Pensacola Class Cruisers

Pensacola Class Cruisers


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Pensacola Class Cruisers

The two Pensacola class heavy cruisers were the first American heavy cruisers built after the First World War and were restricted by the terms of the 1921 Washington Naval Treaty.

The Pensacola class ships marked a clear break with pervious American cruisers. The pre-war Chester class had been much lighter ships, armed with two 5in and six 3in guns, all carried in the open. The first post-war class, the Omaha class light cruisers, were quite old fashioned ships, with half of their 6in guns carried in casemates mounted on the sides of the superstructure. During the First World War the US Navy came in close contact with the Royal Navy. The wartime Cavendish or Hawkins class cruisers particularly impressed. They had around the same displacement as the eventual Pensacola class ships, and carried seven 7.5in guns, five on the centre line (three aft and two forward) and one each on each side. They could thus use six of their seven guns in a broadside.

The US Navy decided that any cruisers built after the First World War would have to be superior to the Hawkins class. They also wanted cruisers with a large radius of operation in case of conflict with Japan. A wide range of cruiser designs were developed in the early 1920s, ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 tons and armed with 5in, 6in or 8in guns. While this was going on the Omaha class ships, armed with 6in guns, were under construction. The 1921 Washington Naval Treaty also played a major part in the eventual design, imposing a size limit of 10,000 tons and 8in guns on any new cruisers.

The basic design of the Pensacola ships was in place by November 1923 and the final sketch design was completed in March 1925. The new ships had two funnels with a fairly wide gap between them. They had superstructures fore and aft, with large mainmasts and foremasts. Power was provided by 4 shaft Parsons Turbines with eight boilers in two boiler rooms, arranged on the unit principle with the turbine rooms between the boiler rooms.

The Pensacola class ships were the first American cruisers to carry all of their main guns in superfiring turrets carried on the centre line, the layout that was used for the vast majority of Second World War cruisers. They were armed with ten 8in/55 guns, carried in four turrets. The fore and aft turrets carried two guns, the higher inboard turrets carried three each. This allowed the designers to give the ship very fine lines. Secondary armament was provided by four dual purpose 5in guns carried in single mountings just behind the rear funnel, two on each side of the ship.

They were built with six 21in torpedo tubes in two banks of three, but these were removed before the outbreak of the Second World War. By then they had also had four 5in/25 anti-aircraft guns mounted by the forward superstructure

Anti-aircraft armament changed repeated during the two ships service life. At first they only carried .50in calibre Browning M2 machine guns. In November 1941 they received two quad 1.1in Mark VI machine gun mountings (nicknamed the Chicago Piano). In 1942 the .50 machine guns were replaced with 20mm Oerlikon cannon, starting with eight single mountings as well as two more quad 1.1in mountings.

In 1943 quad 40mm Bofors cannons replaced the 1.1in guns and the number of 20mm guns was increased. By 1944 the official mounting was six quad 40mm Bofors mountings and twenty or twenty one 20mm guns. In 1945 the Salt Lake Cityhad six quad 40mm mountings and nineteen single 20mm cannon. After a refit in the summer of 1945 the Pensacolahad seven quad 40mm mountings and nine twin 20mm mountings.

Aircraft were seen as essential for cruiser operations in the 1920s. The Pensacola class cruisers could carry four aircraft which were stored in the open, and had two catapults and a single crane. They carried Vought O2U Corsairs, OS2U Kingfishers or Curtiss SOC Seagulls during their service careers.

The ships were lightly armoured for heavy cruisers. They had a 1in armoured deck, with a belt that varied from 2.5in to 4in. The thicker belt protected the magazines. The turret barbettes were very thinly armoured with .75in armour. The turrets had 2.5in of armour on the face, thinner armour elsewhere.

There was actually plenty of spare weight within the 10,000t limit for extra armour. The theory was that the limited armour would be effective against 5in destroyer guns. They would outrange 6in cruisers and any engagement with another 8in cruiser would take place at such short distances that no effective armour could be carried. While the ships were under construction it was realised that director fire control units could be installed, and so the 8in guns would be effective at much longer ranges than expected. The belt armour was later calculated to be effective against 5.1in fire over 8,000 yards, but vulnerable to 8in/50 shells at up to 24,000 yards and the deck armour over the magazines at 16,000 yards.

Their thin armour meant they became known as 'tin clad' cruisers. The next heavy cruiser class, the Northampton class and Portland class cruisers shared this limited protection but the New Orleans class of the early 1930s saw the first attempt to increase armour.

The impact of the treaty limits can be seen in the Pensacola class. The Cleveland class light cruisers, built after the treaty restrictions were lifted, were longer, slightly wider and 2,000t heavier on standard displacement. The Pensacola class were similar in concept to other cruisers of the period - the contemporary British Kent class cursers carried eight 8in guns on a similar displacement but with thicker armour around the ammo spaces and thinner armour elsewhere.

Both members of the class fought extensively during the Pacific War, with Pensacola earning 13 battle stars and Salt Lake City 11. Both survived the war, making the class more fortunate than their successors - three of the six Northampton class ships were sunk, as was one of the two Portland class ships and three of the seven more heavily armoured New Orleans class

Displacement (standard)

9,097t

Displacement (loaded)

11,512t

Top Speed

32.5kts

Range

10,000nm at 15kts

Armour – deck

1in

- over machinery

2.5in

- side of magazines

4in

- over magazines

1.75in

- barbettes

0.75in

- gun houses face

2.5in

- gun houses top

2in

- gun houses other

0.75in

Length

586ft 8in oa

Armaments

Ten 8in/55 guns (two 3-gun and two 2-gun turrets)
Four 5in/25 guns (four single positions)
6 21in torpedo tubes
4 aircraft

Crew complement

631

Ships in Class

Fate

CA24 USS Pensacola

Sunk 1948

CA25 USS Salt Lake City

Sunk 1948


Trying to get the best results under the limitations set by the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, the Pensacola-class cruisers combined a strong main battery of ten 203mm guns in four turrets with weak armor and an uncomfortable top-heaviness, which make the ships prone to rolling. Later cruiser designs of the US Navy eliminated this shortcomings, but USS Pensacola and USS Salt Lake City just underwent a modification of their hull and superstructure to eliminate rolling, when they were thrown into combat against the Japanese in 1941. By this time, both ships had received modern radar systems and an increased amount of anti-aircraft guns. They took part in many US Navy operations in the Pacific, and played a famous role in the fightings of the Guadalcanal campaign, where they suffered heavy damage. Despite that, Pensacola and Salt Lake City survided the war, only to be sunk as target sips in 1947 and 1948.

