Tuesday, May 29, 2012

CSS Governor Moore


Figure 1:  CSS Governor Moore (1862) sepia wash drawing by R.G. Skerrett, 1904, depicting the ship during her brief service as a Confederate cotton-clad gunboat on the lower Mississippi River. Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC.  US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 2:  USS Varuna (1862) sepia wash drawing by R.G. Skerrett, 1904. This Union warship was attacked by Governor Moore during the Battle of New Orleans on 24 April 1862. Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 3:  "Panoramic View of the United States Fleet passing the Forts on the Mississippi, on its way to New Orleans, April 19th, 1862." Contemporary line engraving published in The Soldier in our Civil War, Volume I. It depicts the Federal ships shortly before they began the passage of the forts, with the Confederate gunboats waiting upstream. Individual US Navy ships (as identified in text below the engraving) are: John P. Jackson, Mississippi, Pensacola, Hartford (flagship), Iroquois, Westfield, Cayuga, and Varuna. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 4:  "The Splendid Naval Triumph on the Mississippi, April 24th, 1862." Colored lithograph, published by Currier & Ives, 1862. It depicts Admiral David Glasgow Farragut's fleet passing Forts Jackson and St. Philip, below New Orleans. Courtesy of the US Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 5:  Farragut's fleet passing Forts Jackson & St. Philip.” Line engraving depicting the battle which took place on the lower Mississippi River during the night of 24 April 1862. A key to the forts and specific US and Confederate ships is given at the bottom of the view. The ships include USS Varuna (in action with Confederate gunboats, with CSS Governor Moore to the left of Varuna), USS Brooklyn, USS Pawnee (which was not present), USS Hartford (Farragut's flagship, with a fire raft alongside), USS Pensacola, USS Mississippi, CSS Louisiana (exploding), CSS Manassas and Federal mortar vessels. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.



Figure 6:  "Engagement between the US Gunboat 'Varuna' and the Confederate Ram 'Breckinridge' and Gunboat 'Governor Moore'." Line engraving published in The Soldier in Our Civil War, Volume I. It depicts USS Varuna in the center, being rammed by a Confederate ship identified as "Breckinridge" (at left) while engaging CSS Governor Moore (at right) during the battle off Forts Jackson and St. Philip, 24 April 1862. The side-wheel steamer identified here as "Breckinridge" (General Breckinridge), is more probably the CSS Stonewall Jackson. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.



Figure 7:  "Fight between the 'Varuna' and the 'Governor Moore'." Line engraving published in Harper's Weekly, 1862, depicting USS Varuna sinking at right, after she was rammed by CSS Governor Moore during the battle off Forts Jackson and St. Philip, 24 April 1862. The Governor Moore is shown at left, beached and burning after being severely damaged by the Union fleet. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.



Figure 8:  "The Last Broadside of the Varuna." Line engraving, published circa the 1860s, depicting USS Varuna continuing to fire at Confederate forces as she sank, during the Battle of New Orleans off Forts Jackson and St. Philip, just below the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, on 24 April 1862. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.


The steamer Charles Morgan was built by the Southern S.S. Company at New York City in 1854. She was a schooner-rigged, low pressure, seagoing side-wheel steamer and was seized at New Orleans by Brigadier-General Mansfield Lovell, Confederate States of America (CSA), in January 1862. Charles Morgan was quickly converted into a “cotton-clad” gunboat, so named for all the bales of cotton that were placed on board the ship for protection against Union gunfire. The stem of the ship was reinforced for ramming with two strips of flat railroad iron bolted to her at the waterline.  Pine lumber and bales of cotton were also used to protect the ship’s boilers and give some cover to her gun crews. The ship was re-named Governor Moore, after Louisiana’s governor, and was owned by the State of Louisiana and attached to the Confederacy’s Mississippi River Defense Fleet. The 1,215-ton Governor Moore was armed with two 32-pounder cannons and had a crew of 93 officers and men.

