Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Figure 1: USS Wheeling (PG-14) at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, circa August 1897. Photo from the William H. Topley Collection, courtesy of Charles M. Loring, Napa, CA, 1972. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: Photograph of USS Wheeling (PG-14) from the 1914 edition of Jane's Fighting Ships. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: Photograph of USS Wheeling (PG-14) from the 1919 edition of Jane's Fighting Ships. Click on photograph for larger image.
USS Wheeling (PG-14) was a 990-ton steel gunboat that was built by the Union Iron Works at San Francisco, California, and was commissioned on 10 August 1897. The ship was approximately 189 feet long and 34 feet wide, had a top speed of 12.88 knots, and had a crew of 140 officers and men. Wheeling was armed with six 4-inch guns, four 6-pounder rifles, two 1-pounders, and a Colt machine gun.
After a trip to the Hawaiian Islands in 1897, Wheeling patrolled off the coast of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands during the Spanish-American War. During the spring of 1899, Wheeling was sent to the Far East to assist in the suppression of the Philippine insurrection. For the next year, Wheeling patrolled the Philippine Islands, escorted troop transports, and assisted in maintaining communications between US Army units throughout the islands. When the infamous Boxer Rebellion erupted in China in March 1900, Wheeling was sent to that troubled country. Wheeling spent much of her time patrolling northern Chinese waters from 23 March to 9 May and her primary duty was to protect American lives and property along the coast. Wheeling also joined gunboats from other European nations at Taku, the port city for both Tientsin and Peking. Taku was the scene of major fighting between the western powers and the Boxers and the port had to be secured by the westerners if a major relief expedition was to be mounted for the rescue of the diplomats at Peking, who were being besieged by the Boxers. The western nations took Taku and eventually used this port to reinforce and rescue the diplomats and other western nationals at Peking.
On 9 May 1900, Wheeling left Taku and was sent back to the United States. She made a long journey that took her to Yokohama, Japan, and then to the Aleutian Islands. On 25 August, Wheeling headed south and, after visiting several Alaskan ports, reached Bremerton, Washington, on 11 December. By 19 December, Wheeling arrived at Mare Island, California, where she stayed until 1902. From 1902 to 1904, Wheeling was the station ship at American Samoa, where she set up signal installations, completed survey work, and transported passengers between the Samoan Islands. On 15 June 1904, Wheeling left American Samoa and returned to the United States, where on 1 July she was decommissioned at Bremerton, Washington, and docked at the Puget Sound Navy Yard.
Wheeling was re-commissioned at Puget Sound on 3 May 1910. In June, Wheeling left for an amazing journey to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, via the Pacific. During this voyage, Wheeling nearly circumnavigated the globe. She left the west coast on 17 June and steamed to Yokohama, Japan. From there she went to Singapore and then to the Suez Canal. After transiting the canal, Wheeling continued westward across the Mediterranean and made a stop at Genoa, Italy. From there she stopped at Gibraltar and then Hamilton, Bermuda, before finally arriving at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on 22 November.
After an overhaul, Wheeling spent almost six years patrolling off the coasts of the West Indies and the Gulf of Mexico. On 15 July 1913, she was positioned near Vera Cruz and Tampico, Mexico, to protect American lives and property during that nation’s political unrest. Wheeling also “showed the flag” and protected American interests in Haiti and Santo Domingo in 1914. In April and June of that same year, she was sent back to Mexico to take part in the famous American intervention and landing at Vera Cruz. After her mission was completed at Vera Cruz, Wheeling was sent back to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for repairs.
