USS Talbot (DD-114/ APD-7)

USS Talbot (DD-114/APD-7) was a Wickes class destroyer that served briefly towards the end of the First World War, but that was much more active as a fast transport in the Pacific during the Second World War.

The Talbot was named after Silas Talbot, an officer in the Continental Navy who was eventually captured while commanding a privateer, and later served in the new US Navy.

The Talbot was laid down at William Cramp & Sons of Philadelphia on 12 July 1917, launched on 20 February 1918 and commissioned on 20 July 1918 with Lt. Comdr Isaac P. Dortch in command.

The Talbot left New York on 31 July at the start of a round-trip to Britain and back, the first of four she carried out during and immediately after the First World War. She also visited Brest, the main US destroyer base in France, in December 1918.

Anyone who served on her between 22 July and 5 November 1918 qualified for the First World War Victory Medal.

In the second half of 1919 the Talbot joined the Pacific Fleet, and served with it until she was decommissioned into the reserve at San Diego on 31 March 1923.

The Talbot was recommissioned on 31 May 1930, and would remain in commission until the end of 1945. She was allocated to Destroyer Squadron 10 (DesRon 10) of the Battle Force, at San Diego, from 1930-1937. In 1937-1938 she served with the Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet, and was based at Hawaii.

In July 1931 Franklin van Valkenburg became her commander. He was later the captain of USS Arizona (BB-39) when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and was killed on the bridge. The Fletcher class destroyer USS Van Valkenburgh (DD-656) was named after him. Both ships later took part in the battle of Okinawa.

During this period she took part in Fleet Problem XV of 1934, an elaborate exercise involving the attack and defence of the Panama Canal, the capture of advanced bases and a fleet engagement.

In 1939 the Talbot served with both the Battle Force and the Submarine Force. In 1940-41 she was based at San Diego, where she remained in commission.

On the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the Talbot formed part of the screen of the carrier Saratoga (CV-3) when she left the US west coast heading for Hawaii. The Talbot reached Pearl Harbor one week after the attack, remained at Hawaii for ten days to carry out patrols and then returned to San Diego.

1942

In February 1942 the Talbot was assigned to the Patrol Force in the 12th Naval District (covering the coast of northern California and the three inland states to the east), and was used to escort convoys along the coast.

The Talbot was then allocated to the forces defending Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. In late May she left Puget Sound and escorted the submarines USS S-18, USS S-23 and USS S-28 t0 Alaska, reaching Dutch Harbor (on Amaknak Island) on 2 June 1942.

In February 1942, the ship joined the Patrol Force of the 12th Naval District and escorted convoys along the Pacific coast.

On 3 June the Talbot, along with the destroyer USS King (DD-242), the destroyer-seaplane tender Gillis, the submarine USS S-27, the coast guard cutter Onondaga and two US army transports were at Dutch Harbor when about fifteen Japanese fighters and thirteen bombers attacked the harbour. The ships took part in the anti-aircraft barrage, and weren't hit by any of the attackers. On 4 June the Japanese returned, this time with ten fighters and nineteen bombers. Once again the warships were untouched, but the Japanese did destroy four new fuel oil tanks that had only been filled with 22,000 barrels of fuel on 1 June.

The Talbot spent seven months operating from Alaska, mainly performing escort and patrol duties.

In August 1942 the Talbot formed part of the Escort and Patrol Group of Task Force Tare, and supported the naval bombardment of Kiska on the evening of 7 August.

On 31 October the Talbot was redesignated as a high-speed transport (APD-7), but she remained in Alaska for the rest of the year. 

1943

The Talbot finally left Dutch Harbor on 31 January 1943. She was converted into a fast transport at Mare Island, and after the work could carry 147 soldiers and their equipment. On 16 March, the day after the work was officially completed, she departed for Pearl Harbor. At the start of April she joined Transport Division 2 at Espiritu Santo, and the rest of April and May were used on training exercises, and on escort duties between New Caledonia, New Zealand, Australia and Guadalcanal.

In June the Talbot joined Task Group 31.1, part of the fleet allocated to Operation Toenails, the invasion of New George. Along with USS Zane (DMS-14) her task was to capture two islands in the entrance to Roviana Lagoon (on the south coast of the main island of New Georgia). The Talbot  successfully landed her troops (from the 169th Infantry Regiment) early on 30 June, but the Zane ran ashore. The Talbot was unable to tow her free, but she was rescued by USS Rail (ATO-139).

