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Phoenix file photo [5198]


CountryUnited States
Ship ClassBrooklyn-class Light Cruiser
BuilderNew York Shipbuilding Company, Camden, New Jersey, United States
Laid Down15 Apr 1935
Launched13 Mar 1938
Commissioned3 Oct 1938
Decommissioned3 Jul 1946
Sunk2 May 1982
Displacement9,575 tons standard; 12,242 tons full
Length608 feet
Beam62 feet
Draft19 feet
MachineryGeared turbines, 4 screws
Power Output100,000 shaft horsepower
Speed34 knots
Armament15x152mm guns, 8x127mm anti-aircraft guns, 8x0.50cal machine guns
Sold to Argentina9 Apr 1951
Transferred to Argentina17 Oct 1951


ww2dbaseNamed after the capital city of Arizona, United States, light cruiser Phoenix was commissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania, United States on 3 Oct 1938 to Captain John W. Rankin. Rankin took the ship to Spain, Trinidad, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Puerto Rico for the shakedown cruise, returning to Philadelphia in Jan 1939. She arrived in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, United States after the post-shakedown repairs.

ww2dbaseWhen the United States entered the Pacific War, Phoenix was at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack on 7 Dec 1941. She was anchored southeast of Ford Island near hospital ship Solace, and fired her guns against Japanese aircraft. She was not damaged during the attack, and participated in the failed search for the Japanese carriers after the raid. After returning from the search, she performed convoy duties between the United States and Hawaii, escorted a convoy from San Francisco, California, United States and Melbourne, Australia, and then escorted troop ships between Australia outlying British islands to the north. Between Feb and May 1942, she patrolled in the Indian Ocean, escorted a convoy to Bombay, India, and was present at the evacuation of Java. In Jul 1943, she received an overhaul at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Upon completion, she carried US Secretary of State Cordell Hull to Casablanca, Morocco before returning to the Pacific War.

ww2dbaseOn 26 Dec 1943, Phoenix supported the Cape Gloucester, New Britain invasion by bombarding Japanese defenses.

ww2dbaseDuring the night of 25-26 Jan 1944, Phoenix took part in a night raid against Japanese shore installations at Madang and Alexishafen, New Guinea. On 29 Feb, she provided naval gunfire support during the reconnaissance-in-force (which later turned into a full-blown invasion and occupation) of Los Negros, Admiralty Islands. On 4 and 7 Mar, she bombarded Hauwei Island, Admiral Islands. On 22 Apr, she again provided naval gunfire support during the invasion of Hollandia, New Guinea. During the night of 29-30 Apr, she bombarded Japanese airfields at Wakde and Sawar off northern New Guinea new Hollandia. On 17 May, in support of landings at Arare Point, Manus Island, Admiralty Islands, she bombarded Japanese positions in the Toem area and then escorted troop transports to Arare Point. On 25 May, she fired upon Japanese shore installations on Biak Island off New Guinea in support of the landing operations. On 4 Jun, off northwest coast of New Guinea, eight Japanese aircraft attacked the task force in which Phoenix was a member of; two of them targeted Phoenix, resulting in a near-miss that killed one, wounded four, and damaged the propellers. On 2 Jul, she bombarded Noemfoor Island, just south of Biak Island, before the landing operations.

ww2dbaseOn 15 Sep 1944, alongside of cruisers Boise, Nashville, Shropshire, and Australia, Phoenix joined the occupation force at Morotai in the Molucca Islands. During this time, they bombarded nearby Halmahera Island.

ww2dbaseDuring the Leyte, Philippine Islands campaign, Phoenix performed pre-invasion bombardment and then participated in the Battle of Surigao Straight; in the latter action, she shared the credit of sinking battleship Fuso. In the morning of 1 Nov, her group came under attack by 10 Japanese torpedo bombers. She downed two aircraft, but the attack force still was able to hit several destroyers in the group. In that afternoon at 1340, second wave of Japanese aircraft attacked, scoring a hit on one American destroyer; Phoenix downed one attacker of the second wave. On 5 Dec, she downed five Japanese aircraft. On 6 Dec, a Special Attack aircraft attempted to crash into her, but her 40-mm anti-aircraft fire downed the attacker when only 100 yards away. She operated in Philippine waters through early 1945.

ww2dbaseBetween 29 Jun and 7 Jul 1945, Phoenix covered minesweeping operations at Balikpapan, Borneo.

