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CL-50 U.S.S. HELENA


Heavy Cruiser Class: St. Louis
Commissioned: 09/18/39
Length Overall: 608'4"
Extreme Beam: 61'8"
Standard Displacement tons: 10,000
Mean Draft: 19'10"
Designed Complement: Off.: 52;  Enl.: 836
Armament: Main: (15) 6"/47cal.
Armament: Secondary: (8) 5"/25cal.;  (8) .50cal. AA
Catapults: (2) Aft
Armor: Max. Thickness: 6.5"
Designed Speed: 33 kts.
Designed Shaft Horsepower 100,000
Engine Manufacturer Parson (NYNY)
Engine Type Turbine
Fuel (oil) tons 2200


WAR DIARY of the U.S.S. HELENA Nov.1 to 16, 1942


Action Report on the Night of Nov. 12-13, 1942" of U.S.S. HELENA



WAR DIARY

                           U.S.S. HELENA 
Cl50/A16-3                                                     10-ghs.

                                                     December 1, 1942. 
S-E-C-E-R-T


From:          Commanding Officer.
To  :          The Chief of Naval Operations (Office of Naval Records
               and Library.

Subject:       War Diary, U.S.S. HELENA, forwarding copy of.

References:    (a) PACIFIC FLEET LETTER 11L-42 of March 11, 1942.

Enclosures:    (A) Copy of War Diary, U.S.S. HELENA, period November 
                   1. 1942, to November 30, 1942. 

    1.         In compliance with reference (a), Enclosure (A) is 
               forwarded herewith.

                                                            C.P. CECIL

    Copy to:
           COMSOPAC with Similar enclosure.



                           U.S.S. HELENA

SECERT

                             WAR DIARY

                   U.S.S. HELENA (TASKFORCE 67)

             From November 1, 1942 to November 30 1942.


Original to FILE:
Copy to CNO (Office of Naval Records and Library).
Copy to COMSOPAC


SECRET                                               November 1, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComSoPac dispatch 290924 of October.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

GENERAL TASK: Operating in Task Group 65.4

LWT (-11)

0000   -   2400     Steaming on various courses at various speeds in
                    accordance to signal from CTF 65.

0720                Sighted Banks Islands bearing 358°

POSITIONS:

0800                Lat 14°, 36'.8 S
                    Long 167°, 15'.6 E

1200                Lat 13°, 12'.5 S
                    Long 166°, 28'.5 E

2000                Lat 14°, 02' S
                    Long 165°, 07' E

Courses, Speed and Distance made good from 1200 Oct 31 to 1200 Nov 1:

                    Course: 306° T.
                    Speed: 15 knots.
                    Distance: 285 miles.

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                               November 2, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComSoPac dispatch 290924 of October.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

GENERAL TASK: Operating in Task Group 65.4

LWT (-11)

0000   -   1200     Steaming as before on various courses at various
                    speeds in accordance with signals from CTF 65.

1227   -   1236     Received U.S.S. MANLEY alongside to transfer guard 
                    mail.

1525                Sighted ships, hull down bearing 185° T, distance 
                    15 miles.  Later identified as PENSACOLA group

1808                Reversed fleet course to 150° T.

2310                Cleared formation and took station astern SAN 
                    FRANCISCO.

POSITIONS:

0800                Lat 11°, 09'.5 S
                    Long 163°, 24'.5 E

1200                Lat 10°, 27'.6 S
                    Long 163°, 09'.1 E

2000                Lat 10°, 36'.7 S
                    Long 162°, 35' E

Courses, Speed and Distance made good from 1200 Nov 1 to 1200 Nov 2:

                    Course: 319° T.
                    Speed: 14 knots.
                    Distance: 295 miles.

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                               November 3, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComSoPac dispatch 290924 of October.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

GENERAL TASK: Operating in Task Group 65.4

LWT (-11)

0000   -   0900     Steaming as before.  Maneuvering on various 
                    courses at various speeds in accordance with 
                    orders CTF 65.

0348                Radar contact 036° T., distance 11,200 yards.  
                    Destroyer investigated.

0439                Destroyer dropped depth charges on submarine 
                    sighted while investigating radar contact.

0910                Sighted three ships bearing 297° T.  Identified as 
                    Atlanta Group.

1342   -   1345     Sighted ship belonging to transport group.

1538                Sighted ship bearing 320° T., Identified as U.S.S. 
                    CONYNGHAM.

1821                Sighted ship hull down bearing 285° T.  Identified 
                    as U.S.S. SOUTHARD.

1830   -   2400     Steaming as before.

POSITIONS:

0800                Lat 11°, 01'5 S
                    Long 161°, 22' E

1200                Lat 11°, 04'3 S
                    Long 162°, 29'6 E

2000                Lat 10°, 00'6 S
                    Long 161°, 49' E

Courses, Speed and Distance made good from 1200 Nov 2 to 1200 Nov 3:

                    Course: 247 T.
                    Speed: 16 knots.
                    Distance: 95 miles.

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                               November 4, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComSoPac dispatch 290924 of October.

ENCLOSURE (A): Report of bombardment Koil Point.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

GENERAL TASK: Operating in Task Group 65.4

LWT (-11)

0000   -   0500     Steaming as before.  Maneuvering on various
                    courses at various speeds in accordance with 
                    signals from CTF65.

0500   -   1800     Operating off northeast coast Guadalcanal Island
                    on various courses at various speeds.

0745                Hoisted out one aircraft for gunnery observations.

1007   -   1112     Conducted bombardment to east of Koli Point (see 
                    enclosure A).

1114                Aircraft reported on way to attack.  Took station 
                    to protect transports.

1322                All clear.  Resumed patrol.

1506   -   1522     Recovered three aircraft - DOG METHOD.

1800   -   2400     Operating as patrol in Indispensible Strait.

POSITIONS:

0800                Lat 09°, 20'5 S
                    Long 160°, 02'.2 E

1200                Lat 09°, 20'2 S
                    Long 160°, 09'6 E

2000                Lat 09°, 14'7 S
                    Long 160°, 48' E

Courses, Speed and Distance made good from 1200 Nov 3 to 1200 Nov 4:

                    Course: 320° T.
                    Speed: 14 knots.
                    Distance: 250 miles.

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                               November 5, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComSoPac dispatch 290924 of October.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

GENERAL TASK: Operating in Task Group 65.4

LWT (-11)

0000   -   0600     Steaming as before.  Maneuvering on various
                    Courses at various speeds in accordance with
                    signals from CTF 65.

0600   -   0930     Patrolled off Aola Bay.

0931                Received warning of impending air raid.

1012   -   1035     Launched four aircraft to proceed to Tulagi.

1035   -   1214     Screened transport group.

1212   -   2200     Patrolled off Aola Bay.

1558   -   1612     Recovered four aircraft - DOG METHOD.

2145                Reported radar contact bearing 250° T.

2250                Enemy forces reported off Savo and Lunga Roads
                    area.

2302                Sighted two flares dropped over Guadalcanal. 

POSITIONS:

0800                Lat 09°, 25'5 S
                    Long 160°, 35'.3 E

1200                Lat 09°, 29'2 S
                    Long 160°, 31' E

2000                Lat 09°, 21'2 S
                    Long 160°, 41.7' E

Courses, Speed and Distance made good from 1200 Nov 4 to 1200 Nov 5:

                    Course: 120° T.
                    Speed: 15 knots.
                    Distance: 30 miles.

