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Wreck of USS Downes and Cassin at Pearl Harbor

Wreck of USS Downes and Cassin at Pearl Harbor



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Wreck of USS Downes & Cassin at Pearl Harbor

Wreck of USS Downes & Cassin during the Pearl Harbor raid.

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Downes reached San Diego from Norfolk 24 November 1937, and based there for exercises along the west coast, in the Caribbean, and in the Hawaiian Islands until April 1940, when Pearl Harbor became her home port. In March and April 1941 she joined in a cruise to Samoa, Fiji, and Australia, and visited the west coast later in the year.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941, Downes was in drydock with Cassin (DD-372) and Pennsylvania (BB-38). The three came under heavy attack and an incendiary bomb landed between the two destroyers, starting raging fires fed by oil from a ruptured fuel tank. Despite heavy strafing, the crews of the two destroyers got their batteries into action driving off further attacks by Japanese planes. The drydock was flooded in an effort to quench the fires, but the burning oil rose with the water level and when the ammunition and torpedo warheads on board the destroyers began to explode, the two ships were abandoned. Later Cassin slipped from her keel blocks and rested against Downes. Listed at first as complete losses, both of these destroyers lived to fight again.

Salvage operations were soon begun on Downes with machinery and other salvageable equipment being shipped to Mare Island Navy Yard. She was officially decommissioned 20 June 1942.

Rebuilt and recommissioned at Mare Island on 15 November 1943, Downes sailed from San Francisco 8 March to escort convoys to Pearl Harbor and on to Majuro, arriving 26 March. She was assigned to blockade the bypassed Japanese stronghold, Wotje Atoll, until 5 April, then after replenishing at Pearl Harbor, arrived at Eniwetok 6 May for service as harbor entrance control vessel and task unit commander for the offshore patrol. During this duty she rescued a pilot in the lagoon at Eniwetok and four crewmen off Ponape, Caroline Islands. In July Downes began convoy duty from Eniwetok to Saipan in support of the Marianas operation, then patrolled off Tinian during its invasion. She gave fire support during the mopping up operations off Marpi Point, Tinian, and bombarded Aguijan Island. On 9 October she took part in the bombardment of Marcus Island as a diversion for carrier air strikes on the Nansei Shoto.

Downes sailed from Saipan 14 October 1944 to join TG 38.1 2 days later in a search for Japanese ships which Admiral W. F. Halsey hoped to lure into the open with damaged cruisers Canberra (CA-70) and Houston (CL-81). The task group returned to Leyte to support the landings there 20 October. Downes sailed the same day for Ulithi but was recalled to screen the carriers during the air strikes on the Japanese Fleet in the epic Battle for Leyte Gulf. She was detached again 27 October and sailed to Ulithi for replenishment.

Continuing to Pearl Harbor for overhaul, Downes returned to Ulithi 29 March 1945 escorting a convoy, then sailed for Guam. From 5 April to 6 June she operated in the Marianas on patrol, air-sea rescue, submarine training, and escort duty. She served at Iwo Jima on similar duty from 9 June. With the end of the war, Downes was ordered to return to the United States and sailed from Iwo Jima 19 September with homeward bound servicemen on board. She touched at San Pedro Calif., called at Beaumont, Tex., for Navy Day celebrations and arrived at Norfolk 5 November. Downes was decommissioned 17 December 1945, and sold 18 November 1947.


Wreck of USS Downes and Cassin at Pearl Harbor - History

Martin K.A. Morgan

Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, California was established by the U.S. Army in 1914 as a Coast Artillery installation to defend the harbors of Long Beach and Los Angeles. During both world wars, the facility also served as an Army training and induction center. In the 1950s missiles replaced the guns, and they protected the airspace above the Los Angeles area through the 1970s. Today, Fort MacArthur is operated by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks as a historic site and museum honoring six decades of active military history. Inside the park’s Battery Osgood-Farley, a former battery for two 14-inch disappearing carriage guns, are exhibits featuring uniforms, weapons, and equipment that tell the story of a time when the site was a U.S. Army post. But one artifact in the museum’s collection tells a different story—one that unfolded 4,120 miles away from San Pedro. That artifact is an unexceptional Revere Model 88 motion picture camera that did something exceptional on Sunday, December 7, 1941, when it was used to film 8mm color footage of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

At the time, the camera belonged to Technical Sergeant Harold S. Oberg and his wife Eda. The previous year, the couple departed San Francisco for the Pacific on the U.S. Army Transport Grant—destination: the Philippines. There, Sergeant Oberg was to report for his new duty assignment at Clark Army Airfield on Luzon. But during the voyage Eda became violently seasick—so seasick that Sergeant Oberg’s commanding officer decided it would be best if she went ashore to recover when the ship made a brief port call at Pearl Harbor.

While she was recovering, Sergeant Oberg’s orders were changed, and he was reassigned to the headquarters of the 11th Bombardment Group at nearby Hickam Army Airfield. The couple was then assigned quarters on 16th Street in the post’s senior enlisted housing area. Their new home was a two-story apartment in a C-shaped building that was then only a few years old.

After moving in, the couple began their new life in the tropical paradise. The island’s scenery made such an impression on the Obergs that they decided to splurge and buy a handheld camera to shoot home movies. That is when they purchased the Revere Model 88 that is now a part of the collection at Fort MacArthur.

At 7:55 on the morning of December 7, the sounds of low-flying aircraft and explosions rudely interrupted what should have been a peaceful Sunday morning. Eda and Harold rushed to one of the two windows in the master bedroom and looked out just in time to see a Nakajima B5N Type 97 carrier attack bomber pass overhead on its approach to release a torpedo at one of the ships of nearby Battleship Row.

Eda Oberg and her husband Master Sergeant Harold S. Oberg pose for the camera a few weeks after the Pearl Harbor attack. Both Eda and Harold filmed from Hickam Army Airfield.

Although the Obergs lived on post at Hickam Army Airfield, their quarters on 16th Street stood quite close to the Pearl Harbor naval base. In fact, the distance from the apartment to the mooring berth of battleship USS Arizona (BB-39) was just under a mile and a half.

The close proximity of their apartment to this important target of the Japanese attack was such that torpedo bombers from the first wave passed directly overhead on their way there. When Harold recognized the insignia of the rising sun, he turned to Eda and said, “This is the real thing!” and with that dashed off to the closet to put on his uniform. On the way out the door, he told Eda, “Stay under cover!” and then sped off in the couple’s car toward the flight line to report for duty.

Shortly after Sergeant Oberg departed, the first wave of the attack came to an end and Eda stepped outside thinking that it was over. She noticed that most of the apartments on 16th Street were empty and the doors wide open, and she could see thick black smoke rising from several points in the direction of the naval base.

That’s when she remembered the Revere Model 88 motion picture camera. Although photography on Hickam was prohibited, Eda felt that the exceptional and historical circumstances that day created an exception.

A still from the footage shot by Eda shows smoke rising from the area of Drydock Number One where USS Cassin (DD-372), USS Downes (DD-375), and USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) are burning.

Before she could begin filming, however, the second wave of the attack began, and that drove her back toward the apartment for safety. She then noticed women and children running down 16th Street away from the naval base, and she motioned for some of them to come into the apartment for shelter even though she had never seen them before. Only then did Eda begin filming.

Her initial two shots were from the window of the master bedroom looking toward Ford Island. The first focused on a massive plume of black smoke rising from the battleship USS California at Berth F-3, the southernmost berth of Battleship Row the second faced straight north toward smoke clouds rising from the wrecks of the battleships USS Oklahoma at Berth F-5 and USS Arizona at Berth F-7. Eda then proceeded downstairs, walked out into the courtyard, and filmed one shot over the roof of the northern wing of the apartment building.

The time was shortly after 9:30 am on December 7, and the shot captured a thick cloud of black smoke from the burning Mahan-class destroyer USS Shaw, which had exploded spectacularly a few minutes earlier in floating drydock YFD-2.

After recording that brief shot, Eda continued across the courtyard to the northern wing of the building and entered the apartment occupied by Kay and Staff Sergeant John H. Honour he was the senior NCO in charge of Hickam’s control tower. Eda then climbed to the upper floor and recorded two shots facing Porter Avenue and the Marine Barracks on the naval base, a building known as Puller Hall today. In the distance, smoke could be seen rising from the area of Drydock Number 1 where the destroyers USS Cassin and USS Downes and the battleship USS Pennsylvania burned 1,000 yards away to the northwest.

Just as the second wave of the Japanese attack was ending, MPs came to the housing area on 16th Street warning the residents to leave Hickam in the interest of safety. With only a few minutes at her disposal, Eda darted back inside the apartment and grabbed some cash and a blanket, but before leaving she wrote Harold a quick note on the back of an envelope and left it behind along with the Revere Model 88. She then left Hickam Field, riding in silence with Kay Honour and Dorothy Norris, another neighbor from the building. The three women first stopped at Tripler Army Hospital, but they were quickly sent from there to Hemenway Hall on the campus of the University of Hawaii.

Throughout the second wave of the Japanese attack, Sergeant Oberg had remained on duty at 11th Bombardment Group Headquarters at Hickam’s flight line about 1,000 yards to the southwest of his apartment on 16th Street. Shortly after the raid concluded, he returned home to check on Eda.

A frame from the footage Master Sergeant Oberg filmed during the attack showing the wreckage of B-17C #40-2074 piloted by Captain Raymond T. Swenson earlier that morning. Tai Sing Loo, official photographer of the Pearl Harbor Naval Base, later captured the wreckage of Swenson’s B-17 in this well-known photograph.

When he entered the apartment, he quickly noticed the note and the camera. Secure in the knowledge that Eda was safe, Sergeant Oberg then drove back to the field, but he didn’t do so empty handed. He wanted to document what had happened too, and so he took the camera with him. His neighbor from across the courtyard, Staff Sergeant Honour, then admitted Oberg to the base operations building and led him up to the tower’s roof. Once there, Oberg began filming.

His opening shot faced north toward Hangar Number 2 with a thick cloud of black smoke rising from USS Arizona in the background, two miles away. Then Oberg panned the camera left to reveal even more smoke rising from the burning wreckage of the battleships USS Oklahoma and USS Maryland, as well as the Tennessee-class battleship USS California.

As he continued panning, Hickam’s flagpole entered the frame with the field’s distinctive 171-foot tall octagonal water tower in the background beyond it. After sweeping past the airfield’s hospital building, the well-known 3,200-man barracks nick-
named the “Hickam Hilton” came into view. Oberg’s shot even captured bomb damage to the building’s roof.

In this frame from the footage, Eda Oberg can be seen packing away her civilian gas mask in front of the air raid shelter across 16th Street from the apartment.

From that spot, smoke from burning drums of aviation fuel could be seen rising skyward just to the west of Hangar Number 3, and as the camera swept past Hangar Number 5, Douglas B-18 Bolo medium bombers could be seen parked on the tarmac in the distance near Hangar Number 13.

Eda took over operating the camera to film Harold fastening the chinstraps of his M1917A1 helmet.

Oberg’s shot eventually even captured the severed fuselage of B-17C #40-2074—a B-17 Flying Fortress from the 38th Reconnaissance Squadron that had been piloted by Captain Raymond T. Swenson earlier that morning. As one of 12 B-17s scheduled to land at Hickam on December 7, Swenson’s #2074 arrived over Oahu with no ammunition and low on fuel in the middle of the air raid just after 8 am.

During final approach to land, two Japanese Mitsubishi A6M2 “Zero” fighters strafed the aircraft, setting off a box of flares that eventually burned the aircraft’s empennage to the point that the weakened structure buckled and broke away while taxiing.

Sergeant Oberg then moved from the roof of the Operations Building down to ground level and filmed #2074 from the grass next to the building. Honolulu photographer Tai Sing Loo later captured the wreckage of Swenson’s B-17C in one of the most memorable images taken in the aftermath of the attack.

Eda Oberg, Kay Honour and Dorothy Norris reunited with their husbands on the campus of the University of Hawaii on December 17th. Harold and Eda (with her back to the camera) are at far right.

