It was Air Group VF(N)-41

Posted by EyeDoc

(Hauling a torpedo - towards a Hellcat)

According to various sources, 1/12/1945 was a very busy day for TF38, for example:

1. "On January 12, 1945, 1,500 sorties were flown by the aircrafts of the 14 fast carriers, resulting in 46 of Japanese ships being sunk."

2. "Codenamed “Operation Gratitude,” the attacks are wildly successful. Despite rough seas and high winds from a dangerously close typhoon, Japanese bases at Saigon, Cape Saint Jacques (Vung Tau), Cam Ranh Bay, Qui Nhon, and Tourane Bay (Da Nang) are hit hard, resulting in the destruction of docks, barracks, weapons depots, hangars, and scores of Japanese seaplanes and other aircraft, as well as the sinking of more than 40 enemy ships. "

3. "Bombardements massifs des appareils de la Task Force 38 américaine sur le sud de l'Indochine, notamment contre la base japonaise de Camranh Bay et Saïgon : une quarantaine [i.e., about 40] de navires japonais sont détruits, dont 11 petits bâtiments de guerre. C'est la première fois qu'une escadre américaine entre en mer de Chine méridionale depuis le début de la guerre."

The loss, according to Japanese sources, was put at 33-34 ships sunk, not >40. And it is now clear that the principal attacking group was TG 38.5:

"Literally within a matter of a few hours [days?] after the formation of TG 38.5 [note: on January 5 , 1945], 20 VFN from this group led the way in to Luzon in a predawn sweep. From then on, for the next 17 days aircraft from ENTERPRISE and INDEPENDENCE participated in operations against Formosa and the southern Nansei Shoto [i.e., 琉球海溝], operations against French Indo-China coastal positions from Saigon to Tourane (Da Nang), operations against the China coast of the Hong Kong-Swatow area and against the Formosa-Pescadores area (including the destruction by Air Group Ninety VTN and VFN of the presumed enemy radio and weather station on Pratas Island) and further operations against Formosa and the Nansei Shoto attendant on and after the withdrawal of the task force from the China Sea. "

And TG 38.5 USN personnel involved in the air raids:

"The Night Air Group 90 (12/24/1944 - 5/31/45) was commanded by Cdr William I Martin. The 34 Hellcats (VFN) were led by LCdr Robert J McCullough and the 21 Avengers (VTN) by LT Russell F Kippen (killed in action on 21 January 1945)." [Note: Air Group 90 was based on USS Enterprise.]

"USS Independence usually carried 30+ planes, e.g., 24 VFN fighters (Hellcats) and 9 VTN torpedo-bombers (Avengers)."

"Air Group VF(N)-41 [19 VFs + 8 VTs] (Aug-44 to Jan-45) was based on USS Independence (CVL-22), led by Cdr T. F. Caldwell; its "Top Ace" was LCdr William Henry (9.5 kills)."

It would appear that both Caldwell and Henry of Night Fighter Air Group 41 were directly involved in the attack of Shinsei Maru et al.

按照基於USS Enterprise 第90魚雷机中隊航空日誌提到的,於1945年1月12日從USS Independence 起飛,同時參戰的12架VF及4架VT,就是由 TF Caldwell上尉領隊.其中戰績最高的是一名William Henry中尉 (擊落了9.5架日机).這一群戰机並沒有參与攻擊

就是這個41夜戰中隊, VF(N)-41,


TG-38.1-5 12/30/1944 - 1/25/1945

Posted by EyeDoc

所以神靖丸遇難史已非常清楚,是第38特遣隊 (TF38) 在1944年12月成立的第5組 (TG38.5) 中,從USS Enterprise 或較為可能是從 USS Independence 起飛的F6F-5(N) Hellcats 之一下的毒手:

[Note: This is a drawing of an F6F-5 night fighter. It was equipped with a radar - at the tip of the right wing - to give it the night fighting capability, and a gasoline tank - under the plane - to give it longer range of operation.]


44/12/30 departed Ulithi

45/01/03 strike Formosa airfields

45/01/02 38.1, 38.2 refuel from TG 30.8

45/01/03 strike Formosa:
- sinking landing ship Shinshu Maru, AKs Kinrei Maru, Ume Maru #2, Kawauchi Maru #22, Sanni Maru, another unidentified Maru
- damaging AK Kibitsu Maru, Hyuga Maru, Nichiyu Maru #2, Taiwa Maru #36, Kakuju Maru

45/01/04 strike Formosa:
- in Formosa Strait [台灣海峽] sinking PC Cha-163, Cha-176, Cha-210; damaging escort Ikuna and auxiliary PC Cha 204
- near Takao [高雄], Formosa damaging AM W-41
- NE of Formosa sinking AN Iwato Maru

45/01/05 refuel from TG 30.8
38.2 - Trathen joined 300 miles NE of Luzon (22-40N, 122-47E)

