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Landings at Sansapor, 30-31 July 1944

Landings at Sansapor, 30-31 July 1944


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Landings at Sansapor, 30-31 July 1944

The landings at Sansapor (30-31 July 1944) were the last major American offensive of the long New Guinea campaign, and saw them capture a foothold on the Vogelkop Peninsula, at the western end of New Guinea, where they were able to build a medium bomber base to support operations further west.

Sansapor was only the last in a series of areas considered for the Allied landings on the Vogelkop. The key factor was the availability of suitable land for airfields, and this caused the abandonment of earlier plans. Sansapor became of interest in mid-June, especially after the most recent potential target, at Waigeo, was dismissed on 21 June.

Sansapor is located on the north-west coast of the Vogelkop Peninsula, seventy miles north-east of Sorong, the original American target and 60 miles east of Waigeo. The aim was to build airfields in the area around the neighbouring villages of Sansapor and Mar.

Early aerial photography suggested that Sansapor was no better than the earlier targets, but on 23 June a submarine landed a scouting part near Mar, and they found a couple of possible locations for airfields. Their report was delivered on 30 June. On the same day MacArthur issued orders for an attack on Sansapor, to be carried out one month later, on 30 July. Fortunately the invasion force, Alamo Force, already existed, having been created for the Sarong and Waigeo plans.

The attack was to be carried out by most of the 6th Infantry Division, supported by anti-aircraft units. The Japanese weren’t present in large numbers, but they did have a barge staging post at Sansapor, and were reported to be based at a nearby plantation. The plan was to land at Mar, twelve miles east of Sansapor, and hopefully catch the Japanese by surprise.

The Landings

Two separate landings were conducted on 30 July. A small party landed on Middelburg Island, just off the coast to the north-east of Mar. Later in the same day the same force moved north to occupy Amsterdam Island. Neither of these landings was opposed.

The main landings took place at Red Beach, about a mile and a half to the east of Mar. Three battalions were involved. The 1st and 2nd Battalions landed first, starting at 7.01am and created a beachhead. The 3rd Battalion landed at 7.40am, and advanced west, reaching Mar without running into any resistance.

On 31 July the 3rd Battalion was shipped west along the coast to Green Beach, just short of Sansapor. They then advanced south and occupied the village. The small Japanese garrison had fled, and once again the attack was unopposed.

During August the Americans conducted patrols that reached ever further from the beachhead. On 3 August they captured 92 sick or wounded Japanese troops in a hospital, and in some minor fighting captured 23 and killed 4. In mid-August a sizable Japanese force was discovered heading west towards Kor. This wasn't a response to the landings, but was instead a regular movement along the coast. The Japanese troops were the headquarters personnel of the 35th Division, taking part in an evacuation of the former Japanese base at Manokwari.

The Japanese had no intention of attacking the American position at Sansapor and instead attempted to bypass them. This effort failed, and by the end of August the Americans had killed 155 Japanese and captured 42 on their eastern flank, and killed 197 and captured 154 to the west. By 31 August the Americans had only lost 14 dead and 35 wounded.

Work on the airfields was soon underway. The airfield on Middleburg Island was completed by 17 August, and a second strip parallel to the coast east of Mar was ready by 3 September.

The Japanese did make some attempts to attack the new airfields from the air. The first sizable attack came on 25 August and saw one US fighter destroyed on the ground. A larger raid on the night of 27-28 August destroyed four P-38s. but a third raid on 31 August was less effective.

After August there were very few clashes with Japanese troops. Most of the Japanese remaining on the Vokelkop had withdrawn to the south-eastern corner, where more food was available, while the few remaining in the north didn’t stray far from their bases.


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But with the changing plans of war, the intended use of these S&R Officers did not reach fruition. The November 1943 landing on island of Tarawa in the Pacific had grimly illustrated the need for pre-assault reconnaissance. Marines landing on the atoll were either drowned or made easy targets for the Japanese when their landing craft hit hidden reefs. Planners recommended to the Chief of Naval Operations that Underwater Demolition Teams be formed permanently, with six teams assigned to the Central Pacific and three to the South Pacific, and that a training location be established in Hawaii. Initially this meant combining the existing, smaller Naval Combat Demolition Units. The Navy also tapped into the S&R resources.

Beginning in November 1944, the majority of Class #6’s 25 officers joined the Underwater Demolition Teams and took further training at the Naval Combat Demolition Training and Experimental Base at Maui. UDT personnel were familiar with the S&Rs because of their similar work. Some of them had trained together at Ft. Pierce, and some had worked together before. Also, some existing S&R crews began functioning in parallel to the UDTs to accomplish the same beach demolition functions.

In the southwest Pacific, meanwhile, MacArthur’s forces had been carrying out amphibious assaults, including the landing in New Guinea in September 1943 by the 9th Australian Division. The 9th had established a new unit, the top-secret Amphibious Scouts, for advanced intelligence gathering. It included various services volunteers as well as Australian Coast Watchers. It was, in every respect except in name, Scouts and Raiders. In fact, when the original members of this group returned to the States, trained S&R personnel replaced them.

The first Amphibious Scouts’ tasks, in preparation for landing at various places on New Guinea, included being dropped offshore by PT boat, and slipping ashore in rubber boats to gather intelligence on Japanese installations and movements. By July 1944 MacArthur’s troops had made 11 landings on New Guinea, the last of these at Sansapor. In his book, MacArthur’s Amphibious Navy, Admiral Barbey calls Sansapor “the most thoroughly reconnoitered landing ever in the SWPA (South-West Pacific Area).”

For landings at the heavily mined Leyte Gulf, Philippines, Scout officers sneaked ashore to set up navigation lights, first for guiding minesweepers several days before the landings and later for the actual landing craft. At Panay in west-central Philippines, one Scout team went ashore from PT boats to do beach reconnaissance and depth soundings before the landings. Another Scout group prepared the way for landings on southern Luzon. This team went ashore to meet with an Army officer and a band of Filipino guerrillas. They gathered information on nine Japanese coastal defense guns, seven of which the Air Force was able to knock out before the landings.

Okinawa was the largest amphibious undertaking in the Pacific theater, and the toughest. S&Rs worked as and with UDTs, Scout Intelligence Officers, Beachmasters, and Control Officers. The S&Rs and UDTs were taken to within a thousand yards of the beaches, where they slipped into the water and swam shoreward to gather beach intelligence, often under enemy fire. They then swam back out and were picked up in the reverse procedure by the landing craft. This became the standard mode of advanced reconnaissance. The men then prepared maps of the shorelines and the reef floors, and then briefed the Amphibious Forces Intelligence staffs aboard ship. Returning later with the same “drop-and-pickup” methods, they blew up beach obstacles.

Trained in Judo, Wrestling, Boxing, Weapons, and Sabotage

On March 1, 1945 the Ft. Pierce school was renamed Amphibious Scout School. It also had a new challenge—to train men for a reshaped S&R role known as Amphibious Roger. The phrase came from the phrase “Jolly Roger,” a piratical term, the word Roger standing for “raider.” Amphibious Roger personnel were trained for guerrilla warfare and raiding operations in China. The training was essentially the basic S&R course, but with extra emphasis on demolition and inland reconnaissance. Added were classes in Chinese culture and language, and more hand-to-hand combat, judo, boxing, and wrestling as well as additional weapons and sabotage work.

One of the key elements of the war in China was SACO, the Sino-American Cooperative Organization agreement signed by the Chinese and the United States on April 1, 1943. Under the terms of the Agreement, the United States was to train guerrillas, intelligence agents, weather groups, saboteurs, and raiding squads to set up weather, radio, and radio-intercept stations using American equipment and mostly Chinese personnel.

The S&R coastal intelligence-gathering experience, which began in China with SACO in 1945, lent itself well to hydrographic and shoreline surveillance and mapping. But here, because of the high density of Japanese patrols and the safety concerns regarding submarine operations in uncharted waters, the missions were often conducted over land. A few S&R officers were pulled out of Class #6 in July 1944 and were sent to train Chinese guerrillas at a camp in Teng Feng, China. Others followed from Ft. Pierce and the Mediterranean.

S&R officers staffed a number of SACO camps in interior China. They made reconnaissance missions to determine landing accessibility along the lower China coast. They also harassed and fought running battles with the Japanese. They rescued 20 downed pilots. In one mission, dubbed Operation Swordfish, an S&R team sunk a Japanese freighter in Amoy Harbor. They were so effective that at one time the Japanese offered a bounty of $1,000 in gold to any Chinese person who turned in an S&R.

From S&R to SEALS

Amphibious Roger Class #4 was the last group to graduate from ATB Ft. Pierce. Class #5 began its training in June 1945. A contingent from that class had been taken to Ft. Bragg, NC, for airborne training, but the end of the war canceled it. The new training would have given the S&Rs a sea, air, and land capability. One of the members of that class was Rudolph E. Boesch, who went on to become the longest-serving enlisted man in the Navy at over 45 years, and the longest serving SEAL. At the time, there were over four hundred officers and enlisted men in Amphibious Roger duties.

When WWII ended, many of the S&Rs who remained in the Navy were transferred back into the fleet. As the first Naval Special Warfare commandos, they had pioneered a wide range of tactics and techniques of amphibious reconnaissance and intelligence gathering. This knowledge fortunately was carried along to the UDTs serving in the Korean War, and later the UDTs and SEALS for other theaters of operation.

In November 1985 the UDT-SEAL Museum was commissioned at Ft. Pierce to commemorate the many years of service of the frogmen and SEALs. As Navy files were declassified, and the background history of the UDT and SEALs was uncovered, the importance of the Scouts and Raiders to the heritage of Naval Special Warfare was realized. Although disbanded after the war, their lineal descendants, the U.S. Navy SEALs, and other special warfare personnel gathered at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., on January 21, 1987 to honor Captain Phil Bucklew, USNR Ret., a legendary Scout and Raider officer, by naming the Center for Naval Special Warfare after him. And in November 1989 the UDT-SEAL museum at Ft. Pierce chose to include the Scouts and Raiders as part of their Naval Special Warfare historical record.

Bud Hyland is a former member of the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team 12, and of the UDT-SEAL reserve.


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But with the changing plans of war, the intended use of these S&R Officers did not reach fruition. The November 1943 landing on island of Tarawa in the Pacific had grimly illustrated the need for pre-assault reconnaissance. Marines landing on the atoll were either drowned or made easy targets for the Japanese when their landing craft hit hidden reefs. Planners recommended to the Chief of Naval Operations that Underwater Demolition Teams be formed permanently, with six teams assigned to the Central Pacific and three to the South Pacific, and that a training location be established in Hawaii. Initially this meant combining the existing, smaller Naval Combat Demolition Units. The Navy also tapped into the S&R resources.

Beginning in November 1944, the majority of Class #6’s 25 officers joined the Underwater Demolition Teams and took further training at the Naval Combat Demolition Training and Experimental Base at Maui. UDT personnel were familiar with the S&Rs because of their similar work. Some of them had trained together at Ft. Pierce, and some had worked together before. Also, some existing S&R crews began functioning in parallel to the UDTs to accomplish the same beach demolition functions.

In the southwest Pacific, meanwhile, MacArthur’s forces had been carrying out amphibious assaults, including the landing in New Guinea in September 1943 by the 9th Australian Division. The 9th had established a new unit, the top-secret Amphibious Scouts, for advanced intelligence gathering. It included various services volunteers as well as Australian Coast Watchers. It was, in every respect except in name, Scouts and Raiders. In fact, when the original members of this group returned to the States, trained S&R personnel replaced them.

The first Amphibious Scouts’ tasks, in preparation for landing at various places on New Guinea, included being dropped offshore by PT boat, and slipping ashore in rubber boats to gather intelligence on Japanese installations and movements. By July 1944 MacArthur’s troops had made 11 landings on New Guinea, the last of these at Sansapor. In his book, MacArthur’s Amphibious Navy, Admiral Barbey calls Sansapor “the most thoroughly reconnoitered landing ever in the SWPA (South-West Pacific Area).”

For landings at the heavily mined Leyte Gulf, Philippines, Scout officers sneaked ashore to set up navigation lights, first for guiding minesweepers several days before the landings and later for the actual landing craft. At Panay in west-central Philippines, one Scout team went ashore from PT boats to do beach reconnaissance and depth soundings before the landings. Another Scout group prepared the way for landings on southern Luzon. This team went ashore to meet with an Army officer and a band of Filipino guerrillas. They gathered information on nine Japanese coastal defense guns, seven of which the Air Force was able to knock out before the landings.

Okinawa was the largest amphibious undertaking in the Pacific theater, and the toughest. S&Rs worked as and with UDTs, Scout Intelligence Officers, Beachmasters, and Control Officers. The S&Rs and UDTs were taken to within a thousand yards of the beaches, where they slipped into the water and swam shoreward to gather beach intelligence, often under enemy fire. They then swam back out and were picked up in the reverse procedure by the landing craft. This became the standard mode of advanced reconnaissance. The men then prepared maps of the shorelines and the reef floors, and then briefed the Amphibious Forces Intelligence staffs aboard ship. Returning later with the same “drop-and-pickup” methods, they blew up beach obstacles.

Trained in Judo, Wrestling, Boxing, Weapons, and Sabotage

On March 1, 1945 the Ft. Pierce school was renamed Amphibious Scout School. It also had a new challenge—to train men for a reshaped S&R role known as Amphibious Roger. The phrase came from the phrase “Jolly Roger,” a piratical term, the word Roger standing for “raider.” Amphibious Roger personnel were trained for guerrilla warfare and raiding operations in China. The training was essentially the basic S&R course, but with extra emphasis on demolition and inland reconnaissance. Added were classes in Chinese culture and language, and more hand-to-hand combat, judo, boxing, and wrestling as well as additional weapons and sabotage work.

One of the key elements of the war in China was SACO, the Sino-American Cooperative Organization agreement signed by the Chinese and the United States on April 1, 1943. Under the terms of the Agreement, the United States was to train guerrillas, intelligence agents, weather groups, saboteurs, and raiding squads to set up weather, radio, and radio-intercept stations using American equipment and mostly Chinese personnel.

The S&R coastal intelligence-gathering experience, which began in China with SACO in 1945, lent itself well to hydrographic and shoreline surveillance and mapping. But here, because of the high density of Japanese patrols and the safety concerns regarding submarine operations in uncharted waters, the missions were often conducted over land. A few S&R officers were pulled out of Class #6 in July 1944 and were sent to train Chinese guerrillas at a camp in Teng Feng, China. Others followed from Ft. Pierce and the Mediterranean.

