|Ship Class||Northampton-class Heavy Cruiser|
|Builder Name||Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington, United States|
|Laid Down||4 Jul 1929|
|Launched||1 Sep 1930|
|Commissioned||15 Jan 1931|
|Decommissioned||17 Jun 1946|
|Displacement||9,050 tons standard|
|Armament||9x8in, 4x5in, 6x21in torpedo tubes|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseLouisville was originally classified as a light cruiser, but in accordance to the London Naval Treaty of 1930 she was reclassified as a heavy cruiser during her shakedown cruise, which took her from the Pacific to New York City through the Panama Canal. Before WW2, she operated in a variety of missions, including participation in fleet problems, training in anti-aircraft gunnery, and visiting foreign ports in Latin America, South Pacific, and Australia. When the European War began in Sep 1939, she was on a cruise in South America. While in Brazil, she was diverted to South Africa to pick up British gold worth US$148 million for transportation to New York City, United States; she was given this duty because a British ship traveling across the Atlantic Ocean would risk attacks from German submarines and put the valuable cargo at risk. An American ship, however, would be protected by her mother country's neutrality.
ww2dbaseWhen the United States officially entered the war in Dec 1941, Louisville was on an escorting mission from the Caribbean Sea to Hawaii. In Feb and Mar 1942, she escorted carriers when they raided Japanese bases in Gilbert, Marshall, and Solomon Islands areas. She spent some time in the Aleutian Islands area before being sent back to South Pacific for the closing stages of the Guadalcanal Campaign. On 29 Jan 1943, she participated in the Battle of Rennell Island, where she was hit by a dud torpedo and after the battle towed cruiser Chicago until tug Navajo took over the job. In Apr 1943, she returned to the Aleutian Islands as a part of Task Force 16. In the North Pacific, she covered the assault and occupation of Attu Island from 11 to 30 May and then the pre-invasion bombardment of Kiska in Aug 1943.
ww2dbaseAfter the overhaul, Louisville was tasked with providing pre-landing naval gunfire support at Wotje, Kwajalein and Eniwetok atolls in the Marshall Islands between Jan and Feb 1944, while flying the flag of Rear Admiral Jesse Oldendorf. She escorted carriers during Central Pacific raids in Mar 1944 and bombarded Japanese positions Truk and Sawatan in Apr 1944. In Jun and Jul, she bombarded Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. After the Mariana Islands action, she retired to the rear area until mid-Sep. In Sep and Oct, she bombarded Peleliu and Leyte, respectively. In the night of 24 to 25 Oct, she participated in the Battle of the Surigao Strait where the large surface action resulted in heavy losses for the Japanese Navy. After the Leyte actions, she rejoined the fast carriers as a part of Task Force 38, and attacked Japanese positions on the shores of Luzon. On 5 and 6 Jan 1945, Louisville was struck by two Kamikaze special attack aircraft while supporting American operations in the Philippine Islands. She remained in the area briefly to complete her shore bombardment mission, and then was withdrawn to Mare Island Navy Yard in the United States for permanent repairs. She returned to the war in May 1945 with Task Force 54 to provide naval gunfire support during the Okinawa Campaign, where she was once again hit by a suicide aircraft on 5 Jun; after temporary repairs, she was back on the firing line by 9 Jun, but departed for Pearl Harbor for permanent repairs a week later. She was at Pearl Harbor when the war ended.
ww2dbaseLouisville left Pearl Harbor on 15 Aug 1945 and headed back for post-war operations. She supervised the rescue of Allied POWs in Manchuria and then witnessed the surrender of Japanese vessels by Vice Admiral Kaneko in Tsingtao. She remained off the Chinese coast until Oct 1945. Louisville was decommissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in the United States in Jun 1946. She was sold to the Marlene Blouse Corporation of New York for scrap on 14 Sep 1959.
ww2dbaseSources: Naval Historical Center, Wikipedia.
Last Major Revision: May 2007
Heavy Cruiser Louisville Interactive Map
Louisville Operational Timeline
|15 Jan 1931||Louisville was commissioned into service.|
|17 Jun 1946||Louisville was decommissioned from service.|
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» Chandler, Theodore
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Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal