Astoria file photo

USS Astoria (New Orleans-class)

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassNew Orleans-class Heavy Cruiser
Hull NumberCA-34
BuilderPuget Sound Naval Shipayrd, Bremerton, Washington, United States
Laid Down1 Sep 1930
Launched16 Dec 1933
Commissioned28 Apr 1934
Sunk9 Aug 1942
Displacement9950 tons standard
Length588 feet
Beam62 feet
Draft19 feet
Speed32 knots
Crew899
Armament3x3x200mm 55cal guns, 8x130mm 25cal guns, 2x37mm 30-pdr guns, 8x12.7mm machine guns

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

USS Astoria was commissioned in 1934, after which she conducted her shakedown cruise across the Pacific. After her return, she was assigned to Cruiser Division 6 of the US Navy Pacific Fleet. In 1939, she transported the body of former Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Saito to his home country as a gesture of appreciation for Japan doing the same with Ambassador Edgar Bancroft in 1926. She fired a 21-gun salute in Yokohama harbor to pay her respects to Saito while accompanied by three Japanese destroyers. After Japan, Astoria sailed for Shanghai, China; Hong Kong; Philippine Islands; and Guam, Mariana Islands before returning to the United States. She was assigned to the Hawaiian Detachment in Oct 1939. She was fitted with anti-aircraft machine guns at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in California, United States in Apr 1941.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 Dec 1941, Astoria was escorting carrier Lexington on her way to Midway. On the next day she searched to intercept the returning Japanese carriers, but was not successful. She returned to Pearl Harbor on 13 Dec. She was sent to relief Wake, but was recalled when Wake fell on 23 Dec. In Jan 1942 she escorted carrier USS Saratoga at sea, and escorted her back to port after she was struck by torpedo. On 16 Feb, she sailed with Task Force 17, built around carrier Yorktown, sailed west and eventually went to the vicinity of Rabaul, New Britain, Bismarck Islands. Astoria later broke from Task Force 17 and joined cruisers Chicago, Louisville, and Australia, along with four destroyers, to secure Task Force 17's far flank toward Port Moresby, New Guinea. She rejoined the task force on 14 Mar and patrolled Coral Sea, where she engaged in the great carrier battle of Coral Sea on 7 May. She acted in that battle in an anti-aircraft screening role; her gun crew claimed four hits. After a brief stay at Pearl Harbor, she departed for Midway in preparation of a Japanese offensive there. Again, Astoria acted in an anti-aircraft screening role in the Battle of Midway, laying protective fire for carrier Yorktown. After Yorktown was serious damaged after the first strike against her, Rear Admiral Frank Fletcher broke her flag on Astoria. She remained the flagship of Task Force 17 until 8 Jun when Fletcher transferred her flag to the carrier Saratoga.

In the first week of Aug 1942, USS Astoria operated off Guadalcanal to support the US Marines on that island. During the Battle of Savo Island on 9 Aug, damage control officer Lieutenant Commander Topper felt the concussions of the southern battle a few minutes before, but shook it off as distant destroyers launching depth charges. Astoria did not realize she was under attack until the ship was illuminated by Japanese star shells. She turned her guns and started firing, but momentarily the firing was ceased because the captain of the ship, who had just been awakened, feared that the ship was firing on friendly ships amidst the confusion. A moment later, Astoria was hit by an 8-in salvo, and the resulting fire marked her as a clear target for Japanese ships under the night sky. After striking the number one turret of Japanese cruiser Chokai and causing minor damage, she lost steering control on the bridge at 0225. She lost all power minutes later. After a valiant effort to save the ship, the order to abandon ship was finally issued at noon. At 1216, the ship turned over on her port beam and sank.