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                               November 6, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComSoPac dispatch 290924 of October.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

GENERAL TASK: Operating in Task Group 65.4

LWT (-11)

0000   -   0020     Steaming as before.

0013                Sighted two flares over Guadalcanal.

0020                Set course to clear Guadalcanal - Tulagi area.

0020   -   2400     Steaming on various courses at various speeds in 
                    accordance with signals from CTF 65.

1906                Radar target bearing 056° T., distance 13,100 
                    yards.
                    Appeared to be submarine from actions. 

POSITIONS:

0800                Lat 09°, 51' S
                    Long 161°, 33' E

1200                Lat 10°, 10'2 S
                    Long 161°, 26'5 E

2000                Lat 11°, 30' S
                    Long 162°, 57' E

Courses, Speed and Distance made good from 1200 Nov 5 to 1200 Nov 6:

                    Course: 130° T.
                    Speed: 15 knots.
                    Distance: 72 miles.

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                               November 7, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComSoPac dispatch 290924 of October.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

GENERAL TASK: Operating in Task Group 65.4

LWT (-11)

0000   -   2400     Steaming as before on various courses at various 
                    speeds in accordance with signals from CTF 65.

1315                Launched one aircraft for flight to Buttons. 

POSITIONS:

0800                Lat 14°, 13' S
                    Long 163°, 11' E

1200                Lat 14°, 10'5 S
                    Long 164°, 13'7 E

2000                Lat 14°, 20'5 S
                    Long 166°, 22' E

Courses, Speed and Distance made good from 1200 Nov 6 to 1200 Nov 7:

                    Course: 130° T.
                    Speed: 15 knots.
                    Distance: 72 miles.

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                               November 8, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComSoPac dispatch 290924 of October.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.
CHANGES: Shifted Task Organization of Task Force 65 in accordance with 
         ComSoPac dispatch 061237 of November.

GENERAL TASK: Operating in Task Group 65.4

LWT (-11)

0000   -   0400     Steaming as before.  Maneuvering on various
                    courses at various speeds in accordance  with 
                    orders from CTF 65.

0446                Launched one aircraft for inner anti-submarine 
                    patrol.

0500                Commenced maneuvering on various courses to 
                    approach and enter port.

0517   -   0519     Launched two aircraft for inner anti-submarine 
                    patrol.

0623                Moored port side to U.S.S. GUADALUPE for fueling.

0645   -   0700     Recovered three aircraft - BAKER METHOD.

0705                Commenced fueling.

1025                Completed fueling.

1056                Underway to shift berths.

1129                Anchored berth B-3. Prepared to shift berth as the 
                    present one was too small.

1158                Anchored berth Y-1. Espiritu Santo, N.H. in 28
                    fathoms of water with 75 fathoms of chain to the 
                    starboard anchor.

1200   -   2400     Anchored as before.

Courses, Speed and Distance made good from 1200 Nov 7 to anchoring.

                    
M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                               November 9, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComSoPac dispatch 061237 of November.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

GENERAL TASK: Operating in Task Group 65

LWT (-11)

0000   -   1100     Anchored as before.

1109   -   1223     Underway to shift berths.

1223                Anchored berth B-4 Segond Channel, Espiritu Santo, 
                    N.H.

1223   -   2400     Anchored as before.


M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                              November 10, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComSoPac dispatch 061237 of November.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.
CHANGES: Task organization shifted to Task Force 67 for temporary 
         assignment.  Operating in Task Group 67.4 in accordance with 
         ComSoPac dispatch 080222 of November.

GENERAL TASK: Operating in Task Group 67.4

LWT (-11)

0000   -   0550     Anchored as before.

0557                Underway.  Steaming on various courses at various 
                    speeds to clear harbor and channel.

0652                Cleared harbor.  Steadied on base course 140° T.

0700   -   1120     Steaming on various courses at various speeds in 
                    accordance with signals from C.T.G. 67.4.

1120                Left formation to take station for San Francisco 
                    offset firing practice.

1413   -   1436     Conducted test firing automatic weapons and six 
                    inch H.C. projectiles.

1445   -   1538     Conducted main battery tracking exercise while 
                    rejoining formation.

1547                Rejoined formation.

1735                Pensacola and escorts left formation.

1800   -   2400     Steaming as before.  

POSITIONS:

0800                Lat 15°, 49'5 S
                    Long 167°, 08'8 E

1200                Lat 15°, 17'5 S
                    Long 166°, 17'0 E

2000                Lat 14°, 21' S
                    Long 164°, 30'3 E

Courses, Speed and Distance made good from getting underway to 1200 Nov 10 

                    Course: 290° T.
                    Speed: 17 knots.
                    Distance: 55 miles.

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                              November 11, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComSoPac dispatch 080222 of November.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

GENERAL TASK: Operating in Task Group 67.4

LWT (-11)

0000   -   0800     Steaming as before. Maneuvering on various courses 
                    at various speeds in accordance with signals from 
                    CTG 67.4

0841                Sighted transport group.  Commenced maneuvering on 
                    various courses at various speeds in accordance 
                    with signals from CTG 67.4 to join forces.

0905                Steadied on base course 330° T.

1000   -   1005     Received DD alongside to transfer guard mail.

1127                Unidentified aircraft reported bearing 200° T 
                    distant 22 miles.

1132                Aircraft identified as Jap sea-plane.

1257                Unidentified aircraft 275° T., distant 23 miles.  
                    Plane identified as four engine Jap seaplane.

1500   -   1508     Launched three aircraft for flight to Tulagi.

2123                Sighted two white lights in vertical row dead 
                    Ahead.

2217                Passed Nugu Island abeam to starboard bearing 
                    000° T., distant 1.75 miles.

2251                Passed through Sealark Channel. 

POSITIONS:

0800                Lat 11°, 34'7 S
                    Long 162°, 59' E

1200                Lat 11°, 26'3 S
                    Long 162°, 22'7 E

2000                Lat 09°, 30'5 S
                    Long 160°, 58'6 E

Courses, Speed and Distance made good from 1200 10 November to 1200 11 November:

                    Course: 315° T.
                    Speed: 17 knots.
                    Distance: 315 miles.

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                              November 12, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComSoPac dispatch 080222 of November.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

Enclosures:  (A)  Report of shore bombardment Mouth of Kokimbona 
                  River.
             (B)  Report of torpedo plane attack on Task Force 67.

GENERAL TASK: Operating in Task Group 67.4

LWT (-11)

0000   -   0530     Steaming on various courses at various speeds in 
                    accordance with signals from CTG 67.4.  Making 
                    sweeps off Savo Island - Guadalcanal Area to find 
                    any enemy forces present.

0548                Destroyer reported sound contact and started 
                    dropping depth charges.

0554                Resumed base course.

0600   -   0700     Patrolled station off transports.

0728   -   0825     Conducted shore bombardment on enemy installations
                    at mouth of Kokumbona River. (See enclosure "A").

0830   -   1320     Patrolled station off transport landing group.

1007                Friendly planes approached.  Fired on by several 
                    ships.  No hits observed

1320                Received warning of impending air attack.

1320   -   1340     Maneuvered to take station in port quarter of 
                    transport group.

1405                Enemy planes reported approaching over Florida 
                    Island.

1408                Changed course to 340° T.

1410   -   1452     Repelled enemy torpedo planer attack.  (See 
                    enclosure "B').

