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AK-53 USS LIBRA


Class: Arcturus
Commissioned 05/13/42
Length Overall 459' 2"
Extreme Beam: 63'
Draft: 25'10"
Displacement tons: 13,910
Designed Complement: Off.: 49;  Enl.: 445
Cargo Capacity: DWT 4,800
(8) LCM; (10) LCVP
Armament: Primary:  (1) 5"/38cal DP
Armament: Secondary:  (4) 3"/50 cal
(4) 40mm twin
(14) 20mm twin
Designed Speed: 15.5 knots
Designed Shaft Horse Power: 6,000
Screws: 1
Type: Geared turbine
Fuel (oil) tons 1,135



WAR DIARY of the USS LIBRA Nov.1 to 30, 1942


Action Report on the Night of Nov. 11-12, 1942" of USS LIBRA


War Diary
WAR DIARY U.S.S. LIBRA (AK53) MONTH OF N0VEMBER 1942.
Assigned to: U.S. PACIFIC FLEET SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE AMPHIBIOUS FORCE TRANSPORT DIVISION TEN. November 1, 1942: At anchor in berth A-4, Segund Channel, Espiritu Santo Island. Awaiting orders and assignment to Task Organization. 0630- Underway to fuel from SS FLAGSHIP SINCO and at 1330- Returned to anchorage berth A-4. Nov.2 - 7, 1942: At anchor Segund Channel, berth A-4. Awaiting orders. November 8, 1942: At anchor berth A-4, Segund Channel. 1400- Received CTF 62 despatch 070430/November, assigning LIBRA to Task Group 62.4-CTG 62.4 in ATLANTA. Received CTF 62 operation plan A23-42 and Task Force 67 despatch 070917 and 070952/Nov. November 9, 1942: At anchor berth A-4, Segund Channel. 0930- Underway on signal from CTG 62.4 standing to sea enroute Guadalcanal, Solomons. Standard speed 15 knots. Formed column astern ATLANTA (OTC), ZEILIN, with BETELGEUSE in column astern. 4 DD in A/S screen. 1104- Set course 350°. Speed 15.5 knots. 1200 Position - Lat. 15°-19' S. Long. 167°-20' E. 1330- Changed course to 316° True. November 10, 1942: Underway as before enroute Guadalcanal in company Task Group 62.4 (ATLANTA,OTC.) on course 316° True, speed 15.5 knots. 1011- Sound contact by screen. Emergency maneuvers. 1046- Resumed course and speed. 1200 Position - Lat. 11°-07' S. Long. 163°-12' E. 1207- Changed course to 311° True. 1412- Sighted San Cristobal I., bearing 253° True. 1500- Changed speed to 14 knots. 1707- Changed speed to 13 knots. 1810- Changed speed to 12 knots. 1830- Changed course to 296° True. November 11, 1942: Underway as before in company Task Group 62.4 enroute Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. Course 296° True. Speed 12 knots. 0334- Sighted Nuga I. light bearing 289°. 0345- Changed course to 259° True entering Sealark Channel on various courses and approaching anchorage off Lunga Point. 0545- Anchored one mile north of Tenaru River, commenced discharging cargo from all holds. 0917- Received air attack warning over radio net. 0919- Underway, formed column on course 000° True, astern ATLANTA, ZEILIN, BETELGEUSE with destroyer screen. 0925- Radical simultaneous course changes on flag signal from CTU 62.4. 0935- Observed formation of 9 dive bombers approaching over Guadalcanal. 0941- Commenced firing on two low level dive bombers approaching on port quarter. 0943- Near miss, 100 lb bomb, 100 feet off port quarter. 09431/2 Near miss, 100 lb bomb, 20 feet to port of No.2 hold. Radio antennae and fore truck shot down by strafing attack. Some distortion and slight leakage frames 40-46 port side above turn of the bilge. 0945- Ceased firing. One dive bomber shot down and crashed off port bow. 1000- ZEILIN apparently in trouble. 1015- All clear. Returned and at 1029- Anchored. Resumed discharge of cargo. 1106- Air raid warning . 