0808-course 355T-full power 31.5 kt. Richmond reports 3 targets.
Heavies belong to Salt Lake City.
0810 - ship in full zed condition I.
All turrets in all respects ready to fire.
355T - 18800 distance to Richmond at 815 closing on Richmond at 300 yds. per min.
0818 all turrets tested grimers or primary firing circuit all turrets okay.
082l - course 354 T - 351 - 12000 at 828 to Richmond.
0829 spot I sees target smoke on horizon at 854, looks like 3 cans 1 merchant, 1
4 distinct mast another at left - 5 ships in all no 6 ships time 0830.
Over to the left heavy ships 2 merchant 2 heavies, 9 ships total.
35700 range 9 ships in sight at 0831. 0832 looks like a heavy
cruiser - another heavy cruiser bearing 352 to 346.
0833 - 2 merchant of war 5 merchant spot I says no tankers.
0835 - 2 tankers 1 light cruiser 3 light cruisers
0835 - 32200 range light cruiser 2 destroyers cruisers appears to be of Victoria class. We are on cruiser bearing 351-0838.
0839 spot one reports heavy cruiser dead ahead range 31300 - Natchi class trained on us.
0841 - 4 heavies cruiser, all turrets load except for turrets1 primers.
0843 - enemy ships are circling each other.
0844 large aircraft.
0845 - one heavy commenced firing target (angle 85) is ready, all turrets match points - 3-4 cannot bear commence firing
0845 - V6-L4-No. I coming left so 3-4 can bear target changing coarse
to right new coarse 315.
0850 - all turrets firing turrets 4 has rammer causality. That 3-4 can
0853 - 3- 4 firing 1-2 cannot bear change coarse to 315 spread 20.
Enemy speed 24 knots no -hits. 18 salvos fired at 0854
0855 cut out Dir. I stack gas.
0856 Dir. 2 has control range 20400
0858 firing with 3-4 firing steady Richmond believes they are 5 cruisers.
0850 turrets 1-2 train to port. No fire because of obstruction hanging down in front of Dir. 2.
0853 bearing 245 Dir. 2 fired ? 3-4 are not on same bearing target angle 4 degree coming to right new coarse 240.
0855- range 23000 130 relative.
0857 some thing coming in on us from 140 Dir. I on heavy cruiser.
0858 apparently we zig zag enemy for falling short.
0859 turret 3-4 shift to local control range 21800.
0910 turret 3-4 firing local control have fired 36 salvos.
3-4 bearing on different targets.
0915 - we are firing intermittingly.
0916 - 3-4 firing 10 second salvos.
0916 - 5” open up firing rapidly ships are hull down spot L spotting.
0917 - 5" firing. No radar ranges - range on leading heavy at 0920-23500.
0921 still firing local control. Target appears to have a hit.
0924 bad jar more misses
0925 divided fire 255700 - turret 3-4 doing good.
0928 - air going down in 3-4, 1-2 can not bear.
0930- still firing no radar ranges, cutting ? for air.
0933 - air to 3, heavy ship coming in on 166.
0935 shift control to Dir. I coming right to 285 to get on target. Coming up starboard quarter. Mr. Brewer says good luck and get a hit on the first salvo.
1-2 are limit in train. 3-4 fired.
0937 - turret 1-2 off 10 degrees being matched. R 10 down 5, are not shooting
at light cruiser. Target changing coarse toward us.
0940 - Dir. I having trouble getting on target. Light cruiser is wonderful target but is off to the left.
0945 - Mr. Brewer says we got the heavy.
0947 - still trying to get on light.
0948 coming around so 1-2 can bear. 1-2 fired - all turret firing, range 22100.
0950 all turrets firing, splash just ahead of cruiser. V6 on all fired.
0952 - new contact - 1-2-.3 fired 04 on 113, target changed coarse to right - target 185
0955 - 085-27000 new contact
0956 - 3 new contacts closing 23300, closing 22700 - 2 cans coming up on starboard quarter at 0958.
0959 - New contact 25500 closed contact 20500 1000 shift to heavy bearing 105. Mr. O'Connell says what the hell we doing with the lights?
1001 - light depression out Dir. I - Dir. 2 take over
1005 Control to all hands make shots count, it may be all day affair.
1006 - we have 10 armor piercing left. Introlize? fire on light cruiser.
1008 - Dir. I appears okay. Turret 1-2 use telescopic for elevation. Dir. I take control.
