Pierre Victory



SS Pierre Victory







THE PIERRE VICTORY IN
ENEMY ACTION - APRIL 6, 1945

by CHARLES C. BARTLEY

The PIERRE VICTORY entered Kerama Retto in Convoy with 6 other ships.
Because of the nature of their cargo, the S.S. PIERRE (V) with 2 other
Victory ships, the S.S. HOBBS and S.S. LOGAN, were not allowed to enter
the main anchorage; but were moved to an anchorage between the 2 small
islands, some distance from the main anchorage. The only other ship in
this area was an L.S.T. and the only defensive fire power in the attacks
which followed, was that supported by the 4 ships. All attacks were by
suicide planes resulting in both the S.S. Hobbs (V), the LOGAN (V) and
the LS.T. being rammed by the Kamakazis and set afire. One attacking
plane was definitely destroyed by the PIERRE (V), one was accredited by
all observers as a plane knock down and one other direct attack was
beaten off by rapid accurate fire.

At 1535 on April 6, 1945, all ships received warnings of an air attack
and all hands went to their battle stations. At 1620, low flying enemy
planes were seen heading for the main anchorage off our starboard side.
Gun fire was opened up by all ships in range but no hits was observed.
An enemy plane crashed into the starboard side of the L.S.T. midships,
exploding and setting her in flames.

At 1624, a low flying enemy plane (ZERO) was seen moving in the same
direction and about 4000000 yards, the plane banked sharply and headed
directly for the Pierre (V) at about a 30 ft. elevation. Fire opened up
immediately with 3"50 and 5"38 guns. The starboard 20MMs opened up at
about 2000 yards. At about 1500 yds. distance, the plane was hit by a
burst of our 5"38 gun tearing off part of its port wing, causing the
plane's line of flight to change from amidships toward the after part of
the ship. All starboard 20MMs were observed hitting at various times and
also close burst from the 3"50. At about 80 yards from the ship, the
plane received a direct hit from the 5"38 gun, exploding the plane and
causing wreckage to hit the water about 60 yards off the starboard
quarter. At 1635, A Jap single engine plane came into view around the
island and headed over the anchorage. Fire opened with the 3"50 and
5'38 at about 2500 yards distance. Starboard 20MMs opened up at about
1800 yards. The third round from the 5Z"38 was seen to burst directly
underneath the plane and at the same instance, the plane burst into
flames and crashed. Other firepower was being directed at the plane and
tracers were seen hitting but observers watching the action were of
the opinion that the 5'38 burst was the causing for it to explode.

At 1640, low flying suicide plane came in from our starboard side and
started for the center of the anchorage. The S.S. PIERRE (V) and the 3
other ships in the anchorage opened fire. The Pierre (V) opened fire at
about 3000 yards distance and the 20MMs opened up at about 20 yards. The
plane then changed course, went around the edge of the anchorage and
across the ship's bow. The starboard 20MMs and 5"38 ceased fire as their
guns would not bear. The 3'50 kept up continuous fire and near misses
were observed. The plan then banked sharply and headed back for the
anchorage. The 3"50 continued fire and the 5"38 opened up at about 3500
yards. At about 2500 yards, the plane straightened out and headed
directly for the LOGAN (V), at about 1800 yards. The port 20MM opened
ftre and tracers were seen striking the plane. After crossing our bow
from Port to Starboard, the plane crashed into the bridge of the Victory
Ship laying off our starboard bow, setting her in flames.

At 1652, the PIERRE (V) hoisted anchor and proceeded out of the
anchorage for fear of an explosion of the burning ship and for
maneuvering. At 1730, a low flying suicide plane was spotted at about
4500 yards off our starboard side, making a run for the ship. Fire
opened immediately with 3'50 and 5"38. The 20MMs also opened fire at
long range; all guns firing rapidly. At about 1800 yards, the plane
banked sharply to the left, crossing our stern. The 5"38 continued
firing until plane was well past the ship. No hits observed.

 At 1745, a low flying suicide plane was seen making a run on the
Victory ship off our stern, but this ship was in no position to fire.
The plane crashed into the bridge of the Victory ship, setting her on
fire. At 1810, a dog fight was observed off our starboard side between
our HELLCATS and Jap Zeros. Two Jap planes were shot down in flames.

                April 7th, 1945

 0300, received warning of enemy air attack, all hands to the battle
stations. 0310, a twin engine Jap bomber passed over the Pierre (V)
after dropping bombs on the main anchorage. The Pierre (V) held its fire
because of poor visibility and did not undergo any more attacks while
laying alone at an anchorage in Kerama Retto awaiting movements to
Okinawa but the guns were manned continuously for 5 days because of
constant alerts and air attacks in the vicinity. A vigilant watch was
maintained at night for guard against suicide boats which were active in
this area.


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