In 1916, Wheeling once again came to the aid of American citizens in Mexico and assisted US Army units in fighting Mexican bandits that were threatening American lives and property. After the United States entered World War I on 6 April 1917, Wheeling still was anchored at Vera Cruz. On 13 April, Wheeling arrived at New Orleans, Louisiana, where she was prepared for overseas service. Wheeling was sent to Europe and arrived in the Azores in September. For the next seven months, she was assigned to patrol and escort duties between the Azores and Gibraltar. In April 1918, Wheeling was based at Gibraltar and escorted convoys to Bizerte, North Africa, and to Genoa, Italy. Wheeling continued escorting convoys to and from Gibraltar for the rest of the war. On 7 December 1918, Wheeling left Gibraltar and headed back to the United States and, after making stops in the Azores and at St. George in the British West Indies, eventually reached New Orleans. She was decommissioned there on 18 October 1919 and on 31 December was assigned to the Eighth Naval District as a training ship for naval reservists. On 1 July 1921, her classification was changed from PG-14 to IX-28 and on 21 January 1923 she was sent to the Third Naval District and used as a training ship for the Sixth Naval Reserve Battalion. Wheeling was based in New York on 14 July 1923 and stayed there in a training and support role until World War II ended. On 13 February 1946, USS Wheeling was placed out of service and on 28 March her name was struck from the Navy list. The gallant old gunboat eventually was sold for scrap on 5 October 1946, after almost 50 years of service.
Posted by Remo at 6:46 AM
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Figure 1: HMS Glowworm (H92) prior to World War II. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: HMS Glowworm (H92) circa 1936. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: HMS Glowworm (H92) prior to World War II. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: HMS Glowworm (H92) at Alexandria, Egypt, after her collision with HMS Grenade, her sister ship, during a training exercise in May 1939. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: HMS Glowworm (H92) in heavy seas, probably at the start of World War II. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: Lieutenant Commander Gerard Broadmead Roope, captain of HMS Glowworm (H92) at the time of her battle with the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper on 8 April 1940. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: Starboard view of the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper on trials in 1939. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: HMS Glowworm (H92) making smoke and firing torpedoes at the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper on 8 April 1940. This picture was taken by a crewmember on board Admiral Hipper during the battle. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 9: “The Attack on the Admiral Hipper by HMS Glowworm,” by maritime artist Ivan Berryman. HMS Glowworm (H92), burning severely after receiving hits from the mighty Admiral Hipper, is depicted turning to begin her heroic sacrifice off the Norwegian coast on 8 April 1940. Hugely out-gunned and already crippled, Glowworm’s captain, Lieutenant Commander Roope, rammed his destroyer into the side of the Admiral Hipper, inflicting a 130 foot rip in its armor belt before drifting away and sinking. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 10: British crewmen from HMS Glowworm (H92) cling to what’s left of their ship after their battle with the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper on 8 April 1940. This photograph was taken through one of Admiral Hipper’s gun sights. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 11: Captain Hellmuth Heye, commanding officer of Admiral Hipper on 8 April 1940. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 12: Oil-covered survivors from HMS Glowworm (H92) being rescued by Admiral Hipper, 8 April 1940. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 13: Captain Hellmuth Heye oversees the rescue of British sailors from HMS Glowworm (H92) on board Admiral Hipper, 8 April 1940. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 14: Oil-covered survivors from HMS Glowworm (H92) climbing up rope ladders to board Admiral Hipper on 8 April 1940. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 15: German crewmembers on board Admiral Hipper while survivors from HMS Glowworm (H92) are being rescued. Click on photograph for larger image.
HMS Glowworm (H92) was a 1,350-ton G-class Royal Navy destroyer that was built by John I. Thornycroft and Company at Woolston, Hampshire, England, and was commissioned on 22 January 1936. The ship was approximately 323 feet long and 33 feet wide, had a top speed of 36 knots, and had a crew of 149 officers and men. Glowworm was armed with four 4.7-inch guns, eight 21-inch torpedo tubes, and about eight 0.5-inch (12.7-mm) machine guns.
Glowworm initially was assigned to the Mediterranean, where she acted primarily as an escort during the Spanish Civil War and the Munich Crisis. In May 1939, Glowworm collided with her sister ship, HMS Grenade, during a nighttime naval exercise in the Mediterranean. Glowworm sustained significant damage to her bow and it took several weeks to repair the ship. Once World War II began in Europe in September 1939, Glowworm was stationed with the First Destroyer Flotilla at Alexandria, Egypt, but in October the flotilla was transferred to the Western Approaches Command. On 19 October, Glowworm, along with her sister ships HMS Gallant, HMS Grafton, and HMS Greyhound left for England, arriving at Plymouth on 22 October. Glowworm was assigned to convoy escort duties and to anti-submarine patrols and on 12 November was transferred to the 22nd Destroyer Flotilla based at Harwich. She began patrol and escort duties in the North Sea, which continued until February 1940.
