LST 282 Sunk by German Glider Bomb, St. Raphael, Southern France, August 15, 1944
Official "Secret" Report of Loss of Ship:
U. S. S. LST 282
Fleet Post. Office
New York, New York
2 September 1944.SECRETFrom:Commanding Officer, U. S. S. LST 282.
To:The Secretary of the Navy.
Via: (1) Commander, LST Group Twenty-nine.
(2) Commander, LST Flotillo Ten.
(3) Commander, Eighth Amphibious Force.
(4) Commander, Eighth Fleet.
(5) Commander-in-Chief, U. S. Fleet.
Subject:Loss of Ship - report of.
Reference:(a) C. O. , USS LST 282 Secret dispatch DT/GR 171631 B August.
(b)Article S41 (3), U. S. Navy Regulations.
1. Supplementing reference (a), the following report on the loss of U. S. S. LST 282 is submitted as required by reference (b):
2. The LST 282 as part of Task Group 87. 4 moved from the Green Beach Lowering Area to Point HOW pursuant to Green Beach Assault Group Commander Captain Morris's orders at approximately 1700B, 15 August 1944. The control vessel, PC-551 when asked by visual signal for orders to beach replied, "STAND IT". at approximately 2020B PC-551 flashed, "PROCEED TO BEACH IMMEDIATELY", and as LST 282" passed her she flashed, "EXPEDITE". The numbers one, two, five, and six LCVPs and their boat crews had been lowered. LCVPs numbers five and six were ordered to report to Area 0, and numbers one and two were ordered to follow close aboard. Condition One Mike was set immediately upon receipt of orders to beach. Material condition Zebra was reported set and all stations were reported manned and ready. All army personnel had been ordered to their vehicles to prepare for disembarking.
3. A Red Alert was received via radio at approximately 2030B, Gun control and battery officers were alerted. LST 282 proceeded toward Green Beach at standard speed on course 041 true. The Captain instructed a signal-man to try and contact beachmaster for instructions. The distance off the beach was approximately twelve hundred yards at 2045B; slowed to two-thirds speed at 2050B. An aircraft was reported bearing 040 relative, elevation 35 degrees, course opposite (approximately 215 true). The Captain was on the conn. Also on the conn station were a talker, a signalman, the Executive Officer, the Communications Officer, the Medical Officer, and the Gunnery Officer.
4. The Executive Officer reported what appeared to be a single rocket fired at the plane from
the beach. Upon examination with binoculars directly under a twin engine, twin rudder place. The
object wasapparently motionless. The object began to move ahead of the plane and downward on
the same course as the plane until its elevation was approximately 25 degrees. At this point it turned approximately 90 degrees to starboard and apparently headed for the LST 282. Bright red flame and white smoke were seen coming from the tail of the object which resembled a miniature plane. The speed of the object was exceedingly fast. The Captain told the Gunnery Officer it was a radio controlled bomb and to open fire. The number one forty millimeter located on the bow opened fire. The bomb came in across the starboard side at an elevation of approximately fifty feet. It appeared to be about to cross the ship when suddenly it turned about 45 degrees to port and dove into the ship. An explosion followed immediately. Several guns in the forward battery had opened fire on the bomb and plane just an instant or so before the bomb dove. The bomb apparently hit a few feet forward of the superstructure, to the left of the centerline, penetrating the main deck and exploding below. All guns that could bear were firing, after the bomb hit, until the plane was well out of range.
5. The crews quarters aft, officers' country, and tank deck as far forward as frame 26 were almost completely ablaze within approximately one minute. Within five minutes the forward and after portions of the ship were completely cut off from each other by fire and explosions. The elevator platform was collapsed in such a way that it was inclined downward and aft providing a means of exit for troops on the tank deck. Its downward side rested on vehicles parked below it. There was no fire main pressure and the Johnson Auxiliary Pump, capable of pumping five hundred gallons of water a minute, located just forward of the superstructure on the starboard side of the ship on the main deck, was destroyed by the blast. The ship had immediately listed to port as the explosion blew out the port side of the hull from approximately frame 34 forward to approximately frame 50 aft. The cargo hatch was partly blown open. Fire fighting attempts by the forward repair party under the directions of the First Lieutenant were futile. The abandon ship order was given by the Executive Officer from the starboard bridge wing and by the First Lieutenant forward. Attempts to operate the landing machinery forward were useless as all power leads forward were instantaneously destroyed. An attempt to remove wedge-releasing pins in the worm gear operating the bow doors was unsuccessful. These pins were tightly jammed by the blast and could not be removed. Abandon ship discipline was excellent! Sufficient lines
were available on both sides of the ship and debarkation ladders were employed forward on both port and starboard sides.
The four after life rafts on the starboard side were successfully launched, the number ten raft burned and the number eight raft was jammed by the explosion and could not be launched. Nothing is known of the other rafts on the port side except that one raft was found floating by the port side.
The ship was on the bottom with her bow approximately forty yards from the beach when abandon ship was given forward. Attempts to trip the life raft forward failed due to the fact that army personnel already in the water were directly below the rafts. The auxiliary engines were left running by the auxiliary engine room detail which escaped through the use of gas masks. All lights were out.
6. All hands assisted in the evacuation of injured of both ship's company and army personnel. Boats standing by were the LST 282 LCVP numbers one and two, six LCVPs from the LST 283, at least one LCVP from the LST 50, several LCVPs from the LST 491, and one U. S. Navy tug which remained well off. The ship was abandoned approximately fifteen minutes after the fire started. Ammunition in ready boxes and in gun tubes had already started to explode as had explosives and gasoline in the vehicles.
7. At this point it is desired to commend the crew as a whole for its work in assisting the injured off the ship. In this regard, special mention must be made of the work of MAY, H. D. , PHM1/C and SULLIVAN, L. J. , PHMC/2C. In addition it is desired to commend the exceedingly prompt and valuable aid rendered by the Commanding Officer of the LST 283 who personally conducted his small boats in picking up survivors close aboard the LST 282. 8. Noteworthy was the complete lack of anti-aircraft fire from any point on the beach or from any ship previous to the actual flight of the bomb. A flight of P-38 Lightnings was said to have passed over the assault area about five minutes before the enemy aircraft was sighted; however, this was not seen by anyone on the conn or reported to the conn. As far as is known there was no air cover visible during the period from sunset to evening twilight although air cover had been markedly visible during the day. The great quantities of smoke being made by small craft and by units on the beach hampered rescue operations considerably. At the time of the attack this smoke laying had barely started. What little wind there was was easterly to northeasterly. 9. The ship drifted over to the left flank of the green Beach Area and the bow settled on the rocks. She had moterate way on at the time of impact and the rudders were jammed at hard left. The ship was still burning the next day and was almost totally destroyed by the fire. 10. It is again desired to emphasize the fact that from all reports the crew of the LST 282 conducted themselves in conformity with the highest traditions of the Naval Service. L. E. Gilbert
Lieutenant, U. S. N. R.
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