders to shift all berths northward 800 yards in order to put Wolmi between us and the reported guns."
The landing force was ordered into the water at 0540, five minutes before the third-day bombardment of Wolmi-do began and 50 minutes ahead of the L-hour schedule for 0630. The BASS, WANTUCK, and DIACHENKO discharged their Marines into the waiting 17 LCVPs.
The FORT MARION put three LSUs (each carrying three tanks) into the water. The LCVPs commenced their orbiting circles in the big ships' lees. In case the mother vessels were damaged or sunk, the Marines would not be lost.
At 0545, the bombardment commenced. The big guns of the TOLEDO roared first, and an 8-inch salvo headed for enemy territory. The Inchon invasion, first phase, was under way.
"The LSMRs [Landing Ship, Medium, Rocket] used in combat at Inchon for the first time amply justified their existence," said Cmdr. Clarence T. Doss, Jr., Commander LSMR Division II. "These 200-foot craft were designed to barrage enemy installations with rockets from short range. You might call us the shotguns of a naval bombardment. Those we don't kill we scare to death.
"At Wolmi, the widely separated targets, all at varying altitudes, gave us a real test. Each rocket ship was equipped with ten continually-fed launchers and during the one day at Inchon the craft fired 6,421 rockets - only 35 of which misfired. We'd have fired more, except that we ran out of the shorter-ranged rockets."
Womi Do sand bagged emplacement
The LSMRs had other problems. LSMR-403, for example, maneuvered into position between the SWENSON and the circling landing craft ready to fire her first rocket salvo to starboard. But she was three minutes early, for the rocket bombardment was not scheduled to commence until 0615. Against the racing incoming current and despite the use of both engines, Lt. Schettino's ship dragged anchor northward into the SWENSON's line of fire.
"I had to use full power to get clear," said Schettino, "and only missed her by ten feet."
For the next 15 minutes, the box-like ships spewed out the rockets, each one making the sound of a passing express train heard from close aboard. On the beach, the missiles fell like massive raindrops. The concentrated rocket fire was designed to precede the actual beaching of the troops - and it succeeded handily.
"Our rocket coverage was good," said Doss. "When we opened fire, the target was fairly clear, but by the end, dust and smoke obscured visibility so much, we couldn't see our hits."
Actually the visibility had been reduced to less than a hundred yards by the thunderous bombardment. While the smoke made the assessment of damage difficult, it also served to reduce counterfire from the Reds at Inchon. The first wave ofLCVPs left the LOD (line of departure) at 0627 1/2 and headed for Green Beach, 900 yards away. It was supposed to be only a three-minute trip, but the first boat did not beach until 0631, one minute late. As the eight LCVPs headed in, picking their way between hulks and wrecks along Green Beach, the carrier planes made strafing pass after strafing pass, lacing the intended landing point with lead.
Wolmi Do Gun Positions
The sailors and Marines of the force, had they taken note, could have seen many strange scenes in the midst of the noise, confusion, and smoke. White-robed civilians from Inchon, plainly visible, were scurrying out onto the mud flats - obviously an excellent place of refuge, for there were no targets there. One diligent and scared civilian started digging himself a foxhole with his bare hands.
Disregarding the shellfire, the harbor became crowded with small boats, each one crammed with refugees - the many small nearby islands offered greater safety than the city. Even to the unbriefed Koreans, it was obvious by now that the pasting Wolmi was getting was much more than another routine naval bombardment. In one of the small boats passing close to MANSFIELD a young Korean mother stood up. She held up her infant baby and yelled something at the destroyer, although the noise ofgunfire drowned out her unintelligible words. Her meaning, however, was plain and the boat passed safely by, disappearing into the smoke.
At 0631, Wave One landed on Wolmi, scarcely seeing the island until they were hard upon it. The leathernecks tumbled hurriedly inland, past smoking craters left by naval shells and through tree stumps blackened by napalm and splintered by the devastating barrage. The bitter smell of gunpowder - ablend of rotten eggs and ammonia - filled the air.
At 0635, the second wave of Marines was ashore, and ten minutes later, the LSUs bumped onto Green Beach. Their bow doors rattled down, and the tanks rumbled out. Three of the nine carried bulldozing blades for shredding the barbed- and mesh-wire barriers and for filling in the trenches. Three others carried flame throwers, especially handy for caves and storage pits. Two of the tanks rumbled past a cave and fired two shells into its mouth. Thirty soldiers stumbled out, hands high.
