In june of 1945 while serving as an escort and close air support ship uss pittsburgh was caught by one of the most furious typhoons that have ever assembled in the pacific as several ships risked colliding with each other the winds increased to up to 70 knots and massive waves reached heights of a hundred feet.
Displacing thirteen thousand six hundred tons armed with nine devastating eight-inch caliber guns twelve five-inch caliber mark 12 guns over forty bofors auto cannons and 20 urlicon automatic cannons the baltimore-class heavy cruiser proved extremely lethal when used for the pacific theater of world war ii.
However pittsburgh's desperate clash was now against nature suddenly a maddened wave struck her bow and tore it apart and as the bewildered sailors witnessed the event they were sure they would all succumb to the mercy of the typhoon but the crew should have known better as uss pittsburgh surprised them all with.
Her resilience and would not go down without putting up a monumental fight heavy cruisers following the outbreak of the war in europe after the german and soviet invasion of europe in 1939 the u.s navy realized it was time to upgrade its fleet and political clashes between the united.
States and japan only exacerbated this urgency the conquest of manchuria the war in china the hostile takeovers of former european colonies and the apparent invincibility of both the imperial army and navy prompted the u.s navy to initiate studies to develop a new class of heavy cruisers.
The navy's proposed idea could not have come at a better time with the war's outbreak the limitations imposed by the london naval treaty of the late 1930s were no longer mandatory the treaty significantly limited the growth in naval technology putting restrictions on a ship's size tonnage maximum gun caliber and the overall size.
Of a country's maritime force it also specifically banned the construction of heavy cruisers with their hands free the navy could now move forward with its baltimore class ships the base design was heavily inspired by uss wichita a post-war heavy cruiser launched in 1937 and the cleveland light.
Cruiser class which was still under development four baltimore class heavy cruisers were then approved for construction on july 1 1940 and a dozen more were authorized months later however work on the ships slowed down after the u.s suffered several setbacks against the imperial army and navy during the first year of the war.
Once the first 14 ships were delivered the design was modified and upgraded to make it more effective uss pittsburgh was one of them uss pittsburgh the baltimore-class heavy cruiser uss pittsburgh callsign ca72 was the third vessel in united states naval history to bear the name of the famous.
Industrial city in western pennsylvania the cruiser was 674 feet long 70 feet wide and had a draft of 23 feet her funnels were 86 feet high and the highest point on the masts was 112 feet pittsburgh displaced 13 600 tons and was protected by a vertical belt armor that was eight inches thick meanwhile her deck armor was up to three.
Inches thick while the turrets were between 1.5 and eight her main armament consisted of three turrets with three mark 15 8-inch caliber guns two were placed forward and one aft and they each fired 335 pound shells at up to 30 000 yards enough to penetrate six inches of armor plating at about 20 000.
Yards still they would later prove ineffective against the heavily fortified bunkers the japanese had built at iwo jima and okinawa secondary armament comprised 12 5-inch caliber guns in six twin mounts which were placed in twos across the ship to be used against both ground and air.
Targets they had a maximum range of seventeen thousand yards and could reach aircraft at an altitude of almost thirteen thousand yards additionally pittsburgh carried twelve quadruple mounts of bofors forty millimeter guns and between twenty and thirty erlik 20 millimeter cannons.
The armament was complemented by sg radar systems for surface targets and sk systems for airborne threats she also had space for two aircraft catapults located on the side edges of the aft deck pittsburgh was steam powered she had four shafts each equipped with a propeller and they were turned on by.
Steam turbines while her maximum registered speed was 33 knots she could also carry 2250 tons of fuel and at a cruising speed of 15 knots the ship had a range of about 10 000 nautical miles all in all the ship was manned by a crew of 61 officers and 1085 sailors to the seas.
Uss pittsburgh was launched on february 22nd 1944 under the sponsorship of mrs cornelius d scully wife of the mayor of pittsburgh by this point in the war the tide had been slowly changing against the empire of japan the emperor's will was no longer enough to help the economy recover from allied.
Bombing incursions into mainland japan and other occupied territories and the country's morale was waning down meanwhile despite the increasing number of us army navy and marine corps casualties as they went from one campaign to another the island-hopping strategy successfully pushed back the enemy into its home territory.
The vast extent of the japanese empire was shrinking as every day passed and when the marines landed on peleliu in september of 1944 to fight one of the war's bloodiest battles uss pittsburgh and her crew were eager to join the fray and support the war effort the baltimore-class heavy cruiser was finally commissioned boston a month.
Later on october 10th with captain john e gingrich as the ship's commander however the crew was still missing some fundamental training before venturing into japanese infested waters and they conducted several naval exercises with other ships on the east coast and the caribbean sea finally on january 13th 1945 the ship.
And her crew departed for the pacific war in the pacific before making her way toward the volcanic island of iwo jima pittsburgh was assigned to task group 58.2 which was formed around the aircraft carrier lexington cv-16 also known as the blue ghost for operation detachment the us fifth.
Fleet was expected to provide amphibious lift gun fire support air cover and logistical support to task force 56 which would conduct the marine's amphibious landings at iwo jima d-day was set for february 19th 1945 and the more than 60 000 u.s servicemen that would take part in the assault were expected to face about 20 000 japanese.
Troops dug in across the volcanic island whose strong point mount suribachi was an impenetrable fortress in the meantime uss pittsburgh conducted airstrikes against airfields near tokyo between february 16th and 17th as well as on the ryukyu islands two weeks later the man aboard pittsburgh were warned the japanese defensive doctrine had.
Evolved since 1944 and the battle of pelelu proved that the japanese had given up on their attempts to repulse allied forces from establishing beachheads on their islands and instead adopted a step-by-step battle of attrition forcing the marines to fight them from one well-defended zone to another.
Coupled with the total u.s air superiority the japanese constructed what author carson fries from the naval history and heritage command described as quote mutually supporting deeply sighted and heavily fortified strong points bunkers and artillery positions often connected by extensive tunnel systems with stockpiles of ammunition.
And food the japanese response to overwhelming american firepower was simple dig in and dig deep with this in mind the u.s naval forces were focused on heavily pummeling the island with preparatory bombardments to clean up the japanese positions before the marine corps landings.
Then as the ground forces slowly moved into iwo jima uss pittsburgh was busy shelling other enemy strongholds at kyushu on march 19th while attacking an enemy airfield in the exact location the uss franklin aircraft carrier was hit by two japanese bombs that set her flight deck on fire and led to a power loss.
However before the japanese aircraft approached for a second round pittsburgh provided fire support and rescued over 30 sailors on the water with the help of the light cruiser santa fe pittsburgh managed to tow franklin back to safety before she became a sitting duck following these events uss pittsburgh.
Became an escort for aircraft carriers during the invasion of okinawa and between march 23rd and april 27th the cruiser provided close air support against japanese kamikaze attacks assisting wherever the fight became more desperate and brutal the longest ship in the world on june 4th 1945 pittsburgh and the.
Entire task group 38.1 were caught by a violent and relentless typhoon after conducting a successful operation in southern japan as ships were enveloped by the storm and attacked by furious waves and high winds the float plane on pittsburgh's port catapult was blown off the winds then increased to 70 knots and.
The waves reached a height of up to 100 feet as the ship battled to get out of harm's way she was hit by two colossal waves her bow was thrust upward and sheared off but no life was lost despite the bow's loss pittsburgh bravely resisted and was held quarter on to the seas by engine manipulations.
After seven long hours of holding firm the storm finally dissipated and the ship was able to sail to guam for repairs once there the engineers concluded that pittsburgh had lost their bow due to poor plate wields at the bethlehem shipbuilding company then on june 10th the uss muncie tugboat.
Recovered the ship's bow and took it to guam this earned pittsburgh the nickname of the longest ship in the world as thousands of miles separated her bow and stern thank you for watching my video please like and subscribe to our dark documentaries channels to find more.
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