AP-10 U.S.S. MC
War Diary and Action Reports November 1942,
The McCawley apparently did not submit a diary for the month of November
USS MC CAWLEY AP-10
Serial 023 23 November 1942
Report of Battle off Guadalcanal, 12 1942.
Report covers action while unloading troops and cargo off
Kukum, Guadalcanal at 1412(-11), operating in Task Force 67.
Attacked by 21 Japanese torpedo planes. (C.O. Capt. C.P.
From: The Commanding Officer
To: The Commander Amphibious Force, South Pacific.
Subject: Report of Battle off Guadalcanal, November 12,
Reference: (a) U.S. Navy Regulation, Article 712.
Enclosures: (A) Statement of Executive Officer.
(B) Statement of Gunnery Officer.
1. Enclosures (A) and (B) are forwarded herewith.
2. The ship was underway at 1324, six minutes after
receiving warning of approach of hostile aircraft.
This ship was formation guide of Commander Task
Force SIXTY-SEVEN during maneuvers and the torpedo
plane attack. The commanding officer was at the
conn. The chronological data was more fully
observed by Commander R.H. Rodgers, USN., Executive
Officer, and Lieutenant Commander E.C. MacMurdy,
D-V(G), USNR., as contained in enclosures (A) and
3. The commanding officer has noted a vast improvement
in plane identification, fire discipline, and
particularly accuracy of fire (notably leading
instead of lagging). The addition of two 20mm.
and eight .50 caliber guns has added considerably
to the volume of fire. It is believed that
transport batteries and are more effective for low
flying torpedo planes then for high altitude
4. The performance of duty of Commander R.H. Rodgers,
USN., was outstanding and I specially recommend him
for a silver star citation in addition to
Lieutenant Commander Hamblett and Lieutenant
Commander MacMurdy. Commander Rodger, although
only on board a limited time, took hold immediately
and arranged the effective planning that was
directly responsible for the expeditious unloading
of troops and over 100,000 cubic feet of cargo in
about nine hours, thus permitting ship to 100%
complete its mission of aid to reinforcing
5. The commanding officer particularly desires to pay
the highest tribute to an under sized crew who
performed a superhuman task of completely unloading
this vessel. It really has been a pleasure to
serve with such a splendid crew. Previous
recommendations to fill this vessel to a complement
of 490 men should be accomplished in order to allow
for some relief's on station and also for
casualties. At present no relief's are possible
and all men are served meals on station and in the
6. Also the commanding officer desires to commend all
the reserve officer complement who preformed their
duties with utmost zeal and efficiency. It has
been a pleasure during my two years on this vessel
to observe young officers grow up to make efficient
and dependable officers.
C-O-N-F-I-D-E-N-T-I-A-L November 16, 1942.
From: The Executive Officer.
To: The Commanding Officer.
Subject: Report of Battle off Guadalcanal, November
Reference: (a) Articles 874(6), and 948, U.S. Navy
Enclosure: (A) Statement of Gunnery Officer.
1. Enclosure (A) forwarded herewith is concurred in.
2. Following chronological data is submitted, all
times November 12, 1942, (-11 ZT.)
0642 This vessel was anchored off KUKUM Guadalcanal, 600
yards from the dock, engaged in combat unloading,
all hands in the Transport Area condition of
readiness, ship in material condition of readiness
AFFIRM. Ship was fired on by an enemy shore
battery of one or more 155mm. guns (estimated).
Shots fell close aboard but no damage inflicted.
Supporting vessels engaged enemy shore battery and
this vessel continued unloading at an incredible
and record breaking pace with co-ordination and
coolness of all officers and crew.
1318 Received warning of approach of hostile aircraft.
1324 Underway as formation guide. Task Force 67, zig-
zagging by signal on base course 340°(T), wind N.E.,
force one, sea clam.
1407 Sighted twenty-one Japanese torpedo planes
approaching from over Florida Island. Planes
identified as Japanese Mitsubishi "97", torpedo
bombers, twin engine.
1412 Opened fire with three inch battery, followed
closely by 20mm., and .50 calibre batteries.
1420 Ceased firing, 1043 rounds fired.
1435 Changed course and returned to anchorage, continued
1825 Underway one hundred percent unloading completed.
Task accomplished. Received "Well Done" from Task
3. Following personal observations are submitted:
(a) The twenty-one enemy planes came in column from
both flanks. After dropping torpedoes they passed
through the formation. Our fire discipline was so
excellent that although planes approached from many
directions all were taken under fire.
(b) I counted eleven planes to crash into the water.
Only one planes was seen escaping. This planes was
attacked by a fighter and downed. Of the twenty-
one torpedo planes I saw no other attacked by
(c) Six enemy planes were fired at by this vessel.
Hits were observed on each of them. All crashed.
Two planes were taken under intense fire close
aboard and brought down. There was cross fire from
several vessels on each of the planes fired at by
(d) The complete unloading of this vessel of full holds
and capacity troops and personal baggage was
accomplished by back breaking performance of all
hands far beyond the ordinary dictates of duty.
4. Following recommendations are made based on
(a) A fighter patrol of only six planes is not adequate
for the size of the force screened.
(b) That two more 20mm., guns be installed.*
(c) That four 3"/50 calibre guns be replaced by two
40mm., double barreled guns.
(d) That the complement of this vessel be increased to
490 in order that our battery can be completely
manned during unloading. This is considered
(e) That an advance transport move be screen by either
a combat carrier or one or more converted carriers
carrying fighters at immediate vicinity of action.
(f) That any troop movement be preceded by a conference
of the troop commander with the ship in order to
eliminate useless cargo. This vessel carried too
much of this type.
(g) That the practice of wetting down all decks at
general quarters be continued. It is noted that
other vessels followed the McCAWLEY in this which
during this and later action of screening force
resulted in a minimum of fire loss.