27 bombers with fighter escort approaching from southward over Guadalcanal. Underway. Joined formation as before on course 000°. Speed 15 knots. 1125- Observed enemy bombers formation over Henderson Airfield, very high. Bombs dropped on airfield. 1127- Fired 3"/50 cal. ranging shots - all short. No approach on ships by bombers. 1135- Ceased firing. Maneuvering to return to anchorage. 1206- Anchored. Resumed discharge of cargo. 1800- Underway in company Task Group, standing to eastward through Sealark Channel. 2000- Changed course to 090° True. 2045- ATLANTA and destroyer screen left formation to join Task Force 67. BETELGEUSE (OTC) and LIBRA on north and south courses maneuvering in Indispensable Straight. No escort. Note: See LIBRA letter AK53/A9-8/(020) of November 17,1942 and enclosures attached, concerning details of actions of this date. November 12, 1942: Underway in Indispensable Straight on alternate north and south courses in company BETELGEUSE. Speed 15 knots. 0303- Course 250° True, speed 12 knots approaching Lungo Channel, and passage thereof. 0614- Anchored to east of Lunga Point. Discharging cargo. Four transports of Task Force 67 anchored off Kukum. Support and escort TF 67 disposed to northward. 0812- HOVEY alongside for fuel. 1000- CTF 67 despatch 112237/November assigns BETELGEUSE and LIBRA to Transport Divisions, Task Force 67. (Task Group 67.1). 1019- HOVEY clear of side. 1100- Observed bombardment of enemy shore positions to westward by units of screen and support group. 1323- Radio warning of approach of enemy torpedo plane squadron. 1327- Underway on various courses to join Transport Division 2, as third ship in column. Course 340° speed 14 knots. Various radical course changes on flag hoist signal from CTF 67 in McCAWLEY. 1411- Sighted large formation of enemy torpedo planes close to water approaching from northeast. 1412- Commenced firing. 1425- Ceased firing. About 8 enemy planes shot down by ships - burning on water. None escaped. Various courses returning to anchorage. 1521- Anchored. Discharging cargo. 1700- Received CTF 67 despatch 120529/November to get underway and stand out about 1800 LIBRA 3 ship in TransDiv 2. 1830- Underway. 1900- In position in formation in column, with screen ahead. Speed 14 knots. Various courses standing to eastward through Lengo Channel. 2027- Course 105° True. 2138- Course 135° True. 2340- Course 1600 True. Note: See LIBRA letter AK53/A9-8/(020) of November 17,1942 and enclosures attached, concerning details of actions of this date. November 13, 1942: Underway in company Task Group 67.1 and destroyer escort enroute Segund Channel on course 160° True, speed 14 knots. LIBRA 3rd ship in Division 2, in column formation. 0151- Changed course to 151° True. 0335- Changed course to 125° True. 0517- Changed course to 145° True. 0520- Formed line of division guides. 1200 Position - Lat. 12°-02' S. Long. 162°-23' E. 1700- Changed course and axis to 110° True. November 14, 1942: Underway in company Task Group 67.1 plus destroyer escort enroute Segund Channel on course 110° True, speed 14 knots. LIBRA 3rd ship in Division Two in formation line of division guides. 0100- Changed course and axis to 120° True. 0800- Changed course to 110°. Changed speed to 13 knots. 1030- Changed course to 050° True. 1122- Changed course to 090° True. 1200 Position - Lat. 14°-21' S. Long. 166°-42' E. 1303- Changed course to 120° True. 1600- Changed course to 090° True. 2145- Formed column of divisions. 2214- Changed course to 170° True. 2220- Changed course to 260° True. 2230- Formed line of division guides. 