Inchon Beach after Bombardment
There was surprisingly little resistance - only 17 Marines were wounded from the machinegun and small-arms fire, coming primarily from the Inchon defenses.
Several North Koreans surrendered upon first appearance of the Marines. One group of surprised Marines was treated to a rare surrender scene - a group of six Red soldiers forcing their officer to strip naked and then marching him out to surrender. Others fought to the death, a few leaping into the sea in an attempt to swim to Inchon.
Machinegun fire cut them down.
By 0700 Taplett's battalion was halfway across the island, and one minute later the flag-raising Marines had hoisted Old Glory from the highest point of the island. One young naval officer among the first to land on Wolmi-do was Ens. George C. Gilman of the MOUNT MCKINLEY, skipper of an LCVP which took an Advanced Marine Communications team ashore. He also had orders to inquire for any wounded, and to evacuate them.
"I leaped ashore all ready to give battle to any and all North Koreans that just might happen to have slipped by the Marines," Oilman reminisced. "My enthusiasm was quickly dampened by the fact that my boat had drifted about six feet off the beach and I jumped out into about three feet of water.
"I charged to the beach, though, in the approved style until I noticed that a lot of laughing was going on.
Wolmi-Do Howitzer - Inchon Sept 1950
A group of Marines were sitting around under a tree that was still standing as if they were enjoying a Sunday-school picnic. So far there hadn't been any enemy fire.
"I wandered up and down the beach inquiring if there were any wounded. There weren't any, so I started back to my boat. As I was walking down the beach, a sniper up on the hill opened up on me, a bullet went zinging by and kicked up sand, and I dived for a nearby trench. As I hit it, I came face to face with a North Korean soldier! I grabbed for my gun and was about to open fire when I noticed that his hands were high above his head and that a Marine was standing nearby guarding him and several other prisoners. The Reds were taking their clothes off and when one of them threw his uniform on the ground, I spotted a new-looking pair of shoulder boards, so I took out my knife and cut 'em off. The Marine guard remarked that I was worse than the Seabees.
The Marines, after the planting of the Stars and Stripes atop Wolmi, worked their way downhill and southward through the thickets and shale cliffs toward the stubborn promontory of Sowolmi-do. Here a die-hard group of North Koreans still held out, using their big guns against Wolmi.
On Wolmi's crest Lt. Col. Taplett talked by VHF radio to Strike Charlie, a flight of eight Marine Corsairs led by Maj. Robert Floeck from the jeep carrier SICILY. Taplett requested that the Sowolmi-do lighthouse area be hit. Floeck's planes bore down on the area, and five 500-pound bombs and many rockets showered down into the area.
Wolmi Do gun positions knocked out
Taplett moved a tank and a rifle squad down the gray stone causeway. There was a brief but vicious fire fight, during which three Marines were badly hit - and then Wolmi resistance collapsed. One hundred and eight enemy troops were dead and 136 had been captured.
At 0807, Taplett radioed the fleet:
"Wolmi-do secured." SC
posted on 12/04/2003 12:02:00 AM PST
(Watch this space.)
| 'I predict that large-scale amphibious operations will never occur again.'
General Omar N. Bradley,
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, October 1949
'We'll never have any more amphibious operations. That does away with the Marine Corps. And the Air Force can do anything the Navy can do nowadays, so that does away with the Navy.'
Truman's Secretary of Defense Louis A. Johnson,
to Admiral Richard L. Connally in 1949
posted on 12/04/2003 12:02:24 AM PST
(Watch this space.)
Veterans for Constitution Restoration is a non-profit, non-partisan educational and grassroots activist organization. The primary area of concern to all VetsCoR members is that our national and local educational systems fall short in teaching students and all American citizens the history and underlying principles on which our Constitutional republic-based system of self-government was founded. VetsCoR members are also very concerned that the Federal government long ago over-stepped its limited authority as clearly specified in the United States Constitution, as well as the Founding Fathers' supporting letters, essays, and other public documents.
Tribute to a Generation - The memorial will be dedicated on Saturday, May 29, 2004.
Actively seeking volunteers to provide this valuable service to Veterans and their families.
posted on 12/04/2003 12:02:59 AM PST
(Watch this space.)
To: carton253; Matthew Paul; mark502inf; Skylight; The Mayor; Prof Engineer; PsyOp; Samwise; ...
FALL IN to the FReeper Foxhole!