Governor Moore was placed under the command of Lieutenant Beverly Kennon, Confederate States Navy (CSN), who was a Commander in the Louisiana Provisional Navy without pay. On the evening of 24 April 1862, Union Admiral David Glasgow Farragut began his much anticipated attack on New Orleans. However, before he could take the city, his ships had to pass the Confederate forts that protected New Orleans, Forts Jackson and St. Philip. On that same night, a small group of Confederate gunboats steamed out to meet the powerful Union fleet and Governor Moore was part of that flotilla. 
As the Union and Confederate warships drew closer and closer, both sides began firing at each other. Governor Moore spotted the Union gunboat USS Varuna and headed straight for it. Since Governor Moore was not heavily armed, all she could do was ram the Union warship. Governor Moore picked up as much speed as possible and slammed into the side of Varuna. She then reversed her engines, backed away from the stricken Varuna, and then rammed the Union warship once again. After hitting Varuna, Lieutenant Kennon, commander of Governor Moore, was unable to depress his guns far enough to fire on the Union vessel. Kennon ordered one of his guns to shoot through his own bow and used the resulting hole as a gun port to fire more shots at Varuna.  
At approximately the same time, another Confederate cotton-clad warship, CSS Stonewall Jackson, also rammed into Varuna. By now Varuna was fatally damaged and beginning to sink.  But the tough Union gunboat continued firing at her tormentors until rising water from within the sinking ship silenced her guns and the ship sank.

After her battle with Varuna, Governor Moore tried to attack another Union gunboat, USS Cayuga. But in doing so, Governor Moore exposed herself to fire from most of the Union fleet. Governor Moore was pounded by numerous hits and practically the entire upper part of the ship was blown to pieces. The ship was taking on water and approximately 64 men lay dead or dying on board the Confederate gunboat. Incredibly, Lieutenant Kennon was still alive and with the help of his pilot and another seaman was able to ground the ship as it sank. The three men then set the ship on fire to prevent her from being captured by the Union fleet. The burning Governor Moore eventually blew up and sank, taking most of her crew with her. Lieutenant Kennon and several surviving crewmen were later captured and imprisoned on board the Union warship USS Colorado.
What the Confederate Navy lacked in warships it tried to make up in sheer bravery and audacity. Unfortunately, that usually isn’t enough to defeat a much more powerful fleet. Governor Moore made a valiant effort to try and stop Farragut’s warships. But the Union fleet was just too strong and too large that night for Governor Moore to change the outcome of the battle, which turned out to be a tremendous Union victory.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

RM Roma


Figure 1:  Battleship Roma being launched at the Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico shipyard on 9 June 1940. Italian Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.



Figure 2:  Roma sometime in 1942 or 1943, but prior to 9 September 1943. This photograph was probably taken shortly after commissioning since there is an absence of splinter camouflage on her, which was used towards the end of her career. Italian Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 3:  Stern view of Roma sometime in 1942 or 1943, but prior to 9 September 1943. This photograph was probably taken shortly after commissioning since there is an absence of splinter camouflage on her, which was used towards the end of her career. Italian Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.


 


Figure 4:  Roma testing her forward guns sometime in 1942 or 1943, but prior to 9 September 1943. This photograph was probably taken shortly after commissioning since there is an absence of splinter camouflage on her, which was used towards the end of her career. Italian Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 5:  Roma coming into port, date and place unknown. Note her new splinter camouflage which was used towards the end of her career. Italian Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 6:  Roma in port, probably doing maintenance on her guns, date and place unknown. Note her new splinter camouflage which was used towards the end of her career. Italian Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 7:  Stern view of Roma showing one of her float planes sitting on its catapult, date and place unknown. Italian Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 8:  Roma in port, date and place unknown. Note the life rafts on top of the 15-inch gun turrets. Italian Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 9:  Roma in port, date and place unknown. Italian Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 10:  Stunning view of Roma showing her immense size. Date and place unknown. Italian Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 11:  Roma leaving port, date and place unknown. Italian Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 12:  Roma after being hit by a German “Fritz X” radio-controlled glide bomb dropped by a German Do 217 bomber on 9 September 1943. She is shown here clearly listing to starboard and in serious trouble. Italian Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 13:  Roma on fire and listing even more to starboard after being hit by a German radio-controlled glide bomb on 9 September 1943. Italian Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 14:  The magazine of Roma’s number two 15-inch gun turret explodes on 9 September 1943. Italian Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 15:  A chain of explosions rips apart Roma on 9 September 1943 after she was hit by a second “Fritz X” German radio-controlled glide bomb. Italian Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 16:  As she was sinking, the once proud battleship Roma is blown apart and broken in two by internal explosions on 9 September 1943. Italian Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.



