Destroyer Squadron 47
Destroyer Squadron 47
Destroyer Division 93
(DD 534), flag
Destroyer Division 94
was the squadron whose ships figured in the Battle off Samar
, 25 October 1944. It was composed of nine square-bridge 2,100-ton Fletcher-class
destroyers commissioned between July 1944 and February 1945 as follows:
First to join Pacific Fleet operations at sea in September 1943, Trathen
participated in the occupation of Baker Island while Hazelwood
participate in a raid on Tarawa in the Gilberts. Both ships then operated with RAdm. Montgomery’s Task Group 14.5 in the raid on Wake Island in early October. Hazelwood, Heermann
then participated in the Gilbert Islands operation before the remaining ships of the squadron joined them for the Marshall and Palau Islands operations.
Destroyer Squadron 47 World War II Operations
Attached to the Seventh Fleet for the Leyte operation in October 1944, the squadron was assigned to Rear Admiral Thomas L. Sprague’s Task Group 77.4—eighteen escort carriers on station outside of Leyte Gulf in three task units as follows:
- Task Unit 77.4.1 (“Taffy 1”) under Admiral Sprague: squadron flagship McCord plus Trathen and Hazelwood and five destroyer escorts screening carriers Sangamon, Suwannee, Chenango, Santee, Saginaw Bay and Petrof Bay.
- Task Unit 77.4.2 (“Taffy 2”) under RAdm. Felix B. Stump: Franks, Haggard and Hailey with five destroyer escorts screening carriers Kadashan Bay, Natoma Bay, Manila Bay, Marcus Island, Omanney Bay and Savo Island.
- Task Unit 77.4.3 (“Taffy 3”) under RAdm. Clifton A. F. Sprague: Heermann, Hoel and Johnston and destroyer escorts Dennis, Raymond, Samuel B. Roberts and John C. Butler screening carriers Fanshaw Bay, St. Lo, White Plains, Kalinin Bay, Kitkun Bay and Gambier Bay.
Operating off the island of Samar on the morning of 25 October 1944, Taffy 3 was surprised by a Japanese force of battleships, cruisers and destroyers. While the carriers launched planes to attack the closing enemy formation, Taffy 3’s screen put on an heroic defense in which Hoel, Johnston and Gambier Bay were lost; St. Lo was also sunk by a kamikaze later that same day.
The six destroyers of Taffy 1 and Taffy 2 continued on to the Luzon operation; then all seven remaining ships moved on to Iwo Jima.
In March in the Okinawa operation, Haggard rammed and sank I-371. Later, she and Hazelwood were both severely damaged by suicide aircraft.
Heermann, last to leave the war zone, also participated in the Third Fleet’s operations against Japan in 1945.
LOSSESHoel and Johnston
were lost to enemy action during the Battle off Samar, 25 October 1944.
Taffy 3, including Heermann
, Hoel and Johnston
, received the Presidential Unit Citation for its action during the Battle off Samar.