Good Morning Everyone
If you would like added to our ping list let us know.
posted on 12/04/2003 12:03:40 AM PST
(Watch this space.)
While I was CO of the 7th Ord Sec (EOD), 83rd Ord Bn (AMMO), ROK, in 1968 we got a phone call that a dud projectile of some type had been located on Wolmi-do.
I had read the book "This Kind of War" about the Korean War and knew basically what to expect. There are actually two islands, Wolmi-do and So Walmi-do located there. Sure enough the dud round was an Armor Piercing 5"/38 from one of those destroyers. The problem with the AP round is they have BDDD (Base Detonating Declerating Descriminating) fuzes. The way this fuze works is it partially arms when it is fired, it arms when it hits something, and fires when it hits something else. This is good for an AP round because it insures penetration into its target therefore getting the second hit on the way back out causing the shell to explode inside.
The fuze also has a cocked firing pen. We knew it had been fired and that it had hit the island which basically meant we had an armed 5" projectile just waiting for the second motion to detonate.
The problem with that is you can't get to the fuze and have to blow it in place. However, there was no place to blow it since that area was completely built up since the war. We just hoped for the best, myself and an E6 named Kolar decided to just put it in the back of the truck, put a lot of sand bags around it and transport it to my demo area south of Soeul. We just told jokes and kept our fingers crossed on the trip.
This was one of the times you earned the hazzardous duty pay. It is also one of the many reasons, why 35 years later I still jump at unexpected noices or bright flashes.
The local Koreans were very glad to see the Americans come. In the 60's there were numerous memorials all over the place in that area to the Americans. Some put up by just a few people in a neighborhood. When the North Koreans came into Soeul the first time, they were able to obtain the records of all the Korean civil service people that worked for the Korean government. They rounded all these people and their realitives up and shot them.
Korea was a hell hold.
posted on 12/04/2003 2:59:57 AM PST
by U S Army EOD
(When the EOD technician screws up, he is always the first to notice.)
Good morning to everyone at the Freeper canteen.
posted on 12/04/2003 3:09:12 AM PST
posted on 12/04/2003 3:47:21 AM PST
(Ignore the wombats, they're a diversion! My 3 million psychotic chinchilla army is the real threat!)
The Korean interpreter aboard MANSFIELD was tuning around the broadcast band when he heard an announcement in his native tongue warning that enemy vessels were steaming toward Inchon, and ordering coastal defense batteries manned.
I'll bet that got some people's attention!
SAM, another good one, thanks.
Today's classic warship, USS Oklahoma (BB-37)
Nevada class battleship
displacement. 27,500 t.
speed. 20.5 k.
complement. 864 armament. 10 14", 20 5", 4 21" tt.
USS Oklahoma (BB-37) was laid down 26 October 1912 by New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J.; launched 23 March 1914; sponsored by Miss Lorena J. Cruce, and commissioned at Philadelphia 2 May 1916, Captain Roger Welles in command.
Joining the Atlantic Fleet with Norfolk her home port, Oklahoma trained on the eastern seaboard until sailing 13 August 1918 with sister ship Nevada to join in the task of protecting Allied convoys in European waters. In December she was par t of the escort as President Woodrow Wilson arrived in France, departing the 14th for New York and winter fleet exercises in Cuban waters. She returned to Brest 15 June 1919 to escort President Wilson in George Washington home from his second visit to France, returning to New York 8 July.
A part of the Atlantic Fleet for the next two years, Oklahoma was overhauled, trained, and twice voyaged to South America's west coast; early in 1921 for combined exercises with the Pacific Fleet, and later that year for the Peruvian Centennial. Sh e then joined the Pacific Fleet for six years highlighted by the cruise of the Battle Fleet to Australia and New Zealand in 1925. Joining the Scouting Fleet in early 1927, Oklahoma continued intensive exercises during that summer's Midshipmen Cruise, voyaging to the East Coast to embark midshipmen, carrying them through the Panama Canal to San Francisco, and returning by the way of Cuba and Haiti.
Modernized at Philadelphia between September 1927 and July 1929, Oklahoma rejoined the Scouting Fleet for exercises in the Caribbean, and returned to the west coast in June 1930 for fleet operations through spring 1936. That summer she carried mids hipmen on a European training cruise, visiting northern ports. The cruise was interrupted with the outbreak of civil war in Spain, as Oklahoma sped to Bilbao, arriving 24 July 1936 to rescue American citizens and other refugees whom she carried to Gibraltar and French ports. She returned to Norfolk 11 September, and to the West Coast 24 October.
