UNDERWATER DEMOLITION TEAM HISTORIES
WWII UDT TEAM THREE
UDT Team THREE was one of the five
original demolition teams organized in March 1944 at Maui, T.H. Lieutenant
Crist, CEC, USNR, Operations Officer of Team 2 was designated Commanding Officer.
Three officers and twenty two men from Team ONE and TWO with combat demolition
experience in the
Of the original sixteen officers and
eighty-one men of UDT-3, one officer and thirty-four have remained with the
team throughout. Two officers have become Commanding Officer of other UDT'S,
and four officer are, or have been, Executive Officers
of UDT's. Many of the men who left UDT-3 helped in the formation of later
Demolition Teams. With very few exceptions, the enlisted personnel were
"Seabees." Eleven of the officers were CEC,
four were Line, and one a Marine. All men and officers were volunteers, and the
majority had several weeks of demolition training and physical fitness work at
The DENT with UDT-3 aboard departed for
UDT-3 was in a reserve capacity for the
On 14 July 1944, Task Unit 53.1.14, composed of DD's DEWEY and MACDONALD, APD DICKERSON with UNDERWATER DEMOLITION TEAM THREE aboard, and LCI(G)'s 469, 471, 473, and 472 arrived off the western coast of Guam and received orders from CTF 53 to commence reconnaissance and demolition operations.
Four officers were put aboard the LCI(G)'s to coordinate fire support, remained there for the
pre-invasion work of the Team. Below is the chronological order of the
reconnaissance and demolition operations of UDT-3 prior to the landings of the
3rdMarDiv on William Day,
reconnaissance of 2000 yards of
diversionary reconnaissance of
(3)Night reconnaissance to high water line of all landing beaches at Asan. At 2300 one rubber boat received three burst of machine gun fire and contact with three men from the boat was lost. Men were given up for lost at 0015 and the signal to withdraw was given.
At 0530 the MACDONALD picked up the three missing men 2300 yards off shore. They had been forced by our own fire and enemy fire to leave the edge of the reef and had swum for five hours. They were suffering but slightly from exposure. These men were Ens. M. Jacobson, Ens. W.J. Dezell, and J.E. Bagnall, GM3.
(4) Diversionary daylight reconnaissance
Heavy fire drawn from Orote peninsula and
(6)Diversionary reconnaissance of beach between Facpi and Bangi Points.
C.WO. R.A. BLOWERS was killed by enemy small arms fire when his LCPR grounded momentarily on a coral head.
(7)Night reconnaissance of Agat Beaches. Heavy rain and extreme darkness prevented the LCII(G)'s from getting station and LCPR's were unable to locate their beaches. After three hours the operation was canceled.
(8) Diversionary reconnaissance of
(9)Night removal of obstacles Asan Beaches. LCI(G) 348, which had just joined the Task Unit, went aground and delayed operations while personnel were removed by UDT. 120 obstacles were removed. 2400# tetrytol used.
(10) Daylight removal of obstacles on Asan Beaches. 150 obstacles removed. 3000# tetrytol used.
(11) Daylight removal of obstacles on Asan Beaches. 110 obstacles removed. 2200# tetrytol used.
(12)Daylight removal of obstacles on Asan Beaches. 84 completed obstacles and 70 partially completed obstacles removed. 2000 # tetrytol used.
(13)Daylight removal of obstacles near Adelup Point. 90 obstacles removed. 1000# tetrytol used.
The enemy had placed these obstacles in an almost continuous front along the reef which extended from 100 to 300 yards from the high water line, and which was completely exposed at low tide. These obstacles were piles of coral rock within a wire frame made of heavy wire net, similar to "Cyclone" wire fencing. The obstacles were three to five feet in diameter, three to four feet high and five to eight feet apart. Some of them were incomplete and the enemy had actually been building them at night after the UDT withdrew from the reef. No mines were located.
During the pre-invasion period 620 obstacles were removed by UDT-3. The method used was as follows; each platoon (15 men and two or three officers) left the APD in an LCPR towing behind them two rubber boats loaded with 30 packs of tetrytol (630). As the LCPR approached the reef the rubber boats were cast off with five or six men in each boat. These were paddled or dragged as close to the obstacles as possible. A primacord trunk line was run along the length of obstacles to be removed. One pack of tetrytol was placed alongside each obstacle to be removed and tied in, with the primacord leads to the trunk line. Two caps were used on each lead. When all obstacles had been loaded and men had returned to rubber boats, the firing signal was given and a four minute fuse pulled.
In some instances obstacles were less than 50 yards from the shore, and the reef was completely dry, making it necessary for the men to run across 150 yards of exposed reef carrying 401b of powder to get to the obstacles. In all cases the obstacles were completely removed. In daylight work, the average time for a platoon to remove 30 obstacles was 16 minutes from the time the rubber boats left the LCPR until the shot was fired.
The work of Underwater Demolition Team THREE was recognized by all concerned as contributing decisively to the success of the landings. For this work each man in the Team was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, and each officer a Silver Star Medal.
On William Day,
POST ASSAULT OPERATIONS-
UDT-3 worked under the Beachmaster during post-assault operations and
accomplished the following:
1.Selected and marked 7 beaching places for LST'S.
2.Located and removed 5 anti-boat mines from Green and Red 2 Beaches.
3.Surveyed and marked Tepungan Channel and Piti Channel.