ww2dbaseWhen Japan surrendered, Phoenix was en route to Pearl Harbor for overhaul. She joined the US Navy Atlantic Fleet on 6 Sep 1945. She was decommissioned at Philadelphia, where she was commissioned nearly eight years earlier. She was sold to Argentina in 1951 for US$7,800,000, was renamed to Diecisiete de Octubre in Oct 1951 when she was initially commissioned by Argentina, and was renamed again to General Belgrano in 1956. The second renaming was done after Juan PerĂ³n was overthrown; as 17 Oct was a date associated with PerĂ³n's rise to power. During her Argentine career, she was eventually upgraded to carry two helicopters and anti-aircraft missiles.

ww2dbaseOn 26 Apr 1982, cruiser General Belgrano departed to Falkland Islands with Task Group 79.3. On 29 Apr, Task Group 79.3 patrolled the Burdwood Bank south of the islands. On 30 Apr, the group was detected by the British nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror. The order to attack the group was given personally by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (as the group was actually outside the British-declared Total Exclusion Zone), and the attack was carried out on 2 May. At 1557 that day, Conqueror fired three Mk 8 mod 4 torpedoes, each with a 363-kg Torpex warhead. Two of them hit General Belgrano, the first struck 10 to 15 meters from the bow, letting in water, while the second struck the after machine room, killing about 275 men and disabling electrical systems that prevented water pumps from easing the flooding. A third hit was likely, but not confirmed. The ship listed to port and began to sink at the bow. At 1624, Captain Hector Bonzo gave the order to abandon ship, which was carried out in order. Her escorts, which were two destroyers, were aware of a British submarine attack, but were unaware of how bad General Belgrano was damaged; as a result, the two destroyers sailed away to drop depth charges instead of performing rescue duties. Nevertheless, 770 men were eventually rescued; 323 lives were lost between the torpedo explosion and the final sinking. The sinking resulted in Argentine accusations that the British sunk the ship illegal for that not only she was outside the Total Exclusion Zone, she was also on her way back to Argentina, therefore should not be considered a threat to the British forces. The British claimed that although the task force was outside the zone, it was still a threat to British forces in the area; this argument was supported by General Belgrano's Captain Bonzo, who noted that "[w]e were heading towards the mainland but not going to the mainland; we were going to a position to await further orders". It was also made known later on that British government officials were never made known the fact that the Argentine ships were actually heading away from the Falkland Islands, although that fact would have little to do with the decision if Bonzo's account was held to be true. It was not until 1994 when the Argentine government finally dropped the accusations and announced that the sinking was considered legal.

ww2dbaseSources: United States Navy Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Oct 2007

Light Cruiser Phoenix Interactive Map


Schematic drawing of the United States Brooklyn-class light cruiser, of which there were nine. The Brooklyn-class design had a large influence on subsequent cruiser designs, both large cruisers and light.Phoenix at anchor, 1939
See all 13 photographs of Light Cruiser Phoenix

