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  USS Honolulu CL-48
Light Cruiser

9,650 Tons
608' 4" x 61' 9" x 19' 5"
15 x 6" guns
8 x 5" guns
16 x 1.1" AA
8 x 50 cal MG

Click For Enlargement
USN July 20, 1943
Ship History
Built at the New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York. Ordered February 13, 1929. Awarded to New York Navy Yard August 22, 1934. Laid down December 9, 1935. Launched August 26, 1937 as USS Honolulu CL-48 sponsored by Miss Helen Poindexter (daughter of the governor of the Territory of Hawaii) as the second ship named Honolulu for Honolulu on Oahu. Commissioned on June 15, 1938 in the U.S. Navy (USN).

After a shakedown cruise to England, the Honolulu engaged in fleet exercises in the Caribbean Sea. On May 24, 1939 departs New York via the Panama Canal to San Pedro arriving June 14, 1939 to join the Pacific Fleet. For the rest of the year, participates in exercises along the West Coast. During the first half of 1940, the Honolulu continued operations out of Long Beach and has an overhaul at the Puget Sound shipyard then on November 5, 1940 departs for Pearl Harbor and operates off Hawaii during the remainder of the year and during 1941.

Wartime Service
On December 7, 1941 moored at Pearl Harbor. During the Japanese attack, Honolulu suffered a near miss from a bomb that caused minor hull damage that was repaired.

On January 12, 1942 departs Pearl Harbor escorting a convoy arriving at to San Francisco nine days later. Afterwards, escorted a convoy to Australia and back to the west coast of the United States until the end of May 1942. On May 29, 1942 departs bound for Kodiak and remained in the vicinity for two months before proceeding to the Aleutian Islands.

On August 7, 1942 Rear Admiral William W. Smith's Task Group 8.6 (TG 8.6) bombardment group shells Kiska Island including USS Louisville (CA-28), USS Indianapolis (CA-35), USS Nashville (CL-43), USS Honolulu (CL-48) and USS St. Louis (CL-49) plus destroyers USS Elliot (DD-146), USS Reid (DD-369), USS Case (DD-370), USS Gridley (DD-380) and USS McCall (DD-400). Although fog limited observation their floatplanes reported ships sinking in Kiska Harbor and fires burning among shore installations. The Japanese were caught by surprise and took fifteen minutes before shore batteries returned fire and Japanese seaplanes made ineffective attacks. The operation was considered a success despite the scanty information on its results.

On August 21, 1942, she screened the first American landing at Adak Island. After shipyard work at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Honolulu departs on November 3, 1943 bound for San Francisco then escorts a convoy to Noumea in the South Pacific. Later that month the Honolulu departed Espiritu Santo for Guadalcanal to intercept a Japanese Navy "Tokyo Express" convoy bound for Guadalcanal.

Battle of Tassafaronga
On November 30, 1942 and participated in the Battle of Tassafaronga as part of a cruiser and destroyer force that steamed through Lengo Channel into Iron Bottom Sound and during the battle steaming to the west of Savo Island and survives the battle undamaged.

Afterwards, joined Task Force 67 (TF-67) for a bombardment mission. On January 4, 1943 during the night participated in the shore bombardment of Munda on New Georgia. On January 5, 1943 the force was attacked by D3A Val dive bombers, with three dive bombing Honolulu resulting in near misses and no damage to the ship or crew.

Afterwards, proceeds southward to Espiritu Santo and anchors in Segond Channel between January 8, 1943 until January 22, 1943.

During May 1943 she participated in shore bombardments of New Georgia.

Battle of Kula Gulf
On June 28, 1943 Honolulu departed Espiritu Santo to participate in the New Georgia campaign. After supporting the landings on New Georgia on July 4, 1943, she participated in the Battle of Kula Gulf, knocking out one destroyer and assisting in the destruction of others.

Battle of Kolombangara
On July 13, 1943 shortly after midnight, at the start of the Battle of Kolombangara (Second Battle of Kula Gulf) contact was made with an enemy cruiser-destroyer force in "The Slot." At 1:10am, Honolulu opened fire targeting a Sendai-class cruiser; after three salvos the target burst into flame and was soon dead in the water. The Honolulu then shifted fire to an enemy destroyer, which was immediately hit and disappeared. At 2:11am, a torpedo very near the surface struck the starboard side of the Honolulu, blowing a hole in her hull. The task force then retired to Tulagi for temporary repairs, and then departed for the large naval base at Pearl Harbor. On 16 August, the USS Honolulu arrived at Pearl Harbor for major repairs. She then proceeded to the shipyard at Mare Island, near San Francisco, for more work.

After the additional repairs at Mare Island, the Honolulu departed from San Francisco on 17 November 1943 to continue her role in the struggle against Japan. She arrived at Espiritu Santo on 11 December, and then resumed operations in the Solomons later that month. On 27 December 1943 she engaged in the bombardment of an enemy barge, troop, and supply concentration on Bougainville Island. In the early months of 1944 the cruiser continued bombardments and patrols in the Solomon Islands. She screened the landings on Green Island on 13 February, before retiring from the Solomons to begin preparations for the Saipan and Guam operations in the Marianas Islands.

The USS Honolulu took part in bombardments of the southeastern part of Saipan Island in early June as the Navy and Marines leaped across the Pacific. While bombarding Guam in mid-June, the Honolulu was deployed northwest to intercept the Japanese fleet. She returned to Eniwetok Atoll on 28 June 1944 for replenishments, before providing support for the invasion of Guam. She remained on station for 3 weeks performing great service with her accurate gunfire before returning to Purvis Bay on Florida Island in the Solomons, on 18 August. The Honolulu steamed out on 6 September to provide fire support for the landings in the Palau Islands, such as at Peleliu Island and Anguar, remaining in this area during September unopposed by the Japanese fleet. America now had decisive command of the sea, and therefore nearly full freedom of operations.

The Honolulu departed from the staging area at Manus Island in the Admiralty Islands on 12 October 1944 and steamed towards the Philippines for the invasion of Leyte. She began a bombardment 19 October from Leyte Gulf, and the next day she began screening the landings. At 16:00 hours, on 20 October an enemy torpedo plane was sighted as it aimed its torpedo at the Honolulu. Despite the skillful maneuvering of Captain Thurber, USN, to evade, the torpedo found its mark on her port side.

The Honolulu sailed out the next day, arriving at Manus on October 29 for temporary repairs, and departed November 19, 1944 via Pearl Harbor, San Diego, and the Panama Canal before arriving at Norfolk, Virginia on December 20, 1944. Honolulu remained at Norfolk undergoing repairs the remainder of the Pacific War. For her World War II service, USS Honolulu received eight battle stars.

After a shakedown cruise in October 1945, she steamed to Newport, Rhode Island, for duty as a training ship. The Honolulu arrived at Philadelphia on 8 January 1946 and was decommissioned there on 3 February 1947, and joined the Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia.

On November 17, 1949 sold to Bethlehem Steel and afterwards scrapped.

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Last Updated
July 20, 2022


Nov 30, 1942
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