BALANACAN HARBOR BOMBING
NOVEMBER 25, 1944
THE BACKGROUND
THE MEN OF VB-18
The SB2C Helldivers
THE JAPANESE SHIPS
On November 25, 1944, Bombing Squadron 18 (VB-18) flying
SB2C-1 Planes, Torpedo Squadron 18 (VT-18) flying TBM1-C
Planes and Fighter Squadron 18 (VF-18) flying F6F-5 Hellcats from
the United States Carrier Intrepid (CV-11) were responsible for
destroying the Japanese fast transports T.6 and T.10, and
damaging fast transport T.9 and the escort destroyer Take, at
Balanacan Harbor, Marinduque Island.  Unfortunately while they
were away the Intrepid was the victim of Japanese Kamikaze attacks.
Presented here you will find actual U.S. Naval Reports, Photos, and
other information about the U.S. and Japanese forces involved.
NOTE THE PLANE FLYING LOWER RIGHT CORNER
JOHN F. FORSYTH
GUNNER DICK SHIPMAN
GUNNER A.V. DASCHKE
VB-18 PILOTS
FRONT ROW: DUCKETT CHAUVEL, EHRKE
MIDDLE ROW: EMGE, KEANE,CHANEY, ANDERSON
BACK ROW:  MCINTOSH, SHERRELL
TWO PLANES ON THE GROUND AFTER LEAVING BALANACAN
ADDITIONAL PHOTOS OF SB2C'S FROM THE USS INTREPID.  PLANES
FROM THE INTREPID BORE THE "+" SIGN ON THE TAILS AS WELL AS
THE PLANE NUMBER.
The President of the United States takes
pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to
John F. Forsyth, Lieutenant, Junior
Grade, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for
extraordinary heroism in operations
against the enemy while serving as Pilot
of a carrier- based Navy Dive Bomber of
Bombing Squadron EIGHTEEN (VB-18),
embarked from the U.S.S. INTREPID
(CV-11), during the Second Battle of the
Philippine Sea, on 25 October 1944. The
action, in which he was an integral part,
successfully accomplished in the face of
intense and accurate anti-aircraft
barrages, removed a serious threat to our
ground forces in the Philippine Islands.
His outstanding courage and determined
skill were at all times inspiring and in
keeping with the highest traditions of the
United States Naval Service.
Fast Transport Ships
Displacement 1500 tons
Armament 2 × 127mm & 15 - 26 × 25mm
Speed 22 knots

T-6 Built Kure Navy Yard, Commissioned August 19, 1944  Sunk
T-9 Built Kure Navy Yard, Commissioned September 20, 1944 Damaged
T-10 Built Kure navy Yard, Commissioned September 25, 1944 Sunk
The MATSU class encompassed all of the above requirements in a most robust
and successful, if Spartan, design. Usually referred to as "escort destroyers" and
named (after trees) as 2nd-Class Destroyers, their displacement of over 1,000
tons nonetheless earned them the Empire's rating of 1st-Class Destroyer.

While similar to Allied destroyer-escorts in form and function, the MATSUs were
both 50-70' longer and more heavily-armed, especially in the AA role, with 5" guns
that could be elevated to 90 degrees and scores of 25 mm. machine-guns. A
quadruple bank of the deadly Long-Lance torpedo tubes and Types 13 and 22
radar outfits were also shipped.

Very important in these times of deteriorating fortunes for the Empire were their
sturdiness and survivability: a unique boiler-engine, boiler-engine power plant
arrangement helped insure that no single hit would be crippling. Their top speed of
just under 28 knots was less than desired, but adequate for most tasks assigned.

Displacement:   1,262 - 1,289 tons                                               

Dimensions:     328 (length) by 30.5 (beam) by 11 (draught) feet                 

Machinery:      2-shaft geared turbines:  19,000 SHP; 28 knots                   

Radius:         4,680 at 16 knots                                                

Armament:       3 x 5"/40 cal. DP guns (1 x 2, 1 x 1); 24 x 25 mm. AA guns (4 x  
    3, 12 x 1); 4 x 24" torpedo tubes (1 x 4); 36 - 60 depth charges.      
Complement:     211                                                      


Take - Commissioned: 1942/43?  Damaged
Captain: LtCdr Tanaka Kirokuni
TAKE was the star of the class, operating as far afield as Palau and the
Philippines, sinking an enemy destroyer and possibly a submarine, and surviving the
war to tell about it.


T-6 IN CENTER AND T-9 RIGHT HAND SIDE
As depicted by Takeshi Yuki, "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships")
The USS Intrepid's official Action Report
Strike 2 Baker TBM 1C Avengers
Aircraft Action Report - 11:30
Strike 2 Baker SB2C-3 Helldivers
Aircraft Action Report - 11:10
Strike 2 Charlie SB2C-3 Helldivers
Aircraft Action Report - 13:45
Strike 2 Charlie -TBM-1C Avengers
Aircraft Action Report - 13:47
Aircraft Action Report Photos
The TBM1-C Avengers
Strike 2 Baker F6F-5 Hellcats
Aircraft Action Report - 10:45
The F6F-5 Hellcats
Later on Nov 25, '44, the Intrepid had launched a strike group against 4 Japanese
destroyers at anchor on the NW coast of Marinduque Island in the central
Philippines. This strike group sank two of the destroyers.  In the afternoon I was
part of a strike group of 12 Hellcats, 8 SB2C dive bombers and 8 TBM torpedo
planes launched against the remaining two destroyers.  I was the last aircraft to
take off.  I was airborne and about 1 mile from the Intrepid I glance back at the
ship and saw a Kamikaze hit the flight deck of the Intrepid - then another Kamikaze
right about where I was spotted prior to take-off.  Had I been launched 30 seconds
later I would not be here to tell about it.  The Intrepid was badly damaged and lost
72 of the crew in the fires that ensued.  FCM Frank C. Hearrell, Jr.

The Men of VT-18
TA was the designation assigned to Japanese naval operations at getting
reinforcements, supplies and munitions to their troops fighting the U.S.
Invasion forces on Leyte, in the Philippines.

TA No 5's first echelon, landing ships T111, T141 and T160 escorted by
subchaser No 46, got underway from Manila on 23 November and had
reached Port Cataingan on the island of Masbate by early the next morning.  
They were to hole up there during the day to avoid detection, but the
Americans found them anyway.  Shortly after noon bomb toting P-40s
roared into the attack and left three beached landing ships and their cargos
blazing beyond salvage.  The subchaser had little recourse but to remove
their crews and head back to Manila.  The second echelon fared little better.  
Comprising the trusty trio of T6, T9 and T10 escorted by the TAKE, it
cleared Manila on 24 November and put in at Port Balanacan, Marinduque
on the 25th.  But that morning the fast carriers of Task Groups 38.1 and
38.2 once again returned to their launch positions east of Luzon and flew off
flights of heavily armed aircraft to blanket the area.  Some of these found
TAKE's little convey and struck savagely, sinking T6 and T10 and damaging
T9.  Others found the subchaser No 46, fleeing homeward from the
previous day's ambush and sunk her as well.  TAKE and T9 were fortunate
to make it back to Manila on their own bottoms.  TA No 5 was thus a
complete and costely failure