Figure 17:  What’s left of Roma’s bow before it slips under the sea on 9 September 1943. Italian Navy photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 18:  Junkers JU 88D with a “Fritz X” radio-controlled glide bomb at the United States Air Force Museum.  Two of these radio-controlled bombs were used to sink Roma on 9 September 1943. This is a public domain picture. Click on photograph for larger image.  



Named after the city of Rome, Italy, the 41,376-ton Roma was a Vittorio Veneto class battleship of the Italian Regia Marina (RM), or “Royal Navy.” The ship was built by the Cantieri Riuniti dell’Adriatico shipyard at Trieste, Italy, and was commissioned on 14 June 1942. Roma was approximately 787 feet long and 108 feet wide, had a top speed of 30 knots, and had a crew of 1,920 officers and men. Roma was heavily armed with nine 15-inch guns, 12 6-inch guns, 12 90-mm guns, 40 37-mm guns, 32 20-mm guns and six 8-mm guns. The battleship also carried three aircraft.

After being commissioned, Roma was ordered to steam to the major Italian naval base at Taranto and arrived there on 21 August 1942. At that point, she was assigned to the Italian Navy’s Ninth Naval Division. Although Roma participated in training exercises and was moved to various bases including Naples and La Spezia, she was not sent on any combat missions because of the severe shortage of fuel in the Italian Navy. There also was a lack of heavy vessels that could escort battleships like Roma, making it almost impossible for the Italian battleships to conduct effective offensive operations. On 6 December 1942, Roma was sent from Taranto to La Spezia along with two other Italian battleships, Vittorio Veneto and Littorio. Roma was made the flagship of the Regia Marina, but was forced to remain at La Spezia due to fuel shortages during the first six months of 1943. During that time, she did not go on any combat operations, but was used to bolster the anti-aircraft defenses of the port.

While Roma was at La Spezia, the port was bombed numerous times by Allied aircraft. On 5 June 1943, a bombing raid severely damaged both Roma and Vittorio Veneto. Roma received two near hits on either side of her bow. The first bomb hit the starboard side of the ship but passed through the hull before exploding. The second bomb missed the ship but exploded right next to the hull in the water, causing much damage to the hull. Roughly 2,350 tons of water poured into Roma, causing the ship to nearly sink. Shipyard workers immediately began to repair the stricken battleship, trying to make her seaworthy as quickly as possible.

But La Spezia was again attacked by Allied bombers on 23-24 June 1943, with Roma receiving two more bomb hits. The first bomb hit the ship aft and to starboard of the rear main battery turret and destroyed several staterooms. The second bomb landed on top of the rear 15-inch turret, but little damage was done due to the turret’s heavy armor protection. No serious damage was sustained by the ship and there was no flooding after this attack, but Roma was still sent to Genoa for repairs. Roma arrived at Genoa on 1 July and then returned to La Spezia on 13 August after the repairs were completed.

The war for Italy ended on 8 September 1943 when that country asked for and received an armistice with the Allied powers. The Italian fleet, which was about to launch a final attack against the Allied landings on southern Italy, was told that the war was over and that all ships had to sail to Allied-controlled ports, most notably the island of Malta. Admiral Carlo Bergamini sailed from La Spezia that evening on his flagship Roma along with two other battleships, three cruisers, and eight destroyers and headed for the port of La Maddalena, on the island of Sardinia. He was then ordered to take the task force from there to Malta.

On 9 September 1943, the task force was joined by thee more Italian cruisers and was steaming west of Corsica and was nearing the Strait of Bonifacio. At that point, Admiral Bergamini was told that it was no longer possible to go to Maddalena because it had just fallen to German troops, their one-time allies. At the same time, German bombers had left airfields in southern France and were ordered to stop the Italian ships from falling into British or American hands. German Dornier Do 217 bombers were prowling the skies looking for the Italian warships. They found them around 1537 hours. At first, Bergamini could not tell if they were German or Allied aircraft. But as soon as the planes began their bombing runs, it became clear that they were German and Bergamini gave the order to open fire on them.

Unknown to the Italians, the German bombers were armed with the new “Fritz X” (also known as the Ruhrstahl X-1) radio-controlled, precision-guided, armor-piercing glide bombs. This was the first guided bomb ever created and it represented the cutting-edge of technology.

The first wave of German bombers attacked the Italian ships but scored no hits. The Italian warships took evasive maneuvers and opened up with every anti-aircraft gun they had. Roughly 15 minutes after the first wave of bombers flew over the task force, another wave of Dornier Do 217 aircraft began their attack. The German aircraft dropped their bombs early and then turned away, confusing the Italians into thinking that the Germans had dropped their loads too early and were going to miss the ships. What the Italian ship commanders didn’t understand was that the bombs were being guided towards their ships by radio control and that they were headed straight for them. The battleship Italia was hit first, well aft, where it caused some flooding and a jammed rudder. Then Roma was hit by a bomb that penetrated her starboard side amidships. The bomb went through the ship’s hull, destroying an engine room and two boiler rooms. Roma fell out of formation as fires erupted all over the ship and the battleship took on a severe list. A few minutes later, a second bomb hit her forward on the starboard side next to the “B” or Number Two 15-inch gun turret. The armor-piercing bomb buried itself deep in the ship before exploding and destroyed the forward engine room and started huge fires throughout Roma. Then a few seconds later, the main powder magazine exploded, throwing the entire 1,500-ton “B” turret off the ship. The ship was now just a volcano of flames and was being blown to pieces. As some of the fire and smoke cleared, Roma was still afloat, but there now was an enormous hole where “B” turret used to be. The bridge and the ship’s superstructure began to collapse into the giant hole as water poured into Roma. As Roma sank deeper into the water, the crew struggled to abandon ship. But the strength of the well-made battleship gained some of the crew a few precious moments to get clear of the doomed vessel. Approximately 622 men managed to escape over nine minutes as Roma slowly rolled over, breaking in two as it did. The stern section of the ship sank immediately, but the bow section stayed afloat for a few more minutes before slipping beneath the waves. Admiral Bergamini and 1,253 other crew members were killed when the ship exploded and sank.   

The loss of Roma carried with it a lot of “ifs.” If the Italian warships had Allied air cover while attempting to flee to Malta, would the German bombers have been able to get close enough to attack the Italian warships in the first place? If the German bombers were carrying conventional bombs rather than these new radio-controlled bombs, would the Italian warships have had an easier time avoiding the deadly cargo that was dropped from the German aircraft? If the Italian warships had gone straight south rather than staying north close to Sardinia, could they have steamed out of range of the German bombers and avoided them? If the Italians had more fuel, could their ships have stayed farther out at sea longer and out of range of the German bombers, but much closer to their final destination of Malta?

But the loss of Roma did show that the era of the big-gun battleship was coming to a close. Just like the British loss of HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales to Japanese aircraft at the start of the war, airplanes proved once again to be deadly slayers of battleships. And with these new guided bombs carried by aircraft, all surface warships were going to have an even harder time surviving in this new age of modern naval warfare.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

USS Waldron (DD-699)


Figure 1: USS Waldron (DD-699) pitching her bow out of the water while operating in heavy Atlantic seas, 31 September 1953. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 2: USS Waldron (DD-699) underway on 13 July 1944, during her shakedown period. Note dense white smoke issuing from her after stack. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 3:  USS Waldron (DD-699) at sea in 1964 following her "FRAM II" modernization. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.



Figure 4:  USS Waldron (DD-699) at sea, 21 July 1964. Photographed by Photographer's Mate First Class Arthur W. Giberson. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 5: USS Waldron (DD-699) photographed during the 1960s following her "FRAM II" modernization. She is carrying an odd antenna on her helicopter landing deck. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.  



Figure 6: USS Waldron (DD-699) coming alongside USS Mispillion (AO-105) to refuel while operating in the Gulf of Tonkin, October 1967. Note Mispillion's "customer service" sign in the foreground and signal lamp at left. Photographed by Photographer's Mate First Class Don Grantham. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image. 