1009 - 136 salvos expended, 3-4 cautioned on conserving ammunition.
1010 - 3 has permission to fire one gun at a time.
1011 - steering casualty 130 true. 23000 contact is closing ship, take hard turn to starboard.
1013 - coarse 040 - target bearing 120 true range 22700 closing.
1014 - Dir. I has control of all guns, we are changing coarse to port 310. near misses causing jolts to Dir. I blocked off in train. Dir 2 take control of 3-4.
1015 - 142 salvos, control aft is asking for smoke screen.
1016 - Turret four has rammer jammed.
1017 - 060 true 13800 looks like plane.
1019 - Plane contact is opening.
1020 - Turret four okay - are making our own smoke.
1023 - 3 firing high capacity shells.
1024 - Check fire we are now secured by smoke.
1025 - Target bearing 130. Dir. I can see loading heavy, 1-2 can't bear.
1027 - Friendly Army planes 106 true 16800 closing. Turret 3 has 3 more projectors left.
1028 - Check fire on account of smoke.
1029 - 3-4 train to port, Dir. 2 shoot when get a chance.
1032 - Dir. 2 watch closing for destroyers attack. 3-4 trained to starboard, don't waste ammunition on light cruiser.
1033 - Fired on heavy cruiser, four can see target. 3-4 fired conserved ammunition as much as possible it is getting low. Heavy are visible on port quarters.
1036 - 3 fired, check fire until it is really needed.
1037 - 4 fired
1039 - Near misses, smoke screen laid by destroyers for us.
1040 - 163 salvos expended.
1041 - 4 fired we have 2 hits forward in chain locker. 2 heavy are after us.
1044 - Friendly bombers are on there way (we hope).
1045 - 2 has shifted to heavy which are coming in on our quarter - 4 fired.
1046 - Flashed appear closer. Mr. O'Connell says everything is going okay. We have a destroyer between us and the enemy.
1050 - Heavy cruiser on starboard quarter
1051 - 4 fired on heavy, we can see both heavies now.
1053 - Shift control to Dir. I elevation to left with telescope. 4 fired short and to left. 3-4 fired short and to left.
1055 - All turrets fired, flashes to left shift to after heavy cruiser. Range closing.
1056 - 1-2 are limited to train.
1058 - Cease firing, we are laying smoke. Heavy cruiser visible through smoke screen. Dir. 2 take inside cruiser.
1100 - 4 fired, 4 fired again
1103 - Fire on plane catapult. We are hit between frame 67-68 - take necessary action. Hit is above water line.
1105 - 4 fired, 4 fired again - near misses - no fire below deck.
1109 - Fire on starboard catapult is out.
1110 - Bearing 220 heavy visible.
1113 - 4 is on target - have own smoke screen going.
1114 - Cruiser on port side - 3 ships closing in on us.
1115 - range closing - can feel near misses.
1117 - trying to get effective smoke screen. Heavies are visible and firing.
1119 - 4 is on target.
1120 - Dir. I on light cruiser.
1122- Heavy near misses.
1124 - We are going left 20 degrees.
1126 - Turret 3 arranging to get shells from Turret 2.
1129 - Friendly Bombers
1130 - Enemy Ships trying to cut us off.
1131 - Heavy astern of us.
1132 - We are coming to coarse 180.
1135 - Ready light out in 1-2, we are taking port list, trying to correct our coarse 180.
1137 - If we get heavy we got them Mr. Brewer says.
1138 - Close near misses.
1140 - Lost all power to A. A. Director, stabile element is out. Dir. 2 can bear on heavy, no turrets has transmission shift to local control.
1142 - Range 17800 closing A.C. supply is out. Aircraft is 8 miles distance, lay smoke screen - own ship speed 27 knots.
1145 - 4 fired, keep shooting as long as possible; 3-4 fired, heavies are closing, 3-4 fired.
1148 - hit below water line, list to port
1150 - speed 28 knots
1152 - speed 18 knots, smoke from our own ship blocking out director 2
1154 - Target is astern
1155 - Heavies off starboard quarter - come to port, range 21,400, bearing 17t
1156 - 3 fired - our speed is 8 knots, our speed is "0"
1158 - Ordered torpedo attack
1159 - Shift to local control, get targets as they come in, getting underway.
1200 - 2 cans going in for torpedo attack, our speed 8 knots, range 21,700, they are coming up astern 28-30 knots.
