UNDERWATER DEMOLITION TEAM HISTORIES
WWII UDT TEAM ELEVEN
Underwater Demolition Team No. 11 was organized and
trained at the Naval Combat Demolition Camp, ATB,
The first two weeks of training,
A ten (10) week course followed which included training in small boat handling, long distance swimming, handling of explosives, shallow water diving, rubber boat work and daily P.T.
The formal training was concluded with a "Pay Off' course in which the men and officers were required to approach an unknown beach at night in small boats, reconnoiter the beach and its obstacles, carry the necessary explosives through the high surf in rubber boats, place the explosives on the obstacles, and detonate the shot. Each row of obstacles was different and had to be demolished individually. All the work was done under actual battle conditions and had to be completed in an allotted time. The water obstacles usually consisted of reinforced concrete scullies. English scaffolding, jetted steel rails, steel tetrahedrons and log barricades. The land obstacles consisted of a 30 foot reinforced concrete wall 9 feet high, and 7 feet thick, backed by concrete cables, coffins, and dragons teeth, a double apron barbed wire entanglement with a concertina center section.
Breaching such obstacles as these proved to be excellent training for the Jap defenses later encountered.
Many difficulties were encountered in accomplishing this task ... one night in particular a sudden storm arose after we had anchored our small boats in position. The high wind and current caused the boats to drag anchor and as a result practically everyone hit the wrong beach and failed to get a shot set up. The operation was eventually called off
After finishing formal training on
The nights were spent sleeping on the beach which was infested with sand fleas and swarmed by mosquitoes. The food as one would suspect, consisted of delicious "C" and "K" rations.
One incident was very humorous, but could have proved fatal. A charge had been laid and made ready for detonating with a ten (10) minute safety fuse. The small boat was anchored. After checking with the man standing by the anchor the firing pin was pulled. At this time it was found that anchor man was mistaken and the anchor was stuck amongst the coral head and couldn't be pulled up. Men moved faster to try to pull the anchor up than could be imagined. The boat officer then gave the word to cut the anchor line and buoy it. This was a great relief to everyone and the boat stood off at a safe distance. After such a scare, everyone was very much let down when only a short piece of primacord detonated.
To show a bit of ingenuity bearings from shore were taken on this boat, with the wonderful navigational hand compasses we were issued. This was done to enable us to locate the charge the next morning. The next morning the boat proceeded to the spot by compass and dropped the anchor. A diver was sent down and it was found that the anchor was holding alongside the charge. It would have been easier to mark it with a buoy but one wasn't available.
The team left
GENERAL PATRICK (AP-150). Late that
same day the ship sailed for
After a one (1) day stop over at
This training was very good and every one was very thankful at a later date even though there was much griping about the hard work.
Living conditions could not be classified as the best, but it was a very healthy life. A tent was assigned to each five men. They were located on a hill and very susceptible to the volcanic dust which was continually being blown about.
A lighter touch was added by the amusement facilities of NAS Punene, and the towns of Wailuki and Kahilui. The team was fortunate enough to make the coveted trip to the Haleakala Volcano on the island, and a few venturesome souls even made the arduous 3,000 foot descent to the floor of the crater. Needless to say, many were sorry after they started their return trip.
Also many men amused themselves on free days by going spear fishing and shell hunting. One officer, Lt.(jg) JAMESON, ended his spear fishing career by making a wrong stab and getting a Moray Eel. It looked for awhile as if the eel was going to capture him rather than the opposite. After a struggle, the eel was subdued, but Mr. JAMESON had a long gash on his thigh to show for it, and several stitches were taken.
As a result of an evening swim on the
The night of
Due to a change in the firing signals from those in the written operation plans a misunderstanding as to these signals resulted with UDT#11 no being sufficiently informed as the procedure of firing with the result that an accident which seriously injured one officer and wounded several men.
Because the team was without its
Commanding Officer, and Executive Officer, UDT#13 took its place in the
Lieutenant, L.A. STATES was subsequently made Commanding Officer, and Lieut.(jg} R.F.WELLS, formerly of UDT#7 was made Executive Officer.