1500                Resumed patrol off transport group conducting 
                    landing operations.

1500   1800         Steaming as before. Patrolling stations.

1800   1840         Maneuvered on various courses at various speeds to 
                    take station in formation.

2009                Passed Nugu Island abeam to port distant one mile.

2214                Changed base course to 270° T. 

POSITIONS:

0800                Lat 09°,  23'0 S
                    Long 159°, 58'9 E

1200                Lat 09°, 23'3 S
                    Long 159°, 59'5 E

2000                Lat 09°, 18' S
                    Long 160°, 18'9 E

Courses, Speed and Distance made good from 1200 11 November to 1200 12 November:

                    Course: 311° T.
                    Speed: 17 knots.
                    Distance: - - - - miles.

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                              November 13, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComSoPac dispatch 080222 of November.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

CHANGES:  0242 - U.S.S. Helena took charge of vessels of Task Group
          67.4.
                 U.S.S. HELENA             U.S.S. FLETCHER
                 U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO      U.S.S. O'BANNON
                 U.S.S. JUNEAU             U.S.S. STERETT

Enclosures:  (A)  Report of battle off Guadalcanal.
             (B)  Report of torpedoing and sinking of U.S.S. JUNEAU.

GENERAL TASK: Operating in Task Group 67.4

LWT (-11)

0000   -   0100     Steaming as before.  Maneuvering on various 
                    courses in accordance with orders from CTG 67.4.

0108                Changed base course to 280° T.

0122                Changed speed to 18 knots.

0125                Reported radar contact bearing 310° T., distant 
                    31,000 yards.

0125   -   0400     See enclosure (A).

0422                Changed speed to 15 knots.

0430                Changed course 135° T.

0432                Changed speed to 20 knots.

0458                Changed course to 100° T.

0459                Radar contact 206° T., distant 10,000 yards.

0520                Changed course to 145° T.

0523                Changed course to 130° T.

0528                Commenced zig-zagging on base course 130° T.

    Note:           Between period 0300 and 0600 was joined by U.S.S. 
                    JUNEAU, U.S.S. FLETCHER, U.S.S. O'BANNON and 
                    U.S.S. STERETT.

0548                Changed base course to 110° T.

0600                Changed speed to 10 knots.

0622                Changed speed to 15 knots.

0637                Changed speed to 10 knots.

0638                Changed base course to 175° T.

0725   -   0755     Slowed formation to transfer doctors from HELENA 
                    and JUNEAU to O'BANNON.  Detached O'BANNON to 
                    proceed to point clear of formation and transmit 
                    dispatch 122005 to ComSoPac.

0755                Steadied on base course 180° T, speed 10 knots, 
                    zig-zagging according to plan #8.

0830                Changed speed to 18 knots.

0950                STERETT reported sound contact.  Executed 
                    emergency turn to right.  STERETT dropped depth 
                    charges.  Results unknown.

0954                Resumed base course.

1020                U.S.S. BUCHANAN reported for duty.

1100                Torpedo reported on port side distant about 400 
                    yards bearing 260° relative.

1101                U.S,S, JUNEAU torpedoed, exploded and disappeared 
                    from sight. (See enclosure "B").  Ships maneuvered 
                    radically.

1116                Unidentified aircraft sighted.

1118                Resumed base course.

1121                Aircraft identified as a B-17.  Reported sinking
                    and position of JUNEAU accident and requested 
                    plane inform ComSoPac.

1124                Changed speed to 20 knots.

1129                Changed base course to 135° T.

1145                Torpedo wake reported by SAN FRANCISCO.  Emergency 
                    turn to right, increased speed to flank.

1148                Steadied on base course, resumed zig-zagging.

1400                Sighted ship bearing 015° T., distant 28,000 
                    yards.  Identified as U.S.S. O'BANNON.

1506                U.S.S. O'BANNON rejoined formation.

1500 - Sunset       Escorted by one to four PBY planes acting as anti-
                    submarine patrol.

1918                Yellow flare reported on starboard quarter.

2000                Changed base course to 110° T.

2000   -   2400     Steaming as before. 

POSITIONS:

0800                Lat 09°,  51' S
                    Long 161°, 04'9 E

1200                Lat 10°, 52'9 S
                    Long 161°, 23'6 E

2000                Lat 12°, 27' S
                    Long 162°, 51'2 E

Courses, Speed and Distance made good from 1200 12 November to 1200 13 November:

                    Course: 318° T.
                    Speed: 20 knots.
                    Distance: 115 miles.

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                              November 14, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComSoPac dispatch 080222 of November.

TASK ORGANIZTION: Task Group 67.4 Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

                 U.S.S. HELENA             
                 U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO      
                 U.S.S. O'BANNON 
                 U.S.S. STERETT
                 U.S.S. FLETCHER
CHANGES:         U.S.S. BUCHANAN joined group as additional
                                 escort.

GENERAL TASK: Retiring to base.

LWT (-11)

0000   -   0400     Steaming as before.  On base course 110° T; speed 
                    20 knots; zig-zagging according to plan #6.

0400                Changed base course to 125° T.

0716                PBY anti-submarine patrol took station ahead of 
                    formation.

0745                Sighted transport group (CTF 67) bearing 200° T., 
                    distant 18 miles.

0823                Changed base course to 180° T.

0834                Changed base course to 125° T.

0845                Sighted Banks Island bearing 140° T., distant 39 
                    miles.

0945                SAN FRANCISCO reported periscope astern of her.  
                    Emergency turn right.  Increased speed flank.

0951                Resumed base course and zig-zagged.

0954                Resumed speed to 20 knots

1002                Changed base course to 100° T.

1015                Destroyer reported submarine contact.  Emergency 
                    turn right.  Contact not developed.

1027                Resumed base course and zig-zagging.

1105                Changed case course to 120° T.

1145   -   1300     Vessels of Task Group unloaded all guns through 
                    muzzles.

1300                Changed base course to 170° T.

1337                SAN FRANCISCO reported torpedo wake.  Emergency 
                    turn to the right.

1349                Resumed base course and zig-zagging.

1350                Torpedo wake reported.  Emergency turn to the 
                    right.

1400                Resumed base course.

1503                San Francisco reported sighting submarine.  
                    Emergency turn to port.

1510                Resumed base course.

1513                Changed base course to 180° T.

1532                Changed base course to 260° T.
                    Commenced maneuvering on various courses at 
                    various speeds to enter port.

1639                Moored starboard side to U.S.S. GUADALUPE, 
                    Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides.

1735                Commenced fueling.

2030                Completed fueling.

2030   -   2400     Anchored as before.

POSITIONS:

0800                Lat 13°, 59' S
                    Long 166°, 04'3 E

1200                Lat 14°, 40' S
                    Long 161°, 23'6 E

2000                
                    

Courses, Speed and Distance made good from 1200 13 November to 1200 12 November:

                    Course: 305° T.
                    Speed: 20 knots.
                    Distance: 380 miles.

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                              November 15, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComSoPac dispatch 080222 of November.

TASK ORGANIZTION: Task Group 67.4 Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

                 U.S.S. HELENA             
                 U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO      
                 U.S.S. O'BANNON 
                 U.S.S. STERETT
                 U.S.S. FLETCHER
                 U.S.S. BUCHANAN

CHANGES:  Task Force 67disbanded in accordance with CTF 67 despatch 
          142000 of November       

GENERAL TASK: Awaiting orders.

