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Bagley Class Destroyer
341' 8" x 35' 6" x 10' 4"
4 x 5" guns
4 x 50 cal MG
4 x 20mm MG (added)
16 x 21" torpedoes
2 x depth charges
On December 7, 1941 during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Bagley's anti-aircraft guns opened fire on attacking B5N2 Kate torpedo bombers and her gunners claimed six shot down. At 9:40am she got underway at sea, under the temporary command of Lt. Cann, as the Captain, the executive officer and gunnery officer were ashore that morning.
On December 29, Bagley covered the arrival of TF-14. The next day, the destroyer departed with USS Saratoga to patrol west of Oahu, while two carrier groups escorted reinforcements to Samoa. On January 11, 1942 when the carrier was hit by a torpedo fired by I-16, Bagley escorted the damaged carrier back to Pearl Harbor.
Between January 23 - February 3 four extra 20mm guns were added for anti-aircraft defense to Bagley before joining Task Force 11 (TF 11) comprising USS Lexington, four cruisers and nine destroyers, to cover transports delivering reinforcements to Christmas Island, Canton Island and New Caledonia. Worried about Japanese intentions in the Fiji-New Caledonia area, TF 11 joined the ANZAC cruiser force, HMAS Australia, HMNZS Achilles, HMNZS Leander with USS Chicago and two destroyers, on 16 February. Shortly thereafter, the task force turned to the northwest and headed for Bougainville.
On February 20, 1942 at 1707, the destroyer opened fire on a second wave of nine bombers with her 20mm battery, joining the barrage of anti-aircraft fire around USS Lexington. Minutes later, G4M1 Betty piloted by Seto damaged by F4F Wildcat piloted by Lt. Edward 'Butch' O'Hare attempted to crash into Bagley's stern, but fire from USS Aylwin helped splash it 200 yards off the starboard quarter.
Upkeep and repair, punctuated by a dry dock period, kept the destroyer's crew busy for the next month. Bagley took departure from Pearl Harbor on 30 April, carrying mail and passengers to Palmyra Island, Christmas Island, and the Society Islands. Off Bora Bora on 9 May, she rendezvoused with Hunter Liggett and escorted her to Fiji, arriving at Nukualofa Bay, Tongatapu, on the 15th. The destroyer then spent a week patrolling outside the harbor, protecting departing convoys from enemy submarines, before continuing on alone to Brisbane, arriving there on 30 May.
Assigned to the Southwest Pacific Force TF-44, Bagley protected convoys in the approaches to Australia, searched for submarine contacts during two patrol sweeps with Henley, and conducted night battle practice and other exercises with the cruisers of TF 44 through mid-July. On the 17th, she departed Brisbane for New Zealand, arriving in Auckland on 20 July. There, she joined TF 62 and began preparations for Operation Watchtower, the invasion of Guadalcanal.
Bagley went to Fiji in company with USS Chicago, Salt Lake City, HMAS Australia, HMAS Canberra, HMAS Hobart, eight other destroyers, and 12 transports. Joined by other convoy elements on the 26th, including three more cargo ships, Bagley guarded the transports as they conducted rehearsal landings at Koro Island.
The task force then proceeded to the Solomon Islands, arriving in the transport area off Lunga Point on Guadalcanal, on August 7, 1942. Assigned to "Southern Force", one of three picket patrols, Bagley and Patterson accompanied HMAS Australia, HMAS Canberra, and Chicago in protecting the transports south of Tulagi.
HMAS Australia, with Rear Admiral Victor Alexander Charles Crutchley, RN, on board, left formation for a command conference at Lunga Roads at 2130. Just over two hours later, with visibility low owing to overcast sky and rain showers, unidentified ships loomed into view about 3,000 yards (3,000 m) distant on the port bow. These were seven Japanese cruisers and a destroyer under Rear Admiral Gunichi Mikawa sent from Rabaul to attack the American transports. At that moment, 0144 according to Bagley's log, float planes from the Japanese cruisers dropped flares that lit up the American warships.
Bagley turned sharply to the left to bring the starboard torpedo tubes to bear on the Japanese warships looming out of the darkness but, either due to the torpedoes not being armed in time or because the ship turned to quickly for the torpedo tubes to be aimed properly, she continued her turn and fired four torpedoes to the northwest from number two port mount. Although the torpedo men claimed hits a few minutes later, no Japanese ships were damaged by torpedoes in that area. It is possible, but unconfirmed, that one or two of Bagley's torpedoes may have hit Canberra on her starboard side.