On 22 February 1940, Glowworm was hit by the Swedish ship Rex in a thick fog off Outer Dowsing, just north of Norwich, England. Once again, Glowworm suffered substantial damage as a result of a collision and was sent to Hull, England, for repairs that lasted until late March. After repairs were completed, Glowworm was transferred back on 20 March to the First Destroyer Flotilla, which now was based at Scapa Flow. On 22 March, she was assigned to escort duties in the North Sea and to the North Western Approaches to England.
On 5 April 1940, Glowworm was part of the destroyer escort screen for the battlecruiser HMS Renown, along with the destroyers HMS Greyhound, HMS Hero, and HMS Hyperion. These ships were part of a task force sent to lay mines off the coast of Norway, known as Operation Wilfred. At the same time, Germany was beginning its massive invasion of Norway. German merchant ships, escorted by powerful warships, headed for the coast of Norway. Bad weather and heavy seas blanketed the Norwegian coast and on 7 April Glowworm lost a man overboard. The commanding officer of Glowworm, Lieutenant Commander Gerard Broadmead Roope, was given permission to search for the missing sailor while the rest of the British task force headed towards Norway.
On the morning of 8 April 1940, Roope called off the search for the missing sailor. As the destroyer steamed to rejoin the British task force, Glowworm spotted the German destroyers Bernd von Arnim (Z11) and Hans Ludemann (Z18) and immediately attacked the two enemy warships, scoring a hit on one of them. The German destroyers were part of a naval detachment led by the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper, which was assigned to land troops at Trondheim, Norway, as part of the German invasion of that country. The German destroyers quickly ran away from Glowworm while frantically radioing Admiral Hipper for help. Within an hour, the 14,000-ton German heavy cruiser, under the command of Captain Hellmuth Heye, arrived to deal with the British destoryer. Admiral Hipper was armed with eight 8-inch guns, twelve 4.1-inch guns, twelve 37-mm guns, and eight 20-mm guns and could certainly make short work of the much smaller British warship. Since the rough weather, speed and long-range guns possessed by Admiral Hipper made escape impossible, Lieutenant Commander Roope on board Glowworm decided to stand and fight.
Glowworm headed straight for Admiral Hipper and fired her torpedoes at the German heavy cruiser, all of which missed. Admiral Hipper at this point was firing her guns at Glowworm, scoring several major hits and setting the destroyer on fire. Lieutenant Commander Roope must have realized that it was only a matter of time before his ship was sunk and decided to make one last effort to destroy his mighty opponent. Roope ordered a smoke screen to be made, giving the impression that he was going to steam away from the German warship. Instead, he gave the order to turn hard to starboard and headed straight for Admiral Hipper, trying to ram her! The ruse must have worked because the German heavy cruiser couldn’t turn away in time. Glowworm, by now being pounded mercilessly by Admiral Hipper’s guns, struck the German cruiser’s bow, tearing away 130 feet of her armor belt and causing a major gash in her hull, leaving her in a listing condition with almost 500 tons of seawater pouring into the German warship. But Glowworm had been torn to pieces in the collision. What was left of the British destroyer was on fire and drifted away from Admiral Hipper. HMS Glowworm capsized and sank shortly after that.
To his credit, Captain Heye brought Admiral Hipper to a stop and spent roughly an hour picking up survivors from the sea. Only 31 out of Glowworm’s crew of 149 survived the battle and were picked up by the German warship. Lieutenant Commander Roope was last seen holding onto a rope while being pulled up the side of Admiral Hipper. Tragically, through a combination of rough waves and sheer exhaustion, Roope let go of the rope and fell back into the water, never to be seen again. Captain Hellmuth Heye was so impressed by Roope that he later sent a message to British authorities via the Red Cross describing the valiant courage displayed by his British adversary, even recommending that Lieutenant Commander Roope be awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest award for valor. Lieutenant Commander Gerard Broadmead Roope was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross and it was the only Victoria Cross to be given partially based on the recommendation of the enemy, Captain Heye, commanding officer of the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper.