LWT (-11)

0000   -   0850     Moored as before.

0851                Underway to shift berths.

0914                Anchored berth A-12 Segond Channel, Espiritu 
                    Santo, New Hebrides with 90 fathoms of chain to 
                    starboard anchor in 22 fathoms of water.

0930   -   2400     Anchored as before.

Courses, Speed and Distance made good from 1200 14 November to 
anchoring:

                    Course: 170° T.
                    Speed: 20 knots.
                    Distance: 55 miles.

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.


SECRET                                              November 16, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComSoPac dispatch 061232 of November.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

GENERAL TASK: Awaiting orders.

LWT (-11)

0000   -   2400     Anchored as before.


M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.


SECRET                                              November 17, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with CTF 62 dispatch 061232 of November.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

CHANGES:  In accordance with CTF 62 despatch 160622 of November formed 
          Task Group 62.7       

                 U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G.C. HOOVER.
                 U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO
                 U.S.S. STERETT
                 U.S.S. BUCHANAN 
GENERAL TASK: Awaiting orders.

LWT (-11)

0000   -   2400     Anchored as before.


M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                              November 18, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComTaskFor 62 dispatch 061232 of November.

TASK ORGANIZTION: Task Group 62.7 - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

                 U.S.S. HELENA 
                 U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO
                 U.S.S. STERETT
                 U.S.S. BUCHANAN

CHANGES:  U.S.S. GWIN ordered to join Task Group 62.7       

GENERAL TASK: Proceed to WHITE POPPY.

LWT (-11)

0000   -   1600     Anchored as before.

1640                Submarine reported at west entrance to Segond 
                    Channel.

1603                Underway, steaming on various courses at various 
                    speeds to clear harbor and channel.

1634                Changed speeds to 20 knots.

1638                Steadied on course 157° T.

1640                Steadied on course 125z T.

1645                Commenced zig-zagging according to plan #8.

1700   -   1815     Steaming on various courses at various speeds, 
                    zig-zagging according to plan to pass through
                    Bouganville Strait.

1818                Steadied on base course 270° T. Zig-zagging 
                    according to plan #8.

1900                Changed base course to 180° T.

2000                Changed base course to 165° T.

2032                Sound contact reported.  Emergency turn right.  
                    Increased speed to flank.

2041                Steadied on base course.

2229                STERETT made close sound contact.  Dropped depth 
                    charges.  Formation maneuvered clear.  Result - 
                    STERETT believes submarine sunk.

2245                Resumed base course.

2245   -   2400     Steaming as before.

POSITIONS:

2000                Lat 16°, 12' S
                    Long 166°, 51' E


M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                              November 19, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComTaskFor 62 of November.

TASK ORGANIZTION: Task Group 62.7 - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

                 U.S.S. HELENA 
                 U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO
                 U.S.S. STERETT
                 U.S.S. BUCHANAN
                 U.S.S. GWIN

GENERAL TASK: Proceed to WHITE POPPY.

LWT (-11)

0000   -   0900     Steaming as before.

0800                Changed base course to 158° T.

1144                GWIN reported submarine contact bearing 170° T.  
                    Emergency turn right 90°, increased speed to
                    flank.  GWIN left formation to develop contact. 

1202                Resumed base course at standard speed.

1230                Changed base course to 165°

1700                Changed base course to 235°

1830                Changed base course to 180°

2045                Changed base course to 220°

2045   -   2400     Steaming as before.

POSITIONS:

0800                Lat 19°, 07'1 S
                    Long 167°, 47' E

1200                Lat 20°, 15'6 S
                    Long 168°, 23'8 E

2000                Lat 22°, 17'2 S
                    Long 168°, 16'8 E

Courses, Speed and Distance made good for getting underway 18 November to 1200 19 November:

                    Course: 166° T.
                    Speed: 18.5 knots.
                    Distance: 290 miles.

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                              November 20, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating in accordance with ComTaskFor 62 of November.

TASK ORGANIZTION: Task Group 62.7 - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

                 U.S.S. HELENA 
                 U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO
                 U.S.S. STERETT
                 U.S.S. BUCHANAN
                 U.S.S. GWIN

CHANGES:  Task Group 62.7 dissolved. 
GENERAL TASK: Proceed to WHITE POPPY.

LWT (-11)

0000   -   0100     Steaming as before.

0100                Changed base course to 270° T.

0300                Radar contact - land bearing 025° T.

0600                Changed base course to 030° T.

0627                Sighted Amedee Light bearing 025° T., distance 23
                    miles.

0700                Changed base course to 047° T.

0730                Commenced steaming on various courses at various 
                    speeds to enter port and conform with channel.

0941                Anchored berth B-2, Port Noumea, in 7 fathoms of 
                    water with 60 fathoms of chain to starboard 
                    anchor.

1035                U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO moored alongside to 
                    starboard.

1035   -   2400     Anchored as before.

Courses, Speed and Distance made good from 1200 19 November to anchoring. 

                    Course: 218° T.
                    Speed: 18 knots.
                    Distance: 101 miles.

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                              November 21, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Awaiting tender overhaul.
Operating under ComSeronSoPac dispatch 210407 of November.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

GENERAL TASK:  Tender overhaul.

LWT (-11)

0000   -   1600     Anchored as before.

1601                Underway to go alongside tender.

1609                Moored starboard side to U.S.S. PROMETHEUS.

1610   -   2400     Moored as before.    

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                              November 22, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating under ComSeronSoPac dispatch 210407 of November.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.

GENERAL TASK:  Tender overhaul.

LWT (-11)

0000   -   2400     Moored as before.

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                              November 23, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating under ComSeronSoPac dispatch 210407 of November.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain G. C. Hoover, USN.
                                  Captain C.P. Cecil, USN.

GENERAL TASK:  Tender overhaul.

LWT (-11)

0000   -   2400     Moored as before.

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.

SECRET                                         November 24 - 30, 1942.

REPORT FOR COMMANDER SOUTH PACIFIC FORCE:
Operating under ComSeronSoPac dispatch 210407 of November.

TASK ORGANIZTION: U.S.S. HELENA - Captain C.P. Cecil, USN.

GENERAL TASK:  Tender overhaul.

LWT (-11)

- - - - - -         Moored as before.

M.T. TYNG,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy,
By direction.




Back to the top




ACTION REPORT

                                 U.S.S. HELENA

CL50/A16-3                                                               10-s
                                                           November 15, 1942.

From:          Commanding Officer.
To  :          Commander-in-Chief, United States Pacific Fleet.

Subject:       Action off North Coast Guadalcanal, Early Morning of
               November 13, 1942, report of.  (3rd Savo Island Night
               Action.)

References:    (a) U.S. Navy Regulations, 1920, Arts. 712 and 874(6).
               (b) PacFlt Conf. ltr 24CL-42 of June 21, 1942.
               (c) USS HELENA Secret Airmailgram 140001 to CTF 67.
               (d) USS HELENA secret Airmailgram 152121 to CTF 67.
               (e) CTF 67 Secret 151012 to ComSoPac.
               (f) USS HELENA Secret Ltr. CL50/A16-3(005) of Nov. 14,
                   1942, on sinking of JUNEAU.
               (g) CTF 67 Secret dispatch NPM 225 - 120133.
               (h) NPM 387 - 130200.
               (i) USS HELENA Secret dispatch 121610 to Radio Tulagi.
               (j) USS HELENA Secret dispatch 122005 to ComAirSoPac.
               (k) USS HELENA Secret ltr. CL50/A16-3(004) of Oct. 20,
                   1942 on Action Night 11-12 October.

