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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:32 pm 
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MISSOULA 


Excerpted from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships entry for USS MISSOULA (CA-13), ex-MONTANA (Armored Cruiser No.13): 


Placed out of commission 2 February 1921, MISSOULA was overhauled at the Puget Sound Navy Yard beginning 11 July 1932 and was recommissioned 31 October 1933, the last armored cruiser to return to service. After shaking down off the West Coast, she joined the US Fleet at San Pedro in time to steam to the Caribbean for the 1934 fleet exercises and Presidential Fleet Review that May. 


MISSOULA departed New York 2 June 1934 on an extensive goodwill tour of Europe. Among her ports of call were Gibraltar, Cartagena, Barcelona, Toulon, Genoa, Naples, Athens, Izmir, Alexandria, Lisbon, Bordeaux, Portsmouth, Ostende, Amsterdam, Wilhelmshaven, Copenhagen, Danzig, Stockholm, Oslo, Edinburgh, Liverpool, and Belfast. She returned to New York on 28 February 1935, where she underwent a refit, then steamed via Panama to rejoin the US Fleet at San Pedro. She remained with that force for the next several years. 



Undergoing a routine overhaul at the Mare Island Navy Yard when the US entered World War Two, MISSOULA's stay in the yard was cut short by the heavy losses at Pearl Harbor. After completing her refit on 5 January 1942 she conducted patrol and convoy escort operations off the West Coast, including operations with the surviving Pacific Fleet battleships guarding against possible Japanese attacks there. She remained in the area until 1 August 1942, when she cleared San Francisco bound for Pearl Harbor, which she reached 14 August. Subsequently she escorted a convoy to the South Pacific, whereupon she took up local escort and patrol duties in that area. 


On 14 October 1942 MISSOULA became the flagship of Rear Admiral Norman Scott, commanding Task Force 64. During the night of 11-12 October this officer had defeated a Japanese force in the Battle of Cape Esperance, but his ships engaged that night were either damaged or need of replenishment and could not return to action immediately. However, MISSOULA and her three near-sisters, PITTSBURGH (CA-4), HUNTINGTON (CA-5), and PUEBLO (CA-7), plus four destroyers, were available immediately, and were ordered into action against another Japanese force expected to be off Guadalcanal shortly. 



Arriving off Guadalcanal just after dawn on the 15th, Scott discovered six freighters off Tassafaronga, guarded by eight destroyers. Before the Japanese became aware of his presence, beginning at 0700 Scott's cruisers opened fire at long range, bombarding the anchored transports and the supplies stacked on the landing beaches, while his destroyers closed to attack the enemy destroyers. However, the enemy quickly recovered and counterattacked with guns and torpedoes, hitting destroyer LARDNER (DD-487) with a torpedo that left her dead in the water at 0715. Sighting more torpedoes two minutes later, MISSOULA led the American cruiser column on a successful evasive course change and continued to engage the transports with her main battery while her portside secondary battery engaged the enemy destroyers, at times firing directly over friendly destroyers engaging the enemy. 
 As the enemy destroyers began to retreat and lay smoke, Admiral Scott observed that the transports and landing beaches were burning "very satisfactorily." Accordingly, at 0725 he ordered his ships to pass between Savo and Florida Island and retire via the Indispensable Strait. 



Unfortunately, when the action began two Japanese destroyers had run to the north, west of Savo, then turned east to cover the exit Scott was intending to use. When the American cruiser column appeared they unleashed a full spread of Long Lance torpedoes and fled at high speed. MISSOULA sighted the approaching torpedoes and turned to evade, but at 0751 a torpedo struck the cruiser in her machinery spaces, causing massive flooding. Realizing that his ship was badly, perhaps mortally, wounded, Captain Stocker turned her out of line, steering for Florida Island in an attempt to beach the ship, but power failed before he could do so. Damage reports indicated that the ship was sinking and could not be saved; therefore, "Abandon Ship" was ordered at 0802. Small craft came out from Tulagi to assist in the evacuation, which was completed at 0825, minus seventy men killed in the explosion. Shortly thereafter the old cruiser lay over on her port side and sank by the stern, disappearing completely at 0839. Her name was stricken from the Navy List on 31 December 1942 and assigned to a new cruiser, CL-61, then building at Quincy, Massachusetts. 



MISSOULA (CA-13) earned one battle star for service in World War I and three battle stars for service in World War II.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:46 pm 
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Well, that was a short career.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:19 pm 
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Armored cruisers and Type 93 torpedoes aren't going to end well.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:55 pm 
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Was the internal subdivision improved as part of the machinery refits?

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:11 pm 
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The introductory thread states about the first four rebuilds:
Quote:
Below decks, their coal-fired boilers and reciprocating engines were removed and replaced by a much more modern and compact power plant comprising six oil-fired boilers and two geared turbines. Designed for 58,000 SHP, the cruisers were expected to make about 26 knots. The new engines did not require reworking of the shaft lines, saving immense expense and time, and enabled the installation of internal bulkheads providing some defense against torpedoes and mines. Some additional horizontal protection against bombs and plunging fire was installed, but not much could be done.
While MISSOULA belonged to the second group of rebuilds, with a different design of superstructure, it does say about them "While they were mechanically similar", so I think the above quote can be seen as accurate for MISSOULA too.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:44 am 
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I was not expecting many of the armored cruisers to have wildly successful or long careers in the Pacific. Given that IOTL everything but the kitchen sink (USS Wyoming) was thrown at the Japanese, with a lot of it getting sunk, I don't think many of the armored cruisers will last particularly long.

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