- WWII operations
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Arunta I, HMAS Warrego I, HMAS Gascoyne I, HMAS Australia II, HMAS Warramunga II
- June 1993 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
On the 7th the tow parted on the forecastle of the BROOKS and the final tow to the shoal waters off Santiago Island was completed by GASCOYNE. Leaving 12 men and the Captain on board BROOKS, WARRAMUNGA took off all the others and proceeded at 25 knots down the Gulf to meet up with USS PENNSYLVANIA to transfer them and the wounded. She approached PENNSYLVANIA at 1555, who was doing a bombardment of Lingayen town. She was cleared to come alongside, going slowly towards the port quarter. Through some sort of misunderstanding, she continued to bombard, opening up with a broadside. She came back on WARRAMUNGA, punching a hole about 5 feet below the upper deck on the bow. WARRAMUNGA backed off and prepared to transfer the crew by her motor boat. This proved very slow and at 1722 the last load for the day got away. She rejoined the minesweepers and was attacked again by the enemy. Luckily no hits were scored and action stations were secured at 1942. Again the crew had been closed up for over 10 hours. On the 8th the remainder of the BROOK’S crew were transferred to PENNSYLVANIA and was completed at 1022. Several planes attacked during the day and she once again managed to avoid any damage.
The actual landings were commenced on the 9th and WARRAMUNGA was allocated the area in San Fabian and Lingayen proper to give fire support to troops, who landed at 0929. There was little resistance and the Army recorded that ‘Devastation caused by the Naval gunfire was indescribable”. By 1200 San Fabian had been secured and Lingayen by 1700.
On the 10th it was reported that suicide swimmers were active in the Gulf. They carried haversacks filled with gelignite and floated with the tide, under provision cases and other such rubbish, hoping to get close to any ship and activate the explosive. Damage caused by these swimmers was very minimal but the reaction from vessels in the Gulf was to say the least “Alarming”. On the transports anyone who could fire a gun was firing at objects in the water, bullets were whining everywhere but the attack force commander soon put an end to it with a brief and sharply worded signal.
WARRAMUNGA stayed in the area for several more weeks to continue patrols, bombardments and routine jobs. She finally left Lingayen Gulf area on the 28th February and the officers and crew were not sorry to see the last of it. It had been a torrid time and she was lucky to escape with only a friendly nudge from PENNSYLVANIA