Patch
Duty Station Details

Strength
Light Cruiser
 
Type
Surface Vessels
 
Existing/Disbanded
Decommissioned
Year
1937 - 1947

Description


USS Savannah (CL-42) was a Brooklyn class cruiser 
 

Displacement (standard)

9,767t

Displacement (loaded)

12,207t

Top Speed

32.5kts

Range

10,000nm at 15kts

Armour ?? belt

5in on 0.625in STS

 - deck

2in

 - barbettes

6in

 - turrets

6.5in face
2in roof
1.25in side and rear

 - conning tower

5in
2.25in roof

Length

608ft 4in

Armaments

Fifteen 6in/47 guns (five triple turrets)
Eight 5in/25 guns (/38 on St LouisHelena) (eight single positions)
Eight 0.5in guns
Four aircraft

Crew complement

868

Laid down

31 May 1934

Launched

8 May 1937

Completed

10 March 1938

Stricken

1 March 1959



The Savannah was laid down in May 1934, launched in May 1937 and commissioned on 10 March 1938. After her shakedown cruiser she visited Britain as part of American preparations for a possible outbreak of war in 1938. After returning to the US she was allocated to the Pacific Fleet. She was based in California from June 1939 to May 1940, then at Pearl Harbor from May 1940 until June 1941 when she was allocated to the Neutrality Patrol in the Atlantic.

Arriving on 12 January 1942 off of  Recife, in Brazil, the
Savannah was with the USS Ranger watching the Vichy French warships that were trapped at Martinique and Guadaloupe.

The 
Savannah was part of the fleet that supported Operation Torch, the invasion of French North Africa. She formed part of the Northern Attack Group (Rear Admiral Monroe Kelly), which had the task of landing 9,099 men under General Truscott at Mehedia in Morocco. On 8 November she fired on French guns that were shelling the invasion fleet. On 9 November she performed a most unusual role, sending her spotting planes to attack a tank column with modified depth charges!  This was repeated on 10 November, before on 11 November the fighting at Mehedia ended. The Savannahremained off North Africa for another four days, then returned home.

January 1943 she joined the South Atlantic Patrol, based at Recife, Brazil, and given the task of stopping German blockade runners. On her second patrol she was one of two American warships to intercept the German blockade runner
 Karin. The Germans destroyed their own ship before she could be boarded, killing eleven of an American boarding party in the process. The Savannah took on seventy two German prisoners.

In May the 
Savannah left Norfolk with a troop convoy heading for the Mediterranean to take part in the invasion of Sicily. On 10 July she provided fire support for the 1st Infantry 'Rangers' as they landed at Gela. For the first time she came up against determined Luftwaffe opposition and three of her four spotter planes were shot down on the first day of the invasion.  Through out July, she provided fire support to various allied forces.  

On 8 September the 
Savannah was the first American warship to open fire on the German shore defences at Salerno. Over the next few days she carried out shore bombardment duties to assist the badly pressed troops fighting at Salerno.

On 11 September she suffered the blow that effectively ended her active career. The Germans had developed a number of remote controlled anti-shipping weapons. On the morning of 11 September a glide bomb narrowly missed the 
Philadelphia. A few minutes later a FX1400 radio controlled bomb launched from a Dornier Do-217 hit the armoured roof of Number 3 Turret. The bomb went straight through the turret and exploded in the lower handling room, part of the magazine. A large hole was blown out of the bottom of the ship, and water reached 152ft along the ship. Secondary explosions followed for the next 30 minutes, but the rapid flooding helped prevent a disastrous magazine explosion.

Although the 
Savannah was very badly damaged, her crews managed to seal off the affected areas, and by 17.57 she was able to set off under her own steam. She lost 197 men in the attack, with fifteen seriously wounded. Four men were trapped in a watertight compartment and could only be rescued after she reached Malta.

The 
Savannah wasn't able to depart from Malta until 7 December, nearly three months after the attack. She reached Philadelphia on 23 December. It took eight months to carry out full repairs, and the chance was taken to improve both her secondary armament and her anti-aircraft firepower.

The repairs were completed by September 1944. She was allocated to Fleet Operational Training Command, then in October rejoined Cruiser Division 8. In January 1945 she escorted the 
Quincy (CL-71) as it carried President Roosevelt across the Atlantic on his way to the Yalta summit. She remained in the Mediterranean until the President returned from Yalta then escorted his convoy back across the Atlantic. From March to May 1945 she was used as a training ship for the crews of new ships that hadn't been commissioned. She then became the flagship of a Midshipman Training Squadron.

Her last active role was to carry out two 'Magic Carpet' missions across the Atlantic. The first saw her bring 1,370 men and 67 officers back to New York from Le Havre. The second ended on 17 December, and two days later she began to prepare to be inactivated. She was placed in the reserve on 22 April 1946 and decommissioned on 3 February 1959. She was finally struck off the Navy List on 1 March 1959 and sold for scrap in 1966.

Information supplied from History Of War website:
http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Savannah_CL42.html


23 Members Who Served in This Duty Station


 
  • Moses, James N., LT, (1942-1945)
  • Urbanowicz, Gregory, PO1, (1968-1991)
  • Waxham, Owen, S2c, (1944-1946)
 

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