Together Eda and Harold Oberg had captured color footage of one of the most important days in American history—Sunday, December 7, 1941—but their story and their footage did not end there. They remained separated in the days that followed the Japanese attack with her at the University of Hawaii and him on duty at Hickam.

On December 17, after the newspaper published a list of where the spouses of service members were staying on Oahu, Harold drove to the university with Staff Sergeant Honour and Staff Sergeant Dean V. Norris, another resident of the apartment building on 16th Street. When the three couples were reunited on campus right in front of Hemenway Hall, an Army photographer snapped a shot just as Dean and Dorothy Norris embraced.

A few days after that, Eda and Harold broke out their movie camera again to film an underground air raid shelter that was dug in an open courtyard across 16th Street from their quarters.

In the first shot, Harold filmed Eda as she emerged from the bomb shelter wearing HBT coveralls, a civilian gas mask, and an M1917A1 helmet. The camera then changed hands, and Eda filmed Harold fastening the chinstraps of his M1917A1 helmet. Harold then filmed Eda and Kay Honour in the front yard of their quarters with 16th Street behind them and closed out the film reel with a well-composed and especially poignant shot of a 48-star American flag.

One month later, as the spouses and dependents of service members were being evacuated from the Territory of Hawaii, Eda returned to California—but not by sea. Fully aware of the misery created by her intense seasickness, the family chipped in and purchased a one-way ticket to San Francisco for her on Pan Am’s Honolulu Clipper.

Harold returned to California several months later and brought the Revere 88 motion picture camera with him—along with the reel of color 8mm film with its images of the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941.

Harold died on New Years Day, 1963, of a heart attack, and Eda eventually remarried and moved back to San Pedro—her hometown. In the mid-1980s, she donated all of her memorabilia from December 1941 to the Fort MacArthur Museum, including a scrapbook of photographs, the Revere Model 88 camera, and the reel of color film that had captured one of the most infamous moments in American history. These items are currently on display there in the Battery Osgood-Farley Historic Site.

Eda passed away in 1995, but she left behind a legacy in this remarkable story. Although it may not be a particularly well-known chapter in Pearl Harbor history, that story is nevertheless preserved by Fort MacArthur and, because of that, it will not be forgotten.


Pearl Harbor attack in photos

This panorama view of Pearl Harbor during the Japanese raid on Dec. 7, 1941, shows anti-aircraft shell bursts overhead. The photograph looks southwesterly from the hills behind the harbor. The large column of smoke in lower right center is from the burning USS Arizona and the smoke somewhat further to the left is from the destroyers Shaw, Cassin and Downes in drydocks at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard.

The USS Arizona burning after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The ship is resting level on the bottom. The supporting structure for the gun director tripod mast has collapsed and so the mast has tilted.

The USS Arizona burning at Pearl Harbor during the attack.

The forward magazines of the battleship USS Arizona explode during the attack.

This photograph was taken from a Japanese plane during the torpedo attack on ships moored on both sides of Ford Island shortly after the beginning of the Pearl Harbor attack. The view looks about east, with the supply depot, submarine base and fuel tank farm in the right center distance. A torpedo has just hit the USS West Virginia on the far side of Ford Island (center). Other battleships moored nearby are (from left): Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee (inboard of West Virginia), Oklahoma (torpedoed and listing) alongside Maryland, and California. On the near side of Ford Island, to the left, are light cruisers Detroit and Raleigh, target and training ship Utah and seaplane tender Tangier. Raleigh and Utah have been torpedoed, and Utah is listing sharply to port. Japanese planes are visible in the right center (over Ford Island) and over the Navy Yard at right. U.S. Navy planes on the seaplane ramp are on fire.

A map showing the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Note that dates/times of the Japanese fleet location are given as Japan time, not local.

A Nakajima B5N2 torpedo plane takes off from the Japanese aircraft carrier Shokaku to attack Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Japanese Navy Aichi D3A1 Type 99 carrier bombers prepare to take off from an aircraft carrier during the morning of Dec. 7, 1941. The ship in the background is the carrier Soryu.

Torpedo planes attack "Battleship Row" on Dec. 7, 1941, as seen from a Japanese aircraft. Ships are, from lower left to right: USS Nevada with flag raised at stern USS Arizona with USS Vestal outboard USS Tennessee with USS West Virginia outboard USS Maryland with USS Oklahoma outboard USS Neosho and USS California. The West Virginia, Oklahoma and California have been torpedoed, as marked by ripples and spreading oil, and the first two are listing to port. Torpedo drop splashes and running tracks are visible at left and center. The white smoke in the distance is from Hickam Field and the grey smoke in the center middle distance is from the torpedoed USS Helena at the Navy Yard's 1010 dock.

The U.S. Navy battleships USS West Virginia (sunken at left) and USS Tennessee are seen shrouded in smoke following the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor.

U.S. Navy sailors in a motor launch rescue a survivor from the water alongside the sunken battleship USS West Virginia during or shortly after the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor. The USS Tennessee is visible behind West Virginia.

The U.S. Navy battleship USS California is seen slowly sinking alongside Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, as a result of bomb and torpedo damage. The destroyer USS Shaw is burning in the floating drydock YFD-2 in the left distance. The battleship USS Nevada is beached in the left-center distance.

The USS Nevada is seen afire off the Ford Island seaplane base, with her bow pointed up-channel. The volume of fire and smoke is actually from USS Shaw, which is burning in the floating drydock YFD-2 in the left background.

The USS Nevada heading down channel, afire from several Japanese bomb hits, as seen from Ford Island during the later part of the attack. The ship whose boom and flagstaff are visible at left is USS Avocet.

The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Shaw wrecked in floating drydock YFD-2 with fires nearly out but the structure still smoking. Her bow had been blown off by the explosion of her forward magazines, after she was set afire by Japanese dive bombing attacks. In the right distance are the damaged and listing USS California and a dredge.

The sunken battleship USS West Virginia at Pearl Harbor after her fires were out, possibly on Dec. 8, 1941. The USS Tennessee is inboard. A Vought OS2U Kingfisher floatplane (marked "4-O-3") is upside down on West Virginia's main deck. A second OS2U is partially burned out atop the Turret No. 3 catapult.

The wrecked destroyers USS Downes and USS Cassin in Drydock One at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, soon after the end of the Japanese air attack. Cassin has capsized against Downes. USS Pennsylvania is astern, occupying the rest of the drydock. The torpedo-damaged cruiser USS Helena is in the right distance, beyond the crane. Visible in the center distance is the capsized USS Oklahoma, with USS Maryland alongside. The smoke is from the sunken and burning USS Arizona, out of view behind Pennsylvania. USS California is partially visible at the extreme left.

U.S. Navy planes and a hangar burning at the Ford Island Naval Air Station's seaplane base, during or immediately after the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor. The ruined wings of a Consolidated PBY Catalina patrol plane are at left and in the center.

Sandbagged .30 caliber machine gun emplacement with gun crew on alert, at the seaplane base near Ford Island's southern tip, soon after the Japanese attack.

A Japanese midget submarine after having been raised by the U.S. Navy at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard in December 1941. This submarine had been sunk by USS Monaghan in Pearl Harbor during Japanese attack and was subsequently recovered and buried in a landfill. The upper background had been overpainted for censorship purposes.

A burned U.S. Army Air Forces Boeing B-17C Flying Fortress rests near Hangar 5 at Hickam Field on Dec. 7, 1941. It was flown to Hickam by Capt. Raymond T. Swenson from California and arrived during the attack. On its final approach, the aircraft's magnesium flare box was hit by Japanese strafing and ignited. The burning plane separated upon landing. The crew survived the crash, but a flight surgeon was killed by strafing as he ran from the burning wreck.

Sailors stand amid wrecked planes at the Ford Island seaplane base, watching as the USS Shaw explodes in the center background. The USS Nevada is also visible in the middle background, with her bow headed toward the left. Several planes are in the foreground, a consolidated PBY, Vought OS2Us and Curtiss SOCs. The wrecked wing in the foreground is from a PBY.

USS Oklahoma righted to about 30 degrees, while she was under salvage at Pearl Harbor. She had capsized and sunk after receiving massive torpedo damage during the Japanese air raid. Ford Island is at right and the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard is in the left distance.

The forward magazine of the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Shaw explodes during the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor. The Shaw was docked in the floating drydock YFD-2. At right, the bow of Nevada can be seen after her aborted escape attempt out channel. In background at left, smoke rises from Hickam Field.

A general view of Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941.

The front page of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 1st Extra, from Dec. 7, 1941, as shown at the Castle Air Museum.

Aerial view from Japanese plane taken during the early moments of the Pearl Harbor attack. The view is about southeast across the Middle Loch, with Honolulu and Diamond Head in the right distance. Torpedoes have just struck USS West Virginia and USS Oklahoma on the far side of Ford Island. On the near side of the island, toward the left, USS Utah and USS Raleigh have already been torpedoed. Fires are burning at the seaplane base, at the right end of Ford Island. Across the channel from the seaplane base, smoke along 1010 Dock indicates that USS Helena has also been torpedoed.

An aerial view of Pearl Harbor after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack. An Imperial Japanese Navy Nakajima B5N2 torpedo plane from the aircraft carrier Zuikaku in the foreground over Hickam Field. The USS California is visible in center, and tanker USS Neosho is off Kuahua, en route to Merry Point.

The U.S. Navy repair ship USS Vestal beached on Aiea shoal, Pearl Harbor, after the Japanese raid. She is listing from damage caused by two bombs that hit her during the attack.

The USS Arizona burning after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The ship is resting on the harbor bottom. The supporting structure of the forward tripod mast has collapsed after the forward magazine exploded.

U.S. Navy battleships at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 (from left to right): USS West Virginia (sunk), USS Tennessee (damaged), and the USS Arizona (sunk).

The burned-out wreck of USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

The corner of Montgomery and Market streets in San Francisco as seen on Monday morning, Dec. 8, 1941, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

A "Remember December 7th" U.S. government propaganda poster from 1942.

An "Avenge December 7!" U.S. government propaganda poster from 1942.

An aerial view of the USS Arizona Memorial with a tour boat moored at the pier as visitors disembark.

The USS Utah Memorial on Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Bullet and shrapnel holes still scar the outside of the Pacific Air Forces headquarters building at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.


Contents

The Mahan-class destroyers emerged as improved versions of the Farragut class, [1] which incorporated the most up-to-date machinery available. [1] The Navy's General Board had wrestled with the proposed design changes, first they considered 12 torpedo tubes with one fewer 5-inch (127 mm)/38 caliber gun, [2] and then proposed to retain all five guns with the twelve torpedo tubes, but configure those guns only for surface targets, not air targets. The Chief of Naval Operations objected, and recommended against "subordinating the gun to the torpedo", and a compromise was struck that included a new engineering plant and a new battery arrangement for the Mahan class and others. [3] In the final design, No. 3 gun was moved to the aft deckhouse (just ahead of No. 4) to make room for the third quadruple torpedo tube the two middle torpedo tubes were moved to the sides, and released the centerline space for extension of the aft deckhouse. All five 5 in/38s were kept and remained dual purpose guns, able to target aircraft as well as ships, but only No. 1 and No. 2 had gun shields. The traditional destroyer machinery was replaced with a new generation of land-based machinery. This change ushered in a new steam propulsion system that combined increases in pressure and temperature with a new type of lightweight steam turbine, which proved simpler and more efficient to operate. Double reduction gearing also reduced the size of the faster-turning turbines and allowed cruising turbines to be added. These changes led to a ten percent increase in displacement over the Farraguts. [a] [4]

The Mahans typically had a tripod foremast with a pole mainmast. [1] To improve the anti-aircraft field of fire, their tripod foremast was constructed without nautical rigging. [4] In silhouette, they were similar to the larger Porter-class destroyers that immediately preceded them. [5] The Mahans were fitted with the first emergency generators, which replaced the storage batteries of earlier classes. Gun crew shelters were built for the superimposed weapons, one shelter before the bridge and one atop the shelter deck aft. [4]

