USS CHILTON APA – 38 NEWSLETTER
"Any Time - Any Beach” Number 18 - April 1995
IMPERIAL JAPANESE NAVY SINK CHILTON WITH ALL HANDS
This was the news on Radio Japan the morning of 3 April 1945. Those who heard this broadcast were stunned. True, they had just undergone a grueling experience the evening before when a kamikaze Francis bomber had attempted to crash her and had torn up some of her antennae and damaged a boat davit and a gun mount shield, then exploded in the sea scattering a machine gun, pieces of aluminum, gasoline, and body parts all over number three hatch. But the inaccuracy of Tokyo Rose's broadcast that day was ludicrous to the extreme. Its effect on the crew was to relieve the tension among the men - the opposite of what she had expected to accomplish. Let's follow the account taken from Captain Hugh Weber Turney's War Diary 2 April 1945 beginning at 1839 hours.
"A report was received from after lookout. 'Two planes 180 degrees'; immediately after a twin engine bomber was seen to pass over our bow and dive into the bow of the USS HENRICO (APA-45), which was 1000 yards off our port bow and she immediately burst into flames. Our 20 mm guns commenced firing at an enemy plan which crossed our fantail from starboard to port and crashed off our port quarter spraying gasoline and water topside of this ship. At the same time an F6F fighter was observed flying by our port side violently dipping its wings. On investigation, pieces of Japanese plane and human flesh were found all over the ship. No causalities were suffered by this ship and only minor material damage to radio antennae was effected."
From 1839 to 1937 hours the following ammunition was expended firing at aircraft in the vicinity: 11 rounds of 5'/38 caliber; (1) which crashed on our port quarter, (2) one which crashed into the bridge of the USS HENRICO (APA-45). (3) One which was shot down on our port bow by fire from our number one (1) 5"/38 caliber gun, (4) one which was a near miss on the USS GOODHUE (APA-107), (5) and (6) two enemy planes which were shot down on our starboard quarter, and (7) one which crashed into the USS DICKERSON (APD-21), a vessel of our screen."
Captain Turney's "Action Report" also reported the following: "1839 - After lookout reported, "Two planes 180 degrees relative”. Twin engined enemy bomber crash-dove into bridge of USS HENRICO whose superstructure burst into flames; the 20 mm battery opened foreign enemy plane approaching from starboard side aft. Expended 52 rounds. Plane dropped bomb, which exploded on starboard side aft close aboard; no damage sustained. Plane crossed from starboard quarter to port, fouling and carrying away commission pennant staff and port antennae, struck #2 Welin David head and crashed close aboard port side amidships, exploding without fire and throwing up on deck a machine gun and debris, water and gasoline. No other damage sustained to ship. Forward 5" gun expended 11 rounds. Plane splashed.
IN the Confidential "Reporting A.A. Action for Surface Ships” we should take note that 20 rounds of 20 mm were fired over 5 second period from 1000 to 800 yards to down the bomber coming in from starboard side, and the forward 5" got off 11 rounds in 45 seconds at 3000 to 1000 yards to blow up the second kamikaze coming for our bridge from almost dead ahead. We are still looking for all the names of those gun crews to thank but we know the Ed Robinson (SSM(B)3c) was firing one 20 mm and Ray Gauger (CBM) was gun captain of the forward #1 - 5 inch gun.