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USS PICKING WORLD WAR II LOG

April 28, 1945.                      Zone description (-) 9

The air raids which commenced last evening continued through the night intermittently. PICKING did not fire, in accordance with SOPA’s instructions. No targets were sighted through the smoke, rendering the AA automatic weapons ineffective. At 0255 a BETTY was reported shot down, and at 0330 another plane was observed falling in flames.

 

At 0400 the area was clear of enemy planes. It 0615, in accordance with CTF 51’s instructions, proceeded with the LEARY and the MOBILE to NAKAGUSUKU WAN; arrived in the bay at 0900 and reported to CTG 51.19. Assigned to work with a S.F.C. party and air borne spotter at 1015, and commenced call fire at 1050 on Southeast OKINAWA. Targets included crossroads, a pillbox and enemy positions: 100 rounds of AA Common were expended. At 1603 a “flash red’ condition was established in the bay. Went to general quarters, got underway and stood by the heavy units to render AA fire support. No enemy planes came within range or sight, although there were several to the north and west. Anchored at dusk in assigned berth in western part of the bay, and at 1950 commenced firing night illumination for 24TH CORPS. Firing was interrupted at 1950, 2126, and 2217 when enemy aircraft were in the OKINAWA area. One of these approached to 12,000 yards, but PICKING did not fire, the target being too close to the limits of effective range. Resumed night illumination at 2308, plus harassing fire in five target areas.

Positions:

0800 - Latitude - 26°-02.7’ N; Longitude - 127°-5l.5’ E.

1200 - Latitude - 26°-13.1’ N; Longitude - l27°-50.2’ E.

2000 - Latitude - 26°-l3.7’ N; Longitude - l27°-5l.O’ E.

 

April 29, 1945.                      Zone description (-) 9

Ceased firing night illumination and harassing fire at 0540 having expended 140 rounds of 5” AA Common and 63 rounds of starshells. Weighed anchor at 0550 and, in accordance with orders of CTG 51.19, escorted the TUSCALOOSA to the area on the western side of OKINAWA which is protected by an anti-submarine screen. PICKING and BARTON formed screen on TUSCALOOSA, accompanied her to a point off the south end of OKINAWA from where the TUSCALOOSA continued on up the western side of the island. BARTON and PICKING joined the ARKANSAS and NEW ORLEAWS to screen those ships enroute to NAKAGUSUKU WAN. The BARTON broke off in Fire Support Sector Three (Southeastern OKINAWA,) to carry on firing missions in that area. On return to NAKAGUSUKU WAN, anchored and commenced answering call fires. Results of the mornings firing were reported excellent by the shore fire control party. Enemy mortar and machine gun positions which were harassing the advance of our troops were neutralized. Bombardment was resumed in the afternoon. Caves, a hut, and a square building were blasted. Received no night firing assignment. Enemy planes were in the OKINAWA area during the night. None attacked in the area. Ships were anchored and kept hidden in a smoke screen made by LCI’s.

Positions:

             0800 - Latitude - 26°-Ol.8’ N;  Longitude - 127°-39.5’ E.

             1200 - Latitude - 26°-13.5’ N;  Longitude - 127°-50.6’ E.

             2000 - Latitude - 26°-l4.2’ N;  Longitude - 127°-5l.O’ E.

 

April 30, 1945.                      Zone description (-) 9

Commenced firing bombardment at 0655 in target areas selected by S.F.C. party. An air borne spotter arrived on station at 0837. Fire was shifted from a pillbox to an area containing caves, entrenchments and enemy troop movements. The area was well covered; ceased firing at 0936. Resumed firing, at 1205 into a reported blockhouse, caves. Expended 96 Rounds AA Common. Underway for HAGUSHI at 1311 in company with the BIRMINGHAM and the LEARY to report to C.T.G. 54.2 in accordance with orders received from C.T.F. 52. T.G. 54.2 is the covering group prepared to meet any enemy surface force threatening transports. Anchored at 1700 in berth assigned by C.T.G. 54.2 at HAGUSHI. Went to general quarters at 2227, as an enemy plane approached from the northwest; plane orbited to seaward of the anchorage area then retired from the area. Received a message today stating a POW reported that our naval gunfire was the weapon most feared by the enemy ashore.

Positions:

0800 - Latitude - 26°-13.2’ N; Longitude - 127°-49.5’ E.

1200 - Latitude - 26°-13.2’ N; Longitude - 127°-49.5’ E.