Enclosures:    (A) Track Chart of HELENA.
               (B) Extracts from TBS Log.
               (C) Copy of Report of Lieutenant Roger W. O'Neil,
                   MC-V(G), USNR, senior survivor JUNEAU.
               (D) Copy HELENA BT to B-17 Plane on Nov. 13, 1942.
               (E) Sail George Radar Officer's Report.

    1.         In accordance with references (a) and (b) the following report
is submitted following the sequences given in enclosure (A) of reference (b).

      (1)      Comments on and summary of outstanding events.
               As stated in the HELENA's report of the Night Action off Savo 
Island on 11-12 October, reference (k) par. 1(1) and 1(5-c), the value of the 
a Sail George Radar cannot be overemphasized.  It was invaluable, and was the 
sole means of keeping the OTC informed of the enemy prior to sight contact.  
The OTC was informed of the approximate formation, general size of ships 
(large or small), bearing, distance, course and speed.  This information 
started at about 31,900 yards on true bearing 310°, as is shown in Enclosure 
(B).  It was necessary to send this in voice code via TBS as the flagship was 
not equipped with SG Radar and therefore must rely on outside information.. 
With this invaluable instrument available every possible effort should be 
made to at least equip flagships with it.

               An enemy cruiser illuminated this ship by searchlight,
simultaneously opening fire, prior to our force commencing fire, two hits
doing minor material damage were at once registered.  Size of projectile 
fragments and base plug, height and size of searchlight, and radar image 
confirm this.
               The enemy were very evidently equipped with bombardment 
ammunition for that mission, or it is believed much greater material damage
would have resulted to us.  Parts of projectiles recovered on board this and
others of our ships verify this statement.
               As the main battery of the HELENA was tracking the target 
that illuminated it, and was completely ready to open fire with fire control 
problem solved by radar, our fire was effective at once and large fires with
quick sinking resulted.  This burning ship illuminated others in this force
and greatly assisted the destroyers in directing torpedo fire on major ships. 
This is the ideal method of Night Illumination.
               Four important decisions were involved in this action, and its 
aftermath, which the commanding officer of this ship had to make.
               (l) The ship was illuminated and under fire of the enemy. 
When should fire be returned as no orders to "commence firing" had been 
Received? Just "stand-by to open fire".
                   This ship had furnished most of the information on the 
enemy and had a very good picture of them showing our force surrounded on 
three sides, or soon would be.  The enemy was hitting us at once and a delay 
might be fatal.  See reference (k), paragraph 1 (7-b).  This was discussed at 
the preliminary conference with Rear Admiral Callaghan prior to sailing.  I
opened fire at 0148.

               (2) At about 0218 the PORTLAND appeared to be out of control 
and on questioning reported a torpedo hit jamming her rudder.  They asked for 
a tow at 0231.  Should the HELENA stop and do this under the circumstances?
                   Action was still taking place.  The position of our forces 
was not definitely known.  Every effort was being made to close the SAN 
FRANCISCO.  The PORTLAND and JUNEAU had been torpedoed, and from previous 
observation probably the ATLANTA.  Enemy destroyers were in all directions 
and a grave danger of torpedoing existed.  See reference (k) paragraph 1 
(7-d).  I tried to contact the OTC by TBS and to find the SAN FRANCISCO 
visually.  After the action described in reference (k), Rear Admiral Scott 
emphasized the desirability of all remaining forces keeping closed up and 
assembling for possible further action.  (At about 0228 the only ship that 
would answer on TBS were the O'BANNON and FLETCHER).  Returning to the area 
of the PORTLAND was not considered justified.  At 0240 the SAN FRANCISCO was 
contacted by blinker tube on our port bow and instructed us to take charge.  
Reference (i) was then sent to Radio Tulagi requesting tow and air coverage 
for the PORTLAND. 

               (3)  When should the night action be broken off and a 
retirement started?
                         At about 0214 while attempting to get the course of 
the rest of the ships in the force I received no answer.  As I knew the 
PORTLAND was damaged, the ATLANTA appeared to have been hit, the SAN 
FRANCISCO was known to have been hit, and the JUNEAU was not seen.  I called 
all ships and at about 0226 attempted to assemble what forces remained.  
Firing then was sporadic and numerous ships were burning.  The O'BANNON and 
FLETCHER only were contacted.  Course 092, speed 20 knots and form 18 was 
given in code by TBS to all ships, and destination Sealark.  Soon after this 
the SAN FRANCISCO was contacted ahead on our port bow headed for Sealark 
Channel and some idea of her crippled condition was obtained.  SAN FRANCISCO 
asked HELENA to lead her out.  This together with the few ships contacted 
caused my decision to retire with the remaining forces via Sealark Channel, 
which was done with the aid of the Sail George Radar.  The FLETCHER preceded 
us, and the O'BANNON joined to the eastward having transited Lengo Channel.  
At 0420 the STERETT having transited Lengo and being damaged joined near Nura 
Island at the rendezvous I had given for 0425.  At 0455 sighted JUNEAU ahead 
on the port bow.  At 0526 the JUNEAU was directed to join us.

               (4)  At 1101 the JUNEAU was torpedoed as reported in reference
(f).  Should an attempt have been made to search the area for 
survivors?
                         The SAN FRANCISCO and HELANA were screened by the 
STERETT (damaged) and the FLETCHER, as the O'BANNON was at about 0815 sent to 
send reference (j), and it rejoined at 1530.  Due to the small screen, the 
crippled condition of the ships, and the devastating nature of the explosion, 
it was not considered that the risk of further torpedoing was justified.  No 
sound or sight contact was made.  The hope that a plane would soon appear was 
held, as the message sent by the O'BANNON asking for air coverage had been 
already received by us on the Fox Schedule.  At 1121 a B-17 did appear and 
Enclosure (D) was the message transmitted to him for forwarding.  This 
message was acknowledged for by the plane, but apparently not forwarded to 
Commander South Pacific Force. 

      (2-a)    Enemy forces:

               #1   See NPM NR 205 D/T 120030.
               #2   See NPM NR 232 D/T 120625.
               #3   See NPM NR 200 D/T 112345.

               #1   Concerning 2 BB or 2 CA.
               #2   Concerning 2 CV.
               #3   Concerning 5 DD.

               See Enclosure (E) for general disposition of enemy.

      (2-b)    Own formation entered the area via Lengo Channel in battle 
disposition "Baker One".  Order of ships as follows:  Column of station units 
van unit Commander Stokes CUSHING, LAFFEY, STERETT, O'BANNON; Base unit 
ATLANTA, SAN FRANCISCO, PORTLAND, HELENA, JUNEAU;  Rear units Captain Tobin 
AARON WARD, BARTON, MONSSEN, FLETCHER.  Distance in yards Destroyers 500, 
Cruisers 700.  Distance between rear and first ship adjacent units 800 yards.  
(Refer CTG 67.4 despatch 120615 of November).

      (2-c)    Wind from 120, 9 knots; sea smooth swells from 125; Sky partly 
cloudy but clear overhead.  Jagged lightning over land areas especially in 
mountains on Guadalcanal and Florida Island.