1203 - Make smoke
1204 - 3 fired 201 salvos, our ship's speed is 15 knots
1214 - all boilers back on the line, we can make 28 knots
1215 - Speed 24 knots
1218 - Planes closing at 10 miles
1220 - Summary of damage, three or four hits to port, three hits to starboard.
1227 - Bert from Gordon attacking, we are proud to be serving with you. God Bless you all.
1228 - Action appears to be breaking off
1231 - Turret 2 is knocking on wood, saying nothing
1232 - Admiral says "very well done, all hands". 3 and 4 receiving powder, Thank God.
1234 - Speed trouble caused by oil in water
1235 - Our speed 21 knots. Dope has it that the force was composed of 2 CA's, 3 CL's, 5 DD's, all new ships.
1244 - Congratulations director 2, they took most of the burden.
1245 - Switchboard coming in good ships
1250 - Quote Lt. Ramsey, Plot 1, "whoever says the Japs can't shoot have to argue with me".
1251 - Two enemy CA's were of the Nachti class, two and possible three CL's of Natori class. Six destroyers first line ship. Two merchant vessels between 8 and 10,000 tonnage, a little heavier than our Henderson class, Captain's message, transports have gone westward, we are proud of what we were able to do, two DD"s stayed with transports
1257 - Possible contact, don't relax
1302 - Contact 185-T range 18500 - appears to be own destroyer
1308 - Sure of six hits and possible seven. Possible hit causing trouble. Total rounds expended: 785 - turret 1- 85 rounds; turret 2 125; turret 3 300; turret 4 231
1315 - contact 167 t-range 9.80 miles, closing. We are still in Indian country. Contact bears 175T-8.52. Enemy float plane is probably following us.
1319 - Closing range 5.5 miles, bearing 155T
1324 - Surface contact appears to be our own destroyer
1327 - three possible surface contacts, range 22000, bearing 324T. 1 and 3 match points, 110T
1332 - received word our bombers sunk or damaged the unprotected transports.
1343 - Contact on surface ships, bearing 102 to 109, 22,000. Radar contact closing, fades and returns.
1347 - Bearing 207 closing
1353 - We are now redistributing ammunition for further action.
1357 - P38 and B24 and 25 are going after transport, sinking of them before was bum dope.
1400 - Commence sending men to eat. 3 PBYs showing.
1413 - All turrets loaded and trained on a safe bearing.
1415 - Submarine Contact
1423 - One of our planes has contacted enemy vessels.
1426 - 1 and 2 elevated to maximum. We will commence zigzag.
1430 - Fire on second deck forward near anchor windlass. Maximum speed 20 knots. 15 knots to conserve fuel for destroyers.
1434 Fire under control
1500 - Going 18 knots. We are under land based planes protection. Ship is fairly well messed up. Lots of work in progress getting squared away. We are approximately 100 miles north of Attu, probably on route to Dutch Harbor.
1510 - Our planes are attacking transports. Liberators.
1513 - Standby to unload turrets through muzzles. Will fire at port.
1525 - 13 B25's, 8 B24's are attacking enemy.
1535 - Director reports that several of our last salvos made several direct hits and also we made a hit on the torpedo run.
1538 - #3 engine back on line
1605 - seven planes coming in front, directly ahead. Unidentified.
1607 - identified as 4 P38's, 3 B24's.
1637 - Reports have it that one enemy CA was heavily hit causing it to lose speed and fire only one turret. One CL damaged.
Our Force: One heavy cruiser; One light cruiser; four destroyers
Jap Force: Two heavy cruisers; three light cruisers; Six destroyers, two transports
Damage Done to Us: Around 5 or 6 hits; None on Richmond; One 8 inch hit on destroyer
Damage Done to Them: Severe damage to heavy cruiser; Light damage to other heavy cruiser; Damage one light cruiser; Shot one plane down
2 killed - 16 injured
Return to Deck Logs
This summary of the Battle of the Komandorski was buried in my WWII box for over 40 years. About six years ago, when I became aware of the SLC's reunion, I started to review some of the memorabilia.
During the battle I was in CIC station on the main deck and could hear all the communications going on aboard ship and between our ship and other ships in the task force.
I have no idea how I obtained the typed pages of this battle to from 0808 to 1145. The balance of the summary from 1145 to the end was in my handwriting, and I have no idea when I did this summary or copied it from official papers. Only the shadow knows.
There are some inaccuracies in this summary but it does reflect what was going on from 0808 to 1605. Please review it in that context.
I hope it brings back memories.
Salvatore "Sal" J. Sagolla