Figure 7: USS Waldron (DD-699) view looking forward from the pilothouse as the ship takes spray over her bow while steaming in the Atlantic, 22 March 1969. Photographed by Photographer's Mate Third Class P.C. Snyder. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 8: USS Waldron (DD-699) in the Mediterranean in 1965 while coming alongside the USS Chikaskia for refueling. The aircraft carrier is USS Shangri-La (CV-38).  From the collections of RADM Edward L. Feightner, BM2 Charles Peterman, and LCDR Al Gordon as compiled and edited by BM3 David Zanzinger.  Photograph is courtesy of LCDR Al Gordon USN (Ret.). Click on photograph for larger image.




Figue 9: USS Waldron (DD-699) departing Genoa, Italy, May 14 1965. Photograph courtesy Carlo Martinelli. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 10: USS Waldron (DD-699) departing Genoa, Italy, May 14 1965. Photograph courtesy Carlo Martinelli. Click on photograph for larger image. 


Named after Lieutenant Commander John C. Waldron (1900-1942), who died commanding Torpedo Squadron Eight (VT-8) during the Battle of Midway, the 2,200-ton USS Waldron was an Allen M. Sumner class destroyer that was built by the Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Company at Kearny, New Jersey, and was commissioned on 7 June 1944. The ship was approximately 376 feet long and 40 feet wide, had a top speed of 34 knots, and had a crew of 336 officers and men. Waldron was armed with six 5-inch guns, 12 40-mm guns, 11 20-mm guns, 10 21-inch torpedo tubes, and depth charges.

After her shakedown cruise off the coast of Bermuda in the early summer of 1944, Waldron was sent to join the Pacific Fleet. After transiting the Panama Canal on 1 October 1944, Waldron headed north and arrived at San Pedro, California, on 12 October. The ship then steamed to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and remained in the Hawaiian Islands until 17 December, when the ship continued its journey to the western Pacific. Waldron arrived at the naval base at Ulithi atoll on 28 December.

For the rest of the war, Waldron escorted fast attack aircraft carriers. Waldron and these carriers were assigned to various task forces which attacked the Philippines, Southeast Asia, China, Formosa, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the Japanese home islands. On the night of 17-18 February 1945, the task force Waldron was attached to was attacked by several small Japanese patrol boats. One of these enemy patrol boats attacked the destroyer USS Dortch (DD-670) with her 3-inch guns, killing three of the destroyer’s crewmen. Because of the darkness and the proximity of Dortch and another American destroyer, USS Charles S. Sperry (DD-697), Waldron could not fire at the Japanese patrol boat. So Waldron increased speed to 21 knots and rammed the Japanese patrol boat directly amidships, cutting the enemy warship completely in two. Roughly four hours later, Waldron received orders detaching her from the task force so that she could go to Saipan to repair her bow.
After her bow was repaired, Waldron once again began escorting aircraft carriers. On 18 March 1945, the task force Waldron was in began launching air strikes against the Japanese home islands. On that day, Japanese aircraft attacked and severely damaged the carrier USS Franklin (CV-13). Waldron was one of the ships assigned to provide antiaircraft cover for Franklin and escorted the damaged carrier from the area. Antiaircraft action continued throughout the three days Waldron escorted Franklin. On the night of 20-21 March, Waldron scored a “kill” of her own when her radar-directed main battery shot down a Japanese aircraft. She fired at another enemy plane that night, but technical problems prevented her from scoring a second kill. On 22 March, Waldron resumed her screening and escort duties while planes from her task force struck Okinawa in preparation for the invasion of that island.

During the Okinawa campaign, Waldron engaged in a number of antiaircraft actions and participated in two shore bombardments of enemy installations on Okinawa. On 14 May 1945, Waldron shot down one Japanese aircraft and assisted in shooting down four others. For the rest of the war in the Pacific, Waldron continued escorting the fast carriers during the final air strikes against the Japanese home islands. When hostilities ended on 15 August 1945, Waldron was off the Japanese coast with Task Force 38. Waldron escorted the carriers while their aircraft covered the initial occupation of Japan. This job lasted until 10 September, when Waldron entered Tokyo Bay.
For several months after the war ended, Waldron remained in the western Pacific, supporting the occupation of the Japanese home islands. She returned to the United States early in 1946 and was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet. She spent the rest of the decade mainly engaged in training Naval Reservists in the Caribbean area, but made one deployment to Europe before being decommissioned in May 1950. Waldron, though, did not spend much time in reserve due to the outbreak of the Korean War. The destroyer was re-commissioned in November 1950 and during the next twelve years operated in the Atlantic and in European waters. She made one deployment to the Far East from 1953 to 1954.

