Wednesday, March 20, 2019
USS Helm (DD-338)-- Part 4: Iwo Jima, Formosa, Leyte Gulf
After the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Helm and the fast carriers she protected attacked Japanese islands at Bonin and Volcano and supported the invasion of Guam. On 25 July 1944 they began attacks on the Palau Islands. Then came Iwo Jima. The Helm sank a small Japanese freighter on 2 September.
Then came Okinawa, 10 October and Formosa. Japanese retaliation came strong and on 12 October, the Helm's 5-inch guns shot down a Japanese bomber and assisting in the destruction of several others. After Formosa, Task Force 38 returned to Leyte and the Japanese made one last attempt to destroy the American fleet in what is known as the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
After victory here, the Helm and carriers resumed supporting ground operations on Leyte. During this time, they were attacked by aircraft and on 28 October 1944, they had a submarine attack where the Helm and Gridley used depth charges to sink the Japanese submarine I-46.
On 30 October, two of the group's carriers, the Franklin and Belleau Wood were badly damaged by kamikazes.