In Battlegroup42, the Pensacola-class cruiser has ten 8"/55 calibre (203mm) guns on its four turrets, as well as four 5-inch/25 calibre (127mm) guns on each side. It also has two quad Bofors L/60 40mm guns on each side, making it deadly against surface or aerial hostile targets.

The cruiser also has a "hidden" 7th position, the catapult station, which controls the position of the port side catapult. One can enter this position from one of the two doors near the catapults. A Grumman J2F-2 Duck can be launched from the ship.


Pensacola Class Cruisers - History

USS Pensacola , name ship of a class of two 9100-ton light cruisers, was built by the New York Navy Yard. Commissioned in February 1930, she made a shakedown cruise to Peru and Chile then began regular operations in the western Atlantic, Caribbean and Pacific. In July 1931, her classification was changed to heavy cruiser and her hull number became CA-24. 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 over 120 of her crewmen.

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.

During the rest of the year and into 1945, Pensacola regularly conducted bombardments in the Bonin and Volcano Islands. While off Iwo Jima on 17 February 1945, she was hit several times by Japanese coastal guns, but was soon able to resume shelling the island. She provided more gunfire support during the campaign to seize Okinawa in March and April. When the fighting ended in mid-August, she was serving in the North Pacific. Pensacola 's final months of active service were spent supporting the occupation of northern Japan and transporting Pacific War veterans home as part of Operation "Magic Carpet". In 1946 the now-elderly cruiser was assigned to target duty in connection with the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. Badly damaged by the two explosions on 1 July and 25 July, she was formally decommissioned in August. More than two years later, on 10 November 1948, USS Pensacola was sunk as a target in fleet exercises off the coast of Washington State.

This page features selected views concerning USS Pensacola (CA-24).

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Photographed at anchor, during the 1930s.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

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Underway at sea, September 1935.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Online Image: 102KB 740 x 620 pixels

At anchor in a south Pacific port, 28 September 1942. An oiler (AO) is in the left distance.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Online Image: 74KB 740 x 585 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

Photographed on 14 October 1943. She is accompanied by two tugs, one small harbor type and the other (at right) an old Navy fleet tug.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Online Image: 88KB 740 x 585 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

In Massacre Bay, Attu Island, Alaska, 9 June 1944.
She is painted in camouflage Measure 32, Design 14d.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

Online Image: 109KB 740 x 605 pixels

Off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 29 June 1945.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

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Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

At the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 3 July 1945, at the end of her final overhaul.
Circles mark recent alterations to the ship.
Note her main battery of twin and triple eight-inch gun turrets.
USS Indianapolis (CA-35) and the lighter YF-390 are at left.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Online Image: 134KB 605 x 765 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

Actress Ethyl Merman, star of the stage hit "Girl Crazy", presents a young goat (lower right) to the ship's crew, possibly at about the time of Pensacola 's commissioning in February 1930.
Accepting the gift is the ship's Commanding Officer, Captain Alfred G. Howe, USN.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 97KB 580 x 765 pixels

Officers, Sailors and Marines in the ship's midships well deck, 1933.
Note details of catapults, and the four Vought O2U-4 floatplanes. The plane at far right is Bureau # 8334.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 109KB 740 x 585 pixels

Alongside USS Vestal (AR-4), undergoing repair of torpedo damage received during the Battle of Tassafaronga, off Guadalcanal on 30 November 1942.
Note the hole in her side below the mainmast, and the extensive fire damage in the area of that mast and the number three eight-inch gun turret.
Photographed at Espirito Santo, New Hebrides, on 17 December 1942.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

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Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

View on the ship's afterdeck, looking forward, showing damage inflicted during the Operation "Crossroads" atomic bomb tests at Bikini, in July 1946. Men in the foreground are examining the remains of equipment placed on her deck to test the effects of the bomb explosion.
Note the caution signs painted on her after eight-inch gun turret, presumably to reduce fire risks and prevent the taking of radioactive items as souvenirs.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

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Is towed out of Puget Sound, Washington, en route to sea for disposal as a target in First Task Fleet exercises, 9 November 1948.


Sverdlov Class Cruisers, and the Royal Navy’s Response

“Although the Russian lack of aircraft carriers would make it hazardous for their Cruisers to operate outside the range of shore based fighter cover, the presumed long range of the Sverdlov Class makes it possible for them to operate as ocean raiders, particularly if the Russians have reason to believe that Allied carriers will not be met.”[i]

Surface raiders were a potentially deadly threat to a global trading nation such as Britain whilst submarines were a problem, they were a containable problem – especially before the development of nuclear power. However, as had been demonstrated by the German cruiser Admiral Graf Spee of River Plate fame [ii] and others, surface raiders were for more unrestricted – hence killing them became such a priority. [iii] Therefore when the Soviets [iv] were seen to be constructing a similar capability a reaction was only a matter of time.