2000 - Latitude - 26°-21.1’ N; Longitude - 127°-41.9’ E.

 

May 1, 1945                          Zone description (-)9

PICKING is operating as a unit of the forces assaulting OKINAWA SHIMA, under the command of Vice Admiral TURNER, ComPhibsPac and C.T.F. 51. PICKING in TASK GROUP 54, the gun fire support and covering force. These Ships are further assigned to task groups: TASK GROUP 54.1, the western fire support group; TASK GROUP 51.19 the eastern fire support group; TASK GROUP 54.2, the covering force. TASK GROUPS 54.1 and 51.19 render fire support to the land forces from the western and eastern sides of OKINAWA respectively. There is also a TASK GROUP 54.3 which is the logistics group at KERAMA RETTO replenishing fuel and ammunition. Ships operating on the western side of the island are grouped collectively into TASK GROUP 51.22, the western control group. Fire support ships are assigned and interchanged among these groups as necessary. At present, PICKING is in TASK GROUP 54.2. These ships are anchored at HAGUSHI. As a rule these ships anchor at night and include the ships forming TASK GROUP 54.3 in the morning to go to KERAMA RETTO for logistics. Underway at 0500 for KEPAMA RETTO. O.T.C. of logistics group, C.T.G. 54.3, commanding officer U.S.S. ST. LOUIS. Spent day at EASTERN ANCHORAGE, KERAMA RETTO fueling ship and replenishing ammunition. Returned to fire support sector five, northwest of NAHA, western OKINAWA in the evening (1830) with the same logistics group. Relieved the NEW MEXICO of her fire support duties in accordance with C.T.G. 51.22 orders. Anchored in southwest corner of HAGUSHI ANCHORAGE and commenced night harassing fire and illumination, starshells spotted by shore fire control party.

Positions:

0800 - Latitude - 26°-l3.2’ N; Longitude - 127°-20.5’ E.

1200 - Latitude - 26°-11.9’ N; Longitude - l27°-20.1’ E.

2000 - Latitude - 26°-19.5’ N; Longitude - 127°-40.9’ E.

 

May 2, 1945                          Zone description (-)9

At 0035, splashes were sighted 200 yards off the port beam. Weighed anchor with approval of C.T.G. 54.2 and manned the main battery for counter battery fire, (night firing mission was being carried out with two guns). Another salvo landed 200 yards off the starboard bow a few minutes after the first. Commenced counter battery firing according to a prearranged plan of C.T.G. 51.22 commander of the western fire support group, who had assigned ships under his command target areas to be covered. These areas included the most likely and the known locations of enemy gun positions. Expended 76 rounds of 5” AA Common in counter battery firing. Ceased this firing at 0123 by orders of CTG 51.22 and resumed scheduled night assignment. No further enemy firing was encountered during the night. Night harassing and illumination firing was completed at 0456, having expended 126 rounds of AA Common and 15 starshells. Communications having been established with a shore fire control party, commenced call fire mission at 0850. Target area was on the shore line and contained Japanese infantry. The area was thoroughly covered with 439 rounds of AA Common and 11 rounds of white phosphorous; shore fire control party reported results as being exceedingly satisfactory.

 

Rain and fog prevented operation of spotting planes all during the day. Maintained slow deliberate fire in areas in and around NAHA until 1735, 102 rounds were expended in the afternoon’s bombardment. At 1800, the PICKING and BIRMINGHAM were assigned to a special night mission: to impede the operations of enemy suicide boats, the western coast of OKINAWA from NAHA to ITOMAN was to be illuminated by starshells and harassing fire was to be delivered in areas which formed probable bases for these boats. In addition the enemy held air strips at NAHA and ITOMAN were to be harassed to prevent any possible operations of these air field during the night. PICKING commenced operations at 1915, taking NAHA airport under bombardment. At 2010 joined the BIRMINGHAM and set up a patrol at five knots in a general north-south direction, between the NAHA airport and the airstrip at ITOMAN. The latter strip had been under construction. To systemize the night operations the BIRMINGHAM assumed the responsibility of illuminating until 0030, at which time, the PICKING would relieve. Also, at 2320 the BIRMINGHAM assigned the PICKING specific target areas for harassing bombardment.

Positions:

0800 - Latitude - 26°-l8.8’ N; Longitude - l27°-42.O’ E.

1200 - Latitude - 26°-2l.O’ N; Longitude - l27°-40.5’ E.

2000 - Latitude - 26°-ll.O’ N; Longitude - 127°-34.O’ E.

 

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