      (3-a)    While our forces was steaming on course 280° T, speed 18, in 
special battle disposition (column with four destroyers leading in column, 
five cruisers (HELENA fourth cruiser in column), followed by four 
destroyers), off Guadalcanal between Lunga Point and Cape Esperance, Radar 
Plot reported a contact at 0124, bearing 312° T, range 27,100 yards.  One or 
two minutes after this Radar Plot reported that three separate groups of 
targets were distinguishable, two at 27,000 yards, and one at 32,000 yards.  
At about 0130 Radar Plot reported that target course was approximately 134° 
T, speed 20.  Between 0125 aand 0130 our course was changed to 000 and speed 
increased to 20 knots.  At about 0135 range to left closest target group was 
15,000 yards, bearing 324° T, and tracking gave enemy course 120°, speed 20.  
According to plotting room at about 0137 we changed course to 315° T and 
speed to 25 which was directly toward the farthest of the three enemy groups 
and between the two closest enemy groups.

      (3-b)    The forward FC radar picked up one target group at about
18,000 yards and in conjunction with radar plot tracked this group.  It was 
the left hand group of the two closest groups of targets.  It never appeared 
to change course or speed.  At a range of about 6000 or 7000 yards the 
Gunnery Officer checked and found that we were not on the left hand ship of 
this group and by use of "SG" radar shifted to a ship farther to the left in 
this group.  This enemy group passed ahead of and crossed to port of our 
leading destroyers which had at about 0140 changed course to about 270° T.

      (3-c)    Director I was tracking the target using the Forward FC radar 
for range and train.  Director II was doing likewise.  All turrets were 
loaded and in automatic train and elevation.  Director I controlling in 
train, Director III in elevation.  At about 0148 we were illuminated by a 
searchlight bearing about 285° relative and exactly in line with the train of 
Director I.  Commence firing was ordered immediately and the main battery 
opened fire in continuous fire at a range of about 4200 yards.  Rapid 
continuous fire was maintained for about two minutes using a 200 yard rocking 
ladder.  Almost at the same time that we opened fire we started our turn to 
the left following in column the ships ahead which had changed course to 
about 270° T.  The searchlight on the target (which appeared too high and 
large to be on a destroyer) was immediately turned off or shot away.  Spot I 
reports that the target was visible to him, that our tracers appeared to be 
perfect in deflection and that practically all of our shots appeared to hit, 
and that before cease firing the target was afire forward and amidships and 
was sinking.  Cease firing was given as ordered by Task Force Commander and 
Commanding Officer after about two minutes of firing at which time the range 
was about 3000 yards.  At about the moment of opening fire on this target a 
large and compact salvo was seen to hit directly in our wake and 50 to 100 
yards astern.  During this firing we received two hits in the vicinity of the 
stacks and searchlight tower, one of which has been definitely determined to 
have been eight inch.  It is also probable that the hit we received on the 
airplane crane was received at this time.  It is believed that our target was 
an eight inch cruiser and that it was sunk.  Two destroyers, the O'BANNON and 
the FLETCHER, both report that it was a cruiser and both report seeing it 
sink.  Its burning silhouetted a BB target for the O'BANNON.

      (3-d)    The forward Fox Dog picked up the target at about the same 
time as the Fox Cast and tracked a target ship in the same group obtaining 
the same enemy course and speed as did the main battery.  The 5" battery was 
in automatic using radar train.  Upon opening fire the 5" was on a target 
slightly to the left of the main battery target and at a range of 6200 yards.  
The director control officer and spotter reports seeing hits on this target.  
The 5" battery ceased  firing at the same time as the main battery.

      (3-e)    During this first phase of the action the main battery 
expended about 175 rounds, the 5" battery about 20 rounds.

      (3-f)    The succeeding few minutes were mostly absorbed in avoiding 
damaged ships and identifying own vessels on most of which before challenging 
the batteries were trained.  During this period we almost rammed but managed 
to avoid by about 100 yards a large capsized vessel bottoms up, the beam of 
which I am certain was greater than that of this vessel.  (It appeared to the 
Gunnery Officer just like the OKLAHOMA did on December 7th at Pearl Harbor).  
Within about 2000 yards of this a vessel with outlines aft generally similar 
to that of the SAN FRANCISCO was burning fiercely and completely from bow to 
stern.  It was at first thought to be the SAN FRANCISCO but the SAN FRANCISCO 
was then sighted nearby and definitely identified.  With both in sight it was 
obvious that the burning vessel was definitely larger than the SAN FRANCISCO.  
It is not considered possible that the burning vessel could have survived as 
it was already well down.  During this period there was considerable firing 
between vessels mostly to the southwestward.  Also during this period we 
narrowly avoided being rammed on the starboard side by the ATLANTA or JUNEAU.  
(It is believed to have been the ATLANTA.

      (3-g)    At about 0203 radar plot reported at least six enemy ships on 
our starboard hand heading in northerly direction.  While putting the main 
battery on one of these targets one was observed to be firing on the SAN 
FRANCISCO then on our starboard bow.  Both FC radars got on this target and 
at 0204 opened fire with the main battery in full automatic using forward FC 
radar in train.  Opening range was 8800 yards.  Fired for approximately 1  
to 2 minutes and ceased firing at range of 9400 yards when SAN FRANCISCO on 
our starboard hand came in line of fire.  Approximately 125 rounds were 
expended in this phase and were believed to be very effective.

      (3-h)    At the same time the 5" battery was getting on the enemy ships 
to starboard as coached by radar plot it picked up a destroyer on our 
starboard quarter firing at us and opened fire on it at a range of 7200 
yards.  About 40 rounds were fired and cease firing ordered when SAN 
FRANCISCO came into line of fire, this fire was also most effective.

      (3-i)    During the above firing of the main and 5" batteries the 
automatic weapons control officer observed between the lines of fire of the 
batteries and at about 3000 yards, a vessel with four stacks passing on 
diverging course.  Fire was opened with the forward starboard 40mm mount on 
this vessel and 159 rounds expended.  This firing was very effective being 
directly in the bridge area, and at least 2/3 were seen to hit.  Cease firing 
was ordered at the same time as the other batteries.  During this phase of 
the action two hits were received, one on the face plate of turret four and 
one on the forecastle deck by a large projectile.

      (3-j)    Results of the above firing in the second phase are not
definitely known but both spotters report that hits were being obtained and 
it is believed both main battery and 5" targets were on fire.  The automatic 
weapons control officer reports observing about two thirds of all shots fired 
hitting in the area of the forward stack and bridge structure.

      (3-k)    After clearing several of own vessels the main battery again 
opened fire on a vessel of the same group as before.  The opening range was 
16,400 yards, target course 330, speed 17.  It had been tracked out from 
about 10,000 yards by radar plot and the main battery and FC radars.  Rapid 
continuous fire was maintained for about one minute at a very high rate of 
fire when the range was again fouled and ceased firing given.  About 60 
rounds were fired.  The target appeared to be on fire.

      (3-l)    At about the same time during this third phase the 5" battery 
fired about 40 rounds at a target believed to be a destroyer just forward of 
starboard beam at a range of about 5000 yards.  Cease firing was ordered when 
the range was fouled by own vessel.  This target also appeared to be in 
flames.

                         TIME SCHEDULE - NIGHT ACTION

               Task Group 67.4 - Early morning November 13, 1942.  (All time 
Love).  Times and data collected from Quartermaster's Log, Signal Log, and 
TBS Log kept by Navigation.