45/01/06 SE Cape Engano - strike Luzon area:
in South China Sea off northern Luzon sinking AK Kyodo Maru, AO Nanko Maru #1, Iyasaka Maru #8, Kyoei Maru #6, Nanshin Maru #10, Kyoei Maru #10, Kyoei Maru #3

45/01/07 strike Luzon [呂宋]

45/01/08 strike Luzon
refuel from TG 30.8 255 miles NE of Luzon (19-32N, 125-43E)

45/01/09 Bashi Channel, Luzon Strait - strike Formosa, Luzon, Pescadores [澎湖]:

- N of Keelung [基隆] (27-10N, 121-45E): corvette #3
- S of Formosa: AO Kuroshio Maru, Kaiho Maru, AK Fukuyama Maru south of Formosa
- off Keelung: AK Ume Maru #21
- 20 nm SSW of Takao, Formosa (22-40N, 120-04E) PC Ch-61
- 20 nm WNW of Takao, Formosa (23-04N, 119-51E)AK Hisagawa Maru

- off Takao, Formosa: escort Yashiro, AO Kamoi, DE Miyake, AK Tainan Maru
- off Saei [
左營]: corvettes #9, #13, #60
- in Formosa Strait: PC Cha-161
- off Keelung AM W-102, PC Nitto Maru #22
- N of Formosa PC Kinsui Maru

45/01/10 entered South China Sea via Bashi Channel [巴士海峽]

45/01/11 38.1 - Boston, Batimore and DesRon61 temporarily detached to TG 38.2

45/01/12 begin of operation "Gratitude"

[Note 1: TG38.3 and TG38.5 attacked Kashii et al, north of Qui Nhon.]
[Note 2: Air Group VF-11 based on USS Hornet (TG38.1) was directly involved in the attacks in the Saigon and Cam Ranh Bay area including the airfields.]

- strike SE French Indochina

BBs [Battle ships戰艦] and CA/CLs [重/輕型巡洋艦 Cruisers] strike CamRanh Bay [金蘭灣]

- N of Qui Nhon [歸仁]: Kashii (13-50N, 109-20E); corvette #23 and corvette #51 (14-15N, 109-10E); AP [AP = transport ship運輸船] Kembu Maru, AK [AK = cargo ship货船] Yushu Maru, Kyokuun Maru, Hotsusan Maru, Tatsuhato Maru, Otsusan Maru, Yujo Maru, Banshu Maru #63; AO [AO = oil tanker運油船] Shoei Maru
- off Cape St. Jacques: corvette #17, #19, escort Ciburi (10-20N, 107-50E); AO Kumagawa Maru, AP Shinsei Maru, Toyu Maru (10-20N, 107-45E); AO Akashi Maru
- SE of Cape St. Jacques: AO Koshin Maru, Ayanami Maru, Hoei Maru, Eiho Maru; AK Kensei Maru
- off Cape Padaran (11-10N, 108-55E): PC Ch-31, AM W-101, patrol #103, corvette #35, corvette #43, AO Ayayuki Maru
- off Cam Ranh Bay: PC Ch-43 (11-53N, 109-08E); AM Otowa Maru (11-50N, 109-00E)
- at Saigon: LST [LST = landing tank登陸艇] T-140, stores ship Ikutagawa Maru (10-20N, 107-50E); AK Kiyo Maru, Shinsei Maru #17, Kenei Maru, Taikyu Maru, AO Horai Maru #9
- east coast (exact location unspecified) of French Indochina: AK Eiman Maru, Nanryu Maru #2

- north of Qui Nhon: escorts Daito, Ukuru, corvette #27, AO San Luis Maru
- at Cam Ranh Bay: PC Ch-34, AK RyuyMaMaru
- off Cape St. Jacques: LST T-149, T-137; AO Kjoei Maru #3
- off Saigon: LST T-131, AK Chefoo Maru, Kanju Maru
- at entrance to Vung Tau: guaroaoat Fushimi Maru #2
- SE of Cape St. Jacques: AK France Maru; AO Shingi Maru

strike Tourane Bay, Indochina

38.1 Boston, Batimore and DesRon61 rejoined from TG 38.2
38.2 strike Saigon, Cam Ranh Bay - sinking Lamotte-Picquet
38.3 50 miles E of Camranh Bay, Vietnam (12-07N, 109-58E)

45/01/15 and 16 strike Formosa, Hong Kong, Canton
45/01/21 strike Formosa, Pescadores, Luzon, Sakishima Gunto, Okinawa, Rjukjus
45/01/25 back at Ulithi

[註: 以上資料來自http://pacific.valka.cz/forces/tf38.htm#king24411]

下圖乃USS Independence (CVL-22),攝於1943年7月15日.


Task Force 38 or 58?

Posted by EyeDoc

到1944年末,美國第3艦隊船隻集中在 Ulithi Atoll.以此為基地,由航空母艦為主力,進襲台灣,香港,呂宋各地,以及中南半島一帶.