The Mahans displaced 1,500 long tons (1,524 t) at standard load and 1,725 long tons (1,753 t) at deep load. The overall length of the class was 341 feet 3 inches (104.0 m), the beam was 35 feet 6 inches (10.8 m), and the draft 10 feet 7 inches (3.2 m). They were powered by General Electric geared steam turbines, driving two shafts that developed a total of 46,000 shaft horsepower (34,000 kW) for a maximum speed of 37 knots (69 km/h 43 mph). Four Babcock & Wilcox or four Foster Wheeler water-tube boilers generated the superheated steam needed for the turbines. The Mahans carried a maximum of 523 long tons (531 t) of fuel oil, with a range of 6,940 nautical miles (12,850 km 7,990 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h 14 mph). Their peacetime complement was 158 officers and enlisted men. [6] The wartime complement increased to approximately 250 officers and enlisted men. [7]

Engineering Edit

The Mahans' propulsion plant was considerably improved over that of the Farraguts. The steam pressure was raised from 400 psi (2,800 kPa) to 465 psi (3,210 kPa) in some ships, and the superheated steam temperature was raised from 648 °F (342 °C) to 700 °F (371 °C) in all ships. [8] [9] Double reduction gearing replaced single reduction gearing, and allowed smaller, faster-turning turbines to be used. This saved enough space and weight so that cruising turbines could be fitted, which greatly improved fuel economy at moderate speeds. The boiler economizers, as in previous ships, further improved fuel economy. The ships' range was extended to 6,940 nmi (12,850 km 7,990 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h 14 mph), 1,000 nmi (1,900 km 1,200 mi) farther than the Farraguts. The design shaft horsepower was increased from 42,800 shp (31,900 kW) to 48,000 shp (36,000 kW) in the same space and weight as in the Farraguts. [10] [11] The relatively compact power plant contributed to the Mahans' ability to carry 12 torpedo tubes instead of eight with only 150 tons of extra displacement. The main turbines were manufactured by the General Electric Company and were the impulse-type, also called the Curtis turbines. [12] [13] Each main turbine was divided into a high-pressure (HP) and a low-pressure (LP) turbine, which fed into a common reduction gear and drove a shaft, in a similar manner to the machinery illustrated at the following reference note. [14] The steam from the boilers was supplied to the HP turbine, which exhausted to the LP turbine, in turn exhausted to the condenser. The cruising turbines were geared to the HP turbines and could be engaged or disengaged as needed. At low speeds, they were operated in a series with the HP turbines to improve the efficiency of the overall turbine arrangement, and also improved the fuel economy. This general arrangement with double reduction gearing became a standard for most subsequent steam-powered surface ships of the US Navy, although not all of them had cruising turbines. [15]

Armament Edit

The main battery of the Mahan class consisted of five dual purpose 5-inch (127 mm)/38 caliber guns, equipped with the Mark 33 gun fire-control system. [4] [6] The anti-aircraft battery had four water-cooled .50 caliber machine guns (12.7 mm). [16] The class was fitted with three quadruple torpedo tube mounts for twelve 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes, guided by the Mark 27 torpedo fire control system. [6] The class was initially equipped with the Mark 11 torpedo or Mark 12 torpedo, which were replaced by the Mark 15 torpedo beginning in 1938. [17] The depth charge roll-off racks were rigged on the stern. [2]

In early 1942, the Mahan-class destroyers began a wartime armament refitting process, but most of the class was not fully refitted until 1944. [18] The notable refits to the Mahan class included the removal of one 5-inch/38 gun, typically replaced with two twin Bofors 40 mm guns (1.6 in) and between four and six 20 mm Oerlikon (0.79 in) guns to increase the ships' light anti-aircraft (AA) armament. [18] [19]

In January 1945, removal of two quadruple torpedo tubes was authorized to permit substitution of two 40 mm quad mounts. In June, removal of the third centerline tube was authorized to make way for two 40 mm twin mounts abreast of the aft stack. All ships receiving these AA modifications were to have directors installed with their new 40 mm mounts these Mark 51s were to be replaced by new blind-firing GFFC Mark 63 installations with radar. [20]

The Dunlap class was a two-ship destroyer class based on the Mahan design, listed as a separate class in some sources. [21] The ships were USS Dunlap (DD-384) and USS Fanning (DD-385) , the last two Mahans. Unlike the Mahans, the Dunlaps had the new Mark 25 enclosed mounts for the two forward 5-inch/38 caliber guns, with base rings housing projectile hoists that rotated with each of the guns their ammunition was fed from a handling room below each mount. [22] [23] Dunlap and Fanning were the first US destroyers to use enclosed forward gun mounts rather than shields their light pole foremast and lack of a mainmast visibly distinguished them from the Mahans. [24]

The construction of the first sixteen vessels was authorised under the NIRA Executive Order on 16 June 1933. The last two were authorised under the Vinson-Trammell Act of 27 March 1934 (as part of a group of 95 destroyers authorised on that date—and covered DD-380 to DD-436 and DD-445 to DD-482). The contracts for the first six Mahans were awarded to three shipbuilders, but none of the builders had what the US Navy judged as an acceptable in-house design structure. On the strength of their reputation, the New York firm of Gibbs & Cox was named as the design agent. [1] The firm had no experience in the design of warships, but had successfully designed passenger-cargo liners with better propulsion systems than any available to the US Navy. [25] The decision was made to design the Mahan class and future classes around a new generation of machinery. [26] This included a cheaper, faster and more efficient propulsion system, which combined increases in steam pressure and temperature with a new type of lightweight, fast-running turbine and double reduction gears. [4]

Name Hull no. Builder Laid down Launched Commissioned Decommissioned Fate Source
Mahan DD-364 United Dry Dock, Inc. 12 June 1934 15 October 1935 18 September 1936 N/A Ship severely damaged on 7 December 1944 by kamikaze attack: abandoned and sunk by a US destroyer. [27]
Cummings DD-365 26 June 1934 11 December 1935 25 November 1936 14 December 1945 Ship sold on 17 July 1947. [28]
Drayton DD-366 Bath Iron Works 20 March 1934 26 March 1936 1 September 1936 9 October 1945 Ship sold for scrap on 20 December 1946. [29]
Lamson DD-367 17 June 1936 21 October 1936 N/A Ship sunk in the 1946 Operation Crossroads nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll. [30]
Flusser DD-368 Federal Shipbuilding, Kearny, New Jersey 4 June 1934 28 September 1935 1 October 1936 16 December 1946 Ship sold on 6 January 1948. [31]
Reid DD-369 25 June 1934 11 January 1936 2 November 1936 N/A Ship sunk on 11 December 1944 by kamikazes. [32]
Case DD-370 Boston Navy Yard 19 September 1934 14 September 1935 15 September 1936 13 December 1945 Ship sold on 31 December 1947. [33]
Conyngham DD-371 4 November 1936 20 December 1946 Ship used in Operation Crossroads in 1946 and destroyed by sinking in July 1948. [34]
Cassin DD-372 Philadelphia Navy Yard 1 October 1934 28 October 1935 21 August 1936 7 December 1941 Ship sold for scrap on 25 November 1947. [35]
15 November 1943 17 December 1945
Shaw DD-373 18 September 1936 2 October 1945 Ship scrapped in July 1946. [36]
Tucker DD-374 Norfolk Navy Yard 15 August 1934 26 February 1936 23 July 1936 N/A Ship struck mine on 2 August 1942: exploded and sank. [37]
Downes DD-375 22 April 1936 15 January 1937 20 June 1942 Ship sold for scrap on 18 November 1947 [38]
15 November 1943 17 December 1947
Cushing DD-376 Puget Sound Navy Yard 15 August 1934 31 December 1935 28 August 1936 N/A Sunk during Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 13 November 1942 [39]
Perkins DD-377 15 November 1934 18 September 1936 Ship sunk on 29 November 1943, when rammed by an Australian troopship. [40]
Smith DD-378 Mare Island Navy Yard 27 October 1934 20 February 1936 19 September 1936 28 June 1946 Ship struck from US Navy records on 25 February 1947. [41]
Preston DD-379 22 April 1936 27 October 1936 N/A Sunk during Naval Battle of Guadalcanal 14 November 1942 [42]
Dunlap DD-384 United Dry Dock, Inc. 10 April 1935 18 April 1936 12 June 1937 14 December 1945 Ship sold on 31 December 1947. (Considered by some as the first of the two Dunlap-class destroyers.) [43]
Fanning DD-385 18 September 1936 8 October 1937 14 December 1945 Ship decommissioned 14 December 1945 and later sold. (Considered by some as the second of the two Dunlap-class destroyers.) [44]

Mahan Edit

USS Mahan was commissioned on the east coast in September 1936 and served in the Atlantic area until July 1937. She sailed to the Southern California coast for fleet training before moving on to Pearl Harbor. At sea when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Mahan participated in the initial post-attack efforts in search of the strike force. [27] The ship joined Task Force 17 in February 1942, which conducted raids on several atolls in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands. [45] Late in March, she returned to Pearl Harbor and proceeded to the west coast for overhaul. By August 1942, Mahan was back operating out of Pearl Harbor. [27]

In October 1942, Mahan was assigned to Task Force 61 and took part in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. The engagement cost the Navy 74 aircraft, the aircraft carrier Hornet, and one destroyer. While en route to Nouméa, New Caledonia, Mahan and the battleship South Dakota collided, causing severe damage to both ships. [46] Temporary repairs were made to Mahan and she steamed to Pearl Harbor for a new bow. She pulled out of Pearl Harbor in January 1943. In the months to follow, Mahan escorted convoys between New Hebrides and the Fiji Islands, performed patrol assignments off New Caledonia and engaged in operations in Australian waters. [27] Assigned to the amphibious force of Rear Admiral Daniel E. Barbey, Mahan participated in a succession of wide-ranging amphibious campaigns in New Guinea and New Britain. [47] In February and March 1944, she saw action with the 7th Fleet in the Admiralty Islands. [48] After that the ship was ordered back to the west coast for an overhaul, leaving the yard in July 1944 for Pearl Harbor. [27]

Returning to New Guinea, Mahan began to escort convoys between Hollandia, in Indonesia and Leyte, in the Philippine Islands. By November 1944, she was doing anti-submarine patrols off Leyte. On 7 December 1944 while patrolling the channel between Leyte and Ponson Island, a group of Japanese suicide aircraft overwhelmed Mahan at Ormoc Bay. She was disabled by the attack, then abandoned and sunk by a US destroyer. Mahan received five battle stars for her World War II service. [27]

Cummings Edit

USS Cummings served in the Pacific Fleet in the late 1930s, participating in numerous individual and fleet training exercises. In 1940, she served on security patrols off the west coast. Cummings went on a goodwill visit to several ports in the South Pacific, including Auckland, New Zealand, and Tahiti. The destroyer was hit by fragments while docked in Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack, and suffered a few casualties. She escorted convoys between Pearl Harbor and the west coast for the first six months of World War II. In June 1942, she was transferred to convoy escort duties in the South Pacific until August, when she had an overhaul in San Francisco, and then returned to her role as a convoy escort in the South Pacific. [28]

In January 1944, Cummings joined the screen for the Fast Carrier Strike Force while it raided Japanese positions in the Central Pacific. [49] In March, Cummings sailed for Trincomalee, Ceylon, where she rendezvoused with British ships for exercises. In April, the ship joined a British force to screen during air strikes on Sabang, Indonesia. She returned to Ceylon in May and then moved on to Exmouth Gulf, Australia. With a British force, Cummings sortied for air strikes on Soerabaja, Java, before leaving for Pearl Harbor. [28]

By July she was back in San Francisco to escort the heavy cruiser Baltimore, the ship that carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Pearl Harbor. [50] Cummings joined the US 3rd Fleet for the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944. [28] The next month, she bombarded Iwo Jima in preparation for the amphibious assault on the island. [51] The ship operated off Okinawa during its invasion. [52] After the war, Cummings returned to the United States and was decommissioned in December 1945 and sold for scrap in July 1947. She received seven battle stars for her World War II service. [28]

