UNDERWATER DEMOLITION TEAM HISTORIES
WWII UDT TEAM EIGHTEEN
In September 1944 a group of men and officers known as
"Company C" were assigned to Amphibious Training Base,
The train trip across the United States was marked only by
TUTINO, F., GM3c's missing the train enroute; he was listed AWOL and later returned
to Jacksonville, Florida by the shore patrol. Upon arriving in San Pedro,
Underwater Demolition Team EIGHTEEN embarked immediately in the U.S.S. BRULE
(APA 66) and on
fast five day cruise saw them arrive and go ashore at the Naval Combat
Demolition and Experimental Base on the western side of the
the theme at
December 1944 Ensign SPENCER became the team's first casualty when he ruptured
an eardrum while skin-diving in deep water; he was transferred to Waipio at
It became increasingly apparent that the team was being
primed for the combat they had been preparing for during the past nine months
and on 25 May 1945 the word everyone had been waiting for came through: orders
were received to board the U.S.S. SCHMITT (APD 76) and to make all preparations
for transportation to a forward area. Personnel were added to the team in order
to bring complement up to eighty-seven men and thirteen officers (See Annex B
for muster list of Underwater Demolition Team EIGHTEEN as it left
From 28 May until
At 1800 on
With one light cruiser and two destroyers providing heavy fire support and the LCS(L)s laying down heavy machine gun fire, the movement into the beach was well organized and executed despite the heavy smoke in the area from the oil fires. B-24s provided high level bombing support while the B-25s flew low level strafing and bombing runs; this support by the 13th Bomber Command was effective and accurate - no bombs fell in the water while the swimming reconnaissance was underway. The LCPRs crossed the gunboat line at 0800, carried out their assigned duties in an area adjacent to that in which Underwater Demolition Team ELEVEN personnel were operating, and were in the boats again at 0900. No casualties.
The team used paddleboards in its string reconnaissance and flying mattresses for retrieving swimmers. Upon returning to the APD, data was compiled and made presentable to be forwarded to the Commander Demolition Unit for further forwarding to ComTaskGroup 78.2. The afternoon of 25 June was spent in preparing the powder for the next day's demolition work.
At 0730 on 26 June 1945, the team left the SCHMITT preparatory to performing the demolition operations on the barriers obstructing the beach at Manggar Ketjil. All four boats and available personnel were participating in this phase of the operation because the task to be performed was an extensive one; each boat was heavily laden with explosives which had been especially prepared the day before so that they might be secured effectively to the tops of the posts which constituted the main obstacles on the beach. As on the day previous, a heavy shore bombardment was laid down by the support units offshore. At 0810 it diminished to enable the swimmers to swim in to perform their tasks. Allowed 110 minutes to complete their work and retire, the swimmers went in with 100 pounds of explosives each. Each post in the assigned area had a two pound charge placed at its top and base, and the swimmers had to expose themselves to sniper fire when placing the top charge because most posts were exposed a good three feet. Mortar fire during this period was kept down by high level bombing of a target area 400 yards in from the beach. The gunboats were providing their usual effective and welcome close support.
By 1005 all swimmers were retiring and at 1010 the firing signal was sent up by the cruiser. Fuses were pulled on a ten minute delay and at 1020 approximately 700 yards of beach lay cleared of all effective obstacles as a result of a very powerful shot. All hands returned to the APD following inspection of the beach through field glasses, and immediately a dispatch was transmitted to Commander Demolition Unit reporting the results of the day's operation.
On 27 June 1945 (FOX minus 4 day) the APDs moved to the Klandasan Beach area off Balikipapan and prepared to launch their teams under very poor conditions of sea and visibility in the reconnaissance of this beach. At 0545 three LCPRs left the SCHMITT and proceeded to the beach through an area reportedly heavily mined. A column formation of boats was employed to minimize the danger from any mine explosions with the gunboats in the lead; at 0730 the regular heavy bombardment from the 2 destroyers and the light cruiser began and the LCS(L)s proceeded into the 1500 yard line to commence their barrage. Visibility was so poor at Roger hour that it was only at 0815 that the high and low level bombing took place. The LCPR carrying the reconnaissance party started in under close support which was dangerously low, probably because of the still poor visibility.
Mortar and sniper fire was much heavier on this beach than at Manggar Ketjil and several boats were hit by 37 millimeter shells during the day. Eight officers and men were dropped in the water 500 yards off the beach and they carried out a reconnaissance which terminated at 0940; all swimmers were exhausted by the heavy seas but the brandy ration served to stimulate and regenerate them. All LCPRs returned to the APD with no casualties but under intensive fire from the beach installations. The gunboats continued their covering fire during the retirement.