S&R officers staffed a number of SACO camps in interior China. They made reconnaissance missions to determine landing accessibility along the lower China coast. They also harassed and fought running battles with the Japanese. They rescued 20 downed pilots. In one mission, dubbed Operation Swordfish, an S&R team sunk a Japanese freighter in Amoy Harbor. They were so effective that at one time the Japanese offered a bounty of $1,000 in gold to any Chinese person who turned in an S&R.

From S&R to SEALS

Amphibious Roger Class #4 was the last group to graduate from ATB Ft. Pierce. Class #5 began its training in June 1945. A contingent from that class had been taken to Ft. Bragg, NC, for airborne training, but the end of the war canceled it. The new training would have given the S&Rs a sea, air, and land capability. One of the members of that class was Rudolph E. Boesch, who went on to become the longest-serving enlisted man in the Navy at over 45 years, and the longest serving SEAL. At the time, there were over four hundred officers and enlisted men in Amphibious Roger duties.

When WWII ended, many of the S&Rs who remained in the Navy were transferred back into the fleet. As the first Naval Special Warfare commandos, they had pioneered a wide range of tactics and techniques of amphibious reconnaissance and intelligence gathering. This knowledge fortunately was carried along to the UDTs serving in the Korean War, and later the UDTs and SEALS for other theaters of operation.

In November 1985 the UDT-SEAL Museum was commissioned at Ft. Pierce to commemorate the many years of service of the frogmen and SEALs. As Navy files were declassified, and the background history of the UDT and SEALs was uncovered, the importance of the Scouts and Raiders to the heritage of Naval Special Warfare was realized. Although disbanded after the war, their lineal descendants, the U.S. Navy SEALs, and other special warfare personnel gathered at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., on January 21, 1987 to honor Captain Phil Bucklew, USNR Ret., a legendary Scout and Raider officer, by naming the Center for Naval Special Warfare after him. And in November 1989 the UDT-SEAL museum at Ft. Pierce chose to include the Scouts and Raiders as part of their Naval Special Warfare historical record.

Bud Hyland is a former member of the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team 12, and of the UDT-SEAL reserve.


The Inside Story of How the Navy SEALs Were Born

Today’s Navy SEALs (for Sea, Air, and Land special warfare experts) have a history shrouded in secrecy. Commissioned in 1962, they are the most elite shore-area Special Forces in the world, concentrating on very select and often-clandestine intelligence gathering and precision strike missions.

In April 1944 a new “Transport Doctrine, Amphibious Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet” called for 125 officers and reduced crews to fulfill a Transport Scout Intelligence function. This changed the S&R crew’s roles from the European operations of scout boat functions. Classes #6 through #8 trained officers and men for the new mission. Class #8 was all officers, one of which was Ensign Richard Lyon who, after his service with the S&Rs in WWII, went on to become Rear Admiral Lyon, the first designated Special Warfare flag officer (Admiral, SEAL Teams) in U.S. history. The Class #8 graduates were sent to Advanced Naval Intelligence School in New York City, then to the Amphibious Training Base in Coronado, Calif., for further demolitions training.

A Permanent Underwater Demolitions Team

But with the changing plans of war, the intended use of these S&R Officers did not reach fruition. The November 1943 landing on island of Tarawa in the Pacific had grimly illustrated the need for pre-assault reconnaissance. Marines landing on the atoll were either drowned or made easy targets for the Japanese when their landing craft hit hidden reefs. Planners recommended to the Chief of Naval Operations that Underwater Demolition Teams be formed permanently, with six teams assigned to the Central Pacific and three to the South Pacific, and that a training location be established in Hawaii. Initially this meant combining the existing, smaller Naval Combat Demolition Units. The Navy also tapped into the S&R resources.

Beginning in November 1944, the majority of Class #6’s 25 officers joined the Underwater Demolition Teams and took further training at the Naval Combat Demolition Training and Experimental Base at Maui. UDT personnel were familiar with the S&Rs because of their similar work. Some of them had trained together at Ft. Pierce, and some had worked together before. Also, some existing S&R crews began functioning in parallel to the UDTs to accomplish the same beach demolition functions.

In the southwest Pacific, meanwhile, MacArthur’s forces had been carrying out amphibious assaults, including the landing in New Guinea in September 1943 by the 9th Australian Division. The 9th had established a new unit, the top-secret Amphibious Scouts, for advanced intelligence gathering. It included various services volunteers as well as Australian Coast Watchers. It was, in every respect except in name, Scouts and Raiders. In fact, when the original members of this group returned to the States, trained S&R personnel replaced them.

The first Amphibious Scouts’ tasks, in preparation for landing at various places on New Guinea, included being dropped offshore by PT boat, and slipping ashore in rubber boats to gather intelligence on Japanese installations and movements. By July 1944 MacArthur’s troops had made 11 landings on New Guinea, the last of these at Sansapor. In his book, MacArthur’s Amphibious Navy, Admiral Barbey calls Sansapor “the most thoroughly reconnoitered landing ever in the SWPA (South-West Pacific Area).”

For landings at the heavily mined Leyte Gulf, Philippines, Scout officers sneaked ashore to set up navigation lights, first for guiding minesweepers several days before the landings and later for the actual landing craft. At Panay in west-central Philippines, one Scout team went ashore from PT boats to do beach reconnaissance and depth soundings before the landings. Another Scout group prepared the way for landings on southern Luzon. This team went ashore to meet with an Army officer and a band of Filipino guerrillas. They gathered information on nine Japanese coastal defense guns, seven of which the Air Force was able to knock out before the landings.

Okinawa was the largest amphibious undertaking in the Pacific theater, and the toughest. S&Rs worked as and with UDTs, Scout Intelligence Officers, Beachmasters, and Control Officers. The S&Rs and UDTs were taken to within a thousand yards of the beaches, where they slipped into the water and swam shoreward to gather beach intelligence, often under enemy fire. They then swam back out and were picked up in the reverse procedure by the landing craft. This became the standard mode of advanced reconnaissance. The men then prepared maps of the shorelines and the reef floors, and then briefed the Amphibious Forces Intelligence staffs aboard ship. Returning later with the same “drop-and-pickup” methods, they blew up beach obstacles.

Trained in Judo, Wrestling, Boxing, Weapons, and Sabotage

On March 1, 1945 the Ft. Pierce school was renamed Amphibious Scout School. It also had a new challenge—to train men for a reshaped S&R role known as Amphibious Roger. The phrase came from the phrase “Jolly Roger,” a piratical term, the word Roger standing for “raider.” Amphibious Roger personnel were trained for guerrilla warfare and raiding operations in China. The training was essentially the basic S&R course, but with extra emphasis on demolition and inland reconnaissance. Added were classes in Chinese culture and language, and more hand-to-hand combat, judo, boxing, and wrestling as well as additional weapons and sabotage work.

One of the key elements of the war in China was SACO, the Sino-American Cooperative Organization agreement signed by the Chinese and the United States on April 1, 1943. Under the terms of the Agreement, the United States was to train guerrillas, intelligence agents, weather groups, saboteurs, and raiding squads to set up weather, radio, and radio-intercept stations using American equipment and mostly Chinese personnel.

The S&R coastal intelligence-gathering experience, which began in China with SACO in 1945, lent itself well to hydrographic and shoreline surveillance and mapping. But here, because of the high density of Japanese patrols and the safety concerns regarding submarine operations in uncharted waters, the missions were often conducted over land. A few S&R officers were pulled out of Class #6 in July 1944 and were sent to train Chinese guerrillas at a camp in Teng Feng, China. Others followed from Ft. Pierce and the Mediterranean.

S&R officers staffed a number of SACO camps in interior China. They made reconnaissance missions to determine landing accessibility along the lower China coast. They also harassed and fought running battles with the Japanese. They rescued 20 downed pilots. In one mission, dubbed Operation Swordfish, an S&R team sunk a Japanese freighter in Amoy Harbor. They were so effective that at one time the Japanese offered a bounty of $1,000 in gold to any Chinese person who turned in an S&R.

From S&R to SEALS

Amphibious Roger Class #4 was the last group to graduate from ATB Ft. Pierce. Class #5 began its training in June 1945. A contingent from that class had been taken to Ft. Bragg, NC, for airborne training, but the end of the war canceled it. The new training would have given the S&Rs a sea, air, and land capability. One of the members of that class was Rudolph E. Boesch, who went on to become the longest-serving enlisted man in the Navy at over 45 years, and the longest serving SEAL. At the time, there were over four hundred officers and enlisted men in Amphibious Roger duties.

When WWII ended, many of the S&Rs who remained in the Navy were transferred back into the fleet. As the first Naval Special Warfare commandos, they had pioneered a wide range of tactics and techniques of amphibious reconnaissance and intelligence gathering. This knowledge fortunately was carried along to the UDTs serving in the Korean War, and later the UDTs and SEALS for other theaters of operation.

In November 1985 the UDT-SEAL Museum was commissioned at Ft. Pierce to commemorate the many years of service of the frogmen and SEALs. As Navy files were declassified, and the background history of the UDT and SEALs was uncovered, the importance of the Scouts and Raiders to the heritage of Naval Special Warfare was realized. Although disbanded after the war, their lineal descendants, the U.S. Navy SEALs, and other special warfare personnel gathered at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., on January 21, 1987 to honor Captain Phil Bucklew, USNR Ret., a legendary Scout and Raider officer, by naming the Center for Naval Special Warfare after him. And in November 1989 the UDT-SEAL museum at Ft. Pierce chose to include the Scouts and Raiders as part of their Naval Special Warfare historical record.

Bud Hyland is a former member of the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team 12, and of the UDT-SEAL reserve.

This article originally appeared on Warfare History Network.


Landings at Sansapor, 30-31 July 1944 - History

LST-23 was laid down on 27 October 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 13 March 1942 sponsored by Mrs. Mary H. Miller and commissioned on 22 May 1943.

During World War 11, LST-23 served in the AsiaticPacific theater and took part in the following operations:

Gilbert Islands operation-November and December 1943

Marshall Islands operation:

(a) Occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls- February 1944

(b) Capture and occupation of Saipan-June and July 1944

Tinian capture and occupation-July 1944

Western Caroline Islands operation:

(a) Capture and occupation of southern Palau Islands-September and October 1944

Lingayen landings on Luzon-January 1945

On 15 September 1945, she was redesignated LSTH. Immediately after the war, LSTH-23 performed occupation duty in the Far East until early December 1945. She returned to the United States and was decommissioned on 24 May 1946. She was struck from the Navy list on 3 July 1946 and was sold to the Kaiser Co., Inc., Seattle, Wash., on 6 April 1948 for scrapping.

LSTH-23 earned six battle stars for World War II service as LST-23.

LST-24 was laid down on 19 November 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 17 April 1943 sponsored by Mrs. Marguerite E. Davis and commissioned on 14 June 1943.

During World War II, LST-24 was assigned to the Asiatic- Pacific theater and participated in the following operations:

(a) Capture and occupation of Guam-August 1944

Western New Guinea operation:

(a) Morotai landings-September 1944

Leyte landings-October and November 1944

(a) Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto - March and June 1945

LST-24 was decommissioned on 26 February 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 5 June 1946. On 23 December 1947, she was sold to the Humble Oil & Refining Co., of Houston, Tex., and was converted for merchant service.

LST-24 earned five battle stars for World War II service.

LST-25 was laid down on 12 October 1942 at Wilmington, Del., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 9 March 1943 sponsored by Miss Dolly Hemphill and commissioned on 3 May 1943, Lt. J. B. Holmes, USCG, in command.

During World War II, LST-25 served in the European and Asiatic-Pacific theaters and participated in the following operations:

Invasion of Normandy-June 1944

(a) Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto - May 1945

Navy Occupation Service, Asia-September and

October 1945 and March 1946

China Service-October 1945 and March 1946

LST-25 was decommissioned on 2 August 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 8 October 1946. On 31 March 1948, she was sold to the Kaiser Co., Inc., Seattle, Wash., for scrapping.

LST-25 earned two battle stars for World War II service.

LST-26 was laid down on 16 November 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 31 March 1943 sponsored by Mrs. Mathilda B. Coulter and commissioned on 7 June 1943.

During World War II, LST-26 served in the AsiaticPacific theater and took part in the following operations:

Bismarck Archipelago operation:

(a) Cape Gloucester, New Britain-December 1943 and January 1944

Hollandia operation-April and May 1944 Western New Guinea operations:

(a) Toem-Wakde-Sarmi area operation-May 1944

(b) Biak Island operation-May and June 1944

(e) Noemfoor Island operation-July 1944

(d) Cape Sansapor operation-July and August 1944

(e) Morotai landings-September 1944

Leyte landings-October and November 1944 Consolidation of the southern Philippines:

(a) Mindanao Island landings-March 1945

She saw service in China from 3 to 10 October 1945.

Following the war, LST-26 performed occupation duty in the Far East until early November 1945. She returned to the United States and was decommissioned on I April 1946. She was struck from the Navy list on 8 May 1946 and was sold to Arctic Circle Exploration, Seattle, Wash., on 17 June 1946 to be converted for merchant service.

LST-26 earned five battle star for World War II service.

LST-27 was laid down on 10 December 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 27 April 1943 sponsored by Mrs. R. R. Creed and commissioned on 25 June 1943.

During World War II, LST-27 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the following operations:

Convoy UGS-36-April 1944 Invasion of Normandy-June,1944

LST-27 was decommissioned on 9 November 1945 and was struck from the Navy list on 28 November 1945. On 15 December 1947, she was sold to the Rhode Island Navigation Co., of Newport, R.I., for scrapping.

LST-27 earned two battle stars for World War II service.

LST-28 was laid down on 8 December 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 19 April 1943 sponsored by Mrs. Michael Torick and commissioned on 19 June 1943.

During World War 11, LST-28 was assigned to the European theater and participated in t

Convoy UGS-36-April 1944 Invasion of Normandy-June 1944

LST-28 was decommissioned on 16 August 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 29 October 1946. On 19 May 1948, she was sold to George H. Nutman, of Brooklyn, N.Y., for scrapping.

LST-28 earned two battle stars for World War II service.