Drayton Edit

USS Drayton made her shakedown cruise to Europe late in 1936, and finished her final trials in the United States. She left Norfolk, Virginia, in June 1937 for San Diego, California, to join the Scouting Force. In July, Drayton participated in the search for the lost American pilot, Amelia Earhart. For the next two years, she exercised along the west coast, the Hawaiian Islands, and the Caribbean. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Drayton was at sea but able to participate in the post-attack efforts in search of the enemy force. During the succeeding three months, she escorted a convoy to Christmas Island (Kiritimati), screened a carrier in an airstrike on Bougainville Island, and screened a tanker to Suva Harbor, Fiji Islands. [29] In late November 1942 Drayton became part of Task Force 67, which intercepted a Japanese naval force guarding transports en route to resupply Guadalcanal. The Battle of Tassafaronga followed. [53]

Throughout June, July and August 1943, Drayton escorted Australian troop carriers from Townsville, Australia, to Milne Bay, New Guinea. [29] In early September, the ship supported the amphibious landing at Lae, New Guinea. Later in September, she participated in the amphibious landing at Finschhafen, New Guinea. [54] After escorting troops to Arawe, New Britain, in December 1943, Drayton participated in the landings there and at Borgen Bay, near Cape Gloucester, New Britain. [55] The destroyer took part in the invasion of Los Negros Island in the Admiralty Islands during February 1944. She reported to the 7th Fleet in October and performed patrol and escort duty in Leyte Gulf. In December 1944, while screening a convoy to San Pedro Bay in the Philippines, a Japanese bomber attacked the ship, killing two men and wounding seven. The next day, she fought off enemy fighters one crashed into a 5"/38 caliber gun mount, killing six men and wounding twelve. By August 1945 she was on her way to New York, arriving in September. Drayton was decommissioned in October 1945 and sold for scrap in December 1946. She received 11 battle stars for her World War II service. [29]

Lamson Edit

USS Lamson shipped out of Norfolk, Virginia, in June 1937 for San Diego, California, less than a year after her naval service began. She engaged in exercises and tactical training until sailing for Pearl Harbor in October 1939. For the next two years, Lamson continued training from her base in Hawaii. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, she joined the post-attack efforts to search for the Japanese strike force. [30] In February 1942 she became part of the newly formed ANZAC Squadron, consisting of Australian, New Zealand, and American warships in Suva, Fiji Islands. [56] In March, she operated with the squadron as a cover group southeast of Papua New Guinea. [57] In late November 1942, Lamson was assigned to Task Force 67 and took part in the Battle of Tassafaronga. [53]

For the next eight months, Lamson screened convoys en route to Guadalcanal. By August 1943, she had moved on to Milne Bay, New Guinea, and participated in the September amphibious landings at Lae and Finschhafen. In December, the ship engaged in the pre-invasion bombardment of Arawe and landings at Cape Gloucester, New Britain. After an overhaul and training at Pearl Harbor, Lamson joined the 7th Fleet in October 1944. [30] In early December 1944, she took part in the amphibious landing at Ormoc Bay, Leyte, Philippine Islands. There she was struck by a kamikaze that set fire to the ship, killing 21 men and injuring 50. The fires were extinguished by a rescue tug and Lamson was saved. [58] After extensive repairs in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, she returned to the Pacific and operated off Iwo Jima, then sailed to the United States in November 1945. In May 1946, she participated in the Able nuclear test of Operation Crossroads she was sunk in the Baker test in July 1946. Lamson received five battle stars for her World War II service. [30]

Flusser Edit

USS Flusser steamed her way to San Diego, California, in July 1937, after spending the first months of her naval service in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. She was based in San Diego until 1939, then reassigned to Pearl Harbor. Flusser was at sea when the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor, but took part in the post-attack search. For the next six months, she carried out convoy duty between Pearl Harbor and the west coast, and engaged in escort and patrol duty out of southwest Pacific ports. From July 1942 to February 1943, Flusser was in overhaul status at Pearl Harbor. She returned to escort and training operations in the Solomon Islands and was later based at Milne Bay, New Guinea. [31] During September, Flusser was part of the amphibious landing forces at Lae and Finschhafen, New Guinea. [59] In December 1943, the destroyer participated in the bombardment and landings at Arawe and Cape Gloucester, New Britain. [55] While attached to the 7th Fleet in February, she supported the landing of troops at Los Negros Island in the Admiralty Islands. Between April and June 1944, the ship was in the Mare Island Naval Shipyard for overhaul. [31]

After her overhaul, Flusser returned to Pearl Harbor. In August, she escorted a convoy to Eniwetok and moved on to Majuro in the Marshall Islands, where she patrolled bypassed Japanese-held atolls. [31] On a patrol off Wotje Atoll, the ship was fired on by a shore battery that left nine of her crew members wounded. [60] In October, she sailed north to San Pedro Bay for duty in the Leyte Gulf and Surigao Strait. By early December 1944, Flusser had escorted convoys from Hollandia Jayapura to Leyte and taken part in the amphibious landing at Ormoc Bay. In March 1945, Flusser provided escort support for the landing near Cebu in the Philippines. [31] During July she participated in the Balikpapan campaign in Borneo, escorting ships and covering the landing. [61] After occupation duty in Okinawa during September and October, she sailed to San Diego, California, arriving in November 1945. During 1946, Flusser took part in the atomic weapons tests in the Marshall Islands. From there, she steamed to Pearl Harbor, then to Norfolk, Virginia. The destroyer was decommissioned there in December 1946 and sold in January 1948. Flusser received eight battle stars for her World War II service. [31]

Reid Edit

USS Reid came into naval service in November 1936. From 1937 until 1941, she participated in training and fleet maneuvers in the Atlantic and Pacific. [32] Reid was berthed at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked, but escaped without damage while her gunners fired at the enemy attackers. [62] After the attack, Reid did patrol duty in the Hawaiian waters, and later escorted convoys to San Francisco, California. Late in May 1942, Reid steamed north from Pearl Harbor to bombard the Japanese positions in Kiska and supported landings at Adak, Alaska. [32] While conducting an anti-submarine patrol in August, she brought a Japanese submarine to the surface with a heavy depth charge barrage, and opened fire on it until it capsized and sank. Five of the submarine's crew survived and were rescued by Reid. [63] By October, she was patrolling the waters near New Caledonia, Samoa, and the Fiji Islands. In January 1943, the ship bombarded several Japanese locations on Guadalcanal. [32]

During September 1943, Reid provided support for the landings at Lae and Finschhafen, New Guinea. In December, Reid escorted troop transports for the landings at Arawe, New Britain, and participated in the landings at Cape Gloucester, New Britain. In the following months she supported landings at Los Negros Island in the Admiralty Islands, Hollandia Jayapura, Wakde Island, Biak, and Noemfoor, New Guinea. Reid supported air strikes against Wake Island, and in November 1944 did patrol duty off Leyte in the Philippines. [32]

On 11 December 1944, Reid was operating with a convoy bound for Ormoc Bay, Leyte, to resupply land forces. Late that afternoon, a group of Japanese planes descended on the convoy and penetrated the defenses, taking aim at Reid and another destroyer. The destroyers put up an anti-aircraft barrage that splashed some of the planes and damaged others, but Reid was hit by five suicide planes, causing powerful explosions. Within minutes, she went to the bottom, and over a hundred men perished. [64] Reid received seven battle stars for her World War II service. [32]

Case Edit

USS Case began active duty in September 1936 and was assigned to the Pacific Fleet. In April 1940, Pearl Harbor became her home base. The following year, she participated in fleet exercises to Midway Island, Johnston Island, Palmyra Atoll, Samoa, and Auckland. Case was berthed at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese struck, but sustained no damage. After the attack, she escorted convoys between the west coast and Pearl Harbor until late May 1942. Case went north to support the pre-invasion bombardment of Kiska and do patrol duty off Adak, Alaska. In October, the ship escorted a convoy to Pearl Harbor and then headed to the states for repair, returning to Pearl Harbor in November. In January 1943, she sailed to Espiritu Santo for training and remained there until September. After overhaul in San Francisco, California, Case returned to Pearl Harbor in December 1943. [33] She proceeded to the Marshall Islands, taking part in attacks on Wotje Atoll and Maloelap Atoll in late January and Eniwetok in early February 1944. [49]

In April 1944, Case took part in air raids on Hollandia, Truk (Chuuk Lagoon), Satawan, and Ponape Island. Her next assignment was with Task Group 58.4, participating in strikes on Japanese airfields in the Bonin Islands. [33] During June 1944, Case engaged in raids on the Mariana Islands and Vulcan Islands. [65] Following repair work at Eniwetok, the ship resumed operations with the task group, screening for air strikes in July and for attacks on the Bonin Islands in August and September. She took part in the bombardment of Marcus Island before joining Task Group 38.1 for strikes on Luzon. While screening US cruisers bound for Saipan, Case rammed and sank a Japanese midget submarine. Undamaged, she sailed to Saipan for offshore patrol duty until early December 1944. [33] Afterward, Case became involved in a raid on Iwo Jima airfields and helped sink two Japanese ships. [66] Following repairs at Saipan, she patrolled between there and Iwo Jima until the end of the war. She then left Iwo Jima for Norfolk, Virginia, where she was decommissioned in December 1945 and sold in December 1947. Case received seven battle stars for her World War II service. [33]

Conyngham Edit

USS Conyngham made her maiden voyage to northern Europe in early 1937, shortly after being commissioned. Following an overhaul in Boston, she sailed to San Diego, California. From October 1937 until April 1940, Conyngham operated along the west coast, the Hawaiian Islands and the Caribbean, then made her way to Pearl Harbor. [34] In March 1941, Conyngham left Pearl Harbor on a goodwill tour to Samoa, Sydney and Brisbane in Australia, and Suva in Fiji, returning in April 1941. [67] Undamaged by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, she put to sea on patrol duty that continued through December. After a brief overhaul at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Conyngham performed escort duty between the west coast and New Hebrides. Her escort assignment was interrupted to screen carriers in the Battle of Midway Island in June 1942. [34]

During October 1942, Conyngham participated in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands and supported the attack at the Matanikau River, Guadalcanal. [68] In June 1943 she joined an amphibious force that later carried out landings at Lae and Finschhafen, New Guinea. [59] In December, she took part in the landings at Arawe and Cape Gloucester, New Britain. [69] The next month, Conyngham participated in the landing at Saidor, New Guinea, and sailed to San Francisco for overhaul. Returning to duty in May 1944, she screened battleships in the Mariana Islands and remained there until August. Conyngham then joined a convoy screening ships to the Philippines Islands, arriving at Leyte Gulf in early November 1944. There, a floatplane (a type of seaplane) strafed her, wounding 17 men yet causing slight damage to the ship. By early December, she had covered landings at Ormoc Bay and helped with reinforcements. Conygnham left the Philippines late in December for Manus Island, New Guinea, to replenish supplies. Later on, she helped screen a convoy to Leyte for the landings at Lingayen Gulf. The ship participated in bombardments at Lingayen Gulf and remained on patrol there after the landings in January 1945. Conygham sailed to Subic Bay for overhaul in late July 1945, and remained there until the end of the war. Decommissioned in December 1946, Conyngham was used in the atomic weapons test at Bikini in 1946, and was scuttled in July 1948. She received 14 battle stars for her World War II service. [34]

Cassin Edit

USS Cassin began naval service in August 1936, but alterations kept her from sea duty until March 1937. The next year, she joined the forces at Pearl Harbor for annual fleet exercises. In April 1940, Cassin was assigned to a Hawaiian unit. [35] When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Cassin was in dry-dock with the battleship Pennsylvania and the destroyer Downes. Both destroyers were at the southern end of the dock when an incendiary bomb struck Downes, starting unstoppable fires on both destroyers. Cassin slipped off her blocks and rolled over onto the burning Downes. [70] She was salvaged and towed to the Mare Island Navy Yard and decommissioned. [35]

Cassin was rebuilt and commissioned again in February 1944. She reported to Pearl Harbor in April and pulled escort duty until August. [35] In October, the ship took part in the shelling of Marcus Island to destroy enemy installations. [71] After participating in the bombardment of Iwo Jima in November 1944 and January 1945, she escorted an ammunition ship to the newly invaded Iwo Jima. There, Cassin did radar picket and air-sea rescue duty. [35]