Oklahoma's Pacific Fleet operations during the next four years included joint operations with the Army and the training of reservists.
She was based at Pearl Harbor from 6 December 1940 for patrols and exercises, and was moored in Battleship Row 7 December 1941, when the Japanese attacked. Outboard alongside Maryland Oklahoma took 3 torpedo hits almost immediately after the first Japanese bombs fell. As she began to capsize, 2 more torpedoes struck home, and her men were strafed as they abandoned ship. Within 2O minutes after the attack began, she had swung over until halted by her masts touching bottom, her starboard side above water, and a part of her keel clear. Many of her crew, however, remained in the fight, clambering aboard Maryland to help serve her antiaircraft batteries. Twenty officers and 395 enlisted men were either killed or missing, 32 others wounded, and many were trapped within the capsized hull, to be saved by heroic rescue efforts. Such an effort was that of Julio DeCastro, a civilian yard worker who organized the team which saved 32 Oklahoma sailors.
The difficult savage job began in March 1943, and Oklahoma entered dry dock 28 December. Decommissioning 1 September 1944, Oklahoma was stripped of guns and superstructure, and sold 5 December 1946 to Moore Drydock Co., Oakland, Calif. Oklahoma parted her tow line and sank 17 May 1947 540 miles out, bound from Pearl Harbor to San Francisco.
Oklahoma received 1 battle star for World War II service.
Big guns in action!
posted on 12/04/2003 5:26:46 AM PST
To: SAMWolf; snippy_about_it
Let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
A successful marriage requires falling in love many timeswith the same person.
posted on 12/04/2003 5:31:15 AM PST
by The Mayor
(Through prayer, finite man draws upon the power of the infinite God.)
To: The Mayor
A successful marriage requires falling in love many timeswith the same person.
That made me smile because it is so true. Last year we took our daughter to the school's roller skating party. Hubby put on a pair of skates and skated around with Samwise Jr. The lights were low and the music was the kind we listened to when we were kids. Hubby seemed about 6 inches taller and the grin on his face made him look about 15 years younger. I kinda stood there and beamed because this wall flower was married to the best-looking guy at the dance.
Just one of many times I've fallen in love all over again.
posted on 12/04/2003 6:13:19 AM PST
(There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil.)
I absolutley agree and have felt the same toward my wife.
It's hard to beleive we have been together 17 years. I Love her today more than when we met.
posted on 12/04/2003 6:25:35 AM PST
by The Mayor
(Through prayer, finite man draws upon the power of the infinite God.)
'I predict that large-scale amphibious operations will never occur again.'
General Omar N. Bradley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, October 1949
'We'll never have any more amphibious operations. That does away with the Marine Corps. And the Air Force can do anything the Navy can do nowadays, so that does away with the Navy.'
Truman's Secretary of Defense Louis A. Johnson, to Admiral Richard L. Connally in 1949
I guess they really thought WWII was the 'war to end wars!' Patton would have scoffed at the above statements. Brilliant and brave U.S. troops in that Korean war.
posted on 12/04/2003 6:29:00 AM PST
(GWB is The MAN!)
To: SAMWolf; snippy_about_it; radu; Darksheare; Conspiracy Guy; Colonel_Flagg; Johnny Gage; All
Good morning everyone in the FOXHOLE!
To: U S Army EOD
Whoa. Glad that truck had decent shocks. Thanks for sharing the footnote. And thank you for your service.
posted on 12/04/2003 6:34:10 AM PST
(There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil.)
Great job on the Foxhole, as usual.
I would love to see more about Julio DeCastro, who was mentioned in the USS Oklahoma thread, as the yard worker at Pearl Harbor who lead rescue efforts that saved 32 men from the capsized ship. It sounds like an interesting story.
posted on 12/04/2003 7:08:46 AM PST
(Rules for thee, but not for me!)
posted on 12/04/2003 7:20:19 AM PST
by U S Army EOD
(When the EOD technician screws up, he is always the first to notice.)
