USS Biloxi (CL-80)

USS Biloxi (CL-80)

USS Biloxi (CL-80)

USS Biloxi (CL-80) was a Cleveland class light cruiser that served in the Pacific from the start of 1944 to the end of the war, supporting the fast carrier task force and taking part in the invasions of Saipan, the Philippines, the Palaus and Okinawa and the battles of the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf. The Biloxi received nine battle stars for her service in the Pacific during World War II.

The Biloxi was launched in February 1943, commissioned on 31 August 1943 and spent the rest of the year training and preparing for action, before joining Cruiser Division 13 of the Pacific Fleet.

The Biloxi entered combat in January 1944, serving as part of the cruiser screen around the fast carrier task forces. She took part in the invasion of Eniwetok (31 January-8 February 1944), following by a series of raids on Japanese held islands, starting with Truk (16-17 February 1944), the Marianas (21-22 February) and Palau, Yap, Ulithi and Woleai (30 March-1 April).

In late April the Biloxi supported the Allied landings at Hollandia, New Guinea, shelling Japanese shore installations. Truk, Satawan and Ponape were the target on 29 April-1 May, before the carriers returned to the Marianas (11-24 June). This period including the invasion of Saipan (14 June) and the battle of the Philippine Sea (19-20 June 1944), where the Biloxi was part of the cruiser screen.

For the rest of 1944 the fast carriers carried out a mix of raids on Japanese held islands and operations in support of the invasion of the Philippines. The Biloxi was with the cruiser screen throughout this period. She took part in raids on the Bonin Islands (3-4 July 1944), Chichi Jima (4 July), Palau, Yap and Ulithi (25-27 July), the Bonins (4-5 August), the Volcano Islands, Bonin Islands and Yap (31 August-8 September), Okinawa (10 October), northern Luzon and Formosa (11-14 October) and Luzon again (repeated from mid October to mid December).

During this period the Biloxi also took part in the invasion of Guam (12 July-15 August), the invasion of the Palaus - Peleliu and Anguar (6 September-14 October), the battle of Leyte Gulf (24-26 October), and the invasion of the Philippines.

1945 started with more raids on Luzon, but the fleet then began to move further afield, starting with a raid of the Chinese coast (12 and 16 January), and the first naval attacks on the Japanese Home Islands (15-16 February and 25 February-1 March 1945). She took part in the fighting off Okinawa from 25 March until 20 April, despite being hit by a kamikaze aircraft on 27 March 1945.

On 27 April 1945 the Biloxi left the fleet and returned to the US for an overhaul. She returned to the battle in time to take part in a raid on Wake Island (18 July 1945) and reached Leyte on 14 August. The Japanese surrender ended the war, and the Biloxi was used to transport liberated POWs from Nagasaki. She then joined the occupation fleet before departing for the US on 9 November. The Biloxi had one of the shortest post-war careers of the Cleveland class cruisers - she went into the reserve on 18 May 1946, but went of commission on 29 October 1946. She remained in that state until 1962 when she was broken up.

Displacement (standard)

11,744t

Displacement (loaded)

14,131t

Top Speed

32.5kts

Range

11,000nm at 15kts

Armour – belt

3-5in

- armour deck

2in

- bulkheads

5in

- barbettes

6in

- turrets

6.5in face
3in top
3in side
1.5in rear

- conning tower

5in
2.25in roof

Length

610ft 1in oa

Armaments

Twelve 6in/47 guns (four triple turrets)
Twelve 5in/38 guns (six double positions)
Twenty four 40mm guns
Twenty one 20mm guns
Four aircraft

Crew complement

1,285

Builder

Newport News

Laid down

9 July 1941

Launched

23 February 1943

Commissioned

31 August 1943

Broken up

1962


Laststandonzombieisland

The US Navy entered World War 2 in the Pacific significantly outgunned by larger Japanese cruisers. Less than six-months before the Attack at Pearl Harbor sent half the US battle line to the bottom, the USS Biloxi was laid down at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.
Design of the USS Biloxi

As part of the battle fleet, her job was to screen the fleet and act as the eyes and ears, probing out over the horizon looking for targets. In action, the light cruiser in World War 2 served to protect the more valuable ships of their assigned task force, namely troop carrying transports and aircraft laden carriers from enemy air attack.

The Busy Bee, as her 1255-member crew knew her, was designed to displace 10,000-tons inside her 610-foot hull. This placed her in size almost twice as large as comparable light cruisers in the world. She could steam at 32-knots and travel over 14,000 miles before needed to be refueled. Her armament consisted of a dozen Mk 16 six-inch (155mm) guns, another 12 five-inch (127mm) guns, and nearly 40 Bofors and Oerlikon antiaircraft cannons. The five and six inch guns were rapid-fire weapons designed to be used against either shore targets and other ships or high-flying aircraft. The Cleveland-class cruisers, of which the USS Biloxi were seen as having better fire control equipment and armament than previous US light cruisers.

Commissioned in late 1943, the USS Biloxi was with the main fleet assigned to Task Group 58 and screened aircraft carriers including the famous USS Enterprise, Hornet, and Yorktown. The Biloxi was a favorite naval gunfire platform of the Task Force and her shore bombardment capabilities from as far as 14-miles offshore were used in the Marshal and Marianas Islands in 1944. After shooting down several Japanese bombers in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, she went on to bombard the Volcano and Ryukyu Islands. Her four seaplanes rescued many downed US pilots.