With the war over, she took part in guarding the air evacuation of released prisoners of war from Japan. In November 1945, the ship deployed to Norfolk, Virginia, and decommissioned there in December 1945. She was sold for scrap in November 1947. Cassin received six battle stars for her World War II service. [35]

Shaw Edit

USS Shaw crossed the Atlantic on her shakedown cruise in April 1937, and returned to the Philadelphia Navy Yard in June. There, she began a year of yard work before completing acceptance trials. For the remainder of the year, the ship conducted training exercises in the Atlantic. Sailing to the west coast, she was at the Mare Island Navy Yard from January to April 1939. By April 1940, Shaw moved on to Hawaiian waters, then back to the west coast in November for overhaul. She returned to Hawaii in February 1941, and later entered the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard for repairs. [36] Shaw was still in dry dock when the Japanese attacked, with most of the ship's crew ashore. She was hit by three bombs and severely damaged when her forward magazine exploded. Temporary repairs were made at Pearl Harbor, and in February 1942 the ship sailed to the west coast to complete them. [72]

With repairs completed, Shaw returned to Pearl Harbor in August 1942. She was then assigned to Task Force 61, and took part in the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands in mid-October. Reassigned to a unit of the 7th Amphibious Force, Shaw escorted reinforcements to Lae and Finschhafen, New Guinea, for the remainder of October and part of November. In late December, she escorted units engaged in the assault on Cape Gloucester, New Britain, and sustained casualties and damage. Thirty-six men were injured three later died of their wounds. Temporary repairs were made at Milne Bay, New Guinea, and permanent repairs were completed at San Francisco in May 1944. Shaw then returned to Pearl Harbor. [36]

With Task Force 52, she participated in the offensive to gain possession of the Japanese-held Mariana Islands. [73] In January 1945, with the San Fabian Attack Force, Shaw saw action at Manila Bay in the Philippine Islands. [74] She returned to the United States in April, stopping first at San Francisco for repairs, then routed to New York via Philadelphia for deactivation. The ship was decommissioned in October 1945 and sold for scrap in July 1946. Shaw received 11 battle stars for her World War II service. [36]

Tucker Edit

USS Tucker was commissioned in July 1936. After her shakedown cruise, she joined the destroyer forces attached to the US Battle Fleet based in San Diego, California. In February 1939 the ship took part in a naval exercise in the Caribbean, personally observed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt from the cruiser Houston. After exercises in Hawaiian waters in early 1940, Tucker operated between the west coast and Hawaii until the end of the year. By February 1941, she was back in Pearl Harbor. Tucker went on a goodwill tour that included Auckland, during March, before returning to Pearl Harbor. There, she participated in exercises at sea before sailing on to San Diego. By November 1941, Tucker was once again in Pearl Harbor. [37] When the Japanese attacked, the ship was berthed at East Loch undergoing tender overhaul. She was undamaged, and returned fire on the Japanese forces. [62]

After the hostilities, Tucker patrolled off Pearl Harbor, then spent the next five months escorting convoys between the west coast and Hawaii. She later escorted the tender Wright to Tutuila in American Samoa, Suva in the Fiji Islands, and Nouméa in New Caledonia. The ship then escorted Wright back to Suva, arriving there in June 1942. From Suva, she escorted the cargo ship Nira Luckenbach to Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, in August. [37] The ship entered the harbor by the western entrance and struck at least one mine. The crew abandoned ship and was rescued by nearby vessels. Efforts to save her were in vain she eventually jack-knifed and went to the bottom. [75] Tucker had steamed into a minefield placed by US forces, but she was never informed of its existence. Three men were killed and three more were listed as missing. She was removed from the Navy list in December 1944. Tucker received one battle star for her World War II service. [37]

Downes Edit

USS Downes entered service in January 1937. The following November, she sailed from Norfolk, Virginia, to San Diego, California. While based there, Downes participated in exercises along the west coast, in the Caribbean and in Hawaiian waters until April 1940. Pearl Harbor then became her homeport. In early 1941, Downes joined a cruise to Samoa, the Fiji Islands, and Australia, then visited the west coast later in the year. [38] When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Downes was in dry-dock with the battleship Pennsylvania and the destroyer Cassin. Both destroyers were at the southern end of the dock when an incendiary bomb struck Downes, setting unstoppable fires on both ships. Cassin slipped her blocks and rolled over onto the burning Downes, and Downes was later decommissioned. [70]

Downes was rebuilt and recommissioned in November 1943. During March 1944, she escorted a convoy to Pearl Harbor and on to Majuro in the Marshall Islands. By July, Downes began escort duty from Eniwetok to Saipan in support of the invasion of the Mariana Islands. Then she patrolled off Tinian during its invasion, and gave fire support during mop-up operations there. [38] Afterward, Downes took part in the bombardment of Marcus Island to create a diversion and destroy Japanese installations, an action that Admiral Halsey later commended. [71] During the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the ship screened the Fast Carrier Task Force during the air strikes on Vice Admiral Jisaburō Ozawa's Northern Force. Downes served in Iwo Jima from June 1944 until the end of the war, when the ship was ordered to return to the United States, arriving at Norfolk in November 1945. She was decommissioned in December 1945 and sold in November 1947. Downes received four battle stars for her World War II service. [38]

Cushing Edit

USS Cushing reported to the Pacific Fleet in August 1936, soon after her Navy service began. She joined the unsuccessful search for the missing Earhart during the month of July 1937. She moved on to San Diego for training exercises, continuing to operate along the west coast for the next several years. Cushing was under overhaul at the Mare Island Navy Yard when the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor. Following the attack, she did convoy duty between the west coast and Pearl Harbor, and later operated off Midway Island on anti-submarine patrol. In August 1942, Cushing sailed to Pearl Harbor for training exercises and later joined operations around Guadalcanal. [39]

With Task Force 61, Cushing took part in the bitterly contested Battle of Santa Cruz in October 1942. [46] Outnumbered, the force stalled the Japanese from their advance toward Guadalcanal. [76] At the Battle of Guadalcanal, Cushing was perhaps the first US ship to strike the enemy on that November day in 1942. In the fighting that followed, she sustained several hits amidships and slowly began to lose power, but was able to fire six torpedoes by local control at the Japanese battleship Hiei. In his book, Destroyer Operations in World War II (1953), Theodore Roscoe said, “ Three of the “fish” seemed to hit the bulls-eye if they did, it was with tack-hammer thumps. They may have exploded prematurely. But Hiei ' s lookouts must have seen them coming, for the big ship swung her bow to the left and lumbered westward, disappearing into the smoke-haze.” By this time, Cushing was dead in the water, an easy target for repeated enemy shelling. The results were disastrous and the order was given to abandon ship. Six officers and 53 men were lost. Of the survivors rescued, 56 had been wounded and ten of them suffered fatal injuries. The abandoned ship remained afloat until her magazines blew up. [77] Cushing received three battle stars for her World War II service. [39]

Perkins Edit

USS Perkins was commissioned in September 1936 and San Diego, California, became her homeport. She operated in the eastern Pacific prior to World War II, and was at the Mare Island Navy Yard when the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor. In mid-December, she escorted a convoy to Pearl Harbor, returned to Mare Island for new radar gear, and sailed back to Pearl Harbor the latter part of January 1942. The following month, Perkins departed Pearl Harbor and joined Australian, New Zealand, and other US ships in the ANZAC Squadron, charged with protecting the eastern approaches to Australia and New Zealand. She continued operations with ANZAC until April. [40] In May 1942, Perkins participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea. [78] After that, propeller problems took her to New Zealand and to Pearl Harbor, where repairs were completed. While at Pearl Harbor, additional radar gear and 40 mm guns were installed. [40]

By November 1942 Perkins was with Task Force 67, led by Rear Admiral Carleton H. Wright. In the nighttime Battle of Tassafaronga, the force intercepted the Japanese to stop them from supplying Guadalcanal. [79] Undamaged in the encounter, Perkins headed for Tulagi where she bombarded the Guadalcanal coast and served on escort assignments until January 1943. [40] She joined Task Force 76, an amphibious group, in March. [80] In September 1943, Perkins bombarded Lae, New Guinea, and supported the landings there. [81] She took part in the successful landings at Finschhafen, New Guinea. [82] Late in November, the ship was bound from Milne Bay to Buna, steaming independently, when Duntroon, an Australian troopship, accidentally collided with her. Perkins broke in two and quickly sank nine of the crew went down with her. [83] Perkins received four battle stars for her World War II service. [40]

Smith Edit

USS Smith began her US naval service in September 1936, and operated along the west coast of the United States for the next five years. From the start of World War II until April 1942, she was based in San Francisco, California, attached to a destroyer squadron. In June, Smith was in Pearl Harbor, engaged in training exercises, then escorted a convoy back to San Francisco. After overhaul and sea trials in the bay area, Smith returned to Pearl Harbor in August. By October she was part of Task Force 61, participating in the Battle of Santa Cruz. [41] In the course of the battle, a Japanese torpedo plane crashed into her the explosion ignited the forward part of the ship. The crew eventually extinguished the fires, and Smith was able to retain her position in the screen. When the air cleared, 28 were dead and 23 wounded. [84] She was patched up enough in New Caledonia to make her way to Pearl Harbor, where she was under overhaul until February 1943. The next few months, Smith performed anti-submarine patrols, did convoy duty, and participated in Navy exercises. In September and October, she was part of the amphibious landings at Lae and Finschhafen, New Guinea. In late December 1943 Smith was attached to Task Force 76, and took part in landing the 1st Marine Division at Cape Gloucester, New Britain. [41]

In January 1944, Smith participated in the amphibious landing near Saidor, New Guinea, led by Barbey. [85] In February, she bombarded designated targets in preparation for the landing at Los Negros in the Admiralty Islands. By the middle of March, Smith sailed to the west coast for overhaul. Completed in June, she returned to Pearl Harbor for training exercises and gunnery practice. Attached to the 7th Fleet in October, Smith sailed to Leyte Gulf in the Philippine Islands. There, she was positioned northeast of Ponson Island as a fighter director ship for the landing at Ormoc Bay in December 1944. [41] During January 1945, Smith supported the landings in Lingayen Gulf, Philippine Islands. [86] In late June, she bombarded Balikpapan, Borneo, in preparation for the landing by an Australian force. Smith departed the Philippines on 15 August 1945 for Buckner Bay, remaining there until steaming to Nagasaki Harbor, Kyushu, Japan, on 15 September, arriving there just 37 days after the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki on 9 August 1945 by US forces. There the ship boarded 80 US military ex-prisoners of war, taking them to Okinawa for transfer to the United States. On 21 September Smith returned to Nagasaki and picked up 90 Allied prisoners of war, taking them to Bickner Bay. She arrived in Sasebo, Nagasaki, on 28 September and departed two days later for San Diego via Pearl Harbor. Docking at San Diego on 19 November, she remained there until ordered to Pearl Harbor on 28 December, arriving there on 3 January 1946 and assumed an inactive status. The ship was decommissioned on 28 June 1946 and struck from the Navy list on 25 February 1947. Smith received six battle stars for her World War II service. [41]

Preston Edit

USS Preston was in service from October 1936 until November 1942. Following shakedown, she served briefly under the Chief of Naval Operations, then joined the US Fleet. Preston did peacetime training exercises into the month of December 1941, and performed patrol and escort duties along the west coast until June 1942. After that, she screened the carrier Saratoga to Hawaii, followed by four months of patrol and escort work in Hawaiian waters. [42]

In October she became part of Task Force 61 and participated in the Battle of Santa Cruz. [87] In mid-November 1942, Preston sailed to the western end of Guadalcanal to intercept another run by the Japanese to bombard Henderson Field. In the ensuing skirmish, Preston was hit by a salvo from a Japanese cruiser that put both fire rooms out of commission and toppled the aft stack. Her fires made an easy target as they spread, the order was given to abandon ship. The ship rolled onto her side and sank, taking 116 of her crew with her. Preston received two battle stars for her World War II service. [42] [88]

