Air Attack near the Solomons
Arriving in the area between Buka and St. George Channel to support landing operations in the Green Islands off New Ireland six Vals were sighted approaching St. Louis's group. ... Crossing astern of the ships, the enemy planes split into two groups. Two of the planes closed St. Louis. The first plane dropped three bombs, all near misses. The second released three more. One scored a hit on the light cruiser, the other two were near misses off the port quarter. The bomb which hit St. Louis penetrated the 40 millimeter clipping room near number 6 mount and exploded in the midship living compartment. ... Twenty-three died and 20 were wounded, 10 seriously. ... A fire which started in the clipping room was extinguished. Both of her planes were rendered inoperable and her ventilation system was damaged. Communication with the after engine room ceased, and the cruiser slowed to 18 knots. ... On the 15th, she survived another air attack and was then ordered back to Purvis Bay.