Monday Manila Bay
I don’t know whether we should call this the Battle of Manila Bay or not. In many respects it was exceedingly unsatisfactory.
At 2 o’clock in the morning as we were heading north with the OAHU we picked up 11 launches or barges in the moonlight. We decided to let them keep caning and we continued north for a few minutes, Then we headed southwest in an endeavor to head than off. At 0301, with them on our port beam we opened fire, There was no way of judging range and we couldn’t see them very well because of clouds (damm them). Consequently we were virtually firing in the dark, We had just begun when we heard shells whistling around us. We think some of the shells were coming from our own artillery. Anyway, we had hardly started when I saw and smelled smoke and fire under the Bridge on the port side. That almost drove us out of the Bridge and thinking we had been hit we withdrew to the northwest. Actually a tracer from the launches must have set fire to a box of pyroticlinics. We got it out but by that time we were headed northeast hell bent with tracers and shells flying in our direction.
From then until 0500 we closed and withdrew trying to get a good crack a them where we could see them and also trying to see how they were heading. When we first encountered them, they apparently turned back toward Manila and then when we got up north they headed for Bataan again. Finally with a burst of speed we headed south and as we took them on the beam tried to get them under fire again, I think probably our shots were all long. I don’t think we did our job – but that’s the way it goes.
We later saw our own artillery putting shrapnel out, presumably at the launches, to the north, We fired 25 star shells and 45 other projectiles. We headed back to anchorage before daylight for fear of enemy artillery and planes, which would find us meat.
I was thoroughly whipped but not satisfied. I was up all night except for one hour.
Caught a little shut-eye during the morning in spite of the numerous planes roaring around dropping their deadly missiles, Incidentally, this was certainly some way of starting off the 18th week of the war.
In later conversation with the OAHU today, they claimed to have hit and set afire one of the lauuches during the last raid and now that I think of it, we saw 2 smoking boats after dawn -— the steam launch and one other. They also said the launches were headed north when last seen.
All my love, darlings.