Before it was sunk, Glowworm managed to radio the task force headed by HMS Renown, alerting it to the presence of a major German warship in the area. Although this was valuable information, it did not alter the course of the German invasion of Norway, which, in the end, was a success. Admiral Hipper was eventually repaired and served almost to the end of World War II, before being scuttled at the German port of Kiel on 2 May 1945. Few people today know the story of HMS Glowworm and her remarkable commanding officer, Gerard Roope, but this in no way should detract from the heroic stand she made against impossible odds on 8 April 1940.
Posted by Remo at 9:38 AM
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Figure 1: USS Princeton (PG-13) photographed in 1898, probably when first completed. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: Gunboat USS Princeton (PG-13) anchored at Farm Cove, Sydney Harbor, Australia, in September 1912. Click on photograph for larger image.
NOTE: This photograph and a great description of USS Princeton can be found at: http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cacunithistories/USS_Princeton.html
Figure 3: USS Princeton (PG-13) 13 February 1899 in harbor at Port Suez, Egypt, dressed with flags and flying a Turkish flag at its mainmast. Click on photograph for larger image. Courtesy Camden People web site at: http://www.dvrbs.com/People/CamdenPeople-JohnHDialogue.htm
Figure 4: USS Princeton (PG-13) circa 1900 at Shanghai, China. Courtesy U.S. Warships of World War I. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: USS Princeton (PG-13) circa 1903 at Manila, the Philippines. Click on photograph for larger image. Courtesy Camden People web site at: http://www.dvrbs.com/People/CamdenPeople-JohnHDialogue.htm
Named after a town in New Jersey, USS Princeton (PG-13) was a 1,103-ton Annapolis class composite (made out of both wood and steel) gunboat that was built by J. H. Dialogue & Son at Camden, New Jersey, and was commissioned on 27 May 1898. The ship was approximately 168 feet long and 36 feet wide, had a top speed of 11 knots, and had a crew of 147 officers and men. Princeton was armed with six 4-inch guns, two 1-pounders, and one machine gun.
After completing acceptance trials 7-25 July 1898, Princeton sailed to Key West, Florida, where she was assigned to the US North Atlantic Fleet. On 2 August, she was sent to patrol the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula and the coast of Guatemala. Princeton returned to Key West on 13 August and remained in this area until 1 January 1899, when she went back north to New York.
In early 1899, Princeton was ordered to the Far East and left New York for Cavite, the Philippines, and sailed there via the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal. The gunboat reached Cavite on 16 April and patrolled the waters off the Philippines with USS Petrel (PG-2) 4-15 May. Shortly after that, Princeton took Senator A. J. Beveridge on a tour of the Philippines and later that month began blockading the ports of St. Vincent and Musa in an effort to prevent arms and supplies from reaching Filipino rebels in those areas. As rebel activities increased on the island of Luzon, Princeton transported and landed American troops at San Fabian 2-7 November 1899. She also transported US cavalrymen as well as captured arms, carried dispatches, and brought supplies to US Marines at Subic Bay. Princeton assisted in the capture of the Babuyan and the Batan Islands on 13 January 1900 and she continued patrolling the waters off Luzon until 10 February. Princeton later acted as the station ship at Iloilo and Cebu from 5 March to 21 June 1900.
During China’s horrific Boxer Rebellion, Princeton patrolled off the coast of China from Hong Kong to Woosung. Her patrols lasted from 26 June to 29 November 1900, but she returned to the Philippines on 4 December. Princeton remained there until 13 April 1903 and was ordered back to California. She was decommissioned at the Mare Island Navy Yard on 12 June 1903. The gunboat was re-commissioned on 12 May 1905 at Mare Island and was attached to the Pacific Squadron. Princeton left 4 June and became the station ship at Panama City, where she stayed until 24 October. On 2 December 1905, Princeton sailed back to Mare Island and began patrolling off America’s Pacific coast from San Diego all the way north to Esquimalt, British Columbia. She remained on the West Coast until she was ordered to patrol the waters off Magdalena Bay, Mexico, on 3 January 1907.
Princeton went to Corinto, Nicaragua, on 17 March 1907 during that country’s political turmoil and her main mission was to protect American lives and property there. She also assisted in transporting troops during the crisis. Princeton returned to San Diego on 30 May and was decommissioned once more on 3 July 1907 at Bremerton, Washington. Re-commissioned yet again on 5 November 1909 at Bremerton, Princeton returned to Central America and on 28 November was ordered to join the Nicaraguan Expeditionary Squadron. Princeton was stationed in Central America from 20 December 1909 to 21 March 1911 and mainly patrolled the area between San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, and La Union, El Salvador. She returned to the Puget Sound Navy Yard on 20 June 1911 for an overhaul.