Sources:
Samuel Eliot Morison, The Struggle for Guadalcanal
Wikipedia

Heavy Cruiser USS Astoria (New Orleans-class) (CA-34) Interactive Map

USS Astoria (New Orleans-class) Operational Timeline

1 Sep 1930 The keel of cruiser Astoria was laid down.
16 Dec 1933 Cruiser Astoria was launched, sponsored by Miss Leila C. McKay.
28 Apr 1934 USS Astoria was commissioned into service with Captain Edmund S. Root in command.
26 Sep 1934 USS Astoria arrived at San Francisco, California, United States.
3 Mar 1939 USS Astoria departed Culebra, Puerto Rico.
18 Mar 1939 USS Astoria departed Annapolis, Maryland, United States with the ashes of Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Saito on board.
24 Mar 1939 USS Astoria departed the Panama Canal Zone.
4 Apr 1939 USS Astoria arrived at Honolulu, US Territory of Hawaii.
17 Apr 1939 USS Astoria arrived at Yokohama, Japan and disembarked the ashes of Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Saito.
26 Apr 1939 USS Astoria departed Yokohama, Japan.
29 Apr 1939 USS Astoria arrived at Shanghai, China.
1 May 1939 Admiral Harry E. Yarnell visited USS Astoria in the morning; in the afternoon, the cruiser departed Shanghai, China for Hong Kong.
21 May 1939 USS Astoria arrived at Guam, Mariana Islands.
29 May 1939 USS Astoria discontinued the search for the missing adventurer Richard Halliburton.
2 Apr 1941 USS Astoria departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
8 Apr 1941 USS Astoria arrived at Long Beach, California, United States.
13 Apr 1941 USS Astoria entered Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, United States for a refit.
11 Jul 1941 USS Astoria completed her refit at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, United States.
16 Jul 1941 USS Astoria departed Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, United States.
24 Jul 1941 USS Astoria departed San Pedro, California, United States.
31 Jul 1941 USS Astoria arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
29 Oct 1941 USS Astoria arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
5 Dec 1941 USS Astoria departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii to join Task Force 12.
13 Dec 1941 USS Astoria arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
29 Dec 1941 USS Astoria arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
31 Dec 1941 USS Astoria departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
13 Jan 1942 USS Astoria arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
19 Jan 1942 USS Astoria departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
24 Jan 1942 USS Astoria arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
16 Feb 1942 USS Astoria departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
14 Mar 1942 USS Astoria was assigned to Task Force 17.
1 Apr 1942 USS Astoria arrived at Nouméa, New Caledonia.
2 Apr 1942 USS Astoria departed from Nouméa, New Caledonia.
20 Apr 1942 USS Astoria arrived at Tongatapu, Tonga.
27 Apr 1942 USS Astoria departed Tongatapu, Tonga to join Task Force 11.
7 May 1942 USS Astoria covered USS Yorktown during the Battle of the Coral Sea.
12 May 1942 USS Astoria arrived at Nouméa, New Caledonia.
13 May 1942 USS Astoria departed Nouméa, New Caledonia.
27 May 1942 USS Astoria arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
30 May 1942 USS Astoria departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii for Midway Atoll.
4 Jun 1942 USS Astoria became the temporary flagship of Rear Admiral Frank Fletcher as USS Yorktown was hit by Japanese aircraft.
8 Jun 1942 USS Astoria was relieved of her duty as Rear Admiral Frank Fletcher's flagship.
13 Jun 1942 USS Astoria arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
9 Aug 1942 USS Astoria was sunk at 1216 hours from damage sustained during the Battle of Savo Island.

Photographs

Astoria off Long Beach, CA, circa 1930sUSS Astoria entering Honolulu harbor during her shakedown cruise, US Territory of Hawaii, 9 Jul 1934AstoriaAstoria off Mare Island Navy Yard, 11 Jul 1941, photo 1 of 2
See all 18 photographs of Heavy Cruiser USS Astoria (New Orleans-class) (CA-34)



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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. edwin charles banry jr. says:
    4 Apr 2006 09:47:50 PM

    my father served on this ship from i beleave day one. i would like to have more info on the amount of japanese tonage that she sunk and would like to know if there is anyone still living that served on this ship that i can talk to who might remember my father edwin charles banry sr. thank you for your time.

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Heavy Cruiser USS Astoria (New Orleans-class) (CA-34) Photo Gallery
Astoria off Long Beach, CA, circa 1930s
See all 18 photographs of Heavy Cruiser USS Astoria (New Orleans-class) (CA-34)



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