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  USS Montpelier CL-57
USN
Cleveland Class
Light Cruise

10,000 Tons
610' x 66' 6" x 20'
12 x 6" guns
12 x 5" guns
Click For Enlargement
USN April 22, 1943

Ship History
Built by New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J. Laid down December 2, 1940, Launched February 12, 1942 and commissioned September 9, 1942 with Capt. Leighton Wood in command.

Wartime History
Departed Norfolk, Virginia and arrived Nouméa on January 18, 1943. Rear Adm. A. S. Merrill chose her for the flagship of CruDiv 12. On 25 January, she reached Efaté.

While making a sweep around Guadalcanal, she participated in the Battle of Rennell Island January 29. 1943. Next, Montpelier covered the landings on the Russell Islands on February 21.

On the night of 5 March to 6 March, she heavily bombarded the Vila Airfield on Kolombangara and helped sink an enemy destroyer in the battle of Blackett Strait.

On June 29-30, 1943 during the night USS Montpelier with USS Cleveland, USS Columbia, USS Denver (CL-58) and eight destroyers bombarded Ballale and Poporang as part of the preparation for the American landings in New Georgia.

On the night of 11‑12 July, she bombarded Munda. She patrolled the New Georgia area for the next 4 months to prevent Japanese troop withdrawals.

After a run to Sydney, Australia, she joined TF 39 as its flagship for the invasion of the Treasury Islands and Bougainville.

On November 1, 1943 Montpelier shelled the Buka Airfield and Bonis Airfield on the northern tip of Bougainville then again bombarded Poporang and Ballale along with USS Cleveland, USS Columbia, USS Denver (CL-58) and eight destroyers.

TF 39, consisting of cruisers and destroyers, engaged a superior Japanese force in the battle of Empress Augusta Bay while guarding transports on the night of 2 November. The result was a clear cut victory for the U.S. ships commanded by Admiral Merrill. The victory turned back the Japanese from what would have been a disastrous assault on the Bougainville landing forces. Besides assisting in the destruction of one ship, Montpelier gunners shot down five enemy planes.

Between 15 February and 19 February 1944, Montpelier covered the amphibious landing on Green Island. In March she hunted shipping south of Truk and participated in the invasion of the Emiraus.

She participated in the bombardment of Saipan on June 14. She joined TF 58 and participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea from June 19-21. Montpelier returned to the Marianas, and continued her shelling of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. She left the Marianas August 2 for overhauling in the United States.

Philippines
Returning to the Paciifc on November 25, she joined a task group off Leyte Gulf. While steaming on defensive patrol off Leyte, Montpelier was slightly damaged by a kamikaze attack on November 27. She fought off numerous other kamikaze attacks, shooting down four planes.

Beginning 12 December, Montpelier provided beach cover for the invasion of Mindoro. Fighting enemy suicide planes, she protected troops at the Lingayen Gulf landing in January 1945. In February, she supported operations off Mariveles Harbor, Corregidor, and Palawan; and from 14 April to 23 April, she covered the landings on Mindanao. From her base at Subic Bay, she steamed to Brunei Bay, Borneo, arriving 9 June. Between 17 June and 2 July, she sailed off the oil center at Balikpapan, providing support for minesweepers, underwater demolition teams, and amphibious forces. Australian troops were extremely grateful for the devastating shelling of enemy positions, which saved many Allied lives. During the latter part of July and early August, Montpelier made three antishipping sweeps in the East China Sea.

Japan Occupation
When hostilities ended, she anchored off Wakayama, Japan, and helped speed up the evacuation of Allied prisoners. After an inspection of Japanese ships, part of her crew went ashore to view the ruins of Hiroshima.

On 18 October she covered the landing of occupation forces at Matsuyama. Montpelier departed from Hiro Wan and Japanese waters 15 November for the East Coast,. From the Pacific, the Montpelier sailed first for Hawaii, then to San Diego, California, before heading south to pass through the Panama Canal with her final destination being New York, New York.

Postwar
She reported for duty with the Atlantic Fleet 11 December and 1 July 1946 reported for duty with the 16th Fleet. Montpelier decommissioned and berthed in reserve at Philadelphia 24 January 1947. She was struck from the Naval Register 1 March 1959, and was sold for scrap to Bethlehem Steel Co. on January 22, 1960.

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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