While aiding in the US invasion of the Philippines the Biloxi was involved in a naval battle with the Japanese destroyer Nowaki, and helped sink that ship. She then sailed to support US landings in Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Again, a favorite platform to help marines ashore, the Busy Bee came to within 3,000 yards of the beaches, point blank range, and delivered accurate naval gunfire. This was particularly risky as the ship was in water so shallow that it could have been wrecked.

Off Okinawa in March 1945, she was hit by a kamikaze but remained in action. After quick repairs, she returned to the fleet just as the end of the war was announced. She visited post-atomic Nagasaki as part of occupation duties and helped carry home former allied prisoners of war.
End of the cruiser Biloxi.

With the end of World War 2, the wartime fleet was greatly reduced. Only being a few years old, and a renowned naval gunfire slugger, the Biloxi was placed in reserve in 1946. She was kept in mothballs waiting to be recalled to service. Sadly, for her the call never came and on December 1, 1961, the USS Biloxi was stricken from the Naval List. Her machinery was cannibalized to keep other ships of her class alive a few more years and the hulk was scrapped the following year.

Her main mast and ship’s bell were donated to her namesake city, Biloxi Mississippi. They are on public display there to this day and are lovingly maintained, as she was the only US warship named so far for that city.
Sources


USS Biloxi Collection

This collection consists of materials that document the service of the U.S.S. Biloxi during World War II and provide insights into life aboard a U.S. Navy vessel in wartime. Of particular interest is an article titled "On the Road to Tokyo", which is a brief rundown of the Biloxi's movements from January through April, 1945. Also of interest is a series of the ship's newsletter, The Busy Bee ." One of the undated issues contains an open letter to the crew dated April 5, 1944, written by a former shipmate who was discharged because he was underage -- he was fourteen.

This collection should be of interest to researchers of World War II, especially those focusing on naval action in the Pacific.

Dates

Conditions Governing Access

Conditions Governing Use

Biographical / Historical

The CL-80 U.S.S. Biloxi , the only United States Navy ship named for a Mississippi City, was present during every major military operation in the Pacific during World War II, from January 1944 to May 1945, and was awarded nine battle stars for her service.

The Biloxi was a Cleveland Class Light Cruiser, built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Virginia. The ship, which was sponsored by Mrs. Louis Braun, was launched on February 23, 1943 and commissioned on August 31, 1943. The Biloxi's captain was Daniel M. McGurl, and the vessel reported to Cruiser Division 13, Pacific Fleet.

During her tenure, the ship screened fast carrier task forces, bombarded shore installations, and covered amphibious landings, seeing action in battles at Iwo Jima, Formosa, Leyte Gulf, Saipan and the Philippines. On April 27, 1945, the Biloxi withdrew from the fighting area for overhaul, returning in time to participate in the attack on Wake Island on July 18. When the war was over, the Biloxi was one of the first ships dispatched to Nagasaki (Japan) to evacuate allied prisoners of war.

Despite being constantly placed in harm's way, the ship made it through World War II without losing a single man, although it incurred slight damage on March 27, 1945, from a kamikaze plane. On that day, the vessel encountered four of the Japanese suicide bombers, shooting down three and disabling the fourth to the point that it crashed into the ship. Fortunately, the bomb it was carrying did not explode. The crew later retrieved the bomb, disarmed it, resealed its head, and placed it on the quarter deck as a souvenir.

In addition to its military prowess, the ship survived three typhoons, one of which sank three destroyers. Because of her heavy involvement in battle and her uncanny ability to dodge disaster, the Biloxi's crew gave the ship two nicknames -- "The Busy Bee" and "The Double Lucky."


USS Biloxi CL-80

The US Navy entered World War 2 in the Pacific significantly outgunned by larger Japanese cruisers. Less than six-months before the Attack at Pearl Harbor sent half the US battle line to the bottom, the USS Biloxi was laid down at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.
Design of the USS Biloxi

As part of the battle fleet, her job was to screen the fleet and act as the eyes and ears, probing out over the horizon looking for targets. In action, the light cruiser in World War 2 served to protect the more valuable ships of their assigned task force, namely troop carrying transports and aircraft laden carriers from enemy air attack.

The Busy Bee, as her 1255-member crew knew her, was designed to displace 10,000-tons inside her 610-foot hull. This placed her in size almost twice as large as comparable light cruisers in the world. She could steam at 32-knots and travel over 14,000 miles before needed to be refueled. Her armament consisted of a dozen Mk 16 six-inch (155mm) guns, another 12 five-inch (127mm) guns, and nearly 40 Bofors and Oerlikon antiaircraft cannons. The five and six inch guns were rapid-fire weapons designed to be used against either shore targets and other ships or high-flying aircraft. The Cleveland-class cruisers, of which the USS Biloxi were seen as having better fire control equipment and armament than previous US light cruisers.

Commissioned in late 1943, the USS Biloxi was with the main fleet assigned to Task Group 58 and screened aircraft carriers including the famous USS Enterprise, Hornet, and Yorktown. The Biloxi was a favorite naval gunfire platform of the Task Force and her shore bombardment capabilities from as far as 14-miles offshore were used in the Marshal and Marianas Islands in 1944. After shooting down several Japanese bombers in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, she went on to bombard the Volcano and Ryukyu Islands. Her four seaplanes rescued many downed US pilots.

While aiding in the US invasion of the Philippines the Biloxi was involved in a naval battle with the Japanese destroyer Nowaki, and helped sink that ship. She then sailed to support US landings in Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Again, a favorite platform to help marines ashore, the Busy Bee came to within 3,000 yards of the beaches, point blank range, and delivered accurate naval gunfire. This was particularly risky as the ship was in water so shallow that it could have been wrecked.

Off Okinawa in March 1945, she was hit by a kamikaze but remained in action. After quick repairs, she returned to the fleet just as the end of the war was announced. She visited post-atomic Nagasaki as part of occupation duties and helped carry home former allied prisoners of war.
End of the cruiser Biloxi.

With the end of World War 2, the wartime fleet was greatly reduced. Only being a few years old, and a renowned naval gunfire slugger, the Biloxi was placed in reserve in 1946. She was kept in mothballs waiting to be recalled to service. Sadly, for her the call never came and on December 1, 1961, the USS Biloxi was stricken from the Naval List. Her machinery was cannibalized to keep other ships of her class alive a few more years and the hulk was scrapped the following year.

Her main mast and ship’s bell were donated to her namesake city, Biloxi Mississippi. They are on public display there to this day and are lovingly maintained, as she was the only US warship named so far for that city.
Sources


Looking for Assistance on WWII Ship Recognition at Ulithi Atoll

We recently received an inquiry about some well known photographs from World War II. The images (see below) depict a vast fleet of U.S. Navy warships at anchor at Ulithi Atoll, on 8 December 1944, nicknamed “Murderer’s Row.” A group of model builders is working to recreate the images in question, using 1/2400 scale ship models. The aircraft carriers in the top image (National Archives photo 80-G-294131) are clearly identifiable: from the front, Wasp (CV 18), Yorktown (CV 10), Hornet (CV 12), Hancock (CV 19) and Ticonderoga (CV 14). In the bottom photo (National Archives photo 80-G-294129), taken just seconds apart from the first, carrier Lexington (CV 16) is also visible.

Aside from those ships, none of the names of the others in the photos are provided in the National Archives captions. There are destroyers, oilers, hospital ships, and possibly a battleship or two in the haze. We’re looking for assistance from naval historians or researchers who may have information on some of the smaller, hazier ships in the background. Please feel free to comment on this story below with further information, or email the Foundation at [email protected]

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23 Comments

According to Wikipedia these ships were part of Task Force 38:
en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_Carrier_Task_Force

The article provides the following external link:
pacific.valka.cz/forces/tf38.htm#love3

The date of the photographs would suggest they were taken before the ‘LOVE III’ operation.

This web site shows two other photos presumably from the same time.

It remarks on two photos (NS022712 and NS015655)

Task Group 38.3 beginning to reform a column formation after making a simultaneous turn to port. The ships are entering Ulithi Anchorage on December 12, 1944 [see Note below] after strikes against the Japanese in the Philippines. Ships visible in this photo are: Langley (CVL-27) Ticonderoga (CV-14) Washington (BB-56) North Carolina (BB-55) South Dakota (BB-57) Santa Fe (CL-60) Biloxi (CL-80) Mobile (CL-63) and Oakland (CL-95).

Task Group 38.3 enters Ulithi anchorage in column, 12 December 1944 [see Note below], while returning from strikes on targets in the Philippines. Ships are (from front): Langley (CVL-27) Ticonderoga (CV-14) Washington (BB-56) North Carolina (BB-55) South Dakota (BB-57) Santa Fe (CL-60) Biloxi (CL-80) Mobile (CL-63) and Oakland (CL-95).

Note: There is a problem with the official date of the photos above (NS022712 and NS015655): Task Group 38.3 arrived in Ulithi on December 2, 1944 after strikes against the Philippines departed Ulithi again on December 11 to support General MacArthur’s landings on Mindoro Island was at sea, en route to the Philippines, on December 12 launched strikes against Japanese targets, December 14–16 endured Typhoon “Cobra,” December 17–18 refueled and picked up survivors until December 21 and returned to Ulithi on December 24.

While date might be hard to pinpoint, this site provides some useful “other ships known to be in the area when the carriers were there” information. Each of the carriers has its own page of photos and a timeline of where they were when…

I found this website that pinpoints the dates of the photographs (perhaps) and names some ships thought to be nearby.

Thanks so much Stephen and Karl, we will make sure to pass these links along to the model builders. And if you uncover anything more, please do share it with us.

My comments stem from the VERY little that my older brother, William ZIPF, EM3, shared with me about his WWII service, etc., and Ulithi. He served in the USS CROWLEY(DE 303), and she apparently operated out of Ulithi frequently, escorting AO’s out to various rendezvous’s with CV’s, etc, for task force refuelling. He also mentioned seeing a Japanese kamikazi crash into an AH anchored in Ulithi atoll. You can set someone to do some deck log research to get some ship names, etc.

I was aboard the AE-4 in Ulithi Harbor the night the carrier Randolph got hit. General Quarters was not sounded before the hit. It was completely dark. We had all our lights on. We were lit up like a Broadway stage. We were unloading ammunition. We knew that we had one patrol plane up patrolling the skies. We were always alert at the sound of the approaching patrol plane. On the night in question, as the sound of the departing patrol plane disappeared in the distance,
the sound of the second plane was heard and then the third. I couldn’t understand
why they didn’t drop bombs on us, But apparently they came for the carriers, which
were visible in the distance with their lights on. One plane dove into the Randolph
the other dove into a radio station on a nearby island, thinking the lit antenna was
another carrier, Only then was General Quarters sounded. After 65 years this is the
best of my recollections. I am 92 years old now.