On This Day In History
Birthdates which occurred on December 04:
1443 Pope Julius II, (1503-13), patron of Michelangelo, Bramante, Raphael
1584 John Cotton, Puritan clergyman in Mass Bay colony
1795 Thomas Carlyle, Scotland, essayist/historian (French Revolution)
1822 Frances Crabbe, England, feminist founded Anti-Vivisection Society
1835 Samuel Butler, England, author (Erewhon, Way of All Flesh)
1861 Lillian Russell (Helen Louise Leonard) (singer, actress, famous burlesque beauty: The Great Mogul )
1875 Rainer Maria Rilke, Austria, poet (Duino Elegies)
1892 Francisco Franco [y Bahamonde], Spanish Generalissimo/dictator (1936-75) (still dead!)
1903 Alfred Leslie Rowse, historian
1912 Pappy (Gregory) Boyington (aviator)
1915 Eddie Heywood, Jr. (pianist, composer: Canadian Sunset)
1918 John Bell Williams (politician)
1922 Gerard Philipe, Cannes France, actor (Caligula, Le Diable au Corps)
1928 Dena Dietrich (actress)
1930 Harvey Kuenn (baseball: Detroit Tigers: shortstop: American League Rookie of the Year )
1931 Alex Delvecchio (hockey: Detroit Red Wings: Most Gentlemanly Player [1966, 1969])
1933 Horst Buchholz (actor)
1934 Wink Martindale (TV host: Tic Tac Dough, Can You Top This?)
1937 Max Baer, Jr. (actor, producer: The Beverly Hillbillies, Ode to Billy Joe)
1940 Freddy 'Boom Boom' Cannon (Frederick Anthony Picariello) (see "Boom Boom" Day [above])
1941 Marty Riessen (tennis champion: shares record for most US Open mixed doubles, won by an individual male )
1942 Chris Hillman (singer: group: The Byrds)
1943 Gary Sabourin (hockey)
1944 Dennis Wilson (musician: drums, keyboard; singer: group: The Beach Boys )
1946 Skip Vanderbundt (football)
1948 Randy Vataha (football)
1949 Jeff Bridges (actor: The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Fisher King, The Last Picture Show, The Company She Keeps, American Heart, Sea Hunt; songwriter)
1952 Gary Rossington (guitarist: group: Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Deaths which occurred on December 04:
1334 John XXII, [Jacques Duze], Pope (316-34), dies
1371 Reinald III, the Fat Duke, duke of Gelre (1343-61), dies at 38
1514 Richard Hunne, English "heretic", commits suicide(?)
1642 Armand-Jean Duplessis Richelieu, bishop of Luzon, dies at about 57
1732 John Gay, English poet (Beggar's Opera), dies at 47
1798 Luigi Galvani, Italian anatomy/physicist, dies at 61
1967 Bert Lahr, [Irving Lahrheim], US comic (Wizard of Oz), dies at 72
1969 Fred Hampton Chairmen of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party.
1976 Tommy Bolin rock guitarist (Deep Purple), dies of heroin overdose
1993 Frank V Zappa, US music/composer (Mothers of Invention), dies at 52
1995 Itzhak Rabin, PM of Israel (1968-73), assassinated
Reported: MISSING in ACTION
1967 COLLINS ARNOLD---NEW YORK NY.
1970 GREEN GEORGE C. JR.---ATTICA IN.
POW / MIA Data & Bios supplied by
the P.O.W. NETWORK. Skidmore, MO. USA.
On this day...
