Of all the 1,500-tonner squadrons,
Caution: The purpose of this essay is to identify operations for which service stars were earned as indicated in the accompanying table. It has been compiled from secondary sources such as the Dictionary of American Fighting Ships which, in most cases, are silent about squadrons and divisions. Some statements, particularly regarding the dates of organization changes, reflect educated guesses. Verification will require examination of records such as war diaries and deck logs.
none sustained more attrition than Destroyer Squadron 5, which lost five of its nine original ships.
DesDiv 9 initially consisted of four low-numbered Mahans, Mahan, Drayton, Lamson and Flusser. DesDiv 10 initially consisted of the four highest-numbered Mahans, Cushing, Perkins, Smith and Preston. Together, with flagship Porter, all commissioned between August and October 1936. In 1937, they commenced operating together as Destroyer Squadron 2, later renumbered as DesRon 5.
Destroyer Squadron 5
1 October 1941
On 7 December 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Porter and DesDiv 9 were at sea with Lexington’s Task Force 12 ferrying Marine scout bombers to Midway. DesDiv 10 was on the West Coast. Over the next ten months, the squadron operated mainly in escort and patrol duty between Hawaii and the West Coast.
- In January 1942, Drayton operated with DesRon 1, which screened Lexington and the six heavy cruisers of VAdm. Wilson Brown’s Task Force 11 in an aborted raid on Wake Island.
- In February, Mahan operated with Yorktown in VAdm. Frank J. Fletcher’s Task Force 17 in a raid on the Gilbert Islands.
- Also in February, Lamson, Flusser, Perkins and cruiser Chicago joined HMAS Australia and Hobart and HMNZS Achilles and Leander in the ANZAC Squadron under RAdm. John G. Crace, RN, which operated in the Coral Sea. The squadron joined Task Forces 11 and 17 for the Lae and Salamaua raids in March and, with Walke as Task Force 44, provided a diversion before the Battle of the Coral Sea, 7–8 May. On the 31st, a submarine penetrated Sydney Harbor where it nearly torpedoed Perkins and Chicago.
World War II Operations of the destroyers
originally attached to Destroyer Squadron 5
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On 16 October 1942, Porter
sortied for the Solomon Islands with RAdm Thomas C. Kinkaid’s Task Force 16—Enterprise
, battleship South Dakota
, heavy cruiser Portland
and anti-aircraft cruiser San Juan
. At the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands on the 26th:
- Porter was lost to a torpedo jettisoned by a torpedo plane whose crew she stopped to rescue.
- Smith was crashed on her forecastle by a Japanese plane but put out the fire and continued on station, for which she was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.
In November, Squadron 5 destroyers were involved in three night actions at Guadalcanal:
On 10 January 1943, Shaw grounded at Nouméa and returned to Pearl Harbor for repairs that lasted through September.
« « «
On 15 March 1943, the United States Seventh Fleet was established with DesRon 4
attached. In May, it was relieved by DesRon 5 less Shaw
plus HMAS Arunta
. Beginning in June, DesRon 5 supported General Douglas MacArthur’s operations in eastern New Guinea.
Destroyer Squadron 5
- In September, the squadron plus Mugford provided gunfire support and escorted convoys for the landings at Lae and Finschhafen. After midnight on 20 October, an enemy submarine attacked, followed immediately by 60 enemy aircraft from Rabaul in five waves. Decoying the Japanese away from the landing craft in nearby Langamak Bay and radioing for help from a nonexistent fighter squadron, the squadron emerged with damage only to Perkins from a near miss.
- On 29 November, east of Buna near New Guinea’s Cape Vogel, Perkins was rammed and sunk by the Australian transport Duntroon. Flusser became flagship.
- In December, Lamson, Shaw and Conyngham supported landings at Arawe and Cape Gloucester, New Britain. On the 25th, Shaw was attacked by two “Vals” and again returned early to the West Coast for repairs. The other two returned to Saidor in January; then sailed for the West Coast in March.
DesRon 5 in the Operation “Chronicle,” June 1943–September 1944.
General MacArthur’s siezure of Manus in the Admiralty Islands wrapped up the campaign. Beginning on 29 February 1944, DesRon 5 led the support for landings around Seeadler Harbor. Then, while the others returned to the West Coast for overhaul:
- Reid moved west with the Seventh Fleet along New Guinea’s north coast in the operations at Hollandia on 22 April, Wakde on 17 May, Biak on the 27th—where she was attacked by 15–20 aircraft but was damaged only by near misses—and Noemfoor on 2 July.
- Conyngham and Shaw screened Fifth Fleet battleships in the Marianas.
In August 1944, Flusser, Drayton, Lamson and Smith operated in the Marshall Islands, patrolling off atolls that the Fifth Fleet had bypassed.
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In October 1944, DesRon 5 reported again to the Seventh Fleet in New Guinea to join the Leyte operation. Arriving in the Philippines after the landings, it patrolled in Leyte Gulf and Surigao Strait.
DesRon 5 in the Philippine Islands and Borneo October 1944–July 1945.
- On 18 November, Flusser shot down a plane, which crashed so close aboard that the pilot’s parachute landed on her forecastle.
- Before dawn on 5 December, Drayton was hit by high level bomber; on the 6th she was hit by a suicide plane. She retired to Manus for repairs.
- On the 7th in Ormoc Bay, Mahan was lost to a suicide hit and scuttled by Walke. Lamson was also struck but retired to the West Coast for major repairs and then went to DesRon 4.
- On the evening of the 11th in Surigao Strait, kamikazes attacked Caldwell, which was damaged, and Reid, which sank quickly after two hits.
Combined as DesDiv 9, the survivors moved on to Luzon, where they participated in bombardment and fire support for the Lingayen Gulf landings in January, and to Manila Bay. They then moved south for the consolidation of the southern Philippines, in which they often operated with the remnants of DesRon 21:
Destroyer Squadron 5
1 March 1945
- At Palawan Island in February in Operation “Victor III.”
- At Cebu, Bohol and Negros Islands in late March and into April in Operation “Victor II,” during which Shaw struck an uncharted pinnacle and returned home.
- At western Mindanao in late April in Operation “Victor V.”
- At Balikpapan, Borneo beginning on 15 June in Operation “Oboe I,” where Smith was damaged by shore battery fire on 1 July.
Retiring to Luzon in late July, DesDiv 9 dispersed, with its ships moving to Okinawa for occupation duty or returning directly to the Unitied States.
On 1 March 1945, meanwhile, DesRon 1 was disbanded and its five remaining Farragut-class destroyers were reassigned to DesRon 5 as DesDiv 10. After escorting a convoy to Leyte, the division joined a logistics group for the Okinawa operation, screening oilers as they refueled carriers in pre-invasion air strikes and raids in the Far East, which continued until the end of the war.