TIME                                EVENT

           November 12, 1942

2214       Changed course to right to 270° T.

2218       Changed speed to 18 knots (187 rpm).

2236       Changed speed to 15 knots (155 rpm).

           November 13, 1942

0010       Changed course to left to 180° T.

0013       Changed course to right.

0024       Changed course to right to 280° T.

0040       Changed course to left to 270° T.

0108       Changed course to right to 280° T.

0122       Changed speed to 18 knots (187 rpm).

0124       Radar contact (SG Radar) bearing 312° T, distance 27,100 yards.

0125       Radar contact (SG Radar) bearing 310° T, distance 31,100 yards. 
           (Note - above two contacts appeared to be several large ships with 
           screen).

0135       Changed course to right to 310° T.

0137       Changed speed to 20 knots (208 rpm).

0138       HELENA steering 315° T, speed 10 knots.

0139       Four targets on port bow.  HELENA course 315° T, speed 10 knots.

0140       Changed speed to 18 knots (187 rpm).

0141       Leading destroyer reported seeing ships dead ahead and on port 
           bow.

0142       Changed course to right to 000° T.

0143       HELENA making 18 knots.

0143.5     Leading destroyer told to fire torpedoes.

0145       Prepared to open fire.  HELENA course 015° T.

0146       HELENA course 010° T.

0147       HELENA course 000° T.

0148       Commenced firing.  Opening range 4300 yards.  Fired on furthest 
           target to left.  Fired two or more minutes after target 
           illuminated ship and hit our searchlight platform.  (Clock in D/F 
           shack stopped at 0148).

0149       Changed course to left.  Hard left rudder.

0149       Changed speed to flank (Maximum speed).

0150       HELENA stopped all engines.

0151       HELENA increased speed to maximum.

0152       HELENA swinging past 250° T.

0153       Changed course to right to 000° T.  Rudder hard right
           own course 000° T. Speed 17 knots.

0153       Ceased firing.

0154       Changed speed to full (18 knots).

0155       Large explosion (off port bow).  Considered target 
           fired at by HELENA and sunk.

0156       Planes reported overhead (/) 355° T,

0157       Hard right rudder to avoid ship which passed from 
           starboard to port at right angles.  Ship either ATLANTA or 
           JUNEAU.  (Believed ATLANTA).  Very close call.

0158       Changed course to 000° T.

0159       More gunfire reported {Where?).

0200       Ship ahead of HELENA illuminating.

0201       Heavy cruiser (believed PORTLAND) turning to right.

0202       Large explosion to starboard.

0203       Changed course to left to 290° T. HELENA making 16 knots.

0204       Commenced firing.  Opened fire at range 9200 yards.

0206       Ceased firing.

0206.5     "6 enemy ships over 5000 yards on starboard side."

0207       Changed course to left.  Hard left rudder.  HELENA making
           20 knots.

0210       Changed course to right.  JUNEAU or ATLANTA (believe 
           ATLANTA) on fire on starboard beam (by 160°T).

0211       Changed course to left to 120° T.  HELENA making 15 knots.

0212       "Enemy cruiser on starboard bow."

0213       Hard right rudder.

0214       Took position astern of PORTLAND(?).

0215       Commenced firing.  HELENA on course 115° T. "Hard right rudder".
           Opened fire at 16,300 yards bearing approximately 1100 rel.  
           Enemy course 330° T. Enemy speed 17.

0216       Ceased firing; changed course to right to 230° T. HELENA 
           making 10 knots.

0217       Changed course to left to 092° T, 
           HELENA increased speed to full.

0218       PORTLAND lost steering control.

0220       HELENA making 18 knots.

0221       HELENA streeing course 092° T.

0224       HELENA illuminated by srewach light.

0226       Changed speed to flank (28 knots).

0027       Small boat reported off starboard bow.

0230       Changed couirse t oleft to 090° T.

0231       Received message from PROTLAND requesting tow.

0232       HELENA on course 050°

0234       HELENA on course 090°

0237       HELENA on course 100°, speed 27 knots.

0238       Changed speed to 17 knots.

0239       HELENA making 20 knots on course 090° T.

0240       SAN FRANCISCO on port bow.

0240       SAN FRANCISCO told this vessel to take charge.

0244       Changed course to right to 100° T.

0249       Changed speed to 25 knots,

0255       Changed course to left to 080° T. HELENA making 20 knots.

0259       Changed speed to 15 knots.

0300       Changed course to 090° T. Speed 10 knots,

0301       Changed speed to 20 knots.  HELENA on course 090° T.

0302       Changed right to 098° T.

0307       Changed speed to 10 knots.

0310       HELENA on course 098° T. Speed 15 knots,

0312       Changed speed to 15 knots. Large explosion bearing about 278° T.

0318       Changed course left to 075° T. 

0321       Changed course right to 080° T. 

0325       Changed course right to 090° T. 

0332       Changed course left to 081° T. 

0344       Changed speed to full (20 knots). 

0345       Passed clear of Sealark Channel. 

0354       Changed course right to 110° T.

0422       Changed speed to 15 knots.

0430       Changed course to 135° T. 

0432       Changed speed to 20 knots. 

0458       Changed couree to 100° T

0520       Changed course to 145° T.

0523       Changed course to 130° T.


      (4-a)     Reference (e) gives an estimate of enemy forces 
involved and their losses.  Three groups definitely existed as shown by 
Enclosure (D).  The center group appeared as four or five large ships 
(BB's, CA's or Battle Cruisers) and perhaps two transports or smaller 
ships a distance astern, The left (nearest) and right hand groups 
contained from five to eight ships each, and were in the nature of a 
screen having destroyers and two or more cruisers in each.

      (4-d)    Illuminated and opened fire before we did.  Only search
light noted was the first one opening on the HELENA.  It soon went out 
or was turned off.  Starshells and possibly flares were in the sky. 
Enemy planes were overhead and may have dropped flares.  Some of our 
destroyers and the SAN FRANCISOO are known to have fired starahella 
which appeared well placed.
               Bombardment ammunition used by the enemy is believed to 
have reduced their effectiveness.

      (4-e)    See reference (e) and RDO Guadalcanal NPM 416 - 130428.

      (5-a)(1) Performance of the batteries.  The performance of all 
batteries is considered to have been excellent.  There were no material 
casualties which in any way affected the firing except two and possibly 
three misfires in turret one, both of which were immediately fired by 
percussion, and the failure of the center gun of turret four to return 
to battery after a hit sustained on the face plate of that turret.
Fire was continued by the wing guns of this turret.  Damage to search
lights resulted in one light being put out of commission and one 
operative by local control only.  However there was never any need for 
the use of searchlights.  Damage to wiring to forward FC antenna level
control did not affect the operation of the radar since automatic level
was not being used during the action.

      (5-a)(2) A very high degree of fire discipline was imperative 
throughout the action due to rapid and frequent maneuvers and close 
proximity of own vessels which frequently blanketed line of fire. 
There was also the necessity frequently to point the batteries on ships 
believed to be our own as a precautionary measure before attempting to 
identify by challenge or recognition.  The fire discipline maintained 
throughout was most gratifying and there is complete confidence felt 
that at no time was a friendly ship fired upon.  In the opinion of the 
Gunnery Officer this action has again demonstrated that with our 
present equipment illumination of the target by searchlight or star 
shell is not necessary and that the use of searchlights serves to draw 
enemy fire.

