Allied Warships

USS Pensacola (CA 24)

Heavy cruiser of the Pensacola class

NavyThe US Navy
TypeHeavy cruiser
PennantCA 24 
Built byNew York Navy Yard (New York, New York, U.S.A.) 
Laid down27 Oct 1926 
Launched25 Apr 1929 
Commissioned6 Feb 1930 
End service26 Aug 1946 

USS Pensacola made a shakedown cruise to Peru and Chile. After this shakedown she began regular operations in the western Atlantic, Caribbean and Pacific. Pensacola shifted home port from Norfolk, Virginia, to San Diego, California, in January 1935 and thereafter mainly served in the Pacific.

When the Pacific War began on 7 December 1941 with Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, Pensacola was at sea escorting a convoy that was subsequently diverted to Australia. Following patrols in the vicinity of Samoa, the cruiser screened the carriers Lexington and Yorktown during their operations in the southern Pacific from February into April 1942. In the early June Battle of Midway Pensacola escorted both USS Enterprise and USS Yorktown. From August to December 1942, she operated in support of the Guadalcanal campaign, mainly serving with aircraft carriers, and was present during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands in late October and the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in mid-November. At the end of November, Pensacola was badly damaged by a torpedo in the Battle of Tassafaronga, with the loss of 125 and 72 were wounded.

Pensacola was under repair until well into 1943, but returned to service in time to participate in the Tarawa invasion in November. In 1944 she took part in the conquest of the Marshall Islands and operated with carrier striking forces during raids in the central Pacific. From May into August, she patrolled in the north Pacific and bombarded Japanese positions in the Kurile Islands. Moving south, Pensacola shelled Wake Island in September and Marcus in early October, then joined the Third Fleet's carrier forces to participate in attacks on Formosa and in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Target ship at Bikini in July 1946/.
Decommissioned 26 August 1946.
Stricken and sunk 10 November 1948.


Commands listed for USS Pensacola (CA 24)

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1Capt. Andrew Daniel Denney, USN6 Dec 193716 Dec 1939
2Capt. Norman Scott, USN16 Dec 193921 Jan 1942
3Capt. Frank Loper Lowe, USN21 Jan 194213 Feb 1943
4T/Cdr. James Collins Landstreet, USN13 Feb 194312 Jun 1943
5Capt. Randall Euesta Dees, USN12 Jun 194319 May 1944 (1)
6T/Capt. Allen Prather Mullinnix, USN19 May 194422 Jun 1945
7T/Capt. Willard John Suits, USN22 Jun 1945

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Notable events involving Pensacola include:

19 Dec 1941
On this day the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral J.G. Crace, CB, RN) and the light cruisers HMAS Perth (Capt. H.M.L. Waller, DSO, RAN) and HMNZS Achilles (Capt. H.M. Barnes, RN) joined a convoy of American transports that had been en-route from San Francisco / Pearl Harbour to Manila but had now been diverted to Australia.

This convoy was escorted by the heavy cruiser USS Pensacola (Capt. N. Scott, USN) and was made up of the (troop) transports; Admiral Halstead (American 3545 GRT, built 1920), Bloemfontein (Dutch, 10081 GRT, built 1934), Coast Farmer (American, 3545 GRT, built 1920), Meigs (American (Army transport, 7358 GRT, built 1921) and Willard A. Holbrook (American (Army transport, 14812 GRT, built 1921).

The transport USS Chaumont (7556 GRT, built 1920) was also part of the convoy as was the troop transport USS Republic (18089 GRT, built 1907).

On 21 December 1941, the sloops HMAS Swan (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Travis, RAN) and HMAS Warrego (Cdr. R.V. Wheatley, RAN) joined the escort to provide A/S protection.

The convoy arrived at Brisbane on 22 December. (2)

30 Nov 1942
(Captain Frank Loper Lowe, USN)During the battle of Tassafaronga, USS Pensacola was hit by Japanese "Long Lance" torpedo. Water flooded most of machinery compartments. Only one turbine remained operational. 125 died and 72 of the crew were wounded.

17 Feb 1945
(Captain Allen Prather Mullinnix, USN) Seriously damaged by Shore Batteries at Iwo Jima; 17 killed and 119 wounded.


  2. ADM 199/2234 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Canberra for December 1941 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Perth for December 1941

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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