Maps of Ulithi: (Top): As part of Micronesia [in red circle] and (bottom) details. AO-59 = USS Mississinewa, a US Navy Oiler sunk November 20, 1944 by a Japanese Kaiten (回天, manned suicide torpedo).

US Navy carriers at anchor at Ulithi (from front to back):
Wasp, Yorktown, Hornet, Hancock and Ticonderoga, December 8 1944


据此網頁 http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Task-Group-38.3 描述:

The Fast Carrier Task Force, known at different times as Task Force 38 and Task Force 58, was the main striking force of the United States Navy in the later half of the Pacific War.

TF 38 came into existence in August 1943, built around Saratoga (CV-3), and under the command of Rear Admiral Frederic Sherman.

TF 58 was created under the command of Marc Mitscher, on 6 January 1944. TF 38 continued to exist, with a handful of ships assigned, for two reasons. One was to confuse the enemy, and the other was that it was used for planning purposes when not in operational use. The same became true of Task Force 58. It consisted of six aircraft carriers, six light aircraft carriers, and a host of supporting ships.

The force became TF 38 again on 26 August 1944 under Admiral William Halsey, Jr., and grew to nine CVs and eight CVLs in preparation for the landings on Leyte.

It became TF 58 again on 26 January 1945 under Admiral Raymond Spruance, then back to TF 38 under Halsey on 25 May 1945, remaining so until the end of the war.

[註: CV即大型航空母艦, CVL則是高速輕型航空母艦.]

所以執行 Operation Gratitude 時是以TF38編號出現.空襲台灣及攻打沖繩時則為TF38或 TF58.



Posted by EyeDoc

除了美官方記錄外(見),日方(民間)對Task Force 38的組成及任務也有清楚的研究及敘述 (詳見此頁).

我們己知TF38成員(共5個組: 38.1, 38.2, 38.3, 38.4及 38.5) 來自Adm Halsey的第3艦隊.此艦隊有大型航空母艦8艘,及輕型高速航空母艦5艘. 1945年1月9日TF38從巴士海峽進入南中國海.阻擋了日本本土与南方資源地帯相連主要的交通要道.第3艦隊TG38.3遇上的最有价值目標乃"ヒ86船団".船団護衛由第101戦隊負責,從西貢聖雀岬往門司航行.美軍以10艘以上的快速航空母艦优勢,攻擊這一輸送船団,泰山壓頂,結果可知.

対潜巡洋艦*「香椎」(旗艦) 戦隊司令官渋谷紫郎少将 [戰死]
海防艦5艘 [~700 噸]: 大東, 鵜来, 23号,* 27号, 51号*

香椎 [Kashii] 艦本為訓練船而己.她的遭遇如此:

"... [1944年] 12月10日,“香椎”号被编入第1水面护卫队群,随即护送ヒ-85船团离开门司港前往台湾高雄。23 日到达高雄后,“香椎”号和第101护卫队群组成新的护卫队。28日,新护卫队来到新加坡。30日,新护卫队护送ヒ-86船团(4艘油船、6艘货船)离开新加坡前往西贡。"

"...1945年1月12日,美军第38特混舰队开始攻击印度支那。自当天11时到17时,美军第38.3特混大队“埃塞克斯”号、“提康德罗加”号、“兰利”号和“圣哈辛托”号航母上起飞的SB2C“ 地狱俯冲者[Hell Diver]”俯冲轰炸机、TBF“复仇者[Avenger]”鱼雷轰炸机像黄蜂一样对日军ヒ-86船团进行了轮番攻击。在美军的凶狠攻击下,日军ヒ-86船团中有7艘运 输船被击沉或因逃避攻击而搁浅,只有3艘[海防艦]幸免。担任护航的“香椎”号自然也没能逃过美军攻击。14时08分,“香椎”号遭到美军俯冲轰炸机和鱼雷轰炸机集中攻击,其右舷被一枚鱼雷击中。紧接着,一架SB2C俯冲轰炸机投下的2颗重磅炸弹又撕开了弹药库厚厚的装甲,引起大爆炸。很快,“香椎”号就沉入北纬 13度50分、东经109度20分的海底 [註: 越南归仁灣],全舰人员(包括搭载陆军官兵在内)共有621人葬身鱼腹,只有19人幸存。"

香椎艦 - 被一枚魚雷及2個炸彈擊沉

被護衛的ヒ86船団 [或擊沉或擱淺,全軍覆沒]:
運油船4艘 [7,000 - 10,000 噸]: さんるいす丸 [San Luis Maru], 極運丸, 大津山丸, 第63播州丸
货物船6艘: 昭永丸, 優清丸, 永万丸, 辰鳩丸, 予州丸, 建部丸

全面空襲於 1945年1月12日午後開始,共約50戰机[另一說為150架戰机],來自4艘航母: [原文] USS Ticonderoga, USS Essex, USS Langley, 及USS San Jacinto.



日本基本上無力回擊.到1月22日中午才由神風特攻隊重創USS Ticonderoga (下圖). 同日USS Langley也被日机炸傷.