10 July 1943
0215 Kool Force started circling at Lat. 36°40N Long. 14°12E. 15 miles off Gela, Sicily. Search lights, flares, flashes from bombs and large rifles, and anti-aircraft fire could be seen at various points along beach. Sailing under Condition II.
0520 Large twin engine enemy plane approaching off starboard quarter. Dropped six bombs off starboard bow at a distance of 400 yards. General Quarters sounded. No hits scored on force by bombs.
0725 General Quarters secured and Condition II set.
1141 Anchored off Gela, Sicily.
1538 Three enemy planes dropped bombs along beach.
1843 General Quarters sounded.
1936 Bombs dropped off starboard bow. Planes strafing beach.
2030 General Quarters secured and set Condition II.
11 July 1943
0650 Sounded General Quarters. Fifteen enemy bombers overhead, bombs dropped with no hits. Secured General Quarters and set Condition II.
0900 Moving in towards beach for new anchorage. Cruiser Boise crossing bow, shelling shore installations. Shells from enemy long range rifles landing in sea. Two within 100 yards. Hoisted anchor and moved out of range.
1114 Seven enemy planes dropped bombs 2 pts. off starboard bow.
1450 General Quarters. Two enemy light bombers overhead. 5 bombs dropped. No hits.
1549 Bombing and strafing of ships unloading on beach by three enemy fighters. General Quarters. Twelve enemy heavy bombers overhead; dropped bombs hitting ship of liberty type off port quarter. Bomb landed in one of forward holds setting it on fire. Ship lost.
The ship hit and lost was the USS Robert Rowan
2017 Underway, moving in to beach to commence unloading of vehicles and men.Anchored by stern anchor off yellow beach.
2035 Bow doors opened and ramp lowered.
2201 General Quarters.
2209 Light flares dropped over area.Bombing and strafing by low level bombers. 2338 Secured from General Quarters.
12 July 1943
0240 Started unloading. Cargo being discharged by use of LCTs.
0845 Unloading completed.All personnel and vehicles disembarked on LCTs and landed safely on Green Beach.
1119 Orders to get underway for Tunis, Tunisia; forming in convoy with LSTs 307, 4, 335 and 369.
Ammunition expended during period of action:
40 rounds of 40mm
500 rounds of 20mm
5 rounds of 3"50
No casualties during period of operation.
Those bombs dropping all around them had to bump up the nerve endings just a bit! We often talk about some invasions and others not as much. This is one that we haven't talked about a great deal.
Did your Dad or his shipmates have any special memories of this invasion that you can share? I remember something about tomatoes....