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Chief Mara. And thank you for your service during the war. We appreciate you stopping by our website and hope you will again.

Iwas aboard the uss cornel(a net tender)when the Randolph was hit,we anchored on the randolph bow at the time of the strike.As I recall the Randolph lost 26or 27 men to that strike.
If any one remberes,it was a 9 mile long netline,50 feet deep,
I have seen over a 1000 ships behind that netline,when we patrolled the line it was not unusal te see bouys leaning where torpedos had been stopped.

We were anchored in Ulithi harbor on 14 August 1945. I was aboard the General
Randall heading for the Phillipines and we berthed at Batangas because the three
piers in South Harbor were filled for shipping to Japan. Can someone tell me
how much time in days it would take a C-4 troop ship to cruse from Ulithi to
Batangas.

Wow. How many men would be aboard the AE-4 (Mount Baker)? I believe this was my fathers ship during the war. He would have been and officer.. his name was Charles Krebs. Thank you for your service sir.

My father was a plank owner aboard “The USS Jason” (ARH1) he was a Ship Fitter (SF3c) and shared with me many stories of the repairs and work “The Jason”
performed during WWII. A picture of “The USS Randolph” (CV15) can be seen with “The Jason” along side her doing repairs from the damage caused by a Kamikaze strike. If anyone has any information on “The Jason” or stories they would like to share please contact me. Thank you to all our service men and women past and present.

if the leaders and troops of this operation era were still around , they could and, probably, would make short work and history out of the mess going on today, in the middle east ” the big iron on their ship means they didn,’t take no lip “—-J L————– 10/12 /14 —

My husband, Stephen M. Bushby, was at Ulithi on the USS Cornel An45 (nettender),. I have never heard anyone mention the fact that there were 10-12 netenders there for 14 months laying nets around Ulithi to keep subs out…They worked hard getting the net layed and when the war was over they had to pull it all up again to salvage..He said they were so anxious to come home, that some of the guys took guns and sunk the nets.He said it was a sight to see so many ships that were there before going off to battle…

My dad Manley Hauge was also on the USS Cornel AN 45,he told us the
same stories as I am reading here.Sadley he passed in 2004.

I was in Ulithi in Nov., 1944 when a Japanese 1-man Submarine blew up the merchant T2 tanker Mississinewa anchored several hundred yards from our ship, the Fort Donelson T2 tanker. We had no visible lights that night but the explosion lite up the sky like it was midday. Never forget it.

I was a signalman on the Ammunition ship Red Oak Victory AK235. with 4,000 tons of ammunition. We entered Ulithi and they berthed us alongside the Randolph. One afternoon we got an emergency request for ammo and they sent over a landing craft to pick it up. They arrived at dusk and tied up to our starboard side which was facing the Randolph. Around 9:30-10 everything was blacked out except us. WE had floodlights on both the ship and the landing craft! I was down on the landing craft with 2 other guys. My left shoulder was pushing the net as it came down and I was looking at the Randolph over my right shoulder thinking , boy, what a big ship! Suddenly, I saw a huge explosion on the flight deck and the remnants of the plane arching over the bow. This was followed immediately by another explosion and a second ball of flame arching over the bow. Now, I know the record says only 1 plane hit it but I saw 2 separate aircraft parts arching over the bow. After the incident of the Mt Hood exploding in Manus Island, creating havoc, I initially thought it was crazy to put us alongside the Randolph with a crew of 3500. The next day they moved us next to a reef on the outer edge of the Atoll . All I could see were the masts of ships with my long telescope. Their hulls were below the curvature of the earth. It’s nicer to be wanted.

My late Father recalled the Kamikaze attack on the Randolph, His “Seabee” outfit was stationed on Utlihi, from October 10, 1944 until June of 45.. They were responsible for delivering ammunition, fuel, supplies, and spare parts to ships throughout the fleet. I have rare photos of the island.

Looking at the lower of the two photos above, the main row of carriers are, of course, front-to-back USS Wasp (CV-18), USS Yorktown (CV-10), USS Hornet (CV-12), USS Hancock (CV-19), and USS Ticonderoga (CV-14). Beyond Ticonderoga is USS Santa Fe (CL-60). In the row abaft of the main row (to the left) are USS Langley (CVL-27), USS Lexington (CV-16), and USS San Jacinto (CVL-30). In the fairway between these two rows are USS Healy (DD-672) and USS Cahaba (AO-82). Across the back left-to-right are USS Washington (BB-56), Hospital ship USS Solace (AH-5), USS Iowa (BB-61), USS South Dakota (BB-57), Hospital ship USS Samaritan (AH-10), USS New Jersey (BB-62) and two ships I could not identify (yet). Other versions of this photo with less cropped off the right edge also show across the fairway from Santa Fe front-to-back USS New Orleans (CA-32), USS Biloxi (CL-80), and USS Mobile (CL-63). Anchored in the fairway between Santa Fe and Mobile should be USS Oakland (CL-95) but Oakland left that spot for refueling on 8 Dec 1944 between 1235 and 1445 hours when this photo must have been taken.

