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USS Salt Lake City CL-25 - History

USS Salt Lake City CL-25 - History



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USS Salt Lake City CL-25

Salt Lake City

(CL-25: dp. 10,826, 1. 585'6", b. 65'3", dr. 17'5"; s. 32.7 k.; cpl. 612; a. 10 8", 4 5", 2 3 pdrs., 6 21" tt.,act 4; cl. Pensacola)

Salt Lake City (CL25) was laid down on 9 June 1927 by the American Brown Boveri Electric Corp., a subsidiary of the New York Shipbuilding Co., at Camden, N.J.; launched on 23 January 1929, sponsored by Miss Helen Budge, and commissioned on 11 December 1929, at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Capt. F. L. Oliver in command.

Salt Lake City departed Philadelphia on 20 January 1930 for shake down trials off the Maine coast. She began her first extended cruise on 10 February; visited Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Culebra, Virgin Islands, Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, Brazil, then returned to Guantanamo Bay where, on 31 March, she joined Cruiser Division (CruDiv) 2 of the Scouting Force. With this division, she operated along the New England coast until 12 September, when she was reassigned to CruDiv 5. Salt Lake City then operated in the New York, Cape Cod, and Chesapeake Bay areas through 1931. On 1 July of that year, she was reclassified as a heavy cruiser, CA-25.

Early in 1932, Salt Lake City, with Chicago (CA-29) and Louisville (CA-28), steamed to the west coast for fleet maneuvers. They arrived at San Pedro, Calif., on 7 March; and, following the scheduled exercises, were reassigned to the Pacific Fleet. Salt Lake City visited Pearl Harbor in January and February 1933; and, in September, she was attached to CruDiv 4. From October 1933 to January 1934, she underwent overhaul at the Puget Sound Navy Yard; then resumed duty with CruDiv 4. In May, she sailed for New York to participate in the Fleet Review and returned to San Pedro on 18 December.

Through 1935, Salt Lake City ranged the west coast from San Diego to Seattle. In the first months of 1936 she conducted extensive gunnery exercises at San Clemente Island and then, on 27 April, departed San Pedro to participate in combined surface-subsurface operations at Balboa, Panama Canal Zone. Salt Lake

City returned to San Pedro on 15 June and resumed west coast operations until sailing for Hawaii on 25 April 1937. She returned to the west coast on 20 May.

IIer next extended cruise began on 13 January 1939 when she departed for the Caribbean, via the Panama Canal. During the next three months, she visited Panama, Colombia, the Virgin Islands, Trinidad, Cuba, and Haiti; returning to San Pedro on 7 April. From 12 October until 25 June 1940, she cruised between Pearl Harbor, Wake, and Guam; utilizing the services of tender Vestal while at Pearl Harbor. In August 1941, she visited Brisbane, Australia.

On 7 December, when the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbor, she was returning from Wake Island, as an escort for carrier, Enterprise. Salt Lake City was 200 miles west of Pearl Harbor when she received word of the attack. The group immediately launched scouting planes in hopes of catching possible stragglers from the enemy force, but the search proved fruitless. The ships entered Pearl Harbor toward sundown on the eighth. After a tedious night refueling, they sortied before dawn to hunt submarines north of the islands. Submarines were encountered on the 10th and 11th. The first, 1-70, was sunk by dive bombers from Enterprise; the second, sighted ahead of the group on the surface, was engaged with gunfire by Salt Lake City as the ships maneuvered to avoid torpedoes. Screening destroyers made numerous depth charge runs, but no kil] was confirmed. Operations against a third contact brought similar results. The group returned to Pearl Harbor on the 15th to refuel.

Salt Lake City was with Task Force 8, from 14 to 23 December, as that group covered Oahu and supported the task force strike that was planned to relieve beleagucred Wake. After Wake fell, Salt Lake City's group moved to cover the reinforcement of Midway and then Samoa.

In February, the Enterprise task force carried out air strikes in the eastern Marshalls at WotJe, Maloelap, and Kwajalein to reduce enemy seaplane bases. While conducting shore bombardment during those strikes, Salt Lake Cily came under air attack and assisted in downing two Japanese bombers. In March, she supported air strikes at Marcus Island. In April she escorted the Hornet and Enterprise group, TF 16 which launched Lt. Col. Doolittle's raids on Tokyo and other Japanese cities, and returned to Pearl Harbor on 25 April.

Orders awaited the ships to sail as soon as possible to join the Yorktown and Lexington forces in the Coral Sea. Although the task force moved fast, they had only reached a point some 450 miles east of Tulagi by 8 May, the day of the Battle of the Coral Sea. What followed was essentially a retirement, and Salt Lake City operated as cover with her group, on the 11th off the New Hebrides, and from the 12th to the 16th eastward from Efate and Santa Cruz. On 16 May, she was ordered back to Pearl Harbor and arrived there 10 days later.

The carrier groups now began intensive preparations to meet the expected Japanese thrust at Midway. During the battle, early in June, Salt Lake Cily provided rear guard protection for the islands.

The cruiser was next assigned to screen for Wasp in Group 3, Task Force "Nan" of the air support force which was preparing to invade the Solomon Islands. The assault landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi began on 7 August.

Salt Lake City protected Wasp as she shuttled planes for Saratoga and Enterprise, and provided CAP and scouting patrols during the landings. Salt Lake City was with Wasp, on 15 September, when that carrier was torpedoed by Japanese submarines and sunk. She assisted in rescue operations for survivors, and took on board others who had been picked up by destroyer, Lardner.

The campaign in the Solomons developed into a grim struggle which was climaxed on the night of 11 and 12 October in the Battle of Cape Esperance. Task Force 64 was formed around cruisers Salt Lake City, Boise Helena, and San Francisco to thwart the "Tokyo Express," a steady flow of Japanese vessels maintaining reinforcement and resupply to Guadalcanal. The force was not considered large enough to get involved with a major Japanese covering force, they were interested primarily in inflicting maximum damage to the transports. They arrived off Espiritu Santo on 7 October and, for two days, steamed near Guadalcanal and waited. Land-based search-plane reports came in that an enemy force was steaming down the "slot;" and, that night, the Task Force moved to the vicinity of Savo Island to intercept it.

Search planes were ordered launched from the cruisers, but in the process of launching, Salt Lake City's plane caught fire as flares ignited in the cockpit. The plane crashed close to the ship and the pilot managed to get free. He later found safety on a nearby island. The brilliant fire was seen in the darkness by the Japanese flag officers, who assumed that it was a signal flare from the landing force which they were sent to protect. The Japanese flagship answered with blinker light, and receiving no reply, continued to signal. The American force formed a battle line at right angles to the Japanese T-formation, and thus were able to enfilade the enemy ships. The American cruisers opened fire and continued scoring hits for a full seven minutes before the confused Japanese realized what was taking place. They had believed that, by error ,their own forces were takinF them under fire. When the Japanese warships replied, their fire was too little and too late. The action was over in half an hour. One Japanese cruiser sank; another was reduced to rubble; a third was holed twice, and a destroyer sank. One destroyer of the five-ship force escaped damage. Salt Lake City sustained three major hits during the action. Boise was severely crippled, but managed to rejoin the group under her own power. The destroyer Duncan was left gutted off Savo. The ships formed up and steamed to Espiritu Santo.

Salt Lake City spent the next four months at Pearl Harbor undergoing repairs and replenishing. Late in March 1943, she departed for the Aleutians and operated from Adak to prevent the Japanese from supporting their garrisons on Attu and Kiska. Operating in TF8, Salt Lake Cily was accompanied by Richmond (CL 9) and four destroyers when they made contact on 26 March, with some Japanese transports and supporting vessels. Believing that easy pickings were in store, the American warships formed up and closed range. The Japanese force, however, consisted of two light cruisers and two heavy cruisers screened by four destroyers. Two transports departed the enemy force and headed for safety as the Japanese warships turned to engage. The Salt Lake City group was outgunned and outnumbered, but they pressed on and made a course change in hopes of getting a shot at the transports before the warships could act.

There was also a possibility that the Japanese would split their force and the Salt Lake City,, with the old light cruiser Richmond, could tackle a portion of them on more equal terms. Simultaneously, the opposing cruisers opened fire at a range of nearly ten miles. The ensuing battle was a retiring action on the part of the Americans, for the Japanese foiled their attempt to get the auxiliaries. Salt Lake City received most of the attention of the enemy gunners and soon received two hits, but she returned very accurate fire. Her rudder stops were carried away, and she was limited to 10° course changes. Another hit soon flooded forward compartments. Under cover of a thick smoke screen and aggressive torpedo attacks by the destroyers, the United States cruisers were able to make an evasive turn, which for a while allowed the range to open. Salt

Lake City began receiving hits again soon and then her boiler fires died one by one. Salt water had entered the fuel oil feed lines. There was now cause for grave concern, she lay dead in the water, and the Japanese ships were closing fast. Luckily she was hidden in the smoke, and the enemy was not aware of her plight.