Waldron was extensively modernized in 1962 and then resumed her career with the Atlantic Fleet. She also completed a single tour of duty in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. While steaming off the coast of Vietnam, Waldron provided gunfire support for the III Marine Amphibious Force (MAF) during operations against communist forces on shore. In addition, she provided naval gunfire support for the Army’s 1st Air Cavalry Division and for the South Vietnamese 40th Division. Waldron also served on “Yankee Station” off the coast of Vietnam and joined the fast carriers of Task Force 77. She was used as an escort and for plane guard duties.
After returning to the United States from her tour of duty in Vietnam, Waldron spent roughly two years assigned to coastal operations along America’s east coast and made two deployments to the Mediterranean. In April 1970, the ship was reassigned to Naval Reserve training and was based at Mayport, Florida. Waldron was decommissioned on 30 October 1973, but was sold to the Colombian Navy and commissioned as ARC Santander (DD-03). The Colombian Navy eventually scrapped the ship in 1984. USS Waldron received four battle stars for her service during World War II and one battle star for her service during the war in Vietnam.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

USS Los Angeles (CA-135)


Figure 1:  USS Los Angeles (CA-135) photographed 21 March 1951 by PH1c Cooper. Collection of Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, USN. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 2:  Sikorski HO3S-1 helicopter on board USS Los Angeles (CA-135) after it crashed while landing on the ship with Rear Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, Commander Cruiser Division Five, and Lieutenant General James A. Van Fleet, Commanding General, Eighth Army, aboard, circa June-July 1951. Amazingly, no one was injured in the accident. Donation of Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, USN (Retired), 1969. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 3:  USS Los Angeles (CA-135) operating off Korea with Task Force 77, August 1951. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 4:  USS Los Angeles (CA-135) "Returns to the Korean theater for its second tour of combat duty with UN Naval Forces.” Text quoted from the original picture caption, released by Commander Naval Forces Far East under date of 13 October 1952. Note that the ship's Jack and National Ensign are flying at half-mast. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 5:  USS Los Angeles (CA-135), "Officers and men of USS Los Angeles honor US dead at Midway" (quoted from the original photo's caption). Photo was presumably taken off the Midway Islands. The original print bears a stamped date of 27 April 1959. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 6:  USS Los Angeles (CA-135) "At anchor off Beppu, Japan. Beppu is a health resort city famous for natural hot baths." Quoted from the original photo caption. The original print bears a stamped date of 12 February 1962. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 7:  "The first phase of reactivation work began today (Tuesday, December 5) aboard the heavy cruiser USS Los Angeles (CA-135) at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard. Today, yard workmen removed the ship's gun covers and prepared for all-out reactivation. When the ship is re-commissioned, probably during mid-January 1951, special ceremonies will be held and it is hoped by local Navy officials that the Honorable Fletcher Bowrow, Mayor of Los Angeles, will be present." Text quoted from the original photo caption, which was released on 5 December 1950. The ship re-commissioned on 27 January 1951, following reactivation work at Hunter's Point, San Francisco, California, where this photograph was taken. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 8:  USS Los Angeles (CA-135) fires her forward 8-inch guns during a night bombardment of the North Korean coast. Photograph is dated 8 June 1951. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 9:  USS Los Angeles (CA-135) fires a 5-inch gun during a bombardment of Wonsan harbor, Korea, circa mid-1951. Note smoke ring, a feature frequently seen when firing 5-inch guns. Some of the cruiser's 40-mm guns are in the foreground. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.  




Figure 10:  USS Los Angeles (CA-135) firing her forward 8-inch guns on enemy targets at Wonsan, North Korea. Photograph is dated 15 October 1951. Note ship's hull number ("135") painted atop turret No. 2. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.




