USS Rall (DE-304)
|Laid down:||May 24 1943|
|Launched:||September 23 1943|
|Commissioned:||April 8 1944|
|Decommissioned:||December 8 1945|
|Struck:||January 3 1946|
|3 battle stars (World War II)|
|Fate:||Sold for scrapping, March 18 1947|
|Type:||Evarts-class destroyer escort|
|Beam:||35 ft 2 in (10.72 m)|
|Draft:||11 ft (3.4 m) (max)|
|Speed:||19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph)|
|Range:||4,150 nmi (7,690 km)|
|Complement:||15 officers and 183 enlisted|
USS Rall (DE-304) was an Evarts-class destroyer escort of the United States Navy during World War II. She was sent off into the Pacific Ocean to protect convoys and other ships from Japanese submarines and fighter aircraft. She performed escort and anti-submarine operations in dangerous battle areas and returned home with three battle stars.
She was laid down on May 24 1943; launched on September 23 by Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California; sponsored by Mrs. R. R. Rall, widow of Lieutenant (junior grade) Rall; and commissioned on April 8 1944, Lt. Comdr. C. B. Taylor in command.
World War II Pacific Theatre operations
Following shakedown and training exercises off the California coast in April and May, Rall departed San Francisco, California, on June 9, escorting USS City of Dalhart (IX-156), and arrived at Pearl Harbor on June 18. For the next three months, she supported the Pacific Submarine Training Command.
On September 23 1944, the destroyer escort sortied from Pearl Harbor to escort troop ships carrying the occupation force for Ulithi Atoll. The task group arrived at Ulithi on October 8 and spent the remainder of the month on patrol and escort missions there and in the Palaus.
In the early weeks of November, the destroyers served in an escort group protecting the oilers of Task Group 30.8, which supported the assault ships at the Leyte Gulf landings. During this duty she rode out heavy weather from a typhoon with no serious damage.
Rall sinks Japanese midget submarine
On November 20 a Japanese midget submarine torpedoed and sank oiler Mississinewa (AO-59) in Ulithi Lagoon. Laying depth charge patterns at the site of swirls in the calm water of the lagoon, Rall was credited with sinking the submarine when debris and bodies surfaced.
Support invasion operations
Following patrol duties in early December, Rall and Halloran (DE-305) escorted two escort carriers to the Admiralty Islands, then returned to Ulithi. On December 14 Rall with other ships sortied from that atoll and arrived in Hawaii in time for Christmas.
After invasion rehearsals at Maui and Kahoolawe preparatory to the Iwo Jima assault, Rall got underway February 26 1945 as a unit of the escort group convoying the garrison troops for the occupation of that island. The transports and their escorts arrived on March 21 and landed the Army occupation units. Rall then escorted the transport group carrying assault troops back to Saipan. From there she proceeded to Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, arriving on March 19.
Assigned as a screening ship for the transports carrying the Floating Reserve, the 27th Infantry Division, for the Okinawa invasion, DE-304 sortied from Espiritu Santo on March 25 for Ulithi and the Ryukyus. En route, the convoy made an unidentified submarine contact, and Rall's lookout spotted a floating mine in the convoy path and detonated it by gunfire. The task group arrived off Okinawa on April 9, and Rall took a screening station about 10 miles southeast of Ie Shima. The next few days were quiet except for air raid alerts.
Attacked by Japanese kamikaze aircraft
At 1925 on April 12 1945, the ship went to General Quarters. During the next three hours, 14 separate air attacks were tracked into the area, as the "Divine Wind" brought death and damage to the American invasion fleet off Okinawa. A raid of five Japanese planes approached Rall's sector. The destroyer escort's gunners commenced firing, splashing three of the kamikazes. A fourth was destroyed by a cruiser, but the fifth broke through the fiery screen, and the plane, damaged and aflame hit the escort on the starboard side aft. A 500-pound bomb slung beneath the plane tore through the ship, exploding in the air about 15 feet from the port side. The explosion and fire from the suicide plane, combined with strafing attacks from another wave of fighters, resulted in heavy damage, 21 dead and 38 wounded. Prompt damage control action extinguished the fires and temporary repairs were commenced. Rall entered the Hagushi Beach anchorage and moored alongside Pinkney (APH-2), where most of the wounded were transferred. The dead were removed the next morning for burial on Okinawa.
Recovering from a kamikaze strike
After initial repairs, ComCortDiv 61 shifted his pennant to Finnegan (DE-307), and the Rall departed for the Kerama Retto anchorage on April 15. She was ordered on to Ulithi, arriving there on April 23. Following additional structural repairs, she left Ulithi for the last time and arrived at Seattle, Washington, on May 18.
Following repairs and overhaul, the ship headed for San Diego, California, on July 12. Upon completion of underway refresher training, Rall left San Diego on July 28, arriving Pearl Harbor on August 5. Training occupied the time until September 3, when Rall sailed for the east coast proceeding via San Pedro, California, and the Panama Canal.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Photo gallery of USS Rall (DE-304) at NavSource Naval History