      (5-b)    The effectiveness of tie radar installation and its 
performance cannot be praised too highly. Everything said in reference 
(k) was doubly confirmed again in this Night Action.

      (5-c)    Summary of damage - location cause, effect. (Include 
photographs.

               Five hits were sustained during the engagement, details 
as follows: (Hits numbered from forward aft).

               No. l. - One major caliber (assumed to be 14 inch) hit 
waterway lip at frame 29 and main-deck over pyrotechnic locker and 
officers' suitcase room.  The shall presumably exploded after hitting 
deck, scattering fragments over face of No. 1 turret, which was 
pointing about 150° relative, and various deck fittings.  The wooden 
deck was splintered 8' x 4' across run of deck planking.  The steel 
deck was torn-and folded down 6' x 1 ".  Watertight bulkhead, frame 27, 
starboard, upper quarter torn out and cracked.
               The pyrotechnic locker sprinkling system broken.
               Number one turret gas send punctured over an arc of about 60
degrees (about 25 feet) by fragments.  Although fragments 
punctured at intervals repairs should include entire arc of 60 degrees 
rather than intermittent patching.  Pointer's check sight port out and 
jammed by fragment.  Check sight itself broken. Bloomer of left gun, 
turret one out and torn.  Steel bloomer securing rim broken. Many 
gouges on face it plate.

      Effect:  Rendered pyrotechnic locker untenable as such; dumped 
small remaining supply of pyrotechnics overboard.  Turret one continued 
firing without difficulty.

      No. 2 -  Hit on port forward part of forward stack, penetrating, 
and exploding while going through after part, tearing out a section of 
the steam exhaust pipe and diesel exhaust pipe.  Fragments also damaged 
the searchlight platform n follows:

               Radio Direction Finder loop punctured
               Power cable FE-176-DO feeder to #4 searchlight 
               punctured. 
               Ventilating motors of $1 and 4 36" searchlights slightly 
               damaged.
               Lenses on #2 and 3 searchlights cracked.
               Various lighting boxes and cable destroyed.
               Searchlight control cable GE- 32 partly damaged. 
               Individual leads may be spliced to repair.
               Various holes in searchlight platform, and radio 
               direction finder.
    
      Effect:  Broke 14 searchlight power supply. Broke remote controls 
of #2 and 3 searchlights.  Rendered Radio direction finder useless.

      No. 3 -  Major caliber hit (assumed 8" or larger) in port after 
legs of searchlight platform.  Angle bar supporting #2 40MM director 
stand torn away.  After stack punctured by fragments.  One piece, base 
plug of shell, pierced stack and hit starboard forward section of
secondary conn tearing out a section about 12" long and 5" wide.  The 
fragment hit the steering control stand, puncturing the case and 
breaking electrical leads.  Port boat crane structure pierced by 
numerous fragments; wire cable broken by fragment.  #1 motor launch and 
#1 motor whaleboat hulls punctured.  The two stack guys from the after 
stack leading forward were out and broken by fragments, The port 
forward mainmast guy was likewise broken.

      Effect: Rendered two boats useless until patched; boat crane out 
of commission. Secondary conn steering telegraph and rudder angle 
indicator useless.

      No. 4 -  Hit on face plate of turret four, 9 inches directly 
below center gun port.  At the point of impact the face plate is dished 
in 11/64 inch; area of dished surface about 12 inches in diameter.  On 
back of face plate a crack 4 inches long has been noted 5 1/2 inches above 
point of impact  Paint cracked and weld apparently broken around entire 
periphery of face plate both inside and out (water leaking through 
gives evidence of such a crack).  Securing weld cracked on bolts 
holding angle iron to face plate on inside under center gun.  Rivets 
securing face plate to top of turret appear to be loose.  The gas seal 
protector guard demolished throughout, arc subtended by face plate 
(about 5 feet).  Gas seal itself twisted and torn.  Three gun bloomers 
demolished and retaining rime twisted and torn.  Numerous deck fittings 
such as ventilator cowls and #3 20mm gun gunshield pierced by fragments.
Three fire hoses out up by fragments.

      Effect:  Other than damage to guns, no effect other than a light 
inconvenience caused by hit.  Turret face plate damage may, in time, be 
serious but does not impair military efficiency at present.

      No., 5 -   A section of the starboard brace of aviation crane 
pierced by direct hit of 5 to 8 inch shell.  Shell exploded after 
hitting; no fragmentation damage.

      Effect:  Rendered aviation crane useless.

               Damage sustained to guns during action. 

      1. 6"/47 cal. Gun No. 10.
      Lower side of chase, five minor gouges about half inch diameter, 
      maximum depth .062 inches,

      2. 6"/47 cal. Gun No. 11.
      Lower side. of chase, eight gouges over area ten by thirteen 
      inches, depths vary .125. to .375 inches.

      3. 6"/47 cal, Gun No, 12,
      Lower side of chase, twelve superficial gouges plus three of 
      about one inch diameter, maximum depth .125 inches,

      4. 6"/47 cal. Gun No. 3.
      Lower side of chase, two gouges, each about one inch diameter, 
      depths .125 inches.

      5. 5"/3S cal. Gun No. 1.
      One gouge 100 inches from muzzle, 1/2 inch by 2 1/2 inch, depth .375 
      Inch.

      6.  Face plate turret four dented about two feet below center 
      gun, dent about 3 inch diameter.  Maximum depth about .125 inches.

      7.  Slide bushing 6"/47 Gun No. 11, deeply scored and grooved on 
      recoil. subsequent to gouging of gun.

      (5-d)    The following casualties incurred as a result of 
               actions:

               (a) Number killed                                      1
               (b) Number requiring hospitalization (stretcher)       2
               (c) Number remaining on board for treatment           20

                                       total casualties              23

      (6}      Once more the performance of all officers and men has 
been magnificent and inspiring without exception.  Of particular note 
should be the most courageous performance of our searchlight crews, 
many of whom, though wounded, stayed at their stations and maintained 
their lights ready for instant use, Several men of the 40mm crews, 
though wounded, did likewise.  Following the hit on turret four a small 
fire was started among life jackets, etc, at No. 7 20mm mount.  
ROBINSON, E. C., AOMM, USN, and MULLER, P.L., AMM1c, USN, proceed to 
the spot and, extinguished the fire although turret four was at the 
time trained out over this mount ready to fire.  The steersman STEWART, 
E. L., QM1c, USN, has performed in exemplary fashion in both the Night 
Action of 11-12 October and 12-13 November, being of enormous 
assistance in con-ning the ship under most difficult conditions while 
under fire at night.

               The following officers are especially worthy of commend
action for their performance of duty during this and the previous Night 
Action of 11-12 October:

      Lieut. Cmdr. Elmer C. Buerkle,. USN - Ship's Material Officer 
      Lieut. Comdr. Rodman D. Smith, USN. - Gunnery Officer. 
      Lieut. Comdr. Charles L. Carpenter, USN. - Navigator.
      Lieut. Comdr. John L. Chew, USN. - Assistant Gunnery Officer.
      Lieutenant	Michael T. Tyng, USN - Communication Officer.
      Lieut. (jg) Russell W. Gash, USNR - Radar Officer.
      Lieut. (jg) William D. Fisher, USNR - Signal Officer.


History of the U.S.S. HELENA CL-50





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