On the night of 4-5 July the Talbot was one of seven high speed transport that took part in landings at Rice Anchorage, on the north-west coast. During this attack one of the supporting destroyers, USS Strong (DD-467) was sunk by a long lance torpedo.

In August the Talbot formed part of TG 31.5, the Advance Transport Group of the Northern Landing Force for the invasion of Vella Lavella, further west along the Solomon Islands. The landing on 15 August was unopposed, but later in the day the fleet came under air attack. The Japanese failed to inflict any damage on the American invasion fleet.

From mid-August to mid-September the Talbot was used to carry supplies and escort ships in the Solomon Islands. In late September she joined the Southern Attack Force for the upcoming invasion of the Treasury Islands (Operation Goodtime). She carried part of the 8th New Zealand Brigade Force. The landings began on 27 October, and the transports had left the area by 20.00.

On 3 November the Talbot picked up reinforcements heading for Bougainville, and landed them at Empress Augusta Bay on 6 November. She landed more reinforcements at the same place on 11 November.

In mid November the Talbot left Gualalcanal at the start of another run to Bougainville, as part of a group of six fast transports. On 16 November her group joined up with a force of LSTs and destroyers, and together they made for Empress Augusta Bay.

At 3am on 17 November a Japanese snooper aircraft dropped a flair behind the convoy. This was followed by a hour of aerial attack, and the high speed transport USS McKean (APD-5/ DD-90), a sister ship of the Talbot, was hit by a torpedo. The Talbot and the Sigourney (DD-643) attempted to rescue the survivors from the McKean, despite coming under constant attack. The Talbot's boats managed to pick up 68 crew and 106 marines from the McKean.

The Talbot reached Cape Torokina, at the southern side of the beachhead and had to land her troops in the middle of an air raid. She then returned to Gualalcanal, before making a round trip to Syndey.

1944

In mid January the Talbot patrolled between Lunga Point and Koli Point on Guadalcanal for two weeks. Late in the month she joined the force heading for the Green Islands. She helped land a reconnaissance part on the night of 29-30 January, and collected them on 31 January. This alerted the Japanese, but even the reinforced garrison was badly outnumbered. The Talbot then carried New Zealand troops on the main invasion of the Green Islands, which began on 15 February. The islands were secured in six days.

On 20 March the Talbot landed part of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Division, at Emirau in the St. Matthias Islands. She then went to New Guinea to practise with the 168th Army Regimental Combat Team.

On 22 April the Talbot landed 145 men from the 168th at Aitape, shelled Tumeo Island and then returned to base. She then ferried supplies and reinforcements to the Aitape landing area until 10 May.

During the second half of May the Talbot trained with underwater demolition teams (UDTs). She was then allocated to the invasion force for the upcoming attack on the Marianas.

On 10 June the task group got underway for the Marianas, but late in the day one of the destroyers in the group's screen reported a sound contact. An emergency 90 degree left turn was ordered, and during this turn the Talbot collided with the battleship Pennsylvania (BB-38). It wasn't unusual for this sort of collision to end with the loss of the more lightly built destroyer, but on this occasion the Talbot was lucky. Several compartments were flooded and she had to return to Kwajalein for repairs, but the damage was minor and she was able to return to sea on 12 June. The Pennsylvania was able to remain with the fleet all along, and took part in the pre-invasion bombardment of Saipan on 14 June. The Talbot was back in time to take part in the landings on D-Day for Saipan, 15 June.

During the first few days the Talbot formed part of the screen for the bombardment group. On 17 June she rescued a survivor from a Japanese boat, a rare prisoner. She then had to withdraw to the transport area to deal with engine problems, where she was narrowly missed by Japanese bombs. The engine problems suggested that she needed an overhaul, and after transferring her UDT to the USS Kane (APD-18) she departed to San Francisco and an overhaul that lasted form 11 July to 28 August.

