On November 2, after a short period of intensive briefing, we departed from Ulithi and sortied with Task Force 38. Our briefing continued for three days, and on November 5, we struck out first blows at the enemy.
First Strike - 5 November 1944
In our first strike, Lt. Cmdr. Shattuck led nine planes against Zablan airfield near Manila. This strike dropped 100# bombs on runways and installations with unobserved damage. On join-up after the attack, two Oscars jumped the group, but were persuaded by .50 cal. turret fire to refrain from pressing the attack.
TACTICAL AND OPERATIONAL DATA
As part of strike #1 with 8 VF, 12 VB, 9 VT crossed the East coast of Luzon Island P.I at approximately 14deg. w 50 N.Lat. flying on VB as base element at 10,000 altitude, 155 knots indicated.
ZABLAN Field was approached from the N.E. The strike group circled the target field once, counter-clockwise. 9 VT, proceded by 8 VF & 12 VB, delivered a standard glide bombing attack, release 5500', from S. to N. along the N. S. runway.
Seven planes dropped 12 100# bombs in train and one plane dropped 11 100# bombs in train along the western edge of the N. S, runway. One plane dropped 12 100# bombs short of ZABLAN Field but strafed and damaged one twin-engine plane standing on a new field N.E. of ZABLAN. Though no damage could be observed, it is believed that installations on the western edge of the strip were destroyed or damaged. After one pass, all planes rendezvoused to East-Northeast, distance 10 miles from target. During and just after join-up, two OSCARS individually made "half-hearted" attacks. Neither pressed home attack. Return to ship was uneventful. Arrived 0920.
All bombs and equipment functioned satisfactorily. 1-100# bomb "hung-up" in rack only to subsequently fall into bomb-bay pulling out arming wire. Impeller had not turned so as to arm bomb.
Highly recommended that one of every 3 planes carry k-20 cameras to be used by gunner or radioman.
Communications satisfactory. "Window" was used with unknown results.
- ZABLAN Airfield -
Second Strike - 5 November 1944
Lt. Cmdr. Fidel led the second strike of the morning against MANDALUYONG airfield in the same area. This flight consisted of eight planes with the same loading of 10, 100# bombs. Again installations and parked aircraft were the prime targets but damage was unobserved. No losses of personnel or planes resulted from the two strikes
TACTICAL AND OPERATIONAL DATA
As part of strike #2 - 8 VF, 10 VB and 8 VT crossed the East cost of Luzon Island, P.I. at approximatwely 14w 50 N. Lat. flying on VB as base element at 10,000 feet, 155 knots indicated.
MANDALUYONG Field was approached from the Northeast. 8 VT delivered a standard Glide Bombing attack, release 3,500 feet. Five planes dived from N.W. to S.E. and dropeed 12-100# bombs in train onbuildings, stores, 1 betty a/c and air strip at the Northwest end of strip
Three planes dived from S.W. to N.E. and dropped 12-100# bombs in train on buildings believed to be barracks, and on 5 or 6 single engine a/c in parking area on the N.E. side of the S.E. end of the strip.
No damage was observed but all a/c mentioned were probably damaged. Numerous buildings were probably damaged.
Rendezvous was approximately 10 miles east of ZABLAN Field. Return trip to base uneventful. No enemy a/c were encountered.Arrived at ship 1200.
RADAR: Window was used with unknown result to confuse radar range finder.
ARMAMENT: Arming handle moved from ARMED position to SAFE position during standard glide and had to be held in position to release bombs armed.
- Mandaluyong Airfield -
Third Strike - 5 November 1944
On the third strike of the day, the skipper again led nine planes, this time loaded with torpedoes to be expended against a heavy cruiser in Manila Bay. However, upon arrival over the target area this group was assigned to targets of opportunity due to the fact that other groups had a triple A priority on the cruiser. Our squadron chose a Terutsuki class destroyer as a target. This DD was proceeding at high speed for the center of the bay, having just left the Cavite Naval Base. In the attack that followed, all torpedoes either ran erratic or passed under the target. Failure to obtain hits is attributed to the shallowness of the water and the 8’ setting of the torpedoes.