Figure 1.The Cruise of the Admiral Graf Spee, illustrating not only the number of its success but the range and breadth of them (Image from National Archives).[v]

The most commonly referenced British reaction to the emerging Soviet surface raider threat is the Buccaneer bomber, which were of course principally focused on not only low level nuclear strike of ground targets, but also the hunting down and destruction of surface raiders. [vi] The Royal Navy’s (RN) response though was not simply limited to this one thing, and in fact whilst carriers were focused on as the premier tool of global reach, it was realised there would never be enough available for the RN to achieve the global presence which would be required to protect the arteries of trade & supply from raiders/hunt those raiders down.[vii] Therefore just as it had during the 1920s and 1930s the RN turned to surface combatants.

While it is important to qualify this work with the understanding that the location and destruction of enemy surface raiders was not the sole, arguably perhaps not even a primary factor in the driving of warship design/development/procurement during this period it was a significant factor which should be considered as it can provide significant lessons for future design/development/procurement. This work will examine the relevant information in two sections: the first section will discuss what the Soviets Union did build, and just as importantly what the RN thought they were building. It is necessary to discern and differentiate both as it is in that the keys to understanding the RN’s and British Government’s operational perceptions as well as their opinion of their own strengths and weakness lie. The second section will move to the RN’s response investigating what was planned, what was asked for and what was actually built. Wherever possible this work will apply context through the use of comparable allied construction. Finally this work will seek to bring all the threads of discussion together to answer the question that is its purpose to what extent did the RN’s understanding of Soviet cruisers affected its ship procurement during the beginning phase of the Cold War.

To every action there is always…

The Sverdlov class were the second class of cruisers built by the Soviet Union following World War II (or the Great Patriotic War), they were the successors to the Chapayev class.[viii] However, the Chapayev class was designed during that conflict, and the Sverdlovs were the first class started after WWII. They were a significant part of plans which included Battleships and Aircraft Carriers – plans that were aimed at providing a brand new globe traversing Soviet Fleet.[ix] The Sverdlov’s range of 9000nm at 17kts which meant they were able to traverse vast tracts of ocean, and was not dissimilar to the Graf Spee’s 8,900nm at 20kts.[xi] They also compared well with those vessels put forward by other navies. [x] Due to the planned battleships and aircraft carriers not coming into existence (as a result of various internal political reasons as well as limitations of national industry [xii]) the Soviets had built a scaled/adapted version of the very effective (although ultimately defeated) WWII German navy.[xiii]

The USSR therefore found itself in possession of a force orientated around surface and sub-surface raiders, aimed at defending the USSR and its territory by in effect re-fighting the Battle of Atlantic/Arctic Convoys to prevent American resupply of their western European allies. An understandable strategic decision, as the Arctic convoy battles had left in many ways a greater memory in the minds of the Soviet leadership than the British: due to actual invasion, the USSR (like Malta) [xiv] had on occasions been just one or two ships away from defeat.[xv] Surface raiders were key to such as strategic notions as without their range and operational scope, submarines alone (especially in the pre-nuclear age) could not have achieved anywhere near the required results. However, the mirror was not an exact reflection of the German Navy, whilst Stalin might have insisted on the use of German technology and other modifications, the Sverdlov class were still very much Soviet in concept and design as can be seen by their lines (Figures 2 & 3).


Figure 2: the Sverdlov class (image from National Archives [xvi]), this picture taken from an RN intelligence assessment highlights the clean lines and efficient looking hull bely the many problems which had had to be overcome by the rather undeveloped post-World War II(WWII) ship building industry in the USSR.[xvii]


Figure 3: the Sverdlov class (image from National Archives [xviii]), the fixation of the RN’s raiding worries for several years, this plan illustrates how heavily armed they were with twelve 152mm in four triple mountings, twelve 105mm in six double mountings all combined with a heavy Anti-Aircraft armament, torpedoes, sophisticated sensors, a top speed of 33kts and a range of 9000 nautical miles.[xix]

The Sverdlov’s range and displacement of more than 16,000tons compared positively with that of the pocket battleship/heavy cruiser Admiral Graf Spee.[xx] The 152mm or 6in guns (in RN speak) that provided their main batteries defined the Sverdlov Class as light Cruiser in origin rather than a pocket battleship, and were not dissimilar to those used by Ajax & Achilles at the Battle of the River plate. The choice of those guns instead of larger (nominally 8in guns) was an indicator of the intended purpose of the Sverdlov class.

The original order was for 40 vessels, and they were to be deployed with all the major Soviet fleets.[xxi] Sverdlov class ships first entered service with the Krasnoznamennyi Baltijskii Flot (KBF, Red Banner Baltic Fleet based at Kaliningrad) and Chernomorski Flot (CF, Black Sea Fleet based at Sevastopol). It was only as more of the class came into service that they were allocated to the Severnyi Flot (SF, Northern Fleet based at Severomorsk) and Tikhookeanski Flot (TOF, Pacific Fleet based at Vladivostok). After a transition period the KBF would contain three, the CF five, the SF just two, and the TOF received four.[xxii] All this though was to come what the allies and the RN especially perceived, was the Soviet’s amassing a surface raider force at their all year ports with Atlantic/Indian Ocean access far beyond that which had been possessed by Nazi Germany.

This threat was felt so because the Sverdlovs’ main battery whilst not able to match those of larger ships (the legacy heavy cruisers and battleships still in service), were (especially in the pre-missile age) more than adequate when coupled with their heavy Anti-Aircraft (AA) armament to defend themselves against any likely opponents.[xxiii] This class of armament was certainly powerful enough to decimate any merchant vessels they found, as well as effective against shore targets of opportunity. More importantly their numbers and disposition meant that while in theory they could be blockaded in during any conflict, the likelihood was that some would already be at sea like the Admiral Graf Spee had been. [xxiv] The consequence being they would be outside the blockade and would have to be hunted down while they ran amok amongst world’s sea lines of communication (SLOCs) – the very lines of communication that international trade and war supplies would use and therefore that Britain would be dependent upon.[xxv]