2400- Changed course to 210° True. November 15, 1942: Underway in company Task Group 67.1 and destroyer excort enroute Segund Channel on course 210° True, speed 13 knots. Formation in line of division guides, LIBRA 3rd ship in Transdiv 2. 0530- Various courses and speeds forming column and entering Segund Channel, and at 0705- Anchored in berth B-7. 1400- Loading cargo by boat from CRESCENT CITY. November 16, 1942: Anchored as before in berth B-7, Segund Channel. Loading cargo by boat from CRESCENT CITY. 0530- Underway and at 0700- Moored to port side TAPPAHANNOCK. 0800- Fueling and loading gasoline drums. Loading by boat from ZEILIN. 1100- Received CTF 62 despatch 160420 forming Task Unit 62.4.2. November 17, 1942: Moored to port side TAPPAHANNOCK in Segund Channel, loading gasoline and loading cargo by boat from ZEILIN. 0810- Underway and at 0830- Anchored in berth B-7. 1600- Underway enroute Guadalcanal in accordance CTF 62 despatch 160420/November. 1700- Took PAB-4 in tow alongside to port. Various courses standing to sea. 1824- Streamed PAB-4 astern. Towline fouled. 2000- PAB-4 clear. Set various courses to join Task Unit 62.4.2 (BETELGEUSE-OTC). 2127- In Position. Course 000° True, speed 12 knots. Zig-Zag. Increasing speed on order from unit commander to 15 knots. November 18, 1942: Underway enroute Guadalcanal in company Task Unit 62.4.2 on course 000° True. Speed 15 knots. PAB-4 in tow astern. 0042- Pelican hook on fantail parted dropping tow. Maneuvered to pick up tow. 0143- PAB-4 alongside. 0538- New tow line rove. Underway course 315°, speed 13 knots. 0852- Bridle on PAB-4 parted. Maneuvered to pick up tow. 0932- PAB-4 alongside. Remade bride. 1200 Position - Lat. 14°-37' S. Long. 167°-00' E. 1245- Proceeding. Course 315°, Speed 10 knots. 1315- Hydrophone effect. Changed course to 150° True. 1346- Changed course to 315° True. Changed speed to 10.8 knots. During both periods while laying to recovering PAB-4, BETELGEUSE and destroyer screen maneuvered in vicinity, sometimes close aboard, but frequently 2 to 5 miles distant. November 19, 1942: Underway in company Task Unit 68.4.2 enroute Guadalcanal on course 315° True. Speed 10.8 knots. PAB-4 in tow astern. BETELGEUSE and screen patrolling station, sometimes close but more frequently at distance of 2 to 5 miles. 0140- MUSTIN dropped depth charge and at 0215- reported sound contact. 0900- Changed course to 000° True. 1200 Position - Lat. 12°-04' S. Long. 168°-30' E. 1250- Sound contact reported. Changed course to 125° True. 1320- Returned to course 000° True. 1400- Changed course to 270° True. 1700- Changed course to 000° True. 2100- Changed course to 270° True. November 20, 1942: Underway in company Task Unit 62.4.2 enroute Guadalcanal on course 270° True, Speed 10.8 knots, with PAB-4 in tow. 0100- Changed course to 000° True. 0500- Changed course to 270° True. 1200 Position - Lat. 10°-24' S. Long. 162°-22' E. 1300- Changed course to 335° True. 1715- TREVER, ZANE joined Task Unit. 1730- Changed course to 270° True. 2000- Changed course to 310° True. 2355- Changed course to 270° True. November 21, 1942: Underway in company Task Unit 62.4.2 enroute Lunga Point, Guadalcanal on course 270° True, at speed 10.8 knots, towing PAB-4. 0405- Entered Lengo Channel. 0500- Various courses approaching Lunga Point and at 0622- Anchored to eastward of Lunga Point. 0630- Commenced discharging cargo by boat to shore. Delivered PAB-4 to BOBOLINK. 1510- Air raid warning by radio. 1519- Underway on signal from CTU 62.4.2. Various courses to northward. 