LST-29 was laid down on 8 January 1943 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 17 May 1943 sponsored by Mrs. C. F. Lockton and commissioned on 10 July 1943. '

During World War II, LST-29 was assigned to the Asiatic- Pacific theater and participated in the following operations:

Gilbert Islands operation-November and December 1943

Marshall Islands operation:

(a) Occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls- January and February 1944

(b) Occupation of Eniwetok Atoll-February and March 1944

(a) Capture and occupation of Guam-July and August 1944

(a) Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto -May 1945

LST-29 was decommissioned on 11 March 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 8 May 1946. On 17 June 1946, she was sold to the Foss Launch & Tug Co., of Seattle, Wash.


Landings at Sansapor, 30-31 July 1944 - History

From the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships , Vol. VII (1981), pp. 569-731.

LST-1 was laid down on 20 July 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 7 September 1942 sponsored by Mrs. Laurence T. Haugen, and commissioned on 14 December 1942, Lt. W. L. Chessman in command.

During World War I, LST-1 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the following operations:

  • Sicilian occupation-July 1943
  • Salerno landings-September 1943
  • Anzio-Nettuno phase of operations on west coast of Italy-January to March 1944
  • Invasion of Normandy-June 1944

LST-1 was decommissioned on 21 May 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 19 June 1946. On 5 December 1947, she was sold to the Ships Power and Equipment Co., of Barber, N.J., for scrapping.

LST-1 earned four battle stars for World War Il service.

LST-2 was laid down on 23 June 1942 at Pittsburgh Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 19 September 1942 sponsored by Miss Nancy Jane Hughes and commissioned on 9 February 1943.

During World War II, LST-2 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the following operations:

  • North African occupation-early 1943
  • Sicilian occupation-July 1943
  • Salerno landings-September 1943
  • Invasion of Normandy-June 1944

LST-2 was decommissioned on 11 April 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 5 June 1946. On 5 December 1947, she was sold to Bosey, Philippines.

LST-2 earned four battle stars for World War II service.

LST-3 was laid down on 29 June 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 19 September 1942, sponsored by Mrs. A. C. Harlow, and commissioned on 8 February 1943

During World War II, LST-S was assigned to the European theater and participated in the following operations:

  • Sicilian occupation-July to August 1943
  • Invasion of southern France-August to September 1944

LST-3 was decommissioned sometime after World War II ended and was struck from the Navy list on 19 June 1946. On 10 September 1947, she was sold to the Boston Metals Co., of Baltimore, Md., for scrapping.

LST-3 earned two battle stars for World War II service.

LST-4 was laid down on 4 July 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 9 October 1942 sponsored by Mrs. J. Bartolo and commissioned on
14 February 1943.

During World War II, LST-4 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the following operations:

  • Sicilian occupation-July 1943
  • Salerno landings-September 1943
  • West coast of Italy operations-Anzio-Nettuno advanced landings January and February 1944
  • Invasion of southern France-August and September 1944

LST-4 was decomissioned sometime after World War II ended and was struck from the Navy list on 19 June 1946. On 10 September 1947, she was sold to the Boston Metals Co., of Baltimore, Md., for scrapping.

LST-4 earned four battle stars for World War II service.

LST-5 was laid down on 12 July 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 3 October 1942 sponsored by Mrs. Wanetta Rose Barker, and commissioned on 22 February 1943.

During World War II, LST-5 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the following operations:

  • Sicilian occupation-July 1943
  • Salerno landings-September 1943
  • Invasion of Normandy-June 1944

LST-5 was decommissioned sometime after World War II ended and was struck from the Navy list on 1 August 1947. On 7 October 1947, she was sold to the Tung Hwa Trading Co., of Singapore, for scrapping.

LST-5 earned three battle stars for World War II service.

LST-6 was laid down on 20 July 1942 at Wilmington, Del., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 21 October 1942 sponsored by Mrs. H. E. Haven, and commissioned on 30 January 1943

During World War II, LST-6 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the following operations:

  • Sicilian occupation-July 1943
  • Salerno landings-September 1943
  • Invasion of Normandy-June 1944

On 17 November 1944, she was mined and sunk in six fathoms of water while en route from Rouen, France, to Portland, England. She was struck from the Navy list on 22 December 1944.

LST-6 earned three battle stars for World War II service.

LST-7 was laid down on 17 July 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 31 October 1942 sponsored by Mrs. Anna Marvin, and commissioned on 2 March 1943.

During World War II, LST-7 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the following operations:

  • Sicilian occupation-July 1943
  • Salerno landings-September 1943
  • Invasion of Normandy-June 1944

LST-7 was decommissioned on 21 May 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 19 June 1946. On 7 October 1947, she was sold to Mr. L. Lewis Green, Jr. of Charleston, S.C., for scrapping.

LST-7 earned three battle stars for World War II service.

LST-8 was laid down on 26 July 1942 at Pittsburgh Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 29 Oetober 1942 sponsored by Mrs. Anne H. Johnston, and transferred to the United Kingdom on 22 March 1943.

LST-8 was returned from the United Kingdom on 1 June 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 3 July 1946. On 5 December 1947, she was sold to Bosey, Philippines.

LST-9 was laid down on 9 August 1942 at Pittsburgh Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 14 November 1942 sponsored by Miss Katherine Moxin, and transferred to the United Kingdom on 19 March 1943. LST-9 was returned to the United States Navy on 1 June 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 3 July 1946. On 5 September 1948, she was sold to Bosey Philippines.

LST-10

LST-10 was redesignated ARL-1 and named Achelous (q.v.) on 13 January 1943.

LST-11

LST-11 was laid down on 8 August 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 18 November 1942, sponsored by Miss Virginia Fowler, and transferred to the United Kingdom on 22 March 1943

LST-11 was returned to the United States Navy on 13 May 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 5 June 1946. On 5 December 1947, she was sold to Bosey, Philippines.

LST-12

LST-12 was laid down on 16 August 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 7 December 1942 sponsored by Mrs. Joseph Fay and transferred to the United Kingdom on 25 March 1943.

LST-12 was returned to the United States Navy on 5 January 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 20 March 1946. On 11 September 1947, she was sold to Washburn Wire Co., Philipsdale, R.I., for scrapping.

LST-13

LST-13 was laid down on 1 September 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa.. bv the Dravo Corp. launched on l January 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Jean A. Brackmann and transferred to the United Kingdom on 3 April 1943.

LST-13 was returned to the United States Navy on 27 February 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 5 June 1946. On 14 October 1947, she was sold to Luria Brothers and Co., Inc., of Philadelphia, Pa., for scrapping.

LST-14

LST-14 was redesignated AGP-5 and named Varuna (q.v.) on 25 January 1943.

LST-15

LST-15 was redesignated ARB-3 and named Phaon (q.v.) on 25 January 1943.

LST-16

LST-16 was laid down on 1 September 1942 at Wilmington, Del., by the Dravo Corp., launched on 19 December 1942 sponsored by Mrs. Lois M. Alexander and commissioned on 17 March 1943.

During World War II, LST-16 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the following operations:

  • North African occupation:
    (a) Tunisian operations July 1943
  • Sicilian occupation-September 1943
  • Salerno landings-September 1943
  • West coast of Italy operations:
    (a) Anzio-Nettuno advanced landings-January and February 1944
  • Invasion of Normandy-June 1944

Following the war, LST-16 performed occupation duty in the Far East in September and November 1945. She was decommissioned on 8 March 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 12 April 1946. On 5 December 1947, she was sold to Ships and Power Equipment Co., of Barber, N.J., for scrapping.

LST-16 earned five battle stars for World War II service.

LST-17

LST-17 was laid down on 21 September 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 8 January 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Sarah H. Bankson and commissioned on 19 April 1943, Lt. H. B. Gallagher, USCGR, in command.

During World War II, LST-17 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the following operation:

Following the war, LST-17 performed occupation duty in the Far East intermittently from September through December 1945. She was decommissioned on 15 January 1946. On 15 November 1954, she was transferred to Commandant 13th Naval District, for use as a mobile target, and was sunk on 15 August 1956 by torpedo fire.

LST-17 earned one battle star for World War II service.

LST-18

LST-18 was laid down on 1 October 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 15 February 1943, sponsored by Miss Ruth Watt, and commissioned on 26 April 1943.

During World War II, LST-18 served in the Asiatic-Pacific theater and took part in the following operations:

  • Finschhafen occupation phase of the Eastern New Guinea operation-September 1943
  • Bismarck Archipelago operation:
    (a) Cape Gloucester landings on New Britain -December 1943 and January 1944
    (b) Admiralty Islands landings-March and April 1944
  • Hollandia operation-April and May 1944
  • Western New Guinea operations:
    (a) Toem-Wakde-Sarmi area-May 1944
    (b) Biak Island-June 1944
    (c) Noemfoor Island-July 1944
    (d) Cape Sansapor-July and August 1944
    (e) Morotai landings-September 1944
  • Leyte landings-October and November 1944
  • Lingayen landings on Luzon-January 1945
  • Consolidation of the southern Philippines
    (a) Palawan Island landings-March 1945
    (b) Visayan Islands landings-March and April 1945

Following the war, LST-18 performed occupation duty in the Far East until early November 1945. She returned to the United States and was decommissioned on 3 April 1946. She was struck from the Navy list on 17 April 1946 and was sold to the Suwannee Fruit & Steamship Co., of Jacksonville, Fla., on 31 October 1946 for conversion to merchant service

LST-18 earned seven battle stars for World War II service.

LST-19

LST-I9 was laid down on 22 October 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 11 March 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Frances P. Gott, commissioned on 15 May 1943 and redesignated LSTH on 15 September 1945.

During World War II, LST-19 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific theater and participated in the following operations:

  • Gilbert Islands operation-November and December 1943
  • Marianas operation:
    (a) Capture and occupation of Saipan-June and July 1944
  • Tinian capture and occupation-July 1944
  • Western Caroline Islands operations:
    (a) Capture and occupation of southern Palau Islands-September and October 1944

Following the war, LST-I9 performed occupation duty in the Far East in October and December 1945 She was decommissioned on 20 March 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 1 May 1946. On 5 December 1947, she was sold to Ships and Power Equipment Co., of Barber, N.J., for scrapping.

LST-19 earned four battle stars for World War II service.

LST-20

LST-20 was laid down on 5 October 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 15 February 1943 sponsored by Miss Anne B. Sylvester, and commissioned on 14 May 1943.

During World War II, LST-20 served in the Asiatic-Pacific theater and took part in the following operations:

  • Gilbert Islands operation-November and December 1943
  • Leyte landings-October 1944
  • Lingayen landings on Luzon-January 1945
  • Okinawa Gunto operation:
    (a) Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto-April 1945

Following the war, LST-20 performed occupation duty in the Far East until early November 1945. She returned to the United States and was decommissioned on 3 April 1946. She was struck from the Navy list on 19 June 1946 and was transferred to the Maritime Administration on 8 October 1947 for disposal by scrapping.

LST-20 earned four battle stars for World War II service.

LST-21

LST-21 was laid down on 25 September 1942 at Wilmington, Del., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 18 February 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Lillian M. Lloyd and commissioned on 14 April 1943.

The tank landing ship was assigned to the European theater and participated in the Normandy invasion in June 1944.

Upon her return to the United States, the ship was decommissioned on 25 January 1946 and struck from the Navy list on 19 June 1946. She was sold to Louis Feldman, of Flushing, N.Y., on 12 March 1948 and was subsequently scrapped.

LST-21 earned one battle star for World War II service.

LST-22

LST-22 was laid down on 5 November 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 29 March 1943 sponsored by Mrs. W. A. Barnes, and commissioned on 29 May 1943, Lt. L. N. Ditlefsen, USCG, in command.

During World War II, LST-22 served in the Asiatic-Pacific theater and took part in the following operations:

  • Eastern New Guinea operation:
    (a)Saidor occupation-January and February 1944
  • Bismarck Archipelago operation:
    (a) Cape Gloucester, New Britain-December 1943, January and February 1944
    (b) Admiralty Islands landings-March and April 1944
  • Hollandia operation-April and May 1944
  • Western New Guinea operations:
    (a) Toem-Wakde-Sarmi area operation-May 1944
    (b) Biak Island operation-May and June 1944
    (c)Noemfoor Island operation-July 1944
    (d) Cape Sansapor operation-July and August 1944
    (e)Morotai landings-September 1944
  • Leyte landings-October and November 1944
  • Lingayen landings on Luzon-January 1945

LST-22 returned to the United States and was decommissioned on 1 April 1946. She was struck from the Navy list on 17 April 1946 and was sold to MingSung Industrial Co., Ltd., of Shanghai, China, on 3 February 1947 to be converted for merchant service.

LST-22 earned six battle stars for World War II service.

LST-23

LST-23 was laid down on 27 October 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 13 March 1942 sponsored by Mrs. Mary H. Miller and commissioned on 22 May 1943.

During World War II, LST-23 served in the Asiatic-Pacific theater and took part in the following operations:

  • Gilbert Islands operation-November and December 1943
  • Marshall Islands operation:
    (a) Occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls-February 1944
  • Marianas operation:
    (b) Capture and occupation of Saipan-June and July 1944
  • Tinian capture and occupation-July 1944
  • Western Caroline Islands operation:
    (a) Capture and occupation of southern Palau Islands-September and October 1944
  • Lingayen landings on Luzon-January 1945

On 15 September 1945, she was redesignated LSTH. Immediately after the war, LSTH-23 performed occupation duty in the Far East until early December 1945. She returned to the United States and was decommissioned on 24 May 1946. She was struck from the Navy list on 3 July 1946 and was sold to the Kaiser Co., Inc. Seattle, Wash., on 6 April 1948 for scrapping.

LSTH-23 earned six battle stars for World War II service as LST-23.

LST-24

LST-24 was laid down on 19 November 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 17 April 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Marguerite E. Davis and commissioned on 14 June 1943

During World War II, LST-24 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific theater and participated in the following operations:

  • Marianas operation:
    (a) Capture and occupation of Guam- August 1944
  • Western New Guinea operation:
    (a) Morotai landings-September 1944
  • Leyte landings-October and November 1944
  • Okinawa Gunto operation:
    (a) Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto - March and June 1945

LST-24 was decommissioned on 26 February 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 5 June 1946 On 23 December 1947, she was sold to the Humble Oil & Refining Co., of Houston, Tex., and was converted for merchant service.

LST-24 earned five battle stars for World War II service.

LST-25

LST-25 was laid down on 12 October 1942 at Wilmington, Del., by the Dravo Corp, launched on 9 March 1943 sponsored by Miss Doily Hemphill, and commissioned on 3 May 1943, Lt. J. B. Holmes, USCG in command.

