USS Louisville (CA-28)

USS Louisville (CA-28) was a Northampton class heavy cruiser that fought at Guadalcanal, in the Aleutians, the invasion of the Marshall Islands, the Pelau Islands, the battle of Leyte Gulf and the invasion of Okinawa. She was awarded thirteen battle stars for her actions during the Second World War.

The Louisville was laid down on 4 July 1928, launched on 1 September 1930 and commissioned on 15 January 1931. She was designated CL-28 until 1 July 1931 when the US Navy's 8in cruisers were redesignated as heavy cruisers and she became CA-28. Her shakedown cruise lasted for the rest of 1931 and took her from the West Coast to New York and back via the Panama Canal. She was then based in the Pacific, making long goodwill cruises in 1934, 1938 and 1940. This last cruise turned into an important journey when she was ordered to transfer $148 millions of British gold from Simonstown in South Africa to New York to pay for arms. After delivering the gold she returned to the Pacific.

On 7 December 1941 the Louisville was travelling from Tarakan in East Borneo to Pearl Harbor. She completed the journey then sailed on to the West Coast where she joined TF 17, picked up a convoy and escorted reinforcements to Samoa. On the way from Samoa to Pearl Harbor the task force's carriers attacked the Gilbert and Marshall Islands. After that she patrolled the area around Kanton Island and the Ellice Islands.

In May 1942 the Louisville joined the carrier task force TF 119 and took part in operations around the Bismarck Archipelago and the Solomon Islands. The task force operated in the area around Salamaua, Lae and Rabaul then returned to pearl harbour. The Louisville continued on to San Francisco to have extra anti-aircraft guns installed.

On 31 May 1942 she departed for the Aleutians, where she joined TF8. She took part in the bombardment of Kiska Island, but spent most of her time escorting convoys in these northern waters before returning to San Francisco.

On 11 November she left for Pearl Harbor. She then escorted troop transports from Pearl to New Caledonia, before heading north to join TF 76 at Espiritu Santo. She fought in the battle of Rennell Island (29 January 1943). She then returned to the Aleutians, and took part in the invasion of Attu (11-30 May 1943) and the pre-invasion bombardment of Kiska (July 1943). This was followed by a spell of convoy escort operations in the North Pacific.

In January 1944 the Louisville moved to the south Pacific where she became the flagship of Rear Admiral J. B. Oldendorf, commander of the bombardment groups during upcoming invasions. She bombarded Wotje in the Marshalls on 29 January, Roi and Namur at the start of February and Eniwetok late in the month.
   
In March she joined TF 58 and supported the fast carriers during a raid into the Palau Islands. Truk and Sawatan were the target of a bombardment in June, and she was the flagship of the bombardment group during the invasion of the Marianas. She was engaged for the first eleven days of the battle of Saipan, and also attacked targets on Tinian and Guam.

In September she took part in the pre-invasion bombardment of Peleliu. On 18 October she moved to the Philippines and bombarded targets on Leyte. She was involved in the battle of Leyte Gulf, fighting at Surigao Strait. This was the last direct clash between opposing battle lines, and saw the battleships of Admiral Oldendorf's bombardment force destroy a Japanese fleet attempting to enter Leyte Gulf from the south.

After this battle the Louisville joined the fast carriers of TF 38 and took part in pre-invasion strikes on Luzon. On 5-6 January 1945, while heading for Lingayen Gulf, she was hit by two kamikazes. She was still able to carry out her bombardment mission before returning to California for repairs.

The repairs were finished in time for the Louisville to join TF 54 off Okinawa, where she resumed her shore bombardment role. She was hit by a third kamikaze on 5 June, but was able to return to action on 9 June. She was ordered back to Pearl Harbor on 15 June and this ended her active participation in the fighting.

By the time the Japanese surrendered she was nearly ready for action, and on 16 August she put to sea to take part in the Japanese surrender. She was involved in the surrender of Japanese troops and ships at Darien in Manchuria, Tsing Tao in China and along the Chinese coast. She served with the Yellow Sea force from mid-October, before being sent back to the US. She was decommissioned at Philadelphia on 17 June 1946 and was placed into the Atlantic Reserve. She remained with the reserve for thirteen years before she was struck off the Navy list on 1 March 1959 and sold for scrap on 14 September.

Displacement (standard)

9,006t

Displacement (loaded)

11,420t

Top Speed

32.5kts

Range

10,000nm at 15kts

Armour – belt

3in over machinery
1in deck

 - magazines

3.75in side
2in deck

 - barbettes

1.5in

 - gunhouses

2.5in face
2in roof
0.75in side and rear

Length

600ft 3in oa

Armaments

Nine 8in guns (three 3-gun turrets)
Four 5in guns (four single positions)
Six 21in torpedo tubes
Four aircraft

Crew complement

617? (734-48 for USS Chicago and USS Houston)

Laid down

4 July 1928

Launched

1 September 1930

Completed

15 January 1931

Stricken

1 March 1959

US Heavy Cruisers 1941-45: Pre War Classes, Mark Stille. Looks at the 'treaty cruisers' built in the US between the wars, limited by treaty to 10,000 tons and 8in guns. Five classes of treaty cruisers were produced and they played a major role in the fighting during the Second World War, despite the limits imposed on them by the treaty restrictions. [read full review]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 March 2014), USS Louisville (CA-28) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Louisville_CA28.html

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