WW II

1 Sep 1939 until

 2 Sep 1945

WORLD WAR II
1 Sep 1939 – 7 Dec 1941 East Coast Caribbean Canada … South America German submarine U-203 incident – 20 June 1941
7 Dec 1941 – 2 Sep 1945 US IN WORLD WAR II
Dec 1941 – Nov 1942 Canada .. Africa, Scotland Iceland, Caribbean Atlantic crossings
8 – 15 November 1942 Africa North Africa Invasion

Walter Cronkite aboard

Jan 1943 – Apr 1944 Africa . Gibraltar Scotland ….. N.Ireland Atlantic crossings
6 – 18 June 1944 France England Normandy invasion, France (& preparation)

General Eisenhower visit, N. Ireland, 19 May 1944

25 June 1944 France England .. N.Ireland Cherbourg battle, France
15 – 17 Aug 1944 N. Ireland, Algeria, Italy, France, Palermo Southern France Invasion (preparation & return)
Sep 1944 – Feb 1945 East Coast West Coast, Pacific Preparation for Pacific operations
Feb – Mar 1945 Pacific Iwo Jima (Japan) Invasion
March – May 1945 Pacific Okinawa (Japan) Invasion
May – Sep 1945 Pacific Philippines/Okinawa
Sep – Dec 1945 Pacific, West Coast Magic Carpet – returning troops from the Pacific
Jan 1946 – Apr 1948 West Coast, Caribbean, East Coast, Gulf of Mexico Decommissioned 21 Apr 1948, San Jacinto Battleground, LaPorte TX (near Houston)

 

WORLD WAR II

Dates to remember:

June 1941, the U.S. is not in the war yet, but is escorting convoys half way across the Atlantic to where England takes over the escort duty ( Neutrality Patrol ).  

The following is from a book “Hitler’s U-Boat War” page 308. I can’t reprint it here, but in brief the story goes as follows:

While the new VIIC, U-203 commanded by Rolf Mutzelburg, was on patrol she came across the USS Texas at about midnight on June 20th 1941. The Texas was about 800 miles south southwest of Iceland and 10 miles inside a zone that Hitler had declared as authorized for attacks on Neutral Warships. The Captain ordered U-203 to battle stations and for the next sixteen hours pursued the zigzagging Texas to no avail. The Texas was going to fast for U-203 to reach. When the chase was over the Texas according to U-203 was 148 miles inside the “German Zone”. 

I recommend you read the story! And I thank Mr. Wechsler for bringing this book to my attention…

December 7, 1941, The USS Texas was in port that day in Casco Bay, Maine. The Texas had been on Neutrality Patrol in the North Atlantic since 5 days after the Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939.

November of 1942, The USS Texas is part of the Western Naval Task Force, which participated in the Allied Invasion of North Africa. This was the first time the Texas had used her 14″ guns in combat or anger. The Texas fired a total of 273 rounds. The secondary battery 5″ guns fired 6 rounds. The Texas had war correspondent Walter Cronkite on board during this time but he landed on the 13th of November at Port Lyautey. The Texas departed the area on November 26th for Norfolk Va.

During most of 1943, the USS Texas participated in convoy escort between the United States and North Africa and to England supporting the build-up for the cross channel invasion scheduled for 1944. 

On May 19, 1944 the Texas received a visit from General Dwight Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied Forces.  

Below is a Link to a special that PBS put together for the D-Day 50th Anniversary. Hit “Return” or the “Back Arrow” to return to this web site.

D-Day + 50

June 6 1944, At about 0440 on the morning of the 6th, the battleship closed the Normandy coast to a point some 12,000 yards offshore near Pointe du Hoc. At 0550, Texas began churning up the coastal landscape with her 14-inch salvoes. Meanwhile, her secondary battery went to work on another target on the western end of “Omaha” beach, a ravine laced with strong points to defend an exit road. Later, under control of airborne spotters, she moved her major-caliber fire inland to interdict enemy reinforcement activities and to destroy batteries and other strong points farther inland.

By noon, she closed the beach to about a range of 3,000 yards to fire upon snipers and machinegun nests hidden in a defile just off the beach. At the conclusion of that mission, the warship took an enemy antiaircraft battery located west of Vierville under fire.

The following morning, her main battery rained 14-inch shells on the enemy-held towns of Surrain and Trevieres to break up German troop concentrations. That evening, she bombarded a German mortar battery which had been shelling the beach. Not long after midnight, German planes attacked the ships offshore, and one of them swooped in low on Texas‘ starboard quarter. Her antiaircraft batteries opened up immediately but failed to score on the intruder. On the morning of 8 June, her guns fired on Isigny , then on a shore battery, and finally on Trevieres once more.

After that, she retired to Plymouth to rearm, returning to the French coast on the 11th. From then until the 15th, she supported the Army in its advance inland, However, by the latter day, the troops had advanced beyond the range of her guns; and the battleship moved on to another mission.

On the morning of 25 June 1944, Texas closed in on the vital port of Cherbourg and, with Arkansas (BB-33), opened fire upon various fortifications and batteries surrounding the town. The guns on shore returned fire immediately and, at about 1230, succeeded in straddling Texas. The battleship, however, continued her firing runs in spite of shell geysers blossoming about her. The enemy gunners were stubborn and good. At 1316 a 280-millimeter shell slammed into her fire control tower, killed the helmsman, and wounded nearly everyone on the navigation bridge. Texas‘ commanding officer, Capt. Baker, miraculously escaped unhurt and quickly had the bridge cleared, The warship herself continued to deliver her 14-inch shells in spite of damage and casualties. Some time later, another shell struck the battleship. That one, a 240-millimeter armor-piercing shell, crashed through the port bow, entered a compartment located below the wardroom, but failed to explode. Throughout the three-hour duel , the Germans straddled and near-missed Texas over 65 times, but she continued her mission until 1600 when, upon orders to that effect, she retired.