The U.S.S. Haggard, Fletcher Class Destroyer DD-555 returned to Ulithi on 25 November 1944 and stayed until 10 December. Previous to her stay in Ulithi she took part in the surface action of the invasion of the Phillippines as part of Rear Admiral Felix Stump’s Taffy 2 task unit in the Battle of Samar and the Battle of Leyte Gulf. After her stay in Ulithi, Haggard joined Task Force 38.4 in support of the Luzon invasion. She is credited with the sinking of 2 Japanese submarines I-176 and I-371, one of which she rammed with guns blazing. During the Okinawa Operation she was struck by a kamikaze. In total she has 12 Battle Stars.

imgur.com/gallery/mOvzk – 514 photograph album depicting the history of Ulithi Atoll & the Central Pacific Fleet in WWII

The USS Massachusetts may be one of the ships in the background. Our neighbor Andy Freyxell served on the USS Massachusetts during WWII and kept a journal. The entries during that time in December are as follows:

December 2, 1944 Pulled back into Ulithi, something wrong with one of our shafts.


USS Biloxi (CL-80) - History

Collection Title: U.S.S. Biloxi Collection

Collection Number: M353

Dates: 1944 - 1945 1999

Volume: .25 cubic foot

Provenance: Materials in this collection were donated By Thomas J. White on July 8, 1999.

Restrictions: Available for research use by the serious student and scholar.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).


Biographical/Historical Sketch:

The CL-80 U.S.S. Biloxi, the only United States Navy ship named for a Mississippi City, was present during every major military operation in the Pacific during World War II, from January 1944 to May 1945, and was awarded nine battle stars for her service.

The Biloxi was a Cleveland Class Light Cruiser, built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Virginia. The ship, which was sponsored by Mrs. Louis Braun, was launched on February 23, 1943 and commissioned on August 31, 1943. The Biloxi's captain was Daniel M. McGurl, and the vessel reported to Cruiser Division 13, Pacific Fleet.

During her tenure, the ship screened fast carrier task forces, bombarded shore installations, and covered amphibious landings, seeing action in battles at Iwo Jima, Formosa, Leyte Gulf, Saipan and the Philippines. On April 27, 1945, the Biloxi withdrew from the fighting area for overhaul, returning in time to participate in the attack on Wake Island on July 18. When the war was over, the Biloxi was one of the first ships dispatched to Nagasaki (Japan) to evacuate allied prisoners of war.

Despite being constantly placed in harm's way, the ship made it through World War II without losing a single man, although it incurred slight damage on March 27, 1945, from a kamikaze plane. On that day, the vessel encountered four of the Japanese suicide bombers, shooting down three and disabling the fourth to the point that it crashed into the ship. Fortunately, the bomb it was carrying did not explode. The crew later retrieved the bomb, disarmed it, resealed its head, and placed it on the quarter deck as a souvenir.

In addition to its military prowess, the ship survived three typhoons, one of which sank three destroyers. Because of her heavy involvement in battle and her uncanny ability to dodge disaster, the Biloxi's crew gave the ship two nicknames -- "The Busy Bee" and "The Double Lucky."

The U.S.S. Biloxi was decommissioned in 1946, and as of 1999, her metal superstructure resided in Guice Park at the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor, Biloxi, Mississippi.

Contents of the Collection

Dictionary of American Fighting Ships, Vol. I, 1964, Navy Department, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval History Division, Washington, D.C. (Printed from website:www.hazegray.org/danfs/cruisers/c180.txt)

This collection consists of materials that document the service of the U.S.S. Biloxi during World War II and provide insights into life aboard a U.S. Navy vessel in wartime. Of particular interest is an article titled "On the Road to Tokyo", which is a brief rundown of the Biloxi's movements from January through April, 1945. Also of interest is a series of the ship's newsletter, "The Busy Bee." One of the undated issues contains an open letter to the crew dated April 5, 1944, written by a former shipmate who was discharged because he was underage -- he was fourteen.

This collection should be of interest to researchers of World War II, especially those focusing on naval action in the Pacific.

Series I: Original Materials
Series II: Photocopies of Original Materials


Sommaire

Préparation pour la guerre, septembre 1943 – janvier 1944 Modifier

Après sa mise en condition opérationnelle dans la baie de Chesapeake, le croiseur léger appareille de Norfolk le 20 novembre pour la zone du canal de Panama, franchissant le canal le 24 novembre et arrivant à San Francisco le 4 décembre 1943 [ 2 ] . Il reprend la mer le 7 décembre , arrivant à Hawaï le 11 décembre et entamant aussitôt un entrainement destiné à une mise en condition en compagnie du croiseur lourd USS Wichita [ 3 ] .

Le 20 décembre , il regagne la côte ouest pour quelques réparations avant de participer à différents exercices au sein de la 5 e flotte, le croiseur léger opérant notamment avec le cuirassé USS Maryland, le croiseur lourd USS Louisville, le croiseur léger USS Mobile et deux destroyers pour s’entraîner au futur débarquement dans les Marshall (opération Flintlock) [ 2 ] , [ 3 ] .

Îles Marshall, janvier – février 1944 Modifier

Le Biloxi reprend la mer le 13 janvier 1944 , retrouvant le Task Group 53.5 à Hawaï pour assurer la protection du débarquement qui a lieu le 30 janvier [ 3 ] . Opérant avec les Louisville, Mobile, Santa Fe et six destroyers, le croiseur patrouille autour des îles concernées par le débarquement (notamment Wotje) et pilonne les positions japonaises pour favoriser la progression des Marines. Il est légèrement endommagé par un obus de la défense côtière [ 2 ] .