The destroyers charged the Japanese cruisers and began to draw the fire away from Salt Lake City. They were taking extreme punishment by the time they launched a spread of torpedoes. In the meantime, Salt Lake City engineers were purging the fuel lines and firing the boilers. With fresh oil supplying the fires she was now building up steam and gaining headway. Suddenly the Japanese began to withdraw, for they were fast exhausting their ammunition. They never suspected that the Americans were far lower than themselves in both ammunition and fuel.

Despite being outnumbered two to one, the American ships succeeded in their purpose. The Japanese attempt to reinforce their bases in the Aleutians had failed and they turned tail and headed home. Salt Lake City later covered the American occupation of Attu and Kiska which ended the Aleutian Campaign. She departed Adak on 23 September and sailed, via San Francisco, to Pearl Harbor where she arrived on 14 October.

The Allied offensive strategy in the Pacific now focused on the Marshall Islands. A two column thrust through Micronesia and the Bismarcks would force the enemy to disperse his forces, deny him the opportunity for a flanking movement, and provide the Allies with the choice of where and when to strike next. To obtain adequate intelligence for planning the Marshalls operation, the Gilberts would have to be secured for use as a staging area and launch point for photographic missions. Salt Lake City was assigned to Task Group 50.3 the Southern Carrier Group for the Gilbert Islands Campaign, Operation "Galvanic."

Salt Lake City conducted rigorous gunnery training until 8 November when she sailed to join carriers Essex, Bunker Hill, and Independence which had carried out preliminary strikes on Wake, as a diversion on 5 and 6 October, and at Rabaul on 11 November. Salt Lake City joined on the 13th off Funafuti, Ellice Islands, following the carriers' fueling rendezvous at Espiritu Santo. She then saw action on the 19th as she bombarded Betio at Tarawa, in the Gilberts. That day and the next, she fought off repeated torpedo plane attacks aimed for the flattops. Tarawa was secured by the 28th. This was the first Pacific amphibious operation to be vigorously opposed at the beach, and many lessons were learned here to be applied in the island campaigns to follow.

Salt Lake City was attached to the Neutralization Group, TG 50.15, for the long awaited Marshalls Campaign. Between 29 January and 17 February 1944, she conducted shore bombardment at Wotje and Taroa islands which were bypassed and cut off from support as the major forces concentrated on Majuro, Eniwetok and Kwajulein. This leapfrog technique worked weli and eliminated the needless casualties that would result in mopping up every Japanese-held island. On 30 March and 1 April, Salt Lake City participated in raids on Palau, Yap, Ulithi, and Woleai in the western Caroline Islands Archipelago. The cruiser anchored at Majuro on 6 April and remained until 25 April when she sailed, unescorted, for Pearl Harbor.

Salt Lake City arrived at Pearl Harbor on 30 April and sailed the next day for Mare Island. She arrived on 7 May and operated in the San Francisco Bay area until 1 July. She then proceeded to Adak, Alaska arriving on the 8th. In the Aleutians, her operations, including a scheduled bombardment at Paramushiro were curtailed by severe weather, and she returned to Pearl IIarbor on 13 August.

Salt Lake City sortied with Pensacola (CA-24) and Monterey (CVL-26) on 29 August to attack Wake Island. They shelled that island on 3 September, and then proceeded to Eniwetok to remain until the 24th. The cruisers then moved to Saipan for patrol duty after which, on 6 October, they proceeded to Marcus Island to create a diversion in connection with raids on Formosa. They shelled Marcus on 9 September and returned to Saipan.

In October, during the second Battle of the Philippine Sea, Sult Lake City returned to screen and support duty with the carrier strike groups against Japanese bases and surface craft. Based at Ulithi, she supported the carriers between 15 and 26 October. From 8 November 1944 through 25 January 1945, she operated with CruDiv 5, TF 54, in bombardment against the Volcano Islands to neutralize airfields through which the Japanese staged bombing raids on the B-29's based at Saipan. These raids were coordinated with B-24 strikes. In February, she operated in the Gunfire and Covering Force, TF 54, during the final phases of securing Iwo Jima and the initial operations in the campaign to capture Okinawa.

Salt Lake City provided call-fire at Iwo Jima until 13 March; and then concentrated her activities at Okinawa until 28 May when she put into Leyte for repairs and upkeep. She returned to Okinawa to cover minesweeping operations and general patrol in the East China Sea on 6 July. A tnonth later, on 8 August she sailed for the Aleutians via Saipan. While en route to Adak, she received word on 31 August to proceed to northern Honshu, Japan, to cover the occupation of Ominato Naval Base. The long war in the Pacific was now at a close.

Like many warships at the close of the war, Salt Lake City was almost immediately slated for deactivation. She was originally ordered to report to Commander, Third Fleet, upon arrival on the west coast, in October, for deactivation. On 29 October, however, she was diverted to "Magic Carpet" duty to return veterans of the Pacific theatre to the United States.

On 14 November, she was added to the list of warships to be used as test vessels for the Atomic Bomb Experiments and Evaluation Tests at Bikini Atoll "Operation Crossroads." She was partially stripped and her crew reduced, prior to sailing to Pearl Harbor in March 1946.

Salt Lake City was used in evaluating the effects on surface vessels during the initial test with an aerial burst on 1 July, and during the second test with a subsurface burst on the 25th. Surviving two atomic bomb blasts, she was decommissioned on 29 August and laid up to await ultimate disposal. She was sunk as a target hull on 25 May 1948, 130 miles off the coast of southern California and struck from the Navy list on 18 June 1948.

Salt Lake City earned eleven battle stars for World War II service. She was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for her action during the Aleutian Campaign.


USS Salt Lake City CL-25 - History

Inclusive Dates
7 October 1942 to 13 October 1942

Scene of Operation:

From Espirito Santos 7 October 1942, to Savo Island, to Espirito Santos 13 October 1942. - Night engagement, Cape Esperance - 11-12 October 1942.

Task Force

Task Force 64 - USS SAN FRANCISCO, (Admiral Scott), USS SALT LAKE CITY, BOISE, HELENA, FARENHOLT, BUCHANAN, LAFFEY, MCCALLA, and DUNCAN.

Objective

Stop the "Tokyo Express", which had been operating at will for over a month, bringing in men and supplies to Guadalcanal.

Results

Mission highly successful - Intercepted a stronger force than expected, evidently planning on surface bombardment of Guadalcanal, accompanied by a landing in force.

The following damage was inflicted on the enemy:

(a) Sunk: Two (2) CA - one of which was the FURUTAKA. One (1) CL. One (1) auxiliary, possibly an AV. Five (5) DD's, one of which was the SHIRAKUMO.

(b) Damaged: One (1) CA - the AOBA, was badly damaged. Other DD's.

In addition, on the following day, planes from Guadalcanal attacked two (2) CA, one already damaged, and several DD's possibly sinking one (1) CA and one (1) DD.

It is possible that the enemy losses amounted to four (4) CA, one (1) or two (2) CL, one (1) auxiliary and seven (7) DD.

Comments

This was the first attempt made by our surface craft to stop the Japanese reinforcements to Guadalcanal.

It was the first successful night engagement with the enemy.

It definitely removed the apprehension spread throughout the fleet which resulted from the sinking of the USS VINCENNES, ASTORIA, QUINCY and CANBERRA, at night two months previous, in almost the same water.

This victory delayed the Japanese a full month at a time when it was most needed.

The Battle of Cape Esperance turned the tide in our favor.

The Task Force did a splendid job.

The USS SALT LAKE CITY definitely contributed to the effectiveness of the Task Force and in three categories she performed in an outstanding manner:-

(a) It was decided on this ship before the battle that searchlights provide a good point of aim for the enemy. Hence, they were used sparingly - only on initial salvos, before star shells burst, and on a destroyer which was sunk inside the bursting range of star shells.

(b) It was decided on this ship before the battle that starshells would be used (only one (1) FC and one (1) SC radar were then installed). This was the only ship to use starshells and, in doing so, continuous effective illumination was provided for the whole Task Force.

(c) Toward the end of the battle, the BOISE was observed to be under heavy fire from an enemy CA. The SALT LAKE CITY was then firing on a retiring CA (believed to be the AOBA) on the starboard quarter. In the heat of action, fire and illumination were checked against this CA and both were resumed against the CA which had the BOISE under fire. The BOISE had to fall out, badly hit. Captain E. G. Small took the SALT LAKE CITY between the burning BOISE and the enemy so that all guns continued to bear. It was then while silhouetted against the burning BOISE that the SALT LAKE CITY received its most damaging hit, but it was also then, when her guns shifted to this effective enemy, that the enemy fell silent and is believed to have sunk.

The battle damage received by the SALT LAKE CITY was not spectacular, and fortunately, personnel casualties were few.

It cannot be overlooked, however, that the 8" hit in the forward fireroom caused a five hour oil fire which was kept under control. This caused extensive damage to electrical circuits, sever damage to piping, heat damage to structural members and all low pressure air compressors were placed out of commission.

21. The USS SALT LAKE CITY proceeded via Espirito Santos, Noumea and Samoa to Pearl Harbor and arrived 1 November 1942, for repairs to battle damage and a long delayed overhaul.

22. NAVY YARD PERIOD AT PEARL HARBOR

Coverage of this ship's participation in the war would not be complete without some mention being made of the Navy Yard period at Pearl Harbor, 1 November 1942 to 11 March 1943.

Again, the USS SALT LAKE CITY was first: - The first capital ship to receive a combined battle damage and routine overhaul in Pearl, rather than in the mainland. This was a blow to morale. Leave policies had to be worked out with no precedence to go by. As a result, only twenty percent of the officers and crew received sixteen days in the States and fifteen percent received ten days in the States after a year of strenuous operating and the memory of cancelled leaves in October, 1941, at Long Beach, when the ship stayed on 12 hours notice.

Nevertheless, the Captain, officers and crew of this ship succeeded in having the following vital improvements in fighting efficiency accomplished, although no plans or directives were then contemplated to effect them either under routine overhaul or battle damage.

(a) Design and installation of a stable element (salvaged from the USS CASSIN, placed on a 1.1 director base) to permit the main battery to fire with no horizon, target not visible.

(b) Installation of a Combat Information Center. This important room was in the laboratory stage in November 1942. No provision was made for one aboard the SALT LAKE CITY. Space was found, layout made, and the job accomplished.

(c) Training motor for Main Batter Director, forward. (Supplementing hand powered training system).

(d) Policy was fought through to eliminate two planes, carrying two instead of four. In their place, were installed two 40mm quads, giving the ship six such mounts instead of four.

(e) Small Auxiliary Diesel Air Compressors, one located forward and one aft, for emergency air supply to turrets, were installed.

(f) Design and construction of auxiliary diesel steering engine (saved ship at Komandorskis).

(g) Auxiliary fire main of feed hoses, supplied direct from pump and fitted with manifolds, for use in fighting fires on other ships or on own ship, in case of damage to fire main.

(h) Design and procurement of emergency steam supply to be used to supply after engines with steam from forward boilers in case of torpedo hit and loss of after boilers and forward engine room.

It is emphasized the improvements listed above were not of a routine nature. Each was aggressively pursued above and beyond the scheduled work incident to overhaul. Many of these improvements have now been applied to our sister ship the USS PENSACOLA, which arrived in Pearl approximately the time of our departure.

23. MISSION NUMBER XIV

Inclusive Dates

11 March 1943 to 29 March 1943. NOTE: Just fifteen (15) days after completion of Navy Yard work.

Scene of Operation

From Pearl Harbor to Dutch Harbor to Adak to patrol west of Attu to Dutch Harbor.

Task Force

Task Group 16.6 - USS RICHMOND (Admiral McMorris), USS SALT LAKE CITY, MONAHAN, DALE, BAILEY and COUGHLAN.

Objective:

Prevent reinforcements and supplies transported by surface units from reaching Japanese occupied Attu and Fiska.

Results:

Highly successful - On 26 March intercepted a convoy of two large merchant ships accompanied by enemy combatant ships twice our own strength and turned them away, permanently, inflicting heavy damage after a three and one half hour retiring action.

Comments

It is believed that this interception off the Komandorski Islands was the turning point in the Aleutian Campaign and that its importance is not yet full realized.

The Japanese knew the composition of our forces exactly and sent up a strong force to protect two important supply ships. Presumably, they knew the USS INDIANAPOLIS had left the area. They knew our force exactly, but for one important exception - the SALT LAKE CITY had joined unobserved.

They were determined to get the supply ships into port and wipe out any surface resistance offered.

Admiral McMorris succeeded in making the interception with his small force. The enemy's surprise in finding himself taking early hits from a heavy cruiser, after the force had formed up and fire was opened, completely upset his plans.

We know from "Intelligence" that no Japanese surface craft, either combatant or auxiliary reached their Aleutian holdings after the 26th of March.

We know that the rice ration was reduced on Attu the following day.

We know promises made to the troops on Attu concerning reinforcements, assisted by their fleet, did not materialize.

We know that needed equipment did not arrive.

Manifestly, the Japanese decided then and there to abandon the Aleutian venture or else their Fifth Fleet had been damaged sufficiently to immobilize it as a fighting unit.

Once the two opposing forces were brought together off the Komandorskis, it was the 8" guns of the USS SALT LAKE CITY which held the enemy at bay for three and one half hours, and ultimately caused his retirement.

It was good fortune that caused us to join the patrol force at just the right time and equally good fortune that we were afloat when action was broken off, for the war college left the SALT LAKE CITY 94% damaged and in a sinking condition as a result of working the problem out on the game board. Captain B. J. Rodgers handled the ship in such a manner that enemy salvos always fell where we were supposed to be, but weren't.

Surely, the results obtained by this Task Force, the contribution made to that result by the only heavy cruiser present, and the fact that she was afloat and able to steam almost normally, despite several telling hits, marks the performance of the SALT LAKE CITY that day as outstanding.

Particularly significant is the fact that the SALT LAKE CITY was out of the navy yard only fifteen (15) days and had on board a very large percentage of recruits.

24. On 8 April 1943 the ship arrived at Navy Yard, Mare Island and departed 14 May 1943.

25. Again, the battle damage received was non-spectacular but nonetheless was serious as summarized below:-

(a) 8" hit aft. - Damaged after section of fuel oil system flooded A. A. switchboard and after gyro room, flooded two (2) shaft alleys, damaged two (2) main shafts, ruptured Engine Room bulkhead, flooded laundry and 5" magazines. Damaged fuel oil system was isolated. After Engine Room was flooded with five (5) feet of oil and water. Magazines, laundry and shaft alleys were pumped out. Engine Room flooding was controlled. One (1) damaged shaft restored to use. One (1) damaged shaft locked for return to navy yard.

(b) 8" hit outboard in After Engine Room on armor belt, ruptured oil tank, decommissioned one (1) air compressor, damaged one (1) main condenser.

(c) 8" hit in bow damaged anchor windless, flooded forward hold.

(d) 8" hit on catapult destroyed plane, ruptured main deck, caused shrapnel damage topside.

26. The ship left Mare Island 14 May 1943 and arrived at Adak 23 May 1943.

27. MISSION NUMBER XV

Inclusive Dates
24 May 1943 to Present

Scene of Operation:
Aleutian Area - North Pacific

Task Force

Various assignments in Task Force 16 under various Task Groups and Group Commanders.

Objective
(a) Covering Attu occupation
(b) Convoy of troops and supply ships
(c) Bombardment of Kiska, 2 August 1943
(d) Bombardment of Kiska, 12 August 1943
(e) Covering Kiska occupation
(f) Aleutian patrol duties

Results

Mission successfully completed - The Aleutians are now completely in the hands of US Forces

Comments

This operation has been marked by long periods at sea with very few days for upkeep in Adak, the only port of call. Recreation is practically non-existent, particularly for the enlisted men, chiefly because of the weather and the terrain. it is estimated that 80% of the crew has not left the ship since departure from Mare island 14 May, a period of 114 days.

The SALT LAKE CITY has operated with each of the Task Groups in the area and has served directly under seven different Task Group Commanders, at various times.

The two (2) bombardments of Kiska were well executed according to scheduled plans.

28. The following highlights are added or summarized to indicate the consistently effective part the USS SALT LAKE CITY has played in the war to date:-

The ship has had three wartime Captains:

The activity and performance of the ship has been such that each of the three was recommended for the Navy Cross that of Captain Zacharias was later changed to a letter of commendation by C-in-C PacFleet, because of crystallization of policy. Captain (now Rear Admiral) Small and Captain (now Rear Admiral) Rodgers were awarded the Navy Cross.