Dunlap Edit

USS Dunlap became part of the US Navy in June 1937. A year later, she served as an escort at Philadelphia for the steamer SS Kungsholm, which carried Gustaf Adolf, the Crown Prince of Sweden. By April 1940, Pearl Harbor was Dunlap's homeport. When the Japanese attacked, Dunlap was at sea bound for Pearl Harbor she entered port the following day. In January, she sortied for air strikes on the Marshall Islands, and in February she took part in a raid on Wake Island. Afterward, Dunlap patrolled Hawaiian waters, escorted convoys between various ports on the west coast, and returned to Pearl Harbor in October 1942. In December, the destroyer moved on to Noumea, New Caledonia, and operated from there until July 1943. [43] Dunlap saw action at Vella Gulf in the Solomon Islands in a nighttime torpedo clash. In United States Destroyer Operations in World War II (1953), Theodore Roscoe wrote: "In the Battle of Vella Gulf, as this engagement was called, the enemy had not laid a hand on the American ships." [89]

After overhaul in San Diego, Dunlap performed patrol duty out of Adak, Alaska, in November and December 1943 and sailed to Pearl Harbor. From January until March 1944, she screened carriers in strikes on the Marshall Islands with the 5th Fleet. After that, Dunlap took part in strikes on the Soerabaja area of Java in May and returned to Pearl Harbor in June. In July, she sailed to San Francisco to join the screen for the heavy cruiser Baltimore, which carried Roosevelt for conferences and inspections with top Pacific commanders of Pearl Harbor and Alaskan bases. [43] In early September 1944, Dunlap participated in the shelling of Wake Island. [90] In October 1944, she lent a hand in the bombardment of Marcus Island. [91] By January 1945, the ship was involved in the shelling of Iwo Jima, Haha-jima, and Chichi-jima. [92] On 3 September 1945, Commodore John H. Magruder accepted the surrender of the Bonin Islands by Lt. General Yoshio Tachibana on board the destroyer. Dunlap sailed to Norfolk, Virginia, in November 1945, where she was decommissioned in December 1945 and sold in December 1947. She received six battle stars for her World War II service. [43]

Fanning Edit

USS Fanning was occupied with sea trials and minor repairs for the first six months of her naval service. In April 1938, she escorted the light cruiser Philadelphia from Annapolis, Maryland, to the Caribbean with Roosevelt aboard. Fanning sailed to New York for overhaul the following month in September she moved on to her new base in San Diego, California. Over the next three years, her duties took her to the east coast and eventually to Hawaii. The ship was at sea when the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor she returned the following day. Underway for Tutuila in January 1942, Fanning encountered a blinding rainstorm and collided with Gridley. Both destroyers suffered bow damage and were forced to return to Pearl Harbor. [44] In April 1942 Fanning became part of Task Force 16, which supported the Doolittle Raid on the air strike against Tokyo. After the mission, she returned to Pearl Harbor. [93]

For the first nine months of 1943, Fanning deployed against the Japanese on Guadalcanal, supported an occupation force on the Russell Islands, participated in patrol duty, and assisted in the protection of troops occupying Munda, Solomon Islands. In September, she had an overhaul on the west coast, then finished the year operating off the Aleutian Islands. By January 1944, Fanning was operating with Task Group 58.4 in the Marshall Islands. In March she reported to the Eastern Fleet (British units, reinforced with Australian, Dutch and French warships), participating in strikes against Sabang, Indonesia, the next month. Detached from the Eastern Fleet in May, Fanning sailed to the west coast. In July she left San Diego, escorting the heavy cruiser Baltimore to Alaska with Roosevelt on board. [44] Her next assignment was with Task Group 30.2, shelling Marcus Island in October 1944 to create a diversion and destroy enemy installations. [71] During January 1945, Fanning took part in the shelling of Iwo Jima, Haha-jima, and Chichi-Jima. [51] For the remainder of the war, she was occupied with patrol and escort activities. In September 1945, she sailed for the United States, and was decommissioned at Norfolk, Virginia, in December 1945 she was sold for scrap in 1948. Fanning received four battle stars for her World War II service. [44]


American Dreadnoughts: The Remarkable Battleships of Pearl Harbor

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

We are coming up on the 77th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It is hard to believe that the attack occurred so long ago. The survivors are aging, and even the youngest are close to ninety years old, the oldest survivor of the USS Arizona, Joe Langdell died in February of 2015. At the time of the attack he was a nearly commissioned Ensign. He and many like him served as the officers and men aboard the eight great battleships moored at Pearl Harbor on that terrible Sunday morning.

The next day President Franklin Roosevelt spoke these immortal words, “Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan….

One of the young men who responded to the call to arms after the attack was a future President, 18 year old George H. W. Bush. He was advised to go to college instead of enlisting but he would hear nothing of it. He enlisted as soon as he graduated from high school on his 18th Birthday. He went to flight school and was commissioned just days before his 19th birthday, becoming the youngest Naval aviator. I guess that it is fitting that Bush, who passed away Saturday will be buried on December 6th, the day before the anniversary of the attack.

I remember reading Walter Lord’s classic and very readable book about Pearl Harbor “Day of Infamy” when I was a 7th grade student at Stockton Junior High School back in 1972. At the time my dad was on his first deployment to Vietnam on the USS Hancock CVA-19. As a Navy brat I was totally enthralled with all things Navy and there was little that could pull me out of the library. In fact in my sophomore year of high school I cut over one half of the class meetings of the 4th quarter my geometry class to sit in the library and read history, especially naval and military history.

Over the years I have always found the pre-World War Two battleships to be among the most interesting ships in US Navy history. No they are not the sleek behemoths like the USS Wisconsin which graces the Norfolk waterfront. They were not long and sleek, but rather squat yet exuded power. They were the backbone of the Navy from the First World War until Pearl Harbor. They were the US Navy answer to the great Dreadnaught race engaged in by the major navies of the world in the years prior to, during and after World War One.

Built over a period of 10 years each class incorporated the rapid advances in technology between the launching of the Dreadnaught and the end of the Great War. While the United States Navy did not engage in battleship to battleship combat the ships built by the US Navy were equal to or superior to many of the British and German ships of the era.

Through the 1920s and 1930s they were the ambassadors of the nation, training and showing the flag. During those years the older ships underwent significant overhaul and modernization.

The Battle Force of the Pacific Fleet in 1941 included 9 battleships of which 8 were at Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7th. In the event of war the US War Plan, “Orange” called for the Pacific Fleet led by the Battle Force to cross the Pacific, fight a climactic Mahanian battle against the battleships of the Imperial Japanese Navy and after vanquishing the Japanese foe to relieve American Forces in the Philippines. However this was not to be as by the end of December 7th all eight were out of action, with two, the Arizona and Oklahoma permanently lost to the Navy.

The ships at Pearl Harbor comprised four of the seven classes of battleships in the US inventory at the outbreak of hostilities. Each class was an improvement on the preceding class in speed, protection and firepower. The last class of ships, the Maryland class comprised of the Maryland, Colorado and West Virginia, was the pinnacle of US Battleship design until the North Carolina class was commissioned in 1941. Since the Washington Naval Treaty limited navies to specific tonnage limits as well as the displacement of new classes of ships the United States like Britain and Japan was limited to the ships in the current inventory at the time of the treaty’s ratification.

USS Oklahoma (above) and USS Nevada

Those present at Pearl Harbor included the two ships of the Nevada class, the Nevada and Oklahoma they were the oldest battleships at Pearl Harbor and the first of what were referred to as the “standard design” battleships. The two ships of the Pennsylvania class, the Pennsylvania and her sister the Arizona served as the flagships of the Pacific Fleet and First Battleship Division respectively and were improved Nevada’s. The California class ships, California and Tennessee and two of the three Maryland’s the Maryland and West Virginia made up the rest of the Battle Force.

The Colorado was undergoing a yard period at Bremerton and the three ships of the New Mexico class, New Mexico, Mississippi and Idaho had been transferred to the Atlantic before Pearl Harbor due to the German threat. The three oldest battleships in the fleet, those of the New York and Wyoming Classes, the New York, Arkansas and Texas also were in the Atlantic. Two former battleships, the Utah and Wyoming had been stripped of their main armaments and armor belts and served as gunnery training ships for the fleet. The Utah was at Pearl Harbor moored on the far side of Ford Island. The newest battleships in the Navy, the modern USS North Carolina and USS Washington were also serving in the Atlantic as a deterrent to the German battleships and battlecruisers which occasionally sortied into the Atlantic to attack convoys bound for Britain.

The great ships that lay at anchor at 0755 that peaceful Sunday morning on Battleship Row and in the dry dock represented the naval power of a bygone era, something that most did not realize until two hours later. The age of the battleship was passing away, but even the Japanese did not realize that the era had passed building the massive super-battleships Yamato and Musashi mounting nine 18” guns and displacing 72,000 tons, near twice that of the largest battleships in the U.S. inventory.

The Oklahoma and Nevada were the oldest ships in the Battle Force. Launched in 1914 and commissioned in 1916 the Nevada and Oklahoma mounted ten 14” guns and displaced 27,500 tons and were capable of 20.5 knots. They served in World War One alongside the British Home Fleet and were modernized in the late 1920s. They were part of the US presence in both the Atlantic and Pacific in the inter-war years. Oklahoma took part in the evacuation of American citizens from Spain in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War.

During the Pearl Harbor attack Oklahoma was struck by 5 aerial torpedoes capsized and sank at her mooring with the loss of 415 officers and crew. Recent analysis indicates that she may have been hit by at least on torpedo from a Japanese midget submarine. Her hulk would be raised but she would never again see service and sank on the way to the breakers in 1946.

Nevada was the only battleship to get underway during the attack. Moored alone at the north end of Battleship Row her Officer of the Deck had lit off a second boiler an hour before the attack. She was hit by an aerial torpedo in the first minutes of the attack but was not seriously damaged. She got underway between the attack waves and as she attempted to escape the harbor she was heavily damaged. To prevent her from sinking in the main channel she was beached off Hospital Point.

Nevada was raised and received a significant modernization before returning to service for the May 1943 assault on Attu. Nevada returned to the Atlantic where she took part in the Normandy landings off Utah Beach and the invasion of southern France. She returned to the Pacific and took part in the operations against Iwo Jima and Okinawa where she again provided naval gunfire support.

Following the war the great ship was assigned as a target at the Bikini atoll atomic bomb tests. The tough ship survived these tests and was sunk as a target on 31July 1948.

USS Pennsylvania sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge

The two ships of the Pennsylvania Class were improved Oklahoma’s. The Arizona and Pennsylvania mounted twelve 14” guns and displacing 31,400 tons and capable of 21 knots they were both commissioned in 1916. They participated in operations in the Atlantic in the First World War with the British Home Fleet. Both ships were rebuilt and modernized between 1929 and 1931. Though damaged in the attack, Pennsylvania was back in action by early 1942. She underwent minor refits and took part in many amphibious landings in the Pacific and was present at the Battle of Surigao Strait. She was heavily damaged by an aerial torpedo at Okinawa Pennsylvania and was repaired. Following the war the elderly warrior was used as a target for the atomic bomb tests. She was sunk as a gunnery target in 1948.

Arizona was destroyed during the attack. As the flagship of Battleship Division One, she was moored next to the repair ship USS Vestal. She was hit by 8 armor piercing bombs one of which penetrated her forward black powder magazine. The ship was consumed by a cataclysmic explosion which killed 1103 of her 1400 member crew including her Captain and Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd, commander of Battleship Division One. She was never officially decommissioned and the colors are raised and lowered every day over the Memorial which sits astride her broken hull.

USS Tennessee & USS California

California sailing under the Brooklyn Bridge

The Tennessee class ships the Tennessee and California were the class following the New Mexico class ships which were not present at Pearl Harbor. These ships were laid down in 1917 and commissioned in 1920. Their design incorporated lessons learned at the Battle Jutland. They mounted twelve 14” guns, displaced 32,300 tons and were capable of 21 knots. At Pearl Harbor Tennessee was moored inboard of West Virginia and protected from the aerial torpedoes which did so much damage to other battleships. She was damaged by two bombs.