Après neuf jours d'opérations intensives, il gagne le lagon de Majuro le 7 février pour se ravitailler et cinq jours plus tard, il reprend la mer, intégrant le TG 58.1 organisé autour des porte-avions Enterprise, Yorktown et Belleau Wood qui participent les 16 et 17 février à un important raid contre Truk, destiné à détourner l'attention des japonais envers le débarquement allié en Nouvelle-Guinée (opération Hailstone). Le Task Group, après avoir échappé à plusieurs raids aériens japonais, est de retour à Majuro le 26 février 1944 [ 2 ] , [ 3 ] .

Mariannes et bataille de la mer des Philippines, mars – juillet 1944 Modifier

Le 7 mars 1944 , il reprend la mer en compagnie de l'Enterprise, du Belleau Wood, de deux autres croiseurs légers et de huit destroyers. Il s'amarre à Espiritu Santo le 11 mars pour charger des munitions et des vivres avant de gagner Emirau, dans l'archipel Bismark, pour couvrir le débarquement des Marines du 20 au 25 mars 1944 [ 2 ] . Il couvre ensuite les raids contre les Carolines Occidentales menés par les Enterprise, Belleau Wood et Cowpens, couverts par sept croiseurs légers dont le Biloxi et neuf destroyers [ 3 ] .

Après des raids contre les Palaos, le croiseur retourne à Majuro le 6 avril 1944 [ 2 ] pour un ravitaillement et un entretien, avant de reprendre la mer le 13 avril en compagnie des autres unités de la TG 58.1 pour soutenir le débarquement à Hollandia (opérations Reckless et Persecution) le 21 avril 1944 , couvrant les porte-avions et appuyant les troupes au sol et jusqu'au 28 avril , date à laquelle il jette l'ancre à Manus [ 2 ] .

Il participe ensuite à l'opération Forager, le débarquement dans les îles Mariannes qui commença le 15 juin 1944 [ 2 ] . Il assure la protection des porte-avions Bunker Hill, Wasp, Monterey et Cabot [ 2 ] . Le 18 juin vers midi, les navires de guerre prirent place dans un poste de patrouille situé à quelque 150 km à l'ouest de Saipan. Le Biloxi les couvrit durant la bataille de la mer des Philippines (19- 20 juin ) qui vit l'aéronavale japonaise cesser d'exister comme corps constitué, perdant 300 appareils, le porte-avions Hiyo et endommageant un autre. Le Biloxi et les porte-avions qu'il protégeaient sont de retour à Eniwetok le 27 juin 1944 [ 3 ] .

Après un raid contre les Bonins le 30 juin , il couvre les porte-avions Yorktown, Hornet et Bataan bombardant Iwo Jima le 3 juillet 1944 [ 2 ] , le croiseur joignant aux bombes d'aviation ses douze canons de 6 pouces. Après un ravitaillement en pleine mer, le croiseur passe deux semaines en mer pour couvrir les porte-avions attaquant Guam et Rota dans le cadre de débarquements amphibies, avant d'autres raids contre Palau, Yap et Ulithi [ 2 ] , [ 3 ] .

Îles Ryukyu et Volcano, juillet – octobre 1944 Modifier

Après un ravitaillement rapide à Saipan le 2 août , le TG intégrant le Biloxi appareille pour de nouveaux raids contre les îles Bonins et Volcano. Le 4 août , un avion américain repère une petite force de surface japonaise qui est attaqué par le Biloxi, trois croiseurs et sept destroyers, le Biloxi participant à la destruction du destroyer d'escorte Matsu et du charbonnier Ryuko Maru [ 2 ] . Le 5 août 1944 , alors qu'il se préparait à bombarder Ani et Chichi-Jima, il fut secoué par une torpille qui explosa dans le sillage du croiseur. Il ne fut pas endommagé mais la mission de bombardement fut annulé, les croiseurs retrouvant les porte-avions dans l'après midi pour rentrer ensuite à Eniwetok le 9 août . Après avoir été ravitaillé par le pétrolier Tappahannock, le croiseur jeta l'encre dans le lagon pour un ravitaillement. L’équipage bénéficia également de trois semaines de repos et de loisirs [ 3 ] .

Affecté au TG 38.4, le croiseur léger appareille le 29 août en compagnie des porte-avions Franklin, San Jacinto et Enterprise, du croiseur lourd New Orleans et de douze destroyers. Il participe de manière indirecte aux raids contre les Bonins et Palau avant de pilonner directement Chichi-Jima le 31 août 1944 puis Iwo Jima le 1 er septembre. Il est de retour à Saipan le 4 septembre 1944 . Reprenant la mer dès le 7 septembre , il couvre les porte-avions chargés de mener des raids contre Palau les 10 et 15 septembre , le débarquement amphibie ayant lieu sur Palau le 15 de ce mois [ 2 ] .

Après une période de repos et d'entretien à Manus dans les îles de l'Amirauté, le croiseur reprend la mer le 24 septembre , retrouvant le TG 38.1 pour protéger les porte-avions lors de leurs raids contre les îles Ryukyu le 10 octobre , puis Formose du 12 au 14 octobre 1944 , avant Luçon du 14 au 19 octobre afin de préparer le débarquement à Leyte qui a lieu le 20 octobre [ 3 ] . Il assure ensuite la couverture des porte-avions engagés dans la bataille du golfe de Leyte, puis le 26 octobre , détruit près du détroit de San Bernardino le destroyer japonais Nowaki en compagnie de trois autres croiseurs [ 2 ] .