4.Removed, by blasting, a total of eight barges and sampans blocking Piti Channel.
5.Removed the stern of a 400 foot Japanese freighter blocking the harbor outlet to Piti Channel.
6.Attempted to enlarge turning basin at causeway in Tepungan Channel.
7.Blasted a 200 foot wide up-loading slot in the reef at
This completed the work of UDT-3 at
When released, the DICKERSON, with UDT-3
aboard, departed from
Upon return from a ten day inter-island
leave the Team underwent some slight revisions. The officer complement was
dropped to 13 and the enlisted complement brought up to 85. The Team underwent
a short physical conditioning program at
The TALBOT with UDT-3 aboard sortied from
Manus 12 October with TG 77.2 (Bombardment and Fire Support Units). The voyage
Platoons ONE and THREE were to make a
swimming reconnaissance of a 500 yard landing beach. Platoons TWO and FOUR
stood by in their LCPR's to assist if called upon.
LCPR's proceeded to within 500 yards of the beaches, drawing some fire on the
way in from machine guns located in the town of
LCPR's retired to 1000 yards to draw fire away from the swimmers. Fortunately no hits were made on any of the boats, however UDT-4 had a boat hit and sunk on the adjacent beach and the 4th platoon of UDT-3 stood by to assist, but was not called upon.
The swimmers were able to swim right up to the beach, a small dune prevented the enemy from bringing small arms fire to bear upon them. No mines or man-made obstacles were observed. The one and two fathom lines were determined beach installations noted and the beach adjudged ideal for amphibious assault. The swimmers swam out and were picked up less than 400 yards off shore by the LCPR'S. No casualties were suffered by any of the UDT-3 personnel. The entire operation took only 70 minutes.
There was no call for work on D-1 or on
D-Day, 20 October. On D plus 1 UDT-3 was called upon by the Group Beachmaster
to survey the sandbar at the mouth of a river just south of Dulag to determine
the feasibility of blasting the bar away. The project was considered
impractical and no demolition work was done. UDT-3 was then released and the
TALBOT ordered to proceed to Manus. During the five day period at
The night of 21-22 October, the TALBOT
took screening sortied from
The time at Manus was pleasantly spent
enjoying the huge
Upon arriving at
UDT's TWELVE thru TWENTY-TWO benefited
from this program as shown by their later excellent record at
Early in April 1945 the Team was ordered to the States and given leave until 1 May, at which time UDT-3 reported to the Demolition Base, ATB, Fort Pierce, Florida to assist in training duties there and to work on research and development projects for anticipated future use.
Lt. (jg) R.P. MARSHALL, former executive
officer of UDT-5, replaced Lt. Comdr. Crist as Commanding Officer of UDT-3 on 9
June when the latter was order to return to
Upon returning to ComUDTsRon ONE at ATB,
On V-J Day,
UDTRon ONE departed from Oceanside 16 August and arrived in Manila, P.I. 5 September after what is believed to be a record run (19) days for this type ship. UDT-3 was assigned to TU54.6.4. together with UDT-17.
The Task Unit proceeded to
The mission of UDT-3 was to accomplish
reconnaissance and necessary demolition work to prepare the landing beaches for
the 33rd Infantry Division of the
In view of the Surrender of
A six man party was first put ashore in a rubber boat to definitely determine the possibility of enemy reaction and to assist in marking the beaches for the reconnaissance work. Observing that the attitude of the Japanese was not hostile this party proceeded to assist in the controlled "string-reconnaissance" covering the area one mile inland from the beaches to locate beach exits and road network.
The hydrographic work consisted of making a profile of the bottom, by means of soundings, every 200 yards along the 1000 yard beach assigned to UDT-3, for a distance of 1000 yards to sea.
In conjunction with this a regular swimming reconnaissance was made. Ail work was completed by 1000 this same day. No mines or planned obstacles were encountered. Charts were prepared and turned in to CTU 54.6.4.
In the afternoon of this same day a survey of Kino Kawa was made and the dock facilities inspected with the object in view of unloading LCT's and LCM's in the harbor. A channel for this craft was marked in the river.
On D-1 (24 September) the following was accomplished in accordance with orders from CTU 54.6.4.
1. Three hulks of small craft on the landing beaches were demolished.
2. Wooden pilings in the area of the pier
3. A sea mine just west of Blue 2 beach was blown "in Situ".
4. A string reconnaissance of the beaches from the pier east 1500 yards was accomplished.
On D Day UDT-3 provided radio equipment and personnel to the Beachmaster on the landing beaches and assisted in guiding LST's to satisfactory beaching areas.
From the 26 September thru 25 October
UDT-3 stood by aboard the JEFFERY anchored in Wakanuora Wan. On 6 October a
submerged steel member was blown in
The JEFFERY with UDT-3 aboard,
Underwater Demolition Team THREE was formed in March, 1944, when demolition was little more than an idea fostered by the initial progress and pioneering of UDT-1 and UDT-2. A large portion of the present complement of UDT-3 is composed of men who were among the first volunteers for underwater demolition and with previous service in either UDT-1 or UDT-2. While the older men have consistently upheld the high reputation of the Team and of demolition, the newer members, by the youthful, hearty enthusiasm, have kept the old spirit alive with a marked success.
(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 Three and you would like further information, we suggest you contact the UDT-SEAL Museum.