Phoenix Operational Timeline

3 Oct 1938 Phoenix was commissioned into service.
20 Jun 1940 Light cruiser USS Phoenix departed Lahaina, Maui, US Territory of Hawaii for the Panama Canal Zone.
3 Jul 1940 USS Phoenix arrived at Balboa, Panama Canal Zone.
5 Jul 1940 USS Phoenix departed Balboa, Panama Canal Zone for Valparaiso, Chile.
8 Jul 1940 USS Phoenix departed Valparaiso, Chile for Callao, Peru.
12 Jul 1940 USS Phoenix arrived at Valparaiso, Chile on a mission "to cultivate friendly relations".
22 Jul 1940 USS Phoenix arrived at Callao, Peru.
26 Jul 1940 USS Phoenix departed Callao, Peru.
30 Jul 1940 USS Phoenix arrived at Balboa, Panama Canal Zone.
7 Aug 1940 USS Phoenix arrived at San Pedro, Los Angeles, California, United States.
11 Dec 1941 Cruisers USS Phoenix and USS St. Louis departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii bound for San Francisco, California, United States.
16 Dec 1941 Cruisers USS Phoenix and USS St. Louis departed arrived at San Francisco, California, United States. Phoenix entered Mare Island Naval Shipyard. St. Louis departed the same day escorting a convoy to Honolulu, Hawaii.
4 Jun 1944 A group of United States and Australian cruisers came under Japanese air attack off Biak Island northwest of New Guinea. USS Nashville sustained serious hull damage from a near-miss aerial bomb off her starboard quarter. There were no serious personnel injuries but two compartments were flooded and the ship began bleeding oil. USS Phoenix sustained damage from two near-miss bombs that killed one sailor and injured four others while causing internal flooding and damage to her propellers.
1 Nov 1944 A battleship force on station at the northern entrance to Surigao Strait consisting of battleships USS Mississippi, California, and Pennsylvania screened by cruisers USS Phoenix, Boise, Nashville, and HMAS Shropshire along with destroyers Ammen, Bush, Leutze, Newcomb, Bennion, Heywood L. Edwards, Robinson, Richard P. Leary, Bryant, and Claxton came under an intense Japanese air attacking force that included special attack aircraft. USS Ammen sustained a glancing blow from a Yokosuka P1Y 'Francis' that caused considerable topside damage and killed 5 men. An Aichi D3A 'Val' crashed across Abner Read's main deck as it dropped a bomb down one the destroyer's stacks that exploded in the engine room. Abner Read jettisoned her torpedoes which immediately began their runs toward other ships in the group. Abner Read began sinking by the stern and 20 minutes after the attack, she rolled over and sank. 24 were killed. Meanwhile, Mississippi and Nashville had to take emergency evasive actions to avoid the torpedoes.
13 Feb 1945 USS Nicholas departed Subic Bay, Luzon bound for Manila Bay, Luzon, Philippines. Nicholas, along with cruisers USS Phoenix and USS Boise and destroyers USS Hopewell, USS Taylor, and USS O'Bannon formed a bombardment group that shelled southern Bataan, Luzon, Philippines. The ships then returned to Subic Bay.
15 Apr 1945 Cruiser USS Phoenix with destroyers USS Nicholas and USS O’Bannon conducted a pre-invasion bombardment of Carabao Island at the entrance to Manila Bay, Philippines.
16 Apr 1945 Cruiser USS Phoenix with destroyers USS Nicholas and USS O’Bannon conduct a second day of bombardments of Carabao Island at the entrance to Manila Bay, Philippines prior to the landing of US Army troops.
24 Apr 1945 Cruisers USS Phoenix, HMAS, Hobart, and USS Boise with destroyers USS Nicholas, USS O'Bannon, USS Fletcher, USS Jenkins, USS Taylor, and HMAS Warramunga departed Subic Bay, Philippines bound for Tarakan Island, Borneo, Dutch East Indies.
27 Apr 1945 Cruisers USS Phoenix, HMAS Hobart, and USS Boise with destroyers USS Nicholas, USS O'Bannon, USS Fletcher, USS Jenkins, USS Taylor, and HMAS Warramunga arrived off Tarakan Island, Borneo, Dutch East Indies and began operations in preparations for the island’s invasion.
3 May 1945 Cruisers USS Phoenix and USS Boise with destroyers USS Nicholas, USS O'Bannon, and USS Taylor departed Tarakan Island, Borneo, Dutch East Indies bound for Subic Bay, Luzon, Philippines.
5 May 1945 Cruisers USS Phoenix and USS Boise with destroyers USS Nicholas, USS O'Bannon, and USS Taylor arrived at Subic Bay, Luzon, Philippines.
3 Jul 1946 Phoenix was decommissioned from service.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
24 Dec 2015 03:44:20 PM

There is (or was) a wonderful model of this ship at the airport in Phoenix.
2. brett andree says:
17 Oct 2017 05:21:48 PM

any info will help
3. Clayton Lancaster says:
2 Nov 2020 12:18:43 AM

My grandfather served as unrestricted line officer on the Phoenix from Spring 1941 until June 1943: Norman G. Lancaster

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More on Phoenix
Event(s) Participated:
» Attack on Pearl Harbor
» Solomon Islands Campaign
» New Guinea-Papua Campaign, Phase 3
» Battle of Morotai
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 1, the Leyte Campaign
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 2
» Borneo Campaign

» US Navy Report of Japanese Raid on Pearl Harbor, Enclosure E, USS Phoenix

Light Cruiser Phoenix Photo Gallery
Schematic drawing of the United States Brooklyn-class light cruiser, of which there were nine. The Brooklyn-class design had a large influence on subsequent cruiser designs, both large cruisers and light.Phoenix at anchor, 1939
See all 13 photographs of Light Cruiser Phoenix

Famous WW2 Quote
"All that silly talk about the advance of science and such leaves me cold. Give me peace and a retarded science."

Thomas Dodd, late 1945

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