The Talbot returned to the combat area in October 1944. She picked up UDT No.3, and joined TG 77.6, the Bombardment and Fire Support Group for the invasion of Leyte. On 18 October her divers inspected the waters beween San Jose and Dulag, and despite coming under Japanese fire suffered no casualties. The Talbot left Leyte with a convoy, and reached Seeadler Harbour on 27 October. The UDT was transferred to the USS President Hayes (AP-39). The Talbot escorted the George Clymer (AP-57) to Cape Gloucester, and then returned to Seeadler Harbor on 8 November.

On 10 November the ammunition ship USS Mount Hood (AE-11) exploded while anchored in Seeadler Harbor. She was carrying 3,800 tons of ordnance, and the massive explosion caused heavy casualties in the crowded anchorage (45 known dead, 327 missing (presumed dead) and 371 injured. The only survivors from the Mount Hood were a party that had been on shore at the time. The Talbot was only 800 yards away and was hit by 600lb of debris. Luckly none of her crew were killed, although several were injured. She lowered her boats to search for survivors, but found none.

The Talbot needed significant repairs, but by 15 December she was ready to return to action, and left for Noemfoor, where she took part in amphibious exercises with the 158th RCT.

1945

At the start of 1945 the Talbot took part in the invasion of Luzon. She was involved in the early stages of the invasion of Lingayen Gulf on Luzon, departing with Task Unit 77.9.8 on 4 January 1945 and landing reinforcements at San Fabian, in the gulf, a week later, soon after the initial landings on 9 January. She then moved to Leyte, where on 26 January she picked up part of the 11th Airborne Division. She landed these troops at Nasugbu on 31 January, where they formed part of the second wave to be landed on the first day of the battle. She was then used to move mortar and rocket boats from Mindoro to Leyte.

On 14 February she picked up troops from the 151st Infantry Regiment, and on 15 February she landed them at Mariveles Harbor, part of the American invasion of southern Bataan. On 17 February, the second day of the battle, she landed reinforcements on Corregidor.

This ended the Talbot's career as a front line troop transport, but she remained active in the war zone until June. After landing troops on Corregidor she escorted a convoy back to Ulithi. After a break of several weeks she was sent to Guam, and then on to Parece Vela (now the Okinotori Islands), an tiny atoll 1,000 miles south of Tokyo that is now the southernmost part of Japan, to investigate if it was a suitable place for a radio, weather and observation station. She was back at Guam on 20 April and at Ulilthi on 21 April.

On 22 April the Talbot joined a convoy heading for Okinawa. On 27 April she began a short spell of anti-submarine patrols to the south of Kerama Retto (a group of islands 20 miles to the south-west of Okinawa). On 30 April she joined a convoy and accompanied it back to Saipan.

On 1 May 1945 the Talbot was part of Transport Division 100, along with six other older destroyers.

The Talbot's last active service saw her return to Kerama Retto, where she served as a picket ship from 22 May to 6 June.

From Kerama Retto she returned to Saipan, and then back to San Pedro via Eniwetok and Hawaii. At first the plan was to convert her back into a destroyer. She reached San Pedro on 6 July and was redesignated as DD-114 on 16 July. Soon afterwards it was decided that she was surplus to requirement. The Talbot was decommissioned on 9 October, struck off on 24 October and sold for scrap on 30 January 1946.

The Talbot received eight battle stars during the Second World War, for New Georgia, Treasury-Bougainville, the Bismarck Archipelago, Hollandia, the Marianas, Leyte, Manila Bay-Bicol and Okinawa Gunto

Displacement (standard)

1,160t (design)

Displacement (loaded)

 

Top Speed

35kts (design)
35.34kts at 24,610shp at 1,149t on trial (Wickes)

Engine

2 shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
24,200shp (design)

Range

3,800nm at 15kts on trial (Wickes)
2,850nm at 20kts on trial (Wickes)

Armour - belt

 

 - deck

 

Length

314ft 4in

Width

30ft 11in

Armaments (as built)

Four 4in/50 guns
Twelve 21in torpedoes in four triple tubes
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement

114

Laid Down

12 July 1917

Launched

20 February 1918

Commissioned

20 July 1918

Decommissioned

9 October 1945

Struck off

24 October 1945

Sold for Scrap

30 January 1946

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (4 July 2017), USS Talbot (DD-114/ APD-7) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Talbot_DD114_APD7.html

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