Bagley then turned left again and her gunners scanned the passage between Guadalcanal and Savo Island; but, as the Japanese cruiser force had already passed by to the north, they saw no enemy ships. She then steamed to the northwest, toward the designated destroyer rendezvous point, and at about 0300 came across the heavily damaged and burning USS Astoria. That warship, along with USS Quincy and USS Vincennes, had been mortally wounded in the short, but violent, Battle of Savo Island before the Japanese force retired to Rabaul.
Bagley came alongside USS Astoria and rescued about 400 survivors--including 185 wounded--from the stricken warship, out of the water or from nearby rafts. With daylight, Bagley delivered a salvage party of 325 men to Astoria to fight fires, plug holes and raise steam. The effort ultimately failed, and the cruiser sank that afternoon. Meanwhile, Bagley's medical officer and pharmacist's mates treated shell-fragment lacerations and second-degree burns before the wounded were transferred to President Jackson that afternoon. Bagley then withdrew to Nouméa with TF 62, mooring there on 13 August.
On 15 March 1943, Bagley executed orders reassigning her to TF 74 as the newly created 7th Fleet readied itself for offensive operations in New Guinea. Underway from Townsville on 27 June, Bagley, in company with Henley and SC-749, escorted six LSTs carrying 2,600 Army troops and airfield equipment to Woodlark Island. While the destroyers patrolled south of the island, the landing proceeded without Japanese interference on the night of 30 June and 1 July. Bagley escorted three more echelons of LSTs from Townsville to Woodlark between 9 July and 7 August; all arrived safely, and the fighter airstrip became operational on 23 July. The destroyer then escorted Henry T. Allen (AP-30) between Milne Bay, Cairns, and Brisbane, arriving at the last port on 15 August.
Bagley steamed back to New Guinea late in the month, delivering a convoy to Milne Bay on 1 October. She quickly returned to Townsville to pick up another convoy, escorting it safely into Milne Bay on the 8th. Sailing again to Australia, this time to Brisbane, the destroyer shepherded a third convoy from Townsville to Milne Bay between 25 and 29 October. After moving to Buna on 8 November, Bagley helped escort a convoy of three LSTs to Finschhafen, delivering supplies to the Australian 20th Brigade on the 11th. Over the next four weeks, the destroyer escorted six more reinforcement convoys out of Buna; three to Finschhafen, one to Lae, one to Woodlark and the last to Cape Cretin on December 12.
After steaming to Buna on December 23, Bagley joined the seven LSTs of TU 76.1.41, carrying the 7th echelon of 1st Marine Division's engineers, artillery, and stores for the Cape Gloucester operation. The crew watched the heavy cruisers bombard the beach at 0600 on 26 December, and then Bagley screened the LSTs as they landed troops and equipment. That afternoon, around 1430, a large Japanese air raid attacked the task force, sinking USS Brownson (DD-518) and damaging USS Shaw (DD-373). Later that evening, Bagley's crew saw friendly fighters splash three "Betty" bombers over the beachhead. Returning to Buna on 28 December, Bagley then helped leapfrog elements of the 32nd Infantry Division at Saidor on 2 January 1944.
Next, Bagley was ordered "to act as stand-by escort for supply echelons" to escort a convoy of LSTs to Saidor on February 5. The next day, in company with USS Smith and two LSTs, departed for Cape Gloucester then departed the area on February 10 via Florida Island, Guadalcanal, Palmyra, and Pearl Harbor then arrived at San Francisco on February 27.
On February 28 began an overhaul at Mare Island over eight weeks, adding two more 20mm guns (for a total of six) and an improved fire control radar while a twin 40-millimeter gun tub was placed forward of the two aft 5" guns. When completed on May 5, departed for Hawaii and began training at sea for Operation Forager, the invasion of the Marianas. Arriving at Pearl Harbor on the May 10, the destroyer conducted screen, anti-aircraft, and shore bombardment the departed for the Marshall Islands on May 29, arriving at Majuro Atoll on June 3 where Bagley joined TG 58.2 on June 8, escorting USS Bunker Hill.
On 25 June, the destroyer returned to the Marianas for two weeks of call-fire assignments in support of Marine Corps operations. Under the direction of fire control units ashore, Bagley fired over 700 5-inch rounds of high-explosive, white phosphorus, and star shell into the final pocket of Japanese resistance at the north end of Saipan. On 6 July, after receiving more ammunition from Montpelier, she closed shore and fired on "caves and crevasses near waters edge on Saipan", expending 537 5-inch and over 1,000 rounds of 20-millimeter and 40-millimeter shells.