The RN, as is illustrated by its own documents, the Supplementary Naval Intelligence Papers relating to Soviet & European Navies – Soviet Cruisers[xxvi] and Particulars of Foreign War Vessels Volume 1 – Soviet & European Satellite Navies[xxvii], had a pretty accurate view of the Soviet designs. Although of course understanding changed with time, and some figures given in the former appreciation had changed by the time the latter was written. An example of this knowledge is that the RN knew that the 105mm secondary armament were three-dimensionally stabilised, allowing them to be used as AA weapons. The RN also knew that alongside the 105mm there were sixteen twin 37/60 Bofors type mountings for close range engagement: weaponry that was combined with an extensive radar fit, (using NATO ‘nicknames’) a Big Net, a Sea Gull and 1-2 Knife Rest(s) all for Air Search as well as a Slim Net, a High Sieve and a Hair Net for Air/Surface Search.[xxviii] This comprehensive sensor and weapons fit meant that the Sverdlov class was very capable of protecting themselves on solo raiding missions.[xxix] Although certainly they were the most probable wartime scenario, solo missions however were not the biggest fear for the RN. The biggest worry were Task Groups, two or more Cruisers, possibly with Destroyer escorts. Such formations were felt to be a direct threat to any allied naval task group without an aircraft carrier.[xxx] However, it was not just the Sverdlovs’ war time potential that presented a problem for the RN.

The Sverdlovs were impressive they had a crew numbering more than a thousand officers and men and their overall capabilities were a statement of Soviet power and reach. Such a statement was important to demonstrating the success of the communist system in the global battle for hearts and minds, or influence (as it was termed then), that was the constant feature of the Cold War.[xxxi] With their size, elegant design, space and radius of operation they were perfect tools for carrying out naval diplomacy – something they were used for regularly, even making successive visits to Britain itself.[xxxii] This for a Britain in the process of decolonisation, of transitioning from Empire to Commonwealth, served to as a further catalyst for the fear that former colonies might be tempted to turn to communism and therefore to change from being allies to enemies or perhaps more importantly suppliers to deniers.[xxxiii]

…An equal and opposite reaction.

The Sverdlov entered service with the Voenno-Morskoj Flot SSSR (VMF -Military Maritime Fleet of the USSR) in 1952.[xxxiv] The RN had twenty-nine cruisers on its books: twelve cruisers in service, two for training, twelve in reserve and three under construction/stalled building.[xxxv] These cruisers were the products/legacies of experience gained through the two world wars, countless minor actions and of course all the ‘peace time’ operations that had been feature of the previous century, years when such vessels were reliable backbone of the RN’s abilities. In peace time they showed the flag around the world supporting diplomacy, trade and peace (or perhaps more accurately – stability). During war time they were the leading escorts and the principle trade protection assets it was the vessels of this type that were charged with clearing the oceans of the enemy. It is unsurprising therefore that when the RN perceived a commerce raiding strategy being developed by the Soviets, it turned to cruisers.[xxxvi]

The RN went through different levels of planning as the years transitioned and more information became available as to the role and nature of the VMF’s cruiser build, as well as how the Soviet used them. In 1949 a paper entitled “Ships of the Future Navy” concluded that conventional cruisers and destroyers would be replaced by an all-purpose light cruiser.[xxxvii] The RN’s plan to the same grand scale as the Soviet plan for the VMF, envisaging the replacement of twenty-three cruisers and fifty-eight destroyer leaders with 50 of the new light Cruisers. At that point, the new cruisers were described as cruiser-destroyers and planned to be armed with 5in guns while displacing less than 5,000tons. The conceptual cruiser-destroyers would displace two-thirds less than a Sverdlov, putting them at an obvious disadvantage despite them being envisaged by some studies as a counter to threat posed by that class.[xxxviii] The cruiser-destroyer program was not the RN’s sole cruiser design programme, however.

The guided-weapons (or missile) cruiser, the project which was a leap ahead from the all-gun cruisers that the Sverdlovs represented was well underway.[xxxix] It would prove the downfall of the phenotype of the all-gun cruiser.[xl] It was another cruiser-destroyer program but differed in that it would eventually see service as the backbone of 1960s/70s RN surface forces, the County Class destroyers.[xli] In 1954 however the proposal was a cruiser with a displacement 18,300tons full load, and fitted with the same twin 6in guns as then in service equipping the Minotaur class.[xlii] This vessel therefore would have exceeded the size/status of the Sverdlov class in a basic way and completely outclass it in terms of air defence capability due to being fitted with a twin launcher for Sea Slug Surface-To-Air Missiles (to be fed from a forty-eight cell magazine). Unfortunately this design was also dropped for various reasons in 1957, the most obvious being the financial restrictions upon the RN.[xliii] It was decided to go with a cruiser-destroyer design, and in the coup de’ grace to further new cruisers classes the design team responsible for them were transferred to the nuclear submarine project – reducing the likelihood of new designs emerging to virtually zero.[xliv] However, the RN still had several cruisers in service during this period, and furthermore it was during this time that the three Minotoaur class light cruisers, whose construction had been suspended following WWII, were modified and completed as the Tiger Class.

In 1954, two years after the Sverdlov entered service and only a year after it had visited the UK for the Queen’s Coronation Review, work began again on the Tiger class vessels.[xlv] Their construction as Minotaur class ships had been suspended not only due to the spending freeze bought in at the end of WWII (because of which there had been very limited funds for anything), but also because of a desire to step back and digest the lessons of the war before charging into new construction.[xlvi] These ships were seen as way to accelerate the entry of those digested lessons into service when it was decided to complete their construction, without the cost of a new class if there were mistakes.[xlvii]

Many felt the most important lessons were to do with firepower a new 6in gun had been developed and was fitted to the Tigers when they entered service – each gun/barrel had a rate of fire of 20 rounds a minute, so the Tigers with two double gun turrets could each provide 80 rounds a minute of fire support for amphibious operations, as had proved to be important in the Korean War.[xlviii] The guns would also be excellent for destruction of merchant shipping, another projected operational role.[xlix]. The three Tigers as originally built had no guided weapons, but they were still considered useful: the RN did not expect guided weapons to come into service that quickly and believed that even when they did guns would have a place still in the fleets armoury. [l] The gun was successful, and the possibility of upgrading legacy vessels such as HMS Belfast of the Town class vessels was considered.[li]