During World War II, LST-25 served in the European and Asiatic-Pacific theaters and participated in the following operations:

  • Invasion of Normandy-June 1944
  • Okinawa Gunto operation:
    (a) Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto -May 1945
  • Navy Occupation Service, Asia-September and October 1945 and March 1946
  • China Service-October 1945 and March 1946

LST-25 was decommissioned on 2 August 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 8 October 1946. On 31 March 1948, she was sold to the Kaiser Co., Inc. Seattle, Wash., for scrapping.

LST-25 earned two battle stars for World War II service.

LST-26

LST-26 was laid down on 16 November 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 31 March 1943 sponsored by Mrs. Mathilda B. Coulter and commissioned on 7 June 1943.

During World War II, LST-26 served in the Asiatic-Pacific theater and took part in the following operations:

  • Bismarck Archipelago operation:
    (a) Cape Gloucester, New Britain-December 1943 and January 1944
  • Hollandia operation-April and May 1944
  • Western New Guinea operations:
    (a) Toem-Wakde-Sarmi area operation-May 1944
    (b) Biak Island operation-May and June 1944
    (c) Noemfoor Island operation-July 1944
    (d) Cape Sansapor operation-July and August 1944
    (e) Morotai landings-September 1944
  • Leyte landings-October and November 1944
  • Consolidation of the southern Philippines:
    (a) Mindanao Island landings-March 1945

She saw service in China from 3 to 10 October 1945.

Following the war, LST-26 performed occupation duty in the Far East until early November 1945. She returned to the United States and was decommissioned on 1 April 1946. She was struck from the Navy list on 8 May 1946 and was sold to Arctic Circle Exploration, Seattle, Wash., on 17 June 1946 to be converted for merchant service.

LST-26 earned five battle stars for World War II service.

LST-27

LST-27 was laid down on 10 December 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 27 April 1943 sponsored by Mrs. R. R. Creed and commissioned on 25 June 1943.

During World War II, LST-27 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the following operations:

LST-27 was decommissioned on 9 November 1945 and was struck from the Navy list on 28 November 1945. On 15 December 1947, she was sold to the Rhode Island Navigation Co., of Newport, R.I., for scrapping.

LST-27 earned two battle stars for World War II service.

LST-28

LST-28 was laid down on 8 December 1942 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 19 April 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Michael Torick and commissioned on 19 June 1943.

During World War II, LST-28 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the following operations:

LST-28 was decommissioned on 16 August 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 29 October 1946. On 19 May 1948, she was sold to George H. Nutman, of Brooklyn, N.Y., for scrapping.

LST-28 earned two battle stars for World War II service.

LST-29

LST-29 was laid down on 8 January 1943 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 17 May 1943, sponsored by Mrs. C. F. Lockton and commissioned on 10 July 1943.

During World War II, LST-29 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific theater and participated in the following operations:

  • Gilbert Islands operation-November and December 1943
  • Marshall Islands operation:
    (a) Occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls-January and February 1944
    (b) Occupation of Eniwetok Atoll-February and March 1944
  • Marianas operation:
    (a) Capture and occupation of Guam-July and August 1944
  • Okinawa Gunto operation:
    (a) Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto -May 1945

LST-29 was decommissioned on 11 March 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 8 May 1946. On 17 June 1946, she was sold to the Foss Launch & Tug Co., of Seattle, Wash.

LST-29 earned four battle stars for World War II service.

LST-30

LST-30 was laid down on 12 January 1943 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 3 May 1943, sponsored by Mrs. C. B. Jansen and commissioned on 3 July 1943.

During World War II, LST-30 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the following operation:

LST-30 was decommissioned on 6 March 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 8 May 1946. On 2 April 1947, she was sold to W. Horace Williams Co., of New Orleans, La., and was converted for merchant service.

LST-30 earned one battle star for World War II service.

LST-31

LST-31 was laid down on 2 February 1943 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 5 June 1943 sponsored by Mrs. Maurice Endres and commissioned on 21 July 1943.

During World War II, LST-31 served in the Asiatic-Pacific theater and took part in the following operations:

  • Gilbert Islands operation-November and December 1943
  • Marshall Islands operation:
    (a) Occupation of Kwajulein and Majuro Atolls-January and February 1944
    (b) Occupation of Eniwetok Atoll-February and March 1944
  • Marianas operation:
    (a) Capture and occupation of Saipan-June through August 1944
  • Tinian capture and occupation-July and August 1944
  • Okinawa Gunto operation:
    (a) Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto -May 1945

Immediately following the war, LST-31 performed occupation duty in the Far East until early January 1946. She returned to the United States and was decommissioned on 8 January 1946. On 1 July 1955 LST-31 was named Addison County after a county in Vermont. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 11 August 1955, and she was sunk as a target.

Addison County earned five battle stars for World War II service as LST-31.

LST-32

LST-32 was laid down on 17 February 1943 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 22 May 1943, sponsored by Miss Dorothy M. Manko, and commissioned on 12 July 1943, Lt. Gardner P. Mulloy in command.

During World War II, LST-32 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the following operations:

LST-32 was decommissioned in July 1946. She was recommissioned on 7 March 1951. On 1 July 1955, LST-32 was assigned the name Alameda County after a county in California. She was reclassified Alameda County (AVB-1) on 28 August 1957, was decommissioned on 25 June 1962, and was struck from the Navy list that same month. On 20 November 1962, she was transferred to the Italian Navy

Alameda County earned two battle stars for World War II service as LST-32.

LST-33

LST-33 was laid down on 23 February 1943 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp. Launched on 21 June 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Paul J. Walsh, commissioned on 4 August 1943, and transferred to the Greek Navy on 18 August 1943, with which she served through the remainder of World War II. She was sold to the government of Greece in January 1947 and served there as Samos (L-179). She was struck from the Navy list on 23 June 1947.

LST-34

LST-34 was laid down on 15 March 1943 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., launched on 15 June 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Verne C. Cobb, and commissioned on 26 July 1943.

During World War II, LST-34 served in the Asiatic-Pacific theater and took part in the following operations:

  • Gilbert Islands operation-November and December 1943
  • Marshall Islands operation:
    (a) Occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls-January and February 1944
    (b) Occupation of Eniwetok Atoll-February and March 1944
  • Marianas operation:
    (a) Capture and occupation of Saipan-June 1944
  • Leyte landings-October and November 1944
  • Lingayen landings on Luzon-January 1945
  • Okinawa Gunto operation
    (a) Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto - May 1945

Following the war, LST-34 performed occupation duty in the Far East from March to November 1946. She returned to the United States and was decommissioned on 15 November 1946 and transferred to Military Government, Ryukyus. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 23 December 1947. She ran aground in the Far East in January 1949, and her hulk was abandoned.

LST-34 earned six battle stars for World War II service.

LST-35

LST-35 was laid down on 20 March 1943 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 30 June 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Samuel G. Cooper and transferred to the government of Greece on 18 August 1943 with which she served through the remainder of World War II. She was sold to the government of Greece in January 1947 and served there as Chios (L 195). Her name was struck from the Navy list on 23 June 1947.

LST-36

LST-36 was laid down on 21 April 1943 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 10 July 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Franklin Keen, and transferred to the government of Greece on 23 August 1943 with which she served through the remainder of World War II. She was sold to the government of Greece in January 1947 and served there as Lemnos (L-158). Her name was struck from the Navy list on 23 June 1947.

LST-37

LST-S7 was laid down on 1 April 1943 at Pittsburgh Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 5 July 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Jack Domb, and transferred to the government of Greece on 18 August 1943. She ran aground off Bizerte, Tunisia, on 1 June 1944, and sank. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 12 August 1948.

LST-38

LST-38 was laid down on 14 April 1943 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 27 July 1943 sponsored by Miss Bertha Karpinski and commissioned on 3 September 1943.

During World War II, LST-38 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific theater and participated in the following operations:

  • Marshall Islands operation
    (a) Occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls-January and February 1944
  • Bismarck Archipelago operation:
    (a) Admiralty Islands landings-March and April 1944
  • Hollandia operation-April 1944
  • Marianas operation:
    (a) Capture and occupation of Guam-July 1944

Following the war, LST-38 was redesignated LSTH-38 on 15 September 1945. She performed occupation duty in the Far East until mid-November 1945.

Upon her return to the United States, the ship was decommissioned on 26 March 1946 and struck from the Navy list on 1 May 1946. On 5 December 1947, she was sold to the Ships and Power Equipment Co., of Barber, N.J., and subsequently scrapped.

LSTH-38 earned four battle stars for World War II service as LST-38.

LST-39

LST-39 was laid down on 23 April 1943 by the Dravo Corp. at Pittsburgh, Pa., Iaunched on 29 July 1943 sponsored by Mrs. L. A. Mertz, and commissioned on 8 September 1943. She was assigned to the Pacific area during World War II but saw no combat action. She sank in the summer of 1944, and she was struck from the Navy list on 18 July 1944. She was later refloated, converted to a spare parts issue barge, and redesignated YF-1079. She served the Navy in that capacity until sometime between July 1945 and January 1946, by which time YF-1079 disappeared from the Navy list.

LST-40

LST-40 was laid down on 3 June 1943 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., launched on 7 August 1943 sponsored by Miss Hilda Sambolt, and commissioned on 15 September 1943.

During World War II, LST-40 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific theater and participated in the following operations:

  • Consolidation of the Solomon Islands:
    (a) Consolidation of southern Solomons- June 1943
  • Marianas operation:
    (a) Capture and occupation of Saipan-June and August 1944
  • Tinian capture and occupation-July 1944
  • Okinawa Gunto operation:
    (a) Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto -May 1945

Following the war, LST-40 performed occupation duty in the Far East until mid-February 1946. She returned to the United States and was decommissioned on 18 February 1946. In February 1947, she was transferred to the United States Military Government Korea, as a sale, and was struck from the Navy list on 5 March that same year.

LST-40 earned four battle stars for World War II service.

LST-41

LST-41 was laid down on 24 May 1943 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 17 August 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Mary Spisak and commissioned on 24 September 1943, Lt. W. B. Dundon, USNR, in command.

During World War II, LST-41 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific theater and participated in the following operations:

  • Marshall Islands operation:
    (a) Occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls-January and February 1944
  • Hollandia operation-April 1944
  • Marianas operation:
    (a) Capture and occupation of Guam-July 1944
  • Western Caroline Islands operation:
    (a) Capture and occupation of southern Palau Islands-September and October 1944
  • Luzon operation:
    (a) Lingayen Gulf landing-January 1945

Following the war, LST-41 was redesignated LSTH-41 on 15 September 1945. She performed occupation duty in the Far East until late November 1945.

Upon her return to the United States, the ship was decommissioned on 25 April 1946 and struck from the Navy list on 19 June 1946. On 8 October 1947, she was sold to J. C. Berkwit & Co., of New York City, N.Y.

LSTH-41 earned five battle stars for World War II service as LST-41.

LST-42

LST-42 was laid down on 17 June 1943 at Pittsburgh Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 17 August 1943 sponsored by Mrs. F. M. Leslie, and commissioned on 30 September 1943, Lt. Roy L. Guy in command.

During World War II, LST-42 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific theater and participated in the following operations:

  • Marshall Islands operation:
    (a) Occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls-January and February 1944
    (b) Occupation of Eniwetok Atoll-February and March 1944
  • Marianas operation:
    (a) Capture and occupation of Saipan-June and July 1944
  • Tinian capture and occupation July 1944
  • Western Caroline Islands operation:
    (a) Capture and occupation of southern Palau Islands-September and October 1944
  • Iwo Jima operation:
    (a) Assault and occupation of Iwo Jima- February and March 1945

Following the war, LST-42 was redesignated LSTH-42 on 15 September 1945. She performed occupation duty in the Far East and service in China until early April 1946.

Upon her return to the United States, the ship was decommissioned on 26 July 1946 and struck from the Navy list on 25 September 1946. On 26 March 1948 she was sold to the Kaiser Co., Inc., of Seattle, Wash., and subsequently scrapped.

LSTH-42 earned five battle stars for World War II service as LST-42.

LST-43

LST-43 was laid down on 19 June 1943 at Philadelphla, Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 28 August 1943 sponsored by Mrs. C. A. Hill and commissioned on 6 October 1943. She was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific theater during World War II and participated In the occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls from 31 January to 8 February 1944. On 21 May 1944, she was lost through an accident. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 18 July 1944. She was raised but deemed beyond economical repair and was subsequently sunk by torpedoes in 1945.

LST-43 earned one battle star for World War II service.

LST-44

LST-44 was laid down on 7 July 1943 at Pittsburgh Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 11 September 1943 sponsored by Mrs. F. E. Haeberle, and commissioned on 22 October 1943.

During World War II, LST-44 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the Normandy invasion from 6 to 25 June 1944. Following the war she performed occupation duty in the Far East anl sernce in China until mid-February 1946.

Upon her return to the United States, the ship was decommissioned on 20 February 1946. In 1947, she was transferred to the United States Army and was destroyed on 23 July 1947, cannibalized and scrapped. On 28 August 1947, her name was struck from the Navy list.

LST-44 earned one battle star for World War II service.

LST-45

LST-45 was laid down on 27 June 1943 at Pittsburgh Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 31 August 1943 sponsored by Miss Lois C. Donnelly and commissioned on 15 October 1943.

During World War II, LST-45 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific theater and took part in the following operations:

  • Marshall Islands operation:
    (a) Occupation of Kwajelein and Majuro Atolls-January and February 1944
  • Marianas operation:
    (a) Capture and occupation of Saipan-June through August 1944
    (b) Tinian capture and occupation-July and August 1944
  • Okinawa assault-March through June 1945

Following the war, LST-45 performed occupation duty in the Far East and saw service in China until late October 1945. Upon her return to the United States, the ship was decommissioned on 30 November 1948 and struck from the Navy list on 22 December that same year. On 25 February 1949, she was sold to the Foss Launch & Tug Co., of Seattle, Wash.

LST-45 earned four battle stars for World War II service.

LST-46

LST-46 was laid down on 20 July 1943 at Pittsburgh Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 16 September 1943, sponsored by Mrs. J. J. Edson, Jr. and commissioned on 3 November 1943.