From 1911 to 1915, Princeton became the US Navy station ship at Tutuila, American Samoa. On 11 July 1914, while patrolling off the coast of Samoa, Princeton hit an uncharted rock during a storm. The resulting hole caused considerable flooding and the ship began to go down by the bow, so much so that the forward gun deck was awash. But the efficient crew managed to keep the ship afloat and Princeton was able to get underway after the collision and steam back to Tutuila for repairs.
Princeton returned to San Francisco on 18 September 1915 and was decommissioned and laid up until 20 February 1917, when she was sent to the Puget Sound Navy Yard for repairs. She then was commissioned “in ordinary” at Puget Sound on 16 January 1918 and was used as a training ship at Seattle, Washington, from 9 May 1918 to 25 April 1919, when the old gunboat was decommissioned for the last time. USS Princeton was struck from the Navy List on 23 June 1919 and was eventually sold to Farrell, Kane, & Stratton of Seattle, Washington, on 13 November 1919.
Ships like Princeton were considered obsolete for fleet operations when they were built. By the time Princeton was commissioned in 1898, steel warships had taken over from wooden and iron warships in most navies around the world. But composite gunboats, ships made out of both wood and steel, still had a place in the US Navy at the turn of the century. These modestly priced warships were just as capable of “showing the flag” and bringing a substantial amount of firepower to bear as their modern (and more expensive) all-steel counterparts. Their heavy use of sail power gave them great range and made them economical, since their steam engines were not used as much and, therefore, consumed less coal. These ships also were cheap and easy to maintain compared to steel warships. Finally, even after being replaced by all-steel gunboats, these composite vessels still were able to make a valuable contribution as training ships. Princeton proved that sometimes the most modern and expensive warships are not always needed for the everyday tasks a major navy has to perform.
Posted by Remo at 9:22 AM
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Figure 1: Post card showing USS Wilmington (PG-8), date and place unknown. Courtesy Darryl Baker. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Wilmington (PG-8), date and place unknown. Courtesy Robert Hurst. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: View of amidships of USS Wilmington (PG-8), 1898, with crewmen on deck. The masts of a schooner are visible beyond her port side. The original photograph was printed on a stereograph card, copyright by Strohmeyer & Wyman, 1898. Courtesy of Commander Donald J. Robinson, USN(MSC), 1981. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: USS Wilmington (PG-8) at Hong Kong, China, circa 1911. Courtesy Robert M. Cieri. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: USS Wilmington (PG-8) at Canton, China, circa 1911. Courtesy Robert M. Cieri. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: USS Wilmington (PG-8) as a Naval Reserve training ship. Note her heavy elevated conning tower, designed to protect bridge personnel from bandit sniping in the Chinese rivers. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: USS Wilmington (PG-8) circa the 1930s or 1940s, steaming on the Great Lakes. Courtesy the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: USS Wilmington (PG-8) circa 1942 as the USS Dover (IX-30). Courtesy E. C. Lowrance, Jr. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 9: USS Wilmington (PG-8) circa 1942 as the USS Dover (IX-30). Courtesy E. C. Lowrance, Jr. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 10: USS Wilmington (PG-8) circa 1942 as the USS Dover (IX-30). Courtesy E. C. Lowrance, Jr. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after a city in Delaware, USS Wilmington (PG-8) was a 1,571-ton gunboat that was built by the Newport News Shipbuilding Company at Newport News, Virginia, and was commissioned on 13 May 1897. The ship was approximately 251 feet long and 40 feet wide, had a top speed of 15 knots, and had a crew of 212 officers and men. Wilmington was armed with eight 4-inch guns and four 3-pounders.
After completing sea trials and training exercises off America’s East Coast, Wilmington was assigned to the North Atlantic Squadron and was based at Key West, Florida. Wilmington continued participating in training exercises until early 1898 as tensions began growing between the United States and Spain over Cuba. On 21 April 1898, the United States declared war on Spain and the US Navy began moving ships south to blockade Cuba.