1643- Returned to anchorage. Continued discharge of cargo. BETELGEUSE aground. 1715- Underway with escort and at 1912- Anchored in Tulagi Harbor. November 22, 1942: Anchored in Tulagi Harbor. Fueled TREVER and ZANE. 0404- Underway and at 0553- Anchored to eastward of Lunga Point. Discharging cargo. Boats( having worked all night unloading BETELGEUSE) very slow. 1658- Underway on northerly course and at 1902- Anchored Tulagi Harbor. November 23, 1942: Anchored Tulagi Harbor. 0355- Underway on southerly courses. 0547- Anchored east of Lunga Point. Discharging cargo. 1215- Air raid warning. 1230- All clear. 1710- Underway to northward and at 1846- Anchored in Tulagi Harbor. November 24, 1942: Anchor Tulagi Harbor. 0400- Underway to southward 0537- Anchored east of Lungs, Point, Discharging cargo. 1700- Underway to northward and at 1835- Anchored Tulagi Harbor. 1854- Commenced fueling ZANE 2147- Fueled MUSTIN. November 25, 1942: At anchor Tulagi Harbor. 0055- McCALLA alongside for fuel. 0425- Received PAB-6 alongside. 0435- Underway to southward. 0650- Anchored to east of Lunga Point. 0800- Received CTF 62 despatch 240447, directing MacFARLAND to join LIBRA for passage to Segund Channel. Received CTU 62.4.2 despatch 232155/Nov. to form Task Unit 62.4.5 LIBRA, McCALLA, TREVER. 1820- BETELGEUSE left area. 1857- Underway for Tulagi. 2130- Anchored Tulagi. November 26, 1942: At anchor Tulagi Harbor. 0325- Air raid warning. 0422- Underway to southward. 0645- Anchored to east of Lunga Point. BARNETT Present. ALCHIBA headed for Tulagi. Discharging cargo. 1000- Cargo unloaded. 1700- Task Unit 62.4.5 (LIBRA, TREVER, McCALLA, McFARLAND) underway for Segund Channel with PAB-6 in tow astern. Various courses through Lengo Channel at 2/3 speed (8 knots) awaiting McFARLAND to join. TREVER despatched to assist McFARLAND. 2100- TREVER McFARLAND in sight astern, and at 2230- Joined formation. 2240- Ahead standard speed 12 knots. 2300- Changed course to 128° True. ComSeronSoPac 260427/November assigns upkeep alongside VESTAL. November 27, 1942: Underway with Task Unit 62.4.5 (LIBRA, CTU) enroute Segund Channel on course 128° True. Speed 12 knots (to make 10.5 good) with PAB-6 in tow astern. 0500- Changed course to 090° True. 0650- Stopped awaiting McFARLAND. 0710- McFARLAND rejoined. 0800- Changed course to 133° True. 0930- Circled McFARLAND while latter effecting repairs to jury rudder. 1015- Resumed base course. 1200 Position - Lat. 10°-22' S. Long. 162°-40' E. 1900- Changed course to 090° True. 2100- Changed course to 1330 True. November 28, 1942: Underway with Task Unit 62.4.5 (LIBRA CTU) enroute Segund Channel on course 133° True, speed 12 knots to make 10.5 good. PAB-6 in tow astern. 1200 Position - Lat. 13°-06' S. Long. 165°-50' E. 1300- Changed course to 140° True. November 29, 1942: Underway with Task Unit 62.4.5 (LIBRA OTC) enroute Segund Channel on course 140° True. Speed 12 knots to make 10.5 good with PAB-6 in tow. 0200- Changed course to 180° True. 0500- Various courses approaching and entering Segund Channel and at 0700- Anchored in berth D-8. Delivered PAB-6 to Naval Base. Disbanded Task Unit 62.4.5. 1200- Discharging passengers and miscellaneous cargo ashore. Received loading orders, CTF 62 despatch 280755/ November. November 30, 1942: At anchor in berth D-8, Segund Channel, Espiritu Santo I. 0600- Underway and at 0620- Moored port side to JOAQUIN MILLER in berth A-6. 0800- Commenced loading gasoline drums and loading 90mm ammunition and small arms by boat from shore station.
W.B. Fletcher, Jr., Commander, U.S. Navy, Commanding.