This was not to be though and neither were the Tiger class really, none completing more than nineteen years as a commissioned vessel.[lii] This was in stark comparison to the Town Class’ average service life of thirty years.[liii] These were especially short service periods given that two of the Tiger class vessels (Tiger and Blake, the third, Lion, wasn’t in good enough condition even for this) had very extensive midlife upgrades/conversions, gaining missiles and helicopters at expense of the aft 6in turret.[liv] Their demise was a symptom of the wider cuts to Defence and Naval Spending but it was also a reflection that these ships were not really up to the task required of them. With a range of 8,000nm at 16kts and a top speed of only 31.5kts they were just not enough to take on the Soviet surface raiders. They had been operationally confined to Task Group Operations and instead of providing a limited substitute for the aircraft carriers, the Tigers had needed their protection. For task force operations, the Tiger Class’ weapons and sensor fit was good, and provide an adequate contribution.The Tiger Class was not up to the standard needed for that primary, or justifying, mission of cruisers protecting the SLOCs from surface raiders.[lv] Without that justification the Tigers became a very hard ‘sell’ for the RN in face of Treasury questions.[lvi][lvii]

Conclusion

Given these limitations, to what extent did the Royal Navy’s understanding of Soviet cruisers affect its ship procurement during the beginning of the Cold War? If impact was measured only in paper work generated, research accomplished and debate instigated then the Sverdlov class did have more than an equal and opposite reaction from the RN. However, the metrics for measurement of impact must also include materiel generated, in this case the resulting ships. Materiel analysis is complex the RN had cruisers in service and because of the suspended Minotaurs/Tiger class it had the option of hedging its bets instead of building new vessels in response – despite all the innovative and interesting options that were examined. This certainly explains why the most visible response in terms of material to the Soviet surface raider threat was the development of the Buccaneer strike aircraft an asymmetric response that made the most of what was available, rather than a more direct viable solution to the threat of Soviet surface raiders that the Sverdlov class represented.

Unfortunately for the RN, the transitional period of the 1950s limited the available options not only in terms of technology, but also in terms of what the fleet would be. One aspect of the transition from Empire to Commonwealth was the loss of the highly visible role/budget justification of imperial policing. In comparison to this contraction, technology was driving an across-the board classification-blurring increase in the size of warship designs as they were sought to accommodate the addition increasingly sophisticated equipment/weaponry an example of this blurring being the cruiser-destroyer concept. In a time when there were many other draws on the public purse, such as the National Health Service, Nuclear Weapons and rebuilding a nation devastated by WWII, the growth of individual warships resulted in higher costs for the vessels themselves, for new systems and technology and for training.

In the end, the RN’s response was mostly (as far as surface ships were concerned) a vicious paper tiger. Adequate or even great designs on paper translated into warships completed during the period that were not up to the tasks they were envisioned to do. The importance of the response was such that successive Admiralty Boards put extensive effort into design programs, focused so many resources and fought so many Whitehall battles for vessels. Not entirely fruitless, these negotiations did lay the ground work for many other concepts to become reality, vessels which were up to missions required of them and which would be of considerable value in future conflicts. In addition to these benefits, the eventual selection of the 4.5in gun as the standard deck gun for all escorts after flirtations with 6in, 5in & 3in, and the decision to purchase Exocet SSM were consequence of the debates that affected not just the RN’s cruisers, but the whole fleet. Furthermore it must be remembered that throughout this period, the RN was never less than the second navy of NATO, and it kept to its own style – partly due to spending limits, but also perception of mission.[lviii] Whilst the USN went for the ‘Super Power Fleet’ as enshrined by experience of war in the pacific, the RN built something different, similar in image and scale definitely but always different – meaning the Soviets always had to consider the British when building their own ships.

This conceptual relationship between the Royal Navy and Soviet Navy was perhaps best illustrated by the fact both the Soviet Navy and the RN built Aviation Cruisers – or rather that is what they chose to describe their carriers for differing reasons.[lix] Furthermore, this piece of history does perhaps serve to shed some light on today’s events, and the current Russian naval rearmament.[lx] The procurement of Mistral class LHDs from France [lxi] along with the construction of new classes of warship in Russian Yards, is not a Mahanian challenge for dominance of the sea [lxii] but a quest for projection of influence and power which would serve to dispute that dominance.[lxiii] In simple terms the Russians like their Soviet predecessors in the 1950s are not seeking to match anyone in strength, but to match them in capabilities so as to be able to influence events in their favour. The question remains though whether their current naval rearmament will be as influential on the RN’s future construction today as it did in the 1950s, when it not only mobilised cruisers from slipways, but more importantly mobilised minds in search of countermeasures, producing systems, practices and decisions which effect the RN to this day.


Contents

Despite claimed to be "virtual copies of Japan's first French built ironclad ram, Kotetsu", the "Azuma"-class actually a completely different design, similar only in some lines. The actual "Azuma" was an ironclad ram, with only two guns in unrotated towers on the bow and stern. The "Azuma"-class are battery ironclads with much more powerfull artillery armament.

This ships are wooden-hulled armored screw steamers, with additional sail propulsion for ocean cruising. They have elevated forecastle and aftercastle. Their bow have a very large ramming bulb, probably additioned by cast-iron ram.

Armament: [ edit | edit source ]

The "Azuma"-class ships are armied with a combination on cast-iron muzzle-loading smoothbore guns and catapults, that launch the incendary "firebombs". Their usuall armament is a 14 of 100-pounder guns in armored battery and four catapults for such small ships, their armament seems to be too heavy.

The alternate configuration - probably, an attempt to solve the stability problems - consisted of 20 guns of only 40-pdr, and four catapults. This armament seems more usual for their size.

