Page:An account of the action off Cape Lookout.djvu/1

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SECRET

U.S.S. PC-815

AN ACCOUNT OF THE ACTION OFF CAPE LOOKOUT

Acting under the orders of the commander of Operational Training Command, Pacific Fleet, 161909 of May, at 2116 May 18, 1943 enroute to San Diego, California to undergo Shakedown.

At the time of departure this vessel was reasonably ready for action, officers and crew having been constently drilled and taught since January 20, 1943 at which time, with a few exceptions, the complement had reported to Portland, Oregon for duty in connection with fitting out and construction.

Proceeding southward just inside the steamer track an echo ranging contact was made by the soundman then on duty, Grover, E.N., Soundmen third class. The Commanding Officer had the conn and immediately slowed all engines to ahead one third to better echo ranging conditions, and placed the contact dead ahead, 500 yards away.

The first contact was very good. The target was moving; left and away. The bearing was clear. The night was moonlit and the sea wass flat calm. No ships of any kind were in sight or expected. Screw noises, fluttering and without pulsation, were distinct on the bearing and quite different from the pulsations of our own screws. The extent of bearing was about eighteen degrees with the mushiness of a wake to the right. The U.S.S. PC815 closed in to 360 yards, meanwhile sounding general quarters. Depth charge levers on the signal bridge were not used because contact was lost at 360 yards.

The range was quickly opened out and a search made of the area with echo ranging equipment. Contact was resdined at 500 yards and was held on the starboard beam while further investigation was made. Scrais were present and distinct as before. The bearing was still clear. Smoke signal identification was watched for closely and when none appeared it was concluded that the target must not be a friendly submarine. All engines were brought up to speed, fifteen knots and the target was brought dead ahead with ship on course 34c T.