During World War II, she was assigned to the European theater and participated in the Normandy invasion from 6 to 25 June 1944 and the invasion of southern France in August and September 1944. She was later transferred to the Asiatic-Pacific theater where she took part in the Okinawa assault in June 1945. Following the war, LST-46 performed occupation duty in the Far East and service in China until midMay 1946.

Upon her return to the United States, the ship was decommissioned on 6 June 1946 and struck from the Navy list on 19 June 1946. On 13 February 1948, she was sold to Bosey, Philippines, and resold to T. Y. Fong on the same date.

LST-46 earned three battle stars for World War II service.

LST-47

LST-47 was laid down on 30 July 1943 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 24 September 1943 sponsored by by Mrs. Clarence H. Vant, and commissioned on 8 November 1943.

The tank landing ship was initially assigned to the European theater and participated in the Normandy invasion in June 1944 and the invasion of southern France in August and September 1944. She was later transferred to the Asiatic-Pacific theater of operations where she took part in the Okinawa assault between 26 and 30 June 1945. Following the war, LST-47 performed occupation duty in the Far East in the fall and winter of 1945 and early January 1946.

Upon her return to the United States, the ship was decommissioned on 11 January 1946 and transferred to the United States Army the same day. She was assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service on 31 March 1952 and redesignated USNS LST-47. USNS LST-47 was transferred to the Philippine Navy on 13 September 1976.

LST-47 earned three battle stars for World War II service.

LST-48

LST-48 was laid down on 8 August 1943 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 2 October 1942 sponsored by Mrs. A. E. Stacey and commissioned on 16 November 1943.

The tank landing ship was initially assigned to the European theater and participated in the Normandy invasion between 6 and 25 June 1944 and the invasion of southern France between 15 August and 25 September 1944. She was later transferred to the Asiatic-Pacific theater of operations where she took part in the Okinawa assault between 30 May and 10 June 1945. Following the war, LST-48 performed occupation duty in the Far East during the winter of 1945 and 1946.

Upon her return to the United States, the ship was decommissioned on 8 February 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 5 December 1947. On 27 May 1948 she was sold to the Bethlehem Steel Co., of Bethiehem, Pa., and subsequently scrapped.

LST-48 earned three battle stars for World War II service.

LST-49

LST-49 was laid down on 17 August 1943 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp. launched on 9 October 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Kathryn Saban and commissioned on 20 November 1943.

The tank landing ship was initially assigned to the European theater and participated in the Normandy invasion between 6 and 25 June 1944 and the invasion of southern France between 15 August and 25 September 1944. She was later transferred to the Asiatic-Pacific theater of operations where she took part in the Okinawa assault between 8 and 30 June 1945. Following the war, LST-49 performed occupation duty in the Far East and service in China until mid-March 1946.

Upon her return to the United States, the ship was decommissioned on 11 June 1946 and struck from the Navy list on 3 July 1946. She was sold to Bosey Philippines, on 4 December 1947.

LST-49 earned three battle stars for World War II service.

LST-50

LST-50 was laid down on 29 August 1943 at Pittsburgh, Pa., by the Dravo Corp., Iaunched on 16 October 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Tito Tarquinio and commissioned on 27 November 1943.

The tank landing ship was initially assigned to the European theater and participated in the Normandy invasion between 6 and 25 June 1944 and the invasion of southern France between 15 August and 25 September 1944. She was later transferred to the Asiatic-Pacific theater of operations where she took part in the Okinawa assault between 18 and 30 June 1945. Following the war, LST-50 performed occupation duty in the Far East until early February 1946.

Upon her return to the United States, the ship was decommissioned on 6 February 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 8 September 1952. On 14 November 1952, she was redesignated ARB-13 and transferred to Norway as Ellida (A-534). She was returned to the United States on 1 July 1960 but was retransferred to Greece on 16 September 1960, and served with the Greek Navy as Sakipia (A-329).


The airfield was used during the Sansapor-Cape Opmarai Operation, 30 July-31 August 1944 in northern Dutch New Guinea. On 30 July, a task force comprising elements of the United States Army 6th Division made simultaneous and unopposed landings near Cape Opmarai on the mainland, and on Middelburg and Amsterdam Islands to the northwest. Only a few enemy stragglers were encountered. The next day a shore-to shore landing from Cape Opmarai was carried out at Sansapor.

As in other New Guinea areas, airdrome construction proceeded rapidly. In a short time airfields at Cape Opmarai and on Middelburg Island and a float plane base at Amsterdam Island were fully operative. The airfield was used as a tactical fighter strip, then abandoned after MacArthur moved into the Dutch East Indies on his drive to the Philippines.


Landings at Sansapor, 30-31 July 1944 - History

Strategically and tactically the most important result of the Noemfoor operation was that airfield development on the island permitted the Allied Air Forces to increase slightly the breadth and depth of air penetration, bringing Japanese bases to the southwest, west, and northwest within a little shorter range for fighters and bombers. 1 The nearest of these bases were on the Vogelkop Peninsula, and the Japanese stronghold at Manokwari, at the northeast corner of the Vogelkop, was less than 70 nautical miles west of Noemfoor.

Early Plans for the Vogelkop

General MacArthur's strategy for the drive to the Philippines--successive occupation of air and supply bases along the north coast of New Guinea--had from its inception envisaged the capture of an air-base site on the western Vogelkop as the final large-scale operation in New Guinea. From such a base the Allied Air Forces could support subsequent operations to the northwest, either directly to Mindanao in the southern Philippines, or if necessary via the islands between the Vogelkop and Mindanao. 2

While General MacArthur's planners made many changes in their choice of specific objectives on the Vogelkop, by late October 1943 they had determined to seize the large Japanese troop and supply base at Sorong, on a small island just off the peninsula's northwest shore. Simultaneously, air and naval-base sites would be secured on Waigeo Island, about sixty miles northwest of Sorong. Manokwari was not considered a profitable target. From fields on the near-by Geelvink Bay islands--such as Biak and Noemfoor--Allied Air Forces planes could accomplish virtually the same missions they could from Manokwari, and from those islands, which could be secured at less cost than Manokwari, the Allied Air Forces could easily keep inoperational Japanese air and naval bases in the Manokwari area. Since the Sorong-Waigeo area was within support range of Allied land-based aircraft flying from airdromes on the Geelvink Bay islands, the Japanese at Manokwari could safely be bypassed.

In conjunction with the advance to Sorong and Waigeo, General MacArthur

planned to occupy and develop the Klamono oil fields, inland on the Vogelkop some thirty miles southeast of Sorong. Allied plans to exploit the oil resources of the Vogelkop and other petroleum centers in the Netherlands East Indies had a long history. The Japanese advance south through the Indies in 1942 had cut off one of the world's richest sources of petroleum products, forcing the Allies to depend on Western Hemisphere and Middle East supplies, the latter of which had long been threatened by the German and Italian Armies. Oil from both sources had to be transported through dangerous waters before it could reach its proper destinations. Shortages of petroleum products were soon in evidence throughout the countries controlled by or friendly to the Allied nations.

Most of the petroleum production and refining facilities in the Netherlands East Indies had been partially or wholly destroyed by retreating Dutch forces or by civilian oil companies themselves. Many of the civilian oil experts, escaping south to Australia, were integrated into United States or Netherlands armed forces. At General MacArthur's headquarters some of these men soon began making plans for the rehabilitation of the lost fields, once Allied forces had wrested them from the Japanese. 3 Suggestions emanating from General MacArthur's headquarters concerning oil rehabilitation projects expressed the view that necessary equipment should be furnished by the United States Government and turned over to civilian organizations for the actual task of bringing wells and refineries back into production.

Meanwhile, in the United States, similar planning was going on, much of it without reference to General MacArthur and independently of related civilian or military agencies of the government. The Headquarters, Army Service Forces the Office of the Chief Engineer, U.S. Army the Office of the Quartermaster General, U.S. Army the Army-Navy Petroleum Board various civilian oil companies with prewar interests in Netherlands East Indies oil fields and, finally, U.S. Navy logistical agencies were all interested in oil rehabilitation projects. Ultimately, in December 1942, the somewhat chaotic situation in regard to the planning for oil field exploitation in the Indies was brought to the attention of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. 4

The Joint Chiefs quickly assumed responsibility for the direction and co-ordination of oil rehabilitation projects in the Netherlands East Indies and undertook necessary liaison with British and Dutch agencies. By mid February 1943 they had decided that, contrary to General MacArthur's recommendations, military units would at least start all oil rehabilitation and exploitation projects in the Indies, although the final development of the oil resources might be left to civilian agencies. General MacArthur was instructed to plan the location and timing details of oil rehabilitation projects in the Indies, and, subject to the Joint Chiefs' approval, execute those plans. At the same time, the Joint Chiefs directed that the organization of special military petroleum production and refining units begin. The

requisite troops, most of them U.S. Army engineers and many especially recruited from civilian pursuits, soon began to assemble and train in California. Orders were also placed with manufacturers for the special production and refining equipment, which was sent to California as it was obtained. 5

While these steps were being taken to coordinate oil rehabilitation projects, it had become obvious that in accordance with General MacArthur's plans the first significant oil producing region that could be recaptured in the Netherlands East Indies would be the Klamono district on the Vogelkop Peninsula. Before the war, civilian oil companies had found oil in commercial quantities at the Klamono fields, but there had been little production other than that necessary to prove the discoveries. Insofar as was known, Dutch forces on the Vogelkop had not destroyed many of the Klamono production facilities when they left the region in 1942. Nor had the Japanese made any use of the fields--they found all the oil their limited shipping could handle in more accessible places such as Java, Sumatra, and Borneo.

The Klamono district oil was especially valuable in that it could be used as fuel for naval vessels without refining beyond a little "topping" to remove excess naphtha. With limited effort, the wells could be expected to bring in some 16,000 barrels of crude oil per day with additional development, about 25,000 barrels. Such production would presumably save the Allies considerable shipping space and time, for, instead of the long haul from United States ports, navy bunker fuel could be produced and topped as necessary much nearer to the scene of combat. 6

Early in February 1944 General MacArthur requested that the troops and equipment of the Engineer Petroleum Production Depot (as the unit then forming in California was designated) arrive in the Southwest Pacific by 1 November, ready to start work at the Klamono oil fields. 7 This arrival date was based on General MacArthur's current planning assumption that operations on the Vogelkop would begin about 1 October. Shortly after General MacArthur made this request, sweeping changes in plans were made for the entire program of operations in the Southwest Pacific following the decision to bypass Japanese bases in eastern New Guinea in favor of the jump to Hollandia and Aitape on 22 April. In March General MacArthur was able to amend his plans to provide for the invasion of the Vogelkop no later than 15 September. 8

While this change did not materially affect General MacArthur's plans for the development of the Klamono oil fields, the February, March, and April acceleration of operations throughout the Pacific theaters did affect the thinking with regard to oil rehabilitation projects on the part of various headquarters and boards back in Washington. 9 Anticipating that the new schedule of operations might end the war against Japan sooner than previously expected, Headquarters, Army Service Forces, and the Army-Navy Petroleum Board began to

consider it possible that the Klamono oil wells could not be brought into production soon enough to assist the war effort. Moreover, doubts were being raised concerning the justification of the proposed use of troops, equipment, and ship tonnage. The Engineer Petroleum Production Depot, as organized in California, was to contain 3,300 men, to which number the Southwest Pacific Area was to add 1,700 troops and heavy equipment of all sorts. Restudy of the ship tonnage needed to transport and support these 5,000 men and their special equipment made it obvious that the Klamono oil project would tie up more ships than originally expected. Simultaneously, new estimates of the time which would be consumed in getting oil produced in appreciable quantities from the Klamono wells made it appear that it would be mid-1946 before the Klamono oil would begin to save any shipping space for the Allies. This might well be too late to affect the outcome of the war materially. At the time, the Allies could ill afford to tie up the shipping needed to support the Engineer Petroleum Production Depot from late 1944 to mid-1946. 10

By April 1944 about 90 percent of the Engineer Petroleum Production Depot's special equipment had been gathered in California and 60 percent of the unit's men had been assembled and were in training. 11 The stockpiling, organizing, and training continued for three more months, while the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other interested government agencies went on with new studies of the entire problem of oil field rehabilitation projects in the light of the revised plans for the Pacific war. General MacArthur's opinions concerning the cancellation of the Klamono project were sought. He raised no objections to its abandonment. 12 Finally, on 26 July, the Joint Chiefs decided to cancel the Klamono oil exploitation plans and to disband the Engineer Petroleum Production Depot.

The standard service units attached to the depot were sent overseas to perform their usual duties. The specialized production and refining organizations were disbanded, and their troops were used as fillers for other engineer units or were partially re-equipped and retrained to perform other duties, such as maintaining bulk petroleum storage facilities at overseas bases. The Army engineers turned over some of the special equipment to the U.S. Navy, and a little of it was found useful for the Army's standard engineer units. The bulk of the production and refining equipment was kept in a stockpile on the west coast for postwar disposal by the government in the most profitable manner possible. 13

Cancellation of the Sorong-Waigeo Plan

While the cancellation of the Klamono oil project removed some of the necessity for seizing the Sorong-Waigeo area, the abandonment of that project actually played a relatively minor part in subsequent changes in General MacArthur's plans for operations on the Vogelkop.

In accordance with instructions from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General MacArthur

was continually looking for ways and means to accelerate operations within his theater. His planners were reported to have thought it possible that if sufficient carrier support and assault shipping could be made available from Central Pacific sources, the target date for the advance to the Philippines might be greatly accelerated by jumping from Hollandia to the Wakde-Sarmi area, thence to the western Vogelkop, and then directly to Mindanao. Without such additional means, intermediate stops at the Geelvink Bay islands and at other islands such as Halmahera, between the Vogelkop and Mindanao, would be necessary.