This message was logged: United States battleship, cruiser, and destroyer force (Read Adm. M. L. Deyo) bombards German shore batteries and coastal defenses at Cherbourg, France. United States naval vessels damaged, Cherbourg operation: Battleship TEXAS (BB-35) and destroyers BARTON (DD- 722), LAFFEY (DD-724), and OBRIEN (DD-275), by coastal defense gun.

Texas underwent repairs at Plymouth, England, and then drilled in preparation for the invasion of southern France. On 16 July 1944 , she departed Belfast Lough and headed for the Mediterranean. After stops at Gibraltar and Oran in Algeria, the battleship rendezvoused with three French destroyers off Bizerte, Tunisia, and set a course for the Riviera coast of France. She arrived off St. Tropez during the night of 14 and 15 July. At 0444, she moved into position for the pre-landing bombardment and, at 0651, opened up on her first target, a battery of five 155- millimeter guns. Due to the fact that the troops ashore moved inland rapidly against light resistance, she provided fire support for the assault for only two days. Texas departed the southern coast of France on the evening of 16 August. After a stop at Palermo, Sicily, she left the Mediterranean and headed for New York where she arrived on 14 September 1944.

At New York, Texas underwent a 36-day repair period during which the barrels on her main battery were replaced. After a brief refresher cruise, she departed New York in November and set a course, via the Panama Canal, for the Pacific. She made a stop at Long Beach, Calif., and then continued on to Oahu. She spent Christmas at Pearl Harbor and then conducted maneuvers in the Hawaiian Islands for about a month at the end of which she steamed to Ulithi Atoll. 

She departed Ulithi on 10 February 1945, stopped in the Marianas for two days’ invasion rehearsals, and then set a course for Iwo Jima. She arrived off the target on 16 February, three days before the scheduled assault. She spent those three days pounding enemy defenses on Iwo Jima in preparation for the landings. After the troops stormed ashore on the 19th, Texasswitched roles and began delivering support and call fire. She remained off Iwo Jima for almost a fortnight, helping the marines subdue a well dug-in and stubborn Japanese garrison.

Though Iwo Jima was not declared secured until 16 March, Texas cleared the area late in February and returned to Ulithi early in March to prepare for the Okinawa operation. She departed Ulithi with TF 54, the gunfire support unit, on 21 March and arrived in the Ryukyus on the 26th. Texas did not participate in the occupation of the islands and roadstead at Kerama Retto carried out on the 26th but moved in on the main objective instead, beginning the pre-landing bombardment that same day. For the next six days, she delivered 14-inch salvoes to prepare the way for the Army and the Marine Corps. Each evening, she retired from her bombardment position close to the Okinawan shore only to return the next day and resume her poundings. The enemy ash ore, preparing for a defense-in-depth strategy as at Iwo Jima, made no answer. Only his air units provided a response, sending several kamikaze raids to harass the bombardment group. Texas escaped damage during those small attacks. After six days of aerial and naval bombardment, the ground troops’ turn came on 1 April 1945. They stormed ashore against initially light resistance. For almost two months, Texas remained in Okinawan waters providing gunfire support for the troops ashore and fending of f the enemy aerial assault. In performing the latter mission, she claimed one kamikaze kill on her own and three assists.

Late in May 1945, Texas retired to Leyte in the Philippines and remained there until after the Japanese capitulation on 15 August. She returned to Okinawa toward the end of August and stayed in the Ryukyus until 23 September. On that day, she set a course for the United States with troops embarked. The battleship delivered her passengers to San Pedro, Calif., on 15 October. she celebrated Navy Day there on 27 October and then resumed her mission bringing American troops home which was called operation “Magic Carpet”. She made one round-trip voyage between California and Oahu in November. And two round trips in December.

On 21 January 1946, the warship departed San Pedro and steamed via the Panama Canal to Norfolk where she arrived on 13 February. She soon began preparations for inactivation. In June, she was moved to Baltimore, Md., where she remained until the beginning of 1948. 

Texas was towed to San Jacinto State Park in Texas where she was decommissioned on 21 April 1948 and turned over to the state of Texas to serve as a permanent memorial. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 30 April 1948.

Texas (BB-35) earned five battle stars during World War II.

BATTLESHIP TEXAS BB35 – WORLD WAR II SHELLS FIRED (combat)

Operation 14″ 5″ 3″ 40mm 20mm
Morocco, N Africa, 8-15 Nov 1942 273 6 Not aboard
Normandy, France, 6 – 18 June 1944 – 14″ shells 690 a 272 192
Cherbourg, France, 25 June 1944. 208 a No air attacks
Southern France, 15 – 17 Aug 1944 172 121a 492
Iwo Jima, Japan, 16 Feb – 7 Mar 1945 923 967 4
Okinawa, Japan, 25 Mar – 14 May 1945 2,019 2,640 490 3,100 2,275
TOTALS 4,305 3,885 615 3,721 2,275

A – data from BB35 war diaries. (The data in the Leeward Publication is different )

Notes:

Largest Quantity 14″ Shells Fired in One Day: 445 – 6 June 1944
Largest Quantity 14″ Shells Continuously Fired in One Period: 255 – 0550 to 0624, 6 June 1944, at Point du Hoc, during the Normandy France Invasion. The average rate of fire was 7.5 shells every minute for 34 minutes.

 

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