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USS Birmingham (CL-62) Arrives at Mare Island Navy Yard

Image Information
USS Birmingham (CL-62) returning to the United States for repair of damage received during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 24, 1944. She was assisting with firefighting on USS Princeton (CVL-23) when carrier‘s after bomb stowage detonated, causing severe topside damage to Birmingham and heavy casualties among her crew. Birmingham‘s camouflage scheme is Measure 33, Design 6d. USS Birmingham, a 10,000-ton Cleveland class light cruiser, was built at Newport News, Virginia. She commissioned in late January 1943 and, following shakedown, crossed the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea where she supported the invasion of Sicily during July 1943. Birmingham was sent to the Pacific in August and escorted the fast carrier task forces during raids on Tarawa and Wake over the next two months. On 8 November 1943, while participating in the Bougainville operation, she was hit forward by a Japanese aerial torpedo and aft by two bombs, but was able to remain in formation until detached to return to the United States for repairs. Back in fighting trim in February 1944, Birmingham‘s next major undertaking was the invasion of the Marianas in June and July. She screened the landing forces and provided extensive gunfire support as troops ashore gradually overwhelmed the Japanese defenders of Saipan, Tinian and Guam. In mid-June, as the enemy responded to the Saipan landings by sending out his Mobile Fleet, Birmingham helped protect U.S. aircraft carriers during the Battle of the Philippine Sea. She continued in the carriers‘ screen later in the year, during the September-October raids on the Philippines, Okinawa and Formosa. On October 24, 1944, on the first day of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, she suffered heavy casualties and serious topside damage when the burning carrier Princeton (CVL-23) blew up while Birmingham was alongside assisting with firefighting. In March-May 1945, the newly-repaired Birmingham took part in the Iwo Jima and Okinawa campaigns. During Japanese Kamikaze attacks on ships off Okinawa on May 4, she was again damaged, suffering more than fifty crewmen killed and many others injured when a suicide plane crashed into her deck just aft of the forward gun turrets. More shipyard work returned her to the western Pacific in late August 1945, soon after Japan had agreed to surrender. She remained in the area for some months, visiting Brisbane, Australia, in November. The cruiser steamed to San Francisco, California, in March 1946 and was decommissioned there at the beginning of January 1947. Stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in May 1959, after a dozen years in “mothballs,“ USS Birmingham was sold for scrapping the following November.
Image Filename wwii1266.jpg
Image Size 182.52 KB
Image Dimensions 700 x 500
Photographer Unknown
Photographer Title
Caption Author United States Naval Historical Center
Date Photographed November 01, 1944
Location Mare Island Navy Yard
City Vallejo
State or Province California
Country United States
Archive United States Naval Historical Center
Record Number
Status Caption ©2007, ©2024 MFA Productions LLC
Image in the Public Domain

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