ACTION REPORT
USS LIBRA AK53 SERIAL 020 17 NOVEMBER 1942
ACTION REPORT
Covers air attack on Task Group 62.4 Off GUADALCANAL at 0941 and 1127, November 11, and at 1412, November 12. From: Executive Officer. To: Commanding Officer. Subject: Enemy Action of Guadalcanal, Solomon Island, November 11, 1942. Reference: (a) Article 948, U.S. Navy Regulation. 1. The period of the First Action was during about the following time, 0919 - 0945. There was no time, or opportunity to take notes. My observations were from abeam each side, and aft. Prior to the sounding of General Quarters, about 0919, all hands were unloading ship from all hatches. Shortly after the sounding of General Quarters the ship was underway, standing out from the unloading area, all battle station manned. 2. About 0935, observed bombs exploding, 10 to 15 splashes, in the water several miles away to Westward. None of our ships were near these explosions. Did not see any planes. About 0937 observed six enemy dive bombers on port quarters, about 8000 yards, elevation angle about 60°. About 0938 they started peeling off for dives on our transports. About 0939 the order to commence firing was received. The 3" guns, #3 and #4, immediately opened fire on the dive bomber diving for our stern. Some bursts were observed near plane. At about 3000 yards distance our 20mm guns on poop-deck opened fire. The port gun failed after one shot. No more shots were fired by this gun on this plane. Something appeared to be wrong with the magazine. It was immediately replaced by another magazine. At about 800 yards this dive bomber pulled out of its dive, leveled off and passed between this ship and the U.S.S. ZEILIN. The right wing of this plane was burning. About 0943 another plane was observed diving on out port quarter. The 3", #3 and #4 guns and the 20mm on poop-deck opened up with Rapid fire. This dive bomber was coming fast straight at us. It leveled off about a hundred yards from us and passed along our port side. I could see the enemy machine gun bullets striking the water about 25-50 feet from us. Just as it passed our stern I saw a bomb, probably 100-lbs., strike the water and disappear, about 50- 75 feet away. About 15-30 seconds later there was an underwater explosion, causing the stern to jump up and down violently for about 5-7 seconds. I believe that this explosion was the one which occurred near #2 hold as no upheaval of water was observed astern. As this same plane was approaching and passing I observed 20mm tracers from port side forward guns and port 20mm gun on poop-deck, entering the plane. During these last few minutes I noted several enemy planes pass over head at about 6000-8000 yards. The 20mm tried to train on them between and after the dive bombers, but had difficulty doing so, due to the elevation. The 3" did some firing at them. The 20mm guns on the poop-deck were new, and had never been fired. The crews are fairly well trained, but lack experience on this type of gun. 3. Period about 1104-1159 (Second Action) At 1104 General Quarters was sounded and about 1100 all stations were manned and the ship was underway. About 1127 I observed 27 bombers in close formation on an easterly course along the North coast of Guadalcanal Island, distance 10-15 miles, elevation about 16000-18000 yards. About 1138 the ATLANTA opened fire and then the accompanying destroyers opened fire. The shells appeared to be bursting short. About 1140 upon receiving orders to commence firing, the 3" opened fire, but believe all our burst were short. The range was considerable, probably 16000-18000 yards. About this time clouds of smoke and dust were rising from the airfield probably to a height of 1000 feet. The bomber formation did not vary or change. About 1148 "Cease-firing" was ordered. About 1150 saw one bomber spiraling in flames and strike the water to the Eastward. About 1152 saw another plane crash in the bay to the Eastward. About this time I saw a parachute coming down in the hills to the Southwest of the airfield. About 1159 secured from General Quarters. 4. The men aft appeared less excited than at the Battle of Guadalcanal on August 7-9. They appeared more serious and determined. Everyone was quiet. They all did their designated task well. No individual was outstanding. They worked as a unit and as such all were outstanding. A.B. DICKIE,
ANTI-AIRCRAFT ACTION BY SURFACE SHIPS
LOCATION OF SHIP: GUADALCANAL USS LIBRA(AK53) DATE November 11, 1942 General Quarters: 0919; Opened fire 0941; Ceased firing 0945