771 With the death of his brother Carloman, Charlemagne becomes sole ruler of the Frankish Empire
1110 Syria harbor city Saida (Sidon) surrenders to Crusaders
1197 Crusaders wound Rabbi Elezar ben Judah
1259 Treaty of Paris: English king Henry III & French king Louis IX
1534 Turkish sultan Suleiman occupies Baghdad
1489 Battle of Baza-Spanish army captures Baza from the Moors
1534 Turkish sultan Suleiman occupies Baghdad
1563 Council of Trent holds last session, after 18 years
1619 America's 1st Thanksgiving Day (Virginia)
1644 1st European peace congress opens in Münster
1655 Middelburg Netherlands forbids building of synagogue
1665 Jean Racine's "Alexandre le Grand" premieres in Paris
1674 Father Marquette builds 1st dwelling in what is now Chicago
1680 Hen in Rome lays an egg imprinted with comet not seen until Dec 16th
1682 1st General Assembly in Pennsylvania (Chester)
1688 General strategist John Churchill joins with Willem III
1691 Emperor Leopold I takes control of Transsylvania
1691 Spanish king Carlos II names Maximilian II viceroy of South Netherlands
1745 Bonnie Prince Charles reaches Derby
1783 General Washington bids officers farewell at Fraunce's Tavern, New York NY
1791 Britain's Observer, oldest Sunday newspaper in world, 1st published
1798 Rebellious Flemish farmers occupy Hasselt
1812 Peter Gaillard of Lancaster PA patents a horse-drawn mower
1816 James Monroe (VA), elected 5th President, defeating Federalist Rufus King
1829 Britain abolished "suttee" in India (widow burning herself to death on her husband's funeral pyre
1832 French army begins bombing citadel of Antwerp
1833 American Anti-Slavery Society formed by Arthur Tappan in Philadelphia
1836 Whig party holds its 1st national convention, Harrisburg PA
1843 Manila paper (made from sails, canvas & rope) patented, Massachusetts
1843 Robert Schumann's "Das Paradies und die Peri" premieres in Leipzig
1844 James K Polk elected 11th President of US, George M Dallas Vice President
1851 President Louis Napolean Boaparte forces crush a coup d'etat in France
1863 Storm flood ravages Nethe coastal provinces
1864 Romanian Jews are forbidden to practice law
1864 Battle of Waynesborough, Brier Creek GA
1867 Grange organized to protect farm interests
1872 The U.S. brigantine Marie Celeste is found adrift and deserted with its cargo intact, in the Atlantic Ocean between the Azores and Portugal.
1875 William Marcy "Boss" Tweed (NYC-Tammany Hall) escapes from jail
1889 Stanley's expedition reaches Bagamoyo in Indian Ocean
1890 Willem III, Dutch king, buried
1899 56th Congress (1899-1901) convenes
1899 Webb Hayes son of President Rutherford Hayes receives medal of honor
1901 Anne Russell's "Girl & The Judge" premieres in New York NY
1905 British government of Balfour resigns
1906 Alpha Phi Alpha, 1st Black Greek Letter Fraternity, forms
1908 Haiti's President General Alexis Nord flees from military coup
1909 1st CFL Grey Cup: University of Toronto defeats Toronto Parkdale, 26-6
1914 Walter Johnson accepts money from Federal League Chicago Whales Clark Griffith threatens to take Johnson to court
1915 Panamá-Pacific International Exposition closes in San Francisco CA (Opened February 20 1915)
1915 F F Fletcher is 1st admiral to receive Congressional Medal of Honor
1915 Ku Klux Klan receives charter from Fulton County GA
1918 Kingdom of Serbs, Croats & Slovenes (Yugoslavia) proclaimed
1918 President Wilson sails for Versailles Peace Conference in France, 1st chief executive to travel outside US while in office
1920 1st Pro football playoff game Buffalo-7, Canton-3 at Polo Grounds
1920 8th CFL Grey Cup: University of Toronto defeats Toronto Argonauts, 16-3
1922 Lucille Atcherson, becomes 1st woman legation secretary-US foreign service
1923 Cecil B DeMille's 1st version of "Ten Commandments" premieres
1923 WEAF radio begins broadcasting Eveready Hour (variety show)
1926 14th CFL Grey Cup: Ottawa Senators defeats University of Toronto, 10-7
1927 Duke Ellington opens at the Cotton Club in Harlem
1927 Dmitri Shostakovich's 2nd Symphony, premieres in Moscow
1927 Pirates' Paul Waner wins National League MVP
1928 Walter Donaldson & Gus Kahn's musical "Whoopee" premieres in New York NY
1930 French government of Tardieu falls
1930 Vatican approves rhythm method for birth control
1931 "Frankenstein" opens at Mayfair
1933 FDR creates Federal Alcohol Control Administration
1933 Jack Kirkland's "Tobacco Road" premieres in New York NY
1935 1,200 at St Joseph's College (Philadelphia) enroll in anticommunism class
1941 Operation Taifun (Typhoon), which was launched by the German armies on October 2, 1941, as a prelude to taking Moscow, is halted because of freezing temperatures and lack of serviceable aircraft.
