|Missing In Action (MIA)||Prisoners Of War (POW)||Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)|
|Chronology||Locations||Aircraft||Ships||Submit Info||How You Can Help||Donate|
610' 1" x 66' 6" x 20'
12 x 6" guns
12 x 5" guns
USN January 6, 1943
Battle of Rennell Island
Based on Efate from February 1, Columbia continued her patrols in the Solomons, and in June carried out a bombardment and mining mission on the 29th and 30th, against Ballale and Shortlands. On 11 July and 12 July, she bombarded Munda.
On September 5, she sailed for a brief overhaul at Sydney, patrolled southeast of the Solomons. Columbia, rejoined her division on 24 September 1943 off Vella LaVella, as patrols to intercept Japanese shipping continued.
Battle of Empress Augusta Bay
Columbia sortied from Port Purvis 6 September 1944 with the covering force for the landings in the Palaus, and remained off Peleliu to provide gunfire support to forces ashore and protection to assault shipping until her return to Manus on 28 September.
She sailed on 6 October, guarding the force which was to seize Dinagat and other islands at the entrance of Leyte Gulf which must be neutralized before the vast Leyte invasion fleet could enter the Gulf. These islands were taken on 17 October, and Columbia sailed on to give gunfire cover to the main landings 3 days later. But as the landings proceeded, the Japanese fleet sailed south to give battle, and on the night of 24 October, its southern force entered Leyte Gulf through Surigao Strait. Columbia with other cruisers had joined the old BBs and lay in wait. In a classical maneuver, the American ships capped the T of the Japanese column, and opened heavy gunfire which sank the battleship Yamashiro, and forced the heavily damaged cruiser Mogami and other units to retire. Toward dawn, Columbia sped to deliver the final blows which sank destroyer Asagumo, crippled in earlier attacks.
After replenishing at Manus early in November, Columbia returned to Leyte Gulf to protect reinforcement convoys from air attack. In December, operating from Kossol Roads in the Palaus, she covered Army landings on Mindoro, and on 14 December, lost four of her men when a gun misfired during an air attack.
On 1 January 1945 Columbia sailed Lingayen Gulf and on January 6, as preinvasion bombardment. Columbia was hit by one of the kamikaze planes, then was struck on her port quarter by a second. The plane and its bomb penetrated two decks before exploding, killing 13 and wounding 44 of the crew, putting her after turrets out of action, and setting the ship afire. Prompt flooding of two magazines prevented further explosions, and impressive damage control measures enabled Columbia to complete her bombardment with her two operative turrets, and remain in action to give close support to underwater demolition teams.
On the morning of the landings, January 9, as Columbia lay close inshore and so surrounded by landing craft that she was handicapped in maneuver, she was again crashed by a kamikaze, knocking out six gun directors and gun mount. Twenty-four men were killed and 97 wounded, but drastically short-handed as she was, Columbia again put out fires, repaired damage, and continued her bombardment and fire support. Columbia departed that night, guarding a group of unloaded transports. Her crew's accomplishments in saving their ship and carrying out their mission without interruption were recognized with the Navy Unit Commendation for this operation.
Columbia received emergency repairs at San Pedro Bay, Leyte, and sailed on to an overhaul on the west coast, returning to Leyte 16 June 1945. Three days later she sailed for Balikpapan, Borneo, off which she lay from 28 June, guarding minesweeping which preceded the invasion of the island on 1 July. She covered the landing of Australian troops, and gave them gunfire support through the next day, sailing then to join TF 95 in its repeated sweeps against Japanese shipping in the East China Sea. At the close of the war, she carried inspection parties to Truk, the important Japanese base bypassed during the war, and carried Army passengers between Guam, Saipan, and Iwo Jima until sailing for home 31 October.
|Discussion Forum||Daily Updates||Reviews||Museums||Interviews & Oral Histories|