Also, all ships of this class equipped with a long ram bow, capable of breaking through the underwater hull of any Alliance ships.

Armor: [ edit | edit source ]

The "Azuma"-class have a complete armored belt from bow to stern. The belt composed of cast-iron plates of unspecified thickness probably no more than 4,5-inches (120-140 mm). The later-build ship probably have wrought-iron belts.

The ship lacked any actual horizontal protection (I.e. armored deck), which was a great disadvantage against Alliance aircraft, and inflict a lot of losses.

Powerplants: [ edit | edit source ]

The "Azuma"-class propelled by the two screws and two double-expansion steam engines. Described as crude and prone to malfunctions, this engines are capable to move ships of about 10 knots. The coal supply is limited, so for the fuel economy "Azuma"-class have two sail masts and schooner rig.


Pensacola Class Cruisers - History

Overview

Entering service between 1937 and 1939, the ten British “Town” class cruisers were the most modern vessels of their type in the Royal Navy when World War II began. Built in response to large 6-inch gunned cruisers in the U.S. and Japanese navies and primarily designed for the defense of trade, they saw arduous service in a wide range of roles, playing a decisive part in victories such as the Battle of the Barents Sea and the destruction of the German Navy’s Scharnhorst at the North Cape. The cost was heavy: four of the ships were lost and the other six all survived heavy damage, in some cases on more than one occasion.

In this major study, Conrad Waters makes extensive use of archive material to provide a technical evaluation of the “Town” class design and its subsequent performance. He outlines the class’s origins in the context of interwar cruiser policy, explains the design and construction process, and describes the characteristics of the resulting ships and how these were adopted in the light of wartime developments. Heavily illustrated with contemporary photographs and drawings by A. D. Baker III, John Jordan, and George Richardson, British Town Class Cruisers provides a definitive reference to one of the Royal Navy’s most important World War II warship designs.

Editorial Reviews

“This book has three defining characteristics. It is large. It is heavy. It is excellent. Readers who have any of Norman Friedman’s books on United States warships will find themselves on familiar ground here since the format and content are very similar and to the same high standard…. A grand visual treat…. Greatly impressed by this volume and recommends it very highly.” —Nautical Research Journal


World War II Database


ww2dbase Pensacola was the lead ship of her class of heavy cruisers. In the early 1930s, she served on both coasts of the United States. During the attack on Pearl Harbor which started the Pacific War and drew the United States into WW2, she was en route between Pearl Harbor and Manila she was diverted to Brisbane, Australia, and returned to Pearl Harbor on 19 Jan 1942. On 17 Feb 1942, she arrived off Samoa to join Task Force 11, which was centered around the carrier Lexington.

ww2dbase On 20 Feb 1942, Pensacola's anti-aircraft weapons helped to repel an aerial attack by 18 Japanese aircraft in two waves. On 6 Mar, carrier Yorktown joined the task force. Pensacola escorted the carriers in their offensives and patrols in the South Pacific until Apr 1942.

ww2dbase On 26 May 1942, Pensacola entered Pearl Harbor and joined with the carrier Enterprise. Two days later, they departed for Midway Atoll and made a rendezvous with Task Force 17 in which Pensacola participated in the Battle of Midway with. As Yorktown was attacked by Japanese aircraft, Pensacola left Enterprise to aid the carrier, but by the time she arrived Yorktown had already been disabled. While Yorktown's damage control crew worked furiously, Pensacola provided anti-aircraft support, shooting down four torpedo bombers during the second attack. After Yorktown sank, Pensacola returned to Enterprise and embarked on a chase of the Japanese forces. The Enterprise group returned to Pearl Harbor on 13 Jun.

ww2dbase On 22 Jun 1942, Pensacola transported 1,157 men of Marine Aircraft Group 22 to Midway, and remained in the Hawaiian chain until 7 Aug.

ww2dbase In Aug 1942, Pensacola sailed for the South Pacific. On 2 Oct, she departed Noumea, New Caledonia with carrier Hornet for Guadalcanal. On 24 Oct, the Hornet group joined Enterprise group, and two days later the combined force entered into the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. During the battle Pensacola provided anti-aircraft support against Japanese dive and torpedo bombers, but she was not able to prevent Hornet from receiving fatal damage. Hornet was eventually abandoned Pensacola brought 188 survivors of the carrier to Noumea on 30 Oct. Although the price was hefty, the Americans stopped a major Japanese naval offensive.

ww2dbase In early Nov 1942, Pensacola guarded transports landing Marines on Guadalcanal. At Guadalcanal, she participated in the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 13 Nov and the Battle of Tassafaronga on 30 Nov. In the latter action, among heavy gunfire, she was struck by two torpedoes, causing heavy damage. The torpedoes struck on the port side, flooding her engine room and ripping open the oil tanks, but she continued to fire the guns that remained functional. Despite the heavy damage, the damage control crew of Pensacola saved the ship, pulling into port at Tulagi while still aflame. 125 were killed and 68 injured at the end of the battle. After emergency repairs at Tulagi and Espiritu Santo, she arrived at Pearl Harbor on 27 Jan 1943 to receive proper repairs.

ww2dbase Pensacola's next mission was not until Nov 1943 when she bombarded Betio of Tarawa Atoll with 600 shells to soften Japanese defenses before the Marine landing. For the next two months, she performed as anti-aircraft screen for carriers and supply ships. In Jan and Feb 1944, she bombarded Japanese garrisons in the Marshall Islands. Between Mar and Apr 1944, she screened carriers across the Pacific. In Jun, she was transferred to northern Pacific, attacking Japanese airfields in the Kurile Islands in late Jun 1944 and patrolled off Alaska in Jul. Returning to Central Pacific, she bombarded Wake Island on 3 Sep and Marcus Island on 9 Oct. In mid-Oct, she participated in the campaign to gain control of the Philippines, including her direct involving at the landing at Luzon on 20 Oct.