NOTES: (a) REPEL ATTACK FIRST - Then collect data for this report. (b) Do not "Gun Deck" this report - if data cannot be estimated with reasonable accuracy enter dash in space for which no data is available. (c) These sheets are to be filled out immediately after action is completed with available data from ship's log, memory, and consultation with ship's officers. Information is essential in order that the effectiveness of our equipment can be determined. Where data is of doubtful accuracy fill in with general terms. The obtaining or this information must not be allowed in any way to adversely affect the handling of equipment during action. 1. SURPRISE ATTACK (Yes or No): No; Radar warning net from shore radio. 2. METHOD PICKING PLANE UP (Radar, binoculars, naked eye): Binoculars. (if by radar state type of set) - - - 3. RANGE PLANE WAS PICKED UP (50 miles, 30 miles, 10 miles, less 5 miles): 10 MILES 4. Number of planes: 9 plus fighter escort. 5. Type of plane (fighter, Scout, dive-bomber): Dive Bombers and fighter escort. Type of attack: Dive bombing. 6. Speed & Altitude (High and fast, intermediate and fast, low and fast, high and slow, intermediate and slow, low and slow): Fast; approach 10,000 ft. dove from 5000ft. released at 1000. 7. Guns Firing: All Size: 3"/50 cal., 20mm Number: 4, 10 Method of control: local; central Method spotting: local; central. 8. Ammunition expended: 3"-20 rounds: 20mm. 1050 rounds. 9. Percent service allowance expended: 3" 2% : 20mm 2%. 10. Approximate time tracking to first shot: 5 minutes 11. Approximate time of first hits: 2 minutes 12. Approximate time first shot to last shot: 4 minutes 13. Approximate position angle open fire: 50° 14. Approximate position cease fire: varied. 15. Approximate bearing first shot: 190 degrees relative. 16. Approximate bearing last shot: 280 degrees relative. 17. Approximate range first shot: 6,000 ft. 18. Approximate range last shot: 800 yards. 19. Approximate altitude of bomb release: 1000 Type of bomb: light 20. Approximate Range Torpedo Release: 0 Size: 0 21. Hits on ship: None Was ship strafed: Yes Size Gun: - - - 22. Number near bomb misses: One Casualties from near misses: 0 Near miss approx. 30-40 ft. port side #2 Hold-Frames bent and rivets leaking. Minor damage. 23. Planes shot down: 1 (Sure) 1 (Possible) 0 (Damaged) 1 By what size gun: 20mm. 24. Details of damage to target by gunfire if available: Bullets passed through plane body and wing, but started fire on right wing and right side of body near cockpit. Plane crashed off port beam. 25. Performance of ammunition (excellent, good, bad, poor): Good. Great care must be taken in loading 20mm magazines and in handling them prior to loading. We had one stoppage due to a shell being bent from bump while being loaded on the gun. 26. Pattern sizes (large, small excessive): Large. SKETCH (a) Indicate direction of attack relative to ship's bearing. (b) Show relative position of sun. (c.) Indicate own maneuvers. SD/TS133
ANTI-AIRCRAFT ACTION BY SURFACE SHIPS
LOCATION OF SHIP: GUADALCANAL USS LIBRA(AK53) DATE November 11, 1942 General Quarters: 1104; Opened fire 1127; Ceased firing 1135 NOTES: (a) REPEL ATTACK FIRST - Then collect data for this report. (b) Do not "Gun Deck" this report - if data cannot be estimated with reasonable accuracy enter dash in space for which no data is available. (c) These sheets are to be filled out immediately after action is completed with available data from ship's log, memory, and consultation with ship's officers. Information is essential in order that the effectiveness of our equipment can be determined. Where data is of doubtful accuracy fill in with general terms. The obtaining or this information must not be allowed in any way to adversely affect the handling of equipment during action. 1. SURPRISE ATTACK (Yes or No): No; Radar warning net from shore radio. 2. METHOD PICKING PLANE UP (Radar, binoculars, naked eye): Binoculars. (if by radar state type of set) - - - 3. RANGE PLANE WAS PICKED UP (50 miles, 30 miles, 10 miles, less 5 miles): 15 MILES 4. Number of planes: approx. 25 with fighter escort. 5. Type of plane (fighter, Scout, dive-bomber): Heavy Bombers. Type of attack: high altitude. precision bombing. 6. Speed & Altitude (High and fast, intermediate and fast, low and fast, high and slow, intermediate and slow, low and slow): very high, approx. 25000 ft.: planes medium speed. 7. Guns Firing: 3" Size: 3"/50 cal. Number: 4 Method of control: central Method spotting: central. 8. Ammunition expended: 49 rounds. 9. Percent service allowance expended: 6%. 10. Approximate time tracking to first shot: approx. 5 minutes 11. Approximate time of first hits: no hits seen. 12. Approximate time first shot to last shot: 8 minutes 13. Approximate position angle open fire: 60 degrees. 14. Approximate position cease fire: 70 degrees. 15. Approximate bearing first shot: 200 degrees relative. 16. Approximate bearing last shot: 160 degrees relative. 17. Approximate range first shot: 10,000 ft. 18. Approximate range last shot: 19,000 yards. 19. Approximate altitude of bomb release: 25,000 ft. Type of bomb: heavy. 20. Approximate Range Torpedo Release: 0 Size: 0 21. Hits on ship: None Was ship strafed: no Size Gun: - - - 22. Number near bomb misses: none Casualties from near misses: 0 23. Planes shot down: 0 (Sure) 0 (Possible) 0 (Damaged) 0 By what size gun: - - - 24. Details of damage to target by gunfire if available: Planes about 5000 yds. astern and 25,000 ft. high were always out of range of our 3"/50. 25. Performance of ammunition (excellent, good, bad, poor): Good. 26. Pattern sizes (large, small excessive): Small. SKETCH (a) Indicate direction of attack relative to ship's bearing. (b) Show relative position of sun. (c) Indicate own maneuvers.