On 14 February the team loaded the
We rehearsed for the operation 9 March off
Everyone was tense before the job, it being the first. After its completion a little incident that cannot be forgotten was told. All swimmers had put on silver paint to keep from being detected except on officer in the reserve boat. After all the swimmers were dropped, orders were received from ComUDT's to drop one more pair to fill a gap. This officer with no paint and a man to put over closer to the beach than the first swimmers to make up for lost time. It so happened that this officer, non other than Lt.(jg) JAMESON also was wearing goggles instead of a face mask.
Lt. 0g) JAMESON was the first to reach the reef because of the shorter distance and was just turning around and heading back when an officer who was approaching the reef some distance away sighted him. Mr. JAMESON weaved to him, this assured the other officer a Jap was going to shoot so he tried to set a speed record toward the boat. He didn't find out until later that it wasn't a Jap.
On LOVE day,
On LOVE plus one (1) day, a channel was blasted for small boats on beach Brown 4. LOVE plus 2 day, every man was available on the beach for further channel blasting. After finding no further work, the team went on an extensive souvenir hunt. Many good souvenirs were found along with some useful ones. Two men captured a Japanese civilian and turned him over to proper authorities. The tombs were found to be very interesting, especially to one man, who passed up all sorts of fine Kimonos to find a skull and extract two teeth as souvenirs.
comprehensive hydrographic survey of the Katchin peninsular beaches on
During our stay, every night held plenty of excitement in store for us. Kamikaze attacks seemed to be the Nips favorite sport in those days. One morning one of their planes came rather close, in fact every man aboard was ready to cash in the chips. Luckily after coming through flak from BB's, CA's and DD's a forty MM shell from our ship tore his wing off and he plunged into the sea a few yards away from us.
The team was released
On the following day an 800 yard gap was blasted in the obstacles.
On 27 June a reconnaissance was made on Klandassan beaches. This was a very poor day with poor visibility impeding air support, but the mission was accomplished.
The following day demolition was conducted and a 900 yards gap cleared. For some reason the Nips were waiting for us and as soon as we approached the beach they opened up with everything they could find.
One of the boats caught a piece of shrapnel which hit Ensign LANIER in the helmet and made a good sized dent. It dropped from his helmet on the bare leg of SMITH, H.P., Cox, and gave him a bad burn as well as a scare. Swimmers with powder were dropped and went on with their job.
While placing charges a dog appeared on the beach hopping on three legs, 40MM shells were hitting all around him. Many of the men whistled to him but to no avail.
On this particular job there was no reason to have detonators for the shot because it was detonated by an enemy shell two minutes after the fuse was pulled. Had this happened ten minutes sooner every man would have been among the obstacles. This is undoubtedly the nearest Team Eleven came to having a large number of casualties.
On 30 June the last 300 yards were blasted and the beaches were ready for the assault waves.
FOX plus two day we delivered explosives to the Aussies on the beach. While approaching the beach three boats were fired upon. The most perfect flank movement ever seen was executed with no command at this particular moment.
A post assault demolition job on
On the 5 July, Admiral BERKEY awarded the Purple Heart medal to the six men injured in the Brunei Bay operation in an impressive ceremony aboard the U. S. S. KLINE.
During our stay at
Orders came on
The team arrived at
On 16 July the ship sailed from
The team disembarked at
The advent of the atomic bomb and
On the 19 August we sailed for
The same night we sailed for
The officers and men of the team were fortunate enough to visit the scene of the atomic bomb damage, and the complete and utter destruction it wrought will never be forgotten. It is difficult to attempt to describe the damage caused by this one bomb.
(compiled by Robert Allan
King for the
TEAM ROSTERS - To protect the integrity of the Teams and the privacy of individual frogmen, Team rosters are not made public. If you or your relative was a member of UDT Team Eleven and you would like further information, we suggest you contact the UDT-SEAL Museum.