California was the Flagship of Battleship Division Two. She was moored at the southern end of Battleship Row. She was hit by two torpedoes in the initial attack, but she had the bad luck to have all of her major watertight hatches unhinged in preparation for an inspection. Despite the valiant efforts of her damage control teams she sank at her moorings. She was raised and rebuilt along with Tennessee were completely modernized with the latest in radar, fire control equipment and anti-aircraft armaments. They were widened with the addition of massive anti-torpedo bulges and their superstructure was razed and rebuilt along the lines of the South Dakota class. When the repairs and modernization work was completed the ships looked nothing like they did on December 7th. Both ships were active in the Pacific campaign and be engaged at Surigao Strait where they inflicted heavy damage on the attacking Japanese squadron. Both survived the war and were placed in reserve until 1959 when they were stricken from the Navy list and sold for scrap.

USS Maryland & USS West Virgina

The Maryland and West Virginia were near sisters of the Tennessee class. They were the last battleships built by the United States before the Washington Naval Treaty. and the first to mount 16” guns. With eight 16” guns they had the largest main battery of any US battleships until the North Carolina class. They displaced 32,600 tons and could steam at 21 knots. Laid down in 1917 and commissioned in 1921 they were modernized in the late 1920s. They were the most modern of the Super-Dreadnoughts built by the United States and included advances in protection and watertight integrity learned from both the British and German experience at Jutland.

At Pearl Harbor Maryland was moored inboard of Oklahoma and was hit by 2 bombs and her crew helped rescue survivors of that unfortunate ship. She was quickly repaired and returned to action. She received minimal modernization during the war. She participated in operations throughout the entirety of the Pacific Campaign mainly conducting Naval Gunfire Support to numerous amphibious operations. She was present at Surigao Strait where despite not having the most modern fire control radars she unleashed six salvos at the Japanese Southern Force.

Tennessee & West Virginia after the attack (above) Arizona (below)

Pennsylvania in Drydock Number One, Nevada beached at Hospital Point

Oklahoma Capsized and after being righted

West Virginia suffered some of the worst damage in the attack. She was hit by at least 5 torpedoes and two bombs. One of the torpedoes may have come from one of the Japanese midget submarines that penetrated the harbor. She took a serious list and was threatening to capsize. However she was saved from Oklahoma’s fate by the quick action of her damage control officer who quickly ordered counter-flooding so she would sink on an even keel. She was raised from the mud of Pearl Harbor and after temporary repairs and sailed to the West Coast for an extensive modernization on the order of the Tennessee and California.

West Virginia was the last Pearl Harbor to re-enter service. However when she returned she made up for lost time. She led the battle line at Surigao Strait and fired 16 full salvos at the Japanese squadron. Her highly accurate gunfire was instrumental in sinking the Japanese Battleship Yamashiro in the last battleship versus battleship action in history. West Virginia, Maryland and their sister Colorado survived the war and were placed in reserve until they were stricken from the Naval List and sold for scrap in 1959.

The battleships of Pearl Harbor are gone, save for the wreck of the Arizona and various relics such as masts, and ships bells located at various state capitals and Naval Stations. Unfortunately no one had the forethought to preserve one of the surviving ships to serve as a living memorial at Pearl Harbor with the Arizona. As I noted at the beginning of this article, the brave Sailors and Marines who manned these fine ships are also passing away.

Thus as we approach the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack it is fitting to remember these men and the great ships that they manned.

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Wreck of USS Downes and Cassin at Pearl Harbor - History

SUNDAY, 7 December 1941

On December 7, 1941 the Japanese Navy launched a surprise attack against Pearl Harbor and Oahu in the Territory of Hawaii (Hawaii) in the United States. The attack involved five midget submarines and two waves of carrier aircraft launched from six aircraft carriers.

Japanese Midget Submarines
South of Oahu, five Japanese Navy fleet submarines: I-16, I-18, I-20, I-22, I-24 each launch a Type A midget submarine that attempt to penetrate Pearl Harbor while submerged then navigate counterclockwise around Ford Island, fire their torpedoes then exit to rendezvous with the "mother" submarines seven miles west of Lanai Island. All l five were lost or sunk, with only one managing to enter the anchorage as planned. When detected, the U.S. Navy gave each submarine a letter designation (A-E) based on the order they were detected or sunk.

The first, HA-20 (Midget A) at 3:20am the periscope was spotted by USS Condor AMc-14 two miles off the entrance to Pearl Harbor and at 3:57am she notified USS Ward DD-139 that begins searching for the submarine. At 6:30am spotted by lookouts aboard USS Antares (AG-10) as it approaches the outer gate for Pearl Harbor. At 6:37am USS Ward DD-139 spots the periscope and at 6:45am opens fire with her 4" gun, overruns the submarine then releases depth charges that destroy it at 6:55am.

The second, HA-22 (Midget B) entered Pearl Harbor, sunk by USS Monaghan DD-35. The third, HA-19 (Midget C) grounded off Waimanaio, one crew member captured and became the first Prisoner Of War (POW). The fourth, HA-18 (Midget D) was damaged by depth charges and sank in Keehi Lagoon. The fifth, HA-21 (Midget E) was the only submarine that managed to enter Pearl Harbor and is believed to have fired two torpedoes at USS St. Louis (CL-49) then was sunk in West Lock.

Japanese Aircraft Carriers
The main attack force was the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) "Kido Butai" First Air Fleet Striking Force comprised of six aircraft carriers: Akagi, Kaga, Hiryu, Soryu, Shokaku, and Zuikaku that launched carrier aircraft including A6M Model 21 Zero fighters, D3A1 Val dive bombers and B5N1 Kate torpedo bombers from 230 nautical miles north of Oahu.


Japanese First Strike (First Wave)

The first strike consisted of 213 aircraft. Although spotted approaching Hawaii on radar, they were mistaken for a formation of thirteen B-17 Flying Fortresses scheduled to arrive on a ferry flight from Hamilton Field in California over the Pacific Ocean bound for Hickam Field on Oahu. At 7:55am, D3A Val tail EI-238 piloted by Lt Cdr Takahashi released the first bomb, a single Type 98 land bomb weighing 242 kg / 533.5 pounds hit the seaplane ramp in front of Hanger 6 at Ford Island Seaplane Base (NAS Ford Island) in the southeastern of Ford Island in the center of Pearl Harbor.

B-17 Flying Fortress that arrived during the Japanese attack
Thirteen B-17s on a ferry flight from Hamilton Field to Hickam Field led by Major Richard H. Carmichael. The formation arrived during the first wave of attacking Japanese aircraft and the bombers landed at various airfields on Oahu, some attacked by Japanese aircraft and others accidentally fired on by American anti-aircraft gunners that mistook them for enemy aircraft.

38th Reconnaissance Squadron (38th RS)
B-17E 41-2413 pilot Landon (crew no. 1)
B-17E 41-2408 pilot Barthelmess (crew no. 2) landed safely Hickam Field
B-17C 40-2074 pilot Swenson (crew no. 3) strafed while landing at Hickam Field set on fire causing the rear to separate
B-17C 40-2063 pilot Allen (crew no. 4) landed safely Hickam Field
B-17C 40-2054 pilot Cooper (crew no. 5) landed safely Hickam Field
B-17E pilot 1st Lt Harold T. Hastings (crew no. 6) delayed by engine trouble and did not take off with the original group
B-17C "Skipper" 40-2049 pilot Richards (crew no. 7) force landed Bellows Field salvaged for parts
B-17E pilot 1st Lt Boris M. Zubko (crew no. 8) delayed by engine trouble and did not take off with the original group

Japanese Second Strike (Second Wave)
The second strike consisted of 170 aircraft. Afterwards, the attack force departed westward back to Japan.

American Interception
During the Japanese attack, roughly twenty American fighter planes managed to get airborne including five obsolete P-35s. Several P-40B Warhawks manged to intercept including 2nd Lt. George S. Welch and 2nd Lt. Kenneth "Ken" Taylor who both claimed aerial victories.

Aftermath
Immediately after the attacks, U.S. planes searched unsuccessfully for the Japanese fleet. Among the search aircraft was JRS-1 Baby Clipper 4346 pilot Ensign Wesley Hoyt Ruth took off on a patrol 250 miles north and found nothing.

American Casualties
2,403 killed in action and 1,178 wounded in action
US Army : 218 KIA, 364 WIA
US Navy: 2,008 KIA, 710 WIA
US Marine Corps: 109 KIA, 69 WIA
Civilians: 68 KIA, 35 WIA

Battleships sunk or damaged
USS Arizona BB-39 sunk by an armor piercing bomb that detonated her forward magazine
USS Oklahoma BB-37 capsized and sank as a total loss, salvaged 1943-1944, sunk while being towed May 17, 1947
USS California BB-44 sunk at her berth. Later raised and repaired.
USS West Virginia BB-48 sunk at her berth. Later raised and repaired.
USS Nevada BB-36 beached to prevent sinking. Later repaired.
USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) light damage
USS Maryland (BB-46) light damage
USS Tennessee (BB-43) light damage
USS Utah (AG-16) total loss, sunk

Cruisers damaged
USS New Orleans (CA-32) light damage
USS San Francisco (CA-38) undamaged by the attack but under overhaul
USS Detroit (CL-8) light damage.
USS Raleigh (CL-7) heavily damaged but repaired
USS Helena (CL-50) light damage
USS Honolulu (CL-48) light damage to the hull from a near miss bomb

Destroyers sunk or damaged
USS Downes (DD-375) destroyed, parts salvaged
USS Cassin (DD-372) destroyed, parts salvaged
USS Shaw (DD-373) very heavy damage
USS Helm (DD-388) light damage

Minelayers Sunk
USS Ogala (CM-4) sunk, later raised and repaired.

Seaplane Tender Damaged
USS Curtiss (AV-4) severely damaged, repaired

Repair Ship Damaged
USS Vestal (AR-4) severely damaged but later repaired.

Harbor Tug sunk
USS Sotoyomo (YT-9) sunk but later raised and repaired.

Fortunately for the U.S. Navy none of the three Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers were at port in Pearl Harbor. Also, the strategic fuel reserves and dry docks at Pearl Harbor were not targeted.

Aircraft Losses
A total of 188 American aircraft were destroyed:
US Navy: 92
US Army: 92
Other: 4

American aircraft lost (partial list)
SBD 2159 pilot Willis MIA December 7, 191
PBY 2357 sunk December 7, 1941
PBY 2359 sunk December 7, 1941
PBY 2361 sunk December 7, 1941
PBY 2362 sunk December 7, 1941
PBY 2363 sunk December 7, 1941 afterwards, salvaged and rebuilt and operated until stricken August 28, 1944
PBY 2364 sunk December 7, 1941
PBY 2365 sunk December 7, 1941
PBY 2369 sunk December 7, 1941
PBY 2451 destroyed December 7, 1941
PBY Kaneohe sunk December 7, 1941 into Kaneohe Bay (likely PBY 2364, PBY 2365 or PBY 2369)

American aircraft on Oahu December 7, 1941
Aeronca 65TC Chief NC33768 in flight at the start of the attack displayed at the USS Missouri Memorial
J2F Duck 1649 stationed at NAS Pearl Harbor and survived the attack
P-40B 41-13297 stationed at Wheeler Field, survived the attack
PBY- 2446 stationed at NAS Pearl Harbor survived the attack, lost August 16, 1943
PBY 2447 stationed at NAS Pearl Harbor survived the attack, crashed October 26, 1943
SBD 2106 stationed at Luke Field survived the attack, ditched June 11, 1943
JRS-1 4346 stationed at NAS Pearl Harbor survived the attack displayed at NASM Udvar-Hazy Center

Japanese aircraft losses
A total of 29 Japanese aircraft were lost from the 353 planes that participated in the attack,

A6M2 Zero Fighters
A6M2 Zero 2266 Tail BII-120 pilot Shigenori Nishikaichi force landed Niihau Island, POW, suicide
A6M2 Zero 3277 Tail B1-151 pilot Fusata Iida crashed Ford Island
A6M2 Zero 5289 Tail AI-154 pilot Takeshi Hirano crashed Hickam Field
A6M2 Zero crashed December 7, 1941 at 8:30am, clock displayed at the USS Arizona Memorial and Museum

D3A1 Val Dive Bombers
D3A1 Val 3133 crashed Aiea Heights
D3A1 Val 3178 crashed Pearl Harbor

B5N1 Kate Torpedo Bombers
B5N Kate crashed Pearl Harbor piece of left tail stabilizer displayed at USS Arizona Museum

Japanese Type A midget submarines losses
HA-20 (Midget A) sunk at 6:55am by gunfire and depth charges from USS Ward DD-139
HA-22 (Midget B) entered Pearl Harbor, sunk by USS Monaghan DD-354
HA-19 (Midget C) grounded Waimanaio, one crewman captured, salvage displayed National Museum of the Pacific War
HA-18 (Midget D) damaged by depth charges, located and salvaged 1960, displayed Eta Jima
HA-21 (Midget E) believed to have fired two torpedoes at USS St. Louis (CL-49) then sunk West Lock

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Wreck of USS Downes and Cassin at Pearl Harbor - History

Saturday, December 6 - Washington D.C. - U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt makes a final appeal to the Emperor of Japan for peace. There is no reply. Late this same day, the U.S. code-breaking service begins intercepting a 14-part Japanese message and deciphers the first 13 parts, passing them on to the President and Secretary of State. The Americans believe a Japanese attack is imminent, most likely somewhere in Southeast Asia.

