Friday, December 19, 2008

Fullbore Friday

Operation TORCH, again - one month and 66 years later.

Back to the basics a bit. I want to spend some time on what I consider one of the most aesthetically pleasing ships - and one h311 of a warship - this nation has ever built, the NORTHAMPTON Class Heavy Cruiser, USS AUGUSTA (CA-31).

I mean, come on - just look at her.

I want you to review a few spots here, here, here, here, here and here about AUGUSTA and TORCH - but for the sake of time - just read this one diary entry and ponder.
War Diary, November 10, 1942.

Patrolling station near the transport area since midnight.. At 0615 prepared to repel enemy air attacks. At 0850 the New York and Cleveland stood into the transport area. No events of importance until 1120 at which time we received word that two enemy destroyers were bombarding our troops on the beaches and roads north or Casa Blanca. We received orders to proceed at best speed to destroy them but were warned to stay out of range of the battery at El Hank. The air group had reported the previous day that the Jean Bart had been "gutted by fire". At 1135 we opened fire on one of the destroyers with the 8" battery and scored four and possibly five straddles on her. At 1145 while still out of range of the battery at El Hank, the Jean Bart opened fire on us with two gun salvos and scored several straddles before we were able to withdraw beyond her range. One of these projectiles landed so close to the bow that we rode through its splash drenching the forward half of the ship with its yellow dyed water. However, no hits were registered and we returned to the transport area feeling very fortunate that no damage had been sustained and indignant at the falsity of the report that the Jean Bart had been "gutted by fire". Admiral Hewitt then ordered that another dive bombing attack be made on the Jean Bart by our carrier planes. This was carried and a report received that seven out of ten 1000 lb bombs had hit her. Anchored in the transport area about 1300 and made plans for a co-ordinated attack on Casablanca ships and shore batteries by the Augusta, New York, Cleveland and four destroyer while the Army attacked the city from the rear.

A.G. Caden, Lt. Cmdr, USN,
Communication Officer
All that less than a year after the war started.

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