1941 Nazi ordinances places Jews of Poland outside protection of courts
1942 1st US citizenship granted an alien on foreign soil (James Hoey)
1942 FDR orders dismantling of Works Progress Administration
1942 US bombers struck Italian mainland for 1st time in WWII
1943 Commissioner Landis announces any baseball club may sign Negroes
1943 2nd conference of Caïro: FDR, Churchill & Turkish President Inönü
1943 Yugoslavian resistance forms provisionary government under Dr Ribar
1944 Germans destroy Rhine dikes, Betuwe flooded
1945 Senate approves US participation in UN
1945 11th Heisman Trophy Award: Doc Blanchard, Army (FB); he is 1st junior to win the trophy
1947 USSR joins International Amateur Athletic Union
1948 "Magdalena" closes at Ziegfeld Theater NYC after 48 performances
1948 SS Kiangya hits mine in Whangpoo River China, sinks killing 2,750 die
1949 Bob Gage ties NFL record of a 97 yard touchdown run
1951 Superheated gases roll down Mount Catarman (Philippines), kills 500
1951 Copland/Robbins' "Pied Piper" premieres in New York NY
1952 Killer fogs begin in London England, "Smog" becomes a word
1952 The Grumman XS2F-1 makes its first flight.
1952 Walter P Reuther chosen chairman of CIO
1954 "Hit the Trail" closes at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC after 4 performances
1954 "On Your Toes" closes at 46th St Theater NYC after 64 performances
1955 Manager Alfrink installed as archbishop of Utrecht
1956 22nd Heisman Trophy Award: Paul Hornung, Notre Dame (QB)
1957 1st edition of "Chase's Annual Events" published
1957 2 commuter trains collide in heavy fog killing 92 (St John's England)
1958 Dahomey (Benin), Ivory Coast become autonomous within French Community
1958 Finnish government of Fagerholm, resigns
1961 Museum of Modern Art hangs Matisse's Le Bateau upside down for 47 days
1961 Smallest New York Knicks crowd at 49th St Madison Square Garden-1,300 (due to snowstorm)
1961 Tanganyika becomes the 104th member of the UN
1961 Floyd Patterson KOs Tom McNeeley in 4 for heavyweight boxing title
1961 WXGA TV channel 8 in Waycross GA (PBS) begins broadcasting
1962 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1963 Aldo Moro forms Italian government
1963 Pope Paul VI closes 2nd session of 2nd Vatican Council
1964 Beatles release "Beatles For Sale" album
1964 Baseball approves a free-agent draft
1964 Commissioner's office given full powers in baseball disputes
1964 Test Cricket debut of Ian Chappell, vs Pakistan MCG, 11, 0-49, 0-31
1965 2nd New York Knick game postponed (due to death of opponent 76ers' owner)
1965 Gemini 7 launched with 2 astronauts (Borman & Lovell)
1965 "Roar of the Greasepaint" closes at Shubert NYC after 232 performances
1965 2 passenger planes collide above Danbury CT, 4 die
1965 San Francisco Giant Masanori Murakami, 4-1 this year, does not renew his contract signing instead with the Nankai Hawks of Osaka for $40,000
1966 KETS TV channel 2 in Little Rock AR (PBS) begins broadcasting
1966 Sandra Haynie wins LPGA Pensacola Ladies Golf Invitational
1970 Unemployment in US increases to 5.8%
1973 John Cappelletti wins Heisman trophy
1974 Dutch DC-8 charter crashes in Sri Lanka killing 191 Moslem pilgrims
1974 Jean-Paul Sartre visits RAF leader Andreas Baader in prison
1975 6 South Molukkans occupy Indonesian consulate in The Hague, 1 dead
1976 Liz Taylor's 7th marriage (John Warner)
1977 Jean-Bedel Bokassa, ruler of Central African Empire, crowns himself
1977 NFL's 5,000th game, Cincinnati beats Kansas City 27-7
1977 Hollis Stacy/Jerry Pate win Pepsi-Cola Mixed Team Golf Championship
1977 Neil Simon's "Chapter Two" premieres in New York NY
1978 Dianne Feinstein is named San Francisco 1st female mayor
1978 Pioneer Venus 1 goes into orbit around Venus
1978 Dutch War criminal Pieter Menten freed
1979 Cleveland Cavaliers retire jersey #7, Bingo Smith
1979 Liza Minnelli's 3rd marriage (Mark Gero)
1980 Islanders end 15 game undefeated streak (13-0-2) (Colorado Rockies)
1980 2 months after death of drummer John Bonham, Led Zeppelin breaks up
1981 "Falcon Crest" premieres on CBS-TV
1981 According to South Africa, Ciskei gains independence; Not recognized as an independent country outside South Africa
1981 President Reagan allows CIA to engage in domestic counter-intelligence (No 12333)
1982 48th Heisman Trophy Award: Herschel Walker, Georgia (RB)