Sunday, December 7 - Washington D.C. - The last part of the Japanese message, stating that diplomatic relations with the U.S. are to be broken off, reaches Washington in the morning and is decoded at approximately 9 a.m. About an hour later, another Japanese message is intercepted. It instructs the Japanese embassy to deliver the main message to the Americans at 1 p.m. The Americans realize this time corresponds with early morning time in Pearl Harbor, which is several hours behind. The U.S. War Department then sends out an alert but uses a commercial telegraph because radio contact with Hawaii is temporarily broken. Delays prevent the alert from arriving at headquarters in Oahu until noontime (Hawaii time) four hours after the attack has already begun.

Sunday, December 7 - Islands of Hawaii, near Oahu - The Japanese attack force under the command of Admiral Nagumo, consisting of six carriers with 423 planes, is about to attack. At 6 a.m., the first attack wave of 183 Japanese planes takes off from the carriers located 230 miles north of Oahu and heads for the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor - At 7:02 a.m., two Army operators at Oahu's northern shore radar station detect the Japanese air attack approaching and contact a junior officer who disregards their reports, thinking they are American B-17 planes which are expected in from the U.S. west coast.

Near Oahu - At 7:15 a.m., a second attack wave of 167 planes takes off from the Japanese carriers and heads for Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor is not on a state on high alert. Senior commanders have concluded, based on available intelligence, there is no reason to believe an attack is imminent. Aircraft are therefore left parked wingtip to wingtip on airfields, anti-aircraft guns are unmanned with many ammunition boxes kept locked in accordance with peacetime regulations. There are also no torpedo nets protecting the fleet anchorage. And since it is Sunday morning, many officers and crewmen are leisurely ashore.

At 7:53 a.m., the first Japanese assault wave, with 51 'Val' dive bombers, 40 'Kate' torpedo bombers, 50 high level bombers and 43 'Zero' fighters, commences the attack with flight commander, Mitsuo Fuchida, sounding the battle cry: "Tora! Tora! Tora!" (Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!).

The Americans are taken completely by surprise. The first attack wave targets airfields and battleships. The second wave targets other ships and shipyard facilities. The air raid lasts until 9:45 a.m. Eight battleships are damaged, with five sunk. Three light cruisers, three destroyers and three smaller vessels are lost along with 188 aircraft. The Japanese lose 27 planes and five midget submarines which attempted to penetrate the inner harbor and launch torpedoes.

Escaping damage from the attack are the prime targets, the three U.S. Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers, Lexington, Enterprise and Saratoga, which were not in the port. Also escaping damage are the base fuel tanks.

The casualty list includes 2,335 servicemen and 68 civilians killed, with 1,178 wounded. Included are 1,104 men aboard the B attleship USS Arizona killed after a 1,760-pound air bomb penetrated into the forward magazine causing catastrophic explosions.

In Washington, various delays prevent the Japanese diplomats from presenting their war message to Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, until 2:30 p.m. (Washington time) just as the first reports of the air raid at Pearl Harbor are being read by Hull.

News of the "sneak attack" is broadcast to the American public via radio bulletins, with many popular Sunday afternoon entertainment programs being interrupted. The news sends a shockwave across the nation and results in a tremendous influx of young volunteers into the U.S. armed forces. The attack also unites the nation behind the President and effectively ends isolationist sentiment in the country.

Monday, December 8 - The United States and Britain declare war on Japan with President Roosevelt calling December 7, "a date which will live in infamy. "

Thursday, December 11 - Germany and Italy declare war on the United States. The European and Southeast Asian wars have now become a global conflict with the Axis powers Japan, Germany and Italy, united against America, Britain, France, and their Allies.

Wednesday, December 17 - Admiral Chester W. Nimitz becomes the new commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Both senior commanders at Pearl Harbor Navy Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, and Army Lt. General Walter C. Short, were relieved of their duties following the attack. Subsequent investigations will fault the men for failing to adopt adequate defense measures.

Photo credits: courtesy U.S. Navy, U.S. National Archives, Library of Congress

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The confusion of war: A Pearl Harbor survivor story

I don’t know what led me to sit at the foot of my Great Uncle Ray’s rocking chair and hear his story of being at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, at a family reunion. But I won’t ever forget that day. Even though at the time I had no intention of serving in the military, I was fascinated by the stories of those who had served. Oddly enough, sharing the stories of military women is where my passion lies today. My Great Uncle Ray died in 2008. Now his story lives on through my memory and in the book of Pearl Harbor survivors that he’s featured in, that he gave me a copy of.

Ray decided to enlist in the Navy in 1940 for six years. As the next to the youngest of eight children, he knew his father needed any help he could provide to help his remaining family. He began bootcamp on August 26, 1940, in San Diego. After graduation, he headed to Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Cincinnati. Once they arrived at Pearl Harbor, the men were dispersed among the various units. Ray was assigned the USS Pruitt. In approximately October of 1941, the USS Pruitt went in for a general overhaul. The crew was removed to housing at the barracks at the receiving station near the main gate at Hickam Field.

On the morning of December 7, Ray had just put on his brand-new set of tailor-made whites he had picked up the day before. They had cost him $30 a month and a half wage. He had plans of heading ashore for the day. As he was putting on his neckerchief, he heard what sounded like explosions. He ran outside to see what the sound was there were planes everywhere and black smoke rising in the area of Ford Island. Alarms were going off all over. A group of sailors stood there watching the horror of the attack for a few minutes. All of a sudden, a torpedo plane erupted into a ball of flames. They all hit the deck and then ran for cover. Within a few seconds, a yard workman in a truck drove up and told them to hop on. There was a need for personnel to man guns on other ships.

Ray was taken to the USS Pennsylvania with one other sailor from the USS Pruitt. The USS Pennsylvania was in dry dock. Once they gave their name, rank, serial number and the ship they were assigned, they were sent to a five-inch anti-aircraft gun on the starboard just aft of the superstructure. He recalled being at that assignment for only what seemed like five to six minutes. Then an officer who was quite disheveled – somehow he had eggs on his hat – ordered him to report to the five-inch gun on the port side. Shortly after moving to the port side, they shot down a Japanese plane. About the same time, an armor-piercing bomb took out the starboard side. The shipmate who came aboard the USS Pennsylvania with him was killed. He believes if he hadn’t been reassigned, he would have also been killed too. He regretted that he didn’t remember the man’s name. They didn’t know each other and didn’t talk as they were focused on the mission.

There were two other ships in dry dock with the USS Pennsylvania — the USS Downes and the USS Cassin. Both were completely destroyed. Ray remained aboard the USS Pennsylvania until five p.m. and then was instructed to return to his ship.

When he arrived at the quarterdeck of the USS Pruitt, Ray was informed by the Officer of the Day he had been reported as Killed in Action (KIA) onboard the USS Pennsylvania during the morning. The information had already been reported to the US Naval Command at Pearl Harbor and a notice of his death had been sent to his parents. He said he was not the only one who had this happen to him. Because of this, the Navy came up with a plan three to four days after the attack to inform loved ones of their condition. Unfortunately, the Navy’s solution required you to sign your full name and check a box on what most closely related to your condition.

This was a good solution for most, but because he had never gone by Raymond, but instead Sonny, his parents didn’t believe that he was still alive. They had never seen him sign his name as Raymond and didn’t want to believe he was still alive if it wasn’t true. Letters home were not allowed initially. His parents believed him to be dead with the only communication being signed letters of his physical condition.

Eventually, the Navy allowed members to send letters home. When his parents received his letter and saw it was signed as Sonny and not Raymond, they finally believed that their son had survived the Pearl Harbor attack.

I won’t ever forget the minutes I shared with my great uncle as he shared his story of surviving Pearl Harbor. He was so proud of his service. His eyes lit up in a way that made him look much younger than he was. I’m so thankful for his service. But I am even more grateful he took the time to write his story down so it could be shared with future generations.


37 Photographs of the Historic USS Pennsylvania Battleship

Recreation hour on the Pennsylvania (BB-38). The Bluejackets acquire a tropical sun-tan while the ship&rsquos band renders its daily concert, 1938. historyinfotos Pennsylvania (BB-38) sails along with two columns of destroyers for company in this 1930&rsquos photo. historyinfotos 1) Captain Charles M. Cooke, Jr. took command of the battleship Pennsylvania (BB-38) in February 1941, saw her through the 7 December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that opened the Pacific War, and remained with her into 1942. Portrait photograph, taken circa 1938-1941. historyinfotos The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor &ndash Hickam Field. historyinfotos Pennsylvania (BB-38) in Drydock # 1 at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, with the sunken destroyer Downes (DD-375) and capsized Cassin(DD-372) in the foreground. historyinfotos The wrecked destroyers Downes (DD-375) and Cassin (DD-372) in Drydock One at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, soon after the end of the Japanese air attack. Cassin has capsized against Downes. Pennsylvania (BB-38) is astern, occupying the rest of the drydock. The torpedo-damaged cruiser Helena (CL-50) is in the right distance, beyond the crane. Visible in the center distance is the capsized Oklahoma (BB-37), with Maryland (BB-46) alongside. Smoke is from the sunken and burning Arizona (BB-39), out of view behind Pennsylvania. California(BB-44) is partially visible at the extreme left. This image has been attributed to Navy Photographer&rsquos Mate Harold Fawcett. historyinfotos Stern view of the Pennsylvania (BB-38), taken on 2 March 1942, at San Francisco for refit and repairs after Pearl Harbor. historyinfotos A VO-2 OS2U-3 is lifted off the recovery sled and about to be swung aboard Pennsylvania (BB-38) on 3 August 1943. historyinfotos Bombarding shore installations off Guam prior to the invasion, on 20 July 1944. historinfotos Pumped water spills from hoses as crewmen work to keep the Pennsylvania (BB-38) afloat after she was hit by an aerial torpedo during action off Okinawa 12 August 1945. The ship was saved. Hoses from gun barrels lead from ship&rsquos flooded compartments. historyinfotos Pennsylvania (BB-38) on 12 August 1945 at Buckner Bay, Okinawa where she was assisted by two salvage tugs in pumping the water out and later towed her to Apra Harbor, Guam.
On 6 September 1945, she was in ABSD 3 where repairs were made to cover the hole before steaming to Puget Sound Naval Yard under her own power for more extensive repairs. historyinfotos Pennsylvania&rsquos (BB-38) score card on Bridge. historyinfotos 1946 Crew photo. historinfotos At sea, just prior to the first Bikini Atom Bomb Test on 15 June 1946. historyinfotos The underwater test at Bikini shows its terrific power amid the anchored vessels, made bare seconds after its release. historyinfotos Final moments of the Pennsylvania (BB-38) as she is expended as a target and scuttled off Hawaii on 10 February 1948. A tough ship she survived both Bikini nuclear tests. historyinfotos The Bell of the Pennsylvania (BB-38) on display at Erie Maritime Museum in Erie, PA. historyinfotos


Watch the video: Το Μυστήριο του Περλ Χάρμπορ. The Mystery of Pearl Harbor (August 2022).