Although the support from Central Pacific sources was not forthcoming and it was found necessary to seize Biak and Noemfoor, General MacArthur, in May, was able to inform the Joint Chiefs of Staff that operations on the Vogelkop could be moved forward to start about 1 August, a month and a half prior to his previously estimated target date. From air bases at the western Vogelkop, he went on, a subsequent advance northwest to Halmahera could be supported. The jump to Halmahera could be made about 15 September, in conjunction with an invasion of the Palaus in the western Carolines by forces of the Central Pacific. 14

In June, when General MacArthur alerted A LAMO Force for the Noemfoor operation, he simultaneously informed General Krueger that landings in the Sorong-Waigeo area would begin on or about 25 July. General MacArthur believed that the Sorong-Waigeo operation would entail the use of an entire infantry division, and General Krueger selected the 6th Division, which, in June, was in active combat at the Wakde-Sarmi area. In addition to making this choice, General Krueger set his staff to work preparing tentative plans for the Sorong-Waigeo operation, and by 10 June had ready an outline tactical plan and a troop list. 15

Beyond anticipating that the proposed air-base site at the northwestern Vogelkop would be located some place on Waigeo Island, General MacArthur's planners had not yet been able to reach any decision concerning the exact locations of the airfields. To obtain information upon which to base such a decision, the Fifth Air Force attempted to fly many special photographic missions over Waigeo. In addition, on 6 June, General MacArthur ordered A LAMO Force to conduct a ground reconnaissance of the north coast of Waigeo at Kabarei Bay where, about this time, elements of the KON Force found refuge during the Japanese attempts to reinforce Biak. The reconnaissance party was to comprise A LAMO Scouts, Allied Intelligence Bureau agents, terrain experts of the Fifth Air Force, and hydrographic survey men of the VII Amphibious Force. The group was to be transported by submarine from the Admiralties to Waigeo, and its terrain report was to be ready by 15 June. 16

Before the reconnaissance party could carry out its mission, reasonably good aerial photographs had to be made available to it. But from 6 through 11 June, Fifth Air Force planes were prevented by bad weather from obtaining the necessary coverage. 17 Finally, on the 12th, some pictures were taken. The next day General MacArthur informed General Krueger that the new photographs showed little likelihood that airfields could be developed on the shores of Kabarei Bay. The reconnaissance area was therefore changed to the southwest section of Waigeo Island and the coast east from Kabarei Bay. Photographic coverage of these areas left much to be desired, but the reconnaissance project was deemed of such importance that almost immediate action was necessary. General Krueger, hoping for better photographs, delayed the sailing of the reconnaissance party for some days, but the submarine finally got under way from the Admiralties on the 17th, expecting to reach Waigeo on the 23d. The reconnaissance report was to be ready by 2 July. 18

On 20 June General MacArthur told General Krueger that new studies were being made regarding the possibility of airfield construction on the northwest coast of the Vogelkop at Sansapor and Mar, two mainland villages located about 70 miles northeast of Sorong and some 60 miles east of Waigeo Island. The next day General MacArthur announced to the headquarters concerned that late photographs indicated unsuitability of airdrome sites at the newly assigned Waigeo reconnaissance areas. The Allied Naval Forces was thereupon instructed to divert the reconnaissance to the Sansapor-Mar area to seek other airfield sites. 19

General Krueger believed that insufficient photographic coverage was available for the new study and the Fifth Air Force considered that on the basis of available photography the Sansapor-Mar area was devoid of airfield sites. General Krueger therefore concluded that the results of ground reconnaissance at Sansapor-Mar would not justify the risks, and he recommended that the project be abandoned. 20 But General MacArthur ordered the reconnaissance to be undertaken and, on 23 June, the submarine put the scouting party ashore near Mar. The group remained in the area for almost a week, discovering good landing beaches and finding one or two sites where airfields might be developed after time-consuming hard work. The party's report was ready on 30 June, upon which date General MacArthur directed A LAMO Force, with the support of Allied Air and Naval Forces, to secure the Sansapor-Mar area instead of the Sorong-Waigeo region. The Sansapor-Mar landing was to take place on 30 July. 21

The Sansapor-Mar Plan

Map 18
Vogelkop Operation
30 July-31 August 1944

At the Sansapor-Mar area, an air base and minor naval facilities were to be established to support subsequent operations northwest toward the Philippines.(Map 18) The air construction task called for the development of fields upon which two fighter groups, five squadrons of medium bombers, and a half squadron of night-fighters could be based. To seize and protect the air-base area, the 6th Infantry Division, less one regimental combat team but reinforced with service and antiaircraft units, was considered sufficient force. General Krueger was made responsible for the direction

of the operation and for co-ordination of air, naval, and ground planning. 22

Plans and Planning

Mar lies in flat, swampy ground at the mouth of the Wewe River, which flows into the Pacific about 18 miles west-southwest of the Kaap de Goede Hoop, northernmost point on the Vogelkop. About 7 miles northeast of Mar is Cape Opmarai, and 7 miles to the southwest is Cape Sansapor, situated 2 miles northeast of Sansapor Plantation and the native hamlet of the same name. At many points along the 25 miles of coast line between Kaap de Goede Hoop and Cape Sansapor, spurs of the Tamrau Mountains, which dominate most of the Vogelkop, descend to the shore. Densely forested coastal flats are to be found near Mar and along the shore line northeast of Cape Sansapor. Off Mar lie the Mios Soe Islands, Amsterdam and Middleburg, respectively 5 and 3 miles from the coast. 23

Little detailed information concerning the target area was available to A LAMO Force other than that brought back by the 23-30 June reconnaissance party. Japanese activity appeared to center at Sansapor Plantation, where the Japanese were known to maintain a staging base for barges moving along the coast from Sorong to Manokwari. The A LAMO G-2 Section estimated that unless a clearing noted near the mouth of the Wewe proved to be airdrome construction, few more than 100 Japanese would be found at Sansapor-Mar. If the clearing was in preparation for an airfield, then a Japanese airdrome construction unit of perhaps 700 men might be stationed at the objective. The terrain reconnaissance and photographs indicated that good landing beaches existed near Mar and above Cape Sansapor. Potential airdrome sites had been reported at both places and, in addition, it was believed possible that a fighter strip might be constructed on tiny Middleburg Island, the flat surface of which was given over to a neglected coconut tree plantation. 24

When on 8 July principal air, ground, and naval commanders gathered at General Krueger's command post to discuss plans for the new operation, it immediately became apparent that more intelligence and terrain information would be needed before detailed landing, supply, and engineer plans could be evolved. As a result, only general discussions were held and the conferees reached only tentative conclusions, which they realized might be changed after further reconnaissance at the objective area.

The first question taken up at the 8 July conference was that of setting H Hour, the target date of 30 July being agreeable to all concerned. To assure tactical surprise, General Krueger wanted the landing made at first light, even though Maj. Gen. Ennis C. Whitehead, now in command of the Fifth Air Force, could not promise air cover until forty-five minutes later. Admiral Fechteler, in charge of the amphibious phase of the operation, was willing to forego air cover since no enemy opposition was expected, but he would approve the early landing hour

only if an advance party could be put ashore to guide LST's to the proper beaches. The conferees concluded that putting an advance party ashore might destroy chances for tactical surprise and bring Japanese aircraft over the area. Therefore, H Hour was tentatively set for 0700, about fifteen minutes before sunrise at Mar.

Preliminary naval bombardment was considered unnecessary in the light of expected Japanese dispositions. Without naval bombardment, chances for tactical surprise seemed good. The nearest enemy garrison was at Sansapor, only twelve miles from the proposed landing points near Mar, and the nearest Japanese radio facilities were also thought to be located at Sansapor. If no bombardments were delivered and if the naval forces maintained radio silence until some Japanese opposition was encountered, there would be a good chance to land the entire D Day force before the Japanese realized a landing was under way. Thus, the possibility of harassing attacks by Japanese troops from Sansapor would be reduced, as would the probability of air attacks from Japanese bases within range of Mar.

Much time at the conference was devoted to discussing airdrome construction. The A LAMO Force engineer officer thought Middleburg Island offered the best site for quick construction of an airfield from which local fighter cover could be provided. The Mar area, according to available information, did not appear well suited to airdrome development, although a landing at Mar seemed best from the naval point of view since that area provided favorable beaches for LST's. The conferees therefore thought that the main landing would have to take place near Mar. A shore-to-shore operation to seize the Cape Sansapor area, apparently better suited for airfields, would follow, as might another minor landing to secure the Mios Soe Islands. 25

Since lack of detailed terrain information made further planning almost impossible, another reconnaissance party was slipped ashore near Cape Opmarai during the night of 14-15 July. This group, which went forward by PT boat from Noemfoor, encountered no Japanese in the area and found the natives friendly. After spending three days in the Sansapor-Mar area, the group brought out a terrain report which considerably changed tentative plans. First, the reconnaissance disclosed that there was no Japanese airdrome construction in the area and that the previously located cleared strips were actually overgrown native gardens. The best airdrome site was found near two small, reef-bound capes about one and three-fourths miles northeast of Mar. The beaches near and between the two capes were found to be excellent for landing although not too satisfactory for heavy truck traffic. The rain forest in the region was noted to be less dense than anticipated. Finally, the party's airdrome engineers estimated that a 6,000-foot runway could be constructed near the capes within twenty-five days after the landing, providing heavy rains did not impede the work. 26

With the new information at hand, final plans were rapidly drawn up by all units concerned. The landing was to be made at 0700 on D Day, 30 July, between the two small capes northeast of Mar. The first

airstrip would be constructed in a partially cleared area immediately inland from the westernmost promontory. The Cape Sansapor area, now deemed unsuitable for an airstrip, was selected by naval planners as a PT base site, and plans were made to secure that area by a shore-to-shore operation on D plus 1. Middleburg Island would be seized at H plus 35 minutes on D Day so as to assure another airfield site. Final determination of airfield locations was left to Brig. Gen. Earl W. Barnes, who was to accompany the assault echelon to Mar as the commander of the XIII Air Task Force. This organization was, in effect, an advance echelon of the Thirteenth Air Force, from which was to be drawn the air garrison for the Sansapor-Mar area. General Barnes built his headquarters around men selected from his previous staff, that of the XIII Fighter Command. 27

In charge of the ground forces was Maj. Gen. Franklin C. Sibert, commanding general of the 6th Infantry Division and previously of the T ORNADO Task Force at Wakde-Sarmi. For the Sansapor-Mar operation General Sibert was to command an organization designated the T YPHOON Task Force, which comprised the 6th Division, reinforced, less the 20th Regimental Combat Team. The latter unit was to remain at Wakde-Sarmi as A LAMO Force Reserve for the new operation. Combat units for the D Day echelon of the T YPHOON Task Force were the 1st Infantry, the 1st Battalion of the 63d Infantry, the 1st Field Artillery Battalion, the 6th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, a company of the 6th Engineers, and four antiaircraft batteries. There was to be a high percentage of service troops, especially engineers, among the approximately 7,300 men who were to land on 30 July.

The assault on R ED Beach, as the landing point was named, was to be undertaken by the 1st and 2d Battalions, 1st Infantry, going ashore in LCVP's from the APD's taking them forward from Wakde-Sarmi. The 3d Battalion was designated T YPHOON Task Force Reserve for the landing, and, if necessary, it would aid the 6th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop to secure Middleburg Island. The reconnaissance unit was to move ashore in LVT's and LVT(A)'s launched from LST's. The 1st Battalion, 63d Infantry, was initially to operate as part of the Shore Party with the Shore Battalion of the 543d Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment, 3d Engineer Special Brigade, and was then to revert to a reserve role. 28

Admiral Fechteler's Attack Force (Task Force 77) was to have a D Day groupment comprising 11 destroyers, 5 APD's, 16 LCI's, 3 rocket LCI's, 8 LST's, 4 PC's, and 1 ATF. A Covering Force (Task Force 78), consisting of 1 heavy cruiser, 2 light cruisers, and 9 destroyers under the command of Admiral Berkey, was to be available for support fire if needed. In addition to covering the main landing, the naval elements would support the operations against the Mios Soe group on D Day, and on D plus 1 provide LCI and destroyer support fire to cover the

SANSAPOR PLANNERS. Left to right (across table): Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger, Maj. Gen. Franklin C. Sibert, Rear Adm. William M. Fechteler, Brig. Gen. Charles E. Hurdis.

shore-to-shore operation against Cape Sansapor. The Allied Naval Forces was responsible for the movement of all troops and supplies from rear bases to Sansapor until relieved by the Services of Supply on 1 September. 29

Units of the T YPHOON Task Force reaching the objective area on D Day, D plus 2, and D plus 4 were to take with them a ten-day supply of rations, clothing, unit equipment, fuels, and lubricants, and two units of fire for all weapons. After D plus 4, amphibious craft were to bring forward with each unit aboard a ten-day supply of rations, clothing, unit equipment, petroleum products, medical supplies, engineer construction equipment, and motor maintenance supplies. Large cargo ships to arrive after D plus 4 were to carry thirty days' supply of these items, and both types of shipping were to bring forward three units

of fire for all weapons of the organizations aboard. 30

Staging and Rehearsing Problems

The T YPHOON Task Force staged at the Wakde-Sarmi area, where many problems arose. General Sibert had known since late June that his division was to undertake another operation, but it was not until 14 July that elements of the 31st Infantry Division began to arrive at Wakde-Sarmi to relieve the 6th from combat responsibility there, and it was the 18th of the month before General Sibert could relinquish command of the T ORNADO Task Force to his successor and before all the troops of the 6th Division were out of combat. Staging was further hampered by the necessity for moving service unit and port installations from the exposed Toem-Arare beaches westward to Maffin Bay, where more sheltered waters and better beaches were to be found.