(1) A member of the first task force to cruise on a wartime basis with a definite mission: - Wake Island plane delivery.

(2) A member of the first task force to enter Pearl Harbor, ready for duty assigned, immediately after December 7, 1941.

(3) A member of the first task force in the Pacific to engage in activity against the enemy: - Submarine hunt North of Oahu.

(4) A member of the first task force to cover large scale movements in Pacific: - Samoa reinforcements.

(5) A member of the first task force to strike the enemy offensively and in their own waters: -The Wotje Raid.

(6) A member of the first task force to strike back at own territory captured by enemy: - Wake.

(7) A member of the first task force to enter Japanese home waters:- Marcus.

(8) A member of the first and only task force to launch an attack, in Japanese waters, against the mainland of the Empire: - Tokyo Raid.

(9) A member of the first task force to engage in an amphibious landing operation: - Tulagi - Guadalcanal.

(10) A member of the first task force to successfully engage the enemy at night. First to stop the "Tokyo Express" and first to deliberately enter close waters on the offensive with view to sinking enemy ships at close range: - Cape Esperance.

(11) A member of the first task group to successfully engage the enemy in a daylight surface action: - Komandorskis.

(12) A member of the first task group to engage enemy combatant ships in the Aleutian Area.

(13) A member of the first task group to engage the enemy continuously for three and one half hours in a surface action.

Twice battle damaged not dramatically but each time vitally, in machinery spaces deep inside the ship.

A digest of the ships with which the USS SALT LAKE CITY has been associated in its many assignments and a survey of those names against the record of ships sunk and badly damaged is indicative of the fast company she has kept and the waters in which she has cruised continually.

(1) At Esperance the USS SALT LAKE CITY deliberately interposed herself between the BOISE and the enemy, taking the enemy under fire, thus contributing to the enemy's destruction and the BOISE's salvation.

(2) At Komandorskie, as the only heavy cruiser present, the USS SALT LAKE CITY contributed chiefly to damaging badly and turning away a superior enemy force which could have sunk the balance of our forces, had they been alone.

29. No one in my position can say what the future holds but, it is very conceivable, henceforth, that operations will be conducted in large fleets as our Navy continues to grow stronger. Consequently, the opportunity for individual ship distinction will diminish. This will be particularly applicable in the case of the SALT LAKE CITY as her newer, fresher sisters arrive on the firing line replete with all the advance fire control, radar and engineering installations.

30. It is timely, therefore, that I submit this chronology to you as I sincerely believe that the record of the USS SALT LAKE CITY, to date, will stand-up under the closest and most objective scrutiny. The ship was ready and able and consistently met with success in the early days of the war when ships were few and spirits were low.


USS Salt Lake City CL-25 - History

I started building my first ship, the USS Salt Lake City in 1983, with a set of Jeff Poindexter's plans, and a sheet of cheap lumberyard plywood. After several travails, I managed to visit Decatur, Alabama and Dan Hamilton's Fall 1984 regionals, where I actually got to see ships, and see them battling, and where I received lots of great advice from Dan Hamilton, Tom Jass, Jim Lisher, and others. Armed with this advice, I returned home and finished her in July of 1985, just in time for the 1985 Nats. She was a typical rookie cruiser, in that she featured a bow gun and a stern gun, a single pump, and systems that were generally ineffective. At one point, I launched her (in June, I think) with 4 RE-260 motors for propulsion, driving all four props with Dumas plastic props. Oops. I had plenty of advice (via tape) from Tom Jass, but good advice can only get you so far, especially when you're a 16 year old kid who has no clue how to apply it..

Travails of construction aside, she (and I) made our rookie appearance at the 1985 Nats, and what a Nats it was. Being a wee lad, I was overwhelmed to meet the likes of Terry Darby, Steve Milholland, Stan Watkins, the inimitable Fluegel, and all the other legends of the hobby. I was also quite relieved to find out that we were going to have a separate rookie fleet to help reduce frequency problems, and give us new guys a chance to get our feet wet in slightly less hostile waters. So it was that on Sunday night, I prepared my ship for what was going to be a very interesting and informative week.

Monday began with the first fleet battle. That is, the one with the veterans. It was very exciting to see the vets slugging it out, as the Allies, who had some practice that Spring with the new singleshot guns whupped up on the Axis. Then, it was time for our battle. The only rookies prepared for Monday's battle were myself, and Brian Schneider whose father graciously provided him with a working ship, the DKM Admiral Scheer. We were joined by Jeff West's Wisconsin, and Gerald Roberts' IJN Nagato, both of which missed the main fleet battle due to technical difficulties. The battle began with both - yes, both - battleships going dead in the water in the middle of the lake. A rookies' paradise! Brian busily set to pecking away at the Wisconsin, with mild results, while I attempted to get my guns to fire on the Nagato. I started with my bow gun, lining it up, firing, and hoping to hear the crack of balsa on hull skin, or at least some penetrable superstructure. But what's that? The gun fires, but I don't hear anything. Some expert analysis and coaching at lakeside revealed that my rounds were landing somewhere near the opposite shore - about fifty feet away. Thus, the bow gun was emptied, without result. Then, it was time to sail around the Nagato, and try lining up the stern gun. What's that again? Seems that the stern gun was spurting, and landing about a foot from the stern. One nice looking spurt landed about 6" from the Nagato's stern, but what with rookie reflexes and a balky gun, about the time I actually got lined up, it was empty. Thus, my very first combat sortie ended with no damage given, and (I think) no damage received. Bummer! (And you rookies these days think you have humble beginnings!)

First lesson learned: Guns should be mounted very, very securely so that they don't wiggle around during battle and end up shooting your bow deck, or landing 6" from the stern. And enough clearance should be given around the stern gun, so that the hose doesn't get pinched when you put the deck on. Oops.

After the Veterans got another sortie in, the second sortie began with both battleships absent, and the two cruisers alone on the lake. Uh-oh - and the Schneiderlet had working guns. Needless to say, I was feeling a bit nervous. Luckily, Brian's seamanship was about as poor as mine, especially since I ran out of gas and had to call five and run for it. Needless to say, my first battle did not result in an Allied victory. However, I did survive, and I considered that a good start. I also learned another lesson: be aware of how much gas you have, and be sure you have enough before putting the ship on the water. Beware of leaks, too!

Tuesday's battle was a three-way affair, with myself and Brian being joined by Jeff Lide, who was borrowing Tom Jass's spare HMS Shropshire, as his Yamato was looking like a maintenance nightmare (it didn't work). This battle also went two sorties, and was fairly exciting, as Brian and I were both getting the hang of maneuvering, and firing, and our ships were both working a little better. We were both also getting a kick out of shooting at the large target area offered by the Shropshire. However, our pleasure was interrupted slightly, as Brian gave me my first damaging ram. Luckily, it was only a small crease, and Martin Schneider was gracious enough to show me how to patch it at lakeside with a little silkspan and Ambroid. It was with great thanks that the battle continued, and we pursued a little more (mostly) harmless rookie fun. Surprisingly, once the scores were totalled and split up, Brian's ram penalty left me the winner of my second R/C Combat battle. Not exactly the preferred method of winning, but I was happy nonetheless.

Wednesday was a different matter, however. I had brought two different battery packs with me to Nats, and I elected to use the other one on Wednesday. Unfortunately, one of the cells in the pack had been shorted briefly, and was no longer charging properly. This battle also saw Chris Anders join us with his DKM Lutzow, and Eric Noble with his HMS Exeter. However, this was meaningless to me as my Salt Lake City got slower and slower, while Brian put several holes into (and through) my ship. Another lesson learned: internal armor is a very good thing! As the second sortie began, I discovered that I had a choice available to me: I could move, or I could pump. Hmm. Well, in the end, neither option did me any good, as my Salt Lake City found the bottom for the first time. The Axis won this battle, of course, and I resolved not to use the bad batteries in the future. As another interesting note, Wednesday night, I was more formally introduced to Carl Camurati, who sold me a most excellent singleshot interrupter to put on my stern gun and eliminate my spurting problems. I was up rather late installing this goodie, but I looked forward to having a good stern gun on Thursday.

Thursday's battle saw the introduction of yet another new battler, Scott Uttech, with his USS Salt Lake City (Another one?). This battle saw the three of us Allies pitted against the two Axis, and it was a much more interesting affair (for me) than the previous battles. I had guns! Yay! And so, in the second sortie, when Chris Ander's Lutzow ran aground on an island, I was able to back in with my new and improved stern gun and pepper him with hits, including a couple of belows which sealed his fate as his pump didn't work, and he slid off the shelf and into a watery grave. Needless to say, I was ecstatic, and if I wasn't hooked before, I was now! The Shropshire also sank, but excess damage on the Lutzow, and ram penalties against the Axis resulted in an Allied victory.

