|Ship Class||New Orleans-class Heavy Cruiser|
|Builder||Fore River plant, Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company,|
|Laid Down||2 Jan 1934|
|Launched||21 May 1936|
|Commissioned||24 Feb 1937|
|Sunk||9 Aug 1942|
|Displacement||9400 tons standard|
|Armament||9×203mm, 8×127mm, 2×1.4 kg, 8×12.7mm|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
The cruiser Vincennes was named after the city of Vincennes, Indiana, United States. Her shakedown cruise took place to Sweden, Finland, France, and England. Upon return to the United States, she was assigned to Cruiser Division 7, Scouting Force, and operated out of San Diego, California. She was modernized in Apr 1939.
As the European War began in Sep 1939, Vincennes patrolled the east coast to protect American ships from any possible hostilities. After overhaul at Portsmouth Navy Yard in Norfolk, she sailed to the the Caribbean Sea in early 1941 to conduct gunnery and landing exercises. On 17 Mar 1941, she sailed for South Africa to bring back a shipment of gold bullion given by the United Kingdom as lend-lease payment. She continued to patrol and make journeys across the Atlantic through the entrance of the United States in WW2.
In Mar 1942, Vincennes became a part of Task Force 18 of the Pacific Fleet, which was centered around the carrier Hornet. On 2 Apr 1942, she escort the Doolittle raiders on their journey to bomb Japanese cities.
During the Battle of Midway, Vincennes was attacked by Japanese B5N "Kate" torpedo bombers but successfully fended herself. She also protected her classmate Astoria by providing additional anti-aircraft support. Battle damage sustained during Midway put Vincennes in the yard at Pearl Harbor for repairs until early Jul 1942. She departed Pearl Harbor on 14 Jul for the South Pacific.
On 7 Aug 1942, during the Guadalcanal Campaign, Vincennes covered the transports landing Marines on Guadalcanal. At 1320, Japanese aircraft retaliated unsuccessfully, and Vincennes scored two kills against the oncoming aircraft. At 1158 the next day, the Japanese attacked again, this time with 27 G4M "Betty" bombers; this second attack also failed, and Vincennes scored seven kills against Japanese torpedo bombers. That afternoon, reported indicated a Japanese surface force coming down from Rabaul. The Japanese force, led by Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa, struck at 0137 in the early hours of 9 Aug. Although the southern group had already engaged in combat, the northern group in which Vincennes belonged to received no warning. Therefore, when Japanese spotlights illuminated Vincennes at 0155, it was a total surprise. She managed to fire off several rounds at the sources of the spotlights with her main battery, but she was quickly overwhelmed by shells; her bridge, carpenter shop, and radio antenna were all hit during the Japanese first salvo. Another hit ignited the aircraft in Vincennes' hangar, causing a stubborn fire with aviation fuel. At 0200, one or two torpedoes, fired long before, struck Vincennes and disabled her within minutes. At 0210, the Japanese force withdrew from combat, but by this time she already suffered from an alarming list to port. Captain Frederick Lois Riefkohl ordered the men to abandon ship at 0230. She rolled over and sank at 0250. The Battle of Savo Island caused 332 deaths aboard Vincennes, wounding 258.
Sources: the Struggle for Guadalcanal, Wikipedia.
USS Vincennes Operational Timeline
|24 Feb 1937||Vincennes was commissioned into service.|
|28 May 1940||American ambassador to France, William Bullitt, sent a telegram to the United States asking President Roosevelt to dispatch a cruiser to Bordeaux, France to bring weapons for the French police to quell a feared "Communist uprising" and to embark French and Belgian gold reserves. Heavy cruiser USS Vincennes would sortie from Hampton Roads, Virginia, United States with destroyers USS Truxtun and USS Simpson in response to the ambassador's request.|
|9 Jun 1940||American cruiser USS Vincennes and destroyers USS Truxton and USS Simpson arrived at Casablanca, French Morocco. They began taking on what would be 200 tons of gold from the French reserves to be brought back to the United States for safekeeping.|
|10 Jun 1940||American cruiser USS Vincennes and destroyers USS Truxton and USS Simpson departed Casablanca, French Morocco for the United States with 200 tons of gold from the French reserves.|
|20 Jun 1940||American cruiser USS Vincennes and destroyers USS Truxton and USS Simpson arrived at New York with 200 tons of gold from the French reserves.|
|17 Jul 1942||American light cruiser Vincennes was launched.|
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