Thursday, December 26, 2019

"PT-77 is damaged, probably accidentally bombed by friendly aircraft."

TUE 26 DEC 1944
Japanese "Intrusion Force" (Rear Admiral Kimura Masanori), consisting of heavy cruiser Ashigara, light cruiser Oyodo, three destroyers and three escort destroyers, approaches Mindoro to bombard the beachhead. USAAF B-25s, P-38s, P-40s, and P-47s and Navy PB4Ys and PBMs successively attack the force. These damage Ashigara (near-misses), Oyodo, destroyers Asashimo, Kiyoshimo, and Kasumi, and escort destroyers Kaya and Kashi. Kimura's force carries out its bombardment mission, then encounters U.S. motor torpedo boats; PT-77 is damaged, probably accidentally bombed by friendly aircraft*. Subsequently, PT-223 sinks the already damaged Kiyoshimo off San Jose, 145 miles south of Manila, 12°20'N, 121°00'E.

As the "Intrusion Force" approaches, freighter James H. Breasted is ordered to seek safety in Ilin Strait; anchoring there, she comes under fire, being damaged by shell fragments during the Japanese bombardment. The ship is later bombed by what is probably a U.S. plane, touching off her cargo of gasoline. James H. Breasted is abandoned (only one of the 33-man merchant complement requires treatment for injuries; there are no casualties to the 27-man Armed Guard) but the survivors come under friendly fire that causes no further casualties. U.S. motor torpedo boats tow the three boatsful of survivors toward shore; the freighter is later written off as a total loss.

Destroyer Fanning (DD-385) sinks Japanese auxiliary submarine chaser No.7 Kyo Maru off Okinomisaki, Bonins.

Submarine Swordfish (SS-193) departs Midway for thirteenth war patrol. Contact is made with Swordfish on 3 January 1945, but she is never seen again.

USAAF B-24 sinks Japanese cargo vessel No.104 Nany_ [sic] Maru off south coast of Boeroe Island, 03°49'S, 126°51'E.

Australian destroyer HMAS Quickmatch rescues the 40 merchant sailors, one passenger and the 26-man Armed Guard of freighter Robert J. Walker, that had been torpedoed and sunk in the Tasman Sea by German submarine U-862 the day before.
*Surely I'm not the only one who sees the hand of Cap't. Binghamton in this "accident".

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