John Starman
United States
Elgin
Nebraska
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Picket Duty: Kamikaze Attacks against US Destroyers - Okinawa 1945

2008hrs., March 31, 1945 - off west coast of Okinawa
Destroyer Squadron 58 orders DD USS Colhoun to replace DD USS The Sullivans that was lost to Japanese torpedo while stationed on picket duty. USS Colhoun is assigned to picket duty station #12.

USS Colhoun takes up assigned station in the early morning hours of March 31st. Kamikaze attacks in the area have been heavy and CINCPAC is warning all ships to expect increased activity once the invasion of Okinawa commences on April 1st.

At 1013hrs, CIC reports one wave incoming bandits, carrier air support and surface fire support are both limited this morning. Attack in this morning was limited to 4 planes and the attacked was not pressed very hard. Accurate shooting by the gun batteries and carrier air support limited attack to one near miss with no damage. Rain front moved through the area in the afternoon, which stopped further air attacks. Nighttime was quiet as well….Crew couldn’t help but feel that the enemy was just prepping for a big push soon….

April 1st, L-Day on Okinawa – invasion begins – April Fool’s Day (crew considers this apt description for the Kamikaze’s & for the one who ordered them out here!) also Easter Sunday – talk about irony!
Due to invasion, both carrier and surface support were very limited this day. Morning once again saw one attack wave of 4 enemy planes. Accurate shooting from the 5-inch and 40mm gun stations flames three of the attackers and the carrier ‘flyboys’ eliminate the fourth. However, one attacker was not flamed until almost reaching the ship….emergency maneuvers unsuccessful….and the plane dropped just off the stern in a near-miss….starboard screw was damaged….2 hit points lost off of maneuvering. Rain front was still in the area and no further attacks approached in the afternoon. Nighttime saw one intruder which was quickly dispatched by night carrier air support. Overall the USS Colhoun survived invasion day in good shape….ammo is 60% of capacity….fuel in good shape at 70%....ship handling not as responsive due to screw damage, but ship still in fighting trim.

April 2nd, Fifth Fleet sends warning expecting heaviest Kamikaze attacks yet….day turns uneventful, no attacks in the morning (result of the die roll was N/A, no attacks). Rain front stalled out in the area (crew happy!) and no further attacks in the afternoon or nighttime; however, at shortly after 2400hrs, sky turn ominous as clouds begin to disperse….means clear day tomorrow. Fuel now down to 50%.

Dawn on April 3rd brings a clear and bright sky….The enemy is active this morning….0632hrs and CIC reports heavy incoming raid…18 planes in what looks like three waves (historically this was a Kikusui attack day – ‘all-out’ Kamikaze attack, (of which there were ten during the Okinawa campaign), so on this day raid procedure and support are handled differently than other days). I also rolled a twelve on raid determination which meant 18 attackers! There are no special attackers on these days. Air support is both land and carrier based on these days with increased presence. Surface support is available like normal. However fighting on Okinawa must have been heavy, which meant more naval fire support for the ‘leathernecks’….which meant limited surface support for us. This also meant that both carrier and land air support was low (die roll here only gave me two carrier and two land air support markers, could’ve have been up to 8 each I think).

0711hrs….first wave of 9 attackers approaches….At first glance, ship looks like it will not survive, however, the crew is up to the challenge (amazing what fear and adrenaline will do!) and they, with the ‘marine flyboys’, are able to bring most of the planes down before hitting….evasive maneuvers by the ship were unsuccessful (you only roll once per turn for this, meaning unsuccessful for all attacks)….there are two near-misses…first one penetrates aft fuel tanks leading to two fuel points lost, second one also hits aft and now the port screw is damaged with 2 maneuver points lost….ship now is sluggish when responding to maneuvers….and one direct hit, which destroys the SG radar and damages the SC radar and hits the plotting room….quick action by forward repair crew fixes the SC radar, but damage was not repaired in the plotting room.

0750hrs and second wave of 6 attackers approaches….bad news as surface support leaves (random result roll from a near-miss) on emergency call to another picket station, leaving zero surface support for the USS Colhoun. Ship is on its own! Most of the attackers approach from the aft position cutting down on the amount of gun positions that can fire back. The crew and ‘flyboys’ respond well and bring all attackers down with only two near-misses and no damage.

0825hrs and third wave of 3 planes approaches from the aft position again…air support is now gone…Crew has been under attack for almost two hours and under general quarters since before dawn. They still put up good resistance with two of the attackers flamed, however one presses the attack with vigor and receives light damage….it penetrates the AA and gets a direct hit on the aft section of the ship destroying the #5 5-inch gun position and damaging the dressing station….dressing station damage not repaired. Attacks are finally over and the ship takes stock of its situation. Hull integrity still ok yet, down to 80% as the direct hits were mostly topside. Radar loss and fuel situation most critical and two more phases to go of attacks!

1316hrs….weather continues to be crystal clear….CIC reports 8 bandits approaching in two waves of 4 planes each….carrier and land air support (this support is re-rolled each phase of the turn) continues to be limited (once again only got 2 support markers each for a total of 4). 1st wave saw only one near-miss but this penetrated forward fuel tanks leading to two more fuel points lost. 2nd wave saw near-miss also that passed over the ship clipping the SC radar, destroying it….both radars are now destroyed.

0043hrs….weather still clear….but the night stays calm and no intruders make their presence felt.
Fuel level now critical down to 10% and since both radars are destroyed, ship must be relieved. Orders from Desron 58 to USS Colhoun: proceed Ulithi Anchorage after relief from USS Gregory at 0400hrs. Happiness and joy all around….the crew survived the Kikusi!!

Once arriving at Ulithi Anchorage, it finds that it has to go stateside to make full repairs….crew ecstatic….it looks like its tour at Okinawa is finished.

April 4th, USS Gregory begins its patrol at picket duty station #12….
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Brian Scott
United States
Randolph
New Jersey
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Great session report, thanks for posting it. I got this game just recently but haven't gotten it on the table yet...

Your session particularly caught my eye because my uncle Norman was on the Colhoun when it was sunk by kamikazes on April 6th. He was a fireman 1st class, and as far as is known was in the after fireroom when the bomb from the first kamikaze that hit the ship exploded there, killing everyone in the compartment.

I wasn't born until the 1960's so of course never knew him, but here is a picture of him with my grandmother taken most likely in 1944:

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John Starman
United States
Elgin
Nebraska
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Great family story Brian! Thank you for replying!! May all of those who gave their all to keep us free, Rest In Peace!!!

I cannot imagine what those men had to go through. The game is full of tension however, and the die roll to see what part of the ship was damaged by the kamikaze is intense. When I play I can see the flak, see the planes approach, see the organized chaos on the ship....

Thanks again and my sympathy for your family's loss. Even though 'time' passes, the life of a loved one is never gone.
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