Battle of Leyte Gulf
Arriving at Ulthui 2 November, Bagley received four days of overhaul from tender Markab (AD-21). The destroyer then sailed on the 10th with TU 77.4.1, built around carriers Hoggatt Bay and Tulagi, to provide air support for Leyte ground operations. Retiring to Seeadler Harbor on the 27th, the destroyer spent the next month training, or receiving repairs from Briareus, all in preparation for Operation Musketeer, the landings on Luzon, Philippine Islands. On 27 December, the destroyer got underway for the Palaus, arriving there on the 30th.
The next day, after the force entered the South China Sea, four Japanese kamikaze raids attacked the American warships. Although the first two waves were driven off by CAP, Bagley's crew saw suicide planes from the third attack crash Columbia, Manila Bay, HMAS Australia, and Stafford, damaging the latter badly enough to force her retirement to Leyte.
Bagley screened the escort carriers between 6 January, when they began flying ground-attack missions over the Lingayen beaches, and 13 January when the next kamikaze plane attacked the group. Just after 0900, an undetected plane surprised and crashed Salamaua, causing extensive damage. Several more closed the formation at 0908, and one Nakajima Ki.43 single-engine fighter ("Oscar") made a run toward Bagley. All guns that could bear opened fire at 3,600 yards (3,300 m), and the plane splashed about 1,000 yards (1,000 m) out on the port beam. The next four days passed without any Japanese attacks, and the task group retired to Ulithi, arriving there on the 23rd. With Philippine operations well underway, Bagley was assigned to the next major amphibious operation, the landings planned for Iwo Jima in February.
On 21 February, after a mere six days to conduct repairs and replenish, the warship embarked upon the last major amphibious operation of the war, the invasion of Okinawa. In company with the escort carriers of TG 52.1, Bagley arrived off Okinawa Jima on 25 March. The destroyer screened Anzio during ground attack and support operations into April without incident. Over the next several weeks, numerous small Japanese air raids appeared on her radar screen, but only one closed the formation, an ineffective attack by a lone plane on the 12th. On 28 April, while the escort carriers launched raids on Sakishima Gunto, the crew spotted a Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka "Baka Bomb" rocket-propelled suicide bomb passed harmlessly overhead at 26,000'.
On 24 May, after Bagley "blew out" her number one main generator, she turned toward the Philippines. Arriving in Leyte Gulf on the 27th after 102 days underway at sea, the destroyer went alongside Markab for repairs.
The warship's last combat operation began on 15 June when the destroyer departed Leyte for Kerama Retto. She rendezvoused with the six escort carriers of TG 32.1 on the 18th and supported them during a series of air strikes on Okinawa. A week later, however, Bagley's main battery director failed, and she once again retired to Leyte for repairs. After mooring there on 27 June, she went alongside Yosemite for three days of availability. As the tender was unable to repair the director, the warship steamed to Saipan on 5 July and thence on to Guam, arriving in Apra harbor on the 6th.
With a new director installed by 14 July, Bagley sailed to Saipan on the 15th. Departing the Marianas on 6 August, the warship escorted a convoy of merchant ships to Okinawa on 12 August. Three days later, her crew heard of the Japanese capitulation while shepherding a return convoy back to Saipan. Following ten days of rest and recreation, Bagley embarked Rear Admiral Francis E. M. Whiting and staff for transport to Marcus Island. She arrived there on 31 August, and Japanese Rear Admiral M. Matsubara surrendered the island and its garrison to Rear Admiral Whiting on board Bagley.
Returning to Saipan on September 2, 1945, the destroyer then reported to the Commander, 5th Fleet, for extended duty. After a brief stop at Buckner Bay, Okinawa, the destroyer sailed for Japan, arriving in Sasebo on September 20, 1945. Bagley spent the next five weeks operating as a minefield marker ship, assisting minesweeping efforts, and providing courier services between Sasebo, Nagasaki, and Wakayama. Several officers also inspected various Japanese naval vessels in port to determine compliance with Allied surrender terms.
The destroyer did not participate in the atomic tests but was reported for inactivation at Pearl Harbor on May 2, 1946. Decommissioned at Pearl Harbor on June 13, 1946, she was towed to San Diego for sale as scrap. Her name was officially struck from the Naval vessel register on February 25, 1947. Sold to Moore Dry Dock Company in Oakland, California, on September 8, 1947 and scrapped afterwards.
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