Philippines, octobre 1944 – janvier 1945 Modifier

Le 15 novembre 1944 , le Biloxi quitte les Philippines et gagne Ulithi qu'il atteint deux jours pour reposer l'équipage et entretenir le matériel. Il était présent le 20 novembre lors de l'attaque d'un sous-marins de poche kaiten japonais contre le pétrolier USS Mississinewa [ 2 ] , [ 3 ] .

Le 22 novembre , le Biloxi reprend la mer en compagnie du TG 38.3 pour des attaques aériennes contre Luçon. Le 25 novembre , le Task Group doit être retiré car les cinq porte-avions américains ont été endommagés par des kamikazes [ 2 ] .

Les porte-avions retrouvent les Philippines le 13 décembre pour soutenir les débarquements à Mindoro. Après avoir survécu au typhon Cobra le 18 décembre , il rentre à Ulithi le 24 décembre où il mouille pendant une semaine [ 2 ] .

Le croiseur reprend la mer au sein du TG 38.3 (composés des porte-avions Essex, Ticonderoga et Langley) le 30 décembre pour des raids sur Formose qui sont lancés le 3 janvier 1945 , raids perturbés par les conditions météorologiques. Le TG 38.3 regagne ensuite le sud pour des opérations en liaison avec le débarquement dans le golfe de Lingayen qui a lieu le 9 janvier 1945 , appuyant le débarquement mais menant également des raids contre Formose, Ryukyu et les Pescadores [ 2 ] .

Le 11 janvier 1945 , les porte-avions escortés par le Biloxi frappent l'Indochine, notamment la baie de Cam Rahn et Qui Nhon. Après un ravitaillement en mer, les porte-avions du TG 38.3 bombardent Hainan et Hong Kong [ 2 ] , puis de nouveau Formose le 21 janvier . Vers midi, deux kamikazes s'écrasent sur le porte-avions Ticonderoga et le destroyer USS Maddox. Le croiseur Biloxi est détaché pour escorter les deux navires endommagés jusqu'à Ulithi qu'ils atteignent le 26 janvier 1945 [ 2 ] , [ 3 ] .

Iwo Jima, février – mars 1945 Modifier

Le 10 février 1945 , le croiseur léger retrouve le TG 58.4 pour des opérations contre Iwo Jima (opération Detachment). Le débarquement a lieu le 19 février et le Biloxi, qui jusque-là protégeait les porte-avions, appuie le débarquement en tirant contre des positions à terre jusqu'au 21, quand l'affût n o 6 de 127 mm ouvrit le feu sur le n o 5, provoquant des dégâts humains et matériels limités [ 2 ] .

En dépit de ces dommages, le Biloxi retrouve le TG 58.4 pour couvrir les porte-avions attaquant la région de Tokyo à partir du 25 février , mais le mauvais temps annula un grand nombre de raids et le groupe opérationnel se retira vers le sud pour frapper les installations littorales et les aérodromes d'Okinawa. Le Biloxi est de retour à Ulithi le 1 er mars pour des réparations et un ravitaillement [ 2 ] .

Okinawa, mars – avril 1945 Modifier

Le 21 mars , le Biloxi reprend la mer pour participer à l'opération Iceberg, le débarquement sur Okinawa. Le croiseur est affecté au TG 54.1 destiné à couvrir l'action des dragueurs de mines et des UDT puis de soutenir les troupes au sol, notamment lors du débarquement amphibies et les atterrissages amphibies dans l'archipel Kerama le 26 [ 2 ] , [ 3 ] . S'installant à Okinawa plus tard dans la matinée, il lance notamment ses hydravions pour des missions d'observation et de reconnaissance, tirant également sur des cibles à l'ouest de la pointe Zanpa Misaki [ 2 ] .

Retour aux États-Unis, avril – juillet 1945 Modifier

Il quitte ensuite Okinawa le 20 avril et arrive à Ulithi le 24 avril pour une période d'entretien auprès du navire-atelier Vulcan, avant de gagner San Francisco le 11 mai via Pearl Harbor. Il subit des travaux jusqu'au 6 juillet et passe deux semaines d'essais et de remise en condition, qui seront interrompus par un problème technique le 14 juillet (rupture d'une conduite de vapeur, huit hommes brûlés mais aucun sérieusement) [ 2 ] , [ 3 ] .

La fin de la guerre, juillet – août 1945 Modifier

Retournant vers le Pacifique le 19 juillet , le Biloxi s’entraîne à Hawaï jusqu'au 2 août , date à laquelle il appareille de Pearl Harbor pour Ulithi, tirant contre Wake afin d’entraîner ses canonniers le 8 août 1945 . Il arrive à Ulithi le 12 août , puis se ravitaille et gagne Leyte en arrivant dans la baie de San Pedro le 14 août . À 8 h 15 le lendemain matin, il apprit la capitulation japonaise [ 2 ] .

Après-guerre, août – novembre 1945 Modifier

Il quitte les Philippines pour Okinawa le 20 août qu'il atteint trois jours plus tard. Il y passa trois semaines à attendre les ordres. Reprenant la mer le 16 septembre , il rejoint Nagasaki pour évacuer des prisonniers de guerre à partir du 18 septembre et les débarquent à Okinawa trois jours plus tard, avant de retourner au Japon pour soutenir les forces d'occupation américaines [ 3 ] . Il quitte le pays le 9 novembre pour Okinawa qu'il atteint le 11 novembre , puis rejoint Pearl Harbor et San Francisco où il arrive le 27 novembre 1945 [ 2 ] .