Upon returning to the SCHMITT the team Commanding Officer and intelligence officer interviewed the participants of the operation and then went into conference with Commander Demolition Unit in the U.S.S. KLINE with the data they had acquired.
On the morning of 28 June 1945 (FOX - 3 day) the team performed its assigned duties of clearing the Klandasan beaches for the assault forces just as they had the Manggar Ketjil area. The procedure of dropping and retrieving swimmers was modified somewhat due to the mortar and machine gun fire the enemy was concentrating in the swimming area. Visibility was poor for the second day and softening-up bombing runs weren't completed until 0820 when the LCPRs crossed the gunboat line.
Mark 127 demolition packs were the basic change used on the Klandasan Beach obstacles; the team obtained just enough Mark 127s at Moratai to perform one operation with the larger charges, and since Klandasan was considered the "hotter" beach and the one to be utilized in the landing they were used there.
Boats went in very close--within 100 yards to the beach here and one was hit by a 37 millimeter shell, but fortunately a flying mattress absorbed the shrapnel and protected all personnel involved; the gunboats closed to 1000 yards to counter the enemy harassing fire. By 1030 the swimmers were in the LCPRs and returning to the APD, while the control boat remained in a position to view the effect of the shot. The charges had been well placed and the beach lay unobstructed to the passage of assault troops. All hands returned to the SCHMITT and the Commanding Officer made his demolition report to Commander Demolition Unit.
At 0600 on 1 July 1945 (FOX Day) a boat carrying three officers and a volunteer boat crew left the ship. This boat was flying a red flag and was designated as Underwater Demolition Team wave guide, whose job it was to lead the first wave to the beach and locate the gap made in the obstacles during the demolition.
At 0900 (H-Hour) the Underwater Demolition Team boat led the first wave in, preceding it by one hundred yards. As the wave neared the shore it was discovered by the wave guide that they would hit the beach too far left. Accordingly, instead of retiring at 900 yards as planned, the wave guide shifted to the left flank of the wave and forced it to the right. This quick thinking prevented a possible serious disaster. The entire operation went off as scheduled and proved very successful.
On 2 July 1945, eight and a half tons of tetrytol were transported to the beach for use by Australian Army Engineers. On 3 July 1945 at 1900 the SCHMITT left Balikipapan for Morotai. Arriving 6 June 1945, the team departed the same day for Hollandia, New Guinea. Three days later the SCHMITT was on its way again arriving at Guam on 13 July 1945. The following day they were out plowing the seas once more. After a three day cruise the anchor was dropped at Eniwetok on 17 July. The stop here was very short and the same day the SCHMITT was on its way bound for Pearl Harbor.
On 24 July Pearl Harbor was entered and war weary eyes feasted on the wonders of civilization. The following day the SCHMITT left for the old Demolition Base at Maui where she arrived 26 July 1945. After a few hours stopover she continued on her way, bound for Oceanside, California. At 0700 2 August 1945 the team arrived at Oceanside and went ashore at the Amphibious Training Base at 1400 the same day.
On 14 August 1945 the team left Camp Pendleton, California for Oakland, California via NATS. From Oakland they proceeded to Guam via NATS.
On 18 August the team arrived at Guam and boarded APD-104 W.P. PATTISON. Two days were spent at Guam, then she proceeded on to Japan to join the Third Fleet. On 25 August 1945 they joined Task Force 31 (Third Fleet) off Japan's Honsha Island.
From 30 August until 30 September 1945, the team was busy checking islands, beaches and military establishments in the Tokyo Bay area. During this time they destroyed numerous midget subs, suicide boats, torpedoes, large caliber guns, mines, torpedo warheads, depth charges, ammunition, small arms, and large quantities of submarine gear. On 30 September 1945, the PATTISON departed from Tokyo Bay and arrived at Guam on 4 October 1945. The next day she left for Eniwetok. Arriving at Eniwetok on 8 October 1945, she departed the same day for Pearl Harbor.
On 14 October, the PATTISON arrived at Pearl Harbor. The following day she left for San Diego, California, where she arrived on 21 October 1945. The same day the Team went ashore at the Amphibious Training Base, Coronado, California.
On 3 November 1945 Underwater Demolition Team EIGHTEEN was officially decommissioned, at the Amphibious Training Base, Coronado, California. This decommissioning brought to an end the career of a very successful team. We are all proud of her.
(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 EIGHTEEN and you would like further information, we suggest you contact the UDT-SEAL Museum.