Thus, we rookies approached Friday's battle with the war in the balance. The Allies and Axis were very close, much like the Allied and Axis veterans were also close, as the Axis veterans had been chipping away at the lead the Allies had amassed on Monday. We went into battle, and in the first sortie, Chris Anders' Lutzow went dead in the water next to shore, and the three of us Allies approached in a line and each made strafing runs on his helpless ship with our bow guns. I saw a splash and thought I got a good hit on him, but no doubt the other two Allies also believe it was their shot that did the deed, but either way, the Lutzow again settled to the bottom, this time with one below the waterline hit. I lubed my ship up for the second sortie, and as we continued the battle, it was my turn to become the cripple as my cheesy model railroad universals (!) began to slip on my prop shafts, and I lost a lot of thrust. I ended up dead in the water in nearly the same location that the Lutzow was in the first sortie, as Brian's Scheer exacted revenge. Luckily for me, though, his shots were high, and mostly in the superstructure, and I survived the sortie, as the Allied rookies won their little Nats war. Unfortunately, the Allied veterans didn't fare so well, losing the 1985 Nats, by 975 points. However, that was of no moment to us Allied rookies, as we'd won our battle. And I learned another valuable lesson: Use quality components in the drive system!

So it was that on Friday night, I was rather surprised and very, very pleased to be awarded the Rookie of the Year trophy for 1985. While my ship wasn't always as effective as the Scheer, the fact that I had built it myself, and done a very nice job of it accrued in my favor. And so it was that thanks to a lot of good tape talking with Tom Jass, and some good advice from Dan Hamilton and others at a regionals in Decatur, I finished my first ship and won Rookie of the Year.

But the story doesn't finish there - Back in those days, the true maniacs went back to the lake on Saturday, and got in some more battling. So it was that I found myself battling one-on-one against Eric Noble's Exeter, and learning yet another valuable lesson: don't tweak your guns too hard! This I did, and as a result, when my propellant cooled down, they stopped firing, and Eric beat me by about 45 to 20, or something awful like that. Ah, the good old days!

I spent my first winter in college at Michigan Tech University, with my trusty ship there to keep me busy during the dark and cold winter. I replaced the guns with new ones which were mounted more securely, and built better, built a new pump, a new watertight box, completely rewired the boat, and installed a new turning system. 1986 was going to be the first year with the new speeed rules, and rumor was that turning systems were going to be the rage. I also heard that the new "secret" rubber hull technology was going to be big, so I applied some silicone goop to the inside of my hull, so that I could keep up with the Camurati's. And I'm sure I also did a lot of other silly stuff that I don't remember, but what do you expect of a college kid?

I arrived at the 1986 Nats with my Salt Lake City thoroughly reworked with new (and much more effective) systems. And with rotten batteries. Oops. Luckily, James Foster had some spares that he loaned me for the week - what a guy! This year, we only had one rookie, Curly Barrett, but due to continuing frequency problems we decided to go with an "A/B" fleet system with the "B" fleet being the "less experienced" battlers. Again, I had no real complaints.

This time, we actually got in two fleet battles per day, and so it was that in Monday's first battle, Jeff Lide's Yamato sailed with Curly's Lutzow and Brian Schneider's Scheer, against Jeff West's Wisconsin, Danny Schultz's Colorado, and my Salt Lake City. Most attention was paid to the large ships, and I got a kick out of shooting at the large and hard to miss (?) Yamato with my faster and much more maneuverable little cruiser. Damage was light, as our gunnery was poor, but we Allies won the first sortie by about three hundred points. However, the second sortie featured a ram by Danny's Colorado in the Yamato's side, and there went the lead. I sailed in front of the Yamato's triple bow guns and got a funnel blown over the side. It was attached by a string to act as a float, and promptly stood up behind the ship like a water skier. By this time, I was really enjoying shooting at the Yamato, and continued to chase her to the far end of the lake, where it appeared that a shot from my bow gun caused her to go dead in the water. Unfortunately, as I pulled around the other side and backed in for stern shots, the string got caught in my props, and I was dead in the water and unable to take advantage of the crippled Jap ship. However, the Wisconsin got a few shots in, and somehow the Allies pulled out a small victory.

Monday's second fleet battle saw less damage, and less excitement, as the Allies won by 200 points, but with about half the damage of the previous battle. I suspect that I was still busy pecking away at the Yamato, with (obviously) marginal effect.

Tuesday's first battle saw Gerald's Nagato added to the Axis fleet, and the two Pensacola class cruisers of Wayne Stevenson and Scott Uttech added to the Allied B fleet. This battle featured several rams (fortunately not involving me), one of which resulted in the Yamato being out for a while patching, as I wasted my ammunition on Gerald's Nagato, shooting superstructure and casements, no doubt. The second sortie began with the Allies having a ram penalty deficit, and while I was busy having fun with my favorite Yamato again, Brian got some good shots into the Wisconsin, and the Nagato got a good sidemount into the big ship, sealing her fate as she sank shortly thereafter. Oh, well, so much for that 350 point lead.

Tuesday's second battle was Wisconsin-less, and Curly's Lutzow was designated Allied for some odd reason, like lack of Allied ships. Either way, the pursuit of the Yamato continued, and the Allies (ahem) won a small victory, but it was small taters compared to the earlier sink of the Wisconsin. And as an added bonus, it was decided that for the rest of the week, we would be mixed in with the veteran battlers. Lions and tigers and bears, oh, my!

Thursday dawned late after night battle, and battling started in the afternoon with the very first Campaign battle. I had been pestering Tom about the idea over the winter, and together we had cooked up some rules, and here we were about to try them. If I had realized then what a monster this little wargame was to become, I would have tried to kill it immediately, but, well, it seemed like a good idea at the time!

Anyways. Campaign began, and the Axis launched a small "convoy" ship, and I, being the industrious Ally that I was, ventured over to attack it. Thus began a little game where I would take a couple of potshots at the convoy ship, and when the Axis battleships descended on me, I would sail in a fairly large circle, and come back to the convoy ship and take another few potshots at it. One pass was especially nice, as I got the stern gun lined up and fired three shots and saw three splashes, right at the bow of the little ship. Howver, it was to no avail as the convoy ship survived. I, on the other hand, was merrily doing yet another circle when Brian's Scheer wandered in front of my cruiser and got ram sunk. Oops. I was pleased when I pulled my ship out that I had no bb damage, but I think the veterans were probably just taking it easy on me. The convoy ship, on the other hand, had three very nice belows in its bow. Yay! Now, if I could only do that in fleet battle! After a while, I got to go back out, and actually took some damage from some of the nasty Axis battleships, and managed to frighten one of the vets when I turned my pump on. Seems they weren't used to seeing a cruiser throw that much water through the air. Anyways, I survived the battle, and had a good time, while the Axis swept on to victory in the first Campaign battle ever.

That left Friday as the last day of Nats, and one more fleet battle to get my little cruiser in with the big boys. In this case, the big boys included James Foster with his mean and nasty Vittorio Veneto. James paid me back for the loan of the batteries by putting several holes in the Salt Lake City, and also paid me a lesson as I shot at him with my stern gun, and he commented, "Superstructure." It was then that I realized that X turret was definitely not a good place for a stern gun, as it was so high that it was easy to miss and shoot too high. Oh, well. I was also revisited by the plague of the model train universals which I had foolishly tried to use again. Fortunately, the SLC survived the battle, and that night, I made a set of homemade universals out of brass tubing and piano wire, for the expected Saturday insanity.

Saturday was more enjoyable than usual, as the new universals meant that my ship was working better than it ever had before.

My first battle on Saturday was a small fleet battle with myself, Steve Milholland, and Terry Darby against Gerald Roberts, Fluegel, and Dirty, I think. Both fleets had a battleship and two cruisers - Alabama, Portland and Salt Lake City vs. Nagato, Lutzow, and Myoko. I was giddy with the newfound performance of my ship, and I zipped around and turned circles that were nearly as tight as the Alabama's. I even managed to shoot the enemy somewhat. I have no idea anymore who won, but it was a good, fun battle with plenty of amusement for all. I even got to use my cruiser's powerful turning motors to out-muscle Fluegel's Lutzow in a tugboat contest. What fun!