November 14, 1942. From: Executive Officer. To: Commanding Officer. Subject: Enemy Action off Guadalcanal, Solomon Island, November 12, 1942. Reference: (a) Article 948, U.S. Navy Regulations. 1. At 1323 while unloading ship, General Quarters was sounded and by 1325 all stations were manned and the ship was underway. Information had been received that an enemy air attack by 25 planes was eminent. About 1413 observed two groups of torpedo planes, nine in one group and six in the other, approaching from the southeast end of Florida Island, probably about 15 miles distance. They were very close to the water, probably about 50 feet or less. The group of six slowly circled around to the starboard quarter of our formation and then started their approach. Shortly thereafter three destroyers on our starboard beam, quarter, and stern-port quarter, opened fire. Almost immediately our three inch guns began firing rapidly. The range was at that time probably 5000 yards. Shells were bursting all around the planes, but they came on. One enemy plane crashed and burst into flames very near the destroyer on our starboard quarter. At first I thought it had crashed into the destroyer. At this time another enemy plane was heading towards and ahead of the destroyer on our port quarter (this destroyer had been nearly astern) from starboard to port, about 1000 yards from our stern. All guns aft fired on this plane. Tracers were seen all around and pouring into it. Fire was halted on this plane just in time to prevent hitting the destroyer. This plane then swung right and went on a parallel course to the LIBRA, about 800 yards to port and passed ahead out of sight. I sure many hit were made on this plane by the LIBRA's 20mm guns. At this same time observed another enemy plane pass astern of the destroyer on our port quarter and then go down in flames. I believe the cruiser U.S.S. HELENA, on our port quarter, hit it. It was at this time that I observed considerable white smoke coming from the stern of this cruiser, and thought it had been hit. I now believe that it was a smoke generator that been pierced or that a smoke screen was being attempted. Immediately another Jap bomber was seen crossing our stern, starboard to port, about 1000 yards distance. All gun aft poured a vertible hail of lead into and around it. As it reached a point where our fire, if continued, would strike the destroyer on our port quarter, the fire was shifted to still another Jap bomber, which was dead astern of and heading straight at us, a distance of some 1500 yards. A murderous fire of shell was poured into and around it. But it still came on, shifter its course a little to port, passing close aboard to port, about 100 feet. As it went by the big Jap sun on the plane's side looked very large. At this time the port 20mm gunner put nearly a whole magazine of bullets into it. I expected it to crash, but it didn't until further hits were made on it by our forward gunners. About this time an explosion was felt. No more planes were seen in the air aft, but everyone was very much on the alert, especially as the word was received to expect dive bombers. Upon looking around the bay I counted seven Jap planes burning or wrecked in the water. All our ships appeared unharmed. A little later, about a mile astern, I saw the tail of one of our fighter planes sticking straight up out of the water. A destroyer was seen going toward it. Word was then received that a submarine was sighted and to train the 5" gun to 200° and load if ordered. The sub turned out to be a Jap plane that a destroyer was firing on. 2. In the above there are no doubt inaccuracies, but am certain that on the whole, it is fairly accurate. The sequence of events are about correct. There was too much going on to even begin to get a good picture of all events. I was busy directing the guns, ammunition party, spotting the most threatening plane, ect. 3. Have not said much about the 3" guns due to not being stationed there I could observe them closely. However, I know they were firing continually. Saw many 3" bursts around the planes. All the men behaved like veterans. In all departments I know they were better than the day before. Certainly there was much more fire power, team work, and accuracy than the day before, when they handled the situation extremely well. The amount of fire was greatly increased on the 20mm guns due to better located targets to