On 11 May 1898, while on blockade duty off Cardenas, Cuba, Wilmington was ordered to join the gunboat USS Machias (PG-5), the torpedo boat USS Winslow, and the US Revenue Cutter Hudson to attack the port of Cardenas and sink the three Spanish gunboats that were reportedly moored there. The American ships entered Cardenas harbor and withstood a barrage of gunfire from shore batteries as well as from the Spanish gunboats. The American gunboats returned fire and damaged two of the Spanish gunboats, but did not sink either of them. Wilmington and Machias also managed to hit some of the Spanish shore batteries as well as destroy several buildings along the waterfront, causing some Spanish casualties. But the torpedo boat Winslow was heavily damaged by Spanish shore batteries, suffered substantial casualties, and had to be towed to safety by the Revenue Cutter Hudson. After that, the remaining American ships withdrew from the harbor. It was one of the few times the US Navy was forced to retreat during the Spanish-American War.
On 15 July 1898, Wilmington joined the blockade off Cape Cruz, Cuba, near the port of Manzanillo. The next day, Wilmington stopped two small fishing boats outside Manzanillo harbor and, after interrogating their crews, the Americans discovered that there was a submerged telegraph cable nearby. After arriving at the location designated by the fishermen, the Wilmington’s crew lowered a grappling hook and dragged it along the ocean floor until it snagged the cable. The crew then lifted the cable out of the water and cut it. After that, Wilmington steamed to Cuarto Reales and joined USS Helena (PG-9), USS Wompatuck, and USS Hist.
On 17 July, Wilmington and the three other ships sailed to El Guayabal, located 20 miles north of Manzanillo. Once there, the small flotilla rendezvoused with USS Scorpion, USS Hornet, and USS Osceola. That afternoon, the commanding officers of the four largest gunboats held a conference and devised a plan to attack the port of Manzanillo and destroy all of the Spanish shipping located there. At 0300 on 18 July 1898, all seven of the US warships attacked the port, with Wilmington and Helena entering via the north channel; Hist, Hornet, and Wompatuck coming in from the south; and Scorpion and Osceola charging into the center of the harbor. The harbor was filled with Spanish ships and the American gunboats opened fire. The Spanish supply steamer Purissima Concepcion was hit and caught fire and sank at her moorings. The Spanish gunboats Maria Ponton, Estrella, and Delgado Perrado were sunk and the transports Gloria and Jose Garcia were destroyed as well. Two smaller Spanish gunboats, Guantanamo and Guardian, were forced to beach themselves and then were blown to pieces by the American warships. During the 20-minute battle, not one American ship was hit and all of the US Navy warships quickly withdrew to resume their blockade duties with the North Atlantic Squadron off the coast of Cuba.
Wilmington returned to the United States and was dry docked at Boston from 24 September to 3 October 1898. After repairs were made to the ship, the gunboat left Massachusetts on 20 October and arrived at the Norfolk Navy Yard on 1 November for additional repairs. After those repairs were completed, Wilmington spent from 1899 to 1900 on patrol in the Caribbean and off the coast of South America. She even took an amazing 4,600-mile round-trip voyage up the Amazon River. On 16 October 1900, Wilmington left Pernambuco, Brazil, and headed for the Far East.
After arriving at Gibraltar on 3 November 1900, the ship entered the Mediterranean and then transited the Suez Canal. On 21 January 1901, Wilmington arrived at Manila in the Philippines and began her duties with the US Asiatic Fleet, which lasted from 1901 to 1922. During that time, she helped protect American lives and property in both the Philippines and China, sailing to such exotic ports as Swatow, Amoy, Foochow, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. In 1908, Wilmington joined the Yangtze River Patrol and steamed up the river as far as Hankow. While at Shanghai on 7 April 1917, Wilmington received a cable informing the ship that Germany and the United States were at war. China, which was officially neutral during the war, interned five American gunboats in its waters, but Wilmington managed to slip away and escape to the Philippines. Wilmington was assigned to patrol duties in the Philippines and remained there throughout the rest of World War I. She returned to Shanghai, China, in February 1919.