My final battle of 1986 was rather interesting in that Steve Milholland and I swapped ships and had a one-on-one battle. I got a taste of big ship battling, as I enjoyed sidemounting my cruiser, and I think Steve enjoyed his taste of cruiser battling (He hadn't built a cruiser yet.) Either way, sidemounts and inexperience prevailed over experience with a semi-reliable cruiser, and I left Nats with the resolve (but not the resources) to build a battleship.

1988 Fall Northeast Regionals

The next two years, 1987 and 1988 found me busy with college, and co-op jobs, as I attempted (successfully) to pay for my education. However, in 1988, my co-op job left me in Owego, NY, with the possibility of heading down to Maryland for their Fall regionals. Since my USS Michigan was experiencing construction difficulties, I got busy on a refit of the ol' Salt Lake City. She was in pretty rough shape, as the cheap plywood was showing its age, and the systems were the same junk that was in it in 1986.

I started work by installing a new and improved propellant tank, and remotoring with Dumas 4.8V motors and new and spiffy Exact Miniatures props. No more cheesy plastic props and universals for me! I also built new and improved guns, and located the new stern gun in Y turret. Unfortunately, I hadn't finished rebuilding the superstructure before the battle, but the folks in Maryland were kind enough to let me battle with what I had.

So it was that I showed up for the Fall 1988 Northeast regionals.

Due to the curious (at the time) lack of Axis at the battle, the sides were US vs. the World, with Bob Amend's QE, Marty's Invincible, and Rick Schultz's Capitani Romani as the World, and the US consisting of myself, Will Montgomery with his USS Salt Lake City (another one?), and John French's USS Northampton. Other US battleships were around, but unable to battle.

The first sortie began with some excitement as after a few minutes, my cruiser went out of control and proceeded to beach itself on an island with most of it's hull showing. Seems it was a little quick, too. Anyways, Bob showed up and proceeded to sidemount, and soon my cruiser was sunk. However, while this was going on, Will was busy peppering the QE with dual stern guns, and Marty also had control problems. Thus, after being allowed to patch and rejoin the battle for the second sortie (and doing a little impromptu rewiring), the second sortie began with my ship working much better. During the second sortie, Bob sank from all his damage, and we cruisers spent the rest of the sortie chasing Rick's cruiser around. Somehow, the US fleet won the battle.

The second fleet battle started with yet another mishap - my newly wired in receiver pack immediately went dead, and my ship beached itself at my feet. Not feeling quite so foolish this time, I heard Rick muttering about "paybacks", and Bob was coming in to attack, so I declared it sunk. And began removing the wiring I'd added to isolate the receiver from the main power circuit. The other two Allies were having trouble, as Marty's ship was working better, and three on two is tough when the two are cruisers and are facing two battleships and a cruiser. Again, I was allowed into the second sortie, much like a moth to a candle. Steve Andrews with his new California joined in this sortie, too, and John French withdrew because of rudder difficulties. This time, my ship ran well, up until Marty (who launched late) put his ship in the water. Then, my cruiser immediately went out of control and beached, and sank again. Hmm. Maybe the problem wasn't my wiring after all. Steve also had problems and declared sunk, and so the World fleet had gained a significant lead.

Fortunately, Will had a spare radio and let me borrow it for Sunday, and life was so, so much better! Sunday's battle began with a bang as I put several rounds into Marty's Invincible, and after battling a bit, managed to get mossed. After taking some damage (and being able to finally turn the pump on - yay!), the battle continued, and Marty's Invincible manged to take a lot of damage too. The second sortie began with Bob forgetting to turn his pump on and nearly sinking. Marty, on the other hand, actually did sink. Bob's turn came soon, as the US cruiser fired round after round into his hull until the QE joined the Invincible at the bottom of the pond. This battle, the US fleet had turned its fortunes around and won a victory.

My last battle for the weekend was a three way "Texas Death Match" between myself, Rick Schultz, and Danny Schultz, with his Maryland. We would battle until only one ship was left afloat, and (generously) battery changes were allowed for the cruisers. The battle began with all three ships jockeying for position and shooting each other up. Danny was the target of choice, as he was the hardest to miss. We soon ran out of ammo, and after a brief refit began the second, and third sorties. The madness continued, as Danny's ship went out of control and began circling. It was cruiser heaven, and I tried to make the most of my ammo, as Rick tormented both of us. However, Rick was the first victim as he decided to drop out due to an inoperative gun. That left Danny and I alone for the fourth sortie. The sortie started out with me really worried, as my unscreened pump sucked in a bit of silicone which partially blocked the outlet. However, Iwas game, and the battle continued. Danny and I fought it out, and my guns were working better than they had yet that weekend, as the Maryland began to lose its battle with the incoming water. It wasn't too long later that the Maryland slipped under the waves, and I was the rather surprised victor.

I had a good time at this, my first regionals, and resolved to return in 1989, hopefully with the Salt Lake City's refit completed, and a spiffy new superstructure. Unfortunately, this was not to be, as the soaking of the weekend conspired with the lousy plywood to result in a rotted, ruined hull. Over the winter, the systems were salvaged from the Salt Lake City, and her tired hull was laid to rest in the local landfill. Her combat career was over, and in 1989, I would have to put another ship on the water, if I wanted to battle.

My final verdict on the Salt Lake City was that it was a great ship to learn with, and despite its problems, it gave me more years of good service than I really deserved. Indeed, when I finally got her working well, she turned out to be quite a formidable ship. I sometimes wish that I hadn't trashed her hull, as with today's Zombie Elixir, the poor old ship could probably have been resurrected. Unfortunately, that's not the case, though, and if I want to relive the nostalgic experience, I'll have to build a new hull. Fortunately for me, I still have her old turrets, and many other pieces, so that when I finally do build another one, I'll always have a bit of the ol' SLC with me.


USS Salt Lake City CL-25 - History

Bring the Cruise Book to Life with this Multimedia Presentation

This CD will Exceed your Expectations

A great part of naval history.

You would be purchasing an exact copy of the USS Salt Lake City CL 25 cruise book during World War II. Each page has been placed on a CD for years of enjoyable computer viewing. The CD comes in a plastic sleeve with a custom label. Every page has been enhanced and is readable. Rare cruise books like this sell for a hundred dollars or more when buying the actual hard copy if you can find one for sale.

This would make a great gift for yourself or someone you know who may have served aboard her. Usually only ONE person in the family has the original book. The CD makes it possible for other family members to have a copy also. You will not be disappointed we guarantee it.

Some of the items in this book are as follows:

  • War Time Commanding Officers
  • The Peace Years 1929-1941
  • The Time of Triumph May 1943 - August 1945
  • Honor Roll
  • Final Battle Score Board
  • Japanese Bombardments
  • Names and rank of those who served aboard (13 pages)

Over 77 Photos on 57 pages with 23 pages having detailed written description of activities.

Once you view this CD you will know what life was like on this Heavy Cruiser during World War II.


Salt Lake City CA25

The USS Salt Lake City (CL/CA-25) of the United States Navy was a Pensacola-class cruiser, later reclassified as a heavy cruiser, sometimes known as the "Swayback Maru." She had the unofficial distinction of having taken part in more engagements than any other ship in the fleet. She was the oldest ship in her class, being built in 1929. She was also the first ship to be named after Salt Lake City, Utah. The USS Salt Lake City received 11 battle stars for her service in World War II and a Navy Unit Commendation.

Albert Jowdy served on the 40mm guns on the stern of the ship, which protected the ship from enemy aircraft. Albert served on this ship throught its bombardments of the Aleutian Islands, Tarawa and the Gilbert Islands. His first battle with the Salt Lake City was in the Aleutian Islands, which was the longest surface battle in the history of the United States Navy. He also was involved in the the bombardment of the Marshal Islands, the Philippines, Yap, and Peleliu. He was also there to provide much needed call fire, which was heavy accurate artillery fire ordered by ground troops on the invasion of Iwo Jima on D-Day in the Pacific. While delivering the last major blow to the Japanese military, Albert and the Salt Lake City covered minesweeping operations in Okinawa and were in charge of covering the general patrols in the East China Sea. To end the war, he was there along with the crew of the Salt Lake City at the signing of the peace treaty in Hakato, Japan.


USS Salt Lake City (CA 25)

Salt Lake City was built by the American Brown Boveri Electric Corp. a subsidiary of the New York Shipbuilding Co., at Camden, New Jersey.

Target ship at Bikini in July 1946.
Decommissioned 29 August 1946.
Her hulk was sunk on 25 May 1948.
Stricken 18 June 1948.