ww2dbase In the night of 11 to 12 Nov 1944, Pensacola bombarded Iwo Jima. On 8 Dec 1944, 5 Jan 1945, 24 Jan 1945, and 27 Jan 1945, she bombarded Japanese defenses at Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima to prepare for the landing scheduled for 19 Feb. On 16 Feb, she was involved in the three days of pre-invasion naval bombardment, receiving six hits from Japanese shore batteries in the process, killing 17 men and injuring 119 others. She remained at Iwo Jima until 3 mar.

ww2dbase On 25 Mar 1945, Pensacola supported the landing at Okinawa and remained there until 15 Apr. She then returned to Mare Island Navy Yard in California, United States for overhaul. She exited from the shipyard on 3 Aug, by then the war was about to end. She anchored in the Japanese port of Ominato on 8 Sep as a part of the occupation force, and performed as a Magic Carpet transport to bring American servicemen home between Nov 1945 and Jan 1946.

ww2dbase Pensacola was decommissioned in 1946 after being used as the target of an atomic test. She was sunk on 10 Nov 1948.

ww2dbase Source: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Nov 2006

Heavy Cruiser Pensacola Interactive Map

Pensacola Operational Timeline

6 Feb 1930 Pensacola was commissioned into service.
19 Jan 1942 USS Pensacola arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
28 May 1942 USS Enterprise and Task Force 16 departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii for Midway Atoll.
17 Aug 1942 USS Hornet and Task Force 17 departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii for the South Pacific.
5 Oct 1942 Task Force 17 (USS Hornet, Northampton, Pensacola, Juneau, San Diego, 3 destroyers) struck Japanese installations around the southern end of Bougainville in the Solomon Islands (Buin-Faisi-Tonolai Raid).
30 Nov 1942 Near Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, US cruisers ambushed a night time fast destroyer convoy led personally by Rear Admiral Raizo Tanaka. Tanaka's quick thinking led to a Japanese victory in the Battle of Tassafaronga. Cruisers USS Northampton, USS Pensacola, USS Minneapolis, and USS New Orleans (New Orleans-class) were badly damaged by torpedoes.
3 Sep 1944 Task Group 12.5 consisting of carrier USS Monterey, cruisers USS Chester, USS Pensacola, USS Salt Lake City, and destroyers USS Cummings, USS Reid, and USS Dunlap conducted a bombardment of Japanese positions on Wake Island in the Pacific.
26 Aug 1946 Pensacola was decommissioned from service.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Ted Gatchel says:
20 Jul 2016 05:34:14 PM

My father, John Philip Gatchel passed away on 1996. He was a 20 year navy veteran and served on the USS Pensacola in WW II. Is there any record that he served onboard, he was a CPO. Thank you.

2. John Fitzpatrick says:
27 Jan 2017 04:11:38 PM

My dad was on the USS Pensacola when it was struck. Are there records? He died in 1994. His name was also John Fitzpatrick.
I served in the Navy in Vietnam.

3. Mike Klein says:
2 Apr 2017 03:59:06 PM

My father, Bernard N. Klein was in V-Division aboard the USS Pensacola (CA-24) during 1943 to 1945, last two battles in the pacific. He gave me amazing photos taken during the war by the ship photographer. He passed in 2001, God bless them all!

4. C.J. says:
1 Jun 2017 08:29:55 PM

My friend, Don Evanstad, age 94, sailed on the Pensacola. He is doing well and will turn 95 this fall. Hats off to all of the men of the Pensacola.

5. Davidw says:
22 Aug 2017 03:32:00 PM

Pensacola was not part of the 1st Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, she was part of the screen for Enterprise.

6. Mark Weaver says:
22 Aug 2017 03:47:22 PM

My late uncle Harold H. Hiser served on the Pensacola and was wounded in action. He used to host an annual reunion of "Pensy Pals" every summer at his cottage in Sanford, MI.

7. Mike Klein says:
10 Nov 2017 11:10:00 AM

C.J., if possible, please ask Mr. Evanstad if he knew my father, his nickname was either Bernie or Mike. He served as a Metalsmith for the planes. I can contacted via [email protected] Thanks!

8. Anonymous says:
2 Mar 2018 01:29:42 PM

Can anyone tell me what battle (skirmish) the Pensacola was engaged in on 04 March 1942? Thanks.

9. David Stubblebine says:
2 Mar 2018 04:02:19 PM

Re: Comment Above:
On 4 Mar 1942, Pensacola was screening Lexington in the Solomon Sea. They had just repelled a bomber attack south of Bougainville on 20 Feb 1942 and were preparing for strikes against Lae and Salamaua in New Guinea on 10 Mar 1942.

10. David Desch says:
4 Mar 2018 10:00:16 AM

Does anyone remember serving with my Uncle Cecil Page, he was killed on the USS Pensacola during WW2. He was 19.

11. Karen says:
6 Mar 2018 02:22:18 PM

Thank you David. I am looking to confirm some information about a Y3C who was "Killed in Action" March 4, 1942. That date is according to his grave marker which doesn't necessarily mean it is correct. He was assigned to the Pensacola. Are there lists of casualties?

12. Anonymous says:
26 Apr 2018 06:55:52 PM

I have a photo of a sailor in uniform with USS Pensacola on his cap. Back of photo is a name of Riley S. Whiteside. Any info would be appreciated. Thank you.

13. Laurel says:
27 Jul 2018 07:13:21 PM

My dad Casey Pena was a gunman he revived purple heart

14. Bernadette says:
9 Dec 2018 07:59:27 AM

My grandfather, Bernard Subak, was on the USS Pensacola during WWII. He remembered the ship being hit, and his job was to weight down the body bags and sew them shut. He never really spoke about anything. He did however go to the reunions for the men that served on the ship, and I think that brought him comfort.