Thus, staging was slowed from the start by three major factors--the relief and assembly of the 6th Division, the arrival of the 31st Division's units over beaches the T YPHOON Task Force was using for staging, and the movement of the staging area itself. Moreover, since the danger from Japanese air attacks made it impossible to plan to send any large cargo ships to Sansapor for at least a month after the initial landings there, it was necessary to establish a troop and cargo transfer point at Maffin Bay. With the exception of the 6th Division and the supplies already available at Maffin Bay, almost all troops and equipment for the T YPHOON Task Force were brought forward to Maffin Bay on noncombat vessels from rear bases, unloaded, and then reloaded on LST's and other landing craft. The beaches at Maffin Bay soon became crowded with numerous units and tons of equipment, many of which were not to move to Sansapor-Mar until weeks after the initial landings. Finally, to add to the other difficulties, heavy rains intermittently stopped or slowed all staging operations at Maffin Bay. 31

At Maffin Bay the 31st Infantry Division supplied many troops for labor to help the T YPHOON Task Force mount out. A LAMO Force Reserve for the Sansapor-Mar operation, the 6th Division's 20th Regimental Combat Team, devoted almost all its time to labor, and the rest of the 6th Division, although busy re-equipping, planning, and trying to train and rehearse, also had to furnish many labor details. 32

Rehearsals for the T YPHOON Task Force were curtailed by the cargo transshipment activity at Maffin Bay and also because many tons of supplies and equipment arrived there barely in time to be reloaded on LST's of the D Day echelon. The APD's and LCI's which were to carry assault infantry forward reached Maffin Bay on 24 July and, after embarking their troops, put out to sea overnight. The next morning the assault battalions had a practice landing near Toem. Most of the LCI's, which had recently

arrived in the theater, had trouble keeping formation, and were therefore given additional training on succeeding days. It was impossible for the LST's to participate in rehearsals, since they were engaged in final loading. Although he believed that even the incomplete rehearsals proved of ". . . considerable benefit to both the Army and Navy in preparation for the operation," Admiral Fechteler observed that more complete rehearsals were needed, especially for the LST's. 33

One aspect of the loading was unusual for the Southwest Pacific Area's forces. The 6th Division had come to New Guinea from Hawaii, where, in final amphibious training, it had studied and developed a great enthusiasm for pallet loading, an enthusiasm which it carried so far as to pallet-load LST's. The latter practice was undertaken against the advice of the A LAMO G-4 Section's liaison officer with the T YPHOON Task Force at Maffin Bay. He felt that LST's should be so loaded that every pound of cargo could be easily manhandled, and he pointed out that much of the cargo put aboard LST's on pallets might be ruined by sea water as the pallets were dragged aboard during loading or towed ashore at the objective. He also believed that the pallets took up too much space on LST's and that they were extremely difficult to load on such ships. Finally, he noted, mud brought aboard the LST tank decks by the pallets during loading immobilized fork-lift trucks. 34

Critical shortages of most supplies were made up before the T YPHOON Task Force left Maffin Bay, but sufficient supplies of engineer explosives, sandbags, and wire mesh beach mats did not reach the staging area in time to be loaded on ships of the D Day echelon. These items had been requisitioned by A LAMO Force in late June and early July, but for some reason shipment from Services of Supply rear bases to Maffin Bay was delayed. The explosives shortage might have slowed airfield construction at Sansapor-Mar had not provision been made to ship the explosives by air to Maffin Bay and load them there on ships moving to the objective area on D plus 2 and D plus 4. The wire mesh could not be shipped forward in time to be of use during the landings. 35

Engineer Problems

One of the most difficult problems faced by the T YPHOON Task Force was setting up a schedule for shipping engineer units to the objective. As staging and construction plans were continued, it began to appear that sweeping changes in construction directives, schedules for the arrival of engineer units, and choice of airdrome sites at Sansapor-Mar would have to be made. The first construction task at Sansapor-Mar was to complete by D plus 20, 18 August, one airfield with a 5,000-foot runway and associated facilities for a group of fighters and a half squadron of night-fighters. The remaining airfield construction was to be finished by D plus 35, 3 September. The principal units

Initially, General Krueger disapproved General Sibert's request upon advice from the A LAMO Engineer Officer that a strip could be built on the mainland, thus making unnecessary transshipment of heavy equipment. Moreover, available LCT's were sorely needed in rear areas. But General Sibert argued that there would be no way of moving engineer equipment to Middleburg in the event that construction of a fighter strip there proved necessary. Finally, General Krueger made arrangements with Admiral Fechteler to have two LCT's towed to the objective by LST's of the D plus 2 echelon. 42

Operations in the Sansapor-Mar Area

The Landing

Air support for the Sansapor operation was provided principally by planes of the Fifth Air Force, which, in order to preserve tactical surprise at the objective, carried out no bombardment missions against the Sansapor-Mar area before D Day. Instead, the Fifth Air Force, aided by Australian and Dutch aircraft, conducted many heavy strikes against Japanese air bases at Manokwari and Sorong and in the Halmahera-Ceram-Ambon region. On the morning of D Day, night-fighters and B-25's were over the objective area to give support if necessary as the ships of Admiral Fechteler's Attack Force began moving shoreward, but no preassault bombardment or strafing missions were undertaken. 43

In order to deceive the Japanese, the Main Body had approached Sansapor on a rather roundabout route, sailing first from Maffin Bay into the waters between Noemfoor and Biak and then along the line of the equator as if heading toward Sorong or Halmahera. The Main Body made several radar contacts with Japanese aircraft on D minus 1 while in waters beyond Noemfoor, and protecting land-based fighters intercepted three or four Japanese aircraft about twenty miles south of the convoy route. The air battle, during which one or two Japanese planes were shot down, took place out of sight of the Main Body, which reached Sansapor apparently undetected.

The Covering Force's cruisers and destroyers rendezvoused off Hollandia and sailed north and west well behind the Main Body until some forty miles off Manokwari. Then it passed the Main Body and began moving in toward the Sansapor-Mar landing beach at 0200 on D Day, keeping its guns and radios silent. The Main Body arrived in the transport area about 0500. The assault ships were all on station by 0630, at which time Admiral Fechteler gave the order to execute the landing plan. 44

Control craft rapidly found their proper positions and showed colored lights seaward to mark the landing craft approach lanes. The assault troops of Col. Forbie H. Privett's 1st Infantry were soon aboard the twelve LCVP's of the first wave, but, since the landing craft had left the assembly area too soon, they had to be held about ten minutes at the offshore line of departure, where they were especially vulnerable to fire from Japanese

aircraft or shore-based weapons. Fortunately, no such opposition developed and the first wave was ashore at 0701, one minute late. The second wave was a minute and a half late, but subsequent waves made up the time. LCI's began moving shoreward about H plus 10 minutes, to beach with ramps in about two feet of water. The troops waded the short distance to shore without difficulty. The LCVP's quickly retracted and were hoisted back aboard the APD's. The APD unit left for Hollandia at 0732, 28 minutes ahead of schedule, while the LCI's were unloaded so rapidly that they were able to set sail for Hollandia 17 minutes early, at 0813. 45

While the unopposed mainland landing was taking place, one LST moved toward Middleburg Island and at 0730 (fifteen minutes late) began launching 12 LVT(A)'s and 4 LVT's, aboard which was the 6th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, together with a 60-mm. mortar section and a squad and a half of riflemen from the 1st Battalion, 63d Infantry. All these troops were ashore on Middleburg by 0800. There was no opposition to this landing and the amphibious group quickly re-formed and set sail for Amsterdam Island, two miles away. A landing was effected on Amsterdam, which also proved unoccupied by any Japanese, at 1130. Small detachments were left on each island, while the rest of the force returned to the mainland. On Middleburg was incurred the T YPHOON Task Force's only D Day casualty--one man was wounded fatally by the accidental discharge of an LVT(A)'s 37-mm. gun. 46

Back at R ED Beach, tactical operations had been going equally well. The 2d Battalion, 1st Infantry, landed on the east (left) sector and before 0830 had pushed inland and eastward about three-quarters of a mile from the beach's center. Defenses were set up along low hills about 800 yards inland. About 0820 the 2d Battalion had killed three unarmed Japanese near the east end of the beach. It was not until the report of this first contact was relayed to the command ship offshore that radio silence was broken and higher headquarters was informed of the T YPHOON Task Force's situation. 47

On the west flank the 1st Battalion, 1st Infantry, found rougher going in dense jungle undergrowth, but located no Japanese. The 3d Battalion, ashore at 0740, pushed west along the beach to the mouth of the Wewe River, 2,500 yards distant. There the unit, having encountered no opposition, assembled as task force reserve and began preparations for the D plus 1 shore-to-shore operation to secure Cape Sansapor. 48

The 1st Field Artillery Battalion was ashore and ready to fire at 1107 antiaircraft units were set up as quickly as they came ashore, but had no targets on D Day. The 6th Engineers immediately began working on roads and bivouacs, while men of the 836th Engineer Aviation Battalion started airdrome site surveys. The 543d Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment's troops, assisted by men from many other units, unloaded supplies, constructed beach exits, and cleared dump areas. The available air support was not needed, and as flights of

B-25's reported on station during the day they were sent off to hit targets of opportunity south of Cape Sansapor or in the Sorong area. General Sibert, who assumed command ashore at 1020, could be well pleased with the tactical situation. 49 With conditions at the landing beach, he could not have been so happy.

R ED Beach, though excellent for LST's and landing craft, left much to be desired for wheeled vehicles and dispersal facilities. When the sand proved soft and loose, the lack of wire mesh beach mats began to be felt keenly and many trucks (some of which were reported to have been overloaded) had to be pulled out of the sand by tractors. Dispersal was difficult because the area behind the beach was forested and densely overgrown with thick jungle flora of all types. Admiral Fechteler learned that LST unloading was being delayed by lack of troops and trucks, and the senior LST commander stated that available troops were not making all the effort they could. By noon LST unloading was threatened with serious delay, and Admiral Fechteler brought the situation to General Sibert's attention.

General Sibert immediately took steps to get assigned troops and vehicles back on the job and he sent more men to the aid of the Shore Party. Thereafter, cargo handling proceeded more rapidly, although it was soon found that earlier criticism of loading pallets on LST's was justified. LST commanders declared that pallets moved slowly, wasting both time and space. Moreover, tractors and roads soon began to break down under the strain of dragging pallets around the beach, and many bulldozers had to be assigned to dragging missions when they might have been employed to better advantage improving roads or dump and bivouac areas. Nevertheless, one LST was unloaded by 1600 and the rest were unloaded in time to start back to Maffin Bay by 1730. The initial slowness of unloading and early congestion at the beaches did not prove serious nor dangerous, although the situation might have been different had there been any Japanese air action. 50

Despite the minor difficulties of unloading, Admiral Fechteler reported: "The operation on the whole was carried out with a precision of execution which reflected a high state of training and morale throughout the Force. It is considered that the operation could and would have been successful against determined opposition." 51 An observer from the Alaskan Department--of all places--noting the lack of opposition ashore and the smoothness with which most of the landing activities were executed, expressed similar sentiments: "G LOBETROTTER [Sansapor] expedition was a well organized, well executed and entirely unexciting amphibious operation." 52

Post D Day Operations at Sansapor-Mar

At 0650 on 31 July the 3d Battalion, 1st Infantry, left its assembly area at the mouth of the Wewe aboard LCM's and LCVP's, bound for G REEN Beach at Cape Sansapor,

five miles down the coast. 53 Escort was provided by 4 destroyers and 2 PC's. Since information from natives indicated that the Japanese garrison had evacuated Sansapor, preliminary bombardment was limited to light fire by a single destroyer. Company I was on the beach at 0844 and, meeting no resistance, rapidly deployed to cover the landing of the rest of the battalion. Encountering no Japanese troops, the battalion marched south along the beach and before 1000 hours secured Sansapor Plantation and Village. Large quantities of Japanese supplies were captured and there were many evidences of hasty departure of Japanese troops from the Sansapor area. Antiaircraft weapons and a platoon of the regimental cannon company soon arrived to reinforce the 3d Battalion, which quickly set up a defensive perimeter around the plantation and village. There had been no casualties.

The shore line at Cape Sansapor proved too reef-bound and the beaches too poor for the planned PT boat base, but upon investigation Amsterdam Island proved an excellent location. When the PT squadron arrived on D plus 2, 1 August, it was sent to the new site and began operations from Amsterdam the same night. The Cape Sansapor area became the site of a radar warning installation.

Subsequent combat operations in the Sansapor-Mar area consisted mainly of patrolling to hunt down scattered, small groups of Japanese, expanding the beachhead, and protecting the airfield installations upon which work was soon started. On 3 August 92 sick or wounded Japanese and Formosan troops were captured at a Japanese hospital area near Cape Opmarai, and on the same day at other locations 23 more Japanese were captured and 4 were killed. This was the largest single day's "bag" to 31 August. Patrols of the 63d Infantry and the 6th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop were sent as far east along the beach as Kor village, about 11 miles from Mar. On the southwest, patrols of the 1st Infantry penetrated as far as the Mega River, some 30 miles from R ED Beach. Other small 6th Division patrols, accompanied by members of a Netherlands Indies Civil Administration Unit, pushed along the coast and inland to even more distant points to re-establish Dutch control over the native population and to seek information concerning Japanese movements.

During the middle of August, patrols based at Kor were sent up the Kor River and northeast along the coast two miles to Cape Waimak. Soon these patrols began to report that large groups of enemy were moving toward Kor from the east. On the 15th A LAMO Force (which had received the information from General Headquarters) warned the T YPHOON Task Force that about 250 men of Headquarters, 35th Division, had been moving overland along the north coast of the Vogelkop Peninsula from Manokwari to Sorong. 54 These troops and perhaps

other scattered groups from the 35th Division could be expected to reach the Sansapor-Mar area almost any day.

The A LAMO Force warning had a good foundation. It will be remembered that after the failure of the KON Operation, the 2d Area Army had evolved a plan to send all or part of the 35th Division from Sorong and Halmahera to Biak. When, after the defeat suffered by the 1st Task Force during the A-GO Operation, it proved impossible to move the 35th Division to Biak, the 2d Area Army had decided to concentrate that division at Manokwari, and the unit soon began to move eastward by small ship and barge. With the Allied seizure of Noemfoor and an increasing tempo of Allied air attacks against Manokwari from Wakde, Biak, and Noemfoor, the 2d Area Army realized that positions at the northeastern section of the Vogelkop were no longer tenable or useful. The displacement of the 35th Division was accordingly halted.

The standard of living at Manokwari, site of command posts of the 2d Army and the 35th Division, slipped rapidly during the last weeks of June. The 12,000 to 15,000 Japanese troops stationed there were fast consuming the supplies which Allied bombing raids left undamaged, while Allied air and naval action prevented the Japanese from sending supplies by water eastward from Sorong or Halmahera. Therefore, On 3 July, the 2d Army ordered the 35th Division to retrace its steps and concentrate at Sorong, where other elements of the division were arriving from Halmahera. About the same time, Headquarters, 2d Army, began an overland trek from Manokwari south 150 miles to Windehsi, located on the narrow neck of land which separates the Vogelkop Peninsula from the rest of New Guinea. Other small garrisons at points along the western shores of Geelvink Bay were withdrawn. Most of these troops concentrated in the Windehsi area where natural food supplies, such as sago palm and coconuts, were more plentiful than at Manokwari. At the latter base there was organized the 1st Independent Brigade, which apparently consisted principally of service personnel, perhaps strengthened by a few elements of the 220th Infantry, 35th Division.

