War Diary and Action Reports November 1942,

War Diary

The McCawley apparently did not submit a diary for the month of November

                            ACTION REPORT

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. 
       McFeaters, USN).

                            U.S.S. McCAWLEY

    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.P. McFeaters.

U.S.S. McCAWLEY 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 12, 1942. Reference: (a) Articles 874(6), and 948, U.S. Navy Regulations, 1920. 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 unloading. 1825 Underway one hundred percent unloading completed. Task accomplished. Received "Well Done" from Task Force Commander. 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 planes. (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 this vessel. (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 performance mentioned: (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 urgent. (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 recommendations made: (a) Lieutenant Commander Cyril B. Hamblett, D-M, U.S.N.R., is recommended for a silver star citation as follows: "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 Force mission. (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". R.H. Rodgers.
AP10/A16-3 Serial (021) U.S.S. McCAWLEY c/o Fleet Post Office, San Francisco, Calif., November 14, 1942. C-O-N-F-I-D-E-N-T-I-A-L 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 damage. E.G. MacMurdy Lieut. Comdr., D-V(G), U.S.N.R.
AMPHIBIOUS FORCE SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE Office of the Commander U.S.S. ARGONNE, Flagship, November 29, 1942. C-O-N-F-I-D-E-N-T-I-A-L 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. 1. Forwarded. 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. R.K. TURNER Copy to: CO McCAWLEY Comairsopac
SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE OF THE UNITED STATES PACIFIC FLEET HEADQUARTERS OF THE COMMANDER C-O-N-F-I-D-E-N-T-I-A-L SECOND ENDORSEMENT to: McCAWLEY Conf. Ltr. AP10/ A16-3, Serial 023 dated November 23, 1942. From: The Commander South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force. To: The Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Subject: Report of Battle off GUADALCANAL, November 12, 1942. 1. Forwarded. 2. Action taken on the recommendations for awards will be the subject of separate correspondence. W.F. HALSEY

History of the U.S.S. McCAWLEY AP-10

                                     McCawley-class Class

                                  AP/APA – Attack Transport


1928 (conv 1940)

Displacement (tons):

1,3800 (full load)

Length (oa):

486’ 6”



Draft (max):


Armament (max auth):

4 3”/50 DP

2 40 mm twins

10 20 mm

Carrying capacity:


2 LCM (3)

1,400 troops

Speed (kts)

14 (max)

12.5 (econ)


8,000 (shaft)





Fuel (tons):


Links to other web-sites with information on the

NavSource Online  Has photos of AP-10
Naval Historical Center  Has info. and photos of the U.S.S. McCAWLEY


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