15. LARRY BRAYTON says:
17 Mar 2019 08:20:14 PM

I SERVED ON THE PENSACOLA IN 1945-46. WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM ANYOTHER SHIPMATES.

16. Anonymous says:
21 Mar 2019 02:02:25 PM

Larry Brayton, my grandfather was corpsman John Fitzpatrick on the Pensacola. He passed when I was 12, never got the stories. I served in the Marines 02-06. I’m sure if he were still around we would have great stories to trade. Does his name ring a bell?

17. Mark Stines says:
27 Aug 2019 07:40:22 PM

FM1 Robert Charles Russ was my mom's oldest brother..he was killed on Nov 30 during the Battle of Tasafaronga. he was working in the engine room that was hit with a torpedo..Ironically we both enlisted on September 27, him in ཥ and me in ྀ. I am named after him and sure wish I could have met him.

18. James Yavorsky says:
5 Feb 2020 05:12:13 AM

My uncle that I was named after, Rev James Yavorsky, was a chaplain on the Pensacola. At his eulogy it was noted that he buried 22 sailors at sea at Iwo Jima, but the information above says only 17 were killed in the hits from the shore batteries. There were a lot of others injured, so I would suspect that at least 5 died soon after. Does anyone know any specifics? I have seen a listing of the 17 that died, so who were the other five? Did those perish in another attack?

19. Bert Corcoran says:
28 Mar 2021 05:02:03 PM

My grandfather served on the Pensacola from sometime in late 1943 through the end of the war. I'm interested in collecting any photographs anyone has of that time and hosting them online. I have a handful and will be scanning them to share online. Email me at [email protected] if you want to share any documents, photos, etc.

All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.


TIL that the Pensacola-class was launched with two triple torpedo launchers.

When the Pensacola gets moved down to T6, it wouldn't be too unlikely to have her in her stock hull. And it wouldn't make it awkward coming from the Omaha to have the torpedoes as well.

As entertaining as it would be, it's probably not happening unless the USN starts suffering downtiered-stock-hull-premium syndrome. As-built Pensacola had only 5"/25s for AA, and in only 4x1 rather than 8x1 like she has in-game. It would probably also be too much hassle trying to shoehorn torpedoes onto the stock hull when they're going away on the upgraded one USN low- and mid-tier torpedoes are pretty mediocre at best.

1930 Pensacola would also make a really shitty downtiered stock premium anyways. Literally no AA, but wrecks everything in sight with those 8" guns. The lower you place her, the more insignificant her lack of armor becomes too. I would honestly favor Northampton over her in that situation, because Northampton's profile is much fatter, she has even less armor, and she weighs even less, because the USN somehow didn't think to actually do something with the weight they freed up by shrinking the armored citadel.


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What's Happening: News of Interest and Updates:

ELC Escambia Increases School Readiness Provider Rates Effective January 1, 2021

The Early Coalition of Escambia has increased the rates it pays Providers of the School Readiness Program effective January 1, 2021. This is the result of a Statewide initiative to increase provider rates to better align with local market rates for child care services. The Florida Office of Early Learning did a statewide analysis of rates and identified an appropriate amount of increases for services for children infant to five year-olds. A one page summary of the background for this initiative and the methodology used can be found here . The Current 2020 rates, and the Proposed 2021 rates and a summary of the increases by type and care level can be found here . If you have questions regarding this initiative send them to [email protected] For a more detailed report and information regarding the statewide impact of this opportunity can be found here .

First Responder and Health Care Worker Child Care

The Early Learning Coalition of Escambia County and the State of Florida program of providing child care to children of first responders and health care workers ends for all participants on March 31, 2021. Child care will phase out for families as their referrals end sometime in the first three months of 2021. No new referrals will be accepted after December 31, 2020.

Note to Current Clients (Parents and Guardians)

The payment of Parent Co-payments by the Coalition will end on December 31, 2020. After this date, all parents and guardians must resume payment of assigned co-payments (parent fees). Your Child Care Provider has been notified and should resume collecting these payments in January 2021.

School Readiness Match Program

The Early Learning Coalition of Escambia County now has the authority to serve a new category of families and children using a combination of local funding and State matching funds. The qualification requirements for the School Readiness Program still, except families can now initially earn between 150% of FPL and 85% of SMI and be eligible for services. For details in English click here.

La Coalición de Educación Temprana del Condado de Escambia ahora tiene la autoridad de servir a una nueva categoria de familias y niños usando una combinación de fondos locales y Estatales. Los requisitos para qualificar para el Programa de Preparación Escolar aún , excepto que las familias ahora pueden inicialmente ganar entre 150% del (FPL) Nivel de pobreza federal y el 85% del (SMI) Ingreso medio estatal y ser elegibles para los servicios. Para detalles en Español haga clic aquí.

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Local VPK Registration Contact Number - 850-607-8556 or 850-741-8304

Please Note: VPK application documentation will not be accepted on-site outside of normal support hours.

____________________________________________________________

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Early Learning Coalition of Escambia County Mission Statement

To identify and meet the needs of children and families to lay the foundation for lifetime success by: maximizing each child&rsquos potential, preparing children to enter school ready to learn, and helping families achieve economic self-sufficiency.

To support this mission, the Coalition upholds these values:

  1. Early learning programs shall prepare children for success in school.
  2. Early learning programs shall involve parents as their child&rsquos first teacher and support family skill building,
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It is the policy of the Early Learning Coalition of Escambia County to comply with Florida&rsquos public records law and state retention schedules for public records, including electronic mail (e-mail). Florida&rsquos public records law, listed in Chapter 119, Florida Statutes, states: &ldquoIt is the policy of this state that all state, county, and municipal records are open for personal inspection and copying by any person. Providing access to public records is a duty of each agency.&rdquo

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Records Request Contact: Bruce Watson, Records Custodian


Watch the video: Schlachtschiff Bismarck versenkt Schlachtschiff HOOD in 5 Minuten! - 1941 - Dokumentation