5. Discipline was excellent. All hands performed
their duties with coolness, braveness, and
efficiency. To single out individuals for personal
mention is most difficult. However, the following
outstanding achievements are noted and
(a) Lieutenant Commander Cyril B. Hamblett, D-M,
U.S.N.R., is recommended for a silver star citation
"For outstanding performance of duty under fire.
This officer as First Lieutenant organized and
directed the unloading of this vessel so that
although under fire by shore batteries and enemy
planes the loading continued and was accomplished
in record breaking time, and thereby contributed
most materially to the accomplishment of the Task
(b) Lieutenant Commander Ernest G. MacMurdy, D-V(G),
U.S.N.R., for a silver star citation as follows:
"As Gunnery Officer of this vessel, while under
torpedo plane attack this officer coolly directed
the fire of three separate batteries in such an
outstanding manner that all enemy planes in range
were kept under fire, at one time engaging four
separate planes. His performance is considered
even more outstanding when it is considered that
although 25% of his crew were new and no
opportunity for training offered he was able not
only to produce an unsurpassed battery performance
but perfect discipline".
c/o Fleet Post Office,
San Francisco, Calif.,
November 14, 1942.
From: The Gunnery Officer.
To : The Commanding Officer.
Subject: Report of Action with enemy on November 12, 1942.
Reference: (a) U.S. Navy Regulations 1920, Arts. 712 & 874(6).
1. Action, November 12, 1942.
(a) At 1318 while in transport area off Kukum, Lunga
Point, Guadalcanal, report was received of approach
of thirty (30) hostile aircraft. All ships got
underway and steered zigzag courses in area between
Guadalcanal and Florida Islands, while preparing
for attack. General Quarters stations were manned
and at about 1407, twenty-one (21) Japanese
Mitsubishi "97" torpedo bombers were sighted
approaching at low altitude from Florida Island
making typical torpedo approach.
Transport were screened by cruisers and destroyers
during initial phases of the attack and fire was
opened at 1412 by the U.S.S. ATLANTA followed
immediately by our 3"/50 Cal. Battery.
After releasing torpedoes, planes did not make any
attempt to gain altitude but continued approach at
altitudes of 50 to 100 feet weaving in and out and
around all ships in formation evidently assuming
that our forces would hesitate to fire for fear of
hitting our own ships. However fire was opened by
our 20mm. and .50 Cal. A.A. batteries and four of
the enemy bombers were shot down in flames by this
ship's guns, three on port side one on starboard,
in only a few minutes time.
Nine of the bombers were shot down in the immediate
vicinity of our ship, one circled the beach and was
shot down by a shore batteries and landing boats in
the water, and two were observed escaping in the
direction of Cape Esperance. Fire was opened on
these planes with #1 3"/50 Cal. and a hit was
scored at about 4000 yards on one and the other was
hit by one of the destroyers. Both planes went
into long glides leaving long trails of smoke,
finally lighting on the water between Savo Island
and Cape Esperance where they were later demolished
by destroyer gun fire.
A total of twelve planes were shot down by surface
ships and the remainder by our land based fighters.
One plane was seen crashing into the U.S.S. SAN
FRANCISCO in flames, igniting the area in the
vicinity of the main mast. Flames were quickly
subdued but damage was not observed.
(b) All gun crews are to be commended for their
coolness under fire and for their marksmanship in
shooting down five planes out of total of twelve
for all ships.
(c) No casualties occurred and the ship suffered no
Lieut. Comdr., D-V(G), U.S.N.R.
SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE
Office of the Commander
U.S.S. ARGONNE, Flagship,
November 29, 1942.
FIRST ENDORSEMENT to
McCAWLEY conf. Ltr.
AP10/A16-3 serial 023
Of November 23, 1942.
From Commander Amphibious Force, South Pacific.
To: Commander South Pacific Force.
Subject: Report of Battle off GUADALCANAL,
November 12, 1942.
2. Attention is invited to the recommendations made in
paragraph 4 of the basic letter. Approval is recommended
in the case of Lieutenant Commander HAMBLETT and Lieutenant
Commander MacMURDY. Both of these officers took an active
part in the operations commencing on August seventh. Since
that time, they have reentered the GUADALCANAL area with
their ship on September eighteenth, October thirteenth, and
November twelfth. On these occasions, the ship was
subjected to high-altitude bombing and torpedo attack. The
Gunnery Department of the U.S.S. McCAWLEY gave a very
creditable performance and contributed to the shooting down
of at least six enemy aircraft. Lieutenant Commander
MacMURDY, as Gunnery Officer, is responsible for the fine
performance of the gun crews of this vessel. On three
occasions, the unloading of the U.S.S. McCAWLEY was
interrupted by hostile attacks, in spite of which a very
large percentage of her cargo was unloaded. Lieutenant
Commander HAMBLETT, as First Lieutenant, was responsible
for the organization and supervision of the unloading of
this ship on all occasions.
3. Approval is not recommended in the case of Commander
RODGERS at the present time.
SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE
OF THE UNITED STATES PACIFIC FLEET
HEADQUARTERS OF THE COMMANDER
SECOND ENDORSEMENT to:
McCAWLEY Conf. Ltr. AP10/
A16-3, Serial 023 dated
November 23, 1942.
From: The Commander South Pacific Area and South
To: The Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Subject: Report of Battle off GUADALCANAL, November 12,
2. Action taken on the recommendations for awards will be the
subject of separate correspondence.
History of the U.S.S. McCAWLEY AP-10
AP/APA – Attack Transport
1928 (conv 1940)
1,3800 (full load)
Armament (max auth):
4 3”/50 DP
2 40 mm twins
10 20 mm
2 LCM (3)
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