The following is an excerpt from the 8 July 1952 Helena newsletter. DJB


8 July 1952


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ABOARD THE USS HELENA, July 5 - Beseiged and battered Wonsan today felt the might of another air-gun strike which is becoming one of the Navy's most potent combinations in the Korean war. While scores of fighters and attack bombers from three carriers, BOXER, PHILIPPINE SEA, and BON HOMME RICHARD wheeled overhead raining tons of bombs on military installations in the area, the battleship IOWA, heavy cruiser HELENA and destroyers BAUSELL and SOLEY circled the harbor tossing 16 inch, 8 inch, and 5 inch projectiles at warehouses, marshalling yards, ammunition dumps and gun positions. Firing deliberately in order to make each shot count the ships made maximum use of the spotting services provided by the planes and teams of Marine observers posted on some of the small islands in Wonsan Bay. Even at ranges up to 15 miles, the HELENA and IOWA fired with deadly accuracy. Snaking in close to shore the destroyers lobbed in phosphorous shells to set fire to buildings and bivouac areas. When the big ships and their escorts retired at noon after four hours of continuous bombardment, they left several fires burning, rail lines cut, railroad rolling stock damaged, an ordnance warehouse heavily damaged, a 76MM gun position and extensively damaged a building connected to an underground ammunition factory as their contribution to the havoc wreaked by the combined sea-air strike. Rear Admiral Herbert G. HOPWOOD, Commander Cruiser Division Three directed the surface phase of the strike from his flagship, the HELENA.

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ON BOARD THE USS HELENA, July 5 - USS IOWA added her big guns to those of theHELENA and DD's BAUSELL and SOLEY as the group, under command of Rear Admiral H. G. HOPWOOD. moved into Wonsan harbor today for another attack on this North Korean seaport. The bombardment of industrial and bivouac areas ended at noon. IOWA then steamed northward and ranged it's 16 inch guns on communist facilities from CHAHO to the TANCHON area. IOWA's guns accounted for the following: three buildings destroyed; one refinery heavily damaged; fires in supply and troop areas; several bunkers and other installations in bivouac area were destroyed as 5 inch air bursts prevented fire fighting thru out target area. Two bridges were destroyed; two tunnels sealed and slides and torn tracks effectively placed the coastal rail line out of commission in the area.

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ABOARD THE USS HELENA IN KOREN WATERS, July 6 - Accurate Naval gunfire of heavy cruiser USS HELENA accompanied by Destroyer SOLEY and the effective spotting from Air force planes combined to blast North Korean military installations in KOJO area today. HELENA's accurate 8 and 5 inch batteries subjected coastal targets to 3 hour bombardment heavily damaging KOJO supply area. Supply centers and ammunition dumps were hit. Bivouac areas for enemy troops were left in shambles with 7 buildings destroyed. Many direct hits were scored on military installations.

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Wonsan was the target as a powerful force from the Seventh Fleet hammered the city from daylight until noon in combination air-gun strikes.
Participating in the attack were fast carriers USS BOXER, PHILIPPINE SEA, and BON HOMME RICHARD. The battleship IOWA, the heavy cruiser HELENA and destroyers SOLEY and BAUSELL pounded the city.
Fire was spotted from the air and friendly islands in the harbor.
Accurate damage assessment was unusually difficult due to the magnitude of the strikes, hilly terrain, intense flak and rising clouds of smoke. The attack was carried out with deliberation, and spotters reported a score of bulls-eyes.
Troop concentrations, storage areas, marshalling yards and bridges were centers of attention, but many targets of opportunity developed during the four hour assault. Fires and secondary explosions indicated that a considerable amount of red munitions and supplies was being warehoused in Wonsan.
After the joint strike, some carriers planes swept the rail line from Wonsan to SONGJIN to hunt out rolling stock and spot for other ships of the latter port.
One skyraider was ditched with a wing on fire, but the pilot was recovered.

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(SUMMARY, Cont.)

In mid-afternoon the IOWA began another shoot at tunnels and rail bridges north of HUNGNAM. She added tons of fresh debris to landslides which remained from earlier strikes. The HELENA meanwhile moved to a position off the front lines to continue direct support of UN infantrymen.
The USS PERKINS conducted call fire off the Eastern front lines. She reported damages to one 122MM gun, destruction of one bunker and a half dozen buildings.
At HUNGNAM, during darkness, the USS PARKS fired a barrage into a clump of trees in which numerous lights were observed. Resulting fires indicated that area was being used as a motor pool and that a number of trucks and buildings were destroyed.
At CONGJIN, the USS ORLECK and the USS DOYLE were fired on by line shore batteries ranging from 75 to 155MM. Initial range was about two miles and Red gunners straddled ships at least five times during the action. Shrapnel fell on decks but ships were unharmed. At least one enemy gun silenced in226 round counter battery fire.
Mine sweepers SYMBOL and ZEAL dispersed a Sampan fleet north of CHAHO while carrying out duties. The SYMBOL was fired on by shore batteries but not hit.
In the Yellow Sea the HMS OCEAN had a busy day against gun positions, enemy troops and barracks. Fireflies destroyed at least six rail cars and damaged twelve others and set one ammunition dump on fire. One rail turn-table also was hit.
The USS KD BERLEY bombarded two targets on the SONGJIN Peninsula, using air spot, and reported several hits. Other elements of West Coast force supported a raid on the mainland North of MUDO.

(End of this excerpt)!

Helena Newspapers