Dec. 18, 1944

12-17-18

On the 15th and 16th, the ships of TF38 were supporting the landing at Mindoro.  Planes continued to attack Luzon and Mindoro, bagging some 400 enemy planes over three days.  The 17th was a scheduled re-fuel day, so the ships traveled east to meet up with the tankers of TF30.  The weather was getting worse by the hour, and the ships were running into a developing typhoon.  Fueling was called off.

December 18, 1944:   This morning the weather is really bad.  Some of the detroyers are low on fuel and the sea is so bad they can not fuel from tankers.  The CVE’s are having a lot of problems, planes are breaking loose in the hangar deck and starting fires.  The carrier Independence reported two men overboard. The carrier Monterey has a fire in her hanger deck and can only make five knots.  The sea looks like mountains, no one can walk straight. Quite a few men were hurt by the rolling of the ship.  Sandwiches and coffee were served for dinner and supper.  We made a roll of 46 degrees, which is past the danger point.  We lost one of our planes over the side from the force of the wind.  No one is allowed on the main deck, it is under water every time we roll. the battleship Massachusetts is dead in the water.  The wind picked up with gusts of 93 knots.  Some of the destroyers report they are inn danger of capsizing.  Besides the loss of one plane, we also have 20MM gun tub damage.  We were pretty lucky.  The height of the waves must be 30 to 40 feet.  About 35 men were washed over the side, most of them from carriers.  We received some bad news, two destroyers were lost in the storm, Spence and Hull, two other destroyers are missing, some survivors were picked up, the winds picked up by late afternoon to over 100 knots.  The sea is a little calmer and by 2400 hours the winds died down.  I did not get to sleep tonight.  I want to stay awake in case the ship rolls over.   Frank Studenski

They eye of Typhoon Cobra (12/18/44) captured on the radar screen of the carrier USS Yorktown

(Retrieved from the USS Boston folders at the National Archives by Bill)

 

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