On 2 June 1922, Wilmington left the Far East and returned to the East Coast of the United States. On the way back, she visited the ports of Singapore, Colombo, Bombay, Karachi, Aden, Port Said, Gibraltar, and Ponta Delgada in the Azores. On 20 September 1922, she finally reached the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Navy Yard. The gunboat remained there until July 1923, when she was ordered to join the United States Naval Reserve Force and became a training ship on the Great Lakes. For the rest of the 1920s and throughout the entire 1930s, Wilmington continued serving as a training ship for naval reservists on the Great Lakes, operating from Chicago, Toledo, Buffalo, and Cleveland.
On 27 January 1941, USS Wilmington was designated IX-30 and was renamed Dover. Based at Toledo, Ohio, the old gunboat made trips on Lake Erie between Toledo and Cleveland until the fall of 1942, when she steamed down the St. Lawrence River towards the Atlantic Ocean. She visited Quebec on 24 November and on 18 December arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia. On 25 December 1942, Dover assisted in escorting Convoy HF-42 from Halifax to Boston. The convoy arrived there without incident on 27 December.
After that, Dover was sent south and arrived at Miami, Florida, on 1 February 1943. Three days later, Dover arrived at Gulfport, Mississippi, and remained there as an armed guard training ship for the rest of World War II. The ship was finally decommissioned on 20 December 1945 and was sold for scrap on 30 December 1946, after serving in the US Navy for almost 50 years.
Posted by Remo at 8:48 AM
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Figure 1: USS Quincy (CA-39) photographed during the late 1930s. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: USS Quincy (CA-39) underway at sea, circa 1937. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: Cruiser Division Seven's South American Cruise, 1939. View of USS Quincy (CA-39) at left and USS Tuscaloosa (CA-37) steaming in rough seas near the Strait of Magellan, 14 May 1939. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation. Collection of Rear Admiral Paul H. Bastedo. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: View looking forward from the bridge of USS Quincy (CA-39) while she was steaming through rough seas in the Strait of Magellan during Cruiser Division Seven's South American cruise, 14 May 1939. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation. Collection of Rear Admiral Paul H. Bastedo. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: USS Quincy (CA-39) underway on 1 May 1940, as seen from a Utility Squadron One aircraft. Note identification markings on her turret tops: longitudinal stripes on the forward turrets and a circle on the after one. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: USS Quincy (CA-39) in New York Harbor, 23 May 1942, after her last overhaul. HMS Biter (British Escort Aircraft Carrier, 1942) is in the left background, partially hidden by Quincy's bow. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: View on board USS Quincy (CA-39) looking aft on the port side from alongside 8-inch gun turret No. 1 while the ship was at the New York Navy Yard on 29 May 1942. Numbers in white circles mark recently installed items, including (# 1) splinter protection on the pilothouse; (# 2) 20-mm guns just forward of the pilothouse (largely hidden behind the second 8-inch gun turret); and (# 3) 1.1-inch gun mountings on the upper bridge wings. Other notable items include paravanes on the superstructure side just forward of the second 8-inch gun turret and the rangefinder "tub" atop the pilothouse. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: View on board USS Quincy (CA-39) looking forward over the boat deck from the secondary conn while the ship was at the New York Navy Yard for her last overhaul, 29 May 1942. Crude # "1" in white circle (center) marks the location of the 5-inch loading practice machine. Other notable items include: boats and boat cradle in foreground; four Curtiss SOC "Seagull" floatplanes atop the catapults; crated food piled by the after smokestack; and USS Marblehead (CL-12) at left. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 9: USS Quincy (CA-39) photographed from USS Wasp (CV-7) at Noumea, New Caledonia, on the eve of the invasion of Guadalcanal, 3 August 1942. She was sunk six days later during the Battle of Savo Island. Note Quincy's signal flags and Measure 12, Modified, camouflage scheme. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 10: USS President Adams (AP-38) photographed from USS Wasp (CV-7), at Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 August 1942. She is crowded with U.S. Marines bound for the invasion of Guadalcanal. USS Quincy (CA-39) is in the background. Note President Adams' life rafts, landing craft, and climbing netting. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 11: USS Quincy (CA-39) photographed from a Japanese cruiser during the Battle of Savo Island off Guadalcanal, 9 August 1942. Quincy, seen here burning and illuminated by Japanese searchlights, was sunk in this action. Copied from the Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison World War II history illustrations file. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 12: Captain Samuel N. Moore (1891-1942), USN, photographed circa 1941, while he was assigned to the Navy Department in Washington, D.C. In May 1942, he took command of the heavy cruiser USS Quincy. On 9 August 1942, during the night Battle of Savo Island, Captain Samuel N. Moore was killed in action on the bridge of his ship. The destroyer USS Samuel N. Moore (DD-747), which served from 1944 until 1969, was named in his honor. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after a city in Massachusetts, USS Quincy (CA-39) was a 9,375-ton New Orleans class heavy cruiser that was built by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Quincy, Massachusetts, and was commissioned on 9 June 1936. The ship was approximately 588 feet long and 61 feet wide, had a top speed of 32 knots, and had a crew of 807 officers and men. Quincy initially was armed with nine 8-inch guns, eight 5-inch guns, and eight .50-caliber machine guns, although this armament was modified a bit after the start of World War II. Quincy also was equipped with four lightly armed floatplanes that were used for reconnaissance.
