USS Salt Lake City
|Ship Class||Pensacola-class Heavy Cruiser|
|Builder||American Brown Boveri Electric Corporation, Camden, New Jersey, United States|
|Laid Down||9 Jun 1927|
|Launched||23 Jan 1929|
|Commissioned||11 Dec 1929|
|Decommissioned||29 Aug 1947|
|Displacement||10826 tons standard|
|Armament||10x8in, 4x5in, 2x3pdr, 6x21in torpedo tubes|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Salt Lake City was commissioned to Captain F. L. Oliver at Philadelphia Navy Yard in Pennsylvania, United States, and departed five weeks later for her shakedown cruise off Maine in northeastern United States. In Feb and Mar 1930, she visited ports in the Caribbean Sea and Brazil. On 31 Mar, she joined Cruiser Division 2, then on 12 Sep Cruiser Division 5, of the Scouting Force and patrolled off the east coast of the United States. In 1932, she was reassigned to the Pacific Fleet, patrolling the west coast of the United States and Hawaii until 1938, with the only exception being when she was undergoing overhaul between Oct 1933 and Jan 1934, when she sailed to New York for the Fleet Review between May and Dec 1934, and when she participated in anti-submarine practice off Panama in Apr 1936. Beginning on 13 Jan 1939, she visited ports in the Caribbean Sea, the Central Pacific, and Australia.
When the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor in Dec 1941, Salt Lake City was escorting carrier Enterprise between Wake Island and Pearl Harbor. The task group launched aircraft in search of Japanese carriers, but failed to locate them. The task group made port call at Pearl Harbor in the evening of 8 Dec. In the morning of 9 Dec, the task group set sail to make contact with Japanese submarines to the north, returning on 15 Dec. After patrolling off Hawaiian waters, she was a part of the effort to relieve Wake Island that was eventually called off. In early 1942, she escorted carriers as the aircraft struck Japanese bases in the Marshall Islands and at Marcus Island. In Apr, she escorted carriers Hornet and Enterprise on the Doolittle Raid. In May, she sailed for Coral Sea, but arrived after the battle had already taken place. During the Midway battle, she provided rear guard protection for the rest of the Hawaiian Islands chain.
Between Aug and Oct 1942, Salt Lake City supported the Guadalcanal Campaign by escorting carriers Saratoga, Enterprise, and Wasp; she was on the scene when Wasp was sunk by Japanese submarine and assisted with the rescue. During the night of 11 and 12 Oct 1942, she participated in the Battle of Cape Esperance, which began with Salt Lake City's reconnaissance aircraft burning from an accidental ignition of flares, but they were lucky that Rear Admiral Aritomo Goto's ships did not make much of the fire. About an hour and half later, the American fleet detected their counterpart, and opened fire first despite a confusing series of maneuvers due to miscommunications. Although the firing caught the Japanese ships by surprise, the Japanese had the honor of scoring the first hit of the battle, on Salt Lake City, which killed several men. At the end of the battle, she sustained three hits and required four months' time for repairs at Pearl Harbor.
In Mar 1943. Salt Lake City sailed for the North Pacific and operated from Adak with Task Force 8. On 26 Mar, she engaged in the Battle of the Komandorski Islands, where she drew first blood against Nachi, damaging her superstructure and weather decks and killing many topside personnel. However, the Japanese ships concentrated their fire against Salt Lake City, hitting her repeatedly and flooding the engine room. The American destroyers laid a smokescreen to cover Salt Lake City as boilers failed one by one due to ruptured fuel lines. Eventually, she became disabled, but luckily for her, the heavy smoke shielded her from Japanese attack. Her engineers were eventually able to get her underway, and by the time she began moving, the Japanese had already broken off from the engagement. After the battle, she remained in the North Pacific. She supported the landing and occupation of Attu and Kiska until 23 Sep.
After rigorous gunnery training in the South Pacific in Oct 1943, Salt Lake City joined carriers Essex, Bunker Hill, and Independence on 13 Nov off Funafuti of Ellice Islands, and the group sailed for the Gilbert Islands. On 19 and 20 Nov, she covered the carriers as they launched air strikes against Tarawa, fighting off Japanese attempts to torpedo the carriers. With Task Group 50.15, she participated in the Marshall Islands Campaign, conducting shore bombardment against Wotje and Taroa between 29 Jan and 17 Feb 1944. On 30 Mar and 1 Apr, she escorted carriers as they struck Palau, Yap, Ulithi, and Woleai in the Caroline Islands. On 8 Jul, after visits to Pearl Harbor and San Francisco, Salt Lake City returned to Adak in the Aleutian Islands. She operated out of Adak for about one month before returning to Pearl Harbor. On 3 Sep, she bombarded Wake Island. In early 1945, she provided naval gunfire support during the latter stages of the Battle of Iwo Jima, and then a similar role in the early stages of the Okinawa Campaign. She left Okinawa on 28 May for a trip to Leyte, Philippine Islands, for repairs. She returned to Okinawa in Jun for minesweeping and patrol duties, then sailed for the East China Sea on 6 Jul. On 8 Aug, she sailed for the Aleutian Islands, and the Japanese surrendered while she was en route.
On 31 Aug 1945, she doubled back for Honshu, Japan to cover the occupation of Ominato Naval Base. She participated in Operation Magic Carpet that brought American servicemen home, then was assigned to be a target during the Operation Crossroads atomic bomb tests. She was hit by an aerial burst on 1 Jul, and then a subsurface burst on 25 Jul. She was decommissioned a month later, and was sunk as a target hull on 25 May 1948 off Southern California.
USS Salt Lake City Operational Timeline
|11 Dec 1929||Salt Lake City was commissioned into service.|
|29 Aug 1947||Salt Lake City was decommissioned from service.|
» Doolittle Raid
» Guadalcanal Campaign
» Aleutian Islands Campaign
» Gilbert Islands Campaign
» Marshall Islands Campaign
» Battle of Iwo Jima
» Okinawa Campaign
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939