More information on USS Salt Lake City can be found at this excellent website (offsite link).

Commands listed for USS Salt Lake City (CA 25)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Capt. Archer Meredith Ruland Allen, USN15 Oct 193814 Nov 1940
2Capt. Ellis Mark Zacharias, USN14 Nov 194010 Apr 1942
3Capt. Ernest Gregor Small, USN10 Apr 19422 Jan 1943
4Capt. Bertram Joseph Rodgers, USN2 Jan 19435 Sep 1943
5T/Capt. Leroy White Busbey, Jr., USN5 Sep 194325 Oct 1944
6Capt. Edward Alexander Mitchell, USN25 Oct 194427 Sep 1945

You can help improve our commands section
Click here to Submit events/comments/updates for this vessel.
Please use this if you spot mistakes or want to improve this ships page.

Notable events involving Salt Lake City include:

11 Oct 1942
USS Salt Lake City took part in Battle of Cape Esperance. She and other vessels sank the Japanese cruiser Furutaka (she sank the following night at 2:30AM). Salt Lake City was damaged by gunfire in this action. ( 1 )

27 Mar 1943
USS Salt Lake City fought in the Battle of Komanskorski Island, bravely against Japanese CA's Nachi and Maya. The US CA conducted herself bravely, and helped stop convoy reinforcements to Attu Island, Aleutians. ( 2 )


Contents

Inter-war period [ edit | edit source ]

Salt Lake City departed Philadelphia on 20 January 1930, for shakedown trials off the Maine coast. She began her first extended cruise on 10 February visited Guantánamo Bay, Cuba Culebra, Virgin Islands Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, Brazil then returned to Guantanamo Bay where—on 31 March—she joined Cruiser Division 2 (CruDivق) of the Scouting Force. With this division, she operated along the New England coast until 12 September, when she was reassigned to CruDivم. Salt Lake City then operated off New York, Cape Cod, and Chesapeake Bay through 1931. Originally CL-25, effective 1 July 1931, Salt Lake City was redesignated CA-25 in accordance with the provisions of the London Naval Treaty of 1930.

Early in 1932, Salt Lake City—with Chicago and Louisville—steamed to the West Coast for fleet maneuvers. They arrived at San Pedro, California on 7 March, and following the scheduled exercises, were reassigned to the Pacific Fleet. Salt Lake City visited Pearl Harbor in January–February 1933 and, in September, she was attached to CruDivل. From October 1933-January 1934, she underwent overhaul at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard then resumed duty with CruDivل. In May, she sailed for New York to participate in the Fleet Review and returned to San Pedro on 18 December.

Through 1935, Salt Lake City ranged the West Coast from San Diego to Seattle. In the first months of 1936, she conducted extensive gunnery exercises at San Clemente Island, and on 27 April departed San Pedro to participate in combined surface-subsurface operations at Balboa, Panama Canal Zone. Salt Lake City returned to San Pedro on 15 June and resumed West Coast operations until sailing for Hawaii on 25 April 1937. She returned to the West Coast on 20 May.

Her next extended cruise began on 13 January 1939, when she departed for the Caribbean, via the Panama Canal. During the next three months, she visited Panama, Colombia, the Virgin Islands, Trinidad, Cuba, and Haiti returning to San Pedro on 7 April. From 12 October 1939 – 25 June 1940, she cruised between Pearl Harbor, Wake, and Guam, utilizing the services of Vestal while at Pearl Harbor. In August 1941, she visited Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

World War II [ edit | edit source ]

After Pearl Harbor [ edit | edit source ]

On 7 December 1941, when the United States was brought into World War II by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Salt Lake City—under the command of Capt. Ellis M. Zacharias—was with the Enterprise task group, returning from Wake Island, 200 nmi (230 mi 370 km) west of Pearl Harbor when they received word of the attack. The group immediately launched scouting planes in hopes of catching possible stragglers from the enemy force, but the search proved fruitless. The ships entered Pearl Harbor toward sundown on the 8th.

After a tedious night refueling, they sortied before dawn to hunt submarines north of the islands. Submarines were encountered on the 10th-11th. The first—I-70—was sunk by dive bombers from Enterprise the second—sighted ahead of the group on the surface—was engaged with gunfire by Salt Lake City as the ships maneuvered to avoid torpedoes. Screening destroyers made numerous depth charge runs, but no kill was confirmed. Operations against a third contact brought similar results. The group returned to Pearl Harbor on 15 December to refuel.

Salt Lake City operated with Task Force 8 (TFو) until 23 December, covering Oahu and supporting the task force strike that was planned to relieve beleaguered Wake Island. After Wake fell, Salt Lake City′s group carried out air strikes in the eastern Marshalls at Wotje, Maloelap, and Kwajalein to reduce enemy seaplane bases. While conducting shore bombardment during those strikes, Salt Lake City came under air attack and assisted in downing two Japanese bombers. In March, she supported air strikes at Marcus Island.

In April, she escorted TF㺐, which launched the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo and other Japanese cities, and returned to Pearl Harbor on 25 April. Orders awaited the ships to sail as soon as possible to join the Yorktown and Lexington forces in the Coral Sea. Although the task force moved fast, it had only reached a point some 450 mi (390 nmi 720 km) east of Tulagi by 8 May, the day of the Battle of the Coral Sea. What followed was essentially a retirement, and Salt Lake City operated as cover with her group on the 11th off the New Hebrides, and from the 12th-16th eastward from Efate and Santa Cruz. On 16 May, she was ordered back to Pearl Harbor and arrived there 10 days later.

Salt Lake City, Pensacola and New Orleans (left to right) at Pearl Harbor in 1943

The carrier groups began intensive preparations to meet the expected Japanese thrust at Midway Atoll. During the battle, early in June, Salt Lake City provided rear guard protection for the islands.

From August–October 1942, Salt Lake City was in the south Pacific to support the campaign to seize and hold Guadalcanal. She escorted Wasp during the landings of 7–8 August and subsequent operations.

Salt Lake City protected Wasp as she shuttled planes for Saratoga and Enterprise, and provided Combat Air Patrol (CAP) and scouting patrols during the landings. Salt Lake City was with Wasp on 15 September when the carrier was torpedoed by Japanese submarines and sunk. She assisted in rescue operations for survivors, and took on board others who had been picked up by Lardner.

Battle of Cape Esperance [ edit | edit source ]

The campaign in the Solomons developed into a grim struggle which climaxed on the night of 11–12 October in the Battle of Cape Esperance. TF 64 was formed around Salt Lake City, Boise, Helena, and San Francisco to attack the "Tokyo Express", a steady flow of Japanese vessels maintaining reinforcement and resupply to Guadalcanal. The force was not considered large enough to get involved with a major Japanese covering force they were interested primarily in inflicting maximum damage to the transports. They arrived off Espiritu Santo on 7 October, and for two days steamed near Guadalcanal and waited. Land-based search-plane reports came in that an enemy force was steaming down the "slot" and—that night, TF㻀 moved to the vicinity of Savo Island to intercept it.

Search planes were ordered launched from the cruisers, but in the process of launching, Salt Lake City′s plane caught fire as flares ignited in the cockpit. The plane crashed close to the ship and the pilot managed to get free. He was later found safety on a nearby island. The brilliant fire was seen in the darkness by the Japanese flag officers, who assumed that it was a signal flare from the landing force which they were sent to protect. The Japanese flagship answered with blinker light, and receiving no reply, continued to signal. The American force formed a battle line at right angles to the Japanese T-formation, and thus were able to enfilade the enemy ships. The American cruisers opened fire and continued scoring hits for a full seven minutes before the confused Japanese realized what was taking place. They had believed that, by error, their own forces were taking them under fire. When the Japanese warships replied, their fire was too little and too late. The action was over in half an hour. One Japanese cruiser sank another was reduced to scrap a third was holed twice, and a destroyer sank. One destroyer of the five-ship force escaped damage. Salt Lake City sustained three major hits during the action. Boise was severely crippled, but managed to rejoin the group under her own power. Duncan was left gutted off Savo Island. The ships formed up and steamed to Espiritu Santo.

Battle of the Komandorski Islands [ edit | edit source ]

Salt Lake City spent the next four months at Pearl Harbor undergoing repairs and replenishing. Late in March 1943, she departed for the Aleutian Islands and operated from Adak Island to prevent the Japanese from supporting their garrisons on Attu and Kiska. Operating in TFو, Salt Lake City was accompanied by Richmond and four destroyers when they made contact on 26 March with some Japanese transports, escorted by the heavy cruisers Nachi and Maya, the light cruisers Tama and Abukuma, and four destroyers, led by Vice Admiral Boshiro Hosogoya Γ] leading to the Battle of the Komandorski Islands.