Figure 11:  USS Los Angeles (CA-135), "West Coast Cruisers Capable of Nuclear Assault -- A Regulus I boils white smoke from booster charges as it roars away from its launcher aboard the heavy cruiser USS Los Angeles off San Diego. The launch, a routine evaluation 'shoot,' was conducted during the time that 600 members of the Institute of Aeronautical Science were embarked aboard the attack carrier USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14), right. The demonstration, which included a 'Terrier' guided missile interception of the Regulus, power exhibition, carrier operations, and a HUK exercise, was highlighted by the Regulus launching. The Terrier was fired at the Regulus from the USS Norton Sound (AVM-1), background, on August 7." Text quoted from the original photo caption, which was released by Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Force, US Pacific Fleet, on 9 August 1957. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.



Figure 12:  USS Los Angeles (CA-135), "Color Guard -- A four-man US Marine color guard from the heavy cruiser Los Angeles participated in opening ceremonies at the Los Angeles Coliseum during the World Series this week. The four Marines were: (from left to right) Private First Class R.D. Ott, Staff Sergeant R.L. Scroggin, Sergeant R.C. Robinson and Private First Class S.M. Green." Text quoted from the caption of the original photograph, which was released on 8 October 1959. Official US Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. Click on photograph for larger image.



Named after the city in California, the 13,600-ton USS Los Angeles was a Baltimore class heavy cruiser that was built by the Philadelphia Navy Yard at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was commissioned on 22 July 1945. The ship was approximately 674 feet long and 70 feet wide, had a top speed of 33 knots, and had a crew of 1,142 officers and men. Los Angeles was armed with nine 8-inch guns, 12 5-inch guns, 48 40-mm guns, and 28 20-mm guns.

After her shakedown cruise off Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Los Angeles left on 15 October 1945 for the Far East. She transited the Panama Canal and, after making a brief stop on America’s west coast, sailed to Shanghai, China, arriving there on 3 January 1946. Throughout the next year, Los Angeles was part of the US Seventh Fleet and steamed along the coast of China and patrolled the western Pacific. The ship returned to the United States and arrived at San Francisco, California, on 21 January 1947. Los Angeles was decommissioned on 9 April 1948 and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet.

In response to the urgent need for ships with heavy guns during the Korean War, Los Angeles was re-commissioned on 27 January 1951. The ship completed two combat tours with the US Seventh Fleet, from May to December 1951 and from October 1952 to May 1953. While off the coast of Korea, Los Angeles’ 8-inch and 5-inch guns were used to pound Communist positions on land, from Hungnam in the east to Haeju in the west. During her second tour of duty, Los Angeles’ guns were of particular value in destroying enemy bunkers and observation posts at Koji-ni. When needed, Los Angeles also provided off-shore gunfire support for American ground operations and patrolled the Sea of Japan with the fast carriers of the Seventh Fleet. While participating in the bombardment of Wonsan late in March and in early April 1953, Los Angeles received minor damage from Communist shore batteries, but continued operations until she sailed back to the United States in mid-April 1953. The heavy cruiser arrived at Long Beach, California, on 15 May.
From November 1953 to June 1963, Los Angeles made eight deployments to the Far East where she served as the flagship for the cruiser division of the Seventh Fleet. This was a tense time during the Cold War and ships like Los Angeles were assigned to “keep the peace” and “show the flag” in a very troubled part of the world. Los Angeles patrolled the coast of Japan, the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea, and the East and South China Seas, and assisted in the defense of American bases in the Philippines and South Korea. She also assisted in the defense of Allied bases in Hong Kong, Australia, and Taiwan. During the Quemoy-Matsu crisis of 1956, Los Angeles patrolled the Taiwan Strait to help protect Taiwan from possible invasion from Communist China.

When not deployed in the Far East, Los Angeles was based at Long Beach and patrolled areas between America’s west coast and the Hawaiian Islands. The ship was modernized in the late 1950s and received the capability of launching “Regulus” surface-to-surface guided missiles. In the early 1960s, Los Angeles also was modernized and given a heavier foremast and long-range radar, both useful when the heavy cruiser was used as a flagship.
Los Angeles returned to Long Beach from her final deployment in the Far East on 20 June 1963. She was decommissioned at Long Beach on 15 November 1963 and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet at San Diego, California, until she was sold for scrapping in May of 1975. USS Los Angeles received five battle stars for her service during the Korean War.