fire on and also due to the sights having been removed so they did not have difficulty in locating the targets. A.B. DICKIE. ANTI-AIRCRAFT ACTION BY SURFACE SHIPS LOCATION OF SHIP: GUADALCANAL USS LIBRA(AK53) DATE November 12, 1942 General Quarters: 1323; Opened fire 1412; Ceased firing 1445 NOTES: (a) REPEL ATTACK FIRST - Then collect data for this report. (b) Do not "Gun Deck" this report - if data cannot be estimated with reasonable accuracy enter dash in space for which no data is available. (c) These sheets are to be filled out immediately after action is completed with available data from ship's log, memory, and consultation with ship's officers. Information is essential in order that the effectiveness of our equipment can be determined. Where data is of doubtful accuracy fill in with general terms. The obtaining or this information must not be allowed in any way to adversely affect the handling of equipment during action. 1. SURPRISE ATTACK (Yes or No): No; Radar warning net from shore radio. 2. METHOD PICKING PLANE UP (Radar, binoculars, naked eye): Binoculars. (if by radar state type of set) - - - 3. RANGE PLANE WAS PICKED UP (50 miles, 30 miles, 10 miles, less 5 miles): 14000 yards. 4. Number of planes: approx. 15 with fighter escort. 5. Type of plane (fighter, Scout, dive-bomber): torpedo bombers. Type of attack: torpedo. 6. Speed & Altitude (High and fast, intermediate and fast, low and fast, high and slow, intermediate and slow, low and slow): very low and medium. 7. Guns Firing: all Size: 3"/50 cal.; 20mm. Number: 4/10 Method of control: central ; local Method spotting: central ; local. 8. Ammunition expended: 3" 59 rounds; 20mm 1038 rounds. 9. Percent service allowance expended: 3" 6% ; 20mm 2%. 10. Approximate time tracking to first shot: approx. 10 minutes 11. Approximate time of first hits: 15 minutes. 12. Approximate time first shot to last shot: 20 minutes 13. Approximate position angle open fire: 0 degrees. 14. Approximate position cease fire: varied. 15. Approximate bearing first shot: 040 deg. And 165 deg. (relative). 16. Approximate bearing last shot: varied. 17. Approximate range first shot: 4,000 yds. 18. Approximate range last shot: 4,000 yds. 19. Approximate altitude of bomb release: 30 ft. Type of bomb: - - -. 20. Approximate Range Torpedo Release: saw only one released at close range (1000 yds.); it turned end over end upon hitting water. Size: --- 21. Hits on ship: None Was ship strafed: no Size Gun: - - - 22. Number near bomb misses: none Casualties from near misses: 0 23. Planes shot down: 2 (Sure) 1 (Possible) 1 (Damaged) 1 By what size gun: 20mm.; (other ships firing on same planes) 24. Details of damage to target by gunfire if available: Did not open fire with 3" soon enough to get good range. Targets broke up and came in very low off stbd. Qtr. At height of 30 feet, crossing our stern close aboard (about 300 yds.) and then flew between column of our ships. It was during this time we shot down one(1) definitely. 25. Performance of ammunition (excellent, good, bad, poor): very good. 26. Pattern sizes (large, small excessive): small. SKETCH (a) Indicate direction of attack relative to ship's bearing. (b) Show relative position of sun. (c) Indicate own maneuvers.
AMPHIBIOUS FORCE SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE Office of the Commander
U.S.S. ARGONNE, Flagship, December 3, 1942. CONFIDENTIAL FIRST ENDORSEMENT to CO, LIBRA's Conf. Ltr. AK53/A9-8 Ser. 020 of November 17, 1942. From: Commander Amphibious Force, South Pacific. To : Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Via : Commander South Pacific Force. Subject: Action Report. 1. Forwarded. R.K. TURNER Copy to: Comairsopac
SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE of the United States Pacific Fleet Headquarters of the Commander
A16-3/(90) Serial 00117c S-E-C-R-E-T December 9, 1942. SECOND ENDORSEMENT to CO USS LIBRA Conf. Ltr. AK53/A9-8 Serial 020 of November 17, 1942. From: The Commander South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force. To : The Commander-in-Chief U.S. Pacific Fleet. Subject: Action Report. 1. Forwarded. 2. Classification of this correspondence has been changed from "Confidential" to "Secret", and by copy of this endorsement the originator is directed to change his copy accordingly. W.F. HALSEY Copy to: Comampforsopac CO USS LIBRA Comairsopac

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