Salt Lake City, damaged by Japanese cruiser gunfire, starts losing speed prior to going dead in the water during the battle under a smoke screen laid by accompanying destroyers.

Mistakenly believing that easy pickings were in store, the American warships formed up and closed the range. Two transports fled for safety as the Japanese warships turned to engage. The American group was outgunned and outnumbered, but pressed on and made a course change in hopes of getting a shot at the transports before the escorts could intervene. There was also a possibility that the Japanese would split their force and that Salt Lake City and Richmond could tackle a portion of them on more equal terms.

The opposing cruisers simultaneously opened fire at a range of 20,000 yd (18,000 m). The ensuing battle was a retiring action on the part of the Americans, for the Japanese foiled their attempt to get to the auxiliaries. Salt Lake City received most of the attention and soon received two hits, one of them amidships, mortally wounding two men, but she responded with very accurate fire. Her rudder stops were carried away, limiting her to 10° course changes. The starboard seaplane caught fire and was jettisoned. Another hit soon flooded forward compartments. Under cover of a thick smoke screen and aggressive torpedo attacks by the destroyers, the American cruisers were able to make an evasive turn, which for a while allowed the range to open. Salt Lake City soon began taking hits again and her boiler fires died one by one. Salt water had entered the fuel oil feed lines. There was now cause for grave concern she lay dead in the water, and the Japanese ships were closing fast. Luckily, she was hidden in the smoke, and the enemy was not aware of her plight. Δ]

The destroyers charged the Japanese cruisers and began to draw the fire away from the damaged Salt Lake City. Bailey suffered two 8 in (200 mm) hits while launching a spread of five torpedoes at long range. In the meantime, Salt Lake City′s engineers purged the fuel lines and fired the boilers. With fresh oil supplying the fires, she built up steam and gained headway. Suddenly, the Japanese began to withdraw, because they were fast exhausting their ammunition. They did not suspect that the Americans were in far worse shape in terms of both ammunition and fuel.

Despite being outnumbered two to one, the Americans succeeded in their purpose. The Japanese attempt to reinforce their bases in the Aleutians had failed and they turned tail and headed home. Salt Lake City later covered the American liberation of Attu and Kiska which ended the Aleutian Campaign. She departed Adak on 23 September and sailed, via San Francisco, to Pearl Harbor where she arrived on 14 October.

The Allied offensive strategy in the Pacific now focused on the Marshall Islands. A two-column thrust through Micronesia and the Bismarck Archipelago would force the enemy to disperse his forces, deny him the opportunity for a flanking movement, and provide the Allies with the choice of where and when to strike next. To obtain adequate intelligence for planning the Marshalls operation, the Gilbert Islands would have to be secured for use as a staging area and launch point for photographic missions. Salt Lake City was assigned to Task Group 50.3 9TG㺲.3) of the Southern Carrier Group for the Gilbert Islands Campaign, Operation Galvanic.

Salt Lake City conducted rigorous gunnery training until 8 November, when she sailed to join Essex, Bunker Hill, and Independence which had carried out preliminary strikes on Wake, as a diversion on 5–6 October, and at Rabaul on 11 November. Salt Lake City joined on the 13th off Funafuti, Ellice Islands, following the carriers' fueling rendezvous at Espiritu Santo. She then saw action on the 19th as she bombarded Betio at Tarawa Atoll, in the Gilberts. That day and the next, she fought off repeated torpedo plane attacks aimed for the flattops. Tarawa was secured by the 28th. This was the first Pacific amphibious operation to be vigorously opposed at the beach, and many lessons were learned here to be applied in the island campaigns to follow.

Salt Lake City was attached to the Neutralization Group—TG㺲.15—for the long-awaited Marshalls Campaign. From 29 January-17 February 1944, she conducted shore bombardment at Wotje and Taroa islands which were bypassed and cut off from support as the major forces concentrated on Majuro, Eniwetok, and Kwajalein. This leapfrog technique worked well and eliminated the needless casualties that would result in mopping up every Japanese-held island. On 30 March–1 April, Salt Lake City participated in raids on Palau, Yap, Ulithi, and Woleai in the western Caroline Islands archipelago. The cruiser anchored at Majuro on 6 April and remained until 25 April, when she sailed—unescorted—for Pearl Harbor.

Salt Lake City arrived at Pearl Harbor on 30 April and sailed the next day for Mare Island Naval Shipyard. She arrived on 7 May and operated in the San Francisco Bay area until 1 July. She then proceeded to Adak, Alaska arriving on the 8th. In the Aleutians, her operations, including a scheduled bombardment at Paramushiro were curtailed by severe weather, and she returned to Pearl Harbor on 13 August.

Salt Lake City sortied with Pensacola and Monterey on 29 August to attack Wake Island. They shelled that island on 3 September, and then proceeded to Eniwetok to remain until the 24th. The cruisers then moved to Saipan for patrol duty after which, on 6 October, they proceeded to Marcus Island to create a diversion in connection with raids on Formosa. They shelled Marcus on 9 September and returned to Saipan.

In October, during the second Battle of the Philippine Sea, Salt Lake City returned to screen and support duty with the carrier strike groups against Japanese bases and surface craft. Based at Ulithi, she supported the carriers between 15 and 26 October. From 8 November 1944 – 25 January 1945, she operated with CruDivم, TF  54, in bombardment against the Volcano Islands to neutralize airfields through which the Japanese staged bombing raids on the B-29 Superfortresses based at Saipan. These raids were coordinated with B-24 Liberator strikes. In February, she operated in the Gunfire and Covering Force—TF㺶—during the final phases of securing Iwo Jima and the initial operations in the campaign to capture Okinawa.

Salt Lake City provided call-fire at Iwo Jima until 13 March, and then concentrated her activities at Okinawa until 28 May, when she put into Leyte for repairs and upkeep. She returned to Okinawa to cover minesweeping operations and general patrol in the East China Sea on 6 July. A month later, on 8 August, she sailed for the Aleutians via Saipan. While en route to Adak, she received word on 31 August to proceed to northern Honshū, Japan, to cover the occupation of Ominato Naval Base.

Post-war [ edit | edit source ]

Salt Lake City being sunk as a target ship on 25 May 1948

Like many warships at the close of the war, Salt Lake City was almost immediately slated for deactivation. She was originally ordered to report to Commander, 3rd Fleet, upon arrival on the west coast, in October, for deactivation. On 29 October, however, she was diverted to Operation Magic Carpet duty to return veterans of the Pacific theater to the U.S.

On 14 November, she was added to the list of warships to be used as test vessels for Operation Crossroads, the Atomic Bomb Experiments and Evaluation Tests at Bikini Atoll. She was partially stripped and her crew reduced prior to sailing to Pearl Harbor in March 1946.

Salt Lake City was used in evaluating the effects on surface vessels during an initial test with an aerial atomic bomb burst on 1 July and during the second test of a subsurface burst on the 25th. Surviving two atomic bomb blasts, she was decommissioned on 29 August and laid up to await ultimate disposal. She was sunk as a target hull on 25 May 1948, 130 mi (110 nmi 210 km) off the coast of southern California and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 18 June 1948.


U.S.S. Salt Lake City: &aposThe One Ship Fleet&apos

Famous WWII heavy cruiser's contribution is remembered.

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CA-25 Salt Lake City

USS Salt Lake City, a 9100-ton Pensacola class heavy cruiser built at Camden, New Jersey, was commissioned in December 1929. Her original hull number, CL-25, was changed to CA-25 in July 1931. The ship's first two years of active service were spent in the Atlantic area. She shifted her base to the U.S. west coast in early 1932 and was thereafter generally in the Pacific, with occasional trips through the Panama Canal for brief operations in the Caribbean and Atlantic. In mid-1941, Salt Lake City crossed the Pacific to visit Australia.

On 7 December 1941, when the United States was brought into World War II by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Salt Lake City was operating with the USS Enterprise task group. She remained in the Hawaiian area for the next two months, then participated in her task force's central Pacific raids during February and March 1942. In April, she was part of the force that executed the Doolittle raid on Japan. During August-October 1942, Salt Lake City was in the south Pacific to support the campaign to seize and hold Guadalcanal. She escorted USS Wasp during the landings of 7-8 August and subsequent operations, and was present when Wasp was sunk by a Japanese submarine on 15 September. On 11-12 October, Salt Lake City helped fight the Battle of Cape Esperance, receiving damage from enemy gunfire.