Quincy first was assigned to Cruiser Division 8 of the Atlantic Fleet and was ordered to the Mediterranean on 20 July 1936 to protect American citizens during the Spanish Civil War. The heavy cruiser arrived off Malaga, Spain, on 27 July and while in Spanish waters worked with an international rescue fleet that included the German pocket battleships Deutschland, Admiral Graf Spee, and Admiral Scheer. During the Spanish Civil War, Quincy evacuated 490 refugees to France before being relieved by USS Raleigh on 27 September 1936.
In April 1937, Quincy transited the Panama Canal to begin operations in the Pacific. She returned to the Atlantic in January 1939 and in February took part in US naval exercises in the Caribbean. Quincy also spent some time in South American waters from April to June 1939 on a good will cruise.
Following the outbreak of World War II in Europe in September 1939, Quincy was assigned to the Neutrality Patrol in the western Atlantic. She returned to South America in mid-1940 and for several months acted as a training ship for Naval Reservists. Quincy also was attached to more Neutrality Patrols and participated in various amphibious warfare exercises in the Caribbean. In July 1941, Quincy steamed between America’s Atlantic coast and Iceland, assisting in the protection of unarmed American merchant ships in the area. Towards the end of 1941, Quincy escorted a convoy from South Africa to Trinidad. Her escort and patrol duties continued until shortly after the United States entered the war on 7 December 1941.
On 25 January 1942, Quincy was assigned to convoy escort duty and steamed off the coast of Iceland as part of Task Force 15. Quincy patrolled the Denmark Straits from 8 to 11 March and then left the area on 14 March for the New York Navy Yard. Once there, the heavy cruiser underwent a major overhaul that was to last until the end of May.
After the overhaul was completed, Quincy was transferred to the Pacific Fleet by way of the Panama Canal in June 1942. The following month, Quincy was sent to New Zealand in preparation for the invasion of the southern Solomon Islands. On 7 August 1942, the heavy cruiser bombarded Japanese targets on Guadalcanal and provided close fire support for the US Marines who were landing on the island.
During the evening of 8–9 August 1942, Quincy was one of five heavy cruisers (four American and one Australian) on patrol in the approaches to the landing beaches of Guadalcanal. While steaming in the channel between Florida Island and Savo Island in the early hours of 9 August, Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa’s Japanese task force of seven cruisers and one destroyer ran straight into five Allied cruisers and seven destroyers. What took place became known as the disastrous Battle of Savo Island, where the Japanese, who were experts in night gunfire and torpedo warfare, slaughtered the inexperienced Allied warships. USS Quincy, along with two other American and one Australian cruiser, were sunk and the remaining American cruiser was damaged. Approximately 1,002 Allied officers and men were killed and 666 were wounded. Quincy alone lost 370 killed and 167 wounded. The Japanese sustained only a few casualties and moderate damage to three cruisers, but lost no ships. It was one of the worst disasters in American naval history and tragically demonstrated the US Navy’s inability to fight a major naval battle at night. It also was a sad end to the relatively brief career of a fine ship, but the loss of USS Quincy (as well as the other Allied cruisers that night off Savo Island) showed that the US Navy had a lot to learn if it was going to prevail over the Japanese Navy at Guadalcanal.
Posted by Remo at 9:23 AM