USS Ralph Talbot
|Ship Class||Bagley-class Destroyer|
|Laid Down||28 Oct 1935|
|Launched||31 Oct 1936|
|Commissioned||14 Oct 1937|
|Decommissioned||29 Aug 1946|
|Sunk||8 Mar 1948|
|Displacement||2325 tons standard|
|Power Output||49000 SHP|
|Range||6,500nm at 12 knots|
|Armament||4x5in, 4x0.50cal machine guns, 3x4x21in torpedoes|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseNamed after WW1-era United States Marine Second Lieutenant Ralph Talbot, the destroyer was sponsored by Mrs. Mary Talbot, Ralph's mother in 1936 and commissioned to Lieutenant Commander H. R. Thuber in 1937. Destroyer Ralph Talbot was a part of the Destroyers, Battle Force of the United States Navy and operated off the west coast of the United States. In Apr 1941, she entered Mare Island Navy Yard in California, United States, and served the remainder of her pre-war career at Pearl Harbor.
ww2dbaseAt the date of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Dec 1941, Ralph Talbot was moored there. Her anti-aircraft guns were firing at the Japanese aircraft within minutes of the start of the attack, and by 0900 that morning she had downed one aircraft. After the attack, she patrolled for Japanese aircraft. On 14 Dec, she sortied with Task Force 14 as escort for the Task Force's carriers. In Jan and Feb 1942, with Task Force 8, she supported carriers as they launched their aircraft against Japanese positions in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands; in Mar, she performed a similar role during attacks on Wake and Marcus Islands. On 9 Mar 1942, she returned to Pearl Harbor. Between Mar and May 1942, she performed convoy duties between Pearl Harbor and the west coast of the United States. After the Battle of Midway, she escorted auxiliary vessels to Midway area to replenish ships that participated in the battle, then escorted Task Force 16 to Pearl Harbor. On 14 Jun, she sailed for Australia and New Zealand.
ww2dbaseOn 22 Jul, Ralph Talbot sailed for the Solomon Islands. On 7 Aug, she arrived off Guadalcanal in support of Task Group 62.6 during the landings. Beginning on 8 Aug, she patrolled north of Savo Island. At 0145 on 9 Aug, she received word of three Japanese ships; soon afterwards, she observed gunfire to the southwest, which was the start of the Battle of Savo Island. As she approached the battle, she was shelled by a friendly destroyer at about 0215. A few minutes later, a Japanese cruiser lit Ralph Talbot brightly with spotlight and fired at her. A shell landed at the chart house, destroying radar equipment and fire control circuits. Three more shells came down in close succession, hitting the wardroom, the starboard quarter, and the underside of gun number 4. Eleven members of her crew were killed, including the ship's doctor and the chief pharmacist's mate. At 0221, Ralph Talbot ceased firing after the Japanese fleet left in fear of an American air attack after dawn, but the battle continued for her as the damage control team fought the intense fire that enveloped the bridge. Meanwhile, the ship listed heavily to starboard. At 0230, all radio communication to and from the vessel stopped. By 0330, the fire was contained and the flooding was stopped. Soon after 0700, communication was re-established, and by 1210 enough temporary repairs were done for her to get underway. She arrived at Mare Island Navy Yard on 11 Sep 1942 to receive permanent repairs.
ww2dbaseOn 11 Nov 1942, Ralph Talbot steamed out of Mare Island Navy Yard for Hawaii. On 16 Dec, she departed for Australia. She remained in Brisbane for training and convoy duties between 2 Jan and 10 May 1943. Between 13 May and mid-Jun, she performed training and convoy duties out of NoumČa, New Caledonia. On 30 Jun, she covered the landings on Rendova Island, New Georgia, Solomon Islands, rescuing 300 survivors of APA McCawley on that day. On 5 Jul, she bombarded Rice Anchorage in New Georgia with her 5-inch guns, following by landing men of the 148th Infantry there. On 9 and 11 Jul, she bombarded Munda in southwestern New Georgia. During the night of 12 to 13 Jul 1943, she participated in the Battle of Kolombangara; at the end of that action, her torpedoes scuttled destroyer Gwin. From Aug through Oct, she remained in the Solomon Islands area, performing patrol and escort duties. On 27 Oct, she left for Australia. On 3 Nov, she arrived at Milne Bay, New Guinea, where she resumed patrol and escort duties. During the night of 29 Nov, with Task Force 74, she bombarded Japanese positions on New Britain. In mid-Dec, she covered the landings on Kiriwina Island, Trobriand Islands, off New Guinea. In late-Dec, she covered the landings on Cape Gloucestor, New Britain. On 1 Jan 1944, she sailed with Task Force 76 and conducted pre-landing bombardment of Saidor, New Guinea. She left the New Guinea area in early Feb 1943 for overhaul in the United States.
ww2dbaseAfter a brief stay at Pearl Harbor in May 1944, Ralph Talbot returned to the South Pacific. She escorted a convoy between Eniwetok, Marshall Islands to Saipan, Mariana Islands, arriving at Garapan Harbor on 5 Jul, then provided gunfire support for ground troops. After evacuating casualties, she provided gunfire support at Tinian on 27 Jul. She escorted ships through most of Aug 1944, then joined Task Force 38.4 in support of the attack against the Volcano and Bonin Islands between 31 Aug and 2 Sep, Yap on 7 and 8 Sep, and the Palau Islands between 10 and 19 Sep. In Oct, she patrolled for Japanese shipping in the general area enclosed by Okinawa, Taiwan, and Luzon of the Philippine Islands. On 20 Oct, she supported Leyte landings in the Philippine Islands. On 25 Oct, she screened carriers and battleships during the Battle off Cape EngaŅo. After patrolling the Leyte Gulf area between 16 and 27 Nov, she escorted escort carriers into the Sulu Sea to support the Mindoro landings and then the Luzon landings between 1 and 17 Jan 1945. She screened transports bound for Iwo Jima in Feb 1945, and remained in the area on patrol until 27 Feb. She replenished at Ulithi between 5 Mar and 20 Apr.
ww2dbaseOn 26 Apr, Ralph Talbot arrived at Okinawa, where the battle had already been waging for almost a month. As a part of Task Group 51.5, she performed anti-aircraft screen duties. At 2200 on 27 Apr, she was struck on the starboard side aft by a special attack fighter, while a second missed, splashing into the sea off the port quarter. She sailed to Kerama Retto nearby for temporary repairs, returning to service on 20 May. She performed convoy duties between the Mariana Islands and the Ryuku Islands for the remainder of the Pacific War. In Aug, she rescued 24 survivors of the cruiser Indianapolis.
ww2dbaseOn 1 Sep 1945, Ralph Talbot escorted heavy cruiser Portland from Guam to Truk and stood by the next day during the Truk surrender ceremony aboard Portland. She operated off southern Japan in Oct and returned to the United States on 29 Oct. She was used as a target ship during the Operation Crossroads atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in Jul and Aug 1946. Contaminated with radiation, she was sunk off Kwajalein in Mar 1948.
ww2dbaseSource: United States Navy Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
Destroyer USS Ralph Talbot Interactive Map
USS Ralph Talbot Operational Timeline
|14 Oct 1937||Ralph Talbot was commissioned into service.|
|29 Aug 1946||Ralph Talbot was decommissioned from service.|
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» US Navy Report of Japanese Raid on Pearl Harbor, Enclosure E, USS Ralph Talbot
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Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal