Allied Warships

USS San Francisco (CA 38)

Heavy cruiser of the New Orleans class

NavyThe US Navy
TypeHeavy cruiser
ClassNew Orleans 
PennantCA 38 
Built byMare Island Navy Yard (Vallejo, California, U.S.A.) 
Laid down9 Sep 1931 
Launched9 Mar 1933 
Commissioned10 Feb 1934 
End service10 Feb 1946 

Decommissioned 10 February 1946.
Stricken 1 March 1959.
Sold 9 September 1959 to be broken up for scrap.

The bridge wings from the USS San Francisco are now a war memorial in Land's End in San Francisco city. This area is in the north west corner overlooking the entrance to the Golden Gate Bridge. They are mounted on an escarpment in the park, on the Great Circle course to Tokyo.


Commands listed for USS San Francisco (CA 38)

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1Capt. Charles Moulding Yates, USN19 Jun 193927 May 1941
2Capt. Daniel Judson Callaghan, USN27 May 19412 May 1942
3T/Capt. Henry Ehrman Thornhill, USN2 May 194216 May 1942
4T/R.Adm. Charles Horatio McMorris, USN16 May 19428 Nov 1942
5Cdr. Cassin Young, USN9 Nov 194213 Nov 1942 (+)
6T/Cdr. Herbert Emery Schonland, USN13 Nov 194217 Nov 1942
7Capt. Albert Finley France, Jr., USN17 Nov 194226 Dec 1943
8Capt. Harvey Edward Overesch, USN26 Dec 194310 Mar 1945
9T/Capt. John Esten Whelchel, USN10 Mar 194510 Feb 1946

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Notable events involving San Francisco include:

13 Nov 1942
USS San Francisco took part in point-blank range night First Battle of Guadalcanal. She participated in damaging Japanese battleship Hiei and also hit USS Atlanta several times ("friendly fire"). San Francisco took heavy damage during this battle. She received 45 shells (14 in., 6 in., 5,5 in. and 5 in. calibres) and numerous splinter hits. No damage was taken below the water line, however some of the compartments were flooded. One of the splinters hit the magazine sprinkling switchboard causing short circuit and in consequence complete flooding of 8 in. turret II magazines and handling room. Several other rooms (including one of 5 in. ammunition magazines) were partially flooded due to splashing water pouring through holes made by shells. Electric circuits were seriously damaged - severed in many places which caused cutting power to forward and after superstructure. Control of the ship was few times lost and regained again. Electrical control of the 8 in. turret II was rendered inoperative by flooding of magazines. However, power generators remained intact. Starboard and port side secondary batteries (5 in.) were put out of commission almost entirely. Guns No. 3, 4 and 5 were hit by shells. Guns No. 1, 2, 6 and 7 became inoperable due to heavy casualties of their crews (caused by fragments). Only No. 8 remained operational (odd numbers refer to starboard even to port side cannons). 22 separate fires were started, but all of them were quickly extinguished by the crew. Machinery of the ship remained intact, however some of the ventilators were damaged, which caused considerable heat in the after engine room. It was kept in operation by frequent changes of the watch and brief inspections of gauges. All exterior communication measures were put out of commission (radio, lights, signal flags). Compasses were also destroyed. Crew suffered 189 casualties (77 KIA, 105 WIA, 7 MIA). Among the dead were Rear Admiral Callaghan, his staff and Captain Young. Damage control officer Lieutnant Commander Herbert Emery Schonland assumed command as senior surviving officer while the injured communication officer Lieutenant Commander Bruce McCandless conned the ship. The former ordered the latter to continue the conning while Schonland himself resumed the work of maintaining the stability of the ship and conducting repairs. McCandless continued engaging the enemy and successfully retreated from battle. Both of them (and Rear Admiral Callaghan) were awarded Congressional Medal of Honor. Main source: U. S. S. San Francisco gunfire damage. Battle of Guadalcanal November 13, 1942 National Archives & Records Administration, Pacific Region, San Francisco Record Group 181, Pearl Harbor Navy Yard General Correspondence Files, 1941-45 Declass NDD 868129. (1)

12 Feb 1944
Task Force 58 departed Majuro Atoll for operation HAILSTONE, a raid against the Japanese base at Truk Atoll.

Task Force 58 was made up of the following ships;

Task Group 58.1
Aircraft carriers USS Enterprise (Capt. M.B. Gardner, USN), USS Yorktown (Capt. R.E. Jennings, USN), light carrier USS Belleau Wood (Capt. A.M. Pride, USN), light cruisers Santa Fé (Capt. J. Wright, USN), Mobile (Capt. C.J. Wheeler, USN), Biloxi (Capt. D.M. McGurl, USN), USS Oakland (Capt. W.K. Phillips, USN) and the destroyers USS Clarence K. Bronson (Lt.Cdr. J.C. McGoughran, USN), USS Cotten (Cdr. F.T. Sloat, USN), USS Dortch (Cdr. R.C. Young, USN), USS Gatling (Cdr. A.F. Richardson, USN), USS Healy (Cdr. J.C. Atkeson, USN), USS Cogswell (Cdr. H.T. Deutermann, USN), USS Caperton (Cdr. W.J. Miller, USN), USS Ingersoll (Cdr. A.C. Veasey, USN), USS Knapp (Cdr. F. Virden, USN).

Task Group 58.2
Aircraft carriers USS Essex (Capt. R.A. Ofstie, USN), USS Intrepid (Capt. T.L. Sprague, USN), light carrier USS Cabot (Capt. M.F. Schoeffel, USN), heavy cruisers USS Wichita (Capt J.J. Mahoney, USN), USS Baltimore (Capt. W.C. Calhoun, USN), light cruisers USS San Francisco (Capt. H.E. Overesch, USN), USS San Diego (Capt. L.J. Hudson, USN), destroyers USS Owen (Cdr. R.W. Wood, USN), USS Miller (Cdr. T.H. Kobey, USN), USS The Sullivans (Cdr. K.M. Gentry, USN), USS Stephen Potter (Cdr. C.H. Crichton, USN), USS Hickox (Cdr. W.M. Sweetser, USN), USS Hunt (Cdr. H.A. Knoertzer, USN), USS Lewis Hancock (Cdr. C.H. Lyman, 3rd, USN), USS Stembel (Cdr. W.L. Tagg, USN) and USS Stack (Lt.Cdr. R.E. Wheeler, USN).

Task Group 58.3
Aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill (Capt. T.P. Jeter, USN), light carriers USS Monterey (Capt. L.T. Hundt, USN), USS Cowpens (Capt. R.P. McConnell, USN), battleships USS North Carolina (Capt. F.P. Thomas, USN), USS Massachusetts (Capt. T.D. Ruddock, Jr., USN), USS South Dakota (Capt. A.E. Smith, USN), USS Alabama (Capt. F.D. Kirtland, USN), USS Iowa (Capt. J.L. McCrea, USN), USS New Jersey (Capt. C.F. Holden, USN), heavy cruisers USS Minneapolis (Capt. R.W. Bates, USN), USS New Orleans (Capt. S.R. Shumaker, USN), destroyers USS Izard (Cdr. E.K. van Swearingen, USN), USS Charrette (Cdr. E.S. Karpe, USN), USS Conner (Cdr. W.E. Kaitner, USN), USS Bell (Cdr. L.C. Petross, USN), USS Burns (Cdr. D.T. Eller, USN), USS Bradford (Cdr. R.L. Morris, USN), USS Brown (Cdr. T.H. Copeman, USN), USS Cowell (Cdr. C.W. Parker, USN), USS Wilson (Lt.Cdr. C.K. Duncan, USN), USS Sterett (Lt.Cdr. F.J.L. Blouin, USN) and USS Lang (Cdr. H. Payson, Jr., USN).


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