Réserve, retrait du service et vente, 1946 – 1962 Modifier

Le croiseur gagne Port Angeles (État de Washington) le 15 janvier 1946 pour y être désarmé. Il est mis en réserve au Puget Sound Naval Shipyard le 18 mai 1946 et désarmé le 29 octobre . Après quinze ans d'inactivité, le croiseur est rayé du Naval Vessel Register le 1 er décembre 1961 puis vendu à la démolition le 29 mars 1962 [ 2 ] .

Le Biloxi a reçu neuf Battle stars pour son service pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale [ 2 ] .

La superstructure du navire a été conservée et érigée dans le Guice Park, près du Biloxi Small Craft Harbor, dans la Lameuse Street, où elle se trouve encore aujourd'hui. La cloche du navire est exposée dans le hall du Biloxi Maritime and Seafood Museum.


USS Biloxi Mast

The USS Biloxi was a light cruiser that distinguished itself in World War II. The 608-foot, 10,000-ton vessel, known by her 1,200 officers and crew as “The Busy Bee,” earned nine battle stars during her service from January 1944 to May 1945. It was during that period that the Biloxi completed one of the longest continuous tours of combat duty by any U.S. warship, never missing a major operation in the Pacific.

Operating in support of carriers making air strikes against the very heart of the enemy homeland, Tokyo itself, the Biloxi saw action in battles at Okinawa, Iwo Jima, Formosa, Leyte Gulf, Saipan, the Philippines, and was one of the first ships to evacuate allied prisoners of war from Nagasaki, Japan shortly after the atomic bomb was dropped.

On March 27, 1945, during the assault on Okinawa, the Biloxi was attacked by four Japanese kamikaze planes. Three were shot down, but a fourth, riddled with bullets, crashed into the Biloxi, and a 1,100-pound bomb was later found unexploded below the ship’s hangar deck.

The ship was decommissioned on Oct. 29, 1946, and broken up for scrap. T he ship’s superstructure, the Purple Heart display and garden, and other war-related markers sit proudly in the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor.


Creative Concept to Casting

The Lone Sailor statue was sculpted by Stanley Bleifeld. He served as an enlisted man in the Navy during World War II, being assigned to illustrate Navy training manuals. Bleifeld believed the Lone Sailor should represent Sailors around the world. To achieve this, he did not use a single model – he used multiple models to create the Lone Sailor we know and love today.

Rear Admiral William Thompson, USN (Ret.), was the first president and CEO of the Navy Memorial. He wanted a figure that would stand out “above” the crowd, but only slightly larger than life size. This would allow visitors, including children, to relate to him and take photographs by the side. The Lone Sailor statue now stands proudly at 7 feet tall in different locations around the world.

The Lone Sailor statue also includes a fragment of the USS Maine.

The original Lone Sailor statue took command of his place at the Navy Memorial in Washington, DC, over 30 years ago. It was casted at the Tallix Foundry in New York, which is owned by Mr. Richard Polich. Polich was a commissioned naval officer in the late 1950’s – a fitting partner for the Navy Memorial.

Artifacts from eight U.S. Navy ships were melted into the bronze during the casting process. The statue includes various fragments from the USS Constitution, USS Constellation, USS Maine, USS Biloxi, USS Hancock, USS Seawolf, USS Nautilus, and the steamer Hartford. These ships span the Navy’s history and will forever be a part of the Lone Sailor legacy.

The Lone Sailor statue was unveiled at the Navy Memorial’s dedication on Oct. 13th, 1987.


USS Biloxi (CL-80) - History

Cleveland-class consisting of the Cleveland (CL-55), Columbia (CL-56), Montpelier (CL-57), Denver (CL-58), Amsterdam (CL-59), Santa Fe (CL-60), Tallahassee (CL-61), Birmingham (CL-62), Vincennes (CL-64), Pasadena (CL-65), Springfield (CL-66), Topeka (CL-67), New Haven (CL-76), Huntington (CL-77), Dayton (CL-78), Wilmington (CL-79), Biloxi (CL80), Houston (CL-81), Providence (CL-82), Providence (CL-82), Manchester (CL-83), Buffalo (CL-84), Fargo (CL-85), Vicksburg (CL-86), Duluth (CL-87), Anonymous (CL-88), Miami (CL-89), Astoria (CL-90), Oklahoma City (CL-91), Little Rock (CL-92), Galveston (CL-93), Youngstown (CL-94), Buffalo (CL-99), Newark (CL-100), Amsterdam (CL-101), Portsmouth (CL-102), Wilkes-Barre (CL-103), Atlanta (CL-104), Dayton (CL-105), Fargo (CL-106) and Huntington (CL-107). The Newark (CL-108), New Haven (CL-109), Buffalo (CL11), Wilmington (CL111), Vallejo (CL112), Helena (CL113), Anonymous (CL-115), Roanoke (CL-114), Tallahassee (CL 116), Cheyenne (CL117) and Chattanooga (CL118), are usually described as part of the Fargo-class, preceded by the St. Louis and Atlanta-classes and succeeded by the Fargo-class (a modified Cleveland-design. Of the originally 52 planned ships were 9 converted and completed as the Independence-class light aircraft carriers and 2 with an altered design were part of the Fargo-class. There were totally 29 commissioned of which the Galveston was completed as a guided missile cruiser and 5 others later converted into the Galveston and Providence-class guided missile cruisers.