The commanding general of the 35th Division, Lt. Gen. Shunkichi Ikeda, was evacuated from Manokwari, presumably by aircraft, on or about 1 July and on the 15th of the same month the division headquarters began the long overland march along the north coast of the Vogelkop to Sorong. The division was made responsible for the defense of the area between Sorong and Kaironi, the latter located some forty miles west of Manokwari. The 1st Independent Brigade, under Maj. Gen. Yuki Fukabori, and other units of the Manokwari Garrison were left to hold the Kaironi-Manokwari zone. It is impossible to trace the movements of the 35th Division headquarters westward from Manokwari, but it appears that the march was expected to take forty days. Such was the supply situation at Manokwari that the command group could leave that base with provisions for only twenty days. It is easy to imagine that in such circumstances the headquarters personnel and attached troops were not in the best of shape as they approached Kor and tried to strike inland to bypass the T YPHOON Task Force's positions.

The T YPHOON Task Force quickly increased the number of its outposts, ambush positions, and patrols. On 16 August, the day after it was learned that the 35th Division headquarters was approaching Sansapor, elements of the 63d Infantry in the

Kor-Cape Waimak area killed 17 Japanese and captured 4. Identified were members of Headquarters, 35th Division, some troops of the 219th Infantry, the 2d Army Band, and, within a few more days, the Signal Company, 35th Division. By 31 August the 63d Infantry had killed 155 Japanese and taken 42 prisoners. The American regiment lost only 3 men killed and 4 wounded.

The 1st Infantry, on the west flank, had similar experiences as it sent patrols up the rivers and inland in its sector. By the end of the month the regiment had killed 197 Japanese and captured 154, while losing only 4 men wounded itself. The 20th Infantry, which arrived at Mar from Maffin Bay on 23 and 25 August, had scant time to participate in the patrolling before the end of the month, but the 6th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, during its series of far-flung patrols, killed 42 Japanese and captured 5 others. Total battle casualties for the T YPHOON Task Force from 30 July through 31 August were 14 killed, 35 wounded, and 9 injured. Japanese losses during the same period were about 385 killed and 215 captured (a good many in both categories were actually Formosans). 55

General Sibert had been unable to remain at Sansapor-Mar to applaud the success of his troops' patrolling. On 24 August he had left to take command of the X Corps, headquarters of which had recently arrived in the theater from the United States. His place as a commanding general of the 6th Infantry Division and commander of the T YPHOON Task Force was taken over by Brig. Gen. Charles E. Hurdis, previously commander of the 6th Division Artillery. 56

Medical Problems

Although the T YPHOON Task Force's battle casualties were abnormally low, tropical disease posed a serious problem. On 9 August the first cases of dreaded scrub typhus, which had been epidemic at Biak and Owi, were diagnosed at Sansapor. On the 9th, 6 scrub typhus cases were admitted to the hospitals, 27 the next day, and 62 on the 11th. Daily admittances continued to rise rapidly for two weeks. At the same time, "fever, undetermined origin" became prevalent, some cases later to be diagnosed as scrub typhus or believed to be mild attacks of that disease. The 1st Infantry was especially hard hit, and by 31 August had lost 9 men dead of scrub typhus, 121 in the hospital with the same disease, and 258 hospitalized with unknown fevers. The epidemic was no respector of rank. Colonel Privett, the regimental commander, was laid low, as were the regimental executive officer, the S-1, the S-2, the S-3, several rifle company commanders, and a number of high-ranking noncommissioned officers.

The scrub typhus had begun among troops bivouacked at Mar village, and upon investigation it was found that typhus was invariably found among troops who had slept on the ground at one time or another in native villages or clearings. Immediate steps were taken to control the spread of the disease. First, most of the medical installations were moved to healthier locations on the beach west of the Wewe River. Then, all bivouac areas were cleared, brush and grass burned, and large areas around the beachhead

sprayed with oil. Clothing was impregnated with insect repellent and orders were issued for all men to wear complete uniforms at all times. 57

The antityphus measures were rigidly enforced by officers and noncommissioned officers such as 1st Sgt. James H. P. Daugherty of the 6th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, who addressed his men in language doubtless hallowed by Caesar's centurions: "It's the specific order of General MacArthur, General Krueger, and General Sibert that all men shall at all times wear a complete uniform consisting of shirt or jacket, trousers, leggins and cap, and that mosquito repellent shall be used about leggin tops, sleeve cuffs and shirt or jacket collars. This is to stop scrub typhus. Now--I don't make these rules but I sure as hell enforce them--and I enjoy doing it. Are there any questions? Then--move out." 58

By the end of August the strictly enforced antityphus measures began to show results and daily admissions dropped rapidly. As of the 31st, 275 cases had been diagnosed as scrub typhus, 530 men had been hospitalized for fever, undetermined origin, and there had been 9 deaths. The mortality rate (presumably including men still in the hospital and not expected to recover) was about 3 percent. 59

Scrub typhus cases, other fever patients, and battle casualties were evacuated from Sansapor-Mar by a variety of means. Initially, LST's were employed for the duty, taking men back to Maffin Bay or Hollandia hospitals. The hospital ship Tasman arrived on 31 August and began loading patients, while air evacuation began on 23 August. By this combination of means 504 officers and men were evacuated from the area by the end of August. 60

Airfield Construction

Air evacuation had been made possible because the T YPHOON Task Force's first construction objective, a 5,000-foot runway, had been more than met on schedule. On D Day it had quickly become apparent to General Barnes of the XIII Air Task Force, responsible for selecting the location for the first field, that Middleburg Island offered a more promising site than the mainland near R ED Beach, where the soil was loose, swampy spots abounded, and stands of heavy forest would obstruct the work. General Barnes put off a final decision until he could make a reconnaissance of the Cape Sansapor area on D plus 1, but he decided, after viewing that region, that Middleburg was the best site, and he decided to go ahead with a 5,000-foot fighter runway on that island. The medium bomber field, he determined, would be constructed on the mainland immediately west of R ED Beach.

LCT's, which arrived at Mar on D plus 2, immediately began shuttling the men and heavy equipment of the 836th Engineer Aviation Battalion and the 617th Engineer Base Equipment Company to Middleburg, where the two units were concentrated by 3 August. General Sibert's foresight and insistence that LCT's be included in an early convoy now paid handsome dividends. With hard work, the strip on Middleburg had reached such a stage of completion by 14 August that a crippled B-24 was able to use it for a successful emergency landing. On

17 August, a day ahead of schedule, General Barnes was able to report that the strip was ready to receive fighters. As of that day the runway was 5,400 feet long and boasted one alert apron some 1,600 feet in length. Other alert aprons, taxiways, and hardstandings were completed by 25 August, the day of the first Japanese bombing attack on the area held by the T YPHOON Task Force.

There had been some red alerts before 25 August at Sansapor-Mar and a few Japanese planes had been sighted, but the raid of the 25th was the first during which the enemy attempted to bomb or strafe the area. The only result of this initial effort was damage to a single fighter on the new Middleburg Drome. During the night of 27-28 August, there was a heavier attack, during which four P-38's on Middleburg were destroyed, an antiaircraft machine gun position wiped out, and two men killed and ten wounded. Another raid occurred on the morning of 31 August, when light damage was incurred at the Middleburg strip and one man on that island was injured. 61

On the mainland, the construction of Mar Drome did not at first proceed as rapidly as had work on Middleburg Island. First reports from Allied Air Forces' engineers returning from the Mar site to Hollandia indicated that a field could not be made ready for bombers until 12 October, over a month later than had been planned. It was felt that problems of soil packing, drainage, and extensive clearing would prevent realization of an earlier completion date, and it was recommended that the necessary engineer effort be diverted to extension of airdrome facilities on Noemfoor Island. 62

Upon investigation, however, it was found that the engineers' estimates had apparently been based on a faulty assumption that the Mar field was to be prepared for use by heavy bombers. Furthermore, it was discovered that only one half of one engineer battalion was working at the site when the examination was made. It was unnecessary to station heavy bombers at Mar because such planes could undertake missions against targets even as far distant as the southern Philippines from Biak and Noemfoor bases or from fields which were expected to be constructed at Halmahera or Morotai. On the other hand, a forward medium bomber base on the western Vogelkop was necessary, for only from such a base could strafing planes--light and medium bombers--reach Japanese air, troop, and supply installations in the Celebes, at Ambon, on Halmahera, and on Morotai.

More optimistic estimates for construction were possible when additional engineer units began working at the Mar location. Then, to avoid some of the worst swampy spots, the strip site was moved slightly inland, where it was found that the jungle undergrowth and forest were not as dense as anticipated. Finally, it was concluded that the Mar Drome could be ready for medium bombers within five days of the target date, 3 September. 63

BULLDOZER CLEARING JUNGLE UNDERGROWTH for the construction of Mar Drome.

The 1879th and 1881st Engineer Aviation Battalions, the 43d Engineer Construction Battalion, the 96th Engineer General Service Regiment, and the 571st Engineer Dump Truck Company all spent long hours of labor on Mar Drome to make the construction target date. The first plane, a C-47, landed on the field on 2 September. The next day, exactly on schedule, the field was declared operational for medium bombers. There was then available a 6,000-foot steel-matted runway, 4 alert aprons, 2,800 feet of taxiways, and 7 dispersal lanes. By the 18th of the month, dispersal sites had been increased to 85, taxiways to 10,820 feet, and the strip had been lengthened to 7,500 feet. 64 From the Middleburg and Mar Dromes innumerable missions were flown in support of the Morotai landings on 15 September and against Japanese oil installations, shipping, troop concentrations, and airfields throughout the northern part of the Indies. 65

Insofar as Japanese ground forces were concerned, the Allied development at Sansapor-Mar completed a circle of air bases around 2d Army units in western Dutch New Guinea. That army's troops on the Vogelkop Peninsula--most of the 35th Division, the bulk of the 2d Amphibious Brigade, two provisional infantry brigades formed from miscellaneous combat and service units, and various service organizations--were cut off, their effectiveness destroyed. They could not mount an offensive they could only "sweat it out" to the end of the war at bases such as Manokwari and Sorong, or they could attempt to retreat south and west from those bases to islands such as Ambon, Ceram, and the Celebes. The Allied landing had caught some of these forces in transit across the Vogelkop from Manokwari toward Sorong. In the end, few Japanese troops were able to escape from the Vogelkop. Gradually running out of food and other supplies, they awaited the end of the war at Manokwari and Sorong or, after a laborious overland trek, at minor bases south of the Vogelkop on the Bomberai Peninsula.


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6th Infantry Division (Light) "Red Star"

The 6th Infantry Division (Light) was inactivated in July 1994 and replaced by the US Army, Alaska, with headquarters moving to Fort Richardson. The Division had two active brigades and a reserve round-out brigade. Upon inactivation of the 6th Infantry Division (Light) on July 6, 1994, the principal Army unit in the state was the US Army Alaska, which has its headquarters at Fort Richardson, adjacent to Anchorage. The new organization, commanded by a major general, was a result of a Department of the Army decision in March 1993 to downsize the 6th Infantry Division (Light) to a brigade task force. During the 6th Infantry Division's inactivation in July 1994, the 1st Brigade was inactivated at Fort Richardson and activated at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. The 1st Brigade 6th Infantry Division (Light) was redesignated the 172nd Infantry Brigade (Separate) April 17, 1998.

The 6th Infantry Division was activated November 1917, and deployed overseas in June 1918. Major operations included Meuse-Argonne, with 43 days of combat. Casualties included a total of 386 (KIA-38 WIA-348). Commanders: Col. Charles E. Tayman (26 November 1917), Brig. Gen. James B. Erwin (29 December 1917), Maj. Gen. Walter H. Gordon (28 August 1948). The Division returned to the US in June 1919.

The 6th Infantry Division was activated 12 October 1939, and deployed overseas on 21 July 1943, earning the nickname the Sight-Seeing Sixth. The Division moved to Hawaii in July and August 1943 to assume defensive positions on Oahu, training meanwhile in jungle warfare. It moved to Milne Bay, New Guinea, 31 January 1944, and trained until early June 1944. The Division first saw combat in the Toem-Wakde area of Dutch New Guinea, engaging in active patrolling 14-18 June, after taking up positions 6-14 June. Moving west of Toem, it fought a bloody battle with the enemy at Lone Tree Hill, 21-30 June, and secured the Maffin Bay area by 12 July. After a brief rest, the Division made an assault landing at Sansapor, 30 July, on the Vogelkop Peninsula. The 6th secured the coast from Cape Waimak to the Mega River and garrisoned the area until December 1944. The Division landed at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, on D-day, 9 January 1945, and pursued the Japanese into the Cabanatuan Hills, 17-21 January, capturing Munoz, 7 February. It then drove notrheast to Digalan Bay and Baler Bay, 13 February, isolating enemy forces in southern Luzon. The 1st Infantry Regiment operated on Bataan, 14-21 February, cutting the peninsula from Abucay to Bagac. The Division shifted to the Shimbu Line northeast of Manila, 24 February, took Mount Mataba, 17 April, Mount Pacawagan, 29 April, Bolog, 29 June, Lane's Ridge of Mount Santo Domingo, 10 July, and Kiangan, 12 July. The 6th remained in the Cagayan Valley and the Cordilleras Mountains until VJ-day, then moved to occupy Korea.

Preparations for the occupation of Japan were practically completed when a change of orders was received designating the 6th Division, as part of the XXIV Corps to occupy South Korea. The 6th Division arrived in Kyongsangpukto Province, South Korea in the latter part of October 1945, and immediately commenced occupation duties. The 6th Division maintained this posture until 20 January 1949, when it was deactivated. The division occupied the southern half of the United States zone of occupation until inactivated.

The 6th Division was reactivated 4 October 1950 at Fort Ord, California. There the Division remained throughout the Korean Conflict, training troops and providing personnel for the fight, but not getting into the war as an entity itself. The 6th Infantry Division was again deactivated on 3 April 1956.

The 6th Infantry Division activated at Fort Campbell in November 1967. Budgetary limitations again ended the 6th Infantry Division's existence on 25 July 1968.

The 172nd Infantry Brigade (Alaska) served as a nucleus of the 6th Infantry Division when it was activated on April 16, 1986. The 172nd gave way to the 6th Infantry Division (Light) and United States Army Garrison, Alaska. This marked a new mission for the Army in Alaska as a light, deployable force capable of defending United States interests across the globe. The division became aligned more closely with the Defense Department's forces in the Pacific when, in 1989, it began reporting to the U.S. Army Western Command in Hawaii (later redesignated United States Army Pacific).

In 1990, headquarters for the 6th was moved to Fort Wainwright. In 1993, as part of Army-wide downsizing, the 6th was selected to be reorganized as a light infantry brigade.


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