1982 China adopts its constitution
1982 Police & racist demonstrators clash in Antwerp
1983 New Jersey Devils 1st shut-out, beating Minnesota Detroit Red Wings 6-0
1983 US jet fighters strike Syrian anti-aircraft positions in Lebanon
1983 "Amen Corner" closes at Nederlander Theater NYC after 83 performances
1983 David Shire & R Maltby Jr's musical "Baby" premieres at Barrymore Theater NYC for 241 performances
1984 Hijackers commandeered a Kuwaiti airliner
1985 President Reagan appoints Vice Admiral John Poindexter as security adviser
1985 "Les Miserables" opens at Palace Theatre, London
1985 French President Mitterrand receives Polish leader Jaruzelski
1986 NASA launches Fltsatcom-7
1986 Neil Simon's "Broadway Bound" premieres in New York NY
1987 Karlstad skates world record 10 km (13:48.51)
1988 Actor Gary Busey critically injured in motorcycle crash
1988 Amy Benz/John Huston win LPGA J C Penney Golf Classic
1988 Baltimore Orioles trade veteran 1st baseman Eddie Murray to Los Angeles Dodgers
1988 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR
1990 Due to Persian Gulf crisis gas hits $1.60 per gallon price in New York NY
1990 Iraq announces it will release all 3,300 Soviet hostages
1991 Judds final concert (Nashville)
1991 Muslim Shiites release last US hostage Terry Anderson (held 6½ years)
1991 Pan American World Airways ceased operations
1991 Patricia Bowman testifies that William Kennedy Smith raped her
1992 US Troops land in Somalia
1993 Dan Jansen skates world record 500 meter (35.92 seconds)
1993 Johann Koss skates world record 5K (6:35.53)
1994 83rd Davis Cup: Sweden beats Russia in Moscow (4-1)
1994 Marta Figueras-Dottie/Brad Bryant win LPGA J C Penney Golf Classic
1994 Tony Kushners"Angels in America-Millennium Approaches" closes at W Kerr after 367 performances
1994 Tony Kushners"Angels in America-Perestroika" closes at W Kerr NYC after 216 performances
1995 Atherton (185) bats for 643 minutes to save Johannesburg Test
1996 7th Billboard Music Awards
1996 NASA's 1st Mars rover launched from Cape Canaveral
1996 Orlando Magic tie NBA record of fewest ponts scored since inception of 24 second clock losing to Cleveland Cavalier, 84-57
1997 "Diary of Anne Frank" opens at Music Box Theater NYC
1997 NBA suspends Latrell Sprewell for 1 year for attacking his coach
Note: Some Holidays are only applicable on a given "day of the week"
México : Day of the Artisans
Tonga : Proclamation Day
US : Lefotver Week Ends
US : Taco Night
Bingo's Birthday Month
Orthodox : Presentation in the Temple of Mary
Roman Catholic : Commemoration of St Barbara, virgin/martyr
Roman Catholic : Commemoration of St Peter Chrysologus, bishop of Ravenna/doctor
Roman Catholic, Anglican : Commemoration of John Damascene, priest/doctor
1154 Adrian IV, 54, was elected to the papacy. Born Nicholas Breakspear, near St. Albans, England, he was the only Englishman ever elevated to the office of pope.
1674 French Jesuit missionary Jacques Marquette erected a mission on the shores of Lake Michigan, in present_day Illinois. His log cabin became the first building of a settlement that afterward grew to become the city of Chicago.
1809 The International Bible Society was founded in New York City as an interdenominational agency for translating, producing and distributing the Scriptures. The I.B.S. has since distributed the Bible to over 150 countries in the world.
1854 Birth of Mary Reed, American Methodist missionary. She died in 1943, having spent the last 52 years of her life ministering to the lepers of India.
1966 Swiss Reformed theologian Karl Barth wrote in a letter: 'The good Lord, in spite of reports to the contrary, is not dead.'
Source: William D. Blake. ALMANAC OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1987.
Thought for the day :
"A closed mouth gathers no foot."
Question of the day...
Why is it called a MISSile if it was made to hit things?
Murphys Law of the day...(Fishbein's Conclusion)
The tire is only flat on the bottom.
Amazing fact #574...
Barbie's measurements if she were life size: 39-23-33.
posted on 12/04/2003 7:25:43 AM PST
(We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.)
To: SAMWolf; All
Sorry to barge in...,but have any of you heard of this project?
posted on 12/04/2003 7:43:13 AM PST
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