|Ship Class||Pensacola-class Heavy Cruiser|
|Builder||New York Navy Yard|
|Laid Down||27 Oct 1926|
|Launched||25 Apr 1929|
|Commissioned||6 Feb 1930|
|Decommissioned||26 Aug 1946|
|Displacement||9100 tons standard|
|Machinery||Parsons turbines, 8 boilers, 4 shafts|
|Power Output||107000 SHP|
|Range||10,000nm at 15 knots|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Pensacola was the lead ship of her class of heavy cruisers. In the early 1930s, she served on both coasts of the United States. During the attack on Pearl Harbor which started the Pacific War and drew the United States into WW2, she was en route between Pearl Harbor and Manila; she was diverted to Brisbane, Australia, and returned to Pearl Harbor on 19 Jan 1942. On 17 Feb 1942, she arrived off Samoa to join Task Force 11, which was centered around the carrier Lexington.
On 20 Feb 1942, Pensacola's anti-aircraft weapons helped to repel an aerial attack by 18 Japanese aircraft in two waves. On 6 Mar, carrier Yorktown joined the task force. Pensacola escorted the carriers in their offensives and patrols in the South Pacific until Apr 1942.
On 26 May 1942, Pensacola entered Pearl Harbor and joined with the carrier Enterprise. Two days later, they departed for Midway Atoll and made a rendezvous with Task Force 17 in which Pensacola participated in the Battle of Midway with. As Yorktown was attacked by Japanese aircraft, Pensacola left Enterprise to aid the carrier, but by the time she arrived Yorktown had already been disabled. While Yorktown's damage control crew worked furiously, Pensacola provided anti-aircraft support, shooting down four torpedo bombers during the second attack. After Yorktown sank, Pensacola returned to Enterprise and embarked on a chase of the Japanese forces. The Enterprise group returned to Pearl Harbor on 13 Jun.
On 22 Jun 1942, Pensacola transported 1,157 men of Marine Aircraft Group 22 to Midway, and remained in the Hawaiian chain until 7 Aug.
In Aug 1942, Pensacola sailed for the South Pacific. On 2 Oct, she departed Noumea, New Caledonia with carrier Hornet for Guadalcanal. On 24 Oct, the Hornet group joined Enterprise group, and two days later the combined force entered into the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. During the battle Pensacola provided anti-aircraft support against Japanese dive and torpedo bombers, but she was not able to prevent Hornet from receiving fatal damage. Hornet was eventually abandoned; Pensacola brought 188 survivors of the carrier to Noumea on 30 Oct. Although the price was hefty, the Americans stopped a major Japanese naval offensive.
In early Nov 1942, Pensacola guarded transports landing Marines on Guadalcanal. At Guadalcanal, she participated in the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 13 Nov and the Battle of Tassafaronga on 30 Nov. In the latter action, among heavy gunfire, she was struck by two torpedoes, causing heavy damage. The torpedoes struck on the port side, flooding her engine room and ripping open the oil tanks, but she continued to fire the guns that remained functional. Despite the heavy damage, the damage control crew of Pensacola saved the ship, pulling into port at Tulagi while still aflame. 125 were killed and 68 injured at the end of the battle. After emergency repairs at Tulagi and Espiritu Santo, she arrived at Pearl Harbor on 27 Jan 1943 to receive proper repairs.
Pensacola's next mission was not until Nov 1943 when she bombarded Betio of Tarawa Atoll with 600 shells to soften Japanese defenses before the Marine landing. For the next two months, she performed as anti-aircraft screen for carriers and supply ships. In Jan and Feb 1944, she bombarded Japanese garrisons in the Marshall Islands. Between Mar and Apr 1944, she screened carriers across the Pacific. In Jun, she was transferred to northern Pacific, attacking Japanese airfields in the Kurile Islands in late Jun 1944 and patrolled off Alaska in Jul. Returning to Central Pacific, she bombarded Wake Island on 3 Sep and Marcus Island on 9 Oct. In mid-Oct, she participated in the campaign to gain control of the Philippines, including her direct involving at the landing at Luzon on 20 Oct.
In the night of 11 to 12 Nov 1944, Pensacola bombarded Iwo Jima. On 8 Dec 1944, 5 Jan 1945, 24 Jan 1945, and 27 Jan 1945, she bombarded Japanese defenses at Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima to prepare for the landing scheduled for 19 Feb. On 16 Feb, she was involved in the three days of pre-invasion naval bombardment, receiving six hits from Japanese shore batteries in the process, killing 17 men and injuring 119 others. She remained at Iwo Jima until 3 mar.
On 25 Mar 1945, Pensacola supported the landing at Okinawa and remained there until 15 Apr. She then returned to Mare Island Navy Yard in California, United States for overhaul. She exited from the shipyard on 3 Aug, by then the war was about to end. She anchored in the Japanese port of Ominato on 8 Sep as a part of the occupation force, and performed as a Magic Carpet transport to bring American servicemen home between Nov 1945 and Jan 1946.
Pensacola was decommissioned in 1946 after being used as the target of an atomic test. She was sunk on 10 Nov 1948.
USS Pensacola Operational Timeline
|6 Feb 1930||Pensacola was commissioned into service.|
|19 Jan 1942||USS Pensacola arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.|
|26 Aug 1946||Pensacola was decommissioned from service.|
» Battle of Midway and the Aleutian Islands
» Guadalcanal Campaign
» Solomon Islands Campaign
» Gilbert Islands Campaign
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 2
» Battle of Iwo Jima
» Okinawa Campaign
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